25 December, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Many of you are celebrating Christmas today (in which case: A very Merry Christmas to you!) but regardless of what festivities you participate in, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a great New Year!






-----The Golden Eagle

18 December, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (102)

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

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 Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. How I found this book is a bit of a story--remember when Google had Ada Lovelace on their homepage a little while ago? Following the links in the search results, I noticed Wikipedia mentioned The Difference Engine under Cultural References as a steampunk novel that included Ada Lovelace. I thought it sounded cool, especially since I read Neuromancer by Gibson (and liked it). I'm not very far into this story yet (only 20 some pages) but Lovelace has already been mentioned.


Her room above the Hart seemed distant as childhood's first memories, here in the smell of slaughter, in this dark where giants moved--Houston reeled suddenly to slash at the curtains with his cane, tore them open, gas-light catching the patterns of frost on the glass of each mullioned pane, illuminating the Texian's kerchief and the grim eyes above it, eyes distant and merciless as winter stars. Houston staggered at the sight, the striped blanket sliding from his shoulders.
-p. 67

**********

Have you ever tried a book because it contained a particular character, either a real or fiction person? What are you reading now? Got any teasers to share?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 December, 2012

The Look Tag (AKA The Thing Where I Post An Excerpt From My Novel)

Over the past couple of months (yes, I know, I took that long . . .) I've been tagged by JeffO at The Doubting Writer and Susan at Mywithershins to do the Look Tag.

The objective: Post the first instance of the word "look" (or variant) from your current project, along with some of the surrounding paragraphs. The following excerpt is from my National Novel Writing Month project--which is as yet unfinished, in case you were wondering; at the rate I've been writing this month, I think I might have it completed some time in January.

The project is untitled. And before you get confused, in the following scene everyone's aboard an airship called the Ornatus, all personnel have been called to the Engineering deck, and the main character's POV has not been introduced yet (this is only the first page), which is why it's all third-person omniscient.


   Behind the Captain stood three individuals: Two boys and a girl, all with the nose, eyes, and cheekbones of the Captain but with none of the overbearing authority. They weren't officers, not part of the full-time crew, and rarely filled in for the personnel on the lower decks though they had passed all the proper tests. They were the children of the Captain but still considered too green to perform major tasks on a mission as important as that of the Ornatus. They were there because, in an emergency, they could be a fallback.
   One of the boys, in particular, looked uncomfortable standing in front of the 87 crew members. His eyes shifted from one part of the room to the next and he swayed very slightly, like the movement of someone who needs to go to the bathroom very badly and doesn't want to show it.
   The girl, on the other hand, looked on the way to inheriting the mantle of her mother, the Captain. Standing still as feather in a void, she observed the proceedings with an intelligence lost on everyone except herself and another person she could not see.
   "Someone is playing havoc with this ship," the Captain announced, her voice carrying to the back row of the assembled crew. "And I want to clarify immediately that nothing, nothing shall put this mission in jeopardy under my command. Whoever has played these tricks on the noble Ornatus is a fool and has no purpose onboard this airship. All of you have been called here so that I may inform you directly of the fact that each and every one of you will have your quarters searched. In fact, your quarters may already have been searched, as I ordered a top-down check of the entire ship."
   The crew began to mutter, their voices turning into a sweep of anger and indignation that they should have their belongings nosed through by higher officers. The Captain clapped her hands once, and the murmuring stopped, though there was still a hum of discontent.

**********

Any thoughts, critiques, criticisms, opinions on the excerpt?

If you participated in NaNoWriMo, did you finish your novel in November or are you still working on it?


-----The Golden Eagle

14 December, 2012

The Hobbit Blogfest

M. Pax and Tyrean Martinson are hosting the Hobbit Blogfest (or Hobbit Fest) today, in celebration of the book and new movie. Being a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I had to participate. It's a simple event--participants just post their answers to four questions about the story.


What is your favorite hobbit characteristic or the one that you think closely resembles you?
I don't think I have a whole lot in common with hobbits, other than being relatively short. My favorite characteristic of hobbits would be their determination in the face of difficulty, even if they don't appear very fierce in their peaceful lives at Hobbiton.

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?
Oh, probably the unexpected journey. I'd feel too lazy sitting around munching food (even if it was delicious) if other people were doing something.

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (A pocket handkerchief?)
A camera. It drives me crazy to see something interesting and be unable to photograph it.

What is your favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?
You may have already guessed my answer to this one: The eagles! I'm also highly looking forward to the Lonely Mountain. And the elves. And Beorn. And Bilbo Baggins played by Martin Freeman. And--heck, I'm looking forward to  the entire thing.


Who else is excited for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? Have any of you seen the movie, and if so, what did you think? 


-----The Golden Eagle

11 December, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (101)

Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by MizB (Should Be Reading) every week.

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 Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross. The book is actually available online for free, since they published it through a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0) license. I have to say the story is a little weird a short ways in (weird being subjective, of course) but I like it so far. And hey, who could resist reading a book with the subtitle "A tale of the singularity, posthumanity, and awkward social situations"?

(I could look at this cover for a long time and speculate about how to put the pieces of machinery together. It's a busy image, but I think it's an effective sort of busy.)

As it turns out, like much of the newer local architecture it's an inflatable building, an outsized bounce-house made of metallic fabric and aerogel and compressed air. The whole thing could be deflated and carted elsewhere on a flatbed truck in a morning, or simply attached to a dirigible and lifted to a new spot. (A great safety-yellow gasket the size of a manhole cover sprouts from one side, hooked into power, bandwidth, sewage and water.)
-p. 45


What are you reading now, either fiction or non-fiction? Got any teasers to share?


-----The Golden Eagle

10 December, 2012

The Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest

Most everyone in the blogosphere has heard of one person: Alex J. Cavanaugh.

As a way of acknowledging him, Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, and Stephen Tremp have come up with the brilliant idea of hosting an event in his honor, called the Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest. I jumped on as soon as I heard about it!

Blogfest questions:

In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?
In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary (living or dead)?
In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?
In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title), write flash fiction using all these prompts: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar.

Rules:
- Be a Follower
- Join the Linky List
- Post your 200 word contribution (on Monday, December 10, if you would)
- Have fun!

More information available at any of the hosts' blogs.


My answers:

What does Alex look like? Satellite dishes, obviously. My theory is, his avatar is an accurate representation of alien technology used to emulate humans/infiltrate society. It's the only explanation of how he manages to write so many comments in a day, aside from clones!

Who could play Alex in a documentary (living or dead)?
Casting aside the satellite dish idea for a moment, I'd have to say Orlando Bloom.

Who does Alex remind you of?
No one. I think he's a pretty unique person; or at least, he's the only super-amazing, highly-supportive power-blogger that I've met so far!

Flash fiction piece (untitled):

"Captain Cavanaugh!"
   "No interruptions now, trainee. Be ready to launch on my mark. The Cosbolt must reach our enemy's star system in less than one hour."
   "It's the IWSG. They've left their sign on our ship, sir."
   "The shuriken?"
   "Yes, Captain. And . . . some of the crew are saying there's an IWSG Ninja on board the ship. Strange reports are coming in from all decks."
   "There's nothing we can do about it now. We have to launch; I don't care if guitar music starts blasting through the intercom, the Cosbolt is on a mission. Engineering, get us into space! And you, trainee. Before you leave, I have only one thing to say: There's only one true ninja on board this ship, and he's sitting right in front of you."

(Word count: 131)


There's also a bonus part of the blogfest, which I thought I'd include:

In +/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing
Dear Mrs. Cavanaugh,
Your husband is amazing, and a great thank you is owed for the personal sacrifices you must make due to Mr. Cavanaugh's blogging. So, thank you! And may you both live long and prosper.



-----The Golden Eagle

06 December, 2012

Guest Post By Cherie Reich: The Nightmare Collection Blog Tour

Today, I have a special guest post by Cherie Reich, author of the recently-released Nightmare series of books. It's an eerie tale, and the inspiration for one of her horror stories. Take it away, Cherie!

**********

Cover art by Nicemonkey at Dreamstime.com. 
Cover design by Aubrie Dionne. Bookworm logo for 
Surrounded by Books Publishing created 
by Cherie Reich.

Once Upon a December Nightmare – Loosely Based on a True Story

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Golden!

You hear all the time about horror stories being based off a true story, such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. Thinking the story might be true greatly increases the fear factor. But I am here today to tell you that Once Upon a December Nightmare in The Nightmare Collection is loosely based off a true story.

On December 28, 2002, three friends (my best friend, her sister, and her sister’s husband) and I were going to go to a movie and out to eat. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was sold out, and we couldn’t decide on another movie to go see, so we ended up at Subway to eat dinner. We chatted for a while, and none of us wanted to go back home so early, so we piled into my friend’s husband’s old truck and rode around. We ended up on one of those one-lane mountain trails in the Jefferson National Forest.

We were having fun, joking around and the like. Then, we saw the tree blocking our path. No worries. The “James” of the ground said he knew a spot we could turn around and go the other way. All good, right?

In the clearing, some hunter, or hunters, had deposited deer remains. They were very creepy and sent a chill up my spine. Plus, I wasn’t thrilled about them, since I’m a vegetarian and feel bad for the poor creatures. We didn’t know why the deer were there, but the mood in the truck changed as we headed back the way we’d come.

When the headlights flickered out and plunged us into the dark, I knew our fun night had changed to one of horror. The cell phones didn’t work and we had no way of starting the truck, so we set out to walk to the main road.

In situations like this, I have to admit I become a great talker, even though I’m typically the more shy, quiet type. I talked about aliens, The X-Files, serial killers, and monsters. I kept saying we had to stick together and keep walking. I could’ve walked home that night, even though it was so cold and we all grew numb.

Eventually, we came out to the main road and found a house. The people in it wouldn’t let us inside, but they did let us use the phone to call my dad. We stood around there for a while before I said we should keep walking. Dad found us, and we climbed into the car with the heat blasting and went home.

Although our adventure ended much better, I don’t think I ever would’ve written Once Upon a December Nightmare without having lived the tale ... to some extent.

As a writer, do you or have you used real life events to inspire your stories?


**********

About The Nightmare Collection:
A legend is hungry tonight. 
A child monster will get its first taste of blood in Nightmare at the Freak Show. Four friends will enter the forest on December night, but only one can survive in Once Upon a December Nightmare. Almost ten years after Cassie's December nightmare, the monster awakens to hunt again in Nightmare Ever After.

Add to Goodreads.


Purchase links:

E-book format:

About Cherie Reich:
A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her e-books include the horror series Nightmare, a short story collection with authors Aubrie Dionne and Lisa Rusczyk titled The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, the futuristic space fantasy novelette trilogy Gravity, and The Foxwick Chronicles, a series of fantasy stories. She is a member of Valley Writers and the Virginia Writers Club.

**********

I am giving away prizes to two lucky people. The prize packages are open internationally and include: a signed copy of The Nightmare Collection, a signed copy of Gravity: The Complete Trilogy, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




-----The Golden Eagle

05 December, 2012

I'm Still Alive After NaNoWriMo: An IWSG Post

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh (in addition to new co-hosts each month) and is all about writers and their problems. From his blog:
It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.

I don't really have any sage advice today to share with visiting members of the IWSG. Not that I usually have any great advice to share in the first place, but since I know a lot of writers have just escaped the clutches of National Novel Writing Month or are just stressed in general from trying to hack away at their stories, I thought I'd post this in the hopes of making someone laugh:



Anything happen to you recently that caused you to feel like saying "I'm still alive"?


-----The Golden Eagle

04 December, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (100)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. On a bit of a random note, I've finally hit 100 TT posts; but before I get carried away reading through them all, here's today's teaser!

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 comes from one of my favorite books, and one you've almost definitely heard of before: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's been years since I read it through, and I'll admit I was spurred to go back to it due to the upcoming release of the first movie. I'm more excited for the film trilogy now, especially after having seen Sherlock and Martin Freeman, who's Bilbo Baggins. (Interesting fact: They've cast Benedict Cumberbatch, from the same TV series, as the Necromancer (in addition to Smaug), yet the Necromancer doesn't actually appear in the book in any form other than references by Gandalf . . . anyone else curious to see what they've done with that?)


"What shall we do, what shall we do!" he cried. "Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!" he said, and it became a proverb, though we now say "out of the frying-pan into the fire" in the same sort of uncomfortable situations. 
-p. 109


**********

Have you read The Hobbit and/or The Lord of the Rings? What are you reading now and do you have a teaser from it?


-----The Golden Eagle

03 December, 2012

The Make Believe Anthology

The Make Believe anthology is out today! The blogger heading the launch day celebration is Lynda R. Young, whose story, Birthright, is included in the collection.

About Birthright:
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.
   She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.
   Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.


About the other stories:

The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford
There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death. After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life.

Petrified by Kelly Said
A mysterious storm has replaced summer with winter, devastating crops and smothering Castle lands in snow. Prince Sterling August stands alone as a leader, lost in personal grief as well as a desire to help his people but with an inability to do either.
   The answers he needs await him, but without Lochlyn, a woman who’s just as isolated as Sterling, he’ll never see what stands before him, cloaked in illusion.

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton
Emily is a Red, a woman whose sole purpose in life is to produce offspring. When her husband dies and leaves her childless, she risks her life and forsakes the safety of Terra—a disease-free city born after the nuclear holocaust. Beyond its boundaries, she knows, survives a man with whom she can be properly paired.
   The Outside, though, holds secrets the government struggles to keep, and what Emily discovers on her quest for a mate will change her life forever.

Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield
From a charity auction, to a stroll in the park, to the craziest night of her life. Nicole Harrington can’t help but wonder how a simple event went so drastically wrong.
   Of course, the male escort she booked is wholly to blame. Not only charming but shrewdly intelligent, Benjamin Gold drags Nicole into a platoon of unimaginable problems—ones from which she’ll have to find the courage just to survive.


Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski
An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.
   With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.

Purchase links:
www.amazon.com
www.amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble
All Romance
Diesel
Books On Board


About Lynda R. Young:
Lynda R. Young lives in Sydney, Australia, with her sweetheart of a husband who is her rock, and a cat who believes world domination starts in the home. She writes speculative short stories and is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative. You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads


Other people spreading the word about Make Believe:






Do you know Lynda R. Young? Have you read Make Believe yet? Do you check out many anthologies?


-----The Golden Eagle

27 November, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (99)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. I'm finding it hard to believe I've done this thing almost 100 times, though of course some established bloggers have been doing it for far longer than that.

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 House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. I was ecstatic when I found out Arthur Conan Doyle's estate had allowed a Sherlock Holmes novel by someone other than Doyle to be written, because I'm a big fan of the original stories. I'm 70 pages in right now and Horowitz seems to be living up to Doyle's style, and the voice of John H. Watson, very well.

(I would call this a bland cover, but since Sherlock Holmes is such a famous character, I like the simplicity of just the title and fabric background. You certainly wouldn't want something distracting.)

Holmes slept in late the next morning and I was sitting on my own, reading The Martyrdom of Man, by Winwood Reade, a book that he had recommended to me on more than one occasion but which, I confess, I had found heavy going. I could see, however, why the author had appealed to my friend with his hatred of 'idleness and stupidity', his reverence for 'the divine intellect', his suggestion that 'It is the nature of man to reason from himself outwards.'

-p. 51

**********

Are there any other Sherlock Holmes fans out there? 

What are you reading now? Have you got a teaser from it?


-----The Golden Eagle

23 November, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update: Only One More Week Left

Hard to believe National Novel Writing Month has only one more week to go before it's over. Scratch that--November has only one more week to go. Good grief. October was just here, wasn't it?

(At least I'll be able to get back into blogging more in December. I feel like a terrible blogger for losing track of the recent posts of so many sites.)

But as for my NaNoWriMo progress:




71078 / 50000 words. 142% done!

71,078 words, total. I wrote 4,345 words today after about a week of writing just a few hundred to a couple thousand words, so feeling pretty good about that. I also just reached 100 pages in my Word document (8.5x11, no spacing, Times New Roman bold), which, though I know is less significant than word count since formatting can change, is a milestone I'd been hoping to reach.

**********

How's your writing coming? Reach any milestones lately?


-----The Golden Eagle

22 November, 2012

On This November 22nd

If you live in the USA, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!



And if you aren't celebrating Thanksgiving this week, may you have a great Thursday. :)


-----The Golden Eagle

20 November, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (98)

Teaser Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, is an event where participants post excerpts from the books they're 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 non-fiction and from The Best Science Writing Online 2012 edited by Bora Zivkovic and Jennifer Ouellette. I mainly picked up this book because I follow BoingBoing and Maggie Koerth-Baker, who was published in this anthology, mentioned it in one of her blog posts. I was then further interested when I noticed Chad Orzel was one of the authors; I'm a fan of his after having read How to Teach Physics to Your Dog.

(It's hard to see when it's relatively small like this, but those periodic table-style squares on the cover actually contain the names of the authors included in the anthology.)

The flaw in this argument is assuming the body of water is characterized by only one parameter: its temperature. In general, there are other characteristics of the water that could be changed due to its heating: for instance, the amount of gas in solution; the presence of other solutes; the presence of convection currents; gradients of the distribution of the temperature of the container. Any, all, or none of these may in fact be the culprit, but it is important to realize that a body of water not in thermal equilibrium may have its behavior characterized by a number of different properties.
-p. 113, "Mpemba's Baffling Discovery", by Greg Gbur


**********

What was the last non-fiction book you enjoyed? What are you reading now?


-----The Golden Eagle

16 November, 2012

Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest + NaNoWriMo Update

First, The Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest!

This event is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Matthew MacNish, and Andrew Leon.

The general idea (from a host's blog):
The bloggers we really miss...
and the ones we would really miss!

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren't posting as often? Those who've pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them! List one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.


The bloggers I miss:

There are a lot of bloggers who have come and gone. Maybe it's the whole electronic format and people migrating from blogs to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites--in addition to living their lives outside the internet, of course--but a lot of the people who I originally met in the blogosphere have since stopped posting.

This blogfest stirred me to look at my sidebar's blogroll, and I found many people who haven't posted in ages . . . it's been so long for some that the domain names have expired, Blogger's removed their sites, and so forth. Sadness. These are just a few of the people I miss:

Josh Hoyt from The Blog That Helps You Diagnose Your Characters.
Elena Solodow from You're Write. Except when you're Rong.
Sarah Pearson from Empty White Pages.

(There are so many other cool bloggers I want to mention, too.)


The bloggers I would miss:

This is a bit more cheerful, as these bloggers are still around! I want to just give you my main Google Reader folder or something, but as I cannot, here are three bloggers I'd really miss if they disappeared (all have been long-time followers of The Eagle's Aerial Perspective, sticking around for at least a year):

Old Kitty from Ten lives and second chances.
The Dandy Lioness from Chai Tea and Quills.
Laughingwolf from ...paws and reflect.


**********

And for those here for just the blogfest: 

If you don't want to bother with the personal, fiction writing element of this post, feel free to scroll down to the comments (assuming you want to comment) and ignore this bit! (Hope no one minds I'm combining two unrelated things in the same post.)


As for my National Novel Writing Month update:


I won NaNoWriMo on Sunday! Well . . . not officially, since they don't verifying winners until the 25th of November. But I'm beyond the NaNo goal according to Word.

I almost finished on Saturday, the 10th, but after writing 11k last Friday I didn't really feel like typing out 8k the next day to hit 50k. So, I finished on the 11th. Today I've written 4,233 words, for a grand total of 61,045.

**********

Which bloggers do you miss, or would you miss? Know any of the people I mentioned? Ever visited a blog you knew before only to find it's disappeared off the internet?

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, how are you doing with the challenge?


-----The Golden Eagle

13 November, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (97)

Teaser Tuesday is a bookish, weekly 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 Year Zero by Rob Reid, the same book I chose for the Did I Notice Your Book? Blogfest, back in October. Finally got a copy from my library. It's different from what I had expected from the blurb, but not in a negative way, so it's quite funny.


"The Townshend Line is the notional surface of a spherical region centered around the planet Earth," the androgynous, expressionless voice said. "It has a one-hundred-forty-four-light-year radius, and is the boundary of the most powerful force field ever created. It was built in 1978 to keep several trillion fans of The Who from storming the planet in hopes of attending one of the band's shows."
-p. 71

**********

What are you reading right now?


-----The Golden Eagle

09 November, 2012

National Novel Writing Month: In The Throes Of Week 2

Day 9 of NaNoWriMo. As promised, here's an update on my progress:



42,330 out of 50,000 words written. I wrote 11,041 words today, which is the most I've written in one day. Ever. The last record was 10k, and that almost two years ago. I am feeling quite satisfied and excited and a little tired from writing for over five (or was it six?) hours--though it wasn't all at once, and I'll admit I got carried away listening to Vivaldi instead of paying attention to the words a few times. But yeah, I'm  feeling a little triumphant from those 11k.

Fellow NaNoWriMo participants, how are your novels coming? Non-participants, what are you working on, either writing or otherwise? (Really, I'm interested.)


-----The Golden Eagle

08 November, 2012

The Big Smoke Blog Tour: Does Romance Equal Happiness In Fiction?

Today I have the honor of hosting Cally Jackson for her blog tour to spread the word about her new book, The Big Smoke. Take it away, Cally!

**********

Does romance equal happiness?

I’m a sucker for a good romance. Twilight is one of my favourite books and movies like Ten Things I Hate About You never fail to make me smile. But as much as I love stories like these, they make me slightly uncomfortable. Why? Because they seem to equate romance with happiness, and I’m not sure that’s a great message, particularly for young (and new) adults.

I know that those messages really affected me when I was a teenager, and consequently, I was slightly totally obsessed with finding 'true love' for myself. To prove my point, here are some real, live diary excerpts from when I was seventeen:

'Life just isn’t what dreams are made of. At least, not my dreams. The one thing that really scares me is, what if Billy [ex-boyfriend] is the best thing I’m going to get in life? What if it's all down hill from here?'

I've actually been dreaming about him [an ex-crush] recently, but it’s not really him. I mean, it’s him physically, but personality wise, it’s someone else. I guess it’s my made-up Mr Perfect's personality – someone I unfortunately haven’t had the pleasure of meeting…

The first kernel of an idea for a novel came to me in the same year I wrote those diary entries, and the idea was in the form of a lesson I wanted to teach myself. What was the lesson? That your happiness and life journey are your own responsibility, nobody else's.

Somewhere along the line, I realised that I'd totally bought into the message that romance equals happiness and it’s impossible to be truly happy without it. I decided then that I wanted to write a book that showed this wasn't the case. That book became what we now know as The Big Smoke.

Don't get me wrong, The Big Smoke is not anti-romance, but it attempts to demonstrate that if you have issues, they'll still be there whether you’re in a relationship or not. And in fact, if you get too hung up on being in a relationship, it can actually be an obstacle to happiness.

This was the case for me as a teenager, and it's also the case for The Big Smoke's main female character, Ceara. I have a feeling it may be the case for many other girls (and maybe guys) out there who love teen fiction too.

While The Big Smoke is about a lot more than just this one idea, the issue of romance and happiness is definitely at the heart of the story. I hope that my novel might make some teenagers question whether romance does indeed equal happiness and help them to realise that their happiness is in their own hands, nobody else's.

What about you? Do you think that fiction (particularly fiction aimed at teens) equates romance with happiness? Do you enjoy a good romantic read or would you prefer something more realistic? Or perhaps something that combines the two?

**********

More about The Big Smoke

Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb's desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn't finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it's just chance.

When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara's best friend withdraws from her, Seb's closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?


You can purchase a copy of The Big Smoke
• in paperback format from Cally's buy page (Australia and New Zealand) or Amazon (rest of the world)
• in e-book format from Smashwords (preferred digital supplier), Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Diesel and other e-stores.




-----The Golden Eagle

07 November, 2012

Defining The Genre Of A Novel: An IWSG Post


About the IWSG (from Alex J. Cavanagh's blog):
Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic.
Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

With the onset of the National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, as it's called by a lot of writers, though I'd love it if someone told me why it's not shortened to the easier-to-type NNWM) I've been hammering away at my untitled project. And it's kind of undefined in other ways than just title: I'm not sure what genre it is.

My original intention was Steampunk; indeed, I think that with changes it could fall into the Steampunk genre. But while I'm describing the character's surroundings and interpreting them through her perspective (I've changed my main character's gender, too, because hey, everything else was up for grabs) I'm not giving it a ton of emphasis. This is hardly my normal method--I'm attracted to Science Fiction and Fantasy for its world-building, and then here I am, doing hardly any at all.

Does it bother me now that I can't see a defining factor in setting? Yes. Does it worry me in the long run that I have no specific category to fit my novel into? No. This is NaNoWriMo (NNWM! I tell you) and while I may not be sure if it's a Contemporary Science Fiction/Steampunk and Action/Adventure or actually a Steampunk novel masquerading as a rather Literary novel with an overdose of Action/Adventure (or maybe just a story about ninjas that's so stealthy it's invisible), I am going to keep writing the way I have been for the past 28,000 words. Because pigeon-holing can come later (or not at all) and I'm going to have fun with this first draft. It's not every month one has an official challenge to which to rise.

Do you have fun with your first drafts, or do you prefer the rewriting/revising/editing stages that come later? Ever had a project that didn't immediately tell you which genre it was?

Also: I'm sorry if I haven't gotten around to your blog in days, or even for over a week. I know I've replied to comments over a couple days old and Google Reader has exploded into the 1000+ posts state, with 600+ in the folder I frequent the most often. Basically, I'm spending hours writing every day for NaNoWriMo and I just can't keep up with everyone. I do promise to visit your blogs as often as I can this month and in December I'm sure I'll be back in force, assuming I escape the clutches of NaNo alive.


-----The Golden Eagle

06 November, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (96)

But first:

If you live in the USA, don't forget to vote!

Important things are on the ballot today, and every vote counts. Literally.

**********

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This is a weekly, bookish meme where participants post about the books they're reading right now.

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 Free Lunch by Spider Robinson. I read Variable Star--a book by Robert A. Heinlein published posthumously that Robinson finished from an outline Heinlein had left--and really liked it, so I thought I'd try this one, which is entirely his work. It's rather interesting.

(Cheers to great artwork on book covers. I love this cover for its colorfulness and whimsy, and the fact the bottom of the illustration isn't blocked out by the author's name, which still gets nice real estate toward the top.)

He nodded . . . took a deep breath, and leaned over the side again.
   He saw nearly at once this time that they didn't really look a whole lot like maggots at all, really--not if you looked closely.
   For one thing, the countless trillions of swarming grains of rice below were not the pale yellow color his memory had imposed on them.

-p. 42


**********

What are you reading now?

-----The Golden Eagle

02 November, 2012

National Novel Writing Month Is In Full Swing

It's Day 2 of NaNoWriMo. For those of you who are participating, how're you doing? Typing away and wishing the internet would shut down so you can keep going distraction-free? Haven't started your project yet and are doing some last-minute brainstorming? Right on schedule, neither behind or ahead?

Me, I'm currently at 7118 words. I wrote over 5000 this morning which makes me feel fairly confident in my story (and the outline I'm using). I'm sure I'll be tearing out my hair somewhere around the 20-50k mark (always happens, I tell you) but for the moment, I'm enjoying my lead. Might even get some more writing done this evening, if I'm lucky. Or maybe I'll just work some more on the rather large hole in the middle section of my story . . .



What about you? If you're not participating in NaNoWriMo, what's your current project, if you have one?

(I'm planning to post status updates on my NaNoWriMo progress every Friday, by the way. If there's anything that will motivate me to keep writing, it's having to post my word count in front of an audience.)


-----The Golden Eagle

30 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (95)

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

(You may have noticed that I missed this event last week; I forgot to post when I usually do and then ran out of time later in the day. Sorry, everyone.)

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 & 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 Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I'd heard about it, looked it up, and discovered it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and so decided to check it out. It's about two boys--cousins--around the time of World War II who break into the then-burgeoning comic industry. It's an interesting story, though I'll admit I know next to nothing about comic books. I love the writing style: The descriptions are very good and the sentences run relatively long. (I do appreciate long sentences, though most books seem to be heading in the opposite direction.)


Two Shriners in fezzes drape him with chains and help him into a heavy canvas mailbag. A lady from the suburbs cinches the neck of the mailbag and fixes the ends of the cord with a ham-sized padlock. Big Al lifts him as if lifting a swaddled babe and carries him tenderly to the coffin, which has been carefully inspected beforehand by the mayor of Empire City, its chief of police, and the head of its fire department, and pronounced tight as a drum.
-p. 129

**********

Know much about comic books? What book(s) are you reading now? Got any teasers to share from a current read?


-----The Golden Eagle

29 October, 2012

A Hurricane Is Coming. Oh, Hooray . . .

The eastern half of the United States is usually pretty quiet, geographically-speaking. No major storms, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, maybe snowstorms if it's a bad winter.

But Hurricane Sandy is threatening to knock the socks off a fairly large swath of the eastern seaboard, with the effect being worsened by a full moon and consequent high tide. Things are shutting down: Schools, transit, businesses, so on and so forth. People are being warned to make sure there's nothing loose outside, to have food, and to expect power outages--I'm sure those of you who live in areas prone to hurricanes are used to all of this, but it feels slightly surreal here.


Just wanted to say that if anyone else is in the path of Sandy, I hope you (and your homes) make it through the storm okay. Stay safe, everyone.



-----The Golden Eagle

24 October, 2012

On Appealing To Women Voters: Why Can't Candidates Just Try Appealing To Voters In General?

As you may know, the USA is getting ready to elect a new president. Incumbent President Barack Obama is running against former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and the race is very close. Consequently, each candidate's campaign is trying to reel in as many distinct groups as it can: The Hispanic vote, the environmentalist vote, the gun rights vote, the anti-abortion vote, the you-name-it-there's-a-bloc-for-it vote.

And, apparently, "women voters" are considered a swing vote in the election.

Look. I'm female and pay attention to politics. I fully acknowledge that there are some big issues being discussed in Washington right now that can heavily influence a woman's life; equal pay, contraception, abortion, women's rights in the workplace, etc., etc.

However, regardless of how one feels about such topics, what I strongly disagree with is the idea that women voters are somehow separate from other voters and can be swayed by how a candidate presents his or her (though with two male candidates, mostly his) position.

Allow me to elaborate. As I said before, there are issues being addressed by politicians and Congress in general that are important ones. I could go into a long spiel about the committees on abortion and contraception that had no female members, but I'm not going to because that's not my point.

My point is, women voters are so often referred to as though they're not usually an active part of the discussion. I certainly do agree that there should be more women in Congress and other positions of power and they should earn the same as men (and generally be able to make their own life decisions) but boy howdy am I annoyed by all the "Women voters are going to make or break this candidate's campaign!"

Whenever I hear someone saying that I'd like to say this: Women have been voting for decades. In recent years there have been more women voting than men in presidential elections, so it's not like there's some sudden, enormous, untapped resource that 2012 is going to exploit. Sure, if candidates make stupid, sexist and/or misogynistic comments it's going to detract from their campaigns, but I would hope such comments would affect male voters as well.

Which brings me to my second point. A lot of pundits have been talking about Mitt Romney's aggression not appealing; Joe Biden's (Barack Obama's Vice President and running mate during the election) attitude being unattractive; and overall weighing of the candidate's appearances. Especially with regard to how women perceive them. Not how the candidates' talking over each other and the moderator is disruptive and a bit rude in all circumstances, but how women are going to take it.

Perception is important. But it affects all people, and as a female I don't care if one candidate is more aggressive than the other if the candidates are discussing something of substance. I care even less when it comes to electing the president (or other person of importance) of the country, because that person needs to prove they can govern, not be charming and suave.

I cling to some desperate hope that women and men will vote with their brains and base their opinions on what campaign policies are on November 6. It's tiring to hear dozens of people saying "Women didn't like that!" or "That doesn't appeal to women!" when talking about the campaigns because really, women are people with intelligence and logic, too. I daresay a significant number of them pay more attention to the topics discussed and the candidates' positions over some alpha male display, despite the fact so many people declare that they don't.


**********


And so ends my rant. I hope you, dear reader, don't mind me diving into some politics on this blog, but I care about politics and I needed to get this off my chest.


**********

What about you? Do you agree or disagree with the points I made?

If you've watched the US presidential debates (and vice presidential debate) what did you think of them? If you live in the USA, will you be voting this November?

If you don't live in the USA, do the pundits and politicians say the same things about "women voters"? Are there any political catchphrases circulating in your country's news that really annoy you?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 October, 2012

Blogfest: Did I Notice Your Book?

The Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight, and is all about spreading the word about books.

Post about a book you've noticed. You can choose a book that you've read, something you saw on a blog or social media site, Goodreads, or a sales website. Anything that caught your eye because of a great cover, blurb or reviews, but DON'T tell the author that their book has been noticed. Instead, shout out on social media sites, and encourage others to do the same, until the author finds his/her book.

Leave a blog comment at Ninja Captain Alex's BLOG or Ciara Knight's BLOG when the author finds their book.

Only two rules:
  1. You can't post about your own book.
  2. The book shouldn't be on the New York Times or USA Today bestseller list. 
This is your chance to shout out about a book that might not have been noticed by others.

I had a hard time deciding which book to post about for this. I follow hundreds of authors, many of whom have published their work, and they're all impressive. However, as I had to narrow it down to something, here's what I went with:

Year Zero by Rob Reid.

An alien advance party was suddenly nosing around my planet.
Worse, they were lawyering up. . . .


In the hilarious tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Rob Reid takes you on a headlong journey through the outer reaches of the universe—and the inner workings of our absurdly dysfunctional music industry.

Low-level entertainment lawyer Nick Carter thinks it’s a prank, not an alien encounter, when a redheaded mullah and a curvaceous nun show up at his office. But Frampton and Carly are highly advanced (if bumbling) extraterrestrials. And boy, do they have news.

The entire cosmos, they tell him, has been hopelessly hooked on humanity’s music ever since "Year Zero" (1977 to us), when American pop songs first reached alien ears. This addiction has driven a vast intergalactic society to commit the biggest copyright violation since the Big Bang. The resulting fines and penalties have bankrupted the whole universe. We humans suddenly own everything—and the aliens are not amused.

Nick Carter has just been tapped to clean up this mess before things get ugly, and he’s an unlikely galaxy-hopping hero: He’s scared of heights. He’s also about to be fired. And he happens to have the same name as a Backstreet Boy. But he does know a thing or two about copyright law. And he’s packing a couple of other pencil-pushing superpowers that could come in handy.

Soon he’s on the run from a sinister parrot and a highly combustible vacuum cleaner. With Carly and Frampton as his guides, Nick now has forty-eight hours to save humanity, while hopefully wowing the hot girl who lives down the hall from him.

**********

What book(s) have you noticed recently and/or are on your TBR? If you're participating in the Did I Notice Your Book Blogfest, which book did you choose? Heard of Year Zero before?


-----The Golden Eagle

16 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (94)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Can't believe it's Tuesday again--it feels like I was just posting for this a few days ago!

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 Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, the first book in The Fionavar Tapestry series. This is the third book by him that I've tried; the other two being Under Heaven and Ysabel, both very good.

(I really like this illustration on this cover. I just wish there was more of it and less of the bright red title panel, which seems a little busy, IMO.)
Beyond the gates and the walls of the town, the depredations of drought came home. The impact of a rainless summer could be measured in the heavy dust of the road, in the thin grass peeling like brown paint on hills and tummocks, in stunted trees and dried-up village wells. In the fiftieth year of Aileill's reign, the High Kingdom was suffering as no living man could remember.
-p. 82

**********

What are you reading right now? Have a teaser to share?


-----The Golden Eagle

15 October, 2012

My Novel Is The Next Big Thing!

Well, okay, maybe not. But Chris Kelworth (of The Kelworth Files) and David Powers King (of The Cosmic Laire) both tagged me in the Next Big Thing, or Be Inspired, meme-whatsit that's been circulating in the blogosphere and asks people about their current works-in-progress. Thanks for tagging me, guys!

The questions are a little different for each tag but basically ask the same things, so I'm going to mix and match from both. The WIP in question is my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel since I've pretty much decided what I'm going to write about. This will help me flesh out my ideas, at any rate.

On to the tag!

1. What is the title of your book?
I don't know, actually. It's just half an outline and an underlying concept at the moment.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
A bit of a long story. You see, I was feeling destitute of good ideas, and in hopes of jogging my creative side I decided to write down ALL of the things I liked in fiction onto slips of paper (separated by category, such as Writing Style, Plot Element, Point of View, etc.) and then randomly combine a few from each. One of those combinations inspired the idea of a ship traveling to a new planet. Then, editing the idea, I thought:

"What if colonists decided to land on a known and as-yet-unexplored continent, but while journeying to their destination were plagued by mysterious disappearances and tragedies onboard an airship? And what if the main character befriended the saboteur behind their problems?"

Yup. That's the stuff that comes out of my brain.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Science Fiction/Steampunk. I love reading Steampunk but I've never actually tried writing it myself. I'm not positive about the age group, though I think the protagonist will be from 15-20 years old.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
Other than the obligatory Alan Rickman somewhere, no clue. I'll probably have more of an answer after the book's been written.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
On the way to a new world, the son of a prominent airship captain becomes tangled in the beginning of war that could lead to the destruction of his family and his career.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My dream, at the moment, is to have my work represented and traditionally published. I think self-publishing is a great and highly viable alternative, but I think I'd try submitting to agents first. Just to see if anyone liked what I had to offer.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?
Seeing as I haven't written anything yet, I'd estimate this novel to take around two months. I finished last year's NaNoWriMo novel during December.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to?
I am hoping for a Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld/Airborn by Kenneth Oppel/Jules Verne-ish feel. I'm sure it will fall far short of such works of fiction, but those are the novels with a Victorian Era setting that come to mind. Though it's not exactly Victorian Era; the world isn't Earth and the society has key differences.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
All Steampunk authors influence me, but other than that, there aren't any specific people.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I'm contemplating adding a few steampunk dragons--and other animals. Hovercraft, cyborgs, and sentient trees are already in there.

11. Tag five people!
I'm going to do the same thing David did here and tag the last five people who commented on my blog (though if anyone I list would rather not do the tag, that's fine with me):

Ellie Garratt
Nutschell
Patricia Stoltey
Rachna Chhabria
Anthony Stemke

**********

What are you working on right now? Are you gearing up for NaNoWriMo or brainstorming for some other project?


-----The Golden Eagle

09 October, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (93)

Teaser Tuesday is 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 Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters. It's co-written/adapted by the same author who did Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and published by the company who came out with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I love these kinds of books (mostly because I think the originals are tedious); I'll admit, part of my motivation to finish Anna Karenina was so I could read this. It's better than I expected, since there's a strong Science Fiction/Steampunk feel, and it's only 538 pages long--as opposed to Tolstoy's 800+.


In the next moment, the mysterious woman and her robot appeared again in the door of the Grav. "Could you see if Stepan Arkadyich Oblonsky is here, and send him to me?" she said politely to a II/Porter/7e62, who scuttled off obligingly. Vronsky understood now that this was Madame Karenina, and this her Class III, Android Karenina.
-p. 75

(In case you're wondering, despite the cover and the fact Anna Karenina's robot is named Android Karenina, Vronsky doesn't seem to be in love with the machine. Just thought I'd clear that up.)

**********

What are you reading now? Have you ever read any of the classic book mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Android Karenina? If not, would you consider reading them?


-----The Golden Eagle