Welcome to the Dark Side

One of my most memorable gaming experiences was the final choice in the Imperial Agent quest for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Not long being free of my “attachment” to World of Warcraft, I had decided not to play SWTOR. I didn’t want to get sucked into another MMO. But my husband bought it, and my resolve lasted for the thirty minutes I watched him play.

Even though I caved and bought the game and a six-month subscription, I never really got into the MMO part. While my friends were swinging their lightsabers around and apparently saving the galaxy I decided to explore the dark side. I chose the Imperial Agent story because it sounded interesting. Also, the voice actor for the IA sounded pretty sexy. I loved the story for all its twists and turns, but more so, I enjoyed the discovery that a universe famous for being black and white was really all shades of gray. Continue reading

Poor Purter and the Midwife Cowpoke

My good friend and sometime writing buddy Jenn Burke shared this link on Facebook last week: Romance Novels Generated by Artificial Intelligence. Briefly, computational scientist Elle O’Brien fed over 20,000 Harlequin Romance novel titles into a neural network and then asked it to come up with some titles of its own. The results are all sorts of interesting and hilarious.

I find this project fascinating for a number of reasons—most of which have to do with the sorting of data. If we take the results posted by Ms. O’Brien as even a random sampling, the number of times the word “baby” pops up in the AI generated titles would tend to suggest that an inordinate number of Harlequin Romances are about pregnancy and babies. Continue reading

I’m Not Ashamed to Admit…

There’s a link floating around Facebook that takes you to a list of books you should be probably be embarrassed to admit to reading. I ticked off sixteen out of the hundred. My score would have been way higher if they’d listed every book by some of the authors, particularly John Grisham and Jackie Collins.

I’m not one to brag about having read anything, mostly because I read for pleasure and really hate the idea of judging anyone for what they do for pleasure. (Plucking the heads off kittens and equally disgusting and bizarre hobbies would be the exceptions here.) Continue reading

The Book Was Better

Well, duh.

Though…

I watch a lot of movies. I also read a lot of books. I’ve watched a lot of movies inspired by books—and that’s my favourite way of phrasing it, because even a faithful film adaptation will differ from the source material. It’s the director’s vision, and the actors’ interpretation of the script. Like a game of telephone, the story is always going to change by the time it hits the end of the line.

There are instances where the movie is better than the book. Buzzfeed has a list of 39. I agree with numbers 8, 13, 18, 27, 29 and maybe 37, but only because I loved, loved, loved these movies. (Also, I always find Stephen King more entertaining when he’s been cut down to two and a half hours.) I could argue over a lot of the other entries on this list, but that’s another blog post. Continue reading

Thursdays Are for Hiking

Sometimes to write better, you have to not write. I’ve been pushing hard the past couple of weeks trying to meet a deadline for Uncommon Ground (better known as my Aliens in New York project). I need to be done by tomorrow, and I’m maybe 3-4k from the end. Doable, right? Even more doable if I hadn’t taken day to hit the Appalachian Trail today.

Lying in bed last night, however, feeling as though my brain was leaking from my ears, and wondering if the pain in my shoulder was going to keep me up, I decided that the best thing I could do today was not write.

So I got up this morning and wrote 1300 words. Continue reading

Five Years!

WordPress just informed me that my blog is five years old today! In honour of my blog’s fifth birthday, I thought I’d share five of my favourite posts.

Ramble: The Weed

This is one of my earliest posts, and one I reread on occasion because it reminds me of the fact that sometimes, it’s the little that make life special.

May 6, 2012

I try to spend at least an hour a day in the garden. It’s good for my daughter and it’s good for me.  I’m sure it’s good for the garden too.  As soon as the spring sun peeps from behind the last winter cloud, I don my sturdy boots and stiff new gloves and set to work pulling out all those weeds I was able to ignore when snow or leaves covered the ground.

When I lived in Texas, I battled with more than weeds. The previous year’s vegetable patch often continued to enjoy success in the form of tomato and cucumber seedlings popping up in the most unexpected places—usually the middle of the lawn. Often, I mused that if we went away for a month, we would return to find a tangle of cucumber vines covering the lawn, robust tomato plants poking up between. Sometimes, instead of plucking them out, I just mowed them down, curious to see if they would shoot back up by the end of the week.  They did.

Continue reading

Magical Moments

That is seriously the corniest title for a blog post ever, but I’m sticking with it. I spent the past weekend at the Create Something Magical Conference in Iselin, NJ, organised by Liberty States Fiction Writers.

Despite having depleted a good deal of my conference mojo at the Dreamspinner Author Workshop in Florida earlier this month, I had a really great time. More importantly, I met a lot of fantastic people, learned some new tricks, added a new story idea to my Big Book of Ideas (thanks, Felice Stevens) and came away freshly inspired to create (something magical). Continue reading