And breathing in smoke signs

Some news, rather than a teaser for you today, so everyone can be updated on my oh-so-fascinating life.

I saw the Hunger Games movie and cried and clapped and about died with joy and excitement. If you’ve read the book, they did an excellent job on the movie so you don’t have to be worried. If you haven’t, go read the book. Also amazing. I’m in love with Gale and Seneca – and Seneca’s beard – and though I dislike Peeta as a character, Josh Hutcherson did such a good job that he made me appreciate Peeta a little more.

So my plan, before going to real school for a useless degree in writing, I’m going to keep working at the bookstore as well as earn my bartending certificate and get tips for tits. Because if there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that my breasts are disproportionately large compared to the rest of me. Men like that. I will make a loooot of money, methinks. I signed up for the local bartending course last week, and today they emailed me with the tuition cost and course outline, so it seems that I’m in. Then come fall, or maybe next January’s course, I’m going to do real school. English courses and whatnot. Harder stuff. Stuff I’m going to hate and realize is useless, but there you go.

It’s too bad that a BA in English, or a BA at all, gets you nowhere these days.

I sent my manuscript away, as well! Here’s to hoping I’ll get published. Best possible situation: I’ll do the bartending course, make a bit of money, then find out that my novel was accepted, I’ll get rich quick, get a movie deal, not have to go to school and not have a real job again. More likely scenario: I’ll get rejected and have to keep trying, and maybe make a bit of money when all’s said and done, and have to do school and do a real job for the next fifty years.

But eh, I’m hoping.

If there’s one thing to know about me, other than my ample bosom, it’s that I love me a Scottish accent. Even an ugly dude with a Scotch accent is automatically sexy. This obsession with Scotland is proven by three of my all-time favourite men: Ewan McGregor, Craig Ferguson, and Gerard Butler. Also, to a lesser extent, James McAvoy. The four of them should just get together and talk. I’d melt.

So it was extremely nice when Bethany introduced me to The Twilight Sad, an indie rock band straight from Scotland.

This is a delectable number that she showed me, and I’m now in love with. I don’t know what this fellow looks like, but I’d climb that like a tree. I’m a girl of simple tastes: have a thick yet understandable Scottish accent, and I’m all yours. Which is why I love it when Ewan is on Craig’s show.

That started out as “Ewan is on Craig”, but that sounded naughty. And all right. Mm.

And for those who are at all interested in OtArb et al, this adoration for all things Scottish seeps into my story a bit: accents of those from the Wastes – like the villains, Cain and Arcana – are, in my head, Scottish. Vaguely typed Scots as well. Fun fact for you there!

Speaking of OtArb, I’m slowly creeping past my writer’s block for OtK. Which is great, because I conveniently hit a writer’s block in Changeling. It was due for one; I don’t even think I’ve had one for her yet.

Progress!

How’s everyone else doing?

The progression of badassery

I recently discovered just what I can do with torrents. Seeing how it’s stupidly easy,I downloaded several video game soundtracks, which are brilliant for setting the scene while I’m writing. Fable, and three Elder Scrolls: III Morrowind, IV Oblivion, and V Skyrim.

Jeremy Soule has been creating the soundtracks for the Elder Scrolls since the beginning of time. Or at least since Morrowind. And if you’ve every played any of these games, you know how the music effects the game and how you play. He’s a genius, and I want to be his best friend.

The main theme of the Elder Scrolls is the same song, but the tune and tempo and style of it changes with each game, to suit the game itself.

Nerevar Rising: Morrowind is a rugged landscape with suspicious inhabitants who detest outlanders, and is ruled by corrupt Great Houses and dominated by guilds of assassins.

Reign of the Septims: Oblivion takes the hero across Cyrodiil, the glorious and extravagant capital of the Empire, and into the fiery depths of Mehrunes Dagon’s Plane of Oblivion.

Dragonborn: Skyrim is mountainous and wild, and her people are just as wild and natural born warriors. (The chanting at the end gets me every time)

The themes of each suit them  perfectly, as with their respective ambient soundtracks. I’m amazed at what Jeremy Soule is capable of. And each one gives me such goosebumps, you wouldn’t believe.

Having grown up with these games, I’m so pleased to have finally acquired the soundtracks. Each one is amazing in its own right. If you have a chance, listen to them or download them. It’s worth it.

Also, when searching for appropriate examples of each song on YouTube, I found this. Enjoy.

I can feel her fingers spread to the beat of a kick drum

From here out, forgive any spelling mistakes in Changeling teasers and short stories. MS Word decided to shut off spellcheck due to so many errors – made up words like country names and foreign words like unusual names (Nallis, Gabal, Lacramioara, and Zdenek are key examples of these) – and I don’t feel like fixing it right now. Or ever, even. We’ll see how I’m feeling about it at a later date.

And while we’re on the topic of big announcements, I’ve got something to tell you all Changeling, I had a thought the other day, while discussing publishing with my mother and grandmother. Turns out my grandmother knows someone who has been published, and this woman seems like a downer and basically said I wouldn’t get traditionally published because my manuscript is unsolicited. Well, thank you, random lady I don’t know, but I’m sending it to publishers to take unsolicited manuscripts. I’m not an idiot.

Anyways, I’m going to, once I get stamps, cling to the dream of having OtArb traditionally published. However, I’m thinking for Changeling – which hit the 100 000 word mark today; I’m so proud of her! – I might just format it for ebook and sell it for cheap, plug it on the internet? We’ll see how I’m feeling when I’m actually finished writing and editing it, which could take a while, considering how far into the future plot I’ve considered. I’ll probably have to break it into sequels. A ginormous ebook seems like a bad choice right off the bat.

But yes, there’s that idea. Because OtArb is my baby, I still want to go the traditional publishing route. But I’ve never been averse to self-publishing, so long as it’s done right. Working in a bookstore, I see a lot of self-publishing done poorly. The most recent example of this was a local woman who wrote a story and put out her novel with unjustified paragraphs, no indent, double-spaced, numbers instead of letters/words (ex; … 2 pots of coffee…), improper use of punctuation, et cetera.

If you actually know how to use a word processing system and write a story, this shouldn’t be too hard. Being that I’m a grammar Nazi, I’m not too concerned about it. Self-publishing can be an excellent tool, if used properly. Like anything, really.

I need to get better at updating regularly, so you don’t get swamped with posts.

I’ve been on a bit of an iwrestledabearonce bender lately, hence the title. Lyrics to the song I’m Gonna Shoot, off their 2011 album Ruining It For Everybody. I highly recommend it, as with all of their albums. Super talented. Super fun. Super hot?

Also, the Civil Wars are very good. Bethany and I did a trade-off for music, after she learned that iwrestledabearonce isn’t all just angry screamo metal. So she gets all three iwabo albums, which I own, and I get the Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow. Its classified genre is folk-rock, which I think is cute. I enjoy both folk and rock. Perfect. Their harmonizing is what got me, in the end.

I’m getting sick of this layout. Someone design me a new one!

Here, have some Changeling. Happy hump-day!

Normally the very phrase would have pierced my heart with horror and memories of my dark childhood would have flooded my mind, but his soft touch against my cheek dispelled all sinister thoughts. Though my rational mind fought back, I found myself yielding, allowing him to charm me into something I had been terrified of throughout my entire life.

In the dark of night, before a dancing fire, I was shown for the first time that not all men were evil, and not all men wanted only to hurt the women around them. For the first time in my life, I was shown such unconditional tenderness that I wept, overcome with conflicting emotion.

I had never allowed myself happiness, thinking myself undeserving of it. I was proven wrong.

All hallows’ eve!

Happy Halloween, everyone in the blogosphere! Did you dress up? Trick or treat? Party hardy?

Me, I worked all weekend, so no partying. And it’s socially unacceptable for an adult to trick or treat without a child in tow, so I didn’t do that.

But I did dress up, and I technically handed out candy – at my workplace. Every year downtown, the DVA (Downtown Vernon Association) hosts a trick or treat trail: where businesses put balloons in front of their stores marking them as part of the trail, and they give out candy and fliers and stuff to kids who come in dressed up. So, I dressed up, went to work, and handed out candy to the wee ones who came in. It was so cute, and so much fun.

And who, you may ask, did I dress up as this year? You may remember I was William Wallace last year, and I have a penchant for being people, not things.

Well, this year, I was the immortal no, wait, that’s not right Amy Winehouse!

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Continue reading

Shadows cannot hold hands

I was driving home from work today, rockin’ out with my cock out to my iPod playlist on shuffle, as per the norm, when White Water In The Morning by iwrestledabearonce graced my car’s 17 year old speakers. So as I was singing/growling along, wishing I could scream without coughing up a lung, when I remembered back to that fateful day when I had been introduced to the magic that is iwrestledabearonce.

It was before their first album had been released. I had been sitting where I am now, in the armchair by the window, when my brother ran upstairs from his lair in the basement and told me he saw a music video for a band whose vocalist looked like me.

Enter: iwrestledabearonce, Tastes Like Kevin Bacon video.

I was enamoured – not just by the fact that the vocalist, the immeasurable Krysta Cameron, and I looked similar (just from the video; we aren’t twins or anything) – but because what I was listening to was golden sound, filling my head with a braingasm of musical glory.

Since then, I’ve bought five t-shirts from their online store, and I’m ordering the special edition of their newest album (because HMV was failing and every time I went to Kelowna to get it, they were out of stock). Nothing like my badass list of nerdy things for Star Wars, but that’s the  most I’ve done for a band.

Sooo, iwrestledabearonce needs to come to the Okanagan next time they’re on tour. Hear that?! Okanagan Valley, southern BC interior, Canada!

A badass image, circa Tastes Like Kevin Bacon video
A post-haircut image, circa Tastes Like Kevin Bacon video

See, we aren’t identical, but note the similar glasses and haircuts. Also, similar clothes-wearing which you cannot see. And lack of me being surrounded by men in hot pants holding inflatable guitars in front of their junk.

From just watching the video, with its frantic motion and pure badassery, it was easy to see  how we looked similar. And thus, from such a simple, innocent motion, love for my favourite band was born. But it was a nice birth, not one of those where there’s blood and guts and screaming and the baby comes out looking like an alien.

So there’s my fun story of the day. How about everyone else? Did you discover your current favourite band through a holy twist of fate, or a mundane way?

Immortal Soul Weeps: Of the Arbour short story, 1

The final line was sung and the theatre dome was filled with the clear sound of the young man’s tenor. It cut through the silence of the room, forcing hair to rise on the backs of guests’ necks and breath to catch in throats. The orchestra let their final note fade behind the vibrato note, until only the string quartet accompanied the lone young man standing at the centre of the polished stage.

Then the note ended and the spell was broken. Silence fell over the theatre for several heartbeats, then the audience began shrieking with cheers and a thunderous applause. The tenor bowed and grinned, the conductor stood from the orchestra pit, the rest of the performers reappeared from behind the red velvet curtain cutting the stage in two: but the audience, all standing in honour of the opera, were not calling for any who had appeared before them.

One young man split off from the rest of the group and ducked through the boisterous crowd until he reached the foyer of the theatre. It was void of all life save for that of the hosts standing beside the main entrance, but they didn’t even acknowledge his presence as he ghosted over the thick carpeting toward an unobtrusive wooden door tucked behind a smooth cherry wood bar. It was closed, unmarked, but when he tried the worn brass handle he found it wasn’t locked, and gave easily when he pushed.

The door opened to a narrow stone hallway, completely unadorned, with plain walls, heavy chandelier brackets and only a simple runner carpet down the centre. The green room opened nearby, he knew, and after the performers were presented to the audience they would return to wash their faces of lead powder and carmine, shed wigs and costumes, and chat about the success of the night’s performance.

But he wasn’t looking for the green room.

He continued down the hallway and smiled when he saw several vellum posters tacked to the wall. He slowed as he passed and glanced over them. A beautiful woodcut usually of men and women in elaborate gowns and headpieces, with a block letter title at the top, the names of the main performers underneath the image, and there, at the bottom, the name of the fabled creator: all were the most successful plays and poetry readings of the past four years, like The Heart of the Gladiator, Desert Bones Whispering, The City’s Gentleman, and, the most famous of the operas to date, the one he had just witnessed for the sixth night running, Immortal Soul Weeps. But it wasn’t the titles, or the beautifully printed woodcuts of lovers embracing, of men fighting monsters, or the record-breaking performance dates, that caught his eye. It was the name signed at the bottom of each page, hand copied onto each poster that was released throughout the City: Fen of the City.

Elusive and enigmatic: the greatest playwright and poet of this era never showed his face in polite society, never graced the stage with his presence after a performance, he was more of a ghost than a real being to most of the uneducated public, and a mysterious, exotic foreigner to the City’s courts of gossip. Once, after his first sold out performance in the City’s most prestigious theatre in the Exchange—therefore the most prestigious theatre in the entire Nation—for The Heart of the Gladiator, his first play that focussed solely on romance, there was a ball held in his honour in the wealthy quarter, Holy Emperor’s Way. According to the rumour mill, that was the only time he had ever appeared in public—and he had been dressed in thick folds of black velvet and cream lace, with a beaked masquerade mask, in plain black encrusted with pearls,  that hid his face from those desperate to meet him.

Fen of the City was a mystery, which only helped his plays gain popularity. Every time his work was performed, the audience expected to see him on stage after the final note had fallen silent.

The man chuckled to himself and rolled his eyes, then continued down the hallway until he reached another plain door. When he tried this one it was locked, so he knocked and leaned against the jamb, a small smirk playing at the corners of his lips.

Several moments of hesitation passed, then he heard a soft voice ask, “Who is it?”

“The reigning prince of agriculture,” he retorted, laughter ringing his voice. “Who do you think it is?”

Another pause. “Seriously.” The voice was flat and lacking amusement, and it only made him snort to stifle his chuckles.

“It’s your brother, Flynn. Open up, you smug hermit.”