Saturday, August 25

Accepting the Loss

Have you ever set out to do something, only to discover half way through that its not going to work or that the timing is off?  Of course you have, because most likely you're human.  Or, had someone offer to help you, even enter into a verbal agreement with them over something, but never receive your half of the bargain?  Again, there's a good chance you've been in some sort of situation like this.

You try to politely remind the others that your owed.  You push against fate, to achieve what you set out to do.  Sometimes, you push too hard or cease to care if you're polite.

One of the hardest parts isn't the pushing or keeping yourself polite.  Its stopping yourself and realizing that it just needs to be counted as a loss, so you can move on.  A lesson learned about trusting too much or jumping in with no plan.  You have to decide how upset you are at the other person, but also what you'll do when the next offer comes into play.  When your faced with another chance to dive into something new, you have the knowledge of past experience to help you plan your actions better this time.

Years ago, I saw the play 'Into the Woods'.  At the end of the first act, you assume everything has been made right in the world.  Evil was defeated, good won and love, well it triumphed.

And then the second act starts and you see the after effects of their actions.  The stories behind the 'Happily Ever After'.  Life is far from perfect.  Why?  Because they entered into agreements too swiftly, pushed and forced fate to so what they wanted, and now must face the consequences of their actions.

In the song at the end of the first act, the people talk about what you have to do when 'going into the woods.'


Company: To be happy, and forever, You must see your wish come true.
Don't be careful, don't be clever.
When you see your wish, pursue.
It's a dangerous endeavor,
But the only thing to do--
[in three groups: round]
Though it's fearful,
Though it's deep, though it's dark,
And though you may lose the path,
Though you may encounter wolves,
You mustn't stop,
You mustn't swerve,
You mustn't ponder,
You have to act!
When you know your wish,
If you want your wish,
You can have your wish,
But you can't just wish--
No, to get your wish
[unison]
You go into the woods.
---Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

As you read, they don't bother to think, just act.  Its about getting it done at any cost... And in doing so, they didn't bother to count the cost.  Now, read how they did viewed the end after a second round of all this.

Company [in three groups: round]: Though it's fearful, Though it's deep, though it's dark And though you may lose the path, Though you may encounter wolves, You can't just act, You have to listen. you can't just act, You have to think. Though it's dark, There are always wolves, There are always spells, There are always beans, Or a giant dwells there. [unison] So into the woods you go again, You have to every now and then. Into the woods, no telling when, Be ready for the journey. Into the woods, but not too fast or what you wish, you lose at last. Into the woods, but mind the past. Into the woods, but mind the future. Into the woods, but not to stray, Or tempt the wolf, or steal from the giant-- The way is dark, The light is dim, But now there's you, me, her, and him. The chances look small, The choices look grim, But everything you learn there Will help when you return there.Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 

This time, they understand that counting the costs is vital to moving forward.  Each one had to come to grips with accepting a loss, based on their previous encounters with the woods.  They have been forced to see the consequences of their actions.

When we act without thinking or asking questions, we're doing the same thing they did the first time around.  We're pushing, jumping and working hard to make something happen, that might not be the answer or the right thing.  The keys to our futures lie not in those actions, but rather in how we react to them.  Some repeat their mistakes over and over, never catching onto the problems.  Others deal cut themselves off and instead have to be nearly forced into similar situations.  Neither of these are wrong, but finding a balance of trust/strength is part of what those 'trips into the woods' are about.

You could miss out on the moment where it all works, if you let yourself get sucked into the bad over and over, or refuse to let yourself take the risk.

When you come face to face the times in the woods that don't work out, how do you accept the loss?

Sunday, August 19

Review: The Rule of Four

The Rule Of FourThe Rule Of Four by Ian Caldwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just before reading this book, I read The Lost Symbol. Before I reached the end, I'd researched the ending. While I sometimes do that with a movie that I don't really care about, this was the first time I'd done it with a book.

As I listened to The Rule of Four, I have several books on Audio that I listen to while driving, I was confused by the plot. While I knew that the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili was central to the story, the jumping back and forth in time was odd at times and I couldn't grasp what I needed to care about this old book.

Than I reached the end, I smiled not only at the actual ending, but in understanding.

The confusion I felt was due to everything being shown from Tom's point of view, who spends almost all of the story being confused by his past and future colliding. So much of his life was filled with a love/hate relationship with the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, that became melded with the death of his father AND a sense of both wanting to finish what his father had started, but not BE his father.

As an adult who's lost a parent before 30 [older than Tom was, but in many ways still in a developmental stage], I understood the sense of being torn between who they wanted you to be and who you are...

I was saddened when I finished and came over to write the review and saw so many negative reviews. This isn't in the same caliber as a classic, but in my eyes... Dan Brown could learn a thing or two on research from this book.

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Wednesday, August 8

IWU Interview with Lorne Oliver


This is my first ever blog interview.  I am so happy to be here.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Red Island takes a look at both sides of the hunt for a serial killer.  The main character is Sgt. Reid who won’t let anyone know his name, is confused about the state of his marriage, and is haunted by something he did in his past.  He wakes from a dream at the same time as being called to the scene of the first homicide in Prince Edward Island in the past twenty years or so.  Reid and other members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin an investigation that churns up more victims with no clues. 
On the other side of the coin Ben Cooper has grown up on the island destined to be a killer.  You get to see from when he was 8 years old being picked on and forming his own world in his mind to when he starts peeping, raping, and now killing.
What about this story made you have to write it?
I liked the idea of showing how someone could become a serial killer and what is in his mind without having him be the hero.  Police officers have a hard job, especially since many people can see it from their view with all the red tape they have to go through.  I don’t think the bad guy should be the hero, but a lot of times they are seen that way.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned during the creation of this book?
I had the opportunity to interview members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police so I learned a lot of what real police do compared to the TV and movie cops. 

What was the hardest part to write?
The hardest parts were the fine details.  The locations are real.  There is actually a Blooming Point beach with a wooded area and a rough bush trail cutting through it where the first victim is found. This is an old abandoned house where another victim is found.  Keeping everything as real as possible within the world of fiction took a lot of notes.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Honestly I am constantly writing.  No matter what I am doing my head is always working on what comes next until I am ready to explode and I have to sit and write.  But when my mind actually rests I like watching movies, though my mind is looking for new ideas, cooking, and playing with my two wonderful kids.  They are getting to the age where they don’t need Dad around any more so I take the time I can get.
Can you share a little of what you are working on now?
Right now I am working on the second book in the Sgt. Reid series.  The tentative title for this one is, Forever Screaming.  It is going to be a little darker.  The crime is a little more heinous than the brutal killing of young women like in Red Island.  It is a subject that is actually hard to write personally, but it’ll be well worth it once it is done.
What advice would you give a new writer?
For anyone who is thinking of publishing online for the first time to do their work long before they actually publish.  I couldn’t wait and just wanted to get it out there.  Now, 2 months later, I have realized how much work should have been done before hand:  building a following on Twitter, guest blogs to get the name out, finding reviewers ahead of time so that there are reviews right away.  Do the work, do the research, then publish.

Saturday, June 23

A Writing Dilemma

While my books are in editing phase with someone, I'm working on a new story. Now, I know I've got several already undeway, but this one is actually around in my head right now, so I'm working on it. Anyway, the piece I've got mostly finished is a sort of introduction to the world and story. Its for a contest at DeviantArt. My submission needs to be 'complete', 1500 words, steampunk and have the word Clockwork in it at least once. Below is the intro right now. It has 2-3 edits left, before its final.

A clockwork world hangs over our heads
  It is filled with marvels known only to the dead
Our hero's and deities watch from above
While we play a game of war and love.


The clock tower stood at the center of town, untouched by the age and decay that had long settled over the rest of the world.  Four figures looked down over the city, each wishing they could block out the sounds of death that littered the streets, mixing with the grinding and clanking of the machines nearing the end of the workday.  Whistles of steam screamed into the night, followed closely by clouds of smoke that dotted the slowly darking skyline.  Cobbled roadways wound through the city, filled with people rushing from the factories to their homes, praying to the heavens that their families were still whole and healthy.

"We should be down there, with the people... Doing what we can to help them."

"And what would you have us do?  It's been years since we last walked the vale. They no longer live as only Mage, Warrior, Seer or Peasant.  Life has changed."

"So you would have us do nothing to help the people who still exalt us?"  The first responded, deep voice resounding through the streets below as thunder.

"I would have you think Kerr, before you act.  We are in this together and what you do we will be drawn into as well."  The second, a short woman with dark brown curly hair fired back.

A third figure, large in all ways, stepped between them.  His voice soft and low.  "Stop, before you cause the lands to see quake and storm.  We will help them Kerr..."  He held up his hand to ward off the woman's protests, "We must, they are our people.  But we must plan the actions.  To simply step in could put them in harm's way.  Something new has awakened and we must first learn what it is."  He turned to woman, towering over her, and yet careful to not overpower her.  "You must understand Kerr's point of view Aria.   His people suffer the brunt of this sickness.  They are tied to their homes, while so many of ours are free to roam and try to escape the death that has claimed so many."

The last figure finally joined the other three, a tall woman with short red hair.  "We need to understand what it is that's happening to them.  There is death everywhere, but what causes it?  he merchants have fled at the first sign of its arrival.  Ships fill to the brim with the healthy, while the docks are laden with cargo."  She paused, eyes filled with a saddness the others knew all too well.  "Their cries haunt me, as somehow it follows them across the sea.  We've been away from the lands for too long.  They may exalt us, but they no longer know us."  She moved to look over the edge of the clock tower, "The tree we planted at creation dies with the vale."

The first woman joined her at the buildings edge, "That tree is the center of our world.  Our people know it is special and encased it in this tower, hoping that would slow its death.  The world that we four created out of nothingness.  Our people are dying."  Her eyes cut over to Kerr's, now standing beside her, who nodded in understanding at the subtle apology.  "The winds hold nothing but the cries of our creation."

As the large man joined the other three, he rested his hand on the smaller man's shoulder.  "Our world has lived for a millennia... We will not let it fall."

-----

Masked from the people below, only the lands reactions to heated words and inflamed emotions alterted the city to their presence.  An understanding of those signs had long been lost to even the oldest of people.

Angeltana was the first city to rise up out of the four god's creation.  It was here that the people were first separated.  Here, where the first man rose to become king, the first woman witnessed the future of another and the first child cast a spell.  The ancestors of the firsts built palace, school and temple.  Around those buildings the city was born, a hub to invention, knowledge and understanding.  During the first half of the millennia, the gods walked with their people, teaching them far beyond their primitive begining.  As the people reached a place that on most worlds would have take thousands of years to reach, the gods spent fewer days among the people, allowing them to now advance on their own.

To most in the first of cities, the bad weather was an afterthought to the death that seemed to walk the streets.  So long had it been since they'd laid eyes on their gods, that the people no longer remembered how to open their eyes and truly see their glory.  Instead, the nearly empty streets cleared even more, leaving only the homeless or those of a nefarious nature, to roam the desolate back alleys and road ways.  Heads bowed as even those few rushed for whatever cover they could find. In the midst of everything, four lone figures stared up at the center of the city... The hundred-year-old clock tower that many heralded as the center of creation itself.

Dark cloaks covered their bodies, leaving them hidden in shadows upon shadows.  As one hooded being pulled its gaze away from the deities above, a glint of metal could be seen from under the cowl.  The voice that emitted from it seemed somehow mechanical in nature, not fully human.

"Their presence means nothing to us.  Our plans have not changed."  The other three nodded and together they set off through the city.

Deep into the night, the vale continued to react to the nearness of the four gods.  Below them, the cries of the dying filled the darkness, as four shrouded beings traversed the cobbled streets.



Now for the dilemma... I don't know how to continue it. I actually know the end. Or at least, the general of it. What I don't know, if what to do to continue the story. I've come up with a few options.
Jumping Forward:
JF1 Follow the Gods, as they search for answers. They appear as they are, but are largely unknown.
JF2 Apox 20 years later. To better understand the people now, and everything that's happening, each has been 'born' into a family. Now that they are of age, they seek each other out to solve the truth.
JF3 We meet Four young people. Stragners or friends, they are from each of the four classes, Mage, Warrior, Seer and Peasant. Not the best or worst of their classes, but raher the average, they seek the truth.

Jumping Back
JB1 Same as JF3, only this time we work forward to the intro and beyond.
JB2 We move to better understand the androids and their creators. Then we follow them as they work to save the Vale.
JB3 We go back and see part of why and what the sickness is. We follow its story.

Other
O1 Incorporate a mixture of the others. Jump back to the androids, forward to the gods reborn, climpses of the sickness.
This would jump between the gods and the androids. The latter would be kept in the dark enough to leave everyone unsure of whoes side they're on.


So... My hope right now, is that someone will be able to help me work everuything out some. Conversation I guess is what I'm looking for. Ideas I didn't list, thoughts in general. I tend to soak things up and move forward. In many ways, O1 is the idea I like the most, but share and chat with me.

Monday, June 18

Review: Troll or Derby by Red Tash

Troll Or DerbyTroll Or Derby by Red Tash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow... Its been a while since books have yanked me in so far, that I almost have to pull myself back into the real world. Between Lady of the Veils and Troll or Derby, I've been reminded of why the very idea of Urban Fantasy, by my definition, appeals to me.

The reader is in for a unique, one of a kind trip out of the world we know and into a world filled with variations of the fairy world we all know and love. The trip Red Tash takes the reader on is fast paced and filled with action. Each switch between Deb and Harlow leaves you wanting to know more of what you'd left, before trapping you in where you're going. While different, I enjoyed the approach of switching back and forth, as the first person view gives you insight into both of these interesting characters that wouldn't be possible in any other writing style.

I picked up the book last night and started it this morning in bed. Each time I put it down was only because I had to be pulled to other things, literally forcing me to put the book down. Being out and about didn't stop me however from finishing it up when I could.

To say I enjoyed the book is putting it lightly. I truly loved this story.

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