Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Diamond in the Rough

Formspring time!

Am I the only one that pictured Diamond as Joseph Gordon- Levitt with his hair slicked back? *swoon*

Haha, I'm not sure how to answer that. 

I think it's wonderful that you have a clear image of who you think Diamond looks like! That's one of the most magical aspects about reading. Being able to take an author's words and spin a character's looks together in your head is just fun.

I mean, I'm sure there's some reader out there who pictured Diamond as a badger dressed in a butler uniform - and that's 100% okay!

Will the readers out there who imagine Joseph as Diamond please stand up?


My Diamond

Now, since we're talking about looks and characters, I thought it might be the best time to talk about my own actor-inspiration for Diamond. When I create a character, they usually exist in a fluctuating manner in my head - sometimes very clear and other times quite wobbly. Finding actors and actresses to settle those wobbly thoughts is often difficult for me, but Birdcage Girl has been different. So different, perhaps, that I actually managed to make a self-indulgent dream cast, haha. Embarrassing, but true.

It's strange that I haven't blogged about Diamond yet... now that I think about it. Hm.


The handsome young butler I pictured while writing Birdcage Girl stayed pretty solid on the British actor Alex Wyndham. I remember seeing him in the movie As You Like It (2006), playing the comically lovelorn shepherd named Silvius. I had no idea he was British until I found him on IMDb because he played a Japanese shepherd (If you haven't seen this adaptation of Shakespeare's play, you need to. It's brilliant). 

Yeah, Shakespearean Shepherds! 

In some of his other roles as well, Wyndham is a bit a chameleon. I like that about him and how that aspect relates to Diamond. After all, Diamond's background leaves much of his heritage in the dark; I've always pictured Diamond being sort of muttish in that way.

Becoming a Butler

Speaking of Diamond, it's been a while since I updated his side-story, right? 

Because two photos are never enough.
My thesis work has officially taken over my life, making it, clearly, difficult to write my other projects. But the good news is that I'm almost finished. Three more chapters and I can call draft one officially over. Hopefully that will be this weekend (aka, major celebrating).

My first act, upon being freed from the thesis, is to conclude "Becoming a Butler." The poll has indeed influenced what will happen to Diamond and I can't wait to finally reveal with happens to him at the Butler Academy. Hang tight, guys!


How did you picture Diamond when you read Birdcage Girl?

Can you please talk about your experiences thus far with attempting to publish BG?

Sure! I've been quiet on that front because there's not much going on right now. At the beginning of summer, I had gathered a list of agents that I admire and would love to work with and sent out my queries to them.

So far, I've gotten a few rejections (and one really nice one that I think I'll frame), but mostly I'm still waiting to hear back from the others. There's one partial out and three fulls. I'm crossing my fingers for good news, but agents are very busy; it can take weeks (understandably) for them to respond.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

T-Shirt Time!

So, I love cartoons.

The best way for me to share the love is, usually, through the magical art of t-shirts. I used to have a huge collection of t-shirts, but recently I've done a massive clean out because... I'm a grown up now. I can't have too many of these things. As a truce, most of my closet is full of lovely bow and bird prints and lace dresses. But I can never forget my t-shirt days.

The shirts I've kept are my favorite cartoon ones - and yes, once in a while, I still love to purchase new ones. Also, my new school year resolution is to wear some of these shirts when I teach. I'll do it. It's going to be fun, haha.

I want to share some of my t-shirts with you - and consequently, some of my favorite cartoons.

From one of my favorite cartoons EVER: The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Sadly, this shirt is mostly used for pajamas since it's way too big on me. I really didn't expect shirts for this show to be gone already, you know? I'm sad that this is the only one I have. 

However, anything that mentions the mythical Candied Island is awesome in my book. It's on my list of places to vacation along with Nilbog (*cough* Troll 2 joke *cough*).

Ahhh, oldies. To be honest, I had a love-hate relationship with Captain Planet. My brother and I would make fun of it the whole time, but we secretly coveted the power rings. I wanted the wind one, haha.

I watched a lot of Felix growing up - and the movie was by far one of my favorite  things to watch. The scene where Princess Oriana dances in a bubble has stuck with me as one of the most striking animated scenes I've ever seen. So I'm including the clip here, haha:

Regular Show. My brother got me interested in it, despite my initial reluctance to watch it.  The characters are all surprisingly endearing - to the point where I haven't decided who my favorite is. But I got this shirt because I love when Mordecai and Rigby shake their fists and chant, haha. I'm guilty of imitating them... though it usually comes off better when you have a friend to mirror you, haha.

Rocko's Modern Life - another childhood staple. This show is totally guilty of corrupting my mind, haha. I started watching it again recently and what surprises me most is that the show is so quiet. Do you know what I mean? It's actually peaceful to watch, instead of having blaring, heavy sound effects and high-pitching voice acting. 

By the way.... my brother interviewed the creator, Joe Murray, on his radio show. I even got to ask him a question! That was a great fangirl moment, haha. The interview is here... just don't cringe when you hear my voice pop up, haha. (is sensitive about my voice, bwahaha). 

Courage the Cowardly Dog. This is probably my favorite cartoon ever! No joke. I've gushed about Courage before, and more specifically, his creator John R. Dilworth. It's a wonderful treat to be able to wear shirts from this great show. Courage looks delightfully frightened in both shirts.

Adventure Time. Of course. As much as I love this show, it's been difficult to settle on which shirt to get. A lot of the girls shirts have Marceline, the vampire hipster on them, so I've said no for a long time. Her character just rubs me the wrong way, I guess. But I was so excited to see a shirt inspired by the gender-bending episode - so this is the one for me! Fiona and Cake are adorable. And, well, I love the positive energy going on here with the "HECK YES!"

Not a cartoon, I know. But how could I not include Buster Keaton? In honor of meeting  some summer goals (including writing ones), I bought these two Buster shirts. The grey one, I think, is one of the better shirts out there for Buster fans. The fabric is thick though, so I'll have to wait until it gets cooler to wear it for long periods of time. *shakes fist at Florida*

The white tank top makes me smile - all my favorite silent film boys, haha! At the top is Fatty Arbuckle, then to his left is Al St. John, then there's Luke, the talented dog, and finally good old Buster Keaton. This was from Buster's early film years, before he struck out on his own - I really love watching Fatty and Buster's short films. I'm sorry to say that the design for this shirt is no longer available, but if you're a fan of Al St. John (who isn't?), you can check out the other shirts and items from the shop.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dime Stories: Not Invited

For this dime story, I decided to play around with a screenshot from an actual movie. I'm not quite sure where this one comes from (but I believe it's Russian - one of those excellent fairy tale remakes).

It's story time, kiddies!

Not Invited

       As the Sorcerer of Evil Storms, I'm not usually invited to birthday parties. Had I known that my career choice would result in being a social outcast, I would have studied to become a beautician instead. 
Perhaps people have every right to worry about me. 
Snow gathers in the pockets of my trousers like lint. I'm the reason why the oak tree fell on your house last week during that rain storm. I spun the threads of the snow-blanket that suffocated fifty homes in the Blizzard of 1907. The next tornado, to be named Zippy by frantic meteorologists, lives inside my left nostril and eat only fried spaghetti. 
The last time I had been invited to a birthday party was two-hundred-and-thirty-five years ago. A girl who lived down the block from me was turning five; her name had been Maggie. Before any public appearance, I rubbed my skin with coal and silver flakes. I brought a light drizzle and pumpkin pie with me as I walked down the street with the other neighbors. 
"I am the Sorcerer of Evil Storms," I had said, blowing on Maggie's face with my peppermint-storm breath, "the King of Bad Weather." 
She giggled, oddly unafraid, until I lifted up my tattered hat in a mock bow. I had forgotten that the western winds had taken up lodging inside my hat. Poor Maggie's house blew away instantly - her presents, parents, twin white cats, and collection of plastic dolls were gone forever. Maggie cried and I collected her tears to mail my mentor as proof of my skills. 
He sent me an achievement certificate on card stock a few days later. I never got another invitation again. 
But you could change that.
       I'm a good guest. I promise. I always arrive fashionably late and bring dessert.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Publication News: The Medulla Review

I received wonderful news last night: my short story that I had submitted to The Medulla Review was accepted! Better yet, the new issue has just been published and is available here to read.

A few months back, a friend of mine had sent me an email about The Medulla Review's call for submissions;  she thought the theme was a bit of a challenge - and perhaps something I'd want to try. And she was right. I was very excited to create a story to submit. 

The theme was Tarot cards, particularly the Major Arcana. The editor-in-chief, Jennifer Hollie Bowles, says this about her issue in the editor's letter:

This was an ambitious issue, for the writers who submitted, and for me. Yes, I wanted comprehensive works on 22 of the most amazing archetypes: The Major Arcana. I wanted the positive and negative energies of each card balanced and expressed in a story, in a poem — in seven hundred words or less...

I didn't know much about Tarot cards, but when I read up on them, I was intrigued by the archetypes that could be found in each one - kind of like how, as writers, we use archetypes of define our characters in the early stages of a new writing project. The card I liked best is called The Star, so I chose to write my story based on my own interpretation of it. 

Various illustrations of the Star card. So pretty!

The Star card traditionally represents an oasis of sorts; it's a place or state of mind where you're comfortable, calm, and at rest. Tranquility, hope, good will, and renewal are also some great words to describe this card.  

After having a particular difficult spring semester at school, I had longed for some stress-free moments and rarely got them. So, for me, my oasis had to wait a few months until summer vacation hit. Even with the crazy heat, I can still find relief by relaxing and getting inspired by books, movies, and video games that I didn't have time to indulge in during the semester, haha. 

Combining my own feelings about finding rest, with the imagery that appears over and over again with this card, I created my story aptly named "The Star." 

Excerpt from my story, "The Star." Get ready for an interesting vacation!

There isn't a table of contents in this issue (I think, because, reading each story is supposed to be representative of a journey), but if you want to skip to my story, the link is right here. Enjoy!