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

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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

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

I Will Review Your Book If You Review Mine

Dear Fellow Indie Authors:

You know how people follow back on Twitter? Well, I propose that we enact a similar policy for book reviews. So here goes: I promise that if you comment here or private message me on Twitter, I will read and review your book so long as you read and review mine.

Barring an influx of like, fifty to one hundred books asking for my review (which I really, really don’t suspect will happen) I will write an honest review here on my blog and also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads wherever your ebook is sold. The only payment I require is that you also honestly review my book, The Shattered Genesis, on the aforementioned channels. If we come to an agreement here or on Twitter, I will provide my personal email address, and we will hammer out the details.

Again, let me stress: The reviews I provide and the reviews provided for me should be honest reviews. I am not asking for 5-star reviews, nor will I exclusively provide 5-star reviews. However, any criticism will be constructive, not nasty, and I will try my best to focus on the positives of your work and not the negatives. I read anything and everything, even erotica (which a lot of review sites will not allow) and I do not charge a dime, though if your book is not free, I do ask for a gifted copy, simply because I am unemployed right now and paying back my heinous student loans. All I ask is for an honest review in return for my review.

Let me know if we can help each other out, and if we can, I look forward to working with you! Also, let’s see if we can use these hashtags on Twitter: #reviewtrain #reviewforareview to get this going.


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/B009KC6XBOhttp://www.amazon.com/The-Shattered-Genesis-Eternity-Rudacille-ebook/dp/B009KC6XBO

An Inside Scoop of the Third Book in the ETERNITY series… As promised!

I don’t have even the slightest inkling what the third book cover is going to look like.

To celebrate being in the Top 20 of not one, but TWO Amazon Science-fiction Bestseller Lists (Postapocalyptic-Scifi and Scifi-Romance), I am going to talk very, very vaguely about the third book in the series, as I promised I would before I went to Florida. So far, it has no title, so it will simply be referred to as… “the Third Book.” Ooooooh, shocker! If you follow my Twitter (@teerudyeternity) then you probably saw me post yesterday about how I have written a whopping 56 pages in eight days, which, for me, is a new record. I know, I know, it only averages out to about 7 pages a day, but unfortunately for averages, it did not break up so cleanly as I was doing it; I wrote two or three pages one day, and then 20+ pages the next. As it stands currently, the third book is at 330 typed pages, so roughly 600-some Kindle/paperback pages, and guess what, my friends? It’s nowhere near done. The paperback will be so thick that you can use it as a bludgeoning instrument in the event that you are mugged. You’re welcome in advance.

But now to the sneak peek.

Without spoiling the end of The Bargaining Path (sorry for any emotional distress it caused you, and I have heard the emotional distress was epic… Sorry, sorry, sorry!), I will tell you that the beginning of the Third Book finds Brynna in the darkest place of her life. As we know from the first two installments, Brynna’s past is pretty heinous, so that this is the darkest place should be indicative of just how deeply she has sunk. However, as I hope has been made evident by the first two installments, Brynna has a way of using her strength, craftiness, intelligence, and now, on Pangaea, her power, to pull herself back up again. Up until this point, we have seen her power growing little by little, but in the opening section of the Third Book, she is going to bring out that power full force in an effort to save the man she loves. But will she be successful? I don’t know. As much as I like the idea of a happily-ever-after (at least in regards to resolving what happened at the end of the last book, to put it very vaguely), I also like the idea of a straight-up existential crisis in which Brynna sees that despite what Adam has told her, her power cannot move mountains, so to speak. So, could this spell the end of one of our heroes? You’ll have to stay tuned and see.

It would be very hard to talk about Quinn and Alice, and Violet and Nick, because at the end of The Bargaining Path, they were hovering perilously close to death, and I would not want to disclose whether or not they all made it and take the fun out of reading their sections for the first time. So, what can I tell you without spoiling anything? Well, as far as Violet goes, her mentor/sometimes nemesis Dr. Miletus is going to figure very prominently into her storyline. I loved writing Dr. Miletus’s character, because I love writing women who “don’t take no shit,” if you’ll pardon my French. One of the hardest scenes I have ever had to write was the one between Violet, Dr. Miletus, and that bloody Caspar Elohimson, and guess what? Caspar is alive and well in this book, and he is worse than ever. His sinister loyalty (read–obsession) with Violet is strong, and his sadistic vendetta against Dr. Miletus is even stronger. Why? Well, we shall see, but I can disclose that despite how the object of his “affections” (read again–obsession) grows to care for her mentor/sometimes nemesis, Caspar’s vendetta does not lessen; in fact, it only gets worse, and it is up to Dr. Miletus and Violet to put an end to both him and his ilk once and for all. How, you ask? Well, they are both in the Medical profession. In fact, Dr. Miletus is the most skilled medical professional on the entire planet. They will use the skills they share to their advantage, and to devastating effect.

I want to talk about Alice and Quinn, so I have to tell you that she survives the attack that occurred at the end of The Bargaining Path. We knew he would survive, because he’s the narrator (though even that won’t save any of our narrators in the fifth and final book). So Alice lives, and believe me, one of the things about which I am most pleased with the first draft so far is how Alice is shining. To put no finer point on it, I am calling this book “Alice’s badass motherfucker novel” (again, pardon my French), because after the time jump (more on that in a second), she is the character that thrives most in this newer, more hostile, Old Spirit-occupied world, while Quinn begins to flounder. Up until now, Quinn has been very pro-Alice, in that he knows she is tougher and stronger than he is, but as he faces who she has become while grappling with the fact that he has not changed in the same way, we will see a totally different side of his character.

That time-jump, though… Way, way too many spoilers could happen here, so all I can say is it’s a big jump. (Two and a half decades *cough cough*), BUT I love, love, love, LOVE where each of these characters are in the end. They aren’t in a happy place, per se, but boy, has there been some MAJOR changes. I think you all are going to seriously dig who each of them has become, because though there are certainly facets of their personality that have carried over all these years after the events in The Bargaining Path (yes, Brynna is still sassy and smart and sexy, and Quinn is still a hopeless romantic, and Violet is still a loveable drama queen with strength she scarcely knows she has), they are also very, very different.

All of this sounds pretty good, I hope, but I also must issue a fair warning that this installment will be darker than the other two combined. Inner darkness and the sacrificing of humanity in order to stay alive are two themes that figure most prominently into the story, and the full extent of the Old Spirits’ cruelty, particularly the punishments they inflict upon those they deem morally reprehensible, will be on full display now that they have essentially taken over the world. At the beginning of the manuscript, I will post a “trigger” warning, though I more than likely should have been doing that all along. For me, though, it is when stories get darker that I feel most enmeshed, because despite the sadness and uncomfortableness and awfulness, I want to see the characters I love come out stronger on the other end. I can’t promise that that will happen here, because even I don’t know where this big, five-books-long story is going, but I hope that some good will come from all this bad I have written in this book. Keep your fingers crossed!

And as my final little addition to this sneak peek, I will say this: To all of you who asked for more Points of View from more characters, your wish is granted. Some characters we already know and love will have a chance to speak their side of the story and show you where they’re at, while some new characters will also get their say. As for the identities of those new characters, my lips are sealed.

…I watched Spice World and now I’ve had that song “Mama” stuck in my head ever since. Weird…


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

The Conundrum of Quinn and Alice: Character Favoritism or Lack Thereof

I don’t know if this is just me, or if this is all writers, but I suffer terribly from something I like to call “character favoritism.” I don’t know if other writers have experienced this, or if this only happens to people who write more than one first-person narrative point of view, but it occurs when you have one character that you absolutely love writing, and then you have others that as you either try to write them or even think about trying to write them, you start inventing thousands of other things that you would rather do instead. In the Eternity series, I love writing Brynna’s narrative point of view, and sometimes, I don’t mind Violet’s, but Quinn’s? Every time a Brynna section ends, and it is time to begin Quinn’s (pardon the rhyme) I find myself having to crawl back to my laptop while whining like a three-year-old all the while. Internally whining. Well, sometimes externally whining.

This is character favoritism. I could write for hours in Brynna’s point-of-view. I could write her story for ages, because she is my favorite character that I have made, and her storyline is the deepest and richest for me to write. I am sure that I am not the only one who experiences this issue. I shouldn’t feel as guilty about it as I do, considering that if one takes away the fact that this series is my baby, and I want it to be the greatest it can possibly be, and if I can’t put love into these other characters then the book as a whole is going to suffer, and once all of that is taken away, they’re just fictional characters, then one would realize that feeling guilty about it is ridiculous. And I need to get over myself in a hurry.

If I could go back in time and rewrite The Shattered Genesis, I wonder if I would choose to write Quinn’s narrative point of view. It is no secret that Brynna is my favorite character to write. Though I have never addressed the matter before, I think that the writing is above average in Brynna’s narrative voice, while in Quinn’s and Violet’s, it is lackluster, and I feel that the depth of Brynna’s storyline is always significantly deeper than Quinn and Alice’s. I flesh out Brynna’s plot points down to the finest details, and with Quinn and Alice, and with Violet, too, sometimes, I struggle to even break the surface of what I view as their mundane, adolescent problems. And yet not all of their problems are mundane, and not all of them are adolescent. And if they are adolescent, they are still deep and important; they are the struggles that all adolescents and post-adolescents must face. Like when the three are trying to choose their careers, and Quinn and Alice choose military training (which tests them individually and as a pair) and Violet chooses a career in Medicine. In this postapocalyptic world, on this completely different planet, Quinn, Alice, and Violet are faced with choosing their path in life, something that all 18 year old kids must do, regardless of planet and regardless of the state of the world. This is an adolescent problem, but it is a deep and important one; it is rife with potential for a deep, meaningful storyline. It was during those scenes that I actually enjoyed writing these characters’ narrative perspectives, but right now, as I come off the heels of some truly excellent Brynna scenes in Eternity 3 (working title, obviously) I face the struggle I faced in all of The Shattered Genesis and at least a quarter of The Bargaining Path.

Everyone who has glanced at this blog even briefly has heard me whine about my attempt to write a young-adult novella that is in the same universe as the Eternity series but takes place on Earth. I have decided to shelve that project until I have finished the third book, because I hope by the time the third book is published I will have a bigger audience who will appreciate the crossovers and cameos within, and the parallels between the Eternity and Eternity: Earth series. But I can say this: The narrative was just starting to gel when I shelved it, and the only reason why I have put it aside for now is because I am far more gripped to write Eternity 3 than I am to struggle with this novella, and as my novels have thus far run about 500 pages each, I figured that I should indulge my desire to start that goliath of a project before the terror I inevitably feel at the prospect of it convinces me not to continue. So, how does the young-adult debacle fit into this? Because Quinn, Alice, Violet, and Nick are young adults, and even now, as they face the consequences of the end of The Bargaining Path, they must face problems to which a young adult can relate. But Gooooooodddddd, they all bore me. Violet is alright most of the time, but Quinn and Alice? The struggle is real, to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong: I love them together. I think they are adorable. The scene in The Bargaining Path where they talk about having sex for the first time is one of my favorite scenes. And they had some sense of agency in the second book that I feel they did not have in the first. But now, there is not much that I can do with them unless they escape from their imprisonment and go on the lam together. But where would that lead?

Honestly, I think that is what I will do, but then, what will I do with Violet? Will she have to escape, too? I suppose she will, and then what do I do with all of them together?

Every time I ask the question of “what do I do?” it always settles itself. I don’t outline these books in any way. I have two or three key plot points that I include, and the list grows as I keep writing, but I don’t sit down before I write the books and plan it all out. I just open the document and start writing, and I have an uncanny ability to tell when a scene, even if it is extremely well-written and affective, is occurring too early or too late, so I will copy and paste it into a separate document to be added at a better time. I never know when that better time will be, but I know that there will be one. So, I need to stop whining in this blog post and just keep writing. Even though I am going to whine after this is done through both the early Quinn portions and the early Violet portions, I just have to write them. I know that these two have fans in the wider Eternity fandom (which consists of three people and family members) so I don’t want those people to get offended; I love all my characters, but one (Brynna) has more love than all the others, and I can’t change that. It’s hard for me to write the others because I don’t relate to them. However, because I don’t relate to them does not mean that I can’t write them so that they are relatable. I have no hate for my own characters, but when I love Brynna, James, and Adam so much, it is hard for me to switch out of her epic headspace and her deeply emotional storyline to focus on Quinn, Alice, and Violet, who always seem to end up being totally boring.

This is my fault, I know, because I’m the author, and if anyone is going to make them not boring, it’s going to be me. But it just seems that whenever they find themselves crawling out of their rut, I always watch them slide right back into it, and then all I want to do is whine when it’s time to write “Quinn” and “Violet” in bold and underlined print to signify the start of their chapters.

I am not ashamed to admit that Brynna has my heart. I am sure other writers suffer from Character Favoritism and Lack Thereof, or maybe it is like picking between children, and no other writers suffer from this condition. I am not ashamed to admit that, because despite my favoritism, I do not neglect Quinn, Alice, and Violet; I try my damnedest to make them interesting. But it’s hard when I’ve got Brynna, this strange, unique creature, with this strange, unique worldview, and these strange, unique relationships, and I have to leave her for these traditional creatures, their somewhat unconventional worldview, but their still rather traditional relationships.

To answer my question: I would never eliminate them if I went back in time to when I was writing the first book, because there is so much that I have written involving them that I love. Giving them their own narrative perspectives might be killing me now, but I know that there is purpose to it. There is a purpose to them.

I just have to invent that purpose. *Sigh*

On The Epic, Awful, Awesome, Crazy Creating, Writing, and Publishing Process

I was going to make one of those “What I Do” posters for this post–you know the ones that say “What My Parents Think I Do,” “What Society Thinks I Do,” “What I Really Do,” blah blah–but I got bored halfway through making it and quit. Blame it on my ADD and the fact that I have a limited amount of time to write this post, as my niece will only nap for a half hour at most.

I want to talk about the writing process, because I have realized lately that I find it seriously interesting how diverse writers are in how they go about writing. Whenever I learn from a friend at school or one of the students in my Freshmen Seminar class that he or she writes, I always inquire about how he or she goes about it. Do you use storyboards, or do you write off the cuff? Do you want to publish traditionally, or do you want to self publish? I even ask my fiction writer friends about seemingly mundane topics such as how they name their characters–do they pick the names beforehand, or do they make them up as they go? Maybe I am so inquisitive about this topic because I want to teach both Literature and Creative Writing after I get my PhD in the former. Maybe I’m narcissistic, and asking people about this makes me think about my own writing process.

I know that all of this comes down to different strokes for different folks, as they say. Some people have to storyboard down to the most minute detail. Some people, like me, have a very vague idea of where the story is going but no idea how they will progress that story from page 1 to the end. When I wrote The Shattered Genesis, I did so during the breaks I had between shifts. Those breaks ranged from 3 to 6 hours, because split shift is the WORST. It was all well and dandy that I had the time to write in the middle of the day, but as any writer knows, once you’re immersed in your created world, it is really, really difficult to come up for air before you are ready to do so. Cutting off my creative flow and returning to my thankless job in daycare was genuinely soul-sucking, but that’s life.

I had been struggling for weeks with a bad bout of writer’s block, which I know some people say doesn’t exist. Let me tell you right now that it is a very real creative-health phenomenon, and that when it strikes, it is also genuinely soul-sucking. We write, and it’s as vital to us as any major bodily function. If I didn’t write, I would be miserable, to say the least. So, I was suffering through this awful bout of writer’s block that resulted in some of the worst writing I have ever done, and that includes the hilariously awful stories I used to write when I was a kid (Help! I’m Trapped in the Teacher’s Lounge! or Help! I’m Trapped in my Teacher’s House! and many other equally ridiculous sequels that were fixated on teachers. Although, say what you will, I technically wrote a series with these, way back in the 4th grade). I was doing these 90-minute blocks of writing, where I just wrote whatever came to mind for 90 minutes straight and saw if anything came of it.

This went on for over two months, and nothing of substance came of it.

Then it was March. I sat down at the computer forty minutes before I had to be at class. (Yuck). This is going to make it sound more poetic than it is, but I stared at that blank Word document, with the blinking cursor, and I just wrote that first line. It took me two months to bang out the first draft, and four more months until I hit “Submit” on the Amazon Self-Publishing page. Over those first two months, I had two instances of wanting to stop writing and move on to some new project I hadn’t created yet. Because that’s the other part of this: After my ridiculous short stories that I wrote from the 4th to the 6th grade and before The Shattered Genesis, I had not finished anything that I had started writing. That’s eight years of unfinished material. So every time I wanted to throw in the towel on The Shattered Genesis, I told myself that I needed “to finish something for once in my damn life.” Because my motivational inner-voice is kind of harsh. But hey, whatever works.

So I wrote the book two months before my 21st birthday, and published it on October 1, a month after I transferred to my 4-year college. Then it was time to write the sequel. Mistake #1: I immediately launched into that writing process. Literally. I started writing it ten minutes after I submitted The Shattered Genesis, there in the library at school, when I should have been writing a one-page journal for my Writing and Education class.

Mistake #2 (though I don’t regret this at all now): I quit smoking, and though it made me exceedingly manic, I couldn’t focus that mania into writing. Instead, I cut up all my Entertainment Weeklies and Epic-Collaged my wall.

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Believe me, this is nothing compared to what it was when it was finished. All of that white wall that you see? Covered. I blame this wall collage for making my roommate move out. Rather, I thank this wall collage for making my roommate move out.

Mistake #3: I wrote myself into a black hole. I don’t remember the exact details now, but I wrote over 3/4 of the book and nothing happened. All of my characters were imprisoned by the Old Spirits at the end, and before that, nothing had happened. So I gutted the whole book and rewrote it. It didn’t even have a title until two months ago. So it took over a year and a half , but I finally published it on April 14.

Maybe the third mistake could have been avoided if I had used a story-boarding program like Scrivener (which a writer friend just told me about last week) or even if I had made a list of Main Points on a separate Word document. But regardless of the mishaps, The Bargaining Path got written, and though it took a while, I love it now as much as I love The Shattered Genesis. It is now the second big writing project that I have finished, and I am exceedingly proud of not only the finished product but the mild success that it has had on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

I’m working on a smaller project in between The Bargaining Path and the untitled third book. I am writing that smaller project in between job searches, extended periods of babysitting my niece and nephew (the former is currently climbing on my shoulders as she watches Dora the Explorer and the latter is “drawing a newspaper.”), and studying for my GRE. No one with whom I went to school, besides my closest friends, is even aware that I have written a book, let alone two, let alone two that are (knock on wood) placing on Amazon bestseller lists. I know a lot of people at my school who have self-published or who swear that they have published traditionally, and who tell everyone from here to Australia about how amazing of a writer they are. There’s no shame in being proud of your publications, or your writing skills, or your creativity, or your drive and determination, but there is shame in being a cocky asshole. Not all of my friends and classmates who are self-published or traditionally “published” are cocky assholes, but… If you’re a writer, then you know the type. In fact, if you have ever taken a Creative Writing class, or even just been in the presence of this type of person for more than five minutes, then you know the type.

That smaller project, All Gone, is finally gaining some traction, and I have written about it here before. More on that fiasco later, because it truly is a bit of a fiasco.

And Happy Writing to anyone going through their own process!

ImageTruer words have never been spoken.

On The Hilarity of Writing Sex Scenes… But Why They’re Important

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Image Credit: MissDior, Fanpop.com

I was once told by a rather hysterical reader of the first two books in my Eternity series, The Shattered Genesis and The Bargaining Path (both available for free on Amazon, Nook, Smashwords!) that there was too much sex in the books. Strangely, from the tone of this reader’s voice, I gathered that the abundance of sex scenes wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was merely exhilarating, and maybe a little exhausting? I don’t know, I just took “too much” to mean excessive, but you can never have too many sexy sex scenes, right, so long as there is a story, too.

I don’t know why, but I’ve had the idea for this post in my mind for a while. Maybe it’s because writing sex scenes is such hilarious business, regardless of who you are or how mature you claim to be. For instance, I think, for a 23-year-old, I’m pretty mature, if one can measure maturity in terms of completion of undergraduate college, entry into the “real” world, and like, not laughing at fart jokes. Well, most fart jokes. But regardless of my maturity, I still find myself either outwardly laughing or cringing when I try to write sex scenes. The second I start to write about James sliding his hand between Brynna’s legs, or Brynna grasping hold of him (‘cuz that’s how I always phrase it) I immediately picture my parents, my teachers, my conservative friends, my grandmother, the Pope, and other random spectators standing behind me either snickering or gasping.

Anyone who has read my book knows that the main character, Brynna, is romantically involved with a man, James, who is twenty-three years her senior. James and Brynna have lots of sex. And it’s not the implied, “He ran his rough hands up my smooth thighs, kissed my lips, and… then we awoke the next morning, gently asphyxiated by the sheets that were snaked tightly around us from our night of wild, passionate love-making…” No. I’m not gratuitous, either–I refrain from mentioning bodily fluids, because though I am sure some people are into such things, I find them to be unnecessary details that are off-putting at best–but I’m also not a “caress-of-inner-thigh, fade-to-black” kind of gal, either. And do you want to know the best part of it? Even though I laugh or cringe sometimes, I love writing a good sex scene. Even if I have to laugh at having to choose between writing “erection” or “bulge in his pants,” and even as I struggle for hours trying to find a sexy word for “vagina” and “penis” that isn’t totally creepy like “manhood” and “womanhood” or totally ridiculous like “cockpit” and… “cock”… by the time I’m done writing the scene, I realize that I have done exactly what I set out to do, which is to show James and Brynna as a healthy, happy couple who enjoy a healthy, happy, sexy-as-fuck (ha!) sex life.

So, let’s say that this person who said there was too much sex in the book was saying that the sex is a detraction or a distraction (or a detracting distraction?) Why do I include them in the book? Well, because part of Brynna’s character development involves evolving from a young woman who is scared of men and physical/emotional intimacy into a young woman who embraces her sexuality and enjoys having sex, to put it far too simply. One of my favorite sex scenes I have ever written came (ha!) in the second book, when Brynna tells James how badly she wants him all the time. She says that regardless of where they are, sometimes she just wants to rip his clothes off and screw his brains out (though she puts it eloquently, of course, it’s Brynna). My intention here is to show that Brynna takes charge of her sexuality and is unashamed of her wildly intense sexual desire for her partner. She owns that she wants him.

I write sex scenes and include them in the books for no other reason than that they show Brynna, in her unconventional relationship with this older man, taking control of and enjoying her sex life. I am going to get real philosophical-like right now, and say that sometimes in our society, females are demonized for wanting sex, for having sex, and sometimes, for just the opposite. Alice, another character in the novel, constantly chastises herself for still being a virgin after dating the same guy for three years, and she is always gently assured, by either her guy or Brynna or any of the other characters, that as long as she is making that decision for her sake, then it is the right decision. If there is one message I want to be conveyed by these characters and their sex scenes (or lack thereof) it is that no matter the personal choice one makes on this matter, as long as one is preserving his or her health–physical, emotional, and spiritual–then it’s all good.

And besides, regardless of word choice (manhood < penis, cockpit < vagina, and what about clitoris and balls? Why do I find those words so unsexy?! And what about for “butt?!” “Ass” is too much, but “butt” (ha!!) is like elementary school, and we’re writing sex scenes here!!) sex scenes make the story just a little more exciting. I seriously don’t mean that as a pun.

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Image Credit: http://sciencenewsinquotes.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/penicillin-not-the-pill-may-have-launched-the-sexual-revolution/

Make love, not war, man. This post was so 1960’s. The sexual revolution, man… No, but seriously, SEX IS GOOD AND NATURAL. Let’s treat it as such, shall we?

 

 

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A Really Long Post About Me, Passionate Enthusiast of Writing about Sex, Scandalous Romances, Drugs, and Death, Trying to Write a Young Adult Novella

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So, I was in between books in the Eternity series, and I was so not ready to start the next one. I’ve written two 500-page books in the as many years, in between my college activities, part-time job, and my full-time course-work (I currently have a 10-page paper on censorship and a 20-page paper on 1Q84 due that I am procrastinating on in favor of writing this blog post). For a minute, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to write Book Three, but then I realized that it was the typical anxiety I always feel when I’m on page 0 out of 500 and I have no idea how I’m going to get from here to the last line.

Instead of immediately launching into Book Three, however, I decided to write something that I’ve had in my mind for a while: A young adult novella in the same universe that focuses on a group of teens who are left behind on the war, nature, and illness-ravaged Earth. I started it, and I was really excited about it, and I swore that I would finish the whole thing and have it published in 72 hours. And yet here we are. There is not a third book on my Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords Author’s pages, so obviously, I did not accomplish that goal.

So, where did it all go wrong?

First of all, I didn’t stick to the time-frame. I have the attention span of a gnat, and unless it’s the Eternity series, I have a hard time finishing any story I write. I love Brynna, James, and Adam, and Alice and Quinn, and Violet, and I love Pangaea. Writing those books is a genuinely joyous and exciting thing for me, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, I get those books done. (Knock on wood). So, when I gave myself the 72-hour time-frame for All Gone, I didn’t do it in the interest of vanity, meaning I didn’t do it so I could say I had done it. I did it to keep myself from losing interest!

Second of all, I am not a Young Adult writer. Everyone has been telling me that I need to write either a traditional Young Adult novel or a bodice-ripper erotica to draw in a bigger audience. Though those two genres being used as binaries of Sell-Out-Dom is totally hilarious, I always said that I would never sell-out and write something I didn’t totally love in the interest of gaining readers and recognition. This shouldn’t suggest that every Young Adult or Erotica writer only writes in the interest of gaining readers and recognition, but if I did it, that is certainly what it would mean. But All Gone was different. I didn’t shy away from the drugs, sex, and general awfulness of adolescence so I could write the next Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior, or Harry Potter–teen protagonists I love but who are relatively free from the aforementioned general awfulness of being an adolescent in our 21st century world. Regardless of the century in which their stories take place, they are still reflections of our adolescent norms in this century. I know not all teens use drugs, have sex, and act awfully–but I did, and my friends did; in fact, almost every teen I knew was awful in some key way. My aunt once said, “Why don’t you write Young Adult?” and when I said that I can’t write from that traditionally squeaky-clean Young Adult point of view, she said, “Well, why don’t you write about the young adults that you knew and that you were?” I was by no means a hellion, but I was certainly a little shit, so if I was going to write Young Adult, I was going to write about both hellions and little shits. And that’s what I’ve been doing in All Gone. I love Hunger Games, Divergent, and Harry Potter, but I never could have written them. I like drugs, sex, and awfulness too much (on paper, not in real life; I have grown into a responsible, generally kind of nice twenty-something who is a still sex-positive but is also a weird chemical-hating body-purist, so drugs and “meanness” are out) to write about beautifully good and responsible teens. The second narrative voice of All Gone is closer to that, but the first one? God bless us all… She’s the epitome of a little shit.

The story is 35 pages, and there are parts I love and parts I hate. Keeping in mind the wisdom of Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts,” I try not to judge the parts that are so lame and awkward that they could make even the kindest reader roll his or her eyes in frustration. The Shattered Genesis was lame up until I revised the whole thing and re-published it, and that was like, two months ago. I am sure there are parts of both of my books that are still lame and awkward. So that’s not the problem. The problem is that I have been saying that I’m going to write this book and then end up scrolling to the last page, seeing where I left off, typing a few half-hearted lines, getting frustrated that nothing is happening, both in the story and in my brain, and then exiting Word and watching Netflix.

The superstitious part of me thinks that I told too many people about this project, and that’s why I’m having a hell of a time bringing it to fruition. One of my professors once noted that telling too many people about your ideas makes your ideas lose their magic, and I think that’s true, though I am going to add to that: Telling too many people about my idea for this book forcefully exposed me to its weaknesses, but more importantly, to how not excited I am about it. The opening pages are beautiful, and I love the message, the two totally different set of teens, and where I see the story going. But right now, it’s all so trite and awful and seemingly unrepairable. What it needs is a good gutting, where I salvage the parts I adore from the parts I find so utterly cringe-worthy. I’m not supposed to edit as I go, but every time I think of this project as it stands now, I cringe internally. I hate the dialogue. I hate how “distractable” the narrative is; for instance, I’ll be writing about one of the main characters waking up one morning and go on a five-page long flashback about an Oscars party from the night before, which includes a crap ton of random musings on various characters. See, because that’s part of the problem, there are a crap ton of characters in this, and even though we share pen names with initials in them, I cannot expertly tell the stories of a HUGE cast of characters like George R.R. Martin. I have three narrative voices in The Shattered Genesis and The Bargaining Path, and in Book Three, I will more than likely have five, and the thought of that is daunting enough. In All Gone, it is not the narrative voices that I am having problems with, because there are only two first-person narrators, it’s all the other characters jumping in to have dialogue and make their presences known. This is a huge problem.

So, am I going to scrap All Gone completely? No. Am I going to take a break from it? I don’t know. I need something recreational to write when I finally throw in the towel on these academic papers around 8PM every night. From 8 until 1:30, generally, I write for leisure, and I am not ready to start Book Three, so I am writing All Gone. What I need is to start over, stick to my original 72 hour time-frame, and just get through a first draft. I care very little about this project because I have let it become convoluted and annoyingly cliche. So what I need to do is stop, start over, and refocus it, and then kick its ass.

I refuse to throw in the towel on this, so I am going to start from the beginning. Let’s hope that this zealous pep-talk/navel-gazing session will sustain my very mild enthusiasm until this weekend when finals are over and I can finally write for leisure without guilt. In the meantime, though, I really need to start those papers.

If you read to the end of this, you deserve something awesome. Like a unicorn.

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Meet Jeff the Killer. I made him last night at Midnight Breakfast which, (ironically, though they meant it without irony) started at 10.

If that’s not awesome enough for you, take a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings, because their teriyaki wings are the best. Or if you’re a vegan, eat a salad. Food is awesome.