Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dragon is Dead!

Someone, last year, described NaNoWriMo as a dragon.  And the title seems apt, for always heroes go to slay the dragon, to defeat the dragon.  The dragon is a challenge, and likewise, NaNoWriMo is the biggest and baddest dragon of them all.  One of the greatest challenges a writer can face.

And today.

At 6:36 PM (Liberian time).

The dragon—was slain.

50,000 words.

One month.

Finished.

The novel itself isn't finished, but it'll be finished soon.  I'm hoping to stop around 60,000 words. :)   In the meantime, feel free to admire my winner's badge on the right sidebar. ;)

How'd NaNoWriMo go for you all? And to those of you rushing to finish, remember:

GERONIMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Of Goats and Amazon

Greetings and hallucinations, readers and Elves and the odd ducks, all o' ye!

It's been a "cool" couple of days in Liberia.  It rained last night, which helped. :)  The temperature is wandering around 86 degrees.  Again O_o

As of right now, I'm feeling less-than-charitable towards the giant known only as Amazon (occasionally followed by a ".com").  In the last few days, I've learned or experienced the following from Amazon:

1)  Amazon Instant Video (which we have, since we're Prime members) is NOT available in any other countries besides the U.S.  Which means no more free Doctor Who.  And the internet connection isn't strong enough to download Doctor Who episodes either, even if it wasn't prohibited by the guest house for that very reason.  Luckily, I've found *ahem* other ways to watch.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

2) Getting apps is tricky.  The good ones cost money, while some of the free ones either rip you off, or they're a "demo" without explicitly saying so.  Not Amazon's fault, but there are only two or three apps I use on a "regular" basis.

3)  Today, we ordered "Inheritance" in eBook form, since shipping ANYTHING physically is hard.  Vren downloaded it (since she bought it) and started reading.  Since I usually get to read things first, she wanted to have the opportunity to get things first, for once. ;)  The problem is, the "Cloud" wasn't working.  It's where you can download the same file on different Kindles, since it's all saved to Amazon.com.  Inheritance wasn't even showing up on the Cloud, however, and thus started an hour-long process that not only made us buy it twice (and cancel one of the orders), it eventually made me send an email to Amazon.  We'll see if we can get this resolved so I can actually READ it. xD

Despite this doom-and-gloom, which is all Kindle-related, it's been a great couple of days.  A few more notes about Liberia:

1)  Lizards.  They're everywhere.  Dark ones with bright red heads and tails, little green-ish ones, and the unfortunate fella that my youngest sister managed to capture...

2)  The food is fantastic.  And very spicy.  More on that later.

3)  Wireless is touch-and-go.

4) Water is a must. I learned that the hard way on our first day here.  Needless to say, we've all come to appreciate water very much.

Now, back to food.  If you want a typical Liberian meal (as far as I know, this is fairly typical), here it is.  Photo courtesy of my talented and camera-happy sister.  The picture at the top of the post is also one of hers.   Please do not copy or take or store (and whatever) these pictures without prior permission. :)


The staple is always rice.  Always.  They say, "If you're not eating rice, you're not eating."  Rice is on pretty much every meal.  Most of the Liberian meals I've had have some sort of sauce-thing to put on top.  In the case of the above picture, which we ate yesterday, it was a somewhat weird-looking but delicious and hot combination of rice and fish and potato greens (the plant of the potato).  Also, there's a chicken foot.  I have a picture of me eating the chicken foot...but I won't post that. ;)

Other staples include cassava, which is similar to potato greens in look.  It's a plant.  I've also eaten okra.  Combined with these is usually a kind of meat, or a combination of meat.  Meats include fish, goat, beef, etc.

Here's another taste of what Liberia looks like.  Besides these pictures, there's quite a few others on my sister's blog.  The link to her blog is a couple paragraphs back.


The road to a market.

To give you another taste of Liberia, let me tell you a story that occurred yesterday.  A very strange and wondrous tale.

So Dad and I had to head back to the guest house by taxi.  We had a taxi already for the whole family, but it wasn't big enough to fit us all.  There were only four open seats.  So we had to use one of the stand-by-the-side-of-the-road-and-wave-your-hand-taxis.  

So the first one picked us up and then dropped us off at a street junction, where we were going to get another one.  Street taxis in Liberia always have two things in common, in my experience: they're beat-up, and they have stickers.  The first taxi we went on had two big JESUS stickers on the airbag compartment, saying things like, "I've been washed by the blood of Jesus!"

That's the problem with Liberia.  They know the words, but it doesn't change them.  More on that at another time.

So we got off on this busy junction and hitched a ride in another taxi, one that already had three Liberians in it: two in front and one in the back.  Dad and I jumped in and went.

Partway through the trip, the driver pulled over to the side of the road and let in ANOTHER Liberian, making four of us in the back row.  Needless to say, things were cramped.  And then, a young Liberian man ran across the four-lane street and nearly got himself run over, which made all of the Liberians in the car burst into loud shouting.  One of them leaned out the window and yelled at the fellow.

The shouting soon morphed into general loud-talk.

And in the middle of this, crammed with four Liberians in midday traffic, honking horns everywhere, and loud talking in my ears, I look out the window.  Guess what I saw?

A brand-new truck with "POLICE" shining down the side of the truck.  And in the back was a goat, peering over the bed of the truck at me with dark eyes and a scruffy little goat-beard.

It was so random, it made me laugh.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Liberia—First Impressions

Hellooooooooooooooo Stonehenge!

;)

Greetings and hallucinations from Liberia, bloggers and readers and writers and the occasional sane person!  I'n back, and quite literally in an all-new adventure.  I'm hailing from Liberia, West Africa!

So far I've survived, and it's actually quite cool here.  It's afternoontime and 86 degrees. You Americans should all be up about this time.  It's forties in Kansas... *jealous*

But in all seriousness, I think it's the only time that I haven't been sweating since we arrived...

If you want an in-depth report of what's happening and how things are going, take a look at my sister Manny's blog post about Liberia, 'cause all I'm going to do is give you a list.  Keep in mind, I have somewhat of a more positive outlook on things.  I think it's all awesome. ;)  And staying up late in the plane and watching Doctor Who on my new Kindle Fire wasn't that bad either.  (All four of us were kindly donated Kindles before we left, which was awesome.)

 So, where to start?  There has been so much  happening that I can't even begin to tell you.

Differences!  That's the ticket.  I can compare and contrast the U.S. to Liberia.  Give you a feel of how different everything is.

Temperature:
Liberia: 86 degrees
Kansas: 42 degrees

Seasons:
Liberia: Rainy season and dry season
Kansas: Spring, summer, fall, and winter

Rain:
Liberia: (in Monrovia) 136 inches yearly (the most rain of any world capital)
Kansas: 36-20 inches yearly

Language:
Liberia: Liberian English (heavy accent/dialect that often leaves off consonants)
Kansas: American English

Internet:
Liberia: No internet cable for high-speed internet (although one is coming and will be available in 2012)
Kansas: High-speed internet

Climate:
Liberia: Wet in the rainy season, dry in the dry season, "hot" (by American standards) all year 'round, tropical-like
Kansas: Ranging from cool to warm to hot to cold, temperate

Landscape
Liberia: Tropical sub-Saharan jungle (I think O_o I haven't been out in the "bush" yet), small mountains, trees
Kansas: Flat plains

Employment:
U.S.: 9% unemployed
Liberia: 85% unemployed

Wildlife:
Liberia: So far, I've noted lizards, birds, dogs, and my sisters tell me there's a pet wildcat upstairs.
Kansas: Deer, foxes, coyotes, skunks, possums, raccoons, etc.

I can't think of any more. <_<

Other, personal notes:

1) Liberians like their car horns.  Or motorcycle horns, since there's more motorcycles than cars.  And Liberians use their horns all the time. 

2) Right now it's one of the coolest times of the year in Liberia.  Yes, at 86 degrees.  We came at the time of bearable temperature so that, I hope, we'll be more accustomed to heat by the time the dry season comes.

3) The internet connection at the guest house we're staying at is...fickle. XD  The connection from the tower likes to go down a lot. (And we are at a guest house.  The house we're supposed to rent isn't ready yet. :) )
And also, I was SO CLOSE to finishing my NaNoWriMo novel before we left.  My word count was 47,704, and I plan to finish sometime in the next few days.  The novel itself won't be finished, methinks, although I'm close to the end.  I may park somewhere around 60k by the end, who knows.

I'd post some pictures, but none are available right now.  They're taking a long time to upload, and Manny refuses to send me some because it'll take a long time. ;)  I'll just have to wait and post them later.

How's everything going with you all?

(If you ask me questions in the comments section, and there's a lot of them, I'll paste them all in a post and write out the answers.  Just so ya know, if I don't reply. Either that, or the internet connection went down again.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Geronimo!

I board a plane in 38 hours, if my mind serves me correctly.  Or maybe I should get a calculator.

*checks* Yes, 38 hours.

And guess what?  The packing craze has hit, and the last twelve hours have been a hectic time of packing and unpacking and repacking and cleaning and carrying and packing.

And also guess what?  My word count is 40,000 words.

I tried giving up.  I really did.  I felt like that poor cat.

But I've been bothered back into stubbornness.  I received feedback from my sisters like this:

--

"I'm giving up on my novel.  I'm tired, it's been a long day, and  I don't have enough time. I'm giving up."

"No, you're not."

"Yes, I am."

"No, you're not.  You will write that novel.  It doesn't matter that you're tired."

--

Needless to say, I discovered that my sisters had the same stubbornness and passion for debating that I have.  So I'm going to do this crazy thing.  Another friend told me, "COURAGE, Jake! Courage! Just think what an epic story this will make. ^_^ Not just the story you're writing, but also the tale you'll be able to boast to your friends, of this brave feat accomplished. XD"

So let's go.

TEN-THOUSAND WORDS.

THIRTY-EIGHT HOURS.

ONE NOVEL.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just When I Thought I Couldn't Write Any More

It speaks for itself.



NaNoWriMo Log—Days 11-14

(The rest of Day 11)

[10:10 PM]

Preparing to word war after working with my grandparents and writing blog posts and such for five hours.

[11:40 PM]

I've hit 21,000 and hoping to write 3k yet tonight. We'll see what happens, I guess.

I need to be careful, though. I was drinking a glass of milk in the kitchen when I had a bit of an epiphany; I'm very concerned about my word count. Enough so that I'm thinking, "What can I write next that will get my word count up?"

I came close to losing track of the story, or even caring about the story. It became about word count, and it should never be that way. If I get 3k, I get 3k, but I need to focus on the story.

Here it goes. *eats a few Cheez-Its and writes*

[12:30 AM]

Well, I got to 21,600 words, and I can't keep my eyes open. I'll have plenty of time to write tomorrow, at least.

DAY 12
(Nov. 12)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 27,122
WORD GOAL: 27,800

Thought of the day: The Internet is distracting: DON'T GET ON IT.

[4:10 PM]

I have a little more than 5,000 left to write, if my sources are correct. *checks again*

Yeah, that's the correct number. I've written a little today, but I need to dig in my heels and WRITE. I need to stop procrastinating and surfing the internet.

Blast, I had forgotten how distracting the internet is. >_<

[4:30 PM]

Word warring.

For ten minutes XP

[5:05 PM]

I'm writing like the wind and really loving it. I got to an epic part and saw all the way to the end of "Part One" of the Prophecy of Einarr.

[5:15 PM]

I'm about to do something extremely clever. :D :D :D :D I love where this chapter is taking me! I've got an epic figuring-out scene that I'm writing where they realize the plot twists and THEN I have a cool little thing where a character relates a crucial piece of information just after I cut out of the scene. I then reveal that information later on and it comes as a complete surprise. :D EPIC.

[5:45 PM]

Passed 23,000.

[8:10 PM]

The writing is really slow, but I'm at 24,000 at least. And I stopped for supper. About to do an hour-long word war, so maybe that will help me out.

[9:20 PM]

I'm at 25k and I'm mentally exhausted. I'm going to take a trenchcoat walk in a few minutes.

[11:30 PM]

Well, I talked with some really nice people on the One Year Adventure Novel forum, but that didn't get any writing done. I'll buckle down and see if I can kill the last 2k or so of words before heading to bed.

[12:10 AM]

I have a thousand words yet to write.

Geh...

Well, let's get 'er done.

[12:20 AM]

Broke 27k.

[12:30 AM]

I need to go to bed, I'm getting up early for church in the morning. My final count is 27,122. Just a few hundred words away from my goal, but if I write much longer, I won't be able to get up tomorrow. At least I wrote about 6k today. Hopefully I'll make up the 700-odd words tomorrow. Good night.

DAY 13
(Nov. 13)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 30,000
WORD GOAL: 31,500

Thought of the day: Word wars are good. ^_^

[1:15 PM]

I need to write. O_o What's my goal? *calculates* 31,500. All right, not bad.

[7:30 PM]

I've been writing, but I've not been keeping this up.

Oh, and let me tell you what happened today: I was in Hesston, Kansas and eating Mexican at a restaurant. Hesston is a farmer town. Conservative, Republican, and very Mennonite.

Someone walked into the Mexican restaurant. He had a few windblown wrinkles and graying hair, a thick, Western mustache and tight clothes. He wore the BIGGEST belt buckle I've ever seen, and topped off the picture with...a Stetson.

I couldn't stop staring at the Stetson through the entire meal. XD "Thou shalt not covet!" <---Hard today.

[10:15 PM]

The internet is so stinking distracting. >_< I need to write a lot. I'm at 29,000, and I'm aiming for 31,500. Let's go.

No more internet or breaks until I reach 30k.

[11:15 PM]

I'm at 30,000 exactly. Gah. >_< I need to take a break, I'm tired.

[Sometime afterward]

I'm going to bed. XD Good night!

DAY 14
(Nov. 14)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 30,300
WORD GOAL: 35,200

Thought of the day: Write, write! Write until you drop!

[2:05 PM]

I should be writing, but instead I'm running around in righteous anger at this article: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118046098

If you watch Doctor Who, you should be mad too. XD

I need to buckle down and keep writing. *nods*

--

Hey all!  How's it going?  How's NaNoWriMo, NaNoers?  Need a word war?  Shoot me an email. :)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Important Africa News and NaNoWriMo Log

If you follow my blog or read it, please read the first part of this post.

Well, the clock is ticking.  In eight days, I'm getting on a 22-hour plane ride to Liberia.  Just a few days ago, we bought our plane tickets.  Who knows what will happen?

You'll see a decrease in blogging, if I'm able to blog at all.  But I'll find some way to keep you all updated.

So you have eight more days of blogging, and I'll be pretty active in the next few days, since I'm staying with my grandparents. It's been fantastic, folks.  Thank you so much for being my followers and reading this blog!

Oh, and did I mention it?  I'm going to try and finish NaNoWriMo before November 19th.  *gulps*  This should be interesting.

So read on, folks, the drama continues.  For the glory of the King!

--


DAY 9 & 10
(Nov. 9 & 10)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 20,400
WORD GOAL: 20,400

Thought of the day: Midnight writing time. What you do when you're desperate.

[12:15 AM]

I'm combining these two days.

It's been a LONG day. We bought our tickets to go to Africa.

Which means I have ten (nine, now) days to write the rest of my novel. I need to get to 20,000 words today. (Which is "tomorrow" in normal speak.)

So I've implemented new goals that would allow me to accomplish that. And yes, that does say that I need to write SEVEN THOUSAND words in the next 24 hours.

It's complicated. And I got the plot hole fixed. I'll tell you the rest of the story later.

For now, it's after midnight and I'm WRITING.

Hoping it doesn't kill me,

GERONIMO!

And wow, I can see why people love Apple. These Apple headphones are unbelievably good! (OO) Wow.

And I admit, this fix to the plot hole is remarkably similar, now that I think of it, to a Doctor Who reference.

Shadows. The shadows are growing.

HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Give me word count or give me death, plot! GAR!

[1:00 AM]

Well, I'm around 13,400 words. Every little bit helps, I suppose. But I'm not giving up and going to bed yet :|

Also, Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack is so epic and catchy, it's distracting. I can't listen to it without paying attention to the music instead of my novel. XD

[1:30 AM]

Maybe it's just because it's 1:30 at night, but I'm writing a scene that's a little creepy, and it's giving me shivers. (OO)

[1:45 AM]

I'm around 14,400 words right now and turning in. I'm freezing and tired too. And the scene was a sorta creepy. *shivers*

The lights are going out...

[11:30 AM]

Coffee! Ah, extra-bold coffee is brilliant. Can I just say, Sumatra blend coffee from Starbucks is PHENOMENAL?

My stomach is warm and full of coffee, so I'm ready to write. :D 6,000 words today! ...hopefully...

I'll need to turn of this PotC music first, however...

Mmmm...I wonder....

Look at me! No plans, no plot, and no weapons; and oh, I don't have ANYTHING TO LOSE. So if you're sitting up there, Procrastination, with all of your silly little villains and silly plot bunnies, and you've got any plans on taking my novel, TONIGHT—JUST REMEMBER WHO'S STANDING IN YOUR WAY! Remember every day I ever stopped you, and then, DO THE SMART THING!

Run for your life! The Sadaar is here, trenchcoat and fedora and all! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHGHHHH!

^Doctor speech revitalized and revised to fit a writerly battle.

Let's get going. :D

[12:10 PM]

I'm at 14,900, and I'm going to go take a shower and then help Dad outside for a little bit. Be back soon.

[1:55 PM]

Dad's on the phone right now, so I'm going to take this opportunity and write some more.

[2:10 PM]

Hit 15,000. 5k to go!

[3:50 PM]

Grandpa just came out to the farm. And guess what he brought with him?

THE ERRANT KING. Wayne Thomas Batson's newest! FIVE HUNDRED PAGES of epic epicness! (OO)

And it gets better:

MY NAME IS IN THE BACK.

GAAAAAAAAAAAH!



(Manny's picture.  Hence the purple outline.)

Along with Vrenith and Manny's names. :D And I believe my name pick (I created a name for Sir Batson to write as a character) is also somewhere in the book.

And now I have motivation to write 5,000 words tonight. :|

Must...read...eeurgh...

[4:50 PM]

All right, I ate lupper (we never had lunch, so I'll probably just have a snacky thing for supper) and I'm raring to go.

The Errant King looks wonderfully tempting right now... >_<

[5:05 PM]

Broke 16,000. Let's GOOOOOOOO!

Group of People A has now met Group of People B. They must band together and head east.

Why east? Well, they'll figure it out. I just need to find an incentive. >_>

*finds it* Bwahahahaha!

[5:30 PM]

16,500 words.

[5:35 PM]

I caved and read The Errant King's prologue. So epic. :D And Vrenith is a character in the prologue! D:

[6:00 PM]

Well, I finished the chapter and now I'm in a bind. I'm not entirely sure where I'm going next.

Brainstorming time, I suppose!

[7:05 PM]

Well, I tried doing what I did last night, but it didn't work: mostly because it's a lot earlier and there's cars outside, and also Beatrice got sprayed by a skunk. She STINKS.

Speaking of which, let me tell you a story. It's a true story. It happened last night.

--


(Me, in my trenchcoat and beat-up fedora.)

Last night, I was in despair. While I was really happy that we had bought our plane tickets for Liberia, it also meant that I had to complete NaNoWriMo in the next ten days. And I had a giant plot hole that was killing me.

As I stood by the water heater, I glanced around the room. Vren was writing, Ryebrynn was on the computer.

My computer's screen had just busted out of it's plastic and needed to be fixed, and Dad was in the process of fixing Manny's computer. He had computer guts spread all over the dining room table.

So I had no computer. No fix for my plot problem. And ten days to write 40,000 words.

What would I do?

I jammed my thumbs in my pockets and did my best to look dramatic. "Sisters, desperate times call for drastic measures," I said. "It's time. Time to put on my trenchcoat."

So I turned, running dramatically up the stairs. I burst into my room and leaped over the piles of junk and boxes, reaching into my closet and taking out my trenchcoat. I put it on and buttoned up. I grabbed my battered fedora and crammed it on my head.

I ran back down the stairs and flew into the dining room. "The greatest novels come from the depths of despair," I said. "I'm going looking for Inspiration." and then I pushed open the door and went out into the night.

I shoved my hands in my pockets and strode across the yard, to the road. And then I walked down the gravel road, the full moon shining down on my fedora.

As I walked, I pondered my novel. I contemplated the deep questions of life.

And then, I heard a car coming.

I weighed it for a moment. Okay, so there's a tall, six-foot guy wearing a battered fedora and a trenchcoat walking down the road at eleven o'clock at night.

Yeah, probably won't go well with the farmers that live around here.

So I turned and ran like everything, my trenchcoat dramatically flying behind me. As I ran, I realized that this was just the thing my plot hole needed: something to chase it off the road. Figuratively speaking.

I reached the yard, and inspiration struck: the pieces fell into place, and my novel hole was solved.

All because of a car, a trenchcoat, and a fedora at eleven o'clock at night.

--

It was fun. :D

At any rate, I tried doing the same thing (minus the car) but the skunkified Beatrice smell chased me back instead, in the light of a full moon.

Hold on...

A moon. THE moon. At night. But before it rises. A waning moon.

The time after sunset and before moonrise. The dark.

The long walk.

OHHHHH YES.

Fixed! BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The walk has done it again! HA HA! Praise the Lord!

D:< Game face! It's time to get serious and GET WRITING.

[7:35 PM]

I want to read the Errant King so bad. :P

I need to write, though. I went downstairs and talked for a bit, and the minutes just fly by! O_o

[8:50 PM]

I'm somewhere around 17,000 and I just finished eating supper-snack-thing. Eggs-over-easy and some sausage. Mmmmm!

[9:40 PM]

I'm writing a winding-down scene. It's one of those scenes that helps the reader relax a little bit after nonstop action and yet provides vital information. ^_^

[9:45 PM]

Hit 18,000 words.

[10:20 PM]

Word warring with Vrenith. It's a write-until-you-reach-your-goal war. Vren has 2,500 words left to write, and I have 2,200. But she writes faster.

D: Let's write!

[11:40 PM]

Vrenith won, but I won't tell you my word count until I reach my goal. :|

[11:55 PM]

20,400 words exactly! I got my goal! D: Epic! That means I wrote 7k today (if you include 24 hours ago, midnight to two o'clock this "morning"). Even if you don't include that, I still wrote six thousand or so.

But now it's midnight, and I need to go to sleep. No reading the Errant King tonight. *sigh*

I only had 300 words to go when Vren won. The only reason I didn't get done sooner (after Vren won) was because I finished the scene. It made the word count just under 20,400, so I fiddled around with it until I had revised it enough to where I reached 20,400.

DAY 11
(Nov. 11)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 20,400
WORD GOAL: 24,100

Thought of the day: Word wars! :-o

[10:50 AM]

Time to rumble! I've got 3,700 words to write. I can do it *nodnod*

And also, I discovered that I'm going to stay at Grandma's house this weekend. That equals internet and word wars. :D Hurrah!

All right, time to crank up the soundtrack and get some writing done.

[11:30 AM]

Well, I don't exactly know how it happened, but I didn't get any writing done. O_o And now I need to take a shower and help Dad outside.

I'm hoping it's not one of those days where I work outside until it's late...

[5:00 PM]

Well, I worked and then came to my grandparents house to stay. I've been using internet, so no writing yet.

--

Some things that have inspired me in my writing craze:








Hmmm.  I just realized that it's all PotC soundtrack.  Which I haven't even seen. O_o  Interesting.

And also the Doctor's Pandorica speech, which I've already posted earlier.  I can shout it word-for-word now to the entire world.  ;)

How's it going with you folks?  Tired of NaNoWriMo yet? ;)  Keep going!  You can do it! *nodnod*

Over and out,


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Invasion

He didn't ask to be a hero, but now all that stands between us and chaos . . . is Colt.

Colt McAlister was having the summer of his life. He spent his days surfing and his nights playing guitar on the beach with friends. He even met a girl and got his first car. But everything changes when his parents are killed in a freak accident.

He's forced to leave his old life behind and move to Arizona with his grandfather. The only person he knows at the new high school is a childhood friend named Dani. And Oz, a guy he's sure he's never met but who is strangely familiar.

But what if his parents' death wasn't an accident? His mother, an investigative reporter, was going to expose a secret mind-control program run by one of the world's largest companies. Before she could release the story, what if agents from Trident Biotech made sure she couldn't go public?

Vowing to uncover truth, Colt is drawn into a secret world of aliens, shapeshifters, flying motorcycles, and invisible getaways.  (From Amazon.com)

Invasion, I have to admit, is a book like few others.  It takes comic-book fiction and makes it reality.  That brings both pros and cons with it, but it definitely makes it a speculative and fairly original novel.

There were, however, several things that bugged me about this book.  The first is probably unique to intense perfectionist writers (namely, me): the writing quality really, really bothered me.  If I didn't pay any attention to it, I could immerse myself into the story, but there were times where it jerked me out of the story.  Jerky dialogue beats, slightly forced dialogue, telling; stuff like that.

Another was the "con" side of comic-book fiction.  There were many times where it got cheesy and lost the illusion of reality.  Hitler's army, for instance, was actually made of aliens and robots and men from earth.

Say that again?

There were convenient clean-up crews for the mini-battles that kept cropping up as well.  And Colt's grandpa...well, if you read the book, you'll see.

Since I'm not into comic books, it might just be me.  But who knows.

On the other hand, this was a quick and fun read.  There's no bad content, no cursing, and a fairly quick plot. Easy to read, and lots of action on the side.

The characters, while not entirely fleshed out, were good enough to move the story along.  The dialogue, likewise, was often clever and funny.  I had a few moments were I actually laughed.  (Which doesn't often happen in novels.)

There was plenty of car chases and jet pack fights and secret organizations and whatnot to keep the plot going fast and the pages turning.

And though the list of "cons" was longer than my praises of this book, I think that the good outweighs my minor quibbles, in this case.  It's a good read.  If you're not as picky as I am, maybe it'll be your next favorite book!

Rated 7.5 out of 10. (Four stars)

(I received this book for free from the Booksneeze program in exchange for a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo Log—Days 7-8

DAY 7
(Nov. 7)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 11,679
WORD GOAL: 11,669

Thought of the day: Rainy days! On these sort of days, write, even if you don't want to.

[12:15 PM]

Well, I'm armed with Starburst and ready to write again. I did sleep in (a LITTLE) because we got home at midnight (again <_<) and had an extremely busy day. I couldn't keep my eyes open, literally. I had to walk around the house with my eyes halfway shut to do anything.

We did have a fantastic goodbye party though. I saw a lot of old friends and had a great time, wrapping it up by watching a Doctor Who episode. ;)

Also, it's raining. We needed it. :) It's supposed to rain close to an inch today, raining some all day and some of tomorrow. I was hoping for snow, but only northwest Kansas is supposed to get some. XP

Now...to writing! Let's see what the story has in store for me this time... *chomps on a Starburst*

[1:15 PM]

Okay, I didn't write at all. I listened to soundtrack for a while and stared at a blank screen. Nothing was coming, so I went down and took a long shower to ponder it up.

Now I've got a general idea of where I'm going and I'm ready to start. Geronimo!

[1:45 PM]

10,500 words. And counting. ^_^

[1:50 PM]

I'm going to go take a quick break, grab a drink, and check on the weather. Be back soon.

[2:00 PM]

Well, it's raining hard and there's puddles everywhere. The farm is going to be a mud pit once this rain's finished. :| Beatrice (one of our dogs) is already muddy and wet.

I'm resisting the urge to curl up on my bed and read a book...

[2:10 PM]

*stops for a moment to play on his guitar for a bit*

[2:40 PM]

I must have a low attention span or something...I can't seem to concentrate on this. After I played my guitar, I wrote a few words and then went outside and got soaking wet.

Come on Jake, just write. You don't have that much left to write, just write it.

[3:00 PM]

Hit 11,000.

[3:40 PM]

I got my goal, so I'll turn off my computer for a little while. There's lightning outside, so I'm running on battery power alone. I should probably conserve it. :)

[4:15 PM]

There was enough rain that it puddled up the whole yard. So I went puddle jumping in my KU hoodie and borrowed boots. ^_^

Needless to say, I am now soaked. Hopefully I'll dry up. ;)

[5:10 PM]

I'm still wet. ^_^

It's getting colder and colder. There's a vicious wind out of the north that cuts to the bone. I wonder if the puddles will freeze tonight...maybe the weather changed, and we'll get snow after all?

*hopes so*

[7:00 PM]

Supper time! :) I haven't written yet, but I probably shall after supper, unless the family has other plans. O_o

[10:20 PM]

Well, I didn't write at all. :P And I'm deciding to go to bed while I still can. Final count was 11,679. :)

Oh, and my jeans are finally dry. ;)


DAY 8
(Nov. 8)

CURRENT WORD COUNT (today): 12,932
WORD GOAL: 13,336

Thought of the day: Let there be snow!....or, not...

[10:05 AM]

Greetings and hallucinations! I'm up and about and also, I woke up without an alarm. O_o Interesting.

At any rate, I'm going to write until lunchtime. I hope I get my goal during the next two hours, because after lunch, I'm going to take a shower and then we'll all leave to get internet and THEN we'll have supper at someone's house. That's the good thing about moving to another country—everyone feeds us for free while we're still here! ;)

So! Writing time!

And it didn't freeze or snow last night...*hmph*

[10:30 AM]

Hit 12,000. :) And my fingers are FREEZING! AGAIN! Sheesh, why doesn't it just snow instead of making everyone cold? At least I'd get something out of it.

Also, I've noticed that my humor is leaking more and more into my novel. And I'm about to make a sly Doctor Who reference. In my novel. Mwahahahahaha!

[10:50 AM]

Edon barely heard him. "What in the name of sanity is that?" Edon said, staring at the strange and battered hat.
"Oh, this?" Sadai said, reaching up and stroking his hat. "It's a fedora. They were all the rage during King Radion's reign. Can you believe it, a man was selling it for a silver senereis! I got a good deal."

[11:00 AM]

Taking a break to brainstorm.

[11:15 AM]

This is driving me crazy. I have a big giant plot issue staring me in the face, and I can't figure it out. GAAAAAAAAAAHH...

At any rate, I have one scene left to write until I hit that plot issue. I'll write that and then do something drastic, I suppose...

[11:45 AM]

I'm at 12,900, and I hit the plot issue. XP Hopefully I can figure it out later.

For now, I'm going to take a shower and eat lunch. See ya.

[12:35 PM]

Well, I took a shower and ate lunch and all that. But I still can't figure out my plot issue.

I'm about to do something YOU should never do. Never, never never. Don't ever do it.

I'm going to go and play a computer game when I should be writing.

[2:30 PM]

The world is drowning! We've gotten tons and tons of rain, and it's still coming down. There's a river running through the yard, and the other parts of the yard have turned into a lake. Beatrice is an unholy mess of water and mud and fur.

Hope it stops soon. The Chevelle is missing a back window, and we need to go somewhere. (OO)

--

So, by the way, it didn't stop, and we drove all the way with a wet cardboard window.  And then it caved, and I had to hold it in place with freezing fingers.

And when we drove back, it snowed like nobody's business. (OO)  It accumulated, a little, but it's mostly melted now.


I might be able to write more tonight, but I don't know if I can.  This plot problem is killing me. >_<

How's it going with y'all?  (I've decided that y'all is more efficient than you all.)