Here, There be a Writer

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WIPpet Wednesday and Cucumber Soda

Actually spent time with the hubs tonight. I took a little bit of time and made a picnic for David and I. We headed up to Spencercrest Nature Center for a dinner/picnic and some us time. It felt good! We both needed a moment or two to chill. Both of our weeks have been rather hectic and it was much needed. Armed with roast beef sandwiches, sweet pickles (David loved those), birthday cake Oreos, and cucumber soda. Yes, I said cucumber soda. It was surprisingly good.

 And then on the drive home saw some deer having their dinner.

What's coming up, well, improv show this Friday! And my birthday is on Sunday. Not quite sure what I am doing for it, but I'm sure it'll be a good weekend. This coming week is the Weird Al concert in Williamsport and then there's the Sterling Renaissance Faire on Saturday. My friend Sara is making Faerie costumes. Will post picture. August is turning into a busy month. I am almost at the end of my three month hiatus from theatre. In the fall I start stage managing a production of The Music Man. So, I will be a busy bee again. After this summer I have found a balance with many of my goals and it is only gets better.

This Week:
     *Reading: started Murder Comes Ashore (Julie Anne Lindsey), continuing through The Amber Spyglass (Phillip Pullman), and almost done with Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman). Neil's stories are always interesting and enchanting, even when they are a bit strange.
     *Editing: pretty proud of myself this week. I edited about 8 pages of The Real Road Trip, my NaNoWriMo from last year and a story about two friends on a Road Trip. I had been fighting with trying to get through a  first full edit/revision. I kept putting it aside and putting it aside. I finally decided that I needed to edit it. I thus picked the draft up and begin to read. I changed how I made my edits. My practice is not perfect, but I am making more progress.  I would read a section and jotted notes on the side, sometimes correcting some of the minor spelling and grammatical, or slashing whole sections. Also decided I am going to wait until I finish going through the script before typing the edits in. I feel this is making the revision reading move faster. Also, I revised and edited a flash fiction piece for #writestuff monthly challenge. You can read it Maybe its Time.
     *Writing: wrote on Sunday a ROW80 post, did a 15 minute writing blitz (about 414 words) on Tuesday, and writing today's ROW80 post. Been busy with other goals, but feeling better about my balance all the goals.
     *Blogging: see above. Posted the story Maybe its Time.
     *Social Media: visited 4 blogs daily and my sponsor duties since Sunday. One track!

This (upcoming) Week:
     *Reading: finish Smoke and Mirrors and Murder Comes Ashore.
     *Writing: write daily. At least 300 words.
     *Editing: at least 2 pages of The Real Road Trip.
     *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW80 post.
     *Submissions: 2 new submissions.
     *Social Media: visit 4 blogs daily and sponsor duties.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is a blog challenge that knows you have a life. Come see what fellow blogger and writers are up to at the Blog Hop.

It's also WIPpet Wednesday. Created by K.L. Schwengel, where the WIPpeteers share a bit from their current WIP. You take Today Date (7/29/2015) and use some math to relate back to the snippet. Today I give you 7 paragraphs for the 7th month from my new story Once Upon a Cloud.... With a little more banter between Cumi and Strat sitting down to lunch in Chicken Bliss.

Chicken Bliss was not very large of a business. An occupancy sign read Maximum of 25 persons within. It looked so much bigger on the outside. 

Stratus crossed back to the table with two tall plastic glasses of something, “Here. Drink up, Kid.” Cumi eyed him, he was still calling her a kid and she wasn’t a kid. Her face twisting into a frown as she took the glass.

“The name is Cumulus, Strat. Cumi for short, you should know that.” She took the glass, “What you get me anyway?” The moment had passed as she looked into the glass. Knowing she should ask before she drank anything down here. 

That was how Stratus often got into trouble, drinking before he knew what he was drinking, especially amongst the Terrans. Cumi eyed the kitchen staff suddenly feeling unsure, and then Stratus. There was no one else here and who else would know she was here, except Stratus and who of the Terrans would know to give her something bad. She was over re-acting. No one. Still she took the glass and sniffed the contents.

“It’s pop, Kid. Soda, cola, carbonated beverage. Relax! I got you a Coke.” Stratus said, smiling his goofy grin. Lifting his glass in the air, “A toast, to the …to the…:” shaking his head, “I don’t remember the words…ah ha, yes I do. To Life. Litcheim!”

“You are weird.”

“Thank you.” And he guzzled down his glass of Coke. “Another Marty!” he called over his shoulder.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Maybe its Time

“You know, this is the fifth one we’ve gone to in the last month?” a man’s voice trickled out from underneath his turned up collar. It was a drizzly lightly, almost typical weather for funerals.

“You think everyone lives forever, Cal,” said a young woman’s voice out from underneath a plaid umbrella.

“No. And how did you get to that statement?” the man answered, shifting his hat across his brow and trying to keep the raindrops from his face.

“Because you were thinking it, that’s why. I know it. It was bound to come up in conversation in the next minute or so. Just you wait.”

The man eyed the young woman as they walked along the unpaved drive that winded through the glens of Forest Wake Cemetery. “I think you already mentioned it, Fea,” he said into a suddenly chilly breeze that blew into his face.

“I don’t really want to think about living or even dying, Cal.” Turning to face the young man, “I just want to be. I feel so numb that I can’t fathom anything else. So let’s not debate it. Dead is dead. Marion, Felix, Zachariah, Franz, and Becky are dead. Just let me mourn them.” She picked up her pace as the rain was starting to come down harder. The drops hurt almost as much as the loss of her friends hurt. She rushed ahead.

“You are the one who thinks that,” whispering to cold and wet headstones he passed by. A shiver ran up his back and pushed him forward.

“But you realize that you can’t turn it off, Felicity,” he called as he rushed to keep pace with her. Inhaling his breathed in the wool of his scarf and the rain, and they splattered across his nose and he wiped a hand across the bridge of his nose. It was almost like he was crying, but hiding the tears between the rain drops.

Felicity was watching him. She was sure he was trying not to cry, “You can’t turn off the emotion, Cal.”

“I know, but neither can you,” it was a jab and she felt it, as much as he did. “And I’ve never said that anyone lives forever, Fea. But, it’s been almost fifteen year since Mom died and you still think she is following you. That you can feel her in the house when you are alone, and sometimes things get moved. You are the one who thinks people ‘live forever’,” Cal made air quote while trying to sidestep puddles that were forming in the cemetery road. “Can you stop?” he called and reached for her arm, but she kept walking.

“You’re grieving, Fea. I can understand. That’s okay. I’m grieving too. They were my friends too, but you cannot ignore death like that.”

She stopped walking. He could see that her shoulders were now shaking and he knew she was crying. This was the hard part. Making she see the reason. When Felicity was so sad reason flew out the window. Cal rushed up to her. A hand rested on a nearby headstone and her plaid umbrella shook with her sobs.

His converse seemed to find every puddle and by the time he reached her his feet were soaking wet. It didn’t really matter. Life was too short to worry about wet shoes, even wet hundred and fifty dollar sneakers. He smiled for a moment as he reached out to Felicity, “Fea? I know this hurts, but we are here for each other. We will survive. It will get better.”

Laughing suddenly Felicity turned to face Cal, “Survive? Ha! You think I want to live in a world where my friends slowly die off before my eyes.”


“There’s your answer…”

“But, we would all die off eventually…” as soon as he said it, he regretted it. “Fea, I didn’t mean it quite like that.” He didn’t know what else to say as they stood in the rain, getting wetter as the minutes passed.

“I know, you meant that we could all lived to a ripe old age and died in our sleep, right?” her words were bitter and she turned away still holding onto the tombstone. “Yes I know no one lives forever. I am not stupid, but I do believe that sometimes are souls lingers…” she panned her eyes across the rolling glades of Wake Forest Cemetery. “It’s so peaceful here…” and she saw a crow sitting on a nearby headstone, ruffling its feathers. “At least I know Becky and Franz are at peace now. They will appreciate the spot we picked out.”

“Yeah, Franz was always fond of weeping willows. I’m glad we got the last plot under the willow. Hell, the whole gang is there, Fea.”

“Right,” Felicity watched as a second crow joined the first. It began to preen under the rain that was now falling. “Too bad there’s no room for us?” she sounded not sad, but resigned.

“Oh, don’t say that. Maybe there will be tow plot available when we go?” trying to sound cheerful despite the pervasive mood.

“Did you buy up the remaining plots, Cal?” she asked, looking at the crows. “I don’t think any of the currently occupied plots will be opening up anytime soon. That must mean you knew something…” Her words sounded bitter, as she watched a third and fourth crow land on the headstone. They were now watching Felicity and Cal. “Cal, you say there are no signs of the afterlife, but look at that,” and she pointed at the chorus of crow massing on the headstone.

“Heh, it’s a murder of crows,” laughing loudly he wiped away some of the tears hanging at the corners of his eyes.

Felicity was eying Cal, “Not funny, jerk!” and she shoved him away from the headstones.

“You could never take a joke, Fea. Even after all these years. You who are my sister who knows me best, you still can’t take a joke. Hey,” he says and points at the headstone, “It can’t be the gang. There are only four crows, there were five of them.” Just then a fifth crow landed on the headstone, each cocking their head in turn and staring silently at the sibling.

“You were saying, Cal? I don’t care what you think, but I think it’s time for a vacation.” And she removed her hand from the tombstone she was leaning on and started walking to the car.

Cal walking slowly past the crows and looked down at the headstone where the crows sat perched and saw the name etched into the marble. It was Calvin.

from MorgueFile

Sunday, July 26, 2015

After all the Parties and the Putt Putt Marathon

It is possible to putt putt in the rain, although the scorecard when damp is hard to write on. This is fact!

 Before the rain started!

Putt Putt selfie.
Yeah, so not much was accomplished this weekend, except fun. I also have no regrets, as I made people happy and got soaked playing putt putt. High point included chatting with my awesome friend Jeff about  life and the pursuit of happiness for 2 plus hours. As I don't get to see him a lot, it was nice to randomly converse until  2 in the morning, attend two birthday parties and eat gobs of sugary caky goodness, and spend an afternoon whacking balls into holes. I was told that I should watch Happy Gilmore now.

Also, Don't Blink!
After a really long week that started with being sick and continued with long days and much other stuff after the evil day job was over, I am feeling good, but tired. Also, it feels weird that the summer is basically half over, not that I am a student or teacher whom get the summers off. i haven't had that in years. Sometime, Dear Readers I miss that.

Anyway, I am clearly rambling now. Time for a check in. Between having an improv practice on Wednesday, a business meeting Thursday, and parties Friday and Saturday, I serious got less done. Thus this will be short check-in.

This Week:
    *Reading: over half done with Smoke and Mirrors (Gaiman) and into the first few chapters of The Amber  Spyglass (Pullman). Reading short story anthologies are great because you always feel like you've made progress because it's not just a chapter you are reading but a whole story. Am still fascinated by Gaiman's writing, even if I don't always get it. Still the morning is my favourite time to read.
    *Social Media: managed to visit 4 blogs daily and my sponsor duties this week.
    *Exercise: walked to improv rehearsal on Wednesday and today was all about walking through the putt putt marathon. We did 3 courses in 1 day.

So, light yes, but still managed to keep it flowing. And we have an improv show coming up next Friday.

This (upcoming) Week:
    *Reading: finish Smoke and Mirrors, continue with The Amber Spyglass and start A Festival of Bones (James A. Owen).
    *Writing: write daily, at least 300 words.
    *Editing: 2 pages of The Real Road Trip.
    *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW80 post before Wednesday
    *Submissions: 2 new submissions before Wednesday.
    *Social Media: visit 4 blogs daily and sponsor duties.

That's if for now. As I have several longstanding goals I will keep it simple as I build back up after this weekend. I feel like I backslide on the weekends, Dear Readers. Even though Saturdays are my unplugged days. Do you feel that weekends are times when your goals maybe get pushed to the back burner? What days or times are you most productive? Least productive?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the blog challenge that knows you have a life. Come and join us for the fun and the writing at the Blog Hop.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Woo Hoo I made it!!

My brain is not working, please call again later. Okay, not quite true, but having a weird week and I am going to limit my check-in today. It's short and sweet, babee!

This Week:
     *Reading: finished The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). ZOMG, what a delicious and twisting story. It reminds me of how I write when I write during NaNoWriMo. The characters are rather exotic and distinctive and after a while couldn't put it down. Started The Amber Spyglass (Phillip Pullman).
     *Writing: wrote Monday - 2 (30) minute writing blitzes, wrote a short blog yesterday for WIPpet (early, because the linky list was available), and today. Also wrote some poems on Sunday, I think. This week's been a blur.
    *Submissions: 2 submissions for this week (Yemassee and The Mackinac).
    *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW80 post. Started consider WIPpet posts as new post, especially if I have something to say. I usually do!
    *Social Media: 4 blogs daily and my sponsor duties. Been a bit more active on twitter lately.

This (upcoming) week:
      *Reading: Finish Smoke and Mirrors (Gaiman), read The Amber Spyglass and A Festival of Bones (James Owen).
      *Writing: write daily. Minimum of 300 words daily.
      *Submissions: 1 new post this week.
      *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW 80 post.
      *Editing: 2 pages of The Real Road Trip (NaNoWriMo 2014).
      *Social Media: 4 blogs daily and sponsor duties. Keep active on twitter.
      *Exercise: 1 walk this weekend. Drink more water. Report.
A Round of Words in 80 Days a blog challenge that knows you have a life. Come visit the Blog Hop!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday: the day of the week when you share a part of your WIP with the interwebs. Created by K. L. Schwengel, WIPpet Weds take the day's date (7/21/2015) and uses some form of math and you post an excerpt of your WIP. See, take the 21st day and 2 + 1 = 3 paragraphs.

Come visit the fellow WIPpeteers here at the Blog Hop.

Today's snippet is 3 paragraphs from my new project Once Upon a Cloud. Here Cumi and Stratus sit down to some lunch and see how different Cumi views her world and Terra. this is a bit after the last WIPpet.

The dining room of the restaurant was not what you would call clean, nor was it dirty. Chicken Bliss always got a clean bill of health from the Health Inspector, but Cumi could see that the floors and walls were covered in a thin film of grease. She wasn’t sure what the grease was from as the restaurant had a smell of chicken, oily grease, sweat, and something she couldn’t place.

“Have a seat, Kid,” said Stratus wandered over to the counter and greeted Martin with a holler and some sort of secret handshake. They were talking and Cumi couldn’t hear what they were saying. Not that she cared. This Martin was one of Strat’s Terran friends; she could only imagine what they were talking about.

Cumi pulled out a chair and wiped her hand against the grainy and polished wood. It was clean, not a spot of dust nor crumbs. The wood felt cool to her touch. A quick swipe showed the table was just as clean, so she sat down. While not normally a frequenter of the type of restaurant like Chicken Bliss, Cumi felt a little more at ease and stole a glance around.

Having a rougher week, Dear Readers and trying to persevere through it all. I had gotten a case of the 24 hour nasties yesterday and slept through most of Monday night. Although I did manage to complete 2 writing blitzes for two different stories. I also had two dentist appointments; one to start a relationship with a new dentist (not pleased with current dentist) and one to fix a chipped tooth that happened late last week. My head been a little muddled, but trying to look through the fog. I am getting there though and still feeling positive. 

Anyway, a new blog post isn't new without something to show. Last Saturday I got a chance to be photographed by my friend Ken in Riverfront Park in Corning. Not gonna lie, I felt a little like a model. And Ken has an amazing eye for seeing beauty in whatever her photographs. He has made my friends Holly, Krissy, Kaylara, Melissa, and Beth look amazing. Granted they were already amazing. He just was able to show the world what was already there. Thanks, Ken!!

I miss writing poems regularly. Each April and October I participate in a month long poetry challenge. I try to write poetry regularly, but it doesn't always happen. When asked for prompts from friends and followers. I have several topics still to use for poem, and trust me I will use each of them. This was is my favourite. The form is a Tetractys, a 5 line poems that has the following syllable rhythm: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10. This is a double tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Full Moon Dreams

You hang
In the sky.
Swimming in seas
of deepest ebony and violet.
Globe of silvery pale light shining in 
Showers of dark,
As I walk
Through the

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It was a Hot Summer Day...

I got my wish, I did indeed. This weekend has turned into a scorcher we temperatures in the 90s and quite humid. And I'll tell you what, when its this hot, it's easy to take afternoon nap. Yesterday I was up early to get my picture taken by my resident photo guru, Ken.  It was a full endeavour with different locations and a few outfit changes, pretty much a photo  shoot in riverfront park. Will share will I get the picture disc. But with the more extreme temperature it was a long three hours, but fun too.

What Summer Looks like to Me - From MorgueFile
I feel like I need to jump in a lake now. Too bad I don't live near a lake. The closest one in a good half on hour away. Maybe I need to fill my little kiddie pool and sit in it. That would be a funny sight, and Dear Readers don't expect a picture, although If I do it I will probably post it. :-)

Anyway, it is summer, finally in the twin tiers. But Holy Hannah did it take a while to get her.

This past week I did really well on the goals, overall. I took most of the weekend off, but then I was out and about for a good chunk of it. This weekend was seeing the first of The Old Havana Courthouse Theatre' summer melodramas. They do their summer shows rotating throughout the summer. Melodramas are show performed in the turn of the 19th century to the early 20th century. As it is the 21st century now I have to be specific. These short shows told heroic stories of virtue triumphing over villainy, and always involving songs and signing. They are fun, silly stories with schtic, chase sequences, and judgement of the villains.

If you are in the area of Montour Falls, NY you should really check them out, Dear Reader. They perform Fridays and Saturdays at  7:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm up to Labour day. Check out their website and Facebook page here ------> Old Havana Courthouse Theatre.

Time for an update~

This Week: (I did very well during the week)
     *Reading: finished The Subtle Knife (Phillip Pullman), am over half way done with The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern), and making my way through the stories of Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman). Neil is very addicting to read.
     *Writing: wrote daily. Everyday up to Friday, that's Weds and Thursday (plus earlier in the week). Writing this post today. Been working on the Top Secret Project and started another project.
     *Social Media: visited 4 blogs daily, sometimes more. I am really good at posting to twitter during the week, not so much on the weekends.
     *Exercise: I am excited, because I have something to report. I took two walks on Thursday and today.
This (upcoming) week:
     *Reading: finish The Night Circus, continue with Smoke and Mirrors, start The Amber Spyglass (Pullman), Murder Comes Ashore (Julie Anne Lindsey), and a Mythworld book (James A. Owen).
     *Writing: write daily, at least 300 words. Work on the Top Secret, which isn't so top secret as I am posting it to WIPpet Wednesdays and the new project involving the muses.
     *Editing: finally set time each day for The Real Road Trip (My NaNoWriMo 2014) to finish first round of edits.
     *Submissions: 2 this week.
     *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW 80 this week. I have new ideas for posts.
     *Social Media: 4 blogs daily and sponsor duties. Keep up with twitter and the Facebook page.

The goals are feeling more consistent and thus I am more confident. Still lots to be. Funny how a summer off of theatre and I am still busy. Much goodness is coming up, including the Weird Al concert 8/5, STerling Renaissance Faire 8/7 and 8/8 (probably Saturday). A trip to Rochester to visit friend before they go on vacation. A trip to Fredonia before summer is over. And some other stuff wedged in there too, like birthdays and shows that friends are in.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is a blog challenge that knows you have a life. Set some goals, get a blog (if you don't have one already), post bi-weekly updates on progress on the linky page, visit others and cheer them on. It's a Blog Hop. Come on in and have some ice tea and biscuits!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Much Progress in Two Days!!

Funny how Wednesdays creeps up on you when you miss a Sunday check-in. Not surprised really, just left to rush through the the check-in. I guess it's not rushing because it's only about 6:30 (EST). Yesterday we had pretty big thunderstorm pass through that really cooled down the temperatures. It been quite the damp and cool summer this year. I guess it doesn't bother me, but I am partial to the hot weather that comes with summer, and right now we get about two days of traditional summer weather to one to two days of cool and/or wet weather.

How goes the weather in your neck of the woods, Dear Readers? What type of weather is your favourite?

I like a good thunderstorm, especially after it's been really hot. Feel so good. A good dance in the rain is often nice. I really love the sunny days with a subtle breeze. Just enough to keep it cool, but still warm/hot to be enjoyable. Give me a balmy 75 to 80 degree day and I am in bliss.


On to the check-in. It's been a good if quiet build up post Connecticon. I don't mind, give me a chance to see where I am and what to do next. The mornings are my reading times. I get up early and will read for an hour or two, depends on what book I am reading and where I am in the book. If I am towards the end, any of the three books I am currently reading become a single book to the finish line. It's those last two or three chapters (sometimes more if the book is that good) that makes the book.

This Week:
    *Reading: just finished The Subtle Knife (Phillip Pullman). ZOMG!!! Second books in trilogies are tough reads as they usually leave you hanging by the end. This is the second read through of The Subtle Knife and I am picking up more detail and falling in love with the characters all over again. Lyra was a personal favourite, but I am really enjoying Will Parry this go around. Still creeping through The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) and Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman) is a fun read.
    *Writing: wrote Monday and today (Tuesday). Writing blitz of about 900 words and a new story and possible novella? I think it'll work for #writestuff's monthly challenge. Go and check it out! Did a little creative brainstorming with Ofthewilds and amyunchained on Twitter last night, also when I looked up the names of the muse. I got another idea. Now I am swimming with ideas. Nothing new on the Top Secret project, but tonight's writing blitz is dedicated to that one.
    *Submissions: Oddly enough last night a contest fell into my Twitter lap, so I submitted a couple of flash pieces (able to submit up to 3 pieces) and today I submit a poem to an online journal. The Reverie Journal, it's new to me and gonna wander the halls of it's buildings.
     *Social Media: visited 4 blog daily each day (Monday and Tuesday), including my sponsor duties. Been active on Twitter. Yesterday was the tweet chat #writestuff.

Not for two days of work....

This (upcoming) week:
     *Reading: start The Amber Spyglass (Phillip Pullman), and continue with The Night Circus, Smoke and Mirrors, and start Murder Comes Ashore (Julie Anne Lindsey). I have 10 books to finish in this Round.
     *Writing: write daily, at least 300 words. Work on Top Secret Project and maybe start one of these other new ideas. Review my Doctor Who story I started last year.
     *Editing: 2 pages (at least) The Real Road Trip (my 2014 NaNoWriMo). Work on some smaller pieces through the coming weeks.
     *Submissions: 1 new submission.
     *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW80 post.
     *Social Media: Sponsor duties and 4 blogs daily (from list of blogs I follow and ROW80 new blogs).
     *Exercise: take a walk at least 1 day between now and Sunday.

What is ROW80? It's a blog challenge where you set some goal. Post them and your progress on your blog (required), and then post the blog link on the linky page. A Round of Words in 80 Days knows you have a life and you can adjust your goals as necessary. Come visit the Blog Hop!

Today is also WIPpet Wednesday. The brain child of author K.L. Schwengel. Here authors post snippets of their WIP using the WIPpet math. Take today's date: 7/15 use some math like 7 - 1 + 5 = 11 lines. Post 11 lines from your current WIP on the Linky Page. Giving a little set up to the readers and see what happens.

UPDATED: I feel I need to clarify. I do hate when I am unclear. This is the opening bit when you meet Stratus and Cumi for the first time. We get a little bit of her relationship with Strat. This is going back a little from the previous snippet. We are seeing a little banter bewteen the two of them.

“Sup, Slacker?” a voice called over Stratus' head. He smiled at the voice and knowing full well that is wasn’t the Queen high and mighty spying on him. He relaxed a little and took a drag on his cigarette. He tilted his head up and gazing out across the sky saw a friendly face shuffling along the low clouds.

“Not slacking. On break, Loser,” he said pointing to his cigarette and then to the cloud that the young lady was currently walking on. “What about you, Butt-head?” and Stratus giggled, his voice sounding awfully like the cartoon that he spent watching on his day off.

“Well I can’t very well do ANYTHING since you currently on deck.” The young lady was wearing a tee-shirt with a blue police box on the front and her brownish hair in a ponytail and jean shorts and pointing skyward. “I am on the waiting list, so I figured that I would come down and bother you while you were working." 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Post Connecticon Status

A day late, but not really feeling like a dollar short. Although I did need to buy a second new tire before my adventure began this weekend. Somehow I ran over something that blew my barely a week old tire. Was livid for a few hours, but then I started my travels, and most was forgotten.

24 Hour Theatre went over well from what my peeps tell me. This is the first  (and only I hope) time I couldn't be there. The writing aspect of it was really fun. I got my cast list and wrote, granted I was worried that the concept wouldn't work. Not that the actors weren't capable, in fact they were MORE than capable. But I usually freak out about my shows until after it's performed and then I am happily awed by the awesome that happened. I think most of you writers out there would probably agree to some level of this. My show was called "Another Day at the (Super) Office". Think of it as am improv skit mating with a kid's show, and throw it a dash of the office space kinda goofy humour. You have two superheros monitoring the town they were sent to protect. One is a little disappointed that the job is not so exciting and the other is dedicated but overly excitable. The boss is always coming to check on them and give them new assignments. They have to solve the problem about the migrating dinosaurs eating all the jelly beans by the boss and there's a lost Sprite to find her Mommy. It's like a superheroes games from Whose Line? And since the theme of the event was all about superheroes, it got positively goofy, with superheroes called Captain Blueberry Muffin, Pets Everything Girl, and Princess T-Rex. Can't wait to see the video footage!

So I didn't do much this weekend. But I did drive myself to Hartford, CT for Connecticon. It was my first majorly huge Con. I went to go see my friend and mentor, James A. Owen. It's always a treat to hear him speak and get a chance to visit with him. I saw so many sights, the cosplayers were pretty awesome with plenty of Doctors, Harley Quinns, and Disney princesses. I went to the writing panels, kinda a given as I am a writer. Got some good incite into to getting published and some humour about the writing world for seasoned and new authors. Got some swag. Met Maurice LeMarche (voice of Egon from Real Ghostbusters, Brian from Animaniacs, and Futurama). Really nice guy and autographed a picture for the Hubs. And while I couldn't actually photograph George Takei, I was within 5 feet from him at least three times. I'm okay with that. I am still tired, but incredibly happy.

So, Dear Readers, here are a few of my favourite shots from Connecticon...

Update is really short this week, but here it is!

This Week:
    *Reading: caught an hour to read The Night Circus on Saturday.
    *Social Media: visited blogs and sponsor charges on Friday. Not much else to say. It's okay am diving feet first into the goals this week! I suspect

This (upcoming) week:
    *Reading: finish The Sublte Knife (Phillip Pullman) and continue with The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). I have to read 10 this round, to get cracking. Also started Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman).
    *Writing: write daily. I want to focus on my Top Secret project this week.
    *Editing: get cracking on my edits for The Real Road Trip, my NaNo from last year.
    *Submissions: 2 this week.
    *Blogging: 1 non-Row 80 post this week.
    *Social Media: my sponsor duties. Visit 4 blog daily, Row 80 and those I follow. Keep up with Twitter and my Facebook page.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is a blog challenge that knows you have a life. Set some goal, post them to your post, share the link on the linky page, and watch the magic begin. It is a Blog Hop, so come in and spin a tale or two, maybe even learn something new.

How are your goals coming along, Dear Reader? Have you had to change any of them? Complete anything in the past week? Had an adventures you'd like to share?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First Wednesday, not a bad start...

I only just posted goals on Monday, how can it be Wednesday already? Okay fair is fair. I am starting off on a good footing. Hitting the ground running on some of the goals. This week is all goofy what what writing for 24 Hour Theatre and preparing for Connecticon. So much to do in so little time!

Onto the update~

This Week:
     *Reading: about halfway through The Subtle Knife (Phillip Pullman) and about a fourth of the way The Night Circus (Erin Morgensen). Hoping to have Subtle Knife finished by next weekend. Need to start Murder Comes Ashore (Julie Anne Lindsey).
     *Writing: wrote my ROW80 goal post Monday, almost 1000 words for my ROW80 sponsor post Tuesday, and today started my 24 Hour Theatre script. It's Superhero Theme in conjunction with the summer youth reading program. Going to get a little wacky, but will be a cute little script when I am done. I want a finished script by bedtime, also did a small  writing blitz this afternoon of about 15 minutes.
      *Editing: edited my ROW80 sponsor post and submitted it.
      *Social Media: did my sponsor duties and visited 4 blogs Monday and Tuesday.

This (upcoming week): Going to have to shove a lot into the next couple of days as I won't be writing at all Saturday and possibly Sunday. I am making the goals light this week to allow for Connecticon.
      *Reading: try to finish The Subtle Knife and start Murder Comes Ashore.
      *Writing: write daily, 300 words. Day off Saturday.
      *Editing: start up revisions on The Real Road Trip.
      *Social Media: sponsor duties and blog visits to 4 ROW80 blogs and/or blog I follow.
      *Submission: 1 submission before Saturday.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is a blog challenge. In 80 days set some goals, post your progress to a blog, add the link to the Linky Site. It is a Blog Hop, so come in and sit a spell. Listen to a few tales and maybe stay to share some of your own.

It's WIPpet Wednesday too! The idea is from K.L. Schwengel. You take the date, play with the math, and viola a snippet of your WIP. Post your link and /or visit the fellow WIPpeteers here. I have to use a small part of the secret project. I don't want to give anything any but it's time to start sharing it. Today is 7/8. Using the day 8, I will show 8 sentences.

Set up: Cumi was left alone and Marty is curious. If I gave you more it would spoil future WIPpet posts. There will be more later. I promise. This one is gonna be a longer project.

Marty raised his eyebrows, “Really? You and him close?”

Cumi was suddenly aware that she was alone. She didn’t know all of the rules that applied here and it was obvious that she was from out of town. “He’s like a mentor. He teaches me all kinds of stuff. You know,” she was at a loss for what else to say.

“I saw you kiss him earlier. That’s some mentorship you got there,” he grinned and turned away. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Round 3 Goals, Huzzah!!!

And here we are at Round 3!

I hope you all had a fantastic 4th, Dear Readers! My dad was in town and we grilled burgers, catch a loose rabbit in the neighbourhood (one of our neighbours raises rabbits), set all my smoke detectors off while grilling, watched some fireworks, read some, watch a bunch of Parks and Rec, and generally enjoyed my weekend. This past week I spend sometime on goals, other days I enjoyed the weather and company. Yes, not much was accomplished this weekend, but it was a Holiday. It's allowed on a holiday and now it's back to work.

What's new, you ask, Dear Readers? New stuff is happening on the horizon with this new Round.

First of all I'm a Sponsor for this Round. Seeing as I have been an active member of ROW80 for 2 years, it feel like it's time to stretch my wings and try something new. I love to help people realize their passions and help them to find ways to meet their goals and challenge their lives. I am working on my inspiration post this week. So many possibilities. So, yeah, feeling really good.

Also, Connecticon is coming this weekend and I need to prepare for my travel to Hartford. First convention by myself, (not first ever convention, that was Faerie-Con 2013) but you have to live big sometimes, try something new and push boundaries. This means though that I will be missing the first summer 24 Hour Theatre with KLP (but on the up side I am writing for it), life's full of tough choices. It's about a win-win as I can get. Will miss playing with my theatre peeps, but I get to see my mentor, James Owen this weekend. Oh and the writing, I'm excited for that too!

This Round is going to be different. I have learned  a lot about  goals, setting them, and succeeding at them, and also failing at them. Sometimes you will not make a goal, but somewhere int there, you will learn about yourself. I know I have in the last two years of ROW80, where I met a number as friends and colleagues who taught me a thing or two about writing and life on the internet. Thanks Denise, Fallon,  Shan, Ink-Dipped Moon, Gloria, and Kait (good and check out them stuff). Also, I met a three awfully special poets and writers that have helped me grow as a poet. The 4 Musketeers are we and we have shared much in the short time together, writing poems for NaPoWriMo and A to Z or just sharing poems, pictures, and personalities: Rod, Jesi, and Lizzi. I feel that being a writer in the 21st century is possible with these kind of relationships.

Anyway, onto more decisive things.

Round 3 Goals~ 
I am looking for more SMART related goals and more action on my part. Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. I know what get me feeling creativity and how I what to see myself in the next month, year, five years. So, Dear Readers you will see a change in my passion and goals will shift accordingly. Of course life can still get in the way, but going  for the proactive approach.

    *Reading: in the next 80 days I want to read 10 books. I started to Gooodreads Challenge last year with 25 book. This year is was 30, but I at 27 (just finished another book today) I decided to move the year goal to 50 books in  2015. Currently reading The Subtle Knife (Phillip Puillman), The Night Circus (Erin Mortensen), and Murder Comes Ashore  (Julie Anne Lindsey)
    *Writing: write daily at least 300 words,
           -Write my Sponsor post this week,
           -I have a unfinished Doctor Who story that I want to finish a rough draft this Round,
           -Work on my Top Secret Story,
           -and plotting the possibilities for Love in Ferns.
    *Blogging: 1 new non-ROW80 post,
           -Post to WIPpet Wednsday,
           -Find some new challenges to take part in.
    *Editing: The Real Road Trip, NaNoWriMo novel 2014. I want to finish a complete first revision by end of this Round. So, 2 to 3 pages of novel to be edited every day. I will take Saturdays off, as that is my UNPLUGGED day.
     *Social Media: sponsor duties and
            -visit 4 blogs daily.
     *Submissions: 1 new submission each week.
             -Post account of rejections, acceptances, and what have I learned once a week.
     *Exercise: Do it! Post about it!

A Round of Words in 80 Days is a blog challenge that knows you have a life. Come and visit with us, stay for the stories and magic, maybe even give it a try! It's a Blog Hop, click the linky!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Golden Compass: A Review

After doing a few these book to movie reviews I have learned two major things (and several smaller and equally important points as well). First (and oddly not directly related), my husband is a genius with a fresh new idea for my review projects. I had been doing book to movie reviews, but he suggested trying (or at least considering) a movie to book review. This means movies that had books written after the movie came out. It certainly might give me a different perspective on storytelling. Such possible examples include Batman and Dick Tracy.

Second, is that I realize that I am super nit picky about my written stories versus my visual stories. And because of this I forget that sometimes the movies themselves are at good at being movies and thus telling a story with visuals, especially if you are not going to be reading the books. I have been surprised by a few movies that have proven me wrong on some level or another.

Now to be fair this doesn’t mean I will go easy on the movie version of The Golden Compass. Just because the movie was actually entertaining, looking at the entertainment factor here folks, here’s a few points to note. It was eye catching and beautiful crafted, the polar bear fight (yes, you heard me correctly) was pretty awesome. Oh, the actors were well cast in their characters (voice and live action included), and the plot is 85% of what is in the book (albeit truncated in places). That means it is watchable.

But, there are some grievous mistakes and in some poor choices that affect the plot, and at least one moment of WTF-ery.

I will give my actually score at the end, so onto the review.

First point: consistency! It’s just simple consistency of facts, names, pronunciation. If a movie doesn’t have a degree of consistency whether it’s an adaptation or an original then I will have issues with it. Yes an adaptation is going to have things that are different that the original, also the vision of the original is not what the director of a movie will have, hence why it is an adaptation. Adaptation means taking one form and making into something different, the state of being adapted. Hence there will be changes. This is especially true of books that get made into movies. The biggest difference between books and movies are that books have long expansive scenes about trips to London or what occurs in Bolvangar (more on these later). But a movie has to keep the pace and within the 90 to 120 minutes given to tell a story. This is something I run across a lot when I cross a book and the counterpart movie adaptation; when the movie has to condense 30 to 40 pages of written text into 5 minutes of movie. To me it loses something, but I am biased and read a lot of books that need those 30 to 40 pages to build the development of the characters. Where a movie needs to convey that information with a short amount of time and move on. In The Golden Compass Lyra’s trip to London with Mrs. Coulter is only about 5 minutes (give or take) of the movie. The book obviously takes it’s time to show what Lyra and Mrs. Coulter are doing and thereby building their character’s relationships and character development. The movie has so much more to cover that it has to take a few important bits of information to convey Lyra’s adoration of Mrs. Coulter and the discovery of the General Oblation Board. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes not sure much.

For consistency The Golden Compass rates a 7 out of 10. This is because the ending was chewed up and spit out from book to movie. There is a decided last of consistency from the Ice Bear, Iorek Byrnison getting his amour in Trollesund to the travels north to Lord Asriel’s prison at the end of the movie.

Another case of the movie rushing a scene because of time is when Lyra is in Svalbard and Iorek Brynison is rushing to her aid. They skip quite a bit of the King’s back story with Iorek and how he became king. Suddenly we are presented with Lyra’s telling Ragnar she is Iorek’s Daemon who wants to be his Daemon. Then there is a polar bear fight with little build up. There is greater detail of the ice bears and their kingdom, but much of the movie glosses over much of this in favour of the polar bear fight. It feels rushed. I think even if you haven’t read the book you would still feel that there was something missing. You cannot have your audience feeling like there is something missing, especially if it’s an adaptation. Because their will those people who pick out this inconsistencies between the different forms.

A note to consider, the screenwriter do not have an easy job. They are the ones to cherry pick the book’s details and turn printed words to visual media. Having written a dew short plays, I understand that plays (screenplays) are more dialogue-sentric, and this is different to print media which is descriptions and dialogue combine. To movie a good movie you have to know what is good dialogue and what are good visual elements. I understand better why playwrights and screenwriters have a hard job. The Golden Compass’s consistency is overall more fluid.

For consistency The Golden Compass rates a 7 out of 10. This is because the ending was chewed up and spit out from book to movie. There is a decidedly lack of consistency from when the Ice Bear, Iorek Byrnison reclaims his amour in Trollesund to the travels north to Lord Asriel’s prison.

Second point: Order of things. It goes with consistency. This doesn’t mean that I find every since instance of misplaced scenery or dialogue bothers me. Under certain circumstances I can understand why the order might have been shifted. The problem is this, often in fantasy movies made from books the story usually has to play out a certain way. This means that Person A meets Person B and encounters Event C. If you have Person D meeting Person A first and Event E happens then many times the story will have to change within the screenplay to have the whole of the story make sense.

What I mean is that having the polar bear fight happen before Lyra gets to Bolvangar does not make sense if she still has to travel through the Ice Bear’s Kingdom to get to Lord Asriel’s prison. The bears are the one holding Asriel prisoner, if Iorek has already defeated Ragnar then it should make sense to have Iorek take Lyra to Asriel. Not straight to Bolvangar, and then to Asriel’s prison. It seems weak and poorly planned, hence inconsistent and out of order.

In the choice to move Bolvangar to the end, after the polar bear fight, wasn’t nearly as bad as what they did to the ending. This is a far more heinous act and more on that later. It still felt wrong, again I am aware of both versions and this makes me a bit biased. But when I look at the Bolvangar scenes I feel that by placing it out of order you are losing something, or at least you are rushing the stories that take places there. It is a bit frustrating when there is much more detail nuances and stories that can be told of the children. That fits right into my next point.

Out of order: A-. The movie was spot on until Polar Bear fight and Bolvangar.

Third point: Getting shit wrong! The single most irritating thing I have run across in any of these reviews it when the director, producer, screenwriter, or someone get facts blatantly wrong. There shouldn’t be a problem with naming the polar bear king Iofur, yet the movie calls him Ragnar. WTF, movie?!?!? Yes, there are times when one can probably come and defend these choices made. But simply put, if you know a character is named, or a character exists and then you change it to another, you suddenly it change the dynamic of the movie. And it does bother me, because these characters exist for a reason. So to callously toss them aside just seems wrong to the storyteller in me.

See, The Golden Compass is not unique to getting things wrong. It just has some glaring mistake. Yes, I realize that if you don’t read the books, then some of this is lost on you. But there are just simple basic that everyone should get, like King Ragnar (called Iofur in the book) or calling the animal souls of people Demons when the spelling and pronunciation is DAE-MON. It’s not just in The Golden Compass, the movie Eragon also changes the names of town visited and switching out one name for another. Eragon Review: read here if you are curious about my feelings on that one. It seems paltry, but to simply get names and basic elements wrong feels like they weren’t trying.

Getting Shit Wrong: C. I can’t give it more, because the shit that they got wrong was pretty big. As a writer, I felt that it was a disservice to the story.

Okay, so you didn’t like it then?

Nope, not even saying that this time around. Yes, there are the small and petty things I noticed. It want I do.. I could be here all day and night complaining and arguing why Pantalaimon, Stella Marie, and Hester are the only daemons who speak out loud. Never mind that these characters have big name voice actors attached to them. And generally Daemon’s only talk to their human half or other daemons. You pay good money to have Kathy Bates voice a rabbit for three lines and yet other daemons who are represented much more don’t speak at all, like Mrs. Coulter’s golden marmoset. That’s but minor. When I watch the movie, I still felt engaged, vested in the story. Yes, I clearly love top pick apart these movies. It has become a pleasant if unusual pastime.

Still there is much to be admired her. The CGI was awfully good. The daemons were well done, not really cheesy wand much of the time Pantalaimon’s animated in such a way that his character was daring, emotional, and crucial to the story at the right times. The casting was also pretty spot on. Nicole Kidman plays a delightful bitch here and also in the recent movie Paddington (just go watch it). Dakota Blue Richards (who played Lyra Belacqua) needs to be in more movies, because she’s got some talent. Even Daniel Craig, who got shafted out of a really powerful scene at the end was well cast. Action wise the movie was most often spot on with plot and filled a constant energy keeping you vested in the story.

What it didn’t get right was a gross oversight on details that were either skipped over, rearranged, or just plain wrong. As much as I can complain about the concepts mentioned earlier, the one other point that tick me off to one end is changing the ending to make the movie have a lighter, happier ending. The ending of the book is hard and cruel and utterly heartbreaking. But yet so dramatic perfect and a heartstrings moment; and there’s the BIG betrayal at the end is just glossed over. The powerful punch that Phillip Pullman gave to his story is more like a gentle tap on the shoulder.

For you completists, go and watch the revised alternate ending here. Fans of the books will appreciate the effort and anyone who likes a well crafted scene will at enjoy it for what it is. The book is a beautifully complex story and one that should be read. The rich characters and a vastly unique world created and lovingly polished like a piece of fine silver until it shines. If you like a great fantasy, with something a little outside of the box then go check it out.

After all is said and done and this review is posted, I think I will give the book an A and the movie a B-. It was worth the trip, but the staying power is in the book.