December 21, 2011

Ahuiztol or Ahuizotl, and Does it Matter?

When thinking of the next water monster to talk about, some part of my mind dredged up a freaky Mayan creature I had once read about. All I could remember was that it had a hand on its tail and vaguely what it looked like, and I was pretty sure that the book I'd read the information in didn't mention its name. So, I turned to my friend, Taryn, who's working on a book that involves a culture that she styled after the Maya. And because she researches like a boss.

Turned out that she only knew about the creature because of a book her sister has about various Mesoamerican peoples, but she was able to find the name, which she carefully spelled out for me over the phone:


I would try to pronounce it, but I always sound like I'm sneezing.

December 08, 2011

Tests, Tests, Go Away; Come Again Another Day...

Being a university student, I'm in the middle of finals season right now, which means I won't be able to put up a new post until after the 16th. I do apologize. When I'm done with finals, I promise to put up a real post about Mayan water monsters. In the mean time, please enjoy this gorgeous song covered by my new favourite singer:

If that song left you feeling sad, then I leave you with an absurd video to cheer you up:

I hope your Christmas preparations are going well, unless you're also going through finals, in which case I hope both are going well and that you're getting enough sleep on top of everything. :)

November 05, 2011

A Forthcoming Guest Blog Post and an Award!

Sometime in either December or January, a guest post by me will appear on! I don't know the date yet, so keep watching this space for more information:

[The date: January 6th! :D]

Until then, I'd encourage you to click on that link and check out Sue's website. She's got lots of solid writing advice, and there's a guest post every Friday!

Next bit of news!

About a month ago, Angela McGill gave me the Versatile Blogger Award!

October 23, 2011

Why Writing, of All Things?

Three days ago was the National Day on Writing. I'm not entirely sure which nation the national bit referred to, but I decided to participate via Twitter by telling everyone in 140 characters or less why I write. The result:

Because stopping is akin to suffocation, and continuation is my truest expression of joy. #whyiwrite

Now, since 140 characters to describe a lifelong obsession (or passion, whichever implied level of sanity you prefer) leaves very little room for elaboration and I do, after all, have this lovely little blog, I thought I'd put this week's post to good use. :D

About a year ago, I received a tip saying that, if I really wanted to write things that mattered to me, I had to know why I was doing this crazy thing called writing. I pondered that, thinking about what it was about the call to create with words that my heart responded to so readily.

About a week later, I witnessed a conversation between a friend and her friend that amounted to little more than a war with words. Everything they said to each other was designed to hurt, to pierce, to destroy. Being a writer, I love language, using it effectively and with style, bringing new meaning and new perspectives to others. When someone uses a phrase unfamiliar to me; it excites me. When someone places words in an order that makes them sing; it thrills me. Words have such a power for good, because they not only create, but invite the audience to create with them. They are healers, encouragers, inspiration and innovation, full of breath and endless possibilities. When I heard the war, I heard a symphony used for genocide. The tools of life bent on murder. Reeling in the aftermath, I tried to focus my thoughts and emotions, tried to say what I wanted to scream, and ended up writing four paragraphs of poetic prose (poetic voice in the form of prose).

Then I realized that what I had written described why it is that I write:

October 10, 2011

Nøkken, Stromkarlen, Fossegim, Oh My!

Five or so years ago, I remember reading about various mythological water monsters and coming across one mentioned in passing called a "Neck". No joke. The name struck me as odd, and the book I was reading had infuriatingly little information on the creature, so it awoke my curiosity. I would like to say that I promptly researched everything on Necks and became and expert, but I hadn't the slightest idea how to search for information on it, not only for the very obvious coincidence of its name, but also because I didn't know where these creatures were from. So, I kept the fact of their existence in my head as a quirky bit of knowledge that I could show off to impress people (or make them go away, depending on the people) and did nothing more with it. When I came up with the idea of this series, my mind nearly immediately turned back to the mysterious Necks and I knew that I had to talk about them first.

Oh dear. I'm giggling every time I write the word "Necks". Please bear with me; I find a better name very soon, I promise.

Between now and that first encounter, I have purchased a really, really big book called The Dictionary of Mythology. Everything I have looked for in it I have found, no matter how obscure. So, when I started researching Necks, I went straight to that book, moseyed on over to the "N" section, held my breath, went a bit too far in both directions, and then finally found my water monster. And I quote:

September 25, 2011

What Are These Series You Speak of?

Before I officially kick off any of the series I mentioned in the last post, I thought I'd make a list of all the series I have going (or will have going in the near future), along with an explanation of what they're about. This post will be updated as new series get added and old ones are completed, and will always be listed first in the Series links in the right-hand column on this page, for easy reference. Without further ado, the series:

September 11, 2011

Exciting New Things!!!

First off, some housekeeping (mostly for my own sanity): for some odd and inexplicable reason, I cannot publish any changes to the other half of my website because my website software cannot login to the ftp server. This is upsetting because I've not only fixed an embarrassing typo, but I've also made a few things look much prettier. I will, however, have to figure out what's going on and fix it before I can change anything over there. Which means that all updates shall come through here.


We are all very excited. *rolls eyes*

I shall now provide antidote through the proclamation of my plans to self-publish. Yes, yes you did hear me correctly. I am going to self-publish, starting with the project I've been working on in secret for the past two months: a series of short story anthologies called Expected Aberrations! (cue applause) Each anthology will be one, complete journey through five or more stories of entirely different genres. Let your imagination expand. Discover new mysteries, unearth familiar secrets, shudder at the intimately terrifying, and explore all the shininess that unknown worlds have to offer. And get warm fuzzies for helping a writer continue to do what she loves. /plug :)

August 31, 2011

Then the Hero Did Something Amazingly Epic

Once upon a time, there was a writer who was smack-dab in the middle of writing what she felt was her best story yet when everything ran straight into a wall. She smacked her computer a couple of times, succeeded in breaking her favourite pen when it accidentally hit the wall a little too hard on the backswing, spilled black ink on the carpet, made a huge, ugly blotch in her attempt to scrub out the ink, bashed her knuckles against the desk leg in the process, got rug burn on her elbow while she fell over from the shock of bashing her knuckles, lay on her back, looked up without really seeing anything and burst into tears. Her eye liner had just reached her ears when, lo, an angel appeared before her, bright as the sun and pretty gorgeous besides. The writer sat up, tears forgotten, and tried to wipe the streaks of eye liner from her temples.

“FEAR NOT FOR I BRING A WORD FROM THE LORD!” the angel cried. “HE HAS SEEN THY SUFFERING AND HAS COMMANDED ME TO TELL THEE HOW TO END IT!” He paused, arms held out and face to the sky, waiting for a gasp or other, similar sounds of astonishment.

May 28, 2011

The Story Equivalent of Dropping Mentos into a Bottle of Coke.

*Warning* For those of you that are concerned by this, there is an instance of language later in the post. If that kind of thing really, really bugs you, then don’t read this post because the instance of language is kind of important for understanding the rest of it. I have considered cutting it, but what I’m trying to say would suffer greatly from its omission. Thanks for understanding.

Right now, as well as (still) looking for a summer job, I’m taking a writing course. I signed up for it basically as soon as finals were over, which earned me an incredulous look from my mother, but I don’t mind. Why? Aside from the fact that I absolutely love learning things at all times and will actually go and research topics that interest me if I’ve gone too long without learning something new, I knew I needed something to help me out with my writing. Not that it’s unspeakable horrible (unless I have really, really nice friends who are also much better at acting than they let on), but that it hasn’t really been flying. It’s more like slogging through thigh-high mud while wearing shorts and flippers that are at least two sizes too big. No, not mud. Slime. Nasty, green slime like the stuff that floats on the top of a lake or pond that has way too much algae in it. That slime. But now I’m fixating.

While I getting ready to work on one of my lessons, I started thinking about Main Character and that I needed to know more about her because she was really lacking in the motivation department. Remember, in my first post, how she was being snarky with me and wouldn’t cooperate? While that was, um, lovely, she didn’t have enough motivation to keep up with it even as I slapped together a very sloppy version of what she was demanding. Then my thoughts wandered to the assignment for a previous lesson where I made what is basically a map of all the things that are the most important to me, and I wondered if I just needed to look at it and see what applied to her. Then I thought about the map itself.

‘Monsters,’ I said to myself. ‘Monsters are everywhere...’

May 18, 2011

How Very Smee Your Cat is!

As noted in my last post, my website software has issues with italics in the midst of non-italics. All book titles will be, unfortunately, put in quotation marks.

I first discovered L.M. Montgomery through CBC’s adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables”, where Megan Follows did a wonderful job of portraying Anne. Many years later, I read the book for the first time and enjoyed it even more than the mini-series.

When I found out it was the first in a series, I went a little overboard and tried to read the whole thing at once. It’s a long series and, wonderful as she is, one can have too much Anne in a week. I got as far as half-way through “Rilla of Ingleside”. Sometime I will finish it, but I will have to be more strategic in how I read that whole series from the beginning again, because I don’t remember some of the books very well. Although, you have to admit, eight and a half books in a row before glut is a testament to L.M. Montgomery’s writing skill. The (chronologically) first prequel trilogy to “Dune” got there after one and a half books for me.

But, for those of you who have read the Anne books and have no idea what on earth the title refers to, allow me to turn to L.M. Montgomery’s less famous trilogy called “Emily of New Moon”. It is my most favourite trilogy of all time (so is the original “Dune” trilogy, but these two trilogies are mutually exclusive, so I feel fine in giving them the same standing). What endeared me more to the Emily books than to the Anne books was that I identified much more with Emily. She was a writer, and very serious about her work, like me. Anne was an extravert, whereas Emily was an introvert, like me. Her wonderfully complex and imperfect family consisted of individuals that could practically leap off the page, and she reacted to them in ways similar to how I would to people like them. From these books about one of my favourite characters, I learned several things about writing:

April 25, 2011

Earthsea, Genderless Humans, and Learning From One Fantastic Author

(I apologize in advance to all formatting nazis... I haven’t figured out how to get my website-making program to make only some words italic. This means that, sadly, all book titles will be encompassed by punctuation marks. The English geek within me grieves deeply.)

Lately, I found the website of Ursula Le Guin, one of the most distinguished science fiction and fantasy authors of all time, and one of my favourite authors. If you have never read anything by her or have never even heard of her I want you to immediately stop what you’re doing, go to the nearest bookstore, find one of her books and buy it (trust me, there will be at least one there), then read the whole thing. You can come back to this when you’re done.

The first book I read by Ursula was “The Farthest Shore”, which is the third book of her series set in Earthsea, a world that consists mainly of islands (as far as the map shows). Yes, I read the third book first. I didn’t care. It had the coolest dragons I have ever encountered in fantasy, a wizard who treated magic and its effect on the world so seriously that he barely used it, and a voyage to the land of the dead. I then proceeded to read the fourth book second, the second book third and the first book fourth. By then, I discovered the real order to the series, read them all properly and concluded with the fifth book. I have never, before or since, mangled the order of a series so much, but I have never, aside from Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet, loved a series more. You heard me. I like it better than the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Foundation books, the whole Dune series, the Dark is Rising series... what is it with speculative fiction and series, anyways? But I have a point. I will continue towards it.

March 30, 2011


How we see the world will show up in our writing. It has to, if we want to be honest about what we write. But what happens when our worldview is one that others mock? I’m not talking about when a story becomes so preachy it’s ridiculous. I’m talking about when what someone believes is mocked for no other reason than the person believes it.



But when members of your own worldview are considered intolerant, somehow the worldview is now fair game for ridicule. It’s like when someone on the Internet is trolling. Apparently, the rest of us reasonable people can troll them back simply because they’re trolls and have forfeited their rights to being treated decently. So, in a similar fashion, if a worldview has a history of “trolling” other worldviews, then it is somehow okay to go ahead and troll back, even if the person on the other end has and would never commit the atrocities others who profess the same beliefs as them have done in the past.

I, for one, would be terrified to tell anyone my worldview if it meant such treatment. Can you imagine hiding what you believe simply to avoid others lumping you into a category that you know you don’t belong in? And then, imagine the fear of writing anything honestly, because sharing a story is sharing your soul, and what others see of your soul may too easily stop at a label saying “I’m ____, therefore I am a bigoted, judgmental, homophobic, hypocritical, uncaring, intolerant jerk. Feel free to use me as your punching bag. In fact, here’s a reflection of the deepest part of me to tear to shreds. Enjoy.”

Anyone else feeling sick?

March 13, 2011

Drama, Drama Everywhere! Part the Final

Remember when I talked about everything going wrong before Ex-Villain left? It was like the stars were out of alignment or something. You know how, in quite a few fantasy stories, Macbeth included, when the wrong king is on the throne, nature seems to unravel? Well. Allow me to remind you of the enormity of the situation:

“Mystery Character started doing nastiness never intended in Author’s conception of the story. Villain’s father came disturbingly close to being raised from the dead. Masses of people began keeling over for no apparent reason. Magical storms inexplicably gained status as near-sentient beings. As things kept progressing, it felt like a balloon of wackiness was rapidly expanding from the climax of the story.”

(You see what I did there? Flashback to another post? With the quotations and the copy-pasting and the... okay, stopping now.)

When Ex-Villain left the story, along with the rest of the results of his fantastic organizational skills, all of these things returned to normal. Almost all of them. For some incomprehensible reason, people continued to drop like flies. At first, it seemed reasonable, so I let it go. They were exhausted and overworked. They had just come back from a gruelling experience. They had poor immune systems. A really bad headache.

Then about ten of them fell over simultaneously, and I knew this had to stop. I immediately turned around (figuratively speaking, of course) and faced the story, only to be met by the most adorable Bambi eyes I have ever not seen in my life. The conversation went as follows:

February 24, 2011

A Brief Interlude to the Drama

Main Secondary Character (MSC) would have wanted me to make up for the merciless teasing I subjected him to in the last blog post. The only problem is that he’s too busy eating a quesadilla to even notice that I’m writing this (if ever one day he becomes lactose intolerant, I’m sure he’ll drop down dead within the week). This means, of course, that I will have to shoulder the responsibility and explain why he is the way he is, and why he’s one of my favourite characters.

In my last blog post, I more or less mocked him for his inability to pay attention to all the important things around him. This was for good reason, but it speaks to a part of his character that I greatly admire.

MSC is all about honour, and he focuses on what is honourable, the temptations to go against his code of honour, how to grow as a person and still keep to what is honourable... you get the picture. He also has a great ability to focus on what he considers to be important. Add these two together and you get a really decent guy with tunnel vision. Vital things tend to fly by his radar simply because they do not fall under the list of things he thinks about. It is his greatest weakness. And his greatest strength.

January 15, 2011

Drama, Drama Everywhere! Part 2

Once upon a time there was this lovely Villain. He was all planned out by Author to be wonderfully vile, have a semi-complicated past, inspire disgust and fascination, tempt not only Main Character but also Major Secondary Character (MSC), have wants and needs, and yet still be able to be relatable in his motivations. Things were progressing so beautifully.

One day, while Main Character was being belligerent to Author, Villain began to think he deserved another story. His (im)perfection existed at a level far beyond the ability of this puny story to portray his true greatness. Villain toyed with this idea, waiting until Author and Main Character had finished their shouting match to bring his proposal forward. Author didn’t really want to deal with Villain right then, being much more concerned with staring off into space whilst attempting to save the story from death by black hole.

Now, Villain was intelligent. As soon as he realized that his conversation with Author would go nowhere (about three words in), he went to confer with other characters. Unfortunately for him, Main Character had sequestered herself in some private place for some private gloating over her power over Author, and the rest of the characters either had lives to attend to or were incurably unobservant when off-duty (*ahem* MSC *ahem*). That is, except for Mystery Character. Mystery Character agreed that Villain should find a new story and, rather enthusiastically, the two of them began to concoct a delicate and subtle plan to convince Author of their position. As soon as they finished their designing, they began to implement it.

January 02, 2011

Drama, Drama Everywhere! Part 1

As far as it’s going, my current WIP has had the most drama of any of my stories to date. One would expect that this is a bad sign, but many would find it very encouraging, if a little exhausting. Let me explain:

My first sign that something was up, something different, occurred while I was happily working on my outline. I had plotted out a rather lovely and twisted course for the story to follow, and I was figuring out a little more about Main Character’s head space. We were going along merrily, reviewing a scene and her emotional reaction with it, and how she has this big secret that she can’t tell, and how an incident has just brought it to the forefront of her thinking (this secret is vital to the plot and must not be revealed until a certain moment in order to facilitate the proper feeling of the world falling apart). During this scene review, I start to write down how Main Character feels as if she wants to spill this secret to the world, but she doesn’t...