Friday, January 29, 2010
These past couple of weeks, I've been absorbed in info about the current Prop 8 Trial.
In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's a case attempting to overthrow the ruling making gay marriage illegal in California. There's lots of good info on http://www.time.com/ covering it.
This is an issue that affects not only the GTBL, but all of us. No matter what side you're on, this is absolutely a moment in history that will be remembered. No matter what the outcome of this trial, America will be changed forever. Every minority has had to fight for their civil rights, and at this moment in time, it's the gay community.
As a Christian, I'm extremely passionate about equal rights for all. I try to live by the phrase "love you neighbor as yourself." That goes for every aspect of my life, from how I vote, to how I treat those different from myself. I believe everyone is equal in God's eyes, equally loved, and equally deserving of civil rights as well as respect.
I'll be waiting with bated breath to see how this goes. For those interested, on either side of the issue, you can find full transcripts HERE.
This is a deciding moment for all of us.
What are your thoughts?
Have you been following this trial? How do you think this will change America?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Check out this picture of this book I bought today because I am brimming over with Book Love! (Well, and, arguably, because I have some kind of book addiction--whatever.)
My glasses are almost as excited about reading SOULLESS by Gail Carriger as I am!
How about you?
Thinking about buying any good books? Remember to take a picture of yourself doing that very thing to get 5 POINTS in my fabulous Book Love Contest!
After that, you can take that book to the zoo and pose with it while flirting with the monitor lizards! 5 MORE POINTS!
If you love it, why not write the author and tell them? POINTS, BABY!
If you haven't gotten in on this action yet, please do. Share the Book Love, and get a chance to win a $25 giftcard (for books, of course!), a copy of SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater, or a Synopsis Critique! Also chocolate, coffee, and fancy bookmarks--it's good times all around!
Please tweet or blog about this, and let me know in the comments to This Post, and you'll get extra chances to win as well.
This contest ends on Valentine's Day, so let's get this party started!
*Also, for those interested in my Deal With the Universe--it's official. When I get a book deal, I will be dressing up as the Mad Hatter for a day and taking pics. Thank you for your votes!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Time to tell the truth!
Here are my shameful truths from this week:
1) I want an e-reader REALLY badly, even though I can already read books on my i-phone. I want more tech! MOOOORE! As if the piles of books around my house sitting unread aren't enough entertainment. However, I refuse to buy an e-reader until I can see pretty bookcovers on it in color, dangit. I'm lustful AND picky at the same time!
2) I think there is something really wrong with me. These past couple of weeks I've been craving vegetables every single day. Last night, I had some steamed broccoli over brown rice with soy sauce and actually mumbled, "mmmm, flavor!" to myself. What is happening to me? Is it some kind of alien virus? O_o
3) Sometimes at work, I go a whole week without washing out my mug. I just swoosh water in it, and then keep filling it with tea until it gets those sexy brown rings. I'm awesome like that.
4) I mostly want an e-reader so I can read books with semi-embarrasing covers (like This One) out in public without anyone knowing. Paranormal romance, here I come!
5) I think Bacon-flavored Vodka sounds like a great idea! Seriously--best bloody mary ever, right??
6) I got really excited and made a ton of progress on the last edits for Legacy of the Empress last night, but then couldn't get to sleep because my brain was busy. It was a rough night. My confession? I regret nothing :)! I'll sleep when I'm dead.
What do YOU have to confess this week?
Monday, January 25, 2010
Very classy, Bloomsbury :).
Friday, January 22, 2010
I was just staring off into the distance thinking about how awesome it was when I saved all of Earthlandia from the evil, dragon flying wizards, all with one sweep of my Fell Blade of Agmarr.
That was pretty schweet.
I do stuff like that all the time.
This is my War Bikini.
The chainmail keeps the goods protected, but leaves me the agility I need on the battlefield.
The boots are there because it's a wee bit cold out today.
Don't want to catch my death, after all...
This round of the Blog Chain, the sorcerous Sarah posed the question:
How did you discover your particular voice as a writer?
I don't think it's much of a secret to anyone who knows me that I'm a huge geek. I've always loved dressing up and having make-believe adventures, reading Tolkien, day-dreaming about the day the robots take over civilization and enslave us, and playing games involving more dice than a back alley in Vegas.
Because of my Incredible Geekdom, I've always loved science fiction and fantasy, but have had very particular tastes. I think I found my "voice" in my writing by thinking about what I liked about the genres and what made me put books down.
Maps in the front of the book!
Super cool magic!
Weak, whiny bitches!
Chain mail bikinis! (Cause, seriously... who is trying to stab you in the crotch? Why not just wear armor or go naked? MAKE A CHOICE!)
Magic systems that are explained in so much detail they cease to be magical! (See: Midichlorians)
Trying too to speaketh liketh it's Ye Olden Timez!
Not trying hard enough to speak like it's the old times, dawg!
Mystical nomadic races that are actually just black people with arm bands.
Basically, while writing Legacy of the Empress, I was thinking that I wanted it to be the kind of awesome old school fantasy I loved, but without the things that made my brain itch. I wanted to be magical but realistic; medieval but accessible; action-packed but with girls having some cool roles, etc.
Luckily for me as a reader, a lot of contemporary is like this, whether it's urban or classic :). I guess I could say, I write the kind of book I'd want to read, pure and simple!
How did you find your voice as a writer?
As a reader, what kind of things make you love a book, or put it down for good?
Please check out the chainmail-clad Cole before me, and the karkadaan-slaying Kate posting tomorrow!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The lovely Bek joined our motley crew, becoming my 100th Follower!
You know what this means, right?
Awww, yeah--it's CONTEST TIME, baby!
To celebrate being 100 Cool People Strong, I wanted to reward Book Love, and see if we can't support some authors while giving away fabulous prizes.
What are these fabulous prizes you ask?
1) First place gets a $25 gift card to a book retailer And choice of *Reading Companion (see below for details.)
2) Second place gets choice of either a gently loved copy of SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater or a Synopsis Critique by Yours Truly, and a choice of *Reading Companion!
3) Third place gets whatever's left (SHIVER or Synopsis Critique) and choice of *Reading Companion!
"So how the heck do I win already?" I hear you yelling at your computer screens. Patience, and I'll tell you!
There are multiple ways to get points and show BOOK LOVE :).
1) Already be a follower of this blog and comment in this post (1 pt!)
2) Become a follower and comment in this post (1 pt!)
3) Blog about this contest to drum up Book Love, and link to it in the comments (2 pts!)
4) Take a photo of yourself with your home library, and link to it in the comments (3 pts!)
5) Take a photo of yourself carrying a book to an unusual place or doing something hilarious w/ said book(s) (link in comments) (4 pts!)
6) Take a photo of yourself buying a book in an actual bookstore (link in comments) (5 pts PER BOOK!)
7) Review a book on your blog or on Amazon and link us to it (5 pts PER BOOK!)
8) Write an author to tell him/her you love them (honor system/tell us in the comments) (5 pts PER AUTHOR!)
So as you can see, there are lots of ways for points to add up :).
*"Reading Companion" prize choices (you may pick one of the following if you're a winner):
1) Fancy bookmark
This contest will be going strong until Valentine's Day, so get crackin! After that, I will put all your points into a hat and pick some winners! The more book love you display, the greater your chances to win!
I can't wait to see all the Book Love you guys pay forward :). Thanks for being awesome!
** This part used to say "small bottle of booze," but I changed it after realizing I have no way to check ID that isn't totally unfun and lame. So, everyone likes coffee, right? Even kids? Eh? Eh? They did in World War II! My grandparents said so. Coffee it is!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." --Charles R. Swindall
I asked myself this week--are writers all nuts for doing what we do?
The only way to find out for sure (obviously) is to make a list of pros and cons for the writing life!
Pro: Being able to do odd things, like acting out mock battles in your living room, and call it "research."
Con: Banging your knee on the coffee table while "researching."
Pro: The elated feeling you get when you have an amazing idea.
Con: Insomnia after having an amazing idea at 3 a.m.
Pro: Reading new books all the time to improve your craft!
Con: Tripping over books in the dark because they're everywhere.
Pro: Meeting new writer friends online!
Con: Getting distracted by new writer friends and facebooking/twittering instead of writing.
Pro: The excitement of putting your work out there and actively chasing your dreams.
Con: The terror or putting your work out there and actively chasing your dreams!
Pro: Eating chocolate to make waiting more fun!
Con: People criticize your work, reject it, don't complement you every time like the genius you are.
Pro: Criticism makes you improve! You learn from every mistake, and become a better writer.
Con: The road will be HARD.
Pro: You'll live a life without regret, without wondering what could have been if only you'd tried.
So, I suppose the answer is "Nes?" Or possible "Yo?" Yeahno?
What do you guys think? :)
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Remember when the cover of Justine Larbalestier's book, LIAR, came out with a white cover and had to be changed? Well, I gave Bloomsbury kudos for doing the right thing and fixing the cover.
You can imagine my dismay when I read this post over at The Rejectionist. You guessed it: THEY DID IT AGAIN!
Becca is displeased.
Check out this cover for MAGIC UNDER GLASS, Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel about a dark skinned girl "from the far east." Um... yeah. Whitey McWhiterson on the cover doesn't scream "far east" to me. Unlike Justine, Jaclyn is a newbie to the publishing world and didn't have the means to get support for a cover change before the book went out.
So, what can we do about it? Is Bloomsbury going to set an example for our kids (as well as other publishers) that we can white-wash everything and get away with it? That this isn't offensive? How can we support an author writing about a person of color, but still let Bloomsbury know that this shizna doesn't fly?
Well, I'll tell you what I did. I wrote to them this morning. Here's the email I sent:
I wanted to email to complain about the white model on the cover of Jaclyn Dolamore’s debut, MAGIC UNDER GLASS. Since the book is about a dark skinned girl from the far east, this cover is really inappropriate, and sends the message that you don’t support people of color. What kind of message is this, especially for our youth?
This happened with LIAR, and now it’s happening again—it’s getting pretty shameful. I’m a white lady, but still find it offensive to change the color of a character simply under the guise of helping sales. Please, take this to heart. I don’t mean to be disrespectful or unkind, but this kind of thing really has to stop if we’re going to make any progress against racism as a nation. Please help, and listen to your customers who are speaking out against this. I’m a regular book lover and buyer, and wanted to let you know my thoughts.
Thank you for listening, and hopefully implementing change. Good luck to you, and God bless! I know it’s difficult to promote change when something’s been common practice for so long. I believe in the industry, and in your business, so please make your customers proud.
In all things, I think we need to be respectful, which is why I didn't send my first email, which said simply, "WTF! STOP IT!!! Love, Becca."
I urge you to please get involved and contact Bloomsbury. Especially, right after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, please be reminded that racism in America is not dead, and that we all have a chance to fight for change.
Here is Bloomsbury's contact info:
Thank you to all who email, write, or call!
What is your take on this topic? I'd love to hear from you!
Friday, January 15, 2010
I received a couple of awards recently, and now it's time to share the love :).
The tempting Tere presented me with the Silver Lining Award!
There are so many awesome, motivating bloggers out there--it was incredibly difficult to narrow it to just five. Here goes!
1) Michelle McLean for always having a kind word and a hilarious cat picture for us!
2) Yunaleska for cheerfully holding awesome contests and reviewing more books than I'll read in a lifetime!
3) Kiersten White for being bubbly and hilarious at all times!
4) Daisy Whitney for being incredibly positive, helpful, and a vlogging guru!
5) Shelli from Market My Words for always being at the top of the marketing game, and taking us along for the ride!
You ladies ROCK, and have made my day a little brighter on a regular basis :). Thank you!
Next, I received the Happy Award from the contemplative Coffeelvnmom!
To fulfill this award, I must now list 10 things that make me happy :). Easy enough!
1) BOOOOOOKS!! Seriously, is there anything better than sitting down with a great book and just reading?
2) Calenders with sleepy kittens!
3) Hot baths. I do my best thinking in hot water!
4) The Biggest Loser--the only reality show where everyone wins :).
5) Tea shops, tea cups, tea sandwiches. TEA!
6) Indian food. It burns so good!
7) Scotch. Mmmm. Peaty!
8) Baby rhinos!
10) Blog/writer friends :). I love you guys!
And now, I have to pick 10 people who deserve the Happy Award....
But I can't. You guys all make me happy with your comments, insight, and support. Please, everyone, take the Happy Award, and go share it with others.
What makes you happy? I'd love to know!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
(Don't mess with Newsies. They'll cut you!)
Today, I have many exciting things to share!
First off, WELCOME! to those of you just joining this blog. We have a lot of new folks lately--please feel free to introduce yourselves in the comments if you'd like :). Glad to have you!
Secondly, coming up their will be an awesome CONTEST on this blog! When I read 100 Followers, I'm going to hold a contest centered around Loving Books, with some SWEET prizes! Stay tuned for that, ladies and gents...
Thirdly (see how well I can keep track?), in the comments where you were voting on who I'd dress up as to fulfill my Deal With the Universe, it was a TIE between The Mad Hatter and Sherlock Holmes! Which will it be, people? If it makes it easier I could go as the Mad Holmes and put polka dots on my detective's cap.
Lastly, if you're at all interested in either why science fiction and fantasy is so often white-character-dominated or want to know how to successfully write a character of color as a Whitey McWhiterson, check out this post by The Rejectionist titled "Homework for White Folks." It contains links to fascinating and helpful articles :). Yay!
Any news that you'd like to share this fine Thursday?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Time to spill what's been on your chests this past week. So, step into the confessional! Don't worry, I'll go first ;).
1) I find Jamie from Mythbusters strangely attractive. Yeah, I have no idea. He's like some kind of crazy viking. I think maybe his manliness is magnified when he's standing next to Adam, which makes him exponentially attractive. It's a theory!
2) I have never had a really good cupcake. From
3) I have some "art" on my cubicle wall that I've been crafting from tea bag wrappers. It's like a border of Berryblossom White Tea wrappers around some Awake Black Tea paper tabs... it's on ongoing project, really. I think I need a new office passtime.
4) I bought a calendar with dragons on it. According to me, they are no longer just for middle schooler boys or metal heads with neck beards!
5) I had an embarrassing moment involving my relatives and the Wii this weekend. I was trying out my mom's new Wii Fit (hooray for family time and burning calories!), and we decided to have a hoola-hoop competition. For those of you who have never subjected yourselves to this
Now, my mom couldn't quite get it right and asked me for help, as I was the current Make Believe Hoolahoop Champion. For the next few minutes I showed my mom with hip movements exactly how to do this maneuver correctly... and then realized what was happening. I was reenacting the scene from Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze shows Jennifer Gray how to bump and grind. WITH. MY. MOM.
I was scarred for life. Then I told her that I no longer wanted to pelvic thrust like Johnny Castle, and we both laughed until we cried.
What is the truth YOU need to confess this week?
Monday, January 11, 2010
You can nomination your favorite blogs from different countries, best entertainment blog, best *new* blog from 2009, funniest blog, best writing in a blog, etc! What are you waiting for?
Please go and vote for your favorites and make a Blogger happy :). Let's support the bloggers we know and love!
Here's the link: Happy Voting!
There is a party going on over at author extraordinarre Nicola Morgan's blog! It started yesterday, so we are fashionably late, but please stop on by today if you can. You don't want to miss it!
There are tons of wonderful commenters over there who are opening their blogs up for us to wander through. Please go check it out! It's a wonderful community of authors and aspiring authors with tons of great wit and advice to share.
Blog followers: Please tell us a bit about yourselves and your blog right here! If you post, please go check out the blogs of others and comment on them. Sharing is caring. Also, I find more cool blogs that way--go check them out!
If you're wandering over from Nicola's--welcome! We're happy to have you :). Please stay a while and help yourself to some cake. We always enjoy meeting new writers/readers/bloggers!
Friday, January 8, 2010
2) The book HEAT WAVE by Richard Castle (from the show Castle on ABC) is all I hoped it would be, and yet... still kind of dull. It's fun, and reads exactly like an episode of Castle, with a fast talking reporter, witty lady detective, and hijinx. However, it's not written like someone who writes great novels. So fun, but... yeah. I'm excited to finish and read other things in my book pile. I don't know, maybe I've just been spoiled by Kristin Cashore.
3) I have a ridiculous amount of books piled by my side of the couch and my side of the bed. It has become a tripping hazard. And yet, I can't bring myself to get rid of any of them :P. I LOVE THEM ALL!
4) I am ready to get my ass kicked. I bought this DVD so I can be yelled at and brutalized by trainer Jillian Michaels. Oy vey. I love the show The Biggest Loser, so I'm ready to face the pain! I'll let you guys know how that goes in a few days ;). Hopefully I'm not so crippled that I can no longer type.
5) When I reach 100 followers I'm going to do something AWESOME! I couldn't help but notice that I was nearing that fancy pants milestone of 100 blog followers and got to thinking. Maybe a contest would be in order in celebration of hitting that mark :D! I'm excited. Are you?
What have you guys learned this week?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
This go-round on the Blog Chain, B.J. started us off by asking:
What are your writing resolutions for 2010?
Please check out the fabulous Cole before me, and the awesome Amanda tomorrow!
Since I'm so awesome, I read this topic and went back in time to Monday where I blogged about it preemptively, just to prove I could.
But seriously--awesome topic for the New Year!
My goals all amount to one thing: I want to be able to fulfill my Deal With the Universe by getting a book deal and spending the day dressed up as a literary character for your viewing
horror pleasure! (Please see above picture for an example of how terrifying awesome this will be.)
So, what are your dreams and goals this year? :)
And more importantly,
What literary character would you like to see me dress up as for my Deal w/ the Universe?? You guys get to pick! Please leave responses until this Sunday evening, and I'll post your democratically elected character on Monday!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
How do you keep the fire alive while you're striving to reach your goals? Eventually, everyone's fire starts to flicker, sputter, die.
How do you keep it burning throughout an entire year? Throughout a lifetime?
What keeps you going when the winds of rejection and self doubt are blowing?
Hear are a few things that can help :)
Spark #1: Purpose!
Many of us talk about being born a writer, or meant to do what we're doing. Regardless of whether you believe in a higher power, think about what you love, and what you are hard-wired to hope for. You have a purpose. So get crackin' fulfilling it, already! No one can stand in your way if you believe you can do it and work your butt off to make it happen.
Spark #2: We're ahead of the Game!
We know better than to do things that make agents crazy, so we're already a step ahead!
For instance, we know that if we use the phrase "fiction novel" in our query, it's akin to squirting a cat in the eye with a water pistol and then asking that cat to pretty please represent us. We also know that if we send loose tea bags in our query letters, agents will only think of our swine-flu covered hands groping said tea bags and those 500 prison inmate weirdos who sent them tea bags that week with sexual puns and photos included. We know that is not the first impression we want to make.
If you don't know what irritates or enrages agents, take a look at Janet Reid's blog, under the tag "Annoy Me" for a quick education. Trust me. You'll be glad you did :).
Knowing is half the battle!
Spark # 3: The Success of Those Who Came Before!
Tell me reading about folks like Jamie Ford, author of THE HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, doesn't make your typing fingers itch with excitement? Reading debut authors' success stories is like stepping into an alternate universe where your secret Hopes and Dreams have become a reality, and you get to watch as they unfold. SQUEE!
Sure, it won't happen for you that way, but someday, it will happen. And you'llget to tell people your story! And hear them squee for you!
So, what keeps you guys going?
What lights a fire under you when things get dark?
Monday, January 4, 2010
I hope you are all refreshed, recovered from any hangovers, and ready to start kicking some ass in 2010 :).
I've always been wary of New Year's resolutions. Whenever people talk about them, it's inevitably followed by an eye roll or a knowing wink.
Oh, sure. Yeah. Good luck with that. Har har. We'll see how that's going in two weeks.
However, this year is different. Instead of resolutions, I'm creating some S.M.A.R.T. goals for myself, including mini stepping stone goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound--all good things!
A lot of clever people on the internet have been talking about their goal setting techniques, and I've ripped a lot of them off to come up with something I think will work for me.
My goals so far:
1) Finish Legacy of the Empress final edits!
-- Edit at least 10 pages per weekday
-- Finish all edits by 1/30/09
-- Finish husband’s edits within a week of receiving them (he'll get them 1/31, and then I'll politely harass him until they are done. Bless him.)
2) Try my hardest to get an agent!
--After finishing husband's edits, prepare manuscript for submission within a week of the Final Once-Over
--Post query on Querytracker.net forum one last time
--Perfect query based on feedback
--Begin Query Storm 2010!
--Remember over all that if this book doesn't get me an agent, another will :).
--NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!
3) Finish my second novel, Hollow Land!
--Develop a daily writing routine that works for me
--Allow myself the freedom to write weird crap the first time around.
As you can see, I'm trying to do my writing goals in stages, so I can focus on one thing at a time, cross it off the list, and see some early successes to keep me going. This sounds like a much better plan than setting a goal like "WRITE EVERY DAY," fail to do it for a couple of days... you know, ever... and then feel like a screw up. I think this may be the key to actually accomplishing one's goals :). Interesting, no? It's like, common sense or something.
This year, I'm also trying to get fit, but instead of writing "be healthier," I'm making a multi-tier goal sheet for that as well.
1) Get to [redacted goal weight] and stay there
--Phase 1 (2 weeks)
Limit calories 3 days a week
Get on the bike for 30 mins or more twice a week.
Do 5 pushups and 10 situps twice a week.
--Phase 2 (2 weeks)
Limit calories 5 days a week
Get on the bike for 30 mins or more 3-4 times a week.
Do 10 pushups and 20 situps twice a week.
--Phase 3 (Will assess when I get there)
Lose 1lb of fat per week.
Get on the bike for 30 mins or more 3-4 times a week.
Do 15 pushups and 30 situps three times a week.
2) Do an unassisted pull up!
Phase 1 (2 weeks)
Follow above plan until I'm able to do 50 sit ups/50 push ups.
Add 5 negative pull ups into routine 3-4 times a week.
Phase 2 (2-6 weeks)
Move up to 10-20 negative pull ups 3-4 times a week.
Attempt a pull up at least once a week
Don't give up!
Do a pull up in someone's face at the gym
Gloat, complete with fist pumps like Atreyu, in Neverending Story. WOOT!
I'm starting really small and slowly so I know I'll be able to develop the habit, encourage myself, and overall stick with it!
By being specific and breaking it up into smaller goals, I already feel encouraged by having a sensible lunch & breakfast today and doing some push ups at my desk :). Hooray!
What are your plans for this year? Do you have goals you're planning on achiving?
I missed you guys! :D How was everyone's holiday?