Thursday, December 29, 2011

guess what

I got an xbox for Christmas! woo! It was courtesy of the husband and actually intended for all of us, but I got.to install the present, therefore it is mine.

The boy (8 yrs old) was quite impressed with my tennis skills. I have spent a fair amount of time playing tennis on the Wii. The experience was similar. Even though it was a kinect game, I held a controller in my hand because, well, it’s tennis. Youre supposed to hold a racket.

Aforementioned boy is freakishly good at darts, I mean like bullseyes pretty much whenever he feels like getting them. Is there a Tiger Woods of professional darts? I mean like young, promising Tiger, not old, skeezy Tiger. I'm thinking of putting my boy to work. It’s high time he started pulling his weight.

The girl (14) keeps beating me at fitness games, except for a wallbreaker activity. We both like Dance Central 2, which sometimes makes me feel uncoordinated and sort of lame, but at least the music is totally awesome.

Do not love the camera all the time. It insists on taking many pictures, all of which are unflattering. I look slightly large and not very sexy with my hands over my head and my pale belly hanging out from beneath my shirt. The girl agrees the camera is unflattering. The husband has indicated the camera is accurate. He will not be missed when the zombies come and I use him as bait.

Husband has not played the xbox much at all. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe he's afraid I'm right about the camera.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

progress.

I wrote some words. I know I said I wouldn't write anything until I got at least one book out, but my notes were just sitting there looking at me all pitiful-like with puppy eyes. It's not a start of the next book though, not really, so all will be fine. I won't start and stop in the middle again. I promise I learned my lesson.

The piece I worked on is going to be a fiction freebie and companion to the next book I plan to write. The title right now is Llewyn's Faith. It's sort of a prologue to the story but not actually part of the book. Llewyn is the protagonist in prologue and an antagonist in the book. That's right, chew on that bit for a minute. Flavorful, yes?

The big project this week is the wyrm cover. I decided not to use the graphic I created initially or the second graphic, both of which I do actually like. I just decided to go with a more minimalist approach. It's going to be awesome. I won't give up all the details yet because surprises are fun, but I will say there is a skull involved.

I hope to finish by this weekend but the going is slow. I'll explain why once the thing is finished.

Still waiting to get the Wyrm book back from the editor. patiently. waiting.


Grouchy Moo does not wish to be bothered.

Monday, December 26, 2011

movie: Captain America: The First Avenger

This weekend movie selection was Captain America.

Here’s the description from IMDB: “After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending the USA's ideals.”

The thing I loved most about this movie was the fact that it was set during World War II. That really made it unique in a sea of superhero movies. The hair and the costumes were awesome.

There was a lot of action, of course, fighting and shooting and such. One scene in particular that had us cracking up was a motorcycle chase in a forest. There were several moments that were blatantly lifted from the Star Wars movie with the Ewoks . Was it homage or a lack of imagination? You can decide if you watch the movie.

Chris Evans was super hot as Captain America. He made for nice scenery. However, I thought his character lacked personality. The most interesting thing about him was extreme selflessness. I missed the antics and ego of Tony Stark in Iron Man.
Oh, that reminds me. One of the characters, a technology guy, named Howard Stark is actually supposed to be Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) father. See how it all links up? Yes.

Also worth noting is the guy who was Mr. Smith in the Matrix movies (Hugo Weaving) plays the bad guy. Love him.

Anyway, the bottom line: fun to watch despite incredibly boring protagonist. Captain America gets a B.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

reading and a sunny day

Refraining from starting another book is really, really hard for me. I’m on break from AnnaBeth 2 and waiting for Wyrm to come back from the editor. I don't want another book in the mix. Three is too many for me to focus on anything properly. Not writing is like having an itch I can’t scratch.

But I’ll persevere. I’m reading The Hunger Games on kindle loan from the boss lady. I like it so far. It’s different from what I usually read, which is a good thing. I might read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo next if I have time. The movie is out, and for some reason I feel compelled to read the book before I watch it. Though, I probably won’t catch it until it’s out on DVD.

If I hit the movies any time soon, it will be to see the new Sherlock Holmes.

Now as my early Christmas gift to you all, I am giving you a sunny day…desktop wallpaper, that is.

I took this picture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art garden. Click on the little picture to reach the big picture. By the way, this is the wallpaper that I am currently using on my laptop. We can match! Matchies!!!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a couple of things

First, the title voting results were unanimously in favor of the second title option for the wyrm book. Therefore, the title will be Lair of the White Wyrm.

Second up, I finally finished a project I've been planning for a while. The Fate Binds trilogy now has its very own online home. You can find pretty much everything AnnaBeth there. I've been calling it a media page. There's probably a better word for it.

I will probably do one for every book or series from here on out unless my schedule doesn't allow or a publisher picks me up and decides they want someone else to handle it.

Implementation took a lot of hours Saturday and Sunday. I got to use my new to me version of Dreamweaver, which went pretty smoothly. It works a lot like the old Dreamweaver from Macromedia I used before.

Anyway, the link is below. As always, feedback is welcome. I probably didn’t edit some of the content as well as I should have, so if you alert me to any typos, I shall bestow upon you 20 extra bonus points for awesomeness.

http://learyan.com/Documents/fatebindsHome.html

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

movie: Conan

This weekend movie selection was Conan.

I really wanted to like this movie.

But I didn’t.

The story is thus: Conan is from a tribe of Barbarian-type people. A bad guy is scouring the land for pieces of a magical mask and murders Conan’s father (played by Ron Perlman!!!!) for his piece. Conan sets out to avenge his father’s murder.

There was a lot of fighting and special effects. They were cool. Rose McGowan was all but unrecognizable in her role as the freaky, evil witch. Jason Momoa was super-hot. However, the story fell pretty flat. The character of Conan wasn't very interesting. Maybe that was part of the problem.

Conan gets a C-

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Want to help me pick a book title?

ok, here's the deal. I'm having trouble deciding between two titles for the book I have coming out early next year, so I thought I toss out the options and see which people think is better.

The book is a modern story based on Bram Stoker's Lair of the White Worm.

I've been calling mine The White Wyrm. Note alternate worm spelling and lack of lair reference. But I've also considered Lair of the White Wyrm, which retains my spelling but adds back in the lair reference.

I like the simplicity of The White Wyrm title, but I'm not sure it carries the same drama Lair of the White Wyrm does. Hopefully this poll thingy works.

Which do you think is better?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

book working

Sometimes I wish I was one of those self-published authors that can just slap any old thing up for sale without a lick of editing. I will say that most do not do that. Most independent authors understand the importance of editing.

But what freedom it would be to just keep plugging away with complete abandon. And then when you hit "the end" just start on the next one. How awesome would that be? Probably not very awesome for whoever tried to read the finished work.

I'm still editing. Can you tell? I'm daydreaming about the freedom of poor quality, so I'm guessing you probably can.

I keep assuring myself that the next readthru will be 100% better. That keeps me going on the long evening hours of transferring paper changes into the computer.

I’ve started making notes for the next book already and it’s increasingly difficult for me to not write it. I'm infatuated with a story that doesn't exist yet.

Seriously, I have a good ten pages of notes and illustrations are planned. I'm itching to start it. However, I will not write one word of the actual book until my current two projects are done, or at least one has been released. I’ll just continue making notes. Lots of notes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

movie: Hanna

Hanna is an AMAZING movie, seriously. It stars Saorise Ronan, who you may remember as playing Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones.

The beginning of the story finds Hanna living in some freakishly remote and snowy location, in the uber crappiest cabin I think I’ve ever seen. The thing barely has walls. She and her father live alone and he teaches her important skills like how to kill people and how to speak various languages. They read books and she learns facts about animals, etc.

Hanna tells her dad that she’s ready to leave. He warns her that if they leave the crappy cabin, a woman named Marissa will hunt them and won’t stop until they’re both dead. She insists that she’s ready, then embarks on a mission to kill Marissa.

Hanna is a combination of super powerful fighter girl and vulnerable child. She knows a lot of facts, but really nothing about socializing, especially with kids her age. Her situation is heartbreaking at times. She doesn’t understand who she is really. However, she also has this hopeful, joyous quality that makes her endearing. Ronan did as great a job playing this part as she did in The Lovely Bones.

Hanna is awesome. It gets an A.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

editing aargh

I’m hard at work editing the Devil manuscript. That thing is a mess. I know I said this before but I’m bouts to say it again. I will never again take time off in the middle of a rough draft to write something else. Ever.

I’ll fix it up pretty before anyone else sees it, but right now I have people having conversations twice, inconsistent details like who drove where and objects not where they’re supposed to be. Just…argh. Sometimes I really annoy myself.

You know what makes me feel better? Pictures of birds. Here are some cardinals from our back yard.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

trailer time

Ello, lovelies! Trailer time.

The trailer is not yet listed. I have to wait until the book pops up on Barnes and Noble because the trailer indicates that the book is available there. I also have to wait to launch the series webpage because I don’t really want to have to go back and update the page right after I put it up. That would be annoying.

I did change the thumbnail image to one closer to the beginning of the trailer, but that change might not have taken effect when/if you view it.

Also, I realize the picture ratio is a little off from the standard youtube size. I’ll do a better job of fitting the next one.

Monday, December 5, 2011

movie: Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids is a comedy that proves women can do humor just as raunchy as men can. That’s what makes it awesome.

Kristen Wiig is Annie, a failed baker who works as a rather ineffective jewelry saleswoman. She’s broke and dating a jerk. Her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), gets engaged and makes Annie her maid of honor. At the engagement party, Annie and another bridesmaid initiate this weird competition for Lillian’s attention that interferes with wedding plans.

Wiig and Rudolph (SNL alums) were quite awesome, but Melissa McCarthy (of Mike and Molly) as Megan all but stole their show. I don’t think her character could have been any stranger or farther from the one she plays on television. That girl can act.

Bridesmaids is very funny and a little chick-flicky but not annoyingly so. It gets an A-.

I’m going to go see if I can hunt down some pretzels. Tune in tomorrow for a blog only (temporarily) sneak peak at the Fate Binds Trilogy Trailer. That’s right. I finished it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

covers and additional thursday things

I have various items for this fine Thursday. First up, MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth has received its official makeover. The title is now Destined for Darkness. The trilogy is called Fate Binds, which is pretty appropriate for the story. Here is the new cover.



This has all been changed on amazon and smashwords. changes to other outlets are pending. they'll probably take a few weeks to update. Please note that Destined for Darkness is exactly the same book as MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth with minor changes to formatting.

Here is the cover for book 2, Devil in the Branch.



That should be out maybe next summer-ish, possibly spring but probably not.

Ok, next up is website talk. I'm working on a web page for the Fate Binds Trilogy. It will contain the series trailer, info about the books, buy links and bonus materials like author commentary pieces I've written and maybe the illustrations I did for MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth hardcover edition, which is no longer available.

I plan to launch that page when I have some more links to the book, or at least the one for Barnes and Noble. I'll announce it here when everything is up and running.

Thats it for now. I'm going to go attempt to finish the book series trailer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

stuff

I don’t know if the whole Authonomy thing is going to work out. I haven’t been on there networking because I’ve been working on a lot of other stuff. I mean, I’ve read a bit, but I didn’t participate. I just occasionally lurked. I do plan to leave the excerpt on there for a while, but I have a feeling that without participation on my part, I’m not going to get as much out of it as I would otherwise.

I had doubts when I was looking at my profile and determined that you’re supposed to have “friends” on there and sometimes they “invite” each other to things. LOL. The social media thing I’m most active on is probably Twitter. Second is probably Goodreads.

In book news, Lady Editor officially has the manuscript, as does my husband, who is beta-reading for me for the first time. He’s actually pretty good at finding word weirdness.

Monday, November 28, 2011

FYI

The movie post is off for this week. I am preparing to send the White Wyrm manuscript off to the editor. I'm making some last minute changes, because you know I can't stop monkeying around with the words. I have a lot of other stuff to do this week too, so my presence on the blog may be lighter than usual.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bookishness - remix project

Ok. I put the first three chapters of the new book up on Authonomy. Hopefully I won’t make a complete ass of myself by doing so. I guess if I did make an ass of myself, it wouldn’t be the first time…or the last.

Anyway, this book is called The White Wyrm (working title that might be changed before it is actually published). My monster and some other similarities are lifted from a Bram Stoker novel called Lair of the White Worm, which is available on Project Gutenberg. I should warn you that some people might find parts of it offensive as the “N” word is used multiple times. I did not carry that over to my book, FYI.

When I told my grandmother about this project, she was like – Isn’t that plagiarism?

No, grandma, it’s not plagiarism. Lair of the White Worm is in the public domain. Also, I took no passages from the genius Mr. Stoker. This is not a “mashup” like Pride, Prejudice and Zombies . It’s an all new story, I promise. Dracula was also one of his monsters and how many people have written about Dracula or similar characters?

Here is the link if you want to check my book out. You probably have to have an account on Authonomy though.

http://www.authonomy.com/books/39441/the-white-wyrm/

My cover image that I tried to upload didn’t work properly. I need to mess with it to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

making creepies

Good Tuesday, weblings. It is a dark and somewhat stormy evening, perhaps a good day to share the recent creepy additions to my stuff. Now, when I describe an object as creepy, I don’t mean it as an insult. I love creepy things. I would live in the Haunted Mansion at Disney World if they let me.

First up is a wine box my dad made for me for my birthday. As you can probably tell, it’s a velvet-lined coffin, complete with lid and handles on the side. Awesome, right?? I love it very much. He texted me a week or so before my birthday to ask, “Do you like coffins?” interesting question. I guess so?


He not only made the box, he also made the wine in the bottle. I think he said it was ice wine. Thanks again, Dad!!!

Next, we have a teddy bear. What’s so creepy about a teddy bear, you ask? Well, it just so happens this particular snuggly-wuggems is made from actual fur, like from an animal. Don’t get all PETA-y on me, though. My grandmother hand-made it out of an heirloom fur stole. Seriously, the fur is like way old. She said she thought it was muskrat, but wasn’t sure.



He hangs out in the curio cabinet with the Grateful Dead bears because I was afraid Max and/or Sneaker (feline residents) would try to eat him.

This third item is the handiwork of yours truly. I sculpt things occasionally. My original plan was to make a dodo skull replica. However, after looking at some pictures, I decided that it exceeded my skill level. I settled on a more abstract version.




This next guy probably isn’t so creepy, but he might be a little skeleton-y so I’m including him. He was drying on a drawing board when I took the pic.


Monday, November 21, 2011

movies: Scream 4 and Bad Teacher

Ah, a Scream movie. It seems like the others were so long ago. I do like the Scream series and was happy to have a new one.

I snagged the description from IMDB out of laziness: “Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill and her Aunt Kate. Unfortunately, Sidney's appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger. Written by Joey “

There are a TON of known actors doing cameos and such. We had some fun picking them out. Here are a few: Kristen Bell, Anna Paquin, and Emma Roberts.

As with the other Scream movies, 4 was pretty bloody. *extremely minor spoiler* There seemed to be an excessive number of stomach stabbings.

If you liked the other scream movies, you’ll probably like this one. There was a lot of running and screaming, etc. There was a bit of a twist at the end. We didn’t see it coming. Scream 4 is stabby good fun. B+

----

Bad Teacher

From IMDB again: “A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague -- a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher.”

The movie is pretty funny. Cameron Diaz’s character, Elizabeth, wants to find a rich man to take care of her. In order to do this, she decides that she needs bigger boobs, so she starts finding ways to get extra money at the school in order to afford a boob job.

The movie was pretty funny. I did think that Elizabeth could have used a slightly better personality. She was supposed to be bad, yes, but a redeeming quality or two (other than being over the top hot) would have improved the story. Bad Teacher gets a B-.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

remix project update plus a new cover for an older book

I have to push out the date I planned to put a portion of the remix project up on the writing feedback websites. I need to read it one more time. I promise I'm not caught in a rewriting fit.

I just need to pick through it one more time to make sure there's no jacked-uptedness. I’m shooting for beta readers and feedback websites to get the book the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is probably not the best time to expect people to read it.

I did finish a readthrough today. I like it a lot, even when I'm trying to find something wrong with it.

I'm a bit intimidated by putting the writing out for the purpose of feedback from strangers. I think anytime you solicit someone's opinion, you have to prepare yourself for the worst.

Not all feedback is helpful. I saw this guy on a website once tell a writer that they had too many sentences that began with the letter "T". um, what is the proper number of sentences that should begin with T? Does he count them in everything he reads? I have follow-up questions.

If I could choose one thing that could happen with the feedback that is close to being the worst, I would have to say that it would be someone pointing out an incredibly annoying writing tic that I've been afflicted with all along but never realized. That would be lame. but hey, I guess if I can resolve it only a few books in, then I wouldn't be too bad off. right?

I almost forgot. I redesigned the clockwork cover the other day. Here it is in case anyone wants to see it.



I thought the other cover had too much going on. I don't know how long it will take for the various ebook retailers to update their screens. I know amazon has it up already. I haven't updated my website yet, but I will at some point.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

procrastination plus book trailer update

Today I was reading through the remix project and I discovered that somehow like 200 words or so had vanished from the manuscript. It’s weird because I have no idea how or why they disappeared. Luckily I still had a hard copy printout of the previous version, so all I had to do was find the corresponding page and type the missing part back in. I’m just glad that I hadn’t taken the pages to the recycle bin yet. Yay procrastination!

Ok. Guess what. No…not chicken butt. Book trailer update! I have completed the flower animation. I have also resolved the problem of the crap-ass picture quality.

Flash animation does not convert to avi format well, which is why the video looked blurry or grainy or whatever the first time I put it up on the blog. The problem was even worse when I converted the completed animation to avi. It was so bad that when I tried to play it on full screen, the flowers looked like straight up 8-bit graphics. After working so long on the thing, the bad picture made me want to cry.

But I did not cry. I looked for and eventually found a solution. The conversion from Flash to Quicktime (mov) went much smoother.

I haven’t made the final adjustments to the timing of the flowers yet. The roses will start before the rest of the foliage, with the exception of the grass blades. There will also be words in the middle, of course. The flowers, etc are just the border.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

movie: Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses is a comedy about three guys who have really terrible people running their work lives. They finally decide they've had enough and the bosses must die.

The movie is, of course, very funny. However, the three primary (and bumbling) characters aren't the most colorful. The bosses are by far the best. Each of these personalities is wonderfully over the top. Kevin Spacey is psychotic. Colin Farrell is a cokehead moron. He’s almost unrecognizable as his usually luscious head of hair has been replaced with a grotesque comb-over. And Jennifer Anniston is crazy perverted and sexually aggressive.

Horrible Bosses gets an A-

Monday, November 14, 2011

movie trailer squee

Regular Monday movie post has been postponed so that I can bring you a trailer for a movie that I can't wait to see.




Thursday, November 10, 2011

wanna hear it? here it go.

Thursday! Which means tomorrow is Friday! I do love Fridays.

I read the other day on an author’s blog that this publisher believed that an author should put out a book every 4-6 months in order to keep a steady stream of income.

4-6 months?? Holy crap. The logic makes sense because new releases usually trigger sales of the old books too, but geez. I’m not sure I could do that if I had the opportunity to write full time. Well, maybe. It wouldn’t be a leisurely keyboard tapping schedule; that’s for sure. I would be terrified of running out of ideas.

Talk about pressure.

Anyway. I learned something earlier this week. I should not edit on days in which my mood is not very good. Reading my words on days that I hate everything actually causes me to dislike my own writing, even if I’m reading something I previously. Those days are very few and far between, luckily.

I also learned that I should not let my daughter go through my mp3 player song list. She’s 14. She saw various titles containing the “F” word and another especially wholesome song called “Sex for Breakfast”.

Yes, I am mother of the year, thank you very much. She showed me the title to the breakfast song, and I honestly had no idea what it was. I took the mp3 player away from her to see what classy artist sings that ditty. Christina Aguilera. It’s on Bionic.

That’s all the wisdom I have for now. I’m going to go do some editing so that I might someday release another book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

flower!

What up? I'm still sick, but am feeling better. Last night I was only woken up by one over the top coughing fit. progress! woo! I'm trying to get over this thing before I have to resort to antibiotics.

So what have I been doing? Ya know, usual stuff, probably less of it. The book trailer is cruising along. I'm dividing my time between that and tweeking the remix project.

My animated stems now have acceptable leaves. Last night I worked on the rose blossoms. I had some trouble figuring out how I wanted them to look. I didn't want photo realistic because nothing else in the animation is. I did a couple of sketches. They were too abstract.

I ended up using a photo from a recent shoot of roses. I found the one I liked best, plugged it into PhotoShop, cropped and applied a filter that converts photo to drawing. Then I took it over to Fireworks and made a few adjustments by hand, added lines and such. This is what I ended up with at the end of the evening.




This is, of course, much larger than it will appear in the actual trailer. Also the background won't be black. The flower looks sort of Warhol-esque, I think. When it goes into the animation, there will be various adjustments made. Not all the rose blooms will be exactly the same size, shape and color.

I will probably show what I have on the trailer again within the next week or two after I finish the blooming sequences. The video took like a freaking hour to upload to YouTube last time. I want to make sure there's significant progress before I go to that trouble again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

movie: Unknown

Unknown stars Liam Neeson as a biochemist named Dr. Martin Harris. He and his lovely wife, Gina, arrive in Berlin for an industry function. When they arrive at the hotel, she checks in. He discovers that they left a bag at the airport.

He catches a cab with the intention of returning to the airport to retrieve the bag. He doesn’t make it. He is in a car accident and wakes up in the hospital 4 days later.

People who should know him don’t and some guy seems to have stolen his identity. Even his wife doesn’t know who he is.

Unknown has a fair amount of action, a couple of car chase scenes. There are some twists and turns in the story, as you can probably imagine. The pacing was decent.

I think what really added an element of danger to Dr. Harris’ situation was him being in a foreign country where every little thing wasn’t at his fingertips. He has no family nearby, other than his wife. The only acquaintance he had in Berlin was a scientist who he had never met in person. All in all, a pretty good movie. A-

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

wednesday sickness and ranting

ugh I think I'm sick. I've been trying to fight this stupid cold off for a couple of weeks now. My efforts have been valiant but they're failing. I don't think travelling all over the state last Saturday helped. Walking around outside in brisk fall weather for Halloween also didn't help.

I'm doing my best to power through what I need to do. I hate being sick mostly because it slows me down. I’m already short on time due to the nature of my life.

Today I read a message board post for an author who was bitter about indie authors offering some of their work for free. He said that they are stealing attention from traditionally published authors that he felt were more deserving and trying to make a living. Rrrrright.

I think that if a person really wants to read a book, they aren’t going to change their plans because they found a freebie instead. Well, maybe if it’s nonfiction (with instructions on how to do something), but certainly not fiction.

Anytime I see someone exhibiting an angry us-versus-them mentality when one isn’t necessary, I automatically assume they have some problem with themselves that they aren’t willing to deal with in an adult manner. For example – low sales rank, can’t be the fault of the author, it MUST be those darn indies with their free fiction!

Bitch, please. Here’s a tip - work on writing a better, more exciting, more appealing book and then use your time to promote that book instead of spending time whining on message boards. Or if you want some of that freebie attention, put out some free fiction of your own!

/rant

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

movie: The Adjustment Bureau

From IMDB summary: “Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? A man glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York the only woman he's ever loved. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) - a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself - the men of The Adjustment Bureau - who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path...or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.”

The movie was slow at first, but once the story got going, it was good. There are some shades of the television show Fringe (one of my faves) and other parts were Matrix-esque minus the sci fi. The Adjustment Bureau was romantic and full of action. It gets an A-.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Take Candy from Strangers Day!

naughty, naughty goblin. I put the movie post off tomorrow due to the Halloween festivities. Don't eat too much sugar, my darlings.



Saturday, October 29, 2011

not a humidifier

I was clicking around on wikihow the other day and landed on an article about how to alleviate sinus headaches. Below is a screenshot of a portion of that article. The object pictured does not match the caption. Do you know what it is? I do; I do! 200 bonus points if you can identify the object pictured. Hint: it is NOT a humidifier.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

drum roll please

ok, it's not really worth a drum roll. Here is what I have so far on the trailer. It looks kind of blurry and weird at the moment. I'm not sure why. It looks fine on my computer. There might be some issue with compression. I will try to see if I can get that resolved before I get the whole thing up and running for real.







It has taken several attempts for me to get this far. The rose vine is not the original vine I previously talked about completing. The good news is that I have my methods down, so I'm moving much faster than before.

I'm still not entirely happy with the drawing tools available inside Flash. They're awkward and there isn't enough control for me to make things the way I really want them. I draw up what I want in Fireworks and then take it over to Flash. It works, somewhat.

There will be a lot more to the trailer than growing vines and blooming flowers. I just wanted to start with the most difficult part to get it out of the way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

book update plus trailer working

Hello, world. The birthday weekend was pretty awesome, despite the husband working most of it. The festivities will continue this weekend when I visit the fam. Perhaps next week I'll do a complete birthday breakdown.

I worked my ass off. It was truly amazing. I transferred almost 50 pages of paper editing changes into the computer for the remix project. That's on schedule to go up on the writing feedback sites in November, maybe a week or two in. I'm sending it to lady editor at the same time.

I'm really pleased with how it looks so far. I don't have to slash and burn as much as I used to. I'm either becoming a better writer or a crappier editor. Let’s hope for the former.

I spent most of my time this weekend working on the book trailer. My Saturday night was watching Arthur, drinking a bunch of wine and animating leaves. The leaves ended up looking not awesome, so I deleted them on Monday. What's the moral of the story, kids? Don't drink and animate.

I tried to upload the video to Blogger but that function doesn't appear to be working. I shall try again upon the morrow.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rapid fire movie post

I have many movies and not a lot of time to spend on them. I took each synopsis from IMDB.

Arthur
“A drunken playboy stands to lose a wealthy inheritance when he falls for a woman his family doesn't like.”

Not bad, not great. It was funny and tragic in places. I didn’t see the original, so I can’t offer a comparison. Extra points for Helen Mirren’s presence. Arthur gets a C+.

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Fragile

“At her new job in a rundown children's hospital, a nurse desperately tries to keep her patients safe from a plague of random, mysterious attacks.”

This movie was from 2005 and is currently listed on Netflix streaming. The scary parts were good. There could have been more of them. The hospital setting had a nice, creepy atmosphere. Calista Flockhart started out with an accent but lost it about 20 minutes into the movie. That was kind of funny.

Fragile gets a B-.
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Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

“The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.”

If you liked the first two, you’ll probably like the third one. Big robots, lots of things blowing up, etc. The movie was a little too long. They could have shaved off like 30 minutes. A-

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Hall Pass

“A married man is granted the opportunity to have an affair by his wife. Joined in the fun by his best pal, things get a little out of control when both wives start engaging in extramarital activities as well.”

Very funny. A little ooky in spots. B+

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Piranha

“After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents”
Cheesy, gut-wrenchingly (haha, get it?) gory, decent special effects, takes some filming methods from really old movies, example: parts of the underwater filming similar to Creature from the Black Lagoon.

There were a lot of topless women. Really, a lot. Like boobs galore. Also, some really good actors appeared, which was strange – Jerry O’Connell, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss. Piranha gets a C-.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The completely impractical thing that I want but am probably not getting, but maybe eventually

Today is my birthday! Wheee!!! I have a new cappuccino machine. This one functions. My dinner steaks are thawing on the counter. Grandma called to sing to me. Overall, it’s a good day so far.

A birthday is a good day to talk about what you want. There is a thing, a pair of shoes, actually, that I’m a little obsessed with. They are Adidas Millennium Falcon hightops. Here are a couple of pics.




So why not just buy them? Well. It’s a complicated situation. First, they’re $160, which is a lot for my oft-broke ass to drop on some shoes. Second, if I got them, I would want to wear them. In perfectly dry weather, to indoor activities because if they got wet or mud on them, I would probably cry. If someone who appreciated what they were saw me in them, they would probably be like – why are you wearing collector’s items?

I have this personality quirk in which I actually want to use/enjoy my stuff. I have a pretty decently sized toy collection. The only toy that I left in the box is a 12” Han Solo action figure circa 1996. So yes, I would want to wear the shoes.
I will have to be content with continuing to stalk them on the website for now. Maybe Adidas will make them down eventually. Right? Maybe?

Friday, October 21, 2011

animation update, part, uh, 3?

I did a little work on the trailer this week. I had hoped to have a significant bit of it to show off on the blog by now. I'm still relatively new to the whole animation thing, and I'm still trying to find my rhythm in Flash.

Since I last posted, I have determined that tweening is not the miracle I thought it was. Tweening is where you create two keyframes on the timeline and Flash automatically creates the states between those keyframes. Tweening works flawlessly for movement, not so flawlessly for shape morphing. Adobe hasn't quite worked out the bugs on that one.

The shapes I'm using (plant stems and vines) are complicated. Whenever I try to tween them, even if it's just a little, they implode. They get all wonky on the screen. It's kind of trippy sometimes but not really the effect I was going for. I'm spending more time trying to fix implosions than I would spend just animating frame by frame.

So I'm switching over to frame by frame. I'll bust out the bamboo tablet and get to painting. I'll have more freedom with the drawing that way anyway. There is a slim chance I might have some part of the trailer finished and ready to show off next week. But I also have 30+ pages of on-paper editing changes to enter too, so I guess I'll have to see which way the wind blows this weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

freedom and ederting

The internet technician man came. I am no longer isolated! I am happy to say that I am NOT typing this on my phone.

I started working on the edit for the remix project. Diving back in for an edit or a rewrite makes me nervous. I have to spend a day or two mentally preparing for whatever word wonkiness I might find. So far, the edit is going well. There are changes on almost every page, but most of them are small.

I did find a scene that needed more effective conversation. There was a second scene that I tried to work through, moved on out of frustration and then ended up going back and rewriting it almost completely. I should have just done that the first time through.

I’ve read the book a couple of times and that scene never felt right. I think I kept it because there were parts of it that I liked. Other parts didn’t make sense, the way the characters reacted. One character went from distressed to resigned in a matter of like two sentences without any real reason to do so. Yikes.

I also found three consecutive sentences that said the same thing. That was a special moment.

Are you impressed yet?

I’m about 25% of the way through, so I’m moving at a decent clip. I notified lady editor that she should receive it next month.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

still no net

I am still in a state of argh due to no internet. I did want to pop on via phone because I forgot to mention a quick thing yesterday. I'm changing the price structure for my books when I rerelease MacDowell Sisters and AnnaBeth under the new title and with the new cover. Right now, none of my ebooks is over 99 cents.

With the next release, the ebooks are going to $1.99. I realize that percentage-wise, that's quite a hike. However, when you take into consideration that most ebooks backed traditional publishers are priced at 5.99 or more, that's still a pretty darn good deal.

Babylon Dragon will remain 99 cents for now. And Clockwork, which is free everywhere but amazon, will also stay the same price.

That's it for now. The internet technician man is supposed to come tomorrow. If he doesnt, I may scream.

Monday, October 17, 2011

stranded

I have no internet right now! Aaaaaaarrrrgh! I feel like someone chopped off my left hand. I am typing this on my phone. There is no movie post because that would be insanely annoying to attempt on a phone.

However, I do have good news. I finished a book! Woo! AnnaBeth2 is done. I am setting a tentative release time of sometime next summer, maybe sooner if I get itchy. The title is Devil in the Branch.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go work on some book trailer animation.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

spider time

It’s that time of year again! The weather gets colder. The spiders decide they want to come inside. We found three this week. Lucky for them, spiders are on a catch and release program at my house. I catch them under a glass and then toss their happy little butts back outside. I don’t like to kill things. It bothers me…unless it’s a mosquito.

The spiders we get usually look about like this.




I walked into the kitchen yesterday morning and found that my daughter had left a spider under a glass for me to toss out. There was a purple fruit loop in there with him, in case he got hungry, I guess. I threw him out on the front porch in the cold, rainy weather. He did not seem pleased. He freaked out and ran around.

Is it weird that I don’t mind spiders very much? I mean, I care if they bite me of course, but the sight of one does not cause me to freak out, as it does my wussy brother in law. Lol. He shrieks like a girl. That reminds me. I need to picture message him a close-up of a spider face.

Catch ya later.
_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

fightin' and such

Writing fight scenes is difficult. I finished one today for Ab2.

Before I began, I knew I needed to get the whole thing worked out in my head. I didn't want to just start in with whatever because that would likely be a mess by the time I finished.

So I put some upbeat Missy Elliott on the mp3 player and visualized what I wanted to happen. First thing, where was everyone at the start? How did they feel about the people nearby? What were their expectations?

I decided which of the six people would make the first move. Then I ran through various scenarios, what if so and so did this, etc. I had memorized the scene I wanted before I wrote a word of it. Doing so worked out pretty well, I think.

Working all the action out beforehand is good for consistency as well. Sometimes when I'm typing furiously, I get ahead of myself and forget details.

I am almost finished with the book. I may finish this week. If I am delayed for whatever reason, it will be next week. I have the climax scene and an epilogue left to write and that's it.

word count update: 72559

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Rising Moon and Coxhall Gardens

The first pic is of the moon rising over the field behind the house. I loved how bright it was and the colors of the clouds.

The rest of the pictures are from a little park in Carmel, IN called Coxhall Gardens. We visited this weekend.









This is one of a pair of twin bell towers. There was one on each end of the park.





Just beyond that concrete doughnut is a fence that features poorly rendered naked people, and beyond that fence is an amphitheatre. We couldn't go all the way into the amphitheatre because it was rented for a wedding. This part was supposed to be closed as well. There was actually a do not enter sign behind me when I took this. I'm a rebel like that.



This is as far into the ampitheatre as we got.



Aquatic Flora




Gratuitous bee on flower shot.







This is the children's garden. It was so cute! This section was a little village. I would like to see it in summertime when the flowers are in full bloom.



I took this picture when we first arrived. I thought the view was cool.



TTFN
_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, October 10, 2011

movie twofer

There were two movies this weekend! I have a book I’m trying to finish, so this is going to be quick.

Toll Hunter

From IMDB - “A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter. “
Norwegian flick with subtitles. They went for a Blair Witch feel and did a decent job of pulling it off. The special effects were AMAZING. If you have a surround sound system, turn that thing UP when watching this movie.

I have a significant complaint – not enough parts with trolls. Most of the movie was blah-blah and walking around woods. As far as story goes, not bad, not great.

Troll Hunter gets a C.

----

Paul

Also from IMDB – “Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.”

Paul is a cute comedy that stars Nick Frost and Simon Pegg and several other well-known stars. Seth Rogen is the voice of the alien.

The Brits find the alien and agree to take him to a spot where he can get picked up by his people. They encounter various people who serve as obstacles along the way – a men in black kind of guy, super religious wackadoodles, and rednecks.

Paul is very funny and entertaining. There is a fair amount of action and many geek culture references, which is always a plus in my book. Paul gets a B+.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Friday, October 7, 2011

friday bloggin'

Glorious Friday! I am so excited to be heading into the weekend. The day was warm when I got off work. We had sunshine too!

Here is what the field behind my house looks like right now. Pretties!





I need need need to finish AnnaBeth 2!!! Like yesterday, like 10 minutes ago. I am going to be writing my ass off the next week or two to finish it.

I would like to post at least the first few chapters of the remix project up on a couple of writing feedback websites before November starts. That means I need to finish the AB2 rough draft and read through the beginning remix chapters in a very short period of time.

So this weekend, there will be no animation. There might be a little Journey Reader working. Mostly, there will be a lot of writing. I swear it.



AnnaBeth2 word count update: 67738

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

lookie, books!

Sometimes I read this blog that consists mainly of showing what’s in peoples’ closets. These are artists and fashion people, not us ordinary folk. They pose in their favorite (usually weird) outfits and sometimes bits of their apartments or houses are included. The photographer also likes to show the books on their shelves. This is usually whatever they would like to be seen reading, that’s my take on it at least.

So today I’m sharing a snippet from my bookshelf. These aren’t necessarily look-how-smart-I-am books. They were just selections that I found interesting for one reason or another. Here is the pic.



The book on top is Traitor’s Purse, by Margaret Allingham, 1942 edition. I bought this book at a library book sale for $1. The 1958 edition is currently listed on Amazon for $82.69. How much do I like this book again? Lol. I chose this book at the sale solely based on the freakishly awesome binding. It’s in such good condition that I did end up reading it and it is very, very good.


Book number 2 is What Your Hands Reveal, by Jo Sheridan, 1973. My mom gave me this book. I’m not sure where she got it. It’s about palm reading. I’m not sure why I hang onto it. I pick it up and read some of it every once in a while, but then I am distracted by something shiny and I walk away. I really like the cover of this book, which you can view at the link below if you so desire.

http://www.amazon.com/What-Your-Hands-Reveal-Sheridan/dp/B0047AO9AG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317858237&sr=1-1

Book 3 is also from mommy dearest. The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved! By Ken Ham. Once upon a time, my mother dated an overly enthusiastic religious man. He didn’t believe in evolution or gay people. When he and my mother broke up, he left behind some freaky religious books. I took a couple of them to keep as curiosities. I haven’t read through the whole thing but I believe this book is intended to help religious people come to grips with the existence of dinosaurs.

The next book down is The Mustang Buyer’s Guide. I bought this book from a bookstore when I was about 13 years old. To say that I heart Mustangs is an understatement. I did finally get one last year. It’s a sweet ass black and white 2007 pony.

Book number 5 has part of the title concealed by tape that I have used to reassemble this book. I think this is another one from mommy dearest. The title is Baby Names and Announcements. I sometimes use this book to choose names for characters in my stories and books. It lists names, meanings, and cultures of origin.

Book 6 is Knitting with Dog Hair by Kendall Crolius and Anne Montgomery. Do I knit with dog hair? Heck no. My dog smells like a dead fish. I would rather wear a garbage bag. I bought this book at a library sale because it made me laugh. Like the dinosaur book, it is also a curiosity.

Book 7 = Graphic Design by Michael Bierut. I started reading this book like 6 months ago and put it down. I should finish it some day.

Book 8 – Essential Dali. I LOVE Salvador Dali. What a brilliant eccentric amazing artist. He is probably my favorite.

That’s it for now.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, October 3, 2011

movie: Priest

Today was really tiring. I had a dentist appointment first thing. I associate the dentist with pain and lectures about flossing. It’s not my favorite place to visit. The children were with me too. I was there for a really long time. Then, on the way to work, my new phone arrived! Woo! So I swung by the house to pick that up and get it activated. I’m going to work on getting it set up after I jump off here.

Anyway, movie.

Priest.

I’m grabbing the synop from IMDB because I’m rushing.

“PRIEST, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, is set in an alternate world -- one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on a quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece's boyfriend, a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.”

The action was great. Fighting was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style, though not quite to that extreme. The vampires were very creepy. They didn’t even look human. They reminded me of the Lickers from Resident Evil. They had no eyes and large fang-filled mouths.

Priest was like The Book of Eli meets Underworld. I think this was one of those movies that tried to cram too much story into too short a time. The characters weren’t well developed, especially the main character.

Priest was okay. It gets a C+.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Thursday, September 29, 2011

stuff

I need to go into hiding with my laptop. I can't seem to finish this freakin' book! I'm not blocked or anything. I just can't seem to get a really good run of working time.

AnnaBeth 2 word count update – 63089

I will probably finish within the next month or so if I can stay productive.

Off that subject, I got to order a new phone! I am moving from Blackberry to Droid.

I like the Blackberry ok, but it suffers from some significant flaws. Web browsing capabilities are limited. It can’t see flash websites. The camera on it is probably the worst camera I've ever had on a phone before. As you might have noticed if you read the blog, I really like to take pictures, so that's a problem for me. I also don't like how small the screen is.

My husband has an android phone and I swear it can do just about anything you would want to do with a phone. He can even watch netflix on it, which is freakin' awesome.

This morning I had to do a hard reset on the blackberry. When it came back up, I suddenly had all these app update notifications pop up as though the phone was begging me not to abandon it. It was saying - look I can give you new things too!

It's not going to work, blackberry. Our relationship has been fun at times, but it's over.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

animation update

I spent a lot of time studying adobe flash, etc this past weekend. I plan to incorporate animation in my book trailers.

Adobe is really good at providing instructions on their products. The training video library on their website is extensive, which is wonderful because I need all the help I can get.

One thing adobe is not very good at is letting fireworks play nice with flash. I do all of my digital illustration in fireworks. It would be nice to be able to draw in fireworks and send it over to flash. Weird things happen when you try to do that. Textures are lost. Vector shapes magically change size. It's frustrating.

However.

Flash has its own drawing tools. Not as good as fireworks but they're sufficient. Do I sound like a spoiled baby yet?

I can do vector shapes. That's the important thing. As far as creating movement, Flash is pretty darn awesome. It can insert frames between two states so i don't have to work frame by frame. That handy function is called “tweening”. It’s very cool, even if there are some limitations.

I estimate the blooming flower animation to take about 8 hours to complete. I am somewhat relieved to feel like the animation is something I’ll be able to handle.

So where am I on the next actual trailer? I have story boards with words and pictures. Next I'm working on rough sketches for the finer points of the animation, like the blooming flowers. They will probably not be anatomically (should one use "anatomically" when talking about plants?) correct but still interesting to watch. That's the important thing.

The only animation I completed so far is a stem growing across the bottom of the movie. That is not very interesting to watch so I'm going to wait until I have more to put it up on the blog.

TTFN

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, September 26, 2011

movie: Take Me Home Tonight

This weekend, we watched Take Me Home Tonight. How 80s-alicious was that flick? The answer is v-e-r-y.

The movie takes place in the late 80s. Matt (Topher Grace) hears that the girl he crushed on in high school is coming back to town. His twin sister, Wendy (Anna Farris), and his friend Barry (Dan Fogler) convince him that he should ask her out at a Labor Day Party. He starts lying about his job, etc. to impress her and manages to get her attention. Hijinks ensue.

There was nothing exceptional about Take Me Home Tonight. There were a lot of 80s movie clich├ęs, which was probably intentional. It was a bit chick-flick-y and predictable, but it was funny in parts. The soundtrack is rad to the max with 80s hits.

Take Me Home Tonight is ok. It gets a C+ with extra points for having a bangin’ soundtrack.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

making things move

I've been watching a lot of book trailers lately for the work I do on Journey Reader. Some stand out. Others don't.

I have created one book trailer. It was basically some illustrations and words put to music. Nothing dynamic, really. Nothing special about it. Well, maybe the illustrations were special enough to count for something.

I tried my best to keep it from being too powerpointy, but it could have been better. I don't find slideshows all that compelling. Don’t get me wrong, using a slideshow set to music is better than no trailer, for sure.

However, the fact that the trailer has almost no movement to it bothers me. All trailers I do from here on out will probably have some kind of animation to them. I don't mean like Disney style animation, of course, but some movement on the screen is far more preferable to none.

The next book trailer project will be for the annabeth series.

Here's what I'm thinking.

There are some gardens and flowers in the first book so I'm using that. I may also include Poe the crow and maybe Dorian, AB's gray tabby as well.

At the end of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (genius, truly), the credits roll in this frame of flora. As a song is playing, flowers and toadstools and vines are appearing and blooming around the credits. It's very cool. I want to do something like that with the AnnaBeth trailer, but with, you know, my stuff. Mine probably won't be quite that cool because I'm not a professional animator, but one has to try, at least.

You may be asking - didn't she just say she WASN'T doing Disney-style animation? Yes I did. You are right. Technically Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland was a Disney production. Award yourself 6 points and eat a cookie. I meant like Cinderella or Lion King kind of animation.

I have never animated anything before, so this should be an interesting learning process. Flash and I will be getting to know eachother better very soon. If I get any preliminary animations going, I will post them, unless they look like crap, in which case you'll never know they existed.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, September 19, 2011

movie: Thor

Thor is a movie about a space Viking who is banished to Earth by his father. That’s right. Space. Viking.

So, King Viking Daddy (played by Anthony Hopkins) sends Thor and his hammer off separately. He also strips his son of all his powers. Thor meets an adorable but plain scientist name Jane (Natalie Portman). She is in charge of her own space research team.

While Thor is away, his brother Loki starts causing some trouble back home, as characters named Loki tend to do.

So. There was action. There were many special effects, especially in the scenes depicting Thor’s home planet.

Thor’s character was a little cheesy (really, how could he not be?) and Portman’s character was probably a bit weak, but the movie was good. I will say that it probably could have been shorter. It was almost two hours. A longer movie format is justified for say, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Thor? Maybe not so much.

I would like to see a sequel. Thor gets a B+.

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Friday, September 16, 2011

Star Trek vs Star Wars

Today I read about William Shatner comparing Star Trek to Star Wars. Of course, Star Trek wins out in his mind because, well, Star Trek is pretty much most of his life. I understand.

I grew up on both Star Wars and Star Trek. I really can’t say that I prefer one over the other. I know there are people out there who feel like they can only like one, like they’ve sworn some kind of nerd allegiance. But I could never choose.

The two series are very, very different. Star Wars is flash and art. Star Trek is/was some flash and art, but it was more human and character driven in my opinion.
Shatner makes some really good points in this article, especially about the female characters in Star Trek. There wasn’t a lot of girl power going on in Star Wars. That situation is a little better now with the Clone Wars animated series but it is still very much a male dominated world.

Here is the article if you would like to give it a read.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2037981/Star-Trek-supersedes-Star-Wars-level-Captain-Kirk-actor-William-Shatner-weighs-debate-sci-fi-fans.html

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Thursday, September 15, 2011

thinkin', readin' stuff

I'm on a sort of writing break at the moment. I say sort of because I am writing, I'm just having a bit of trouble deciding which direction I want the story in AnnaBeth2 to go. It took a turn that I hadn't anticipated but totally makes sense. It's a part of the story that will carry over to the final part of the trilogy.

I'm figuring out how to integrate certain details while ratcheting up tension to move toward the end of the book. Basically, I'm spending a lot of time working through various scenarios in my head to decide which will serve the story and AnnaBeth3 the best.

While I'm on semi-hiatus, I started reading two books - Bossypants, by Tina Fey and Empire State of Mind, which is about Jay-Z but not actually written by him. The latter is like an “unauthorized” biography.

I know. Celebrity books. Gag. I can't help it. Even though I prefer not to interact with the majority of the people around me, I still find the lives of others (strangers?) interesting. It might be a writer thing.

Reading these books (at the speed of light because I have stuff to do) has made me realize that memoirs and biographies are excellent ways to learn about creating realistic characters, especially if the goal is to give aforementioned characters a lot of depth. And memoirs are really helpful for learning about people who are nothing like you too.

For instance, let's say I want one of my characters to be an opera singer. What the hell do I know about the motivations of such a person or their obstacles? I don't even like opera. But if I read a Luciano Pavarotti biography or memoir, I bet I will have picked up quite a bit about both him and the opera thing by the end.

Aside from personality traits and career stuff, the reader also gets information about people around them, the culture, the time period, etc.

I'm not saying one should copy all the family and life experiences from memoirs, but spending 300+ pages in someone else's world/head/time can be enlightening.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

in which there was Tuesday

Oh my gosh. We have been insanely busy latey. The fact that I have gotten any writing done at all is frigging amazing, seriously.

The boy has boy scouts about one day a week and soccer three days a week.

The girl has cross country and guard, one or the other or sometimes both 5-6 days a week. And the occasional orthodonist or eye doctor appointment.

Plus they both have homework and everything else associated with attending school.

Crazy times. I love to watch the kids compete and perform, etc but getting everywhere we need to be is hectic. The husband keeps track of most of the scheduling and picks up the girl most of the time, which is very helpful. I can't wait until the schedules slow down a bit. That should occur some time in October, I believe.

So I grab writing time where I can. I'm also trying to read 2 books that libraries will expect back at some point. Does anyone have a time machine I can borrow? That wouldhelpsomuch, thank you.

Tomorrow is the one-month anniversary of the Journey Reader launch. I am really pleased with it so far. I can't believe it's only been up and running a month! So far, JR has over 20 authors either already on or plugged into the scheduler for the near future.

Sometimes I worry about running out of people who are willing to promo books there, which is completely silly. I'm currently scheduling November posts because I'm out that far. I've delayed some blog-to-author marketing activities because I know if my inbox gets out of hand, I'm done for. While I love JR, I don't want it to consume my whole life, which it hasn't done, yet.

Anyway, that's all I have for now.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, September 12, 2011

movie: The Gathering

The Gathering stars Christina Ricci as Cassie. A woman driving her car hits Cassie and ends up taking her home, because that’s what you do with strangers who might have negative feelings about the fact that you struck them with your vehicle.
Luckily for the rich lady, Cassie is not a psychopath. She suffers from amnesia and ends up staying with them for a while.

Cassie starts hearing things and having nightmares. The little boy who lives in the house has nightmares and hears things as well and she comforts him while she tries to figure out the deeper meaning behind the mysterious happenings.

Meanwhile, the rich husband is involved with some archaeological work for the church. They’ve unearthed that they believe is a church in a hillside. The statues and some reliefs on a wall depict a scene that they determine is an account of the crucifixion by people who witnessed it firsthand.

Sounds exciting, right?

The Gathering has a really interesting concept. Unfortunately the story moves agonizingly slow. What could have been fascinating and action packed ends up dragging. There is something about it that feels undeveloped or…something. The Gathering gets a C.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Friday, September 9, 2011

One Last Trip to Borders

I had my last visit to Borders this evening. They had two days left in their going out of business sale. It was very sad. It was crowded, of course. When you mark anything down 80-90 percent off, that tends to draw a crowd.

The atmosphere was weird. There was tension in the air, maybe because every time you turned around someone was RIGHT behind you. There were people in front of every shelf, poring over the leftovers from previous levels of markdown.

Seeing what was left was interesting. Most of the nonfiction was gone with the exception of some outdated software and business titles and books about the operation of various models of Nikon and Canon SLR cameras. There were a LOT of books about 2012 end of the world theories and such. Apparently the literate masses aren’t overly concerned about it.

Two shelves of Manga remained. They may have overestimated demand on that one. Many romance novels remained as well.

We found zero children’s books and zero toys. In fact, the once very adorable and fun children’s section looked like this.






A woman there picked the foam decorations off the wall and took them to the counter to purchase them. Talk about depressing.

The worst part was when we went to check out. These two little shithead (that’s right I said it) eleven year old, obnoxious boy brats in front of us actually hassled the cashier about losing her job. By the time we reached her to check out, she was practically in tears. I wanted to give her a hug. And I am not a hugger of strangers or mere acquaintances.

It was truly disgusting. I understand they’re just kids, but I mean damn, they were old enough to have some kind of compassion for someone losing their job. If I ever caught my kids treating anyone like that, please believe the consequences would be significant.

Anyway, thus ends the beautiful Borders store. I hope someone else bookish moves in. Bonus points if they hire the Borders employees and put in a coffee bar.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Thursday, September 8, 2011

really a lot of words

I finally crossed over 50000 words in AnnaBeth2! Woo! Very exciting. The thing isn't finished of course but at 50000 words, I've crested the hill and I'm rolling on momentum. If I remember correctly, the first installment was a little over 70000 words.

If I really get moving, I can probably finish before the end of October.

I'm eager to get back to the remix project; I have to admit. That's probably a good way to feel when editing time rolls around.

I was starting to get sick of it during the last round of rewrite. That happens with everything I write after a few reads. Now I have distance and the enthusiasm I need to work on it effectively.

I like working two projects at a time. That was a good plan. Releasing the books takes longer, but there are benefits.

However, I won't put a book down in the middle of a rough draft again like I did with AnnaBeth2. That was not my best move. I don't think it will affect the finished product, but picking back up and remembering where the subplots were and who was doing what was very difficult. A novel is a complex thing. I'll probably still have to sort some parts out in the rewrite.

So future writing schedules - two works in progress at a time.

Book One rough draft to completion (no hiatus) plus 1-2 rewrites.
Stuff Book One into a virtual drawer
Book Two rough draft to completion (no hiatus) plus 1-2 rewrites.
Stuff Book Two into virtual drawer
Book One - more editing plus feedback from beta readers
Book Two - more editing plus feedback from beta readers

Two book releases in a relatively short period of time, which will depend on marketing schedules and such. Be free, my pretties!

Have I mentioned this is work?

I did take the day off to read a chunk of Bossypants, by Tina Fey. She is awesome. I have great admiration for people who can achieve insane levels of success and remain true to who they are and where they came from. If I’m ever lucky enough to reach a Janet Evanovich level writing career, I want to be like that. Still me, just with enough money to do what I love for a living and enough skill to do it well.

TTFN

_________________________
Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

guest post: The Magic of Changing Your Perspective, by Jackie Lapin


For most of us, dealing with changes and events that move us out of our comfort zone instantly takes us to a place of fear and negative thinking.


It is the rare person who doesn’t emotionally invest the experience with anxiety and assign a negative value to it.

Yet the truth is that all things are neutral, they just are—until we lend our perspective to them and assign value. More importantly, every experience brings with it an opportunity for growth—for greater wisdom, for new knowledge, for redirection from the Universe, or for expansion in some way, shape or form.

The task for us as Conscious Creators is to retrain ourselves not to immediately go to that dark place, but instead to seek the light and—assign positive value to every experience. The best way to do that is to learn new perspectives, and to apply them to each situation. You can magically turn a perceived problem into a blessing by asking the right questions or applying the right filter.


Let’s expand our thinking and open up to the many new ways to look at things. By having these “tools” in your tool kit, testing the ones that work best for you, then applying them through practice many times over, you will be able to change your knee-jerk negative pattern of thinking to a welcoming and positive perspective that raises your frequency. And eventually will become your new permanent pattern of perspective.

Here are some really insightful questions that will lead you to look at your perceived challenges, problems, and issues as your next opportunities, gateways, and gifts:

• What is the joy to be found here?

• What is really great about this?

• What can I learn from this experience?

• How can I apply this in the future?

• How does this ultimately serve me?

• What is the upside to this experience?

• What is the takeaway here?

• What message is the Universe offering me?

• How can I turn this experience into something positive?

• What is the underlying truth about this experience—what is the reality

without my emotional charge?

• What is the good that can come from this?

• Who can I help with this wisdom, knowledge, and experience?

• Where is this experience directing me?

• What is the invitation here?

• What new opportunity does this open up?

• How can I grow from this?

• Where is my expansion in this?

• What is this calling me to let go?

• What burden is being lifted through this experience?

• What deep calling within me wants expression through this change—even though it may be subconscious?

You undoubtedly know that everything happens for a reason. Here’s an opportunity to look at that reason as Source does. You would not be offered this

experience if there was not purpose here for you, your life, and your spiritual growth. But the Universe gives you these experiences out of its desire to help you reach your own truth and highest good. Use these questions for a more objective view of what is in your highest good.

Illustration by Richard Crookes




Jackie Lapin tours the world teaching Practical Conscious Creation. She is the bestselling author of "The Art of Conscious Creation; How You Can Transform the World” and "Practical Conscious Creation: Daily Techniques to Manifest Your Desires." Filled with specific and imaginative practices, Practical Conscious Creation offers 70 articles with step-by-step actions to achieve greater empowerment and a more satisfying lifestyle.







To learn how to become a better, faster manifestor, secure a free chapter of “Practical Conscious Creation” or receive Jackie Lapin’s daily manifesting tips, visit http://www.jackielapin.com/.


The book is available here.

Jackie Lapin is also the founder of LifeWisdomNetwork.com, the Virtual Village that is the Marketplace, Directory and Information Resource for the fast-growing Consciousness and Transformational World .A place where mind/body/spirit entrepreneurs and self-help experts connect with their next customers and clients worldwide. Go to www.LifeWisdomNetwork.com for more information or to learn how to become a Village Member.

Discover the Tools to Make You a Better, Faster Manifestor!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

movie: Season of the Witch

Ok, this is going to be quick because I feel like crapola. I seem to have come down with something that is not very fun.

Season of the Witch
Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman (Hellyboy) star as a couple of crusade knights who decide to take early retirement due to the whole cruelty of war thing. They lose their faith in the church and go awol.

The pair end up in a town that's been hit by the plague. The townspeople request the knights' assistance. They decline. They later reconsider and agree to help some town representatives escort a woman accused of being a witch who brought the plague to a holy city where she will be judged and presumably, put to death.

Season of the Witch is creepy in parts. There are some great special effects and some really gross plague makeup.

The movie was pretty good, but short. The story had great potential and it would have been nice to see just far into weird/creepy they could take it, but alas. It gets a B-.

There's a guest post on the scheduler for tomorrow. Woo! I know I said I moved them all, but I had a nonfiction author request one and I only put fiction on Journey Reader, so she'll be here instead. Was that a run-on?

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Monday, September 5, 2011

state park fun and stalking

I had the day off today for the holiday, so I took the children to Mounds State Park in Anderson. It was a really cool park. There are Native American ceremonial mounds there and some scenic trails. There are some pics below. But first, a story about stalking.

For some reason, I have a tendency to attract stalkers, which is rather unsettling because I am very much an introvert. I first noticed today’s stalker at the Great Mound. That’s the first one you find when you hike on the main trail. She was this nerdy sort of lady with glasses and a ponytail. She had 5 or 6 kids with her.

I noticed her because one of the children was walking around wrapped in a Strawberry Shortcake comforter, quilt thing. When I took a picture of the Great Mound to send to my husband, I caught a little corner of it in the picture. Here it is.
















My two non-quilt-wearing children and I left the Great Mound to head further down the hiking trail. The lady and her kids were a bit obnoxious, so I hoped they wouldn’t follow us. They did. We took a right at a trail junction, so did she, we made a brief trip off the trail to the edge of the White River, she took her herd of younglings that way too. She followed us for quite a while.

I finally stopped my kids on the trail and told them to let the lady pass. She took her time walking up. I stood there texting my husband about the crazy lady. She did finally come up next to me and ask me if I had been to the park before. I hadn’t. That was our first trip.

She went ahead on the trail like ten feet and stopped. I swear she was waiting for us to start walking again so she could follow. She did eventually give up and she turned around and took her crowd of children back the way we’d come.

Creepiest park experience ever.

Here are some pics.














This is the left part of the circle on the Great Mound.


















Toad! or frog...whatever. He crawled into a hole in the mud about 10 seconds after I took this picture.














The White River




















There were tiny creeks and waterfalls everywhere. This one was next to the trail. It ran down a hillside on our right, under the trail into the river.



















There were a lot of seemingly dead trees.














I like the reflections on the water in this shot.

Also interesting, there are some people who believe the mounds are haunted by blue gowned dwarves called pukwudgies. lol. Here's some info on that


Here is the link for the park website - http://moundsstatepark.org/

_________________________

Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!

There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:

http://www.LeaRyan.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1