August News

I would like to thank all of you who continue to check here for updates.  I know this year has been a bit spotty in the posts, but i plan on changing that. I hope everyone is doing well, and staying safe. I know I’m definately not the only one having a really weird year.

Starting in August there will be the daily Trek post, but i will also be reintroducing Women of History and Writing Wednesday along with some old features.  I also plan a few civic history posts. So there will be a post daily that is a review, plus a sprinkle of a variety of topics. The WOH and the history posts may be here only temporarily. I’m still debating putting those on their own blog solely (and proudly) dedicated to being a history nerd. Depends on fiancies and other factors, as is many things these days.

For those of you new to the blog (or those who want a refresher), here’s a rundown

Writing Wednesday

Starting the first Wednesday of August I will be posting short writing exercises and updates on my writing.  I have not been writing much this year.  As I’m sure is the case with many of you, its been a stressful year overall.  I’m hoping these posts will help me get back into something I love.  I am accepting prompts, if you have a suggestion. Just leave a comment on this post, or any of the writing wednesday posts. I’m also on Twitter.

Women of History

For those of you new to my blog I used to regularly write short essays on various women in history. History is one of my favorite subjects, and I love learning about the women who have shaped our world. I plan on writing one or two posts a month for this. I plan on lengthening my posts for nanowrimo this year, as well. So perhaps for 2021 I will be able to present a book version of this series.

I hope to feature various cultures and be diverse as possible. I have an ongoing selection list but am always glad to add more names if you think there is a woman of history I should feature. The only rule I have at the moment is that it not include women who are currently shaping history. So no Hillary, AOC or Beyonce. Not for a while yet we all hope.

The Rewatch

This started as a fun way to spend my unknown amount in Quarantine. I’m back at work (we only were closed a month) and so i’m not binging my way through it as much as I started. At the moment I have a month of reviews ahead to post and ill try to keep ahead of that. There are over 700 episodes so there is a long way to go. Some days I may post two, particularly on Weekends. I always enjoy comments and once and awhile may live tweet my rewatch.

Bookit

I have taken a pause on writing reviews this year, but dont be surprised if one or two pop up. I’m hoping my Trek reviews will make my book reviews better as well. My goal this year is different as I’m not working towards my normal 50 (I may reinstate that next year) but I’m trying to finally finish some long unfinished books, such as Fiery Cross (the Outlander book the recent season was based on), A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones), Anne of Green Gables, and the newest Hunger Games novels,

History Essays

I used to write random history essays on American government (and early American history as thats what my minor focused on) and also random “This happened today in the past” entries. I plan on starting that again because those were fun, and as with the writing exercises I really want to get back into my writing. Might as well enjoy the material I’m writing about.

On my main page is my past essays, although I still need to go back and catalog some of them. I may revisit some of the topics. I also don’t plan on sticking strictly to US History, although that is my main base of knowledge. Learning about other countries is always fun too. But for the first couple, I’m pretty sure its going to be US bound.

Writing Wednesday (Sunday Edition)

Got a late start this month, so the first Writing Wednesday is going to be on a Sunday. Today’s prompt comes from Writing Exercises, a random generator collection site. I used the random first line generator and got ” He kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder ” Giving myself a 15 minute time span to write and I’m doing it in the blog editor so this is hardly going to be the most proofread story you’ll read today.

 THE STORY:

He kept absolutely still as the footsteps got louder, curling further into the niche in the wall he had found that was just big enough to hold him.  He knew this had been a poor idea, but it had been so long since he had seen Sarah, he had just felt he had to try to respond to her summons. He had made it halfway up the castle before running into any of the guardsmen that roamed it. Luckily he had worn dark clothing and the lighting had been turned down low as it was nearly midnight and most of the inhabitants were asleep. 

“What are we doing?” He jumped, turning to the opposite way of the guards to see Sarah standing there, an eyebrow raised.

“I was trying to see you.” They were going to be caught.

“Miss me then?”  Her mouth turned up slightly in amusement.  He supposed as the oldest daughter of the Regent she wasn’t as afraid of the guards finding them roaming the halls after hours.  

“No,” he said, sarcasm evident.  “I just felt like getting a good aerobic exercise in by hiding from guards.”  She giggled softly at that before turning to walk into the hall.

“Jeremey, Aara, My boyfriend is here, so don’t be alarmed.

“Of course, my lady,”  he heard a rougher voice say.  She pulled him out of the niche and pulled him down the hall past the two guards who gave him amused grins.

“Sarah, your father is going to know.”

“I don’t care, and neither should you,” she stated, continuing to pull him along.  “Father isn’t even here.  Besides, everyone knows I have a relationship with someone.  You act as if this is the middle ages and having someone visit me after 6 is some sort of infringement upon my honor.”  She shook her head as they came to the doorway to her suite, turning to look at him.  “And you have to know that Dad didn’t mean it.”

“I’m pretty sure he did.”  He couldn’t forget the cold look in the eyes of the Regent as he told him what would happen if he was found with Sarah outside public occasions.    Freiderick definately meant every word he said.  “You asked me here.”

“I know.  And you could have gone through the front door and been escorted up rather then sneaking around like you are trying to steal Gemma’s jewels.”

“Your Gemma is scarier then the Regent.  Why would anyone take her jewels?”

“Because they are idiots obsessed with money, or the shiney.” She finally got the door open and the two walked in.  “But that’s beside the point. As much as I missed you, and I did,” she stated with a look in his direction that told him she meant what she said.  He squeezed the hand still attached to his own.”I have something else to discuss with you.  Do you still have contacts with the Visen?”

“Yes,” he answered, puzzled.  As a artisan, he had many contacts across the various political bodies on the planet.  Sarah’s father was the Regent of Ikeva, a mountainous region to the north.  The Visen were located to the south of the continent, where the land was more flat and were more agriculturally based while Ikeva was more mineral and technology based economically.

“Any with political connections?”

“I think, why?”

“I was visiting with the Carens this past week, and got some intel that suggests that they are planning on trying to annex Visen.”

Writing Wednesday (belated)

So, its Friday, not Wednesday but it doesn’t have the same aliteration. Fiction Friday? It could work but sounds more like a recommednation post. Either way, here is my writing exercise for the week.

To explain the context of this bit, I have been working on a novel for years based on the myth(s) of Persephone called Lady of Shadows. It was a more sci-fi/fantasy take on the myths, deciding that the Greek, Norse and Egyptian gods were actually another species of Human that was more advanced and practically immortal. Cronus/Saturn is the leader of an organization called Titans, INC that the rest are fighting against because they are using the business to manipulate and use the regular humans (so Cronus is the big bad). All of his kids other than Zeus are adopted/fostered so Hera/Zeus is not quite as incesterious as it is in the myths, and neither is Persephone/Hades. So this challenge is me trying to explain the family dynamics.

 Challenge: 15 minutes, scene from one of my novel WIPS.

Hades pinched the bridge of his nose, attempting to stave off the oncoming headache that often accompanied dealing with his younger foster brother.  He loved Zeus, he really did, but Zeus was at times hard to handle.  He supposed it was better that he was there rather then then Posiedon who frankly rarely had the patience.   Posiedon had the shortest fuse of the family, which is probably why Zeus went to Hades rather then the other.

Their family was complicated.  Cronus and Rhia had only one biological child, and that was Zeus.  They had struggled to have children for years, opting eventually to foster and adopt to fulfill Rhia’s desire to be a mother. Whether Cronus wanted to be a father was less certian but for all his sins, he loved his wife.  He was largely out of the picture, prefering the children barely seen and not heard, although he liked to show of Zeus when he was younger till Zeus figured out the type of man he was and rebelled.

Hades had been the first son, but the fourth taken in.  When he arrived he gained an older sister in Hestia who was never happier then when she was caring for someone.  She was his favorite sister still, partially because she was the one to try and connect to him first when he arrived and partially because they were the two with the most patience and even temper.  Then there was Ceres, who was almost as dramatic as Zeus was when he was upset.  She wasn’t quite as oblvious, however, and actually could tell when he was on people’s last nerves.

Hera had been his age, and sometimes people had mistaken then for twins.  They had a simular look…dark hair and eyes.  But while Hades had been more introverted, Hera was an extrovert.  She had ambition enough for them all, and often the skills to back up anything she did.  She did however have a temper to rival Poseidon.  

Hera had left the house as soon as she was old enough, out to case her dreams.  She kept in contact with Hestia and Hades, but not so much with the others.  Zeus had been only a baby when she left, and didn’t have the same sibling bond he had with others.  He had been surprised but not shocked when it turned out his baby brother had a crush on the driven sister.  She was more like a family friend then a sibling to zeus.

He had been more surprised however, when it turned out Hera had returned the interest.

Writing Wednesday

Prompt: Alien race sees Earth for the first time (15 minute writing)

Story:

Grrr stared out the window at the small planet they had come across. It had been awhile since they had spotted lifeforms at this stage of development and the Fenfrew had decided it wanted to observe. So far the observations had not been too pleasing.

For one thing, the planet was mostly water. So, it seemed, were the lifeforms. Water was necessary, but for a Frew, this seemed the unlikest of planets for it to form. Mars, although lacking in a necessary atmosphere, appeared more to their liking.

Yet life had persevered. The beings seemed to quite enjoy the water. It seemed to be used as both nourishment and entertainment. They used it to provide hygiene. The sentient species – or at least the most numerous, were almost hairless. The variety of ways they dealt with this phenomenon, well, varied greatly. They seemed to exist in all temperatures and climate zones. Frankly, Grr preferred the cool of space, so it baffled Xim as to how the beings on this planet regularly enjoyed extreme temperatures.

The planet was not inhabitable, at least not by the Frew. It was surprising to find out any life could be sustained on it, but it was full of it, and would require much more study. Frankly, Grr was curious as to understanding the peculiarities of this planet, but Xe was glad he was not on the team that would stay and observe.

Rynli, a grey pelt, joined him in the observation room. Xe scanned the monitors before speaking.

“Their atmosphere might be more to our liking in a few decades”

Writing Wednesday!

I am starting a new recurring post series called Writing Wednesday, which as you can imagine is a writing exercise I will undertake every wednesday. For now, I am using This Blog as a prompt giver, but I do accept prompts in the comment sections. I can’t guarantee I’ll use all of them, but if you have a prompt you would like to see me use, feel free to give it.

I’ll take the prompt and write it directly into the blog. Sometimes I may give myself a time limit (Today’s is 15 minutes) to tell the story. Today’s story is probably scientifically unsound, but I wrote it in 15ish minutes and no time for prep like research. Also hasn’t been edited beyond basic listening to the spell check.

Prompt: You look up in the sky and think that you’re seeing things for a moment. But you’re not. There are two moons above you.

Story (507 words):

 Krysta opened her eyes slowly.  The ache in her head was slight but still present.  The room however was not well lit, the only light coming from the window where moonlight filtered in.  Blinking she looked around the room, trying to access where she was.  It was unfamiliar to her.  The walls were made of thick stone,  although she couldn’t be certain in this lighting. The only decoration was the curtains, which moved with the slight breeze entering through the window.

She sat up in her bed, moving to get up and walk to the window.  The bed was surprisingly large, with four tall posts at the corners. The covers were thick, and as she removed them, the air felt colder on her exposed body.  She definately wasn’t in California anymore, where the temperatures had rarely gone under 80 the past week.   THe bed was also high, her legs not reaching the floor when she sat on the edge.   

She slid to the floor, flinching at the cold of the hardwood, and made her way to the window.  Her window looked over an ocean, a rocky shore in the mid-distance.  The waves crashed against the rocks, and she could hear the distant sounds of the movement.  There was nothing however to tell her where she was.  

It was then that she looked up at the moon and found it to be different then she had ever seen it.  For one, there were two moons in the sky, one the size that she was used to, and another far closer far larger. 

“Ah, you are awake.”  She turned around, surprised by the appearance of another person.  “I apologise for startling you.  It is not often we have guests here.”  She frowned – how did that effect surprising people.  She went to ask but found herself without her voice.  The man standing the doorway looked at her in concern, and then sympathy.  “It will return,” he assured her.  “The method of travel is safe, but it does take some time to recover.  We haven’t quite figured out why it affects your people’s vocal cords, but it seems not to linger too long.”  He placed a tray on a table she hadn’t noticed before in the corner near the door beside the bed.  

“I’ve brought you some food.  Keeping your strength up with help you adapt more quickly.” 

Adapt to what?” She thought. 

“Adapt to the planet’s differences.”  He glanced over at her and caught her wildeyed look.  “No one explained this to you?”  She shook her head.

“Despicable.” he muttered under his breath.  “You have been taken to Laroux, a planet about 15 light years away from your home planet,”  he continued in a louder voice.  “For the most part, Laroux is not much different than Earth, but it has a higher gravity, two moons which of course cause more radical tides, and a longer day.  It won’t take long to adapt.  Most of what you have to recover from is the stasis you were put in for the journey.

Camp Nano Mid-way Update

The halfway mark for Camp Nano: July 2018 edition has arrived.  Word count wise I’m doing good, with an expected (according to them) end date of the 26th.  However, in actually accomplished projects I’m not doing as well.  I’ve been writing my blog posts which accounts for much of my word count, as well as some shorter stories that have come to mind.  However I had two projects I wanted to complete this month that have yet to be completed.

One is a multi-chapter fanfiction that I’ve been working on several years now (2012) and its starting to get a little ridiculous that I haven’t finished it yet.  Especially as I have several chapters mostly written.    However on the other hand its been one of my more popular works in fanfiction so perhaps the long time working on it paid off.

I also had a project from April where I had 30 songs that I was going to translate into writing prompts.  I have yet to work on this at all.

Mostly I think it’s an issue of time management, which I’m apparently bad at, but also inspiration.  There are some days where just nothing will come out (which ends up being the days I get more work done on my essay series for this blog.

I’m hoping that when I give my end of month update I’ll have a lot better news to share.  I plan on trying to manage my time a little bit better and getting the stories done I wanted to get done.  I also plan on finishing some of the essays that I have that are left incomplete – including one WOH essay that was meant to be posted over a week ago.

I’ll be posting the end-of-Nano post on the 30th.  Not actually the last day (as July has 31 days) but it’s the last posting day for this blog for July.

Disclaimers Discussion

Recently I came across a social media post that had a screenshot of a conversation about the history of disclaimers.  It made me want to revisit the topic, which I wrote about during my Fanfic Primer series.  A Disclaimer, traditionally, has been a notice on any piece of fan-made media that explains that the content is based on someone else’s creative property and the creator of this media is not out to make money on it.   When I first started writing in middle school, everything had a disclaimer.  It was common practice particularly on fanfic.  Culturally, fanfic had not quite made it as a true expression.  People still saw it as plagiarism, and an attempt to use someone else’s creativity instead of your own.

The amount of conversations I had with people who asked me when I was going to start to write something real was high.

There was also a fear of getting punished for your fanish endeavours in your public life.  Fanfic archives were password protected at times, and disclaimers could be lengthy.  Some creators of the original content *would* at that time pursue fan-content makers.  Anne Rice in particular had a history with prosecuting fanfiction writers.  Fanfiction.net won’t allow fanfiction based on her works, and authors of content from that time have found themselves sent cease-and-desist letters, or further.   Anne McCaffrey, an author I love had the opinon that having others play with her characters would be hard to keep seperate, so she made a forum for the fanfic and allowed it no where else.  Whether or not that kept her from actually seeing it, I’m not sure.  I haven’t participated on that forum in many years, so I also don’t know if they have loosened up on that since her death.

I feel disclaimers are important for a multitude of reasons.  Historically they protected people (or at least attempted to) from being accused of trying to make money off of someone else’s intellectual property.  But it was also a place to show that you acknowledge you are taking some leads from other sources. This is where I think it is still important.  While places like Archive of Our Own, and general culture have given fanfic more respect as a medium, an author should still acknowledge the author of source material.  Any source material.  This is why I am glad that AO3 has allowed author notes sections where I can credit any other sources outside the main one I tagged as well as thank any betas/helpers that helped out.

Fanfic itself is not only for free anymore as well.  If you go on Amazon and type in Pride and Prejudice you can find hundreds of variations and adaptations to the classic novel.  Some are free on Kindle Unlimited, others are not. Other older books are simular.  However, the balk of fanfiction is made by people who either want to play in universe that they love, or want to see where the story go go.

So while a debate can exsit on whether disclaimers are necessarily needed when its clear contextually that its a fanfic, I think they are important to keep at least in theory.  It can be used in a author’s note, or a full traditional disclaimer.

What do you think about disclaimers?

Camp Nano Roundup & May Looking Forward

So its May, which means Camp Nano is over at least for a little bit.  The next camp Nano is in July.  I started the month with a goal  30,000 words. Unfortunately I ended up taking my goal down to 15,000 after I spent half the month sick or otherwise unable to write.

On the bright side, I did in fact meet that goal. I got a little over 17,000 words for the month and a couple of chapters finished and waiting for posting which was part of my goal.  I did not finish any of my stories or the song drabble prompt series but that’s okay.  Camp Nano is just about trying, so I don’t feel quite so bad about not meeting all of my goals.

I plan on using May to try to finish the WIPS I listed for my April goal, but I have no word count goals or anything like that.  Also I will be starting to plan my November project, getting the research/pre-writing done before the month begins.  It will make Nano a lot smoother.

There is no theme for my May posts, and I’m still planning out the month.  I do know that friday I will be posting the Women of History series, focused on Mexican women of history since its Cinco de Mayo this month.  In the US it’s a day celebrating Mexican-American culture, although in Mexico its a military observance day celebrating the battle of Puebla that occurred on May 5, 1862.

There will also be some book reviews, although I haven’t finished any recently so it will be as I read them rather than a back log of reviews.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Spring.