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Monday, April 25, 2016

Polaris: Protagonist Bao Lai

Hi all,

I've posted a lot about my otome series Polaris but I guess I haven't really introduced the story and MC (Bao Lai).  This is a small blog so I bet not a lot of people find their way here.  Still, if you've found me, I hope you'll give Polaris a try.

So first off, Bao Lai is the main character and from her perspective, the readers experience the story and makes choices along the way to determine how the story turns out... or never reach the ending because a bad choice was made.  Every book in the series (so far) will have Bao Lai walk down different paths in order to choose between two men in different endings (or in my next otome novel, one of the paths will allow her to have both men <3).

The male characters she can ultimately end up with are:
  • San An- Nan Rong's prime minister and former crown prince
  • Shu Jin- San An and He Pi's brother.  A servant prince.
  • He Pi- Nan Rong's missing emperor
  • Kang Lang- He Pi's fiancee, a Ning assassin, and currently a courtesan in Nan Rong's Circle
  • Han Bei- Ning's champion and Grand General.  Kang Lang's brother.
  • Bai Hu- one of the top generals in the South's army
  • Zhen Yue- one of the top generals in the South's army
  • Qing Hai- San An's nephew and a new recruit to the army training under Bai Hu.
  • Possibly Su Jian - the antagonist
  • Possibly Ying - Su Jian's assassin
* Currently, Polaris: Emperor of Nan Rong allows readers to choose between San An and Kang Lang.

Main Character Bao Lai:
Background 
Bao Lai (Chinese for Polaris) grew up at Tian Mao Yi Temple to the south of the capitol, An, of Nan Rong.  [Nan Rong is the southern country bordered on the east by Ning, west by Ye, northwest by Feng Jia and north by Bei Ling.]  Because the temple consisted only of men, she spent her entire life a cross-dresser in order to blend with the crowd and don't cause "distractions" for those reaching enlightenment.  Since she is used to being treated as a boy/man and actively tries her best to be accepted, she is a tomboy, easily prone to anger, tactless around men who do see her as a woman, oblivious when it comes to relationships, ignorant/innocent/childish from lack of experience outside the temple, and sometimes brutish (mostly against Kang Lang).

At the temple, She trained with monks and former military men when they came to practice and tell stories, but she's not particularly powerful.  She is capable but she also lacks confidence and real training to hone her skills.  Mostly, she's unaware that the deadliest tool she owns is her mind.  Bao Lai can be clever but also reckless and stubborn.  She's far from perfect and therefore is hard on herself for this aspect, even though imperfections make her human, which she learns from associating with the other characters.

At twenty-five years old, Bao Lai was kicked out of the temple after her caretaker, the priest Tai Hung, died.  The story takes place about a year after this event.  She is mistaken for missing Emperor He Pi by Qing Hai, which led Bai Hu to take her to the capitol where she becomes a stand-in.  At the palace, the story unfolds and paths diverge.  Bao Lai becomes caught up in He Pi's political and personal troubles.  The men in His Majesty's life also seem to harbor strange feelings for her but she isn't sure if the attraction is stemmed from her gender or because she resembles He Pi.  In later routes more paths will be opened up, each brings new light to the story from different perspective.

Other facts:
  • One of her greatest fear is women.  Bao Lai is very nervous around women. The monks at the temple either saw her as another male or because of her gender, ignored her completely.  Hence, she feels inferior and is easily intimidated by pretty women.  Due to her past, around men, she can be a bit too comfortable, which works both for and against her favor.
  • At the temple, she skipped studies for the training halls where she spent her time listening to war stories from veterans
  • Her childhood dream was to enter the army and become a general
  • She likes pretty things
  • She dislikes bossy people
  • She's too gullible but also over-analyze things
  • For most routes, her "girlfriend" is Kang Lang

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pineapple plant?!

So, I found these pineapple plants for sale at Walmart the other day.  They're too cute, I had to share them.  FYI... Pineapples don't grow on trees, anyone else ever thought that?  Because I did until about 3 years ago. 😅

Monday, April 11, 2016

Random Post: ShopKick

Hi all,

I've just learned about this app a friend of a friend recommended so I thought I'd share.  Of course I'm old and behind the times so feel free to wag your finger at me for being late, young people.  Also, I'm in the US so I'm not sure if this is applicable in other countries.

Let's go to it:
1. What is shopkick?
  • It's an app in the iStore/playstore that uses your GPS & Bluetooth to track nearby applicable vendors/stores.  You earn points for doing certain tasks.  The idea for this app is not new but this may be more functional than some others.
2. How do you earn points?
Note: This depends on the stores  and the day in which you go because it can change.  You can redeem points at each store once a day.  Some typical ways to earn are:
  • Walking into the store.  (Walk in or near the entrance and then load your app.)
  • Scan the bar code(s) of the items on the list.  Load the scan option and it will tell you which products you can scan.  Once you find it, click on the item and the camera will load.  Hold it over the bar code and it will validate the code.
  • Buy something.  This is based on promos.  For example, sometimes, every $1 purchased equals 1 point (the app will tell you which stores have this active promo).  This requires a credit/debit card to be linked to the app and points are credited for purchases made by the designated card at the applicable shops.  Personally, I'm not comfortable linking any card info to apps so I've not used it.
  • Send in your receipts.  There may be promotional items which if you purchase, they'll give you a certain amount of points after a receipt is loaded.  I don't know if they'll let you keep the points if you return the items or not.  I don't use this option unless I planned to purchase the item anyway.
  • Load the App daily to get point(s).
3. What can you redeem points for?
  • Charitable donation contributions, gift cards & stuff... even a Vespa if you manage to accumulate 1.875 million kicks.
4. What is the minimum amount of points to redeem?
  • As of now, I see 75 kicks for earning one point toward your American Eagle Rewards account (if you have one).  The next level is 100 kicks for Feeding America and American Red Cross.  The first gift card I see is for Walmart, 500 kicks for $2 but you can choose the level of redemption (ie $5, $25, etc).
5. How can you build points faster?
  • I hear there are promos near holidays where instead of say... 30 points, they'll give you 150 just for loading the app after walking into the store.  I know a guy who just walks in and out of stores whenever he's near a strip mall. (One disclaimer, a coworker went to a mall where the shops are a little crowded together and said she didn't receive any points.  I wasn't there so I don't know if it was user error or if the app couldn't discern location when the stores are all bunched together.)
  • Refer a friend.  Currently, you will earn 50% of your friends' kicks in their first two weeks after signing up (via your referral link) up to 2500 kicks per successful invite/100 invite max.  That is a whole lot of points if you have lots of friends who shop.
Speaking from experience, it's been almost 3 weeks since I signed up and I've made over 600 points from going shopping for things I need anyway and mostly points from referrals.  The best thing about this app is, going to some grocery stores and pharmacies can earn points (even Walmart and Costco) which is great if you're not into shopping at strip malls and such.

That's all the info I have for Shopkick for now.  TTYL.

-Lenne Penry

Monday, April 4, 2016

Random Post: Wacom Mole

So... I decided to buy the Wacom drawing tablet even though I'm sure I would have loved the larger drawing area for Huion.  I need something that will last so I'd get my money's worth.  Of course, I've never used either but after reading some reviews out there, I figured a well-known brand is worth a shot.  If not, back it'll go. 

And now... I might rage a little.  Amazon had the "new model" of Intuos Draw (the pretty blue one I wanted) for the same price as the "old model" white one (about $70).  I thought this was standard so I had time to decide between it and the Huion.  Went on their website yesterday and now it's $95!  The white one is still $70 and the blue "new model" is now $25 more, which makes me think Amazon had it mispriced for a while.  And I... missed my chance!  Darn it!  Grrr!  This is why I can't have nice things!

Phew... got that out of my system!

On another note, I'm going to put the new tablet to work once I get it and I'll let you know how well it functions.  My expectation is pretty low considering I've been using a 5-year-old, $25 tablet, with no pen sensitivity.  Wacom should be able to beat that by a mile.  If it turns out to be another disappointment then Huion, here I come!

I'm also planning to start a small shop on Fiverr.com to put the Wacom to good use; maybe earn enough to upgrade to the pro version five years from now.  More details to come.  If you're interested in having your pictures drawn by yours truly, then please stay in touch.  I may even draw you as... a cat :3

Thanks for visiting!
-Lenne Penry

Power Puffed

I power puffed myself at powerpuffyourself.com