31 December, 2011

Here's To The New Year

The last day of 2011 has arrived, and out goes another year.

It feels like it was the beginning of 2011 just a few months ago . . . though in other ways it doesn't feel like it's gone that fast at all.

I've had a pretty good year. There were downs and there were ups, but some cool things happened and the bad could have been worse. There were a lot of unexpected things that I am grateful I got to experience; like finishing my first novel and writing two others, going to my first dance competition, passing a series of tests I had been worried about, getting to know some nice people.

And, of course, there's been the blogging. Blogfests (sometime I'd like to go back and count them all . . .), the A-Z Challenge (yup, I'm planning to do it next year as well), REN3 (let's give another shout-out to the great hosts), Terry Pratchett Month in September (glad to know there are other fans out there), going through NaNoWriMo with the other writers in the blogosphere, and just generally watching as people traverse their own ups and down, reach their goals, do interesting things. You people are amazing, and I'm honored to get the chance to know you, if even just through blog posts.

How was your year?

**********


Finally . . .

I hope you have an awesome 2012!


-----The Golden Eagle

29 December, 2011

The Great Comments Award

Back in early December, I was awarded by Jenna Quentin at Meandering in a Field of Words and Richard at Writing and Living with Richard P. Hughes with the Great Comments Award:


. . . and I figured it was time I got around to awarding the commenters here on my blog. Now, the rules are to pass it on to the most recent 20 commenters--but because I was awarded twice, I haven't awarded anyone else in a while, and hey, it's still the holiday season (kinda; to me it ends on New Year's Day) I've decided to list the 40 most recent commenters instead.

Here we go (in no particular order other than recent to oldest):

  1. Heather
  2. Jemi Fraser
  3. ....Petty Witter
  4. Paul Tobin
  5. Medeia Sharif
  6. Shelley
  7. Sun Singer
  8. Sarah Allen
  9. Jules
  10. Belle
  11. Shannon Lawrence
  12. Tricia J. O'Brien
  13. Charles Gramlich
  14. Sharon K. Mayhew
  15. Krispy
  16. farawayeyes
  17. Rebecca
  18. Old Kitty
  19. cherie
  20. Emily Rose
  21. C D Meetens
  22. Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius
  23. Vicki Newell
  24. J. A. Bennett
  25. Cherie Reich
  26. Lisa-Marie Jordan
  27. Brian
  28. Andrea Franco-Cook
  29. Christine Rains
  30. kelworthfiles
  31. Catherine M. Johnson
  32. Joshua
  33. Alyssa Kirk
  34. Melissa Bradley
  35. DeniseCovey_L'Aussie
  36. Rachel Morgan
  37. Misha Gericke
  38. Beth
  39. Murees Dupé
  40. Pearson Report


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And for everyone who's come by The Eagle's Aerial Perspective and read my posts: a big thank you!


-----The Golden Eagle

27 December, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (66)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules for participation:

  • 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 my teaser is from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I finished it yesterday, but it's quite good and I'm not reading anything else I haven't already given you a teaser from.

(I love the way it looks like a paper cut-out; though it would have fit the story better if there had been no red at all and just black and white. Not that I'm really complaining.)

Isobel sits in a rarely occupied chair in the corner of Marco's flat, a rainbow of silk ribbon twisted around her fingers as she attempts in vain to form it into a single elaborate braid.
   "This seems so silly," she remarks, frowning at the tangle of ribbon.
   "It's a simple charm," Marco says from his desk where he sits surrounded by open books. "A ribbon for each element, bound with knots and intent. It's like your cards, only influencing the subject instead of simply divining its meaning. But it won't work if you don't believe it will, you know that."
-p. 40

**********

Have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

23 December, 2011

I Finished My Novel! (And Other Random Stuff)

At 74,696 words, my NaNoWriMo novel is DONE.

It's my third completed project of the year, and that includes the first story I ever actually finished. I also made a new personal record: one full-length novel in 53 days, of which over 50k was for NaNoWriMo.

Right now, I'm just going to be relieved I finished the project, and I'll worry about rewrites and eliminating the word-vomit and so forth in 2012. Not just because I need some time for the novel to stew, but because I'm afraid I got a bit sick of the plot and characters by the end . . . not to mention the setting. The setting's a disaster.

But it's done, after all. Goodbye, novel, until next time!

**********

In other news, today is my birthday.

So, have I accomplished things in the last year? Yes. Have I done as much as I'd hoped to do? I met some of my goals, didn't meet others. Overall, though, I'd say it was a pretty good year.

And now another one's about to swing around . . .

**********

Have you seen The Hobbit trailer yet?


Sigh. I'd say I hope December 2012 comes fast, but then the year will rush by and I'll regret it. :P

**********


Finally, I'd like to wish all of you a Happy Holidays, whatever it may be that you celebrate. Have a wonderful end-of-December and a joyous new year, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

21 December, 2011

On YA Fiction: Political Messages

Recently, I've been noticing a trend in Young Adult, particularly in Science Fiction and its sub-genres Dystopian/Futuristic Fiction. There seem to be more and more books that revolve around a central political idea: over-reaching government.

Take Matched by Allie Condie, Possession by Elana Johnson, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Gone by Michael Grant, Little Brother and For the Win by Cory Doctorow, The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and I could come up with others if I had more time. I'd also mention Divergent by Veronica Roth and Wither by Lauren Destefano, since they seem to be political based on their blurbs, but I haven't read those yet so I can't say for sure.

As you may have noticed, many of those are quite popular (*cough*The Hunger Games*cough*), and in addition, many of them seem to be rather anti-government. The Giver by Lois Lowry seems to be the exception, though it could still be taken as anti-government, since POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT one of the central characters is influential in preventing pain within the city--this, of course, also leads to more control, but everyone besides a certain few are oblivious to suffering.


Another element that repeats itself is revolutionaries/the resistance. In almost all of the above books, the main character joins or helps an organization (whether paramilitary or not) that, in turn, has some kind of showdown with the omnipresent government.

Now, while I don't mind politics in books, the constant battering of "Government Is Evil!" is beginning to make me wonder why it's cropping up so often.

Is it the political climate today, with a bad economy, constant protests, the Arab Spring, the war in Afghanistan and very recently Iraq? Is it a response to the perceived "rise of China" and Communism, the nuclear capabilities of other countries that might not have the Western world's best interests in mind?

Or is that reading too much of it, and it's just an attempt to appeal to teenagers that feel oppressed by their peers, their parents, society in general? But then again, it's not just teenagers reading YA; it attracts a wide range of readers.


What do you think?

And do you mind politics in the books you read? Is it something you're attracted or repelled by, in general?


-----The Golden Eagle

20 December, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (65)

Hello, everyone! It's time for Teaser Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • 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, my teaser is from a non-fiction book. A.) Because I'm not really reading fiction at the moment and B.) The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee is an excellent book. Plus, it was either this or Information Architecture, and I thought this might be a little less . . . dry.


A patient, long before he becomes the subject of medical scrutiny, is, at first, simply a storyteller, a narrator of suffering--a traveler who has visited the kingdom of the ill. To relieve an illness, one must begin, then, by unburdening its story.

-p. 46

**********

Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

16 December, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest: Signs You May Have The Writing Syndrome

About this blogfest:
On December 16th all of those taking part will re-post their favorite blog offering, or one that never received the exposure it should have. Then as the day unfolds and everyone hops from one blog to another, what they will be reading is the best of the best (as determined by you). That day the blogosphere will be chock full of past writing brilliance!



It took me a while to decide on a good post to give you here. But I finally decided, so here it is--enjoy!

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Signs You May Have the Writing Syndrome:


1. You enjoy reading books beyond what is considered normal or socially acceptable.

2. You have conversations with imaginary people in imaginary situations and who, you imagine, talk back to you and among each other.

3. You scrutinize human behavior and wonder why people do the things they do.

4. You get the urge to write things down on anything in sight when a new idea pops into your head.

5. You often fluctuate between ecstatic--as the new idea arrives in your head--and as frustrated as heck as you try to figure out what to do with the new idea.

6. You can occasionally be found talking aloud when the nearest living being is a plant.

7. You sometimes drift out of conversations to ponder the reasons behind one of the imaginary people or that new idea.

8. You go online and look up the sites of authors because you want to read their FAQs about the writing process and getting published.

9. You start analyzing the books you read and wonder how you would have done it better.

10. In the most severe cases, you actually start pouring forth words in quantities greater than that of a shopping list and create something with what's known as a plot.

If you can say you do more than three of the above, you have the Writing Syndrome.

There is no known cure. Unfortunately, the only words available are:

Welcome to the club.


-----The Golden Eagle

14 December, 2011

Google, I'd Like To Have A Word. NOW.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Until quite recently, I had many feeds that weren't assigned to specific folders in Google Reader; I was slowly (but surely) organizing them, unsubscribing from blogs that weren't updating, etc., etc.; overall, getting things in order. It was going quite well.


Until Google Reader decided to eliminate all the unassigned subscriptions I hadn't gotten around to yet. Which means I've lost who knows how many blog feeds (certainly over one hundred) that I have no way of recovering, since Blogger's Dashboard stopped working for me and I don't keep track of which blogs I follow.

Because I'd depended on Google Reader's feature that automatically adds Blogger blogs when you follow them, unassigned or not.

ARGH.


I wouldn't be so irritated if I knew why it had happened. I thought perhaps the impending cut to Google Friend Connect for non-Blogger blogs was the cause, but that doesn't make sense, because I don't think all those lost subscriptions were for non-Blogger blogs.

So I don't know.

Has Google Reader kept your unassigned subscriptions? (And if you still have some, I'd suggest going through them and determining which ones you want to keep. Just so this doesn't happen to you as well.)


Have you ever had any problems with the service?


-----The Golden Eagle

13 December, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (64)

This weekly, bookish meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser is from The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness.

(I love the covers to the Chaos Walking Series. I used to think they were a bit strange (sloppy-looking, even) with words scattered across the front and the font of the title, but after having read them it makes much more sense.)

"Calm yourself, my girl."
   A voice--
   In the brightness--
   I blink open my eyes. Everything is a pure white so bright it's almost a sound and there's a voice out there in it and my head is groggy and there's a pain in my side and it's too bright and I can't think--
   Wait--
-p. 71

And yes, the entire book is written in that stream-of-consciousness way. It's a bit interesting to me, because the Chaos Walking series is the first I've read in this style . . . after I finished my own novel that's also stream-of-consciousness. Huh. I'm not sure if I should feel bolstered or irritated.

**********

Have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

10 December, 2011

Are You Watching The Eclipse?

It's happening right now. And if you don't happen to live where the lunar eclipse is visible (why oh why did the sun have to come up today? Okay, just kidding) I've got the live feed at the top of my blog. You can also go HERE to see it.

Sigh. I do wish I could see it in person . . . and it's the last lunar eclipse until 2014.


-----The Golden Eagle

07 December, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Reading What Came Before


For the last blogfest I participated in, I remembered a character I'd used in a previous flash fiction challenge. Since I thought there was potential in writing from her perspective again, I went back and opened the file for the story, just to refresh my memory.

Oh, horror.

There were typos, the plot was odd, and the overall tone was just ridiculous. The character sounded too young, parts of what she said didn't make sense, and I really should have cut to the chase a bit faster.

That's what usually happens when I read something I haven't thought about for long, or didn't spend a lot of time editing. Some of my writing I can look at without cringing, but the rest of it . . . well, the rest of it shouldn't see the light of day. In fact, I'd be happy if it tumbled into a deep underground abyss that I'd forgotten the location of.

I try to avoid running into this. That's why you'll find me pre-writing flash fiction posts a day or several days before the actual event--or at least trying to. (The above example was written on a bit of inspiration and posted the same day.) That's also why the idea of having a a critique partner read chapters as they come out (which, I gather, some people do) scares me. I rarely if ever write something good on the first try.

Does this happen to you? How do you make sure what you write one day won't seem completely out of whack the next? And do you ever read your own writing for fun?

**********

Also, I'm guest posting today at Stuart Nager's blog Born Storyteller, about creativity. I hope you'll stop by!

-----The Golden Eagle

06 December, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (63)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • 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, my teaser is from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I have mixed feelings about his book so far (which particularly saddens me because I'd really looked forward to it when I saw Tamora Pierce's review). While the main character's personality is quite different from that of most Fantasy leads, and I love that she's unique, I can't really get attached to the plot or the setting. Furthermore, the beginning seems to be moving very slowly . . . hopefully that will pick up later.


(Again, mixed feelings seems to be my mantra. I love the flowers/trees along the corners of the book, and the lettering is to die for, but I don't like the face within the gem.)
Cosmé gapes at me like I've swallowed a scorpion. I try not to look too smug. Not only will such a task take her all day in this empty, barren place, it will give her something harmless to blather passionately about.
-p. 67

**********

Have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

05 December, 2011

The Cool As Cucumber Blogfest

Madeleine at Scribble and Edit is hosting a blogfest today, based on the idea of using something writers are often told to avoid: cliches. I thought it was an intriguing idea, so I signed up.



About:

Liberally sprinkle your entries with well placed clichés or make them the twist to your tale.

Make it the twist on the punch line to your story. Or make it a witty observation: e.g. Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes (1997) He kept touching his hair, which, as well as being dyed to within an inch of its life, was blow dried flicked and rigid with spray.

You may choose whichever idiom you like, such as 'The cat that got the cream'; 'As cool as a cucumber'; 'As good as gold', 'Kick the bucket'. Max 400 words for Flash Fiction.

**********

I decided to go with "sprinkling" my entry with cliches instead of making mine the punch line.

Here it is:


“This ain’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
   The Lieutenant tossed the sheets at my feet. I just looked at him, fury and embarrassment turning my face red and hot.
   “Why’re you staring at me, girl? Get out. You’re useless,” he said.
   I bit down the snarl in my throat and snatched up the papers, clenching my hand and crumpling the smooth cream-colored sheets. The heading CLASSIFIED seemed to taunt me, a bold and black statement that embodied the stupid move I’d made.
   “Anyone ever told you not to look a gift horse in the mouth?” the man called, as my boots tapped on the floor of his office, carrying me away as fast as they could go without running. I didn’t reply as the steel doors to his office slammed shut behind me.
   “Well?” my buddy Roger asked, catching up as I charged away.
   “I was an idiot. The Lieutenant threw it in my face, and he’s right,” I said.
   I’d been wrong attempting to scare up evidence that the Captain of the ship—the only man the Empress trusted—was a traitor, a defector to the invaders at our borders.
   He’d been the one to take me on as crew aboard the starship, and I had him to thank for my position in the ranks. That’s what the Lieutenant had meant by “gift horse”.
   Did that mean the Captain was innocent? I hadn’t thought so. But the evidence—I couldn’t believe I’d been so naïve to judge a man like the Captain—was a desperate stringing together of events that would have been random. Unless you were someone like me, of course, searching for a conspiracy.
   I tossed away the paper.
   Roger shrugged. “Seemed pretty solid evidence to me.”
   “I was wrong.”
   “How do you know?”
   “I just do. Look, Roger, right now I don’t give a damn. I’ll be lucky if the Captain—”
   “What was that about me?”
   Roger and I froze.
   The Captain himself stood in the hallway, smiling strangely. He held up the paper I’d discarded and my stomach plummeted through the floor.
   “My my, Georgie,” he said, flipping through the sheets, “this is critical.”
   He met my gaze, his expression hard. I imagined it must be the look he gave his enemies in battle.
   “But let’s not beat around the bush, shall we? You are correct. I am a traitor to the Empire.”

(400 words)

**********

What do you think?

The winner of this blogfest will be determined by vote, so don't forget to head over to Madeleine's blog and vote for your favorite entry!


-----The Golden Eagle

04 December, 2011

When Reading A Good Book . . .

. . . the conversation in my head is liable to be something like this:

"You really should be doing something else."
"Like what? Something exciting just happened to the main character!"
"Like blogging. You haven't been blogging enough."
"Monday. I'll catch up on Monday. Besides, there's still plenty of time today to return comments."
"Or writing. When was the last time you wrote? A week ago?"
"I'll have you know it was a perfectly respectable . . . um, ah, six days ago."
"See? And you wanted to have this book done later this month! You've still got a lot of plot to go!"
"But I want to know what happens."
"And you have stuff to edit. And you wanted to start working on that new project about--"
"It's taboo to mention it now! The inspiration will die!"
"My point is, the book will still be there later. You got it at the library yesterday. You still have 20 days with it, and that's without renewing."
"Are you crazy? The character just . . .!"
"Just what?"
"Never mind."
"You're overexcited. Get off that bed and do something productive."
"Reading is productive."
"Possibly, and that's in the eyes of the party involved, not outside observers. Just get up, will you? Or I'll start spilling the beans on that new project idea--"
"NO. Don't mention it!"
"Then get up."
"Darn you. This is a suspenseful book!"
"In which we return to my original point, which is that it will not vanish if you set it down for a while."
"Sigh. I guess."
"Now write a blog post. You haven't done that in too long."
"I know, I know."
"And hammer out some more words, will you?"
"All right."

**********

Have you read any good books lately?


-----The Golden Eagle

01 December, 2011

Does A Lot Of Promotion In A Blurb Deter You?

Most books seem to follow this basic format when it comes to blurbs:

First line/the hook: distinguishes for the reader why this book is different, through tone/intriguing line/excerpt from the novel/etc.
First paragraph: introduces the characters, plot, and setting in a highly distilled form
Second/Third paragraph: tells a little about the consequences of the actions the MC(s) take(s)
Final Paragraph: promotional language about how excellent, riveting, and/or captivating the book is, plus some comments on the author's brilliant writing



That final paragraph is the one I'm wondering about. I have nothing against a bit of promotion, but for some books it's longer than the other contents of the blurb. In other cases the roles are reversed and the final paragraph becomes the first; the blurb starts out with promotion, and continues to go on and on about the author's talent and the book's significance.

It's in such cases as those when I become less and and less inclined to turn the page. I want to know what the book is about; who the character's are, what they're up against, whether I should look forward to hyperspace jumps or magic runes. In addition, while I find reviews by major reviewers such as The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) interesting in their own right, I don't really pay much attention to them when they're on the front flap; which is where they're placed for a lot of blurbs.

One exception to promotion is when I've read something by the author before. I wouldn't mind a paragraph about a writer I really liked in a blurb--though I still prefer it if they mention "NYT Bestselling Author" at the bottom, after the information about the story. A novel should stand on its own regardless of who wrote it.

What do you think? How much promotion is too much for you when you're browsing and looking for something to read?


-----The Golden Eagle

29 November, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (62)

Teaser Tuesday has come around again. This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • 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, my teaser is from Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto. I'd actually been following her blog for a while when I noticed that she had a book coming out; a little while later I saw it in Barnes & Noble; and shortly after that I found my library had it. Huzzah!


"Oh, I'm sorry. Um, maybe we should have started with the eggs instead."
   "It's okay. Chickens saved the day."
   "Pardon me?"
   "French chicks, to be exact," Paolo said. "Luckily for tiny premature me, as my grandfather often liked to remind me, the French chicks and their ingenious incubators at the Paris zoo inspired a doctor in the late 1800s to develop a similar incubating apparatus for humans. And so here I am today, fully indoctrinated with my nonno's fervent belief that you can get through life's tightest jams if you are fortunate enough to have a chicken on hand."
-p. 22

**********

Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

28 November, 2011

Okay, So I Hoard Awards . . .

Hello, everyone! It's award time, since I've had these tucked away for months, waiting for a moment when there weren't several blogfests going on or I wasn't trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo.

First, the 7x7 Link Award from Cherie at Cherie Writes.... Thanks, Cherie!


As I've done this one before, I'm just going to link to that post.

Second, the One Lovely Blog Award from Murees Dupé at Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer.


Unlike the usual rules where I have to list 7 things about myself, this one just asks you thank the person who gave it to you. Thank you, Murees!

Third, the Versatile Blogger Award from M.E. at Breaking Fantasy. Thanks for the award, M.E.!


Rules:

Share 7 random facts about yourself and nominate newly discovered bloggers for the award.

Fourth, and finally, the Friendly Blogger Award from Madeleine at Scribble and Edit. Thank you, Madeleine. :)


And now . . . I think I'm going to skip awarding people until some other date, as I'm running low on time (that seems to be happening a lot more than it used to these days). I really appreciate the awards, though, so another thank you to those who awarded me!

**********

How are things going at your end?


And if you're a participant in NaNoWriMo, how's your novel coming?


Have a great week, everyone!


-----The Golden Eagle

25 November, 2011

NaNoWriMo Video Songfest!

This blog event is hosted by Jon Paul at Where Sky Meets Ground.


The Goal of the NaNoWriMo Video Songfest (from his blog):
  • Have a total blast!
  • Share some awesome NaNo writing music, and get a chance to hear the tunes everyone else finds groovy.
  • Give everyone one stop shopping for a right rockin' video playlist throughout the month.  With any luck, the combined energy of all that awesome music will help us get across that 50k word finish line just a little bit faster!  Who knows, maybe that really moving snippet of music posted by a fellow writer helps you nail a difficult scene or understand a character better.
  • Even if you're not doing NaNo this year, why not throw one of your favorite videos into the mix to support your fellow writers and let everyone else benefit from your good taste!

I had meant to post this earlier in the month, but then I forgot about it somewhere in the midst of things--I really must start paying more attention to my own Current Participation page. :P

But anyway, here's the video:


Not exactly a song, I know, but Beethoven rarely fails to get me feeling at least a little bit more energized. Particularly toward writing Science Fiction, though I'm not sure why.

**********

Do you have any favorite music to listen to before/when you're writing?


-----The Golden Eagle

23 November, 2011

To Those Celebrating: Happy Thanksgiving!


To those not celebrating, have a great Thursday. :)

And, since I think it's always a good idea to not take anything for granted, I thought I'd list a few of the (many and varied) things I'm thankful for here (really, I cannot pack everything into a single list):

Blogging--in particular, the other bloggers (i.e. you awesome people reading this post).
Writing--being able to express myself in so many ways.
Dance--it can be hard, but there's no substitute.
Family--Mom, you rock.
Life--because there are things to do and see that are still out there.
. . . finally, I am thankful I don't have to write tomorrow for NaNoWriMo. I reached 50,014 words on Monday (hooray!). And while we're planning to spend the holiday at home, it's nice not to have to do anything in particular that day.

What are you thankful for?


-----The Golden Eagle

22 November, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (61)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


This week, my teaser is from The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey.



Jacob Torrance downed his glass of whiskey, smoothed his neatly trimmed mustache, and then proceeded to drum his fingers aggressively on the arm of the wingback chair. His ruby red signet ring, stamped with the motto of the Society (Nil timendum est), sparked and and spat back the light.
-p. 203

**********

Got a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 November, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update (And Some Random Stuff)

Exactly one year ago I won NaNoWriMo 2010, with a total of 50183 words.

I had hoped to beat (or at least make) that this year, but I'm currently sitting at 40110 words, despite writing 7,096 words today:




40110 / 50000 words. 80% done!


. . . and there's no way I'm writing 10k before midnight. I'm happy with my current word count, anyway--it might not be 50k, but there are still 13 days to go in November. Plenty of time.


**********

You know, I never really noticed my character's body language/behavior as being repetitive in first drafts before, but suddenly they seem to be doing a lot of staring and glaring and eyeing things. In addition to the raising of eyebrows and shooting of murderous looks. It has not degraded to the batting of eyelashes yet, but you never know . . .

Ah well. What is editing for?

**********

As you may have noticed, I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately; I haven't even replied to comments yet from Tuesday. I will be catching up this evening (hopefully), as I have time to blog (hooray!).

**********

I have to ask: Did anyone else catch My Life As A Turkey on Nature?


Watch My Life as a Turkey - Preview on PBS. See more from NATURE.


And I must link to this program, too, if I'm going to bring up Nature, since it's about eagles. I love eagles. :)

Oh, and I can hardly bring up Nature without mentioning NOVA. I need to get my hands on a copy of The Fabric of the Universe. Because that's one awesome TV series based on it.

**********

If you're doing NaNoWriMo, how's it going? If not, what are you working on now?


Have you come across anything interesting lately?


-----The Golden Eagle

15 November, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (60)

Teaser Tuesday again!

(I know I missed last week--trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo and blogging at the same time.)

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Rules:
  • 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, my teaser is from Goliath by Scott Westerfeld. I love this series; the setting is amazing, and the main characters are some of my favorites.


The Clanker airship was losing altitude quickly now, its shredded gasbag fluttering in the breeze. The other zeppelin was much farther back, hovering over the Kaiserin Elizabeth and raining metal darts onto the frenzied kappa.
-p. 185

**********

Have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading?


-----The Golden Eagle

11 November, 2011

Villains Are Fun: Guest Post by Ty Johnston

Today I have the honor of hosting author Ty Johnston here on my blog, as part of his blog tour running from November 1st-30th.

Villains are fun

Heroes are not only the stuff of legend, but generally they’re also the stuff of fiction. If one searches or just happens to read a lot, eventually you could come across a novel that does not contain a true hero, but these are rare and usually involve a protagonist of a rare, other sort.

People tend to like heroes. Many have their favorites. Some like the spandex-wearing super heroes of comic books while others enjoy the dashing love interest of many romance novels. There are a lot of different types of heroes out there, but they all share one common trait, their heroism. In some form or another, at one point within a story, the hero must become heroic, must stand up for what is right or face down some evil.

On the other hand, villains tend to be much more diverse than heroes. Can one truly say all villains share in villainy? That simply wouldn’t be true. Many villains of fiction often aren’t really all that bad. They’re not necessarily evil. They simply are opposed to the hero at large of a given tale.

Obviously some villains do seem to be out-and-out evil, but if one knows the past of most villains, generally there is a story there that brought this character to the point of being a villain. Otherwise, it’s usually a boring villain.

For example, where would Darth Vader be without his tragic past? He would be a rather flat character. Even in the very first Star Wars movie, in which the original viewers knew nothing of Vader’s personal past, there were still hints that Vader was not always the great big bad guy he appeared to be on the screen. Kenobi talked a little about Vader’s history, and Grand Moff Tarkin hinted here and there of some knowledge.

As a writer, I tend to love villains. Often times I love them more than heroes. Perhaps that’s one reason why many of my own heroes tend to be more of the brutal sort, almost villains in their own right.

Why do I love villains so much? Several reasons. You know a hero is sooner or later going to do something heroic, but you can never be sure exactly what a villain is going to do. Also, villains tend to act while heroes tend to react.

I’m being overly simplistic, of course, because there are all kinds of heroes and villains who don’t fit into the cozy little definitions I’m tossing out. In those cases, readers often discover a pleasant surprise, though sometimes it’s not a nice surprise. It takes a skilled author who can create truly unique heroes and villains.

Another reason I love villains so much is because they are fun to write, at least for me. I love writing scenes in which my villains appear. Villains can get away with a lot more than can a hero. For instance, a hero usually isn’t going to seriously harm someone they simply find annoying, but a villain can do all kinds of nasty things to such a person. Again, there are exceptions, but often enough they fall flat unless there’s great storytelling and/or a truly iconic character. Batman could get away with such, for example, but Robin? Probably not.

In much of fantasy literature, heroes tend to follow a path. I call it the "farm boy" syndrome, and it generally follows the outline of a hero given by the famous Joseph Campbell. Basically, the hero starts out as someone seemingly unimportant. He or she is offered a chance to become a hero, initially refusing such an opportunity before fate somehow forces their hand. Eventually, the hero saves the day.

Fantasy villains are not weighed down by such restraints. The only requirement for a fantasy villain is that the villain must oppose the hero. Otherwise, the villain can follow a million different paths, even creating his or her own path.

I like that. I like characters who can make decisions without simply always reacting to something. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to villains.

They can get away with so much more.

**********




About this blog tour:

Fantasy author Ty Johnston’s blog tour 2011 is running from November 1 through November 30. His novels include City of RoguesBayne’s Climb and More than Kin, all of which are available for the Kindle, the Nook, and online at Smashwords. His latest novel, Ghosts of the Asylum, will be available for e-books on November 21. To find out more, follow him at his blog tyjohnston.blogspot.com.


-----The Golden Eagle

10 November, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

10th day in, and one third of NaNoWriMo has passed.

Unfortunately, I am way behind.

Well, okay, it's not desperate desperate. I'll finish on December 5th at my current pace according to my Stats, and I can make up the difference by writing several thousand words, provided I churn out that much a few days in a row.

The only problem is, it feels like my novel is going in the wrong direction. This is, most likely, just the stage in the writing process where despair sets in and misery takes over and the plot and characters and setting turn obstinate and laconic in your head, but darn it, nothing seems to be coming out right.

Of course, if it is the despair and misery faze that's putting me into that mindset, the only thing that will get me enthusiastic again is writing . . . and yes, I'm pretty sure I've had this conversation with myself before. I just need to get over it.

Getting over it has, in the past, come in the form of an internal, shouted "Write, you blasted fool!" and an attempt at terminating all procrastination.

So I will begin such procedures this evening, after I blog.

Or tomorrow.

Or, you know, over the weekend. I can write a lot over the weekend.

But, of course, I've got stuff to do this weekend. Stuff I've been meaning to get to.

And surely I can fit in more writing during the week, right? It's what I did before.

And then there's always the weekend after next to consider . . . but I've got a lot of stuff happening that weekend!

Therefore, the only time I will be able to write is--

AHEM.

Yes, yes, the writing. I'll get to it. After I blog. Today.

Seriously.

End melodrama. :P

How's NaNoWriMo going for you, if you're participating? If not, what are you working on--and how's it coming?


Ever had this sort of conversation with yourself?


-----The Golden Eagle

07 November, 2011

Blog Tour Book Review: Exiled by RaShelle Workman


Title: Connected Series Book 1: Exiled
Author: RaShelle Workman
Release date 11-11-11 through Polished Pen Press in cooperation with Literary Underground
Genre: YA/Science Fiction
Page Count: 307
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4 out of 5. I really liked this cover the first time I saw it, because it's different and a bit striking. It manages to include the Science Fiction-feel of the novel, along with the story's romantic side.

Book Summary:
Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.
   Now she wants revenge.
   First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate.
   Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.
   Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.
   Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.
   Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.
   But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.

My expectations: High. I was intrigued by the blurb and the trailer, mentions of the story on the author's blog, and the other reviews I'd come across.

I'm happy to be able to say Exiled met those expectations.

About the book: This book is unique. That's one thing I really enjoyed about the story; I've never come across another YA book all that similar to it, particularly because it has SF and Romance as two central themes, not a usual combination. The writing, while occasionally awkward, is strong overall; I liked the way things were described, along with the dialogue.
  • Plot:
Surprising. There were plenty of twists and turns in this book, from start to finish.
  • Characters:
I liked Venus a lot more than I thought I would. She was strong and determined to complete the mission assigned to her by the gods, and she kept trying, even as she physically weakened due to Earth's atmosphere.

Michael was an interesting character. He didn't appeal at the beginning, but by the end of the novel, I was rooting for him.

Dervinias, also known as "Vinny", was a great antagonist. Excellent at keeping secrets, he was a formidable adversary, and a sinister one at that.
  • Setting/Elements:
At the beginning, many of the alien words confused me. It does put the reader straight into the story without preamble, but I felt like I'd missed some kind of explanation that happened earlier on. However, the Science Fiction world in this book is detailed and, as I mentioned before, unique; Kelari is similar to Earth, but very different in other ways, and the contrast between the two is intriguing.

Other: Violence, sexual content.

Do I recommend this book? If you like Romance and Science Fiction, I definitely recommend this book.

Trailer:




About the Author:

RASHELLE WORKMAN lives with her husband, three children and three dogs. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe.

Website/Blog: http://www.rashelleworkman.com/

Facebook: RaShelle Workman author
Twitter: RaShelleWorkman
Goodreads: Exiled

**********

Exiled is part of the Dark C.A.R.M.A blog tour:






-----The Golden Eagle

The Rule of Three Blogfest Shortlist!

Well, the REN3 shortlist has been released.

And I'm a finalist!

This time, the winner will be chosen by voters. Go HERE to read the six finalist entries and vote for your favorite! The poll closes at 11.59PM GMT on Friday November 11, and the winner will be announced on Monday, November 14.


-----The Golden Eagle

04 November, 2011

The Rule of Three Blogfest: My Story's Been Longlisted!

As I'm on the longlist for the Rule of Three Blogfest (the longlist! AAAH!), one of the requirements is to bring together all four installments posted during the month of October into a single story.

The shortlist will be announced on Monday, November 7, and then people will get to vote on their favorite of six entries.

Oh yes, I'm anxiously awaiting the results on the 7th.

But right now, here are all four of my entries together:

From Corey Pendergraft's perspective:

I ran along the trail, quiver banging against my shoulder blades in a rhythmic—and rather painful—thump, thump, thump.
   I gripped the hilt of my sword, also conveniently knocking against my hipbone, and scowled.
   Why in all Renaissance did Marcor have to tell my father I wasn’t actually scouting the Villein route all those afternoon hours? I never told on Marcor when he went off scouting for the prettiest girls by the water well, when he was supposed to be standing guard by the town gates.
   “I’ll get him,” I muttered to myself, dodging a branch that extended over the trail.
   A horse whinnied in the distance, and I stumbled to a halt, scanning the forest.
   Movement. Over there, in the trees to the left.
   I dived into the sparse underbrush by the side of the trail and laid low, glad I was wearing green and brown and not those idiotic red-and-gold tunics my father often demanded I put on.
   “Is anyone there?” a voice called.
   No. There is certainly not anyone there and I suggest you get out of here. Hell’s about to break loose and all that.
   “Hello?”
   Goodbye. Why aren’t you going away yet?
   “I could’ve sworn I heard someone,” I heard the girl mutter—it was definitely a girl from her voice.
   Her horse snorted.
   “What is it, Broman?”
   The horse didn’t reply. Good horse.
   “Come on, Broman.”
   I heard the sound of a horse heading down the trail. I relaxed.
   Inching upwards, I peered over the top of the bushes.
   The girl stood on the trail, an arrow nocked in my direction.
   We stared at each other, and then I had my own arrow out and aimed at her. I walked out onto the trail and faced her, less than thirty paces apart.
   “You’re fast,” she said, indicating my bow and arrow.
   “You’re sneaky,” I replied.
   “What?” She looked confused.
   “Never mind. Who are you?”
   She shifted her bow. “And why should I tell you that?”
   “Because I have an arrow pointed at you.”
   “So do I.”
   “That’s irrelevant.”
   “It is not!”
   “Yes, it is.”
   She shook her head. “Just tell me where I can find the town of Renaissance, and I’ll put down my bow.”
   “Really. Well, since you had to force me upon pain of death to get me to say, the town’s further down this trail.”
   She nodded. “Thank you.” A pause. “Why were you running from it?”
   “You heard me? Why didn’t you say ‘come out, come out, wherever you are’, then?”
   “Because that would be stupid. Broman,” she called, and her horse emerged from the trees.
   “A fine animal,” I said, looking Broman over.
   “You say that like you don’t mean it.”
   I shrugged. “Horses can’t compare to riding the imbrangilae.”
   “Imbrangilae?”
   “You’ve never heard of them?”
   “They can’t be rode.”
   “Yes, they can. I’ve done it.” And my father thinks I’m a fat, stinking liar because I told him so.
   “Do you know who the leader of this town is?”
   “There’s no leader. There’s just a council of old fogies.”
   She snorted. Then, as if in some kind of accord, we put down our bows.
   “I need to speak with these fogies.”
   “Why do you need to speak with them?” I didn’t add my father was one of them.
   “Because there’s an army coming.”
   I stared at her.
   “An army?”
   “Yes. Down the Villein.”
   I cursed. An army was coming down the Villein—just the road I had avoided on scouting missions for the past three months.

From Alejandra Digiovanni's perspective:

   I expected him to ask how many soldiers there were.
   But instead he looked behind me.
   “Question.”
   “Yes?” I shifted, impatient to get to Renaissance.
   “Hope you don’t mind imbrangilae. Because one’s flying toward us.”
   I whirled and spotted the descending black form.
   “Oh no,” I whispered.
   I ran down the path, toward the boy—who just stood as the rhythmic beat of wings grew deafening.
   “Get out of the way!” I shouted.
   “I told you! I can ride the imbrangilae!”
   “Don’t be idiotic!”
   I grabbed him and tried to drag him away, but he was too strong.
   The imbrangilae landed on the path, cold air blowing past as it exhaled, and I pulled close to the boy.
   Hoping, by some miracle, he really could handle the thing.
   It was a hideous creature. Mismatched eyes, bulbous skin, wings like they’d been chewed by rats and mended by spiders.
   The boy grinned.
   “Nabil,” he said.
   I sucked in a breath as the creature extended its head, leaning close.
   And closer, until I thought my spine would crack with not moving.
   It nudged him, blasting more chill as it snorted.
   The boy shook free of my grip and walked around the imbrangilae, stroking its hide. Then he climbed, using its joints to hoist himself up just in front of the wings.
   I expected the creature to buck. But it didn’t—it sat there, cleaning its face.
   “How many soldiers are there?” he called.
   “Around two thousand.”
   “Renaissance has 333 people.”
   “So precise?”
   “My father’s chronic about it.”
   “Your father?”
   “He’s, um, one of the councilpersons.”
   I stared at him.
   “You’re not Corey Pendergraft, are you?”
   His head flew up.
   “How’d you know?”
   “I’m Alejandra Digiovanni. From the Espadon River clan?”
   “Oh.”
   His face turned guilty. “I know I disappeared when you visited Renaissance before, but—“
   “You were supposed to marry me!”
   “Does it matter to you?”
   “No. But . . .”
   “But?”
   I sighed. “Every suitor I see tells me I’m ugly. You didn’t even bother.”
   “You’re not ugly. You’re—pretty. Beautiful, I—“
   “Just tell me how to get to the council.”
   “Get up here.”
   I violently shook my head.
   “Why not?”
   “For one, I can’t just leave Broman—“
   “He seems like a smart horse. And imbrangilae will be faster.”
   “But—“
   “You won’t fall.”
   “I’m not worried about falling—“
   An arrow whipped past and hit the side of the imbrangilae—it bounced right off the skin—making it scream like metal on stone.
   Other arrows hit the dirt and a nearby tree, just missing Corey.
   I spun around, searching frantically, but couldn’t see anyone.
   Then a woman jumped down from a branch overhead, arrow nocked.
   I gasped, recognizing the symbol on her shoulder: Chiavona Desert Clan.
   She circled me as four others landed on the path, swords out and flashing.
   The imbrangilae roared, an angry, dangerous sound.
   The snipers paused and it whipped its tail, slamming a man into a rock. A concentrated gust of freezing air turned a second of the five into an icicle, and she collapsed.
   Corey unsheathed his sword and hit two of the snipers on the head with the hilt. I grabbed a knife in my boot, throwing it at the nearest attacker.
   It cut her shoulder and she staggered, but she lunged with a dagger and nearly stabbed me. The imbrangilae screamed again and struck her with a claw.
   “Get up here!” Corey shouted.
   I grabbed one of the imbrangilae’s knobbles, climbing up and sliding in behind him.
   “Up, Nabil!”
   “Are you sure about this—“
   “To Renaissance!” he cried.

From Nabil's (the imbrangilae's) perspective:

I shrieked again as another arrow hit my leg.
   “To my father’s house!” Corey shouted.
   I twisted around and looked at him. He hated his father.
   “Trust me, Nabil.”
   Fine, then.
   The humans lurched against my neck as I tore through the clouds, the freezing air enveloping the lot of us.
   “Is this creature insane?” the female screamed, and I could sense her fear.
   “Nabil always travels through the clouds!” Corey shouted back. “I don’t know why!”
   It was a short trip to Renaissance. I landed in the central square, and the people nearby screamed and ran.
   I sighed. Gone were the days when humans trusted us.
   Corey jumped off and ran toward his father’s building.
   I helped the female down my back by leaning to one side as she dismounted, earning a yelp.
   She glared at me as she marched away.                    
   I gave her a grin made of incisors.
   “Father!” Corey exclaimed, as his father marched out of a nearby building.
   I walked closer to my human, sending a cool breeze into the approaching man’s face.
   “Who is this girl?” he demanded.
   “Alejandra Digiovanni. Who am I addressing?”
   “Sir Anderson Pendergraft,” the man said. Then he turned to his son. “Corey, I want to know exactly what you think you were doing by running away!”
   “Having fun.”
   He glared.
   I snorted in disapproval.
   “Oh, be still, you cumbersome animal.”
   A strangely human idea, but I got the impulse to throw something at his head.
   “An army is headed this way,” the girl declared.
   “Is there?” the man asked.
   “Two thousand soldiers, at least. Your son said 333 people live here, so I would advise immediate evacuation.”
   “Miss Digiovanni, our affairs—“
   I rolled over onto my side, convulsing. A few people who’d gathered in the square hopped away, scattering like leaves.
   “Is something wrong with that animal?”
   “Um . . . are you all right, Nabil?” Corey asked.
   I grinned again. I couldn’t believe they didn’t know, when it was such common knowledge to any imbrangilae.
   “Er . . .”
   “Speak up! I will not have you mumbling like alley rubbish,” the man snapped.
   “Nabil seems to be . . . laughing.”
   “Laughing,” the female said. “Of all the things to do, that creature—“
   “Is there a reason, Father?”
   “You trust that animal more than me?”
   “Yes.”
   The man sighed.
   “Yes, there is a reason. No one can attack Renaissance,” he said.
   I got to my feet again. Now things were beginning to make sense.
   “What?” Corey demanded.
   “The imbrangilae protect it. They and the humans here made an agreement several hundred years ago that they would shelter us. No one has attacked this town in decades, hence it was never obvious to the current citizens of Renaissance.”
   “And what do the imbrangilae get in return?” my human asked.
   Silence.
   I glared at the man.
   “The humans aren’t holding up their part of the deal,” the girl offered.
   “That’s disgraceful!” Corey cried.
   “—But regardless, doesn’t anyone care about the army?” she continued.
   Corey’s father replied, “If I know the imbrangilae, they’ll have run them off by now.”
   I grunted in affirmation.
   “What’s that sound?” someone in the crowd called out.
   “It sounds like a number of imbrangilae flying toward us,” Corey said.
   The humans in the square were flustered enough, but the prospect of so many of us sent them panicking.
   “Why are they coming?” Corey shouted to his father, over the screams and yells.
   “To settle the agreement! They’ve decided it’s time we paid for not keeping our side of the bargain.”

From Corey Pendergraft's perspective yet again:

A huge imbrangilae landed in the square, and several more landed in the streets, filling Renaissance with creatures practically everyone despised. More hovered above, their freezing breath chilling the air.
   “They’ll kill us,” Alejandra whispered.
   “Don’t be ridiculous,” I replied. “Killing is the least the imbrangilae could do.”
   She shook my arm.
   “Shut up!”
   “Well, you—“
   “Estant,” my father called.
   The largest imbrangilae roared.
   “I apologize for our past disregard of the treaty.”
   “You . . .” Estant rasped, in a horrible, ripping voice that should never have come from something living, “. . . have broken that treaty more times . . . than we imbrangilae remember. Your history lies in the dead . . . forms of imbrangilae . . . who we trusted to you.”
   “I know, Estant,” my father murmured.
   “Humans must pay the price . . . of their actions.”
   The crowd was quick on the uptake.
   “Kill them all!” someone shouted.
   “Burn them!” screamed another. “We won’t die!”
   “SILENCE,” boomed Estant. “Did I ever mention . . . dying?”
   “It was implied,” my father said mildly.
   “I will not have your . . . insinuations. What I propose . . . is a trade. We imbrangilae . . . want five of your . . . offspring.”
   An outraged woman cried, “They want our children?”
   “We want to train you . . . to understand us. I know we are ugly by . . . your standards. But with knowledge, perhaps . . . we can come . . . to an alliance, however tenuous.”
   “Estant,” my father said, “do you realize what you’re asking? To send children to your lairs, to live with your kind?”
   “Yes. Humans killed seventeen imbrangilae . . . in the past century. Is that not . . . fair? We would never . . . kill one of you.”
   Silence.
   “I volunteer,” I said. “I will travel to your home.”
   “You . . . volunteer?” Estant rasped.
   “I do, too,” Alejandra declared.
   “Two,” the imbrangilae said. “There must be . . . three more.”
   “We’ll go.”
   I turned to see twins emerge from the crowd, a sister and brother, identical except for a long scar down the girl’s face.
   I knew them. Outcasts, forced to scrounge in alleys for food. I’d tried to speak to them, but they’d spurned me, expecting to get bullied or tricked.
   “That will do,” Estant said. “Forget the fifth.”
   “They’ll die!” a man shouted.
   “We won’t,” I said. “We’ll be just fine with the imbrangilae.”
   “How do you know?”
   “Because I trust Nabil.”
   I don’t think he understood our speech, but Nabil shrieked.
   I smiled.
   “Then we have an agreement,” Estant roared, rearing. “You humans will . . . forget this day, as you forget . . . everything else. But there will . . . be a time when you must remember . . . and do not overlook the detail the imbrangilae could kill you all.”
   He took off.
   “Good luck, Corey!” my father shouted, as Nabil walked up.
   “Goodbye, Father.”
   I jumped onto Nabil’s back as Alejandra awkwardly hoisted herself onto another imbrangilae.
   The twins, I had to notice, were more graceful.
   Nabil lifted up and soared into the clouds, but not before I peered back down at Renaissance.
   Such a small place.
   I couldn’t wait to see the rest of the world through the imbrangilae’s eyes.



**********

And, finally, I'd like to give a big shout-out to the hosts of REN3: Stuart Nager, Lisa Vooght, J.C. Martin, and Damyanti Biswas. Because they've been amazing throughout this blogfest.


-----The Golden Eagle