Christina E. Rundle on Amazon

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Startle Sounds, Dog Barks and Writing

It was one of those weird weekends when everyone at the commune was gone. Two people went off to California. The other, he was in for a moment, grabbed a bunch of the computer parts he keeps in tubs, and then he was off too. (He's one of those people you see in movies that could live confined in a small room surrounded by computer parts, a work bench and a very bright desk lamp) Emory and I had the entire house, so we watched movies as long as we could keep our eyes open, then settled in for bed. We were startled awake by the sound of metal clinking on tile. Not a great way to be woken.

We keep our bedroom door shut due to the dogs wondering the house barking at everything. Emory immediately goes to investigate and half dazed, I'm fumbling for something to whack a person. That's before my imagination gets the best of me, since Emory went on ahead. I decided I could scratch anyone with my incredibly SHORT nails, if they tried to attack him.

The house was dark, and it was quiet. Both doors were shut, locked and undisturbed. Emory and I just stood there wondering what it was we heard. We walk through the rooms, but as we're turning lights off, I realize that my metal, skull wine cork is sitting on the kitchen floor. We stare at the bottle of beer he stuck it in and piece this incident together. The pressure inside the glass must have shot the cork out.

I guess I should've figured no one was in the house when the dogs weren't barking insanely. Typo is extremely protective so any little sound sets her off. Sometimes she won't let people come in my bedroom. It's funny and I'm not sure I want to break her of the habit, since we do eventually plan to live in a single family house alone.

The panic attacks and stress from the old job finally got me. I think it's from staying as long as I have in one position. That's not my spirit. My spirit longs for movement. My very wonderful friend mentioned there being an opening with the company she's at, so I jumped on board with that. Training is over, and now I'm on the phone. I have very mixed feelings on this. It's quick pace, which I enjoy. People have their dogs, cats and fish there. A few jobs I've had, not even fish were allowed in the office. This will be fun for a little bit, but eventually, I'll have to move on from this as well.

Writing Update:

Romance: Have first 3 chapters started. Can't decide if I want to make this a novel or novella.

Urban Fantasy: Last edit before sending to editor: 2/13 chapters edited

Horror: 3/? chapters edited on rough draft

Unexpected Short Story: Spent a good portion of the night working on something that just clicked in my head. Will have to see where that goes.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pictures from the Phoenix Zoo

Emory and I now have the same volunteer hours at the zoo. We were walking together and noticed some super cool things on the "Asian Trail" at the Phoenix Zoo like this wonderfully gorgeous tree:

Hong Kong Chinese Blooming Tree in Phoenix, Arizona
I can understand the African plants. Arizona is a very dry and hot environment. We have drought plants that can go a long time between rain. A lot of our environment has to do with drought and drought life. I can't believe we have a plant from China. I'm not familiar with the plant life in the Asian region, but this is amazing. Las Vegas has some plants from Japan, but they are indoors where the environment is controlled. I had to take this picture and share it with the world. I notice people's eyes tend to glaze over when I talk about the things I discover that I'm so in awe with. At least online, you can skip this part of the blog and I won't be the wiser.  

Nieces wanted to feed the ants cotton candy. They find bugs as fascinating as I do.
I have a chance to build an ant farm from a very ingenious piece of science. If I decide to have an ant farm, I'll post pictures. I had one when I was a child. Ants are a bug I'm both terrified of and fascinated by. I'm so conflicted. These little bugs are awe inspiring and scary. I am a bug lover!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pink Stun Gun, Craft Sales and writing

Nadine, the commune mother, asked if I wanted to go look at a craft sale. We hopped in the car to go a number of blocks up the street and decided to stop at a few garage sales. I bought some books that I can use as readers if I ever get around to volunteering for a literacy program. She bought a few decks of playing cards. We stopped at a few more garage sales (can't believe there are so many on a regular Friday morning) and I bought cute twin, Snoopy Dog Dishes. I plan to have more dogs in the future and to baby sit for my family members. At this stage in life, I have many family members that I'm not blood related too, but am completely connected with.

When we got to the craft sale, Nadine and I both bought pink stun guns. I'm still a little nervous about using mine, but I practiced twice, once to show Emory the power of cuteness. He said it was cute, because I cringed and held it as far away as I could. I guess I'll need to practice if I plan to actually use it as a weapon. Afterwards, Nadine and I went to the Swap Mart and I bought two used books for the set I'm currently reading. Nadine bought passion fruit salsa and chips for our lunch, then we came home and tuna sandwiches and chips with salsa. The tuna is mostly for her because she's in the middle of lent, I believe. The restaurant that makes this great salsa is all the way out in the middle of nowhere, where one of the casinos are. The casinos are so far from the city, but still fun to visit.

Nadine informed the household that our local school is no longer doing a food share. She goes out on Mondays and stands in line to get food for our unusually large house hold. She cooked up the last of what we received, which included Portobello Mushrooms (this time) and a bunch of veggies for soup. She made my soup vegetarian and added meat to the household's soup pot.

Emory did a PetSmart commercial a few months back and the commercial finally played in Arizona. We saw a number of commercials for the company. Emory didn't think we'd be able to see him, and though the moment is very short lived, he's there in the background walking across the screen with a cart. I wish we could keep all these. I'm keeping the commercials he's in that make it to YouTube.

When we watch marathon shows of Star Trek and Doctor Who, it's hard to come back to reality. I really relate to Seven of Nine and now I'm relating to Data. I don't know what that says about me. Then we turn to Doctor Who and I feel like I'm starting to lose my hold on reality.

Writing Update:

Classes: Working on a dialogue project that focuses on dialect from a different part of America. I'm going to do my project on the south, mostly because that's where my family migrated from. I use to think my accent came from my grandma, but my cousin has an accent too. Out of the four grandchildren, it's half and half on southern accent. People think Crazy Cousin Nik is from Europe, and I get that too. I think I have half my grandma's dialect and I've shaped it into something else, like Crazy Cousin Nik, so people think I'm from Ireland. I get question a lot. Emory and my close friends don't hear it.

Romance: ? iffy. Not sure I have an idea on how to shape it.

Novella: working on and off on it.

Horror: On the 3rd chapter with editing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Candy Bar Kits, Ice Cream Runs and Writing

I saw a new kit advertised on television where you can make your own candy bars. I checked it out on YouTube and there are tons of videos where people made candy. I have a few little make-it-yourself kits and now I want this one. My dad surprised me on my last birthday and bought me kits I didn't realize I wanted until I saw them. Since we live at a commune and the space is fairly small with five of us, I haven't opened any of the kits to make snacks. I want the candy bar kit so I'll have to see if that's in the budget.

It was the perfect night for an ice cream run, last night. While we looked through the dozens of brands, we went with a few classics: Cookies & Cream and Moose Tracks. We saw a new mix that is based off the Samoas Girl Scout Cookies. Emory's words: "OMG! This is so good." Agreed.

I feel like my life has gotten unacceptably normal despite the constant ups and downs I've been experiencing this year. There are too many human things in my head, something I don't enjoy too much when I spend a great deal of mental time in science fiction or fantasy worlds. I've stepped down from a certain amount of goal setting. I still want to to achieve a certain amount of success in my writing, but I've fallen into the strange desire to have a decent job and wage. Trying for success in a world that I hardly fit in made me gloomy. My brother came in with a word of advice; apparently I'm not the cookie-cutter type of chick, though I seem to collect a lot of cookie cutters.

Going forward with that attitude, I honestly wonder if for once in my life I'm "not sweating the small stuff." Went to dance practice and mentioned to the ladies that I just needed something less normal in my life. One of the women mentioned her friends who are teaching English in another country. This is strange, because Emory mentioned someone he knew from his place of employment that is doing the same thing. I don't see that fitting in the schedule this year or next, but I think in the next 5 years, that could be a possibility for me too. I want to experience everything. Only problem is, what do I do with my mini family while I'm gone? The thought of leaving Hitchens, Mozart and Typo behind for a contract year is difficult. I have a feeling I'll only do that if my mom agrees to keep them while I'm gone.

Writer Update:

I've been slamming it with the writing.

HBA: Went from chapter 12 and worked my way to chapter 18. I ran from a super hot scene between my characters and in turn, my lead ran from the bath house when it got emotionally and physically daunting... as in, maybe, just maybe he had to feel something more. It took a few days to figure this situation out and I think I did a good job getting the love scene to work, but during revisions, I'll decide if it works.

EF (horror novel): Reworking older chapters. 2/5 completed on draft editing. Co-Worker is setting up future scenes.

Class Assignment 5: romantic scene with manipulation... Hopefully I wrote what the teacher asked for. I think my idea of romance might be different from the classroom's. 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Writer Forums

If you consider yourself a writer and would like to be acknowledged as one when you are on writer forums, remember to stay professional.

  1. Don't ask about something you can clearly google: like asking for someones list of agents. There are awesome sites that can help you like AgentQuery and Predators and Editors. You need to know your genre before you start submitting to agents. In a writer forum, you aren't the only person coming in and posting this question. Writers do a lot of research for their writing, employ that into the writing career you wish to obtain. As many people who might reply to your question with annoyance, there is always one who might be helpful, but a question like this means you don't know the business and if the person willing to help you is a scammer, you could find yourself in a direction you never wanted to go.

  2. Be careful who you take advice from: the uneducated can give very bad advice to the uneducated. I've read advice in forums that was clearly A) a negative and unhelpful way to look at the question B) bad advice was given. Every person has an opinion, but not every person understands the business well enough to give their opinion. The question that makes me cringe: When should I give up writing? The answer that makes me shudder: When you get rejected five or more times.

  3. Don't get involved in word wars: which is hard to do when you feel like someone is stepping on your toes, but it's bad publicity if you are hoping to make a career. Best thing to do is walk away from it. This can happen on forums, blogs, emails, etc. As a writer, you become a public figure. Depending on how popular you get, you could be huge in the public eye. Any negative press can feed the wrong flames. Check out my post on: Screwing Up Your Career Before You Get Started.

  4. Don't post your entire short story or novel into the forum: You'll lose your first publishing rights. I know what it's like to be excited about your story, but good things come to those who wait. Also, it's a bit annoying when someone posts their book chapter by chapter and knocks all other posts from the board.

  5. Don't complain about agents/writers/life: this is about being professional. The bad attitude will turn off potential followers and agents and publishers don't want to work with someone who will air their laundry without consulting and trying to fix the problem. There are times when airing laundry is good, like Writer's Beware who follow scams and publishing news. The Writer and the White Cat is another good source for writers. He gives plagiarism news.
Some writer forums to check out:
Absolute Write
Writer's Digest
NaNoWriMo Forum

Place you can post your story

Just a quick note: I personally wouldn't post my work on sites any more. I did it when I was first starting out and I look back at the feedback I got from my projects and it wasn't constructive enough to make me a better writer. If you want to be read, posting on sites can be beneficial. You'll get the readers you want. If your goal in posting is to get feedback that will help you become a better writer, it's better to find people who've been in the industry for a while who can actually give you the feedback you need. I have a mentor that I'm so grateful for and he has given me so much to think about in my projects.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Villain Woes

RE-POST from 8.7.2010

I went to my very first RWA meeting and our guest speaker was Karen Rose. She is such an insightful writer and if you ever get a chance to hear her talk at a convention, take it.

I'm summarizing what she talked about. Hopefully I don't butcher the notes too badly. This is one of those times when you should experience this talk for yourselves.

Chilling Villains

  • Villains need a back story: who were they before this point, what is the historical point that brought them to their breaking point to become a villain?

  • Some people are just bad and others have mental disorders that make them do bad things, but the people with mental disorders usually have higher moral grounds and know they did something bad and it bothers them. You need really good notes if you're going the mental route because some disorders are more victim than villain.

  • They need a vulnerability.

  • Is there a line in morality that villain just won't cross? Does your villain even have a line?

  • Your villain needs layers. Sprinkle layer and back story throughout the novel instead of info dumping on first chapter villain appears. Think of it as "bread crumbs" and you're leading your reader through the story with these tidbits.

  • If villain has a strong motivation to win, it has to be all consuming, it's this or death trying. (Think Gaston in Beauty and the Beast)

  • Righteous Revenge: When the villain thinks they were wronged and are driven to right the injustice. This makes since to the villain, but in reality they have anger management issues: movie reference: Serial Mom.

  • Villain by knowing events will happen, but not stopping them. The movie Sleepers was referenced.

  • Victim to Villain: A victim is asked to do something bad in order to keep something bad from happening to a love one: if it stretches for years the victim may have the chance to drop out of it and if they don't, when does the victim start enjoying what they're doing and become the villain?

  • Villain for Greed: Always about power, never about money. It might seem about money, but it's more about what the money can buy, then about the money: power, satisfaction, social standing, mentality, domination.

  • Villain out of Fear: This is when the bad guy makes the good guy do something they don't want to do because the villain controls the good guy by threatening loved ones.

  • There are just bad people out there who do bad things because there's a pay off. They care about themselves over others and hurt others because its gratifying to them.

  • Villain must have upper hand that gets him through the entire story. No one wants to read a transparent villain that they believe even the hero should have figured out midway through the book.

  • Villain should find heroes vulnerability and exploit it because he's just evil that way. :)

  • Make the villain the man next store, the everyday guy that makes the reader think twice about who they have for neighbors.

  • Make the victims real and human by adding details that the reader can easily identify with.

  • Put the villain and the hero in close proximity to add anxiety to the reader
These are some of the notes I took. The rest were on personality disorders. Always look up the disorder from a good source. I was warned that it's not always doctors, but the general public on these Internet databases that make medical suggestions that aren't reliable.
Is it harder to write woman villains than men villains?
I think my villains are pretty mixed in all my books, but I'm going to notice male/female villains in the future books I read.
My (C) book is pretty much villains vs. villains. Karen gave me a lot to think about and I've got to rework one of my villains in (CN).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Chasing Shadow Segment 2

Chasing Shadow: Shadow Puppeteer Book  Second Segment: CLICK HERE for more sample chapters

Read First Segment: Click Here


The next song was upbeat, but the lyrics woven into the trance beat were gloomy. The sound waves were so solid in my mind that it pulled me off course to the dance floor. I didn’t have to push anyone to find my place among my peers. The pink and blue lights rolled over our heads. I stretched my hands upward wanting to feel them against my fingertips and down my arms.

My metaphysical shields kept me separated from this growing union. Metaphysical shields can be in any form. Mine were in the form of light energy. I focused on those woven lines of color until they lifted from me, dispersing into the weaving lights overhead. An immediate coldness followed the release, allowing me to surrender to the music.

The liberation didn’t last long. Something very angry and very hunger hurled through me. It was like a nest of ants erupting under my skin, itching and aching at the same time. It knocked me right out of the trance.

Bodies crushed me in their wild frenzy. They arched their backs and jumped with their hands over their heads, reaching towards the ceiling where something large rested in the shadowed cross beams. Their mixed emotions left them in fumes that made my chest constrict and eyes sting.

I was an open bottle letting these emotions in and my head started buzzing like I swam too deep and chlorine water was burning the inside of my nose. It took a great deal of effort to tilt my head and look up at the ceiling again. Something was there. Despite what the psychiatrists said, I wasn’t imagining this.

It was difficult concentrating on my shields. It was like pulling wet clothes on. It felt nearly impossible to draw the comforting lines of light back over my aura with so much energy pounding at me.

Empathy never hurt so badly. These mixed emotions were a raw, skinned beast and the surface was so sensitive that every tiny movement drew acutely over nerves. I stopped trying to breath. It was impossible with the onslaught of power. It clogged my airways so thoroughly.

The pressure lent desperation and I closed my eyes, letting the dancers bump me side to side as I focused on every individual light string that usually protected me. The colors grew brighter in my head and with each new strand, the stress in my chest started to ease. The constriction on my lungs let go and I took one shaky breath after another.

I wasn’t out of the clear. My emotions were a mess. The empathy residue was too strong even for me. Anger and suffering made it impossible to think. These thoughts weren’t mine, not mine at all; but they howled at me. They filled every bit of my emptiness with uncontrollable desire for pain, for rage, for death.

I was a bottle at sea. I was the only one here filled with so many rivaling emotions that I couldn’t find my individuality. I needed something sharp. One deep cut and my voice would be louder than theirs. It was the only quick solution.

Plastic wings, strange dangling antennae and other odd costume pieces whacked my face as I fought with the crowd to get off the dance floor. The music shifted beat and the crowd did too. An elbow flew up smacking me in the nose.

The music swallowed my scream. The immediate pressure made my eyes water. My nose throbbed and I couldn’t stop the flow of blood dripping between my fingers.

But the voices quieted, if just a little.

“Hey, you okay?” a male voiced against my ear.