**For my most up-to-date happenings, check out my Tumblr page: sararaasch.tumblr.com.**

Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Things

I was tagged on Facebook to do a 25-things-about-you list, but I like my blog better. And everyone on Facebook already knows far more about me than they need to, whilst my blogger-buddies know only the writing side of me. So I said to myself, "Self, Blogger needs this." Here goes:

1) My favorite color is red. My room is red. My desk is red. My favorite scent is red (cinnamon). Does that say I'm a very angry person? I hope not.
2) I want to study abroad in New Zealand...someday.
3) I went to Northern Ireland with my dad and g-ma two years ago. Wow, has it really been two years? Sheesh.
4) I randomly talk in a British accent. Whether it be to answer the phone, in mid-conversation, or to say farewell. It keeps people on their toes.
5) I'm allergic to cats. VERY allergic to cats. I know, right? A writer who is allergic to cats. It's like the world's worst oxymoron.
6) I don't like cats and am very glad my allergy prevents anyone I live with from getting one. Cats know far, far too much, and I'm 99% certain they are plotting a global attack.
7) I used to be able to recite the entire Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. With sound-effects.
8) I'm in love with John Rzeznik's voice.
9) I LOVE froofy coffee drinks (aka: frappucinos, cappucinos, mochas, etc) but am very allergic to caffeine. It SUCKS.
10) I have a ridiculous amount of perfume, but never wear any. Most of those bottles were gifts. People trying to tell me something?
11) I take myself too seriously. Though I am completely aware of this, I can't seem to stop.
12) I'm a high-strung person masquerading as a mellow person. I only "show emotion" for certain things, ie: my writing, any books, and women's rights (but not in the feminist way). Odd combination, but if you want to get me fired up, go off on any of those things and I'll explode like a fire cracker at a church picnic.
13) I have an undiagnosed hat fetish.
14) I really don't care for school (and considered dropping out this year...).
15) I love, love, love lemon crescent cookies. Seriously, every meal, 365 days a year, I'd be fat and happy.
16) I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was younger, until I found out I had to put dogs to sleep.
17) I wanted to be a cheerleader until I found out I had to have some agility.
18) I have no patience for children. I like them, don't get me wrong; I just can't take them in doses larger than ten minutes with no one else to distract them.
19) I used to like snow.
20) Sometimes I think I'm clairvoyant. I can predict things with frightening accuracy. *cue Twilight Zone music*
21) I actually think it would be cool to be a vampire. It'd be cool because I could use my super strength and speed and vampire-senses to fight crime.
22) I like to sew, but I'm not very good at it.
23) I'm the lovechild of "neat freak" and "chaos" -- I know exactly where everything is, though it may not look like it. And if you move any of my stuff, well, I may have to go crazy white-chick on you.
24) I have a friend who's a blackbelt. I envy her.
25) Last one, it'd better be good. Hmm...I was obsessed with Felicity from the American Girl Dolls collection when I was 10-11ish. So obsessed I convinced myself I'd never be happy unless I was drawn back into the colonial era. Somedays, I still think that's true.

I was instructed to tage 25 people to do this. Um...yeah. Not gonna. It'd be easy on Facebook, but just a pain here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fantastic Friday!

Why do I have such a hard time remembering to do this? *sigh* My mind is slipping. Slipping, I tell you. Slippi--

What was I talking about? Oh yes, Fantastic Friday. This week's Fantastic Friday is full of fabulous people and mmm-worthy people.

Fantastic Thing-that-happened-in-the-previous-week #1) Natalie. She is the embodiment of fabulous. Not only did she get back to me super quick with Stream Pirate edits, but they were FABULOUS edits. Fab-u-lous. Thanks to her insight, I have revamped the beginning and end as well as begun a line-by-line for some of my MC's annoying little quirks (such as using the words "just" and "even" so much they no longer have meaning). And not to mention a title change. Boy oh boy, a big title change. Well, it's big to me: Stream Pirates is now Stream Pirate. Yup. Plural to singular. Believe me, it makes all the difference in the world. Here's to you, beta-pirate Alika (her Stream Pirate-given name). Keep on being fabulous!

Thing #2) Jill. This requires a little prelude: Thursday, I commuted to school, as normal. Me, being brilliant, took the county roads. But county roads + northeastern midwest + very little car + sudden stop = me in a ditch. So, I'm in the ditch, crying, not yet ten minutes from my house, wondering why on God's green earth I have to go to school at all. Long story and a lot of crying short, I get pulled out of the ditch by an angel in a red pickup. I, being stubborn, continue to school on the county roads to "show the weather who's boss." Roads turn into an inch-thick sheet of ice. Two hours later, I make it to school in a very very unhappy mood. Between classes, my mood hadn't improved, so I pulled out my laptop to check my email. Low and behold, I saw email after email from Jill as she sent me chapters of Stream Pirate. Her comments brightened my mood so much I was able to smile through my macroeconomics exam. So here's to you, beta-pirate Teora (her Stream Pirate-given name). Keep on being a life-saver :)

Thing #3) This video. Can you say "new song obsession"? And hello, Crusoe. Mmm. I love that man.

Thing #4) I know this was (technically) part of my Fantastic Friday last week, but it's so fantastic, I'm including it in this one too: Inkheart. See it. Love it. Drool over Rafi Gavron and Paul Bettany. Mmm.

Thing #5) My little "To each his own magic" picture. I forget where I found this (I think I took it from Libba Bray's blog. She was having an A Great and Terribly Beauty contest of sorts.) but I love it. Kartik. Mmm.

Thing #6) Oh oh OH! Did I forget to include this in my last Fantastic Friday? Well, here goes: Taylor Lautner is officially playing Jacob Black. BUT that's not the Fantastic part. This is. I'm such a girl. (It's a video of him showing off the "muscular developments" he's been working on in order to play Jacob in New Moon. Um...yeah. Rock-hard abs defined.)

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Wonderings: Sequel POV

Now that Stream Pirates is wrapping up into the editing stages, I've been thinking about what comes next. At the moment I'm toying with a post-apocalyptic YA novel (a little snippet of which is now in my "Writing" sidebar), but I would also like to do a sequel to Stream Pirates. I'm inordinately picky about my sequels; unless they have a continuing thread that builds off of the first book's climax, I generally don't like them. I'm pleased with how Stream Pirates ended; I think it would be too much of a stretch if I built off of Yazoo and Alluvial's story. That being said, I was considering continuing it from another character's POV.

The general consensus with sequels from other characters' POV's has never been good. They don't sell as well, they don't live up to the wonders of the first book's characters, they fall short in any number of ways. So my question of the day is: how do you feel about sequels from other characters' POV's? Do they signal an automatic no-buy for you, or do you give them a chance?

The only series I've read and liked that had sequels from other characters' POV's was the Twelve House series by Sharon Shinn. And she is fabulous, so of course it was awesome. But everything else I've read along these lines has left me unable to focus and/or accept this new character because I'm already so in love with the former ones.

So, what's the verdict? Am I the only one whose loyalty interferes with sequels?

Two Blue Lights

Two Blue Lights is a post-apocalyptic YA novel. It is currently in planning stages.

From the moment you're born, they tell you what you are. They tell you that no matter what you do, what you want, what you feel, you will never be anything but a Double. Created so some other person who looks just like you can believe they're incapable of feeling pain. Created so some other person can point into the distance and say their Double is horrible so they don't have to be. Created so the world can have something to blame instead of themselves.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Calling All Pirates!

I love snow days. I love being trapped inside with all that time that would've been devoted to classes to use for my own pleasure. And you may all thank the disorderly northeastern weather that I have now read through Stream Pirates and can say, completely unbiased and honest, that it is fabulous in every way.

But to get a more reliable opinion than the creator's (and to point out all the errors the creator missed in her completely unbiased read-through), I am now putting out the call for beta-pirates. I'd like about two to three, so if you feel compelled to dive into my exciting world of pirates and steamboats and magic tree sap, please raise your hand and wave at me.

And in case you are still on the fence about the sheer awesomeness of pirates, I decided to include a snippet full of emotional tension and piratic history. This takes place a little less than halfway through the book, after Yazoo has saved Alluvial from being drowned by river nymphs.

Further incentive: all who volunteer will get a Stream Pirates name, specified to them. The name-giving makes more sense after the book has been read, but who doesn't want a pirate name?

I woke up in the middle of vomiting river water. Which meant I probably wasn’t dead.

When the spell passed, I fell back and heard the familiar clunk of the Rapid Meander’s deck beneath my shoulder blades. My eyes snapped open, the dim light of twilight making it bearable to see, and focused on the face leaning over me.


His hair was wet, the matted blonde tendrils releasing fat droplets onto my forehead and cheeks. Eye strained and red, he watched me as though expecting me to start weeping or screaming or not to recognize him. But I couldn’t assure him I wouldn’t do any of those, because my attention strayed to the fact that his eye patch was – off.

The hollow where his right eye should have been was nearly refilled by two deep gouges running from the bridge of his nose down toward his right ear. The scars hadn’t healed properly, red and bumpy and a jig-jag of skin screaming of the horrors of the Croc-Mer War. Like the face in the water, my hand was a magnet to it and, inch by inch, stretched up toward it.

Before my fingers made contact with his skin, Yazoo jerked backward and stood up. Putting his back to me, he wrung his eye patch out and tugged it on, leaving his hands to cover his face. His crew, huddled in front of the pilothouse, gaped at him as though they had just seen him fall off a cliff. The entire boat was now cloaked in the sort of silence that hurt more than the voices.

I pulled myself up by the railing, my limbs cold and shaky. Yazoo, dripping wet, remained frozen away from me, every inch of him wound tight. I took a step toward him, my outstretched hand now only intending to go to his shoulder. For the shortest of breaths it rested on his damp shirt; spinning toward the stairwell, he dropped out of sight. A second later, a door slammed somewhere below deck.

The crew gradually moved back to the task of heading down the Hero. But now I couldn’t move, my fingers still cupped in the motion of touching his shoulder. I couldn’t help but feel as though I had tripped him over that cliff. That, after many years, he had finally decided to peer over the edge again, only to succumb to his greatest fear and fall. Because of me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Debutante Ball (of sorts)

In honor of reaching the finish line on draft Numero Uno of Stream Pirates (yay!), I'm presenting the story to the world in a more detailed form than the one-liner I've been totting around. And I also didn't think it was very fair to ask for betas without betas knowing more about the story than said one-liner. So (stealing Jill's character-presentation-format), for your viewing pleasure, may I present a few of the main characters in Stream Pirates.

Yazoo Oxbow and his crew of sediment-stealing swashbucklers are known for their cunning ability to channel the rivers that make up the kingdom of Radial Stream. In a world where controlling the flow of a river means controlling all that river holds, Yazoo poses a very dangerous threat to the kingdom. When the king goes missing, many suspect it is an act of revolution led by the most notorious stream pirate. Will a coup ensue, or is there more to this pirate than a desire to change the course of Radial Stream?

As the heir to Radial Stream, Alluvial Fan has spent he
r life dodging suitors and avoiding the kingdom flirt, Milo Vesic, all the while distracted by the adventure Radial Stream holds. When her father disappears the night of a ball, she isn't as quick to blame Yazoo Oxbow as her uncle and the other lords. Unbeknownst to the court, she seeks out Yazoo. The most notorious stream pirate would know of every hidden spot in Radial Stream -- and may be the only one who knows how to find her father.

Alluvium Fan has never been seen apart from his sister and twin, Alluvial. Always spoken to as "Alluvial's twin" or "the king's other child," he seems oddly unmoved when his father disappears. While Alluvial searches for their father, Alluvium becomes the foremost suspect in her mind. But did this lemon-sucking toothpick of a prince really plan to have his father killed?

Hours before Tombolo Fan disappeared, he promised
Alluvial that she would be all right. These ominous words led her to believe he knew he would be kidnapped. But would a king who loved his land as much as Tom let himself be captured? Or, like Yazoo, is there more to this king than a desire to protect his people?

There are quite a few more characters, including Yazoo's crew and some underwater beasties, but I shall stop for now. I'll give out the call for betas some time later this week, as I want to do one more run-through edit on my own. But stay on your toes, mates -- here, there be pirates.

(And yes, I did use the man who plays Crusoe on the NBC show as Yazoo. Yes, I did put an eye patch on him as Yazoo is missing his right eye. And yes, that is Jeremy Irons as Tom, Bethany Joy-Galeotti as Alluvial, and that guy from The Tudors as Alluvium. Hey, I can dream.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fantastic Friday!

This week's Fantastic Friday is all about movies!

Fantastic Thing-that-happened-in-the-past-week #1) Inkheart comes out today! Trailer here, super-cute music video for it here. I've heard mixed reviews, so I'm really looking forward to seeing it and deciding myself. If anything, I'll at least get to stare at Rafi Gavron (pictured on the left), who plays the adorable Arabian love interest. Mmmm.

Thing #2) New video blog! Cheesiness, ahoy! It's yet another metaphor, this one involving agents and dating. You can find it in my super-cool YouTube video sidebar. It's the one on top.

Thing #3) My video for the Best Job in the World is up and running on their web page! Go watch it so my "Views" count goes up :)

Thing #4) 62,351. That's how many words I'm at in Stream Pirates. The end is near. So very, very near. I shall be calling for beta readers in a matter of weeks. Be ready.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Love Astrology

I was tirelessly devoting myself to my studies (ie: I was bored during class) when I got on Yahoo! Astrology and found my career forecast for the year. Normally I brush off my forecasts with a chuckle and an it'd-be-nice, but this one was so awesome it couldn't be ignored. So here's the part that made me smile. Let's all join hands and pray it will come true. (Can you pray for astrological prophecies? Is that a conflict of interests?)

"During the summer months, a new contract opportunity may appear; go for it, but make sure you don't take on more than you can handle. You will be paid handsomely for what you do, and you welcome the challenges."

Yeah. "New contract opportunity"? Don't get overly excited, Sara. Don't do it. Don't--

Too late.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I've Been Hit!

By Nikki. So, here goes:

Six Things That Make Me Happy

(Wait...don't I do this every Friday? You know, "Fantastic Friday," and all? Oh well. I'm just that good, I guess.)

1) Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shrek the Third. No matter how sick I am, how crappy my mood is, or how bad my day was, these movies ALWAYS make me happy. They're just light and happy and fantasy and fairy tale. They're perfect.

2) Blogs. Receiving comments, sending comments, reading other people's posts, posting on my own. I like being part of an online writing community of sorts :)

3) My fish, Captain. He's an unusual fish. He has one black spot on his right eye that looks just like an eye patch. Convienently, my MC in Stream Pirates also has an eye patch on his right eye. Fate, I tell you.

4) Songs that match my books so well I swear musicians are spying on me. My new song obsession is "My Skin" by Natalie Merchant. It matches my MC's life in Stream Pirates so well it gives me chills.

5) Barnes and Noble. My new membership card, spending WAY too much money on books I have no time to read, browsing for three or four hours while whoever I'm with gets really annoyed. And that one random day when they had gift wrapping by a dog society, and there were TONS of doggies romping around the store. Doggies AND books. The universe almost imploded.

6) Those almost-creepy fortune teller machines that spit out a fortune for a dollar while some animatronic Arabian man waves his hands over a crystal ball. Because it's just fun how scary-accurate they are. And the one in the mall I go to spits out fortunes with a list of flowers relating to your astrological sign on the back. My flower is the aster, which means "patient, charming." I don't know about charming, but patient...erm...nope. Not me.

Who hasn't done this yet? Hmm let's see...Natalie!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Because Apparently Money is, like, Important

I have a conundrum. But I feel it is a conundrum that troubles many writers. So, what better way to solve said conundrum than to blog about it?

I'm in college now, have been for what feels like twenty years but in reality has only been about three and a half (including two years PSEOP). And yet, after all these many, many, M-A-N-Y classes, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Before I got to "real college" (aka: not PSEOP) and people asked me what I wanted to do, I would grin and tell them, all proud and confident-like, that I wanted to be a writer. And they would grin and respond, all mocking and arrogant-like, "But how are you going to make money?" Well, up until last semester or so, I didn't take that question seriously. I assumed that once I became an "official author" someone would send me a machine that magically turned the pages of my novels into $100 bills. But alas, dreams get smashed, reality sets in, and I discovered that in Real World, novels don't magically turn into $100 bills. Not even into $50 bills.

So, here's the conundrum posed as a question to all: How do you make money? Do you have a side career? Do you freelance it? Do you have a loving and patient spouse who brings home the bacon while you face your imagination? (That kind of rhymed...) Or are you one of those "starving artist" types who is okay with being scoffed at by those high-and-mighty business folk who can actually afford health care? Psh. Who really needs health care?

Basically, I'm looking for someone to tell me what to do with my life. Seriously. How can a writer make a living in a way that doesn't make her want to stick something hot and sharp into her eye? Or does it just come down to accepting a job that isn't necessarily fulfilling in order to support your craft?

These are the questions that keep me awake at night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fantastic Friday!

Down to the wire. Again. Alas, me and my busy-ness...

Fantastic Thing-that-happened-in-the-previous-week #1) I became a Barnes and Noble member! It's been a long time coming. But my "new school" is right next to a B&N, so I shall be there more than I need to be, and figured I may as well get discounts for it. So yay, discounts!

Thing #2) When I became a B&N member, I also bought three new books! Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fortune and Fate by Sharon Shinn, and Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner. So expect reviews coming shortly. I'm a small bit through Graceling right now, and so far it's holding steady at a Level 4. But all books, in the beginning, hold at that level (or tend to. Some just go straight for Level 1 and never look back).

Thing #3) Stream Pirates is so close to being done I can see the little banner waving over the finish line. I'm nearing the 55,000 word mark as we speak, with an ultimate goal of the 62-65,000 range. Yay progress!

Thing #4) My other full request made it safe and sound to the Big Apple. After hearing one of my writer-friend's horror stories about how her manuscript got delivered to the agent's neighbor and the neighbor had it for quite a few days, which spurred the agent to email said writer asking if writer was going to send it, I got one of those fancy-shmancy package trackers. Technology.

Thing #5) My first class was canceled Thursday. Thus I could sleep in/go in late/not feel like my entire day was lost in the soul-sucking vortex of school.

Thing #6) I have a new story idea. And it will be great fun. A post-apocalyptic YA adventure set in the last civilized area, a small spattering of islands in the Pacific (most likely the Pacific). Snippet: twins, betrayal, execution, mind-control, "destiny," and warehouses. Possibly blue lanterns.

Thing #7) Crusoe came on again! After a very very very long hiatus for who knows what reason, they had an episode last Saturday and will have another tomorrow at 8 on NBC. I love that man. L-O-V-E him. In my head, he plays the male lead in Stream Pirates. And my husband. Sometimes both roles at once.

PS: How badly does my little picture bug you? I must fix it. I must. Grr.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Would Pick Me

I debated with myself for hours. Hours and hours. Should I, shouldn't I, what would I be gaining, what would I be losing, etc etc. But I finally did it. I finally took the plunge and applied for:


Because, let's face it, it really is the perfect job: FOR WRITERS. 6 months, on an island, with nothing to do but feed fish and blog? And they're PAYING us to do this nonsense? Can you imagine the stories that could get cranked out of that atmosphere? Holy moly.

I'll let ya'll know when my video application is on the website, but for now you can view it on my YouTube page (see side bar). And I'll also let ya'll know when you can go vote for me. Because you'd send me to Australia. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yay, Life.

So, all that big, fancy news I was building up to? Yeah. No big, fancy news to share now.

I fall in love too quickly.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Something on a Saturday

I almost had to double-check to make sure today was actually Saturday. Geez.

Just thought I'd give an update on Blind, seeing as it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to think about it:

Queries out: 13
Partials out: 1
Fulls out: 2!!

Two fulls out. Two. This struck me in a way only a writer can be struck. I remember back, however many years ago, when I was querying Giving Light. All I wanted in the world was a partial request, and each time I got one (which turned out to be three times), I screamed. Danced a little. Smiled like a lunatic for a few hours. I never even looked beyond that partial. Sure, I wanted to be published, but my mind was so stuck on the getting-a-partial step that I couldn't look ahead. If I had gotten a full request then, I think I may actually have fainted.

But now. Oh, now. How now makes me grin. I'm just -- humbled. That's a good word. Very humbled. Because that little 12-year-old who started writing Giving Light couldn't have even dreamed things would come her way. Sure, she wanted them, but in reality she never thought it through. And I know fulls can still be rejected, but for now I'm relishing in my humbleness. It's a nice place to be.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fantastic Friday!

Longest. Week. EVER.

Fantastic Thing-that-happened-in-the-past-week #1) I got to write "Fantastic Friday" well before midnight this time! Yay!

Thing #2) I survived the first week at my "new school." And by survived I mean I only sobbed after the first day. The second day I told myself I had gotten sucked into a parallel dimension and the only way out was to complete the three classes.

Thing #3) I rediscovered Stargate: Atlantis as the Sci-fi channel has been having marathons. Just in time for the series finale tonight. Sad. No more new episodes, no more new chances to stare at the loveliness that is Jason Momoa. *sigh*

Thing #4) I got Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas on DVD. As well as Shrek on DVD. I'd die happy.

Thing #5) This week is over. That in and of itself is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Peace out, homies. Hopefully next week's Fantastic Friday will hold something extremely fantastic...teehee. (Yes, I know something. No, I'm not telling yet. Element of surprise, my dears.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Snippet on a Saturday!

After a few hours of intense typing, I am now thoroughly in love with Stream Pirates. It was rocky there for a little while; I'd hate it, then kinda like it, then hate it, then LOATHE it entirely, then tolerate it. But now, after crossing a number of hurdles (some involving physically moving the characters to a certain place and some involving emotionally charged scenes), I officially love it. And in honor of my new-found love, I'm taking a break from diving into the next scene (which deals with mermaids, so it goes without saying that I am very excited about it) to post a snippet for your reading pleasure.

This snippet should be self-explanatory, so I'll just do a quick re-cap. Lu has enlisted the help of the notorious stream pirate Yazoo Oxbow to help her find her father, the king, who was kidnapped about a week and a half ago. She is currently on Yazoo's steamboat, heading to an undisclosed location, when she encounters something -- odd.

The boat slid to the right now, and Arachne screeched laughter. Ikkin, still fiddling away on the roof, sped up his tempo to match the excitement of whatever was happening. I clung to the wall of the pilothouse and looked from Perry at the table to Yazoo at the helm.

“What–” I started to ask as the boat slid forward and I all but fell out the door.

Perry laughed. Both he and Yazoo didn’t waver in their stances, as though they were so used to the boat shifting about that normal, solid ground would be uneasy to them. “The Proteus,” Perry said and pointed around us. “You don’t know it?”

I shook my head, fingers digging into the doorframe.

It was Yazoo who chuckled now. “And you call yourself the heir of Radial Stream.”

I was about to spit a retort when Perry jumped in with the much-needed explanation.

“The Proteus,” he repeated. “The only shape-shifting river in, well, the world, I’d say.”

“A shape-shifting river?” I squeaked. “There are no shape-shifting–”

This time, as the boat slid to the right, I snapped my head around to watch. The distant right edge of the river moved. The water surged into the shore, pushing it a few good yards inland. The forest had learned this river’s sporadic behavior and stayed quite a distance back. I could almost hear the trees sigh, wondering why the river they grew next to had to be the one that didn’t follow orders.

“–rivers,” I finished. Yazoo chuckled again.