Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Book Reviews Ruin Books

I just want to start off by saying that I usually buy a book based on the back, rather than reading a review of the thing. I usually check out the reviews after I've read it to see what other people have to say about it. The book I'm currently reading is so awful that I had to check out reviews to see if it gets better, and I decided to compile this nice little list of where reviews totally lose me.

1. Compare the book to Tolkien
I freaking hate Tolkien. Sure, his books made some great movies, but they're awful to read. I would rather translate the Aneid from Latin than read a chapter of one of his books. His writing style is overly verbose, dull, and unnecessarily roundabout. If I read a review that says it's as good as Tolkien's books, then I'm likely going to hate it.

2. Compare the book to Stephen King
Again, a super famous writer that I don't particularly like. I've read only one of his books, which was Eyes of the Dragon. I read recently that a lot of people consider it one of his best; I found it sort of dull, and wouldn't rate it above fair. It certainly wasn't enough to make me go buy more of his books.

3. Have grammatical errors in the review
If the review has errors, that person clearly has no care about grammer, something I care about a lot. The same goes for the back of the book, really. I'm reading this book right now that has an error in the first sentence of the description on the back. The book text isn't any better; ten pages in, there are already at least five basic grammar errors. "If his sisters were there, she would know." Seriously?

4. Compare the books to others by the same author
"It's the best in the series!" "WAY better than the first two!" The Crystal Shard is probably the worst Drizzt book - and I still think it's a great book. The best Artemis Fowl book is leaps and bounds above the worst, but they're still all really good. If the whole series is terrible, being the best of the series just makes a story a little less terrible than the rest.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011


First a bobcat shows up in my yard, then we have earthquake, and now a hurricane. It certainly is an interesting summer. Hopefully the flooding won't be too bad. My city, Clarks Summit, has the worst drainage system ever, I think. The main street collects a few inches of water in a small thunderstorm. My basement is prone to flooding, as my house is at the bottom of a massive hill. We have a concrete wall a few feet away from the house that's old and cracked. The earthquake damaged it a little more. We've seen water pour out of the cracks before, so I hope the rain doesn't totally destroy it. It holds the hill away from my kitchen. I need a kitchen. We also have a row of pine trees at the top of my yard. They aren't exactly known for being sturdy in wet ground.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three Years

Three years ago today, I started dating my boyfriend. It was 7:29 in the morning and we had been talking on AIM all night long about the potential snags we might hit in a relationship. It feels like a lifetime ago. There was a period of almost a month where we broke up but stayed in contact, and we realized we were awful at staying apart. That was this past September, already almost a year ago. Time goes by so damn fast.

I can't say I'm happy we've hit three years. It's been a mess of a relationship, and I wonder often why we're together at all. I also know that he wouldn't leave if I asked him to. It's a weird cycle of pain and anger and happiness, and niether one of us has really tried all that hard to break it.

Daily Art - "Fragments of a Rising Sun"

I did this for an art book someone compiled to benefit Japan's earthquake victims.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquakes and Bobcats

So there was an earthquake in Virginia today, and we felt it up here in Northeastern PA. It was weird. My aunt was upstairs cleaning the bathroom at the time, and for a moment, I thought she was scrubbing the tub vigorously enough to shake the house. It lasted about 15-20 seconds, and that was it. I had no idea what it was. It damaged a cracked concrete wall in my yard. Between that and the bobcat we saw in my yard yesterday (which we rarely have in my area), it's been an interesting week so far.

Daily Art - "The 80's Asplode"

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Importance of Planning

So as much as I said in an earlier post that I'd be better off planning out stories before jumping right into them, I find that a lot of my short stories, which I usually write on a whim and in one sitting, work really well with absolutely no planning. I go into them with a really general idea of where I want the story to go, make up a character, and write from there, letting the setting, character, plot, and everything else develop as I work. It's almost a writing exercise; it shows you how creative you can be. If you need to thoroughly plan out a story to get it the way you want it, that's probably a good skill to have. If you can sit down and create a wonderful piece of work without even trying, you're probably really damn good.

Daily Art - "Nightshade"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Bottom

You always hear about people "hitting rock bottom," but what is the bottom, really? Is there ever really a point where nothing could possibly get any worse, and if there is, has anyone truly hit it?

I've suffered with health problems for almost three years now. They took away a year and a half of high school experiences, led to me losing countless friends, and have just generally made my life miserable. It's no fun having tons of free time if most of it is spent with a horrible headache, resting because your heart rate skyrockets past 200 and you see dark spots bursting in your vision. Weekly occurence for me. Seriously.

On top of all of that, there are the mental issues. Being bipolar helps absolutely nothing. I mean, maybe the manic parts help, but not enough to offset all the horrible depression. It's really damn hard going from a euphoric state of productivity and a feeling of invincibility to a state where you really wish you would just die and not have to deal with anyone anymore. It's hard on everyone involved, really, not just me.

Even at my lowest points, when I think I'm ready to just walk away and never look back, I can't say I've hit that proverbial rock bottom, and that scares me. I've watched things get worse. I've felt them get really, really bad, when they were already nearly unbearable. I've found myself wondering just how close to the verge of insanity I really am, wondering how much of so many things are real, or if I'm imagining things completely. It's hard feeling like you're about to totally lose it when you know there are still miles of dirt under you that can crumble away at any time.

Daily Art - "Seed Pods"

The Tale of a Crusty Old Lady

I was at the state park for lunch with my mom and boyfriend yesterday. There's a great concession stand that sells restaurant-quality food, and they have the best fries (fresh cut to order!) we've ever had. There was this little old lady there, and we learned she was waiting for her friend to get out of the pool so she could go home. She'd been waiting only half an hour, but to this lady, that seemed like enough time for her friend to swim, and she wanted to go. She was 82 or 83 (she couldn't remember) and suffered from dementia. She was a very nice sweet lady, but you could tell she was a little out of it.

She was telling us how if she went in the pool she'd "probably croak in there," but then she said that would be a good thing because she could go to Heaven and see her parents and the rest of her relatives. She told us how much she missed them and how ready she was to die and see them again. She also asked us if we were saved by Jesus, which, being a bunch of pagans we most certainly are not, but we humored her and said we were. The last thing any of us wanted was a Bible lesson. She was already throwing out verses in casual conversation, and our food wasn't even done being prepared yet. This lady sat with us whilw we ate and talked about a bunch of random little things.

She said she really wanted to work, but places don't need her. She doesn't want money; she just wants to help people out. Eventually her friend got out of the pool so she could go home, and that was that. The whole experience was sort of sad.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011


We live in a world where "contacting" someone is as simple and fast as sending a text, or writing on their personal wall, maybe even on their own website or blog. We can find people we haven't spoken to in years and see what they've been up to just by reading the info they put out for others to see. It seems like we'd want to stay in touch with anyone and everyone, since it's so easy, but that really isn't the case.

I've never met my father. He and my mom were never married, and their six year relationship ended when my mom was pregnant. I don't know the details, and really, I'm not sure that it matters a whole lot. There's this guy that contributed to my existance that's had no contact with me whatsoever, and no amount of details will condemn him or justify that.

I imagine a lot of people in my situation would do what I've done and look him up. I've found him on Facebook, found his son, and his wife, and even his step daughter, if I remember correctly (which I may not). All I have to do is hit that "send message" button, type up some quick thing, and wait for a response, if there would be one at all. Will I ever do it? Maybe, but not for a long, long time.

It's weird to think about, that someone that important is only a click away and I'm unwilling to reach out. I just don't think I'm ready for all the conversations that would come up, and maybe even worse, I'm not ready for the rejection or lack of a response that I may get. The whole thing is just sort of confusing.

Daily Art - Vyse Dyne

It's my boyfriend's birthday! He's 24 today, and as a gift, I drew him his favorite video game character, Vyse Dyne from Skies of Arcadia.

See it on DeviantART -

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Sometimes I just get these ideas into my head that I'll dwell on for days. Half the time they're really dumb silly things that don't make a lot of sense if you really look at them. Still, they're there just the same, giving me plenty of interesting distractions throughout the day and making me wonder about a lot of things that will likely never happen. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose; nothing ever goes the way I expect it to go, anyway. In general, I just put way too much thought into way too many things.

Daily Art - "Queen of Hearts"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Apparently my uncle is thinking of selling our house. This would mean that we would all be moving out, scattered around the area. I doubt it would happen until my boyfriend and I move out, but still, it's a really weird thing to think about. I always pictured myself inheriting this house, and to suddenly face the prospect that I'll never live here again is a little discomforting. It's not like it's a wonderful house or anything. It smells like mildew when it rains, the basement floods, we have bad wiring, the kitchen is tiny, and there's only one shower in a house with six bedrooms - but it's home. It's a nice enough home if you don't mind mildew. I don't have any reason to keep it and pick up the mortgage myself, either. It's too big for me and my boyfriend, so we'd have to have friends move in with us. It's not a bad prospect, I suppose, but we could just get our own apartment and have it to ourselves. I guess I just always expected this house to be there for me, and now, that's seeming really unlikely, and that's a little scary.

Daily Art - "Seafire"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Daily Art - "Arcane Fire"

My Top Ten Albums

I like owning music rather than downloading tons of stuff. My bedroom walls are covered in CD booklets and a few inserts from albums, including a signed Lacuna Coil picture. Point is, CDs are stuff, and God, do I love having stuff. Sometimes I buy a CD for a single song. Half of those were horrible purchases, and the others were the best things I could have bought. Here are my ten favorite albums.

A Night at the Opera by Blind Guardian
I bought this because I heard about 30 seconds of "The Soulforged" and decided I needed it. It actually had to grow on me a little, but there are no songs on it that I flat-out dislike. "Age of False Innocence" is my favorite. I used it for a Morrowind tribute video a few years back. That reminds me that I need to list off my favorite games at some point.

Megatropolis by Iron Savior
I heard their song "Cybernetic Queen" on Pandora one night, and it's one of my favorite songs. It makes my ears do happy dances.

Dark Light by HIM
This was my first HIM album. I bought it for "Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly," which is also one of my favorite songs. FYI, when I do my favorite songs list, it will make the least sense out of any list ever, and you're going to wonder why I like songs that are so hugely different. Anyway, I used that song in my last list, so here's a different song from that album.

Decemberunderground by AFI
I love this album. It's essentially all I've heard from AFI. I bought it for "Miss Murder," loved it for pretty much everything else.

Fallen by Evanescence
My first CD, more or less. The first I owned that I still listen to. It was an Easter gift, along with Avril Lavign's "Let Go," which I recently decided to totally remove from my playlist. Anyway, this CD is pretty fantastic, except for "My Immortal." I hate that song. The rest of it is stuff I still listen to every day, which is pretty impressive. A lot of my older music has been pushed off to the dusty sections of the hard drive.

Liberation Transmission by Lostprophets
I love every song on this album. Sure, it's not the most moving or imspiring music, but it's fantastic.

Elect the Dead by Serj Tankian
A song from this album is playing as I type this. I think it's great. It's got a whole bunch of songs that I really, really love.

The Heroine Diaries Soundtrack by Sixx AM
For some reason, this CD is important to me. I love all the music, and I guess it's just really inspiring to hear Nikki Sixx's story of overcoming a crippling addiction. His whole perspective on life is sort of fascinating.

One-X by Three Days Grace
If they ever release a Best Of album, it might as well be One-X with 2 songs switched out. Overall, it's a great album. I'm not super fond of "On My Own," and I never really liked "Never Too Late," but other than that, I could probably listen to it a hundred times without getting sick of it.

Century Child by Nightwish
My favorite band's best CD, as far as I'm concerned. I love it. I don't know what it is about it. There's just thiss nice feel to it. I even put it in my Morrowind system folder and listened to it in-game for a while. It's pretty cool running around Vardenfell listening to "Phantom of the Opera."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Daily Art - "Purple Horizons"

This is a terrible fractal. I made it while I had a 103 degree fever and was sort of delerious. It was supposed to be a contest entry, but I scrapped it. It had no chance.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Daily Art - "Solstice"

There's a weird story to this. I named it after Sosltice, one of my characters in Among the People Lost. Solstice is bipolar, and the main variation in this fractal is called bipolar. I colored it with red for summer and blue for winter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Laptop Fund Project #1

This may run for a while, probably at the same time as other projects later. I'm going to put a dollar toward a deck of playing cards and commission them.

For $1.50 (includes postage!), I will decorate any available cards you want in any style you want. I can put little paintings of dragons or lots of shiny gold vines - whatever you want (within my ability, of course XD). The price is $1.00 per card, and the $.50 goes towards postage, so if you buy multiple cards, you only have to pay that $.50 once. :)

Cards Available:





Black and White

Daily Art - "Snail Shells"

Monday, August 8, 2011

Laptop Fund

Ridiculous Project Time!

Alright, so here's the situation. My laptop has had a corrupted hard drive since December. It's about 2.5 years old now, and I was considering getting a new one anyway, so I decided that instead of paying the $80 for a new hard drive, I'd save up for a new laptop. Funds are even shorter than they should be, unfortunately. The one I want will cost me about $1100 if we round up. I have $80. -_-

So here's the plan! I'm going to make massive amounts of small crafts in batches and try to sell them to people. This laptop has been getting worse and worse, and I really can't afford to sit back and watch it eat my files. I'll update here after every batch of crafty things to show my progress. I also take art commissions, if anyone is interested. Pricing depends on a lot, so ask for a quote.

My current laptop will be going to Tim when I get a new one. When he gets money, he'll eventually be replacing its hard drive and probably paying me something for it, if not putting a chunk towards the new one. That depends on when he gets either more than 10 hours a month or a better job. XD

Current Laptop Fund:

Daily Art - "Fruit Salad"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Psycic Fair

So there was a psycic expo today in Scranton. I went with my mom, boyfriend, and one of our friends. It was smaller than I expected, and there really wasn't much that interested me. We did a healing circle type thing and heard a lady talk about how cell phones are poisoning our ears. Overall, not really as interesting as I had hoped, but still worth the trip. It was for charity, too, so our admission fee at least went towards helping out a horse farm in my area that had tons of horses killed in a fire a couple weeks ago.

Daily Art - "Turbulance"

I like this one a lot. The colors are taken directly from a picture of Lelouch, a gradient I actually use quite often. I really like that dark purple.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some Story Updates and Plans

Friendly warning, I've been up for over 26 hours and this may not make sense at times. Anyway, on to a few updates!

First, my book is $5.00 on Kindle if you haven't heard. You can read it on your smart phone or Windows 7 PC, too. Go grab it! Among the People Lost on Amazon

Second, I want to officially announce that I'll be writing a sequel called The City Dolent. When you get to the end of Among the People Lost, you'll know what the sequel will be about. :)

I will also be writing a prequel at some point that follows Blaze and Solstice in the years before Dante moves to Scranton. Unfortunately, I can't put it on DeviantART, as it goes against a policy or two, so it may go straight to Kindle. That's a long way off, though, I think.

I would also like to compile a whole bunch of tiny short stories that fill in the gaps in the story. Maybe you'll see them pop up every now and then on DeviantART, maybe not. This one is a really long way off, considering how many short stories I have to write, but it will happen at some point. The book will have extra stuff, too, like a complete calendar of events and lots of insight from me talking about why I did things a certain way and how I chose character names and such. I think it'll be really cool.

I may be running a contest on DeviantART for Among the People Lost. I'm going to run a poll when the whole thing is posted and see what my readers think. Even if I don't do a contest, there will be a giveaway on Twitter sometime soon, so stay tuned for that! My Twitter

So are you excited, or am I delusional thinking I have fans?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thoughts on Borders Closing

I like reading. It's something I would do more if I had more time, and I have piles of books lying around my room that haven't been opened yet, but there's still something really nice about walking into a book store and looking at all the potential stories I could wander into. I think it's really sad that Borders, the only book store remotely close to my house, isn't going to be there anymore to provide me with those stories.

There was a local book store called Tutor Books that was really close to my house. It closed a few years ago. They were expensive, and they didn't have a great selection, but it was still sort of sad to see them go out. Our mall was occupied by Walden Books probably ten years ago, but it did really poorly. Borders is really the only book store that did well in our area. I've grown sort of attached to it.

It's not like I didn't see it coming, though. As soon as e-readers and tablets and smart phones became easily accessible, I figured it was only a matter of time before books started becoming obsolete. I think the closing of Borders really hammered it in, though. Without one nearby, I either have to pay extra to buy books online or get them on my phone's Kindle app. I love having books sitting neatly on a shelf, so I guess that's more money I have to pay.

On the other hand, the digital book movement has made a lot of things easier. It's certainly more convenient. It also opens up avenues for new and first time authors to really get noticed. Even I took advantage of the super easy publishing on Kindle.

Easier isn't always better, and I'll certainly miss Borders. Will I eventually move to digital reading? Most likely. Either way, I'm taking advantage of the wonderful sales and stocking up on reading material while I can.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Top Ten Vocalists

Music has always been really important to me. It's influenced the vast majority of ny projects and endeavors. I've done a couple of little list things recently, and I think they're fun and informative, so here now is a list of my favorite vocalists. This may give you an idea of how ecclectic my music collection is, but probably not nearly as much as the list of favorite songs I plan on writing up soon.

10. Corey Taylor
If you don't know him from Slipknot, you might know him from Stone Sour. I like both bands, even though they're sorta dissimilar. Among other artists, he also did a song with Apocalyptica.

9. Mathias Blad
He's the lead singer of an under-appreciated Swedish band called Falconer.

8. Ian Watkins
He sings for Lostprophets. I loved their album Liberation Transmission, but haven't liked much else they've put out. Still, I like their vocalist.

7. Chester Bennington
Everyone knows Linkin Park.

6. Tarja Turunen
Former Nightwish frontwoman has a bunch of solo albums now, some of which are pretty decent. I think I prefer the stuff she did with Nightwish, though.

5. Brent Smith
He's the lead singer of Shinedown. As much as I like Shinedown, they have a lot of stuff I'm just never in the mood to listen to. It's sad.

4. James Michael
By far the most generic name on the list. He's the vocalist of Sixx AM.

3. Serj Tankian
He used to sing for System of a Down, and now he's doing the solo thing. I loved his first solo album.

2. Adam Gontier
I love Three Days Grace, largely because of his voice. If only Life Starts Now hadn't been such a dull album. He also did a song with Apocalyptica.

1. Ville Valo
He's the lead singer of HIM, and his voice and impressive range put him in my first place.

Honorable Mentions:
Adam Levine (Maroon 5)
Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom)
Billy Idol
Chad Kroeger (Nickelback)
Davey Havok (AFI)
Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian)
Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch)
M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold)
Marco Hietala (Nightwish)
Ozzy Osbourne