Monday, October 14, 2013

Research-y Things: The Tarot Edition

Hello all!

It's been a while, hasn't it? Hopefully I'll start blogging regularly again soon, because I have a fun new YA Horror to gush over. But the gushing will have to wait for now. What I would like to talk about today is book research. Some of us have googled some questionable things in the names of our manuscripts, and I'm not saying I've done that, but...

I've totally done that.

Anyway, when I started writing this ghost story, I knew I wanted Tarot to play some sort of role. I'd been really fascinated with it for a while, but had no idea how to read the cards or what the purpose actually was. So, in the name of actually getting the facts correct in my manuscript, I looked up Tarot card meanings while sitting in an airport. And then I bought a book. And then I might've gotten a reading.

All for research, of course.

So Quinn, my main character, has been doing Tarot reading for years. She's quite good at it, and really dismayed when they visit a psychic who only has a very surface-level grasp of the concept. The psychic in my story is a bit of a wonderful troll, though, so she gives everyone an ominous card or two. The cards could definitely be taken as hints/warnings, but since this psychic really doesn't know what she's doing, they could also be taken as someone trying really hard to be a mystic and failing even harder.

It was a lot of fun to figure out who got what and how their cards relate to the story. I figured I'd share them, since I haven't posted in a while and I just bought a Tarot book today to further my research :)

So, without further ado, my characters and their cards:

My main character gets The Magician, which suits her ridiculously well. This card is all about being resourceful and being a change agent and using what you have to achieve your goals. My dearest Quinn faces quite a few obstacles, and she uses her awesome skills (and her friends' skills) to make the best of each situation.

My favorite line of hers, though, happens when the psychic reveals her Major card.

“When you say it like that I sound like a magical, talented, cocky asshole.”

One of Quinn's best friends, and the one who constantly keeps her in check, Cam's Major card is Strength. Cam can be assertive when she needs to be (usually when she's reigning in her friends' sometimes overly dramatic tendencies), but she's got a lot of heart, and is a very calming presence. Cam isn't afraid to tell it like it is, but she's also a huge fan of giving out hugs.

Leo gets The Star because he wants to work in TV. Just kidding, he actually gets The Star because it mainly represents hope. Even though Leo gets pretty badly shaken at the beginning of my story, he holds on to the hope that his friends can solve the mysteries surrounding the infamously haunted White Woods. He's there to ground his friends, and pick them up whenever they're feeling down.

Rav's card is probably my favorite, because I love foreshadowing :) My master of disaster gets The Moon is this awesomely ambiguous card that can represent uncertainty and deceit. To say more would give a lot of my story away, but I'll just say that his card is scarily accurate, and that he might want to trust his friends a liiiiiiiiitle bit more!

That's all I've got for now! I'll post four more characters and their cards tomorrow :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

That one time I went on an accidental hiatus...


Sorry about that. I'll have an actual blog post soon with life updates/information on the Witch City, since that's where I'm living now!!! But the important things, really, are that I'm employed, my job is awesome but keeping me wayyyyyy busy, and I'm still working on my ghost story!

So yeah. More info soon. I miss you all and I'm sorry about my blogging fail for all of August :-/

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write! Post # 9

So Alyssa from The Great Noveling Adventure contacted me for an interview!

This was my face when I got the email :P

If you'd like to see how bad at math I am, click riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight here!

What I'm reading:

What I'm writing:
The Ghost Story is officially at 23K!!! It'll probably get to 25K tonight :)

Here's another excerpt! My MC and her friends are about to figure out what's been waiting for them in a certain safety deposit box...
I feel like a bank robber. I shouldn’t, since we have a key and Cam’s Josh’s sister, but there’s something really weird about going through someone else’s safety deposit box.
“Are you ready?” Cam asks as we all sit in the car outside of the bank. No one answers. “I’m gonna take that as a yes,” she says, switching the ignition off. “Just…just let me do the talking, okay?”
We all get out of the car without saying anything else. After everything that happened last night, I don’t think any of us got a lot of sleep. My hand still stings from that whole blood ritual thing, and Leo hasn’t spoken to any of us.
He’s been so quiet. I don’t know what to do to help him.
Jeff nudges me, trying to smile. “You look like you came out of a horror movie.”

“Yeah, and you look like a beauty queen.”

(Attainable!) Goal is 40K by the end of August!!!

What else I've been up to:
I GOT A JOB!!! I'll be moving to Salem, Massachusetts very soon and will have lots of updates, especially around Halloween (they celebrate Halloween the WHOLE month of October!)

What inspires me right now:

In honor of my new job, WITCHES.

Pretty much anything creepy.

Happy Writing!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write Post #8!

Soooooo I didn't do one of these last week.

This is still one of my favorite GIFs. And maybe also my punishment for not posting last week.
This will haunt me in my nightmares tonight.

What I'm reading:
I'm bringing Ellen Oh's PROPHECY with me during my travels :) I'm quite excited to read an Asia-based high fantasy!!!

What I'm writing:
The Ghost Story is officially at 22K!!! I had massive writers block for a couple of weeks, but I think it's broken now, so YAY! Here's an excerpt (this still takes place in the cemetery, shortly after the last excerpt I posted)!

Cam makes it to the circle of candles and bloodied dirt first. “What the hell are you doing? Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
My face warms as I put my cut-open hand behind my back. “I, uh, left it in the car-”
“What’re you thinking? Why’d you leave it in the car?” Her eyes dart around from Tal, to the candles, to the knife that Tal didn’t bother hiding. Damnit. Here we go. “And show me your hand.”
I don’t move. “I-”
“You will show me your hand right now, Quinn Thomas!”
My shoulders sink in as I hold out my cut hand. Leo skids to a stop in time to see it, and Jeff, who’s never been able to control how he runs, smacks into him. They barrel into the ground, cursing.
I’d laugh, but Cam’s face is enough to make sure I never feel the need to be happy again.
“You.” She points at Tal. “You did this to her.”
Tal shrugs. Props to her for not wilting under Cam’s death-glare. “It needed to be done. I was hoping the rest of you would join us before we got started.”
“Before what got started?” Leo asks, brushing himself off.
Tal smiles. “Our conversation with dead people.”

New goal is maybeeeeeeee 40K by the end of August? I think I can do that!!!

What else I've been up to:
MOAR job interviews. That's...that's pretty much it haha


What inspires me right now:

I'm actually in Salem, Massachusetts right now, so I'd be remiss to leave out witches/witch trails :) sad playlist, surprisingly...

Happy Writing!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Me Vs. Summer Movies: The Conjuring

Hello all!

So..."The Conjuring" happened. Twice. In case you didn't see my tweets about it, I absolutely LOVE this movie. It's a beautifully shot horror movie, hits all the scare beats perfectly, and is just full of win.

Like, a lot of win.

I was ridiculously excited when I learned about the movie! During my freshman year of college, Lorraine Warren came to my campus and spoke (it was on my birthday, which made it even better, really), and it was an amazingly intense experience. Whether one believes in the paranormal or not, some of the footage they showed and voice recordings they played were downright chilling (there's one of a supposed Civil War soldier that made me involuntarily cry). It was also pretty cool that, during a lecture in "The Conjuring," they recreated one of the actual videos of a supposed exorcism that I saw during Lorraine's lecture at my university!

I disclose this because I already had a bit of a bias going in to the movie. BUT I'm quite glad that it not only met but exceeded my expectations :D

With that person disclaimer out of the way, here's my breakdown of why I love this movie! 

First and foremost, THIS MOVIE PASSES THE BECHDEL TEST. It's the second movie this summer I've seen that passes the test. I'm just gonna let that thought sit there for a bit. The only two movies to pass the Bechdel Test so far were "The Heat" (a wonderful female buddy cop comedy) and "The Conjuring" (an excellent haunted house movie).

Second, this movie was great because at one point a lady in the theater legitimately jumped out of her seat, screaming. She ran out of the theater, still screaming, and the movie hadn't even reached its highest level of scary yet. I had no idea that people actually jumped out of seats like that in real life (when I get scared I tend to slide down my seat, and usually end up on the floor). I think any movie that can evoke that kind of response from someone is doing something right (and she was fine, she came back and watched the rest of the movie).

Third, the movie reinforced the idea that imaginations really are our worst enemies. "Jaws" is one of my favorite movies, and the whole reason it works/scared so many people is because Bruce (the shark) isn't revealed for a good part of the movie. I know this was because Bruce wasn't working for most of the shoot, but it's hard to imagine that movie being so scary if the shark was shown from the start. Likewise, "The Conjuring" works best when it's not showing us what's messing with the family.

The shots of the antagonistic force inside the house are scary (and there's a bit involving that force and another creepy thing that made me actually fall on the floor). BUT there's a part where one of the daughters is just staring into the darkness, claiming to see something, and all the audience can see is, well, darkness. That was one of the worst parts for me, as my mind ran through a dozen different scenarios, and none of them were bright and sunshine-y. Our imaginations are awesome things, and are even better if we can tap into that dark part and turn it against ourselves.

This movie works because the director understands what makes something as innocuous as a broken clock terrifying, and all of the actors are also awesome at selling this intense, well-rounded 1970s haunted house story. I'm gad this was already greenlit for a sequel, because it certainly deserves it! I look forward to watching the next ghost hunting adventure with the Warrens. In the meantime, I might go see "The Conjuring" for a third time.

Even if I won't be able to fully leave my imagination at home...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's just a bunch of hocus pocus!

Hello everyone!

I haven't written a blog post in a while, so I figured I'd try to fix that a little bit. We'll see how this goes, though. Also, here ye be warned. Les Mis GIFs galore because I'm me.

I don't know why this is relevant, I just think it is. Maybe it's how I feel?

Anyway, I'm almost at 19K in my ghost story, which makes me really really happy! Erm, because writing about people dying and tragic ghost stories are the kind of feel good puppies and rainbow stuff that I fill my life with. 

In all fairness, I did listen to Les Mis for like five months straight so I guess my "happiness meter" is a little off.

So, the ghost story. Early reports are that it's creepy, which is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge plus for me because it means that I've actually figured out how creepy.

Yeah, it's mostly by doing this a lot...

Since I'm still in the drafting process, I can't give too much away, BUT I can talk about what it was before this draft (which, hey, it's the point! I figured out the point of this post!!!).

I will never not get tired of this GIF.

Before the current draft, my story was an around 60K product of NaNoWriMo. It still had most of the same characters, and it took place at a boarding school that had a rather sinister reputation. Macbeth played a big role in my story, and my main character was cast as one of the witches. She also made a lot of Hamlet references, just to mess with her drama teacher.

There were a lot of subplots, a character who was kind of like a high-functioning zombie, ghostly dreams, things getting written in blood, and a few fun sequences that might get adjusted and put into my newer version. I was super pumped during NaNo because I thought this story was awesome and that it would be super legit when I was done with it. And I'd totally planned on finishing my first draft in December.

Which obviously didn't happen, since Les Mis sort of took over my life.

When I went back to the draft of my ghost story, I knew it was a bit of a hot mess. And I was determined to fix said hot mess. I'd come up with a new angle and was really excited because this angle meant that I'd have to revise, but not a significant amount. So I started the story a chapter earlier with my new angle, and refused to acknowledge that something was off about it.

I sent it to a very trusty CP and...she said something was off. So then I sat there, staring at this story that had come so far, and I...didn't know what to do.

This was my face as I tried to figure out what went wrong.

I came to the conclusion that the whole thing just didn't work. Which is probably the worst feeling in the world, when I'm 60K into something and I love my characters and the concept and the whole thing just isn't clicking into place.

The book I'd written before the ghost story had happened so easily that I was really confused when this wouldn't work. No matter how many times I tried, it wasn't happening. Not being able to fix my story was terrifying, disheartening, and basically had me feeling like this:


And that's when I realized that I had to change my whole book to make it work. I got a bit scared again, because I'd written so much and I'd have to start fresh. I was attached to certain things from this first draft, and I knew I'd lose a lot of it by taking it in a new direction.

So then I did this for a while:
On my own. Writing a ghost storyyyyyyyy.

But then something awesome happened. Everything clicked into place. The characters I loved actually felt like they belonged in this new story. The concept I'd wanted to incorporate from the beginning WORKED. My story WORKED. And it was really through something as simple as changing the setting and the circumstances surrounding a major plot point/the story's concept. It was the book I'd wanted all along, but had no idea how to find in November. It was my ghost story. I'd finally found my ghost story.

I was surprised, too.

So now I'm happy to report that I have full confidence in my tale of ghostiness. I know the plot twists, and how I want to make everything happen, and if I could publicly gush about the concept, I would, because I love it and it's everything I ever wanted to write. 

I suppose the point of all this, if there was one, is that I wouldn't have a story I was completely in love with if I hadn't realized that I didn't love the first version of it. The lesson I learned here is that, when it comes to my own stories, I really should trust my gut. Otherwise, I won't be happy and the whole thing will wind up being one hot mess.

Okay, I think I'm done rambling! YAY for figuring stories out! And YAY for facing the fact that sometimes there are stories that cannot be --- because there are better ones waiting to happen :)

Yeah I'm using this GIF twice in one post.
One might say I have a heart full of love for it.

**GIFs from tumblr!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write Post #6!

I'm writing this a full day in advance!!!

I'm learning!!!

WHY is this one of my favorite GIFs now?

What I'm reading:

What I'm writing:
The Ghost Story is officially at 15K!!! WOO! I still can't say a lot about it, because the whole concept is quite spoilery, but here's an excerpt! My MC, Quinn, is meeting with another character in a cemetery. There may or may not be a nod to something in their conversation 


Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

The moonlight barely peeks through clouds that definitely weren’t there a minute ago. This whole place is surrounded by woods, which might be awesome during the day, but by lamplight it’s less awesome. And yeah, lamplight. There aren’t legitimate light poles in this cemetery. Maybe they took a leaf out of Colonial Williamsburg’s book and wanted to be “authentic.” An owl hoots somewhere in the distance, and everything in this place is so silent that the sound of its' flight tears through the air. That’s a shame. That owl was the only other living thing in this place.
“You’re on time,” Tal’s voice makes me jump ---right into a gravestone. Pain arches across the back of my legs, but it doesn’t stop me from glaring at her.
“And you’re late.”
“Only by a minute.”
“You also made me run into something for the second time today.”
“That’s your fault, not mine.” Her eyes drift down to my camera bag. “What’s the matter, not recording any of this?”
“How do you know I haven’t rigged a camera up in that tree?” I point behind me. “Gives everyone a perfect view of you in case you try anything.”
She laughs. “It’s a clever lie, but I’ve been here for an hour now. You haven’t done anything save for pace back and forth and sing ‘On My Own,’ over and over.”
“What? It’s a solid song from an awesome musical.”
“Yes, but did you have to sing it twenty times?”
“Was it that bad?”
“No, you have a pretty good voice, actually.”
“Aww, thanks. You know, we did Les Mis last spring, and I didn’t get picked for Éponine.”
“Yeah. I was so pissed. I mean, I ended up getting Madame Thenardier’s part, so close enough, I guess, but-” I laugh, stopping the derailing train that was our conversation. “But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Can you please tell me why I’m in this creepy-ass cemetery after sundown?”

New goal is maybeeeeeeee 25K by the end of July? I think I can do that!!!

What else I've been up to:
MOAR job interviews. That's...that's pretty much it haha


What inspires me right now:

Other creepy things.

Marathons of "Destination Truth" :D

MS MR's "Bones"


Happy Writing!


I pretty much can't stop listening to this song...

I bought it on iTunes, but you really need to watch the video because...

Just because.

Oh, it's a Les Mis/Will. I. Am. mash-up. You're welcome in advance! hahaha

Sunday, July 14, 2013

That one time my characters were happy!

Right. So today's Bastille Day, which is super fun for my Les Mis retelling characters (especially my version of Enjolras, because any version of Enjolras is going to love the hell outta Bastille Day).

Anyway, I bring this up because this morning I got to write a fun little short story with a few of them as they celebrated Bastille day! Since a lot of my retelling focuses on super sad things, it was fun to write something that actually had my characters enjoying themselves and being stress-free.

It takes place about a year before my actual story, back when everyone was happy! It was a lot of fun to write, and it was a cool challenge for me, since usually these characters don't get the chance to pause and celebrate things!

I've posted it here, in case anyone wants to read it :D And, if you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend trying to put your characters in situations outside of their norm! I'm definitely going to try this again with more of my characters soon.

Notes: This is told from my MC, Pon's, perspective. Oh, and a "star chart," is kind of like this high-tech parchment thing that is mostly used for fortune telling purposes...


“It’s a secret holiday,” Jorl said to her, so many years ago.
“A secret holiday?” She responded. “What’s the use in that?”
“The same thing that we get out of regular secrets.” He winked. “The chance to share them with someone.”
“Right.” She laughed, hitting him lightly on the shoulder. “And what exactly is this secret holiday?”
He held out a hand, and she took it. “You’ll see.”
“Where’re you taking me?” Roche asked as they climbed their fifth flight of stairs. “And why’d you blindfold me?”
“You’ll see,” was her only response.
“Last time I let you talk me into anything,” he mumbled.
She laughed. “Have a little faith in me. It’ll all work out in the end, I promise.”
“You’re not trying to feed me to the Glorbs or anything, are you?”
“Of course not. Though, if I were, do you really think I’d tell you?”
“You’re terrible.”
“I know.” They made it to the last landing, and she guided him to the door. “Don’t make a sound,” she whispered. She knocked three times, and waited.
“WHO DARES ENTER THE LAIR OF THE GLORB?” A voice boomed from the other side. Roche jumped back, almost falling down the stairs. Pon caught him, laughing, as the door flew open.
“Next time you might want to be a bit less terrifying,” she said as she tore Roche’s blindfold off. “You almost killed my brother.”
Jorl laughed as Roche ran up to him, nearly tackling him to the ground. “Apologies,” Jorl said as he ruffled her brother’s hair. “I heard your conversation and couldn’t resist.”
Rius leaned in the doorway. Pon’s heart soared, but she quickly put an end to it. Tonight wasn’t the time for whatever strange things she had started to feel for him.
Tonight, they had a secret holiday to celebrate.
“Is everything ready?” She asked.
Rius nodded. “See for yourself.”
The small room had been decorated in the Third Republic’s colors: blue, white, and red. Streamers were flung haphazardly around the wall, and Pon was quite certain Jorl was responsible for that part of the decorating. She could almost see him jumping around the small room, excitedly flinging the paper ribbon around.
A small table with four chairs sat at the center. Instead of a centerpiece, a basket of food sat in the middle of it. Pon’s mouth watered as she took in the four baguettes, various pieces of meat, strawberries, blueberries, and…
“Wine?” She raised an eyebrow, looking at Jorl. None of them drank, and Roche was only eleven.
“Ah, it only looks like wine,” Jorl said, picking the bottle up. “It’s actually sparkling cider. Non-alcoholic. Perfect for celebrating.”
“But what’re we celebrating?” Roche asked.
Pon thought it would be impossible for Jorl’s smile to widen, but it did. “Have a seat the table, and I’ll tell you,” he said.
Roche ran over to the table, sitting on his hands. Pon held back a smile. She’d taught him that trick, to make sure he didn’t take food when it wasn’t his to take.
Rius sat across from her brother, watching Jorl as he raced around the room. Finally, he stopped in front of Pon, taking her hands. “You brought it, right?”
“Jorl,” she gave him a long look. “If you’ll let go of my hands, I can get it.”
He pulled her into a hug, and nearly skipped to the table. He sat next to Rius, who was clearly doing his best to hold back his laughter. They’d seen their friend passionate before, but this was something else, entirely.
Jorl was giddy.
Pon placed her bag on the floor, finding the old star chart quickly. She sat down next to her brother, laying it out on the table. Roche winced, but Pon laid a hand on his shoulder. “It’s not quite what you think. I, um, made a few modifications to this one.”
Roche relaxed slightly. “Like what?”
She winked at him. “You’ll see.” She opened it, and the stars inside grouped together to form a tall tower that grew thinner the higher it went. It capered off to a point, and seemed to be made entirely of metal bars.
“Today is a very special day,” Jorl’s voice was reverent. “Because not a lot of people know about it.” He nodded, and Pon disrupted the tower, shifting the stars to form a palace. “A long time ago, somewhere far, far away, there was a government much like our own. The people were ruled not by someone they’d chosen, but by someone who thought they were entitled to power.”
She moved the stars again, and her best interpretation of a Royal Court filled the space above the table.
Jorl leaned closer to the image. “The Royals thought they could do as they wished, and ignore the people’s calls for help. It worked, for a time. And then something wonderful happened.”
Pon changed the images again, and both Roche and Rius gasped. She smiled. Rius had seen this before, but every year he had the same reaction. The people in the Royal Court all merged together to form the outside of the palace. The stars that had remained in the sky fell to the ground, becoming people. Those people, in turn, stormed the palace.
Jorl shot out of his chair, pacing behind Rius. “The people united, bound together under a common cause. They removed the monarchy, and fought for their chance to be free.”
Once the last person had run into the palace, the image changed again into that odd metal tower. She waited for Jorl to finish the story before setting off the last effect.
“So, my friends,” Jorl moved around the table, squeezing their shoulders. “Tonight, we gather to celebrate the will of  the people. The oppressed will always rise to fight for what is right.”
Roche’s eyes widened as pieces fell off of the tower, flying into the air and exploding like fireworks. “That,” her brother said, “was the coolest story ever.”
Jorl’s eyes blazed as he watched the fireworks. “I know.”
“And the effects were also quite spectacular,” Rius added. “As they are every year.”
“Thanks.” Pon’s face warmed. She’d have to figure out a better reaction to compliments.
“Yeah,” Roche said, hitting her on the shoulder. “How’d you learn to re-program a Star Chart?”
She shrugged. “All those years fixing broken ones paid off.” She didn’t add that they weren’t broken at all. Her mother made her rig them, more often than not to reveal some tragedy to an unsuspecting Mark.
“Well, that was really cool.” Roche said.
“Thanks.” Her face grew hotter again. “Uh, anyway, should we eat? I don’t want all this wonderful food to get cold.”
Jorl nodded. “Tonight, we celebrate what is right. Tonight, we’ll remember that the people always win.”
They all cheered, and dug into the food. Roche, Rius, and Jorl all talked about the story that happened so long ago. Pon ripped off a piece of baguette, chewing on it as she listened. Jorl described the King and Queen that lived in excess while their people starved. Rius described the ancient architecture, making the buildings come alive with his words. Roche asked a million questions, which they answered with enthusiasm.
Pon sat there, smiling, while a silent war raged within her. The people in Jorl’s story did manage to defeat the monarchy, but it was replaced with another one not long after. If victory was followed by defeat, could it still count as such?
But the most troubling part was Jorl’s belief that the same thing would happen in their Galaxy. He was so sure about the Rebellion, he’d joined with it as soon as word had floated through the Café of a resistance. He was willing to risk his life for the chance at freedom. And maybe he had the right idea. The Empire wasn’t exactly just, and definitely didn’t treat its people fairly.
Still, all wars came at a price. So what would they end up paying to be free?
“Pon,” Rius smiled at her. “You haven’t eaten much.”
“Oh, I know. I’m starving, I swear. I was just thinking…well, it doesn’t matter what I was thinking.” She poured some sparkling cider into a glass and waited for the others to do the same. “I’d like to make a toast,” she said, holding up her glass. “To all of us, as we are right now.”
“And to the people, for wanting change,” Jorl added.
“To friends,” Rius laughed.
“And family,” Roche said.
Their glasses clinked together in perfect harmony. As she emptied her glass, it didn’t matter what the cost of freedom was going to be. All that mattered was that moment.
And in that moment, surrounded by everyone she loved, she couldn’t have been happier.
“Happy secret holiday,” she nodded to Jorl.
He laughed. “And to you.”
“Can you pass me some more bread?” Rius asked.
Pon threw it at his head, and he ducked out of the way. They all laughed and, for the first time in her life, she allowed her worries to slip away.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Me VS. Summer Movies: The Pacific Rim Post.

Well hello all!

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I've been OBSESSED with "Pacific Rim" since the movie was announced. And last night I went to my IMAX 3-D showing of it, hoping not to be let down.

I mean, it's a movie with giant robots fighting giant monsters (Kaiju), and, as someone who loves the hell out of the old Godzilla movies, I was SO READY for this movie.


Before I critique Pacific Rim, I would like to go on-record saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. If ever there were a summer blockbuster action movie made for me, it would totally be this one. Cities get wrecked by Kaiju, and giant robots that take me back to my Power Rangers fandom days show up to fight them. Seriously, if you aren't sure whether or not you should see this movie, get thee to a theater and try to find an IMAX/IMAX 3-D showing because it was friggin amazing.

With that said.

Where were my ladies at in this movie? The world gets destroyed, countries unite to build giant robots, people are picked to pilot said robots and...apparently males are the only ones capable enough to pilot these things.

While it's totally true that Mako Mori, the female lead played by the awesome Rinko Kukuchi, plays a significant role (and does get to co-pilot a Jaeger), she's...the only significant female character in the whole movie.

I'm just gonna repeat that. Mako Mori is the ONLY significant female in the entire damn movie.

The only other female character who gets a name is another co-pilot from Russia, and I think she gets one line.

This seriously took my enjoyment level of the movie down several notches. Why couldn't there have been a Jaeger pilot team of two female characters? Why couldn't one of the scientist characters have been played by a female?


Even when Idris Elba's character's talking to the U.N. at the beginning of the movie, the people shown in the panel are ALL GUYS. There's ONE FEMALE amongst all the U.N. dudes. ONE.

Apparently, in the future, women have even less to do than we do now.

So...what happened? Did the Kaiju show up and all the females on the planet shrieked and fainted in terror? Did we just decide that Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em robot piloting was better left off to the guys? Did we really regress so much after those monsters attacked that there were literally no women left on the planet to do anything significant?

The movie will get credit in the fact that Mako is never hyper-sexualized, and is actually treated like a human being. There aren't any gratuitous fanservice shots (I'm looking at you, Star Trek: Into Darkness).  So it gets points there in it's treatment of her and the fact that she has flaws and is a strong character.

BUT Y'ALL. There were...hang on, let me count, 15 male characters who were super significant in the movie. And of those, probably about 11 of them got more lines than the female Russian Jaeger co-pilot (her name, by the way, is Lt. A. Kaidanovsky).

Color me disappointed. If, say, one of the scientist characters had been changed to a female, or another pilot had also been a female, or the Bridge Operator guy who talked with the pilots had been female, nothing drastic would've changed. Relationships in the movie would be the same, and oh look, females would've gotten something useful to do.

I'm getting really tired of this. I LOVE the fact that this movie was international, I really do. But COME ON. Women have a place in actiony summer blockbusters just as much as men do. They can be just as flawed, or evil, or kick-ass, and, at the same time, NOT be hyper-sexualized. There has to be a way to make this happen.

Because it'd be nice to see a future where women actually, you know, EXIST.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write Post #5

Well, I'm...a bit late to the party, but here's my post for this week!

What I'm reading:
I've acquired a few things to beta read, so that'll be the rest of my week :) I finished Catherine Fisher's OBSIDIAN MIRROR, and while I enjoyed the book overall, there were a few plot things and a couple of characters that ended up disappointing me, which was sad.

What I'm writing:
I feel like the better question is what aren't I writing? DRAGON FAIL has temporarily been pit on hold because I got this fabulous idea for a ghost story! I don't want to say too much about it, because the whole concept is a spoiler, really, but here's an excerpt from what I wrote in the airport yesterday :)

This takes place when my characters take a detour into a psychic's shop. The psychic decides to give them a very informal Tarot reading. My narrator's name is Quinn Thomas, and the last line of this excerpt is why I love her :P
My hands shake as I flip the first card. I stare at it, not fully processing the image. An upright Ten of Swords.
“Ah,” Madame Theresa’s voice lilts. “The cards do not seem to favor you, Little Warrior. Pain and tears, defeat, sudden misfortune-”
“Ruin of plans,” I whisper.
She nods. “Flip the other card, please.”
My hand definitely shakes as I reach for the other one. I nearly fall out of my chair out of relief. “The Magician,” I say, holding the card up for everyone to see.
She smiles. “I thought the cards might grace you with the magician. Your will-power is strong, yes?”
Jeff laughs. “Ma’am, she has one of the strongest wills I’ve ever met.” I shoot him a look, and he holds his hands up in surrender. “It was a compliment, Thomas.”
“Oh.” My face warms. “Right. Sorry.”
Madame Theresa’s eyes meet mine. “You are also quite confident in yourself and your abilities, and are very creative. Perhaps even a master of sleight of hand.”

“When you say it like that I sound like a magical, talented, cocky asshole.”

So I guess my new goal is to get as much of this written as I can? I'm already 6K in so I think it'll go pretty fast/maybe be one of the shortest books I've ever written haha

What else I've been up to:
I just got back from Massachusetts, where I had a job interview, so keep your fingers crossed for me!!!

With that said, I'm still exhausted.

What inspires me right now:
GHOSTS. And other creepy things. Oh, and marathons of "Destination Truth" :D

Happy Writing!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I'm going to actually do the What's up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write post this week, I swear!!!

And blogging will be a thing again too!

But, for now ---

Thank you for randomly reading this :P

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What's up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write! Post #4

Sooooooooooooooo. I might've had a fail today and forgotten to do this post.


Tomorrow I'll have a What's up Thursday post! Sorry, y'all! Life is being life right now haha o_O

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Me VS. Summer Movies: The Intro Post

I'm going to interrupt my usual book-ish talk to do something random this summer. It's not really a secret that I LOVE going to the movies. I'm pretty sure I've written about it a couple of times on this blog, and one of the reasons I love summer so much is that there's something new I want to see every week.

But recently, the movies have been disappointing me. You see, I've been holding them up to the Bechdel Test standards and...not one movie passed so far. Well, until today. I saw "The Heat" and was worried about it NOT passing as I sat in the theater. Since it's the only mainstream female-centric film out right now, I not only wanted it to be good, I wanted it to pass the test.

And it did. I'm both sad and relieved that it passed. 

For those of you who are a bit unfamiliar with the test, it's quite simple (which is why I'm always so mad when something I watch/read doesn't pass it). There are three (or two and a half, depending on how you look at it) rules.

  2. These female characters have to have a conversation.
  3. About something that IS NOT A GUY.
Not super difficult, right?


Let me break this down. So far this summer, I've seen:

"Star Trek: Into Darkness" Most definitely male-centric.
I don't think the female characters (of which there were...three?) said a damn thing to each other. Throughout the whole movie. I had other problems with this movie, too, but I'm leaving it at the Bechdel Test fail right now.

"The Purge" This one's sort of evenly male/female-centric.
I actually really liked this movie, and there were more than two named female characters. But when the female characters did manage to have a conversation, it usually revolved around the daughter's boyfriend or the patriarch of the family. So womp womp there.

"Now You See Me" Definitely male-centric.
Aside from the whole one-female-character-is-a-constant-weight-joke thing, this hardcore fails the test. There are three female characters in this (though one just hangs off of Morgan Freeman the whole time and doesn't really say anything). So the two female characters who are actually integral to the plot don't talk to each other. There's an interrogation scene at the beginning, but they're talking about a man, and there's also a man in the room with them, and that's literally the only time those characters interact. Awesome.

"Man of Steel" Do I even have to say it was male-centric?
So then we get to Superman, and though there are...five (hey! the most so far!) female characters who are important players, all their time is spent discussing...Superman.

"World War Z" Male and zombie-centric.
Brad Pitt travels around the world, saving it and stuff. There are indeed more than two named female characters here, but they don't get much to do. We've got Brad Pitt's wife and daughters, who spend the whole movie wondering if he'll be all right, and there are a couple more ladies who are important, but their roles are spoilery so I'm not gonna go into it. Just know that, if they do talk, they're talking about Brad Pitt (because he's doing stuff with zombies).

"The Heat" Female-centric.
The buddy cop movie we didn't know we wanted. Though Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy do spend most of their time trying to find a mysterious bad guy, there are parts of the movie that qualify it for passing the test. It might've been a bit predictable, but I laughed, and as the only mainstream female-centric movie out right now, I'm very glad it passed the test.

So let's recap:

Summer movies I've seen: 6

Summer movies that were male-centric: 4
Summer movies that were evenly-centric: 1
Summer movies that were female-centric: 1

Summer movies that passed the Bechdel Test: 1
Summer movies that failed the Bechdel Test: 5

This week, I'm going to go see "Monsters University," so we'll see how that does. I'd like to state that I really do love movies, which is why I'm doing this. I'm certainly not the first person to point that out, and I've no idea if I'll ever have the kind of power to change any of this. But when only ONE movie so far has named female characters talking about something other than a guy, there's a problem.

And I'm both very excited and very saddened that, because of what's getting released, I'm going to keep talking about this problem all summer.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Up Wednesday/Ready. Set. Write! Post #3

I'm going to be super punctual this week! WOO!

What I'm reading:
I have one more book to finish beta reading, and then I'm done for now!!!

Then I get to read research books!!! I'm quite excited about a couple of them :)

What I'm writing:
DRAGON FAIL got to 35K, and I still have a few days to reach my 40K June goal, so I think it's going quite well so far!

I've got most of the back half of the book semi-plotted, so hopefully it all turns out better than I'm anticipating!

Here's another excerpt, still from Darien's POV (if it seems like I'm hiding my other narrators, I kind of am haha). Darien's lying about Reggie's identity for certain undisclosed reasons right now.

And King Dave isn't really a King. He's Questland's manager, and just makes everyone call him that.
“King Dave,” Darien hit the king’s back. “I have a favor to ask.”
“Oh?” Dave asked, eyes drifting over Darien’s shoulders to the others. “And what’s that?”
Darien turned, gesturing to Reggie. “This is my cousin Tom.” Dave raised an eyebrow, but Darien shrugged. “My aunt’s British. Anyway,” he continued, before Reggie could say something dumb. “Tom’s mom ---my aunt--- decided to leave him here for a couple of weeks. You see, dear old Tom here has suffered from a really lame fear of the ocean for his whole life. I think it started when we were kids and I decided to pinch his feet under the water. I had him convinced that crabs the size of Labradors lived in the water, and-”
“You said you had a favor to ask?” Dave interrupted Darien’s spontaneous monologue.

I've plotted out the other stories I'm working on, and am slowly writing those whilst writing this one.

There's just SO MUCH WRITING going on right now, and I love it!

What else I've been up to:
I just started to learn how to play the guitar! Mostly because I can't spend ALL of my free time staring at a computer screen, and also because I've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument.

I previously learned how to play the cups, but I figured that a guitar might be a bit more useful in the long run. Also, I look really tired in that video. Is that how I looked all through grad school?

I digress.

Anyway, we just so happened to have a guitar hanging out at home with no one to play it, so pretty soon I'll post way too many song covers on my YouTube page hahaha

Oh, and still job searching (YAY?)

What inspires me right now:
Ummm, really sad things? Which is kind of terrible, probably, but that's how it goes. My awesome writer friend KK and I are pretty much spiraling into super sad manuscript territory, so we started recommending songs to each other to speed the process up.

So I currently have "Leave" from a musical called "Once" on repeat, 'cause I recommended it to her and realized that I really, really love this song :)

And I'm going to figure out how to play it on guitar...eventually haha

Happy Writing!