Well, Hello There!

Hi Blogland,

Huh. It feels kind of weird to be back. I’m still not promising anything, or even pretending I’m back in any sort of routine. I’m not. I still play Mass Effect just about every day, and I’m reading (and writing) way more fanfiction than I ought to.

But, I thought about From the Quorum for the first time in a month the other day. I call that progress. I also felt a pang of guilt/longing for The Steel Armada. We’re getting there.

The whole point of this was to keep me from falling into the spiral of guilt that I normally feel when I hyper-focus on something. When I start feeling guilty for doing things that I enjoy, I tend to further procrastinate the tasks I’ve sacrificed in order to hyper-focus in the first place.

Right now, I tell myself that writing fanfiction is better than not writing at all. And since I’ve put over 6k words into this one fic just in April, I’d say that’s damn good.

Also, The Audient Void #3 is out! Get you one! Available at the Book Bin in downtown Salem, or online at their Facebook page.

My reading has seriously slowed, but a steady stream of fanfiction keeps me going. I fully intend to pick things back up sometime in May. I promise. Pinky swear. All that good stuff.

Also, I wanted to mention that I’ve applied for another full time position with the library. I know better than to assume anything at this point, but I’ve learned a lot in the last 9ish months since my last interview with the city, and I have a lot more confidence in myself than I did even four months ago. Keep your fingers crossed for me just the same, huh?

Thanks for sticking with me through this gaming fog. The fact that I’ve come up for air is promising. I look forward to talking at you all on a regular basis again soon.

 

BZ

Goals Summary wk 11

Hi all,

Gonna keep this brief. I think. I wanted to let you know that  I’ve been using the Windows laptop exclusively now for about a month. I like it. I’m acclimating, and in general it’s much more reliable than my poor, ancient Macbook. It was the right decision to transfer over.

Last week’s goals were extremely straightforward. Publish two blog posts, and write the Mass Effect Fanfic.

Well,  I didn’t publish two posts, but I wrote over 3,000 words of fic. Plus another 1500 tonight. So that’s going well. I’ve had a few views, multiple follows, and one review so far, which feels really good for only two chapters.

I just posted chapter 3 tonight, so we’ll see how that goes. If you’re interested here’s a link. However, keep in mind that this is fanfiction. It’s barely edited, and not very indicative of my original work. I own nothing in it, it is purely my imagination running wild in a world I love. It’s how I’ve coped with the waiting for Andromeda.

Which is here TOMORROW!!!!! So long world, I’ll see you again in a few weeks/months, depending on how obsessed I become with it. Therefore, I will not be setting any goals for next week, unless you count “not leaving the house until Sunday”.

Until then Blogland,

BZ

Goals Summary wk 10

Hi Blogland,

Just wanted to let you know that I am still here. If you’re following me on Goodreads, then you know that I haven’t read anything at all in the last week. All my spare time is spent researching Mass Effect Andromeda before the EA Early Access opens on Thursday, and playing The Witcher 3 to keep my hands and mind busy.

Geralt

Sorry, Geralt. It’s not you, it’s me.

I did manage to edit a chapter of The Steel Armada last week, so at least there’s that.

And I took the dog on his first hike! We went to Silver Falls State Park, and though it was packed, we had a great time. The dog definitely has a lot to learn, and we need to work on socializing him with other dogs and more people. He gets a little too excited. But, we had fun with good friends on one of the nicest days Oregon has seen in months.

Simons first hike

Just a girl and her Doggo

But, the edits and the hike were the only thing I accomplished last week. And this week I get my hands on the first 10 hours of Mass Effect Andromeda. I’m not even going to kid myself with any sort of goals.

… Although, I was challenged to write a bit of Mass Effect fanfiction. A coworker suggested that I write a piece about a Krogan pastry chef who falls in love with his Salarian coworker. If you’re not into the series, that sentence won’t mean anything to you, but it made me laugh so hard that I’m committed to writing it now. Maybe I’ll do that this week to tide me over once I’m locked out of the Early Access.

I promise, if it turns out worth a damn I’ll post it on ff.net, and link it here.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven’t completely forgotten you yet. But, expect that next Monday will be my last post for awhile, as I’ll be living in the Andromeda galaxy come Tuesday.

Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ

Goals Summary Wk 9

Hi All,

I’m gonna keep this brief because my mind is anywhere but here. Tomorrow is the two week mark for the Mass Effect Andromeda release. I am an anxious, impatient, salivating mess. All I can seem to to do is re-watch videos I already have memorized, listen to soundtracks and songs that are reminiscent of space, and my attention span for anything else is just non-existent.

Mass_Effect_Andromeda_cover

Even the cover has me itching to play!

It’s going to be a rough month here at the blog. Probably a rough April too.

So, last week I wanted to:

  • Write chapter 13 of From the  Quorum
    • Done! Finished it up Monday night with 2,992 word sprint.
  • Read The Six-Gun Tarot
    • Not even close. Haven’t even broken 100 pages yet, which is a shame because it’s actually REALLY good so far. Again, no attention span at all.
  • Publish 2 blog posts
    • Done! Last weeks goals post, a general “How’s the Blog Doing?” post, and the book review for The Paper Magician.
  • Continue The Steel Armada edits
    • Done! I’m either on chapter 16 or 17 now, so this area of my life is going very well.

So, last week could have been much worse, and I’m proud of the work I managed to get done.

This week I’m going to be a bit more realistic, because I know myself, and I’m hyper-focusing really hard on gaming, and Mass Effect in particular.

  • Write 1,000 words of From the Quorum
  • Read 200 pages of The Six-Gun Tarot
  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Continue The Steal  Armada edits

I’m still doubtful that I’ll read that much, but I don’t want to abandon the book. It really is good. But, in my desperation for wonderful, immersive gameplay,  I’ve finished my millionth play through of the original Mass Effect Trilogy, and have picked up The Witcher III just so I can have something to do.

Because I am suffocating without Andromeda. Suffocating. Drowning in lack of gameplay. Like, yes, I love the Dragon Age series, and I’ve played the ever-loving shit out of those games. But, not like I’ve played Mass Effect. I have Mass Effect tattoos. I’ve played the original trilogy five times. I have Mass Effect jewelry, t-shirts, hoodies, and jackets. Hell, I even have Mass Effect socks, and I’m wearing them right now! I have multiple figurines and comics and novels. I’m an avid reader of terrible Mass Effect fan fiction (Dragon Age fics too, for that matter).

This is my all time favorite gaming franchise, and today marks the 5 year anniversary of Mass Effect 3‘s release. I’ve been waiting five years for Andromeda, and now that it’s so close, I’m physically suffering without it.

So, just be prepared for my presence here to dwindle, if not die off completely in the coming months. I swear I will try my damnedest to hold myself accountable and post, but don’t be surprised if I vanish for awhile.

Until Thursday, Blogland.

 

BZ

Book Review- The Princess Bride by William Goldman

All right, I’ve found a couple minutes between reading and writing assignments, so here I am.

My limited free time has found me absolutely obsessed with Dragon Age: Inquisition. This is technically my third playthrough, but my second one only lasted 6 hours before I got bored and deleted it. I didn’t like the decisions or the back story. Humans are so boring, especially in a game that holds so many Elven secrets. So, now I’m over 60 hours into my Dalish Elf mage playthrough, and I’m romancing Solas, because I like sobbing in my spare time.

"Our Love Can Endure" by Mae'thnial Mahariel

“Our Love Can Endure” by Mae’thnial Mahariel

I’m not sure I’ve adequately conveyed my level of obsession. Phone background? Solas picture. Fan Fiction? Following nine different stories all about Solavellan (the name my particular brand of shippers have given the romance between Solas and the Dalish Inquisitor, Lavellan). A playlist has been made, chock-a-block full of sad/angry/confused songs that more or less scream, “WHY?” I’m even a member of a fan page on Facebook. I’ve got it bad.

And I regret nothing.

But, when I’m not gaming for hours at a time, I’m still reading, and so, let’s discuss The Princess Bride!

Princess Bride

Now, this will be an easy review because if you’ve seen the movie, you’ve read the book. I’m not kidding. Most of the dialogue from the film is verbatim from the book, which made it a fantastically fun read. Book Club, of course, loved it.

There were some added scenes, like more fleshed out backstories for Inigo and Fezzik, and though I loved them, I can understand why they were condensed in the film.The book is a little disorienting because the narrator speaks directly to the reader, telling how his father read the story to him as a child, and once he revisited it as an adult, he discovered that his father cut out all the boring bits to tell a tale of “True Love and High Adventure”.

Now, I made an attempt, back in 2011-ish, to read this book, and for whatever reason, was unable to finish it. I was worried as I reopened it that I would succumb to the same problem, and be faced with the hard truth that The Princess Bride, a most beloved film, was based on a boring book.
The Princess Bride

I’m glad to report that the book is anything but boring. I loved it, and now cherish it on my bookshelf, glad to keep it safe there and in my heart.

I know this is a short review, but really, if you’ve seen the film (and if you haven’t, I say this: Inconceivable!) then you’ve read the book. That said, if you love the movie (and if you don’t, I say this: Inconceivable!) please, please, please read the book. You won’t regret it.

Now, this was a Book Club read, which means we’re down to three books left. Next up: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. We have a short month between meetings, so we opted for the shortest book remaining on the list.
Perksofbeingwallflower1

I’m still reading a ton for school, though I’ll admit I didn’t finish Martian Time-Slip. I made it about 40 pages, but the slow story just couldn’t keep up with my Dragon Age addiction.

Moving Mars, by Greg Bear is doing much better, thanks to a shaky romance that reminds me just enough of Solavellan that I can read it with rapt attention.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in, say hello, good work today, sleep well, I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

Oh, wait. I’m not the Dread Pirate Roberts…

BZ

The Mario Kart Smackdown… I Hope.

I’ve hit a wall. You know the one. It’s late in the term, and I couldn’t care less about my classes right now. All I want to do is read and write, and prepare for my first week at Library. Instead I’m supposed to be prepping for my last French speaking appointment before the oral final next week. I have a test Monday, and then the final the following Monday.

I also have to read a short story and write a post by tomorrow afternoon for my Science Fiction class, write another 6 page paper about readings from the semester that could be classified as Science Fiction vs. readings that are more Fantasy.

Personally, I didn’t think any of them were truly Fantasy, but I’m biased. Fantasy short fiction is rough to write, because the world-building is so confined. A couple of the stories we read did a decent job, but I’m used to thousand page epics.

readyplayerone
I’m still reading for pleasure, though slowly. Ready Player One took a long time to build. There was a lot of background info that seemed inconsequential that I actually needed to know, so the beginning was pretty boring. Now I’m on page 327 and the fact that I’m not at liberty to read it right now is really irritating me.

But, it’s the perfect book to read for today. I have challenged two friends of mine to a good, old-fashioned Mario Kart Arcade ass whuppin’. Mostly I just wanted to get us all together to play, but putting a beer on the line, and brandishing smack talk for a week has been a ton fun. Tonight we’ll find out how much crow I have to eat.
MarioKartArcade

In Caladria I just have to write the synopsis for A Stranger Comes Knocking and it will be officially complete. I promised to have that done before I go to work tomorrow evening. I’ve also been assigned my first story to edit, but the content isn’t due until the 15th, so there’s nothing for me to look at yet.

I’m nervous, and excited. I like editing, a lot. Just, not my own stuff so much. Other people’s stuff? Love it!

Anyway, I have to gear up for my homework session. I’ll talk to you soon Blogland.

BZ

Catching Up and Moving On

Well hi there! How have you been? It’s been such a long time it seems, but I’m glad to be back.

So, when Dragon Age: Inquisition was announced, I was still feeling pretty underwhelmed by Dragon Age 2, and was hanging my hopes on Destiny. I mean, an awesome looking sci-fi game with huge worlds and the tagline, “Become Legend”. I was stoked.

And then I played it to find that it had no story to speak of. I’m not sure how one becomes a legend when there is no narrative, and no one is, not even the development team at Bungie. I mean, your character doesn’t really matter in the slightest. And calling them a character is a stretch. They’re an avatar. They make no decisions, can have only the most base interactions with NPCs and ultimately don’t matter. You can be the same species as an antagonist character, and she talks down to you the same as she does to a human character, the dialogue is identical.

And it made me crazy. I didn’t complete the “story” missions. In fact, I haven’t touched the game since my husband admitted that the story never fully develops, and that there’s no real resolution at the end. I mean, really, what’s the point?

I know I’m walking a dangerous line here. People love this game. And the gameplay itself is fantastic. The movement the leveling, the armor, all the actual gameplay elements are great. But, without the story to carry them, I just don’t give a f***.

So, by the time November 18th came around, I was desperate for Dragon Age: Inquisition. I knew BioWare would create and tell a story that would completely enthrall me. They would create and reintroduce characters that became more than a collection of pixels. And I was right.

My Inquisitor

My Inquisitor

I finally “finished” my first playthrough, after about 90 hours of game time. I put finish in quotation marks because there’s still more for my character to do, I just finished the main story line. And, it’s left me reeling. There’s a major cliffhanger at the end, and I know there’s going to be DLC, which I am desperate to get to. Even though it hasn’t been announced, let alone released yet.

I know I’ve talked a bit about BioWare and video game writing here, and I’m not looking to rehash any sentiments I’ve made plain before. I just wanted to mention that, as the credits rolled by, I read the names on the writing team. Out of seven or eight writers, three were women.

Now, three isn’t a big number, but three out of seven? That’s practically half! That’s awesome and I am so proud to be a gamer/writer chick!

Anyway, now that I’m back from my sabbatical in Thedas (the world the Dragon Age games take place in), it’s time to update you all and talk a bit about my plans and goals,

School is over until January 15th… or the 17th. I can’t remember right this second, but over a month! A blessed month of free time! I did well in my English class, which was to be expected. I’m still waiting on the final grade for French, but I’m feeling pretty good.

The Nameless Book Club finally had its first reading meeting. We had a ton of fun! Of course, the wine had a lot to do with that, but we all enjoyed Stupid & Contagious, and I think it was the perfect book to break the ice. We selected Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café as our next book, and we’re meeting mid-January. I’ve already started it, and though it’s not my typical genre, I’m intrigued by it so far.
Book Club

So, that’s all happening. And it’s all good. I emailed my Editor at Caladria, and expressed an interest in writing consistently for them. She was thrilled, and handed my three story options to pursue. After some talking, I’ve got my next short story assigned and have started a vague outline! Also, my first story for them, Hunting Storm, is going to appear in the inaugural issue! Trust me, as soon as I have release and price details, I will be blowing it up here!

I do need to do a deep read through of Hunting Storm to check over some edits my Editor made, but so far it’s looking good. She cut 137 words, which was to be expected. I, like a noob, turned in my rough draft, so I knew there’d be some fixes. Luckily it was a very clean draft!

So, I’ve got my new story assignment, but I haven’t written anything in a while. And since I have Dragon Age on the brain, I’m going to write a one-shot series FanFiction, to sort of limber the writing back up.

I did a few edits on Vessels over the last month or so, which was nice. I’ve been wanting to take a look at Cards, but I can tell it’s still too fresh. I’m shooting for a spring read through. Hopefully the rough draft of Vessels will be completely edited by then, I can’t rightly start edits on a new story when I’m in the middle of another.

In non-writing news, my legal name change is processing with the Social Security Office. In my personal life, I am no longer a Zelkovich, but I’ll be damned if I’m giving up such a unique name in my writing life! Just have to let the banks know I’m still “doing business as” Zelkovich, just in case I actually make money at this writing thing someday.

Anyway, that’s just about everything going on. We bought and decorated our Christmas tree last night, which is one of my favorite traditions we have. I help him string the lights, and he helps me hang the baubles. We sing and dance to classic Christmas songs, and generally drink beer. We didn’t do that bit last night, but the weekend is fast approaching.

christmas tree 2014

Have a great weekend blogland! I am back!

BZ