stuff

I need to go into hiding with my laptop. I can’t seem to finish this freakin’ book! I’m not blocked or anything. I just can’t seem to get a really good run of working time.

AnnaBeth 2 word count update – 63089

I will probably finish within the next month or so if I can stay productive.

Off that subject, I got to order a new phone! I am moving from Blackberry to Droid.

I like the Blackberry ok, but it suffers from some significant flaws. Web browsing capabilities are limited. It can’t see flash websites. The camera on it is probably the worst camera I’ve ever had on a phone before. As you might have noticed if you read the blog, I really like to take pictures, so that’s a problem for me. I also don’t like how small the screen is.

My husband has an android phone and I swear it can do just about anything you would want to do with a phone. He can even watch netflix on it, which is freakin’ awesome.

This morning I had to do a hard reset on the blackberry. When it came back up, I suddenly had all these app update notifications pop up as though the phone was begging me not to abandon it. It was saying – look I can give you new things too!

It’s not going to work, blackberry. Our relationship has been fun at times, but it’s over.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

animation update

I spent a lot of time studying adobe flash, etc this past weekend. I plan to incorporate animation in my book trailers.

Adobe is really good at providing instructions on their products. The training video library on their website is extensive, which is wonderful because I need all the help I can get.

One thing adobe is not very good at is letting fireworks play nice with flash. I do all of my digital illustration in fireworks. It would be nice to be able to draw in fireworks and send it over to flash. Weird things happen when you try to do that. Textures are lost. Vector shapes magically change size. It’s frustrating.

However.

Flash has its own drawing tools. Not as good as fireworks but they’re sufficient. Do I sound like a spoiled baby yet?

I can do vector shapes. That’s the important thing. As far as creating movement, Flash is pretty darn awesome. It can insert frames between two states so i don’t have to work frame by frame. That handy function is called “tweening”. It’s very cool, even if there are some limitations.

I estimate the blooming flower animation to take about 8 hours to complete. I am somewhat relieved to feel like the animation is something I’ll be able to handle.

So where am I on the next actual trailer? I have story boards with words and pictures. Next I’m working on rough sketches for the finer points of the animation, like the blooming flowers. They will probably not be anatomically (should one use “anatomically” when talking about plants?) correct but still interesting to watch. That’s the important thing.

The only animation I completed so far is a stem growing across the bottom of the movie. That is not very interesting to watch so I’m going to wait until I have more to put it up on the blog.

TTFN

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

movie: Take Me Home Tonight

This weekend, we watched Take Me Home Tonight. How 80s-alicious was that flick? The answer is v-e-r-y.

The movie takes place in the late 80s. Matt (Topher Grace) hears that the girl he crushed on in high school is coming back to town. His twin sister, Wendy (Anna Farris), and his friend Barry (Dan Fogler) convince him that he should ask her out at a Labor Day Party. He starts lying about his job, etc. to impress her and manages to get her attention. Hijinks ensue.

There was nothing exceptional about Take Me Home Tonight. There were a lot of 80s movie clichés, which was probably intentional. It was a bit chick-flick-y and predictable, but it was funny in parts. The soundtrack is rad to the max with 80s hits.

Take Me Home Tonight is ok. It gets a C+ with extra points for having a bangin’ soundtrack.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

making things move

I’ve been watching a lot of book trailers lately for the work I do on Journey Reader. Some stand out. Others don’t.

I have created one book trailer. It was basically some illustrations and words put to music. Nothing dynamic, really. Nothing special about it. Well, maybe the illustrations were special enough to count for something.

I tried my best to keep it from being too powerpointy, but it could have been better. I don’t find slideshows all that compelling. Don’t get me wrong, using a slideshow set to music is better than no trailer, for sure.

However, the fact that the trailer has almost no movement to it bothers me. All trailers I do from here on out will probably have some kind of animation to them. I don’t mean like Disney style animation, of course, but some movement on the screen is far more preferable to none.

The next book trailer project will be for the annabeth series.

Here’s what I’m thinking.

There are some gardens and flowers in the first book so I’m using that. I may also include Poe the crow and maybe Dorian, AB’s gray tabby as well.

At the end of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (genius, truly), the credits roll in this frame of flora. As a song is playing, flowers and toadstools and vines are appearing and blooming around the credits. It’s very cool. I want to do something like that with the AnnaBeth trailer, but with, you know, my stuff. Mine probably won’t be quite that cool because I’m not a professional animator, but one has to try, at least.

You may be asking – didn’t she just say she WASN’T doing Disney-style animation? Yes I did. You are right. Technically Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was a Disney production. Award yourself 6 points and eat a cookie. I meant like Cinderella or Lion King kind of animation.

I have never animated anything before, so this should be an interesting learning process. Flash and I will be getting to know eachother better very soon. If I get any preliminary animations going, I will post them, unless they look like crap, in which case you’ll never know they existed.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

movie: Thor

Thor is a movie about a space Viking who is banished to Earth by his father. That’s right. Space. Viking.

So, King Viking Daddy (played by Anthony Hopkins) sends Thor and his hammer off separately. He also strips his son of all his powers. Thor meets an adorable but plain scientist name Jane (Natalie Portman). She is in charge of her own space research team.

While Thor is away, his brother Loki starts causing some trouble back home, as characters named Loki tend to do.

So. There was action. There were many special effects, especially in the scenes depicting Thor’s home planet.

Thor’s character was a little cheesy (really, how could he not be?) and Portman’s character was probably a bit weak, but the movie was good. I will say that it probably could have been shorter. It was almost two hours. A longer movie format is justified for say, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Thor? Maybe not so much.

I would like to see a sequel. Thor gets a B+.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

Star Trek vs Star Wars

Today I read about William Shatner comparing Star Trek to Star Wars. Of course, Star Trek wins out in his mind because, well, Star Trek is pretty much most of his life. I understand.

I grew up on both Star Wars and Star Trek. I really can’t say that I prefer one over the other. I know there are people out there who feel like they can only like one, like they’ve sworn some kind of nerd allegiance. But I could never choose.

The two series are very, very different. Star Wars is flash and art. Star Trek is/was some flash and art, but it was more human and character driven in my opinion.
Shatner makes some really good points in this article, especially about the female characters in Star Trek. There wasn’t a lot of girl power going on in Star Wars. That situation is a little better now with the Clone Wars animated series but it is still very much a male dominated world.

Here is the article if you would like to give it a read.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2037981/Star-Trek-supersedes-Star-Wars-level-Captain-Kirk-actor-William-Shatner-weighs-debate-sci-fi-fans.html

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1

thinkin’, readin’ stuff

I’m on a sort of writing break at the moment. I say sort of because I am writing, I’m just having a bit of trouble deciding which direction I want the story in AnnaBeth2 to go. It took a turn that I hadn’t anticipated but totally makes sense. It’s a part of the story that will carry over to the final part of the trilogy.

I’m figuring out how to integrate certain details while ratcheting up tension to move toward the end of the book. Basically, I’m spending a lot of time working through various scenarios in my head to decide which will serve the story and AnnaBeth3 the best.

While I’m on semi-hiatus, I started reading two books – Bossypants, by Tina Fey and Empire State of Mind, which is about Jay-Z but not actually written by him. The latter is like an “unauthorized” biography.

I know. Celebrity books. Gag. I can’t help it. Even though I prefer not to interact with the majority of the people around me, I still find the lives of others (strangers?) interesting. It might be a writer thing.

Reading these books (at the speed of light because I have stuff to do) has made me realize that memoirs and biographies are excellent ways to learn about creating realistic characters, especially if the goal is to give aforementioned characters a lot of depth. And memoirs are really helpful for learning about people who are nothing like you too.

For instance, let’s say I want one of my characters to be an opera singer. What the hell do I know about the motivations of such a person or their obstacles? I don’t even like opera. But if I read a Luciano Pavarotti biography or memoir, I bet I will have picked up quite a bit about both him and the opera thing by the end.

Aside from personality traits and career stuff, the reader also gets information about people around them, the culture, the time period, etc.

I’m not saying one should copy all the family and life experiences from memoirs, but spending 300+ pages in someone else’s world/head/time can be enlightening.

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Hey, want some free reading? Check out the fiction freebie page on this very blog!
There you shall find links to two free ebooks on Smashwords and novel excerpts on Scribd.

Other places to find me:
http://www.LeaRyan.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeaRyan1