Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blog Design Update

Well here it is. The new blog design. :D

I was getting a little tired of that purple. It felt a bit dark. This looks much better. (Just my opinion, of course.) 

I still have things I want to do to this, but at least I'm happy with the color scheme. Can everyone still see? I tried to make sure it would still be easy to read. 

Anyway, let me know what you think. :) 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re: Road Trip Wednesday #89: Best Book You Read In July

My Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3

I had planned to avoid this book the way I would avoid an infectious disease. For some reason I was under the impression that dystopian fiction meant that the book required an unhappy ending. That's not something that I, personally, look for when I am sitting down to hear a story. (We have newspapers for that, thanks.)

But WalMart had nothing else that caught my interest the night I picked this up. I live in a small town, we don't have a real bookstore and I had just finished the first draft of Moon Dance so I was "hungry" for new words. I was going to get the Fallen books, but they did not have the first one (Fallen) despite having Torment and Passion, so that got scratched for now.

I took two days to even open this to the first page. "No! No! You're going to hate this." was going through my head. But I decided that I would read just one chapter. After all, I had paid for the darn thing.

One became two, two became three, you get the idea. I finished this book within 24 hours. I was that interested. And then I recommended my brother read it and he finished it in an afternoon, then went and picked up Catching Fire and Mockingjay the next day and finished those. (I'm not that far. I'm still weary of going further, truthfully. I can take the way I have this ending in my mind, but whether I'll be brave enough for the truth is yet to be seen.)

What I really liked about this book was the way that in a world that is so violent and so brutal that it is ultimately love -- or at least the illusion of love -- that ultimately saves (and I would assume dooms, eventually) the characters. I found myself wondering what I would do in Katniss' situation, torn between Peeta and Gale. I suppose that initially I wouldn't even be aware of their feelings or my own (she isn't). But as everything came to the front I think there would be a very difficult decision to be made. I certainly would not be as brave as her from a physical perspective. (Laughs).

What bothered me about this book is that we get two love interests and that we have one who is present and one who is in her thoughts. I feel very sorry for Peeta -- I think he is going to lose. Why? Because he is keeping up his end by being present, whereas Katniss is keeping up Gale's end by relying on their past together. And given her situation, the isolation she experiences for part of it where she is stuck waiting and watching for enemies several times, it only makes sense that she really gets to think about this now. And we see her struggling with it. She is worried about what Gale will think of what he sees on the cameras, she hopes that he will realize she is doing all she must in order to survive.

My money is on Gale because of the above-stated and because I have noticed that most books that feature a love triangle tend to follow an unwritten code that I call the "First Boy Rule". While we spend most of the book watching what happens between Katniss and Peeta, we are introduced to Gale before the Reaping happens and his closeness with Katniss is established right away. He is "First Boy". There is also the fact that he and Katniss have built up what they had on their own, naturally, through means that would be at least somewhat understandable to the reader. Despite Peeta's bread when he and Katniss were children, we are shown their relationship as fabricated and unnatural. It would go against the order of things for them to be together in the end because of this. (Although if they did have to, in my opinion, that would clinch how twisted this world is.)

Anyway, I cannot speak for Catching Fire or Mockingjay yet; but The Hunger Games, as a novel, captured and held my interest. I truly enjoyed reading it and am now actually considering reading some more dystopian YA. (Matched? Wither? Divergent? Delirium?) There are a lot of these that rub me the wrong way, but after reading The Hunger Games I'm starting to question if that might be a good thing and a healthy change of pace. I usually read paranormal or fantasy romance and found The Hunger Games to be a refreshing change. (Clearly I still care about romance -- it's my favorite thing to read and I spent a great deal of this post talking about it within the book -- but having new stages for it to be set on is welcome.)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

So, did anyone else have to pause before they picked up The Hunger Games? Should I read Catching Fire and Mockingjay? What other dystopians would you recommend (or recommend avoiding)?

Thanks for dropping by. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Five Songs I Write By

There are some writers who need playlists. There are some writers who don't.

I fall in the first category.

So in honour of the rough draft of Moon Dance being completed, I am going to share five of the songs that had a huge impact on my book. Heck, I'll even tell you why. :)

#5: "She's Everything" by Brad Paisley

This is the song I played most often when Kesyl was thinking about Sara. The reason that I like it -- and the reason I am linking the version from Hits Alive rather then the studio version, is because of the way he sayings the line "She looks good in anything." That nailed the vulnerability that I strove for when contrasting how Kess felt about Sara against how certain he was the rest of the time.

#4: "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green

For some reason I played this song a lot whenever Sara was hanging out with Cait and Isabelle or having any type of a diva moment. Were they at a mall? Pigging out on junk? Worrying about clothes? This was probably coming through the headphones. Thanks go to Shawn for this one. Not my usual genre but it really fit here.

#3: "Mai" by Josh Groban

Kess' theme. I first "saw" him in my head the way he is in the book listening to this song. Aside from the moments when he is thinking about Sara (see "She's Everything") this is his general state of being. He's a Sealer; a God of Judgement. What? Did you expect him to be sunshine and butterlies? :D

#2: "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani

Sara's "solo" theme. She's not as badass as people think she is. She knows she screws up and she doesn't always want to. Especially when she screws things up with Kess. Thanks go to Sally for playing this -- I probably wouldn't have heard it otherwise. (Not a normal genre of music for me. I'm more into country.)

#1: "The Other Side" by Bruno Mars (feat. Cee Lo Green and B.o.B.)

Hello, book theme. How nice of you to drop in. :D It must seem kind of funny that I would pick this since my Kindred and immortals aren't technically vampires or werewolves. But I loved the song from the first time that I heard it. Every time this book seemed too big or too daunting or made me feel stuck this got played.

So, do you use playlists for your books? What songs inspire you to write? Feel free to share and thinks for reading / listening.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Re: Road Trip Wednesday #86: Images that Inspire

I'm an anime nut. There. I said it. So when I write I don't usually go to magazines or TV for my visual inspiration. I'm far more likely to visit some of the talented artists on instead. I have a few pieces of art to share. Some of it is mine; some is not. I have done my best to credit the artist(s) on the samples that are not my own. I have also linked back to their original page for the image so that if you like what you see, you can let them know.

My Art:

Here is one of Kesyl and "Ruby". This was drawn five years ago and I'm posting it to show just how far that his character has come from where I originally "found" him. He was originally going to be the hero of a book called "Chronicles of the Holly Knight", about a Prince whose Kingdom took over the lands of a neighboring Kingdom because Kesyl wanted to marry their King's daughter. Anyway, here you go:

That purple hair so had to go. This image
is kinda creepy now, too. Ruby is his Mom.

Here are a couple more modern shots of Sarena. The girl that Kesyl (or "Kess" as people tend to call him) ended up with by the time I started Moon Dance. Where did Sara come from? She was actually created to be the girlfriend of a Lich in a D&D story about ten years ago. She has retained much of her appearance and her spunky attitude but I think she's doing much better in the modern setting. Plus, going from a Lich King (I now wonder if my RP buddy as a Warcraft fan?) to dating the Prince of the Underworld has to be a major upgrade. (No pesky philactories. Ew.) 

"Well excuse you."

This was drawn about a month ago. It's actually from a story later in my "Kindred" series (working title.) In this image, Sara has just started her first day at Hycanth House and someone in a rush to get to class knocked her over. They're lucky her daggers didn't materialize. Or that Kesyl didn't see this. ;) I can't believe I drew this before I started writing Moon Dance. It does not really seem all that long ago.

"I've been waiting."

This is another drawing that was inspired from a scene I have jotted down for a later story. Here we see Sara lying on a bed in a suite in the Underworld, waiting for Kess to come and find her. They had a fight because Sara got into an arguement with Ruby, the Moon Goddess. (Kess' mother) Ruby told Kess that she wanted him to take the souls of Sarena's parents because Sara has offended her. (More then that -- she cut Ruby's face with a dagger and the Goddess has a scar.) 

Kess is torn between his love for Sarena or finally having a chance to please his birth mother. (Ruby did not want Kess and gave him to one of her priestesses to raise.) Sarena and Kess' friends are angry at him for even thinking there is a choice to be made here. Kess' father Lucian, the God of the Underworld, decides that Sara should live in his palace until Kess makes up his mind. Lucian wants Kess to know what life without Sarena is like. Luc feels that Kess might not be appreciating her enough.

This picture is her expression at seeing Kess walk through a door after several days being separated.

Other Artists:

I'm actually only going to put up one piece that has really inspired me that I found by another artist. This is the image that I have on the desktop for my new netbook (more on that later...). It always makes me want to write about these two. 

Kiss by Ladre

In a word: stunning. There is so much that I love about this image. The colors. The posing of the characters. The ripples in the water. And yes, this is where I got the idea for Kess' Soul Globe. (See the chain around his neck?) I simply couldn't do a post about inspring art without giving this magnificent image a moment in the light. (I'm so many lightyears from drawing / coloring like this. Oh well, can't have it all I guess. :p )

Anyway, thanks for coming by and taking a look at the images. Have a great day! (Note to self: reference the images you look at, genius! *sigh* Finding the credits for Kiss took me an hour.) 

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