Fact Friday: 30/03/12

Did you know…

Death by guillotine was still a common method of capital punishment in France up until 1981?

Science says you’ll turn out exactly like your parents and here are 7 reasons why.

One loose bolt once caused the demise of an entire moon rocket?

Saturn is plagued by a Hexagon-Shaped Storm?

Did you learn anything interesting this week?  Share with us in the comments!


WIP Wednesday: 28/03/12

Not a long post today but I just wanted to say…

I have slowly but surely gotten back into the flow of things. Listening to Holly Lisle’s Beating Writer’s Block helped immensely, but more on that tomorrow. I’m using her technique of writing to a timer in 10 minute intervals with fun and great success.

I am gearing up for Round 2 of A Round of Words in 80 Days (April 2nd, 2012) which I am fully committing to this go-round. I will have my goals posted on time and stick to them. Or, if I get overwhelmed, I will adjust my goals immediately so as not to block-up. I will do better at visiting fellow ROWers and lending encouragement.

That is all. ROWers, see you all in April!

Found/Black Out Poetry Tuesday: Emotions and Sharp Edges

Found Poetry is the art of re-framing phrases and words from books, horoscopes, or anything with text, and shaping it into poetic form. You can find more information on Found Poetry here. For other examples to enjoy, you can go here.

Deep waters

A soul full of



Unusual emotion

Sometimes inescapable.

Whispers, lips

Pressed together quietly


The Sharp Edge…

Sometimes I think all of my poems end in smut.

Illustration Monday: Maps

I never had much of an appreciation for maps until I started Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways Course, and even then, not until my second third crack at it. Except, not only do I now have an appreciation for them, I find them absolutely vital to my process. You see, *I* need the maps so that *I* don’t get lost in the vast expansion of my story’s canvas.

Before now, I never bothered with any of this. I’d decided I had it all figured out in my head and it would stay that way. (Go ahead and laugh. I would.) Now that I’ve reached Dirge: Draft #1 take 506? I’m starting to think otherwise.

So this all has become terribly important to figure out. I am looking at these as works in progress and not finalized, because the rule is the rules change. so they are extremely vague, but they serve the purpose of letting me see at a glance where my Volk territories are and where stuff happens.

So, here’s my Big Picture Map:

Dirge Concepts: Labyrinthine Forest

Art (c) S.J. Collins

Told you it was vague.

This is Labyrinthine Forest.  You’ll see that there’s a lot of white space, that’s intentional. I’m trying not to get too bogged down in details for the moment. I want certain things to develop organically. And in fact, in making this map? Something did. I never gave much thought to how big each Volk territory is, but in drawing them out, my muse whispered some very good reasons why the Southern territory is larger than the others. Why the Eastern territory is the smallest…and now I have lots of very coo ideas about how I can create some very juicy inter-volk conflict that was desperately needed. Before I only had a vague notion that they weren’t particularly happy with the way that their societies are being run, but now I have some reasons why. And why is always important.

I also have plans for that long winding path…

Oh and, that huge circle on the south-east corner of the page? I didn’t label it but that would be Hallovaxe or, as the Volk think of it, The Caged City. But more on that next time.

What I’m Reading: 15/03/12

What I’m Still Reading:

 The Complete Artist Way by Julia Cameron. I’m on Week 10 of the Walking in this World section. ‘Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie’, which talks about the importance of having a strong sounding board, which is something I’ve touched on before. It also talks about being wary of over-eager mentors who you’ve outgrown. My sister started taking an art class at the beginning of Jan. She liked it at first, but now, the more she goes, the more her instructor disagrees with her on stylistic points.  Because she’s new to this, she’s been taking his word as gospel. I’ve been drawing since I was about 12 and my work then isn’t anywhere near as good as what the good sister has managed to accomplish in a few short months. But that’s just like her, she excels at everything. But because I have the experience with it, and can therefore critique with a discerning eye…I told her flat out not to give her instructor too much credit because it sounds like he can’t distinguish style from technique, and that its OK, and necessary for her to experiment with things even if he disagrees with it. I think she’s starting to have more fun again, but I can tell she’s already outgrown his instruction. I just hope he doesn’t discourage her too much, because for a beginner, she’s doing remarkably well. Her own style is developing so quickly! I think artists have to be very careful about what sort of mentor they want to attach themselves too. I’m lucky that most of my mentors-both writing and drawing-are very close friends of mine who guide as well as support me on my journey.


Growing Up Native American: An Anthology

Still chugging along with this book, and enjoying the insights into the Native American perspective. I’m surprised by how many ideas its generated for my character. I was just expecting to get a handle on the role her culture plays, but I’ve got so much more! Something’s sort of nagged at me though. Why do Native Americans embrace the word “Indian”? I would have thought they’d be loathed to call themselves that since it was an English term pushed on them because the English invaders (History may be shaped by the victor, but that doesn’t mean we have to encourage it) thought they were landing in India? Or was this one of those things I was mistaught in high school? I’d love to hear from any Native American readers though I very much doubt I have any…

What I Just Started Reading…

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Borrowed from my very good friend. This blurb was not on the back cover, instead there was an excerpt that was quite creepy. I was expecting this book to be a Horror novel about an evil demon baby. I have to say I’m relieved it’s not. Much as I love to read edgy books, I’m a total whimp when it comes to outright Horror novels…and the story I’m getting instead looks a lot more up-my alley so to speak. Bring on the Urban Fantasy!

Gangster by M Jones

From the dark, basement speakeasies of 1926 Chicago, to the decadent parties of the Hollywood elite, psychopathic Clara slices her way through various people across America in her quest for fame. Brought along for the whirlwind ride of her murderous rampage, her enigmatic alien companion patiently waits for the opportunity to find his own target, a former friend set for assassination. He doesn’t understand Clara’s random need to destroy, but then, he is new to this strange, human landscape of murderers and victims. He can’t wait to simply do his job and leave this vicious world behind.

Sent to me for review by the author. Because I’ll be reviewing it on BSR, I probably will only refer to it here vaguely if at all. So far though? It’s sadistically hilarious, and the prose is elegant and strangely poetic considering the subject matter.

Gentlemen Prefer Nerds by Joan Kilby

Self-professed nerd Maddie Maloney is an expert on jewels. Jewel thieves are another matter entirely! So when a mysterious Englishman warns her that a thief known as The Chameleon is after the rare pink diamond on display in her aunt’s shop, she tells herself it’s just a joke. Even if she can’t get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome out of her mind…

But Fabian Montgomery doesn’t give up easily. He’s everywhere she goes, convinced the thief will strike. And when the diamond does go missing-and Maddie is suspected of stealing it-he whisks her away from the police and together they pursue The Chameleon.

Fabian plunges her into a glamorous world far from her humble workshop and transforms geeky Maddie into a sophisticated siren capable of espionage. Her mission: to seduce The Chameleon and steal back the diamond.

But Fabian isn’t telling her everything-like who he works for, and why he’s so interested in The Chameleon…

This one I specially requested from the author (thank you Joan Kilby!), because even I need something light-hearted every once in awhile and I know a few of my Review readers love Romance. Again, I probably will only refer to this vaguely….

What are you reading these days? Anything you can recommend? Books are my passion, so I’d love to hear from you!

WIP Wednesday: 14/03/12

At this point, I’m cutting my losses and gearing up for Round 2 of ROW80. I purchased Holly Lisle’s How to Beat Writers Block cause I’m suffering a serious case of “everything I type sucks and I will never be happy again.”

What? You thought writers weren’t dramatic? Psh, amateur.

Every time I think of what I want to do with Dirge, I get a huge rush. The creativity is flowing and I feel like I have it all figured out. Then I sit down to write and nothing gets executed the way I feel it should, and then I start second guessing myself and then I stop writing. And the more I don’t write, the more self destructive and snappish I get with friends and loved ones.  And I don’t want to be that person. I don’t know if I’ve just killed this story from too much over thinking or what but I’m going to read Holly’s book and see if I can’t sort myself out. Jury’s out on whether it will help, but Holly has proven to be an invaluable mentor and I’m sure SOMETHING will come of it. Even if I just decide to shelf Dirge once and for all…

Here’s to breathing and hoping.

Found/Black Out Poetry Tuesday

Found Poetry is the art of re-framing phrases and words from books, horoscopes, or anything with text, and shaping it into poetic form. You can find more information on Found Poetry here. For other examples to enjoy, you can go here.

Bound will, you are fallen

When I ride all eager and quick.

But how do I know danger

When my will is dead?