Archive for the ‘Anime/Cartoons’ Category

How to Edit a Novel (if You’re Rowan McBride)

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, August 18, 2007.


Scan through all the colored notes your editor inserted into what you had erroneously thought was a clean manuscript. Try not to have flashback of insane elementary school teacher as you look at all that red.

Scroll up to beginning of file. Take deep breath. Get up to snag a glass of water.

Begin reading manuscript. As you hit first set of suggested edits, declare aloud that the editor is nuts.

Anywhere from 5 seconds to 10 minutes later, realize that—damn!—the editor is probably right.

Get through fifteen pages. Totally rewrite six different paragraphs. As you’re staring at the online thesaurus looking for yet another word for “fire,” switch screens abruptly to write a poem. Post poem on blog.

Stare at manuscript. Decide that the episode of Bleach you’ve seen two times already is more important. Switch to Cartoon Network. Drool over Ishida.

Check blog to see if it’s gotten any comments.

At around two in the morning, tell yourself that you’re doing your manuscript and yourself a favor by getting some sleep.

Repeat this ritual more or less verbatim for the next three days.

On the fourth day (around page 52) drop everything to draw a fairly decent picture of Sasuke from Naruto.

Rework three paragraphs in a row. Check DeviantArt page to see if Sasuke pic got any comments or faves.

After another ten pages, get up to snag another glass of ice water. Wonder briefly if you’re getting enough water, down that glass and refill it. As you walk by your desk, you spot your scrapbook and note that you still haven’t pasted in the reviews for Just Wait. You’ve already put them on your site, but you haven’t printed them up yet and you really should—

You shake the thought away and sit down to your manuscript.

Check blog. Check DeviantArt account. Check email. Watch Bleach.

Decide that your scrapbook is taunting you. Stay strong. Spend a good ten minutes trying to figure out which Sins belong to which characters in Full Metal Alchemist. You’ve got five of them pinned down, but which one belongs to Mustang? You wonder if you should Google it.

Realize with a start how much time has passed since you started this damned thing. Realize you’ll never get to write your uber cool royal alien rock star yaoi story if you don’t finish your revisions. Realize if you don’t finish your revisions, Paul’s Dream will never be published, and your manga addiction is gonna hurt.


Finally buckle down.

You read. You focus. You fall into a depression because your freaking novel SUCKS.

You’re too action oriented when you write. You don’t have enough internal dialogue. You don’t vary your sentence structure enough. You certainly don’t have enough emotion. And why is this section so poorly written?

Revise. Revise. Revise.

Try to teach yourself new ways to write things on the fly. Hit the halfway point in the novel. Ignore scrapbook. Skip dinner.

After reading a while, wonder why this half reads so much easier than the first half. Begin to worry.


What made me think I could ever be a writer?

Shake off doubt. Keep reading and revising. Fall in love with characters all over again. Remember that you have two sequels planned and smile.

Reach last line in manuscript. Imagine what your cover might look like. Stretch your sore muscles, then jump up to watch the Naruto hundo marathon thing on CN. Help yourself to the ice cream you bought just because one of your characters adores it.

Relax. Swear you’ll write a blog about the entire ordeal.

Eat your ice cream, and feel pretty good.

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What the Heck is Muscle Growth?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, August 5, 2007.


That’s the most common question I get asked when someone stumbles across my writing. Why are you so obsessed with it? usually comes right after. Sometimes it’s honest curiosity, sometimes it’s judgment. Every once in a while, someone writes me just to say ‘ew.’

For some reason—whatever the tone—I’m always flustered when I’m asked. Is muscle growth really that bizarre? Am I a freak for writing it?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is ‘no.’ I’m not a freak for writing about muscle growth. I’m a freak for so many other varied and quite shiny reasons. But back to the first question:

It’s a transformation genre like any other. Some people like werewolves (me), some people like vampires (me), some people like MG (me to the nth power). Like with most transformation stories, just about anything can spark the change. Magic, science, good old fashioned exercise, or a really, really hot round of toe curling sex might do it. Possibilities are endless. It’s just that, instead of fur or fangs, the person involved will put on muscle.

Lots and lots of subgenres in MG. Sometimes there’s a little macro involved, so the person growing thicker also gets taller. More muscle can also mean incredible strength and a higher {pauses a moment to indulge a happy smile} sex drive. Sometimes one guy is actually stealing size from another, and that’s called muscle theft. If you’ve read my story Just Wait, then you know a bit about that one already. Muscle theft is the dark side of the genre, and often one of those “hate to love it but must have it” sort of things.

Now, why do I like muscle growth? There are so many possibilities to explore with MG. I’ve often said I love the inherent change in dynamic, and I so do. Maybe the person who transformed starts to see the world differently, or maybe the people around him see him in a different light. There might be more confidence, more aggression, more (yes!) sex, or just a bucket full of trouble once things hit the fan. I like to explore that. I also like to explore issues of power, and MG totally gives me a reason to screw with the classic seme/uke relationship.

I mean, what’s sexier than a seme who can stay seme even after his uke becomes physically stronger?

If you’re wondering what the heck a seme and uke are, I promise I will get to that in a different blog. 🙂

But back to muscle growth—

Why would anyone choose to write in such an unknown genre?

Truthfully, I don’t think it is unknown. It’s just incognito. The obvious place to look for muscle growth in the media is The Incredible Hulk. I love the green guy, but there’s so much more out there.


In keeping with comic books:

Captain America—young, average soldier volunteers for an experiment and becomes a ripped superhero.

Spiderman—remember that scene in the first movie when Peter Parker is checking out his new abs? Yep, muscle growth.


Classic cartoons:

Tom & Jerry—believe it or not, there’s an episode of that toon where tiny little Jerry drinks a formula containing who-knows-what, and he gives that cat a little beat down.

He-man—yeah, Adam was fit, but that sword gave his physique a little extra something whenever he invoked it. I’m a child of the 80’s, so I’m sure this one had an impact on me. And the transformation is even more significant in the newer versions of the cartoon.


Novels:

Incarnations of Immortality—In With a Tangled Skein, the man Niobe marries has to do a bit of growing up to get a second look from her. When he takes up chopping wood without a shirt and begins to put on some muscle, Niobe takes that second look. And a third. And a fourth…

Creature—When I read it long ago, my fragile young mind was sure it had tons of growth. Some people have since told me that they disagree. It doesn’t really matter. This is one of the books that fired up my imagination, so I’m grateful to John Saul.


Others:

A lot of anime has MG in it. Especially the ones where the main character has to “power up” in order to hit their next level of strength. Many times there’s also shirt ripping. 🙂

In Heavy Metal, there are two excellent storylines containing muscle growth, but I won’t give them away here because it’s a classic piece of animation and everyone should see it at least once.

All over YouTube.


Oh, and this one’s getting me sent straight to hell:

The bible. Yes, the bible. I learned to read from this book, which mean I learned about Samson long before I’d ever heard of Hercules. And depending on which version of the bible you have, you can look up the stories of the Nephilim. Many interpretations of those guys, but the way my bible study went, they were children of the angels who grew up to be huge, “mighty” ones and ended up causing all kinds of trouble. They were also purported to have unnatural libidos. Genesis 6:1-8; Jude 6.

Hmmm, the bible should not turn me on…

Anyway, that’s a list off the top of my head. The point is, MG is pretty much everywhere. You’ve probably seen it, you may even have been turned on by it.

I write about it because it’s a theme I love, and that’s what writers do. Well, that’s what writers should do. I’m lucky because my career’s young enough that I get to sneak in under the radar where a lot of the industry’s pressures are concerned. And muscle growth isn’t the only genre I love, so it isn’t and won’t be the only thing I write. Characters that grip, stories with layers… these are the things I always strive for, no matter the genre.

Blogging about muscle growth won’t stop the questions and eyebrow raises, I’m sure. But it’s been really fun to delve into it here, and I hope I didn’t scare you away. 🙂

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Wait’s Finally Over

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, July 26, 2007.


My short story, Just Wait, is now on sale at Dark Eden Press! Ah, Mark and Travis. Good Twin Fun. I’ve been looking forward to this release forever, it seems. Not only did I have a blast writing it (these twins have so much fun being bad!) but it’s also my first e-book out since Twisted Shift closed. I must say, I’m a little nervous about being at a new publisher.

At Twisted, I dominated the bestseller list—I had the top three spots. But I’m the new kid on the block at DEP, and of course I’m nowhere in the rankings yet. Think you can change that for me?

Terribly shallow of me, I know. But I really, really want to be on that list.

If you get Just Wait, and you have an opinion on it, feel free to click the review button and write what you think of the story!

***

Another long-awaited story of mine, The Jascian’s Toy, has finally been updated. Jascian is the story of Blake, a human doctor who gets kidnaped to an alien world to be a toy. Lucky for him that his new ‘owner’ is painfully hot.

I posted Chapter 7 on The Evolution Forum and Nifty.org today. Both sites are free to access. The Jascian’s Toy is up at Evolution now, but it may take a little while for it to make its way through all the Nifty mirror sites, so if you read it there, be patient.

At Nifty, you can read all the installments in the Gay Male/Science Fiction and Fantasy section. Just scroll down and look for ‘jascians-toy’ and they’ll all be clustered in the same place.

Here are the links if you’d like to read the story on Evolution. Comments are enabled there, and I’m addicted, so feed my fix.

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone. It’s still raining here, so it looks like I’ll be indoors catching up on my reading, listening to music, and watching anime. Which actually sounds like fun.

For reading, I’m going for DeathNote v12, Heaven Sent: Hell, and Basilisk. In music I’ve just discovered closethuman, and I’m all about them at the moment. In anime… Bleach and Naruto, of course. And episode 3 of Yami no Matsuei.

Yeah, I think that’s a pretty good list.

If you put Just Wait on your reading list, let me know what you think!

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Plush Madness

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, June 24, 2007.


A while back, I blogged about my utterly cool, super kawaii Gaara plush. You can read the story of him and his Urahara hat here, and you can see the pictures of him (cuteness of DOOM) here.

A few weeks ago, a friend got me an Urahara mini plush. Incredibly cool. I may have squee’d. Of course, I put him on the same shelf as Gaara. And, awww, weren’t they cute together with their matching hats! Brothers, even!

Shyeah, right. For the next few weeks, more often than not, I’d walk into the room to find poor Urahara on the floor. It was bizarre. And kinda scary. Bottom line, the plushies were not brothers. Gaara was apparently kicking ass in my absence.

So a different friend, sensitive to my plight, sent me yet another plush. This one was also a mini, but of Toshiro. Very scowly and in street clothes, so you know I loved him instantly. The note attached said, “I figure if anyone can keep Gaara in line, Toshiro can.”

My friend and I just met Toshiro on Bleach. For some strange reason that even we don’t understand, we’ve decided to ration our Naruto and Bleach episodes to what comes on CN every Saturday. So right now Naruto’s learning Jiraiya’s spinning chakra jutsu and Ichigo’s on a race to free Rukia from the tower.

You think I’m digressing, but I’m not. Had to give you a bit of exposition, because I wrote this insane script of what happened when my three plushies (why does that sound like a sitcom?) got together:

Gaara peering over the shelf: And stay on the floor!

Urahara: It’s my hat! You’re copying me!

Gaara: You think you can come into my house and talk that smack?! Next time you’re up here I’ll knock you back down AND use the sand coffin… hey, what’s that?

{rowan sets toshiro on shelf, picks up urahara and returns him to his place}

Toshiro: What the hell is going on here?

Gaara: Oh, great! Another one!

Toshiro: Hey, I recognize you. You’re from a different shonen jump manga. {looks at urahara} Dude! It’s you! Haven’t seen you since you left the spirit realm!

Urahara: {clutches hat}

Toshiro: {looking at gaara again} Were you messing with my homeboy?

Gaara: Oh, the both of you are so hitting the floor.

Toshiro: I don’t think so, red. I’m a captain ya know.

Gaara: I’m probably kazekage by now!

Toshiro: … I don’t even know what that means, but nobody’s hittin’ the floor.

Gaara: I’m like three times bigger than you!

Toshiro: I’ve got a scowl and I’m wearin’ street clothes.

Gaara: {uncorking the gourd}

Toshiro: {whipping out zanpakutou}

_______

Anyway, that’s how I think it went. I’m not 100% sure who won, but right now all plushies are co-existing on the same shelf. 🙂

Now I have three plushes, which I think makes it an official collection. And they’re not killing each other, which is good. Is it weird that I want to take them back to Johnson and get a ‘family’ photo taken of them? That’s weird, isn’t it? Forget I said anything.

But don’t be surprised if those pics end up on this page.

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Note: Originally many of the links in this blog led to MySpace, and have since been changed to make them easier to access from this portal.

On Death Note and Drayners

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, June 18, 2007.


Lately I’ve been reading Death Note, and I think it might be influencing my writing. The central character—Light Yagami—is a sexy, brilliant mass murderer, and you somehow end up rooting for him to achieve his megalomaniacal dreams. You even love him for it.

Okay, the “love” part might just be me, and I’d rather not delve too deeply into what that means. So moving on:

Since I’ve started reading this manga, my own writing has gotten a bit…hmm…darker. In Want Me, Walker Cain casts a spell that locks on to Joel’s will and drags him into reality-shifting sex over and over. To add to the angst (and let’s face it—horror), Walker steals everything that Joel believes is good about his life. The guy’s insane, yet that perfect, unrepentant insanity kinda makes you like him.


Want Me is a wrenching novel, and I figured I’d stay shiny from there on out. But last week I sold a short story to Dark Eden Press, and there I was, reveling on the dark side.

I wouldn’t call this one wrenching, but I think that’s more a factor of point-of-view than story content. Where Want Me was told through the eyes of the victim, Just Wait is told from the PoV of Travis Drayner, who has no qualms about “borrowing” the physical attributes of other people and absorbing them into his own body. His twin brother Mark is even more powerful—he can take what he likes and he can keep it. But does Travis want him to stop stealing? Nope. Travis aches to see just how far his brother can go.

You can’t help yourself from liking Trav, though. He’s freaking adorable, despite the fact that meeting him and his brother in real life would probably scare the hell out of anyone with a decent sense of self-preservation. Light Yagami is sexy because he’s imaginary (at least, I hope that’s why he’s sexy), and the same goes for Drayners.

This new tone in my writing might just be a phase—I’ve finished volume seven (gaw!) of Death Note, and there are only twelve in the series. Either way, I don’t mind one bit. Walking on the dark side is fun. After all, that’s where the good cookies are. And apples. Lots and lots of apples.

Okay, the forbidden fruit thing is definitely Death Note influenced. But oh, it was so much fun working it into my Drayner story. It should be coming out soon—I don’t have a release date yet. So if you want to see how I worked apples into it, you’ll just have to…well…wait.

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A Thousand Views and a Death Note

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, June 7, 2007.


Both my DeviantArt and MySpace have hit 1000 views!  MySpace reached it a while ago–DA was a little longer in catching up.  All around, though, I’m amazed that it happened so fast!  Thanks to all the visitors of both sites.  You guys rock.

To celebrate, I drew a picture and posted it on DeviantArt:  Light Yagami, tempting his lover/victim/uke/innocent bystander with an apple.  I think it’s pretty good, certainly the best I’ve drawn so far.  Having just finished volume 7, I’m currently mourning the loss of a certain character.  Maybe I should draw him next?  What do you guys think?

You can view Light here:

http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/57085602/

How do you like him?

Movin’ right along

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, May 23, 2007.


Sorry, that’s the song playing on my list right now (Muppets Rule!), so I figured it’d make a good title for a blog. Appropriate, too, since I’ve gotten a whole lot done in the last… hmm… month? Wow, didn’t realize it’s been so long since I’ve updated. Maybe I haven’t gotten that much done after all.

But the point is, I got stuff done.

Redesigned my website. I now have 37 pages of code chilling out on my harddrive. Taught myself how to do an external CSS (something I really, really wish I’d learned when I first put up a site), so in the future I’ll be able to make sweeping changes to all the pages using just one file. WooHoo! I’m planning for it to go live in a few weeks, and I’ll be sure to let you know when it does.

I’ve got cover art for Want Me, the novel I’m self-publishing! It so rocks—I spent way too much time just gazing on it. Ulf was kind enough to create it, and I’ll be unveiling it on my newsletter some time in the next week, so join up! That’s also the first place you’ll be able to read the blurb for the story. Took me forever to write it, and finally I just had to shut the computer down in favor of my trusty Comp notebook and blue ballpoint pen. It worked, and you’ll be able to read it the same day I unveil the art.

Finally—finally!—finished revisions to Touching Fire: Paul’s Dream. I even sent it to the publisher at 3am this morning. Gaw, I forgot how nerve-wracking submitting is. Even though this particular publisher sent me a personal invitation to submit to them, it took me several false starts before I could actually hit that send button. Now I have to wait, and that is one of the absolute worst parts of being a writer, which leads me to—

Currently writing the second novel in my One Good series. Writing’s just about the only way to keep sane while waiting. For me, anyway. I have the attention span of a goldfish when it comes to most of my life, but writing grips my focus like nothing else.

This new novel is called One Good Verse. It features Michael, who is a Senai servant. He was built to pleasure and obey his master at the cost of all else. One day, he’s given to Anthony, who’s unlike any master he’s ever had. Anthony refuses to give him orders, for one. And he’s a minister-in-training, for two.

You have no idea how much fun this story is.

Let’s see, what else have I gotten done? There must be something else I can use to justify my month-long absence…

Oh, a few days ago I wrote the prologue for a brand new piece of fiction. No title. No real plot. Two great characters named Adrian and Carter. Adrian is a Corporeal Adept, meaning he has the power to alter physical objects. He’s eighteen and about to start a pilgrimage to attain Zuvai, the level of Master within his Order. Carter is his best friend, perfectly human until Adrian gets it into his head that fine-tuning the kid’s body would make a neat going away present.

I think it could be cool. I just have to figure out where I want to take it. Maybe then I’ll have a title, too.

Other things—

Passed Sasuke’s scenario in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja. Unlocked Neiji’s scenerio. I have mixed feelings, since I just used Rock Lee to kick Neiji’s ass. Yeah! Take that, destiny!

Drew my first picture of Akabane, from GetBackers. You can see it on my Deviant Art site, here. Loved how the hat turned out. 🙂

Hmm… Folded a paper crane for no apparent reason.

Wrote partial lyrics to a song.

Read lots and lots of manga.

Wrote this blog.

Okay, yeah, that’s probably it.

Gaara of the Sand & Funky Hat

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, April 3, 2007


You never know when you’re going to make a friend. I started out writing stories for free on a forum (on which I still have unfinished stories I fully intend to complete), and a person from that site wrote me one of my very first fan letters. Since then we’ve become good friends, and we’re also both fans of anime. Two among many we are watching right now are Naruto and Bleach.

So my friend sent me a box, and this box contained gifts. One: An uber kawaii scowly Gaara plushie (from Naruto). Two: Urahara’s hat (from Bleach). Gaara is one of my fave characters ever, and every time I see Urahara, I say, “Man, I gotta get me a hat like that.” I won’t go into here how unabashedly *ecstatic* I was to get both of them (mostly because it’s just embarrassing).

Life was good. Life was even better when I discovered how cute Gaara looked in the hat. Not just cute. Cuteness of DOOM.

You’ve probably already guessed that I’ve formed an unhealthy attachment to this doll. But there was only one way to share Gaara’s CoDoom with the world. I had to get his picture taken.

That’s when I met Johnson. Very, very cool guy. I thought for sure I was going to catch a hard time for wanting to get Gaara photographed, but Johnson ran with it, and I think he had almost as much fun as I did. Plus I made a new friend at a totally random time and place! Bonus!

So thanks to John, who bought me the presents. And thanks to Johnson, who made Gaara look phenomenal in all his scowly glory.

Check Gaara and his funky hat out in my photos section! Let me know what you think. 🙂

— Rowan