Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We wish you -

happiness, hope, love, peace, joy, and a lucrative publishing contract.

Merry Christmas
and
a Bright, Beautiful New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Around the Blogosphere

Carrie Ryan weighs in on what books we should be reading.  (Hint: The kind that are printed.)

An excellent book for wee ones, Everywhere Babies, reviewed by Uber-Cool Lee.

Jessica's Christmas Critiques of "Pitches"are at BookEnds Literary Agency here and here.


Superwoman and Trans-Atlantic Blogger Lenore suggests buying Santa Responds.

And remember, you can still purchase books at BN.com for delivery by Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fun, Easy Christmas Giving

My little brother works at Kenneth Cole (he is currently the best-dressed of the 4 siblings.) When I made a purchase at his store, I received a nifty invitation in a thick cream colored envelope. The invitation offered me a code, to choose a charity to which to donate $10.


The site that partnered up with Kenneth Cole for this promotion is Network For Good.  I could go browse - causes from cancer research to autism treatment, relief organizations to local schools - and pick any charity to receive the $10.

Admittedly, it's not a lot of money. But one of the charities available was UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) which annually gives more aid to developing or disaster-stricken locales than even the Red Cross. It's the organization closest to my heart; I know from experience how much even $10 can do. I was thrilled that they were an option, since UMCOR's obviously not a secular group

Still, you can choose UMCOR, the Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Atheist Alliance, Sierra Club Foundation, your local Zoo, or Invisible Children - or any other of thousands of charities. And you can use the standards of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to make sure your charity passes its analysis.


The best part is, you can give holiday gifts via email. Just purchase a "good card" with a variety of dollar amounts, and let the gift recipient choose his or her own charity. There are resources to research the charities, to find out about tax write-offs, and to volunteer.

Mostly I'm a Heifer, Intl junkie, but you can give a Heifer donation through Network for Good, too! So, for those of you who still have one or two (or thirteen) people on your Christmas list, head over to NetworkforGood.com.



(Also, check out A Kid's Guide to Giving.)

Updating My Link List

As I update my link lists, I'm trying to remember all the wonderful people I've met online over the past few months.  If I've omitted you, don't be offended.  I have toddlers (ie, applesauce for brains).  Just let me know and I'll update.  Thanks!

My First Blog Award!!!

Sharon, from Sharon Loves Books and Cats, gave me this award:

 
It's my first ever blogging award - I want to have it set in gold and hang it on my wall!   Thanks, Sharon!!
I'm supposed to name my Great Buddies, but there's no way I have that kind of time.  So, just a few:
Janey - because TINTINTS is a fantastic, funny series;
Absolute Vanilla - because I'm just a wee bit afraid of Atyllah  
Travis - for being a way-too-funny Twitter buddy
And of course Ello and Precie and McK......

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Challenge: New Authors

Thanks for the info from Alyce at At Home with Books!

The idea is to read 50 (or as many as you want) new authors (to you) throughout 2009. Here are the guidelines:

The challenge will run from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.

Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels, but anthologies are also a great way to try someone new.

It's supposed to be easy challenge, so you state how many new authors you want to try this year and then that’s your challenge.  I’m trying 25 new authors. If you want a number given to you, try for either 25 or 50.

Add your name to the Mr. Linky at Literary Escapism.

Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome!

Reading for the Genders

Yay!  Let's divide the sexes some more!!

Moonrat gave the heads up about Jezebel's List of 75 Books Every Woman Should Read. (I've read a mere 9 of these books.)  This is a post
in response to Esquire's article, The 75 Books Every Man Should Read.  (I've read two of them - Moby Dick being one of my top 5 fav books of all time.)

I'm still not sure about the whole "list" thing - certainly I had a number of "OMG, WTF is that book on the list?" reactions to both posts.  What do you think?  What's your number?  How relevant are the lists?

BTW - huge enormous props to Jezebel for listing the damn books, instead of making us cull through each cover one by one, complete with adverts.

An Amazing Christmas Present for Writers

Agent Jessica over at BookEnds is giving her readers the gift of pitch critiques!  Amazing, I know.  She writes:
 
I love Christmas. To me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and the best part of Christmas to me is the giving. So while this is the last official blog post of the year (BookEnds is closed December 22 to January 5), I decided we should go out with a whole heck of a lot of holiday cheer.

That being said, my gift to you for 2008 is another round of pitch critiques. For newer readers, let me explain what I mean. For almost any writer the pitch is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan. It’s what you use in the one key paragraph of your query letter to explain your book to agents, it’s what your agent uses to pitch your work to editors, editors use it to pitch your work in-house, and eventually you’ll use it again to pitch your work to readers, publicists, newspaper reporters, and everyone and anyone you want to impress.

To participate, you’ll need to submit your one-paragraph pitch in the comments section of this post. I will not consider pitches posted in other posts or those e-mailed to me and I certainly won’t take pitches from any query letters I receive. Over the course of the next two weeks I’m going to randomly select and critique (on the blog) as many as I can. Since I’m officially on vacation over the course of these two weeks the posts will truly be random. In other words, I’m going to do whatever I want. I’ll post them whenever I want and I’ll critique anywhere from three to three hundred, depending on my mood.

With a HO, HO, HO, have at it!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Kwanzaa to all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oher Giveaways

My Faves this week:

Life With a Little One and More is giving away a $20 gift card to Target. The deadline is December 20th.

In the Shadow of Mt. TBR blog is having a giveaway of $25, $15, $10 and $5 gift cards to your choice of listed bookstores. The deadline is December 31st.

ANOTHER ARC of Forest of Hands & Teeth!


All right, peeps.  We lost the last round to a teeny-bopper (just kidding.  I'm glad Hope won.  No really.)  Now we have another chance.


Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, is celebrating the release of her upcoming YA novel, FAR FROM YOU, and hosting a contest with LOTS of great prizes!

For three days leading up to the book’s release date of December 23rd, you can watch VLOGs and hear some excerpts read from the book. The VLOG schedule is as follows:

Sunday, December 21st – Liv’s Book Reviews - http://livsbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 22nd – What Vanessa Reads - http://whatvanessareads.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 23rd – Lisa Schroeder, author - http://lisa-schroeder.livejournal.com/ ANDhttp://myspace.com/writerlisa

Help spread the word, and you might win a fabulous prize!

Copy and paste THIS entire blog entry into your blog between now and December 21st, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either Livejournal OR Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get TWO entries to win a number of prizes.

Wondering what you might win? Here is the list (there will be multiple winners):


~ An Advanced Review Copy of 
THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH
by Carrie Ryan  
(Aerin notes: emphasis mine)

~ An Advanced Review Copy of SOMETHING, MAYBE, by Elizabeth Scott

~ Young adult novel GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones

~ Young adult novel, THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas

~ Young adult novel, UGLIES by Scott Westerfield

~ Pair of YA fairy tale retellings by Cameron Dokey (BELLE and BEFORE MIDNIGHT)

~ TWILIGHT movie soundtrack

~ $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some Harry & David’s chocolate moose munch

~ And of course, a signed copy of FAR FROM YOU

For more chances to win, watch one or all of the VLOGs and leave a comment on that vlogger’s page, and you get another entry. That means if you post the schedule on your blog AND comment on all three VLOGs, you can have FIVE entries for the contest!


A live drawing with winners announced will be done by Lisa Thursday morning, December 24th, in a special holiday VLOG. 

Confessions of a Genre Junkie, part I

I'm one of those rabid readers, the kind whose mother had to make a "no-books-at-the-dinner-table" rule. I love reading. I read all kinds of things - mystery, nonfiction, YA, children's, speculative fiction, classical literature, chick lit, and everything in-between (except horror, but I avoid horror in all media. I have a weak constitution.)

I don't know how other readaholics work, but I have a favorite genre.  Fantasy.  I know, I know.  You're picturing some leftover hippie with purple streaks in her hair and several nose rings.  Or a person too old to be living with her mother and their seventeen cats.  But, there's just me - middle-class white chick who makes prejudiced statements about leftover hippies.

It's hard to say when my love affair with fantasy began.  My earliest sort of spec-fic memories are from The Real Mother Goose.  I aspired to be one of the little girls in the drawings, who wore frilly dresses and received diamonds from the queen.

I have early memories of fantasy movies - mostly Disney, but not all.  I know that in third grade I wrote a whole fan-fic chapter for The Neverending Story.  Still, I focused mostly on mystery back then.  I loved Cam Jansen and Encyclopedia Brown and that girl who tapped on her braces while solving the werewolf mystery in her school.  I graduated easily into Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.

Around the Nancy Drew-Trixie Belden time, a relative introduced me to ElfQuest.  I think I was a little young for the primal storylines, but there was a depth to the Pinis' storytelling that affected my writing; to this day, I tend to write in layers.  Elquest is something of a cult, but it was also beautiful, haunting, and incredible fodder for fan-fic.  I wrote Elfquest fan fic prolifically.

Tomorrow: Beyond ElfQuest

What is your genre of choice, and how did you get there?

40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 minutes

stolen from spyscribbler (N, would you just stop being so cool):

From Overthinkingit.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ONLY TWO MORE DAYS (to be eligible to get my Christmas present)

I've posted about it before, but it bears mentioning again:

Sharon at "Sharon Loves Books and Cats" is giving away her ARC of Forest of Hands and Teeth.


Giving. 
Away. 
Forest of Hands and Teeth.

The contest runs until December 18th - that's Thursday, peeps!   Go, enter, and then if I don't win and you do, you still have time to give the book to me for Christmas!!!

Or not.

Do make sure to check out Carrie's blog (she's got a review of Eon), or Jen's (she's got a new list up of Reviews That Made Me Want the Book), or Sharon's (she sticky-noted the Forest of Hands and Teeth contest, just to taunt me).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Writing Challenge: Short Story Challenge

 
**For $5 off the registration fee, use code STORYTIME 
(until December 18, 2008) 
Anyone may compete from anywhere in the world
There are 2 rounds
1st Round (January 16-24, 2009) :  Writers are placed randomly in heats.  Each heat is assigned a genre and a subject (ex. comedy : competing lemonade stands or horror : a family reunion).
Writers have 1 week to write an original short story (2,500 words max).
Winners are chosen from the 1st Round to advance to the 2nd round and compete for thousands in cash and prizes.
2nd Round (March 13-14, 2009) :  All of the writers receive the same genre and subject at midnight (EST time) and have just 24 hours to write an original short story.
A panel of judges review the final round stories and winners are chosen!


It's easy to register.  First, download and read the Official Rules & Participation Agreement.  When you have read and understood everything, you are ready to register by clicking here. The entry fee is US$35 until the Early Entry Deadline of December 18, 2008.
Early Entry Deadline December 18, 2008
Final Entry Deadline January 14, 2009
1st Round January 16-24, 2009
2nd Round March 13-14, 2009
Every registered writer has a great chance to receive feedback.
JUDGES COMMENTS / CRITIQUES: We will be providing judges comments and critiques for every entered screenplay in each round of the competition.
PEER REVIEW: During the judging, we will set up a special Review Forum for the participants to submit their stories for review from fellow writers.  During the 2008 creative writing competitions, there were over 2,500 comments made on the 250+ stories submitted on the forum.

Book Challenge: 100+



The 2009 100+ Reading Challenge will be hosted by J. Kaye over at J. Kaye's Book Blog. Here are the guidelines:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.

2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.

3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.


Find the rest of the rules here.

Book Challenge: A to Z 2009

 
 
Thanks to Alyce, I, too, have decided to participate in the A to Z Reading Challenge. Here is the information on how to participate, in case you are interested in joining.

Option A: Read authors A to Z. Commit to reading 26 books theoretically speaking.

Option B: Read titles A to Z. Commit to reading 26 books theoretically speaking.

Option C: Read both authors A to Z and titles A to Z (52 books; this is the challenge Joy created)

Option D: Read internationally A to Z (books representing 26 different countries) (The books could be from international authors (writers from that country); however, it's fine if a book is only set in that country. If need be, instead of countries one could use cities, states, regions, etc. The idea is to use proper place names. If you'd like you could even use a few fictional countries.)

Option E: Read 26 Alphabet books. Embrace your inner child and go visit the children's section!
 
Sign ups begin December 1, 2008. (The challenge does NOT start until January 1, 2009, but early sign ups are definitely encouraged!) The challenge closes to new participants on June 30, 2009.

The full rules can be read here.


I'm going with Option A, but I'm going to keep track of authors, too, just for chuckles.  (Does PJD's Unlucky 26 count?)

Jen Robinson Does It Again

Go check out her latest edition of Reviews That Made Me Want the Book!

Book Challenge: Cornelia Funke


December 1, 2008 - March 1, 2009

Zoealea at Zoe's Book Reviews is hosting the Cornelia Funke Challenge. I'm less sure I'll make this one, but I just purchased Inkheart, and, if I like it, I will finish the others before January is out (it's how I roll.)  Here are the rules:
  1. You must read at least three books that are written by Cornelia Funke (i.e. Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath, etc.)
  2. When you join, please leave a comment on the post about the challenge, with a link to where you posted which Cornelia Funke books you are going to read.
  3. You can join at any time between today and March 1, 2009.

Book Challenges: My Year of Reading Dangerously



January 1 - December 31, 2009

My Year of Reading Dangerously is back for 2009 and Estella writes:
We're making the challenge EVEN EASIER this year! I know, we didn't think it was possible either! Instead of hosting a list of "dangerous reads" this year is all about you.
To participate, simply read 12 books you deem "dangerous." between January 1st and December 31st 2009. They may be banned or challenged books, new-to-you genres, books that seem to inhabit a permanent space on your stacks, or authors you're afraid of.

Whenever you finish a dangerous book, go leave the link to your review on the Dangerous blog.

To join, leave a comment on the post about the 2009 challenge.

Quiz and Contest

Apparently, if I were a book, I'd be one I've never read:





You're Ulysses!

by James Joyce

Most people are convinced that you don't make any sense, but compared
to what else you could say, what you're saying now makes tons of sense. What people do
understand about you is your vulgarity, which has convinced people that you are at once
brilliant and repugnant. Meanwhile you are content to wander around aimlessly, taking in
the sights and sounds of the city. What you see is vast, almost limitless, and brings you
additional fame. When no one is looking, you dream of being a Greek folk hero.





When I took it again, I was:




You're Les Miserables!

by Victor Hugo

One of the best known people in your community, you have become
something of a phenomenon. People have sung about you, danced in your honor, created all
manner of art in your name. And yet your story is one of failure and despair, with a few
brief exceptions. A hopeless romantic, you'll never stop hoping that more good will come
from your failings than is ever possible. Beware detectives and prison guards bearing
vendettas.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.





The Story Siren is giving away a ton o' books, of all different genres, in a "just because" thank you contest for her readers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

MP3 Meme

1.Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc. on shuffle.
2.For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3.YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4.Put the artist after a dash following the song name.
5.Put any comments in brackets.
6.Tag some lucky people to spread the disease.


How would you describe yourself?
Bitch - by Meredeth Brooks
(Yeah! "I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a sinner, I'm a saint, I do not feel ashamed....")

How do you feel today?
The Voice - Celtic Woman
(Hmm.  "I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain/ I am the voice of your hunger and pain/ I am the voice that always is calling you/ I am the voice, I will remain")

What is your life’s purpose?
Scarborough Fair - Simon & Garfunkel
(Not a clue how this relates - "Remember me to one who lives there?  She once was a true love of mine." - though I'm not sure I've ever been anyone's true love.)

What is your motto?
Amazing - Seal
("Do you cry in your sleep and do you feel ok?/ When you run/ Thinking it’s Doomsday you got to let it go/ So you run, so you run/ Pretend you don’t see it, that we can live a lie/ When you run, so you run")

What do you think about very often?
How Do I Get There - Deana Carter
(YEP.  This is dead on. "How do I get there from here/ How do I make you see")

What is your life story?
Two Thousand Years - Billy Joel
(This is probably my favorite song ever, so I'm just gonna post all the lyrics -

In the beginning
There was the cold and the night
Prophets and angels gave us the fire and the light
Man was triumphant
Armed with the faith and the will
Even the darkest ages couldn't kill

Too many kingdoms
Too many flags on the field
So many battles, so many wounds to be healed
Time is relentless
Only true love perseveres
It's been a long time and now I'm with you
After two thousand years

This is our moment
Here at the crossroads of time
We hope our children carry our dreams down the line
They are the vintage
What kind of life will they live?
Is this a curse or a blessing that we give?

Sometimes I wonder
Why are we so blind to fate?
Without compassion, there can be no end to hate
No end to sorrow
Caused by the same endless fears
Why can't we learn from all we've been through
After two thousand years?

There will be miracles
After the last war is won
Science and poetry rule in the new world to come
Prophets and angels
Gave us the power to see
What an amazing future there will be

And in the evening
After the fire and the light
One thing is certain: Nothing can hold back the night
Time is relentless
And as the past disappears
We're on the verge of all things new
We are two thousand years")

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
(Totally: "She's a beautiful girl/ She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white/ Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember/ What you heard/ She likes to leave you hanging on her word")

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Hospital Board - Colm Wilkinson
(For the record, I danced to "Carol of the Bells" at my wedding - our 11th anniversary is Dec 24th)

What will they play at your funeral?
The Lullaby of Broadway - Jerry Orbach

What is your hobby/interest?

You Gotta Be - Desiree
("you gotta be you gotta be bad/ you gotta be bold/ you gotta be wiser/ you gotta be hard/ you gotta be tough/ you gotta be stronger/ you gotta be cool/ you gotta be calm
you gotta stay together/ all I know/ all I know is/ love will save the day")

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?
The Ring Goes South - Howard Shore
(Huh.  Do I want a vacation in Mexico?)

What do you want most of all?
Barbie Girl - AQUA
(LOL - "I'm a barbie girl, in the barbie world/ Life in plastic, it's fantastic!/ you can brush my hair, undress me everywhere/ Imagination, life is your creation/ Come on Barbie, let's go party!")

What is your greatest fear?
Fernando - ABBA
(True, true: "We were young and full of life and none of us prepared to die/
And I'm not ashamed to say/ The roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry")

What is your darkest secret?
Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse
("I wish I could sing no regrets and no emotional debts")

What is your favorite thing in the world?
Have a Little Faith in Me - Mandy Moore
(I'm thinking my kids: "I will hold you up, I will hold you up and/ Your love gives me strength enough to/ Have a little faith in me")

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
Silver Thunderbird - Marc Cohn
(Not so much.)

What is your theme song?
Inside Out - Eve 6
("Or am I origami/ folded up and just pretend/ demented as the motives in your head")

The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance:
Don't Let Me Get Me - Pink
(Hahahahaha.)

What will you post this as?
Whiter Shade of Pale - Annie Lennox

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Character

My attempts at PhotoBoothing a pic of my new ink were unsuccessful, but led to a fun new game!

First, though, for the record (ie, Pete), here's the one on my lower back.  I got it at the world-famous Tattoo Charlie's in Louisville the summer I turned 30.  It hurt like hell, and I still love it.  Spy, I didn't know it then, but this is one of my essentials.  (I will try to get pics of the new ink soon. )




Anyway, back to the game.



I let my subscription to Vanity Fair lapse about six months ago, because one of the only features I had time to read was the very short and often hilarious "In Character," found somewhere after the up-and-coming starlet Vanities.  It features three pictures of an actor who's just been given a situation to show on his or her face.  "In Character" was created by photographer Howard Schatz, whose book In Character: Characters Acting was published in 2006.  Here are some examples:

David Strathairn
Left: You're a 9-year-old boy hearing about the details of sex for the first time from your 16-year-old brother.
Center: You're an evangelical preacher, screaming to your flock, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, JESUS!"
Right: You're an ex-jock dad, apoplectic over the penalty the soccer ref has called against your seven-year-old son for a tackling foul.


Mariska Hargitay
Left: You’re a middle-aged woman at your mother’s hospital bedside as she hovers near death, remembering the quarrel you had with her when you were last together.
Center: You’re a perky gal in your 20s whose boyfriend of two years has asked you to close your eyes because he has a very special surprise for you!
Right: You’re a six-year-old at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for the first time, startled by a bang from a huge cannon and the sight of a sleek, silver-clad woman flying high above the crowd in an arc.


David Schwimmer

Left: You’re the last New England Patriot left in the locker room on February 3, 2008, knowing that the chance of a lifetime has been missed.
Center: You’re a young entomologist on a research trip along the Amazon, happening upon a previously unknown species of borer—your ticket to tenure.
Right: You’re the tightly wound girls’ volleyball coach at a posh prep school, screaming at your well-brought-up players to “crush ‘em, make ‘em cry!”


Chloe Sevigny

Left: You’re a hyperkinetic eight-year-old drama queen at her birthday party, hearing that the clown has just arrived.
Center: You’re a mom at your seven-year-old daughter’s ballet recital, watching her execute an adorably imperfect pirouette and an almost flawless curtsy.
Right: You’re a high-school senior whose parents are at work, just about to have sex with your boyfriend for the first time, when your kid sister bursts into the room.


AERIN

 
All right, lovies.  Hit me with some captions for these oh-so-fun snapshots.  And take a few minutes to do your own version of "In Character."  If nothing else, the celeb labels should boost your Google-searches!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another one

WOW - another Monday Must-Read!

Spy Scribbler wrote a post that frightened me a little bit because of the precision with which it captured the essence of my soul.  In a weird way, it made me happy to be me. 

I would tell you to just gosh darn subscribe to Spy Scribbler's blog, but then you wouldn't come here and the narcissist in me who watches the visitor counter would be very sad. (Speaking of which, do you like my new photo??)

Monday's Must-Read

MUST READ OF THE DAY:

Stephen Parrish has an amazing post about the gloom and doom of the publishing industry.

And by amazing I mean that it not only exudes Stephen's characteristic sardonic wisdom, it has an anecdote about diamonds.


AND, Elsewhere 'Round the Blogosphere:

Very Important Post: Lee Wind, one of my NFP (new favorite people), talks about Prop 8.  (If you haven't watched Jack Black as Jesus, you are missing out.)

Jason Evans at Clarity of Night put up a post entitled Leeward, but it's not about Lee (above).

Church Lady asks you to guess why the naked man has a long beard. Sort of.

at superstickies.com.  (Thanks to Lyn Viehl at PBW for the link.)

If you haven't discovered Margaret and Helen yet, you're missing a treat.  And whether you agree with their points of view or not (they're - shall we say - anti-Palin), these two grandmothers get 500+ comments per post.  (I am deliriously happy when I get 5 comments per post.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Yes, Viriginia, it is possible to have fun with a lawyer

...and not just by making fun of one....

Jason Evans at Clarity of Night has a fun game going - hop over and take a turn!

Miss Manners hearts SpyScribbler

I have no time for blogging this week, so go over here and participate in the Etiquette of Commenting discussion, pretending that I was the brilliant mind behind it, not spyscribbler.  (Well, or at least that I inspired her.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Really, it's Jen's fault - or - my perfect Christmas present

I may have mentioned before that I love Jen Robinson's series called "Reviews That Made Me Want The Book."  There's one book, in particular, I've gone "rabid fan" over - Carrie Ryan's upcoming Forest of Hands and Teeth.




Which is not going to be released until March of 2009.  Are you kidding me?  March?  I am not a wait-for-books kind of gal!

But.

I just found out that Sharon at Sharon Loves Books and Cats is giving away her ARC of Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Giving. 
Away. 
Forest of Hands and Teeth.

So, listen to my brilliant idea:

The contest runs until December 18th, which is perfect.  Go, enter, and then if I don't win and you do, you still have time to give the book to me for Christmas!!!

Or not.

But go over and check out Carrie's blog, or Jen's, or Sharon's, just to share some blogosphere love.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Memory of Dewey

"Birth, life, and death -- each took place on the hidden side of a leaf." Toni Morrison

Dewey from Hidden Side of a Leaf passed away on Tuesday evening.  Her husband just posted the news on her site.  Dewey did a lot of amazing things, but I knew her from helping organize the October Read-a-Thon.  The connection is more tenuous than, say, my online friendship with Janey, whom I'm meeting for tea next week (though she doesn't know it.)  I find myself grieving more than I thought I would - I guess Moonie's onto something, after all.

Moonrat's Goopy Thanksgiving Message was foremost on my mind; Dewey is the first online friend who's passed away. 

A friend said recently, "Aren't you a little worried that you're mixing up your online friends with your real friends?" I said, "Uh, no." Because blogging is no longer "virtual" even in the most traditional sense of the word virtual.

If you were acquainted with Dewey, please go over and pay your condolences.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post #101: About the Computer

Okay, I'll stop numbering my posts, I'm just a little giddy that I'm still blogging. (Intelligibly or not is another topic.)

I wanted to thank everyone for the computer advice. I'm actually pretty good at backing up info, though I did buy another drive and backed up just frelling everything.

What had happened, though, was that the screen of my laptop - well, smashed. Not really; the plastic is still intact, but the lit display looks like the end of a kaleidoscope, or of the smashed-streaked-car-window they'd examine on CSI (Vegas, 'cause that's the only one that counts, with due respect to David Caruso) to determine what fluids are blood and which are cappuccino.

So I can see the little apple icon up in the left corner, to know that a menu drops when I click on it. What I can't see is....anything else.

I have a big deadline coming up at work, so I couldn't afford to lose access to the contents of my laptop to have it serviced. I'd been planning on buying a 20" screen anyway, so I got myself an early Christmas present, hooked it up to the laptop, and - ta da! Accessibility!

Now I'm hoping the laptop repair won't cost more than $500....*sigh*.....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

100th Post: on Inspiration

The books I rate most highly in my life are the ones which inspire me to write. It's sort of like the Olympics voting - there are marks for characterization, language, plot, and inspiration. Does the author's voice make me want to write?

Among those authors that rank high in that last category are Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Atwood, Geraldine Brooks. If I'm in the right mood to be inspired, one of these three (well, Atwood especially) will do it for me. Reading their novels is like drinking the kind of $100/bottle merlot you splurge for on your anniversary. Their stories, their language, are intoxicating, and make me believe I can write anything - but particularly that I can write something fantastic.

If I'm not in a mood to be inspired, there's just one author that gets me going - Tamora Pierce. Oddly, I've only discovered Pierce in the past couple of years. Reading any of her Tortall books is more like drinking a solid, tried-and-true table chianti. There's a nice taste, it complements just about any mood, and I get just enough of a warm glow to pull me out of the writer's block I didn't know I was in.

A few other authors I turn to for inspiration, rather than enjoyment only, are Jasper Fforde, Diana Wynne Jones, Charlotte Bronte, Robin McKinley (and, of course, many of my blogosphere buddies.) How about you? What authors inspire you?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost to 100; invoke Murphy's Law

It would figure that on my 98th post, my laptop fried itself. I mean, the thing is toast. And I hate hubby's PC, though I love hubby for giving it up for me when I started to have withdrawal.

All my NaNo stuff's on my laptop.

All of my photos.

All of my work documents, including next week's Advent candle liturgy.

All of my user names & passwords (who seriously remembers their FacebookBloggerBookMoochPaperbackSwapGoodReadsGoogle info? That's what a keychain is for.)

All of my cool graphics are on my laptop.

All of my contacts.

My MobileMe, which doesn't like being accessed from said PC.

My Posse info.

My shopping cart with a baby shower present that isn't getting ordered.

I'm lost. I mean, beyond, beyond, beyond helpless. Hopeless. There's not enough Zoloft in the world to get me til tomorrow morning when I can go to the Mac store. ACK.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Course on Blogging

So I want to check out Simpleology's blogging course, and to get a free copy, I need to post it on my blog. Very well, here it is:

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boys in Books Are Just Better

 
My Top 10 List of Literary Loves 
 
10. Will Scarlet, Outlaws of Sherwood
9. Luthe, The Hero and the Crown
8. Mac, Rose in Bloom
7. Tom, An Old-Fashioned Girl
6. Roiben, Tithe
5. Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre
4. Jim Frayne, Trixie Belden series
3. Numair, the Tortall series
2. Nathaniel "Nat" Eaton, Witch of Blackbird Pond
1. Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables series

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tribute to the Loves of My Childhood

There's an element of romance in my WIP, between two young twenty-somethings. So, in the name of "research" I've been checking out all my childhood (through age 16) crushes, and thought I'd treat you to a trip down memory lane (or sewer.)


"Never Fear, Brooklyn is Here."
Spot Conlon, Newsies


"I Move the Stars for No One"
Jareth, Labyrinth


"You were the first Goonie..."
Mikey (to One-Eyed Willie's skeleton), Goonies


"I have failed you, my empress...."
Atreyu, The Neverending Story


"Without you, I dwell in darkness"
Madmartigan, Willow



with special thanks for my real-life childhood crushes: Eli, Colin, Mark, Seth, Joel, Josh, Jon, Marty, Marc, and to PJ, my real-life forever crush.


A Penis Perspective

  • Morgan: And when you go out, you don't want to wear too much makeup 'cause otherwise the boys get the wrong idea. And you know how they are. They are only after one thing.
  • Giselle: What's that?
  • Morgan: I don't know. Nobody will tell me.
-from Disney's Enchanted


For my NaNo (that's - NaNo 2009....) WIP, I want to get some sense of what it's like for a guy to fall in love.  If they even do. 

Unless you're Travis Erwin, you probably don't read women's fiction if you have a penis.  In the more hastily written of these kinds of romances, the men are attracted to a woman's physical appearance, and then fall in love with their brains/kindness/mothering skills, and start picturing themselves marrying and having babies with the gorgeous woman (who inevitably wears "slacks" and a "blouse.")  Forgive me for being cynical (and not impressed - show me a man who pictures himself cleaning house and raising kittens), but I'm not sure that's how men fall in love.

So, how about it, guys?  Do you fall in love? What's it like?  Is it all physical, sexual?  What do you notice first?  What makes a woman attractive? Then what?


Feel free to comment anonymously - thanks for helping!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaNo Update

Well, I've been writing somewhere around 700 words a night (I usually have about half an hour to write.)  If you add that up, you'll find that it doesn't *quite* make the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo.  Ha.  Not quite.

If I had just jumped into NaNo without an idea of where I was headed, I might be less upset about losing NaNo.  The problem is, these characters are just starting to come alive, to go to sleep with me, to work out plot in my dreams, to leave me hints throughout the day.  I'm really excited about this story, and I think it could turn into something I'm proud of, too.

So, to keep myself going, even when I'm bleary-eyed from a full day of play-dough and tea parties, with my ears ringing from the constant refrain of "mama" in whining tones, I have adopted Cindy's mantra:

i am allowed to write utter poo.
i am allowed to write utter poo.


I keep plugging along.  Only 43000 words to go.  No problem.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Room of My Own. In a Book.

Jen Robinson recently posted about her favorite fictional rooms from children's literature.
The post was inspired by Charlotte at Charlotte's Library, who's been doing a series about favorite fictional rooms.

I don't have the time to go into as much depth as I would like, since I really should be NaNoing. However, in the midst of my NaNoing, I've spent time designing the locales - towns, homes, rooms - where my story is set. So it seems fitting to pay tribute to the places in which I've "lived."

These are the places where I spent the most time in my childhood (age 12 and younger).

5. The Residence (outside the General Mundy in Damar) from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.

Where Harry began, staring at her glass of orange juice, where she first met Corlath, where she smoked cigars with Jack Dedham, and where she returned to introduce Lady Amelia to her namesake, Aerin Amelia.

4. The Bathroom of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by e.l. konisburg The place where Claudia waited, perched on a toilet seat, until the guards had done their nighttime checks. Then she was free, free in one of the most wonderful places on earth.

3. The Ballroom in Buckingham Palace set up as a dining room for the Big Friendly Giant from The BFG by Roald Dahl

The ridiculously fantastic details of the lavish breakfast that the Queen orders for the BFG, as Sophie looks on, was a passage I read again and again, from the table made of grandfather clocks and a ping pong table to the dozens and dozens of sausages the BFG eats.

2. The Living Room at the March house from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

It's possible I learned to lay on my stomach writing directly because of the "Christmas won't be Christmas" opening line from Jo. Christmas by the fire, Beth at her piano, this is the room I spent the most time with the March sisters.

1. The Bob-Whites of the Glen Clubhouse from the Trixie Belden series.
Trixie, Honey, Jim, Mart, Brian and eventually Diana and Dan spend countless hours in the Wheeler's renovated gatehouse.  I know the entire path from Honey's room in the mansion down to the clubhouse and across the lane to the Belden house.  But it's in the clubhouse that the gang is at its best, unified for good and, of course, in close-knit quarters where brushing against Jim's knee is not out of the question.

Book Giveaway Carnival Winners

So, without further ado, and thanks to random.org, I present the winners of the In Search of Giants Book Giveaway Carnival Winners.    If there are books listed below the name, it means I have heard from that winner. If I haven't heard from you, please check your email.
Thanks to everyone who visited and participated!

FIRST PLACE (2 books):  Marigold
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

SECOND PLACE: Lenore
 Pitching the Tent by Anita Diamant

THIRD PLACE: Sena

FOURTH PLACE: Callista

FIFTH PLACE: Heidi

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Book Giveaway Carnival delay

I am very sick.  Grossly so.  I promise to get winners chosen soon - I will accept entries until I do.  And I'll throw in a couple more books by way of apology.  Thanks for your patience, everyone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Open Letter to Sarah Laurenson

While I try not to post political doctrine on this blog, I know Sarah through the writing blogosphere and for that reason feel that In Search of Giants is the best blog through which to reach her.

Dear Sarah,

While everyone else was rejoicing yesterday, I felt sick to my stomach.  How is it possible we won the war (the presidency) but lost so many battles?  Prop 8 in California and similar measures in Florida and Arizona (not to mention disability amendments.)

As the results rolled in Tuesday, and people posted their reactions to the presidential election, I kept waiting to hear how California would settle on Prop 8.   I kept thinking about all of the people in California I love whom this would affect.  I kept thinking about the words you wrote the other day about being a citizen.
 
I have been too busy or too cowardly to see what your and Lee's and those-people-I-love-who-don't-blog (and won't appreciate if I name them) reactions are to the bigotry and hatred the people of California have shown.  I know that many of those in favor of Prop 8 claimed to be so in the name of the Christian faith.  That makes me equally sick, and on behalf of all of the Christians who get silenced by the pompousness of the Religious Right, I apologize.  Christ never meant this.

When same-sex marriage was made legal in California, Miriam Perez wrote that she didn't think marriage was her golden ticket. I know that, at the time, as a straight white person, I took some comfort in that perspective, since I wasn't sure how long the tolerance of same-sex marriage would last. I'm ashamed, now, that such a thought would even enter my consciousness. 

I don't know how you're feeling, and words can't possibly help.  But I send the spirit of friendship across the miles, and wish you healing, and as much peace as you can find.

Blessings,
Aerin


(And for anyone who wants to call me out, I will gladly discuss Biblical interpretation with you - since I do not think homosexuality is immoral - but we don't even need to get into that.  The conservative Christian argument falls along the lines that same-sex relationships are either immoral or not meant for procreation, and such relationships should not be granted legal status.  Murder is immoral, but murderers are allowed to marry - even in jail - and in some states, allowed to procreate.  Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78  Likewise, a man and a woman can marry and are never penalized if they choose not to have children.  Logically, there is no Christian reason to outlaw same-sex marriage.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Celebrating the Moonrat!!!

Our very own Moonrat celebrates her second bloggaversary today. In honor of Moonie, her Mischief Minions have planned a huge celebration over at the Party Site. Go over, do some karaoke, submit a haiku or two, and win fun prizes while letting Moonrat know how much we love her.

In the meantime, I thought I'd give you some information about this elusive species.  It's hard to find reliable information on the web these days.  I did my own fact-checking and corrected the article - my notes are in red.  Sheesh.

From Gymnures and Hedgehogs: Erinaceidae - Malayan Moonrat (echinosorex Gymnura): Species Accounts



Moonrat - ECHINOSOREX GYMNURUS

Possibly Endangered One of a Kind

Class: Animals with Milk Coffee Glands (Mammalia)
Subclass: True Mammals (Eutheria)
Order: Insect Eaters (Insectivora)
Family: AErinaceidea.

Location: Southeast Asia. New York City

Habitat: Moist forests, mangrove swamps, and wet farmlands are the typical habitats of Malayan moonrats. Scientists believe the animals spend at least part of their time in the water.Publishing offices, and anywhere they can access their booklists at Amazon.com.


Diet: An animal of the night, Malayan moonrats eat worms, insects, crabs, and other invertebrates found in moist areas. They will also eat fruit, and occasionally frogs or fish. (This all seemed quite accurate.)

Behavior and reproduction: When they are not looking for food at night, Malayan moonrats rest in hiding places among tree roots, inside hollow logs, or in other tight spaces. Adults live alone. with slush piles and indie music.   They release strong odors to mark the edges of their territories and warn other moonrats crazy people (see below) to stay away with threatening hisses. deprecating blog posts.   They also release odors to ward off predators  crazy people (see below.)

When they are preparing to have young, they will make nests mostly from leaves. the pages of rejected manuscripts.  Females usually have two babies at a time, either once or twice a year.  Babies may resemble the mother moonrat or may resemble square volumes of printed words, called "books."

Scientists know little more about moonrat adults or young. (Scientists are such idiots.  They only need to fund a study and then spend time observing Momrat and Dadrat in their natural habitats.  Why am I the only person to have thought of this?)

Malayan moonrats and people: Generally speaking, Malayan moonrats leave people alone, and people leave them alone people, particularly crazy ones, flock to their offices demanding information about a submitted manuscript that consisted of the word "sasquatch" written over and over again in a green crayon.    One can understand why moonrats prefer their anonymity.

Conservation status: Malayan moonrats are not threatened except by the onslaught of millions of adoring fans.


Now head over and spread some Moonie Love of your own!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rethinking

Well, I'm flipping back and forth from election results and feeling ill any time I see McCain's numbers increasing.  I'm glad for the validation for him, because, well, he's an old man and I would hate for him to feel he ran a totally bad race, but let's cut him off somewhere around 120 electoral votes, okay?

Speaking of voting, you really should vote in the poll I'm holding in my side bar.  It's vitally important to the future of our world.

In the meantime, I'm eating Beau Jo's (support Alta Vista Center for Autism!) and revamping my NaNo novel.  I found pictures of the setting I'm trying to create, and a suitable soundtrack, and am hoping that keeps me more on target.  The 1000 words I wrote yesterday aren't going to work at all, but I'm not deleting them either!  So there, NaNo gods!

What is the best advice you were ever given about NaNo? Or about writing? 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Book Giveaway Carnival II - My Giveaways



I wasn't sure I would participate in the Book Giveaway Carnival, since I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo.


But I will be opening a NaNo Support Contest next week, and I want y'all to come back for it.


AND I really like Tracy at bookroomreviews - not only does she have a gorgeous site, she's a supporter of Autism Speaks.


SO.


Here's my giveaway.


PRIZES
(all gently used unless otherwise noted)

Kisses Don't Lie by Alexa Darin; new, signed by author
Pitching My Tent by Anita Diamant; new
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver; new
The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff; signed by the author

Five winners will be chosen randomly, with the first place winner being able to choose the two books s/he wants, then the second place winner chooses one from the remaining books, etc.

HOW TO ENTER
Leave a comment.
Any comment, but I reserve the right to award extra chances for interesting comments.  
 Anyone who can get Christian Bale or Robert Sean Leonard (oh, okay, or Robin McKinley) to leave a comment automatically wins.

DEADLINE
Friday, November 7, 9PM EST

Book Giveaway Carnival I


Not only is Tracy over at bookroomreviews.com hosting the Book Giveaway Carnival this week, she's also a supporter of Autism Speaks. Here is a sampling of the giveaways so far:

Lisa at Books Lists Life is giving away a $15 GC to the book store of your choice.

Two sisters blog at Lipstick to Crayons and will give away a copy of The Daring Book for Girls.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NaNo v. Migraine: WINNER, Migraine

I had hoped to get 5,000 words by the end of the weekend, but at 3279, I'm fried.  Sunday mornings are my stress day at work (I'm a minister) and I think I will have to have a contigency plan for Sundays in case I just need to decompress.

I'm also feeling the drudge of - what's the point?  This is an occupational hazard - being a theologian means you think the snot out of everything.  And I get caught in the existential no-win loop of - why write, anyway?  Unless you're Margaret Atwood and you're writing the Handmaid's tale, what effect for good will you have anyway?

YES I believe in the power of art and the importance of story and god knows if I could have nothing else for the rest of my life I'd want my library and water and maybe a tootsie roll or two but the POINT is that - I'm just tired and grumpy and ill and feel like crap.

Back when I can pull off a positive attitude.  :) 'Night, folks!

NaNo Word Count

Can anyone tell me why I can't cut and paste my manuscript into word count verification?  It's very discouraging.  And the site is so ridiculously slow right now I can't even get onto the forums.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Ello is Doing Tuesday

Wow.

I HAVE 2011 words.  And it wasn't even that hard.  My inner critic seriously wants me to go fix about 2010 of them, but I will resist until December.  I am SO excited!  Yay me!!

Things I've Learned for NaNo 2009

I will be maintaining this list throughout November 2008.  Feel free to add your own suggestions.

1. Get rid of ALL Halloween Candy in house before sitting down to write.

Well, THAT didn't take long

So my inner critic has already driven away my inner muse.  Advice?

Also some random questions:

1) What do you hate most about fantasy?

2) What is your favorite vegetable?

3) Can I write a character as lesbian if I'm not one myself?

Friday, October 31, 2008

NaNo Anticipation

T-minus 4 hours and counting.

The NaNo site is slow, and will be until Monday, they say.  I keep checking my account to see what my word count is. Yeah, I know.

I am giving myself a reward if I win NaNo - a 23" screen for my MacBook.  So I'm holding a contest during the month of November for people to be my cheerleaders.  I haven't come up with the prize yet, but I'm thinking a Bas Bleu box of books or $50 Amazon gift card.

Stay tuned!  I will either be back with details or my head will implode by Monday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anatomy of NaNoWriMo Registration

So.

I'm registered.

My first NaNoWriMo. I'm AerinRose. Feel free to add me to your list of friends.

(I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have an idea, but there's a story that's just spilling out of my fingers that I want to give a chance.)

So here's how it happened:

Lynn Viehl at Paperback Writer started posting advice about NaNo. (She has more advice here and from Literary FanGirl here.)

Unbeknownst to me, celebrated upcoming author Cindy Pon registered. (You know Cindy - the gorgeous person who looks far better on webcam than any person anywhere has any right to be.)

Her fellow celebrated upcoming author Stuart Neville registered. I took some solace when the fantastic Josephine Damian wrote,

WTF? NaNoWriMo? Say it ain't so!

There's nothing that annoys me more than these NaNo blog posts that say "2843 words today! Woot!" - People, stringing words together on the page for the sake of stringing words together to make it to a finish line is not writing!

Writing is not a numbers game!

Discover the joys of outlining and you'll never get stalled on a writing project, or need this crazy NaNo thing.

Gerard, of all people! Jeesh!

NaNo chatter is just one reason I'm taking a blog hiatus in November - I have a term paper to write and NO - I won't be using NaNo to write it!

In the same comments section, Ello verified that she had registered:

I'm in. Although I don't know what I'm going to write about because I start submissions this week (OMG!) and agent said sit tight on writing anything. But I think I have to take advantage of Nano and write something next month. Just don't know what it will be. I'm elloecho so please buddy me!


Stephen Parrish registered, blaming Stuart Neville and challenging Erica Orloff to Scrabble, thereby sealing his stiletto doom.

I discovered that a book that I'm incredibly excited about  had its conception in NaNoWriMo.


My secret online crush Moonrat registered.

The love of my life, the dearest darling Precie will be doing a modified version of 10,000 words.

When I posted about my indecision on the oracle that is Facebook, my high school friend Sir Chip Lynch said that he was considering participating again.

So I clearly have this solid circle of fellow participants (well, although I consider Moonie and Conduit sort of untouchable, but, still.)  Add all of that to the fact that (see above) I do for once in my life have a story I'm excited about, and....I registered.

Now I'm off to do my happy dance and say "yay me!"  And then get to writing.  See y'all in December!**



** Not really - I will still be holding a contest during November.  Be sure to add me to your readers so you get all the updates!

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