Welcome to Fall

The weather in my native North Carolina is finally starting to feel like fall. We routinely have very warm nights in October all the way to Halloween but this year we are already getting low temperatures in the 50’s and 40’s. The leaves are turning and the mountains are even starting to get frost warnings. I love the fall.

I rearranged all of my furniture and stuff a few days ago. It had been over a year. I didn’t realize it had been so long. When we don’t change things up we get stuck in a rut. We may not realize it but we start to stagnate in our own stench. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?

Our energy, our chi, flows around us and moves with us. When we don’t let it have some room to breathe it becomes stale. It needs fresh air now and then to re-energize it. That includes our spaces and how we arrange the things around us. Yes, the way you stack the magazines on the coffee table can actually be important. Did you know that the principles of feng shui say not to store anything under your bed? It blocks energy flow at night when you are the weakest. Now, ask me how much stuff I had to relocate from under my bed after a whole year…

Turn off the news. Ignore the politics for awhile. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine and the cooler breeze. Appreciate the leaves turning red, orange, and gold. Decorate your porch with pumpkins and scarecrows and mums. Recharge your energy before winter gets here.

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Be True 2 You

How many masks do you wear? Are you one person at work? Another person at home? Someone else around your friends? Do you know who the real you is?

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a meme today about being true to your authentic self. It struck a chord with me. I’m certainly a different person at work than I am at home. The real me is still inside there but she doesn’t come out much. Why do we do that?

For me personally, I only feel like Me when I’m alone or with someone I trust a whole lot. I was Me when I was in my dorm room alone, dancing with my headphones on. I was Me sitting up until 3:00 am reading because I loved the story so much I couldn’t put it down. I’m Me when I put down the car windows and sing at the top of my lungs.

I’m the most Me when I’m passionate about what I’m doing. If I can’t show you how I feeldancingfairy about something then I either don’t like it a lot or I don’t feel comfortable showing you the real me. The problem starts when other people tell us how to act. Don’t get me wrong. There are times and places for everything and appropriate behaviors accordingly. But when you’re a child and you’re told to put down the book your reading or to stop singing and go clean your room or to go change clothes because those colors don’t match…you lose a part of who You are.

Find the parts of you that you hide from the rest of the world. Find those things you are passionate about. Share them with someone who has no clue who you are. Go play in the rain. Dance and sing. We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. Remember the things that make you happy and bring them out for the world to see. Be true to you.

REVIEW: Jacked by Kirk Dougal

I’m not sure I can write this without any spoilers but I’ll try. Okay, how to describe Jacked…awesome, well written, fast paced, edge of your seat, unrelenting… Should I keep going?

First, the technical stuff. Jacked is the launch of Per Aspera Press, a Ragnarok Publications jacked-cover1500-blurb_1024imprint. If you have read any of my other reviews, you should know I LOVE Ragnarok’s very talented authors. If Dougal’s novel is any indication, we will all love Per Aspera Press and all the SF yumminess they will bring us. Jacked is about a teenage boy with a talent for fixing technology in a world that has lost technical capabilities. He faces a lot of fears and dangers and grows up in a hurry. This is so hard without any spoilers! I want to tell you everything! Let me say that I read it through a second time and noticed some interesting correlations to Rowling’s Potter series. I missed them the first time because I was too engrossed in the story.

Now, the goodies. Dougal delivers with Jacked. I read it in one sitting. I just couldn’t stop. It’s like a roller coaster you want to ride over and over so it doesn’t end. It’s fast paced and keeps you racing through each page.  Even when you think you know what is going to happen next, you have to devour every single word. It has gangs, fights, seriously evil bad guys, chases, escapes, even some angsty teenage romance. There are surprises and they are delightful. And the ending is very exciting. I’m trying not to give too much away. It’s a very good book. You can find it on Amazon at this link. You need to read it.

Do it.

Now.

What are you waiting for?!

 

Review: War God Rising

Tim Marquitz has done it again. His work is always interesting and War God Rising does timagainnot disappoint. War God Rising is funny. We’re talking Mel Brooks funny. Quick asides, tongue-in-cheek, make you spit your soda out your nose funny. Marquitz writes with a quick easy style that makes you want to keep reading long past bedtime. His characters are clear and stand out as individuals that blend together into a symphony of humor. I’ve seen other reviews compare War God Rising to Monty Python. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of Monty Python. However, I’m a HUGE fan of Mel Brooks. Marquitz has the same timing and cheeky attitude you would find in any Brooks film.

You get a bonus with this book. Marquitz has a teaser for his novel ZILF tagging along. Even more hilarity for your enjoyment. He also has a new kickstarter for another novel in his Demon Squad series. The man is a machine. If you haven’t read anything by Tim yet, what the hell are you waiting for? You can find the Marquitz madness on his webpage, Amazon, Kickstarter and he has a publishing gig at Ragnarok Publications.

A whole forest or just some trees?

Sometimes we need a little help to figure stuff out. The big stuff. Deep stuff. Stuff we don’t always like to examine in the light of day. I came across a blog post today that really struck a nerve. Here is the part that brought me to tears:

“When I feel better, I am more creative and more willing to allow myself to take the risk of feeling good about myself. Isn’t that strange? It’s a thing that I do, that I’ve done for my whole life: I don’t want to take the risk of feeling good about myself, because I’m afraid that I’ll get complacent, or arrogant, or someone will discover the Truth that my Depression tells me: I’m not that great and I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.”

I’ve never felt like I was depressed. Sometimes aggravated and upset with myself that I haven’t ended up where I thought I would be by now. But I never considered it depression. When I found this blog post from Wil Wheaton, I realized that what he described is exactly how I feel. I don’t know when it started but I have the feeling it goes way back. Mom had a way of making me feel guilty for doing something well, even my grades. I wasn’t given a choice but to make good grades. Yet she would fuss at me for always having my nose in a book whether it was for school or not.

How do you learn to break free from that when it’s all you were ever taught by the one person who’s supposed to love you and encourage you and nurture you above all others? For a lot of the time I remember, my mother was a miserable person. Nothing I could do to make her happy, nor my dad or my brother. She seemed to revel in it. The more I read about depression, I’m not sure she had a choice. That doesn’t make it any less tragic to instill that thinking into your children.

Now that I recognize what’s going on, I have to stop the cycle. I don’t have kids but I do have friends and family. I don’t want my behavior to be a negative influence on anyone. I recently had a meltdown. I hit my breaking point. And I am now medicated. Hopefully, the medication will help me find my way back to the right path. The path I should have found my way to when I was supposed to be learning who I was.

Here’s the entire blog from Wil Wheaton: http://wilwheaton.net/2015/10/seven-things-i-did-to-reboot-my-life/

Karina’s Back!

Okay, we finally have the Audible link for Karina Fabian’s book, I Left My Brains in San Francisco. This is the second book in the Neeta Lyffe series. If you like your zombies on the funny side, you need to read/listen to these books.

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Interview with Karina Fabian

I’m on vacation this week and giving myself a birthday present. I’m interviewing my NeetaLyffe_ILeftMyBrainsinSanFrancisco_audio_MEDfriend and fellow writer Karina Fabian. She has a new audio book that should be dropping this week.

Do zombies take vacations?

Zombies are dead people whose hind brains haven’t clued into the fact yet. While they sometimes keep enough brain function to do things like return home, shamble through a drive-thru or try to vote, they aren’t really making conscious decisions. So, if one dies while on vacation and was really, really invested in doing something while on that vacation, its soulless corpse may return to hang out on the beach or go skydiving – likely what may have killed it in the first place, but zombies don’t really learn from their mistakes, either. However, it would not take a vacation.

What’s been you experience with audio books? Do you like it or not? Will you do it again?

I’ve had a great experience working with Becky Parker on the audiobooks. She has a good narrative style, fun voices and has fantastic special effects. It puts a new spin on the story. I’d love to do it again. In fact, I suggested to my publisher we just jump right to producing Shambling in a Winter Wonderland in audio, too, and have the print and audio come out together.

Do you have a bazillion notes on Neeta like J.K. Rowling has on Harry?

Nope. Neeta tells me what I need to know as I write the story.

What’s next for Neeta?

Neeta and Ted are heading to Utah. Neeta is showing off her exterminator’s van as part of the publicity agreement she made with HumVans, and they’re hoping to enjoy a zombie-free vacation snowboarding.  (Yeah…guess how that turns out.)

NeetaLyffe_ZombieExterminator_300dpi_eBook - CopyHow has writing Neeta Lyffe impacted your other writing universes?

My universes stay separate. I don’t see them crossing over, ever. They each have their own histories and population, and I enjoy moving from one to the other. Each book I write does teach me lessons I can apply to other novels, however. I’d say Neeta’s books help me remember to keep in mind how the wider world affects the doings of my characters.

I know you’re teaching a world building class. How did you build Neeta’s universe? Actually, the worldbuilding class was in August. This month, I’m teaching monster creation. You can learn more and register at https://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=EB59D786854E39.

Neeta’s universe was the easiest one to build, since it’s ours 30 years in the future. I took current social and political trends, projected them to ridiculous extremes (or what I hope would be ridiculous), and then added the zombies. I took a different approach to zombies. I have a hard time believing in the overwhelming apocalypse model, especially as we were in the middle of the H1N1 scare at the time I started the series, and while some people were sure we’d wipe out a significant amount of the population, strong controls made it a tempest in a teapot.

I figured the same thing would happen with zombieism. Even if we didn’t figure out what caused it or how to cure it, we would put controls in place to contain it. Thus, zombies as pests, not pestilence.

If you could ask Neeta a question, what would you ask her?

Why was it so hard for you and Ted to just admit you loved each other? It was the hardest part of the book to write.

Slider-ilmbiSF-audio-tour Karina

I always enjoy having Karina on the blog. You can find her and all of her universes at Fabian Space.

Get moving…

It’s raining again. I’ve been wanting it to rain. I have arthritis. I feel the rain coming three or four days before it gets here. After the first few hours of rain I stop hurting. I’ve been looking forward to the rain. But now it’s been raining for almost five days. Did I mention I’m allergic to the mold spores that are now piling up on the ground because of all the moisture? Yeah, the weather will always find a way to get me.

The lack of pain that commenced with the rain has helped boost productivity the last few days. Today I’m not feeling very motivated. So I turned to my drug of choice: music. For motivation it needs to be fast and loud and usually rocking. Here’s something to get you started:

Show a little love

You knew this day would come. It happens without fail. Every week of your life. Yes, it’s Monday. Stop whining.

I don’t understand why so many people fear Mondays. We all know it’s going to follow Sunday. Maybe it’s because I don’t work a regular Monday-Friday job. Nah, I’ve done that before and I still didn’t hate Monday.Smile-960x854

This is how I look at it. I woke up. I have a safe place to sleep. I have food to eat. I have people who care about me. I have music and books and football games and crafts to make.

Do I have everything I ever wanted? Am I wealthy? No. And I’m okay with that. I have all of what I need and enough of what I want. Next week when you start to complain about it being Monday again, stop and count all the things you have that you are grateful for. Then think about where you would be if you didn’t have it. It’s time to remember how to be happy for what you have.

Let’s show Monday a little love for a change.

Review: Edward M Erdelac’s With Sword and Pistol

With Sword and Pistol by Edward M Erdelac is a wonderful set of stories. Each involve some type of battle with both steel and pistol in some fashion. Erdelac has a swift voice that quickly immerses you in the worlds he creates. He is a student of fiction and his knowledge shows. You’ll find yourself hanging on every page, absorbing words like oxygen. His imagery is applied with a deft hand. In Night of the Jikininki you get samurai and zombies with images standing out so clearly you can almost hear the Tarantino-esque 70’s music while you read. Red Sails gives you vampire and werewolf pitted against regular mortals in a battle that keeps you spellbound. Sinbad and the Sword of Solomon is everything I remember from watching Sinbad movies as a kid. You get the sailing, monsters, a double cross or two, and a dominant Sinbad that’s true to his swashbuckling inspiration. And finally you have Gully Gods, a tale of former child-soldiers and gangbangers in modern Chicago that delves into the darkness of blood gods and dark magic. If this is your first experience reading Erdelac, you will want more.