Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Life in Bullets

The first of the two holiday weekends is over, and all I can show for it is a rotten five days of being sick, bare bedroom walls, and a really cool kitty necklace. Mother tried to be supportive of my writing and gave me a digital voice recorder, but the sound of my own voice makes me giggle. ;)

I've had a few inquiries about what I've been up to, so here are my answers in bullet points (because I like everything organized and separated by subject - don't you?):
  • Writing: My writing took a few weeks off (I didn't - it did), but I returned to Project V over the long weekend and got in about 1K before succumbing to my sickness again. It's still kind of boring to write, but I have an idea of the next few scenes now so I'm going to try and get them down since they're there. As for SS12, I haven't touched it since I declared it my next project - which is bad because that deadline will pounce on me very soon!
  • Life: I am in the process of re-doing my room, which basically means removing all the posters and putting up new ones. I really want to get a new bed and shift the furniture, but I said that last year and it still hasn't happened. To hopefully further my writing resolve I have declared my closet door "writing space," and have begun filling it with encouraging notes and points to remember and inspirational pics, all topped with a map of the world. I must say it's coming along nicely.
  • Movies: Finally saw Harry Potter Part 2, which concludes the HP movies. *sniffle* I was surprised at how close they stuck to the book, which I only found out after declaring several scenes were not in fact in the book and then upon revisiting the book discovered they in fact were. (My memory is horrible!) I also saw The Help, which everyone raved about but it depressed me to no end. Still, it gave me a story idea about zombies...
  • Reading: I lost Legend back to the library, but another copy is on its way so I can finish it. Mother & I have been into Charlie & the Chocolate Factory lately, so I re-read the book (she's already well into The Glass Elevator and doesn't like it ;). I'm also still trying to get through Fairy Tail - only a few volumes left. I learned one can only take so much FT at once, and my tolerance level was about 12 volumes (I have 15 right now). I'm also holding onto a copy of Shatter Me, although once I found out it's in journal form I was a little put off (used to love them, now not so much). Will still give it a try though.
So that's what I've been up to. How about you?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Tidings

I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!
May it be filled with family and friends,
lots of good food, and tons of fun!
Happy Holidays! XD

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why I Write

Just when I think I've reached the point where I can no longer get much from articles on writing, I stumble across one that leaves me pondering just how much I think I know. I read an article that asked me the simplest question: Why do you write?

And I had no idea.

It's not that I've never thought about it - I mean, we all do here and there. But I had never focused directly on the question.

The article said that you should write it down, to have on hand when you get discouraged or stressed and start questioning why exactly you are putting yourself through this anyway? So when I headed for my thinking spot (the shower) a little later, I gave it some serious thought. Why do I write? Here is my answer:

I write because I have so many stories to tell, and I want people to read and enjoy them as much as I enjoy creating them.

The article said that our reasons tend to change over the years, and I know this to be true. When I first started writing, my reason was to make a lot of money penning awesome stories so I could quit my job and move to Colorado with my parents where they could retire and relax. (This was only fed by the fact that said parents kept asking me when I was going to finish a book so they could move and retire and relax already! ;) But I now know that it is extremely difficult to make enough money to fulfill that dream - writing just doesn't pay that much. You have to throw your whole self into becoming a book machine, or get really lucky and hit it big. Not that I'm not going to try, but my reasons for writing are now much more realistic.

I come up with at least one new story idea almost every day. Life inspires me, and before I know it I'm thinking, "But what if this had happened instead?" or "What if she was put in this situation?" or "If only there had been a body in the middle of the room!" My mind starts churning and creating and expanding the story, and I itch to put it down on paper - and ultimately show the world. One day I hope I can, and I look forward to hearing what the world thinks of it.

But first, to get it down...*sigh*

So why do you write?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Musing Mondays: Curses & Parasols

Time for another Musing Mondays question, brought to us by MizB at Should Be Reading:

"What's one book you always recommend to just about everyone?"

I can't think of a single book, but there are 2 series that I rave about to anyone who will listen:

The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black
(Bk1: White Cat, Bk2: Red Glove, Bk3: Black Heart)
Genre: Older Young Adult Paranormal
What if there was "magic" in the world - and it was wielded by the mob? This series follows Cassel Sharpe, a boy with a rare power, as he gets himself entangled in "the family business." The premise is original and fresh, the writing flawless, the characters extremely interesting and engaging, and the world perfectly woven. Person: "Can you recommend a book?" Me: "Well, you have of course read Curse Workers, right?" Person: "No." Me: "Have you been living under a rock?"

The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger
(Bk1: Soulless, Bk2: Changeless, Bk3: Blameless, Bk4: Heartless, Bk5: Timeless)
Genre: Adult Alternate History Paranormal Steampunk
It follows soulless Alexia and her adventures dealing with secret societies, threats against the Crown, and fashion - not to mention vampires, werewolves, and ghosts (oh my!) - set in Victorian England (or thereabouts). Tea, steampowered contraptions, parasols, proper language, dirigibles, a bit of blood, octopi, and lots of flying fur ensue. The writing is flawless and witty, the characters are real and eccentric and way too much fun to follow, and the world is perfectly constructed - you simply can't go wrong with these books. And Gail is branching off from this world with two more series - be still my fluttering heart!

So what books do you always recommend?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Library Haul: Daring Girls & Grim Reapers

It's time for this week's installment of Library Haul, in which I show you what goodies I picked up during my weekly trip to the libraries (TL, ML, and CL). This trip was marred by the fact that by the time we reached CL, which is currently undergoing renovations, it had CLOSED, without warning, THREE HOURS EARLIER. Needless to say this left me distraught, as they are currently holding the LAST Harry Potter movie for me! *sob* So I have to wait until TUESDAY to get it. (They aren't even open Sundays! What is the world coming to...)

But even without CL's goodies, here was my haul:

  • A new Yotsuba&! finally appeared! I adore the adventures of the little girl, although it's so odd sometimes that I can only take a few chapters a sitting. ;)
  • Now that I've watched Willy Wonka, I want to re-read the books again, so I picked up the paperbacks. Now to find time to read them...
  • I came up with a story idea about a female grim reaper and remembered reading First Grave on the Right a while back. I figured there would be another book out by now, and sure enough there was (Second Grave on the Left) - and it was just waiting for me at TL! I adore perfect timing.
  • I listened to a Writing Excuses podcast episode with guest Andrew P. Mayer last week, and his book (The Falling Machine) sounded interesting so I picked it up. Not sure if it'll quite be my thing, but I'm willing to give it a try.
  • The books standing up are my used book haul, from both the library Friends and a quick stop by Changing Hands (which was crazy packed! Good for them!). I picked up The Daily Writer for my 2012 "daily writerly moment," which is one of the many plans I have for the year to come. I'm sure you'll be gleaning bits of wisdom from it as well as I read and blog about some of the entries.

So what goodies did you pick up your last visit to the library?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Home Is Where The Heat Is

After such an amazing yet astonishing rain day this week (it was awesome! XD), I started pondering why I live in a place like Central Arizona, where rain days (my favorite type of day) are considered "amazing" and "astonishing" instead of "normal." So I decided to create my "Cons & Pros List of Central Arizona":


1. The summers are HOT. As in melt your shoe soles to the pavement. As in fry an egg on your dashboard. As in barbeque your brain into a gooey mess. It may be a dry heat, but you'll still collapse if you're outside more than two seconds in one of our many 120-degree days. Whoever's idea it was for human beings to live here year-round, I hope they died a slow, painful death out in the desert with a dry canteen and no hat.

2. It hardly ever rains. And NEVER snows. Snow? What's snow? I've heard of the phenomenon, but it's been so long since I've seen it I question it's existence. And as for rain, this year has to be one of the driest on record. When we finally had a real rain day this week, no one knew what to do with it. No one carried (or probably even owned) an umbrella. They would either stand inside the shops staring out with bewildered looks, completely at a loss how they were supposed to get to their cars, or they walked through it like it wasn't even there - rain zombies, completely oblivious that they were getting soaked. I, on the other hand, ran about in it with my plaid umbrella, shivering yet grinning.

3. It's BROWN. Sure we have our own greens (heck, most cactus are green), but they are majorly bleached out, and who can enjoy anything, green or otherwise, under the blinding sun? On the very rare days it's overcast, it's like I've been transported to a whole other world where I don't have to squint to see everything. Or it's like I've been blind, and oh look! That big brown smudge over there was a mountain! I never would've guessed.

4. It's really spread out. I dream of places like NYC, where within a few-block radius of your apartment you can buy groceries, pick up a pizza, purchase books, try on clothes, and take a stroll in the park. Here, a few-block radius might get you a QT, if you're really lucky. To get anywhere you actually want to go, you have to drive. And of course Arizona is populated with crazy people who drive like maniacs out for your soul. Bonus Points if you can sideswipe the Honda! *swerve*

5. Winter clothing is NOT an option. Sure there's enough of a chill outside to warrant long sleeves and a thin jacket, but once you head inside? You'll wish you'd never heard of long sleeves the heat is so sweltering. It's not cold enough outside for a person to need to thaw out inside before heading out again. And yet, during the winter? All the clothing there is to purchase is for Alaska weather conditions. (A parka? Really?) Clothes shopping in winter if you're not traveling = useless.


1. Beautiful, mild winters. They really are gorgeous. People live her for the "chill without snow" factor, which I have to admit is nice. You can still go around in short sleeves and sandals if you have a light jacket and don't mind a little nip. And this girl loves the nip! XD

2. Arizona bookstores. Our bookstores are pretty awesome. We have Bookmans (eat your heart out other 49 states ;), which sells only used media and has a really nice selection most of the time. Then we have Changing Hands, which has a pretty good new/used selection but it's the awesome guests and programs they run almost constantly that have put them on the map. If an author is coming to Central Arizona, most likely it will be there - or Poisoned Pen, our other independent bookstore that I don't get to often but know it's the other place to be seen if you're an author. Needless to say, I haunt these places whenever possible.

And... yeah, that's about all the Pros I can come up with. Sad, isn't it? Why do I still live here?! Oh yeah, I can't afford to move...

What are the pros and cons of where you live?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Legend

It is time for Teaser Tuesday, a weekly meme (what does that mean anyway??) hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, where you open your current read to a random page and pick two teaser sentences.

This week's read:

Legend (Legend, #1)

"One of these is the Republic's flag, imprinted faintly against the metal.
Another is a small red number: 318."

So what are you reading this week?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Library Haul: Fairy Tails & Chocolate Factories

After the amazing haul I got at my local libraries today, I thought I would start a regular segment entitled "Library Haul." (Original title, right? I have a gift.) Every Saturday (when I don't have a program to run) I hit three different libraries (TL, ML, and CL). This was my first Saturday back after more than a month away doing Nano, and they were as happy to see me as I was them! XD

Here's today's haul:

  • TL finally got in the middle volumes of Fairy Tail, meaning I can finally start reading it! I refuse to read anything out of order unless absolutely necessary. 
  • I was two-thirds through Daughter of Smoke & Bone when a hold stole it away from me. Now I should be able to finish it.
  • Stumbled across Glee's rendition of "Pure Imagination" this week and got a hankering to see the original Willy Wonka movie again. I'm pondering purchasing the original soundtrack if it's as good as I remember...
  • New Nancy A. Collins Golgotham book came out this month (Left Hand Magic), so I got Right Hand Magic again to brush up before new book arrives. I read so much I can never remember what transpired in the previous volumes.

What did you get in your latest library haul?

The Secret of Blogging Regularly?

Unfortunately no, I don't know the secret of blogging regularly - I'm wondering what it is! Do you know? I have no idea how some people do it bi-weekly, let alone daily. I can never think of anything intelligent to talk about, and if I do it takes several days and many hours to write (because it can't be posted unless it's perfect). *sigh*

But I haven't posted since November (when Nano gave me a very good excuse and month-long subject to work with), so, updates:

So yeah, Project V... all I have left is the last fourth or so, but after being sick in October, doing Nano in November, and then being hijacked by a brand new story for 34 handwritten pages the beginning of December, I lost all momentum and can't find my way back. I tried printing out what I have so far to read through, but I got sick of it around Chapter 4 - not a good thing considering "if you are bored, so will the reader be." So at this point I'm not sure what to do other than set it aside for a little more time and abandon the 12/31 finish deadline. Perhaps this wasn't to be The Story after all...

As for the December story that hijacked me, it was coming along really well...until it wasn't anymore. So I decided to let it go for now. It was a fleeting idea that came from seeing one too many Mary Jane characters in superhero stories and wanting to break the mold. Perhaps if I started typing it up I would regain my interest, but for now I'm okay letting it breathe - my wrist couldn't take much more anyway.

My current project is my short story entry for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association contest (due mid-February). I did it this year with no intention of winning (and I didn't), and can't wait to do it again next year. It's the only contest I could find that gave two critiques win or lose (if you know of any others, please let me know). I'd yet to really receive much critique (I'm very wary of having people read my stuff - the "must be perfect first" complex again), so this was a great way to get some "professional" constructive criticism - and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Although I never expect to win (this year's winning story showed me I don't write what the judges consider "winning material," I guess), I loved the feedback I got and am really looking forward to some more.

For the short story, I flipped through ones I had already started and discovered a complete 2K first draft from last December. After getting over the shock that I could have possibly written a short story under 10K, let alone 5K, I was very happy to declare it a worthy candidate. For now, we shall call it Project SS12. Who knows - maybe I'll post it here once it's finished (we'll see).

So that's it for me. What are you working on right now?