What I’m Reading: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I attended a writer’s group around here and someone recommended this book to all of us. It was a winner of a contest called Pitch Wars, which she also told us about. If you don’t know what pitch wars is, I suggest you Google it. Got a manuscript? Want some advice from experienced writers? This contest is for you. You get a chance to partner up with with a mentor, who will offer you advice and ways to edit your novel so you can pitch it to agents. In the end it’s like a bidding war for the best novel and sounds so exciting. I’m going to give it a try myself.

Anyway, this book is about four young adults who are brought together by tensions exacerbated by the politics surrounding the world of the novel. On one side there are those who have magic, or used to have it. On the other: the evil king who is determined to keep magic away for good.

Friendships form, romance kindles, and adventure makes this book as absorbing as the world the author has created.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Our Vacation Out West Part 2: The Desert

After driving through the Rocky Mountains, Mike and I watched the landscape turn dryer, the rocks and dirt became a burnt red and orange. Small bush-like trees grew across the desert. And if you looked towards the horizon, the land continued for miles and miles in every direction. Flat and sparse and rocky, shadowed by giant mesas, we were just accessories to an already finished masterpiece.

This was the Utah that first greeted us. We drove for miles with no one around, except for the sparse trailer or house dispersed across the barren landscape. We drove through a good portion of the Navajo reservation and much of the landscape was the same; houses dotted a flat landscape of orange, red and brown.

Whoever lives here must drive for an hour to reach the nearest grocery store, or a half an hour at best to reach the nearest gas station. Little huts which promised finely woven Navajo rugs and pottery and jewelry, started to pop up every couple of miles alongside the highway.

We felt awed by the difference of this landscape compared to what we were used to back home. Upstate New York is green, the mountains are gentle hills, breezes tease the trees and rainstorms nourish. Here in this desert landscape was a harshness and a palette of colors we had never encountered before.

As the we drove into higher elevations and then drove back down, we kept our eyes out for eagles, and looked for big-horned sheep. We saw a few horses, and the occasional grouping of cattle, which chewed on the brown-yellow grass.

During our journey, I’m thinking about Star Wars, about a lonely teenager longing for adventure his desert home doesn’t provide. I’m thinking about science fiction stories of life on Mars, or a desert planet much like this one.

I fell in love with the desert’s stark beauty in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. Of dirt, and hot wind and a sun that blazes so hot and bright, it makes the sand burn underfoot.

I’m already in awe and we haven’t even made it to Zion National Park yet…and as we soon discovered, it’s always beautiful in Zion.

A Year’s Worth of Books

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Today is a quiet and lazy day. I am worn out from the last few days, and so I am relaxing in front of the fan in my office and thinking about what to write. I was able to have lunch today with a friend, and she gave me this little book where you can record the books you’ve read and what you think of them.

img_20160530_151420369.jpgIt reminded me of what I did last year around this time. In the post I listed all the books I was able to read in five months and what I thought of them. This time its been longer, though. This is really for my benefit, mostly, as I have a terrible memory.

What could I have possibly read in a year??

Here we go, and in no particular order…

Audio Books I’ve listened to:

American Sniper, by Chris Kyle

Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth

I Was Here, Gayle Forman

Matched, by Ally Condie

Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, by Michael Scott

The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, by James Dashner

The Color Magic, by Terry Pratchett

The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, by Brian Grazer

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide, by Peter Allison

img_20160426_163707562_hdr.jpgAnd other books, not on audio:

The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater

The Iron Warrior, by Julie Kagawa

Winter, Fairest, by Marissa Meyer

Hmm…not a bad list, although its clear I need to read more books that aren’t on audio. I think its time to focus on reading some more adult fiction, non-fiction and science fiction and fantasy. And this doesn’t include the Harry Potter series that a listened to again this year on audio. (I think I have an obsession!)

What do you guys like to read? Read anything new recently?

Happy writing (and reading)!

NaNoWriMo Days 1 and 2: Let’s Go Places!

NaNoWriMo Day 1: I slept late, went to the mall, ate dinner with a friend and got my hair cut.

NaNoWriMo: Day 2: Slept late, drank a cup of tea, did dishes, and looked at Grad programs.

The point: My NaNoWriMo month is off to a rough start, but I wanted to take this opportunity to say that I’m going to give it a try. It’s the busiest month I’ve had in awhile, what with the holidays coming up and new jobs…and Agh! But this is important to me.

Except, I’m going to use the rules as “guidelines,” and well, cheat…essentially. I’ve already got my story in mind, and I already have a brief brainstorm, ANND I have already about 9,000 words written.

dawns-rising-cover-page1.jpgThe story that I’m going to try to write in its entirety, even if it is a crappy first draft, is my story Dawn’s Rising, which I had hoped to self publish, and use as a platform for this blog. It’s been on a hiatus for awhile, but it still lives…somewhat.

Bringing that idea to life is very important to me, and something that I still want to complete and finish….whether good, bad, ugly…I just have to face my fears, learn how to create a compelling plot, and storm on ahead no matter how many self doubts try to bring me down!

So I am going to be using NaNoWriMo as a motivator…and hopefully get some kind of finished product as a result!

Any other fellow NaNoWriMo writers out there? What are you going to write about?

I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Writing everyone!

Interview with K. Starling: An insight into self-publishing

bookIf you missed my review of K. Starling’s novel In Beauty’s Veins you can read it here.

In Beauty’s Veins is a novel about the journey of four women all united by a Healer named Daphne, who comes to the town of Halfawaise with the intentions of finding a lost neighbor and to become a healer there. But the town is immediately suspicious: is she really a Healer that the Legends talk about?

It doesn’t help that another legend follows her there, when Berri, one of the women who befriends Daphne, discovers someone who was attacked by a Vampyre. As Daphne tells her story to her new friends, suddenly the things that used to be legend aren’t legend anymore.


Miss Starling was able to take time out of her busy day to sit down with me and have a chat about her new novel, self-publishing and the writing process behind it:

Me: What was your inspiration for In Beauty’s Veins? When did you come up with the idea?

K.S: It’s kind of embarrassing actually. There was a melange of reasons. It started as a romantic fantasy in my head inspired by a how-to-draw Gothic Manga picture that I found really sexy. Then Twilight came out and I thought, “Oh, I could probably make money on this fantasy.” But then I cared too much about my characters, so I actually developed them. And I actually get annoyed by romance being the end-all of any story, so it pretty much died.

Me: I did notice there was some romantic element, but it was refreshing to see all the different themes, like woman’s rights, sexuality, forgiveness, self-worth….was there a particular reason you chose to write about such things?

K.S: It was in the forefront of my mind just then. Our culture is at an interesting point in which we’re really self-reflecting on how we view people based on differences and I felt like exploring some of my own experiences through this story. These are topics that make people uncomfortable, but I don’t want to be uncomfortable about them.

Me: Nice. How long did it take to write the novel?

K.S: From start to finish, about seven years, but bear in mind that the first three drafts were an almost utterly different story. Berri didn’t exist until maybe three years ago and then I was working full-time and took a hiatus. Once I actually outlined it properly and dealt with the addition of Halfawaise into the plot (cultural and language development) it took me about a year and a half.

Me: It’s funny how first time writers always think that writing a book is a quick thing. It definitely does take time to develop. Why the title that you chose? Was there some thought into it?

K.S: It’s meant to allude to the allegorical reference to Beauty and the Beast, but also the depth and grit of the story (so veins and not blood, which has almost become sexualized as a word). I didn’t want someone picking this up thinking it would be fluff.

The world inside of K. Starling’s novel, In Beauty’s Veins.

Me: Going back to Halfawaise and the world that you’ve created…how did that come about?

K.S: I’m interested in cultural development. A lot of my studies have been deeply rooted in cultural identities, primarily Chinese and Celtic cultures. However, my interest definitely veered based on information I learned. I was curious what a Scandinavian Empire might have looked like had our continents drifted differently. I thought it would be interesting, too, to explore a pseudo-French Revolutionary culture that tends towards Communism and Atheism and how the cultures converse across borders.

Me: And the language that you created in the book? How did that come about? Was there some specific inspiration you used for that?

K.S: They’re purely derivative. I don’t really intend to do much expansion in the story, so I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time developing languages. (Laughs.) You’ve got Atwainsk, which is basically Scottish Gaelic plus some Germanic influence, and then Nordsk is just a combination of Germanic and Scandinavian languages. I did a little work on dealing with Middle versus Old versions of the languages (like Keltoig), but not a lot. The one Chinese expression, however, was made up. It’s Mandarin in meaning, but it’s not a real cheng-yu.

“Cao you bu hua” 草友不花  “Grass friends don’t flower” – it’s from the scroll Anwar shows Daphne. Chinese has a neat history of four character idioms (cheng-yu). I love them.

Me: On a different note, the story is told from different points of view…why did you choose to go that route?

K.S: It was originally a first-person sequential narrative, but I decided Daphne wouldn’t narrate first-person. That’s not the way she thinks. So I played with third-person before deciding that I wanted a different perspective on her story, so I introduced Berri, her polar opposite, to look at things with new eyes. But then Berri turned into such an interesting character that I wanted other characters to share their thoughts on her, so I expanded on Nade and Gerri, both of whom have their own slants. I just wanted to look at the different aspects of the landscape, to see what that felt like. Berri is just so ego-based that telling a story purely from her perspective would be exhausting, and Daphne is so conflicted and gentle that she wouldn’t be able to capture the facts.

Me: I think it was a good choice, the story felt more complete because of it. Is there any character that you identify with?

K.S: All of them to some extent. Although, I call Daphne my drunk self. She’s so determined to like everyone. But I have my Berri days for sure.

Me: Would you say Daphne is your favorite?

K.S: Daphne is the character I most admire, but I don’t think she is my favorite. I feel very protective of Rose, actually. I feel like I failed her as a writer sometimes. I wish I could have given her more screen time, in a manner of speaking. Her life was just so painful.

Me: I know you mentioned that you didn’t intend to continue the story, but can we look forward to a sequel, or another novel in this world?

K.S: I’m debating it. If I do, it would definitely be a different cast of characters, although I would take some time in Halfawaise. I haven’t decided. I have some ideas, but not enough to do much about it.

Me: One more thing on the novel: When I was reading it, I was toying with the idea that the four women really are parts of a whole, as each of the women have such different personalities…Berri having a darker side, Daphne optimistic, Gerri the nerdy type, Yolain who is concerned about her looks…combined into one, the four really do represent many of the issues that women struggle with in today’s world. Any thoughts on that?

K.S: With Daphne and Berri, I was definitely playing with polarity. Yolain and Gerri, who my writing group referred to as the Two Stooges, just sprung up for me. Gerri interests me for a lot of reasons, of course. She struggles with her sexuality, her desire to learn things, and to stay somewhat hidden to maintain that independence. Yolain projects confidence, but is very much living in constant fear of failure. Keep in mind she’s been carrying her experience of near-capture around with her for years. I think she understands better than anyone what it means to be a woman in the Skalda Domain.

***AND then we touched on the benefits of self-publishing…

Me: Why did you choose to self-publish? What are the benefits you think?

K.S: Frankly going the traditional route with this book never crossed my mind. It doesn’t fall neatly into any genre and is really hard to market. If a publisher picked it up, I can almost guarantee they’d want me to clean it up – remove the swearing, sexuality, and pump up the romance. They’d want the vampyres to be sexy, and that was against my philosophy.

Me: You mentioned that you had other projects you were working on…do you think you will self publish those as well?

K.S: That’s the plan. The next one takes place in Horseheads, NY, actually. It might have a place in traditional marketing, more than In Beauty, but it’s pretty brutal. I like maintaining creative control. I have no illusions that I can do this for money, and I don’t really want to. I like my day job and I enjoy my projects.

Me: Are there books that you might consider getting an agent, or publisher for, or no?

K.S. Probably not. I feel that I would remove part of the fun. I’m a project manager by day; I’m good at this stuff. I don’t need someone else putting a deadline on me. A lawyer, however, probably wouldn’t hurt. (Laughs).

Me: It is definitely a great ambition. And it says a lot that you are doing this for the fun of it, for yourself. How do you personally market your novel?

K.S: I’ve been really busy. Mostly I bought 50 copies and have persuaded some local businesses to carry them for me. I’m going to head over to B&N here in Madison and back in Elmira to let them know I’m local. I have a few book clubs I know of that have interest in it. Otherwise, I’m going to Johnny Appleseed it. I have some post-card style advertisements and I travel a LOT, so a few copies will find their way into international hostels and libraries.

Me: Did you hire an editor to proof read your novel at the end?

K.S: I did. It’s a bad idea for me to proof my own stuff.

Me: Is that the best way to go, you think? Also, getting someone to do the cover art?

K.S: I do. I would feel so horrible if my baby got out there and had a sloppy typo going on. My cousin has a friend in NYC who’s an illustrator who was looking for work and I know a local graphic designer. I wanted a nice-looking product, so I went big. Also, it’s a lot of fun to collaborate with other artists. I have a buddy in Brooklyn who did some costume sketches for me (on my website) and I’m so glad I hired her to do it. It really brought some of the scenes to life for me.

Me: I’ve always wanted to do that for some of my projects…it seems like such fun. What words of encouragement do you have for other writers out there who are trying to self publish?

K.S: It’s a serious investment of time. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Be ready to invest a little cash if you want a nice product, or else be ready to do a lot of legwork yourself. Know what your goal is with the project and balance that against what you can actually commit. I count myself lucky that I don’t need to do this for a living, because it’s a very competitive market and it’s almost entirely luck-based. If you’re not doing it because you love it, take a step back and find out why.

Me: I think all the outside views definitely make it hard to write what you want and for yourself, especially when you have others judging you. Did you struggle with writer’s fear at all? Writer’s Block?

K.S: I have moments to be sure. I try to just write piles of garbage until I get through whatever is in the way. I’ve actually started doing erotica on the side (under a pen name) just to keep writing so I can go crazy without fear of judgement. Fearlessness is critical when you’re expressing yourself, you know?

Me: Great words….How often do you write? Is there a specific time a day that works best for you? And did you have a regimen that you stuck to for writing In Beauty’s Veins?

K.S: I feel like every writer has their own mode of habit. With my job and hobbies, I can’t commit a lot of time to writing on a regular basis, so I try to mentally write (live in my head) when I’m waiting in lines or traffic to keep it going. When I travel, I write probably between 1 and 5 hours a day. With In Beauty, I hammered out 50,000 words when I was in Taiwan for 6.5 weeks. I have to make space away from obligations, so that means getting out of my house and away from people I know. I actually made a Ulysses Compact with myself for In Beauty… I wanted to finish it by a certain date, and I was having trouble motivating at the time, so I threatened to shave my head if I failed. I did not fail.

Me: (Laughs) Would you have really shaved your head?

K.S: Yes. You have to keep your word to yourself, you know?

Me: Oh, I know. What are some of your next projects, if you don’t mind me asking?

K.S: Sure! I’m working on a semi-apocalyptic piece in which magic is released again into the world (Unleashed), but it follows the paths of two sisters who hate each other, and who find very different ways to survive. I’m also writing a novel based on a film I made in college called Styx & Stones, which is about two college students who can interact with ghosts and how they cope. I’ve also got three others on the back burner that somewhat tie into the first two, but I haven’t decided to what extent yet.

Me: Do you have your own website/ blog where we can find updates?

K.S: Yes. It’s www.kxstarling.com. You can find my facebook account under K. Starling.

Me: Do you have any writing quirks or habits that you want to share?

K.S: I always make soundtracks for my books before I write them. And then I listen all the time until the novel is done.

Me: That’s awesome. Is the soundtrack on your website?

K.S: It’s not, but you know, I’m thinking about it. I’m planning to update some content next week when I’m off work. That could be fun!

Me: For fun, last question: What is your favorite book? Your favorite author?

K.S: Favorite book is probably The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. It was magnificent. But I go through phases. Favorite author is probably Lu Xun, because I admire him so much. He wrote short stories during the Chinese May 4th Era – mostly cultural criticisms. Absolutely stunning.

*****And that’s that! She was able to offer us some great insight into self-publishing… and how important it is to make sure that the product you have out there is the best that it can possibly be!

I like what she says about Writer’s Fear:

“Fearlessness is critical when you are expressing yourself.”

Happy Writing everyone!


K. StarlingK. Starling has a Bachelors degree in Comparitive Literature and a minor in Chinese from Binghamton University. She has studied at National Taiwan University and University of Nottingham. In her spare time, she likes traveling, guzzling tea, and is training to be a Yoga teacher. In Beauty’s Veins is her first novel.

In Beauty’s Veins can be found on amazon.com, here. Look for updates on her website at www.kxstarling.com and on facebook at K. Starling.

Review: In Beauty’s Veins, by K. Starling; a book about friendship, women, and self worth

Later on today, I will be posting an interview with K. Starling herself, about her new novel, self-publishing and her writing process, but first a review:

Novel: In Beauty’s Veins, by K. Starling

Genre: Fantasy / science fiction

Audience: Any woman who cares about the rights of her fellow women, although guys might be drawn to its interesting world and unique take on vampires.

Review: 

When I first picked up K. Starling’s book, In Beauty’s Veins, I joked that it had some heft to it, but little did I know that later I would also be using this phrase to refer to its content. Here we have a novel that touches on many themes: A woman’s rights and sexuality, self-worth, friendship, forgiveness, revenge, monsters, death, and healing…just to name a few.

To find this all in one novel is like finding a gem amongst the stones. There’s just so much in this novel to think about.

In Beauty’s Veins is a novel about the journey of four women all united by a Healer named Daphne, who comes to the not exactly desirable town of Halfawaise with the intentions of finding a lost neighbor and to become a healer there. She is of course met with some road blocks: the town medic, who doesn’t want another Healer in his town and the suspicion that follows her title: Is she really a Healer that the Legends talk about?

It doesn’t help that another legend follows her there, when Berri, one of the women who befriends Daphne, discovers someone who was attacked by a Vampyre. As Daphne tells her story to her new friends, suddenly the things that used to be legend aren’t legend anymore.

Told in a mixture of third and first person perspective, Daphne, the Healer, manages to heal more than just flesh and blood; she touches each woman’s heart and soul. Especially Berri, who was accused many years ago of murder and has no friends.

Through Daphne’s story, we learn how the world should be, (and the way it often isn’t); how important sometimes one friend is to a person truly alone in the world. How a woman should be defined by how she sees herself, not her sex.

It challenges the concept of who is a monster: a vampire, who by definition is a monster, or a human, who rapes and kills? It touches on right and wrong. Could an action so innocent, really cause so much harm? And how important it is to love yourself in order to love others.

This is a novel worthy of a good book club, as there are a lot of things to talk about afterwards. Here you will find a world that is truly different than anything I have read out there. Starling has weaved a tale that’s so refreshing in its complexity, in the character’s friendships and the compassion they show towards one another.

Here’s a peak at the map to this world in the inside cover:

K. Starling’s In Beauty’s Veins can be found on amazon, here. And look for updates on her website: www.kxstarling.com.

Stay tuned for more K. Starling this evening!

Dawn’s Rising Update

A few years ago, (honestly I can’t believe its been that long already) I started this blog all with the hopes of helping my writing career.

The idea was to write my ‘first crappy novel’ and see about self-publishing, creating an eBook of my very own. Well, I’m here to say that the dream is still a live and kicking…if a bit delayed and slow going. :/

dawns-rising-cover-page1.jpgThe trouble is: the story. I had an idea, I started to write, and suddenly it’s not good enough. I want to go in one direction, the characters go in another. I read on someone’s post last night, about discovering who you are as a writer. How you can’t really write, until you decide who you are.

Am I the organized type? Do I write on the fly? Do I write outlines?

Well, I can say right now, I detest outlines in any form, although I have tried a few now and then. I write notes, and I brainstorm ideas, usually in a notebook dedicated to the specific project. Usually I start with an idea of how I want a scene to go, and then I write, trying to get a feel of how it affects the characters, and generally how they feel about the situation.

I know that seems strange, but characters (sometimes well-developed ones) are alive and as real as people (at least in my head), I’m sure other writers feel the same. It’s hard to take a story in one direction, when you’ve got a character giving you the stink eye and being like, “seriously? you’re taking it there?”

This is the reason I love the movie, Nim’s Island, which is about an agoraphobic writer who is influenced and encouraged by her main character (who is adventurous and the complete opposite) to go and do and be something she is not. In the movie, Jodie Foster shows us how hilarious and how true it is for writers that their characters seem so real to them.

So anyway, Dawn’s Rising lives!

So much so, that when I wrote some more on it last night, it fought me all the way.

I think from now on, I am going to let it go and be what it wants to be, sometimes as a writer you have to learn when to surrender. Also, I think I’m going to start writing the story from the middle and then write the beginning last. I’ve read somewhere, that many writers use this approach when writing large novels.

Some things have changed a bit. But I’d thought I’d post a small synopsis of what I have so far, for those that are still interested:

Dawn’s Rising –

Angel Desoto longs to be an actress. After graduating from college, and working as a waitress, she stumbles into a world where she might have landed her greatest role yet. But when did demons, and witches and parallel dimensions exist?

Anyway, do you have any strategies when it comes to plot building, or creating a story?

Happy Writing people!

8 TV Shows to love and find inspiration from

I get a lot of my inspiration from great TV shows, and I think people sometimes forget that TV Shows are only as good as the writers behind them. It has to have all the pieces in the formula to make it complete: great characters, an interesting and believable world and a great story.

I get inspired by these great stories and characters and love them sometimes just as much as my favorite books. So I thought I’d share some of my favorites of the past several years and why I think they deserve a good watch.

(It all depends on what you are into, too.) Me, I love science fiction/fantasy and alternate realities, but mostly I love great characters and these shows have all that and more:

8. Once Upon a Time Once-Upon-a-Time-Poster

From the brilliant creators of LOST, the first few seasons follow Emma and the other characters of Storybrooke, Maine in a world where fairy tale creatures don’t know who they truly are. The show presses you to believe in them as you follow these troubled characters and hope that they’ll be able to find true happiness. There’s true love between Snow White and Prince Charming, and despite the clichés, there happens to be something different and fresh about each character you see here, and you will see all sorts of fairy tale characters from multiple worlds.

7. Chuck1024x768chuck_sarah1

One of my favorites, but clearly not up to par as a show like Game of Thrones. Chuck is about “Chuck,” a man who works at a Buy More (think Best Buy) whose life changes when he has a super computer downloaded into his head. Mostly I love this show because of Chuck played by Zachary Levi. Others might know him as the voice of Flynn on Disney’s Tangled. He’s that awkward, yet handsome nerd that everyone has in their lives and knows and loves. He’s relate-able, there’s action, there’s chemistry, and instead of becoming repetitive, the show and the characters continue to grow throughout the seasons.

6. BonesBones_(1)Bones is about forensic anthropologist, Dr. Temperance Brennan, and how her partnership with the FBI helps them solve murders. I love the chemistry between Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI agent, Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). It is a relationship that definitely has more depth to it than just physical chemistry. You begin to understand that at the end of the day, these two are best friends, and can overcome any odds together. Plus, there’s a great cast and a humor that evens out the gruesome deaths and murders that the crew solves on each episode. Without the chemistry between all the characters, this show would have died a quick death a long time ago.

5. Downton Abbey

DowntonAbbey1A period drama that focuses on the lives of the people who live and work in a large house, “Downton Abbey” that functions in the early 1900s and into the 1920s. Each character faces trials and tribulations, and the characters downstairs, (the kitchen, maids, footmen, etc.) are just as important as the lords and ladies of the manor in all their finery. Maggie Smith delivers great one liners, and the costumes, colors and dialogue transports you to a world that is very different from the one we live in now. I have a hard time writing after watching this show, merely because the character’s accents and mannerisms get in my head and it is sometimes hard to switch it off! It is a great show if you need to escape for a while.

4. Breaking Bad

Breaking-Bad-Season-51It is fourth, merely because there are other TV shows that I love more, however, this one takes the cake when it comes to great writing. The show is about high school chemistry teacher, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who is diagnosed with lung cancer. He decides to make and sell crystal meth to leave a legacy for his family.  I love the bro-mance between Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston’s characters, and each season amps up the suspense as you’re taken along with Walter White on his journey of self discovery. It challenges the idea of right and wrong and each episode feels like a movie – there’s a lot of cinematic moments, great landscapes; Vince Gilligan is a pro when it comes to the awkward conversation.

3. Game of Thrones

Game_of_thrones_castGeorge R.R. Martin’s books come to life on the screen, the phrase “Winter is coming,” should be heard throughout the realm – this show airs on HBO on Sunday nights, although now we have to wait a whole year for the new season! The show follows several characters, (more than several actually) as they make their way through the seven kingdoms; some with desires for the throne, some with dragons, some with destinations of their own. There’s gruesome deaths, sex, love, fights, dragons, and epic fantasy. If you love all that…then this show is for you. The show doesn’t skimp on the special effects either…it is HBO after-all. Not for the faint of heart, but that’s what makes it so great.

2. LOST

lost-headerAnd yes, I wrote it in great big capital letters, like it appeared on the show. (Writing it in lowercase just seems an insult to the show really.) LOST follows the lives of several survivors of a plane crash on an island somewhere in the south pacific. Unbeknownst to them, there is a greater purpose at work here as we learn how these characters lives are interconnected. There are so many themes in here for the starving English major: Death/Life, Science/Religion, Heaven/Hell, Right/Wrong, Retribution/Rebirth; it is a conspiracy theorist’s paradise and the skies the limit on what may or may not happen here. I fell in love with this show, and it is definitely worth it to see great actors, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, and of course Josh Holloway’s dimples.

1. Firefly

FireflyI don’t know if you have heard the story: Firefly, the almost was. It aired for 14 episodes, when producers cancelled the show, not realizing (apparently) that it was starting to grow a fan-base; a fan-base so large that they were able to make a movie to conclude the show! I don’t know if there is a producer somewhere kicking himself for the mistake (there should be!) but had this continued on for five or more seasons it would have been a huge hit. Like every Firefly fan, it bugs me to no end that there weren’t more episodes to this show…ANYWAY…

Firefly follows Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew on Serenity as they ‘keep on flying,’ in the black; taking jobs when they can, either legal or illegally all while trying to exist under the empire of the Alliance, which tries its best to make the little man feel very small and insignificant. It touches on the idea of freedom and what it truly means; as well as friendship, loyalty and love. But mostly what draws you in is the great characters – a testament to Joss Whedon’s writing skills, of course. Viewers are usually hooked after the first episode. (I know I was!)

Well, that’s that! If you have other great TV shows that deserve a good watch, let me know! I’ve also recently started watching Orange is the New Black – and that one has got me hooked as well!

Happy Writing people!

 

 

 

 

Dawn’s Rising – December Update

I took a few candle light pictures when we had the power out back when hurricane sandy blew through. I guess is how they used to do it, huh. I guess all that is missing is a fountain pen.

I took a few candlelight pictures when we had the power out back when hurricane sandy blew through. I guess this is how they used to do it, huh? All that is missing is a fountain pen.

When I launched this blog at the end of the summer, I had a few ideas in mind:

I was unemployed, I had nothing better to do and I needed to find a strong writing community. I wanted to finish my first “crappy” novel and I wanted to have fun doing it. And I wanted to find other TV lovers out there who felt just as passionate about imaginary characters that I do.

***I found that writing community and have been encouraged by the go-get-’em attitudes that other struggling artists like myself have out there. And I’ve been able to keep up with my favorite TV show – a happy shout out to all my fellow Once Upon a Time fans out there!

But where does this leave me on the progress of my “crappy” novel?

Me being silly!

Me being silly!

I got a new job, (recently) full-time, with mediocre pay, that is more or less at a call center, where I take chats and try to sell things to people online for a company. While the job is easy and the people are friendly, it is definitely something I don’t see myself doing for a long period of time; and while I am struggling with the fact that I am so bored already with this job, it has, inadvertently, put me back on track with the writing of my novel…

Awhile ago, I even created a lovely banner up above^ to help motivate myself and set a deadline, but well, life kicked in; I had to start this new job to pay the bills, and boys distracted me again. (Guys really are a kryptonite when it comes to my writing, gah!) And…I only got about 1/4 of my crappy novel written.

But, never fear! I am back to writing it again. I don’t have a dead-line as of yet. I think the important thing is to push myself to write, even if it is just for my own pure entertainment. And on that note, I wanted to give you guys a preview, even though it is probably too early for a preview, but I wanted to prove that my novel-in-progress Dawn’s Rising does exist and I intend to finish it!

excerpt from Dawn’s Rising – “The Hub”dawns rising cover page

          “The Hub” turned out to be a restaurant. A bar and grill in the middle of nowhere, on a flat, dry rock where everything looked the color gray, even the low building they were walking towards was an ash grey color with a white-capped roof. There was a blue neon sign that said “The Hub,” in cursive lettering, hanging crooked on a single, dark door. It flickered on and off in the darkness, although the stars above them were casting their own light. Angel had never seen so many stars in her lifetime and the sky felt closer to her than she had ever felt it before. She felt like she could suffocate in it, breath in its purple blueness and cough out a super nova.

            Except for the building and a few cacti next to and behind it, The Hub was the only thing…anywhere. That and a gray-purple dirt, that stretched on for miles and miles and what might have been the ridge of low, hard purple mountains in the distance. 

            “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” said Clint, next to her. He must have seen her awe-eyed expression as she walked in the dry, cracked dirt next to him. The boy with the dreads, who had introduced himself as Ian was walking just ahead of them, and Angel could see the faint outline of Neil and Chase several feet in front of him.

            “Where are we?” she breathed.

            She watched Clint’s clean, handsome face as he appeared to think for a bit. He was short and broad-shouldered. “Center of the Universe probably…half-way between this and that,” he said.

            “Were not on earth anymore?”

            “No,” he laughed. “But don’t worry…you’ll be alright.”

            She listened to the sound of their feet kicking up dust in the darkness. She was still in a dream. She must be. “Why are we here?”

            “Boss likes this place because of the people he can find here. It’s…like an information hotspot.”

            “The Hub,” said Angel. “Like the center of Universe?”

            “Something like that,” he said.

            “So…we’re on another planet?”

            “Not exactly. More like a gray rock floating in the middle of nowhere…like a Meteor. At least…that’s what Neil told me one time,” he said.

            “It’s…nice,” she said, because she couldn’t think of anything else to say. Her heart was pounding. How could they breathe? She was trying to understand. “Who are we looking for tonight?” she said, faintly.

            Clint shrugged his wide shoulders. “Dunno. Anyone he can find I would guess.”

            “A demon,” said Niel loudly right in front of them, the small gold ring in his ear glinting in the darkness. Angel and Clint both flinched, slightly. “We’re looking for a demon.” They were so busy talking, that they didn’t realize they were right in front of the building and the three other guys were standing there, waiting.

            “But don’t worry, we won’t let him get you,” said Niel. Chase just winked down at her, laughter crinkling at the corner of his eyes.

Well, what’d ya think? Thoughts below if you got ’em! 😉

A Night of TV: Elena Lives and Beauty Meets the Beast

Disclaimer: Spoiler Alert! For 10/11/12 ‘s episodes of Vampire Diaries and Beauty and the Beast.

Well, was able to catch the premiere of The Vampire Diaries tonight and decided to stick around for CW’s debut of Beauty of the Beast. It went something like this:

The council finally has enough of vampires in Mystic Falls and decides to enact their revenge. Meanwhile, in the middle of this is transitioning Elena, who is reassured by Stefan that there is a third option – Bonnie is, of course, set the task of working on it.

Caroline’s mother loses her job; the mayor, (Tyler’s mother) gets arrested and Dr. Fell is threatened. And although Alaric is gone, he has managed to leave a legacy in his wake: a very determined council. The council captures Stefan, Elena and Rebecca, hoping to flush out the other vampire’s: Rebecca’s siblings and Damon.

They do manage to flush out one, however, Klaus in Tyler’s body is too busy rescuing Caroline, a fact that does not go unnoticed by Rebecca as she was left behind. And if the council thinks that any of the original siblings care a lick about each other anymore, then they are just as stupid as they look.

Damon blames Matt for Elena’s predicament, something that Stefan also beats himself up over, but like always, it was Elena’s choice. And because it was Elena’s choice, it had to be the right one, right?

Bonnie goes to the other side to try to bring the alive part of Elena back, but is warned of dark magics by her Grandmother and cannot complete the task. She is, of course, confronted by dark magic as she returns to restore Klaus back to his body and Tyler back to his, and her Grandmother gets punished for it.

The highlight of the night was Caroline discovering that Klaus was in Tyler’s body. Something that surprised me, because I thought it would be a storyline that the show might want to drag on for a while, especially considering Klaus’s feelings for Caroline. Hmm. But we’ll accept Michael Trevino with his shirt off any day. Klaus or no Klaus.

A good portion of the council gets blown up, Elena feeds and becomes a vampire and the show ends on the note that although she is now one of the undead, at least she’ll be with Stefan forever. And as nauseatingly sweet as that sounds, it also sounds rather boring. At least Elena has all those memories of Damon now, though.

As far as it goes, I’ll give it a B minus. There was a lot going on in this episode, but then, none at all at the same time. For a series that kept the audience hopping with all its twists and turns the previous season, this episode was rather predictable.

They couldn’t make Elena human again because of the fans and they couldn’t let her die. Ah, oh well. Maybe she’ll complain less now that she has super powers. But who will Damon and Stefan rescue now?? Matt??

Beauty and the Beast 

Surprised me with its lead character, “Cat,” a kick-ass detective who does what she does best, sticks her nose in where it doesn’t belong. At least this show knows how to respect the female protagonist. And there are a few of them here and done well for a show that doesn’t seem to have a high budget. (The special effects weren’t that great.)

The story is as follows: “Cat’s” mother is killed one gloomy and creepy night by a group of men and would have been killed her self, if it weren’t for the help of a ‘beast.’ A man with strong capabilities and beast-like physicality, but everyone tells her she must have been imagining it.

Four years later, she’s working as a detective for the LAPD and she encounters another anomaly: DNA that is not quite human, evidence that was also found at the crime scene of her mother.

She meets Vincent, a man who is supposed to be dead but isn’t. This is the man who saved her the night her mother died, and the whole truth comes out. Vincent was in the military and was selected for a special project. They were given something that was supposed to enhance the soldier’s capabilities. Well it did. But with startling results. Once the adrenaline kicks in these “super-beings” become beasts and there’s nothing that can stop them.

Except annihilation from the very own people who created them, of course. But it looks like Vincent, and several others managed to escape and now live in secret in the city, helping women in need from the “human monsters” that prowl the streets at night.

Although predictable, and “Cat” (Beauty) and “Vincent” (the beast) have no chemistry, the creativity of the story and bad-ass female leads surprised me. I’ll probably tune in for another viewing.