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Ramblings of a Writer
CatherineHaines.Livejournal.com
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10th-Apr-2012 09:27 pm - Bits and Bobs
Roswell // Standing

I’ve been really pathetic about blogging lately, so have some linkspams and random thoughts. :)

  • As you can see, I’ve returned to the old Super Catherine layout idea, although with some tweaks – mainly to make it a two-column one.
  • I’ve also been working on a brand new novel (the first part of a planned trilogy) in the vein of shows like Roswell and The Vampire Diaries. However the comparison to the former – especially when combined with the main couple being compared to Michael and Maria – often leaves people a bit confused. As such I have been introducing many people to the show and being antsy while I wait for DVDs. I have had to make do with music videos.
  • While on my Roswell kick, I discovered this thing where people make credits for shows in the styles of others. For example, here’s the Roswell opening in the styles of Charmed, Alias, Stargate SG1 and The OC. And in the style of Roswell we have Buffy, Doctor Who and Charmed. And last but not least, we have Supernatural in the styles of Charmed and Friends. I don’t know about you, but I’d watch that second show.
  • I am about half-way through A Game of Thrones. I have yet to watch the show and will do so once I’m through the books (I have the box set which is up until A Feast for Crows) but I am happy to say that I am now able to understand at least a few of the references people have been making.
  • I found this post by Giraffe Days which showcases YA cover trends. So many solemn white girls in prom dresses – it’s no wonder I keep forgetting what book it is I’m meant to be looking for, as it gets lost in a sea of similar covers.
  • I am wishing I had a tablet and have been drooling over the Samsung Galaxy Tab in particular. Maybe if I save up a lot I’ll be able to get myself one before NaNo.
  • Speaking of NaNo, I haven’t made my decision of what story to write. So far there are two main contenders: a witch story vs an aliens story.

And that’s pretty much it, I’m afraid. Until next time!

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

13th-Jan-2012 08:02 pm - Opening the Windows
DC // The Girl Wonder

When my laptop died just over a year and a half ago, I made a plan: when I built my desktop I would use Linux until the new version of Windows came out (and I had saved up for it). But since I liked Ubuntu so much, I felt no need to do the whole dual-booting thing.

But given the recent-ish changes in Ubuntu (which I wasn’t exactly a fan of) plus the fact that I wanted to play games properly1 on my computer (which was why I built it so souped up in the first place!) I decided to give in and get Windows 7.

The install process went very smoothly and so far I really like what I am seeing. It’s taking a while to get used to things since I’ve never used 7 before (I went XP to several Ubuntu releases to 7) but it’s quite intuitive, for me anyway. It’s very nice to have programs back that I gave up when I stuck with Linux, although of course the trade-off is that I have lost programs that I grew to love on Linux.

But the big upside is I no longer have to whip out my netbook whenever I need to do something like download ebooks from the library or get files from the external harddrive. That got annoying real fast.

I haven’t made the decision of whether to dual-boot Ubuntu back onto Epic Comp. I’ll give Windows 7 a few more days just on its own to force me to get used to it and then decide. I’ve been iffy on Ubuntu ever since Natty/Oneiric went off in its new direction so I’m really going to give it a good hard think.

In the meantime, Windows users, would you like to educate me on some of your favourite programs/7 features and addons? It’s been a long time since I’ve looked for new Windows programs.

  1. Seriously. I skipped and jumped and juddered my way through the first two acts of Dead Island via Wine and that was enough to break me []

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

21st-Dec-2011 09:03 pm - Random Finds
DC // Steph!Batgirl

I was going through my old writing files when I came across the blurb and the first 200 or so words of a YA superhero comedy novel I had scribbled down. Since I won’t be touching it any time soon, I’ve decided to share it with you. So here, have the hastily-written beginning of My Hero, His Villain and Me.

When you find yourself hanging by your ankles over a vat of acid as often as I do, the time you used to spend panicking and terrified is now just time to think. In my case, about why on earth that happens so damn often.

People think I’m just the damsel, that it is my job to be kidnapped and used as bait to start yet another epic fight between hero and villain. And while it does kind of suck to be reduced to such a role, in my opinion it’s better to let everyone think that than them really knowing the truth. The truth of who I am, what I am and what I can do.

“What’s the matter, Mary?” The voice pulls me from my thoughts.

I open my eyes and instinctively look up. The motion is small but still enough to send me swinging slightly, just like a pendulum. My shadow skims the surface of the pool of acid just a few scant inches below the tips of my long, thin, mouse-brown hair.

“Mary, Mary,” says my captor, seated in a chair safe distance from the edge of the acid-pit. One leg is crossed over the other, giving me hints of the red lines in the soles of his boots as he bounces the foot up and down impatiently. “I don’t expect you to scream any more, but it is too much to expect a little banter from you before your hero shows?”

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

Disney // BatB Netspeak

Spirited Away is a personal project of mine where I read through a bunch of faerie books (stand-alone and in series) and then talk briefly about them.

First all, I am so glad they have gone back to using Sammy Yuen’s artwork for the covers. His stuff is absolutely gorgeous and I was really disappointed to see that, for a time, they had ditched his beautiful stuff for people on the covers.

I had read both Tithe and Valiant before, but despite having all three books on my bookshelf for some time I never finished the series – despite promising myself that I would several times over 2011. It was the decision to re-read the first two books before reading the third that sparked this project.

Of the two I had read, Valiant was my favourite – while I liked the world that Tithe set up and some of the writing, I found I had difficulty connecting to any of the characters. Reading Tithe for the second time around I still had that personal sense of disconnect (I can see how others might like them, but I personally didn’t connect) but this time around I did enjoy the world and the writing even more. When I read Ironside later in the week I liked the characters a lot more; Roiben especially was far more compelling and interesting. Whether it was just the different storyline or growth on behalf of the author I don’t know.

Now that I have read all three novels (and the short stories in The Poison Eaters & Other Stories), Valiant is still my favourite because both the story and the protagonist Val simply appeal to me more. While I now appreciate the characters and storyline of Tithe more after a second go, it and Ironside still don’t have quite enough to displace Valiant from its position as the favourite of the series.

 
Next Up: The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa (I am currently nearing the end of my re-read of The Iron King before reading the rest of the series for the first time), and then a non-faerie reading break. :D

Mirrored from On The Nightstand.

7th-Nov-2011 01:13 pm - Who Wants To Read My NaNo Prologue?
Labyrinth // Into The Labyrinth

So it’s the start of week two for NaNoWriMo and I have been busy writing away. Having the outline is really helpful and Scrivener is wonderful too.

Anyway, to share a sample, here’s my rough-and-definitely-unedited prologue.

Liverpool, England. 1927.

I died in a pool of blood on my bedroom floor. My throat had been torn open and the boy I thought I loved – that I thought loved me – was responsible for it.

My mind should have been nothing but thoughts of betrayal, of mental cries of anger, but while those things were there it was another thought that held sway over my dying mind. As my killer swallowed down the life that bled out with each slowing heartbeat, my thoughts were of my mother.

More specifically, how angry she would be when she saw the mess.

As is understandable, I was not the most coherent person at that time.

I had fought him the entire time, and the signs of the battle were everywhere. Books had been knocked off shelves and the collection of figurines my grandmother had given me – eighteen in all, one for each birthday – lay cracked and broken where they had fallen.

Around me lay the shards of the full-length mirror that had shattered when he had thrown me into it, all its pieces like the countless flakes of a twisted snow angel created by my death throes.

Even as more of my life seeped out of me, pushed out by each slowing heartbeat, I struggled. Pathetically, it was true, but it was enough for Thomas to lift his head from my throat and laugh. I tried to answer him but he was sitting on my chest, making it even harder to form my dying breaths.

More hot tears leaked from my eyes as he lowered his mouth back down to my neck and continued to feed. Both my hands scrambled about, trying to find something, anything, to get him off me, to let me die without anymore of his violations – or even better, save my life. Finally my right found purchase, fingers and palm bleeding as they curled around the sharp edges of a large shard of glass.

I made one desperate slashing movement above me and Thomas howled in pain; I slashed again, harder, emboldened by the sounds he made. He lifted his head so I could see my handiwork: one thick gash on his neck, and another along the cheek I had often touched, along the high cheekbone I had often thought was a mark of his perfection.

“You… you little…” Thomas began but did not finish. Above me, his eyes focused on the blood that was dripping from his face and onto mine. The blood that fell into my mouth and that I, with disgust and effort, automatically swallowed.

“Bastard,” I spat out, my first word in some time. “I hate you.”

“And I love you!” he replied excitedly. The words that had once thrilled me now terrified me. How could he say that to someone he was killing and enjoying killing so much? “You have given me the most fantastic idea!”

What idea could he have had? I suddenly felt even colder than I already was.

Unfortunately, the terrifying idea that came to my dying mind was nothing compared to the horrors that would await me with his actual idea.

He raised his left wrist to his mouth and bit into it, just like he had done to my neck earlier. Then he forced the bleeding limb against my mouth, holding my nose to force me to swallow.

As his blood – it tasted so strange, not like any blood I had accidentally swallowed while alive, or drunk since my death – trickled down my throat he explained his plan. “I love the way you fought me, not like all the rest. It was such a shame that your defiance was not going to last. But then you, in all your cleverness, had to show me how to continue our wonderful little game. I knew you would be special and you proved me right.” He smiled down at me although his eyes did not focus, clearly too lost was he in his little fantasy world. “Do you understand, my sweet Viola? We’re going to play this game forever. You are going to be just like me. Forever.”

My scream of horror was muffled by his wrist and the blood that had already started to transform me.

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

31st-Oct-2011 03:37 pm - Last Minute Preparations: Software
xkcd // I Love The Whole World

So. NaNoWriMo begins in less than 24 hours – for me, anyway. I am both terrified and excited about it all. And as part of my last-minute preparations I am cleaning making sure I have all my software on my comp installed and set up the way I like it, as I have recently done a fresh install of Ubuntu to upgrade to 11.04.

Anyway, here’s a brief list of all the software things I will be using this coming month, for various reasons.

  • Scrivener: Since it’s now available for Linux this’ll be my first year using Scrivener for NaNo. I like it though.
  • Write or Die: Because sometimes you just need a major push to get those words out.
  • NovProg2: As this is a word counter that stays on my comp, it means I don’t have to run to the NaNo site every time to check how I have been doing, and risk getting distracted by the rest of the internet.
  • Songbird: Because I need music, goshdarnit! This is also why I will have my iPod ready to go at all times.
  • Pidgin: For the few times I will venture online to chat with writer friends and keep in touch with the #nznano IRC channel.
  • The GIMP: For getting distracted making pretty things like book covers and playlist covers.

And, of course, there is always the classic pen and paper – I especially like stuff from Smiggle. I have a long calendar on my wall that I think I shall put a sticker on for each day I meet the target. Because everyone likes stickers.

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

1st-Oct-2011 07:12 pm - Some Pre-NaNo Reading
xkcd // I Love The Whole World

I seriously doubt I will get through all of these books in the next month but it is nice to have a smaller “to read” list than normal. :)

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

28th-Sep-2011 10:58 pm - NEEEEEEEEERD
Labyrinth // Puffy Dresses and Older Men

So I am preparing for NaNo11. Some of the things I have been doing are:

  • Outlining using bits of paper stuck with blu-tac to a board my father normally uses for doing jigsaw puzzles on (fortunately he has spares).
  • Fleshing out scenes in a new way in a notebook (which I really like doing, I have discovered).
  • Trying to make a playlist (currently at five songs).
  • Even making a terribly “trendy” cover to put on the NaNo page, even though I don’t even have a very good working title.

All of those things make sense, right?

So can someone help me understand why I have been pondering sexual dimorphism for the vampires in this future WIP?

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

24th-Sep-2011 10:02 pm - The Working Title Needs Work Though
DC // Saving Me From Zombies

NaNo is coming, which means it is time to get ready. I need to come up with an idea (check), outline my plot (working on it), come up with characters (a-yep), actually name the characters (some of them are done), make a playlist (three songs so far!) and do research.

Dracula    

Reading these totally counts as research1 you guys. It totally does.

  1. As does looking at pictures of Dita von Teese. []

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

9th-Sep-2011 01:17 pm - In Which I Try To Buy Music
DC // Power Girl

Shiny New Idea: Hi Catherine! I’m Shiny New Idea. Aren’t I awesome?!

Catherine: Oh man you are awesome, Shiny New Idea. You make me want to work on you right now.

Shiny New Idea: I know I am awesome but you have enough projects for now. Plus you need to let me simmer for a while.

Catherine: That is true. I wish I had the St. Trinian’s movie to watch right now since you make me think of that but I don’t. I shall just have to listen to the soundtrack instead.

Shiny New Idea: Oh, you know what you could do? You could make a playlist for me, that always helps ideas simmer for you.

Catherine: Great idea! And I know just the sound it’ll have: Spice Girls, Lily Allen, Stefy, The Veronicas and more! “One Way Or Another” would be great for it but the sound of the original doesn’t quite match – maybe there’s a cover?

Wikipedia: Did you know that Sophie Ellis-Bextor did a cover of it for some movie?

Catherine: Oh, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. She would be perfect for this project.

Grooveshark: Here, have a listen to her version.

Catherine: *listens* Oh that’s perfect! Now where can I buy a copy of the song?

Google: iTunes has it.

Catherine: iTunes, I have money which I would like to give you in exchange for a song.

iTunes: This song is not available for purchase in your region.

Catherine: But… I have money. I want to give you money. Why don’t you want my money?

iTunes: This song is not available for purchase in your region.

Catherine: ARGH. WHY DO SO MANY PLACES NOT WANT MY MONEY?!

 
Meanwhile politicians continue to wonder why New Zealand might have a piracy problem. Sigh.

Mirrored from Catherine-Haines.com.

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