Monthly Archives: January 2014

Candy Land

Not an Engrish post, but something I noticed in Rossy.

Um… can someone tell me when Candy Land stopped being a sweet and innocent (if mind-numbingly repetitive) place and turned into a Katy Perry video?

O.o

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Candy Land: Now with 369% more T & A!

Where’s Snoop Dogg?

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COVER REVEAL- Evensong, by Krista Walsh

It is my great pleasure to present to all of you… Evensong. I received an ARC of this book from the author last month, and devoured it. It’s exciting, absorbing, and filled with kick-ass characters (and some who kick less ass, but are nonetheless wonderful). I’ll have a proper review for you closer to the release date, which is February 10 (eek!). For now, the official information, and the beautiful cover:

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Author Jeff Powell wakes up to find the impossible has happened. He is within his own novel—summoned into the fictional world of Feldall’s Keep by a spell he didn’t write. One the House enchantress hasn’t figured out how to reverse.

When the villain he’s been struggling to write reveals himself, unleashing waves of terror and chaos, Jeff must use more than his imagination to save the characters he created—and the woman he loves.

Trapped within a world of his own creation, he must step outside the bounds of his narrative to help his characters defeat an evil no one anticipated, even if he must sacrifice his greatest gift. In the end, he has to ask: are novels really fiction, or windows into other worlds?

About the Author

Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. After publishing a few short stories and novellas in various anthologies, she has now released her own anthology, the serial collection Greylands.

When not writing, or working at her day job, she can be found reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story.

She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

For first grab at Evensong sale price, other promotions, news & announcements, you can sign up for her Newsletter

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At the local Second Cup coffee shop … but only if you come bearing a White Mocha


Cinder Ella (Flash Fiction Challenge)

This story is my contribution to Chuck Wendig’s writing challenge this week: Fairy Tales, Remixed. I chose Cinderella and random.org gave me lucky 7, Urban Fantasy. This is flash fiction, so I only had 1000 words to work with. I used 997. Hope you enjoy.

“I never wanted this,” I whisper.

“I know.” He lifts my hair and unties the crimson ribbon that he wrapped around my neck when he chose me. “That’s only going to make it sweeter.”

The invitation to the Vampire’s Ball arrived early on a Friday morning. My step-sister’s screeches filled the house, growing louder as she and her friends thundered up the stairs toward her bedroom.

“Get out!” Annabelle shrieked. I dropped the laundry and fled. They’d be swooning for hours over the prospect of being chosen as the year’s convert— the prince’s choice this year, and his first.

As for me, I would stay home the night of the ball, maybe break into my stepmother’s liquor cupboard and try to forget that I’d be old enough to go next year. Let my stepsister be excited about taking her chances. Maybe he’d choose her. She’d be turned into a vampire, and join the ruling class. Someone would be chosen, but hundreds of others would be consumed.

I didn’t like those odds, myself.

On the day of the ball, the house erupted into chaos. Annabelle’s bedroom reeked of the pheromone-inspired perfume she’d decided on as a battle plan, and I spent my day short-order cooking iron-rich meals for her. She stuffed herself into a party dress with a daring neckline designed to seduce a prince of the night. I slipped into hand-me-down yoga pants and curled her hair.

My stepmother called me to her room late that afternoon. I zipped up her skin-tight red dress, covering up the delicate fairy-wing tattoos on her shoulders that she got when she was young enough to play the game, herself.

“Where’s your dress, Ella?” she asked. “You’ll need to get ready.”

“I’m not go—”

Her red-clawed hand was around my throat before I could finish my answer. “You are going,” she whispered. “Find a dress, I don’t care what it looks like. You will attend.”

“I’m not old enough,” I gasped. “Not until next month.”

She sneered. “So switch your ID bracelet with Annabelle. She’ll be refused entry, I’ll still have a chance at having a family member consumed. If you die, she and I will be safe.” Tears shone in her hard, blue eyes. “You know how the game works as well as I do.”

Of course I knew. The vampires killed my father before he had any daughters old enough to attend. Later, my oldest stepsister’s death had bought the rest of the household our safety for a year. After that ran out, neither my stepmother nor her remaining daughter had left the house after dark.

No, the late-night errands had been left to me. What choice did I have? I could serve this family, or become a meal on the street.

I swallowed the lump in my throat, and went to Annabelle’s room to find something to wear.

I found the ash-gray dress at the bottom of her reject pile, turned down because the neckline was too high. I had no interest in catching the prince’s eye— or anyone else’s. Perhaps I’d blend in with the shadows and come out alive.

They were so beautiful, those girls gathered outside of the hall. Some bounced on their toes, excited, dazzled by the glamor of the evening. Others shuffled nervously as the realization of what we were all doing sank in. Each of us had a chance to be chosen by the prince, to become one of the undying ones, but every effort to capture his attention only increased the odds that we’d end the night dead, drained by another vampire.

Even so, Annabelle screamed as she was turned away at the gate. Her eyes blazed as the guards scanned my wrist and allowed me to enter. “Thief!” she shrieked, and reached out to grab me. She only caught the shoulder of my dress.

“What a shame,” the girl next to me said as we watched them pull Annabelle away, clutching a mass of gray fabric in one hand. “Your dress was pretty.”

I nodded and held the front together, covering as much skin as I could.

The girls flocked to the prince as soon as they entered, as though he would protect them. Not one of us knew what he looked like, but it was easy enough to pick out his golden crown. They crowded around him at the table, and he fed them morsels of food from a plate he never touched for himself.

I let my long hair shadow my face, and clung to the darkness.

“Pathetic, isn’t it?” murmured a voice behind me. I spun around. A tall vampire leaned against the wall, deadly and beautiful… and  the most terrifying, fascinating creature I’d ever laid eyes on.

“I s-suppose.”

“Why aren’t you up there, Cinders? You’d make a gorgeous vampire.” He reached for the hand that held my dress closed and pried my fingers apart. My dress fell open, leaving the torn fabric barely hugging my breasts. “Dance with me,” he whispered.

And God help me, I did.

“Why did you disguise yourself?” I ask, and the prince pauses. He twists the red ribbon between his cold fingers before he answers.

“I wanted something real.” He runs the tip of his tongue across the sensitive spot under my ear. My body betrays me, responding to his touch. “Not the desperate social climbers. Your fear is pure, and I think rivaled only by your desire.”

He steps away, and when I look into his eyes, I know it’s true. I have never feared or wanted anything so much.

His fingers sink back into my hair and he pulls me closer, pressing his lips to mine. I groan as one of his fangs scratches my lower lip. I taste blood, and his arms tighten around me, iron bars holding me captive.

And I give myself over to him.

Forever.


Much Wednesday. Very Edit. Wow.

So, um… I finished this round of edits on Bound. I got the book down under 108,000 words. Did I cut too much? Maybe. I guess I’ll find out next month, when someone new takes a crack at it.

I’m happy, really. I get giddy goosebumps over whole, huge chunks of this story, even after four years with it. I’m still in love after all this time. It’s just that I feel a little lost now. This was my focus all month. In November and December, it was re-drafting the sequel.

I don’t know what to do with myself right now.

Hang on.

There we go.

I know I’ll be back at this one in March, and there will be lots of work to do then. That leaves me with a month (give or take) to work on something else. And I want to work. I don’t want time off.

Re-write Resurrection? Maybe. It would be fun to try to get that out as a bonus around Halloween (though I hope to have Torn out in November, so maybe not). Outline book three? Perhaps. I know how it’s going to end (*sob*), and a few significant events (EPIC), but a lot of the middle is fuzzy. Start something completely different? I’m already taking Chuck Wendig up on this week’s flash fiction challenge. Fairy tales are kind of a thing around here, and I rolled a wicked combo (Cinderella + Urban Fantasy), so that’s been really fun. But that was only 1000 words, and only took a few hours. Once the editing’s done, that’s it.

EDIT: Posted! Right here.

It’s not that there’s nothing to do, it’s just that I don’t know what to do.

With myself.

Buh-dum.

WIPpet Wednesday

Per the revised rules, I can share the beginning of a new WIP. So let’s forget the math. Here are the first few lines of that flash fiction challenge project

“I never wanted this,” I whisper.

“I know.” He lifts my hair and unties the crimson ribbon he wrapped around my neck when he chose me. “That’s only going to make it sweeter.”

Yeah, that’s it. But never fear, I’ll have the rest posted tonight or tomorrow so I can get it entered. I don’t expect to win, but this has been a fun exercise. A thousand words is HARD, yo. There’s so much more story I could have put in there, but I think it works.

To see what the other WIPpeteers are up to this week, click here. Most of them will probably be more generous than I’ve been this week. I know our host KL Schwengel certainly has– pop by and check that out.

So…

Writing: Goal of finishing edits COMPLETED. Need to set new goal for February.

Reading: Speaking of Chuck Wendig, he re-tweeted me yesterday, so he gets to be next on my TBR list. I just have to decide whether it’s going to be Under the Empyrean Sky or Blue Blazes, as I own both.

Life: Saw the chiropractor again yesterday. Was good again. House is a mess… might take care of that now. Need to walk the dog, but it’s farking cold. Might start pilates again, if my back holds up. Getting bad about using my phone when the kids are around, need to work on that goal again. Speaking in incomplete sentences. Need to fix that.

Note to self: get back to work, find happy.

(Looking for more ROW80 updates? Curious about how to join in? Check this out…)

Thanks for stopping by! What are you up to today?


Snobbery*

“I’m a coffee snob. Starbucks tastes like crap, and if you drink it, I’m laughing at you.”

“You listen to One Direction? Gross.”

“I’m super kinky. If you’re vanilla, you must be a boring, lifeless person. Sorry.”

“You say you like My Little Pony, but you collect VINTAGE ones and have only seen season one of Friendship is Magic? Poser.”

“You’re not a gamer if you haven’t played x and y. Noob.”

“You’ve watched Game of Thrones, but not read the books? You know nothing.”

“Fantasy? Really? Why don’t you read a real book?”

You all still with me? I’m sure you could come up with more examples. Whether it’s fashion or food, comics or current events, pop culture or ponies, you meet them everywhere.

Snobs. People who judge and exclude those who know less than them, whose tastes are less sophisticated, who haven’t been members of the community for as long, or who don’t enjoy the same experiences. If you mention that you’ve never read that book, or say you like something they consider beneath them, you get the derisive snort and the eye-roll.

I grew up thinking that snobs were rich people who refused to eat Kraft Dinner. Maybe they are, but there are snobs everywhere, at every income level.

And I’m getting sick of it.

I get it, I do. I’m guilty of it myself, have been for years. Excluding other people makes us feel better about ourselves, doesn’t it? A club’s not exclusive if just anyone can join, and we all want to be a part of something special. And what’s worse than having an interest in something, investing time and money into that interest, and then having these effing noobs stinking the place up with their ignorance, calling themselves blank-keteers when they’re TOTALLY NOT EVEN?

Oh, and there are LEVELS of snobbery. There’s a guy who only likes coffee from his Keurig and cries if he can only get regular brewed, but then there’s ANOTHER guy who refuses to use any beans that aren’t fresh-ground, and someone else who thinks THAT GUY’S grinder is a waste of space… you can never win. Never.

“You have a CASUAL interest in music, and listen to Top 40 radio? You drink Tetley? How adorable. Gag. I’m off to listen to Stealth Gingerbread feat. Giraffes on a Trampoline while I sip this green tea I just had shipped in from… oh, you wouldn’t have heard of it. Or them.”

“You’re looking for an agent because you want a contract with a big publisher? Pfft. I’m with a small press, and you’re a sheep.”

“You supplemented with formula? Sorry, I’m a huge lactivist. I can’t spend time with someone who hates babies.”

“You call yourself a writer. You write stories, but you’re not consumed by them to the point where you would rather DIE than not write? *snort* Whatever, not-writer person.”

The internet is a fantastic tool that allows us to meet people we wouldn’t have otherwise, who share our interests and we can have fun with. There are open, supportive communities out there, and I’ve made some good friends through them. But it can also allow us to become so absorbed in these groups of people who think like us that we forget there are others who think differently, who don’t agree that our interests are the most fascinating things in the world, and who maybe don’t care if their coffee comes from a can. When we do remember these poor souls, we think that our group is better than them because OF COURSE IT IS.

I’m not against interests. I’m not against communities and groups. I hope they thrive and grow…

…and I hope that some day we’ll all grow up and stop being snobs about the things we love. That we’ll learn to be passionate and enthusiastic about them, and eager to share what we love without making outsiders feel small for not knowing anything about them.

“You liked Twilight? It wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Say, if you’re into vampires, you should check out  ______. Her characters are amazing, and she really has an original approach when it comes to…”**

“You’ve never heard of Stealth Gingerbread? They’re pretty obscure… but they’re great, I think you might like them! Look up the song “Hire a Goat for That” on YouTube, let me know what you think.”

“Yeah, I love coffee. You know, injecting Maxwell House into your eyeballs will get you your caffeine fix, but you should try (insert brewing process here). The flavour is fantastic! No? Well, just putting it out there, if you’re ever interested.”

“Oh, I see you dunked that customized doll in a bowl of mod podge and re-haired her with steel wool. You know, when I need to seal paint, I’ve found that _____ is much less glommy. Let me know if you need a tutorial, I have some on Pinterest.”

Why chase people away from the things that we love when we have a fantastic opportunity to include people and share our passions? Why look down on people who like different things when it’s all a matter of taste and preference? Why make people feel stupid for knowing less than us when it’s so easy to share what we know?

A lot of us seem to think that knowing a lot about a specific pop culture THING (or health fad, or whatever) makes us SUPER SPESHUL. Newsflash: It doesn’t. It just means we have something interesting to share, and a reason to be friends with people who also love that thing. Great! But if we act like it makes us better than everyone else, that just makes us snobs. I’m starting to realize that that’s the least special thing I could possibly be. From now on, I’m going to try to use my interests to build people up, not to exclude them. And if they’re not interested? That’s fine. Maybe there’s something I can learn about from them.

And as for the snobs? You can all send your n0oOOo0bs and fake geeks and drinkers-of-instant and readers-of-whatever over here to sit with me. We’ll have a fantastic time, trying new things without you. Next time you turn up your nose at something we love or find amusing, we’re going to laugh it off and refuse to let you make us feel small.

Loser.***

So tell me: Have you ever judged someone for not appreciating something that’s important to you? I have. Have you ever felt excluded for being new or uninformed? I’ve experienced that, too. Most importantly, what amazing thing do you know about that you want to share with the world?

*No direct quotes were used in the writing of this post, and no specific people were referenced.

**Yes, this is going to be tough for some.

*** I’M KIDDING. Jeez…


ROW80 Update– Back To Work Edition

I just had a lovely weekend with my parents. Actually, just a lovely 24 hours– they live about five hours away by car, and they drove out yesterday morning. This was quite the novelty for me. They just moved to Corner Brook early this month, and before that it had been nine years since we lived within driving distance of them.

Well, you know. SANE driving distance.

It was a lovely visit, and it was nice to be able to say goodbye without tearing up. Heck, we’ll probably see them next month!

But… I got nothing done yesterday, and so far nothing today. Obviously I preferred to spend time with them while they were here, but I’m going a little cross-eyed. Things are going really well in my little writing cave right now. Even if I didn’t earn gold stars every day this week, I got a lot done. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the ms, and then I’m not touching it again until after it’s been professionally ripped apart dealt with.

Writing– I’m up to chapter 23 now, got through the whole “change a character’s gender” thing (which made a lovely difference in the feel of a few scenes), and should be pretty well into smooth sailing now. I need to make a few small changes here and there, but I think all of the big restructuring is done for now.

Reading– Read The Sowing by K. Makansi, which is the first part of a trilogy of… novellas, I guess? More like three episodes of one book than three complete stories, I think. This one was heavier on back-story than on action, but I liked the characters and I’m very curious to see where the story is going, so I’ll definitely be picking up the next episodes.

Life– I’ve been quite good about cleaning up this weekend. That had nothing to do with the fact that we had company. *cough* Still, I’m proud of myself for having the place cleaned up enough that my mom didn’t feel like she needed to do it. Doing pretty well with the meal planning. Saw the chiropractor (finally!) on Thursday, and HOLICARP, he’s some kind of miracle worker. He actually got my back to move in spite of the extreme tension in my muscles, and I’m now off of the painkillers completely. I go back on Tuseday for a follow up. SUPER HAPPY. You never know what you’re going to get when there’s only one of anything in the phone book, but I lucked out this time.

I guess that’s about it for today. I have some blog reading to do, and AJ is working tonight, so I’m going to work. The only question is whether to have the Grammies (Grammys?) on in the background while I do so…

What have you all been up to? Did I miss anything important on your blogs or elsewhere? Tell me!

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Chillin’ with the family. Literally.


Whole Lotta Beauty

Anybody know what time it is?

TOY TIME!

And this week we’ve got a whole lot of beauty for you. Why? Because…

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This is a beautiful and happiness world! Obviously.

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“The pretty girl
Very cute
Happy smile
They bring us happiness
Let us
Enjoy new fashion
Experience Fresh Feeling”

Well, they stole Barbie’s box art. I guess we couldn’t expect them to stretch beyond the beauty-as-happiness, smile-for-the- OH SWEET JUMPING ELEPHANTS, WHAT IS THAT THING?!

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I… I just… I don’t even…

Well, that went from beauty to unearthly creepiness in a heartbeat, didn’t it?

I’m going to go hide under the blankets on my bed and try to sleep that one off.

Ugh, forget it. She’s just going to haunt my dreams. Note to self: Never sleep again.

*shudder*

(Worried you might have missed an Engrish/Rossy post? Take a mosey on over here…)


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