Talking Undead

I was invited to participate in my first podcast hosted by Ronan Mullin. You should check out this guy, he has good content. Our topic, The Walking Dead TV show, zombie tropes, and revolving themes. This was recorded before the show finished up it’s sixth season so there is no talk about that cliff hanger ending.

Before you give a listen, be aware, we all know each other and our discussion was in good faith. We finished this recording by playing a round of The Walking Dead Board Game which I lost and became a zombie!

Enjoy the listen.

Back to the Farm!

via The Walking Dead — Ronan Mullin

So, You’re a Writer

“You’re a writer? What do you plan on writing?” The dreaded question almost every writer hates. This line of questioning usually starts with the fact that I majored in Creative Writing in college but strangers really expect a detailed answer. Leave out how many people tell me what a useless degree I got, I have recently taken up the belief that I will not talk about the stories I’m writing. I find some people want the outline to the story you’re writing and to know the publishers release date. Just talking about my story can lead me to doubts or hesitations. If you don’t like the genre I’m writing than say I don’t read that genre but good luck. Don’t say something negative that is based on only your taste. There are many people in this world, you may not like it but the woman sitting across from you on the train may think it’s just the piece of fiction she needed to shake off her hardships of work or life. Also, your suggestions on how I can write my story doesn’t help. If you think you can take my idea and direct me how it should be written you’re wrong. Thanks for the help but I didn’t ask for help. Remember you asked me what I was writing. If you don’t like what I’m doing with my idea then write it yourself. One of my favorite lesson in fiction class was when the teacher would tell everyone to write a page story based on a topic, theme, genre, or scene. No one wrote the same story.

I’m not saying I don’t mind talking to strangers all the time. I’ve met some really interesting people from some friendly, polite conversation. I’ve just learned to expect the questioning but I don’t take everything said to me to heart. Since I’ve been insulted, and praised I will just keep quiet on my future writing plans. I know some will try their best to pry answers out of me but I don’t know you and I owe you nothing.

Series Finale Feels

It’s hard to accept when a show you enjoyed watching announces it’s coming to an end. It’s sad when characters and a world you loved will no longer play out in front of you weekly. Like books, you have laughed and cried with these character’s world. Begged characters not to make a certain choice or cheered at their successes. You’re not expecting them to hear you and change their minds but you know what comes can mean so much from story-line characters development, or the chow crumbling from it’s authenticity. Even clique narratives can have viewers running. Even the ending can have us disappointed. How many series had a build up that ruined everything with the last episode?

As a writer I see many benefits to wrapping up a series on their own terms. No characters are left with cliffhangers unlike most canceled shows. Maybe it can even leave before it becomes stagnate, silly, or “jumps the shark”. I’m sure all of us can name a dozen shows we watched that ended to soon and frustrated you thinking about the closure that never happened. Even when we are later given closure in a movie feature we can feel cheated, angry, or satisfied. Although, there have been few shows that have left me satisfied, I have felt cheated with some series knowing I could never have more time with some characters. I remember a past show I thought destroyed the past series and left me angry. It was as if the writers never watched the show. They threw away rules build into the world over the years making the theme of the show obsolete. For me, it almost ruined the reruns.

I guess I’m trying to say it’s unfortunate to say goodbye but silver lining, there is always fan fiction or spin offs. Maybe.

Be Quiet Brain

I thought I trained my brain to write in the afternoon then last night my mind wouldn’t turn off. I was comfortable in bed with the light off and my brain started to weave words. I was tired and when I’m tired I always think everything sounds noble prize brilliant. I didn’t have a notebook and pen by my bed (what happen to my night notebook?). I didn’t have my phone either. (It is best left charging in the other room incase of 3am emergency alerts.)
Why didn’t I get up and listen to the muse that decided the best time to visit was bed time? I can’t help but think of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk and that quote by Tom Waits where a muse or melody visited him while he was driving and he said, “Excuse me, can you not see that I’m driving? Do I look like I can write down a song right now? If you really want to exist, come back at a more opportune moment when I can take care of you. Otherwise, go bother somebody else today.”
I guess my muse is still in adolescence and although it might see me showing up to the table it doesn’t always feel like writing when I do. It would rather stay in bed and sleep in some days. Then as the light switches off it remembers all it had to say and decides it can’t wait until morning. Now, when the words come, I can sleep because I have less anxiety knowing I’m not missing a story I can write tomorrow. Sometimes, in the morning, I am disappointed I can’t remember what was running through my head but I move on. I start the day with my writing schedule. Occasionally, I find the muse shows up to the table and those days we work in harmony. Those are the days I’m fighting for so I have my nights for sleep.

Bookshelf Decisions

I’m trying to keep the spending down. For me this isn’t hard when it comes to things like cloths or extracurricular activities but books, they are my spending weakness. I’ve been doing well lately. I have mostly borrowed from the library and friends. There hasn’t been too many books I’ve come across I feel I need to own. I’ve been pretty happy reading them and giving them back. I’m very proud when I’m able to put down the books I find in book stores and simply check it out of the library. It has saved space on my bookshelves already overflowing with read and to-read copies of dozens of books. I now have a set of books I feel I need to own and in hardcover no less. 

The book series is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I love the story, the characters, the settings, and the cover art. I’ve tried to win them in Goodreads giveaways but I’ve had no luck. The good news, the hardcover is still available for the first book in the series. Since this thought has been on my mind since the release of the third novel in the series I decided to look up the damage this purchase would cost my wallet and the outlook is not good. I understand what I wanted but it still hurts when you see the $56 dollar price tag. But that total was all the individual books added to the cart. Next, I looked up to see if they have a box set. It looks like the box set is not out yet and not planned to be released until late October but with a $52 tag. I think I will wait and keep an eye on the price of the box set to see if it decreases before October. Maybe by October my wallet will be a bit better, the set will be somewhat cheaper and I can justify a great series on my bookshelf. If you haven’t read The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series my short review is below of why I think it’s worth the read.

Daughteros SmokeAnd Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone Box Set

I came across this book because of Vaginal Fantasy, a book club introducing me to romance genre books with strong female leads in the urban fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. The first book is called The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and as I said above it is by Laini Taylor. This story is about Karou, a blue haired, tattooed, knows multiple of languages, art student, and orphan living in Prague. To her sassy, sarcastic, lovable best friend, Zusana, Karou is a girl who draws amazing monsters in a sketch book. What Zusana doesn’t know is Karou’s demons are real and the only family she has known. Karou is just trying to get over her crummy ex-boyfriend and do her job, collect teeth for her beast like foster father Brimstone. As Black Hand prints start showing up on Brimstone’s portal doors in cities around the world what comes to past is a history with no good or evil but a muddled gray of sides.

This book is labeled young adult but I believe it can appeal to an adult audience. The author has an impeccable writing style. The world building and setting is clear, imaginative, and beautiful. The characters are unique. I liked Karou, Brimstone, and the shop full of teeth. You know that Karou’s job to collect teeth is serious business when it is on the black market in exchange for wishes. Taylor doesn’t disappoint when the reader learns what the teeth are being used for. The romance that develops in the second half of the narrative slows down the book a bit but the mystery of the characters and their pass is what kept me reading. When the story ended I was left with more questions and looking forward to the sequel.

Favorite Quote:

“You were true to her, even if she was not to you. Never repent of your own goodness, child. To stay true in the face of evil is a feat of great strength.”
“Strength,” she said with a little laugh. “I  gave her strength, and look what she did with it.”

I want to thank Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton (the girls from Vaginal Fantasy) for opening my mind to wonderful books I would have missed out on like this one. I’ll write a review for the second book in the series, Day of Blood & Starlight next week. Maybe this will help me make some bookshelf decisions by then. 

Covers

All Three Books In The Series (Love Cover Art)

Just Don’t Quit

Who is participating in National Novel Writing Month? I’ve been thinking about partaking but sometimes I feel maybe I should be working on my own novel then just race writing. Some have said I should try to speed write my next novel but I don’t think NaNoWriMo should be used with something I care about. But some seem to be taking this month to work on the story they’ve been putting on the back burner. I always figured NaNoWriMo is a time to try anything. Stuck? Aliens land or a time machine or cab with hot celebrity. I’ve done that kind of writing now I think I want to focus on my story.

I’ve been working on my outline and now I’m reaching a wall. I’ve been figuring I’ll write what I have. I hope, as I get closer to the end of what I’ve outlined, I’ll have more direction where to go in the story. I don’t want some race or daily word count decide or pressure where my story goes.  NaNoWriMo could be a good way to step away from my story and just have stressful fun on something I don’t fuss over. Knowing me I’m thinking NaNoWriMo is just procrastination. I still have a few weeks to think it over before I choose. To the ones that have decided, I read a great quote the other day. For writers and wanna be authors out in the world:

“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
– Andre Dubus

Tomato’s Growing Pains

I have had my garden for a few years. The knowledge I use now was instilled by my dad and mom. (My parents had a big garden before I was born till I was five.) Now, everything I planted is coming in and my mom and I can’t eat, or can fast enough. I have been sharing the booty retrieved from the garden with some friends. Everyone is grateful but I am amazed by the questions I get sometimes. Some want to know how I get so much product because they are not getting the same results or they are picking my brain for their future garden. Others are worried by the look of some of the tomatoes.

My garden is out in the open air succumbing to the elements and I don’t spray any chemicals. It seems every year some of my tomatoes get “stretch marks”. I have always told my friends it is because the inside is growing faster then the skin so the skin tears and tries to repair itself. The other day my brother tried to tell me the stretch marks are from worms that eat the tomato while it’s growing. When I did the research I was relieved to find out I was right. Also, I learned how to stop the stretch marks from forming. I would have to regulate the water so it is the same from day to day and make sure the plants don’t get to little or to much sun. I laughed at this bit of information. I am probably not going to put up a shade on a sunny day and I will try to keep the amount of water steady from day to day. I just think my tomatoes taste great so what if they don’t look perfect. What is life without a few imperfections.

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Blogger’s Block

I’ve been trying to keep up with a blog schedule but it is proving to be a hard task. I try to post every Tuesday but I didn’t post anything yesterday because I have nothing to write about. For a bit I thought I’d post a creative writing piece but that ended with my brain going quiet at the site of the blinking curser. I was thinking about trying different days even though I know creative flow has nothing to do with a certain days of the week. Lately, I read a lot and was thinking of writing book reviews to fill up some blog space.

How do you keep your topic creative juices flowing? Have you had a blogger’s block? (Like writer’s block but with blogs?)

Goodreads Interaction

I was shocked today when an author I don’t personally know noticed me.

I have heard friends tell me they have had interactions with authors after they reviewed a book on Goodreads that they read. Most friends I follow on only rate the books. But some write proper reviews with summary, pros and cons. Those are the ones that have been contacted by authors. I have written full book reviews when I worked for The Celebrity Cafe but I became lazy with Goodreads. The book site has become a place for me to discuss, research, and keep track of the books I read without worry of a grade, credit, or paycheck. As a result, when I finish a book, I only write what I liked and what I disliked and why.

I recently read the “Ghost Planet” by Sharon Lynn Fisher for a book club I joined called Vaginal Fantasy Hangout with Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton. (Each month I watch, with many others, these awesome ladies get together and discuss the month’s books in a Google Hangout.) The book was a pleasant surprised. After I finished I wrote my tiny little blurb. The next time I signed on I had a notification that Sharon “liked” my review. Not realizing whom Sharon was I clicked on the name and was brought to the author’s page. From her page I see this author is very involved with her work. Nevertheless I was still astonished.

Can you believe that?

The Seeds Are Planted

I planted the seeds. So begins the growing. Now comes the waiting. Can’t wait to plant these containers in the garden. Excited to see the seeds sprout leaves and stems that will soon bear fruit and vegetables. Can’t wait to smell and pick the flowers these stems will bud.

On the bottom of this post is a picture of what I planted.

The big stems at the bottom of the photo are Hawaiian Plumeria.

Now the top of the photo. I’ll go from right to left.

First row of two pots are Sweet Basil.
Next row of three containers are Endive. It is a leaf vegetable.
The next two rows, according to the Great Britain English translation on the seed package, are Tomato Peppers.

It’s a seed package from Romania. The package reads Ardei Gogosar and the Google translation is just Bell Pepper. I’m guessing this is a type of red bell pepper. If you are wondering why the first three have a stick and the next row of three don’t its more a marker for me later on. The first three are dried from actual peppers. The next three pots are from the seed package. I received the Endive and Tomato Pepper seeds from my Other’s Grandma. Yes, they are from Romania hence the hazy translations. Plus, it’s my first time growing from dried seeds so I liked to see if there is a difference (like a stronger plant or better tasting peppers). According to my Other’s Grandma, there is and I don’t mess with Grandmas!

I’ll continue to post more about the ongoing process of the garden in the weeks to follow.

I’m excited!

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Now We Wait.