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Motivation


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A new look for Senia Felix as the uniform of the ship is taking shape. Costume editors in games really helps.

The ideas are there, which is better than what it was before, during the bleak days of winter when I’d truly had enough of this season.  I had, for the past several months, wanted to write but just felt really tired all the time.  It’s getting better now as the signs of spring are showing.  Or at least, the snow is starting to melt.  At least, I hope it doesn’t melt fast otherwise we’ll have flooding problems to contend with.

Flooding aside, over the winter months the motivation has been very difficult to get myself writing.  I sometimes wonder how someone like Louis L’Amour wrote so prolifically, and why they make it look so easy.  Even J. K. Rowling’s sweeping epic of Harry Potter seemed to come out with no problem.  Naturally, I know it wasn’t easy.  Writing isn’t easy at all.  The only easy thing about writing is the sitting down part.  Even tapping away at keys isn’t hard.  It’s the development of the story and of the world.  For some, the world is already there, it’s familiar.  We all know what to expect in a western.  We are fairly certain of the course of events in a medieval story.  But when you create your own world and give it its own rules, then it becomes harder.  Add to that the narrative, the characters, the events.  All of it becomes more difficult.  But, when it’s all done, it become really rewarding.  It’s something you can look at and go “I did it, I finished it”.

I’m not far from completing this first book in the Rocket Fox series.  I’m looking forward to it.  I just hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew with this series I’ve decided to undertake.

I’m really looking forward to that moment when I can look at it all and say to myself “it’s done, I’m finished”.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Life, randomness, Writing

 

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Why women in fiction is important; Round 2!


I’ve done this before but it needs saying again.

Lead female characters in any genre of fiction is important.  To that end, here’s a gratuitous image of Shani and Pania, the two main characters of my own work, Black Mask & Pale Rider.

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Now that the shameless self promotion is out of the way…  There’s a really good quote that I read, and another that I pulled out of an interview A.M. Harte did with me a long while back.

“[Parents should] recommend some books with female leads that your son would enjoy reading. If your next question is “Why?,” then ask your daughter why she liked Harry Potter. She might say it was a good story, great characters, and a fantastic world. Who cares if the main character was a boy? In fact, girls will pick up a book with a hero or heroine equally. According to my excellent librarian resources, boys will actively avoid books with a girl as the main character. What’s the problem? I have no idea. Why should you encourage your son to read books with heroines? That’s easy. You want your son to grow up knowing that a strong female for a friend, wife or boss is normal and good.” —Rebecca Angel (via msandrogynous)

And the one from me…

I’ve always been more interested in the heroine than the hero. That came from when I was a kid. I remember my dad would give me a dollar to buy comic books. And back in the 1970s a dollar was quite a bit, it was 25 cents, 35 cents for a comic book. I ended up buying, this was when DC had their World’s Finest comics series out, and it was a dollar. There were no ads and they had all these stories in it. I really got attracted to the stories of Green Arrow and Hawkman, but not necessarily Green Arrow and Hawkman, I was more interested in Black Canary and Hawkwoman. Just because they seemed more alive to me and they jumped off the page. So, I’ve always been more drawn to female protagonists, and I thought it was different than what was normally out there.  The female protagonist has always interested me, and it interested me more with having Shani and Pania as female instead of male. Because I felt if it was just two male protagonists, it would just be another western.  —Tim Holtorf, in an interview with A.M. Harte, author of Above Ground, on the reason why Black Mask & Pale Rider were a pair of women in the wild west and not men.  Full audio interview (and a reading) found here.

There haven’t been many leading female characters in fiction, mostly because many authors attempt to push the male gaze in front of everything.  Some female leads are very subtle, as what was done in the Harry Potter series.

Rowling wrote Hermione to eschew stereotypes. She doesn’t end up with the hero; she is never there to function as Harry’s love interest. She prefers Arithmancy to Divination in school. Hermione is also a total badass, despite her prim and proper reputation. (…) So often, female characters are allowed to be aggressive or rebellious, but in exchange are stripped of any traditionally feminine qualities and instead are forced to pick up traditionally masculine traits. However, Hermione is never made to do that. Most notably, she is written to be highly logical AND emotionally expressive, a combination not commonly afforded to most of today’s leading ladies.  —Liz Feuerbach, The Women of The Harry Potter Universe (via writingadvice)

Hunger Games does have an excellent female lead.  But it’s a rare exception in a market that boasts huge numbers of male heroes.  And of all the male heroes, most are white.

We’re supposed to live in a world of diversity, but we just can’t seem to become diverse due to the fact that any time any one attempts to promote a female lead, or a woman of colour, or a person of colour in general, it’s seen as an inferior worth than a piece of entertainment with a white man.

It may be one of those things where you have to write your own original piece in order to bring out more female leads in the world of fiction.  If that’s the case, do it well.  Don’t fall into stereotypes.  Test your work against the Bechdel Test.  Be different, be creative, but most importantly write.  Create something new.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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The week in quotes


Not really, but I will end this with some of the more interesting quotes heard this week.  Because it’s not over, really.  For now, let’s begin with the usual lot.

English: Betty White at the premiere for The P...

English: Betty White at the premiere for The Proposal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved. ~author unknown

Spend as much time on improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. ~author unknown

“It’s [old age] not a surprise, we knew it was coming – make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.” ~Betty White, If You Ask Me

“The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can never end.”  ~Benjamin Disraeli

“Never chase anyone. A person who appreciates you will walk with you” ~author unknown

“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke” ~Vincent van Gogh

“The fact is that every time we open the pages of another piece of writing, we are embarked on a new adventure in which we become a new person—a person as controlled and definable and as remote from the chaotic self of daily life as the lover in the sonnet… We are recreated.” ~Walker Gibson

And, perhaps not ending off in the week in quotes, because a lot of the comments coming from the news blogs and current event news cycle is enough to make one want to gouge out their eyes with the incredible amount of hate and stupidity.  I may sit down at some point and talk about that, but that is for another time.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Fun, randomness

 

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The wisdom of a quote


It’s Tuesday… evening.  So here is a small smattering of quotes.

“The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.” ~Confucius

“The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all – doing nothing.” ~Ben Franklin

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”  ~Bill Cosby

You know you’re getting old when your back starts going out more than you do. ~Phyllis Diller

The paths of least resistance make man and rivers crooked. ~author unknown

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Fun, randomness

 

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Wednesday quotes


It’s another week, another round of Wednesday quotes.

English: photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson

English: photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles – it takes away today’s peace!  ~author unknown

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. ~Robert Lewis Stevenson

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. ~author unknown

Throw out non-essential numbers. This includes age, weight, and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him or her. ~author unknown

Reach out in friendship and encourage the lonely; energize the weary. ~author unknown

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Fun, randomness

 

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Money flows towards the writer


I found this at Neil Gaiman’s Tumblr, and it’s really good advice.

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 ...

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 Scream Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yog’s Law:

Money flows towards the writer. 

That’s all. All writers should remember it.

When a commercial publisher contracts a book, it will pay an advance against royalties to the writer. Money flows towards the writer.

Literary agents make their living by charging a commission of between 10 and 20% on the sales that they make on behalf of their clients, the writers. When advances and royalties are paid by a publisher the agent’s percentage is filtered off in the direction of the writer’s agent but the bulk of the money still flows towards the writer.

If a publisher ever asks for any sort of financial contribution from a writer, they’re trying to divert money away from the writer, in direct contravention of Yog’s Law.

If an agent ever asks for up-front fees, regardless of what they call them (reading fees, administration costs, processing fees, or retainers), then they are trying to divert money away from the writer, in direct contravention of Yog’s Law.

It’s a brilliantly simple rule. We should thank James D Macdonald for it in the best way there is. Buy his books

Money flows toward the writer.

No, that doesn’t mean that the author should get paper and ink for free, or that he won’t pay for postage. It does mean that when someone comes along and says, “Sure, kid, you can be a Published Author! It’ll only cost you $300!” the writer will know that something’s wrong. A fee is a fee is a fee, whether they call it a reading fee, a marketing fee, a promotion fee, or a cheese-and-crackers fee.

Is this perfect? No. Scammers have come up with some elaborate ways to avoid activating it. But it’s still a good and useful tool, and will save a lot of grief. Any time an agent or publisher asks for money, the answer should be “No!”

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Life, randomness, Writing

 

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Maurice Sendak quotes


The usual Tuesday/Wednesday quotes are going to be different today.  I’ll have some of the more usual quotes tomorrow, but today, I felt it appropriate to divulge some things said by author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more.  ~

How do you write for children? I really have never figured that out. So I decided to just ignore it.  ~in an interview with The Atlantic

I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.  ~in an interview last year with The Guardian

Live your Life. Live your Life. Live your Life.  ~his most recent NPR Fresh Air appearance last year

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Life, randomness

 

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Friday morning wordsmith


From the Bard himself, words and phrases we use in everyday conversation today that we owe to Shakespeare.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Fun, randomness

 

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Let there be quotes


It’s Tuesday.  I missed last week.  But I won’t miss this week even though it’s been hellraisingly (is that a word, even?) busy.

There is creative reading as well as creative writing. Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments or publicity. author unknown

Many friends will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.  Eleanor Roosevelt

Time is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other.  author unknown

Our present ecological crisis…has, religious people would say, a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God. Not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our convenience.  Rowan Williams

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Fun, randomness

 

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Autumn quotes and Irish proverbs


The one rowing the boat is never the one who rocks it. ~author unknown

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book. ~Irish proverb

Autumn is the year’s last loveliest smile.  What a wonderful way to describe the richness of autumn, don’t you think? ~author unknown

I’ve finally reached the age where my Wild Oats have turned into All-Bran ~Tom Wilson, Ziggy, Nov. 19, 1999

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Fun, randomness

 

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