Why the ‘Brief Hiatus’ is Now a Semi-Permanent Hiatus

Well, friends… I did it. I had a MAJOR life epiphany. I did not want to blog this any sooner, as I was afraid that the feeling was temporary; I am so prone to mood ups and downs that completely change my thinking. But no! This epiphany came several months ago, and I have not let go of it since.

So, what is it, you ask?

Well. Here it goes.

I realized that I am alright. I am more than alright. I’m content.

Anyone who read my posts from over the summer knows that I was anything but content at that time. I was carping almost daily about how all I wanted in the entire world was “Rowlingian” or “Kingian” success with my Eternity series, and trust me, what I published on the internet was NOTHING compared to what I was writing in my journal at that time. The whining was UNBELIEVABLE. But more on that in a minute.

Looking back at that time now, at all the whining, all the consternation, all the shameless, neurotic hoping, I realize that I was unhappy, first and foremost, which I kind of already knew, but I also realize that much of it was spoken by the desperate inner-child within me, the one who just did not want to let go of college and face the responsibilities of adulthood. I realized that I needed to believe that I was going to suddenly become mega-famous, be adored and revered as a literary titan, and be saved from my mundane, everyday life because I was in a rut, and I had no idea how to dig myself out. I wanted to live that life so I could be free of the stresses of student loans, finding a job, working a job… I would get to sit on my butt and make millions of dollars and have everyone ooh! and aah! over me. What could be better than that?

Well, lots of things, as it turns out. I wanted all of that, I wanted that life, but that just ain’t where I’m at anymore.

So, how did this epiphany happen? Well, through two things: A sudden health crisis that lasted for one month and is still kind of ongoing, and because of my work.

The first epiphany-trigger is legitimately embarrassing: I had a routine appendectomy. For me, a person with WILD health anxiety, to suddenly be besieged by a potentially life-threatening health situation was my absolute worst nightmare. In fact, as the anesthesiologist was preparing to put me under, I looked back at him as I laid down on the operating table and said, “This is my worst nightmare. You have no idea; this is my absolute worst nightmare.” Everything went beautifully, and I was discharged home within the day. Well, physically, I was mostly fine, but emotionally, I was a wreck. Panic attacks every day, frantic Googling of complications from appendectomies… I thought I had blood clots that would turn to pulmonary emboli and smother my lungs, or make my brain stroke out, or stop my heart in its tracks. I thought a tiny bump on my arm was going to turn into MRSA. I thought every ache and pain was an abscess or herniated scar tissue. I was an utter basket case, to say the least.

But that was not the crisis. At least not completely. The crisis came when, after returning to work, I had the WORST headache of my life. It lasted for days. Now, being a person afflicted with health anxiety, I immediately thought “BRAIN ANEURYSM” which is ACTUALLY my worst nightmare. It always has been, as long as I have had health anxiety, which has been many, many years. So, I went to Patient First, hoping that the pain in my eye was some kind of infection or better yet, just a really bad migraine. But no. Once there, I was informed by a histrionic doctor that my pupils were uneven, which suggested a TIA, and that I was at immediate risk for a stroke. I needed to go to the hospital RIGHT AWAY FOR A CT SCAN, LEST I WISHED TO HAVE A STROKE AND DIE. I mean, really, this guy was running through Patient First to call the hospital and tell them I was coming over, that it was an emergency, blah blah…

Don’t panic. I am going to say now that not only was this doctor wrong, but that he was an idiot. At the ER, they informed me that my pupils were fine, and everything else in my perfectly healthy 23-year-old body was chugging along nicely. But the anxiety got the better of me. For days, I believed that histrionic doctor was right, the other doctors were wrong, and I was going to have a stroke. I returned to the ER on two separate occasions, and on the second (and the last), they did a CT scan (which came back clean) and a spinal tap (which hurt like crazy and made me scream and cry like a little kid but also came back clean.)

So, as I am recovering from these procedures, as I am laying in the throes of a horrible panic attack, I started thinking to myself, “Well, what if I really HAD been having a stroke? What if this were my life? What if this were it?” And that is when I realized that I have been hoping and praying and desperately wishing my life away. I have not been present, at all.

Yes. It literally happened just like that, which I thought was weird, because I don’t normally believe in epiphanies like this.

I returned to work a week later, to my beautiful Pre-K children and my amazing co-teachers, who were so happy to see me, who had been sending me messages through my entire illness, reminding me that they were all there for me, they all missed me, and they couldn’t wait until I came back. Every day since going back to work, even when I have wanted to pull my hair out (days like that are inevitable when you work with children), I have been telling myself that this is where I am meant to be right now. I work with children, several of whom have special needs, and every day, they do something that either totally makes me feel things like a human (my way of saying “touches my heart”) or they accomplish something that to us may seem so little but to them is huge, or vice versa. I love walking into my room and being barraged by hugs and gleeful shouts of “Ms. Tori!” I love being immediately pestered about drawing Rapunzel and Elsa and Sheriffs of Mars, or braiding hair, or helping them build a garage for the cars out of the blocks. I love how they are so eager to do everything from art projects to Math worksheets to huge class discussions about our Letter of the Week or Popcorn Words. As I was laying in bed recovering, I made a mental list of all the things I love about my job, and the aforementioned points are only a few of those reasons. I realized that I have been taking that stuff for granted in a way that is almost offensive. Working with kids is difficult, to say the very least, but, if you’re doing it right, you get back SO MUCH. These are little, adorable, innocent souls who just want to spend time with you, who love you unconditionally, who will probably not remember you (at least not well) in the future, but who love you every second of the present.

Right now, I am continuing to experience rather severe abdominal pain, which has resulted in two ER visits AND an MRI, and yesterday, when the pain became so excruciating at work that I could barely stand, one of my little girls walked up to me, hugged me, and said, “Ms. Tori… What I want more than anything in the entire world is for you to get better.” And I held it in then, but later, I cried over that, because is that not the most lovely, adorable, perfect thing that has ever happened? I am lucky to experience moments like that, certainly, but I am lucky just to be a part of their lives, even if only briefly. And when I move on from this job, when I go to grad school, get my PhD, and move on to teaching big kids, I will find being a part of their lives, even if only briefly, just as fulfilling. The greatest teacher I ever had was a college professor. He changed my life in one two-minute interaction. If I can encourage a student the way he encouraged me, if I can intervene, however discreetly, when I know they need guidance, then I will continue to feel that I am doing meaningful work.

How does all of this relate to my former dreams of being mega-rich and mega-famous? Well, I realized that the world needs more teachers than it needs mega-celebrities. And also, as I am getting older, I am looking at myself more objectively. In college, I felt the need to be the loudest, most opinionated, most read, most intelligent, smartest girl in the room. I thought I was always right, that having an opinion on LITERALLY everything was required if I wanted to impress people. Having opinions is important, I know that still, but I don’t feel the need to take up all the air in the room, to bloviate about why my opinion rocks and someone else’s stinks. I don’t feel the same egocentric streak in me, the one that whispers that the solar system revolves on a Tori-centric model, that the Earth’s gravitational pull is a direct result of me and my brilliance. I don’t feel the need to embellish or to outright lie in order to make myself seem more intelligent or cooler. I don’t feel the need to one-up every story with a bigger, better story of my own. I don’t have time for people who are still stuck in that mindset, who can’t step back and observe themselves, who need attention and recognition and props and kudos and oohs! and aahs! I recognize those traits not as a sign of “coolness” but as a sign of great insecurity. I don’t find many things impressive, not that I really ever did. If people brag to me or to the world about their supposedly wonderful lives (which happened ALL the time in college and continues to happen today), I don’t buy it. I don’t have time for that kind of silliness, for braggers and liars and man-children or woman-children. I try to be kind to those people, to ask them about their lives, but I sift through their answers for what is true and what is more than likely false, and I have discovered that I am freakishly skilled at making the determination between truth and fiction. I don’t look back at any decision I ever made and think, “Well, maybe I should have done this differently, because then I could have done X, Y, and Z, or maybe I could have been here, or there, or everywhere.” I don’t live in the past. I have never been one to look at the social media pages of people I used to know, and I still don’t do that, not because it’s painful for me to look back, but just because I simply don’t want to. I don’t have the mental energy to give to old friends or old flames, or to old times, even. I don’t regret a single thing I have done over the past year. I don’t regret a single decision I have made, or a single moment of unhappiness or uncertainty or angst or anger. I am happy now, so I regret nothing.

When I read my journal during my recovery, which was a chronicle of my senior year in college, I saw some great things: my passion for learning, my love of being involved in school, my love for and loyalty to my friends, my sadness, my fear. But I also saw what makes older people cringe at my generation: I saw self-entitlement, a belief that God or Fate or the Universe should reward me for past struggles by making me famous, or that everyone should be looking at me all the time, and talking about me, and thinking about me. I saw a belief that everyone else was the problem and I was just an innocent victim of Evil, Horrible, Awful Circumstance. I saw a belief that I should be able to sit on my butt and wait for some miracle to save me from adulthood, and I cringed reading all those entries, the same way I cringed back then when I thought about working a 40+ hour work week, paying my own bills, taking control of my future, and getting my head out of the clouds. I am still terrified of adulthood, of leaving this dream behind completely, but I am also actively taking responsibility for my own life, for my own happiness, every single day.

This sounds crazy, I know. This sounds like something that could only happen in a wannabe-inspirational movie. But I know that A LOT of my post-graduate friends, from Stevenson and from other schools, have had similar epiphanies. Hell, my friends who DIDN’T go to college made these strides and came to this conclusion a LONG time ago. I know a lot of people who HAVE NOT had similar epiphanies, who still operate their daily lives under the delusion that the world revolves around them. And I don’t say any of this because I think I deserve props for my “maturity” or for my new way of thinking. Like I said, I am still struggling with this new mindset, I still fight that egocentric inner-child that wants to believe the world revolves around me. I don’t write this because I think other people should feel this way, or because I am defending my generation a little bit. Well, okay, I am defending my generation a little, because we are so often called little narcissists or perpetual children. But there are a large facet of us (I think there are WAY more of us than we let on) who grow up and change their thinking, or who have never thought that old, immature, egocentric way before. There are also MANY who do not outgrow this thinking, and I recognize that, too.

So, what does this mean for Eternity? What does this mean for T. Rudacille, the writer? Never fear. I will ABSOLUTELY be finishing the series, and I will ABSOLUTELY continue to write. But I will not spend time self-promoting, simply because I just don’t want to. There are many, many Indie Authors working 40+ hours a week, taking care of families, seeing to their responsibilities, and still self-promoting, and believe me, I commend them. But I can’t do it. So, this blog is going to sit on the way, way, way back burner for a long time. Or, if I do write, the content might be very different. Or it might be the same. I don’t know, we’ll just have to see. I am going to write my books, my blog, and whatever else, simply because I love to write, not because it is going to save me from the big, bad adult world.

This is goodbye, for a while. One day, I might re-join the cybersphere, but in the meantime, I am going to keep my ducks in a row now that I have gotten them in a row. I am going to hope that I continue on this path, and that tomorrow, I don’t wake up aching to be J.K. Rowling. I am going to try to remember what it was like to write just for the sake of writing. In short (too late, I know), I am going to just live out here. Cuz I am happier and more content than I have been in a long time. I am good. Really good.

So I must be doing something right.

-T. Rudacille (Tori)

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That Time I Poured My Heart Out in a Query Letter and Then Felt Dumb For Doing It So I Had to Blog About It To Make Myself Not Feel Like a Weirdo

Friends, I did a silly thing. Yesterday, all I ate was a yogurt and a piece of pizza with ranch dressing on it and a few fried pickle chips, and then I went out drinking with the girls from work. Now, these saucy minxes can drink me under the table easily, because in my old age (23, thank you), I am a lightweight who drinks less than half of a big Blue Moon and gets mildly tipsy. I blame my empty stomach and the fact that I was on an antibiotic. Everyone else blames me being, well, a lightweight.

So this morning, I wake up, and my head is pounding, my ears are full of liquidy mush, and my body feels heavy and dead because I barely slept last night on account of my anxiety convincing me that though it was only half a beer, I was dying of alcohol poisoning or a deadly interaction of antibiotic and alcohol (there was NO WARNING ON THE BOTTLE!). But despite all of that, I actually found my mind quite alive and alert. And racing, especially after I poured some coffee on top of the booze left in my really upset stomach.

I never drink. Can you tell?

This morning, (and really, all this week), I have been kind of angsty, thinking about how my ultimate dream is to write for a living, and how I want my Eternity series to be the thing that puts me on the map, because I feel like it has that potential. Truly, from an objective standpoint, I feel like it has a lot going for it: genre-bending, so it is appealing to a lot of different tastes; a strong female protagonist (or an antagonist, as she has been rightfully called, as well), who is unlike most other characters, a strong male protagonist who is young and idealistic and appealing to the YA crowd, plus all the action and sex and love and awesomeness. Oh! There’s also the philosophical question of what we would do if we were given a second chance. And then there’s the apocalypse angle, the dystopian angle, the war angle… When I read it, I can picture it being a film or a television series, as I am sure all authors can, in this age of the book-to-film craze. But regardless of how literally every author thinks about it, I have dreamed relentlessly about it since I first began the book three years ago. The funniest part of this is that in my young, 20-year-old mind, I had fully convinced myself that I would be uber-famous within three months, and I would not have to make the anxiety-provoking move to the school I had just been accepted to. I was a homebody with a terrible case of social and general anxiety, so the idea of becoming a mega-celebrity author with a million-plus reader readership was preferable to moving away from home and having to actually like, make friends. I know, it makes perfect sense to me, too.

But I digress. Kind of.

Though I have certainly become a lot more realistic in my ambitions (I have come a long way even from this last summer, when my dreams of fame and fortune were motivated by the fact that I could not, for the life of me and my English degree, get a job, and I was dead broke and really depressed because school was over, and I missed the friends that I had made despite my social anxiety and wah wah wah), I certainly still dream of what I once referred to as Rowlingian and Kingian literary success. So every day that the Eternity series has still not been like Harry Potter or The Shining or, at least in terms of the amount of readers and money, Fifty Shades of Grey, has been rife with me telling myself that there is more I have to do, that I have to spend money that I don’t have to get noticed, and that my work is maybe perhaps kind of not that good.

It is good. It has its flaws. I mean, DUH. I write and edit the books by myself. But I do think (and people who have read them agree, for the most part), that Eternity is pretty cool, and believe me, I appreciate that, and that is what drives me, as I have said before. I love that people dig it as much as I do. Isn’t that all we should want as authors?!? Yes. Yes, it is.

But I got angsty this morning and decided to try, for the millionth time, querying an agent with my self-published book. I have been told that once they hear your work is self-published, agents close out of your query real quick, so instead of abandoning the endeavor like a normal person, I wrote a really honest, kind of weird query letter, and I want to explain myself here.

I talked about why I self-published. It was, first and foremost, because, at 20 years old, I had no idea how to query an agent, or even that I should. Secondly, I come from a family of writers, and they and their friends told me that agents want authors who have built themselves a readership. I did not realize that they meant the book with which you gathered your audience will not be the book that gets you an agent or a publishing deal. I took advice and did not do my homework to see if other people in the industry agreed or disagreed with that advice.

I talked about the modest success that I have had with publishing. I have moved close to 8000 copies of the first two books, and as we know from my previous posts, I have recently published the third book and moved 200 free copies in one day. Though some Indie Authors (and MOSTLY all traditionally published authors) don’t get out of bed for less than 10,000 copies or 20,000 copies, or 50,000 copies or whatever, I am excited that one person downloaded my book, let alone 8000. For me, that’s monumental and super cool, so I talked about that.

I said that I am 150% open to advice from an agent, if I am so fortunate as to find one. I am open to whatever will make the book most marketable, and yes, I am even open to editing (even though the idea makes me sad, but it’s necessary.)

Most importantly, I tried to pitch why representing my self-published title is worth this agent’s time, and on that point, I spoke from the heart,as objectively as I could (and I know that sounds oxymoronic). I said that I feel my work is capable of something big, all while accounting for the fact that every author believes that. I talked about how I love these books, and I am passionate about them.

I mean, I sounded weird, and I was my usual awkward self, and I was way too honest, and I should probably just stick with the normal, boring query letters that I normally send. But I know that agents and publishers are iffy about self-published works, and I wanted to talk about why my self-published work, though it is self-published, is still capable of being successful. So maybe instead of listening to the “abandon all hope, ye who query here” mentality that I have had these past few months (and by “months,” I mean “years”) where I say that every query is going straight to the virtual Trash Bin because my work is self-published, I need to start spinning why my self-published work is worthy of representation, while also making it clear that I am open to negotiating how best to make it marketable outside of the self-publishing mediums.

I know it sounds like I am turning on my Indie Author roots by saying that I am looking for an agent. But I have been told that “self-published authors” and “authors with agents” are not mutually exclusive categories. Therefore, I don’t feel like I am biting the hand that has fed me. But if I am, y’all can let me know.

I am going to go down a liter of water now and watch Gilmore Girls til my eyes don’t work. #HangoverCure.


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis, and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon! Also, The Irreversible Reckoning, the third book in the series, is available for 99c on Amazon, but for free everywhere else. Brownie points if you report the lower price!

http://www.amazon.com/Irreversible-Reckoning-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00RHVL7DY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422723780&sr=8-1&keywords=the+irreversible+reckoning

The Irreversible Reckoning… IS HERE!!!

So after a rather successful preorder drive, it is with great pride that I share with all of you the news of THE IRREVERSIBLE RECKONING‘s release in the Amazon store today. Right now, it is 99c, but as soon as I upload it to Smashwords tonight, you can procure it for free (and brownie points if you report the lower price to Amazon!)

However, I must issue a disclaimer now, so I can feel like a responsible author: There is a lot in this series, but in this third installment, especially, that can be considered a “trigger,” and I would like everyone coming into this experience to be expectant of that. And also, I can almost guarantee you that the ending to this one is going to rip out your heart. I know it sounds crazy to issue a warning, but one of my favorite professors in college gave us a similar warning before we read one of our books for her class, and I am glad she did, because though I thought it was silly at the time, she was right when she said the book would make us angry, uncomfortable, and sad, and that it would have us thinking in the gray area, not the black and white.

So with that being said, you can head over to Amazon to download your copy or you can download from Smashwords this evening! And if you need to talk after you’re done reading, I am here for all of you. I will give you virtual hugs, be your virtual shoulder on which you can cry, and you can throw virtual objects at me in rage after you read the last few pages.

For both the potential trigger and the potential trauma, I offer my apologies! Happy reading, and again, THANK YOU!!!

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*DRUM ROLL AGAIN* The Irreversible Reckoning Official Release Date and Description!

I know what you are thinking: “Oh, my goodness, I cannot believe that she is posting so soon, given how prone she is to publishing one post and then disappearing for weeks on end!” Well, I am nothing if not unpredictable, so here I am, with yet another post on the third book in my Eternity series. As I revealed last week, the title of this installment is The Irreversible Reckoning, and it is available for pre-order TOMORROW, December 28, 2014!! Actually, it might be available today, considering how weird Amazon is, and considering the page is up when I searched for it. Yay! I’m so excited.

Here’s the funny thing about Amazon pre-orders: They actually require you to submit your official manuscript ten days before the book is released. See, originally, I put in the release date as my older sister’s birthday, January 20th. But then, they required the manuscript on the 10th, and there was no way that was happening, given that I am a freakishly obsessive editor, though my published stories would dispute that fact, as I still find many, many errors in them even after I painstakingly read through them three, four, or five times. But I digress.

To make up for that totally random story, let me say that The Irreversible Reckoning will be available for purchase (and it will download to your Kindles if you pre-order it any time between now and then) on JANUARY 28, 2015! So, one month from today. I know I promised that it would be December or January, and I am so sorry that it is so late in January, but please know that it is because I am trying to ensure that the manuscript you receive is as close to perfect as I can humanly make it. I want to make sure that the story progresses exactly as I want it to progress, and that it sets up the truly epic last two books in the series. I am not just holding out on you to make your anticipation grow, because I know I’m not one of those authors who is well-known enough to play around with my reading audience like that 🙂

So, to make up for the late date in January, I reveal to you, just in case you haven’t been to Amazon yet, the official description for The Irreversible Reckoning:

“It is the third year after the Landing on Pangaea, and Brynna Olivier has lost her daughter, her sister, her brother, her friends, and her first love. Hoarded onto the Lapsarian Maximum Security Prison Ship, she must survive amongst the worst of Pangaea’s criminals, while also contending with her new arranged marriage to Adam. Meanwhile, Alice, Quinn, and Violet try to escape the clutches of the Old Spirits, with Quinn and Alice using their evolution to slaughter every enemy in their path, and Violet using her wits to outsmart Caspar, who has treacherously changed his allegiance.

Twenty-five years later, Brynna is both Adam’s Queen and the Queen of the Lapsarian. Fighting for her life every day has inevitably resulted in her taking many lives, and now, she is unrecognizable, to both herself and to all those who love her. Quinn and Alice battle against the Old Spirits, all to avenge their second family that they lost. But as Alice’s rage and dedication to the cause only grow more violent over the years, Quinn begins to long more and more for the log cabin of which they dreamed in their youth. Violet is kept imprisoned in the city of Blancstizia, with Dr. Miletus and her wife, Macie. Together, their combined medical knowledge is much needed as a new, brutal plague begins to wipe out Old Spirit families left and right.

Three new voices begin to tell their stories after the Fall of the Red Anarchy: Grace, a teenaged Old Spirit child imprisoned after trying to escape her arranged marriage to Caspar; Lara, Tyre’s most favorite imprisoned woman; and James, Brynna’s lost love. Each is connected to Brynna deeply, in a number of profound, mysterious, and sometimes devastating ways.

Their world is shattered. Their family is broken apart, perhaps irreparably. Their lives have faced a reckoning that can never be undone, and yet there is a larger, more violent reckoning to be had. Despite it all, Brynna, Quinn, and Violet continue to fight for their lives, their family, and their freedom in this third installment of the bestselling Eternity series.”

Hopefully, this is enough to hold everyone over until the 28th. Let me just take a moment to thank everyone once again who has read the first two (very long) installments of this epic saga, are pre-ordering this third installment, and are looking forward to the fourth and fifth installment. I write this series because I love these characters, and I love this story, and I know every author says this, but if I didn’t have the readers, constantly giving me feedback and constructive criticism, and telling me that they love these characters and this story as much as I do, I don’t think I would finish it. You all are everything, and I hope, more than anything, that the story I have written for you is worth the wait. I really think it is. 🙂

-T.


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Irreversible-Reckoning-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00RHVL7DY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1419724610&sr=8-1&keywords=the+irreversible+reckoning

*DRUM ROLL* The Eternity 3 Title and Cover Reveal… Merry Christmas!

There is absolutely no better way to end this temporary hiatus than to reveal, for the first time ever, both the title, the cover, AND the pre-order date for the third book in the Eternity series. I’m not going to make a big speech here, but I have to thank, as usual, my publicist, cover designer, former roommate, BFF, and badass partner-in-crime, Alex, for her epic cover-making skills!

So, without further ado…………………………………….

toribook3

Gahhhhhhhhhhh! You know what I love most about this cover? The continuity with the first book.

toribook

I mean, look at the colors! They MATCH!

AND… the BEST news, this title will be available for pre-order on December 28! So when you get your new Kindles and Nooks and computers, this will be right there at your fingertips to pre-order onto them. BOOM! Christmas cheer!

So, for the lovely fans I have accumulated for this series that I love like a firstborn child, for you fans I love to death, Happy Holidays from me, and sorry for falling off the map here for the past couple of weeks. Work and grad school applications and the holidays have taken their toll upon me, but I hope that this reveal makes up for it!

Upcoming: The official synopsis for The Irreversible Reckoning AND the official release date!


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Path-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOOQYT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496318&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bargaining+path

Yet Another Brief Hiatus

Hello, all!

I must once again address all of my lovely followers, new and old, to proclaim that I will be taking a brief break from blogging (pardon the alliteration.) I have just started working again this week at my old job in childcare, and the hours are so long and strenuous that by the time I come home, all I am able to do is plop down on my bed and watch hours of Gilmore Girls or struggle through a few pages of Eternity 3. On top of trying to finish the third book (which is clocking in now at 450 typed pages, so it is almost done, YAY!), I have to finish my grad school applications (BOO.), take my GRE (Double BOO.), and keep this house a-running.

So, as usual, I will tell you all about the posts that will be featured here upon my return in a week or so!

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(Image Credit: blogs.commons.georgetown.edu)

1. A post about fantasy world-building… How exactly did I make Pangaea, the land to which Brynna, James, Penny, Quinn, Alice, and Violet escape? Was it difficult? Was it easy? And what’s up with the Pangaean language? (Hint: I am lazy, so I play around on Google Translate a lot.) Also, I am not nearly as good at it as George R.R. Martin (Pangaea ain’t got nothin’ on Westeros and the Free Cities), but I needed a picture for world-building, and Martin is the man in that category.

plagiarism-Bart

(Image Credit: Watchdog.org)

2. Have you ever been watching a movie, or a TV episode, or reading another person’s book, or even just watching a commercial, and been like, “OH MY GOD. That is EXACTLY what happens in my book! They’re going to think I plagiarized!!” Well, if you have, you know it is an uncomfortable phenomenon, and if you haven’t, I am going to make you experience it. It’s the WORST.

elizabeth olsen

(Image Credit: Pinterest.)

3. FANTASY CASTING! Picturing famous people as the characters in your own books. Yes, I picture Elizabeth Olsen as Brynna, and if you’ve kept up with me in other mediums (which I know a lot of you have, and thank you for that! 🙂 ), you know who I picture as Brynna’s hot, sexy old men. But I’ll tell you here, too.

grave encountersgrave encounters 2

4. I will finally finish the post I started two weeks ago on the Review post I promised for Grave Encounters and Grave Encounters 2. Yes, I know, it’s about bloody time. (Ha, horror movie puns.) I am going to rave about one, and RANT about the other. Believe me. It’s going to get so real.

genres

(Image Credit: Pinterest.com)

5. I am a science-fiction romance, thriller, fantasy thriller author, so I am going to talk about writing genre-bending fiction, and why it is so awesome. And weird. And challenging. But mostly awesome.

Thank you all so much for being patient with me while I go through this period of adjustment. I promise that when these posts come to fruition, they are going to be amazing, mind-blowing, epic, sexy, freaking sweet… All that stuff.


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Path-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOOQYT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496318&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bargaining+path

A Rave and a Rant About Grave Encounters 1 & 2.

grave encountersgrave encounters 2

I’m baaaaack! I know I promised these reviews over a month ago on Twitter, and I am sorry it has taken me this long to post. Life is significantly busier than it has been for a while, so blogging and shamelessly self-promoting had to take a back seat to some other more pressing tasks. But it’s all good, because here it is, y’all, as promised. Let’s rave and then rant about the Grave Encounters franchise.

Just in case you didn’t know, I will tell you that this movie was a viral marketing sensation. The trailer was viewed over 20 million times on Youtube, with the top comments still reading, “……” Now, I would venture to speculate that about ninety nine point nine nine percent of the viewing audience knows that this is not real. In fact, a quick search for “Collingswood Mental Hospital” proves that there is no such place, which I already know, because I am from Maryland, where Collingswood supposedly is. But that’s no fun, to think about it realistically. Except it is. It makes for a totally acceptable viewing experience, and I was happy to see that though Grave Encounters is a “found footage” horror, and though it begins with a policeman proclaiming that none of the film has been doctored in any way, there are few other indicators that we are really supposed to be taking this seriously. In short, the filmmakers aren’t laying it on too thick that it becomes annoying. (Paranormal Activity, here’s looking at you.)

The story is pretty standard: A documentary crew for a Ghost Hunters-type show arrives at the aforementioned Collingswood Mental Institution to shoot an episode. They have the frontman, Lance Preston (Ben Wilkinson), who stares intensely into the camera and talks in a semi-deep but fully ominous tone about the horrors that lurk within the building, and about the building’s horrifying past. They have a psychic who walks through the building proclaiming that he feels the terrible energy of all the tortured souls who died within its walls. They have the multiple camera-people. They have the moment where the camera-people, the host, and the psychic stare into the camera intensely and proclaim, “This… is Grave Encounters.” They pay off a groundskeeper to say he saw a ghost outside, and that part made me laugh pretty hard.

But it’s all bullshit. The psychic is a fake, and after his takes are over, he, Lance, and the crew laugh about how silly it is. Lance knows that he’s faking it. They all know it’s fake. It’s good TV, and that is all. The satire on these types of shows is real here, and it is hilarious. In fact, it is this satire that was part of what made this movie stand out to me as something cool and different.

Though the show is staged, the haunting of the institution turns out to be real. Are you shocked?

After being locked inside for the night, Lance and the crew discover that the stories are true; the place is infested with ghoulies and ghosties with contorted faces that were scarier the first time I saw them in The Ring, but it’s not those ghoulies and ghosties that are scary, anyway. Yeah, they provide the jump scares, which are the bread and butter of horror directors and writers, but what is scarier than that is the claustrophobia of the institution itself. As Lance and the crew try to escape, they discover that the institution has become a funhouse of sorts, with doors marked Exit opening onto long corridors, with the roof entry gone, and with time outside of the institution having no effect within its walls; one of the scariest parts comes when Lance discovers, after telling his crew that it would be light in a few hours and the whole ordeal would be over, that his watch is still ticking, and it is long past dawn outside the walls of Collingswood, but it is still the middle of the night inside. That is scary stuff, because it takes away the hope that the characters and that we, the audience, feel, when we think that soon the light of dawn will save the day. No matter what these people do, they cannot escape. The other scary parts include a certain character having a message cut into her back, and when each character begins to lose his or her minds, which reveals that regardless of one’s mental state going in, Collingswood will make you someone else.

I really dug this movie. If it had never showed the silly looking ghosts, I would have been just as creeped out, if not more so. The jump out scares were fun as always, but the scariest parts were watching these characters lose their minds, and watching as life outside the walls continues on without them. Could it be a metaphor?! Probably. But whatever. It was a good metaphor, and a good movie.

Then I watched Grave Encounters 2.

Ten minutes in, I was livid. Instead of making a sequel that expands upon the creepy claustrophobia and unique twists of the original, Grave Encounters 2 adds torture porn (which is fake, mind you, but still, if I wanted to watch torture porn, I would watch Saw or Hostel), random girl-on-girl make-outs, balls on people’s foreheads, drunken college parties, etc. etc. etc. It tries to continue the “satirical” elements of the first film by having Alex (Richard Harmon) setting out to make a convincing horror film. Now, in the first, Lance was trying to make a convincing horror television show, but still… You see the parallels. What annoys me most, though, about this movie is the whole, “Audience! You are watching a real life found film! Grave Encounters was real! And now, so is this!” Now, I know they don’t think that we actually believe this (and God, I hope people don’t actually believe it), but wasn’t that gimmick retired in the late 90’s with The Blair Witch Project? I am so over these movies pretending to be real. It was scary in the 90’s, when The Blair Witch Project was the only example of this marketing ploy. But now, it is tired. It is silly. It is boring.

This movie begins, and a half hour in, Alex and his friends have not even gone to the institution yet. I get that Alex was supposed to be investigating the first movie, so of course he would interview the mother of the first film’s main character, and of course he would try to track down the producer. Again, my issues with this come back to this movie trying to be scary by pretending that the first film is real. This is not scary. Again, this is ridiculous. This is tired. There is a lot of meta-narrative going on in these scenes, or some Inception-y film within a film shit, like the producer saying, “And they want to make a sequel! Grave Encounters 2!” and blimey, we’re watching Grave Encounters 2! How clever!

Do you want to know how many times Alex looks into the camera and mutters, in a trembling voice, “It’s all real. Grave Encounters is real?” So many times that I lost count. As if they couldn’t just leave it off with this nonsense in the beginning, they had to keep. freaking. repeating it. This is both an effort to make the movie scarier, and an effort to be clever. Another instance of this movie trying to be clever that jumps immediately to mind is when an Asian character proclaiming that “the ethnics always die first,” which, gee, could that be foreshadowing? Of course it is. Could it be an effort to satirize the horror movie genre, which would be an effort to make this film smarter than a shoddily thrown together low-budget sequel that did not need to be made? Of course it is.

So summing it up is actually very simple this time around: Grave Encounters = Good, clever, a little deeper than the surface level of most “found footage” B-movies. Grave Encounters 2 = SHIT. Pure, plain, and simple shit.

Were you expecting me to sugar-coat it? No. I won’t. SHIT.

Also, fun fact from a proud native Marylander: Though we do not have a Collingswood Hospital, we do have Rosewood, formerly known as the Asylum and Training School for the Feeble-Minded. Opened in 1888, it was where relatives dumped their “mentally incompetent” family members. It was abandoned in 2009, and the through-road was closed to civilian vehicles, but it is still used as a training facility for policemen. Funnest fact of all? The university I attended is built right behind Rosewood–literally, you can see the two watch-towers from the grounds, and many students believe that the spirits of Rosewood haunt the buildings closest to the property. The entire time I attended school there, I wanted to sneak onto the grounds and investigate the 10+ abandoned buildings, but alas, we were told trespassers would spend the night in jail, and though my dad finds much of my debauchery funny, I do not think he would find that phone call funny.

Here’s a pic of three of the buildings:

rosewood(Source: https://autumn1311.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/abandoned/)

Here’s an article detailing the patient abuse scandals that eventually led to the Center being shut down permanently:

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/03/baltimore_s_rosewood_scandal_wealthy_families_sprang_asylum_inmates_to_be.html

See, now that’s scary and it’s a true story. Someone make a movie about it.


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Path-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOOQYT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496318&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bargaining+path

Controversy: Allow Or Avoid It? On THAT Scene in The Shattered Genesis

Have you ever written something, then published it, and then gone back and looked, and thought, “That’s actually really controversial, and I don’t know if I am accidentally condoning something that I really don’t want to condone?” That has happened to me a million times since writing and publishing The Shattered Genesis. The story revolves around nothing more or less than a large group of survivors starting life anew on a mysterious alien planet. Sometimes, the common thread between all the story lines gets very fine, and it is just a collection of almost vignette-like moments that form a cohesive whole only by deepening the relationships of the characters. Sometimes, moments occur that will affect the rest of the series. One of those moments is of this controversial variety, and it is one with which I struggle constantly.

Here are minor spoilers.

After James and Brynna arrive at Don Abba’s house (Don is the leader of one faction of Earthean survivors, and he has aligned himself with Adam, the King of the free people of Pangaea), they discover a lawless, almost anarchic system in which there are no rules. Don has wild parties every night, and at those parties, he and his people consume an otherworldly substance called Peace Fruit that, at least a first, provokes a heightened state of euphoria similar to MDMA but without the risk of overdose. James and Brynna consume this one night, him willingly, and her through a contact high, and though their night is magical, the following morning is not. James suffers a common side-effect of this plant, in that it re-surges in his system, erases any rationality, calmness, and humanity, really, and after he and Brynna have a particularly nasty fight, he attacks her. Physically. Almost sexually. Brynna only escapes because Adam shows up to pull James off, and once he does, Brynna does physically hit him back for attacking her.

But at the end of it all, once he comes to her, in tears, on his knees, she takes him back. Yes. She takes back the man who hit her while he was high.

This is problematic, even for me. I could have changed this scene to make it less terrible. I could have changed it to make it easier for my reading audience to forgive James for this terrible assault. But I couldn’t. For some reason, whenever I went back to delete this scene altogether, or even just to tweak it, I couldn’t touch it. Why? Am I trying to teach women and men that it is okay for the latter to be forgiven in the event of physical abuse? No. I’m not trying to teach anyone anything. This is just the way the scene turned out. This is the way it resolved. So, how do I justify keeping Brynna and James together after this incident occurs?

Well, it had nothing to do with, “This was his first offense,” or “he said he would never do it again.” It has to do with the fact that he had no idea when he consumed this drug of its terrible side effects. No one did. He was given this under the pretense that it would induce relaxation and euphoria which would then result in amazing sex, because that’s what Don told him. That’s what James’s friends told him. I have frequently drawn parallels in my mind to how in real life, when women and men are abused, sometimes they talk themselves into staying with their abusive partner, “He/she was drunk,” or “he/she was high,” and how that excuses the behavior, because it allows a woman or man to tell himself or herself that it will never happen again. I justify James and Brynna still being together because James was ignorant to the effects of this mystical, magical, foreign plant, whereas we, out here in real life, here on the Earth, are totally familiar with the effects of alcohol and drugs, and how they can be the catalyst, but not the base reason, for abuse.

Brynna says that she is afraid of James being stigmatized after this event, but as she learns, many others had similar side effects. In fact, she learns James consumed three berries of Peace Fruit, which would make whatever side effects he were meant to suffer even worse. If I am trying to say anything here, it is that there are more to pharmaceuticals than meets the eye, but I don’t even think I’m saying that.

Let me pair this scenario with another that occurs in my second book, The Bargaining Path. Violet, Brynna’s sister, and her new friends, Caspar, decide they want to get revenge on Violet’s mentor who has just kicked her out of the Medical Program. Together, they consume “Devil’s Touch” (which I based off of Devil’s Breath, a real-life natural substance that practically erases free will and replaces it with almost complete suggestibility. Look it up, it’s terrifying), and together, they attack this woman, holding her to the ash-circle that keeps these really gnarly evil tree creatures away. Violet assaults this woman. She does so under the influence of mystical, magical, weird, unknown drugs. If I hold James accountable, must I also hold Violet accountable? Or, if I don’t hold James accountable, must I also not hold Violet accountable?

I do not condone abuse. I do not condone staying with one who is abusive. I love the scene in the second book where James expresses his fear that, with his new strength and stronger temper, he will hurt Brynna, and he asks, “If you thought I would hurt you, you would leave me, right?” And she says that she would. Know that I am not just sticking up for my characters and my story when I say that if Brynna thought James was a physical threat to her, she would be gone. Gone, gone, gone. But as she says, it would be hard for her. She would be relieved to be away from one who could harm her and the people she loved, but it would be hard. James recognizes his own dangerous flaws, and she recognizes them, too. With her dark past, she would not suffer abuse if James were merely drunk or merely high. She gives him a second chance because he and several others did not know what would happen. She barely knew, and she is practically omnipotent, for goodness’ sake!

If it had happened on Earth, Brynna would have left. If it had been booze or pills or cocaine or anything we “Eartheans” know that had resulted in his abuse, Brynna would have left. I want to clarify that these strange and mystical circumstances were what kept her with James, and that is all.

I am clarifying this for myself, so I can stop thinking that I inadvertently sent a message with which I do not truly agree. Brynna and James fight (verbally), and lie to each other, and betray each other, and hurt each other emotionally, but it is not just James hurting Brynna. Brynna hurts James, James hurts Brynna. They love each other, they fight, they break up, they find their way back to each other. They have established their relationship on this foundation of need, of this recognition of a desire for constancy. They survived the end together and began to reestablish their lives in this new and dangerous world together. They do genuinely love each other.

But if James were a constant physical threat to Brynna, if he were abusive, she would leave. And if she were abusing him, he would leave.

For the record, no one has accused me of condoning an abusive relationship, or of writing (and therefore glamorizing) an abusive relationship. But I want to say my piece on this in case anyone ever does, because this is an issue that is very important to me, and I would never, ever, ever condone abuse. On Pangaea, in these totally weird circumstances, James can be forgiven. On Earth… Not so much. At least not for me.

(Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if I had just changed this scene?? Curse me and my stubbornness. Rather, curse my story’s stubbornness. They really do take on a mind of their own, don’t they?)


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Path-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOOQYT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496318&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bargaining+path

The Judge: I Am Allergic to Schmaltz…

AJFJFJKDSKDKF OMFG RDJ is SO. HOT! I'm still dead from all the schmaltz, though. :(

I am allergic to schmaltz. No, I don’t mean rendered chicken or duck fat, I mean excessive sentimentality. That being said, I am most certainly not allergic to Robert Downey Jr., because he is literally the sexiest man to ever walk the face of the Earth. See? I established my bias early. You have been forewarned: I am a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan, so obviously, I am going to say that this is the movie equivalent of the second-coming of Christ, and RDJ is Jesus. Or at the very least, I am going to tell you that either Downey or this movie are positively destined for the Oscars. Right?

WRONG. I love Mr. Downey as an actor, a human being, and as a sex God, but that does not make me love every movie he is in. If anything should establish bias here, it is not my love of RDJ, it is my absolute, uncompromising, terrifyingly venomous hatred of the aforementioned schmaltz. Put me in front of the TV when Full House is on, and I will freaking combust, man. So when I heard the early reviews that said The Judge was full to the brim with schmaltz and tear-jerker moments and long, meaningful stare-downs between Downey and Duvall, I was like, “Dear God, my Hollywood boyfriend’s new movie is going to send me to the hospital in anaphalactic shock.”

But guess what, friends? Through the entire movie, I would be watching and my Schmaltz Censor would start droning like an air raid siren, and I would hunker down defensively in my chair, and then… Nothing happened. There was schmaltz, but even with my super sensitive schmaltz allergy, it did not make me cringe.

So my question, and I am going to be vulgar: WHAT THE FUCK IS EVERYONE WHINING ABOUT?!

Oh, right. All the other things that are wrong with this movie. Robert, baby, sweetheart, love… I’m sorry. But shit’s about to get real. Allow me to give you a “compliment sandwich” (which sucks a lot worse than you might think. Sorry. Sorry. I love you. Sorry.)

The performances were amazing. Downey’s Hank is a snarky, motor-mouthed big-shot attorney who spars expertly with Duvall’s gruff, stubborn curmudgeon, the Judge. There are moment when the two fight, and moments when they come together (there is a bathroom scene that literally made me cry (a little), because, unlike the rest of the movie, this was the only time cancer was depicted in all its awful realness, and seeing Hank care for his father in this vulnerable moment touched my really cold heart that is normally impervious to such things.) In fact, that bathroom scene is pretty much guaranteed to win Duvall an Oscar nod, and, fingers crossed, it will also win Downey one, too.

The plot is rife with cliches, though. Small-town-boy turned big-city-boy goes back to being a small-town-boy temporarily so he can attend his mother’s funeral (Oh, boy, dead parent, the catalyst for big-city-boy returning to small-town in many movies like this, and oh, look, it doubles as the “prodigal son returns” storyline, too), and while he is there, his father, with whom he has a very strained relationship, to say the least, is accused of committing a violent crime, and small-town-boy must stay to defend mean daddy. Could there be a reconciliation on the horizon!? Could there be a terminal illness to speed along said reconciliation?! Could all of this familial strife possibly have a happy ending?!

No spoilers, but… yeah. Of course it does. These movies always do, and if you have read the other reviews, then you have heard about the whole “multiple endings” thing, which really is reminiscent of the multiple fade-to-white-oh-but-you-thought-it-was-over?-It’s-not-over thing from The Return of the King. Everything wraps up in a neat little bow, and at the end of this post, there is going to be a spoiler, only so I can rant and rave a little bit. Stories do not need everything wrapped up in a neat little bow. Just because there is not going to be a sequel (we think) does not mean that a little open-endedness is a bad thing. Sometimes, having the audience ask questions and speculate about the answers to those questions is okay.

But let’s talk again about schmaltz. It is here. It is not nearly as bad as the trailers made it look. Those trailers gave me hives all over my body, because not only am I allergic to schmaltz, I am also allergic to obvious Oscar-baiting, which this movie totally is. The thing is, the story, written and directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers, good. Fred Claus, BAD–Fred Claus required me to shoot myself up with epinephrine twice) is good, and I would say that at one time, it would be Oscar worthy. But today, it is part of this new trend of “everything including the kitchen sink” story-telling. Look at the aforementioned plot-points/cliches. Plus, there were so many characters who, though the actors who played them were very good, were so wildly unnecessary. The older brother, played by Vincent D’Onofrio? Well, sure, he’s needed. He’s the reason why Hank and his father are on such bad terms. Well, kind of. See, because there’s also this thing that happened in the past, and Dad looks at Hank, and remembers that thing. So that’s why they’re at odds. The younger brother, though he provides comic relief, is really only there for that purpose, and also so his hobby of filming everything on a Super 8 camera can further the plot. Which, gee, I guess is okay, even though he is clearly autistic, and should we really be laughing at someone with autism this much? After a while, it was almost as though he were functioning as a performing monkey, and that, my friends, is not okay. Every word out of his mouth was meant for comedic effect, and his hobby of filming his family functioned only as a way to further the plot, like when Hank discovers the true meaning of his father’s Chess games with a doctor. Or it was there to bring about more of these emotional (read–schmaltzy) revelations. So, what I am saying is, no, it’s not okay. Don’t treat autism as a way to further your story. Don’t treat it as comic relief. Don’t use it as ornament.  “T.! Lighten up! It’s not that serious,” you say. Wellllll, yeah, it is. You have to find the humor in life, as any parent to a child with autism will tell you, but there is a line that, once crossed, takes it too far. Like, when literally everything an autistic character says in a movie is supposed to make you laugh.

Downey and Duvall both deserve recognition for these performances, because they are able to make the audience forget about the schmaltz and melodrama and the attacks from all sides of so many different plot points, I felt like I was being attacked by one of those automatic tennis ball machines (brother could have been a Major Leaguer, injury caused by Hank takes him out, Hank’s old girlfriend has a daughter, could it be Hank’s daughter? Well, let’s hope not, he made out with her! And did I mention that Hank is getting a divorce? He’s getting a divorce, and he and his daughter have to have a heart-to-heart about getting divorced, blah blah…). That is saying something. They made me care about these characters, even when I was stewing over the use of autism as a secondhand plot-driver and as comic relief, even when I was sometimes internally cringing but not dying at the icky sentimentality. Want another example of the latter? When Vera Farmiga (who, side note, I loooooooove; Have you ever seen Running Scared? “I heard shots across the hall.” HOLY SHIT, love her!) says, in typical small-town girl wisdom, that she decided that she wanted to be the hero of her own story, I was like, “Am I watching a conversation between two adults, or am I watching a graduation speech being made?” And Billy Bob Thornton? Criminally underused. He has a total of about fifteen minutes of screen-time, and not nearly enough verbal sparring with Downey. Not cool, bro. Not cool. Opportunity wasted.

So, my verdict, to use courtroom lingo to talk about this movie, as though every other critic hasn’t done that already? I liked it. Were you expecting that? No, I’ll bet not. I’d watch it again. I hope Downey and Duvall get nominated. It is painfully cliched, it is an annoying collision of seventeen and a half different plots that could make seventeen and a half different movies, it stoked the mama bear in me who worked for two years with kids who have autism, but I wasn’t throwing up all over my bestie as the schmaltz triggered an immuno response. So, because that was my main fear going in, and because my expectations were so low, I was surprised by how much I cared about how everything turned out for Hank and the Judge, and that made me like the movie a little.

It is not nearly as glorious or groundbreaking as the stars, writers, and producers will have you believe, but it’s not as repulsively schmaltzy or freaking terrible as the trailer and critics would make you think. Keep your expectations very low and give it a shot, but maybe wait for the DVD.

I went for free. Maybe that’s why I’m not mad. Well, not mad about the money, at least.

AND NOW THERE ARE SPOILERS. AND A RANT. EVACUATE.

Can we talk about the depiction of the final days of a cancer patient? They are not spent in a freaking boat, while the patient is cognizant and able to impart a few more meaningful words. When the Judge dies, and a Bit o Honey wrapper falls symbolically to the floor of the boat, I exclaimed, in a very loud whisper, “It doesn’t fucking happen like that!” Have Hollywood writers ever seen someone die of cancer? Have they ever sat at their bedside while the person slowly becomes less responsive, less aware? Where the fuck did we get this idea that this is how people die of terminal illnesses? “But T, it’s more poetic this way. Why does everything have to be realistic?” You ask. Well, because, you know, it’s fucking real life! Drives me crazy. Sorry not sorry.

See?! I am mad!

Also, just to clarify this, more to myself than to anyone else, it is more of a sign that I respect my favorite actor when I am able to criticize him. It is way more of a sign of respect than, say, if I were to just fall on my knees and worship him every time he breathes. So, Robert, if you’re reading this, I still love you. And that’s why I can’t lie to you. And marry me.


If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Path-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOOQYT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496318&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bargaining+path

I Have Revised My Advice to Aspiring Indie Authors. Is it Better?

Wanna know the best thing about being self-published, besides, you know, everything? Release dates that are not hard-set. I always have a goal in mind, and I try to hold myself to that goal for my fans’ sakes, but it is awesome being able to push it back a couple weeks or even better, release early. This time around, I am going to do a pre-order drive on Amazon and Smashwords, but I will only be doing that once the release date becomes more definitive. But it is so nice not having that deadline staring me in the face when I have work, grad school applications, and surrogate children to worry about, because honestly, those things are just a little more important to me. As most self-published authors can tell you, writing and self-publishing is another job, but whether it is your second job, or third job, or fourth job is up to you.

And no hard-set deadlines aren’t the absolute best thing about being self-published. The absolute best thing is not having to change anything about the story in order to mold it to a publisher’s liking. I have said it a million times on this blog, and a million more times through other channels, but I will say it for the millionth-and-first: When I write, I don’t want to be censored. When I say I want to write a book about a twenty-two year old departing the apocalypse-ravaged Earth and falling in love with a forty-five year old man while they try to reestablish life on a new planet in the midst of a really violent, really terrible, really obviously symbolic, civil war, then that is what I want to write. I don’t want James to be thirty. I don’t want Brynna to be twenty-eight or twenty-nine. I don’t want to write “caress-of-the-inner-thigh-fade-to-black” sex scenes. I don’t want to edit out any content. I don’t want to reshape everything so that the book can fit easily into any specific category, be it a specific genre or targeted towards a specific age-group. Every scene is there for a reason, and as I am the only person who knows where the story is going, it should be at my discretion what needs to be included, and what doesn’t. Say I add a lot of scenes with Brynna and her friend Rachel. Why do I do that? Well, because Rachel is going to play a very significant role in the third book, especially, but she will be ever-present in the second book, as well. I love that my readers know that I know what I’m doing, and that is not something I cannot guarantee would come with a traditional publisher. Because, in this self-publishing game, all that matters is an indie author’s readers, and no one else. If readers dig it, then I’m doing my job. As I’ve said before, this is a business, and being that I am the publisher as well as the author, it is my job to get the reader the best possible product. Sure, this is an “art form.” Sure, these books are my beautiful, wonderful, perfect, little babies whom I brought into this world with a lot of sweat and tears and pushing and screaming. But at the end of the day, my readers are giving me either their money or their time, and therefore, it is my responsibility to provide them with the best story that I can provide. Some people dig it, some people don’t. It’s fine either way. If readers dig it, I did my job. If they didn’t… Well, at least they didn’t pay any money for it; they just paid with their time, and I am sorry, I can’t refund that. But I would if I could!

So what brings this random love letter to self-publishing on? What made me want to give advice? Well, it was two years on the 1st since I published the first (pretty terrible) manuscript of The Shattered Genesis. When I started out, I knew nothing about the promotional side of self-publishing, nor did I know how to write very well. The Shattered Genesis has since been revised and re-released with additional content, and The Bargaining Path was written with the newly-honed writing skills I gathered in college. But besides celebrating the two-year anniversary of my first entry into the self-publishing world, I am writing this because it has been a pretty rough week in terms of my writing. When I get into one of my down moods, I start second-guessing myself, and though I always come through those periods of second-guessing with new epiphanies about this whole writing deal to carry me through, when I’m in the midst of those periods, it really sucks! On Monday, a short story I wrote got rejected for Tor.com, and not only did it get rejected, I received the most generic rejection letter that the magazine sends. Now, am I as emotionally invested in my short story as I am in the Eternity series? Hell. No. But still, I thought it was a pretty cool story. I still think it’s a really cool story. My reaction to this was made worse by being in a down mood, because honestly, for weeks leading up to the rejection, I was considering asking for a withdrawal from consideration because I wanted to self-publish on Amazon. So after two days of doubting my writing ability, I realized that a) everyone is going to have a different opinion about my work, and just because I think it’s damn near perfect doesn’t mean everyone will, and b) this all just comes down to people’s subjective opinions, and if Tor.com wants to send me a generic rejection letter like I just wrote the biggest heaping pile of shit ever, then fine. Amazon Short Stories, here I come. What does this reiterate to me? Well, it reiterates what I have been saying is one of the most important things for an indie author to know: I know that I believe in the product I have created, and I know I can sell it, so why am I going to rely on a foreign entity to sell it for me when I can do it myself? A lot of self-publishing can be summed up by sounding like the Little Red Hen:  “I dreamed up the book. I wrote the book. I published the book. I sold the book. I promoted the book.” And now, I am going to apply that same logic to my short story.

So much of this business relies upon the opinions of others. When people ask me about being a writer, specifically when they, too, want to be a writer, I always ask if they have thick skin. Generally, the answer I get is, “I don’t know,” to which I reply, very cryptically, with a Chesire Cat-like grin, “You will find out.” But when people say yes, I generally say, “Well, keep it that way” and if people say no, I don’t say, “Well, consider a different career,” I say, “It will get stronger over time, believe me.” When I was growing up, and I would ask writers who I went to see at speaking engagements what their advice would be for young writers, nine out of ten would say (and sometimes rather arrogantly), “Choose a different career.” Well, telling me that I can’t do something or that I shouldn’t do something drives my recklessly stubborn and ruthlessly persistent need to prove that yes, I can do it. So here I am today. Those same writers would more than likely also tell you that self-publishing is for writers whose stories and/or writing ability is so shitty that they can’t get published elsewhere, but if you read a lot of self-published work, you will see that that simply is not true.

The biggest advice I tell writers who ask me about writing and self-publishing now? It’s still “you gotta have thick skin” but now, I have added this: You have to believe in your own work. Know when criticism is valid, and know when you should just get on with your bad self and keep doing what you’re doing, and also, your work cannot please everyone. No matter how hard you try to make it appealing to a myriad of ages and to readers of all different genres, there will still be people who don’t like it, and that’s okay!

As long as you honestly feel like you have put every possible iota of energy and attention into your manuscript and into creating and promoting the final book, and that you have created the best possible product for your reading audience, then you’re going to be alright. In fact, I would even say that you are going to be a success.


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I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Path-Eternity-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOOQYT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411496318&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bargaining+path