mhalachai: (Flower (tea_rose))
hey! have you ever read something so great you think about it for days on end? And re-read pieces of it while waiting for the bus and while on hold on the phone? that’s so amazing you need to share it with everyone you know?

this is the best original story I have read in months - it’s got everything - futuristic space politics! arranged marriages! slow burn! space pirates! danger and intrigue! you-fell-in-an-icy-river-and-we-need-to-cuddle-naked-for-warmth!

The Course of Honour by Avoliot

When Jainan arrived on Iskat to represent his home planet in a diplomatic marriage to Imperial Prince Taam, he was naïve enough to hope the match would work. Taam knew better. Five years later, his confidence shattered, Jainan is released when Taam dies in an accident, only to be faced with another marriage to help salvage his treaty. Jainan understands how the real world works now; but Prince Kiem - the cheerful, scandal-prone darling of the Iskat celebrity magazines - keeps breaking all the rules he's learned.

it’s a story with great characterization and an amazing plot and when I read the first line, I said to myself, now that’s how to open a story.

so yeah check it out :D

(read the warnings on the story as they’re quite relevant to the entire story)

(also posted on tumblr earlier this month but i wanted to share this here too)


Jun. 18th, 2017 02:42 pm
mhalachai: (SGA John Happyhour (_wwsd_))
my very good friend is getting married in a few weeks and yesterday we went out to North Surrey for her to get the final pieces of her ensemble, and we got to talking as one does on a long car ride to Surrey. One of the things she’s worried about is that she hates to be centre of attention and she’s not sure how we’ll she’s going to deal with it at her wedding.

So I pointed out that in the room during the ceremony, 90% the people there are going to be insanely happy for her, 5% will be envious af at how good she’s going to look, and the remaining 5% will be a fascinating combination of the two. She started laughing and I still think that’s the best piece of advice I’ve given in about 10 years.
mhalachai: (Candle)
tomorrow is my 8-year anniversary at my current job. I'm of mixed emotions about that... the people are great to work with and we're doing really important work and I really believe in our mission (and I do have to be honest I get paid quite reasonably and i get six weeks of vacation and a pension plan and I am fully aware of how well-compensated i am).

But it's been 8 years, and while I'm always doing new things and new work and new projects, I wonder if I'm letting 'being safe' employment-wise and financially hold me back from seeking new challenges that might advance my career quicker.

But quicker towards what? Where?

I don't know the answers to that.

But yes. Eight years.
mhalachai: (Free Firewood)
so i’ve been feeling like a straight up zombie for months now and i went to my doc and said hey is the depression (like she’s been low-key suggesting medication for like two years now and i”m not quite there yet) and she said probably but (and she sighed dramatically) we should test your iron just in case and anyway the joke’s on her, I’m like three ug/L away from serious iron deficiency. Take that, medical profession.

(I mean, I also still have depression, it’s just not what’s currently causing me to feel like I’ve operating on 2 hours sleep a night for 6 months)
mhalachai: (Default)
@musings-on-bucky-barnes left a comment on the latest chapter of Hands of Clay re how Steve must have felt during the “Mom hugs are the best hugs” debacle, so I wrote the (fluffy, fluffy) aftermath.

Set the night of the last chapter of Hands of Clay

Abraham sat back, glancing at his watch. "Steven, when do you want to drive home?"

Steve rubbed his hand over his mouth. "What time... Hell, it's almost ten."

"That's why we got the kids into their PJs before letting them watch that movie." James pushed his coffee cup away. "You two need any help getting Clint out to the car?"

"Nah." Steve blinked a few times. "I think I'm getting old, even I'm ready for bed."

more behind the cut )
mhalachai: (Candle)

as an aside, yesterday when I was getting flowers for my particular mother, the lady there said “Happy Mothers Day!” to me and I’m like yeah I probably do look that tired.

K i had brunch at my parents’ today, and we had the most delicious oatmeal raspberry scones (I’l trying to source the recipe). The menu was:

  • Poached eggs on english muffins with cream cheese and smoked salmon, garnished with chives, fresh dill, and capers<
  • oatmeal raspberry scones
  • maple pepper bacon
  • an orange-grapefruit-raspberry fruit salad with a garnish of mint (the fruit was sweet enough to not need additional sugar)

our table:

The fresh dill really carried the egg dish.

mhalachai: (Candle)
surreal work week aside, I had a pretty good day on writing today on the next part of my Blood in the Water Yuri on Ice! series. I have about 20 tabs open with information on all of the 2015-16 figure skating season events, and also most of the pages from the Yuri on Ice wiki, as this next installment opens just before Yuuri’s free skate at the 2016 World Championship in Boston. I had to stop myself from constructing his program’s technical elements to figure out what he would really have scored, and instead just handwaved things.

Also I think I now know why the Yuri on Ice writers focused on the Grand Prix series instead of the others, and not just because it comes first in the season - at the GP events and final, there are only six skaters performing in each event. At the others, including Worlds, there are upwards of 24 skaters performing in every event - trying to write the stage mechanics of 24 skaters, plus coaches, is a bloody nightmare.

Anyway, the struggle continues. Have a good week, everyone.
mhalachai: (Ladybug)

so I was reading an article today that tried to match the best (and worst) book to movie adaptations using statistics. I don’t hold with “mathematics”, but I wanted to throw my hat in the ring with five of my favourites.

In no particular order, wherein I have both read the book and seen the movies:

  1. Matilda
  2. Princess Bride
  3. The Secret Garden
  4. Silence of the Lambs
  5. bonus: Sherlock Holmes (Grenada/Jeremy Brett) (I know it’s TV but in this case it counts)

I would argue that the Twilight movies are objectively better entertainment than the books, but then I didn’t actually like either, so they’re off the list.

Anyway. What are your favourite book-to-movie adaptations?

mhalachai: (Entance To General Office)

I’m working on my resume and cover letter for Dream Job and all I have so far is the decision to not re-work a past cover letter, but start from scratch.

So I have a blank piece of paper.

Anyway here’s my resume of Things They Didn’t Ask For:

  1. Very seldom cries in the office
  2. Able to calmy teach people things they should be able to figure out by googling it
  3. Is nice
  4. Maintains good relationships with the IT guys (a vastly under-practiced skill at my workplace)
  5. Makes coffee when the pot is empty and puts dirty mugs in dishwasher
  6. Has been on campus for twenty-one years so knows a lot of people and stuff
  7. Hasn’t made a single mortal enemy on campus in seventeen years
  8. Perfect driving abstract
  9. My mom thinks I’m smart

And The One Thing They Did

  1. Tells really good stories
We'll see where this goes :/
mhalachai: (Profiler Panther)
i went for a walk with my mother this morning at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary this morning and then we somehow ended up in the Ladner Farmer’s Market which had probably double the normal population of Ladner shoved into a two-block radius. It was great.

The above is a panorama I took from the lookout tower facing west - off to the extreme left is Deltaport; in the right you can see North Vancouver on the horizon.

Not many birds at this time of year; ducks, Canada geese, some chickadees, and a few blue herons. Some old dude was saying he saw a bald eagle up a tree but that’s pretty common in the area too.

All in all, I can tell you that I’m not cut out for birding.

Oh, and I was outside for 90 minutes (with sunscreen) and I didn’t burn too badly. A win.

small wins

Jul. 22nd, 2016 10:38 am
mhalachai: (Ladybug)
this week at work has been long (3 10-hour days in a row! I love being on salary!) but at least I did score one tiny win - I managed to find the piece of the WordPress theme code that let me display the full content on our blog's categories pages, not the excerpt. 

This is probably only exciting to me, but at least I have accomplished something this week. 

Anyone got any weekend plans?
mhalachai: (SGA John Happyhour (_wwsd_))

Is everything everywhere in the world going bonkers, or is it just all happening to me?

K the only good thing that happened today, which is a good one:

Government to amend B.C. Human Rights Code to protect gender rights

The provincial government plans to table legislation that will explicitly protect gender identity and expression in the B.C. Human Rights Code, Attorney General Suzanne Anton announced Wednesday in Vancouver.

"In British Columbia we have a human rights code that ensures no one faces discrimination based on grounds such as race, religion, place of origin, sex, or sexual orientation, amongst others," she said, adding that everyone is protected under the code.

"However, it's important that they understand they're protected. Every British Columbian needs to feel protected and have confidence in that protection, no matter their gender identity or expression."

"The proposed changes will specifically include gender identity or expression among the protected grounds of discrimination in British Columbia's Human Rights Code," Anton said, adding that this would specifically protect transgender people against discrimination from anyone, including landlords and employers.

mhalachai: (SGA Elizabeth+Atlantis (obaona))

Tagged on tumblr by @rosefyrefyre

Favorite story I’ve written and why? I have a few for different reasons:

  • Agent Afloat Atlantis - writing Ziva David in this story was a very interesting experience, and I think story is one of my better efforts in terms of language and crossoverness.
  • Widow Maker - not only do I love Natasha Romanoff, but the arc and plot of the story work for me in terms of pacing and direction. I think this is a good example of how it can take a writer a long time to grow into their craft, and this was pretty much written ten years after I started writing fanfic so not a bad haul.
  • Inevitable - I don't think it has aged as well as others of my fics, but then I feel that way about a lot of my Anita Blake stuff. The amount of fandom support I got from everyone in my years writing Inevitable have meant more to me than I can ever describe, and it helped give me a lot of confidence - if I could pull off a Harry Potter/Anita Blake crossover like this, I can do anything.
  • And Hands of Clay because of all the reasons.

Tropes I gravitate toward? Found family and crossovers.

Present or past tense? Past. Present-tense is okay for me in writing short little blurbs, but I stick with past-tense for anything big. Just my preference.

How many unfinished stories do I have? Oh, dear. Most of them I've had some long ones get away from me and then my motivation vanishes. Part of the cost of doing business in fandom I think. My big undones are Physics of the Spin, Old Soldiers, Hel's Bones, Rhapsody in Blue, Child of the Wolf... I left Dawning Light at the end of Act 1 so i'm okay with that ending. I hope I can one day get  back to Old Soldiers because we're now so far off canon for that Bucky that it doesn't matter any more, and with Rhapsody in Blue I want to wrap up Peggy's story. Who knows about Hel's Bones.

Ideas in Google docs? I use Dropbox instead of Google Docs but anyway all the ideas are in my head... which is not great because then they very seldom get written down, then they are forgotten and on I go.

Best review/comment I’ve received? So many. I love when people tell me things they liked about the chapter/story, so I can go back and forth with them in comments :D

Worst review/comment? I had an epic few  back on Twisting the Hellmouth - there was a guy back on there who was super critical/negative about a lot of people's stuff (not naming names because I think I spotted him on Tumblr while back and I’m not looking to revive the squabbles), and i have to say I'm glad we're now in different fandoms. But yeah I've been pretty luck with comments/reviews over the years.

Last book I’ve read? Do I read books anymore? I think it was a library book that has obviously left no impression. The last book I bought was Cold Case Vancouver - that's a good one (non-fiction).  I read a lot of fanfic - currently obsessed with Owlet's Infinite Coffee and Protection Detail series.

Do I plan to publish something original? I hope so. I'm working on ideas, trying to figure out what would work for me in engaging in original fiction. I have some great plot ideas but the characters are harder to get a handle on. I think that's why I gravitate to fanfic; the characters are already there.

Biggest writing inspiration?  Life experiences.  The places I've been, the things I've done, and of course the people that I've known. How is that for a boring answer? But yeah I find that the more I do, the more ideas I have.

But also, too, different things work for different stories. With the Widow's Tale series, all of the stories except for Old Soldiers I wrote out longhand then typed them up. With Hands of Clay, I listen to jazz while I write. I've learned to go with what works while it works, and not stress myself out when things stop working or I need to change it up.

Fanfic stories – how many have I posted? Dear god, probably over 200 in various forms? I have 80 works up on AO3, but I have so many more on TTH and on my LJ. I haven't ported everything to AO3 yet as some fics are too short or unfinished, but also.... how do I say this.... some were written when I was very young as a writer. They have not aged as well as one might have hoped.

What am I currently working on?  Hands of Clay, all the time. Working on ideas for how to finish Rhapsody in Blue and Old Soldiers. Always looking for new ideas - and since Supergirl has kiboshed my ideas for that Supergirl/Die Hard fusion, that's been pinned to the wall in case I can salvage it at some point.

What’s my username? Mhalachai, everywhere. AO3, Livejournal, Dreamwidth, TTH, and Tumblr.

Who's next? tag yourself if you want and comment here so I can see!

mhalachai: (Entance To General Office)
So in follow up to yesterday's post: the brakes were shot, there was something wrong with the transmission, and the battery was failing. I bought the truck (a 2008 Ford Ranger) in 2013 and haven't had any maintenance issues with it before, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before things started to fall apart. Anyway, now I am much poorer and also safer (new front brakes, a fixed transmission, and a brand new battery) but I suppose that's one of the tradeoffs we make in life.

Now I just need to get my taxes filed and my return back to help cover this hit to the pocketbook.

Thanks to everyone for their ideas on fun activities; I'm going to put together a master list and post that up here :D
mhalachai: (Profiler Panther)
 I have to take my truck in tomorrow for its regular service, and I think they're going to have to replace the front brakes (the dude said last time that they were getting close), so I'm mentally preparing myself for the hit to my pocketbook. Still, better to have working brakes.

Work has finally gotten to the point where the super busy times are settling down, so I'm hoping to can get back to those times where I have some creative energies when I get home in the evenings. 

I've been trying to think of some activity after work, like an art class or something... anyone have any suggestions?
mhalachai: (Rainbow face)
over the long weekend, I had a brief spurt of inspiration to maybe write a Valentine's Day outtake for Hands of Clay, and got 900 words in before i wrote myself into a corner that made me lose the buzz. Work today was a creative energy suck so I had nothing left to give once I got  home, but maybe I'll try tomorrow.

One of the things that I'm finding slightly... worrisome? bothersome? is that I don't have more stories in my head at this moment. I'm focusing on Hands of Clay and there are percolations in the background for my other MCU stories (er, none of which I've updated recently), but nothing new is really sparking any inspiration. None of the new TV shows are catching my attention, and I haven't been to any movies recently (yes, I know, I need to see Star Wars). I'm also slightly worried that Captain America: Civil War will actually kill me. Or maybe break my heart. Only a few months left before we know for sure.

Anyway, coming back from my creative hiatus this weekend and see how things go from there.

mhalachai: (Ginny HP)
Someone on tumblr connected me with Capti Narrator for listening to fanfics that haven't been podcasted - and oh dear lord it's the best screen-reader software I've ever encountered. It's free with a few default voices, then you can buy other voices that are more developed/natural.  I bought a voice from Ivona - Joey (US), and I've been listening to it read Hands of Clay to me on my phone and wow technology is wonderful.

To listen to a fanfic, download a copy of the story in HTML (AO3 has this option) and open it into your playlist and go to town. Capti can also connect to your dropbox in case you store all your fave fics there. 

There's a browser plugin too but I haven't gotten that far yet. 

Just one word of note - purchased voices don't transfer between devices (like between PC and iPhone) - don't make my mistake.

But anyway: Apparently Hands of Clay to date is 22 hours long O_O (when read at 192 wpm). That sure puts a lot in perspective. Also, I apparently fail at proofreading because there's like 3 or 4 times a chapter where I used the wrong word of flat-out missed words and I only noticed when i'm hearing the story. Arg.
mhalachai: (Default)

what I'm watching

Not much TV this season, other than my obsessive re-watching of Murder, She Wrote, before Netflix cracks down on vpns. I'm watching Elementary and Supergirl (surprisingly good) and trying to get into the new shows but nothing is striking my fancy as yet. I'm saving Agent Carter to watch in a spree next week when my PVR reaches critical mass.

On the other side of things, I'm watching Father Brown on PBS (like, different than the books and in a good way; Mark Williams (aka Arthur Weasly) is a perfect embodiment of the character). Also catching up on Poirot (and still super-angry about the adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express) and taping reruns of things like Matlock and Quincy MD because I am 90 years old.

I'm off shows I was into in the past; Once Upon a Time has completely lost me, and I drifted from Castle last year. I tell myself I'm still watching Criminal Minds and NCIS but I haven't seen an episode this season, so I guess that's a lie.

what I'm reading

I'm trying to get back into reading books in general. My current read is A is for Arsenic: the Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup, a non-fiction book looking at the science of poisons used in the fictional works of Agatha Christie, as well as the chemical mechanism of killing and some real life examples. It's really interesting and a good resource for mystery writers.

mhalachai: (Default)
so this was waiting when I showed up for birthday brunch today


mhalachai: (Default)

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