Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Energy and Focus - a question.

Such a cute idea, and so cheap and easy to make. 
There are few things that take more energy and focus than starting a new lifestyle, especially when it's drastically different from your old lifestyle. When you're used to grabbing a microwave burrito from the freezer, covering it with cheese and calling it breakfast, making a conscious decision to eat better is work!

I've decided recently to take control of my life as much as I can and that includes getting healthier. While I can't take control over everything (the doctor's still don't know the bleeding hasn't stopped) I can take control over what I eat and how much I exercise.

I'm still writing but I haven't been writing about writing for a while. I was thinking I should start talking about my journey towards better health.

I'm just not sure where I want to write about it.

So, I ask you, my regular readers, do want to read about it on this blog or should I start a new one, complete with pictures and recipes? Let me know it the comments.

Steampunk Mid-week Motivation - Dieselpunk

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Steampunk Sunday: Doctor Who

I'll be honest, it's been a rough week and I needed a bit of a pick me up. The Doctor always makes it better. 

Posted without comment, Steampunk Doctor Who:

Now, I'm off to wait for my madman in a big blue box!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Life Happens . . .

There are times when Life just happens and you just have to roll with it. I had planned to be a lot further along with the multiple projects I've been working with. Instead, I've been spending my time with doctor's and specialists, taking tests and describing symptoms. At the moment, I'm a medical mystery and that thought is terrifying.

So, today I'm editing like mad. I'm hoping to have the book I'm working on to the publisher by tomorrow and I will get January's ebook up before February.

Have patience and keep checking back, I promise I'll be back.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Steampunk Sunday: Tech Mods

I love Steampunk mods on everyday tech. 

Like this bluetooth. 

to go with this cellphone. 

Have a steampunked computer? How about this mouse to go with it?

 Steampunk watch, anybody?

 A wrist-mounted gun? Why not?

 I've heard of electric guitars but a steam guitar?

 What else were you going to do with that old camera?

So much beautiful tech, these are just a sample of some of the awesome steampunk mods out there. If you have a favorite, leave a link to it in the comments. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday - Introducing Lady Lark

Introducing Lady Lark
The door to the tavern opened and a woman walked through the door. She was not the kind of woman the regular patrons of the bar were used to seeing. Tall for a woman, her waist length hair was almost a blinding white, her green dress embroidered with realistic looking flames and creatures of flames, the string of the bow she carried was made of flame. All this was but a detail to the people looking at her. Instead, they saw her sweet, heart-shaped face and a figure that could make strong men weep.

When she spoke, it was in a throaty voice that made those hearing it think of candle-light caught in a drop of sweat on a lover's shoulder. “I'm looking for a couple elves that came through here a few weeks ago; they were brothers, one was a magic user and the other was a fighter.”

The bartender shifted uncomfortably. “They were here, my lady, but they left the same day they came.”

“Did they indeed?” She smiled at him. “Does anybody know what happened to them?”
The tavern erupted in men clamoring for her attention, telling her their parts in the altercation they all assumed had killed the elves. Their bodies had been thrown out into the streets and one of the temples had come to collect them; they weren't sure which one.

She raised a hand to silence the noise of the tavern. “So, you killed the children and threw their bodies into the street. Thank you, gentlemen, you've told me everything I needed to know.”

“Children?” The bartender asked.

“Adolescents, really, running away from home,” she brought up her bow, an arrow knocked. “You might want to duck but it won't help.”

She let the arrow fly into the wall of spirits behind the bar. The resulting explosion followed her out the door but was stopped by a rainbow colored wall that sprang up behind her. The two men waiting for her outside caught her as she started to sob. “All that alcohol!”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If You Really Knew Me . . .

Got this one from Michelle Davidson Argyle. If you really knew me . . .

If you really knew me, you'd know my favorite colors are green and red, but not together. Green is soothing and reminds me of my goals. Red is vibrant and beautiful. My favorite colors of lip stick are shades of red, and I love looking for excuses for wearing the brighter shades.

If you really knew me, you'd know that I am loyal to my friends. Very few people get close enough to be called a friend. Once you do, I'll help you and defend you to the end. This has led to some very toxic relationships that I've had to cut out of my life. It hurt but still, if they ever came back, I'd still love them.

If you really knew me, you'd know that the time to be worried is the time I stop talking. If I don't talk about something, it means there's something wrong.

If you really knew me, you'd know that I worry. A lot. Anxiety keeps me up most nights. I'm working on letting go, though, so it's not as bad as it used to be but still, I worry.

If you really knew me, you'd know that getting to the place where I can even contemplate going after my dreams is a huge step. I've been torn between other people's dreams and what I want for so long, that it took me a long time to realize that I was being pulled in too many directions. It's still hard to work for it and remember what I want but I'm moving forward now and that's so exciting.

If you really knew me, you'd know that I lust after pretty shoes in my heart. Really, I'm just doing all this to be able to buy pretty shoes and have some place to wear them.

Did you do a post like this, too? Leave a link in the comments and let me know. I'd like to learn more about you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Steampunk Mid-week Motivation

Why I did a Steampunk Computers post.

update: No idea who's sending me all the traffic but thanks! Let me know how you got here in the comments!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Favorite Dresses From the Red Carpet

I'll be honest, I don't really watch award shows. I find them boring and largely self-congratulatory. I do like catching the round up of the interesting things the next day and I'll likely be posting a reaction to a couple of things I've caught headlines of today.

But first, I have to share some of my favorite looks from the red carpet last night. 

Elegant and Romantic, this is such a perfect dress. The black lace detailing takes it from sweet to sexy without baring too much skin. A win all around.

Madonna's usually pretty hit or miss for me. Last night was a hit with  this woven, emerald green satin skirt. 

Simple, elegant and plum, this dress is very ancient Greece but perfect for the classic beauty of Emma Stone

Not sure I'm a fan of the hair, but this beautiful red dress was classic red carpet, and a perfect alternative to all the beige that was showing up. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Steampunk Sunday: Music Videos

I talked about Abney Park in one of my first Steampunk Sunday posts and featured one of their music videos. While I still love that video, and Abney Park, I wanted to show some videos that had a Steampunk feel while the music they're for isn't necessarily Steampunk.

I'll start with The Dresden Dolls 'Coin-Operated Boy'

This video is very close to what the actual song is about and is only mildly Steampunk. I still love it. I especially love Amanda Palmer's eyebrows in the close-up shots.

This next one is Panic! At the Disco's 'The Ballad of Mona Lisa'

The song itself is definitely not Steampunk but the video is so very Steampunk. I love the net blaster and the microphone, especially.

To be honest, I always get so distracted by the next video that I don't listen to the song. I'll have to figure out what it's about one of these days. It's "Eye of the Storm" by Lovett

This is so beautiful, I'm not even sure the music is important.

So, what are your favorite Steampunk videos? Leave me links in the comments! And, as always, if you have a Steampunk collection you want me to feature, drop me a line!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Flash Fiction - The Dark Lady

The Dark Lady
The ship sighed as she rocked gently, back and forth, in the ocean. Blood soaked into her decks and bodies splashed over the sides. Her captain strode over her decks, shouting orders and seeing to his crew. Wood from the other ship floated in the water around her as the largest chunk left burned in the twilight.
It had been a good fight. The swiftest ship in the ocean, she had come upon the freighter like a shark, hitting hard and fast with her cannons. Her crew was brave and strong and won the fight quickly. She had only taken a few scratches, injuries her captain would soon see put right when they put into port. The prisoners from the other ship were crying out below decks, men and women scared of their fates, begging her to be merciful.
Her captain celebrated his victory, pulling several of the prisoners to the deck to entertain his crew. They opened casks seized from the other ship, spilling some of the wine to give her a share. One of the captives served the captain exclusively and The Dark Lady could feel him enjoying her. He was a good captain; he deserved to enjoy his victory.

As the dawn approached, they were nearing the port and the ship sighed with relief to pull into the docks. The chains clanked as the prisoners were taken off to be ransomed or sold and the crew set about making her the strong, beautiful ship they loved. The repairs were done quickly and they were ready to set out once more.
There was someone on deck who didn’t belong there as they pulled out of the port. One of the prisoners had stayed. Her captain announced he was to be wed that evening, as the sun set. The Dark Lady wept as she felt her captain’s heart given to the interloper. She was supposed to be his first and only love, carrying him across the turbulent ocean.
As the sun set, she could feel a storm brewing. The crew was celebrating her captain’s betrayal and didn’t notice as she set a course directly for the heart of the storm. The rain beat down on her crew, her captain, as she sailed further into a storm than she’d ever gotten before. She could feel parts of her breaking and she held onto as much of her crew as she could. Some of their bodies were lost but she kept the parts she had pledged to her, their hearts and their souls. The interloper fell over the side and her captain cried out but The Dark Lady held him as she struggled out of the storm.
The storm transformed her. She became a part of the ocean, of it and above it, with her crew and her captain. No more did she need to set into port, though she did it anyway when the moon was dark, no more did she need repairs. Her captain strode her decks, shouting orders to a crew that never tired, and bathed her with more blood than he ever had before. There were no more prisoners, no more interlopers, to disturb her.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wait, I Have to Work?

I love this blog. I really do. I love just being able to talk about the things that interest me and posting pretty pictures. Being a bit more disciplined over the last few months has made me more productive in other areas of my life.

You know what happens when you become more productive? If you just say "you get asked to produce more" then you are absolutely right! I'm editing a couple of manuscripts right now and walking a couple people through getting their manuscripts ready for submission. Some of these are free and some of these are paid. Since we all have to eat, the paying work comes first, then the stuff I hope will be paid, then the stuff for friends and then the fun stuff.

The stuff for free for people who keep asking me questions from a couple of internet communities I'm a part of come last. Sorry, it's true. Nothing against any of you, just need to do the pay copy first.

However! I have not forgotten what I have promised. I'm finishing up the first review (know how much it sucks when you can't remember the main characters first name and then CAN'T FIND YOUR COPY OF THE BOOK!!!) and finding I need to reference more from the next book I want to review but it's on my currently broken ereader. C'est la vie, no?

So, if you just can't wait for something amusing, here's Calvin and Hobbes listening to classical music:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Steampunk Sunday: Computers

I've been fascinated by computer mods for years now. The personal computer has become more and more personal as the years have gone by but they all look so similar. What better way to make it truly personal than to modify it and make it yours. 

Modifying computers for Steampunk is perfect. It adds some beauty and elegance to something that most people see as strictly utilitarian. Something I've always loved about Victoriana: nothing is strictly functional, it must also be appropriately decorated for the room it's in. 

Wooden keyboards.

Steampunk additions to a tower case.

Another tower, this time a bit more elegant.

The whole set up is modified to fit with the room it's in. 

That's a laptop. Yes, a laptop.
Bonus points for anybody who can tell me where this computer belongs!

And now I'm off to learn woodworking.

Remember, if you have a steampunk collection you'd like me to feature, drop me a line in the comments!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vision: Why Does It Matter?

You can describe the cobblestones of the city your characters start in. You know everything that's happened politically for the last 20  years, leading up to the conflict that forces your characters into action. There are times when you would swear you could smell the flowers in the queen's private garden. And you know what? None of that really matters. It makes the setting real to you so you can write the best story possible but none of it will make it into the book.

Asked to describe their world, most author's get the same manic look as a new religious convert. Their breathing shortens, their eyes get a feverish glow and they will talk your ear off for the next hour about the imaginary world they're writing in. When asked to describe their writing career, however, most authors will give you a basic timeline of what has happened and what their agent/publisher has told them they can look forward to. They may have a couple books coming out but that's about the only thing that might give even a pale comparison to the excitement they feel for their books.

Why is that?

I think it has to do with the reason authors work for so little.

There are self-confidence issues, to be sure, and the pressure of 'that's just the way it's done' that's being pushed by agents, editors and other authors. There's also a distinct lack of vision.

Vision is important to anything we want to do in either a personal or professional capacity. Yes, I have goals and plans for this next year but without a vision of what I am working towards, those goals and plans have very little chance of success.

If your vision is to be a starving, though critically acclaimed, artist, you're going to be an artist who has difficulty putting food on the table. If your vision is the publishing equivalent of winning the lottery, you're going to be very frustrated as you keep trying to promote the only book you've written. If you just want to write and not deal with any of the messy (or confusing) financial nonsense, then you'll likely take what  you're offered and be ripped off by any publisher or agent you end up working with.

So many times I've seen people who can't figure out why they're not doing better; either professionally, with their health or financially. When asked, they can't say anything about their vision. While a clear vision isn't a magic wand to get what you want, it tells you where you are, where you want to go and what you have to do to get there. When you're working towards a specific vision, you're more likely to notice things that will get you there. Though it may seem like magic, it's really just being better aware of opportunities that you may have been missing.

People in general, and authors specifically, need to have bigger visions. There is nothing wrong with acclaim and a nice paycheck.

So, what do you want to do? What is your vision?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Writer's Don't Wanna!

I don’t believe in writer’s block. There’s writer’s don’t want to, though, and that usually indicates a problem in the project you’re working on.

I’m currently experiencing a block. Not on the novel, though I haven’t spent as much time on that as I want to. I’m mostly still deciding the path I want it to take. No, the problem I’m experiencing is with the short story for January.

The short story series I’m working on is a series of fairy tales, re-telling them with a bit of a twist and a sense of humor. I want people to experience the joy and wonder they felt the first time they heard these stories. I also love semi-obscure stories. There are so many beautiful, wonderful and terrifying traditional tales that have fallen to the wayside that need to be re-discovered.

The first story I did in the series was the story of Tamlyn, a traditional Irish ballad. I love this story. I have since the first time I heard it and I have always been surprised that few people had heard the story or knew it by name. The next story is going to be Sleeping Beauty. That’s the arc the next character takes. There’s just one problem.

It’s boring!
Everybody knows the story of Sleeping Beauty. No matter how many twists and turns I put in it, it’s still going to be the story of Sleeping Beauty.

The third story in the series is going to be The Sea Wife. I love this story. And so few people have heard of it! It just seems to be flowing better, which tells me that this is the story I really want to tell.

So, I may be telling the story I want to and skipping the story of Aidan. Just for now. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Steampunk Sunday: Cake

I love cake. I especially love a cake that looks as good as it tastes. I am also notorious for hating the taste of fondant. That's ok today, though, because these are just too pretty to cute into. 

I want this one for my birthday this year. 

I love the dark wood feel to this one. How do they even do that?

Abstract gears leading up to a mechanical bride and groom.

Hat? Check! Clock? Check! Corseting? Check! Wings? Check! Gears? Check!

The detail on this is fantastic! I love the little octopus on top. 

Trunks with gears and an octopus, beautiful.

The view on the left is detail from the back of the cake. That's right, this is a Steampunk Corset Cake. I'm in love!

Jen over at Cakewrecks is also a Steampunk lover and  has lots more cakes to check out.