Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Queer Characters Are Important In Fiction

I'm queer. Most of you probably knew that already (or could gather it). I'm a woman who loves me some other women. I'm very fortunate and privileged to be able to share this so openly with you - for I have very rarely felt personally threatened to be out in any society I've lived in, including my super conservative home area. There have been some instances in which I was the target of "gay bashing" in my university days a couple of years ago, but for the most part I've been lucky to be comfortable with who I am and sharing that with those closest to me.

Therefore, I have never shied away from embracing my array of queer characters. I mean, straight people write about straight characters all the time, why shouldn't I have my lesbians and gays (and everyone in between?) But there are very big differences in writing about straight characters vs. queer characters, whether you intentionally made them that way or they just "happened" to be queer during development. (Yes, I shall never forget the day I realized my old guys were queer. Should've seen that one coming, eh?)

1) Queer Characters = Queer Themed? Even in today's publishing world, whether self or traditionally, having queer main characters means taking big chances. The biggest one, and my biggest point, is that any main queer relationship in a story gets that story labelled "Gay" themed and can have two big repercussions. The most noticeable one is that it may be turned down or "requested" to be "made straight" if going to the traditional publishing route. This leads into the other repercussion:  labeling. Whether you write mysteries, science-fiction, YA, thriller, etc etc, if you've got you some queer main characters having queer love, odds are you're all packed together in the bookstore's "LGBT" section. Which is great if you're shopping for books with queer characters in them, but not so great when leading into...

2) It's a Gay Gay Gay Gay World Welcome to a society that says "oh, you're gay? Let's make this all about your sex life" because that's all queer people care about, right? Oh, and how woefully awful it is being gay. In fact it's so awful that if I'm a queer character, my entire plot and development has to be all about how Awful it is and how Awful I feel and how Awful the outcome between me and mine is going to be. Stories with queer characters often go down the road of making it all about how they're gay. There could be other plot going on, but let's face it, all that matters is that this person has gay sex. Or wants to. Oh, and of course there's going to be hate crimes around every turn and the love interest will either die a horrible death or suddenly realize they're straight. Or everybody will die. Happy endings do not generally exist for queer characters in any medium, because we queers need to be constantly reminded that Being Queer is Awful. (Yes, many of these things do happen. And it is awful. But that doesn't mean we want all our fiction to be Awful. We want happy endings too sometimes!)

3) Visibility, or, oh! You're gay! Straight people are everywhere. In fact, it's the perceived norm. Everyone is straight until proven queer, and this goes for fiction as well. Thus, straight people don't really have a representation issue. Anywhere. Even in Pride. Trust me. But as much as I love going "oh! she's a lesbian!" it's always wonderful to find that out later as No Big Deal. This kinda ties into #2 up there. I may be queer, but it's not My Life. I've got bigger stuff going on than constantly thinking about how Queer I Am. Which I'm guessing is the same for a lot of straight people. I don't need the first thing known about a character to be that they're queer, unless that actually IS what the story revolves around. But if romance is secondary to the plot like in most cases? Let me find out by seeing him flirt with another man, or seeing her get a phone call from her girlfriend after that long day at work. Or heck, have her get a call from her boyfriend and then go flirt with that cute waitress. Or any number of possibilities.

With these three main considerations, you can probably see where the title ties into everything. Queer characters (who have developed naturally, and not queer to fill some Minority Quota alongside the Token Black Guy) are important in all sorts of fiction, in all sorts of mediums. But of course I'm mostly talking about novels here, since that's what I care about. Right now queer characters tend to either fall into fetishism or Life Is Awful. Or teaching tools. Or all of the above. It's critical that queer characters begin to be seen in "normal" life and situations more and more as we go along this wonderful writing journey - hence why I tend to write a lot of queer characters in my fantasy...because while I am queer myself and want to write characters similar to me in that regard, it's also important to me that readers be able to see queer people in the same exact shit straight people get involved in. Which is why I tend to steer away from the Awful unless it's just general relationship awfulness. Because that is amazingly fun to write regardless of who's involved.

I look forward to the day where I can see LGBT characters represented in mainstream genres and not relegated to the back corner. Yes, I realize that there are a lot of books like this already (the Kushiel series keeps jumping up at me) but most of those types of relationships are fanciful background shenanigans. What I really mean are the series lead by the LGBT heroes who really don't give a damn about it. Think Lord of the Rings, but Aragorn ends up with, I dunno, Hugo Weaving in the end instead because that's just how they roll.

Welp, excuse me now. I'm off to work on my urban fantasy series with some power lesbians and old gay guys (omg they're gay??) and yeah I guess a few straight people running around too. Oh, and the dog. I dunno how the dog swings. I don't think he cares.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Wait...oh...oh oops.

What I should've spent my weekend doing.
AHAHAHA @ ME LOL. I didn't write much this week. Kinda taking a weekend break because a friend from Tokyo visited me and we just kinda partied all over the place. And when I did have time to write I decided sleep was more important. How very dare I, I know.

Meanwhile, playing a lot of Sims again. Novel characters are the best in this game. One of them even got a horse this weekend. Ain't that special? That's special.

Meh, let's be real. The reason why I'm not writing as much really is because I'm not as inspired with where I'm at right now. Hence, a little break to recharge the muse. Mostly I just haven't written some good ol' fashion'd  smut in a while. Too much plot, not enough sex. Happens in books, I hear. The answer is to just go ahead and write some unrelated smut, but then I feel bad because I'm not working on what I should be working on. Vicious cycles. Sigh.

But at this rate I may just go ahead and write some smut.

I may or may not let you know how it turns out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Flash: Over (Campaign Challenge)

"Happier" days~
I wasn't originally going to do this week's campaign challenge - honestly, I'm almost more sick of it than I am of all the tagging posts =P  - but I needed a flash prompt for this week and it seemed like the thing to do...especially since I already did just a sample last week. So, I've decided to do the flash prompt after all. For fun, I suppose. (Although feel free to vote for me, although I don't think I have much chance considering I'm what...#200? lol.)

Anyway, for those who actually are NOT in the campaign, the guidelines (and everyone else can read them one more time to see if they've memorized it yet!)

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
Technically this piece is still in the genre I "normally" write, considering they're old characters. This short story features Devon and Alicia, and takes place between the events of CROSS//Rebirth and CROSS//Revenge.


Shadows crept across the wall. The one on the far right flurried with every movement of Alicia’s arm as she pulled more clothes out of the closet and shoved them into packs and bags. Devon watched from the bed and counted each shadow as it flew by.

“So this is it,” he said as Alicia zipped up the last of her bags, an orange one she bought for their trip to visit her parents last Christmas. “Just like that it’s all over.”

She no more than glanced at him before sliding the bag off the bed. “You cheated on me.”

“We’ve been over this…”

“With my ex-girlfriend!”

Devon sunk further into the bed as Alicia gathered her pile of bags and cases around the bedroom door. He didn’t want to part that way, however. Over a year together was too good for that. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry doesn’t change the past.” Alicia propped open the door. “Bye.”

She disappeared with the first set of bags; Devon didn’t offer to get up and help. There went his girlfriend, his would be fiancée, the woman he once swore he would love forever. Gone because of what happened a thousand years before.

Everything faded.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hubpages Wednesday: AW YEAH MUSIC.

Once again, only one hub this week because I was super lazy. What can I say, it's that time when a lady like me decides to just collapse every day and die, pretty much.

ANYWAY, on the docket this week is a hub dictating Top 10 Tetsuya Komuro Produced Acts. You know you love your some 90s Japanese pop. You love it so much you want to watch this video.

Also, dedicating this post to Keiko Yamada, who I just discovered had to have brain surgery last October. Her and her husband TK's group "globe" were one of the very first Japanese bands I ever got into, and remain one of my absolute favorites today. Stay strong gurl. <3

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'd Rather Feed the Trolls

Do it.
I've been on the Ye Olde Internet for going on ten years now.  While that's not as long as a lot of "veterans" I know, I have been online since about fourteen or so, which is quite a formidable amount of my life. (Almost one half by this point, and certainly a majority of my self-conscious life.) In all that time I have seen a lot of trolls. And like any other young teen on the Net, I've been hurt by a lot of trolls. (Never forget the day somebody said my website sucked! Forever in my fiery heart, SailorCurious!) The thing is, for the most part, unless they're saying something super triggery and just generally heinous a la SVU, trolls are pretty easy to ignore the more you hang out on the internet.

As writers, we get trolled a lot. One day we're just beep-boopin along, and then suddenly somebody comments on a piece of flash fiction or a novel excerpt and lets us know just ~what they think~ in a nice array of SUPER flattering text.

Example: "omg you call this fiction?!!?! more like dumpster trash lololol"

okay, so that's a crappy example. Forgive me, been a long work day and I should go crash soon. Anyway, at first you think "Wow, that sucks. Thanks for ruining my day, bro," but then you think "bwahahaha they probably didn't even read it."

It's kind of the same with some bad reviews, especially from random strangers. Of course, genuine "bad reviews" are not fun at all, but many see them as learning experiences if it's applicable. It never feels good to have something you worked so hard and long at be treated like crap, but it's usually easier when it comes from a stranger, or a troll.

Then there's the bad reviews from your fellow writers. I don't know about you, but those are the ones that strike through me the hardest.

We writers are critical. We're hard on ourselves (or at least should be) and tend to be hard on other writers. It's why the beta process can be so important. We need our fellow writers to be critical, both in terms of what works and what doesn't.

Thus, it hurts doubly when they hate something we've done than when Joe Schmoe goes on a tangent.

Let's face it, y'all writers, deep down we all compete with each other. Perhaps not always monetarily and with sales, but at least mentally - we will always compare ourselves to every writer we come across. We'll bite our lips when somebody does something we've always wanted to be able to do so well, and we'll smugly think "haha I would never do that at least!" we see something we don't like at all. And of course, there's that pang of jealousy whenever somebody lands a book deal when we're still struggling. But of course we'll happily congratulate them and share in their excitement. Most of the time.

These aren't bad things. They're human nature. (Well, you could argue that it could be bad because it IS human nature..) But they're real. And it affects the way we interact with each other. It's easy to disregard somebody's writing as trash on days we're particularly down on ourselves and looking for validation. But I digress.

I apparently need to close up this blog entry now because I am making less and less sense (or just getting more and more tired) as time goes on: but basically, "trolls" are easy to write off (haha get it!!!) because ~what do they know~? But writers man, writers hatin' on your stuff is like a punch to the back of the head. Because what if they're right? and oh no we might have to make serious changes omg!!

This post is brought to you by a good idea I had that's been tainted by a 12 hour work day and even less sleep to back it up. I'm off to rectify that last point right now. Goodnight~  I am so happy I didn't attempt the queer characters post tonight oh man i am dyin'.

Is there any one kind of review you just can't deal with even on a good day?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Lost my mind - anybody got a net?

This is your brain on fail.
Well, haven't really "lost my mind". I've just got a lot of stressful stuff going on. As most of you know I live in Japan until April, when I'm moving me and all the crap I've accumulated (well, the stuff that matters) back to the States. Until then, I have people coming to visit, and a lot, and I mean a lot of legal paperwork and errands to run to make sure I stay legal here. Needless to say, lots of stressful cleaning, lots of stressful run-ins with no-English government officials, lots of phone calls, and oh yeah, running around half the area to fill in at schools because the plague is wiping out everyone around here.

Bleh. I have time to write, but stress is such a mood killer. Not to say I haven't been writing. Been doing my usual 500-1000 words every day (usually 500 before going to bed and 500 the next day, repeat) and settling down for editing again starting in March when I get back from my business trip.So, I've just been really, really busy. Trying to stay "upbeat" in the sense of not getting too run down and keeping my eyes on the prize, so to speak. It's amazing what motivation can help you punch through.

Now excuse me, everyone, I need to go obsess over some paperwork and rework my schedule AGAIN because an old friend wants to drop by the day I was originally going to go renew my work visa. To the planner!... :(

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hildred's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

I've always wanted to be a singer-songwriter. But I assure you all I would come up with a better Best Of title than that.

Anyway, partly for me, mostly for you, I'm compiling a list of my "best" blog posts here ever since I first started writing in 2008. (Well, I've been on Blogger since about 2010, but I imported posts before that here.) These are the posts that I feel best reflect my opinions on writing, got some interesting discussions both on and off Blogger, and just in general you can look at if you would like to get to know my blog a little bit better! I'll be posting them in chronological order with their original month of publication because omg some of these are so old and yet I remember the exact  moments of writing them. Life. Tell it stop speeding by.

- I hang out with John and Joanne at the library. (August 2009) Writing exercise.
"Who's the Puppet, Who's the Master?" (November 2009) Character rant.
"I think you may just be complicating...everything" and other stories about apples burning down houses told in less than 100 pages and no less than five run-on sentences.  (July 2010) Novels vs. Short Stories
"Hello? Random person? I have a question for my novel...yes, I can hold?" (September 2010) lol.
- "But are you a -real- author?" (January 2011) Publishing Rant
- "UM EXCUSE YOU I'm busy talking to myself here." (August 2011) Writing quirks.
- Why I Write (September 2011) Blog meme, general thoughtfulness.
- Why My Debut Novel Will Never Be Traditionally Published (October 2011) Bam.
- Technicalities, Vol 3: Who are you? Why are you in my novel? (October 2011) Character rant.
- Fun With  Maps: Homegrown Homes (December 2011) Writing notes.
- Fun With Maps: Now...where do those homes go? (December 2011) Writing notes.
Why I don't write Young Adult Fiction  (December 2011) Not trolling, I swear.

Bam. Greatest Hits In Blogging Vol 1. Please excuse the typos in the older entries, I ain't gonna fix anything at the moment~

ALSO. I'm trying to decide what to post on Monday. Right now I have two articles ready to go. One is called "Why Queer Characters Are Important In Fiction" and the other is "I'd Rather Feed The Trolls". Based on titles alone, which one piques your interest more?

My cat thanks you for your time.

For your trouble, here is my cat on the roof. Sigh.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Flash: "They're Bulgarian".

For this week's installment of Friday Flash, I've got...nothing new! Well, it's probably new to most of you. But if you ever read my Nanowrimo profile, it's not.

Didn't have time to write up anything new this week. Instead I'm offering up the preview text I have on my Nanowrimo 2011 profile for CROSS//Revenge. It's about 2k words, but most of it is dialogue. Only minimally edited thus far, as is probably obvious. (Still Nano-raw, lots of extraneous words and then some, cause LOL WORD COUNT)

Not gonna offer much background, but it features one of the characters I used in the recent blogfest. And some new ones.

Usual warnings for some crude language, sexuality talk, and a couple violent threats. Basically, a normal day in the CROSS// universe.

Heaven’s Garden was one of those places that looks like a tiny café from the outside, but in reality is a gaping maw of seating and lighting inside. Yumiko removed her sunglasses so her eyes could adjust to the natural lighting while avoiding waiters and hostesses, regardless of how cute the latter were. When Maj. Lewis suggested “hamburgers and salad” Yumiko thought she’d be lucky with Sizzler’s, but by the lack of children and anybody wearing less than their semi-formal wear it was…well, it was what she feared the most: a date.
They sat in the middle of the gallery, on opposite sides of the table, and when Maj. Lewis tried to order on her behalf she responded by kicking her foot into the table and spilling his water all over his lap.
“I’ll have the quarter pound with tomatoes and onion only please. Second lunch set.” Yumiko turned on her smile just for the skinny, tanned waitress.
“Nice appetite, Kobayashi! It’s nice to see a woman who actually eats."
My stomach feels like a bottomless pit of you-shut-your-mouth. “Oh, I’m not opposed to feasting when the moment calls for it.” The waitress was the one to inspire her to use a double-entendre. Yumiko wondered if she could get her number.
“My ex-wife – honestly, can’t remember which one – had this thing about eating food that weighed more than her hand. How does that even make sense? It doesn’t. She has a daughter with another man now. That’s gonna end well, eh?”
Yumiko rolled her eyes. All she heard was “my ex-wife blah blah blah”.
After another awkward declaration about ex-wives – “this other one thought it was her job to eat all the sausage in the house” – Maj. Lewis got up to go use the restroom. Yumiko whipped out her cell phone to send a plea to Miranda to come save her from this heterosexual spectacle.
The waitress walked by once more, but before Yumiko could turn on her charm and invite her over to her apartment later for debauchery she realized she was leading two people to the table behind Yumiko. So much for that.
Yumiko didn’t pay attention to what the people were saying until they actually said something.
“I don’t know why you get to choose everywhere we go.”
“Because I can’t trust you to not, you know, blow our cover. Like you’re doing right now. You need to seriously stop speaking in julah before some other Federation people overhear and realize who we are.”
“And what the hell would you propose I speak?”
“I dunno, something from Earth maybe? Oh, hey, here’s an idea! Speak English! Hell speak some Spanish! Do you know some French? You wanna go to Japan so I hope you know some Japanese, why don’t you try it out on me?”
“You’re a dumbass. How’s that for English?”
By now Yumiko was huddled in her seat, her sunglasses flung down her nose and her hair as flat and unremarkable as possible. Were these kids stalking her on her purpose or just on total cosmic accident?
The waitress asked what they wanted; Vikkel ordered for both of them since Krista apparently forgot her English. “You spend so much of your time just fucking around. You gonna do anything or just let those mercenaries run all over the world?”
“How about you stop criticizing me for two seconds, huh? Man, you’re cranky today.”
“Probably because I don’t get any sleep. You kick me every ten minutes.”
“Because you’re still in my bed.”
Yumiko relaxed her shoulders. She was scared of these kids?
“Let’s just get this over with.”
Yumiko heard the two of them get up out of their seats, and then…nothing. Did they go to the bathroom? Maybe they could take care of Maj. Lewis for her.
Suddenly two julah were sitting at the table with her.
“You’re Syrfila Tograten, right? You were kinda hard to find,” Vikkel said in English.
Yumiko held up her hands in front of her face – she could feel the contents of her empty stomach filing through her esophagus. “I…I don’t know anyone by that name! My name is Yumiko!”
“Right. Yumiko Kobayashi. How nice.”
            Yumiko slumped down in her seat and covered her eyes with her hand. “What do you want with me? Leave me alone and I won’t have to bust your faces in here in front of half the wharf.”
            Krista opened her mouth to retort – doubtlessly with a threat – but Vikkel cut her off with a half-smile and further threat. “Don’t worry, we’re not interested in you or your deeds, as swell as they seem to be right here. What rank are you in the nation’s military?”
            Yumiko pressed her teeth together. “I’m a major, thank you.” And I got here all on my own, she added.
            “Noble. Well, like I said, we’re not interested in taking you into the Federation, as much as my mother would love it…”
            “You’re projecting.”
            He shot his ex-fiancé a glare. “You shouldn’t use our names like that.”
            It was Yumiko’s turn to laugh at their misfortune. “Vikkel, huh? Then you must be Vikkel Amyran. And that would make you, who? Krista Ferran? What’s the ambassador’s daughter doing all the way out here?”
            “How do you know who we are?”
            “Please, your marriage disaster was huge julah news, even Nerilis Dunsman was mumbling about it. Seems that you two have made up, though.”
            “That’s none of your concern,” Vikkel said. “We’re not here to talk about us. We are, however, here to talk about Lord Dunsman.”
            “Lord Dunsman? Jeez, you julah really are in deep with your titles. I don’t think anyone’s called him Lord since before he blew up his first planet.”
            Vikkel sighed and planted his hand against his forehead. “The reason that we’re here speaking with you is not, like I said, to turn you in. We simply want to know what you know about finding Nerilis Dunsman.”
            “Oh, so it’s him you’re after?”
            “In a fashion.”
            “Well good luck with that. I have no idea where he is. He cut me off and ran away, far from this planet I’m presuming. Last I heard or saw of him he knocked me clear off my feet and beat my ass.”
            “Yes, but you may know more than you think.”
            “Oh, is that so?”
            Vikkel lowered his hand while Krista, now wonderfully excluded, picked at a scab on her wrist. “We’re interested in contacting a Mr. Yamamoto in Japan. He was the one who…”
            “…Dunsman bought the androids from, I know. They were a pain in my ass.”
            “Yes. Do you know how to locate him? We only have his last name and, well…”
            “Yeah, good luck with that.”
            Yumiko glanced around the room – there was still no sign of Maj. Lewis, thank goodness. “Even if I did know his real name and how to get in touch with him, why would I tell you?”
            “Why wouldn’t you? You have nothing to lose.” Vikkel paused. “But you will have something to lose if you don’t tell us what you know.”
            “Is that a threat?”
            “Obviously. We’ll have no qualms alerting the Federation Forces as to your pseudonym here and what you’re making of yourself.”
            “I’d kill you first.”
            “Ha!” Krista finally chimed in. “As fucking if! Do you know who we are, sweetie? We’re fuckin’ julah.” She tossed her head back and crossed her legs, Vikkel’s eyes transfixed on her movements as Yumiko silently noted. “Before you’d ever have the chance to break our necks, blast our asses, or blow up my…” Krista glared at Vikkel, “…apartment, I would curse your ass so hard that you’d wake up with every STD in the Federation sprouting from your hips and crawling up into your navel. Ever heard of Vallerkay Spore Worms? I’ll give you a crop of them.”
            “Ew.” Yumiko once knew somebody with Spore Worms. No one had looked lovelier than she did with that nice green hue of molding and rotting flesh. “How attractive.”
            “Uh, yeah. You should see the pretty pink vagina I gave the male mercenary.”
            “She’s really proud of that.”
            “I figured you would do some…a vagina?” Yumiko imagined Devon in her mind, a scrawny, no-one-care waste of a male (but weren’t they all?) who was so far up his own ass over the female mercenary that playing with him was only amusing for about five minutes. The thought of giving that asshole a vagina was something even Yumiko could get behind. She couldn’t wait to tell Miranda later.
            “Kobayashi!” Shit, he’s back. “I didn’t know you had some new friends!”
            The three of them looked up to see Maj. Lewis, returned from his pleasant sojourn to the bathroom, He pulled out his abandoned chair and sat with a fwump that made Krista cock one dark eyebrow.
            “They’re not my friends,” Yumiko informed him. “They were just leaving.”
            “You a soldier, boy?” Maj. Lewis flung his hand out and squeezed one of Vikkel’s biceps. “You’re kind of a scrawny boy but you’ve got some nice Marine muscles!”
            Vikkel shrugged him off with chagrin. “I…I used to be a soldier…”
            “Feh! Once a soldier, always a soldier in your heart! Your parents must be proud.”
            Krista snickered.
            “Oh yes, they’re quite proud.” Yumiko remembered hearing from Dunsman all about the plight of Lady Aryman and her disappointment of a lifetime son. From what Yumiko understood of julah culture, academia equaled prestige and love whereas boot stomping equaled disdain and disownment. This kept getting better and better.
            “Who are these charming children?”
            “We’re, erm…”
            “I’m not a chi…”
            “They’re my niece and nephew.”
            They all gaped at Yumiko – well, it wasn’t completely far-fetched. Everyone had dark hair, and although neither Vikkel nor Krista looked huling in the face…
            “Really? I didn’t know you had any brothers or sisters…hey, aren’t you Japanese?” Maj. Lewis turned to Vikkel. “And what accent is that, boy? Eastern European?”
            “Yup. They’re Bulgarian.”
            More gaping.
            “My family is fucked.”
            “We’re, uh…we’re going to go,” Vikkel announced while standing. His full height made Maj. Lewis crane his head back and stare with a “do you play basketball?” face.
Krista stood up as well and said to Yumiko, “You’d better think about what we said. We’ll be in contact with you again later.”
Once they were gone – and they were gone gone, based on the confused look on the waitress’s face when she searched for them later – Yumiko relaxed her shoulders and shot a breath out of her mouth. The only thing worse than dealing with two adolescent julah was…
“Interesting family you have, Kobayashi, although a bit strange…”
…Maj. Lewis.
“What can I say, we keep shit interesting in my family,” Yumiko mumbled. The waitress returned with their orders. Yumiko stared at her knee-length skirt and thought about the only thing that could make her paranoia subside at that moment. She pulled out her cell phone and searched for Miranda’s email address while settling her stomach’s appetite.
For some odd reason, Miranda did not return Yumiko’s text request for sex that night. Instead Yumiko was forced to suffer through a full lunch hour of Maj. Lewis’s bullshit small talk while stuffing her face and wishing she were dead. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just turn herself in to the Federation and have her execution over and done with. It would be especially worth it if it were broadcasted throughout the galaxy and Maj. Lewis managed to see his would-be girlfriend shot by firing squad while giving the camera the biggest finger he had ever seen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hubpages Wednesday: MOAR CATS.

I held every one of these cats. Jealous?
Only one hub to share with y'all this week, but it's one that I had a lot of fun "researching" and writing up!

Basically, Japanese Cat Cafes: The Best in Pet Rentals!

Cat cafes are like a beacon of light in my life here in the land of extreme weather and social isolation. Oh, and really, really missing my cats back home.

I had hoped to have another one this week, but my output has been less than satisfactory. Oh well. At least I know what my next one is going to be now. I'm starting to make steady cents now, and all my hubs are being ranked high and quality so, really, #15 (which is considered a milestone at HP) should be good!

Oh, and there's video at that there hub. That I took myself. Of lots of cats.

Lots of cats.

Many many cats.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"(no title) my ass, get with the program Blogger~"

I spent most of today wondering if I should make a V-day (that will never not mean "venereal" to me) post, and when I decided that I might, I then spent too much time wondering exactly what I would write about - romance? Meh. Hot sexx0rz scenes? Possibly. My cats? Oh my god, yes.

Buuuut now you're all spared from me gushing about how much I love my cats because I got tagged by Samantha to do the latest and greatest meme. Basically, answer her 11 questions, then tag 11 more people with questions of my own. Innovative!

K, let's get this done so I can go shower. I taught four classes today with some of the most exhausting kids ever, and I need that shower.

1. Chocolate or Whipped Cream?
There is no way to answer this as a matter of fact. It all depends on what kind of chocolate, and whether or not the whipped cream is that god-awful disgusting Ready Whip crap. (I have feelings about it, okay. I don't like my toppings to taste of the metal container they came out of it.)
2. What was your favorite subject in High School and why?
English. Because I was the smartest at it and everyone knew it (I was failing math, okay, I needed some positivity in my life.)
3. If you could witness any major event in history, what would it be?
Considering I've stared at this for about ten minutes now, I must not have an answer...
4. You had to pick the next Sexiest Man Alive. Who would be on the cover?

5. What's your all time favorite movie?
The Fifth Element.

Because it is the Fifth Element.
6. If I asked your best friend about you. what would be the first three words they would pick to describe you?
"Shez dpin grest"
7. Who is your biggest supporter in your writing?
I dunno. Me? I kinda have to be.
8. Favorite Disney Princess is?
What's a Disney? I kid. But I don't have one. I could never stand any of them. Although when I was a wee bb dyke I thought Jasmine should be my bff-girlfriend. She had a tiger. Cats are cool.
9. You've just won a free trip to unwind and de-stress. Where would that destination be?
HELL. No, seriously! Think about it! What's a better way to unwind and de-stress then, idk, realize that things could be way worse.
The horrible thing is that this was seriously the first thing to pop into my head when I read this.
10. Who do you call an inspiration in your life?
ohohohoho, you almost made me write something naughty here!
11. IPhone or Android?
Kindle Fire.

Uhhhh pretty sure I'm one of the last people to get tagged based on my blog list, but HEY WHATEVER! Time to dig in and post some links!

1. Dan
2. The East Coaster
3. Lara Schiffbauer
4. Melissa Sugar
5. CV Marie
6. Karina Lawrence
7. Misha Gericke
8. CM Brown
9. Halford
10. Sabrina A. Fish
11. fairbetty

Your odds of being tagged were high if you've recently been active on my blog.

Or your name happens to be Dan.

ANYWAY you want yours questions, right?

1. What is the single most annoying trope that makes you want to claw your eyes out?
2. If you could alter history and claim credit for any book ever written, what would it be?
3. How many kids were in your HS graduating class? (or are in your class right now, if you're still in school)
4. If you were guaranteed massive success either way, would you rather traditionally publish or self-publish?
5. What's the most you've ever paid for an article of clothing...for yourself?
6. Singer, Model, or Actress - who you gonna be?
7. Chef, Driver, or Maid - who you gonna hire?
8. Bath or shower?
9. You're scheduling for a delivery to your house during normal business hours. What time do you request, and why?
10. Could you survive a whole year or more in a traditional Japanese apartment? (for the record, the one in the video is 10x nicer than mine, although mine is technically larger. Yay.)
11. Favorite Pokemon. And you can't cop out with "i dunno pokemon" because here's a link, pick the cutest one!

Shazam! Also, I would love if everyone answered the Japanese apartment question at least, because ahahah my life.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Because I'm told I should be organized, as a writer, or something...

Just a quick quip that I've solidified the final version of my new blogging schedule here. Or, at least one I intend to long as it behooves me.


SUNDAY: Weekly Writing Check-In. Same one I've always done since about September or so.

MONDAY: Free For Me, or, whatever I feel like posting. General thoughts about writing, announcements that didn't fit on Sunday, etc. Usually a discussion post of some kind. (Although today this is filling it for it, ha!)

WEDNESDAY: Hubpages Wednesday. Where I plug my latest hubs I've written in the past week or so (usually 1-2, depending on time).

FRIDAY: Friday Flash. Short flash fiction pieces written and shared for promotional purposes. Will either be "original" or taken straight from any draft I may be working on.

Of course, I'll post on the other days if I feel like it. =P

All right, so this post isn't a complete bore to you, have a question!

What's the most ridiculous metaphor you've ever read? Bonus points if it literally made you LOL.

Right now the ones fresh in my mind all belong to GRRM. I can't take sailing masts seriously anymore. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: In the midst of it all, résumés!

My brain.
What a busy week for writing!  I wrote a new blog post every day while also juggling my 25k February challenge and working on some hubs. In the process my personal blog didn't get updated, but eh. Only so many hours in a day.

Thus, I will break this check-in up into some sections!

Blog: Been a while since I wrote a post every day! And not just fluff posts either, but ACTUAL posts! I had too much fun doing the blog fest. So much, in fact, that I am looking for others like it. Anyone got any leads? I will probably do a promotional flash fiction piece every Friday from now on, so do look forward to that! (Anybody got any good prompt sources? Character-related ones are apparently my favorite.)

CROSS//Revenge 25k February: I'm not keeping track of exactly how much I am writing thus far, but I've done a pretty good job of sticking to 1k a day. I'm determined to get back to editing come this March. But we'll cross that bridge when I get there. Right now is a pretty pivotal plot scene so it's going well.

Résumé: Oh have mercy. Since I'm nearing the end of my contract here in Japan, I'm starting to look for jobs back in the states. This includes updating my résumé, good lord. I hate résumé updating with a fiery passion, especially when my old one was tailored to my current position - nope, can't just add my current job to it, have to go in and totally gut the whole thing. Cut out everything from high school and most of my college crap, add a separate skills section, completely get rid of "objectives" because I'm sending this first one as a "blanket" résumé for no position in particular at a certain company. And of course being the time it is, there's no one online to look it over for me. And my mother's not online to see if she can think of any skills/abilities I'm forgetting. And I want to send this thing tomorrow at the very latest. Sigh. It's only my future, you know. (Because as much as I wish I could work full time, I do need a paying job, let alone one I actually enjoy!)

Bah, enough about that. Tell me, how was your writing this week? Or if you're not a writer/didn't write, how's the reading going? Gaming? Tell me anything going in your life that is NOT day-job related, haha.

EDIT: Help a girl out? Take a look at this blog entry and help me come up with some character names! I posted it back in October but still need some help, darnit.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ice Breakers: Not Just For Winter Weather

I seeeee Japaneeeeese~
I'm pleased as punch to make two quick announcements before getting into the rest of the meet of this entry:  not only has my blog doubled its readership this week (from 40 to over 80 thus far), but I've also broken 50,000 views. Most of those views come from google image searches, but hey, I don't hold it against myself!

Just want to thank everyone again for the kind comments left on all my Character Blogfest entries. I am quite proud of my "voice", so hearing so many compliments on it made my day(s)!

Now, since I've doubled my readership this week, mostly due to the Campaign and the Blogfest, I thought I should do another sort of introduction for those first reading me - and hey, if you've been around for a few months or a year now...maybe you'll still be entertained? Haha.

Anyway, without further ado, my name is Hildred. I'm currently 24 years old, a Libra (yes, that's important), and have been writing since I was four years old. I majored in Japanese Studies and minored in Religious Studies in university and currently work as an English teacher in Japan until I move back to the States in April/May. I consider myself fairly fluent in conversational Japanese, but don't ask me "what does this kanji mean?" because I will cry.

I write predominately adult Fantasy with Science Fiction overtures. I have two series I'm working on, although one is on the backburner indefinitely. The one that's on the backburner is "Nagnomei", a ten book high fantasy saga that deals with the origins of "humanity" and the lengths deities will go to to keep their people in the dark "for their own good". The one that's not and currently being written, edited, promoted, and soon-to-be-published is "CROSS//", a five book urban fantasy series that's about reincarnation, selfishness, overpopulation, butterflies, and a romance that has survived thousands of years. Both series also delve into "what happens when we die?" with very different answers, because to me, that's the biggest mystery of life. I also delve heavily into LGBT themes, particularly the "LG" part. I feel that women and lesbian romances in general (and all the problems that come with being a queer woman in general) are highly underrepresented in fantasy in a realistic light.

But right. This here blog. I blog about "writing", including in general and my own. Mostly I rant and whine about whatever ails me writing-wise at the moment, and sometimes I rant about patterns I see in the writing/publishing world that pisses me off. I also do a lot of self-promotion and sometime post my own writing. So, your standard "author blog" fare.

I've also recently gotten into Hubpages, and you can find my profile and hubs here. Feel free to add me and I'll happily return the favor! Also, I tweet over here, and if you leave me your handle in the comments I'll happily follow you there as well!

And now, for you!

I'm interested in getting to know most of you better as well! Actually, I think most of us from the blog hops and campaigns could use some introductions to each other, yeah? But in case you've got writer's block about what to say in an introduction, try these!

1 - Describe yourself in 50 words.
2 - What do you write?
3 - What piece of work are you the proudest of?
4 - What's one thing you wish you could do?
5 - If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you live, and why?

Feel free to post in the comments or in your blog. I look forward to getting to know of you all better, and thanks for reading!

Friday, February 10, 2012

"I'm Hearing Voices" Blogfest Day 3: Emotion Flash Fiction

It's day three of the Blogfest hosted over at Live to Write...Edit When Necessary and Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It! Today's challenge is:

Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

  Had to think good and hard about what to write for this one. Eventually I got an idea from a comment Emily R. King left me in Wednesday's entry and decided to bring both Day 1 and 2 together in a preview snippet from the current WIP, CROSS//Revenge, which is book 2 in the CROSS// Pentalogy. (Book one is finished and sitting before I attempt final revisions again. I'm currently writing the rough draft of book two.) While this scenario will occur, I'm not quite that far yet so I'm not sure if it's going to happen as I've written below. But oh well! screenshots for you today!

               While her charge continued to sleep in affliction behind her, Miranda maintained her vigil just yards away, her body poised for meditation.
               She opened her eyes, her head pointed low. Just over her shoulder she could see Danielle laid on the floor, hands clasped and face twitching in the throes of her nightmares.
               “What are you dreaming about?” Miranda wondered. She pulled out a cigarette from her back pocket and lit it with alacrity. “Are you dreaming about me?”
               Smoke wafted through the air as Danielle muttered an incoherent reply in her sleep. Miranda frowned. She stuck the cigarette back in her mouth and stood in silence.
               Her mind exploded.
               Fuck you, Danielle. Miranda exhaled. After everything I’ve done. After all the sacrifices. After all the blood? Another draft. The things I’ve done. The contacts I’ve made. The people I’ve fucked, all for you. Smoke. The deals I’ve made. Her cell phone rang with Yumiko’s tune. The horrors I’ve endured.
               Miranda counted each breath Danielle took.
               And you don’t even care to remember me.
               The tune died down as Yumiko gave up contact somewhere on the other side of the world. Miranda dropped the finished cigarette and smashed it with her boot, the ashes smoldering on the stone next to Danielle’s cheek.
               Miranda turned. She faced the circle of men and women donned in their black hoods and chanting their prayers. She pulled out her pistol and leveled it at the nearest julah, a woman.
               “Well,” Miranda said, “I’m ready.”

Didn't get a chance to edit as much as I like since I think I'm coming down with a cold just in time for the weekend here, so I'm posting it "as is". Oh well. Enjoy! This blog fest was a lot of fun. Looking forward to more great ones in the future.Thanks to everyone who's stopped by to read my humble stuff this week! You have no idea how much pride and enthusiasm all of your comments have given me!

EDIT: Oh ahahaha I must really be sick indeed now. I totally forgot to say something that I had intended all day.

I'm not sure what "emotion" to classify this. It's like a cross (lol get it) between "resolution", "frustration", and "determination". Any word to sum that all up? Haha. Let me know what emotion this evokes for you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hubpages Wednesday: CLICK HERE FOR CATS (and music)

In this very special edition of Hubpages Thursday Wednesday, I post pictures of cats that are NOT MY OWN. Scandalous. But not as scandalous as Maru the Cat

This week I've got two big hubs for you - both figuratively and literally, that is. Figuratively, have a gander at the internet sensation Maru the Cat: In Profile, and In Boxes. He is the only cat in the world I deem cuter than mine, and for good reason. Because he is Maru. And your life is null and void without his Youtube videos streaming in your life.

The second, literally big, article is Top 10 Japanese Pop (J-pop) Albums, in which I wax on and on about...the best J-pop albums. I like to think of myself as an expert in this sort of thing - so take my advice and listen to some great music! Please, Zwei needs more fans.

That's it for this week. Join us next week when I continue to implore you to read my crap!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"I'm Hearing Voices" Blogfest Day 2: Dialogue Introduction

It's day two of the Blogfest hosted over at Live to Write...Edit When Necessary and Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It! Today's challenge is:

"Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words. "

All I'm going to do to introduce this is tell you that I'm using "CROSS//" characters Danielle Cromwell and Miranda Hotler, because if you ask me to write an interaction scene, it has to be them. (Also, warning: they swear like the sailors they could be, but no slurs.)

If I showed you the actual "best screencap ever" of them, I would be spoiling everything.

“It appears that we have company.”

“Good. Maybe they can distract you from me.”

“How rude. I was merely keeping you company.”

“I never asked for your company. Hey, why aren’t you looking at me? What are they saying?”

“Hm? Oh, they were wondering if we could introduce each other.”

“Ha! You go on ahead, I need a drink first.”

“All right. Well, the one quaffing her beer here is Danielle.”

“It’s not even good beer, honestly.”

“She’s a bit stubborn. And insubordinate towards me.”

“Pfft. Like you deserve better.”

“Well, go on. It’s your turn now.”

“Eh? Hm. Well this one who is…smoking. Really? You have to smoke now?”

“It’s a free country, so says we in the military.”

“This one destroying my lungs with second-hand smoke is Miranda. If I’m insubordinate, then she’s insufferable.”

“You left out the part where I’m your commanding officer.”

“No, what I left out is the part where you’re always trying to conduct special ops. missions into the dark recesses of my pussy.”


“It’s true though! I’m telling you! Even though she’s my commanding officer, and I’ve already told her no, she still comes on to me like tigers onto meat.”

“Face it, Danielle, you only say no because I’m your commanding officer.”

“Fucking you would be unprofessional. And stop smiling.”

“Stop drinking.”

“Stop smoking!”

“See how she treats her commanding officer?”

“Go fuck yourself!”

“I would love to, but I’m afraid that would be rather, ah…unprofessional.”

“Fucking lesbians.”

“I always try.”

Once again, a perfect 250 words =P

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fourth Platform Buliding Campaign: Awww yeah.

It's that time again - time for Rachael Harrie's Fourth Platform Building Campaign. If you're an author looking to meet other like-minded authors, follow some new blogs, get  some new followers in return, and just in general join some great writing challenges, I highly suggest you get your rear over there and join! I met lots of great fellow bloggers last time and look forward to meeting more!

...short entry is short, yo~

Monday, February 6, 2012

"I'm Hearing Voices" Blogfest Day 1: Characters On the Couch

It's day one of the Blogfest hosted over at Live to Write...Edit When Necessary and Reading, Writing, and Lovin' It! Today's challenge is:

"Characters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers). "

I've decided to use a CROSS// character, Syrfila Tograten, alias and officially known in the series as "Yumiko Kobayashi".

Well, this picture sums her up. We're done here. Everyone go home.
She's in that awkward void between protagonist and just so utterly horrible of a human being that I don't want to call her a protagonist. All you really need to know is that she's an intergalactic criminal. She blew up a planet or two.

1.      What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?

I am alone. Even when I surround myself with people, I am alone. I keep people at a distance.  I think it’s pretty obvious to most people who know me. It’s one reason they hate me.

There’s no one to turn to. I truly am alone.

2.      What do people believe about you that is false?
I suppose most people think I am incapable of being selfless. That I can’t “love”. They may even say they don’t think I love myself. At this point in my existence, they may be right. I really don’t care about anyone else. But I did once. I didn’t realize how much I cared about her until I was arrested.
3.      What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
My best friend? I guess the closest thing I have to one of those…ha, she would say that it’s just generally being a horrible person. The thing is, I know she’s right. But I can’t stop hurting her. Seeing her in pain means we’re equals.
4.      What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
I am the only person she can confide in. I know who she is and where she’s been. She hates it, but at least she sees some use in me.
5.      What do you want most? What will you do to get it?

I just don’t want to die like that. I don’t want to be caged like some animal and then shot for the entire universe to see. I don’t want the last thing I hear to be the cheers and jeers. I don’t want the last thing I see to be her, commanding my death.

I’ve killed to save myself from this. I will kill again. I would kill you. Selflessly.

(fun fact: the answers are exactly 250 words!...according to Word, anyway.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Chasing Myself in Circles

Uh, yeah. Sure.
Remember how I said I was going to write 25k this month, while trying to average about 1k a day? Yeah, I'm not sure how I'm doing. I'm definitely writing every day, but I'm not keeping track of how much - and I don't caaaare! This isn't NaNoWriMo, this is just me pushing myself to get most of this draft done so my muse will be satiated and I can get back to editing. (March will be Hell for editing. I'm two months behind, after all.) So right now I'm just punching out as much as I can a day without paying too much attention to the word count. Doing pretty well? Suuuure.

That said, I've encountered one of my nemeses: The Chase Scene. Now, I'm not too shabby, I think, with most action scenes anymore - fight scene? Awesome, especially if it's between two pivotal characters who have a lot to fight out. Even better if they're taunting each other! Suspenseful scenes? Okay! Especially if people are losing everything around them and their sanity is but a single thread ready for me to cut!

Chase scenes?

Oh, no.

I don't know what it is about chase scenes I hate so much. I've always hated them, and not just writing them. I always ignore them in movies and gloss over them in other books. Remember when the rule was you're supposed to go quickly through them anyway, and leave out all the details because nobody would realistically notice them? Well, now I've been reading up some more, and the trend seems to have steered in the OPPOSITE direction, and we're all supposed to be Dean Koontz. Lol, screw that. Seriously.

When it comes to chase scenes, my thoughts are - make it as short as possible. Only put in the necessary details. Unless a major plot point somehow happens between Point A and B, there's no reason for me to know every damn twist and turn somebody goes down. I also don't care how hard they're running. I just want to know where they're going and if they're unscathed. Oh, and what happened to the person chasing them...I guess.

Can you tell I wrote one a couple nights ago? Half asleep, no less. It was awful. I literally did the bare amount necessary for a rough draft, thinking I would flesh it out in Round 2. I will be seriously kicking myself for that later.

But I don't care. Because chase scenes suck. Why can't we all just sit around and talk/fight out our feelings?

Any kind of scene you just hate writing/reading?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hubpages Wednesday: Recognition? I'll take it!

Five seconds of Hubpages fame.
So last week a couple of pretty cool things happened with me on Hubpages. No, I didn't suddenly start making hundreds of dollars a day...heck, to this day I've only made about 27 cents. Nope, the next best thing happened, and that was having two of my articles featured in their categories!

The two articles were Top 10 Legend of Zelda Easter Eggs and The Official Legend of Zelda Timeline, both of which were featured in the Adventure Video Games section as seen in the screencap on the left! They were only in the featured wheel for about a day each, but still, it meant a staff member stumbled across my articles and thought they were badass enough to go up there to begin with. Awww yeah.

That said, I've only got one new article for y'all this week. The last of the Zelda articles, Top 10 Legend of Zelda Races talks about exactly what the title insinuates. Starting next week I'll be branching into other topics, including one about a very, very famous cat.