Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's coming...

An invitation to my 10 year high school reunion is sitting on my desk and staring at me at the moment. I've been meaning to shred it, but my shredder is full and I'm too lazy to empty it out.

I wouldn't say that I had a poor high school experience. On the contrary, it was pretty good. But off the top of my head the best thing about high school for me was graduating and getting the heck out of there. I don't know when it became policy to make learning atrociously dull and cookie-cutter teachers. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but I somehow managed to get ALL boring teachers throughout my high school career. I do like to learn and I'm sure I would've had a much better time if I hadn't been bored to tears most of the time.

Beyond elementary school, I stopped liking school. I knew why I had to be there, and I knew that I needed to finish in order to get what I wanted, but sometimes I can't help but resent all the useless information I had to waste time learning only to later forget because somebody who doesn't know me from Adam decided I had to know it.

But thanks to our outdated, underfunded, and ineffective educational system, we have managed to churn out a generation of Americans who for the most part are average at everything and excellent at nothing. It's any wonder why so many are people are going back to school for graduate or second degrees, because apparently all that time they had spent on their first ones wasn't enough.

So no, I don't plan on going. High school got four years of my life. I don't desire to give it any more (not to mention, $65 for a ticket!).

(Image courtesy of Cathy Thorne.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Character Interview: Coal from Seranfyll

Christina Daley: Greetings everyone, and welcome to the show! Today, our guest is Coal, one of the leading male characters in the novel Seranfyll. Welcome!

Coal: Hey.

CD: So, tell us about yourself!

Coal: Like what?

CD: Like where you're from. Did you originally live in Avenford like Rain?

Coal: No. I don't know where I'm from. I ended up in Avenford after I was sold to a horse farmer there.

CD: You were once a slave, correct? What was it like for you?

Coal: Well, I didn't have a nice experience like Rain did, that's for sure.

CD: Care to elaborate?

Coal: No.

CD: Ehm, all right. How about you tell us what it's like being a freeman and living with Rain and Domrey and the others.

Coal: It's good. Can't complain. Rain's a good girl, but I think she can be naïve sometimes. Domrey's kinda weird, but he means well for the most part. He also takes care of us, and we take care of him. It works out.

CD: What was it like when you met Sundance?

Coal: It was good. I'd never had a horse of my own before, let alone a winged horse. He and I get along well. We like doing tricks a lot. When we go for rides, we always try to make up something new.

CD: You also have a bit of interest in the law. Can you tell us about that?

Coal: Not much. I mean, I think it's interesting, how the law works. But all the protocol and politics can be boring or silly. I'm more concerned with what I can or can't do. That way, others won't take advantage of me.

CD: Think you'll go to school and make a profession of it?

Coal: I don't know yet. I'm planning on going to school, but I don't know how that will be. I've never been to school before. But I'm a teenager now, so I need to figure out what I'm going to do with my life.

CD: If you had one wish in the world that could be granted, what would it be?

Coal: I wish that I hadn't fallen for one of Domrey's stupid tricks in coming here today.

Domrey: I beg your pardon!

Coal: You heard me! You said we were just going for a ride today.

Domrey: And we did! We just happened to be going by the studio, that's all.

Rain: Oh Coal, please don't fuss now. You're doing wonderfully!

Coal: I'm not talking to you, Rain. You tricked me with him!

Domrey: You just talked to her.

Coal: Hush you!

CD: Now, now, no need for hysterics…

Coal: This is silly. I'm leaving.

CD: Wait! But we're not done…!

Domrey: Really, Coal? Really? Are you going to be like that?

CD: Wait, now where's Domrey going? Hey!

*cricket chirp*

Rain: I'm really sorry about all this, Ms. Daley.

CD: (sigh) That's all right. Well, thanks everyone for visiting us today and see you next time!

Character Interview: Snevil from Seranfyll

Christina Daley: Hello everyone, and welcome to the show! Today, our guest is Snevil the slave trader, who appears in the novel Seranfyll. Welcome sir!

Snevil: A pleasure it is to be here, indeed, indeed.

CD: Now, tell us how you became a slave trader?

Snevil: I sort of stumbled into it, actually. I've been in different trades, but this is by far the most profitable.

CD: Do you ever feel a little awkward that it's human beings you're buying and selling?

Snevil: Not really. Merchandise is merchandise, whether it's potatoes, chickens, lumber, or slaves.

Audience: Booooo!

Snevil: Ay now, you'd be in it for the money too, you know. Don't lie!

Audience: BOOOOOO!

CD: Ehm, let's move along, shall we? What were your thoughts when Domrey Seranfyll bought ten slaves from you at once?

Snevil: *snickers* That was a good payday. Raked in a good 3,000 quin in one sale!

CD: And what did you do with that money?

Snevil: Bought more slaves from desperate owners at a bargain, of course.

Audience member #1: Get 'im off the stage, the lousy filth!

Snevil: Sticks and stones, chap! Sticks and stones!

Audience member #2: Maybe someone should put him in irons and sell him off!

Audience: YEAH!

Snevil: What the hell kind of show is this? I'm outta here!

Audience: Let's get 'im!

CD: Wait everyone, please just calm…! Oh brother. I guess that's it for today's show. Until next time! [Security, we have a situation…]

Character Interview: Valiance from Seranfyll

Christina Daley: Welcome to the show everyone! I'm your host Christina, and we have a wonderful guest with us today. She actually appears on the cover of the novel Seranfyll, in addition to the story, and she's brought along a horse whisperer to help translate for us. Please give a warm round of applause as we welcome Valiance!

Valiance: Hello!

CD: So Valiance, let's begin with where you're from.

Valiance: I'm from a country called Celestria. It's a beautiful place, and you can only get to it by flying through a storm cloud. All the winged horses are from there.

CD: What made you come to our side of the cloud?

Valiance: I was flying one day and saw a young boy drowning in the sea. For a human, he bore a striking resemblance to…well, I won't go there quite yet. But I wanted to help him, so I plucked him out of the water and took him back to Celestria to recover. That boy, of course, was Domrey.

CD: You seem to take care of Domrey a great deal. Would you say you mother him?

Valiance: A little. He can be careless sometimes, so if I don't watch out for him, who will?

CD: What was it like when Rain and Coal came to live at Seranfyll Manor?

Valiance: I was delighted. I do adore human children, what will their flat little faces and tailless little bottoms. But I was even more delighted that Domrey had friends. He's had such trouble with other humans in the past that I started to wonder if anyone would just accept him the way his was.

CD: Did you mind having to hide your wings when you and Domrey returned to Avenford?

Valiance: A little. Of course, I would prefer to have my wings out all the time, but I understand why I have to hide them. It's not uncomfortable for me.

CD: How was it for you when Spirit and Sundance came about?

Valiance: It was nice to have other winged horses around again. Sundance is very shy and doesn't talk a great deal, but he loves Coal very much and that's what's important. Spirit is the opposite end of the spectrum. He's young and energetic, and he can be quite boastful. If you recall, he wanted to be on the cover of the book originally.

Spirit: And it would've been a great cover, too!

CD: Oh, hello Spirit. When did you get here?

Valiance: Spirit, behave yourself…

Spirit: Why didn't you let me on the cover, author lady? I was telling all my Bookface friends and everything that I was going to be on it.

CD: You have a Facebook?

Valiance: No, he doesn't. Spirit, calm…

Spirit: Well, I would've if I had one. But good thing I didn't because I didn't get to be on the cover.

CD: We already discussed this in the production meeting, remember? With that dark blue backdrop, Valiance would've stood out more. Plus, you've never been through a storm by yourself, so it only made sense that…

Spirit: But I'm so much cooler than Valiance! She's, like, old and stuff.

Valiance: What did you just say, foaling?

Spirit: Ehm, I mean…did I say old? I mean…what it is that…bye!

Valiance: Come back here, Spirit!

CD: Uh, well, I guess that's all the time we have here today. Until next time! [Security, we have two winged horses headed towards Lot 3.]

Character Interview: Rain from Seranfyll

Christina Daley: Hello everyone and welcome to the show! I'm your host Christina, and I'm excited about our first guest. She's the star of the recently released novel Seranfyll, and I'm delighted she can join us today. Welcome Rain!

Rain: Thanks! I'm so glad to be here.

CD: So first off, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

Rain: I live in Avenford, which is a province that's in the country of Yoan that's ruled by King Endel IV. It's a lovely place that gets all the seasons, but it doesn't have any port towns. It does have the Avenford River that runs through it, though.

CD: So, the people who live there don't get out much?

Rain: Not really. They are a lovely people, though.

CD: So, you were once a slave. What was that like?

Rain: Yes, I was a slave to Lord Percival Peachtree from the time I was born to when I was thirteen. I actually consider myself a lucky one. My masters weren't cruel, and I got to live with my older sister Snow. I was also friends with Lord Peachtree's youngest daughter, Elena.

CD: What was it like for you when Lord Peachtree had to sell you?

Rain: It was scary. I'd never had any other master or lived anywhere else, and I hardly knew anything beyond the Peachtree property. I was also really sad to leave my sister. That was probably the roughest part of all.

CD: But now you're not a slave anymore. What's that like?

Rain: It's great! I mean, I don't resent my time with the Peachtrees. I'm thankful that they took care of me when I was their slave. But being free is definitely more exciting, although it can be challenging. I'm learning to think for myself for the first time, and I'm realizing that the choices I make have consequences. Fortunately, I have Domrey and Coal around to encourage me. And of course Quill and Hope and Spirit. I'm really glad that they are all in my life.

CD: What are some of your favorite things to do now that you're a freeman?

Rain: I love to go for rides with Spirit. He's such a fun horse with so much personality. I also like to read. I'm rather a slow reader, since I'm still learning. But I like it very much and I read all kinds of books. My favorite stories are fairy stories, or probably what you would call "fantasies."

CD: Why fairy stories in particular?

Rain: I suppose it's because of the kind of place I live. We don't see many magical things in Avenford, although there's plenty of magic around Seranfyll Manor. But I also like learning about enchanting lands and places far away. Reading about them makes me want to go visit them someday.

CD: Now, you also have quite a voice for singing. And in our world, there are several talent shows where people like you can perform and possibly win a contract to become a celebrated singer. If such a thing existed in Yoan, would you have a go at it?

Rain: Oh my, I don't think so. I'm flattered that you think I can sing well, but I'm not professionally trained, and I don't think I would be very good in front of crowds. I did get to sing for the king once and some of his court, and it was so frightening! So no, I don't think I would do something like what you're saying.

CD: If you could have one wish granted, what would it be and why?

Rain: That's a hard one. My life has been so different as of late that I don't think there's anything I really want that I don't already have. I have a lovely home and wonderful family and friends. I don't have to worry about going hungry or being cold in the winter. There's really nothing else that I can ask for.

CD: And finally, what is something interesting about yourself that no one else knows?

Rain: Oh, that's a hard one, too. I'm not a very secretive person, and I don't have any special talents. At least, not any that I know about.

CD: Well, that's the end of our show today. Thanks so much for being here with us!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Perseverance really does pay off

I should be doing something productive. Like editing. Or writing. Or tweeting. But instead, I'm going to take a moment to throw in my two cents about the Mavs winning the NBA championship on Sunday. (Yay!)

I grew up in Dallas, and for a while, I didn't even know we had a proper basketball team. But then a couple friends in college got me interested in it.

Cue 2006. I was fresh out of college and trying to figure out what to do with my life. I watched the Mavs go all the way to the Finals only to get that major upset in Game 6 against the Heat. Suffice it to say, I was pissed. How dare these heathens come into MY house and steal MY title?

I watched my Mavs bumble through the next few years. I watched the championship-grade team I love get hacked up. I questioned Cuban when he let the Little General, Howard, Hamilton, Stack, and some of the others go. I watched them get booted out of previous playoffs by (not surprisingly) the Spurs and (surprisingly) Golden State. I watched Dirk get older, year after year. I was starting to lose faith.

But this season was different. This season, the Mavs that I had watched struggle to get things together for so many years finally found their rhythm. They were finally a solid team. It was pure sweetness to see my boys sweep the arrogant Lakers for the Western Conference title. And it was even sweeter to see them topple the "mighty" Wade/James/Bosh triple-threat and bring the trophy home. I felt like, after five years of waiting, justice was served.

The current headlines seem to be dominated by how the Heat lost, rather than how the Mavs won. But I don't care. The team that worked hard, played hard, and didn't peacock about in their unfounded glory took the championship. They don't need any bad press.

I thought it was rather humbling how Dirk left the arena quickly so that he could have a good cry about the win. I don't blame him. For staying with the same team his whole career, he made a gamble. But in the end, he didn't have to chase after a championship; it came to him.

Congrats, boys, you done made Dallas proud. You illustrated that perseverance really does pay off, and no one deserves this win more than ya'll.

(Image courtesy of...I don't know. Some magazine. I just Googled for a Mavs championship pic and that's what came up.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New writing...

I have a fresh stack of legal pads and a new pack of my favorite pens. I must be working on a new book...