Assembling a Cyberpunk Heist Team by Jodi L. Milner

My buddy James and I did a super entertaining blog swap. He asked me to stretch out of my writing comfort zone and write a cyberpunk “how to” article. Here’s what I came up with. Be sure to like and follow James at his blog. 🙂

James Wymore

As part of a blog swap (see my last post), Jodi L. Milner wrote these fun instructions, which I think you’ll enjoy.

Assembling your Cyberpunk Heist Team

By Jodi L Milner

Listen, if you’re reading this you are already up to no good. Kudos. I like your moxi. Chances are you’ve got plans, big ones, the kind that needs cash. We’re not talking about rummaging up enough coins to sleep in a real bed, that’s nothing. If you take my advice, you’ll never have to sleep on a pile of cardboard again.

We’re talking credits. Those penthouse-dwelling corporate yes-men got ‘em. You need ‘em.  The cybernetic enhancements you want won’t pay for themselves, and without ‘em you might as well start selling your brain space to the highest bidder.

To pull off a successful heist, you need a team.

The Mastermind – That’s you, sweetheart. Someone must know what’s really…

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Janus: The God of Beginning

January is all about new beginnings and I, among others, have beat the goals and resolutions drum loudly and with gusto. But, have you ever thought about where the word January comes from?

Until recently neither did I. That was, until I ran across an article about Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings. Seeing as history holds it’s own special magic, today we will explore the history of how January got it’s name.

Both Rome and Greece both celebrated many gods, each with a very specific purpose. The majority of these gods were shared between the two cultures, each with their own specific name. The Roman Jupiter is the Greek Zeus and stands and the King of the gods. Neptune is Poseidon and is the god of the sea. Venus is Aphrodite and is the goddess of love and beauty.

Janus, in contrast, is purely Roman with no Greek equivalent and is the only god with that distinction. In ancient history, Janus was the god of beginnings and endings and presided over entrances and exits. To represent this role, his is often depicted as a two-faced god, or a god who can look in both directions.

Bearded Janus at the Vatican Museum
By Fubar Obfusco – Foto taken himself, upload to English wikipedia by Fubar Obfusco, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=177247

Unlike other Roman gods, there is evidence that Janus actually lived. One of the myths declares that he ruled alongside the Roman king Camesus and was exiled to Thessaly. His children included Tiberinus, which is where the name of the Tiber river originates. He built a city on the west bank of the Tiber named Janiculum.

Shrines to Janus are generally located near river crossings or bridges and are themselves passageways to enter and exit places of reknown, the most important of these being the shrine near the Argeletum entrance to the Forum. This shrine had bronze doors which were kept open in times of war, and closed in times of peace.

Arch of Janus, Forum Boarium, Rome
Located on the Tevere river
Image attribution: Wikimedia Commons – artist unknown

According to Roman historian Livy, these gates were only closed twice between the 7th and 1st centuries BCE due to the Roman tendency to always be at war.

Many modern day sources will attribute Janus in the naming of January. To my surprise, I found this isn’t technically true. There is an older attribution to Juno, the queen of the gods. While it makes sense to honor her in this way, I will hold with modern sources that persist in tying January to Janus.

January marks both the end of an old year, and the beginning of a new one. It is the doorway marking the entrance of the earth into another cycle around the sun. Janus is the guardian of the same. It simply fits better.

Sources:

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“Always the Journey” podcast

Last week I joined Jason Woodland on his podcast “Always the Journey.” We had a great time talking about everything from favorite movies, to the influences of travel, to the color that represents my work. Be sure to check it out!

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Power Words of 2019

No, this isn’t a goal writing post. I swear it. No one wants to read yet another one of those. Besides, it’s mid January, trendy goal-setting posts are not allowed past this point.

This is totally a motivating “set your intention” mindful living kind of post.

And I’m all about motivation!

This year, I didn’t want a set of structured goals looming over me. It’s not that the goals aren’t helpful – structured goals are a powerful tool – it’s that I tend to get carried away with the details and that causes anxiety. If I create all those details, then there’s the pressure that I might get it wrong. Instead of spreadsheets of detailed goal planning, I’m embracing a single word:

‘INTENTION’

As a busy mom, everyday brings with it a new set of challenges. Instead of fighting the never ending tide of changes and feeling like I’m constantly behind or missing out, or doing it wrong, the focus instead will be on what I want as the desired result.

It sounds super hippy, that’s why I like it. It’s not going to solve my problems, just my mindset. And a healthier mindset can move mountains.

In addition to reminding myself to live each moment with intention, I’ve created a series of power words to help focus that intention from day to day.

For this year, these words are the following:

  • Create
  • Strive
  • Serenity
  • Discover
  • Simplify
  • Vitality
  • Fearless

In the morning, somewhere between making breakfast and checking if everyone’s teeth are brushed, I take a moment and consider my day and the challenges I might face. One of these words will best encapsulate what I need to focus on and I stick it to my monitor as a reminder.

Stay tuned, every third Wednesday of the month is now power word day here on the blog, where I discuss what each word means to me and how it has helped me work toward my goals.

A huge thank you to Jenelle Stone for her class on power words and goal setting, I loved it!

Do you use focus words? What words do you find powerful? Share in the comments below.

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Love fantasy and sci-fi? Go check out the Fantasy and Sci-fi Reader’s Lounge over on Facebook. Everyday new authors visit the page to talk about their books and also their favorite fantasy and sci-fi. Even better, there are lots of contests and giveaways of the freshest fiction. Go check it out!

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Just posted today! My article “What to Expect when you are Expecting … a Book” is over at James Thomson’s blog, The Wayside. Go check it out!

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Grateful for You

Yes, you, dear reader. I am grateful we are sharing this tiny moment of our day together. I’m grateful you chose to click the link and see what I have to say. Writers can’t exist in a vacuum, we need to know there is someone out there who is interested in what we have to say. Today, in this exact second, that person is you. 

You are the reason I create magical pieces of fiction. You are the reason I stay up at night thinking of how to untangle a difficult story line. You are the reason why I seek out interesting topics to share. If it weren’t for you, I’d probably be doing something mundane like folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen.

Here at the opening of the holiday season I find myself full of conflicting emotions. With Thanksgiving, and it’s focus on gratitude, this is the perfect time of year to reflect what I’m grateful for here at the blog – and what a year it’s been! At this time last year, I discovered my book was going to be published. I dreamed of what today would look and feel like. 

Being here, at this moment, is a culmination of years of dreaming and working. I’m excited about the possibilities the future holds, but also know how much work each of those possibilities require to make real. Everyone wants a runaway success, no one wants to think about how much effort it takes for that to happen.

Which is why I’m grateful for you, dear reader. Every click turns into a number, and while most of you will only be known as a number to me, each number is meaningful, because it means you were here. 

Thank you for being here!

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Last weeks launch party and book signing was a success. A huge thank you to Aaron and the Printed Garden for hosting, to Jordan for bringing his amazing sword exhibit, and to my friends and family who came and supported me.

Missed the Launch? Have no fear, I’ll be signing at The Printed Garden during the Shop Local Saturday event, Nov 24th from 1-4 pm.

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In other news, I’ve been busy connecting with other blogs and podcasts. Here is what was posted this week:

Don’t forget, books make great gifts! Pick up your copy of Stonebearer’s Betrayal now and give it to your favorite fantasy reader for the holidays. 

Amazon 5-star review

Wonderfully crafted story. I really enjoyed how the story unfolded and grew as I read. The characters were well created and brought me into the story, and made me feel all the emotions a good character does. Yes, I even shed a few tears. Well done. Can’t wait for more. – Blyck

2018 Reading List

While lots of people spend hours, if not days, deciding on goals for the new year. I spend days figuring out my reading list. It’s a very involved process that includes pouring over “Books You Must Read Before You Die” lists, searching through releases by fellow author friends, and finding the lost desperate papery souls on my Goodreads “Want to Read” list.

51jWBJa-X-L._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_Then there’s all the hot new books from 2017 that I probably missed… When you’ve got kids home more often than not, quality reading time is hard to find.

Out of the fifty or so titles making up the preliminary list, only twenty-four can survive the final cut. Twelve fiction. Twelve non fiction. Could I read more? Yes, absolutely. However, the best part of the reading experience is spending time sinking into a story and relishing each page. I can’t do that if I’m stressing out about finishing in time.

January’s selections are Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Strunk and White’s Elements of Style – reviews to come, stay tuned!

2018 (Mostly) Fiction Titles. Drum roll, please:

Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
Man from Shenandoah – Marsha Ward
Heroes of the Valley – Jonathan Stroud
A Darker Shade of Magic – V E Schwab
Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Looking for Alaska – John Green
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan A Safran Foer
Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
Never Let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

2018 Non Fiction Titles. Kazoo chorus, please:

The Question of God – Armand M Nicholi, Jr
Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – David Gerrold
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Stiff: Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
Lucifer Principle – Howard Bloom
Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves – Lynne Truss
Power Cues – Nick Morgan
The Gift of Fear– Gavin De Becker
Rules for a Knight – Ethan Hawke
Be Different – John Elder Robison

3264344How about you, dear reader? What titles have made your “Must be read” list this year?

Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think?

Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

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Thank you Terry Pratchett

The more time you spend working to become an author and to publish, the more you realize just what a big deal it is for your name to be known among the general population. Think about it, there are millions of authors out there who are published, and several million more who are working to become published.

Knowing an author’s name, even if you haven’t read them, means that they have attained a level of success that few can even dream of.  Stephen King, Dan Brown, JK Rowling, and Neil Gaiman, are now household names.

1654Terry Pratchett is one of those authors who have  broken the mold among the fantasy community. Over the course of his career he has published  an astounding 66 books. Forty of these books belong to the globally popular Discworld series.

What makes Pratchett’s writing unique is his firm grasp on satire and knowing just how far to push an illogical situation. Some of his most iconic images are in fact the most silly, such as the Luggage, which is described as this:

The Luggage is a large chest made of sapient pearwood (a magical, intelligent plant which is nearly extinct, impervious to magic, and only grows in a few places outside the Agatean Empire, generally on sites of very old magic). It can produce hundreds of little legs protruding from its underside and can move very fast if the need arises. It has been described as “half suitcase, half homicidal maniac” (Sourcery paperback p22).

tumblr_mn98y9YnC51r3yo7eo1_400Terry Pratchett died in his home last week after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. His courage and wit have inspired millions, including me.

Thank you Terry!

Literary Interview with the Twins

Happy President’s Day everyone! I hope you all have fun plans to celebrate the day.

My friend and fellow writer Ginger Commander Mann had the brilliant idea to allow  the twins from her story “Jilted River” to interview the twins from my story “Breath”. Both our stories appear in the Xchyler Publishing fantasy anthology The Toll of Another Bell.

Head on over to her blog to check it out!

Twin Walks at the Edge of Time

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New Favorite Musicians – The Piano Guys

Pop culture has everything to do with the latest and best incarnations of our favorite things, and music is no exception. In my high school years I loved the piano music of Jon Schmidt almost as much as I loved and still love soundtrack music.

Yesterday I found the best of both worlds – Jon Schmidt playing awesome mixes of some of the best soundtrack music out there along with his awesome buddies in The Piano Guys. Here’s my new favorite mix, Batman Evolution.  Not only do they weave the best of the Batman theme songs from across the years, but they have been allowed to borrow three of the original Bat mobiles as set pieces.

Check it out: