Soren is watching you

Ah, deviantArt, you helped me to discover so many cool pictures and artists and yet, at the same time you are also quietly assisting me in procrastinating with my writing by effortlessly eating up the hours with browsing your site!

The only other things I seem to do are the things an everyday person who isn’t an author or aspiring to be one can do. *sigh* However, it did do a good thing. What is this you might ask? What good could possibly come from something that is preventing me from writing stories that might or might not make me well known and successful? I’m actually practicing my drawing again! A lovely side effect is that it has inspired MORE stories!

The graphic at the top was done with my tablet and it has been great to learn rediscover all the tools and tricks of the trade. Let me know what you think and if there is anything I should attempt to draw for you dear readers…

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Either they are going to be friends, or one is intending to attack the other.

The wonderful thing about stories is that they can contain many sorts of unlikely friendships like predators and prey being the best of buddies and never wondering how the other might taste. For example, there’s the friendship of the lion and the tuna (plus his school of friends who can construct a breathing aparatus out of kelp) from “The Other Guys” that you would have to pause if you want to attempt to catch all the jokes and references. There’s the homunculus and the forest brownie from Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (admittedly, they were at each other’s throats at first. But they did become buddies in the end!) Here are a couple other examples:

  • Tommy and Petra in The Calder Game by Blue Balliette (though admittedly, their friendship was a little bit inevitable seeing as they both had Calder as a friend).
  • Lord Umber and the woman in charge of his accounts (though she is more like a terrifying aquaintance you don’t want to talk to) from Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese.
  • Twig and the Banderbear (reading the description you’d have thought it would tear him apart as soon as it saw him or at least impaled him on its tusks when he pulled that bad tooth out) from Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart.

My point is that even though some of my above examples weren’t very good (I had some good ones, but I couldn’t remember the title or character names which annoys me) you can get away with highly unusual friendships in stories. Heck, Kendra Kandlestar and the unger who actually turned out to be ________ managed to strike a friendship that was so endearing and yet so frustrating at times that you love it and remember it forever! By the way, that example was taken from Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger by Lee Edward Fodi. Ratchet Ringtail is definitely my favorite character out of those books!

You have to wonder where good authors get some of these ideas. Some seem obvious from the start and others are less obvious but guessable. I find some seem completely impossible but still end up happening. How do authors write those sorts of things? How are they able to choose the right words that will convey the characters of the pair/group, in such a way that they’ll be utterly lovable (in one of the many definitions of lovable) and also thoroughly memorable?

How would you make an unlikely friendship (one that doesn’t revolve around lovestruck werewolves and glittery vampires deciding “Hey! You ain’t half bad!”)?  Personally, I’d make a situation where a light elf and a dark elf were forced to work together. They’re supposed to be opposites right! It wouldn’t be a romance setting so “opposites attract” wouldn’t apply. Another example of unusual friendships would perhaps be a griffin and a horse, seeing as they’re enemies (can you believe that hippogriffs were supposed to be just a ‘scholarly joke’?) It wouldn’t exactly be original, but hey! It could happen … right?

Post Script: One more highly unlikely friendship would be myself and a chicken. How I love their wings and not in an I-want-to-pet-you-way!

What is one of the more unlikely pairings you have created or read that made an impression on you?

If you fall, you will make many children unhappy.

The first thing we learn about Christmas, is that there is a rather large (possibly just big-boned though, if he’s anything like Obelix), generous old man who has nothing better to do at the end of a year than to give children toys (not that we’re objecting). Now, I’m not exactly sure if his ability to get into people’s houses could be considered a quirk or not, but let’s not think too much about that. Let us think instead, about St. Nick/Santa’s character. For example, he is a jolly old man who might or might not employ his house-entering talents (heaven forbid Santa be accused of breaking and entering) for burglary on all days other than Christmas Eve.

I am supporting this theory with the knowledge that when you’re a kid, and your house has no chimney and you start panicking about him missing your house, your parents tell you that he either magics himself through the mail slot, warps into the house, is given a spare key (or he could just be an expert at lock picking) or any variation of those stories. And for those who do have the chimney, has anyone ever wondered how exactly he manages to get inside those ultra tiny ones? I mean come on! He has to get inside, wiggle his way down to the fireplace (which he can only hope isn’t burning), then actually manage to climb out of the fireplace and hope no one is going to throw a Campbell’s Soup can at him.* Then, he has to squirm his way back up the chimney, pop out the top like a cork out of a bottle, dust all the soot off his clothes and out of his beard, and then jump in the sleigh so he can go to another house and do it again. How does he get this done in just one night?

Of course, the post wasn’t originally going to feature so much Christmasy content, it was going to be about character quirks. Here are a few examples of good quirks (in my opinion):

  1. King Bumi’s eye twitch and snorting laugh (he’s from Avatar: The Last Airbender)
  2. A person’s head moving slightly from side to side and their tongue darting out every time their brain-cage starts moving the other way (it would be even better if that tongue happened to be slitted)
  3. Sketching in midair to think things out, and tapping on an imaginary keyboard while talking

Those are just three examples of what I think would make brilliant character quirks. Honestly, those are cool ones. Another one I considered was a character compulsively going up to people and telling them “You look nice,” or “Your hair is lovely,” or “Your eyes are gorgeous!” or “Love your makeup” etc. However, depending on the character’s personality, this might just be annoying rather than flattering. ^^’

Another character quirk (in my opinion) would be using obscure words to convey how happy they are. And I think that’s about all I have to say on this subject, so there’s my two cents. :P Also, before this post is over, I was just wondering what sorts of quirks you readers find interesting in characters? Like what sorts of quirks you like in a character, what sorts you don’t like, what sorts border on superpowers…. whatever. To repeat what I said earlier, what sorts of quirks you readers find interesting in characters.

As You WishAs You Wish by Jackson Pearce

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How to describe “As You Wish”? In one word, it is stupendous!

In another… outstanding!

In yet another, it’s outrageous (but only because Viola actually got mad at Jinn in the movie theatre). Using more than one particular word though? Give me a minute to tap my chin and attempt to look thoughtful.

Now, when I found out about Jackson Pearce (I still forget how that happened exactly but I don’t particularly care) I had mislaid my library card. So seeing as I couldn’t read her books, I watched her online videos. Not only do they make me laugh but they also impart wisdom on occasion. So when I found “Sisters Red” in my local bookstore when I went there for my birthday this year, I got it and read it and loved it! Two Little Red Riding Hoods running around waving a “Kill the Werewolves!” banner (okay I exaggerate, just one did that). Who wouldn’t be interested in this literary jewel? Yesterday morning for Christmas I unwrapped “As You Wish” and immediately started screaming!

Why? Because I had been looking for it forever … (maybe not forever but since I found out about Jackson Pearce a short while ago) and read that it was about a genie and a girl falling in love and that most certainly sounds fantastic to me. For some unknown reason, I seemed to think it would be like “Sisters Red”. It’s a good thing time machines haven’t been invented yet because if they had been, I’d have gone back to give my past self a kick in the pants. With “Sisters Red” I was hooked pretty-much immediately but “As You Wish” started with me feeling curious about the first sentence. By the end of the first paragraph, I was laughing as was my Aunt, my Grandmother, my Mom, and basically anyone else I showed it to. I couldn’t really read during the visit but I did manage to get one hundred and eighty pages in before my sister and my Mom mainly finished with what they wanted to say to our Christmas company. In those first hundred and eighty pages, I found that not only is “As You Wish” drastically different (what with the whole absence of any one-eyed sisters in red capes running around trying to kill characters) but I loved it even more than “Sisters Red” which I had not thought humanly possible. Even though I have never been in a situation that Viola has been in, I connected with her quite well with most of my internal dialogue during the book being “oh you poor girl, come here, let me give you a hug then let’s go out for some hot chocolate with whipped cream”.

Of course, I did have my moments where I got upset with Viola but if I told you those parts this would be a review containing spoilers, so let’s switch to Jinn. Otherworldly Jinn. Handsome Jinn. Mouthwateringly gorgeous Jinn… before I go on with the titles and possibly embarrass myself if I haven’t already, I should probably take an axe to that particular branch of this review. Jinn was not (to me at least) your typical love interest character. I mean sure, the genies you usually read about are either lamp-bound, stuck in some other world where they’re all the same and they love annoying magicians (think Bartimaeus) or other such stereotypes. Bartimaeus did create what Disney didn’t with what I thought of genies but I think Jackson Pearce replaced Disney so Bartimaeus is now balancing against Jinn. Jinn is funny and impatient to head home but even better…he is a florist! Or rather, someone who works for the florist. The way his friendship with Viola and Lawrence developed and how his feelings for Viola grew, were very well written. I find myself wishing that I had just so happened to sidle into the book and knock Viola into a cupboard so I could get a kiss from Jinn or something while his eyes were conveniently closed so he wouldn’t notice the switch.

The plot, the execution of the plot, the character growth and the overall moral theme was coupled with my previously monumental respect and admiration for Jackson Pearce and it skyrocketed into one of the tallest buildings in my head after completing this book!

All I can say is that I fervently hope there will be a sequel and that seeing as I have loved these two books, I can’t wait to see what her next book, “The Damn Historical Novel” turns out to be like.

Oh Jackson, let’s do lunch!

View all my reviews

Oh my word! It's Santa's dissatisfied cat Mr. Fluffykins!

So we all know that the Christmas holiday is supposed to be a time of utter joy to all beings (excluding the cat, obviously) and yet for me it is a nightmare.

If you actually believed that little lie, you are now obligated to buy me a bar of chocolate! It must be milk chocolate or white chocolate and if it has a filling, everyone knows caramel is the only way to go.

To get on to the actual post though…

Happy Holidays to whatever readers there may be! I seem to be better at writing seasonal fanfictions than writing seasonal blogposts. Woe is me! Unless I want to turn into Mr. Fluffykins *cough*Grumpy-all-the-time*cough* So, ’tis that time of year again (no, not the much-worshiped birthday of myself) and presents are to be bought/made/chosen from the stash of items in my closet and wrapped to be given to other people. Which reminds me: I’ve got to find a button so I can complete a knitting project for one friend and do those completely fingerless gloves for another one … give me a minute to panic!

Now could also be the time to consider starting a story where the main character is having a lovely Christmas and it is completely ruined by a killer robot. Stop looking at me like that, I’m not in a bad mood!

Well, maybe I am in a bit of a mood but I swear it isn’t a bad one! Also, despite the trip to Disneyland having been in part of October and November, I seem to have only been pushed into gear about seriously sitting down and writing a post about the experience now that my sister has done one. Oh no, make that two, though the second one only counts as a half-post seeing as it’s about what food we ate (and she totally forgot that tough-to-chew sausage). Note to Zoe: You are SUCH a foodie. This is said with great affection of course ;)

Sorry but I must go write the post/be moody/be thoughtful/mope about the impossibility of getting any more chocolate peppermint milk this evening/watch the music video for Need You Tonight by INXS (back when they had Michael Hutchence, who is so much better than the new guy in my humble opinion).

Talk to you (all?) soon! :D And I need to get back to checking YA Highway daily. I’m missing all the RTW posts. *sigh*

Just now, guess what? I was enjoying a poached egg with toast that my sister had made (she only made the egg, she couldn’t have made the wheat bread) with a bit of tomato (it would have been half if I’d had my way). Suddenly, guess what I hear? “OOOOHITLOOKSDELICIOUSOOZINGOUT! Sloooowly…” Okay I exaggerated with how she said it, but she DID say those words. We all know Zoe doesn’t overreact over little things like that (“OOOOH MACRO!”) I proceeded to give her a calm look (a.k.a. the what-the-hell-is-up-with-you? look). Then I leaned away from her slowly. She had been looking at my poached egg ever since I sat down to eat it, and I’d just pierced the yolk because she had just said “but EVERYBODY soaks up the bread with the yolk!” and I had said “Well maybe I’m not everybody.” Apparently, I am though, seeing as I did what she said.

And just as she started to seemingly calm down, she suddenly started up again. “But look at it! It’s oozing out so slowly it’s perfect! And then how it congeals upon touching the bread as it cools.” I gave her another calm look and then told her she was freaking me out and reminding me too much of the crazy automaton Patterson in Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee (sorry if you haven’t read it and you have no idea how Patterson is crazy). From there, she suddenly gets up and I’m thinking “oh joy, I’ll be able to eat my poached egg on toast with tomato in peace!” and then it abruptly changed from such happy thoughts to “oh no, she’s getting out the camera, quick! HIDE THE MEAL!” Unfortunately, I was too late, and she reached me before I could make a decision between high tailing it from the room to scarfing it down quickly. She’s getting to be a good food papparazo, I can’t get away before she arrives with the flash on (Z inserts here that flash is never used in foodography and she doesn’t advocate it). So for the next few seconds, I try to photo bomb the pictures with my index finger to try and show how displeased I am with this (giggling the whole time) and she either has the nerve to push my hand away or tell me to take my other hand out of the picture, which is still holding onto the fork. Or to reposition the camera. By the time she was done, my egg was colder than it had been, and I told her she had to make me another to compensate. This was more of a demand than a request, seeing as I gave her another look, this one not being so calm (it was a get-on-it-NOW-or-I-will-find-a-way-to-do-SOMETHING-to-your-blog).

Z says: How about I teach you to poach your own eggs?

I say: No conversations inside a post that aren’t being recorded from the recent past, and this is not a foodie blog.

As an added note, she also told me the “perfect” temperature for cooking eggs when she was poaching mine, to which I replied that I have absolutely no interest in the perfect temperature, as long as the bloody thing is cooked!

P.S. The photo will probably end up in her Flickr photo stream. And I’ll probably add it just to make a comment.

The query process is understandably terrifying. In fact, I’m pretty sure they use it as a torture device in some countries. And that’s even before you jump online and find out that every agent has a slightly different idea of what makes a good query and every discussion forum has a different formula and next thing you know you’ll find yourself checking yourself into an

Other than the fact that this post is something I will use for future reference when I actually COMPLETE a story (in the sense of “Yes! I think I’ll query it!” *promptly hides under couch* “The unwritten query letter is the ultimate doom!!!” with a little less drama), WordPress has to set up something where you can reblog posts that come from blogs that aren’t hosted by WordPress. Otherwise I’ll be forced to continue copying random portions and doing the “…” at the end. The dots at the end of a quote are a link by the way, in case it doesn’t show highlighted text or something similar.

I suppose that’s all that’s going into this post. Sadly,  I’d hand you a handkerchief but I’m not in the room with you. I’m assuming you are crying because it is of course very sad when the posts aren’t long enough to give you at least three minutes of reading. Or maybe this did give you three minutes and in which case I withdraw my loving offer of the digital handkerchief. Unless you’re crying because it didn’t take five minutes to read this, even if it might have taken you five minutes to figure out this last bit, which it shouldn’t.