Wednesday, May 30, 2012

some rambling about editing and another illustration

I started editing the second AnnaBeth book on the iPad today. I wasn't sure how it would go. Writing on the iPad is okay, except for the whole spellcheck weirdness the app does.
 Editing on it is like a dream come true. My previous editing process involved printing out the manuscript on paper and carrying it around with me in a binder. I would make changes on paper and then manually transfer the changes into the word document. This was by far my least favorite writing task. It's nightmarishly tedious and there's a high probability for error.
 With the iPad, all I have to do is make changes on the screen and then transfer it back to the laptop. Amazing. This will save me so many hours of performing a task I all but despise.
 It leaves me more time for drawing, which is good because I've been having this drawing fit lately.
 For about a year, I haven't done many illustrations, probably because I was obsessing over writing. Now that I started drawing again, it's like someone opened a floodgate.
 Here's another illustration. This one didn't start out as a pencil sketch, which is unusual for me. It went straight from my head into Adobe Fireworks.
This inspiration for this may have come from an Egyptian street art book I have. The colors and the geometry remind me of the artwork in that.
 Also, I'm considering setting up shop on etsy to sell some prints. If I'm going to crank out illustrations, I might as well do something with them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

movie: Immortals

The movie post is a day late due to the holiday and due to the fact that I totally spaced writing it yesterday.

We watched Immortals. Here’s the description I snagged from IMDB: “Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.”
The story is actually a lot more complicated than that. There are conflicts amongst the gods, a girl who can tell the future (oracle) and other stuff. It was actually a bit difficult to keep up with in places. Immortals is one of those movies that you can lose track of if you turn away from the screen for like two seconds. 
The style of filming, music and various images appeared to be inspired by The Cell and/or 300. It was very visually rich, if that makes sense.
One thing I really liked about the Greek gods was the fact that they were young and hot. For example, when I think of Zeus, I usually picture an old man with a white beard or at least a middle aged guy. Think original Clash of the Titans. The gods in Immortals looked more like supermodels, which, when you think about it might actually make more sense. If you’re a god, you can probably control what you look like.

Overall, I liked the movie okay. They tried to cram too much story in, but it wasn’t bad. Immortals gets a B-.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Hello, lovelies! I've been out of the blog pretty much all this week. The husband called me out on my slacking.
What have I been doing? Well, you know...stuff. Yesterday, we waited a couple of hours in the morning for the door man to fix the back door. He showed up on time and was very polite, which is always good.

Then, we waited in traffic because we thought we would go to Carb Day, which is an Indy 500 event. We did not make it because we got there too late to see what we wanted to see. We abandoned our endeavor after about 30 minutes in traffic. Not fun, but we did see some country people chilling in lawn chairs in the back of a pickup truck drinking beer. That's something you don't see every day.

Today we worked in the yard, and by 'we', I mean we went to the store and picked up some plants so that the husband and the children could plant them. I worked on indoor chores. I don't function well in the heat. We got some foxglove, which is a very pretty flower that is supposed to attract hummingbirds. I will post some pictures of the flowers soon if I remember.

I did finish an illustration that I've had in my head for some time. Here is a low res mini version. I'm mostly happy with the way it turned out. The original is much clearer, of course. It seems to be very unhappy that I shrank it down and converted it to jpg.

Monday, May 21, 2012

movie: Underworld: Awakening

I know today is a movie post, but I’m including a very short book working update. I finished the rough draft for Pestilence! AAAAA!! I’m super excited. I seriously almost cried like three times while writing the last scene. The current word count is 76571.

On to the movie. This weekend we watched Underworld: Awakening.

Description from IMDB: “When human forces discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan clans, a war to eradicate both species commences. The vampire warrioress Selene leads the battle against humankind.”

I…did not love this movie. It breaks my heart because I loved the original Underworld movie. Kate Bekinsale is awesome. She has wicked movie fighting skills, and I really dug the whole dark vibe.

This movie has a ton of action. Fight scenes were well choreographed. The CGI sucked in a couple of spots, most noticeably near the beginning of the movie during a couple of werewolf altercations. It looked very dated and lame.

The biggest problem I had was the lack of story. There was a story, yes. However, about 90% of the movie consisted of fight scenes. I would have like to have seen more story and less fighting. That would have improved the movie.
The dark vibe remains. They added a new, pretty man vampire and a scary little girl to the mix. Kate Bekinsale is still awesome. This installment wasn’t great, but it wouldn’t stop me from wanting to see the next one if they make one. Underworld Awakening gets a C-.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

a brightly colored bug and other fun

Whattup, internets! Just checking in for a few minutes. I’m still had at work on the manuscript. I’m at 70,000 words with about two chapters remaining.
Check this out. I spotted this guy (girl?) on the garage floor yesterday morning. It’s a yellow mayfly. I see mayflies around here often, but they’re usually silver and black, very dull. Not this guy. He’s all like heeeeyyyyy…

Actually he wasn’t like heeyyyy…I was concerned for his safety so I nudged his wing to get him to fly away. He did not fly away. I don’t think he was feeling very well. I did not see any brightly-colored insect mush when I returned from work, though, so I guess he went somewhere.
I was reading about this sculptor named Maurizio Cattelan. One of his magnificent creations is a giant middle finger in Italy. Where is it located? Why, right in front of their stock exchange, of course! The sculpture is called L.O.V.E.
I did a Google image search of his name, and a bunch of amazing sculptures came up. One looks like a horse hanging with its head through a wall. Others use creepy realistic human figures or other animals. His work has a very eerie quality.  I’m not going to violate anyone’s copyright today by posting pictures, mostly because I have a manuscript I should be working on. Check out his stuff, though. Seriously cool.

Monday, May 14, 2012

not a movie post

I don’t really have a movie post today. The husband ordered the wrong movie on Netflix. He intended to add Faster to the queue and instead added a movie called ‘Drive’, which was probably one of the most boring movies I have ever seen in my entire life. We actually only watched it for about 40 minutes. Then we determined there was no actual plot and turned off the DVD player. We will never get those 40 minutes back.

This past weekend was insanely busy. We had little league baseball games Friday night and Saturday, plus other assorted weekend tasks like shopping and cleaning and then there was Mother’s Day fun. I got to see my Mimaw! Yay! I did not do any writing. I did try to draw something, but I think I was just too tired to focus.

I have two things which are making me sad.

1.       Arbys discontinued jalapeno bites. I am crying! I love jalapeno bites! And bronco berry sauce.

2.       Also, Alcatraz was canceled. I liked that show very much.

And now I will stop complaining.

How about some positivity? I’m almost 70,000 words into the Pestilence rough draft. I will finish the draft by the end of the month! The length will probably land between 75 and 80,000 words. I am going to go eat something which has not been discontinued – pretzels! and work on the book some more.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

cars I have seen

When I see a Smart Car tailgating at 80mph, I wonder if that person really thinks that is the best course of action for them. Clearly the name of the car is not always an indication of the intelligence of its operator.
Also, I am amused when I see a Prius stuck next to the highway because it has run out of gas. Silly Prius owner, it’s not a magic car.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

movie: Columbiana

Oy vey. I am so tired, and it’s only Tuesday! What is up with that? I’m going to have some trouble round about Thursday. My ass will be dragging, for real.

Anyway, movie. I know it’s late, but these things happen.

IMDb: A young woman, after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota, grows up to be a stone-cold assassin.”

This movie should have been called – “look how freakishly skinny Zoe Saldana is” because, wow. She is a slim one, and there seems to be a lot of focus on that with her costuming and her gymnastics. And I hope I don't sound like a hater because I really don't mind her thinness. I guess in this case it's almost like fascination, with the director and apparently me. That girl must only eat every other never.

Aside from that strangeness, the movie was meh. Saldana is a decent actress, but the script was pretty predictable. There were few moments that made this movie stand out from other revenge flicks, but not many. The fight and chase scenes were well-choreographed.

Columbiana gets a C.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Visiting another blog

Hello, dear ones. I'm over at the Precious Monsters blog today. Pop by if you're in the neighborhood. There's a post on the white worm. It's a post about the evolution of the monster. Woo!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I do not hate men

I was poking around on Amazon and I saw a couple of bad reviews for What the Dead Fear. You know, whatever, everybody is entitled to their opinion. No matter what you write, someone is going to hate it, I promise.

One guy noted that all of the male characters in the novella were monsters. I hadn’t noticed while I was writing it, but he’s kind of right. That thought never even crossed my mind while I was writing it. The characters just are who they are.
I wouldn’t call Gareth a monster, really, however. He just is what he is. He was created with a purpose, and he fulfills that purpose the only way he knows how. He’s lonely. He actually likes Juniper. There are times when he isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but hey, if you were stuck in Limbo in a prison full of noisy, lost souls, you would probably be a tad on the crabby side too.

So, no. I do not hate men. They do annoy me from time to time, but I like them just fine.
I would like to point out that there are plenty of female monsters in my books as well – Tiamat in Babylon Dragon is pretty darn evil. Isabella in Lair of the White Wyrm eats people, for goodness sakes.  The naughtiest magic folk in Destined for Darkness are women. The cult leader in Pestilence (work in progress) is a woman. If anything, I think I have more monstrous women than men.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

book working updates

Happy Hump Day, interwebs! What's going on? Not a whole lot here. Except this is my 500th post! woo! confetti. music. ok, that's enough.
I’m still hard at work with the rough draft for Pestilence (working title). I am pleased to report that I hit the 50,000 word mark, which means the rest is all downhill. It's the equivalent of Wednesday in rough draft writing.

I've decided on a writing schedule for the rest of the year. I should finish Pestilence by the end of this month. Then I have the last edit or two for Devil (AnnaBeth 2). After that, I'm going to try to crank out a sequel to What the Dead Fear.

I have plans for both books I'm writing this year. One will go to the Amazon Breakthrough novel contest that they have every January, assuming they have it next year. If they don't, I'll send it off to another one, probably.

The other novel will go out in query version to some smaller, independent presses. I've started a list of the publishers I like. I'm looking for very specific traits.

Which will go where? I haven't decided for sure yet, but I'm thinking the novella sequel will go to publishers. The original was downloaded tens of thousands of times, so that has some appeal. Plus last time I checked Amazon the first book was still a freebie. Now that I've said that, they'll probably remove the freebie status before the other one comes out. lol, that's my luck. 

Oh, also, Destined for Darkness has temporarily disappeared from the Barnes and Noble Nook store. I'm in the process of switching that distribution from Smashwords to go directly through Barnes and Noble. The book is still on Smashwords too, of course.

I switched because there's a delay between when the book is available through Smashwords and when it goes up on Barnes and Noble. I have to learn a new system, but I will have more control over release dates that way. 

So it is said, so it shall be done.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

books as apps

I've seen some discussion about books as apps lately, whether they can or should be converted into a more interactive experience.

While I appreciate the value of just reading books, there are some really cool things that can be done with apps. They could offer a reader even deeper immersion in the story if done correctly.

The book app I read about today is a new version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. You can actually change parts of the story by making choices for Victor. They added some meat to the book, of course. The original is only 70,000 words, which isn't really all that long for a book.

Some people would care that they messed with a classic. I don't mind all that much (obviously, I monkeyed around with Stoker's work) because you aren't removing the original from existence. It's still there in all its glory in print and as an ebook.

I know this is probably, technically a mashup, which I have likely expressed distaste for in the past. However, this isn't just slapping new words on top of old words. It's an entirely new art form that isn't going to stop at being pretty and semi-functional. They're going to offer a new level of immersion in the story that books usually can't offer.

So what could a book app potentially offer aside from user influenced story lines? Artwork, of course, maybe a soundtrack, videos, author readings, footnotes, maybe a link into a message board where people discuss the book, share buttons for social networks like facebook, pretty much anything that can be displayed on a screen or played as audio.

The only potential downfall of the book as app is the expense of creating one. In order to justify the expense, whoever is sponsoring the endeavor would probably want to be sure they're going to recover any expenses. Not all books turn a profit.