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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #21 through #25

Welcome to 1001 Reasons Not to Clean! The main goal of this series is to see if I can actually reach 1001 reasons, 5 reasons at a time (the final post, if I get there, will be 6 reasons). I'm sure I can. It's not just my crazy brain being unrealistic, right? Links to previous posts are below. And feel free to share your excuses, and they might get added to my list (with credit, of course)!

#1 through #5 ~ #6 through #10 ~ #11 through #15 ~ #16 through #20

21. Because it's summer, and not only is Preschooler home as usual, so is Eldest. Even if you convince them to play together most of the day, you find that the day has come and gone with nothing done aside from dealing with their antics. Who has time for cleaning?

22. Because it's summer, and that means you're trying to do tons of "fun stuff" with the kids. As in, outside-of-the-house fun (some that makes you wonder how it got so expensive). Even if you have a day in, you're so exhausted from all of the "fun stuff" that it's hard to think let alone clean.

23. Because it's summer, and you have no air conditioning, which makes it too damned hot to clean.

24. Because it's summer, and you'd rather enjoy the nice weather by going for a walk with your family (and maybe playing a little Pokemon Go).

25. Because summer is coming to an end, and Everquest is having a Double EXP (experience) Weekend for Labor Day. This is not only a great reason not to clean, but it also turns out to be a reason to delay your trip to the zoo until the following weekend.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Patreon - Chain Story

At the beginning of the year I started up a Patreon Page. I have to admit that right now this experiment is an utter failure. Part of it may be because I'm unwilling to beg my friends to pledge to "get the ball rolling" and show the world that I do indeed have some patrons. But I think the biggest part is that I don't have a big enough fan following yet for my writing. This is something that's going to take time, and far more publications under my belt (also clearly getting a hang of marketing for more visibility). With indie publishing, the Long Game feels like a bit of an understatement sometimes. ;)

This doesn't mean I'm completely giving up on Patreon, though. I was seriously looking forward to having some fun with it, to interact with my patrons and write super short stories or poems in response to offered prompts. Writing can be a lonely business, elbows deep in a novel especially, so mixing in a bit of a game for fun and interaction sounded appealing to me. After next month, though, I likely won't be actively posting to Patreon. At least not until I actually have a patron (or more books and a bigger following behind me to make a bigger push with the Patreon platform).

So, here's the game plan:

❦ Last month I posted the beginning of a Chain Story. This post is a public post. That means anyone can see it and respond to it with no need to be a patron (in other words - free). Only one person has added to it so far, and then I added another sentence as well. I'd love to see more people add to it. You don't even need to be a writer to add a sentence! Chain stories can wander down some pretty strange paths. So, I'll try to get more people involved with the Chain Story over the next month or so. Share it around - this is supposed to be for fun!

❦ In September, I'll post another story. This one will also be public. I recently got my kids some Story Cubes. I intend to use them to write the September story! As a bonus, if my eldest daughter writes something with the same roll, I'll post that as well (if she lets me).

❦ Some time in October, if I still have no patrons, I'll announce a hiatus on Patreon. Though I'll likely post public updates at least every other month.

❦ If any interest is finally shown in my Patreon Page or when I feel I might have more of a following that would be interested, I'll be happy to start creating more content for the page. I just can't keep creating content that no one is seeing at this time!

So, go on and add to the Chain Story. I look forward to see how it progresses!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Haunted Unicorn Publishing - Beta Reading and Developmental Editing

Back in February I started offering Ebook Formatting via Haunted Unicorn Publishing. Well, at the beginning of July I also added Beta Reading and Developmental Editing to my services. Aside from posting on Kboards and the Haunted Unicorn Facebook Page, it was a pretty quiet addition, so I figured it was about time to announce it officially on my blog!

I've always found it easier to see and focus on the bigger picture items when looking at a piece of fiction, instead of the nit-picky line editing and proofreading that many others are better at. So, offering Beta Reading and Developmental Editing make the most sense. And I'm happy to help other writers improve their stories, if they feel like they need another pair of eyes. With my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction and well over a decade of critiquing under my belt (and a need to make sure I'm thorough), anyone who decides to hire me will hopefully be pleased with the feedback.

Details? Of course! If you want the full run down, please visit the Beta Reading page and the Developmental Editing page. But I'll list some brief details here. =)

For both services I'll read any fiction genre except for erotica. The services don't include copy editing, line editing, proofreading, or fact checking. I also won't do rush requests.

Beta reading involves me reading once through a manuscript, adding reader reaction notes as I read and then summarizing my bigger points at the end. Though I'm happy to clarify any notes that confuse you, this service doesn't include a back and forth at the end to work through things.

Developmental editing includes at least two passes of a manuscript, internal notes added during both passes. Then at the end I'll write up a detailed analysis of a long list of story elements (they are listed on the Developmental Editing page). This service also includes a chat or back and forth in emails at the end discussing further and exploring the comments I made.

I'm also offering a free sample edit of the first 3,000 words of a manuscript! It's the best way to discover if my style of editing works well for people. Just fill out the Sample Edit Request Form if you're interested and currently have something you want looked at.

Any questions about my services can be directed to haunted@hauntedunicorn.com (if you contact me via my Alexa Grave form or email, I'll reply from one of the Haunted Unicorn emails).

My current prices are listed below -- watch the Haunted Unicorn Facebook Page for future discounts!

Read on! It's all about the story!

Current Beta Reading & Developmental Editing Prices for Haunted Unicorn Publishing

***Please check the Beta Reading and Developmental Editing pages of the Haunted Unicorn Publishing website to confirm that they haven't changed.***

❦ Beta Reading --- $0.001 per word (so a 90,000-word book would cost $90)

❦ Short Stories included in Beta Reading --- Minimum $10 charge even if under 10,000 words

❦ Developmental Editing --- $0.006 per word (so a 90,000-word book would cost $540)

❦ Short Stories included in Developmental Editing --- Minimum $30 charge even if under 5,000 words

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming - Lots of Laughs

WARNING: You know the drill. Spoilers ahead! Oh, man, the spoilers. Avert your eyes and run away if you don't want stuff ruined for you regarding Spider-Man: Homecoming. Please go see it, for a hearty laugh at the very least. And if you don't laugh at this movie, I have to wonder where you hid your sense of humor.

I know, I know, it's another reboot of Spider-Man. Many people are not fans of another reboot of this franchise. However, I think it's the best of the most recent movies. And I am thrilled it has been integrated into the MCU (quite well, I might add).

First, I have to admit that I didn't read the comics way back when. I didn't have enough disposable income for tons of comics and I was mainly fascinated with X-Men (which I also only nabbed a couple spinoffs of - Gambit and Rogue pretty much). So, my first big exposure to Spider-Man was the movies with Peter Parker in the role. Those movies were pretty serious. Which is why when I caught my kids watching some superhero show, I was shocked to see the Spider-Man in that joking, light, and acting like a kid. My husband promptly informed me that this cartoon version was closer to the comics. I thought it was great. (Not that I didn't enjoy the Perter Parker Spider-Man movies.)

The Andrew Garfield Spider-Man attempted to add more of the humor, but it still was pretty serious, in my opinion.

Spider-Man: Homecoming though hit that humor nail on the head. I loved it. I was constantly laughing. It was great to have this teen bumbling around and trying to be a superhero (plus we didn't have to grit our teeth through another origin story). When he took the "training wheels" off his suit, it was hilarious. It also gave us insight into his character -- he didn't want to kill anyone, and that sat right and made sense with who he is, at least in my mind. Even at the end, though he was trying to stop Vulture, he refused to let him die. He saved him. Awesome character development for Peter Parker.

The villain was wonderfully layered in this movie as well. Out of the destruction of New York (from The Avengers) a man who wants to provide for his family emerges and takes advantage of all of the alien tech that's left lying around. Of course, he turns into what he hates, though he doesn't see it himself.

Now, I usually see things coming, but I have to admit I had a hand-over-my-mouth moment when Peter opened the door to find that Liz's father was vulture. I know, I know, the last two movies have surprised me -- guess I'm losing my touch. ;) That whole awkward scene in Vulture's house was great, and I know some people might think it was too convenient, but I loved it.

While I enjoyed the movie for the most part, I wasn't a huge fan of Liz. At least this pretty girl was a smart, pretty girl... I guess. She didn't seem well rounded to me, honestly.

I did love Michelle, and wished we would have seen more of her. For the little she was in it, her character came completely alive for me, right down to the middle finger she gave Peter at the dance. And I of course loved the reveal at the end. "My friends call me MJ." OK, this isn't in line with the comics at all. The movie took liberties and clearly intends to change how things work and who MJ is. Purists cry foul over such things. But I think it's wonderful that they're willing to make characters their own and change them to improve upon old stories. I look forward to seeing more of this MJ in the next movie (and I'll be super disappointed if it doesn't happen).

So, those are my thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming. Did you find it as funny as I did? Have anything to rave about or quibble over? I'd love to hear your reaction to the movie!