Friday, January 30, 2015

2014 Novel Series #16: Mists of Time Book 3: Finale

Despite what the title says: this isn't the last book in the (now) series. I let out a massive groan when I realized it too, don't worry. This is the second (or third) time a trilogy has morphed into a series and I'm fairly sure I'll never truly write a trilogy.

Anyway. Book 1: Discovery was about discovering Blair, xer magic, the Mists, and the whole Time Knight/Mist Beast thing. Book 2: Seeking was delving deeper into the Mists as Blair and the gang figured out what the HECK was going on and who the villain was. Book 3 is where the crap hits the fan and makes a mess of the Mists, Earth, and a few other planets in the known universe.

The fun part about the three books is they continue right where the last one left off. There's maybe a few seconds between the ending of book 1 and beginning of book 2 and the ending of book 2 and beginning of book 3. Technically all three books could be a Song of Ice and Fire size book but that'd be way too long and it's better to break them all up.

Another interesting thing in this book is I go into detail about the world of Ambrosia. The planet gets two huge chapters which is a big deal because these characters have been in my head since the beginning of my writing career. If you've paid any attention to this blog you'll have seen them mentioned once or twice and Prince Daimin of Ambrosia has a side-story in one of my anthologies. But enough rambling. Onwards with the summary!

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 90,335

Prompt: Continuation of Mists of Time Book 2: Seeking

Main Characters: Tim, Blair, Tenkondin, Hanrel, Alaya, and the Mist Watcher. I hope y'all notice who's missing from this list...

Minor Characters of Note: Dyns (yeah, he was downgraded), Emily, Ova, The Grand Healer, Natalie, Katie, Clay Orrell, Adam, and The VanHelgrove Clan. There are A LOT of VanHelgroves but the important VanHelgroves to this book: King Demek, Princes: Daimin, Lyo, Tyo, and Princesses: Lylina,and Vixen.

Summation: The earth is being attacked by Mist Beasts and the one responsible for it is traveling through all the other worlds he wants to destroy in hopes he can keep the Mists the way they are. Unfortunately he's essentially destroyed Central and the Tower in launching his plan but he'd rather take down the worlds he thinks might be a threat and rebuild than leave those worlds alive, yes, at the sacrifice of the Mists.

High Points: Ambrosia and the resident Royalty: the VanHelgroves. More specifically Prince Daimin and his twin sons Lyo and Tyo. Vixen gets special mention too.

Low Points: Natalie, Tenkondin, Hanrel, and Alaya.

The World(s): Earth, The Mists, Usglerth, Yavis, Xomia, Vioth, Trainides, Gia, and Ambrosia.

Earth is in the year 2014 and there are only two people who have magic: Blair and Clay Orrell.

The Mists are the in between world that connects all worlds. It's the world Mages use to get back and forth between other worlds. Most Mages don't have the right magic to portal into the Mists, they basically hop through in a split second but Time Mages (like Blair and Clay) are able to slow down the world hopping and enter the Mists. Only powerful Mages (like the VanHelgroves) can slow down their "jump" speed enough to get into the Mists.

Usglerth: home creatures like Tenkondin, giant slime monsters who can change their shape as they want but normally present as a large ball of slime with tentacles. They can have anywhere from 6-100s of tentacles depending on how much they want and how much they're digesting. They are semi-transparent and virtually indestructible except if you salt them, burn them, or submerge them in water for any amount of time. Some have one eye, others have two, some have three, you get the idea.

Sex is non-existent in the world. A male touches a female's tentacle for a moment, genetic material is exchanged and in a few weeks the female releases new blobs that form into new slime beasts. This makes every Usglerthian a pervert and most are attracted to round things as Usglerthains generally aren't round. Usglerthians also have the ability to learn a person's language with a single touch and since they can control the shape/length/amount of tentacles they can reach you from across any space. When they touch a person once they can find that person again, no matter how far away they are. They have no innate magic and Time Knights among them are rare and looked upon in disgust.

Yavis: Home of the warriors who are tall (over 6') built like body builders, gray skinned, silver haired, tall cantered ears, three eyes (one in the middle of the forehead), no eyebrows, and a long slender tail like a cat's that goes to their ankles. By nature they are exceptionally stubborn and sometimes a bit arrogant.

Other magic exists in Yavis but Fire Magic is exceptionally rare. Only one family can produce Fire Mages and they rule a country as Royalty because of it. The third eye enables a Yavisian to go into a kind of "battle mode" in which the Yavisian gains a speed and stamina increase. If a Yavisian loses their third eye they will die in six months. If they lose their tail they struggle with balance issues. A Yavisian warrior will fight until they die, no matter what.

Three types of people exist in Yavis: Warriors, Mages, and Scholars. Scholars are the teachers, researchers, and healers. There are also medial workers who don't fit into any of the above categories but most of the time a Yavisian will be one of the above three. If they're not then they're the builders, farmers, tailors, store keeps, fishers, tavern-owners, etc. Those who are Warrior, Mage or Scholar and have been outcast from their family/by the government for whatever reason are generally forced to drop their title and go into hard labor. If they cannot complete the final ceremony for Warriors, Mages, or Scholars, they become outcast.

Xomia: Home of the mind-readers, the Xomiaians are average in height as compared to a human but with light blue skin, golden hair, and four legs. Their arms are unusually long for their frames and their eyes are twice the size of a human's and completely black in color. They have no physical fighting capability but can cause instantaneous death in the minds of Mist Beasts (and some races) if they so choose. They cannot see the future. Xomia is one of the more popular planets for Time Knights and their other magic is mentally based.

Vioth: Home of the cat people, the Viothians are bipedal, covered in fur, have tall pointed ears, fangs, whiskers, paw-like hands and feet with claws, and long tails. They communicate through hisses, growls, meows and other cat-like sounds. They have little magic but are deadly in battle due to their exceptional senses, speed, claws, and flexibility. Viothians are rare as Time Knights but they do not see being a Time Knight as a bad thing.

Trainides: home of the other mind readers, tall and slender enough that it looks like a slight breeze would blow them over. Their heads are completely smooth but black tentacles sprout from the top of it, completely covering any features. It's rumoured the Trainidesians sense everything through their tentacles and do not have noses, eyes, ears, or mouths. Their world is completely aquatic and they fight similar to an electric eel and octopus. They are average in terms of Time Knights, average fighters, but not much is known about any innate magic.

Gia: Considered one of the strongest planets in terms of mages and many are Time Knights. The general populace is human except for the four Elemental Mage Races. The Tal'kan are the Fire Mages: tall, exceptionally slender with orange to red hair, red eyes and orange skin. They are also considered the expert warriors and have a touch of mental powers not many know about. Despite their strength the Tal'kan are few in number compared to the other races in Gia.

The Nil'shay are average in height and weight compared to humans with blue hair, blue eyes, and blue tinted skin. They are the water elementals who specialize in summoning.

Mil'nee are the earth elementals, average in height but built largely muscled. They are the expert weavers, that is, they can create something out of whatever what might be around them.

Finally, the Ala'gan are the wind elementals, the seers of the future, and the healers. They are shorter than average, none have reached a height of five feet and are destined to never have a soul mate.

Ambrosia: considered the most powerful planet in the known universe and is known as the "Watch Dog" or "Guard Dog" planet. Nothing happens without Ambrosia's consent: no new planets are added to the alliance and planets cannot initiate new trades with other planets without first asking the Ambrosians, more specifically King Demek VanHelgrove.

Ambrosia is home to a variety of folk, but most are humanoid based with two arms, two legs, one head, and average (or above average) in height. There are elves, dwarves, dragons, animal-human hybrids, and vampires. To be called a vampire is to be insulted in the highest degree as vampires in Ambrosia are little more than blood thirsty, violent cretins that do nothing but kill for their own amusement.

The VanHelgroves rule as dictators over Ambrosia with King Demek being the 25th Generation Royal VanHelgrove. The VanHelgrove family was born from an elf and a vampire which gives them the better traits of both races. The Royal Family is said to be dwindling in power as fewer children are being born but each child is becoming stronger as the generations pass. The people do not see it and did not believe it until Prince Daimin, King Demek's second son, was able to destroy a world on his own.

Despite their strength they have inadequacies the people do not see and they go to great lengths to hide. Ambrosia itself is considered utopia: there are no wars, most people live above the poverty line and are happy, there is little to no crime, health care and education are free for everyone, and there are no complaints.

Other world's rulers believe the VanHelgroves are hiding some deep secret about their family and the world since no one can be that perfect.

Memorable Lines:

"This is going to be fun. You want me to use Fire Magic in a world that lost its magic and doesn't believe magic ever existed." Ova was smiling as she spoke. (She's a Tal'kan who Blair took to earth to stop Mist Beast from killing people.)
Alaya (Ala'gan) snorted but Ova was walking to Blair's broken door. Blair followed and they stepped into the hallway together. Four Mist Beasts were in the hallway, two ripping apart people who had lived on the same floor as Blair. Other people had baseball bats, pans, and other blunt objects and were trying to knock the Mist Beasts out. One had a gun but he had run out of bullets.
"Good afternoon!" Ova said.
Everyone, including the Mist Beasts, looked to her. The humans' jaws dropped and their eyes widened. The Mist Beasts growled and tensed but didn't attack.
"My name is Ova and I'm a Tal'kan from the planet of Gia. Earthlings, please step towards the walls."
Blair didn't know whether to laugh or ask what Ova was on. The people in the hallway stepped back towards the walls. Other people were looking out of their apartment doors. The Beast growled but Ova grinned.
"It's going to get a little warm in here."
Someone screamed as fir, real fire, flung out of Ova's hands and torched the Mist Beast closest to them. It howled in pain as it burned but Ova was not done there. She charged forward with a warrior's cry and Blair saw a flaming sword appear in each hand. No, it wasn't a sword covered in flame, it was a sword made of flames.
"I think she can handle this."
Alaya was grinning when Blair looked down at her.
"Oh, and tell them to ignore the orange skinned woman flinging fire around," Alaya said. "She's here to destroy those things (Mist Beasts)."

"Don't freak out." Alaya said.
"Why would," Blair shut up when Alaya grabbed her arm and suddenly Blair felt weightless. They continued to walk but Blair couldn't see her own legs. (When making someone invisible it's best to give them a better warning...)

"He told me since he didn't think I'd get out of here, "Tenkondin said. "He totally underestimated sweet cheeks (Blair)."
"Is he crazy? He's going after Ambrosia?" Alaya asked.
"Yep to both. Want me to find him?" Tenkondin questioned.

"How do we get out of here?" Blair asked.
"Not the same way we came in." Alaya replied. (Some people think sarcasm is an Ala'gan racial trait...)

...Blair stared at the immense hole in the wall Alaya created. Bits of rubble were falling from the top but Alaya strode forward with a smirk on her face.
Alaya was walking away as if she hadn't blown a giant hole into the side of the Tower. (Best way to do it...haha)

"Fine, we have to go up," Tenkondin said. "I would say hang on but I'm the one holding y'all so stay still." (Advantage 1 of Usglerthians: can climb up a crumbling building while holding onto multiple people)

They were falling again. Tenkondin reformed his tentacles but the entire side of the Tower had been lit aflame. There was nothing for him to grab onto.
"Both of you inhale then cover your noses and mouths." Tenkondin said.
"What?" Hanrel asked.
She looked panicked. Blair was fairly sure her panties were ruined but she listened to Tenkondin anyway.
Hanrel took a deep breath and covered her face. Blair wanted to cry out when Tenkondin absorbed both of them. He had pulled them completely into his body and Blair knew every inch of her was covered in slime. They were still falling but it was strange to see it now.
Blair felt the impact of them hitting the ground. It jarred her bones but she knew if Tenkondin hadn't absorbed them Blair and Hanrel would be nothing but smears of blood, guts, and flesh across the rubble.
Blair gasped and sat up. She was still coated in Tenkondin's slime but he was spread out all over the rubble. One of his eye feelers was a dozen feet to her right and the other was a dozen feet behind her. His entire body was splattered in a million different places and Blair felt her breath hitch.
Tenkondin was dead...
"Aw, sweet cheeks, stop crying, I'm okay."
Blair hiccupped but raised her head. Tenkondin was grinning at her, both eye feelers in place and his body coming together bit by bit. (Advantage 2 of Usglerthians: Falling from a great height does not mean death.)

"You're essentially a mass of slime. If you trip on something we have bigger problems than the Mists ending."

"Holy shit! He (Tenkondin) ate my phone! That's probably not covered."

"Double D (Hanrel), you're topless, have been starved, and probably ready to collapse. The fuck world are you going to save?"

"I'm going to get changed into something a bit more," Blair started.
"Lacy and see through?" Tenkondin asked.

"Cute, smart, and a good shot. How is he in bed?" Alaya asked.
Blair was glad Alaya could not see her blushing. Tim chuckled but said nothing.
"I mean with his aim," Alaya began.
This was too much (Uh yeah, the world is ending. Why you guys gotta be so funny?)
"He's great, okay? Drop it." Blair broke in.

Tenkondin and Tim stopped destroying Mist Beasts when Alaya raised her hand with a grin. They all watched in silent awe as a tornado formed in front of her and began gathering not just height but girth. Soon it was an F5 class and Alaya flicked a wrist.
Within seconds the Mist Beast caught in the spiralling winds were ripped to shreds. Some tried to run but it was too late. Alaya's tornado spun between the cracks and in less than a minute there were no Mist Beasts between the two columns of cracks in front of them. (Advantage 1 to being Ala'gan: destroying hundreds of creatures with a flick of a wrist.)

"But if you lock me in a room and keep using lightning attacks eventually I'll run out of air to manipulate. The only way to stop an Ala'gan is to lock them in a small space with little oxygen." Alaya said. (It's a bigger disadvantage than you think as proven in Cara Book 4: Final Travels)
"In general that's a good way to kill anyone." Hanrel said.

"Nightmares are fuel for monsters." Alaya said.
"Are you trying to tell us that for every nightmare a new Mist Beast is born?" Hanrel asked.
"I am," Alaya said. "Every nightmare from every person in every world creates a new Mist Beast."

"An Ala'gan once told me I would be defeated by a mere mortal. I see why." (The bad guy)

"So there's no like, love, or sex or," Natalie started.
"Nope," Tenkondin interrupted. "I touch a girl's tentacle for a minute or so and she moves on."
"That's, unfulfilling," Alaya said. "No wonder you're so interested in molesting everyone you find attractive."

"I just blew his (the bad guy) fucking head off but he's still running." Tim said. (Well duh you have a bad guy that's hard to kill ;) )

"Great, the earthling gets the power up," Hanrel started.
"I'm originally from earth, you know." Emily broke in. (They're in Gia, Emily's a Dragon Summoner fell into Gia from earth)

In Yavis after Hanrel catches a sword thrown at her:
"Um, okay, anyone else fell like they're in a movie right now?" Natalie asked.
"Yep." Tim said.
"Definitely." Blair said.

"The (other bad guy) managed to cut it (her arm) off but I cut off her head so it works." Alaya said.
"But you're not even bleeding." Tim said (and hasn't been the entire time. He thought she was born with one arm)
"I healed it right after I cut off her head," Alaya said. "It's too bad she burned my arm after she cut it off or I could've re-attached it."
"You could have re-attached it alone?" Tim asked.
"Yep. I'm Ala'gan, it's what I'm born to do. Literally."

In Trainides which is all water:
"That mass of air around your heads is balancing out the excess water molecules in the air," Alaya said. "This is why people say to always take an Ala'gan to Trainides if you want to keep breathing.

In Xomia:
"Anyone else weirded out about the person talking in their head?" Tim asked.
"Nope," Alaya said. "I'm used to it."
"Nope," Tenkondin said. "She sounds hot."

"...Plus it's always a stupid idea to send the group's healer to attack someone in a fight." Tim said.
"What do you know about battles?" Alaya asked.
"I play a lot of video games with magic systems involved." Tim answered (Advantage to playing video games ;) )

"Why the Hell would he come here?" Hanrel asked.
"Take out the strongest and the rest follow." Alaya said.

"And yes I am here to kill the VanHelgroves, all of you. I will start with the two of you, it seems." (bad guy)
"You're either insanely powerful or really stupid. I'm going with stupid." Lyo said.
"Me too." Tyo said.
"...and summon creatures made from people's nightmares." Tyo said.
"Too bad I'm the one who rules nightmares." Lyo said.

"Do you control fire?" Tenkondin asked.
"No." Lylina said.
She yelped when Tenkondin grabbed her ass. His tentacle froze a moment later and continued to freeze until he dropped it. Blair looked at him to see his eyes wide and mouth dropped open in shock.
"Lylina's an Ice, Wind, and Water Light Mage. We call her the Snow or Winter Princess." Tyo provided. (And she was such BEFORE Frozen in case anyone's wondering)

"...then take off his head." Vixen said.
"Upper or lower?" Daimin questioned.
"Upper. Jackass." Vixen said.
"The Cloak of Negativity." Lyo said.
Blair was glad everyone else was looking at Lyo with her as if he had lost his mind. Tyo smirked a moment later as if he understood. It was probably a twin thing.
"Plus five to nightmare factor." Tim muttered.
"Where is (other bad guy) now?" Demek asked.
Blair pursed her lips to keep from laughing when Alaya grinned.
"Oh, I chopped off her head after she cut off my arm. I think it was a fair deal." Alaya answered with a shrug.
Silence. Daimin started laughing.

Much, MUCH later:
"Fuck me, you earthlings suck."

"Yeah, life sucks and sometimes you don't get what you want but you gotta take it as it comes and make the best of it or you'll end up living, well, here (in the Mists)."

The Main Library hadn't changed but it had taken years for all the books to be replaced. Even still there were days when someone might get lucky and...
"Higher Power damn it!"
Blair smirked as Prince Tyo VanHelgrove, 27th Generation Royal VanHelgrove, Dark Fire Mage, rubbed the sore spot on his head. Apparently when placed in the vicinity of the VanHelgroe twins, books could fly.
"Everything happens for a reason isn't a good enough excuse to ignore a situation." Blair said.
Tyo smirked.
"The difference between you and me is I have the knowledge of the entire universe stored in my head. When I say something is happening for a reason, I tend to know what I'm talking about."
"So everything that's happened is fate? We can't change it even if we wanted to? Is that what," Blair tried.
Tyo looked at him again and Blair frowned.
"You don't want me to go there."

"I'm a Time Knight, Adam and so are you. Let me tell you about the Mists and what exactly you've been seeing since you turned 18."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: City of Dark Magic

Why did I pick it up?

It was one of those books I got from the Box Sale from the Book Depot. I paid $35+tax for it and around 45-49 other books, so yeah. The cover was intriguing and so was the premise so I decided why not? The author's name was also pretty cool too. I mean who can go wrong with a name like Magnus?

The Review of City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte:

The premise of the book is good. Music student is invited by her professor to help with categorizing one of her favorite composure's pieces for a private museum of an important rich families' belongings. Professor commits suicide before said student can leave but she ends up going anyway despite meeting an odd dwarf. No, seriously.

There's also romance thrown in, well, not so much romance, but yes, romance. Anyway, the main character is a sort of free thinker when it comes to men which is totally fine. She also has an impeccable, wait, no, above average sense of smell which she uses to decide whether or not to sleep with a guy. Okay, I can handle that.

She also has an unusually sharp ear because she can hear things/scores/whatever in music most people don't pick up on. Oh. Okay.

Oh, and she's pretty and most guys are willing to do whatever for her because she's so pretty. I mean the 'prince' and only heir of the rich family she's working for immediately falls for her even though she's a student and has no cash. Oh. Um...

And she's musically talented, instrument wise. If I remember correctly she plays piano as well as violin. Um...

Did I mention she's brilliant and has an impeccable memory when it comes to history and music? Oh, well that too.

Then she's living with this super hot male Italian roommate who totally doesn't mind cooking for or getting her alcoholic drinks but she's not sleeping with him because he doesn't have the right smell or something...yeah. Okay, that's. Urg.

Suffice to say: I did not connect nor care about the main character in any way. There was the hint of some kind of horrible past, something to do with her father but I can't remember right now to be honest. The books is also trying to be a triple threat and covering romance, fantasy (there's some rumors about a Hell portal and the dwarf I mentioned isn't a normal person), and mystery since you know, the professor wouldn't have offed himself. Which he didn't. There was a whole big explanation that spanned the whole book, which is the point of a mystery, so, great.

But then we add the 11 year old blind piano prodigy our main has been tutoring because you know, she needs a cool job, oh and the ex-ballerina who bails our main lead out once or twice and has some kind of weird connection with the governor who for some reason wants...

Yeah. There was A LOT going on and having a main character with two exceptional senses, the ability to play duel instruments, being gorgeous, and brilliant on top of all that? Mm, I finished it because I rarely drop a book and the story itself was stellar.

I didn't connect with anyone and the only character I cared about was the dwarf because he sounded interesting. The premise was great and the actual plot concept wasn't original and pretty awesome. I would've ditched the child prodigy and the ballerina.

Would I read it again?

Nope. I'm not even tempted to pick up the sequel because I don't really care if the main character and her prince (literally mind you) find the Golden Fleece. Yeah, there's that whole plot line too...

The Negatives:

The main character was too talented. She's musically gifted in two instruments, can memorize and read music and history in her sleep, has an incredible sense of smell and hearing to the point she can sense things others can't, is pretty, and brilliant. Then she falls in love/lust with a prince who falls in love/lust with her. Oh, he also pretty much hands her the job of her dreams.

Besides the main character: there was A LOT going on. The dwarf and governor could have had their own stories completely separate from Ms. Sue and they would have been interesting on their own. Heck, the whole plot line about looking for the Golden Fleece could have carried the book alone without the governor's story or the dwarf's...or the ballerina...or the blind child prodigy.

The bad guys didn't have any redeeming features and I'm all for the bad guy being truly evil but not when your main character is so damned perfect.

Final review: 3/5. If the main was more relatable and there were fewer subplots this would be have been a 5/5 book.

Until next time: comments, questions, rants and rage can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

2014 Novel Series #15: Mists of Time Book 2: Seeking

Book two I wrote during National Novel Writing Month. The main focus of Book 1 was Blair's personal life, discovering who Blair is as a person and xe discovering xe has magic. Book 1 is all about Blair starting a new life. Book 2 is about Blair learning how to deal with the repercussions of being the only earthling with magic as well as figuring out how to deal with other people finding out about xer magic. Book 1 was basically a taste of the Mists. Book 2 is all about the Mists. ONWARDS!

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 91,060

Prompt: Continuation of Mists of Time Book 1: Discovery in which they find out who the bad guy really is.

Main Characters: Blair, Tim, Tenkondin, Tim, and Dyns

Minor Characters of note: Natalie, Katie, Orrell, Hanrel, Meryl, Alaya, Xias, Ova, and The Mist Watcher

Summation: They find out who the bad guy is and crap hits the fan in a horrible way.

High Points: Tenkondin. He's freaking hilarious.

Low Points: The ending.

The World: Ours but with magic. Oh and the Mists.

Memorable Lines:

"So you've decided to dress male today?" Hanrel asked.
"And you've decided to keep being a bitch." Blair returned.

"If you make the wrong choice in the next year you will be the one who brings about the destruction of the universe." (Person who can see the future to...Blair. Mwahaha)

"A crack, as in a break?" Xias questioned.
"That's the definition of crack, actually in Blair's world it's some kind of illegal drug too, but yeah, break." Tenkondin said.

"You fainted." Dyns said.
"Thank you Mr. Obvious." Tenkondin said.
"It was the magical output from the Mist Watcher. Blair will be fine, I'm certain." Xias said.

"By the way, your ass looks really good in those pants. Can I play with it?" Tenkondin asked.
"No, you can't play with my ass." Blair said.
"What if I buy you food first?" Tenkondin asked.
"Tenkondin, be serious for once," Dyns said. "Blair isn't interested and I doubt he ever will be. Besides, we have more important situations to deal with than trying to get into Blair's pants."
"But I wanna hit it." Tenkondin said.
"And I want to hit you with a really big rock." Blair said.

"We can't do nothing but train and keep an eye out." Dyns said.
"Good thing you've got three." Tenkondin remarked. (Dyns does have three eyes...haha)

"You, gah, hey! Stop touching my ass!"
It made Dyns laugh again and Blair grinned. Tenkondin rubbed him so Blair stabbed him with a knife. Tenkondin made a weird choking sound in his throat then chuckled.
"Kinky." (Yeah, Tenkondin's basically a large green slime monster with tentacles who can't be killed by melee weapons, or explosions, falling from great get the idea)

"I need new clothes, you know? And I'm not going to let a little thing like society's perspective of what a woman should look like hold me back. I'm going to look good and be curvy." Katie said. (You go girl. :) )

"Katie's just, well; she doesn't so much care about personal hygiene when there's a new mystery to be solved. And what bigger mystery is there than a tentacle creature popping into your best friend's living room through a rip in time?"

"Do you know why you don't see many Usglerthians (what Tenkondin is) in the Mists?"
Tenkondin probably meant the question to be rhetorical but Dyns opened his mouth to answer. Tenkondin whapped a tentacle over Dyns' mouth and Dyns blinked in wonder. (That's one way to get someone to shut up.)

"Aw, Dyns, why do all the curvy girls have boyfriends?"
"Because Tenkondin, life is unfair to perverts like you."

"Closed minded town, two guys kissing: duh."
"I'll never get that. Who cares who loves who? As long as no one's shoving it down my throat and by it I mean everything from religion to sexuality then I'm fine. Tim wanting to be with Blair and Blair being bi-gender isn't bothering me so whatever."

"Did you forget what I told you when we first met? I said: "If you make the wrong choice in the next year you will be the one who brings about the destruction of the universe." It's still true you know." Alaya said. (She's an Ala'gan from another planet. Ala'gan are seers of the future, healers, and wind elementals.)
"What choice?" Blair asked.
Alaya shrugged.
"I don't know."
Blair blinked.
"What do you mean you don't know? I thought,"
"Ala'gan can't predict the future with any kind of accuracy," Alaya began. "We see snippets of things and sometimes we don't even know who or what the thing belongs to until we see the person. We can't control it and sometimes we don't even remember what we've seen until we see the person our vision was meant for. I can't tell you who's going to die or when you're going to have to make this all important decision. All I know is that something you're going to decide on sometime this year will either destroy or save the universe."

"Great. Can we find somewhere to sleep?" (Blair's heard a bunch of horrible things and dealt with trying to fight a bunch of Mist Beasts alone at once)
"You mean together?" Tenkondin asked. (Ha, always the pervert)

"Don't ever leave me, okay? I mean, I don't think I could handle it if you were just gone and I know I sound clingy and," Blair began.
Tim kissed him and Blair shut up. Tim pulled back from the kiss after a moment but held Blair tightly.
"You don't sound clingy. If I don't get to leave then you don't get to leave either, okay?" Tim asked.
Blair blinked then pulled back. Tim was smiling. Blair smirked.

"Was that some kind of double proposal thing?" Blair asked.
"Hey, I've still got the ring,"
"Ah, nope. Too cliché."

"There isn't a magical sentence you can say so she'll instantly understand. It will take time."
"Good thing I can freeze it."

"We need to find a small cave or something."
"Okay. Would if answer if we called?"
"How long was I out?"
"I'm not sure. Your watch is broken." (GUYS! You're in the middle of some world you don't know with no supplies and beasts that want to kill you near by. One of you has a broken arm. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE CRACKING JOKES!)

"You've been missing for two weeks."
"Oh hey look, we're found. My arm hurts and we're starving and tired and holy shit I think I'm going to fall over."

"Of course it's on the top shelf. I swear the other healers think they're pulling pranks on us Ala'gan by putting everything so high. Come get this." Alaya (who's 4'6") said.
Blair strode deeper into the room and reached for the jar. Alaya swatted him and he huffed.
"The one to the right, yes, that one."
Blair brought the jar down but Alaya took it from him. She spun open the cap, dabbed her finger in the thick blue-tinged cream then licked her finger. Blair stared at her as she nodded, screwed the cap back on, and offered the jar to him. (In the jar is a cream to help scarring, btw. It's not meant to be food.)

"Blair, I, okay. Give me a few more minutes to freak out."
"Sure, you can even run around in circles if you want."

"It's your job to protect,"
"The Mists, not your planet or any other planet."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Are All People

I mentioned sometime last year (Nov 21, 2014...I checked my Tweets) I would eventually write a blog post that gives a bit of insight as to why I write some of the characters I write. More specifically: "One day I will explain why I support LGBTQ folks and why I have so many characters who are LGBTQ. It will be a blog because 140 characters (on Twitter) isn't long enough." Oh hey, this is the day.

For those who are new here or don't pay a lot of attention to my Twitter/this blog or for those who don't check out the novel series tab to see what the heck I do: I write A LOT. In most of my novels I have a non-cis or non-binary character. Only two novels in the 42 (as of Jan 2015) I've written DO NOT include someone from the LGBTQ community. This means the other 40 novels have a character who is in said community.

Who are these characters? I made a list:
  • Xeros, Drake, Zahnee, Zanrah, Denxen, Kien, Adara, Vesgha, Ekard, from Cara: attracted to the same gender.
  • Raven, Havoc, Gold: Bonehemmer Princess and Harmonizer: attracted to the same gender
  • Shawn, Ice, Derrick, Ray: Seer and Seeker: attracted to the same gender
  • Jayden/Jordan: Changed: transgender
  • Andre, Gary: Chosen Ones of the Forbidden Object: attracted to the same gender
  • Star Von Vette, Jammer: Model: attracted to the same gender, Star is also considered "androgynous" and dresses in women's clothing even though he's a he. No, Star is not transgender and does not wish to become a female. He likes being male and likes dressing as a woman all of the time.
  • Glitch, Dylan: Lies: Glitch is a gay cyborg and Dylan's an ambiromantic asexual
  • Archard, Noam: Warriors Eight: attracted to the same gender
  • David: Protectors: Attracted to the same gender
  • Drew: Testing Grounds: attracted to same gender and cross-dresses
  • Samuel, Greg: Glory Hole Series: married to each other
  • Rowan: Burnt: the Story of the Fire King: male to female transgender who transitions as a point of view character over the course of the novel.
  • Lucy McGregor, Anne, various minor characters: Thriller/Mystery Series: attracted to the same gender, female to male transgender (minor character of note), cross-dressers, and various others.
  • Blair, Tim: Mists of Time Series: Blair is bi-gender and Tim is bi-sexual.
  • Angelus: Tale of the Twins Trilogy: attracted to the same gender
  • Kiyvn and Derke: Trees of Life: attracted to the same gender
  • Garrick: Heroes Dilemma: attracted to the same gender
This list doesn't include the various short stories or any of the novels I have planned in which a character's gender identification or sexuality isn't known yet. Now. Why do I write so many characters who are part of a non-binary or non-cis sexuality or gender?

The simple answer? I am under the firm belief everyone who is alive today no matter what their identity, race, color, etc deserves to be represented in fiction.

The complicated answer? There aren't enough works of fiction (RE: novels) featuring LGBTQ or even People of Color as characters in a predominate, meaningful role other than the token gay/black/lesbian/PC character. See all those characters listed above? Without them there would be no story. They each have an important role to play and in most of the stories they are the main character.

Why? Because everyone deserves to be represented and it bothers the HELL out of me when a character is included in a novel, in a minor role that serves no purpose, and the author makes a big deal about them being gay or lesbian or whatever because "O-M-G, I'M BEING INCLUSIVE!" It bugs the HELL out of me a popular author didn't mention the sexuality of a popular, well-loved character until SOMEONE ASKED and the books were over and done with.

I'm not saying you have to scream your character's sexuality/gender preferences from the mountain tops but there should be obvious clues as to who/what the character prefers or doesn't. And yes, we do need more LGBTQ main characters so issues like the Leelah Alcorn case don't happen again.

If people understand what certain groups go through for simply being themselves then maybe there wouldn't be so much hatred in this world. Maybe if there were more authors willing to write about a real, normal (whatever that means) transgender woman (or gay person, or black person, or any other "non-normal" person) in fiction there wouldn't be so many transgender (etc) suicides going on and perhaps there would be a little more tolerance in the world.

I'm not saying you have to be best friends with everyone and everything can be all kittens, puppies, and rainbows. I am saying everyone deserves the same level of respect no matter what their skin color, gender, sexuality, religion, or what have you.

In order to get to some semblance of respect people have to see that no matter what a person's skin color, gender, or sexuality is the person is STILL A PERSON. They have the same wants, needs, and feelings as everyone else and they deserve to be represented and respected like everyone else.

Maybe I'm being optimistic but I think if I represent everyone as well as I can in my novels and people see these "non-normal" people as normal then maybe, just maybe, I can change someone's mind. Maybe I can bring a little more acceptance into the world. Maybe I can make a difference.

So, why do I have so many LGBTQ characters? Because everyone deserves a little love, respect, and acceptance.

Until next time: rants, rage, out-right insults, comments, questions and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing Tips #4: Point of View

When writing a novel one has to think about dialogue, whether or not to use contractions, showing vs. telling, and yes: point of view.

Point of view is essentially the perspective from which your novel is told. Because the English language is sometimes convenient: first, second, and third Point of View is entirely dependant on which personal pronouns you're using: first, second or third. For any non-writer or newbie writer reading this, Point of View is often abbreviated to PoV, in case you're wondering. Now? Onwards.

First Person PoV:

Pronouns used: I, we, me, my, mine, us, our, and ours.

Example: I saw the sun beginning to rise over the hills and knew it was time for my clan to wake. We woke early as we needed to hunt early. If we waited for the sun to fully rise before hunting then we would become the hunted.

Seen in: Young Adult novels, mainly. There are some adult novels written in first person PoV (Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray come to mind) but most of the time, first person PoV is reserved for young adult novels or pre-teen novels.

Pros and cons: It directly links you to the main character. Unfortunately, that's the ONLY link you have to the story. So, no other characters can comment, you don't get other people's thoughts, and you don't really know for sure if what this character is telling you is 100% true. Of course it leads lots of interesting plot twists open because if your main character doesn't see it then neither will your reader.

But, if your ONLY narrator is unlikeable then you're going to get a lot of annoyed readers. So if you're going to use first person PoV, you have to be especially careful your only PoV character is likeable or someone out there is going to start rooting for the bad guy.

Second Person PoV:

Pronouns used: you, your, yours.

Example: You saw the sun beginning to rise over the hills and knew it was time for your clan to wake. The clan woke early as you needed to hunt early. If you waited for the sun to fully rise before hunting then you would become the hunted.

Seen in: Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney...and I had to go Google a novel for second person PoV.

Pros and cons: The 'you' will always imply the reader is the main character. It's not about making the reader connect, it's about making the reader think they are the character. It's a whole other level of imagination that sometimes is pretty cool. The reader is not hearing the story in this sense, THEY ARE the story.

Writing in second person PoV isn't as hard as one would think. It's essentially writing in first person but changing the "I" to "you" with some tweaks here and there. Is it worth it? Well, there aren't many novels written in second person PoV. That tells us one of two things: no one wants to read them OR everyone's too afraid to write them.

Third Person PoV:

Pronouns used: character's name, he, she, it, him, her, his, hers, its, they, them, their(s)

Example: Hannah watched as the sun began to rise over the hills and she knew it was time for her clan to wake. They woke early as the clan needed to hunt early. Hannah knew if they waited for the sun to fully rise then they would become the hunted.

Seen in: Basically everything. Third person PoV is the most common PoVs as it's essentially "God Mode."

Pros and Cons: There are two types of third person PoV: God Mode (omniscient) and Singular (Limited). God Mode means jumping from character to character like G.R.R Martin in his Song of Ice and Fire series. Singular third person PoV means sticking to ONE character's PoV like in Harry Potter.

God Mode: Seeing into every character's thoughts when necessary at any given time and knowing things before certain characters. It means you can find your own person to connect with, you can hate other characters, and laugh/yell/gasp/ect when a character misses something obvious. It also means you can form your own opinions on who's good or bad and what the story's message is.

Singular: like first person PoV: you only get ONE characters thoughts/feelings/ect. So if your main character is separated from his friends you have NO IDEA what his friends are doing until the main character reunites with them. So it's all the pros and cons of first person but you're out of the character's head.

Which PoV do I use?

Whatever PoV will best tell your story. Do you want to keep every plot twist unknown to the reader until it happens? Use first person or third person limited. Do you want your reader to know things your main characters might not? Third person God Mode. Do you want your reader to be the main character? Second person.

Choosing a PoV depends entirely on the message you want to get across to your reader and how you want your story to be told. Most of the time I use third person and it's normally God Mode. The Mists of Time trilogy was limited to Blair's PoV. Anything xe didn't know/see, the reader didn't know/see which makes for some fun times.

On the other hand, a series like the thriller/mystery series wouldn't have worked so well in third person limited. Why? Each of the MC's jobs are unique to the MCs and cutting out one persons perspective takes something away from the story.

Third person is generally the easiest PoV to write. It gives you the most freedom and allows your reader the best chance to form a lasting relationship with multiple characters and to form opinions on the story itself rather than the narrator of said story.

Can I switch PoV?

Well you could but it's not advised. If you go from "I saw this happen" to "she saw this happen" in one novel it could throw your reader for a loop and the last thing you want to do is confuse your reader. If you confuse the reader then the reader will stop reading and no one wants that. The only time it's okay to switch your PoV is if you kill off your main narrator in either first person PoV or third person limited PoV.

How often can I switch perspectives in third person God Mode?

There is no numerical answer to this. It depends entirely on your novel and which of your main characters would tell whatever part of the story the best. How did I know to switch between James, Mia, Lucy, Michael, and Sable in the thriller/mystery series? I tried to keep it even, for one, or close to. They each had their say in every novel when they needed to. I also tried to keep each character's scene focused on their talents: James for interviews, Mia for chases, Lucy for forensics, Michael for finding people, and Sable for dissections.

Of course they over-lapped sometimes and because of the nature of the novel Lucy's forensic information was basically described in James' scenes or the reverse. They were part of a bigger unit that had to keep other parts informed after all.

I did give it a lot of thought in later novels mainly because of how I wanted these grisly murders to be seen and, more importantly: I wanted the reader to see how my MCs were growing over the course of the series.

Give everyone a chance to speak if they need to speak. If a character only has one scene in their PoV then really think about that character as a main. Are they going to become important in later novels or can you change the perspective of the scene to another character without changing the meaning/dynamics of the scene? If you answer yes to the first: keep it the way it is. Answer yes to the second? Well, that so-called Main character is not someone who needs a perspective.

Again, PoV is all about finding your voice and what works for your novel. It takes a lot of practice to know innately which PoV will work for each story and when you can switch it up in God Mode.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Novel Series #14: Mists of Time Book 1: Discovery

This was the first book I wrote during this year's National Novel Writing Month. I didn't set out to start and finish the series and was four chapters short of doing it in November. I know, I'm nuts.

Mists of Time is a trilogy focusing on Blair who, when xe turns 18, discovers xe is a super-hero of sorts who will eventually have to learn to control xer magic so xe can save the world. If you've been paying any sort of attention to the pronouns I've been using you'll notice I'm not using a specific pronoun for Blair. Why? Blair is bi-gender. Sometimes Blair will feel female and dress/act accordingly and sometimes Blair will feel male so will dress/act accordingly. Blair is physically male.

Is this a main focus in the series? Kind of. Blair is from a small city near the bible belt where anything LGBTQ is not looked kindly upon. The series is a coming of age type with a bit of magic and saving the world themes thrown in. Blair knows who xe is as a person but grows more into "both" halves of who xe is: male and female. Xe also has to deal with the fact xer parents hate Blair's bi-gender identification, the fact xe thinks xe's going insane, and a whole slew of other problems which if I got into would reveal too much.

There are crazy monsters who become Blair's friends and of course there's death, destruction, and mayhem. Mwahaha. ONWARDS!

Genre: Urban fantasy

Word Count: 91,846 which is the longest piece of fiction I've written since Zombies. Kind of short for urban fantasy...I think.

Prompt: People fighting beasts in an alternate dimension only special people can see. Oh and they can control time. Oh and the main's androgynous. Oh and...this is taken straight from my original notes. Ha. Where it came from? I think it was a dream but I can't remember.

Main Characters: Blair, Dyns, Tenkondin, and Tim. Guess which two are from earth? ;)

Minor Characters of note: Katie, Natalie, Dr. Clay Orrell, Ron, Jason, Rob, and Hanrel.

Summation: So Blair turns 18 and starts thinking xe's going crazy because xe's seeing shadows no one else can. Blair learns the shadow person is actually xer tutor from the Mists who is trying to bring xer into the Mists so xe can learn how to save the world.

High Points: Tim and Tenkondin. Not together.

Low Points: Blair's parents, and this one scene where Blair is confused about xer gender which is a huge thing as xe's never been confused before. Xe's always known when xe wakes up or goes to bed what gender xe is.

The World: Ours, mainly, but with maaaggggiiiiiicccccc. ;)

Memorable Lines:

"Daddy, is the checker (Blair) a boy or a girl?"
Blair felt his smile twitch but kept it in place. The little boy had meant to be quiet but kids didn't understand the concept of whispering. At least the dad looked embarrassed. The mother looked horrified. The younger kid looked as curious as his older brother.
"Buddy, that's not nice to ask." the father said.
"But I can't tell." The kid said.
"I'm a boy." Blair broke in.
"If you're really a boy why's your hair so long?" the little boy asked.
"Because I like it." Blair returned.
The little boy frowned but Blair kept doing his job. The little boy looked up to his father who was giving him a look and shaking his head.
"Are you gunna donate it?" the little boy questioned.
"Yeah, eventually." Blair said.
It was a lie but Blair didn't want to keep answering questions about why he looked the way he did. At least he didn't feel feminine today and wear make-up. That would have been crap.
(Later in the day, at the bank to a guy who cut in line):
"Listen lady, I've got things to do,"
"First: we all do. Second: I'm not a lady."

"Natalie destroyed one of my shirts." Blair said.
Mom sighed and Blair turned to see her holding her reading glasses in one hand. Blair turned to face their dresser and put the last of mom's clothes on her side of the dresser.
"She doesn't have the money to repay you." Mom said.
"You could take half of her allowance this week and give it to me." Blair said (Note: Blair doesn't get an allowance and has been made to work since 14. Natalie, who's 16 doesn't have to work and gets an allowance)
"That wouldn't be fair."
"Why not? She took something of mine without asking, destroyed it, and now she's not going to be repaying me for it? On what world is that fair?"
Mom sighed again and Blair turned to face her.
"It was one of your girl's shirts wasn't it?" Mom asked.
Blair kept back the eye roll and ran a hand through his hair. He hadn't even brushed it again and it was tangled as all hell, he could feel it. He still had to return the laundry basket and clean his room (because of Natalie) before he could worry about his hair.
"It was. Listen, I know you don't like me dressing in girly clothes sometimes but it's not fair she gets to use and destroy my stuff without asking when I can't even borrow her toothpaste without her hissy-fitting." Blair said.
"No, it's not fair but your father isn't going to want to replace something from that half of your closet." Mom said.
Blair knew it all ready but hearing it made it worse. Blair shook his head and grabbed the laundry basket from off the floor.
"I don't like replacing it either."
"I mean it, brat. Stop taking my stuff or I'm going to start taking yours." Blair said.
"Then I'll go to mom and dad and they'll ground you." Natalie told him.
Blair snorted and shook his head. Natalie's forehead crinkled while she tried to figure out what was wrong with her sentence.
"Oh yeah, I'm so scared of being grounded. I don't have a life outside of working and cleaning up after the rest of you. What's dad going to do? Tell me I can't go out until 9PM anymore? I don't do that anyway. You can't threaten me but there are lots of things I can do to make your life miserable. So again: stop taking my shit."

"I'm not changing. This is who I am, okay?" Blair said.
"No, it's not okay. You're a boy and you should act like one." Dad said.
Blair bit her lip to keep from crying and blinked away tears. Today she wasn't a boy. She was a girl in mind and looks. Maybe in a few hours, a day, or a week she'd feel like a boy again but not right now.

"I found this site where transgender people like you," Natalie said.
"I'm not transgender." Blair interrupted.

"But you dress like a girl." Natalie said.
"I know but I don't want to be a girl, not permanently. I'm male-female bi-gender. It means some days when I wake up I feel like a girl on the inside. I want to wear skirts and make up and talk about cute boys while shopping for clothes. Other days when I wake up I want to sit around and scratch myself all day. I mean, I know there are guys out there who feel like guys and like cross-dressing but I'm not just a cross dresser. I am a girl when I feel like one. I'm not a guy and it's weird to know I still have guy parts when I'm like this. That doesn't mean I want to get surgery and take hormones to be a girl all the time because even if I change my body to be a girl I'd still feel like a guy sometimes and be a guy."

"I do love you, you know. I only push so hard because I want you to understand you can't keep playing dress-up." Dad said.
"I'm not playing dress-up and I'm done being your slave." Blair said.

"Keep the keys." Mom said.
"Why?" Blair asked. (She's moving out)
"Because you're still our son.
"Well right now I'm your other daughter and until you can accept that I don't want the keys." Blair said.
"If you walk out that door Friday then don't expect to be able to walk back in until you've grown out of this phase." Father said.
"Then don't expect me to ever walk through that door again after I leave Friday."

"Are you comfortable in your body?"
"Mostly. I don't like having to shave my face and chest when I feel like a woman, like today, but I'm okay with my penis. I can hide it with underwear and I can give myself a fake chest with a special bra. That's enough. Besides, if I had a sex change then I'd feel uncomfortable with my breasts when I felt like a guy. There is no perfect body for me."

"Seriously, what the fuck did you do?" Blair asked.
"I stopped time. God, I thought I was the last one on earth..." (hehe)

"How's Dylan?" Blair asked (Katie, his BFF about her BF)
"I'm surprised boy you asked. You are a boy today, right?" Katie replied.
"Yep. I'm a boy dating a boy today. The fun thing is sometimes I'm a girl dating a boy."
"It is a fun thing and don't you forget it," Katie said.
"I mean it, Blair. It is a fun thing and you should be who you want to be when you want to be."

Dyns when Blair asks if he can stop time to save someone: "If someone is supposed to die, we have to let them die no matter how much we care about that person."
"What happens if I do it anyway?" Blair asked.
Dyns scowled.
"For every second of time you stop on earth you lose a bit of your magic. Eventually, you'll run out and you won't be able to protect yourself as well in the Mists. It'll take you longer to get back and forth and you'll struggle with creating beasts and weapons. Think of your magic like a jar filled with sand. Every time you use your magic outside of the Mists the jar tips and you lose a few grains of sand. Eventually the jar is empty and you have nothing. Then you die. So would it be worth your life to save the lives of others without them knowing?"

"Hi, you've reached Katie's Taxidermy. You snuff 'em, we stuff 'em. Leave a message." (no she doesn't own a taxidermy business...;) )

"Stop molesting my student." Dyns said.
"But she's so cute!" Tenkondin said with a smile.
"You're frightening her." Dyns said.
Tenkondin pouted then turned back to Blair with a grin. Blair wanted to run but one of Tenkondin's tentacles was rubbing against her ankle.
"Okay, let's start over. Hey baby, what's your sign?" Tenkondin asked.
"Stop." Blair said.
Dyns chuckled but Tenkondin sagged. He perked up a moment later and Blair yelped when one of his tentacles did some kind of acrobatic trick and went down the back of her skirt.
"Seriously, stop it!"
"Sorry, sorry, I really like round things and your ass, it's so, damn." Tenkondin said.
"Aw. Just a little rubbing. You know, I can vibrate. Imagine all the fun you can have with dozens of vibrating tentacles wrapped all over you." Tenkondin said.
"Don't look so shocked, baby. I can speak every language. My specialty is the language of love." (Tenkondin's a perverted tentacle monster who with a touch, can learn whatever language you know.)

"So cold!" Jason (Tim's dad) protested.
"You say the same thing every year but whine when we don't come." Ron (Tim's other dad) said.
Jason grinned.
"You know I love seeing big balls." (They're watching the ball drop in NYC)
"That's why we're married." Ron said.

"If life is easy then it's not worth living."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review: The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Why did I pick it up?

So I'd been eyeing up this book in my local bookstores for about five months before actually buying it. I didn't think I'd be interested it and I'd never heard about it. But, the cover was eye catching and the concept seemed kind of cool. I finally bought the book sometime last year but never read it until I needed something to read for my (regular) doctor's appointment. I figured: eh, why not?

The Review of The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson:
The concept is simple: Allan Karlsson, 100 years old, climbs out his window and vanishes. The back of the book says something like "It's like Forrest Gump, if Gump was an explosives specialist." And you know what? It is to a point. Allan doesn't necessarily bond with anyone he meets like Gump did but that's Allan's attitude in general: what may be, may be.

The book isn't meant to be serious in any sense of the word. It's meant to be a light, funny, silly read and my GOD does it deliver. Allan is sarcastic, suspiciously brilliant, laid back, and plays everything by ear. Even with his "don't talk to me about politics" attitude he's surprisingly involved in every war and even arrested at one point by Stalin for giving the recipe for the atom bomb to the US. Yeah, think about that sentence for a minute.

Allan meets all the big players in history: Truman, Churchill, Sung, Einstein, and other political generals, military sergeants and the like. He's linked to solving the atom bomb problem as well as starting/ending a few major events.

The funniest thing about the novel is every time you think Allan's about to be killed for being on the wrong side of the fence, someone he's helped from before happens to be in the room and saves his ass. The guy has 100 lives and despite never having a formal plan, he ends up living to the ripe old age of 100.

This story isn't told in the linear sense. It flips between the present day of Allan's disappearance and the past experiences of his life. Both are equally hilarious because Allan's same attitude is what gets him to accidently over-haul a crime syndicate and become a virtual millionaire in the last years of his life.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone I know. It's funny, it's got a bit of history (likely inaccurate) thrown in for fun, and both the present and past stories revolving around Allan are amazing to watch unfold.

I literally had to stop reading so I could laugh out loud, especially during the later half of the book when the present story is coming to a close and the past is catching up with the present. Allan is a great character despite his advanced age and quite accidental expertise in a variety of subjects.

The end of Allan's life (up until he went into the nursing home) was a bit sad mainly because this normally calm, whatever happens, happens character kind of loses it a bit when his first real friend/animal he cared for was killed. But, everything ends up working for Allan in the end and the book closes on a sort of cliff hanger.

Would I read The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared again?

Hell yes. I didn't want to stop reading it once I got into the story.

The Negatives?

With all of the above: you will notice a bunch of 1-star reviews on Amazon about this book. Most of them talk about Allan's problem in not connecting with anyone. I can understand this. You want a character to form meaningful relationships with people but Allan doesn't. Why? Because his parents never connected to him as a child and he lost both his parents early on in life. So, he doesn't connect to anyone else for fear of losing them. He doesn't know how to connect and was never taught. No, Allan is not a normal character and if you keep that in mind you might not be disappointed with this book.

Other people called it boring. Hi, I don't like history and found it to be the most droll class I ever had to take. There are history lessons in this book (possibly inaccurate of course) but I still enjoyed it. Was it boring? Not for me and again, I hated history class and that's basically what this book is.

I think people were taking this book too seriously. It's supposed to be a kind of parody and not serious in any sense of the word. It's not meant to have a message like Forrest Gump nor is it meant to be heart-warming (or heart-breaking). This book exists for pure comedic effect. Also, when an explosions specialist is running: try to keep up.

Final review: 5/5

Until next time: comments, questions, rants, and the like can be directed to the comments.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Writing Tips #3: Show vs Tell

Going along with dialogue and whether or not to use contractions, the other big thing (style wise) in physically writing a novel is showing vs. telling. Now I know there is A LOT of advice about showing vs. telling. There are A LOT of authors throwing around the advice of "show don't tell" and this great. Most of the time.

You see if we showed the reader every little thing, every single time we would have novels as big as one of G.R.R Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. Now before anyone gets in a huff, a bit of backstory: I love reading.

Ever since I learned how to read I delved into everything. At one point I had the entire Goosebumps and Babysitter's Club novels. I was at the library every three weeks (the amount of time you could check out books for) getting at least six books ON TOP of what I had to read for school. I now own well over 1000 books and have read at least 85% of them.
I've also read Song of Ice and Fire. And you know what? I had to force myself to STOP reading SoIF after an hour or two because of how much stuff was in it.

In comparison? I burned through the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon, etc) in a weekend. I finished It (when I was 12) in two weeks. SoIF? Took me a month or more a book. Again, this is coming from someone who's vicariously read for about two decades.

Don't get me wrong: I like the books. I love the concepts. I like the series. Would I read them a second time? Nope. Why? Too much showing. Yes. There CAN be such a thing as too much showing, also know as too much going on, too much description, and too much of a good thing.

As much as I love Stephen King, I almost died reading the first 100 pages of Black House. We didn't see the body (literally) until page 96. PAGE NINETY-SIX. THE HELL? I almost gave up. Almost. The only reason I didn't was because it's King.

No, we don't need to know the backstory of every minor character. No we don't need to know every single detail of every single character's clothing. No we don't need to know what every character ate or who the third uncle of someone's brother was. No we don't need to know every detail of every room in the entire city/town/world.

If it's not necessary to the plot: don't include it. If you can sprinkle the backstory over a few chapters: do that and not a massive info dump. Speaking of, I stumbled across a newbie in the fantasy writing genre last year. His prologue? Ten or more pages of history. His first page of the first chapter? A description of what his main character looked like, where he was, and his family line. Did I continue reading the novel? HELL NO. Why? Too much history, too much description, just TOO MUCH.

Also, the way someone reactions in a situation might be taken differently depending on a reader's experience. An author famous for "show don't tell" says don't tell the reader a person thinks someone likes them, show it. So Jenny kicks off a locker, huffs, and walks away. Oh. So she's angry? Nope. That was meant to show she might like the other character. Yeah.

See, how I see the world and how you see the world is different. So what you might think displays affection, I might take as something else entirely. Yes, there are general body cues most people employ on instinct. I suggest picking up Body Language for Dummies to see what those cues are so you don't make someone think someone's angry when they're supposed to be showing affection.

Furthering, do I need to know exactly how a bullet is leaving the barrel of the gun and how the blood sprays precisely across fallen snow (or what have you)? Nope. Tell me a character shot another character. Don't go into a four page description of a character pulling back the trigger, the barrel pulling back, hearing the sound, his vision tunneling, watching as the bullet leaves the chamber, watching it strike the victim, seeing the guy falling and his blood spraying, the smoke coming out of the see where I'm going with this, right?

Yes, it's totally okay to enter the five senses into your scenes but not every sense, every time, and certainly not for every character. Unless you're G.R.R Martin or Stephen King your book will be dropped before you finish a scene.

Like everything else, showing vs telling is a delicate balance and it completely depends on YOU as an author. It's YOUR voice, not King or Martin's. It's YOUR story, not someone else's. So show and tell as much as you want. If YOU feel it's not enough then change it until it is. Get some friends to read it and tell you what they think about your voice.

There is no set numerical rule for how much you show and how much you tell. Again, you've got to figure it out for yourself through trial and error. Generally speaking: if you're going over 100K and aren't half way through your story? You've got too much going on in one book and you're showing way too much.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rages, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments section.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Another New Years Post

Everyone's doing it, Hell I did it last year. Did I stick to last year's resolutions? Er, kind of. I did finish the Thriller/Mystery Series (all 13 books in total with a spin-off zombie book and short stories). I did lose weight. I kept working at the dead-end job till Dec 24 though. I didn't send out query letters to agents or publishers but I did write them. And no, I didn't work to get things done and again coasted through everything. Oops?

This year I'm not going to make a huge self-motivation speech about changing my life. I've tried doing it for years now and it never works. I am going to set some goals though and we'll see what happens. After the list of goals will come the list of what I've written this year. For more details on what I wrote in 2014, check out the "Novel Series" tab at the top there. From there you can get details on every book except the Mists of Time series as I haven't yet posted the summaries for it yet. I will, don't worry.

One goal I kind of accomplished was leaving the dead-end job. It was great working there because I was guaranteed to be working regular shifts and had weekends/evenings off. Why did I leave? I wasn't getting paid. Like, at all, or for a long time and to put it simply: I can't afford to not get paid anymore. It put way too much stress on me and as much as everyone would like to think love makes the world go around, it doesn't. Money is the root of everything and if it's not coming in then you will suffer.

I also spoke to an editor about getting a short edited. When that's done (February by the looks of things) I'll start promoting said short story. I've also re-claimed the rights to Tale of the Twins which means I can control the pricing of it so I can start promoting it as well, if I want. It does suck I have to pay a fee to get usage rights for the edited copy since I've all ready sunk about $10,000 into the book at this point. That's what a vanity press is people: you give them all your money, they do stuff for you that you could get done a lot cheaper, then when you want to get your book back they charge you even more for keeping the (crappy) cover and edited copy.

I also wrote 16 novels. If we want to get technical I wrote 18. No. 17 was all the short stories for the thriller series as well as other random ones. No. 18 was a novel-length piece of fiction for another series. I also started on No. 19 (17 according to the list in "Novel Series") yesterday.

Enough ranting. Here are my goals for this year:

1) Milwordy: Yes, again. I will be trying to write 1,000,000 words from now until Dec 31. This time I made that the timeline in instead of the end of November. Now I'll get a better final word count in the fancy spreadsheet I can download at the end of the year.

2) Market my stuff: Once I get Tale of the Twins back and Best Friends: The Body Fairy edited, I will be trying a bit harder to self-promote. I'll also be re-vamping the anthologies I all ready have out and yes, raising the price. Single short stories (like Best Friends) will be priced at $0.99. Anthologies: $1.99. Novellas: $2.99. Novels: $4.99. Plus sales and regular deals and what not. So, anyone who wants a hardcopy of Tale of the Twins before it comes off the market: go to the "Store" Tab and get it now. Anyone who wants a cheaper version of the anthologies I've all ready got out: Again "Store" Tab.

3) Continue Losing Weight: I started out last year at 210 pounds. I am now 190-ish depending on the scale at the gym. Yes, that's 20lbs in a year. It doesn't seem like much but I can feel it. I'm not as physically worn out and I can fit into pants and skirts I didn't fit into before last year. I know I'll take off more this year than last year because I won't have people giving me chocolate or other treats at work and I don't buy them for home. One of the reasons I didn't lose more weight is because of the old job. Since the gym is a block away from the new job I'll be able to go right after or right before work. My goal? 160-170 lbs. Oh, and before anyone wonders: I'm 5'8" with a larger bone structure. So yes, I would like to be at my ideal sometime this year by eating properly and exercising.

4) Stop working: This is one of those goals that will probably continue into next year. Basically I want to be able to get to the point where all I have to do is write and edit all day, every day. I don't want to work at a call center (the new job, yay?) for my whole life. I don't want to go into a reception position even though I'm qualified to do it. I don't want to go back to the old job as much as I liked working there, liked who I worked with, and believed in the product. I don't need much to live month per month. $2400 would do it and give me spending money and "retirement" money. If I could make $2400 per month off my writing, steadily then I'll be happy. I'm not looking to be Stephen King famous. I don't want to be the next JK Rowling or EL James. I only want to live comfortably knowing I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and can spend a bit on frivolous things if I want.

Again, I've only four goals but it's not the amount of goals a person has. It's how much motivation they have to get those goals done and how much work those goals are going to take to get completed.

One of my pitfalls is my inability to market. I know the concepts behind it but I tend to fail miserably as seen with my sad attempt at getting Burnt: The Story of the Fire King published. And yes, if it had succeeded we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. I'd all ready be working on getting it out there and all that.

Anyway. Yes. Goals are an interesting concept. We all make them but rarely does one accomplish all their goals. For me it's better to have goals I know I'll be able to reach. Can I hit Milwordy? Yep. I only need 80K a month (10 months) with 200K in November. Can I market? Not really but I may have found someone to help. Can I lose weight? Sure. I'm not snacking nearly as often on unhealthy stuff and I'll likely be going to the gym 4-5 times a week. Can I stop working? Eventually.

Now the final part of this post: what I wrote last year. You can find this below list in the "Novel Series" tab where links are provided to each summary post. The below list includes stories and other writing adventures not mentioned in the "Novel Series" tab

The 2014 Writing List:

January: 84,755 Dryer, Cara Synopsis, query, pitch; Face Snatcher query, synopsis, pitch, Lies pitch, part of Witches, editing Cara Book 1
February: 142,503 Witches, Car Jacking, VanHelgroves The Children, Alt to Lies
March: 124,571 Daimin meets Lapus, Memories and Times Between, Hunter
April: 145,067 Disease, Memories and Times Between, VanHelgroves Book 3 scene, Trust
May: 125,308: Trust, Child, Daimin meets Lapus
June: 96,563 Bloody X Mas, Memories and Times Between, Daimin meets Lapus
July: 148,522 Pieces, Senses, Best Friends, planning for Tattooed Man, short scene with Tyo VanHelgrove
August: 157,810: Zombies, The Tattooed Man (1,000,000th word: "down")
September: 129,158 Tattooed Man, Burnt: The Story of the Fire King
October: 3299 Planning Mists of Time Trilogy
November: 251,956 Mists of Time Books 1, 2, and 3
December: 25,846 Mists of Time Book 3 final 4 chapters and the first two chapters of book 4

So, what am I planning to write this year? No idea besides Mists of Time Book 4: Adam's Story and possibly a sequel to Zombies: The thriller/mystery alternate universe story. But I am in possession of 36 planned story ideas and 29 prompts. I'll be writing for a long time and I came to the conclusion writing is what I was meant to do.

The other loose goal I have for this year is to re-work the nature of this blog. I want to focus on three things: reviews of books, writing tips/interviews/etc, and summary posts for the novels. I'm in NO WAY promising three posts a week because it would be insane. I am promising a post a week, likely more till the end of this month at least as I've nothing much to do. And my January goal is to clean up the house a bit. Closets have to be re-organized and well, I'm off and likely won't have any better time to do it.

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rage, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.