The State of the Writer: 12/31/16

<–The State of the Writer: 12/24/16          The State of the Writer: 1/5/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 277,196
Prior Word Count: 277,252
Word Difference: -56
Status: Editing
Progress: Fourth edit of Chapter 7

dahlia

Fourth edit here I am.  I was hoping three would be enough, but I found enough the third time around to warrant one more go.  Until I can read through a chapter and not make any major changes, I don’t count it done.  I do think the fourth edit will just be a read through though, so it shouldn’t take that long.

The lovely flower above is a dahlia, which is one of the many blooms Sephiroth brings Aeris in this chapter.  What better way to remind a flower maid who she is than to present her with the most familiar “tools” of her trade?

Quote: White winter roses that grew as far north as flowers would dare to bear bloom.  Then marigolds hardy and hale.  Asters of purple deeper than night plucked from the fields around Kalm.  Before the Mythril Mine of old he discovered poppies blood hued with black hearts.  While deep in a crag of the great red canyon, the general found rouge peonies.  Far in the south in what once was Mideel, he’d gathered huge dahlia blooms. Finally, yellow crocus large with smooth petals that grew in the rich mountain earth.  Guilt had rained down like fire from heaven, but he had gone there for her…


I want to wish a warm Happy New Years to everyone following or just reading.  I’m not overly fond of the “this year is terrible” rhetoric, since a year is really just an arbitrary and human made unit of time, but I know seeing the number change from 6 to 7 will brighten quite a few spirits, and if that’s the case then it does matter (though considering what’s waiting for us in 2017 really makes me scratch my head at that, too…).  This is going to be my last post of the year, and (hopefully) tomorrow, I’ll put out my year end wrap up and planning post.  Even though 2016 and 2017 are arbitrary measures of time, I do still prescribe to many of the same rituals.

I wish you all light and luck in all of your endeavors in this unit of time and many more to come!

<–The State of the Writer: 12/24/16          The State of the Writer: 1/5/16–>

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Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy Tarot – XIX The Sun

<–XVIII The Moon                                                                                XX Judgment–>

This is my current Final Fantasy Friday post where I’ll be discussing which characters I think exemplify each card of the Major Arcana.  If this is your first time here, please head over to my Final Fantasy Tarot page for explanation.  Now onto the next card!

XIX The Sun

the-sun-eiko

Eiko artwork by Yoshitaka Amano

The Sun is a card of triumph, simple pleasures, and truth.  In opposition to the Moon, which symbolizes inspiration from dreams and otherwordly visions, the Sun is much more in your face and wide awake; intellect and youthful energy. I had quite a time figuring this one out.  Final Fantasy boasts many characters with this quality, but I knew I needed someone who was not only childlike, but also a child.

Eiko literally flips the meaning of the Moon in giving Dagger clarity and closure on the princess’s oldest dreams.  The little girl is the truth giver, revealing Garnet’s origins, welcoming her home, even as Eiko herself enjoys the pleasure of companionship in the breaking of solitude.  While the sun’s light may not always fall on the happiest memories, it will still always show it plain, lighting a clear path, and giving you the courage to forge ahead armed with new revelations.


Alternates: Porom (IV), Relm (VI), Selphie (VIII), Rikku (X)

I was very close to picking Porom, since intellect and youthful energy are major components of the Sun card.  Because he’s an irascible, five-year-old mage in training, I thought he would make a good match, but my own bias came into play.  I’m not overly fond of Porom’s character (I like him even less in The After Years), and besides that, I’d already used Rydia from IV in The Moon entry.  Not that I’m averse to using the same game twice in a row, but since I had another (and imo better) option, I figured I’d use it.

Relm from VI would certainly fit the artistic side of the card, along with the youthful energy, and she could arguably fulfill some of the truth aspect in reference to Shadow, but FFVI was very good at keeping that vague.  Eiko’s traits are far clearer.

Selphie and Rikku from VIII and X respectively have that bright, optimistic aspect, and Rikku certainly is responsible for revealing some truths (for both Tidus and about Yuna), but while they’re both childlike/innocent in their way, I wanted someone who was actually a child.


No one guessed the card this week, but everyone who ventured did guess something right!

LightningEllen and Mr. Panda both went with Rikku who’s an alternate; Hungrygoriya went with Selphie who’s the same; and The Otaku Judge guessed Amarant(h) who is from the same game as Eiko.  I like when everyone wins 🙂

Next week is Judgment, and I’m kicking myself a bit, because I totally could’ve used Gabranth for that instead of the Justice card…but I suppose he fits that Major Arcana, as well, and I’m never one to turn down an intellectual challenge.  I do have something else in my notes (notice I said something and not someone), but I’m not sure yet if I’m going to go that route.  What this means is Judgment could be a person/character or it could be a place/thing.  Oh, and Judgment’s alternative name is The Angel, but that ship’s kind of sailed now hasn’t it?

Happy guessing!

<–XVIII The Moon                                                                                XX Judgment–>

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The State of the Reader: 12/28/16

<–The State of the Reader: 12/21/16          The State of the Reader: 1/4/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 3

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 48%

Missing children and usurper kings.  This could be ASOIAF.  Rather I think Martin just borrowed from popular mythology, seeing as his motifs are quite common there.

I’m almost 50% done with this.  There’s no chance I’m finishing it before the end of the year.  I have much better luck with the other two.

Title: The Ghost of Buxton Manor
Author: Jonathon L. Ferrara
Date Added: August 16, 2016
Date Started: October 17, 2016

Media: Kindle
Progress: 81%

I love this story so much.  I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas this year, which makes it loads easier to read, since my phone still has a busted screen.  I got through almost two chapters today at lunch, and the plot is heating up.  I have some very strong suspicions who the “big bad” of the novel is going to be, but I”ll hold off on mentioning anything so I don’t spoil it for future readers.  Even if my guess is correct, it won’t ruin the story for me.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: November 20, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 53%

I’m letting my interest in what’s going on with the world contend with my dislike of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship.  Each chapter brings us closer and closer to what’s going on with the blight and who this nefarious “her” is.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

I’m worried about my friend.  I sent her a message yesterday, but still haven’t heard back.  She could just be busy, but I tend to be a paranoid worry wart.  I’m hoping I either hear back or see a story update.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: Seconds
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Date Added: December 23, 2016

I really need to up my game with the comics on my TBR list, because this one as reviewed by Ignited Moth sounds phenomenal.  Magic mushrooms and a written wish could give you another chance.  I’m dying to know how this proceeds, because nothing ever pans out the way you expect in stories like this.

Title: The Killing Moon
Series Title: Dreamblood
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Date Added: December 23, 2016

I’m trying so hard not to add new books to my list, but Cupcakes and Machetes reviewing these amazing books isn’t making it easier.  I have Jemisin’s Thousand Kingdoms series on my list, and I really need to get on that.  This book in question just sounds amazing: harvesting the power from dreams and keeping the peace.

Title: The House of Mirth
Author: Edith Wharton
Date Added: December 24, 2014

I almost added this to my to-be-reread list since I technically read this years ago for a high school (maybe college) class.  I sort of remember it, but I more remember I enjoyed the writing style.  I don’t think I ever finished it, though I do know how it ends.

Title: The Age of Innocence
Author: Edith Wharton
Date Added: December 24, 2016

I figured since I’m adding Edith Wharton books I might as well add this other one I’m interested in.  Wasn’t Age of Innocence also a movie?  Am I recalling that correctly?  Either way, it’s now on my TBR list, and I’m going to eventually read it.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 537
Change from Last Week: +4


Books Added to Goodreads To Be Reread List This Week: 0


Books Purchased This Week: 0

Even though the number says 0, I bought a shit ton of books this week with my Christmas Amazon GC money, but I’m going to wait until they’re in my possession to add them, so you’ll see them in drips and drops.  I also have a Barnes and Noble gift card.  I’m debating if I’m going to order online or go to the physical store.  I really want that Hyrule Historia, but I don’t know if the B&N in Wayne has it in stock.


What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 12/21/16          The State of the Reader: 1/4/17–>

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The State of the Gamer: 12/27/16

<–The State of the Gamer: 12/20/16          The State of the Gamer: 1/3/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.
I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Title: Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square/Tose (GBA)
Original Platform: NES
Original Release Date: December 18, 1987
Current Platform: Gameboy Advance
Current Platform Release Date: July 29, 2004
Date Started: November 20, 2016

dawn-of-souls

I’m embarrassed to report that I’ve made absolutely no progress on this game in the past week.  I suppose I could blame the holiday, but I’ve clocked loads of hours on World of Final Fantasy.  I usually play my DS/GBA at night right before bed, but I can allow that Christmas and the lead up has exhausted me.

I’m still in the Elfheim area, still attempting to figure out the best place to grind in order to earn enough gil for all the upgrades.  I’m ever open to your suggestions if you have them, as it will take me quite a long time if I can’t find a sweet spot.

Title: Final Fantasy IV
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Original Platform: SNES
Original Release Date: July 19, 1991
Current Platform: Game Boy Advance
Current Platform Release Date: December 12, 2005
Date Started: October 24. 2016

final-fantasy-iv

As above to below.  I haven’t spent any time playing this either, though I am happy to find out a good friend is currently playing it for the first time 🙂  I’m still in the Troia area, but I haven’t spoken to the clerics yet *spoiler* nor discovered Edward’s location and convalescence *end spoiler*

I’m hoping to catch up on this and DoS if not this week then next in the new year.

Title: World of Final Fantasy
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Date Bought: October 21, 2016
Date Started: November 5, 2016

world-of-final-fantasy

You guessed it…I’ve been spending the majority of my time playing this and neglecting my other responsibilities not limited to gaming (we’re talking reading, editing, and essaying, too), but I can’t feel too much remorse.  I fucking love this game.

I’m currently in the Train Graveyard just about to challenge the four murkrifts there and the fifth hidden one that appears afterwards.  I have to give thanks again to EnterJayMent for his awesome tips for this game.  He has a playthrough as well, but since I’m already doing that myself, I haven’t watched it.  This is definitely a game I’d rather play than watch.

The funniest thing about this video was the My Little Pony ad that happened right before it.  Talk about appropriate advertisement.

I think after this chapter, I’m going to spend some time grinding in either the Nether Nebula (where I can hopefully catch another Fritt) or the Windswept Mire where I can fight the Flan Princess/Malboro Menace combination over and over again.  I’d like to get my Mirages leveled to a point where I can transfigure into the ones that only require a particular level.  This seems like the best course of action at this time, and I can update my Excel spreadsheet

Games Currently Watching

Title: Mass Effect II
Series: Mass Effect
Genre: Action RPG – Sci-Fi
Developer: BioWare
Original Platform(s): Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
Original Release Date: January 26, 2010
Let’s Player: Olizandri
Date Started: November 19, 2016

mass-effect-2

I think this game may have the best voice acting of any I’ve ever seen.  Now that’s not saying much since I’m mostly an old schooler so most of the games I play/watch predate voice acting.  Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that Fem Shep is the best choice, which makes me feel a bit bad for Male Shep’s voice actor, but Jennifer Hale is totally boss.

I’ve just been introduced to the drell assassin; I think his name is Thane, but I don’t completely recall.  All of the dialogue is so compelling in both intonation and delivery.  You truly can’t turn away from the cut scenes.

Title: Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord
Genre: RPG
Developer: Kogado Software Products
Original Platform(s): Sega
Original Release Date: October 18, 1987
Let’s Player: Hungry Goriya

This let’s play has the distinct honor of not only being another one by my friend/fellow blogger Hungry Goriya, but also the first one I’ve watched where I’ve never heard of or seen the game before.  I grew up a Nintendo girl and didn’t have much dealings with Sega.  Obviously, I know the big names like Sonic and Spyro, but I’d never played or even seen an RPG for that system until now.  Well…not for the original system at least.  I have played Grandia II, which was originally released for the Dreamcast.

Like most RPGs of the 80s era, Miracle Warriors is difficult, requiring much strategy and guile even at the start.  Where current games ease you in, MW drops you right into the boiling water, forcing you to jump around to escape the scald.  Running away from certain enemies is paramount to survival and grinding up large amounts of guilders (the game’s currency) is an initial requirement.  I’m certainly enjoying watching an expert play and can’t wait for the next installment to go up.


Games Added to Playlist: 2

  1. Oxenfree
  2. Limbo

I added these two together, but can’t for the life of me remember who mentioned/recommended them.  It was probably Cheap Boss Attack...I’ve added so many games because of that guy hehe.

Limbo is about a little boy seeking to rescue his sister from a dreary world, and the cover itself sends chills down my spine.

The darkness with that splash of eerie light certainly sets the mood.

Oxenfree is about a group of friends who accidentally open up a paranormal rift on an old military island.  Oops.  I hate when my friends and I do that.  Very messy.


Games Bought This Week: 1

  1. The Last Story

I didn’t buy it, but rather received it as a present from my awesome older brother, but I don’t have a section for gifts.  I suppose I could have this be Games Bought/Received, but since I buy most of my games myself, I doubt this issue will come up that often.  I do have to sit down and figure out the order of operations for my next gaming projects since I now have a lot of hefty RPGs to get through.  I’m planning on writing a year end wrap up where I’ll be discussing this and my other 2017 plans.


Since we’ve just had a major holiday and are still currently enmeshed in a few others (it’s the 4th night of Hanukkah, the 2nd night of Kwanzaa, and the third day of Christmas if that’s a thing you do), did you receive any of the games on your wish list?  I almost bought a Vita with the massive amounts of Amazon gift cards I was given, but I decided against it.  I have more than enough games to keep me occupied for years to come without adding another system to the mix, though I really do want a Vita at some point.  It’s around $200 though so I decided to hold off and spend some money on books.  I think the rest of the balance will go towards purchasing some audio/video equipment so I can finally start my recording projects.  That’s something else I’ll talk bout in my year end/new year plans post.


What are you currently playing and/or watching? Is it something new or old?  Is it a first time run or a replay?  What’s the genre?  Would you recommend it?  What’s on your radar to play next?

<–The State of the Gamer: 12/20/16          The State of the Gamer: 1/3/17–>

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Question of the Week: 12/25/16

<–Question of the Week: 12/18/16          Question of the Week: 12/31/16–>

The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same.  Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation.  Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all.  Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!

What’s your favorite Christmas movie or TV special?

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas is probably my favorite Christmas special, yet I always cry a bit at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas when they decorate Charlie Brown’s sad, tired Christmas tree, it perks up, and they sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  I don’t know why.  I’m not religious, but I am sentimental, and (admission time) I cry over something at least once a day.  A beautiful passage of music will move me or I’ll see/read something poignant.  It’s really not hard for the Shameful Narcissist to bring the waterworks.

The Grinch gets me because I love the Heel Face Turn (shock…) and redemption stories (double shock).  Side note: If you go to the TV Tropes link, you’ll see the Grinch is the poster child FOR the Heel Face Turn.

heel-face-turn_htgsc2_3933

It always amused me how his eyes went from red irises surrounded by yellow to the “more wholesome” blue, because of course that’s what happens when you turn from evil to good in children’s stories.  Either way, the message of the Grinch is one we still sorely need.  It’s ubiquitous and eternal since, despite the fact it centers around Christmas, it’s not really religious.


What’s your favorite Christmas movie or TV special?  Is it something you’ve loved for a long time or is it new to your heart?

I suppose I should say my obligatory Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays since it is the big day for the first and continues for the second.  While Christmas morning was always the most exciting time of my youth, I find in my old age, I enjoy Christmas night much more.  I can relax, play with my toys, and recuperate from the day’s festivities.  I also still have a ton of dough left to make so I’ll probably bake that and eat a ton of cookies.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

<–Question of the Week: 12/18/16          Question of the Week: 12/31/16–>

The State of the Writer: 12/24/16

<–The State of the Writer: 12/17/16          The State of the Writer: 12/31/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 277,252
Prior Word Count: 277,650
Word Difference: -398
Status: Editing
Progress: Third edit of Chapter 7

braided-hair

I really hope I finish my edits of Chapter 7 this week as I’m running out of pictures.  This one isn’t exactly the hairstyle I describe Aeris having, but it’s the closest I could find.  The little Cetra’s is just one set of braids at the forelocks with a ribbon behind the crown, which is amazingly difficult to find, and I have no idea why.  Googling “Renaissance braids” netted me the image above, but I know I’ve seen the hairstyle I’m going to describe in the quote below many times before.  I always equate it to movies set in Ireland or Scotland where they wrap braided hair around the crown from the forelocks.  You’d think there’d be a ready name for this, but alas there isn’t.

I will probably be doing a fourth edit of Chapter 7 since I do significant changes with every pass through.  I generally edit until I’m only making minor tweaks.  If I do anything major, I have to go through it again to ensure it all flows well, and last night I wound up stopping at a place where I must’ve cut a part out, but I didn’t sew the tattered ends back together *headdesk*

I’m not sure if I mentioned this last week, but someone on Deviant Art started reading and favoriting this story there.  In her comment on the “Warning and Foreword,” she mentioned she was a rape/assault survivor 😦  The pressure for me not to fuck this up has increased exponentially.

Quote: He braided her hair, twin ties at the forelocks, wrapping around her crown.  A bright blue ribbon adorned at the juncture where the two plaits became one.  Both flowed down the waves like deep diving fish in the brightening chestnut mane.  Aeris wished her hands could fly half so fast or remember the dance to bind, but they were still clumsy and held to her crown could only recall coldest chains.  Sephiroth tried to reteach using his silver locks, but her fingers just slid through smooth silk.  She forced her tears back in futility, and he kissed her, lamenting the past.


I’m not even going to pretend I’m working on any other writing project until the new year.  There’s too much going on, and I’m just way too tired with too little time.  I’m working on this while doing laundry, and afterwards I have to make cookies.

So I’m just going to say Merry Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas for tomorrow for those who celebrate, and Happy Hanukkah for those who celebrate!


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 12/17/16          The State of the Writer: 12/31/16–>

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Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy Tarot – XVIII The Moon

<–XVII The Star                                                                                       XIX The Sun–>

This is my current Final Fantasy Friday post where I’ll be discussing which characters I think exemplify each card of the Major Arcana.  If this is your first time here, please head over to my Final Fantasy Tarot page for explanation.  Now onto the next card!

XVIII The Moon

the-moon-rydia

Picture of Rydia entitled Rydia by RobasArel

The Moon is a mysterious card, difficult to divine, enigmatic, and mysterious.  This bled into the meta, making it quite the challenge to pick a character who exemplified it.  Ironically, the prior Star card was swayed by the insightful input of my fellow bloggers when I was fairly certain on this point; however, though I was flexible on The Moon, in the end I decided to go with Rydia whom I choose a year ago when I first conceived of this project.  I suppose that even though the moon is changeable, it always comes back around 😉

This Major Arcana represents intellectual light as a mere reflection, and beyond it is an unknown mystery that cannot be revealed, esoteric knowledge.  Rydia is washed overboard by Leviathan and ends up in the Feymarch or fairy realm.  When she returns she has knowledge beyond mortal men.  She has been to the other side and come back.  The Moon is a card of that scary, dreamy, secret otherworld where the darkest of magic lies.


Alternates: Lucrecia Crescent (VII), Vincent Valentine (VII), Seifer (VIII), Auron (X)

I can’t believe it took me so long to make the connection with Lucrecia’s last name being freaking Crescent, and she most certainly possessed dark, esoteric knowledge that kept her from every finding peace.  Her self-imprisonment in crystal could be seen as an escape to another world where what she did and what she knows can cause her pain no more.

Vincent is similar with his self-imposed imprisonment in a coffin beneath the Shinra Mansion, the place where it all began.  He also has that dark side of Chaos, which while not activated by the moon, could almost be equated with werewolf mythos.  This is on top of the former Turk being aligned with vampire mythos, something I’ve always believed but can’t quite explain.  The coffin connection along with the moody-broody attitude and eternal regret help spur this along.  Squeenix has managed to create a character that encompasses both werewolf and vampire traits without being too over the top with either of that.  That’s freaking impressive.

Seifer from FFVII was another consideration due The Moon card also being associated with the fine line between psychopathy and genius.  Seifer fell in love with his idea of the romantic dream and pursued this ideal for better or worse.

Finally, Auron from X because of his in between state as an unsent.  He rides the line between Spira and the otherworld and is possessed of esoteric knowledge.


While no one picked Rydia, both guessers still win this week!  LightningEllen choose Auron who’s an alternate, and Mr. Panda opted for FuSoYa who is from the same game as Rydia 🙂

Next week’s card is The Sun, an undeniably optimistic card, representing joy, enlightenment, victory, and happiness among other things.

Good luck!

<–XVII The Star                                                                                       XIX The Sun–>

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