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David Gaider’s Departure From Bioware

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From a report from Polygon, I learned that after 17 years at the company, David Gaider and Bioware are parting ways on amicable terms.

It was December of 2009 when I first heard about Bioware and Dragon Age specifically.  I had found the “This is War” video while listening to Thirty Seconds To Mars music, and did some research into the game.  After spending several hours soaking up information from TvTropes, I discovered that there was a character in the game by the name of Andraste.  At the time, I had been working on an epic fantasy series with dragons that contained a main character named Andraste.  I had found the name after several hours of researching Celtic names, and had only found it listed on one website before the Dragon Age information started coming out.  It seemed far too strange to be just a coincidence.  The more I read about the game, the more I decided I needed to play it even though my computer was several years old and never designed for gaming and at the time I didn’t have a PS3.  It felt like it was my destiny to find these games, especially because of the strange occurrence of both myself and the Dragon Age writers using the name Andraste.

For Christmas that year, I received Dragon Age Origins for the PC.  My computer could barely handle it.  All the characters had black eyes.  I played that game for hours on end, creating several different characters and exploring the different options.  I can’t explain how much this series has meant to me.   Dragon Age revolutionized the way I look at games.  Who knew that there were games with romance options and where the choices you make actually have an affect on the overall plot?  Dragon Age changed the way I look at character interactions.  Most importantly, it changed my expectations of what a story could offer.

I haven’t played Dragon Age Origins in a very long time, even though I did eventually update to the PlayStation 3 version just so I could get characters with eye colors.  I finally got to learn what color Alistair’s eyes are!  I defended Dragon Age 2 (except for the recycled environments) for their decision to make all the love interests player sexual. I’ve read the books and the comics.  I entered Bioware’s short story contest a few years ago with the intent of hopefully getting the Skype Q+A session with David Gaider just so I could ask him some very specific questions about Herren and Wade.  Questions that I will likely now never get answered.  I waited patiently for five years to get the chance to finally run away with Cullen.  I cannot stress enough the impact that this series has had on my life and on my writing.

I would like to thank David Gaider for everything he’s done for the series.  For better or worse, Dragon Age will never be the same.

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Happy 2016 and Resolutions!

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As we start the new year, I find myself asking a lot of questions about my future.  What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Am I ever going to be able to pay my bills? How many books can I challenge myself to read in the upcoming year since I failed at the usual 52 this year? Do I really have to turn 30 in five months, and have I failed as an adult by the time I reach 30 since I still can’t pay my own bills?

Some of you may remember that instead of doing traditional resolutions at the beginning of the year, I ‘ve started doing the one word challenge. I can’t really say if it’s a better option, because I failed at the one word challenge last year as much as I fail at my normal resolutions, but I’m willing to give the idea and myself a second chance.

This year’s word is going to be “new.” New house, new adventure, new friends, new challenges, new bill paying system, new attitude, new job, new languages, new runs, new distances, you name it. This year is going to be all about change, but not change into old habits like I did at the end of 2015.

I’ve already started embracing the idea of new.  There’s a race I’ve never done before north of me that I’m thinking of signing up for.  I’ve started a 10K training program so by November I’ll be able to run the Marathon on the mountain.  I’ve acquired a passion planner to help keep me on track for my goals.

 

I let work get the better of me during 2015, and part of my new attitude entails not letting that happen to me again this year.  It’s time to make a new, better me, and I hope you’re willing to join me for the journey.

 

I challenge you to take this journey with me.  It doesn’t have to be extreme; it can be something as small as a new habit to keep up with your laundry better before it becomes the dreaded laundry monster.   Whatever it is, it’s a new year.  Now’s the best time to look closely and decide what in your life you want to make “new.”  Share in the comments below what “new” thing you want to achieve and what steps you want to take to accomplish it.

Les Mills Combat Challenge


LES MILLS COMBAT. Work out like a warrior. Get shredded in 60 days.

I’m so excited to share this news with you! Some of you know that I’ve been taking kickboxing classes for a while now. Most of you know that I’ve been trying to get in shape because I’m running the Spartan Race in October. Everyone should know that I’m so dedicated to the cause that I made “Spartan” the one word I focus on over the course of the year.

I’ve decided to bring those three things together and am organizing a Les Mills Combat Challenge Group that will run from May 4th to July 3rd. We’re going to get in the best shape of our lives just in time for fourth of July parties.

What is LES MILLS COMBAT?
LES MILLS COMBAT is an explosive mixed martial arts body transformation
program that will help rip, shred, and lean you out for unparalleled results.
Blending dynamic martial arts movements with High Intensity Interval Training
(HIIT), LES MILLS COMBAT pushes your body far beyond where it’s ever been
before. You’ll punch, kick, and strike your way to the biggest adrenaline rush—
and your best body ever—in just 60 days!
Beachbody® and Les Mills International have teamed up once again to bring you
a high-octane workout program based on the immensely popular BODYCOMBAT®gym classes taught in 80 countries around the world, with expert trainers, chart-topping music—and muscle-shredding results. Now for the first time, LES MILLS COMBAT is available for home use.

What makes LES MILLS COMBAT so exciting?
• LES MILLS COMBAT is the first home-based mixed martial arts–inspired workout program designed to get you a lean, chiseled body—in just 60 days!
• Trainers Dan Cohen and Rachael Newsham are incredibly fun to work out with! As experts in a great number of martial arts disciplines, they will teach you, challenge you, inspire you, and keep you accountable in your quest to unleash your inner warrior—and build an outrageously strong,
sexy body.

If you want to do this with me, make sure you like my Facebook page and let me know!  This is going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you!

Lynne Bubbles’ New Direction

2015_new_yearA few days ago, I made a passing mention that this blog was no longer going to be focused on book reviews.  In fact, I said I was giving up book reviews altogether and was going to focus instead on book recommendations.  Some of you might miss my cutting wit, and I might lose a few followers for changing the focus of this blog.  That’s okay.  I hope that those of you who stick around will find things to love with the new format.  We won’t stop talking about books.  We’ll still talk about books in a larger sense, and I will give hopefully weekly recommendations.  We just won’t be producing any more scathing reviews, no matter how much the book might warrant it.  I will now leave my negative reviewing to the star system on goodreads.   Any book that I think is a two star or below will just not get a written review.  (Sadly, I still need to give them a star rating, or else goodreads will not count it towards my reading challenge.)

Obviously even when I was reviewing books, I couldn’t sustain seven days a week worth of blogging on books alone.  So if I’m going to blog on a consistent basis, we’re going to need some new content to talk about.

Besides the books, there are a few things you can look forward to reading about on this blog.

First, we’re going to be talking about health and fitness.  Not in a crazy way, but as I am training for the Spartan Race in October to the point where Spartan was my one word resolution for the year, I want to be able to share that experience with everyone.  Furthermore, there are so many health issues that we can take control of.  Once in a while, you’ll get some scary news that was completely out of your control.  It happens.  It just happened to me this morning, and I’m still processing it.  There are things you can control though, and that’s why it’s so important that we take care of the things we can control.   That’s another reason why I want to share my health and fitness journey with you.

We might also talk about tv shows on occasion.  That probably won’t happen too frequently though, because I have to watch everything on Hulu and by the time I get around to watching everything, it’s old news.  Hannibal is pretty much the only show I make sure to watch when it airs.

We are most definitely going to talk about things that impact the books I am working on.  This category could cover anything from current events to something I found in my research.  Anything I nerd out over is going to be fair game.

Those are some of the changes you can expect to see over the next coming weeks.  I hope you enjoy them.

* I have now posted for three days in a row, which might not seem like much, but for me is a huge accomplishment.  As mentioned in my post One Of Those Blogs, it’s all about making little, sustainable changes that will add up to great results.

50 Shades of Bad Romances

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A few weeks ago, I was directed to a link showing an infograph of some of the most common grammatical errors in 50 Shades of Grey and comparing them to other romance lines in other famous novels.  Included on that list was works such as The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice, and about seven other works I don’t think I had heard of before reading this infograph.  While the information in itself was entertaining, all it did in my mind was solidify the connection between 50 Shades of Grey and Pride and Prejudice as examples of the worst that the romance genre has to offer.

Do not let the five copies of Pride and Prejudice sitting on my bookshelf fool you.  I despise the novel and pretty much everything about it.  Two of those editions were from college, and I have a hard time getting rid of books, even when it is books I hated.  I can’t in good conscience sell them to the book store when they contain all my disparaging notes, nor am I happy with the notion of destroying them.  Another edition is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Don’t let the internet fool you.  It’s not that good.  The other two are an erotic version that turns the original into one giant orgy and a gay fan-fiction respectively.  They’re also the only two out of the five that I enjoy.   Before you start to think I’m just going to deride these two particular books for the next five hundred words, let me be clear.  It’s not really the books that give rise to these loathsome feelings.  It’s the genre they represent.  A genre that is overwhelmingly popular and does real women little credit.

The Power Play

The grounds for my distaste in  the romance genre and romance plots are rooted in the fact that almost every romance revolves around a powerplay.  In most cases, the heroine is somehow indebted to the hero for at least a portion of the work.  For our purposes, we’re going to use the term “heroine” to apply to the protagonist and the term “hero” to apply to the romantic lead.  These problems can also appear in gay and lesbian romances.  As much as I love Sedric and Carson from The Rain Wild Chronicles, I will never forget or forgive that they initially hooked up because Carson prevented Sedric from suicide.  Granted, after that it was one of the most balanced gay relationships to ever grace the pages of fantasy fiction, but it doesn’t change the fact that it started out awkwardly.  I mean, at one point Sedric got to go out and do badass things while Carson got to stay at home and brood.  Honestly, check out The Rain Wild Chronicles right now.  So even though it got better, the way it started out left a bad taste in my mouth.

In most of the older romances, the hero usually has far more wealth than the heroine does.  In some cases, this leads to an event in which the hero more or less attempts or succeeds to buy the heroine’s love.  For instance, in Jane Eyre, she is originally hired to be Mr. Rochester’s governess, which puts him in a position of power over her from the time that they met.  In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy buys a marriage for Lydia so that Elizabeth and her family don’t have to suffer the shame.  In 50 Shades of Grey, Christian replaces Ana’s car with a much more expensive model, complete with GPS tracking so that he knows where she is at any given time.

Still, at some point in the history of the romance genre, barring 50 Shades of Grey, women said enough.  They were tired of having the heroine financially being dependent on the hero.  They wanted a self-sufficient heroine who didn’t need the hero to buy next meal.  The genre took a step forward and started creating heroines with careers.  Heroines who didn’t actually need the hero in their life in order to find financial completion.  Except, that can’t be right.  The heroine needs the hero or else the whole romance falls apart.   This led to a development even worse than the financial power play.

The Rape Intervention

You’ve read this romance arc.  We’ve all read this romance arc.  I have repeatedly complained about this romance arc and yet it continues to happen.  The plot somehow involves the heroine nearly being raped by some bad person, only to have the hero come in and save the day before any harm can befall the heroine.  This can happen at any point in the development of the relationship.  I’ve seen it happen when they first meet, and I’ve seen it happen during the climax of the book.  It doesn’t matter when it happens, it’s still crap.  There’s a number of problems with this.  The first is that it reduces rape to to a plot device.  The second is that it still makes the heroine indebted to the hero, only this time in a sexual manner.  If I had a nickel for every time the heroine threw themselves at the hero for saving them from rape, I’d be an incredibly rich woman.

The worst instance I’ve seen of this rape intervention problem occurred in a novel my friend let me borrow.  The heroine was unconscious.  One of the hero’s friends wanted to rape her.  He refused to allow it to happen, not because rape is wrong, but because they didn’t have time for it.  The man the heroine is supposed to fall in love with doesn’t think rape is wrong if there’s time for it.  I can’t eagerly anticipate her falling in love with him.  I’m eagerly anticipating him to fall off the edge of the nearest cliff.  Needless to say, I didn’t finish reading the book, and I am now questioning my friend’s taste in literature.

What Can Save Romance

Not all hope is lost for the romance genre or romance plots in general.  What we need more of is couples that are balanced.  Couples that don’t have a weird power play going on.  Couples that are in happy, stable relationships between equals.  And less rape. Far less rape.

What we really need more of is relationships like Monica and Chandler from Friends.  Yes, there were ups and downs, but for the most part, the show treated them like equals.  They were both from the wealthier branch of the gang.  They both had abusive childhoods.  When it came time for the show to throw the infertility plot at them, they were both revealed to have low fertility.  The show could have just as easily pinned the blame on one of them and throw in a power play, but they decided not to.

Not that Friends was perfect on the relationship front.  They had plenty of mishaps along the way as well, which is unsurprising given the length of the show and the comedy aspect.

If anyone has examples of romances or romance arcs that focus on a couple of equals, please send them my way.  I would love to see them.

The infograph for your perusal, thanks to grammarly.com/grammar-check

One of Those Blogs

I never wanted this blog to be one of those blogs where it’s only updated once every couple months or so and readers say “Oh, right, it’s this person.”  Unfortunately, that’s what happened.  This type of inconsistency isn’t good for me, it’s not good for business, and it’s not good for you, my readers, either.   You come here for a reason, and whatever that reason might be, I have not been holding up my end of the bargain.

I had lots of excuses as to why I wasn’t posting.  In the end, that’s all they were.  Empty excuses that did not make up for my lack of content.  Especially when I was not bold enough to share those excuses with my readers.   Every year I make a resolution to post more, or at least with some sort of frequency.  Every year, that resolution starts to fade away a little bit earlier.

The truth is, I let life get in the way.  To be honest, it’s not even a life that I’m happy with.  There is so much about it that I want to change, and for the longest time I thought that there was no way I could change it.  I blamed my circumstances, or anything else to avoid taking responsibility for why I was so miserable.  The job market is terrible, there’s nothing out there,  I’m too tired and stressed from work to do my writing, just let me sit here and play mindless Facebook games instead.  I let myself believe that my job was more important than my passions and that I could be perfectly happy working 50+ hours a week for barely above minimum wage, and I just kept becoming more miserable.

Then through some strange set of circumstances, I met a woman who indirectly completely changed my perspective on things.  First of all, she had faith in me when I was starting to lose faith in myself.  I have yet to measure up to that faith she has put in me, but I’ve made it my goal every day to exceed her expectations.

The other thing she did for me was she introduced me to a book that really opened my mind on what it took to be successful.   Many of you know that I have been trying for many years to be a writer.  And by trying, I mean that I wrote a few books, did very little editing, and then expected the first person who looked at them to see how absolutely wonderful they were.  I did no platforming (unless you want to count blogging once a month as “platforming”) and I was absolutely terrified of the idea of peer review.   This book helped me open my eyes to the idea that if I really wanted it, and I do, then I was going to have to work for it.  That book, of course, was Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect.

The-Compound-EffectI  haven’t written a review for this book, because I feel as though my days of book reviewing are coming to an end.  My days of book recommending, however, are just beginning, and this is the first one I am going to recommend.  While it’s too early to say what impact this book will have on my life, it has really been an eye-opener for me.  This book helped me realize that if I ever wanted to be successful, if I wanted to follow my passions, first of all, I had to stop blaming work.  I had to own up to the time that was not spent working on myself.  Even when I work six days a week, that’s only eight and a half hours out of my day.  Plus I have two 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch, so work is really only taking eight hours out of my day when you factor in travel time.  Okay, so I personally know I need to sleep eight hours of the day, and I need to do my workouts which can last anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half.  If you factor in eating dinner, time spent getting ready for work and for the gym, and my Italian lessons, that still leaves me with 5 hours a day that I could spend growing my business and working on my writing.   That’s nearly two thousand hours a year, and I was making excuses that I did not have enough time to do stuff.  If you really want something, work for it, and don’t make excuses.

Even small, consistent changes go a long way towards helping you realize your goals.  Because  small, consistent changes, eventually becomes habit, and then you’re getting stuff done without even thinking about it.

If you’ve read the book, share what your favorite parts were in the comment section below!

Remember if you liked the content of this post, hit the little like button down at the bottom there.  Also, you can follow me on Facebook  for all the latest updates.

If you have a friend that you think could really use this book, make sure to share this post with them.  And the book if you have a copy.

How a Good Bra and Pair of Earrings Can Change Your Life

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I’ve seen many variations on the above quote. Most of the time, it’s from shoe stores trying to sell me a new pair of shoes. This one, however, of a runner tying up her shoes is the only one that resonates with me. Running can change your whole mood around. Feeling down? Go for a run! Except sometimes you can’t even convince yourself to go for that run. Maybe you hate treadmills like I do. Maybe you can’t get to your gym to use their indoor track. Maybe it’s too cold to go outside and get moving. Or maybe there’s ice on the roads and sidewalks making it too dangerous to walk outside, let alone attempt a run. So what do you do when you need that quick mood boost and you can’t put on your running shoes? I suppose you could just put the shoes on and see what happens. Unfortunately, when my running shoes are on, they compel me to move, so if I need a quick boost, I just can’t slip them on and get to work.

There are days I have trouble believing that it’s all worthwhile. If I don’t have to go to work, I sometimes feel like there’s nothing else to do that day because I feel it won’t get me anywhere. I have a dead-end job. Literally, dead-end. They gave a promotion I was up for to someone else because they felt sorry for the other candidate and she had held that position before. I once again woke up this morning sore all over from my workout attempts that have had no results other than a sore body. I’ve been trying to sell a book for over six years. Not just the one book, oh no. I’ve had several books I’ve finished and failed to sell. It’s hard to get up and working some days when there doesn’t seem to be a future in front of me.

So, on days like today, how do I get myself motivated to get up and going instead of lounging in bed all day? For me, it’s a good bra and a fierce pair of earrings. I love earrings. Ironic, because I haven’t had them for most of my life. My first attempts at piercing when I was a child ended up with a plastic earring post broken inside my earlobe. It wasn’t well until adulthood that I got my ears pierced again. Unfortunately, when I’m at work I’m limited to studs only, which eliminates half my earring choices. So, on my days off, it’s a chance for me to wear some of my favorite earrings, even though nobody else will be able to see them. Today, my earrings are a pair of fierce gold tigers from the Katy Perry ROAR collection. ‘Roar’ can be quite the motivational song and the earrings help me to keep that mentality in mind as I go about my business today. I also have a pair of Pinkie Pie earrings I keep on hand to remind myself that life is a lot more fun than I make it out to be at times.

As for the good bra part, well, I can’t function without a bra. At all. I can’t even play video games unless my girls are contained. I understand that doesn’t work for some of you. Some people find bras uncomfortable. It’s okay to be a braless wonder. I applaud you and even envy you a little bit. Because good bras are expensive and hard to find. I have student loan debt hovering over my head. I need to combine six Victoria’s Secret coupons just to buy one bra.

Okay, so maybe a good bra and a pair of earrings isn’t really going to change your life. The pair of shoes didn’t change Cinderella’s life either. She changed her own life by deciding to go to that ball. She went with a little push from her fairy godmother and extra confidence from her pretty shoes and fabulous dress. Something that gives you that little mood boost can be exactly what you need to make your day better. A succession of better days will make your life seem better than it was in the past.

Maybe it is a great pair of shoes. Maybe it’s your favorite pair of earrings. Maybe it’s a particular shade of lipstick that makes you feel fierce. Maybe it’s a particular coffee you drink in the morning that makes you feel great. My uncle thrives on Starbucks. Whatever it is that changes your mood around, I’d love to hear about it.