Showing posts from 2005



I'm still working on Ambasadora and have been making great progress, especially with Rainer's character. I go through stages where I favor one character over another. Right now it's a dark haired Contractor who's just really self-centered and conceited. You know, the dangerous type women always fall for.

Also, I've been working on a gaming essay. It's either an inspiration for, or in response to, my XBOX Live renewal. I switched tags so I'm starting from level one again. I was reminded of this when out of 16 players in a Big Team Battle, my voice was the lowest in pitch.

This has proven more entertaining than frustrating. Granted, my team has only won 2 of the 5 most recent games, but the chatter is priceless. These kids are hilarious. I did have one guy raise my ire enough to let slip a couple of foul words, but he was a good sport and didn't report me, so no harm done. :)

And, I can't forget Quarry. I've been taking copious notes and a…

Sydney Bristow as a Feminine Hero

I've tried to pattern my own female protagonist a little after Sydney Bristow from Alias because she's one of the few female heroes who has a vulnerable, feminine side and makes no apologies for showing it. (Part of this goes back to a discussion Diana Botsford, Christopher Paul Carey, and I had on the SHU boards this past semester.)

She knows she is just as beautiful in sweats with a ponytail as she is in evening wear and full make-up. She can kick ass better than most men but still cry without shame when she's hurt emotionally. And, she can be deceptive yet still loyal to friends and family.

The biggest flaw I see in Sydney and in many of my own characters? She's no fun. Is that how a hero has to be?

Author: Robert Tinnell


While at the Morgantown Barnes 'n Noble the other night, I met Robert Tinnell, a writer of graphic novels. He was promoting his new book Feast of the Seven Fishes which was a collaboration with artists Ed Piskor and Alex Saviuk.

I told him about the module I was taking at SHU in January with Barry Lyga, which started a conversation about the future of graphic novels and how the WPF program at Seton Hill was taking a progressive step by exploring writing for media other than novels.

He had several of his books for sale, and I ended up with Feast, plus The Living and the Dead and The Black Forest. The last two are pretty dark, but well done.



NO.6 : the red, yellow, and blue flags that greet you at the doorway
NO.5 : the assembly instructions that use pictures instead of words
NO.4 : the room displays that are way cooler than anything you have in your own house
NO.3 : ligonberry juice
NO.2 : watching yuppies trying to load their Saabs with Magicker lights and Amorf rugs
NO.1 : half dozen of cinnamon rolls for $4

PHOTOS: Tom and Heidi Ruby


Inspired by a call from my brother this morning...

Tom and I on a fake Presidential Seal at some museum (Tom picked out that visor himself and wore it everywhere until it got smashed one day.)

Riding a dinosaur at some roadside dive


Getting autographs from Minnie Mouse

Me, Tom, and Julie, his girlfriend, at Disney World this past summer

CELEBRATION: MOON Pennsylvania Camping Is Finished



NO. 1 : Play HALF LIFE 2
NO. 2 : Decorate for THE HOLIDAYS
NO. 3 : Finish RUSS HOWE'S story
NO. 5 : Finish MY novel

I've been staying up most every night for a week, so of course last night I couldn't sleep either. But that turned out to be a good thing as I had lots of ideas to jot down. I have an idea for a short story that was influenced by all those Borderlands stories I read. Very weird shit. My track record isn't so good with short stories so we'll see how this goes.

Also, I had thoughts of poetry last night. Yeah, I know, I'm about as much of a poet as Aeryn Sun. (Only Farscape fans will get that one.) But, I've recently been inspired. The first poem is about dinosaurs and the second is about tree ferns.

Then I had an awesome promotional idea for the guidebook. The publicist dug most of the st…

ACHIEVEMENT: 2000 words a day


I've tried everyday since September 18 to reach that 2000 word a day mark and have failed miserably.

The closest I've ever gotten was around 1500 words, once. I pass the 1000 word mark, no problem. Then something happens between 1000 and 2000 words.

I'm hypothesizing that a forcefield goes up in my brain and allows only distractions to enter, like LJ, the SHU boards, e-mails, hunger, sleepiness. So, what I need is a deflector, something that shields me from the distractions and allows me to write the second 1000 words with the same vigor as the first 1000. When I get a patent on this deflector, I'll send one to each of you.

Word is Robert Sawyer can write 2000 words a day, so I'm thinking he's keeping that deflector design well-hidden. ;)

You better believe you're going to hear about it the first time I hit 2000! I'm working up to it. It's now become a challenge. And I can't back down from a challenge.

Group: Seton Hill WPF Critique Group Fall 2005


After our three hour chat last night I was inspired to post this pic of my critique group from Seton Hill University.

Heidi Ruby Miller, Christopher Paul Carey, Mary SanGiovanni, and Rachael Pruitt

Party: Book Party for Maria V. Snyder


We made it out east to Maytown, PA, for the Poison Study party yesterday, and it was so worth it.

Maria rented this neat little place called The Barn that had a great room with a fireplace (not burning of course as it was 91), a kitchenette, and a sitting area. Upstairs was the kids' area and apparently several stuffed bears. I never made it up there myself, but Jason was impressed. Outside there was a sitting area around a water garden and some beautiful landscaping.

We met many of her friends, family, (Her kids are adorable!) and writers from her group. One writer in particular we talked to most of the time, Steven Klotz. He and J discussed being mainstream and slipstreaming between genres. I talked about my sucky short stories.

I was impressed with the reviews she's received so far. She had them posted for us to read. (Great idea! I'm going to use that one later.) And, I have a copy of the book already. :) I'm going to write a review for Amazon and Barnes &…

Poem: Ode to Farscape


Ode to Farscape

Frelling awesome series!
Aeryn Sun and John Crichton, cutest couple ever crystallized
Rygel, father of hundreds, ruler of billions
Scarrans, they make storm troopers look like kittens
Cult following to rival Buffy's
Anybody else get Jool and Sikozu mixed up?
Please make a feature film, pretty please.
Einstein should have kept that wormhole info. to himself.

Poem: Ode to Han Solo


Here's my Ode to Han Solo in honor of tonight's midnight showing of
Star Wars III. (And, yes, I know he's not in this one, but I'm a
Gen-Xer, so I'm partial to the originals.)

Has a hairy companion
Aversion to carbonite
Nerf herder, according to some

Smuggler who sometimes gets boarded
Owed Jabba a lot of money
Lady Vader's husband
Officer in the Rebel Alliance

Book: Echoes of Earth


Echoes of Earth
by Sean Williams and Shane Dix

There are only two books that I’ve read twice: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Echoes of Earth by Sean Williams and Shane Dix. In the case of Wrinkle, I wanted to see if a childhood favorite would hold the same magic after fifteen years-and, yes, it did-but, for Echoes, it was all about the book’s style.

I don’t know which of these guys deserves credit for the great dialog and likeable characters and which one has the knack for creating interesting places, but the combination of the three left scenes from the book floating in my mind long after I had read them. Since I strive for the memorability factor in my own writing, I dissected a scene to discover what made it so lasting for me.

In Chapter 1.1.9, the protagonist, Peter Alander, visits the second of ten enormous alien-built spindles that surround the planet Adrasteia in the Upsilon Aquarius system, over seventy-two light-years from Earth. The chapter opens with a probl…

BOOK: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel


To start off my new blog, I'll post my required reading journal. The first book is by my current mentor in the Seton Hill WPF Program.

I probably reference this book at least twice a week, mostly because I have issues with setting, or my conspicuous lack thereof. Tom says to establish the setting early and let the reader know where she is before you start into the story specifics. You would think that after writing fourteen chapters I would remember this. The problem is, I’m one of these people he refers to in his Style section who ‘prefers the loose look of watercolors’ as opposed to the ‘precise, realistic lines of pen-and-ink.’

You know what he would say to that?

'The key…is balance.’

Balance also happens to be the first sub-heading in the Setting section, so I suppose that shows its importance. Here he gives the perfect recipe for story advancement:

1. Mix your action, dialog, and description of setting. (the ingredients)
2. Remember to use your passages as instrumen…