Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vintage Key Duplicator

So it's been forever. This is for a number of reasons. None of which I'm going to disclose. I have like EIGHT followers! I doubt anyone has been waiting with bated breath.

We've been going through the lockshop and guess what we found? Lots of vintage, gadgety stuff. Here is a photo of an old key-making machine. Personally, I find it way cooler than all the automatic stuff we have now. Still, progression is usually good. Just not as aesthetically pleasing all the time.

The light's my favorite part.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Being a Homicidal Maniac...I mean...Writer.

The lone typewriter. The writer's sanctuary. A cup of pencils for editing, plenty of paper, a pack of cigarettes, an ash tray, and the most peaceful atmosphere you can imagine. Isolation. Pure, wonderful isolation. Dim lights. A thick wooden desk. Quiet. Silence. No hustle and bustle or sound of traffic. Just a typewriter, a desk, a chair and you with your brilliant ideas.
Suddenly, your silence is shattered. It could be anyone. A loved one, probably. Someone who has been rooting for you. Someone who wants you to be published and succeed at this finicky, difficult art. You want to be receptive to them. Still...they've interrupted you. They've managed to destroy your concentration. You try to be patient. They ask you something ridiculously asinine, like, "Get a lot of writing done?" or maybe they bring up the weather like you're supposed to care. You answer with monosyllabic replies, trying hard to get them to see that you need to be left alone. By the end of the conversation, you bite their head clean off their shoulders. You tried. Non-writers simply don't understand writers.
It's not finished yet, but you leave it behind to get something to eat or take a short walk. Maybe throw a tennis ball against the wall. It's delicate right now. Not what you would consider "good" by any stretch of the imagination. It's tender and raw, like an opened wound. Lo and behold, they look at it in its worst form. Pre-revision...pre-edit...they hit you at your most vulnerable simply because of their ignorant, idle curiosity. How could they? You weren't ready yet! It's like someone peering over your shoulder at a coffee shop. Or maybe even looking up your skirt or going through your underwear drawer.
So of course, like the writer you are, you handle the situation accordingly. With love, patience and understanding. Just because you're vulnerable, preparing to query and at your lowest point before possible success...that doesn't mean you're going to take it out on the people you love the most.

Peace out. Be gone a week in isolation in Utah so I can work on the query letter and try to accomplish something without other distractions. Writing in isolation can be productive...and scary. >:)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Awkward yet charming?

I'm figuring out a Steampunk outfit. Bonnie Hearn Hill got me a jacket for being a finisher. (I need to do her justice by getting a query letter out there, by jove.) It's the jacket I listed in the last blog. Excuse me for only addressing fashion lately. That's just what I've been into.

Here is an awkward picture of me in front of my closet mirror with a messy room behind me. I'm not sure why I'm posing like that...but hey. There you go. The jeans aren't my favorite part of it, although they do have some neat zippers you can't see. The boots are Target, the top hat was a gift from my cousin and sister from years past, long before I discovered this genre. (Organic writing.) I'm wearing a corset I actually purchased from Charlotte Russe, who just happened to have a load of them for sale. Kind of funny timing, but I suppose we are coming up on Halloween, where there will be tons of pirate wenches, slutty barmaids, vampire queens and dominatrixes. Or dominatrixen?

Anyway, like I said. Terrible pictures, especially since they're taken with an ancient Blackberry. [I'm in desperate need of a new phone but being an adult is expensive, it turns out.] But I've decided to record my Steampunk fashion progress. It can be an expensive genre to try and dress for! Sheesh. But so fun. And complimentary! Corsets do wonders for the figure. Whoduh thunk? Haha.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Clothes, clothes, clothes.

Bonnie introduced me to Pyramid clothing. They specialize in a lot of Gothic stuff. It's pretty cool, most of it. They also do STEAMPUNK. Ow, ow, ow.


The link is there. Here is a super lame MS paint copy and paste of what they do. So kewl.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Everybody has to have a weird pair of glasses on their head at some point.

It's true. That plaid-wearing fool to the right is me. That's part of my job, to wear those. Many an individual has come in and chortled, especially since I wear them over my original spectacles. The fact of the matter is that I'm officially a locksmith, but also still training. As soon as I feel like I'm really good at it, I'm going to get an antique key tattooed onto my rib area, which will hurt like a bastard and be widely viewed as unnecessary, but nothin' doin' to somebody who already has three.
I apologize for being away. I just purchased a new house and have been dealing with lots of work, lots of revising, lots of moving, lots of cleaning and interior decorating and lots and LOTS of self-evaluation. Prioritizing.
I'm not going to talk long, as I don't have anything incredibly interesting to talk about and the last thing I want is to make this blog a Me-Me exhibit. But, I will say that being a writer is definitely a full-time job and I hope to be free enough to handle it someday. I'm also searching for the Mad Hatter to my March Hare. (You know. A dude.) I've been sitting at this mad tea party solo for far too long. I'm hoping publication will open some doors, as I tend to spend my 8 hour work day around 21 year olds and 45-60 year olds. See, I'm somewhere in the middle of that, so it's not exactly helpful. Anyway, if you've seen the guy to the left there, let me know. He's got a tea party he needs to get to. Pronto.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ode to Severus Snape

Spoiler Alert: If you do live under a rock and are just now re-emerging to experience the fantasy masterpiece that is Harry Potter, then don't read this because it's a hell of a spoiler to one of the deepest parts of the whole series. You know...just covering my bases here.

It had been my theory for a long time that Snape was a good guy. I think it was obvious to a lot of people who counted themselves in with the Harry Potter following. He was too easily disliked to be a bad guy.

He emerged as one of the best righthand men ever. Also one of the most devoted lovers. The root of his love for Lily Potter was deep and impossible to destroy, even when he failed romantically and was forced to surrender her to somebody he despised. One of the most tragic parts of his whole persona was the fact that he led to his own downfall when he elected to join the Death Eaters. And yet, every human being on the planet can be accused of following the wrong crowd at a certain point in his or her life. Snape was only of these, who would end up turning back to Albus Dumbledore and becoming one of the most invaluable allies Harry Potter had.
My biggest fear in watching this final movie was that it would cheapen Severus' death and value. Sometimes when book movies are trying to cover all of their bases, they skip over the parts we personally hold on a pedestal.

I was not disappointed, however, and I am one of the harshest cinematic critics I know, especially when it comes to literary movies. The theater was silent as we were given a touching flashback to Severus' painful history. How much he suffered, how little he was rewarded and the intensity of his loyalty to Dumbledore even after the failure in protecting Lily Potter. Also, how he had to begrudgingly protect Harry, who resembled James even more than Lily. Harry, who represented Severus' painful shortcomings and served as a reminder that Servus A.) Did NOT get the girl B.) Chose the wrong side and C.) Will have to act as a malicious, dark, oily worm when he's really one of the bravest allies Harry has had.

So complete was Severus' painful act of protection and allegiance that he was forced to destroy the very man who was his leader. More so, he had to act as an ally to the villain who murdered his purest love.

J.K. Rowling weaved a beautiful character in Severus Snape. I could only someday hope to mimic that perfection the slightest bit in my own work. He's my favorite character in the Harry Potter series because of his complexity and how fiercely JK herself knew him inside and out. He is more proof that characters make good fiction.

RIP Severus. You did not die in vain, my friend. And kudos to Alan Rickman for doing a brilliant job. I wept more during his movie moments than any of the others.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Life is exciting when you're a writer. Monday comes around and even if you dread your Joe job (if you have a Joe job and haven't "made it" yet), you've got a whole other world in your brain. Even non-fiction, you're weaving. You're an artist! Life is good!
Of course, being a writer comes with angst, desperation, frustration and unyielding persistence. But still. We are a strange people. We dwell in the quiet because our minds are loud. We like our books to be the center of attention but we don't necessarily want the same things for ourselves. We are comfortable with silence and uncomfortable with constant banter. It's like trying to think of a melody when somebody else is singing REO Speedwagon really loudly in your ear. Almost impossible. In order for the dialogues, scenery and description to commence within our brains, the real world needs to settle down and let us think for just one moment.
On this Monday morning, I am full of ideas. Granted, I've been full of ideas since I can remember. But today, I'm overflowing with ambition linked with these ideas. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that publication is imminent. I will not rest until this Steampunk creature I've bolted together in the laboratory has some electricity put into it and it rises up off the table and starts to walk around and torment people as it's tormented me for so long. (In a good way.)
I hope you feel the same way about your work. Or, if you're already successful, that you felt that way as you were marching through the gates, holding up your manuscript and shouting, "IT'S ALIIIIIIVE!"

Friday, June 17, 2011


I went to Nordstrom Rack tonight. I have to confess that I usually despise shopping. However, there was pizza involved. I ended up finding lots of cool shoes that sort of reminded me of Steampunk.

Some guy came up behind me while I was crouched with my camera poised and asked, "Are you taking pictures of shoes?!" I answered with, "Sure!" and kept taking. I think it really threw him for a loop and astounded him, which in turn astounded me because I don't know what's so strange about it. I think my true agenda was stranger than what could have been assumed. I might have been asking somebody's opinion or trying to decide which shoe looked good with an outfit I had at home. Alas, he was male, meaning that the concept of planning such things and dealing with complex color schemes, seasons and temperatures is completely beyond him. Even me, a female who abhors shopping and has simple wardrobes understands the need to coordinate. But that's another post for another blog at another time.

I stand by my belief that Steampunk is hitting the mainstream a little bit at a time. "Cowboys and Aliens" has the potential to be amazing or extremely suckish. As I've said before, I believe that fashion is beginning to take notice of it more and more. Nothing is sexier than a man in a frock coat with a top hat and a subtly placed tattoo or earring. (Or old-timey gun. Or brass cane with a doodad. Or dark glasses.) Likewise, Steampunk can be complimentary to any female figure. Come on, it's got corsets! What can be more thinning and yet voluptuous-ing than that? Not to mention the fact that it's juuuuust sensual enough to hint but not slutty enough to leave nothing up to the imagination. In other words, it flatters everybody. Even the loyal moralist.

Anyway, enjoy the shoes. You may or may not agree with my belief that they have an edgy vintage twist. I was a fan. At any rate, I know that when (WHEN, not if) I get my book published, I can definitely wear the fashion without having to buy expensive "Steampunk" attire on random websites. I can be creative. And that aint not bad.

Love me violently.

Writing Y.A. means a couple of things. One? You gotta have romance. Why? Well, to begin with, kids' hormones are going haywire and you have to appeal to their coming-of-age with the whole sexuality thing. Besides, all of us have that adolescent inside of us, wanting to meet an interesting new boy/girl who is edgy and misunderstood. Twilight capitalized on this for crying out loud.

I am not a good romance writer, mostly because I have my own androgyny issues to deal with. (See profile picture.) However, I am a romantic at heart and I do like a boys a great deal more than girls (even as friends). So my problem is keying into my fascination with relationships and combining it with my firm belief that friendships blossom into compelling romantic relationships if done the right way. Friends see each other as equals far more than lovers. And you don't have that messy obsession factor or the problem of adoration, which pretty much irks me to death. At the same time, I personally need to be careful because the characters must be accessible to the teenage mind, therefore making them accessible to adult minds as well. (We've all been there.) I remember getting unbelievably excited reading that Harry and Ginny were going to be together. And I was in college then.

As I learned in my critique group with Bonnie Hearn Hill (she's amazing), the best sexual tension emanates from conflict. The boy and the girl fight and battle. Not to the point where it's unrealistic that they'd be together, but rather that fascinating dynamic that comes from two people who enjoy locking horns. I mean to capture that. I hope I do.

Happy writing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The joy of humility.

As soon as I can figure out Blogger, I think we'll be underway. For some reason, it's completely conquering me. I am not smarter than it. I click on things and they lead nowhere. I feel like I'm 95 and trying to use an iphone or something. Instead, I'm 26 and can't use a simple blogger utilized by 13 year olds for their intense web logging of the Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber romance.

Alas, thus is life. Humility through frustration.

In other news, I am doing well with my current writing project. (My first legitimate one.) I hope to have the chapters the way I want them by the end of the summer. The critique group has given some precious criticism. I'm talking...good stuff. If you would have told me even a year ago that my book would be here, I wouldn't have believed it. It has a genre, an age group and even a thick cast of characters who are quickly becoming my alter-egos. I can't get them off my mind and that's a good thing.

My newest goal is to get some followers on this thing so that I don't feel like I'm talking at an abyss of nothing. We writers need readers, after all. They are the heart that keeps our blood pumping.

To my three followers, thank you for reading. As soon as I can figure out how to tell who you are, I'll follow you as well. I'm pretty sure all three of you are family (I know at least 2 out of the 3 are) but thank you anyway. We'll build this thing if it takes all summer!

Happy writing!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Au Natural

Tools! Never mind what they're used for. It's far less interesting than their appearance. The guy in the center is known as a "spinner wrench" in the locksmith industry but we enjoy calling it a "Klingon" because my older supervisor is reminded of a Klingon Bird of Prey. It looks nothing like that, mind you, but he's really not much of a science fiction buff. I think it's important to find inspiration in your job before you're a successful author and can proudly make your living off of your true passion. Locksmithing found me, actually. I was working as a student assistant and the lead locksmith approached me and asked, "Hey. You want to be a locksmith?" Of course, being a female, nobody had ever approached me and asked me if I wanted to enter a skilled trade before. Come to think of it, I don't know how many people in general are approached to join a skilled trade. I assented because it sounded awesome and I had nowhere to go until I was published. At this point I was writing a kindergartner's version of Tolkien with lots of fairies, mystical beasts and epic journeys. You know how that always ends up. The crappiest end battle scene of all time because only 5% of the writing population can write a good battle scene without boring the most ardent military enthusiast to tears.

My aunt is currently on her way to finding representation for her YA issue fiction and she found her inspiration working in social work. Likewise, my cousin is an attorney and writing murder mysteries. My other cousin enjoys writing fantasy for the younger crowd and is a substitute teacher. Of course, this isn't out of left field. We all have interests outside of writing and these are reflected in our chosen genres. In my writing critique group, we call this "organic". You can smell an unnatural piece a mile away. It's forced, choppy and contrived. Sometimes when adults try to write YA, it ends up looking like an elderly person in a sideways hat throwing up a hang-loose sign.

It's taken me a long time to discover my niche and even now I'm coming to terms with the fact that I just can't write some stuff. The martial arts background helps with hand-to-hand combat scenes but I'll have to take a freaking class before I can really pound out a publishable epic battle scene. It's okay to pursue progress in weaker areas but for the most part, we writers need to stick with what we're good at. In my case, it's character development, neat settings and gadgets with magical energy sources. If I ever try to write an issue book, it'll end up looking like Dennis the Menace with an attitude problem because I've never been around adolescents who have substantial "issues" as it were. If I tackle mystery, you'll know who did it before I would because I'm usually the last person to figure it out in Scooby Doo even. As for writing fantasy for the kids, they'd all end up sounding like Stewie from Family Guy, and that's probably not such a good idea for the 10+ crowd.

Keep writing!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Duct Tape Top Hat

My cousin is a sixth grade teacher at a Catholic elementary school and one of her students is in the business of making duct tape items. She asked him to craft me a top hat and I can honestly say that it's one of the best things ever.

I'm not the only one who has asked him for one either. I see a lot of adolescents and teenagers walking around in fedoras, which I find interesting.

For now, I'll leave you to marvel at the artistic and creative skills of a sixth grader. Later, I think I'm going to discuss our world's current fascination with fusions and why this could be a very good thing for Steampunk in general. If the kids are wearing fedoras right now, why not top hats later?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Snarky Intro.

Being a locksmith is an incredibly inspirational occupation for somebody who retires to her Steampunk cave at night. I'll have to post pictures of actual locksmithing tools later on when I'm at work. It's pretty ridiculous how copper punk they are.

Currently, I'm working on the first of a 3 book Steampunk series. It's coming along, I think. I suppose I won't know until it's out there in the great abyss and it either makes it or it doesn't. The good thing is that I'm not bored by it, which can happen to me when I've been writing on something for a long while. The key, as always, is characters. I can give them as many neat made-up weapons and corsets as I want, if they're not well-rounded then you and I both are going to be bored out of our skulls.

For you video game players out there, don't forget one of the original SP heroines. Lucca the robot fixer. Chrono Trigger 4-EVER!