Demon Hunting and Tenth Dimensional Physics: October 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Snarkology Halloween Hop: Top Three Halloween Reads

Dead leaves. Heavy rain. Cold air. Sales on chocolate.

Is it any wonder I love Halloween? I mean, those are some of my favorite things. Throw some good vodka into the mix and I'm set for a week.

But Halloween inspires something else in me: it makes me want to curl up with something familiar, and something seasonal. That covers everything, too. A mug of hot chocolate. An old quilt. The same cat that sits in your lap in spite of the date even seems more special to me this time of year. And it affects how I read too. So, I present to you my top three Halloween reads in no particular order.

Harry Potter: I'm not entirely sure how Harry Potter ended up as a Halloween thing... and a Christmas thing... and a summer thing, too, in fact. But I remember Harry Potter marathons on TV leading up to Halloween. And getting ready to watch the movies always involved reading the books again, for me. Which is why I've read them 10+ times. So this one's a little bit more personal than the others on the list, but it brings up memories of Halloween for me just as much as say, Hocus Pocus or Halloweentown.

Berenice: Poe has always been one of my favorite authors, and not just for horror. But Halloween does always bring me back to that creep factor, and I can't think of another Poe story creepier than Berenice. The teeth. The disease. The psychosis. It's chilling and I love it. Hands down my favorite Poe story.

The Night Circus: And here it is. This book feels like a rainy day to me. Something beautiful to be savored while it lasts. Someone very very dear turned me onto it, and I'm so glad she did. It's pretty clear that I like circuses, I think. It's dark. It's magical. It's romantic. To me, The Night Circus embodies everything I want out of Halloween. Which is why, when leaves crunch underfoot, I find myself wanting to dive back in again.

So there it is. What are your favorite Halloween reads? Comment below, and don't forget to check out the other bloggers on this hop HERE!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Blow Up Your Closet

I like men. That's been public knowledge since late 2006. I got comfortable enough to freely discuss it about a year later.

Back then, it bothered me. Not that I never notice the little (and of course the big) social and legal issues, but I can honestly say that, at least for me, it changed. I can't say that it got better. Me coming out didn't change anything outside. But I got better. Coming out and being honest with the world around me made me more comfortable being me.

I was in high school. I had a lot of things working against me. I was never the best looking or the fittest or the best at the whole social interaction thing. Pile 'likes boys' on top of that and you don't exactly get a kinder world. Yeah, I did have problems. But I had fewer problems looking myself in the mirror. I knew, when I stared into my own eyes, that I could really see myself. Finally, I could look and know me. Know Voss.

2005 was when I first dared to breathe the words to another soul. That was a different kind of coming out. That was a testing ground, and I was lucky enough that it went well. He ended up being my first boyfriend.

You may not be that lucky. You might get hit or shunned or yelled at. Or you could be luckier than me. You could find the absolute love of your life. You could remember it as the best singular moment in your existence.

February of 2014, I came out as genderqueer. And again, I found myself more comfortable. Little things that bothered me, like getting mistaken for a woman or being grouped in with the 'ladies' when hanging out with my female friends, didn't bother me so much.

But more than anything, that experience proved something to me: it's not a singular experience. It's a parade. Little moments, little events, little steps toward fully accepting yourself. Your sexuality, your gender, everything.

Coming out of the closet can be one of the most daunting things members of the QUILTBAG+ community will ever have to do. Hell, it'll pretty much definitely make the top ten list for just about anyone. And that sucks. It sucks that we have to come out. It sucks that there even is a closet, because it's a closet that we didn't build. I certainly didn't. Ever since I came out, I've been working to tear that damn closet down.

And thank God, we're getting close. We have thirty states now with legal same-sex marriage. The majority of the US population is in support of same-sex marriage. We're making progress. When I try to think about the changes we've been through, try to see it through the eyes of someone from the forties or fifties, when this thing wasn't talked about, wasn't acknowledged... well, I can't. There's not way in hell I can even begin to fathom the way the world must look now. But I know that whatever little bit of that truth I can touch upon brings tears to my eyes. Finally, they can begin to be who they are, undo some of that damage they incurred from the closet society built them into.

If you're in the closet, know that there are people on the other side of that door. There's a whole community waiting to take you in. People who have been through it before. If you don't think you can, you'r wrong. You're dead wrong. You're stronger than you could ever imagine. I know that just because you're in the closet to begin with. You're bearing that weight, and that by itself has made you nigh-indestructible. You can do this.

If you think you can't because there aren't a set of arms there to embrace you, you're wrong. There's someone there. There's me. I'll be there no matter what. Contact me here. Twitter me. Facebook. Smoke signal. Don't think you'll fall. You probably don't know me. I don't care. Talk to me if you have no one else. Or call a hotline. But don't let anything stop you.

Blow up your closet.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Writer Roundup: 20,000 Names

Yikes. I've been so caught up in drafting, I've completely neglected the last few Friday Writer Roundups. My apologies. This book has stolen my attention quite effectively.

But I'm here today, however late, with one of my favorite resources: 20,000 Names.

When it comes to naming websites, it's not the most glamorous, but it's by far my favorite. It gives the ethnic origin, the meaning, and the traditional gender of all the names it lists. And, while I can't say for certain that they actually list 20,000 individual names on their website, it wouldn't surprise me if that number was at least close.

But there's another one I find almost as useful: the Social Security Administration's Baby Names Section. It only really helps with American names, for obvious reasons, but it has lists of the top hundred or so names for boys and girls in any decade from the 1880s to the 2000s. Which makes it awesome for NPC characters. Just give a guess to their age, subtract it from the date your work is set, and then go through that decade's listing until something catches your attention.

Of course, there are always other alternatives. SeventhSanctum has several name generators in its depths, including Angel Names, Vampire Names, and plain General Names. Another one that can be useful, and also make a very good breeding ground for procrastination, is Behind the Name's generator. You can customize your generator for several factors (origin, masculine/feminine, style), and have it provide you with a matching surname, or provide your own. The downside? It does one at a time only.

So, I hope you have a lovely rest of your Friday. And don't forget, there's still time to enter the drawing for free copies of Zirkua Fantastic and The Jester Prince.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

King Jester Giveaway

Hello, all!

Today is my birthday, and this month is also the anniversary of the release of Zirkua Fantastic.

So, in honor of that, I want to give you the chance to win copies of the two King Jester books currently available, Zirkua Fantastic and The Jester Prince.

Just enter the Rafflecopter below and, when it's done, who knows? Maybe you'll be the lucky lucky winner.

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