Monday, March 28, 2011

Goal!

Met my writing goal for Kin at 70,000 words! Now I just need to finish the actual book. I am hoping to accomplish this by the end of the month, but we shall see how that goes. It is a great feeling knowing that I am putting in the dedication. Sometimes it is really hard to push on. There is always that reminder that I give myself that I can rewrite this or that. I am looking forward to reaching that step soon. First I need that first draft so I will keep pushing on.

Natasha

The Discovery of Diana Wynne Jones

"In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes." Diana Wynne Jones (Howl's Moving Castle)

When I talk to people I know, there are two ways that they found out about the stories of Diana Wynne Jones. They were either fortunate to have read them as children, or were fortunate enough to know the works of Hayao Miyazaki (who animated her book "Howl's Moving Castle). No matter how you ended up learning and reading about her, I never heard anyone say a bad thing about her writing.

I watched "Howl's Moving Castle" first and it became one of my favorite movies. It took a few years, but I finally broke down and read the book. And listened to the audio book. Then re-watched the movie. I knew that I had found something very special with just the movie, but
after experiencing all three, I knew that this was one of my favorite stories. My husband and I even named our cat Sophie after the main character (who is sitting with me the whole time I am writing this).

I went on to read the other two books that feature Howl and Sophie, and bought the Chrestomanci series. I have yet to pick up more of her books, and intend to remedy this quickly.

On Twitter is how I learned that DWJ had passed away. She had become a trending topic, and many people were showing their love for her work. Tears welled up in my eyes and it took me a moment before I could say anything to my husband. I knew that she was ill, but it still came as a shock. I went onto Amazon and ordered one of the books I have been putting off and is out of print. I intend on reading "Fire and Hemlock" sometime in April.

DWJ became one of the reasons why I look at stories differently and why I decided to write the story that I am working on today. As I continue to discover her writing, I think that she will challenge me and inspire me. We have lost a great writer and I offer my deepest condolences to her family and friends.

I am adding links to the bottom of this page for you to learn more about this amazing writer and I hope that you had the chance to discover her writings, and if not, I dare you to pick up her books and not find something you will enjoy.

Links:

Natasha

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis











A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awake on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into a brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I have to admit that the first thing that I noticed about this book was the cover. It is mesmerizing. What is even more amazing is opening it up to see the blueprint schematics of the ship, Godspeed. On the actual hardcover, you can see the name of the ship and its emblem. The premise is another thing that really caught my eye. I have been dipping more into science fiction books, and this one had to zip to the top of my list.

The synopsis features Amy as the main character, but it is also told from the point of view of Elder. It gives the story a much more fleshed out appearance. Amy gives us a sense of the old Earth on the ship and how it could haunt someone that they might never see land again. From Elder, he sees the ship as someone who has known nothing different and the challenges of someone that will become the future leader.

The story is a mystery. There is the mystery of the inter-workings of the ships, of who is trying to kill the cryogenically frozen people (which is how Amy is woken up early), and what will happen to the future of the people living on the ship. The intrigue of these developments keep the plot moving forward from the different perspectives of Elder and Amy.

One of the bright shining lights of the story is one of the secondary characters, Harley. His paintings of koi, fascination with the stars, and the charming nickname he gives Amy lighten up the mood of the story. Amy has a lot to deal with, including her past life on Earth, the worry of her still frozen parents while Elder shoulders the responsibility that will eventually be his.

The one thing that I found odd about the story was the ending. It was written in a different way than I expected and seemed to have a different flow than the rest of the story. Still, I did enjoy it and am really looking forward to the next installment in the series that the author says will include the Amy and Elder.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Links

Author Beth Revis's website

Book website

Get out there and check out this book!

Natasha

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Movie Review: "Paul"

Around 2004 is when the love of zombie movies deepened for me. I had already enjoyed "Night of the Living Dead" as a kid, sitting up with my father late one night when there wasn't anything else on. 2004 is also the year that "Shaun of the Dead" came out. We have been following the career of Simon Pegg (as well as Edgar Wright and Nick Frost) ever since.

There is just something about their humor and wit that captures moments that seem similar to those of my every day life. It is hard not to bond with these characters and their geektastic antics, especially in the show Spaced (if you haven't seen Spaced and you call yourself a geek, get out there and watch it).

Their latest project ("Paul") is written by Pegg and Frost and is clearly an alien road trip. It begins at Comic Con (filmed in 2009, which I attended) where they are feel like they belong among the geekdom and they meet their comic idol. They move onto a roadtrip to all the alien hotspots in the United States, however, they come across a few issues as they begin their travels. One of them is finding the title character, an alien named Paul, who is trying to return home. He needs their help to reach the spot where his people can pick him up, however, he has people chasing after him so they can steal his brain.

I admit, I am not a fan of Seth Rogen's work except in the short-lived show Freaks and Geeks. Now I can add Paul to the list of things I can enjoy him in (even though it is just his voice and not actually him in the movie). Pegg and Frost are as charming as ever, and the rest of the casting was done just right with Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, and Kristin Wiig. Each character has a bit of humor, and it all worked for me.

My recommendation is skipping the online trailer since it holds a lot of the key parts in the movie and just attend the movie for a fun time, especially if you are a fan of their previous movies. It is a fun ride, the characters are loveable, the actors are great, and the alien is believable. What else do I need to tell you? "Paul" is fun!

Links:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding Perspective

Yesterday was a day that I still have no idea why things happened the way they did.

This weekend was Daylight Savings Time where we put the clocks forward one hour. My cell phone, which is my alarm clock, changed when I did something on it. When I reset my alarm (husband updated the software on it) and I closed my eyes for the night, the time was correct and I expected to wake up on Monday morning on time.

We didn't. My clock decided to revert back an hour. I had a little tirade in my tired confusion about how this could happen. We rushed to get ready, and when I went to start my car to leave, the battery was dead. I had taken it in to get the muffler replaced before the weekend, but why would my battery be dead? The doors were properly closed and the dome light was off. There was no explanation for it.

So, I rushed upstairs to grab my husband to drop me off at work. We hopped into the Hybrid and he turned the key. It, too, had a dead battery. We sat there, stunned. How could both of our car batteries die on the same day? We were fortunate that our neighbor was in the garage with his pick-up almost ready to go or we would have called our AAA. Neighbor guy jumped my car and I only ended up at work a half hour late.

The day progressed and I had to restart my computer in the morning after a glitch. The time on my phone's clock went back to normal. I had to take out the battery a few times since it kept going slow and wouldn't work right. After a long day of confusion, I skipped the elevator as usual (not going to dare try that) and went home to find that the internet was down and I had to call my internet provider.

So, I wrote down the MAC address and went outside (we have no coverage in our house without the internet) to talk to them. Husband came home and we left for supper and to pick up our Ghibli Museum tickets from Fedex, and came home to fix the network since the MAC address scenario didn't make any sense.

Actually, the whole day didn't make any sense. It was like the universe was trying to tell us something and I couldn't figure out what it was. I still have no clue.

I didn't complain that it was Monday (I was born and married on a Monday, so I actually enjoy Mondays), or that this was the worst day ever. In my mind, all I could think about were the people in Japan and what they are going through right now. I had no right to really complain. I mean, if this is the worst thing that happens in my week, how can I complain? I just wish I had an explanation, but that's life, right?

Natasha

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hearts out to Japan

This week my husband Joey and I bought our tickets for Japan and for the Ghibli Museum. We have gone on many trips together, but this one really had given me a piece of anxiety that I couldn't explain. Pushing that aside, I went on to further my research of hotels and daydreaming about what I should to research while we were there.

This morning, I woke up, showered, and went on the computer for a few minutes before heading down to breakfast. On the top of my Facebook feed was author Michelle Zink expressing her concern for Japan. My heart quickened, and I found a few more. I went to find some news online and found out about the earthquake and tsunami. My heart went to the people and a lot of questions started to rush into my head about our trip, which we are going on in mid-May. Two months away, but what does that mean?

We are doing the waiting game. It isn't likely that another earthquake of that caliber will happen again. It is the damage and repercussions that might change our plans. They are advising right now that people shouldn't travel there for the next few weeks. As I kept thinking these thoughts of our travel, I felt selfish that all I can think about is this trip. However, it also shows how much I want to visit this country and to experience it in person.

If you can, go to this link to find out how you can help. Any little bit is something to help people in need.

My heart goes out to the people of Japan and in other affected areas. Many of us are thinking of you!

Natasha

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On the Writing Path

"Writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles. "- Shannon Hale

When I read this quote on Twitter this week, it really hit a cord with me when thinking about my own writing these days. I keep telling myself to push forward, that I can go back and do what I need to do later. I love that experience of letting the story go where it wants to take me.

I was doing really well until about a week ago. I started two projects that needed my attention and they took up way more time that I liked. So much that I had to put my writing to the side, but I never stopped thinking about it. There is nothing more that I would like right now than to finish this manuscript so I can roll up my sleeves and keep writing. After this weekend of focusing on the two projects, I am now at the point where I can set them aside and pour my attention back into my novel.

I do have another venture that I pursue at the same time. My husband and I have officially decided on our dates for Japan! We have a start at the plan for the trip and now it is just time to put some action into our plan. There is so many things that we would like to do in those short days and the experience will help me paint more color into my story. I have no doubt that we will have an amazing time.

Here's to a productive March!

Natasha

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