What would you do to save a life?

I’m watching Haunted History on H2 this evening, and their currently discussing Manson and all that awfulness. A thought occurred to me, not for the first time: If you could go back in time and stop something terrible from happening, would you?

Now, the automatic answer is, well yeah! But I want you to think about this for a minute. Let’s say you could go back, and stop Manson. How far back would you go? At what part of his upbringing did things go wrong? Or was he just “born bad?” And how would you know you did enough to stop him? (For this hypothetical, I’m saying you can only go back once, like 12 Monkeys.)

It seems like the only way you could be sure would be to kill him. So when would you do it? At what point would you think, “Okay, he hasn’t corrupted anyone yet, so if he dies now, none of the craziness will happen.” From a young age he was known as a good manipulator, and he was often in boys homes/juvenile detention.

The decision’s been made. We’re going to kill Charlie Manson, as a child. Could you do that? End a kid’s life for the possibility of saving I think 9 lives?

If this isn’t heavy enough for you, what about Hitler?

These are the things I wonder about when I watch the history channel. It’s a conundrum; I can’t say what I would do one way or another. I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision like that. I’m also hoping I don’t come off totally creepy either. It’s not my fault there’s only macabre things on the History channels these days! Maybe I should go watch some My Little Ponies that I taped for Monkey instead…

7 Authors Who Should Only Publish in E-Formats

Some of these authors you may know; some of them are from our bookshelf at home; some are known by reputation. Regardless, here’s my point: for the love of your joints, please only buy these books in e-format. Otherwise your state may require you to get a license for a concealed weapon.

R.A. Salvatore

Now, on their own, Salvatore’s book aren’t that lengthy. We’re talking 352 pages in Siege of Darkness. The real problem is the prolific body of work the man has put out. He’s a machine. You can either buy his over 50 published fantasy books individually, or in the interest of cost and bookshelf space, buy the compilations. There’s at least 6 that I know of currently. Oh, did I mention saving space on your bookshelf? As it happens, the compilations are a double-edged sword. I’m looking at Legacy of the Drow right now. It contains four books, including Siege of Darkness. One is easier to keep up with than four right? Oh, no wait! This book has 1077 pages. Doing a rough count, there are 533,115 words in this book. And there are five more just in this universe. I think I just caught arthritis.

4 of the offending books, with my dog for scale. Yeah, I know. She's fat. So are those books.

David and Leigh Eddings

This cute little couple didn’t start out writing giant novels. Much like R.A. Salvatore, they wrote a bunch of regular sized novels all in the same world. Then after they finished those two series containing five books each, the wrote two heifer sized companions. Let me break it down for you. One book, just one book as an “add-on” to their big series has approximately 318,285 words (Polgara the Sorceress). A good day for me is writing 2,000 words. In other words it would take me 5 months and change, writing every day, consistently hitting my word goal, straight. Forget editing, this is just getting it out. Ow.

David Eddings. "Oh, you thought that was all? I'm sorry, that's only the first installment. Heh heh heh."

J.K Rowling

Are you noticing a trend here? These authors start out small, then go batshit insane. The Sorcer’s Stone 76,944 words. The Deathly Hallows 198,227. That’s more than double the size. Did I love every word of it? Absolutely. Did I have to wear wrist braces from holding up the hardcover edition for my all night read through? Um, yeah.

Hey Jo, guess what? We're going to buy it no matter how long it is. I bet if you broke it up into 2 or 3 you could make a ton of... oh. Right.

George R. R. Martin

As far as authors go, I’m convinced this guy’s a sadist. Not only does he kill of characters willy nilly, regardless of their prominence in each book, he makes them long as hell. And then, to add insult to injury, he takes seven damn years to write one. Seven years! Between books four and five! Arrgh! If I didn’t want to read it so bad, I’d just pummel myself with it a few times and end it.

You bastard.

Victor Hugo

Before Les Misérables was made into a Tony winning play, it was actually a book. No, not a book by Cameron Macintosh, and actual author named Victor Hugo wrote it. And wrote it. And wrote it. For seventeen years. After that, 513,000 words doesn’t seems as impressive, does it? Well, forget how long it took, it incited serious social change in 19th century France. Have some flipping respect.

It took him 17 years to write and what did we do? Make it into a musical. No wonder the French hate us.

Leo Tolstoy

This guy is what your high school English teacher threatened you with. “Look, it’s not like I’m asking you to read War and Peace, now am I?” Back then it was just something adults said to try to guilt you into doing your assigned reading. Little did you know! War and Peace is actually 560,000 words. Finishing this book gets you an honorary degree from some universities. From the Google machine, I’ve found out that you can probably read 200-250 words per minute, if you’re a fast (not speed) reader. That means it would take you forty-six hours to finish this book, as long as you kept up that speed. Doesn’t sound so hard? Go here to see how many WPM you read. I hit 200, and I burn through books.

He stopped shaving when he started his first read through. This is from the moment he finished.

Ayn Rand

Okay. Here’s what I understand: you want to write a piece of fiction that makes a political statement. You want to introduce your philosophy to the world. Fine. All I’m saying is that if it takes you 645,000 words to do it, maybe you should think about paraphrasing. This woman is the poster child for learning how to write a mission statement. I know it’s popular. I know it’s considered a great work of literature. But damn. 645,000 words? No wonder she became depressed after finishing. How would you ever have anything left to say?

This is the exact face I made when I read the word count to Atlas Shrugged.

Look, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with any of these books, or the authors. Just, for the sake of the rainforest and your future medical bills, buy the eBook.

Happy reading, happy writing.

4 Fictional Characters I Never Should Have Fallen For… But Did Anyway

In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I’d take a moment to pay homage to those dashing literary characters who’ve broken my heart. Did I know they were bad news when I met them? Yes. Did I blindly become a worthless pile of goo at their smolder. Yes. Do I regret it? I don’t think so. At least if they’re fictional, they should keep me from looking like a fool in real life. You know, if you do that whole “learn from your mistakes” thing. Why four you ask? Because I couldn’t think of five. Stupid writers block…

***SPOILER ALERT!*** If you haven’t read the books listed below, save this post until you have. Wouldn’t want to ruin it for you.

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

 

Now, in no particular order, let’s begin.

 

4. Bill Compton from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series

Why I fell: He was mysterious, and the first vampire you really met in this world. There’s something about an old fashioned gentleman who is at a bit of a loss in modern times. He is/was very protective of Sookie, and having someone who wants to fix your problems can be an attractive thing.

Why I should’ve run for the hills: Things were a little too convenient, weren’t they? A vampire just happens to move in across the cemetery from you, who wants to be the white knight of the crazy girl in town. Really??

Who I should’ve run to: Alcide, Sam, hell even Eric. At least you know where you stand with these guys. Alcide wants a normal life as soon as he gets over girlfriend issues, Sam likes you just the way you are as long as you don’t do anything too dangerous, and Eric… well, Eric’s an asshole, but at least he’s up front about it. With Bill, his motives are a mystery until someone else spills the beans.

Turns out Sam looks atrocious in red.

3. John Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Why I fell: He’s handsome and charming and everything you want in a Regency period novel. He flaunts the rigid social norms for the love of Marianne. Awww.

I want to see you... without a chaperone!

Why I should’ve run for the hills: He’s everything I mentioned above, but he uses these qualities to have his fun and leave. Eventually, he marries for money, because, hey. What good are good looks and a bad boy personality if you can’t live at the top of society?

Who I should’ve run to: Col. Christopher Brandon. Inside this reserved man is the heart of a poet. He’s everything Marianne wanted, in a slightly less flashy package. This is a case where the nice guy wins, and the girl is damn lucky to have him.

Nakatomi Towers? I have no idea what you're talking about. More tea?

2. Daniel Cleaver from Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding

Why I fell: C’mon! He was Hugh Grant Brit without the bumbling. He was flirty and allegedly liked Bridget’s curves and her awkwardness. Plus office romance with the successful, handsome exec across the way? Um, yes please.

Why I should’ve run for the hills: If life has taught us anything, and if literature has reinforced it, it’s that the”perfect” guy is usually an ass. Sadly, Murphy’s Law says that if you think he could be dating someone of supermodel caliber, he probably is. You’re the bit on the side.

Who I should’ve run to: Mark Darcy. He’s a little stiff around the edges, but he’s great once you get past that. In fact, just tickle him. In moments he’ll be giggling hysterically and letting you see one of those cute British half-smiles. Oh, and you know… he’s also an updated version of Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Who’s Daniel Cleaver again?

If everything I just wrote doesn't make sense, look at the picture. That pretty much sums it up.

1. Sir Jorah Mormont from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series

Why I fell: I’m a sucker for an older man wanting to take care of you. Hell, it’s who I married. Sir Jorah is no exception, and given his tragic history with another younger woman… sigh. Yeah, I wants to hug him.

Just pretend it's not creepy that Daenerys isn't thirteen and pregnant in the book, and it's all good.

Why I should’ve run for the hills: Part of this guy’s tragic story is betrayal. For love, yes. But if he’s willing to give up everything including his honor, family, children, well… maybe I should have remembered that before I threw in whole heartedly with Team Jorah.

Who I should’ve run to: Jamie Lannister. Yes, in the beginning he’s a total tool and has a messed up sex life to boot. Really messed up. But cut him down to size, take away some of his vanity, and at least for now he seems redeemable. Of course now that I like him, Martin will probably have him flayed and crucified, but as of today I see a glimmer of hope for Jamie.

Wait, is that Jamie or Prince Charming from Shrek?

 

Finally, while researching this post, I found a great article about bad boys and why it’s best to leave them in the realms of fiction. Click here to read it. I definitely will make my daughter read it the first time she brings home “Snake” who likes motorcycles and piercings.

Until next time, happy reading, happy writing!

Confessions

As I am now considered an adult with no wiggle room (I turned 30 yesterday,) I have some things I need to fess up on.

Firstly, I’m terrible about keeping a journal, diary, or making regular entries in things like this blog for instance. So please forgive the sporadic posts. In an effort to curb this, I’m going to try to talk the Hubs into writing a weekly post, in addition to my own. I think he’s hilarious, and he does have a knack for words.

Second, I’m not writing right now. If you know how to motivate yourself past staying home with a toddler, the holidays, a million video game releases of the highest caliber, and the nagging pressure from people actually wanting to read your sequel — please help!

Third, there will be no Six Sentence Sunday this week. It’s my birthday, so I’m taking off.

Okay, I think that’s all for now, plus my toddler is demanding more undivided attention.

 

Happy reading, happy writing, and Happy Holidays!

Me! Blogging! Somewhere else!

Just a quick post today. I am fortunate enough to have excellent friends who are excellent bloggers and invite me to guest post. So, please stop by today to The Outside Lane. Not only will you find tons of witty, informative, practical, hilarious posts, but I’m on there too, just for today. We talk about my top three favorite books and what it’s like writing as a stay at home more. (Sneak Peek: write when they’re infants and sleep all the time. Toddlers are worse than writers block.)

Also please do me, Lane, and yourselves a favor and like The Outside Lane on Facebook. Seriously. The woman is amazing. She’s what I want to be when I grow up. : )

Once Upon a Time to Decide

Has anyone else watched the new ABC series, Once Upon a Time? I’m of two minds about it and I’d like to hear your thoughts.

What I like:

I was originally enticed by someone affiliated with Lost being involved, because let’s face it — that show was EPIC. I’m also a big fan of classic fairy tales being remade. I think there is so much potential there, although it has to be intimidating to alter something so universally loved, (which is why I don’t think I’ll ever do it.) There have been some good parts in the show that caused me to laugh out loud, the first one that comes to mind, and best I think, is when Emma cut’s down the mayor’s apple tree. (If you haven’t seen it, you won’t get it, but it’s a freaking great moment because someone is finally fighting dirty with a fairy tale villain.) The cast is attractive, and the artistic scope is very well done. Oh! And Pam from Trueblood is in it!! I love me some Pam!

What concerns me:

Firstly, there is, inevitably, some cheesy-ness. If Prince Charming gets a real name, (James,) then so does Snow White. I cannot keep a straight face when someone says, “Snow,” to begin a conversation. I don’t know how much of that is necessary because these stories were originally made for children. Secondly, I’m getting the disturbing feeling that, no matter how much I like this series, it isn’t going to last. How many times can Emma and the Queen try to one up each other before it becomes stale? If we’re already waking up Charming and Snow White three episodes in, how long is it going to take for the rest of the town. And then what?I appreciate that they are mixing in the “true” story of the classic tales, but longevity does not seem to be the name of the game.

So these are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours if you’re a fan, or even if you hate it — as long as you can intelligently explain it. “It sucks because fairy tales are super gay,” doesn’t suffice. ; >

Happy reading, happy writing, and enjoy occasional TV breaks.