Game of Thrones and Adaptation; Bursting with Books Events

25 Apr

I don’t have a finalized list of events where R.J. Hore, Larry Flewin and I will be selling books yet. Stay tuned, but if you’re in the Winnipeg-ish area, we’re potentially getting a last minute table at the Mother of Dragons Craft Sale. I only told Ron about it two weeks ago – I’ll be surprised if we’re in. I’ll post a list as soon as more is finalized. Keycon is a go, and I need to switch some shifts around to be at several events.

Editing is going slower than anticipated, but I am making good progress on the current WIP. This is surprising, because despite me reading a lot of classic sci-fi, I’m up to the end of season 4 in Game of Thrones.

I probably should like all of this more than I do, and, from a creative standpoint, I’m really impressed with all the craftmanship that is associated with making each and every episode. I’m not a purist who will complain about this or that in the books, because I think a healthy part of all story telling is knowing how to adapt it for whatever you’re doing. Internalized monologues work well for books (and surprisingly, some musicals) but it can be tough to translate for a lot of stories on screen. It still amazes me how much is cut out from books, steamlined and still the series is around 10 hours a season.

I’ll say in general, I really like the sets and the majority of costumes for male characters. I’m all over the place on costumes for female characters. I’m spoiled, as often times I think I watch historical flicks for the costume porn. Granted, one of the things that irks me are the people who get all in a snit because they aren’t 100% historically accurate. Sometimes this is more warranted than others, but I’d probably be going on about all these middle-eastern characters played by Europeans as opposed to ‘they couldn’t get that shade of blue’.

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I get more anal when people are griping about a fantasy that isn’t ‘accurate to medieval’. Besides the obvious that the medieval ages isn’t limited to one time and place (I suppose the 11th century Spanish dressed differently than the folks living in what would eventually be Germany in 900) fantasy can have whatever rules they want so long as they’re consistent. Granted, I find it easier to do historical research now due to internet availability, but I think for films they’re justifiable in making certain changes because they’re making films. I make cracks about lack of helmets all the times, but it’s easier to emote when your face isn’t obscured.

I’ll talk about my favorite and least-favorite costumes in another post, probably when I’m at least caught up to the end of season 6, which is what the local library has in stock.

What I really like is the opening credits and the map of the cities. I’m saying this as I ink and play around with maps on my own. I was originally ‘meh’ about it, but I think it really makes the scope of the world more visual for watchers. I know I’m sounding silly because I was never a person who appreciated all the maps I’ve seen in the average book, until now, anyways.  What is interesting is that it’s starting to deviate from the book’s timeline but I doubt the audience would tolerate a lack of Dany, Tyrion, and Jon chapters from Feast for Crows for an entire season.

Either way, I’ll post again with the list of places we’ll be selling books in the near future. I got one book to polish and send off, another rough draft to finish. Guess I should stop blogging and get on it.

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Dear Future Self; A Song of Ice and Fire

30 Mar

I know my publication record’s not been great – I’ve talked before about self publishing and while I have had two books under contract for the past two years, I haven’t been able to formalize any release dates. I get a bit of flack from other writers I see at shows, asking why it’s been at least five years since ToO’s release, why I haven’t really gotten anything else out.

The short answer is that I have been writing, but I’ve been a bit anal about the editing process. Not counting the two projects currently under contract with Burst Books that are with an editor (ball’s been in her court for a while) and I told myself I wasn’t going to bug them until I finished editing the sequel to Witchslayer’s Scion.

I’m still kind of working on it. I’m getting real close, and I’m off for a few days to a chalet where I’m going to have hours to work on it. I’ve been working on it and the current WIP (Science Fiction NaNoWriMo). The main problem is that I gave myself ample time between working on it and attending to other projects. I need to leave my future self better notes moving forward, to say the least.

If you follow me on Goodreads you’ll note that I’ve recently read both A Dance with Dragons and Fire and Blood. This isn’t for hype of the show (which I’ve now seen the first four episodes. I was waiting for Martin to finish the books first. I have the next six episodes I’ll watch at the chalet in between exercising and having my little artist retreat) so much as I wanted something long to read for my long flight to Hawaii. Of course, I couldn’t figure out how to upload books from the library in the eleventh hour, but I still read them while I was on vacation once I got back and played around with the tablet.  Yes, I’ve had an Ereader before, I ran into some technical difficulties more than a year ago and . If you’re curious why I didn’t just buy it, let’s just say the new style of covers doesn’t match my old style of covers. Yes, I’m someone who cares about that sort of thing for my library. I’ll probably do my best just to ensure they all match if and when the series concludes in book format.

Why I finally caved on the tv series: well, I’ll be honest and although I had no objections to the casting I wanted the book characters to stay the book characters in my head. I’m honestly feeling a bit of a creative dry spell in terms of drawing as well as working in detail for my novels. What I need to do is watch more science fiction and read more in that vein for Chimera (the WIP) but I am honestly kind of amazed at the massive scope of undertaking some of these movie and tv series take. I’m not just talking the writing (which is obviously super important) but back in my day we were (un)lucky to get a sequel, because they usually happened well after the movie (Star Wars, Indiana Jones were exceptions. Okay, now my brain is rattling off more but I can name more bad sequels than good sequels. Things like 8 Harry Potter movies would have been unheard of) and they were usually pretty terrible.

Of course, now I care more about the technical side of things. I pay attention to lighting and camera work, set design, costume, music. And of course, the writing. There’s a lot to unpack with Game of Thrones, my best guess is that Tyrion ends up ruling Westeros at series finale. I’m also guessing GRRM will veer away from the show: for all we know he’ll put Stannis on the Iron Throne. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Review of Alita: Battle Angel

12 Mar

I got interested when I watched this.

 

That girl reminded me of my niece. So I took my niece to go see the film. Nervous as heck that it was going to be too gross for her. She really enjoyed it.

I also know nothing about the source material. I saw a 90 second clip from youtube from the anime after I got home from the film because you show a few people the trailer, Youtube reads you or something. So don’t ask me how it fairs compared to the source material.

Overall, think of it like high-end graphics Pinocchio, if Pinocchio had a past he couldn’t shake or remember and his duty was to fight injustice.

A doctor who repairs cyborgs finds a core with a still-living brain in the trash heap beneath the last floating city. The cyborg is just the face and chest with the heart, when he gives her a body she wakes, unable to remember who she is.  She discovers the world around her, and learns that there’s more to her new father than meets the eye: He is a Hunter Warrior, a bounty hunter that gets rid of villainous cyborgs who haunt the regular folk, and he knows more about her past than she’s letting on. This leads to her befriending and falling in love with a boy named Hugo.

The first third of the film is us watching her be very human, even though she’s synthetic and the oversized eyes are a constant reminder that with the exception of her brain, Alita is mostly a machine. We learn more about her father Ido and his ex-wife Chireen, why they do what they do, as well as the world around them. I really enjoyed parts, but I felt like the world was kind of empty – Iron City seems kind of cheerful at least during the day, although you learn the truth about people in what I thought were good twists. Learning more about the past feels organic, as Alita is at least 300 years old, and the technology that she came from has been lost.

Most of my nitpicks were more from my writer’s brain then someone who was just enjoying the film. If Iron City is so bad, why more people aren’t living outside of it, and why an old Martian Battle Cruiser (300 years!) has been abandoned for so long, how are these very dangerous fighting cyborgs taken out by paralysis and stripped of their parts, etc. If you really think about it, these cyborgs should be trying to disable each other as opposed to fighting, but I’ll shut up because the fight sequences are fantastic.

One thing I didn’t think about until later is that it does play into a favourite trope of mine: Bloodless carnage. Basically, if you’re human, there’s going to be some blood but it’s not graphic. People and animals are implied to be killed offscreen. Cyborgs we see the full meal deal. This trope I recognized when I was a kid – basically it doesn’t count because they’re robots. Turn to black stuff red and suddenly you can’t sell Mattell products during commercials.

(Okay fine: Jack’s scratched up. You see my point. Spoiler Alert: Hugo and the dog are the only two characters we get to see bleed red).

Anyway – really enjoyed it, good flick overall. I’d be nervous to take anyone younger than 11 to the movie, but it depends on the kid. My niece liked it, but I’d probably say more kids closer to 13 than 11. Go see it for the graphics alone, the creativity in the cyborgs and seeing how they move is worth the price of admission.

Coming of Age

16 Feb

I’ve always been the aunt who gives books (not mine!) for Christmas or birthdays. It became a cliche after a while. A few years ago, my niece shook her Christmas present and was like, “I wonder what it is – Lego and a book!” I responded with, “You’re sure?” She replied, “That’s what you always do!”

My sister was never as keen on reading as my parents were to us, so I tied in vain with a variety of good quality chapter books to get them to read. (Archie Comics, however, seem to do the initial trick). Anyway, my niece discovered Harry Potter about a year ago, and has become an avid reader. I think they’ve had my Narnia stuff for more than half a year and I’m not convinced they’ve touched it, but I’ve always been the sort of person happy to lend a book out.

I read A Dance with Dragons over the past few weeks. One night, at my parent’s my niece, now 11, saunters over.

Scarlet: Whatcha reading?

Me: A really thick fantasy novel.

Scarlet: Okay (tries to see for herself)

Me: *Closes ereader screen* Why don’t you read that book I downloaded for you?

Scarlet: Sounds good to me! *she finds the book faster than I can*

The title in question, if you’re curious, is The Wizard’s Dog.

I watched this kid not only learn to understand what I was saying but learn to talk back to me. I am overly critical of movies and tv shows that they watch (to an extent; mostly when they’re short and there’s a big difference between what my 10 year old nephew wants to watch and what my three year old niece wants to watch) and I still have no idea what happened to my DVD copy of The Princess Bride. It went missing after I brought it on a day trip, they wanted to ‘finish it later’.

So we’re sitting around the table another night and I ask if she wants to borrow the eReader. You know, read the book she really wanted.

Scarlet: You keep it for the weekend. I’m reading Divergent.

My Sister: I have no idea what it’s about.

Me: I read it a few years ago. Society is split into factions, they decide if they want to be brave or smart or self-sacrificing… *sister’s eyes are glazing over* There’s a movie.

My sister: Yeah, they usually base movies off books, hey?

My brain, meanwhile, is going. “That’s a YA book. …she’s almost a teenager now, isn’t she?” Sparing you the difference between twelve year olds in the 90’s and twelve year olds now, let’s just say I’ve read quite a bit of YA material. Popular YA material. I have no problem with giving kids material aimed above their reading level. I have no problem letting them read stuff I find… possibly a little mature.

I just don’t want it to be ASOIAF. My coworkers are telling me they can’t get into it because it’s so violent and full of incest. We respond to assaults all the time. When she’s in her later teens, sure – if she’s interested.

Then my brain went into the ‘problematic’ YA of yesteryear. I don’t want this to turn into Paranormal Romance Bashing, because I’ve read some that’s quite tasteful and very well written and I don’t want to brush with wide strokes. One of my coworkers reads more books than I do a year, and it’s mostly of this genre.

But some of it makes me go, “…Nu uh.” I ain’t going to tell her what to read. I just am going to give her as much quality fiction as I can. Around the time I’m thinking this, it occurs to me: she’s got a copy of Tower of Obsidian (she paid with about $2.47 at the time). I wrote two books specifically for her – that are yet unpublished. She loved the Wonder Woman movie, which I still haven’t seen. I’m already ahead of the curve.

Take that, media that treats young girls like vapid morons. Ya ain’t getting these ones. Not on this chick’s watch.

Oh Those Chickens

5 Feb

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I won’t bore you to death about my trip. Had a great time, might have got some tendonitis in my right foot, have been back for just over a week and have gotten next to nothing done.

Shouldn’t say Nothing-Nothing. Pretty much sketched and drew for the past week.  Got relatively little written, and my editing plans have fallen by the wayside, as I haven’t been home much. Weather’s been super-cold (-42ish I’ve heard -49ish elsewhere in the southern part of the province) and we just got a ton of snow. I need to go home and at least shovel out the driveway, but I would like to get some organizing done and maybe get some groceries.

But if you’re considering a Hawaiian vacation and not sure what Island: I highly recommend Kauai. My uncle did Oahu and Kauai years ago; he said he liked both islands but we both agreed it’s nice to be on one that doesn’t have a lot of big cities and you can really disconnect. So, here’s some pictures. I took some video, but we’ll keep it simple here:

 

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The underwater ones were taken while doing scuba diving. The snorkeling was actually pretty decent and I probably should have taken more pictures while I was snorkeling, but let’s be honest I am still learning how to use a GoPro (thanks for the loan, dad!)

Anyhew, it’s nice to be back and I’ve been pretty relaxed. I need to focus and get some work done, so even though I’m technically still on vacation til the weekend (either Friday or Saturday – I have a stat day pending) time to get back to work.

Travel, Health, Vacation

16 Jan

Sorry if I was a little Vaguebooking with the last post in terms of what and where I’m going. In a nutshell, my seniority at work is finally starting to kick in, but at the station I’m at I’m technically still pretty low-rung. I was only able to take half a tour off during the summer for the last two years, but make lemonade and I don’t mind a winter vacation.

I was being a loser and not picking anything. And of all the places I managed to squeeze for a good deal, I’m leaving for Kauai on Saturday for a week. The Garden Island has been on my bucket list for years, and I always assumed it was too expensive compared to other places I could go. Anyway, because I booked last minute and my parents have a timeshare – and they haven’t used it for a while so they had a ton of points – I’m going on the cheap.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s still going to cost and I’m blessed to be in a place where I can not only take the time to go on vacation, but I’m going to be able to focus on my health.

I picked Santa Theresa two years ago due to the fact it was a little off the beaten path and the place (besides being a party town) was what I call a Yoga and Smoothie Beach town. I wanted to be active and bike and hike and learn to surf. I think a big problem with EMS, especially my experience – is the atmosphere that almost encourages fatigue and burn out. Now, no one put a gun to my head and said I had to work a ton of OT and I chose to work at a busy station for three years, but student loans and everything weigh down on you and there’s more to life than having that unfortunate reality weigh you down. I paid off my student loan and traveled when I saved up money, and even though I’m still paying down my car loan things are way more manageable and the whole ‘buying a house’ thing is taking longer than anticipated. Part of the reason I didn’t travel last year was due to I thought I would have a house by now and needed furniture and wanted to budget accordingly.

My issue is that I can be very tunnel-minded and not necessarily do things my body needs in order to recover. I think it’s super good to be more mindful than just the cliche of eat well and exercise – and I’ve left many a really nice lunch back at the station fridge to eat something that ends up rather disappointing – but to rest, re-energize and do things you enjoy. I took my open water scuba diver when I was nineteen, and only got to use it two years ago. Planning on doing at least two dives next week, but I’m also planning on playing the rest of the week by ear. I guess it’s like all things: getting good at writing took longer than I thought it would, publishing is by far slower, and even travel and other life goals are taking longer than I thought they would.

Not for lack of planning or effort on my part. I think part of life is acknowledging what you want and what is realistic, and acknowledging it doesn’t always happen on the timeline you originally wanted.

I’m choosing to remain grateful for what I have, and the opportunities that will come. I’ll post some pictures of the trip when I get back.

2018 Round Up

8 Jan

In January, no less!

First year I think in a long time that I haven’t finished my Goodreads reading challenge. I used to plan to read about 50 books a year, but then realized one a week was 52 books. I’m not going to say I cheated by listening to short stories – the intent was to give me inspiration for my NaNoWriMo. I was really busy up until about two days ago, and then it was like everything calmed right down, with the exception of a few minor trades here and there.

Writing-Wise I am still waiting to hear back from my editor pertaining to my two books under contract. One is mostly done and the other we’re working on. I haven’t heard anything in a while so I’m sure she’s busy with someone else. My goal is to have the edits for book 2 in the Sword and Sorcery series (series?!) edited and sent to my publisher by the end of my vacation. I’m currently on a stat day – I was doing really good with my fitness kickstart in November, and I kind of fell on and off the horse throughout December – not so much anything other than my day job really isn’t conducive to me hitting the gym after getting off of a 12 hour shift (if I’m off on time – hah!) nights are easier but I did a few swaps. We’re fully staffed and OT is at a premium, but I don’t care and am enjoying my stat day. I bruised my arm in October(?) after a blood donation went not so hot so I pretty much took the month off after. I honestly haven’t done a heck of a lot with the NaNo project in the past few weeks, but to be fair I have been editing other projects and have a few projects for anthologies I want to submit to.

Ron and Larry have us a table at Keycon Lite on February 2 – I’ll blog about it later and post some more relevant info. I’ll be there (hopefully!) because after much humming and hawing I booked travel plans! I was tempted to just go someplace within a day’s drive and things kinda fell into place. More detail to come on that, I’ll focus on the arts.

So I finished the rough draft of the sequel to Witchslayer’s Scion in May – took a lot longer than I anticipated to draft it, and I’ve been very lazily editing the hard copy Ron looked over. I haven’t heard back since I told them I did it if they were interested in turning it into a series, but anything’s possible.

After that I wrote a few shorts and a novella that takes place during Witchslayer’s Scion. I decided it would be a nice supplemental bit of material that helps flesh out the world outside the main character’s POV. I am tempted to write a few supplemental shorts, whether or not the publisher is interested is beyond me, but if they don’t want them I can finally have an excuse to learn sygil and self-pub a few ebook novellas.

When Words Collide was excellent this year, and spoiled baby got to spend a day (and an evening!) in Banff. I haven’t heard back from the publishers concerning the MG/YA books I pitched to them, but after a long pause from another publisher I’m not holding my breath on any of them. Onward and upward. I’ll be gone for the first week of my vacation, back before the end of the month and hopefully I’ll break the tasks down into manageable sizes. I’m not the most organized person when it comes to my creative works, but rather than paint-by-number it does help for me to have a general plan that allows for creativity to happen.

As for this coming year – I’m hoping both Dreams of Mariposa (Steampunk/Horror) and Witchslayer’s Scion (Sword and Sorcery) are ready to go later this year, and hopefully I can then pitch sequels and potentially other projects as well. As for the MG/YA, I’ll keep you posted. The next real focus should be finishing my NaNo and letting it breathe for a bit. I don’t know how some authors can write and submit so quickly – and my drafts are way more streamlined than when I was in junior high and high school. Maybe it’ll come with experience.

Hope you had a blessed 2018, and may your 2019 be a wonderful time for you and yours.