Archive for January, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2009 by Jaym Gates

I really hope allergy season isn’t hitting early. My eyes are so dry and scratchy. Actually I’m just generally under the weather.

I’ll be reevaluating the Friday posts, because I’m just not feelin’ the horror topics right now. More on that stuff later.

Although, speaking of horror, my dreams have definately been a little more gruesome recently. Yay. Gotta love a good night’s sleep.

Wise Wednesday: Details, Details!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Fiction writing, especially fantasy, is often considered to be the easiest field of writing. Raise your hand if you disagree. In fantasy, we don’t get to just build a plot in an existing world, we have to make the world too. And unless you’ve been there, done that, maybe you don’t realize how much DETAIL there is in building a world!

Look at your desk/table/writing space for a minute. How many individual things do you have sitting around you? I’ve got pens, notes, art pencils, an energy bar, headphones, tea, stacks of books, leaves, rocks, cds, tablets, nuts, a Bible, a grimoir I recently started to keep track of random magical ideas, altoids, earrings… Are you seeing the picture? These things give a picture of who I am.

Now, here’s a little exercise for you: write a 50-word scene of a girl sitting at her desk. Write it in your normal style, the normal level of detail. Now reread it out loud, and see how clear a picture you painted. Does she have a lamp? Books? Snacks? What kind of chair does she have, is she listening to music? What genre?

This is one desk, in a real world. You, as a fantasy author, have to figure out what else would be on that desk in your world. It’s actually a really useful exercise. What books does she have? Notebooks full of herbal remedies? Histories, mythologies, dog-breeding? Do they even have books? What sort of snacks would be on her desk, or is she not allowed to have snacks? What sort of paper exists? Have pencils been invented?

At first glance, this seems like overkill on the details. Really, we don’t need to know every little bit of the heroin’s life, right? Right. But consider this a snapshot, a chance to give the reader a little, quick glimpse of the world you are asking them to believe in. Maybe the girl is reading “Advanced Theories of Human-Sapien Psychological Comparisons”, and snacking on fresh fruits from her mother’s garden. Or perhaps she’s reading a fairytale to her son and feeding him bits of bread and cheese. All of these things are a little tie to a realistic world, things we might do ourselves (Ok, so maybe not reading “Advanced Theories”, but you get the idea!) or at least are similar enough to give us a comfort with the character.

You don’t even have to put this in your story. Write it for yourself. Possessions, keepsakes and collections are valuable insight into the character and world, and may give you other ideas, or allow you to deepen your character. It also is a little more relatable than talking about “Advanced Theories of Human-Sapien Psychological Comparisons” and why that makes the world special.

Or at least to me it does. Whatever the case, details can make or break your story, your world, and this is a comfortable place to start and study.


Posted in Theories and Thoughts on January 28, 2009 by Jaym Gates

INHERENT will be composed of three separate ‘books’, each focusing on a different aspect, and two different characters. The plots are entwined of course, and will most likely end up in the same place, more or less, but the plot feels a little hop-scotch right now. Jumping around between the different characters is annoying.

Now, I can separate the books, write each one as a standalone, focusing only on those characters and foreshadowing the rest of the characters and events. That might actually be really fun, but is it too annoying to read? It would also add to the symbolism of the story, since there are 3 nations, three main groupings of characters, and there would be three sub-books.

Or, I could do as I’ve been doing, and cycle through characters by individual chapters. However, even I am forgetting things, which makes me think the other way might be better.

If you’ve got any feedback, let me hear it please!

The books are: ‘Kadaraita’, which focuses on death and transformation, as well as being the story of Amarog and Sviera. ‘Abadinur’, which focuses on love, duty and loyalty, and is the most political of the three, this is the story of Ja Corri and Kigen Jui. ‘Logrozana’ is the third, focusing on war, chaos and freedom. KADARAITA and LOGROZANA are the ones that I’ve started working on, ABADINUR is still a bit of a head-trip.

Theatrical Tuesday: Two for One!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Wow, I actually watched two movies this week. What a SHOCK!

The first one was a rewatch. I’ve seen “Horton Hears a Who”, but my mother hadn’t, so we watched that. It’s still funny, still well done and enjoyable to watch, even the second time. I’ve heard accusations that the movie derides conservative Christians, but I see no sign of it. Sure, there are elements that if you look really, really hard, they might be taken that way. But overall, the message is more one of tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and belief. In fact, funny, it’s more spiritual than anti-spiritual. Definate recommendation to watch.

The second one was “Appaloosa”, a movie I’d been wanting to see for a while. Mortenson’s work is usually up there in my favorites. Not this time. The movie was dry, boring and the ending was more of a vague wandering up into the stratosphere than a solid, punchy finale. To be honest, I can’t tell you much about the plot, because every time I looked up, it was another Western Movie cliche, and so I gave up and watched something more interesting on my computer. A definate recommendation to avoid, I was disappointed.

However, I get NCIS and The Mentalist tonight, so I’m happy. I am irritated that I often wind up missing 11th hour now though, that’s one of my favorite shows too.


Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Ok, so it’s not that great. But I think I figured out why I like Spike. And Dru. But Spike is more convoluted.

Before that however… I MADE TWENTY THOUSAND WORDS YESTERDAY!! Yay! Inherent is taking a break today, and tomorrow will be spent on working out plot and theme. I also got another drawing mostly done yesterday, which I am pleased with. It does highlight my inability to draw elbows or lips however, which annoys me. (Also, it’s somewhat difficult when your grandmother wants to look through your sketchbook, and you’ve got a habit of drawing nudes. Just, ick)

Anyways, Spike is one of the best examples of a villain, and of an anti-hero. He’s the most confusing, realistic character in the show, with more sides than anyone else. In one episode, the Judge says Spike and Dru stink of humanity, they know love and jealousy. However, at no time (in what I’ve seen), does Spike show a conscience. Yet he obviously loves Dru with a somewhat obsessive passion (well, he is quite obsessive and focused in lots of things really). He protects her, puts himself in danger for her, and is tender and gentle with her.

Much like Alakon in fact. He has no conscience. He doesn’t give a damn about his victims, he enjoys killing. He loves torturing, war, blood and violence. His family and a few close friends are the exception to his generalized violence. His own people keep far, far away from him as much as they can. He’s referred to as the double-bladed weapon of his race, a superb monster as likely to destroy his palace as the strongholds of the enemy, and enjoy it either way.

Yet he loves. Deeply, passionately and confusedly. More on that later.

But I figured out why Spike is such a good character. Now I have to figure out why Amarog WILL be a good character.



Posted in Musings on January 25, 2009 by Jaym Gates

I detest neighbors. I’ve lived in three houses (apartments/houses/etc) over the last three years, and seriously? I’ve had one noisy, obnoxious neighbor each time.

Last night it was a neighbor down the street arriving home drunk. Apparently, he was giving a rousing speech on, cabbies? Whatever, he had quite the deep voice and vehemence. Would have done a Nazi proud. Good lord I hate it when people don’t consider their surroundings.

Anyways, today is a character excerpt from “Inherent”. Speaking of Inherent, I’m shifting the focus of the story a little. Without even realizing it, the overtones in plot took on too much similarity to “Red Sun”. So it’s shifting from an action-based plot to a character-based plot telling a redemption story. Or something like that. I should be arriving at 20,000 words this morning, at which point I will take a couple of days to look at plot and such.


Txikia is the most obvious villain of the story, although Alakon spends plenty of time being far more evil. Txikia is an Asran woman, one of the nightmare stories in their history. Not content with the power she had, in the War of Tribes she sided with the Big Bad and brought a lot of grief to her people. Related to the “Imordi” clan, although not of their power, it was thrown on the shoulders of her brother to take care of her. So she bears a bit of a grudge, since he smashed her natural power, but didn’t kill her. Unfortunately, a broken master by Asran standards is still pretty dangerous by human standards, and so she learns the whys and wherefores of blood magic.

She also has some limited ability to sense the future, and so she saw Sviera, one of the main characters, when the woman was just a child. She killed Sviera’s parents and took the girl as her ward. With Sviera’s power and Asran lineage, Txikia planned to reinstate herself to power. Unfortunately, Amarog also thought Sviera was interesting, so he grabbed her away from Txikia. Ensue long-standing tug-of-war.

Amarog finally wins Sviera, although through the means of a somewhat odd relationship to her, they marry (such as ancient dragons feel the need to marry), she bears one of the Kings of Samis, and sarcastically tells Txikia to butt out of her “happily ever after”.

The old sorceress has something to say about happily ever after though. Unfortunately, she hadn’t reckoned with Alakon nor with her kin coming to find the rogue prince.

Txikia is not a sympathetic character. I have no ambition to make her beloved, or redeemable. There are evil people, and she was one of them long before her power was gone. She makes a good contrast to Alakon and his unnamed (in this story anyways) lover, both of whom have powers that are considered dangerous and unstable, but who do try and use them with responsibility.

Horror: Bugs?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Hmmm, now I’m not much of a bug fan, but why are they so incredibly scary to people? In my house, obviously I’m the Bug Slayer. Nature is where they belong, not in my house. Outside, live and let live. Usually. Mostly. There are exceptions.

And yet there are a lot of horror stories that really focus on how bad bugs are. Hmmm, not sure.


And yes, I’m sort of being a little procrastinating here. But I have to go to bed soon, and I’m sort of addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the moment (well, more accurately addicted to Spike and Dru). Have fun thinking about bugs!

Tipsy Thursday: Cookin’ with Wine

Posted in Uncategorized on January 22, 2009 by Jaym Gates

What better kick-off for the Tipsy Thursday?

3-liquor Baked Apples

2 LARGE baking apples: Fortune, Granny, etc
Peel these, core them if you have the equipment, set aside


1tbsp Brandy
1tbsp pale Sherry
1tbsp Port wine or Cabernet
1tsp lemon juice
1tbsp Orange juice
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, nutmeg
1tbsp turbinado sugar (very course grained brown sugar, can substitute dark brown sugar)
dash of salt

Mix all glaze ingredients together, brush apples thoroughly with mixture, then let sit in remaining mixture for twenty minutes. Put in shallow baking dish, pour remaining glaze over apples, and dot with a tiny bit of butter. Put in oven at 250, forget them for about two hours, and come back. Apples should be soft to the touch. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey.

Glaze ingredient amounts are approximate, so experiment and see what you like. If you want more syrup to pour over the apples, just double the ingredients.

New Schedule!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Seems like I’ve been slacking off a bit lately. In order to counteract that and get some decent quality stuff on here, I’m holding myself to a schedule of content.

Meandering Monday: Whatever the hell I feel like writing.

Theatrical Tuesday: Soapboxes, dramas or reviews of media or entertainment.

Wise Wednesday: Essays on Writing, Theme or Character

Tipsy Thursdays: Free-writing. Off base, wacky, intoxicated or, hopefully, funny. I haven’t been doing enough for-fun writing lately.

Fearsome Fridays: Horror-related topics. (probably!)

Snoring Saturdays: Either no post at all, or a prescheduled post.

Story Sundays: Updates on INHERENT, character snippets, places, etc.

There will, of course, be digressions, and possibly changes. Enjoy!

Snow, Travel and Dark Comedy

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2009 by Jaym Gates

The city is shut down today! Schools and businesses are calling in “snow”, and no one dares drive. How much did we get? Maybe half an inch. Such is life in the south. It is good to see this strange, fluffy white stuff however. I have missed it.

Safety and law enforcement are going to kill us all, I swear. We left Charlotte around 5pm on Sunday, fortified with coffee and snacks, and set out for Charleston, 3 1/2 hours away. We arrived about 10pm. Wait, what? Oh yes, since we have such excellent communication around here, we forgot to make a big deal out of the fact that the freeway is closed. A four lane freeway. On both sides. And oh, we have no traffic control to make sure that people take the correct detours, nor do we really communicate what happened, or how long it might take us to fix this issue.

So we go one mile in this backed-up traffic. It takes us one hour. And of course, we’ve got the idiots who just have to get one car ahead of where they were. Fortunately, gas station attendants knew what was going on, so we were able to find out that an Amber Alert sign had managed to fall on BOTH sides of the freeway. Wow. Also in our favor, we’d made a last minute decision to take my truck, instead of my mom’s car, which has been having issues with overheating and the battery. Thank you God. Of course, after we got around the main blockage, there was still a clogged freeway, so the trip turned into a 5 hour ordeal.

It did give me the opportunity to take lots of cool, abstract photos of lights however.

The hotel was the real reason for us going, as their off-season rates were about a quarter of the usual, and it was a spa. Sadly, spa treatments weren’t a quarter off, so we passed and just spent time relaxing, and watching movies.

I’ve been wanting to see Burn After Reading for quite a while, so we ordered that. All of the previews led us to believe that it would be hilariously over the top comedy, which it wasn’t. I did forget that the directors, the Coen Brothers, probably wouldn’t be writing hilarity. What they do write well is dark comedy, and Burn After Reading certainly had that, earning the statement from another review as “the smart comedy about stupid people”. Maybe it’s my type of twisted mind that finds it funny, but this was amusing.

It was quiet humor, and while I would not watch it again, I would recommend it a first time.

Charleston was beautiful this time of year. Growing up with San Francisco and its culture and history, and the history in my own little town, Charlotte feels bare and young, too desperate to be a “serious city” to have the quiet aura of age. Charleston still has cobblestones, old houses, maturity and dignity. People are polite, smiling, holding doors open, and the open air market is wonderful, a place to meet some of the local artists and find artwork that is unique.

And the gelato. Ohhhh, the gelato. Any Italian gelato is better than ice cream. When it is home-churned, fresh, lemony-buttery gelato from an old-fashioned candy shop? Mmm. Mixed with Pannacotta gelato it balanced out the caramel sweetness of the Pannacotta, while the Strachiatelli was a soft, delicate sort of cookies and cream. Overall, very much worth a visit, and right next to the open air market too.

The last place we stopped was the Meeting house, the only small coffee shop we saw in our meanderings. It’s actually a coffeeshop in front and a bar in back, intimate and European in setting, with tasty coffee and a romantic, quiet atmosphere. It’s in the “French Quarter”, and it certainly had the taste of France, sitting looking out the windows onto the cobblestone streets.

Lastly, we went to the roof of a parking garage, and photographed the skyline.

Vacation this was! Charleston is beautiful and worthy of the drive if you live within 5 hours. I’ll compare Savannah to it later this year.