Saturday, December 24, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is Electricity

It's Christmas Eve today, and I'm now living in a hotel. Don't worry, it is temporary. Unfortunate, but temporary. How did I end up in this situation? The little substation that powers our grid flooded with water and blew, so now 60 houses have no power for the holidays. Yes, 60 houses filled with young families, many of them with children. I am grateful that I do not have to pay for this room that I type this from now, or that the rest of the families living here do not either, but my, what a shitty first Christmas.

It all started when my husband's pay was screwed up. Money was tight and I started to look for a job. I couldn't even afford decorations for the holidays. Then he didn't get the time off to see our families for Christmas because someone didn't send him, and the rest of dayshift, the email they needed. Things started to look up when I got my job at the bowling alley. After New Years things wouldn't be so tight financially because I was now helping out, but then yesterday morning there was no electricity. My husband's alarm didn't go off, and he ended up late to work along with the rest of the guys who live down the street from us. With no power, there was no heat. We spent the night huddled under piles of blankets trying to sleep. It was warmer outside than it was in our house.

This morning my husband called me from work to tell me that the inn on base was handing out free rooms, and here I am after wonderful help from a couple young ladies at the counter. At first I thought I was screwed, there was no room for us, but then they worked to find a place for me and my sweetie. I really couldn't appreciate them more.

The bad news is that they don't know when the power will be fixed. Rumor says it may only be a couple days to a week. Poor kids. I wish I could do something to make Christmas better for them and their families. At least they have a warm roof over their heads for the holidays.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What I Have Discovered About Writing Fantasy

This week, I am not going to bitch about how poor I am. Instead, I am going to talk about my nerdy little passion: writing fantasy.

I don't just write, as I have said many, many times. No, I write fantasy. I'm the person who dreams of places with weird names and weird species, and puts them down on paper. I watch as Microsoft Word freaks out with its little red and green squiggly lines as I try to type in words that its software brain cannot comprehend. (I have since become pro at ignoring the little buggers unless it is a true spelling crisis.)

Despite the frustration of trying to get my computer to respond to what I want, the truth is that I do not follow "typical" fantasy conventions as I have found out so frequently when my work on Book Country is reviewed. I have discovered that my work can be awfully polarizing, with people loving the wit and character interaction, and others spitting upon it for its lack of Tolkienesque details. When I set out to work on my book seriously sometime during my freshman year in college, I realized I wanted to write something that people would be able to read and connect to without being bogged down in unnecessary detail and background information like I had come across in fantasy so frequently.

To clarify, I do engage in world building to give people a setting, a place to escape to. The characters that are created must exist and interact in this world. You can't just throw in characters and not tell the audience what the laws, rule, or customs are. (Actually, don't tell. Show. But thats for an entirely different blog entry.) My point is that I don't like to overdo it. The people who don't like my work prefer whole paragraphs where I describe in minute detail what the street the character is standing on looks like, or the mountain top, or etc.

Too bad. If it isn't relevant, I don't put it in. I'm not going to describe the bar across the street unless my character goes into the bar at some point. For readers who want that kind of detail, read George RR Martin. The fact that I don't bog the reader down in unnecessary details is one thing those that like my work praise me on. I don't "let the genre rule me," as my creative writing professor told me once.

If there is one thing that I've learned from writing, period, is that people want action to happen with characters they can connect with. That is what I'm trying to achieve. I've come to the conclusion that if people can get that, then they might give it a try. With my work, I attract people who read just about anything from any genre, than those who read pretty much anything and everything fantasy. Those into "High Fantasy" really, really don't like my stuff. (I have yet to discover if this is a good or bad thing.)

For now I just keep chugging along in the hope that my audience will pop up and show itself. I've had from the "This is awesome!" to "Uh, no..." to those who missed every single important detail ever written down. For those of you who want to give my book a shot, here is the link: Hands of Ash.

I'll keep writing fantasy until my hands fall off. So all the naysayers can suck it, because I love being a such a geek.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Not So Very Merry Christmas

It has been a while since I've talked about anything but my writing. I feel that now is the perfect moment to introduce why I soon may not be working on said writing as much.

My husband and I are officially very, very poor. We have no savings, and all our money goes to bills and feeding ourselves. The reason why this has happened is a mystery to us. We have talked to the people that are in charge of the money that my husband makes, and they tell us that the government is making us pay them back money because they fixed how much he is supposed to make. It is a confusing and frustrating situation to be in when we have cut our spending significantly, but still it isn't enough. So now I am looking for a job. I actually might have to work two since all I've found is part time work. I hope I get the bowling alley job that I was interviewed for last Friday.

In other depressing news. I will not be seeing my family till December 28. No Christmas for me. Not even here. We can't afford to even make our own decorations.

Hope is hard to come by these days.