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Thursday, 31 July 2014

On writing

Every author, I know, is to write about the process of writing, about acquiring the skill to write, and about what it feels like to write. 
Being just an ordinary freak with a pen (and sometimes a computer) who claims herself as an author (having written and published several novels to this date, I see it as my right to call myself just that, an author, though I still find it hard to believe I can, you know, call myself that), I will do this now. 
Drunk, so nevermind the typos. Let's go Q&A so I can keep track of my thoughts and not leave you with a load of rambling nonsense. 

How did you start writing? 

I started writing when I was about six. That's when I learned my ABCs, see, and as I did, I started putting the letters in straight lines to form words, and the words in straight lines to form sentences, and so on. I like straight lines. 
When I was about six, I remember telling Mom I wanted to be a writer. And a teacher. And a princess, and I'd like a violin, please. Mom said "yes, yes, whatever", and I never got my violin. Nor did I get to be a real princess. 
Stories, however, stayed with me. 
The first ones born were the stories of a little girl, and everyone probably thought I'd grow out of my desire to create strange dreamscapes. I didn't, though, and somehow I still feel I am that child, struggling to form straight lines with words. 
Ever since I was a kid, I've written out my dreams. I take what I see in the land of never-there, and transform it into stories. If you read it, I've dreamt it. 
Or better yet, lived it. 
Writers are seen as nerds and geeks, but in my opinion, we are the ones who really live. 
We see things you dare not imagine, live things you dare not dream of. And through writing, we take you there. 

Why do you write? 

I write because I have to. If I don't write, my dreams and nightmares suffocate me. Writing, in a sense, is a form of therapy. Through it, I process the things I want, things I need, things I can't have, or fear losing. I write to escape reality. I write to gain entrance to the worlds I long to live in. 
I write to keep myself sane. 
Writers don't go to shrinks. Instead, we write out what's bothering us. 

BTW, quirk n:o 666: my head only aches under a thunderstorm. Hurting now, need moar beer. 
Why am I making you read a drunken rambling? Because it's fun for me. Not making you read it, but writing it. Many things can't escape under the control of soberness. After four pints, hidden doors are opened, and secrets pour out, and let's face it, everybody loves secrets. 
Not that mine are especially fascinating. After all, I'm just a geek with a pen. 

Can one learn creative writing by taking a course or what-not? 

I am of two minds about this. 
One can learn to control the flow of the unconscious mind through classes. One can learn editing through classes. One can learn to form a storyline through courses. 
But. 
One can not learn to create by having a teacher tell one what to do. 
I believe that those who write are chosen for it. We don't make up the stories, it's more like having a muse, or a demon, hang over our heads who sometimes decides to take a dump on us. It's our job to sort out the mess, and translate it into words. One can not learn that. 
I believe that taking courses on anything that has to do with anything artistic is one sure way to kill, to utterly and completely destroy the power to create. 
In order to make something beautiful, in order to create art, living, breathing art, one is to remain naive. 
In my opinion, only a child can challenge the boundaries of this world. A child is uneducated, unformed, free of all limitations. 
As we take courses and classes, and subject ourselves to the opinions of others, as we force ourselves to think the way we trust others to want us to think, we lose the ability to look at the world through a child's eyes. As we do, we lose the ability to create. 
In order to write, one must remain a child. 
So no, you can't. 
Don't take the course. Instead, take a pen and a notebook, and go out. Sit in the swings, and remember what it was like to be a kid. Find the child within you, look through its eyes, and write what it sees. 
They can't teach that in any class. If they did, we'd all be writers. 

Can one make a lot of money real quick by writing? 

In theory, yes. In practice, maybe not. 
One shouldn't write for the money. One should write out of passion. After all, we are born for this. 
A writer writes because he has to, not because he want's to make a shitload of cash. 
Books are born of desire, not the need for green. So if you want to get rich, got to school, and become an IT-nerd. I hear they're in demand. 

Did you quit your day-job? 

I never had a day-job. So technically, no. 
Actually I do have a job, sort of. I run a small business in fashion, I make patterns for sewing, knitting, and crocheting, and also make make one-of-a-kind garments along with custom orders. 
I'm a seamstress, to put it short, and yes, it's getting in the way of writing a bit. 

Are you proud of yourself as a writer? 

A few days ago, I accidentally said "fuck" on twitter. I'm going to say it again on blogger. 
Fuck yes I'm proud of myself as a writer. 
I've been going over my books during the hot, sweaty July, and I'm amazed at what I've made. Six of my babies are now available on Amazon, and two more are to come. 
If an author weeps reading her finished work, the reader is guaranteed to fill a bucket with their tears. It is both known, and written. 

So you only write books, no Gothic poems and that shit? 

Yes, I only write books. I tried the Gothic poems-thing as a teen, but it just didn't feel right. I'm not a poet, nor do I really get the whole poem-thing. Mr. Poe is the only poet I understand, everything else is just strange words in misshapen lines trying to form a disorganized line. 
As mentioned earlier, I want my words in straight lines. 
It's not that I don't appreciate poems, I just... well, there's people who like tea, and people who like coffee. 
I do write lyrics sometimes. 'Cause, you know, I make music, too, sometimes. 
Like, once every three years now. 

So. Time for quirk n:o 667: I talk to myself. Like, all the time. This is what it sounds like. 
Welcome to my world. 

Love, 
Heather

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Mousetrap

So. Along with fantasy, political satire, and vampire stories, I've written one piece of splatter. The Mousetrap. Let's talk about it, shall we? 

The what? Mousetrap? Are there mice involved? 

The Mousetrap is a new kind of game show. It takes unwilling participants, lours them in, locks them inside the House for a week, and the home audience gets to watch the newly-found starlings fight for their lives. Survive for a week, walk out with a hundred grand. Or stay another week, increasing the prize-money. 
Each participant walks through a different path. Some make it out without a scrape, some leave body parts behind, some die. And the taste of death makes the audiences at home feel more alive with each episode. 
This piece of literary carnage does not contain mice. Everything else, though... 

Jeremy? 

Jeremy is the epiphany of a TV's game show host. He's got an immaculate smile, a charming nature, and an ability to have a casual conversation with even the most stubborn guest. There will always be a Jeremy in the Mousetrap. This Jeremy is the first, but there will be another one after him. The viewers, however, will never notice the change. Jeremy is a product of plastic surgery: his appearance is pleasant, his features common, and this ensures the Mousetrap to always have an ageless Jeremy in a red sequent jacket, a Jeremy with a perfect smile, a Jeremy who will chat with unwilling stars, chuckle, and smile his irresistibly sparkly smile when saying "Have a nice stay". 
In the beginning of the very quick birthing process (I wrote the Mousetrap in three months), Jeremy was to have a very small part in the tale. In the end, I had to hold him down to keep him from stealing the show. Nice bloke, has much in common with Mr. Clarkson. 

Why splatter? 

The Mousetrap was born from my nightmares. Everything you read in this book, is based on my fears. Writing The Mousetrap, I faced all the things that terrify me. One of the scenes I wrote after four pints of beer. I could never have faced that terror sober, and reading it still gives me the creeps. 
When writing the Mousetrap, I got to deal with some of my deepest, darkest fears. It offered me a chance to write out my fear of being imprisoned, being mutilated, being attacked by very large insects, having my body taken over by parasites. I had nightmares before I wrote the Mousetrap. After I finished it, I've had three. 
The Mousetrap was therapy to me. As is every form of writing. 
Turns out I just needed therapy in splatter-form. Good thing I'm a writer, otherwise I might have picked up an axe. 

Universe? 

Chronologically, the Mousetrap takes place after the Witch Hunt. There's been a great, big war, and the sun has had a bit of a melt-down. Everything we know today is in ruins. When the Mousetrap is first introduced to the masses, a reconstruction is taking place. Old technology must be replaced, because electomagnetic pulses have destroyed pretty much every circuit on Earth. Some people have been lucky enough to make money out of the disasters, but most are living in poverty. Game shows like the Mousetrap are a big hit in this world: they're the one way people have to make lots and lots of money. There are many shows, but the Mousetrap is the newest, coolest, and the bloodiest. It doesn't just take people in and test them, it tests their will to live. 
In this world, one has to struggle for survival every day. The Mousetrap is just an extension of reality. 

Correlations to Saw? 

The Mousetrap owes much to Saw. As it owes much to Big Brother, and to the Cube. Someone once said, I forget who, where, and when, that there isn't an original idea left on this planet: everything that can be thought of, has been thought of. It is up to writers, artists, story tellers, to combine elements, and create unique landscapes with the tools provided. I took Saw, and married it to Big Brother. Turned out messy. I hope you have a nice stay. 

You love your sequels, prequels, and re-writes. Will there be another part to the Mousetrap? 

I don't think we'll be returning to the Mousetrap as such, but... well, I really like all the universes I've created, and this world is no exeption to the rule. It may be that I've written a sort of a book that takes place in this particular part of the realm, and it may be that there's a quick visit to a certain game show in it, but I'm not calling it a sequel. It's a very separate tale. 
Just as messy, though. Anyway, it's still in progress, and I don't want to talk about it more. Or won't, actually, I could really spend the rest of the night talking about it. 

You can't write splatter, btw, you're a girl! 

Oh? I think I already did. Bug me, and I just might do it again.  

The Mousetrap is available on amazon

Until next time. 
Love, 
Heather

Friday, 18 July 2014

Quirks, pt. 2: Dislikes

1. I don't like eggplant. It's the only vegetable I haven't grown to like. When I was about 12, Mom and Dad took me to Rhodes, and had me try Moussaka. I picked at it, and said "what's this strange thing, I don't like it". Mom said "it's eggplant, dear, try another piece, and if you don't like it, eat around it". I tried another piece, and another, and another (I've always been persistant), and decided it wasn't really that nice. During my early twenties I was a vegetarian, and Mom had me try eggplant again. I tried it in various forms, grilled, barbecued, boiled, and sauteed, and found it icky no matter how it was served. Eggplant just isn't to my taste. I've grown to like cellery, olives, and avocado, but eggplant remains gross. I'm willing to try it again, but I don't think I'll ever learn to endure it. 

2. I don't like the art films. Movies like Melancholia and The Road send me into a spiral of uncomfortable annoyance. Not because I don't appreciate the beauty or the dedication of the actors, but because the scripts are most often so bad I want to sink below ground with embarassement. Every bit of dialogue in artsy films seems forced to me, and the films seem like a parody of real life rather than an escape from it. 

3. Watching a film without a knit is torture to me. I can't stand sitting on a sofa with nothing to fiddle at for two hours. I need a mindless project to work on while watching movies, otherwise I feel like I'm lazy and unproductive. 
I knit, by the way, while proof reading. So if you find a typo, it's because I dropped a stitch and clicked the wrong ear. Sorry. Please send me a note so I can correct it. The typo, I mean, the stitch I've most likely picked up. 

4. Cold air makes the tendons in my hands hurt. That's why I wear wristlets nearly throughout the year. 

5. Goths love thunder storms. I don't. They're beautiful, yes, but they most often take out the electricity. I don't do that well without electricity. I need my internet, my lights, and my running water. Deprived of these things, I get antsy about food melting in the freezer, develop a sudden case of severe dehydration, and realize all the things I love to do, such as knitting, writing, and googling stuff, require either light, or power. During our first winter in this house, we had a 38-hour power out. That meant no warmth, no light, and no running water for 38 hours straight. I'm traumatized by the event, and still feel the need to hug the knees of the friend who gave me coffee and chocolates on the second morning when I was thirsty, stinky, hungry, and deprived of caffeine. 
Want to make me happy during a lights-out? take me to a hotel with electricity and room service. 

6. I sleep with a flash light next to my bed. In Finland, nights get really dark especially during the long, cold winter. If I don't have a source of light within an arms reach, I will sleep walk. I don't know why, but the flash light keeps me safe in my bed. So if you happen to find yourself in the odd situtation of having to sleep in the same room with me, leave a light on. Or give me a MagLite to hold on to. Otherwise, we might have a Paranormal Activity-moment. 

7. Windows gives me the creeps. I've been an Ubuntu-girl for at least seven years, and have developed unhealthy surfing habits. The last time I installed Windows on my own computer, I got a Black Screen of Death after six weeks. I don't know what I did, but I do know I'm not safe to be allowed near any kind of Microsoft system ever again. I'm a complete geek, and can google my way out of any Ubuntu-related issue, but working with Windows just doesn't agree with me. 

8. Seeing and hearing people eat grosses me out. I think it was Vampira who said that eating is one of the activities we should do alone, facing a wall. I agree. It's messy, it's noisy, it's disgusting in every way. I hate the sound of people chewing. I hate the sound of myself chewing. Still, I like eating. Unless it's something slippery, like spaghetti with too thin sauce, and it won't stay on the fork, and ends up on my face. I'd rather be hungry than have that, tyvm. 

9. Outside? Yeah, no. I don't like going outside if it's not for shopping, or going to the museums. There's bugs outside, and direct sunlight. And dust. And people. Dogs running about without their owners. Did I mention bugs? Bugs that bite, leaving painful, or at least itchy marks? And it rains, and snows, and have you ever been caught in a hail storm? Not that nice, I tells you. Going outside means subjecting oneself to storm, furnace-like heat, getting bitten by potentially lethal animals, and having to talk to other people. 
I'm a housecat. Meow. If I could, I'd have my groceries delivered, and turn into the strange hermit-lady who never comes out, not even when kids break her window on a dare. 

10. There is a big difference between Goth and Emo. If you wish to suggest all Goths are depressed, and spend their time in the basement slashing their wrists, I will glare at you. 
It's my interpretation of being quite crossed with you, and yes, I do it at least as well as Loki. 

Until next time. 
Love, 
Heather

Monday, 14 July 2014

Darren

Let's talk about Darren a bit more. Jay's Dad, that is. 
A true vampire. 

Scars? 

Darren got his scars just before he was drawn. It is common belief that when a vampire is born into darkness, his skin regenerates, leaving him as fresh as a new-born babe. In Darren's case, his wounds were deep, and still bleeding as he was delivered into immortality. His flesh could not withhold the shock, and scarred instead of regenerating. Why, I do not know. 
A writer does not see all things. Some secrets remain unanswered even to the secretary of the spell-master. 

Relationship with Jay? 

Darren, short and sweet, is Jay's immortal father. He sired her out of boredom and curiosity, and sometimes regrets having done so. Still, she is his flesh and blood, and dear to him in ways unknown to any mortal. He wishes her to be his image, but as he delivers her into darkness, he realizes Jay is beyond his reach. She is her own being, owing nothing to her maker. 

Is this just Jay again, in short? 

Many of the scenes in Darren are the same scenes already pictured in Jay. I chose to write the tale from Darren's point of view as well, since the two see events in an entirely different perspective. Darren isn't just Jay's tale told from his eyes. It is a tale of Darren's life, and offers a deeper view to his relationship with Belinda. 

Why did you write the same book three times? We hear there's another part to this tale coming!

Jay's world is dear to me. I keep returning to it, not because I want to, but because I have to. After Darren's tale was told, I cried again, thinking I'd never get to go back there again, but after a lonely year, Rita sat on my shoulder, and started whispering in my ear. At the time, I was swamped with orders, but luckily, Rita waited patiently. 

Belinda? 

As I was writing Jay, I felt intrigued with Belinda. She was a shadow, a frail Gothic beauty I thought irrelevant to the tale. In the second volume of Children of the Night, her voice grew stronger, and now, as I'm writing Rita's tale, she is beginning to haunt me. Her voice grows stronger by the day, and I fear I may have to tell her tale as well. 
Fear, I say, as though it would be a nightmare to touch her soul. 
Belinda is one of my favourites. She is one of the characters I most relate to, mystical, ethereal, everlasting, complex. I sincerely hope she will consent to telling me more about herself. 
If Children of the Night were made into films, I would want to play Belinda. She is the character I feel closest to. She's lonely, ignored, surviving in her own way, waiting in her mourning gowns for her prince to come and save her. 

Carmilla? 

In Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, there's a mention of a vampire club called Carmilla. It's one of the few places where immortals meet in peace. I genuinely love the way Anne Rice portrays her vampires, and strive to achieve her level of literary genius. Making Belinda run Carmilla is meant as a form of flattery, though it was not intentional. As I was writing the first draft of Jay, the name of Belinda's night club came easily to me, though I resisted giving in to it, fearing I would be misunderstood. Giving the club another name would have felt just as wrong as having Jay be straight, so I decided to risk it, and call the club Carmilla. 

Darren is available on Amazon

Love, 
Heather

Friday, 11 July 2014

Jay

Now that I'm over the fact of actually being on amazon, I wanted to talk about Jay a bit more. She is, like I've probably mentioned, one of my favourite characters, and a bit... well, weird. 


Gay vampires? Why? 



The first initial idea of Jay came to me before I started writing The Mousetrap. I resisted for a long time, thinking it was too obvious, since everyone was writing about vampires. After I finished The Mousetrap, I sighed, and thought what the hey. I'd resisted the temptation of writing a fashionable novel, and instead told a tale of a fat bloke named Jeremy who hosts a TV-show, so I felt free to do as I pleased. 

I didn't intend for Jay to be gay. She just turned out that way. I didn't see myself fit to disapprove of her sexual preferences. 


Cover art? 



Jay's original cover is unusual for me. I drew it by hand, without planning it. I took a red pencil, and the image just came out. It's probably not a very good piece of art, but I like it. I hope others do as well. 


Love? Is this your opinion on it? 


The love story between Rita and Jay is pretty much my ideal romance. I am much like Rita, and in Jay, I got a chance to portrait my perfect mate. Jay understands Rita's desperation, realizes what it feels like to not belong, to not have anything, to yearn for something so deep it can move mountains. Jay is my prince, and Rita my hopeless loneliness. 


This book begins with rape. Why? 


Technically, it wasn't a rape. Yes, Darren forced himself upon Clara. Yes, he would have been sentenced for rape had she pressed charges. Yes, it looked like a rape. 

But it wasn't. She wanted it. 
As I started writing the scene, I thought it was Clara who clawed his face and left him with scars. But it wasn't. The only place she clawed was his shoulder. 
And before anyone asks, no, I don't approve of this. Both parties are to consent fully before the act. Censoring the scene, however, would have felt just as wrong as making Jay suck di... umm. Be straight. 


Do you believe a vampire can sire a mortal offspring? 



According to original lore, a vampire's body is dead. No blood circulation, no production of living cells, no respiration. A vampire is a walking corpse. 

In popular culture, vampirism if more often caused by a virus or a demon. I like to support the virus-theory. 
My vampires aren't fully dead, nor are they fully alive. Darren didn't know if he could father a child to a mortal woman, so he decided to give it a go. Surprisingly, it worked. 
I was just as surprised as he was. 


Vampires in popular culture?


Vampires have always been the go-to monsters of mankind. The vampire myth is ancient, and in time, we have modernized it, and turned it into a parody of itself. I like my vampires old-fashioned. Mine don't glitter, they aren't rock stars, they don't go vegan. My vampires require living human blood in order to live, they die when exposed to sunlight, they live in hiding, isolated by their need to kill. 
I'm not a big fan of modern vampires. To me, Dracula is the only true blood-sucker, and Lestat his worthy successor. Try to tell me a vampire can be vegetarian, and I'll throw bricks of original lore at you. 


Did you plan this? Do you want to ride the fame of Twilight and Only Lovers Left Alive? 



I did not plan this. Jay came to me one night, like many of my characters do, and sat on my right shoulder, whispering in my ear. She sat there for quite some time, and her voice grew stronger the more I ignored it. I told her to go away, I'm not going to do the whole vampire-thing, but she persisted. Finally, I gave into her. 

And I loved every word. 
As for the films... I saw the first two Twilights. They were horrible. After, I swore never to watch a modern vampire-film again. Not even the promise of Tom Hiddleston without his clothes on can make me break that vow. 


Is it a Gothic thing, writing about vampires in the early Goth-scene? 



Goths love their vampires, but writing about Jay wasn't a Goth-thing, so to speak. It was more a calling, a spell. She came to me, and I had to write her. 

As I finished the first novel, I cried, thinking I'd miss her for the rest of my life. I was thrilled to meet her again in Darren and Rita, and hope to re-unite with her once more. 


I hope you enjoy reading Jay's tale as much as I enjoyed writing it. 



Love, 

Heather


Jay is available on Amazon.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Favourites, pt. 1

Chocolate? 

Hi, my name is Heather Wielding, and I'm a chocoholic. You could not believe the amount of chocolate I can go through in a week. My favourite is Cadbury's Dairy Milk, which, to my sadness, is unavailable in Finland. I also have a deep relationship with KitKat, which also is hard to come by here. 
Want to make me happy? Send me Cadbury's chocolates. 

Drinks?

As mentioned earlier, I really can't survive without coffee. Being down with a cold is the only time I substitute coffee for tea, and it makes me throw things at Husband. I like my coffee dark, black, and plentyful. No milk, no sugar, just the joy of caffeine. 
The act of drinking pleases me. Some people eat to gain pleasure, I drink. Coffee, water, green tea. My favourite alcoholic beverage is Gin. I like the bitterness of it, like how it tastes like Finnish nature. It's a quirky drink, deceitful, and in a way, it reminds me of a certain Norse deity. Drink too much, and you wake up in the morning with a killer headache only to realize someone's duck taped you to the ceiling. 
No, that hasn't happened to me. Yet. 

Flowers? 

Every time you pick a flower, a fairy dies. Do not bring me flowers. Ever. If you really want to give me something that blooms, plant a cherry tree for me. It will blossom year after year, bear fruit, and bring happiness to all those who see it. 
And now that we're on the fairy-issue, I feel compelled to tell you I really do believe that when a baby utters its first laugh, a fairy is born. That fairy will live on up until the child loses its innocence. 
Mine is still alive. Her wings have grown dark, but they still glitter. And no, she is never going to die. 

Music?

As a Goth, I'm supposed to love all things associated with the dark 80's. But. I have issues with the sound of the eighties. Back then, music was raw and undisciplined, and the lack of high-tech studio sound sort of gives me a little bit of a headache. I like my music soft and smooth, or hard and well-mastered. From the Goth-scene, I have a true and profound love for Depeche Mode, and nothing else. I know this paints a portrait of a poser, but in my opinion, being Goth is about much, much more than just music. The seed for the tree of Gothic culture was planted in the eighties, and with time, it grew tall and strong. Now, it has branches that span to cover anything and everything from Victorian to Steampunk to Cyber to True, and on every branch, grows a fruit inside which a unique Goth dwells. The culture isn't just about music, it's about literature, fashion, disposition. It's about looking up at the full moon on a star-lit night, and knowing that all around the wold, others like you are looking up at the same moon, sighing at the beauty of the night. 
So. Music. I like Depeche Mode, Garbage, Tool, Pantera, Opeth, Swallow the Sun, Kittie, Rob Zombie, and many others. And Korn. I grew up with them, so to speak, and they hold a special place in my heart. 

Writers? 

I'm not very picky about what I read. That I share in common with Jay. Three authors, however, I rise above all others, and they are Steve'O, Uncle-George, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I also enjoy the work of Anne Rice, Jean M. Auel, and the Weiss/Hickman-unit. I have a soft spot in my heart for historical romance, such as Through the Glass, Darkly, and Gone With the Wind. Also, I find Jane Austen enjoyable every once in a while. 

TV? 

We don't have a TV, other than to play XboX with, so I don't watch. We do stream shows, though, and own a collection of favourites. My all time fav TV-show is... Farscape. I've watched it through at least fifteen times, Peacekeeper Wars and all, and still find fresh angles on it. I love the universe, and the general idea of someone being swept away into an unknown realm, only to find themselves in the throws of war. What most thrills me about Farscape is how every character grows throughout the series. It's what makes them so life-like and unique. As I first started watching, Chiana was my favourite girl. I was young, like she was, and found myself having much in common with her. Later, I grew to like Zhan the best, idolizing her strength and wisdom. 
Now, old that I am, I find myself more drawn to Scorpius and Stark. They're both complex characters, with secrets to share. 

Movies? 

I like films that are a bit twisted, films that offer a bent take on the world. I like Fight Club, Natural Born Killers, and Kill Bills for their violence, Black Swan for the nightmarish feel of needing to be perfect, and the Marvel universe for its dream-like qualities. I want films to be an escape from reality, like books. I want them to offer me sights never before seen, to make me sigh and want to BE there, to be someone else, someplace else, in a realm that never has existed. To me, films are the extension of books, though I thoroughly dislike film-adaptions (Interview with the Vampire excluded). 

Games?

I found the joys of video games through Husband. He introduced me to Heroes of Might and Magic III, and after a few turns I asked, eyes alight with excitement, if we could play all day. He said yes, of course, and I was hooked. 
I'm quite picky about games as well. So far, I've found three that I thoroughly love. HOMMIII, naturally, which I soon spiked with the WoG-mod, Halo, and Oblivion. Halo was the first shooter I ever played, and I am still absolutely in love with my assault rifle. Though the first Halo is a bit simple in story-line, I find it an unbeatable way to release stress and aggression. I'd rather go to my XboX and shoot my way through the Library than vent my anger in real life. In a virtual reality, shooting things is absolutely acceptable, and can help with releasing hostile emotions. 
And then there's Oblivion. I cannot, dare not, tell you how many hours I've spent with it. I've played it through with at least six characters, and modded it far beyond the vanilla version. I am enthralled with the universe, and the way it lets you be anyone you like, to do anything you want. I have a tendency of leaning toward the dark side... no matter how hard I try, I always end up bowing to Sithis with dark wings on my hero's back. 
I know, I know, I should be playing Skyrim. But... well, we've tried it, both Husband and I, and neither of us liked it. Skyrim is too bloody Playstation. It looks clumsy, it's heavy, it's slow, and the dragons die too easily. 
I like Oblivion. Heavily modded, tyvm. I'm actually more inclined to modding the hell out of Morrowind than trying Skyrim again. I like my games designed for PC, old school and easy on the hardware. 

So. Now you know a little bit more about me. 
Next time, I'll share more light on Jay. 

Love, 
Heather

Monday, 7 July 2014

About Smashwords

Yesterday, I unpublished my books on Smashwords. 
Why, you may ask, and even if you don't, I want to tell. I have no hard feelings toward Smashwords, on the contrary, I genuinely appreciate everything Mark Coker has done to make it easier for authors to self-publish. Thanks to him, we no longer have to suffer that "what, you're indie, doesn't that mean you're not good enough to get a contract with a publishing house"-look people used to give us. 

Leaving Smashwords was a decision I struggled long and hard with, and having made it, I feel light. Free, so to speak. 

Why did you choose Smashwords then? 

Well, in the beginning of my literary career, options for self-publishing authors were limited. You could either go on Amazon, or you could on Smashwords. Back then, I was unsure of myself (still am, but I've decided to fake it), and Amazon seemed daunting. Smashwords was a nice, friendly incorporation, with the promise of grandness. I felt safe there, appreciated and welcome. I didn't really have to do anything, just publish my books, and have them shipped out to various marketplaces. 

Sounds like a pretty good deal. Was there a catch? 

No. No catch whatsoever. Smashwords cares for their authors, supports them, and offers all sorts of things to benefit their position. It's just that... well, for me, there was too much. I was completely overwhelmed by just figuring out how to market myself. I mean, should I direct potential readers to Barnes and Nobles, or the Smashwords store, or perhaps they'd like to shop at Apple. I couldn't decide what to do, so I did absolutely nothing. 
That's not very good business, now is it? 
I left mainly to regain complete control over marketing, promotions, and distributing channels. Naturally, Smashwords lets you decide all these things for yourself, but still, what they offer is so wide in range I felt trapped. Also, getting paid is a right pain. As a Finn, I don't have to pay taxes to America-land. Proving this to the IRS over at Smashwords was a crippling process, and I still haven't managed to complete it. So I said f**k that, you can have 30% in taxes, just LET ME OUT. 

Trapped by too many options? 

Well, you should know by now I'm a bit weird. I like to know what I have for sale, where it is, and how I can promote it. Also, I have quite a lot going on in my life right now, and I started to feel like I was spreading myself a little too thin. Eliminating stress is my number one priority right now, and having to master promoting multiple distribution channels was really getting to me. 
So I decided to concentrate my efforts on just one channel, and its variants. Amazon. 

Why not just go alone all the way? 

I thought about making my books available only on my own webshop. I decided against this in order to make marketing a bit easier. Also, I wanted to have the choice of offering my work also in print. Amazon has that option, so Amazon it was. Working completely on one's own is just as stressful as having too many choices. Networking is pretty much mandatory when trying to make a name for oneself, and it's easier with a big corporation to offer aid. Passive aid, that is. 
I like passive aid. It gives me freedom to be myself. It's funny, at Smashwords, I felt like I had to be someone else, to pretend to be a successful author, a perfect being with impeccable skills. Well, none of us is perfect, and since I felt inadequate, I just sort of quit. 
I still feel inadequate, but it no longer matters. I have no-one to pretend to. 

Conclusion? 

Conclusion is I probably should have done this earlier. I've learned to trust my heart, my intuition, and I don't really understand why I didn't trust either with this. I feel better now, and found the will to write again. 
It's been a while since I've wanted to tell a story. Now the desire has returned. 

Love, 
Heather

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Quirks, pt. 1

Doing things in an ordinary fashion is out of the question. If it can't be done differently, I'd rather not. I've always been a bit weird, and as life has arranged itself to support my oddness, I develop new, adorable quirks while trying to age gracefully. Curious for more? Just follow the BS-section. 

1. Coffee keeps me calm. Keep me from my caffeine, and I'll throw a hissy-fit at you. 

2. I like to write when I'm close to sleep, either right after waking up, or just before nodding off. That way, dreams are more real, within my grasp. 

3. I start dreaming the moment I fall asleep, and wake up mid-dream. 

4. Routines are important to me. I like my life quiet, slow, and easy. 

5. I'm hypersensitive. I'm often bothered by loud noises, bright light, the weight of the clothes I'm wearing. I think I'd actually like living in a padded cell, without the stray jacket, of course. It would be nice, quiet, and soft. 

6. My favourite food is pizza. If I had my way, I'd eat nothing but pizza. With odd toppings, like broccoli. 

7. I have no concept of time, no spatial awareness, and no sense of direction. 

8. I have a highly addictive personality. If I like something, I get obsessed with it. Current obsession: Oblivion. 

9. Doing new things, like going on Amazon, or taking an unplanned trip, is difficult for me. I go over fail-scenarios in my head, driving myself nuts worrying, and by the time the new thing actually happens, it's no longer new because I've failed it in my mind so many times. 

10. I like to write staring out the window. First drafts of my books are sometimes a bit intangible... 

I just managed to get my books onto Amazon. Two of them are being published as we speak. I'll get back to those once I get over the shock of Doing Something Different. 

Love, 
Heather