June 29, 2011

Writing Wednesday

Homonym Hell is still open! Submit the quiz and, if you get them all correct, you're entered into a drawing to win a $10 Borders e-gift card. Deadline is Thursday night. Winner will be announced Friday.

He stumbled in at three in the morning, a strip of pale abdomen and the sharp cut of his hipbones visible above his jeans. A half-smoked cigarette hung at a precarious angle from swollen lips. He pressed his back to the door and sought Alec's gaze past the blocks of moonlight that patterned the area rug.

Alec rose from his recline and crossed the room, the shadows sliding across his skin and the rumpled folds of his shirt. Gavin shifted his feet, legs falling open, the top button of his jeans undone. Something twisted in Alec's gut.

"Where have you been?" Alec asked, his voice flat. The question was automatic, routine, just as Gavin's response was a practice in indulgent repetition.

"What do you care?" The end of his cigarette flared bright in the darkness. His lips parted and a dim haze of smoke blurred the lines of his face.

I love angst. I'll read anything that breaks my heart so long as it gets pieced back together in the end :)


Heero and Duo from Gundam Wing

What about you guys? Do you love getting your heart broken in books?

June 27, 2011

Homonym Hell (win a gift card!)

Happy Monday, everyone! Today's topic is the humble homonym. Homonyms are words that sound the same, but have different meanings and spelling.

TIME FOR A POP QUIZ. *insert maniacal laughter*

If you complete the quiz AND get them all right, I will put your name into a drawing to win a $10 Borders e-gift card, which can be used both online and in the store.

Aaaand... GO!



Deadline is Thursday, June 30, midnight Central time.

Hope you guys had an awesome weekend!

Can you figure out what's going on in this picture? :D (not part of the quiz lol)

June 25, 2011

GUTGAA - First 200 words

Here's my first 200 words for Gearing Up to Get An Agent Blogfest:

Removed! <3

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

June 24, 2011

Friday Announcements

01. My crit partner Mindee just signed with Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management. There are no words for how proud I am of her. And I can't wait to weasel her into sending me her manuscript again after she finishes edits for her fantabulous new agent. Perks of being a CP, AM I RIGHT? bwhahaha

So yes, if you have a minute, please go congratulate her!


I don't drink, so I'll let her have the wine for me.

02. I won the cover contest hosted by Brenda Drake *squee* Thank you so much for voting for me!

03. Tomorrow is the critique portion of Shelley Watter's Birthday Blowout First Page Contest. Please remember to stop by and drop a critique if you have time, and I will definitely be doing the same!

04. A short story I submitted for an ebook and POD anthology was recently accepted. I'm super happy about that. But the short story is m/m romance so I'm publishing it under a pen name (thus the reasoning behind my Monday post lol). Still debating whether or not to cross-link, but I don't think I will. If you're curious to know what my pen name is and/or would like to know more details about the anthology, just send me an email!

05. The first five pages of Soul Without a Boy placed as a finalist in the Wisconsin chapter of Romance Writers of America Fab Five Contest (YA category):
Super happy about that as well, although also disappointed for not doing better. *sigh*
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Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

June 20, 2011

Signed With a Kiss (or On Pennames)

There are numerous varied reasons why writers use pennames, but I think the most compelling is that pennames provide anonymity. You don the author cape whenever you need to promote your brand, and then have the option to remove it for either private doings or a daytime job.

Yes, pennames are great. But what if you have more than one? Authors who write two categories of books (often YA and adult) usually do so under separate pennames. That's two entirely separate brands for two separate audiences. Promoting your brand is hard enough when it's just one name!

Some of those authors openly link to their other pennames. I can see the appeal. Not only is the combined publishing creds fun to look at, you're bound to have some overlap in your audiences. Plenty of readers enjoy both YA and adult books and, if they're fans of your writing, would probably happily read books by both your pennames.

But others prefer to keep the two strictly separated. And I can see the reasoning here as well. Few people would want their boss/coworkers/aunt/granddaughter/etc to know they also write erotic fiction in addition to... let's say, children's picture books. Or even just regular adult novels, literary or genre. Maybe it's not even a personal decision, so much as a business decision. The two are separately managed, and so you want to keep them separate publicly as well.

What do you guys think? If you had separate pennames, would you be open about what they were or would you keep them strictly separated?

Happy Monday! ♥

June 17, 2011

Redesign A Book Cover Blogfest Contest

ETA: Please go vote for me here. *bwee* ♥

Brenda Drake is holding a Blogfest Contest to celebrate the launch of Cassandra Marshall's new service, Cover Art Creations.

The idea is to redesign a book cover of any book we choose. So here's mine!


Credits:
*original photograph by (and of) my sister from prettygeeky.com (isn't she gorgeous?)
*wings from stylehive.com
*textures from inobscuro.com

I'm not very good at photomanipulation so be gentle haha. Can't wait to see what others come up with!

If you could redesign a cover, what book would you choose?

Have an awesome weekend, guys ♥

June 15, 2011

Writing Wednesday

His back was numb against the cool stone. Somewhere to his left, a pipe was dripping, and he counted the seconds by the steady pats of water. He tilted his head back, his gaze following the symmetrical columns up and up until they disappeared into the hazy mist of early morning. It still hurt to breathe.

Where am I?

The air was odd here... off, somehow. He watched the light shift—-reflected in warm yellow squares along panes of silver and concrete—-and realized, with a twist of his mouth, that it was nothing more than an imitation. An illusion of sunrise.

The irony was enough to pull a dry laugh from his throat. How intriguing.

He rose to his feet, excitement renewing his energy as he disappeared between the industrial lines of the city.


I like pretty guys :3

June 13, 2011

Villains We Love to Hate

Last week, I posted about sympathetic villains. Today, I want to talk about the flip side--villains who love being bad. (And fans love them for it.)


Azula, princess of the Fire Nation

One of my favorite villains is Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender (the original animated series, not that monstrosity Shyamalan turned it into on the big screen). She's ruthless, cunning, manipulative, a firebending prodigy, and loves the power she has.


Azula in action!

Captain: Princess, I'm afraid the tides won't allow us to bring the ship into port before nightfall.
Azula: I'm sorry, Captain, but I do not know much about the tides. Can you explain something to me?
Captain: Of course.
Azula: Do the tides command this ship?
Captain: I'm afraid I don't understand.
Azula: You said "the tides would not allow us to bring the ship in." Do the tides command this ship?
Captain: No, Princess.
Azula: And if I were to have you thrown overboard, would the tides think twice about having you smashed against the rocky shore?
Captain: No, Princess.
Azula: Well, then, maybe you should worry less about the tides, who've already made up their mind about killing you, and worry more about me, who's still mulling it over...

Another villain fans seem to love (I don't, personally, but he is obscenely popular in the fandom) is Sephiroth from the game Final Fantasy VII.


Cloud and Sephiroth from the movie Final Fantasy: Advent Children

Sephiroth could be considered a sympathetic villain b/c of his background. But he becomes so undeniably evil that I can't say the sympathy lasts very long. Plus, he kills one of the game's characters and one of Cloud's potential love interests.




Both Azula and Sephiroth are still complicated villains. They wouldn't kick puppies just for fun--they would do it for specific reasons usually pertaining to hurting or manipulating their protagonist counterparts. And like sympathetic villains, they both have difficult pasts.

So what sets them apart? Intent. Motivation.

Azula controls people with fear because she doesn't trust anyone. In her own words, her own mother thought she was a monster. And it's sad and a bit tragic, but she also enjoys making people fear her. She enjoys the power. Sephiroth is a bit more complicated and it's hard to get into it without explaining his entire backstory. He didn't start out evil, but he ends up twisted and ruthless, someone who wants to "become a god that rules over the entire planet by merging with the planet life force, known as Lifestream, and taking control over it" (from Wiki).

These two are so good at being bad, that fans can't help loving them for it.

What do you think? Which kind of villain do you prefer? Loki or Sephiroth? Nuada or Azula?

June 10, 2011

Friday Meme!

Tagged by Sophia The Writer.

Do you think you're hot?

LOL, what kind of question is this? Um... sometimes? Depends on how I feel. Most days I feel very blah.

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you're using at the moment.


NOT my art. This is one of the banners I'm using on my fandom blog. Still my favorite color spread from Katekyo Hitman Reborn by Amano Akira. Spot Mukuro! :D

When was the last time you ate chicken meat?

Tuesday. Fried chicken for lunch.

The song(s) you listened to recently.

This one I like to put on repeat b/c I really did love the movie that much lol (although I tend to like to skip up to start it at 2 minutes):




And this is an anime music video I like to watch once (or more... *cough*) a week. It's just so well done. The anime is Soul Eater AND EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH IT:



What were you thinking as you were doing this?

What odd questions...

Do you have nicknames? What are they?

Lori is a nickname I've gone by for as long as I can remember.

Tag 4 blogger friends.

1. Bluestocking
2. Anita Grace Howard
3. PK Hrezo
4. T. Romel Blossom

Who's listed as No. 1?

My CP, who I found through Alpha & Beta Reader Exchange and she was awesome enough to accept me even though I was kind of a n00b. She's pretty amazing, both in writing and critiquing skills ♥ Also, two of her short stories were recently accepted for publication, so you should totally stop by her blog and congratulate her! :D

Say something about No. 4.

Her work ethic is amazing. And I might possibly have a crush on one of her characters. Possibly. Probably.

How did you get to know No. 3?

I saw her name around YAlitchat.org first, and then I maaay have possibly stalked her over to blogger *cough* And then we did a beta read exchange, and I loved her MG SF/F manuscript because this lady knows how to world-build. Wowzers.

Leave a message for No. 2.

You are one of the most positive and uplifting people I've met here. I love reading your blog posts and your comments. Plus, your writing? Stunning. I can't wait to read one of your books!
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Today's post brought to you LATE by:

Rhode (as a faery) from D.Gray-man (b/c faeries are awesome)

Have a great weekend, everyone! ♥

June 6, 2011

Complicated and Sympathetic Villains

A few weeks ago, I went to see Thor. While I thought Thor was entertaining with beautiful visual effects (tons of eye candy, both in scenery and characters =P), the character I most loved was Loki.


Loki was manipulative and clever and angry and deceptive. But he was also hurt, uncertain, and so obviously lonely. He lived in the shadow of his brother, the heir to the throne and their father's favorite. Despite what he does in the film, he's still a sympathetic character, and I LOVE that.

So what makes a sympathetic villain?

Complicated pasts

In the movie, Loki is the son of Laufey, king of the Frost Giants (interestingly, in the Norse mythology, Laufey is actually Loki's mother). Loki, having always felt inferior to Thor in both abilities and his father's love, discovers the truth and is stricken.

Another villain I adore is Prince Nuada from Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Prince Nuada went into exile, I suppose to protest his father's peace with the humans who, according to the elves, were born with holes in their hearts that could never be filled. He returns in the present to stop the humans from unwittingly annihilating his people with their ever expanding industrialization.

Likability

It's hard to sympathize with a villain if he's a complete jerk who kicks puppies, right? And he's not all that complicated if he does.

Loki genuinely loves his family. His father's love means everything to him. In fact, I'm pretty sure Loki loves Thor too, despite that he wanted to first exile and then kill him. Loki has a thin skin--he's easily hurt by his family because he loves them so much. And he's lonely, something all of us can sympathize with at some point. Throughout the film, you see Thor surrounded by his friends and comrades, and then by Jane and her colleagues. In contrast, Loki is always alone.

Prince Nuada loves his family too. Perhaps he loves his sister a bit too much *cough* but he shows genuine remorse for having to kill his father. Doesn't make it any better, of course, but it wasn't done in cold blood. And he cares for his companions. When he's told that Mr. Wink is dead, he appears shaken by the news.

Badassness

Okay, fine, this one is just me lol. I like my villains to have that badass factor.

Loki's abilities are pretty badass. He can create illusions of himself (kage no bunshin?! lol) and use magic. And he's intelligent and articulate, which I certainly think is a plus! (Also, he cuts a great figure in his black outfit *cough*)

I loved the Asian influences in both Nuada's clothing and his fighting. The knife that turned into a staff was pretty awesome too. And... okay, yeah, he was hot for a guy who looked like white tree bark.

Motivations

Loki wasn't driven by greed or a desire for power. He was driven by the certainty that if he just DID THIS then his father would love him best. He plotted and lied and did some terrible things, all for the sake of earning his father's love and proving his worth as Odin's son.

Loki: (to Thor) I never wanted the throne. I only ever wanted to be your equal!

Nuada, likewise, wasn't driven by greed, but by the desire to preserve his people. His father meant to keep their ancient truce with the humans, which Nuada knew meant they and their kind would die out. As a prince and a leader, he did what he felt was necessary for the survival of his people, even to extreme lengths.

Nuada: (to Hellboy) Is it them or us? Which holocaust should be chosen? We die, and the world will be poorer for it.

One day, I will write a truly complicated villain. And I will cry when I have to make my MC defeat him/her =P


Prince Nuada Silverlance

What do you guys think of sympathetic villains? I know not everyone is a fan. My husband prefers villains he can hate lol.

June 3, 2011

Anime Central 2011

Two weeks late, haha. Had tons of fun at the con!


I was dressed up as Doll from Kuroshitsuji.


The dress was comfortable at first. But after a while, I could feel nothing but the corset digging into my ribs @_@

More pictures on my facebook.

Have an awesome weekend!

June 1, 2011

Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who entered my Followers Contest ♥ and SO SO SORRY for disappearing for the last two weeks. *cringe* I've kind of been in a slump. Please forgive me?

Finally, winners as decided by random.org!

First place: Jenna Cooper
Second place: A.L. Sonnichsen

Emails forthcoming to arrange prizes. If you didn't win, no worries. I plan to have more contests in the future. (And I promise not to wait two weeks to announce them, I SUCK I KNOW)
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So how was your Memorial weekend (if you celebrated it)? I hope to get back to my regularly scheduled posting now. *crosses fingers*

Have a great rest of the week!

 

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