Craft updates for Tami Veldura and S.T. Lynn.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Weekly Workout: Technology Helps

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , No comments
I bought a new phone this week, the Galaxy S5. Aside from the hassle of re-downloading all the apps I use and connecting them to the right accounts, the passwords for which I don't usually remember, I've found a need for a good Dvorak keyboard. It turns out that my typing needs are rather specific.

But I'll find something eventually. This is a workout blog day so let me tell you how my new phone is encouraging me to get off my butt.

First, it has a pedometer built in. While this is handy the obvious limitation is my phone is not physically on me at all times. Sometimes it's in my purse (which may still work?) and sometimes I'm walking across the room so I don't need to bring it with me. However, it is nice to see a number of steps right in front of me. It lists them on the lock screen and on the fitness app, so its easy to find.

Cool thing number two is the heart rate monitor. There's a sensor on the back of the phone where I can line up a finger and have my heart rate measured and tracked over time. I have to sit rather still for it to work, so it's useless for tracking -while- working out, but I can measure my heart rate before, after, and while at rest to get some idea of my regular range. I have very low blood pressure and a very fast metabolism, so my resting heart rate is somewhat high, especially for my fitness level.

The sensor can also track and measure 'stress' which is indicated on a sliding scale and has no objective measurement I can compare the results against. I suspect it measures based on my temperature, which… is a very poor indicator of stress for me. I have Raynaud's Syndrome, environmental changes (temperature, shower, washing hands, ice in a cup) and stress result in contracted blood vessels and temperature drops in my extremities.

The final cool thing is a 'Coach' section which allows you to set goals for the above variables and more with specific challenges meant to help get you moving. For instance, one of my goals is to increase my weekly exercise. That goal has three challenges: bike a flat road, get out and walk, and work out with a hula hoop. I get to pick both the goals and the challenges, so I'm more likely to be interested in accomplishing them. I haven't found any way to write my own goals or challenges (yet) but I hope that's a function available to me.

Aside from the phone, I have established a routine to follow on my calendar that Boyfriend is graciously helping me out with. This week my hamstrings were wrecked, I've been trying to stretch every day and they're still insanely tight. :P

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Twitter Fun: #creaturechat

7:38 PM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , , No comments
Photo By Brett Jordan
Every Wednesday at 6pm Pacific there is a twitter chat on the loose called #creaturechat where a group of folks talk about media featuring their favorite creatures. Dragon, griffons, vampires, shifters, demons, wolves, if it's not-quite human, it counts.

You should join us!

This week a big list of book suggestions came out of the chat. They're compiled here for easy reference.

Dragons

DragonLance (world)
DL: The Legend of Huma
DL: The Black Wing
DL: The Doom Brigade
DL: The Dragons of Krym
DL: The Dragons At War
The Pit Dragon Chronicals (Jane Yolen)
The Age of Fire (series) (E. E. Knight)
Axinstone (#creaturechat author, @jfrcoates)
The Black Collar (#creaturechat author, @OfTheWilds)
The Volunteer Maiden (#creaturechat author, @OfTheWilds)
Dragonbound (series) (Thea Harrison)
Dragonsbane (Barbera Hambly)
Dragon Keepers (Robin Hobb)
Elvenbane (Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton)

Griffons/Gryphons

The Mage Wars (Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon)
The Dark Griffin (K. J. Taylor)
The Griffin Mage (Rachel Neumeier)
Stormdancer (Jay Kristoff)
Song of The Summer King (Jess Owen)

Menagerie

Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia Wrede)
Hunted By The Others (series) (#creaturechat author @Jess_Haines)
Running With Scissors (#creaturechat author, @tamiveldura)

Other

Raptor Red (Robert T. Bakker)
Rider (#creaturechat author, @jolantru)

WIP Wednesday: Split Focus

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , , , , No comments

En Memoriam

I got a big chunk of En Memoriam edited this week and I'm quite pleased with the progress I've made so far. I've run into a difficult scene, though and that stalled me mid-week.

En Memoriam is about a vampire and his human prey. The story is from the point of view of Paul, the human, but the reader is aware that Victor, the vampire, erases Paul's memory every time they meet.

The scene I'm stuck on is complicated for a few reasons. The reader knows a lot more than Paul about what's happening to him. In this scene, Paul believes he's fantasizing when in fact, Victor is present but actively erasing Paul's memory. Paul can't see the vampire, except for occasional glimpses in the mirror. At the end of the scene there's more memory play at work.

Unfortunately, my first draft of this scene is just confusing to the reader. Since the story is from Paul's POV, I cannot directly state that Victor is hiding himself from view and the result is just muddy. I knew when I wrote it that this scene would require a lot of help- well it's time to get to it.

X-Mas Zodiac Short

I've decided to submit a sub 20k story for an x-mas anthology to come out in December of this year. It'll be a Taurus story, a poly group of 3 with two asexual characters and one bisexual character. Portuguese, Mexican, and Spanish- which means major family and religious dynamics are at play.

I have a solid grasp on the main characters and their extended family but I don't yet have a plot. The call for submissions asks for sweet stories with a HEA and a winter holiday theme, but Zodiac stories are inherently military, too. I want to avoid inter-family conflict (I just don't find it fun) so I'm still pondering the possible trouble I can throw these three into.

Link up!

What have you been working on? Click the Add Your Link button and join the list.




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Game Night: Supernatural

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , No comments

A New Fan is Born

I've been hearing about Supernatural for years. I see it every day on twitter and tumblr. I saw half of the first episode a long time ago and immediately put it on my to-do list. Boyfriend wasn't interesting in watching, not because it's a bad show, but because religion-inspired thrillers are not fun for him.

So it couldn't go on our 'watch it together' list. That's fine, we're not into the same things. He'd have to pin me down before I'd sit through an episode of The Simpsons. I just put it on my 'do this later' list. Three years ago.

This weekend, I started watching Supernatural. I'm 11 episodes in on the first season. I love it. There are some downsides to watching such an old series from the beginning. First, I never avoided spoilers (it's hard to do on the internet anyway), so I know the boys go through a lot of crap. By the nature of a TV show that isn't The Game of Thrones, the main characters aren't going to die.

Which means I'm watching the series largely to learn about the world and stories they're going to tell me, than any kind of investment in weather Sam or Dean survives the experience (they always do). 

I'm excited to meet Cas. I understand that doesn't happen until season 3, but I feel like that's when the longer story arcs start kicking in. Season one is just a series of unconnected puzzles to solve. Still, the characters are interesting and the world is weird. I like that. I look forward to watching more

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Week In Review: Let's Get Started!

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , , , , No comments

What's This?


I love making lists. But in particular, I love checking things off lists. To keep myself on track, especially with a rapidly-filling daily schedule, I'm going to start broadcasting my goals list for the week and I invite you to join me in the linkup below!

These goals are very short term and if all goes well you'll see progress reflected in the next week's daily updates. Next week I'll reflect on this list to get a feel for my progress, then establish a new one! Goals need to be very specific so I don't cheat, but very small so they're easy to accomplish.

Categories should only have one goal. Making a big master-list is not helpful for this exercise.

In the next seven days I'm going to...

Art
Spend at least 2 hours on the En Memoriam hotel picture I've started- with references!

Health/Fitness
Practice riding my new mountain bike over the parking curb until I can go around the loop twice without sitting down.

Writing
Outline my xmas-anthology story

Editing
Complete and return the SilverTree editing test

Reading/Gaming
Read and Review a Rainbow Awards story

Find Part-time Work
Apply to 2 places, DogHaus and Sandy Paws

Link Up!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Free Fiction: Final Wishes

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , , No comments

What is this?

To keep myself in the habit of writing, and to stretch my genres a little more, I'm going to hunt down a writing prompt and respond to it on Fridays! You should join me. :D Google writing prompts, look around on twitter and tumblr, there are some awesome crazy concepts to write about out there.

Then join the linkup below and read some other flash fiction to start your week off right.

--//--

Prompt from: maxkirin

Write a short story from the point of view of a character tasked by their King to protect an ancient artifact. The catch? Someone has entered this character’s fortress. Double catch? This invader claims to be a ‘Hero.


--//--

Final Wishes

Theresa heard the commotion of battle approach her atrium doors. Deep in the heart of the labyrinth, surrounded by perfectly smooth walls, the only way in stood directly ahead of her. Two wooden doors barred the way. Beyond them, monsters screamed.

She took a deep breath. Theresa drew her sword and stood ready. Behind her she felt the ring's warmth as it floated just inches off a pedestal for that purpose. Again she was tempted to touch it and wish… no. She was tasked with defending the ring, it wasn't her place to use it. Even if she were the last one in the kingdom to still have a wish, she couldn't.

The doors shuddered but held. Theresa loosened her fierce grip and took another breath. The King's army, two ranks of magickers, and a horde of monsters stood between her door and the maze entrance. Yet somehow, battle waged right outside. Somehow they had lost the war.

Silence fell.

Then the bar across the door rattled to the left, sliding without Theresa's help. It slammed down to the stone. The doors swung inward on quiet hinges. For a moment Theresa thought the King himself had arrived. Sunlight backlit the figure and they walked upright. Not a single injury. They dragged the point of their sword deliberately across the stone, scratching a direct line to Theresa.

But then the doors eased closed, the light faded, and Theresa saw it wasn't the King at all, but a woman. She limped and the drag of her sword was clearly a mistake. Blood trailed down her arm and leaked from edges of her armor. She breathed in big, even gasps.

Theresa widened her stance. "Stop where you are." The woman didn't stop. Theresa scowled, "Stop. I will defend the ring."

The woman reached with her left hand and hefted her sword higher. Theresa saw her grit her teeth. She wasn't going to stop.

She gasped a breath and theresa saw her wince. There wasn't any way to avoid this…

"Have you seen the massacre I've left behind me?"

Theresa grit her teeth.

"Do you doubt my resolve?"

She didn't. Theresa lunged forward. She swung her weapon down on the woman's injured side. Steel rang against bloody steel. Blocked. Despite the damage, this woman could still hold her own. She'd fought through a rank of magickers and a minotaur. Theresa was one of the best in her kingdom, but even she couldn't take on an army.

Theresa narrowed her eyes. "Why do you fight for it? What wish is so strong?"

"I'm going to destroy it."

They clashed together, swords scraping, shoulders heaving against each other. A battle of contact as much as finesse. Theresa gasped between strikes against her defence, "It cannot be damaged. It can't be melted or hammered or warped. You can't destroy it."

She bared her teeth at Theresa. "We shall see."

They snarled at each other, locking together and breaking apart only to crash again in metal combat. "Why do you defend it? What have you to gain?"

Theresa's guard slipped but her paldron deflected the strike away. She heaved closer and thrust her sword but the woman lunged away. "I am charged to defend the prize of my kingdom. There is no higher honor."

"To what end?" The woman scrambled farther away, on her feet but unbalanced in blood. "Your King has already made his wish. He cannot use it again."

Theresa advanced, refusing to discuss what she could not change.

"How long have you been at war?"

"It doesn't matter!"

"Ninety years, six kingdoms, an entire people exterminated, for what?"

Theresa bristled, incensed. "You attack me here and dare to accuse us of warmongering?"

The woman whipped her sword between them. "What was the first wish made when you discovered the ring?"

"Our King wished for a son with his barren wife so she wouldn't be cast out of the household. King Ronald is that son."

She dropped her hands down and let the sword scratch the stone. "Oh, that's a beautiful lie they're feeding you."

"It is no lie!" Theresa advanced. "Put up your sword."

The woman threw her weapon to the stone between them. As it spun on the rock Theresa saw dragon wings carved into the hilt. The helmet crashed down next and Theresa paused.

She was an elf. Hair black as pitch fell in a braid over her shoulder, curling around the delicate tip of an ear. Her features sat fiercely across her face, all angles. Theresa knew this face. Just like anyone in her kingdom had memorized it from birth.

The wooded Lyandra. The Betrayer.

When she spoke again Theresa saw pointed teeth.

"The first wish brought the great wyrms down from the mountains to raze my kingdom from forest to shore. The first wish was a strategic assault of immeasurable force that crippled our lives and set the stage for the invasion."

"No, I refuse to listen to this--"

"I was there," Lyandra spat. "I stood beside your beloved king, advisor and diplomat between our peoples. I watched him take a handful of treasure and wish for a swift end to our disagreements."

"He didn't mean--" Theresa stopped herself and looked away, cheeks heating. It was well known.

"The ring always knows what you mean."

Theresa clenched her fists and turned away from the elf. She stared at the ring. "The first wish was for a child."

Lyandra approached. Her footsteps clanked on the stone. "The first wish was war. The King was barren, not Lady Julianna. She got a son by his brother to prove it. Ronald is a bastard King."

"Why should I believe you?"

Lyandra dropped a pauldron to the ground so she could press her palm against her injured shoulder. Blood seeped through the linen and stained her hand. "Why were you never betrothed, Highness?"

Theresa turned to her, sword at rest. "We were in need of warriors, not mothers."

Lyandra scoffed, "A woman cannot give birth and fight, too? The heir is allowed to abandon her duties and play war?"

Theresa pursed her lips. The argument had never sat well with her either.

"Ronald is your half-brother," Lyandra said. "Your father knows. Lady Julianna knows."

"Does the King know?"

"It is unlikely."

Theresa wiped the edges of her sword on the bottom skirt of her tunic. She sheathed the weapon and crossed her arms. "What are you going to do with it?" She nodded at the ring.

Lyandra limped forward. "I'm going to make a wish."

When she touched it, the ring fell from the air into her palms, large enough to fit both hands through. It shined gold and the blood on Lyandra's fingers didn't seem to stick. She gripped it tightly. "I wish that all knowledge of this ring and its power was forgotten, never to be discovered again."

The ground shook violently. Theresa collapsed to the stone and tried to stay on hands and knees. The ring bounced with the clear sound of a bell and a broad crack slammed through the roof. Lyandra sat on the stone, unafraid.

"You've killed us both!" Theresa struggled to stay upright. The ground swayed like water.

"More than us," Lyandra stated. "Anyone who knows of the ring and anyone who may uncover it in the future."

The atrium stone groaned massively, a chunk of wall and roof collapsed, exposing a wretched view of the valley. Utter destruction.

"You have ended the world."

--//--

Link Up!




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Weekly Workout: How I handle a shoulder injury

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , No comments
Staying active when its not a passionate interest of mine is hard. To make things harder, I work from home. You'd think that would give me more time, but without a strict schedule to adhere to, time just slips away and nothing has been done in six hours.

To complicate matters further, I injured both of my shoulders in high school swimming. The tendons of my biceps dislocate. Relocating them happens daily and it is painful!

The technical term is bilateral biceptendonitis. The solution? Get stronger.

Lucky for me, I have a personal trainer in the house. Boyfriend is certified and practicing (if you live in the San Diego area and need a guy, email me!), he's also familiar with my physical limits.

This month I made a very general workout schedule to follow. Legs, Chest/Arms, Cardio once/week, Core twice/week, weekends and the last week of the month off. I'm not dissatisfied with my figure, but if I'm going to strengthen my shoulders, I might as well work on everything.

This week I've also noticed my sides and back will ache if I sit in my desk chair for extended periods of time. It's a stand-up desk, I need to get in the habit of standing up more often! I believe improvements to my core will help mitigate that pain as well.

As an added bonus, the warmup usually happens outside, so I get some morning sun to wake me up. Next week will be my first full week of training.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WIP Wed: En Memoriam

8:52 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , 2 comments

What's This?

A weekly check in on what everyone is working on. Progress, problems, and support. Post about your WIP on your blog, twitter, facebook, or website and linkup here!

En Memoriam

This week I've been focusing my edits on making En Memoriam creepier. It is not a romance and while I'm OK with several romantic elements popping in, I want to emphasize the questionable consent and and general horror elements more. I'm enhancing Paul's reactions to each situation, both his fear and his arousal, dwindling on how he feels to make the situation darker.

I'm on page 2 of 24.

Link up!

What have you been working on?




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Game Night: Remember Me

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , No comments

What's This?

Aside from art and writing, games, movies, reading, comics, and TV shows with interesting story are some of the more frequent ways I relax, wind down, or just have fun. Boyfriend and I frequently pick a TV show to watch and go through the entire thing together. We each have other items we enjoy watching that the other doesn't, so setting aside the one show for us both is good fun. We recently finished the Knights of Sydonia on Netflix, great story (and there's a genderfluid character!). So we've moved onto a Harry Potter marathon while we find another TV series. I'm trying to talk him into The Game Of Thrones.


Remember Me

But recently I picked up a PS3 game titled Remember Me. I read about it in Game Informer at one point and the plot sounded interesting. It is. It's a scifi/dystopian story about a special agent who has had her memory wiped. The population all functions with a personal tech item called a Sensen, like a smartphone plugged into your head. But it records and commoditizes memory, so you can backup your mind- literally. Memories can be sold and purchased, or stolen, or erased.

The main character's job is unclear to me still. I don't know if she was an enforcer or something more subtle, but she has the ability to enter people's memories and alter them, a curious function I've only encountered once in the game so far. But her own memory has been wiped due to factions at war getting a hold of her, so as you play through the game pieces of her past life come back to her.

Unfortunately the controls of the game are shit. There's no platforming, per say, but there is quite a bit of pre-planned parkour climbing. It tries give the effect of an open world game when it is, in fact, a rail shooter. Combat is... not intuitive. Pre-battle you need to set up several chains of actions you're going to perform. In battle your positioning is largely irrelevant as long as you time your button presses when your previous attack lands. Targeting is just shy of random and you spend 90% of battle pressing X to dodge an incoming attack which, theoretically doesn't break your chain but in practicality cannot be timed to avoid doing so. The camera is not detrimental.

So far, the story has made up for these glaring faults. There's a curious token black guy that runs a bar I highly suspect will die later in the narrative, the world is rich in visual details, and the memory-play is well built. I've enjoyed it so far with only occasional cursing during the fight scenes.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Art Report

4:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , , , No comments

What is this?


I'm an artist. I draw, paint, craft, and do all kinds of non-writing things. I even cook quite a bit even though I don't particularly like it. If I left all the cooking up to Boyfriend we'd have chicken and veggies every night. Healthy, but boring.

So crafting. I'm getting into more digital art this year. More art that's self-taught but also more art that's learned by instruction. On the 14th I sign up for classes at the local junior college. I'm going for ceramics and glass blowing. Because who doesn't want to learn about glass blowing?

Last Week

I'm starting to work on art things related to En Memoriam. I'm getting to the tail end of editing and I want to be ready in advance for the launch of the story. My first piece is a digital painting with an emphasis on perspective. I started collecting references from the very beginning.

I also limited my color pallet very strictly. I don't want to be distracted by color issues when I should be focusing on value and perspective! Here's an in-progress look at the piece.


If you peer into the back of the room, you'll notice the lamp is not sketched like the rest of the drawing. I've started detailing from the background moving forward, the desk being first. I don't want the lineart to stick around in the end.

I need to ease the transition between blue and purple. I want the darker colors to dominate the space without drowning it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WIP Wednesday: En Memoriam

4:41 PM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , No comments

What's This?

In an effort to hold myself accountable for writing more regularly, I'm starting WIP Wednesday, a place where any writer can come and share the project they've been toiling away on in the past week. If you're writing something, anything, post about it on your blog and share it here!

En Memoriam

The astute will have noticed a listing on my WIP page and Books page titled En Memoriam. It's a short story expanded from one of the flash fictions I published in Fanged, my vampire anthology. Mile High was a clear favorite among readers, so I've been working to dig out the story behind the characters and show a little more about their lives.

At minimum, En Memoriam needs to be 10k words long. I will not publish anything shorter than that on its own. The story currently sits around 8k, which leaves a significant gap to climb. I've had a few beta readers look at the text and there are some ways I can play with how creepy the story feels. I want to crank up the creepiness. Fanged was meant to be a harsh collection and I don't intend to soften En Memoriam now that it is a full story.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He collected his french roast, black. No cream, thank you. No caramel, thank you. Really, just black is fine. He panned his eyes across the tables for his date.

Dammit, fuckbuddy.

Victor's bright blue eyes stapled Paul to the counter like he knew what Paul was thinking. Shit. Paul tore himself forward despite the drop in his gut. This was all in his head. Paul took a seat and casually dropped the rose across the table. "Happy Singles Awareness Day, Victor." He took a careful sip of his coffee and admired the cut of Victor's suit. Tight lines at the shoulders like it was custom tailored.

Victor laughed and his smile flashed like a predator's eyes. "I would call you a cynic, and yet you bring me a rose." Victor lifted the flower with a precise, delicate touch and turned it by the stem. Manicured nails, no calluses.

"Everyone deserves a rose on a Hallmark day." Paul gulped his coffee to swallow his jitters which was a real shame, the coffee deserved better.

"Should I run across the street and buy one for you as well?"

A warmth blossomed in his chest, which just confused him further. Paul shrugged, "Nah. I prefer my roses with the thorns still on."

Victor's smile crawled across his face and stuck, "Indeed."

Link up!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Equal Rights Blog Hop

6:00 AM Posted by Tami Veldura , , , No comments
Keep hopping!

Stealing Serenity 


“Serenity,” a photograph worth four million dollars, was sold at auction to an anonymous bidder. Stealing it will represent the largest payday Daniel will have ever had. To make that happen, he poses as a photography curator to attract the attention of Kearin, the auction house owner.

Kearin takes Daniel under his wing to work in the non-profit branch of his business, but it’s a cover for his desire to see Daniel naked, bound, and needy for the camera. Kearin has a client interested in a very specific portfolio—filling the request would put him at the top of his field.

Daniel thinks he can use the modeling to get closer to “Serenity.” What he doesn't expect is to fall for Kearin's brand of intensity instead. So does he go for the photograph or Kearin's heart? He wouldn't call himself a master thief if he couldn't steal both...

Some of My Firsts


This blog hop is about firsts. This is the first time I've written a romance with no sex in it. That's right, no contact happens between main character and his love interest. This is also arguably the hottest book I've ever written. It's on the edge of your seat steamy.

It's the first book I have about a thief. It's my first story with ropework in it. My first with photography as a major theme. If people like it, it could be first in a series.

It's not my first book with a cat in it, even though I'm more of a dog person.

Buy It: July 5th
Goodreads: here
Quiz and Giveaway: here
Ropework photos: tumblr
Fiction: Grand Theft, Case 6742


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True or False? Kearin wants Daniel to model for him.

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