Sunday, 26 January 2014

Book Review - A Guardian of Innocents by Jeff Orton

A Guardian of InnocentsA Guardian of Innocents by Jeff Orton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first self-published book I purchased for my Kindle. I found it on the AbsoluteWrite forums.

The premise intrigued me and I liked the first 3/4ths of the book a lot. Other than some formatting and spelling hiccups, I was right there along for the ride. Some of the graphic torture was just so brutal and visceral. I winced, I cringed, I re-read the descriptions because I'm a little bit sick like that.

Then the story took a sharp derail into...I don't even know what. It pulled real-life tragedies into it that, while I understand this story takes place "in our world", I raised an eyebrow at this particular development. And when said development was expanded upon, I just burst out laughing and I groaned. Then I told everyone who would listen (Room mate, best friend, nephew) "You would not believe what happens in this book!"

But by that point I was almost finished the book, so I kept with it.

And yet, there's room for a sequel which I kind of want to see. I want to see the final resolution to this all. There's potential for the conclusion to be absolutely epic, and I want to read a worthy last act.

View all my reviews

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hopscotch & Hummingbirds.

I hadn't really written anything since October 2013, or November 2013 if you consider the editing of Project 10x10. Sure, I've been whining about how I should write something, but I hadn't been writing. At first I figured I was just decompressing from the tribulation that was Project 10x10 but 2.5 to 3 months isn't decompression, it's laziness and avoidance.

"Oh, I should work on that thingy..."

"I should start that re-write of Project C..."

"I haven't touched Amethyst Breed in months..."

"I should look into self-publishing Blood in the Water..."

"...something, something...Necropolis...?"


While I'm not one of those people who believes a writer should write every day or else they're not a writer, my lack of gumption was causing me to question my dedication.

Then, last week, out of absolutely nowhere I decided to put pencil to paper aaaaaaand...

Redesign ShadowWolf, the (arguably) main character of that weird stuck-in-limbo story Elven Lacryment. Every few years, it seems ShadowWolf pops up with a slightly new look. Nothing drastic, just a new outfit.

Then I began evaluating some narration glitches and plot holes, patched a few of them up, and wrote a few pages worth of the manuscript. What I didn't write, I planned out to be expanded upon later.

Riding high from long overdue progress I emailed my editor and we worked out that there needs to be a thorough scrub of Next to Godliness, so she is working on going through it, slashing out unnecessary subplots.

Then I took a good, hard look at Project C.

The problems with Project C are legion. It's overwrought and needlessly dramatic in its prose, I was in constant pain and bed-ridden when I wrote it so my judgement might have been more than a little off. Things didn't click right, I didn't like whole swaths of it in the middle. It was my first novel, and I wrote it in something like 4 months or so, but hey, I couldn't get out of bed so what else was I going to do? I've grown as a writer, maybe I should just give up on this story, even though I still feel I owe it to the characters for getting me through tough times? Or maybe it's just a stupid story that will never ring true.

Finally, after weeks and weeks of self-torment, doubt, two false starts and retooling, and with heavy guidance and blunt discussion with a friend, I finally began Project C 2014. I am only on the third page, or 742 words in, but already I can feel a massive change. The protagonist alone seems like a wholly different character, much more malleable, far less arrogant and metaphorically bullet-proof. He's not as show-boating. The first time, he's an idealist who slowly became broken because he let the world corrupt him. I think in this version, he starts out broken and rebuilds himself. Does he rebuild himself for the better? I don't know yet.

I'm concerned though, that I'll still cannibalize parts of the old draft and that this might be a mistake.  So I sort of want to put the old draft, with it's old premise, on my external hard drive, then delete all the copies off my laptop. Because I know I'll be too lazy to constantly have to fetch my external. Of course, there's a flaw with this plan as I also have backups resting comfortably in several email accounts so I can access them from any place with an internet connection.

So between cutting up Next to Godliness, giving ShadowWolf a new outfit which better suits her disposition, and Project C 2014, it seems now is a rather transformative time for my stories.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Absolute Write January Blog Chain - Retro Gaming Icons.

This post is part of the January 2014 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Retro Gaming Icons”
This month's prompt:
Retro Gaming Icons

Whatever your definition of retro, gaming, or icons, now is the time to get your classic game on. Super Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, the Atari 2600, Tim Schafer, Baldur's Gate...any game or gaming-related icon is up for grabs! Or, if you like, invent your own! Entries may be of any genre so long as they are 1000 words or less.


Up until then, I had played Commander Keen, Jazz Jackrabbit, Mario Bros 1-3, BattleToads, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, Dino Hunter, Tappers, Sneakers, Jill of the Jungle, and various arcade games. DooM was so unlike anything I had played before, except of course for Wolfenstein, which I didn't like as much because you had to kill dogs.

When I was a kid, DooM was my heroin.

DooM brought my family together. Neighborhood kids came to our house because we had DooM. Family came from the States and we played DooM.  I was scared playing alone so I would listen to Weird Al and play DooM. The sun would glare into the screen so we'd throw a bed-sheet over the monitor and ourselves and play DooM.

I get the full version of DooM and after encountering my first Cacodeamon, I scream, manage to kill it, then pause and run out the room. Clearly I wasn't expecting that.

Dad got sick with cancer and upgraded the hell out of his computer and we played DooM. Dad's second to last Christmas, and he buys me DooM II and the Strategy Guide. (The last three games he got me, for the curious, were Primal Rage, DooM II and Warcraft II). I still have that guide, with all the levels of Arch Viles bookmarked.

I would spend hours going through levels trying to make monsters fight each other. I would warp specifically to Arch Vile levels.

When DooM III came out, I dragged a small child all through the mall just so I could find a copy, then I plunked down 80 dollars for the special edition. I have never done that for any game before or since. I don't think I ever will again.

DooM helped to inspire my sprite comic which I had for a time. Good times.

I saw the movie in theaters and it was one of the worst things I had ever seen. But at least the sets were not bad.

I read two of the novels and found them terrible, but in such an enjoyable way. I started reading the third one, but I'm currently preoccupied with books that are actually good.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="309"] It's A really, it's a soup![/caption]


I lent my nephew 20 bucks, he pays me back by buying the DooM III BFG Edition. It's so much more difficult when you can't IDKFA & IDDQD all over the place.

My family plays a game sometimes where we take sticky notes and put words from a category on them and stick them to our forehead, and we have to guess what we are. It was my turn, and the category was "Things Q likes." (it's harder than it sounds.). Among the choices were Valtiel, Pepsi, Game of Thrones, and of course, DooM. The person who got DooM was having an impossible time guessing it. They knew it was a video game and kept guessing "Silent Hill". We all told them "You're going to feel really stupid when you see what it is." and I said "I've played a lot of games in my life." We both played this game when I was a kid so I thought for sure they would get it.
They didn't, and you could see their disappointment in themselves. They knew they should have known that.

Bottom line is, DooM will always have my love and respect. Even if you don't consider how much it did for gaming, for me alone, DooM was like another parent. It was always there when I wanted it to be there.
IDCLIP is for cowards. IDSPISPOPD all the way.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="298"] IDSPISPOPD! (Now I can Walk Through Walls!) Yes you want this shirt. You want it so hard.[/caption]


orion_mk3 - (link to post)
Ralph Pines - (link to post)
meowzbark - (link to post)
pyrosama - (link to post)
Anarchic Q - You Are Here!
AndreF - (link to post)


Monday, 6 January 2014

Art: Dvorak Seti - Jedi Gelfling in Training

Holy crap, 6 days into the new year and I actually made art!

Dvorak Seti - Gelfling Jedi in Training by AnarchicQ on deviantART

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 In Review

2012 was a year of being proactive. I wrote, I traveled, I saw people I've never met in person, or haven't seen in years.

2013 was the year of waiting.
Sitting around, waiting for things to happen.
For editors and publishers to get back to me, for inevitable tragedy.

Sadly we lost two close family members this year, my very loved aunt Leah-Rae lost her life to her second bout with cancer, surrounded by loved ones, and my grandfather succumbed to age with dignity, to be with my grandmother.

It was also a year of re-arrangement.
My grandfather and grandmother's belongings were brought from Seattle to here in Vancouver, Canada and we now have a lot of their antiques, giving them a loving home. We cleaned out a lot of clutter, and in general made our house more comfortable. More of my own furniture matches now.

I spent this year waiting for publishers to get back to me. I kept trying to tell myself I was going to re-write Project C but I still haven't even attempted it. I poked at Elven Lacryment with little progress. I didn't write a lot, but I did submit a lot. However, in July I started Project 10X10. I completed it, got feedback, re-edited it, submitted it, now more waiting.

I heard back from Harper Voyager, receiving a rejection on Dec 17th. Over a year and 2 months since my submission.

I submitted to Strange Chemistry, and am still waiting.

I barely drew. I have dozens of half-finished sketches in my sketchbooks, just waiting to be inked, scanned and coloured, but I can't seem to find the motivation.

I read books, then I read more books. Then I got a Kindle and my personal library has grown at a pace I didn't even know was possible. Then I read more books.

I put away most of my fandom obsessions for good. I no longer have the time, energy or inclination for it that I once had I closed down the fanfiction archives I used to own. The snark that used to be fun and funny is now just ultra-PC, weak and no longer entertaining. I have not updated FRIENDS 4 EVER!!!! in...a long time, but that might change. Also don't be surprised if there's the occasional fanart. There are some things I will always be a fan of.
I tweaked, but there are still some problems.

I attended the wedding of two women in what was the most politically correct, inclusive ceremony I have ever witnessed. It featured Wiccan, First Nations customs, a hand-binding ceremony, and a lot of 'by the law' and 'spirit'. It was rather fascinating, actually. It was very them and both brides looked beautiful and happy.

Christmas happened, and I got a new HD TV, an upgrade from my old boxy SD Insignia TV. I can actually read the menus on the video games I play now.

I played video games, for hours and hours.

Speaking of which, video game milestones included Deadpool, Infamous 2, The Mass Effect Trilogy along with finally beating Br√útal Legend.

As you can see, 2013 was...just another year. It's annoying. I was medically stable all year and got nothing done. Here's hoping 2014 has more to offer.

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