29 March, 2012

Spotlighted!

Yesterday, over at Josh Hoyt's The Blog That Helps You Diagnose Your Characters. I hope you'll stop by.

(I also wrote a piece of flash fiction for it, so in case you'd like something to read . . . do head on over.)


-----The Golden Eagle

27 March, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (77)

Before I get to Teaser Tuesday: If you don't notice me commenting or posting much in the following days, it's because I'm trying to get all of my A-Z Challenge posts done. (Once they're finished and scheduled, however, I hope to turn into a commenting madperson.)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This will be my last Teaser Tuesday until May, also thanks to the Challenge; and while I'm looking forward to my coming Tuesday posts, I'm going to miss this meme.

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 Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's non-fiction, and (as you might have guessed from the title) about humanity's activity--and lack of it--in space.


The chances that your tombstone will read "KILLED BY ASTEROID" are about the same as they'd be for "KILLED IN AIRPLANE CRASH." Only about two dozen people have been killed by falling asteroids in the past four hundred years, while thousands have died in crashes during the relatively brief history of passenger air travel. So how can this comparative statistic be true? Simple.
 -p. 45

**********

What are you reading right now? Got a teaser from it? 

And do you think you can figure out how the above statistic is true?


-----The Golden Eagle

23 March, 2012

Are You Participating In The A To Z Challenge? + Announcing My A-Z Theme

There is only a week and two days until the A to Z Challenge officially starts on April 1, so time is ticking down.


You've probably heard of the event by now (which to date has over 1170 participants signed up) but if not, you basically post 26 times during the month of April, according to each letter of the alphabet. It's a great challenge.


And now, the part you've all been waiting for (not):

My A-Z Theme for the month is Science.

I had hoped to keep the theme a secret until I unveiled it in this post, but I made a bit of a mistake yesterday when I accidentally scheduled my unfinished K post (Kinematics) to go up on March 12. Seeing as it was March 22--yeah, I accidentally published it. It appeared in Google Reader and on people's blogrolls, which rather blew my cover.


But now that you know I'm posting about science, I hope you're all as excited as I am about it, because that's all I'm focusing on for April. The Challenge will start out here on The Eagle's Aerial Perspective with Astrophysics and continue with Biotechnology, Cosmology, etc.

I've tried to keep the scientific jargon to a minimum and explain terms that might not be familiar offhand, and there will be at least a couple images in every post that will (I promise) be no longer than four to six paragraphs. At the end of the posts, I'll be featuring a Notable Scientist in the field--or closely related field--just covered, with a video of the person if I can find one, which is not always. Plus, there will be links at the bottom of each post to the sources where I got the information, so you'll be able to go and check the facts for yourself (and probably correct me!) if you think something is wrong.

You may be wondering, overall, what fields I'll be covering. In that case, it's just the natural sciences (with particular emphasis on Physics and Biology). This is not because I think the social sciences, humanities, formal sciences, or other professions aren't worth writing or learning about, but I know (counting what little I do know) a bit more about the natural sciences. (Shout out to Charles Gramlich (*update*: his wife has been diagnosed with cancer, and they are both in my thoughts) and Josh Hoyt here. They both have excellent posts about the social sciences/psychology, if you're more interested in that.)


Oh, and do take notes as you read next month. It will all be on the test.



Just kidding. Trust me, there won't be a test. :)

Unless you'd all like one . . .


Are you going with a theme this year, if you are participating in the A-Z Challenge? If not, are you prewriting your posts? And since I know some bloggers are posting on multiple blogs: how many blogs have you signed up for the Challenge?


-----The Golden Eagle

21 March, 2012

Home schooling at fourteen

I started home schooling when I was twelve, because I had graduated my old school and had no where left to go. We looked extensively at a catholic school, and were so serious about going that we even planned a day to go get my uniform.

Well, as fate would have it, the day before I went to go get my uniform we decided to home school.

A typical day:

A great day I wake up at 6:00. A good day 7:00. An average day 9:00. If there's time I go for a run, and then come back, feed the guinea pigs, eat breakfast, etc. But as it is I sleep in, and sometimes I end up having to cut the exercise.

We start school at 10:00 and go until 3:00. I do five to six subjects per day, and the two mandatory things are math and my online writing class, Brave Writer. My dad usually does work with me until about 2:00, and then that last hour I use to study, or finish things up.

At three my school day is done, and I move on to chores. After that I'm done for the day.


Socialization

I don't think people label home schoolers as un-socialized as much these days. Probably because home schooling is very common, especially where I live. And I remember reading "Yeah there are shy and social awkward home schoolers, but there are also shy and socially awkward public schoolers." I honestly think it depends on your persona. For instance, I see many people throughout the week, but I'm naturally introverted so I'm okay with not being with people all the time. But that's not because of home schooling, I've been that way my entire life. Some home schoolers may be bubbly and outgoing, in which case they would arrange for more social time. It's completely flexible to your personality.

Socializing for me includes sports practices every night of the week, and then getting together with friends on the weekend. So that leaves just the school day and maybe Sunday for me to not be with people, and that's alright with me. Again, it depends on your personality.


What will you do for high school?

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me if I was gonna home school through high school I'd be rich.:) My diplomatic answer is "Probably for freshman year, then I don't know what I'm gonna do." And that's the truth. I really like home schooling, but I've given much thought to going to school for the community (things like student government, after school activities, etc). But going to school would mean a radical lifestyle shift for me, and I don't think I'm quite ready to give it up. Yes, I'll probably home school for my freshman year, but maybe I'll do an online school. Or maybe I will go to a school after all! I don't really know the answer yet. We've decided to just take it year by year.




What's your favorite thing about home schooling?

Definitely the freedom. Yes, I think that every home schooler says that, but it's a spectacular thing. To be able to wear crazy eye shadow or read outside or take a five minute break is really wonderful. That, and I don't have to commute more than a walk downstairs to get to school (I don't do well in cars).

There's my typical day, although I forgot to mention Tuesday's, which are our "out of the house" days. I go to piano and read to kids at my old school, and we usually go out for lunch. Those days I do a little school in the morning, but then we leave at about 12:30. If you have any questions, or want to share your home schooling experience I'd love to hear!




Thank you Golden so much for having me today, it was a pleasure!


I'm Emily Rose - writer, photographer, soccer, basketball, and softball player, and keeper of Mist of the Blossom Rain. I up and left the city, and now reside in a rural part of New England with my parents, chocolate lab, and three guinea pigs. 

20 March, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (76)

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 The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl. 164 pages in, I'm still quite not sure what to make of the book . . . except that, against the odds, I rather like it.

 (Why do they do this? I'm not going to pick up a book just because the size of the author(s') name(s) is larger than the title.)

Although Dr. Joris Vorhulst had never heard of the Grand Galactics or any of their client species--and would have been likely to give a very different answer if he had--he, technically, was still quite right in what he said. No space aliens were going to decide to exterminate the human race. The only space aliens interested in the subject had already made the decision to do so and had then gone on to more entertaining matters.

-p. 39

**********

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


-----The Golden Eagle

19 March, 2012

A Bookish Shoutout: Elemental By Emily White Trailer Reveal

I recently found out that Emily White was revealing the book trailer for her novel Elemental (Young Adult Science Fiction). As it would help spread the word about a fellow blogger's book (and, I'll admit, I had nothing else to post about today and was looking for a subject), I thought I'd give it a mention.

Blurb for the book:

For ten years--ever since she was a small child--Ella has been held prisoner. Now that she has escaped, she needs answers.

Who is she? Why was she taken? And who is the boy with the beautiful green eyes who haunts her memories?

Is Ella the prophesied Destructor... or will she be the one who's destroyed?

Release date: May 1, 2012



And, of course, the trailer itself:



**********


Are there any recent book announcements that have gotten you excited?


-----The Golden Eagle

17 March, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

By graymalkn, CC-BY-2.0. SOURCE.
May you always have walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire.

-Irish blessing


Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday!



-----The Golden Eagle

16 March, 2012

The Star Wars Blogathon And My First Fan Fiction + Other Tags

I recently found out that I've been tagged by Grumpy Bulldog from Grumpy Bulldog's Blog to participate in Briane Pagel's Star Wars Blogathon. From Briane's blog:

Between now and Sunday, March 25 post a 250-words-or-less Fan Fiction Fan Fiction, in which one of your characters from a story you wrote tries to write a piece of Star Wars fan fiction.

Since this one has a deadline, I thought I'd do it today just to make sure I don't miss it. But, since I have also been tagged by Natasha, Jessica McKendry, Sophs, W.Chaser, Laurie Dennison, Susan Roebuck, Honey, Laura Barnes, and Carrie Butler, I thought I'd tackle some other tags as well. Packing all nine of those into one post would make this post way too long, of course (not to mention you'd all get tired of me), so I'm just going to tackle the first two here, i.e. Natasha's and Jessica's, along with Grumpy Bulldog's.

So! First, here's my bit of fan fiction, featuring a character I haven't paid much attention to in years, from an MG book:

"What happens in Star Wars, exactly?"
   "Huh?" I turned to stare at her.
   "I never watched it before I ended up here. Do you expect me to know?"
   I spluttered for a moment, trying to get my head around the fact Riley hadn't seen the most iconic films in history. "Er, well, there's this boy called Luke and he . . . um . . ."
   She tapped her foot.
   "Here, let me write it down." I grabbed a nearby sheet of paper and started scribbling, beginning with a description of a dramatic, dusty sunset, accompanied by hurried explanations of R2-D2 and C-3PO and Princess Leia.
   But then I thought, why tell her the exact original? I'd noticed room for improvement in Lucas's plot. So I began with a portrayal of the much more interesting Darth Vader and his alliance with the Emperor . . .

(146 words)


An aside: I'm glad I watched Star Wars earlier this year. Otherwise, you'd probably have gotten fan fiction about a character Googling Chewbacca.

**********

Now, on to a couple of the other tags:

This one is from Natasha:

1. What is your favourite animal and why?
Golden eagles, in case you hadn't guessed. ;) I love their graceful, powerful flight and their color.

By Paul Wordingham, CC-BY-2.0. SOURCE.

2. When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing that goes through your mind?
Uh . . . breakfast, usually. Or, since I often wake up from dreams, the thing I was just dreaming about.

3. If you had to put a colour to your personality what would it be?
Green. Or blue.

4. What's your favourite childhood memory?
Hmm. I do have a memory of being little and my mom carrying me outside on a clear night to look at the stars. That's definitely one of the best I have.

5. Favourite sweet or candy?
None. I don't really like candies or sweets . . .

6. Best holiday you've ever had?
My mom and I have never really been on a true "holiday", as in a trip longer than a couple days that was just for fun, but going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was impressive.

By Majonaise, CC-BY-SA-3.0. SOURCE.

7. Do you listen to one particular genre of music or several?
Most (but not all!) of the music I listen to is Classical or Jazz. I don't have anything against other genres of music, but they're just not my thing.

8. What was your dream career as a child?
I wanted to be an artist, actually. I used to draw a lot until I realized that the proportions in most of what I drew were wrong. Now my main creative outlet is writing.

9. Which book changed your life, if any did at all?
I don't think there have been any books that I could point to and say, "That fundamentally changed the way I do things and perceive the world", as it were. I'm not sure if that's good or bad . . .

10. What's your most treasured possession?
I can't think of anything that I'd die to lose at the moment; unless you count my head. I'd like to keep possession of that.

11. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years' time?
At college or university. Having published a book would be nice too, though it's definitely secondary to getting a higher education (at least, on my list).


And this one is from Jessica:

1. What's your favorite song?

Ta-da! An exception to the Classical/Jazz rule I just mentioned above:



"Who's reachin' out to capture a" . . . right, sorry. Back to answering those questions.

2. How old were you when you started writing?
I started writing the first novel I finished when I was 12.

3. What's your favorite movie/book?
I can't choose just one book! As for movies (and I can't believe I haven't mentioned this on my blog before) I love rewatching The Secret Garden (1987 version by Hallmark).

4. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be? Why?
See Natasha's first question.

5. If you were the main character of a book, what genre would it be?
Science Fiction. I want to travel to new planets, different galaxies, discover alien life, and play around with all that fancy gadgetry. Oh, and don't forget piloting a ship . . .

6. What is the coolest thing you've ever done?
Having experienced a relatively un-cool life, I'm going to have to go with performing in The Nutcracker. It was fun for me, anyway.

7. If you could be a character from any book, who would you be? Why?
I'd live to be Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. She's so strong (both mentally and physically) and hey, who wouldn't want to hang out with Po for a while?

8. What genre do you write in?
Science Fiction.

9. What's your favorite thing to do, other than write?
Read.

10. If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be?
Albert Einstein. I think he counts as historical.

11. Is there anything else we should know about you?
Not that I can think of . . . :)

**********

And yes, I'm going to cop out and say that if you want to do one of these 11 tags, go ahead. I think everyone in the blogosphere has been tagged already, anyway. :P

Where's the most amazing place you've ever been? Or the coolest thing you've done? 

What animal would you pick?


-----The Golden Eagle

15 March, 2012

Creepy Hollow Blog Tour: Book Review of Guardian by Rachel Morgan



Title: Creepy Hollow Series: Book One: Guardian
Author: Rachel Morgan
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Paranormal/Young Adult
Page Count (e-book): 64
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4.5 out of 5. I love the design, since it's simple and the purple is great contrast. Also, the girl's face seems perfect for the main character.

Blurb:
1. Receive assignment.
2. Save a life.
3. Sleep.
4. Repeat. 
Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.  
The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive.

My expectations: I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this story. I love reading Rachel Morgan's blog, but blogs and novels/novelettes are different things, and while there are many high-quality self-published books, I had to wonder if this would be one of them. 

Whatever my expectations were, however, Guardian definitely exceeded them.

About the book: Just to demonstrate what I thought of this novelette, one day (soon after I got the ARC) I resolved to read a few pages, as I didn't want to spend long on the computer. I ended up powering through it during that and another sitting.

  • Writing:
Short and to the point. There wasn't much in the way of embellishment to the style (such as vivid description), but that seems to be the usual for the Paranormal genre and I think it fit the overall story, especially because novelettes have to be short. I can't recall finding any typos, either, a rare thing for any book--and an excellent one.

  • Plot:
With some books it can take 50 pages to reach what Guardian put in on page 5, i.e. this novelette moves fast. There are a good number of twists to the story as well, which I loved.

  • Characters:
Vi was determined, capable, and she had a great voice. Nate was sweet, and since the reader knows almost a little about Vi's world as the reader, the dialogue between him and Vi divulged information about the world without being an info dump and helped flesh the two out.

  • Setting/Elements:
The world is a fascinating one. It plays on the usual faerie surroundings such as the Seelie and Unseelie Court (the Unseelie being evil), but there are unique details as well that help set it apart.

Content: Some violence, kissing. Nothing I'd really raise a flag over.

Other: I'll admit, I haven't read too many novelettes, and those were in a Science Fiction anthology. But the length works in Guardian's favor here, and since so many people are migrating over to e-readers and the like, shorter stories will probably find a much larger audience than they could have before.

Do I recommend this book? If you want a quick and entertaining Paranormal read, I highly recommend this book. The characters, plot, and efficient writing style make Guardian a great choice for those in the mood for a well-told adventure (with a bit of romance, too).


**********

Thanks to Rachel for providing me an ARC to review!

**********

~  ~  ~

Rachel Morgan is the author of Guardian, the first novelette in the Creepy Hollow series. She was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school children, she writes fiction for young adults.

Buy Guardian from

The Creepy Hollow Series

Author Info




And before you go, Rachel is also hosting a giveaway of a copy of Guardian. Enter below:

13 March, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (75)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly, bookish, TBR-pile-expanding 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 Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. I saw it at the library and noticed it had won not a single award, but two from the American Library Association: the Printz and the William C. Morris. According to the blurb there are zombies and talking birds, though I haven't reached either of them yet (other than references to zombies, which the character (like a lot of people) seems to treat as fictional but worth theorizing over).

(I really like this cover. It has a nice folk art feel to it and I love the central illustration of the woodpecker.)

When one is sitting the passenger seat of his best friend's car as an overly enthusiastic hillbilly is ranting in the backseat about being snubbed by a cheerleader at lunch, his mind begins to wander and think about zombies. Here's the thing about zombies: They are supposed to be killed.
-p. 14

**********

What are you reading? Got a teaser from it?


-----The Golden Eagle

12 March, 2012

Answers To Reader Questions

Back in late February for my 900+ Followers post, I got a few questions from readers. And since I've been lagging (too far) behind on the blogosphere these days, here--finally--are my answers!


What are you working on right now in terms of writing? from Marsha Sigman
Does brainstorming count? Having discovered that a recent project lost its attraction and energy after the plotting ended and actual writing began, I've been trying to figure out what I'm passionate about that could translate into a book. I'm thinking something to do with birds and/or flying . . .

If you had to choose between writing and ballet, which would you choose? from Janet Johnson
Um . . . you know, that's a difficult question. I'm inclined to say writing, but only because you didn't exclude the possibility I could do other kinds of dance instead of ballet. :)

Have you changed the way you blog from when you first started? from Lynda R Young
Yes, I have, though most of that involves the way I structure my posting. When I started out I'd post every day, on absolutely anything (sometimes it was just a boring "I'm trying to think of something to post about!" or the equivalent), occasionally multiple times. Also, I'm much more focused on writing than I was before.

What's the best and worst part of your hometown? from Deniz Bevan
The worst part is its location, since it's 20 miles or more from anything significant, i.e. where there are places to shop besides a dollar store, gas station, and local grocery store which could do with some sprucing up. (A very, very close second is the town's motto that's emblazoned across the welcome sign right off the highway, which to me seems more than a tad derogatory.) The best part is the library; and the fact my mom started working there in 2011 also helps.


-----The Golden Eagle

09 March, 2012

Creepy Hollow Blog Tour: On Writing YA

Today, please welcome author Rachel Morgan to The Eagle's Aerial Perspective! She's the author of Guardian, the first book in the Creepy Hollow Series, which is an awesome novelette that I will be reviewing on the 15th.

But today, she's here to talk about writing Young Adult.

**********

On Writing YA

Hi, my name’s Rachel, and I write YA (“Hi, Rachel”). I’ve always written YA, even when I didn’t know that’s what it was called. I wrote it when I was young and didn’t have the perseverance to get past the first few chapters, and I write it now when I’m, uh, not quite as young, and have the self-discipline to get myself to the end of a story. But it’s only recently that I started thinking about why I write YA.


Reason #1: The YA voice is the one I relate to the most. I mean, I’m technically not a young adult anymore. I’m an adult (in age, anyway!). But I don’t really feel like one, and when I sit down to write, it’s a YA voice that comes most naturally and easily to me. I don’t have to try and be formal or proper. I can just relax into the language.

Reason #2: I love writing about firsts. When you’ve kissed someone hundreds of times, it’s not that exciting anymore, but the first time . . . Well, it’s a kiss to remember, for good or for bad! And the first time someone holds your hand, the first date you go on, the first time your heart is broken, the first time you sneak out of the house to do something you shouldn’t . . . Life goes on and you can forget what these things feel like, but pick up a YA book and an author can make you remember exactly what that moment felt like when you were first there.

Reason #3: Everything is a big deal when you’re that age. Everything just means so much more! Good things aren’t just great, they’re epic. And bad things aren’t just terrible, they’re the end of the world. Having passed through the YA years, it’s a relief not to feel everything so intensely anymore. But I sure do enjoy writing about it!

Reason #4: I find it fascinating to look at a person (real or imagined) and examine all the things they’ve been through in life that have shaped them into the person they are right now. That must be why I love origin stories and prequels. With YA characters, that process is still happening.

Perhaps one day I’ll write an adult book. Or a middle grade book. For now, though, my true love is YA.

If you're a writer, what age category do you write for?

~  ~  ~

Rachel Morgan is the author of Guardian, the first novelette in the Creepy Hollow series. She was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school children, she writes fiction for young adults.

Buy Guardian from

The Creepy Hollow Series

Author Info





-----The Golden Eagle

The Evil Genius Blogfest: The Winners

On February 27th, I hosted The Evil Genius Blogfest.

As you may know, I also hosted a little giveaway along with it (i.e. an offer to do whatever the winners requested, so long as it wasn't monetary), with one winner chosen by popular vote and two random others. Today's the day I announce all three!

Before I say who won, however, thank you ALL for participating. I had great fun visiting your blogs and reading your entries! You made this awesome.
 

But since I hear you saying "Get to the winners already!":

The winner by popular vote is:



EMILY ROSE, of Mist of the Blossom Rain



The winners as chosen by Random.org are*:


Number 5: SARAH PEARSON, of Empty White Pages

Number 16: PAUL TOBIN, of Magpie Bridge



Congratulations, winners! Please email me at eaglesblogspotmail @ gmail . com (without spaces) to discuss your prizes. :)



*The max number (22) is smaller than the number of those who signed up (24), due to the fact a few did not post their entries.



-----The Golden Eagle

08 March, 2012

Second Campaigner Challenge Of The Fourth Campaign

The Platform-Building Campaign was started by Rachael Harrie from Rach Writes...

I highly recommend checking out her blog; and if you don't know what the Campaign is all about, in very short form it's to bring bloggers/writers together. Learn more HERE.

About this Second Campaigner Challenge:

***If you know this stuff already, you can cut to the chase by scrolling to the line of asterisks.***

Prompt 1:

Two people are sitting together under the remains of a concrete bridge. Their backs are against a rusted bridge support. One person’s leg is cut. The other person has wet hair.

Prompt 2:


(Source)
Prompt 3

(Source)
Prompt 4

(Source)
Prompt 5

(Source)

Second Campaigner Challenge

Do one or more of the following:
  1. Write a pitch/logline for a book based on the prompts (less than 100 words)
  2. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  3. Write a poem with a twist using the prompts as inspiration (in less than 200 words)
  4. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts
  5. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”.
For added difficulty/challenge:
  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme (feel free to either state the theme in your post or leave us to guess what it might be)
  • Write in a genre that is not your own
  • Ask Challenge entrants to critique your writing. After the Challenge closes, you may wish to re-post your revised piece(s), and I’ll include a Linky List at the bottom of this post for those wishing more feedback on their revisions (note: revised entries will not be judged, so please label clearly your original post and your revisions. Please do not offer critique unless someone asks for it, as per the usual blogging conventions. If you do ask for critique, make sure you ask for it clearly so people know you want it, and please be prepared to receive feedback that may not be 100% glowing. If you are a critiquer, please be tactful and courteous, and remember to provide positives as well as negatives.)





********************


“That didn’t blow up easily, did it?”
   I laughed, though it was mostly out of nervous tension instead of amusement.
   Noticing a small trickle of blood oozing across the ground toward my leg, I asked, “You okay with that cut?”
   Xayne shrugged. “It’ll heal. You sure you ain’t gonna catch a cold, being all wet like that?”
   “Yeah.”
   He leaned back against one of the few remaining supports, and I saw a few pieces of rust fall into his hair as he hit the corrugated surface.
   Someone squealed.
   “Stupid kids,” Xayne muttered, closing his eyes.
   I craned upwards to see a group of children already exploring the scraps of bridge left behind from the blast. I felt like shouting a warning as a particularly brazen one walked too close to the edge, but an older boy hauled him away.
   Xayne said a moment later, “Think he’ll get the message?”
   “If an exploding bridge ain’t enough, then he’s even more insane than the Leader thinks he is. Which would mean we’re in pretty deep.”
   “Thought that was already established.”
   “True. Sending a lethal, acidic pear simulacrum to the hospital disguised as a food donation was damned low.”


Stats:
Used Prompt 1, Prompt 2, Prompt 3, and Prompt 4 
Flash fiction under 200 words (196)

And now, to choose an "added difficulty/challenge", I'm going to ask you to critique my entry. I probably won't post the revised one, but it would great to know what you think. Don't spare my feelings, either--rip away. :)

I'm #81 on the Linky List.


-----The Golden Eagle

07 March, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You've probably heard of him or his blog--if not, go check it out!


My insecurity (here I go, rambling on about myself again. Um, is this getting too repetitive? --most likely) is that I cannot seem to stick to one project without disliking it.

You see, I had a blast writing my first novel; for a year and a half I happily wrote a gazillion words and while there were plenty of starts and stops, I never felt like it wasn't something I wanted to complete.

For my next novel, which I finished last October, I was happy at the beginning but just wanted it to get the stupid thing done after I'd gotten about halfway through. Tired of the world, tired of the characters, tired of the writing style I tried. For my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel it felt a bit like an impending train wreck a quarter of the way in, and while I did complete that novel in December, I don't want to look at it for the same reasons above.

On March 1st, I started rewrites of my first novel. I'd outlined it and listed character traits and created rough (all right, very rough) setting sketches, which is more blueprinting than I usually do. I thought that might help keep things consistent, a common problem with my other finished/unedited projects.

But . . . having written a few thousand words, that project is already as feeling dead as the last two. I'm not sure at this point if I'm going to continue; I don't know whether forging on in the hopes that an unlikely spark of inspiration will appear or switching to something else is the better idea. I hate to give up on things, but I don't want to dump time and energy into a project I won't want to look at twice once it's done, you know? I write because it's something I enjoy, and though I believe important things shouldn't be easy all the time, slogging through a novel I'm not fully behind even at the outset probably wouldn't result in much good.

I guess, then, that my problem is I can't seem to find something I'm really, really enthusiastic to write about. That first novel (which was turned into a trilogy, actually) had all the pent-up writerly ideas I'd been storing for the past few years.

Maybe it's time I tried hunting down a new kind of spark . . . somehow.

Have you ever started projects only to find that the love for the ideas had already died?


-----The Golden Eagle

06 March, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (74)

Before I get to Teaser Tuesday, though, my apologies for slacking off on blogging this past week or so, in posting, replying to comments, commenting on other blogs, and (most severely) keeping up with your posts in my feed aggregator.

I'll try to catch up later this week--and also post my Campaigner Challenge for the Fourth Platform-Building Campaign.

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Teaser Tuesday 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 Flatterland by Ian Stewart. It's fiction, but heavily uses math and incorporates some . . . interesting/amusing ideas, like Space Hoppers and Virtual Unreality Engines. It is also the sequel (albeit by a different author) of Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott. And yes, that is his name.


"What's happening is that when a peak of one set of semicircles meets a peak of the other set of semicircles, the two peaks add up to make an even higher peak; and when a trough of one set of semicircles meets a trough of the other set of semicircles, the two troughs add up to make an even lower trough. And if a peak meets a trough, they cancel out and the result is in between."

-p. 171

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What are you reading right now? Got a teaser to share from it?


-----The Golden Eagle

05 March, 2012

Grand OPENING Blog Tour: A Tour of NASA

Today I have the honor of presenting a guest post by Stephen Tremp, author of Breakthrough and Opening, about all the cool stuff NASA has going on.

Take it away, Stephen!

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  Thank you Golden Eagle for hosting me on my Grand OPENING Blog Tour today! We are going for an aerial perspective that is relevant and exciting! 

So what’s the latest and greatest regarding NASA? And why should I care, you ask? Hasn't the shuttling of the Space Shuttle Program and cutbacks in funding and lack of vision from our political leaders made this once awesome organization boring and irrelevant? Well, please allow me dispel these thoughts and take you on a tour of the NASA Web site. 

NASA: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research. Since February 2006, NASA's mission statement has been to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research.” 

You can check out the latest and greatest in news, missions, multimedia, apps, and other ways to connect with NASA. You can even plan a visit to some of their eighteen facilities across the United States. 

NASA For Students: Have kids? Are you a school teacher, home schooler, or know someone who is? Then the NASA for Educators, the NASA for Students, and the NASA Kids Club and are worth a navigating and Bookmark or save in your Favorites. 

NASA for Students is broken up into grade groups of: 
K-4 
5-8 
9-12 
Higher Education 

Each group has age appropriate links. Example, NASA is sponsoring the 2012 NASA Space Settlement Design Program for 6th through 12 graders and can join as individuals, groups, or entire classrooms. 

Design a space settlement! Space settlements are permanent communities in orbit, as opposed to being on the moon or other planets. Designing a space settlement involves physics, mathematics, space science, environmental science and many other disciplines. This contest is for 11-18-year-old students from anywhere in the world. Individuals or teams may enter. Grades 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12 are judged separately, except for the grand prize. Submissions must be received by March 15, 2012. Click the link for more details, contest prizes, and certificates.  

And check out the Current Opportunities for Kids link. NASA also hosts youth ambassadors from around the globe for successful outreach programs. NASA’s Web site is a great site for kids to research homework and for author to research their novels. 

What about classrooms and partnering with other classrooms around the globe?  

Virtual Tours: Can't work out a visit to a NASA facility? Check out their interactive features such as their Interactive Features and Virtual Tours.  

Connect with NASA: Yep. There's an app for that. Check out the various apps and social networks NASA has such as Facebook and Twitter.  

What's Next For NASA? NASA is conducting an unprecedented array of missions that will seek new knowledge and understanding of Earth, the solar system and the universe. NASA has observatories in Earth orbit and deep space, spacecraft visiting the moon and other planetary bodies, and robotic landers, rovers, and sample return missions. One example is designing and building the capabilities to send humans to explore the solar system and working toward a goal of landing humans on Mars. 

NASA has a payback on our hard-earned tax dollars, providing great paying jobs, supporting entire communities, and opening doors for incredible future opportunities such as planet colonization and mining asteroids (more on this in a future post). 

Thanks again Golden Eagle for hosting me today. I hope this inspires a lot of people to do great things with their lives! 


Stephen Tremp, author of the BREAKTHROUGH series, has a B.A. in information systems and an MBA degree in global management. Stephen has a background in information systems, management, and finance and draws from this varied and complex experiential knowledge to write one-of-a-kind thrillers. His novels are enhanced by current events at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and other scientific research facilities around the world. These potential advances have the ability to change the way we perceive our universe and our place in it! 

You can visit Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs. BREAKTHROUGH and OPENING can be downloaded:  
Kindle for $1.99  
Smashwords for $1.99


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Have you ever explored the NASA site or been to one of their facilities?


-----The Golden Eagle

04 March, 2012

Something Random

Recently I received an email from Susan Kane (thecontemplativecat) bringing my attention to Melynda Fleury's new book Just Nonsense. I had not heard about it before, and Melynda's blog Crazy World was new to me--but the story is that last Friday, March 2nd, she underwent eye surgery. Elisa, Fishducky, and Joshua banded together and created this book . . .


. . . from her blog posts to raise funds for medical and other expenses. As it's for a good cause, I thought I'd spread the word. There are more details HERE.

Links to purchase:
Paperback: http://dft.ba/-JustNonsense
Kindle: http://dft.ba/-JustNonsenseKindle
Smashwords (multiple formats): http://dft.ba/-JustNonsenseSmashwords


-----The Golden Eagle

02 March, 2012

How To: Writing A Winning Prologue

Ever wondered how to write a strong, effective prologue?

Your search has come to an end: Here are 10 steps to take if you want to create a prologue even the staunchest of opposers will find hard to criticize.

 Ready? Let's go!

1. Choose a scene from a key point in your novel.
If a character happens to be in danger, dead, or otherwise painful circumstances, cut and paste that tension-filled scene into the beginning of your novel. This will serve to reduce the risk of heart failure, severe paper cuts, and falling off of chairs for your readers when the plot twists come. An honorable reader enjoys knowing what will happen later in the book.

NOTE: It is even better when you repeat this scene later on and force readers to slog through it all over again.


2. If there is no other suitably tension-filled scene to choose, use the ending.
Be sure not to change a thing when you move it from the end to the prologue, either--the more spoilers the better!


3. And if there aren't any tension-filled scenes at all (kudos), pick the most boring one.
OOH LOOK. The character is brushing their teeth! What fine dental strategy! Gets me tingling all over, that does.

4. Make sure there is no stylistic similarity between the prologue and the rest of the novel.
Is your style short and to the point? Write your prologue using lots of flowery language and/or metaphors. For example:

Page 205: "I is gonna blow up this building!" said Smith.

Prologue: And then our bold and courageous protagonist, with the most knightly of intentions, went to rescue the incapacitated and dying goddess of his universe, utilizing the most stunning of torpedoes. He exclaimed, triumphantly, "Beware, all evil parasites of the Earth! I am preparing to send you to the deepest parts of Hell!"


5. Use a dream.
Everybody simply adores dream scenes in books. They add such nice ambiguity and potential/probable pointlessness.


6. Take the opportunity and explain everything about your world.
Readers are always willing to get to know every single little detail of the place the characters live in; you know, history, culture, current economic state, seismic activity, how the world came to be, etc., etc.


7. Set it in the future where the character is obviously alive.
This may actually be even more stress-reducing than cutting and pasting part of your ending.


8. Center your prologue around an unrelated thing.
Writing about a woman on a quest to find the all-powerful crown-doohickey with which she can defeat the bad guy? No problem. Feel free to talk about whatever you please in the prologue. Who wants to know what they're getting into before they start reading?


9. Make appear that you're writing in a different genre than you actually are.
Closely related to #4, it is an effective strategy for attracting the attention of a new audience. Because instead of just getting readers from, say, Literary/Contemporary/Realistic Fiction, you'll get irritated readers of Science Fiction and Fantasy along with irritated readers of Literary/Contemporary/Realistic Fiction. And they'll all spread the word about your novel (forget what they're saying about it).


10. Using your main character's voice, slowly and hesitantly, with many starts and stops, explain why the character (i.e. you) decided to write this book.
J'adore uncertain characters. Nothing like a little "Oh, I can't do this . . . wait, I must, or the world will explode! . . . no, wait, I can't, or I'll explode . . . but no, I have to! . . . no, I just simply can't . . . oh, all right, all right, I'll finish . . . no, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE . . . but if I don't . . ."


And there are the 10 Effective Steps For Writing A Winning Prologue.

You're welcome.

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DISCLAIMER: The author of this article accepts no liability for those souls who actually follow these instructions. If you really want to write a good prologue, then you should do absolutely everything possible to avoid what I just said.

And before you ask, yes, I have come across these types of prologues in books.


What do you think of prologues?


-----The Golden Eagle