Monday, October 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time -- Too Disneyfied?

I enjoy watching Once Upon a Time, a show where fairy tale characters live in Storybrooke, Maine, because they were transported there by an evil queen's curse. The show is now in its second season. I like how the show switches between the characters' lives in this world and their previous lives in the fairy tale world.

I love how the writers put twists on the well known tales. For example (**SPOILER ALERT**), Rumpelstiltzkin turns out to be the beast in the Beauty and the Beast story, Red Riding hood is actually a werewolf, the queen from Snow White has a fascinating back story about how she turned evil, and Rumpelstiltzkin seems to have his manipulating hands in every fairy tale.

I am, however, getting a little overwhelmed with how Disneyfied the show is becoming. Once Upon a Time is the production of ABC, which is a Disney-owned channel. Therefore, there are lots of references to the Disney versions of these tales, particularly in the naming of characters (i.e. the seven dwarfs, Aurora, the Blue Fairy, Maleficent, etc.). I can live with that, but now we also have characters showing up from Disney movies that aren't even based on fairy tales; the likes of Captain Hook, the Mad Hatter, and Mulan have appeared, with more to follow. There is danger of the show getting too convoluted by combining so many different worlds. I wonder where they will draw the line and who is going to show up next... Simba? Robin Hood? Tarzan?

I still watch and greatly enjoy the show (particularly for Robert Carlyle's intriguing characterization of Rumplestiltzkin), but I wish it focused more on the original versions of fairy tales.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Revolution - Who's Watching?

I've been watching J.J. Abram's new show Revolution, and I'm interested. It's about a near-future world where the power goes out. Nothing works anymore--no cars, no planes, no technology, no electricity. A girl named Charlie sets out to save her brother with a small band of survivalists after he has been captured and her father killed.

The man who has captured her brother is one of those insufferable self-righteous villains that are so frustrating (great acting from Giancarlo Esposito, I must say). I am impressed with the acting and the characters all around, actually. Even Charlie's brother Danny, who I at first thought was a brainless pretty boy who couldn't take care of himself, is getting some screen time and is turning out to be a tough, admirable teen. I was pleasantly surprised how he stood up to his captor and didn't bend to the attempts to manipulate him.

Abram's first seasons always seem to turn out best and then they get too complicated (Fringe, Lost, and Alias come to mind), but I do have high hopes that I will continue to enjoy this show. Anyone else watching? What do you think so far?

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Well I've been tagged for this blog meme three times by the lovely Mina Burrows, Jamie Ayres, and Shell Flower, so I figure I better do this post!

1. What is the title of your book?
The working title is Shifter, but I don't really like it so I think it will change by the end.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
It all started after my brother and I had just finished watching one of the Star Wars movies, and I asked him what colour lightsaber he would choose if he was a Jedi. That's right. Oh, you want the rest of the story? Well there really isn't much to tell... that sparked the conversation that eventually developed into the idea for this novel. We both liked the idea of a brother and sister who had telekinetic powers learning to use them at a training facility. And no, it is not a Star Wars novel.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
YA Sci-Fi.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The characters are young, since it is YA, and I am not a fan of most of the well known young actors out there. It would also be tricky because the main characters are twins so they have to look somewhat similar. I'm thinking maybe some unknowns. A couple younger actors I do really like are Ellen Page (Inception, X3) and Molly Quinn (Castle). Can't think of any boys. For older actors, I think Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings), Jeremy Renner (The Avengers), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter), Helen Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) and Charlize Theron (The Italian Job) should be in it. Wow, that is an interesting cast now that I look at that list. lol.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After a terrifying accident, 15-year-old Anasta Dreav discovers she can move things with her mind and, along with her brother, starts training to join the ranks of elite military operatives called Shifters.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would like to go the traditional publishing route.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
One month. I did it for NaNoWriMo last year, and am completely rewriting it for NaNoWriMo this year!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I haven't read a lot of YA sci-fi. In fact, I don't know if I've read any. I guess I'd compare it to Divergent by Veronica Roth or A Coming of Age by Timothy Zahn (which I've only just started reading so I'm not sure if it is a good comparison, but they is about kids and telekinesis).

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Jesus, Star Wars, my dad, my brother, and lots of other people and things.

10. What else about your book might pique readers' interest?
Well it's about a galactic war, two kids trying to make a difference after their mother has been captured, a secret training program for kids with telekinetic powers, telekinetic children with grudges, an AI with personality to boot... what's not to like? In my plotting class I was asked to pick out my themes from the plot, and I discovered I was writing about "Good vs. Evil," "Family Bonds," "Love Requires Sacrifice," and "Not letting yourself be defined by others" among other things.

This blog meme has been around the block, and I feel like all my writing blogger buddies have participated already, but if you haven't, by all means do so and let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Timothy Zahn Ebook News

I know Timothy Zahn from his Star Wars novels (The Thrawn Trilogy), but he is also the author of many original works, including the Blackcollar Series, Spinneret, Deadman Switch, The Backlash Mission, Triplet, and A Coming of Age. I am pleased to announce these books are now available as ebooks!

To celebrate the release, here is a mini-documentary on Zahn:

I like how he compares writing to playing both sides of a game of chess (especially because I enjoy playing chess). When you have clever protagonists and antagonists, first you figure out a good move for one side, then turn the board around and figure out how the other side will get out of that sticky situation! Great comparison, Zahn.

A bit more on Zahn's books:
  • The Blackcollar Series is a military science fiction series about a group of superhuman combatants
  • A Coming of Age is a thoughtful tribute to what it means to come of age, face your fears, and even save the world. Readers of Dune, A Wrinkle in Time, Ender's Game, and The Chronicles of Narnia will be delighted to discover another tale that records the difficult yet crucial passage into adulthood.
  • Spinneret poses a scientific puzzle whose answer could threaten humanity's salvation, or destruction.
Well I for one am captivated by the comparisons for A Coming of Age. A book like Dune, A Wrinkle in Time, Ender's Game, and Chronicles of Narnia? Let me at it. It is also about  telekinesis, which is what my work in progress is about, and I'd love to see another author's take on the subject. I've already got a copy on my Kindle and have started reading it, and I will be sure to post a review on it when I am finished.

You can check out Zahn's author page for more info on the releases and to see the brand new covers.

Are you a Zahn fan? Which of these books sounds interesting to you?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Relationship Arcs

As some of you know, I've been taking a course on plotting for pantsers by paranormal romance author Suzanne Johnson. I don't write paranormal romance, but the lessons are just as applicable to sci-fi and fantasy! She is taking us through several lessons a week which are helping me develop my basic plot ideas and characters. I am learning tons, but even if I wasn't, the course is keeping me accountable and making me actually get the work done.

One of the most interesting techniques she uses when plotting is planning relationship arcs. I've never thought of doing this before, but it makes perfect sense and is so helpful in defining the plot. What you do is take your main characters and match them up with every other character in the book and define their relationship at the beginning of the book and how it changes at the end (if it does change). You can also define the relationships between your supporting characters (the important ones, anyway), and this really helps to lay the groundwork for your novel.

It is a lot of list making, but I am already seeing the plot of my novel unfold as I work on this.

Have you plotters out there ever thought of doing this? What are some of your techniques?

If you are interested in reading more about Suzanne's plotting method, you can check out her explanation of it here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Car Buying Adventures

Well I was planning on posting something yesterday about the plotting for pantsers class I've been taking, but then I had a crazy day and didn't have time, so I will post on that later.

I bought my first car (used) the day before yesterday, and was pretty excited. The dealer even gave me a deal and threw in brand new winter tires and a new battery. I spent a bit more on it than I wanted, but I hoped it would be worth it. Then this light with an exclamation mark in a circle came on as I was driving, and I asked my brother when I got home what that meant, and he said it was the parking break symbol. Whaaat? I drove home with the parking break on? How embarrassing.

Go outside the next day, and ALL the tires are flat. All of them. Turned out that was not the parking break symbol, it was the tire pressure one. I was pretty mad, because they were supposed to be new tires, and I was afraid I'd been scammed. One tire flat, maybe... but all four?? But after calling the dealer, they sent someone to fill the tires with air so I could drive it back to them and they found out what was wrong and fixed it, all for free. It had been an honest mistake on their part. Whew. Thank goodness for honest people. Well, that is a good way to run a business, because I will probably go back to them now if anything needs fixing later.

And that was my adventure yesterday.

So, do share your own crazy or embarrassing car stories. I know you have them!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Today, I'm honoured to help reveal the cover of Rachel Morgan's The Faerie Guardian! Isn't it lovely? I've enjoyed reading Guardian and Labyrinth, and now they are compiled in one book along with Traitor and Masquerade! Congratulations, Rachel!

Title: The Faerie Guardian
Author: Rachel Morgan
Release Date: 5 Nov 2012
Add to Goodreads

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamour follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out of it alive.

[This novel was originally published in four separate parts: Guardian, Labyrinth, Traitor and Masquerade. It includes bonus scenes at the end.]

Giveaway Time!

The bonus scenes at the end of the book are NOT written from the main character's point of view. If you'd like to win a $10 Amazon gift card, all you have to do is guess whose point of view these scenes are written from! Head on over to the cover reveal post at Rachel Morgan Writes and fill in the Rafflecopter form. There's a list of characters there that you can choose from. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pantser or Plotter?

I mentioned I was a pantser working on becoming a plotter to some of my friends when they questioned how my writing was going, and they laughed in confusion and asked what that meant. I guess that is writing terminology at its finest!

I find being a pantser is a lot of work. I have to write, then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. This is okay for short stories, but I wrote a draft of the novel I'm working on and it is a mess. So I want to try writing a detailed outline and then rewriting it. A lot of writers love being pantsers and that is just what works for them, and that may be the case for me too, but I'm going to give this a shot.

I am actually participating in a neat online class this month with paranormal author Suzanne Johnson where she shares her method of plotting. I am sure I will learn a ton, though even if I don't, it will still get me working on that outline, which is great! The unfortunate truth is that sometimes I need accountability to get anything done.

What about you? Are you a pantser or a plotter?

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!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pub Date: October 2, 2012

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
(Synopsis from Goodreads)

Pirates and assassins, you say? Yes, please. What I liked most about this book was the unconventional heroine and hero. Ananna is not beautiful, shy, or princess-like in any way. She is a pirate, and she acts and talks like a pirate. I especially enjoyed the scenes where she and Naji get a ride on a ship during their journey, and you really see her shine as she is in her element helping the crew sail it.

Naji reminds me of Howl from Howl's Moving Castle. He is brooding, grumpy, and totally oblivious to Ananna's feelings. Yet you can't help but like him and wonder about his past and how he got the scar on his face. The few moments where you see his vulnerability make me curious to know him better, and I hope the author will deliver in the next installments of the series.

I was expected more of a climax in the story, but there wasn't really one. The summary pretty much sums up what happens, though it is a great adventure. The ending leaves it wide open for the sequel. I enjoyed the Arabian/piratey flavour of this novel, and look forward to the next one.