Where is My Coffee?

My brain is taking forever to warm up this morning. It’s the lack of coffee. Oh, the days when I did homework and wrote blogs from the Starbucks lobby. There was always coffee. Now my house is cold, and there’s no coffee. Damn.

It’s unfortunate that today would be my slow brain day. I have approximately 4 hours of french homework to get done in the next 5 hours.

But, I did continue editing conversations with my Caladria author this morning. I also committed to another short story for them. Keep in mind that I’m still working on one, which I’m excited to delve into this week. And now have another in the pipeline.

I’ve gone mad.

But, on the bright side, this is my last week working 60 hours! Starting March 30th, I’llĀ  be down to about 48 hours, which was such a relief I nearly cried in the back room. Because I’m exhausted. And I feel trapped. I feel like there’s all these awesome things I want to be a part of, but can’t complete any of them to my standards.

I have my fingers in far too many pies.

Speaking of things I’m involved with, this is a friendly reminder to visit Caladria! Two issues of Fab Fables are out now, plus a free series to help you get the most out of our website, and a sample story. if you’re into High Fantasy, you’ve got to check us out!
FabFables2

Also, if you’re into writing High Fantasy, Caladria is always looking for new authors. Let me know if you’re interested, and I can help you out.

There’s a wall clock right behind me, and it’s ticking so loud that I can’t help but think about all the work I have today. So, this is it for today. I’ll see you all Wednesday!

BZ

Book Review- Sunrunner’s Fire by Melanie Rawn

Two 60 hour work weeks down, one to go! I’m fairly exhausted lately, and adding school to my list of responsibilities really puts a crunch on my blogging time.

But, it’s Sunday, I have a spare moment, and I’m here to talk about Sunrunner’s Fire!
Sunrunner's_Fire

That’s right, I finally finished it! It took longer than anticipated, mostly due to another obsessive slip into Dragon Age. I spent my precious free moments of spring break either playing the game or reading fanfiction.

But, as real life forced its way back into my daily routine, I found my nose back in the pages of the last book in the Dragon Prince Trilogy.

So let this be the warning, there be spoilers ahead!

Like Rawn’s other books, Sunrunner’s Fire spans many years. The opening chapter picks up right where The Star Scroll left off, with Andry bandying about his new-found status as Lord of Goddess Keep, Maarken and Hollis newly married, the latter still battling her addiction to dranath, and Sioned and Rohan, grim as ever. Sioned knows that Rohan did the right thing in killing Masul, and he doesn’t regret saving his beloved nephew’s life, but any act of physical violence or blatant use of his power as High Prince kills something inside of Rohan.

Through all the books, Rohan battles with the duality of man, especially one in a place of extreme power. In the first book we meet Rohan, and he’s young, optimistic, and an idealist. A scholar, he spent most of his free time studying and designing laws, so that man could exist and share power without the need for war.

And though the boy still exists within the man, Rohan has met with many failures, both with his subjects, and with himself. These failures of dimmed the bright light of the idealist, and hardened him into something a touch more fatalistic. He’s no less the scholar almost 40 years later, and he’s a much stronger, and wiser High Prince.

If you can’t tell, I adore Rohan. But, I also adore his wife, Sioned. I loved watching them grow together, and rule together. I ached with them as they struggled to conceive, and I hurt as Sioned battled with feelings of worthlessness at her inability to carry a child. Not only because they needed an heir, but because they both truly wanted a child.

This is an issue that, while I’ve never had any first hand experience, terrifies me. And it hit home to watch this beloved couple fray at the edges because of it.
Dragon prince en francais

But, nearly 40 years later, and their son Pol is a man. And though he has all of Rohan’s charm and wit, he doesn’t seem to like using it. I love Pol, mainly because Rohan and Sioned love him. Because he is the shining light of their lives, even as they fret and worry over his flippant approach to relationships.

And for a time, Pol’s indiscretion seems the biggest trouble in the book. Of course, having read The Star Scroll, I know that Marron, Ruval, and Mireva are still out there, biding their time to make their next move against Rohan and Pol. They’ve got big plans to oust the princes, and put a diamardh’im on the throne.

But, Andry is not to be ignored. He’s brutish in his straightforward use of power. He lacks Rohan’s grace and subtlety, and spends much of the book behaving like a child denied his way. Which is fitting giving his parentage. Chay is a straightforward man. A soldier at heart who likes to tackle problems head on. Tobin is pure fire, and gets what she wants. If she does find herself thwarted in her endeavors, she often throws small, and wildly entertaining tantrums. So, Andry’s disposition, as aggravating as it is, is actually quite natural for him.

And he’s seen a vision of a future he can’t allow to come true. A future where the diamardh’im have made an alliance with the Merida (eternal enemies of the desert) and wage a disastrous war against the faradh’im and the High Prince. In his vision Andry sees his childhood home, Radzyn Keep, completely gutted, its inhabitants strewn in a trail of dead all the way to the sea. He sees Stronghold burn, and knows that Rohan and Pol would have to be dead for such a thing to happen.

And so, being Andry, he vows to do anything he can to prevent this future. And he manages to stomp on a lot of toes to do so. He even manages to get himself banished from Stronghold! Which was a sad affair for all involved.

While Andry pisses people off, and Pol struggles to ignore the innocent beauty of an enemy’s daughter, Mireva and Ianthe’s sons infiltrate Stronghold. Marron, impatient fool that he was, implements a plan to thwart his own brother, and attempts to issue a challenge to Pol right in the middle of a feast. But, the moment he starts to use his sorcery, and foolishly admits that he was the one to kill Sorin, Andry sets him on fire until there’s nothing left but ash. Right there at dinner.

It’s this action, this murder, that gets Andry banished from Stronghold. Even though Rohan admits the boy would have been put to death, Andry ignored the laws, ignored the boy’s right to be heard and tried, even if it were a formality. And Andry’s disapproval of Rohan’s respect of the laws he created gets the Lord of Goddess Keep banished.

So, there’s one murderous diamardh’im out o f the picture.
The Star Scroll en francais

Mireva and Ruval keep a low profile after Marron’s outburst. But, finally Ruval issues a challenge to Pol. A duel using only their gifts as Sunrunner and Sorcerer. When Pol accepts, Rohan and Sioned know that they must tell their son about his true heritage. That he is Ianthe’s son.

Well, that goes terribly. Pol’s a jerkface about it. Sioned cries. A lot. And Rohan puts all the blame on himself, as usual. And I was angry at Pol. I identify with/worship his parents, and for him to be so cruel in the moment was torturous.

Eventually he comes around, though it hardens him incredibly. He goes from being the flippant young man, to becoming a prince. And though the change is painful to watch, his parents and the readers know that it was necessary.

So, he wages epic battle with Ruval, and basically sets the entire desert on fire, which is an awesome, and dangerous image. While their starlit battle rages on, Andry continues to be an idiot, and question Mireva in the dungeon. Of course she escapes, and tries to help Ruval. She quite nearly gets Pol killed, but is killed mid-cast by Riyan, who stabs her through and says, “That was for Sorin.”

I always liked that kid. Ostvel and Camigwen’s son if you’ll recall. He’s the only one besides Maarken who ended up having any sort of brains. And I swear by the Goddess, if Pol gets either of them killed in the next trilogy, Imma be pissed!

So, Stronghold is safe. Pol knows who he is. Rohan and Sioned weathered yet another storm. All seems well.

Except for that part where Andry has decided to go about secretly murdering all diamardh’im he can find. Even those of mixed nature, like Pol and Riyan. He knows he can’t murder those in his acquaintance, or those that don’t know their true heritage, so he decides to keep a close watch on those few he can’t murder out right.

In short, Andry has gone batshit. And I’m pretty sure his actions are going to make his vision come to pass. That is, if Pol doesn’t stop him.

And that’s where Rawn leaves us before the next trilogy begins. As much as I love this series and these characters, I’m taking a break from the series to read some other things in the next few months. Redshirts by John Scalzi, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Jurassic Park, etc. I love these books, but some distance might help me cope with the happenings in the next book. Thanks to some reviewer on Goodreads, I know something awful happens, and I just can’t handle that right now.
Sunrunners Fire en francais

Thanks for making it this far. Hopefully we’ll chat again soon!

BZ

Break Time is Over!

If you haven’t noticed my week and half long silence, well, that makes me sad…

But, I’m back! School started back up today, which brings me face to face with my laptop again. A part of me felt really guilty, ignoring everything for a week and a half, but the rest of me knew I had to take the time for myself. Because the next month and a half is an uphill slog.

School full time. Working 60hr work weeks for the foreseeable future. Still writing and editing for Caladria, which if you haven’t checked out Fab Fables 2, you’re just wrong. Book club is moving ahead, and I’ve got to finish reading Sunrunner’s Fire so I can burn through Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before the 1st.

Which has me at my busiest. And I definitely hit panic mode when I jolted awake at four this morning, for no other reason than a looming concern of scheduling issues. But, everything worked itself out, and though I’m going to be exhausted, and have absolutely ZERO social life, I know I can do this.

I should be back to posting fairly regularly, though it might take some ramp up time, since I’m still working 40hrs at Starbucks, plus the 22 at the library.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m back. Wish me luck with the next 8 weeks or so, because it’s gonna be a trip.

See you soon blogland!

BZ

Book Review- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Only I could get a parking ticket on my first day. Seriously. I can’t make this up. Metered parking is the devil, and those who enforce it are its minions. So, I get to pay $30 for my time today, and have a great story to tell.

Other than that my time at the Library this morning was fairly routine. I got to sit in on a staff meeting, then I filled out the mountain of paperwork that comes with being a new hire. And then I was regaled by tales of the Circulation Desk. I expect this job to be entertaining, and probably stressful.

In other news, I came across THIS last night:

OhmygodIcan'twaitforOctober!

OhmygodIcan’twaitforOctober!

October 6th is the scheduled release date, and I’ve already marked my calendar! The amount of squealing at midnight last night was just preposterous. I don’t even care, I am counting down to this book.

Speaking of books, I’m pretty sure I promised a book review sometime this week…

Spoilers!

readyplayerone

I had some really high expectations of Ready Player One. Trevor read it in about two days and loved it. But, I had a really hard time with the first 70 pages or so. Cline spent a large amount of time building the world, which he had double duty for, since there’s both the real world and a virtual world in the book. And, if you’re not up on your nerd culture, I think you’d need every minute of it.

But when you’re me, rocking Doctor Who and Kingdom Hearts tattoos, you don’t need a ton of explanation. It made the opening of the book pretty boring for me, since he had to explain what a Firefly class vessel was, and immediately mentioned an area of OASIS called the Whedonverse afterward. I don’t need you to tell me about any of those things. I know a ton already.

If he had explained the Holodeck, I would have put the book down.

But, Trevor kept telling me to wade through, that it would pick up. And right about chapter 7 the books cranks things up.

So, the premise is sort of a virtual reality Willy Wonka. Super rich video game programmer dies, and creates an in-game puzzle to decide his heir. It’s been 5ish years since his death and no one has found the first key. Until Wade Watts, aka Parzival, finds it on his school’s planet.

From there it’s a wild ride of nerdom, with riddles and clues buried deep within retro movies, games, music, and books. The book has a serious love affair with all things 80s, which really, who doesn’t?

But, it’s not all fun and games. There’s a corporation who will stop at nothing to win the contest. Including killing off gamers who come too close. Suddenly it’s a life and death scenario, and Wade is the largest target.

Add in a love interest who happens to be competition (and a totally badass female), and the perfect smartass best friend, and the cast becomes entirely too loveable. Even side characters, who aren’t around that much, have something that endears them to you. One such character dies, in real life, and I had to pause my reading I was so stricken.

(Speaking of stricken, I literally just found out that Leonard Nimoy has passed. Please observe this moment of silence.)

Spock Nimoy Nimoy2

Farewell, Mr. Spock.

Farewell, Mr. Spock.

Ahem… excuse me while I wipe away the tears. Now then, the characters in Ready Player One are just great. They’re funny, witty, and imperfect. They feel real, even though you know they’re just an avatar, that they could be a false representation. You know these people, and they’re awesome.

The setting in Ready Player One is unique in that it constantly changes. The OASIS is an endless virtual reality. You want to go play in Sunnydale and stake vampires with Mr. Pointy? You can do that! Wanna relive your favorite arcade games? There’s a planet for that! Wanna go to an outrageous Zero G dance club, where the floor revolves, everyone floats and an epic Wizard wields the turn table? Oh hell yeah! You can do that!

But, the real world is much less awesome. The real world is more or less destroyed. Indentured servitude is back with a vengeance, and most people work grueling hours at manual labor to be able to afford sharing a tiny trailer with two other families.

But, it’s the characters and the contest that really blew me away. This book is like equal parts Willy Wonka, The Matrix, and Indiana Jones. And I don’t care who you are, there’s no way that’s a bad combo!

Dreamers of Dreams

Dreamers of Dreams

"There's a bomb on the bus..." Wait, wrong movie.

“There’s a bomb on the bus…” Wait, wrong movie.

I'm just gonna leave this here...

I’m just gonna leave this here…

So, in short, this book was fantastic. It had great world building, if a little slow for my taste. It was just jam-packed with nerd culture, and had me laughing out loud with every page. The characters weren’t just believable. They were loveable, I wanted to be their friend. And the story line, with all it’s riddles and clues was extremely satisfying.

So, if you’re feeling like a quick read that will have you laughing and feeling nostalgic, I’d give Ready Player One a shot!

I’ll see you soon Blogland, when I finally talk about Writing Excuses 10.6!

BZ

Fab Fables Issue #2- Out Now!

FabFables2

That’s right! Fab Fables 2 just released this morning! And after a few dedicated weeks of writing, and some intense labors of love in editing, both from myself and the lovely Leah, A Stranger in the Mists is now out in the ether, waiting to be read!

Notice the name change? I like it better, and it really fits the story more than the previous title. Titles are such bitches. I’m terrible at them, but Leah came up with this revised one and it’s lovely!

You don’t have to read the first issue to understand the stories in the second one, but you can have both for less than $5, and dive into an all new world, that grows and changes as the stories are published.
FabFables1

Plus, Caladria offers something really cool. When you read a publication direct on the website, you can interact with the text. Any text that is blue is actually a link. Click a name to read a short bio, or a settlement to read an overview, or even see it on the huge world map. But, all of the information is kept within the time frame of the story; you won’t accidentally spoil the story reading a biography. It brings world building, and exploring, to a whole new level!

So, if you haven’t visited Caladria yet, what’s keeping you?

readyplayerone
In other news, Book Club meets tonight to discuss Ready Player One. Look for the review tomorrow! We’re meeting at Emily’s, and she’s preparing some sort of Asian Noodle Salad. I’m not sure I know what that means, but it sounds delicious. Of course, wine and beer will be provided. It’s not Book Club without some liquid refreshment.

But, tonight’s Book Club is the second to last one. That means that I get to request more book lists from the clubbers, and reopen the invitation. Not that the book club was ever really closed, but no one wants to come in half way through a list of books they had no say in.

I’m curious to see if everyone stays, or if a couple decide that the club wasn’t really for them. I’m also curious to see if any one else wants to join up. And what fresh blood will do to the book lists.

I’m still reading Sunrunner’s Fire, and it’s still great. I visited The Book Bin today, and learned that I should not be allowed in bookstores unattended. I used the excuse of trading in books, but I still managed to spend $30. And I don’t regret it.

I bought a used copy of Skybowl by Melanie Rawn. It’s the last book in her Dragon Star series, the trilogy after Dragon Prince. Obviously I haven’t finished the first trilogy yet, but I fully intend to read the second one, so why not pick up a cheap copy, am I right?
Skybowl_cover

Then I bought a new copy of Stardust by Neil Gaiman, since it’s the last book on the list for Book Club. I won’t be reading it for another month or so, but at least I finally have it.
Stardust

And then I splurged. You may not know this about me, but I’m a sucker for a great graphic novel. Have been since I saw The Crow in high school. I’ve read The Crow, and have the 20th anniversary edition of V For Vendetta on my shelf, even though it was technically a Christmas gift for Trevor a couple years back. I’d seen the cover of Saga on Goodreads, and even passed a copy in the bookstore today. It was enticing. The glossy cover seemed to shine just for me, but I was on a mission and refused to be waylayed. That is until I passed it a second time, on a different shelf.

Artwork by Fiona Staples

Artwork by Fiona Staples

I told myself I was just going to give it a quick flip through, to see what all the fuss was about. And then my fingers found that silky, high gloss cover, felt the thick, squeaky clean pages. I had to have it. I read the first chapter in my car, and loved it! I look forward to reading it over my “Spring Break” next week.

The rest of this evening is devoted to Book Club, reading for my Sci-Fi class, and doing French homework. If I find spare time somewhere in there I’ll start writing my new short story for Caladria, Sparks Fly. I’m really excited for this one, even though it’s shorter than the other two. My main character, even though I haven’t actually written her yet, is a crack up. And the trouble she gets into is pretty big time. This story is penciled in for Issue 4, and I’m editing for the first time for Issue 3. It’s busy times in Caladria!

Anyway, there’s work to be done and cider to be bought before Book Club. I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

BZ

Han Solo Heart

Sometimes life blindsides you. And that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I’ve over-filled my plate. I know that. Working 45+ hour work weeks, plus school full time, plus writing and editing for Caladria is more than I can handle. At least, that’s what my brain tells me.

And my heart?

Well, my heart likes to quote Han Solo, “Never tell me the odds.”solo-no

And truly, this is my slogan. I perform best when others expect me to fail. It becomes a matter of pride. I’m tenacious at best, and supremely stubborn at my worst. I don’t back down.

I just don’t.

So, what have I been up to lately? Prepping. It’s finals week, so I’m trying to keep my school work a priority. I went clothes shopping today to find “Business Casual” attire for the Library. Not my favorite pass time, but it was a success.

I’m still reading Sunrunner’s Fire, and it’s still amazing. Rawn’s villains are just so great. So nefarious. So clever. It makes their segments of the story painful for me to read. But, I’ll get into that more when the book review comes around.

I’ve fallen behind on Writing Excuses, but that’s the beauty of pod casts, I can go back and listen whenever I have time. Like tomorrow on my lunch break.

And behind all of this I’m stewing up my next Caladria story. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve got the basic intro planned, and I know where the story is headed. I’m just waiting on some details before I really hash it out.

I realized the other day that I haven’t worked on Vessels in months. And as sad as that makes me, it’s the project of least importance right now. Cards is still hibernating, and probably will be until summer break. Jordinn’s Story saw some progress around the New Year, but I haven’t had time since then. Even bigger bummer.

But, prioritizing projects is the only way I’m going to make these next few months work. And some projects have to be put on hold. It’s a necessary evil. Or, more like survivalism at its best.

Anyway, Trevor is plating up dinner. We had the day off together, which is always nice. Time with my husband is one thing that will never take a back seat.

See you soon Blogland!

BZ

Just Keep Reading, and Writing!

So, you know how Rock, Paper, Scissors between three people tends to not work out? That’s what happens when three people share a bet on a two-person Mario Kart Arcade Machine.

Flash, AKA Michael, and I duked it out first. We both play as Yoshi, which was weird, but it was a really close race. I hit the final turn a touch too wide and he snuck past me to the finish line. So, I had to buy the kid a beer.

Then Crazybull, yes that’s his real last name, and Flash raced. And Crazybull won! Which was awesome, because it was great to watch Flash lose, haha.

So then, me and Chris raced. And though it was a close call, I just eeked out a win. But, I ended up buying Crazybull a beer anyway, because his bike was stolen earlier in the day, which is just shitty.

In other news, I finished reading Ready Player One yesterday. I may have teared up a touch at the end. I regret nothing. So, expect a book review for that sometime next week, probably after the book club meeting. We only have two more books left before it’s time to decide if the No Name Book Club reads on! I’m curious to see who stays on board.

But, now I have some reading freedom again, so I’ve pulled Sunrunner’s Fire from the shelf, and added it to the What I’m Reading Page.
Sunrunner's_Fire

Only one more week of this term, so things are a little intense school wise right now. But, I start at the Library the week of spring break, so at least I won’t be juggling finals and a new job!

I’ve been really productive today. I woke up late, which was nice, did my hour of Pilates, busted out both my French homework and my post for Science Fiction, and then penned the synopsis for A Stranger Comes Knocking. That story is officially done! And, surprise! It’s slotted for the second issue of Fab Fables!

I honestly thought it was going in the third issue this whole time! So I didn’t try to snatch a story for the third issue. So, I won’t be writing anything for issue three of Fab Fables, but I am editing a piece, so you’ll still see me!

What happens after that? I’m not sure. But I’m definitely strapped in for the long haul with Caladria. This group of people are just awesome. Super helpful, driven, creative, and friendly.

And they’re looking for more authors! If you’re interested, let me know, and I can help you out!

Any way, I work a late shift tonight, so I actually have a bit of free time. So, I’m off to read and eat lunch!

Have a great day Blogland!

BZ