Monday, June 25, 2012

WIP Excerpt: NIGHT

Totally raw, uncut, uncorrected excerpt from my work-in-progress, NIGHT. This hasn't been proof-read and there are errors. My story NIGHT is in its most roughest of all rough draft phases right now. I've been writing different scenes out of order as they come, and this is one of them.

--

(Copyright © 2012 by Esther Kim Cotton)


            Art and Mina were sprawled out on Art's large bed. Art was lying on his back, his eyes half open as he drifted off from exhaustion.
            Mina watched him as she went over Hypnos' files and smiled a little to herself. She had never seen Art in such a seemingly normal position, lying on his back with his gloved hands sprawled out on the bed beside him.
            She looked at the insulated gloves covering his arms, from upper arm down to the tips of his fingers and wondered if he wore them all the time, or only when he was around other people. Did he sleep in them, she wondered? Could he really never touch anyone ever, not even for a quick moment? Was there like a ten-second rule? She was pretty sure that Kane Corp. wouldn't have given her a thick packet full of rules if there was, but then maybe they were just covering all of their bases so that they wouldn't be liable if anything were to happen.
            Mina watched as Kane finally lost the battle with consciousness and his breathing grew heavy and deep.
            One of Art's hands was folded over his torso while his other was palm-up on the bed near her. Curious, she put out her right hand and hovered it over his. She could feel his body heat emanate from underneath his glove.
            Mina pushed her hand closer, feeling the heat grow. She wondered how close she could get without touching him, and wondered just how long she was able to actually touch him through his insulation before his curse could seep through his glove.
            Mina felt the warmth grow stronger and wondered if the curse worked purely on touch, of if there was a certain proximity as well... she was only millimeters away from touching him.
            "Stop." Art's voice was calm, as was his movement as he slowly slid his hand away from Mina's. When his hand was far enough away from hers, he sat up in the bed and gave her curious look. "What were you doing?"
            Mina shrugged. "I was just wondering..." Wondering what? She couldn't even explain it to him.
            "Don't do it again," he said and got up from the bed. He headed to the bathroom and shut the door, leaving Mina to wonder just what she had been trying to do, and why.
            "I don't even know why I did that," she said to herself. For some reason, she felt as though she wanted petrification. No, that wasn't it. She wanted something from him, from his touch. But she didn't know what. Nothing sexual, and it was more than curiosity. It was as though she needed something from him... something pre-destined and obscure. She needed to touch him for something, and she wasn't sure what.
            "This is so weird."
            Mina got up from the bed and left the room, leaving files there, desperate to get back to the safety of her temporary room.
            She felt as though something had just been controlling her, and it scared her. What was going on?

Win a Copy of STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth

"Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her..." (taken from Goodreads)


There's an exclusive interview with Jennifer Bosworth over at Pages From My Thoughts. Soumi from Pages From My Thoughts is also hosting a giveaway of Jennifer's book STRUCK.

This book is on my to-read list, and I've been really anxious to read it. A heroine that has an addiction to lightning, and warring cults eager to get their hands on her? I'm so interested.

If you're interested too, head over to Pages From My Thoughts, check out the interview, and enter the giveaway. And don't forget to add the book to your to-read list!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn [Book Review]

Open Minds (Mindjacked Trilogy #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn
Find at: Goodreads / Amazon 

Kira is a zero. Or, at least, she thought she was. In a world full of readers, the zeros are outcasts. Zeros can't read minds and share thoughts and feelings like readers can -- they are freaks. But Kira soon finds out that there is something even more freakish than a zero... and when she nearly kills her best friend, Raf, she knows she needs to find out more about mindjackers and their abilities.




 My Rating: 5/5


Main Character
Open Minds was SUCH a refreshing read for me. Although the protagonist is an outcast and doesn't fit in with the rest of her world, she wasn't incessantly whiny about her pariah-hood, and she never seemed like she was going to cry at the drop of a hat about it. I can't say that about some of the other YA books I'm reading at the moment. But with this book, I really felt a connection with the main female protag, and I truly wanted everything to get better for her, because I felt she truly deserved it. This book was written in the first person, but never did I feel like the internal dialogue was annoying, incessantly ranty, or irrelevant. It was, dare I say, PERFECT.

Other Characters
I loved the characters. Every character had a purpose and motive for what they did or didn't do. None of them seemed like filler characters, and all of them were interesting in some way. The teachers had personalities, her parents and brother had personalities... even the occasional store clerk seemed to have a personality. Kira's best friend, Raf, was ridiculously sweet to her, and it made me smile whenever he tried to cheer her up or whenever they were teasing each other. Simon was an interesting and complicated character whose ulterior motives  saddened me, and yet... he redeemed himself in a way. The author was really good at making your emotions twist around between defense an offense when it came to Simon. There were times when I hated him, and times where he made my stomach knot up in hopeful anticipation and excitement.

Overall Story
The plot itself was done beautifully, and I love that the settings didn't just consist of some combination of home, school, and random forest. There were warehouses, bunkers, government facilities, a hospital, gas stations and convenience stores... the story was rich with locations, and never did I once feel bored. There was a real sense of movement to this book... things were really HAPPENING. It wasn't just a bunch of internal dialogue with bits and pieces of action. There was action. The character DID THINGS.

And boy did Kira do things. I don't want to spoil anything, but there is a lot of doing in this book. Kira overcomes a LOT, and she challenges an entire government and forces her nation to examine their preconceived idea of social norms. Kira is a strong character, very willed, and for the most part, honest (you'll see what I mean). She struggles with the same insecurities and uncertainties as most girls her age do, and she had to make some tough decisions... and while she makes mistakes, she always tries to rectify them, and everything she does is genuine and done with some semblance of common sense and thought.

All in all, I was entertained throughout the entire book, was very impressed with Kira, and cannot wait to read the second book in this trilogy!

Reminds Me Of
As I was reading, I couldn't help but draw some parallels to the HEX trilogy by Rhiannon Lassiter. Strong main female characters with unique abilities, [highlight to show spoiler-->]struggling to liberate a group of children from a government facility[/spoiler]. And I love the HEX trilogy, as well.

Friday, June 15, 2012

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD attempt at the CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR on July 23 | Abbey's Wheel Deal Charity Event




 
 
 

Abbey

Born in 2009, little Abbey pinked right up like a normal baby. 24 hours later, as her parents were preparing to take her home, medical personnel detected a heart murmur.

Abbey was born with a defective heart and would need open-heart surgery in a matter of days or she would die. Abbey was admitted to the UC Davis Children's Hospital-Northern California's only inland full-service pediatric heart center-to correct a congenital Heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Thanks to the tremendous care Abbey received, today she is a vibrant three year old with a great future.


The Wheel

In honor of Abbey and other children born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), a Guinness World Record will be be attempted and broken on July 23, 2012 at the California State Fair for the "longest consecutive ride on a Ferris Wheel."

Abbey's family friend, Christina, will attempt to ride the Eagle 16 while raising awareness and funds for the Children's Miracle Network and children with congentital heart defects.
Abbey's Wheel Deal is seeking the support of both individual donations as well as corporate sponsors.


DONATE




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution | Teaser Trailer with Replaced Sounds

This was for my Sound Design final.





As taken from the description on my Youtube page:

This was for my Sound Design final. I replaced all of the sound elements (dialogue, sound effects, music, etc.) from the teaser trailer for Resident Evil: Retribution, starring Milla Jovovich.


NONE of the visual elements belong to me. All the dialogue was recorded by me. All sound effects were free for use, creative commons, royalty free, etc.


MUSIC does not belong to me. First song is a snippet of "Entrance into Nebula" by The Kyoto Connection. The second song is part of "Through the Gates" by Celldweller.


You can find more music by Kyoto Connection at their official site http://www.thekyotoconnection.com/ or at http://soundcloud.com/kyotoconnection


You can find more music by Celldweller at his official site http://www.celldweller.com or at http://soundcloud.com/celldweller


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.


~*~


All criticism, advice, etc... welcome.


Thanks for watching!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What did the 5 fingers say to the face? (video)

It's that time of year again. That time of year that comes around every three months in the form of stress, junk food, bouts of hysteria, and hostility towards... well, EVERYONE.

Yes, my friends. It is... FINALS WEEKS.

The week where you want to slap everybody around you and slap yourself... and then slap yourself some more. Like a murder-suicide-suicide (because, yes, you CAN kill yourself twice)... but with slapping.

This video illustrates my sentiments:




I also have a migraine. But this video makes me feel a little better. :D

Abbey's Wheel Deal | Indiegogo Cause



There is an Indiegogo page for Abbey's Wheel Deal. Check it out & show your support. The perks are still being negotiated, so check back often. :)


Abbey's Wheel Deal

For those of you who don't know, Abbey's Wheel Deal is a charity event that will take place on July 23, 2012 at Cal Expo during The California State Fair. The charity's creator, Christina, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest consecutive ride on a Ferris wheel. The latest record holder is Gus Martinez, who rode a Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier on June 1, 2012 for 25 hours.

Christina's goal is 26 hours, and her goal is not only to break a world record, but to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network and raise awareness about children born with congenital heart defects. All funds raised for the Abbey's Wheel Deal charity event will go towards the Children's Miracle Network.

For more information, visit these links:



And for those of you wondering how I got involved, visit the previous blog entries here and here.

Friday, June 08, 2012

BYOC (Bring Your Own Crazy): My First

Okay, so I sometimes read this fabulously addicting blog called It's Just Me, Drazil, & Sheniqua (seriously, this blog is fralipping amazing)... and sometimes when I venture there on a Friday (or not on a Friday, but backpeddle to previous posts that land on Fridays) I see entries with the title "BYOC - Bring Your Own Crazy!"

The BYOC entries are all about answering 5 questions about yourself so that people can get to know you better and whatnot. I'm always entertained by the answers I see on other peoples' BYOC posts, and I've always wanted to do one, or a few, of my own... so here we go!

It's Friday, I'm at school super early, I have time to kill... I'm gonna bring my own crazy to the table!

~*~
1. Do you know your credit score? Do you check it regularly? Does it matter to you?
I honestly don't know my score! I guess I'm under the impression that I don't really have to know right now, and there are other things to worry about, so I usually think of those things. I am very curious though, and I've often wanted to check it... I just don't know how. Lame, right? I'm an adult for goodness sakes. *rolls eyes at self*

I have heard of those online credit score things and, while I love the Internets with all my fluffy hearts... I am wary of things like that. Especially when said sites hook up with those survey scam sites... the friends say a lot about a person, right? So partnerships between websites say a lot about them, too. Well, then again, Netflix also pops up on those survey sites. Oh wait... that explains a lot.

For the record, I happen to know that both of my parents have excellent credit scores and people love to finance things with them. And my mom's is better than my dad's.

2. What’s your go to “water-cooler-off-er” each summer? Small kiddie pool, “real” pool, sprinkler, public pool, hotel pool, or stay inside in the air and never don a bathing suit ever?
ICE. COLD. SHOWER. Okay, lying about the ice part. And the cold. Well, I finish with the cold. I like to get into a lukewarm shower for starters, no matter how death-defying hot I am, because I'm not really into that whole shock factor. After I get used to it, I gradually change the water colder and colder until it's just where I want it.

And for the past couple of Summers, our air conditioner has been broken, so... OMFG house sauna! My dad loves it because he's cold all of the time, and my cousin isn't that bothered because her body temp is like unnaturally always just fine for her. And my brother... he's bipolar about it. But my mom and I just DIE in the heat.

We have a bunch of floor fans, a ceiling fan in the living room, and a portable A/C in the hallway... and windows.

And I kind of got off topic because I'm a little emotional about the oncoming onslaught of torrential hell-heat. Yeah.
3. Describe your phone cover…if you have one.
A magic cloak of invisibility. :D I don't have one. I have one of those dinky normal-ish phones with a QWERTY keyboard, and it's dumb, not smart... it is this one right here:

It's red, though. And the red is purdy. And I like my QWERTY buttons. I still want a smartphone.

Oh, and did I mention my entire family has this phone? My parents, cousin, and my brother all upgraded to the same. Exact. Phone. It was a deal. But then my brother got some fancy, nice smartphone, so now we all don't match anymore. D: Traitor! :)

4. If you ever had a wedding, what were your colors or theme? If you aren’t married – but plan to be some day – what will your colors or theme be?
Hmm... colors. Well first, let me preface this by saying that I want it to take place in a sort of ancient old-fashioned ethereal sort of way. A celebration spanning a few days, maybe a week. Main setting on a beach, but not in that cheesy Western kind of way. I want there to be upholstered seating, canopies, and lots of white, cream, purples, etc. Pillows and stuff. I want there to be lots of colors... like the way Indian weddings are. Indian weddings are SO beautiful & colorful! I love watching Indian wedding ceremonies on Youtube and Vimeo. :) So purdy.

5. Repeat question: summarize your week. 
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, today. :)


But really, this is the week before finals week, so STRESS would describe it all...


Monday I had Motion Graphics and our final for that class is to create an opening motion graphic for my school's upcoming Next Talent Awards.


Tuesday I had Sound Design and our final for that class is to work on a trailer or scene from something and recreate all of the sound elements (sound effects, dialogue, music).


Wednesday I don't have class...


Thursday. Oh holy crap. I never updated on my previous post about Abbey's Wheel Deal! Well, I ended up being the Creative Director in charge of my class! Wow. I am basically in charge of organizing everybody and making sure that all of our content falls under our theme and slogan of "Break a record; mend a heart." The people we pitched to liked a little bit of everything from all of the initial teams, and wanted everything to fall under the theme that my initial team created. I was so excited! And terrified. :)


So, the past couple of weeks have been organizing, trimming the fat, discussing, explaining, etc. And this past Thursday I met with my classmates and honestly, I was stressed. I had to re-organize some people because some other people weren't there. Some people did not know what was going on, even though everything was explained the previous week and several emails and posts on our class' Google Groups have been sent back and forth.


This Saturday is Second Saturday at Downtown Sacramento, and my guerrilla marketing team is planning on have a sort of soapbox approach downtown to generate awareness of congenital heart disease, and the charity we are promoting, Abbey's Wheel Deal. We don't have our signage made yet, but I sent all the signage info to my guerrilla team, so I hope we get them completed and ready to pass out and display tomorrow!


I'm nervous. Our final marketing and promotion package is due in 6 days. We have to have our PSA video, viral videos, guerrilla campaign, new website design, and social media package all done and ready... tied in a neat little bow for our client.


PHEW. And on top of it all, I'm trying to get finals done for other classes, trying to get some writing done, trying to stick to a more strict grain-free, low-carb diet (I've faltered a lot), and trying to start working out again. There's also a little side project that I've been doing for a local musician, but more on that later.
~*~

This quick BYOC post turned out to be long! My Media Distribution class is starting now, though... so I'd better go. :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Response to Jennifer L. Armentrout's "Piracy WTFery" | Book Pirating

So, I was browsing through some Goodreads updates, and stumbled across a post by author Jennifer L. Armentrout pertaining to book piracy.

I read through her blog post and the comments at Goodreads and felt compelled to respond with some lighthearted thoughts and info of my own...

Which led me to the original blog entry at her website, which led me to reading even more comments there, and well, let's just say my last comment in response to another commenter was a little emotional. But not in a I-broke-down-and-teared-her-one sort of way. Just in a... I'm so sad our world is fucked sort of way. :D

So yes, Armentrout's original blog post can be read here.

And these are some screenshots of my responses in regards to book piracy, content, copyrights, etc... and the changing formula of our various entertainment industries (music, film, book). And my last response has to do with book availability in foreign third-world countries, and why I think it's okay for these people to pirate.

Response to Armentrout's original blog post:
First Comment Part 1/2

First Comment Part 2/2

Second Comment Part 1/1


Reponse to commentor "Ems" regarding foreign piracy:
Third Comment Part 1/2

Third Comment Part 2/2


So yeah... what are your guys' thoughts on piracy (any kind of piracy)? Yay, nay, in-between, don't care? Why?

Friday, June 01, 2012

Loki Speedpainting on Youtube by Angela-T of deviantART | The Avengers | Tom Hiddleston

When it comes down to the movies Thor and The Avengers, Loki is my most favorite character. He has so many layers and depth as a character, and I just love how dark, twisted, and complicated he is. Tom Hiddleston is an amazingly talented and versatile actor and he's just downright stunningly beautiful. The angles in his face, his eyes, that hair (his natural color and the dyed color)... just... yes.

And so imagine my excitement when I saw this baby on Youtube:




A speedpainting of Loki in his ridiculous ridiculously hot (because he makes it so just by being under it) helmet! Uh-huh.

The artist, Angela, is crazy talented. I followed a link to her deviantART account and was excited to see a downloadable image of the finished painting.

YAY!

"God of Mischief" by Angela T @ DeviantArt

He's on my hard-drive... Loki's on my hard-drive now... *squeals* (okay, to be fair & honest, this isn't the first and only time he's been on my hard-drive, but let's just pretend it is because this feels like Christmas!)

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