01/17/2018 – Happy New Year!

A belated Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to hoping everyone meet their goals for this year!

I’ve been pretty busy growing my small art business in the last few months. This involved setting up shops over on Society6 and RedBubble, as well as marketing sales, etc. Not to mention the commissions in between all that. You can check all that stuff over at angeladeriso.com

Among the gifts I got this Xmas, were giftcards for certain chain stores, or ones that I have free reign to spend where I like. Books are one of my favorite things to buy, and I can’t do this too often or I go broke. Those costs add up. However, through Barnes & Nobles, you have the option of buying used books for very reasonable prices. As low as $1. It was this method I used to buy some science fiction classics I have yet to read. There are two books relating to the subject of biology, which is also one of my passions.

I’m going to post reviews of each book as I finish them. I’ve already finished Solaris and The Forever War, both great reads. My reviews will be up shortly.

Here are the titles in the queue.

 

As for my own writing is concerned, I’m currently done with 4 chapters. I’m going to make a deadline for myself this year to finish the damn thing, so I can work on other ideas, and put efforts toward getting published. I’m thinking it may be a good idea to have a few books ready before knocking on the door of publishers, that way you have a few more cards to deal in the transaction. I don’t know, but only time will tell how I feel about that.

 

In the meantime, stay tuned for book reviews, and maybe some snippets of my work.

~Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

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Latest Goings On

Before I get into the latest on me, let me take a moment to thank those of you that read, and have started following me. I’ve noticed a bit of higher traffic even though my posts are sporadic. I appreciate that some folks can put up with that.

On to the latest.

Firstly, you may notice a change to the website theme, and that it is no longer so dark. I had to realize at some point that reading light colored text on black background isn’t easy on the eyes. So, I switched to a much clearer and crisp layout to help avoid that.

In the meantime, I have been reworking and fleshing out a longtime project that really needs to be finished sooner than later. I found this site to be very helpful in fleshing out plots, characters, and acts in a story.

Writing A Novel Using The Snowflake Method

There is a book being sold on the subject as well at this site, but I found using just the outlines on that page to be helpful enough. I definitely recommend using this method, since it has greatly helped me get my ideas straight.

Besides writing, I have also been reading a great deal again. Just recently got into British author Neal Asher’s work, and I can’t get enough. The Polity novels have been my favorite. I really found myself loving the Transformation series. Dark Intelligence, and War Factory were amazing reads. I’m awaiting the third installment, Infinity Engine, when it releases in the US. I strongly recommend this author for those of you who love aliens, A.I.s, and far advanced tech.

The Transformation series of books is the only book I’ve ever done fan art for. I love the war drones, and a few of the alien creatures. I’ve only done two so far, but I plan to do others soon.

This one is of the war drone ‘Riss’. She was deliberately designed like a parasite that once plagued the ruthless Prador species. Just so happens that said parasites resemble a Terran snake.

riss2
“Riss, The War Drone”

 

The second piece is of the monstrous ‘Hooder’, and bio-mechincal war machines designed by an ancient alien race. They are like a horrible version of a millipede, with a front end with slicing/dicing ‘manipulators’ that pretty much dissect prey alive. I doubt I added enough of the appendages that do all that work, considering the scenes I read. It’s pretty brutal.

"The Hooder"
“The Hooder”

I’ll not spoil anymore for you. Be back soon.

Writing Materials & Finding The Love Again

writing materials

I have to admit that I’m no good at staring at a blank screen trying to type something. I actually prefer physical notebooks to write down my chapters or jot down ideas. I don’t know what it is exactly, but having something physical before me helps the writing process. Not to mention that I can take it to quiet places to concentrate on the work. It also makes things easier when finally sitting down at the blank screen, since I have the work already written down. Then the process becomes simple transfer with a bit of quick editing thrown in.

I suppose my need for physical objects to write falls in the same line as my preference for physical books. One takes for granted the tactile pleasures of the paperback and hardcovers. There’s also the smells, especially if it’s a brand new book.  I also enjoy the cover artwork on some books.

Rediscovering the love for an old project has also been an issue for me. After reading a blog post over at The Writer’s Path, this one here http://ryanlanz.com/2015/01/17/how-to-feel-like-writing-again/ I realized that I hadn’t edited my work in some time. I’ve just been trudging through trying to get as many chapters done as I could without stopping to edit. I can already see how going over all the material and polishing will make me feel again.

Pouring over the details and improving upon what you have can bring back the flame you once had for an old project. As I haven’t done this in many months, it will be a good opportunity to run over everything and tie up any loose ends.

I definitely suggest subscribing to the blog linked above if you are serious about writing. There are many great articles, interviews, and more.

 

To other writers out there, what works for you jot down your work/ideas? Physical or not?

 

 

Book Bannings

Just read this article here http://news.msn.com/us/idaho-school-system-removes-book-from-curriculum-after-parental-outrage  And needless to say it pisses me off.

What fucking babies people are to not be able to handle differing perspectives. There are plenty of opinions and books that I’m sure would offend me, but I don’t go and ask for them to be banned from my local library. I’m an adult, and I respect freedom of speech. No matter how repugnant you find another person’s opinions/comments, you should still defend their right to say it. That’s a big part of what America was founded on. Now, selfish twats with liberal or conservative sensibilities want to silence the things that irk their side of the isle. I suppose asking that people do some growing up is too much to ask these days.

This trend affects everyone’s ability to express themselves, whether it’s through art, writing, or speaking. What if one day I attempt to publish my book and the publisher tells me they won’t even take it? What if they want to edit and censor the living hell out of it? Then the story would be turned to mush for the hypersensitive babies. It’s extremely aggravating to see just how childish people have become.

The restriction of ideas and knowledge, whether they are beautiful or terrible, is dangerous on all fronts. We’re on our way to becoming a dystopia if this continues. Along with the help of many other trends too numerous to mention here.

I know this is just one blog, and that I am but one voice, but this needs to be spoken out against. Fight back and refuse to allow this to happen. Please remember that in defending your own ideas, you must also defend those that oppose it for the sake of balance. If you can only have one or the other, then it’s a no win situation.

Stay tuned for the next rant, or bit of work I actually have prepared when I’m not disappointed in civilization. Til next time.

~ Lynn

 

 

 

 

The Disappointment Of SciFi Films

 

If you are a science fiction fan like me, you’ve probably been left disappointed by the latest crop of films to come out in the last few years. Too few of them stand out as truly thought provoking or engaging, but that’s nothing new in terms of entertainment from Hollywood. New ideas rarely make their way through to the cinema, and if they do, there’s the issue of how the film is executed.

 

 

I recently saw Riddick, and while I enjoy the character, and storylines, this movie felt a bit too anti-climactic. I loved the first two films, and I thought they really started developing the universe pretty well, at least on the surface. However, for the most part, these films are pretty straightforward with the formula, and generally you know what to expect.

 

 

The third installment was fun, but there were things within it that just didn’t seem to fit. Not going to give away any major spoilers, but here are the few things that bugged me. First, there was a female prisoner that is shown for just one or two scenes, and the way in which it is presented make it seem like she has some significance, which we abruptly learn otherwise. So, it left me wondering why this scene was there in the first place.

 

Second, the dog-like animal Riddick ‘adopts’ gives us a view of some man-and-his-canine-friend moments, and we see the soft, playful side of Riddick. While I liked the interaction between these two characters, it may have been a little too drawn out for this story. Perhaps the animal itself was portrayed too dog-like and too playful. A stark contrast to the hell hounds in the 2nd film. I liked those creatures, because they had a more menacing quality and yet, Riddick managed to face it down and have it tolerate him petting it.

 

My last issue is the way the film ended. It seemed way too easy, and I couldn’t suspend my disbelief for that outcome. It just didn’t add up.

 

 

The few movies I have enjoyed are due for sequels, and I look forward to seeing how they turn out.

 

 

I really don’t understand why it seems to be nearly impossible to get a decent or even great science fiction movie done these days. The special effects aren’t much of an issue anymore, but the overall plots are. Now, film makers are setting there sites on famous novels to translate to film, and that’s both exciting and potentially disappointing. Don’t even get me started on the horrid attempts at anime inspired films.

 

 

I hope that the future will be better, and that some new blood will manage to rise up and knock the old formulas to the wayside to give us something truly great in story, visuals, characters, and creatures. Wish on a shooting star (or a fucking asteroid) so that this may come to pass. 😛

 

 

The thing I still love about the old fashioned book isn’t just the feel of the paper, or the cover illustrations, but that fact that the journey of the story feels so much longer and is filled with rich character and atmospheric detail so often forgotten in film.

 

 

So, I guess that makes me a bit of a film snob and traditionalist (in terms of physical books anyway).

 

~ Lynn

 

 

Quick Update, Not Too Much Writing Lately

While ideas are still stirring in my brain, writing has taken a bit of a back seat in the last few weeks.

I have been working on the self-employment front, and just opened an Etsy shop with art and sculptures I’ve made. You can take a gander here http://www.etsy.com/shop/VividDreamStudio  

Please visit, and share with friends!

I am also keeping up with reading, and have mowed through most of the Song of Ice and Fire series from George R. R. Martin.  I’m currently on the 5th book, “A Dance With Dragons”, and I’m only a quarter of the way through. This volume is over a thousand pages, and I’m enjoying the ride so far.

I picked up two new books for my collection after receiving a gift card for Barnes & Nobles.

I picked up “The Gardner’s Handbook” so that in the event when I move to a house with a yard, I can try my hand at vegetable growing and more. I may think about a greenhouse, eventually.

The second book that popped out to me was “Samurai Battles: Japan’s Warrior Lords In 700 Years of Conflict” by Michael Sharpe. As someone who has an affinity for samurai, and warriors in general, this was a book I wanted to read. The book chronicles the history and eventual demise of the samurai. If anyone’s interested, I’ll review this one.

In other news, “The Minions” (as I’ve taken to calling them) have been growing. Recently, I adopted three new hermit crabs from owners who could no longer care for them. I now have a total of six now. The tank is much more active socially.

With these new recruits, I’ve come to question whether or not wayward influences are involved. I’ve received pinches on several occasions during tank cleaning and handling. Even from previously well-behaved individuals. I suppose it can’t be helped, as crustaceans are a stubborn bunch and often stick together.

Safety protocol will require careful or minimal handling to spare human flesh. Hehe. ^_^

I recently added a new piece of mopani driftwood to their tank, and they really seem to be enjoying it in more than one way.

Wood is high in fiber, thus making the residents a little more regular. This photo is only a small pile compared to the others that have appeared. Mopani driftwood must be tasty…

That’s all the news for now. Be back with more soon. ~ Lynn

Non-Human Senses & Other News

Imagine for a minute that you, a human, could see in the Ultra-Violet spectrum, sense the chemical signals of pheromones, store energy from sunlight, or taste and smell with appendages other than a tongue. A rather alien experience it would be, but then that is exactly my point.

This little thought experiment is an excellent way to show and describe the senses and experiences of alien characters, or alien environments. And luckily, we don’t have to travel light years to get some interesting ideas. They’re right in our backyard.

Birds see in the UV spectrum, and even have polarized vision that aids in migration. Only few humans have actually been able to see in the UV spectrum, and it is largely due to eye damage. Occasionally, it happens to people who’ve undergone cataract surgery.

A good article on animal UV spectrum, and the functions it may serve.

http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/the-artful-brain/alternate_realities  

Pheromones, at least in humans, seem a lot less noticeable than in other species, such as insects. An entire hive or colony is largely controlled by chemical signals. They also communicate a great deal of information through this method, which is probably why there never seems to be a work stoppage in said hive or colony. No unions there. Everyone works themselves until they die.

Luckily, us mammals have it a little easier. Our pheromones are more important when it comes to reproductive status, territorial marking, and sometimes mood.

Reptiles, and to a larger extent, plants, use sunlight to give them energy. A plant can create its own fuel within its own body using the energy from sunlight. Unless your sun was nearing its demise, you’d be set for life.

Reptiles are cold-blooded, therefore needing heat to warm their bodies to an optimum temperature so that they can not only digest their food, but also to fight disease. Instead of getting a fever like a mammal, they have to find just the right basking spot and sit for minutes to hours depending on how hot it is.

Tasting and smelling without the use of a tongue is actually done by many organisms. All manner of invertebrates usually achieve this with pairs of antennae. They are long and whip-like, and even short and stubby, and they are covered with millions of taste/scent receptors. Sometimes they also have bristly hairs growing on them to help catch the scent/taste.

Here’s an article discussing the nervous system an senses of the lobster.

http://www.lobsters.org/tlcbio/biology6.html

In other news…

I need a new writing desk. I had actually bought a used roll-top desk maybe a year ago, but since then realized it needs refinishing. It’s also a bit too large, and very cramped in my apartment. To top that off, refinishing requires that you completely sand the entire thing down to the original wood, and then add a stain or varnish. I have no room to do that here, and I hear it costs quite a bit to pay for it to be done professionally. So, it’s being sold, and I’m still waiting to hear back on one possible offer.

Walmart actually has some nice compact desks that strike my fancy, and the prices aren’t bad either.

Lastly, I have created a sister blog for my artist side of things, where you will be able to see how I do my work and much more. I only have a short intro post so far, but more will be coming soon.

You can check it out at http://pencilsandclay.wordpress.com/

Okay, that’s it for today. Have a good weekend everyone!  Thanks for reading.

~Lynn