Friday, December 30, 2011


I don't really make New Year Resolutions. Partly because I can never come up with specific things I think would make for good resolutions, and partly because I don't see the point of waiting until a new year to make yourself goals. Not that there's a problem with resolutions--they kinda rock--I'm just too wishy-washy.

Despite this, I made a resolution for this year. Do you remember it?

The idea was to blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this year. Technically I've succeeded, despite some lame posts. I've also subjected you the depths of my geekiness, everything I've crocheted, and, of course, my trials with writing. But the best part? I made some rocking new friends! *double thumbs up*

Now, on the matter of 2012 . . . well, I guess I just want 2012 to be better than 2011. And maybe to survive the apocalypse and crochet a cute squid-lett and finish my freaking book. You know, the important things.

But what about you guys? What kind of things are you looking forward to next year? Have you made any concrete New Year Resolutions? If so, what kind of things do you resolve to do or, uhh, not do? And, of course, how do you think I did on completing my resolution? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Week 1

Last Friday I made an announcement. In a meek and tiny font. It might have had something to do with a writing deadline. *shifty eyes* Either way, I figured I'd keep you guys updated on my progress. Or, you know, terrify myself into a comatose state. Or something.

Anyway. Let's get this over with.

Hours Worked On: Umm, none
Days Left to Deadline: 69

Chapters Edited: 0 (5/27 total)
Words Cut: 0 (3,240 total)
Total Word Count: 100,319

Morale: Hiding in a corner
Thoughts: Uhh, yeah. The most progress I made on anything in this last week would be, uhh, closing my Scrivener document? *ducks rotten fruit* I'd start listing excuses in my defense, but I already know what you guys are thinking: You have to make time to write, Sarah. Yeah, yeah. Shaddup. I'm working on it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some holiday recipes

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is mail munchies to people. Not only do I get to eat the leftovers (that is, after all, the chef's prerogative), but you can't really go wrong with giving people food. There's blood and sweat and toil in those goodies!

Right. Now, since I can't possibly gift munchies to all of you guys, I thought I'd at least share the recipes I used. Sound good?

The only picture I took. And it was to update my cookbook.
  • Melt in the Mouth Caramels
    This is a recipe I'm pretty familiar with, as I've made these caramels about five times. I prefer softer caramels though, so we only cooked the mixture to 235ºF on the candy thermometer. It might just be an elevation thing though, so make sure to use the cold water test.

  • Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies
    One of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes. The molasses and sea salt really bring out the chocolate flavor, and the recipe makes a lot of cookies. We used semi-sweet chocolate chips because, uhh, we just did.

  • Peppermint Bark
    Definitely my favorite peppermint bark recipe--I think the puffed rice cereal adds a necessary crunch. We we drizzled melted almond bark over the top of our finished bark, which was pretty and tasty. Just check that picture!

  • Peanut Butter Balls
    Which are delightful and easy to make. But it's Boyfriend's recipe . . . and I'm not sure if I can share it. Sorry? O_O They look like this though:
This picture is actually from last year. Also for the cookbook.
ANYWAY. What treats do you guys make around the holidays? My family also whipped up sugar cookies, lemon bars, horns, and Russian teacakes. ^_^ Tell me what you munch on in the comments.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another writing goal?

Writing goals are probably one of the most useful writerly things ever. Just look at what NaNoWriMo has done for those thousands of people who'd never written 1,000 words of fiction, let alone 50,000. If nothing else, writing goals help kick your butt into gear.

And I don't know about you, but right now I need that mentality.

Unlike last time, I'm not going to flaunt my goal in bolded, menacing typeface. Why? Frankly, I'm afraid of my goal, and right now I'm not confident that I can make it and retain my sanity at the same time. Also, despite my claims of knowing what I'm doing, most of my editing process has been discovering what methods don't work for me. Which is rather time consuming.

So here, in a meek, but hopeful voice:

I'm going to finish the revised draft of my manuscript by March 6th at 11:59 PM.

Eeep. Well. There we go. I'm gonna go cry in a corner now . . . but cheer me on, won't you?

Anyway, what about you? Do you have any writing or editing goals right now? Do you try to set goals that you know are achievable, or do you push yourself to the limit? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is a bagginses?

I have a migraine, so I'm disinclined to stare at a computer screen long enough to give you guys something good to read. However, I do love JRR Tolkien, and if you've been living in a hole for the last 24 hours, this will be pretty damn exciting:

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 fabulous favorite foods

Knowing what kind of food a person likes says a lot about them. Are they a traditionalist rooted in meat and potatoes, or do they prefer things made out of foam? Keeping this in mind, what are the favorite (and maybe even least favorite) foods of the characters you write about? Easier question: can you list five of your favorite foods? I sure can! And now I'm going to:

Chips and Salsa
This might be the result of growing up in a community with a fairly large mexican population, but I don't care. Not only are chips and salsa delicious, but they're relatively healthy. I mean tortilla chips are a step above other chips *cough*potato chips*cough* and salsa is made from delicious, delicious vegetables.
Tortilla Chips & Salsa
Image credit to mooshee85

Eggs in every shape and form
It's called the incredible, edible egg for a reason. They're a protein goldmine and considering that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day . . . well, it all just compounds to awesomeness. Eggs can be fried, boiled, saladed, baked in a quiche, thrown on top of a hamburger, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Soft boiled eggs crudely cut
Image credit to myheartbehaves

Bagels with cream cheese
Okay, yeah, I know, this one is kind of weird. But I really like bagels and I really like cream cheese. And I'm not even talking flavored cream cheese or interesting bagels. Both of those things rock, but I seriously start salivating for just a plain, toasted bagel with boring, ordinary cream cheese. Just. So. Good!
Bagel thin with cream cheese
Image credit to Birdny123
I don't how or why, but sushi rice, assorted veggies, and sea critter bits wrapped in seaweed is tasty, tasty stuff. Also, there's nothing else like it. I enjoy the classic rolls, but I really get excited about recipes that take traditional ingredients and twist them into something new. Blue Hashi's Sleepwalker Roll is delightful.
Sushi Addict
Image credit to Wes_AW
Ice cream!!!
Hahaha, you know those people who can finish off one of those huge cups at Coldstone Creamery? Umm, yeah. That's me. It's creamy and made from milk and sugar . . . what's there to dislike unless you're lactose intolerant? Nothing. Because ice cream is always good. Especially cookies and cream. Yum!
Cookies and cream ice-cream
Image credit to ivan.leung
Keep in mind that this is only five of my favorite foods . . . the, uhh, things I would want on that deserted island with me, you know? But there are still a bunch of other things I love. Like corn chowder and mashed potatoes and peach pie. *drools*

Oh crap, talking about all of this is making me hungry. >_> But before I run off to the kitchen, tell me, do my favorite foods tell you anything about me? If so, what? And, even better, what are your five favorite foods and why do you love them so? Are they things you have regular access too, or are your favorites something special? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Font formatting and YOU

Let's talk about italics and bolds and CAPITALS.

Now, I've seen many a writer try to create volume and emotion in argument-based scenes by using bolded and CAPITALIZED letters in their dialogue. I think the idea behind this is something along the lines of the bigger the letters, the bigger the feelings behind them. There's even a semi- hierarchy:

    I hate you! (relatively normal level of hate)
    I hate you! (angry, burning hate)
    I HATE YOU! (angry, passionate explosion of hate)
    I HATE YOU! (this is the hate of a million combusting suns)

Charming, yeah? Only not. Because depending on font formatting makes for lazy writing. Instead of showing how angry your character is, you're letting the ink do it for you, and that comes off as pretty weak. Especially when you start getting multiple characters flinging bolded and CAPITALIZED barbs back and forth.

You should never be using bolded or CAPITALIZED words in your writing. Words in themselves have power, and you shouldn't forsake that with silly font formatting. There is always a more effective alternative.

Now, you might argue, what about italics? You just italicized a word in the last sentence, Sarah, and italicized words are in books all the time! What makes italics so special?

Well, for one thing, italics do something different then bolds and CAPITALS. As discussed, people use bolds and CAPITALS to emphasize volume, which can be done in other ways. But italics emphasize, well, emphasis. Just look at the differences in meaning here:

    I hate you. (as in me specifically, but maybe no one else hates you)
    I hate you. (hate, as opposed to any other feeling)
    I hate you. (as in you specifically; maybe I don't hate anyone else)

There's not many easy ways to evoke those same feelings without italics. However, you should always use them sparingly. In fact, you probably should be using italics the same way as I suggest you use adverbs: when it adds something the reader would miss otherwise.

So how do you guys feel about italics and bolds and CAPITALS? Have you ever used bolds and CAPITALS in your writing? If so, it's okay, because I totally have too, and I even threw in some underlining in for super dramatic effect. Even better, do you have a counter-argument for the bolds and the CAPITALS? Either way, tell me what you think in the comments!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Writerly Tools: Book Country's Genre Map
Sometimes categorizing your book can be a bit a difficult. For example, my WIP is a fantasy . . . I can tell you that much straight off because there's magic and such. But there's also a pretty defined steampunk element, which is definitely a science fiction thing.

Never mind the fact that fantasy and science fiction have subgenres. And despite my steampunk elements, I'm pretty sure this WIP isn't a full-on, hardcore steampunk. So it's still some kind of fantasy. But what kind?

Urban? Paranormal? Epic? Historical?

I know the answer to my own question (hint: it's somewhere between high and traditional fantasy). But the question is, if you're writing genre fiction, do you know what subgenre your WIP falls under? If not, well, that's where Book Country comes in.

Now, Book Country is actually a writing/reading social network community run by Penguin. I haven't messed around on it too much, but it looks pretty spiffy. Also, it has a rockin' feature called the Genre Map. And that is what this whole writerly tools post is about.

Book Country's Genre Map looks something like this:
This is not mine. This is not mine a hundred times.
Sweet, right? Only the real thing is better because my version is just a screen cap with the genres and subgenres. With just a simple click, the actual Genre Map explains what each subgenre is and gives some great examples. It also lets your explore those subgenres.

Believe it or not, but it's actually pretty helpful to know genre fiction's subgenres. And since Book Country is part of Penguin, you be assured that these are actually somewhat legitimate. So definitely give the Genre Map a look-see, and maybe bookmark it too, since I'm sure it'll come in handy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Arrrrrr! Pirates! Arrrrrr!

I wasn't sure what to blog about today, but then I remember that I like pirates.* I was a pirate for Halloween, FYI. Here's my skull-handed proof:
Anyway, as I was saying, pirates are pretty cool. And what's even better? Why, pirate jokes! So here, friends, let me tell you all of the best (and only) pirate jokes that I know:

What happened when the red pirate ship and the blue pirate ship collided?
Both crews were marooned!

What did the pirate with the pegleg say when he sailed down to Antartica?
Shiver me timbers!

Why do pirates do so poorly in school?
Because they prefer the high seas!

Why is being a pirate so addictive?
You lose one hand and then you're hooked!

How much do pirates pay for their piercings?
A buccaneer!

Speaking of which, how much did the pirate pay for his hook and peg leg?
An arm and a leg!

And what do you call a pirate with no eye?
A prate!

Have you heard about the pirate that took up boxing?

He had a mean left hook!

Why are pirates pirates?
They just arrrrrr!

What is a pirate's favorite school subject?**
Debate, because then he gets to arrrrrrgue.

Did you hear about that new pirate movie?
It's rated arrrrrr!

What is a pirate's favorite fast food restaurant?
You'd think that it'd be Arrrrrrby's, but it's actually Long John Silver's.

A pirate walks into a bar with a roll of paper towels on his head.
The bartender asks, "What's up with the paper towels?"
The pirate says, "Arrrrrr, I've got a bounty*** on me head!"

See, weren't those hilarious? Yes. Yes they were. Unfortunately, those are only the pirate jokes on hand, and I'm certain that there are dozens--nay, scores!--of other pirate jokes that I don't know. So, I'm curious, do any of you know of some fabulous pirate jokes? If so, tell me in the comments!

*Also, I might have written this post at three in the morning.
**Yes, this is my joke. I made it up just for you. Because I love you. <3
***Bounty is a, uhh, brand of paper towels. FYI.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 MORE webcomics writers should read

Hey, remember the last time I talked about webcomics? The basic gist was as follows: Writers love stories. Webcomics are home to all sorts of awesome stories. Unfortunately, I don't know of so many writers that profess the joys of webcomics. So, here, five awesome webcomics for you guys to check out.

And today? Well, today is a sequel to that post! Because, frankly, there are a ton of webcomics out there, and I enjoy far more than just five of them. So here, friends, five more favorites that you should definitely check out!*

The Meek
This is probably one of the biggest webcomics online right now, so if you haven't read The Meek yet, get to it! This one is all about a complex, fantasy, interweaving storyline, so if you're looking to observe those elements, this is the comic to check out. Not to mention the fabulous world building and, of course, the artwork.

This is the story of an exiled Amazon warrior and her son, who live in ancient Greece. Plus some crack (we're talking a My Little Pony vs Care Bears story arc). Gastrophobia is different from many webcomics in that it's essentially a collection of short stories. Which is awesome. Especially if you're looking for something quick and entertaining.

Thistil Mistil Kistil
As the comic's website puts it, "Thistil Mistil Kistil is a comic about vikings, Norse gods, and their adventures together (or against each other)." Simply enough, the research and thought behind this comic is astounding. The level of depth goes from locations, to characters, to the artwork itself, and that's something that anyone can learn from.

Monster Pulse
Monster Pulse is a relatively new comic, but I like where it's going thus far. Basically, there's some dubious science and body parts that transform into battling monsters. The concept is super interesting, which is really half the battle, and the execution has been spot on too. Doesn't help that all of the characters (and monsters) are super charming!

Great, is the kind of comic that started as something small, that, well, turned into something great. It's definitely a good show as to how one can take a bunch of different and random elements and create a cohesive story. But there's some depth too, as Great explores the highs and lows of life, and what it really means to be "great."

And there we go! So, if you guys read webcomics, what ones have you read? Any of these? Or do you have some favorites that I've never heard of? Either way, tell me your thoughts in the comments!

*BTW: As you may have guessed, none of these images belong to me. Shocking, huh?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oops! Or, on procrastination

Pahahahahaha . . . this post is so late. I guess that's what happens when I go ahead and watch cartoons instead of blogging.

Speaking of doing things instead of other things, cartoons are probably one of my greatest procrastinatory methods. You know, when I actually am procrastinating. Last night was all about absentmindedness. Anyway, there's just something about animation--it's fluid and smooth and captures things that just aren't possible in live-action filming. I heart it dearly.

And this all brings me to the question at hand: what do you do when you're shamelessly procrastinating? Do you read books? Play video games? Indulge in sports? Go window shopping? Knit, crochet, spin, or weave? Watch cartoons like me? Do something else that I didn't get around to mentioning? Tell me in the comments!

Friday, December 2, 2011

November Book Roundup

Well, I didn't read much in this past month thanks to NaNoWriMo. Actually . . . I didn't read anything at all until I got my 50,000 words out of the way. But what I did read was relatively exciting.

Oh, and if you're curious, this is my monthly book roundup post. In other words: At the beginning of each month I do Twitter-length reviews of the books I read during the month prior. Genres are listed at the beginning of the reviews and my absolute favorites are marked with a star ().

Ashes by Ilsa J Bick
YA Post-apocalyptic--EMPs and zombies and super powers and cults! This book is weirdly bi-polar. Loved the first half, but then it went downhill. Also, WTF cliffhanger?

Manga--Usagi is the guardian of justice--Sailor Moon! Story gets a bit darker in this volume, but the romance is lovely and we get some background info.

The Immorality Engine by George Mann
Steampunk Mystery--Newbury & Hobbes #3. Steampunk Victorian England takes a dark and relatively unexpected twist in this volume. Also, Veronica is STILL awesome. 

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
YA Contemporary Fantasy--The Scorpio Races are brutal, thrilling, and both Sean and Puck must win. Holy crap I love Stiefvater's water horses and her beautiful prose. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
YA Contemporary Fantasy--Tragedy strikes and as a result, Jacob's gonna unearth his grandfather's past. Haunting photos ... with a story that doesn't really match up.

See, not too shabby. I also find it kind of entertaining how most of the covers fall under a muted color palette. Anyway, what did you guys read? Or did you get any reading done at all? Tell me in the comments.