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My email address was hacked!

So my Azalea-jay@hotmail.com email address was hacked. I don't know how long it has been in hacker hands and I apologize to anyone who has received spam from me. THE ADDRESS HAS NOW CHANGED. After two weeks of attempting to regain control of the address and failing, I have simply created a new address: Azalea-halden@outlook.com. Any mail from the old address is NOT FROM ME. And again, I am so sorry if anyone received spam mail.

My computer has been excessively cleaned and I can guarantee the new address is clean and secure.

In other news. Yes I am still alive. Yes I am still writing. And I hope - I HOPE - to be posting again soon.

-Azalea J.
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New Story Announcement!

The plot outline for the story I plan to work on while WTML festers is complete, and so are the first thousand words! I don’t know how much more I’m going to be able to write before the month’s end, but my eventual goal, once I have a good start to the story, is to try and update once a month and go from there. It’s going to be called The Wolf Legend of Hounillist, or TWLOH.

This one’s a dark tale, which takes place in a pseudo Dark Ages. I’ll be using a lot of Greek and Roman terms, but also some Norse and certainly quite a bit of fantasy language, setting, and ideals as well. There’s a tad of non-con, a lot of blood and gore and death, but at its heart, its just a really kick-ass story (I’m hoping :P).

The Wolf Legend of Hounilist

Summary: Esca is the first-born son to the King of Tyteca, but he is not in the least happy with his position. Despite being of age he is still the lover of Linos, the king’s best knight, a position reserved for young men in order to instruct them in the ways on honour. And Esca resents this to the core of his soul. When bandits overtake the village and castle, however, killing everyone Esca knows and loves, he quickly learns how much worse life can become, and how much honour truly means.
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I’m Publishing a Book!

Literally—I’m the publisher, lol. I’ve been under orders to keep hush about this project since it began—but no longer! We have officially entered the marketing stage of The PROWlers: A Professional Writing Anthology.

If you happen to be in Edmonton, Alberta on 27 of October of this year come on down to LitFest, Edmonton’s premier literary festival, where we will be launching! You can also check out the Website where you can pre-order your copy, and of course, there’s always the Twitters, where you can find The PROWlers @MacEwanPROWlers!

Also, funny conversation I had with my boyfriend back when I first volunteered for the project:
ME: I’m going to be working on an anthology!
BOYFRIEND: An anthropology?
ME: An ANthology.
BOYFRIEND: An apology?
ME: ... I’m working on a book.
BOYFRIEND: Ooooooh.

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"Azalea J." is Apparently a Household Name. Who Knew.

So on my first step to tackling a very long to-do list with the end goal of having a good, predictable update schedule, I created a Twitter.

I know, I know, a bit late. And, clearly, some other people agreed with me because they stole my name! *laughs* There are five other “Azalea J.’s” on Twitter. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. Not just Azalea, but the “J” too! That’s my name!

I think I’ve mostly gotten over my sheer disappointment and not a little frustration. Mostly. Now I seem just to be amused. Who knew it was so popular.

With that said, new Twitter account is Azalea J. Halden @AzaleaJayHalden (I wound up using my full name just to be sure people found the right “me” XD).
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In Super Sad (but still determined) News...

I think it’s time to admit that Where the Moon Lies has gone into hiatus. Deep into hiatus. A year and a half is just ridiculous. With that said I will say again that I have no intention of abandoning the story—it’s simply time to face facts and man up to reality: the writer’s block I’ve hit in regards to WTML is not going to be overcome by moping about it. The problem I face is I have an ending, but no conceivable way of getting there as the story stands. Whenever I try to write, I find I’m writing words that just aren’t going anywhere, and no one wants to read that, let alone write it.

So the solution is this: I fully intend to complete WTML one day. In the mean time I;ve decided to take my mind off it by begining work on another story I’ve had waiting in the wings for some time now. Hopefully, this one will go better.

As for ElJay, I think it’s time to say good bye as well. I’ve been so busy with University for the last few years, now that I’m almost done I’ve had to recognize that I just don’t use it anymore. However, I am planning to get serious about my writing career (Seriously!) and with that said my plans for this blog will not be deletion, but merely relocation—imma start my own website! I’ve got a techy friend helping me out, and once I get my lazy ass in gear I hope to be updating on a (semi-) regular schedule like I used to. (Will I actually abandon ElJay? I’d actually like to think no, that I will keep it as a side blog to the website, and who knows, that may yet happen. I’m in the middle of figuring things out at the moment and, to be honest, I really don’t know.)

I love to write, and that’s what I’m going to do, dammit.

Wish me luck, and I will keep everyone posted.

-Azalea J.
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Getting the Geek Out

So firstly, I apologise for missing a week. In hindsight putting additional deadlines on myself during the last three weeks of school might not have been the brightest idea, hopefully; however, I’ll be able to wean myself into a routine by summer.

But down to business: In accordance with my editorial calendar I’ve decided that in addition to movie reviews, one of the posts in my five-post rotation shall be a book review! I have so much fun with movie reviews; I figured I could challenge myself with their formidable forebears. I find writing review’s not only gets the geek out of my system (or gives me a chance to vent), it also keeps me analytically challenged, which I think is important when a person writes predominately fiction—as I do.

Book: A Companion to Wolves
Author(s): Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear
Genre:: Fantasy (Though I want to, and there are m/m sex scenes in it, I cannot call this novel a “romance”. More on that under the cut.)
Synopsis: Trellwolves are wolves that hunt trolls, and there are those that have bonded with men. Men and their bonded wolves live in packs known as “wolfheallan”, for a bonded wolf and man pair is no longer man, and no longer wolf, and accepted by neither. The wolfless men fear these men for their wildness but rely on their strength to protect them from the trolls; they tithe young boys every spring to keep the wolfheallan’s numbers strong. Isolfer, tithed despite his father’s wishes, bonds a Konigenwolf by name of Viradechtis, a bitch-pup who will one day lead her own pack, and he is about to face more than just mere trolls, for bonding a bitch-pup is difficult enough; bonding a konigenwolf is world-changing.

Men have fought trolls for as long as any can remember, but something has changed. Something is causing the trolls to flee their northern trellwarens in numbers that are swiftly overwhelming the men of the south. Now a wolfmaegething has been called, and all the wolfheallan’s are gathering to make plans for war.

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So it’s been a while...

But I’m back! And this time I plan to stay a while, because I’ve missed you all, and I’ve missed blogging.

There is one main reason I’ve been away from ElJay for two years—university. I am nearly through my third year and I can say that after writing projects, reports, papers, essays, dissertations, articles, etc, I have had no motivation to write for myself. This is horrible! ElJay once represented my desire to write write write, and I intend to revive that desire.

I have discovered numerous things about myself over the last two years, the first and most important is that I am, indeed, a writer, and intend to make it my life’s work, the second is that I write best on deadlines. To that end I am imposing on myself an Editorial Calendar, which will ensure a post by me every Sunday, on a rotational basis. The posts will vary and I’m still working out the kinks, but at least one of those posts must include an update to my current Work In Progress (Where the Moon Lies, at the moment).

Also to the end of revamping my journal, I have updated the theme! There were many contenders, but I ended up with Magic Paper because I fell in love with the bookmark sidebar. Thoughts? I also updated my bio with Dragon’s Destiny, a story I recently jumped on that has actually been wallowing in my brain for six or so years. I won’t be posting Dragon’s Destiny anywhere online anytime soon, as I hope to see it to a publisher, but I do intend to use my ElJay as a motivator to keep me going on it.

What else have I been doing for the last two years? Well, I went to Ireland, and just this last summer I broke the metatarsal bone in my right foot. It was a harrowing experience. I was severely depressed for the first term of this year, and wound up dropping one of my favourite classes to get through it. But I did get through it. Between awesome friends and classmates, understanding teachers, and internet access, my horrid crutches eventually did go away, the air cast with them, and now besides mild pain and stiffness my foot is as good as it was. I even wrote a short memoir about the night it happened and weeks leading up to my recovery—it got me an A+ in Creative Non-Fiction.

And besides a short-lived addiction to Glee that’s what I’ve been up to.

It’s good to be back!
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A brief blurb about a few of the movies that came out this summer...

Because I don't have the time to write a proper review about all of them! *Cries*

The Expendables:
Director: Sylvester Stallone
My Rating: 3 Stars
Kick-ass stunts, bad-ass fight scenes, hard-core actors that we all know and love, and one okay cameo from one Mr. Schwarzenegger, do not a movie make. I'll give it a "cool to look at," but the movie was truly predictable. And the cameo? Stallone clearly wrote the scene just for a place to put Schwarzenegger; there was no other reason for it to be there. Same with Bruce Willis. The main draw of this movie was its muscle-packed crew, but not even half of them had main roles. Yes, the fights were good, and it was by no means boring, but it definitely did not do it for me.

Scot Pilgrim Vs. The World:
Director: Edgar Wright
My Rating: 4 ½ Stars
Well damn, was I surprised. I figured I'd enjoy it, but I LOVED it! I haven't read the comic books, but I'm thinking now that maybe I should. The movie was quirky, funny, and freaking awesome. It was fake, but it was trying to be fake – it was a real-life video game! Literally. The stunts were perfect, the acting was stupendous, and the writing, well, I'm certainly jealous. Also, it was set in Toronto! Lol.

Piranha:
Director: Alexandre Aja
My Rating: 3 Stars
So usually I'm good with the gore, and boobies are always a plus, add in a scene where a piranha eats a guys penis and this movie would have gotten 4 stars. For what it was (A horror-themed Jaws wannabe with a pornographic base) I would usually have given this movie 4 Stars. Chuck in Christopher Lloyd and I would have given it 4 and a half. But... for whatever reason I was just grossed out; I left the movie feeling like I could vomit if I tried. The gore was so realistic, so gratuitous... so... horrible. The one thing that lifted this movie back up for me was the humour-—this is not a Jaws remake, it really is just a funny porno with a lot—a LOT—of gore tossed in. If you're great with a girl falling apart because piranha's ate out her spine, or a guy being pulled out of the water just so he can stare at the skeletal remains of his legs, or a girls face being ripped off because her hair was caught in a propeller, and can laugh at it, then this is a movie for you. Otherwise, stay away. Stay far away.

Inception:
Director: Christopher Nolan
My Rating: 5 Stars!
Let me start by saying Christopher Nolan can do no wrong. And let me follow that by gushing about every single one of the actors in this film—-Gordon-Levitt, DeCaprio, Page, Hardy, Wantanabe, Rao, Caine, Murphy-—and the rest, were all incredible. Finally, a movie that the audience has to think about; it doesn't require days of interpretation and multiple viewings (although seeing it a second time is reccomended), but there's enough in there to make your brain work a bit. Which was refreshing. The plot was engaging and fast, the settings were exotic and well-shot, and I've already gushed about the acting (Tom Hardy should be illegal. My god). Since this isn't a proper review, I shall stop before I write thirteen pages about everything that was stupendous about this film-—go see it.

Despicable Me:
Directors: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
My Rating: 4 ½ Stars
Hahahaha! Oh my god, "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!" can be put up beside "I'm on a horse." For best line of the year. Really. This movie was funny, and adorable, and just damn good. I saw it three times and plan to go again. The minions: priceless.

The Last Airbender:
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
My Rating: 1 Star
No I don't think my rating is harsh – Shyamalan is an idiot. The movie was bad even for non-fans. Just bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. I got to see it for free and I wanted my money back! The acting was bad. The writing was bad. The special effects were especially bad. It was as if Shyamalan took a look at the Wikipedia description of Avatar, and made the movie based off that.

Honourable mentions:
Toy Story 3 (4 Stars), Eclipse (3 Stars), Predators (2 Stars), Sorcerer's Apprentice (4 ½ Stars), SALT (4 Stars), Killers (2 ½ Stars), The A-Team (4 Stars), The Karate Kid (2 Stars), Knight and Day (4 Stars), Grown Ups (2 ½ Stars), Prince of Persia (4 Stars), Shrek 4 (3 Stars), Robin Hood (1 Star).

Rating Rubric:
1 Star: Oh my god dig my eyes out with red hot pokers now!
2 Star: Poor - poor quality, poor acting, poor story. It's sad that it was made in the first place.
3 Star: Decent. But I wouldn't go out of my way to see it again.
4 Star: Pretty good - good quality, good acting, good story - I'd recommend it.
5 Star: Fucking unbelievably good. Some serious thought and talent was put into this movie; not only will I be seeing it again - I'll buy it, I'll recommend it, and I'll probably have wet dreams about it.
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Life update thing.

So it's been three months since I last posted. Wow. What the fuck have I been doing? Honestly, I've been having a blast. I worked my butt off, and spent every moment I could with friends. This has been an awesome summer!

In Projects: I have officially moved into my parents' basement. I painted the room brown and green and with the help of some friends painted a giant ass tree in the corner. I now have enough bookshelves to hold all my crap, and I can play my music, almost, as loud as I'd like. :P Ah, the life of a university student.

In Writing: I know, I know. *Hangs head in shame*The next chapter of Where the Moon Lies is coming. It's coming slowly, but it's coming.
I've also dipped my hand into the adventure genre, and I've got a new story in the works that takes place in Myanmar. Indiana Jones, eat your heart out – my boys not only get in trouble, they get in the sack, too.

In school: I'm so excited to begin my second year of uni! I miss my friends, my teachers, the classes, obviously, and even the campus—horrendous bus schedules aside.

In Television: Thank you, hdluff4eva, for getting me addicted to 21 Jump Street. As if I didn't already waste enough time watching Phineas and Ferb. *Rolls eyes*
I also somehow managed to get myself re-addicted to Friends. Somehow.

In Anime: Bleach. Bleach. Bleach. And I'm thinking of trying out FMA Brotherhood; I've heard good things...

In Manga: Anyone ever heard of Under Grand Hotel? Hot. Shit.
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Uhm... guilty post...

So I just realized I haven't even been thinking about writing lately; I've been working and sleeping and watching Will & Grace. I feel lazy and guilty about that, so I sat down today and tried to get something out. Nothing much got written, but I feel better for the effort, and I'm going to try again tomorrow.

In my defense work is taking a lot out of me: I've started pulling ten hour shifts to help out with being short on managers. I've also be holding more screenings for the staff to keep up staff moral as we enter the ridiculously busy summer season, which means I don't get home oftentimes until 3am, and I don't get up until noon.

Also, summer isn't my most productive time. There's a reason I work in a dark, air-conditioned movie theater, and it isn't because I get high of the popcorn fumes.

But writing is more to me than just a pastime, and I realize that the lack of it is making me irritable and a bit depressed. I've decided, therefore, that this laziness has got to stop. Tomorrow I'm going to sit down to write, just as I'm going to do each and every day following, regardless of how much I want to just sit on the couch and play DVDs.