Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dear gods... WTF am I doing

This will probably be the shortest post I've ever written. I apologize. I love you guys. Thank you for reading my blog and caring.

So, wtf am I doing?

  1. I'm working on a secret dialogue project for a very very very cool thing that I'm unbelievably stoked to be part of. I'll be able to share more details of that with you guys in November or December this year.
  2. Earth's Peril vol.2 YAAAASSSSS!! Eli and Vendum are getting into some serious shit, the Coalition is revealed, and Bedelcast will have his revenge.
  3. A new two part project tentatively named "A New Strain". I will give no further details because the "wow" moment is too good on this one.
  4. LitRPG???? Yes... yes I will buy in on this. A writing compatriot of mine was like "You better jump on this bandwagon, yo." and I was like "nah it's cool, I'mma stick to what I do." and he was like "Yo... you're an idiot." and now I'm like, "Yeah... oops." Not only that, but this LitRPG project will be PG. What? Yeah... PG. Fuckin, PG.
  5. To follow up on the PG comment, I'm also writing under a new pseudonym in NC-17. I refuse to reveal details. If you really want to know, you know how to find me and ask about it. If you don't know how to find me and ask about it... you'll figure it out.
As for all the other things that go on in a normal human life... shit's busy. Busy AF. I wish I had an extra three days every week to just write because I so badly want to crank out some new, quality content for you all. Alas, I have a day job I love that takes up a ton of time. I'm the lucky one.

Ta' for now. Must return to the written word.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Book Review - The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

Hey there kids. I finished this book about 15 minutes ago and felt compelled to review it, as well as talk it up at work before I've even finished it. My friend gave it to me as a birthday/christmas gift right after I left my husband... This book review is going to go a little past the book itself, and I'm going to dive into my personal life a bit. I feel like honesty is important, and being honest with you means I reveal I am a human, not a typing machine (though sometimes I wish I were ^_^). I'm a wobbly, emotional, scared sack of meat (and a bit of poop and water and other stuff).

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck is the last "self help" book you'll ever need, other than something like "How To Do The Best Chin-Up That Will Leave You Ripped"... in seriousness though, let's begin. I'm going to reveal personal bits about me (I know I already warned you), and if that makes you uncomfortable, I urge you to read on anyway. Get uncomfortable for once in your life... a lesson brought to you by TSAONGAF. That's really long. SANGF... better.

I was with my husband for ten years, and we had a four year friendship before that which was sparked by a two week-ish teenage romance ending in, "You're nice but there's a lot more to experience out there and I need to go do that."
Three days before the emotionally incomprehensible departure from the life that I knew, my stomach was wrapped in an iron snake, constantly constricting and forcing me to experience the pain I'd harbored mentally, all over my body. I realized I was at the precipice of a decision that there was no going back from, one that I'd ignored in waves, and brought up in waves, that came and went as I decided to be complacent with the fact that things weren't great, and it was my fault. That's not to say everything was my fault, because that would be entitled, but of all the choices I had available, I chose the easy ones most of the time.
It was finally time for a hard choice.
The book discusses a wide variety of reasons as to why we're little shits and avoid the hard choices, or speak dishonesties, or indulge in random sex, drink too much, not ask that pretty girl out, get complacent at our job, avoid writing... so on and so forth of easy choices. But most of it comes down to our core values, and what we really give a fuck about.

Onto more of the book reviewishy stuff... The first 40 pages were, in my opinion, not super helpful. They were things I'd already learned through my last stint of emotional development from ages 24-28 and so it was just a bit of reinforcement. "These things that I've learned in the past 4 years seem to be 'not bullshit'." It was a good feeling knowing I hadn't wasted my time learning something incorrect, but I already knew that, because it felt right.
In any case, the first 40 pages of the book drops the F*Bomb about 20 times a page or more. That gets a bit exhausting and I honestly wasn't that interested in all the fucks. They were fluffy page filler that made me grumpy about trudging forward, but I was promised a chewy caramel center, so I went on.
Chapter 3 was where we broached a topic I was very familiar with, but not quite on board with or had some other reservations about it. It was where the meat of my literary adventure began. Somewhere around the mid way point, we came to the chapters talking about "Why you always feel like shit." and somewhere deep in me I knew why, but luckily there was someone there to say it. There was a mismatch in my perceived core value, and the life I was living.

Loyalty is one of my core values. I'd left my husband. Loyalty + Leaving Husband = Mismatch. I hated myself and I hated that I hated myself. Why? Why am I so angry? Why am I destroying myself physically and mentally?
After a lot of self destruction and torment and intense loathing (all while in the midst of reading the book over a few month period) I finally sat myself down for a talk. By that I mean I got high and took myself for a walk (it's ok it's legal where I live).

"Why do you feel you've been disloyal?"
"Because I left."
"But why does that make you disloyal?"
"Because I hurt him."
"Hurting != Loyalty breaking."
"Why not?"
"Because pain does not mean you broke trust, aka, disloyalty."
"But he thought he could depend on me, and now I'm gone. That's not loyalty."
"And you thought you could depend on you, but you couldn't, so how could he ever? That's not loyalty, either."
"So... I was never loyal?"
"Correct."
Indeed.

I realized that I'd never lived my core value. Or at least, never fully lived it, because I wasn't loyal to what I wanted or needed. How could I be what someone else wanted and needed if I wasn't first what I wanted and needed to be?

Ouch.

Let's dive back down into indulging in momentary pleasures, and skirting responsibilities, and everything else that people do when they can't make hard choices.
It was time to either abandon loyalty as a core value and make way for whatever had been there all along (I'm not sure what it was...) or adopt it full and true.
I'm right at the edge of that hard choice. I've been avoiding it. Pacing back and forth like a caged animal trapped at her own volition. I don't like being on this side. It's not a nice place to be in where you're constantly living for the next dopamine hit, becoming completely non-functional when you go too long without it. But moving forward is hard, and hardship hurts.
I know from the outside it looks like a simple solution: Being a shit makes me momentarily happy, but persistently unhappy, so I should stop being a shit. I wish the solution was as simple as saying it. I've got this awful tendency to go balls out on something, and then burning myself out on that something. I want to change overnight. I want to wake up tomorrow and find it easy to say no to drinking and say yes to working out hard and eating healthy, say no to laziness and yes to writing more, say no to binging Netflix and yes to reading another book.

Mason (the author) goes on to say "It's better do to anything, rather than nothing." So, I'm going to start with as many little bits of "anything" I can manage in a day. It took me a solid two years when working with my second mentor to stop being so selfish and see that other humans felt too. Two years. I think that's a good benchmark. Afterall, I theoretically have a couple of decades left, so two years isn't really that much time. So, over the next two years, from this night, I'm going to work on being loyal to me, the things I really need, and I think I can make it.

Thus ends my quasi-book review, mostly life-info dump. It was really hard being honest with you guys, but I wanted to be loyal to what I wanted, and I wanted to share an experience with you that is changing me.

Read the book. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Critique/Writer's Groups - Part 1

HI GUYS! Haven't seen you in a while... sorry about that. Life sometimes turns upside down and you gotta roll with the punches.
I'm preempting this with Part 1 because I assume there will certainly be a Part 2, maybe even 3. There's lots to talk about here, so let's dive into the beginning.

Do I Need A Writer's Group?

Do you write? If yes, then yes. If no... probably still yes.

Picking a Writer's Group

So, you need a writer's/critique group, but how do you find the write(😉) fit? There are many things to take into consideration, but here's the top for me:
  1. Get a writing sample from them, and give them one of yours.
    You need to know if they:
    • Are on the same skill level, above, or below you. You don't want to pair with a group that's full of people below your skill level because you likely won't grow with them. You want a good mix of people below, above, and at your skill level so you can help mentor, and grow, at the same time. Win-win.
    • Write in or around the same genre. You don't need to get into a group that's strict Slipstream Cyberpunk if that's what you want to write, but you need to at least get into a group with a few Sci-Fi people, or else you're gonna have a bad time.
    • Differ in background. You want a good mix of people from different age groups and genders. You want to be able to get at least ONE person in the group to be from your target market, or close to it, so when you bounce something off them they can say if it resonates.
  2. Do they meet near where you live/work?
    This one is important for a few reasons, but mainly consistency. If you have to drive 20 miles out of your way to get to them, do you think you'll be able to stick with it? Probably not. You want a group that meets in a super convenient place so it's harder for you to opt out of meetings. Not just for your sanity's sake, but you want to build a rapport with these people, and if you're not showing up, they're not going to know you (I experienced this one a few nights ago with my group, but I won't cry about it here).
  3. Along with the sample writing, you probably want to get and give a sample critique, or treat your first meetup like an interview-ish. You want to know that the members in the group actually receive criticism well, and if they give it well too. Nothing worse than writing up a thousand words of critique on an eight thousand word submission to get literally nothing in return. It's like a kick to the balls (if I had any), and you always get a bit salty... it's like, "I spent fuckin two hours reading and providing feedback for your work. Even if my feedback is poop to you, at least give me the same effort..." Oooh... am I salty right now? I think I'm salty.
Cutting you guys off there. I've got a fuckin' killer script to be working on right now. Peace out kiddies! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

iBoy - A Movie Review

Holy... hell...

A Netflix Original for the ages. But of course, before that it was a story by Kevin Brooks (which I will be reading shortly).

I loved the heck out of this. I'm writing these words as the credits start rolling, that's how excited I am to share it with you. I'm so excited I don't even think I can find the right words to tell you how cool I thought this movie was. Netflix is friggen killing it recently, I'm so gorram impressed.

Ok. As for the overall theme, it was your typical boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl gets hurt, boy gets superpowers, boy tracks down the people who hurt girl and exacts beautiful revenge.
But it's so much more than just that.

~~~Spoilers~~~

The main character (Tom), while a high school student, thinks outside the box and finds elegant solutions to his complex problems. He still makes silly mistakes, as an human can and will, which adds an element of realism to the whole thing.

I guess trigger warning... the theme of the damage to the girl is a rape. The rape was not shown in any detail, but it is what it is. While that is in progress, the main character runs into her house to say hello, and catches the perps in progress. This leads to him getting shot... in the head... while on the phone with the cops.

He wakes up in the hospital with his grandma holding his hand. The doctor tells him he has fragments of his phone lodged in his brain. Tom asks if it hit any of the important parts... the doctor then says "Being a neurologist, we find all of the brain to be pretty important." I loled...

After getting home, Tom realizes he can accesses electronic devices with only his mind. The movie goes on to showing Tom training himself in hacking, hand to hand combat, and more. He communicates with "girl" (Lucy), to see if she's ok, and to let her know the perps would be getting theirs.
The dilemma rages on as she tells "iBoy", the vigilante attacking the gangs of the burbs, not to continue, to let it go. Tom must choose if he loves Lucy, or loves vengeance.

Soon Tom discovers there's more to it than just gangs beating up nerds and raping girls, there's drug lord undertones and a huge crime circle going on. I'm actually quite pissed, because we never get to know who the main perp is... every time Tom tries to hack his profile, he gets errors, and unknowns... WTF is that about!? I want to know so bad. I want there to be another one. I want Tom to be a superhero, because he totally is... AGH it was so good!

~~~End Spoilers~~~

The cyberpunk theme is maintained strongly throughout, and is a fantastic element in the movie. It's so well executed, I'm f*ckin jealous. Dear Netflix, please adopt me as your long lost daughter. I'll write for you endlessly. I love you. Bring my brain to life on the screen T_T

In closing, this movie was so cool, I'm going to watch it again tomorrow. Thanks Mom for chilling with me after my busy work life finally wrapped up. Ugh... I need to figure out how to replicate myself.
Night kiddies...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Networking & Genuine Fans

Hola kiddies! Months and months ago I was on Author's Row at MileHiCon; my best con so far for networking, sales, and fun. I'm calling out networking in this post because recently I've been chatting with one of the authors (James Hunter) who was near by at MHC and we've struck up conversation about what he's working on, what prospects look like in other genres, etc. These things are vitally important for authors to share with each other, and here's why:
When a market is about to explode, readers are hungry for the genre and consume everything in it too quickly. If demands aren't met, they start looking for the next genre to catch their interest. However, if there is a higher volume of available content, they'll stay in the genre. Proof of that, you can see on Google Trends.

Paranormal Fantasy popularity:
You can see there was a big spike for it in October 2009, and that date we saw a few paranormal fantasy/romance type books come out. However, the author community didn't respond with enough vigor, quickly, and the readership got bored. (I'd also like to call out that Kindle Direct (launched in 2007, not popular until late 2009) and other self-pub/indie-pub options were not as viable as they are now, so that could've hurt the market too.)

Because I wanted to share more of these interesting learnings, here's a light off-topic veer for a second.

Sci-Fi has spikes in November:
But only just recently when they started figuring out the release cadence, and they've slowed the degradation of the genre readership, possibly even turned it around.

This is a really good thing.


Fantasy has Spikes in September, and is very stable, whereas Urban Fantasy specifically has spikes in August and is tapering off.
So then, know when I show you this next chart what it could mean for the genre if we don't hop on the bandwagon fast.

Literary Role Playing Game, or LitRPG. James has already written and published his piece for the genre, and it's the best received book he's ever had. Here's the pudding, you find the proof:
What other graph does this remind you of? Paranormal Fantasy?
Let's not allow that to happen. Rally up, author's. It's time to blow the doors off a new market and bust in there! (but not get her pregnant because that would be rude)



There's obvious data about release cadences, they're structured and planned to keep readers locked in a genre loop, or genre juggling (reading the new stuff from one right as a new one comes out in the next genre).

Alright, enough about that. Next on the docket is Genuine Fans. Though maybe I should've broke this out into multiple posts, because I have plenty more to say on the above (I learned a few things at COSine! Which... I guess I'll blog about next >_>)

I met a gentleman named Vincente at MileHiCon, and he first approached the author next to me. I stood by quietly and allowed my boothmate to chat him up, see if he could make a sale. Vincente mentioned he liked sci-fi (my boothmate had none), which was right about the moment I noticed his SpaceX jacket.
With a little too much enthusiasm I exclaimed in a flurry, "ARE YOU WITH SPACEX?" No, he said, but he liked what they were doing. We discussed the recent launches, and what we were excited for, and then a magical thing happened. He asked me about my only sci-fi book on the stack.
We chatted a bit more and he decided, to my surprise, to buy it. I'm always a little surprised when a male buys my books since they typically feature strong, independent ladies (a girl's gotta have role models... and mentors... but that's another post).
Then another magical thing happened, he, of his own volition, wrote a review on amazon. And not the "It was good, 4 stars" review, but he looked at it critically, and gave (I hope) his honest opinion about it, which included some space for improvement and more research on my end (happening in the next book, promise).
Lots of parenthesis happening in this post.
So, you thought it was as magical as it could get at that last bit, right? Wrong. Turns out Vincente lives near Colorado Springs, which was where COSine is held. Magic and sparkles: he showed up to chat with me about Sway's Demise, and then bought both books in the Verge of Desolation series! It's less sci-fi in the first volume, so I'm hoping it doesn't bore him to death, but vol.2 is most certainly my most polished work so far (except maybe Inamorata which I love to death).
Wow! For the first time ever, someone came to talk to me about my book, and buy more of them because they liked the first! Someone other than my mother or friends, that is. I know it may sound silly for me to be so stoked, but this feels like finally crushing a 4 in bouldering when I've been trapped at 3+/4- for 6 months solid (that happened too, but I rarely talk about climbing, so I guess you guys aren't in the know about how much awesome that was for me =p)
I did it again. Seems like this has gone on for long enough, with way too many parenthesis. I'm off! Peace out kiddies, and thanks, Vincente, for being totally awesome =)