Roleplaying, Gaming, and Other Forms of Insanity

I was originally going to do my twice weekly posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but my dear husband pointed out that those were not good days for blogging. Those are my two busiest days of the week. Why? See title.

Wednesdays are D&D days. I attend one of the local D&D Encounters groups on Wednesday evening. We generally try to get to the game store early so as to avoid driving during rush hour. Asheville (North Carolina) may be a relatively small city, but rush hour traffic still sucks. It’s not so bad going into town, which is, thankfully, the way we go to the game store on the far side of town. At least it’s not driving I-26 or I-40 out of town, both of which get rather congested – and slow to a crawl – during rush hour. For those reasons, I’m away from home for most of every Wednesday.

Saturdays are Pokemon days. My husband and I run the local Pokemon League, and have for right around eleven years. When we started the League, we had our own store and ran it there. After we had to close (due to health issues, mostly), we ran it where ever we could: one of the county libraries, a rec center, and finally, another game store owned by a friend. Unfortunately, his store was too small for our growing League, though we made do for quite a while. Once that store closed, it was back to libraries and other such places. Until we found the game store where we currently hold League. We’ve been there since 2009 or so. (Anyone who remembers more accurately, feel free to correct me in the comments.) Just last year (or maybe the year before), Pokemon started adding something called “League Challenges” to the end of each League season. So while League is held for four hours every Saturday, we have a League Challenge every six weeks or so. On those days, we try to get there shortly after the store opens and stay until close to closing time – generally between seven and eight hours.

Both Wednesday and Saturday are spent at Hillside Games. The owners are supportive of Pokemon League (it brings them sales after all). And one of them even participates in D&D Encounters, though he just started with the current season.

I had more to add to this, but as I should be asleep already (it’s a bit after 2 am on a Wednesday), I’ll leave it here for now. Next week, hopefully, will have part two. (Also, I’ll add relevant links to this post before then. Probably on Thursday sometime.)

This Week…

My apologies for not posting a single blog this week.

This week has been a small, special slice of hell. I won’t go into specifics, but just about anything that could go wrong, did. During the first part of the week.

Friday and today have been better, so things are starting to look up.

I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule next week.

Flash Fiction: Naming the Band

This little piece was written in response to the 100 words only flash fiction challenge posted by Chuck Wendig last Friday, 20 March 2015. It also serves as an introduction to next week’s story, which I have already started writing. I’m not that happy with it, but I did write it in about five minutes. Next week’s story will be better. (I hope.)

 

Naming the Band

 

“What’s the band’s name?”

My band mates and I look at each other. We’d decided not to use our original name, but hadn’t picked a new one. “Princes of the Apocalypse. Like the song,” Theo said. The rest of us nod.

We’d just finished our first song, without having been announced first. Now we would be announced; we’ve got to have a name. Our first gig has been… interesting.

Unorganized. Not us, the venue. New bar. New to having live music, anyway. Not too busy, so maybe it is new.

I hope the rest of the evening goes better.

 

*****

Thanks to Georgia for the idea for this week’s story. And next week’s story. I told you it would be more than 100 words!

On Horror

I mentioned back in my post “It’s a Kind of Magic” that I’m not a fan of horror. That isn’t necessarily true. While horror isn’t my favorite genre, I do read it on occasion. I do not watch horror movies, but I will occasionally read a horror novel (or manga). Some of them I even count among my favorites.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is one such book. I first heard about the book a couple of months before it released. The concept intrigued me, made me want to read it despite its genre. It would be a couple of years before I got to read it. I loved it! I was drawn into the world from page one. The first time we met Anna, she was terrifying. I mean wet-your-pants terrifying. (Minor spoiler [it happens fairly early in the book]: She rips a guy in half. See? Wet-your-pants scary.) Later in the book, we learn just what happened to her, why she’s the way she is. It’s twisted and freaky. That’s all I’m going to say on the subject. Just thinking about that part of the story – Anna’s history – makes me shudder. (It also pisses me off. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know why. If not, what are you waiting for?) I also read the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, but I didn’t like it quite as much as the original. (I rated it 4 stars on Goodreads. Anna got 5 stars.)

Inu-Yasha and Ceres, Celestial Legend are both classified as horror manga, but are among my favorite series.

All three books/series mentioned have something in common: an element of the paranormal. Anna has ghosts (and a ghost-hunter). Inu-Yasha has demons. Ceres has angels (and demons, I think – it’s been a while since I read any of this series). I’ll read dang near anything paranormal.

Generally speaking, I don’t care for realistic horror. There are exceptions of course, but far fewer. In fact, Chelsea Cain’s Gretchen Lowell (Beauty Killer) series is the only thing that comes to mind. Oh, yeah, also the Baby-Sitter series by R.L. Stine. I read those in back elementary and middle school. The first three of them; I didn’t know there was a fourth one! Now, do I really want to read that one? I’m not sure. I’d need to re-read the first three as I barely remember them, so maybe not. Maybe later.

Maybe.

Long Time, No Blog

Wow, has it been a while! The past few months – okay, nearly six months – have been… interesting. I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life, not the least of which is my having become an aunt again. My newest niece was born just before Christmas. She’s had some health issues, but seems to be improving as of late. (Fingers crossed this continues!) That’s my biggest and best news. As for the rest, well, read on…

I am clinically depressed, have been for many years. And once or twice a year – at least for the past few years – it likes to jump up and bite me on the bum. That happened a bit less than a week after my last post. I’m just now pulling myself back out of that pit fully. It’s a long, hard climb. I’ve had more than a few false starts since last fall. Some days, I’ve felt almost normal. Others… It’s been a chore to even wake up. But! I’m putting all that behind me now. I am determined not to let depression win. I will come out on top. I will!

 

And now, on to some news…

  • I have been published! My short story, “Soul Call”, is in the anthology, Romancing the Story, which released on December 23rd. Currently, it is only available for kindle. I don’t yet know if there are plans to release it in other formats. I will let you all know when I know.
  • As a part of my effort to defeat depression, I am doing more writing. I want to start writing one short story a week. (Okay, more than one. One that I plan to post here.) I’m going to attempt to use the Flash Fiction Challenges that Chuck Wendig (warning: strong language – and lots of it) posts on his blog every Friday. I won’t use these every week, but I will do at least two a month. This week’s challenge is to write a story using 100 words or less. Wish me luck.
  • I am going to start a regular blogging schedule. I will post every week on Tuesday and Friday. My plan is to post a story every Friday. The Tuesday posts will be varied, and may be random gibberish. Hopefully not, but there is that chance. If I have nothing to talk about that week, well, random gibberish it is!

It’s a Kind of Magic

It’s A Kind of Magic:
The Glamour of Grammar

I doubt many people consider grammar to be glamourous. I would argue otherwise. Did you know they share a root word? Grammatikos, “of letters”, from the ancient Greek language. When the word grammar first entered usage in the English language – all the way back in the Middle Ages – it referred to all kinds of learning. Popular opinion of the time included some knowledge of magic in that body of learning. Glamour, meanwhile, originally referred to a type of magic used to disguise the true appearance of things. It is still used that way in much of our modern fantasy fiction; I use it as such myself in some of my stories.

I always knew there was something magical about grammar. The way proper grammar usage makes it possible to understand other speakers of the language is a kind of magic. Without grammar, understanding would be no more than a dream. Imagine if everyone spoke their words in random order. Be understand anyone would be there way to. (In the proper order: There would be no way to understand anyone.) Honestly, I’d rather not imagine that. I’m not a fan of horror.

I am so glad grammar exists. I like being able to understand others. I like for others to be able to understand me. Without such understanding, there would be no literature. There would be no real meaning to life. What is life for, after all, if not learning, constantly seeking knowledge? Nothing important. Not to me.

In the pursuit of a better understanding of grammar, I decided to sign up for Write 101x on edX.org. I have a pretty good grasp of grammar, but it could always be better. There is always room for improvement, in everything worth doing. Writing stories is my passion, what I hope to do for the rest of my life. Grammar is, and will always be, central to my pursuit of that passion.

On Grammar

In the interest of improving my writing, I have registered for an online writing class through edX.org: Write 101x English Grammar and Style. While it’s offered by an Australian university (UQ, the University of Queensland), and thus the rules and spellings will be a little different, I’m excited about it.

It actually started this week on Monday the 22nd. I’ve completed the assignments for week 1, including the blog post (coming soon). So far, the only differences I’ve noticed have been in spellings. Australians use mostly British spellings: glamour instead of glamor for example. (That particular example isn’t a problem for me. I use glamour already, though it’s usually in the context of fantasy fiction.) I’ve already learned several things I didn’t know. One of which is the subject of my coming blog post.

As part of the course, we are required to write a blog post every other week. I’ve decided to post mine here, but not until after the due date (29 September for the first one). I will probably write a post on the off weeks as well, just to share what I’ve learned. Also because I want to be more active in posting on this blog. Win/win.

Final Cover Reveal

I’ve been sitting on this for a while now, not too sure why… But here goes:

The final cover for the Romancing the Story anthology has been revealed. The names of the seventeen authors are arranged around the outside edge now. I think it looks pretty cool.

Final cover for Romancing the Story anthology

Did you notice where my name is on the cover? Right at the top, in the middle! Seeing that made my day. Oh, who am I  trying to kid? It made my week!

Still no news on a release date. I’ll let you know once I do.

Draft 2 Blues

I’m working on the second draft of a short story and nothing is going right. I can’t concentrate on it. I don’t like it. It’s driving me bonkers. (Okay, bonkers-er; I’m already bonkers.)

I started making the changes based on feedback I’ve gotten from some fellow writers. I like the changes in theory, but in practice… Well, not so much. At least, not yet.

I’m sure I will like it once I finish all the changes. It’s just that making those changes is driving me crazy at the moment. (Crazier. Yeah, that’s the word. Sheesh.) Thought I’d share. Thanks for listening.

I’m Going to Be Published!

I’ve been meaning to start a professional blog for some time now, but never had the motivation. Then something awesome happened. Just over a week ago (on Friday, 25 July), I received an email from the sponsors of a romance short story contest I entered earlier in the month. My story is one of twenty that will be published in the upcoming anthology, Romancing the Story.

I’ve been telling everyone I know for the past week! It would be an understatement to say I am merely excited – I’m ecstatic! I’m actually going to have a story published! (Also, I like exclamation marks. And smileys, though I’ll try and keep both to a minimum.)

My story, “Soul Call”, is a fantasy romance with a paranormal twist. My specialty.