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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

I would just like to remind everyone that there is still time to enter to win one of three copies of Zeus, Inc. And it’s so simple! All you have to do is sign up for the mailing list. I’ll pick three lucky winners on July 25th. Final edits are made and the book is ready in a variety of formats. I’m really looking forward to getting it out there.

In new book news, I’ve been working steadily on the first book in The Book of Revelations series. I know, I know, I previously called it a trilogy, but I think maybe I need to just see how long this is going to end up being. I have so much detail running around in my head. But tentatively speaking, the first book will be titled The Book of Revelations: Prophecy.

I have been enjoying diving into this new futuristic world, which is definitely more science fiction than that of Zeus, Inc., which only takes place in the near future. Researching scientific concepts and theories and trying to think of applications for them is mind-grueling work, but I find that I quite like it. I suppose I really am a science nerd. I have taken some inspiration from a few Ridley Scott films, but only enough to jump-start what I want to write about.

So what’s it about? It’s about a war between humans and synthetic beings that takes place about 300 years from now. The first book will be about how the war began and will lead up to the story of a young girl named Raissa Ward, who may very well be a savior of sorts. There will be themes of faith and hope and love and family. It will also deal with loss and death and the high cost of war. I’m hoping there will be flying cars, but there are definitely robots.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll notice I talk about it  a lot. I’m very excited about this novel and the possibilities it entails. Science fiction is so imaginative and now that I’m writing in third person, I feel it really opens me up more to the story and the characters. Today’s writing session introduces us to the 96th president of the United States, Albert Lee. He’s a swaggering almost Wild West sort of character with a great intellect and a lot of balls. And I wrote a speech that he gives to the media, a momentous speech that sets up the beginnings of the war. It’s just a rough draft, what I wrote, but I’m very proud of it.

On most days, when I set out to write, my first thought is “I don’t think I can do this.” Every time, that’s what I’m thinking. But I force myself to sit down and just start typing. In that way, I always end up surprising myself. Yes, I do have days where writer’s block kicks me in the butt (yesterday, for example), but I never let that convince me to just stop. I officially have the writing bug now, and I don’t think I could stop, even if I wanted to.

Anyway, that’s my latest update and where I’m wanting to go with this whole writing thing. I hope you all enjoy Zeus, Inc. and I look forward to hearing feedback once it’s released. August 1st can’t get here fast enough!

from_ashes: (Default)

Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

Hey everyone! I just wanted to wish you all a Happy 4th of July (at least for you Americans) and tell you about my upcoming book giveaway. I’ll be giving away three copies of Zeus, Inc. to anyone who signs up for the mailing list before July 25th. That’s a whole week before the book is released! It will be available in the following formats: mobi (Kindle), Epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), PDF, RTF and LRF (older Sony readers).

And all you have to do is sign up for my mailing list (see mailing list sign-up on the right of my website). Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email with a link to click to verify your subscription. Once verified, you’re entered to win!

Also, please be sure to like my author page on Facebook, as well as add the book on Good Reads(and follow me there, too!)

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

My latest feature article for DVICE.com is now up. I would like to point out that I did not even suggest the use of David Tennant photos in the article, but my editor obviously knows me very well.

10 most promising up and coming inventions inspired by sci-fi

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

This post was originally sparked by a post on Google+. The original post really didn’t delve into the e-book vs. physical book debate, but many of the responses were negative towards e-books. I’ll be the first to defend e-books because I strongly believe in technology.

I’m an avid reader. And living nowhere near a decent library or a book store (yes, such places exist), it’s very difficult for me to keep reading without going broke and without having books stacked to the ceiling in my house. I already have boxes and boxes of books that never got unpacked from when I last moved three years ago, sitting around and collecting dust. I don’t read books so much as consume them. I have an addiction to being carried away to other galaxies and worlds and meeting new characters. And these boxes stand as testament to that.

I bought a Nook when it first became available. Once I started reading e-books, there was no going back. I re-read many classics, which were available free, as well as other lesser known authors who were selling e-books at lower prices than those available at larger publishing houses. I discovered new works, writers like Joe Lallo and Emlyn Chand, who inspired me while writing my own book.

And so, when it came time to decide to handle my own first book, I knew I would self-publish and go the e-book route.

For those of you who argue that nothing can compare to the smell of a book or the feel of it in your hands, I cannot help but to think of those old, moldy and stinky books that I currently have sitting in my attic. But now I can pick up my tablet (which still does smell shiny and new), and how I can have a new story ready in the blink of an eye! Isn’t that wonderful? It opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

And how many authors have I discovered because of e-books? There are so many of those who did not go the traditional publishing route because they did not want to give in to those large corporations who have a reputation of ripping off authors (seriously, it’s as bad as the music industry, if not worse). This year, most of the books I have read have been e-books by self-published authors and every single one of them has been better than many of the stories that do get published. Readers who refuse to read any e-books (and there are people still adamantly against them) are missing out on some wonderful writing.

There is also the publishing industry, which is as bad as the music industry in many respects. A lot of what now gets published is “pop” literature, things that may not be written well, but that contain themes that are currently popular. Meanwhile, like indie music, other authors are self-publishing via e-books and should be supported in their endeavors. Why let the big corporations determine what we read?

I never did understand resistance to technology. I suppose it’s the same as people not liking change. I’ve always welcomed it, especially if it means that someone like me can publish their first book without a lot of hassle. Technology has been good to me. Without it, my first book never would have been written. Without the support of online communities like NaNoWriMo, as well as other writers on social media, it would have never even occurred to me to finally sit down and write an actual novel. And e-books has given me another dream come true: having a book published and available for sale.

So please, if you swear off e-books on principle alone, I ask you to reconsider. The year is 2012 and that change is coming, whether we like it or not. If only for me, I ask that you check out some e-books (the above two authors I mentioned are great to start out with) and discover new worlds you never could have imagined otherwise.

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

During my last trip to Paris, I attempted to visit The Louvre. It was a madhouse and I consistently got lost. By the time I was ready to leave, I got lost again and it took me over an hour to find the exit.

And yet, for some reason, I plan to attempt to tackle it again. Because I do want to see things like the Venus di Milo. Because I didn’t see much of anything during my last visit because the crowds were INSANE.

But I need some help. Because the maps they give you with you ticket? They’re pretty darn confusing. So I just discovered an app on Google Play that is the official app for the museum. It supposedly has guided tours and helps you find your way around the massive structure that is the museum. I’d looked for something similar before, so I think this is pretty new to the Android platform (I believe it’s been available for iPhone for some time – figures).

I am not joking when I say that The Louvre massive. You can’t even imagine how large the place is until you’re wandering around inside of it. It is believed that if you were to see every work of art in The Louvre and spent a few minutes at each one, it would take over 3 months. It’s just… BIG.

So here’s hoping that an app will help me immensely in re-visiting the museum. I do want to enjoy it this time.

My second rule of thumb is not to visit mid-day. Thanks to a tip on TripAdvisor (my favorite travel-related website), I’m going to go later in the afternoon on one of the days when it’s open late (Wednesday or Friday).

Only 75 days until my trip! It’s starting to sneak up on me!

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

August and September are going to be rather exciting months for me. With the novel releasing on August 1 highlighting all, I’ve also got a trip to Memphis to see Duran Duran in concert and a trip to Paris coming up after that. So much to look forward to this fall!

The trip to Memphis to see Duran Duran has a story to it. The two women I’m attending with were my besties back in high school. And what brought us together? A band called Duran Duran (there, I’ve dated myself). And we were obsessed with Duran Duran. Unfortunately, we never got to see them live as the one show we were going to buy tickets to ended up getting canceled. Our closest city is Memphis (about 100 miles away) and it seems to have been a music wasteland even then. I’ve known musicians who have sworn they’ve only played Memphis once and will never play it again. For a city so steeped in musical history, it’s a darn shame.

That being said, fast forward to 2012 and a tour announcement that Duran Duran will be playing at the Memphis Botanical Gardens. I was literally in shock as I’m pretty sure this is their first show ever in Memphis (yes, after ALL these years) and so bought tickets the day they were available for the three of us. We just all recently reunited, thanks to Facebook and by me moving back to Missouri. So going to the concert together is basically a full-circle event for us.

Today, I indulged in the beauty that is William Shatner’s Priceline and got us a very discounted room at The Peabody Hotel. Now, Memphis isn’t known for swanky hotels, obviously. In fact, there are no 5-star hotels in Memphis and only two 4-star ones. The Peabody, however, has this local reputation as being rather swanky and judging from the lobby, it probably is. I’m sure it’s not the Four Seasons, but it is the most expensive hotel in the area. And they have ducks. Ducks that march through the lobby every morning and every night to/from the fountain there. DUCKS!  I have always wanted to stay there, though, and in my youth, when there were concerts in Memphis, this is where the rock stars stayed. So this is also a  sort of dream for us.

Finally, in September, there’s that little trip to Paris I’ve blogged about. This will be my third trip into the city and I’m excited to finally be able to visit and just relax. I’ve seen all the major sites, so I’m checking out some lesser known ones, though I do plan on returning to the Louvre (I hope I don’t regret it) and the Centre Pompidou (my favorite museum in the world).

Of course, this week, I’m still wrapped up with the play I’m doing with The Bootheel Community Theatre. If you’re local, please come out and see us!

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

If you’ve read any of the posts here on my website, you’ll be like wait, what? This isn’t new! I’ve read some of this before. That’s probably because I integrated my travel journal into this site, as well, because I wanted all of my journal/blog to be in one place. It just makes more sense, right?

But the domain is new, as is the website itself. If there’s anything you’d like to see, just ask. Also, I will be cross-posting to my LiveJournal and Good Reads, so you can choose how to read my blog. I’m all about the choices!

Also, if you have not yet seen these Bootheel Community Theatre hilarious photos over at Facebook, have a peek. These are from rehearsals and promo for our upcoming show “And Then There Were Nun.” It’s been a blast and I can’t believe it will be over next weekend.

Next up? Paris in September. And boy, am I ready for that vacation! There are pastries and chocolates calling out my name…

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

It’s official! I have decided on a date for the release of my first novel: Zeus, Inc. I’m terribly excited about this, obviously! So without further ado, I give you my release date: August 1, 2012.

The book will be available in digital form on Smashwords in a variety of formats (PDF, Kindle, Nook, Sony e-reader, etc.) and should also be available on the websites for Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

50 years ago, Zeus, Inc., and its CEO, the mysterious Joseph Brentwood, saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2065, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him by his daughter (and Alex’s best friend), Aleisha.

Black-outs begin to occur all over the world and somehow Alex believes it’s tied to Mr. Brentwood’s disappearance. Her search leads her through her own murky past and into the depths of Hell itself, where she discovers that Mr. Brentwood is not who or what he seems to be.

With the help of an otherworldly man named Pip, Alex must save both Mr. Brentwood and the world. But will she be able to face her own guilty past in order to do it?

from_ashes: (Default)

Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

Today, I started looking through my Paris “To Do” list and decided to get a few things knocked off. Although it wasn’t on the list, I knew that a new carry-on bag had to be in order. I have one I really like, but it has to be actually carried (it doesn’t have wheels) and being that my back is very touchy these days, I thought the last thing I needed was to be in Paris and be in pain because I had this heavy bag on my shoulder all day.

So I found the exact carry-on that I already have with wheels on eBags. And even better, it should fit on my bigger bag when I’m carrying both. Fortunately, my apartment in Paris is very easy to get to via the RER and Metro and the one change I have is literally getting off of one train, walking across the platform and catching the next train to Gare de Lyon (which actually has working escalators – a rarity in many Paris metro stations). I’m sure my back and body will thank me:

I also went ahead and ordered an extra battery for my phone. I love my phone, but it sucks up juice quickly. And if I take photos? It sucks it up even faster. Being that my phone is now my primary camera, too (although I will take my good camera to Paris and use it some), I knew I needed an extra battery so that I won’t have to worry about the thing going dead on me mid-day (like it tended to do at Gallifrey One this past year). I considered an extended battery, but those things add bulk and weight to the phone.

Next up? I need a new neck pillow for the flight (it’s on my Amazon wishlist if someone wants to buy me an early birthday present… hint, hint) and a new pair of black stretchy pants (maybe yoga pants) for the flight itself. Yes, I like to dress fashionable in Paris, but on the plane? I found out last year that jeggings are NOT comfortable enough to get any sleep in-flight. I can pair the stretchy pants with a comfy stretchy shirt, a sweater and a scarf and ballet flats, though, and pull it off, right?

Only 83 days to go!

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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

The outline for The Book of Revelations series is already underway. I was awake all last night because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This will be my Game of Thrones (and yes, there will be dying characters) because it does look like it will span at least 2-3 books and have a lot more characters than my first novel and a lot of things like war and metal dragons and evil Presidents and 18-year-old girls with robotic cats.

At least that’s what I have so far. There will be much more.

I love it when a story grips you so hard that you can’t let it go. It’s even better when that story happens to be your own. I blame Ridley Scott. After having watched Prometheus, I was inspired. And last night, I watched Blade Runner (the director’s cut) and was inspired x 100. And now these characters are yelling inside of my head for me to write their things down NOW before I forget.

So in what was supposed to be a day off from the computer has been a day of scribbling on little notepads and then setting out notes in Google Drive. And then those notes became an outline and I saw it and I was pleased.

I also think Matt Smith’s Doctor has inspired a character in the second book in the series, too. I can envision him perfectly, bow tie and all.

from_ashes: (We're all stories in the end)
The outline for The Book of Revelations series is already underway. I was awake all last night because I couldn't stop thinking about it. This will be my Game of Thrones (and yes, there will be dying characters) because it does look like it will span at least 2-3 books and have a lot more characters than my first novel and a lot of things like war and metal dragons and evil Presidents and 18-year-old girls with robotic cats.

At least that's what I have so far. There will be much more.

I love it when a story grips you so hard that you can't let it go. It's even better when that story happens to be your own. I blame Ridley Scott. After having watched Prometheus, I was inspired. And last night, I watched Blade Runner (the director's cut) and was inspired x 100. And now these characters are yelling inside of my head for me to write their things down NOW before I forget.

So in what was supposed to be a day off from the computer has been a day of scribbling on little notepads and then setting out notes in Google Drive. And then those notes became an outline and I saw it and I was pleased.

I also think Matt Smith's Doctor has inspired a character in the second book in the series, too. I can envision him perfectly, bow tie and all. 
from_ashes: (Seriously?)
So now while my friends and advance review copy folks are reading my novel, I merely wait. My cousin has been very good about getting me edits as soon as he finds them and it's mostly (fortunately) little stuff: typos, grammar issues and the occasional mis-placed punctuation. So far, so good, right? 

Meanwhile, I saw Prometheus (absolutely brilliant movie) and something about that film sparked my creative juices. I've been toying with an idea for a few months now - a post-apocalyptic (I blame Fallout 3) science fiction novel. And now, I seem to have a general idea of how to start it. I'd already done some small character biographies, but now I'm working on things for the story itself. This involves researching things like synthetic biology and bio-robotics, as well as various religions' theories on the apocalypse. The novel is temporarily titled The Book of Revelations and if inspiration continues to hit, I'm thinking it could be a trilogy of sorts. Something epic. However, that's putting the cart before the horse, as I only have two chapters outlined so far.

There's also the matter of the sequel to Zeus, Inc., but I think I need a break from Alex and her world for awhile. But I want to write, my fingers are itching. I had planned to use NaNoWriMo again for my next novel, but I'm not sure I can wait until November. I suppose we shall see. Writing a book is hard work, especially when I'm also still carrying a day job, which includes writing for DVICE and developing websites (the latter of which I would like to no longer do, if given a choice). 

I also have my vacation to Paris coming up in less than three months now. I was so inspired there last year, that I sort of want to hold off and wait and see what happens this year. 

I'm also currently in rehearsals for "And Then There Was Nun," a hilarious play I'm doing with the Bootheel Community Theatre Group. Two weeks until our first curtain! Eep! 

Life is, ultimately, very busy, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Meanwhile, one of my cats, Karma, didn't want me to watch a scary movie last night:



Actually, I lied. I was watching Community. I have no idea what this was about, but she kept trying to cover my eyes.
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Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

Thanks to everyone who is reading my book (or has it on the way via email). I expect some good constructive criticism within the next month or so! :P I’m mostly looking to fix typos, spelling, grammar, etc. I did go through and edit it myself, but I’m sure I missed some things.

As my cousin so greatly pointed out, this will probably not be the best thing I’ve ever written. That actually makes me feel a lot better. This is my first attempt, so I’m expecting it to be the worse thing I’ve ever written. It can only get better from here. I just hope the story is enough that people want to continue reading about Alex and her adventures.

And now, for the summary (again, with the help of my cousin, who is now writing his own book):

50 years ago, Zeus, Inc., and its CEO, the mysterious Joseph Brentwood, saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2059, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him by his daughter (and Alex’s best friend), Aleisha.

Black-outs begin to occur all over the world and somehow Alex believes it’s tied to Mr. Brentwood’s disappearance. Her search leads her through her own murky past and into the depths of Hell itself, where she discovers that Mr. Brentwood is not who or what he seems to be.

With the help of an otherworldly man named Pip, Alex must save both Mr. Brentwood and the world. But will she be able to face her own guilty past in order to do it?

And even better, I made a cover! It took me forever to find a good stock photo that I felt represented Alex fairly enough and this girl was close. I found one on iStock I liked better, but it was $10 vs. $20, so I went with this one from Dreamstime. I like how it came out. The city in the background is Memphis, where the story takes place (well, sort of, it’s a future version of Memphis).

cover-small

Next up? I’m researching the KDP program from Amazon. The only issue is that I have to give Amazon exclusivity on the novel for 90 days and I’m not sure if I want to do that or not. I’m going to ask around and see if it’s worth it. Maybe it’s a better option for a second novel? Anyway, I will be publishing to Smashwords, which will distribute to B&N, Apple, etc. And then I’ll have to submit to Amazon separately. But I guess this thing is really a go! I’m so freakin’ excited. I look at the cover and think “OMG, THAT’S MINE!”

Then, of course, I’m trying to decide marketing. I sort of want to just use my one website FanGirlConfessions.com to market the book and all things Robin. Because I do not need yet another site to keep up with. Do you think that’s feasible? And that way, I can use the blog to promote it (and the existing reader base I already have built with the blog).

Still a little bit to figure out, but the formatting is done (until I upload it to Smashwords and see how well I did) and I now have a PDF version of the novel.

So now I’m going to wait a few months for reader feedback and go from there. Be on the look-out!

from_ashes: (Written in the stars)
Thanks to everyone who is reading my book (or has it on the way via email). I expect some good constructive criticism within the next month or so! :P I'm mostly looking to fix typos, spelling, grammar, etc. I did go through and edit it myself, but I'm sure I missed some things. 

As my cousin so greatly pointed out, this will probably not be the best thing I've ever written. That actually makes me feel a lot better. This is my first attempt, so I'm expecting it to be the worse thing I've ever written. It can only get better from here. I just hope the story is enough that people want to continue reading about Alex and her adventures.

And now, for the summary (again, with the help of my cousin, who is now writing his own book):

50 years ago, Zeus, Inc., and its CEO, the mysterious Joseph Brentwood, saved the world from a major energy crisis by discovering a new unlimited energy resource. Now, in 2059, Mr. Brentwood has gone missing and private eye Alex Grosjean has been hired to find him by his daughter (and Alex's best friend), Aleisha.

Black-outs begin to occur all over the world and somehow Alex believes it's tied to Mr. Brentwood's disappearance. Her search leads her through her own murky past and into the depths of Hell itself, where she discovers that Mr. Brentwood is not who or what he seems to be.

With the help of an otherworldly man named Pip, Alex must save both Mr. Brentwood and the world. But will she be able to face her own guilty past in order to do it?


And even better, I made a cover! It took me forever to find a good stock photo that I felt represented Alex fairly enough and this girl was close. I found one on iStock I liked better, but it was $10 vs. $20, so I went with this one from Dreamstime. I like how it came out. The city in the background is Memphis, where the story takes place (well, sort of, it's a future version of Memphis). This was a quickie Photoshop job but it still looks better than the work that Smashwords sent me from some of it's recommended graphic artists.

cover-small

Next up? I'm researching the KDP program from Amazon. The only issue is that I have to give Amazon exclusivity on the novel for 90 days and I'm not sure if I want to do that or not. I'm going to ask around and see if it's worth it. Maybe it's a better option for a second novel? Anyway, I will be publishing to Smashwords, which will distribute to B&N, Apple, etc. And then I'll have to submit to Amazon separately. But I guess this thing is really a go! I'm so freakin' excited. I look at the cover and think "OMG, THAT'S MINE!"

Then, of course, I'm trying to decide marketing. I sort of want to just use my one website FanGirlConfessions.com to market the book and all things Robin. Because I do not need yet another site to keep up with. Do you think that's feasible? And that way, I can use the blog to promote it (and the existing reader base I already have built with the blog).

Still a little bit to figure out, but the formatting is done (until I upload it to Smashwords and see how well I did) and I now have a PDF version of the novel.

So now I'm going to wait a few months for reader feedback and go from there. Be on the look-out!

from_ashes: (Worse than anyone's aunt)
That's a line from the play we're doing "And Then There Was Nun." Rehearsals are coming along nicely. We've upped them to three times a week, so my free time has gone completely bye-bye. And when I have free time, I have to run errands or get groceries and when I have free time from that, I'm playing Kingdoms of Amalur in an attempt to unwind.

Things are insane, but for some reason, I love it like this. It means that September will be here sooner and I'll be in Paris walking around and speaking my passable French and eating pastries and wining and dining like the gods. 

It also means, though, that everything novel-related is on hold. I need to work on the cover, but I don't have the time or energy. However, I'll be bored out of my skull after the play (although The Secret World MMO will be out the following week - yay!), so I'll get back to it.

First thing's first, though. I'm going to go through the Smashwords style guide and get it formatted so I can get some preview copies out there to those of you who want one. I need some reader feedback, although I'm not entirely sure how to go about things after I get feedback. I will obviously not completely re-write the novel, but if there are some things that everyone has issues with or little things people think I need to fix, I suppose I can do that and still get this thing online and for sale by August (that's my self-imposed deadline).

I'm trying to figure out my next NaNoWriMo novel. I don't know if I want to write the sequel (which I have a TON of ideas for) or start something new (I have a post-apocalyptic thing bumping around inside my head). I'll probably start making notes for both and whichever seems the most doable at the time will be my pick.

Anyway, I need to keep this short and sweet as I have a mountain of work awaiting me today. And I would like to spend at least an hour on LiveMocha working on my French pronunciation. Wish me luck! No rehearsal tonight, so I might actually get caught up on my t.v. viewing, too - Game of Thrones, Lost Girl and Eureka all await me.
from_ashes: (Hello)
I have a new computer! YAY! I don't even remember if I posted about getting it, but things have been hectic. I really haven't even had a chance to put the new machine through the paces yet. But I am ready for the next open beta weekend of The Secret World. Oh, and Photoshop opens within the blink of an eye - that's definitely new.

So I've been taking time away from the novel (I'll start thinking about a cover next week and getting it formatted for people to read) and working on my French instead. I got as far as I could through my old high school books and online tutorials, so I signed up for LiveMocha. I figure I'll pay for about three months because I really need to work on my comprehension. I speak pretty decent French, but as to understanding those Parisians who speak faster than I can possibly think, I need to work on my listening. I gave LiveMocha a test run earlier and liked it enough to pay $9.95/month for it until I get a bit more conversational.

After that, I have no idea how to retain my knowledge of French. Except to move to Paris. *cough* Hey, a girl can dream!

Also, rehearsals for the play are going really well. Between that and work, I don't have a lot of free time, but I like things like that. That will make the next month fly and hopefully, so, too, will the summer. Which I hate. It's been entirely too warm here already. And then September will be right around the corner and I'll be standing under the Eiffel Tower again with a box of macarons and a bottle of wine.

Zeus, Inc.

May. 28th, 2012 11:48 am
from_ashes: (Written in the stars)
I decided to spend my Memorial Day finishing up the editing on my novel. Actually, I started with the plan to just edit a few chapters, but I went ahead and did the last four. And with that, it's done. Completely done. The story is done, the words are done, the characters are done and I can now figure out what comes next.

I'm not sure if I want to put it out there for some feedback or not, honestly. I don't want to change a thing. But am I ready to put it up on Smashwords for sale? I don't want to prolong this thing anymore. It just feels like it's complete to me now - I can't describe the feeling.

It nearly took me a year to finish the thing, but I have such an amazing sense of achievement coursing through me now. Even if it sucks, I can now add "wrote a novel" among the things I've accomplished. And being as it's something I never even had on my bucket list or on my radar, as it's something I could never imagining even doing, I can't explain the source of pride I feel right now.

My next course of action is to read the Smashwords style guide and work on formatting what I have. I also need to come up with a cover. I have a few ideas, so it's just a matter of opening Photoshop and running with it, I suppose.

But it all comes back down to this: I DID IT! And I want to thank [livejournal.com profile] nuchtchas for telling me about NaNoWriMo and convincing me to do it last year. 
from_ashes: (Seriously?)

Last night, I dreamed I was eating macarons, in all sizes, flavors and colors. I must have eaten thousands in my dreams. I guess I have a craving for them. If only they weren't so difficult to make! But they do give me something to look forward to in Paris (among other things). September will be here, after all, before I know it.

I also had a dream I was making out with David Tennant. Talk about random. I've managed to live a Tennant-free life for the past month (maybe), and yet, I still have those dreams occasionally. Needless to say, I'm not complaining.

Anyway, today was a squeal-worthy day. Yesterday, I posted on my blog about Brent Spiner's Fresh Hell web series. I feature a new web series every Wednesday and this is one that I've been watching regularly and love (it's so funny!). I sent him a tweet about it and in his lovely person fashion, he sent me a Twitter Direct Message saying Thank You. Isn't that sweet? I'm still reeling from the little Happy Birthday I got last year, but WHAT A GREAT FREAKIN' GUY!

I have to say that the sci-fi celebrities sure seem a lot nicer than other actors/actresses. Most seem to be a great group of people. 

Also, the only Star Trek con I have ever been to and probably will ever go to was supposed to have Brent as a guest. But he didn't show (prior commitments or something - I think he was on Broadway at the time). I'm going to say the tweets have more than made up for that.

I am officially registered for next year's Gallifrey One, as well. I was debating not going, but I knew I couldn't bear the thought of missing it. I have way too much fun. I am dreading the crowd that next year might bring, but I know it will still be fun. And I need a new costume, so I'm trying to figure out what I want to play. I'm thinking if I can find the write striped shirt, with my hair the way it is, I could easily cosplay Susan from the very first season. I'd only have to worry about everything being black & white (since those were the days of B&W t.v.), right? But we shall see. It depends on what mood (and what budget) strikes me.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. I'm getting used to working Monday - Friday now and so have been taking weekends off. So the Memorial Day three-day weekend is going to be something I have not done, probably since I last worked in an office. I have NO plans, except to stay indoors out of the heat, but I think I'll go see Men in Black 3 and watch some movies that have been sitting in my Netflix Q. And I do want to finish editing my novel. I got behind because I had to spend some of my time I set back for writing on two DVICE articles, but now I'm back to it. I'm so close to the end. And still terrified. But some of you, who have volunteered, will have a copy in hand, potentially soon. 

from_ashes: (We're all stories in the end)
I know some of your are Mommies (whether of children or children of the furry variety) so I wish you all a belated Happy Mother's Day. I ended up spending the entire day with Mom and it turned out to be a good day. She was having one of her good days and we laughed and joked and I almost got to forget that she's not like that every single day. 

I sent her some cookies from Mrs. Fields. Mom always complained that flowers die and as she has a cookie fixation, I though that would be perfect. My brother also got her stuff for her sweet tooth and she is set in snacks for awhile. Not if I can just not dig my own hands into them! Eep! I FINALLY got myself back into not eating all that crap and now I'm surrounded by it. I blame the Reese's. I can hear them calling out to me in my sleep.

Also, my cats gave me fleas for Mother's Day. Technically, I doubt they brought them in the house, as they never go outside, but we have a mild case of fleas. Which if left untreated, will become a major breeding ground for fleas. I ordered the first tubes of Advantage for the summer (I usually treat them each summer anyway) and got some Fleabusters powder, which is safe to use around me and the cats' sensitive bodies, but works to kill those little suckers quickly. We had a major infestation in Georgia and a tub of that took care of it. Now I just have to wait until Wednesday when it comes in. Until then, I feel all creepy and crawly all the time! EEP! I also seem to be the only creature in the house that has been bitten by the little assholes. So... apparently, I taste good to fleas.

My most recent article for DVICE.com is currently the most-commented article on the site! YAY! I take great pride in that. I enjoyed writing it and I have already finished the follow-up article the editor wanted me to do.

Finally, being a blogger/writer is AWESOME. I have a really good Klout score, so that means I'm always getting free stuff. Which is awesome. But I'm also getting random free stuff thanks to being a part of the AllThingsFangirl.com Academy (I joined a few years ago before it was exclusive). So last week, I got an awesome The Avengers tee shirt that says "Fan Girl" in The Avengers font. And today, I got a book ("Delirium" by Lauren Oliver - looks pretty darn good). My Mom has started teasing me about all the stuff I get. I do try to take photos of everything and give the companies involved a few mentions.

I'm still pounding away at the novel. I'm trying to get the editing done, but on the days I'm working on DVICE pieces, it gets ignored. NBC pays me too well for me to not make those articles a priority. My goal is to be self-published by August and I think that's more than doable.
from_ashes: (Default)

Originally published at Robin Burks. You can comment here or there.

Thanks to my wonderful friend Christina, the girls (Jennifer, Christina, Lesley, Amanda and I) had a weekend planned in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, which is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours north of where we live. We started our trip bright and early at 8:30 a.m. Since we knew we’d be eating breakfast on the road, we were all good and hungry by the time we stopped at Cracker Barrel in Cape Girardeau. After egg sandwiches and pancakes and biscuits and the beginning of much laughter, we were ready to tackle the day.

We planned on taking the Route Du Vin, which is a tour of six local wineries in the Ste. Genevieve area. We arrived in Ste. Genevieve around 11 a.m. and alighted upon our first stop: The Ste. Genevieve Winery. There, we purchased our tickets for the tour and grabbed our first glass, a dry white wine that none of us didn’t really care much for. However, there was a lemon drink that was pretty awesome. We had some mediocre chicken salad sandwiches and then got busy with the tastings. I, personally, liked the raspberry wine the best, but the general consensus was that the blackberry was the favorite.

That was one winery down and five more to go. But we discovered quickly that these wineries were miles and miles away from each other. So the tour started to prove to be a challenge. Our second winery was at The Cave Winery, though, which featured… well… a cave. The wine there was actually quite good (we all agreed), but we skipped the tasting as there was a charge for it (even with the tour – what kind of sense does that make?). There was also some very good feta dip and pita chips, though. We walked down to the cave and did a little sightseeing. It was actually pretty neat.

So two wineries down and four to go.

We made it to the third, Chaumette, and at that point had realized that the gas tank was sitting on “E” and had been for some time. Christina asked about gas stations and only received laughter in response. We were literally IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE and obviously not close to civilization. But we drank our glass of wine there, as well, and decided we would figure it out. I was the only one that liked the red that we were served – I found it very close to a merlot and I love merlot. The tilapia, though? It was not all that great and we were in agreement on that.

Again, this winery also charged for tastings, so we skipped out on that. And we knew that we absolutely had to have gas. And our only hope? The outdated GPS we were using. It found a route for us, nearly 20 minutes away and we were praying that somehow we could make it that far. So we began to drive.

The GPS told us to turn. On a dirt road. We followed, thinking that the GPS knew what it was doing. And then we came upon a creek. In the middle of the road. Which sort of stopped and re-appeared on the other side of the creek. It was shallow and the floor of it was smooth, so we all decided that we’d just keep driving and went across the creek. ACROSS THE CREEK. THROUGH THE WATER. We were in a truck, so why not, right?

So we kept following the route the GPS was taking us. And then had to stop again. Because the creek re-appeared in front of us. But again, we saw that it was shallow and smooth, so we drove through that.

After the road began to narrow and became not so much a road as a sort of path, we were starting to freak out. We had also lost all cell phone service and I swore I began to hear the banjos playing in the background. I’m pretty sure I said “We’re all going to die!” a few times. But we kept on driving. Because we were GOING to get to that darn gas station.

But then the road ended completely. And there was nothing but creek. The floor of it looked smooth up until the end, which seemed to get deeper. Not wanting to turn around because we actually saw a real road with cars driving on it adjacent to said creek, we thought we’d survey the scene. Christina stripped off her shoes and rolled up her pants and waded in. I thought I’d skip that and try to scope things out from the bank of the creek. I got about halfway down the creek before I lost my nerve (and ran out of ground to stand on), but we had then determined that the creek might end up to be too deep to continue driving through.

On the way back from my little jaunt, I ended up with extremely muddy sneakers (fortunately, I had an extra pair to change into) and we were all beginning to freak out completely.

Very carefully, we turned around, terrified we were going to get stuck or run out of gas and that the natives would come out with their pitchforks and have us for dinner. But somehow, we survived the trek back to the real road and found our way towards the highway, where we knew we’d find gas. And now we know just how far that truck can drive while it’s on “E.” And fortunately for us, it’s a lot further than we would have expected.

At the gas station, we decided we were done with the off-road adventures and decided to go check into our Bed & Breakfast instead, White Cliff Manor. There, things began to improve, but I’ll admit, I pretty much laughed the whole adventure off. It was fun! And funny! And we didn’t die and we didn’t run out of gas. Things were going to be okay.

White Cliff Manor was beautiful. It’s an old house sitting on old plantation ground and is absolutely lovely. The owner, Brian, welcomed us as if we were family returning home. We were shown our rooms and was asked if we had dinner reservations. I’m pretty sure we hadn’t thought we’d need reservations but there are few actual restaurants in the area. And EVERYTHING is so spread out. I don’t know how those people can live there and not go insane. But Brian was resourceful and called around and got us in at a place called Weingarten, which was another winery.

Our reservations were not until 7:30 p.m., but we headed out there early. This turned out to be our favorite winery. It was fairly new on some beautiful grounds in a wide open space and the people there were absolutely fantastic. We had some bread and a sun dried tomato spread, along with what turned out to be three bottles of blackberry wine. The trip was officially a success.

And then we had dinner. Which consisted of a salad with some of the best dressing I’ve ever tasted. But the best part was the steak we had. I have never had steak tender enough to be cut with just a fork, but this steak was. And it tastes like absolute heaven. Between that, and the rolls, and the baked potato and the truffles we were given for dessert, we were good and stuffed at the end of the evening. Because of both a wedding and prom going on at the winery, we were given our very own private dining room and were treated like royalty. Even the owner of the place came out and spoke with us and apologized for the late seating for dinner.

I will return here someday. Just for that steak.

Our moods were lifted on the ride home and at some point, we were laughing so hard that I was, personally, in pain. I couldn’t catch my breath, but we were just giggling and cutting up and having a pretty darn good time.

We returned to White Cliff Manor and retired for the evening.

I had another dream that will end up being part of my second novel.

We woke up and had the best coffee on the planet. Apparently, Brian has a French press and grinds his own beans. It was DIVINE. But then at 9 a.m., the breakfast bell sounded. We gathered around the table with two couples and were served these amazing sticky buns with walnuts with a wonderful quiche, all homemade. We had orange juice, as well, but Brian also broke out a bottle of champagne (I had two glasses). At that point, I decided I wanted to live here forever.

But we had to come home sometime, didn’t we? We had a small photo session in front of the manor, taking photos with Brian and all of us, and then checked out. We decided we absolutely HAD to have the candle that Brian was using at the manor, so drove back into Ste. Genevieve and did a little shopping, checking out some antiques shops, gift shops and the candle store (we each purchased one of those candles – it smells like home and is appropriately called “Home Again”).

With purchases in hand, we drove home, making a stop in Cape Girardeau, where we were seriously disappointed that My Daddy’s Cheesecake was closed on Sundays. But we settled for Panera bread. After lunch, we came home.

And a good time was had by all.

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