Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Travel Series: U.S.A. part 4

Last month I wrote about the portion of our U.S.A. trek that took us from New York City to Washington D.C., via Philadelphia. From D.C. we started back across the United States, heading north-west towards Oregon where we would be dropping our (third and last) Driveaway car off.

Snowy, misty goodness.
It was March and snowy, my favourite kind of weather (we never get snow where I live). We passed through some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever had the privilege of seeing. However, at one point during this trek, we enjoyed the following comedy of errors:

  • Dad lost his wallet;
  • my keycard expired;
  • Mum's emergency Visa stopped working.

We tried lots of things to access the money in our accounts, and at one point even got sent to a child abuse centre where they let us make international calls, but nothing worked. I finally managed to get $100 out of Mum's Visa, but we were still on the tightest budget ever.
Long road.

In Dubois, WY, we went to a pub and met some fun locals. The bar owner offered us free beds out the back of the pub for the night! (see what I mean about the kindness of strangers?) Here is an excerpt from my travel journal:
9.28 pm Exxon Dubois, WY (after deer incident) go to pub with barman & Trina & Keith & Courtney & Bill. Talk about pool tournaments, ew wallet troubles. Keith offers us beds. My keycard expired.

I love this stuff!
I'm drawing a blank on the mysterious deer incident, but Dad might have more info in his travel journal (which I really need to read sometime). In the pub there was a big bear head on the wall, and I said something like, "Aw, it's so cute!" The locals responded with something like, "Ain't so cute when it's comin' atcha!". This was also where the locals thought Dad was my boyfriend. Ew! Naturally this inspired me to make him get a haircut later on so he looked less youthful.

We made it to Oregon and dropped the car off, then headed to my Dad's Aunt Roma's place, where we fell gratefully into the welcoming arms of family.

I'll continue this story later, when you'll hear about some hitch-hiking adventures as well as a stint in a San Fran homeless shelter!

Friday, 22 February 2013

CassaStorm (Alex J. Cavanaugh) cover reveal!

Today I have something really cool to share - it's the cover release date for Alex J. Cavanaugh's CASSASTORM, the third instalment in his space opera series. Anyway, I'm not going to mess about any longer because it's time for the big reveal...

Wait for it...


Okay, I'm doing it!

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh
A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Release date: September 17, 2013
Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844002
E-book ISBN 9781939844019

Great cover, huh?? I think all the artwork for this series has been brilliant! Congrats Alex!!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Level Up! Blogfest - Carioca

Today is the Level Up! Blogfest, hosted by Allison at Geek Banter and Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, and here are the requirements:

Share your favourite game with us! It can be a video game, a board game, a party game, a card game, a childhood playground game--you name it. Let us know how it works and why you love it. I still can't even decide which category of game I want to pick, because there are so many good games to choose from under each. Video games are obviously close to my heart (I can't wait to hear about your favourites), but I often post about them, so maybe I will share a board game favourite this time.

I do have favourite games in various categories, and my favourite of all time has got to be Donkey Kong Country - but I already wrote about it quite extensively back in 2011. Today I'm going to mention a card game I have played since high school days, called Carioca. Basically we now call it "karaoke" but it's got nothing to do with singing or music. It's got a lot to do with swearing and screaming in frustration, but only if you're losing. If you're winning you're more likely to loose a series of evil cackles.

I learned this game from my high school friend who was Argentinian. Apparently it's a form of rummy, and I found this webpage about it which I must immediately email to my mum and her best friend (who I still play with), because it may tell us some things we have been doing wrong. But in our version of the game, we go far beyond the 6 or 7 rounds mentioned on that webpage. We end up with 20+ cards in our hands having to sort out really complicated combinations of trios and escaleras. My mum even bought these plastic card holders to help us handle all our cards and avoid tendon-strain!

So yeah, I love love love card games, and am always willing to learn new ones! My mum has an encyclopaedia of card games and that's also fun to check out.

P.S. I think my love of card games certainly influenced the fact that I have a collection of playing cards from all around the world that I keep adding to.

Some of my playing cards - these were an "antique" present.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

3 mini reviews and 4 teeny tiny reviews

3 Mini reviews of books I've read this year:

REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND [Becca Ann] - This was a sweet and sexy YA romance  and I would read it again. Yes, it was funny, but also sad in parts. It certainly had a good ending. If you crave YA romance like I am craving chippies and lollies right now, then you should totally read this one!

HOOKED [Liz Fichera] - Another book I would definitely read again. I'm a sucker for sweet romance, but this was also a good story. It was a bit uncomfortable at times witnessing the racism/prejudice, but I think it allowed Fred's strength to shine through (and yes, Fred's a girl). And I hear there's another book forthcoming focusing on Sam, so bring that on!

BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. [Medeia Sharif] - A fun read, though I found myself cringing quite often over Almira's behaviour. Maybe because I recognised some of my own high school self in her? haha. The main focus, the way I see it, was on Almira finding her place in her family's culture (Middle Eastern), within a completely different culture (American). Don't know if I'd read it again but I'd totally read other works by the author.

Aaaand...4 really tiny reviews of the other books I've read:

THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA [Tia Williams] - African American Sex and the City, but with a darker dash via Jay's story.

GONE [Jennifer Mills] - A darkly humorous, sad trek across the Australian landscape and one guy's broken mind (review).

BETTER OFF FAMOUS? [Jane Mendle] - Light and fluffy YA that made me giggle a lot.

A MEMORY OF LIGHT (WoT #14) [Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson] - The final instalment in a seemingly endless epic fantasy series I wish RJ had been around to finish himself.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Trisha has read 7 books toward her goal of 30 books.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Daphne, meet Helvetica [revisions]

Already this year I've completed a revision of SUNDOWN II, and currently I'm working on DAPHNE II, and I've discovered that, on Scrivener for Mac at least, the story looks kind of groovy in Helvetica font. ;) I haven't got all that far in my revisions, and I wouldn't say I'm being absolutely perfectionist during this round. I guess my goals are to get my word count down (it started at about 111k, and I'd like it to be more like 95k) and fix up some inconsistencies. I also have other little goals, but for the most part the word count whittling is what I'm aiming for.

I really do love this story after the rewrite. I kind of loved it before the rewrite, but I am quite excited by the bad boy character I introduced in the rewrite. I want to tweak some of his scenes a little bit, to better illustrate his own issues. He's a little too stable considering all he's gone through, but I still want him to have that core reliability (whether he believes he does or not). There's also a minor character (a timid little mouse of a girl who is overwhelmed by most aspects of life) who I don't know if I should keep. She doesn't really serve any purpose, and in the latter parts of the story I neglected her entirely (guess I answered my question then, didn't I?). I was planning to kill her off, but I think the story has more than enough drama as it is without adding a death to the mix. So I might get rid of her entirely, even though I enjoy her scenes.

Revisions are going slowly, and I feel a little like I'm stumbling around in the dark, but I know this is only the beginning, so I'm not feeling too under pressure to get things perfect during this revision round. But, um, what was the whole point of this post? Oh yeah, I like this Helvetica font. :) And yes, I do tend to be a frequent font changer!!

What are you working on?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

[O&AM] I'm single!

"Out & About Me" is a monthly blog series in which I tell you guys a bit more about me. I'll focus on a particular topic each month, and let you all get to know me a bit better than you already do.

In this month's post I'm going to talk about singledom and how it sometimes makes me feel like one of the odd ones out in this blogging community.

I've been single most of my life, though there have been blips, including a three-year one that ended when I was 23. Often I think that being single is getting a bit old. I refer to myself as the "eternal single", because my relationships tend to go wrong or, in some cases, start off wrong. A friend once told me, "You sure know how to pick 'em!" after a guy I had been interested in committed suicide (don't worry, she was giving me a hug at the time!). But I also tend to attract duds, not just be attracted to them.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not throwing a pity party here. I love my life, and I am aware of the benefits of being single. To be honest, I don't know if I even have the energy for a relationship. From observing other people's relationships, I think I might actually be too lazy for all that hard work. Maybe my friends are generally happy, but they live the sorts of lives I wouldn't want for myself. I'm an introvert (which I'll talk more about in another O&AM post) and I love my solitude. I need it. For some people, company is a large reason for being in a relationship. For me, it's a reason to be leery.

I get home from work every day and bask in my own company. I have so many creative projects that I'm working on that I'm never bored. I do have a bunch of excellent friends and a great family, but I also like to think that I'm one of my own very best friends. I'm certainly the one who puts a roof over my head, keeps me fed and clothed and in wine and chocolate. I'm even planning on buying my very first home this year, and I'm proud to be doing it on my own. Still, I roam around this blogger community and feel quite the odd one out, because I'm pretty sure I'm one of the only singletons around. Thankfully it doesn't matter to you all, and you haven't kicked me out of your club. haha. I do find it interesting, though. A lot of writers are women, and married with children. Have you noticed the same?

In conclusion, I do sometimes wish I had already found a partner suited to me, someone who needs his own alone time as much as I need mine. Someone who understands and respects my boundaries. Someone who isn't deranged would be nice, too. ;) Maybe I will find such a person, someday. For now, though, I'm getting on with building my own life, and I'm having a damn good time of it.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Hello from my new blog spot!

I did sort of expect to give a bit more warning than this before changing my blog's URL, but it seemed like a good time to make the change. My flash fiction from Nick Wilford's Overcoming Adversity blog hop will be included in the anthology he's creating, so I figured I should give him a new blog URL instead of one I was planning on changing soon anyway. My old blog address is still there, but from now on I'll be posting here.

I wasn't really sure what I wanted to change to, but this URL features my initials (though my actual name is Patricia, not Trisha), and also the name of my blog. I have a fondness for my initials mostly because my dad makes use of them a fair bit. As a photographer, he's got folders full of slides of me throughout my life, and each of these folders are labelled simply "TWF". He's also sent me postcards from overseas addressed simply to "TWF". My brother is "JWF" (we each have our mum's surname as our middle name), and he gets labelled as such too. Even our email names display as TWF and JWF.

So there you go. That's the reasoning. Now I just hope you can all find me. :)

I have noticed some broken things and have fixed them as I've stumbled across them (blog rolls had to be done from scratch, and one page wasn't working), so if you notice anything else broken, please let me know! Hopefully this will be the last change in...a long time. Maybe ever. ;)

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Overcoming Adversity bloghop

Today is the first day of Nick Wilford's Overcoming Adversity Blog Hop, which aims to raise money for a very worthy cause. Check out Nick's blog for more details. Meanwhile, here is my little flash fiction piece about a gal who is determined to overcome any adversary (even Death) to achieve her end goal! According to Scrivener it's 489 words long.

Meri stares at the ceiling a lot. It helps distract her from the pain. The healer tends to her, but there are others much more badly wounded and the healer has set his priorities straight. It helps that she’s given up fighting him. He trusts her to stay put. 
She’s counting on it. 
Time passes and the fussing lessens. Soon enough it’ll cease completely, and Meri will be left to her much-needed rest. 
Seconds tick away and she grits her teeth. 
Cries echo down the hall—they’re admitting a new group of wounded. Meri draws a deep breath, folds the sheet back and slides gingerly off the bed. She pads to the door and peeks out. All clear. Back in the room she closes her eyes, expands her focus and summons the magic. 
It floods her, swelling each strand of pain to a glowing hot red. It fills her with a new strength. 
It hums and blossoms outward, covering everything. 
Meri’s eyes snap open. She creates a portal and steps through it. 
She enters chaos.