Friday, March 30, 2012

For Writers: Writer Blogs

Now that I've actually had some sleep, I thought I should write up what it was that led to my post last night. I went trawling through Twitter and looked for all the blogs from all the writers I follow. I thought perhaps I might post a few things I found that I didn't stick around for.

Not What I'm Looking For
  • Nothing but Promotion - I read through the first few pages and if it was nothing but book promotion, I might have skipped back a couple of pages to see what else they had to offer. If it was only promotion, I didn't bother. I moved on.
  • Click for More - One of the blogs had the posts truncated so you only saw the first few lines of the post and you could click more if you were interested in reading. I didn't. I just left the blog.
  • Extreme Politics - I understand we all have opinions. I do. I understand politics are HUGE for people. I have my beliefs just like you have yours. Your writing blog should be about more than just your political opinions and statements. I ended up unfollowing them because I don't like people trashing on LGBT issues, fat women (and just women) and/or stating "I'm not a racist, but..."
  • Life Trashing - I am SO GUILTY of this!! SO GUILTY!! I do it a lot. My life takes a crap somewhere and I want to post about it on Twitter and my blog. DON'T DO IT. Once in awhile is okay, but when your blog is full of nothing but how much you hate your life and how you'll never be a writer? I get tired of reading it. Coincidentally-- I went back through my blog and cleaned up the life-hating. I also went through my Twitter feed and cleaned it out as well. Eek!
I did find a few examples of what I think makes a good writer blog and I would like to share those things with you as well.

Yes, please!
  • Diversity - They not only talked about their books, but their writing. They posted snippets or opinion pieces. Some of them posted political commentary, but it wasn't talking about beating people or being hateful.
  • Well-written - Two of them in particular were just well written blogs. I'm not saying they were perfect examples of publishable material, but you could tell they understand the basics of sentence structure and putting down a decent paragraph instead of run-on sentences and a new line every ten words.
  • Book Promotion - Yes, I look for writers to tout their own work. Just... not all the time.
  • Writing tips - Writers know, sometimes by firsthand experience, what it takes to make something work. They post about it, rather it is from their own personal experience or something they've learned somewhere, they post about it. A lot of my Twitter feed is full of reblogs of good writing advice. Sometimes writers blog about other people's articles. That's great, too! It gives their perspective.
  • Polite Discourse - While they may not agree with what has been said in other's articles or in popular media, they post on their blog  with a sense of decorum and in a conversational air, much like you might disagree with someone at a dinner party. It's not a rant, it's a statement of fact, in their opinion, why it is wrong. I don't feel threatened by reading it, I want to engage them in conversation about their opinion and share mine. I want to engage, not unfollow and never read their work again.
  • Entertaining - I was entertained by the blog. It might not be bright flashing lights and carnival colors, but I wasn't bored reading. I wanted to read more. I spent about an hour reading back through blog entries on a couple of the blogs just because I enjoyed what they were saying.
I'm not perfect and my blog? Breaks a lot of the things I've been talking about. However, this is a movement to the future! I want to be more like the writers whose blogs I like. Therefore, look for a little more comment from yours truly, especially when I read over a couple of the blogs I liked. They have things I want to talk about.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Drabble: Prologue with Edits


Rose tripped over an overturned dresser drawer and stumbled into the bedroom. The duffel in her hand skidded across the floor and dumped its contents like a breadcrumb trail toward the doorway. Leaving it behind, she bolted into the bathroom, crawling quietly into the bathtub. Making herself as small as possible, she cowered behind the shower curtain. The dull thunk of boots sounded against worn carpet. The stairs creaked as her pursuer came closer. A jacket zipper hissed as it brushed the door frame. Footsteps neared, slowed and stopped. Heels clicked against the thick white tile. The snap of the switch flooded the room with the overhead light. Rose shrank back, praying she was out of sight. Why hadn’t she hidden under the bed? She could have run. Now she was stuck inside with no way out.

Slowly her pursuer advanced. His shadow danced over white plastic folds. Every step echoed until he snatched the shower curtain away. The stranger grabbed her arm hard enough she cried out. Putting all her weight behind her, she backed against the shower wall. He grabbed her other arm and hauled her onto her tiptoes, his breath hot on her cheek as she turned away. Pressing his face into her hair, he inhaled. The short stubble on his cheek scratched her collarbone. Rose pressed her thighs close together. A tear slipped free, her whimper uncontrollable. She strained to keep her mouth far from his.

“Stop! Please!”

The grisly man chuckled lowly. His fingertip lingered at her knee. One dirty fingernail left a pink trail up her thigh. Rose choked on a scream.

A shadowy figure loomed in the doorway. Its skin was sunken between its spinous processes and ribs. It paused on all fours, its back too long, its arms too narrow and its legs bent at strange angles. Its bare skin shimmered like oil on new wet pavement. Her eyes locked with ebony pools. She shuddered.

Her aggressor turned to face the creature. “The fuck is that thing? Some kinda fucked up dog?”

The creature didn't belong to the stranger. Her palms were slick where she pawed the shower wall. Her ragged breath dried her mouth as the creature shoved head and shoulders into the bathroom. Its dark eyes swiveled from Rose to the man and back again. The man dropped Rose and puffed his chest. Brandishing a knife from his belt, he struck.

The creature howled, its face contorted in rage. It took a pair of steps back, rising to its full height. Its arm oozed from the thin gash across its bicep. With a hiss, it grabbed him by the throat and snarled. Long, sharp canines bared and glistened in the light. It twisted the robber's arm until it crunched. The knife clattered to the floor. Its forked tongue traced the man's neck as he spit obscenities. Sharp fangs touched his skin. He stopped dead. Booted feet scrabbled at the tile as the creature pulled the man into the darkened bedroom. 

Creeping forward, Rose claimed the weapon.

Strong jaws crushed the man's throat. His anguished howls echoed and died against the tiled walls. The creature's mouth closed and its throat moved rhythmically. The man thrashed and then went limp. Dropping the lifeless body to the floor, the creature turned toward Rose and crouched. Its garnet eyes watched her intently. Ebony claws clacked as they settled against the stark flooring, its hands between its feet. Rose trembled and clutched the knife, the hilt against her solar plexus.

The creature turned back to the corpse. Giving a quick glance back at Rose, it nosed the body toward her in a macabre offering. Its voice was like a death-rattle. “Hungry.”

Rose violently shook her head. Her voice wouldn't come. Her feet rooted to the spot.
With its brow drawn, the creature inspected the body. It took a large bite of flesh and held the limb out to her. Rose screamed and buried her head in her hands. The knife clanked against the floor. Rose's knees knocked.

Silence settled in.

She peeked from between her fingers. The creature licked its elongated fingers like an overgrown cat. When she shifted, its long, pointed ears flicked but it otherwise ignored her. It made a face as the pungent scent of human excrement filled the space. Non-plussed, it returned to its grooming.

Whatever it was, it saved her life.

As if sensing her stare, it turned and looked at her before returning to its tongue bath. Something in its eyes reminded her of someone she knew.

No. It couldn't be.

Slowly reaching out to him, she called him by name.

(c) Carrie Fulk Vaughn 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Game Rage: Random War Stories

Any JCs on?

I am a jewelcrafter on my main toon and that toon is in a decently large guild. In the last three guilds I have been in, I have offered to cut gems for people and they have himhawed around and then gone with someone else. Tonight, however, I got another kick in the face.
Guildie posts "Any JCs on?"
I reply that I am if I have the cut he needs. He links his pieces in the window and I tell him I have the +40 agility cut for the inferno rubies. I figure if he's suiting LFR gear, he's not going to want the epic cuts. I have those as well, but I don't offer them.
He asks me if it's the cut I've specified and I say yes. He then says "Nah, I'll wait for (Name of other Guildie) to get on tomorrow."
Fucking really?? If you want to wait for that person, ask for them by name in the fucking channel. Don't ask for someone in general if you want someone specific. That just pisses me off and makes me not want to offer services anymore. That combined with the wank I read in the facebook page just really makes me want to quit.

 A first time for everything

I ran raid finder last night. The guild had done the second half Tuesday night and it ended up being so completely horrible I dropped on the fourth wipe trying to beat Deathwing. That was after the two wipes on the spine and the four wipes on Ultraxion.
During the run last night, we were running around Yor'sahj the Unsleeping killing the slimes that circulate around the boss. You have to run in a big circle around him and kill off all the slimes before triggering the boss because otherwise the slimes attack you, the boss absorbs them and totally wrecks your day. I hadn't known for a fact this would happen until one of the DPS decided to aggro the boss while we were on the second mob of slimes. I see one of the tanks, who happened to be from my favorite server, Kel'Thuzad, yell, "Kick that ho!" moments before the boss runs up and kisses me with his foot on the back of my head. The conversation in my living room went something like this.
"Oh, God, KT. Someone's bitching already and we haven't even gotten to the bo-- di-- did someone trigger the boss??"
"Yeah. [Insert toon name here]."
"Oh my God, really? Oh God. I hope we can pull this off."
We couldn't. The boss started sucking down slimes around his feet like a frat girl doing jello shots.  We didn't even have time to get off the slimes at his feet and onto the boss before the slimes from the sides spawned. Healers and ranged DPS dropped over dead like roaches crawling through Borax and that left a few melee and the tanks who followed in short order. KT was crying for blood and the vote passed without question to "boot the bitch who aggroed the boss".
... I have never once in my life agreed with anyone from KT. I had a first last night. Moreover, the people from KT were actually NICE.
I kinda wonder what tonight is going to bring.


LFR is a fairly new installation for the World of Warcraft. The GF has been decently well geared thanks to raiding, so she was one of the first to try it out. During the fall of Deathwing, there is a cutscene and you drop down onto Deathwing's spine. She exits out of the cutscene early and hits levitate to keep from taking fall damage since she doesn't have a parachute. Being a shadow priest and cloth, it takes awhile for your health to come back after a fall. It seemed logical. She's standing just above the surface of the dragon looking down. Other players start dropping in after the cut scene. They are all above Deathwing. No one can move. No one can do anything. The GF calls in her trinket hound who drops down onto Deathwing's back. The entire party is levitating above Deathwing and they're all stuck hanging there. Deathwing senses movement and rolls. The entire party wipes. Hanging in mid-air.
That was the day Lovie learned not to use levitate while fighting Deathwing.

Sandbox Tiger

The GF has been trying to earn her Tarecgosa's staff. She FINALLY found a Firelands run to earn some of her pieces. She's super stoked. The run has its issues judging from the chatter I hear coming from Vent. I'm currently running for justice points to suit up my pally.
She starts laughing hysterically. I hear some say "Dude! Slash leave vehicle!"
One of the tanks had gotten on the sandbox tiger someone had popped up from Dark Moon Faire. He couldn't figure out how to get off of it. He was out of the battle and stuck on a sandbox tiger and couldn't get off.
We were still laughing about it fifteen minutes later.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gamer Rage: Keep your ass out of the fire

Originally, I had planned to make my first story on WoWRant about the denziens of Kel'Thuzad and talk about an expose on how they go from mild-mannered Clark Kent types in their everyday lives to Superdick when they turn on their computers and authenticate. Instead, I thought it might be fitting to talk about my most recent idiocy. How best to poke fun at everyone else if you can't dish it back at yourself?

Last night I pugged for justice and valor points and queued for random Hour of Twilight heroics. As soon as I enter, I run up to the portal and click, taking myself to the Obsidian Dragonshrine. I skirt up along the side to see if it's the shrine I'm thinking it is (and one I won't forget. Ever. Not after this). I see the big puddle of lava and think, "Great! 

Gauntlet. Ugh."

... just as I aggro one of the patrols. As my teammates are zoning.

I try to at least pull the pat out to where it won't take out the rest of the party and keep them interested, but they'd much rather go after the healer at the portal. The entire party wipes before they've even finished zoning.

Way to go, Locke. Way to go.

After a run back for our bodies and my GF sighing heavily at me in just such a way as she does when she's irritated that I'm an idiot, we get back into the dragonshrine. I mount up. I watch the tank run down with heals and the GF boogies right on down after them. They miss the pat, no problem. I watch the pat skirt up close and then turn around. One of the DPS sets to follow and aggros the pat that killed us the first time. They follow me to the tank so we can beat the snot out of them minus one DPS. The dead DPS drops. Heals gets munched and then bails. I keel over dead. The tank says, "That was a dick move" and bails on us.

Our party fills. The first words as soon as they see where we are is "Failgroup already?" Yeah. Namely me. Thankfully they don't aggro the pat and make it down into the lava with the rest of us. Tank goes in to aggro Baine. We bring him down, but not before he dumps us off into the lava and, apparently being the MOST FAILSAUCE I have EVER BEEN, I almost get myself killed before we get out of the lava and take down the boss.
Thank DOG that's over!

We port out of the dungeon and back in to save us running through the trash. At least that's what the GF and I did. Everyone else wipes because they tried to run back to the hourglass. While we wait for everyone to collect their bodies, the GF and I head into the next dragonshrine. We end up with the Ruby Dragonshrine.

I hate Sylvanas with a deep, seething passion. I ALWAYS DIE because I'm too stupid to attack while walking backwards. I always run up to the ghoul, hit an attack and run FORWARD like an asshole into the purple shit, killing myself. Always.

We take out the two trash groups and start the fight with the boss. We beat on her until she summons her zombies and run for one. The problem is, EVERYONE runs for one, but not the SAME one. I've always had it marked to go to the little fingerlet that is generally directly out from Sylvanas. She sucks you in with Calling of the Highborne and you flail, then run out to the finger, beat the shit out of the ghoul that shows up, leaving a hole for you to run through. You run out, loop around the purple shit and pounce on Sylvanas like a two dollar Mexican hooker on half price night and beat her like her momma should've. Rinse and repeat.

Once we manage to take her down after marking one spot for all the DPS to go for, we port to the Bronze Dragonshrine. The GF announces she doesn't trust the group to run the hourglass, so she takes it on. That fight ended up being the easiest of them, even when I couldn't keep my ass out of the fire. Rule one of dungeons and raids: Keep your ass out of the fire. I've been playing heavily for over a year. By my performance last night, it was like I'd taken one of the Scrolls of Resurrection and insta-leveled my warrior to 80. I think it might have been easier to swallow if I had.

Never really gets easier

Story time since it's on my mind and I wanted to share and ask a little extra patience.  May 20th. Mary and I are at a local garden shop...