Category Archives: Mash-up

A Mini-Mash and a Tuesday Snippet

Since tomorrow is officially the next ROW80 check-in, I’m not sure I should bother with a check-in now.  I have plenty of time to complain tomorrow…..  😉

One thing I should do, especially given the large number of nifty pages I have been acquiring in my Blog Mash folder is actually share these gems that have inspired contemplation and thought in me.  Every once in a while however, it seems prudent.  Besides, there are so many wonderful places on the web to explore, this paltry selection should encourage you to find many, many more of your own.

Mash-Up Mix-up, etc.

English: This is Saipradeep ravipati working a...

First we have, courtesy of my software engineer (translation: programmer, a.k.a geek) husband, an interesting rant/piece on what good design means.  Matt Simmons makes a very good point that sometimes what we think should makes sense doesn’t  mean it will work for the majority of people.  Or, that even if it does, that it’s a good idea, since it’ll be that one person that it doesn’t work for that will ruin things for many many others.  Good design tries to take into account how people act, not necessarily how they think.

Here’s a cute thing I intend to try one of these days, perhaps:  Merit Badger.  For one, I love badgers.  And two, it’s easier than trying to sew through the things (that backing is tough!).  And given how long I’ve been qualified for some of these, it’ll be just like scouts…  Or maybe not “just like.  I did sew on three of those badges.

For a topic that hit uncomfortably close to home for me and others, I found these pages on male infertility while researching any potential hang-ups that might affect certain characters of mine.  Granted neither ‘Listii nor Alanii are actually infertile (just strong affected by their Calls),  I began to wonder if sperm count is increased/decreased in a Called man according to connection with his ‘tianiel.  Since the connection of a Life Call something that can actually be diagnosed (and somewhat affected by chemical means (see ‘Listii’s situation in the Unnamed Story), I imagine there could be other symptoms of the connection.

For Atyr’s people and what might happen with both the Antianii and Wanderers after the Cataclysm and the Flight, I found this on Natural Gender Selection.  As far as it went, reading this made me think a bit sadly on the historical trend of infanticide that probably came from this fact.  Where males have traditionally been considered stronger and needed to pass on family names, put stress on the system so that more daughters are born, it follows that more daughters were probably destroyed.  😦  Sometimes the research I do breaks my heart.

And for your viewing pleasure…  This post full of wonderful links to artwork draws me back to it on a regular basis.  I could (and would) spend far too much time in a gallery that showcased these works.  I love art that allows me to look again and again while each time discovering a new multitude of details.

And because I’m completely befuddled by Copyright Law, with thanks to Shan Jeniah, I post this: Copyright 1, 2, 3, and 4 (and the series goes on…here is a list of the entries and podcasts)

And now a Tuesday Snippet

We rejoin Atyr and Val as they try to find some peace and understanding between them.

The priest came in to find them like that. When Val finally heard the man’s discreet footsteps, he eased Atyr away, murmuring a gentle “I love you.” Then he glanced over to the fi-Harnii who was now watching them from the bed with a benevolent smile.

“I pray you will excuse the interruption, but it is the first day of full meditation, Sier.” The man’s tone was honestly apologetic.

He sighed and allowed Atyr and the priest to help him to the bed. “Full…meditation?” He cast both of them a curious look.

Atyr frowned slightly as she wiped away tears that stuck to her cheeks and jaw. “Dreamwalking in the spirit planes, Val. You need to tell your priest about your call with ‘Listii.”

He noted she didn’t mention the talia he held with her, though it was possibly because anyone with a priest’s talent could detect such a link. More likely though she meant that he needed to confess he’d been harboring a mind talent all these years.

As if she’d read his thoughts, she nodded. “Go on, Val. It’s not as much of a secret as you might think. Alanii knows.”

He wasn’t sure he wanted to know how that scamp had figured it out. And she was right. The time for hiding the truth was long past. This wasn’t Tralan where admission of that family secret would have destroyed everything generations of his kin had fought tooth and nail for. He felt a gentle reassurance from the more spiritual planes where he’d been spending so much time of late.

He sighed and turned to face the fi-Harnii, who’d taken a dignified perch on the stool by his bed. The man’s patient expression belied the curiosity of the man’s encroaching thoughts and expectant pose.

“Silah?”

The priest continued to wait save for a small “yes?”

There was no pressure from this man. There never had been. A good man. He’d served with him for years, knew and trusted him as well as he did any man. This was still a big step of faith even so.

Well, wasn’t that what all this was about? Faith?

He smiled wanly. “First confession of the day, Silah. I’m talented in mindcraft. Enough to sense strong thoughts and sendings and to send myself, if I….” He coughed and accepted the cup of broth Atyriia handed him gratefully.

She finished for him. “It’s not a strong talent, Silah, but he’s developed it fully. If my guess is right, he’s been dreamwalking alone for the past few weeks already.”

He gave her a brief sideways glance then looked at the stunned expression on the priest’s face.

The priest sat silent for several moments then reached a hand over and wrapped cold fingers around his wrist. He felt his shielding pierced before he could bolster it. Natural reaction forced the man’s probing mental touch away and out of his head before common sense stopped him, suggesting that the priest had done this for a reason.

The hand holding the cup shook. Warm liquid splattered on his bedgown before the cup was lifted from his hand and both Atyr and the priest were helping him lean back on the bed.

His own defensive reaction had nearly depleted him beyond noticing. All he felt was gentle flows of energy from them and a soft urge to sleep. He opened his eyes with effort and looked at Atyr.

“Mouse?” He barely heard his own voice.

She looked at him curiously. “Yes, Val?” She’d begun brushing his hair back from his face with light finger touches. Her expression was serene.

That reassured him. If she wasn’t worried…. He closed his eyes and relaxed to the lull of rest their sendings encouraged.

*

Atyr watched as Val drifted into the dreamstate far more peacefully than many she’d seen before. She smiled knowingly at the priest. “I was right.”

The fi-Harnii had begun his preparations for sharing the meditation with Val, but he paused long enough to nod. “Yes. And that is no small talent he holds either. In such a weakened condition, I wouldn’t have expected him to have cast me out so swiftly, or easily.”

“Hmm?” She helped move Val’s arms into a meditative pose.

The priest shrugged. “You’ve clearly felt him use his talent before this–“

“Only once, last night. I’d never detected it before this.”

The priest nodded. “Think of the strength it takes to hide such a skill, particularly from a witch of your caliber, my lady. For a man to shield himself and his family for so long….”

Her gaze narrowed. “Come now, Silah. Val wouldn’t have kept that a secret from me.” Alanii’s words rang through her thoughts, now sounding ill-considered. She glanced at Val, his stoic expression revealing nothing even in his state of mental enhancement.

A flicker of his right eye lid–barely a twitch–and she felt something faint akin to an apology touch the back of her mind. No regret, simply an admission of the truth.

He had hidden the knowledge of his talent from her.

She sighed and drew back her hands to her sides. “When he comes out of it, tell him I expect to hear from him, Silah. I must visit Katsdaniis too though, and I might as well get that out of the way while he’s busy.”

The priest nodded. “Certainly.” Then, before she could say more, the man had taken a seat at the edge of the bed in contact with Val.

So, secrets upon secrets…  The Hastor are living up to their reputation it seems.

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Wednesday Ramble and a ROW80 update

English: A photo montage protesting censorship.

Image via Wikipedia

 

While you probably don’t want a rant starting out your Wednesday reading, for writers and readers alike, this stuff matters.  Perhaps some of you use Smashwords to get your ebooks.  Do any of you read erotica?  Do you write it perhaps?  Does this erotica include “questionably explicit content”?

 

This shouldn’t be news, but it is… again.  PayPal (and supposedly its backers) want to know so they can stop allowing transactions for such books.  Now Smashwords claims that PayPal is working with them, however, given the financial company’s history (links included below), I smell a rat.  PayPal has frozen accounts for many sites on its own moral ground and has not, before this, made a point of blaming a third-party (indeed, there is no actually stated third-party, just “credit card companies”) for most of these things.  I could go on about this seems to coincide with the recent attacks to disband most of the Occupy Camps that have been discretely noted on the news so that almost no one knows of them.  Personally, I’m sure there is connection, just as there is probably a connection with the careful ignorance to studies about health issues caused by GMO products and the sudden media attention to the assumed nuclear threat from Iran.  But this isn’t a conspiracy theory blog, and for now, I’ll just use those things as inspiration for my fiction about alien worlds and how characters who have suffered severe childhood trauma still achieve great things (complete with all the questionable elements that will make it unpublishable on Smashwords).

Even without any other factors involved…  Censorship stinks!

 

Censorship Relevant Links:

 

However, let me add one more thing here…  I, personally, have had very few problems with PayPal.  One, once, long ago when I lost $20 that I’d had in a former X.com account before PayPal bought them out.  And perhaps I could have been more aggressive about demanding my money, but life was interfering and it seemed less important than finding a place to live and a job at the time.  But that doesn’t mean I like their treatment of others.

But that’s enough ranting for now.  Let’s move on to some….

Fun Stuff!

 

Here’s a general mash-up of (some!!!!) things that caught my fancy this week… stuff that I hoped you would enjoy with me:

Do you like illusions?  My son does.  And as luck would have it, I found a whole blog of illusions to look through with him.  This one looked particularly nifty being a papercraft project we could work on together in the near future. (from Mighty Optical Illusions):   And here is a neat video of a similar project:  See through you, I can.

If you are anything like me, reading is second nature and sometime more important than eating and breathing (though almost always more important than sleeping).  Well, thanks to Lloyd Shepherd and the Guardian here are 10 interesting “alternative history” books to explore.  (And here I’d hoped to trim down my Amazon wishlist this month….)

Jeff Goins often makes a stir online with his blog and Tweets, many of which I find myself reviewing on occasion.  His recent Writer’s Manifesto is out, and he’s asking people to read it and to write their own.  Bring somepassion back into your fiction.  (And, could someone, please tell me why I cannot seem to write the word manifesto without wanting to add an ‘r’ at the end?)

 

Introverts…  Extroverts…  Perverts (added because of the rant above)…  All these ‘verts’ out there!  So what kind of Vert are you?  If the stereotype is true, many writers are introverts.  I consider myself one, especially given this commonality with other introverts: while I love being around people, I get easily drained and happily enjoy staying on the periphery where I can watch, but not be directly involved  Do you think Introverts should be taught differently than Extroverts?  Would it encourage those things that define introversion and make socialization more difficult? (I often think ‘The Experts’ believe that; you wouldn’t believe the regime that we’ve been directed to use with our son because of his mild Aspergers.  Then, again, perhaps some of you would.  What do you think?  And should I start a whole post about this on A Garden of Delights about this topic so you can share you experiences?  I would love to hear them.)

 

Good world building comes not just from designing pieces of a society according to your desires, but through making these pieces into something other people can relate to.  While this doesn’t directly involve writing, a lot of world building involves giving accurate impressions of different social classes–a fascinating slide show on what a $1 a day really means in survival and food.

When Expectation and Truth clash the Heart is often the loser.  The pain in Ingrid’s voice here is so very clear, and so easy to relate to.  While we all know that real love and universal acceptance of each other’s foibles is difficult for everyone (if not impossible for some), we seldom consider how difficult and heartbreaking it can be to realize that the person we love is who they are because they will NOT give into our desires.

I found this post delightful, mostly because I write stories like this.  My characters are who they are, and they don’t want to compromise what has made them who they are…  at least not just because they have fallen in love with an ideal, not a person (yes, I assume one could say that all characters are cast as “ideals, not people”….

 

Making a blog into a real author’s platform doesn’t come naturally to the medium, and it’s probably something that many of us not have considered (I certainly hadn’t, but then I was in it for the social experience at the time).  But like most people who love to write and write stories, I do have aspirations of eventual publication and some small amount of money coming from my writing.  It’s a good idea to consider how that will best happen.  So using this page at Jane Friedman’s site, I hope to revamp both Many Worlds and A Garden of Delights.  I also am looking at some of Jane Friedman’s other pages on blogging and authoring, starting here with the (what else) Get Started Guide.

 

Has anyone else heard of Dirty Fighting in Writing?  Well, if not, head over to More Cowbell by Jenny Hansen and get yourself a piece of the action.  Now with MORE words!

 

And lastly, because, while I don’t write romances (as in no “happily every afters” guaranteed), I do write about characters who fall in love (and out of love) and about love that must be because of the Fickle Finger of Fate or something, I wanted to share this post from Alien Romances.  (I’m not sure about the author quoting an article about violence and video games that states professional organizations but links to no actual studies.).  What are your opinions on strong characters?  Does being unwilling to change one’s behavior in an emergency necessarily make one strong or simply stubborn?

Did I just say “And lastly“?  Oh, no, no, no…  I still have to give a…

Row80 check-in

Writing and Editing:

  • 500 words a day on my WiPs — behind somewhat, trying to finish other obligations
  • Typing 5 pages per week — 6 pages done already
  • Edit 2 full pages a day — behind today, made other days
  • prepare and post one full blog post per week on each of my blogs — on track

Social Media:

  • #teamsprinty and #ROW80 word sprints at least 3 times a week — did it!
  • check new blog posts1 (one) day a week–Thou shalt not live on the computer! — failed
  • stop Facebooking and other time killers after 1/2 hour once in morning; once at night — did “okay” (45 minutes), still needs improving
  • exception– to return direct messages (I’ll still have email and Tweets on in the background) — getting batter at this, am going to try to set up Tweetdeck again and see if that helps

Lifestyle:

  • Get out of the house and enjoy life!  — Didn’t really “get out of house”, but took some personal time to read and relax, be myself and catch up on things that make life easier.  Tomorrow is my son’s birthday, and several school events are coming up over the week…  Sunday’s check-in could be interesting
  • Keep dancing! — Been doing a happy dance at least once a day because of my wonderful family
  • Take pictures  — no pictures
  • Hug and savor my family…  especially my family. — of course I did this!  😉

There it is…  LOTS of stuff.  Hope you were happily entertained.