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Showing posts from 2012

Awesome Commenters!

I got a blog award!!! More than that, I got a blog award for one of my favorite things -- comments!!! Brooke R. Busse, a young writer at Paper Mountain (a blog I really enjoy) gave me this award. Head over and check out her blog. :) Seriously, comments are my favorite thing about blogging. I can scream into the void all day, but I'd much prefer to have a conversation. Comments are important. Without discussion, I don't really see the point of blogging. That's one of the things I liked so much about NaNoWriMo -- the forums. In blogging, I've encountered a bit of an attitude of, "Well if you disagree, then just get off my blog! I only want 'you're fantastic and all your opinions are gold!'" comments. Yeah, no. As much as, "I loved this! I want to read more!" comments make me smile in self-satisfaction, I like comments with a little more depth. I also try to leave comments with a little more depth. Why did I love this post? What

Books I'm Waiting On

This year, I made a resolution that I was going to read as few books for fun as possible -- the better to focus on the chaos of college. Well, I'm miserable. The only "for fun" book I brought along was Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, and I've already finished it. I'm itching for new books to read. I'll have to wait until Monday for the library to open, sadly. Specifically, I'm dying to read: Ahh! Look at those costumes!!! The Republic of Thieves is the sequel to Red Seas Under Red Skies , and what with the way that one ended, I need to read the sequel. It's not a want anymore. It is a NEED. RSUR was a fantastic second book, but the ending was just...depressing. While The Lies of Locke Lamora could be read and enjoyed by itself, Red Seas Under Red Skies is clearly a part of a series that is meant to continue. So far, my only complaint about the series is that amazing characters from the first book got dropped for the second. That

The REAL reason we're all screwed in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse

I feel like a zombie lately.* Symptoms manifest most commonly in first period music theory class. Pale skin. Dark, baggy circles under my bloodshot eyes. Slack-jawed drooling. Blank stares. Groaning "Uhhhh...." in response to questions and conversation. Always looking for brains, more brains, brainsbrainsbrains. (I hear you're supposed to have those in college.) I think I'm so sleep-deprived that my body and brain are staging a revolt. Hence the zombie-like symptoms. Not strange, then, that I'm thinking of the zombie apocalypse when I should be sleeping. If the zombie apocalypse happens, we're all screwed. But not for the reason you probably think. You see, we have nuclear plants all around the country. Maintenance of these plants is performed by highly trained crews of professionals who have to meet extremely high standards. For example -- radiation diving. It's a thing. Divers repair and maintain the parts of nuclear plants that are underwater -- i

If You Can't be a Good Example: Taking Care of Yourself

This blogpost is going to be something of a PSA, inspired by Kiersten White and Ilana at Mommy Shorts. (They're both pregnancy PSA's, but no, I'm not pregnant.) Mainly, I'm writing this because I don't want other people to do the same bad things that I have done. What's the phrase? "If you can't be a good example, then be a warning." Ahem. I hereby acknowledge my hypocrisy before you even read this. I'm working on it, OK? Anyway, it's my blog and I can write what I want! Nyah. Ahem. So. Down to business: I went to the doctor yesterday. Wait, let me repeat that. I went to the doctor yesterday, instead of ignoring my symptoms in the hope that they'll go away, or in the delusion that I can take care of them myself. I know no one wants to go to the doctor, but I have been practically pathological about it to the point where it's almost self-destructive. To give an example: One time in high school, I knew my parents would take

Resurrection Blogfest & Giveaway in November!

This may be the best idea for a blogfest I've stumbled across yet. Mina Lobo, a follower of mine and a romance writer at Some Dark Romantic , is approaching her first blogaversary! To celebrate, she's hosting the Resurrection Blogfest . You can still sign up until Wednesday, November 7, 2012. The idea is that during that first year of blogging, it's hard to build your audience. Your favorite posts languish with no comments. People don't really read your blog yet, so your start-up posts with all those brilliant thoughts get neglected. Doomed to a dusty grave in some obscure corner of cyberspace. The Resurrection Blogfest is an opportunity to resurrect some of your posts from your first year of blogging! A blast from the past, as it were. I'm really excited, myself -- although I will admit, some of the stuff my overenthusiastic first-time-blogger 18-year-old self wrote makes me wince. :P There's also a contest and a giveaway, judged by Mina and her lo

The Three-Sentence Trick

I've discovered a miraculous new writing trick this summer. Whenever I'm feeling stalled on a project -- be it short story, longer WIP, or even a poem -- I force myself to write three sentences. Or, in the case of poetry, three lines. Three sentences isn't much. So it's pretty easy to do, no matter how frustrated and stalled and emotionally strung out I am. "Just three sentences, and I can stop. C'mon. Not that hard." And if I honestly can't think of anything else to write after period #3, I allow myself to put down that project...until I have to write another three sentences, of course. However, that doesn't happen very often. The three-sentence trick often gets the wheels turning just enough to launch me into pages and pages of writing. It's a great way to trick your own brain into thinking you're not going to write very much. It's just enough to get you started, to ignite the "OMG I forgot I actually love doing this!

How to Support Your Weird Artist-y Friends

I had quite the interesting conversation with my mother on my way to work yesterday. I am currently stage managing for a production of Shakespeare's Richard III. Stage managing isn't all that different from babysitting in some ways...except that the actors never try to redecorate the bathroom with poop. At least, not yet. Before you ask, no, I don't get paid. Not in money. Also, that's not really any of your business (but I am getting to my point in a minute, I swear). So why do anything -- if not for the money? A million reasons. Job experience. Internship credit. Because I love the theater (and Richard III ). Because it gets me out of the house this summer, even though it's not a paying job. Because I can put it on my growing resume. Even because other opportunities for employment might come out of this, directly or indirectly? Well, yeah. All that. But mainly because I've decided that theater is going to be my career. I am going to work in the the

Music Monday at Midnight: George Winston

OK, so it's more like Music Tuesday at 45 minutes past midnight...but it's George Winston, so who cares? Perhaps this music posting will become a regular thing. Anyway, "Woods"  is what I'm listening to right now.  Winston's music is transcendant. It never fails to remind me what a beautiful, versatile instrument the piano is. I'm excited to possibly be getting sheet music for some of his work, which is great, because it's surprisingly hard to find. With enough practice, I hope not to butcher it too badly.

And, I'm Back

It's been more than a month since I last posted. Miss me? I would like to think you did. :) "Laura, where did you go?!?? What have you been doing all this time???" Well, between vacation, a family crisis, a new job/internship*, and Skyrim (kidding), I haven't had a lot of time for the Internet. So rather than try to juggle everything, I went on a self-imposed Internet hiatus. Observation: My productivity did not increase. Weird, I know -- turning off the Internet is supposed to limit your distractions and create time in which to get shit done. Apart from being too stressed out to do anything, though, I realized that most of my "productive" time happens on the Internet. Or at least on a computer. However, I barely touched my computer for all of June. Result: I didn't do any of the work, reading, writing, connecting, stalking -- I mean, talking -- and relaxing I normally do online. And in place of this computer time, what exactly did I do? Writ

The Tale of the Cucaracha

Well, I'm back from Mexico. I'm not exactly ecstatic about this, but I suppose I'm glad to be back. I've missed my friends and roommates. Now I have about a thousand pictures to go through and upload! But hey, I'm not complaining. Before I return to my normal blogging schedule, however, I HAVE to tell you the story of the Cucaracha. ;) We were at Los Arcos late last Friday night -- a restaurant/bandstand where people order food and dance the salsa. I'm a novice salsa dancer, but I was wearing flip-flops that night and not planning to dance much. So I didn't feel guilty ordering drinks at the 2-for-1 cocktail happy hour. But the thing about the drink menus was that they only listed the drinks...not what goes into them. Lesson learned: DO NOT order the most dangerous-sounding drinks on the menu. I asked for a Vampiro and a Cucaracha. Then I realized that, with the 2-for-1 deal, I'd end up with 4 drinks. I flagged down the waitress and asked her w

The Internet is Distracting! (This post brought to you by Captain Obvious)

The Internet is distracting!!! Thank you, Captain Obvious. Now that you have stated the obvious, what exactly am I going to do about it? The problem, you see, is multi-faceted. The Internet is distracting, but also necessary. I need to check my email, edit my group paper/project in Google Docs, look up sources and articles etc. online, read the news and the weather, make the occasional appearance on Facebook so that my friends don't think I've forgotten them, etc. I spend at least an hour a day on checking my email and other necessary -- often school-related -- Internet tasks. What I don't need to do is get into pointless arguments with bigots in the comments section of YouTube, spend forever on Pinterest, tweet 24/7, debate the merits and flaws of Communism and religion with people I only know via Facebook, defend against stereotypical/cruel/bigoted comments directed at social groups I may or may not belong to, or spend hours on Goodreads analyzing some random novel

If you Liked The Hunger Games, Read These

Before I recommend anything, first allow me to geek out a bit. I saw The Hunger Games movie at the midnight premiere, and let me just say, it was fantastic. It's the kind of book that is very well suited to be made into a movie -- suspenseful, action-packed, with lots of great character stuff going on as well. I was gasping, laughing, wincing, flailing, and at one point honest-to-God crying (along with everyone else in the theater). The acting was spot-on, the costumes induced extreme envy, and the script (which Suzanne Collins, a screenwriter, worked on) was great. I may be alone in this, but I thought the jerky camera techniques were very effective in showing emotion and atmosphere. Favorite character: Cinna, although I also loved Rue. Kiss rating: epic but not overdone. Seneca's beard rating: F/ING EPIC. My awe was such that I was completely distracted by The Beard of Awesome. " it real? Psst. Psst, Katherine!! Look at his beard!!!" "I can

St. Patrick's Day Read: Hush

Title: Hush Author: Donna Jo Napoli Genre: Historical fiction, young adult What it's about: Irish princess Melkorka is a young woman with dreams. She is the first daughter of the king and she loves stories, especially tales of warrior princesses. Her dreams are shattered when she and her younger sister are kidnapped by Vikings and sold into slavery, to live amongst people her culture considers to be less than human. To survive, she must change everything she is and everything she knows. In defiance of her captors, Melkorka takes a vow of silence. She might not be a warrior princess, but she finds an inner strength and power in her silence. Why I recommend it: Hush is based on a true story about an Irish princess who was kidnapped by slavers. Donna Jo Napoli is not afraid to be bleak; Hush is a tough book in many ways because of the brutality of Melkorka's situation. Slavery, rape, abuse, and fear all feature prominently, but they are all handled tastefully.

21 Minus Blog Tour Launch!

Hello and welcome to the 21 Minus blog tour! Are you excited? Good. You should be. :) 2 1 Minus, hosted by Anna Waggener , aims to showcase writers 21 and under. With that in mind, I present my interview of 15-year-old writer and blogger Nick Hight   from New Zealand. He doesn't know who interviewed him yet, and I don't know who interviewed me. That's part of how you win the contest -- but more details on the rules after the interview. Interview with teen writer Nick Hight: 1. Why did you decide to start a blog? Because someone I know -- who’s not even one of my mates -- told me I should. Seriously, that’s the only reason. She said I should give it a go, and I thought, why not? At the time, I didn’t intend to meet other writers online or post about writing or anything like that at all -- it was just a way for me to rant to the world. 2. What is your favorite book or movie and why? This is a tough one, because I have a whole heap of favourite books and movies

What Do YOU Like to Write?

Today, one of my professors asked if I had considered taking the Short Fiction creative writing course next Fall. Another professor was teaching it, she said, but it would be a good idea and I would probably like it. My response: meh. First of all, the short story form and I are not the best of friends. Arguably, that's all the more reason for me to take the course -- but I also happened to know that the professor teaching it does not like "genre fiction." He'll read it, critique it, even let someone do a project on it, but he Does Not Approve. Most of my short stories are horror, some sci-fi, a couple variations on fairy tales, humor, straight-up adventure or survival, and the occasional abandoned attempt at something literary. While I believe that genre fiction holds itself to the same technical and, yes, literary standards as literary fiction, the general opinion in academia disagrees with me. This isn't the only professor I know who dislikes genre fiction

21 Minus Blogfest Teaser!

As you already know, I'm participating in the March blog tour  21 Minus, which showcases writers and bloggers who can't legally drink. (Sorry. Mardi Gras is making me resent my age.) I don't want to tell you everything, but there will be anonymous interviews and a sort of treasure hunt where readers try to figure out who asked and answered what. Fabulous tour hostess Anna Waggener will be giving away a copy of her soon-to-be-released novel Grim to the winner . But that's not the only giveaway -- I know for a fact that one of the other prizes will be donated by me, and it will be... ...a bag of coffee. Coffee and writers and college students kind of go together, don't you think? ;) If a free bag of coffee doesn't get you excited for this blog tour, I don't know what will. Happy Mardi Gras!

What's the Worst Thing You've Done as a Writer?

Heh. This should be interesting... What's the worst thing you've done, had to do, or had happen to you as a writer? Did you kill off a favorite character? Did you delete your unfinished novel in a fit of despair -- or worse, did you delete it by accident? Were you laid off from your writing job? Did you get really drunk one night and write an orgy scene in the middle of your children's novel? Violate Godwin's Law when raging at the publishing industry? Offend someone critical to your career or cite incorrect facts? Yell "FIRE" in a crowded library just to get some peace and quiet? Make horrendous grammar mistakes, misspell your own name in a query letter, or make a really embarrassing typo involving the name "Denis"? Tell me. I want to hear your horror stories...and I don't mean the Stephen King kind. Although if your Worst Thing I've Done as a Writer story involves Stephen King, by all means, please tell. Now it's my turn. *evil la

A Quick Note on Whitney Houston, Drugs, Etc.

It amazes me how preachy people can be about the shit that happens in other people's lives. Especially in regard to celebrities. It seems that celebrities are either upheld as icons or vilified. I know that when you are a public figure, much of your life becomes open for scrutiny -- but still. What we tend to forget is that these people aren't angels or demons. They might be famous, but they're still just people. On that note, I think taking a moment to talk about Whitney Houston is in order. In particular, the attitude I've been seeing around the Internet that she doesn't deserve to be mourned because of the problems in her life. For example, on Twitter: "I think it's more tragic when someone who isn't famous for going to rehab dies" "I find it more tragic when someone who is not a washed-up drug addict who has pissed away their talent and career dies young. #justsayin" My response: until you've been there yourself, you have

Why Your Comments Are Important

Every time Laura goes to check her blog and sees no new comments, this happens:  Sad face. :( I don't have that large of a following, but I like to think you guys read my posts every so often. However, pageview counts don't tell me what you're thinking. Comments, on the other hand, do! I assure you, my eagerness to read your comments is not born from a narcissistic need to see my opinions and thoughts affirmed by random people on the Internet. I really value your comments because... - you do things like correct my grammar/spelling/facts when I have a brain derp - you give alternate opinions and perspective - you share your own experiences - you give feedback - you click the little "subscribe by email" link to get follow-up comments, and respond to what others are saying - you leave links to your own blogs/profiles - ...which lead me and other commenters to your own blogs, there to read and leave comments and maybe become members and consist

YA Friday: Some Good YA Scifi

I could be wrong, but it struck me recently that scifi is underrepresented in YA lit. I could rattle off lists of romance, contemporary, paranormal in every shape and size, fantasy, horror, and other genres and sub-genres. But I don't think there has been a really popular YA scifi book out for a while now. I don't count The Hunger Games. Dystopian novels are "in" right now, but dystopia isn't scifi -- it's its own thing. I happen to enjoy a good scifi novel. So this Friday, I thought I'd do a short list of YA science fiction novels that I or my friends have read and enjoyed. Please feel free to comment on them or add your own! The Pendragon series (Merchant of Death, The Lost City of Faar, The Never War, The Reality Bug, Black Water, The Rivers of Zadaa, The Quillan Games, The Pilgrims of Rayne, Raven Rise, The Soldiers of Halla ) by D.J. MacHale Pendragon is a ten-book series about Bobby Pendragon, a kid whose uncle is a Traveller -- someone wh