In Which I Shoot a Gun

I am not a gun person. I have never been thrilled at the idea of being close to guns or guns being fired. They are loud, dangerous, and take way more effort than I am willing to put into nearly anything. I once drove out of my way to get dinner at McD’s because I was too lazy to get out of my car and walk into a Wawa. I am that lazy. But my plans of never being near a gun being fired were dashed because of one man: Reyes Santos.

Reyes

This asshole right here.

Reyes Santos was born on Mars ‘Edelweiss’ Colony in the year 2289. After years of working in the pharmaceutics field he has found himself working at the Iris Colony as a caretaker for I.L.E.X., a highly advanced repair robot. His interests include banjos, fancy teas, and guns. He really likes guns. And as I worked on his character I realized all I could picture for shooting a gun was a grey L-shaped block that went pew pew pew. Research was needed.

I went with my brother (who had a little gun experience) to Short Shot Pistol Range, a place with not only great reviews but, most importantly, a groupon deal. I walked in and told the very nice muscle-bound tattooed man behind the counter that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing and I needed the babiest gun they had. After I signed a “I promise I am not crazy” document I was given a .22 and shown to our stall.

A very nice man with very tiny hands went over everything I needed to know. How to load the bullets, how to hold the gun, the proper stance, seriously don’t hold the gun like that, watch your thumb, take a deep breath and pull the trigger. All punctuated by the gunshots of the other shooters on the range. I took a deep breath, took another deep breath, readjusted my hands yet again and pulled the trigger.

HOLY CRAP IT WAS AWESOME

It was all pew pew pew and then I got a whole bunch right in the middle and PEW PEW PEW!!!!! So yeah I can totally see why people shoot guns. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to run out and buy a million guns to put in my tank. But I would totally go back if the groupon is good enough. And I’m happy to announce I also got enough information for Reyes! Now I can talk about the scent of gunpowder, the loud explosions, the freaking casings smacking me from the booth over, and most important part of using a gun: Eating red meat.

Because of course we went out for steak afterwards.

 

 

In Which I Get an Editor

For those who don’t know I’m been battling with a learning disability most of my life. Mostly it means that I cannot comprehend basic math. Seriously, everything over a single digit I break out the calculator app just in case. Sometimes I also word-bad. Or babble. My babble is another post within itself. My brain doesn’t work sometimes and because of that I need a little help.

But Amber, you say, You’ve written a book!

Yes, I reply, and half of it is variations on “Ciro sighed depressingly”.

So I went out and got myself an editor! Everyone say hello to Michelle of Magpie Editing! She’s working on Echo of the Larkspur right now and I will be updating my sample chapter soon to reflect her work.

Thank you for your hard work Michelle! And I’m sorry for all of the times I use the word ‘just’.

In Which There is a Quick Update

Hello everyone! I just wanted to update people on what is happening. I’m still sending out my first book, Echo of the Larkspur, to agents and publishers. My second book, Cry of the Hawthorn, is still being edited. Oh boy, is it being edited. I literally have three windows open right now as I’m trying to re-arrange multiple chapters and events so things actually make logical sense.

I wish I had a better update but my writing time has been a little weak as of late. Between my IUD (as talked about previously), side effects from said IUD, and work things have been cray-cray. See without getting into too many details I work for a company does many things including mowing lawns. If you look outside your window right now you probably see at least one lawn needs to be mowed.

Now imagine how many lawns need to be mowed across America.

We are very, very busy at work.

But hopefully I can get some writing and editing done before these robots eat my brains.

In Which There is TMI

WARNING! THIS BLOG POST IS ABOUT FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS INSIDE MY BODY! IF THAT IS TOO MUCH INFO FOR YOU THEN GO CHECK OUT THE AWESOME FANART OF MY WORKS INSTEAD!

Yesterday I got an IUD. It was kind of gross.

uterus

I’m writing this because I know some of my younger fans and tumblr buddies are also interested in getting an IUD. Which, for those who don’t know, is a form of female birth control that is inserted into the uterus. For the past three months my menstrual cycle has been pretty freakin’ weird. Too much blood, not enough blood, enough to worry me after almost twenty years of my normal hellish cycle. I talked to my gynecologist who said that these things happen and put me on medication that made me bleed for a month straight.

I then got a better gynecologist who recommended a whole bunch of scans to make sure I didn’t have cancer and then, after I got the all clear, recommended a hormonal IUD. Not also would it fix my menstrual cycle but it would lighten it. At this point I was ready to tear my uterus out with my own hands so I said yes. Yesterday was the procedure, and I wanted to get the basic hour-by-hour blow for those who want to know what it was like.

9am: I was given medication to insert next to the cervix an hour before my appointment. I had assumed it would be some sort of cream or gel. It was a chalky white pill. It was not pleasant.

10am: My father drove me to the OBGYN. Since we were super duper early we stopped by Rook Coffee, the most hipster coffee shop I know. But it does have this fig butter that is AMAZING holy crap mmmmmm.

10:30: Showtime. I’m stripped from the waist down and given the “blanket of shame”. While I’m waiting for the doctors I read the handy dandy pamphlet that went over all of the ways this thing could kill me. Turns out it can puncture through my uterus and just sort of wander about. That’s…great. Just great. My lovely new gynecologist actually talked me through the whole procedure, making sure I understood every step, which went as follows:

  1. Inserting the metal duck bill thing (cold)
  2. Inserting a sounding device to measure the size of my uterus (ow)
  3. Dilating the cervix (OW)
  4. “You’ll feel a pinch”

That is, of course, the second of three great lies everyone in the medical field tells you. The third being “You won’t feel a thing” and number one being “this will feel like a bee sting”. The pinch felt as if someone pushed an ice pick through my reproductive organs and just sorta…kept going. I’m still not convinced she didn’t poke into my spine. It was that point she actually inserted the IUD. To answer how that works I will refer you to this gif:

bottle

The doctor then said she was done and the pain was gone. All in all it took not even ten minutes from start to finish. She told me to rest up and to call her if I was in extreme pain. I told her I felt fine.

Once again, my hubris would be my undoing. Let’s go over the rest of the day.

11am: Dad drops me off home. A little achey, but I’m doing okay. Time to kick back and play some Fire Emblem! I have video game characters to marry, dang it!

Noon: Huh, I’m starting to cramp up a bit.

1pm: I am in pain. Deep, unending pain that only increased by every second. It was like a normal period cramp but it just wouldn’t end. All it did was get worse and worse like a wave that refused to crest. I was pale and sweating. I vomited red liquid, which worried me until I remembered I drank a cherry gatorade. Then I vomited some more. I knew I needed this THING out of me before it killed me. I called the doctor, crying, blubbering that I was in some of the worst pain I had ever felt.

Oh, that’s normal, she said.

Normal?, I might have said but it was probably more like sobbing.

Oh yes! Perfectly normal. As long as you’re not bleeding heavy you’ll be fine. Take some motrin and you’ll be better.

Luckily Past Me had gotten a bottle of motrin just in case. I took a dose and waited for death to claim me.

2pm: Still in pain, but now I’m bored too. Fire Emblem!

3pm: Son of a Gun the Motrin was working. The horrific pain was down from “I’m going to die” to what I would consider normal period cramps. Which is still terrible but at least I can focus on Fire Emblem.

5pm: My dear, wonderful, terrific, loving, sweet, amazing, Saint-like brother brought home Chinese Food, Ice Cream, and more motrin. Bards will sing of his mercy for generations to come. The pain was dull enough that I could keep a few mouthfuls down. I’m feeling more like a human again.

6pm: I remember my brother had some muscle relaxants left over from when he hurt his back. I wonder if one of those would dull the pain enough that I could sleep? I start up some Minecraft Let’s Plays on my laptop, plug in the heating pad, and take one pill.

7pm-11am: Okay, so I’m at my job. But my job is now in the Freehold Mall parking lot. Also a whole bunch of my old High School buddies are working in the cubicals next to me. I’m trying to get everyone to hurry up and finish their jobs or else we’ll miss the bus. But it doesn’t matter because I’ve found a corpse floating in the Freehold Mall Lake and THERE’S A MURDER THAT NEEDS SOLVING! ONLY ONE TRUTH PREVAILS!

11:30am: I wake up and I’m no longer in pain. Apparently at some point I texted my brother about barking dogs and used the bathroom. Yesterday feels like a confusing, far off dream that was less real that the one I had with the lake murder. I immediately start playing more Fire Emblem.

Once, as a child, my mother explained to me that you forget physical pain. That’s how women could go through childbirth, she said. And it’s true. I remember the events of yesterday but what I physically felt is already gone. Sure I’m certain sore. I also feel this weird…thing if a car goes over a bump too fast. I’m glad I’m not in pain currently, but I’m sure in five years I won’t even think about this when I get the IUD replaced. All of that being said I’m going to spend the next few days resting until everything has settled into place.

While playing Fire Emblem.

 

In Which One Truth Prevails

Ah, winter. A time spent huddled under a blanket while chugging NyQuil in hopes of being able to breathe again. The bad news this means my writing has been at an all time low for the past few months. The good news is that while bed ridden I was able to watch every Case Closed/Detective Conan movie. All nineteen of them.

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What’s Case Closed/Detective Conan? It’s an anime about a teenage boy detective who, after witnessing some shady stuff, was poisoned by an evil gang known as The Black Organization. But instead of killing him the poison turned him into a five year old. As you could guess, this is one of the greatest animes ever made. It’s been going on for 20+ years and has over 800 episodes. Episodes range from “A group of friends realize the true treasure is friendship” to “The murdered pretended to be fat so he could hide a severed head under his sweater without anyone realizing it”. Like I said, it is the greatest anime. I don’t have the spare several years needed to catch up on the show, but I did have the time to watch the movies!

I’m feeling better now, so before I go off to do all of the cleaning my sick self couldn’t, here’s a little content for you all: The Motives of Every Villain in the Case Closed/Detective Conan Movies But In A Vague Way To Avoid Exact Spoilers. Enjoy!

  1. Didn’t like their old work
  2. Couldn’t do their job anymore
  3. Related to someone evil from history
  4. Couldn’t do their job anymore
  5. Couldn’t do their job anymore
  6. Related to someone evil from history
  7. Trying to steal Buddha Statues
  8. Couldn’t do their job anymore
  9. Revenge against those who wronged them
  10. Revenge against those who wronged them
  11. Protecting historical artifacts
  12. Couldn’t do their job anymore
  13. Revenge against those who wronged them
  14. Trying to steal Buddha Statues
  15. Trying to steal diamonds
  16. Revenge against those who wronged them
  17. Trying to steal government secrets
  18. Revenge against those who wronged them
  19. Protecting historical artifacts.

Movie #20 will be out this April! See you then!

In Which I Speak of my First Love

My first fangirl love was Mega Man.

I loved watching my big brother play Mega Man 1 because I thought Elec Man was a kitty. Air Man’s stage is burned into my mind. Finding out that Proto Man was Mega Man’s brother’s was THE MOST SHOCKING PLOT TWIST my five year old mind ever saw. I even loved Mega Man Soccer, a game so bad they forgot to make sure the ending played when you beat it.

Then Mega Man X came out and WHOOOA! I read that silver covered Nintendo Power over and over until I memorized everything about the game. I was nine years old and X was my first crush. I would actually secretly kiss the cover good night because I was 100% sure that’s what people in love did. I was heartbroken to see that X already had a girlfriend named Zero. But just as I accepted their love Zero was killed and I got my heart broken all over again.

In High School one of the first message boards I joined was on the Mega Man Network. Was it called that? It’s been so long I honestly can’t remember. I spent my days talking about the latest Mega Man games (Legends oh my gosh Legends that’s a rant in on it’s own) and was introduced to the world of fanfic. I’m talking “Bass is Not a Fish” and “Zero Tolerance” and this one where they tried to make X/Zero not gay by having X actually be Roll and, well, it was a weird time.

I bought a Game Boy Advanced just so I could play Mega Man Zero. Even with my desk lamp directly pointed at the screen I still couldn’t see anything.

Even though Zero dying and coming back was pretty much a joke at that point in time I still teared up at the end of Mega Man X5. His last thoughts were of Iris! It broke my fangirl heart all over again. I snuck the lyrics to the ending theme of that game onto one of my favorite art class projects. Also almost every notebook I owned. Although I played X6 I don’t remember a thing from it. Or X7. X8. Command Mission. I think there might have been more?

After High School I drifted away from Mega Man. I couldn’t get into Mega Man.EXE or the one with Mega Man twins (??) and there was one that had snake themed bosses and ugh. Sure, there was a brief shining moment where Mega Man Legends 3 was announced but that was crushed almost as quickly as it was announced.

Yet there’s still something about Mega Man I love. Even if I haven’t played a Mega Man game in years just thinking about the old Blue Bomber brings a smile to my face. I have the Mega Man amiibo on my shelf and a stuffed Zero next to my computer. I got it from NYCC, and next year I’m going to try to find an X to go with him. X/Zero was my first ship, after all. Even if I was slightly wrong about Zero’s gender.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is my life long love affair with the Mega Man series is why I picture all of the robots in my books having really big feet.

x_and_zero_by_speedthehedgehog101-d529q7k

I HAVE RETURNED

Who has two thumbs and finally got her wordpress account working again?

THIS GAL!

It’s good to be back everyone! A lot has happened since this website decided I no longer was in charge of this blog. Comic Con! Star Wars! Bronchitis! Oh God the bronchitis! I could feel it in my lungs! But I’ll keep this short and give the most important update of all.

THE ROUGH DRAFT OF CRY OF THE HAWTHORN IS DONE

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Cry of the Hawthorn takes place a year and a half after Echo of the Larkspur and follows the prisoners of the Hawthorn Penal Colony. But as a certain individual adjusts to life on the inside they discover a conspiracy revolving around the Larkspur Incident. What really happened on the Larkspur research vessel? Was Ciro Kwakkenbos wrong? And why do the bloodstained robots from it claim their innocence…?

I’ll keep everyone updated on the second, third, and future drafts to come!

FAN ART!!!

Oh, blessed oxygen! Sweet being able to breathe out of my nose! I’ve spent today guzzling hot tea and breathing through my mouth, counting down to when I could go home and take my decongestants. Sadly said medicine has left me a little too brain dead to work on a post. Or writing. Or anything that isn’t staring at youtube videos of other people playing video games. So instead this week I bring you…

FAN ART!

(You may need a Pinterest account to see it)

My Alpha/Beta readers may have seen these before, but I’ve put them up on Pinterest so everyone can see! Look! It’s my babies! At least three of my babies! Some of the art was gifted, others were commissioned by me, and if I had the money and means they would all be framed and hung up in my bedroom. Also I made sure to link to the tumblrs of the artists, so if you’re interested in commissioning them you can!

Eee look at those Huggabots I want a million!

Okay Amber needs to sleep now.

In Which I talk about Ideas

“Where do you get your ideas?”

I would like to pretend this question was asked while I was on a panel. That I sighed, since that question had been asked so many times in my professional life. I look over at my husband Chris Pratt, and we share a laugh over the well-trodden question. My wacky talking unicorn sidekick answers for me. The unicorn is also a dragon.

The truth is I was asked ‘Where do you get your ideas’ for the first time this weekend, over an expensive salad and a pizza I wished I had ordered instead. It was asked by my old High School buddy Ben, who might be reading this (sup baka). As soon as he asked me that three answers popped into my mind:

  1. The hell if I know
  2. I am starting to suspect that inspiration is delivered via a tooth-fairy like pixie that randomly hits you upside the head with an idea-hammer
  3. My dreams

I went with the third answer. And that is, until I prove the pixie thing, where I get my ideas. It’s amazing what can stem from a dream. Like my idea for a Rocket Racoon/Groot/Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy team up movie that has a bath house scene. Sure, that one won’t come true for many reasons but it’s still an idea. My current books came from a different dream.

In that dream I was a robot doctor. And I mean I was a robot who was a doctor and a doctor to robots. There was a compute virus spreading through the city, and only I could stop it! Now. Those who are familar with my work are probably really confused right now since the book I wrote has nothing to do with that dream. Allow me to take you down the path.

The dream lead to the creation of a character named Caroline. A robot doctor lady who you’ll learn more about in four to five books. Caroline got a partner named Klockner, an ex named Scotty, and a little city to live in. The city turned into a space colony on Europa. That turned into a series of colonies in the solar system. Every planet or its moon ended up getting their own colonies. Those colonies quickly filled with characters, various pasts, and a far far future. I wrote a short story and struggled to turn it into a full book.

I hit a wall. I put the book down and goofed off writing fanfiction for a bit.

Then a new story blossomed in my mind. One with a anxiety-ridden scientist and a robot that was crushing on him. And what did you know, they needed a backdrop and I had one packed away in my head already. So I dusted it off and plopped the characters in.

I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked that they took root and grew like weeds, but I did. I tried returning to Caroline’s story only to find there was at least four books now in the way. Every character, every plot point spread its seeds and grew into another chapter to write. My single dream had lead into 8-10 books within a few short years.

See, that’s the trick with weeds. One can overrun a garden if you’re not careful. Luckily for me, I always thought daffodils were pretty.

In Which I Try to Remember a Story

And now…THE HEROIC AMATEURS OF THE THREE KINGDOMS

A summery of a book that I really haven’t thought of in like eighteen years, by Amber.

Okay, so there’s this girl named named Jen Dreamer and she is sooooooo cool. How cool is she? She’s like FOURTEEN! And she wears a brown vest and brown pants and has short brown hair and that’s pretty much the end of her character. Anyway one day this famous thief shows up to her small town. But it’s cool, because this thief is actually ONE OF THE THREE HEROS OF LEGEND but she’s old and stuff (like fourty) so she’s looking for a replacement to train.

The thief, whose name I think is Jessica and looks exactly like an older version of Jen for no reason, tests everyone by having them steal marbles out of her hand. These marbles are IMPORTANT. There’s this boy named Billy (who totally looks like a kid I did not like in my class) who steals all of the marbles in one go! But then Jen tries and whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat there’s an extra marble!

“The last marble was in my pocket” says Jessie (Jessica?) and the crowd TOTALLY LOSES IT WOOOO JEN WINS THE APPRENTICESHIP! Billy stalks off angry and vows to become evil and stuff. Jen, who seemingly has no family at all, goes off with Jessie/Jessica to start her training. She meets:

  1. Mia, the wizard’s apprentice. She won the magic tournament by beating everyone up instead of using magic. She is bad at magic.
  2. Drake, the fighter’s apprentice. He has a sword that’s soooooooo big he can’t even lift it. I am too young to understand phallic imagery.
  3. The Fighter Hero, who is fat and looks like Mario
  4. I assume the wizard dude/lady but I honestly can’t remember them at all so whatever.

Okay so they go to The First Kingdom where a party is being held in their honor for winning. They meet the three princesses:

  1. Sara, who is C-ko from Project A-ko
  2. Kim, who is a female Kefka from FF3/6
  3. A very bland Princess whose name I can’t remember

Anyway so they’re all at the party getting ready to eat when the Fighter Mario guy announces EVERYONE IS UNDER ARREST WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???? See he’s evil and this is all a takeover being done by Theresa! Wait, was Theresa mentioned at this point in time? I can’t remember. Not important I guess.

So the three apprentices escape somehow and…things happened. This entire part of the book is hazy to me. I think this is when Max took over writing and I took over ‘falling asleep on the couch because it is one in the morning and I am eleven’. I think our heroes fight, they become friends again, they learn of some ultimate evil etc etc. Oh! They meet a witch-lady who is a complete rip-off of Washu from Tenchi Muyo. She had a bunch of magical hairclips and had little tiny goblins that helped her. Totally cool lady. I drew her all over my notebooks in school.

Okay so other things happened. Billy? Totally evil and is defeated somehow. Kim has a pet six-legged dragon that is defeated somehow. I think Kim is defeated at this point too? Doesn’t matter because it turns out the real mastermind is…THERESA! A GOTH TEENAGER WHO HAS AN EVIL DEMON IN HER HEAD! SHE IS SO EVIL AND STUFF!

Theresa gets defeated. Somehow.

Anyway alls well that ends well! The evil demon is destroyed, the amateurs are labeled heroes, and I think at some point Drake managed to lift his sword. THE END!

So there you have it! That, my friends, is my first book. Mostly written by my older brother, but I’m still going to count it. The funny thing is I still have a copy of it on my bookshelf! I’m sure you can tell that I did not reference it at all to make this post. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to crack it open again to fill in the blanks.