Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #5: FINAL FANTASY IX

We have a guest poster visiting today to tell us about one of my favourite games, Final Fantasy IX (which is, incidentally, where my avatar comes from). Big welcome to Jeremy from Geeky Tendencies!

Final Fantasy IX is a fantasy role-playing game, and the ninth game in the series. It was released in 2000, and was the third and last Final Fantasy game in the main series released for the PlayStation. This one is my favorite of the Final Fantasy games.

The main protagonist is Zidane Tribal; a thief, member of the Tantalus Theater Troupe, and womanizer. At the start of the game, the Tantalus group is hired to kidnap Princess Garnet til Alexandros XVII. Zidane, in charge of the kidnapping, finds that Princess Garnet is more than willing to go with the theater group. Garnet is worried about her mother, Queen Brahne, and the wicked changes the queen is going through, and seeks help from her "Uncle Cid," who hired the Tantalus Theater Troupe to kidnap her. During the operation, Vivi Orunitia and Adelbert Steiner become involved, much to Steiner's disdain.

When trying to escape, the Tantalus airship, the Prima Vista, is shot out of the sky and lands in the Evil Forest. This begins the group's quest to find out what is behind the Queen's changing personality, and to try to stop a full-out war.

Each character has a character class and a unique set of skills that can be learned. For instance, Vivi is a black mage and Freya is a dragoon. You can expand on their classes by equipping new objects to characters. Objects carry abilities, and equipping them makes the abilities accessible. By battling, you earn ability points (AP). If you earn enough AP while an object is equipped, the character masters the ability, and doesn't need the object anymore in order to use it.

I love this game because it was made to be a salute to the Final Fantasy series as a whole. The creators have included multiple references to past Final Fantasy games, and it was meant to have the Final Fantasy feel that the earlier games provided. It was also a delightful step back to the fantasy genre after the past two games had more of a sci-fi feel to them.

Although the art style and gameplay has reverted to that of earlier Final Fantasies, the storytelling has not. The plot explores many emotions and ideas such as fear, death, hope, and my favourite, the nature of existence.

Overall, I loved the storyline, the ability system, and the labyrinth-like dungeons. There is not much you can complain about in this game except for the graphics, but they were terrific for its time. Final Fantasy IX is a must play for any RPG fan.  

Jeremy is a science fiction and fantasy addict. If he is not nose deep in a book, you can usually find him playing video games or practicing juggling.

Thanks for stopping by, Jeremy! Inspired to play some Final Fantasy now? I certainly am.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #6: DUNGEON DEFENDERS

If you are looking for an incredibly fun multiplayer game, look no further. Dungeon Defenders is a tower defense and action RPG released on October 19, 2011, by Trendy Entertainment. It was quite successful when it released, selling over 250,000 copies during the first two weeks. And I can see why. Some of my friends and I got a little bit obsessed with this game and played many, many hours of it because it is so addictive.

The game involves setting up towers and traps to defend against hordes of monsters that try to destroy a crystal you have to protect. Along with the towers, you also control a character that does melee or ranged damage, and can get armor, weapons, and familiars. There are originally four character classes (more were added later): the squire, who uses a sword and can set up barriers (don't ask me why he's not wearing pants. I really don't know); the apprentice, who uses a magic staff and sets up towers; the huntress, who lays down traps and uses a crossbow; and the monk, who puts down auras and uses a melee staff.

You can run through the campaign levels with a maximum of four players, and new maps and challenges have been added (like Capture the Flag!! Who can resist Capture the Flag?) that allow you to play with eight players. A neat feature of this game is that it is updated regularly, with new challenges, heroes, and downloadable content made available, which keeps it interesting. I used to play with the monk all the time, which I really enjoyed (he's really fast, and I like speed), but my new favourite hero is the Series EV, a robot that can lay down damaging beams and make a double of herself to attract and fool enemies.

Though my addicted craze over this game has faded now, it brought me hours of fun with friends and I still maintain it is a great game. Try it out with some buddies and you'll see what I mean.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Geek Pride Day and News

Jamie over at Mithril Wisdom has enlightened me about the importance of today: it is Geek Pride Day!! How did I not know about this? So go out, have a Star Wars marathon, watch Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, read a Terry Pratchett book, play a video game, have a round of Magic, or treat yourself to something geeky. I will not have time for anything major, but hopefully I will squeeze in a video game or something later tonight.

I also made it as one of the six finalists in Cherie Reich's flash fiction blogfest! Woohoo! Thanks to Cherie for holding a wonderful blogfest and inspiring some terrific stories. I had tons of fun reading the other entries, and am honoured to have made it to the final round. Go and vote for your favourite!

In other news, Rachel Morgan, a fabulous blogger and writer, has a new novelette out today, Traitor, third in the Creepy Hollow series. You can also get the first novelette of the series on Amazon for free on your Kindle this weekend, so check it out if you enjoy YA fantasy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cherie Reich's Flash Fiction Blogfest Entry

I discovered Cherie Reich's blogfest the other day and decided to join in! I have an awful time keeping my stories short (they usually turn into novels), so this was a challenge for me. But it was a great way to get me writing again when I wasn't feeling like it. The rules are to write a story below 300 words and begin with the clause "lightning flashed." So for your inspection and hopefully reading pleasure, I give you "Soul Stealer."

Lightning flashed, missing me by a mere two inches. I jumped as it lit up the dark, empty street. Who knew sorceresses had such hot tempers?

Her long hair blew in the wind and her green eyes sparked with anger. Literally.

"Give it back, little man," she hissed, advancing on me. Her voice might have been nice if it hadn't been coated with ice and rage.

She was suddenly right in front of me, gripping my throat and cutting off my air supply.

"I... I sold it," I managed to choke out in shock. She let go and I crumpled to the ground, gasping. I dealt with magic-users all the time, but usually not when they were awake. It was easier to steal their memories when they were asleep.

"To whom?"

Despite the fact that I might be fried for this woman's early breakfast in a minute, I was overcome by curiosity.

"Why do you want it back?" Memories were powerful magic, especially the ones from sorceresses and warlocks. I stole them and sold them to magic vendors in the black market. But I only took bad memories. I figured I was doing everyone a favour.

Her stare sent a chill through me and I fought the urge to scramble backwards on the hard cobblestone street. I gave her the name of the vendor. I thought she might strike me down then and there, but her expression softened.

"Memories are part of who we are, even the bad ones," she said. "You stole part of my soul, and I want it back." She turned and walked down the street in the direction of the black market, no doubt to recover the haunting memory I had stolen from her.

And as rain began to fall, I felt regret.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Once Upon a Time Finale

**Spoiler warning if you haven't seen the finale or any of this show yet**

Well, I really enjoyed the first season of Once Upon a Time. It started out good and just got better as it went on. The only thing I was worried about was that they might drag it on forever and Emma would never figure out the truth.

Hurray! I am happy that now she knows. There are so many interesting places for this story to go now, and I hope the writers take full advantage of that in the next season. I have also been waiting for Rumpelstiltzkin to discover that his Belle was not dead after all, and I'm glad they put that in this episode as well. I think there will be a pretty awesome war between Rumpelstiltzkin and Regina in the future.

I am curious about what the purple smoke Rumpelstilzkin released from the well means, however. I thought it sounded like he was releasing magic into the world again, but someone else suggested that he was just putting everything back the way it was before (because it looked like the clock stopped again). Please no--move the story forward, I say!

Watched Once Upon a Time? What did you think of Season 1 and the finale?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #7: MYST

Myst is an oldie but a goodie--a first-person adventure game released in 1993. I played it when I was young and loved it. I played it again more recently and still enjoyed it a lot.

In the game, you play as a stranger who has traveled to the mysterious island of Myst. There, you find a series of books that an explorer named Atrus has left on the now uninhabited island. These books allow you to travel to other worlds, and each world provides you with clues about what has happened to the game's characters.

Myst is a thinking game. This is one of those games, that after staying up for hours struggling through a puzzle, you shout "YES!! I'VE FIGURED IT OUT! I AM AWESOME!" in satisfied glee after finally getting it, thoroughly startling your roommate (or parent, or sibling, or dog, etc.) who had been sleeping in the next room. And no, using a walkthrough is not allowed.

Though the graphics aren't that great now, they were pretty awesome at the time. I still think the island and the different ages you visit are beautiful and convincing in their other-worldliness.

This is another one of those games that both gamers and non-gamers would enjoy. It is unusual in that there is no objective laid out for you at the start; you are free to wander around and figure out what you have to do. There is no time limit. There is no apparent enemy for you to fight and no violence. Myst is about enjoying a fascinating story as it unfolds through your discovery, observing, critically thinking, and puzzle solving.

I am not alone in my appreciation of this game either, as Myst was a hit when it came out, becoming the best-selling PC game until The Sims surpassed it in 2002. It has also gotten four sequels, which I have yet to play, but am looking forward to when I can find the time.

Played Myst? Going to play it now? It is relatively inexpensive on Steam, if you are interested in challenging your mind with this great game.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #8: MARIO KART

The latest version of this much-beloved game brings to the table new tracks, characters, and controller options. For those of you who have never played Mario Kart (and I am sad for your childhood), it is a racing game filled with Mario characters and crazy tracks where you can not only pick up boosts and other useful assists, but can deter your enemies by dropping bananas or throwing brightly coloured shells at them. Sounds childish? Well, this is Nintendo, remember, and Nintendo knows how to do things fun and colourful.

Mario Kart Wii, in my opinion, is the ultimate party game. I love it because non-gamers can have a ton of fun playing it even if they have never gamed before (note: I didn't say they'd be good at it, I said they'd have fun. The game does take some skill and practice to get good at, for you gamers who like a challenge).

The Wii version doesn't mess too much with the Mario Kart formula (which is fine with me), and just adds a few bells and whistles to enhance the play. You can use motion-controlled steering so it seems like you are using an actual wheel as pictured above (I find this incredibly difficult and prefer to use a Nunchuck, however I know lots people who like it). There are a total of 32 tracks, half of which are from previous games. You can use bikes in addition to karts (and they are awesome. The mach bike and the dolphin dasher are my favourites). There are also a few new items, like a lightning bolt that gives you a boost and then shrinks you if you don't bump into an enemy and pass it on, and a POW block that spins everyone out and gets rid of their items.

There are some super fun tracks, including the difficult Maple Treeway and Rainbow Road. And I thought the Rainbow Road track was fun in the Nintendo 64 version... they have improved it in this one by taking away the walls! (heheh yes, that was irony. Most of my friends hate that track because it is so hard.)

The AI is especially challenging in single player mode on 150cc, reacting to both your position in the race that you are playing and your overall number of points towards winning the cup. Get ready for a challenge if you want to unlock everything in this game!

Well, Nintendo, I applaud you for reviving one of my favourite games from the 64 in such a spectacular manner. If you love racing games with incredibly fun multiplayer modes, this one's for you!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Movie Review: THE AVENGERS

Saw it. Loved it. 'Nuff said.

But if you want more, here are some of my highlights:

I was worried that six heroes in the same movie would all demand center stage and create too many story lines. But I needn't have worried. Joss Whedon masterfully wove their individual stories into the main plot and allowed the characters' different personalities to play off each other wonderfully.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Robin (Cobie Smulders) from How I Met Your Mother playing uptight and awesome agent Maria Hill.

I'd never heard of Hawkeye before, but now I think he should get his own movie. A hero who appears to have an interesting back story, shoots explosive arrows and hits his mark without even looking? Yes, please.

Seeing all the heroes with their fantastic weaponry and then Black Widow standing beside them with her tiny pistol at the ready made me laugh. (Her cool, manipulative assassin character made up for her lack of interesting weaponry though.)

Joss Whedon, you have done it again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Loves Blogfest

Today is the First Loves Blogfest, hosted by the awesome ninja captain Alex J. Cavanaugh! I am jumping in at the last minute because it looks like a lot of fun. The idea is to post your first love in movies, music, books, and people, so here goes:

Movie -- The original Star Wars trilogy

I am the youngest of four, with two older brothers who influenced me in tomboy-ish activities like climbing trees, playing cops and robbers, fishing, catching frogs, and yes, movies. They loved the Star Wars trilogy and watched it over and over as we were growing up. I watched it because they did, and grew to love it too (in fact, I probably like it more than they do now). Star Wars introduced me to the joys of science fiction movies and led me to seek out science fiction books as well. Interesting fact--I used to be scared of Yoda and ran away whenever his scene in Dagobah came up in Episode V! I'm not sure why he scared me... I guess I just thought the grey-green monster was creepy. Now that scene where he is poking around Luke's stuff and having a tug-of-war with R2-D2 is one of my favourites!

Music -- Coldplay

I have a very wide taste in music. I like soundtracks, instrumental, rock, jazz, oldies, progressive, Christian, alternative, you name it... Pretty much anything but country. However, I often only like one or two songs from one band. Coldplay is one of the first bands that I enjoyed a lot of the songs. Their music is relaxing with catchy melodies.
Book -- Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!

When I was 11 or 12, my dad brought home some used books from a garage sale by Terry Brooks. He declared that they were wonderful and that I should read them. Attracted by the interesting cover (it was the older cover not shown here with a dog wearing glasses sitting in front of a book, a man holding an amulet and a wizard standing in front of him), I read Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! and loved it. It introduced me to the wonders of humorous fantasy and the genius of Terry Brooks. He writes a brilliant adventure story. (If you're interested in Brooks you can read a previous post about him here.)


I'm not sure if this counts as "love," but in Kindergarten I was best friends with a boy who wrote me a note on my birthday telling me he loved me. My mom thought this was so cute, she posted it on our kitchen wall, and I think it stayed up there for a few years. How embarrassing!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

#2 Progressive Hit on PureVolume

I'm not a huge fan of progressive metal. I have a couple songs on my ipod by Seventh Wonder and Kamelot, used to listen to Dream Theater a little bit, but that's about all. I find most of it is too heavy and not very relaxing for me. However, this song I really like. Okay, I am biased because my incredibly talented cousin is the lead guitarist, but still, I've gotta say I love the lyrics, the melodies, and progression of this song. The piano parts are beautiful and the guitar solos are amazing. "Castaway" has climbed quickly to #2 in the Progressive category on PureVolume's charts and #6 in Metal. Check it out here or listen below! Audassy is also coming out with a complete album this summer.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review and Author Interview: PROVEX CITY

Author: Michael Pierce
Publisher: Self-published
Date Published: March 5, 2012

Oliver Grain is a fifteen-year-old boy who has just moved to a new town and is going to a new school. As if that isn't enough for a teenager to handle, a neighbour informs him and his brother that their new house is haunted; in fact, a boy killed himself in the room Oliver now calls his own.

Oliver has to deal with the furniture in his room moving of its own accord and a scribbled message on his wall along with making new friends at school, inciting some enemies, figuring out why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, is so interested in him, and having strange dreams about a castle and an evil man named Kafka.

There are two things that I really loved about this book. The first is Michael's talent for getting into a teen boy's head and making me feel like I was inside it as well. I was suddenly in high school again, feeling that pressure to make friends and live up to expectations. The thoughtful crafting of Oliver's point of view is partly what made this book difficult to put down.

The second thing I loved was the suspense and mystery that built up as the novel progressed. Just when I was going to put the book down for a break, another question would come up that made me want to keep reading! What were the red pills for at the beginning of the story? Who is Kafka the Bogeyman, the villain of Oliver's nightmares? Is Oliver's room really haunted or is it just his brother teasing him? Why is Mr. Gordon so interested in Oliver? Where does this "Provex City" fit in to the story? (I could go on, but my questions would progress into spoilers, so I won't.)

The one thing I wished to see more of in this book was Provex City itself--most of the story takes place in the "real" world as Oliver unravels the mysteries of his past. The city is incredibly interesting and Michael has created a unique world I am interested in learning much more about! However, I have high hopes that Oliver will spend more time in that magical place in the sequel.

I am impressed with Michael's writing talent and his initiative in self-publishing this book, and am looking forward to reading the next.

I am also pleased to welcome the author himself to Geek Banter today! I asked him a few questions I was curious about and he so nicely provided me with some fascinating responses. You can also check out Michael's blog here for updates from him, news about Provex City and its sequel.

What made you decide to self-publish?
I submitted to agents for about a year. Young adult fantasy is a hot, but competitive market to break into--especially with no publication credits in my query letter. The more I researched alternative methods of publication, I became inspired by the self-publishing successes of J.A. Konrath, Colleen Houck, and Amanda Hocking. I talked with some other authors and realized that even if I snagged an agent, that was just the first step. The process could go on forever. Finally, I took the leap of faith, took my writing future into my own hands, and made the firm decision to self-publish. There's no turning back now!

Why write for young adults?
I was inspired to write young adult after reading the Harry Potter series in quick succession. I think guys are still underrepresented in young adult, so I thought that would be a good place for me to be. Later, I'd be interested in trying middle grade as well.

Is there anything significant in the name "Provex"?
Unfortunately, no. I came up with a few city names for use in my series early on in the writing process. The original title for the book was Shroud Lifted, and I changed it to Provex City after submitting to agents for about six months. I felt like it was giving me a fresh start, like I was submitting a brand new book.

What was the most challenging obstacle you faced in writing Provex City?
What wasn't challenging? With this being my first book, I felt like I was in way over my head for much of the process. I had a brief outline on note cards and scraps of paper. I wrote the first few chapters, skipped to the last few chapters, and then just wrote until I got there. Getting a first draft written was a huge accomplishment, but then the editing began. Stephen King says to take your manuscript and cut at least 10%. I got ambitious and cut over 20%. It was tough, but I wanted the story to flow as fast as possible, making you want to continue turning the pages all the way to the end. I hope I achieved that. Then came writing the query letter and the synopsis. Then turning to self-publishing, which I'm still figuring out. It's early on, but I think I made a good decision. And as hard as everything has been, it's also been extremely rewarding. I'd do it all over again--in fact, I am--I'm about two months away from a first draft for the second book in the series. Interested?

What inspired the plot and/or characters for Provex City?
It's hard to talk about my inspiration for Provex City without discussing the bigger picture of the series... which I can't really talk about yet. But the basic construction of the story's universe came from an idea I heard concerning gaps in awareness: Billions of bits of information come through your eyes, most of which is filtered out by your brain, acting as a surge protector. I took that idea and asked the question: If your brain is constantly filtering out all this information, what if it's filtering out entire realities? And what if these realities are somehow coexisting? I built the plot for the series around the discovery of these realities, which is only possible through building self-confidence. I thought that would be a nice message for teens; God knows I could have used more self-confidence myself in high school.

Thank you, Michael, for stopping by! If you are interested in reading Provex City, it is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #9: HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC V

Heroes of Might and Magic V is a fantasy strategy turn-based game, the fifth in the series. It was released in 2006. My brother and I have played this game to death (in other words, it is great fun multiplayer). This one is my favourite of the Heroes games so far.

The object of the game is to build up your army, gain experience for your hero and conquer the other heroes and armies on the map. There are six different factions to choose from: Haven (the humans), Inferno (the demons), Necropolis (the undead), Academy (the wizards), Dungeon (the dark elves), Sylvan (the light elves--also, my faction of choice. I know, I am such a girl in this case. I like fairies and unicorns and ents and dragons, okay? Well I guess the ents and dragons aren't so bad). Additional expansion packs add two more factions: Fortress (the dwarves) and Stronghold (the orcs). Each faction is unique and comes with different abilities, which is a big part of why I love this game; you have to play according to the strengths of your faction.

You also customize your heroes. As you play and win battles, you choose what skills to give your hero. There are many options, from logistics (allowing your hero to move farther), to luck (giving your troops bonus damage), to attack (increasing your troops' attack), to light magic (allowing your hero to cast light magic spells). There are more abilities available than your hero has slots for, so choosing them wisely is part of the fun.

There is a huge difference in the quality of graphics from this game and the previous ones--I love the intricate city designs and the detail of the troops and landscapes. Though I'm not sure how practical it is to be able to zoom around your castle and check out the pretty buildings, it does add to the fantasy ambiance. This game is really nice to look at.

Gameplay is turn-based, which can get annoying when you are playing with other people (especially if you are playing with more than one other person), because the turns can take a while. Battles are fought using the grid method, where some creatures can move farther than others, and some get turns more often than others. I am very impressed with the variables in this game; not only are your heroes customizable with their abilities and artifacts you collect, most creatures have different special abilities you can use in battle too. With all the variables it may sound a bit overwhelming to learn, but it is really what makes the game fun and challenging, and if you love strategy, you will probably love this game.

Played any of the Heroes games? I don't hear much about them very often, so I feel like I am a niche player where this game is concerned.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Top 10 VG Countdown - #10: JEDI OUTCAST

That's right, it's time for another top 10 countdown! For a look at my previous countdown where I discussed my favourite genre TV shows, check out the recap here or click "Top 10" under Labels. This month, our countdown is about my all-time favourite video games. I will be discussing some fabulous video games, new and old, and even have a couple guest posters planned to join in the fun. Now without further ado, let's get down to business. I can't have a video game countdown without at least one Star Wars game on the list, so #10 is Jedi Outcast.

Jedi Outcast is a first- and third-person action game, released in 2002. The story takes place two years after the game's predecessor, Mysteries of the Sith. You play as Kyle Katarn, a former Jedi who stopped using the force after he almost turned to the Dark Side.

At the start of the game, Kyle Katarn and his partner (also love interest) Jan Ors explore an Imperial base on the planet Kejim, which turns out isn't abandoned like they originally thought. They force their way through the outpost to discover the Imperials are researching lightsaber crystals. Following a lead, they travel to an Imperial mining base on another planet, where the miners are innocent people forced to work and be the subjects of cruel testing. Here, they meet the dark Jedi Desann and his apprentice, who easily thwart Kyle as he no longer has Jedi abilities, and Desann orders his apprentice to kill Jan while Kyle is helpless.

They leave Kyle still alive, and on a quest for revenge, he travels to the Valley of the Jedi to get his Force abilities back, and then to the Jedi Academy to retrieve his lightsaber from Luke Skywalker. Thus begins Kyle's quest to track down and destroy Desann and his apprentice.

I love good action, but I also love puzzles, and Jedi Outcast gives you both these things. In addition to shooter and later lightsaber combat, you have to think your way through a variety of puzzles to get through the campaign. The combat is real time, and I enjoyed jumping around and slashing my lightsaber to attack with its realistic sparks and flashes; you can choose between three lightsaber styles and use combos restricted to that style. You also get to use force powers like Pull, Heal, Jump, or Lightning. When you first get your lightsaber, you only have access to a few powers, and as the game progresses you gain more abilities and levels.

Game Over Online called Jedi Outcast "an intriguing juxtaposition of pieces of incredibly intense FPS action that had me on the edge of my seat combined with puzzle-like sections of such opacity that they made me want to kill myself." Lots of reviewers complained about the puzzle-solving in this game, but I love that feeling of achievement after spending some mind-grinding time trying to figure them out.

The game is consistent with the Star Wars universe, and you get to see some familiar faces like Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and Mon Mothma, as well as visit some well known places like the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 and Bespin on Cloud City, and as Game Over also comments, "that distinctive Star Wars architecture that seems to consist primarily of narrow catwalks without railings over 10,000 foot drops" that are just so fun to push a storm trooper over.

Overall, I loved the storyline, the combat, the puzzle-solving--I really can't complain at all about this game. Well, I suppose I could complain about the graphics now, but they were pretty good for 2002. Jedi Outcast is great fun, and if you haven't yet played it, I suggest that you do.

What's your favourite Star Wars game?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Write What You Love

Wanting to please people too much is an annoying trait I often find in myself. When I am working on a novel or a story, sometimes I wonder if it would please so-and-so, or if so-and-so would approve. Here I am, writing an action-adventure story; it's not deep enough; there's a little violence; it's for a younger audience so my older friends would find it too juvenile. So-and-so would surely disprove of this. Maybe I shouldn't write it. Maybe I should write something else that would please everyone better.

These are terrible, terrible thoughts. And if you find yourself thinking them, stop! My reasoning is this: I will never be able to please everybody. Even fantastic books like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter get bad reviews. Also, if I don't write what I love--the story that is taking up space in my brain and demanding to be let out--I am not telling the best story that I can. Readers will notice that I am not in love with my story; they're pretty clever, those readers.

I recently read an article by C.J. Henderson, in which he wrote: "Many a great idea has died without ever seeing the sun because fear stopped its heart from ever beating. If you want to write vampire adventure romantic comedies that take place within a Buddhist monastery, then do it. Either your unique perspective will create the very thing the world has been waiting for... or at least you'll get the damn lunatic notion out of your system once and for all. Either way it will be good for you as a writer" (The Bulletin of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, "Are You to Embarrassed To Be a Professional Author?" p. 6).

These words are great advice, I think. I still struggle with this, but I am working on writing what I love no matter what others might think (and, anyway, the problem is actually more what I think others might think, not even what they actually think. Sheesh. Sometimes I think we writers torture ourselves for no good reason).

Do you struggle with wanting to please people? Got words of wisdom for those who do?

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Check the link for some of the other blogs participating in this event!