Friday, December 28, 2012

My Precious-es

*Side Note: Me n' Blogger are fighting. Formatting issues are the resulting casualty. So sorry for some of the weird-ness... Its out of my hands blog peeps!


John Milton wrote:

"A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."

Do I know exactly what it means? 

Yea---no. 

But since books ARE My Precious (I'm still riddin' the "Hobbit high," can you tell?), and I've always pretty much consider myself a master spirit (I mean, come on, really?), I thought it made a pretty good quote to round up my year of book-ness!By the way, random side note... this pic of Gollum? Totally looks like what my mom used to call my "chin up" smile:
Coincidence? I think not.
(P.s., I'm the blonde babe in the yellow shirt, if you didn't make the Gollum connection. The pink cherub with the cheeks is my little brother, who will probably be mortified that I posted physical evidence on my blog that my mom secretly wanted another girl, not a boy. Heehee.)

(Just kidding about the mom wanting a girl thing... but seriously... boys in pink, mom? Heehee again.)

Moving on...

Its been another glorious year of reading! You can find a list of My Precious-es under the "Book Worm" tab at the top of this here blog. I like to read all genres, but most of them were YA this year. I heard a guy at a writing conference say one time that writers should read 300 books in their chosen genre, that have been published in the past 5 years. So that's the excuse I give when people ask me why I read so much YA. 

But lets be honest. You all know me. 

I'm just a straight up YA addict! 

I really should start making some kind of rating system for my junkie Precious list, cause not all those books were created equal. I log all of them down. Not just the ones I read within a 24 hr. time frame. Then again, I suppose if you're too lazy to click on my goodreads link to the right, then you probably don't care much what rating I'd give the books anyway, right? 

ANY-whoooo! Here's my top five (in no particular order):


The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa 

"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad..."


I thought I was done with vampire books, that I had read all that was worth reading as far as our immortal, blood-sucking friends go. I--in a word--was WRONG. Julie Kagawa's vampire dystopian was epic. I fell in love! Read it. You'll be glad you did. (Twilight wha??)


Partials, Dan Wells

"The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.


Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there."


This was actually one of those that kept me up thinking and pondering into the wee hours of the morning. What does it mean to be human? Can it be measured? Created? Bought? Or is it one of those abstract concepts we will never be able to tag an easy definition to? I can't wait for the next installment of this series! 


The Running Dream, Wendelin Van Draanen

"Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her."

This is one of those books that made me laugh, weep and ache with equal parts throughout the entire ordeal. Jessica's injuries and her devastating loss seem almost too much to bear at times, and you almost want to throw down the book in protest of her hardships! But then--ahhh--to overcome! The sweet victory she achieves when she overcomes her own personal Gethsemane is beautiful and incredibly inspiring. I absolutely adored this book!



Ashes, Ilsa J. Bick

"An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.


Holy goodness... can you say CREEP-TASTIC?! This book gave me goosebumps! Bick does not shy away from make-your-skin-crawl descriptions of horrific end-of-the-world grotesque-ness, and has no qualms about making you check your closet for monsters after reading this. Oh and also? She is the new Queen Masta of cliff hangers. For real. Read with lights on.


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart

"Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit." A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:

A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.


Frankie Laundau-Banks.

No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.


Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:

Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way."

THANK YOU, Barbara Kloss, for recommending this delicious book! Definitely a "My TOP Precious" contender! Perhaps its because I walked the thin line of "criminal mastermind" myself, back in the day, but this book struck home. I haven't has as much wicked delight reading a book since I read "The Boys Start the War, the Girls Get Even," back in grade school! Frankie is witty, clever, and can get a whole heap of boys to do her bidding, without even breaking a sweat. This book is fresh, original  and perfect, if you're looking for something funny and unique! 

SO, there you have it, my fellow read-a-holics! My 2012 Precious-es. My top five reads of the year. And although it physically pained me to eliminate some of the books I did (dagger to the soul), the top five can, well, only hold five. *sigh* Enjoy your own delicious holiday reads! I look forward to seeing some of your own 2012 highlights in the next few days!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Epic. Failure.

Sooooo.... yeah.... about this NaBloPoMo schtuff...

Apparently committing to write a blog post every day for the month of November is really pushing my "Get 'er Done!" skillzzzzzz. I'd like to say I have a fabulous excuse as to why this didn't get done, like, oh, I don't know... saving the world from an alien invasion... but really? 

I got nothin'. 

Wanna know what I DID get done in the meantime? Here are three things:

1) Contracted a flesh-eating, phlegm-spouting, fungi-spreading, can't-stop-coughing-bacterial-throat-infesting-germs-all-over-everyone plague of death. 

A.K.A.... the common cold. 

I forget how monstrous that disease really is, until it attacks again. 

Pity me, people. Pity me. 

2) Attended Breaking Dawn Part 2 movie of oh-my-gosh-what-the-H-E-double-L-is-happening-with-this-ending?!?!.... [those of you who have seen it, YOU KNOW!]....

Yup, that's me.... the one with the face... Arrrrgh!
Despite the rather annoying, screeching teenie boppers, us "oldies" were still able to enjoy Jacob's ten minutes of shirtless screen time and Edward's froofy hair. 

3)  Did a TOTALLY WICKED Alice in Wonderland photo shoot with my AWESOME SAUCE writing friend, Lauren Hennessy!! She's over at Pensuassion... you know... if you wanna check her out. She's pretty cool. We borrow books. And write. N' stuff. Here are some of the pics we took during my epic weekend of awesome-ness in Houston:

"And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was going to get out again."
"What a funny watch," she remarked. "It tells the day of the month, and doesn't tell what o'clock it is.""Well why should it?" muttered the Hatter. "Does YOUR watch tell you what year it is?"
"Yes, that's it!" Said the Hatter with a sigh. "Its always tea time."
"You would have to be half mad to dream me up."
""In another moment Alice was through the glass, and had jumped lightly down into the Looking-glass room."
"It was much pleasanter at home," thought poor Alice, "when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits."
"Who's been painting my roses red? WHO'S BEEN PAINTING MY ROSES RED?"
"I warn you dear child, if I lose my temper, you lose your head. Understood?"
"What a strange world we live in," said Alice to the Queen of Hearts.
"Rule Forty-two. All persons over a mile high to leave the court." 
"Off with their heads!" 

Did I mention it was epic? It was totally epic! Lauren doesn't think she makes a very good Alice, so you should all shower her with compliments so that she'll agree to do more photo shoots with me! Muahahahaha! 

And thus concludes three of my reasons for not blogging more vigorously during this, the sacred month of NaBloPoMo. I whole heartedly apologize to the three of you (Mom, Dad, Hubbs) who were waiting on baited breath for my thirty November blog posts. But alas! It was not meant to be. 

And really? I think we should look at this in light of overall improvement.... after all... AT THE VERY LEAST, I'm writing MORE blog posts than normal!

Baby steps, people. Baby steps. 




P.s. If you're at all curious about my OTHER hobby, see here: Reveal Photography

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You know they say...

... a picture is worth a 1,000 words....


... so consider that a 1,000 words worth of "I-just-really-want-to-be-on-a-beach-right-now."

*sigh*

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blog Awesome-ness


Yay! I just received the Super Sweet Blog Award from the lovely Samantha May, over at Writing Through College! Thank you awesome girl! And since I've made it a quest to blog every day for the duration of November (aside form Sunday, cause I believe a girl deserves a rest now n' again!), I decided to pass on the love!


1. Cookies or Cake
Cake. Unless its cookie DOUGH... in which case, is there really even a question??

2. Chocolate or Vanilla
Coco-holic here!

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?
Oreos in milk... mmmmm....

4. When do you crave sweet things most?
At night. Its bad. 

5.If you had a sweet nickname what would it be?
Um... are there any names I could actually come up with that wouldn't sound like a hooker name? Heehee.

Samantha also tagged me in the Next Big Thing Challenge. So here goes nothin'....

1. What is the working title of your book?
Current project: The Sunshine Patriot

2. Where did the idea come from for that book?
The book is a sequel to my first book, Keepers of the Flame. The idea for the series came around because of my fascination with how dystopian societies actually got to their point of "no return," so to speak. I wanted to explore the actual demise of a government. I also love the Revolutionary War time period, and thought it would be kind of cool to write a "second" revolutionary war in the modern day!

3. What genre does your book fall under?
YA Political Thriller

4. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I rarely think about actors when I'm writing my characters. I DO like seeing what other people come up for me, though! The only character I have a face for is one of my bad guys, who I always picture as Cillian Murphy. Love him!

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
When a murder uncovers her Congressman brother's part in a plotted coup on the United States government, Essie Hall joins the resistance to save the country she loves. 

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Trying for an agency first! But I'm not opposed to self-publishing, if that becomes the best option.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm not finished with the The Sunshine Patriot yet. But it took me 'bout a year to write the first draft of Keepers (I was a first year law student at the time, so I'm pretty sure that earns me mad props too... woot, woot! Heehee.) 

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Honestly, I don't really have anything to compare to. I'm not aware of any other YA political thrillers on the market. If you know of any, PLEASE TELL ME!! I would love to read them!

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Errr... this is kinda like question 2, no?

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Action. Blackmail. Murder. Political intrigue. And a dab of romance to appease the ladies ( : What's there not to love?!

I hereby pass the baton onto Barbara Kloss, Lauren Hennessy, Mandi Tucker, Kristen VanDyke and D.V. Shepard. Go forth and blog, awesome writers!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Information Super Highway


I've been thinking a bit about writing today. I mean, naturally, right? Its November. So writing is in the air!! 


In particular, I began reminiscing about the time-honored tradition of note passing. 

Its importance--I believe--cannot be overstated. I mean, really. Can you think of ANYTHING else that contains a comparable wealth of information found in a teenager's brain than a surreptitious note passed in class? 

I think not. 

Me and my friends were Jedi ninja note passers. For real. We had color coded ink (GEL PENS!!) Special notebook paper. Secret codes (ahem, Pig Latin). And could time an airplane note's journey across the room down to the millisecond and not get caught. We even had cool folding methods. Remember THESE?!...




Lucky for us, other class go-ers were simply entertained by the amount of notes we could pass without getting caught, and never bothered interfering with said airplane's trajectory. 


Which is good. Cause our notes were a gold mine of info...



...Juicy gossip details. The who-likes-who of the high school jungle. What I ate for lunch. What I didn't eat for lunch. Science project assignments. Gym locker combos. Band rehearsal schedules. What so-n-so's outfit looked like. Who's tongue was down who's throat. Pictures of zombies n' pirates. Stick figure cows (don't ask)...

I mean, my high school sweet heart even dumped me in a note... (A NOTE!!)... so, yeah. 

You get the picture. 

In 9th grade, we got really lucky. Our teacher had (foolishly) lined desks up against a chalk board. Her second foolish move was to place me and my friends in a row along said chalk board. 

Shinny smooth metal surface? A bunch of friends lined up in a row?

Enter.... INFORMATION SUPER HIGHWAY!!!

That proved to be the most note-passing efficient method we ever "invented." Simply write note. Fold. And push note down chalk board tray like a match box car on a race track! 

*sigh*

This new teen texting generation is really missing out, aren't they? Never again will they experience the heart-pounding-sweaty-palm-jolt-of-fear moment when their paper air plane note lands safely on the right desk the split second before the teacher turns back. 

Its tragic, really. What will become of these poor teen souls? 


Friday, November 2, 2012

NaBloPoMo??

Blah blippity bloooo po moo-mooo....

Yeah. I don't know who decided these acronyms were a good idea, but I have strong suspicions they may have been on acid at the time. Just sayin'. 

So I'm assuming many of you writing lovelies have decided to participate in the mad rush of typing n' brain frying that IS the month of November. Also fondly known as NaNoWriMo. 

I... in keeping in line with my strict diet of "Staying Sane"... have decided to (once again) pass on this month of insanity. I considered it briefly. I really did. But I just got done training for AND RUNNING a half marathon.... [see documented proof]:



... which means I've just recently shed the dreary, saturating task of devoting long, unhealthy hours to an activity that really deserves to be implemented in one's life with more balance!

Not that writing is long. Or dreary. Per say. Nothing like my loathe of running, for certain. 

But like training for a half marathon of maddness, NaNoWriMo DOES take up a fair amount of one's time. And when one takes a step back and tries to balance writing a 50,000 word novel in one month WITH menial tasks such as bread winning n' such, well, that task becomes a bit daunting. 

Hence, I pass once again on the epic NaNoWriMo journey. 

HOWEVER, despite my passing, I must admit that I still enjoy a good frolic in the festivities. So, as a way of NOT participating in NaNoWriMo, while still PRETENDING that I am, I thought it might be fun to do NaBloPoMo

(Um. Yeah... am I the only one who feels like a small child with a mouth full of mashed potatoes when trythig to say that??)

Apparently in English, this stands for National Blog Post Month. Who knew?

As you can probably guess, this NaBlooooo bitty boppity boo boo schtuff is designed to promote the writing of a blog post every day of November. 

Easier than 1500 words? Methinks yes!! 

This is my NaNoWriMo cop out way of still participating in the madness without actually going mad hatter cray cray! If you'd like to try 'er out, the info is HERE. Also, you can find blog post prompts HERE (you know, if your'e like me and sometimes draw a blank as to what to write).

So good luck with the Nanos my lovely writing dears, be they WriMos or BloPos or something in between! May the force be with you, and all that jazz. I look forward to the end of this epic-ness, when we can gather in our introvert internet world and swap our writing war stories once more!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vote for Constitutionalists!

Usually, I try to distance myself from party politics on my blog. Not because I don't have strong feelings and opinions about things...

[pshaw... YEAH RIGHT! ME... not have an opinion?! Ha!]

... but because my YA political thriller was purposefully constructed in a way to avoid that kind of drama! I wanted to focus on issues that we could universally agree on. Regardless of party affiliation.

(Or, at least MOSTLY agree on... since I suppose technically, it would be an impossible literary feat to write something EVERYONE agreed on...)

Still, despite its conservative angle, this was just too inspiring NOT to share...


I realize that many of my lovely friends--writing and otherwise--don't agree with me politically. And that's fine. I'm okay with that. Because I FIRMLY believe in EVERYONE exercising their right to vote, REGARDLESS of party affiliations. 

Truly, I believe that with all my heart.  

However, this reminded me of my story. Of my characters. Of their convictions. Of what they fight for. The importance of the sanctity of our Constitution and the rights it protects. It gave me goosebumps, and reassurances that--YES, JULIE--teens ARE interested in politics! Your book DOES have an audience! There is power in the youth of our nation. And I hope I've been able to channel some of that youthful power in the words I've written in my book. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nincompoop-y-ness

First off... writers block, anyone? No problem!

My dear friend Mandi, is providing lots of delicious novel writing tips HERE, on her blog, in preparation for NaNoWriMo. Not to turn any NON NaNoWriMo writers away, there are lovely tid bits and excellent advice for ANYONE with a WIP! I actually think I'm a few posts behind, but she's been delivering quite the showing of AWESOME SAUCE writing tips! So no excuses. Go check 'er out!

Secondly, I had an experience the other day that I wanted to get your oh-so-awesome opinions on, dear writers....

I--ahem--OBVIOUSLY spend a lot of time on the computer these days.

Shocker, I know.

But I'm sure you ALL can relate. I mean... I know we secretly share this romantic notion of one day using a quill and ink pot to pen our lovely novels out in pretty scroll-y letters on thick, creamy parchment paper like Jane Austen (wait... did she even do that?!)... but lets be honest...

We'll never ACTUALLY do it. 

Why? Cause its just too stinkin' easy to type-a-roo away on the ol' Mac... complete with spell check and Scrivener.

BUT... being on the lap top brings its own extra baggage. Like email. And social media. Both of which I share a love/hate relationship with. But I digress... 

If you are anything like me--despite your best intentions--you leave said email and social media sites open and logged-in while your attempt to navigate the depths of your imagination. And I learned, this week, that APPARENTLY, SOME people keep track of how much time said applications are open. 

Last week, a friend of mine--who shall hereto forthwith be referred to as Nincompoop (holla, Mandi!)--informed me that "I spend too much time on the computer," and "should find a new hobby that doesn't involve a Mac."

I proceeded to tell said Nincompoop that "I get paid to take pics and edit photos of people," AND that "I consider writing a part time job." Both activities, you know, BY THEIR VERY NATURE, involve a lot of computer time. 

To which Nincompoop--in not so many words--replied, "You're dumb. Writing isn't a job. Its a hobby."

This was me:
Closed Caption: MEH????

Obvious creep-tastic-stalker nature of his knowing EXACTLY how much time I spend on the computer aside, his comment sorta stumped me. 

A hobby? As in... like... a hobby? You mean... like FUN?

For a moment, I starred at my computer, thinking I'd read my chat bubble wrong. Like... did he REALLY just say that?? SEEEE-RIOUSLY?!

What. An. Idiot.

My knee-jerk reaction was to yell "OFF WITH HIS HEAD!" And proceed to man the witch-hunt for his ignorance. Because... um, I have never ONCE considered my writing as mundane as a simple "hobby." That word is SO watered down... so simple... such an incomplete description of what I--what WE--do as writers. It honestly baffled me that he would call it that.  

I proceeded to tell him such, when Nincompoop, in all his nincompoop-y-ness, argued that since I wasn't ACTUALLY GETTING PAID to write at this point in my life, that I couldn't call writing a job. 

Which, got me thinking...

Does an actor attending auditions consider themselves at work... EVEN IF THEY AREN'T PAID TO AUDITION?

Does a professional athlete consider a VOLUNTARY extra work out "play time," or part of their job?

What about an UNPAID intern... is that technically just a "hobby"?

How 'bout a PRO BONO lawyer? 

Or a musician working the local bars for FREE, just so they can get that first foot in the door?

Because these people are not getting paid... does that mean what they do is not "work." That their activities are any LESS a job than someone like my marketing Nincompoop? 

MY opinion is obviously a bit fatty NO on that one... 

Writing is not always fun. Sometimes? It just plain sucks. I don't spend countless hours revising and revisiting and pounding the freakin' H-E-double-YOU-KNOW-WHAT out of each and every word because I ENJOY it. Because its a HOBBY. 

Lets be honest... if I wanted to relax, I'd read someone ELSE's work. 

Writing is work. Trying to get published, IS WORK. Writing synopsis's and queries and going to conferences and nail-bitting over whether or not that agent is ACTUALLY going to respond SOMETIME in my life, IS WORK. 

Nincompoop CLEARLY has never actually TRIED to get published if he thinks its all fun and games.... if he thinks writing is just a HOBBY.

A hobby? For real? 

Yea... NO.

*steps off soap box*

I'm curious, though. What do YOU writers think? Do some of you agree with Nincompoop? Or do most of you (as I suspect) valiantly stand behind the idea that an OUT OF WORK writer, is still a WORKING writer?




P.s. I promise that if you agree with Nincompoop I won't think you're a nincompoop too ( : I really am curious as to the general consensus here!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Opposition

As I was perusing the pins and likes and posts of the online world the other day, I came across a blog post about some poor, dystopian-burned-out soul, who was begging writers everywhere to--PUH-LEEEASE--put him out of his dystopian misery, and accept the challenge to.... 

...wait for it... 

... write a utopia. 

I admit. I sat there for a moment, contemplating the possibility of actually taking on said challenge myself, before realizing it would be a complete failure from the beginning. Because, lets be honest. It would. Be a failure, that is. A TRUE Utopia would be nigh near impossible to write. 

Don't get me wrong. I admit, someone probably COULD write it. No doubt. 

But it'd be like warm milk and Xanax for an insomniac. Five pages in and every reader would be tossing back some serious Zzzzzzz's! 

The World English Dictionary describes a Utopia as being "any real or imaginary society, or place, state, etc. considered to be perfect or ideal."

Sounds nice, right? But for the purposes of story telling? Mmmm... not so much. Stories NEED conflict. They THRIVE on unrest. And FEED off of discord. Its the truth. You know it. Because there a fight isn't a fight without a bad guy. No one grows without a challenge. Strength isn't achieved without opposition. And lessons can't be learned if everything is always perfect. 

Harry? Katniss? Luke? Frodo? What would these stories BE without their evil counterparts? The Voldermorts, Snows, Darths and creepy, swiveling, all-seeing eyes of doom? 

Well certainly not best sellers, that's for sure!

Same with real life. Everything needs a conflict. Its how we grow. Learn. And push ourselves to achieve greatness. Even something as simple as a football game just wouldn't be the same without an arch rival. EVEN IF it means enduring a heartbreaking loss--prepackaged with rookie mistakes, an incompetent kicker (well, several), six turnovers, a stadium filled with too much red, and a blown overtime--nursing some serious wounds, and enduring another year of humility until the next great battle... even if accepting conflict means all that? 

Totally worth it.

[Who, me? No! Not bitter at all!]

Because, lets be honest... doesn't it make the story THAT much better? The reward THAT much greater? The victory THAT much sweeter? The blood, sweat and tears THAT much more worth it? 

Conflict, people. THAT's what its all about. 

But don't let me be your Johnny Raincloud. Go ahead. Write your Utopia. Good luck. May the focre be with you, and all that jazz. I'm ready with my fuzzy socks, warm milk and comfy blanket. Bring on the nap! 

Until then? I'm off to nurse my wounded BYU pride... I appreciate conflict. But I still hate you, Utah. 




Monday, September 10, 2012

The proverbial question...

So recently, my sister talked me into training for--AND RUNNING--a half marathon with her. 

...[cricket, cricket]...

Now that I look back on our conversation, I'm actually convinced there was some kind of trickery or black magic involved, since...

I. Am. Not. A. Runner.

Lemme lay it down for you....Musician? Yes. Marching band? OH YEAH! Drama? Absolutely. Mock Trial Team? You bettchya. Dancer? All the time. Hiking? Yay! Snowboarding? Every weekend. And although, yes, I DID do track, I was a vaulter. Not a runner. 

In fact, until last week, the longest consecutive run I'd ever done IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, was less than two miles. 

You pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?

But as I've been training for this half marathon of death, I've noticed something. Not my shrinking waistline, or the lessening of the unsightly cottage cheese cellulite on my legs (although those things are--admittedly--nice!)... what I've noticed is an OUTPOURING of support from people. My sister for one, but also complete strangers that I've never met! I'll be trudging along, dragging my broken body down the street at a half trot/crawl that I call like to call "running," when all the sudden a guy taking the trash out will give me a thumbs up. The lady weeding her garden will turn and say "Good for you!" And a neighbor will tell me he wishes he could be like me.  

Now, although I question the mental stability of ANYONE who actually WANTS to be sweaty, sore and limping within an inch of death like me, I do think its incredible how much support I've gotten from complete, random strangers. All just from pushing myself to try a challenge I've never been able to do before. 

It reminds me of the kind of support I get from fellow writers in the blogsphere... you awesome people who I have NEVER met, but regardless, never fail to give the most amazing support whenever I need it. 

This all got me thinking--and, though I might be totally naive for even SUGGESTING this--I really want to believe that people are generally... GOOD. 

I've been wondering about this question, as I've been blowing through just about every dystopian novel I can get my hands on. I love these stories and am completely FASCINATED with how society gets to the "point of no return," so to speak, when things just start going BAD. 

Reading about these post-apocalyptic, struggling societies, and comparing it to my own experiences with people who are so supportive and GOOD, I'm always struck with the question of: 

What ARE we at the core? What is the true nature of human beings? 

Are we GOOD? Or really just BAD?

When stripped of the familiar, secure world in which we live in, most dystopian authors imply that people become savage. Without feeling. Selfish. In a sense: BAD. 

And don't get me wrong, it makes sense. These stories are believable. The characters' reactions to these situations are realistic. 

But am I so wrong for wishing... thinking... hoping... wondering... if, perhaps, they're wrong? If maybe--just maybe--we are all secretly GOOD in our hearts? That the dark side REALLY WOULD loose.... that Lord V and his Death Eaters really DO fail in the face of love... that the President Snows of the world are in the minority?

I dunno. Maybe.

What do YOU think, the faithful throng of readers and writers of the world... 

Are we GOOD or BAD?





Friday, August 31, 2012

Channeling my Inner Yoda

Hello blogger dear ones! 

I recently had a rather humbling knock up the side of the head. A shame-on-you-you-should-be-better-than-that kind of a deal. Which, yeah, no one likes to get. Especially me. 

All the same, I thought I'd pass the wisdom on. Or rather, the pie. Its called Humble. EVERYONE take a slice... its yummy!!

So, the other day, I was listening to a speaker. The topic completely unrelated to writing, I might add. And the wise one, whom I shall fondly refer to as Yoda (for his bald head and fountain of knowledge), said something to the effect of:

"The good fortune of someone else does not take away from your ultimate end success. Don't dwell on what others have. Enjoy the reward YOU have been given." 

Or, to be more authentic...

"Take away from you, the good fortune of others, does not. Dwell on success of others, you should not. Rewards given you, should you enjoy." 

When I heard this I kind of did a double take with a big "Ohhhhhhh!"

Cause, this is what my little writer mind heard:

"Stop being a piss ant because SOMEONE ELSE got published before you. Stop complaining because WORSE WRITERS THAN YOU are published. Stop focusing on the success of SOMEONE ELSE. Instead, focus on YOURSELF, dummy!"

Because, I'm not the ONLY one who does that, right? Secretly think bad thoughts about other people who get published. ESPECIALLY the ones whose books I think are TERRIBLE?

Okay, not all the time... 

But sometimes? 

Well maybe I AM the only one ( ;

ARE there completely terrible writers out there? Sure. 

Ones that seem to have success coming out their hide quarters, DESPITE said terrible-ness? Absolutely.

I won't pretend to know how this phenomenon happens. If I did? I'd be published already. 

But, like my wise, Yoda speaker so eloquently pointed out... what the H-E-double you-know-what does that have to do with ME? With MY success as a writer? With MY own pitfalls? MY shortcomings? MY irritating writing quirks that are holding ME back?

I shall tell you Young Skywalker...

NOTHING. 

I like to complain about them, those writers who I have deemed far inferior to me. I like to throw my hands in the air. Pull out my hair. Kick a tree. And stomp my foot, when I see them with with success  that should--OBVIOUSLY--be mine. 

Cause, guys, I'm the goddess of all things writing, okay?!

But in reality, shouldn't I just be HAPPY for them? They've DONE IT! They're published... and THAT'S AWESOME!! Regardless if I don't like their taste. Hate their prose. Think their story is completely unoriginally. Or think they only got published because their daddy knows so-and-so...

THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH MY SUCCESS!

I need to be better at this, dear writers. I need to be excited for those who have made it to the proverbial writer's paradise: publication. And not worry that somehow THEIR success is keeping ME back. 

Because its not. 

That's no one but me.

Mmmmm... wasn't that pie good? 


And since I can't say it any better than the Wise One, himself....




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fabulous-o!

Another great reads, peeps! Seriously. I read it in like a day. Okay two. Still. Preeeetty excited there's another one out in--like--five days...

[happy dance]

Read it. Love it. You'll be glad you did.





Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.


When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fan Club

So... I just got my first fan. 

I don't REALLY mean my "first" fan, because, well, I have a plethora of die-heart family members and AMAZING critique buddies that would gladly walk the plank for my book. 

But as much as I love those "I-was-with-you-from-the-start-and-will-love-you-no-matter-what" fam n' friends (and, lets be honest here, my confidence and quality of writing would be EVEN FARTHER from top notch than it already is without 'em!), there is something to be said about a ridiculously and overwhelmingly passionate fan who has absolutely no obligation to give you warm fuzzies about your future as an author. 

Let me tell ya... its like a Red Bull/Expresso cocktail to your confidence!

This girl, whom I shall fondly refer to as "Rose," read my book TWICE in two days, and tackled a third reading within a week. She has sections of it memorized that I don't even remember writing (I know, right?), a fantasy cast list all picked out for the future movie, and a gigantic fictional crush on Shawn, one of my boys! Rose even went so far as to make herself a Starburst bracelet, on account of that's what Shawn always wears in my book:


She wants to chat about character development all the time. And is practically dancing with excitement every time the topic of my book comes up. When Rose timidly asked me if I was "totally weird-ing her out" with all her "nerdy-ness" I gave her a big, huge, GIGANTIC HECK NO!!

I've never had a fan club before. But if this is what it feels like? Sign me up for ten, please!

Now, I don't say this to brag. Cause, I mean, one measly fan? Hardly bragging material for the likes of the J.K.'s and Meyer's of the world! 

No, no. I only bring this up because of what a confidence boost it has been to me, knowing that SOMEONE out there (besides my devoted group of plank walkers) is excited about my writing! Its intoxicating! Exhilarating! And has done wonders for my writing!

So THANK YOU, dear Rose, for your unbridled enthusiasm. Your giddy-ness. Your casting lists. And your Starbursts bracelet. You make me want to write. All the time. And have breathed new life into the stuff I DO write. You're the best!

Musica