Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sketch - dragon



Guest Lemoyne praised my dragon gallery, so I thought I would post a few here for people who don't know about my gallery on my homepage.

This is Layisha, Morrigana's mother. Quite a few details were lost when i colored her in, so that's why I left the original sketch as part of the design.

Her crest is unique amongst dragons because they curve two different directions. And she broke one.

Monday, April 25, 2011

#Authors get to be crazy...

...and they're loved for it.

Just finished Amber Scott's Fierce Dawn. The heroine Sadie was diagnosed as crazy because she had a breakdown and self-harmed. So for years she was kept on medication, and poke and prodded by shrinks, and her own family didn't trust her, and it was bad.  I felt such sympathy for her, because she wasn't treated like a person because she was "crazy".

It made me feel bad for all the real life people that are suffering the same. Yes, there are genuine people who suffer truly debilitating mental problems. But for the most part, I think a lot of people are labeled damaged or deranged, and they really aren't. Maybe they're a little different. Maybe they could just use some support. But they shouldn't be seen as some type of lame puppy.

And it occurred to me that authors can be as crazy and as eccentric as they want, and they're praised for it. Other artists too. If authors are a little bipolar, they're just have sensitive souls. Hell, it's almost expected that there be something different to an author. Being loners, or having problems with crowds, or extreme introverts are all personality traits that are accepted.

Let a regular working stiff express these behaviors, and they "need" to be put on mood stabilizers.

Authors are also allowed to be morbidly interested in murders and forensics, or how a serial killer thinks, or all about the inner workings of mobsters. Nothing is verboten to the minds of artists.

Damn those double standards, but I won't complain about it. Means no one looks at me too strangely when I talk about the local komodo dragon being handsome.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Guest post - Paranormal Expectations - KH Lemoyne

Welcome back author KH Lemoyne. Today's subject is Being Human and wonderful paranormal shows.

***

Paranormal Expectations

With the portion of my life that I don’t spend writing or with my family; I spend looking for interesting new paranormal/supernatural shows to watch. It’s just me, I prefer ‘non-reality’ shows. Being Human - http://www.syfy.com/beinghuman  has just finished its first US season on the SyFy network. I have to say I’m intrigued by this show.

The basic premise revolves around three unlikely matches for housemates: one vampire, one werewolf, and one ghost. There are other supernatural characters who weave their way through the storyline, and to be fair, this series takes an episode or two to catch on. Mainly because there is a bit of background to deliver before the viewer commits to caring about each of these characters. If you’re expecting the standard delivery of hunky guy or gal to carry these episodes with romantic tension – then this might not be your type of series. Not that the characters aren’t sexy or have relationships. They are well rounded and have surprising backstories. However, what this series’ premise leans toward is more based on the supernatural community of these beings and their risks coexisting in ‘our’ world.

If you want some interesting takes on the paranormal lifestyle for vampires, werewolf and the not-quite-departed, then you’ll find this fun. Be forewarned, this show says there is violent content, and there is. Expect blood. However the weekly stories have unpredictable turns and the camaraderie evolves through each episode. I would recommend catching this on repeats.

And for those interested, I did run across the detail that this show has just been approved for its fourth season on the BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/beinghuman/ .   The actors are different for the British version of the series, and I suspect the actual scenes might be tailored to a Brit audience, but the episodes appear to be the same.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of the more traditional paranormal as well. Favorites include:
·         Supernatural. Do I need to say more?
·         Moonlight with Alex O’Loughlin as Mick St. John. One of the most interesting characters was Mick’s friend, and more ancient vamp, Jason Dohring as Josef.
·         True Blood, though for the life of me I’m still not certain what draws me to that show, perhaps just the weirdness.
·         Blood Ties. Unfortunately, I think I was the only one who watched this series spin off from Tanya Huff’s books about Detective Victoria Nelson and the illegitimate son of Henry the Eighth turned vampire, Henry Fitzroy. The irony, for me, in this story was Fitzroy’s daily occupation as a romance novelist!
·         Angel – I admit I watched this for the same reason I watched Buffy, for Spike (I love a good villain who deep down wants redemption).
·         Witchblade

Please feel free to weigh in with your favorite paranormal series and characters and why they strike your dark side.

KH LeMoyne, author of fantasy & paranormal romance - http://khlemoyne.wordpress.com/
Return of the Legacy (The Portals of Destiny), XX (Phoenix Book 1), Betrayal’s Shadow & Warrior Reborn (The Guardians of Eden Books 1 and 2)


Friday, April 22, 2011

#vss meta megapost

Once I really got into Twitter, I found #vss. Very Short Story. I had my doubts at first: who the hell can tell a story in 140 characters? But it grew on me, and I found it really really fun. It takes some real thinking to condense down that far, to get a point across in one Tweet.

Here's all the #vss I've done so far, thanks to Snap Bird's timeline search. It'll be a lot of reading, but a good refresher and a fun exercise. Reverse order, so that very very very last one all the way down there is from October 9th.

I've clearly been enjoying this little writing exercise.

  • "This is for you Mother Earth," the dragon thought before her strafing run. Cities would soon be slag, little scars to be forgotten
  • Blue veins color her skin like a roadmap of lust and hunger.
  • The enchanted garden had a life of its own, and a hunger for human flesh.
  • "You'll never see me as a drug addict." She moved forward in line. "Large mocha with extra espresso, please."
  • She was too beautiful to be real. He took more LSD, and she became too horrific to be real.
  • "Love is like an escaped cobra; you can chase it down, but you might get bit."
  • "Don't lower yourself to their level." "How else do I get close enough to eat them?"
  • It was the best of times- The author threw the page out, realizing that opening would never sell.
  • "Ia. Ia Ie!" "I'm getting sick of your prank calls, Cthulhu." She hung up.
  • He drank deeply of her soul, taking in a lifetime of memories. The rush ended too quickly, and he sought another victim.
  • Surrounded by the bustling crowd, she longed for her sword. The peasants would respect her if she cut a few down.
  • A lesser Elder God, Cadbury was no less insidious. Worshippers awaited his seasonol creme with zeal.
  • "Screaming will be unnecessary," he said, drawing his knife. The boy cowered, tears streaming down his cheeks.
  • "It's dangerous to be alone," he told the little girl, taking her hand. "I know," she replied with a flash of fang.
  • The necromancer's servants were apalled by his hobby. Where had he learned flower arranging?
  • Watching the crows use tools, she wondered what they'd achieve with opposable thumbs.
  • Frustration killed Creativity. It was the biggest headline in years.
  • After burning down the village to save the maiden, people deemed him the Villainous Hero.
  • Crimson trailed along her long neck. I could love her forever if I hadn't drained her.
  • Bacteria lay dormant in the ice, eager for their day to rise.
  • Loneliness was her constant companion. Was she truly alone then?
  • She fainted, and the vampire rushed to pick her up. "Three second rule!"
  • The birds were ignored. Only when the infants died did anyone acknowledge End Times. Too little too late.
  • They called her gothic and shunned, never once realizing by knowing death she better life.
  • "You took a huge risk," the elf said. "we don't often reveal ourselves." The half-breed smiled wearily, tasting success.
  • The raven pecked greedily at her eyes. Such tender young flesh was not to be wasted. Rapists left the best pickings.
  • His return to the arena was met with much fanfare. His swift defeat was met with dumbfounded surprise.
  • Frost giants were known for their permafrost armor. The dragon wanted to see how long they took to melt.
  • Time flies when you're having fun, they say. Which explained why he was still at the scene of the crime when the police arrived.
  • The dragon awoke not to magic and wonder, but to skyscrapers and wifi. Glass and concrete burned just as easily he found.
  • She'd been warned to watch the company she kept, but satyrs knew how to party hearty.
  • Staring at their mess, she was glad ferrets didn't have opposable thumbs.
  • Removing her helm, the shieldmaiden looked back over the carnage. Hundreds dead was a good start, but more living dead waited.
  • You never realize the limits of your power until someone stronger has you by the throat.
  • Cthulhu hit snooze. The stars would still be right in ten minutes.
  • She pounded on the airlock door, klaxons screaming in the lab. "Too late," her partner said. Decontamination began.
  • "Breathe in the knowledge we have each other in the here and now. Always calms me, makes me smile." She fell into his arms.
  • She longed for others of her own kind. Living amongst the elves did nothing to assuage the troll's loneliness.
  • "Tease," he whispered. She laughed, licking his earlobe. "Just extended foreplay," she replied.
  • Hell opened a call center on Earth. Applications flooded in; they paid the best wages.
  • He held her tight, head pulled to the side. Her defenses were overwhelmed by the pleasurw of his bite.
  • In their ignorance, they thought to put the dragon in their zoo. Cages meant nothing to him, but cities were a buffet.
  • Her familiar purred to soothe her through the Devil's painful melody.
  • The elf checked her location on her phone, announcing arrival at the grocery store. When had memories of elfhame left her?
  • True art comes from the heart. A shame her victims didn't understand.
  • She fell into his arms, letting him take away the weight of the day. Nothing mattered when they were together.
  • The dragon stared at the troll in shock, trying to hold human form. How many monsters were working at this call center?
  • She let her stalker think he had the upper hand. Foolish man would cry when she revealed her true nature.
  • Settling in behind the sniper rifle, she'd show them what a hundred yard stare really was.
  • Two dead skunks, half a ton of insulation, and a leaky basement had been worth it to read about an Egyptian boy and his cat.
  • She struggled valiantly to resist his charms, but who could deny the black-haired count?
  • This was beyond pleasure. This was every intimacy wrapped in every rapture multiplied by their love.
  • "Beware the vices of scientists," Professor Lee said, "for we have access to unstable chemicals."
  • She squealed and kicked while he tickled her sides. Twenty years married, and she still made him feel like a child.
  • Another light went out behind me. "The dark or me?" she asked with a glimpse of fang. My blood ran cold as I sought a third option.
  • He wasn't the most traditional vamp. Did Dracula ever use a nightlight?
  • The Awakened ones had once lived as Pharoahs, as Kung Fu masters, as Mongols. Now they lived as Freerunners.
  • The sun would come out tomorrow, and bet your bottom dollar Annie's empty eyes wouldn't see it. No sun for her ever again.
  • The world spread below her, verdant and rich. How wonderful it would be to open her mouth and spread fire.
  • Dragons had a strong sense of family, never straying from their clans. Woe to those who come between family members.
  • He touched my neck, waiting for my answer. Give myself to a devil for the night to save my partner...was I supposed to say no?
  • Time belonged to them. As long as they were together, there would be happiness.
  • Bone lengthened, torqued, shortened. His skull throbbed as it shifted, teeth withdrawing into his jaw. Nothing like the full moon.
  • Eerie was more than a phase to him. It was a lifestyle, a way to stand out. Such a lonely life. 
  • The crisp clean air of the autumn night was laced with death. Shadows thickened, and she wondered if they knew about her.
  • The smug girl rolled her eyes. "If vampires were real-" "You'd never know," whispered the pale gentleman behind her.
  • Time was never going to stop. Nights went by too fast, each day one closer to death. Eternity in his arms still wasn't enough.
  • Pain filled his mind, anger in his heart. Life meant nothing, yet he couldn't let it go. He would find a way to survive.
  • Hollow, needing to feed, he lurked in the alley. There would eventually be someone, and he would feed
  • The wolves surrounded her. Their growls were drowned by her thunderous heartbeats. This was the end. 
  • The dragon roared, his shadow darkening the land. Children cried, wives cowered, and the sheep were forgotten.
  • Pain lanced through her neck, his fangs deep. He held her tightly, keeping her from escaping. Groaning at the ecstasy, she gave in.
  • He leaned in to kiss her cheek. She smiled, looking away from the wreck. "I would do it all again," he said, fading away.                                                              

#FridayFlash - The Journal 5

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Deadlands live and available on Smashwords

In less than 24 hours from when I actually sat down and started work on it, Deadlands is up on Smashwords.

It's just super easy to be an author these days. All it really takes is a little bit of time. I think I spent more time working on the cover than I did the formatting.

So, check out some awesome necromancer romance adventure.

When rejection doesn't feel like rejection

Samhain Publishing did a call for an anthology of novellas about love in a post apocalyptic setting. I chose to expand my Necro short story into a novella.

I know, I'm an indie author, and here I was submitting to a publisher. It happens.

My reasoning was that if I was selected, I could get exposure. If I wasn't, then I had a novella waiting to be self-published. Win-win, right?

So I got the rejection email, and there were no details provided. Too many submissions to tell me, so they say. I figured it was just because I'm not a very commercial author.

Meaning there was no sting when they said no. It didn't hurt. Didn't bother me. I simply shrugged it off, and got my formatting cap on. Samhain might not have wanted it, but I'm sure you, my readers, will.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thank you for your patience

Thank you everyone for sticking with me through this dry spell. I went hermit style when I get bit by the writing bug. I have a little over 50% of Keila book 3 written. I'm a little shy on the length right now, so there will be quite a bit of editing needed, but that's in the future.

I also got word back on my Deadlands novella. It was passed on, but the rejection didn't bother me. They may not have liked it, but I still have a novella I can put out for y'all.

Back to talking and sharing, and being a public author.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guest post - Fantasy: Dragons And Movies - KH LeMoyne

Here we have a guest post from new author KH LeMoyne. She shares some of my passions regarding dragons, so please enjoy.

***

Fantasy: Dragons and Movies

As an introduction, I am the author of fantasy, paranormal and futuristic romance stories. I choose to spend hours in magical worlds with supernatural beings, suspending disbelief instead of dealing with reality.

One of my great loves - dragons. Perhaps more than any other mystical being they fascinate me. My post on April 10th detailed one of my latest favorites, The Great Dragon from the SyFy television series Merlin. While I love The Great Dragon, in my opinion, dragons still have the most impact on the big screen. Several movies stick with me for good depictions of these magical creatures who have made their mark in lore around the world. Be warned, I tend to be prejudiced in my love of dragons. I don’t mind an evil dragon, but there better be an equally formidable dragon of conscience hot on his or her tail.

Doesn’t this picture inspire stories?

My basis for dragon assessment: large framed dragon stature, powerful, omniscient (for a creature that lives for eons this seems like a given), intelligent, scales (love beautiful scales), incredible wings, huge fire potential, ownership of a large hoard, magical abilities and finally a good sense of humor (the millennia are long without humor).

My nomination for humorous characterization and a compelling dragon voice, Sean Connery as the voice of Draco from Dragon Heart. Granted the movie was a little hokey. He looked a bit much like a Stegosaurus to me, with the series of horns, but his sense of humor was wonderful and the deep, brusque voice—yes, definitely dragon quality. And fire, there was plenty of fire.

For many writers, the visualization of a scene, the characters and the action all happen in our heads like a movie screen. When I write, that scene translates to words and actions complete with the emotional impact of the images. If the result is intriguing enough, readers are sucked into the story without pausing to consider reality. For fantasy, that requires larger than life delivery of world building elements – yes, we’re taking, scales, claws and wings.

An interesting side spin on dragon anthropology is the evolution of dragon riders. For an interesting visual of a dragon rider battle I nominate, Dungeons & Dragons. The movie didn’t garner great interest or good reviews, given the number of Dungeons & Dragons RPG (role playing game) fans. The movie understandably failed to meet their expectations, though the characters were entertaining and the plot moved quickly. In my experience few movies ever meet the expectation set by a good book or, in this case, a great game.

Not being a D&D player myself, and focusing solely on dragons here, I very much enjoyed parts of this movie. The battle of the two dragon sects at the end of the movie, the good side led by dragon rider Empress Savina, is full of color and glory. Again, I’m not basing this on the game, and, given it was a 2000 movie, the graphics are not as powerful as those in movies today. But I still remember images of Savina and her dragons fighting against the legion threatening her capital.

As a writer I want to create those images on paper. My own story, Return of the Legacy: The Portals of Destiny series incorporates dragon riders. This story is first of several dealing with the Makir, Guardians of the magical portals between worlds. The dragon riders exist in the world of Tir Thar and, while not prominent in this story, they do play a critical role and appear in several other stories in the series. Because of my love of dragons, I felt the riders and their soul bond with their dragons deserved their own story. The Dragon Rider’s Princess is targeted as a kindle ebook release in June 2011.

I would love for people to comment back, to share their favorite dragons, features, and movies or TV shows which cast great dragons - and if you don't like my selections all I ask is that you nominate one of your own. You can follow more of my fantasy review of dragons on my blog.

KH LeMoyne
Return of the Legacy
XX: Phoenix Book 1
Betrayal’s Shadow / Warrior Reborn (The Guardians of Eden Book 1 and 2 available in ebook April 20th)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To #market, or to #amwriting, that is the question

I already lose enough time in my life to my dayjob. Thankfully, I can do any writing or blogging or Tweeting there at all. That is a blessing, because then I'm not having to give up family or video game time when I'm at home.

But right now, I've also been chomped by the writing bug. I've written a chapter a day for a week and a half now. Meaning the third Keila book is cruising along, and I'm just under 40% done.

This means I've sacrificed some things. Like maintaining my blog, or really being active in Twitter. Not enough socializing because I'm pen to paper so much.

I miss my friends, but I'm just so absorbed. It's the Sophie's Choice of writers. (I love how dramatic that sounds.) Balancing is hard, especially when you're really driven to pour out a story. There's no turning it off once it flows.

As my husband says, I just need to remember this feeling the next time the words dry up.

So, know I miss you all, and I'm not snubbing you too much. It's just the curse of the author. I'll see you all soon.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's #FridayFlash blog swap - @chuckallen

Yes, tomfoolery abounds. Here's Chuck's half of the blog swap. Visit his blog to read my story.

***
Missing Jordan

I have always been leery of stray dogs. They might have diseases like rabies or mange and, on top of that, you never know when someone might show up and claim them.

But when I saw Caleb playing with this dog I didn't have the heart to object. It was the first time in months that I had heard him really laugh. Sure, he had giggled or chuckled a bit, but Caleb has a laughter that can fill an entire house. Caleb's laugh usually captures everyone around, forcing at least a smile from even the most stoic individuals. And on this day, that laugh was back.

It was our first real attempt at a family outing in well over a year. Granted, we were only thirty minutes from the house, having a picnic at the park by the lake, but it was an intentional change from days spent at the hospital or sitting around the house. I wasn’t so sure about the idea, but Lynn had insisted that we do something. “It will be good for all of us,” she insisted.

At the moment I was sitting in a lawn chair staring at the lake. Lynn was lying on a blanket reading a book. I couldn’t make myself read any more. In fact, there were very few things I found interesting these days. The images of Jordan lying in that hospital bed, and later in that casket, had left me feeling numb.

When Jordan first began chemotherapy I was optimistic - certain that he would get better. The doctors had hinted that it was a long shot, but I had convinced myself that Jordan would survive. I didn’t give up my hope until I watched them disconnect the tubes and turn off the machines leaving his lifeless body lying there in silence.

But for some reason I couldn’t cry. Perhaps because I felt that I needed to be strong. Lynn cried nonstop for days. Caleb, at six years old, was obviously confused. Someone had to take care of the details. The next several days were filled with arrangements and visits from friends and family.

The weeks after that had been the hardest as life tried to resume some semblance of normalcy. I started back to work. Caleb went back to school. Lynn cried less after a while. But life could never be normal again. It felt like a part of our family had been ripped from us, leaving a gaping wound.

And if wounds can bind people together then perhaps that is what bound me to this dog. Watching him and Caleb chase each other around the park, I noticed the dog’s strange gait. When they stopped the reason became obvious - the dog only had three legs. Where his fourth leg had been was a noticeable wound that had long since healed.

But this didn’t slow him down. He chased Caleb from the lake shore to the rest rooms and back over and over again. I couldn’t help but smile watching them wrestle in the grass, Caleb laughing with the joy that accompanies a new friendship.

 I must have closed my eyes for a bit because I was startled when Caleb climbed into my lap. “We’re tired, Daddy,” he said as he leaned his head on my shoulder. He smelled like a little boy that had been running and playing. I rubbed the back of his head to help him drift off to sleep but was interrupted by the dog climbing into my lap as well.

I’m not much of an animal person and was about to brush him away when I noticed that he laid his head on Caleb’s back. Caleb looked up at me with a big smile on his face. “This is Frankie. He’s my friend.” With that he put his head back down to rest.

By this time Lynn had put her book down and was sleeping. So here I was sitting in a lawn chair holding my son with a medium sized dog sitting in front of me with one paw on my leg and his head on Caleb’s back.

I cried.

I guess I realized what I had known all along. Life would never be the same, but it would go on. Missing Jordan was now a part of my life. Our family would heal, but Jordan’s absence would be there forever.