24 December 2015

At Long Last! I am an Ohayocon Panelist!

Banner (c) Ohayocon,  LLC


I know I've been pretty mum over the past few months on this website...normally I'm pretty consistent with writing and posting but this semester, which wrapped December 15th for me with the submission of final grades, kicked my butt. I lost contact with pretty much everyone and everything and completely lost the time to properly write about ANYTHING that wasn't directly related to teaching and classes.

While I did manage to work in a good-news post about Flipboard's holiday campaign, I hadn't really written anything substantial in ages. I'm happy that I can now take the time to announce that I AM OFFICIALLY AN OHAYOCON PANELIST!  

Fanfic into Fiction will be making its Ohayocon debut January 2016. You can see my panel and all of the other approved panels on the list here and of course I'll let you know when my panel will be a part of the official schedule, with the room number, date, and time. 

This is pretty bittersweet for me. I first attended Ohayocon in 2012 and from then on, I wanted to present writing panels at the con because it's one of the largest in Ohio and it makes top anime convention lists  pretty frequently. In terms of where I wanted to present, Ohayocon was kind of like the holy grail, because it has such a wide reach and a large number of attendees--the biggest con of all the ones I've ever attended. 

However, up until this point, being a panelist just wasn't meant to be.

In 2012 I attended Ohayocon for the first time (and it was my first convention ever!) so I didn't submit, but wanted to get a feel for conventions. I wrote about my experience here.  

In 2013 I submitted panels but there was a combination of stuff--first, when I advertised my submissions on the forums, another writer contacted me and was essentially like, "I do these panels at Ohayocon too and by the way I'm a PUBLISHED WRITER" (with hyperlink to small anthologies, if I recall). I felt like that person was a little threatened (read: unintentionally threatening?) so I sort of backed down--I did mention something like, "I hope both our panels get picked," but realistically, despite presenting panels at Colossalcon, I was still in graduate school at the time, so I didn't have my MFA yet, and I wasn't published, either. So...yeah, I was a pretty unqualified panelist. It made sense Ohayocon went with the more experienced person (who had also presented the same kind of panels at previous Ohayocons, too), and that writer did present a couple successful panels in 2013 with good feedback and participation.
Ohayocon logo by Robert deJesus, (c) Ohayocon ,LLC

Not long after I submitted panels to Ohayocon 2013,  I got kinda sick, and didn't think I was going to make it to the con at all, so I withdrew my panels and announced on the forums I was withdrawing due to illness, and directed attendees to the other writer's panels in my stead. It turns out my withdrawal email didn't make it to the programming crew in time, so they actually rejected my panels anyway, which made things easier. At the last minute, I decided to go to Ohayocon 2013 anyway, since I'd already spent the money on the hotel and pre-registration. I wrote about my experience here.

In 2014 I went to Ohayocon under the radar. It was an extremely last-minute decision to attend and I didn't really advertise that I was going until the last moment. I just wrapped working at Office Max and was just hired to teach at North Central State College--the convention happened I think the week before or the week of school starting. I really didn't have the money to go, but I went anyway, and I forgot to post about it, so I'll have to write a "Let's Look Back" post--I remember I tried to cosplay as Yuuko from XXXholic using my kimono and some fun red contacts, and took some nifty pictures with some VAs and guests. I also remember that I was trying to decide whether or not I should keep attending Ohayocon in the future because of the financial investment....

...which is why 2015 was the first year I did not attend Ohayocon. I was so broke--I had been teaching for a year and at the last minute the school cancelled three of my four classes due to low enrollment, so the sudden low income (it was like $150/wk) killed any possibility for me to go. When I found out David Matranga and Josh Grelle were guests at the 2015 convention, I pretty much fell on my sword. I love both VAs and was so bummed to miss 2015. (Best news though--Matranga is back for 2016!)

After the success of Fanfic into Fiction at Matsuricon 2015, I thought, what the heck, I'll try for Ohayocon 2016. I had also noticed a couple of other things--my presence at conventions was starting to pay off. For the first time ever, I had students in my classes at NCSC recognize me from conventions, and a couple of them asked me if I would be presenting at Ohayocon (I wanted to try!)...and I was becoming more at ease with talking to other writers about writing and providing helpful tips at conventions. I felt like I was finally finding my rhythm with presenting, and with more experience on my belt, I figured it was worth a shot. 

I submitted Fanfic into Fiction in September and held my breath...and boo-yah! It's part of the 2016 lineup and I'm super-happy about it. I really think I had a chance this time because of my teaching credentials, my (very limited) publication credits, my social media reach, and the fact that the panel has mileage at more than one convention. 

In 2012...
  • no MFA or creative writing degree
  • no teaching credentials
  • no publication credits
  • no convention experience
by 2015...
  • MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University (June 2013)
  • experience teaching writing at college (two-year anniversary coming up January 2016!)
  • some publication credits
  • panel presenter at four conventions
  • decent web presence
I guess if I were to give any advice to would-be panelists, it would be to keep persevering with your submissions, to rack up as much experience in your field as possible, and to try to come off as professional as possible in your submissions.  It's been a four-year dream, but it's finally come true: I am a part of Ohayocon 2016!

Huzzah!

03 December 2015

"Writerlicious" is part of the "Gift of Flipboard" Holiday Campaign!

"Writerlicious" made Gift of Flipboard!
Gaby Schwarz, one of the news editors for Flipboard, contacted me just before Thanksgiving with some awesome news--my curated magazine, "Writerlicious," has been included in the holiday campaign, "Gift of Flipboard," as part of the Creatives gift. As she describes it,
Flipboard’s editorial team has preconfigured 21 special packages, for Travelers to Tech Enthusiasts. Anyone can “gift” these packages to friends or family to get them started on Flipboard with pre-loaded sections that make Flipboard instantly more useful. Each preconfigured package has about 25 sources to get people started with content that fits their interests. So anyone who receives that gift will automatically be following your Flipboard Magazine. We will be celebrating all of the selected curators and their magazines on social media and in our blog in the coming days and weeks.

Give the Gift of Flipboard to:

Foodies: http://flip.it/6mGQS
Travelers: http://flip.it/eWRqo
Photographers: http://flip.it/Ey3p_
Creatives: http://flip.it/V317T
News Hounds: http://flip.it/kyM12
Tech Enthusiasts: http://flip.it/hYspT
Entrepreneurs: http://flip.it/VoOc2
Sports Nuts: http://flip.it/lbsNL
Political Junkies: http://flip.it/ud5ys
TV & Movie Buffs: http://flip.it/UorJX
Celeb Watchers: http://flip.it/Pdd_w
Trendsetters: http://flip.it/8ztXi
Gamers: http://flip.it/gRxtO
Music Fans: http://flip.it/EL28F
Love to LOL: http://flip.it/ulF5M
Voracious Readers: http://flip.it/yoqII
Makers: http://flip.it/4I.wg
Self-Improvers: http://flip.it/WrQq-
Educators: http://flip.it/69G3H
Marketers & Bloggers: http://flip.it/.CSnV
Parents: http://flip.it/7pE.A 
Check out this landing page to see all the gifts: http://flip.it/FlipGift.
Pretty nifty!

20 November 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with Deanna Dee

Meet Sonya, one of the lead characters in
Deanna Dee's geeky romances, Finish Him.

Presenting 

Sonya Black


Hi, I’m Sonya, and I’m a junior in college, majoring in history. I live for gaming, video games in particular. My friends often say I’m the level headed one in the group. I think things through and don’t make rash decisions. I’m also always the first one to get into character when we’re gaming. I believe in giving a hundred and twenty percent in everything I do.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? 
I don’t like being treated as if I don’t matter. It’s happened before, and it’s the worst feeling in the world.

Where would you like to live? 
I like New England, but if I had my pick, I’d go to Africa or Asia. There’s so much history there.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? 
I want to be appreciated. Really, I just want to be in the presence of people I care about and I know care about me.

The quality you most admire in a man? 
I value someone who is straight-laced. Guys are an interesting breed, and I appreciate when they aren’t crazy.

The quality you most admire in a woman? 
I’m most comfortable around girls who are like me—not in to “typical girl things.” “Typical girl things” make me so uncomfortable, and I need fellow geeky girls in my life.

Your favorite virtue? 
Responsibility. I’m not sure if that’s strictly a virtue, but it’s something I’m an advocate for. Blaming someone else for what you’ve done is never acceptable.

Your favorite occupation? 
I’d like to work in some kind of research. The quiet environment of the library calls to me. If I can spend my days somewhere low-key, I’m more open to having fun with my friends in the evenings.

Your most marked characteristic? 
That would be my opinionated nature. If I don’t like or approve of something, I’m not ashamed to make it known.

What do you most value in your friends? 
Our similar interests are bonuses. Aside from that, I love that they don’t ask or expect me to be something I’m not. They accept me for who I am. 

What is your principle defect? 
I can be closed-minded, especially about things I fear. I’m working on it.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? 
Losing the people who think something of me. I don’t base my worth on the opinions of others, but it’s great to have people in my corner.

What would you like to be? 
I’d like to be free to live my life and think what I want. I won’t shove my beliefs down other people’s throats. I’ll just have my opinions.

Who are your heroes in real life? 
I guess the real life bit cuts out all the video game characters. In real life, my friend Dawn is a bit of a hero. She’s personifies the toughness I’d like to cultivate.

Who are your favorite heroines? 
Dalara from Bloodrage Anarchy (my favorite video game) is one. She kicks butt, and her role in the Bloodrage Anarchy universe is a protector of her realm. 

What is it you most dislike? 
I dislike being belittled or insulted. Don’t think you can judge me because I’m not who you think I should be, please.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? 
I want to be able to instigate change, however  that would happen.

How would you like to die? 
Surrounded by people I care about.

What is your present state of mind? 
Life is pretty good. I’m in school. I have friends. I’m enjoying myself. Things are pretty good, and unless certain parts of my life pop up, I’m content.

What is your motto? 
All disputes can be solved with video games. Seriously, arena fighting games are just really fun, intense ways of flipping a coin.
~*~

Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. People, reading, and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that.

Be sure to keep in touch through Twitter and Facebook, and follow her works on her official website and Goodreads.

10 November 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with Deanna Dee

Meet Jaxson, one of the leads in Deanna Dee's
geek-flavored romance Finish Him.

Introducing

Jaxon Nyles


Sup, Jaxon here. My life is shrouded in mystery. I’d tell you more, but I’d have to kill you. Kidding, but seriously, it’s top secret, at least for now. So who am I? I’m a guy in his mid-late twenties who enjoys having fun.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? I hate watching people suffer. If there’s anything I can do to prevent or stop suffering, I’ll do it.


Where would you like to live? 
California would be cool. I’ve always wanted to try serious surfing.

What is your idea of earthly happiness? 
An earth where people are comfortable and safe. 

The quality you most admire in a man? 
I appreciate guys who treat people (women especially) well. 

The quality you most admire in a woman? 
I love women who are genuine, pure, if you will. I don’t want to have to wade through layers to find the real person underneath.

Your favorite virtue? 
Resilience. Strength is good, but if you don’t combine it with fortitude, you won’t stay upright for long.

Your favorite occupation? 
Something that involves keeping people safe.

Your most marked characteristic? 
Probably my odd humor. I say the oddest things at the oddest times. No apologies.

What do you most value in your friends? 
That we’re almost like brothers. I work with most of my friends, and it’s good to know they’ve got my back.

What is your principle defect? 
I can be over-protective. It comes with the territory, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and such.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? 
Realizing I’d let someone get hurt, especially if I could have prevented it.

What would you like to be? 
I’d like to be a dragon. Barring that, I’ll settle for happy and healthy.

Who are your heroes in real life? 
People in law enforcement. They are often the unsung heroes of the world.

Who are your favorite heroines? 
My mom is my real life heroine. From fiction, I’d have to say Elisa Maza from Disney’s Gargoyles. It’s a weird choice, but I loved that show when I was a kid. Elisa kicks some serious butt, and she’s fiercely protective.

What is it you most dislike? 
I dislike putting people in harm’s way, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or otherwise.

What natural gift would you most like to possess? 
I’d like patience in abundance. Sometimes, I feel like patience slips away from me, and I absolutely need it.

How would you like to die? 
Making sure someone else had the chance to live.

What is your present state of mind? 
Ready. I’m settled, but things could change at any moment. If they do, I’m all set.

What is your motto? 
Last one in is a rotten apple. I’m not too fond of eggs, but I like the expression.

~*~   

Deanna Dee is strictly human and does not, to her knowledge, own a hyena. She lives by the sea, which she takes full advantage of in the summer time. People, reading, and pop culture make up the shameless downtime of her life. The rest of it is writing, and she’s okay with that.

Be sure to keep in touch through Twitter and Facebook, and follow her works on her official website and Goodreads.

01 November 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with B. Thatcher

Meet Jenna, the heroine of B. Thatcher's sci-fi
romance Catching Her Balance, available now!

Presenting

Jenna Markkus


As some of you readers may know, there are times where I can be a bit socially awkward and shy. Sometimes it's difficult for me to engage myself with strangers, and always prefer if I have a friend with me to give an introduction. When I first learned of Jenna, I knew I wanted to interview her, but reached out to B. Thatcher first for that coveted introduction:

Jenna Markkus’s exquisite, genetically engineered face and form conceals a lifetime of pain. Beloved of her Papa? No. Tool used in pursuit of her Papa’s rise to power? Yes. But enough is enough. Derrick Vittalar is her first, best hope for a life free of servitude and cruelty. All she needs to do is catch his eye.

That sounds somewhat manipulative, no?  The hidden story behind Jenna is the hidden horror of child abuse and parental-child exploitation. Behind her perfectly engineered smile and carefully selected clothing lies a lifetime of pain.  For her caretakers, that pain is their stream of income, their “yellow brick road” to a better life.

Jenna is pain. She exists in what modern medicine terms “PTSD Arousal Cluster.”  She is desperate to get away.  Desperation is the beating of her heart.

For her, there is only one way out. Derrick Vittalar.  The aggressive exploitation of her horrifying parents is not so easily thwarted.  The Vittalar family had the power, the authority, and (hopefully) the willingness to give Jenna a place of safety.  More, she’s praying that she might, finally and at last, be told “I love you” and not look for the oncoming fist.

And now, may I present my interview with Jenna, someone who I immediately felt for once we started talking:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
My life wasn’t one of happiness, and my psychotic parents, who have continued their abuses.  I am not a commodity.  I am not a tool, a piece of meat to be thrown to the hungry for my parents’ benefit. My lowest depth of misery is coming to the realization that there may be no escape for me.  Derrick is my last chance.  His family has the strength to thwart my parents’ aggressive privilege and demands on my body and my mind.  I only want to be loved, not for my body, but for me.

Where would you like to live?
The Vittalar compound, certainly, but in truth I’d be happy wherever Derrick sets down his pillow.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Safety.  Love.

The quality you most admire in a man?
Intellect and constancy.  Bravery because I have monsters who will not let me go without a fight.  I want a man who will value me for me and find me worthy of his protection.  I’ve been betrayed too many times by my caretakers, whom I hoped would keep me safe, but in reality it was they are were the monsters.  I would fight for him.

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Someone I can trust.  Someone who believes me, listens to me and respects what I have to say.  Don’t get me wrong, I will fight for her as well.   

Your favorite virtue?
Again: intellect.  I’m not safe and there are monsters who haunt my life.  I need folks around me who won’t fall for the lies and the games.  Sadly, yes, I’m that scarred. 

Your favorite occupation?
Love stories.  When you’ve never had safety or love, it is something a person spends a lot of time contemplating.
Your most marked characteristic?
Survival.  

What do you most value in your friends?
Someone who believes me.  Loyalty and content of character, someone who will work with me to keep away the monsters.

What is your principle defect?
So many years I’ve been told that my mind wasn’t important and that all I had to offer was my body. Someone else’s benefit.  I learned how to separate my mind from my body and not to care.  From that, I learned how to walk across the backs of people, and that saddens me.  That’s not who I am. It’s what I was forced to be.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Falling for my parents’ lies.  Maybe believing that there is some All-Loving Celestial entity that heard my cries for help…and actually cared about my tears.  I believed all that and because I did, I tried to show whoever that I was worthy of some eventual help.  That celestial help never arrived.  I was on my own.

What would you like to be?
I don’t know who I am, or who I could be.  I’m in transition.  I feel like I’m just being born and am so amid a war zone.  Mostly, though, I want to feel safe and loved.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Heroes?  I don’t really have them…well, except for my Derrick.  And his wingman, Jago.  They have educated me about sacrifice for a worthy cause, for willingness to submit to something greater than themselves, and to hold their course even if it’s painful to do so.  For me, that’s the epitome of heroic.

Who are your favorite heroines?
My sister Sylvie.  She’s always been there for me.

What is it you most dislike?
No-brainer of a question considering my responses above.  (he he.)  I have fought, and will continue to fight until my dying day, child abuse in any form as well as abusive parental privilege.  I dislike lies.  Manipulations.  Deliberate tweaks of people’s emotions for agenda or entertainment.  In fact, whenever anyone attempts to “prove their intellect” by minimizing mine.  Since I’ve been privileged to have Derrick in my life, and hopefully he feels the same way, I seriously kick over the furnishings and step up, fists first, no matter who tries that game.  No more will I be used.  No more will I be muzzled.
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The thing that makes people capable of loving me.  I seem to have missed that gene.  Shoot, not even my own caretaker found me worthy of loving care. (shrug.)

How would you like to die?
It doesn’t matter.  I probably wouldn’t want to linger, though.  I’d like for people to remember we for having created something beautiful in his life, something that helped people

What is your present state of mind?
There is a deep, dark hole of despair I try to avoid stepping into.  I struggle to hold onto a sense of hope and the idea that I may have a bright and loving future.  We’re in the middle of an invasion so I’m not sure how that will work out.

What is your motto? 
“Keep fighting for love.” This lyric means a lot to me: We will secure the health and benefit of the Seven Galaxies. / The future holds promise. / We will win this war.

~*~

About the Author: B. Thatcher (Brenda) began reading romance novels in middle school. Her passion for that genre has continued to this day. Love among the stars has always been a glorious fantasy. It started early, with Kirk and the Green Girls of Trek, Han and Leah, and even her of dreams finding her own star-struck lover among those unlimited vistas.

Blessed to live among the glory and grandeur of the USA’s Pacific Northwest, she shares her home with three cats, a tank of fish, her dreams and many, many daily critter visitors.

B. Thatcher also writes erotic romance under the penname of Michelle Robbins.

Come play among her imaginings. She promises that it won’t hurt.

~*~

For more of B. Thatcher, stop by her publisher page: B. Thatcher. You can also follow her on Facebook as well as her author blog, "Love Knows No Bounds." As Michelle Robbins, you can check out her publisher page, Facebook, and author blog, "Erotic Romance With an Edge."
~*~

21 October 2015

Happy Release Day! "Firebird" by Jennifer Loring

FIREBIRD by Jennifer Loring


Stephanie Hartwell is a journalist chasing the story of her career...

When superstar hockey player and notorious bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is traded to the Seattle Earthquakes in a blockbuster deal, Stephanie demands the opportunity to prove herself by scoring an exclusive interview with a man with no love for the media...the same man she once though, as a naive teenager, she'd someday marry.

An Olympian and Stanley Cup Champion, Aleksandr has achieved every goal he's ever set...

Now expected to carry a failing team on his shoulders, Aleksandr's troubles deepen when he encounters Stephanie after a season-opening loss. His lifestyle of drinking and random hookups has been a futile attempt to forget the beautiful tomboy who stole his heart nine years ago. And worse, fame and fortune have made it impossible for him to trust anyone--especially Stephanie, who is engaged to another man.

Romance rekindles, but tragedy reveals Aleksandr's dark side...

Being with Aleksandr in the first place jeopardizes Stephanie's journalistic integrity and threatens her career, and when he spirals out of control, it reawakens fears from her own history, making her unable to commit to a future with him.

When Aleksandr discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance...

Or will his revelation drive her away for good?


Author Bio:


Jennifer Loring's short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. In 2013, she won Crystal Lake Publishing's inaugural Tales from the Lake writing competition; in 2014, DarkFuse published her novella Conduits, and in May 2015, Omnium Gatherum released her debut novel, Those of My Kind. She recently signed a deal for a contemporary romance trilogy with Limitless Publishing; the first book, Firebird, is due out on October 20, 2015. Jennifer lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, a turtle, and two basset hounds. She is currently at work on the second book in the Firebird Trilogy as well as a paranormal romance.



One e-book copy of Firebird

LISTEN TO THE BOOK SOUNDTRACK HERE! Firebird (Book One) from JenniferLoring on 8tracks Radio.

19 October 2015

In Loving Memory: Ron Shannon

Author Ron Shannon.
Earlier this week I learned that author Ron Shannon had passed away. Due to my terrible habit of not keeping up with friends (or social media) when my life gets stressfully busy, I missed the original announcements among Seton Hill and Writing Popular Fiction alumni. 

Ron passed away on September 27th. A special mass was held for him in Seton Hill's beautiful chapel on October 12th.

It was through a  photo from the October mass that I learned of his passing, and the news hit me hard. I hadn't cried so heavily since my father and grandfather passed away. I didn't know Ron exceptionally well, but his kindness meant a lot to me. As clich├ęd as it sounds, his presence in my life was like a shooting star: brilliant, and all too brief.

While Ron and I were at SHU, we both attended some modules together at residencies, but because we wrote in very different genres, we didn't have a chance to get to know each other very well. It was after we both graduated from Seton Hill that we really started talking to each other, emailing back and forth. 

It was through one of the open calls I posted in the SHU WPF Facebook group asking for participants in my "Proust Your Protagonist" interview series that Ron and I started emailing. He was one of the first volunteers for the Proust interviews, and while we wrote back and forth over the best way to do his character feature, naturally we started talking about writing, then a little bit about our everyday lives, then plans for the future. It was mostly Ron offering encouragement and support as I yammered on through Gmail to him. It was an unbalanced friendship, to say the least, because Ron was unconditionally giving, while I responded sporadically based on how much free time I had; sometimes, if the emails piled up considerably, I wouldn't respond at all. 

I'm ashamed to say that our last email conversation happened in April. I want to share with you some of what he wrote to me in it, so you can understand what type of person Ron was--how effortlessly kind and supportive he was. In this email I had mentioned some of the troubles I was having with earning a living as a teacher, and that I was looking into teaching English abroad to escape the poverty that I'm currently in. His response:
"I know you'll do great and I think it will give you time to recover from some of things that cascade down on you at times. You must, however, stay in touch, whether on Facebook, emails, or whatever. I will miss your art and talent if you don't. That, by the way, will make you successful. You will take your talent with you, you won't be able to hide it, and it will bring you respect. I know you have butterflies, but that's normal. It means you'll be good at what you plan to do and it will make you happy. Hang in there until then."
Ron Shannon. One of the kindest men I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and yes, a very talented writer. He has two books out now, and more scheduled to be released posthumously. I will post when his new work comes out, but in the meantime, please celebrate the contributions he's already made:
  • Gabriel's Wing - Novel. It’s April 1969 and many of the flower children who left home to escape the old morality face disillusionment, extreme poverty, and death. They give up on their dreams and do whatever it takes to survive even if it means submitting to unconscionable evil. Stanton Clayburn, a young private investigator, has been hired to find a nineteen year-old lost flower child. He is determined to bring the boy home safely, but the journey takes him back to the world that nearly destroyed him. Tillie Thornwhistle, the daughter of a white father and a black mother, knows the meaning of hardship and living as an outcast. Adversity makes her strong and gives her the determination to let nothing get in the way of her success. Then a series of misguided ventures changes everything. The trail to redemption includes a psychopath, an unexpected trip, and the mysterious Stanton Clayburn. Stanton and Tillie meet under extraordinary circumstances. Fate and necessity pull them together. What follows is an adventure that could easily cost them their lives.
  • Proust Your Protagonist with Author Ron Shannon  Interview. Ron answers the Proust Questionnaire in character as Tillie Thornwhistle.
  • The Hedgerows of June - Novel. It’s late June 1944. The allies have invaded Normandy and Chris Weymouth, an allied spy, has been living in a French village at the edge of the Bocage playing piano in a local cabaret at night while passing bad intelligence to the Germans. He has been expecting orders to leave at any time but is taken aback when they are delivered by a young Catholic nun named Sister Mary. Sister Mary however, is much more than her habit and wimple, she has her own secrets too. She informs Chris that he’s been ordered to help her transport four young children across the dangerous French farmland known as the hedgerows to St. Lo. Espionage, passion, intrigue, and danger surround them on all sides as they head directly into one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, the battle of the hedgerows!
  • Proust Your Protagonist with Ron Shannon - Interview. Ron answers the Proust Questionnaire in character as Christopher Weymouth. One of my all-time most popular posts on this website.
  • "In My 'Write Mind' at In Your Write Mind" - Article. Written for Pennsylvania Bridges.
  • Blackberries - Short Fiction. Written for Clever Magazine. 
  • "Remembering Ron Shannon" - Article. Reprint of Ron's February article, "Anticipating the 2015 In Your Write Mind Conference" with a farewell message.
  • Ron E. Shannon - Author Website. Will be maintained and updated with Ron's new publications. Ron kindly made a spot for me on his website under "My Favorite Links." 
  • Ron's Amazon Page - Amazon.com Where you can find Ron's books.
  • Ron Shannon - In Memoriam Goodreads.com Author Heidi Ruby Miller's post for Ron.
  • Ron's Goodreads Page - Goodreads.com Where you can find Ron's books, reviews, reading list, and more. Ron's advice to writers in his Q & A: The most important thing to remember is don't give up. Keep writing and keep trying. Don't let anyone discourage you.
~*~

10 October 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with author Jennifer Loring

Meet Aleksandr, one of the lead characters in
Jennifer Loring's Firebird, the first in a trilogy of
romances from Limitless Publishing.

Presenting

Aleksandr 


My name is Aleksandr Volynsky. I played left wing in the NHL for seven years, won a Cup, captained Team Russia in the Olympics… Don’t you know all this already? 

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I lost my career and my girlfriend at the same time. And then things got even worse. Bog, that sounds like a movie tagline or something. 

Where would you like to live?
I’m happy where I am right now, but I wouldn’t mind going back to Saint Petersburg someday. Russia, da? Not Florida.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Being with Stephanie. She is my earthly happiness.

The quality you most admire in a man?
I wouldn’t have said this a few years ago, but now it would be the ability to ask for help when you need it.

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Strength. Most people think I’d want a pushover, but the thing I love most about Stephanie is that she doesn’t take my shit.

Your favorite virtue?
Diligence, because it sure as hell isn’t chastity. Or temperance. Or humility. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories.

Your favorite occupation?
Is this a serious question? And people wonder why I hate the media.

Your most marked characteristic?
Pick one. I’m six-foot-five. I have a deep scar on my right cheek where I was hit with a puck. I walk with a limp now.

What do you most value in your friends?
I’ve never had many friends. Most people just want something from me. Jacob is a good friend, though. He’s loyal. 

What is your principle defect?
My temper, I suppose. It tends to be a bit…unpredictable.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
I don’t think I could survive losing Stephanie. Not permanently. We’ve had our ups and downs, to put it mildly.

What would you like to be?
Believe it or not, a husband and father.

Who are your heroes in real life?
The guys who are speaking out about mental illness in the NHL. We’ve lost too many to suicide, and I have some…personal investment in the subject.

Who are your favorite heroines?
That’s easy. Stephanie. You have no idea what she’s been through, but somehow she never falls apart. Not like me.

What is it you most dislike?
For a long time, it was myself. I didn’t realize it until it was almost too late.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I have more than my fair share, not to sound like an arrogant asshole. My looks, my hockey talent, I can—could—dance, and I sing and play piano… 

How would you like to die?
I’d really rather not answer that question, since I almost did. Twice. I have a lot to live for. I don’t want to think about death.

What is your present state of mind?
I’ve learned to accept things, for the most part. I can’t change what has happened. I can only try to be a better man going forward.

What is your motto? 
“In control, confident, caring.” I learned that from the team psychologist. Sometimes it even works.

~*~

(c) Jennifer Loring
Jennifer Loring's short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, webzines, and anthologies. In 2013, she won Crystal Lake Publishing's inaugural Tales from the Lake writing competition; in 2014, DarkFuse published her novella Conduits, and in May 2015, Omnium Gatherum released her debut novel, Those of My Kind. She recently signed a deal for a contemporary romance trilogy with Limitless Publishing; the first book, Firebird, is due out on October 20, 2015. 

Jennifer lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, a turtle, and two basset hounds. She is currently at work on the second book in the Firebird Trilogy, as well as a paranormal romance.

For more on Jennifer Loring, you can find her on her author website; check her out on Facebook, TwitterPinterest and Google Plus; and keep track of her publications and reading list on Goodreads.



26 September 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with author Chris von Halle

Meet Stausha, one of the lead characters in
Chris von Halle's YA dystopian novel. Available now
from Clean Reads Publishing!

Introducing

Stausha

of Faction 304


My name is Stausha. I am sixteen years old and I dwell in the large town of Middleton in the Old World state of Pennsylvania. As with everybody in my society, I am part of a faction. The chief function of each faction is to hunt for relics left over from the Old World in the middle of town. It has been one hundred years since the advent of the plague, a birth-transmitted disease that kills everyone around the time they turn seventeen years old. As for me, I speak with elevated diction because I love words and the English language, and at one point in my life was fortunate enough to be taught by a privileged member of society how to speak eloquently.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
That is a tough one, as there is so much misery in Middleton. I would have to say, however, that having one’s children cruelly ripped away from you—as has been done to me—and not subsequently be permitted to raise or be with them is the largest hardship I’ve had to—and still have to—endure.

Where would you like to live?
Quite realistically any place other than Middleton. However, one of the empty, abandoned farms that litter the outskirts of the town would provide a wonderful place for me to live, as it would be far enough away from the rulers and their unjust clutch on Middleton.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
A life in which you are allowed to raise your own children, live in your own house or home, and perform the job you wish to perform—rather than one designated for you—on a regular basis.

The quality you most admire in a man?
I have never actually met a member of the opposite sex, as it is illegal in my town for the sexes to intermix. Therefore, I’m afraid I cannot give you an accurate answer for this one.

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Kindness, sensitivity toward others.

Your favorite virtue?
Again, kindness. I believe that one of the main reasons my society has degraded to such an abysmal state is because the rulers have lost touch with the general concept and importance of kindness.

Your favorite occupation?
I positively adore the artifacts left over from the Old World, and therefore study them on occasion—illegally, mind you—merely for fun.

Your most marked characteristic?
Most likely my curiosity.

What do you most value in your friends?
I would say honesty and kindness.

What is your principle defect?
I am likely to refuse to connect with or to attempt to make friends with somebody because I have had things I hold dearly ripped away from me far too many times. Therefore, I don’t want to risk such a tragic thing occurring again.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
To live the rest of my short, pitiful life without being able to lay my eyes on or raise my beloved children.

What would you like to be?
First and foremost a great mother. Regarding one’s career, I’m not entirely certain, since my society does not allow its citizens to choose a profession. If I were permitted to choose, I imagine I would pick something that deals with language in some capacity.

Who are your heroes in real life?

I don’t believe I have ever met anybody who has been truly heroic, so I couldn’t tell you.

Who are your favorite heroines?
Again, I have never known anybody in my life who I would consider a true role model.

What is it you most dislike?
The rulers. They’re constantly inhibiting the freedoms of Middleton’s citizens, including mine.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I wish I could be less selfish.

How would you like to die?
When I’m old and gray—much older than seventeen, mind you, although that would require an antidote to the plague having been created—on a deathbed in a house that I could at the very least call my own. Oh—and with my children—also all grown up—at the bedside, each holding one of my hands.

What is your present state of mind?
A tad cross and dejected, yet hopeful that someday things may yet change in my town and, subsequently, my life.

What is your motto?
Never be afraid to strive to attain what you desire, despite how intense the opposition may be.

~*~

(c) Chris Von Halle
Chris von Halle has had many different lives in many different worlds—the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions—and his books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations. In this world and life, he lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing video games, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip.

For more of Chris, check out his social media (Facebook and Twitter) and stay up to date on his writing through his author website and blog.

21 September 2015

Proust Your Protagonist with Chris von Halle

Meet Gorin, one of the leads in Chris Von Halle's  YA
sci-fi dystopian novel, The Fourth Generation.
Available now from Clean Reads Publishing
(formerly Astrea Press).

Presenting

Gorin 
of 
Faction 235


My name’s Gorin. I’m sixteen years old and I live in the large town Middleton in the Old World state of Pennsylvania. As with everybody in town, I’m part of a faction. My job in particular is to hunt for items left over from the Old World in the middle of town, though you could argue that that’s the point of factions in general. It’s been a hundred years since the plague, a birth-transmitted disease that kills everyone around the time they turn seventeen, broke out.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
For me personally, I would have to say being in jail. Mostly because then I wouldn’t be able to do the thing I love the most in life—illegally study artifacts left over from the Old World. For the record, my job is to hunt for said artifacts, but I’m required by law to immediately hand them over to the rulers without analyzing them myself.

Where would you like to live?
I would love to live at the rulers’ mansion—rumored to be utterly magnificent—for the rest of my life.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Being free to study all the intriguing pieces left over from the Old World to my heart’s content, instead of having to study in secret the few I’ve kept for myself.

The quality you most admire in a man?
Loyalty—the reason my roommate Marf is such a good friend and has never ratted me out about my secret pastime.

The quality you most admire in a woman?
I have never actually met a girl, since it’s illegal for the sexes to intermix, though I would guess probably loyalty also.

Your favorite virtue?
Curiosity.

Your favorite occupation?
I would love to have the job of examining all the Old World relics, but the kids who have that duty live at the rulers’ mansion and nobody else is even allowed near the place. So unfair!

Your most marked characteristic?
Probably my curiosity, though only my best friend Marf knows about that.

What do you most value in your friends?
Again, loyalty. Marf could’ve turned me in to the patrol ages ago because of my forbidden hobby, but he’d never do that—even though he disapproves of it—because he’s loyal to the core.

What is your principle defect?
Ironically, probably my curiosity. Sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth being curious, because all it would take is one slip-up—the wrong eyes seeing my work—for me to be hanged to death, the punishment for doing such a thing when you’re sixteen (the last year of your life in my town—and probably the whole world).

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
That one’s easy—dying at the age of seventeen without laying my eyes on the rulers’ mansion at least once. Rumor has it it’s absolutely brilliant and it has all kinds of incredible treasures on its property that have been collected over the course of generations. Of course, it’s illegal to even take a peek at that extraordinary place…

What would you like to be?
No question, I would love to study the artifacts at the mansion.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My old buddy Chud. He was the housekeeper of the faction I grew up in, so he was much older than me. Aside from having an awesome sense of humor, he and I always had the same major characteristic: curiosity. In fact, as I learned later on (though how I did brings back horrible memories), he used to secretly study all the objects in the nurture faction, even drawing them on paper and measuring certain parts of them. He was one unique and cool guy!

Who are your favorite heroines?
I’ve never known any girls, so I couldn’t tell you.

What is it you most dislike?
I’d have to say the rulers. Not letting me even have a chance to have my favorite job is the most unfair thing ever!

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I wish I could be more optimistic.

How would you like to die?
As long as I get to catch a glimpse of the mansion before I die, it doesn’t matter to me. You can hang me or burn me to death—I  really don’t care! Okay, I guess I’d rather not have a slow death (haha).

What is your present state of mind?
Pretty motivated. If I wind up collecting enough of the objects that the rulers are currently looking for, there’s a chance I’ll get a tour of their mansion. Every year the factions compete in The Tournament of Prestige, in which they hunt for the artifacts worth the most prestige points. The faction that collects the most points at the end of the year gets a tour of the mansion, among a couple other pretty awesome prizes. (Siiiigh) What I wouldn’t give for my faction to win this year…

What is your motto?
Always make time in the day to do something you love, no matter what it is.

~*~

(c) Chris Von Halle
Chris von Halle has had many different lives in many different worlds—the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions—and his books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations. In this world and life, he lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing video games, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip.

For more of Chris, check out his social media (Facebook and Twitter) and stay up to date on his writing through his author website and blog.

11 September 2015

College is Back in Session...

Vector cc-licensed  by Vectorilla.com. Source
...and I've fallen behind on a lot of things--posting on my websites and social media; writing my Matsuricon review; and working on all of my writing projects (including a book I hoped to release on September 30th...not sure if that will work out now...).

I'm teaching 3 lectures and 2 labs for this semester at North Central State College. I've been an adjunct with the English department since January 2014. While I'm not quite the innocent babe I was in 2014, I'm still pretty new to teaching overall, and one of the issues I always have is with time management.

Every time the term begins I have to re-assess how I attempt to balance teaching, writing, and my personal life. Well, personal life has been a bit nonexistent for a while, so it's mostly me trying to figure out how to keep on with the writing lifestyle while I'm grading the work of over 50 students this term. It's been a while since I had that many and I've already discovered I have to adjust my grading methods yet again (if I keep grading how I've done it in the past, students will never see their papers!). But it's better I realize this three weeks into it before things get really stressful and assignments get much more complicated.

I have a couple things on my mind project-wise that I may have to reconsider...in the meantime, I hope to get my Matsuricon review up soon (I had a BLAST). You can also expect more Elite Book promos forthcoming as well.

Thank you all for your patience with me!

14 August 2015

Come see me at Matsuricon!

Original banner (c) Matsuricon. 

Fanfic into Fiction! 2pm, Saturday, August 15th!

Pod 122/Rm 19 @Greater Columbus Convention Center

Program description:

Fanfic into Fiction – Rated T (for ages 13 + up)

Fandoms are awesome, and the publishing industry is taking notice. Fanfic gets to the heart of what readers want, which is the key to successful fiction. With this crash-course in writing, you’ll learn what it takes to make your fanfic rise above the rest, and grow your skills to become a published author!
My presentation, Fanfic into Fiction, is a creative writing and appreciation panel of fan fiction. It's also a little bit like a lecture module, because I devote segments to providing a general understanding of fair use and copyright; developing writing skills from creating derivative works; and moving beyond fan fiction into writing for publication and general audiences.

I'll be offering it on Saturday, August 15th, at 2pm in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The Matsuricon website has a link to the maps for the convention, as it's spread out between three locations this year: The Crowne Plazathe Hyatt Regency, and the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Here's a copy of the map I lovingly defaced so you can find me:

Original map by Matsuricon and the GCC. 


For the rest of the Matsuricon schedule,  click here.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

10 August 2015

Rating the Epic Anime Watchlist: What does it all mean?

Some choices might be obvious; others, not so much.
Gif from thefever24.
Followers of my blog are aware that I've kept a long-running anime watchlist which started right around the time I began attending conventions. I'd ask voice actors, fans, friends, and strangers what anime I should watch, and have kept the log running for about three years or so.
In 2015 I decided to apply an actual ratings system to categorize not only the shows I still needed to watch, but what I thought of the shows I completed, and why other shows were started but never finished. My tastes are a little bit all over the place, to be honest, and some of my choices have baffled others, particularly when I slam a show that's good, and loved a show that's bad.  I've even had tepid response to a series people are crazy about, so I thought I'd explain the method to the madness. 

This is post is for the 2015 Anime Watchlist, but I'll also continue this for future entries with a hyperlink back to this article for reference.

Quick note: Series vs. Franchises


This might be a little confusing--there are some franchises that have multiple series within them, and you may wonder if I'm referring to the entire franchise or the individual series when I rate them.

I tend to lump franchises together under the original series name with very little exceptions. Basically, if series are linked together by continuity, then I refer to them as a single entity--the franchise name.

If I say that I like Tokyo Ghoul, for example, I'm referring to both Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul √A (the first and second seasons of the series). When the Tokyo Ghoul Re: comes out, even though it's a separate series, I will continue to lump it under Tokyo Ghoul anyway, since it's a continuation of the original story. Even with Tokyo Ghoul Jack being a prequel/spin-off, I'll still lump it under Tokyo Ghoul. Why? These iterations are all linked together as a complete telling of a single story.  

If I say that I like Darker than Black, that means I'm including the OVAs (which are key to understanding the second season, in my opinion) and the second season called Gemini of the Meteor. Again, these are all linked together as a complete telling of a single story. 

An exception to this would be Fullmetal Alchemist. I treat Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood as a separate entity from FMA even though it's technically the same franchise. I consider them separate works because they ultimately tell two very different stories. Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) was completed before the manga ended, and with Hiromu Arakawa's blessing, that series took a completely different direction with their own characters and resolutions. Fullmetal Alchemist (2008) follows Arakawa's manga to its completion (and what I'd consider the true version). The word Brotherhood was added to the English title to help illustrate that this was a very different series from what we saw in 2003, and I think it was a smart decision. Thus I've treated them separately in my ratings as well.

And now, the ratings! 


I COULD NEVER QUIT YOU
This seems a bit obvious, but I think the key point to stress is that these shows have proven they are immensely re-watchable. I find them totally engaging with emotionally fulfilling storylines and characters, and because of this, I come back to these shows again and again. I love them so much, I add them to my permanent collection, and if I can, get the actors to autograph the box art at conventions. Essentially, these are my treasured choices that get special treatment above all others. Examples would be Tokyo Ghoul and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

TOTALLY WORTH IT
These are also well-loved series that are just a smidgen below the "treasured collection" qualifier. They're not necessarily something I'd add to my DVD/Blu Ray collection, but definitely worth streaming marathons or multiple-episode view sessions. So, this refers to "totally worth the watch," as in, I was really glad I watched the show. Examples would be Gurren Lagann and Hellsing.

ENJOYABLE
Another way to describe shows that I liked, but not necessarily loved. These would be the shows that I could watch on-and-off, but were still good enough to hold my interest. In other words, these were wonderful series, but I didn't always feel compelled to binge-watch, which is perfectly okay. I would still recommend these shows to other people, but I may not rewatch them in the future after wrapping the final episode, or add them to my permanent collection. Examples would be Hamatora and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.

LIKED DESPITE THEIR FLAWS
This is reserved for shows that are problematic--where some parts of a series or film are absolutely brilliant, but due to issues with story, plot, characterization, consistency, and sometimes even the animation itself, I can't bump it up to a higher list. Usually something happened in the show that completely took me out of the immersion, or there was a character "betrayal" or huge inconsistency that removed me from the suspension of disbelief. 

For example, Sword Art Online would have been an "I could never quit you" if it wasn't for the problematic shifts in the plot during the Alfheim arc. Asuna became a character-betrayal in terms of a complete switch in purpose and personality from the Aincrad arc, which was really disappointing (basically, being demoted from awesome to weak). I also wasn't fan of the slowly-but-surely invasive fanservice that seeped in, making the show feel partially like titillation and therefore pointless at times. I was excited when I learned of Gun Gale Online, which I hoped to redeem the series from Alfheim, but part of the reason I haven't enthusiastically cleared the arc is because the strategic, lingering camera shots of Sinon and her gun. Even Kirito got on my nerves (more like, the "everybody loves Kirito!"). The murder mystery aspect of Gun Gale Online was pretty much what kept the show entertaining, but I hit a snag and haven't returned to the series. I hope to remedy this, though, due to some favorable descriptions in Kotaku's reviews that make it seem like the show will redeem itself (here and here). Despite how I feel about Alfheim and parts of Gun Gale Online, I loved the Aincrad arc so much that I'm still happy to say that I like Sword Art Online as an overall series anyway.

SWINGS; BOTH HITS AND MISSES
This category is actually really similar to "Liked Despite Their Flaws," except in this situation, despite some very likable moments, the series on the whole just didn't work for me. Most of these have to do with a feeling of being unsatisfied after a show wraps, although there may be problematic moments that are so overpowering that they've ruined my overall feeling for the series. 

Some examples of problematic moments: 

Space Dandy was fun for part of the time (great acting, animation, and some funny moments), but other times, it was a bloated mess that didn't know what it wanted to be, like the episode where Dandy died (not a spoiler because Dandy and company die in multiple episodes as a running gag) and ended up in a weird afterlife planet that was a mix of Beetlejuice and Wonderland--in a bad way, in that the tone was uncharacteristically somber and therefore hurt the weirdness that usually makes Dandy fun.

I was all-aboard for Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet until the dance scene with the girls during the festival. I had a squick reaction that was pretty unexpected. I know most lead characters in Japanese anime are not so much children but more like teenagers, 15 and 16 years old. But the girls in this scene didn't look 15 or 16. I had no idea what age they were supposed to be, but the way their bodies were drawn had the kind of chubbiness that younger teens (and girls) have. When these girls are dressed like Las Vegas versions of Princess Jasmine, that didn't really bother me too much (it was just awkward to look at). When they started jiggling around and the camera lingered uncomfortably on different parts of their bodies, that's when I felt grossed out. It's crossing the line from showing the male lead finding the female lead sensual, to becoming titillating for the audience, for no freaking reason. I'd feel more comfortable with the fanservice except that at different times in the show, these female characters look anywhere from 9 to 13 years old. Ew.

SO WRONG, BUT SO... RIGHT?
These are the series that I feel guilty for finding enjoyable. I feel guilty for enjoying these shows because my enjoyment follows zero logic. I am betraying my own principles for liking these series, and yet, there's something about them that's memorable enough for me not to dismiss them. There are some terrible issues with these shows, and not necessarily with plot or characterization (although that's the case for some). Sometimes the show promotes a message or portrays an issue in a way that pisses me off. Sometimes it's just because the fanservice is so over-the-top or ill-timed that I find it insulting. And yet...I found something likable in it that somehow allows me to make an exception where I can't completely hate the thing.

For example:

Future Diary was insane in the most entertaining way, and I binge-watched the entire thing--I couldn't get away from the craziness and horror of it, which I enjoyed immensely. But what troubled me was the dynamic of one of the most twisted, abusive relationships I've ever seen. I couldn't get behind the idea that this was a type of "true love," and even when characters were depicted as redeeming themselves in some way, I couldn't get behind that attempt at redemption. I was hoping to see a character become strong enough to stand up for himself, learn the truth, and liberate himself, but he just became a slave to a psychotic girl in the end whom I had zero empathy for, even from the flashbacks that explained away the crazy. To me, it was like watching a murderer in the courtroom working the insanity plea in the hopes it nullifies every criminal act they committed. I know there will be people who disagree with me, and reasonably so (and there are people who find this level of crazy sexy), but if a series is built on a love story, that love story had better be worth it. I saw no payoff for these two characters being in love with each other, and am not entirely convinced any minute of that love was real. Maybe that was the point of the series. But it left me unfulfilled and kind of bitter at the end of it all. Nonetheless...I liked it. Someday I may even rewatch it to see if there was anything I missed in the first go-through, and perhaps I won't feel as guilty for liking Future Diary if I can make more sense of what happened. It's just hard to get behind abusive relationships, though. 

Which leads me to my next example:

Diabolik Lovers has a gorgeous aesthetic. The score, in particular, can be very lush and beautiful at times. Some of the imagery, like a vampire drinking blood underwater (it's the combination of the lighting and texture of the water mixed with the blood floating in it, like smoky ribbons), is memorable. As a horror fan (and especially of Gothic horror), there were moments that genuinely appealed to me. The problems included a heroine who is a freaking doormat with no personality or logic in her possession (like Bella Swan, but sometimes worse). There were some rapey undertones which are usually common in vampire stories, but in this series, it was designed to titillate, thanks to the uncomfortable lingering of the camera (this seems to be a common complaint I have). I also felt like there were some obvious hints at incestuous relationships, which, in any storyline (from anime to Game of Thrones), has me cringe. Basically, if you wanted to watch a bunch of "sexy" brothers abuse and nibble on a totem pole for 12 episodes, this was the show for you. But I held on, because there were also hints at what could've been an interesting storyline of a troubled history with the dynastic vampire family. These little moments seemed to promise something potentially extraordinary, but failed to deliver at the end. But because there were some great moments that appealed to me, I can't 100% chuck this show. I can only continue to feel guilty for enjoying it.


The rest of the ratings are pretty straightforward, I think.


  • For some illogical reason I hate this: aka, hating something for no reason, instantly and completely.
  • I appreciate these films for what they do... these are well-made movies that have clear messages or teach specific lessons. These are films meant to illustrate as well as entertain.
  • ...but I don't know what to say about these films: as in, I'm not sure what the movies were going for, what their stories were, or why they were made. Basically, this is my "meh" rating.
  • Currently unfinished because bored or distracted: If something bores me, it means that there is no momentum, or whatever the series has been building up to has lost steam. If I'm distracted, it just means that something better (or more watchable and engaging) has come along to pull me away from completing the series.
  • Currently unfinished because *this* or *this* or *this*: these phrases are hyperlinked, basically sending you to articles that explain things that trouble me. I'll stop watching a show if the fanservice is really gratuitous with no saving grace from the storyline (or the fanservice simply overpowers or is the storyline); I'll stop watching a show if the undercurrent of incest is too distracting from the storyline; and I'll stop watching a show if the trope is so horribly overworked that it's beyond saving my attention span. Primary culprits are harem and reverse-harem shows in this instance. I've never believed that five to seven people can fall in love with a single someone, usually when that someone (aka the lead) is weak or unlikeable. It becomes a show where five to seven people are actually insane and their level of pettiness and competition for that person make them wholly unlikeable, especially when the protagonist doesn't seem worth the attention. 
  • Currently unfinished because *ridiculous*: this is reserved for shows that are so over-the-top in terms of plot or characterization  that I had to stop watching. These shows are not included for the fanservice or titillation (in truth, most of these don't have that problem); these shows are just crazy on their own in a way that I can't get into. Most of it comes from whining or screaming all the time from the characters, to be honest. 


The final sections of the Watchlist are like status reports.


They let you know what I'm currently in the process of watching; shows that are listed as "in the queue" are literally part of the watchlists from my Funimation and Crunchyroll accounts; and the final shows are the recommendations that I haven't gotten around to yet or haven't been able to find so easily, especially when it comes to streaming. I'm sure I'll add to that last list as time passes. 


I hope this clarifies some of the ranking process, and gives you a snapshot of what I like and dislike about anime. Thanks for reading!