Friday, May 23, 2014

Drummers. Gotta love 'em.

I am currently flying through the rough draft version of Mike's story, Deepest Blues.  It's an odd sensation.  I was avoiding this one for so long because I knew that it was going to take a lot out of me to write it.  But when I finally made the decision to sit down and really bleed this out with Mike, it began to take shape rather quickly.  Now, I'm struggling with not having enough time or fast enough fingers to satisfy what's happening in my head.

I know that everyone wanted Mike's story to happen immediately after Learn to Fly but it wasn't time yet.  Now is the time.  It should be ready to release soon after book 3 so the wait won't be long now.  I'm truly hoping that I do it right.  That those of you who fell for Mike won't be disappointed.  I've allowed some things about him to be transparent, but he has a few secrets that can't help but come to light.

I can honestly say that I have never experienced this kind of emotional drain from another character.  And not in a dark, I'm worried about his well being, type of way.  Mike is deep.  Endless.  I keep dropping rocks and nothing hits bottom.  He's quiet, introspective, observant, patient, with all these tiny little fractures all over his heart.  I hope I can properly tell his story and not take over and tell the story I think should be told.

Then there's Clarke.  She made a small appearance in book 2.  I had no idea she would become such a huge part of this project.  Getting to know her has been beautiful. 

Here are a few songs that are on the playlist if you you're a glutton for torture and want to know what I'm dealing with.

Pearl Jam- I'm Still Here

Amy Stroup- Hold Onto Hope Love

Foo Fighter- The Deepest Blues Are Black

Needtobreathe- The Reckoning

Seether- Here and Now

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fangirling Over Bria Quinlan, Join Me

I read a lot.  I don't mean like, I kind of read a little here, a little there.  A read a frickin' ton.  Sometimes 7-8 books in a week. 

I also have rather large opinions.  Obnoxious ones that people tend to roll their eyes at when I really get going. So it's best not to get me started, since there's no telling when I'll calm down and let you go back to your regular life.

My husband has no such privilege and God bless him for it.  He will stand there and let me rant over something I just finished reading, having no idea really what I'm so upset about.  But he'll nod along patiently, saying helpful things like, "that does sound frustrating." Until I finally burn myself out and let us both go to bed.

Last night was another such incident.  I'm still a little worked up about it today so I thought I'd spill it all over the internet. 

I read a book yesterday that I will not name so don't ask, but it was a young adult novel.  I don't normally read young adult and this one reminded me of all the reasons why.

I think it's extremely difficult to really capture the complexity of the young adult mindset.  We remember, as adults, the decisions we made in our youth but often forget the motivation behind it.  We're processing our memories through the filter of our adult brain and it usually has one of two outcomes.  Either the novel consists of characters with over amplified immaturity, making them annoying and unlikable.  Or the adult writer has put far too much of what they've learned as adults into the critical thinking parts of our young protagonists, making them unbelievable. 

I remember being a teenager.  It sucked.  I didn't even realize how much it sucked until later when I could look back and be like, "Whoa, so glad I don't have to relive that nightmare."  So I hate it when an author glorifies the angst or writes it off entirely.  It's a very fine line to walk and I have found only a couple of writers who walk it well.

Bria Quinlan, in my humble opinion, is the best at doing this.  I only discovered her recently but the moment I started to ingest her written words, I was voracious with putting all of her works into my brain as quickly as possible.

She nails it, every time.  She somehow balances the seesaw of teenage hormones in a way that I'm reading it and shouting out loud, "Yes!  That's exactly how it felt!  Holy crap!  How are you in my mind?"  Connecting to her characters is flawless and they feel like an extension of your own high school experience.  These were people you knew

The book I read yesterday honestly felt like a badly done attempt to recreate a Bria Quinlan masterpiece.  The characters were flat and forced.  The action was fabricated to the point of boredom.  I could have cared less if the protagonist lived or died.  It was just badly done. The end.

If you like young adult, I really recommend Bria.  If you are a young adult, I recommend Bria.  I feel like if I could have read her books in high school I wouldn't have been nearly as confused as I was.  In fact, I may make it required reading when I have girls that age.  That's how spot on she is.  And did I mention funny?  Which is perfect.  Because no matter how crappy life seems, or how dark things look when you're in the midst of turning into an adult, it's always beneficial to have a joke (or twelve) thrown in to give you that extra boost of hope you need.

Let me make it easy for you:
Secret Girlfriend (RVHS#1)
Secret Life (RVHS#2)
Wreckless   (my personal favorite, just sayin')

Sunday, May 4, 2014

You Wanna Hear About the Worst Day of My Life?

I have always loved animals.  All kinds, all types.  Every shape, every size.  But dogs have been and always will be my favorite.  My favorite books growing up were written by James Herriot.  All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful.  And my personal favorite, James Herriot's Favourite Dog Stories.

We got an enormous black lab, Artemus, when I was just a babe and it must have made quite an impression because even though he died when I was only three, I retained a significant amount of my memories where that dog was concerned.

Shamus May 2014
Over the years came Duke, Merry and Cyd.  It's easier for me to remember moments in history by what dog was with me at the time it happened.  I can tell you story after story of each of these dogs and the impact they had on my life growing up.  But today isn't about them.  Today is about Shamus.

Whenever you rescue a pet, you never know the complete extent of their history.  That's the risk you take.  Sometimes that risk pays off.

The first night at home we got some pretty strong indicators that Shamus had some psychological scars.  He growled threateningly, raised his hackles and took a protective stance over me when my husband came back into the room after a few minutes away.  This would repeat in the middle of the night if Shamus forgot that Cap was supposed to be there.  After a week, this stopped.  But he was always fearfully suspicious of strange men.  Never women.

Charlie and Shamus
Oh, that dog was sweet.  He followed me all over the house, loved on me and my boy all the time, and became a huge part of our lives very quickly. The housetraining, the militant walking, the crazy obsession with squirrels and rabbits, all this I could handle.  Those things seemed easy in comparison to his apprehension and distrust in men.  I knew it would take time and diligence for him to know he was safe with us.  That whatever happened to him before would never happen again.

This is the part where I get on my soapbox and rail against individuals who treat pets with cruelty.  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!  I mean, for real?  How big of a badass does it make you feel to have a perfectly wonderful dog be jumpy and jittery around people?  I swear, if I could get my hands on the guy who owned Shamus before he went to the rescue shelter I would give him a good throttling.  Because he didn't just hurt our dog, he hurt our family.

After a long day
No matter how much you try to protect a scarred animal from reopening old wounds, accidents can happen.  We tried to warn people that came over that he was special and we were working with him.  To be gentle, to not make threatening moves towards him, especially if it was a man.  Most of the time, Shamus was quick to move past his fear and greet the person approaching as soon as I gave him the go ahead.  He trusted me.  He understood that he was safe with me. 

Then there was an incident.  It was an accident.  It wasn't his family that did it, but nevertheless, Shamus felt betrayed and responded accordingly.  It came too soon into his new life with us and I couldn't stop it.  I noticed the change in him and it concerned me but I hoped it would pass and we could go on with our lives.  Then yesterday he bit my boy.  On the head.  It was the first time something like that happened but I knew... I knew he had to go back.

Shamus checking the yard for squirrels
Here's something to know about me.  When I love, I go hard.  I'm all in.  I had two boyfriends in my life and married the second one.  And I loved this dog.

But the risk of it being worse next time is too much.  If I was a single gal, living alone, I'd pour myself into trying to rehabilitate this dog.  Because he's sooo worth it.  He is such a good dog.  I love him deeply.  But I have a child.  And he's my priority.

So I made the decision that I knew I had to make though it was the hardest to carry out.  I took him back to the farm today.  I cried the whole way there.  I cried even harder on the way back.  Ugly crying, shouting, snot flying, voice breaking.

It's amazing the size of the hole that a dog can leave in your life.  How empty and quiet my house is now.  How even though we only had him for five weeks, he was one of my closest and dearest friends.  How he pushed me to try and be a better human being than I was the day before.  He was, without a doubt, MY dog.  Mine.  And I was his person.  We were besties.

Best dog ever
I'm so sad.  And angry.  I'm angry at the man who broke him.  I'm angry that I couldn't love him enough to heal him.  I'm angry that it feels like I failed him.  And then I'm sad again.  So very sad.

I hope he gets placed in another home soon.  One that will love him like he deserves and can help heal that wound that he never asked for nor deserved.  He was just the best dog ever and I'm going to miss him so much.  I have to have hope that he's going to end up in a better home.  I have to.  Because without that hope, I would truly fall apart.

Questions you might have after all of this:
Yes, my boy is fine.  Didn't break the skin but left a large bruise.
My child is not mean to animals.  He doesn't pull ears or tails and he's actually very gentle with pets.  He woke up Shamus and Shamus decided to instill a pecking order.  An inch to the left and it would have been his eye.
Up until aforementioned trigger incident, they got along fine and were actually buddies.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

It's a Weird Day, Let's Blog About It

I just... ugh.

I just can't.
I can't understand.

I want to say all the swear words ever and then drink a bottle of wine.

I mean... New York Times top 100?
Really? I read it. I read the whole *explicative removed* thing.
It was awful. I hated everything. The characters, the storyline, the horrible editing. It had ZERO redeeming qualities. And I don't usually say things like that about another person's book. It was the WORST thing I have EVER read.

This is why indies get such a bad reputation.  What does 311 say?

"I tell you what's wrong to me
The industry's ability to manufacture stars
They churn them out like Iwo Jima makes cars
But the blame lies not with those suits for trying
It's the sheep that keep on buying that soulless crap
Whatever they put in front of ya
The hysteria of America" -- from "Plain" by 311

 So sex sells. Especially if it has a pretty cover with a near naked man on it.

 *explicative removed* *explicative removed* stupid.

This is why I can't write book reviews.  I refuse to name the author or book of which I am speaking.  That's not fair to them.  They're probably a perfectly fine person doing their damnedest to chase their dream. 

As someone who really loves literature, it was just a huge letdown to see that today.  And to know that there are thousands of people reading poorly written books and loving it.

These are my own personal feelings.  I see that the majority of Americans disagree. 

This also explains why I don't have friends.

My opinions are obnoxious.

I'm... I've... yeah... Wine.