Friday, June 8, 2018

MilWordy Progress

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” - George Orwell

What writers hope to achieve
It's been a long while. Sorry about that. I kind of got busy with life and I tend to forget about this place. Oops. As you can see, I'm around and hacking away at my annual Milwordy challenge.

And talk about hacking away at it this year. I'm at a little over 100,000 and half way through the year so nowhere near my normal numbers when it comes to this challenge. I didn't write a single word in February, March, or April. In January I didn't even hit 50K and squeaked by 50K last month. I might get by with over 50K words this month but I'm loosely aiming for it.


It's not for lack of ideas or content. I've got three ongoing series in Avalora School of Magic, The Interviewer, and The World of Ambrosia. I have an ideas list with around 70 story ideas ranging from short to novel and most of them fleshed out to the point where I can pick it up and start going. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing, well I don't know for sure. It's why I'm writing this after all as an introspective journal like entry.

I suppose my lack of writing could be simple burn out. I've been doing Milwordy and NaNo events since 2013. That's five full years of pressing myself to hit at least 80,000 words a month writing solely in the evenings and on weekends.

I've often said how doing the MilWordy challenge takes away from my social life and I'm not kidding. For me to hit 80,000 words by writing weekends and assuming there are eight weekends in a month, I need every day to be a 10,000 word day. Breaking that down, I would need 2,000 words an hour for five hours.

It doesn't seem like much (or it might)and really it never has been a lot for me. My average is 2,000 words an hour, sometimes more and sometimes less. I've had nights where I can hit the 10,000 in four hours and I've had days where I get 15,000 or more words.

But between work keeping me up until two am then sleeping till noon and wanting to go out to do something, I'm left with much less than 10 hours a weekend I feel like writing. I want to do fixes around the house and work on my garden. I want to watch movies on Netflix and catch up on shows I've been wanting to see since forever and a day ago.

Here's the kicker: I haven't felt like writing. There are times I plop myself down in front of the computer and don't put a word to page. These have become more frequent as of late and writing became a sort of chore.

Don't get me wrong, I like what I've produced and do want to continue working on everything. I think I'm plain tired. I've worked with Avalora for two years now which is one of my longest projects to date. Avalora is going to turn out to be the biggest too and my creative batteries needed re-charging. This brings me to my next point.

Eventually there will be a new link on this blog which will basically be a place for me to post some of my other creative endeavours. I'm mainly a writer so don't mistake this for me "retiring" from writing. I will never retire so long as I take breath.

But, I paint in acrylics, oils, and digitally, I make jewellery, and most recently I've started to repaint and reimage dolls. I've dabbled in pastels, charcoal, colored pencils, and water colors. As a child I took ceramics which essentially meant I got a white sculpture (Usually of a dragon) and got to paint it. I've started making pipe cleaner animals at work and my brain loves looking at something to figure out "hm, how can I re-create this?"

Sometimes my brain needs a break from putting words on page and I have to do something else or I'm lost. I have to give my brain the challenge of figuring out something new or I wander off into doing nothing. It helps I've taken until June 20th off for a kind of stress leave. I need a break from life every few years or I tend to snap which is never good for anyone involved.

So, this week is going to be about doing some painting around the house, working on my back garden, repainting some dolls, sleeping, and working on the new blog page. I might write a bit, I might not and that's okay. At one point I'll freak out because I'm nowhere close to MilWordy but I've got a week off in November so I'm not too concerned.

Until next time: comments and questions welcome. Keep a look out for the new page too. I can't promise a date because gosh knows I rarely keep a deadline and sometimes forget about this blog but I will get it going.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Ongoing Series: The World of Ambrosia

Where do I even begin with this? I mean, the beginning obviously but that was so long ago. I wish I was kidding.

I got the idea for Ambrosia a few years after I picked up writing. I saw these characters on a website called (I'm not even sure if it exists anymore) and made up this backstory. Technically, fanfiction but it's morphed into something entirely different.

I've talked about the Ambrosia characters off and on in various NaNoWriMo postings, mainly about Daimin and his father Demek. Sometimes I've mentioned Daimin's hour younger brother Aiden and spoken about the Espers.

There's so much going on with this series and I don't write it in any particular order. Right now I'm focused on what I would consider to be in the third book, if such a thing existed. Again, Ambrosia is one of these stories which can go on forever and ever and ever until I decide to kill everyone off...which would be impossible since technically Daimin can't be killed.

Ha, right? And don't even get me started on all the worlds which come together in Ambrosia. I've got an ongoing list and it practically pulls in every world I've written in for my various universes, well the magical ones anyway.

Hell, Lyo and Tyo (Daimin's kids) will eventually make an appearance in Avalora. They've popped up in Mists of Time in the last two books. I'm sure I've made mention to them in other novels solely because the Ambrosians are that huge to me.

Anyway, what's this ongoing story about?

Demek, the King of Ambrosia and basically how he got there. Sounds boring but when you add in the fact his father's insane enough to almost kill Demek's other siblings and Demek likes only men when he you know, has to produce heirs, oh and the little issue of Ambrosia itself being on the brink of destruction when he takes over the Kingship, well, it gets fun. Plus the various wars he has to go through because Demek looks like a weakling but really isn't.

Then there are various issues when Demek tries to treaty with other worlds in the universe and is elected to be the "Keeper" of the worlds which makes Ambrosia the "Guardian World." Of course there's potential backstabbing with this. I mean, everyone wants to take his throne, heavy as it is, because who wouldn't want to be the ruler of the Guardian World and have the instant respect of every other Royal?

I don't know when or where this will ever be posted. I might start somewhere in the middle of the time-line I have (and it's a big time-line) then go from there and use semi-flash backs to fill in the important bits from pre-wherever I start.

I do know I've been working on the concept for this story and writing random scenes from it for years. Once such scene I'm working on as of the writing of this and it's morphed into an 80,000 word, 136 page novel. It's not done because there's this whole conflict going on with the world of Fengfu and, well, yeah.

Updates to follow. Eventually.

Ongoing Series: The Interviewer

So three years ago, I heard about, which gave me the inspiration to write Avalora School of Magic. Avalora isn't done yet and I doubt I'll finish it in the next five or so years. I've got ten school years planned for it and probably a couple of years after graduation to so, yeah.

Then while taking a break from writing, I found a tumblr post about a scuba diving vampire and decided "why not?" For some reason, it morphed into someone interviewing said scuba diving vampire then I thought "hey, I can do more of these interviews!"

String them all together with plot points which carry across all interviews and we've got The Interviewer, my other ongoing series. Now, I've got a lot of the interviews planned but haven't gone to far with many of them. I'm finished the scuba diving vampire (Cindy) and am currently working on Chad's interview. Chad is a traveling musician vampire.

The main character in all of this is Rosa who is the one interviewing the vampires. She's done this in the past and published the interview in her college's newspaper. Those interviews were short question and answer type but everything changed when she talked to Cindy.

See, Cindy took Rosa on a job with her. Cindy talked more about immortality and what it was like to be someone who could live forever having youth and beauty. It helped Rosa tell a story humans hadn't heard: the story about what really happens when you're immortal.

The world went a little crazy, enough Rosa could quit her job and begin to do this full time. Of course there's an underground forum where vampires talk about everything from the best blood type to trying to live with humans. Sure, there are the Hunters whose job is to put down the vampires who've gone completely insane. And yes, there are vampires and humans alike who don't want Rosa's stories to be told.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be posting this chapter by chapter on Channillo. I've toyed with the idea of making a Pateron and putting it up there with reward tiers and such along with Avalora. The Interviewer isn't exactly a novel format either so I can't gather a bunch into a book because I'm not sure when this one will end.

I honestly haven't planned an ending or gone too deeply into the groups working against Rosa be them vampire or human. All I know for sure is there are vampires. The non-sparkly kind who act a lot like people except you know, the blood drinking bit.
Hopefully there will be more news to follow and I won't forget I have a blog.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Writers Change

Like everything else: writer's change.

The process we use to finish a story, the language we use, the simple fact if we're someone who plans or plots: it can change. Evolve. Hopefully become something better.

I've changed as a writer. Oh I'm still trying to write a million words every year but what those words are is a bit different from prior years. Heck all you have to do is head over to my "Novel Series" tab up there and you'll see the change.

In 2014 I wrote 16 novels. In 2015 I wrote four novels. In 2016 I wrote one. This year I've finished one novel.

Some people might say that's a decline. Well, it's not. I still maintained my "writing a million words in a year" or MilWordy goal. How? Avalora School of Magic.

It's my baby, my literal ongoing story which despite having an ending planned: is going to take a long time to get there. I'm writing the first term of fourth year and we've got to year ten. There is likely going to be a few chapters for "after graduation" years for all six main characters but I haven't decided yet.

This year I'm also working on a novel called Rebirth: Nine Lives. It's about a cat-person hybrid (neko-jin) who literally has nine-lives. The main character dies and is reborn remembering each of their lives and taking their experiences into the next one. I'm starting life four but this will be regular novel sized.

Each life is written in the first person which I haven't done since writing Tale of the Twins. Each life will see the main character facing new challenges with new people, new friends, new enemies, but the same goal. It's been fun so far and I'm going to get back to it sometime this year to finish it.

Now yesterday, I believe I've started a second ongoing series which potentially has no end in sight. This one is called The Interviewer and it's about a free-lance writer who makes a living interviewing vampires.

So far I've gotten part of Cindy's book started. Cindy is a scuba-diving writer and I'm completely blaming a writer I loosely follow on tumblr. for her existence. It wasn't even the writer herself but someone Is that the word? I have no idea.

I haven't decided on other characters for The Interviewer series but there's a few swimming around in my head. Obviously the free-lancer writer is going to be a constant character as she seeks out other vampires to interview in a modern world.

In said modern world, vampires exist and we've known about their existence. We've kind of accepted them into society and they have some visual markers of being a vampire. Fangs, paleness, cantered ears, and claws, you know, the usual. Also the blood drinking and not being able to go into the sun, immortality and such.

I'm loosely thinking about releasing The Interviewer in some kind of insane attempt at Patreon once I get some good buffer content started. I'm also thinking about starting my own tumblr page because everyone seems to be on there.

Between work and friends I have little free time to write and plan, well, that I give myself. I'm stalling, really, and being lazy. Guess it comes from the fear of being rejected as a writer or something. More on that in some other post...which may be a few months from now. Ahaha. Sorry.

Anyway, one thing I did do was make myself a new link over there in the links area. So, if you feel like being nice:

Though I don't actually drink coffee. Or tea. I'm more of a hot chocolate person. But it'd be nice if you clicked the button.

That's it for this less-than-monthly-update on my comings and goings. Thank you to any regular still out there. Perhaps I'll get more into this promoting this year. Here's to hoping.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I am not a Feminist

This post has been long in coming. I've got so many different versions of it in my drafts and I hate all of them. So, again, I've scrapped everything I've written on this topic before and started over. This one will stick and hopefully not be so, so, well rant-y or negative or any other horrible adjective anyone can think of.

Every so often in the news, in social media, and other outlets there is something huge which happens which makes people bring up the "gender" discussion. Most recently it's been the entire election in the US what with certain comments being made. I'm sure you know what I mean. If you don't then you must have a cozy place under your rock *winks*


The entire situation with the election and many, many situations prior and after have spurned me to write this. Why? Because with the discussion of gender comes the discussion of feminism, what it means, who is or is not a feminist, and of course, the people who insult the "femi-Nazis."

I am not a feminist.

I know this might come as a shock to anyone reading this blog considering what I write about, particularly taking into consideration the kind of characters I write about. Let me explain.

I am an equalist.

What does that mean, exactly? It means I believe everyone deserves an equal chance in life no matter their skin color, religion, gender, sexuality, age, abilities (physical or mental), or anything else which defines us as different.

Does this mean we should be ignorant to people's differences? No, not at all. But these differences should not stop a person from obtaining a job, home, loan, vehicle, citizenship or anything else which certain people are denied.

For instance:

Individual A is a 30 year old black lesbian. Individual B is a 25 year old white heterosexual male. They are both applying for a job in a business position which is normally male-dominated. So, what happens? Individual B will get the job even if both are equally matched when it comes to qualifications and experiences.

I know we all like to believe this is untrue in 2017 but it is still difficult, if not impossible for women to get jobs in what are considered "male" positions. It is made worse if you happen to be anything but heterosexual or CIS. It is made even worse if you have a visible disability (like being in a wheelchair) or an invisible disability (like being deaf.) And almost impossible if you are a woman of color.

I believe people should be judged on their personalities, their qualifications, their talents, and their ability to do the job. Ideally, if a person has the experience, is qualified, and can do the job then they should be hired without anyone needing to worry about what having someone "different" on board might do for the overall image of the company.

I want people who are coming out as transgender or gender-neutral not to have to worry about the fact they might lose their jobs for it or have to keep their not-true-to-them personality at work alone. I want women of color to love their dark skin and not worry about skin bleach or white-washing themselves to fit into society's view for the "perfect" skin tone.

I want people to be proud of their religion and not have to worry about being told they are terrorists. I want people to be able to come into the country without having to worry about their faith, skin, or country of origin. I want women to be able to whip off their shirts in hot weather if they like or men to wear skirts, dresses, and make-up if they want - both without ridicule.

I want people to be able to be them without having to worry about their lives being in danger, or whether or not they can get a job or a home or even travel.

We have made a lot of progress since the 1950s but there is still a far way to go. Transgender or homosexual teens are still kicked out of their homes. Women (of color or not) are still treated as inferior in some markets based on the fact they are female. People of different religions are still not tolerated and there is still every kind of -ism out there.

Will we get to a point where everyone is treated equal? I hope so but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime. People, humans, are not comfortable with change nor are we comfortable with what marks us as different from one to another. The definition of "normal" is different for everyone and I doubt there will ever be a time when people forget about normal and accept people for "them."

Until next time: you know what to do.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Writing Tip #21: Who You Are

If you've made it to Tip #21 then you're now thinking to yourself: "Um, Renna, I'm a writer. Duh." Obviously. But like everything else in the complex world which is writing, you're more than a writer. Author? Sure. Editor? Yep. Promoter? Probably, well, should be. Social media royalty? It'd likely help.

This is not about you being a writer or any of the above. It's about who you are as a writer. Do you plan and plot out every detail? Do you open up a blank page, have a theme in mind and go with it? Are you a mix of both?

We'll go deeper: do you find you write better in the morning, afternoon or night? Are you more productive in small bursts or long sessions? Do you need to work on multiple projects at the same time or are you the kind of person who has to get something completely finished before moving onto something else?

Do you have to turn off spell check and grammar check to get a chapter done? Do you have to go back and read what you wrote before to get back into the groove? Do you have to edit as you go? Do you have to write in silence or can you write with background noise?

Do you write old-school with pen/pencil and paper or is everything stored on your computer? Do you need to use a fancy writing program or are you okay with the basics? Do you write linerally or write whatever scene catches your interest?

Why is this important?

Well, figuring out who you are as a writer will help you succeed in you know, writing. If you don't know what makes you reach your peak word count goals per hour/day/week/month/year then you'll never hit those goals.

The problem is figuring out what kind of writer you are can take time. It can also change over time in drastic ways. Finding out your most successful approach to writing comes with experience and investment. It can also come with changes in technology as the world around us ages.

See, I used to hand write everything on paper with pencil or pen. I would never finish anything and never planned. I would write whenever and paper didn't have spell check so naturally I didn't edit as I went.

Now, everything I need for a novel can be found in one Word doc with a supplimentry document usually called "planning." I can still write whenever and I need to go back and read what I wrote to get back into the groove. I edit as I go and I always write from beginning to end, never deviating from the timeline to write a cool scene I'm looking forward to ahead of what comes before it.

I'm also a mix of both plotter and pantser. I have a large picture understanding, characters, a timeline, and maybe a few subplots but the majority of details and sometimes even entire scenes are written on a whim.

Heck, sometimes the entire story changes as I go and I end up with something better than I thought I would. I have to have music playing in the background or my brain will wander off and I won't get anything done.

Knowing all of the above has helped me win multiple NaNos, Camp NaNos, and has allowed me to successfully write a million words for the past, er, four years? Yeah. Something like that. It's allowed me to finish forty-someodd novels, a bunch of short stories and start Avalora (which is never-ending I swear).

I've also been able to plan my life around my writing. I know what I need to hit my optimal word counts and know how many hours it would take me to bang out a medium sized chapter. This means if I know I'm getting up early (or need to) I can plan some extra time to write during the week. I can plan around life-stuff and writing-stuff and not fall behind on anything.

I have time to socialize, to plan trips, work, and STILL make the million in a year. Mind you, I have gone from "must work on one project at a time" to "can work on more than one project" mainly because of the sheer size of Avalora and man, sometimes I need a break from the universe despite how much I love it.

There isn't a magic pill or special trick to figuring out who you are as a writer. You have to try everything in order to find the perfect flow but once you do then you'll be better for it.

Until next time: you know what to do.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Review: Wicked Appetite

Why did I pick it up?

It was one of those books I got from the box sale at Book Depot so it came with the 40-odd books I got for $35. I actually picked it up because it had no dust jacket and the hard cover underneath was black with this kind of like red-bronze writing to give it the title and author name. I took a chance.

I didn't recognize the author name and I think if I had I probably might have put it down to wait for the rest of the series to come out. Yes, Book 1 in a series of (hopefully) seven books. Book 3 of this series is coming out next month and this was published in 2010 so it looks like I'm in for a wait. ONWARDS!

Review of Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich:

I'm going to be straight-up (as I am 99.9% of the time): I'm not sure what to think of this book. I started it on May 25th and finished it in a little over two hours. I kid you not. I started at 8:50AM, read while waiting for my doctor and saw him at about 10:55AM then took five or so minutes to finish the last few pages at home.

So why am I not sure what to think of it? Well, the premise is kind of cool. Lizzie finds out her excellent cupcake making ability is magical (no kidding) and she's an Unmentionable who has the power to find these charms to make a Stone. There are seven stones, each taking after a deadly sin and when combined they'll bring hell to earth. For those that don't know the sins are as follows: Gluttony, Lust, Greed, Pride, Sloth, Wrath, and Envy. I remember them because of Fullmetal Alchemist, not the Bible, by the way. *winks*

Anyway, so we meet Lizzie, learn a bit about her past and she goes to work that morning. She has a run in with the bad guy, Wulf, and then meets Diesel the gorgeous hunk of man who is also an Unmentionable on a mission from BUM (I kid you not, that is the acronym of the organization trying to save the world) to gather the stones and keep them from Wulf...who happens to be his cousin.

See the BUM thing? Yeah, that's kind of what this whole book was like.

Diesel's ass tingles when Wulf is near. He can (possibly?) read Lizzie's mind. There is a lot of cupcake eating. A witch in training can't control her spells and leaves someone talking gibberish then gobbling. A fat person is made fun of. The charms make these four relatives who were left the charms from their uncle hoard weird things: 1) Food and over-eating which makes sense with this being the Gluttony stone. 2) Paddles and dog collars: glutton for punishment, okay. 3) Locks, oil, ferrets...uh? 4) Kids. No really. KIDS. The poor girl has six of them because of the charm. Let's not forget the odd monkey who one minute understands you and the next is being a monkey and flipping everything off. And the cat who's apparently decades old and has one eye and half a tail.

Then there's Hatchet who's the ONLY other person in the state who can do the same as Lizzie: determine if the charm is part of the stone. Once all four charms are together they reveal the stone and the stone tablet where the other stones might be hidden. Do Diesel and Lizzie get the stone? Yep. Do they get the tablet? Nope. They let Wulf have it as Diesel's job was the stone only. *facepalm* Really dude? Really?

Oh and did I mention Diesel and Lizzie can't have sex because if they do one of them looses their powers? This is despite their obvious attraction, Diesel's flirting, Lizzie's drooling over him, and everything else throwing them together in a romantic sense. Oh, what are Diesel's powers? He can unlock a door with a touch and sense Wulf. Oh and he has the power to look good naked.

See, the book was a nice, light, and sometimes entertaining read. I felt like Glo (the witch) was just kind of there for comic relief. And Lizzie's dad coming to visit was just an excuse to get Diesel away from Lizzie long enough so she could be kidnapped by Hatchet. And her not making good cupcakes one day wasn't much of a threat of her losing her powers as she could still sense the charms within hours. It was a kind of bleh tension where there was no tension in the book. I'm not even sure what genre this would be classed in.

Would I read Wicked Appetite again?

I don't even know, no seriously, I've no clue. There were some really great bits to it and some genuinely funny moments but it started to dive into the realm of "jeez I hope this thing is classed as satire" a lot more than I liked. Will I be picking up the rest in the series? To be honest? Nope. I didn't connect with any characters and frankly, I don't care if they ever find the other stones or how.

The Negatives:

So this was my first Janet Evanovich book. The people who have read her before say this is a plot rip-off from her Stephanie Plum series and honestly, there are enough people saying it on the first page of reviews I'm going to have to believe them.

Even hours after finishing this I'm not entirely sure what to think. A monkey giving the finger, farting, burping, making messes of nice cars so they're replaced every day, and behaving poorly is just...I mean, was he needed? The book could have survived without the monkey as a side-character. Cat? Yeah, Cat was needed. And can I just say despite how Cat saves Lizzie's life twice she still calls the poor thing Cat 7184 like it was called at the human society? I mean, what the Hell? This cat saved your life, warned you when you were about to be kidnapped, saved your life again and the best you can do is Cat?

The whole Leonard section was creepy and not in a good way. Creepy-sad even. This guy had a good life and because of this charm he collects paddles and rubber chickens saying he's been a "bad boy" (yes with that in mind) and needs to be spanked. His life becomes ruined because of him becoming a glutton for punishment. I'm still not sure what brother #2 (I can't remember his name) gluttonous idea was besides ferrets, oil, and locks but it pretty much screwed his life too. Not to mention the poor Shirley who gained 200 pounds because of becoming a literal glutton. And Melody who had six kids because of being a glutton

Honestly, this concept has a lot of premise. Take out the monkey, the immature jokes (seriously my Mage-teens are more mature than these 20-somethings), and breathe some life into Diesel and Lizzie and you'd have an amazing book. Right now? It falls flat.

Final Review: ?.?/5. I honestly don't even know.

Until next time: comments, questions, thoughts, rants, rage, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.