31 October, 2010

Happy Halloween! (Plus: NaBloWriMo, NaNoWriMo, And Random)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Hallowe'en. All Hallows Eve. Whatever you'd like to call it, today's the day! Have fun trick-or-treating, partying, whatever. :)




*****

Today is also the last day of NaBloWriMo! I have posted at least once every day for the entire month of October! Even more reason to celebrate.

But, if you're like me and have participated in NaBloWriMo, don't do party too hard! Because tomorrow is *drumroll*dramatic display* NaNoWriMo!


I know that I've said several times that I wasn't planning on doing this event. For many reasons, I told myself. It wouldn't be good for my novel, I said. It would be better to edit, I thought. I don't think word-vomiting all over my document would be a really great idea, I consoled myself.

*sighs* EXCUSES. But you know what? I've decided to change that. Because of a lot of factors. So, basically, I am going to be doing NaNoWriMo!


(If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is by now, I'm seriously going to question where you've been for the past month.)

I'm kind of pushing the deadline to sign up here, but I did sign up to do it! This will be my first year. But hey, I wrote 40,000 words last month, so it's just 10,000 more than that. So, the thing on my mind right now is, I am going to kill this challenge with everything I've got.

Here's the link to My Profile. Buddy me, if you've got an account. (I can't find a lot of you, because there's no "search" for the profiles or anything like that.) At first I wasn't sure about linking to it, but I managed to disable the Home Region thing, which would basically tell you where I live. Boo. I didn't want to do that.

I'll update you guys over there and on this blog with one of those word count widget-y things. I think I'll use the potato man one:


Anywho. Just get geared up for the absolute writing frenzy--it's 50,000 words, after all!

*****

Interesting, because they don't come around here often, but I saw a bald eagle yesterday! Just perched. It was sort of far away, but I could see the characteristic white head and dark brown body. It would be nice if it stuck around . . . but I doubt that.

Ever seen one?


It was snowing a few days ago. SNOWING. It just wet the sidewalk a little, but it's c-c-c-o-o-l-d-e-r than usual now. Even for the beginning of November, people are not usually shivering in a winter coat. It's supposed to get colder and stay that way for a while, too.


Have a great Halloween, all!


-----The Golden Eagle

30 October, 2010

How To: Beaming Someone Up Into A Spaceship

(Copied from The Alien's Handbook To Life's Greatest Activities--Seventh Edition)


Things You'll Need For The Beaming Up Into The Spaceship Part Of The Shenanigans:

A) A ship.

   Preferably with jump drive, back-up circuitry, and plenty of emergency calling numbers in case of . . . well, emergency.

B) A Kick-A** crew not averse to abducting beaming up your desired target.

   Now available at KA Crews R Us™!


C) A Captain for the ship.

   NOTE: Please add to your requirements: "Brain necessary!" Beware of the cheaper ones. They often come at a lower IQ.


D) A Beamer-Upper©

   NEW: Buy half-price at your local Space-Mart™! Deluxe edition includes: FASTER beaming up! EFFICIENT teleportation! FREE take out lunch!


Basic Over-Land (over-sea abductions beaming ups are much harder--please see Appendix F for further information!): How To Beam Them Up:

A) Go into orbit around Earth.

   Please, try not to smash all those pesky satellites. It's bad for your solar windshields!

B) Find a particularly delectable human.

   Male/Female, doesn't matter. They're all human. Except, avoid the ones with suits and convoys and stuffy Secret Service guards--Presidents don't take well to being abducted beamed up. You'll just get those irritating dragonfly-aircraft-thing-ers.

C) Position your ship above the desired human, and wait until darkness.

   DO NOT interrupt satellite transmissions. Humans get crabby if they can't read the next piece of email, usually consisting of something resembling an unintelligible noise made in the throat. Or Larynx. Or . . . does this handbook look like an anatomy book or something?

   Also, be sure that it is dark enough! You don't want to become infamous as the stupidest alien in history for being seen by the masses.

D) Fire up your Beamer-Upper©!

   Note: Beamer-Upper© products have a nasty habit of giving off brilliant flashes of light, so be sure that you're wearing Beamer-Upper© 360 Protection Goggles when proceeding.

E) Ignore screaming human.

   They WILL scream. Or look at you with a triumphant/vindicated expression, and say that they've always believed in aliens. If the latter, Laser-Shockr© them. Then they'll cower.


What To Do Afterwards:

A) Ship them off to a zoo.

   Zoos are paying big bucks for live, conscious humans!

B) Keep it as a pet.

   Humans are annoyingly stupid, though. They'll insist that they have to do this and that and whatever--they never learn anything. Galaxy Pitbulls are better for the family.

C) Give it to your girlfriend/boyfriend.

   Your Alien GF/BF will absolutely adore this new thing to cuddle when you're gone! (Note: this project is also a good way of getting away from him/her.)

D) Put it back down to Earth when you discover it's just a pain in the--*ahem*

   This is the wisest option.


A Last Word Of Advice:

No matter which option you choose, be sure to get the heck out of there once you're done.


***Final Note: Please do not try this at home.***


-----The Golden Eagle

29 October, 2010

Awarded!

I'm going to start with the awards . . . as usual. :)

I was awarded the Cherry On Top from J. C. Martin at Fighter Writer!




And the Honest Scrap Award from Jules at Trying To Get Over The Rainbow!




Thank you so much, Jules and J. C.! :)

Since I have received both of these before, (scroll down to see my answers to the Honest Scrap) I'm going to award all of my followers. Every one. If you follow, that means YOU! :)


I would have made this post longer, but I don't have time. So, signing out now. (There was a post that I accidentally published, although I told Blogger to schedule it. If you see a post titled "How To:" it's for tomorrow. Sorry about that!)


-----The Golden Eagle

28 October, 2010

Herculaneum Was There, Too!

You've heard of Pompeii, I bet. You also probably know what happened that day, August 24th 79 AD. But did you know about Herculaneum?

I've noticed that in a lot of history books there's practically nothing about Herculaneum. The most I've found is a mention that it was buried under 65 feet of ash. You would think that there would be more about a city buried under 65 feet of ash, but unfortunately, no.

That's why I was thrilled when Secrets of the Dead: Herculaneum Uncovered was aired last night:








Because someone had decided this Roman city was finally worth looking into!

I didn't know about much of what they said. Like, that the Bourbons looted the place through a maze of tunnel leading underground. Or that the citizens of Herculaneum hid in the boat sheds as the pyroclastic flows enveloped their city. Or that 2000 year-old-bread is in existence, and even has its owner's name on it. There's ancient, carbonized furniture, and some pieces of wood that were not carbonized.




But even Pompeii and Herculaneum weren't the only cities--Stabiae and Oplontis were also wiped out.

I always find less-discovered places and people fascinating. There's so much more to learn that way. :)


-----The Golden Eagle

Halloween Haunting at Substitute Teacher's Saga!

Theresa Milstein at Substitute Teacher's Saga is hosting a Halloween Haunting!

The rules? Comment with answers to the questions in her post, and "haunt" at least three other bloggers who commented. Make new blogger friends, follow, be followed, find others who share your interests!




-----The Golden Eagle

27 October, 2010

Tag and Award

Today, I have an award and a tag!

I was awarded by N. R. Williams at N. R. Williams, Fantasy Author!



The rules for the Honest Scrap award are:

1. Thank the person who awarded you and link back to their blog. (Check!)
2. List ten things about yourself.
3. Award 7 other bloggers.


10 things about myself! Um, well, let's see . . .

1. The first actual chapter book that I finished, (not those reader things, like Nate the Great) was Charlotte's Web.
2. I don't like Pride and Prejudice. The book, that is; I've never seen the movie, nor do I intend to. Elizabeth got on my nerves, I'm afraid.
3. I've started stories in the SF, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Action/Adventure, Dystopia, and Realistic Fiction genres. (I have never, *cough* finished any of them, however.)
4. I tend to run out of steam with these sorts of questions right around this point.
5. I currently have mild writer's block with my story.
6. I love Word. I'd probably write less if Word was not around.
7. I like snow.
8. I think you bloggers rock.
9. I cannot play the banjo. I can, however, play the violin and piano, and I can make a recorder not sound like a train whistle. I fail at pan pipes.
10. I am ambidextrous to the point of being able to write with my left hand, although it usually comes out wobbly.

The 7 bloggers I award are (because I'm curious to see what they might come up with):

Mary
Simon Kewin
Jennifer Hillier
Sangu
Rachel Morgan
C. N. Nevets
Jessica Bell

*****

The tag is from Abby!


1.What is/are your favorite character/s from the show Little House On the Prairie?
I've never watched Little House On the Prairie, but from the book, I do like Laura.

2. What is your favorite dessert?
Frozen fruit. Blueberries, mango, strawberries, cherries, peaches . . . mmm.

3. What is your favorite state?
Alaska, for its nature. (I may not like Sarah Palin, but I do like the state itself.) Or Hawaii, although I wouldn't want to move there.

4. What is your favorite color?
More like color schemes . . . as long as it goes together well, I like it.

5. When is your birthday?
December!

6. What is your favorite TV show?
NOVA on PBS. That show rocks, I tell you. Last night they had one on the Chilean miners, going through the days as Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C went into action. I was grinning when they showed the miners coming up from the ground, since really, it was an amazing rescue!

7. What are your favorite condiments?
I don't use salt, pepper, stuff like that. (I'm assuming that's what you mean.) But I do like Newman's Own Sesame Ginger sauce.

8. What is your bedroom color?
Green. Light green. It's not sickly or anything, though.


-----The Golden Eagle

26 October, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (12)

Tuesday once again, and that means Teaser Tuesday! This meme is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser is from Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. I really don't know why it's taking me so long to read, but it is . . . I keep getting distracted.


The Supervisor did not use those actual words, of course, and the thoughts he really expressed were far more subtle. A human listener would have heard a short burst of rapidly modulated sound, not unlike a high-speed Morse code sender in action.

-p. 98


If you have a teaser, please feel free to share it! :)


-----The Golden Eagle
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25 October, 2010

Book Review: The Starry Rift: Tales of New Tomorrows

Title: The Starry Rift
Editor: Jonathan Strahan
Contributing Authors: Stephen Baxter, Cory Doctorow, Greg Egan, Jeffrey Ford, Neil Gaiman, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Ann Halam, Margo Lanagan, Kelly Link, Paul McAuley, Ian McDonald, Garth Nix, Alastair Reynolds, Tricia Sullivan, Scott Westerfeld, Walter Jon Williams
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Science Fiction/Anthology
Page Count: 525
Rating: 5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 5 out of 5. Awesome cover for this one!

Inside flap:

Truly successful science fiction does two things: it gives a credible glimpse into the future while entertaining the reader. With this in mind, noted anthologist Jonathan Strahan asked sixteen of today's most inventive, compelling writers to look past the horizon of the present day. Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfeld, and their colleagues have crafted a dazzling range of stories. Whether on spaceships, in suburbia, or in simulated gaming worlds, whether about cloning, battle tactics, or corporate politics, the stories of The Starry Rift will give every reader something to consider.
   This original anthology is crucial in reading for those who want to see where the future--and the future of science fiction--is headed.

My expectations: High. I loved Strahan's other anthologies, so I pounced on this one when I saw it in the library. (I really should go back and read The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year again.)


It exceeded my expectations!

About the book: There are some amazing authors in this book. I've read Gaiman, Lanagan, Link, McDonald, Doctorow, Westerfeld, Nix, and a few others before, and I enjoyed most of them. This book didn't disappoint, either. With different formats, completely different ideas, and a whole host of characters, I loved reading all of the stories.

1. A**-Hat Magic Spider by Scott Westerfeld
Can you imagine nearly starving yourself to go onto a ship with just one other object with you? Having to make yourself weigh nothing over a certain allotted number of grams, because of how much food and fuel you take up? That's what this boy has to do.


2. Cheats by Ann Halam
Gaming seems to be on the rise when it comes to SF. Personally, I was never a fan of it, but as long as the story is well-written and free of the usual cliches I'm fine with it. This short story isn't cliched, and the idea of "cheats" in the game I hadn't heard of before..

3. Orange by Neil Gaiman
It's 70 answers. You don't know the questions being asked, but you do know the replies. It's an interesting set up--the reader has to fill in the questions on their own.

4. The Surfer by Kelly Link
An epidemic has hit Earth. People are being quarantined, planes are grounded, parts of the world have stopped and Adorno is stuck in the middle of it.

5. Repair Kit by Stephen Baxter
Spaceships in this one. The Flying Pig is equipped with a special drive, a prototype--Paul Tielman is Captain, and he is known for being cautious when it comes to flying. But the company wants him to get into space without the precautions, a mistake that could be deadly for the crew.

6. The Dismantled Invention of Fate by Jeffrey Ford
I love this one. Parts of it sort of reminded me of Pocahontas/Avatar (I kid you not) but it's completely different in other respects--yes, there's the foreigner who falls in love with one of the people indigenous to the planet, but he thinks he accidentally killed her, and now lives alone. His life changes when a strange creature appears and stabs him.

7. Anda's Game by Cory Doctorow
A take on Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Again, it's a gaming story, this time about a girl who belongs to an elite group of gamers; she and one of her friends are sent, with the promise of a large reward, to kill everyone inside one building.

8. Sundiver Day by Kathleen Ann Goonan
Sundiver's brother has been killed in the war. She misses him terribly, as does her mother. She works for a place conducting research on cloning, being a scientific genius herself. Then something occurs to her, out of missing him so badly--what if she cloned her brother?

9. The Dust Assassin by Ian McDonald
Padmini was told by her father that she was a weapon. To be used against a rival family, she was brought up in the city, always wondering how and why she was a weapon. When her family is attacked and killed, leaving only her living, she escapes with one of her family's most trusted yts, to go into hiding, to wait until--the reason still unknown to her--she can act as the weapon she was brought up to be.

10. The Star Surgeon's Apprentice by Alastair Reynolds
Peter Vandry needs to get off Mokmer. He doesn't have enough credit though, to buy his passage--so he agrees to become an apprentice aboard the Iron Lady. The Star Surgeon, Zeal, takes care of the crew members onboard, and they are usually half-people, half-machine. When the Iron Lady gets into a fight with another ship, Peter learns something else--this isn't just a ship. It's one of the fabled and infamous pirate ships. And he can't get off.

11. An Honest Day's Work by Margo Lanagan
(This is the story I did one of my Teaser Tuesdays on.) Amarlis is a cripple, one leg withered. He can't find work very often--but when one, huge job comes along, everyone gets a spot. They're dismantling of a huge, massive, living human replica. Of course, things start to go wrong when they realize that the creature's brain wasn't completely sedated.

12. Lost Continent by Greg Egan
Ali is taken away by a man his uncle says is trustworthy. He's forced to stay under a blanket for the entire trip, while they travel through deserts and tunnels, until they accidentally crash. Ali finds himself in a strange world; apparently, in a different time, on a different continent.

13. Incomers by Paul McAuley
Strangers on the moon are rare, especially in some parts. Which is why Jack, Mark, and Sky decide to follow the man they see in the market; they think he is a spy of sorts. It all starts to go wrong when Mark decides to break into his house and find out what the man's really about.

14. Post-Ironic Stress Syndrome by Tricia Sullivan
Maja is a fighter. There's such a thing as M-space, and she uses an M-ask to access it. She can travel anywhere in the Universe with a single thought; the purpose is to fight others who are on the enemy side. Her body is programmed to reflect parts of the universe, which means, for example, that her leg may connect with a power plant, her arm to a factory, and so on. If she's injured, that place goes down. But when the fight comes, something happens--her communication is shut off, and she's suddenly feeling pain when no one's there.

15. Infestation by Garth Nix
Mechanical vampires, and their hunters. There are the freelance hunters, with their Wood-N-Death (r) weapons, their crosses, but Jay has none of that--just a scar in the shape of a cross, and a wooden weapon. He and four others are sent to a vampire lair, with ten of the creatures living inside. Their goal is to kill all of them.

16. Pinocchio by Walter Jon Williams
The pitfalls of fame and being "popular". Sanson starts out his story as a gorrillaloid, a human who's taken on the shape of a gorilla. He has a huge following of people (much like, say, Justin Bieber). When his girlfriend, Kimmie, dumps him, he's at a loss at first to think of what to do--she's now his rival. His popularity begins to slide continually, and Sanson is forced to scramble to think of something--anything--to do.

Other: Some language, b-, d-, and s-words, and violence.


I don't usually like anthologies. But sometimes anthologies can pull it off like nothing else can, and this one did that for me.

Do I recommend this book? Yes!


-----The Golden Eagle
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24 October, 2010

What People Say

It's always interesting to see what sort of conversations come up when people have trouble thinking of something to say.

There's the weather, of course, which can lead to talks about past experiences with floods, snow, hail, ice, and other naturally-occurring phenomenon. It can lead to talks about their relatives, and their experiences with weather.

There's how boring it is to be standing in line, or waiting in the car, or sitting in the bus. That can lead to even further discussion about waiting experiences, what vehicles the people have missed, when others didn't manage to meet them somewhere.

There's chatting about some random person you or they saw somewhere, that made them go "whoa!" or "huh?" or made them wonder about that person. It can lead to conversations about other people you might have seen in the past, or about when people were looking at you strangely. (You have to have some guts to do that, though. :P)

There's talking about the weekend, the past week, the past month, the past year. Asking how it was. Congratulating the person when they say it was good, or sympathizing with them when it was bad. Telling them about your own trip, or lack of trip.

There's laughing over (even a mildly-) funny experience that you've recently had, that made you laugh or snort or giggle. Amusement can lead to a whole host of possible branches of conversation: older, fun things you've done, by yourself, with another person.


I suppose you have surmised by now that I was having trouble thinking of something to say. I've conquered that though, as you can see, by talking about what people talk about when they're going through this sort of thing.

This could even relate to writing. People really do hold talks like these--sometimes they're the most interesting ones out there--so if you're writing something like realistic fiction, thinking about what people say could be helpful. If you want your characters to be believable, they probably should have these conversations, even just occasionally, since practically everyone does. It can also serve as an information source--very handy if your character happens to be a spy or someone who needs the intelligence. ;)

Have a great Sunday, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

23 October, 2010

Post Of Spectacular (Depending On Your POV)

NaBloWriMo, you are not going to get the better of me. I'm posting, see?

Have a great weekend, all--I'll be blogging more tomorrow, but today I think I'm going to take off and read Bloodhound and watch 2001. And enjoy the fall weather. There's a Festival going on right now, and my mom and I checked it out earlier--the local zoo had a cool demonstration with a great horned owl, leopard gecko, tree frog, sugar gliders, and a milk snake. There were some craft things going on too, and it was warmer (and sunnier) than it was yesterday.

I wrote 2000 words, so I've accomplished something in my novel. I still have not, however, written that backstory I'm supposed to get around to writing before the 31st. I've got 8 days, though!

I'll leave with this:

The Wilderness Downtown

(Really. Put in an address! Don't close any windows it opens, though! And turn on your speakers. What? OK, OK! I'll let you go now . . .)


-----The Golden Eagle

22 October, 2010

Halloween Party 2010

Today is the day of N. R. Williams's Halloween Party 2010!

Now, for this, you have to post your trick, your treat, and your costume. Be sure to check out the other entries!

Me being who I am, I actually wrote a short piece, and here it is:


Transition into the virtual world is easy; I land perfectly on both feet, twirl once, then take note of my surroundings.
   I’m in a forest—that much is obvious. The trees around me are half-bare, their light brown and gray branches reaching up for the sky, as if by letting go of their leaves they wish to transcend the world they currently inhabit.
   Orange and yellow leaves coat the ground, and as I move, they crunch and break. It’s a pleasant sound, and I wade around a little, enjoying my time here.



   But this wasn’t my real purpose. I didn’t come just to enjoy the fall season, although the idea of tramping through these woods definitely appeals. I pick up the package I’d brought with me, and sling it over by back.
   I crunch more leaves as I walk down a path, a crooked wooden sign pointing the way to:
   The Haunted Inn.
   Gleeful shivers run up my spine when I see those words, and I smile just as crookedly as the sign.
   My costume for Nancy’s Halloween Party (you really must give her a hand at this wonderful idea!) is a phoenix. It’s a dress of sorts—the skirt flows to the ground and is orange like the leaves; the bodice is yellow and the sleeves are bright red. They hang down like wings, covered in elegant feathers. On my forehead is a long plume that rises up a little, then sweeps down. My solid black hair is loose with tiny braids woven into it.
   The Haunted Inn is ahead. I grin again, and start running, loving the feel of the wind against my face and my costumes sweeps a trail through the leaves. They fly up behind me and I create a miniature whirlwind of phoenix, feathers, and leaves.





   I want to laugh, but tamp it down and instead avoid ramming into another arriving guest. He turns and looks at me, and I smile in return. I don’t know who it is, but he looks vaguely familiar. Perhaps I follow his blog.
   Nancy is at the door. I give her a hug and compliment her costume—it really is fantastic.
   I look around The Haunted Inn, trying to see it in all its dilapidated glory. It’s a wonderful place, despite the ghost stories that originated within its old, ancient doors.
   But before entering the hall beyond, I hand Nancy the pack that I’d been carrying. My treat for the Halloween Party is a bag of goodies—chocolate, licorice, everything that people associate with Halloween.



   I walk inside the hall beyond the entryway, and I am immediately hit with the number of costumes. People are dancing to spooky music, laughing, talking, eating candy, drinking some bright orange and black drinks. A robotic waiter cruises over and offers me one of the drinks; I take it hesitantly and sniff it.
   Ah. It’s just some crazily dyed punch—and it’s not spiked with anything, except the dye. I drink some of it and look for someplace to set up my trick.
   I spot some bloggers I know talking and dancing. I grin and wave at them, then turn to set up the trick. Sliding through the guests, I duck past some awesome costumes and finally reach a secluded section of the room. I pull out a small device from my sleeve—loose clothes have many advantages—and place it gently on the floor. Nearby is a decorated circuit breaker, covered in festive ribbons to hide its stark and almost ugly appearance.
   Moments later, the lights flicker. No one really notices, and many keep dancing. I drink more of the punch and watch as they flicker again.



   People are noticing now.
   I slink over to a stairway and jog up them to the second floor, up to the overhanging balcony where I can watch more closely.
   The lights flicker again, stay on for a moment, and then they go out completely. The only thing keeping a dim light in the room are the candles—I’m next to one and I lean in, the orange flame reflecting off my costume of the same color.
   Something white and eerie eases out of the corner where I placed the projector. It soars up and another appears behind it. They begin to whirl and spin above the guests’ heads, and they are suddenly in consternation, asking what’s happening, whispering, making exclamations.



   More forms appear above. Now it’s obvious what they are—witches, ghosts, skeletons, and there are a few bubbling cauldrons. They twirl and spin in a spooky dance, and I’m glad for the music still playing, because it compliments the show quite perfectly.
   Then they begin to disappear. The cauldrons dance a wobble a few more times, then vanish completely without a sound. The witches soar up through the ceiling and disappear. The ghosts dance a little longer, seemingly oblivious to their disappearing counterparts, and the skeletons continue to move about. Then they, too, dissipate.
   The ghosts seem to exchange nods before floating down back toward the projector, sliding back to where they came from. The lights begin to return in flashes, until the place is fully lit again, the orange and black theme back in full relief.
   The guests are talking to each other, wondering what just happened, and watch from my perch on the balcony.
   I decide to go down and join in on all the fun.

*****

BOO!

*****

{All images were found online and I do not own/claim anything.}


-----The Golden Eagle

21 October, 2010

Tag, Award, Random

The tag comes from Shaynie at The Book Blog! She tagged anyone who liked Sherlock Holmes. :)


1. Do you like Sherlock Holmes?
Yes!

2. Would you ever like to go overseas and work with a relief agency in a war-torn country?
It would depend on the type of relief work that I'd be doing. It would also depend on where I'd be doing the relief work . . .

3. Do you like foreign films?
I've never watched a foreign film. (Is this bad?)

4. Do you like writing?
No. I HATE writing! I loathe it! The beings who possess my mind and force me to write are cruel enough that they don't even make me like the awful chore!

*ends good-humored sarcasm* Yeah. I love it.

5. Will you be doing NaNoWriMo? What's your book about?
I'm not going to be doing NaNoWriMo, although I will try to write as much as I can next month.

As for what my book is about, it's . . . complicated. Not to mention it has CLASSIFIED written all over it, (even to my mom because I don't want to spoil the plot for her :D), but I can say that there are spaceships. And dictatorships.

6. What's your favorite animal?
I love lots of different animals, although I get the feeling you've already guessed I like birds of prey.

7. Have you ever been to a foreign country?
I was adopted from China, so yes, I HAVE been to a foreign country! Unfortunately, I don't remember a thing. I flew over Korea, (stopped in Seoul), Russia, and Canada. Plus Alaska.

8. Are your ears pierced?
Nope.

*****

The award comes from Rachel Morgan at Rachel Morgan Writes!


It is the Cherry On Top Award.




Thank you, Rachel! :)


I received this award a short time ago, and already answered the question, although it was phrased a little different than this: If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, would I, and what would it be?


I'll answer it again anyways. No, I would not, because I've learned too much and done too much in my life to warrant going back and trying to change it. :)


*****


Now, for the random!


If you visited my blog yesterday, you may have noticed that I didn't appear to have published a post yesterday--when I DID. It was the book review of Krik? Krak! which I accidentally told Blogger to publish on the 17th. Darn. So, if you I slipped up on NaBloWriMo, I didn't!


Only an absolute bookworm would get hyper at the idea of traveling to two libraries in one day and getting out a million books at each, which I will presumably be doing tomorrow. They're both very good libraries, too. Plenty of YA, and MG, and Adult, and even DVDs. Utopia, people.


Which only makes me more frustrated when I learn that the District's representative wants to CUT THE LOCAL LIBRARY'S BOOK BUDGET DOWN TO ZERO. Otherwise known as nil. Zip. Nothing. They may have given the librarians a salary hike, but no new books if this budget thing continues!


They don't do interlibrary loans around here, either. Darn it!


*****

It's supposed to snow tomorrow. SNOW. It's only the end of October! Whew. But I don't mind--I actually like snow. :)


Have a great Thursday, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

20 October, 2010

Book Review: Krik? Krak!



Title: Krik? Krak!
Author: Edwidge Danticat
Publisher: Vintage Contemporaries
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Page Count: 224
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3.5 out of 5. Good. Normally, people on the front cover don't really jive with me, but I believe this image fits the story well enough it's not an issue. I wish--once again--that the title font had been bigger than the author's font, but oh well.

Back Cover: 


When Haitians tell a story they say "Krik?" and the eager listeners say "Krak!" In Krik? Krak! Danticat establishes herself as the latest heir to the narrative tradition with nine stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. They tell of women who continue loving behind prison walls and in the face of unfathomable loss; of a people who resist the brutality of their rulers through the powers of imagination. The result is a collection that outrages, saddens, and transports the reader with its sheer beauty.

My expectations: It was a National Book Award Finalist, so I expected a well-written book.


I got a well-written book.

About the book: Many of the stories in Krik? Krak! are disturbing. Focusing on the lives of women in Haiti, it's not exactly a feel-good collection, because of the way women are treated, by their husbands, by soldiers,  by society.


The stories are, however, realistically portrayed. Haitian culture isn't exactly calm and reasonable under normal circumstances--after reading this, the earthquakes in January are put into a more stark light. I can't imagine what it would be like living in that sort of destruction and society, and surviving.


Edwidge Danticat writes well. The stories--while unusual to what I am used to--flowed along with the words, and I enjoyed her style.


  • Plot:

Each of the nine stories is different; the endings are usually unexpected, and most of them are disturbing. Not in a bad way, exactly, but they did sort of startle me. Like when it turned out that one woman had been thrown out of her husband's home because she kept delivering stillborn children, and then, out of some sort of mental breakdown, started taking care of a child--as if it was her own--that turned out to be dead. 


The stories made me wonder at the psychological strains that the characters were going through to commit such acts of suicide and desperation--but also hope.


  • Characters:

The characters are diverse, and they are mostly focused on women, although some stories are told through a man's perspective. I did not really like any of the characters, though I did find many of them interesting. What happens to the characters can be horrific; the way they're treated and the way that the others around them deal with the situations is not like what you'd expect in a rational society.


  • Setting/Elements:

The first story has an interesting format; it's written in the form of letters two lovers are writing to each other, one out in the sea, the other still living in the violence back at home. (The others are in the third and first person.) I think the way they they put this together as a collection worked well for the book.

Other: Suicide, violence, references, disturbing events, some sex (it's not actively described or anything, but it's on the minds of a few of the characters). Sometimes the actions of the people are strange and out of control (such as witch burning/trials).

Do I recommend this book? Yes, but it's not for the faint-of-heart.


-----The Golden Eagle

19 October, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (11)

Teaser Tuesday has arrived again! This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, and it's very easy to join in. Here are the rules for participating:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My teaser this week is from Lockdown: Escape From Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith.

Four days. Each one longer than the last, each dictated by the sirens that cut through the prison every other hour, each plagued by the same unending sense of terror.

What are your teasers today?


-----The Golden Eagle

Release Date of CassaStar!

Finally, the day has arrived!

What am I talking about, you ask? The release date of CassaStar, written by Alex J. Cavanaugh! He is a great blogger, and while I have not (regrettably) had the chance to read his book (yet!) this post is dedicated the the release and why you should go out and get it. Anything to help a fellow blogger out. :)

If you haven't heard of CassaStar before (*gasp*--where have you BEEN?) or if you don't follow his blog (*hint*) then I suggest you click the link above and check it out!



(The cool cover)

Here is the synopsis of the book:


"To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…
Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.
Much to Byron’s chagrin, the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.
As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?"


(Sounds epic.)


A review by Library Journal:

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal


Reviews at Speculative Book Review, Edi's Book Lighthouse, The SFF Hub, and Scribbler to Scribe.


Here is the trailer:





(Wow. Whoever did that trailer knew what they were doing! It's awesome.)


Some things about the author:

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He’s experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Currently he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Purchasing links (in case I've managed to convince you):


CassaStar is also available as an Ebook--Kindle, iBookstore, Nook, and others.


-----The Golden Eagle

18 October, 2010

Tagged!

And here I was worrying about not having any posts for October . . .

This tag comes from Icewolf at Define Normal (For My Lack Of One).

This tag requires some Picnik skills, because the tag is choosing an animal that best fits your personality, stating why that animal is like you, and then posting an image (edited) that says "Deep down at heart . . . I'm an [insert animal] . . . "


I thought about doing an animal other than a Golden Eagle, but then I thought maybe you'd be interested in why I consider myself to share characteristics with Golden Eagles. So here's my image:





And here are my reasons:


Aquila Chrysaetos is a strong, intelligent, and majestic animal. I've always wanted to soar through the air, and the Golden Eagle is very adept at flying and hunting (they are known to kleptoparasitize--I don't do that, though. :P). Also like the golden eagle, I am relatively solitary; I am strong independently, but I don't mind working as a pair with someone else. The places they live in are varied, and moving around isn't a bother for me. They prefer high-up locations to nest, such as in trees or cliffs; I love a view.


I'm going to tag whoever feels like doing this!


What animal are you most like? Care to say?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 October, 2010

October is Still Here

Halfway through the month or so and 19 posts later, I've still managed to keep it up for NaBloWriMo!

Congrats to the others who are participating with me! I've seen consistent posts through October--let's keep it up, all! Type, type, type!

*****

I'm supposed to write a backstory piece of one of my characters. I haven't written a thing, and consequently the document is titled CURRENTLY UNTITLED AND PRETTY DARN UNWRITTEN.

Eloquent, right? I figured CAPS whenever I turn on the computer would get my attention . . . sadly though, my inspiration seems to have decided I'm not worth the effort. But I'll get something done--it's just that if I write down a particular character's past, then it's full of spoilers. Another person's history takes place in a military academy. Other people don't remember their history, and even if they did, it wouldn't make much of a story.

*****

I hate sloppy first drafts. I know, I know, I see in a lot of places "Don't worry about your first draft!" and to just write, (Zemanta is offering my an article that says "Get the damn thing done!") but if I don't edit/revise as I go, I end up stuck, with too many loose ends, impossible situations, and just general chaos--and I don't like the feeling. Kenneth Oppel (who is one of my favorite authors) actually suggests editing/revising the draft if you get writers' block, which I think is excellent advice. It's works for me, anyway.

Sort of. I've been working on my first draft for over a year now, and it still is not finished. I love writing it, don't get me wrong, but I tend to be astonished (and maybe a tad envious) when people say "I wrote this in _____ months!" because it's certainly taking me longer than that.


Do you think writing the first draft as fast as possible is the best idea, or do you like editing as you go along?

(Chopper rattling the windows right now--and pounding the eardrums. Very annoying. Might be some planes up there, too. Although, it's not all bad. There are helicopters in my story, believe me, so I guess it's just a another writing experience, eh?)

*****

Fall has almost definitely set in now. The heater is on, (boo--do you know how much oil that takes?) and the days are brisk. I love brisk, and windy too. There's a lot of wind these days, and it finally cleared up after half a week of rain; it's sunny, the trees are orange, and the sky is blue. Huzzah!

Another aspect to fall is the winter squash--my mom got some for free where she works and I can smell it baking right now. It smells better than it tastes, I'm afraid. I don't like squash, generally--I've never liked pumpkin, hubbard tastes blah (despite what the people at the senior center state), I'm not a fan of acorn. But zucchini can be okay.

*****

I'm done with the miscellany! I think . . . yes, that's it. Have a great Sunday, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

16 October, 2010

Book Review: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

***Yes, this was supposed to be up days ago. I just didn't get around to it. Sorry!***




Title: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genre: Adult/Science Fiction
Page Count: 382
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Cover Rating: 1 out of 5. I don't like it. I don't "hate" it exactly, but really, couldn't they have put something a little more, I don't know, spaceship-y on it instead of people? Also, it's rather garish.

Inside flap:

Unfortunately, the inside flap for this version is mostly about how great Heinlein is. Like, "that only this master storyteller could create" and "has conjured up worlds so richly imagined and vigorously inhabited" and there's little about the actual book. So I'm going to skip this part. (Drives me bonkers when the summary sings the praises of the author, even if it's one I like.)

My expectations: I'd never read Heinlein before, so really, I didn't exactly know what to expect (I love picking up random books by well-known authors).


It was part-weird, part-strange, part-amusing.

About the book: This book made me laugh, mostly because of the crazy circumstances and some of the dialogue. (I found the whole "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles scream and shout" thing funny.) It starts out with a murder--Richard Ames (or whatever the heck his name is then) is with Gwen Novak in the Golden Rule restaurant, and a man comes along and urges him (Ames) that Tolliver has to die. He is then shot by someone in the restaurant.


Then Ames and Novak, after getting married because Gwen states she did so to prevent having to testify against him, (although I don't see the sense in not being able to testify against your partner), and they move to Luna. There's also a lot of craziness going on, like running into bandits where the control center or whatever says there are absolutely no bandits.


It was the last fourth of the book where things starter getting strange . . . strange as in people were kissing everyone else and sleeping with everyone else. They greet each other by kissing, even the guys. It's weird, I tell you.

  • Plot:
Unusual. At least relatively, compared to what I usually read. Also, the murder thing seemed to have taken a backseat, despite the fact that's what Ames (AKA Senator/Campbell) puts his attention to at the beginning.


The ending is nuts. NUTS, I tell you. It's not a bad ending at all--it's just like HUH? WHAT? Excuse me? Sequel, people, I need a sequel!


It's so darn frustrating when authors do that, although I have to say, it is effective in keeping the book in the reader's mind.

  • Characters:
Richard Ames Campbell, or whatever the heck his name is, the retired Colonel guy, is not one my favorite characters, although I can't say I hate him or anything. He can be pretty funny, and at least he keeps his head during most of it. (He only has one leg, by the way.)


Gwen Novak has spunk. She's rather unpredictable, but I did enjoy watching her. There's something unexpected about her, too--that comes out later in the book.


There are a lot of other characters; I kept getting their names mixed up. But they're all right for secondary characters.

  • Setting/Elements:
Setting was fascinating; they're traveling from place to place, including the Moon, but they never go to Earth. I wish there had been more clarification (is this a satellite, ship, or what at the beginning?) as to what they're on and where they're going--Luna, I'm assuming, is the Moon, although I don't believe it's actually called the Moon (which, with some though, would make sense--if space travel up to that level, there would many more moons available than just the Moon.)

Other: Sex, some language, violence, implied references.


And yes, I've read Stranger In a Strange Land, in case you're wondering. After I read this book. Personally, I like this one better.

Do I recommend this book? Hrrrmm. I wouldn't recommend terrifically highly, but it's not a bad book. I have only read one other book by Heinlein, so I can't grade in terms of his other work. I say, take it out if you see it in the library and need some science fiction. (Apparently, though, according to people who reviewed it on Amazon, this is a bad idea. *shrugs* A few things weren't completely explained . . . but it was coherent.)


-----The Golden Eagle
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