Friday, March 15, 2013

The Happiness Advantage

So, the other day, when I was all "wo-is-me-ing," feelin' pretty blue, cause I haven't been able to nab an agent yet, Hubbs tells me I need to read a book. 

"Book? What book? I like books!" Says I!

Then Hubbs tells me the book is called The Happiness Advantage.

I'm pretty sure my face went from looking like a kid on Christmas morning, to Little Cindy Loo Whooo's when she found out the Grinch stole her Christmas tree. 

Great. Nonfiction. Whoop dee do. 

But Hubbs insisted, so I complied. 

YOU GUYS. This book is amazing! I'm not saying I'm all converted to non fiction, or that Hubbs is suddenly back in my good graces as far as book recommends go (seriously, he gave one too many hard core fantasy novels for me to trust his judgment anymore). But at least on this one, he was right. 

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe. 

I used to sell pest control door to door... you know... when I was in college and desperate for money. At this job, I was bombarded with the whole Positive Mental Attitude whooo-raw. I  won't lie. I basically wanted to sock my team lead in the face everyday. His false coo-coo happy-ness routine was like another bag of Snickers the day after Halloween: Just. Too. Much. And I did NOT buy the sentiment that telling myself I was going to sell 10 accounts that day, would make it happen. 

But ya know what? After reading this book? I might actually be a believer... 

Some of my favorite studies: 

--75 Year old men AGING BACKWARDS
--Loosing weight just by being told that what you do burns calories 
--Severe poison ivy symptoms (from contact with a NON poison ivy plant), just by being told it was poison ivy

There was also a study that the author called "Give your Doctor a Lollipop," in which doctors who were given a lollipop before diagnosing a patient, gave the correct diagnosis TWICE as fast and more accurately than those who were not given a treat. And here's the kicker, they didn't even get to eat the lollipop! They just received one. Oh no... that's not all...

Research showed that 4 year olds do better when asked to just THINK about something happy before starting a task. And high schoolers who thought of the happiest day of their lives before taking standardized tests, scored consistently higher than their fellow students. 

Also, there was a study done with Asian women and math. A group of Asian women were given two math tests of equal difficulty. Before the first test, the officiators told the women to think of themselves as women, who traditionally score lower in math than men. The women didn't do very well. On the second test, they officiators told the same women to think of themselves as Asian, an ethnicity who traditionally does very well at math. 

What do ya know?

On the second test, those Asian women rocked it!

Now obviously getting published is not solely up to me. No matter how happy I am, I cannot simply smile Skittles and rainbows at an agent to get her to sign me. However, with these hard core positivity studies out there, think of the ways we writers CAN influence our work through positive thinking...

Listening to my favorite song before I start writing.... Telling myself that writing is the best part of my day... Repeating in my head that writing a great story is easy....

None of these things are hard to do... and yet, as research shows, it will drastically improve my performance. I may not be able to get an agent to sign me just by being happy. But can I improve my actual work through positivity? 

Given the ease of putting these theories to the test, I think I'm willing to give it a shot! Woot, woot!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Alec Greven on ELLEN

Holla, wanna be authors! This kid just totally schooled us...

A publishing contract with Harper Collins AND a spot on the Ellen show. Kid, ya done good!

Read: The Eternity Cure

Soooo... since my VERY LAST POST was about The Eternity Cure, I feel a tad bit obsessive that this one is ALSO going to be about said book of awesome, The Eternity Cure

Sorry guys. I promised a review. 

Can I help it if the book was so addicting I couldn't put it down?

No seriously, I really couldn't. Hubbs and I actually had a fight on Sunday about who got to commandeer the iPad for the morning. He needed it for a meeting. I needed it for my fix.

Meeting schmeeting, said I! OBVIOUSLY, I won. 

Now I'm not entirely sure how reviews are supposed to operate when the book has been yet to be released to the public. I've perused Goodreads, and no one seems to be giving any reviews of substance, yet. So I'm assuming spoilers are frowned upon. Which means at some point, I'll probably have to update this review to reflect certain opinions on certain events that most certainly should remain untold at the moment. Suffice it to say, though, this book was AWESOME SAUCE!

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

New and old, there were lots of things to love...  

I loved Jackal. Even though I simultaneously wanted to strangle and kiss him every other page. I love snarky wit... seriously. Does it get better than wit? Its hard not to love a vamp who has it in spades! 

I loved Zeke (always!), who seems to have grown a pair since the last book. Which, lets be honest, is awesome. His new bad boy I'm-not-afriad-of-you-anymore vibe? Its hot. 

I loved Kanin. He's got the stoic mentor role down pact. And I loved seeing the "dark side" of vamps through his torture (cue Darth Vader music). Not that I condone torture or anything, of course. But it did bring more depth to his character, which I appreciated. 

And yes, I even loved Phsyco Vamp. Because he's probably ONE OF THE CREEPIEST VILLAINS EVER!!!! Holy. Crap. I'm scared of him and he's totally fiction! Sarren is the stuff of nightmares. For. Real. And I loved him for it. 

The only thing I didn't like was the cover. Don't get me wrong, turquoise? It ranks up there on the favorite color list, only second to red in my book. But still. I loved the first cover. It was awesome-ly creepy with the blood tears and all... Alas! I shall morn you, awesome first book cover design!

The Eternity Cure was very bit the kind of stupendous follow up you CRAVE in a sequel! Put this one on your calendar peeps, April 23, 2013, you won't wanna miss it!

The only draw back to an advanced copy? The wait time between book 2 and 3 just got THAT much longer... *sigh*....