Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Riddles and Rhymes, Oh My!

Nana Spider speaks in riddles and rhymes, but Alex finally learns something about her true nature: http://www.wattpad.com/62506189-unjust-cause-part-18-said-the-spider-to-the-dragon

That's right... the new installment is up on Wattpad for your enjoyment.

It's a little short this time, and I have to apologize.  My morning was eaten up by my son's 5th grade "celebration" (read: faux graduation).  He's left behind Elementary School and is now officially a middle grader... it was kind of a big thing, so I couldn't miss it.  But, that meant I got going on my wiring related projects far, far later than normal.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why I hate Sporking*

*throws up in mouth*

This comment was left on one of my fics the other day. Because I'm that kind of person, I re-read the fic in question and tried to determine what on earth I wrote that would have caused that reaction. The fic that elicited this remark wasn't terribly explicit, which is to say there was no actual sex scene a person might have gotten squicked over. There was a conversation between two adults about sex, and I suppose someone could have been upset since one of the characters is discussing these things with her childhood friend who is currently sleeping with her adoptive brother. But, the scene was intended to be all the awkward you might imagine something like that would be. Also the fic is clearly tagged for the male pairing, so if this person preferred the stories where the childhood friends get together, you'd think the tags alone would have been a clue NOT TO GO THERE.

What is strange to me is that someone felt the need to leave this cryptic insult/comment in the middle of a long-running series without further explanation.

It is all of four words, with two asterisks, absolutely no other context, and of course, it's been nagging me for DAYS.

This is why the idea of sporking makes me violently ill.

I'm a professional writer. I've had to suffer the slings and arrows of Amazon.com reviews and fellow professional writers snarkily saying "less of Morehouse is better" in print. And, yet, four little words, surrounded by two asterisks, KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT.

Truth is, I remember all the bad things anyone ever said about my professionally published novels. A hundred people can tell me a story or novel or a fic is awesome, but even the slightest remark that implies there's something seriously wrong with my writing (or myself) and it will haunt me forever... or at least several days.

Despite the fact that I'm going to probably turn this moment around and around in my mind for days, I know I'm going to survive it. If I kept writing after the "Less of Morehouse" comment (which always makes me think of a playground taunt), this is not going to end me.

But it's really not hard to see how it could.

I mean, writers (and artists in general, I imagine) have very fragile egos (even if successful artists are also usually resilient), none of which is helped by the mercurial nature of our business. There's this sense that good books survive and sucky books die on the shelf. Nothing could be less true. Many an amazing author has withered; and many books (do I have to remind you all of 50 Shades of Gray or Bridges Over Madison County???) become best sellers for reasons that baffle many of the rest of us. Yet, when a career does stall or a book fails, the writer almost always blames themselves. Every bad word ever written about any of their books loom large. Every cliche they ever used is examined and found embarrassing and wanting and oh-god-how-could-I-have-ever-thought-I-was-any-good!

When you're professionally published, however, that's kind of the deal, the dues you pay.

When you're writing for fun/pleasure.... what's the joy in poking someone? I guess like any bullying, it makes the bully feel bigger. I don't understand it. It's far easier to ignore the fic writers whose stuff I find subpar than to drag myself through it and then go to the added trouble of hitting comment and writing out some vague insult. I don't know, it's like walking up to a random person you don't know and whispering, "You're ugly." That thing we all fear is true.

What can I say? Random fic bullying: *throws up in mouth*

Friday, July 25, 2014

Comic Books & The Digital Age

Marvel is giving away some digital comic books for free this week.  There are three titles (DeadpoolIron Man, and Wolverine) and, for each, you get two issues at no cost (if you follow the links I've provided to the series, be sure to scroll down to the listing of the individual books and you'll see the first two offered for free).  For me, this is a win-win situation because: free.  I have a hard time not enjoying the heck out of anything I don't have to pay for--this was a serious detriment when I used to review movies for a small, local newspaper.

So far I've read Deadpool: Gauntlet Infinite #1 & #2 and Iron Man: The Fatal Frontier Infinite #1 and, guess, what?  I enjoyed the heck out of them.

First of all, I haven't had a lot of previous experience with digital comics and I had no idea the extent to which the Marvel Comic Reader app-thingie made the experience far more like watching an animated short than reading a comic book.  Panels appear and disappear in a way that give you a sense of movement.  This is particularly impressive in the scene in Deadpool: Gauntlet Infinite #1where Deadpool is slashing through some bus exhaust, trying to hit what he thinks is a vampire who has turned invisible (the vampire actually hopped on top of the bus.) Also, the way that the opening "credits" were done in Deadpool was a very obvious James Bond movie nod.

Really well done (plus, I like Reilly Brown's art tremendously.)

So, if you've never read a digital comic book before, I might simply recommend any one of these as a 'just try the experience' kind of recommendation.  Because, it really is quite nifty.

As for the stories... one thing I LOVE about comic books is that they tap into my willingness to suspend all disbelief and roll with Soviets on the moon and vampires in London.  You know, sometimes as a writer, I get really caught up listening to that internal editor who is always so busy telling me that my ideas are ridiculous and silly.  Then, I pick up a published issue of a Marvel comic and I think, "Yeah, no, I'm good."

That's not to say that I thought the stories were stupid.  No, just the opposite.  The writing entertained a very secret part of me that wants to go back to the Moon, even if it's to fight a disgruntled Soviet machine who feels we stole the moon from them, or that would like to raid Egyptian tombs for living mummy brides for Dracula.  I mean, yes!  So much yes!  These are the stories that, if I think about them too hard I will find problems with, but my inner thirteen year old is like, "Go!" and that ignite and rekindle my sense of wonder.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Podcast with Bonus Fan Art

I drew one of my favorite Manga character (Renji Abarai) last night because I was in the mood to draw.  If you're ever curious about my other fan / crappy art, you can feel free to check out my deviantART account: http://junko222.deviantart.com (that's my secret fan name.)

Likewise, per Wednesday-ness, there is a new podcast up if you're interested in hearing my soon to be 11 year old son and I talking about our favorite weekly manga (and generally being giant goofballs): https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/you-are-my-sunshine-eighteen/

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tool-using Corvids

The newest installment is up on Wattpad.  In this exciting episode, tool-welding magpies stage a jail break!  Part 17: The Cleverness of Birds

I wrote this latest bit while watching the birds in the feeder just outside my sunroom window.  If there's a lot of repetition of the word "fluttering" it because those noisy little so-and-sos were doing just that.  We have a lot of trees around our house, so there's a been a plethora a squawking babies demanding beak-feeding at the feeder as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Manga Madness

Mason and I did our thing again.  There is much silliness, accidental poetry, singing, and many, many spoilers.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tate's Tuesday

Yep, it's that time again.  There's another short adventure for you to enjoy up on Wattpad:

There's a lot of magic happening in this bit, as Alex finds herself arrested for assault and tossed into a holding cell that seems to have been built to hold a very specific thing....