The World in the Satin Bag has moved to my new website.  If you want to see what I'm up to, head on over there!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Book Review: Ringworld by Larry Niven

(Note:  comments have been disabled on this post due to spammers.)

I just finished listening to this book. So here is my review of it.

This is not one of my favorites by Larry Niven. The idea is awesome, the descriptions and characters are great and well drawn, but it's what he does with all that that I don't much like.

Here's the basic premise: Four explorers (two humans--Louis and Tila--one Kzin--Speaker--and one Puppeteer--Nessus) set off to explore a mysterious ring around a star. When they get there they discover that there is life on this unnatural ring (unnatural because it was built by aliens of some sort).

Now, the idea of there being this huge flat ring around a star that can support life is really rather cool. But Niven just takes way too long in the novel to get to the Ringworld to show it to us and when he actually gets there it just sort of drags on with not a whole lot of really fascinating things happening. As far as you know, civilization on the Ringworld has reverted back to savage times and you know nothing about the people who built it, except that the natives refer to them as gods.

Given that, my favorite parts of the book were the characters. Louis is a fun character, and so is the Kzin (a sort of super evolved tiger that can talk and is intelligent and such). Even the Puppeteer (this strange creature with two heads and mouths that he uses for hands) is entertaining. All the little tidbits about human, Kzin, and Puppeteer culture are fascinating (such as the fact that any Puppeteer that shows courage considers him or herself to be insane and the rest of Puppeteer society things the same).

I thought Saturn's Race was much better than this particular book. The Gripping Hand was better too. I just didn't like the pace and where the novel ends.

So, Sunday is when I'll post Chapter Two of The World in the Satin Bag. I also just started another audiobook (The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman) that should prove to be rather interesting. Look forward to the lovely weekend then. You'll have something to do Sunday :P

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Well, for some that have been here you'll notice that I've reverted to a typical blogger template. Why? Well apparently Firefox refuses to load the background image for the old version and until I can either rewrite that template, or create a new one, I have to put this up so that Firefox users can actually see the text. So, I will be doing some more editing and putting back up the ads later on.

Also, just a reminder, chapter two of The World in the Satin Bag goes up this sunday. I've got some writing still left to do, but it will be up. It's a lot longer than the first chapter, so expect a little bit more to read :).

And, for the time being this will be the post for the beginning of the week. Expect few posts from now on since I'm writing and this is a blog for my blog novel :P.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Top Ten Novels

Figure I could put another top ten list up here before getting Chapter Two fully written (it's going to be a lot longer than the last one I think). So, this top ten list is of my favorite novels. It is another list that changes periodically, but for now this is it.

1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card -- This is one of the greatest books ever written. It won a Hugo and a Nebula Award and its sequel received the same awards (a first in history). You have to read this if you like scifi at all.

2. Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling -- These are amazingly written stories that most of us are familiar with in some way. Book six is the only book that has actually made me cry! That says something about a book in my opinion.

3. 1984 by George Orwell -- Who hasn't read this book by one of the great classic writers? You? Well what are you doing if you're not reading this then? It's a classic example of a world controlled by its government. Get up, read it!

4. Mars by Ben Bova -- Possibly the greatest hard scifi novel ever written. It gives a realistic look at the first manned mission to Mars and the strange thing about it is that if we were to try it we could easily do it with the technology available. Soon this is going to be history, not fiction.

5. Eon by Greg Bear -- As I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently finish this book and was absolutely amazed and how good it was. It hooked me from the beginning. It's a must for any hard scifi reader, although you should read Mars first :P.

6. Hart's Hope by Orson Scott Card -- This book was one of those books I sort of picked up and thought "maybe I'll read it". When I read it, though, it was one of the best, most original fantasy reads ever. Card is a freaking genius when it comes to his writing.

7. Eragon by Christopher Paolini -- This book was one of those I listened to. I had originally bought the book because I found out this kid was only 19 when he was picked up by a major publisher. That is amazing to me. It turned out to be a really awesome fantasy story, and now is apparently a trilogy. I've yet to read Eldest, but it is on my list.

8. The Empire of Time by Crawford Kilian -- Remember in my top ten authors post I had mentioned Kilian's take on time travel? This book is where that came from. It's a well written look at a future where time travel is pretty much the norm in society. It was a good read.

9. Saturn's Race by Larry Niven -- One of my favorites by Larry Niven. Granted, this will likely be replaced as I get more Niven in my, but I thought it was a very riveting tale when I listened to it on audiobook.

10. Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb -- This is one of those interesting gems you pick up without the pretty cover at a book sale. All it had was the title on the hardback, but no pictures or anything. Then I read it and was blown away at how interesting of a world Hobb had created.

So there you have it, my neat post of favorites. I'm probably missing some though, but that's okay. I'm actually listening to Ringworld by Larry Niven right now, so we'll see if the ending to that lands it on my list :).

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sweet sweet author-hood!

Well, that first chapter went up (it's the post right below this) and actually the one blogger I have been talking to that I had hoped would enjoy it, well, enjoyed it! I don't know who else has read it, though some friends said they would check it out, but there is something more fulfilling about having a fellow blogger say that they are hooked and want more. This is not to say that my friends are incapable of giving me honest opinions, but more that I think they would spare my feelings when being honest by saying something like "well it's not my cup of tea" or something to that nature. Don't get me wrong, if a friend says they love it, I will be happy and glad, just feels more powerful coming from someone I don't know who has no reason to lie or soften the blow. So, Mr. Bramage (his blog is here! ) likes the work and for that reason I am without a doubt going to continue this project. I had intended to keep it going, but only for at least a few chapters if nobody seemed to enjoy the work. So thanks Mr. Bramage for being so kind with your comment :). I appreciate it!

Okay, now on to other things. Scheduling. I know, having chapters up fast so you can read them as you would read a book would be absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, I'm like every other writer who hopes to someday be published and be recognized as one of the great scifi/fantasy writers of all times with a few Hugo's and Nebula's under my belt. This means, I have to have a job to support my passion, well, one of my passions (reptiles is my other passion). So, I'm going to promise this as a minimum: I will post one new chapter a month. That is what I promise to be consistent with. What I will try to do is post every other week (one week to write, one week to edit and then a post). I cannot guarantee I can keep up with that, but I will try my damndest and keep the world posted on the progress. Some chapters might turn out to be much long than anticipated, which would delay things. So for chapters such as the first chapter, I imagine I could get those up in two weeks. For really long chapters, three weeks, and if for some reason (such as during finals for college) I am so overwhelmed I will post once a month. Hopefully that is reasonable.

Now, for those that read my little blog novel, I'd like to ask for a few things. Comment! What do you like, what don't you like? Is there something maybe I glossed over that you would like to know more about? Am I not showing you the characters well enough? Those sorts of things. I want to know what you think! If you love it, say so, if not, say so. Honesty is a must here. My job on this blog is to entertain with my writing and I hope to do that for as long as I am able to.

So, off to class, off to more writing, off to a bright and enjoyable future as my crazy fantasy world builds and collapses within my slightly abnormal mind :).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Chapter One: Hansor Manor

(Note:  This is not official version and may be removed in the near future.  This do not reflect what is read in the podcast version, nor any other version you may encounter.  I have preserved the rough form for posterity -- or something like that.  This novel has since been rewritten.)

The Hansor Grounds were on the far edge of town. There was a school—raggedy, covered in snow, and falling apart at the seams—a rusted playground, and the old Hansor Manor. It was here that James Fortright stood, his eyes tilted upward and his brow curved in concentration. Hansor Manor reached three stories, and unlike other houses in the small town of Woodton it looked like a relic from a time that never existed, at least not for anyone that had ever lived in the town. From the front, Hansor looked like a massive church. A tall stained glass window filled the space above the door, which had been boarded up and covered in condemned signs, while the sides curved up into a giant point. At the top of that point was a twisted weather vane that at one time had been the form of a snake. Now, after many years of abuse, it had contorted into an unrecognizable scrap of metal. Hansor stretched a hundred feet back and everything but the front resembled a giant cigar made of stone. What remained of the gold and white paint barely stuck to the walls.
James focused on the stained glass as if he hoped to see something there in the bland, featureless colors. But the glass was blank except for the brilliant red and purple colors. He found it odd that someone had built such a magnificent structure and had left the most eye-catching piece featureless. The sky began to darken as thick gray clouds crawled in. Another snowstorm was coming.
James was eleven. He had dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and an otherwise distant nature. His face was long and thin, and it matched his equally thin body—tall and gangly. He had one friend. One true friend.
A quick wind flung snow and ice-cold air into his face. He shifted his weight, tucked himself farther in his winter jacket, pulled the festive blue and green cap down over his ears and resumed staring.
“I think there’s something wrong with those windows,” came a familiar voice, interrupting him.
He turned, faced Laura, and smiled.
“I always feel like the builders left something out. Left it unfinished or something.”
He nodded. “So what was this you wanted to show me?”
She beamed up at him. He was a good foot taller than her, but she was always able to look him in the eye without standing on her toes. “Overheard Gil talking about some neat stuff he found in there,” she indicated the manor, “Figure we could take a look.”
“That’s breaking and entering.”
“Only if you get caught. Besides, we’ll only be a minute.”
Laura ran a few steps playfully toward Hansor Manor. James watched her. They had been friends for longer than he could remember, a friendship of opposites—Laura the adventurous type and James the logical type. Yet, James recalled, it was always adventure that won the argument, never logic. It had always seemed to James like a strange twist of fate that he had befriended someone such as Laura, but he enjoyed her company, even when things went wrong.
Quietly, slowly, he followed, one cautious step at a time. Laura hopped left, then right, digging her green boots into the snow. Her short sandy blonde hair was tucked into an emerald green fleece cap with a red and black stripe along the rim.
They wound around the side, Laura bouncing about. He eyed the boarded windows and doors, all covered in condemned signs. As far as he could remember, Hansor Manor had always been condemned. Always. James gathered that the owners didn’t care about the place. He also couldn’t recall who the current owners were. There had been a story in the local paper that said it had been passed down from father to son three times, and a total of four times before that among private parties. After that, the records were blank. Nobody even knew who had built it.
Something tickled the back of his neck. He chose to ignore it by habit. Around the back was a broken window. A hill of snow made a perfect slope to the base giving easy access to whatever was inside. The wood that had blocked this window had been shredded and chucked aside. James looked inside and saw footprints. They were fresh, no more than a day old. The mud and snow from the prints had not completely frozen over yet.
“Careful of the edges,” Laura said. She grabbed the side of the window and slipped smoothly through the opening.
James crept up to the edge. He knelt down and maneuvered himself feet first into the opening. With one grip supporting his weight against the snow and the other on the outside of the window, he reached for solid ground, reaching farther when he couldn’t find it, and farther still.
His grip didn’t hold. The snow gave way and he tumbled through, tearing his jacket on the jagged remnants of glass. He landed with a squishy thud on the wood floor of a bedroom.
“Ow!” he said. A small trickle of blood fell from the fresh cut on his arm.
Laura leaned in close. “That must’ve hurt.”
“Let’s go home. I need a bandage for this.” He pulled himself to his feet, winced. Taking another glance at the wound he said, “I might need stitches for this…”
Laura frowned. “Oh alright. Can we at least look around for a second?” She turned away from him, grabbed something from a nearby table. “Here.” She wrapped a blood red cloth over his wound, then tightened it. A jolt of stinging pain ran up his arm. He bit his lip. “Just for a second James. Honest. Besides it’s not deep enough for stitches.” She looked at him in the same way a mother looks at her child.
James sighed and gave in. “Alright, but not too long.”
She grinned appreciatively and gave him a nod.
The bedroom they had landed into had been left completely furnished. There was a large bed with sheets and an old quilt, tucked tightly and straight, in the center of the room. Next to that were a long cherry wood dresser and a walk-in closet on the opposite side. James looked at the pictures on the walls. They were old, ancient even, black and white. He didn’t recognize anyone, but got the impression that they had been in a book some place. Laura scooted away and began fumbling with the little additions to the room—statues, music boxes, and the like. She opened the dresser drawers, plucked at the old dusty clothing inside, and then moved on. Every time Laura moved something, dust exploded into the air before delicately settling again.
James kept his hands to himself. He moved around the room examining things by sight. He got the feeling that the pictures were watching him, as if the little people inside were real. When he looked, there was nothing and he dismissed the feeling to the back of his mind. Still, an eerie touch hit his neck, stronger than before. Whatever it was he couldn’t put his finger on it.
He moved over to the dresser and began examining the dust-ridden items resting on top. There were strange statues of animals and people, pictures and strips of cloth. He examined the cloth wrapped around his wound. His blood had seeped through, leaving a darker red stain on the already blood red cloth. But it wasn’t the blood that interested him. Sewn into the cloth was a symbol, a set of four tails of some sort of sea animal woven together into a spiral. He recognized it and began searching his memory for any information he could.
“Laura, come look at this,” he said.
Laura hustled over, hopping again. “Well that’s a neat design,” she said.
“It’s Celtic. Saint Brendan’s Cross.”
“Saint Brendan?”
“He was an Irish monk. Spent seven years at sea to find a place called the Land of Promise. At least according to legend. Some say the place he discovered was America.”
“People believe silly things.”
“Yeah, but look at all these. They all have Celtic symbols on them.” He began flipping through the other clothes. “Here’s a Celtic weave,” he said, pointing to a design of interlocking curves that spanned all four sides. Leafing through he found more designs, all sewn into the fabric. They had been done by hand, thread by thread. And they were well done. He could tell that they were the work of someone with considerable skill.
“What about this one?” Laura produced a small bag made of dark red satin with a golden drawstring around the opening. The string was pulled taut and tied in a thick knot. In the center of the bag was a large symbol sewn in dark blue. The outside edges formed a wide circle broken in four parts, while inside, divided in fourths, were triangles, the lines woven unicursally to form one continuous line, curling in and out of each section. The design glistened in the light, giving the lines a rainbow effect of color.
“That’s a shield knot.”
“How do you know all this junk?”
“I read a lot.”
“So that’s what you do in your free time…”
He looked up and glared. “Yes that’s what I do in my free time,” he said. Laura glared playfully back before snickering. “Shield knots were used for protection or warding.”
“There’s something heavy inside.”
“What do you mean? The bag is empty.” He squeezed the bottom to demonstrate.
“Hold it and tell me it’s empty. The darn thing is heavy.”
James took the bag. Indeed it was heavy, the weight of a bowling ball. The sudden jerk of gravity surprised him. He looked the bag over, squeezed it again.
“Makes no sense.”
“I suppose it doesn’t.” Laura crossed her arms. “Maybe there’s some sort of metal. Something really dense.”
He pondered that for a moment, but with all the time spent reading he couldn’t recall anything that would make a small satin bag the weight of a bowling ball while being too small to notice.
Laura snatched the bag from him and began to untie the drawstring. She fiddled for a long moment before biting at the knot. Finally after a short spurt of grumbles she managed to get it untied. James looked on excitedly as she loosened the drawstring and pried the bag open. The look on Laura’s face was that of disappointment, which dispelled all the excitement from him. He had hoped there would be something truly special inside, but there was no mistake in Laura’s sunken face.
“It’s empty,” she said. “Look.” She leaned the bag in his direction.
He leaned over and peered closely into the bag. The inside was abnormally dark. None of the light from the room or outside seemed to penetrate inside. Nothing but black.
He blinked and rubbed his eyes. Just when he was about to turn away something caught his attention. He jerked back to the bag and lurched back. There in the darkness was an eye, peering up at him, wide and bloodshot. The iris gleamed icy blue and little streaks of crimson pigment covered the outside edges, separate from the bloody marks. Instead of a round pupil, there was a slit, snakelike and abnormal. The eye blinked at him. He stumbled backwards and screamed.
“There’s an eye!” he said, yelling as loud as he could.
Laura whirled around.
“Inside the bag, look. An eye!”
“What are you babbling about?”
“Just look.” James curled away and shivered, the eye vivid in his memory.
Laura turned the bag and peered. At first she curled away in disgust, but then her face went blank. James heard something soft, unintelligible, like whispers. He tried to focus but couldn’t make out what was being said. Laura’s lips remained still.
“Laura?” he said.
No answer. She remained blank.
“Laura, answer me!”
Still no answer. His heart raced. He took a few steps toward her. The whispers continued. He listened harder. The words weren’t English, nor any language he had ever heard before. They were guttural and thick with syllables. Something seemed sinister about them, and that strange feeling returned to his senses sending every hair on his neck to attention.
Then the whispers stopped. The satin bag shook, the entire thing rippling like the ocean. A faint light came from the opening. It grew brighter and brighter until there were no shadows left on Laura’s face. Abruptly the light intensified and an enormous fireball burst from the bag, engulfing Laura. The flames ripped through the rest of the room and then reached for James. He raised his arm, trying to protect himself, and caught through the corner of his eye the image of Laura slowly disappearing in the intensifying blaze. Then the force hit him full in the chest and sent him through the air. He landed hard, hit his head against the wall, and slowly lost consciousness. As his eyesight blurred he saw the flames recede into the bag and where Laura had been standing was a burnt circle.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ten Bests: Writing, Writers, and Such

So I figure for this blog I will put some of my personal top tens of things. These lists change periodically though, so while one day someone may be in the top ten, another day they won't be. Still, with my first chapter coming up it is remotely fitting.
I don't get to read as much as I would like. There are a couple reasons for this. First, I work and go to school and as such can't sit down and dig into a lot of books while doing homework and reading for school and dealing with the labors of a full time job. I combat this by reading like mad during non-school months or by listening to audiobooks at work. Second, I am so damned picky when it comes to books. Some people have long attention spans for books. I don't. If the book doesn't hook me by page 50, I usually will put it down and never read it again. This is why I can't read Stephen King or Tom Clancy. They take far too long to get into the interesting parts. I don't want to be bored! Entertain me! Audiobooks are a little different though. Generally I have a longer attention span for them.

Anywho, here goes!

Top Ten Scifi/Fantasy Writers
1. Poul Anderson
This guy writes some of the greatest shorts and short novels ever! Anything I have ever read by him has been fantastic. Never a disappointment. One of his best shorts in my opinion is Call Me Joe. He has a great writing style that seems to really grab you from the start.

2. Orson Scott Card
If you don't know who this guy is then you have been asleep. One of the greats in my opinion. Hart's Hope and Ender's Game are possibly some of the best written books there are in the fantasy and scifi genres, respectively. He has quite the knack for telling a compelling tale.

3. J. K. Rowling
I'm sure some will cringe at the fact that I have put J. K. Rowling at the third position on a top ten list. Well, sorry to disappoint anyone, but she has easily earned her reputation. The Harry Potter books are excellent. Well written, driven, powerful stories. Nevermind the exploding popularity and the movies. If I had picked up the first book of this series I would have kept reading even if the movies had never been made. They are great works of art.

4. Larry Niven
I've not read a lot of Larry Niven, but have read a few shorts and listened to several audiobooks. He gets a lot of flack for not being a real good hard scifi writer but I find that not to be true. His stories are just as compelling as everyone else's.

5. Ben Bova
Ever heard of his book Mars? If you haven't, you need to pick it up. It's not one of those "there's life on Mar's" alien type stories, actually, in all honesty, it's not that far fetched from reality at all. It's something we have the capability to do now, we are just so bogged up in all this "procedure" and "protocol" and "safety" bullcrap that we don't take risks for the betterment of mankind anymore. Seriously, Bova is a master of hard scifi. He knows how to write!

6. Richard A. Knaak
This author was the first to introduce me to hte world of fantasy. Granted, The Legend of Huma wasn't exactly the greatest of fantasies, seeing how it was placed in an already created universe (Dragonlance) and followed most of your typical cliches that fantasy is known for. Regardless, it was a great first book. His DragonRealm series is fantastic. It's truly a work of art. He also does a lot of other writing as well. You might know him by his works for the Warcraft and Diablo novels. I'm not too fond of those, but his other writing is fantastic.

7. Greg Bear
This guy just got on my list with Eon, one of the best hard scifi books I have ever read. I have yet to read his other works, but I know he has written a lot, has won several awards, and is a good writer. If Eon is any indication of his talent as a scifi writer then all of his works should be good.

8. George Orwell
1984. Need I say anything else? I do? You haven't read it? If you haven't read his greatest novel, a scifi tale for its time, then you are missing out on one of the greatest works of all time. It's one of the starters for all the dystopian novels you see out there, and he was influenced by We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, who in no way even stands up to the power of Orwell's writing and the way he developed the futuristic world dominated by an oppressive government. Think V For Vendetta only without the super hero element. That sort of world completely controlled in every way by the government. There is a bit of trivia right here too, and if you caught on then you are a smart cookie. In the 1984 movie adaptation to 1984, the gentleman who played the main character (the good guy) also plays, alternately, the role of the head of an oppressive government in V For Vendetta. Total switch of roles. It's quite neat.

9. Isaac Asimov
Most people know about his Foundation series, or should know about his robot works, of which the movie I, Robot was based on. I liked the first Foundation book immensely, hence why his is on my list. Some will hit me for having him at 9th, but as of yet I have not read any of his other works and as such can't put him any higher on the list. Greg Bear only beats him out because Eon was so fresh and new for me.

10. Crawford Kilian
A lesser known author I think, he crafted quite an amazing tale of time travel in a world where it is pretty much normal. I found that one of the interesting aspects in his works was that while time travel could be used for military purposes, etc. it had become a tourist attraction. Imagine, you could pay $1,000 to go back in time to see anything you would like to see? You could visit places that in your time period had been destroyed. It's interesting because all the other time periods are other Earth's, and as such our Earth influences those worlds with our travel. I loved his work.

So that's my top ten authors list :). Neat huh? It will likely change when I read something new and interesting though. It happens.

Anyone have any authors they really like that you think should be on here? Suggest a book. I'm always up for a new original read!

Friday, September 15, 2006


What exactly is TGIFF (a.k.a. tiggiff)? It stands for Thank God It's Finally Friday. The general consensus among my multiple personalities is that Friday is the best day of the week. Why? It's the first day of my weekend (I get 3 days off, four 10's...) and it means that I don't have work for two days. It's in the best position because it's the first day I get to sleep in, and it's just an all around happy day.

I figure with this post, as I prepare to post the first chapter to The World in the Satin Bag, I can do a little book review of something I read recently and do a little talking about my writing in general. So here goes.

Eon by Greg Bear
If you haven't read this book and you like hard scifi, then you should read this. It was originally printed in 1986 by Tor and has been reprinted a few times now. I found it at Walmart and bought it sort of on impulse. I've never read Bear's works before, nor heard much about him other than the few times I have seen his name. After reading the back, something I rarely ever do, I had to give it a shot.
This book is by far one of my favorite books of all time. It revolves around a couple of characters set in a slightly futuristic Earth (we're talking only slightly more advanced than where we are at now, but not so much so that it's too fantastical). This giant asteroid swings in and sets up orbit around Earth, on purpose mind you. It actually slows down and sets up orbit. Anyway, this is in an Earth where the Cold War hasn't yet ended (and when this bookwas written the Berlin Wall hadn't been torn down yet, so it makes sense). Inside the Stone they find humanesque cities and mankind begins exploring it, well certain people do because most of the info is kept pretty secret on purpose. So, basically it starts there with the research and there is a big plot twist that comes and such.
I can't ruin how the book goes. I just can't. All I can say is they find out that the Stone is from an alternate future and it parallels the events happening on Earth only it shows what happens in their future. Does that make sense? The explorers basically are reading about a future that has not happened yet on their Earth but something that had happened on the Earth where the stone is from.
The book tells you a lot more about what is going on and how all that is possible and some other amazing aspects that you can't miss. Seriously, give this one a thought. It's a great book.

Alright, so writing has been interesting. I have some stuff up on Critique Circle, this great website that gives critiques obviously. I was also reading some previously written things and really enjoying them. Some of my stuff is a lot more complicated than what I am writing for this project, and rightly so as I write a lot of scifi shorts and such. This is more of a longer work obviously and since it is fantasy based it won't be as complicated.
Anyway, I think this is going to work really great for me. I think :).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another Week...

Well I've successfully had two great weekends this year: one was FanimeCon 2006 in San Jose, and the other was the 9th Annual Upscale Reptiles Show & Sale (a.k.a the Sacramento Reptile Show). Now it's basically a count down to whatever else is coming up next year. I am totally doing Fanime again and I don't know if I will do the Sac show again. I love going, but it depends on what I am doing next year. I think I might go to the Annaheim show instead when I get my snake.

Anyway, so I find that during the week things really really suck. I have no time to write because I work 10 hours, I go to class for 3 hours, and then I take care of my pretty little family of reptiles. After that I'm in bed at 11 and up at 5 again, if I'm lucky anyway. So I don't get a chance to write until maybe Friday.
However, that first chapter is going up this weekend period. No doubts. I'm going to edit and post. Plain and simple.

My new crested gecko is so cool. He's so scared though :(. It's understandable. He spent hours in a plastic container before being put in a whole new home where he's completely unfamiliar with everything, and then to top it off he's got some crazy giant man poking at him. I love him though. I named him Tim! It's a cute name :). Hopefully he will calm down and be handleable in the next few weeks or so. He feels so weird! Think something soft and smooth but with sticky hands! It's so cool when he touches your skin with the sticky pads and walks on it. Cresties jump too and have prehensile tails that can hand off of stuff. They are bizarre creatures.

Anywho, so writing is going well. I will at least try to start chapter two this weekend after I edit chapter one. This weekend is going to be a calm weekend. No big plans or anything. I'm tired and need my sleep :S. Plus my animals need complete and total devotion and Grandma needs some help. So I will keep things posted and maybe put some interesting material up :).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Big Day (Writing and the Show)

Today has been a big day. Actually, the whole weekend has been a big, well, weekend. Shall we run through the list of things that have happened? I think so :P.

Note: The current schedule I am holding for blogging right now (every day but Wed.) is not going to be my standard schedule. Likely I will do three blogs a week and every third week a new chapter (or every month entirely depending on what I can manage). So just take note of that to check back every other day in the future.

1. I finished Chapter One! It's not going to be up, as I said yesterday, but I finished writing it. Next weekend I will edit the little thing and get it at least presentable to the world. Then I'll post it that weekend. I was surprised that I finished it when I did. Sometimes I say "oh I will finish this at such and such time" and then I end up writing about it for a long long long time. I've actually hit a deadline. This is good news because I have proven to myself that I can actually succeed at hitting a deadline that I made for myself. Good news good news. So that will go up next weekend.

2. Got in a lovely argument with a friend. Well, it was more like a serious discussion than an argument, but it involved our friendship and the issues we've been having with it. Needless to say it was not 'fun', at least not in the same sense as going to an amusement park, but at least the issues have sort of been resolved.

3. I just realized how much homework and reading and note taking I still have to do for the weekend and it will all have to be done after my thing today (a.k.a. Saturday). I am taking the following classes this semester:
a) Traditional Native American Art
b) Concert Band
c) Spanish (the first class for it anyway)
Note: This is actually a light load for me and there's good reason. Everyone has a subject they aren't very good at. Well, languages aren't my forte, especially when they are ones I am not interested in. Nobody teaches Latin or Japanese anymore around here and it's terrible.
So I have about 45 pages left to read for TNAA, which involves highlighting and eventually writing down notes and printing them since this teacher allows us to use our notes for the tests. Then I have to prepare for a presentation for Spanish and the first exam on Thursday. In all honesty I think I will ace the first exam, but only because it's really simple stuff and requires mostly some memorization. We don't have to write paragraphs yet, because that crap is hard. I shoud know because I took Spanish once in High School and didn't get a passing grade and I also took one college semester way back when that I had to drop out of because of medical reasons (a.k.a. Cancer and being stuck in a hospital for two weeks). The reading is probably going to kill me the most. The problem with Art History classes is that the reading tends to be rather dry. I took an Asian Art class from the same teacher a while back and the book was one of the most dry and boring things I've ever read. However, when we started getting into the stuff about Samurai and how they designed their swords, the number of stages and hammering it took to get them in the perfect shape, etc. It was all fascinating and amazing. Zen Buddhism was also fascinating, which by the way is not just meditating. There is a whole lot more to it. Anyway, so the reading will be dry basically.

4. The Sacramento Reptile Show & Sale: Well I got back today (well this post will be shown to be the day after so just assume this was 'yesterday') from the 9th Annual Upscale Reptiles Show and Sale in Sacramento. It was awesome! I got to hold a corn snake, a snake called a Cribo (which was HUGE), and a baby Reticulated Python (who was so docile and amazingly neat I couldn't believe it). I had a Leopard Gecko on hold from Marcia at Golden Gate Geckos and ended up getting a second from her, both females. The one on hold was an adult Chocolate Tremper Albino Jungle, and the other that I picked out was a gorgeous Bold Stripe Jungle.
And to top things off, I took the plunge I had been expecting to come for some time. I bought a Crested Gecko! His name is Tim. He's so adhorable. He's sort of this wood brown/orange color and it's so hard to describe without pictures. Hopefully I'll have some soon to show everyone. He was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't resist when I saw him. His little darling face and everything! Oh man he was cuuute.
My Leo's are cute too, it's just this is a new type of gecko for me and I've grown a fascination with them over the last few months.
So needless to say things went very well. I spent all the money that I had brought with me, which was expected I suppose. I also found an insect that I will actually want to keep cause it looks so cool. It's called a Whiptail Scorpion. No, it isn't a scorpion in the traditional sense, nor a spider. They are actually completely and utterly harmless: no stinger, venom, or anything of that nature. They just look evil and I think they are fascinating little creatures. There's also a little insect that looks like a scrunched up scorpion but instead of a tail with a stinger they have this long stringer tail and apparently when they are threatened they secrete what is basically like vinegar. It's very acidic but doesn't hurt you or anything, in fact you could lick it and apparently it would taste similar to vinegar so I wonder if it is actually vinegar that comes out since that is nothing more than an acid usually.
Anyway, there was so much stuff there and I fell in love with a bunch of new animals there. Gargoyle Geckos are on my list of other things I want to keep! They are so cool looking too.

Anywho, I need to get going to bed here cause it's rather late lol.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The World in the Satin Bag

Well I changed the name to the blog because Parvulus Mens Mentis Mundus, while fascinating, doesn't quite fit into the scheme of what I'm doing here. That and I had a stroke of creative genius at work Wednesday about the name for this YA novel I'll be writing: The World in the Satin Bag. That's the name of this novel. Intriguing? Interesting? Does it spark your interest at all? It did for me. Cause right when I was thinking about what I needed to write in the first three chapters, this title came into my head. I think it's pure genius, but that's me.

How is the writing coming? Well, to put it frankly, very well. I am hoping to finish the very rough first draft of the first chapter this weekend. Then next weekend I will edit and hopefully put it up, but that all depends on a few factors:
a) I am satisfied with the edit.
b) I haven't blown my brain trying to edit.
c) Something terrible wrong doesn't happen in my life.
and d) I don't screw something up during editing and make the story all weird.
But, if all goes well it will be up next weekend, probably on Sunday. Sunday is also the day I update my webcomic which you can view here! It's sort of different but I like it. Really I only do it for myself and my friends, but I have a couple of other fans out there someplace. I don't know where, but I get hits on that page, so obviously someone other than my friends reads my comic :P.
Note: My webcomic is in no way an indicator of what my fiction writing is like, so don't be misconstrued about that.

I think the first chapter is only going to be a few pages or so. Right now I have about three printed pages written. A printed page is not a type page on your typical word processor, it's actually, on average, double the lenght of a typical word processor page. Meaning, you double space something on Word and one double spaced page is roughly the size of a printed page depending entirely on what a publisher prints: font size, page size, etc. But typically your average paperback novel page is the same as a double spaced page in Word.
Anyway, so I expect the first chapter will be only six or seven pages simply because it's the attention grabber and I want to get right to the end of it quick so you'll be going "holy crap, what happened". I sort of already have an idea of what is going to happen in the next chapter, but hopefully I can weave that into an interesting chapter, which will likely be just as short. The third chapter is going to be the most interesting of the opening chapters I think though.

I love leaving people in suspense :P

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Writing Through Irritation

I'm going to compile a little list of things that are really irritating when you are writing. I get really bothered by being unable to write when I'm in that writing mode due to factors out of my control. So, I decided to make a little list of those things that really irritate. This isn't just the fault of those things, but also the product of my flashes of writing genius coming at the most horrible times when I can't write.

1. Work: I hate when I get a sudden spark of creative genius and I'm at work, leaving me unable to write anything more than a tiny sentence that won't help me later on because I will have forgotten whatever it was I was talking about. I'm one of the many writers who has to have a full time job, a job in which there is no conceivable way to begin writing while on the clock.

2. School: This is not quite as bad as being at work, but it is just as troublesome, depending on the class and how much attention I actually have to put into whatever is going on. Sometimes I can start jotting things down, other times I am furiously taking notes and don't even have time to write a quick note to myself.

3. Important Phone Calls: How many times have you been writing amazing stuff, on and on, page after page, and suddenly get a phone call that you can't avoid? I hate when this happens. Yes, I can ignore the call, but when it comes to calls dealing with bills or whatever else is bothering my life at any particular moment, phone calls become rather difficult to avoid. And with me, when I've lost concentration in my writing, I've lost my creative burst for the whole day.

4. Being Interrupted: I find it rather annoying whenever I am interrupted by a member of my family or someone else when I'm right in the middle of writing. It breaks my concentration. The same thing goes for when I'm doing homework. Then whatever it was that I was doing is lost for hours or even the whole day.

5. In the Car: Have you ever been in the car and suddenly get a stroke of genius and can't write it down because you're on the highway and can't stop? Annoying isn't it? And then you try to remember what it was later so you can write it down and it's gone...

6. Brain on the Fritz: This happens to me from time to time where my brain will be churning out awesome words, and then suddenly it just stops. It's as if my brain is running Windows XP and randomly had to reboot, losing all those lovely images and ideas just as would happen if you had a Word document open and the computer died before you could save it. Gone to the abyss and if you are lucky your mind autosaved the stuff somewhere in the dark recesses of your subconscious and you are able to retrieve it. But that's if you're lucky...

7. The Internet: The Internet is one of those fascinating products that is both useful and distracting. The problem with the Internet too is that while you would think you could just set it down and not worry about it, you often find yourself using the Internet to feed your writing. At least that is the case for me. With writing fantasy and scifi, I find that I constantly go to the Internet to look up certain terms, research concepts that might already have been started in our world today, or even to spark and idea in my head. What runs along with that is all the email checking, random searches that have nothing to do with my writing, and all those other things that have a tendency to stop you from doing anything productive.

8. Music: I am one of those people that can't write when there is music running, even if it is classical. I love music, don't get me wrong, and I sometimes can write when it is playing, but for the most part I find it distracts me from doing much of anything, especially if it is music with words. I don't know how anyone can write while their CD of Greenday is blaring in the background. How do you concentrate on the writing when you are singing the words outloud or in your head? When it comes to classical or orchestrated music I find myself humming along, but sometimes the music will really help my mind get moving. But only sometimes...

9. TV: This use to be one of the things that distracted me the most next to the Internet. Luckily for me I don't watch it much anymore because, in all honesty, I think commercials are the most terrible inventions since Hitler invented the Concentration Camps. I hate commercials with every fiber of my being. That isn't just exclusive to TV either. Radio commercials are just as retarded, annoying, and downright bad for society. Don't get me wrong, there are some commercials that I actually enjoy. In particular are the Geico commercials (most of them except for any with the new gecko voice because I don't like that accent on my gecko...). Regardless, in the days when I actually watched TV I found myself always distracted by it and if there was another factor that distracted me beforehand I always reverted to the TV or the Internet to occupy my mind. I do watch things on tape and DVD, just not on actual TV.

Alright well I think that is a good enough list for now. I might come up with new reasons and add them when I can think of them. If anyone pops by leave me a comment if you have anything else that you think is distracting or irritating.

Now in other news, it's 8:09 AM and my new leopard geckos should be here SOON. I can't wait. They are going to be so pretty and awesome. I also got to do some writing yesterday on my way to the college Concert Band class. It was handwritten, and I really don't like writing by hand because it is too slow for my mind, but regardless it is groundwork for this new story. And I'm totally liking the story too. I've got to stop myself though because I will start getting ahead on the story and then get bored. However, the first three chapters in my mind are rather good and different from anything I've written before.

So, exciting things are churning :).

Story Beginnings and Story Ends

What exactly is it about writing beginnings that is so difficult for me? I've always found that when trying to write anything that I intend to be longer than a short story, the beginning paragraphs become a barrier that I can't seem to pass. I wrote three different beginnings for this new story that will eventually become the blog novel this site is meant for, and only on that third try did I get something that started to go the direction I wanted. The first started out way too much like a short story. Yes, a novel should open and grab your attention, but the difference with short stories and novels is that a novel has a little more time to grab you than a short does. The second attempt ended up being way too annoying for me. It started sort of setting up a scene but in such a childish way that I didn't like it. I think I was thinking way to Harry Potter for it and it just didn't work. The third, though, clicked I think. It's not perfect, and I don't expect it to be on a first draft, but I liked how it opened and displayed in a small short paragraph this very memorable scene. The first paragraph doesn't have the character yet, but it's not finished. I have maybe 4 sentences in that first paragraph and right after this scene is set I will introduce the main character. It's really going to be an exciting story. I got a few ideas from stuff I saw on TV over the weekend on Law and Order and a blurb of Lifetime (which is a terrible channel. Notice that Lifetime is TV for women, yet the women are always being killed, beaten, raped, etc. on there).

Now to what I find to be EVEN harder: endings. For short stories it is always a battle for me to find an appropriate ending. I've got a few stories that I've written that really clicked for me in the ending and I was actually happy with, and then I have a whole bunch that I was disappointed in how I ended them (some of which I reworked and moved over into that happy section). Novels are notoriously difficult for me. I've yet to actually finish a novel. I've made a few attempts and can easily reach that one hundred page mark, but I've yet to get to the end. So endings have me a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I will write this story, and I will finish it, but I am always afraid of what will turn out in the story as it develops and how the story will end.

So with my thursday coming up fast, the weekend dwelling in on me, and my writing set on its way I end this post. I am going to write a fun list of stuff in my next post on Thursday about the irritating things that happen when you are trying to write. Should be fun.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Names and Things

So it comes to it that I am forced to actually write now :). This is good because I have every desire to write something fascinating and altogether appealing to audiences out there. So intermingled between posts--probably once a month--will be chapters for this new story I have cooking.
I think some might be turned off by the fact that this is a YA novel, novella, or whatever it actually turns out to be. Perhaps I am just speaking from what I think others might think, which as a sentence in and of itself is confusing in its own right, but I think there should be a big distinction made here. YA doesn't mean it is going to be dull and uninteresting to more adult audiences. Look at the fame of Harry Potter, the Phillip Pullman's series, or heck even Christopher Paolini's Inheritence trilogy (well or saga...not sure if he'll stop at three books). All of these books are geared towards that YA audience, and even younger, yet adults read them like mad.
I'm 22 and I love the Harry Potter books. Granted Rowling didn't choose the most original ideas, but did she have to? I think just writing style and the characters alone hold the novel above all its cliches. So, a YA novel doesn't mean it won't be of interest to adults, not at all. In fact I hope to write something that fits into that inbetween space between "just for kids" and "just for adults" so that what I write is something both kids, parents, adults, older kids, etc. can enjoy. That's the whole point of wanting to write a YA fantasy. I think writing for a younger audience while making it accessible to adults is a great thing. Look at what the HP books have done to reading. Sure, most kids don't read, but can you imagine how many more kids wouldn't be reading if HP hadn't come around and forced the market to explode? I even have to laugh at those extremist Christian groups that condemned the book because of its imagery of magic and the like. How can anything that causes kids to read be evil? Not to mention, book burnings really don't do anything to stop the book from being made. You have to pay for those books you burn, so in reality the publisher and the writer are getting money for your silly little demonstration which will only renew peoples' interest in the book.
So while I write this I had all this running in my head. I'm not sure exactly why it popped in there.
To add I've found that coming up with names for places, people, and things is altogether quite a difficult thing to achieve. Why are names so hard? You'd think that with it being so easy to create things in a mind that is already half-delusional that it would be just as easy to come up with something that would fit into that delusional world. So, I wonder if anyone that pops by has any ideas on how they come up with names. It doesn't have to be fantasy names. It could be SF or straight Fiction. What's in a name that makes you select it when you design a character? Is there something striking about that characters personality that makes you pick that name?

Now in other news are my fun little plans coming up. I'm a big herp hobbiest. Herp is basically a term used to say "reptile" (and if I'm not mistaken it applies to amphibians too). I don't have any snakes, not yet anyway, but I do have six leopard geckos, a bearded dragon, and three baby common musk turtles. This thursday I have two more beautiful leopard geckos coming and I just can't wait to see them :). I found them online through a lovely breeder at ID Gecko. Following that will be the Sacramento Reptile Show and Sale where I'm picking up another beautiful Leopard Gecko from Marcia at Golden Gate Geckos. Who knows what else I will find there. Anywho, so I'm planning to breed them next year :). It should be super exciting to be involved in the process of raising little leopard geckos from the egg on up to the point where I will find them new homes. I love it :).

As such I end my four day weekend on a high note. I've started this blog. I've declared my little mission of writing a fantasy novel, which I have really wanted to do in the YA area for so long, and I am merely days away from the most fascinating weekend since FanimeCon 2006. Things are going to be good from here on out I hope. :)

Good News & Bad News

As the post says I have good news and bad news. I'm going to give the bad news first so that hopefully the good news will soften the blow.

As some of you may already know, Steve Irwin "The Crocodile Hunter" passed away yesterday. He was killed by a stingray barb to the heart while doing a new documentary. He left behind his American wife Terri and two children. This is tragic news for anyone that is familiar with his work on and off screen. He did so much for Australia and various wildlife conservation efforts across the world. He showed millions that reptiles are not animals that should just be feared, but animals that should be respected and loved just as any other animal.

Mr. Irwin will be sorely missed. I already miss you Steve :(.

Now for the good news I suppose.

Last night I was doing some thinking about what I was going to write about. For those that are new to my writing or the way I work, I don't think up entire stories and do outlines and such. The problem with outlines, for me anyway, is I have no interest in actually doing the full writing because it's already been written out, leaving me with no mystery or new things. So, for the most part I think of a single interesting idea to write about and that's what usually sparks my interest.
In other words, I have the beginning of a story. I just need to come up with a few things first before I start writing. But, don't you worry, there will be some writing on here for sure in the next month or so. I will however keep this thing updated regardless until such time as I have writing to produce. Maybe I'll put a short story I've written up here or something. Who knows.


Sunday, September 03, 2006


Okay, so I've put up this neat template and been fiddling with things. I also signed up for that Adsense program through Google since by doing so on Blogger it brings them revenue which will in turn help them keep the site up and running. It also means that Blogger can have new features in the future when they have the appropriate amount of revenue coming to them. So, basically this will be my silly little blog. Nobody is reading it right now, but that's because it's so brand new. As such I guess I could post what my mission is on this.

My Mission:
Basically I hope to use this Blogger site in order to post chapters to a Blog Novel. I've seen people do it and a I just really would like to write something and have it available some place, and Blogger is the best place to do it.
What kind of novel? Anyone who knows my writing will know I tend to write from the female perspective or a child's perspective. I've already labeled this site, so I'll just repeat what I want to write: a young adult fantasy novel. Basically I want to write something that will deal with children in some way (roughly in that near puberty age since it's a good point in time to write in regards to children), and I happen to like fantasy quite a bit. I'm not entirely sure what the story is going to be about quite yet, nor the characters, type of world, or anything. I've been creating my own little fantasy worlds for so long now I imagine I'll think of something interesting over the next few weeks. As soon as I come up with a compelling enough idea to write about I will start writing chapters for it, and obviously I'll be posting them on here. Then I get to see how the idea develops.

So just sit back anyone who happens to be wandering through here. Who knows what will be popping into my head later on...