Unnormal Normalcy

Just News and Ramblings From Your Average Author

Post-Storm Update

That was not as bad around here as most other places in New York. The central part of the storm passed us by, thankfully. Did cause some issues this morning, though. At least we still have all of our trees intact and the creek out back didn’t try to drown us.

NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday! Yay! I’m still struggling to come up with a title for mine… I am once again using November to finish something I started over the summer, like last year with MtbB. I think I’ll do this every year. Yay for being a rebel! They should make NaNo Rebel tee-shirts… By the way, feel free to be my buddy!

And it’s that time of year… voting! And by that, I mean for the Goodreads Choice Awards (though election voting is also a very good idea).

October 30, 2012 Posted by | Life, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

Update to Review Policy

I have been getting a lot of emails lately from people who want me to review their works. This is great, I really want to help promote other writers’ books. But I’m busy with school and work and my own writing. I have one simple request:

Sell your book to me. Tell me why I should read your book. Have I read a book similar to yours? With similar themes and characters? Draw on that.

Say something like this: “I saw you enjoyed Book by Author. If you liked that book, you’ll like mine too.” And then tell me all about it.

I just don’t have time to respond to everyone who just sends me a generic email, because I don’t have time to read every book set in front of me. If you want me to read and review your work, tell me why I should.

Please please please, this will make my life so much easier. Thank you.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Blog Tour, Promoting, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment

Summer!!

Finals are over, let the summer begin!

Aside from working for the money I will need to use to buy textbooks in the fall, I plan on doing a number of writing-related thingers.

Yes, thingers. It’s a very technical term.

Anyway, here’s what I plan to do this summer:

  1. Overhaul the blog: get rid of old links, update areas where needed, possibly change the layout (haven’t decided yet if I want to)
  2. Get a cover done for MtbB: because I wanted to publish it months ago but things just did not go as planned
  3. Finish King of Blades: because I need to
  4. Work on another story I have planned and that will be 100% written via blog: as a change
  5. Plan my next NaNo: because November will be here very quickly

I must kick myself to get all of this done before September. Begin!

May 25, 2012 Posted by | King of Blades, Life, Meant to be Broken, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

More of Ryle and Shane

I love them. I don’t know why, but they are the characters who keep poking my brain, demanding to have their story written. Unfortunately, their story comes to me in flashes, flashes that I have sudden urges to write. So, I will eventually get their complete back story done, but it’s likely never going to be more than a collection of short stories of varying length, never a novel.

Here’s a story from their freshman year, when things begin. I posted Shane’s coming-out-to-Ryle scene already.

 

Ryle Salvador had spent the last six months trying to figure himself out, ever since his best friend since third grade, Shane Knight, came out to him. Ryle had casually asked Shane numerous questions about how he’d come to decide what his sexuality was, and he wondered if Shane was having suspicions about him. If he wondered about Ryle, he didn’t say anything, though.

But, it was watching Shane date a guy one year older than himself that really helped Ryle face the truth. He couldn’t fight the wave of jealousy that hit him every time he saw them together, and he was ashamed of how hard it was to hide his smile when Shane told him he’d been dumped after only two weeks.

“High school sucks,” Shane grumbled while they did their homework at Shane’s house a few days later.

Ryle glanced up from the English book he wasn’t really reading. “Yeah, too much work.”

Shane shook his head and threw down his pencil. “No, everything about it sucks. The homework, the classes, the people… Some idiot in history is calling me names now. And Joe’s a bitch.”

“I told you not to date him,” Ryle replied, glancing down at his book again. “He’s not your type.”

“How would you know?” Shane demanded. “I mean, sure, we’ve known each other for six years, but you’re not -”

“I am.”

There was a long pause, during which Ryle stared at page 57 of Lord of the Flies and took nothing in. Why was he so scared? Shane, of all people, should understand him.

“What?” Shane finally asked.

“Why did you think I asked you so many questions?” Ryle’s throat felt like sandpaper as he spoke.

“I guess I wondered… I just thought you were curious, since we’d known each other for so long…”

Ryle finally set the book down. “No. I had been wondering about myself before that. I just wanted to find out how to know for sure.”

Shane nodded and picked his pencil back up to play with it. “So… back to my point. What is my type?”

Ryle shrugged. “I’d say someone like me.”

“Someone like you,” Shane repeated, a frightened expression on his face.

“Yeah,” Ryle said, blushing.

“We could ruin what we have,” Shane pointed out quietly. “I don’t want that.”

Ryle nodded and looked away. “I know. I don’t want that to happen either. But what if…” He shook his head and got up from the kitchen table. “I’m sorry,” he stated as he gathered his backpack and his books. There were suddenly tears in his eyes, and he didn’t know why. He started for the door.

“Wait!” Shane jumped to his feet and cut him off before he got to the front door. “Ryle, please,” he begged. “You didn’t give me time to let it sink in. You just surprised me with two really big things.” His green eyes gazed into Ryle’s, and he suddenly shook his head. “You’re right,” he agreed quietly. “What if? I can’t lose this chance. But we’ve been friends for so long…”

“We’ll always be friends,” Ryle assured him. “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll know we were only meant to be friends.”

Shane nodded and took Ryle’s books away to set them on the floor. Then he pulled Ryle into a tight hug. Ryle put his arms around Shane, resting his head against his friend’s shoulder. He loved the feeling of the tender hug; the last time Shane had hugged him this tightly, they had been ten years old – best friends for only a year – and Ryle had been coping with his father’s sudden death. Ryle had felt devotion from Shane then, and he felt it now.

After a while Shane took a step back, and Ryle leaned close, giving Shane a light kiss on the cheek. Shane responded by giving Ryle a soft kiss on the lips. Ryle smiled, so glad to finally be giving them a chance at something more than friendship.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Ryle/Shane Backstories, The Angel, Writing | Leave a comment

King of Blades – Chapter 11 “Answers”

Chapters 1 through 10: clickeh

 

It was a tense wait for Shelton to return with the other mage. None of them knew what having Coulta’s powers could possibly mean, and Coulta himself was worried about their unborn child. Could he have passed on his powers to the baby, as well as Anil? Would that harm the child? What if it was born with similar markings on the skin that Coulta had? How could they explain that to the court? Punishments for Second Kings who failed to prevent themselves from impregnating a queen were severe – tradition called for castration.

But Coulta felt that such a punishment could only be dealt when the marriage was strategic, without much emotional attachment. He could feel that Wildas truly loved him. Wildas could never do that to him. After all, they all knew he was infertile – but the court didn’t. If the baby was born with marks like Coulta’s, it would be assumed that Coulta was the father. No one would stand for that, especially not for the first-born child, the young Grand King’s heir.

Maybe, though, Shelton and Wildas would find a way to publicly prove that Coulta was permanently infertile. If it came down to that, Coulta was more than willing to go through with whatever public display was needed of him.

His thoughts were disrupted by Shelton’s return. With him was a middle-aged, dark-skinned woman with graying black hair pulled tightly away from her angular face. She wore a silver gown that matched her glimmering eyes. Wildas, Myri, and Coulta all rose from their seats as the mages entered, while Anil remained seated. Shelton made the formal introductions, and the sorceress, Terezka, bowed to them each in turn, deepest to Wildas.

“I have been told that you have all been involved in an unplanned power share,” she said, her accent completely unfamiliar to Coulta. He still wasn’t used to all the foreign-born people who had made their homes in Phelin.

“That is what we’ve been told, as well,” Wildas answered her.

But Terezka’s silver gaze had turned directly to Coulta. “May I have your hand?” she requested. Coulta held his right hand out to her and she shook her head. “The other. The left hand is more closely related to the heart and the deep source of power within.”

Coulta held out his left hand instead. She held it gently, and within moments Coulta felt a gentle wave of sensation move across his entire body. After another few moments, she nodded and released his hand.

“Everything is as I had expected it to be, from what Shelton confided to me,” she declared. “There is no simple explanation for what has happened, but we can draw the likeliest conclusion from what we know. First, curse-magic is highly unpredictable. One never knows how strong it will be, if it ever stops growing, or when it will transfer. I don’t mean the curse itself,” she added, noticing the pale look on Anil’s face, “I mean the magic that it leaves behind when it is broken. Curses are never destroyed entirely, but if they can be broken, the power that created and continued the curse will be fully transferred to the control of the person who was cursed. Those powers can change, grow, and be transferred over time, but it is difficult to control. The Second King,” she continued, bowing her head briefly to him, “may notice his abilities slowly changing over the years. It may also be difficult to stop the powers from transferring to any sexual partner. That transferred power, I must assure you, is perfectly harmless. In fact, it seems that, as it mysteriously happens with curse-power shares, the powers shared are very helpful for the partner who receives them.”

“Why is it only happening now?” Myri questioned.

Terezka held up a slender hand, then bowed her head slightly to the queen. “I have more to add. Curses, after they are broken, leave magical scars that speak of what the curse was, and how it was broken. I do not mean physical scars,” she added, apparently noticing all three of Coulta’s spouses looking at the black tracery on his skin, “I mean magical ones that can only be sensed by direct magical contact, as I just performed. Those scars told me the story of Coulta’s curse, which began to break when he was very young. The crack began when his mother created a way for the curse to break through the love of another. The crack became a fracture, at which point he began being able to use some magic, when he was placed into the service of his former master and the crown’s enemy. That fracture was caused by the love of the servant girl who raised him.”

Coulta felt Myri put an arm around him from where she stood by his side. Wildas clasped his hand from his other side, and Anil looked up at him with a small smile. They had all known that Teeya was special to him, and somehow it felt like they appreciated her more for helping him break his curse.

“The curse broke further when he met the Grand King,” Terezka went on, bowing her head deeply to Wildas. “Even before they truly knew each other, their souls knew each other. Everyone who has a curse is somehow tied to someone who can break that curse, and their souls will find each other. The cursed soul is always looking for that one other who will free it from its suffering, and when it locates the other, it will link itself to the free soul.”

“Is this like the stories of true love in children’s tales?” Anil questioned.

“Not completely, My Lady,” Terezka answered with another head bow. She was clearly intensely formal. “The linking of two souls doesn’t hinder a person’s ability to love others. Indeed, the Second King’s deepest love may be for the one who truly freed him, but that does not mean that his love for either of his wives is any less real. Nor does it mean that the Grand King, whose soul is tied to his husband’s, loves the Second King any more deeply than either of his queens. Though they do tend to agree with each other, the heart and the soul often function separately. I can only speak of the magic, however, and I don’t want to speculate on emotions. The last thing I wish to do is create complications in this royal marriage.”

Myri laughed lightly, tightening her arm around Coulta. “Anil and I both know they are more inclined toward each other. I am happy, regardless.”

Anil smiled at her. “I do agree. They are good to us, and they don’t neglect us. Clearly,” she added, pointedly running a hand over her abdomen.

From where he had been lingering out of the way, Shelton chuckled.

Coulta cleared his throat in an attempt to dispel the awkwardness that he felt. “Then, if my curse broke after meeting Wildas, why did it take so long for this power share to happen?”

The sorceress bowed her head yet again – which was starting to get old to watch. “It is likely that the curse didn’t break immediately, Your Highness. According to what I saw in your scars, it didn’t fully break until you followed through with a vow that you had made in your husband’s name. Since then, your powers have grown quite steadily. I suggest you continue testing yourself to discover where your current boundaries lie. As for why the power shares have occurred now – or occurred earlier and are only being activated now – I can only suggest that it may have to do with a need to protect your family from the coming war, even if it wasn’t a conscious choice to give them your powers to do so. Sometimes magic – especially curse-magic – works through our primal needs and deepest desires. Curse-magic is especially hard to contain when it chooses to transfer to a sexual partner. Other ways of sharing power would be much more controlled, but there are only two ways to stop sharing with your spouses; either don’t engage in sexual activities, or drain yourself of your magic so thoroughly beforehand that you have very little to spare. That would also leave you physically exhausted and may defeat your purpose.”

She smiled and shook her head, eyes glittering. “I wouldn’t worry, however. As long as everyone you share powers with learns to channel them to meet their needs, there is no harm. And no, there is no way to know how long the abilities will last in those who are shared with. Weak sorcerers may only transfer enough power for one spell, but stronger sorcerers can share enough power to last several weeks and through nearly countless spells. Curse-magic that is shared generally lasts months, or even more than countless uses. It is harder to know with curse-magic because using it requires no pre-thought spells, only an idea of what you want to accomplish. It may be wise for everyone to start learning to use their powers before the war comes to us.”

“What about the baby?” Wildas questioned, his expression still calm, though Coulta felt the grip on his hand tighten.

Terezka shook her head – after the customary little bow, again. “There is no way to know before the child is born, Your Majesty. There will certainly be no harm caused to the child, but whether or not the child has powers, and whether or not those powers will stay within the child throughout life is impossible to determine. I cannot examine a child in the womb because the mother’s own body hides the child in an effort to protect it.”

Coulta took a sharp breath and finally voiced his biggest fear, “And if it looks like me?”

“Then questions will be asked,” Shelton stated, finally stepping forward, “but I will speak in your defense.”

“As will I,” Terezka declared with a full bow.

“However, if appearances require a public test by other sorcerers, it will need to be done,” Shelton added.

Coulta nodded. “I understand.”

Wildas turned to look at Coulta. “There is no tradition saying that a Second King can’t transfer powers to the heir.”

“The usual magic can’t transfer to an unborn child,” Shelton pointed out, then glanced at Terezka. “Correct?”

She nodded. “You are correct. I don’t know anything about curse-magic and children.”

Shelton returned the nod. “I’m not sure many are. Is there anything else that should be known?”

“That is all,” she answered.

“Then let’s return to the mage training.”

Terezka bowed to them all before leaving, and when she had gone, Coulta sighed with relief. It was good to know that he hadn’t brought harm upon his spouses or their child after all.

“I suppose we should go learn to use these new powers,” Myri declared, sounding decidedly eager. She gave each of her husbands a kiss on the cheek, then helped Anil to her feet.

Anil paused to hug Coulta. “We stand beside you,” she stated.

“Thank you,” he replied, returning the hug.

When they had gone, Wildas pulled Coulta into a tight hug. “I’m happy I was the one who was able to finish the work Teeya started.”

Coulta smiled. “I am, too,” he agreed before kissing Wildas strongly, all his thankfulness poured into that kiss. When he pulled away a few long moments later he asked, “So, would you like to learn how to use your new fire magic?”

“It’s not just for tormenting my brother?” Wildas questioned with a smile.

Coulta grinned. “Only on occasion.”

April 27, 2012 Posted by | King of Blades, Writing | Leave a comment

Okay, So…

I’m aware of how much of a slacker I’ve been. It’s just that school has taken a major chunk of my time lately. I’ve hardly been doing any writing, and that is sad. I can’t read very much more than a few pages a day, either, which is even more sad.

But I’ve written some short stories about Ryle and Shane – sort of back-story short scenes, not really stories, I guess.

Anyway, here’s one short scene I wrote a few months ago. Enjoy.

 

Ryle Salvador stared at the map of Madison High School, trying to read the slightly smudged numbers that told which lockers were located in each hall. He checked the other sheet of paper he was holding, the one that told him his locker number and combination, but held no other clues as to how to find it.

“Want to look for mine or yours first?” his best friend, Shane Knight, asked, looking up from his own map and locker assignment.

“Whichever,” Ryle replied. “Why didn’t they point out what hallways had what lockers during orientation yesterday?”

Shane shrugged. “I thought our tour guide sucked. She was too concerned with running into her boyfriend leading that other group every five minutes.”

“I hope when I’m a senior I don’t have a stalker like that.”

His friend snorted. “Come on, I think I know where mine is, at least.”

Ryle followed him up the stairs, silently complaining about how useless their freshman orientation had been the day before. By the end of it they had both just wanted to go home and save finding their lockers for another day, unlike the rest of their classmates. That meant no one was there to point them in the right direction now.

They walked up and down several flights of stairs, found a few dead-ends, walked in a few circles, and made several wrong turns, but finally Shane held his papers up in triumph. “Found it!”

Ryle waited patiently while Shane tried the combination, and swung the locker open with a satisfying whine of metal hinges. At that moment, Ryle had a mental reality check.

“We’re in high school,” he stated. “It’s the real thing. Real classes and tests that actually matter. And a totally different social atmosphere, with bullies and cliques and all that.”

Shane looked up at him from the dial on his locker, a serious expression on his face. “Ryle, I have to tell you something.”

Ryle was startled by his friend’s tone. “Okay.”

“I’m telling you because you’re my best friend and I trust you more than anyone else in the world.” He took a deep breath. “I’m gay.”

Ryle stared at him for a moment, not sure how to respond. He was sure he was supposed to be surprised, shocked, upset, or something like that. But he wasn’t. In fact, he couldn’t see how it could possibly change anything about how he looked at his friend. And that was just it.

Shane looked like he might be sick. “Are you going to say anything?”

Ryle shrugged. “I don’t care, Shane. Well, I mean, I care,” he amended, seeing Shane go pale. “I’m just not bothered. You’re my best friend, and I want it to stay that way.”

Shane smiled and Ryle could see the relief on his face. “Thank you, Ryle. I knew I could trust you.”

Ryle returned the smile. “Can we go find my locker now?”

As they started back through the maze of hallways in search of his locker, Ryle found himself wanting to question Shane. How had he figured it out? Was he sure? When did he know? Had he told anyone else?

That was the first time Ryle ever admitted to himself that he wasn’t quite sure of his own sexuality.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Life, Ryle/Shane Backstories, The Angel, Writing | Leave a comment

PayPal is now in Charge of Censorship?

 

I think it’s pretty pathetic when a company that only exists to process payments between buyers and sellers takes advantages of the fact that people use it so widely to begin deciding what people can and can’t buy. This is what PayPal is doing to ebook vendors such as Smashwords.

Books are things that allow people to express themselves freely, whether by writing them or reading them. Censorship has always been a problem for writers. When can we write what we need to write, without having some aspect of it censored, banned, or chopped out by sensitive editors?

Now, we also have to worry about whether or not PayPal will accept it. Will PayPal – not an editor or publisher or even a reader – let us write and sell what we enjoy writing? Will PayPal allow us, as readers, to buy the books that we enjoy to read?

What PayPal is objecting to are the following types of content in erotica: incest, rape, and bestiality.

Now, I don’t write any of these things, nor do I have any desire to read such things. But, the fact is, some people do. It’s not right to stop people from reading what they choose to read.

I may not want to read the things you want to read, but I will stand behind your right to read – and to read what you want. I’ve signed the petition, have you?

March 1, 2012 Posted by | History, Life, Promoting, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment

Answering the Frequently Asked Question

Cover for a short story on Wattpad. Clickey!

So, there’s this question that I get asked quite frequently, and I figured I might as well finally just write a nice long post addressing it.

La question: Why do you constantly read and write stories about gay characters? Do you have some weird obsession? Are you creepy perverted? What is wrong with you?

Okay, so that’s more than one question, really, but they all go together. I choose to answer this with another question; why do straight guys love gay girls?

Meaning, my simple answer is that I like guys. Therefore, what is better than one guy? MORE THAN ONE GUY. TOGETHER.

And no, I’m not a fag hag. I have like, zero gay guy friends. Except a few via Facebook, where our friendship goes as far as commenting on and liking statuses. Sometimes it feels like Facebook is real life, but it’s not. So to the people who think my characters are based off of my real friends… I don’t have any. Friends. At all.

Kidding.

I think.

And no, I have nothing against lesbians. I’m just not attracted to girls so reading lesbian stories feels kinda awkward. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t read one if I found a good one. I mean, I have Shauna and Kiona, for Pete’s sake. And, YES, I am planning on writing a full novel about them like I did with Ives and Tomi in MtbB, I just have multiple other writing projects to get through first. So don’t be all like, “she loves gay boys and hates gay girls rawrrawrrawr.” I’ll hurt you.

Not really.

Maybe.

The other reason is that I don’t like het(erosexual) romance plots. As a single girl, I usually end up feeling lonely and sad after reading a book with a het storyline. Not that there aren’t good ones out there. Hunger Games, for example. And I ignore that aspect of the plotline in The Mortal Instruments, though without Magnus I don’t think I’d be able to. Please excuse me while I have a fangirl moment.

MAGNUSBANEIHEARTYOU!!!!

Back. So, yeah, if I wasn’t single I think I’d be more willing to read more het romances. But I doubt that will change any time soon. Until then, my boys shall keep me company. Be jealous.

And I’m sorry this post is so random. I’m just in a really random mood. I went to the gym earlier, enjoyed a nice episode of Criminal Minds, and had some Mountain Dew Voltage. And had a bit of chocolate. Soon I will be granted my turn with the Xbox to play Skyrim. Plus, I have been wanting to just rant this all out for a while now.

Now, /rant.

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Life, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment

Expenses and Revenues of Self-Publishing

Over the course of 2011 I incurred $113.94 in expenses related to my publishing. Most of that was from buying copies to sell in person.

I received $10.00 in royalties from Amazon for Kindle sales.

I also received $21.04 in royalties from CreateSpace for print book sales.

I sold books in person for a total of $60.00.

As of now, I have $1.37 in unpaid royalties from Smashwords, $4.19 in unpaid royalties from CreateSpace, and $8.24 in unpaid royalties from Amazon.

This puts me at $-22.90 for 2011. However, I have done very little in the way of promoting, and I only have two novels at the moment. This is better than I did last year with only one novel. I’m still content to continue my self-publishing adventure.

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Monday Plug, Promoting, Writing | Leave a comment

Busy, Busy, Bizzzyyy

I thought once November was over I’d have so much more time to catch up here. Obviously, I have been utterly failing at that. Mainly, I’ve just been catching up with reading and school. It’s finals time, then I’m going to have two months off to do nothing – except work!

The first thing I plan to do, when I actually get the time (I have to leave to do my Christmas shopping in, like, five minutes – put that off, too) is catch up on my backlog of reviews that I need to post. So, prepare for that.

I’m also going to catch up on posting King of Blades. I like posting it here, since I’ve been failing at short stories lately, too.

Then I’m going to massively update all pages of this blog. And sidebars. And the Facebook page.

Then I’m going to edit Meant to be Broken and hopefully enter it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Haven’t decided for sure if I will, though.

Then I’m going to finish King of Blades. It’s only going to be a novella. Nothing really big.

And I’m probably going to do a lot of other things, too. Like, feed the dogs before I go shopping with Mom.

December 14, 2011 Posted by | King of Blades, Life, Meant to be Broken, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment

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