Eris: The Tale of the Story

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about a story.

July 6, 2009, is the date I have recorded that the story first emerged as recognizably itself:

How we did story-boarding in the dark ages.

A human prince – Eris – is banished and branded, but accompanied on his wanderings by his elf and dwarf best friends.

As I usually do, I took the seed to my dad, who is an expert in taking my infantile premises and giving them plots. We began working with this prince (whose name comes from the dwarf planet at the edges of the solar system) and soon discovered why he was branded (to allow them to send him through a portal into regions unknown), what his supposed crime was, and a few other details.

I struggled and thrashed my way through a draft (at that immature stage of my author-hood, I was much more a “pantser” AKA making it up as I went along AKA begging Dad to get me unstuck after every scene) until the plot was complete, and the draft was about 85% complete. I had travel brochures for two of the fantasy worlds (that’s called procrastinating). I even had a cover idea!

Back when I didn’t know about proper cover dimensions…

Then I let it drop. Continue reading

Distance and the Heart

My brother just spent nine weeks at the International ALERT Academy Basic Training in Big Sandy, Texas. The fall-out has been interesting.

I didn’t miss him as much as I had suspected, seeing how close we are. A little background: we are the only “real” siblings in our family. While we had several foster siblings off and on growing up (that we love in a different way) he and I have a special bond, especially as we’ve grown older and more mature. We still get on each other’s nerves, but we’d die for each other in a heartbeat… Continue reading

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

 It might seem that to pen a review of literary titaness Jane Austen’s best-known (and possibly best-loved) novel would be presumptuous.

Nevertheless, I shall proceed to gild the lily and explain why, when I finally crossed its threshold several years ago, I found it worthy of every adulation ever laid at its door. Continue reading

My Mom

  • With the help of the Lord, she “brought me forth”.
  • Since before I understood English, she has taught me about Jesus.
  • She has taught me everything I know (except for Latin, ‘Eighties Culture, and sundry other things).
  • She is my companion, my confidante, my best friend, role model, educator, project buddy, mentor, and encourager.
  • She has a magic touch with little kids. You know those princesses in movies who can talk with the animals? My mom works strange and wonderful things with toddlers and babies.
  • It’s not just me, either! This woman does it all — dirty work, hungry families, unwatched children, messy rooms, late-night overtime, the soiled laundry of half-blind old people…whatever the disaster is, my mom is there, up to her elbows in helping. In the dictionary next to “hard worker,” they’ve put her picture (much to her chagrin, as she doesn’t like her picture taken).
  • Is it any wonder she’s the pattern for all my female characters? (Except for the bland or ditzy ones – those are me.)
  • She gave me my looks 🌷
  • No matter what the situation, no matter where I am, I know my mom is in my corner, and will give me solid advice (even if I don’t like it).

Feel free to disagree, but like it or not my mom is the best there is. The best.

(She will hate this whole post because she doesn’t like being talked about 😉)

Love you, Mom. Thanks for being you, and making me who I am.

Author’s Guild Rails at Amazon’s Buy-Box

(This post might be more interesting to the writers among us, but readers and buyers-of-books are also affected by the dynamics of this issue.)

Author’sGuild.org recently posted an article discussing a change in Amazon’s algorithms regarding who gets top billing in what is called the “buy box” of books – apparently the display at the top that lists all available formats and the relative prices. As you might know, a little farther down appear links to other retailers offering “used” or “new” copies of the books.

Currently, Amazon places itself in the prime “buy box” spot, as the first buy-option people see, but according to the article Amazon intends to use metrics to allow third-party retailers the chance to get in that prize spot. (Amazon gets its stock from the publishers, but acts as the distributor itself.)

Author’s Guild (AG) is incensed at the suggested change, but on reading their article I find their arguments less than compelling. Continue reading

“She But Sleepeth” by Rachel Heffington

Peles Castle, Romania — courtesy of Gabi Jguma/Wikipedia

Sleeping Beauty is a set designer working for Hollywood. A Romanian gypsy casts spells of time-travel and death. An estranged royal couple mourn the loss of their only child. And the hunky love interest exhibits self-sacrificial love.

Yet, for whatever confluence of cosmic misdemeanors, all the raging richness of this story potential totally fizzled when it hit the dour surface of my consciousness. Continue reading

“Death Be Not Proud” by Suzannah Rowntree

 Ruby Black is a cabaret singer with a lifestyle of cigarettes, hard applejack, and jazz, who pinches pennies from her day job as maid while dreaming of the big time in the opera.

When she’s confronted with a two-year old murder mystery in the person of the victim’s determined fiancé, she gets involved in the dark tale against her better judgement.

This fairytale retelling is perfect for mystery lovers, as chilling suspense combines with a rich writing style. Continue reading

Top Ten Book Turn-offs

“Top Ten Tuesday” – the weekly bookish list event curated by the Broke and Bookish blog – has as its theme this week “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book“.

In approximate order from least the greatest:

Things I’m Indifferent To (At Best)

These I can more or less tolerate in a book, but they certainly aren’t a hook for me in picking it up. Continue reading

“Top Ten” Steps to My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly list-event hosted by the “Broke and the Bookish” blog, has as its theme for today “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book.”

In roughly ascending order:

Things that make me click the link/pick it up:

1. Good cover/Catchy title

Continue reading

Diversity in Games

The YouTube team ExtraCredits creates short, thought-provoking videos about the craft of game design, story creation, the philosophy and psychology of building and playing video games, and other cool stuff.

One of their videos discusses Rust by Facepunch Studios, a multi-player survival game. In Rust, the physical appearance of every player’s character is randomly generated: specifically their skin color. The format doesn’t allow for re-rolling, so whatever your character looks like is what you’re stuck with – what you’re “born with,” as it were.

Continue reading