Monday, September 24, 2012

The Power of Dreams

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.  Begin it now." -- Goethe (German Novelist and Poet).


Do you dream a lot?


I have funky strange dreams. And maybe a couple of times of month, I'm able to do what's called lucid dreaming. I find this ability a pretty handy one - especially when my dream is going so well. Once I was dreaming that I was in a school being attacked by a couple kids armed with automatic weapons. They were slaughtering everybody. I ran into the office, which was guarded by a cop. Well, the two intruders mowed down the guard and stormed the office.


I stopped my dream (think Zack Morris from Saved By the Bell), and rewound everything. Then I whipped up an entire squad of heavily armed Marines. Then hit play. When the dream resumed, the two intruders were stopped by my soldiers. Happy Ending.


To this day, however, I have yet to be inspired by an actual dream in my everyday creative world. But I know many of YOU have been. History is full of examples of great innovators being directly inspired by their dreams. Just take a look:


Stephen King: He fell asleep on a plane and dreamed about a crazy woman keeping a writer prisoner. His dream was MORE freaky. In it, the woman killed the author, fed his remains to a pig, and bound a book with the author's skin. It didn't quite happen that way in his novel, Misery, but you get the picture.


Robert Louis Stevenson: During a creepy nightmare, he imagined himself splitting in two. And the police were chasing after him for committing some crime. During the pursuit, he consumed some kind of powder to change back to his normal self. His wife actually woke him from his dream, and he started celebrating that he had discovered a wonderful plot to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


James Cameron: This great director was sick and suffering from a high fever. While dreaming, he imagined a silver figure emerging from a big fire, and it ended up being an evil, menacing cyborg with red eyes. The machine dragged itself across the kitchen with knives. Thus, The Terminator was born.


Mary Shelley: She had a nightmare about some young scholar kneeling next to a monster of a man that had been re-animated using a machine. The vision scared her to the point where she woke up screaming...first in complete terror, then in absolute joy. She had the inspiration to write her great novel, Frankenstein.


Paul McCartney: Sir Paul was filming the movie Help! with his fellow Beatles, and was asleep up in some attic of his family's home in town. He dreamed about a tune being played by a string orchestra that he thought he had heard when he was a kid. When he woke up, the melody was still in his head and he realized that it was not a song from his childhood, but an original song he had just made up. He immediately went to a piano, and he started playing what would become Yesterday.



How about you? Have you EVER been inspired by an actual dream?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorite Blogfest


One blogfest, four favorites!
List your favorite genre of:
Movie
Music
Books
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

My favorite movie genre: Science Fiction
I saw Star Wars in a drive-in theater, and I was hooked. From Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon, I would watch these TV shows and movies with amazement. It was like the Wild West in space. Spaceship battles, good guys vs bad guys, and awesome sci-fi weapons and technology. I grew up on this stuff, and I still love it today.

My favorite genre of music: 80s Music
Call me nostalgic. Or maybe I'm just in denial about the whole aging process. I love me some 80s music. Pretty much all of it. I still listen to Michael Jackson, Journey, Van Halen, Duran Duran, INXS, and Queen. What's really cool is that my kids know all the lyrics to these songs too.

My favorite book genre: Classic Steampunk-Science Fiction
One of the biggest influences of my writing today is this fun fix of science fiction, alternative history, and speculative fiction. The first novel I ever read that made me go "WOW" was H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. And then I picked up Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days. These books were about adventure and technology - wrapped around a strong moral tale.




My guilty pleasure: 90s Bubblegum Pop Music
This is a big confession for me, but I do like saccharin sweet pop music. Everything from New Kids on the Block, some N'SYNC, a little Backstreet Boys, and yes....I do have a couple Britney Spears songs on my iPod. Some other iPod confessions include Milli Vanilli, PM Dawn, The KLF, and (gulp)...I do believe there is a Spice Girls track on there...or two.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Hydra Blog Hop - FINAL STOP

Happy Friday!

I am guest posting over at Michael's blog HERE. Come read what I think about doing research for a novel.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hydra Blog Hop - Part Tres

For today, I am Rachel's guest over at her BLOG, Life Defined.

So go read how a reformed "pantster" like me broke my addiction to driving myself crazy and found a system of outline that works for scattered brained ADD people like....oh look, a cricket!

Also, thanks to David Powers King for being the wind beneath my wings and helping me figure out a way to properly outline my work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hydra Blog Hop Part Deux - Rachel Hunter

September 11th, 2001...We Will NEVER Forget.

* * * *



What's so wonderful about the blogosphere? Meeting new people! This week, I'd like to introduce you to a group of authors published by Hydra Publications. If you missed yesterday's post spotlighting steampunk author, R.S. Hunter, check out yesterday's entry.

Today, please give a warm welcome to Rachel Hunter (no relation to R.S...I don't think anyway). Down at the bottom, you can also learn more about her novel that was recently published, Empyreal Fate.

So to help you get to know Rachel, I've also asked her to share "Lucky 13 Fun Facts" about herself.

Ms. Hunter, the post is yours:


Rachel Hunter
Thirteen facts, eh? Isn't 'thirteen' supposed to be an unlucky number? *grins* Not that I am superstitious or anything. But - you know - Fate has its ways... and it's preferences... and it's dislikes. If you believe in such things~

Well, for one, I love the outdoors (assuming the weather is warm, as I hate the chill). If I could, I would spend all day frolicking amongst Nature's glorious bounty. Well, maybe not actually frolicking, but I would be doing several activities, including kayaking, biking, and mountain climbing. I can think of no better way to connect with oneself than through the elements, Nature's gifts.

Secondly, I am probably the most random person I know. Seriously. I can go from talking about something as mundane as the weather (and truly, I don't find the weather that mundane; it's quite fascinating, really) to something completely different and unrelated, such as conspiracy theories, cyborgs, or Einstein's theory of relativity. And Joan of Arc is not such a bad topic either. Oh - and the universe: space travel, time continuums, that sort of thing. See? I told you I was random. Refrigerator.

Thirdly, I am an author - a 'wordsmith'. Truly and absolutely. I have two poetry publications to note; a short story publication, titled,
Perfect Nothingand a fantasy novel, Empyreal Fatewhich is 'Part One' of my Llathalan Annal series. Yep. And there's more on the way: fantasy, steampunk, poetry, and otherwise.

Fourthly - well, I am highly nostalgic. And I mean highly. In fact, I have various newspapers and newspaper clippings of random events that have happened during my lifetime. And know where I keep them? Under my bed. But they're nostalgic for me - just like the Nintendo 64 I keep in the other room. And my GameBoy Color with the 'Pokemon Gold' game still inside the slot in my top dresser, beneath the socks. And that art book from when I was ten... pressed between my novels on the bookshelf. Oh, my friends, the list goes on and on...
Fifthly? I hate llamas. Have you ever looked one straight in the face? I mean - truly... straight in the face? No? Well... only when you gaze into the mismatched eyes and cringe in horror at the crooked teeth of one such beast will you understand. They plot, the llamas do. Be ever wary~

Sixthly, I have a penchant for the fantastical. And the whimsical. And the historical. And the psychological. (And for sentence fragments, apparently). Oh well. I've a 'poetic license' in my wallet, if you wish to see it. But tis true: I adore the speculative - as well as the psyche. Perhaps they are one and the same?

7. (Yes, I've resorted to using numbers). Purple is my favorite color, as it is the color of royalty, majesty, and grace. I liken it to the color of the elves, the race of which I claim heritage to. You don't believe me? Tis merely speculative, my friends - true. But impossible? Never. The realm of possibilities is endless~

8. I have fifteen piercings, none of which go below my nose. Can you guess where they are?

9. Although I am quite shy, I enjoy meeting new people and immersing myself in the collective wisdom of my peers. Simply experiencing the joy of fellow authors and readers claims my heart. It rewards me most of all when I can share my opinions with others – whether about novels, poetry, or life in general – and, in turn, gain insight of my own. What can I say? I adore learning - and not only the kind of things I can glean from a textbook.

10. I've yet to stray out of the country, though I've lived so near the northern and southern borders of the US (including Minnesota and Oklahoma). *sigh* I hope to one day travel abroad. Where, you might ask? Anywhere. The diversity of cultures fascinates me. I wish to immerse myself in all of them - or, realistically, as many as I have the opportunity to observe first-hand.

11. I associate words with numbers. I've a strange tendency to select random words and tally their letters into numbers (each letter has a specific designation). I have my own rules for gauging such numbers, and I make the associations almost automatically. Don't ask me why I do this or what the associations represent; I haven't a clue. 

12. I dislike the number 'twelve'.

13. I adore the character of Hannibal Lecter. He makes an intriguing psychological case, does he not? Perhaps it is the acting of Anthony Hopkins that does it for me, but something about his twisted personality, actions aside, captures my interest. Don't you agree?

To find out more about my writing and my quirks, feel free to visit any of my sites below:

Contact Links:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762735.Rachel_Hunter



Empyreal Fate Blurb:


Filled to the brim with forbidden love, an ancient evil, and a nation in disrepair, Empyreal Fate is a tale of riveting bravery and mortal corruption. 


The land of Llathala lingers on the brink of war between men and elves, a dark history surrounding each race. Stirred by tensions of the land, a shadow of the past reemerges, taking precedence in reality and consuming the very soul of mans’ mortal weakness. Darrion, the son of a poor laborer, is ensnared in a hostile world, forced to choose between loyalty to his king or the counsel of the elves. Yet Fate has other plans in store, tying his course to Amarya, an elven royalblood of mysterious quality and unsurpassable beauty. But this forbidden connection incites betrayal from members of their own kin, marking them as traitors to the crown. In a land torn asunder, only Fate’s decree can allow such love to coexist with an ancient enmity.


Behold: A Llathalan Annal: Empyreal Fate – Part One.



Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Empyreal-Fate-Llathalan-Annal-Volume/dp/0615638589
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Empyreal-Fate-Llathalan-Rachel-Hunter/dp/0615638589

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hydra Blog Hop - R.S. Hunter

What's so wonderful about the blogosphere? Meeting new people. This week, I'd like to introduce you to a group of authors published by Hydra Publications. First up is fellow steampunk author, R.S. Hunter. And down at the bottom, take a look at his novel, The Exile's Violin. I'm totally in love with his cover. So much steampunk-goodness!

So to help you get to know R.S. Hunter, I've asked him to share his "Lucky 13 Fun Facts" about himself.

Take it away, Mr. Hunter:


I was instructed to share 13 interesting/fun facts about me—my personal life, my writing, etc. Let’s hope I can find a way to appear less boring than I think I am! Let’s dive right into this.
  1. I’m the fourth in my family to have my name, and I’m named after my grandfather. I partially blame him for giving me the “gift of gab.” The man was always telling (sometimes long-winded) stories.

  2. R.S. Hunter
    The first science fiction book I ever truly fell in love with was Dune by Frank Herbert. I read it for the first time in about fourth grade. I’ve reread it so many times that my copy is falling apart. I’ve never seen the 80’s movie with Sting, but I do own the Sci-Fi Channel’s miniseries from 2000. I ended up writing my honor’s thesis in college about the book and Octavia E. Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy.

  3. The first science fiction movie I fell in love with was the original Star Wars. I watched it with my grandma, and she taught me how to play the main theme on the piano. Over the years, I’ve watched all the movies, read some of the comics, played the games, and read almost all of the novels.

  4. I want to become a full-time novelist. My ultimate goal is to support myself and my future family through my writing. With my first book, The Exile’s Violin, coming out in September, I’ve taken my first step towards that goal.

  5. Even though my first published piece was a short story, I like longer works better. Novels aren’t inherently better than short stories; they’re just not my calling.

  6. I have to write with music. Pure silence scares me. My favorite genres when I’m writing are electronica/videogame soundtracks and death metal. Polar opposites, right?

  7. I have one tattoo on my left arm, and I want more. One of my goals is to get a tattoo that represents each novel I get published.

  8. My parents are the ones that got me reading at a young age. They said to me that “they’d never say no if I asked them to buy me a book.” I made them regret that promise. Though, seeing how I’m a published author now, I don’t think they’re complaining. I’m very grateful that they pushed me to read.

  9. I almost pursued an education and career in chemistry. I was always good at math and science in school, however, in college, I went to the orientation for the chemistry major and changed my mind right then and there. I went back to my first loves: books and reading.

  10. I’ve lived in California all my life, but I would love to live in another part of the country or abroad. Maybe when I become one of those rich, famous author types I hear so much about.

  11. When it comes to genre fiction, I rate science fiction as my favorite, fantasy second, and horror in third. I like reading some horror books, but you won’t ever catch me watching horror movies or playing survival horror games. They scare me way too much.

  12. I am one the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to “plotting.” My novel outlines usually are around 40,000 words. They’re basically rough drafts by themselves. That’s just how I work best.

  13. I love videogames, especially RPGs. I think videogames represent an interesting place for the development of interactive fiction. However, the medium is still in its relative infancy. I can’t wait to see where the medium and games industry will go in the future.

    40,000 word outline? Holy cow!

    If any of that makes you interested in me or my work, feel free to visit my website (http://rshunter-author.com) or follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/rshunter88). Be sure to check out The Exile’s Violin when it comes out if you love steampunk, airships, gunfights, and a smattering of magic.

    The Exile's Violin

    Why hire mercenaries to kill an innocent family just to obtain one little key? That question haunts Jacquie Renairre for six years as she hunts down the people responsible for murdering her parents.

    Not even accepting an assignment to investigate a conspiracy that aims to start a war can keep her from searching for the key. Armed with her father’s guns and socialite Clay Baneport, she continues her quest for answers abroad.

    With the world edging closer to disaster, Jacquie is running out of time to figure out how the war, the key, and ancient legend are intertwined. The fate of the world hinges on her ability to unravel both mysteries before it’s too late.


    Tomorrow, come back here to meet fantasy author Rachel Hunter

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hydra Blog Hop - September 10-15

I'm so excited that I get to introduce you to a whole new circle of writers and bloggers!

Come back tomorrow when I host fellow steampunk writer, R.S. Hunter.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11th, I host fantasy writer Rachel Hunter.

So I guess you could say I'm giving my blog to a couple of "Hunters" this week.

Thursday, I'm doing a guest post on Rachel's blog, HERE.

And Friday, you'll find me at Michael Turner's bloggity-blog right HERE.

I will be in my car traveling to Joplin, MO and then heading in the opposite direction towards Central IL for work. I will catch up when I'm stuck all alone in a hotel room, praying for internet access.

Jay Noel.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Be Water, My Friend

Bruce Lee is one of my all time heroes for a number of reasons. First of all, he made some kick ass movies. Iconic images are burned into my brain like his yellow jumpsuit imitated in Kill Bill, and the scene where he rips the chest hair from Chuck Norris' burly chest.

Lee was also a great philosopher, and applied it to the martial art that he created - Jeet Kune Do. JKD is often called the "formless" martial art because Bruce Lee believed in training every ounce of your body so that your movements become automatic. And once you become a true master, you no longer had to think about what to do. The body just does.

Finally, Bruce Lee left us with some wise words that we can all use. I absolutely love his analogy of martial arts with flowing water. We can apply this philosophy not only to martial arts, but with everything we do in life.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

This is how I feel about the writing process - or any creative process, for that matter. Remember writing academic papers? I do. As an English major, I had to write a lot of them. I remember sitting down and forcing myself to write. To use Bruce Lee's analogy, I was trying to force open a rusted spigot, hoping to get the water flowing. I could usually make it happen, but it was tough.

How do we get our creativity to flow like water?

There's a lot in Bruce Lee's philosophy that can help us:

1) Do it everyday. Mushin is a state of mind that is unthinking, flowing, and open....But it only comes from training every single day to the point where it becomes automatic, like breathing. If you're a writer, write every damn day. If you're a painter, paint. A singer, sing. Do it every single day. This will help when the creative juices don't flow so easily. Even if you're creating crap that you will probably pitch, at least you're creative something. If you're too stubborn or lazy to do it everyday, then kick your own ass.

2) Don't over think it. Sometimes it's good to just "empty your mind" and write whatever your subconscious is dictating to you. It's almost like feeling possessed - the writing flows, and you can hardly take a breath before stopping. Getting to this creative nirvana is impossible if your conscious mind is too awake worrying, stressing out about coming up with creative ideas or whatever. If you're stuck somewhere in the creative process, don't get bogged down. Let the water flow around the stone. Come back to it later...maybe your subconscious mind will work it out on its own. Keep a notebook at your beside for those moments where you have revelations in the middle of the night.

3) Be flexible. Maybe you planned out something in great detail, but as you begin to create, you find yourself going in another direction. Be flexible enough to let your creative mind take over and take you wherever it wants to go. Maybe it'll take you to a dead end. So what? It could also take you to another world of possibilities that you could never have planned.

4) Try new things. Water adapts to its surroundings. This is key to Jeet Kune Do. In combat, you can't stick to your conventions if the situation dictates it. What if you're fighting a dwarf? Or how about a dude that's seven feet tall? You have to adapt and change in order to survive. Creativity is the same way. The best way to learn adaptability is to get out of your comfort zone. Are you a writer than only writes in first person point of view? Then try writing in 3rd person limited. Or maybe try your hand at writing in a different genre. Do you only paint with oil? Try watercolor. Do you play guitar...why not try the drums? By seeking out strange and new experiences, you avoid getting stagnant.

5) A list of five things seems more appropriate, and 5 is my lucky number, but I guess I'll just stop at 4. Look, I'm practicing the art of flowing water right now. Despite only coming up with four points, I'm still typing away. Go me!

Be water my friend...