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It’s Been HOW Long?!?

So…um…hi.

It’s been almost a year since I published anything, so I was surprised when I cracked open the stats page to find that you guys were still here. Still reading. Still commenting. Still caring. Thanks for sticking around! Life got busy and the blog wasn’t as much of a school requirement anymore, so I let it go for a while. That was a mistake. I’ll try to get back up and do better in the future.

In the meantime, a lot of stuff has happened. I finished high school (Also a mistake. Can I please go back now? Real life is hard.), started college(Paralegal studies…woo-hoo.), got a job at a chiropractic office(Not remotely what I imagined.), and passed my driver’s test (My city really needs a public transit system.). Adulthood struck once again, devouring all energy and creativity with it.

But I don’t want to let my writing life end with high school. Here’s hoping talking to you guys can help keep me on track…because after all, my sanity–which, to be fair, is long gone–is optional, but my writing? That’s required.

Expect to see more of me soon, as well as changes and updates around the blog.

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The Five Things a Writer Needs to Read

1. The Classics

They’ve survived for centuries for a reason. Even if they aren’t your favorite light reading (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if they aren’t, despite the apparent belief that all writers must devote their bookshelves only to authors who’ve been published for over a century or whose work is primarily existential) , they’re well worth the read.

2. Your Genre

If you’re well-versed in your chosen genre, you’ll soon get a pretty good idea of its cliches and common mistakes, as well as how to avoid them.

3. Your Old Work

I know it’s painful. Very, very painful. I ran across some of mine the other day and had to fight the urge to feed it down the garbage disposal. But, not only can you see how far you’ve come, you can pinpoint areas you may still struggle with. Who knows, you may even find something worth salvaging for a new piece.

4. Other Writers’ Work

Because it’s way easier to spot other people’s mistakes than it is your own. And the more practice you get at problem-spotting, the easier it’s going to be to spot your own mistakes, from plot holes to painful word choice to grammar accidents. There are various sites that cater to amateur authors (fanfiction.net, fictionpress.com, etc.) that work well for this sort of thing.

5.The Things that Set Your Soul on Fire

You know what I’m talking about. The stories that made you want to write your own in the first place. The ones that spark new ideas and make you think. That fire up your creative spirit when you think  you’re too exhausted to write. Whatever you enjoy the most, that’s what you should be reading. So, go! Read!

What do you read to help yourself write? Let me know in the comments!

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I’ve Been Liebstered

Imagine my surprise when I check the blog after a long hiatus and find that a certain very gracious, very generous, very complimentary person has left me a Liebster award and some very kind words. Thank you, SJ O’Hart! I can’t say how much I appreciate that and what a nice return to the blogosphere it was.

However, I can say that your questions are very…thoughtful. Or, in common vernacular, REALLY, REALLY DIFFICULT! Below are my not-so-thoughtful answers to some brilliant questions.

What is your favourite smell, and why?

The smell of the outdoors in autumn. It’s crisp and cold and nostalgic, and for the past twelve years, it’s meant the beginning of the school year, which meant all the exciting social events and holidays were getting closer.

What object in the world would you most like to own?

An all-access card for restricted and immensely interesting places like Area 51. What can I say? I like to know things.

If you were a number, which number would you be – and why?

That’s…difficult. Partially because I tend to imagine numbers and colors and the like as characters (What can I say? I’m weird. Writer’s prerogative.), some of which are likeable and others not so much. I have no idea where my impressions came from, but they’re stuck in my brain. Seven is a sardonic, worldy anti-hero.  Four is an affable, but not too bright, girl who has fallen hard for Seven and follows him around, much to his annoyance. Two is a remarkably irritating do-gooder, and six is the fussy, motherly type and…

Suddenly, I realize why I have such a problem with Math-related courses.

Anyway, since all of these guys are firmly established in my mind, it’s a little hard to imagine myself as a number when they all have their own personalities already. But if I had to, I’d probably say Eight because it’s bossy and determined and one of the few feminine numbers that come to mind.

What is your biggest regret (if it’s something you can share)?

It’s…um…not.

What are you most afraid of?

Failure.  Falling of short of expectations and disappointing people terrify me. Also, spiders.

What is your favourite piece of visual art (i.e. not music, literature, theatre), and why?

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. I realize that that particular painting is the favorite of millions of people and not an overly unique choice, but all the same, it’s mine, too. I was in New York several months ago, and one of my big regrets about the trip was not being able to drop by and see it. The colors and the feeling and the energy of the piece (not to mention the subject matter) are individually stunning, but when melded into a singular work of art are truly phenomenal. Which is probably why it’s one of the most popular paintings ever. It reminds me of my dreams and that breathless sort of feeling you get when you’ve actually managed to live one.

Tell me about the best dream you ever had.

The best dream I ever had involved me falling into a place between fictional worlds, wherein various fictional characters and realities mix, and going on an adventure with a group of my favorite characters. I didn’t want it to end.

If you could be anyone, from any historical period, who would you be – and why?

Personally, I’d just prefer to stick where I am. The past is fascinating, but not an overly friendly place. The future is intriguing, but that’s where I’m headed anyway. Now, if I had a time-machine to jump between periods, that’s an entirely different story…

So, there are my answers and I am now expected to provide questions and nominees of my own. However, since I’ve been pretty much out of the game for the past few months, I’m a little short of people to nominate. Therefore, it falls to you, dear readers. I challenge anyone who reads this post to answer my questions in the comments. Happy blogging, folks!

1. Tell me how you met your very best friend.

2. Your favorite city/region (caveat: you must have actually visited the place in question) and why it holds that title.

3. If you had the resources to take any profession you chose outside of your current one, what would it be? Why?

4. Tell me about the most hilarious experience you’ve ever had.

5. Every family has that one person who’s larger than life: tell me about yours.

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Character Development: Your Character and the Holidays – PART ONE

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  Given how early everything holiday-related seems to be starting this year, this seemed appropriate….though, personally, I think you should hold the Christmas music until at least Black Friday.

  I’ll be using Alec Griffin, one of the main characters from my series. He’s been a bit of a challenge for me to get to know, so the more I can ferret out of him, the better.

1. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Twelfth Night, April Fool’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Bonfire Night. His favorite is April Fool’s Day, because that gives him a valid excuse to be even more of a nuisance than he already is.

2. Alec loves holidays. All holidays. He gets a day off to party with the people he loves. What could be better than that?

3. He would rebel and probably end up being more troublesome than productive.

4. Alec celebrates by inviting everyone he knows and a few he doesn’t over for a day(or night)-long party. As for his family, all he has is his parents, and since they live half a world away, they rarely come to his celebrations or he to theirs.

5. Despite his progressiveness in everything else, the holidays are one aspect of Alec’s life that must stay the same at all costs. Tradition is key and must never, ever be ignored.

6. Pie. It doesn’t matter what kind or what holiday, Alec always goes for the pie.

7. Spoilsports, mostly. He hates it when someone rains on his parade of happiness and good cheer.

8. His favorite part of the holidays is that it can bring his friends together for reasons other than an imminent apocalypse or other dire circumstances. It’s the one part of his life that can be kept normal.

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NaNoWriMo?

Since I’m (sort of) trying the aforementioned self-inflicted torture this month, I’m letting you guys write this post. Have any of you done NaNo, and won? Done Nano and lost? What did you think of it? What kind of novel did you write? Did you try to do anything with it after the first draft? Any advice for someone doing Nano for the first time? Comment below!

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Semptember Sequels!

                                              Grab button for The Book Chewers

 I just subscribed to this amazing blog, which posts weekly linkups and prompts. As you may have guessed, this week’s topic is the sequel, a creature which can be incredibly wonderful or perfectly deplorable depending on both the book and the reader. I’m told there are people who don’t like any sequels, whereas there are other folks who love them. I’m firmly in the latter group, as you can read below.

1. Best sequel you’ve ever read?

The Horse and His Boy. I know it’s a children’s book, but I’ve loved it since I was a child. Who cares if I still do? I actually end up rereading the whole Chronicles of Narnia series every couple of years, and The Horse and His Boy even more often.
2. Worst sequel you’ve ever read?

All of the Challenger and Company short stories that followed The Lost World. I’ve loved that book since I first read it, so I was hugely excited when I found out Conan Doyle had written more with those characters.

And then I read those stories…
3. Sequel that outshone the first book?

The Horse and His Boy. Again. I think the writing is tighter, the characters more likeable, and the story just generally better than the earlier books.
4. Do you often read sequels or do you read the first book and move on?

It depends on whether I liked the first book or not. If I did enjoy it, then I’ll likely read the sequel(s). If not, you couldn’t make me touch it with a thirty-yard pole.
5. What’s a sequel that really surprised you (in a good or bad way)? Why?

I’m not sure if it’s the latest one to do it or not, but The Mark of Athena really stands out. If you’ve read it, you will know why. If not…spoilers. Big, honkin’ spoilers which I cannot and will not inflict on you.
6. What’s the last sequel you read? (Briefly, what did you think of it?)

Fired Up by Mary Connealy. It was decent, but honestly the quality of her books in general has been declining in recent years. It wasn’t nearly as good as some of her previous books.
7. What are 3 sequels you’re planning to read (eventually…)?

1) Allegiant by Veronica Roth

2) United We Spy by Ally Carter

3) And whatever the next sequel to The False Prince is.

8. What’s the first sequel you see when you look at your bookshelf?

Isaac Asimov’s Robots and Empire. I haven’t actually read it yet, but it’s sitting right next to the first of the series, which I loved.
9. Best sequel cover!?

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Actually, the cover art was gorgeous for both books. Simple, but beautiful.
10. What book(s) do you think desperately need a sequel…but don’t have one?

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie comes to mind. But due to the pesky little fact that Christie is dead, I don’t see one happening any time soon. *sigh*

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I Return From the Wild West

And I want to go back! The only truly western states we visited were Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and I can safely say that the west is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Arguably, the most beautiful place in the world.

Simply put, I’m in love.

A particularly lovely bunch of peaks

A particularly lovely bunch of peaks

A rainbow on the way from Tombstone to Roswell

A rainbow on the way from Tombstone to Roswell

When you’ve seen rainbows glowing over the craggiest peak you’ve ever seen, watched seemingly endless miles of defiant landscape roll by, daring you to step out and see what’s beyond the farthest ridge…the rest of the world pales.

When you’ve tasted food so hot your face went red even under the sunburn and specialties no one’s heard of at home, but loved both of them(well…maybe not the enchilada crafted from the heart of an active volcano, but I at least enjoyed the flavor if not the heat)…your tastebuds may never be the same–partially because they’ve been seared, but no matter.

This is pinon, which is a variety of pine nut. They sell it off of pinon trucks in Sante Fe. It. Is. Amazing.

This is pinon, which is a variety of pine nut. They sell it off of pinon trucks in Sante Fe. It. Is. Amazing.

When you’ve seen a thousand stories left behind, some written on wooden crosses, others in the broken glass of abandoned businesses, and the best burned into the people who remember the tales worthy enough to survive…you wonder what kind of story you’ll leave.

A town on the New Mexico border. Population: 1

A town on the New Mexico border. Population: 1

A particularly interesting marker in Tombstone(naturally).

A particularly interesting marker in Tombstone(naturally).

When you’ve seen canyons that dwarf stadiums, trees harder than rock(because…well…they are rock), and the blackened remains of the volcanoes that shaped the terrain…and realize just how big the world is. And just how much more you have to see.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

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Happy Anniversary!

On this date one year ago, I started a blog. I had no idea what I was doing; I still don’t, but I’m having fun doing it.

I had no expectation of gaining followers; through no fault of my own, I now have quite a few.

I expected less comments than followers: at last count, there were over 300.

Don’t even get me started on the views I expected.  Amazingly enough, there are now over 2,400 views from around 40 countries. None of that would’ve been possible if not for…*drumroll*…wifi.

And you guys,too, I guess.

English: A chocolate cake decorated with icing...

Here, have some cake as a thank you.

I thank you all for your readership, your kind comments, and your encouragement in my writing. Thank you for bearing with me when my posts have been far beyond inconsistent, when I really have no idea what I’m talking about, and when my views differ from yours. It’s been a fun (if bumpy) ride thus far, and I have no intention of quitting any time soon.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 7

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                                           Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

 

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 7: As an easy out for the last day, pick seven fictional worlds you would want to visit or live in. Explain which one and why.

  •  Narnia: I would quite happily live there. Talking animals, mythical beings, nobles who are actually noble–what’s not to like? (Provided you arrive during the Golden Age.)
  •   The Marvel Universe: Visit. Definitely visit. Visiting decreases your chances of being skewered by Loki, eaten by Venom, or dying in some other equally horrid manner. Still, it would be an interesting place to see. Seeing what a world where the forces of good and evil are so present(and colorful) would be infinitely interesting.
  •  The Doctor Who Universe: Visit. As amazing as it would be to live in a world where essentially anything is possible, your chances of surviving an alien coup(which happen every Christmas, apparently) are slim to nil.
  •  The River of Time Series: …Undecided. Visiting would lower your chances of Black Plague, while living there might result in meeting the love of your life. Your very short life, should you contract the plague…
  •  Middle Earth: Live there. I want to be a Hobbit. Life would be ever so much simpler. And it would be socially acceptable to eat in excess of three meals per day.
  •   The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Universe: A world in which all of the classic literary characters not only exist, but converge? Let me at it. For a day or two, anyway.
  •  The Agatha Christie Universe: Visit. I love her books(all of them), her characters(again, all of them), and it would be lovely to meet some of them.

…             Provided I wasn’t the victim.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 6

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                                           Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 6: Do you have plans to continue writing the world you’ve used in the challenge?

Definitely. I have partial outlines of several new projects set in the Victorian Vagabond universe.

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