Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Straightforwardness

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Main characters in my finished and published stories, ranked in order of straightforwardness, starting with the most straightforward and ending with the least:

Rafe Dirisio — (Lone)
Paul Graham — (Paul’s Dream)
Joe Wilson — (A Picture’s Worth)
Kian Somers — (Paul’s Dream)
Zakai — (Paul’s Dream)
Joel Beckett — (Want Me)
Keith Taylor — (Chasing Winter)
Ace Donovan — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Riley Jameson — (One Shot)
Walker Cain — (Want Me)
Nick Carlyle — (One Shot)
Spade Hart — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Seth Anderson — (Lone)
Draven Donnor — (Just Perfect)
Mason Ripley — (A Picture’s Worth)
Asher Croft — (Paul’s Dream)
Jesse Winter — (Chasing Winter)
Dorian Burns — (Lone)
Cody West — (Just Perfect)

You might be thinking, “What?! How is Jesse so far down on the list, and how is WALKER square in the middle??” If you are thinking that, what follows is what passes for logic on my end:

First, this list only gauges straightforwardness, and does not take badassitude into account. Though, really, when you think about it, Jesse is plenty badass. Whenever Keith–who is gigantic and endowed with freaky super strength–steps out of line, Jesse never hesitates to knock him right back into it.

Second, the ranking is value-neutral. So whatever nefarious schemes a character might have going on (I’m looking at you, Draven), they don’t count for anything in this list.

Last, straightforwardness does not mean trustworthy. So, while Spade is arguably the most trustworthy character on the list, he waits till damned-near the end of the first book to tell Ace what he is, which Ace doesn’t take well. At all.

But anyway.

Jesse is in the bottom three because through most of Chasing Winter what he says and what he’s thinking are totally out of sync. For example:

“You always told me that willpower could accomplish anything.”

If I had known he’d remember every damned thing I said, I would have tried harder to stay away from such trite clichés. “Yes, I did say that.”

Or–

Keith grinned. “I’m making you uncomfortable, aren’t I?” He left the couch and searched out his briefs. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

I grabbed the top of the couch with my right arm and pulled myself up to watch him dress. Now that he wasn’t touching me, I felt…oh, God, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. “Thank you.”

And he’s like that through most of the book. So now he’s on the bottom of a totally arbitrary, written-by-the-whim-of-the-author list on straightforwardness.

Jesse was fairly easy to place. If you’ve read Just Perfect, then you know why Cody ranks rock-bottom. No brainer. Same with Rafe and Paul. Rafe wears his heart on his sleeve and is always sure everyone around him knows where he stands. Paul’s heart is frozen solid for a while, but even then everything he does has a reason and he has no qualms about explaining those reasons to you.

Walker wasn’t so easy. Sure, he locks Joel to him in a horrifying spiral of magic that pretty much ruins both their lives, but remember–nefariousness has no weight on this list. He’s also a liar by nature, which would naturally rank him lower. But he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to his obsession with Joel. Never deviates. Never lets Joel forget that he’s never going to deviate. So, yeah, horrifying. But hey, straightforward.

You’re probably safer if you just don’t believe in anything Dorian does or says. Ever. I know it sort of worked out in Lone, but dude. Trust me on that one.

Riley was also hard to place. One Shot’s told from Nick’s point of view, and he’s royally freaked out through most of that story, so it’s hard to gauge how much of Riley’s actions are warped by that filter.

Seth was a pain in the ass. He’s got that crazy Ravager-magic-want-it-now-so-will-HAVE-IT-NOW thing going on. And first instinct is to rank him higher because even in human form he’s all “Look at my massive brown puppy eyes don’t you want to pet my hair?” But Seth doesn’t even know himself, so by default that cripples his ability to be straightforward with Rafe.

So that’s my logic, such as it is. I think it’s pretty easy to see why I put the others in their places on the list.

My question: Do you agree with me? Disagree? Where would you rank these guys, and why?


Interesting fact: I was not aware that “straightforwardness” was a legit word until I typed it up for the first time and didn’t get the red spell-fail squigglies. Prior to that I’d assumed I had made it up. “Squigglies,” however, is apparently fake, which feels wrong to me. >.>

What’s it mean when you win a badge in cyberspace?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

An army of cats took over deviantART for April Fool’s Day. Random thumbnails were replaced propaganda posters and clicking on anything pretty much meant you were going to get some weird fact about cats. Did you know that a cat’s jaw is designed in such a way that makes it physically impossible for it to grind its sharp little teeth? Well, ya do now.

When I first saw it, I was sorta meh on the whole deal. Cats? Really? Not a fan. The mudkip invasion was much better.

Then I saw The Note. And The Note said that anyone who submitted a cat picture would get a cat BADGE. Oh, and there was something about getting 15000 submissions in order to release the dA logo from captivity, but the important thing here was the BADGE.

I saw The Note late. I hadn’t drawn anything in a year and I’d certainly never drawn a cat. I thought briefly about making my brother wear my neko-ear cap and taking a photo, but then realized he would have put a pox on all our houses if I posted it. So I figured I’d draw the Cheshire Cat. Pretty easy, yeah? I mean, most of the time he’s all face anyway.

Drew the line art. Had fun with the eyes. Remembered that my scanner has been broken since January. Took a picture with my phone and uploaded the sucker anyway. For some reason it’s on its side and I have no idea why. It’s quite well-behaved on my computer. Cheshire tease.

But I got my badge! Everything I dreamed it would be –>

I love internet badges and stickers. You can tell that just looking at my stories page. Every time a reviewer awards a badge or sticker to one of my books, it is on my site as fast as I can code it. Often in varying sizes depending on the page. I make a conscious effort to not learn exactly what GetGlue is because I see all my twitter friends earning stickers there and I have a feeling I’d never leave. I would definitely never write again.

But back to the cat badge. Once I got it, I figured I should at least finish the original picture. So I did. Remembered *again* that my scanner is busted. Sighed loudly in that frequency that only moms can hear.

She asked me what was wrong. I told her about my scanner (she was there when it bit the dust so my story of yearning packed quite the angsty punch) and suggested I try it again and see if it works now.

My words were literally, “Yeah, Mom. Maybe Jesus will come down from on high just to give my scanner a sweet, gentle kiss, raising the machine from the dead because it’s Easter.”

I laughed. She laughed. We both laughed.

So anyway here’s the scanned pic:



Cheshire by ~rpm77 on deviantART

It was, ah, posted on the day after Easter. Scanned on Sunday.

Heh heh heh.

Heh heh.

Heh.

There you have it. There is a God. Although considering the absolute creepy nature of the image, I’m sort of inclined to believe that it was the devil making sweet sweet love to my scanner. That or Holy Humor has a bit of twistyness to it. Makes for an interesting afterlife, either way. 😉

Bought a Nook

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

My beloved hiebook fizzled out a few weeks ago. I was totally sad because it had been my e-reader for almost 10 years, and it had been my very first e-reader, so naturally I was attached. Given all the platforms available today to read electronic books, the prospect of finding a new one was daunting. Especially since nothing seemed to compare to my hiebook. It had a built-in dictionary, it had an address book, it had games, it translated handwriting to text, it stored pictures, was an MP3 player, had external storage.

And it was light, with page turn buttons that rested perfectly under my left thumb. If I wanted to hold it in my right hand, all I had to do was flip it over, and the text on the screen flipped right along with me. It re-sized text, and had a back-light. The list goes on and on, but it was way ahead of its time. So ahead of its time, that its company went bankrupt before the e-book boom hit, so there was no chance of getting an upgraded version.

No choice but to jump ship and try something new. I looked at a lot of e-readers and tablets, trying to find one that was right for me. A high-end tablet wouldn’t work because all I wanted to do was read and maybe watch some videos. I like the idea of e-ink, but I wanted to be able to read digital comics, many of which are in color. And it definitely needed to be able to read more than one format.

So I’m dinking around, mourning the loss of my hiebook. Narrowed it down to a few. Then I got lucky. A friend of mine who works at a manga publishing company had the opportunity to compare several e-readers and tablets. She told me that the Nook tablet blew away the competition* in terms of reading manga files, and it could read epub and PDF. Technically it can also read HTML, but to do so the Nook opens the file in a browser which means you’re scrolling through the document instead of turning pages.

My Nook

My Nook Tablet. Sexy Spade is my sexy wallpaper. Note my strategically placed “most recent reads” along the bottom. 😉

I’m still getting used to it, but here are my impressions so far.

What I like:

  • External storage
    • This is a must for me. I’m a digital pack rat, so I’m always adding way too much stuff to my devices. It takes a micro-SD card, sold separately. The card I picked up is 32GB.

  • Resolution
    • My friend was right. It does read manga beautifully. The Sublime Manga titles are in PDF and read crisp and clear. I bought Blue Exorcist directly through the Barnes & Noble store, and it’s also wicked clear, with the added bonus of being able to flip pages from left to right. I also bought Venom vs Carnage through the BN and store, and it is sweet.
    • So far, the videos I’ve downloaded onto it look fab as well. They’ve all been mp4’s.

  • Size
    • It’s bigger than my hiebook but still pretty comfortable to hold. It has a little bit of heft to it but I am told the Kindle Fire is actually heavier.

  • Dropbox
    • I love having a cloud. I downloaded Dropbox onto my Nook, and set my Calibre library inside my dropbox ecosystem. So now when I add e-books to my library via my laptop, it’s automatically uploaded to my cloud and downloaded to my Nook. I export the file to my SD card, and add it to one of my shelves. I like this method because it lets me skip the usb cord part.
      • If you’d like to try out Dropbox, you can follow this link: http://db.tt/IA2wj7e. It’s free, and if you use the link I gave you then you’ll get a little extra space as well as give me the same amount of extra space.

    • There’s also an app (drop2sync) that I think can access your Dropbox directly from the cloud as opposed to downloading all your Dropbox files to your Nook. I’m looking into it, but haven’t downloaded it yet because it costs $1.99 and I want to be sure it does what I think it does. Plus if you don’t want either app on your Nook, there’s always the option of accessing your Dropbox directly from the web.

  • Wireless with Wi-Fi
    • I like being able to download things directly either from the Barnes & Noble store or from my Dropbox. Streaming video kind of rocks, too. The Nook has a decent browser, but I prefer DolphinHD, which is one of the few free apps available in the app store.

  • Battery life
    • Excellent. I’m a slow reader, so any device that lets me complete the book without needing a recharge is a plus.

  • Clean interface
    • There’s a Nook menu button on the bottom, an on/off button on the left edge, and a pair of volume buttons on the right edge. Other than that, everything else is done by touchscreen.
    • Accessing the dictionary while reading a story is very easy. The native software also allows you to make notes and to set bookmarks.

  • Customer service
    • So far, only had to contact them once. But I got to do it on an honest to God phone and {gasp} even talked to a real person who walked me through the steps necessary to fix my issue.

  • The interactive Nook books
    • Some of them are so freaking cool, you have no idea. I had way too much fun with the Lorax and Puff the Magic Dragon.

  • It’s got a hook for cellphone charms
    • Which is useless and weird, but I have a cell charm *obsession* and yet I never hook any into my phone, so this totally works for me.

  • The twitter app is user-friendly.
  • Comes with Netflix 🙂

What I Don’t like:

  • the Barnes & Noble search engine
    • Oh my God it is horrible. You can shop the store directly from your Nook, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched the title only to have the engine come up with “no results available” with a parenthesis containing a 29 or 82 or a 300, indicating that the store actually does have those results, but the system just doesn’t feel like showing them to me.
    • There’s no way to search the products you want to search. If you type up a search phrase in the app store, the system will also give you all the books that includes those words.

  • The Barnes & Noble storefront
    • It’s not as easy to browse as it is at some other retailers. For instance, I could go to Amazon and browse graphic novels, narrowing my categories to manga, to yaoi, all the way down to salarymen stories. The BN store will only take you as far as manga.

  • Shelves
    • The Nook lets you create customized shelves, which is a feature I do like. You can’t really organize those shelves, though, which is a problem if you have a lot of books. Even when you do create a shelf, you can’t even organize the books on that particular shelf alphabetically, let alone by author, or series.
    • There’s also a separate kid’s shelf, which is cool because it’s a completely different niece/nephew safe tab, but for some reason it doesn’t think that Dr. Seuss’s the Sneetches belongs there.

  • Sound
    • The speakers seemed very weak to me. But I also found out this year that I lost some hearing and I might be going deaf, so I might not be the best judge of that particular feature.

  • Not a lot of apps
    • Every time I check there are new ones listed, so this might get substantially better in the near future. But there are also apps that are free on my phone but can cost up to $1.99 on the Nook, so I pass on those.
    • Like I said above, searching for a particular app can be a pain in the ass.

That’s all I can think of right now. What e-reader do you use? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?


*under $400, including the Kindle Fire.

Losing Myself – Will Young

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

I am loving this vid:

My phone is a ninja…

Friday, December 9th, 2011

I could be holding the sucker in my hand only to find it gone a second later. Below are some of the places I’ve found it.

  • In the couch
  • Under the couch
  • Behind the couch
  • In the garage.
  • Inside a Yu-Gi-Oh! sneaker
  • Teetering on the brink of a hotel bedpost
  • In the pantry.
  • Stuck in the middle of a Jenga tower (because my brother is evil).
  • On top of a pile of salt.
  • In the fridge, next to the milk.
  • Inside the VCR (I suspect my three year old niece had a hand in this one but I have no proof).

Ah, the horror.

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

I was just starting fourth grade when I saw my first Freddy Krueger movie. Nightmare on Elmstreet 3: Dream Warriors. It freaked me out bad. Prior to that all my monsters had clear and specific ways to defeat them and in my head these things seemed doable should I ever find myself in trouble. Werewolves and silver? Check. Vampires and stakes through the heart/sunlight? Check and check. Mummies? Find the loose bandage and unwrap that sucker. Check. (At the time this was Flawless Logic.) I wouldn’t be introduced to zombies till the following year, so we were good to go.

Until Freddy Krueger. Because you can’t fight sleep.

Sure, some of the characters won out in the end. But then there’d be a sequel and they all went down eventually. Even Nancy.

These days not a lot of movies scare me. I do remember having a full-on WTF when it turned out the zombies in the Dawn of the Dead remake could run at top speed. That sure as hell wasn’t in my Zombie Survival Guide. But once it was over, it was over. It didn’t keep me up at night or anything.

Still, every so often I’ll stumble across something that turns me right back into that little kid staring wide-eyed at the screen watching a knife-gloved man tearing through the dreams of innocent people while they slept.

The topiary scene in the book version of The Shining. The whole damned “Blink” episode in Doctor Who. That split second revelation while I watched In the Mouth of Madness for the first time. I think what gets to me is the loss of control and total inability to save myself from it. How can I be sure that sound is just leaves in the wind? How do I not blink? What do you mean I’m already there?

In most horror stories, if you’re fast enough/strong enough/smart enough then there’s a chance you can wrest control of your own fate. The ones that get to me most are the ones where that’s not even an option.

Which begs the question: Why the hell did I write Want Me? Joel loses all control of self and fate when Walker invokes his spell in chapter one. And every turn of the spiral slices that loss deeper.

The story scared the bejeezus out of me while I was writing it. When it was first released I put a warning on all my portals that it was a dark, dark book. I was sure it was going to freak everyone out.

One of the first fan-letters I received said something to the effect of “Read your book. With the way you were talking I was expecting mountains of corpses or something, though.” So my definition of scary is certainly not universal.

When people ask about Want Me, I never call it a Romance. Usually I refer to it as Erotic Horror and I’m somewhat alarmed when a reader tells me it’s the first book of mine they’ve picked up. What a first impression to make. But for the most part they seem to have been good impressions.

What Romantic/Erotic Horror stories have made good impressions on you? Which ones had scenes that stuck with you weeks, months, years later? Anything scaring you this Halloween? 😉

Thanks for the recs!

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I know it’s sick and wrong, but I like a little darkness to read during the Valentine’s season. Now I have what looks like a fantastic list to choose from.

Thanks again–I’ll be having a lot of fun, I’m sure. 🙂

— Rowan

Need a book rec

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Looking for something dark, twisty, and sexy to read. Little help?

Searchin’ the Search Phrases: 2010

Friday, December 31st, 2010

End-of-the-year tradition time! One of mine is to go through the search phrases that resulted in a hit on my site over the past year. The most common phrase was “Rowan McBride,” although this time around there were a slew of creative misspellings of my name, which has me siked because it means that people who aren’t all that familiar with me are looking for me, and in theory that’s a good thing career-wise. XD

Also, “Author Rowan” will get you to my site without any trouble. Who knew?

There were phrase and story title combinations that help me from a stats and marketing point of view, but as always my favorites are the ones that make me laugh or tilt my head in confusion. Listing them in no particular order below in the hopes that they’ll make you do the same.

  • dalek haiku
    Yeah baby!
  • watching him orgasm
    Who? Was he hot? Did he know??
  • rat pack cardboard cutouts
    I want an invite to that party.
  • bhargava s 33 theorem asserts
    You know what google says the rest of that sentence is?

    …that an integral quadratic form represents all odd numbers if it represents 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 15 and 33. – T. D. Noe (noe(AT)sspectra.com), Mar 30 2006

    Know what it means? Me either, but since Seth and Nick are the math geeks on my site, I’m choosing to blame them even though neither of them use this particular theorem in their stories.

    Look at that. I actually searched a search phrase this year. Title of blog segment validated.

  • he rubbed his hand up my thigh
    Hey, hey now. Maybe you should slow down there…
  • he slipped his hand into my pants and stroked my stiffening cock
    I didn’t. I swear.
  • pushed myself forward as if i felt a slow big fingers caressing my hairy crack
    O.O
  • what s wrong? isn t that what you wanted
    About here is when I began to wonder if I was being *deliberately* molested via search engine.
  • how to play three blind mice
    I can actually help you with this if you’re looking to play it on piano, guitar, recorder, or xylophone. Weirdly enough I don’t know all the words, so I can’t sing it. Not that you’d want me to.
  • his ass cock whimpered or load or deep or again or another or cum his pucker -she -her
    This searcher either doesn’t know what the hell they want or knows EXACTLY what they want and is a Boolean genius.
  • i got skin grown over my shoulder
    I’m no expert, but I think that’s supposed to be there.
  • site http //www.rowanmcbride.com/superhero
    This page doesn’t exist, but it totally should.
  • you and the little mermaid can go
    That sounds like the beginning of the best cursing out ever.
  • plunder rowan mcbride
    Pass. That’s pirate pillow talk, and I’m all about the ninjas.
  • i buried my head in his chest and he wrapped his arms around me he laughed into my hair and i felt his warm breath on my face
    I don’t have a smartass comment for this one. I’m just feeling sentimental at the end of the year and liked the imagery.

And my favorite search phrase of 2010 is:

  • jascia sex tube
    I don’t know what the hell it is, but I feel like the story needs one. Bad.

That’s it. For me 2010 was about finding my muse again. It took a while, but I feel like there’ll be some good stuff in 2011.

I hope there’s good stuff in 2011 for you too. 😉

Happy New Year!

— Rowan

Check out what happens…

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

… when you Google muscle theft:

Yeah, baby! This blog takes the top two spots in the results. How cool is that?

No idea how long it’ll last. I only found out because a friend happened to be searching for muscle theft stories, but I’m glad he dropped me a line to let me know in time to screencap it. 😀

Incidentally, the fifth result on that list is a portal to the O’Zone, and O’s site is a good one for growth, theft, and a long list of other interesting genres. It’s also how I ended up on The Evolution Forum, which is the first place I ever read muscle theft fiction I liked. So without O, I probably wouldn’t have any theft stories.

Life’s quite the tapestry sometimes.

Or maybe my brain’s short circuiting because I’ve been up for two days.

Closing out this rambling now.

🙂