Spree of free books

 

Because I happen to be poor lately I have been buying free books on Amazon. And coincidentally they are all romances. Sort of getting tired of that but Free. And can’t beat free when you are poor.

I can’t review them because none of them are that great. Not worth remarking on or reading again.

But this is what I have learned so far…

  1. Bondage is kinky.  And apparently the new in thing for romance books. “I need control in the bedroom.” “Yes, Sir.” And then some spanking usually because someone was naughty.
  2. People just do not communicate these days. There is always some misunderstanding that is almost always idiotic.
  3. People get accidentally pregnant and then don’t want to tell the father… for reasons. He finds out. And anger ensures. Then anger turns into love. The end.
  4. Vampire bits are apparently an aphrodisiac. You’d think it would hurt like a sonofabitch and there would be blood all over the place. But, no, you’d be wrong. That bite goes straight to the Garden of Eden or the Secret Grove if you prefer and passion ensues without nary a drop of blood. Really you have to be impressed with suckage like that.
  5. I have yet to read woman’s genitals as woman’s genital’s. But I suppose that is okay. I mean, vulva sounds like a Volvo. And really who doesn’t call their clitoris their Love Button?

I gotta stop reading this stuff. I like the occasional romance but I have a limit. A serious limit. I need my fantasy fiction. Ah well Christmas will be hear before I know it and I’ll get some Chapters gift certificates.

How to get yourself blacklisted

I’m not sure publicly criticizing and agent is good way to get an agent. Better to maybe reflect on your own experience and the rejection, any advice that was given and leave it at that.

Rejection always stings a bit. It is your precious they are talking about after all. But no point in getting angry. Because it can take many agents before you find the right one who will take you one, or so I heard. And you want someone who enjoys your work and wants to work with you. Worth waiting for really.

In the Inbox

A man named David Benjamin was unhappy an agent rejected him. He wrote a bitter blog post.

I’m providing this because I want you to know that people like this exist. Agents frequently have to protect themselves from this kind of abuse. The industry is small and agents pass this kind of thing on to each other. Note that this is not his first bitter post about an agent who rejected him.

I’ve provided the 3 screen-caps of his short blog post and 3 screen caps of the 6 comments, taken at 11am, July 27, 2016.

A link to his original post is provided at the bottom of this post.

Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 1Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 2Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 3Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 4Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 5Warning to others blacklist david benjamin blog post screen cap 6

Original post is on his blog here.

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Smarter

 

I am reading a book called Smarter by Dan Hurley. Not particularly because I think my straight up IQ needs a boost. That is healthy at 140. Rather because I think my cognitive functions need a boost due to having depression and chronic migraines. Pain crowds the brain and makes it difficult to fit much else in there. Just the way it is. Migraines in particular comes with specific neurologically fun cognitive glitches. Depression causes a sort of brainfog and mental fatigue. Medications for these, rather do not help the whole process.

I thought fine tuning the brain might keep the working memory working. So far it is an interesting book in the sense certain studies reflect certain things will in fact increase our fluid intelligence.

One was a working memory game called the N-back. And believe it or not there is an app for that. 2 that I found. And I gave them a go. Apparently they are literally impossible to do with a migraine. I mean literally. Impossible. I know pain affects working memory, but man, that ‘game’ I swear made my head hurt even more. So that is a no go.

Then it mentions as a substitute such games as Luminosity. I assume other games like Peak would likewise work. I actually do those for fun anyway so I suppose no harm in it, but it is doubtful to me if the studies on N-back said you have to do a certain time five days a week to get the results that these apps would have the same effect given the short duration of the games. Nevertheless, my migraine addled brain comprehends them.

What I like better was the two recommendations that I already do as part of my pain management. Exercise and mindful meditation. Clearly I must do both for pain management. A added bonus if it clears the sludge of mental fatigue going on in my brain.

I doubt anyone without chronic pain and illness quite understands the infernal frustration that comes with mental fatigue. Studies show pain affects working memory, short term memory and long term memory. Focus. Concentration. All but processing speed. The lack of clarity is frustrating. Perhaps more so because I know how I function normally but that is long since gone. Perhaps because I even remember my last pain free day and how spectacular the clarity of thought was. That was a long time ago.

So the contrast is frustrating. Not to say, my personality isn’t an absentminded one anyway. It is. I am all in my head. I forget people’s names. Often their faces. Forget appointments if I don’t write them down several places. Forget to eat if someone doesn’t remind me sometimes.

I abhor trying to function in reality with a faulty brain. I annoy myself endlessly. I much prefer communicating through writing. At least here I can articulate myself.

So maybe mindful meditation, exercise and brain-games is enough to boost those cognitive skills. Maybe the haze will lift a little. However, I suspect it is a complex problem when it comes to pain. As long as the pain stimulus is crowding the brain… thought will be difficult. Higher the pain, the more difficult it is to think through.

The real reason I picked up the book though was because there was a sale on Amazon and I was craving non-fiction. Need me some thinking books. I came across this one and I rather enjoy cognitive research a great deal, so i was in. A lot of the things that increase fluid intelligence are not surprising and in reality I think many of us could benefit from those activities to just keep our brain, bodies and minds active.

I’ve been meditating for a year now. Excising for about that too. Play those brain games all the time. Not sure if my fluid intelligence has improved but I can say my IQ, which is more static intelligence, has not changed at all. But I have to say my exercise and meditation was inconsistent for some time while I was dealing with the brunt of the pain in the past year… it takes time for these things to become routine. Also, what I can exercise, is not quite what a healthy person would… clearly because it is a painful endeavor for me that is an infinitely slow process to improve on.

Don’t feed the beast

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I am quitting smoking. Well I have not had an actual smoke in 11 days but I feed the beast with nicotine mints and a nicotine inhaler. So I still get the fix. Just not as much.

And I crave. And crave.

It is like a knot in the gut that just never quite goes away.

But I say ‘Don’t feed the beast’ because it is a hungry one. I touch one damn smoke and it will be a feast again. And I know it. I am incapable of being a causal smoker. I didn’t have an insane habit mind you. 1/2 a pack a day was my limit. But I like it. I like it a lot. I like the feel of it. The taste of it. The smell of it. The general motions of it. So have just one… not possible.

Nicotine is the worst drug in existence. I know the craving when I finally ween myself off these quit smoking aids will be there for the rest of my life. I know this because I have been told so by people who have quit for a year, 5 years and 10 years. It sticks with you. Hardly makes it worthwhile being stuck with the cravings forever, just cropping up when you least expect it. Always having to tell yourself to not feed the beast.

I have to say I have my reasons for quitting. As we all do. I developed adult onset asthma, so smoking isn’t the most logical thing to do. I have migraines with aura, which increase stroke risk… as does smoking and my neurologist would like me to Decrease my stroke risk. Most of all they are expensive. They raised the cost here a year ago. And then again here. Sin taxes they say. Like you can’t just sin without paying a price. Well the price is too high. That sin is for the damn rich at this point because I can’t afford it. I recent went down to part time work for health reasons and I simply have less of a budget. No room in it for my sins I guess. I’ll wait to they legalize pot for recreational use and take a toke now and again to sooth the ache of increased stress from not smoking.

I am firmly now addicted to the nicorette mints. The dosage is 2mgs of nicotine blissage. I find it calms my rage. As a very mellow, easy-going person I rather do not like my rage. I am angry on the road. I am angry at stupidity. I am angry at work. And I think if I just feed the beast… I’ll calm down again. I’ll be so happy when I suck back on that death stick. Mmm. Inhale. Exhale. Yeah. That is the stuff. But no. I pop in my nicotine candy and it gently calms my rage. But I never get that fix though.

And I wonder how long will it take for the habit of it all to go away so that I can ween myself off the nicotine products without the risk of turning back to smoking? And there is a risk. I have tried this before. And I fail often because I think I am all done, stopped the product and then with stress, often from chronic pain, crave that negative coping mechanism. So this time I am in for the long haul. I will stay on these products as long as it damn well takes. Hell I will use them as a safety net for some time if I have to.

Can’t feed the beast. Damn it.

Short Story: DreamScape

This is a short story I wrote some years back I just came across.

Metaphorical Dream
Lucid Dreaming series. Interplay of human face and colorful fractal clouds on the subject of dreams mind spirituality imagination and inner world

“It’s sleep paralysis. I Googled it,” I said.

“I value your internet skills, but remember I am the doctor,” Dr. Smythe told me dryly. I got the impression he was mocking my self researching abilities.

“I’m just saying, sounds like it to me.”

Dr. Smythe leaned back in his chair as he flipped through my novel sized file. “You have delayed onset insomnia with restorative sleep problems.”

“Yes and have since I was a kid. I seem to recall you saying sleeping pills were addictive and habit forming, yadda, yadda. I think over time I have just gotten used to a few hours a night.”

“Explain to me these sleep problems.”

“Well, it’s like sleep paralysis,” I replied with a cheeky grin.

“Feel free to hold the sarcasm.”
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Poem: I dreamed

I dreamed of escape

I dreamed

I dreamed of escape,
From a life of pain.
The limitations and the shape
Of a life I couldn’t sustain

From a life of pain,
How far could I flee from me?
The limitations and the shape,
Of my soul taunting all I foresee.

How far could I flee from me?
The limitations and the shape
Of my soul taunting all I foresee.
I dreamed of escape.

Book Giveaway

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: White Witch Where Art Thou? (Haven) (Volume 1). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/4af441fdcb138d48 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of May 29, 2016 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

So if you like Urban Fantasy you can give it a go! Free!

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I thought it was time to do a Giveaway because a) I just realized I could do it on Amazon and b) maybe I will get some reviews out of the deal and c) you never know, it could increase sales. Either way, a cool thing to do one in a while. I will likely do another around Christmas.

Book Review: Drafter


The Drafter (The Peri Reed Chronicles) is the first in a series by Kim Harrison.
The Blurb:
Peri Reed has been lied to by a person she loved and it leads to her wanting to find the truth if she ever can. She is a drafter; having the ability to alter and change history she rewrote. Yet forget what she did. With her memory erased for three years she joins with a renegade to find the truth about herself and the agency she works for.

Why did I pick it up: I picked this one up because I loved her previous series. It was a great one and I read it to the end leaving me wanting more. So I thought I would give her a new one a go.

What is good about the novel: The idea of drafters and their anchors who anchors a real timeline memory after a draft. The world-building of this government owned organization of drafters that have been altering things in their favor. The characters, with their real flaws, damage, baggage and difficult roles they have to play. The story line and plot is unique and fascinating. Peri is a fragile and hard character all at once. Fighting through gaps in her existence and conditioned training. Struggling to find any truth to hold onto but specifically if she was a bad agent on a list of corrupt agents.  I was deeply into this book. Couldn’t tear me from it.

What is not so good about this novel: There was nothing that bothered me about this book. It was one of those reads you get complete satisfaction from.

Rate it 5/5

Just work for free I guess… not

They said I'd get exposure

I think what people fail to understand is that I can’t eat exposure. And a lot of these sites… well the exposure isn’t all that much of a motivation for me. Occasionally it works to the writers benefit and certainly promotions do, but we really have self-esteem issues and give into this exposure thing way too often. I certainly used to. Now I sort of pick and choose my opportunities. Not that marketing is really my forte.

What is our work worth? More than free. I heard about this incident of the reader enjoying the work but returning it… after they read and enjoyed it… because they didn’t want to pay the fricken 99 cents. Wanted them all to be free. And it is a slap in the face. We spend a lot of time and effort producing a novel and they are all really worth more than 99 cents. We just never feel we are known enough or read enough and are always uncertain about pricing. It can be difficult as a writer to have that sense of worthiness.

However, if you buy and read through a whole novel you Own it. You shouldn’t even have the capacity to return it at that point. Amazon should think about that policy. If you read 1/4 I get that. I have read some books that just were not for me at all and I couldn’t get through another page. Deleted them and never finished them. But, hey, I also never returned them. When I buy a book it sort of comes with the understanding I just might not like it. Such is life. And I certainly do Not buy what I cannot afford. Well… I do buy more than I should, but what this person did is pretty loathsome.

Double exposure: there is an app for that

Back in the day when people used film I used to have quite a bit of fun with double exposures. I found an app for that. And have been playing around with it. It is a bit tricky but so far interesting. All of the backgrounds are pictures I took from Jasper national park in Alberta. I don’t have many pics in my phone to play with since I transferred most of them out on my old one due to lack of space. So… just my face. But also my cat Charlie.

Nevertheless, entertaining. However, I still have this nostalgia for film photography and processing.

I’d tell you the name of said app but when I downloaded it it is a different name than when I looked for it in the Apple store. So actually don’t recall the name now. The name it shows as is blend editor, but that was not what it was under.

Book Review: Marked

Marked (Soulseer Chronicles) is a new author I picked up in my last bout of book shopping by Sue Tingey.

 

The Blurb: We have Lucky who can see ghosts living a quiet life with her ghost familiar Kayla. However it turns out Kayla is a demon and was sent herself to protect Lucky when she was born, or so she says. She finds out about the Underlands world where Kayla comes from and assassins are sent for them. Kayla returns to her world to make things safe for Lucky to come there. We find out slowly that in fact Lucky has demon blood in her. She collects demon friends Jamie and Jinx to protect her, along with two other loyal companions and a dragon.

Why did I pick it up: To be honest I thought it was a light but interesting paranormal book. I thought it would be an interesting read between my more darker fantasy.

What is good about the novel: The relationship between Kayla and Lucky is complex and interesting. They have known each other all of Lucky’s life but she finds out disturbing facts about Kayla yet still loves her. The world building is interesting but not quite as detailed as I would have liked. A lot is implied. What we do know is that it is violent.

What is not so good about this novel: Lucky is naive and innocent. She is terrified pretty much all the time and far too trusting given her environment. However that is the character and in some ways it suits her and in other ways it seems overdone. What I truly don’t like about this novel is the lack of an actual plot. They go to the Underlands. Clearly there is ‘things going on behind the scenes’ that we are told about. But Lucky sees things and does things. She gets shocked and appalled. But really does nothing. There is no rise in action, no climax no nothing. Just at the end a spontaneous event leading to her group having to leave and Lucky to react. It is like Lucky herself isn’t involved in the plot at all, the plot is occurring elsewhere but at the end the plot involved her directly. It is far more about her experience of the world.

I still did enjoy the experience. Just wanted more to that experience. So 3 out of 5

Remembering that great holiday

 

My favorite vacation was to Scotland and Northern Ireland. To be honest both trips to Scotland are my favorite. For a writer of fantasy the scenery and atmosphere is food for the imagination. In Canada out West we do not have aged cities. I like feeling all that history. I love exploring the history.

My first trip was when I was 19. I went with my mother and brothers. We went for my great-grandmothers 100th birthday. That woman was smart as a tack. Like I hope to be if I ever manage such an age, which I highly doubt. I was wearing my favorite jeans when I met her; they were so worn they had holes in the knees. She said to me looks like my jeans needed to be mended. Which made me laugh because people buy what I had managed to wear into my jeans. So they were now ‘cool’. More important to me though, they were my favorite. My brother and I met some other people our age. They bought us half a pint of Guinness. That is when I learned how horrible that tastes. And then they invited us to a club. So we went. It was insanely busy so I lost track of my brother. And others. Found another man to talk to on the second floor. I have to say the Scottish men were quite appealing to my 19 year old self. I give up looking for my brother and finally look for him outside. There he was. He couldn’t get in because of his shoes. No one commented on my shoes and I only wear sneakers. Ever. But they cared about his sneakers. He had an interesting experience outside the club… apparently a different scene out there.

The second trip was for my cousins wedding. My aunt had moved back to Scotland. Something I envied a great deal. Then when she met a new man she moved to Ireland but her boys were still in Scotland. So we knew them all well. And decided to make a trip out of it to see them all again. My mom, my boyfriend and me went on this one. But my other aunts, uncle and grandmother were there as well. It was a stunning wedding and a blast… and I hate weddings. They did it right for sure. We explored a lot on this trips. Headed of to check out museums and three castles and some ruins. Checked out some old churches.

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Went on this long bridge between the main Ireland and an island. They give you a certificate for completing. I think I really earned that from the 2 mile walk, hilly walk there and back. But we did it. Got that damn certificate and framed it.

We also went to the Giants causeway.

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Trips to remember. And some day I’ll go back.

Relview: The shifty magic series

The shifty magic series… I read them all in a couple of days so it is a review of Shifty Magic (Shifty Magic Series Book 1),Undercover Magic (Shifty Magic Series Book 2),Savage Magic (Shifty Magic Series Book 3)

The Blurb: Paranormal terrorists attacked the world outing paranormals, who helped fight off the terrorists. Addison is a private investigator who at times works with the FBI and in particular Cooper. In the first she gets pressured by vampires to solve a case and works with Cooper to do so. In the second Cooper gets pinned with a crime he didn’t do and they have to solve a venom drug trade to clear him. In the last book Cooper risks losing Addison forever. As they traveled to Coopers clan, he is a shapeshifter. People there are getting going nuts and getting sick. Addison has a plan to help them.

Why did I pick it up: The first one intrigued me. I was desperate for something to read and needed a new series. So this being a series I gave the first one a go. First one was free as well.

What is good about the novel:The world building is interesting and it works. I would have gone more Dystopian myself, but it works. The third novel is my favorite. The plot is interesting and the impact on the characters made me tear up. The second one as well had good plot features, just not quite as compelling to me. I enjoyed Cooper as a character.

What is not so good about this novel: The flaw in Addison plagued me through the works. She, despite evidence, had this insistence she was human despite doing things no human could do. There simply was no rational way to explain it more than once. Yet she stuck with it. Not sure I was finding that plausible. Only when she needed to, did she believe. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would but it is hard to put my finger on why. It is a good read, but not a great read. Fast reads too.

5 Biggest Pet Peeves Of An Introvert

Introverts are annoyed by a lot of the things that extroverts get all giddy about. This can lead others to believe that we are “party poppers” who are hard to please. Really, we just feel bent out of shape from trying to conform to the extrovert ideal all the time. So many social norms and …

Source: 5 Biggest Pet Peeves Of An Introvert

 

That number 1: People commenting on quietness. My spouse and I both get that one. Are you sad? Angry at me? What is wrong?

Nothing! I am simply not vocalizing a whole lot this second. Then people ask Me if my spouse is angry at them. No, he is just quiet today.

I enjoyed the article. Those really are my introverted pet peeves. To the point I don’t actually answer the phone unless I know who it is and sometimes not even then.

I am a procrastinator

I am a procrastinator. There. I admit to it. Not quite as bad a him though. I did take my time with my thesis for example. But I know what I should be doing and then I piss away my time on something completely irrelevant. I definitely also procrastinate on uncomfortable situations… I do not like emotionally awkward situations.

For long term procrastination we really have to set up a routine. Even a little at day on what you want and consider that a success. Then just increase it from there.

I think worse of all is I am a absentminded procrastinator. So I put something off for a day and then forget I have to do it. Sometimes it takes me months to simply make an appointment for the dentist or something. Procrastinate, then the office is close. Next day forget I had to phone. Repeat both steps over and over with the forgetting sometimes lasting a week and then suddenly remembering I had that thing I needed to do.

To conquer this with writing I write something every day. A blog post or part of a novel. Or I edit some of a novel. I do something writing related each day. Including maintaining this blog. It is important not to procrastinate too much with a novel. People are expecting to read it at a certain time… so you have to have it done by then.

Setting

One of the books I am just starting right now is in the exploration stage. I want to base it in Vancouver. It is an urban fantasy and usually I create fictional cities, but as a Canadian I feel I should use a fine Canadian city. I was looking for populous. And I love Vancouver. I have relatives there to question about certain things and have been there many times myself.

The story will be occurring in East Vancouver for the majority.

 

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Where do characters come from?

Where do characters come from?

I’ll admit I often start a story with a character. So the character is important to me. I choose that character to create a story for him or her.

So where do I get them from?

People say don’t piss me off. I’ll write you into my book. In a bad way. And maybe they are the sort to take real life inspiration from people they know. I’m not. I don’t use any real people as character implants. Not in looks or characters. No one is making it into my books. It just will not happen.

Some people do character profiles. They create an idea of what the character is they want to develop and they develop it with character profiles. I don’t do this either.

I simply picture the character in my head. What they look like. Then what heritage that must be. Then I choose a name to fit them. I think for some time what this sort of person is like. I imagine conversations. Funny? Serious? Cynical? Sarcastic? I get a feel for how she talks and acts. And I have my character. I then do write down facets I want to be clear on in these little thin notebooks I have for each novel.

I assume these characters are coming form somewhere. The images I see are the mix of the thousands of people I come across week by week. Over and over. I may not get any inspiration from one person but I assume I am from many people. Nuances and quirks and postures all those little things you observe… ans when it comes to it that nuance of behavior would be perfect or that quirk would be great here.

My characters come from my introverted people watching it seems to me. Learning and absorbing.

Other times they come fully formed into my mind with their own personality already. So sometimes they are pure muse. They talk to me until I write them down. Otherwise they never shut up.

My first novel

First of all I’d like to say that, yes, I hoard paper and also digital files. Works that I will never finish because they were just brainstorms. I keep them. You never know right?

Do you remember your very first novel? I do. I have it in a file. It is not the whole thing though, that was done on a word processor and I never did get it all typed into a computer. So I have a fragment of a second draft. It has been about 150 pages so not bad for a first novel attempt at a fantasy novel. I have about 68 of those pages.

It was about this character who was cursed. She came from a people who were born with psychic abilities. She however was born with them All and destined to go mad. So she was going to be banished to the outlands. To where the humans lived. Void of all talents but they did have magic. There was reason for this of course. Another in their past was like her and went bonkers. Became a horrific dictator. So… why not ditch her to be the humans problem, right? Makes sense.

Main plot rather lacked. Turns out she is the Chosen One that will save everyone, including her own people with the assistance of other racial Immortal people.

I was 12 years old and I was damn proud. It was the first finished project I ever had. Makes me all nostalgic.

Here is a sample:
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