Thursday, October 8, 2015

That Ol' Zombie Twist

Zombies are undead creatures, typically depicted as mindless, reanimated human corpses with a hunger for human flesh. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works. The term comes from Haitian folklore (Haitian French:zombiHaitian Creolezonbi) where a zombie is a dead body animated by magic. Modern depictions of zombies do not necessarily involve magic but invoke other methods such as a virus.
Taken from Wiki, but not like it was necessary. We all know what a zombie is by now, considering their huge surge in popularity lately. (The Walking Dead returns this Sunday,y'all, OMG!) Also, it's a pretty good depiction of me Monday morning. HAHA! AMIRITE? ... No? ... Okay, I'll stop.

Lame jokes aside. we've always had a steady stream of zombie movies to satisfy our cravings, but their popularity seems to have exploded in the past decade with movies hitting the mainstream like Zombieland and World War Z, and of course, the aforementioned The Walking Dead. There's also a new show on CW called iZombie, which looks... interesting. I'll have to check that out. (No, seriously. CW shows are like crack to me, I watch them all.) Even the premiere of the ELEVENTH season of Supernatural had a pretty hardcore zombie vibe going on and a pop culture shoutout to 28 Days Later. (Told you I watch them all.)

So, a little over three years ago, I joked about writing a zombie story because they're "so hawt right now." I wrote a blurb and slept on it for six months, because at the time I had never actually written a book. Those who have been following me since the beginning know this story already. That's when I stumbled upon NaNoWriMo, challenged myself to complete it, and BAM! The rest is history.

I knew at the time I couldn't just write about the undead walking the earth, searching for brains to eat. So many before me have already done that, not to mention much better than I ever could, so I had to do something a little different. Also, when I have nightmares, they aren't about zombies. Zombies can give me a jump scare, but I'm not terrified to my core thinking about them. They're mythical/magical creatures that don't really exist, so I needed something that could actually mess with my head. (My nightmares are about spiders, btw.)

So my "zombie" was born, but they aren't technically zombies. The only time I use the word zombie in-world to describe them, the MC is taken aback by it. The people you get to know in my world all have their pet names for the "zombies." Ali calls them freaks, Joss calls them dead-brains. The people at the hotel call them red-eyes and demons, but my favorite is rager because it pops up in my spell check every time I use it. We'll just go with that for simplicity here on out.

Ragers aren't dead. They are very much alive, fast and strong, and they are hard to kill. They heal quickly from wounds and need very little to eat and drink to sustain themselves. They have a very high tolerance to extreme temperatures, and they hate humans. This is what drives them to attack people, not their hunger.

The saving grace? They're mindless. Aside from the rage they feel when exposed to a human, not much else is functioning upstairs. Like most other zombies, they're drawn to noises and lights, but don't do much once there. They have the physical capability to open doors and other things, but they don't know how. It is very possible for someone to sneak past them as long as the ragers aren't alerted to their presence. However, it's dangerous to even try if it isn't absolutely necessary. The ragers scream when they become enraged, calling all other ragers in the vicinity to them. HINT: This usually does not turn out well for any humans involved!

As far as appearance goes, they're normally very thin and lean, and just like the undead zombies, these guys smell, too. I mean, it's been five years since shit went down, how do you think you'd smell without a bath after all that time? And if they can't open doors, they're sure not operating their belt buckles when nature calls. I mean, even though they're bodies run so efficiently, a little excess does need to be relieved every now and then.

Another characteristic is their hair. They have none. It all fell out after they turned, or is in the process of. What ever caused this issue did not, however, affect the finger and toe nails. Those are still working as originally intended. Their most defining physical characteristic is their eyes. The irises to be exact. After the ragers recover from their damning sickness, their irises turn blood red.

With all these odd changes to their bodies, although some for the better, most for the worse, it's almost as if they are the result of an experiment gone wrong... eh?

So those are my zombies, but my book isn't about them. My book is about my characters. About Ali and Joss, and how they're coping (or not) in this new world. After all, Ali fell victim to the same sickness that turns most humans into ragers, yet she came out fine... better even... than before she was bitten. Hrm...

So if you haven't yet, you can get the first book in The Phoenix Curse for free here; After - Part One. Check it out, see if you like it! If you do, I recommend grabbing the complete book one, rather than picking them up separately, although there's no difference in the text. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it, and remember, there is more to come!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

DREAMLAND - Part One is here!

Finally, it's here! Currently, Dreamland - Part One is available on Amazon and Smashwords. It will be a short wait until the book is available for iBooks and Barnes and Noble through Smashwords, but I will keep everyone updated.

I've also already got a paperback from Lulu on the way. I will work on one for Createspace for those that are starting a collection, but the price point is so much cheaper on Lulu. I don't want my books to cost my readers an arm and a leg just because they want a physical copy. If things work out well there, I might be able to get the three parts of After available through Lulu as well. After; The Complete Book One is already available there in hardback.

Okay, enough of all that. Is everyone ready?!?!?!?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Close One!

Whew!!! Just got the manuscript sent over to my last editor! With two hours to spare before vacation! CRAZY! I'm glad I was able to finish it this week so I could fully enjoy myself while we go on a little road trip.

So glad to have another installment of The Phoenix Curse ready to publish soon!

Guess I better get to work on that cover, eh?


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Writing is Beautiful

I am extremely happy right now, although frazzled and getting dangerously close to burnoutville.

But guys.... guys.... My fully revised manuscript will be finished by Friday and ready for the editors. Half has already been printed and turned in.

I just *gasp* needed a little break. 

I'll leave you with this, a vision of how writing can be beautiful, spoilers removed, of course. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For The Watch

Okay, here's the deal. A long time ago I had a conversation with myself on whether or not I would go full 'fangirl' on my blog, and I decided it would be in my best interest to avoid that happening. I also decided to keep my blog to book reviews instead of TV show/Movie stuff, but I think I'll be stepping outside those boundaries in this post. At least it won't be too much of a stretch since this will touch on the books as well as the show.

I'm talking Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire here, people. Thar be spoilers ahead!

But real quick before that, I'll get the Dreamland update out of the way, just in case you aren't interested in yet another post about Jon Snow. (EF YOU OLLY! amirite?)

So the rewrites are going exceptionally well. I think changing up my formatting schedule has helped that. I left a lot of notes to myself to correct things while I was writing my first draft and that list of honey do's is almost completed! I actually think I still have a good chance to finish today and then dig in on the polishing for my beta reader as early as tomorrow. That's a huge step done in the completion of the book. You will definitely have the first part of Dreamland in your hands before the end of the year!

Okay, so on to my rambles, and I will warn everyone again, this will contain show/book spoilers.


There, that should do it.

So the hype for the Game of Thrones season 5 finale was strong. I had my expectations up, although not as high as they were at the end of season 4. Then, I was so deflated with the lack of a certain character's reemergence, but a glimmer of hope still remained for season 5. When I saw the title of episode 10, Mother's Mercy, the hype started to build again. Like so many other book-readers out there, we were almost positive that Mother's Mercy was pointing towards that same certain character that did not appear.

And then Daniel Portman, the actor that plays Podrick Payne, was quoted as saying that episode 10 would 'break the internet!'

Hype train, full steam ahead!

So I watched Hardhome (S5E8) and kept my silence... well, I had too cuz it was so hard to breath after watching that episode. Thank you D&D for showing us what actually happened at Hardhome instead of hearing it from some news reports. 

After The Dance with Dragons (S5E9) I remained mute... well, because I was crying tears of sadness for Shireen and then awesomeness for Dany... Guys, that episode was a fucking rollercoaster for my emotions.

Then came Mother's Mercy (S5E10), the episode that was supposed to end all episodes. 

And it didn't... or so I thought, but I'll get to that in a moment.

The hype and expectations were so high for me for this episode, that I couldn't help being a little disappointed. My definition of 'breaking the internet' would have needed something to shock book readers AS WELL as show watchers. I needed LSH to be in that episode, or the confirmation that Azor Ahai was reborn... something... anything! But we got "For the watch!" which I knew was coming, yet hated seeing it. Jon was my favorite book character and out of all the tragedy that happened in those books, the only scene to make me shed a tear was the one prior to him getting shish-kabobed, although that was cut from the show. (which was fine with me, it didn't fit into the show storyline.)

So I hopped on reddit to see the reaction threads in r/gameofthrones, and I giggled as I scrolled through them all. (We do that cuz we're a bunch of assholes.) 

Then it began... my internet began to break in a way I never considered.

You see, A Dance with Dragons released in 2011. I've known that Jon has been dead/not dead for the past four years, and for some reason, I've been okay with that. He obviously isn't going to stay dead! He can't. HE JUST CAN'T, PEOPLE!! My belief in this has been unwaveringly firm, at least until the aftermath of Mother's Mercy hit.

Don't get me wrong, I still firmly believe Jon is not gone for good. I believe Mel will rez him, that he is the champion of the light, (Azor Ahai if you will) and although he might be a bit darker as was Dondarrion, he'll still be Jon Snow.

But it's hard to be still that little voice inside me going "what if?"

Because Kit Harrington in his interviews is saying, "Oh yeah, Jon is dead. Deader than a door nail. Now I can explore more possibilities." (that is not verbatim, duh.) As well as D&D saying he's dead. Well, of course he's dead. He's just going to be revived again so he can do his grand thing, whatever that may be. 

But.... What if?

Oh shut up, little voice. 

So my internet has been broken since the morning after "For the Watch." The only thing that comes up in the search engine is Game of Thrones related. I can't stay away from,, the wiki's, the subreddits.... I swear I'll be rereading the books by the end of summer. I am completely and totally obsessed at this point. I need the next book, Martin!!! NEED! I haven't felt this taut with anticipation since the ending of book 7 of wheel of time... and then Jordan smacked us in the face with Crossroads of Twilight. Don't do that Martin. Give us what we want!

So in my broken internet, there are a lot of odd theories out there. Man do I love pulling out the tinfoil and settling down with some crazy-ass theory. I've read R+L=D and B+A=J... lolno. And my favorite nutty theory is Lyanna is still alive and happy as a certain Septa traveling with the Golden Company. What??? No... And.. omg... Drogo+Dany=Tyrion, the time traveling fetus. BWAHAHAH! I love this stuff...

So here's some of my thoughts, but I am always, and I mean ALWAYS open to reading other's thoughts and theories.

  • Lyanna is dead... but why is she the only woman to have a statue in the crypts?
  • Lemora is probably the Mad Maid, although part of me really wants her to be Ashara Dayne.
  • God would I love it if Daario was Euron, but I doubt that's even possible.
  • Coldhands is not Benjen, I'm sorry. I don't think we've seen the last of Benjen, but I also don't think he's alive anymore.
  • Varys is a mermaid? ROFL! I can't even comment on that one. He is also a HE... And not Illyrio's wife.
  • Aegon is a Blackfyre, but he doesn't know it, and Jon Connington definitely doesn't know it.
  • Bran is never leaving that cave physically again.
  • Jaime will kill Cersei, after she tries to make use of the wildfire the Mad King left behind.
  • HR=HS. Man, do I love love love this theory! The chances of it being true are pretty slim, but Howland Reed has to come into play at some point in a big way in the next book/season.
  • Tywin Lannister was sterile. 
  • Roose Bolton is not a vampire.
But my main theory, one so prevalent it might as well be cannon now, is R+L=J. The only thing I'd like to add on this is the promise me, Ned. I have read a lot of theories, and I know I can't be the only one out there to think this, but I also haven't read this anywhere yet.

Lyanna wasn't begging Ned to promise her to raise Jon and keep him safe. That was something that Ned would have done on his own. She was, instead, begging Ned to tell Jon who he really was, and I don't just mean a Targ. Rhaegar was consumed with the three heads of the dragon, and he firmly believed that the heads were his offspring, and that one of his offspring would be the Prince that was Promised. It stands to reason that Lyanna, a young, impressionable girl that is in love with this immaculate prince, would have also fallen in love with his passion.

This is the promise that Ned made to her, and the broken promise he laments in the black cells. He never told Jon what his destiny was/is, that she believed him to be the Prince that was Promised.

There is more, there is always more, but I think that's enough for today. I will add, that I am looking forward to any and all surprises that Martin is going to throw at us. Prove us all wrong! Muwah!

Unhooking my mind from Martin's world has been difficult, but it's time to get to the editing station. Everyone remember to have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mastic, by Eli Constant

So this post should have been up yesterday. I had intended to write it, but there was one scene I was toying with that I thought I was so close to being finished with. I told myself I would give my blog a little lovin' as soon as that scene was done. If I let myself get distracted, it would never be finished. I've been struggling with it for four days now!

And I did it. I finally finished it, but I never actually got around to the blog. Sorry about that! 

I'm here now, and today we're going to talk about Mastic, by Eli Constant.

This book was an original, dark fantasy. (my favorite genre.) Lots of mystery involving a type of supernatural being that I've never read about before. In fact, I would actually love to explore the lore behind them... or him, as it was very intriguing.

The story set up was great, and although there were some parts that made me wonder why we were being told about certain things, it all came back around in the end. There didn't seem to be anything left open ended, (ya know, except that one thing that was intentionally left open ended that makes me hope for a second book.) 

One part was a little confusing when half the book was 3rd person and then switched to 1st person for a good portion, then back to 3rd person again. I was listening to the book on audible, so I'm not sure if there was something actually written in the book that made this make more sense, but it did throw me off at first.

Speaking of audible, Pamela Lawrence did an excellent job narrating the book. Her character voices were consistent to where I knew who was speaking before the dialog tags were read. She can really put emotion into the characters too, make you feel for their situation.

Overall, I think it was a decent read and the book is really well reviewed. If you're looking for something with a little romance (not graphic) and an original story, you might want to give this a try. Wasn't my favorite book from Constant, (I loved Dead Trees) but still a good book. Also, the cover art is beautiful. 

Now, that gets me caught up a little bit. I'm still two reviews behind and halfway through another book! Weee!! So hard to keep up.

In Dreamland news, I'm super happy with how the rewrites are going this time around. Hard not to start trying to polish, but I had a lot of cleaning up to do with the first couple of chapters. At least half of that is done now. I still have a lot of work to go, but I'm excited! I never feel this good when facing edits, so this is an improvement!