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Saturday, October 31, 2009



But I have to take a chunk of time out of my OHMYGODHOMEWORKSUCKS schedule to speak about something-- well, we'll just call it something important. It strikes only during this time of year. Halloween. All Hallow's Eve. Beggar's Night. Whatever you want to call it, October 31st is a day when a problem rears its head amongst the merrimaking and frolicking and tomfoolery. It is a problem most people aren't aware of. A problem that goes unnoticed by many, lost in the haze of candy-comas and loud haunted-house music. I am writing this blog post to draw attention to this silent killer of many, this overlooked issue, this forgotten struggle, this oppression of the helpless, this--


Fine, geez.


Wait. You know what? It'd be better if I showed you. I don't think you'll fully grasp the importance of this heartwrenching issue unless you SEE it.


So when you carve your pumpkins this year, folks, take a minute to think before you jam that knife into his dimpled orange skull. Is this really a humane way to treat your vegetables? No. No, I don't think so.

Happy Halloween, ya'll.

PS on the PSA: Google Philip Winchester. Count down 9 entries. What do you see?

Oh -- oh, you see MY BLOG?

Yeah. I come up as a top listing when you google Philip Winchester.

This makes me far too happy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Hello There...

So, there's this new boy in my life. He kind of makes me smile a lot, and he's really sweet and thoughtful and ohmygoshCUTE. He's been bouncing around my head for a few weeks now, but only yesterday introduced himself. He's just THAT considerate; didn't want to overwhelm me in the midst of my panicking about the Stream Pirate sequel.

Who is this new boy, you ask? Oh, I think you'll like him. His name's Max. Maxence Pate, to be precise. I haven't gotten to know too much about Maxie yet (he hates when I call him Maxie, but he's just too nice to tell me to stop), as his almost-annoying amount of consideration has prevented him from telling me how his story begins until I am no longer swamped with homework. He knows that if he told me what the first line is, I'd politely tell my archaeology homework to piss off and spend every waking moment getting to know him. Oh, Maxie, you're going to be fun. I can tell.

Anyway, Max's appearance made me make the very painful decision to shelve Rechanneled. Not forever, mind you; I fully intend to come back to it one day. But the hope that Max's story offered in other book to get giddy-excited about was too tempting to pass up. It also made me realize something I had been fighting to ignore for weeks: Rechanneled was REALLY boring.

Okay, literally, it wasn't boring. There were a lot of swordfights and night-attacks and brother-sister tension and character development and more things stream piratey, but as I was writing it, I was bored. I kept writing, thinking, Okay, the next part will be interesting. Exciting. The next scene will take off. But I'd get to the next scene, write it, be so bored my chest felt like it would implode, and end it with an exhausted sigh. This cycle left me feeling like the world's worst writer. Like I had failed somehow, that I couldn't even keep my own story interesting. Would nothing I ever wrote again be exciting for me? Had I lost my writing spark?

I LOVE the world of Stream Pirate. It will probably always be my favorite of all my worlds. But writing Rechanneled was making me dislike it. Once I realized that, and once Max came a-strolling in, I knew I had to stop. I wasn't writing Rechanneled because, like Max's story, I felt I NEEDED to write it. I was writing Rechanneled because I felt I HAD to write it. Somewhere in the deep dark caverns of my writer's mind I felt I had to finish the planned Stream Pirate trilogy NOW, before I started anything else, while Lu's voice was still fresh in my head. I felt if I didn't finish it now, I would lose the *spark* of the story and regret diverting to other projects. I felt like I would be letting Lu and Yazoo and all the other characters down, leaving their story dangling unfinished.

But then I realized -- that's completely silly. Again, Max helped me realize this (can you tell how much I love this dude?). His voice is already vibrant in my head and jabbering of its own accord. He WANTS his story to be told. Lu and Yazoo don't want the rest of their story told yet. I haven't heard a peep out of Lu since I got the general idea for a Stream Pirate trilogy. That's part of what made writing Rechanneled such a chore; Lu wasn't helping me. She wasn't yet ready to tell Rechanneled, and I was trying to force her, worried I would lose her. But in some twisted only-happens-to-a-writer way, I never even had her in Rechanneled. So I won't lose anything in shelving it for now. And I have to trust Lu that when she's ready to tell me the rest of her story, she'll come running back to the forefront of my brain, talking a million miles a minute in true Lu-like fashion and complaining about the lack of sanitation on steamboats.

But for now, it's all Max, all the time.

Isn't he a cutie?

I must leave you with something to make you chuckle whilst I melt part of my brain. I mean, whilst I read an archaeology article. Seriously, the end of the quarter CANNOT come fast enough.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Writing Process: En Fin

Five posts until my 200th blog post! No idea what I'll be doing yet. Sad; the 100th post was all glittery and exciting and fun. By the time the 200th post rolls around, well, not so exciting anymore. Like watching your two hundredth child take his first steps. Exciting, yes, but not OHMYGODHONEYGRABTHECAMERA exciting.

How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts

ACT SIX: They All Lived Happy Forever After. Until Tomorrow.

Our protagonist, Sara, is seated before Big Red Desk. She sighs a contented sigh and stares up into the rafters.Sara: *giggling* You know, Story, it's funny. Now that it's all said and done, the only thing I feel is an odd sense of ecstasy.

Story: *grumbles* You would. You weren't the one picked and prodded by SIX DIFFERENT PEOPLE. Including a ninja.

Sara sighs again, clearly ignoring Story's bickering.

Sara: It's an odd ecstasy, it is. All bittersweet and relieved. *looks at PC on Big Red Desk* I'll miss you, Story.

Story: I'm not dying.

Sara: I know, I know. I'll just miss all those hours we spent together. Remember that one time I almost stabbed PC because of that scene you refused to include? Haha, wow. I'm glad I can laugh about that now.

Story: If I had eyes, I would roll them.

Sara: Oh, Story. It's been a fun ride. I just-- I just want you to--

Story: What, Sara? You just want me to what?

Sara sits straight up, eyebrows furrowed and hands gripping the the armrests. She sweeps her gaze over the audience, smiles, and whips out a blank sheet of hardback paper.

Sara: Oooo this is gonna be GOOD. I can feel it. Like, REALLY good. Best. Idea. Ever.

Story: Wait! What were you saying to me? No! No! I was the best idea ever! ME! Hell-ooo, woman!

Sara: Hush now! I'll lose my focus.

Story: No! Look at me! I'm perfectly shiny now, see? Over here!

Sara: Ghosts AND mummies? Set in Constantinople? With a time machine and cookies and another nuclear holocaust? GENIUS.

Story: That's MY nuclear holocaust!

Sara scribbles on the giant piece of hardback paper while Story continues to shout at her, hoping to pull her attention away from Shiny New Idea. But it is clear by the fading lights and swelling orchestral music that Story's story is over. Over, that is, until he is thrust into the perilous publishing world, where a whole new story for Story will commence.Story: How many times are you going to use "Story's story" arrangements?

Until it stops being fun.

Story: Loser.

Don't insult the narrator!

Story: You can't see it, but I'm sticking out my tongue.

Why I oughta...

Story: Oooo whatta ya gonna do, big scary voice in the sky?

As Sara falls more and more in love with Shiny New Idea, Story falls farther and farther away from her mind. Meanwhile Story, forgotten on PC, suffers a fatal malfunction.

Story: A fatal -- WHAT?

In a tragic course of events, Story suddenly finds himself entirely translated into Spanish.

Story: ¿Qué? ¡No! ¿Por qué, idiota? ¿Por qué?

The End. Or, for Story's benefit, en fin.

Story: Le odio.

Yeah, that about sums it up. Though I don't usually forget my old stories; they just tend to be, um, retired. My first attempt at writing anything. My YA romance, Blind. Both stories I love, but both stories I love enough to set aside in place of bigger, shinier ideas. Onward and upward. Always onward and upward.

PS: The super-talented Suzanne Young is having an ARC giveaway of her soon-to-be-released book The Naughty List! Buzz on over to her blog and get entering! You only have until next Wednesday. Oh, and with the ARC comes an uber-cute Naughty List t-shirt. As if we needed more reasons to enter.

Go, go!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Writing Process: Act 5

Let me tell ya; there is nothing that puts a smile on my face faster than having this song as my ring tone. (Side note: does anyone else get really nervous at 0:51, when Shang pulls Mulan's shirt out? I always think "Don't look down!! You'll find out her sekrit!")

Anyway, onward!

How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts

ACT FIVE: You Beta Believe It

Our protagonist, Sara, lies on the stage beside Big Red Desk, PC's florescent glow flickering on her clothes. By the look on her face and her posture, it is clear Story lied about her not regretting Act Four.

Sara: Can't...look...at...screen...eyes...burning...

Story: Oh, grow up. It wasn't that bad. And look how shiny I am now! It was worth it. Admit it; you love me.

Sara: *hiccups* Too...much...awakeness...

Story: Why did you hiccup?

From off stage comes the sound of giggling, talking, high and feminine. A group of about 5 women appears stage left and, upon seeing the prostrate Sara, gasps as one.
Woman 1: Oh no! We're too late!

Woman 2: If you hadn't needed to ask for directions...

Woman 1: Big Red Desk isn't on Google Maps! Not my fault.

Woman 3: Stop bickering! We've got to help her; there may still be time!

Group of women rushes forward. Two of them tend to the barely conscious Sara, who mumbles things about clown cars and pet stores and nuclear holocausts and NO, ADVERB, BEGONE! The other three women stare down at PC.
Story: Whatta ya lookin' at me for?

Woman 4: *hands on hips* Shall we, ladies?

Woman 5: *mischievous grin* We shall.

Story: Hey now, what are you doing with that red pen? You're not going to-- not on PC's screen! You wouldn't dare! No, no, I'll tell you anything! Anything! Parlay!

Woman 3: You promise to cooperate?

Story: Yes! Anything! Just-- put the pen down. That's not necessary. We're all friends here, right?

Woman 4: That's yet to be determined.

Woman 1 and 2 drag Sara off stage while Woman 3, 4, and 5 pick up PC and head off stage left.
Woman 5: *pausing at edge of stage as lights dim* Come on, Woman 6.

A muffled whisper of confusion sweeps through the audience as a shadow passes over Big Red Desk. From off stage, Story whimpers.
Story: Sara said nothing about one of you being a ninja! No! I change my mind! No parlay! Help, help, he--

Story's strangled cries disappear beneath a swelling orchestral tune full of mystery and excitement. Good things are to come for sure.

Betas rock. Period. Next to editing, betaing is my favorite part; sending my story out into the wide, wide world of fellow writers is exciting and anxious-making and so, so constructive. Good betas give advice without being cruel, give criticism in a way that makes you go "Oh! You're right!" not "Oh my god. I'm never writing again." I've been truly blessed with the group of betas I've found; they're all fantastic!

Must go before I get all gushy. Tomorrow: the conclusion of How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Writing Process: Act 4

Nothing snappy to say before the post. La-di-da.

How Sara Writes: A Play In Multiple Acts

ACT FOUR: Secondly, an Edit

Our protagonist, Sara, sits cross-legged before Big Red Desk, looking thoughtfully at PC.
Sara: *cracks knuckles* Draft One, done. And I daresay it ROCKS.

Fast-forward three hours to Sara, now sitting on the floor beside Big Red Desk with PC in her lap. Her thoughtfulness has been replaced with wide-eyed, frizzle-haired shock.
Sara: Who. Wrote. THAT? Not me. No. MY story was-- good. It was brilliant. It FLOWED. That-- that just-- that was-- no. Not me. Nope. There's been some mistake. Some terrible, invasion of the story snatchers mistake. Justice must be served! There's a kidnapped story somewhere out there, lonely and cold and needing to come back home to me--

Story: *singing* Sa-a-ra

Sara: *jumps and stares even wider-eyed at PC* Y-yes? Story?

Story: Don't abandon me, Sara. I'll be a good story. I promise. I just need some help, see? I don't know how to be a good story! I can barely walk on my own two MC's. And I can't even use my story threads to eat without spilling unresolved plots all over myself! Help me, Sara? Please?

Sara: *softening* Ah. Well, when you put it like that...

Sara leans over PC and begins typing.

Story: Thank you, Sara. You won't regret it.

The orchestra strikes up an ominous, dark tune that leaves the audience wondering if what Story said wasn't as jolly and positive as it may have sounded...

Once the first draft is done, I'm always under the misguided perception that it is awesome. Then I read it, freak out, and go into a holy-crap-what-did-I-DO coma. But once that passes (and it usually passes pretty quick) editing is my favorite part of the writing process. Patching up the loose ends. Tweaking the irkes. Beating down the bumps. I'm an undiagnosed OCD-er, so editing everything is like my heaven. It's basically cleaning in an already clean atmosphere; tidying up a black-and-white Word doc. We've already established my insanity, so this should come as no shock.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Writing Process: Act 3

Still don't remember what I was going to "PS" about...that's really bugging me...

How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts

ACT THREE: Firstly, a Draft

Our protagonist, Sara, rushes in from stage right as the lights come up. In her arms is a banged-up PC laptop, heavy and large, with a pink butterfly sticker on the lid. She sits at Big Red Desk, still center-stage, and jerks open PC.
Sara: The first line came to me! Oh, it gives me chills.


"It was a dim and tempestuous evening..."

Sara pauses. She leans back, stares at the ceiling, stares at the stage, and slumps farther back against the chair. Somewhere off stage, a clock ticks away a few seconds.
Sara: *leaning forward with renewed vigor* No, no, no. That's no good at all. Try:

"It was the grandest of moments, it was the most horrific of moments..."

Sara: *beating on the BACKSPACE key* No, no, no, NO! Gah! What are you doing to me, story? I have you all outlined, see? *holds up stupidly large piece of scribbled-on hardback paper* See? This is how you peak, and how you end, and how everyone lives happy forever after. It's all planned out! All you have to do is BEGIN!

Sara stares at PC, waiting for the first line to materialize by sheer willpower.
Sara: I bet a Mac would give me the first line.

Beginnings SUCK. Suck, suck, SUCK. No matter how overly excited I am for the middle or end of my stories, my beginnings continue to be a source of much hair-pulling and WHYAMIAWRITER-moaning. Once I get past the 20,000 word mark, I'm good (usually). But getting there is not pretty. At all. The first draft's beginning leaves a trail of tears, blood, ink, and cuss words in its wake. And this go-around with Rechanneled has left me moaning and cussing at my PC while Pippa sits beside me, her head cocked, wondering why her human is so insane.

Don't worry, Pippa. There are people much crazier than me.

That's not comforting, is it?

Oh! I remembered what the PS was supposed to be about!

PS: Kat is having a Halloween Contest over at her blog, Words etc. She's giving away one copy of one of the 5 books caught in the price-war between Walmart, Sears, and Amazon. Yeah. Thought that'd peak your interest. Especially since one of the books you can choose is Michael Crichton's Pirate Latitudes. Pirates. Michael Crichton. Awesome.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Writing Process: Act 2

Dudes -- I just realized there are only 9 posts until my 200th blog post. I must start planning something SPECTACULAR for it...hm...I will think on this. Confetti may be involved.

How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts

ACT TWO: Lining a way Out

Lights come up on our protagonist, Sara, center-stage. She is sitting at the Big Red Desk, scribbling in a notebook. Every few words, she scratches out what she wrote and begins again.
Sara: The scene with the pet store comes before the scene with the clown car, right? I mean, really, that flows so perfectly.

Sara scribbles, sits back, and taps the pencil against her chin in thought.
Sara: But after that? What comes after that?

Reaching behind Big Red Desk, Sara pulls out a giant piece of hardback paper. On the paper is a very complicated series of scrawled notes and jutting lines connecting notes to notes. Sara looks at it, smiles, and nods.
Sara: Oh, yes! It's so clear to me now. I had the clown car scene coming after the pet store scene but BEFORE the nuclear holocaust attack. Oh! That'd be a perfect time to insert some character development about my MC's hatred of face paint!

Sara drops to the stage and begins writing on the giant piece of hardback paper. She connects notes to notes, drawing more lines and circles and lines until it appears as though she is drawing top-secret alien coded messages.
Sara: *sniffling* And they all lived happy forever after. It's perfect! Now -- to write!

Sara hugs the giant piece of hardback paper and runs off stage left. Why she runs off stage is a mystery, as her Big Red Desk is clearly on the stage and if she wants to write, she would need to be at Big Red Desk. It is best not to question her, though.

I'm an outlining kind of girl. I know some people shudder at the thought, but I am one who swears by it. My little writer mind likes to create complicated, interloping story threads that leave me curled in a glazed-eyed heap if I don't chart out exactly what happens to who when. Me likes my story maps. I'd get quite lost in my own little worlds without them. And it's happened, too; search party couldn't find me for at least a day.

PS: There was something I'd been meaning to "PS" on a blog post about, but I can't remember what it was. It was important. Thus I am reserving the right to "PS" on this post should it come to me before my next post.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Writing Process: Act 1

I will now do a series on my writing process, per the suggestion of the lurvely Jade. I jumped excitedly when she mentioned it before I realized that writing about writing on a writing-themed blog should have been obvious. But I'm not an obvious kind of gal. So, anyways:

How Sara Writes: A Play in Multiple Acts
(I find myself making plays out of the most random things since reading Eyes Like Stars. Oh, I'm the only one who does that?)

ACT ONE: A Storm of the Brain

Our protagonist, Sara, enters from stage right. She approaches a Big Red Desk at center stage. She may or may not be skipping.
Sara: I have the BEST IDEA EVER. It's giggly and romancy and makes me happy inside. And there's this one scene that I see so vividly...wow. Just, wow. It's brilliant, I say. BRILLIANT.

Sara sits at Big Red Desk and scribbles furiously in a small notebook. She fills at least six pages with chicken-scratch notes before leaning back in the chair and grinning.
Sara: This will be GOOD. I can feel it. Like, Harry Potter level good. Yeah. *giggles*

Sara exits stage left, definitely skipping now.

This is how it always begins: an idea. An idea so freakishly awesome that I HAVE to write it. Usually it isn't fast; usually the idea simmers for a few weeks with me jotting random spurts of illegible notes. Eventually all those illegible notes kind of *click*, and out pops a definitive storyline that makes me squee. But it always begins with an idea and chicken-scratching. Seriously. My handwriting is the object of much verbal abuse.

And....because I'm shameless:

That's just funny.

And this one is actually pretty good:

Everyone together now: GET OFF OF YOUTUBE, SARA. Get back to writing Rechanneled. Go. Now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guilty Pleasure

Thanks for all the awesome ideas yesterday, folks! You've got my blog-writing juices a-flowing. But before I delve into some of your suggestions, there's something I would like to share with you, because apparently I like public displays of humiliation.

Everyone has a YouTube guilty pleasure. Watching music videos, movies, vlogs, etc. Most are harmless. Most are understandable, and shared by millions.

Not mine.

My YouTube guilty pleasure is something far more -- oh, how shall I put this -- giggly. Giggly as in it makes you feel like the five-year-old princess-y (or prince-y, for you menfolk) child you once were.

Okay, I'll just say it quick: I'm addicted to watching Disney crossovers.

Wait -- what the heck is that?

Exactly. Few people have heard of it, few people admit to watching it. But alas, my writer-friends, I am one of the few who lets hours flick by while watching 4-minute-long videos of two Disney movies shmooshed into new and exciting romance stories. Jim and Ariel, Eric and Pocahontas, Belle and Phoebus, Chel and Kuzco.

Trust me, they're better than they sound. Well, some of them. And, in true Sara-like fashion, I shall post a few of my faves.

For those loyal to the original movies, these may suck. Try to watch with an open-story mind.

Story for this one: Belle is engaged to Gaston but in love with Phoebus. Her father, Frollo, wants to keep her and Phoebus apart. Chaos ensues.

Maybe it's just because the song is AWESOME. But the editing is fantastic too; xNightshadex makes the best crossovers I've found so far.

This one is a bit simpler: just a spin on Chel and Kuzco.

Jim Hawkins and Ariel are a popular crossover couple. Mainly because they're just so darn cute together. Again, a father-keeping-true-lovers-apart story.

Good luck not YouTubing "Disney crossover couples" for the next two hours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuesday Teaser!

No, it's not Tuesday yet; but by the time most of ya'll read this, it will be Tuesday. Planning ahead, I am.

Anyhoo, I'm again running short on blog ideas. So, I will leave you with two things: the first is a question, the second is a teaser from the Stream Pirate sequel I'm working on, Rechanneled.

The question: What do you want to hear about? What blog topics would you like to see me delve into? Any vlog ideas, even? Anything, everything, nothing is too outrageous. Give me your best, your brightest, your silliest ideas, yearning to be free...

The teaser:

“Dirt and sand, all across the land,
The currents are ours, you see.”
I knew that song. The voice sang from somewhere distant, the words curling into circles on the singer’s accent. All was darkness, still; no face with the voice, nothing but those words twisting around my mind, creating a whirlwind of memory that I couldn’t catch.
“No man, no soldier, no officer, no king
Can take my current from me.”
Tom. Tom used to sing that song to me, telling me he’d heard it as a boy. Stream pirates sang that song. Yazoo had never sung this song, nor Ikkin, nor any of his crew. I wanted to know why, I knew why, but all was darkness, still.
“Flow on, my brothers, flow on with me,
Together we flow as one.
No man, no soldier, no officer, no king,
Can erode what we have done.”

Now I shall bid you all goodnight. The retail industry likes to torture its employees with 6 AM inventories. Which means I have to be up at 5 AM. When I set my alarm for 5 AM, my phone went "You want to get up WHEN?? Recheck your time, and ask me again later."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trailers and Philip Winchester

I failed in an epic way today. Not just today, actually.

Since MAY.

Since May 5th, to be exact. That was the day Crusoe came out on DVD. And I missed it.

I could've been watching Philip Winchester whenever I wanted since MAY. May. 6 months. SIX. I've been suffering Crusoe-withdrawals for no reason. Needless to say, I promptly Amazoned it and in just a few short business days, Philip will be mine all mine.

On the subject of Philip Winchester, I thought it was about time I posted some more trailers. Because movie trailers are the whipped cream on the hot chocolate of life, and I really don't want to do homework right now.

The first trailer I have for you involves the ever-yummy Philip.

Yeah, I know. It kind of sucks. But did you see how many scenes Philip is sans-shirt? I didn't even realize there was a plot until I watched it twice. Who needs a plot with abs like that?

It's getting a little hot in here. Moving on.

Now for a trailer that looks so awesome, so indescribable, so mind-bogglingly AMAZING that I squeal like a lovesick fangirl every time I watch it.

Just take a moment and let the magnitude of this movie sink in. Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, AND Heath Ledger. Me thinks the movie screen will explode with awesome. And the fact that we get to see Heath one last time -- that alone makes me teary. God, he's amazing.

The next trailer is one I somehow forgot to post last trailer go-around. Dara over at inthewritemind reminded me of it, and I've been bouncing excitedly to show you all ever since.

In case you don't know this about me, I'm a huge history buff. I realized today that most of my big stories involve some part of history: pirates, Tudor England, a newly developed age of discovery idea. It's obvious then that I am in love with this movie. As if they needed to convince me to watch it even more, PAUL BETTANY is in it. Paul. Bettany. Swoon.

I'm on the fence with this next one. On the one hand, it looks great visually. On the other -- I don't know. Maybe it's because I was never much into the series.

Yes? No? Like I said, I'm on the fence.

The last trailer I shall leave you with looks absolutely terrifying. There's a boat freakin' load of post-apoc movies coming out, but this one stands above them in that it's gruesome, gory, and downright scary. In a way, it seems the most likely of all the post-apoc scenarios.

And -- Viggo! I've missed you. What have you been doing since LOTR? I thought you pulled a Jeff Goldblum and vanished into movie oblivion.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On a Serious Note, Take Two

I've been thinking about this for awhile. A long while. Every time I go into a bookstore, every time someone references the upcoming New Moon release, every time I see someone reading a "trigger book." I haven't done this post, though, for a lot of reasons, mainly because I wasn't sure how I'd go about it and a part of me didn't want to delve into this issue again. But Natalie, super-awesome Natalie, did a post about it, and if she can talk about it so openly, I can too.

Twilight started a dangerous trend. It's more of a cliche now really: the weak and socially awkward girl outcast falls for the outrageously attractive and mysteriously dark boy who is almost inhumanly perfect. I joke about it in my book reviews, yes. But it's one of those joke-about-it-so-you-don't-scream scenarios. Here, I will scream. Er, not scream-scream, but you get the idea.

I (surprise surprise) was a weak and socially awkward girl outcast who read and wrote about life where other people "really" lived. People used to laugh because most of my pieces of advice started with "I read it in a book once...". Books shaped every part of everything I did when I was a teenager, painfully shy and uncertain and so, so breakable. If I read a story about a girl like me who blossomed by doing XYZ, I DID XYZ in hope of blossoming too. And if I'd read a story about a girl who found "true love" by sticking in a relationship with someone who "only wanted the best" for her, someone who forced her to change who she was, someone who TOLD her what was wrong with her and refused to be with her unless she conformed to his demands, I would still be pining after my exes. Though other people may have told me that what my exes did was wrong, because a book told me first that it was right, I wouldn't have heard them.

Without naming titles, I've seen the Twilight-like glorification of emotional abuse coming up again and again and again in books. And it is sickening. Spinning the controlling, obsessive, cruel actions of an emotional abuser until they're something that makes girls swoon is an epidemic as far from the awesome kind as you can get. The authors don't do it intentionally, of course; but that doesn't make it okay. In most cases, the authors' intent was to show that the shy girl CAN find true love too. An admirable goal, yes. But the execution of said goal has become more detrimental than ever intended.

In the people I meet in my day-to-day happenings (school, work, home, etc), I run into a lot of people. A nice mixed variety, mostly of my age and below, and mostly female. Being female, the issue of boys will invariably come up. It used to be that these conversations were filled with All-boys-are-stupid, I-can't-wait-to-find-the-one-who-ISN'T. Now, though, they're filled with half-hearted smiles. Shrugs. "Yeah, I have a boyfriend. He's great. I love him," said with as much excitement as though she was talking about homework. The girls I meet now are falling into relationships that they WON'T get out of. Not that they can't. They simply won't. The glorification of "love" being a controlling, manipulative, toxic spiral has made girls believe that that is it. The dead-end relationship they're in is it. They're "in love." That's enough.

I know books alone aren't to blame for this. But I don't think the rise in popularity of Twilight-love-themed books and the corresponding rise of teenage girls thinking that that IS love is entirely coincedental. Now, I haven't done any kind of scientific study to see how many girls countrywide are in relationships of the emotionally abusive kind. I just know that the girls around me went from powerful, strongwilled young women who WANTED more of their lives to "Eh. My boyfriend loves me. He doesn't have a job. He's not going to college. But he loves me. That's enough."

One of the most frustrating things in all of this is not being able to argue with them. I try to tell them that that ISN'T love, but then they ask the obvious question. "Well then, what is?" I try to explain. I give examples -- but all my examples are at least two generations removed from theirs. I don't have one single example of a healthy, functional relationship in the 20-and-below category. When they realize that, the girls shrug, roll their eyes, and go back to their boyfriends. They give up.

Watching everyone around me find boyfriends and "happiness" while I sit off to the side, spouting promises that love is supposed to be better than that, has made me want to give up too. And then another book comes out saying "This is love. Look for THIS to make you happy." And I tell the book, "No, you're wrong! I had that, I had that THREE separate times, and it still kills me." But I'm running out of arguements. There are only a handful of girls I know who still believe love is supposed to be something more than an Edward-like spiral. The rest are smiling. It's a losing battle to tell someone who thinks they're happy that they aren't, especially when you yourself aren't happy and you're trying to convince them to be like you. And especially when another author writes another book about the weak, inept 16-year-old who falls in love because she stuck it out with the guy who berated her, changed her, and manipulated her.

I won't settle for an Edward. I've been down that road enough to know that Edwards are never really capable of loving anyone as much as they love themselves. But not settling has become the fight of my generation. Fighting for something you REALLY want is looked at with an eyeroll, a snort of derision. It's hard. It sucks. Most days leave me wanting to scream because everyone around me is "happy" while I'm still promising them that I'll someday be happier.

What makes it harder are books like Twilight. Books that glorify the insanity.

What makes it easier are the few books like Shiver. Books that say "This is how it should be. Warm. Safe. It should make you BEAUTIFUL. And it should be worth fighting for."

Thursday, October 15, 2009


And heeeeerrreeee we go!

From Kat:

Why did it take you so long to finish that bag of candy? Sheesh, it shoulda been gone before you hit 'Publish'.

In my defense, it was at least 1/4 of the way gone before I hit 'Publish'. Blame my slow-eating family, who did not help me devour it nearly as fast as I had hoped.

How many queries/partials/fulls did you send out for Stream Pirate?

*insert ten minute break to count up the tallies...*

*picks jaw up from floor, as I'd forgotten how many queries I'd sent*

*twiddles thumbs, hoping the question will go by unnoticed*

Oh, um, you're still here? You, um, still want that answer? Oh, yeah, well, about that...

Suffice to say, I sent a lot of queries. As far as partials go, I got 5, and as far as fulls go, I got 4. I was a bit of an obsessive-compulsive querier. For being so anti-numerical, I'm obsessed with odds; and the more queries you send, the greater your odds of requests/interests. I had a statistics class a few semesters ago that has haunted me ever since. Argh, mathematical probabilities, you fickle things, you...

A demon shows up at your door and tells you he's going to destroy the world. Upside? He lets you choose the apocalypse. How do you want the world to end?

This should be obvious: piratic takeover. And the fun pirates. Not the real Somalia pirates. I'm not sure how pirates taking over would end the world, but hey, that's for the demon to figure out.

From CKHB:

What's the best Halloween costume you've ever seen on a real person (no t.v. costumes or brilliant-but-unexecuted ideas)?

I'm going to be selfish: it was one of mine. A few years ago I was a non-survivor of the Titanic. Victorian dress, life preserver around my neck, white face paint, white hair dye, blue lip stick. I looked wicked dead.

What book makes you think, "dang, why didn't *I* write that?"

Inkheart. A book about books. Everytime I see it, I think of how much fun it would've been to write it, and I get really sad that I don't get to have that much fun. But then I think about how much fun I have with my characters, and I don't get quite as sad.

What would entice you to "follow" my blog?

From Mariah:

How long were you secretly talking with Agent Kate before we found out about her?

*insert five minutes to email-search the date*

Since the beginning of the summer. I did some revisions, sprucing it up a bit, tweaking things here and there, to make it as shiny and editor-ready as possible. Let me tell you, it was so difficult to not say anything about working with Agent Kate; her suggestions about which parts to spruce and her excitement about my story made me want to write a bunch of exclamation marks all over my blog. It still does, actually. So here:


Why aren't you allergic to adorable puppies? I am.

I'm allergic to adorable kitties, which is almost as sad. Though I secretly believe cats are plotting a worldwide takeover. They just know too much. Sneaky.

From Renee:

I'm bouncing off of CKHB's question. What are you going to be for Halloween?

I'm a hermit. No, not I'm going to be a hermit; I am a hermit. Thus, I have nowhere to wear a Halloween costume (*pity party* *end pity party*). But, fingers crossed, I may get to wear a costume to work on Halloween. If that pans out, I will be a pirate. I have a dress I just realized is very pirate-appropriate, and pirate buckle boots, and a pirate belt. Just need to get me an eyepatch, mate. Best day at work ever.

Also, tell me more (or what you can say) about crocpeople. (I guess that's more of a request than a question, but I figure I'm within boundaries.)

Dude, talking about my story is one of my favorite things to do, so request granted. Without giving some major spoilers: Crocpeople are half-man, half-crocodile beasties in Stream Pirate. They're nasty, bad-tempered, and just all around not something you want to run into whilst splashing in a lake. Fangs, claws, yellow eyes -- not fun, folks. Not fun. But they sure do make for fun battle scenes.

From Carrie:

What is your super sekrit pirate name? I promise I won't tell.

*casts a wary eye to the tavern corners and leans in close* Ye sure yer, trustworthy, mate? Eh, ye look fit for sekrit-bearing. Me pirate name is Machete Jackie Scabb. Fearsome, aye?

I'm half-tempted to answer the rest of the questions in pirate-speak. Too. Much. Fun.

From inthewritemind:

Do you have a "theme song" or "songs" for Stream Pirate? I'm one that needs music to write and I often try to search for songs that capture my story. Wondered if you did the same!

Just remember, you asked for it...

I have a very, very large collection of songs that inspired Stream Pirate and are helping to inspire its sequel Rechanneled. The songs that I listen to the most are: Storm by Lifehouse, I Remember by Damien Rice (but only the first half. The second half is -- weird), My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (don't judge), Watch Over You by Alter Bridge, Running Up That Hill by Placebo, and New Divide by Linkin Park (which would KICK A** as a battle scene song. Just sayin'). Oh, and Your Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Oh, and one more: Audience of One by Rise Against. OHHOWDIDIFORGETTHISONE: My Skin by Natalie Merchant.

And, FYI, the music service I use and love and adore because it's all completely FREE is Grooveshark.

From Kate:

Your house is burning. An angel appears. He, yes it's a dude, tells you that you can only save 10books and 5 non-book related items. What do you save? Oh, and your family/everyone in the house is safe.

Cruel question, Kate, cruel. But is it weird that I really do think about this scenario?

10 books: The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (which oddly enough isn't even at my house at the moment. But I'll still count those three), my New Zealand handbook (dunno why. It's cool), Edith Hamiltion's Mythology (my Bible), The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard (my other Bible), Candor by Pam Bachorz and Looking for Alaska by John Green (because I haven't finished either of those yet, and letting them burn unread would be wrong), my ARC of Wintergirls (because it's the only ARC of something I have, even if it isn't actually "mine"; I won it from the fabulous L&L), and The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde (because he is hysterical, and if my house is burning, I'll need something to make me laugh.)

5 non-books: My laptop (duh), my little file folder thingy of story notes, my phone (I'll have to call 911), my oversized $10 Walmart hoodie (I'll be sad because my house is gone; it will act as a security blanket), and my puppy's skinny purple doggie toy (she'll be sad too. She needs at least one toy.)

From Hayley:

Are you going to do NaNo?(I may have asked this in our emails)

I have a NaNo account, but whether I DO NaNo is still up in the air. I'm chopping away at Rechanneled, and I don't know if I want to break stride to write something else...November might become National Novel Editing Month for me.

How do you come up with your awesome character names? I mean I never would have thought of Alluvial in a bagillion years, but its a wicked name.

Actually, I didn't come up with Alluvial's name. It's a geology term. Most of the characters in Stream Pirate have geology terms for names. Alluvium, Yazoo, Tom (Tombolo), etc etc. Some people have really deep, meaningful character names. Mine came from words that made me giggle during my geology night class.

How long did it take you to convince your parents to let you get Pippa? And how exactly did you do it? I'm trying to convince them to let me get another kitten, I already named him, they just need to say yes.

A few months. I made sure to lay on the She'll-make-YOU-happy-too stuff pretty thick.

How many books are on your shelves right now? And are they organized in any particular order?

More than I care to count. I tried to organize them by genre, but that's overflowed now too. So they're just kind of -- there. I know where they are, and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It seems like an appropriate time to do another round o' Q&A! Then again, when isn't an appropriate time for questions?

So leave me your funniest, your heartiest, your most serious, your anything-and-the-kitchen-sink type questions! No subject is off-limits. No valley too low. No river too wide.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It's official, ladies and gentlemen: I finished the stupidly large bag of candy today, October 14th, with the final Oh Henry! bar. Which means we have a winner!

Mariah Irvin, you have won the super fun pack of Halloween goodness by correctly guessing October 14th! Just shoot me an email at seesarawrite(at)gmail.com letting me know where to send said pack of Halloween goodness (as well as a favorite type of candy of yours). I bought some of the goodies for the super fun pack of Halloween goodness yesterday, and let me tell you, there's some fun stuff in there.

I would like to say, however, that storyqueen was also right. I totally burnt out on chocolate. This was my face after I ate the last piece:

Yeah. No longer am I the happy, chocolate-loving girl I once was. Now, all I want is some Pepto.

Non-nauseating news: I hit the 20,000 word mark on the Stream Pirate sequel! Woot woot! Though I should probably start calling the Stream Pirate sequel by it's actual title. It deserves that much (even if it has been a PAIN as far as beginnings go...). Wanna know what the title is? Do ya do ya do ya?

All righty then. The second book in the planned Stream Pirate trilogy is now temporarily dubbed Rechanneled. I say "temporarily" because all my titles are subject to change. Look at my poor Tudor story. It's gone through, what, three titles now? Though I do like the one it has now. We'll see what happens.

Congrats again, Mariah! And Happy Halloween, everyone! Thanks for entering and supporting my overindulgence :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Bringing It Back

I realized a great injustice today. Well, I had realized this injustice for many days, but today I will act upon it.

For too long, the world has forgotten the AWESOME mini-series, The 10th Kingdom.

This mini series was, in a word, fantastic. More than fantastic. The characters were ohmygosh lovable and the storyline was PAINFULLY unique and so, so awesome I still get angry that I didn't think of it myself. The setting -- BEAUTIFUL. The costumes -- envy-inducing. And yet, it just kind of faded into movie oblivion.

So, so wrong.

Thus, I am rebirthing The 10th Kingdom. If you haven't seen, hopefully this blog post will convince you that you should run out to your nearest, um, amazon.com and order it. Because it is just that good, folks. We're talking Level 6 type good.

So here is my list of reasons why The 10th Kingdom is the best unknown mini-series movie thing ever. Yes, I set the bar quite high.

Reason #1) The people who made this movie are HYSTERICAL. They are brilliant actors who brought the characters to life so well I have trouble seeing them in other roles. Scott Cohen is just and will always be WOLF, no matter who he plays.

Reason #2) Everything sings. Rings sing. Mushrooms sing. Trolls sing. Rings sing. Did I mention the singing ring? (No, I couldn't find a clip. You'll have to watch it to see for yourself!)

Reason #3) Every fairy tale you could want is referenced. Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, Little Red, The Emperor's New Clothes, Rapunzel, and on and on.

Reason #4) Adventure. Lots, and lots, and lots of adventure. And not just any adventure. Like escaping insane farming villages. Dodging evil swamp witches. Breaking out of high-security fairy tale prisons. Running from psycho-killing huntsmen. Breaking gypsy curses. De-riddling frogs. Yeah. I thought you'd be interested.

Reason #5) Lots of really obscure meat references. Hey, Wolf is, after all, a wolf.

Reason #6) Romance. Wolf and Virginia. Virginia and Wolf. Just...sigh.

More reasons, in clumped-together-paragraph form:

Talking dogs, evil stepmothers, magic traveling mirrors, magic TALKING mirrors, dwarves, caves, waterfalls, love towns, modern-day songs in fairytale setting, magic wishing wells, village idiots, yummy food, pretty castles, fairies, sheep, and magic beans.

Now go here. You'll thank me later.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Everything I Learned About Life I Learned from Working in Retail: Fact #3

Fact #3:

If you work in a busy retail store, a LOT of people can come through your doors each day. Most of these customers pass through your store without leaving much of an impact. They buy stuff, they leave. Then there are some who just don't leave soon enough (the ones that cause you to scream in your head: OHMYGOD do you even care that your son is tearing apart the shoe display?! DEMON CHILDREN!). Then there are the "golden customers." The ones who go out of their way to be courteous, who only make you get down exactly what they need from the very tippy-top shelf. The ones who sympathize with you about the insane little boy who is now running laps around the store, dressed head to toe in unbought merchandise, while their own children stand quietly by their side, well-behaved and mannered. These are the customers you bond with. These are the customers you eventually come to greet by name. These are the customers that make an entire day of DEMON CHILDREN a little bit brighter.


People come and people go. Acquaintances flit through our lives more numerous than we can quite count. But every so often, people stick. Some we REALLY wish wouldn't stick (I don't feel I can give an example of this without insulting any one group of people, but I'm sure you have your own image of who I'm talking about), and others we're REALLY glad did stick. The ones we're glad did stick are the ones who make days filled with stress and just all around nastiness a little bit brighter. They're the ones we look forward to seeing or talking with, the ones who go out of their way to make sure we're doing swell. They're our "golden friends." Yes, I did just coin that phrase. And yes, it is extremely corny.

PS: I'm about two months late in realizing this, but look! Over on Elana Johnson's blog, I'm in her list of her favorite blogs! Yay, people like me!

PPS: I keep forgetting to remind yourselves about my super fun Halloween Candy Contest. That bag is getting awfully low, folks. Place your bets now!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Everything I Learned About Life I Learned from Working in Retail: Fact #2

Fact #2:

Just when you get the store looking good (everything in its place, floor swept, shelves stocked), a truck comes. And not just any truck. A truck with at least 90, 100 boxes on it, and that store that looked so good before is now crowded with a mountain of cardboard. It's daunting, to say the least. 100 boxes of items to be displayed, clothes to be hung and put away, shirts to be folded (ug), and shoes to be stocked. And customers are still pouring in, ignorant of the mountainous pile of STUFF at the back of the store. A newb to the retail industry would completely freak-out-panic and hide in the bathroom until his/her shift ended. But you? No, you are much wiser than that. You know that that mountainous pile of STUFF is really just one box after one box after one box. And you know that if you take that mountainous pile of STUFF one box at a time, you will get through it. Maybe not that day, maybe not the next, but it will eventually go back to being a cleanly swept floor in a neat and tidy store.


Life can pile up, and pile up FAST. What was once manageable and totally smile-inducing can quickly become OHMYGODMAKEITSTOP. And it is easy, oh so easy, to let it pile up around you until you have to hide somewhere to hyperventilate in peace. But hyperventilating won't fix the problem; trying to tackle everything at once isn't the answer. Just step back, take a deep breath, and choose one box to start on. Take care of that one box. Move on to one more box. Take care of that box. And so on and so forth, until you come to find the not only is your life a lot less OHMYGODMAKEITSTOP, but you are back to living a smile-inducing existence.

And if that doesn't fill you with life-will-be-better goodness, just pretend you work with these people. That should make your life's amount of awesome increase by like tenfold.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Everything I Learned About Life I Learned from Working in Retail: Fact #1

Fact #1:

No matter how many times you fold a stack of shirts on a table, five minutes later, a customer will always, always, ALWAYS come by and mess it up. Sometimes not even with the intent to buy a shirt; quite frequently, shirt-destroyers attack with nothing but ill-intent and the need to destroy order. But you, noble store employee, must refold that stack of shirts you have so diligently folded at least half a dozen times that day. Why? It is your job to keep the store looking neat and tidy, no matter how ungrateful the customers may be.


Sometimes we do stuff that doesn't seem to have meaning. No one notices we do these things, no one ever thanks us, and quite often people step all over the fact that we've spent the past hour (or day, or week, etc) doing something for them. But quite often it is beyond our control to make people realize these things. Quite often, all we can do is continue folding our proverbial shirt stack, knowing that we make life a little nicer, even if no one else notices and it all gets ruined five minutes later. The point is: it was there for a moment in time, and for a moment in time, you made the world a little bit brighter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Liiiiiiinks and Stuff

Hi, my name is Sara, and I'm going to fail my psychology test tomorrow. Just thought you should be the firsts to know. I mean, it's not like I didn't bother to check if we had an upcoming test until Tuesday, found out it was on Thursday, put off studying until 10 o'clock tonight, and now feel the need to complain to anyone who will listen that tests are the bane of my existence. No, I didn't do any of that. I'm a good student.

*cough* Sorry, I'm allergic to my own BSing.

But it's PSYCHOLOGY, people. I've taken this exact class before, almost a year and a half ago, but my shiny new college didn't transfer the credit over, or something, and now I'm taking it AGAIN and pounding my head into my textbook because it was mind-numbing enough the first time 'round. Same class, boring at two completely different schools. Who knew?


Moving on.

Me has links to share:

Firstly, Frankie is doing a contest over on her blog. You should enter. She's giving away books, people. Free books. Yeah, I thought you'd be interested.

Secondly, to waste time, click here. I spent a good half hour not studying because of this website. Have at it.

Thirdly, um...okay, I swear there was at least one other link I wanted to share. PSYCHOLOGY IS FRYING MY BRAIN. Aaaarrrrrrggggghhhh

College rant:

When am I ever going to use the information about how an eye works? Or about sensory perceptions? Hm? When will I ever NEED to know who Hubel and Wiesel were? Yes, it's good to be "well rounded," but seriously now, folks. I feel rounded. Quite rounded. I think the amount of freshman classes (which, by the way, is a total LIE -- I'm taking "freshman" classes as a JUNIOR. Liars! Infidels! Traitors!) is a bit astronomical. Tone it down a bit, or, better yet, ACCEPT ALL CREDITS FROM ALL COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES EVERYWHERE.


Rant over.

Back to studying.

BAH again.

Oh yeah, I'm having a contest too, aren't I? You should enter now. All this test stress may be the end of that bag o' candy.

Wow, you look SO familiar...

14,700 words into the sequel to Stream Pirate! I finally got to a part that I have been DYING to get to since I started writing this book: the introduction of some super-fun, super-dangerous, super-AWESOME new characters. Seriously, guys, these characters are the type that make me all giggly late at night just thinking about their snarkiness. I find myself day-dreaming about the funny things they'll say next and the wicked places they'll go. I'm in love.

But alas, as I was day-dreaming last night (er, night-dreaming? But I was awake...) I realized something that made me rather sad for a moment. One of my beloved new characters is very similar in speech and role to Tia Dalma from Pirates of the Caribbean. This has happened a few other times before (not a character similar to Tia Dalma, just a character similar to an already-created character), and it always leaves me feeling rather -- unoriginal.

My fear is that someone reading my book will draw the connection. In drawing the connection, they will then throw the book down and groan about how utterly incapable I am of making my own characters, so incapable that I have to go stealing other people's characters. And me, being only the author, won't be there to go "But-- I didn't mean to! She's not Tia Dalma! Look, look, she doesn't-- I mean, she wouldn't say--"

Not that my bullet-proof argument would convince them otherwise, but still.

I guess my question is: do you worry about this too? Do you fear getting attached to a character only to find out that your character is really similar to another, already-made character? Or do you think it's not an issue worth worrying over?

PS: The ever-awesome Frankie linked me over to The First Novels Club, where it appears as though they find me "alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring." Aw, shucks, guys, I'm blushing...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Great YA Debate

My fantabulous Agent Kate posted a link to an article on her blog. The article, in short, is yet another rip on the YA fiction industry and all its domains, this time focusing on the "uselessness" of conferences (er, well, starting with the uselessness of conferences and digressing into other things...). Agent Kate also posted her response to the article which was, as expected, dead-on. This, coupled with something else that happened yesterday, got me thinking.

Whilst I was being all archaeological yesterday, the inevitable question came up: "Why are you studying archaeology?" I have a lot of answers to this question.

A) "It's my 6th major. Seemed like a good switch at the time."
B) "The movie Timeline."
C) "I want to find Atlantis."
D) "I need a degree, apparently. Something about getting a job, surviving, food, blah blah blah."

This time, I responded to said question with a combination of A and D. The question-asker, who was an archaeology/science guy who had been in the science side of things for most of his life, asked what I want to do with my degree. I said "Get a job so I can write."

As soon as I said those words, I cringed.

I've learned not to tell people (namely acquiantances) I write. They ask all kinds of questions that I can't answer "properly", and by the end of the conversation, they think I'm crazy and I'm exasperated with them for thinking my life's work is crazy. But yesterday I was tired, sun-soaked, and sweaty, and the answer just kind of popped out of me.

Then came the questions.

Science people: "What do you write?"
Me: "YA fiction."
Science: "YA fiction? What's that?"
Me: *thinks really hard for something a group of science people might have heard of* "Um...like Twilight and Harry Potter."
Science: "What's Twilight?"
Me: *picks up jaw before realizing another reason I love science people* "Some vampire book." *briefly explains Twilight*
Science: "Oh, so you're going to write a book and get rich?"
Me: "Um...no. Not exactly. That's REALLY rare. Like an actor making it big on his first audition."
Science: "So what book are you working on?"
Me: "YA fantasy, based on geology." *thinking they will at least appreciate the humor of my cleverness* "It's about the term 'stream piracy.' Heard it in a class once. Thought it would be funny if there were actually pirates...who, um...who stole..." *voice fades as looks of woa-she's-lost-it grow*
Science: "Stream piracy? Well, um, if you can write about that, you can write about anything."
Me: "Yeah."
Science: "So you're not going to get rich writing books?"
Me: "Um, not counting on it. That doesn't really happen a lot." *makes the mistake of giving examples of people who have gotten astronomical advances* *quickly amends for it by saying that most authors get small advances, then tries to explain how the system works* *stutters explanation because I'm so nervous under their growing confusion* *ends up throwing out some half-baked explanation and closing the subject by asking about an archaeological device*

That's just an example of the types of conversations I've had with many, many people (this was, in fact, one of the much nicer ones I've had). But while I was reading the article posted by Agent Kate, I couldn't help but feel even more exasperated that there are still people out there with such skewed opinions of YA fiction. It's to be expected; for everything, there will always be people who are uninformed about it. I guess I'd just hoped that after the surge of popularity among YA fiction in recent years, there would be slightly more informed people.

Part of it could be due to the fact that I am just really bad at explaining things verbally (speech class = WORST CLASS OF MY LIFE) to those who ask about writing. Part of it could be my incredible lack of patience when it comes to explaining things. But there are certain stereotypes and certain questions that have been proven wrong through the popularity of YA books. For instance, as mentioned in the article, the lack of "sacrifical goodness" in YA fiction. Two words: Harry Potter. Yes, it was about "witchcraft" and we all know witchcraft is the spawn of Satan and just reading about it will ensure our ticket to hell, but every single one of those 7 books had at least one HUGE scene of sacrifical goodness. And good heavens, people; *SPOILER -- though, really? You don't know how this book ends already?* the culmination of the entire series had a Jesus-like ending. *END SPOILER* What's equally interesting is that the author of the article, Duin, considers Harry Potter to be in a separate category in "YA fiction":

"Few are retold classics or heroic tales like "Lord of the Rings" or homespun adventures like "Little House on the Prairie." Very few speak in moral terms in what David calls the neoclassic tradition of the Harry Potter books or Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Despite the latter's crude anti-Christian propaganda, Mr. Mills wrote, the trilogy does include moving scenes of sacrificial goodness."

Since when is HP not considered to be in the same group as all the rest modern YA fiction? It does stand out for a number of reasons, but if you're going to pick and pull out all the "good books" from the "bad books" then point at the "bad books" and say "WHY AREN'T YOU GOOD??" well...that's a little silly. HP is YA fiction, and YA fiction should be given credit for it.

There's so much more I could go into; that article offers up WAY too much fodder for harping on ignorant folk. But, basically, I'm quite tired of the ignorant put-downs, the snide remarks, and the blank stares of "You want to do WHAT with your life?" I'm tired of having to explain to people that no, I won't get rich like Stephenie Meyer. No, the likelihood of my book turning into a movie is very, very slim. No, my book won't be coming out this year; it'll be awhile longer. Why? Because that's just the pace of the industry.

Let's make a vow. A vow to put to right all the misconceptions of our industry, all the issues that raise eyebrows, all the things that make people snort and roll their eyes and say things like "This is so lacking in moral lessons." Yes, there will always be people with sticks up their asses who will, no matter what, harp on us. But those acquaintances we meet who ask the strands of disheartening questions? Them we can enlighten. So even though I royally suck at verbal communication, I hereby vow to be more patient with those who know nothing of our industry. I hereby vow to take the time to set to right their misperceptions, their questions, their concerns. I hereby vow to tell everyone that I am first and foremost a YA fiction writer, and while it isn't the usual measure of success, it is the measure by which I gauge my happiness, and that's enough for me.

(PS: don't forget to enter my Halloween Candy Contest! You like candy, yes? I thought so.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Candy Contest!

I spent today being all archaeological. I traipsed through dirt, I sorted sticks, I helped with a GPR (ground penetrating radar) survey. All in all, I'm dirty, I'm slightly sore (heavy sticks. Okay, maybe I'm just out of shape.) and I'm exhausted. This may lead to a rather scattered blog post. Ahem.

Anyway, since it is my 175th blog post (yay!) and it is now my favorite time of the year (fall!) I figured a contest was long overdue. So, here shall lie my first contest as an AGENTED AUTHOR! Can I get a woot-woot?

Here is the premise:

Below you will see a picture of me holding a giant bag of candy.

Halloween is a DANGEROUS TIME, my friends. If the bag of candy with the screaming lady and the creepy font doesn't tell you that, I don't know what will. With Halloween comes lots and lots and LOTS of bags of very cheap assorated deliciousness. Cheap deliciousness + college student = Holy crap, I just gained five pounds.

So, yesterday, I bought the bag of deliciousness you see above. Because I am 1) tired and 2) tired, the contest will be simple.

1) Leave a comment on this post with your guess as to when I will finish this bag of candy.

2) Person closes to the right day will win an assortment of Halloween goodness, such as: candy (duh), scary stuff, candy, and writing-related Halloween goodies. And candy.

To make it easier: I will have this bag finished before Halloween, so put your guess between now (the 5th) and Halloween (the 31st).

To make myself seem like less of a pig: The assortment of candies I have are 100 Grand bars, Oh Henry!s, Goobers, and Raisinets. There are some peanuts and raisins in there, people. Healthy, right? Right? Yes. That's what I keep telling myself.

To make myself seem like even less of a pig: My family ate a few (and will probably eat a few more) already. I won't be consuming EVERY piece of this 60-piece assortment. All the 100 Grand bars, yes. But all the Oh Henry!s? Probably not.

To make myself seem like a pig: I've eaten three pieces just writing this blog post. But hey, I did a lot of physical labor today. Yeah.

And I promise, promise, cross-my-heart kind of promise, not to look at any of your comments until I have finished the bag of candy and can admit that I am a chocolate-addicted pig. Oink.

Let the guessing begin!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Weekend in Pictures

Signing the contract with Agent Kate!! (I've been looking forward to taking this picture almost as much as I've been looking forward to getting an agent. The two go hand-in-hand, but still.)

Walmart + Halloween + A newly acquired puppy = COSTUMES. I was nervous she wouldn't like it (and she's only playing dead here because she's tired. I think.), but she tolerated it much better than I thought she would. Next step: PIRATE puppy costume!

It says "Witch in Training." Teehee

*insert ten minutes of googling*

OHMYGOD link. Link.

And...really? Does it come with a dreidel?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hey! Interview of the Year!

That might be a little presumptuous...

But what isn't presumptuous is Steph Bowe over at Hey! Teenager of the Year. She's 15 and is represented by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown. Dude. This chick seriously is the teenager of the year in my book. I mean, not in my actual book, but in my proverbial book. You get what I mean.

Anyhoo, Steph is doing a series of interviews with agented-but-not-yet-published writers. She did the ever-fabulous Natalie Whipple yesterday, and guess who she did today? Yep! Me!

(She said my red website is "jazzy." The fact that she probably said it (er, typed it) with her Australian accent makes it so much cooler.)

So, go check it out, yo! I get to talk about STREAM PIRATE and being a teenager and all sorts of other fun stuff. You'll like it. Promise.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Trailers, Trailers Everywhere

Tomorrow I shall venture forth to watch "Zombieland." SO. EXCITED.

In honor of the release of the long-awaited zombie apocalypse, I have some trailers to share. Firstly, of course, the trailer for "Zombieland," in case you have had the misfortune of not seeing it yet.

(Is it just me, or is it impossible to say the word "misfortune" without using a British accent?)

One of the things I'm looking forward to most in a zombie apocalypse is getting to go into mansions and live there rent-free. It seems a fair trade-off: worldwide epidemic of deadly proportions in exchange for free room and board in a swanky house.

Next trailer is one that makes me blubber just watching it.

It looks nearly identical to "Becoming Jane," but Ben Whishaw is HAWT in that dorky, adorable way. And him + poetry + lots and lots of poetry = two hours of blubbering. Sigh.

I can't remember if I posted the trailer for this movie yet or not. But it looks so bloody good (ha, bloody. You'll see why that's funny in a minute) that I'm going to post it again.

I have no problem with vampires -- when they're original. And this movie bleeds (ha, another pun) originality. It's brilliantly unique. Humans as an endangered species? Vampire domination? Love. It.

The last trailer I'll post has me on the fence.

On the one hand, Paul Bettany. On the other hand -- seriously, Paul Bettany? I don't think I'd be able to take angels seriously. Kind of like if I encountered a vampire now; I'd laugh and point and say "Hehe, you sparkle!" Maybe "Legion" will make angels scary. Either way, Paul Bettany. Mmm, Paul Bettany. Mmm.

Any movies you're itching to see?

EDIT: OHMYGAWD Maggie Stiefvater is writing a SEQUEL TO SHIVER. And not just a sequel. IT'S A TRILOGY. DUDE.

Books, Books, Books

Alphabetical by author. Ratings are from the ever-fearsome Sara's Scale of Suck or Soar, as follows, lowest to highest:

Level 1: This is How Not to Write a Book
Level 2: What Editor Read this and said "Hmm, Let's Publish it"?
Level 3: My Faith in Writers is Wavering Precariously
Level 4: This Doesn't Suck
Level 5: I'd Read the Sequel
And the coveted Level 6: Fan-FREAKING-tastic. Buy at All Costs

Slight warning can be found here. Suffice to say my pent-up young adult anger hormones can run away from me sometimes, resulting in book reviews that are meaner than they should be. I've tried to tone down most of them, but just in case I missed something...

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Level 6

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter Level 5

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Level 5

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman Level 3

Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner Level 3

Evernight by Claudia Gray Level 5

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale Level 4

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev Level 5

Evermore by Alyson Noel Level 3

To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker Level 3

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce Level 5

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison Level 6

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan Level 4

Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors Level 3

Unwind by Neal Shusterman Level 5

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater Level 6