Friday, February 24, 2012

Radio silence

*sputter sputter fizzle*

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 9

Hahaha, back to the cesspit I go . . .

Days Left to Deadline: 13
Days Worked On: None
Morale: Surprisingly good considering that I am so NOT going to make my deadline with, you know, 82,343 words left to edit in less than two weeks
Total Word Count: 99,904

Thoughts: Oh goodness, I join a writing campaign thing . . . and then I never write. Super classy, I know. I'm in the middle of moving right now . . .  but that doesn't seem like a very good excuse. *pens writing in on the calendar*

On a more productive note, how is your writing going? Good? Bad? What kind of things prevent you from getting any work done, and how do you plan around those? Feel free to give me a heads up in the comments.

Monday, February 20, 2012


As many of you already know, strange things happen to me on road trips. So in lieu of anything relevant, I'm am going to tell you a story.

To set the scene: It was late at night in the middle-of-nowhere Montana. Boyfriend and I were in the last legs of our 12-hour car ride and were ready to sleep forever. Then we saw flashy, orange lights in the distance.

Now, I'm sure that many of you who've been on road trips before are familiar with "Oversized Load" vehicles. In general, they are miniature convoys that usually consist of two flag vehicles and a semi truck hauling anything from half of a house to parts of a wind turbine.

This, however, was not your standard "Oversized Load" convoy.

We passed a flag vehicle vehicle with rather prominent lighting that said, "Oversized Vehicle Ahead SLOW DOWN." Then we passed another one with a sign that read, "Be prepared to stop." The next truck was not only driving in the middle of the road, but it was strapped with a gigantic light-up sign that was reminiscent of the glowy communication helicopter from Independence Day.

Which we then followed at 35mph (as opposed to the actual speed limit of 75mph) for the next ten miles.

Luckily the road curved nicely, so we could see the entire convoy. Which included two more flag vehicles, a pilot truck, a two unmarked cars (which ended up being a police car and a flag vehicle without lights) . . . all of which were behind the actual "Oversized Load" vehicle. In front of it were two more unmarked cars (another cop car and unlit flag truck), and two lit flag vehicles.

The real question is, of course, what in the world did these people need to transport that 1) required 12 different support vehicles, 2) needed to be transported in the dark of night, and 3) had to take up the entire road?

Obviously it was a UFO. *nods*

In all actuality, I can't tell you what it was. When the convoy finally pulled over to let the block-up of cars past, all I could see were metal bars and tanks and valves . . . and I couldn't get a picture thanks to the whole pitch-black-middle-of-the-night thing. Alas. Maybe it really was a UFO. *shrug*

So have you ever witness such a large "Oversized Load" convoy? Or, better yet, do you have any other good road trip driving stories? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

Friday, February 17, 2012

11 questions campaign game!

ETA (03/09/2012): Yeah, I got tagged again (by Brenna at Blissfully Brenna), but didn't realize it until now. Oops. If you're interested, the new questions and answers are near the end of the post.

ETA (02/17/2012): Okay, so I've been tagged by two more people (Jenna at Finding the Write Way and W. Chaser). This has officially become the 11 Questions Master Post of Doom. That is all.

So, there's been this 11 questions campaign game floating around, and I was tagged by the lovely Patricia Marques over at Swimming in Words. It's a pretty cool meme, especially considering that the questions change each time you get tagged by a different person, so it's not the same thing over and over.

So here are my 11 answers to Patricia's 11 questions:
  1. What was your first ever story about?
    It was a picture book entitled The Adventures of Nikki and Noel and was about a cat and a dog who, err, went on adventures? It was basically Milo and Otis in book form. :)
  2. What's your favorite writing place?
    My bed. Or the couch. I prefer comfy places where I can chill in my pajama pants and huddle beneath a layer of blankets
  3. What's your favorite character archetype?
    I usually like the smart, funny one. Or the tragic, anti-hero one. It's even better when you can combine the two?
  4. Cats or dogs?
    Cats. Cats by faaaaaar.
  5. If you could time travel, what year would you travel to?
    Ugh, I seriously have no idea. 
  6. What type of scenes do you find hardest to write?
    Those little montage scenes where someone walked for a couple hours etc. It's only a paragraph to a page's worth of writing . . . but I hate it!
  7. What's your favorite children's movie?
    The Lion King. I own the blu-ray, I know the names of all of then charatcers (hello, Sarabi) I can sing to all of the songs and quote half of the movie, and I pray for the opportunity to see the musical.
  8. Name a book that made you cry (or came close to getting you there).
    Honestly, there isn't much that can start me crying, but Markus Zusak's The Book Thief had me bawling. BAWLING.
  9. What's your favorite fictional hero?
    Ahhh . . . these are hard! I don't think I have an absolute favorite. :(
  10. If you could get some advice from any writer, past or present, who would it be?
    Uhh, good question. There are so many writers posting their advice online now . . . so I guess I'd rather talk to someone from the past. I guess Jane Austen would be interesting to talk to. *shrug*
  11. What's your Chinese Zodiac?
    I'm a dragon! Raar!
And now 11 more answers to the lovely Jenna's 11 questions:
  1. Redvines or Twizzlers?
  2. With your iPod/MP3 on shuffle, what's the first song that comes up?
    "A Man's Gotta Do" from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. :D
  3. What's your least favorite book you ever had to read for school?
    Ugh, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I can't really remember what was so terrible about it . . . but it was terrible.
  4. You're the producer for turning any one book into a movie, which do you choose to do?Ooo, this is a tough one. Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone would be fun.
  5. What's your favorite YouTube video?
    Uhh, my favorite? Jeeze. Umm. I don't really have a favorite, but let's go with the mewling baby cheetah. Because, uhh, cats own the internet and cheetahs CHIRP.
  6. Who did you look up to when you were thirteen years old?
    I was kind of a strange child . . . I didn't have any role models. Seriously.
  7. Which food do you wish you could rid the planet of?
    IKURA. Ikura is salmon roe sushi. Just envision a cup of seaweed full of rice and jiggly, orange eggs the size of kitten eyeballs. *twitch*
  8. Why did you decide to start blogging?
    A couple reasons: 1) I figured it was time to start building up a writing platform, 2) it provided me a soapbox to ran on, and 3) I wanted to meet new people and such.
  9. Do you cry over books/movies/TV shows?
    Not often, but there are exceptions to this rule. *cough*The Book Thief*cough*
  10. What's one thing you believe in with all your heart?
    People should stop focusing on the negative. Seriously. We'd all be a lot happier if we stopped focusing on things we hate.
  11. Flowers or chocolate?
    Flowers as long as they're interesting flowers instead of, you know, just roses. Variety is key! Of course, Boyfriend got me chocolates for Valentine's Day, so maybe I should go with that.
And last, but definitely not least, 11 more answers to W. Chaser's 11 fabulous questions:
  1. If you could be any fictional baddie who would you be and why?
    Magento. Sure, his childhood sucked, but he's a badass. His magnetic powers pretty much allow him to do anything and his set pieces always pwn everyone else's. I mean, if I'm going to be evil, I might as well be awesome.
  2. If you could go back in time and stop someone being born who would it be?
    Well, the easiest response would be Hitler, but I'll go with Joseph Mengele. Not only did he support Hitler's ideals, but he liked torturing and experimenting on people. Which is just horrific.
  3. When do you get your most inspirational ideas?
    In the shower . . . or right before I'm about to fall asleep . . . or while driving. Basically anytime that I can't write it down.
  4. If you had to live without either books or music, which would it be?
    Books. Don't get me wrong, I love books . . . but they're just stories. And stories can exist without books. Music, on the other hand, can't really exists without itself.
  5. Who provides the most encouragement for your writing?
    Brenna. Mah boyfriend. Kirstin. Pretty much my entire NaNoWriMo writing group.
  6. If you could have one wish, what would it be?
    Uhh. Maybe to be a little more lucky. That'd be nice. I'd like to be lucky.
  7. Do you remember your dreams and do they influence your writing?
    I do remember my dreams . . . they often involve tornados. *nods* My current WIP is actually based off a dream I had . . . though none of those original ideas really exist anymore.
  8. What word do you frequently misspell?
    Worshipers. In my current WIP gave it double p's EVERY SINGLE TIME. Also, I tend to interchange lose and loose.
  9. How much influence in your writing do you take from other people’s opinions?
    It really depends on how valid I think that opinion is. I think some of the best critique partners point out things that you already know are wrong with your story, so I definitely let those opinons influence me. On the other hand, I tend to ignore people when they tell me that my story shouldn't have something in it because it's stupid or inappropriate.
  10. If there is one book you wish you’d written, what is it?
    Ahhhhh, just one?! Liar by Justine Larbalestier.
  11. Starter or desert?
    Creme brûlée.
Okay, and now the REAL final set of 11 questions and answers for Brenna:
  1. Coffee or tea?
    Tea. I'm a big fan of black teas and chai.
  2. What was the first story you can remember writing?
    Uhh, I remember illustrating The Adventures of Nikki and Noel, but the first story I actually remember writing? I wrote this fabulous story about kids in the army (it was a horrific mashup of pretty much every tv show I liked at the time) when I was 12.
  3. What TV show, video game, movie would you recommend to other writers?
    1) Avatar: The Last Airbender because the world building is to die for and the story isn't too shabby on top of that.
    2) The World Ends With You because it throws so many awesome ideas together and makes it work.
    3) Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog because I can't watch it without feeling inspired by the end.
  4. What time of day are you most productive?
    Ehh, after dinner to somewhere around one in the morning. What can I say? I'm a night owl.
  5. Green or black olives?
    Green, green, a thousand times green.
  6. What was your first car?
    A dark red GMC Sierra. Wish I could tell you the year, but I don't actually know . . . probably 90's something?
  7. What is your guilty pleasure?
    Right now? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and Young Justice. So, uhh, I guess American children's animated television?
  8. Are you a fan of footie pajamas?
    I've never worn footie pajamas . . . but that seems like way too much fabric to be sleeping in.
  9. What's something you didn't think you'd like that you did/do?
    Crochet. My mother is big on the whole spinning/weaving/fiberarts circuit, so I've been subjected to sheep and fiber fairs my whole life. Never really expected to find any of that stuff interesting . . . but she doesn't crochet, so maybe I've found a loophole?
  10. Favorite salad dressing?
    Blue cheese. *nomnomnom*
  11. What is your most embarrassing nickname? (Or, just any nickname. You don't have to give an embarrassing one.)
    Uhh . . . Sarah-bear-a?
Wasn't that thrilling? Anyway, now for some unlucky victims. I'm tagging the following campaigners:
  1. Susan Rocan at My Withershins
  2. Diane D. Gillette at Happy Writing!
  3. Jenna Cooper at Finding the Write Way
  4. Jolene Stockman at Everything is Possible!
  5. Sara Biren at Crow River Writer
And here are my 11 questions:
  1. What do you like to eat for breakfast?
  2. Shakespeare: yay or nay?
  3. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
  4. What is your favorite thing to write about?
  5. Choice of the century: cake or pie?
  6. Got any non-writing hobbies?
  7. If you had a theme song, what would it be?
  8. What's your favorite writing snack?
  9. Do you have any pets?
  10. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  11. Got any book recommendations?
Woo, that was kind of intensive! And a surprising number of my questions have to do with food. Hmm. Anyway, looking forward to everyone's answers . . . and hey, if I didn't tag you, feel free to tell me about yourself in the comments anyway! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 8

For all of you who don't know the story behind my WIP Wednesday posts (you know, besides the obvious), check out this post and this post for some details.

Days Left to Deadline: 20?!
Days Worked On: Err . . . 1
Morale: Honestly, haven't thought about it . . . so, uhh, not despairing? I guess?
Total Word Count: 99,904 (+27 from last week)

Thoughts: Yeah, I spent most of this last week stressed out about certain life-related things. So the one day that I did work on my writing resulted in a big fat nothing. What can I say? External stress ≠ a happy writing time. *shrug*

However, things are looking up and I have been brain-storming, so I'm thinking next week will be a bit better.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm a Platform-Building Campaigner!

Well, after some hefty consideration, I've finally decided to participate in Rachael Harrie's 4th Writers' Platform-Building Campaign. Woo!

If you've never heard of it, the Platform-Building Campaign is a pretty big deal. I've never participated before, but from what I've heard, it's a great way to meet other writers online and forge friendships. There are a ton of people participating (including my peeps, Brenna and Daniel), so it looks like it'll be pretty exciting.

Registration is open until the 15th of February (that's this Wednesday people), so if you're interested, take a look at the information page. I hope to see you participating by my side!

Have you ever participated in one of Rachael Harrie's Platform-building Campaigns? If so, what'd you think? And if not, well, why not? Tell me all about it in the comments.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Local libraries and e-books

Okay, remember last month when I talked about my feelings on the Kindle 3 after having one for a year? Well, something has changed since then and now. Something that is worth telling you guys.

My local library started lending e-books. And I love it, for several simple reasons:

  • It's easy. You think pirating books is easy? Well, checking out an e-book is easier and 100% legal. All you do is select the book of your choice, and, if you're using a Kindle, download it through Amazon like any other e-book.
  • You don't have to go to the physical library to check books out. As long as you have a computer and wi-fi access for your e-reader (3G is apparently out for now), you can check out books from anywhere and at anytime your heart desires.
  • As such, you don't necessarily have to live near your library of choice, as long as you have a library card. Maybe your nearest library is over an hour away? Well, it's not a whole lot easier to support it. Maybe you're going on vacation? Well, support your local library from across the world!
  • Your library books expire on their own. That means no more worrying about getting your books back on time and no more overdue book fees.
Of course, several of these things are a bit troublesome for the future of libraries. There's a lot of debate going on about whether libraries should have to pay for multiple e-book licenses, whether they should have to buy new licenses after a certain number of lendings in order to compensate for traditional book "wear and tear," and how they are going to survive without the funds provided by overdue book fees.

I don't have any solutions for these problems, but I can definitely say that I love the convenience of checking out an e-book via my local library. It doesn't seem like a feature that would be going away anytime soon, so I guess I'm curious as to what you guys think.

So how do you feel about the e-book revolution in regards to the traditional library? Should libraries be treating e-books the same way they treat normal book checkouts? And, of course, have you ever checked out an e-book from your local library, or are you still waiting for it to offer the service? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Week 7

This week was not particularly thrilling OR particularly horrible. Ugh normalcy.

Days Left to Deadline: 27
Days Worked On: Only 3 this week
Morale: Good . . . and then not-so-good
Total Word Count: 99,877 (+220 *le sigh*)

Thoughts: My writing was going well. I finished chapter 6-2 (like I said last week, it was going freakishly quickly) and it was awesome. Not really much else to mention on that front.

Then I tackled chapter 6-3. Which is just miserable. Actually, scratch that. I don't really think I was in a good mental place for editing when I was working on it . . . so it might not be all that horrible. Either way, that last night of editing this week was a tough one. :( Here's to next time!

Monday, February 6, 2012

How to find yourself some CPs

Last Monday I talked all about alpha readers, critique partners, and beta readers. I also promised that I'd tell you guys how to find people to fulfill those roles in your life . . . and today is that day.

Now, the answer is quite simple: just make some friends. These are the people who are going to be honest about your writing, who are going to cheer you up and cheer you on, who are going to help you the most. Maybe you just want an acquaintance, but I definitely suggest a friend.

But let's get down to business:

Where to go
  1. If you're determined to know your editing partners in person, try a local writing group. You can meet people via NaNoWriMo or in writing classes too.
  2. There's also the standard online methods to meet people. Check out writing blogs and there is an impressive writing community just waiting to chat with you on Twitter.
  3. Go to reputable writing forums like Verla Kay's Blue Boards and Nathan Bransford's forums
  4. There are a ton of social writing websites that are great places to meet other serious writers. Some good examples are InkpopBook CountryFigment, and FictionPress. Goodreads is mostly for readers, but you're likely to find some writers prowling about.
  5. There is also the super specialized Ladies Who Critique. It's essentially a dating website for finding critique partners, and despite the name, people of both genders are welcome.
What to look for
  1. The kind of person who can be what you need. Different writers need help with different things, so make sure to find CPs that you're compatible with. The best way to test this is to trade pages with someone (say, 50 pages) and see if you like each other's critiquing style.
  2. Someone who can separate personal and professional. Critiquing isn't about hurting each other, or reacting poorly to fair criticism.
  3. A friend. It helps to know someone and respect someone. Like I said earlier, this isn't super necessary . . . or maybe even what you want . . . but it's definitely a perk. I mean, you'll get to read their awesome writing too!
So how does that sound? Have you used any of these methods to find an alpha reader, a critique partner, or a beta reader? Better yet, do you have any further recommendations for those of us who have been on the hunt? If so, tell me in the comments! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

The requisite crafty!squid post

You know what, I haven't posted anything squid-related in a while.
. . . and Keito is eating the hammock. Yessiree.
And that would be my giant squid pillow, Keito. Don't we all need random crafty squid creatures in our lives? Why yes, yes we do. So if you're feeling the need to sate that urge, why not take a look at some of these great squid projects:

  • 8-foot giant squid pillow. Yes, this is the pattern I followed to make Keito. It's a bit nightmarish at times (especially if you overstuff your squid and have to hand-sew large sections), but definitely worth it. A playful pillow and a great conversation starter.
  • Adult knitted squid hat. Knitting is the bane of my existence, but this hat is nice and silly. And with a little modification could be easily transformed into a blooper. :D
  • Deep sea diver and squid amigurumi. This one's pretty cute. I imagine that it would make a good centerpiece if you wanted to put together a fake fishbowl . . . you know, with all of the rocks and plants, but no actual fish. just the diver and the squid. Yeah?
  • Realistic crochet squid. For those who are looking to make a hardcore squid. I haven't made this one yet, but I really love the accuracy put into it. Definitely looks like it would be quick to whip up, and there's a companionable octopus pattern!

Now weren't those adorable? There are a ton of squid patterns out there (including a spectacular mitten one that you can only see with a Ravelry account), but I tried to pick out some of my favorites. Either way, I really need to get my hands on that realistic squid pattern . . .

So how do you guys feel about crafty squid projects? Have any desire to sew your own 8-foot squid pillow? Or are you working on something a little more, uhh, normal? Tell me what crafty endeavors you're up to in the comments!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WIP "Wednesday": Week 6

This time January's Book Roundup booted WIP Wednesday out of its rightful spot, so once again, a post on Thursday. How scandalous!

Days Left to Deadline: 33
Days Worked On: Pretty sure it was 3
Morale: Freakishly optimistic
Total Word Count: 99,657 (-318 . . . oh yeah)

Thoughts: Some exciting things happened this week. Let me tell you about them:
  • Rewrote the ending of chapter 4-3, which was a) kind of mediocre, b) bothering me, and c) making it difficult to keep continuity between chapters 4-3 and 4-4.
  • Finished chapter 4-4! That's right--it's done! There might still be some OOC-ness in the middle bits, but at this point I need some time away from it.
  • Added 400 words, went back over the 100,000 word total, was saddened, then deleted 600 and got back down again. Wooo.
  • Renamed one of my characters. It's been something I've been thinking about for a while, and I think I've finally decided on a suitable name for him.
  • Edited at least half of chapter 6-2 in one night. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, considering how nightmarish all of my other editing has been. Has my judgement gone astray, or was this chapter just easier? Crossing my fingers for more nights like this.
Now, I've been meaning to ask, how is your guys' writing going? Have you been getting anything done? Obviously you all should start doing WIP Wednesday with me . . . or tell me about your writing week in the comments. Let's write together!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 January Book Roundup

Being that it's 2012, it's time for the book roundup rules to change a little.

Previously I was doing Twitter-length reviews. I like this plan because it let me express my thoughts succinctly, but it started to get difficult to give a brief plot overview AND a review in 140 characters. So now I'm going to give you twice the goodness. That's right. 140 characters of book summary and 140 characters of review. This way I'll be able to stick to bite-sized reviews without denying you guys the meat of the matter.

Other than that, everything the same. Genres are listed at the beginning of the reviews and my absolute favorites of the month are marked with a star ().

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Steampunk--Mercy's husband is dead and when her dying father summons her to Seattle, there's nothing to keep her. Civil war schemes and zombies ahoy. § This book is fabulous. Not only is Mercy a strong character, but she's interesting too and her environment is full of excitement and intrigue. 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Paranormal--Diana Bishop is a witch who wishes she wasn't. Then she stumbles upon a lost manuscript, and catches the attention of the paranormal world. § This book. Starts off. So slow. Also, there are a lot of complex and fascinating ideas in play here, but I really didn't like the love interest.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis
YA Sci-fi--Sequel to Across the Universe. It's been 3 months since Amy was unplugged and Elder assumed leadership. Too bad there are more lies to uncover. § Painful to read ... but in a good (and hard to put down) way! Revis has woven a claustrophobic web of disaster that can't help getting worse. 

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
YA Urban Fantasy--Sophie Mercer is a witch who's been sent to Hex Hall--a reform school for paranormals. Unfortunately for her, someone's been targeting witches. § Sophie is delightfully sassy and it's great to see a paranormal that doesn't take itself too seriously. However, nothing really stood out.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
YA Fiction--Ed Kennedy is just a deadbeat cabdriver. But after he inadvertently stops a bank robbery, the Aces start arriving and he must become a messenger. § Ack, Zusak is excellent at making you care about ALL of his characters--major, minor, whatever. Inspirational and a total pleasure to read. 

And there you guys go--the first five books I read during 2012! So, are you guys going to start up any reading goals? And what books have you read thus far? Tell me in the comments!