The State of the Writer: 12/1/19

<–The State of the Writer: 10/20/19         The State of the Writer: 12/15/19–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 253,463
Prior Word Count: 254,260
Word Difference: -797
Status: Editing
Progress: Posted Chapter 20

Sephiroth staring forward with an almost expressionless look on his face even though his lips are curled slightly up. His slit pupils are clearly visible, as well as the upturned color of his black, leather coat. Silver hair frames his face surrounded by embers and the suggestion of flames. In the top left corner are the words "Chapter 20 Mercy."I went through the gambit of pictures before settling on this one alone.  If I were better at image manipulation, I would’ve done a layered one with Aeris looking at him, but I decided to scrap that due to lack of skill.  I absolutely adore this picture though; I’ve used it quite a few times in my slideshows, and it resonated with me for this particular chapter, which has been building since the very beginning.  My readers are quite bloodthirsty, too…I’ve already received some accolades for this selection.

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The State of the Reader: 1/2/19

<–The State of the Reader: 12/19/18          The State of the Reader: 1/16/19–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 8


Books Finished: 2

Title: Angels’ Blood
Series Title: Guild Hunter
Author: Nalini Singh
Date Added: May 11, 2017
Date Started: November 2, 2018
Date Finished: December 27, 2019
Reading Duration: 55 days

Angels' BloodMedia: Paperback (Library)

This book was everything I wanted and more.  It is exactly how I love to see angels portrayed: dangerous, mysterious, and sexy.  There are so many vampire stories out there, and there are so many where vampires are compared to angels, but this one was unique as it made vampires and angels distinct entities, but gave them an integral connection.  I’ve already bought the next book in the series (as noted above), and it’s the next one I plan to read after I finish my current fiction/fantasy.

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The Three Things Tag

What’s this?

Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas saying

Too goddamn easy

I apologize for nothing.  It’s fall.  It’s almost October.  They’re selling candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins.  That pretty much means it’s spooky time.

Dancing skeletonsThe sad part is this post isn’t even about Halloween.  It’s about listing things in threes and I yoinked it from Cupcakes and Machetes.  So let’s get into it without any further distractions.


3 READ ONCE & LOVED AUTHORS:

Grace DravenGrace Draven is the author of the Wraith Kings series, which is this fantastic paranormal romance.  It was my top series last year, and I can’t wait for the third book to come out.  I actually just got an email from Goodreads and Amazon about her newest release Phoenix Unbound that I downloaded a sample of.  As my newest favorite author, I can’t wait to see what else she puts out.

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20 Questions Book Tag

Another one from the indomitable Writer Michelle Payne.  I think I can answer 20 book questions 🙂

1. How many books is too many books in a series?

Hm, that’s one of those “it depends” questions.  If the series remains fresh and relevant, keep going, but if the plot lines are going stale and the characters are stalling, I think it’s time to retire it.  I’d say 20+ books is too much with the same characters and setting.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

They’re evil and I love them. Re: Strange the Dreamer.

Strange the Dreamer cover

3. Hard copy or paperback?

I prefer paperback.  They’re easier to carry around and to read.  Hardback usually has an annoying cover that, while aesthetically pleasing, tends to flap around and get in the way.

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Mystery Blogger Award #4

I am four times more mysterious than I ever could have imagined.  Apparently my mysterious nature is a mystery even to me.


The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma, and I am delighted and honored to have been nominated for the award by  Dani of Touch My Spine Book Reviews, a wonderful book blogger and an ultimate sweetheart ♥

The Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

Well, we’ve already accomplished the first four items on the list, so I believe we’re doing passably well.

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The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous

Title: The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
Author: Anonymous
Translator: Jackson Crawford
Date Started: May 8, 2017
Date Finished: July 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 75 days
Genre: Mythology, Poetry, Classic

Pages: 392
Publication Date: March 5, 2015
Original Publication Date: Circa 1200
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company
Media: Paperback


Compiled by an unknown author in Iceland around 1270, and based on sources dating back centuries earlier, the single main manuscript of The Elder Edda is one of the literary wonders of the medieval world and the greatest source of knowledge of Viking lore in existence. These mythological and heroic poems tell of gods and mortals from an ancient era: the giant-slaying Thor, the doomed Volsung family, the hell-ride of Brynhild and the cruelty of Alti the Hun. Eclectic, incomplete and fragmented, these verses nevertheless retain their stark beauty and their power to enthrall, opening a window on to the thoughts, beliefs and hopes of the Vikings and their world. Andy Orchard’s new translation faithfully conveys the spare, unadorned style of the original metre and language. The glossed text us accompanied by four additional poems, a chronology, further reading, an index of names, a note on pronunciation, and an introduction discussing the poems in detail, the history of The Elder Edda and its influence on writers from Tennyson to Tolkien.”


The Poetic Edda, compiled histories, stories, and legends of Scandinavia, is not what I would call a complete or even cohesive compendium, but rather cobbled together vignettes of the Vikings and north men from cold and brutal lands.  Its influence is undeniable across eons and media: Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which in turn inspire J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and more modernly George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Square Enix’s famous franchise, most emphatically Final Fantasy VII, BioWare’s Dragon Age, and obviously Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, though all of these titles merely scratch the surface of how deep its inspiration goes.

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Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea #1)

Title: Half a King
Series Title: Shattered Sea
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Date Added: July 14, 2015
Date Started: May 27, 2017
Date Finished: June 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 22 days
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Grimdark

Pages: 385
Publication Date: July 3, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: Hamlet, The Lion King, ASOIAF, Radiance (Wraith Kings), An Ember in the Ashes


“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
 
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
 
The deceived will become the deceiver.
 
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
 
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
 
Will the usurped become the usurper?
 
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.


If life has taught me one thing, it’s that there are no villains. Only people, doing their best.

Prince Yarvi lives in a society very similar to the Ironborn of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: harsh, cruel, and unforgiving of weakness.  They follow Mother War, eschew Father Peace and present a juxtaposition within the two ideals, as the mother or feminine side is usually associated with tranquility whereas war and battle are typically portrayed as masculine.

Seriously…you don’t get much more “masculine” than this, and he’s literally the God of War.

As the second and youngest son of King Uthrik, Yarvi had neither hopes nor ambitions for the throne.  He was meant for the ministry, studying under Mother Gundring, where having only one good hand would make no difference.  Yarvi’s bitterness bleeds on the page, because he cannot live up to his culture’s expectations, and neither of his parents let him forget this.

A man swings the scythe and the ax, his father had said. A man pulls the oar and makes fast the knot. Most of all a man holds the shield. A man holds the line. A man stands by his shoulder-man. What kind of man can do none of these things?

I didn’t ask for half a hand, Yarvi had said, trapped where he so often found himself, on the barren ground between shame and fury.

I didn’t ask for half a son.

His mother isn’t much better in the beginning.  She has nothing but scorn for her disabled child, but considering their culture, his parents’ behavior makes perfect sense.  It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather is a product of the harsh climate and culture they live in, which could be overlooked through the lens of presentism. This is not to say that Yarvi deserves his plight.  He doesn’t.  No one does whether from ancient history or far flung future; however, his misery fits into that zeitgeist, and his reaction to the emotional abuse and gaslighting is timeless.

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The Goodreads Book Tag 2

I still have a ton of blogger tags/awards to get through, and I can’t even claim to be doing them in order.  Today this is the one I’m awake/aware enough to go through, so…

First, I found this on The Writing Hufflepuff’s blog so you should check her out.  She does book reviews mostly and her blog is just set up really neatly.  I use Goodreads a ton, so this is the perfect tag for me.  Please feel free to friend me there if you use it, too!

What was the last book you marked as read?

The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh.  I just finished reading it this morning.  Such an excellent mid-grade novel.  I’ve also read and reviewedThe Quantum Door, which was good, too, but Ghost was even better.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading six books, but that number will probably jump back up to seven before I post my State of the Reader update this Wednesday:

  1. Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
  2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Patrick Thorpe
  5. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous

What was the last book you marked as ‘to read’?

Primitive Mythology by Joseph Cambell, the fist book in his Masks of God series.  I initially had The Power of Myth on there in its stead, but a friend told me that I could just watch the interviews with Bill Moyers, so I threw that on my Amazon wish list.

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The Editing of Northern Lights – Chapter 8 and an Ocean Full of Sads

These are the Editing Notes for my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights (which you can find at the end of that link).  I will be discussing a myriad of topics along with my frequently tangential and harried editing process.  You should be able to garner some enjoyment and insight from this without having read the story and/or without prior knowledge of the original game, but if you’re a fan of paranormal romance and/or dark fantasy, you may find it to your liking.  The story will be spoiled in this editing examination, though I will do my best to mark spoilers for any other narratives I mention.  Thanks for your interest and enjoy!

<–The Box Contains More Chapter 8                            Between the Seams of Chapter 8–>

Holy shit it’s been a while since I’ve updated this.  I have it on my schedule for every fourth Saturday or something like that.  I switch up what I work on on Saturday just because I have so much.  I’d like to say I’ll increase when I publish these, but I’m lucky to get to it when I do.  Just a reminder, I wrote these notes three years ago now while I was editing the fanfiction.  My writing has improved since then (at least I think so), and it’s a mix of then writing and now, though I don’t always indicate where that happens.  I try to remember to use italics when I’m inserting future me into a conversation, but I did some editing on this before like a few months back, so even though it’s future me, it’s not necessary now me lol.  Anyway, if you have any questions, you know where to find me!

10/22/14
Mmmm chocolate…oh wait, oh what?

Welcome back.  Chocolate is like God’s gift to your mouth.  One of the side effects of mostly eating healthy (or at least for me) is going through phases where you just want to eat ALL the food.  That’s happening to me right now.  I eat all the food; weigh myself; flip shit, and then go back on track the next week and hopefully undo the damage.  Tis a long journey, but it’s all about the climb, isn’t it?  No, fuck that…I want the goddamn results.

Ah yes, this is when I was overly concerned with reducing myself down to an impossible size hehe.  I was seriously and sadly obsessed with that…like so many other people.  I have a far different viewpoint on it now, especially since I can’t physically stand for more than ten minutes due to still unknown reasons.

So I asked what your favorite season one.  I’ll answer mine is a brief dialogue.

Random Person: Hey Adrienne, what’s your favorite season?
Me: Advent.

It counts!  It’s a “season;” it’s Christmas, and I love Christmas cause I’m a Christmas goth.  At least I finally found an Advent Calendar that I could get on board with.

♫Tis the season to be drunken♫

♫Tis the season to be drunken♫

I’d drink my Advent Wine on Advent Sunday while watching Advent Children.

I’m not even going to try to ease my way into this conversation to what my editing notes are.  There is no graceful segue.  You’ll have to be content with non sequitur.  At the time of this writing I was helping a friend by beta reading a sexy time part she had to add to a story, and this got me thinking about the line between romance sex and erotic sex.  Romance sex tends to focus on feelings whereas erotic sex focuses on the physical.  Now obviously you can weave physicality into romance sex and emotions into erotic sex, and frankly you have to.  You can’t just have all emotions and feels or fluids and flesh, but there’s a delicate balance between what’s expected in each genre.  She is more of an erotic sex writer where I tend to take the romantic path.  I can and have written erotica (nothing published) and I often push the envelope in the ideas process and then dial it back when it comes to the writing portion and pare it down even further when I edit.

No sexy time for a while yet with this story, though.  What did I say before?  You can’t marry (or fuck) the princess before you slay the dragon, and dear god is there a “dragon” to slay.  Hehe in trope land this is not really quite accurate, as the Dragon is more the Big Bad’s top enforcer.  TV Tropes doesn’t agree with my point of view on this having Jenova as the Dragon to Sephiroth on its page where I really see that as quite the opposite.  Jenova was the catalyst to his insanity, the start of his darkness.  It wormed its way into his head and gutted everything he ever was.  But for that incident (much like Isildur’s refusal to destroy Sauron’s ring), there would be no story.  I know I keep bringing this point up and driving it in (ughhhhhh), but it seems to be a bone of contention with so many people insisting that Sephiroth is just plain evil, but I think my interpretation is far more accurate and in a way darker.  Sephiroth is the Lucifer/Satan of the FFVII world, the fallen angel, the most beautiful and the best…but there’s something worse than he is.  Jenova is the dark source, the antitheses of the source, the distorted absolute.  I don’t know what the Unholy Sephiroth to Kether is (nor would I call or write its name), but that would be represented in Jenova.  I looked it up in my Dictionary of Angels, but I’m till not going to write it, and I talk more about the horrifying implications of Jenova further below in my discussion about war.

But for now we should move on to brighter and happier things, and as such is lacking we shall go to the editing of Northern Lights.

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The State of the Reader: 3/15/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/8/17          The State of the Reader: 3/22/17–>

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 Finished This Week: 1

Title: Men of Greywater Station
Author: George R. R. Martin
Date Added: March 14, 2017
Date Started: March 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 14, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction

Media: Online
Publication Date: June 1976
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 29

I decided to read this yesterday after listening to Preston Jacobs’s review of another GRRM short story (which is why it was never on my TBR or Currently Reading lists), the name of which I can’t recall now.  Preston’s review of Greywater is right here though for the interested, and the link to the story itself is above (just click “Online”).  It was a quick read at only 29 pages.  There are also links to listen to the audio or read the short on Preston’s review, which is how I was able to do so.

I’m not going to write a review of it since I linked to Preston’s more than serviceable one, but I will say that I correctly guessed what was really going on.  I’m becoming used to the paradigms Martin uses.  Like most authors he falls into a pattern and recycles his own motifs.  I have absolutely no problem with this as a writer who does the same.  I truly believe that GRRM has already “given away” the ending of Song in his prior tales.  It’s just the matter of divining how to put the pieces together.  Martin is an extremely subtle writer, and he requires a bit of intelligence and introspection from his readers.  He’s not just going to give you the answer or lay the meaning bare.  Rather, he’s going to make you dig for it and question it even after you’re certain you know the truth (it reminds me of a certain game I love).

Speaking of which (symbolically), I’m almost certain that one of Dany’s dragons is going to be injured in a way to lose a wing, and I’m saying that because Martin has done this before.  Literally in The Ice Dragon and metaphorically in Windhaven (one of the parts is literally called “One-Wing”).  As mentioned above, Martin recycles motifs, and reading his short stories, you see similar paradigms as the ones in Song;: hive-minded, mind controlling entities, civilizations existing after some great cataclysm, portents from the sky that are actual spaceships/aliens, humans usurping the land from the original inhabitants, etc. (okay…this is not to beat a dead horse, but all of these things are also paradigms in FFVII.in some way.  The civilization after a cataclysm fits if you look at all of the games as on one timeline and remember what happened in FFVI.  That’s all I’m going to say about this for now, since the plans to write those essays are still go).  This is my only original prediction for Song’s seventh season (omg…).  All the other ones I prescribe to were created by righteous others.


Samples Read This Week: 5

  1. Chasing Embers (Ben Garston #1) by James Bennett: Kept – It starts off in a bar and introduces questions, issues, and a potential supernatural bar fight, which is enough to keep me interested.  Nor can I forget that I found this through one of Kim’s (or By Hook or By Book) reviews!
  2. Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks Kept – The main character’s name is Sepora who’s fleeing a father who wants to exploit her special abilities.  Huh.  This was another one I found due to Kim 🙂
  3. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: Kept – This was recommended to me a while ago by the lovely writer of The Ink Garden.  The writing is lush and brilliant, and the opening chapter entices you into a world of secrets and intrigue.
  4. The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker: Kept/RWTR – Not only did I keep this, I put it on my really-want-to-read bookshelf (RWTR).  The beginning is brutal in showcasing the realities of war, exile, and the diseases and depravities that almost always follow.  Raw and beautiful is one of my favorite styles of writing (it’s what I try to emulate).
  5. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Kept/RWTR – Give me stories based on fairy tales any day of the week.  There’s also a Song parallel in the description of the character Frost as a “blue-eyed winter demon,” especially considering he’s the king of winter (common paradigms are common).  It’s odd though.  This is another story based on Vasilisa the Beautiful, the same as Vassa in the Night, which I didn’t finish.  The writing in Bear/Nightingale is so much more lush and atmospheric than Vassa.  Plus it’s not an urban fantasy or YA.

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