Friday, June 1, 2012

Best Donut Ever?

Living in the Dunkin Donuts capitol of the world, it's hard not to know about National Donut Day. I mean, hell, you get a free donut if you buy a drink at Dunkin's today. While this is fantastic (because of the word free), it could be so much better.
National Donut Day Breakfast of Chanmps

Why would you say that? You just got a free donut.
I know, but I'm a bit of a donut snob. Since they're totally bad for you, they have to be worth it: cakey, a little bit of crisp, and totally filling. I'm sorry, Dunkin's, but while I would marry your iced coffee, I would only casually date your donuts.

So in honor of today's "holiday," I want to let you know of the best donut places in the area. You know, in case you decide to visit me at some point.

Ohlin's Bakery. Located in Belmont, they probably have the best donut selection. They have all the best flavors (powdered, butternut, CHOCOLATE) and are one and a half times the size of your average store brand donut. (That they also rock the cakes and cupcakes is something that can't be overlooked either.)

Linda's Donuts. Also located in Belmont, their donuts are similar to Ohlin's in the cakey department. Rumor has it that the regulars and staff are awesome, but I've never been inside the place.

Dunkin Donuts. I know, I know. I just slammed them on the donut front, but how can you say no to Munchkins? Oddly, I love the plain ones the best.

You like plain donuts? Are you kidding?
I do harbor a strange love for the plain donut, especially if it's a wicked good cakey one. Though my favorite donut of all time is cinnamon powdered donuts. I don't have them often because they make such a mess. One time, the powder ended up in my hair even. 


Now it's your turn: Where do you go for your donut fix? What's your favorite type?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Blog, Part VIII

Dear Blog,

Holy hand grenades! I definitely didn't mean to neglect you for as long as I have.

This quick note to you (and The Lurkdom) is to let you know that starting this week, I am coming back. I have books to share and things to ponder.

Love,
Alicia

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard

I'm so excited to be a part of the Something Strange and Deadly ARC tour*! Haven't heard of this book yet? Read the blurb below.


Goodreads blurb:
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

What I Liked About It: There are a lot of things I like about this book: the amazing detail from the Victorian era Philly to the tightness of the prose. Eleanor is a strong female character who doesn't seem out of place in the time period like what happens with a lot of heroines in historicals.

What You Should Know: I hate historicals because of the stilted language that usually comes with it. Something Strange & Deadly doesn't have this problem. Dennard's ability to "modernize" the narration while not at the same time is fantastic.


Click here to go to the ARC tour page!


* Thanks to Holly Dodson for arranging this!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So Many Books, Not Enough Time

One thing that most of you guys can relate to is that new releases sort of creep up on you and then you want nothing else but for the world to stop so you can devour that book you've been waiting endlessly for. The next few weeks have so many releases that I've been dying to read that I'm not sure how I'm going to handle all that reading combined with all of the revisions I still have to do.

What books am I waiting on? Let's start with the two that I ended up reading last week because I just couldn't wait another few weeks.

BLACK HEART came out on April 3rd and I managed to hold off for FIVE DAYS before breaking this open. I told myself that if I finished writing out all the new scenes I needed to write, I could take a day off to read this.

SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY comes out in July, but I'm lucky to be part of the ARC tour. The ARC came to me on Wednesday and by Thursday I was done. (I justified this as writing related work, so reading it during revisions was okay.) Stay tuned for my review.

What else am I itching to read?
  • THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE by Stephen King comes out April 24th. This is a new Dark Tower novel and though Goodreads calls it number 8, it's really 4.5.
  • INSURGENT by Veronica Roth comes out May 1st. The first book in the series, DIVERGENT, was my favorite read of 2011 so I definitely can't wait to see what surprises await in book 2.
  • CITY OF LOST SOULS by Cassandra Clare comes out May 8th. With the way that the previous TMI book ended, I'm desperate to see what the hell happened. That's all I can say without being spoilery.
My plan is to power through my remaining revisions sans sleep so I can read everything guilt-free.

What books are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March and the Nonfiction that Ruled It

With a few exceptions, March was nonfiction/research month for me and with my internet hiatus, I wasn't able to contribute to last week's Road Trip Wednesday and share them with you. Good thing April is only three days old.

First up, DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT MYTHOLOGY by Kenneth C Davis.

What I Liked About It: This book gives you a broad overview on world myth starting with Ancient Egypt and working around the globe until we learn a teensy bit about the Pacific Rim. If your knowledge of mythology ends with Classical Mythology, Davis' book is a nice introduction to other cultures and stories.

What You Should Know: It reads like a college text where the author periodically intrudes to give a pop culture reference with a smarmy attitude. If this wasn't a free ebook offer from Barnes and Noble, I wouldn't have bothered purchasing it.

One nonfiction book should be enough, right? No. While I was reading the Davis book, I was reading another nonfiction title: HOWDUNIT POLICE PROCEDURE & INVESTIGATION: A GUIDE FOR WRITERS by Lee Lofland.

What I Liked About It: I now know way too much about the police and legal system in this country. For real. Also, Lofland includes tales from when he was a police officer, but gives each tale a writerly flare. This is a fantastic reference if you're going to have any kind of cop type element in your novel.

What You Should Know: Some things you can never unlearn*.

The best reference of the month though goes to WRITING THE PARANORMAL NOVEL by Steven Harper.

What I Liked About It: There were so many things to like about this reference: Harper's easy to follow language, the clear cut examples used throughout, the few exercises that I'm totally going to use... I can go on. More than once while I breezed through this book I went, "Duh, of course" because sometimes the reminder is necessary.

Harper also includes a fantastic chapter on research, explaining your options and which are the best.

What You Should Know: Even though this book is branded for paranormal, writers of contemporary and other genres can take his lessons and apply to their books as well.

I'm always on the lookout for an awesome nonfiction title to throw on my TBR list. If you have one, share below!








* ::cough:: autopsy how to ::cough::

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Importance of Unplugging

Writers today have a lot more challenges than just what is on the television. In an age where you can be connected to the internet through your computer, phone, e-reader, and probably a hundred more things I'm forgetting, it's difficult to remember a time when this wasn't the case*.

With the exception of a few hours a week, all of my online time has been done by phone or NOOK while I worked on my revisions and only then to look up something or compulsively check Twitter and such**. Doing this was important because the revisions I undertook were TOUGH: scene scrutiny, additional worldbuilding, not to mention a lot of yelling at the paper. (For the record my revisions are still going on, but I'm on back end of it now.)

Unplugging is good not only for a particularly hard revision, but for life. When you're not attached to the internet (or technology in general), you can do a lot more in the real world: have lunch with friends, spend more time outdoors, socialize***. When you pull away from the computer for a while, you'll find that you become refreshed and when you go back to your computer, you look at things different. You also discover you don't need to be as connected as you've been previously.

That's not to say that unplugging doesn't have pitfalls. It does. As someone who was in front of a computer 40 hours a week when the day job ruled supreme, I had instant access to Bestie Danielle and we would chat throughout the workday. When all the craziness happened with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, I had no idea what that was about and felt stupid. I have to skim all of the blogs in my Google Reader. I don't know everything that is happening on Facebook either.

The unplugging process has reminded me that, like with everything else, internet moderation is key. When I move all of my revisions back to digital, I know that I'll have better control when it comes to internet distractions. Since I'm not required to have a computer on for 8 hours a day now, I can pick and choose what I want to do when I do decide to go online.


Do any of you unplug occasionally? What do you like about it?

* I understand that some people can't recall such a time. This makes me feel very old.
** Checking the social networks was the last ditch procrastination method, especially since it kills the battery.
*** The socialization is a big thing if you're an introvert like me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Story and Calendar Management

It's been a long few weeks, Lurkdom. I've reread my WIP about six times and now have 13 pages of revision notes to implement. In addition to the crazy amount of notes, I also have a 3 page long task list of things this revision must accomplish.

My revision process will hit the triple digits hours-wise.

The first thing on my task list was to create a timeline of events. This step may sound like a procrastinator's task, but when your story includes a ticking clock device, it's important to make sure that everything works within that time frame. (It's also important that events that happen on a Friday actually do happen on a Friday.)

What PHOENIX RISING currently looks like.
Here's a snapshot of my timeline as it currently stands in my WIP. Not all the dates/days are specified within the story, so I had to guess a few things. The problem with that is that there's way too many unknowns. Then you develop the problem of large gaps in time. (If you don't believe, continue to look to your right.)

All events are written on post it notes. On days when there are multiple events, I used flags to write the events in. On the flags, each color represents a different character.

By putting my story's events on a timeline, I can see that way too much is happening in one spot. The entire novel is supposed to be over a seven-week period; there's no need for so much to happen in two weeks straight.

Now that I know what my current timeline looks like (and I've had a good cry over it), I can look to see what can move and what needs to be included. After a few hours, I've come up with a more evenly spaced out plot.

What PHOENIX RISING *may* end up as.
I still have the same time frame as before, but I moved the bulk of my events around. The addition of the dark blue post it notes tell me where to adjust time within the manuscript or ask me what else can happen in the white space. (The first two blue notes in September ask me this.)

There are still some events that are chunked together, but not as bad as before. Now when they're chunked, there's a legitimate reason. (I'm looking at you top right hand square.)

Of course, while working on this, new scenes popped up. I have no idea where they are supposed to go just yet so I grabbed another post it note (in white) and stuck the scene ideas on it. Then I slapped in on top.

Is this the final fall of all the scenes? Probably not. I have a lot of work cut out for me, but having a revised framework is useful. With the calendar, I know what happens on a particular day and whether or not it's feasible. I know where there is some wiggle room and if a particular character mentions the deadline is X amount of days away, I can double check.

Does anyone else use this technique as part of revision? What else do you do?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Behind the Zombie-- Doug Jones



Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Hello! And welcome to another edition of Zombie Thursday! Today I want to profile another cool actor. He's not especially famous for playing a zombie, but he is incredibly famous. He's been in over 90 films and television shows, and even though you have most definitely seen him, you may not even know or realize who he is!

Around my birthday back in February, I was watching the Disney Channel. I'm a huge Disney fan and watch it rather frequently. I'm not embarrassed by this fact. It just so happened that one of my favorite movies of all time was on, and one that features a zombie! A zombie in a Disney movie? On the Disney Channel? Not as strange or out of place as you might think (Disney has produced some f@*ked up movies... I love them! But they are messed up. Something Wicked this Way Comes, anyone? But I digress...) Anyway! The movie I'm referring to is Hocus Pocus! But, Miranda, that movie had witches and a cat. I don't remember a zombie...


Enter the character Billy Butcherson! The dead ex-lover of Winifred (Bette Midler) who is brought back to "life" through some black voodoo magic and chases around the poor children. But he changes sides and at one point is referred to as a "nice zombie." Great character, fantastic makeup job (Billy has his lips sewn shut by Winifred; he eventually rips them open as have the thread still hanging there), and wonderfully portrayed by actor Doug Jones.


Doug Jones is an incredibly talented actor and body contortionist. While he does play characters that are very human and normal looking, more often than not he is hidden behind layers of makeup and prosthetics. Some of his more notable roles have been Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies, the Faun in Pan's Labyrinth, and roles in Mystery Men, Men in Black II, Tales from the Crypt, The Fantastic Four (the Silver Surfer), and so many, many more! In fact, one of my absolute favorite roles he has protrayed, and one that still freaks me out *every time* I see it... He plays the lead "Gentleman" in the silent (and Emmy winning) episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 'Hush.'


Just like our character actor last week, I've heard nothing but amazing things about Doug Jones' personality and attitude toward his fans. He is a regular at fan conventions and is always there to give an autograph or hug (lots of hugs, or so I've been told). If you're a fan of Mr. Jones, what movies have you seen him in and which are your favorites? I'm also going to have to throw Tank Girl out there, as well. Love that movie and I love the Rippers!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Hiatus, of Sorts

Dear Blog,

This is to let you know that you and I won't be seeing each other as much over the next few weeks. Please know this has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with revisions. I'm five weeks behind my self-inflicted revision schedule. (My original plan was to use EdMo to revise my NaNoWriMo '11 project.)

Don't worry, Blog. This isn't goodbye and I'll come back when something inspiring strikes. Most likely this will be when I have more brain power to do so.

Love,
Alicia

Friday, March 2, 2012

Today's Revision Angst Fueled by Diet Cherry Coke

If you've been following me on Twitter or have seen my life via Facebook, you know the following things: I'm still unemployed, I'm still revising, and I've developed an unhealthy addiction to several Facebook games.

The first thing isn't related to the last two things, though I'm using my unemployment-ness to my advantage. Example: A revision that would have taken me several months of nights only took a month and a half to complete. True, it could've taken less time if I didn't play as many rounds of Tetris humanly possible, but revisions are hard.

Let me repeat: revisions are hard.

Now that I've completed revisions on my contemporary, it's time for me to put my focus back on my urban fantasy. This is harder to do than I originally thought, partially because I'm approaching revision burnout. The other reason is shifting gears from one world to another is a challenge.

The thing that sucks is that I have to revise: the urban fantasy will not revise itself. Also, I'm one of the administrators and regional coordinators for NaNoEdMo; it would look horrible if I couldn't complete fifty hours of revision. These factors don't change the fact that I don't know how to begin this revision.

How do you change revision gears from one project to another? I'm desperate for suggestions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rest in Peace, Bill Hinzman



Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Writer's Block. Terrible, horrible writer's block. I've been plagued for weeks. Have you ever had so much stuff going on in your mind that you feel like you creatively have room for no more stuff? That's how I felt all last month. I'm still on a bit of a block. And as someone who loves writing, it really sucks. Since most people who read this blog are writerly types, what do you guys do to get past writer's block and periods of non-creation? This problem is a real first for me. Thank you for your patience with my absence!

I've been thinking of things to write for weeks, and it hasn't been easy. I've had some pretty long and heated Walking Dead debates at work, but unfortunately those topics would be so riddled with spoilers that they're something I couldn't even talk about here on the blog (although contact me privately for some good old fashion debate/show talk).

So today, I took a step back and decided on something that I don't think I've ever put in the spotlight before, not officially. I've spoken a lot about good zombie stories and the awesome special effects artists and directors that bring these horrific characters to life. It's too easy to just think that any type of actor can get some blood and gore and prosthetics put on them and shamble along to make a convincing zombie, but it's so much more than that. It takes an amazing actor to really bring these creatures to life...er, death?

Recently, the actor who portrayed one of the most famous zombies of all time passed away from cancer. Bill Hinzman played the very first zombie seen in the cemetery in the original Night of the Living Dead. He was 75 years old. And while his name may not have stood out amongst the films stars, what an iconic character! There are a lot of memorable scenes from that film, but when asked, I bet most people will recall with absolute clarity the moment the old man in a beat up suit comes walking toward the heroes of the film. At first the audience doesn't know it is a zombie, but then he attacks! I know that moment always frightens me, no matter how many times I've seen it!


Hinzman wasn't originally supposed to be an actor in the film. He was an assistant cameraman and when George Romero needed a zombie in the cemetery, Bill was old enough, thin, and had his own beat up suit (a film producer stated in an interview with Reuters). I have a few friends who were lucky enough to meet Bill Hinzman at some fan conventions and they said he was a very nice man and always happy to sign autographs and take pictures. From such humble beginnings to a horror and pop-culture legend!

A director, designer, or makeup artist can only do so much. At the end of the day, it's the actor's movements that really make or break a character. Kudos to the late Bill Hinzman for accomplishing what so few can do-- create a character that will live on forever in the minds of filmgoers!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best Book of February

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's topic: What was the best book you read in February?

I didn't have many books to choose from this month and I totally blame John Green. The Fault in Our Stars totally destroyed me and all I wanted to do afterwards was read something that wouldn't leave me a weepy mess.

Sixteen, edited by Megan McCafferty took care of this for me.

Blurb from Goodreads:
Remember what it was like to be sixteen? Whether it was the year your teeth were finally free of braces or the year you were discovered by the opposite sex, that magical, mystical age is something you will never forget. Edited by Megan McCafferty, author of the runaway hit novels Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, Sixteen: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday is a compilation of short stories inspired by all the angst, melodrama, and wonderment of being sixteen.

Sarah Dessen’s “Infinity” is about a girl confronting two major milestones: getting her driver’s license and losing her virginity. The Dead Girls in Jacqueline Woodson’s “Nebraska 99” have already decided to “do it” and must now cope with being teenage mothers. And Carolyn Mackler’s “Mona Lisa, Jesus, Chad, and Me” explores whether friendship can survive when partying and prayer clash. Also included is a new Jessica Darling story by Megan McCafferty about the last fifteen minutes Jessica spends—or rather, doesn’t spend—with her best friend, Hope, who is leaving Pineville.

Featuring stories by Steve Almond, M. T. Anderson, Julianna Baggott, Cat Bauer, Emma Forrest, Tanuja Desai Hidier, David Levithan, Sarah Mlynowski, Sonya Sones, Zoe Trope, Ned Vizzini, and Joseph Weisberg, these hilarious, poignant, and touching tales are perfect for both those who have yet to reach that milestone and those who want to reminisce about their “sweetest” year.


What I Liked About It: I've been trying to write short stories for years, but never can manage to do short. Yep, I just admitted that I like that the stories were short. Shoot me. Also, Steve Almond was in here. You know how much I love Steve Almond's writing. A few of my favorite stories were "Infinity" by Sarah Dessen, "The Alumni Interview" by David Levithan, and "The Perfect Kiss" by Sarah Mlynowski.


What You Should Know: Not every short story is created equal. The stories that pulled away from the standard narrative flow were harder to follow than, say, the story by Sarah Dessen. Also, if you loved Sloppy Firsts, you'll probably want it on hand to read immediately after you read "Fifteen Going On..." which is like the prologue to Sloppy Firsts.


What was the best thing you read this month?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MARCHing Forward

Yep, that is a horrible pun for the fact we're approaching March* and I don't care. The last several months for yours truly has epically been made of suck and I'm looking forward to all the things that happen once March 1 arrives. I just need to make it through one extra day of February**. Since blogging at The Pie has been spastic and not terribly brilliant as of late, I want to share with you what I'm looking forward to.

Movies
Even though there's more hype about the Hunger Games movie, the one I'm more than ready to see comes out in a week and a half. John Carter stars Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins to most of you) which means a lot of ogling. I have no shame and am proud to admit it.


Don't think I'm not looking forward to seeing Hunger Games because I am. There's talk about a movie date with Bestie Danielle and that alone is a good reason.

Editing and Revision
For something different, I'll be revising in March. This time it will be a different WIP (thank goodness) and it's for NaNoEdMo.That it's NaNoEdMo is the main reason why I'm looking forward to it. This year I was in charge of gathering articles and we have some great pep talks for the month: Elana Johnson, Jeff Somers, and agent Vickie Motter to name a few. Keep your eye on my Twitter feed over the month so you'll know when these go live.

Spring and Daylight Savings Time!
Though it's hard to complain with the winter we've had, spring is my favorite season. (Probably because of the flowers.) We also gain an hour of daylight. I love daylight a little bit more than sleep, so this is awesome.

These are the main things I'm excited about in the upcoming month. What are you looking forward to?



* There's a reason why Hubby's the comedian and I'm not.
** February is usually the coldest month in New England, IMO. That most of the month has been in the 40s has been the only good thing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

YA Book Club: The Fault in Our Stars

This month's selection for the YA Book Club was John's Green's The Fault in Our Stars.When I found this out, I twitter-yelled at YA Book Club's brainchild, Tracey Neithercott. That conversation sounded a lot like this:

Me: Why are you making this happen NOW? I'd like to get through a month without crying.
Tracey: I wish I could send tissues through Twitter.

I'm not sure if it's hormones or age or my mortality is showing, but my eyes began watering on page one and did not stop until the end. TFIOS is one of those books where you just know it's going to end badly. You're reading about teens with cancer--of course it's not going to end well.

But this isn't a cancer book. It just happens that the characters have cancer. It also just happens that I still can't think about it without getting misty-eyed. In fact, I'm still processing it.

What I liked best about TFIOS is that, despite the sad factor, it was a very uplifting book. I found myself comparing it to Madeleine L'Engle's A Ring of Endless Light a lot. It gives off that same comfort factor that L'Engle gives me.

If you want to hear what others are saying about TFIOS this month, check out Tracey's list here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giraffe Love

As a kid, I didn't have an imaginary friend. I had an imaginary GIRAFFE.

This unnamed giraffe would be my scapegoat whenever I did something I shouldn't. (Which honestly, wasn't that often. I was a well-behaved rugrat.) The giraffe got stuck in the back seat of my dad's boat of a car whenever we schlepped to Connecticut to visit the grandparents. Though I don't remember ever talking or playing with the giraffe, I'm sure that happened too.

It shouldn't surprise you then when I say that giraffes are one of my favorite animals to watch at the zoo. They're pretty and seem so peaceful*. They have little horns on their heads and I like the pattern of their coat.

Because of my giraffe love, Chez Gregoire has several giraffa camelopardalis items: the magnet, the keychain, the cat toy, the figurine. Yes, even the stuffed animal(s).

The best giraffe acquisition of late, though, was found in the Target dollar section. Hubby was kind enough to add it to our kitchen art gallery**.


Isn't it great? We have it under our clock so I can see this little guy's smiling face all the time***. The color brightens up the kitchen and it is impossible for me not to cheer up with one look. I'm sure if Child Alicia were to draw her imaginary giraffe, it would look like this guy, but with more of a five year old art skill.

Did you have a non-person imaginary friend? Anyone else out there love art for a buck?


* That opinion gets totally ruined once you see footage of giraffes fighting.
** There is no rhyme or reason to our kitchen art, but we have lots of it. 
*** Get it? Clock? Time? (I crack myself up.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Tell Me: Best Gateway Books

Credit
The first thing you're told when you decide to write in a particular genre and market is to read what you're going to write. This, of course, is so you know what works and doesn't, what is trending, and whether or not giraffes are a useful protagonist*.

So you read all the kidlit you can get your hands on. Some is awesome and others aren't worth the ink used. With each fantastic book you've read, you want ten other people to read it as well.

Now we're at the meat of today's post.

Over several conversations with Hubby, I've learned that his knowledge of middle grade and young adult books is paper thin**. This is quite fucking sad. We all know that there is so many fantastic worlds and stories in these two areas and he's missing out.

What are you getting at? It's Friday and I have stuff to do.
I'm so glad you asked. Hubby has agreed to give reading MG and YA a try. Because of this, I want to make sure that he starts off reading something strong that way he'll want to read more in this area. Hubby is pretty geeky and our house is filled with comics and fantasy books***. He also likes nonfiction that deals with true crime-like things.

Below in comments, tell me what book(s) you think Hubby should read and why.




* Well, maybe not the final thing.
** He hasn't even read Harry Potter.
*** Not to mention lots of video games where he kills things.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Flippant Girl’s Guide to the Most Ridiculous Holiday of the Year

On non-Leap Year years, February 14th marks the exact halfway point of the month*. It’s also Valentine’s Day. Known first as one of the millions of saint’s days, we can thank Chaucer for making it about sex**.

It would be great if that’s all what the holiday turned into, but we all know that is so not the case. If you’ve been around for a while, you know about my thoughts about red roses. So if you’re like me and can’t abide by what you’re supposed to do on this “holiday” or if you’re alone and feeling sorry for yourself, never fear—FLIPPANT GIRL IS HERE.

1. Role play. Pretend you’re an urban cupid, complete with foam bow and arrow. Walk around the crowded city streets and shoot unsuspecting passersby with your love arrow.

2. Live tweet your romantic dinner. Whether it’s for one or twenty, share all the things with the world. Did the waiter have a nice rear? Share! Did the guy with the off-kilter toupee make a pass at the college girl? Share! We should all live vicariously through you.

3. Live vicariously through someone. We all have that one person who has a story for every time they step out of the house. Today’s the day you shadow them.

4. Eat chocolate. Today it’s guilt-free.

5.  Drink wine in abundance. Today it’s hangover-free.

 

* That we’ve somehow blown past six weeks of 2012 shocks the shit out of me.

** Read in between the lines, people. It’s so about that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Should I Trunk My Idea?

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today’s topic: What story ideas have you trunked because they were too similar to published/well-known stories?

I’m lucky to say that I haven’t trunked anything. Yet. That’s not saying I’ll never will, but so far I’ve been lucky.

Confession time: The Assassin Project could very easily fall into the trunked category, if I’m not careful. There were initially a lot of similarities between my story involving an academy of assassins and the Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter. Because of this, I haven’t drafted Assassin Project. Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on how to make my story different.

That’s what needs to be done when a story idea is too close to something that is out there. You have to see how you can make yours unique.

I forget who said it (and I might be misquoting horribly), but there’s only two types of stories: someone goes on a quest and a stranger comes to town. When you only have two ideas to go from, there will definitely be places where things overlap. The important thing is how you present it.

With that in mind, it’s exercise time. I’ll give you an opening sentence and you write a paragraph in the comments. The opening sentence is…

The doorbell buzzed seconds after minute.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Importance of Detail

One of my favorite shows in the last decade was PRISON BREAK. If you never heard of it, here's the blurb from imdb.com:

Due to a political conspiracy an innocent man is sent to death row and his only hope is his brother who makes it his mission to deliberately get himself sent to the same prison in order to break the both of them out from the inside out.

Each episode ended in such a way that you had to tune in for the next episode. All characters were fleshed out, including the most deplorable character introduced. And the planning behind the prison break? It totally proves how important detail is.

WARNING: THE NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS

In Season 1, everything rides upon the plan Michael put in place prior to his incarceration. Michael laid out the entire escape plan on his body, all the way down to how he and his brother will make it out of the country. At one point, part of Michael’s tattoo gets damaged. This jeopardizes the escape.

This example illustrates detail and what happens when the detail goes away. Without detail, everything around us falls flat. The same goes for detail when we write. We need to keep detail in mind wherever we are in our writing process. Detail is what makes a setting vivid and a character more three-dimensional.

If I was to write a story about a chimp about Bubba, it might be awesome or mundane. As it stands, the Bubba-chimp story isn’t too exciting. We know nothing about what kind of story to expect. If Bubba the Chimp flies with mechanical wings, that is a totally different story. Just by adding that small detail, we get a better snapshot of the type of story and character we can expect.

If you haven’t seen Prison Break, it can be streamed through Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.

What shows have you seen that illustrate a fantastic use of detail?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Things That Amuse Me: Ian McKellen on Acting

There's nothing better than getting advice from professionals in our desired field. Sometimes it's even important to get advice from something that doesn't involve our field at all.

This is the case with this snippet from the television show Extras. This clip makes me laugh every single time. I hope it does the same for you.


Ian McKellen on Extras by Victor_Bugle

When Sir Ian says acting is all illusion, he's right. This also holds true for writing. When we write, we're creating our own universe. As a writer, our job is to make sure that we don't shatter that illusion.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Best Book of January

Holy hell, Lurkdom! How did it become February??? I don't know either, but time needs to learn to slow down. I have things to do, you know? Of course, I'd probably get them done faster if I didn't read freaking 13 books. Out of all these books, only one stood out as five star material.

EVERNIGHT by Claudia Gray.

Blurb from Goodreads: 
"Bianca wants to escape.

At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas he warns her to be careful--even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart...and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.
"


I know, it doesn't say much. But! It was definitely worth it.

What I Liked About It: The twist. It seriously shocked me out of reading for thirty seconds. Long enough for me to go, "Wait... WHAT!?" and flip back to the start of the scene if I read correctly. Normally getting this pulled out of a narrative, is a big no-no, but this time it was totally worth it.

What You Should Know:  I hate this cover. I hate it so much I put the book down three times in the Borders close out sale. I hate it so much I couldn't bring it to the gym*. It's just so... ugh. I can't even explain how deep my loathing goes.

What Else You Should Know: This is the book you should read if you need your faith restored in the vampire genre. Gray gets rid of the sparkle, but keeps the humanity while also adding back a bit of a vamp's inherent nature. That's right, Twihards: vampires should eat people.

What book totally rocked your socks off in January? Share below!



* This is saying A LOT because I went to the gym with the dust jacket of INHERITANCE on.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Flippant Girl’s Guide to Revising with Dignity

Fact: revision is part of the writer life. Further fact: Revision is fuck all hard.

You can see where this is going.

The point of revision is to take that amazing previous draft and make it that much more awesome. If you Google “how to revise a novel,” you’ll get over 12,000 search results. You can even learn some revision tips here by reading Susan Dennard’s guest post.

While all of these posts give you incredible information to make your revision process smoother, faster, more productive, none of them share tricks to maintain your composure under the red pen. Scenes and characters you have lovingly slaved over are about to be sliced and reformed. How the hell can you go through this without crying?

1. Curse and yell. A lot.  The angrier you get at your WIP, the less painful your revisions will be. Make sure you practice saying, “WHY!?” and “You fucking asshole” to the point where a diagnosis of Tourette’s might be in order. It doesn’t matter, because swearing like a trucker is cathartic.

2. Invest in a swear jar. Especially crucial if you have children, the swear jar is a must. Once you have that bad boy all filled, you’ll have enough money for a massage or pedicure—which you’ll want after you’ve completely rewrote your novel.

3. Drink a lot. The revision will hurt a lot less if you’re under the numbing power of Jack, Jose, or Jim. Imbibe them when you go through your initial read through where you mark shit up. All other revisions can be done under the influence of your favorite non-hard liquor-based beverage. You’ll need to focus, after all.

4. Assume the position. No, not that one. The one where you have your middle finger poised in front of your screen, ready to flip off anything you hate—whether it’s your own craptastic ramble or a comment you disagree with.

5. Cry. With the amount of booze you’ll have in your system, this will be unavoidable. Just like drunk dialing your ex.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Question of Knowing Our Future and The Future of Us

It’s pretty safe to say that at some point in our life, we would give our baby toes to glimpse into our future or hop into the DeLorean to change some instance in our past. Hell, Bestie Danielle and I usually play the “I should’ve” game once a season. So when I read the premise of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, it definitely made me go “hm.”

Blurb from Goodreads:

“It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.”

THE FUTURE OF US was decent. It didn’t have the wowing power I hoped for, but when you start to get paranoid about what you post on Facebook and Twitter just in case your high school self might stumble upon it, well…

1996. In case you’re math deficient, that’s 16 years ago. While reading this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much has changed in this amount of time: technology, air travel, life. It also got me thinking about what I would post if I had the chance for High School Alicia to see into the future. What the heck would High School Alicia think?

Let’s take a look.

fbbanner

Based off of my banner, it looks like I haven’t left my hometown—something that would make High School Alicia vomit—but it looks like I’ve traveled to Marakesh*. I’m married, which is somewhat of a shock, and I have way more friends than I ever thought possible. Based on my profile picture, I’m a cat owner, which is awesome. It also looks like I went to school to be a teacher. WHY THE HELL DID I DO THAT? I’m supposed to be a fashion designer!**

What would my Facebook statuses tell me? Surely this is where the meat of my future life would be.

fbstats

Wow. Facebook statuses don’t tell you much. It looks like my book love has transferred into wanting to work at B&N and that I’m also looking for work—absentmindedly from the top status update. I appear to be doing something still with writing, which is good to know especially since I didn’t go on to do fashion design!***

If you look at your Facebook, what would your high school self think?

PS: That playlist mentioned in the final status update? You can see what Bestie Danielle and I have put together here. (If you’re on Spotify, feel free to add any song as long as it is from the time period of 1989ish-1996.)

 

* Dear High School Alicia, you never went to Marakesh. Facebook is just sort of retarded.

** Trust me, it’s better that you went for the education degree than the design degree. You’ll understand and appreciate this once you hit 29ish.

*** Get over it, HSA, fashion design wouldn’t have worked out. TRUST ME.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Walk on the Contemp Side

Funny thing about me and books: though I write YA contemporary*, I don’t find a lot that jazzes me in that category. In fact, I spent many years actively not reading contemporaries. Oftentimes reading is a means of escape, so why the hell do I want to read something that is based in reality?

But, Alicia, you write contemporary fiction.

Yeah, I know. This might be why I’m so picky about my contemporary. Fortunately, I’ve read some terrific books in the genre over the last year. A few of them DESTROYED ME, but that’s a testament to how powerful the writing and subject matter was.

top5contemp

Out of my top five, 13 REASONS WHY is my favorite. It’s not a light-hearted book and the story seriously left me a sobbing wreck, but it was so well written. I absolutely loved this book.

Do you read contemporary fiction? What’s your favorite?

 

* The other genre is urban fantasy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Face Off-- Part Two



Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Hello, Lurkdom! Sorry for missing last Thursday. Like most people who work "retail" jobs, I have found that my hours have been cut as we enter the post "black" sales season. January and February are very slow and retailers don't need as many people working as many hours. To compensate, I have been working and taking any shift I can get, including giving up my days off. So, last Thursday I picked up a last minute, nine hour shift. Oy!

Today's post isn't particularly about zombies, but it is somewhat zombie related and something I've talked about in the past. The television show Face Off is back on the air for season two! While I was pretty disappointed with season one's finale and the winner the judges chose, I decided to give the second season a shot. Last night was the third episode of the second season, and I highly encourage you to tune in.

Although they haven't specifically done a zombie challenge (but don't worry, they completely will this season... they're already recycling last year's challenge-- for example, next week they are bringing back the "create a horror movie monster" challenge!), now is a good time for you to tune in. A couple of the smaller "Foundation Challenges," challenges in which the contestants aren't eliminated, but win things like immunity, have featured zombies. The contestants are allowed to do whatever they want in these challenges, and of course many of them have already chosen to do some sort of zombie character. Last night, a team of three had to do a makeup relay race of sorts and decided to make a zombie. Their zombie was kind of... odd. I did not really approve. Unfortunately, I cannot find a finished photo, but did find one mid-creation.


Anyway, I highly recommend tuning in to the Syfy network on Wednesday nights and check out the show! Just like last year, to me it is obvious that the producers have a huge hand in who stays and who goes to create more drama and tension on the show. That being said, though, I still really enjoy the things they create, and I think you will too!

For those of you who do watch, who are your favorites and least favorites? Have you agreed with the "judges'" decisions?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What One Life to Live Taught Me About Endings

Back in November (when I confessed how I loved the reality show Dirty Soap), I shared with you all my love of the daytime soap, One Life to Live. OLTL has been off air for over a week, but I finally brought myself to watch the finale on Sunday night. I watched it with mixed feelings: anticipation over how they were going to tie up a show with a 43 year legacy, sadness over the loss of one of my favorite shows, and annoyance that I’ll have to now watch General Hospital*.

One thing I thought I could learn from watching the OLTL finale was how to effectively create an ending. Maybe the writers would show me a few tricks to know where my final scene is.

What I didn’t anticipate in the final minutes was to see someone who we all believed to be dead. And by all, I even mean the supposed killer thought the victim was dead. My shriek of “WHAT!?” may or may not have startled The Stripey One awake**

While a cliffhanger is a possible way to end a story, I consider it sort of cheating. The reader doesn’t get the satisfaction of learning the whole story. When this type of shit happens in books that I’ve devoted hours (sometimes YEARS***) to, I throw the book. For a story to be satisfying, there needs to be completion. A lot of times the cliffhanger ending brings up several new questions which ultimately belong in a new story.

So how do you know when you have a solid ending? If you plot, you have a framework and an ending in mine. If you don’t, you relying more on luck. This is what I’m struggling with on my revisions for Falling to Normal. None of my endings are satisfying, which  means that I’m ending in the wrong place.

The only way to fix something like this is trial and error. And some trucker language. Maybe wine. Lots of it. One thing is definite, I’m not going to have someone come back from the dead in the last minutes.

Tell me, Lurkdom: how do you create the best ending possible?

 

* Only because a few of my favorite characters from OLTL are moving over in February. That will be interesting.

** It’s my belief that I’ll learn more about that particular bombshell in February when the OLTL characters move over, but until then I’ll scowl whenever I think of it.

*** I’m looking at you, Stephen King.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Susan Dennard and the Revision Process

Today The Pie welcomes Susan Dennard, author of the 2012 debut Something Strange and Deadly. This week, the WOA girls have promoted this fantastic debut and giving you a chance to read it before you can buy it. Read on to learn more about Susan’s revision process.
 
My revising process is...well, the word "intense" comes to mind.

As I've talked about before, I'm not a particularly good writer. I ramble, backtrack, infodump, and pretty much do everything one shouldn't do to tell a good story.

But you know what? I'm a darn good re-writer and an even better reviser.

The key to my process is having a plan and staying organized. I never dive into revisions without a clear idea of what I need to do next--of what my story needs next in order to reach that goal of book-awesomeness. ;)

You'll notice as I go through the steps of my revising process that I link to various pages. These are the lessons from my "Sooz's Guide to Revisions". I get much more in-depth with each of these steps in that guide, and there are even worksheets for people to follow (in case you wanna give my method a try ;)).

So step 1 is figuring out what the heck I wrote.
To do this, I first print out the entire manuscript, and then I read that entire manuscript in one sitting. As I read, I take copious notes of all the issues (and I also scribble down any solutions that come to mind).

I'm all about the color-coding (as you can see here), and I'm DEFINITELY all about the "Deal With Big Issues First". What's the point in line-editing or tweaking a scene if you decide later on to cut that scene?

Step 2 is getting about getting organized.
 
I break up the entire book by scene, and I write out index cards that summarize each scene. As I make these scene cards, I try to spot areas where the conflict is non-existent or else there is too much happening in one scene.

Once I've got my cards ready, I move to step 3: figuring out what the "perfect" book is.
I know that The Book I Wrote ≠ The Book I Wanted to Write. And it's also quite possible that The Story I Wanted To Tell Originally ≠ The Story I Want To Tell Now.

That's okay. You've got to be organic in your writing/revising. You have to be able to accept that maybe the way you intended a character or plot point isn't actually what the story needs.
So for this step, I sit down and map out the EXACT book I want now--a.k.a. "the Perfect Book". If my story was finished and on shelves, what would I want it to be like?

Step 4 is turning that Perfect Book into a Plan of Attack.
What do I need to change in order to have the Perfect Book? A more 3D villain? A bigger, more intense climax? A new subplot between the heroine and the hero?

I analyze each change by it's category--plot, character, setting, and "other". Then I go through and leave little color-coded post-its on each of my scene cards. This allows me to go through my scenes one-by-one and handle each problem one-by-one. It also allows me to always know what I've done and what still needs to be done.
The hardest and longest step is step 5: writing in all the necessary changes.
With that manuscript I printed in step 1, I go back through and make changes to my story (you can see what I mean here). As I address each issue, I yank the corresponding post-it off my scene card. :) Again, I always know what problems I've fixed and what I still need to address.
Some scenes require more work than others, and some scenes are so unsalvageable, they require a COMPLETE rewrite.

The key here is to stay focused and not let yourself get overwhelmed. Take one scene card at a time, and don't worry about what comes next.

The final step is to type in those written changes and line edit. This is pretty straightforward--you type in all the handwritten changes, and you line edit as you go. (Or you can try to line edit as you go. I often find I need to print the whole thing out again to do a truly decent job of line editing.)
When you're finished, you SHOULD (in theory) have a solidly revised novel. Now, I say "in theory" because it doesn't always happen in such a straightforward manner. I usually writer 2/3 to 3/4 of the book before I start revisions. After I revise that first chunk, I then go back and write the end (or else I revise the whole chunk again if it's total scheiβe).

At the end of the day, we all have different methods for revising--different means to the same end: a good book. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. All the same, I hope I've managed to give a few helpful pointers--or at least some entertaining insight into my slightly OCD revisions process. ;)

Happy revising!

SusanDennardAuthorSusan is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (she really likes swoon-worthy rogues). She lives in Germany with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on twitter, facebook, or Goodreads. Her debut, Something Strange and Deadly, will be available from HarperCollins in July of 2012, and you will never believe how happy this makes her!

To enter for a chance to take part in Something Strange and Deadly’s ARC tour, sign up here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Haiku

After a harrowing week of revisions, my brain is ultimate mush. Thank goodness for weeks where the blog writes itself. Like today with yet another bad haiku*.

#8
Water tortures me
Threatening to cleanse my soul
Alack! Bare me not




* I need to start a new library of these, by the way. I have only two left. It's tragic, really.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Head’s Up: Susan Dennard Blog Tour Week

One great thing about the YA community is that everyone is super supportive. We cheer each other on through Twitter and our blogs. We share our successes and disappointments over email and IM.

Something Strange and DeadlyWhen we finally get published, we like to spread the word. That’s what’s happening this week. Debut YA author Susan Dennard is travelling the blogosphere this week to support her novel Something Strange and Deadly, which will be published in July.

But it’s January. Isn’t this a little early?

Not if we have an ARC to give away! All this week, you can enter for a chance to be part of an ARC tour. For more information, check out Holly Dodson’s blog as she is the hostess extraordinaire.

To learn more about Susan and her debut, be sure to check out the blog tour this week. You can find the schedule below.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nomad in the Apartment

On a previous Friday Fives, I shared my favorite writing locations. These still hold true, but sometimes I need a change of scenery within a location, especially when I’m at the apartment. I have different places to work when I’m working on different things.

1. My desk has been a good place as of late. I work here when my focus is really awesome and I’m not under some self-imposed time crunch. Since the desk is right next to the living room, this means Hubby is usually nearby. So if I need his input this is awesome.

2. The kitchen table works out well when I’m revising and creating charts of large sheets of paper. Or working with shrunken manuscripts. Or spreading out a lot. Basically I use this area when I need a large workspace.

3. The couch is generally reserved for emails, blogging, and readthrus; that don’t require a whole lot of attention. If I’m here, it means I’m also watching TV. If I’m doing this, it’s okay to interrupt my process (most of the time).

4. My bed. The bed ends up being the place where I do all of my first drafts. It’s comfy and far enough away from the living room that I don’t get distracted by Hubby. The cats usually come up and cuddle too, which is an added bonus. I will also do a lot of blogging from here, like right now.

5. The front porch. This only works in the summer and when it’s not cluttered, but my enclosed front porch is a great place to work.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let It Snow! Undead Style



Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

It's Thursday again, so that means it is time for zombies! I've been checking out the responses to the Pie survey, and it seems as if people want to hear about some zombie science, but also just some zombie musings in general. So today, I will briefly chat about something that came to mind for me, and please feel free to chime in on the comments section.

I live in Chicago and usually by this time of the year we've gotten a bunch of snow already. Today is January 12th and Chicago is getting its first real snow of the year. January 12th. That's insane! To make matters more depressing, yesterday the temperature topped off near 50 degrees. Oh, Mother Nature. I guess I really can't complain too much because we've gotten a free pass so far. It's really only snowed once this season, and nothing actually stuck to the ground.

Cars buried on Lakeshore Drive during the 2011 blizzard

This cold winter weather had me thinking... what would happen to zombies in cold weather? The answer is both simple and complicated. And I'm not a doctor or scientist, so go with me on this and be gentle.

So, I would assume the number one cause of death in cold weather instances would be hypothermia. We can all agree with that, right? Good. So what exactly is hypothermia and why do people eventually die from it (or complications caused by it)? A straight quote off of Wikipedia states, "Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as 35.0 °C (95.0 °F)." Great, sounds simple.

But here's the tricky part... if hypothermia is defined as a drop in core body temperature, is it even possible for zombies to technically get hypothermia? A zombie, while although animated, is dead. They don't maintain a body temperature. Also, I personally believe that a zombie loses most basic functions. The virus reanimates the brain, or sends out basic electrical pulses that allow for movement and muscle function. The heart is a muscle, so it pumps, but other organs will not be functional in the same way. Digestive tracks wouldn't really work, livers, pancreas, skin... these things would rot away. They're not needed. Hypothermia breaks down a body's homeostasis, but homeostasis wouldn't be at work in a zombie anyway!

But this doesn't mean that extreme cold wouldn't take its toll on the undead. I feel extreme cold would affect the tissue present in a zombie, skin, muscles, etc. Since the heart is doing a basic pumping of blood, a zombie would be susceptible to extreme frostbite and eventually their blood would completely freeze. They would be completely immobile and not a threat at all.

So now my biggest musing is-- would a full worldwide zombie apocalypse ever be possible? My answer would have to be a huge no. There are too many areas of the world where the weather just wouldn't allow a horde to take over. Just like Napoleon invading Russia. Bad idea. Of course there would be affected areas, but I just don't think it would be enough to destroy the whole world. How many zombie movies have you seen that actually take place in cold weather? The only one I can really think of is Dead Snow (which is a great film, but in retrospect even more completely unrealistic than before). The only thing society would have to worry about would be zombies that would eventually thaw out in climates that have winters and summers. Viruses typically won't be destroyed, they will just lay dormant, so in warmer weather, there is risk of re-re-animation.


In cold weather, humans and the military would have a huge advantage over the dead. I find it would make the end of the world at the decaying hands of zombies impossible. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Name Game

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's topic: If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?

Well.

I've been with my name for several undisclosed years. I've finally accepted that I don't have a glamorous first name and that I do have a last name that trips up telemarketers*. Not to mention my middle name of Marie must be the most common middle name in my graduating class**.

There has to be a good reason why I'm going to write under an assumed name. I can only think of two that would be acceptable: I undertake erotica writing or I'm under the witness protection plan. In the bizarre case of either of these things happening, I guess I should be prepared...


...By using formulas found on the internet!


Soap Opera Name: Marie Waverley
Porn Name: Norbert Paul
Hillbilly Name: Dolly Walker
Glamrock Name: Charmaine Satellites
Elven Name: Avarhiriel
Hobbit Name: Marigold Underhill from Bywater
Dwarven Name: Thráin Skyanvil
Orkish Name: Púshrót the Ripper 
Star Wars Name: Aligre Ruwat***

So when the need arises, I think I'll write under my Orkish name. It makes me rather badass, yes?






* Combine that with the added married name and not only do I own monopoloy in vowels, but I can sense a telemarketer miles and miles away.
** Coincidentally, it's also the first name of all of my dad's sisters. Yeah, you read that right--ALL OF THEM.
*** There is a honorary name as well, but that was too hard for my brain to handle today. Figure out yours here.
_____
Last.fm hit of the day: Flying by Anathema

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Something to Resolve

If you’ve lurked here long enough, you would know that I’m not big on the resolution thing. You’d also know that I kinda sorta suck at the goal thing. This happens because I usually aim too high* and then get discouraged and kick the whole process out the door. (There’s a reason why the New Year’s resolution to stop resolving is so popular.)

There is something to be said about setting goals and stuff at the start of the new year. It is a fresh start of sorts. And after The Year of Epic Suck, yours truly has decided to give resolutions one more try.

IMG_20120103_151200My resolution for 2012** is broad and simple, yet complex. I resolve to stay on top of things.

Without the routine of a 9 to 5 gig right now, this is crucial. It is so easy to fall into the trap of sleeping until four and do nothing but watch reality TV. Not that I’m really doing that, but it is easy to forgo certain things that should happen like finalizing my summary statement on my resume or actually clean out the basement.

So like The White One, I have to be diligent. I must prioritize and get things done when I say I’m going to get them done.

I know this isn’t going to be easy. It’s way to broad for it to be, but this goal is needed and I’m hoping to see improvement in my life overall.

 

 

* Like expecting to drop several pants sizes in 6 months, despite my love of ice cream and my laziness. As you can guess, this didn’t happen. At all.

** The Year of the Final Apocalypse

____________

Last.fm hit of the day: Haulin’ Ass by Bourbon Crow

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