Archive for February, 2014

Check it out… Night Owls

Today, with this inaugural “Check it Out” post, we’re cheering on someone that I was a “student” with at Viable Paradise…Lauren M. Roy (I was fortunate to see early draft pages for a seperate project, and am looking forward to when that one gets picked up as well.) Her first book, Night Owls,  just hit the streets this week. Yesterday, she was featured in Chuck Wendig’s “Five Things I’ve Learned…” series.

Her candor is relatable:

I lose NaNoWriMo. A lot.

I first participated in 2003 or 2004, and while I’ve become a more disciplined writer over the years, never have I “won” NaNo. I made it about halfway once, but 50,000 words in a month, with a full-time day job and other non-writing commitments is, for me, not feasible. The year Night Owls was my NaNo project, I got partway through, fell behind, tried catching up, realized I was spiralling into useless, infodumpy backstory, and put it back down.

For several years…

Which means: don’t abandon those stories, cats ‘n’ kittens. NaNo has no clause stating you’ll chuck any unfinished projects into the recycle bin come December 1st. “Losing” NaNo — or failing to place in any other writing-related event — does not mean you should give up. Keep writing.

The story (or, why you should track this book down):

Night Owls bookstore is the one spot on campus open late enough to help out even the most practiced slacker. The employees’ penchant for fighting the evil creatures of the night is just a perk…

Valerie McTeague’s business model is simple: provide the students of Edgewood College with a late-night study haven and stay as far away as possible from the underworld conflicts of her vampire brethren. She’s experienced that life, and the price she paid was far too high for her to ever want to return.

Elly Garrett hasn’t known any life except that of fighting the supernatural beings known as Creeps or Jackals. But she always had her mentor and foster father by her side—until he gave his life protecting a book that the Creeps desperately want to get their hands on.

When the book gets stashed at Night Owls for safekeeping, those Val holds nearest and dearest are put in mortal peril. Now Val and Elly will have to team up, along with a mismatched crew of humans, vampires, and lesbian succubi, to stop the Jackals from getting their claws on the book and unleashing unnamed horrors…

Find Lauren at: Website | Twitter

Find Night Owls at: Indiebound | B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

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Check it Out…

Allow me a moment to start a new-ish thing here. Writers are a networky-bunch. We have friends, comisserate about storylines, plot holes, and uncooperative characters. At the same time, when we see someone from our circle of people make it through the publishing gauntlet, we cheer. When the book hits the shelves, especially when it’s the first book, we hoist them on shoulders and parade them like they just [insert your favorite sports metaphor here]. Or buy them a drink, if they’re into that.

What I hope to do, over time, is develop this into a reccurring pay-it-forward series, much like Scalzi’s “Big Idea,” Mary Robinette Kowal’s “My Favorite Bit,” and Chuck Wendig’s “Five Things I’ve Learned…” pieces.

The name may change at some point in the future, but the purpose will be the same.

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The Towers, Ballysaggartmore, County Waterford

This week’s selection took a little while to find. At least, it took a while to find a good site just about this one. (The author of the article compares the location “to something you’d expect to see in Game of Thrones.) Click through the above link to see some other pictures of the site, or here for some of the history.

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Thunderstruck… by Cellos?

This has been making the rounds on Facebook recently, and here’s why I’m sharing. Yes, the performers are good. Yes, the original is by AC/DC. What is critical, though, is to recognize how well they have maintained the core of the original song while reimagining it for a different instrumentation. They are definitely a group I’m going to check out more of.

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Chasing (Short Story)

I’ve been meaning to post this for most of the last week, while the Olympics were still in swing. Now, the closing ceremonies have concluded, and it will be four years before the next “good time” to post this. Here goes.

Backstory: I wrote this for a class four years ago (while the Vancouver Olympics were going on). It’s one of the few straight literary-ish stories (as opposed to genre) I wrote while getting my MA. It has it’s issues, likewise, it has it’s merits, but it’s also a capsule of appreciation for what athletes and their families go through.

It’s about 2500 words, full story below the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Repurposing: Japan

While looking for intersting sites, I found this site for an old military facility in Tomogashima, Japan. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything more specific (for historical context of the facility), So beyond saying that it reminds me of much greener Fort Macon, which is interesting enough, I’ll leave leave that facility for something else.

Something like this:

Identified as the Asama Volcano Museum, my first impression is that of a villain’s bunker from a James Bond movie (or, with the snow, that sequence from Inception). It’s interesting to read blogs by folks that do the exploring. The Volcano Museum, for example, they guy’s gone back a few times (including as part of a team doing a documentary), but that first trip? He mentions a stop they make to explore a tunnel.

Why is it scary to do that? Well. According to Jason, he’s concerned about ghosts and monsters. Not me though. I’m concerned about real people. Mad people, I suppose. Anybody mad enough to hang out in a place like that, in the dark, is not a regular human and probably quite dangerous. So that’s what I worry about when I go into these places.

That line, right there, second from the end. That is the sort of thing that gets me, as a seed for something — a scene? A story? A novel? I don’t know, it would vary with the individual, but that’s where the fun is.

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Repurposing: Citadelle de Bonifacio

Continuing the idea of stealing repurposing reality for fiction, I present the cliffside Citadelle de Bonifacio, in Corsica. Now a tourist attraction, it’s the placement that is what makes this worth considering for appropriation.

Near here, there is also what’s called the Staircase of the King of Aragon – steps cut into the side of the cliff that lead fromthe city down to the ocean [that angular line in the picture below]. (Apparantly for monks to have a direct route to the water, for possible deliveries by sea.)

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Stand by Me set: A Generation Later

Wil Wheaton recently shared this, and I think it’s something so cool that more folks should see it.

I’ve mentioned before how much I like the movie Stand by Me. It easily makes it 0nto several of my Top 10 lists of favorite movies – writer-related movies, King adaptations, stand-alone stories. Point is, it’s a good movie.

There’s this guy that does site visits, filming them now and remixing the footage (side-by-side shots with the original, or fades from the original to the current state and vice versa). You see where this is going, right (even without seeing the screen shot below)…he did this for Stand by Me. And I felt most of the same emotions I did from when I first watched the movie. If you have 15 minutes, it’s worth it, especially if you know the movie fairly well.


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The Beatles (on Sullivan): 10 Feb 2014

Actually, this one is from 50 years ago. Thanks to the Grammys, I was reminded that 50 years ago (yesterday – HA!) the Beatles made their debut on the Ed Sullivan show, officially marking the start of Beatlemania in the states. There are two groups that I still have physical copies of all of the CDs for (of “official” studio albums). I’ve made no bones about one of them being Rush (of which, I also have copies of all their live albums, and solo-projects). The other? In case you couldn’t guess by context: The Beatles.


*Edit to Note: The previously chosen video, of the 1st actual Ed Sullivan show, was pulled, so I’m changing to a 1963 TV Concert, Beatles live on the BBC.

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Repurposing: Predjama Castle

Castles are awesome. Wait, I think I’ve said that before…but it doesn’t change the fact that they are. It’s one of the icons that comes to mind when anyone mentions “fantasy genre.” Castles are where history can come to life (especially if it’s been tirned into a museum), or where history can be brazenly stolen, um, repurposed for writers needing interesting story elements.

Enter Predjema Castle in Slovenia.

Built into a cave. Legend has it that there was a passage through the cave that allowed the castle to still get supplies while under seige.

(The links above go to two different articles – the second is the Wikipedia page. The photos are pulled from, via a google search)

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