Tuesday, July 12, 2011

[July 12th] Slaves and Stories

I've had an amazing weekend, which involved the beach at day time and the beach at night time with drinks. Monday involved ironing, so no blog posts, but I do have things to share.

First, an article I wrote for Beyond Victoriana has gone live over the weekend. I discuss the creation of the fiercest Ottoman special ops division in their military, the enichari corps, which consisted of abducted Christian children brainwashed into loyal soldiers:

When I agreed to write the series about Bulgaria under the Ottoman rule as a suitable stage for the steampunk genre, I underestimated the challenge these articles present. I want to deliver a portrayal of a complicated and cruel span of five centuries in Bulgarian history. At the same time I’m dealing with controversial and sensitive material, given that the Ottoman occupation has hindered Bulgaria’s access to Europe during the time of the Industrial Revolution.1

Even more so, given that this article deals with the cruelest tactic from the Ottoman empire to ensure its armies never lacked man power, while at the same time assured the assimilation of all conquered lands: the ‘enichari’ corps. 2. The word ‘enichar’ means ‘new soldier’ and refers to an Ottoman military class, which consists from non-Muslims. During the 14th century, the Ottoman conquests resulted in a sizeable amount of conquered territories and the aching need to expand the empire’s armies.

In other news, I'm back to submitting stories. "Hurricane Drunk" has been sent without alterations, but I tidied some moments in "Cosmic Love" before sending it out. At this point I'm not harboring any hopes to get both accepted, having no active hope is the best case scenario, when sending shorts in my opinion.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

[July 9th] 10,000 views

Hold the presses. Hold the presses.

The blog has made 10,000 views, which considering how often I updated is nothing short than perplexing. Thank you all, thank you all and keep coming. You never know. I may actually say something smart that may be of use sometimes.

Until then, enjoy some fine humor from Deadpool:

PS: Insert 'congratulations' and well wishes in the comment section below.

Friday, July 8, 2011

[July 8th] Soundtracks

"I may or may not have an addiction..." ~ artist is Gnato

I'm into TV shows as you may or may not know [I even need a spreadsheet to stay atop of what episode of what TV show I need to get to] and the magic of the TV show is the title sequence with its own soundtrack. As I child, whenever the extended title sequence started I'd pose along with the main cast and just imagine I am part of the story. With some title sequences I might still do that [*cough*True Blood*cough*], but you know, alone and such.

To me the soundtracks and title sequences are for TV shows what gorgeous covers are for books, a sensory hook that lures you into digesting the content waiting past that point. As covers reveal a bit about the book [scantily clad women in UF covers usually refer to a sexually charged story line] soundtracks set the tone for the TV show.

Here I've prepared two reworked themes from two shows that I follow. The one is an orchestra arrangement of the old 80s X-Men cartoon [which I adored as a kid as it got me into comics in the first place]. The original theme is rather goofy as 80s cartoon themes oughta be, but Jason Sturgill gives it the Inception make-over and now it rocks.

The next is an acoustic/electric violin cover of The Game of Thrones theme, which I adore in its original composition, but also enjoyed tremendously in this version.

Do you agree with me? Also what are your favorite themes from a TV show? My all-time favorite has to be Fringe with its booming and demanding theme.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

[July 7th] The Project Merry-Go-Round

“My life is like that, but only less fabulous and the carousel has a jet pack strapped to the horsey.”

I crack open an imaginary book. The spine creaks, the dust avalanches down the hardcover and pools around the yellowed pages. Yes, it’s been that long since I’ve opened this book and the guilt feels as though my body is under a siege of spiders. The book is filled with titles, the titles sit neatly stacked one below the other and much like literary accountancy, numbers have nested in flocks.

The pages stare back in accusation that I’ve probably forgotten the Defoesque title I’ve given it at the start. It certainly sat through without supervision long enough to accuse me of neglect and much like a horcrux schemes against me, meticulously cataloguing my ideas, curving c’s into vicious vertical smiles.

I’m of course referring to the “Book of Unfinished Works that I really want to write, submit and subsequently publish for the sake of my sanity and satisfaction” or in other words the to-do list of the projects that I really need to get to, if I want to tell people I’m a writer with a straight face.

The first thing I’ve written in months is nonfiction for Beyond Victoriana as part of my series on Bulgaria, its history and its application for the steampunk genre. “Slaves in the Ottoman Military” deals with the sensitive topic of the Ottoman practice to forcefully take young boys from Christian families in order to turn them into an elite fighting squad for the sultan called the ‘enichari.’ The article will go live on Sunday.

I’m interested to pursue my interests in writing nonfiction again. Only the librarian gods know how many books I’m interested in reviewing [old habits die hard] and I’ve also volunteered to join the crew of the World SF blog [after yet another seducing invitation from Lavie Tidhar], but only as a very occasional contributor. On the minus side, I’m no longer working at Apex’s The Zombie Feed and handling their Twitter feed or marketing. I’m good at it [even though I learned that I like zombies, but don’t breathe them to be excellent at it] and in order to do a satisfactory job I need more time and energy on a daily basis, which I don’t possess.

Fiction-wise, I’m way behind. The ‘edit my way through all the short stories’ isn’t going well at all. I find some are lacking a small piece to make them work, others need expansion and I am not sure if I don’t need to write a brand new story for the same concept. So that makes six stories to edit, nine to write and a novella to finish. Not to mention getting to my novel, if I’m to submit it this year.

What have you been all up to yourselves?

Monday, July 4, 2011

[July, 4th] When incarceration ends

"Somewhere, someone is throwing this and yelling 'popcorn nova'!"

I’ve been planning to write this blog post for fifteen days, yet, I don’t find the right moment. I either sleep in and then have to do house work before actual work or I’m too exhausted after work to write anything. June has come and gone and thank the calendar gods for that mercy.

In short this is what happened in no particular order.

1] I had four exams, for which I had to study early in the mornings before work and then late in the evenings after work [though to be honest, I fell asleep immediately after work]. This is the main bulk from my trial during June. Study and work, as any starving artist will tell you, don’t complement each other, when you realize the day has 24 hours instead of 48. However, I crawled out victorious from it all. Three Bs and an A, hooray.

2] I got sick twice in June, with two weeks respite before the second viral infection had me all shivering and shaking. It’s tough trying to bring down a fever [I get 39.5 C fevers or for my US friends, 103 degrees Fahrenheit]. I had to postpone one exam until a later date and felt like a digested squirrel in the stomach of a boa constrictor.

3] June also entailed dealing with my sister’s enrollment in a high school, which in Bulgaria is a weird ritualistic process, involving witchcraft, voodoo and lots of tests. The gist of it is that all students compete for a spot in a high school of their choosing with exams and their school grades. All you anime lovers, who’ve ever followed a high school series, you know what I’m talking about. This involved waiting for exam results, prepping necessary admission papers, submitting such papers and waiting to hear about the enrollment.

PS: My sister’s been successfully enrollment in her dream school, studying French.

4] I think really have a four, but please size up the previous three. It’s a formidable list for any person to handle. I’m happy it’s over. I can focus on my hobbies.

What does this mean? For one writing, for another more involvement in literary projects and a lot stronger online presence. However, I will share what I’m up to tomorrow.