Lists & Liebsters

A while ago I got tagged for a Liebster award by Story and Somnomancy. The scope of it is you give a shout out to newer bloggers or older bloggers who seem to be flying under the radar, as a way of promoting them and bringing bloggers together. I intended on doing this sooner but I got distracted. Then I was reminded about it when I won the Rafflecopter Giveaway hosted at Story and Somnomancy of the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. It’s an anthology of middle grade science fiction which features a story of her own. “Robot Sister Number Phi” tells the tale of a girl trying to replace her own sister with a robot.

Now, I know some bloggers don’t do these type of awards. We all know the best blog award one can ask for are readers and visitors, and I agree with that, but this one features lists and I have a weakness for lists. So, let’s give this a go!

liebster

Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.

2. Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.

5. Come up with 11 questions for your nominees.

The Random Facts

1. No matter the type of coffee I’m drinking, I prefer it with a few drops of milk.

2. Even though I love both reading and writing, sitting down to do either of the two is always hard.

3. I used to love sugar and used it with everything, but recently (read: the past year or so) I’ve been avoiding it. Which doesn’t mean I don’t use it, but for example instead of using 2 teaspoons of sugar with my coffee I now use just a fragment of a teaspoon, if I use any at all.

4. I hate sorting music files. I hate it so much that even though I have my music on the cell and the computer, I tend to just play a radio instead of playing my music (which is clearly outdated and could use some spring cleaning).

5. I’m very easily distracted no matter what I’m doing.

6. I hate crowds in general, which also means that I do not particularly enjoy holidays and family gatherings. Thank goodness there’s food and drinks to get me through those.

7. I enjoy swimming and I like watching basketball, handball, and volleyball; but otherwise I’m not a huge sports fan (read: I don’t mind watching sports, just in most cases I’d rather watch a tv series as things tend to happen there).

8. I try to use clothes as long as possible, mostly because I hate shopping and I hate changing appearances. If a piece of attire is in a good state, still fits on me, and it’s good for the weather outside, why the hell do I need to waste money on buying a new one?

9. I’ve always been rather short and skinny for a guy from my generation, till 2014 when I got somewhat chubby. Which resulted in a huge self-esteem drop because apparently a guy with a tummy and moobs is the perfect start for a joke.

10. I always try to do things on my own, even if it means consulting with Youtube tutorials more than with actual other people.

11. A few years back I had a temporary allergy or skin issue of some kind. Whenever I’d be exposed to the sun too long or I’d do some exercise and I’d start sweating, I’d get a ridiculous red rash over my chest. Never got around to testing what exactly caused it. But eventually it stopped so yeah.

The Answers

1. If you can assign a theme song to your favorite book, what would the theme song be?

My favorite book tends to change just as much as my mood, and currently that would be George Orwell’s 1984. I think Gary Jules’s and Michael Andrews’ cover of Mad World would be a fitting theme for it.

2. What was the most recent book that’s made you grin like a giddy schoolgirl/boy?

That would The Thing on the Doorstep by H. P. Lovecraft, but mostly because I had been hoping to read it for a while and it finally ended up in my hands.

3. What types of books do you normally read?

I’m in love with horror as a genre, but most books I read tend to lean toward fantasy. Anything that goes beyond this ordinary world, but preferably something that avoids common themes (love triangles, the funny friend, the friend love interest, etc.). I like when my books surprise me, when it features something I wouldn’t have expected. There’s little enjoyment about reading the third page if I know what will be there after I’ve read the first page.

4. What author do you get excited over when a new release has been announced?

I’ll be ridiculously excited when I hear George RR Martin’s release of a new book has been announced, but in general I’m mostly excited about new releases by Neil Gaiman.

5. If you hosted a tea party, which book characters would you like to have sitting at your table?

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, it’s a tea party so there’s no one better for it. But also Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, maybe Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. I’ll leave it at that because as mentioned previously I’m that big about crowds.

6. Any books that have made you angry lately?

Not that I remember.

7. Do you fully read book reviews before or after you’ve finished the book?

I like skimming reviews beforehand, especially if I’m not sure which book to read next. Sometimes I read whole reviews after I’ve finished a book, but usually not before so I can avoid spoilers.

8. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I’m currently in between books, but I have the following books lined up for next: Premium Harmony by Stephen King, Aesop’s Fables translated by George Tyler Townsend, and Alone (part of the The Girl in the Box series) by Robert J. Crane.

9. What book would you like to see adapted in a different medium (graphic novel, game, movie, anime, TV series, etc.)?

I would love to see various series, such as A Song of Ice and Fire and even Harry Potter, turned into anime.

10. Do you have any other geeky hobbies besides reading?

Would playing video games be considered geeky? I do some amateur writing, that’s quite geeky. I enjoying taking photos but I haven’t had the tools to do that in a while so I’ve grown distant to it. Nowadays I prefer editing images digitally.

11. Zombies or unicorns?

Zombies. I love unicorns, but not as much as I love me a good old dead no-brain human. Plus zombies keep others away so I could put a few in my yard. Can’t do that with unicorns, it would draw too much attention and would bring everyone and their mother to my garden.

The Nominees

So it shouldn’t be a secret but I haven’t been around that much lately so I’m sadly at a lack of folks to nominate here. It was one of the reasons I delayed posting this. Thus if anyone wants to do this, leave a comment and I’ll add a link to your blog up here. Otherwise I’m nominating whoever reads this!

An Adventure in NaNoWriMo

The Book Review Directory

Eric Schlehlein

Write Me a Book, John!

YadaDarcyYada

Daily (w)rite

Poems & Poemes

Storyshucker

SinghCircle

Sidekick Reviews

The Questions

1. How do you pick what book you” be reading next?

2. Do you have any books that have surprised you — whether you were expecting them to be good and they weren’t, or you were expecting them to be bad and they weren’t?

3. Are there any movies or TV series you’ve seen merely because you enjoyed the books the story is based on?

4. Do you have a least favorite or a favorite book-to-other-medium adaptation?

5. You need to pick yourself a partner and a best friend from the pool of fiction characters. Who will they be?

6. What’s the one thing that stands out to you the most when browsing books (covers, titles, description, etc.)?

7. A new system’s being put in place that ensures every person reads at least one book in their lifetime. You get to make the book choice, which one will it be?

8. What’s the last book you read in a single sitting?

9. What do you like doing when you’re not reading?

10. If you could adapt one book into a different medium, what book would that be and in what medium?

11. A Harpy or a Gorgon?

22 Days of NaNoWriMo

What comes after 7 Days of NaNoWriMo and 14 Days of NaNoWriMo? Well of course, 21 days! Except apparently I can’t math and just now I realized 4×7=28 while I’m aiming at 30, so I’ll be doing 8 days for the last two weeks. I do sincerely hope that anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo is making great progress and their story is getting along well!

  • Day #15: We’re JUST HALFWAY through the month?!

Usually you’d be the first person to look on the bright say and think “hey you’ve made it through half of it!” but you’re so tired all you can think is “ugh I have to do this for the same amount of time I’ve been doing it till now” and that’s a painful thought.

  • Day #16: Remain calm, don’t panic, and keep writing. Okay, maybe panic a little but definitely keep writing.

Pushing yourself to do something every single day, no matter what it is, is going to be troublesome. And the best way to get through any problem is to keep your head cold and keep trying.

  • Day #17: The weekend starts today, you can do this if you put your mind to it, right?

Just think of the wonderful feeling once you’re done, that majestic sensation should keep you motivated! There’s still time even if you’ve fallen behind. No plan was ever straightforward, they all have their setbacks so you just have to go beyond yours.

  • Day #18: Who am I kidding, if I was using my brain I wasn’t even going to start this in the first place.

At this point you realize you’re fighting against every little atom in your whole body whenever you attempt to sit down and write. Any motivation and hope you gave yourself the previous day have already left the premises before you woke up. It’s like there’s an evil Santa visiting you every night and stealing all your positive thoughts so you’re forced to regain them on your own every morning. Or is this all just a game and you’re always restarted to the first level?

  • Day #19: Argh where did my weekend go?!

Does the whole world turn against you whenever you decide to do this? Because it sure feels that way. At this point you’re not even sad, more like frustrated and angry and you want to go set things on fire (but not really).

  • Day #20: Another freaking Monday… I’ve had it with this thing.

The more you try to push yourself away from it, the harder it hits you when you finally come back to it. No matter what you’ve started writing, you’ll have to finish it.

  • Day #21: Okay, ten more days and you’re done. Kind of… Just keep writing dammit.

If a head could fall from one’s shoulders due to stress and frustration, you’re fairly sure yours would be rolling on the floor right now. But thankfully that could only happen in fiction. Which reminds you… What are you doing and why aren’t you freaking writing?!

  • Day #22: Just 1 week left! Okay, almost. But almost is good enough, right? Right?!

You’re nowhere near as smug as Matthew McConaughey, but you feel you should be. Both because of what you’ve written so far and because you’re almost close to the finish line. Give yourself some credit, because others likely won’t do that. The best way to reassure yourself you can make it through this month is if you look back at what you’ve managed to do so far.

The Noble Order of Time

                  Art by VirginIron on DeviantArt


At a round table sit three highly skilled knights,

Their weapons, although different, are often intertwined.

The first knight carries a heavy broad axe,

With a slow swing but extraordinarily strong.

The second knight carries a longsword,

He has a lighter swing but his reach is quite long.

The third knight carries a fencing sword,

Which has a pointy sharp end that can do no wrong.

Sometimes their hits are as high as they can go,

Other times they deal the lowest possible blow.

When the weapons clash with each other,

You can see parries, or blocks if you’d rather.

Yet no matter the striking they do among themselves,

The mighty knights are just people’s hard-working elves.

Night and day we make them fight as slaves,

As they count the time to our inescapable graves.

It’s not all that dark, black and sad, though,

Their battle brings as much lightness as there is in snow.

For when their battle keeps going on all the time,

We try to do some goodness for all the past crime.

Yet in a peculiar way the biggest crime in all of this,

Is by watching their battle, everything else we miss.

14 Days of NaNoWriMo

About a week ago I did a 7 Days of NaNoWriMo post, covering the beginnings of an attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo. The extraordinary National Novel Writing Month takes place in November, but the Camp is a smaller sibling project that takes place during April and it gives authors more freedom in comparison to the first. Yet, despite providing you with choices, some flexibility in what you write, how you write, and at what pace, do not delude yourself that it’s any less of a difficult or demanding task.

Writing in its self, no matter the form and purpose it takes is  an excruciating and agonizing assignment lead by an exhausting process of brainstorming, planning, and organizing plots which you’ll then spend day and night splattering with ink over paper, only to wake up in your sleep and burn out all the nonsense you realize you’ve written. But pain, misery, agony, and all the tragedy in life produce emotions, they stir our imagination and once those vanish, you’ll have in your hands the impeccable fruits of hard labor. Whether a short story, a group of poems, or the start of a novella, you’ll have at least the foundation for a written piece of work that speaks this is brilliant and must have taken effort or talent. Or maybe that’s just something I tell myself to help me sleep at night?

Either way, grab a pair of goggles as we’re flying off with a steampunk hot air balloon to revisit day 8-14 of Camp NaNoWriMo.

  • Day #8: Ugh, my Wednesday is a Monday?!

The strong victory feelings you had the day before seem faint and distant, as if they were a million light years ago. Any remote sense of accomplishment evaporated with the realization that another heavy seven days are ahead of you. Begrudgingly you push everything and everyone aside and attempt to turn the table and be productive.

  • Day #9: What do you mean it’s my birthday tomorrow and this is the Easter weekend?!

Not only are you behind with your word count, but with this coming avalanche of events in the next couple of days you’re well aware you’ll be buried under deep snow and your word count will remain as frozen as the Antarctica. Will you ever recover? Will you be able to dig your way up to see the sun again? Are you capable of rising from the ashes like a Phoenix? No one knows, especially not yourself, but this seems like the perfect time to start panicking.

  • Day #10: Time to pretend I’m interested in festivities and non-writing things.

Stuff such as socializing, small talk, long conversations with people you barely know are so low on the list of things you wish you were doing at this very moment, one is quite certain that even breaking things, running around naked on the streets, and murdering anyone nearby, rank higher. Yet when there are celebrations there’s usually fancy delicious food, various selections of drinks, and hopefully a cake big enough for one to drown in it. You can never say no to all wonders that feed your soul and you’re certainly not saying no to cake. In some ways this helps you survive and put on a manic laughing face as you’re internally screaming to sit down and write.

  • Day #11: Wishing it was a lazy Saturday and that you had a few less drinks the previous day.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, wash down your thoughts in alcohol and hope they never reappear again. But those little demons turn out quite the swimmers, and while you’re trying to get your head straight they decide to punch you like a boxing bag, repeatedly. You’re so swamped you’re contemplating the idea of saying screw it and taking a nap. Resistance is usually futile, but you try your best not to give in on the temptation.

  • Day #12: Stop the holidays, stop the celebrations, for goodness sake stop the people!!

You feel holidays is the name given to some supernatural beings sent on planet Earth to beat you up, devour all your energy, creativity, and leave you exhausted, bloated, unable to do anything remotely productive. Doesn’t look like you’ll be doing any writing today.

  • Day #13: Please shoot me and make sure you don’t miss.

The holidays keep going, which can’t really be said about your word count. More food, drinks, too many people and conversations for your taste, no sign of that glorious cake you recently had, and for all you know your brain has left the station. It may not have reached its new destination but it has definitely started the journey of leaving your head.

  • Day #14: Remind me why I do this to myself every year?

The festivities might finally be over, but they’ve left you feeling like you spent the last few days running marathons, yet it doesn’t appear that you’ve won any of them as you see no trophies nearby. All you see is the obvious lack of writing, a plethora of plot points you have yet to plan out and write, while your mind says go to bed and don’t wake up till the end of April. Apparently, the weather finally left its Winter mood and embraced the Spring temperatures, but you’ve been so busy typing you haven’t even had the time to look outside.

You tell yourself to keep going, you’re already halfway there — you can definitely survive another two weeks of this, right? Somehow you’re not really sure, but you’re dead set on trying and you go grab another cup of coffee.

Birthday Thoughts

BirthdayThat would be a photo of myself and my niece this last Friday, April 10th, when I “celebrated” my 23rd birthday. I don’t know if it’s a culture thing that’s only present on the Balkan, but around here in your early twenties it’s expected that you get your Uni degree, you find yourself a permanent job, and you get engaged or married so you can settle down with a family. For better or for worse, I can say I’ve done none of that, but it doesn’t bother me. If all goes well, I’ll graduate this June. On the job front, we’ll see how things go eventually. And on the relationship part, why rush anything?

The only things I consider important in life are those each individual person wants to do. Things that make you happy, things that fill your soul, things that keep you thinking and improving as a human being. If everyone else is happy with getting those things by the age of 20-something, then I’m glad they’ve found joy and I wish them all the best in life. I can only hope they would understand that as much as we’re all the same in many ways, we’re completely different in other ways and we can’t all lead the same life. That would be ridiculously mundane and likely very harmful for humanity’s progress and evolution over the years.

But I’m not asking for any permission or acceptance. Currently I consider myself happy, and that’s the only stamp of approval I need. Whether others question my choices or give me side-way glances doesn’t matter to me, we all make sacrifices in life and I guess that will be one of mine. Heck, if that’s the only price for happiness, sign me up for a lifetime supply of it, I will take as much as I can if it means extra happiness.

On the other hand, it’s been one crazy busy week with the Easter holidays, this birthday, family and relatives visiting, Camp NaNoWriMo, and all sorts of other things. Which isn’t necessarily good, because when it comes to birthdays I pretty much share the same thoughts as Ron Swanson.

“I don’t like loud noises and people making a fuss. And I especially don’t like people celebrating because they know a piece of private information about me. Plus, the whole thing is a scam: birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards.” ~ Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

Top Ten Thursday: Game of Thrones Season 5 Plot Points

TTT Banner

I know, I know, that’s one hella long title. As I mentioned in last week’s TTT post, I wanted to do some lists related to a Song of Ice and Fire in honor of the new season of Game of Thrones which starts this Sunday. Last week featured my favorite book quotes, while this week I’ll be listing things I’m most excited to see in Season 5. This is based on the books and leaked spoilers for the series — while we do not know everything that’s about to go down, we have the synopsis and I’ll be leading myself on those. This means the night will be dark and FULL OF SPOILERS!!

I’m fairly sure I’ve used that gif before, but yes, if you don’t listen to Pedro Pascal then I can’t help you any further. Here we go!

  • #10: Melisandre’s play with Jon and Stannis.

Stannis the Mannis who does nothing but grind his teeth, Jon the sadface who knows nothing, and Melisandre the red priestess of Asshai. Oh and R’hllor, the Lord of Light, let’s not forget him too. These three characters put together could easily make a sitcom, so I’m excited to see how their time together plays out.

  • #9: Sansa is playing the game.

Basically, Sansa has already been learning how to be a player in the Game of Thrones for a while now, and her beginning as one officially started last season. But she has yet to prove herself and this means this season she won’t be the Sansa we knew so far. She’ll be Alayne.

  • #8: Pod and Brienne’s road trouble.

To be completely honest, I have no idea what this is meant to be. It’s ranked this high because of my curiosity. One of the trailers/teasers/promo videos featured Pod and Brienne with some men who flew under the banners of House Arryn, which means the Vale with Sansa and Littlefinger will be included in their story somehow.

  • #7: The adventures of House Bolton.

Winterfell, which did in fact fell when it got burned to the ground, is about to rise again. Sort of. But among the festivities there should be a wedding and we all know weddings in Westeros make for great entertainment.

  • #6: Arrival of the High Sparrow.

The High Sparrow is the newest High Septon of the Faith of the Seven. Let’s just say he’s in town to do some purging of sins… Can you think who’s sinned in King’s Landing?

  • #5: Meeting Doran Martell and the Sand Snakes.

I freaking adored Doran and the Sand Snakes and this should in fact be my favorite part of the upcoming season. But it appears D&D are making a lot of changes for the Dorne plot, which not only disappoints me but it also scares me that they won’t be portrayed as good as they were in the books. I know that changes are a must, they’re two different mediums and there can be no literal adaptation, but Dorne was just so fantastic in the books.

  • #4: Daenerys welcomes Tyrion.

It was pretty clear that Tyrion would eventually meet Dany, but it seems in the show they’re speeding up things and they’re cutting out Tyrion’s journey to her. Or otherwise making it extremely short. Either way, we get to have a Lannister and a Targaryen in the same room this season. Get hyped!

  • #3: Arya and the House of Black and White.

The Many-Faced God can have the rest, she thought, but he can’t have this.

Those are Arya’s thoughts about Needle, her stick-them-with-the-pointy-end sword. She’s training to be an assassin at the guild of the Faceless Men and in order to become one she has to lose her identity, she has to become no one. This means cutting off from her past, but she decides to keep Needle.

  • #2: Cersei’s downfall.

Come at once, she said. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.

Vyman was hovering by the door, waiting, and Jaime sensed that Peck was watching too. “Does my lord wish to answer?” the maester asked, after a long silence.

A snowflake landed on the letter. As it melted, the ink began to blur. Jaime rolled the parchment up again, as tight as one hand would allow, and handed it to Peck. “No,” he said. “Put this in the fire.”

Cersei’s my favorite character for Season 5, as she finally gets to reap all the things she sowed in the past. Not only is crap hitting the fan, but she’ll have no one help her clean it. Can’t freaking wait!!

  • #1: Jon Snow swings a sword.

The smile that Lord Janos Slynt smiled then had all the sweetness of rancid butter. Until Jon said, “Edd, fetch me a block,” and unsheathed Longclaw.

I did a happy dance when I read this part. It’s one of my all-time best scenes, and even though you won’t see the quote on any of my quote lists, it’s definitely among my favorites. I just tend to avoid listing it because without the context it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But basically, Longclaw goes through Slynt’s neck in order to meet the block.

7 Days of NaNoWriMo

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, lately I’ve been slacking somewhat (for example I didn’t get to do a Short Story this past Sunday). However, as far as excuses go I have the second best one — I’m attempting to do Camp NaNoWriMo. Which is the evil twice-removed cousin of NaNoWriMo, which would then be the stepmom or mother of evil and the very best possible excuse for slacking. If you’ve never tried either of the two, the best way for me to describe them to you is as monthly tortures composed of coffee, stress, self-loathing, coffee, random tantrums, mood swings, coffee, keyboard bashing, self-bribing with cake, and did I mention coffee? But if you do get through all of that, you’ll probably have the joy of owning a written piece of a decent length and very crappy quality. That’s why usually we take a short break to replenish our batteries, after which we continue the torture but now by editing instead of writing.

If you’re extremely fortunate you’ll have an amazing product to be proud of that you can show off to others who’ll look at you with awe. If you’re less fortunate you’ll find comfort in the fact that you’ve done the impossible — you’ve produced a novel in a month’s time. Sure, it may be something that you’ll hide in the most secluded corner of your computer forevermore because it doesn’t deserve to see the light of day ever again, but you’ve had fun and experience and those always come in handy. I’m getting off-topic though, the idea of this post is to illustrate how usually the first week (which I’ve now survived, woo!) tends to go.

  • Day #1: Like stealing candy from a baby.

It starts as in the fables, this new land you’re discovering is gorgeous in every way and as peaceful as it can be. There is no sign of trouble anywhere and it’s a beautiful day so you even do your writing with as much leisure as possible. You’ve been preparing mentally for this for a while now and you’re quite sure in your capabilities and the plot you’re going for.

  • Day #2: Everything is great and whimsical.

Another day of productive work, you haven’t come across any issues yet and you feel this is your year. This is the year when you out-write all your friends and produce the best story humanity has ever seen.

  • Day #3: A few bumps on the road can’t stop me.

It can’t all be that pretty, you must have some rough patches and at least they make for a good story. You reassure yourself you can make it through this and a small drawback isn’t stopping you.

  • Day #4: When I set my mind to it, I’m unstoppable.

You’re ready to move beyond yesterday’s trouble, you sit yourself down with a bucket of coffee by your side and you do some quality catching up. Heck, you even get ahead so you have less to write tomorrow!

  • Day #5: Okay, maybe I lied a bit yesterday.

You already start feeling the weight on your shoulders fingers. It’s day 5 and you want to keep going strong but you desperately need a break so you attempt writing what you can without pushing your limits. You’ve earned some comfort and you can always catch up the next day, right?

  • Day #6: Why is this happening to me.

I’ll catch up tomorrow is the most basic mistake, yet somehow you manage to throw yourself under that same bus every year. You even fall for that multiple times in the same month. You’re tired, you have other things to do, your mind is blocked, you feel like the whole world is on fire, and you start regretting you decided to do this.

  • Day #7: How am I doing this, and can I please keep doing it for another 3 weeks?

You have no idea how you managed it or where you found the will from, but you sit down and catch up for the whole week. Was it the fact that you hate losing this early? Was it because you’re competitive and you wanted to show your friends you’re not a loser? Or was it simply because you promised yourself a whole big pile of awesome pizza which you’ll eat all by yourself? Doesn’t matter, so as long as the job gets done.

I guess it also doesn’t matter that by the end of the first week you’ll already be suffering from typing disease, where you’re prone to do some ‘typing‘ no matter where you are or what you’re doing.