Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cleaning up old files and finding gems

All day I have been blogging all over about the files I have found while cleaning and organizing my computer.  Something all writers need to do is to try to keep their ideas and fragments organized.  I wont say i have been the best at this but I am enjoying sorting things into new categories that will hopefully get more stories finished.  Who knows.  So many titles, so many stories and I just want to write them all!

Here is another gem I found.  I believe I started this one around the turn of the century.  It is a bit old but hey not as old as some of my other incomplete tales!


New friends
Chapter one
Just who is this stranger?

He came around the corner to a battle taking place. One of the large ones had hold of a woman. She was fighting with everything she had. He could see her right arm hanging, bloody at her side. She held some type of gun/rifle in her left and was firing repeatedly into the beast. It gave a great howl as the bullets struck it and charged the woman. Swinging with it's great paw, it knocked the gun out of her hand and grabbed her by the leg. Hefting her up, with it's claws sinking into her ankle, he lifted her up so that she dangled, head down, above the street. He was sure she was done in but she just twisted around and kicked with her free leg, jarring the beast enough that it let her go.

As she crashed down to the littered and broken pavement he rushed out from his hiding place and shouting out strange words flung his hands forward. A light of pulsing blue flared out and struck the beast in the center of the chest. It howled loud and long, as it dissolved into the air. He walked over slowly, keeping an eye out for the beast's mate. When he reached the side of the woman he was amazed to see her still breathing. Landing on your head from three feet in the air could easily crush the skull. She moaned and opened her eyes. There was a dazed glaze over them. He reached down and eased her head off the ground.

Reaching into his hip pack he pulled out an ampoule and broke it under her nose. Hoping she would react normally but you could never tell on this messed up world. She started up, sneezing. "*What?!*" She pushed back at his hand.

"Take it easy, now. I'm here to help." His voice was deep and smooth. The woman without meaning to, relaxed. "Let me look you over. You're covered in blood." He lowered her back to the pavement and slid his hands over her body, about an inch away.

"Not good here," he whispered more to himself than the woman. "The arm is broken in two places, compound at the elbow." He moved down to the leg the beast had held her up by. "The knee is all torn up," then the ankle. He hissed, "punctures. Not good."

Enya tried to get her eyes to focus. The blow to her head had addled her senses. "Who?"

Bending over her was a man with long, thick, black hair. He was doing unpleasant things to her but his voice held her still somehow. She felt trust. This bothered her but she couldn't remember why. "Why?" As he moved to set her arm she passed out from the pain.

"Not good, but it will be easier if you're not awake for all this, little one." The man continued working her wounds until he had them set and bandaged. Then he reached inside his shirt and pulled out a small silver cylinder. Placing it to his lips, he blew. Within a few moments a small car rounded the corner and stopped by his side. A small furry woman got out the passenger door and knelt down next to the man. "Careful, she's been badly injured." 


Gotta love stories where the main character falls through a time/space pocket to another world right?  I know there is a lot more to this one out there...can't wait to write it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Releases, yes I do release my own stories

Since August ends on Monday and this weekend is a holiday I decided I would release the three stories I had been holding onto.   Three different tales from three different series Not Just Another Morning of Business, Guardians of the Gate City side story 1:  Sheldon is one of Harry’s friends, a dragon who deals in information.  He is not having a good morning. Now and Forever (Mythos of Love, #3): Sometimes the pledge you make to your Lord is not what you expected The Pest House, Death Walks Through 9: Pest houses are where they took those very contagious to get better or die but not everyone taken there were sick.

Now these are obviously only the most recent of each of these series.  I have really started to like writing in my series.  My tales are short so it helps keep me on track.

I have been spending the past week trying to come up with a new title for my upcoming horror stories.  While they are not as dark as more horror stories they are darker than my other stuff.  Most mental horror stories I guess.  I am hoping I can come up with something good.  I have tossed around things like Twists of the Mind or Dark Dreams but I will come out with something.  There are six tales in the works that will fall into this short stories series.  Yes more short stories in the works!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reading comic books and graphic novels

Now a lot of people out there either look down on comic books or don't realize the artform that they really are.  Most of the comics printed today are really more than the simple comic book from when I was a kid.  The stories are richer, the art is both more detailed and less and they cover topics that are central to the world today.

Anyone who watches the movies as they come out know that the big dollar draws in the summer are mostly comic book characters lately.  Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Spiderman and others.  They are strong characters living in complex worlds that are just a step to the right or left of our own.

The thing is when dealing with a lot of people my age unless they are crazy people like me many of them think that comic books are a waste of reading material.  This is just not so.

Recently while on a bus ride with my daughter I ended up in a discussion with one of the teachers from her school.  When she asked her what she had been reading over the summer my child proudly popped up with Elfquest and Archie comics.  The look on this teachers face was like she had just bit into a lemon.  Now really that was just wrong.

Having a ten year old child who is devouring comic books is a good thing.  With all the video games, youtube, movies and tv shows out there having a kid who will read ANYTHING is a good thing.  She said I should make her read Nancy Drew as if that was the cure for her reading things filled with Elves (wrong attitude to take with a fantasy author right?)(

Well the next time we headed off to the library we spotted Nancy Drew and in of all things graphic novels.  I talked my daughter into trying one and she is has just finished reading the five and sixth of those books that she picked out herself at the library.

Now I know graphic novels have less words in them than most books.  After all since they have an artist the authors don't need to do the setting of scene for the reader.  The way my daughter rips through these things I think is interesting.  As a child with working memory issues she has trouble accessing the words.  It is like when you know something and it is on the tip of your tongue but can't pull it out of your mind.  We all have moment like that but my daughter has them all the time.  That she rips through graphic novels and comic books makes me excited for her.  She enjoys them and I do not have to make her sit down and read them like I used to have to other books.  This is a good thing.

Sometimes in our current culture we put too much emphasis on having each child exactly like the others and do not look to see the wonder that is each child.  We need to find out what makes them excited and then go for it.  I am glad she is reading and when she is ready I will turn her on to the Manga I have in the basement.  The next step in the wonderful world of fiction that will hopefully someday let her pick up a copy of Dragonsong from Anne McCaffrey and enjoy the tale in print.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Watching old movies with the kid

One of the joys of modern technology is the ability to sit down with your child and watch a movie that came out back when you were a kid.  Nowadays there are of course a lot of parents who are young and have been able to access the movies they grew up with on Netflix or blueray but I grew up before we even had films on VHS tapes.

I can remember back when I was in my late teens bugging the manager of the local video store about when my favorite movie at the time, Beastmaster, would be out on VHS.  This was quite a while ago.  You didn't get ads telling you when a movie would be out on video tape and available for rental.  Heck most people did not even have a VHS player.  This was in the days of the VHS and BETA wars and if you did not catch a movie in the theatre you have to hope and pray that someday it would be shown on tv.

Now you can go online or to the local library (we hit the library) and rent or buy you movie within weeks or months of its release in theatres.  That is both a wonderful thing and a sad thing.  Kids today will not have that anticipation of waiting for a good movie.

Well back to the kid.  She got very excited because i let her pick out two movies.  The great thing about my child is she does not just watch the most current CGI filled movies.  She loves watching old animated movies from when her sisters were kids, when I was a kid and even when her grandmother was a kid!

Today she brought home with her Disney's Fox and the Hound.  A lovely film with two creatures who don't know they aren't supposed to be friends and what happens when they grow up.  Not super long of course but like all Disney flicks it managed to stand the test of time and was well worth watching even in the new millennium.

The other film is Balto.  For those of you who don't know this one (really?) it is an animate film based on a true legend from Alaska of a half wolf/half husky who is part of the team that brought home a badly needed vaccine to help a town filled with sick children.  A lovely tale filled with lessons about life and love and understanding. 

Films like these are not as popular now as they should be.  These films are great for kids of all ages and it would be a great thing if more parents would show them to their kids.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Doing some painting again.

Since today was a painful type of morning for me I decided to paint for a bit.  When I was out with my hubby he got me new paintbrushes so I could do something a bit more detailed.  I think these would have come out better if my wrists weren't aching up a storm but they arent too bad.  The first one here

Now I am not sure if it is good or not here.  I mean with the glare issues of taking the photo that is.

The next thing I worked on was, of course, a new flower.  I mixed up some shades to see if I could make it seem more 3D

Didn't come out too bad I think.  I will be deciding later if i want to add more to this or not.

The final painting was a bit of a test for me.  I had picked up a feather on a walk recently and thought, Hey why don't I try to paint a feather on canvas?  Now it was a bit tricky but here you go.

Did it work?  Good question but i had fun doing it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Painting on the small or hey this is fun

Now any of you who follow me on facebook know I decided to try my hand at painting this summer.  I have had my successes and my failures of course.  Working with small canvases and acrylic paints I have painted flowers and the moon so far.  Now in no way do I claim to be a talented artist, no more than I think i am the most talented writer but i enjoy doing this.  The canvases I like to work with are both small at 5x7 and cheap.  I can get a three pack of them at the dollar store for a dollar.  This means I can teach myself to paint and not feel like I am wasting money.

Over the past two months I have been experimenting with different techniques using a variety of brushes.  Again the nice part about this is that everything I need comes from the dollar store.  In fact the very first canvas I bought even came with a small table top sized easel.

Okay actually to be honest my hubby started me off.  He bought me my first bottles of paint and brushes.  He was very sweet at this and very patient with my lack of confidence.

This image is the first one I painted and you can see it is bad. 

As you can see I had not learned yet to layer colors.  One of the earliest tricks in painting with acrylics to learn is that you put down one color, then let it dry before putting down the next.  I did better on the next set of paintings.

While they don't look great here they are actually rather nice displayed in my living room.  You can see I have some idea now about how to use the brushes to make petals and to use layers of colors to give depth to the painting.

Not that I haven't had my mistakes.  Yes the first one above was bad but so was this one

This image of death was so bad that I went out to a real craft/painting store and spent money on something called Gesso.  This product allows you to reuse your canvas by covering up your horrible mistakes.  This painting and two others that I don't have pictures of took two coats of Gesso to completely cover up.  Thankfully it is an easy process.

Gesso is a product that looks like think white paint that both covers up your mistakes and adds texture to your canvas.  A lot of painters who stretch their own canvases use it in the prep stage.  I have been lucky in that those cheap little canvases I buy are all ready prepared to paint directly on.

Here are a few more that I have done, just for the fun of painting

The one on the top had my attempt at a signature on it.  I don't know how the real artists sign there work. I really don't.  I think that will be my next thing to learn for sure.

Now these two paintings (final two for now) I actually used for more than just being pretty images on canvas.  The first I have used as a cover for my next Death Walks Through short story.

I have been told it has a nice eerie feel to it.  I hope so.

The next is my attempt at water flowers.  Now these came out so nice that my daughter decided she needed it for the background image in a photo of her latest gundam.  I like it.

Now I have a few others in the works.  I have started a sun to match the woman in the moon above and I have a canvas painted black as a background to what I hope will be a really nice feather painting.  Wish me luck!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dragons, inspiration, magic or just a really cool toy?

Yup yesterday I said I would put up pics of my dragons but not just any of them.  These photos are of a line of kids toys known as megablock dragons.  They are snap together creatures with fun colors and poseability.  My sweet hubby got these for me a while ago.  Now they are getting hard to get since the company has stopped making them.  Figures right?  The fun thing with them is you have the big ones that look great and then you have the little ones that you can use in all kinds of fun little dioramas.  I have set them up from time to time attacking my hubby's Kreo transformers and next I plan to set them up in little battles with my SD gundams.  Here are some of the ones I have.

These guys are fun as you can see.  I have an army of yellow dragons and a scattering of other colors.  Of course my current favorite is the bottom image.  He is a draco lich...a skeleton dragon.  Unlike the ones above him he had a ton of parts.  It took me most of an hour to put him together.  He was filled with blue crystal lego pieces.  The others are a body, arms and legs, head and tail and wings and you are done. While I have them set up in various ways right now once I get the gundams built (and my daughter goes back to school!) I can play around and make little battles with them.  I may be almost old I am still a kid at heart and these are fun.

While I write a lot of interesting tales I don't put all my crazy creativity into my stories.  Sometimes you have to get out your toys and just play right?  Besides there is only so much I can do with my dragon characters (so far)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting interested in your spouse's hobby can be fun

Anyone who knows me knows that my hubby is a builder.  I don't mean actual buildings but models.  His favorite to build are of course gundams. Now if you don't know what they are I can show you easy enough.  They are robots from a japanese animation series.  This is one of the long running ones.  According to my hubby it has been out over 30 years!

As a fan of the show he of course knows every season and series of model.  Me, I find the anime a wee bit tiresome and well filled with old cliches but I admit the models are cool.

Now being a good wifey (yes no laughing here I am a good one!!) I said I would like to learn how to do the models.  The fancy HUGE ones he had are way too hard for a beginner but this little series of SD or super deformed ones seemed easy enough.  And to be honest there is a series of 12 minutes episodes that go with them and the story while a wee bit over the top is fun, funny and beautiful at the same time.

Now back to the models.  The first one he had me put together was of a horse.  Yes a horse,  If you know me you know I adore the image of horses.  The strength, the look as they run and their liquid soft eyes.  My first book that I owed as my very own was Black Beauty, so starting me with a horse made sense.

Another reason it did was well it was an easy kit.  This was considered a level two kit.  Simple and easy to put together so i did it.

As you can see he is a robot horse.  Now this was only partially done.  We decided to remove the stickers on his hooves and eyes and actually paint him.  He now is chrome and is really cool!

The second kit was a tad more difficult.  Still done in the SD size he had a lot more parts.  I can't remember his real name but I call him Mister Sticky stabby.  You can see why here:

Yes he has a ton of weapons.  What I hadn't realized when we got this kit is that he is a convertible kit.  Yes like the transformers that my hubby has this is a robot with a disguise...okay just another bigger form

Once I finished this one well I just had to do another one.  My third kit is Ryubi and he is still an SD gundam but he is a mega sized kit.  Now that confused me quite a bit but when I opened the box it made sense.  He is bigger than mr stabby but he is still that fun shape as you can see

We had to use the big stand for him but he was so cool and he has more accessories than Paris Hilton!

Now we have plans to black wash this.  Black washing or panel lining is a technique that helps bring out all the molded details on these plastic kits.  It was a lot easier than  I expected and I plan on doing him up this weekend.  After that we or more I will be using the hubby's airbrush (eekk) and putting a clear coat finish on the model.  See the foily stickers will peel up if not coated down.  A new thing for me to learn.

I had so much fun with these that I now have a bunch more to build.  Now the artwork on these boxes is quite good.  As you can see from these photos.

 These kits go from extremely simple (the first one) to really complex (the second kit) So I will be having fun and playing with these guys over the next few weeks.  I will post up more images as i work on my little friends.  And cooler still is that my hubby is planning on building me a shelf for my little guys and they come with enough friends that I can use my daughters legos, build castles and then make fun scenes with my dragons.  Tomorrow I think i will post up images of my megablocks dragons.  They are silly too but fun!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writers reading stories written by writers about a story about a writer

Okay was that confusing enough?  Everyone knows I am a huge fan of tv/movies/books and music right?  One of the shows I watch faithfully is Castle.  I started watching of course because of Nathan Fillion.  Who wouldn't?  He is funny, handsome and a very talented actor.  But a funny thing happened.  The show turned out to be a lot deeper and a lot better than I expected.  So I kept watching.  The fact that he is playing an author on the show was in no small part why this show grabbed me.

They would mention his different books and then go on to work on what ever murder they had to solve that week.  Fun and fluff all at the same time right?  Well recently on a goof I decided to go to amazon and see if they actually put out any of the books that Richard Castle refers to.  And wouldn't you know it they did!

Yes I have complained about famous people getting all the notice because of their name but I thought hey this is a fictional book by a fictional character.  Lets see if they actually got a good writer or if one of the many talented script writers tried their hand at writing a novel.  Yes folks these are two very different skill sets.  I am a short story and novel writer, I have never even tried to do a script and I hold those who do in high regard but that isn't what this is about.

The first Nikki Heat book started out a bit rough, kind of what I expect but then I got sucked in.  I could see where the fictional Richard Castle had included himself and the fictional Kate Beckett in the stories but it was fun and lighter than a lot of the murder mystery/cop thriller books out there are.  So I decided to go ahead and read the rest. 

Let me tell you I can't wait for the fifth book!  They are slowly getting much better.  The writer (who every he or she is) has managed to catch the flavor of the fictional Richard Castle  and made the books fun and worth reading.  By ending the books with a cliff hanger of sorts it makes you want to read the next.

Just on a hoot I went and looked up Richard Castle on Wiki and whoa.  A very well done page with lots of books that you can actually download.  Amazing.  I wish I had such a nice page.  I decided right then that I might as well read the read of the so called Richard Castle books.  I have read four of the Derrick Storm books and they are the typical spy book with a bit of tongue in cheek and attitude.  Again a fun and fast read for a voracious reader like myself.

It was hysterical last night that they broadcast an episode with the fictional character who was the basis for Richard Castle's fictional female spy.  The episode was a lot of fun, actually had the same flavor as both of the series and of course had a dramatic cliff hanger at the end!  Yes these are reruns so I am lucky enough to be able to see the second part tonight but it was just pure unadulterated fun.

As a writer I dream of someday seeing my work in other forms.  I would love to see things like Guardians of the Gate city made into a short series.  The Saga of Loralil Greyfox made into an anime and even maybe my Death Walks Through tales made into a manga.   We all dream these things, wel don't dare hope but we dream.  Right now I will admit I just want to find a few (thousand) readers who love my tales and will read them and comment on them to me and the world.  I have a few fans who I adore having and I will continue to write what I can till the day I can't.

So as you can see my blog title is weird but it is accurate.  I am a writer who reads books about writers who write books about a writer in their books...confusing but fun and that is what reading and writing is all about to me.  Confusion and fun and maybe the ability to open up the mind of a reader to something they never thought of before.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Making book covers on your own

As a independent writer I have to do a lot of what publishers used to do.  Years ago a writer got to just do the writing.  Editing, marketing and things like book covers and even book trailers was done by your publisher.  People who have read my posts in other places know that the two small press publishers I have did none of that for me.

The editing and marketing parts bothered me quite a bit as I can only do so much editing on my own and well marketing is a skill, a well paid one.  I have little to no idea how to market my work and I am very glad to those who have taken the plug to read my work.

Even more I have a huge thanks for those who have beta read some of my work and have pointed out where I need to fix something.  When you are a starting writer with no money you have to hope to have wonderful friends who can help you.

But one thing I have enjoyed is making covers for my work.  Many of the covers have come out of my photography hobby.  When you have a few thousand nature shots it is easy to find something that will work.  I keep searching the web for fun fonts and play around in photoshop to make them better.  While most of my covers don't have half naked images I think they are okay.

Now that I have started trying to do painting I thought I would try doing one of my short story covers as a painting.  I wrote a short called The Pest House, which is a Death Walks Through short story.  It is based out of a story I read on the Nashua, NH facebook group.  Pest houses were the places that people with contagious diseases were taken to back in the 1830s.  Most of them were places for them to go and die.  So it fit perfectly in my series.

Going through my little paintings (yes I do small paintings) I decided this painting just might work well for the cover for this tale of a ghost

So should I use this or not?  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Media in other forms or hey anime shorts on YouTube

Okay I blog about a lot of things.  On wordpress you can find my blogs and the perils of writing, examples of my writing, a cooking blog and a photography one.  But like everyone else under the age of 90 I am a fan of lots of media.

I watch tv, movies, listen to music, read books and even browse around on youtube.  Something cool that my hubby found yesterday for the family to watch was an anime series of very short eps based on the SD gundam.  As I have been learning to build these fun little guys I wanted to see the series that they are based on.

Of the first 6 or so eps I have watched I find it both funny and actually pretty good at the same time.  Yes it has a lot of the typical anime bits.  Three heroes who combine for a bigger, stronger fighter.  Bad dialog from the villains and the token female (this is for the male audience) character.  But the best part is this little series is great for the entire family.  Titled Brave Battle Warriors (I know but that is what it translates to) this is something that both parents and kids could sit down and watch.  Each episode is about 12 minutes long  and while there is a lot of cliche here, it is pure fun.  Fun in the old style of fun from when we adults were kids.

Anime has come a long way since I was first intriduced to it way back in the 60s.  Back then it was Speed Racer and Kimba the white lion.  Now you get the redux of Ghost in the Shell and the soon to be released Captain Harlock in CG.  Just pulling out my old VHS tapes of things like Wedding Peach or Bastard can send me back in time yet inspire me to new views of the world.

Japan has given the world a lot of amazing artwork over the years with mangas like Mushishi and Far, Far Away.  They have given us things like DragonBall Z (the never ending) and now they have given us a world stuffed full of tiny little robot warriors who are living out ancient legends.  Retelling stories that are a part of their cultural heritage while putting those tales into a format that the current crop of kids will enjoy.  That is both smart marketing (IE the model kits) and smart teaching.

As a writer I try to tell my tales in a way that will catch an audience and I have been known to take an existing legend and twist it around to fit my story.  I like that they have taken cultural history tales and twisted the characters to fit the story.  Try looking this up on YouTube.  I bet you will want to watch them all.