Friday, December 30, 2011

Vacations and Productivity

I'll make this brief.  I'm on vacation.  I get to spend a lot of time with my lovely wife :D.  I've been getting a lot of writing done, too.  And I'm loving it!

I started editing my rewrites yesterday, and I love how they turned out.  At this rate, I very well might have an agent by the end of 2012.  I can say that I'm confident in my work, both because I enjoy it, and because several people inside the industry have told me that it's good.  I believe it's just a matter of time and work.

So now I'm off to finish my late breakfast, then I'm going to get moving on more edits.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Winner Is!

So in honor of my fourth wedding anniversary (yes, I've been married for four years!), I am going to give away a book!  I know I said that I was going to wait until I had 15 entrants, but it's giveaway day, and there are 10 people entered.  I think I'll do all of you the courtesy of announcing the winner today, rather than making you wait.

I have entered everyone's names into a random number generator, and by that I mean I numbered each and every one of you and rolled a 10-sided die, and our winner is... (drum-roll please) Meradeth!

Congratulations.  Shoot me an email so I can get your address to send you the book post-haste...via post.  :D

Oh, yes, and happy anniversary to my wife.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oy Vey

I'm tired.  It was a long day yesterday.  We hosted Christmas for the first time, and we had a TON of people over.  My wife and I are EXHAUSTED.  It was a lot of fun, and we got to see family that we haven't seen in two years!

But despite the exciting weekend (including ice melting into the condo and dripping through the ceiling), I don't have much to talk about.  Except for ONE important thing!

The contest will be over on Wednesday!  I will announce the winner Wednesday morning.

Unless we have less than 15 entries.  Right now, only nine people have signed up to win a signed copy of SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White.  That's six short of the minimum.  So spread the word!  Two days to enter.  Let's get six more people to sign up.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

I was going to put together a long post about writing-type stuff, but I imagine anyone not working today has too much to do to prepare for the weekend.  And I have to deal with a leaking shower (fourth time in seven months).

So Merry Christmas!  I'll see you on Monday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five Books You Should Buy for Christmas

So with our festive theme this week, I want to recommend five books that you should buy either for yourself or a friend/family member for Christmas.

Kiersten White's SUPERNATURALLY.  This is a great book by a great author, and I STRONGLY recommend that you go pick up that book.  Or enter to win it here.

Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT.  I haven't read this one yet, but my wife (who LOVES YA Fiction) thought this was one of the best books to come out this year.  I'm GOING to read it, but I think all of you should go get it, too.

Gail Carriger's HEARTLESS.  I've discussed this book before, I've reviewed all of Carriger's books.  You REALLY need to read this series.

I know this is an older book, but Suzanne Collins' HUNGER GAMES trilogy is a MUST read.  If you know anyone who hasn't read it (and that's still possible), remedy the situation.

If you're looking for a series or two, go pick up anything or everything by Jim Butcher.  He's a great author, he knows how to engage the reader, and he'll make you laugh.

What are your recommendations for the year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Favorite Christmas Music

I worked in retail for nearly four years, and in that time I heard the worst of the worst Christmas music that the music industry has to offer.  I don't know why the music industry and the retail industry both insist on thrusting whiny, screaming R&B and Soul singers who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket down our throats when we COULD be listening to Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Vince Guaraldi Trio, Celtic Woman, and the many artist out there who DON'T want me to shove needles in my ears and forks in my eyes.  Seriously, the Jackson 5 Christmas songs are PAINFUL to listen to.

So let's share some favorite Christmas albums here today.  I'll start.

Vince Guaraldi Trio's CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
The Celtic Woman Christmas album
Chicago's Christmas albums
and pretty much anything by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

What are your favorites?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parties!

I love Christmas parties.  And I have several ahead of me!  Tonight, one of my best friends is holding his fifth annual ginger-bread-house party (I think this is the third or fourth year that I've been able to go), tomorrow is the RMFW Christmas party, and then next week we have Christmas!

My wife and I are hosting Christmas for the first time, thanks to our new home, new furniture, and a desire to cook for other people.  I'm excited :D

I'm curious, how many of you have plans for Christmas?  Do you have parties to go to?  Are you looking forward to this year's celebration?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Child's Play Charity Update

I just got this in an email from the Child's Play Charity folks.  This is FANTASTIC news!


CHILD’S PLAY GALA AND AUCTION RAISED $351K FOR SICK CHILDREN

Donations From Gamers Surpass $1.5 Million So Far This Year

SEATTLE – Dec. 14, 2011 – Generous donations from across the game community helped raise $351,000 at the annual Child’s Play Gala and Auction. 

The Child’s Play Gala and Auction is one of the highlights of the annual Child’s Play Charity fundraising drive that donates toys, games and cash for hospitalized kids.  At the black-tie event the gaming community bids on rare and unique items.  Some of the stand out items from the auction included the life-sized Half-Life Gravity Gun that went for $21,000 and one of the rarest video games on the planet, the Nintendo World Championships Grey #60 that went for $11,500.  A lucky bidder also won a guest starring role in a Penny Arcade strip for $10,000.

The proceeds from the gala and auction add to donations already contributed by gamers around the world.  In total, Child’s Play has raised more than $1.5 million this year. 

“The gala and auction always brings in a lot of donations, but it is just one part of Child’s Play,” said Jamie Dillion of Child’s Play Charity.  “The real heroes are all the gamers who organize local events and send in individual donations that account for the vast majority of what we raise every year.  We couldn’t do this without all of their support” 

Started in 2003, Child’s Play http://www.childsplaycharity.org, supported by the entire video game community, has raised more than $10 million dollars in toys, games and cash for hospitalized kids since its inception.

Edit: I just got another email from CPC.  So far they've made $1.95 million, not 1.5 :D

Progress

It's amazing how much progress can be made on a single project just by getting a few extra sets of eyes to look it over with you.  I'm not done with my rewrites yet, but I'm making progress.  And so far, my critique group likes what I've written with the exception of a few minor things here and there.  (When I say minor, what I mean is that they're easy to fix, not that the changes would be unnoticeable.  I can fix these issues with a sentence or two, but the actual narrative takes a big turn by making those changes.)

If I keep it up, I know I'll be able to meet my beginning-of-January deadline to have this ready to query again.

What kind of progress have you made this month?  Have you reached any big goals for the month or year?  It IS December.  How did those new-year's resolutions go?  Have you surpassed your own or anyone else's expectations?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spread the word

Looks like I only have three entries for the book giveaway that ends on December 28th.  Let's spread the word!  This is a signed copy of one of the best books that came out this year (in my opinion).

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to keep the contest open until I have at least fifteen entries.  That's not a whole lot, but I think that's fair.  All I ask of you, my readers, is that you tell your friends about the contest and get them to enter!  If I get fifteen or more entries by the 28th, then the contest will end on schedule.  But if we don't have fifteen by the 28th, I'm going to keep it open longer.

Just send them here!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Video!

So yesterday was my birthday.  My wife got me the DVD of Scott Pilgrim VS. The World!  So in honor of my birthday and this AWESOME movie, here's a video.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Modernizing Language in modern Fantasy

Let me start by saying that throughout this post, when I say, "modern fantasy" I'm talking about fantasy stories written after the year 2000.

So I picked up a novel at the book store the other day, read all the way through the first chapter and about half way through the second.  I really liked it: the characters and story were both VERY engaging and enough questions were posed that I wanted to know the answers.  But something kept me from wanting to read more: the language.  It felt stiff and archaic.  Not so much the word choices as the patterns of speech.  I didn't find it difficult to understand or annoying, but at the same time I couldn't find a "rhythm" that truly pulled me into the narrative.  As far as I could tell, everything was grammatically correct, just an older style of speech that forced me to concentrate too much on the actual sentence and distracting me from the story overall.

I'm going to go back to the book at some point because I had a pretty bad headache at the time.  I'm sure that influenced my decision not to buy the book, and I REALLY want to know what happens next, but it got me thinking:

How important is it to have older speech styles and patterns in fantasy?  Never mind urban fantasy, I'm talking about the classic settings.  Should the archaic styles be prevalent?  Should only a few characters use those styles?  Should those characters be major or minor characters?

Personally, I'd like to see more fantasy move forward with language.  I'm not saying a modern dialect should show up in the pages.  In fact, I hope that never happens.  But I love finding authors who use language in a way that is setting appropriate without making me, the reader, feel as though I'm trying to listen to an English professor from the 1880's.

That's my thought.  What do all of you think?  I'd love to hear other opinions AND suggestions for great fantasy novels!  I'm looking for a good book to read.

Also, go enter my contest!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Um...

So I came up with what I thought might be a thought-provoking post, but as I sit at my computer on my lunch break, I'm trying to sit still enough to settle my stomach.  I'm feeling VERY queasy, and that's making it hard to think.  I'll try again on Wednesday.

In the meantime, go to last Wednesday's review of SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White and enter to win a signed copy of the book!  Contest closes December 28th.

Also, please click on the Salvation Army link in the sidebar and consider donating a couple bucks to help keep shelters open as the weather grows cold.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Charity of the Month: The Salvation Army

You see them on the street corners, in front of the supermarket, the mall... pretty much everywhere you might happen to go throughout the Christmas season.  They're the Salvation Army Bellringers.  I didn't know until this year, but the Salvation Army has homeless shelters, shelters for battered women, family shelters, drug and alcohol rehab centers, and many, many more community programs that help those in need.

I picked the Salvation Army this month specifically because the weather is getting cold.  Their shelters are a great place for the homeless to find safety and warmth when the temperatures drop.  I know that these shelters provide Christmas celebrations, and that's wonderful, but I really want these shelters around so that these men and women without a home have a place to stay warm and stay alive.

So please click on the link in the sidebar and give a few bucks to help out those in need.

Merry Christmas!