Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We are, er, were so proud...

Like most kids her age, the world revolves around J6.6. Every event or person that brushes her life is assigned an importance ranking based entirely upon how it or they affect her. The husband and I realize that it's just how kids are, and she's a good kid in general - it's not like she's amoral (except where it concerns E3.9) or sociopathic. So we just have an ongoing campaign to make sure that she realizes how things affect other people, even if she really doesn't care about it right now.

Now, some big things make an impression on her, like the situation in Haiti - that's been on the news and talked about by us and at school enough that she's aware that it's a very tragic occurrence and is causing lots of suffering. But the small stuff? Eh.

The other day, we were praying before bed, and it was J6.6's turn to pray. She said, "And please watch over Miss Joyce's mom and help her to get better quickly-"

At this point, my husband and I reared back in surprise. She prayed for someone else - someone not in our family! It was so completely unselfish and we were just amazed. We traded congratulatory smiles at a job well-done on our part as parents. Yeah! We had this parenting stuff down! We were raising a child who would be a good, caring addition to society and we basked in that knowledge. Proudly, we waited for her to finish.

"- without Miss Joyce having to go up and be with her, because I don't want a temporary bus driver. Amen."

Commence un-basking.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mages were integral to the Revolutionary War? You betcha.

My father-in-law is no doubt reading this title (or will be once my mom-in-law hollers to him that he's made another appearance in my blog and needs to come read it...) with one eyebrow raised in disbelief. But no, it's true! Mages had an important role in America's fight for independence.

My father-in-law and I like to read very different things. As you all know, I'm a fantasy/SF/romance kinda gal, and it had better have a happy ending. He loves non-fiction (shudder), especially military stuff (like there's ever a happy ending with those), and enjoys following up his reading with further research and visits to the towns/places in question (this part is cool). He doesn't do make-believe. I can see where he's coming from even if it makes me break out in hives and he just smiles and shakes his head at my frivolousness. We agree to disagree.

But here's a novel that might actually appeal to both of us - if he can get past the whole 'mages' bit because ya know, it's pretty critical. C.C. Finlay's Traitor to the Crown series features Proctor Brown, a patriot minuteman farmer who is also a mage and involved with the dire opening acts of the Revolutionary War. This first book, The Patriot Witch, covers the 'shot heard round the world', the battle at Lexington and Concord and the events through Bunker Hill. It gives a magic-wielding explanation for why that first shot happened, why so many British officers died at Bunker Hill and how the patriot forces sustained so few losses at the same time. It was great, and it made me go look events up afterward to see how closely it followed the actual historical data (pretty closely as a matter of fact). Before, the Rev War was a blur of which I knew dates, a couple of key historical people and mostly whatever I'd picked up from Disney's The Swamp Fox series from when I was growing up. Now I'm more aware of it, and the particulars of these specific battles will stay with me. Anything that makes people read and become more aware of our history is fabulous, and even if Finlay's reasoning behind the events is completely made-up, the results are not. Also, this is a great guy kind of book that chicks can enjoy too. It has a 'happy for now' ending, because you know they're in the start of a desperate war, and a bunch of good folks have already died with more to come, but it ends on a note of hope, and that's good enough for me.

Anyways, I'll be handing this one off to my father-in-law, and he'll read it because of the guilt trip he'll suffer if he doesn't. I really hope that he likes it, but even if he doesn't, we'll still have a good time talking about it, I'm sure. I'll let you guys know how this reading experiment works out. Meanwhile, I'll go buy the other two books in the series. :)

As a side-note, I think my father-in-law had a hand in the creation of Blogger's spell-checker. The only words it didn't recognize were 'mage' and 'mages'...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's been... forever...

... or at least 2 weeks since I've posted. You know the drill - busy life, no time, kids, work, writing, blah blah blah.

I've been doing more editing than writing lately, and will probably continue that trend for the next couple of weeks. I'm still writing off and on, but not daily like I was before. I did come up with a cool social thing for my dark fantasy that I'm planning out though. I'm still working out the kinks in the idea, but I think it's pretty neat, and it's something that I haven't seen in a story before. Of course, that really means absolutely nothing. If I run it by my friend Mike and he hasn't seen it elsewhere, then we can consider it unique. :)

Have you guys been reading anything good lately?

I finished Jim C. Hines' The Stepsister Scheme (on my nook), recommended frequently by Lisa Shearin. I enjoyed it immensely. It's not a grab-and-won't-let-you-go-action-every-page kind of novel, but it was definitely a good fantasy read. I'll probably pick up The Mermaid's Madness at some point soon. Both stories feature Cinderella (aka Danielle, the clever, determined underdog), Snow White (aka Snow, a lusty, curvaceous mirror mage), and Sleeping Beauty (aka Talia, a deadly fighter) and how their "true" stories differ from the traditional fairy tales we know and get tired of our kids watching. The fairy tales only get some of it right, and these girls' actual lives are not all sunshine, true love and roses. In TSS the girls set out to rescue Cinderella's prince when he gets kidnapped by her evil stepsisters.

Before that I read Rachel Vincent's young adult
Soul Screamers series (also on my nook). If you liked Twilight, you should like this, and as a bonus... less teenager angst!!! Yippee! The first book in the series, My Soul to Lose, is currently available as a FREE e-book from B&N. It's not a super long story, so if you can stand to read from your PC for a couple of hours, it's might be worth it to you to download B&N's e-reader app and read this one at no charge. The first one was decent, and gets you knowing the main char Kaylee, although you don't find out what causes the weird screaming until book #2. It was actually the book 2 teaser at the end of the first book that kept me going with this series and I'm glad I did. It's a great series, and I'm looking forward to more of it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What New Year?

Feels like the same old year to me. I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions, and this year is no different. I'm not resolving to write more. I'm simply determined to keep doing the solid effort at writing that I've been doing. I'm not making a goal to exercise more, because I know that will fail miserably. I think I'm a New Year's Scrooge.

Anyways, I haven't blogged much lately because my free time is limited now, and I've been trying to squeeze in writing on my novels as opposed to writing on the blog. I think I'm done with the SciFi novel now. The ending is passable, but seems anti-climactic to me. We'll see what the critique crew thinks. Hopefully my mom will like the novel also. This is the one she's been nagging me to work on. Hi Mom! Love ya! Now we'll see if she's actually keeping up with my blog... How long will it be before she demands that I send the novel to her?

Next on my menu is to go back and edit the SciFi novel, and Historian's Calling, my UF novel so I can start sending it back out to agents. After that, I'll try to get back into Gladiator's Legacy, book 2 in the UF series. When I left off to concentrate on the SciFi novel, I think I was 20-some-thousand words into it. I'll also keep working on my side projects - the dark fantasy I'm world-building right now and the paranormal romance/urban fantasy I've been contemplating.

What are you all working on right now in your outside-of-work lives? Getting your warrior to level 75 or something in World of Warcraft? A new photography technique? A sewing project? Building a new computer? Landscaping? And yes, I'll ask: did you make a New Year's Resolution? :)