Monday, June 20, 2016

Pick Up A Bad Habit

Since I started this blog, I've been trying to figure out something that I could do that hasn't been done a thousand times before. All the advice I know has been given by far better bloggers than I and far better than I'm capable of. The Moments of the Week slowed to a boring crawl. I don't want to be the jerk who just talks about me.

But you know what I've realized? I am really good at making lists. And between writing and years of playing tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, I've come to enjoy making characters and helping others make them. So why not continue making lists like the hobbies one to help other people with their character creation? Most likely, this won't be a long-running thing, as there are only so many lists needed for character and world building, but I guarantee, you'll be able to find it here.

Today, we're looking at bad habits. No character is perfect. Everyone's got these little quirks that they know they should work on fixing. Pick one or two (or more!) for your characters to make them more well-rounded and maybe give them something to improve about themselves.

Bad Habits
Biting pens/pencils
Blaming others
Bottling emotions
Buying things and not using them
Cheek or Lip biting/tearing
Chewing tobacco
Coveting others' things
Cracking knuckles/joints
Cutting corners/skimping
Drinking / Getting drunk
Eating junk food
Eating late
Eating out daily
Eating with mouth open
Grinding teeth
Hair chewing/sucking
Hangnail pulling
Hard drugs
Holding grudges
Impulse purchasing
Inability to sit still
Internet overuse
Judging others
Leaving dirty clothes/dishes out
Losing temper
Losing things
Making puns
Nail biting/picking
No self-control
Not backing up data
Not bathing
Not brushing teeth
Not caring for health when sick
Not involving others in decisions that affect them
Not knowing limits
Not listening/ignoring others
Not responding to messages
Not trying new things
Picking at skin/scabs
Picking nose
Playing with hair
Pornography addiction
Sitting still for long periods
Snooze button overuse
Speaking in 3rd person
Starting projects without finishing
Staying up late
Stress/emotional eating
Sucking thumbs
Tapping fingers/feet
Too much TV
Tugging ears
Unprotected sex
Using cell phone/tablet in social situations
Using other people's stuff
Verbal tics ("like")

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Sunshine Thingy!

Anna Humphrey is an evil, evil woman. She continues to like me enough to tag me for blog challenges and awards. This time, she's hit me up for the Sunshine Thingy, a silly ten-question interview where the questions are all made up by the previous poster. Our friend Elaine at Tears of Ink has already finished hers (and sniped my usual JR tag!), so I suppose I should stop procrastinating and get on this.

  1. You are stranded on a desert island. You are allowed one book, one CD, and one movie. What do you take?
    One? Starting with such a cruel question. My "evil, evil woman" analysis holds up. My first book choice would be Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, but the nostalgia and inability to act on it would be unbearable. So I'd probably pick Jingo by Terry Pratchett.
    CD: the Greatest Hits album of Huey Lewis and the News.
    Movie: The Avengers.

  2. Favourite season? Why?
    Right now. That late spring/early summer where the sun and wind are warm, there's no need for the jackets to come back out for months, and fireflies are lighting up the night, making dancing stars on Earth.

  3. Coffee fanatic or tea fiend? With milk/cream and sugar or without?
    Tea. Sweet tea, southern style, cold and sugary.

  4. What one place would you visit with that magical plane ticket? Why?
    Assuming by magical we mean "anywhere at all" then by golly I'm on my way to Ankh-Morpork and don't even try to stop me. I'm going straight Two-Flower here.

    If we were meant to pick a real world location, then probably the Galapagos Islands. I've always wanted to go there, mingle with the wildlife.

  5. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Harry Potter? ::evil laugh::
    Potter. While I love them all, Star Wars and Harry Potter were my childhoods. I was a late-comers to Lord of the Rings. Then Star Wars failed me on the prequels. So Potter takes the metaphorical gold.

  6. Black Widow or Catwoman? Explain.
    Black Widow 4 lyfe. Marvel 4 lyfe.

  7. Milk chocolate or sinfully dark?
    Dark. Not long ago I would have said milk, but I've learned to love dark recently.

  8. Smaug: justified in defending his hoard against thieving dwarves or homicidal maniac?
    Wasn't his horde in the first place, now was it? He, in fact, was the original thief.

  9. Dragons or krakens?
    Oh man, this is a legitimately tough question. I love them both. Krakens are awesome, rarer and have the best catchphrase, plus I just love the mystery of the oceans, but man, dragons are DRAGONS. Uuuuugh krakens. I pick krakens. Krakens aren't gonna take my shiny stuff.

  10. You find a gold ring buried in your backyard. What do you do?
    Hey y'all, a genuine Noprize for anyone who guesses what Anna's favorite series is.

    Legit answer: have my neighbors contact the former homeowner and arrange to return it. His mother was the only person to own our house, so it would be highly likely that the ring was hers.

    Honest answer: I've always wanted to take a trip to Hawaii to climb a volcano.
 So there's a little bit more you probably never wanted to know about me. Congratulations! Now,
Christy Nicholas, A. G. Carpenter, JJ Litke, and anyone else who wishes to take this challenge (just leave a comment and I'll add you to this link list), here are your questions!

1. Hot dog or hamburger? (Veggie options are allowed for vegetarian or vegan followers.)
2. Time travel has been invented! When are you going?
3. What is your favorite kind of weather, and why?
4. In a race between the Flash, Quicksilver, Superman, and a tortoise, who's your money on?
5. What was the first story you ever wrote?
6. You have to go explore either deep space or the deep sea. Which do you pick?
7. What's your favorite musical?
8. Marvel or DC?
9. Following that, who's your favorite supervillain?
10. You get to have a dinner with five people of your choice, living or dead, but you have to cook. Who do you invite and what do you make?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Guest Post: Stacey E Bryan on Being That Weird Chick

It's been a while since we had my friend Abner as a guest post, hasn't it? Yeah, almost two years. I think it's about time for another. A few days ago, my friend Stacey released DAY FOR NIGHT, and she asked if I'd be willing to host her on her blog tour. Me, hosting a tour about an urban paranormal comedy? *looks at own urban paranormal comedy in progress* Absurd, right? Yeah, nuts. So let's get this absurdity out of the way and say hi to Stacey E Bryan!


My thanks to Maggie for hosting me on her blog today for my first virtual book tour ever!

I want to say this journey has been fun and exciting, the process of publishing my first novel, an urban paranormal comedy, but I’m not sure those are the most accurate words I could use. Confusing is a better one. Stressful is definitely up there. Scary can be shoved in there between those two. My experience, ironically, could almost be called paranormal. Why? Well, maybe it has something to do with being weird like Maggie. Maggie describes herself as “that weird chick” and that’s how I’d probably describe myself. I’m not sure what ingredients go into Maggie’s makeup to make her weird, exactly, but mine include a wariness of technology bordering on paranoia; something that is not helpful to me in today’s world. Especially after writing a book and getting it published online.

I’m that weird chick too, though. I preferred being alone. I had a black cat called Mr. Smith who followed me everywhere like a dog. I wasn’t interested in going to the prom. And, yes, I did have a date! I learned to drive when I was 18. Grudgingly. Why? you ask. Sometimes I even ask myself why? It probably had something to do with being adopted and being mixed race. Ultimately, I found solace in reading (who doesn’t?) and later in writing. Books actually explained a lot of things. They made me think. They helped me stop thinking. And then the catharsis of writing started. And that was even better sometimes.

My main protagonist, Rae, survives a terrifying event in her late teens that shapes the rest of her life, sending her into a kind of directionless floating that leaves her with slowly escalating regret. And although Rae and I may share some regrets, all of the dramatic stuff that never happened to me happens to Rae, including discovering that other beings inhabit reality: aliens and vampires. And she begins to suspect there are others, to boot.

She handles each escalating situation the way I probably would handle it if I was in her shoes. In other words, badly. Lots of drinking and denial. I made Rae mixed race so that I could touch on those issues a little bit. But humorously, since the novel is a comedy. I felt like race and age couldn’t be ignored, though, especially since the setting is Los Angeles, a place where people “seem” to get along and more or less “like” each other, but a choppy sea of misunderstanding, discontent, and, ultimately, bigotry is constantly churning right beneath that David Lynchonian surface.

I think it’s sort of amazing that I made it this far. I mean, if I do say so myself. For someone who owned a flip phone just a year and a half ago, I think I’ve made strides and come far, dragging Rae and her aliens and vampires kicking and screaming behind me. So my advice to other authors, to those who dabble, to those who do more than dabble: stick with it! I know it’s sort of clichéd, but stick with it. And there’s so much help online. For those like me, starting from less than scratch in social media, there’s lots of instruction available. I’m sure one day soon I’ll be able to give advice of my own. It’ll feel good to give back.

Ultimately, for weird chicks like me, weird chicks like Maggie, un-weird chicks and guys and everyone in between, if you’re a writer, the “stick with it” advice probably counts more for querying once you’re done, online marketing, the endless blogging and promotion. But probably a writer doesn’t need to be told to “stick with it” to keep writing. After all, I don’t know about you, but even when I wasn’t writing, for many years, all I thought about, night and day, was writing. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s what I do. And what I long to do. And what I hope to do. And what I love to do. And sharing the love is just the best, the most supreme, the absolute cherry on top.

Here’s an excerpt from Day for Night:

The world came to an end on a balmy Tuesday evening while I was doing laundry in my Glendale apartment building. Not on a Monday so I could start off the week fresh with the apocalypse, knowing just where I stood. Or a Friday so I could say, “Thank God, it’s the weekend. I need to de-stress from the End of Days.” It was a Tuesday. Four weeks to the day that I had been voted off one of the most popular reality shows running: Muscle Beach Midlife: Sand in your Face. I guess it didn’t matter that Muscle Midlife had no voting. Details, schmetails. They did it anyway, and it made for good TV. If ratings were sharks, I was the bloody, mashed-up chum.

I was multitasking. For me, this involved doing laundry while I mused about regret. What better time to muse on the nature of regret than when the world was about to end? Of course, I had no idea such was the case as I made my way deeper into Single White Female territory—my building’s dank basement—gripping my basket tight and my rage tighter. I shouldn’t even be here.

Forced out of escrow on my dream condo in Hermosa Beach, bad timing left me scrambling, and I’d ended up here, surrounded by elderly Armenian gentlemen who seemed to disapprove of women wearing pants. Parents? They lived out of state. Sister Margarite? Not an option in this life or the next. You found out fast who your real friends were when you got kicked off a TV show. When anything went wrong in this town, Los Angeles, especially if even remotely connected to The Biz, you’d blink twice and find yourself in the middle of a boiling, empty desert with nothing but the cacti and a lizard doing pushups on a rock. Two handfuls of “friends” condensed overnight down to just Hama and Rex.

So, back to regret, back to the end of the world. An overall discontent, kick-started by Sand in your Face, had bogarted its way past the borders, routed the castle walls. The castle being the state of denial I lived in, discontent being reality.

It was funny that I was thinking of reality as I neared the laundry room, basket on my hip, because I was expecting a certain series of circumstances ahead of me. I was expecting the machines to all be occupied, except for one, which wouldn’t be enough to accommodate my load. I was expecting the light bulb to be stuttering in its usual migraine-inducing pattern. Even before I arrived, I could hear them all busily humming. All the machines, all being used. The one poster on the wall would be there, Truffaut’s Day for Night, dusty, the plastic cover cracked in one corner. I even expected my right shoulder to jackknife with pain when I hitched the basket up on my hip. It was injured almost a year ago after a failed Pap smear attempt.

What I wasn’t expecting was to turn the corner and find my thirty-something neighbor Annie, eyes open, silent, encased by a cone of light and suspended in midair just inside the doorway. Nope. Wasn’t expecting that at all. Floating beside her was the small, big-headed creature I’d seen a million times on TV and in the movies, so hilariously clichéd that I laughed out loud. There were some young filmmakers in the building. It must be an experiment, a joke. But then the creature turned, and it just wasn’t funny anymore.

Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She has worked on a dude ranch, coached gymnastics, and captions for the hearing impaired. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer.


When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Get a Hobby!

Character development is HARD, especially when it comes to making up what they enjoy doing. The easiest route is to just make them like what you like, but the more characters you have, the harder it gets. I've been racking my brain the past few days trying to figure out what one of my MCs does for fun, and she's not telling. So, for a brute force method, I compiled a list of as many hobbies as I could possibly think of. This list is ever-growing as more hobbies turn up. Yes, I know the image says 101. That's how many there were when I made it, and 101+ doesn't look nearly as nice. In any event, I'm not going to let the fruits of my brain-labor go to waste, meaning you all get to reap the benefits! Below are all the hobbies, neatly categorized into type of hobby. And if you think of something that's not on the list, please leave it in the comments!

Topic Hobby
Career Archaeology
Career Architecture
Career Babysitting
Career Car Repair
Career Chemistry
Career Computer Programming
Career Interior Design
Career Party Planning
Career Robotics
Career Video Game Development
Creative Animation
Creative Building Dollhouses / Making Accessories
Creative Building Furniture
Creative Clothesmaking
Creative Computer Art / Graphic Design
Creative Cosplay
Creative Crafting
Creative Crochet
Creative Dioramas
Creative Doodling
Creative Drawing / Cartooning
Creative Jewelrymaking
Creative Journaling / Blogging
Creative Knitting
Creative Metalworking
Creative Painting
Creative Perler Beads
Creative Photography
Creative Playing Music
Creative Pottery
Creative Scrapbooking
Creative Sculpture
Creative Sewing / Quilting
Creative Theater / Acting / Improv
Creative Woodburning
Creative Woodcarving
Creative Writing
Creative Writing Music
Food Baking
Food Cake Decorating
Food Candy Making
Food Canning / Preserving
Food Cooking
Food Drinking
Food Eating
Food Mixology
Food Mushroom Hunting
Leisure Board Games
Leisure Building Models
Leisure Card Games
Leisure Chess
Leisure Collecting (Any)
Leisure Dancing
Leisure Dollhouses
Leisure Driving
Leisure Fandom
Leisure Fantasy Football
Leisure Gambling
Leisure Guns / Shooting
Leisure Hacky-sack
Leisure Listening to Music
Leisure Playing Pool
Leisure Reading
Leisure Shopping
Leisure Singing
Leisure Sleeping
Leisure Surfing the Internet
Leisure Tabletop Games (D&D, Warhammer)
Leisure Video Games
Leisure Watching TV
Nature Birdwatching
Nature Camping
Nature Exploring
Nature Fishing
Nature Flower Arranging
Nature Gardening
Nature Geocaching
Nature Hiking / Backpacking
Nature Insect Collecting
Nature Stargazing
Other Base-jumping
Other Cleaning
Other Community Service
Other Genealogy
Other Group Activity (4-H, Scouts, etc)
Other Hacking
Other Kleptomania / Theft
Other Studying / Learning
Sports Archery
Sports Baseball / Softball
Sports Basketball
Sports Bowling
Sports Canoeing / Kayaking
Sports Car Racing
Sports Cheerleading
Sports Cross-country / Track & Field
Sports Dodgeball
Sports Exercise / Crossfit
Sports Frisbee / Ultimate Frisbee / Frisbee Golf
Sports Golf
Sports Horseback Riding
Sports Hunting
Sports Jogging
Sports Kickball
Sports Lacrosse
Sports Obstacle Courses/Tough Mudders
Sports Paintball
Sports Parkour
Sports Rock Climbing
Sports Running / Marathons
Sports Skating (Board or Roller)
Sports Skiing
Sports Snowboarding
Sports Soccer
Sports Surfing
Sports Swimming
Sports Tennis
Sports Volleyball
Sports Yoga