Of blood and snow – GoT Season 6.1 revisit

Because I’m an active reader (and viewer), I like to ponder what will happen next with characters. This happens all the time, if there’s a plot mystery, I will sit and puzzle it out as though I were the writer. It’s something I’ve always done and will probably always do.

But on to what this post is really about –  Game of Thrones (and what I really hope they’ll cover in episode 2…or, come on HBO, episode 3 at the latest?!) –

SPOILERS AND THEORIES (some half-baked) below:

Jon and the blood in the snow –

1. Is he dead or not?

The show’s writers seem to be teasing us. The good guys have his body, so it hasn’t been burned. The Red Woman is at Castle Black and we know the Lord of Light has brought people back before….

I feel like most fans are leaning toward the theory that Jon will be brought back. Either that, or George R. R. Martin likes to torture us more than we thought possible.

2.  Blood in the snow and ink blot tests

There are some fans who think the show’s creators are trying to give us a clue about who Jon’s parents really are by hiding a dragon in his blood  –


This is an interesting theory and certainly not an old one in the fandom. In order to protect his nephew, Ned Stark takes the baby of his sister (Lyanna) and Rhaeagar Targaryen, after his sister dies in childbirth.

It’s a plausible theory.  It’s also possible that people would try to kill a baby Targaryen because that’s what happened to most of them.

But…if he were a Targaryen, wouldn’t Jon have those long, flowing, white locks?

Methinks so. Which brings me to a perhaps more plausible theory –

Jon is the son of Robert and Lyanna, taken by Ned Stark to protect his friend from being executed for getting in the way of Rhaeagar Targaryen (or perhaps, allow protect the baby during Robert’s war).

Jon’s got the dark hair of House Stark and House Baratheon. And what’s more, the Red Woman was very much interested in seducing him (perhaps to make another smoke baby?).

But who knows, the mystery of his origins may not be solved until the very end of the series and maybe not even then. Alas, some mysteries are never truly solved and as time goes by…the answers may not even prove relevant.

In the meantime, let’s hope for a Castle Black episode tonight with the Wildlings and the Red Woman to coming to the rescue…and, if we can be greedy – an answer to if Jon is coming back to life or not.

Take a chance

I’ve always loved music, sayings, and quotes.  They have that unique ability to impart thoughts and feelings with a memorable punch.

This week’s quote is one I’ve come across recently –

“So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.” – Sylvia Plath

There are many things I’ve learned over the last year or so and one of the most important is simply this – give people a chance and appreciate others.  There are hidden depths to people – granted some of it can be bad, but some of it can be really good and friendships can spring in the most unlikely of places.

I’ve always been an open person, and since my divorce, I’ve really pushed myself to give people a chance (alas, sometimes divorces can give you trust and self-worth issues).  There are two people in particular who I’ve come across since my divorce and my initial feelings were to stay away…that nothing good would come out of knowing them.  But – in both cases – I’ve been surprised by these new relationships, and definitely for the better.

So , don’t be afraid to get out there and give people a chance…you never know who you’ll meet and what new things you’ll discover.  :)

It’s all about the accessories (GOT 6.1 Review)

Last night was the much-anticipated release of Season 6 of Game of Thrones and the show’s writers updated us on the many storylines, which didn’t really help to advance the plot on any of them, as a lot of the characters are more or less where we left them.  To recap:

  1. Arya is still blind (for now).
  2. Margaery is still in prison (for now). Sidenote: Did anyone else get a weird lecherous vibe off of the high sparrow when he visited her?
  3. Daenerys is still in need of rescuing and Jorah and Daario are still looking for her (again, for now).
  4. Cersei still hasn’t exacted her revenge (say it with me, “for now”).
  5. And Jon is still dead (please please please, only for now).

<Sigh>  And it seemed like this episode was really short.  But, we do still have a GoT inspired knowledge to add to our lessons learned pile:

I mean, really, they can.  Who knew that a necklace could offset a cloak so well?

Predictions (because, why not? Everyone else has one.)

  • Arya will get her vision back – because, duh. And also because the red woman alluded to it a few seasons ago when they met.
  • Lady Mel will bring Jon Snow back (because otherwise, I will cry).  But I’m guessing it won’t be for a few episodes yet. 
  • Sansa is going to amass an army of sorts and storm Winterfell (is it too much to hope that she or Theon gets to kill Ramsay?).
  • The house of widows & Daenerys – I’m hoping she can free those ladies. And that some of them are witty – not lame and depressing.
  • Jaime Lannister might die. I know, I know. But I feel like I need a crazy one in here. And also, now that most things/people keeping he and Cersei apart have been removed…I feel like that story arc may get kind of boring.
  • Winter is coming – I mean, they keep saying it, so it’s bound to happen at sometime.  Maybe this season’s finale will have the white walkers approaching Castle Black. 

Also, for giant foodie nerds like me – you can nosh on Game of Thrones inspired foods whilst watching the new season.  I tried out some delicious carb options that I found from the Google machine:)  and I highly recommend them –

  • Bread and salt – be sure to start this a few hours before you’re ready to watch as the dough has to rise a few times before putting it in the oven.
  • Honeycakes – which I’ve officially nicknamed Sansa-Cakes, since she liked them so much last season and they’re seriously a show stealer (as she’s likely to be this season). 

 

Until being strong is the only choice you have

As a writer, I’ve always believed in the magic of words and as a reader, I’ve often felt their power.  Stories and songs have that amazing ability to break through barriers and – teach, show, remind, and reach us.  Quotes can be the distilled form of that magic – few words, with a powerful punch.

One of my favorite quotes is one I’ve found myself turning to many times over the last few years – “you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

And it’s true.

Exactly two years ago was the worst day of my life…

It was the day I discovered my ex was living a double life.

It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me and I found myself over a yawning pit, struggling to make sense of the truth I’d learned.

It was a day that set my world on fire.

There were many painful days to come – of sorting through the hurt and taking a step back to see that relationship was more toxic than I’d realized and dangerous to my mental health.

But it was also the day I left.

And it was the day that I started to rebuild my life.  It took strength to leave – as it always does – and it took strength to pull myself up and put the pieces of myself back together.  Strength my ex (and even I) didn’t know that I had.

Exactly two years ago was the worst day of my life…Wait, that’s really not true.  It was a terrible day.  A fucking shitty day and it probably turned at least a few of the hairs on my head gray.

BUT, I mark it as my independence day, my anniversary to myself, a reminder of how strong I am and what I can overcome.

And you know what?  My life is so much better now.  I’m healthier, stronger, smarter, more confident, and have more than a little bad-assery in me.  I don’t regret that day or wish it didn’t happen.  It gave me scars but it didn’t break me, it set me free.

And (this is important) – if I can do it, so can you.  Push through that struggle and sucker-punch that shitty day in the face.  Show the world what you’re made of and that this pain can’t break you…that you’ll get past it and emerge stronger and wiser than before.

And when in doubt – repeat to yourself:

For the watch(ers)

 

Game of Thrones is just a few days away.  And what better way to celebrate the upcoming new episodes then to review important life lessons it has imparted to its viewers…

#1.  Don’t go to your ex’s wedding…

They’ll either throw daggers at you (hopefully only with their eyes)

or rant that you ruined your ex’s life.

#2.  Don’t trust religious fanatics.  Even when they’re on your side, the still want to burn your daughter or shame <shame!> you.

#3.  Don’t trust people who have taken a vow of celibacy either.  All that pent up frustration will be your undoing.

#4. Listen to your mother…


or you’ll inadvertently cause a string of events that will kill 85% of your family. (Thanks, George R.R. Martin for the ultimate mom guilt trip.)

#5. And finally, things aren’t always what they seem. 

I mean, you thought you were watching a drama about a power struggle, somewhat based off of the War of Roses…


And then suddenly, you realize that you’re essentially watching a Renaissance  zombie show.

Only a few more days to go for the next season!  Let the count down begin!

Office worker confessions – Food

Ah yes, food in the workplace, such a joyous thing. I’m not talking about the kind of food you bring in a bag from home or what you purchase from the vending machine. I’m talking about the free stuff…the stuff that turns us into vultures in business casual.

 

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Source: Pixabay & Wordswag app

Food! Glorious food!:)

Anyway, it seems as though there are three kinds of free office food scenarios:

  1. Your meeting food – You’re attending a meeting that’s either painfully early in the morning or one that stretches through lunch and therefore, you have won the privilege of free food.  Score!
  2. Not your meeting food – You’re not in a meeting, but someone is.  Now, you can be one of two people:
    •  Sneaky lunch stealer  – you lurk outside of meetings and swoop in to get your free lunch or perhaps you boldly pretend you belong before sneaking off with your prize.  Oh sneaky lunch stealer, you are a bold and beautiful beast of the office world.  Just be careful though, we’re all on to you and unless you bring the rest of us meeting cookies, we just might tell.
    • Left-over luncher:  What’s that congealed mass of meat-like product? What meeting was it from?  Was it from yesterday or today?  It doesn’t matter!  The microwave is your friend (I hope).  So fill up that paper plate and go to town, my friend.  But hurry up, the rest of the office heard there’s free leftover food and it’ll only be moments before the rest of the masses descend.
  3. One of your coworkers brought in food: You fall into one of these categories-
    • You brought the goodies – Yay! We thank you, patron saint of all those who get the 10 am or 2 pm cravings.  We love you and your delicious goodies.
    • You are an eater – You squeal with delight with free goodies and thank the person who brought them, hopefully not with your mouth overflowing with said treats.
    • You’re a vocal dieter or a hater – You complain about the free goodies and/or never say thank you.  If this is you, then you sir, YOU stink.  I don’t care if you’re on a diet or decry the use of “thanks.”  Either don’t partake (quietly, preferably) or say thanks.  Why the finger wagging?  Well, you trolls are the reason the goodie-bringers stop bringing goodies.  So be nice and don’t complain when someone brings in free and delicious treats.  Otherwise, you’ll get some serious side-eye and stank-face from the rest of us (and trust me, it’s well deserved).

 

 

Down for the count

“One, two, three, four, tell me that you love me more…”  – Feist

It’s the tail-end of Women’s history month, so let’s talk about a modern day women’s issue  – being labeled for having a sex life and the surviving myth of “the count.”  And just so we’re clear, I’m talking about activities that are safe and consensual.

The count, in case you don’t know, is the number of people a woman has slept with…and there continues to be an obsession with it (and how small it “should” be).

But why?

Damned if I know.  Whatever the reason, both men and women engage in slut shaming and it needs to stop.

The solution?  It’s simple, really – the next time you find yourself wondering how many people your single female neighbor/barista/boss has been with or wagging your finger at someone who has had a few more partners than you, ask yourself this – how is that any of your business?  Done.

For all my fellow single ladies –  You just do you, girl.  And don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.  You are a grown-ass woman and only have one person to answer to – you.

Confessions of an office worker – Here to work

I’m helpful, funny and smile often. And <gasp> I have boobs…but that doesn’t mean that I want to date you or hook up with you.  Honest.  So don’t tell me, “I’m going to enjoy working with you,” with that pick-up line tone on your tongue.

I’m sure you’re lovely, but I’m here to work.  And guess what, so are you.

 

Are developmental edits worth it?

Source: prolixme and the Enlight app

One of the most common questions we ask as writers is – how much editing should I do?

We know first drafts are hardly ever (I don’t want to say never, but really, pretty much never) fit for publication.  But how do you know when your work is ready (or even simply good enough)?

I’ve heard other authors say that your work is ready when you put back in a “the” that you previously took out (in other words obsessing over the little things).  But that’s not necessarily true.  I’ve asked an agent at a writer’s conference and was told that you should get a piece “as polished as possible” before you submit it…but what does that really mean?

Pay editing services – should you or shouldn’t you?  The struggle is real…

For a long time, I struggled with if I should pay for editing services.  My editing method of choice?  Annoying friends and family to read my work and essentially proofread my novel and give me general feedback.  And btw – thank you to all of the friends and family who did read my novel (some several times), you are wonderful.:)

 

But after sending my novel out to two agents and getting rejected, I decided to take a second look at paid editing services.  First, let me say that in the book business, you are going to get more than one or two rejections.  But, because I’m an over-thinker (and because I know that you shouldn’t query the same agent/house twice with the same novel), I decided to get some professional help before the rejection letters really started stacking up.

How to find editors?

Ah, this part is oh-so tricky.  As writers, we’re protective of our work and we don’t want it stolen or butchered by shysters.  As a result, we’re a little tentative about who we give our darlings to for tending.  I can’t say with absolute authority who you should pick for an editor.  There are a lot of good ones out there. But I’d say (and this is only my opinion), for developmental edits:

  1. Use a well-known, legitimate source to find them or use a well-known giant in the industry, at least for the first time so you know where to set the bar in the future.  I went with Writer’s Digest 2nd Draft Service and was pleased.
  2. Find someone through word-of-mouth, from someone you trust, who knows what they’re doing.

Either way, you need someone who knows what they’re doing and has experience with developmental editing for novels (or whatever you’re trying to get published).  If you can find one specifically for your genre, excellent.  If not, try to find someone who at least has some industry experience.  Why?  I’m getting to that…

How much should you pay?

Oh, we starving artists.  I’m sad to say that developmental edits are pricy and for a long time, that was a sticking point for me.  But, after having one done, I can say that it was worth it for me.

Does that mean I’ll do a second developmental edit for fun, after I make some of the suggested changes to my novel?  Prob not, this girl has to eat too (and clad my feet in pretty shoes).  BUT, I will do it after I write my next novel, without a doubt.

What is a developmental edit anyway?

Fear not, friends.  Until recently I didn’t know what a developmental edit was either.  But I’ve recently gotten one done and as a result can speak with some knowledge on the situation.  Here’s what you’ll get with a developmental edit:

  • Logline (single sentence that summarizes your work, think mini-elevator pitch)
  • Synopsis of your novel (handy because it proves that someone took the time to read it).
  • Overall analysis (and kind of a grading) on your novel elements (plot, writing, etc.)
  • Detailed level of analysis:  Takes your novel elements (plot, writing, characters, etc.) and delves into a greater detail of analysis.  Here is where the editor will give you comments on what you’ve done well, where you need improvements, and sometimes even ideas on what you can do to make things better.  Also, sometimes developmental editors will point out some basic grammatical/proofreading areas for you to look at as well (which is super handy).

Do I really need a developmental edit?

My answer is – it depends.  If you’ve been submitting to agents and haven’t been accepted as a client, if publishers have rejected your work, or if your self published work isn’t doing as well as you’ve hoped – you might want to take a look at it.  Granted, a lot of the book industry is based on preferences and there is a chance that you haven’t found the right agent or audience for your book yet.  So, really take a look at why your book isn’t doing as well as you hoped (or think about why you don’t have an agent yet, like me) and do some soul searching.

For me – the answer is yes. I found the developmental edit extremely helpful and plan on implementing a majority of the suggested changes.  Why not all of them?  Because it’s my art and I can do with it what I want.  After all, some amount of editing comes down to preference and as the author, you hold the final say over your work.

That being said, prepare yourself when you get the developmental edit back.  Chances are, there will be a lot of good things that the editor has to say, but there will most likely be areas of improvement as well (and as a writer, I know how hard that is to take).  But think of it this way: if there were no items to fix, you wouldn’t be able to utilize the service to make things better.

Know that this isn’t your last edit.

lol.  I wish…and you probably do too.  But the fact of the matter is that after the developmental edit, there is at least one more round of editing/proofreading.  And, if you go the traditional publishing route, you may end up working with another editor to polish your work even more.  Don’t fear though…it’s just another step on the road to getting published and maybe one glorious day, seeing your book on a lovely shelf at Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.

So chin up, it can happen…you might just need a little extra help getting there.

On those we’ve lost

Every leap day brings a reminder of my eighth grade year and the day when a dear friend of mine killed himself.

It’s never easy when someone we love is taken from us.  The finality of the loss, the ache of what might have been can bring you to your knees.

But the ones that we love never truly leave us.  They live on within us – in our memories and in our hearts, always.

If there ever comes a day when we can be together, keep me in your heart.  I’ll stay there forever. -A.A. Milne

To J.R. – I’ll always keep you in my heart.