Rantings

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!

So I’m a terrible, horrible, irredeemable person.

I missed my self-imposed deadline of editing the first run by…..yesterday.

I’ve only edited up to page 105 I think. The page numbers are different on my tablet than they are on the actual lap top.

No! No! NO! *stomps foot on ground*

Sooooo bad.

But! That’s okay. Why? Because I’m still on my way to be published in April. I will just be delayed in putting any samples up.

Sorry!!

But I really am working hard at it. It’s slightly difficult to be able to delegate the time when you have a full time day job, a family, and interests outside of writing.

I’m a bad bad girl 🙁 Please forgive me! 🙂 I’ll try to forgive myself 😛

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, Rantings, 3 comments

MOOC's

So I started doing some free online courses through coursera.org.

These are classified as MOOC’s – Massive Open Online Class/Course.

Right now I’m taking a course through the University of Toronto called: Aboriginal Worldviews and Education.

The reason I wanted to take this course, nay, take a course on this topic for a very long time is because I am absolutely ignorant. It’s not something I’m proud of, especially because I am older now and I have gone to University. But I don’t know anything about Aboriginal People and I live in Canada where there is a large population of Aboriginals.

I started getting more and more interested in that particular part of my country’s history with my current job. I came in more contact with Aboriginal people than I ever have and sometimes, when they were trying to make me understand where they were coming from and why they saw things the way they did, I couldn’t really understand. Hell, my goddamn school has a whole ROOM for Aboriginal students. We also have a Prayer Room, but I digress.

I was able to go into the room earlier this month and it’s beautiful. Growing up my mother would sometimes be mistaken for Aboriginal when she is actually from India. With her dark hair and her complexion, she could pass for one and she used that to her full advantage, I am ashamed to say.

When I was in public school, we were not taught about Aboriginal history. Not really. I vaguely remember touching BRIEFLY on the subject in high school, but that is all. In the county where I grew up there was a high school that was on the edge of the local reserve so both Aboriginal student’s and ‘white’ students attended. It was notorious for having fights and stabbings. I don’t know how much of that was true or not as I didn’t attend there and I don’t know anyone who personally went there. This was also in the early to mid nineties in the middle of rural Ontario where tolerance and acceptance was maybe not high on the list of values taught to children.

So when I heard about this course I really wanted to take it so that I could finally learn about the cultures that make up my country. I find it slightly depressing that I know more about other cultures outside my country, like various Asian and Middle-Eastern cultures, but nothing of the wonderful cultures that have been in my country before Europe came.

I’m looking forward to all the things that I will learn!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Interests of days gone by

When I was younger, probably before my mid-twenties, I used to read novels all the time. I always had the most library cards filled up for school and I devoured everything I could find.

I used reading at that time as an escape from my every day life. When I hit my later teens and early twenties I found a few authors that I just couldn’t put down.

I had started reading John Saul when I was in my mid-teens as my mother had a few novels of his. I fell in love with it. I’m not even sure what it was that drew me to Mr. Saul’s work so intensely. I scoured every used bookstore and ordered through Chapters until I had every single novel he had ever published lined up on my bookshelf in chronological order.

Unfortunately, in my late twenties, I lost all of my books. All of my novels, my manga, my textbooks I had kept from University, other educational literature I had enjoyed. I’ve never been able to get back into novels since then.

Two authors I really enjoyed in the Fantasy genre and who have inspired me a lot in my writing, even just the desire to BE a writer, are Guy Gavriel Kay and Neil Gaiman. For Mr. Kay, I first found the Fionavar Tapestry. The fact that it began in a place I was familiar with, CANADA, made it that much more appealing. And he is a Canadian author! YAY! Nothing like supporting my own country’s talent! My ultimate favourite novel by him was Tigana. I LOVED THE HELL OUT OF THAT BOOK. The cover was so beat up and the pages were worn. I never dog-ear them though. But you could tell they had been loved. Unfortunately, those books are gone as well and my mind doesn’t remember all of the story any more. I just know that I loved it. For Mr. Gaiman, my boyfriend at the time read American Gods. I picked it up when he was done with it and was consumed. What an amazing take!

I followed that up with Neverwhere and then Stardust. I have the Coraline movie and I used to own a collection of his short stories.

These two, are also gone into the great black void.

While it pains me to think of these lost pieces of literature I know I can always replace them. It won’t be the same, worn out, over-loved copy that I had read multiple times, but I can just as easily turn them back into that.

I can only hope that I can be considered even 1/16th as great as any of these men. The wonders of twitter have allowed me to follow both Mr Gaiman and Mr Kay so I’m feeling that much more honoured to be in cyberspace contact with them.

Well, back to editing. I can’t even dream of being in the same genre as either of them if I don’t publish my work!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in My Book Stuff, Rantings, 0 comments

Family Day

Here in Alberta, Canada the coming Monday is a holiday called “Family Day”. Because of this, I won’t be posting much, if anything, until Tuesday the 19th. I am going to be spending all my time with my husband and son 🙂

In the meantime I’m still editing so please look forward to a chapter release! I should be comfortable enough with the finished product to release a chapter in March.

I still need to decide who I’ll publish with….more reading of FAQs for me!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Drawbacks of a Day Job Part 2

I never intended there to be a part two to this rant, but this morning warrants it.

Woke up OVER AN HOUR LATE. Today was a flurry of clothing being thrown on, cursing at my hair for not cooperating, wishing I was more talented/had time to put it on with makeup, desperately calling my workplace to inform them I would be late. My husband rushed to get our son up and dressed (he’s only 2.5 years old. Still needs help) as I flew down the stairs to throw all our bags into the truck and start it. There was more than normal today too because I wanted to bring my laptop to work and then we’re hopefully starting potty-training this week so I had extra clothes to take to the dayhome.

Of course, my son hates getting his boots on and getting ready in the morning. So that was a battle. Then once we were in the truck and he was munching on his toaster waffle (I feel like SUCH a horrible parent!) he realized that dad was not coming with us so that incited a cry-fest.

As he’s crying and I’m flying down the highway all I can look at is the clock. How late am I going to be? Will I have to cut back my lunch break to compensate? Was it even worth it to try and get there?

One thing you’ll want to understand about my daily commute: I live in the north end of my city. My dayhome is in the south. My workplace is central. The entire commute from home, to dayhome, to work is about 1 hour or an hour and change. And that’s just for one way.

FINALLY! I get to work only a half hour late. That’s okay. I can take a short lunch. I rush into my office only to see……no one else there.

WHAT?!

I dump my bags on my chair and turn my computer on. With my coat half-open I rush to the administration area to ask the lady if there was a meeting I didn’t know about.

Apparently there was. She didn’t know at first where it was because it had been decided at the last minute. We figured out where it was, I threw my coat on my chair and literally RAN up the two flights of stairs to the meeting room.

I knock on the door, it opens, and…..

BAM! DEPARTMENT MEETING! My super-boss, the DEAN OF MY DAMN DEPARTMENT and almost every single person I work with is all sitting at the table and I’ve interrupted a discussion.

Well, don’t I feel like an asshole.

Needless to say, I’m sure I turned red with embarrassment. What a wonderful way to start my day, let alone start my week.

God I wish I could have just stayed at home and continued editing. I hit page 60 last night, so I was happy about that. My laptop is here with me, but I doubt I’ll get to work on much.

I had been planning to talk about my story today, so I guess that’ll have to wait for tomorrow. Coffee break is over and there’s a line up of students.

Yay day job.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Heart and Soul

I’ve just finished reading the most current volume of my favourite Shojo manga, Skip Beat!   by Yoshiki Nakamura when I realized something.

There is a reason this is my favourite Shojo manga. The mangaka is brilliant. I have read something by her before and I felt it when I read her work then, but she is masterful in her craft. Not only are the images appealing, it’s the story. When I read her work, I hope that I can evoke the same reaction from my readers as she does from me. In this series particularly, it’s ongoing and currently 30 volumes are available in North America. During these 30 volumes I’ve laughed, felt my heart skip a beat (no pun intended) in anticipation, cried, become angry, and be satisfied.

When I write my stories, I hope to have my readers feel the same way. I know that I get excited and cry and laugh when I reread my work, but I’m biased as I am the creator. I am pouring a piece of me into everything I write. Every character that I give birth to has a piece of me inside of them, regardless of what they are.

“But Sarah. That’s just writing and that’s just a comic” people tell me. (I get mad at the comic remark a lot. IT’s MANGA DAMN IT!)

So? So what if it is? Do people not laugh and cry when they watch a movie? Or television? That’s not ‘real’ either.

Once, back when I lived alone and had much more time for writing, I was working on a piece I have since lost. I was telling a friend about the story line when I disclosed I had killed off one of the main characters. She got mad at me and demanded the chapter so she could read it (I usually sent it to her as soon as it was done, but I had finished at 3am that day so I told her about it on our way to class). I sent it to her and thought nothing of it. A few hours later I got an angry phone call. PHONE CALL. We never called each other. We just used MSN (this was before texting became such a way of life) when we wanted to talk.

She was crying on the phone. She was so upset that I had killed off that particular character and she wanted me to know. While she was blubbering she told me how mad she had been because she had been so attached to that character.

I have never felt like I actually accomplished something more in that moment, than any other in my life.

I didn’t mean to kill that character. That’s the way the story was going. In order for certain events to happen and for certain emotions and reactions to develop, I had to kill that character.

When I’m reading a manga or watching an anime I will also get upset when a character I like a lot dies, but I understand that that’s the way it’s meant to be.

Doesn’t mean I won’t pout about it.

I want to be that kind of author. It may be presumptuous of me to think that I can achieve something that great. In fact, I am extremely surprised I am going forward with publishing a book.

It’s something I have wanted to do for years, but alas. I have extremely scarce amounts of self-confidence due to various reasons. I am never confident in myself whether it be in my writing, my work, my existence. There are reasons, of course, but that is a story for another day.

As I put down the manga and pick up my laptop to continue editing, I can only hope that the  story I have worked so hard to create and bring to life will bring others to tears because they are that moved.

Hopefully not because it sucks that hard 😉

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

The Drawbacks of a Day Job

The time for editing is seemingly shorter and shorter.

I tend to write these posts at my day job as I usually arrive obnoxiously early and have nothing to do. That’s just the way traffic works for me.

IT’S SO SLOW AND BORING at my day job these days. I work for a educational institution as an advisor for prospective students. Since the May term is not one of our higher intakes, no one is coming in these days.

Which makes me want to work on my story. Which puts me in a dilemma. I have thought about uploading the story I want to publish by April to Google Drive so that I can work on it in my downtime (which seems to be all the time). But then I know I would feel guilty doing “personal work” on “work time”. Which is frustrating because I’m not doing anything anyway, so why not work on a personal project?

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!

Why do I have to be such a good worker and pour my everything into my day job?! Maybe because I have bills to pay and it’s impossible for my family if I were to not work full time.

*sigh*

On the good side, I’ve been looking into SmashWords more and I’m really leaning towards publishing with them. I have to review the tax information as I’m Canadian and they are an American company. I haven’t had time to review all their FAQs yet, but I think I might do that on my downtime.

This morning is going to be a staffing gong-show. (Gong-show is a phrase I started hearing a lot when I moved to Alberta from Ontario. It would be the same as “shit show” or “insanity”. There you go. Nuances of Canadian language lesson right there).

I’ve also FINALLY decided on a proper title for my book. The title I had been using was really more of a file name so I could save it under something and not get it mixed up with my other work.

It’s going to be called Black and Red.

“But Sarah, that’s not a very fantasy-adventure-like title,” you say.

That’s okay. Just because I write in that genre doesn’t mean I’m going to have an over-obvious title. One of my other stories (the one I’ll work on publishing next) has a more “fantasy-like” title. Black and Red just suits this one. When you read it (if you read it) you’ll understand more.

Well, it’s almost time for my day job to being. Better crank Styx while I can and dance in my cubicle.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Seriously?!

And the response from the Amazon support team was to click on this other link to go through THAT support page. Which I can’t do unless I sign in. And when I sign in I can’t go further until I agree with the KDP agreement…….WHICH I CAN’T DO BECAUSE I AM CONFUUUUUUUUUUSED!!!!

Why is that so hard to understand?!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Oh! The Tragic Hero! It's just……TRAGIC

So everyone has their own rituals or things they need to do in order to write ‘properly’ and everyone will have their own genre or aspect of writing that they are good at.

My thing is music. There needs to be music playing. I am horribly unable to cope with silence so there is usually some sort of noise going on in my house. Right now I’m sitting at my desk in my office with my headphones on as I am very early for work and no one else is here yet. It’s too quiet.

I don’t really have a specific music I need to be listening to. It’s really whatever strikes my fancy. There are a few necessities that need to be on my iPod or iTunes when I am writing though. First and foremost: Stephan Moccio’s “Exposure” album. I friggin love all that piano shit. It’s just piano. It’s beautiful. To me, anyway. Hell, when I got married I walked down the aisle to the song “Zephyr” and it was wonderful. Depending on what sort of scene I’m writing, I’ll throw Mr. Moccio on the iPod or whatever and pound away at my keyboard.

Other times, I need something exciting. This can usually be met with a variety of J-Pop and J-Rock or some good old 70’s and 80’s rock. Journey is one of my more favourite ones when I’m thinking of older music. Do As Infinity or Rookiez is Punkd for my J-Pop and J-Rock. Of course, there is MUCH MUCH MORE that I listen to and that I like, but that would be an entire post of just what’s in my iTunes library, and I’m sure that would be boring as fuck to read. So, if you want to know any more, just ask me 🙂

When I’m stuck and I just can’t seem to make my story move anywhere, I’ll take a break and just let my iPod go through whatever the hell it wants or I’ll read some manga or watch an anime. If I’m writing a battle scene, I try to read or watch something in a completely different area, like a comedy or romance. On the flip side, if I’m stuck developing romantic relationships I won’t watch my Shojo anime or read my Shojo manga. It’s usually Shonen (manga and anime geared to boys so there’s lots of fighting and robots and stuff) that I turn to or something in the mature stream. It’s a  nice way to clear my head with something I love and won’t overly influence the current thing I’m fighting. *pow!*

Another way to clear my mind is to play a video game. Right now, my games of choice are Borderlands 2, Resonance of Fate, Tales of Vesperia or watching my husband play Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on PS3. If I REALLY want to play on PS3 myself, I pull out the God of War series and let Kratos beat the living snot out of EVERYTHING in his path. It’s awesome.

As for the things I know that I usually write on: my heroes/heroines are usually of the ‘tragic’ persuasion. So these people have had such a hard life or there’s just something about them that makes everyone around them uneasy and junk. I can’t write fluffy feel-good stories. There is blood. There is murder and killing. There is agony and heartbreak. As I stated before, my stories are not for children and they are probably not to be read by teeny-boppers. Now I understand that just because you’re 14 doesn’t mean you won’t be old enough or mature enough to understand and appreciate the stories I write. I grew up reading Stephen King and John Saul when I was 13+, so I’m with ya there. I’m just saying if you’re looking for something like “Twilight” or “Harry Potter” you might want to look elsewhere.

Will this turn people off my writing? Well, yeah. Probably. But I don’t expect everyone in existence to absolutely love everything I write. I don’t love everything I read, after all.

A lot of the time when I write, I envision what my story would look like it if were an anime or a manga. *heh* Since those are my two loves and that entire culture influences what and how I write sometimes, it’s inevitable. If you’ve never read a manga or watched an anime doesn’t mean  you won’t get my stories.

They are fantasy after all. There’s magic, and swords, sometimes guns and fantastical creatures. If you appreciate the basics of fantasy and love fantasy stories for that reason, you may very well enjoy what I write.

I’m currently waiting for Amazon to get back to me about that Direct to Kindle Publishing issue I previously had. Yeah, I’m still waiting. I contacted them again last night so hopefully I will hear something by the end of this week. I really want to start sharing the details of my stories or posting a chapter or two to gauge some reactions. Even if I get a bunch of people hating on my work, I’m still going to go forward with publishing. If there is constructive criticism, I’ll listen to it and see what I can do before finalizing my draft and submitting it for publishing. But I’m not about to stop or change a whole lot just because one or two people don’t like it. Why? Because I said so. Because this is MY work and if I don’t want to do anything different, I won’t.

I’m sure you guys won’t be assholes though, right? Don’t be assholes. Assholes don’t usually have friends 😛

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 0 comments

Regret is worse than Rejection

Welcome welcome welcome!

My name is Sarah Jayne Nantais and I’ll be your entertainment/pass-time/boredom-killer today.

I decided to set up this website as a way to promote myself and whore the hell out of myself for my next step in my life.

For a long time I’ve been writing. I call them “stories” because since I’ve never been published, I didn’t feel I had the right to call them “novels”.

I write because I want to. I write as a sort of self-therapy and I write for fun. I’ve never been very confident in myself or my abilities although many around me told me my stories are “good” or “great”. I have always thought they just said that because they were my friends/family so I never took the step to get anything I’ve written published.

But now I am taking that step. That jump. That leap. It’s bloody terrifying.

It’s self-publishing, so maybe that’s cheating a bit, but I’m doing it anyway! I’ll be publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing with Amazon and I’ll post when it’s actually available. Right now I’m in correspondence with them to clarify something in the agreement I didn’t understand.

I don’t speak legalease!!! *shakes fist*

Aaaaanyways.

I wasn’t going to do much on this website until I had a few things sorted out, but I can’t wait that long!

I wrote a bit about myself on my “About” page. (that’s what it’s for, right?) so there’s not much to say here that isn’t a repetition.

A lot of my writing is influenced by anime, manga, Japanese folklore, and video games. I just love it all. I can’t tell you why. Sometimes when I write, I envision what the scene would look like if it was in a manga or anime ^^; I’m just like that. Strange I suppose.

Why did I decide to publish NOW and not 10 years ago? Well, this year I turn 30.

Yup. THIRTY.

I decided now was as good a time as any because I didn’t want to regret the fact that I never tried. The worst that can happen from publishing my work is that people hate it.

And that’s okay.

I’m not looking for fame, I’m not looking for fortune, even though it would be nice. I write because I want to.

Hopefully those of you reading this will be interested enough to check it out. Maybe you’ll even buy it when it comes out and wish for more. Maybe you’ll hate it and think it’s lame.

But that’s okay. That’s your opinion and you are allowed to have that.

Just like I’m allowed to try 🙂

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Rantings, 1 comment