About Me

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J is an unpublished author, represented by Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. J's first novel is a YA fantasy horror, regarding a siren who must choose between the haunting life and humanity. J draws on occasion, reads quite often, and is a founding member of the critique group 'Thoughtical Verbosity.'

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Guess what I finally finished?

That's right. Episode 01 of the Phil Innis Adventures: Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.

When I first decided I wanted to make an audio drama, I had no idea how much work was ahead of me. Writing the scrips takes time. Tightening up the scripts takes even more time. Casting is surprisingly difficult--finding people who not only can but will do the readings for you is just nuts. Getting them to read the lines the way you want without coming off as a shrieking stage mom and scaring them away is even worse. And then there's the editing, and the sound effects hunt...

But after months of work I have an almost 40 minute long product! And now I sort of know what I'm doing, and the process might take even less time in the future!

And there is absolutely no way I could have gotten this far on my own. I had some very patient, very enthusiastic help from certain family members and friends. Allow me to take this moment to say that you guys rock. So hard. And I love you and promise that in the future something something sap sap sap. You're awesome.

Now, this first episode is complete, save for the introduction and credits which I'd like to add in a cool announced voice (I've got the music picked out and everything), but that will all be done and added before the show actually goes live. Which...will not be for a while. I don't want to start officially releasing PIA until I have the first season all tied up in bows and presentable. As a reader of webcomics and a listener of podcasts and the like, I know how frustrating it can be to hear/see/smell something awesome, and then be denied another taste of it for many moons.

I will not do such a thing to my imaginary fans!!

But for those of you who are interested, here, in three parts, is Episode 01: Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda! With built in intermission.

EDIT: Or, if you just want to download the mp3 file and carry it around in your pocket, you can go here!

Part 01:

Part 02:

Part 03:

So what do you guys think? Now that I've scratched that itch, I really must get back to my beloved 4th Leaf (Ze Book). I have begun to miss it terribly.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Romance.

Hey internet!

Today, I wanted to talk about romance in Young Adult novels.

In preparation for the official beginning of Libratopia, I have been gorging myself on Young Adult novels. Mostly Dystopian novels, because that is what's hot--and therefore most readily available--on the market right now. Harry Potter came out, and it was all orphans with big destinies. Twilight came out, and we saw nothing but vampire romance novels for a long time. The Hunger Games came out, and now it's Dystopian futures, almost exclusively with female leads.

The thing is, something else has lingered from the 'Twilight' era. Female leads are prevalent in the YA shelves right now, and it seems as if every female lead has to find herself stuck in the middle of a love triangle. I personally do not care much for (see also: loathe) love triangles, because they just don't make much sense to me. If you really, truly, deeply care about someone, and are presumably a good person...are you really going to turn around and play suck-face with their rival at the first opportunity?

If your first thought is "You go, girl," we have nothing further to discuss.

It's not something that gets me rooting for the schmuck who's playing the herp-a-derp-tango with two people's hearts. So that bothers me right off the bat--especially when it is painfully obvious which of the attention-vyers is going to win.

Girl has been with Herp for years, but mysterious and shady Derp keeps catching her eye? Derp wins.

Boy always thought he wanted hot Derpette, and has been in love with her since grade school, whilst Herpina has only ever been a blip on the radar? Just wait 'til Herpina takes her glasses off.

Girl is in some way forced to be with Derp, and bumps into Herp in the woods outside her home...

Basically, it boils down to X wants/has Y, until X meets Z. There is no chance whatsoever that X will remain/choose Y. It's to the point that I wonder why any preview or snippet even bothers posing the question of "What will he/she do when he/she meets him/her?" Um, dur.

So those are my thoughts on love triangles.
Boo! Boo! BOOOOOO!!
But what about romance in general? Given the rant above, you may be expecting a rant below. You will not be disappointed.

As previously stated, most lead characters these days are females. And most of their love interests are dudes. And again, since a certain sparkly-moody-possessive male lead made his appearance, things have changed in the YA world. Almost every male romantic interest I've come across recently has been just like that: mean. Possessive. Pushy. Jealous. Troubled. Self-destructive. Selfish. But oh--so--HAWT.

There have, of course, been characters like this in the past. But they were rounded out by having actual soft sides, or self doubts, or figuring out their issues in the end, or at least getting their just desserts. They were HAWT, of course, but in no way portrayed as being the ideal man.
There may have been a reason I posted a picture of James Dean in this section. But I sort of got lost staring at him and forget what it was.
So somehow, things have changed. What were previously red flags for an abusive relationship are now major turn-ons. And the characters who don't fall under that category? Strawmen. No personalities, no hopes or dreams beyond the hopes and dreams of their designated love, no real...anything except for the proper plumbing and possibly some wimpy tendencies for the hero/ine to save them from.


Obviously, with these weak-sauce characters, the romance that follows is unbelievable and unenjoyable. We're rarely given an actual 'falling in love' story, or any bonding moments. It's just, "Oh! What a HAWT guy/girl/shrub! We are now so totally in love because the author says we are!"

I'm going to let you folks in on a little secret. I'm a romantic at heart. True, it's buried deep under prickly layers of snark and sarcasm and a dislike of idiocy, but it's there. If there's going to be twu wuv in the story I'm reading, I want it to make me feel gooey and sweet on the inside, like a partially melted gumball. I want it to make me sigh and giggle and quietly cheer for the couple when they finally come to terms with each other. I want to be given a reason to read the book when no one is around to hear me do any of those things because it would damage my street cred.

I want real romance! Something organic, earned, and believable. I want to watch someone fall in love...I don't want to just be told that they have.

I want a couple I can cheer for. How about you?
Granted, those are some real deep feelings, which are not things that are often associated with teenagers. But that's what YA is; an acknowledgement and celebration of the depth and abilities of the future masters of the universe.

There's just such an opportunity in the YA world that is being wasted. Granted, there are a few good relationships portrayed in a few good books out there...just as back in the day, there were a few good strong female characters around. Time brings change, and this is a change I'd love to see.

What about you guys? How do you feel about romance in general, or the state of it in today's YA novels?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Hi internet!

So, as mentioned before, there is a new book review blog opening up. It officially has a name (and a website): Libratopia!

The name was the invention of the Broinlaw, and the criteria was a joint effort. I'm almost finished with my first criview (see Libratopia to find out what a criview is) which has been a lot of fun to write.

Hopefully as time goes by this little project with gather some interest and do some good for the reading world. Hopefully it will be compelling, taut, rivetting, rollicking, and yet never actually use those words in a criview because they mean nothing to the average reader.

In other news, yesterday was my older brother's birthday. He is an extremely cool dude to whom I owe a lot, and I am extremely grateful that he is a part of my life. Respect and love, Bro :)

And as for Ze Book? Still chipping away at it, full steam. I had some dizzy daydream about having it finished before school started up again, but I'm pretty sure that's just crazy talk. A more realistic goal is having it done by November, so I can participate in NaNoWriMo again. I didn't participate last year because I was working hard on the second draft of 'First Time's a Charm,' and while the rules explicitly state that your NaNo should be a new work, I didn't want to leave Ze Book alone for a month.

If I'm ready for November, I would be glad to participate in the insanity again :) The project, of course, would be the Ze Sequel!

Have you guys ever heard of/participated in NaNoWriMo? If you're not into writing, what sort of stuff do you do, and how do you manage your time?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Bad!

Hey internet!

It was brought to my attention that the link I put up, which was supposed to open a video of the Phil Innis teaser, was made private rather than public. Apparently youtube DOES take privacy seriously, because even the creator of the video can't share it outside of the site!

Or maybe there was some other technological glitch. Whatever the case, I have re-uploaded and here is a video that should actually...you know...work.

For your entertainment:

As I may have said, I have begun re-recording the lines that I previously recorded by myself. This time around, I'm having my Broinlaw (and my nephew, for one scene) stand there are listen. I don't know why, but having a live audience to ham it up in front of just makes it feel more 'real.' The difference is apparent even to the naked ear. I don't know if I'm going to re-record the monologues, though...what do you guys think? Does it need some livening up?

Let me know!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Phil Innis Teaser!

Hey Internet!

Well, after much head-to-desk action and quite a few "Can't believe I'm standing here talking to myself and recording it" jitter-giggles, I have finished recording--completely--for the very first Phil Innis episode!

I listened to a lot of the lines I recorded by myself, and am pretty sure I'm going to go back and re-record them with someone actually listening. It's pretty obvious I'm just talking to myself. Or...maybe it's just obvious to me. Anyhow, editing has officially begun and it is exciting and a little mentally painful! Like the SATs. Or having a brain-child, Athena-style (hi, Rick Riordan fans!).

A while back I said I wanted to put up a clip for you guys to listen to. As I said, I'm thinking about going back and re-recording some lines, but I think the monologues might be okay.

Have a listen, and tell me what you think!

And I would just like to point out that it is far more frustrating getting a video on youtube than it should be. Far, far more frustrating.

Also, book review blog ideas are passing back and forth between my Broinlaw and I like a tennis ball at a...tennis ball game. A professional one. I'm rather excited, and already working on my first review!

Well, ta ta for now :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review Blog?

Hey internet!

So, recently, I have been contemplating starting up a book review blog.

This is what my room would look like if I had more time and less bookshelves.

For reviewing books.

I would mostly review Young Adult books, Children's books, and maybe a few of the 'adult' books that don't involve two boring people throwing their naughty bits at each other.

I think this would be a fun endeavor. I've been known to turn a semi-witty phrase here and there, if the weather and timing and willing, so it could be an interesting read. I have a long-held passion for reading, so getting through a book every other week or so shouldn't be a problem.

And I like the idea of providing a non-artsy-fartsy, hoitie-toitie review on a book. The sort of review that the average reader actually wants. None of that obnoxious reviewerspeak ('rollicking' comedies, 'nuanced' tragedies, 'moving,' 'haunting,' 'compelling,' blah blah blah. I would use real-person words to the same degree that I ever do, and actually talk about the books, what happens in them, and who I think should read them, if anyone.

I would also refrain from personal attacks on the authors, publishers, agents, and fans. This seems like a 'duh' goal, but have you checked out some of the customer reviews on Amazon? Or anywhere that allows customer reviews? For all of the many problems I've seen in the 'Twilight' series, the most common thing I've read in a customer review is that the author is 'fat.'

Yeah, wish I was that 'fat.'

A. No, she is not.

B. Even if she was, so what? Isn't it a worn cliche that plumpy people have less active social lives? I would think that would lead to more time spent on the computer perfecting the craft.

Anyway, I think a book review blog would be fun. I would sort of like to rook a couple of my friends into it, though. That way there could definitely be at least one review a week--maybe even two!--without the whole thing hinging on how fast I can read between school, work, and making Ze Book happen.

So what do you guys think? What sort of questions would you want answered in a book review? What sort of books would you most want to read reviews about?