Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taking Off

I'm moving! I got a full-time job in another province, so I'm heading out there on Friday. The Internet being the wonderful thing that it is, I'll still be able to post and update and stuff, but because of how remote this place is (I'll be working in a resort near the rockies), I don't know how fast their internet is, or how often I'll be able to update.

At the moment, Rhiannon is the only other administrator, so if anyone else wants to be an admin, let me know, and I'll set it up. I'm happy to have everyone be an admin, as long as no one messes with my html; this site took me for bloody ever to code ;)

My edits on Aigaion have come to a halt, but I'll start up again as soon as I'm settled at my new job. I'm still hoping to be done editing by September, but it might be later... we shall see.

I think that's it for now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Aigaion Again

I know it's a while off - I still have a lot of editing to do - but I realized that I'm approaching the wire that I'll soon be getting down to, and I have no idea what to do for things like cover art, etc.

(Please excuse yet another self-plug.)

Self-publishing gives me some options that conventionally published authors don't have, not the least of which being that I can publish a book that's available online for free, and not get in trouble over it. Also, I have choices like: cream or white paper, standard paperback size, or something completely different. And I can design my cover all by my lonesome, which suits me down to the ground.

I'm thinking white paper, white cover with something simple in the middle of the front cover... but, what? Should I do this art myself, try to have it comissioned, use something that's in the public domain... just have text... I honestly have no idea. I have a picture in my head of what I want the cover to look like, but I'm not sure if it'll work. I like the tree I've been using. This was the original title page I came up with. Obviously, it woul dhave to have cleaner edges, and look more like one big picture, but... I don't know. I actually don't mind it, in principle. I think I'd like it better if it was just the tree, coloured as is, very slightly bigger, then my name in the middle at the bottom... the problem is, out of all the pictures I made this out of back in November, the tree is the only one that I'm not 100% sure is a public domain image... I guess I'd have to find that out.

Again, sorry for the random rant about my novel... I was just thinking about it today and freaking out because I have about a month and a half to finish it if I want it ready for September, which I really, really do. I'm hoping to give copies of it as Christmas presents to some of my more open-minded family members, and I'm kind of hoping other people will want to give it to some of theirs as well.

Also, I'll be putting a link to Createspace.com in the links list. They're a subsidiary of Amazon, so anything self-published on there is automatically available for purchase on Amazon. Also, unlike Lulu.com, they d0n't charge you for your ISPNs (barcodes) but provide them for free. They charge a set fee plus a percentage of the selling price (40% if it's sold from Amazon, 20% if it's sold from their own site)... kind of high, but I worked out what I would make from each sale, if I spent the $40 to upgrade to their 'pro plan' ($5 annually to renew), and I would make nearly $5 on every book sold for $10, which is pretty effing good.

Which brings me back to my final question: is $10 a reasonable price for a novel by a first time author? Assuming you knew nothing about me, say some random friend recomended me, would you be willing to spend $10 on a book by an unknown?

That's all I have for now. I'll likely be keeping you all painfully updated on how my self-publishing adventures pan out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sigur Rós

Thought I'd share this...


It's a great example of that whole "show, don't tell" rule. I suppose, in its way, it's a short story. It's also bloody awesome music.

If Sigur Rós isn't on your playlists, they really should be - especially if you have a soft spot for whimsy. Their music is...transcendental. If ever there is a movie made of one of my stories (especially The Story That Rainbow Brite Spawned), I want them to do the soundtrack.

I also want part of it to be filmed in Iceland, because...really. Gorgeous.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


So, editing is underway for Aigaion Girl. I'm taking Moloch, one of my characters, and giving him more of a unique voice by having him speak like he's a romantic era revolutionary (he's a demon, so this makes a certain degree of sense). Moloch has his own character, obviously, so it's more just changing his vocabulary and syntax around. Oddly enough, people didn't really speak all that differently in the 1790s than they do now (except their grammar was better). Nonetheless, I'm finding it very difficult to completely reword everything one of my main characters has ever said, especially because I want to keep so much of his personality in tact. On the other hand, it is a little cool. I'm mostly taking from William Godwin, because he had a very clear way of explaining exactly what he was thinking, and I kind of like that.

Once I'm done with Moloch (sixteen pages from his PoV, plus all of his dialogue from everyone else's PoVs), I'm going to make Camael a little more Philadelphian and Cheryl-Lee a little more consistant. Then I get to start the additions to the actual story. Eek, this is going to be a lot of work.

This shamelss plug was brought to you by the letter H.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pride and Prejudice. Now with Zombies.

I discovered a book today. It's called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and - yes. It's Pride and Prejudice, only they have to fight the legions of the Walking Dead. Lady Catherine has ninjas. It's awesome.

The whole book is succinctly summarized on the back: "Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read."

Now, I absolutely love the original Pride and Prejudice. In fact, of all of the Jane Austen books that I've read, I love it the most. I made the minor mistake of reading it before I tried Sense and Sensibility, and now can't read S&S, because there's no Mr. Darcy. So I console myself by reading P&P a couple of times a year and wallowing in my girlish squees, even though I know what's going to happen next. I also own two copies of the 2005 movie with Matthew McFayden as Mr. Darcy (who, in my own opinion, is a MUCH better Mr. Darcy than Colin Firth. But that's me).

Seth Grahame-Smith, who did all the zombie bits, actually made it work. He's managed to turn Elizabeth Bennett into a skilled fighting machine who, while being kind and witty and lively and all that, can also slaughter zombies with the best of them. And, it's funny. It's got zombies, and ninjas. About the only thing it doesn't have is pirates.

Of course, the whole thing makes one think.* How much can one get away with, with stories that are in Public Domain?

Because, really...zombies? In Hertfordshire? And there's ninjas involved?

Does this mean that, if I went and took, oh...the Arthurian Legends, and decided that as punishment for their adulterous ways, Lancelot and Guinevere were made into Zombies who then attacked and ate Sir Percival while he was mucking out his stable,** I could get away with that? Really? It's not...irreverent?

It's a tad worrying, because it also means that, if I ever have anything published, and my work were to fall into Public Domain, the new book with the amusing zombified book cover could be The Story That Rainbow Brite Spawned - And Zombies and people would buy it. Assuming, of course, that the original story was popular enough.

And, I think that's the rub. I don't think anyone would want to read War and Peace and Zombies, unless it was the abridged version. Hardly anyone wants to read the original of that now, and I'm fairly certain Whatshisname's already dead and that the book has long since been available in the Public Domain.

Duuuuuuude: I'm going to leave instructions with my kids for when J.K Rowling finally croaks, to tell my grandkids to write this down: Zombie Harry Potter. No really. Screw the Golden Snitch: they're playing for bodyparts, and the prized Jellied Brain, which, depending on who eats it, might just taste like bile. Or something. And there will be ninjas.

You know what Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is, though, right? It's fanfiction.*** 100%, pure, fanfiction. For nerds, who think zombies and ninjas make any story better. The fangirl in me wants to jump up and down and yell "See? See? It is a legitimate form of writing!" while the rest of me wants to hide in the shrubbery (with my book) until people stop looking.

I could, from here, segue into a rambling discussion of fanfiction and intellectual pornography, but I think I shall leave that for another day, considering the purpose of this was to point out that I found an awesome book. Seriously. It's actually good.


*It also makes me watch myself; I often catch myself, when I've been reading P&P, writing in Austenian prose. This can be rather annoying when writing something that doesn't fit in that sort of language.

** And by 'mucking out' I mean, 'having intimate relations with Bill the Stable Hand. Hur hur hur.

*** Actually, in the case of the Arthurian Legends, most of what's currently thought of as being part of the cycle (like Lancelot) was added in after, and is, therefore, fanfiction. Oddly enough, the same can be said about a great deal of what ended up in the cannonized version of the Bible. It's all fanfiction.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Because no one has posted for a while...

...here is a short story, quite honestly inspired by the Rick Springfield song "Jessie's Girl".

Well, the night was pretty much ruined now.
I caught Jessie giving me dirty looks as I walked her home. Like it was my fault that Ollie’d shown up and glommed onto us? I love my best friend dearly in that weird way guys have, I really do, I just sometimes don’t like him that much.
The walk up to Jessie’s front door was much too short. We stood there, under her porch light, an awkward moment made worse for Ollie’s presence, not so much seen as felt.
“So, uh, thanks,” Jessie muttered, ducking behind her short, straight hair. ‘I had...fun. Yeah. I had fun.”
“Yeah. Uh, me too.” I felt the need to clarify.
“Yeah. So we should go out again, hey?” Jessie mumbled through the curtain of her hair.
“Yeah. Sure. Sometime soon.” And then, partly because I wanted to and partly to spite Ollie, I leaned down and kissed her.
Her lips were surprisingly cool, probably due to the night air, but really soft, and she tasted faintly of strawberry-flavoured chemical jelly. It was kind of nice.
She looked about as surprised as I felt. I hadn’t known I was going to do that, either, until I’d done it. But now it was done. No going back.
“So I’d like to, uh, see you again,” Jessie stuttered, and pushed open the door, scurried inside, and shut the door, only to poke her head back around it. To say, “I'll call you!” She ducked back inside, only to reappear around the door. “Um, what’s your number?”
I gave her my cell number, and she flashed me one of her brief, rare smiles that was like finding gold in the sock drawer. “Thanks, Jared,” she said, and there was no uncertainty in it. Then she shut the door.
‘Oh man, she likes me,” I whispered to the porch light. I felt like skipping down the path back to the sidewalk, but managed to restrain myself. I mean, Ollie’s seen me being a doofus before, but Jessie hadn’t, and might have got the wrong idea.
‘Man, she likes me,” I repeated for Ollie’s benefit. He sort of scowled at me. I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye – he didn’t seem too happy. Well, tough luck. He was the one who’d shown up and ruined my date. Let him sulk. I wasn’t going to waste time or emotion on him.
Still, my dad’s always said I have curiosity enough to kill five cats in one go and maybe a few parakeets in the bargain. Once something gets me going, I just can’t leave it alone. And I’d noticed something had been eating at Ollie for a while now. So I ploughed into it headlong. “What’s the deal, dude? Did I do something that pissed you off more than usual?”
Ollie sort of grunted. Not terribly helpful.
“Okay, so what did I do?” I tried to think of every dick move I’d made in the past week. Nope, nothing came to mind. What had even happened this past week? Nothing at all, unless you count Jessie and me having our first pseudo-date. “You showed up in the middle of our date, so I’m gonna guess it has to do with Jessie.”
Ollie grunted again, and kicked at a rock in the street. He’d kind of hunched his shoulders up, and that made the collar of his jacket stand up. Since his head was down, I couldn’t really see his face for collar and shoulders. So it was pretty hard to read his expression. That might be part of why I continued to operate so obliviously. “Look, I’ve been out with girls before, and it didn’t cause any problems. I mean, you know I’m not one of those losers who gets all caught up in a girl and forgets about everyone else. We’re still friends, so I don’t really get what -”
Ollie drew back a foot and kicked the rock across the street, where it bounced off someone’s tire. “God, Jared, you really don’t get it.”
And then, and only then, did it hit me in a blinding flash of the obvious. ‘Oh my God. I’m so stupid! Ollie, why didn’t you tell me you liked Jessie?”
Oddly enough, this did not provoke the reaction I’d expected. I don’t even know what I’d expected, maybe for Ollie to lighten up and go, “You got me,” like just knowing what was wrong would solve it. Or whatever. But instead, Ollie burrowed deeper into his coat. It looked like he was a tortoise, hunching up in his shell.
Then he took a deep breath, let out a long sigh, and dropped his shoulders, bringing his head back up and turned and looked me in the eye. “God, Jared,” he said, and then he grabbed me and kissed me.
It was nothing like kissing Jessie. First, Ollie’s as tall as I am, so I wasn’t leaning down. Second, he kissed harder than she did. I mean, he was kissing me, so there was more pressure, but his lips weren’t as soft as hers. They seemed stronger, somehow. And third, Ollie was my best friend since forever. That added weirdness.
And there was no strawberry lipgloss involved.
After what mustn’t have been that much time but felt like too damn long, he pulled away. I guess it must have shown how stunned I was. I don’t know. Ollie looked me in the eye again, and said, deadpan, “Do you get it now?”
Then he turned around and walked away.
Seconds later, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out. It was a text from Jessie. The whole message was you could have just told me no.
Well, the night’s pretty much ruined now.