Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Writing | The Book Addict


The Book Addict is science fiction novella.


NAME1 is addicted to reading, but reading has a whole different meaning in this far distant future. Plug in and download the ultimate sensory experience. Chronic and searching for another hit, she finds herself in debt beyond what she can handle.

NAME2 her daughter enlists her gang of pot heads and outcasts to help find a cure for her mother. They find a hedge doctor who introduces them to the old stuff – paper and ink. The only problem is that it’s so outdated they need to find the places were tech hasn’t touched. They need to go to a place where are humans are still human. A place that doesn’t technically exist. The underlands, buried beneath the mires of fog that will chock unprotected lungs is a society where they cling to the old ways.


This is in pre-draft faze. I should start writing this about mid January and am aiming for 20K.

Other Info:

I am addicted to reading however am often boggled by the shear amount of time it consumes. In brainstorming new technology for reading I came across the idea of downloading books directly to your mind. Then I took my addiction and wondered what would happen.

Once I start writing this I will fill in the blank names, also the synopsis might change too.

Writing | Blood of the Ashen

Due to a recent realization (that maybe I had been avoiding) I have split Blood of the Ashen into two parts. Asha’s Tail and Gyajah’s Tail. They are two distinct story arcs happening at two different passing's of time, that require both their own prologue and own ending. I had been struggling with how I wanted to split this story and had been avoiding the obvious with hopes that the two different casts would eventually intertwine. No amount of forcing them at this point has gotten me these results. Consequently, I am dealing with the obvious. It is a bit of a relief to finally do this. The story now seams less bulky and more manageable.

The titles are subject to change, but for lack of a better inspiration at this point I am moving Blood of the Ashen as the title of the series, and simply naming the two stories after the leads, although both stories are told from multiple view points a la third person limited.

Blood of the Ashen is a post apocalyptic fantasy told in third person limited through multiple view points.

From the destruction of the world teck has survived, but the world functions primarily on Mahjha – elemental energy channeled by Mi’ajha. The world has divided into land claims and tribes, in turn mating contracts and child markets have been developed to fuel the need for Mi’ahja of a certain ilk.

Mi’ahja once the slaves to Crumps, the non chanelers, have found a way to turn the tables with the Crumps as their servants. But things are little different under the new councils, and those who criticize the injustice dare not speak their minds for fear of the consequences.

Asha's Tail:
Asha has been trapped in stone for a thousand years. A goddess unfrozen from time, saved by love, sets out to change the injustices of society.
Shianna, a wind warrior with a broken heart is manipulated into being Asha’s guardian, her brother, Rhett, Asha’s mate.
Emily, a nobody with no skills, a servant to the Mi’ahja, hears of a place were Crumps like her have freedom and rights of their own.

This crew of opposites, in search of justice and freedom, and a life beyond the tribes and mating contracts eventually find themselves on a path to salvation. But freedom isn’t what it seams, and those searching and fighting for it are led to a place even darker than the injustices they could no longer tolerate.

Gyajha's Tail:
Gyajha is a healer who only heals animals, primarily dogs, in a world that is focused on the Mi’ahja. Severely beaten for refusing her final test she leaves the compound, a fugitive, and sets out to find a world that is just and fair.
Droth a mixed bread who hears the Mahja but can not channel it sets out to find a healer for his sister Sussurrus, who was severely damaged in an experiment gone wrong and barely clings to life and sanity.
Aodahn part of the wonderers, a tribe of outcasts set to wonder the land and avoid being claimed, exchanges pieces of soul with Gyajah. However, shortly after he is collected by his original tribe, and forced to submit.

Gyajha on a mission to set Aodahn free, encounters Droth and his plight along the way. In trying to right wrongs, their paths get twisted even more. The future isn't always what it seams, and even those who may glimpse it can't set it in stone.

Currently working on the first draft of each simultaneously. I am aiming for 150K each.

Other Info:
This idea was inspired going for motorcycle rides with my dad. The wind warriors was one of he first concepts I came up with. I started this project during NaNoWriMo 2009 and won, but have yet to finish the story. Am very excited to finish this up.

Writing | The Twelve Grains of Sand

This is a Fantasy Novel told in first person narrative. 

It is about a psalm that’s interpretation has been questioned from the time of inception.  What are the twelve grains of sand?  As two curious scholars go seeking for answers they find pieces to the missing puzzle.  But the pieces only leave more questions, it seams the more answers they find the more questions they have.  The closer they get to solving the riddle the more worried they get about the final outcome.

Currently working on the first draft and aiming for 100K.

Other Info:
The title came to me the other day, and I simply had to know what it meant and where it was going.  I am currently at the inception stage of this piece.  As I delve deeper into the story I will update the synopsis to more accurately reflect the plot of this book (I think it’s a book anyways). 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update | Meet Rosco

He is a three year old stinky slobbering basset hound who likes to sleep under the covers.  We adopted him from some friends of ours who were no longer able to take him due to various personal reasons.  They are not bad people and he is a good dog.  

Rosco is a very loving dog.  He wags his tale a lot and is happy to come and cuddle.  He hops up and down in excitement, but just his front end leaves the ground.  It is absolutely sweet and adorable. He is also more of a whiner than a barker.  A relief to not have two barkers in the house, but the whining can be a bit trying sometimes. 

We are trying very hard to balance affection, make Rosco feel welcome and make Rory feel like she is still well loved and not being replaced.  We are just widening our hearts is all.  More love is never a bad thing. 

I think this will turn out very positively.

 P.S. Yes they both like to sleep in the bed.  A queen size bed for two humans and two bassets.  A bit tight, but very snugly. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays

Sorry ladies and gents. Down for Christmas and the impending mayhem. Will resumes posts in the new year. Have a very happy holidays.

And just as a final gift I give you:

Yup that is the mother-load of free fiction I used to gather up in my spare time. Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine used to post a free story every friday. That didn't last very long, but while it did I read most of them. Bon Appetite!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Fiction | On the second day of Christmas....

Today's free fiction is also brought to you by the 2008 Hugo nominations.

Fountain of Age by: Nancy Kress

I loved this one. It really changed the way I look at short stories, and opened up a whole new perspective and way to write. It is the inspiration for the type of style I would like to accomplish with my own short fiction.

Christmas Updates

I have finished shopping and wrapping all presents I am supposed to wrap in my household. Which means that I have wrapped everything that is not for me. I still, however, have a few things that need doing.

A few groceries need to be acquired and possibly some wine. The car needs to go for a wash and an oil change. I have finally figured out what I am doing for my aunts for Christmas and my Gramma - so I need to sew them their presents this weekend. I have a bit of baking to do too. And I have to make some cards. But for the most part I am done. I think after this weekend I should be able to sit back and relax. I am really looking forward to that and finding some time for reading and writing again.

Also since my day job is steady days weekends off, I have opted to work the days between the holidays. Some people at work are taking them off. But since the layoff this summer I have been perpetual scared of it happening again, and holiday days are money in the bank in case it happens again. So I try to use them sparingly. That being said I will be using 6 hours of holiday time as I will only be working half days for Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Speaking of New Years Eve, I am ridiculously excited to be going to our regular bash in Ottawa. We have a friend who hosts every year. We weren't sure if we were going to make it this year, as we now need two dog sitters. I will introduce you to our newest member of the family on Sunday. And with that I bid you adieu...

.... don't you love cliff hangers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Fiction | On the first day of Christmas....

Tis the season…. To be on a fucking rollercoaster ride. Maybe. Except I can’t seam to find the upswing of it all. I keep trying. I see my goal insight and I keep reaching for it, but that allusive happiness is gone. Not where I thought I could reach it.

I have my ups and I have my downs. But the ups seam more like hope than actual victory. After this weekend I think I should be in the clear. To sit back and enjoy other people’s panic. I know I am evil, but when I am doing this I will be sending out joyous happy thoughts to those who need it. Keep your receptors open.

So some of you might be on the lower end of things (like I was this morning), some of you on the higher end of things (like I am this evening). Christmas is supposed to be about a great many positive things, family, time together, relaxing… instead it turns into a large slopping bucket of stress.

In an attempt to find the holiday spirit I have surrounded myself with Christmas things that have the potential to make me happy. I put up the lights on our house. I decorated. I bought some rum and eggnog. Spirit still MIA. Perhaps it’s because we still have quite a bit of rum and eggnog left.

Whatever state you are in, don’t forget to take some time for yourself. READ. Trust me this is important. I often put my reading on the back burner when I am getting pressed for time. Don’t. Pick up the book and nock out a chapter. You will be able to leave it all the stress behind for a time. When you get back to it, you will hopefully feel refreshed.

What I give you my beautiful devoted faithful followers from now until the New Year is free fiction. Not mine – mine is not in a state to be viewed. But free fiction nonetheless.

Today, the first day of my presents, I give you:

All Seated on the Ground by: Connie Willis, a 2008 Hugo nominee. It is a little bit of an obscure Christmas story, but fun nonetheless.

And for those of you who are definitely on the lower end of things by far, I recommend Island of the Sequined Love Nun by: Christopher Moore. Not related to Christmas what so ever, funny to boot, and with a character who you might find more pitiful than yourself.

Happy Holidays and Best of Luck…. We could all use a heaping dosage of that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Article | Twilight Saga - Part Three - The Final Blow or how to tie of the loose end left by Breaking Dawn

Lets just be honest here. There was a great big huge gaping plot hole left at the end of Breaking Dawn.

Sephenie Meyer manages to tie up her series nicely. But that’s just it. It is nice.

I read primarily high fantasy. I know that the bad guys are willing to do what the good guys aren’t. In the last book, Breaking Dawn, the Cullen’s and their gathered group of supporters outnumber the Volturi and intimidate them into walking away. And they let them walk away too. But now the Volturi know the Cullen’s defenses. The Volturi are powerful, and have been ruling for quite some time. They may look like dogs walking away with their tails between their legs. However, what is going to happen is they are going to go back and plot revenge to annihilate the Cullen’s and their supporters, especially since they are all going their separate ways now. This allows for the Volturi to pick them off one at a time. There will be no happily ever after, just running from now on.

With that huge glaring plot hole staring at me I couldn’t be satisfied with the way in which Stephenie tied up the series. To me it was still unfinished. So I created my own sequel. I didn’t write it. That would be a waste of my time. (Sorry. I don’t mean to criticize those that right fan fiction. I used to in high school. But now I am aiming my writing goals for publications. So my time is best spent writing original work.) But I have loosely plotted it out given the facts presented in the previous novels.

We will start with Jasper. He knows stuff about Vampire warfare. He is an untapped resource of information. He will foresee what is going to happen. The Cullen’s however are docile and don’t believe him, can’t believe him. He branches off to father an army and train them. Alice see’s what is coming, however even with her visions the rest of them work towards trying to come to another peaceful solution. However, as despair runs deeper and Alice is not getting any flashes of a way out of this they are forced to accept the truth of the matter. By that time it is almost too late.

Renesmee and Jacob. This is a complicated relationship. Since Stephenie’s novels are typically love stories, I will keep with this theme and use Renesmee and Jacob as the primary driving force of the novel. She ages fast. He pauses aging. They meet somewhere in the middle. Except she doesn’t want to be fate and destined to be with him. She wants her own choices. This is decided after a very steamy make out. (Up against the wall clothes too much kind of almost at the brink of things then pushes him away because it’s all too overwhelming.) She goes away to do some kind of soul searching. Since Edward and Bella are fairly naïve they let her go. Plus she is very willful and spunky (someone has to have a backbone in this tale).

Except she gets kidnapped. By the Volturi. Who seek to use her as bait. They try to use her power to call the Cullen’s however she won’t let them. Time is spent where she is tortured and eventually they are able to break into her mind where they are able to use her powers. Except they end up calling Jacob instead of the Cullen’s. This is her proof that she has chosen him. That is isn’t some silly bond. That even her subconscious desires him. When she needs to reach out for help, it is to him she calls.

This is about the time that the Cullen’s really realize how fucked they are. Alice finds Jasper, and everyone reunites and Jasper has a big badass army with flamethrowers. Jacob takes off, unknown to everyone else, going to save the day for Renesmee. They all end up in the Middle East.

Why the Middle East. Because that is where Alice’s visions lead her. The Volturi have chosen that for their fighting ground. They do not want to ruin their hometown. So they choose a place that is already being ravaged by war and set up a base camp their. They have managed to subjugate and capture quite a few people who had teamed up with the Cullen’s previously.

It is a bloody death match final battle brawl. With Jacob and Renesmee caught in the middle trying to get out.

People die. On both sides. Except as an ode to Stephenie and her happily ever after the Cullen’s have more people left standing on their side. So when it comes time to torch the battlefield, they are able to gather pieces and reassemble some of their vampires. The Volturi are pretty much demolished along with their disciples. The remaining are captured. The Cullen’s not quite having learnt their lesson (because lets face it they are weak), want to let the offenders go. However Jasper won’t let them. A compromise is reached and the captured are forced to sign treaty agreements and kept under close surveillance.

Then there is a wedding between Renesmee and Jacob. It is held up in the Rocky mountains in a secluded area. And there is sex. We write the sex. Tired of this PG nonsense. Real life happens. People have sex. The end.

It makes the whole Twilight saga experience more bearable with my new ending to it. It gives me more closure than Breaking Dawn anyways.


And this concludes my current wanderings into the Stephenie Meyer Twilight universe. Next I plan on posting a long overdue review on
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. I may also do a compare and contrast with the movie provided I rent it tonight.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Article | Twilight and Love

In keeping with a Twilight based theme, I am going to criticize the type of love presented in this series vs. real life love.

I read all of the books within a week.  The momentum carrying me forth at a dizzying speed.  Like shot after shot at happy hour at the bar.  A good idea at the time, but not so great the next morning when you are wondering why the fuck you did it in the first place.

When I awoke from my twilight hangover one of the huge glaring misdemeanors was the type of love presented in these books. 

The books are primarily a love story.   But it is about the desperate first love experience. The Romeo and Juliet do or die kind of love.  Great in theory, horrible in actually real life application.  It is based more on passion, than on actual life.  There are different kinds of love, and what scares me about the popularity of this series is that young women are going to grow up expecting this kind of love and be vastly disappointed when they can’t find it. 

I like the stable kind of love, the one were you know you can depend on each other and you aren’t clinging in desperation.  The kind were making the bed and shoveling the driveway say I love you louder than a bouquet of roses (not that roses aren’t nice, but they don’t shovel the driveway).  But to write that kind of book wouldn’t necessarily attract the same kind of audience. 

Sure we read for escapism, guilty as charged.  But when I am done with the trashy romance novel, I know that I am not in renaissance Italy with a mysterious stranger who palpitates all of my desires and the rest of the world doesn’t matter because it is just the two of us.  No, I am in my house that needs the rent paid and the dogs walked. 

Being younger and looking forward to growing up we often romanticize a lot of issues.  When we grow up we’ll be nothing like our parents, we’ll have the dream jobs and the dream life.  But that isn’t always true.  And sometimes we find happiness down other avenues we hadn’t originally contemplated. 

What would be nice is a disclaimer.  Or perhaps a group discussion regarding the realities of life.  Then again you can talk all you want but it doesn’t matter if no one is listening.  Sometimes the only way lessons can be learnt is to live.  Textbook theory only goes so far. 

These girls will learn.  It just sucks that they had to get their hopes set up so high.   Perhaps they’ll find the reality much sweeter once they get adjusted.  Much more practical and dependant and stable.  Healthier.  Like outgrowing candy, you never think you will but one day you’ll want a piece of fruit over a chocolate bar. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Movie Review | New Moon

With the release of New Moon and having just gone to see it I am going to do my first movie review on it.

Here’s the basics:

Better than Twilight, still funny as hell.

New Moon is a huge improvement from Twilight, but the love triangle is so cheesy I couldn’t help but giggle at inappropriate times.  Also the acting still sucks, but the cinematography is vastly improved.  Overall, better than Twilight, but not my favorite movie of the year.

Enter sub rant regarding special effects.  I believe that they achieved a good medium between story and special effects in New Moon, and the special effects were of a far better quality than Twilight.  I am however weary of them overdoing it with a larger budget in the next installment.  The last thing that is needed is to sub in special effects because they don’t know where their plot is going.  Twenty minutes of things blowing up as a distraction because they forgot how to tie a story together does not constitute a good movie.

They did a good job of summing up the book.  Sure they made changes and adjustments, but the changes were necessary to make the cuts needed to condense the book.  It also helped to seam up the story better.  I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if the books were written in conjunction to the movie.  They would be cleaner and more concise.

Overall it was a solid interpretation and much better than the first installment.  I am weary as they progress through the series.  But the decisions will be made by others who are not me.  I will probably still go see the next one.  

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Updates | Into the future and beyond.

 New Posting Schedule:
Now that NaNoWriMo is over I will not be posting on a semi daily basis. However, I do want to post on a regular basis.  Currently I am thinking of a Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday schedule.  Blogs will go up sometime in the evening.  We’ll see how that works out. 

We are going to expand our horizons a little beyond books.  There are a lot of different means for telling a story, and while I don’t want to be a jack of all trades blog, I do want to explore story telling means. 

First off, we will be moving into the realm of web comics.  You get to read with the added bonus of visual content (pretty drawings).  I have found a few highly addictive ones that I will be sharing with you soon.    

Furthermore, I am going to be participating in Script Frenzy in April.  So between now and then I will be reading some scripts and watching them to see the translation from page to screen.  This means, I will also be bringing you the occasional movie review, TV review or Play review.  Keep in mind some of them may just be a rant on plot holes because I do need an outlet to express my disappointment in video media story telling. 

I still need to finish my first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel.  I am hoping to be done with the draft by mid January.  I am estimating a word count around 150K.  Therefore, I will be participating in the 1000 words a day challenge to help me meet my goals.  Or in my case slack for a few days then make a comeback and write 3000 words in one day. 

When I get into the editing phase of my manuscript I will take you along for that ride.  Posting about helpful tricks and websites and books.  Until then we’re still slogging through the rough draft.  So, I will continue to post in regards to self realizations regarding writing techniques and habits; what works for me and what doesn’t.  Hopefully this may someday help you.  Or you’ll just get a good laugh. 

NEW e-mail address
Some of you may have noticed that I have changed my e-mail address for sending ARC’s too.  I wanted to divide my personal e-mails from my writing e-mails.    I also wanted my e-mail address to more accurately reflect my web presence.  Enjoy. 

This is touchy.  I want to be upfront with you and I don’t want to be scorned for it.  I have decided to start monetizing my blog.  I am doing okay financially at the day job, but I don’t have a lot of room for spending money.  Things are tight, but I am sure they are tight all around. 

Since I used to link to Amazon anyways for books, now if you click on the link and decide to buy something on your visit, I will get a teeny tiny percentage of that sale.  Truly it will most likely be re-invested back into the book market. 

Just to clear my conscious and to perhaps ease some concerns I will not have ads for teeth whitening or belly fat.  I find them invasive and that they ruin the continuity of a nice website.  Like swearing in a classy restraint.  All ads that will appear here will be directly in conjunction with the purpose of my blog (hopefully). 

Consequently if you would like to advertize hear please e-mail me at PiscesMuse(at)gmail(dot)com and we can discuss what you are looking to do. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding regarding all the new changes that I am hoping to implement.  Someday a facelift will be on the agenda.  Hopefully in the new year. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Article | Time to Blow Some Shit Up - Conflict and Your Writing

This post started off as POV themed, to lead into why I chose the POV for my NaNo novel. By the time I was near finished writing the article the strain had shifted to be about conflict. I have saved my spiel on POV, but today is about conflict.

Does your novel have enough in your face conflict or are you pussyfooting around because you don’t want to hurt your babies?

My bible go to book series for master story telling is the Realm of the Elderlings world by Robin Hobb. It consists of three trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest); The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, Ship of Destiny); and The Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, Fool's Fate). Often times throughout my blog you will see me reference her. It is with good reason. Read her books and you will know. She has a talent. She can tell first person like nobodies business yet still capture the POV of the supporting characters. She has an amazing talent for third person limited as well, weaving in multiple strands of story and POV flawlessly. She also has a way with characters, routinely torturing them. There is no easy road for her protagonists. It’s all uphill in twenty feet of snow with wolves nipping at their heals. Consequently her characters show true growth, undergoing amazing personal changes. The woman deserves a standing ovation for her work.

I knew I would need to have conflict in my book. But I didn’t know if I would have the mental fortitude to write the way Robin does. I didn’t know if I would be able to torture my babies. Put them in situations where they might not get out of.

So I gave my characters conflict in a detached manner. The system is flawed, must fix the system. But without any concrete examples of the conflict encountered. Not a direct influence. It wasn’t personal enough. But I couldn’t find the mental fortitude to shake things up.

Until late one night.

I was tired and exhausted yet still plugging away at my story. Needed to make word count. I was writing a minor POV character. He’s trying to escape the city, ahead of those that want his life. Haven’t met the antagonists, they are just some detached conflict motivation. He’s destroying evidence when he is caught by the crime overlords of the city. I was writing away moving things forward when the conflict found me. And it was an “aw shit” kind of moment where I new I could ignore the situation and write him a clean break, or I could deal with it. I chose to deal with it.

Now it is one of my favorite threads in the books. I want to write more about it. I want to toss all of my characters into the fire now and see how they do. I am done protecting them. Done letting them be all high and mighty. It’s time I see what they are made of and how they deal with real in your face conflict.

Robin Hobb, here I come. Aspiring to follow in your footsteps. I didn’t think I had it in me at first, but now I know I can do this. Time to blow some shit up.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Article | Three Types of Writers Left After NaNoWriMo

November is over and with that comes the end of NaNoWriMo. But for some of us the end is only the beginning.

At this point I believe there are three kinds of us left after NaNoWriMo. There are 1) those who have yet to finish their story despite their word count 2) those who have finished their story and 3) those who have not finished their story but loath it so much they can’t stand the thought of loosing any more time on it.

For those of us who are in group one (ME!!!) take December to finish your project. Or however long you anticipate that it will take. But keep writing. Don’t give up.

For those of you in group two Congratulations. You rock. Put it away though for the month of December and give it some time to ferment into a good wine. You need space to gain objectivity from your manuscript, so for December enjoy that you have a finished product that you may or may not want to return to, to clean up at a later day. Remember to keep writing though.

For those of you in group three, and who still want to continue to write, I offer you my condolences. I am sorry that your NaNo project didn’t turn out to be love affair you anticipated. I hope that at some point throughout the experience you found a brilliant gem of an idea though that you would like to pursue now. Write what makes you happy and don’t get bogged down by that, that doesn’t.

For now December being what it is, the month before Christmas, we’re going to take it easy and take it slow. I plan on continuing working on my NaNo novel as it is not yet done yet. I hope to have this finished by mid-January (the first draft anyways). For those that are finished with their NaNo novels or the novels are finished with you pick something short and sweet that you will enjoy to write on in December. It doesn’t have to be another novel. It can be a short story, a poem. Whatever inspires you. Just keep on writing and don’t beat yourself up.

Now is the time to slow down to a manageable pace and figure out how you want to balance writing in with the rest of your life. I realize that December might get a little hectic too, so if you have to put things on hold till the New Year and make it your resolution, I understand. If writing is what you really want to do, it will make its way into your life. Just don’t forget to leave the door open.