Sunday, November 30, 2014

#NaNoWriMo: The Final Tally

In this post I mentioned I started a story on November 1 though I wasn't writing any stories over 50,000 to actually participate in NaNoWriMo.  I actually ended up writing 5 novellas over the month, finishing the fifth one conveniently on November 30.  So how many words did that equal?

1.  Transformed Into a Goth Girl Too (24,350 words)

2.  Transformed Into a Pregnant Girl Too (25,950 words)

3.  Transformed for Christmas (17,600 words)

4.  Transformed Into a Schoolgirl Too (29,380 words)

5.  Transformed Into a Bimbo Too (19,075 words)

So the final word count for the month was:   116,355 words!  Which was more than double the goal.  Nailed it!

How many words did you get down in November?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Indie Books for Black Friday & Cyber Monday!

Unless you're on the west coast, most of the heavy Black Friday shopping is done.  Why not kick back now with a book?  And since Saturday is Small Business Saturday, why not buy an indie author's book?  We're each like a small business ourselves.  Here are some recently released or upcoming titles:

Some Thanksgiving Stories by Briane Pagel:  Sure Thanksgiving was yesterday (or last month if you're Canadian) but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy this book of short stories!

Everybody talks about Thanksgiving, but nobody does anything about it. UNTIL NOW. I have written the definitive collection of Thanksgiving short stories, 'definitive' meaning that every story in this collection at least mentions Thanksgiving. But some do more so: I have written a series of stories each centered around one Thanksgiving menu item. In "Turkey," you'll learn why it might be better to deep-fry your turkey. Stuffing introduces sure-to-be-classic character "The regular mouse," and a discussion of things you can stuff. And so on, through every course of a Thanksgiving dinner, finishing with the magical story "Pumpkin Pie."

The collection also includes the shorts "Pompeii" and "A Happy Story About The Universe, And Stuff," which, as promised, is happy! (And about both the universe as well as stuff!)

And right now it's FREE!  And only 99 cents after the sale ends!

Seasons' Beginnings (The Season Avatars Book 1) by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan:  The latest novel from the author of the Lyon's Legacy series!

Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?

It's only $2.99 right now, or you can get it free with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

What Time is the Tea Kettle? by Andrew Leon A pair of short stories from the author of the Shadow Spinner series!

An offbeat, comic fantasy about a man with a cat that can walk on air (and walls and ceilings) and a tea kettle that has a grudge against clocks. The two, the cat and the tea kettle, don't like each other much, either.
Also includes the novelette "Soul Cakes" with the same man and his cat and what happens when they meet a little girl whose own cat has gone missing. And why the man doesn't like Halloween.

It's only $2.99 right now, or you can get it free with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

Tripler by Neil Vogler:  Get this book starting on Tuesday December 2 from the co-author of We Are Now and Deadly Sins!

In the near future an impossible virus is giving people the ability to summon two identical physical copies of themselves into existence at any time and in any situation – sending them murderously insane as a side-effect. They call the infected 'Triplers'.

Harry Allwear is a specialist tracker working to eradicate the Tripler threat, a disciplined, highly-trained ex-soldier with an impressive kill record. He's also a Tripler himself, kept sane only by experimental medication, nicotine, and an obsession with the music of David Bowie. Distrusted by the boss of his organisation and considered a liability and a wild card by those in power, he's a Tripler hunting others of his kind in order to serve the greater good – and keep his sanity-preserving medication coming.

But when a Tripler bomber wreaks havoc in his home city of London, Harry discovers his tracker colleagues murdered, his organisation devastated, and the doctor who created his medication kidnapped. Out of meds, low on resources, and burning with a desire for payback, Harry learns the startling truth: the Triplers have unified into an army, and are engineering a radical new dawn for the planet Earth.

Harry may be the only one equipped to stop the coming war, but he has a serious problem: his sanity is already slipping away. And the most lethal enemy of all could be one of his own selves…

You can pre-order it for 99 cents!  And get the introductory stories Tripler: The Beginning for free!

And of course you can get my pen name's latest opus:
Transformed for Christmas by Eric Filler, a special holiday edition of the bestselling Transformed gender swap series!

The classic Christmas tale is reborn in this new story by the author of the bestselling Transformed gender swap series! Edward Scrouge is a greedy businessman who puts profits above people. Then on Christmas night he's visited by three ghosts, who transform him into a woman from his past, his present, and his future in order to teach him the true meaning of Christmas.

It's only $2.99 right now, or you can get it free with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

Get these and many more indie books from Amazon or other online retailers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Ten -- "Because I said so!"

"...let go your conscious self and act on instinct." -- Ben Kenobi
Types 8, 9, and 1 make up the intuition triad of the Enneagram, also known as the body triad because of the tendency of people in this group to say things like, "I knew it in my gut." Reactions can be very instinctual, requiring little thought and ignoring emotions. Intuition isn't well understood by science. It's the brain making a "leap of logic" and, while some studies have shown that forcing people to do something like math intuitively generates more correct responses than people who are required to "logic it out," that does not mean that people who rely on intuition are always right. It's very dependent upon the individual. The motivating emotion for this triad is anger, but it manifests differently for each of the three types (unlike for the intellectual triad where their fear is almost always about decision-making).

The Boss

When you think of the stereotypical, emotionally-detached father-figure who expects and demands unquestioning loyalty and obedience, you are thinking of the type Eight. Eights want to be "in charge," hence the title of "The Boss." They are also know as the Challenger, because they frequently put themselves in positions of challenging authority. It's hard to be in charge when someone else is telling you what to do so they have a tendency to defy authority just for the sake of doing it. This is your true rebel without a cause.

However, this is not the loner rebel out doing his own thing. Eights are almost always extroverts and often charismatic. As such, they are frequently able to gather followers for whatever it is they're doing, leading a rebellion or not.

More than anything else, the Eight wants to be in charge of his own destiny. As such, he hates to have his authority questioned. Above all else, the Eight believes in his own "rightness," whether or not there is anything with which to back up his views. This is what makes him, in his own mind, more suited than all others to be the one in charge. Questioning his authority is equivalent to questioning your own loyalty to him but, even worse, you may cause him to question himself and his own qualifications for leadership. Eights are adept at burying their own doubts, though, and proceeding with confidence, one of the qualities that make people look up to them. No matter if his path is correct or not, he will tread it boldly.

In an effort to be in control of all things and not allow anyone to have power over them, Eights are emotionally unavailable. Love, especially, can give someone else power over them or make them appear weak, so they keep their emotions as bottled up as possible. This can lead them to reject others preemptively. It's better to cut people out when they are in control of the situation rather than to risk being hurt and losing control to someone else or in front of other people.

The typical response to any sort of threat, real or imagined, to the Eight's authority, which can include anything from an actual challenge to just making him look bad in some way, is anger. Anger is the first defense mechanism of the Eight. And the first offense mechanism. It is through anger that the Eight dominates his "foes."

At their best, Eights can fight the "good fight" and do a lot of good. They are willing to protect "their people," because they willingly give back the loyalty they receive. They can come to understand that they can't please everyone (not that they're trying to) and learn to take some amount of criticism without feeling threatened. Often, this state is achieved through surrendering themselves to some higher authority or ideal.

At their worst, they become dictators, believing completely in "might makes right." They use force and violence to inflict their will upon the ones under their power.

It should be noted that Eights are almost always men (just as Twos are almost always women). It's unclear whether this is because Eight behavior in women is culturally unacceptable and, thus, they are "broken" of it early on in life.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Get Transformed for Christmas on Black Friday!

I haven't had much luck with Amazon's pre-order system so far, but I'm going to try it one last time to release the holiday-themed book in the bestselling Transformed series:  Transformed for Christmas.

The overall story should be pretty familiar, as there are probably a billion different versions of A Christmas Carol by now.  In this case, Edward Scrouge is a greedy businessman putting profits before people.  Then on Christmas Eve night, the ghost of his former business partner visits him to tell him he'll be visited by three ghosts.

The twist on the old story is that the ghosts put Edward inside the minds of three women:  one from his past, one from his present, and one in his future.  The title is a little misleading as he doesn't actually become these women.  He's just inside their brains so he can see what they see and feel what they feel.  And through this he starts to realize the error of his ways.

The story is pretty mainstream, but so I could file this under erotica there are some sex scenes thrown in.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Provided Amazon doesn't screw it up, you should be able to buy it on Black Friday for only $2.99!  Here's a sample, where Edward meets the ghost of his dead partner:

He must nod off in the chair, because the anchor on the screen is Jackson Morley, his old partner.  The problem is that Jackson has been dead for ten years now.  He died of a stroke about two months after Edward bought him out and took his name off the stationary.
At first Jackson reads a report about falling crude oil prices, but then he stops, his eyes seeming to focus on Edward.  “There’s still time, Edward.  There’s still time to save yourself.”
Edward shakes his head and then flips to Bloomberg.  Jackson is in the anchor chair there too.  “Change your ways now, Edward, before it’s too late.”
Edward stabs the power button on the remote.  He chugs down the last of the Scotch.  He must be seeing things.  Tomorrow he should have Bobbi make an appointment with the doctor; it’s past time for his annual physical anyway.
“I’m not a figment of your imagination,” Jackson hisses.  Edward can’t resist letting out a yelp to see the spectral image of Jackson floating in front of him.  “I’ve come to warn you before it’s too late.”
“Too late for what?”
“To avoid this.”  Jackson’s Armani suit blazes with fire; Edward can feel the heat, but the flames don’t seem to affect the floor or carpet.  Like in the first Indiana Jones movie, the skin on Jackson’s face melts away, leaving a disgusting mass of charred muscles and bone.  A terrible howl escapes where his lips would be.  “The fires of damnation await you unless you repent now!”
Edward reaches out, trying to touch Jackson’s scorched suit, but his hand goes right through.  The heat, while uncomfortable, isn’t as searing as it should be.  “What is this, some kind of computer trick?  A hologram or something?  Whoever is doing this, you’ve got Jackson all wrong.  He’s not some fire-and-brimstone preacher.  Hell, he was Jewish.”
“I am not a trick!  Or a hologram.  Would a computer simulation know you wet your pants before your first presentation to the Lindt brothers?  You had to buy a new suit off the rack at Macy’s.”
Edward’s face turns warm with shame; that’s not a memory he’s fond of.  “All that means is you’ve done your homework.”
“Very well.  If you’re not going to believe me, then there’s another way to convince you.”  The flames on Jackson’s suit go out; the skin reappears on his face.  He points an accusing finger down at Edward.  “Tonight you will be visited by three spirits.  They will show you the error of your ways and the bleak future that awaits you.”
“Sure, three ghosts.  Past, present, and future, right?”  Edward blows out a raspberry.  “I’ve seen this movie before, buddy.  You should get some new material.”
“I have tried to make you see reason, Edward.  It’s a pity I couldn’t do so.  You can expect the first ghost at one o’clock.  Farewell, my old friend.”
“There’s where you got it wrong again.  We were never friends.  You used me to bring the company into the 21st Century.  Then you whined like a little bitch when I pushed you out of the way to take what was mine.”
“Goodbye, Edward.  Consider what I’ve said.  There is still time.”  Jackson’s voice gets fainter as his spirit fades away.  The moment he finds himself alone again, Edward reaches for the phone to call security.

So after you endure the Black Friday crowds, wind down with a good holiday read!  And at $2.99 it probably won't break your budget either.

BTW, today is the last day to get my novella Race Against Time for free.   When I was writing the story, I consulted this handy diagram I composed on PowerPoint using Sims made for other stories so I could keep straight what the characters were supposed to look like for each chapter:

So there you go, some insight into the writing process.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More FREE Books!

For no really good reason I put a couple of my books on sale for FREE on Amazon now through Sunday/Monday.  If you ever wanted to sample some of my pseudonym Eric Filler's bestselling prose, now is the time!

First there's Transformed Into a Cougar (Transformed #10).  Which of course we're not talking about the big cat cougars; we're talking about a still-hot middle-aged chick.  But that wouldn't have really fit on the cover, would it?
Like all of these (except the holiday ones) it features two stories.  In "On the Prowl" a slick young bachelor runs afoul of an older woman, who turns him into her wingman--or wingwoman.  So now he has to seduce young guys like he used to be.  But things go awry when he falls in love with his prey.

"Hot for Teacher" features one of the odder devices I've used in these stories.  Basically there's a comet that comes by once every 100 years or so.  When a high school boy makes a wish on the comet, he becomes his hot teacher!  And then mayhem ensues as the boy and the teacher engage in a war of wishing on the comet.

It's FREE through Sunday, so get it now!
Also FREE!
Also FREE is the novella Race Against Time.  A police detective's daughter is kidnapped by a guy calling himself the Gamemaster.  To get her back, the detective enters a weird virtual reality game.  There are a series of 18 levels and each one that she fails, the detective gets 2 years younger and her daughter 1 year younger.  The object then is for the detective to save her daughter before they both turn into primordial ooze. 

Given the nature of the story, the chapter numbers run backwards, from Chapter 18 to Chapter 0, ie the Epilogue.  I decided to have a lot of fun by incorporating as many characters and locations from other stories as possible.  So at one point the detective becomes Velocity Gal of the Girl Power series and in another level she turns into Stacey Chance.  The detective herself hails from the Scarlet Knight series.  It's pretty much filled with  more in-jokes than an episode of Family Guy.

Some dork gave it one star because it "doesn't command the reader's attention."  Well dipshit maybe that's because the only other things you review are video games and video game equipment.  Anyway, I doubt I'll get any [good] reviews, but what the hell.

It's FREE through Monday, so get it!

I suppose even if you don't want to read them, you can download both, just to help my position on the Amazon charts.  The Cougar one got to #3 on the Top 100 Free of this list in the US & UK.  So that's something.

Anyway, I could call this my birthday gift to you.  Saturday is my birthday, which I'll be celebrating in Scottsdale by doing almost nothing because I have no money until next week.  Hooray!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Nine -- "I want it all!"

"I want the world. I want the whole world... Give it to me now." -- Veruca Salt
Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7 make up the intellectual triad of the Enneagram. These types are data based. They are information gatherers. They tend to react to situations from a more rational viewpoint, especially when compared to the emotional triad (types 2, 3, and 4). Where other types, when asked why they did something, may say, "I don't know," the intellectuals can almost always tell you exactly why they made the decision they made and hand you the numbers to back it up. Their emotional center is fear; gathering information and making informed decisions is a way of combating that fear. The intellectuals are also attracted to ideas and ideals; relationships are less important and can sometimes be a means of achieving other objectives.

The Epicure

Also known as the Enthusiast, the Seven is best known for her pursuit of pleasure. Her enthusiastic pursuit of pleasure, because Sevens rarely get involved in activities without throwing themselves in all the way. However, this can sometimes resemble throwing yourself into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim.

The Enthusiast is the more common name given to Sevens, but I prefer Epicure. So here's a brief history lesson:
Epicurus, the Greek philosopher, believed that the pursuit of pleasure was the greatest good. That's a bit misleading, though, because he defined "pleasure," basically, as the absence of pain and fear. He really wasn't promoting the kind of hedonism the idea is attached to these days. Epicurus believed in a sparse and tranquil life, not the kind of behavior we associate with Sevens, today. BUT! The motivation that drives Sevens in their pursuit of pleasurable experiences is, actually, to get away from negative experiences. That's an important distinction.

Of course, it's a distinction that Sevens are not always conscious of as the knowledge of their avoidant behavior is in-and-of itself a painful thing to confront.

Because even boredom (often especially boredom) is a painful experience for Sevens, they tend to be spontaneous. Or what looks like spontaneous from the outside. The truth is that a Seven's mind is always working and planning and looking ahead to the future and what kinds of things they can do to occupy themselves. This is why they are in the thinking triad. They tirelessly collect data, often becoming instant experts on subjects, so that they can better formulate their plans for the future. To everyone else, this looks like a person who, while in the middle of doing some often highly anticipated event, suddenly wants to take off and do the next thing: spontaneous. But for the Seven, who has planned all of it out in her head in exquisite detail, it's not spontaneous at all. In fact, a Seven can frequently have a very negative response to spontaneous ideas from other people if they don't fit into the plans she's already made. Sevens also respond poorly to being told "no" about pretty much anything they've developed in their minds, whatever the reason. At that point, the person saying "no" becomes one of those negative aspects of life to be avoided.

Sevens are "life of the party" kind of people and are most often extroverts, delighting in being the center of attention. They promote fun experiences for everyone around them and are frequently leading the charge to some new activity. As such, they have a problem with follow through. As soon as an activity becomes repetitive or routine, they are ready to move on to the next thing. Because they are such good planners, though, they can be highly efficient at getting routine work out of the way. Or of coming up with inventive ways of getting around it. However, they can find it soul-killing when stuck in situations where are they are forced to do uninteresting, repetitive labor.

Sevens are especially prone to addictive behaviors of all sorts, especially when "stuck" in situations from which they feel they have no escape. Rather then face their own negative emotions, they can become critical and abusive toward those around them, highlighting others' negative qualities. When allowed to freely express their wide range of passions, though, they can become experts in many different areas and become an unemptying fountain of ideas.

It should be noted that Sevens make up a fairly small portion of people, one of the smallest personality types. It should also be noted that Sevens are much more frequently men.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Looking for a Job is a Lot Like Publishing a Book

Over the last couple of weeks I've been looking for a job in the Phoenix area.  It's really the first time I've been seriously looking for a job in about 13 years.  It occurs to me there are a lot of similarities between job hunting and trying to get a book published.

The first thing that struck me is that employers have a lot of hoops you have to jump through just as agents and publishers make you jump through hoops.  Some of the hoops now are even pretty similar.

When I was applying for jobs 13 years ago you mostly emailed or uploaded resumes.  But now that's not good enough for employers.  No, no, no.  Instead now you have to go and "create an account" with their site.  During that creating an account you'll probably end up loading your resume and then just for fun rehashing a lot of the same information on it in different little boxes.  Now the stupid thing is you'll probably never have call to go back to this site again.  So you might as well make your password "oovdisjoifewfjewoerlkdfvmoefijw" because who's going to give a shit?  Mostly it just takes up a lot of your time, but hell you're unemployed, so you got lots of time to waste, right?

Publishers and agents to my knowledge don't make you go through that much hassle--as far as I know--but they still think you have lots and lots of free time.  Every publisher and agent will have their own twists on the submission process.  Some will want just a query and others will want a query and maybe an outline or maybe a query and pages.  So on and so forth.  And since it can sometimes be difficult to even find the submission guidelines, you can end up spending a lot of time getting together what they want.

Whether you're looking for a job or trying to publish a book, there's always a song-and-dance number you're expected to go through in the process.  This song-and-dance number usually requires some exaggerating, if not outright lying involved.  With job hunting it's first the resume, which you might have to pad a little, which is really just the warm-up for the main event:  the interview.  That's when they expect you to go in there, smile, act polite, and then feed them a bunch of bullshit canned answers to fit onto their little form.  Most of it you know is a lie and they probably know is a lie, but no one really cares.

With publishing, the song-and-dance is the query letter.  There you're not probably lying, although it might help if you lie and make up some blurbs from Stephen King or JK Rowling.  But let's face it, the query is largely a bunch of canned bullshit that is supposed to represent your book in the way the interview is supposed to represent you as a potential employee.  And in both cases, it's not really an accurate representation.

Both job hunting and publishing can sometimes be cruel and make you think you're making progress when you're not.  Who hasn't had an interview they felt they've nailed only to realize later they haven't?  Temp agencies are especially guilty of poisoning your soul with hope.  In 2001 I went through this a lot.  They pull you in there, tell you about all these great jobs they have, make you go through filling out applications, W-4s, and direct deposit forms like you've already got a job.  And never hear from them again!

In publishing they poison your soul with the request.  Sometimes it's a partial request for your manuscript and other times it's the full request.  Either way you think, "Wow, they must have really liked it to request pages!  I'm in for sure!"  And never hear from them again!  Or you get a form rejection letter.  The best case (besides being published) is they tell you why they didn't like it and maybe provide some tips for revision.  Either way, you're thinking you're so close only to have the rug pulled out from under you.  Wah-wah-waaaaaaah.

Probably the most important similarity is that whether you're looking for a job or trying to get your book published, they will quickly disabuse you of the notion you're special.  Like for instance you've got 16 years of accounting experience and they say, "Oh, that's great, but you don't know Quickbooks?  Then fuck you."  In the same way publishers/agents will say, "Oh, you spent 16 years writing this book?  Meh.  Fuck you.  We'd rather publish Kim Kardashian's cookbook."

That's certainly deflating to your ego, which can get you in a funk pretty quick.  The thing is, with publishing you can always just say, "Fuck this" and put the book in a drawer.  It's a lot harder to do that with a job, though you hear of all these people who have "given up" on searching for a job since the recession in 2008.  It's not a luxury I can afford, I know that much.

The bottom line is both looking for a job and trying to publish a book are time-consuming hassles that require a lot of fortitude and patience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Eight -- "Give me something to believe in."

"...if you shake my hand, that's for life." -- Jerry Lewis
Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7 make up the intellectual triad of the Enneagram. These types are data based. They are information gatherers. They tend to react to situations from a more rational viewpoint, especially when compared to the emotional triad (types 2, 3, and 4). Where other types, when asked why they did something, may say, "I don't know," the intellectuals can almost always tell you exactly why they made the decision they made and hand you the numbers to back it up. Their emotional center is fear; gathering information and making informed decisions is a way of combating that fear. The intellectuals are also attracted to ideas and ideals; relationships are less important and can sometimes be a means of achieving other objectives.

The Loyalist

Of all the types, the Six can be the hardest to categorize. That's because the Six is, in many ways, a walking contradiction. For instance, the Six is known as the Loyalist, but the Six is just as likely to be the anti-Loyalist. The problem with Sixes is that they have a fear of committing to anything, a fear which stems from a lack of confidence in themselves with being able to make a correct decision. What if they make the wrong choice?

Sixes deal with this in a number of ways, but the primary strategy is in seeking a trusted companion to whom they can look when making decisions. When they find someone like that, they will willing give over control to that person and become what they are called: the Loyalist. Once loyalty has been given, they will hold to it to the bitter end, even in the face evidence that shows them the person doesn't deserve their loyalty. Or the cause. Because they will do the same thing with a cause they believe. In fact, frequently, the person the Six is loyal to is only an extension of a cause or ideal that person represents, and the cause is where the true loyalty lies.

When a target for this "loyalty" behavior can't be found, they will resort to using everyone. Every decision becomes an opinion poll of all the people the Six knows as she tries to arrive at the best decision. This network of people becomes a kind of security blanket for the Six that he uses to try to cover over his many (and often nameless) anxieties and phobias. the result of this, though, is that they become even more indecisive and fail to make decisions at all. This generally results in a pattern of blaming others for any and all problems the Six has.

Or the Six can go in the opposite direction of all of this and become what is known as a Counterphobic Six. The Counterphobic Six tends to be distrustful of everyone and everything, always doubting the accuracy of the source. There is always some hidden agenda to be found if one just looks. There is always a conspiracy around the corner. In some instances, to say that the Counterphobic Six is paranoid is an understatement. The interesting aspect of the Counterphobic Six is that it is his way of standing up to his fears. Rather than succumbing to them, this is how he fights back, how he takes back control.

Neither version of the six, though, realizes how much fear rules their lives. Like the Three can't buries his emotions under a layer of achievement, the Six buries his anxiety either by allowing others to, as much as possible, make his decisions for him or by rejecting authority.

The strength of a balanced Six is his ability to foresee problems. Since Sixes are persistently worried about what will go wrong or what disaster is around the corner, they are able to anticipate and plan for the worst well ahead of that ever happening. Of course, these are also the guys, when not quite balanced, who build disaster bunkers out in the wilderness as their last stand against the coming (zombie (or whatever flavor you like it in)) apocalypse.

At their best, Loyalists learn to trust in their own ability to make decisions, in essence becoming their own authority figure. They will still rely on a network of friends and colleagues from whom they will collate data and opinions, but they become willing to accept responsibility for their own decisions and take control of their lives. At their worst, they can be paranoid and delusional, believing that everyone is out to get them.

Basically, the Six can be boiled down to issues of trust. Remember, they are an intellectual type and seek out data to help them make decisions. They just have a hard time deciding what data to trust.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Star Wars VII: Alternate Titles

Now that we know The Force Awakens next December, I can't resist linking to some alternate titles for the next Star Wars movie. There might even be a link on that page to Team Unicorn's parody of "All About That Bass." I'm so out of touch with current music that I only learn about hits when they get parodied. I still haven't heard the original, but this version is loaded with Star Wars references and costumers from the 501st Legion. It's worth a listen.

Monday, November 10, 2014

If I Were Doing #NaNoWriMo I'd Be Almost Halfway There!

November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, where people try to write a novel of at least 50,000 words over the month.  Last year was the first time I ever did it officially.  I wrote the conclusion of the Girl Power trilogy, League of Evil that month.  It was much more than 50,000 words.

Fast forward to this year.  I'm not doing it this time around because the projects I'm working on are not going to be 50,000 words.  But if I were doing it, hey, I'd be almost halfway there! 

Conveniently I started my last project, Transformed Into a Goth Girl Too, on November 1 in Roswell, NM.  And I finished it Saturday in Scottsdale, AZ.  After editing it was 24,350 words, which is almost halfway!
Should be on sale later today or tomorrow!

So now I guess I need to make the next one 25,650 words so I'd be all the way done!  That would be like in baseball when a bunch of different pitchers combine to throw a no-hitter.

Anyway, are you doing NaNoWriMo?  How far along are you?  Or are you close to your other writing goals this month?

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Small Favor

I have a small favor to ask that has nothing to do with my road trip.  It's probably something I should have asked about months ago, but I never got around to it.

Anyway, if you reviewed the original version of A Hero's Journey (Tales of the Scarlet Knight #1) published by Solstice Publishing in 2012

Could you copy your review over to the newer version, published by Planet 99 Publishing (ie me)?

There are only two reviews on the new version and one is from someone who gave it two stars because Emma doesn't has all the superpowers.  I mean I guess augmented strength/speed, a sword that cuts through everything (and is controlled by her mind), bulletproof armor, and invisibility just aren't enough fucking powers; she needs to have X-ray vision or whatever too.

Anyway, if you could do that it'd make my day.  Thanks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Terry Pratchett's A Slip of the Keyboard is a Good Read for Writers of Any Genre

Back in August I got an ARC of Terry Pratchett's nonfiction book, A Slip of the Keyboard.  Pratchett is a British author primarily known for his Discworld series of humorous fantasy books.  He's also written some other books like the sci-fi series The Long Earth.

A Slip of the Keyboard compiles articles, letters, and speeches throughout the author's nearly 50 years in the literary industry.  Much of the early material especially is of value to writers of any genre, not just those in fantasy.  Pratchett discusses a hectic book tour through Australia and has advice for bookstores and authors involved in tours.  Even if you aren't a superstar author, there's still some good advice to keep in mind should you ever have a book signing of your own.  At the very least it might help you keep in mind what authors go through on these tours when you get annoyed about the author not signing your book.

For fantasy authors especially (looking at Andrew Leon), Pratchett has some interesting views of what fantasy is and should be.  As you might expect, he defends the genre from those who think it's just Lord of the Rings or swords and dragons.  He credits Wind in the Willows as the first fantasy book he read, but it was LOTR that really got him interested in the genre.

What writers might not like is his tips on writing are more like non-tips.  From his writing in this, he seems down-to-Earth about his success and sensible enough to realize that there was no Northwest Passage to finding this success.  Basically there's nothing anyone can tell you that can guarantee you success as an author.  Learning one author's methodology and duplicating it is not going to make you as successful as that author.

But speaking of methodology, Pratchett is one of those authors who works (or worked) a lot like I do.  He used to write 2-3 books a year, which is a slow year for me.  He used to use touch typing, before a rare form of Alzheimer's robbed him of that ability, requiring him to use speech-to-text and an assistant instead.  He was an early adapter to computers; one of the articles is a review of PDAs from the early 90s.  I guess now you understand my point about using the same methodology not guaranteeing success.

More than anything, the nonfiction stories in this help to show you what the life of a successful author is like.  As with most authors, it took Pratchett a while to find success.  He published his first book with a small publisher at 17 and published some short stories with a local paper that were eventually rewritten and published as The Carpet People.  It wasn't until the mid-80s that the Discworld series took off in the UK and Australia.  It took far longer for it to catch fire in the US, largely due to publisher incompetence.  Pratchett recounts how the US publisher didn't even spell his name right on an early printing of one book!  Until about the third Discworld book, Pratchett still had to work a day job, first as a reporter and then as a publicist for a nuclear power plant. So persistence paid off.

The only drawback is that the last quarter of the book (approximately) is mostly articles dealing with Pratchett's Alzheimer's and crusade in support of "assisted death."  It's kind of a downer and of course it might not agree with your politics.  If it doesn't, you could probably just skip it.  The rest I think is a valuable resource for writers and readers of any stripe.

That is all.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Seven -- "I'm watching you."

"I'm watching you, Wazowski. Always watching." -- Monsters, Inc.
Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7 make up the intellectual triad of the Enneagram. These types are data based. They are information gatherers. They tend to react to situations from a more rational viewpoint, especially when compared to the emotional triad (types 2, 3, and 4). Where other types, when asked why they did something, may say, "I don't know," the intellectuals can almost always tell you exactly why they made the decision they made and hand you the numbers to back it up. Their emotional center is fear; gathering information and making informed decisions is a way of combating that fear. The intellectuals are also attracted to ideas and ideals; relationships are less important and can sometimes be a means of achieving other objectives.

The Observer
Perhaps a better name for the Five would be "the Outsider," though the more politically correct term has come to be "the Investigator." However, of all the types, the Five is the one most likely to be hanging out on the fringes looking in. Or, perhaps, not even looking in, just involved in his own world. The Five, then, is almost the definition of "introvert," inferiority complex and all. It's the person we think of when we hear the word, even if that's not precisely correct.

Fives are ill-equipped emotionally to deal with the world. Easily overwhelmed, they learn fairly early on to retreat into their minds to avoid dealing with emotional conflict or, even, just strong emotions, their own as well as others'. Their inability to cope with social situations leads them to believe that they're not as good as other people, not as talented, not as worthwhile, often giving rise to great inferiority complexes. In an effort to combat these feelings, Fives look for something that they can become experts in, something sufficiently esoteric that they do not feel as if they are sharing a field of interest with others in what passes for their social circle.

The information that Fives gather, the data, becomes a buffer between them and the rest of the world. It is their means of relating to people. For, although they will isolate themselves for great lengths of time while they pursue their intellectual endeavors, they can become quite lonely. It's not that they're anti-social, they just don't have the means of being social. The pursuit of knowledge is their attempt to become needed. The problem, then, is that their desire for their area of interest to be unique can make it so that they are never needed for the knowledge they acquire. Or it can be something so outside of normal that they become a figure of derision. [Think every show dealing with supernatural occurrences here, where you have the expert on the subject (possibly some guy in the police or FBI) hidden away in some cluttered office in the basement whom everyone makes fun of.]

Fives also have a tendency toward collecting but not just for the sake of collecting; it needs to pertain to their area of expertise. Actually, the gathering of knowledge is a form of collecting for them, too, but it can also extend into physical items, though it still needs to be sufficiently obscure. For instance, it wouldn't be enough for a Five just to collect comic books or, even, to specialize in a particular character like, say, Nightcrawler (from the X-Men). He might do those things, but his area of expertise, of special collecting, would be something that most people within even the comic book community wouldn't have heard of, something like Korac, Son of Tarzan.
There's a danger here, too, though. Let's say some production company bought the rights to Korak and turned it into a hit movie creating huge amounts of interest in the character and the old comic books series. You might think this would be an ideal circumstance for a Five, but, no, it would actually be a tragedy. There might be some amount of vindication and celebration right at first but, as the pool of knowledge was spread to more and more people, the Five would become distressed. Eventually, he would abandon his interest in Korak and have to find some other area of expertise. However, the stress of such a process can cause the Five to become scattered and unable to make decisions. Situations like this, or situations in which the Five encounters someone else who is more knowledgeable in his area, reinforce the Five's belief that he is in fact inferior to other people.

However, when a Five's special knowledge becomes needed in a way where only he can meet the need, the Five can become commanding and take charge of any situation which requires his expertise. As such, Five's have no problem getting up in front of people and talking about their areas of interest. [This is where the myth of introverts being scared of public speaking falls apart. Fives have absolutely no problem when they are in their arena. Fear of public speaking is not an "introvert thing."] These are the situations that let the Five know that he is valuable and allow him to, at least temporarily, forget about his feelings of inferiority. But, if the Five actually becomes one of the leading people in his area, he may actually rise above those feelings for good and finally become involved with his community rather than just observing it.