Sunday, December 7

A Stolen Quote

Perusing through FLB's blogger, love in the time of global warming, I re-stumbled onto this quote from Alice Flaherty, and fell completely in love. I'm pasting it here, but definitely check it and more out on this (old?) blog from Francesca Lia Block. She has beautiful poetry there that is so worth reading.

“Is it too reductionist then, to suggest that a major reason for creative writing is an abstracted version of the same biological urge that causes you to cry out in sorrow or anger? Let us call it the need theory of self expression. I cry out because some primitive part of me believes that when you cry out, someone warm and helpful comes. What do I need? It is not to have those tiny babies back. They were too small for me to remember; they have vanished like soap bubbles. I have two real children now. Nor do I want to return to the sunny, uniformly lit mental life I used to have, although there are aspects of that life that I miss.

In fact, during my postpartum break, I discovered a mystery: I loved my sorrow. It was as if I had been preparing all my life for that event, that I had entered into my birthright. When I was in graduate school, my husband and I lived in an apartment over a ruined garden that had a grapevine as thick as a child’s body, coiling up the fire escape to my window. At night I could lie in bed and reach out into the dark and pluck grapes to eat. My grief was like that, as if it had given me access to a shadowy world that lies so close to this one that when I concentrated I could push my arm into it and pluck dream fruit. It is a world where beauty cannot be separated from pain, and should not be, as when a scalpel is needed to expose the exquisite organs of the belly. A pen can be a scalpel too. 
I no longer know whether it is my children that I long for, or my sorrow. I have an irrational belief, left over from my sensible past, that if I tell enough people about this knot that is always pulled tight, someone somewhere will be able to loosen it. But my new self needs it always to be pulled tight. I don’t write toforget what happened; I write to remember. There are worse things in life than painful desire; one of them is to have no desire.”
Alice W. Flaherty THE MIDNIGHT DISEASE


This is from The Midnight Disease, by nueroscientist Alice Flaherty, which, of course, I had to look up. It's a [much debated] scientific look at the compulsion to write that many people feel.
Yeah, obviously I need to read it now. It sounds really neat.
And that many of the negative reviews say it was illogical and disorganized, incoherent and jargon-filled, doesn't hinder my desire to read it-- I like tangent-filled writing and psycho-babble (although it drives the editor in me so crazy) so I'm all in there.
I'll let you know how that goes...

Friday, December 5

What I Want

I want to be an editor. I want to be an editor very, very much.
I want to be an editor because I love words. Some people love art, or movies, or music, or animals, but I love words.

I love words more than I love stories, or libraries, or the smell of old books. What would they be without words? A book is no book without its story, and a good story –whether news or fiction – is nothing without the right words. Words describe and explain, praise and hurt, show love and show pain. Words have power.

I love beautiful words that mean beautiful, whimsical, tragic things. Quixotic. Nyctophilia. Heliophilia. Acatalepsy. Metanoia. Aubade. 
My spell-checker doesn't even know these words, but I do, and I love them.

I love the things we do with words. Poetry. Music. Conversation. Journalism. Even the way typography constantly improves the way words look. And, of course, I like to read and to write. I read epic fantasies and angst-ridden teen novels. I write science fiction and romantic dramas. I break grammar rules. I use comma splices. I love whimsical, experimental poetry where almost nothing makes sense at first glance. These things make me love words more. They make me love to play with them.

But none of these would be worth a thing without the right, beautiful, captivating words.
And although I like to string words together that I hope are right, to make a story I hope is good, I love reading other people's words more. I love editing.

I love growing to understand the choices behind each sentence and fixing them when they don't match up to their purpose. I love reading these stories and connecting-- at a deep, creative level-- with the authors, then helping them find the right words, the right combinations, the right punctuation, format and style, to make it exactly what they want.

I love the creativity. The creation. The challenge.

A perfectly written book may be captivating, but for me it's also boring. Give me a brilliant plot marred with rapid point-of-view switches, pathetic grammar and continuity errors that make you cringe. Give me news stories with terrible spelling and facts that have to be triple-checked and checked again. I love projects I can tear to pieces and rebuild twice as well. I like interpreting faults in each text and turning them into strengths, working with writers, bloggers and creators to make their work the best it can be.

I can break things down to find their core. I can pick out the poignant moments that make a scene glimmer, rise, or fall. Most of all, I can hear the voice. I can hear the way a story halts and stutters and flows. A wonderful story is wonderful, but a wonderfully written story is beautiful.

I'm creative, but practical. Critical, but constructive. Determined and helpful. Insightful and inquisitive. I understand the problems of both readers and writers because I am both. And though I may be a reader at heart, I am an editor by nature, and I can't imagine a single other thing I want to do for the rest of my life.
I am looking for new opportunities in the Editing and Publishing because this is what I want to do. I want to know the industry inside and out. I want to learn the best way to use every word and how to make each one count the most for its writer. How to use punctuation and grammar and style for the absolute best result, and understand when breaking those very rules benefits the writer -- and their readers-- more than they detract from the text itself.

I've spent the last few years doing freelance editing work for independent publishers, writers, bloggers and students. Throughout it all, no bad story, terrible grammar or difficult client -- no challenge at all -- has turned me away from the field.

This is what I want to do.

Friday, November 28

A Little Light Reading

Okay, so, crazy change of subject: me!

Just kidding. I write about me all the time.

But I want to do a little "plug" for my new writing endeavors on JukePop.com

JukePop is a really interesting site made for readers and indie writers to connect and develop working relationships via serialized updates of the writer's work.
So, a writer begins their novel on the site, posting one chapter at a time, and updates periodically  -- often or sporadically -- so that readers can follow them, read each serialized chapter, and offer opinions, praise, critiques, questions, etc. Readers can also donate to the writer, as well as encourage and promote their favorite stories.

I love the concept, and I really hope the site grows and gains more dedicated readers and followers.

the generic Romance cover
So I've uploaded the beginnings of two of my works-in-progress.
My poetry baby, inspired by the works of YA authors like (of course) Francesca Lia Block, Ellen Hopkins, etc. -- Poison In Her Blood (which is the newest working title)

Three tales of poison, reinvented.

Sephony can't watch the man she loves with another woman, and runs, losing herself in an underground club with bodies that writhe like souls, and an owner like shards of ice, with a ruby-red addiction.
Winter has a mother she adores, but who envies her youth and beauty. After spending her life trying to make her mother proud, Winter falls in love with a dazzling young girl, and want's to impress her, instead. But her mother will do anything to keep Winter quiet, and still, and all to herself.
Evie stands under the tallest tree in the woods, considering the dangerous offer that was whispered in her ear, and whether she can live with the consequences of her choice.

My writing obsession of the year, The Life We Didn't Live. A fantasy-woven romance inspired by the craziest dream that I could just never forget.

"Your time-line is wrong..."

Iris McEwan has dreams about a man she can't see. She feels sorrow she can't explain. She clings to the only thing in her life she feels sure about; her daughter, Ella.
But when a stranger at a carnival makes her suspect something unsettling -- and impossible -- about her life, she begins a trip through memories of her past, and a past she doesn't remember having.

So, if you have a moment and are looking for something to read, try these two fantasy reads. 
I got a comment on TLWDL really quickly, which boosted my hopes for it's success on the site, but I haven't gotten any since. I'd really like to see some more reactions before I post more chapters.

Thursday, November 13

Post Script :: Summertime Sadness

this was supposed to have been posted early this past summer. i was having trouble with my depression and couldn't get into the me i wanted to be and how i wanted to be living my life. this is the short post i wrote then trying to describe the feeling.




Despite its name, Lana Del Rey's song doesn't seem to be about sadness at all.

"I'm feelin electric tonight"
"I'm feeling alive!"
"I'm on fire, I feel it everywhere, nothin scared me anymore"

None of these lines scream misery to me. Instead they bathe in the summer sun and feel full and bright and alive dancing amongst drum circles and bon fires on the beach.
The song feels like it's thrumming with energy. With life.

But with the heat of the summer sun, the bright days and warm night's and heavy storms and cool breezes, I still can't connect to it.
I've known for a while that my depression hits hardest in the summer. I've never really figured out why, but it's there.
Maybe it's that I'm surrounded by people that don't understand what that feels like; feeling so full of light and life and potential, like your skin is singing. They aren't as active or creative or desperate to move as I am, and that knowledge has stunted me- makes me not want to go through the effort of forcing myself to do things on my own or convincing others to join in, not to mention coming up with the plans/activities themselves all on my own every single time.
posted from Bloggeroid

when you're away my nightmares play...



I'm not sure what, exactly, has been keeping me away from this site.
I've been busy, yes, and a lot of my online life has suffered and slipped away because of it. I've been working more to get in lots of hours and get out of debt, I'm been "adult-ing" more (i had to get insurance, buy a car, figure out my credit cards, etc.), while there's also been NaNoWriMo, of course, and I've been surprisingly social lately, which is cool, but tiring, and I'm slowly but surely realizing that I absolutely have to get to the gym and fix my diet or I'm going to get to the point-of-no-return in my weight-gain, which has been on my mind a lot. I'm certainly nowhere near heavy or anything now, but I'm Puerto Rican; once too many pounds add up, they're not comin back off.

But my NaNo book is coming along pretty well (I cheated a little by continuing a story I've been thinking about for a long time) and with the exception of being sick today and having to give away a shift saturday, I'm getting enough hours at work that I just might be able to pay both my new car payment and my rent this month. We'll see.


But this blog.

This blog is my love child, and continues to weave in and out of obsession territory.
I still have chunks of blog posts and character profiles and inspirational people and food breakdowns of books and details on other awesome blogs in my Drafts pile, just waiting to be finished and put out into the world via this site!
But I keep getting lazy. I keep forgetting.
I keep being tired and bored and miserable and lame.

No more!

I'm working on all the articles I can think of right now, and -- more importantly --   The next time you want a post (if there's anybody out there, that is) or want to write one for the blog yourself (i love guest posts!) please please email me!
I aim to please and I want this blog to thrive again!!!!
Ellie.S.Vale@gmail.com



Saturday, June 7

Magic Summer Longings

Longer ago than I'd like to admit, I made a post dedicated to Lana Del Rey.
It was pretty much just me blabbing about how much I love her music.

But really, at the time, what I loved was how it made me feel. Like soft breezes and summer skies and being by the pool or driving with the windows down in the warm sunlight.
And at that time, I wanted nothing more than the summer.

So while I've searched for artists like Lana (spoiler: I haven't found one) I've started looking for music that makes me think of hanging out in the summer time in one way or another.

After a few suggestion requests on Facebook and the like, I so far have this playlist of about 75 songs.

I want to play it while lounging by the pool, driving through the middle of nowhere, and drinking outside on warm nights.
I call it my Summer Life Affair list, because this year I want to have a love affair over the summer. But instead of a person or place, it's me, my world, my life. I want nothing more, this summer, than to fall back in love with my life.
I'm desperate for it.

Enjoy.



Wednesday, June 4

Those Who Felt Left Behind

"Any love that is love is right." - Baby Be-Bop (Francesca Lia Block)

A few months back, a friend of mine came out to me as Transgender.
We hadn't been all that close, but after that-- as I was the only one he'd told (which made me feel quite special and want to be as helpful and supportive as possible) -- we spent more time together. He talked about his problems with his medications, his changing body (and thoughts) and the troubles he had thinking about coming out to everyone else-- particularly his girlfriend.

"…Our apartment is teeny and you have to walk up eight flights to get to it but we have a fireplace with carved angels, a leopard-print chaise lounge, Maxfield Parrish prints of nymphs in classical sunset gardens, pink-damask drapes and silk roses in platform shoes from the 40’s and 70’s that Izzy has collected." ~Dragons in Manhattan

Being that my mind is almost constantly snuck up on by thoughts of FLB books and stories, it's kind of surprising that it took almost a month for me to realize that the exact thing he made me think of was "Dragons in Manhattan". 
A story from Girl Goddess #9, it has always been one of my favorites. It's sweet and beautiful and delicate and even surprising.
I immediately dug out my copy of the book and thrust it at him, thinking of his life and his girlfriend and the person (woman) he wanted to be.

This is a description of the book from oneteenstory.tumblr.com :
 Tuck Budd, the narrator of ‘Dragons in Manhattan’, is a young girl with two moms, Anastasia and Izzy, who she loves dearly. She is homeschooled with them in a magical art-imbued queer universe of delight—until she isn’t, and the kids in her new school make fun of her for having “two moms no dad.”
Tuck runs away from home on a journey to find her father. She imagines that, “he would wear a suit and go to a real job at an office like the other dads did.”
...
This story has a great deal of potential for heartbreak; a young teen with an absent father runs away from a nontraditional family that she is just learning to reject. But in the story’s heartwarming reveal, Block shows Tuck’s family to be more complex than she thought, more loving than she knew, and newly stronger than it had been when Tuck’s journey began.

I absolutely love this story, and if you've ever read it and don't love it, you must not have a soul. Seriously. Get that checked out.

But it took him another month to actually read it.
It sat on his bookshelf as he did other things, and I continued to bug him about reading it every time I was at his apartment.
"It's like this big!" I said, squishing my fingers close together, "It'll take you like an hour! Not even! The story alone won't even take you twenty minutes!"

But he put it off and off.
Finally we came to some stupid deal. If I played some game on my phone that he was obsessing over, he'd read the story.
Done and Done.

Later that night, my phone rings, and all he can say is how amazing the story was.
"I know, right!!" I squealed. I can't even explain how happy I was that he'd liked it.
And he did. He found connections to it all over the place, and read it over and over again. I think he even said he cried.
The next night he came over so we could sit outside, drink sweet wine, and talk about it. He was still reading it again and again. He even ordered himself a copy of the book-- just for that one story!-- not long after.

“No other kid at my school lived with two women who slept in the same bed and kissed on the lips all the time.” - Dragons in Manhattan

As of last week, she has moved to San Francisco with a new job, a whole network of Transgender friends and co-workers, and more courage than I could probably ever muster. From the little bit I've gotten since she left, she is really, really happy.
And why wouldn't she be? She has this entire new place, new job, new life, new person to explore and experience and discover!

It's very rare that someone who I've lent a book to actually reads it, which I think is a shame. I'm good at recommendations. I don't suggest someone read a book because I like it, I suggest a book because I think they'll like it. My recommendations are tailor-made, and yet I've lost a lot of books to people who borrowed one but never actually opened it up to read it, thus never becoming interested. It's a shame.

But he read this one, and he loved it, and I can't tell you how thrilled I was with that fact.

When he first came out to me, he was so nervous. He said he thought I was the most open person he knew, and that I'd understand.
I did. Of course I did!
I've never been there. I've never been in his position, but I was excited and happy for him, and worried about all his problems and wanted to be there for him. And I'd like to think I was, until she got that fantastic job and moved across the country.
Which, by the way, I am extremely jealous of, and will probably end up on her doorstep one day, having spent all my money on a plane trip, and insist on a giant tour of the wonderful city.

But throughout his (her) transition, she always felt alone. Our town is pretty queer-friendly, in that there is definitely a gay community, and the colleges have gay events, and sometimes you'll see related things about queer culture on flyers or ads. But even then, she was still the outsider. Among the new queer friends she'd made, none of them were Male to Female. So many were Female -> Male, but M->F is apparently as rare as a unicorn around here.
And she felt ostracized. Even among the gay community, she felt looked down on as a Transgender person. People even asked "Why can't you just be gay?"

When she did find people who were as open and friendly as she was, she thrilled in it, but still felt lonely that she was still the only M->F that she knew outside of the internet.
Now she seems to have a cozy network, which makes me really happy for him.
We can't go through life-- especially these difficult, life-changing moments in life-- feeling so completely alone and/or misunderstood.
I tried to always be there for him, but at the most basic level, I couldn't really relate to what he was going through.

Why do we do this to people?
Why do we make others feel so alone or unnatural because they are different?

In a perfect world everyone could be what they wanted. As long as no one is hurt by your choices, there's no reason for you to not be who you want to be. To not love who you want to love.
The idea that anyone is a lesser person is actually, frankly, the most heartless opinion that I can imagine. There is no hierarchy of people.
It doesn't go; straight married people on top, then straight unmarried people, gay people, bi people, trans people. Would intersexed people even get to be in the list? Single mothers? And where does that put all of the rest of the "alternatives"?
There is no such scale. There should never be such a scale.

How can anyone truly, deeply feel that one type of human being is better than another?
How can anyone not think that having that opinion makes them a terrible, cruel person?

People are people
love is love.

Who the fuck are we (the general we as a society) to tell someone they can't do the harmless thing that makes them happy?

Thursday, February 20

Style Icon :: Lana Del Rey

Lately I have had a terrifyingly sudden and intense addiction to everything Lana Del Rey. Her music -- which i listen to over and over again every day -- her style, her videos, her makeup -- which i attempt to emulate sometimes -- just... everything.

I love the 40s, L.A., Gangster's Girl, Sexy, Hip-hop, Lolita vibe so many of her songs have that makes you want to dance and sway and drive under bright, shimmering California skies.

Her sound is singular, in that I've spent the last few weeks trying to find someone with similar songs or that makes me feel the same way, and I just can't manage it. I've listened to a lot of recommendations, and artists she attributes as inspiration, but still... not the same.
Husky sometimes, deep and soulful others, then light and airy and whimsical.

Her songs sound like pop-hip-hop (Off To the Races), anthems (Born to Die), soul-searching melodies (Ride), lounge music (Body Electric) and James Bond themes (Million Dollar Man).


And her look is sensual and sexy and 1940's glam that I just can't get over. So what if her lips are done or she has a carefully selected make-up artist (which I'm assuming), that's her choice, and I assume she likes the way she looks, which is the whole point!
I have even found photos of her with blue hair, though I can never tell if they're real or photo-shopped. Still!


I read a review of her album, "Born to Die", that complained that too many of her songs re-used the same ideas and styles.
Personally, I love that. Really, really, love that. I hate it-- loathe it-- when I find a song I absolutely love, then get the artist's album only to find that it's the only song like it that they've ever done! The most noteworthy of these I can think of is Fiona Apple's "Paper Bag" which I had a very long love affair with a year or so back. But when I downloaded her discography (yes, I do that, but I support artists when I can, too) I couldn't find a single other track that was like that song. Yes, I like Fiona Apple's songs, but I looove that one, and it's the only one of its kind. That makes me sad.
This is not the case with "Born to Die". Almost every song is jazzy, sensual, sexy, fun, and down-right amazing. In fact, the ones I'm not as big a fan of are the slow, purely romantic/sad songs like "Video Games", "Summertime Sadness", or "Young and Beautiful". Not saying I don't like those, but I definitely don't put them on repeat like others

There's also complaints that Lana Del Rey isn't a real person. Her real name is (was?) Lizzy Grant, and she was a would-be artist that just sort of fell through. When she couldn't make it, she disappeared, and later on Lana Rey Del Mar appeared, touting a huskier, darker voice, a very rich image, and  a new sound. Rey's success didn't take long, but when fans realized the connections, people lashed out at her for faking who she is. Again, i disagree here. So she's not actually Lana Del Rey? I love the character she's created and the persona, even if it's not a real person. It doesn't make her music less beautiful or sexy or fun.

But there are other critiques of her work that I relate to, such as this (well-earned) rant about the video for "Ride" which points out the big flaws in the [very very pretty] music video-- particularly, its glorification of the character's (Lana's) dependence on the men in her sad life, and her complete abandonment of self in favor of their company and support. It touts the idea of independence and freedom, but always seems to be centered around the men she seems to give herself up to.
How Weetzie (and yet still culturally incorrect/rude) is this scene??
So, is she perfect? No.
Does that detract from the inspiration and vibe I find in her?
No!

She's flawed and some of her ideas are flawed, but that makes her much more of a down-to-earth icon that I kind of appreciate. We all do stupid things and hop onto wrong bandwagons. Look at Weetzie's use of Native culture in Weetzie Bat. Do we like Weetzie, or FLB books, less because of these instances? No. It's important to understand and acknowledge the problems in our heroes and inspiration, and learn and seek to not repeat those flaws, but not having them at all...? There's no such person.
Learn from your inspiration's flaws. Be better than them!

Back to the point.

My favorite songs::

Lolita
Off to the Races
Born to Die
Radio
Million Dollar Man
Blue Jeans
Dark Paradise
This is What Makes us Girls
Body Electric

Friday, January 3

Pinterest Contest for "A Study In Steel"

My Book!

Coming out this Sunday! My first novel!

I can't wait! I'm sorely excited to have this out in the world. If it's at all successful, I'm hoping to make actual prints next year. For now, cheek out the ebook!

"A Study in Steel", a new cyberpunk noir by Eliana Vale at Smashwords! 

Vera is a Search Engine; a private investigator driven to find the truth in a world of machines. When her client is murdered, she finds herself caught up in the sordid history of her city's past, and those trying to survive within it.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/393997

Check it out, and email me for a coupon code to get yours!

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