Friday, August 29, 2014

The Dirty Parts

S. R. Karfelt The Glitter Globe

So who remembers Ma’s advice from the Little House books? “Lest said, soonest mended.” I shall not be following that advice today.

Nope. I have my can of worms. I have my opener. Here we go.

Whether you’re a reader or a writer, this concerns you. If you’re not a reader or a writer, why the heck are you here? Get back to whatever people who don’t read or write do. I heard a rumor that you kind of people have lives. Get on with it. Although today I’m talking about sex and swearing in novels. If you have an opinion about that, by all means join the fray.

Here are some questions to get the wormy ball rolling.
  1. Do you think that books should reflect real life?
  2. Do you swear? Ever?
  3. Have you ever heard someone swear in real life?
  4. I’m so not going to ask you about your sex life. #IDon’tCare
  5. Although I will ask if you are aware that some humans engage in sex?

Let’s address the first question. Do you think that books should reflect real life? It
depends on the book, right? There are piles of them. It’s like that so you can pick and choose what you like. I like real life story lines to an extent. If I wanted my books to be purely factual, I’d be writing Non-Fiction. So now we get into that whole messy opinion section of life choices. Personal preferences. A personal preference in reading material is probably as varied as personal preferences in writing books.

Good thing there are so many choices out there!

It’s weird to write a fiction book because it is mandatory to get your facts straight, even when you’re writing a story about people who are completely fictional. Characters in books might have abilities human beings don’t really even have, but many basic facts are still important to get right. For example when I put a fictional character in the Marine Corps, I want my readers to fall into the story and believe this story could feasibly happen. That means when I write I apply somewhat believable scenarios and dialogue to the best of my ability.

Now whether you swear or not, would you believe me if I told you that some Marines do swear? Sure I could have still chosen not to put swearing in my book about a female marine in the corp. I know other writers who do that well; I could have gone with they swore or some such roundabout way. The fact is, in my opinion, the dialogue needed some cussing. I work hard on dialogue. Yes, I sit in my office and read every word out loud again and again. In some books it is easily avoided, but after about six months of stressing over it, and knowing in my writerly heart that swearing belonged in the book I was writing, I decided to go there.

Sex. It’s another big ole can of worms in writing, isn’t it? Let’s open it, shall we? Does it belong in novels? Well, that’s debatable isn’t it? And it depends on the type of book doesn’t it?

S. R. Karfelt
I’ve been asked since the release of my second book, BLANK A Shieldmaiden’s Voice, what my criteria for putting sex into that book was. In Warrior of the Ages it was kept from the audience as quietly as it was in the book Gone with the Wind. You could almost hear the curtain drop in scenes from Gone with the Wind. Rhett carries Scarlett up the spiral staircase and....stuff happens behind the curtain. Readers know when stuff happens behind the curtain, but they don’t always need to see it. Sometimes less is more.

And sometimes sex is crucial to the story line. It was for my second book. It’s about a marriage, a long marriage. I did not have to go far for my research into a long marriage. I’ve lived it. I know where the bumps and twists in the road are. It was just a matter of amping it up a bit for fiction-size pain. In order to pry open this story about a marriage it was necessary to delve into what held this couple together and what tore them apart. That involved sex. And that was my criteria for putting sex into my book. It was relevant to forwarding the plot of the story.

Was it a risk to put sex into my books? Sure, but writing is a risk. When you do anything in life you might incite mob mentality and get yourself into trouble. If you’re a writer you have to decide whether you will hide your light from the mob, or whether you’ll wave it and let the mob have at you. Those are your choices once you step into the arena with a book you wrote. Welcome, fellow Gladiators, put your neck right here…your neck being a metaphor for your book of course.

But don’t you just love people who wave their light at the pitchfork wielding mob and shout, “Bite me!” You know you love them, even if you’re carrying a torch for the mob, even if you just love to hate them, you love them. Now I’m not yelling bite me, but I am owning my work. I consciously write my stories, and I live with the consequences. When I am asked by other writers about how much swearing or sex is too much to put into writing, I recommend writing as you’re so inspired, but editing with your conscience. If you don’t agree with that, well, you can just bite me.

S. R. Karfelt
Where do you draw the line in your writing/reading material? Do you dare write outside your comfort zone? Why or why not? How far into the arena will you go? And if you're going to tell me that you can't write about sex because it is against your religion, please fill me in on what religions involve people who don't have sex. I want to know. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Uber Cool

S. R. Karfelt

On a recent trip to Nashville I just couldn’t bring myself to rent a car with the over $1,000 price tag attached to it. Car rental prices fluctuate wildly, but that was just a bit too wild for me. I’ve actually purchased vehicles for half that price. That grand wasn’t for a cool car either, that price was for a Matchbox sized vehicle for nine days.

More often than not I don’t even bother renting a car unless it’s a driving city like Orlando, or if I have to drive from San Francisco to L.A., or cruise through the desert in a convertible. (Okay, I did that once, but I’m still living off that high.) A lot of cities have good public transportation (Portland, OR—you rock) or are excellent walking cities (Santa Fe, NM) at least if you’re attending a conference they are. Because then you don’t have much time to explore outside the city anyway.

But sometimes you simply need a car that doesn't cost $1,000!

After examining maps of Nashville I determined that I could get around via shuttle and taxi, or occasionally bumming a ride with friends. Then in the first five days my schedule required me to change hotels four times. (You do not want to do that unless you want to spend a good portion of your sleeping time repacking everything.) I was quickly regretting the lack of a vehicle. Only one of my hotels offered shuttle service, and getting a taxi was a bit of a challenge when I stayed with a friend in the suburbs.

This Uber driver is a writer too!
Um, and a musician, it was Nashville!
Someone recommended I try Uber. “What is Uber?” I cluelessly asked. Please keep in mind I don’t get out much. Seriously, I’m a writer. Most of my time is spent drinking iced tea and writing in an alternate universe (my head). Somehow I’d managed to bounce around the conference circuit without hearing of them. But here’s the low down on Uber, it’s a transportation company and my dream come true. You install an app on your Smartphone, plug in your personal information, and when you need a ride you click the app. Using GPS capability a car appears for you.


The longest I had to wait for an Uber was five minutes.

After you click the app for a car, you see a map of the area on your phone and the location of the inbound vehicle. You want to be in the elevator leaving the hotel when you click for a car, usually it took two minutes. A picture of your driver appears with her name, and the license plate of the vehicle. You can insert your picture in there too, to help them locate you. My drivers called my cell about the time I could see their car, so they could find me easier.

It was magic.

The cost? The first ride is free. Really. They know you’ll soon be hooked. I had some rides that were $5-$7. The most expensive one was $45, it was a long haul out to the airport from my last hotel. Grand total for my entire trip? About $150, way less than the $1,000 rental car. The charge goes automatically to your credit card too, so you don’t have to worry about keeping cash on hand like you do for taxis. Oh, and don’t call Ubers taxis. My first driver corrected me on that.

Mary took me to the airport
There’s another company called Lyft that offers the same type of service. They’re the ones with the pink moustaches on the cars. I didn’t have a chance to try them. The Uber vehicles were very nice, spotlessly clean, and the drivers were extremely helpful. I highly recommend them. Of all the apps that I have on my phone, hands down this is the only one that has actually simplified my life.

What do you think? Are you into it? Going to try them? And more importantly, do you have an app that has simplified your life? Because it couldn't possibly be cooler than Uber. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cover Reveal—The Angel Of Elydria by A.R. Meyering

Blue Harvest Creative is pleased to present our cover design for The Angel of Elydria, the first book in the Dawn Mirror Chronicles by BHC author A.R. Meyering. The Dawn Mirror Chronicles is a series that has action, adventure, fantasy as well as elements of steampunk.

Front cover for print and eBook
Available in trade paperback and eBook September 12, 2014

At the crossroads, where dreams become nightmares, lies the world of Elydria...

It’s not every day that a college student dies and is revived in a distant world far away from her small hometown in Oregon. But that’s exactly what happens to Penny Fairfax. Penny soon discovers her near death experience awakened an ability to manipulate the dreams of others, permitting her to unlock hidden secrets from the past and create vivid illusions.

Trapped in Elydria with her English professor, Penny must navigate a world of gas lamps and glittering façades on the verge of collapse in search of the way home. Haunted by a malicious specter wearing an iron funeral mask, she learns that her gift of life comes with a high cost. Now, Penny must escape its wicked intentions, solve the mystery that is unleashing havoc on Elydria, and return home without meeting death a second time.

Also look for the new role-playing game based on the Dawn Mirror Chronicles! FreeMind Games is set to release an all-new tabletop RPG set in A. R. Meyering’s fantastical world of Elydria. Play as one of six races, master a variety of professions, and explore a world teeming with danger and adventure. Look for The Dawn Mirror Chronicles: Elydrian Legacy coming this autumn!  

Connect With A.R. Meyering

Facebook Twitter Goodreads

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ashamed of My Generation


Since I’m a novelist and Dear Hubby has his own small business, our free time would fit into the period at the end of this sentence. In other words, there is no spare time. We steal time away from our epic to-do lists and occasionally sleep, go to a late movie, or see whatever concert comes within driving distance. Last year we saw both Motley Crew and Herman’s Hermits just because they were nearby. I’m totally a Herman’s Hermits fan now.

You do know what happens to people who don’t get out much, right? It’s like when I’m eating vegan and I happen to be traveling somewhere and my only food option isn’t vegan. After every bite I bellow, “OH MY GOD! THIS IS FANTASTIC!” Dear Hubby just shakes his head, “Yeah, real food tastes good.”  And I’m all, “SERIOUSLY! This is soooo good! Taste this!”* It’s sorta the same thing when we finally get to go out. You know, a little Thelma and Louise, a little tween without adult supervision, a little someone left the gate open all mixed together.

In other words we stand up at rock concerts. Kinda wild, right? Apparently it is. Somewhere between birthing our first child and when we could afford to go to concerts again, everyone else got tired and sat down. What's that about?

If the people behind me fuss, I will sit down. Sometimes people can’t stand up, but that certainly isn’t usually the case. It’s mostly that they’re just not into interactive fun. They’re just digging Bat out of Hell from their lawn chair. Is this what television has done to us? Turned us into passive voyeurs? Entertain me but I cannot move…

Dear Hubby tries to reform rock concert sitters. “The Beach Boys are older than my Grandparents! They’re standing! Get up! Show some respect!” “Come on! It’s Bob Dylan! Stand for the legends!” “Joe Cocker is dancing! This isn’t your living room! Stand up!” Of course this means that I occasionally feel the necessity to apologize after the concert. “Sorry, we don’t get out much.” Dear Hubby fusses all the way home. “What’s wrong with these people? Did you see the guy with the walker? He was standing up!”

After a particularly colorful Boston concert—during which I kid you not, a woman who looked like Mrs. Brady sat in her seat picking things out of her pocketbook to whip at those people standing up in the rows in front of her**—I pointed out to Dear Hubby that maybe we could go see some newer music once in a while. I’m a huge Alternative Rock fan, I appreciate Classic Rock, but I like to hear new stuff. I’m dying to see Muse, Vampire Weekend, and Imagine Dragons in concert—even Blue October, The Black Keys, or Mumford and Sons! But we can’t afford Lollapalooza in Brazil. Like ever. I so hate the reality of mathematics.

But the Goo Goo Dolls came within driving distance, with Plain White T’s! Goo Goo Dolls aren’t exactly new, but still, I haven’t heard all of their songs a bazillion times! Dear Hubby cracked me up too. At the concert he was all, “They’ve been around twenty years? I guess I’ve been really busy.” But from the second the first band walked onto the stage everyone STOOD UP and they remained standing the entire concert. This was epic for us and sort of payback for me—since I have wicked shin splints right now, but I stood despite it!

Dear Hubby bellowed at some point, “I’m ashamed of my generation! People still stand up at concerts! Just not my generation!” We debated it later, why life loses its thrill or why we forget to have fun. For some reason it reminds me of that Dumbledore quote.

Pyglori Cafe
Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young…

No matter what your age, have you forgotten how to have fun? Are you a concert sitter? Physical limitations aside, give me one good reason why?


*Vegan food is quite tasty, except if you’re me and soon deteriorate into Crispin Apples and natural peanut butter for dinner every night. So don’t send me vegan hate mail. Do feel free to cook me a delicious vegan meal if you are so inclined.

**The rock concert standing rule everywhere we’ve gone is that you can stand in front of your own chair the entire time if you like. Security had to drag away the lady whipping the contents of her purse at people. She was awesome at it. Whenever people looked, she’d put on a totally innocent face. It was like middle school study hall. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Glittercaso - Insomnia Art

Brainado. Brainados often hit at night.

On my phone. That ought to be quick. Excellent idea!

Plenty more coming tonight.

Eye Know Left. It's funny at 3:00 a.m.

One Thousand Seven Word Scene.

Good thing Dear Hubby can sleep through anything.
I'm too tired to remember about that mute button thingy.

Elf rum anapping grasses? Looks like a bestseller!
Sometimes things look different in the light, surely not this time though.

Suck it, Autocorrect.

Jurassic Snoring

Seriously? No wonder I don't sleep at night! Dream Talk is an excellent
app for snorers who don't believe they do it. I shall prove it this time!

So jealous! I want to be the annoying snorer!

My insomnia is pretty much all Neil Gaiman's fault. Afraid to sleep.
Last night I dreamed about melting Golden Retrievers. Totally his fault.

If I can't sleep, I will continue to write. Forever. There will never be any
melting dogs in my work. Ever. 

I'm in desperate need of an unmelted dog. He would need to be a
night owl. We could keep each other company.