Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ready, set....NaNo!

Yup, its that time of year again.

NaNo Wrimo is upon us once more.

Even as I type this, I'm checking the NaNoWriMo official site, which is being ridiculously slow tonight, probably as hundreds (thousands?) of NaNoers are doing the exact same thing.

If you are one of these brave (insane) souls, kudos to you! Its comforting to know, as we gear up for the most frantic, stressful, neurotic month of the year (Christmas doesn't even come close) that there are thousands of writers going through the exact same thing. So, as the 1st of November looms ever closer, let's promise ourselves these things...

We will write everyday, through rain and sleet and falling snow, through TV shows and outings and parties and people who want you to socialize. By now, you should have warned any family, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, relatives, and spouses that they will probably not see you until December.

We will not let our inner editor tell us our writing is crap. (Its 50k words in 30 days, its SUPPOSED to be crap.) This also goes for going back and "fixing things." Do not worry about fixing things; that will be December's project.

We will not fall behind.

If we do fall behind, we will soldier on and not give up.

We will not let the siren song of email, twitter, facebook, myspace, blogs, ect ect ect distract us from churning out our words. This also goes for phones, friends, children, pets, spouses, ect.

At the end of the month, we will have written a 50,000 word mess of a story, with dangling plot threads, nonsensical scenes, holes you could drive a semi through, and so many mistakes our English teachers would scream, but we will have written a complete NOVEL. And we won't worry about the mess; we can always clean it up later.

So, my fellow NaNoers...on this last night of October, as the costumed children return from their candy begging, let us eat a good meal, get a good night's sleep, and say farewell to our loved ones.

For tomorrow, we NaNo.

I'll see you at the finish line.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beating on people with sticks

As some of you know, I take Kung Fu.

What you may not know is that I also take Kali.

No, wrong Kali.

Kali (Also called Escrima) is a Filipino fighting art involving sticks, knives, swords, and other weapons, as well as unarmed combat.

Kali/Escrima sticks.

Though the sticks are supposed to be proxies for blades, like machetes or short swords, so you're really learning double-sword fighting techniques.

Up until this point, we've trained with one or two Kali sticks and rubber knives (Kali also teaches disarms), but last night, we finally got to do something I wanted to do from the get-go.

First, we put on protective gear, so I looked something like this:

Then we got to beat on each other with sticks. :D

Full contact, full speed, no holds barred sparring. It was the most awesome thing I've ever done. Coincidentally, I was paired up with my husband, so I can truthfully say I smacked my hubby around with a stick. ^__^ But he hit me, too, so it's all good.

I also might've broken a stick over someone's helmet.

AND got a new bruise. Probably from smacking my arm into said person's helmet. This week has officially kicked my butt.

I can't wait to do it again. :D

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: The Iron Queen revealed

A special Teaser Tuesday today.

A first look at the back cover copy of THE IRON QUEEN. (You'll probably have to click the picture to read it.)

So, what do you think? Personally, I think Harlequin Teen outdid themselves again in the cover department. You can also check out The Iron Fey Facebook page here.

The final installment of Meghan Chase's journey is almost here. What are your thoughts/hopes/wishes for the third book?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The-cat-under-the-sheet giveaway

Whooooooooo's that?

It appears to be a certain cat, getting into the Halloween spirit. (Nice sheet, Grim.)

So, with Halloween just around the corner, I thought I'd have another giveaway. So, if you would like to win a cat-disguised-as-a-ghost rock (and a signed Iron Daughter), please leave your name and email addy in the comments, along with your answer to this question:

"If Ash or Puck dressed up for Halloween, what kind of costume would they wear?"

No wrong answers, this is purely for fun. And on November 1st, I'll pick the answer I like best. Sound good?

Happy Haunting.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

There is now a level zero.

Thought for the day:


So, this morning, Sifu Eman Boztepe, the founder of Ebmas Wing Tzun Kung Fu, came to the dojo for a seminar. This is my instructor's instructor, and it was an honor to listen to Sifu talk and watch him work, kinda like having a special guest speaker in Physics 101, and that speaker was Albert Einstein.

Then we trained for nearly 4 straight hours.

Me during class:

Me after class:

So, let me reiterate the thought for the day:


I got punched in the eye, I have bruises all over, and if I wrestled a gorilla in a vat of jello I could not be more exhausted.

In other words...




That is all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

A short Teaser Tuesday today.

With our mischievous redhead.

Who is acting even more mischievous then usual.


“Oh, hey princess!” Puck waved inanely as the nymphs pulled him to his feet, still giggling. His hair gleamed, his eyes gleamed, and I barely recognized him. “Wanna play ride the phouka with us?”


No phoukas were harmed in the making of this teaser.

Richmond signing

So, this past weekend, I headed up to Richmond, VA for a signing at Fountain Bookstore. It was awesome, and I met some really wonderful people and bloggers. To my chagrin, lots of pictures were taken (they steal my soul), so I figured I might as well share them. (Also, I cannot, for any reason, be serious in front of a camera. Just a warning before you see all the crazy pics.)

James of BookChic blog was there. He was awesome and I'm glad I finally got to meet him. (As shown by the random thumb in the photo.)

Me and Meaghan from A Bookworm's Haven, the imperious photo. :D

Me and Meaghan, the psychotic photo.

Me and Louise.


Me, Susan (the one who took most of the pictures and set this whole thing up), and the bookstore owner, Kelly (who is probably thinking: "oh, god, why did I agree to this?")

I did actually sign some books...

Before I was kidnapped. (Note: the person who snapped this lovely picture while I was being dragged off was my hubby. Thanks, Nick!)

Group photo. Geez, can I be any shorter? At least Monica was trying to not make me look like a dwarf. :D

And then we all went to pizza and stuffed ourselves silly. In other words, it was a fantastic time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Game Review: Enslaved

Is it REALLY too much to ask a video game to have an actual ENDING that doesn't make you want to strangle the designers with the controller wires?

Sorry, had to get that out.

Moving on. Actually, let's backtrack to 3 days ago, where I was leaving Game Stop with a shiny new copy of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, a PS3 game based (very) loosely on a very old Chinese story called, ironically, Journey to the West. The book tells the tale of a Buddhist monk and his journey to the west (hence the title) with his three companions, one of them being the ancient and very powerful Monkey King. Also, a demon pig, but we'll get around to that in a second.

Enslaved tells the story of Monkey, a gruff, very strong guy who looks like a caveman crossed with a blond gorilla. The game is set in post-apocalyptic America, which is one of my favorite settings, complete with the overrun, skeletal cities and wastelands of junk. At the beginning, you've been captured by slavers but you escape and must get off the crashing slaveship before it goes down. From the very start, the game was intense and exciting, but as it went on, I found myself torn.

Things I liked about Enslaved:

-Beautiful visuals. The graphics and settings were gorgeous, no question.
-Good voice acting. I hate it when I have to put the game on mute because the characters all sound like they're reading from a script with hot pokers shoved up their butts. Enslaved actually had decent voice acting, even though Monkey sounded like every other gruff-yet-caring hero I've heard of.
-Good story. Up until the end. Which I'll get to in a moment. Beware of ranting.
-Fun. Yes, okay, Enslaved was fun. Bouncing around giant skyscrapers, fighting mechs, and surfing around on Monkey's "cloud" (think hoverboard, only circular) was a lot of fun. But it was skewed by the frustrating bits, which I'll

1. WHY CAN MONKEY ONLY GRAB THE SHINY GLOWING HANDHOLDS?!? This was the most frustrating bit for me. Here's this guy who can leap 30 feet in the air, grab a teeny tiny bit of pipe, and swing onto another bit of pipe like a freaking trapeze artist, yet he can't hop onto a 10 foot roof because "that's not the way you're supposed to go." I couldn't count the time I was under a ledge that held money or health or upgrade balls, and I couldn't climb a nearby pipe to collect them, because it wasn't the right one. Or I'd be stuck and spend 15 minutes running around trying to find the right bit of pipe the game wanted me to take to continue on, when there were literally dozens of other pipes and ledges scattered about. So the game felt very linear and restrictive, with only one path to take to the end despite the huge open world that they tried to set up. It's like the game was rapping you on the knuckles when you attempted to find another way, saying: "no, no, that's not the way we've outlined for you. Look at the shiny glowy pipe over there."

2. Game controls were rather sticky. Going back to the climbing/jumping/swinging bit; if you press the X button and the D-stick in a certain direction, Monkey is supposed to leap onto the next ledge/pipe/handhold/whatever. But every so often he wouldn't move because I wasn't pressing the D-stick the EXACT direction I needed to go, or he would leap back the other way. And in a game where climbing speed is very important, this got annoying when Monkey would just sit there picking his nose as the bit of pipe he clung to gave way with him on it, or when an enemy was blasting him with machine gun rounds and he'd leap blithely into their path. All the while I'm shouting: "jump, you idiot, jump! No, not THAT way!"

3. The game was also very unforgiving if you didn't grab every last glowey upgrade ball before you moved on to the next problem. Again, I couldn't count the times I'd be forced to leave a tasty cluster of upgrade balls behind while I dealt with the half-dozen enemies shooting at me. But when I tried to go back for them, the game wouldn't let me. And for an OCD gamer like myself who HATES leaving stuff behind, especially when its right across a gulf or a rooftop, taunting me, this makes me foaming at the mouth crazy. Again, going back to the Our-way-or-the-Highway rant, upgrade balls would often be in seeming impossible to reach places, only they shouldn't have been impossible for someone who can leap 30 feet in the air like a ninja. But, because the game had very strict ideas about the route you could take, this meant for a lot of annoying running around, trying to figure out the path to the prize that was right above your head.

4. Camera angles sucked monkey balls. Most times you'd have full control of the camera, able to rotate it and point it where you wanted. And other times, usually when you were climbing, the game would wrench it from you and fix it in a certain direction so you couldn't move it. You would try to rotate it to look around, and the game would say: "no, no, this is the best angle for this part of the story. We know best, trust us." This was especially obnoxious if you were trying to get a better angle on that cluster of upgrade orbs you left behind, and the game passive-aggressively refused to show them. "Well, you didn't grab them when you first saw them, so obviously you didn't want them very badly, did you?"

5. The ending. I think it was the ending that finally pushed me over the edge. All throughout the game, yes, I was annoyed with the controls and the restrictive nature of the game itself, but I kept going and was able to enjoy it because the story was so intriguing. The characters were great, and there were hints of a romance between Monkey and Trip, the tech-savvy girl he's helping. Their relationship was complex and sweet, and I even enjoyed the banter between Monkey and Pigsy, another character they pick up on the way. (Yup, there's that demon pig.) I wanted to know who was behind the mechs attacking humans. I wanted to know how the mechs came to be. I wanted to know why they destroyed and killed Trip's colony. I wanted Monkey and Trip to just kiss each other already. But then the ending came, and NOTHING was answered. The very last line of the game (spoilers; look away if you don't want to know) is Trip saying: "Did I do the right thing?" and then the screen goes black. What!?! You don't end a game like that, with more questions then you have answers to! Also, the game was very short; like 15 hours short. Which isn't a bad thing if there's re-playability, but that isn't the case with Enslaved. You play it through once, and there's no reason to play it again.

Overall, was it a good game? For all my ranting, yeah, I guess as a game it was okay. I had fun flinging Monkey around pipes and ledges, and there were enough original ideas to keep it new and fresh. If you can get past the linear and restrictive nature, and the game holding your hand through the whole story, you might enjoy Enslaved. Just don't expect to have any questions answered at the end. I suppose this means there's going to be an Enslaved 2, but I don't think I'll be buying it.

Not when Fable 3 is waiting for me to pick it up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (and cake)

It's Teaser Tuesday!

Today is also something else, but I'm not going to tell you what. Instead, I will leave you with pictures of cake. (The teaser is below all the pics. Enjoy.)

Normal cake.

360 cake.

Nintendo cake.

Incredibly disturbing cake. (Really, who would eat that monster?)

Flippin' awesome Mario cake.

A Hello Kitty Zombie cake. Cause nothing says celebration like cute undead kitties.

Another flippin' awesome cake, this one from LOTR. (They forgot the teeny tiny flaming steward falling to his death)

Another incredibly disturbing cake. I don't know whether to cringe or cry Nevermore.

AAAAAGH! They cut off Raphael's head!


And, my personal favorite...

I love this cake! I must have this cake! It speaks to me on so many levels. (P.S. If you know what the dragon is holding in his right claw, and what it's used for, congratulations, you're a dork.)

And here you are! I promised a teaser, didn't I? Well, since you scrolled all the way down, I guess I should give you one. So here is today's Teaser Tuesday, brought to you by the letter C for cake.


“Good idea,” Puck echoed from the back of the cave. “Why don’t you take first watch, prince? You could actually be doing something that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork.”

Ash’s lips curled in a smirk. “I would think you’re better suited to the task, Goodfellow,” he said without turning around. “After all, that’s what you’re best at isn’t it? Watching?”

“Oh, keep it up, ice-boy. You’re gonna have to sleep sometime.”


No, I'm not going to tell you what all the cake is for. ;-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sims3: Pyramids and Proposals

Disclaimer: Sims3 posts are in no way related to actual events in The Iron Fey series.

Continuing the lives of the Sims...

Puck is on vacation this week, this time to Egypt.

Here he is traveling across the dessert...

to the Great Sphinx.

Finding a secret, hidden door to the Sphinx's tomb.

The tomb is full of traps...

But that doesn't stop our adventurous Puck.

What secrets will he unearth while exploring?

Or will he just get into trouble?


When we last left Meghan and Ash, Meghan had come over to Ash's house for dinner.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves in what happened afterward.