Thanksgiving and a meme

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and my fridge is full of delicious leftovers. I’m pondering a turkey pot pie in the near future. Our day was spent with my hubby’s family, and it was very pleasant.

Blood elf priest, level 11. Oh yeah, check out my tattered duds.
Blood elf priest, level 11. Oh yeah, check out my tattered duds.

It’s been a quiet weekend of rest and relaxation. My son and daughter spent the night at their grandparent’s, so Ryan and I got to have our first date night in about two years. It was lovely. Just having the two younger ones along felt like nothing. I’ll be glad to have the other two back, though. The house feels empty without them.

World of Warcraft has tempted us back into its octopus-like embrace. We bought our son a copy, and he and my daughter rolled worgen druids. So they’ve been running about the countryside as dogs that change into cats and bears. It’s hilarious. My hubby and I rolled blood elves on another server with his friends, and we’re running around the newbie zones, making everything more fabulous with our very presence.

I’ve also been tagged by multiple people for a Facebook meme. But Facebook doesn’t show you any posts from longer than a week ago (despite everything being saved forever in Facebook’s Gravemind), so I figured I’d do the meme here on my blog, where I can find it again.

The Eight Terrible Titles game rules are as follows: ”Scroll through your manuscript. Let your cursor fall where it may and bam–you’ve got yourself one terrible title. Repeat this seven more times. Let the good times roll. Tag eight others.

This is from my work in progress Regency shifter romance, which I’m writing as a sequel to Turned.

1. Bone-Cracking Embrace
2. Turned To Her
3. Her Trunk Stood
4. Forbidden to Set Foot Outside
5. Until Her Arrival
6. Outside An Inn
7. Hire a Tailor
8. Direction The Werewolf Had Gone

These have been fun, because just by looking at the selections, you get a feel for what everyone is working on. Mine is very Beauty and the Beast, heh heh.

And now, since you read this far, here is a pun for you.

pun-hawk

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Snoopy and the Red Baron

Having just sat and watched the trailer for the CG Peanuts movie, I had to sit and show the kids the Christmas song of Snoopy and the Red Baron.

The clips in the video aren’t that great, but the song is the main thing. Funny and heartwarming.

So then we had to look up pictures of triplanes …

triplane

And we read about the Red Baron on Wikipedia, which naturally is insubstantial and unsatisfying as you can get. I’ll see if I can find a book on him at the library.

Isn’t it fun the things you can learn, just poking around in curiosity?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I may have to bake something to feed the ravenous small people who are nibbling my elbows.

Reblog: Why we need Strong Women and Damsels In Distress

Reblogged from my backup blog, which I used while this one was down:

There’s this debate that constantly goes on in the blogosphere–we need more Strong Women! There are tests to prove how Strong a female character is, whether she talks about something other than a guy, if she has her own plot and character development, and so on.

Because the last thing we need are Damsels in Distress, who exist only to be rescued. If a girl needs saving, she’s no longer a Strong Woman! She should always save herself!

These people never talk about romance novels, which do damsels in distress hardcore. While romance heroines are sometimes spunky, usually they’re sighing, lonely flowers, wishing for a big strong alpha male to come along.

In my newest book, Wraithblade, I ran into this problem and chewed on it for the whole book. It’s an urban fantasy romantic thriller about a nascent assassin, Revi, who flees the other assassins rather than murder a child. She encounters Jacob Argent, consummate retrieval agent, who then becomes her protector as three different factions attempt to take them both down.

Now on Amazon

But does Revi need protecting? I waffled a lot. One the one hand, she’s a trained assassin. On the other hand, she really needed somebody to watch her back. Doesn’t everybody? She does handle herself pretty well, making daring escapes and rescuing Jake when he gets into trouble.

Jake needs Revi to watch his back, too, because he’s in just as much hot water as she is. He winds up saving her a couple of times, too. He’s also a caring, sensitive guy (which is a good thing).

So, Jake and Revi both exhibit elements of Strong Women/Men, and also Damsels In Distress, because they each technically need rescuing from time to time. But who came up with this “strong person” metric, anyway? Shouldn’t it be more of a spectrum? In real life, nobody needs saving 100% of the time, but nor can everyone go it alone 100% of the time. We swing back and forth.

If our stories and characters are going to be realistic, we have to let our characters swing, too. I read an article where the author gnashed their teeth about Black Widow in the Avengers movie, how she was the “token female”. Yet in the movie, Black Widow swings from being vulnerable to being tough. Back and forth–like a real person.

Nobody every complains about male characters. I see very few male characters who are alpha-male-beat-the-chest all the time. Men are vulnerable, too, and that’s how the audience connects to them emotionally. It’s why girls swoon over Loki. I don’t ever hear anybody complain about Loki being strong or weak. He’s vulnerable, and this connects to us emotionally.

Yet as soon as a female character is portrayed as vulnerable, that’s not allowed. That’s Damsel in Distress. Yet without that vulnerable humanity, she’s one more cardboard cutout of a chick with a sword.

So, in a way, Revi is a Damsel in Distress. She needs saving from a lot of things. But so does Jake.

Maybe, at its heart, that’s what this debate is about. “I can save myself! I don’t need a Savior.”

Gateway Christmas music

Every year, I find myself easing into Christmas music a little bit at a time. It always starts with very mild stuff that might not be Christmas music at all. It’s like how they hook people on drugs.

First, I start with Eden’s Bridge Irish Christmas album. Particularly this cynical, cutting song about Christmas’s materialism:

From there, I venture into Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which is a bit stronger on the Christmas flavor, but still not quite there:

By this time I’m starting to feel the need for something stronger. I might start dropping some Amy Grant. Some years I go straight to some heavy Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Pretty soon, before I know it, I’m high on Christmas.

cat-pic-i_must_murder_it

Wednesday ramblings

It’s no fun being blogless. All last week, blog posts ran through my head, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I finally caved and wrote one on my old blog, which I’ll import over here in a few days.

Can you believe that next week is Thanksgiving? I keep catching my breath and looking around in amazement. Out here in Phoenix, it’s finally cold enough to wear sweaters and jeans, especially in the morning. (It’s, like, 40 something at night. Stop laughing, all you northern state people.)

The kids are still doing pretty well in school. We’re having a leisurely sort of school year, since I’m babysitting an additional child ten hours a day. We all do our books and our history, then they’re free to build forts or whatever. For some reason, this week they’ve played King of Tokyo (a board game) every day before school. I figure, hey, it’s basic counting and math, and if the four and five year old want to play, they’re welcome to it.

My youngest turns one tomorrow. That blows my mind, too. This time last year, I was in labor and working frantically to release my first book, Storm Chase. I still think the people who bought it then only did it out of kindness, because I was having a kid. 😀

DSCN0389

I finished up a fanfic and posted it this week. I forgot how much I experiment in fanfics. I wrote the whole climax in omniscient point of view so I could jump between characters quickly, as they moved in and out of the limelight. Now I’m writing another book in my werewolf romance novella series. I think this next year will be all about vampires and werewolves. Also the fourth Spacetime book, which is about Xironi the catgirl angsting about men checking her out. Also robots.

So yeah, that’s been my life lately. Very routine and quiet. I find it’s easier to write a lot if I’ve got a routine going, because I know when the slow spots in the day are when I can write.

Rising from the ashes

Well, this has been a fun couple of weeks. The timeline went something like this.

Hubby gets sick.

I worked hard to finish revisions on Wraithblade.

I get sick.

My blog is hacked very thoroughly, and my webhost suspends it.

I release Wraithblade.

I still don’t have a blog to do announcements on.

The kids get sick.

My webhost informs me that I’m basically screwed because the hack was in my database.

Cue several days of reading tutorials on MySQL and trying different things. Finally, tonight, I found out that I could restore from the hacked backup, export the WordPress posts in an XML file, scrap the hacked script, reinstall fresh, then import all my posts.

SHAZAM.

We’re back in business, baby!

Thankful Friday

Isn’t she cute?

Eleven months and already a camera hound
Eleven months and already a camera hound

It’s November, a great month to count blessings and be thankful. If October was Inktober, why can’t November be Thankvember?

So, I’m thankful for …

  • The crock pot
  • Weekends
  • My lovely hubby and friend
  • My kids, who are such fun
  • Good books
  • The sound of my kids laughing as I read about the Fifty-Ton, Mile-long, Giant Killer Octopus
  • God’s word, which refreshes me every morning
  • Lovely cool weather, and the breeze that whooshes through the pines outside

 

Book sample madness

Warning: Affiliate links.

I’ve been inspired by Immerse or Die, a blog where a guy walks on a treadmill and reads a book for 45 minutes. He tells how long he read, and what made him scrap it–or if he would keep reading. It’s very illuminating and fun.

I was looking through my loaded Kindle, and noticed that I had downloaded a bunch of samples of books I wanted to try. So I figured, why not read the samples and report my findings here?

So, without further ado:

First book:

Summary: A guy uses elemental powers to kill a bunch of people. His kid brother sets out to stop him.

My opinion: This is Avatar: Last Airbender fanfic. This is one scene:

Albert brought both his hands together and created two balls of wind. He flung them. They left a trail of dust as they rushed toward Albert’s opponent. Mathias stomped his feet and an earth wall rose before him. The two air balls disintegrated as they slammed into the barrier. Mathias’ brown earth emblem, which rested firmly on the dorsal part of his emblem glove, sparkled as he pushed his hands forward. The wall of rock, which until a moment ago had stood stationary, raced toward Albert.

toph-earthbending

Also, isn’t that such a great name for a fantasy character who throws elements around? Albert.

Verdict: I have better things to read than poorly-concealed Avatar fanfic.

Next up:

Notice the “fractured multiverse” part. That’s why I picked it up.

Summary: Derpy teen girl is hanging with other derpy teen girls for her derpy eighteenth birthday. SUPPRISE! Stepdad sold her sister to the mob as a sex slave to pay his debt. Except a bigger mob boss comes along, claims the main character and lets the sister go. Cut to much lustful kissing in the back of a limo. I got the impression the dude was a vampire or something.

Verdict: Way too yucky and rapey for me. Out it goes.

Next up:

Summary: Some chick goes to another world via a timeless knock on the head. She tries to convince herself it’s not real and finds sparkly blue rocks.

This is written in the most distant omniscient POV you can think of. This chick talks to herself in the third person. “Lynn is never afraid!” Then we are treated to details of her pupils widening until they cover the iris. She goes to the other world, where everything is gray (pretty sure it’s not intentional on the writer’s part), except for some pretty blue rocks.

Verdict: There is nothing about this character I like or can relate to. She’s a distant silhouette of a character, plus she talks to herself. SHE’S CRAZY. Next book.

Next up:

Summary: Some dude is a Shape Shifter. Written like that, with capitals. He’s trying to kidnap some other dude by sneaking into his house with a hypodermic needle.

My opinion: We’re told all about this Shape Shifter guy who is a Shape Shifter who actually only uses his Shape Shifting to blend in with stuff, chameleon-style. It was interesting until we got into the house to kidnap the other dude, at which point the author drops a dump-truck load of backstory on us. We learn that this Shape Shifter dude at 17 immediately used his power to rape some girl.

My verdict: While I realize this probably makes him the bad guy, it turned me off enough to stop me from reading. Really, writers? Is rape the only crime there is anymore? Is that all you can think of to have your characters do?

Next up:

Summary: A meteorite carries matter from Jupiter’s moon Europa to Earth (that’s so probable, right?) that brings some kind of killer plant life. An expedition is sent to Europa to melt through the ice, where the find plants and malicious intelligence (of course).

My opinion: Decently-written Michael Crichtonish thriller. It starts with the junk on the meteorite killing a scientist, which is always promising. I’d be tempted to pick this up and keep reading.

Next up:

Summary: In the near future, science has genetically-engineered the perfect pet–the caline. A cross between a cat and a dog, they’re smart, obedient and friendly–until they start killing their owners. Of course there’s a conspiracy going on, and Bad Guys with Bad Plans.

My opinion: Pretty well written with an unusual premise? I WANT TO READ MORE. The sample was pretty good, so I think I’ll pick it up.

Next up:

This is a gal from one of my writers’ groups, and I grabbed a sample of her new book to try it out. An alien guy with teal eyes visits a circus on another planet and attempts to buy two slaves–one is a mute girl who might be a princess and the other is a catgirl.

My opinion: The writing is mediocre, and the plot doesn’t seem very original. I think I’d read further, though, just to see what the author does with the catgirl. I don’t see many of those around. Not real high priority of a read, though.

Last but not least:

Summary: A girl avoids the Magic Mafia by planting a Magic Bomb in an old house and blowing those dudes up. She drives away in an old clunker car. Meanwhile, a young guy living in his parents’ basement is kicked out of the house by his draconic mother. Literally draconic. He’s a dragon who she has sealed in human form as punishment for not acting dragonish enough. Instead of going out and dominating the world in some way, all he does is play videogames. He has one month to do something sufficiently dragonish, or she’ll eat him. Also, this is a near-future world with holographic cellphones, as well as tons of magic. It’s very Shadowrun.

My verdict: Well written! Surprising! I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK.

And that’s all the samples I’ve read so far. These are the results of months of clicking on Bookbub/ebooksoda/OneHundredFreeBooks/etc ads and collecting titles that look like something I might like. I have plenty more waiting, too!