Sunday, February 22, 2009

A New, for Me, 30 Day Challenge - ScriptFrenzy

ScriptFrenzy is brought to you by those nice people at NaNoWriMo. In the ScriptFrenzy challenge your goal is to create 100 pages of script within 30 days. I've never written a script before, so this is really a challenge for me. FirstDraft is an industry standard script writing program, but the cost is a bit more than I want to pay for a first attempt. Instead, I'm using Celtx, a free open-source program, to write and format my first script. Celtx is available for Windows, OS X, Linux, and eeePC formats.

ScriptFrenzy begins Aprl 1st, and runs throughout the month.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What I'm reading now:

Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow

Just started this YA Christian fantasy book by the Miller Brothers. So far it looks good. The pages are tinted to look like an old book, and each chapter includes a Miller Brothers illustration.
The 3-D style cover looks like a video game iamge, and is different from most other covers on the shelf. This should appeal to YA readers brought up on video games and 3-D graphic artists. The story starts out strong with a prank on the school bully, then pulls you in with a vision by the main character. The descriptive visions may get readers thinking about how actions really do influence you and others.

The blog tour, and more information about Hunter Brown, begins next month. I'm looking forward to more of this story. It's an enjoyable fantasy story with a strong lesson for readers of all ages. Seems like a good combination.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Cyndere's Midnight
by Jeffrey Overstreet

Web site -

(Click book for Amazon link)

On this last blog day for Cyndere's Midnight I wanted to discuss the secrets brought to light by the book's end. Darkness hides secrets and title seems to hint at the secrets of the Midnight hour. One that was missing is found, but he is changed. One that was changed through contact with Auralia's colors, and Cyndere's help , helped the one feared lost. A true friend is murdered by one who had already betrayed a deep trust. Feared lost after the great battle with the beastmen, Cyndere returns to Bel Amica with a clearer mind for her purpose.
In the epilogue, it is mentioned again that the four great houses were once united but a great rift developed and each house went their separate way.

By the end of Cyndere's Midnight the loose ends are tied up, not all the way the reader had hoped, as more questions are asked and hinted at for answers in the next book. Book three of the series continue the golden strand of The Auralia Thread, entitled Cal-raven's ladder. Cyndere's Midnight weaves the blue strand of the tales. I wasn't quite sure what the author meant by the strand colors, unless the next strand is a strand of hope much like a golden sunrise.

Secrets are gradually revealed in Cyndere's Midnight, like a slowly woven fabric reveals the pattern over time. Some characters receive justice for their crimes, while others keep committing injustice so that you wonder when their crimes will be brought to light. By the end of Cyndere's Midnight it seems the common secret bond between Cyndere the future Queen, and Jordam the beastman, has formed and strengthened so that each helps the other. Both characters grow and learn to overcome their losses with each other's aid.
The book seems to end with a promise of hope that the characters will accomplish their goals. Things won't go perfectly, you will lose much along the way, but in the end things will come together and work for the best.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Cyndere's Midnight
by Jeffrey Overstreet

Web site -

(Click book for Amazon link)

Cyndere's Midnight deals with change both inner and outer. The Ale Boy from Auralia's Colors has a mission to help people and has earned the name Rescue because he has saved so many lost souls and led them to safety at the new Abascar. In Abascar the new King, cal-Raven, has grown more mature of necessity. Fellow members of fallen Abascar now look to him for leadership, and to provide their basic needs. Cal-Raven has changed from a life of ease in the palace to a life of hardship and shortage, due in large part to choices made by his family.
Jordam the beastman feels the stirrings of change after his contact in Auralia's cave with the beautiful colors she merged and wove together. Now, his contact with Cyndere may change Jordam more than expected; a change into more humanity and less beastman. Cyndere has changed as her hopes and dreams for the future are replaced by the knowledge that Bel Amica is soon her responsibilty. Jordam and Cyndere are both changed from the outside-in by the healing waters of the forest well. At first the well water heals the beastman trap wounds, but over time the water seems to begin the healing process of their spirits.
Cyndere's Midnight characters seemed trapped in the dark before the dawn. Things spiral out of control with no save in sight. But the story seemed to point out that no matter where you are in life, even at your lowest point, there is a plan under way. Like the woven items of Auralia's Colors, you can't see how the final result's beauty until it is finished. Small seeds planted in the past may blossom into something better, like Jordam meeting Auralia and confusing Cyndere with her. Past actions may bloom into weeds too. Like the beastmens' addiction to Essence though it curses their body and soul. The dawn follows after the midnight. For some, like the beastmen, dawn continues in perpetual darkness. For others, like Cyndere and Jordam, dawn heralds a bright new day with new opportunities as the night changes into day.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Cyndere's Midnight
by Jeffrey Overstreet

Web site -

(Click book for Amazon link)

Like the title, Cyndere's Midnight comes across with a darker tone than Auralia's Colors. In this book, the second in the series, many of the characters deal with loss of some type. Cyndere, the future heir to the kingdom of Bel Amica, planned to help the vicious beastmen with her husband Deuneroi. When a group of beastmen kill Deuneroi, Cyndere spirals down into a feeling of loss and questions of her future. What will she do now, and what difference will it really make?
Jordam is seperated from his brothers, the very ones who killed Deuneroi. His loss is a feeling of pack seperation at first, and then from a drink known as the Essence which provides the beastmen with superhuman strength and speed. The Essence also provides long life, but all of these benefits are at a cost, for each beastman has loss their humanity and taken on the curse of madness.

The people of Abascar, from Auralia's Colors, have lost their capitol and their identity. Now their young king must rebuild their country anew in the mountains where they hide from their attackers and the memory of great Abascar's fall. All have lost family, home, and friends, and now must strive to survive the harsh Winter.
Like his previous book in the series, Jeffrey Overstreet has created a foreign landscape rich in detail and texture. Maybe because of the tone, the story seems to delve deep into charcter's pain and emotion. Each faced loss and carries the pain inside. The strange beastman, Jordam, while vicious because of his life and the Essence, has moments of near humanity through his contact with Auralia. The story draws you in, and leaves you wondering how you might respond in the same circumstances.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Business Software Collection that Works for Your Writing Expenses has a business software collection entitled PCWorks Suite Pro 2008 available for $30 plus shipping. I received the DVD five days after ordering. A few of the programs are very good for the price - the 2007 version of ACT! (a contact management program) and Peachtree First Accounting 2008. Five of the Serif software line are included - PagePlus X2, PhotoPlus 11, DrawPlus 8, PanaramaPlus 3, and WebPlus 10. OffiecReady included three programs - OfficeReady Professional, BusinessPlans, and MarketingPlans.

Some programs I wasn't sure about using at first like TurboProject Professional. I wanted software that would help track and plan my writing. TurboProject allows you to plan multiple projects, and this will work great for larger writing projects that require research and preplanning to finish on time. ACT! will help track manuscript submittals and the related contacts. It includes a calendar, and a timer that saves to your calendar. The timer is a handy addition for any one writing freelance that needs to track their time.

All in all there are 25 programs. Some are good, some are fair, and some are older programs you can update online like OpenOffice 2.2, Thunderbird, and Sunbird. Any documentation is available from program support or online. The DVD case contains a DVD full of programs and a license key card for programs that require a license key registration. I won't use all the progrmas on the disc, but many will be a helpful addition to my writing software needs.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

BLOG TOUR - DAY 3 (Belated)

(Click book for Amazon link)

In The Book of Names, Hadyn and Ewan Barlow learn each has a special and distinct gift.
Ewan can see the Fey Folk, or Fairies, and used a small flute pipe to open the portal. Hadyn
senses the true names of things, and is able to release their group when locked up. The book title, Book of Names, refers to a huge series of scrolls in which every person that existed or will exist is recorded. This struck me as similar to the Book in Revelation in which every believer's name is recorded. In the same manner, everyone is important.

The Book of Names has developed blank sections as the children are led away by Nemesia who would punish the world for her loss, by taking children away from their families and with them, their identities. Similar to modern society, the children are told they are worthless to all, and may only gain their freedom and gain worth by becoming part of the larger group Nemesia commands. The misled children lose their souls and their joy in their march to oblivion under Nemesia's control. Losing sight of their faith, and believing those who wish them harm, is a sure path to pain and suffering. I saw this aspect of the Book of Names as a reflection of how following the wrong leader in our culture might cause despair and sorrow.

Haydn and Ewan must overcome their own sorrow, and a bit of anger for their past, if they are to survive and help one another. Nemesia plays on this loss and feelings of anger to subdue Ewan and try to bring about the fall of her world into true darkness. The spirits of darkness, the Mismyri, would attack the light and the good of Aion, much like temptations would led us astray and bring us to misery. The brothers learn that only a faith in Aion will get them through the dangers encountered. It's up to them to save this world from Nemesia's plan if they ever hope to return.