Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic: Imbolc

Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic is a series that highlights aspects of religions, particularly Paganism. We pull things from everyday life to use in our fiction. Magic is one of the key attributes of fantasy. Why not explore the realm of magic that many people already have in their lives?


Picture By Culnacreann
February 1 (or 2, depending on what text you read or who you ask) is the sabbat of Imbolc--also spelled Imbolg, or called Candlemas. This is the holiday that celebrates the slow return to spring. The days are slowly getting longer now, as mentioned in the last post on Yule, and the Goddess will soon bring the light back to the world. As many people know, Groundhog Day lands on February 2 as well--both holidays represent the eagerness for spring to return!

A candle wheel is the biggest symbol of Imbolc, especially when worn on the head during ritual, a representation of the sun returning, of spring approaching. Another symbol is the Grain or Corn Dolly. This doll is woven from sheaves of grain. Sun Wheels or Brigid's Crosses made out of vines are also used. Red and white are associated with Imbolc. Perhaps a precursor to Valentine's Day? The goddess Brigid or the Triple Goddess aspect are usually the focus in any rituals on Imbolc, as can be seen by the many symbols.

Of course there is more information on Imbolc than I've listed here (I only offer a taste!). So, if you'd like to know more, you may wish to look at these websites: History of Imbolc, Imbolc Lore, and Imbolc (Candlemas) Sabbat.

Further Reading Suggestions:

K, Amber. Candlemas. St. Paul: Llwellyn Publications, 2001.

I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.

NEXT UP: Monthly Update

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sookie Vs. Sookie

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not read Dead Until Dark or watched the first season of True Blood there are spoilers in this essay.



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So, I recently re-read Dead Until Dark, since I wanted to read the next two books, and my memory is rusty (one of the good things about having a bad memory is sometimes if I haven't read a book for years, I actually forget big things, like who the killer is in Dead Until Dark - it's like reading a novel for the first time again!). But I also wanted to read it because I just started watching True Blood. Again, I point out my crappy memory. When watching True Blood, I struggled to remember how it compared to the book, and it was driving me batty - the weirdest things drive me batty. And there are always differences from book to screen, so it's no surprise that this is the case in this instance. Some things are more drastically different than others, but the thing that made me think the most were the differences between Sookie Stackhouse in Dead Until Dark and True Blood.

Now, I usually prefer the book over the TV/movie version of things, and that's true here. I'm actually kind of astounded how different Sookie's character seems to me, though, even if many of the lines in the show are taken straight from the book. I like it when there are differences if there is at least character consistency between the book and the show. However, I feel Sookie is nearly two different people, similar lines or no.

Keep in mind, I still have the final two episodes of Season 1 of True Blood to watch. I'm also halfway through reading Living Dead in Dallas. And if anyone disagrees with what I say here, feel free to speak up and tell me what you think.

I like Sookie in the books more than I like Sookie in the show. Here's the simplified reason why: Book Sookie seems like she has a better head on her shoulders, and Show Sookie doesn't seem to think things through. Now, I know one of the reasons it might seem this way is because you can't really get into Show Sookie's head. The book is in first person, and we are always in Book Sookie's thoughts. Still, I think the differences leave a pretty wide gap.

Examples? Of course I have examples! My first is Sookie's show of professionalism. Book Sookie acts the perfect waitress in the first book. Even when Bill is there and she is waiting on his table, she doesn't plunk herself down and dreamily stare into his eyes and chat about personal business. She asks him to speak with her when she gets off work, so she can ask him for the favor for her Gran. Show Sookie on the other hand walks into work, the second time Bill was ever in the bar, and gets this weird look on her face, walks to him like no one else around her exists, plunks down and talks with him - yup, here comes the dreamily staring into his eyes. It's like she has no thought in her brain but, "He's a vampire, and he's so hot!" Book Sookie at least clearly battles and debates her feelings over Bill - both Sookies are naive, but Book Sookie doesn't just fall head over heels without considering the implications.

One more example, and this is the biggie for me. When Sookie first has sex with Bill - in both instances, this happens after her Gran's funeral (although in the book, it's a few days later), but the differences in how it happens shows the differences between the Sookies. Show Sookie is driven much more by lust and hormones than Book Sookie is. Book Sookie wants to be alone after the funeral. She showers and gets into a Tweety Bird nightgown, not intending to head to Bill, to sleep with him. But he shows up at her place, combs her hair out for her, and one thing leads to another. It's a more natural progression, in my opinion, and she isn't frenzied with things like, "Oh, I must sleep with Bill to help me forget my Gran's horrible death!" And that thought is exactly how I feel about Show Sookie. She gets home from her Gran's funeral, eats Gran's last pie, and then changes into a frilly nightgown to run across the cemetery and into Bill's arm. First, the nightgown differences are a big thing that demonstrates what type of character Sookie is in both the book and show. Second, in one instance the sex isn't planned, and the other it's fully intentional. I have more respect for Book Sookie because unlike Show Sookie, she doesn't want to drown her loss in sex.

Do you see the differences between Book Sookie and Show Sookie? Are there any other examples that support my claim? If you disagree with me, why do you think they are more similar than I believe? And what other differences between Dead Until Dark and True Blood do you see that you either like or that bug you?

It's always interesting to compare differences. For me, I like the book better, but I know that can be completely different for others. I just hope as I continue watching True Blood, Show Sookie gains a little more sense!

NEXT UP: Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic - Imbolc

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Crazy Necro Antics, Second Edition - Winter!

The necromancer is a playable character class in Everquest, also called necro for short. Necros have an ability called feign death--some nicknames for this ability are FD and flopping. This series will highlight some funny instances of feign death. You do not need to be an Everquest player or even a gamer to laugh at these antics. Happy giggles!

Last time Morrigann showed us how fun summer can be for a necromancer. Well, winter is even more of a blast! It's not wise to go for a swim in winter, especially when the river is covered with ice! Oh no, poor Morrigann looks like she didn't make it out, and she was so close. Is she still alive? Will someone rescue her?

Phew. It looks like she made it out. Perhaps her pet dragged her to safety--they may look like bones or shades, but those necro pets are strong! Wait, is she moving at all? She better get inside where it's warm, or she's going to become a necrosicle. Poor thing.

Looks like she finally did make it inside, but she's in an ice cavern! That's no help. The indigenous spiders saw her as a hostile creature. Eek! Better flop before she gets eaten. But be careful, those ledges are slippery. She may just fall off, and those darn spiders don't want to leave her alone.

Back outside. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! What a perfect time to make a snow angel...face first.... Necros are weird ones! Oh look, there's a mammoth in the distance.

Go, go undead polar bear army! Kill the beast! Because, um, Morrigann's health is dropping. Er, come on polar bears, you're supposed to kill the thing. Ack, Morrigann is going to have to flop if she wants to survive this one.

And so she flopped. Wait, you don't see her? Take a look at the left side of the picture. Yes, near the mammoth's backside. See her there? Squished under the gigantic mammoth foot! A big strong wizard had to come rescue Morrigann, but she survived.

And Morrigann finally made it into the warm guild hall. But after all the snowy antics, she drank a bit too much eggnog and flopped into the Frostfell tree! I think this necro has had enough of winter. =)

If you have any suggestions and silly antics you'd like to see, please post in the comments! It's possible your chosen antic(s) may be used in an upcoming post. All requests will be attributed in the post with a link back to the requester's blog (so include your blog link as well if I don't know it).

NEXT UP: Sookie Vs. Sookie - comparison of the characters in Dead Until Dark and True Blood.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 Will Be THE Year! Right?

The year for what? I don't know. Use your imagination! Anything could happen in 2013. Absolutely ANYTHING. We're only two days in, so possibilities abound!

Maybe it will be the year where I never miss a planned blog post. *laughs* Or the year that I reach my writing goals each month. *laughs harder* Could even be the year I complete more than my slated goals. *laughs my ass off*

Sorry about that. Perhaps that's a sign I want it to be a year where I don't guilt trip myself and can laugh off my shortcomings. No more dwelling on the past or missed opportunities. Onward into 2013!

Even though the last couple months of 2012 weren't that productive, I have to keep reminding myself I did accomplish a lot. I mean, I did earn my M.F.A.! However, I'm sorry to admit I have no submissions stats to report this year. Not because I didn't submit (I did, I did!), but because I lost track of tallies due to being busy with school. Maybe next year I'll have stats, but it looks like I'll have to draw up my own spreadsheet for manuscript tracking--my old program will soon be unusable once I upgrade my computer, and I have not found a suitable replacement. From scratch it is!

I am rather optimistic about 2013, which is a good thing. Let's just hope I can hold onto that optimism.

Oh, you want me to stop yammering about the year ahead and just spit out the goals list? Sure, OK, whatever. ;)

Writing Goals of 2013:

- 20 hours of writing-related work each week, except for certain occasions (like holidays, and let's see, vacation time - everyone, even writers, need vacation time)
- Complete the first revision of Dead As Dreams by June 30
- Complete the second revision/edits of Dead As Dreams by October 31
- Start sending out queries for Dead As Dreams by November 15
- Participate in one Camp NaNoWriMo
- Maybe even give November NaNoWriMo another go
- Short stories--work on lots, submit lots, indie publish a bunch (Perhaps it's THE year of the Short Story!)
- Fiddle with some Elements of Anian world-building
- Blog consistently =D
- Read 50 novels (The one goal that might be over-reaching it?)

I have a few other odds and ends on my list, but the rest is boring (things like catching up with writing forums and groups and fiddling more with social media, yadda yadda yadda). Oh, and I may join Critters again--the perfect place for short story critiques. Can you tell I'm not trying to overdo it this year? I have one novel on my plate, and if I get some work on other novels completed, that'll be gravy.

This list is doable. Yup. I can do this. You don't think I can? You don't want to be optimistic along with me? No dragging me down! Ready or not, here I come!

No, I don't promise to beat down my off-the-wall mood. I like it. I'm having fun, and I hope you're having fun reading my crazy scribblings.

Anyway, I can't forget to mention Writing Quest - January! Come join us if you have any writing goals of your own that you plan to start the year off with.

And I bet I'm not the only one with goals or resolutions for the New Year. I'd love to hear some of your goals too! Writing related or not. It's always fun to share with others--it solidifies those goals more, makes them more real. Feel free to post in the comments! ;)

Happy New Year, and Happy Writing!

NEXT UP: Crazy Necro Antics--Second Edition - Necrosicle?