Tag Archives: fun

Discussing Life Is Strange Part II

Discussing Life Is Strange Part II is going to be more about theories for Episode 5. It’s still at least a month or more away from being available, and I’m obsessed. Can you tell? There are so many really interesting and cool things about this game. It’s story-based and takes zero gaming skill (or knowledge, really) and reminds me of a visual choose your own adventure novel.

 

After writing these two posts, I had a few thoughts when I read some articles on the games.  In this article, the developers of Life Is Strange, and they mentioned having real, live women on the team… as if this was some rare commodity. It was so sad to see that even though there are tons of female gamers, barely any women consult, write, or develop video games. Is it because none of them are trying? Is it due to sexism? I don’t know. But I have always wondered how to become a writer for console and PC games… Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand!

 

If you have not read Discussing Life Is Strange Part I yet, I suggest heading over there first.

 

WARNING SPOILERS FOR LIFE IS STRANGE AHEAD!

 

I have a few theories on things that I’m not 100% sure I can back up, but because I’m well-versed in story-telling tropes, I have an easier time figuring things out. (I called Mr. Jefferson at the very beginning of episode 1.) As far as twists and mystery, LIS is actually pretty damn good. I’ve seen high-budget films, books, and games that had much more predictable and lame outcomes. And because of the nature of the episodic format, the developers are able to make changes based on the fans’ reactions. No matter the ending, I’m so excited to see where everything is heading. So here are some of my theories. They are purely thoughts that I have and are in no way reflective of what will actually be in episode 5.

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1. Depending on your choices, someone will help Max initially get away from Jefferson. This one might be me projecting really hard because I want it to happen so badly. While Max will have to be the one to fix everything and save the day, I’m not 100% convinced she can get away by herself while being drugged up. My thought is that depending on your choices in the previous episodes, David or Kate could come and save Max. I almost thought that Victoria could be one of the options… but one could argue that she would have no reason to know where the bunker is. (I’d respond with the fact that she and Nathan were close and often drugged up, so there’s a chance she could know.) Some people even think Nathan is going to “redeem” himself and save her, maybe getting killed in the process, but I’m not convinced of this. I think it’s a bit too out of character as he has been established. David make the most sense, with Kate being an interesting possibility. My biggest concern, though, is that whoever does go to help her escape might end up dead (hopefully it’s not Warren or Kate!). And while David may be an ass, I don’t want him dead either… even if he did hit Chloe.

 

2. Many of the options you are able to choose can screw Chloe over in some way or another, which leads me to believe that there will be an option to leave her dead. My hope is that it’s just a way to make us really want to keep her alive, just like Max does, but there are so many options that are just mean to Chloe or hurt her feelings: letting David slap her and not taking the heat for the joint he caught her with, taking Kate’s phone call at the diner, siding with David during the family argument, having to let her father die, choosing whether or not to euthanize her second timeline self, getting her shot during shooting practice, etc.

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It concerns me a bit, but I hope the whole point of Max’s power is to save Chloe and stop the Prescotts (and the apocalypse for those who believe the Prescotts and the disaster are unrelated). Something that may support the idea that Chloe is supposed to live is Rachel’s spirit animal (the doe) and the storm. While my original thought was that the the storm was caused by the fact that Max is defying nature by using her power to constantly save Chloe, I’m starting to believe that her power was actually given to her as a means of saving not just Chloe, but everyone. I noticed an interesting pattern regarding when Max had “visions” of the storm. I noticed that several times, she gets the “vision” when Chloe is in danger or when she’s near Chloe. The only time this doesn’t count is the first time, which awoke her to her power… and then she went directly to where Chloe was to save her. I feel like this might support the idea that Max is supposed to save Chloe.

 

3. There seem to be some cult-like practices going on with the Prescotts, or at the very least, they have some majorly bad juju. Either they do weird and creepy things to keep their wealth… or who knows, but there were some interesting things in the bunker that seemed to indicate they knew it would be needed and that Nathan had to control himself because there was deeper importance to what they were doing. Similarly, I have a theory that the bad omens, and maybe even Max’s power is stemmed from the fact that the Prescotts are trying to take over sacred Native American land and that a girl was killed and then buried on the land. Technically, I don’t have proof that the barn or the shallow grave were actually on this “sacred” land, but the doe seems to be Rachel’s spirit animal, and it seems to fit that bad things happened and led to the crazy eco-issues.

 

4. Jefferson could be a Prescott. Now, some people claim that Jefferson could be Nathan’s father Sean Prescott. I find this to be strange because people have seen Sean Prescott. Could he be in disguise? Could he be a random serial killer who took Nathan on as a protege? I’m not sure, but I doubt both of those. For a while, I have felt that Nathan could be his illegitimate son and/or Jefferson was perhaps his uncle. Jefferson could easily be a pseudonym. Though, there are some artifacts within the game that indicate Nathan, his father, and Jefferson are all working together somehow.

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My somewhat outlandish theory is that they are stealing the life force (energy, spirit, something metaphysical) of the girls by photographing them. Some people might think this idea is crazy, but reading some of the messages in the bunker left me with this idea. Then I vaguely recall reading that the movie playing in Nathan’s was inspired by Nosferatu, who is a vampire.

 

5. It’s possible Rachel’s death was an accident or a death of necessity, not a serial killer. Go with me on this one; I know it’s crazy. I’m extremely interested in the fact that Rachel was found dead, but Kate came back alive. What about the other girls? We know there were many, many other girls based on the number of red binders in the “Dark Room.” Were they all murdered, too? If so, why wasn’t Kate? Now, there were some people who mentioned that Jefferson made a comment that “Kate is/was nothing like Rachel,” implying that Kate might not have been worthy of whatever he’s doing. This could make sense, and I somewhat like this idea… But I’m having a strong feeling that says maybe he doesn’t actually murder them at all. Wouldn’t there be a lot more young girls missing? At one point, when Max and Chloe are checking out the photos of Rachel and Kate, they mention that Rachel looks aware and pissed. Perhaps he had to kill her because she was lucid (or maybe he got her pregnant?). Nathan also seemed genuinely excited when he mistook Max for Rachel at the diner. If they were killing girls, it seems weird that he would have any feelings at all. I wonder if he was hurting over the fact that they had to kill Rachel (or that Jefferson killed her; Nathan didn’t exactly look coherent when he posed with her), which could also explain why he’s being so erratic and violent.

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6. Nathan: victim or serial co-conspirator/rapist/vampire/all around creep and jerk? Many people are speculating that he is a victim and that he isn’t completely a willing participant. While there are some merits to these claims, I don’t think we can entirely leave him blameless. We know he is helping drug the girls (or at least Kate) and getting them back to the bunker. We also saw that he remained present for the pictures, as he is seen in one of them with Rachel. However, he does appear off in this picture. Is he posed? Is he completely doped out? Is he a willing participant? It’s definitely hard to tell. To me, he looks out of it and grim, perhaps unaware of what exactly was going on or too jacked up on meds and drugs to care. Now, one could easily see him as a victim, especially when reading some of the notes that imply his parents are enabling his bad habits, he has psychotic tendencies, is medicated (prescription and other), and also may be a rapist. Could this all be a product of his upbringing? Yes. But could it also be partially due to manipulation, mental instability, and self-medicating? Possibly. I don’t think he’s 100% just the victim here. What he did to Chloe was on his own time. It didn’t happen in the bunker. That was all him. At some point, a person can only use “product of environment” so much when the truth is that people are who they are.

 

Okay, that’s enough for now. If you haven’t checked the game out, please do! It’s really an awesome story-based game.

Discussing Life Is Strange Part I

Today’s post is going to be a combo of fangirl rambling, story analysis, and prediction. Typically, I don’t talk too much about one of my many passions outside of reading and writing fiction, but I’m making an exception for Life Is Strange because I believe it is very relevant to my work and to YA fiction as a whole. I’m a huge fan of video games, and currently, I’m obsessed with an episodic game called Life Is Strange. This game is in an episode format in which they release one of 4-6 parts of the the game every couple of months (sounds like the book trend that is popular right now, doesn’t it?), and the skill level is less traditional and more choice/prompt based, using action commands and selecting options.

 

So, even if you don’t usually care for games, this one is almost like an interactive choose your own adventure novel… except it’s not a book. How Life is Strange (LIS) pertains to my work and this blog, is that it most certainly falls into the YA category, despite some of the more serious themes, and story-wise, I would say it is sort of like a young adult, sci-fi version of the show Twin Peaks (though some have also compared it to Donnie Darko). In addition to that, both LIS and Twin Peaks (as well as Harper’s Island and old school Buffy) are somewhat inspiring one of my next novels. The book isn’t titled, yet, so I can’t give you more than that, but I promise to be more detailed in a different and later post.

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Anyway, the story in Life Is Strange is about Max, a teen at a prestigious art school for her senior year of class, waking up to find that she has the power to rewind time. She first uses this power to save a girl from being shot and killed by a classmate, and she eventually tries to help her friend discover what happened to a missing local girl. For anyone who knows nothing about Life Is Strange, I suggest playing it and/or watching a Youtube gamer play (Cryaotic is a pretty good one). I’ve done both (watched and played for myself), and it helps because you can see how different choices impact the story. Some choices have life-altering consequences for characters within the game. I suggest doing one or the other because if you haven’t watched or played the game, none of this post will make sense to you. Also, as a reminder, there absolutely will be SPOILERS in this post. TONS of them. So, if you haven’t played through all four of the currently available episodes, don’t be mad at me when I spoil stuff.

WARNING: LIFE IS STRANGE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

 

LIS

So, as I wait impatiently for the fifth episode to arrive, I have read lot of discussions (and had some of my own) about the “shocking” end of episode 4 and theories for the concluding episode. I thought I’d share my own thoughts but also try to work out some interesting ideas in the process. First, there are a few things that I’m completely convinced of:

 

1. Rachel is truly dead (probably in any timeline). I know people are still holding onto the hope that maybe Max and Chloe are mistaken and it’s actually Nathan in the ground, but there’s no way. It’s her. I’m almost positive I saw Max open the plastic a little, which is why they recoiled from the smell later than when they had just uncovered her. This is when Chloe starts to freak out worse. It’s Rachel. There’s no way Chloe would leave without being 100% sure of this.

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2. Chloe was in love with Rachel. Some people are still arguing that they were just friends… but I will never believe that. I’d probably still deny it, even if the developers outright said it (which they have specifically mentioned it purposely being ambiguous). There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Chloe is actually bi (her room and some of her comments are probably the most obvious), but I don’t know if that matters. The point is really about the deep caring for someone else and how tragedies, choices, and emotions created by these relationships built on love and loyalty (friend-wise or romantically) effect life. Chloe’s reaction to Rachel’s death (both seeing her body and the manner in which she is hunting for revenge) is consistent with someone who was truly IN LOVE with that person. Even though she literally said the words “I LOVED HER” (twice!), some people are still taking this as “I loved her as my best friend and/or sister.” She also called her “my angel” in episode 1, and many times, she acted incredibly jealous about certain Amber-related things (Frank for instance). I’m not sure why people are in denial about this, but they are. I think the fact that she was truly in love with Rachel makes Chloe’s reactions and heartbreak that much sadder and beautiful. The scene when they find Rachel gets me. Every. Freaking. Time. LIS5

 

3. In Episode 5, Max is going to have to jump through one or more of the pictures of herself. This one is really obvious, mostly because of how insistent Warren was about having a picture with her. But, that aside, there are other indicators of this idea: the double moons, the whole monolog from bad-guy teacher-man at the beginning, and there have been several times where Max has taken selfies: in class, the one one the bed with Chloe, the very obvious one with Warren. There were allegedly a couple of other times the option was given, but the above three are the important ones. Hopefully, she’ll use one of these to make things right, but I have had a theory for a while now that the original first scene of her waking up from her “vision” of the tornado was actually her coming back from the future. The best option, of course, would be the go back to the Warren picture, but that seems way too easy. I have a feeling that the developers had intended for Max to go back through the first picture and let Chloe die, but now I’m convinced they changed their minds based on the fan outrage it would cause (which is a plus side to having episodic games like this).

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Okay, that’s enough rambling. Apologies for how long this was! But there is one last thing to mention. Who do I ship? Chloe/Max or Max/Warren? Easy answer: Chloe/Max. I’ll spare you the long answer, but it involves the fact that I really like Warren because he’s cute, sweet, protective, funny, dorky, etc. And he is crushing so hard on Max. I wish he could have her because it would be nice to see him get what he wants. But my fangirl-ness (and play through) are shipping Chloe and Max so hard… which is why Chloe must live so she and Max can be together. FOREVER.

 

Thanks for checking out Discussing Life Is Strange Part I! Next time, I’ll be talking about some specific theories and ideas I have. Tune in for that by visiting Discussing Life Is Strange Part II next week!

Fated Soul Giveaway

To celebrate the print version of Fated Soul, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway.  You can enter by heading over to Goodreads and clicking the big button that says Enter. Pretty simple, right? It really is! Here are some pictures of the printed book. The cover turned out so pretty in the matte finish. After the pictures, you can see the giveaway details.

 

frontPrintPic insidePrintPic backPrintPic

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fated Soul by N.R. Wick

Fated Soul

by N.R. Wick

Giveaway ends August 26, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

99 Cent Book Blast

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This promo will last only April 10th, 11th, and 12th.

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Land of No MortalsLand of No Mortals can be found here, too! For this weekend only, you can get Land of No Mortals for 99¢!

Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Ashford and her younger sister Errol have finally found safe refuge at Crown Haven, a witch-led survivor colony. Rebecca should be thrilled by the secure place to live and the human contact after spending a year hiding in their family tornado bunker, but ever since her friend, Fox, left she’s been plagued by guilt strong enough to mess with her newfound witch powers.

When demons destroy Crown Haven, Rebecca uses her power to locate the only person who may know how to fight back. Instead, she discovers that Fox is in danger. She and Errol must rescue him and enlist his help in their quest to learn what caused the demon apocalypse and find a way to take back their world. As Rebecca struggles with her feelings for Fox and with controlling her power, she fights to stay alive and defy the demonic oppressors to protect the people she loves.

Land of No Mortals is book 2 of the Dark Ascension Series.

 

The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA) – The Ascension

This is the first in a series started some time ago called The Afterlife of Rebecca Ashford (TAORA). Rebecca is the main character in the Dark Ascension series. These posts are short stories (flash fiction), usually with drawings, sketches, paintings, etc. of things that Rebecca might have seen during the Dark Ascension series. All TAORA posts will be in Rebecca’s point of view and voice. Enjoy!

*****

I’m Rebecca Ashford, and this is my afterlife.

My first life ended the day my parents died and demons ascended from whatever hell they came from. I don’t know if it was the Hell or not, but I do know that creatures poured out of strange black portals in the ground and sky. On the news, Errol and I watched one of the portals open up over New York City. Black vapor and oily, black tendrils spilled from the openings as beasts large and small fell to the ground. The carnage was immediate. It was as if the drop and new setting hadn’t affected them. Clawed and rabid, the creatures slaughtered people in the streets.

TheAfterlifeOfRebeccaAshford1

I drew this a few weeks after the first portal opened above New York City. I’m not sure how many of them appeared, but they disappeared after some time.

Eventually, most news stations stopped showing the New York City maiming. But once everyone had realized that endless monsters were emerging from the portals, some people thought it was too important not to show. Thousands of home videos were posted online, and posted or texted photos went viral. Within a week, the event had been named the Ascension and the monsters identified as demons. This was also when most of the larger cities had fallen.

My family lived in the middle of nowhere, an hour away from the closest city, but we weren’t safe. When the Ascension began, Errol and I spent ages trying to call and text our parents and our grandfather, who lived in a cabin at a lake in Nebraska. Hours had passed before the local news showed cellphone video of a portal opening under Lillian’s, the biggest grocery story in the city and where our parents had gone that morning. Fat tears streaked my face, and I held my sobbing sister while we watched the grainy building break apart and fall in on its self. Beneath the rumbling and snapping, we heard people inside cry muffled screams of pain and terror while bystanders watched in horror. The demon portal swallowed Lillian’s, then the street, then cars from the parking lot. They slid into the glowing black hole, along with our family’s silver Ranger.

Our hometown became overrun with shadow creatures not long after our parents were devoured. Neighbors ran through the streets while little black creatures chased them. It was almost comical until the Scavengers and Scourge showed up. The people no longer fled in fear. Instead, they failed, and the eyeless Scavengers tore them apart. While the demons focused on their prey, Errol and I snuck to our tornado bunker at the back of our house. We heard our neighbors’ shrieks through the air vents as we held each other in the dark.

 

Land of No Angels Aftermath

I was going through some of my work from grad school because I am going to apply for a PhD program later this year, and I found a couple of exercises related to Land of No Angels. It was so fun to read some things that didn’t make it into the book and things that I had written to help me understand parts of the book. I thought I would share a few pieces I wrote.

This particular piece was a writing exercise for a class (I believe the prompt originated from a book of writing prompts) and was supposed to be a short scene from the aftermath of Land of No Angels. In case anyone was wondering what prompted Fox to leave Crown Haven, this should explain it! Enjoy the Land of No Angels aftermath.

~~~~~~~~~

Fox slipped into the shadows of the altar room where he knew Errol to be. Even though she had only come out of her spell induced sleep three days ago, Errol had been extremely supportive to Fox in regards to his “little secret.”

“Why would he do this to me? To us?” a voice spat.

Rebecca. Fox had not seen her, let alone spoken to her, since curing Errol. Clearly she was still mad at him. He tiptoed behind the black curtains and maneuvered himself into a spot where he could see and hear them both better.

“I don’t think he meant to to hurt anyone,” Errol answered.

“He must have considering how little my feelings meant to him,” Rebecca said.

“You should talk to him.”

“Never.”

Errol sighed in irritation, “No wonder he kept it from you with how you’re acting about the whole thing.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you are being seriously ignorant! Don’t you think he feels bad enough?”

“No! No, I don’t think he feels bad enough! Not only is he…” Rebecca struggled with her words for a moment. She glanced from side to side, as though saying it out loud would jinx her somehow, and then whispered, “…a demon, but he also lied about it.”

“He’s only part demon. It’s not the same. Besides, he didn’t exactly lie… he just—didn’t tell you the truth right away.”

Rebecca scoffed. Fox thought for a moment; he wanted so badly to tell her that he should have explained himself the moment he found out. It was wrong not to, but the idea that he was part demon was not exactly an easy thing to cope with, especially during a time of crisis. Besides, was it really the lying that upset her or was it the fact that he had demon in him. It made him potentially dangerous and Rebecca did not like things that were dangerous, especially demons.

“That is the same as lying and you know it,” Rebecca said.

“Oh, come on! How would you feel if you found out you were half demon? I’m sure you wouldn’t go around announcing it to everyone either,” Errol replied.

“I would tell the people I cared about! The people who mattered to me. Besides, when have we met a trustworthy demon?”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true. Have we ever? No. Demons hunt us and kill us, or enslave us, but they do not love us, and they do not help take care of us.”

“How—How can you say that about Fox? He likes you. I mean, really likes you, and I know you wouldn’t be this angry if you didn’t like him too.”

Rebecca looked down; her face burned pink. As a few tears dribbled down her face, she said, “I—I can’t.”

“He saved my life. You remember that,” Errol said with vehemence that made Rebecca recoil. “He gave his blood to cure me, and he did it for you. Sure, he might not have wanted to see me die, but it was all for you. Don’t you dare forget that.”

Errol turned away and stormed off without another word. Rebecca sat with her hands in her face, sobbing and confused. Fox watched and forced himself not to try and comfort her. He didn’t want to make things worse, and Rebecca’s words stung him. After he couldn’t stand to hear her anguish any more, Fox slipped around the edge of the shadowed altar room and left unnoticed.

 

Ebook Escapes Weekend Spotlight

So, Ebook Escapes has me on their Weekend Spotlight today in which I speak about the origin of Land of No Angels. You can also learn 5 fun facts about me, too!  It was really fun reminiscing about the behind the scenes of Land of No Angels. Interestingly enough, I was recently going through old blog posts, trying to find the old Dragon Dictate post, when I stumbled upon a bunch of really great entries I had written while earning my Master’s degree. For those who don’t know, I wrote Land of No Angels as part of my thesis project. Seeing these old posts made me think that my new readers would probably like to see some interesting thoughts and challenges I had while writing the first book in the  Dark Ascension Series. Below, I have linked to several entries that would be worth reading. Also, you should absolutely check out Ebook Escapes Weekend Spotlight. I’m not the only one there, and you might find another great author.

 

Researching the Post Apocalyptic World

Planning for the Apocalypse

What I Learned from the First Draft of My Thesis

Details, Details, Details

 

The interesting thing is that a lot of my thoughts on drafting, outlining, and even revising have changed dramatically since I wrote this book. There are still issues, of course, such as the fact that I still struggle with focus, but I have learned a lot about my own writing and the methods in which I complete the task of storytelling.

Win a Free Kindle Fire

I have some really exciting news! A bunch of awesome authors and I are sponsoring a giveaway, from which you can win a free kindle fire. Isn’t that awesome? So, if you want to win a free kindle fire, then I suggest you read this post and join via the Rafflecoptor at the bottom of this post. Before you go do that, though, you should check out a special guest and author of Soul Taken, Katlyn Duncan.

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After-life just got a lot more complicated

Maggie is a Soul Collector. It’s her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After – but during a mission to New England to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girl’s body.

Trapped, Maggie’s soul is catapulted into Ally’s life – and the human world she hasn’t experienced for one hundred years. But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girl’s soul dies…

To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets – because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggie’s could be next!

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7 Year Old Athlete

Dragon Dictate Revisited

I’ve spoken about dictation software before in a previous post called Dragon Dictate and No Hands Writing, but I wanted to write an update because I have since upgraded to Dragon Dictate 3. Lately, I’ve been having some nasty pain in my hands and wrists, which are shooting up to about my elbow, so I pulled out my old copy of Dictate and thought I’d download it on my computer (it’s only about a year old). Yes, that’s how long it has been since needing to use Dragon.

Quickly, I discovered that DD2 was not entirely compatible with my current computer, and it was a pain to try to get access to the registration and serial number. So, after searching ebay for about two seconds, I found copies of DD3 were pretty cheap now with 4 just coming out. It was also compatible with my OS. Victory! I bought that like it was TP in the Apocalypse.

For the most part, some of the same issues from my previous review of the product have not changed at all. For example, certain things will NOT correct automatically, no matter how many times I try. In my current WIP, my MC lives in a place called Cava. I’ve tried training Dragon to type it right about 15 times and every time it messed it up differently. I’m only in the outline stage, too, so I can imagine this will bug me worse in the drafting stage. I almost threw a fit when it wouldn’t write my MC’s name. It’s Maeva. Not Maeve. Not “may have.”  Not “Maeve a.” THAT one was unacceptable. It’s the MC’s name. I can’t correct it every time otherwise it could be a LOT of correcting. Thankfully, Dragon was able to figure it out, and I haven’t had a problem since.

I have, however, found that the accuracy of everything else has improved greatly. I don’t think I’ve seen a single mistake that I didn’t caused myself. Huge improvement from when I used DD2. The other amazing news is that it works perfectly with Scrivener now. I’m not sure if it’s a combo of the two programs being updated or what, but I can now dictate directly in Scrivener without issue. It’s pretty fast, too. I did notice, however, that Dragon doesn’t like when I try to dictate directly in WordPress for blog posts. It works, and it’s really not THAT bad, but deleting is a pain because it deletes way more than whatever I had just written. Not a big deal, just a quirk that reminded me of DD2’s issues with Scrivener.

Finally, I’ve found that dictating for outlining is EXCELLENT. I outline heavily, and I can write between 50-200 more words on average in a 30 minute period, depending on how much thinking the scene requires. As I get back into the habit, it will probably get even higher. I’m not convinced that I will dictate directly from my brain to the page when it comes to writing the first draft, though, because the sentences come out clunky. But dictating is wonderful for my outlines. I can get out a lot more of my ideas without pain and with little effort. For the first draft, I will probably use a combo of writing by hand and dictating, if my wrists will allow it.

All in all, I’m so excited to get back into using Dragon Dictate. I think it’s going to make outlining a cinch and help my wrists heal. If you have health issues and typing for long periods of time really cause you pain, then I suggest trying it out. For those of you who have tried it or actively use Dragon, how do you like it and in what ways do you use it?

 

Next Project Hints

undineAtSeaSo, I’ve been sending links to images that hint at the subject of my next young adult novel project. It will be a stand alone novel, which I know is a risk. As I work on it, I’ve been inspired by two of my favorite artists: Arthur Rackham and John William Waterhouse.

undineCrystalVaultThe first piece of inspiration is the story and art of Undine, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. He is a well-known artist who illustrated books like Undine and Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland. He is also known for fantastical and whimsical illustrations of the fae folk as well as fairy tales. His artwork reminds me of the ocean, and it is magical. This particular story, Undine, is about a water nymph who is taken in by a fisherman and his wife. She wishes to gain a soul, but in order to do so, she must marry a human. It’s considered a romantic fairy tale of sorts.

 

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After Arthur Rackham, I am also drawing inspiration from John William Waterhouse. I enjoy his artwork so much that I even tried to replicate this particular painting during an art assignment in school. We were supposed to emulate a master painter’s work, and this mermaid was the painting I chose. I wish I could find the old painting, but it has been lost in my recent move. If I find it, though, I get a picture posted. At any rate, Waterhouse is so inspirational because he paints a lot of beautiful, flowing women and water.  (Can you sense a theme?) I love his mermaid, and the way he treats water is just so pretty. These are a couple of my favorites, but I do love Lady of Shalott and The Siren.

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Another hint, and this one is really sad, but I never realized that The Prince and the Pauper was not actually a fairy tale, nor did I realize that it was written by Mark Twain. Please don’t think any less of me. I just never put two and two together. So embarrassing!

 

 

So, there are my hints and inspirations. Can you guess the subject of my next YA book yet?

 

Five PG-13 Movies on Netflix to Watch for Halloween

If you are like me and don’t have cable (I know, right?), then you might be left trying to find decent, pg-13 rated movies to watch on Halloween. Well, the choices are not as numerous as the rated R counterparts, but there are a few really great one that are appropriate for the teen, young adult, and even adult crowd. So you don’t have to track them down yourself, I thought I’d list the better ones… or at least my favorites.

 

The PossessionThe Possession – This is a pretty cool movie. A bit different than most horror movies where there is Jewish lore involved rather than Christian or Pagan lore. Basically, the guy who plays John Winchester in Supernatural is the main character and is kind of distant and an almost-loser with his family. His wife is irritating and his oldest daughter is a snot, but his younger girl starts becoming possessed by this entity that had been trapped in a Pandora’s box of sorts. Pretty creeptastic and pretty cool to watch despite the awkward and somewhat dysfunctional family.

 

House at the End of the StreetHouse at the End of the Street – I know this movie catches a lot of grief, and I wonder if it’s because many people went into it thinking it was one thing, only to discover it was something else. Remove all preconceived notions about this movie and watch it. It’s actually a pretty great movie, and it has Jennifer Lawrence, who is seriously a goddess. I can’t talk too much about this without giving something away, but basically it’s pretty twisted in the end. Less supernatural and more psychological in a way. Really a good one to see.

 

The Fourth KindThe Fourth Kind – This movie is not paranormal, but it involves aliens and my girl-crush, Milla Jovovich. Usually, I’m not too into aliens (except for Falling Skies, which is a trillion times better than the Walking Dead), but this one has some psychological aspects that I really love about the supernatural. (Aliens are sort of supernatural, right?) And having grown up on X-files, this movie just sits well with me.

 

The HoleThe Hole – Okay, so The Hole is one of those almost cheesy-pie movies. If you see Keira Knightly in the movie, shut it off immediately. LOL, these may have the same name, but I assure you, the one with Keira Knightly is NOT appropriate for 13 year olds. Any way, in the correct movie, some kids find this mysterious hole in their garage, which had been practically shackled closed. The hole is never ending and begins to mess with their greatest fears. This movie is a good one but shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

 

The LangoliersThe Langoliers – This is a long one and based on the story by Stephen King. It’s also kind of old. The Langoliers is probably one of my favorite Stephen King stories and the movie is pretty good. A group of people find themselves alone on a plane and have to figure out what happened to everyone else on the plane, as well as on the ground. The premise itself is pretty cool and the impending crackle of the Langoliers and the antagonistic Mr. Toomy make for some great conflict.

 

 

Do you have any recommendations for PG-13 Halloween-type movies on Netflix?

 

Also, if you haven’t already entered to win some great prizes, do so before the end of October!

 

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Fortune Teller Blog Hop

I’m participating in the Fortune Teller Blog Hop today, which means you get 16 free short stories. The idea was for everyone to write a story where one of our characters met a fortune teller of some sort. Well, the story I wrote takes place in the Dark Ascension world (Before the Ascension) and features two of the characters from the series. It was so much fun writing this short, and I hope everyone has fun reading it, as well as the other stories on the blog hop.

 

Mallory: The Smallest Witch

Bryce brushed his shaggy hair out of his eyes and stared at the decrepit house before him. He had almost missed the handmade sign that leaned against one of the weatherworn posts framing the front porch. The sign read, “Psychic,” but he wasn’t convinced anyone actually lived there. He wiped his sweating palms on dingy, ripped jeans and sighed. The need to find out if his plan was on the right track outweighed the uneasiness radiating from the boarded up house. With hesitant steps, Bryce ascended the steps toward the front door.

In his peripheral vision, he saw the curtains shift behind the grimy window next to him. Before his knuckles reached the door, it swung open. A scrawny young woman with wild, short hair and flushed cheeks stood before him. She had dark shadows under her eyes and wore tiny cutoffs and a spaghetti strapped top that didn’t fit her right. Bryce hesitated. This was not what he had expected the psychic to look like.

“Are you Jimmy?” she asked. Her voice drawled apathetically.

“No, I’m here for Mallory.” When the woman only stared past him, he added, “Are you the psychic?”

Her head perked up. “Oh, right. Mallory. Yeah, she’s here.”

They stared at each other in awkward silence until the woman walked away into the house. Bryce followed behind her and shut the door.

“I didn’t get your name,” he said as he studied the rotting wall next to the staircase.

“I know,” she answered and disappeared around the corner out of the foyer.

Unsure if he should follow, Bryce stopped at the bottom of the stairs before the entry way. He was half-tempted to leave, but his gut insisted he stay. After a few minutes, the woman led a small child by the shoulders. The girl couldn’t have been older than ten or so, and she was dressed with an over-sized sun hat wrapped in purple gauze and wore several layers of clothes made to looked like a robe. Her distant, blue eyes penetrated Bryce, but at the same time, they seemed to look past him.

“Mallory?”

The girl blinked slowly at him. “Yes.”

He addressed the older woman. “She’s the psychic?”

“Best one you’ll ever meet. Fifty bucks for a sitting.”

“Whatever, lady,” he huffed and turned to leave.

Behind him, the woman snapped at Mallory. “Go on. Give him a sample.”

“If Fiona knew what you were trying to do, she wouldn’t be very happy,” the child said.

Bryce paused in mid-stride. “What did you say?”

“Fifty bucks,” the woman demanded.

With a huff, he pushed two twenties and a ten into her hand. After she shuffled through it to count them, the woman led Mallory through an entry way to the left of the foyer. The room was bare except for a few plastic crates and a coffee table in the center. Even if the child was really a psychic, Bryce thought the building seemed more like a drug house than an actual home. The woman sat Mallory down on one of the crates and motioned for him to sit opposite of her.

“You’ve got twenty minutes,” she said.

Bryce looked directly into Mallory’s eyes. “How do you know about my wife?”

“I’m not sure. I just know things.” She rarely blinked.

“Do you know why I’m here, then?”

“Yes,” she said. “You want to know about your special plan.”

“Will it work?”

Mallory hesitated. “Doesn’t it bother you that Fiona wouldn’t want you to go through with it?”

Bryce pulled his stare away from her. He had already known his wife wouldn’t be happy about it, but thought she would warm up to the idea if she knew it would work.

“Listen, I just want to know if it will work,” he said.

“That kind of power is dangerous.”

He slammed his hand on the table. “Just tell me if it’s going to work!”

Mallory paused for a very long time. If it wasn’t for her hollow eyes and wise demeanor, Bryce might have thought she was about to lie. In that moment, he almost felt sorry for her. The woman caring for her was whoring her ability out to strangers, and who knows what else she was allowing.

“The summoning will be a success,” Mallory finally said.

“It’ll cure me?”

“I can’t see that,” she said.

“But the summoning works?”

“Yes.”

“Then I’m sure I’ll be cured.”

Mallory didn’t respond.

“Is there anything else you can tell me?”

“Don’t keep it from Fiona.”

“Why? She’d try to stop me.” Bryce stood up.

“If you say so.”

“Thanks.” When he left and passed the gaunt woman, who stood at the entrance of the foyer, he said, “Best fifty bucks I’ve ever spent.”

“They all say that,” she said with a lopsided smirk.

Once Bryce left the woman shuffled to Mallory and sat down. “Why did you lie to him?”

“I didn’t.”

“Fine, why did you conveniently avoid the most important part?”

“He didn’t ask me if his summoning spell would end the world.”

“I wish you’d never told me about that,” the woman said.

“You’ll forget about it when Jimmy brings your ‘medicine.’” Mallory couldn’t see her mother, but she imagined a look of reverie on her sunken face.

 

*****

Fortune Teller Blog Hop

 

If you would like to read all of the stories in this blog hop, please check them out in the links below!

Also, I’d like to thank everyone for reading and have fun.

Happy reading!

Kayla Curry (Host) Alyssa Auch S. M. Boyce
N.R. Wick Steve Vernon A. F. Stewart
Linda Taylor Tami Von Zalez Quanie Miller
Ellen Harger Deborah Nam-Krane Erin Cawood
Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba Wendy Ely Laure Reminick
Jen McConnel

A Writing Exercise – Story Through Letter

So, I’ve been in a sort of rut the last few days. I think I’m getting over it because I’m so annoyed that I’ve been neglecting NaNoWriMo related things that I will shortly be starting my outline. In the meantime, I am writing this entry about one of my most favorite writing exercises from 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley. I have no idea why it’s my favorite or why I love it so much, but the first time I ever used it was amazing. Basically, what I will do is give and explanation of the exercise (in green, if you would like to try it) and then write my own (in block quotes). I could just show my old one since it was my favorite, but it doesn’t pertain to my current novel and I think I would benefit from a little free write, so to speak.

Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Write an email (or a note, letter, or something of the sort) as one of your characters to another one of your character with a list of 5 – 8 items that one either needs or will bring. A successful exercise will include implied plot and character personality. It’s an exercise to help you understand your characters and is a fun way to brainstorm.

Here’s mine:

Nea,

Bridget ran off after Kitcha went mental last night. She’s probably alright, but we really don’t have the time to track her down. I say we cut our losses. I’m sure she will turn up and Kitcha is capable of taking care of the both of them. If we are going to get to Julian by tomorrow morning we will need a few supplies.

  • Peroxide
  • Mountain Dew
  • Baking Soda
  • Canned Peaches
  • 9mm Ammo
  • Bandages
  • New Bike Chain

I’m taking care of everything but the ammo and bike chain. It only seems fair you find those since the 9mm and bike belong to you. Just saying.

Be Back in an hour,
David

I totally remember why I love this exercise so much. It’s fun and easy and you can actually say a lot about a character in such a short bit of writing. If you choose to do this exercise, I would LOVE for you to link or post the result.

Also, anyone try Write or Die? I find it quite fun! I was really excited to hear that a desktop version may be in the works. Hopefully I can use that. If not, I may just try using the online version. Who knows! But check it out anyway, because it’s pretty neat!