Category Archives: Role-Playing Game

Keeping me Weird

Hi everyone!

Man, didn’t mean to drop off the face of the earth, but I had two (well, maybe one) good reasons!

First of all, once again jobless. Despite the hope I’d be asked to continue at that supermarket I did a Christmas contract for, I’ve not heard a lick of a word from them. But perhaps that is a good thing! Perhaps this is a sign from On High that I should get off my butt and submit (yet again) applications more relevant to my degree and work experience.

In the meantime, what have I been doing ever since I finished my novel?

Skyrim.

Yes, this fantasy video game has utterly swept me into its snowy world and done a damn good job of helping me forget the pain/depression of losing a stable means of income. But I would also be fooling myself. If I wanted to, I could always go back to that dishwasher stint, or head out there and perform the same old rituals of the (job) hunt.

I just chose not to. For over a month and a half, I chose to – for once – have FUN. I chose to lose myself in Skyrim. And oh, has the obsession been sweet.

God, this is a beautiful, beautiful game. Words just can’t describe it. These past few weeks, I felt like I could do anything – slay dragons, wrestle giants to the ground, and tackle most obstacles merely by poking it with a sword and castle-sized stones. No messy job hunts. To earn money, all I had to do was to raid tombs and rob the dead, or help a girl find love in a small town, or reunite ghostly lovers searching for each other on an ancient battlefield.

I could go on and on about the game, but let’s just say that Skyrim is the reason I disappeared from Facebook and much of social life, leading people to actually wonder what happened to me! In fact, I played this game so much the fingers of my right hand swelled up, requiring me to drastically realise that, okay, perhaps I should ease back on the 12-hour, bladder-tightening gaming sessions.

But in the end, when it comes to my prospects, it’s just as Paolo Roy says about unemployment: I have to figure out how to live on my own terms.

Hack and Polish

It has not all been fun and games! I have actually started the editing process for my novel. This requires me to print it all out, as having it on paper makes it much easier for me to spot the minute and structural details I should fix.

And what a whopper the novel turned out to be! At 14-font and single space, the manuscript was a murder weapon-worthy 258 pages.

With my muse dragon, Fangthorn, and Fuzzy Red Hat of Inspiration.

Now that I gave myself a month to let the novel ‘rest’, I could start rereading with a fresh mind.

Good news, at least. So far I’ve gone through three-quarters of the manuscript and it isn’t as bad as I thought it was. There are two, three chapters that need serious reworking but otherwise…it could work. I just need to get to the ending before I can get down to the serious rewriting.

PLANE HOPPING

But there is, also, another reason I’ve not bothered job hunting the past month. February is when I fly to Texas for an exciting month-long vacation I planned half a year ago. And after a whale of preparations, I am finally here!

Austin's motto, seen on a colourful row of T-shirts at the airport.

That’s right. I’m in the US of A, and so far my holiday is fantastic 😀

I’m come across a customs official who tawks ta me in dat distinctive Brooklyn accent, spotted people in Amish-like robes, and eavesdropped on Americans who chatter straight out of all those US telly programmes I grew up on back in good old Malaysia.

It’s a surreal feeling, and I must stop acting like such a tourist and stopping every five steps to take photographs! I have a feeling people will not look too kindly to me stalking them with a camera.

But hey, at least I brought my homework – the manuscript which I saved on my thumb drive and plan to edit when I get some free time at night.

And in case people are wondering: No, this vacation will be, for once happily, Skyrim-free.

Will update soon, I hope! 😀

6 Comments

Filed under Books, Computer Games, Depression, Malaysia, Novel, Photography, Role-Playing Game, Skyrim, State of Mind, Triumph, Work, Writing

My 1st Role-Playing Game, or Day 20 NaNoWriMo

My first RPG. With much thanks to HMTKSteve and Acaeum for the picture!

Twenty years ago, more or less, I played a thief character in a role-playing game called Dungeons & Dragons Basic.

It was my first such game, and I was still unsure about pretending to be someone else, with statistics, in a fantasy world. The only thing I knew for sure was, I love fantasy!

My friend Freda was the game master, and between the two of us, she put my thief character through a simple adventure I can no longer remember. We were armed with nothing but sheets of paper, pencils and erasers, dice…and our imaginations.

The two things that stuck from that first game was:

1) My char’s life points were so low a single hit from an enemy could kill me.

2) The memory of my thief stepping on a log to cross a river, only for this ‘log’ to actually be a crocodile chomping for my leg!

It’s an old chestnut now, this classic trap. But ahh, those were wild and exciting days, this idea that I could explore imaginary worlds and take on the role of a character who wasn’t this shy, introverted, damaged girl.

For reasons that remain unclear to me, Freda wandered away, and I was desperate to play it again. I played gamebooks, highly enjoyable solo adventures but it wasn’t the same. I needed people. I need…a party of fellow adventurers.

Trouble was, I was in Malaysia. And NO ONE knew what this Ar-Pee-Gee thing was. I resorted, then, to desperate measures: I recruited family members.

Actually, ‘recruited’ is too mild a word. I shanghaied them. Cajoled. Poked and bullied my mystified brother and cousins  into a room where somehow we sat down with a minimum of chaos and played. I wanted to be a player instead of the storyteller, but I had no choice. I had to be the gamemaster. I had the rules, and it was me who ran the show.

Little did I know it, but that was my first exposure to public speaking. I remember stammering, nervous shuffling through sheets of paper, my voice quavering while desperately describing scenarios that would hold the interest of arguably one of the toughest audiences of all.

We had some fun times, I recall, with my finest moment involving a monstrous cyclops and a mirror and my brother and cousins resorting to hilarious ways of bringing it down. I smile at the memory, but I still wanted someone else to run the show.

My Latest Adventure

Some would say I’m now on the greatest adventure of all – having given up a cushy job to fly halfway across the world to this exotic land of Scotland. I’m dirt poor, but exceedingly happy. For one thing, I’ve found a new gaming group, and good friends to play with.

The game is Anima, an anime-inspired RPG. I play yet another thief character named Sevren Gale, who has some minor, ahem, people issues and is somewhat attached to his crow companion, Kai.

Its been ages since I played with a group, and it shows. And I’m no longer quite the girl I was before. Each time I play, however, I get practice expressing myself in a storytelling format. And really, anything that can make you do that, and open your mind to worlds of wonder and possibility, doesn’t deserve the label of a mere game for “children or geeks”.

(I am, however, unashamedly geek).

For those interested, here’s a brief extract from a session report:

Sevren forgets the lord’s name as soon as he hears it. He’s too busy staring at the man’s damn house – a thousand slum families could probably fit into the place.

As usual, he lets Ya’el do the talking while Sevren sits, trying to decide if it was worth making off with the silverware. Their employer – ugh, what was his name? Sevren decides to call him Lord High and Mighty – was telling them about how his daughter had been kidnapped. Just when Sevren’s thinking this was going to be a rescue mission, Lord High and Mighty adds his daughter was returned unharmed after he’d paid her ransom.

“But,” LHM says, seething, “I want those bastards who kidnapped her to pay. Honour must be satisfied!”

That’s when Sevren looks up from scratching Kai’s feathers. “Wait a minute. You’re telling me the kidnappers gave her back, alive, and you want us to go after them? You already paid them. They fulfilled their part of the bargain.”

LHM booms something about justice and honour and all that shlock, and Sevren has to pull Ya’el to one side.

“Something is not right here,” Sevren hisses to her. “What is a nobleman of his rank doing recruiting for people in a seedy tavern? He has people to do that sort of thing for him. The guild of fighters, for instance. Something is fishy here.”

Ya’el argues with him (she seems to want to do this stupid job for some reason) and Sevren argues right back. In the end, the thief agrees to go along with LHM’s revenge mission. Mostly because enough money was offered for it to go right into Sevren’s head.

The next thing he knew, LHM was taking about some Orin Doom person who led the group of bandits that kidnapped the girl. Sevren definitely got the idea that two people were not going to take on that band in their fortress.

“We need to outsource,” Ya’el says to him.

LHM next jabbers about something interesting. An air ship known as a Zeppelin was going to make its maiden voyage from Holdfast to Daal, where from there their merry band could make their way to the bandits’ hideout.

“I will get you passage on that voyage,” the lord says.

Sevren sighs happily. Kai would like that.

NaNoWriMo Word Count

33828 / 50000 words. 68% done!

To recap: my mission this month of November – to do NaNoWriMo by day, my other Malaysian novel by night, and blog about something vaguely interesting every day of November. So far I am surviving!

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Family, Fantasy, Gamebooks, Malaysia, Novel, Photography, Role-Playing Game, State of Mind, Triumph, Writing

My First Pancake! or Day 19 NaNoWriMo

Something exciting happened to me last night during my kitchen job.

I was frantically washing dishes during the busy Saturday restaurant shift when the Uncle suddenly asked me to helped him grill two pancakes. So he passed the turner to my stunned self and left me with two pancakes sizzling on the grill.

I was ecstatic. My first cooking duty! Lives were at stake here! From dishwashing, I have graduated to Pancake Grilling. Soon I might move up to Soups, and perhaps a week or two, Starters. Or even *gasp* a simple Chicken Rice or Curry Noodle. In time, why, I could almost envision myself as a master chef of Chinese cuisine! My father would beam with pride.

I was so excited, in fact, that I burned the pancakes. Ooops. Quickly I flipped them over and hoped no one noticed. It’s not too bad. Just some charred bits over here. Surely the customers won’t notice if one side is nicely fluffed and perfect? Argh! The fire is too hot! What? More pancakes? Coming! *Plop* *Plop*

The Uncle finally took the turner away from me and I shamefully banished myself back to the sink after he couldn’t help noticing how crispified his pancakes were getting. At least he was kind about it.

I suppose those master chef ambitions will have to wait.

Afterwards I asked the restaurant manager if I could buy eggs from him, because I’d been so busy making my NaNoWriMo word count (I was quite proud of hitting the minimum before work!) that I had no time to rush to the grocery store.

I needed the eggs for the brownies I planned to bring to a friend’s clothes and books swap event, and it just so happened I baked these same brownies for the restaurant people last week!

But when my shift was done, the manager passed me eight beautiful eggs, when I asked for six.

“Don’t worry, just take it,” he said when I asked him how much.

It’s humbling moments like these – just when I think I can never be a part of their world – when I wonder if I’ve deeply misunderstood these people, or if my heart is too small.

Huzzah!

Brownies are done, and I’m ready to run to my friend’s house. And after that, my second tabletop roleplaying session with another group of friends! The RPG game is called Anima, and I play an “insufferable” thief named Sevren Gale – I had to buy a Disadvantage to get some perks for my character, and so ‘Insufferable’ was it.

Didn’t have time to write more of my Malaysian novel after I came home aching from work last night, but I feel I deserve a bit of relaxation today.

For the first time in weeks though, I’m feeling so ready to write. I am in the ZONE. I can’t wait to get back and write!

31739 / 50000 words. 63% done!

6 Comments

Filed under Fantasy, Malaysia, Novel, Photography, Role-Playing Game, State of Mind, Triumph, Work, Writing

November ‘Nanigans!

Recent Bedside Books

Here I am, having moved (again!) to my original flat after roughly ten months of living in temporary flats. How wonderful it is to have a stable home again.

For some reason, my books have bred like bunnies, however, and I was forced to make room for them on another makeshift shelf. If only there was some way to neuter my purse.

Anyway one unpacking, cleaning and vacuum later, and my bedroom is decent again. Which brings me to November.

Shenanigans

For over a week I wondered how I was going to commit to NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – when I haven’t fully finished Malaysian Dark yet. With one week left to October, I had to:

  1. Pack and move house
  2. Finish up loose ends at the bookshop job (like baking farewell beer brownies for the colleagues, twice, after certain misadventures with the Evil Oven of Temp Flat #2)
  3. Play this new tabletop RPG game, Anima, I’d been eager to try out with friends;
  4. And somehow finish that novel.

I can see it – the ending of Malaysian Dark – so clearly. I’m almost there. I just need to bridge the gap between the Chapter where the Hero is Horribly Traumatised, and the Chapter where Revelation Hits, which would hurtle me towards the ending I’ve already written. I tried to finish by the end of October, but it’s been a struggle.

And then it hit me. Why not do both? Write both for NaNoWriMo AND finish the novel in November too? I had some time, now that the bookshop job was finished. Sure, I had some commitments with the charity shop volunteering, and a possible mail sorter job later this month…

Why not?

1,700 words a day + 1,000?

Disclaimer: Models were used to re-enact the awesomeness of the Hat

So yes, I decided to do both. NaNoWri by day, novel by night.

I am taking precautions. I have appointed my new fuzzy headwear, the Blessed Hat of Productivity +5, so that whenever I don this holy cap of authorship, I shall be afire with the need to ejaculate as many words onto the screen as possible. I shall wear it chanting the mantras of NaNoWriMo:

    1. Quantity, not Quality.
    2. The Backspace Key is Thine Enemy.
    3. Announce your Commitment to the World, so that the World may Mocketh thee if Thou Dost Not Finish;
    4. Neglect all Social Commitments, but thou art allowed to findeth out what happened to thine Thief left Abandoned on that damn beach in Anima–

Okay, so I made that last up. Hey, I need to reward myself somehow!

I even have a writing buddy, one I have shamelessly egged into doing it, and we are both excited. We drew up our Magna Cartas, and Evil Magna Cartas, as suggested by Chris Baty in his wonderful book No Plot? No Problem!

My story will be, oddly enough, a Youth Adult novel, something I’ve never written before. I have enjoyed Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series, and Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books in the past, however. Here’s my Magna Carta list of what I would love to see in a/my novel:

  • Bookshops (this whole premise was inspired by my bookshop job)
  • Travelling, dimension hopping
  • A young protagonist with a sensible head on his/her shoulders
  • Magic – unique powers
  • Characters who survive great hardships or abusive backgrounds, overcome a flaw/disadvantage
  • Plot twists
  • Awesome villains – does not think they’re evil
  • Drama with a sense of humour
  • Books with grandiose titles
  • Tyrannical employers
  • Unexpected/thwarted romances – young, gay, sweet, subtle and awkward?
  • Good to bittersweet endings
  • Sacrifice
  • Redemption
  • Elaborate, intricate worlds that I would love to explore – sense of wonder
  • Pretzels, candy, chocolate – Very Important
  • Angels, dragons, demons, unicorns – Very Important

And here is my Evil Magna Carta, things I dislike in a/my novel:

  • ZOMBIES!!
  • Yet another vampire character – unless something different about it
  • Silly and nonsensical settings
  • Pets
  • Ditzy women
  • Pretentious writing
  • Characters who do (dumb) things that make no sense
  • Scenes that demean gay/bisexual chars
  • Characters who do long soliloquies aloud, or in their heads
  • Overly scifi or ‘lifeless’ settings – I want worlds that breathe
  • Too many strange events or settings that alienate readers – strange for the sake of being strange
  • Too many viewpoints that make it hard for readers to care
  • Contemporary settings – unless it is different/unique enough
  • Trite or convenient deus ex machina
  • Characters who brood/angst overly much – Get over yourself!
  • Too many adverbs
  • Clumsy info dumps – “As you know, Jim, we are three hundred years old and secretly blue”

Mind you I wrote these while half asleep, but it will do. Right then. No more dithering. On to Day One of NaNoWriMo! Wish me luck and sanity!

Hmmm, I suppose I should think about a character and plot, huh?

By the Way

My lesbian erotica shapeshifter story was accepted for the anthology Beastly Babes (now called She-Shifters). I am so relieved. The ‘race through a rain forest morphing from tiger to kingfisher’ part refers to my story!

It’s another step, at least. Must keep writing, must keep sending out there.

6 Comments

Filed under Books, Charity Shop, Contests, Fantasy, Malaysia, Novel, Photography, Role-Playing Game, State of Mind, Triumph, Writing

Winter is Coming

Have you ever woken up in the wee hours of the morning, brain refreshed and renewed, and turned on your computer enthused about churning out page after page of glowing text from that novel you’ve been neglecting lately?

Only to find yourself going: Wait, I must check Facebook, ooh I must twitter this, look shiny interesting blogpost must read–screw you novel, stop pouting at me, you will keep!

My life feels a lot like that lately.

Zing

The weeks have been whizzing by pretty fast! First of all, the bookshop job has been demanding a lot out of me, but I’m immensely grateful for being employed. The first few weeks, taking the bus to work, I was on cloud nine.

Now it’s a bit shocking to realise how easy it is to take a job for granted. When I stumble home, body aching, the last thing I want to do is work on the novel – and this inspires a new range of feelings: a kind of resentment at the new distraction, guilt for procrastinating and not writing more, and a deeper self-loathing along the lines of Why-Can’t-You-Be-More-Disciplined-and-Get-Your-Life-Together?

My friends tell me that I am just too hard on myself, that the brain needs rest and time to simmer over plotlines and ideas, so on and so forth. But deep down I feel that I myself should get some words down at the end of the day, to feed that writing habit.

Also, best friend Liz (with her usual brand of tough love) reminds me that I should focus on the positive side of things and what I’ve achieved so far (she suggested making a list, which I thoroughly and honestly plan to do one day). And that I should shift my mindset from ‘I must finish this’ to ‘I should aim to…’

This way, writing becomes less about about the stick-and-morningstar, ahem, but more goal oriented.

I Not Been Idle!

In any case, the writing bits are coming along – just not much on the novel.

Besides deriving (probably too many!) hours and hours of pleasure MUSHing, I have sent a story for a writing contest, edited someone’s synopsis, and been wistfully eyeing yet another anthology called ‘Dark Tales of Lost Civilisations’.

I wish I knew about this one sooner, rather than just two weeks before the deadline! I do have a possible story in me head, but it requires a ton of research, more thinking, and certainly a more stable environment considering I am supposed to be finally moving back to our flat next week – now that repairs are (supposedly) done after a nasty flooding incident last December. (Good lord, still can’t believe my poor landlady has been out of her own home since last year!)

Anyway after a bit of soul searching, I’ve decided to sadly give this intriguing-sounding anthology a pass, although it doesn’t mean I will not work on that germ of a story someday.

At the very least, the past month I also sat down and fleshed out the villains that might appear in my Malaysian Dark series. Yes, the eternal novel I’ve been working on has actually sprouted babies. I always knew Malaysian Dark would make a good series, considering the limitless possibilities of its folklore. It’s just a question of how I can develop all the pieces together in the beginning, and not tack on some convenient piece of lore as an afterthought (*cough* George Lucas *cough*).

Winter is Coming

But time is of the essence. I should aim to finish (see what I just did? ; ) most of the novel by the end of this month, because November is NaNoWri. I’d been toying whether to actually commit myself to it, since my US friend Ashley has been fired up about churning out that 50,000 word novel.

If I do decide to do it, I’ve even got an idea on what to write. It would, surprisingly, be a Young Adult novel, which I realise could be such a pleasure to do. It would get my head out of the Malaysian urban fantasy morass that is Malaysian Dark, and make for a lovely change of pace. I’m actually excited about writing it too! Funnily enough, it was the bookshop job that inspired it.

Argh, but…should finish Malaysian Dark! Winter is coming, and knowing me, if I’m too damn cold, I cannot write. (I still remember shivering in my room last year because my fingers were half frozen, despite the gloves).

Plus, next month is when I start on the new Christmas mail sorting job, God willing.

November be coming, and I must make a decision soon.

6 Comments

Filed under Contests, Fantasy, Malaysia, MUSH, Novel, Photography, Procrastination, Role-Playing Game, State of Mind, Triumph, Writing

Mwahaha! Success! *Evil Laugh*

What, success? Did I finally get a job? Are agents rushing to sign me?!

Nay, my friends! It is written! After three months, Dragon Age 2 has dropped to £9.99 in Amazon! *Waits for thunderous applause*

Just imagine! A mere week ago it was still a ridiculous £18 or so, and now – only three months after its release – it is within my grasp! And by the time I finish the novel and all the expansions of Dragon Age 1, I can lay my hands on this sweet, sweet beast. My…preeeecioussss…

Okay, granted the sequel didn’t get the best reviews in the world, and the game will likely send me into fits of developer-rage, but it will be epic! It’s fricken Dragon Age!

Ahhh. *Pets the original game* How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I was browsing through the game screenshots recently, and in a burst of geekiness, decided to post a few to show why I love the first Dragon Age. (Spoiler Warning)

My first character in this “dark fantasy world” was as Auryn, a City Elf whose people live in the slums, subjugated by human lords who use the urban elf folk as cheap labour, or worse. That angle about repression struck a chord in me, and although I usually hate, hate, hate how elves are written in fantasy (“Lo! I am graceful! Watch me play this harp then shoot mine bow into this orc’s heart a mile away!”)…I astonished myself by playing one here.

Besides! Auryn’s origin story starts out as vaguely interesting. The game begins with what would be his wedding day. Which as anyone knows is a recipe for disaster.

Auryn on the left. I loved how nearly every human in the beginning looked down at my character, going 'What? You're a (mere) Elf.' Before I proceeded to kick everyone's arses and SAVE THE DAMN WORLD.

The sign of good writing in a game? When you really, really wanted to strangle this bastard who kidnapped your bride, forcing you to storm into the mansion of a human lord to save her before she is violated. The interesting thing is that if you choose to play an elven female instead of a male, you can break out of the mansion yourself and kick their teeth in after they murdered your fiance. Now THAT is emotional investment.

After weeks of playing, then finishing the game all cracked and emotional, I restarted the game, this time as a human. A young woman of noble origins I imaginatively named Aura.

Aura’s origin story starts off with her (my) father and brother going off to war, with Aura to be left in charge of the household, including of her sister in law and little nephew.

Foresight: I would have saved my character a whole LOT of grief if I had gutted the guy on the right.

Off to war: A final happy family gathering before the leave-taking.

And then things took a slight turn for the worse.

With nothing left for her back home, Aura is recruited into the Grey Wardens, an elite group with probably the harshest and most controversial initiation ritual ever. All necessary, it seems, because a horde of orcs and ogres--I'm sorry--Darkspawn are devouring the land.

Why, Treebeard! You look...good.

Mmmmmn. Alistair... Okay. I admit it. I played a female to romance this guy. Gah.

In all my years of playing, there are very few video games that have affected me so. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic  (KOTOR) was sheer epic drama. Planescape: Torment blew me away with powerful writing. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII made me cry, damnit. Dragon Age did all three, and despite its minor flaws I’m not sure there will ever be another game like it.

I’m still playing Aura, lately put on hold however until I wrestle down the writing. And the adventure goes on!

2 Comments

Filed under Computer Games, Dragon Age, Fantasy, Novel, Role-Playing Game, Triumph, Writing

Oops, I Did It Again

I have sinned.

I actually ordered…a book. I told myself I should save money and not buy from Amazon, to just borrow the books I want, but I couldn’t help myself!

In fact I think I must have borrowed about thirty books from various sources. Some of them are being read, others are scattered across two houses, waiting desperately to be picked up, their egos soothed, their pages stroked… Ahem. Where was I?

Anyway the only time I buy books is for research, or if I consider it an investment. And this time I thought Liz Williams’ book Snake Agent, the first novel in her Detective Inspector Chen series, was worth it. Besides the fact I was unashamedly attracted to the stunning cover, drawn by the award-winning artist Jon Foster, the premise for Snake Agent was intriguing. It’s set in Singapore!

Here’s the description from Amazon: Detective Inspector Chen is the Singapore Three police department’s snake agent – the detective in charge of supernatural and mystical investigations. Chen has several problems: in addition to colleagues who don’t trust him and his mystical ways, a patron goddess whom he has offended and a demonic wife who’s tired of staying home alone, he’s been paired with one of Hell’s own vice officers, Seneschal Zhu Irzh, to investigate the illegal trade in souls. Political pressures both Earthly and otherworldly seek to block their investigations at every turn. As a plot involving both Singapore Three’s industrial elite and Hell’s own Ministry of Epidemics is revealed, it becomes apparent that the stakes are higher than anyone had previously suspected.

Which reminds me – just a bit – of the setting for the anime/manga Yami no Matsuei, or Descendants of Darkness. Except that protagonist Tsuzuki is, well, dead, works as a department agent in the Underworld, and doesn’t have a demonic wife. He does have a partner who acted like one, though.

Influences

Part of me worries about reading something I might end up replicating too much within my writing. I’ve got these bunch of ideas and ideals simmering in my head, and my concern is to translate them into stories I want to tell in as unique an outlook as possible. At the same time I know it’s virtually impossible to not be influenced by writing that resonates with you. I’m conscious of the fact, for instance, that the main character in Malaysian Dark reminds me of Hellblazer’s John Constantine, or Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files series – which I enjoy, although the premise for my novel popped in my head before I ever heard of Storm Front. Still, no harm in letting someone’s work stimulate you, and I recognise that as a writer, I should read and read and read as well.

Ordering a book online feels different from carting home the odd one-pound book from the charity shop, and so to ease my guilty conscience, I found myself browsing through my Amazon wish list. This is actually my Oh-I-Want-This-Badly-But-I-Shouldn’t-So-Let’s-Stick-It-Here-So-I-Can-Temporarily-Forget-It list.

Going through that list was amusing. Some of the titles were accumulated over the years, and feature a rather funky range of mostly books, computer games, TV series, movies and music CDs:

My Wish List, from Most Recent

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Best of Michael Moorcock

The Night Watch (Sergei Lukyanenko)

Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)

DestinyQuest: The Legion of Shadow (Michael J. Ward) – Gamebook *coughs*

Night of the Necromancer: Fighting Fantasy (Jonathan Green) – Another gamebook, with the premise that you’re a murdered knight who must rise as a ghost and claim vengeance!

Jupiter’s Travels (Ted Simon) – One of five motorcycle books I shoved in there, thinking I needed research on how to write motorcycle riding.

The Visual Dictionary of Architecture – I’m fascinated by architecture and I’ve always feel this burning need to know about the style of buildings. I haven’t a clue, for instance, on how to identify Victorian from Georgian from Doric from Retro whatever. I’m pretty updated on Star Wars and Star Trek building styles however, for anyone who’s interested. I might get this some day!

Two Worlds II – Computer role-playing game. Weird name, I know. But not as wacky as Divine Divinity.

Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs: Complete Series – Don’t laugh! This 1980s cartoon show of giant robots, intergalactic cowboys and a British main character who speaks perfect Queen’s English (but is oddly from the Scottish Highlands) inspired a girl’s fertile imagination. I can still remember some of the epic plots and characters I made up from this universe 🙂

Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Animated Series – Errr. I’ve only watched one episode in my life. Maybe two. And that’s my defence. Right.

The House of the Stag (Kage Baker)

Ramayana: India’s Immortal Tale of Adventure, Love and Wisdom (Krishna Dharma) – Yet another book I want for research.

Thundercats: Complete Season One – The only cartoon I know where cat men and women prance around the pilot episode nekkid before they put on clothes.

How to Write a Mystery (Larry Beinhart) – Back when I thought I should read up on how to write crime, after realising my knowledge of crime novels extended mostly to Sherlock Holmes. And the Famous Five.

The Little Book on Vaastu – Wha?

Wizardry and Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy (Michael Moorcock) – I actually borrowed this from the library but had to return it. Now I want to keep it, but the price is daunting!

Devil’s Cape (Rob Rogers) – Gritty crime novel with superheroes. Winning combination.

Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly (Jane Espenson) – A collection of essays and articles on the Firefly space western TV series. I absolutely adore Firefly. Whoever was responsible for cancelling it after just 14 episodes should be examined by the Scary Blue Glove Men.

Life After Doomsday: Survivalist Guide to Nuclear War and Other Major Disasters (Bruce D. Clayton) – Because admit it, all of us want to know how to survive the apocalypse.

I Dreamed a Dream (Susan Boyle) – Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t want to!

To Be Continued 🙂 

Leave a comment

Filed under Anime, Books, Computer Games, Crime, Fantasy, Gamebooks, Graphic Novels, Manga, Novel, Photography, Role-Playing Game, Writing