Sunday, November 8, 2009

WOW, it's been a while.

What I'm Listening To: The dogs barking.

What I'm Doing: Getting caught up on my internet after a weekend at Nekocon, and then preparing to knuckle down and get writing.

So I don't really have an excuse for neglecting this blog to the point that I have, except for I've been distracted by things other than writing, and I lost my internet for a month.

That said, I'm back and kicking, working on a novel for Nanowrimo, which brings me to the point of this post:

There is a book I desire, and I'm entering for a chance to win it. You can too; just join this website and hang around and talk for a while. While you're there, enter the contest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lemonade Stand Award!

What I'm Listening To: My fan blowing mostly dust around my room.

What I'm Doing: I just woke up so I'm not doing anything but sitting in front of my computer.

A huge Thank you! shout-out to Emily Cross of The Writer's Chronicle who nominated me for another fantastic award!



Here are the rules:

Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
Link your nominees within your post.
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

My nominees will be arriving shortly; their flight was delayed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I fail

What I'm Listening To: The Green Mile

What I'm Doing: Brainstorming my novels.

First of all, we can see how well I do when I give myself something to do every day. I'm going to try to keep up with the shorts, but I've been doing more thinking and reading than writing lately. A horrible thing for an author in progress to admit, I know, but I can almost taste publication. I don't know if this has to do with the fact that I submitted a short story to the On the Premises contest - I'll find out whether or not anything comes of it by mid-October - or my currently-in-editing Eversong WIP, but it's almost tangible.

I'm watching The Green Mile, the movie based off the book by Stephen King. The book always - always - makes me cry. I've read it dozens of times - I know how it ends. But every single time, I cry. And the movie's no different.

Well, I started this post to talk about why I slacked off on the daily shorts, and to announce the beginning of a new WIP, as well as some news about Nano.
I'm sure everyone knows about it, but if there's anyone who doesn't, it's short for NaNoWriMo, which is further short for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is starting from November 1st, you have thirty days - until November 3oth - to write at least 50k words. A novel in a month. All the fun stuff - editing and revisions, turning that awful piece of work that you slaved over for thirty days into something readable - comes later. I've read horror stories from agents who received MSS with exactly fifty thousand words - stopping in the middle of a sentence, even - and another MS that had a little note reading 'Done for the day' after every 1700 words or so.

Those stories make me cry. The very idea of sending an unedited MS to someone - especially after something as hectic as Nano - is abhorrent. I believe I've said something to this effect before. The least they could have done was finished the sentence or skimmed through to remove the extras.

Anyway, a friend of mine over on the Quill and Ink sent me the first chapter of her novel, and she'd done something pretty neat in front of it, creating a publishers page and a title page and whatnot. I happened to be reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley when the new idea struck (like lightning) so I used her novel as the basis for my own 'publishers' and title pages, and in Sunshine, is also a list of her other novels, so I added my own.

All of mine aren't written yet, of course. But here's the list of books I want to write:

Moonlight
Eversong
Return to Eversong
Eversong: Dark Star Rising
Tales of Eversong
Eden’s Gate
Perfect
Mischief and Murder
Prelude to Dawn
Twilight Serenade
WishMaker
Heaven’s Halfway


Tales of Eversong is the collection of short stories revolving around the Eversong universe, which will be up on my website for free if I don't get them published. When I get a website.

Anyway, although Moonlight is the newest one - it's in the planning stages right now - for Nano, I'll be working on book two of the Eversong Chronicles (formerly Legends of Eversong; I haven't decided which to go with yet) Return to Eversong. That'll make at least three novels written in a single year, because I'm resolved to complete Eden's Gate (at least to the first draft) before the year is out.

But it was that list in the beginning of Moonlight that made me really stop, take a step back, and take a good hard look at what I'm doing. If I one day manage to complete all of these - which I fully intend to, within the next few years - I'll make myself into one of those writers who pumps out novels like a machine.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daily Short #4

What I'm Listening To: Alexander Rybak - Abandoned

What I'm Doing: Reading, attempting to write, and listening to WW3 going on upstairs. :/

in motion

I'm trapped here in a place I hate, with a woman I loathe. I love everyone but her, and I hate that I'm frozen in place, unable to go anywhere or do anything on my own. I have lofty dreams. I have plans. I want to be constantly in motion, never staying in one place longer than a year or two at most. There are so many things that I want to learn, see, do, experience, and I'm stagnating here.

But even though I want to travel, I want to have a home base somewhere. A pleasant place I can go to recharge, but somewhere I'm not tied down. Somewhere I can drop off all the things I've collected on my travels, so that I don't have to get rid of anything, and a place to go for holidays and family gatherings.

Until I figure out where my home base is, I'll just keep on going, constantly in motion until I complete my quest.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Daily Short #3

What I'm Listening To: Sonata Arctica - For The Sake Of Revenge

What I'm Doing: Getting ready to go to bed. I'm tired.

ornate glass bottle

The house sits overlooking the water, large enough for two without seeming excessive. The couch is the most hideous thing anyone’s ever seen, but as it’s also the most comfortable, no one complains much after they sit down. The large television is flanked on both sides by a movie collection of Blockbuster proportions. Built into the wall behind the couch is a bookshelf that inhabits nearly the entire space, and is filled to the brim with novels of every shape and size. The carpet is plush, and the curtains are dark.

Lining the window sill are ornate glass bottles of every shape, size, and colour. When the sun is coming up over the ocean, the rays of light send colours streaming into the room where they fall against the far wall like waves crashing onto the shore. Sometimes they sit on the hulking, ugly couch and watch the stars come out above the array of bottles, and whisper back and forth in all the languages they know.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

daily short #2

What I'm Listening To: Ghostly Encounters on the TV.

What I'm Doing: Thinking, reading, watching TV, and putzing around on the internet. (Not all at the same time. Not even I'm that good.)

under the influence

It’s like being drugged. The world starts spinning, and the colours blur together, and everything is more intense. Being in love is like nothing else in the world. You’re up, you’re down, you’re happy, you’re sad, you’re pissed off, you’re jumping off the edge of the world into a vast expanse of nothing and it terrifies you, but at the same time you can’t get enough of it.

When you’re in love, you don’t really see things the same way as other people. It doesn’t matter if the other person is ugly, or short, or anything. People may see the person you love as ‘unworthy’ or ‘wrong’ but it doesn’t matter, because you know what it’s like to feel that love, that overwhelming feeling that just drowns out everything else. It can make a person reckless, or stupid; people have done crazy things for love. People put up with abuse – for love. People will kill – for love. It’s insane, this loss of control. But I’d rather be in love for the rest of my life than take drugs.

It’s basically the same thing, anyway.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ponyo and Daily Shorts

What I'm Listening To: Tom and Jerry (still)

What I'm Doing: getting ready to go to bed/work on DSR more.

I saw Ponyo today. My first impression of it was "WHAT. THE. FSCK?!"

But then the story actually began to develop, and I got into it, and thought, "WHAT. THE. FSCK!?" still. XDD

Overall, it was MAAAD CUTE! I'd see it again, especially now that I know what it's about. I don't think I would have gone to see it on my own volition, but I'm glad I went.

While I was gathering links for the award thing, I saw something pretty cool on Ghiffi's blog. (I've fallen behind on keeping up with my blogger stuff, so I don't know why I never noticed it before; I always knew she posted art, but I just now realised that she posts a 'daily doodle.')

I've decided I'm going to gank it from her, and turn it into a daily short.

Basically, I'm going to take the thing from Twitter (whose name escapes me at the moment) and turn it into a 100-500 word short each day.

I'll start now.

(edit: the twitter page is Writing Prompt)

looking up

She turned her face up to the sky as the clouds ripped open with a rumble of thunder. Rain poured down around her, soaking her to the bone, but she refused to go inside. Blinking against the drops of water, she stared up into the endless expanse of grey, and imagined herself somewhere else. Anywhere else. The location didn’t matter, as long as she was away.

She pictured herself walking through the rain with someone special, someone who was like her – someone who didn’t mind the water falling from the sky. She didn’t know who it was, or if they even existed. But together, somewhere, they would walk through the damp streets holding hands, and they would cross a beautiful bridge spanning a small river.

At the apex of the bridge, they would pause, turn their faces skyward, and then lean forward and share a special kiss.

My Very First Award!

What I'm Listening To: Tom and Jerry

What I'm Doing: Outlining DSR.

Jenna from As the Plot Thickens nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award! My very first blog award! I'm so excited! Thanks sooo much to her for it! I'd give it back, if she hadn't already been nominated herself.



The rules are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated (I'll be doing this when I get home later. I don't want to let everybody know until this post has actually been put up, y'know?)

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME (That you may or may not find interesting):

1. I'm nocturnal. (Jenna may think this is ganked, but I actually am.) I'm a night-owl - which means I'm at my best at night - and also an insomniac, which means I have difficulty sleeping at night. I don't like sunlight, it hurts my eyes (and this is ganked from Jenna the Werewolf) which leads me to believe that I'm secretly a vampire. Rawr.

2. I collect odd things. Stuffed animals, foreign coins, perfume bottles, key chains, nicknacks (I have a couple of faerie statues, and a tiger, a dragon that glows in the dark... I'm also looking to improve these collections.) Things I find on the ground. (I've got two key cards to something. A hotel, I guess, or a work-place. I found them both months apart, but they're for the same place. People must really hate those cards.) Con badges.

3. I steal shirts and jackets from my friends as 'mementos.' I also replace them with shirts of my own when I can.

4. I prefer to reread the same books over and over than branch out and buy new books. From the library, however, I get whatever catches my interest - which usually includes (if I get ten books) five books that I've read before, and five books that just happened to catch my attention. Sometimes the ratio is 7:3 - seven books I've already read, and just want to reread, and three new books.

5. I hate shopping. But I love new clothes. It's a conundrum.

6. I think that real happiness comes from a new you. Doing something as simple as cutting an inch off my hair can make me happy for days, and when I have the money to buy an entirely new me from the skin out, I get excited like nothing else.

7. I hate watching TV, and movies - unless they're very interesting - rarely hold my interest longer than the first fifteen minutes. I always have the TV on for noise, though, and something to pay attention to when I get bored with whatever I'm doing. I do watch shows on Investigation Discovery, the History Channel, History Internation, and the Science channel, though. (all geeky/nerdy shows.) And recently I've started watching CSI, CSI Miami, and CSI New York whenever I can.

MY NOMINEES (in no particular order):

1. Mami, of Courting Madness
2. Schatzi, of What in Tarnation!?
3. Shady, of Character Assassinations R Us
4. Cheri, of Francophonic Funk
5. Renko, of rare and endangered
6. Jess, of Say What?
7. Ghiffi, of Odyssey

I'll notify them all at some point in the next few days. I'm tired of this now. *lazy/no attention span*

Eversong LIVES!

What I'm Listening To: Something on Investigation Discovery.

What I'm Doing: Brainstorming for the third novel of the Legends trilogy.

For the longest time, I had absolutely no idea what happened in the third book. I had a very basic sketch outlined in a single paragraph. A 'dark star' (comet) appears in the sky, and with it come monstrous black beasts that are seemingly undefeatable. They are the harbingers of a trio of powerful god-like beings that are looking to turn Eversong into their new home.

That... was it.

That's all I've had. For over a YEAR, I've been struggling to figure out the details.

And then, randomly, the word "Lunamari" popped into my head, and I knew that it was the name of a people who inhabit caverns on the northern continent.

I rolled it around for a few hours, and "Starravayn" followed - the name of said northern continent.

When I first created the map of Eversong, I included pictures of a globe with four continents, of which Eversong is the largest. I knew the southern continent was attached to Eversong by a land bridge, and was called Zen'la, the prison of the Dragon God Draevn. I knew Eversong was in the western hemisphere, but I hadn't the foggiest about the northern or eastern continents. Until now.

One day, I'll get my map scanned and show you my horrendous attempt at cartography.

But for now, the world has a name: Mana'riin. Eversong is - and always has been - just one of the continents. Now it joins Zen'la, Kor'l, and Starravayn.

Eversong is a heavily wooded continent, home to elves and faeries, among others.

Zen'la is a frozen wasteland dominated by a massive mountain called Zen'la'eng (which means something, but I need to reread all my notes - I've forgotten a lot of what I originally wrote down.) which is where Draevn was imprisoned.

Kor'l is in the East, and is a massive desert. I'm not sure who - or what - lives there yet, but a name and geography is more than I had yesterday.

Starravayn is in the far north (if it were Earth, it'd be in the Arctic Circle) and is solid ice (much like Anarctica is.) Beneath the ice, the land is practically hollow, a network of holes and massive caverns. The beings who live there have never seen the surface, and live their entire lives underground.

Even as I'm writing this down, more details are making themselves known. (I can't take credit for creating this; I had nothing to do with it. It's like the information is being sent to me telepathically, which brings to mind one of my favourite quotes: "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." - E.L. Doctorow.) I had previously decided to write Return to Eversong for Nano, but the more I think about it, the more excited I am about writing DSR. I may fling RtE out between now and November, and work on DSR for Nano instead.

I feel complete at last, now that I'm writing again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mock Covers!

What I'm Listening To: Practical Magic

What I'm Doing: Watching Practical Magic and trying to think of something interesting to do.

A while back, I doodled up what I imagined the covers of the Eversong trilogy would look like. Unfortunately, I'm no artist, and it came out looking... rather silly.

So, when a friend of mine on the Quill and Ink Forum posted the mock-up covers of her novels, I was intrigued.

And immediately started work on my own.

Lo, behold! A sneak peak at the covers of the Legends of Eversong Trilogy!





Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mystery

What I'm Listening To: Alexander Rybak - Foolin'

What I'm Doing: Reading. A lot.

This is probably going to be quick and dirty; I felt guilty for not posting anything for nearly a month, and I just had a thought that I felt deserved to be written down.

I'm reading fanfics at the moment, and this particular one is by a 'big name author' in the fandom. That said, I expected her to be really fantastic.

It's... okay, but it lead to my complaint.

There's no mystery. It's a novel-length fanfic (over 98k in words) but so far there's been no 'page-turning' to it. It's just... 'fact. This happens. That happens. He's bored. He's sleeping with someone to stave off boredom. He's spying. Here he is. They meet.'

There's no 'what is he doing here? Why did that happen? Who was that? What's going to happen next?"

No mystery!

It's a strange thing to realise, that I'm actively becoming a better writer; I can see it easily, when looking at my writing from several years ago, versus now. Even when looking at more recent things Pre-Book, versus Post-Book. (fanfics I wrote before I attempted Eversong and Eden's Gate as opposed to what I've written since those two novels.) But to KNOW that I'm seeing what makes a bad writer, or a 'not-good' writer, and to be able to apply it actively to myself, is a strange feeling.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Inevitable.

What I'm Listening To: Alexander Rybak - Dolphin

What I'm Doing: Writing - fanfics, admittedly, but better than nothing.

Although this new-found habit of mine will undoubtedly stand me in good stead while writing and revising, at the moment it's new enough to be a nuisance.

"Why?"

I finished a particularly well-written fic, and suddenly wanted to write more of my own. I'd left off with this:

Without waiting for a response, he ducked out of the other's bedroom and made himself busy in the kitchen.

Looking at it, I was thinking, "he's making tea. What does one do when you make tea in an unfamiliar flat?"

Poke through all the cabinets, of course. I added:

Deliberately, he let the cupboards crash closed and the mugs clink onto the countertops,

and then stopped there and stared at it.

Why is he making a ton of noise? He's afraid that his partner is going to kill him and stash his body somewhere, so why is he making enough noise to cover up the sounds of someone sneaking up behind him?

It drew me up short for a moment, and I found myself unable to continue until I'd answered the question. He's afraid. This satisfied my inner critic, and I continued the paragraph as:

Deliberately, he let the cupboards crash closed and the mugs clink onto the countertops, releasing the nervous tension he'd been feeling since arriving on the other man's doorstep.

Will this make me a better writer? Indubitably. Will it irritate the hell out of me, stopping myself every few paragraphs to make sure I'm explaining it to my own satisfaction? It's inevitable.

A bit of a(n) (r)amble

What I'm Listening To: Gerard McMann - Cry Little Sister (Theme from The Lost Boys)

What I'm Doing: Still reading fanfics, thinking about sleep, and now building another novel in my head.

This makes three in the queue now, (and I just imagined Mami smacking me upside the head for using the word 'queue' and how the first thing she did with Eversong was go through and pick out all my British spellings.) but I'm really excited over it. The line, I mean, and not Mami popping me in the head for not writing like the American that I am. I have to finish Eden, and it's not so much a burden - I want to finish it, not like in the past when I've just ... dropped whatever project I was working on for a newer, shinier one - but it simply refuses to finish itself. Scenes from the end are there, but I can't get them into any sort of respectable order, much less put them into words.

After I finish Eden, I've got three to choose from. I can work on Return to Eversong, the second the Legends trilogy, or Wish (the more I think on it, the more I prefer WishMaker or The WishMaker), or the Vampire Novel that's been haunting me for several months now.

Every so often, it'll present itself to me unexpectedly, and something new will come out. At first, I thought it was going to be about a vampire-hunter, and then I decided it would work better from the point of view of the vampire himself - in which there will be no clandestine romances between the vampire and a teenage girl, much to the horror of all Twilight fans in the world looking for the next Bella-To-Be. And I think I've said this before, but the very first line of the novel presented itself to me as I was listening to Cry Little Sister; it's going to begin I was twenty five years old when I died.

This serves multiple purposes. Backstory, a hook, and most obviously, the beginning, which is often the hardest part for me to get out. It also takes the action away from everything I've written or considered so far; Ally notwithstanding, he'll be the oldest character I've written yet (Vicky is twenty two at the beginning of Eversong, Zander's twenty. Ally's twenty nine, nearly thirty, Riley is in his teens - sixteen or seventeen. Nalia's nineteen.) But Perfect is on the backburner; I used to describe it as a stew pot in my mind - my muses were tossing things into it, but for the most part it was just sitting there and simmering. And I don't quite feel ready to deal with everything that's going to have to go into Perfect - it's going to be more work than Eversong and Eden's Gate put together, simply for the fact that it's not a straight line. It's going to take all sorts of twists and turns and curves and unexpected side routes, and until I figure out what those side routes are, I'm not going to be able to write it.

Frustration

What I'm Listening To: Tiziano Ferro - Ed Ero Conentissimo

What I'm Doing: reading fanfics, and considering sleep.

I've been reading a lot of fanfics lately, trying to recapture the writing spark. Some are so-so, and some are just so ... utterly amazing. I get completely sucked into them, and it's only afterwards, when I'm sobbing into a tissue over such a happy/bittersweet ending, that I think, How do they do it?

How do they write characters that make me feel so much for them? What is it about that story that sucked me in so hard? Why am I crying right now, how did they DO it?

I'm proud of myself for these questions. Because I know it means I'm asking myself, How can I do it, too?

But it doesn't lessen the frustration of not being able to pick out the moment when they turn generic characters into real people that I feel for. I foresee a lot of rereads in my future as I try to decipher this little mystery.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mortality in fiction.

What I'm Listening To: Royksopp - Remind Me

What I'm Doing: Reading fanfics and being generally angsty.

Uh... some rather major spoilers for a novel I haven't written yet. If you're worried about it, don't read this next little paragraph.

I recently came to the conclusion that the main character in my next novel is going to die. I don't know if she's going to die victorious, or if it's going to be a total win on the side of evil.

THE SPOILER ENDS HERE.

I've been reading fanfics recently to get myself motivated for writing, and because I'm utterly sick of reading and rereading my books. Unfortunately, I seem to have chosen to read an author who writes uplifting and yet horribly depressing stories. The first one I read involved a murder/suicide plot, with the intention for eternal torture to be carried out after death. (I admit it, I'm a Harry Potter fan. I read and write more fics than I ought to. But because it's Harry Potter fanfiction, you can do a lot more with it than you could with a 'real life' thing, what with all the magic.) That said, the perpetrator planned to capture his enemy in a portrait for the torture, but he died before he had a chance to implement his nefarious scheme. He then became trapped in the very portrait he'd planned for his revenge, and he became friends with the person whom he was going to kill. Over the years in the story, they fell in love, and both ended happily in the portraits after the death of the other. It was such a bittersweet ending that I cried for about fifteen minutes.

Immediately following that, I began reading a fic in which Harry finds out he's going to die of cancer and he's got a year to live. Immediately, it struck me, because I've always been horribly aware of my own mortality.

My mother died when I was twelve years old. She left behind her new husband (my stepdad) a four month old baby (my brother) and myself. (as a result, I'm rather testy when people make 'your mom' jokes to me.) She had an aneurysm in her brain (one of the blood vessels in her brain burst, for those that don't know) and while she was in the hospital after surgery, she had a stroke (a blood clot in the vessels of the brain. I'm not trying to insult anyone here, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I even found out exactly what a stroke was - I'd known she had one, but I didn't know what it was.) and died. She was only thirty four years old.

It's been ten years since then. This October will make it eleven years. As a sort of traumatic reaction to losing her so suddenly when I was so young, my mind blocked off nearly all of my memories of her. I wouldn't recall what she looked like if not for the pictures I cling to, and I can't remember what her voice sounded like, or anything. But it also means that I just literally don't remember much of my childhood. I don't remember things like my seventh birthday, or the details of any Christmases, or who I went to school with, nothing. I call it traumatic amnesia, but there's probably a more technical/proper term for it. I've always been fascinated with amnesia as a condition, but it wasn't until last year that I applied it to myself and recognised that I had amnesia. Clearly, I remember who I am, and I remember her name, and whatnot, but I don't remember any details of my early childhood. It's not until I was well into high school that I have any sort of linear memories and not just scattered snapshots in my brain.

But back to the point of this blog entry. Just a few months after my mum died (I refuse to use euphemisms like passed away - she didn't pass on, she didn't go away, she died.) my grandfather died of an aneurysm in his heart.

Just a year or so after that, a boy in my town was hit by a car and killed. He went to my school, he was around my age.

In 2oo5 my grandmother died of cancer.

But (naturally) the death of my mother affected me the strongest. Because she was so young when she died, I've never really considered living past thirty, myself. I don't intend to kill myself when I reach 31 or anything so stupid. I want to live past thirty, but I never really thought that I would. I still don't. Anything I plan to do - I plan to do it within the next ten years. I'm only twenty three right now, but I intend to pack a lot of living into the next seven to ten years. I want to see the world in that time, because I'm so aware that life can end in an instant. Billy - the boy who was hit by a car - was riding his bike down the highway, on his way back from seeing a girl he'd met at the local fair. He liked her, they may have dated. He certainly didn't intend to die when he did. But in an instant, his life was gone and there was no more Billy Black. My mum had a twelve year old daughter, a new husband, and a four month old baby. The last thing she wanted to do was die when she did. She never got to see me through high school, something I'd always counted on her being there for. She was never with me when I dated, or around to show off embarrassing baby pictures of me in the bath. She never got a chance to see Alex grow up. He's going into middle school this year. Sixth grade. But there's still a possibility that he won't make it through. There's a chance that he'll never grow up. There's a chance that we could all die tomorrow, and most people don't think of it. They get up, they go to work, they trudge through life like it's a burden, never realising how precious it is until it's gone.

I'm not nearly so arrogant as to believe that I'm impressive or interesting enough to write an autobiography that people will want to read, but I'm going to write it, or something similar to it, anyway. I want to leave something of me behind when I go, something that says, I WAS HERE! I lived! I breathed! I loved!

But it will be, inevitably, a story about death.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The world ends with you (standing shotgun in hand above your vegetable patch)

What I'm Listening To: something on Investigation Discovery

What I'm Doing: reading internet articles about being alone.


From Old MacDonald Had A Farmers’ Market –
total self-sufficiency is a noble, misguided ideal

The idea of self-reliance is so deep in our psyches, however, that even when we attempt to escape from the unhappy and unsustainable cul-de-sac of our society, we’re likely to turn toward yet more “independence.” The “back-to-the-land” movement, for instance, often added the words “by myself.” Think about how proudly a certain kind of person talks about his “off-the-grid” life — he makes his own energy and grows his own food, he can deal with whatever the world throws at him. One such person may be left-wing in politics (à la Scott and Helen Nearing); another may be conservative. But they are united in their lack of need for the larger world. Not even to school their kids — they’ll take care of that as well.

Such folks are admirable, of course — they have a wide variety of skills now missing in most Americans; they’re able to amuse themselves; they work hard. But as an ideal, especially an economic ideal, that radical self-reliance strikes me as being almost as empty as the consumer society from which it dissents. Consider, for instance, the idea of growing all your own food. It’s clearly better than relying on food from thousands of miles away — from our current industrialized food economy, which figures “it’s always summer somewhere” and so orders take-out from that distant field every night of the year. Compared with that, an enormous garden and a root cellar full of all you’ll need for the winter is virtue incarnate. But if you believe in many of the (entirely plausible) horror stories about what’s to come — peak oil, climate change — then the world ends with you standing shotgun in hand above your vegetable patch, protecting your carrots from the poaching urban horde.


From How to Drop Out
It is a path and not a destination. And you walk the path not by disconnecting from the rest of the world, but by engaging it in an intelligent and creative way, instead of in one of the disempowering ways that are made to look like the only ways. The myth of the pure and total outsider is one of those disempowering ways. It's a trick designed to make you set an impossible goal, get discouraged, and give up.
This is how I feel about my life. It's about the journey, not the destination. I don't care where I go in life, as long as I have a good time getting there. I could happily spend the rest of my life on the road, just driving around to place to place, seeking out all the little out-of-the-way restaurants and spectacular, historic areas. I think this is what drives my wanderlust. I don't want to be trapped into a single stall for the rest of my life - as the Japanese say, a frog in the well doesn't know the ocean.

When I say that to people, they often go "WTF?" Basically, it means expand your horizons. If the frog spends it's whole life in the well, all it will ever know is the circular stone walls, and the little bit of water and sky that are immediately visible to it. But if it gets out of the well, it can see the ocean and everything that it's been missing it's whole life. That's me. And that's the driving force behind what makes me tick.

Writing and Whatnot

What I'm Listening To: Breaking Benjamin - The Diary of Jane

What I'm Doing: Putzing around, mostly.

Hey, I live! Again! HAH, I AM JESUS. *coughs* Um, well. Yes. Okay! The long absence this time was unfortunately NOT due to writing. In fact, much of my time was occupied with watching a great deal of television (and the most amazing movie I've ever seen. XD It's called Wasabi Tuna, and I found it on Logo, which should tell you at least a little bit about it.) (for those that don't know/don't have my range of channels, Logo is the 'gay' channel.) and playing alternating games of solitaire, spider solitaire, and pinball on my computer.

My stepdad decided that he was going to 'fix' my computer, and proceeded to take up vast amounts of time just dicking around with it, and in the end was revealed to have ulterior motives of wanting to make the wireless card that was in my computer work, so that he could take the wireless USB thing it had been using so that he could hook the 360 up to the internet.

So, he totally effed up my computer. 83

When I finally convinced him to make it work again, I was goofing off with it, and put a password on my account. He apparently didn't like this, and so changed the account (which is currently at 'limited access' which basically means I CAN'T DO SHIT.) password to something different, locking me out of the computer entirely for several days. I'm still frustrated as all hell about the computer, because while the internet is working again, and that I have access to it at all is good, it's still a limited account, so I can't install any of my messengers or the other things that I'm accustomed to having, and worst of all (at the moment) I can't update Flash. So I can't do ANYTHING, because pretty much everything on the internet these days is flash based.

Anyway, enough about me. This is a writing blog, so I'm going to talk about writing. I was reading over the blogs I've missed keeping up with, specifically The Blood-Red Pencil, and the writer of this particular day was talking about a writer's voice.

She said this:

How do we help a writer develop voice? First, we peruse their work. How do they structure sentences? Are characters unique, well defined, and do they remain true to their previous actions? Is the dialogue realistic? Does it vary from character to character? How does the author use punctuation? Do we find consistency in style? What kind of flow propels the story forward? Does it move progressively toward a logical climax?

And it got me started thinking about Eversong, which Mami (my new patron saint of writing) gave me some insightful comments on (without giving away any of the details she's thinking of) the other day. She said it's not terrible, which was a terrific comfort to me, as I'm convinced the whole thing is awful and is going to need extensive rewriting to make anything sensical out of it. (hush, sensical is a word because I say it is.)

But, in particular, I started thinking about my four main characters, Vicky, Jesse, Daemyn, and Faye. "Are characters unique, well defined, and do they remain true to their previous actions? .. Does [the dialogue] vary from character to character?"

Well, yes, it does, but I wonder if it seems contrived.

Vicky is emotional and calm by turns, depending on her situation. She's a 'make the best of it' kind of girl, so when she finds herself in a new world, she's like, "Okay, I can do this, I just gotta find a way out of here."

Daemyn doesn't talk much, but when he does, he speaks... formally. He does not use contractions, and I picture him as somewhat reserved.

Faye is the exact opposite, and often has verbal diarhrea, and is constantly like OMG! Hey guys she totally just did loop the loops! Is that okay? Do you think she'll do it again? How does she do that! That's so amazing that I can't even describe it to you!

Jesse's got anger issues. He blows up over small things, and this often leads to fighting between him and Vicky. This doesn't really become apparent until the second book, as he doesn't get much screen time in the first, though I'm going to work on his irritability in the edits, so that when he starts freaking out in book 2, it's not such a surprise.

These seemed to me to be just the normal personality conflicts between four extremely different people, but now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder, does Faye seem too excitable? Is it contrived and fake seeming? That's just the way she is in my head, but I don't know how it comes across in words.

And I'm wondering about it in Eden. Eden's getting some extensive revisions to add in scenes from other people's POVs - instead of being exclusively Zander's POV, there's a section when Zander's completely out of commission, but I had to interject what was going on with the others during that time, but it was the only time I did that, so I'm going back and adding it to other parts of the story so it's not all like... "OMG where did that come from!?"
(I did that in Eversong as well, but I may end up taking that part out, as I'm not willing to go back and write in tons of other people than Vicky just to make that one section make sense; I believe it can do without it.)

But, I wonder if the characters are diverse enough. I didn't start Eden with any sense of what the story was about, who it contained, or what they were going to do, and didn't find any of that out until I was halfway into it. Dominick's a complete asshole, but he puts up a nice front, but where does Rafe fit in? He's like Jesse, he's got issues, but do they make sense? Or is it just... random? His issues spur from the fact that he's totally in lust with Zander, and is jealous of Dominick's attention to Zander, and Zander's attention to Dominick, and doesn't know how to deal with that, and I'll make sure to point that out when I do his 'scenes' so that when it's Zander's POV again, Rafe's odd moods make sense.

Having written Eversong with pages and pages of notes and long outlines that weren't exactly detailed (one chapter's outline said "The fight between MC and D.Elf King" - and that was IT. XD) and then going straight into Eden with absolutely NOTHING, I've come to a pretty good spot with Wish, my newest idea. Wish takes place in the far future, and the backstory is a girl is born a "WishMaker" - someone who makes a wish and it's granted. Any wish at all, although there's a limit to it. Things that have unpredictable results won't be granted (say she wished for the oceans to dry up or to flood the earth - it wouldn't happen, because it's just SO far reaching with unpredictable results.) but pretty much everything else is. She wishes for little things, like a new bike, good friends, lots of money, long hair, nice clothes, all those sorts of things, and she also sets up the story - she idly (almost jokingly) wishes for World Peace.

It's granted. The global wars end, and the leaders of the world come together in a sort of Global Council, and govern the Earth peacefully for many years. But of course, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and before long, the Council begins unraveling.

The last thing that Thalia (the original WishMaker) wishes for before she dies is for everyone's wishes to be granted, turning everyone in the world into WishMakers.

Decades later, the Council has enacted laws to prevent people from Wishing, and people suspected of WishMaking are hauled off and never seen from again. Gradually, people stop using their power, for fear of being taken away, and one of the Councilmen makes a wish that NO other wishes will ever be granted. Since no one Wishes anymore, they don't notice that they're not granted, and it keeps the council in power because they still go on as if people could Wish, effectively removing anyone suspected of anti-governmental actions.

Much of this isn't stated in the book itself; it's all backstory, and relatively useless, except to me. The protagonist is Nalia, another born WishMaker, but she doesn't know about her power.

The funny thing about this story is that the idea behind it - the WishMaking - was spawned in another story idea about Zombies. XD I was trying to figure out how zombies could be overrunning the Earth without using any of the old themes (a viral infection, most notably) and decided that a kid wished for it and it happened, but then I realised that the idea of WishMaking was bigger than just a zombie apocalypse and Wish was born. An alternate title is "The WishMaker" in case "Wish" falls through, but for now, Wish is the working title.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Query!

What I'm Listening To: 311 - You Wouldn't Believe

What I'm Doing: Putzing around a bit. I need to write; I took a short break from it when the writing petered out, but now the need is rising again.

I was running through the blogs I watch, looking for interesting updates, and noticed that something new had been posted to The Public Query Slushpile. It made me wonder how Eden's Gate would be received (the query for Eversong is... crap. 8// I don't know what to do with it. I figure I'll worry about it later, because Eden's Gate was so much easier.) so I quickly jotted down a query about it, and submitted it to the Public Slushpile. Then, I was so excited about using my 'tagline' that I thought up for it, I decided I'd share it here as well.

Here you have it folks, draft one query for EDEN'S GATE.

Zander Jaden hasn’t had a full night’s sleep in three years. Ever since his mother’s death, the minute the sun goes down, he feels eyes on him, watching him, and waiting. In a desperate attempt to get some rest, he swallows an entire bottle of prescription sleep-aids. After his supposed suicide attempt, Zander is committed to Edensgate State Psychiatric Hospital, a massive sprawling building in the Kirkbride style, now mostly defunct.

He meets Rafe Nazario there, and the two boys become fast friends. Zander confides his problems in Rafe, and in turn, Rafe details the reasons he finds himself there in Edensgate. As they grow closer, their routine is interrupted by the arrival of Dominick O’Brennan, the son of an infamous mafia family from Boston. Dominick despises Rafe and Zander from the start, and does everything he possibly can to make their lives miserable, up to and including stealing Zander’s file from the hospital and taunting him with information. After Rafe and Zander have a fight, however, Dominick moves in, and Zander falls into bed with him.

After Dominick is released from the hospital on the word of his family, Rafe and Zander are finally free to explore their own relationship, with the ever present night-watchers a constant irritant. As Zander tries to find a way to free himself of his curse, he begins to delve deeper into the history of Edensgate – in fact, history presents itself to him clearly in the form of a girl who died there sixty years ago! – and he discovers the powers within him, passed down by his mother, that will help him be free of the night-watchers once and for all.

The only thing standing between Zander and total freedom is once again Dominick – after his family found themselves unable to deal with him, they recommit him to the hospital, and this time, he’s not so forgiving. Knowing Zander’s paralyzing fear of the dark, Dominick nearly kills him when he locks him in the unlit basement for three days.

Time is running out when Zander recovers from Dominick’s mischief, however, for he knows that the power of a solar eclipse on Halloween night will give the night-watchers exactly what they need to obtain their goals – to leave their bleak home and overrun the Earth. Dominick’s acting strangely, Rafe is concerned, and Zander just wants to get some sleep. With the help of the ghosts of Edensgate and a doctor who works there, the two boys work to stop the night-watchers before they can use the hospital as a launch-pad for the destruction of the human race.

The fate of the world is resting on the shoulders of one young man in a mental hospital, and all Hell’s about to break loose at Eden’s Gate.

EDIT:

After some extraordinarily helpful comments over at the public slushpile, I shortened the query from 460 words to about 230 words.

Zander Jaden hasn’t had a full night’s sleep since his mother died three years ago. What he’s not aware of is the reason behind his insomnia – Cassie Jaden was a powerful psychic, and she passed both her talents and her curse onto her son. The minute the sun goes down, Zander feels eyes on him, watching and waiting in the dark. In a desperate attempt to get some rest, he swallows an entire bottle of prescription sleep-aids. After his supposed suicide attempt, Zander is committed to Edensgate State Psychiatric Hospital for treatment, and it’s there that he meets Rafe Nazario and Dominick O’Brennan.

Rafe is friendly enough, but Dominick hates them both on sight, and spends his days doing everything within his power to make them miserable. Through it all is the ever-present threat represented by the night-watchers, who want to claim Zander’s power to throw open the gates between their world and Earth. Zander realises their time is running out, for just before sundown on Halloween, a solar eclipse is scheduled to block out the sun, and the metaphysical energies of both the auspicious day and the eclipse are what the night-watchers are waiting for to tear down the barriers holding them in check. With the help of his friends, Zander must overcome the watchers and prevent them from escaping the bowels of hell to overrun the Earth.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Common Sense Isn't So Common Anymore

What I'm Listening To: The Fray - Little House (Interesting note; this song inspired a really important plot point in Eden.)

What I'm Doing: Dying. TAT *headache* and getting ready to go to bed.

I randomly wandered over to blogger while wasting time (haven't written a thing today! DD8 I'm slipping!) and started reading through my watchlist, to see if anything interesting had been posted, and through a series of "So and so posted a fantastic article on such and such over at this blog today!" I found Alexander Field's blog. Two entries in, and I knew I had to follow him; he's very insightful and well spoken.

In the first post I found, he listed ten things NOT to do in your query letter, and while I was commenting on them, I said that when I first saw his list, I was afraid that I had/would commit most of them, but upon actually reading it, I realised that they were mostly common sense.

That's where the title of this post comes from; have you ever really looked around and noticed that these days? Common sense. Good ideas or thoughts or actions that are supposed to be common knowledge, such as looking both ways before crossing a street.

Yet I continually see the kids out front simply run back and forth with no regard to oncoming vehicles.

I'm sorry, I weigh less than three hundred pounds (by quite a large margin; you'll never get my true weight out me, however.) Those cars are upwards of one or two tons or more. They outweigh me by several thousand pounds and while the human body can take quite a lot of trauma, I'm rather inclined to keep it the way it is, thank you very much. I can also maneuver a little bit quicker than they can; if we don't see each other until they're almost on top of me, then it's quite a lot easier for me to fling myself backwards than it is for the car to fling itself backwards. But this may be just the way I was raised, which includes taking your hat off when you enter a building, and holding doors for people, which, while not common sense, belong to the equally rare and endangered category of common decency.

But I see a lot of the same axioms, maxims, and proverbs in my research for writing, as well as a hell of a lot of good advice. Three people tell me that a query letter isn't a post-it to your best friend on the fridge, it is a business letter. I think of it this way; if you won't go to a job interview in ripped jeans and a bikini top, don't be rude to the people you're trying to do business with. Their first impression of you is the query letter, and while there's pressure to make it good, it doesn't have to be a work of literary genius in and of itself. Tell them about your book. That's it. Make it interesting. That's it. Remain formal, and you're cool. The very idea that someone would write a lazy query (as in, "Sup dawg, so I wanchu to check out this piece of shit that I wrote last night when I was high.") is abhorrent to me. As is the fact that these people often send angry letters when they're rejected.

Dear agent,
I would like to submit for your perusing joy my novel A GIRL AND HER DOG.
It's about Little Lucy Lemon and her dog Snoopy.


And of course, any self respecting agent stops there and sends a form rejection, to which Little Lucy Lemon replies
"OMFG YOU SUCK YOU HOR WTF THIS IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT GRATE AMERICAN NOVLE."

ACK. GASP. SLDKGJ. That's like calling up the place you just interviewed with and telling them that you're going to blow the place up because they don't know what sort of fantastic worker they just turned down in favour of someone a little more sane.

Most people wouldn't do that. They wouldn't walk away from an interview in which they were rejected, then call them up and scream profanities at them. So it's completely beyond me why people would do that to agents. I think agents should have BOLOs for these sorts of people. Like, a whole interconnecting agent-link to which they can post "DO NOT ACCEPT A GIRL AND HER DOG FROM LUCY LEMON." and save themselves a whole lot of stress and trouble and angry tweeting.

Wow, I'm off-topic. XD I'm (in)famous for that on certain websites, in which 'off topic chatter' is unaccepted in the forums. This was originally meant to be a post about notable blogs I've found useful.

And this is in my head, so I can't possibly not say anything about it. I don't know who said this (I want to say Janet Reid at the Query Shark, but I don't know for sure.) about agents wanting something a touch personal in their queries and not To Whom It May Concern. They'll even take "Dear Reptilian Agent Standing Between Me And Fame" which just tickles me pink. And horrifies me at the same time.

What sort of maniacs out there saw that, and then promptly rewrote their query letter to say Dear Reptilian Agent...?

Anywho, onto the links!

Alexandra Sokoloff - I know I linked to her in my last post, but now you're honour-bound to check out her blog. She's the author of The Unseen, The Harrowing, and The Price, three horror/suspense novels, one of which won the Bram Stoker Award. I don't even have to know what they're about to be interested in them, just on the covers alone, but what really interests me are her posts on screenwriting tips for authors. Very, extraordinarily helpful collection of information there.

Editorial Anonymous - Editors seem to be more reclusive than agents, or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. Anyway, the anonymous editor here generally posts helpful questions submitted to her as well as their answers, which can be a great help.

Editorial Ass - That's 'ass-istant', and she goes by the pseudonym Moonrat. Hysterically funny at times, she also posts words of wisdom as well as gems she finds in her inbox, and stories from her homelife. The most astonishing thing about Moonrat is that she's not much older than me; twenty four, twenty five at most. I had assumed she was at least in her thirties, possibly fourties. Very good reads in here, and she's very relatable-to. ... (hush, that's a word because I say it is.)

Miss Snark's First Victim - I'll be frank; she really intimidated me when I first found her blog. I'd heard rumours of Miss Snark, but I came onto the writing scene a couple of years after she stopped blogging, so I was never subjected to her full furious wrath. Not to mention she was posting contest-like things, Drop the Needle and the Secret Agent submissions. But Twitter and Facebook helped me out a lot, and now I recognise her blog for what it really is; a truly helpful tool, whose 'contests' (I realise they're not really, but I have a pounding headache in addition to it being one thirty in the morning, so excuse my lack of brain power for now.) are extraordinarily useful. Okay, so she tells funny stories, too. I may have a blogger-'type'.

The Query Shark - Is there anything more horrifying than the thought of someone ripping your query to pieces? Maybe someone ripping your novel to pieces. But also think about this from the agent's POV; she's got to sit and read through this crap every day. This is a fabulous, brave woman, who clearly has the patience of a saint to not be stark raving mad by now, dealing with the things she does. Some of the comments are amusing, and of course, the whole thing is geared towards helping you to write a better query.

The Blood-Red Pencil - This is one of the blogs I check religiously. I deliberately seek them out in my list, rather than just skimming the whole 'all blogs' thing. Absolutely amazing hints, tips, and tricks, with a healthy smattering of funny stories.

The Literary Lab - Another one I check religiously, for much of the same reasons as the Blood-Red Pencil. They're also full of really cool guest bloggers, who offer insights and insider's knowledge and general opinions not found anywhere else. Absolutely love this blog.

The Mystery and the Magic - Just found this one tonight; he's the one who prompted this whole blog post. I haven't read very far into his archives, but what I've seen so far, he promises to be just as inspiring and helpful as the others that I've listed here.

Okay. Now, I'm going to take seven or eight more aspirin and go to bed. TAT I have a small mouth anyway, and all my normal teeth plus four wisdom teeth (two on each side.) Since I don't have any sort of dental insurance, I have no way of taking care of this problem, and frequently, my teeth start shifting around as the wisdom teeth come in further, or move around, and this causes extreme pain that nothing but aspirin will take care of. Earlier, it hurt in three places; the bottom, near the front, the top near the front, and the top near the back. This meant that not only did my mouth hurt, but my chin, cheek, temple, and forehead hurt as well. Some unknown amount of aspirin later (I take them, they work, the pain comes back, I take more...) and I've got a pounding headache.

Also. We have three bearded dragons. (Really cute little lizards.) We feed them crickets at times.

They do not always eat all of the crickets at once.

There is one. ONE. cricket remaining, and it is silent all day. As soon as everyone else goes to bed, this fscker starts cricking as LOUDLY AS IS FREAKIN' POSSIBLE, and is NOT HELPING MY HEADACHE.

In a funnier story, we always assumed that we had two boys and a girl. They're all in separate terrariums, because the two boys would fight, and obviously, the girl couldn't be kept in with either of the boys because they would mate, and the girl came from the same clutch as one of the boys (making them essentially siblings. Inbred dragons. Can you imagine? XD)

Today, I noticed something strange in one of their cages (they are, in order from biggest to smallest, Draco, a boy, Gizmo, and Saphira, the girl.) It was in Gizmo's cage, and I happened to be walking past to do laundry.

There were several little white things littering the floor of the terrarium, so I waited until my stepmother came out of her room, and asked, "What's in Gizmo's cage?" and proceeded on my duty of laundry-switching.

I came out of the garage (where our dryer is) and she pointed at Gizmo's cage and shouted, "WE THOUGHT YOU WERE A BOY."

Gizmo laid eggs.

They're unfertilized, so we're not having baby dragons (but I still get to say we've got dragon eggs in our house. XD) but still. Our supposedly male dragon laid eggs. She/he acts like a male in all other respects; same mannerisms as Draco, although more mild, less inclined to asshattery (Draco is a pain in the BUTT. If anyone ever tells me 'lizards have no personality' I'm going to laugh in their faces. Our three have more personality than our dogs.)

Okay, anywho. Aspirin. Bed. Good night, all. ♥

Monday, June 29, 2009

Projects

What I'm Listening To: Metro Station - Shake It

What I'm Doing: Putzing around the internet before knuckling down and writing.

I think I've talked about this on Twitter, but I forget what I have and haven't kept up with on various places. (I know I'm quite behind on my LJ, for instance.) And I mentioned in on Facebook, definitely.

Anyway, I found Alexandra Sokoloff via The Blood-Red Pencil and she has some amazing articles on writing a book using screenplay tips. Now, granted, reading her all day ground my writing to a halt, but it also inspired a great deal of ideas for me. (Oh, I can do that HEERE, ah, I see where I've already done that, good, at least I'm not totally hopeless, etc.)

She mentioned that one of her books had won an award, called the Bram Stoker Award. I thought that was pretty nifty, but didn't really delve any deeper into it, until I saw someone else had won it (I forget who, now.) on Wikipedia, so I went and looked it up. The Bram Stoker award is given out by the HWA - Horror Writer's Association. I thought that was the neatest thing since sliced bread, and I immediately wondered how I could go about joining such an association. (Just because I'm not focusing solely on horror, doesn't mean I don't want to write it eventually. Besides, Dean Koontz was the president twenty years ago. That's a story in and of itself. "Yeah, so this writer's association I'm part of? It was presided over by Dean Koontz once upon a time.")

One of their requirements was that you have sold a short story of at least 500 words for at least 25$.

I said, "Oh."

Because I'd considered - briefly - writing short stories when I first began writing, but I had no idea what to do, or where to start, or anything, so I shunted it off to the back of my mind and began work on Eversong. Then I saw that, and it brought the idea of selling short stories back to the forefront, but I had absolutely no idea what to write about.

So I googled 'selling short stories' and read the various articles I found, and one of them was kind enough to offer links to places where you could sell short stories. The one I chose was Spinetingler Magazine, because they accept a wide-range of shorts, and the only other one that looked remotely interesting, their cut-off date for submissions is the 30th. XD

I'm a quick writer, but the way I've been going lately, not even I could have made that one. From no idea to complete with revisions in three days? *shakes head sadly*

And then I went on Twitter, and discovered Billy Mays had died. (The Oxi-clean/mighty putty guy) Ed Mcmahon, Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays in one week? I said, 'it reads like a laundry list of celebrity deaths' - and lo, there was my story idea. A serial killer targeting celebrities.

It evolved a bit, because it doesn't exactly take place in Hollywood, so 'celebrities' turned into 'models' and 'heiresses' (Take THAT, Ally!) - rich, beautiful women. And I won't give anything away; this is more of an instant gratification than my novels, so when it comes out, I'll direct everyone towards the magazine/ezine (not entirely sure if it's online or printed) where it's at, and if someone can't get at it, I'll possibly share. If you ask nicely. ♥ But not until it's out.

Eversong, as you all know, is complete to the first draft. Eden is giving me trouble (that 10k/15k a day that I had going sputtered and stalled out, and I'm having trouble getting it started again) and now I've got a mini project to work on, tentatively titled The Empress.

I also think that when the time comes to query Eden around, that selling short stories to magazines in the same vein as Eden, will look very, very good on my query. "Previous publication! Sold stories to magazines! I'm not totally useless/totally new!" Ditto, if I can find 'fantasy' mags to sell to (the one that cuts off on the 30th is looking for action!fantasy stories, but like I said; not even I can go from nothingzero to ready-to-sellsixty in three days).

This is also the time for an apology to Eric, who wandered over to my blog because I stumbled upon his, and discovered a massive post about bacon. DDDX My only excuse is to see my info *points to side bar* I did admit right up front that I was slightly crazy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bacon

What I'm Listening To: The Fray - Heaven Forbid

What I'm Doing: Thinking about how nice some bacon and cheesy eggs would be right now.

BACON.

Why is bacon so funny?

It's delicious. And smells heavenly when it's cooking.

But I'm feeling cut off from my friends lately, because my two RL friends just ran away to Texas, and there are really only two other people that I dedicatedly talk to; one of them is on MSN because she hates messengers, but my MSN refuses to connect, and the other one is on YIM because she didn't have MSN, and she works insane hours, as well as is revising one of her novels, and is on the west coast, so I have to either stay up insanely late to talk to her, or ... not talk to her. TAT And I've been missing both of my messenger buddies lately, but in a way, it's been a good thing, because I'm up to 50k words on my newest WIP, Eden's Gate (EG or Eden for short) and I started five and a half days ago. (Technically, three and a half, because I wrote for two days before scrapping the whole project and starting again.) So 50k in like... less than a week is nothing short of miraculous.

But enough about me.

Bacon.

Kevin Bacon!

Mindi Scott reminded me of it with her post about a conversation overheard at brunch, which left me in stitches I was laughing so hard.

But then it reminded me of another thing that made me laugh until I cried.



It's that one line, about 2/3rds of the way in.
You know what the kids need? Shit fucking tons of BACON!

I had to watch this five times the first time I saw it, because I was just laughing too hard to hear him the first four times I restarted it.

And this isn't really bacon, but still...



And there's another thing. Bacon is soo delicious when cooked right (I hate bacon that like... snaps in half when I try to bite into it, but I also hate bacon that's chewy. I'm so picky about it. XD) but it can also be among the most disgusting things you've ever seen.

(I interrupt this post with a few things that I found on google. Let me just say. WOW. Google 'bacon' one day. Seriously.)






Back to what I was saying about bacon being nasty. Raw bacon? Gives me the whimwhams. Knowing that it turns into something delicious, and smells great on the way there, doesn't change that raw bacon is just disgusting.





And there are some things that should never have been put through the Bacon Machine.

Such as donuts.
(linked to that instead of posting it full out because of the "EW!!" factor.)

X-posted to my LJ

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eden's Gate and Danvers State

What I'm Listening To: The Dresden Dolls - Good Day

What I'm Doing: Spazzing (again) over writing a book.

Two days after my last post, in which I rambled incoherently about a nameless story constructed of a few ideas, and here I am again to present you with my newest project.

Eden's Gate. It takes place in a fictional mental hospital (based off of real hospitals, that I've spent the last three hours researching) in New England, and follows a boy named Zander Jaden who's haunted by demons in the dark, demons that want to use him to break out of their world and into the human world. He makes friends at the hospital, and finds something worth being happy about, and still manages to save his own life in the process.

It's dark and twisty, I think, or at least that's what I'm aiming for. I'm more familiar with writing fluffy, happy stories, angst-filled but not 'dark.' I guess it's... supernatural/paranormal, because of the heavy ghost/demon influences, but the main relationship is slash. (99% of my fanfics are slash, but it was Mami who gave me the balls to write a full-length slashy novel.) It's something of a by-product, though, at the moment.

It's amazing how quickly it came together. Amazing. Two days ago, I was angsting about having no outline, and no plot, and was just writing aimlessly.

Last night, I sent little excerpts from what I've written so far to Schatzi, and talked mental hospitals with her. She helped me figure out exactly where and what Edensgate is, because it carried on through to today, when I looked up Danvers State Hospital.

It used to be in Massachusetts, and was built over the site of the home of one of the judges in the Salem Witch Trials. It was abandoned in 1992, and torn down in the early 2000's to be replaced by apartment buildings, of all things, but it... it was gorgeous while it stood.

(I have a thing for old, abandoned buildings. Don't ask me to explain it.)

Isn't it beautiful? Danvers State Hospital, built in the famous Kirkbride style (that broken arch layout of the main building)


It's very imposing.


This is one of my favourite pictures of it:


Also of interest is the fact that the 2001 movie Session 9 was filmed almost entirely inside that hospital, and the building itself inspired the intricacies of the plot; the crew went there with the vague idea that they wanted to make a movie inside a mental hospital, and when they saw Danvers State, they decided on what it would be. Without Danvers State, there would be no Session 9.

Anyway, I'm rambling (is as my wont when confronted with something I love, such as old, abandoned mental hospitals) Looking up Danvers State lead to looking up other mental hospitals built in the Kirkbride style, and led to the firming up of the plot for Eden's Gate.

It was very sudden. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea WTF the story was about. Three hours of looking at mental hospitals, and the plot zipped itself up into one neat little package, from beginning to end. Edensgate itself (the hospital) told me a lot about what it's like, and gave me some very keen insights into what happens. (Yes, settings can be characters. Hush. Eversong-the-world is it's own entity, as well.)

So now I'm back into the constantly-grinning, uber-excited "OMFG I'M WRITING A BOOK!" mood that hit me with Eversong.

Eden's Gate nearly didn't exist. I started on it because I couldn't figure out what to work on next, but like I said before, I had no clear idea of what it was about. Now I do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Stories~!

What I'm Listening To: The Dresden Dolls - Truce

What I'm Doing: Character creation for the newest, untitled story.

With Eversong complete to the first draft, and currently sitting with two of my best friends and awaiting edits/revisions by them, I've been going stir-crazy wanting to keep writing.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as Eversong was, because for that, I had Mami's AftG to look forward to for every landmark wordcount I reached. Not to mention that all of my current 'WIPs' were having hate for me - M&M absolutely refuses to come out of hiding, and Perfect is at a stand-still as I try to figure Ally out.

I go out walking often, mostly because I can't drive, and if I need to sell or buy anything, I have to walk myself to the store to do so. With nothing to occupy me while I'm walking, I think about characters. The problem there-in is I don't write well with just characters. I've talked about this before; generally I get a story, and the characters come later to fill it in.

So I had some vague ideas, involving ghosts, a klepto-character, a pack-rat character, and some other even more obscure ideas that weren't even complete enough to call 'ideas.' But if I've said this once, I've said it a hundred times - I do NOT do well with just characters. So I had them all crowding around my brain, clamouring at me to write their stories, but no stories into which to put them all.

Gradually, a title came to me. Heaven's Halfway, and the main character would be Heaven. At first I thought she was the one involved with the ghosts, and it morphed into possession by the ghosts, but I couldn't make it work, and the ghosts went away altogether and left me with the notion that Heaven was a multiple. (If it's possible to have a 'favourite' mental disorder, then DID is mine. For those of you who aren't obsessed with it, it's commonly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, or more accurately, Disassociative Identity Disorder. Two really fantastic books dealing with it are When Rabbit Howls, a true story written by "The Troops for Trudi Chase" - she's been abused for so long, and so harshly, that there literally is NO Trudi Chase - there's just other personalities within her. Almost 100 total, and the MS for Rabbit was contributed to by most of them. I'd give my left hand to see the original, hand-written manuscript for it, because they said multiple times that the handwritings change as each alter wrote their part. The other is a fictional book by Jonathan Nasaw, called The Girls He Adored, and it's got two of my favourite things - crime, and DID. The main character is a multiple who generally goes by the name of Max, and he's kidnapping women with strawberry blonde hair for nefarious purposes. It follows him, his prison shrink, and the FBI agent on his tail.)

Anyway, where was I? *skims up* Oh yeah, so Heaven became a multiple. I've got the 'who' - Heaven and her alters - the 'what' - are on the run from her abusive ex boyfriend - but not the 'why', aside from the general "he's abusive."

But tonight I was going through old CDs of mine, and I found one called A Dark Cabaret, and it's full of ... well, dark cabaret songs. The Dresden Dolls, along with other, less well known artists, and they're some of my favourite songs. Very dark and still upbeat, full of piano and creepy lyrics ("knock three times on the coffin if you want my love")

Well, I was listening to it, and I suddenly had the image of a boy in a mental hospital, because he sees ghosts and demons and such. And I will admit freely that AftG had some influence on it (it's going to be 'gay fiction') and I immediately sat down and started writing. After a little while, I switched to the Dresden Dolls' CD, and started on character creation. (It was a desperate struggle to remind myself that my main character is Alexander and not Andrew)

Between Zander's Story (it has no name as of yet) and Heaven's Halfway, however, I started on the outline for what basically amounts to a fictional account of my life (my life, presented as fiction rather than a memoir) and I made it through chapter 13 (it starts when "I'm" twelve, and by 13 the story has reached "me" at age 18 - names are going to be changed, but not the events. I've led a dark and twisted life, or as dark and twisted as life can get without excessive drugs or murder.)

But it was heavy in my mind when I was thinking about Zander's story, and I realised that I can waste a lot of time with outlines, and Mami's words about how she writes without outlines (I can't recall her exact words offhand, and I'm afraid my computer will crash at any moment if I open too many things to look it up) went through my head, and I decided to simply get my main cast of characters down on paper, so I know who I'm dealing with, and then just write, and see what comes of it.

But the idea of writing with no way of knowing where it's going, or how it's going to get there is kinda terrifying to me. My first full length novel - Eversong - had outlines up the wazoo, as well as Mami's constant support. I'm going into Zander's story with... basically nothing but names. I'm worried that without a concrete ending in mind, the story will go nowhere.

Well, before this can turn into a whinge-fest, I'll wrap it up there. Sorry again about the radio silence, folks! Eversong and AftG took up a lot of my time these past few weeks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Very Big News!

What I'm Listening To: Rufus Wainwright - Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

What I'm Doing: Reading Piers Anthony's Heaven Cent and getting ready to go run some errands.

Well. This is a day I thought would be far, far in the future. Around twelve thirty last night, I finished the first draft of Eversong!

Now the hard part starts, I'm sure, but it's written. It's there. All that's left to do is tidy it up. I'm so excited.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another meme!

What I'm Listening To: Hans Zimmer - The DaVinci Code OST; Chevaliers de Sangreal

What I'm Doing: Trying to get myself to stop procrastinating and write. TAT

Ganked this from some chick I found via google. Her version was posted in o7, so I won't bother to link to it. Just a simple meme about one of my favourite things: books.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback? Paperback of any type. I don't like hardcover novels. They're too unweildy to carry around easily, and they're difficult to hold in one hand.

Amazon or brick and mortar? Brick and mortar. Amazon's good for the really obscure stuff, but I much prefer being able to pick the books up, flip through them, really examine the cover art, and just mingle in the general atmosphere of being surrounded by books. It's a plus if there's a Starbucks attached, so I can smell all the delicious coffee as well.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Either or. Borders is bigger, I guess, and generally has a nicer layout.

Bookmark or dogear? Ahahaha, dogeared. If my most loved books don't end up looking like the next time they're opened, they're going to fall apart, then something's wrong. Other people's books, however, no matter how loved, always bookmarked.

Alphabetise by author or alphabetise by title or random? Random, or sorted by genre. Unless I'm feeling really anal about it, and then I'm likely to sort by genre, author, and title, in that order.

Keep, throw away, or sell? KEEP. Who in their right mind would throw away a book?

Keep dustjacket or toss it? Keep, for the most part. Unless it ends up like... horribly disfigured.

Read with dustjacket or remove it? Remove it. They're such a hassle.

Short story or novel? Short stories are okay, but I prefer novels.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)? Depends on who the author is, and what the stories are about.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Harry Potter all the way!

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I generally try for chapter breaks, but if I'm exhausted, then I'm just as likely to put the book down when I can't hold it up any more.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"? Once upon a time, now and forever.

Buy or Borrow? Either or. Borrowing books (from libraries or friends) is a good way to discover new things you like without spending the money.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation, or browse? Browsing. I don't have the patience to read about what other people think of the book; I'd rather get out there and check it out for myself. If someone really strongly recommended a book, I'd be likely to check it out, though, too.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Hm. A little of both. I like the suspense; it gives me things to think about, but at the same time, I enjoy a happy ending occasionally.

Morning reading, afternoon reading, or nighttime reading? How about 24/hr a day reading?

Standalone or series? Doesn't matter. There are some standalones (Sunshine) that could really benefit from one or two more books (simply because I can't get enough of it) and series give you the opportunity to spend more time with beloved characters and watch them grow.

Favourite book of which nobody else has heard? Um. *scans book piles, tries to find something she hasn't raved about to someone before* I suppose, The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay. I think Mami would appreciate that series. I haven't read the third one, and it's been years since I read the first two, but it's a really ugly series. Very much all over the place, with very few happy endings (at least, through the second book. Still need to get the third, like I said.)

Favourite book(s) read last year: I haven't the foggiest. I don't remember what I read last week, much less last year. I have a tendency to reread things over and over, though, so it's likely Sunshine or The Blue Sword.

Favourite books of all time? Sunshine, The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword, Beauty, The Outlaws of Sherwood all by Robin McKinley. Crystal Singer, Killashandra, Crystal Line, The Ship Who Sings by Anne McCaffrey, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Battle Royale by (some Japanese dude who's name I can't recall, and I can't find the book), The Xanth Series by Piers Anthony, Anything by Michael Crichton or Teresa Medeiros.

Word Counts and Revising

What I'm Listening To: Buffy the Vampire Slayer OST, Once More, With Feeling! - Overture; Going Through the Motions

What I'm Doing: Reading A Spell for Chameleon and catching up on my internety things before I knuckle down to writing again.

It's been about three days since my last post. When I posted then, my wordcount had doubled from about 6k in words to about 12k. Three days later, it's doubled again. I'm currently sitting on about 22k in words, and am working towards 24k, for the next chapter of AftG.

This is amazing to me, the chronic unfinisher. I realise that the higher the words get, the harder this will be, but I've doubled my wordcount in three days. Imagine if I doubled the wordcount every three or four days? Can you imagine how quickly it will get written?

Janet Reid asked, How Do You Know When To Query?

And then she answered herself. It was not comforting, especially to me, (I have the attention span of a gnat, and the mentality of a magpie - OH, SHINY!).

She said before you query your first novel, write another one.

I said, '...what?'

She also said that the revision process should not be quick, and gave the example, "If it took you a year to write the novel, you should take six months to revise it," which left me in something of a quandary. It's going to take me... approximately a month, possibly as much as two months to complete the first draft of Eversong. By her 'half-time' rule of revision, this means I should only spend two weeks revising? I think not!

Before this rambles totally out of control, I'll get back to my previous points.

If I double my wordcount every three-four days, that means that by the seventh, I'd have 40k words. And by my brother's eleventh birthday, a complete novel at 80k words. Granted, it won't work that way. But can you imagine it? And by my own opinion, despite the quickness with which Eversong is flinging itself onto the pages, it's not bad.

I certainly won't try querying it immediately; the minute I finish it, I'm going to shunt it off to the side for a month or two, and either take a break from writing, or as Janet Reid suggested, start working on one of the other ones. It's a toss-up between M&M and Perfect; I'll figure out which one I want to write when I get there.
My first thought was that I'd immediately begin working on Return to Eversong, but I realised that that would be a Bad Idea. The point of leaving the novel alone for a set amount of time is to forget the characters, forget the story-line, and forget what you've written, and immediately launching into the sequel is not the way to do this.

But when my alloted revision time is up, I'm going to revise, and edit, and reread, and find a critique circle comprised of one or two friends and one or two strangers, so I can get both friendly advice and completely impartial opinions. And then I'm going to write my synopsis and my query, revise them both, and then begin building a list of agents to query who are outside my blogosphere.

People commented on Janet's post, saying that it's taken them anywhere from a year to fifteen years to write their first novel, and that it wasn't always their first novel that was accepted; often it was their third, fourth, fifth novel. If Eversong is not accepted immediately, I'll wait a year or two, find some new agents, and try again. I'm fond of all the ideas I've constructed, but Eversong is my baby, and I will not rest until it's published. I might be able to shelve M&M if it's never accepted, or Perfect (although my ego demands that I add, I doubt I will have many problems with Perfect. Granted, I haven't done extensive research into crime/suspense novels, but my gut tells me that it's a fairly original idea.) but Eversong will never be 'the book that never got published.'

Speaking of Eversong, if I want to think about querying it, I've first got to finish it, so I'll let you all be now, and get back to it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Life Imitates Art, whut?

Okay, so I just updated my blog with something useful, and was rereading it to make sure it was cohesive.

My stepdad (Navy for twenty years) got home, and barked at my brother, "Front and Center!"

... ... ...

Riley, much?

I thought instantly of Riley and his military father telling him the exact same thing.

Writing For Something

What I'm Listening To: Crazy Loop - Crazy Loop

What I'm Doing: Reading Crystal Line by Anne McCaffrey, and poking at my novel, seeing if it'll want to cooperate today.

First of all, a shout-out to Tara Maya, who guest-blogged over at The Literary Lab with an utterly fabulous post on Epic Fantasy.

This post was spawned by the fact that Mami prodded me last night and said, "You haven't updated your blog for six days!"

My excuse was, "I have nothing to say!" but it's also been because my computer is going crazy, and refuses to let me do anything. I finally switched over from Firefox (which is constantly giving me seven-hour 'not responding' messages) to Internet Explorer for the duration. (Eventually Firefox will come crying back to me, and I am weak, so I will return to it.)

So, from IE, I blog again! Mostly about not blogging. But I did think up something useful to say this morning, as well, so you get an actual blog about writing, and not just some random ditherings about not being able to blog.

Work on Eversong was ... slow going, to say the least. I started writing weeks ago, and had only about 5k in words to show for it. When a friend of mine started updating her wordcount on Twitter, my competitive nature came out, and I realised I'd only feel better about it until I'd surpassed her wordcount.

Still, the inspiration was there, but the motivation was seriously lacking.

Until Mami shared details about her book, which she's currently in the process of querying about. (Good luck darling! I cannot wait to see it in print!!) I couldn't rest until I knew more. So I avoided work on Eversong in favour of figuring out her book, interviewed her on my favourite character, decided I was focusing too much on just one, started asking questions about the others...

And got the first three chapters out of her.

Oh. My. God. I'm a long-time fan of her fanfics, and knew she was a fantastic writer. I was still not prepared for how quickly it sucked me in, and how totally my obsession was cemented. I fell utterly in love with everything I'd seen so far, and immediately began plotting ways I could get her to send me the rest.

She said she felt bad, because she didn't want to take away from my writing time. I joked that I wasn't getting much writing done anyway, and was more interested in her book than my own to boot. Then I remembered that if I have something to work FOR, I work BETTER.

So I said, I'll set myself a goal of 500 to 1000 words written before I read the next chapter.

With the knowledge of her book waiting for me, a chapter at a time if only I could write, my wordcount exploded. Whereas it had taken me several weeks to get to only 5k words, over the course of three or four days, my wordcount doubled, and is currently sitting at over 12k. Knowing that I couldn't allow myself to read more before I got something written suddenly overcame the hesitancy in my writing, and it advanced by leaps and bounds. It actually feels like it's going to become a novel now, and not remain unfinished forever. I have the end of her book waiting for me to write some more, and as soon as I'm done, I'm already wondering if she'll continue this for the next two books.

Now, because I know she reads this, I don't want to guilt her into thinking she's got to send it to me - it will just be very much loved. And I can write without AftG... it just tends to be more along the lines of one or two hundred words every few days. I'm not sure what I'll do when I've finished reading it all.

Start again, I suppose. It's easy enough to do. I'm afraid that my love for her books will never be diminished, and will remain a lifelong obsession. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)

What about the rest of you? Do you write for something, or do you just... write when the mood strikes?

Monday, May 25, 2009

If...

What I'm Listening To: Nine Inch Nails - The Day The World Went Away

What I'm Doing: Reading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, and trying to figure out what I should do with this day.

First of all, my new favourite number: 1123581321345589

Now that that's out of the way, I was thinking of what I could write about earlier, and saw something on Twitter that made me want a cat.

Odd, I know.

I am a Cat Person. I hate dogs; I think they're noisy, messy, smelly, and take entirely too much time. I much prefer the small, portable size of cats, and the way they curl up in your lap and purr, and make you feel like the luckiest person alive, just for having them there. They don't need to be taken out for walks, or let into the back yard, and they make excellent sources of comfort on a bad day.

So I started to say something on Twitter about cats, and joked to myself that that's what I need.

In order to be a successful writer, I need a laptop. This way I can take it to Quiet Places like the park, or the coffee shop, and I don't need to worry about people yelling at kids, or dogs, or shouting into the phone because they have no sense of decency and privacy, or people tromping through my room on the way to the garage, the back yard, the laundry room, or their bedroom.

In order to be a successful writer, I need a cat. Someone who will understand when I'm tearing my hair out over a scene, and not care if I'm smashing my head into the wall, as long as I remember to feed them on time and keep the litter box clean.

In order to be a successful writer, I need an endless supply of coffee, without having to worry about what people are going to think of me making coffee at all hours of the day and night.

That's what I was going to touch on in Twitter. That's all I really need. I'm not getting it right now, and that's part of the reason I'm struggling so much as an author. The only time I get any quiet is in the middle of the night, or when people aren't home. But if I stay up late enough to enjoy the quiet of the house, I end up sleeping until all hours of the morning. In a houseful of people who get up at six in the morning, waking up at ten makes me 'lazy'. And none of them understand the idea of insomnia, either. I tried explaining to my stepdad that I can't sleep at night, and he told me to just lay down and try.

Oh, sure, I can lay down in my bed at ten o'clock at night, like the rest of them, but unless I've been up for at least twenty hours prior, I simply end up tossing and turning and rolling around for hours, and don't get to sleep until one or two in the morning anyway.

And since my veins run caffeine, not blood, drinking coffee at midnight isn't any more or less likely to keep me awake than drinking water. And coffee tastes better. No, the problem with midnight coffee-cravings is that everyone else in the house gets up at six in the morning, and have the pot set to brew on it's own, so if I want coffee, I've got to brew a whole pot, and then reset it, and that ends up wasting coffee.

Speaking of coffee, I haven't had any today. So I can't really guarantee much in the way of this making any sense.

The title, If... is something I ask myself a lot.

If I were an artist, if I were skinny, if I were a better writer, if I had a laptop, if I had a cat.

But it's really useful as a story prompt.

If I could fly...
If I were a boy...
If I could do magic...
If my parents had died...
If my parents hadn't died...
If I could live forever...

All of these have the potential to be really interesting questions.

For Vicky, I think her if's are... if she never went to Eversong. If she never bought the book. If she never met Jonas. If (lol) I changed any of those IFs, the story would be not only utterly different, it would be unworkable. If she never met Jonas, she'd have died before the story took off. If she never bought the book, she'd have never found her way into Eversong. If she never got into Eversong in the first place, there would be no story.

These can be applied to my other stories, too. If Riley had been an orphan. If Riley had been more physical and less brainy. If the bomb never dropped.

If Ally wasn't rich. If Ally wasn't bored. If Ally hadn't ever killed anyone.

But at the same time, these ifs can be turned around to promote the story.

What would happen if... Jonas died? If Vicky finds her way home?

If Riley becomes a hero? If Mara learned to stop hating?

If Ally gets caught? If Ally doesn't get caught?

These are the things that drive the story.

For being only two letters long, 'if' is probably one of the biggest words in the English language.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A music post of sorts

What I'm Listening To: Framing Hanley - Lollipop

What I'm Doing: Reading The Long Hot Summoning by Tanya Huff


(X posted to my lj)

I found a TON of great stuff on Youtube, and absolutely had to share some of it. I love music exchanges, too, so if you've got something you think I'd like, go ahead and send it on over. A lot of these are in German, and various other languages. Don't let that stop you; there's some amazing songs in here.

My Excellence - The End of Days (This video is sad.)
MDP3's Crazy Loop Video (But this one makes up for it. It's hilarious.)

The next several are in German.
Kate Hall - Die letzte Trane
Vicky Leandros - Moge der Himmel
Schiller - Sehnsucht
Eisblume - Leben ist schon

These ones are silly, but somehow, I'm HOOKED. I can't stop listening to them, despite how stupid they are.
It started with this one.
Schnuffel - Mi Peluchito (It's the same song, but it's a little more palatable because it's in cute Spanish, not irritating English.)
Schnuffel - Ich hab' Dich lieb
Schnuffel & Wendler - Haschenparty (This is actually Not Annoying. I love the dancing girls.)
Gummibar - Cho ka ka o
Gummibar - Gummy Bear Song
Jakarta - Superstar

Now some miscellaneous songs:
SMPFilms - Hey Little Sparta (This is a favourite of mine.)
Code Red - Kanikuly (My weakness is school uniforms.)
Code Red - Shut Up (The original of this song CRACKS. ME. UP. This version is just as good.)
Crazy Loop - Johanna Shut Up
Crazy Loop - Crazy Loop (Mm-ma-ma)
Kate Ryan - Ella elle l'a
Jesse Spencer - Sheets of Egyptian Cotton (Found this song YEARS ago, but never connected Jesse Spencer the singer to Jesse Spencer as Dr. Chase on House.)
Framing Hanley - Lollipop (remix) (I adore this band.)


And there you have it folks, some of the things I found today/recently, and am listening to now. So what are you listening to?