Bad habits

Hey so I like coffee late in the afternoon or even at night. So what?

 It’s my legitimized drug since I can’t drink any alcohol anymore. So you try and stop me 😉

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More Updates!

As promised I finally compiled a lengthy list of links to all kinds of awesome and helpful agents’ blogs and generally great writing sites. Just take a look at the sidebar. I added some categories there and I’d recommend those sites to everyone who’s either about ready to submit a query or even just in their beginning drafts. Check it out 😀

Fundamental questions

On changing my setting there are two questions that have been spinning their merry little circles in my mind.

One: What is my writing style like?

Ok, I know I can’t write light “und am Ende lebten sie gluecklich und zusammen bis ans Ende ihrer Tage” (and they lived happily ever after) – fantasy. I just love my dystopian themes and in the end nothing is just black or white, shades of gray rule the world 😉

On the other hand though I know that I can’t just write about badass characters pursuing badass goals in a badass way.  That would just be too much of the black again. Instead I prefer a healthy balance. My characters are neither black or white (metaphorically spoken), they act to achieve their own goals, are often ruthless, but still have a conscience and a certain set of values that they’ll uphold.

 As for the story itself: Light is a post-apocalyptical story set in a world that still has so many open possibilities that are mostly facing scepticism or outward refusal. Politics are thrown back into what basically is a fascist system. Immigration is an issue as well as segregation and general decay of the “uncivilized” countries that are blocked from the opportunities that the Empire of Light (I’ll call it that for now) offers so freely to the obedient masses 😉 But then again there is no absolutely bad, as well as there isn’t anyone who’s absolutely good. This isn’t a story of the Hero’s quest and neither is it about the Antihero’s failure. Nobody is going to save the world unless the world is goign to save itself.

It’s all in the mix. In the end I’m not even sure what genre it would belong in. Urban Fantasy is probably the most likely. There are scifi elements, that make a specification even harder though. I guess we’ll see what the end-product looks like, right?

Question number two is actually related to an interview that Joss Whedon gave after the cancellation of Firefly. He spoke about the individual functions of his characters. I think it’s important to remember that your characters always contribute in some way to the story. None of them are alike and they affect the outcome and actions of the plot in their own individual way.

 So what do my characters represent? How do they contribute to the story? (I’m trying to keep this short knowing that this is totally rudimentary and incomplete. This just mentions some of their main character traits)

 1.) Ares: the mystery

2.) Damian: the “hard guy” of many faces

3.) Jay: straight-forwardness

4.) Naerya: passion

5.) Raeyn: the mercenary, always on the run

6.) Orpheus: the failing mentor

7.) Veleine: the conscience

8.) Arturiel: madness

9.) Sirius: control, purpose

10.) Dawnelle: the spy, ambition

This is actually an interesting questions and I find that, even though each of them have their certain main characteristics, they aren’t limited to just one side. All of them are ambiguous in their actions and purposes. They aren’t 100% good or 100% bad. In the end there are no stable allegiances, no entirely separate sides.

Spreading the word!

I got this link to an awesome blog of awesomeness from Sirayn, thanks so much hon! Colleen Lindsay is an agent for Fine Print Literary Management and her blog is all about Fantasy and Science Fiction! Tips about query letters, what not to do in query letters and other helpful and/or funny things to know if you’re ever considering to get published.

Check out her blog here

P.S.: I’m about to make a list with all kinds of great, helpful links that I’ll add to my sidebar as soon as I’m done. I’ll keep you updated 😉

How to get a Green Card for Dummies – A guide in 10 easy steps

1.) Go and look up www.uscis.gov Here you’ll find everything you need to know about becoming a legal resident of the United States of America. It’s easy, really. 

At least that’s what they tell you. That and that prices are going down to make it more affordable. Both of which isn’t true, of course. You better calculate with at least $1,500 to get the GreenCard. You also won’t find all the information you need there.

2.) Apply early. Processing times vary.

“Vary” is a good word here. Actually they say it’s up to six months. Realistically it’s at least that much. Don’t make any plans if you’re planning to immigrate. In the meantime just abate your time sitting at home and waiting. If they let you stay in the country that is (see step 3 and 4)

3.) Be prepared. Have all your documents with you and be sure to do exactly what the friendly people from the USCIS tell you too. Expect to be sent back to your country of citizenship for interviews or other appointments at any time. 

At this point you might be seriously considering getting an attorney. The quetion is a) do you have the money to afford one and b) will that actually be effective, because in order to actually help you’ll have to find an attorney whose main field of action is immigration. Have fun with that one. And in the end they might still want to send you home for random reasons. 

4.) Don’t expect to receive any useful information when calling their phone support. 4. a) If you don’t have your receipt number for the forms you’re filing you’re screwed. 4 b) If you don’t have a receipt number yet because you’re still waiting to hear back from them you really have a problem. 

Note: Do not expect that the information they give you on the phone is even remotely accurate. They will tell you that fees apply when they actually are being waived. They will tell you to send forms in seperately that should actually have been submitted together to prevent you from being sent back to your country of citizenship. Oh and they might choose not to tell you that by entering the U.S. on a visa waiver program you also waive all your rights to be able to talk to an immigration judge if your application is denied for whichever random reason, nice eh? 

5.) You’ll be requested to submit a bazillion of forms once, twice, thrice and a fourth time and a fifth….in short: be srue you have access to a good copy machine. 

6.) Your forms will be sent to a bazillion places all over the US of A. Don’t expect anybody to know their exact location and status at any given point. 

7.) When you finally are invited to appear at an interview appointment, be prepared to get nervous. Bring anything that might serve as proof of cohabitation that you can get your hands on (i.e. leases, credit cards, bank statements, health insurance cards, utility bills, your hubby….and no used condoms or a live demostration of acts that might requirea condom aren’t appreciated. Don’t try it.)

8.) Just because you’ve received a receipt for submitted forms doesn’t mean they’ve been approved. Another term of eternal waiting will take its course. Be patient. 

9.) You might get lucky and finally be able to talk to someone (an actual human being!) at an interview. You might be lucky like me and get someone who’s actually understanding and willing to help you out. Or you might not. Hey, life’s is one giant lottery!

10.) They will tell you it’ll take another 2-3 weeks till they have received your wayward forms and found time and mental stability to approve them. They’ll tell you not to worry, because there shouldn’t be a reason to incline them to deny your application. You hope. They’ll tell you that you’ll receive your Card in about 5-10 business days after approval. You hope more. 
Only problem remains: You’ve already been going through immigration hassle for 7 months. You are a nervous wrreck. You’ll worry till you get your hands on that damn thing. 

Good luck and strong nerves, man.
Welcome to the US of A.

Steven Brust’s Firefly Novel – My Own Kind Of Freedom

My Own Kind of Freedom

Here’s a hot link for everybody who loved Joss Whedon’s Firefly series and wants to get more of it. Steven Brust wrote a fanfic novel and published it under a creative commons licence so it’s completely free 😀 For a quick little review: I read it at work last week and I have to say it totally got me hooked, after the premature end of the series (shame on fox) left me wanting for more. I’d recommend it to everyone who’s feeling the same way. Brust manages to capture the spirit of Firefly extremely well in a novel that consists to about 80-90 percent of dialogue, but it’s the same direct, comic dialogue that makes Firefly such a great show.

The plot is set sometime in between the final episode of the series and the movie Serenity. Sadly we’re missing Inara who is occasionally mentioned in side comments and Mal’s apparent pining after her (even though he’d never admit it of course ;)) and the Shepherd who left the boat as well. But even so the book has everything the show had. Another job that doesn’t work out as it was supposed to be, Jayne causing more trouble than everybody had expected and a rather odd fed who’s not too eager to do what the Alliance is asking him to do. Oh and we also have a number of flashbacks into the past, portraying characters like Mal and Zoe, Simon and River and our rather weird fed in great depth. This is another accomplishment that Brust made: portraying the characters really well while adding some more depth to them. He thus followed the principle of the show being much more a character study than the scifi action series it is advertised as. In terms of action though nobody will go wanting with Brust’s novel.

The only thing that’s been raising some complaints from me would probably be the ending though. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but in my opinion it could simply have been a bit better exercised as Brust tries to keep up the tension, but he might be overdoing it a bit here. Maybe another ten or twenty pages added to the novel’s 167 wouldn’t have been too bad to make the end a little less abrupt.

Anyway, this being the first kind of fanfiction that I’ve read from a major author since my Buffy the Vampire Slayer spree in my early teens, I can only say: check it out, guys! It’s worth it.

Final Verdict: 9.0/10.0

New look!

I had some time this weekend that wasn’t utterly consumed by taking care of my poor, sick hubby, writing or generally doing nothing. Anyway, so I decided to fiddle a bit with the site to update it to fit better to the brand new and shiny outline for Light.

Some of you might know the picture from the Firefly series (awesome show btw!). I chose it because it’s kinda how I imagine the Shadow to look like, nice little cargo shuttle as it is. I was thinking that maybe this looks too much like the book is becoming our same-old little standart space-travelling SciFi novel, but it won’t, trust me there (no more spoilers at this point ;))

I also did a little cutting and adding here and there on the side bar widgets. First off I scratched some titles off the booklist, because I found it somewhat confusing for everybody to list books there that I still haven’t gotten around to read. So instead we have the review I’ve done so far on the booklist and another new “What I’m reading right now” section that shouldn’t list more than 2 titles at once, because I usually don’t do that and I hate to get the feeling that I’m way behind on reviews that have been long overdue. Which reminds me that I still need to post reviews for the Imriel books Kushiel’s Scion and Kushiel’s Chosen. I just need to get around to do that 😉

Oh and widget-crazy me also added a wordcount widget to show the progress I’m making on the first draft of Light and a little Nanowrimo icon, because, hey, gotta love little badges 😉

I haven’t succeeded in adding the cover-pictures to the books I’m currently reading. For some reason the sidebar doesn’t display the html that I’m putting in. Don’t ask me why. If anybody can help me out on this, please shoot a comment in my general direction please 😉

Anyway, hope you like the new design,

Cheers,

Nym

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