Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group (Goodbye 2018!)


Happy December, and Happy Chanukah! It is the last first Wednesday of 2018, so that means it's time for the last meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group for the year. The bulk of 2018 was a roller coaster that I'm very ready to hop off of, so let's get on with it! I've said a few years in a row that the next year will be my year, but as I enter the realm of self-publishing, I can say with confidence that I will make 2019 my year.

This month's optional question is: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

I've never really had a writing space. When I was younger, I was able to zone out and write wherever I was. I would like to get back into that habit. If I had to choose five objects, they would be my laptop, 2 blankets, a cup, and a plate--because I'm usually on the couch in my perpetually cold living room.

As always, a big thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator, for this group. Stop by his website to visit him and our co-hosts for this go-round. You can also join the fun on the main IWSG site.

Have a merry Christmas, and enjoy the rest of the holidays!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

There is so much going on in the world, so take a minute today to just find one or two things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for all of you!


Update: I witnessed the results of a motorcycle accident Wednesday night and saw a man die. I've had 4 shots of tequila and a glass of wine, and I am still not okay. Seriously, hug your loved ones. You don't know what the next minute promises.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Quick Thank You on Thursday!

If you see my tweet to the left, here's a longer version of what happened: as I went to my Comments Awaiting Moderation tab to approve the comments I had received yesterday, I saw SIX MONTHS of comments that I never got an e-mail for! And when I don't get an e-mail, I don't look at that tab. I thought my blog was dying haha.
 
But it wasn't, so I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to read and comment on my blog this past half of a year! I read each comment, and it's so appreciated to have this blogsphere support still! Love you guys!
 
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Updates!


Happy Wednesday! I was so excited to post that I almost posted a week early.

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and for us writers, that means it's time to throw our cares into the blogosphere and encourage each other through good and bad thoughts. A big thank you as always to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the mastermind behind this whole project. You can visit his website and the Insecure Writer's Support Group site to join and visit the co-hosts and other participants.

[Side note: I just change the format to justified, and now I hope I remember to do that always. It looks so clean!]

On October 22, I started my new job back with the State of Delaware, not back at my old department (those cats declined TWICE!), but it wasn't meant to be, so I am joyfully in a different department. From day 1, I've felt so much lighter and stress-free. My boss is everything my previous boss was not, and I feel like I really am part of a team and not just the help. Also, I HAVE MY OWN OFFICE!


(I just inserted this one because I love my computer wall paper.)
Never in my life did I ever imagine having my own 4 walls and a door. I've been in cubicles and shared spaces my entire career existence! Every now and then, I just stand around in awe that they hired me. I don't want that feeling to wear off.

On October 29, I received my last agent rejection letter, so I will now be researching how to self-publish. I want to get the ball rolling on a Kickstarter for my cover art and marketing, and this time next year, I want to have a published book. Wish me the best!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I forgot to check on the last icon.  I have a feeling it's not only huge but not centered.

But happy October! It's the first Wednesday, and that means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Visit the official website here, and stop by creator Alex J. Cavanaugh's site to catch up with him and the co-hosts for this month.

I'm going to start with this month's question, which I usually forget: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?


Well, I posted about when my pastor died a couple of years ago. It was around the same time I got my current job, so those were two major life events in the same month. Not much writing happened for me that year.

A year ago, almost exactly, my mom was basically forced to retire from her job, which was in another department where I work, and the anger and bitterness I felt then helped me finally start working on my current project.

I've had several problems with my focus at this job since, to the point where I was put on a performance improvement plan a couple of months ago.

But this past Friday, I accepted a job back with the State, so I will finally be leaving this job I absolutely hate in less than 3 weeks now. I don't know how that will affect my writing, but we will see.

I've been on hiatus for the past few weeks, and I think I'm going to keep it up (except first Wednesdays) until next year. I have a lot of responsibilities after work now, so it's hard to blog on top of everything else. If I have anything particularly interesting to share (the Pitch Wars results are around the corner), I'll let y'all know.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group

I'll know how big this is, and if it's centered  later.

Happy Wednesday! It's the first Wednesday of September, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a day where we anxious writers her to share our worries with each other. Click here for more information and to join us. A big thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for keeping this going.

I answered this month's question last month, actually: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I have entered my last contest, and if it doesn't pan out well, I will be self-publishing. I'm at an age now where I need some control over the things I love to do before I end up resenting them. I've said it before that my family is full of "what-if" people, and I do not want to be one of them.

That said, I'm also going to take a break from blogging the month of September. I'll know by October if I'll be coming back. Usually by the next month, I'm eager to post again, but at the moment I keep forgetting to, so I need to recharge.

In that break, I hope to finally get around to visiting other blogs again, so I hope to see you soon!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Focus: Believing in Myself

Maybe one day I'll have a fancy graphic for this day, but once again it's the last Friday of the month!

Where in the world did August go?? I at least got to a beach this summer, but I still want to go to my own. Still have a couple of weeks, if it doesn't snow to rain the rest of Summer.

But anyway, I'm almost finished Children of Blood and Bone, and dear God, is it good. I think it's okay to say without spoiling at this point that if Zélie and Inan don't get together by the end (not sure if there's a sequel coming), I'll be hurt, but I know not all romances have happy endings.

This book is one of the many that have given me hope as a black female author that someone will want to read my stories. That's why I push Fractured Princess so hard: even though many would say to start writing something else, and I have fortunately, I know deep down someone needs to read a character like Jonnie or Brodie; both are teenaged black girls going against the grain. Jonnie is tired of letting others fight and die for her. Brodie doesn't want to follow in her family's footsteps. Someone needs to see a fantasy setting that hasn't already been done a million times (I know I did). Someone needs to see vulnerable young men like Cyan.

For a while, every rejection I received chipped away at my self-confidence. Many times it was just because FP wasn't quite there yet, which I get. But after a certain amount of rejections and years, I really started feeling like I've been wasting my time. And I know a lot of published authors say that have those moments where they feel like a fraud, but at the same time, they're published, so...It's like skinny people who say they need to lose weight.

I submitted FP to Pitch Wars earlier this week, and I'm excited that, first of all, they've created a more diverse panel of mentors. No offense to other contests,  but when you scroll the list of agents, judges, etc., and what you see is 1 person of color to 12 white people, as a black woman writer, it's easy to feel like your chances are just as small, if not smaller. People want to believe it isn't a factor , but when you're actually wearing the shoes, you learn that it is. They won't say it and probably don't see it, but it happens.

I'm also excited because I feel like the first time in years, whether through Pitch Wars or not, I'm confident that this one is ready. Or at the least, I'm ready. I wrote "the end" about 8 or 9 years ago now. After so many revisions and at least three overhauls, if I don't believe in this story, no one else will, so no matter what, I'm going to put it out there and see where it goes.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - Midnight Thoughts

I don't have a clever image for this yet, but as I'm currently out of Tuesday Tales ideas, I might as well ramble to keep my schedule up to date.

I drank a Dr. Pepper late, so I'm still awake and watching The 100. I'm only in Season 1, but seeing commercials for the current season, I need to know how they get there. It's like Teen Angst Mad Max right now.

I have a kinesthetic (sp?) tape on my right wrist. I think I pulled a tendon lifting my bed frame up to my room. Luckily I'm left handed, but wrist pain is some of the most agonizing pain I've experienced. I guess because my wrists don't usually hurt. I'm going to Occupational Therapy twice a week for a few weeks. Hopefully that works on calming it down. I think I threw out my old wrist braces. =\

I'm also on 5 new medications for my allergies & asthma. It's annoying, but one is for acid reflux, and I'm glad I haven't had any for a few weeks now. I had a stick test and learned I'm allergic to dust mites, mold, dogs, seasonal stuff, and eggs. I love dogs and cooking eggs, so my feelings were hurt.

I have off Friday, so I want to take some time to catch up on reading. I have some writing I also need to do. I've been writing more scenes for later in my story than scenes in the beginning, and I'm trying to be okay with that.

Now that I've climbed in bed, I'm getting sleepy, so sleep well everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wednesday Words: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


Happy Wednesday! It's the 2nd Wednesday of the month, which is the day I share with you all what I am reading. This week (and, with the way my days are going, the next couple weeks) I'm reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.


This cover is amazing!

I've been waiting to read this for a while now, and now that I've started it, I'm so excited. Tomi used Yoruba mythology to create this story. My godparents are from Nigeria, so that's a plus on my interest meter. Add to that the setting of a world where there was basically a war on magic, and I'm getting Final Fantasy VI vibes, and I'm here for them.

There are 525 pages in this book! I can't wait to see how the story plays out. Random.org has given me page 158 to share with you all, so let me turn there and find a line.

All at once the flames lining the walls go out, just like Tzain's makeshift torch. But in an instant, they reignite with new life, blanketing every inch of stone with light.

I know the main characters Zélie and Amari are looking at a mural of the gods, who Zélie believes to be dead and the reason that the magic in the world is gone. I can't wait to see how they got to wherever they are. They have just met where I am.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group



Happy First Wednesday! It's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! As always, thank you, Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts, for keeping this going. Visit the official website to join us.

Where am I this month? Well, I decided to pen my resignation letter and have it waiting in the wings. Most of me wants to just turn it in, but the sensible side of me says to wait until I have a new job in the bag. I've applied to a dozen jobs in the last few weeks, so hopefully I hear from one soon.

This may also be the year I go ahead and self-publish. I don't think I have it in me to keep querying. I'll just be happy knowing my book is out there. Then, I'll just have to up my self-marketing, and it no longer sounds like a super scary thing to do.

So wish me luck!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Freeday: Back From Vacation

Happy Friday!

This is usually the week I post a Tuesday Tales, but I was coming back from vacation on Tuesday. My agenda for this vacation was to do absolutely nothing, and it was wonderful. I flew down to Cocoa Beach with my friends, and we ate, slept, and lay out on the beach. I did some laps in the hotel pool, and aside from walking everywhere, that was the only exercise I got. So the only bad side to that is getting back into the routine. Disconnecting was exactly what I needed. I should've taken a couple more days off, especially yesterday, which was my birthday.

It was also IWSG Pit Day! I gave in and threw a few pitches out there. I didn't do as well as earlier pitches, but I did get a few likes, so I'm going to research and send out a few queries. This time around, I wanted to see if I'd get as many without my comp titles (FINAL FANTASY + GRACELING) because while I feel it's still true, it's an outdated comparison, one, and I think a lot of people who liked the comp were really looking for more Graceling than Final Fantasy, two. So, I think my experiment worked.

My sister took me to the movies for my birthday, and we saw Sorry to Bother You. I'm not going to give anything away. Just know it's amazing and extremely crazy and very relevant.

So that's all. I hope you all have a great weekend! Mine is a little busy, but hopefully I'll get to unpack.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday Words: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson



Happy Wednesday! It is the day before a VERY needed vacation for me, but it is also the 2nd Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for Wednesday Words, where I share with you all what I'm reading.

This week that is Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson.


First off, I love this cover. It's a little mysterious, the shadow is ominous, and the light play is captivating and dark! Right up my alley. The blurb also starts off pretty dark.


TRIGGER WARNING AHEAD: infant death.
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Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?



I haven't gotten too far into the book, but Mary is currently in the group home. There are many girls in there with her who did petty crimes, but if Mary did commit the crime, then they might not want to mess with her. I can't wait to see how this book turns out.


I'm also reading on my Kindle and sometimes struggle with choosing random lines while keeping my place, so I will share a line from the page I am currently on:


New Girl is crying. Real sobbing, snot-nosed tears. I'm jealous; I haven't cried in six years. The tears are frozen inside with the rest of my emotions. She probably doesn't think she did anything wrong. I was that girl too once.


Now I want to know what the new girl did, but I'll know soon.


What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Happy July! Happy 4th, and welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group (whoops, this was supposed to go up in the 3rd)! Visit Alex J. Cavanaugh and the IWSG site to join the rest of us as we share our insecurities.

#IWSGPit is actually on my birthday this year. I'll most likely spend the next 3 weeks wondering if I should come out of my "I'm done with pitch contests" retirement to do it. I have so many jumbled thoughts in my head about whether or not I'm ever going to be published and how, and the pitch contests tend to get my hopes up really high and then drop them mercilessly. I'd rather not begin that process on my birthday, so we'll see what happens.

And on that note, the IWSG Day Question this month is: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

My main goal is still to get published. I'm working on not being hyper-focused on one project no matter how much I love it. I have to keep writing other things.

The good thing about IWSG falling on a day off is that I'll get a chance to actually visit other posts this month, so I hope to see some of you soon!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday re-Focus

Technically, I did forget to post early today. However, due to IT tightening up our web security at work, I couldn't post on time anyway.

To be honest, I think I'm running out of things to say about Final Fantasy, especially now that I'm moving on to a new story that isn't based on the games. So, starting today, I'm going to open up my Fridays again to be about anything, but most likely related to books/comics, games, film/tv, and writing. I want to stick to my schedule, and this will help so I'm not tied to one topic.

If you've still stuck around to read, thank you so much! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday Thoughts: A Wrinkle in Time (review)

Happy Thursday!


I know I've set Tuesdays aside for character development and what-not, but the Editor-in-Chief at b-word.org shared an article that inspired me to finally write a review for Ava Duvernay's film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. (I just learned there was a 2003 TV adaptation. I'd love to see how they interpreted the book.)

Here is the article in question from Indiewire.


And the pivotal quote from Brie Larson:

“I do not need a 70-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work for him about ‘[A] Wrinkle in Time.’ It wasn’t made for him. I want to know what it meant to women of color, to biracial women, to teen women of color, to teens that are biracial.”

The quote struck a cord  with me because as this movie came out, I heard there had been negative buzz about it. I also saw a lot of people who had read the book were disappointed in the adaptation. Some of things I've read in regards to the movie: too much cgi, a heavy-handed message, over-the-top/melodrama/cheesy.

But the majority of the reviews were also from white people.

Ava loved the book as a child, and she adapted a movie in memory of her late father. If you've read the book, that's understandable. You'll also notice, as most published works, the book features an all-white cast. As a black woman, Ava adapted the characters to be more diverse: a biracial Meg (or perhaps multiracial, depending on Gugu Mbatha-raw's racial makeup, so at the least), a biracial mother, and POC spirits by way of Oprah and Mindy Kaling.

With this infusion of color, there is immediately a new dynamic added onto the original story. So when Brie Larson stated the above, I definitely see where she is coming from and agree wholeheartedly, because typically, the first people who get their hands on these works for critique (or criticism) are older white men, and there's a 95% chance that they will be out of touch with the nuances of films like this. As for public critique, aside from the age difference, the same can still be said, and with the public critique comes a scrutiny typically reserved for films like this created by people of color. They will swear that's not true, but did anyone complain about the cgi, heavy-handedness, or melodrama of The Matrix? Or The Hobbit? Or Lord of the Rings? Or Guardians of the Galaxy? Or the last (awful) Jurassic Park? I heard nearly no one complain about the last Jurassic Park movie, and I still need to know why and why there is yet another movie, but that's a rant for another day.

With these complaints about A Wrinkle in Time, my main question above all others is: Did these people read the same book I did?

I read the book so I can go see the movie, and I was so worried. No offense, but this book was trash. As a writer, everything agents will tear a book apart for today is in this "beloved children's classic." Here's the main list of glaring issues:

  1. I've never read a more passive main character in my life. Meg is useless for the entire book. Charles Wallace and Calvin quite literally drag her everywhere, and most of the time she's whining about not wanting to do anything or not knowing what to do while the boys handle everything.
  2. Flowery prose. I'm sure it was big back in the day, but the amount of times I rolled my eyes reading this book, I can see why people say not to write like this today.
  3. I say this as a devout Christian: we were beat over the head with the Bible in this book, and it DID NOT FIT. I also say this as someone who loves The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The scriptures were so randomly thrown in, it felt like L'Engle was trying to convert each reader. Insistence does not a good story make, and Bible beating doesn't make a convert either.
  4. Deus ex machina: The secret is LOVE! The whole time, there is no indication of how Meg can defeat the It (also, did Stephen King read this book, too?) until the 11th hour when there are about 5 pages left in the book, and it was cheesy.
  5. Stranger Danger: Calvin is the most touchy-feely person in the history of touchy-feely people. The amount of times he grabbed Meg's hand or touched her or took charge of the situation was blech. Even in the movie, Calvin's pretty thirsty, but it's more humorous than gross, and he never touches Meg without her permission.
When I watched the movie, first off, Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-raw? Yes, please. Make real babies. Secondly, Ava & company managed to fix all of the issues above while leaving the essence of the story in tact. Who could ask for more? Too much cgi, you say? Literally 98% of the story is set in other dimensions. Did you want them to learn how to tesser and film on set? Heavy-handed message you say? Um, did you read the book? Melodramatic you say? Um, DID YOU READ THE BOOK?

But anyway, let's look at those last two more closely, beginning with the melodrama. This story is told through the lenses (ha) of a teenaged girl. If you didn't want it to be dramatic, you've never met a teenaged girl, for one, and for two, perhaps this wasn't a movie you should've gone to see.

For the "heavy-handed" message, which was to love yourself no matter your flaws. Fight the darkness with light; fight hate with love: Meg is an awkward, frizzy-haired tween whose father has literally vanished off the face of the earth. Teachers have stopped believing in her; she is bullied daily for her father being crazy and because she shut down when he disappeared, and everyone talks about her behind her back. Thus, Meg has no self-confidence and trusts nothing and no one. That manifests itself whenever she tries to tesser, shown as a suffocating, solid wall of tribulation from which she always comes out of the other side in pain. Her brother Charles Wallace continues to show her love and believes in her no matter what everyone else says. I absolutely love that scene where he's yelling at her across the playground about how he loves her and how wonderful she is. It's embarrassing, but it's cute, and ultimately his love for Meg is what saves them both in the end (I also absolutely love that shot of her holding him where she says, "I'm coming for you." The love they have for each other!), and when Meg finally does open up to that love, she most gloriously tessers, as Charles Wallace says.

As Meg battles with the It in Camazotz (was there a reason for such a weird name?), she is pushed down by what the It calls a better version of herself: a fashionably dressed, straightened hair, "popular" girl. Google-Image Cosmo girl covers right now. Notice the trend? Despite Calvin's One Direction-level thirst (what did he say? "You don't know how wonderful you are, do you?" Something like that. BOY, go somewhere), I love that he keeps telling Meg, "I love your hair," even though when he first says it, she might as well have started fighting him, she got so upset. But girls who have such a low self-esteem or are made to have such a low self-esteem can't believe anything but the worst about themselves. While some magazines and other media have done a lot better to lift up women of color, we still have white women playing Asian characters and lighter-skinned or biracial women playing characters written as darker-skinned or black. Society more readily accepts a certain image, and while that's changing, it's slow-going.

Other moments that struck a deep recognizance with me:

The sibling dynamic of kids without a father worked so well for me. I don't think that is just a POC dynamic, but it might be for the most part, or at least felt more deeply or (though I hope not) experienced more frequently. When there is just one parent present, the siblings end up of having to look after each other, help raise each other, fill in the gaps, because despite the remaining parent's pain, they still have to make ends meet. It was very important to see that. It's what my family had to do, on multiple levels. My mom worked overnight for most of my childhood. So who do you think was making dinner and (though we often forgot to dry them) helping wash her work clothes while she slept? My sisters and me. So when Charles Wallace is awake making hot milk for everyone, even though he's 8 or 9, I was cooking eggs at 5. It wasn't as weird as it was supposed to seem, especially today (or back in the day, when parents weren't afraid to not supervise their children. I'm still alive. No house fires, either).

Finding Mr. Murry. Now, I cry at the drop of a hat. If you sat with me the first time I watched The Hunger Games, I cried for about 5 minutes when Rue died, and when Katniss was crying about it, I started crying again. But at the same time, I can't imagine how hard of a scene that was for people whose fathers have died. Mine is just not in the picture, but seeing this young girl of color get to hold her father after not knowing what had happened to him for 4 whole years was heart-wrenching. No matter how bitter we might feel about our non-existent fathers, at least for me, I felt that moment. The whole reason Meg was the way she was was because he was gone, and now she had found him. I loved that scene so much.

But also, Mr. Murry LEFT Charles Wallace! Now, trust me, if my kid were possessed, I might give up and save the other child too, but I still loved this moment because it showed that parents, no matter what pedestal we have them on, aren't perfect. He tessered without thinking about the consequences, and in 4 years, he didn't learn anything. It happens. We forgive them.

So to sum this up, I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. I loved it, and I will be buying it and watching it frequently.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No Post Today

Hey there! I'm posting a review of A Wrinkle in Time on Thursday, so I'll see you in two days!

Happy Juneteenth!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday Words: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi



So I'm going to go ahead and date this for yesterday, because I forgot to post. That's what I get for taking a break.

Happy Wednesday! On the 2nd Wednesday of the month, I share what I am currently reading and provide a line or few from a randomly chosen page. This week, I am reading Roshani Chokshi's The Star-Touched Queen.


I've never read Indian mythology or folklore, so because this book is "steeped with" it, as the blurb says, this is a whole new world for me. But so far, I'm liking what I'm reading. Here is the premise:

"Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself."

Even this didn't give anything away for me, because in the first 60 pages a lot happens! It's an intense start with a lot of great imagery. I have one big suspicion that I'm going to hold on to. If it doesn't happen, I'll be pleasantly surprised.

I am 92 pages into the book, and because I don't want to spoil anything for myself, I will let Random.org generate up to page 93. It chose page 72, so let me share a line from there.

The inhabitants of the Otherworld moved airily through the Night Bazaar, sidestepping dancing conch shells and examining iridescent fruits. With their long limbs, stark cheekbones and symmetrical features, they were too perfect to be mistaken as human. 

That last line creeps me out a little. It gives me the feeling that they look human but eerily too human. It reminds me of a scene from The Haunting where the main character is trapped in a room of mirrors, and the first one she looks in, her reflection is almost her but not, and then it smiled, and I died.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: Well, May Went By TOO Quickly



Happy May! It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where we throw our insecurities to the wolves that are other insecure writers. Visit the website and the captain of this crew, Alex J. Cavanaugh to participate and visit the co-hosts for the month.

I totally do not remember what happened to make May fly by like it did. I'm pretty sure I read two books. *looks at Goodreads* So I read one book, and that was poetry. I took one more look at Fractured Princess to clear up any typos and continuity errors. That only took me a week, as I had my office to myself for a couple days.

BUT, I did get a lot of work done on a joint project which I can't say much about yet, but I'm very excited! It might involve a bit of travel so I can work with my friend, but it depends on her schedule and my money flow. I just can't wait to share it!

This month's question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Well, for a while there, while I was writing YA Romance that no one will ever see, my book titles were the names of the two main characters, so obviously, I had no idea what to name the books haha. Character names come much more quickly for me, unless I need to change them, which I've done to two characters: Jonnie in Fractured Princess and a character formerly named Remi in my NA/A Fantasy project. He's a guard to a princess, and as I read The Belles, I learned there is a guard named Remy, and I was like, "Aw, crap." haha I would've kept the name, but Remi is going to be a pivotal character in my story, as is Remy in Dhonielle's from the looks of it, so I can figure something else out by the time I write "the end" on that project.

How about you? How was May?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

See you in June!

Hi all!

I'm actually going to take a break for the next few weeks. Working on some things, trying to recalibrate my headspace. Etc. Enjoy May! Spring is here, and I'm loving it (except for the allergies, but ah well)!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group: All is One & One is All





Happy May! It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where we throw our insecurities into a pile and point at them angrily. Something close to that.


I was going to post about my anxiety and nerves about querying again. I've been holding off on it, and at this point I know it's because I'm scared of yet another series of rejections. But I have to pick myself up by the bootstraps and just do it! I'm writing other stories again, too, so I know my passion is still there. I just have to reignite my motivation and willpower.


Back to my first thought, I was going to post about that, but I read Dianne Salerni's IWSG from the 23rd, "Making Rejection Your Motivation", and I'm once again reminded that it's not just me who feels this way!


And that's what IWSG is for: so we know we're not alone! So, thank you, Dianne; I hope you see this, and I hope others read her post and feel the same way. <3






For those who made it through A to Z, congratulations! How did you do? What did you write about all April? Are you taking a break or delving right back into blogging?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday Words: Universal Fan Con

I did not plan to talk about this right now. It just came out of my fingers.

I was supposed to be at Universal Fan Con on Friday, but I received an e-mail last Friday that it is postponed because they didn't have enough money to give us the convention we deserved.

I'm still trying to process that, and if you've been on Twitter the past week, you may have seen some more than livid people who were also supposed to attend, some who--unlike myself, who only lives a couple hours from Baltimore and was able to cancel my hotel and parking--are forced to come to Baltimore regardless.

For those who don't know, Universal Fan Con was created for fans of color and other marginalized groups who don't often feel comfortable at the major Comic Cons for various reasons. This would have been my first big convention (Dover has a free one in the Summer), so I had to really build myself up to go. I wasn't even going the whole 3 days, but I've only really lost my original $35 in backing the Kickstarter. Others--fans, vendors, etc.--have lost more.

There are a lot of fingers being pointed, a lot of excuses and explanations that aren't really acceptable, but a bunch of groups got together and are doing a Pop-up Convention call Wicomicon for those who are stuck going to Baltimore this weekend. I've already made plans since, so I can't go, but I really hope everyone has a great time, and it's great that this group is saving the day.

There's still a lot of research I need to do about the people involved, because I'm hearing things now that I haven't before. Something in me KNEW I wouldn't be going to this convention, especially when I received an e-mail for people to confirm their tickets by clicking a link in a previous e-mail I didn't receive because they said they couldn't charge my card (though they did, so that was terrible communication right there). If things turn back around, then perhaps I can trust the parties involved again, but I'm still on a very unsteady fence about the whole ordeal.

Either way, I have off Friday, so I'll be chilling.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Late Night With Wednesday Words: The Belles


So, I was going to go ahead and push this to Thursday because it'll be after 9PM by the time I post this, but I'm a stickler for my blog schedule.


I am currently reading for pleasure again, so of course the first book I am opening is Dhonielle Clayton's The Belles.

This COVER! It's so beautiful. And when you open the book, there is a HOT PINK MAP. You guys know I love pink. haha

Here is the book blurb:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.


The magic of and in this book so far, and the imagery and descriptions are captivating! I can't wait to read what happens, so hopefully I can steal some time (I think I mentioned already that this is a busy month for me). If nothing else, I'll be on two planes Monday morning, so I'll have time to read then.

I'm 132 pages in already, so as to not spoil anything for potential readers (and myself), I'll use Random.org to pick a page up to that point.  Page 71!

Even though I've been dressed and measured and primped so many times, I still hate the feeling in these moments that my body doesn't belong to me. I become a doll--an object to be embellished.

These lines are a good example of the tone set in this book. There's glitz and glamour and magical cosmetics, but something is amiss in the world of Orléans, and I can't wait to find out what it is!

Also, there are teacup animals.


I'll be in Costa Rica next week, so no Tuesday Tales. Maybe the week after, if I feel like messing up my schedule. ;) See you guys in 2 weeks!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group: TAKE THE BREAK


Happy April, everyone!

Some people are participating in Poetry-A-Day. Others are diving into A-to-Z. Have fun! My sanity has once again prevailed, and I'm doing neither.

But today is the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Please visit the site and the site of our founder, Alex J. Cavanaugh to join us, visit this month's co-hosts, and to meet some new faces.

This month's question is as follows: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Hm...this implies that you have to try to keep on writing during those days. I don't buy into the "if you don't write every day you're not a writer" ideology, so if you're in a rut, it's okay. I take that time to dive into reading, do another hobby that isn't reading or writing, so just *gasp* vegging out. Let your head clear. If you have a dire, burning need to write in that time, then by all means do it, but don't feel like you absolutely have to if you just...can't. *shrug*

See you around the blogosphere.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Final Fantasy Friday: Creating a Villain



Happy Good Friday!

On the last Friday of the month, I like to take some time to geek out about my favorite video game franchise, Final Fantasy.

I'm replaying FFIX, and I just passed the point where Garland, the overseer of Terra tells his beta-doll Kuja that he created him with a time limit until MC Zidane grew strong enough to carry out the mission to make Gaia habitable for the Terrans (through war and destruction). As if Kuja wasn't already mad that Garland created Zidane (he threw him off the ship on their way to Gaia, so Zidane didn't have any memory of his origin or mission), so when he heard that he was going to die, he SNAPPED and destroyed Terra in a matter of seconds.

So this brings me to the topic today: creating a villain. Many of the villains in the Final Fantasy games were created by the people around them. Kuja was already pretty bad, but in his case he was literally created to be. Learning there was a caveat just made it worse, and in the end, he redeemed himself.

FFVII had Sephiroth, who was actually pretty chill until he thought humans destroyed his people. That's when he snapped and destroyed Nibelheim. Had he not thought he was an Ancient, his story would've been totally different. Crazy enough, he might've been a main character in what would be a totally different game! We saw a little of that in Crisis Core with Genesis as the main villain. He wasn't as powerful as Sephiroth, and that irked him.

FFVIII has Ultimecia, and going off of the Ultimecia is Rinoa theory I shared during 2016's A to Z Challenge, Ultimecia wouldn't have existed had SEED not killed Squall in the future. Rinoa never would have become Ultimecia and tried to kill all SEED. She wanted revenge.

Though I didn't talk about Seymour in FFX during that challenge and while he wasn't the main villain, he was trying to reach that because of the bullying he experienced being half human and half Guado. He never felt good enough, and so he strove to be better than everyone else and show them up with force.

Most recently was Ardyn from FFXV, who was supposed to be King of Lucis in his time, but they used his soul to absorb demons, so he became corrupted and was cast out for it. Of all of the villains, I think he was the most justified in his reasoning to destroy Lucis. Like Kuja, you can't use people as test dummies and not expect them to snap when you try to discard them.

I could play with "What if" scenarios all day with these five games. Just imagine the possibilities! I'm actually imagining an FFVII with Sephiroth, Zack, and Cloud as a team, and that would've been really interesting. Or an FFIX where Kuja, you know, didn't throw Zidane off the ship, and Dagger as the main character trying to stop them.

Sounds like I should work on some Alternate Universe stories, huh? ... Hm...

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tuesday Tales: Sitting Down with Brodie



Happy Tuesday!


My mind is a little foggy today, probably because of the weather and a lingering cold in my system. But I have a post to do, so I'm going to push through! I've been asking a few questions of my characters in Fractured Princess, so I will ask the same to my scholar-Watchman Brodie. It's been a while since we've heard from her.


Hello there.


What words or phrases do you overuse?
Brodie: I believe "but why?" may be my most used phrase. I like to ask questions, which you would think is a good thing, but I think I tend to catch people off guard when they think they've spoken definitively about something with no need for explanation.

How do you display affection?
Brodie: I . . . don't? I suppose I hug or give a small touch, but not often.

How do you want to be seen by others?
Brodie: I hope people see me as brave, someone they can depend on and trust, good.

How do you think others see you?
Brodie: Possibly combative, just because I like to question things, but hopefully they don't see me as troublesome because of that.

How do you react to praise?
Brodie: It feels good; I can't lie. You never know how people will take you stepping out of the box, so when it goes well, it's good to know others approve.

How do you react to criticism?
Brodie: If it's constructive, I appreciate it. Otherwise, if it comes from a place of judgment or the like, keep it to yourself, unless you want to deal with my response.

What is your perception of family?
Brodie: I come from a big family. I was raised by my older siblings, and I try not to take that for granted. We don't always see eye-to-eye, but in the end they are all I have, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Brodie: Times are going to get hard, but you are strong enough to make it out on the other side. Scars are just symbols of what you've survived.


Thank you, Brodie! I hope everyone has a good week, and if you're stuck in Nor'easter Purgatory with me, stay warm this Spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday Words: Black Nature (poetry)



It's the second Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for Wednesday Words (this is probably the only day I usually remember to do on time).




As part of my research for my new project, I'm trying to immerse myself in black poetry, African culture, and African mythologies. This past week I began reading Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy.


At first, I thought, "I hate reading poetry about nature; I'm going to take this back to the library," but as I started reading a little more, I found poems I love and poems that remind me how much I love nature. Though I love the city, I'd give anything to live out in the countryside with a telescope and flowery fields all around me. Shoot, that's a poem I can start right there.


Also, living in Delaware, where nature poetry is, seemingly, all people do here, that's probably why I claimed I don't like it, but as the forward of this book says, there are also subconscious stigmas among black people about nature. However, with 400 years of nature poetry in my hand, it's clear how many other black Americans have embraced it.


Instead of sharing a page, I'm going to share this poem by George Marion McClellan called "A September Night."


Through marsh and lowlands stretching to the gulf.
Begirt with cotton fields Anguilla sits
Half bird-like dreaming on her summer nest
Amid her spreading figs, and roses still
In bloom with all their spring and summer hues.
Pomegranates hang with dapple cheeks full ripe,
And over all the town a dreamy haze
Drops down. The great plantations stretching far
Away are plains of cotton downy white.
O, glorious is this night of joyous sounds
Too full for sleep. Aromas wild and sweet,
From muscadine, late blooming jessamine,
And roses, all the heavy air suffuse.
Faint bellows from the alligators come
From swamps afar, where sluggish lagoons give
To them a peaceful home. The katydids
Make ceaseless cries. Ten thousand insects' wings
Stir in the moonlight haze and joyous shouts
Of Negro song and mirth awake hard by
The cabin dance. O, glorious is this night.
The summer sweetness fills my heart with songs
I cannot sing, with loves I cannot speak.



Beautiful, right?


What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group


You know, if I had a little voice in my head, I wouldn't have a problem remembering IWSG. It's the first Wednesday of the month, so that means it's time for us writers to throw our insecurities into the air and see where they land!

Last month, I told y'all that I was revising Fractured Princess into present tense, and I've reached the end again. With this revision, I've also made a few more cuts on scenes/sub-plots that no longer fit the story, so according to Google, I'm down to just over 88,000 words! This story has never been this short. But I hope with the change in tense, the voice clicks with an agent, as "connecting with the voice" was the general consensus in my last round of query fishing. I'm still working on the new project, but I really want the world to see FP.

On the job front, the job I've been waiting on for 4-5 years now has finally posted at my old workplace, so I applied. I'm claiming it as mine and throwing all the positivity I can into the atmosphere. (Side note: Google doesn't think "positivity" is a word. Weird.)

Here's to all going well for me this year!

EDIT: I forgot this month's question, which is: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?

I actually don't, or haven't had the chance to, really. I should celebrate completing this last revision, but we'll see. I'll try to remember to celebrate finishing the first draft of the next project.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Final Fantasy Friday: Multiplayer Experience


Happy Friday!

February ended before I could do my monthly Final Fantasy Friday (and I didn't feel like posting one on the same week as Tuesday Tales), so this is a special First Friday Final Fantasy post.

And funny enough, I'm not sure how much more I can talk about Final Fantasy, especially when no new games are out, and I'm not playing anything new. I do have a Final Fantasy Type-0 awaiting my gameplay, and I did just download a Final Fantasy Dissidia on my phone that I haven't touched yet, so we'll see. I'm going to stretch it out for as long as I can.

If you aren't already aware, most of the Final Fantasy games are single-player role-playing games (RPGs). FFXI and FFXIV were massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), and with the PS4, the FFXV team had the chance to make the game this HUGE endeavor with the main single-player game, a PC game they just released, a mobile game, playable side games, etc. One of the side games is Comrades: A Multiplayer Expansion, so I threw away my lack of care for MMORPGs and am trying this out (mainly because it's a world I'm already familiar with. I did the same with FFVII: Dirge of Cerberus, which is a third-person shooter).

The great thing about this game is that you can create your own avatar, so I get to put myself in the game! If you follow me on Twitter, you know my greatest "argh" about Final Fantasy games is the lack of black women in the franchise. There are over 15 games, and so far, only X and XV have given us black women as non-playable side-characters (Dona and Sania). I'd love to see a black woman MC in the next installment. For now, I will enjoy literally seeing myself in the MMORPG.

And here I am (these are NOT my tats):


Final thoughts: If I do end up changing my Friday posts, they will remain Fantasy Fridays, so I'd ultimately either need to share what I'm reading (which is hopefully fantasy) or highlight some fantasy I have read. Which means Wednesday Words would strictly be for what I've been writing, so excerpts, draft changes, things like that.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Tales: Sitting Down with Andyrsn



Fortunately, it's still Tuesday!


I just remembered that I'm supposed to be posting today. It's been a busy one for me! I hope everyone is getting some warm weather. It hit the 70s here today, and for once, I don't mind it in the Winter. This one was HARSH.


Anyway, I was asking some character questions, and I think I'll choose Andyrsn to answer this time around.


Hey, guys!


What words or phrases do you overuse?
Andyrsn: I don't know if I have one that I use too much . . . I think I have more physical quirks than verbal. I scratch my head when I'm nervous or feeling awkward. I try not to do it, but at this rate it can't be helped.


How do you display affection?
Andyrsn: I'm a hugger. I'm from Viveno Island. It can't be helped.


How do you want to be seen by others?
Andyrsn: I'd like to hope I'm living up to my dad's legacy. He was such an icon, though, so I can't be sure. I at least want people to see me as a good man.


How do you think others see you?
Andyrsn: They think I goof off too much, I'm sure. I just like to keep the mood light. If it involves a prank or two, hopefully they laughed.


How do you react to praise?
Andyrsn: I don't know if it's just me, or maybe it's a Watchman thing, but I'd rather not be put on the spot. I mean, I'd say thank you, but I never know how to act after, and my segues aren't the greatest, so it just gets weird.


How do you react to criticism?
Andyrsn: Now that is something I can work with. It helps me improve, so I like to hear it. Bring on whatever you've got.


What is your perception of family?
Andyrsn: My family is everything to me. My brothers have been all I've had for years, and I know they'd do just about anything for me and the other way around. Where we come from, you've really gotta appreciate who you have because they can be gone the next minute.


What advice would you give your younger self?
Andyrsn: Crazy that I would have to say this, but loosen up! You'll grow into your . . . everything! Just be more confident and let loose.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday Words: My New Project!



It's after 10 am, which I guess is normally the time I remember I forgot to post, so good morning! I set aside the 2nd Wednesday of each month to share what I am writing and/or reading. Today, I am going to share a piece of the YA/NA project I've begun working on (that magical princesses one I keep ranting about). It has a few kinks in it (I've almost successfully forced myself not to go back and touch anything yet because of NaNoWriMo. I was just trying to get words onto pages), but it's still exciting that I'm moving onto new work again. The tentative title is The Queen's Daughters, and here is a snippet from the chapter "The Festival."

Also, just for some context, my MC Ash and her sisters have been paraded back to their father's castle with their dead mother to a celebration of their "return home." Ash's power (she can conceal herself, her thoughts, and/or her feelings so no one else can see or detect her/them) isn't noticeable in this scene, but her sister Naiyalah's comes into play: she can both take in thoughts and emotions and project her own onto others.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“My darling girls,” our father says softly. He looks at each of us in turn, and his eyes mist over before he blinks them dry. “I am glad you have returned to me.”

Words lodge in my throat, as they should. Instead of what I want to say, I follow my sisters and kneel, head bowed, hands folded demurely in my lap. He comes to Zuraiyah first, lifts her chin and guides her to her feet.

“My beauty,” he says and kisses her left cheek. “Welcome.” Then her right. “Welcome.”

“Thank you, Auba,” she says in a small voice.

We didn’t have to speak small with our mother.

He moves to Naiyalah next. She is “his purpose.” A kiss on her cheeks, a welcome for each as well.

I close my eyes for the briefest of moments before his touch to my chin. I open my eyes and stand. Of the five of us, I have his face. He always smiles proudly at that. I did too, once. I am his favorite. There has never been any denial of that.

“Ashula,” he says even more softly. “My love.”

Another pulse of calm from Naiyalah when I just want to explode and burn the whole world and curl up and cry.

“Auba,” I manage to say.

He cups my face and kisses my forehead. “Welcome home.”

“Thank you.”

He pulls both Babri and Katri up and wraps his arms around them, kissing Babri’s head, then Katri’s. “Welcome home, my sweet girls.”

They were six years old when we first returned. They had both cried and whined and held onto our mother as the royal guards came for us. Never having met our father, they couldn’t understand why our mother was sending us all away. Now, after seven years of visits, his pampering, and none of the memories of before, they aren’t quite old enough to hate this man the way the rest of us do.

Or at least the way I do.

I close my eyes again, take a deep breath. I must. We still have hours to go in this long, awful night.

“The Heavens have blessed us with my daughters’ return,” he calls to the crowd behind us. “Let us praise them and welcome peace back to our land.”

We turn towards the masses as they take up their cheering and singing once again, as the drums bounce off of the walls and more wine is poured before the festivities resume. We have done our part to mingle, and so we may return to our platform. Our father has already moved onto his, just above us. As we climb the stairs, we each must meet his eyes and bow our head. He smiles and does the same. Fortunately, we do not have to smile this time, although I’m certain we’re supposed to be at our height of revelry by this time. I can no longer muster the strength for it anyhow. I simply nod and return to my throne.

Once we are all seated, the steward returns, after once again tasting his wine before the guards, to refill our chalices. He bows and pours. He clears his throat as he stands straight and moves on to me. Beads of sweat form on his brow as he pours my wine. When he straightens his back again, his body stiffens. With one wispy gasp, he collapses dead at my feet.



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Insecure Writers Support Group


It's 6PM on the first Wednesday of the month, and that means I've forgotten to post this morning.


I hope everyone's had a good day. Are you writing anything new? Reading anything exciting? I just opened my package with Maurene Goo's I Believe in A Thing Called Love and am expecting Dhonielle Clayton's The Belles to arrive any hour now! I'm almost finished with Fourteen Hundred Cowries and Other African Tales, and so I hope to be able to read the next book more quickly.

I'm working steadily on a new project, which I'm excited about. It's a YA/NA fantasy with African influences. I hope it works out. Yesterday, I started seeing what Fractured Princess looks like in 1st Person Present Tense, as it's the only one I  haven't tried out yet. Wish me luck!

I'm also on the lookout for a new job. I don't have the will to get up in the morning for the one I currently have, and I feel bad that I prayed for a full-time job and can't enjoy the one I was given. Lesson learned. A few new jobs have caught my eye, though, so I'm working myself up to apply. One is a Proofreading job, but it's also a contract position. The other is a job at a new state division that really catches my eye, but it's less money than I make right now, and I'm already struggling. I'll figure out what to do.

Have a great month! Hope to see you around.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Words: Fourteen Hundred Cowries and Other African Tales



It is the last Wednesday in January; can you believe it?!

It's also the 5th Wednesday in the month, which means another glimpse into what I am reading! I'm doing research for a new NA/Adult fantasy project, and the research entails looking into African literature. I was really excited to find my library network had a few books, and the first one I'm reading is Fourteen Hundred Cowries and Other African Tales by Abayomi Fuja.


 I'm really excited by the stories I've read so far. We don't get the chance to learn about these tales in school unless you take a college course, but if only people could see more origin tales and mythologies from outside of Europe! These tales are clever, funny, and a little dark. There are a few fables I never would have heard about had I not picked up the book. One tale in particular that sparked my interest, "The Twins"--because I have an infatuation with twins and like to put them in my stories--had an interesting plot featuring the revenge of a sea monster's mother. Sound familiar?

There are tales explaining why leopards have their spots, why the ega bird isn't hard pressed to have its young taken away by hawks (that one was funny), and tales that show just how clever tortoises are (I love turtles and tortoises). It's a fast read, so if you get a chance, I urge you to take a day or two to read these tales.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Final Fantasy Friday: FFIX's Dagger and My Jonnie



Happy Friday!

On the last Friday of the month, I geek out about anything Final Fantasy. If you don't already know, my YA fantasy project Fractured Princess is an homage to the franchise, and I use influences from the games in my story. One such is Princess Garnet, aka Dagger from Final Fantasy IX.



My main character Jonnie is based on Dagger. I was playing FFIX when I started writing FP. Dagger was a very proper, very naïve princess who wanted to figure out what was up with her mother who had basically lost her mind and was attacking other kingdoms. It was hard for Dagger to fit into the general public because she spoke so properly, so there were many moments where she practiced speaking like her laid-back, sarcastic co-MC Zidane, an actor/hired thief. Still, she often got herself into more trouble than she could handle because she'd been shut up in the castle all of her life and didn't understand the world.



This is one of the first concept drawings I had for Jonnie, back before I changed the color of the Crystal Bearers. When I first wrote Jonnie, she spoke super properly. When I think about it now, I cringe. I was trying really hard to go for that Euro-medieval dialect, and it was terrible. She was also very sheltered and child-like, but unlike Dagger, Jonnie was a very reactionary character, only acting when things happened to her. Dagger had a solid motivation before we even knew what it was: she was going to escape the castle to get help for her mother (what she didn't know was that her uncle Cid had hired Zidane's crew to kidnap/rescue her, but it worked out perfectly).

I had to get Jonnie to that point of being proactive, find out what she wanted before all hell broke loose and how it would fuel her motivation once everything went left. In the last couple of revisions, I decided that instead of just wanting to survive (because that's super basic), Jonnie would want to learn to fight off danger alongside her Watchmen. Subconsciously, I continued to model her after Dagger, who refused to sit by the sidelines as the world around her fell apart. Both girls have an overbearing protector over them, though Steiner is FAR more annoying than Cyan, but they're not afraid to butt heads with them to reach their goal, and that makes for interesting princesses and much rounder stories.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Tales: Sitting Down with Jonnie



It is time for the first Tuesday Tales of 2018! I have set aside the 3rd Tuesday of the month to share tales about my project Fractured Princess and speak to the characters when they a moment free. I liked the questions I had Jonnie and Cyan answer about Cyan last month, so I thought I would have Jonnie answer them about herself this time around. Let's see what she has to say.


Hi again!


Hi, Jonnie.


What words or phrases do you overuse?
Jonnie: Well, I suppose I always counter my own thoughts, so I say "howbeit" more than most. I like to see both sides to an argument, howbeit. Damn it all!


How do you display affection?
Jonnie: Though I make sure I know them very well before I do so, I like to hold hands or hug. It makes me feel warm.


How do you want to be seen by others?
Jonnie: I want others to see me as strong, independent.


How do you think others see you?
Jonnie: Hm . . . I believe most see me as child-like, certainly carefree.


How do you react to praise?
Jonnie: I love it! *laughs* I don't have many chances to try things out for myself, so when I'm doing well, I love the encouragement.


How do you react to criticism?
Jonnie: I don't love it as much, but I understand its necessity. If no one ever corrected anyone, where would we be?


What is your perception of family?
Jonnie: Family is . . . the people you would die for, and the people without whom you would die anyway.


What advice would you give your younger self?
Jonnie: Never look back. Always move forward. You can do it.




That's all from Jonnie for this week. I hope it's warmed up for some of you. We've gone from single digits and below-zero winds to a pleasant 27 degrees. Ha!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday Words: Shades in Shadow by N.K. Jemisin


Happy Hump Day!

Is this week dragging for anyone else?? Maybe it's just that slow so I'd remember to post. I set aside the second Wednesday of the month to share with you all what I'm reading or writing. I've written up a storm the past couple of days, and on different projects, so that's always a good thing. I'm also reading poetry at the moment, and I don't feel like sharing that.

What I will share, though, is what I read last week, and that was N.K. Jemisin's Shades in Shadow, three short stories preceding the stories in the Inheritance Trilogy.


Anything N.K. writes about Yeine, Nahadoth, Itempas, and anyone else in that world, I'm here for. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was my first taste of her writing, and I was hooked for life. These short stories especially make me want to reread the trilogy sometime this year. I'll share a piece from "The God Without A Name," a glimpse into the life of Nahadoth's human prison after Yeine freed him and made the prison its own half-god person (Hado in The Broken Kingdoms, Ahad in The Kingdom of Gods).

"How's my other half?" he asks, to be cruel and to distract himself. "You and Nahadoth getting along? His black hole finding your balance beam with no trouble and all that?"

She chuckles. "You're very predictable. He doesn't ask about you at all, you know. Why would he?"

She takes off, running into the ocean and jumping gleefully into a wave that is cresting near the shore. He leaves while she's preoccupied so she won't she how much her words have hurt him.

I like this moment because he tries really hard to act like he hates Yeine and Nahadoth, but it's clear he doesn't.

What are you all reading this week?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: This is The Voice!


Well, technically it's the voice.

Firstly, Happy New Year!

Secondly, it's the first Wednesday, which means it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Visit our great sensei Alex J. Cavanaugh and the IWSG site (linked in the previous sentence) to join us and visit the hosts for this month!

A couple of years ago, I said that I wouldn't do another pitch contest. Then, I entered Fractured Princess into one in Fall 2016, got a SLEW of agent likes and requests to see more, and then received rejection after rejection after rejection. Though I did get two "Can I see more?" requests after sending the query, so I didn't lose hope.

Fall 2017, I did it again after a major overhaul to the manuscript. I didn't receive as many likes, but that actually saved me some time in sending out queries. Unfortunately, no bites this time, either.

The general consensus is that the voice isn't grabbing them. This is one of those moments where I wish at least one person said WHAT about the voice didn't grab them, because then I'd know if it's something I'm missing, or if I just haven't found the agent who loves the voice. I don't want to lose hope, but it's not as close as it used to be.