Inviso-Boys are from Mars, Angels are from Venus

So the classic superpowers argument is “Would you choose flight or invisibility?”

Me?  I would choose flight.  When I was a kid, I’d close my eyes and imagine wings sprouting right from my shoulder blades.  But what do I give my characters?

Well for the most part it depends.  Is the character a boy or a girl?  When I started writing Hero/Villain, one of my first thoughts was, “Why do I keep making my boys invisible?”  Actually Evie and Ace are great examples of my tendency to make boys invisible and girls fly.

Inviso-Boys

Ace/Apollo

I used to be invisible.  Only now I literally am.

Ace is a supervillain whose sole power is invisibility.  Pre-accident, Apollo only felt invisible.  He was ignored mostly by his dad, and he was shy and awkward so he didn’t really let himself get noticed by other people either.  Post-accident, Ace found he could turn himself invisible at will.  It comes in handy when you’re spying on the girl you like or stealing tanks of teleporter fuel.

Trouble

She pointed to the sandwich.  “There’s sandwich makings, there’s leftover crust on the plate.  Are you telling me you didn’t eat a sandwich?”

“No, it was the boy.”

“What boy?”

I looked at him.  There he was, clear as day, but Mom was acting like he wasn’t here.  And… I didn’t even know his name.

“Trouble,” he said.

Trouble is the spirit of trouble.  He was sent to Earth to find a human who can see him and bind himself to her (like magical handcuffs).  And this is how Bex comes to be the only one who can see him.

“Oh, but wait,” you might say (if you beta read the book), “Bex also gets to be invisible when she goes to Trouble’s world.”  This is true.  However, Bex gets to be seen all over the place.  She meets another spirit who happens to see her and later faces spirits who have basically cast a spell so that they can all see her, plus Trouble’s dad–the antagonist–can see her and she can see him.  So I do let her go invisible, but it’s lame invisibility.

DL

“So, Mr. Inviso-Assassin.  Do you have a name?”

“I am not invisible.”

“Not Invisible, huh?  That’s an odd name.”  For a moment he thought she had really misunderstood, but then she added, “So, like, I’m Kristie, and you are…?”

“DL.”

“D. L.  That’s almost as dumb as Not Invisible.  Is that like your code name?”

DL is not invisible at all, but Kristie, the other MC, can’t see him, so from her POV he is.  Why is he invisible to her?  Well, that’d be telling 😉  In some ways, DL and Trouble are mirror images of each other, and this is one of those.  Trouble can only be seen by Bex, and DL can be seen by everyone but Kristie.

Pana

Don’t worry, a voice said from behind me.  I’ll take care of Troy Banner, and I’ll take the baby off your hands too if you’d like.

I nodded, ever so slightly, and Spirit Anna was lifted from the cradle I had made of my arm, which I let fall to my side.

The only powers we see Pana using in both AFTRLYF and HEVN SNT are in this scene right here before she knows him.  He’s invisible and incorporeal.  Technically he can fly, but I’m 99% sure I don’t have him fly in either book.

HOWEVER, I will admit that both Samael and Taxet use flight and invisibility.

Angels

Tia

Happy thoughts?  Puppies, ponies, Christmas.  Dad’s approval.  This not to be happening.  Tia, get a hold of yourself and fly, damn you!

Where the happy thoughts failed, the mental scolding succeeded.  Excruciating pain distracted me from my plight as the skin at my shoulder blades ripped open, and a pair of wings like Sam’s pushed through.  The wings we received at completion of flight training were nothing like these.  Those were given to us like a mantle to be worn over our skin.  They were useful, to be sure, but you always knew they were a gift and could be taken away at any time.  Mess up and the temporary rewards you had been granted were stripped from you without apology.

These wings were a part of me.  Once I had released them, I knew I’d never be complete if I hid them away again.

Tia actually has flight, invisibility, and incorporeality.  But flight is the power she uses the most.  She goes invisible for about two seconds (at the urging of boy) in AFTRLYF, but the entire climax battle takes place while flying, and she uses her wings all throughout HEVN SNT.

Dale

An entire sky’s up there, beckoning me to join it.  And if there are demons in this world, if there are people who can take away your fear or your love, if there are magic rings and bracelets, then why can’t this tattoo turn into a real pair of wings and save me here?  I flex my shoulder blades.  The left one barely hurts, the right one not at all.  My arm’s getting really weary though, straining as it is to hold on.  Water drizzles across my fingers, and I’m struggling not to lose my grip.

“You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly,” is playing in my head.  I think of flying away from my father, away from Jewel and Jayson, away from Miki, away from Matt.  I can fly into the arms of my angel Teddy.  That sounds lovely.  I’m not supposed to run away anymore, but if my tattoo is a pair of wings, who am I to ignore what must be destiny?

Dale, the MC in the novel-that-shall-not-be-named, can’t really fly, but she gets a tattoo that resembles angel wings because she wants to fly away that badly.

Evie

Time to put the angel in Evangeline.

Evie can also go invisible, but her form of invisibility is camouflage (like a chameleon, which is her superhero name).  Throughout the book, though, she gives herself many different types of wings.  In the first chapter, she transforms into a hawk, a form she takes a few times.  She also becomes a pigeon, a moth, a winged version of herself (normal size and tiny), and simply wings (that she uses to fake Danny flying).

So, while I do occasionally let my characters have both powers (I’m looking at you, angels of death), for the most part, I have invisible boys and winged girls.  What does this say about me?  I think girls are angelic?  Please, even my actual angels aren’t angelic.  Actually, I’m more interested in what having three main characters, all male, who are invisible for a big portion of the book means about me, lol. 😉

Currently on iPod: I Can’t Decide by Scissor Sisters

Lots of love,

Sage

Advertisements

The Hunger Games Covers

I just (like half an hour ago) finished Mockingjay.  Reading that novel exhausted me in both good and bad ways.  I’m not here to do a review of the novel, though.  I’m here to do a review of the covers 🙂  I love them and how they’re similar yet different and represent the evolution of the series.  I will probably have spoilers for HG and CF, but not for Mj in this post.

First there’s The Hunger Games.  It starts off black, dark.  Katniss starts out in the coal district, which is small, doesn’t get much electricity, and is left in the dark about what’s happening in Panem.  When the Reapings happen there’s not much hope for the tributes from District 12.  It also introduces the mockingjay image.  We could think of this as the pin Madge gave her, but the book doesn’t mention an arrow in the pin.   So the arrow is there, the only weapon Katniss (who isn’t “the Mockingjay” yet) is really trained to use in these games.  And look at the way the bird is positioned.  Like it’s bowing.  Katniss is just a pawn in these games, subservient and going in, not yet on fire.

So next comes Catching Fire.  Obviously, you notice first that the cover is red.  The book, the mockingjay, are gaining heat.  The book makes use of the fire imagery, talking about Katniss as the “girl on fire,” and about the spark of revolution thanks to her actions in book 1.  Around the mockingjay on the cover, the glow gets even brighter, as if it is the source.  The circle split into 12 parts is nice imagery itself, both working with the actual Hunger Games, as well as a watch with a mockingjay on it, and the 12 districts of Panem.  The mockingjay, whose head is up, defiant this time, is not left with merely an arrow.  There’s the fire coming from it, but also the weapon of that twelve-piece circle.  For Katniss and the other tributes unite at times to defy the Capitol and Katniss uses the arena itself to defeat the Capitol in these games.  Other differences between this image and the first book’s comes from the mockingjay.  You can see more details of it, shading and outlining of the feathers.  Also it looks like it’s just starting to take flight, doesn’t it?

Finally we get to Mockingjay.  With each book, we’ve gotten lighter and lighter, and this cover evokes the color of the sky.  The mockingjay is still emitting even more light, though.  It’s just as hard to miss the other differences between this cover and the previous two.  The mockingjay has broken free of the circle it’s been enclosed in for the last two books.  It’s in full flight.  And you can see every detail on it.  Different colors of the feathers, the shading, the feathers on it’s body.  The mockingjay seems to be completely free.

Of course, you have to read the book to know if the cover makes good on that particular promise 😉

Currently on iPod: I’m Just a Girl by No Doubt

Lots of love,

Sage

Surprise teaser

I added a few scenes to H/V this week, and one actually isn’t that spoilery.  So here it is.
Context: Evie and Danny have had a fight and he was flirting with another girl who Evie has nicknamed Kitten Girl.  Evie’s shapeshifted into a guy to figure out what’s going on.

Okay, this guy is hunky enough for Hollywood, but today he’s just going to be a normal high school student who somehow hasn’t been noticed by every girl at this school.

When I turn back towards Kitten Girl’s locker, though, lots of heads turn my way.  I force myself not to blush.  It’s really weird to be checked out by girls.  I don’t usually transform into a guy if I can help it.

I lean against the lockers beside Kitten Girl’s just as she’s putting the gloss back and shutting the door.

“Hey,” I say, my voice oddly low and gravelly.

She startles, like she didn’t hear me until then.  “Hi.”  She gives me a shy smile… not too different from the one she gave Danny.  Score.  Maybe she does that with all the boys.  It doesn’t mean anything then, right?

Well, I guess it depends on the boy receiving it.

When I don’t say anything more, she asks, “Did you want something?”

“Right.”  Smooth move, Taylor Lautner.  “I was wondering if you could point the way to the administration building.  I’m supposed to meet with the counselor or something.”  Shy girls like bad boys, right?  Maybe she’ll think I’m one.  Or maybe she’ll think I’m a nerd and working on college app stuff.  Not that you have to be a nerd for that, I just want to have my bases covered.

She points to the building right next to her locker.  “Right here?”  She makes it sound like a question, but it’s not sarcastic like if it was coming out of my mouth.  More like she’s not sure she understood my question since the answer was so simple.

Hope you enjoyed.  Off to read Mockingjay.

Currently on new iPod: Still Alive by GLaDOS and Jonathan Coulton (from the game Portal)

Lots of love,
Sage

Beta Time

I finished editing Hero/Villain (for now) and have sent off to some betas.  Maybe this means I’ll have time to blog now, lol.  I’ve been pretty Hero/Villain intense for the past month, let me tell you.  It’s weird to sit back and relax.

Soon, I’ll be working on making Fireflies YA, though.  But I want to wait until after I read Mockingjay 😉

Instantly after sending out to betas, I was seized with the fear that the novel sucks.  Or at least certain scenes.  OMG, is that one too melodramatic?  OMG, what if Evie’s reasoning here is out of left field?  OMG, what if I didn’t do the romance element right?  Yeah, my day is full of OMGing.

My fears about the novel, especially the ending, are made more complicated by the fact that about two days before reaching the end of my edits, I came up with an alternate ending.  I still love the original, but I’m afraid it might not be acceptable for YA (according to a few agents I asked), and this new ending doesn’t end all happily ever after, but it isn’t as depressing either.  Still I do love the first ending.  So what I did was split my betas and gave some of them the new ending and some the old ending.  But because the new ending is so… new, I don’t feel very confident about it.

So, yeah, I’m a teeny bit nervous.  (But I want my betas to be tough, no slacking)

Nervous or not, I’m excited to hear from the betas.  But I know that won’t be for a while, so time to work on Fireflies

Currently on iPod: I’m into Something Good by Herman’s Hermits

Lots of love,
Sage

Hero/Villain Soundtrack

Okay, I’m 99% sure this is what Hero/Villain’s soundtrack will look like.

Now I should let you know how I do soundtracks.  There are months of auditioning songs.  Of course, at first there are songs that hit me right away as being right for the soundtrack.  Usually songs that inspire the novel or character themes.  In this case, Keeps Getting Better, Villains, and My Eyes were the first contenders.  I start listening to music on my iPod or the radio with an ear for the plot and characters.  Sometimes I hear a song at the beginning that I don’t write down that suddenly much later I go, “OMG, I forgot that one” (Sugar was one).  At some point I’ll want to listen to one song an artist does so I’ll listen to everything I have from them, and then, magically, every song on that album seems to work for the plot…sometimes all in the same place (Maroon 5).  I limit my soundtracks to three songs from one artist at most.  Usually I can find other songs that work as well, or maybe better.  As the story comes together and I listen more and more to the songs, I start finding places for the songs to go chronologically, plus an opening theme, closing theme, and character themes.  There’s always two songs the vie for a spot, and either I have to make the difficult decision between them (often I love one more than the other, but the other works better; or they represent two aspects of the same scene) or I find another spot that works for one of them.  Sometimes a song could go in two different locations (see last sentence).  Sometimes I realize a song doesn’t work as well as I had thought it did.  But often a lot of songs that I chose at the beginning are there until the end (Alone, Capital H, Almost Sorry, and I’m a Super Girl have all been there since before I was writing the novel), and many songs are just so perfect for the scene or characters that I want to bounce around with excitement when they come on.  After listening over and over again to the playlist, sometimes changing the order of songs several times in a day, I usually finish the playlist for good.

Then change it within a week.

But this has already gotten past that stage.  The only song I’d like to replace is Don’t Stop the Music.

Now I suppose it’s possible to glean some spoilery information from this playlist.  If you’re worried about it, don’t read.  But I think the playlist only really makes sense if you know the novel.

So without further ado, here’s the soundtrack.

1. Sugar, We’re Going Down – Fall Out Boy (opening theme)
2. Keeps Getting Better – Christian Aguilera (Evie’s theme)
3. Disappear – Motion City Soundtrack (Ace/Apollo’s theme)
4. Hero – Verve Pipe
5. Alright With Me – Kris Allen (Danny’s theme)
6. Alone – Kristin Chenowith and Matthew Morrison
7. “The Take Over, the Break’s Over” – Fall Out Boy
8. Capital H – Motion City Soundtrack
9. Don’t Stop the Music – Rhianna
10. Creepin’ Up on You – Darren Hayes
11. My Eyes – Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day
12. Villains – The Verve Pipe
13. Can’t Stop – Maroon 5
14. Psycho – Puddle of Mudd
15. Almost Sorry – Scissor Sisters
16. Coyotes – Jason Mraz
17. Wrecking Ball – Lifehouse (Ace’s climax theme)
18. I’m a Super Girl – Shonen Knife (Evie’s climax theme)
19. Ghost – Indigo Girls
20. Wake Up Call – Maroon 5
21. Hero – Chad Kroger (closing theme)

BTW, creepiest songs ever on this soundtrack.  Seriously.  Forget every song you thought was stalkerish and listen to Creepin’ Up on You.  Like Wake Up Call wasn’t disturbing enough.

And, before you accuse me of putting every “Hero” song I own on the playlist, I can tell you that’d be an incorrect assumption on your part 😉  Having just listened to the H songs on my iPod, I know that I also have Hero by Enrique Inglesias, Heroes by David Bowie, The Hero of Canton from Firefly, and Heroes and Villains by The Beach Boys.  All which didn’t fit with the story, fine songs though they are.

All right, time to get back to editing.  Hope you love this soundtrack like I do.

Currently on new iPod: Keeps Getting Better by Christina Aguilera (guess which playlist I’m listening to)

Lots of love,
Sage

Poor Ignored Blog

Hi.

Hope you didn’t all forget about me.

After SCBWI LA, I was focusing so much on editing H/V and working (because I was trying to take less vacation time) that I haven’t had time or energy to write on the blog.  Plus no teasers 😦

But here I am.  Don’t forget about me.

I’ll do a summary of SCBWI LA soon, but I don’t have my notes with me.

So here I am, watching Glee (:D) and blogging for you.

Currently on iPod: I’ll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan

Lots of love,
Sage