Of new computers and Windows 8

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic
Imagine my face in that picture. For the last three months. Because of my laptop. You see, it was old. Eight years old. Young to a human, dinosaur for a computer. It ran Windows 7 and we got along fine for two and a half years. I loved its massive hard drive, my desktop gadgets, the fact that it was free. Mostly because it was free, a hand-me-down from my mom.

But, being a dinosaur, it weighed a ton. As in more than eight pounds. That's a ton when you're kicked back on your bed writing. Needless to say I didn't do it much. It also ran SUPER hot and a cooling pad was a necessity.

It started acting up. Freezing, hanging up, not doing what I told it to do. The first time it took me TWO DOZEN clicks to get it to restart I told my dad I might need a computer soonish. He agreed, said he was thinking about upgrading his laptop and I could have his old one. Free computer, I can totally deal with it being bigger than I want.

Except things kept getting worse. And worse, and worse. Until I could only run two programs at a time. I'm a multitasker and a writer. Two programs doesn't work for me. I couldn't stream Pandora or Netflix. Oh the horror! But I couldn't afford a new computer. So I talked to my parents, they agreed to replace it for me, and I started researching. Decided I wanted an ultralight. Found one on NewEgg, researched it, asked questions. Was settled on it, in fact. The thought of Windows 8 didn't bug me, because I'm a geek, and I know my way around Windows. Mostly.

Then I decided to look around town and see what was here. Went to Best Buy first this past Friday, intending to work my way back home. Sitting on the display shelf was a sleek little HP. On clearance. For less then the one on NewEgg. With a better processor and real dual memory slots. I picked it up. Heaven! Weighed less than four pounds, same size as my dinosaur. A really sweet older gentleman employee came to see if I needed any help and we set off looking for the battery life. Never did find it.

But we kept chatting while we looked, I shared my woes. Asked how many of this model they had in stock. Just the one on display. But he'd take another $30 off if I bought it that day. So I did. I was beginning to fear I'd wake up some morning and find my dinosaur DOA.

Called my mom, said I'd be longer than planned because they had to wipe the demo stuff off of it. No biggie. I had a book in the car and needed some food. Came home. Handed it to my mom to see her jaw drop at how little it weighs. Texted the product card to my dad, and Saturday morning at work he researched my processor and geeked out over it being top of the line in this category.

Friday night and Saturday I set up, installed, copied files, and gushed about the awesomeness of my new computer. Showed it to EVERYBODY who's come in the house. I actually kind of like Windows 8. I don't find it heinous or The Worst Idea Ever. My Netflix is blazing fast. I can run Chrome now. I have a battery that'll last four hours if I'm not surfing the 'Net.

So what did I get? An HP Sleekbook 14. For under $300. With TWO USB 3.0 ports. I am one happy writer.

Isn't it awesome? His name is Zanzibar.



From Sherrilyn's site
It's been a long time since I got sucked into an author's voice, style, and universes to the point where I want to read every single thing the author has ever written So long I can't remember who it was.

I discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon last month. I know, I know. I'm probably the last romance reader in the universe who'd never read one.

To make matters worse, I also discovered Gena Showalter last month. I read her first. Checked out The Darkest Night at the library and happily fell in love with Maddox and the Lords of the Underworld.

While I'm reading that one, one of my friends is reading Born of Night, and badgering me without mercy. You HAVE to read Born of Night! It's like A'yen and you're going to love it. If I didn't know better I'd think you got the idea from this book. (I wrote My Name Is A'yen when I still had no clue Sherrilyn Kenyon even existed.)

I devoured The Darkest Night the week of March 17th. I remember it because we spent the weekend at Hodges Gardens and I finished it there. To shut my friend up I agreed to get Born of Night next.

Oh. My. Goodness. Maddox was good, yes. But Nykyrian is so much better!!! I have a thing for brooding, tortured heroes with horrible pasts who need a good woman to see past it and give him a reason to live again. I love Nykyrian Quiakides. He hits all my hot hero buttons, and then some.

Plowed through that one in about three days. Back to the library for Syn. Then back for Devyn. Then Caillen and Darling. Darling's I read in three days. Yes, all 614 pages in three days. The men of The League cost me a lot of sleep. But they also helped me solve the problems I was having with To Save A Life.

I am definitely a Sherrilyn Kenyon fan. It's like she can read my mind about what I want a book to be. But, as a writer myself, I know I have a penchant for mimicking an author if I read a lot of that author in one fell swoop. I was in editing mode at the time, so had no problems inhaling five SK books in 21 days. But now I'm in creation mode again and need to mix it up.

The friend I mentioned who got me hooked on her? She's taunting me. Accidentally on purpose. I think it's a conspiracy. She's inhaling the Dark-Hunter series and badgering me about reading them, even though she agrees with me that I need a break. That's what friends are for right? I'm doing the same thing with her about the rest of The League. Between her Goodreads updates and the pictures of the Styxx manuscript on Sherrilyn's FB page, my resolve is being tested to its limits.

What's a girl to do? Try NOT to think about grabbing the first Dark-Hunter book, for starters. Second, read some more Gena Showalter. I inhaled Last Kiss Goodnight last week and want to explore the Alien Huntress universe. After I get to the know the Lords of the Underworld a little better. Lucien's book finally came back to the library, but I had to request Reyes'. Now if only it would get here faster!


Birthing a Character

Since I have a manuscript sitting at Harper Voyager that's the first in a series I figured it was time to get going on the third one. I've been ruminating on it for about five months now and not really getting anywhere.

I knew a piece was missing, but it wouldn't show up. So last week I let my mind wander. I do that a lot and that's when I get my best stuff. I knew the main characters in this one are Ro and Jasmyn. They both show up in The King's Mistress and Ro is a secondary POV character. I knew his sister, Da'Renna, had to play a big part in the third one, because she's his reason for not killing himself.

Taran! Via Pinterest
With that information in the back of my mind I went to sleep. At some point on March 21st a man named Taran walked into my head. I knew that second he's the man Ren loves. The man standing between her and freedom, her and her brother. I let him play for a full week, hammered out a couple of scenes with him, let him evolve, and things started clicking.

I knew someone gets kidnapped, and I thought it was A'yen's daughter. Wrong! I'd already planted the seeds in the closing of The King's Mistress. So now I'm following the seeds, discovering the next layer of politics in my universe, and wondering how the hell Ren is going to choose between her brother and her lover, especially since her lover is owned by the Marcasian emperor's younger brother and fourth in line for the throne.

So now I'm fleshing out my bad guys and building an empire that combines the Roman empire and the days of the pharaohs. Whoo!


In Which I Ruminate on Paranormals

I'm really, really, REALLY late to the paranormal romance bandwagon. REALLY late. As in I read my first one two weeks ago.

There's a lot of talk in SFR circles about how we can become as popular as paranormals. It always comes down to the presence of the genre in other mediums, like TV.

So it got me thinking. How far back does the presence of paranormal romance on TV go? Pretty far back. Specifically I Dream Of Jeannie and Bewitched, sitcoms from the 60's. Sitcoms I watched as a kid. I remember when Elizabeth Montgomery died and Nick At Nite did a week-long marathon of Bewitched.

Then Joss Whedon came along with Buffy. I've never been a Buffy fan, but I love Angel. Especially starting in season two with Wesley, Gunn, and the semi-regular presence of Lorne, then Fred's arrival at the end of the season. The romantic in me loves Fred and Wesley's long-suffering romance. The hero lover in me loves everything about Angel. He's my perfect dark, tortured hero searching for redemption.

Other than Angel I've never been much into the whole vampire thing. My sister, on the other hand, is all about vampires. I gave her Varney The Vampyre for her birthday. She's all about zombies too.

Considering paranormal romance goes back further than most realize, with Jeannie and Samantha, it makes me wonder if SFR will ever have the pop cultural presence paranormal romance does. We don't have a Jeannie or Samantha, or even a Buffy. We could have if SciFi hadn't cancelled Farscape. Crichton and Aeryn were just getting started. There's never been a good romance arc on Star Trek either. About the closest thing we have is Fringe, but it's over now and was never really that much a part of pop culture.

What did I pick for my first introduction to paranormal? The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter. I plan to read the rest of the Lords of the Underworld, but at the moment I'm devouring Sherrilyn Kenyon's The League.