The English Teacher

So about a month ago I won eleven novels from a giveaway that was featuring Penguin/Random House Thrillers and Mysteries. I haven’t had time to read most of them yet. In fact, I just finished the first one. September was a busy month for me, between preparing for school and working, things kinda got out of hand. I’ll make another post about it later. For now, I’m doing all right.

The English Teacher

The English Teacher

So for the first book I read; I plucked one at random from the box they came in, and ended up with Yiftach Reicher Atir’s The English Teacher. He’s from Israel, so the original version of this book was published in Hebrew. The author is also a retired Brigadier General for the Israel Defense Forces and it shows in the way he writes his characters. What I mean by that is they are military in their phrasing and the way Ehud handles Rachel’s training and deployment. It’s like you really are in a spy movie, but instead of a man, it’s Rachel’s motives we’re going through to find out just what happened and why she disappeared after the death of her real father.

We see Ehud go on a memory trip, through his past, Rachel’s past and their missions together. He was her handler, she was his Operative. Every decision that was made when it came to their work together was gone over to find out where she is, what she’s going to do and why. Mossad think’s she’s going to defect, but Ehud thinks differently and by the end of the story, there’s a dead body in the street. Very much an old trope Spy Noir type of ending.

While at first this book was a struggle for me to get through because of my commitments to other things, by the end I was pulling out every spare moment that I could, racing for the end to find out just what was going on. Throughout the book, I kept wondering if Ehud really knew the Rachel he was telling us about in his briefings with Joe. I’m sure it isn’t, though. I’m sure he left out enough of her story to make it questionable, for the reader, he went over enough detail so that I could make most of my intuitive leaps before he got to certain parts of the story. This left me somewhat disappointed when I guessed correctly.

I’d give this one a 3 out of 5 – good enough to pass the time with while finding it enjoyable, but get it from the library.

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New Years Resolutions

Here we are, the end of the year. I have to say, 2014 did not turn out the way I had planned it back in December of 2013. I imagined I’d be writing like the wind by now, instead, I spent my year on personal reflection and in therapy.

I don’t regret a thing.

Spending this year in therapy has taught me a lot about who I am as a person and who I was. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being that person who existed a year ago. That person was very bitter, rude, self-agonizing and self-destructive.

The person I am now is better, more whole, but still healing from the wounds that were inflicted – both self and done to me. The new me is looking forward to next year, and as a result, is making different resolutions than the year before. So I’m going to list the resolutions below that I’ve decided on for the year of 2015.

 

Resolutions:

1. Spend more time on me –  I’m including journaling, art, walking and weight loss, actually getting my hair cut when I need to, not when I can’t stand my hair anymore. These things I neglect when I get in to a self-destructive spiral, so I’m planning on having less of them next year.

2. Write more – Even if it’s journaling, I’m going to write more in this coming year. So look out, there might be more stories from me in the future!

3. Reading! – I have this great list I stole from Tumblr. I fully plan on reading most of the list. If you all want to follow along with me, I’ll type up the list below.

 

 

Ellie’s Stolen Reading List for 2015

  • A book with more than 500 pages
  • A classic romance
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book published in 2015
  • A book with a number in the title
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A book with non-human characters
  • A funny book
  • A book by a female author
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book of short stories
  • A book set in a different country
  • A non-fiction book
  • A popular author’s first book
  • A book from an author you love, that you haven’t read yet
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A Pulitzer prize-winning book
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read pile
  • A book your mom (or dad) loves
  • A book that scares you
  • A book that is more than 100 years old
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book that you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t
  • A memoir

 

  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A trilogy
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book set in the future
  • A book set in high school
  • A book with a color in the title
  • A book that made you cry
  • A book with magic
  • A graphic novel
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book you own, but have never read
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book that was originally written in another language
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book based on, or turned in to a TV show
  • A book you started, but never finished

So there it is, my reading list for this year. Rather ambitious, but I like it.

… even if I did steal it from someone else.

I can’t think of anything else at the moment for resolutions. I’ll probably add a couple more later, but for now I think this works.

I’m incredibly uncomfortable with the world today.

Posting this again here from my tumblr page.
 
 
Why? Because of the incident with Anita Sarkeesian that drove her out of her home. For those who don’t know what happened, I’ll go into detail.

The latest episode of Tropes vs Women was posted earlier this week and it was widely received positively with women (and some men) who have been talking about this subject. However, there were some people who were incredibly upset. The people I’m talking about are the gate-keeping male dominated trolls who believe that the video game industry is “just fine” and doesn’t need the feminists ruining their fun.

They sent so much hatred to Ms. Skeesian that she had to report it to the police and leave her home in order to feel safe.

It makes me angry and I’ll tell you why.

I am a gamer.

I grew up on video games. My very first memory is my Uncles Matt and Andrew getting extremely upset that I was teething on their Atari joysticks. The year was 1985. I was a year old, ignorant in the ways of Pong, but that joystick controller was perfect to teeth on.

That was just the beginning. It only escalated from there with the first Nintendo system, purchased by my parents for Christmas one year. My mother says that’s what started it all, when she gave in and allowed us Mario, That damn dog from the duck hunt game, and Lolo in to our lives.

What she fails to mention, is that when the Super Nintendo was purchased, even she fell with us; sharing our love of Mario Kart (we wore out two cartridges), B.O.B, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Earthbound, The Secret of Evermore and my brother’s personal favorite: Chrono Trigger.

Mom wasn’t the only one to fall into the spell of the Super Nintendo. Dad was right there with us, his favorite game being Earthworm Jim. If you knew my father at all, you’d know that the game fits right in with his personality.

Why am I telling you all this? My family is made up of gamers. My mother is a casual now, My father sticks to MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, my brothers are RPGs and First person shooters. I fit in with the whole family. I don’t discriminate one form of game from another: I play them all.

Except for horror. I draw the line at Slenderman. I kind of want to sleep sometime in the future.

I game. I’ve been gaming since the majority of the current generation of bottom feeders were in diapers. While I was playing Earthbound and breaking a fourth copy, they were learning to say the Pledge of Allegiance in first grade.

I am apart of the 48% of women who game and closer to the average age of 31 than I’d like to admit.

I’d love to see a world where female gamers are not attacked on a daily basis with threats of rape and other forms of brutality, just because they kicked ass at Call of Duty and someone resented it so much, that creating an online anonymous twitter handle to spew their hatred seemed reasonable.

That kind of behavior is dangerous. It poisons the community that they claim should be taken seriously. Once a community is poisoned, it’s hard to get anyone to take it seriously ever again. It would be laughable, if I wasn’t so scared.

I’m terrified of speaking when playing Call of Duty. I play under a gender neutral name. Why? Because the second I speak to tell a team member anything, I’m flooded with messages and IMs asking me for nude photos, to sit down and “STFU”, telling me to go back into the kitchen, or that if I headshot them, I’m going to be raped.

That last one is used as a way to control the fear nearly all women have being that venerable and what’s worse? It’s tossed off as a “God don’t get your panties in a twist, I was just kidding” way.

There’s nothing that says joke when it comes to the abuse these sociopath assholes toss off those words. With the screen between them and their intended target, the woman they are spewing their venom-filled “Just kidding bro” mantra at, leaves them with a sense that they’re not hurting anyone because they can’t see that person’s reaction.

Or even worse, they like the reaction they get and relish in the fact that they have heaped an enormous amount of abuse on a woman that reminds them of all the girls they’ve mooned at from afar, or have turned them down.

This is usually when they fall back on their mantras that are so well-worn, it almost seems like a vaudeville act from the 1920s.

“Women don’t play video games!”

Well, you’re wrong. I do.

“Women are only playing them to get guys!”

Hah! No. Sorry. I’m there to blow off steam from my seriously shitty day and becoming a target in your need to prove that your penis size is much lager than a cocktail frank.

“You’re not a real gamer! You just pretend to be one for the attention!”

Pardon me while I laugh in your face. I’m not there for you. I’m there for me and my stress relief. Being a badass bitch takes effort and even I get tired at the end of the day.

While the average male gamer is being exploited for their money, I’m off to the side, pushing through stacks of games using my carefully honed taste, to find that one game that doesn’t make me feel like I’m being exploited for my tits.

I want to see an Assassin’s Creed character that’s fully clothed in that badass armor. Why? Because women are not that hard to animate. If the average male artist can spend hundreds of hours on a single character where the most important feature is that her boobs jiggle just right, they can make me a character with armor that makes sense.

Women like Anita Skeesian give me hope. They’re strong. They won’t let the mass of 4chan devotees defeat her. After all, she wouldn’t be getting this much hate if she was not making her point real and very valid.

There’s another side to the hate that’s being spewed at women (and some men) who share the view-point of Ms. Sarkeesian: The comments section where one can find people placing the blame directly on Ms. Sarkeesian, and not on the people who are issuing the death threats against her.

She has a right to speak out about the type of abuse that her point of view is attracting. She has the right to reasonably claim that she is a victim. Why does she have that right? Because she is a victim.

When commentators on those sections come right out and say that she’s “playing the victim to get more attention” they’re part of the problem.

She’s not playing the victim. She is the victim. There’s a huge difference and because Ms. Sarkeesian is choosing to use what’s happening to her to speak out about the type of abuse that most -if not all- women have experienced just because they dare to play video games.

To accuse her of that, is to accuse us all. To say that we’re responsible for the abuse that’s heaped upon us just because we picked up a controller, is cowardly.

So when I hear about the kind of abuse that she’s getting, the fact that she had to leave her home in order to feel safe – it makes me sad, angry and fearful for the state of the video game community where this kind of abuse is just accepted if you voice your opinion.

It dosen’t mean that I’m going to stop playing video games. It just means that I’m going to get even more selective about what games and systems I support. I’m going to get even more selective about the types of people I let in to my gaming world.

You’re afraid of me? Good. I’m not going anywhere. I have been here since the 80s, I have walked with my siblings through the history of gaming and found that I’m not alone. I have never been alone.

Women are everywhere and we are coming for what’s ours. You can either walk with us, or get out of our way.

Blog Hop: The Writing Process

I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into writing this and I’m not entirely sure I’m even qualified to talk about writing much less give writing advice, but here I am.

I got tagged by MixedUpPainter and Murphy. They’re the ones that keep pestering me to do this. Apparently I write good things.

 

Blog Hop Rules:  
Answer the four questions below, link back to the person who invited you, and link to the people who will be posting the following Monday.

 

1. What am I working on?

 

This is a tough question for me because I’ve got so many rods in the fire that I’m struggling with the balance. Here’s what I’m currently working on:

Marlowe in Blue:

I’m really working hard to start writing more posts for this one, not only because I love the world I created with Marlowe and Blueville, but because I left all my characters in some very interesting situations. Writing for Marlowe is especially a challenge because its first person as it’s happening to Marlowe.

Hunting with Grace:

Grace is currently in progress. I’m working on a time line for her. I have so many characters that I’m bringing in to her world and I’ve yet to figure out who’s really pulling all the shenanigans. This one started out as a “What song can I use in a short” kind of dare that just exploded from there.

Unnamed Novel:

Yeah, I’m keeping this one to myself. It is however, another “let’s see what this will do if I do this and this” to a character.

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 

I don’t think I have a genre. If I were, I’d have to say Urban Paranormal. In which case I differ because all of my characters have real lives while they’re trying to deal with whatever crap I throw at them. In some cases it means going to work while someone is trying to kill you, because hey, you’ve got to eat if you’re going to live.

I also try to follow the Joss Wheadon school of writing: Go dark, go sad but for fuck’s sake, tell a joke.

I’m really good at it, according to Murphy.

 

3. Why do I write what I write?

 

I’m really sick of heroines that don’t have lives of their own. The problem comes up and all of a sudden, it’s all they can think about. Really? Who does that in real life? Sure, people think about it, but they still have to go to work anyway.

I’m also pissed that heroines give up everything for a man. Any man. My heroines? Well they’ve got the man, but now they’re focused on the kind of grown up problems that come with having the man and a sorceress that just loves fucking with their lifestyle. Children? Yep, I have them too because guess what? Real life doesn’t mean ignoring the kids either. I’ve found that including them means I have a much more expansive and real world that gives a lot of danger to it when someone’s life is threatened.

 

4. How does your writing process work?

 

I have this bag. I love the bag. Into the bag I’ve tossed every single idea I’ve ever had. It all gets written down on a card and folded over, then tossed in to the bag. Whenever I’m short for an idea, I reach in to the bag, grab a couple, and try to figure out how to put them into a story.

There are photos, one line sentences, entire paragraphs, and even just lists of crap that can be found in an adventurer’s bag.

Where do I find these ideas? I keep a stack of note cards with me where ever I go. When I see something or hear something that’s funny, I write it down, stuff it in to my pocket or purse, then into the bag it goes when I get home.

I’m part pantser, part planner.

Once I get an idea from my pants, I start writing. Then I plan. Especially if I have a good enough idea that’s kept me interested and made me want to see it through to the end.

Then there’s the music. I’ll grab anything. Hard rock, classical, movie sound tracks, string metal – As long as it fits what I’m writing, I’ll listen to it. Marlowe’s soundtrack is a little all over the place, considering where her life is right now, I’m not really surprised. Grace has been all classic rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

All of that goes in to the writing process which also includes walking around my bedroom and muttering lines until I get the right ones worked out. If a scene is giving me trouble, you can bet I’m walking and saying lines. I probably should have been an actor, but I’m shy and suffer from stage fright badly.

 

I guess that’s it. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but if you have any questions you can drop me a line at marloweinblueville@gmail.com

 

Thanks to Jess and Murphy for tagging me.

 

I’m now tagging Raggedy Author, who can be found here and here.

I’m also tagging Sushimustwrite. She can be found here and here.

Bus to Babylon

Jansa could smell it as she stepped off the bus.

Frankincense. Myrrh.

The smells of her childhood in Babylon. She closed her eyes and a tear formed before she could prevent it from happening. There was a dull ache of home that clinched in her gut. Pushing her hands in to the pockets of her coat, Jansa tried hard to push the thoughts away as she focused on getting the attention of the werewolf that was tailing her. A flash of fur out of the corner of her eye told her that he’d taken the bait.

Time for work.

Which New Show Are You Looking Forward To Most This Fall?

The Geekiary

FallPoll

Sleepy Hollow

This show, which premiered last week, takes the classic Sleepy Hollow legend and throws it 250 years into the future to our present day.  Ichabod Crane, along with police officer Abbie Mils, must stop the Headless Horseman before he reclaims his head and wrecks havoc on the earth.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Coulson’s not quite dead yet.  This extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings everyone’s favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent back from the dead in this weekly one hour drama.  It’s created by Joss Whedon, so expect to laugh just as much as you will cry.

Dracula

This re-imagining of the classic story is brought to us by the creators of Carnivale.  Dracula goes to London under the guise of wanting to bring modern science to Victorian society, but but truthfully, his real motive is revenge.

Almost Human

Karl Urban stars in this futuristic sci fi drama.  Thirty five…

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The Vulture is crude

So, Mixeduppainter on Twitter dared me to participate in Trifecta weeks ago. I finally decided that I would give it a go this week. So without further ado, meet Harry.

Harry Stasek could smell the corpse from outside the perimeter of the crime scene and her nose wrinkled in protest.

“Shit.” she said as she stared at what had once been a nice fishing cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan.  The press had dubbed the latest psychopath to make the headlines “The Michigan Vulture.” Harry suggested a better name: The Michigan Shit-House killer. That hadn’t gone over well with the Captain, but it had a crude way about it that the rest of the troops liked. Inside, The Vulture had stashed his latest victim.

“You’re not that far off, Harry.” said Captain Bartlett as he walked up from where he had been meeting with the media team from Langley.

“Not another one?”

“Yeah, he really did a number on her. We lost three new recruits when they went in to collect evidence. Two fainted and one lost his breakfast all over the scene.” The Captain ran a hand over his face and sighed. “I’ll never be able to eat another bear claw again.”

“You can’t have them anyway. Your wife would have my hide if you broke doctor’s orders again.” Harry said absently as she stared at the door way of the shack. Her nose was full of the smell of rotting flesh. Harry could do nothing about it but cover her nose with a handkerchief.

“I don’t want one now after seeing what he did with Missy McGenty.”

“So you’ve confirmed ID?”

“The tattoo of the crow is still on her shoulder.”

“One for Sorrow or intelligence, which ever mythology you want to go by.” Harry said as she started walking toward the scene, stuffing the handkerchief in her pocket. Captain Bartlett fell in beside her. “Let’s go see just how crude our new friend got this time.”