Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why I think the Mayans might be on to something

Sometime around Halloween-ish both my cell phone and my car battery died within two days of each other, making it very difficult to call AAA to have them come fix things, and to get to the store to get a new phone. The car battery had never been replaced, and was probably due to die, but the cell phone was a total fluke because NOTHING EVER HAPPENS TO MY CELL PHONE. I don't accidentally put it in the washing machine. I don't leave it on top of my car and then somehow back over it. I don't wear it running, so it gets neither sweaty nor dropped. I don't give it to small children to keep them entertained.

Okay, so fast forward about a month. Randomly, the GPS thing for my running watch stops working, the keyboard on our PC gets all persnickety IN THE MIDDLE OF NANOWRIMO no less, and one of the mice we have also stops working (that's mice, as in plural of mouse, the computer thingy, not mice as in a whole breed of vermin...I mean pets).

I kinda hope the world hurries it up and ends soon, because these little things portuning Armageddon are so damn annoying.

P.S. Somehow blogger is okay with "persnickety" but not with "portuning." Have I totally made up a word here?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Fierce RadianceA Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My mother-in-law suggested this book to me after a conversation about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (which I really thought I had reviewed, but I can't find it), so somehow, I had it in my head that this was going to be a non-fiction. Don't make the same mistake: it's a historical fiction.

As such, it's an okay story. Many of the characters and situations are contrived. Of course, the protagonist's son develops pneumonia but can't get penicillin despite the fact that his grandfather owns a pharmaceutical company. So, of course he's given some other drug, that has a bad side effect. But it almost doesn't matter because his family is rich.

Of course there's an unsolved crime that tears the lovers apart. And of course they have an awkward and unsatisfying reconciliation at the end because there's a war going on and who knows if they'll ever see each other again.

I get that sometimes situations in novels have to be contrived to move the story forward, but I guess I never liked any of the characters enough to be completely drawn in. This story read like a first novel (although I think it's Belfer's second): a little too much head-jumping in character perspective, characters that were too similar in personality, characters who were too obvious, and the overuse of "banter" as a conversational mechanism.

It's not bad, it's just not that good.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 23, 2012

Excerpt from my Nerd-ocalypse book

So I finally published an excerpt from my book on NaNoWriMo, and I thought I'd do the same here. Bear in mind that I haven't done a single bit of editing whatsoever, and that Christine's name may or may not be changed to Daphne. And she may or may not turn into a zombie. So. Make of it what you will:

In movies, the apocalypse is always caused by something fast and tragic: a giant meteor colliding with the earth, a nuclear blast, a massive earthquake that destroys New York and triggers tsunamis around the world. Christine never believed that this was how life as she knew it would end. She always thought world war three would be fought over the last barrel of oil. People would become desperate, hungry, with no fuel to run tractors, to move produce to markets. History showed that starving people were desperate people. Violence would break out. Machinery would break down and stop running. It would be worse in the cities than the country. People who lived in cities relied on the system. Without fuel, and food, the system would break down. As the machinery of society broke down, people would stop going to work. Paychecks wouldn't fill an empty belly. Necessities that people had become accustomed to would fail. Basic sanitation would stop. The sewage plants would back up and the water would be undrinkable. Christine knew that survivors would have access to guns, water, and would know how to hunt and farm. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fan Fiction

I have been creating fan fiction in my imagination my entire life, but it's only been in the past year or so that I've learned that that's what it's called. It was refreshing to learn that there were other people out there who created fan fiction. I mean, I never assumed I was the only one, but it's not like my friends and I sit around discussing the next imaginary adventures we've thought up for Harry Potter or anything. As opposed to the not imaginary adventures J.K. Rowling thought up for him. Because Harry Potter is real. And I'm Dobby-esque in that I can never just say Harry. It's always Harry Potter.
Although I would like to point out that Robert Pattinson
was Cedric Diggory  before he was Edward Cullen, in case you've forgotten.

(And as a side note, I really don't recommend reading fan fiction. I don't have issue with people taking legitimate characters and doing what they want with them, because once you put art out there, it's out there, and most people don't make any money off it anyway--it's really more like a silly hobby. But the real reason you shouldn't read fan fiction is because, in general, it sucks. Authors like George R.R. Martin (who HATES fan fiction, by the way) get paid to do what they do because they're really, really good at it. There's no way you've thought up something better for Jon Snow to do than he has. Jon Snow couldn't think up something better for himself to do. You, for sure, can't.)

Anyway, I digress. Although this entire post is probably a digression. Anyway, I've been thinking about fan fiction a lot lately, partially because I've been watching this ridiculous new show in which I feel like the characters could be doing a lot more. If only I were in charge. Which, of course, doesn't mean I'll stop watching the show.

The other reason I've been thinking about fan fiction lately is because I've signed up for NaNoWriMo (and I'm way behind. That's what I *should* be doing rather than writing this post), and it's really, really hard to create characters.

I know that's a no shit! kind of statement. But it really is. I have lots of good ideas for what my characters should be doing, but it's really, really hard to make the characters real. They all feel so one-dimensional. Which is why it's so much easier, at least to me, to imagine someone else's character doing stuff.

On the other hand, lots of writers sell books with one-dimensional characters. I'm just not sure that's the sort of thing I'd tell my friends about.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Upping the ante

I had this whole post planned out about  how busy and harried my life has been lately. And then Sandy hit and I felt like an ass because, really, I've got no problems.

But that doesn't make me less busy or my life less hectic.

And it's going to be a bit more hectic this month because I've signed up for NaNoWriMo. So, in a month, I should have a completed novel. A poorly researched, and completely un-edited, but nonetheless written novel.

So if you don't hear from me for 30 days or so, that's what I'm up to.