In which more lives are lost and everyone goes dancing

Grab your flight helmets and dancing shoes, because it’s time once again for…



In our last installment, we discovered the shocking and not-at-all-obvious fact that Sergeant Steve Phelps, hero of the Galactic Military and Jen’s new make-out buddy, is in actuality a spy for the evil Sffon Collective. Gasp! T.J. and Rendar were en route to the planet Maridia, but were waylaid when a slow-moving fighter (eventually) damaged their lightspeed engine.

And a good thing it did, for Maridia was suddenly overrun by the Sffon, meaning death for all GaMi officers on the planet. And so now, because no one has considered sending a quick radio call or futury text message to T.J. and Rendar (“R U DEAD? Y/N”), the folks back at GaMi headquarters are certain that our two heroic commanders were killed during the invasion.

Will T.J. and Rendar get back to Earth in time to reveal that Steve is the spy? Will Jess and Jen cry buckets and buckets of tears over the loss of their beloved friend, who is so great and awesome and special and wonderful? Will everything go to hell while our heroes go dancing for some reason?


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Fifty Shades of What the Hell Am I Reading (Part II)

I’m about three-fourths of the way done with Fifty Shades of This Is Easily the Worst Thing I’ve Ever Read, and in the interest of maintaining my sanity through the rest of it, I thought I would take a break to share my thoughts on it so far.

Thought #1: This book sucks.

Thought #2: I mean, really, really sucks. Like, spectacularly, ludicrously, bafflingly sucks.

Thought #3:  Sucks.


1. The Writing


“My heartbeat has picked up, and my medulla oblongata has neglected to fire any synapses to make me breathe.”


On a similar note, I feel that someone needs to inform Ms. E.L. James that normal human beings do not invoke each other’s names in every single sentence they speak to one another.

A dramatization:

“Christian, I would like to say something to you.”

“What is it, Anastasia?”

“Well, Christian, I’m just so clumsy and beautiful and have three different attractive men vying for my attention, Christian, but I really feel that you, Christian, are actually the one for me, Anastasia, which is my name, just as Christian is yours.”

“Oh, Anastasia, that is correct, for Christian is indeed my name, and also my eyes are gray, and my name is Grey, and isn’t that interesting?”

“Oh, yes, Christian, yes! Ever so interesting, Christian! And my last name is Steele, which is like steel, which is gray!”

“Zomg, Anastasia, that’s astounding!”



2. The relationship


I’ve heard many a case defending Christian Grey because tragic backstory + rich and handsome = do whatever you want to women and still be considered a masculine ideal. But it does have to be said, I feel, that this is one messed up dude, and anyone out there (male or female) who is raising him up as something to aspire to needs to wake up and smell the restraining order. (Though I imagine restraining orders wouldn’t have any particular smell, aside perhaps from the scent of the paper they’re printed on, or possibly the ink. But you get the idea.)

Let’s revisit a particularly memorable exchange from the book, which occurs after Christian has stalked Ana, tracked her via her phone’s GPS, sold her car and exchanged it with one he feels is more suitable for her, freaked out when she didn’t answer his emails immediately, raged with jealousy over her associating with other men, sworn her to secrecy about their relationship (thus isolating her from family and friends), and drawn up a contract that not only discusses the sexual aspect of their relationship (which is by far the least disturbing thing in the book), but also requires her to wear what he wants, keep herself constantly “shaved and/or waxed,” and accept that she is now his “property.”

So, yes, after that, we find this gem:

“So why are you trying to change me?”

“I don’t want to change you. I’d like you to be courteous and to follow the set of rules I’ve given you and not defy me. Simple,” he says.

“But you want to punish me?”

“Yes, I do.”

“That’s what I don’t understand.”

He sighs and runs his hands through his hair again.

“It’s the way I’m made, Anastasia. I need to control you. I need you to behave in a certain way.”


These are not the words of a dark, misunderstood hero who just happens to like bondage – this is a big ole flashing neon sign that screams, “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON. RUN THE HELL AWAY BEFORE THE CREEPY SERIAL KILLER MUSIC STARTS UP, ‘CUZ YOU KNOW IT’S GOING TO ANY MINUTE NOW AND YOU DON’T WANT TO BE HERE WHEN IT DOES.”

Now, in the particular case of Christian and Ana, apparently everything turns out just gosh-golly great by the end of the series; this profoundly disturbed man is healed by the lovin’ of a good woman, and all is sunshine and rainbows. But I feel that the fans of Fifty Shades of This Book Is Seriously Awful need to remember that that is by far the least likely outcome to this sort of relationship. When one member of a couple demands total, unquestioning control over the other in all aspects of life, it generally doesn’t lead to anything good.

Also, for the record, I have no issue at all with the sexual aspect of their relationship – it’s everything else about it that disturbs the crap out of me.


Well, back to the book, then. Only 200-some pages to go…!


Totally not evil

And we’re back for another insane and illogical installment of


When we last left our heroes (in chapter one, chapter two, and the somehow-worse-than-both-previous-chapters-combined chapter three), T.J. and Rendar were on a secret mission that involved kissing awkwardly for A Totally Plausible Reason; Jen had just met a gorgeous, heroic, and trusted-completely-by-everyone sergeant named Steve; and in a thrilling science fictiony climax, there was a mighty space battle that concluded when  the Sffon Cruisers were tricked into destroying themselves via Three Stooges Pie Fight logic.


In this chapter: T.J. and Rendar are attacked by the slowest moving fighter in the history of space warfare, Jessica receives a medal for her tactical genius, and we at last learn the identity of the Sffon spy. (Hint: It’s the guy smiling evilly at the camera when bad news arrives.)

Read on for the next ridiculous chapter of Fighting For the Galaxy…!

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Fifty Shades of What the Hell Am I Reading

It was a normal February Thursday in Chicago. (Freezing, snowy, and generally stupid, though with great pizza.)


In the absence of a hardy tauntaun to transport me to the supermarket, I was amusing myself on the internet and had just posted an anti-Fifty Shades of Grey link on Facebook.

And then, suddenly, it happened. My ability to denounce the aforementioned literary vomit was challenged with this simple question:

Have you actually read it?

And shock of shocks, horror of horrors, I had to respond with:

No, I have not. (Because I am not insane.)

My critique of the book was shot down, and rightly so – for how can I possibly cast aspersions on a dreadful novel of dreadfulness that I’ve never actually read?

And so…



In coming entries, I hope to share with you my impressions of this godawful piece of crap (confirmation pending), and hopefully a good time will be had by all who are not actually subjecting themselves to the horror of reading it.



Note: If reading this book leaves me an incoherent gibbering mess who can no longer take delight in the gentle amber glow of sunshine or the innocent laughter of a child, I hope you will all remember me fondly, and see this as a cautionary tale of the dangers of delving into badly written literature just for the sake of proving a (n already well-established) point.

Farewell, my friends. Possibly forever. For now I ride into battle, perhaps never to return.


Chapter 3: Which is somehow worse than the previous chapters combined


Welcome back, eager readers, to the third installment of the thrilling, high-quality, not-at-all-silly science fiction masterpiece of my 13-year-old self,  Fighting For the Galaxy!

To get you in the right mood, here’s some heroic space battle music courtesy of YouTube:

And boy, is this a chapter deserving of epic music, as it features an ASTOUNDING space battle with a NOT AT ALL STUPID conclusion! Wow!

Of course, the majority of the chapter involves T.J. and Rendar reluctantly locking lips while Jess and Mark attend Jen’s totally rockin’ party, but what sci-fi fan isn’t dying to know how Mark and Jess met, or how cute Jen’s new guy, Steve, is? (Spoilers: He is TOTALLY cute.)

So, venture below, intrepid readers, and journey once more into the distant future of 2007…!

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Great music for writing (or epic errands)

A few people have expressed interest in knowing what kind of music (if any) I listen to while writing, so I thought I’d toss out a few of the tracks that really get me into writing mode.

Because, really, it’s either that or do some housework, and I’m not about to ruin my perfect No Housework Done All Week streak.


So huzzah, onward!


1. Ludovico Einaudi

Ludovico Einaudi’s stuff makes for fantastic writing music, and actually, I was listening to one of his albums on super-insane-o repeat when writing the Dramatic Final Confrontation scene in Book I of Chosen. He has some softer numbers, some songs that really tug at your heartstrings, and some that are so epic and dramatic that it’s hard to sit still while listening to them. And, bonus, you can listen to a ton of his stuff (including full albums) for free on his official YouTube page here.

2. Two Steps From Hell

I only recently found out about Two Steps From Hell, but they’re pretty amazing, and absolutely perfect background for writing fantasy. Also, fun fact: Anything you do immediately becomes more epic with a Two Steps From Hell song playing in the background, whether it be walking (heroically) to the post office or (heroically) taking a shower. Try it sometime.

3. Secret Garden

Secret Garden’s songs tend to be softer and less battle-scene-inducing than the previous two entries, but I’ve been using their stuff as writing music for years. The above song, “Sigma,” is a great one, and “Elegie” is another great, emotional track. I also have to mention that in my imaginary Chosen movie, “Sleepsong” is the opening credits theme, so Future Director of Absolutely-Going-To-Happen Movie of Chosen, kindly keep that in mind.

4. The Downtown Lights

This is a much more personal choice, but here’s the story: This song has been attached to Chosen ever since I started writing it way back when I was fifteen. So many of the lyrics so perfectly fit the relationship between the two main characters, Nicholas and Kaine, and all I have to do is hear the opening bars to this song and I immediately want to write. I actually started out listening to the Annie Lennox cover version (which is also fantastic), but I love the original by The Blue Nile, as well as Keane’s more recent cover. It’s just a great song that never fails to grab my emotions, and that makes it a great addition to my ever-expanding Writing Mix.

There are a ton of other songs I listen to while writing (and I do occasionally just shut everything off and work in silence), but the above are the ones I use most frequently.

Other writers out there, how about you? What music instantly puts into writing mode? Let me know in the comments, as receiving comments pleases me in a not-at-all-pathetic Dr. Zoidberg sort of way:


And now, as it’s time for Second Breakfast, I’ll be on my way. Incidentally, if you’ re currently looking at a satellite photo of the United States and are wondering what that giant white mountain is, it’s Chicago. And that arm waving from a ten-foot snowbank is me. HELLO!

Okay, bye.