Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Artist's Way

I now own The Artist's Way. I also own a snazzy (free!) new notebook with a pen! (Sometimes, working a job in research has it's perks. In this case, product shows.) One of these days I'll get settle myself in and actually start this thing. I'm only 3 or 4 weeks behind the ISBW schedule...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Motivation = Lacking

I want to have the energy to work on my writing, but I know I have to just make myself do it. If I make myself write, though, I'm afraid it's going to come out forced and it won't be fun. I know that if I just do it I'll get into it, but that initial motivation is really hard. Blah.I need to set daily goals for myself. Maybe that will help. It's hard when the toddler is sick and the house is a mess, but I just need to suck it up and write.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Note to self: get this book.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

1 down, 5 to go!

I just trimmed my first Podcastle contest entry down to 495 words. Go me!

Also, in case anyone actually reads this, I am taking down my entered story from here until I either get knocked out or accepted during the aforementioned contest. I will put it back up, possibly both versions of it, when that time comes.

Will I Enter? Oh, Yes. I Will.

Escape Artists is having another flash contest! Yay! I missed the boat on entering last time, but I think I can hash out/cut down a few stories for these. Each author may submit up to 2 stories per category, for a total of 6 stories. They must be under 500 words each.

Details can be found by clicking below.

Have I mentioned YAY?! Stories get voted on, critiqued, and a lucky few get bought! The contest starts April 1, so I guess I should get cracking!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My First Rejection

Oh well. Pseudopod did provide some helpful feedback, and I will try somewhere else! The biggest step was submitting it at all, so while I'm a little bummed (and who isn't after a rejection?) it's not a big deal. Keep on keepin' on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Check out the New Promo Video for Underwood and Flinch, by Mike Bennett

I can hardly wait until April when the story resumes!

Niles the Hero, written a long, long time ago.

Niles looked up from his breakfast of blackened salmon and gazed out the entrance to his cave. It was a nice cave, as caves go, with more than a dozen caverns and a lovely view of the valley below with an especially clear view of the village nestled within the valley. The villagers were panicking again, simply because some king from far away had kidnapped their beloved princess for the seventeenth time. Niles sighed, puffing a cloud of black smoke from his nostrils. Once he’d finished his meal, he rose and ambled over to the rather large mirror on the wall. He carefully picked his teeth with a delicately sharpened claw and pondered what to do that day, and whether he should polish his scales again, which would be the third time that week. With a snort that flung soot all over the mirror, the dragon shook his head and decided that he was sick of being bored, and that he wouldn’t polish his scales.

Once more he gazed across the valley. Shouts and other irritating noises wafted up to his ears.

“That’s it!” he roared, annoyed. He would rescue the stupid princess and put an end to this horrid racket. He tidied the dirt pile he slept on, generally cleaned up a bit, and gave his ruby scales a quick buffing for appearances sake. At last, he was ready to go. As he flew over the town everyone scurried about, terrified, and just generally panicked some more. Niles rolled his eyes. “Idiots,” he grumbled.
After an hour or so of flying, a beautiful, lamenting ballad belted by a sweet voice drifted up from a castle and pierced his eardrums. He covered his ears and began his descent. Landing on the roof above the room the singing came from, he braced himself and blindly reached into the room below. The singing had stopped at last, only to be replaced by a series of even more piercing shrieks and screams that echoed in poor Niles’ head. At last, after being whacked with chairs, kicked, poked with various and assorted objects, and generally berated, his scaly claw found the princess and dragged her out the window. His large obsidian eyes beheld the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. As he began to state his mission, all speech on his part ended with an abrupt roar or startled pain.

“You bit me!” He hollered.

“Put me down!” The princess screeched, after disgustedly wiping her mouth on her sleeve, as she wriggled defiantly.

Shocked, Niles looked at her. “Don’t you want to be rescued?”

“Yes, but…” She began to cry. A small trickle of mucus slithered out of her dainty nose. “A dragon was not my ideal hero. You are too big and smelly. You’re awful. Now leave.”

“Hmph. Well, I am taking you home whether you like it or not.” With that, he threw her on his back between his wings and took off. The following hour or so it took to get back to the village was the worst he could recall. The spoiled young woman on his back lifted his scales and poked him with hairpins, she pinched his wings, and she kicked, screamed and thrashed about as much as she could without falling off more than once (it cost Niles the remainder of his patience when he had to dive to catch her). At last Niles arrived back at his cave to get something for his headache. Meanwhile, the princess continued to scream and be as obnoxious as one could be. Immediately after he’d taken some aspirin, Niles made a very important life-or-death decision. He grinned toothily to himself and hummed a little dragon tune to drown out the villagers and the incessant cacophony the princess insisted upon making.

That night, Niles the Ruby Dragon sat down to a fine meal of roast donkey, with pickled cats for garnish, and a delicately toasted princess à la mode for dessert.

The moral of this story is this: Heroes are entitled to do what they will with whomever they rescue, even if that includes eating them for dessert. 

Creative Commons License
Niles the Hero by Tena Kolakowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh Boy

In the name of research, I joined Twitter. I have no idea what the hell I am supposed to do with it, but there you go. I'm a little overwhelmed. Hopefully it will be useful, and provide me with some background for the great work of fiction I'm endeavoring to create.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Current Projects

I have a few things going on right now. I am *going to* start doing The Artist's Way. I am in the process of revising and editing my dozen or so short stories in preparation for submitting them, though I don't know where yet. That's the next step. I am also writing a novel! I am too impatient to wait for NaNoWriMo, though I may do that when the time comes, just not for this story. My goal is somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 words, with my progress tracked on the sidebar.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Books I've Read and Listened To of Late

Enjoy! There are no spoilers, so read away!

I thoroughly enjoyed Outlander, I think that series could potentially replace the Earth's Children (Clan of the Cave Bear) series for my "need to read addictive books with lots and lots of sex in them" needs. Wow. I mean, I love me some Ayla and Jondalar but Claire and Jamie are much more fascinating to me. Perhaps it's the fact that they are only a few hundred years from the present, as opposed to several thousand. Seriously, though. Outlander. Well worth the read, lots of sex, some seriously heavy duty fucked-up-edness going on, but wonderfully written. The basic premise is that Claire is an English woman on a second honeymoon with her husband (whom she barely knows, due to the interruption of WWII) after the end of WWII. They're in Scotland, and she gets sucked through a rock to 200 years in the past. I highly, highly recommend this book. Added bonus? The author (Diana Gabaldon) is a scientist. What's not to love?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Amusing, but by the end I thought it was pretty stupid. It has inspired me to want to read the original Pride and Prejudice, though. I did enjoy the description of a man's junk as his "most English parts." Oy. I mean, if you really like zombies, and/or Jane Austin, you can read it, but it's really pretty childish. My copy has long since gone to someone else via PaperbackSwap.

The Heaven series, by Mur Lafferty. These are all podcast novels, available both in iTunes and for free! You can't beat free, really. Let's see, there's Heaven, Hell, Earth, Wasteland, and War. The basic premise is that Kate and Daniel have died, they journey through heaven, hell, and everywhere in between and at some point become gods. It touches on many, many different religions and mythologies. I absolutely love Mur Lafferty, and this podcast series is no exception to her usual awesomeness. Heaven is also to be released in print, about which I have to say I'm pretty excited. Ooh, and in writing this, I have literally just discovered that you can listen to many episodes of her stuff on her website,! Sweet.

Another podcast novel I've been listening to is Underwood and Flinch, by Mike Bennett. It's currently on hiatus, until April, but I recommend listening from the beginning (subscribe in iTunes and you can get all the episodes). If you start now, you probably won't even have a break between parts 1 and 2. I will warn that this does fall in the horror genre, and there is a fair amount of gore. Most of Mike Bennett's stuff is pretty weird, but thoroughly enjoyable. All of his content is available for free as podcasts. As far as I know, none of it's in print at the moment.


Oh, Scott Sigler. If you like serious violence and gore in your hardcore horror sci-fi, you will love Scott Sigler (or, as he is known among his junkies, the FDO). He has also made all of his content available for free as podcasts, plus several of his books are in print. C got me Infected for my birthday.  I re-read it (I'd "read" it as an audiobook about a year ago or so) a few weeks ago, and I have to say Sigler has a knack for making my guts twist into a terror knot. More for the violence than anything else. I was happy to skip one particular part of the book while I was reading it, because it was really just too violent for me to handle. Not all of his books are this violent. I really, really loved Ancestor (which is apparently not being made into a movie, sadness. Thanks for correcting me though, Scott Sigler! I am all like excited now that an actual real author/famous person commented on my blog! Eee!) and also Nocturnal. I can't decide which of those two is my favorite. I will warn you, they are violent, but they are not the same intensity of violence as that particular scene in Infected (really, I can't give it away without a spoiler). Ancestor absolutely chilled me to the bone. Alas, I have gone on a bit of a tangent. Infected is about some crazy infectious (duh) spores from outer space that make people do crazy things like butcher their whole families. One man, Perry Dawsey, fights them as only he can, and cuts pieces of himself out to stop the infection. That's really all I can give away. If you like horror and sci-fi, you'll have to read it yourself. (Just a happy little something, the Scott Sigler commented on this post in my personal blog. *Nerdgasm*!)

A Reliable Wife was okay. I was hoping for some fabulous sex scenes, but they really turned out to be pretty darn creepy. The book is a quick read, and an entertaining foray into the mind of a woman who has never known love. It follows her through a redemption of sorts in her misleading answer to a personal ad for a "realiable wife" and how she actually ends up fulfilling (or not, depending on your viewpoint) that role. It's worth reading, but I don't think I'll ever read it again. We read it for book club this month.