Thursday, March 31, 2011

Zombie Sex-tacular presents "Hungry for Your Love"


Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

**Today's entry discusses mature themes and isn't acceptable for readers under the age of 18. So don't read on if you're underage or easily offended by sex or published smut. If you choose not to read on, go enter our Race to 150 Contest! It is kid friendly.**

Since most of the readers of 'The Pie' seem like writerly types and well-read individuals, none of you are shocked to know that a bunch of Borders bookstores are closing down. I don't really know anyone who doesn't have "their" Borders closing. Even the huge Borders on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, close to where I work, is shutting down. It's a sad day for book readers and buyers and even a sadder day for me because all those Seattle's Best coffee shops are closing and my company, Starbucks, owns them... and well, I'm about ready to sell my stock, so I need it to not go down. But that's besides the point of today's post topic-- ZOMBIE SMUT!

Yes, legitimate (okay, I use the word loosely) zombie published pornography of the written word variety. We've already explored how zombie sex is popular in film, but it seems even writers agree that the topic should be explored. So, while visiting her local Borders that was shutting down, my friend picked me up a very cheap copy of a zombie romance novel.


Enter on the scene the anthology Hungry for Your Love edited and compiled by Lori Perkins from a group(?) known as "Ravenous Romance." That alone should tell you the sorts of books they normally publish. Now, I'm not criticizing or blasting romance novels. I know they are very popular. And everyone has read some good and kinky smut in their day. But what I have read in this anthology... it's not really all that good. Good for a laugh maybe! It's hard to compare and judge "good sex" writing when at the same time I am currently reading Clive Barker's Coldheart Canyon, which may in fact be the MOST perverse Barker novel I have ever read. Perverse, but extremely well written, and, dare I say it, even some parts are kind of a turn on. But reading Hungry for Your Love and encountering lines like "a fleeting flash of her hairless sex" (which I can only assume means a waxed labia?) and "he...thrust into her, going balls deep" is just laughable. And not sexy. Oh yeah, and all the sex partners are zombies!

So, good things about this anthology-- there actually are some clever ideas floating around about zombie mythology. For example, in the story I quoted above, when they're not going down on each other, there's a unique concept that the zombie virus invades the host's brain, and while the rest of the body is decaying (like your traditional zombie), the brain remains intact and extremely active with all thoughts and memories of the previously deceased person. With the right amount of money and timing, you can transplant your zombie virus infected brain into a donor body of an individual who is brain dead, but alive, thus ending the body decay and giving your brain renewed "life." Rich zombies can shop around at body stores, or as the main character thinks, "Best Buy for the brain dead." It's a cool concept, and could actually make for an interesting story, removing the sex of course.


Another story talks about a Zombie Anonymous sort of meeting in which the zombies remind me of the characters in the Generation Dead series. However, they do talk a lot about how they have no pulse, don't have to eat or breath, and yet... the zombie man can have an erection and orgasm? I don't think so. Plot holes abound in this anthology, but it seems as if it was compiled on more of a dare than anything else (which is actually stated in the introduction, how writers claimed vampire romance was a sure thing, but you could never have zombie romance). I don't read a lot of smut, so maybe this is par for the course-- an unbelievable plot line (even ignoring the fact it is about zombies... we'll take that as plausible "fact") filled with useless sex with words like "throbbing cock" and "areolas." Who even uses that word in day to day conversation? Spell check doesn't even think it's real!

I won't say not to read this anthology, but I won't urge you to run out and buy it right now. I was laughing through most of it, including a Voodoo zombie story which was riddled with racial stereotypes and bad dialect. I don't usually read a lot of "bad" fiction, so I sort of live under the delusion that all published writing is good. Clearly, it isn't. But maybe I am too strict of a judge and require something a bit more intelligent to get my interest. However, I think it is an important example about the types of zombie fiction that exists, including zombie smut. And more power to them-- the writers and editor seem very excited that there is zombie smut. I'm a little excited too, I just wish it were all written by Clive Barker, as in Haeckel's Tale.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Fandom is Strong with This One

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's question: What books were you obsessed with as a kid?

If you ask my mother, she'll tell you I was all about The Pokey Little Puppy. I don't remember much about that, so she must be lying.

The books that stand out in my mind from the ankle biter years would be these two:


The Velveteen Rabbit convinced me that whenever I left the room my brown bear Yogi would explore my room. I would seriously sneak back to the bedroom and listen at the door for fuzzy, creeping feet. As far as Tikki Tikki Tembo goes, I just liked the rhythym.

As I got older and more words came into play, I couldn't get enough of Nancy Drew. This includes all the original stories too. Even as a kid, I had completionist tendencies and backpedaled my way through every. single. book. I enjoyed Nancy's sidekicks and the mysteries kept me on my toes*.

When I wasn't busy with Nancy, I devoured all things Arthurian and Reading Rainbow. Even though there aren't adult versions of Reading Rainbow books, there are the original texts for all things Arthur**, so at least that one obsession has carried on into adulthood. 




What book were you hooked on?


In other news, we're getting closer to 150 followers. So join The Lurkdom and win prizes!


* Why I don't write mystery or even read mystery now is, in fact, a mystery.
** Have you read The Vulgate Cycle or Geoffrey of Monmouth? If yes, I think we should talk.
___
Last.fm hit of the day: A Sea of Dead Comets by Mar de Grises

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Task-Setting For Writers, Part II: Multi-Tasking

Welcome to part two of task-setting for writers. This will be a weekly feature for the next several weeks.

If you're like me, you want to accomplish more things than reasonable during the day: blogs to read, TV watch, peeps to catch up with, that book you want to finish reading, not to mention the gym. This is on top of eight hours at what you consider your day job, whether it's school or work. Overwhelmed with how much you have to do, you opt to do none of it.

Why couldn't there be four more hours in the day?

No worries, you can trick yourself into additional hours by multi-tasking.

Part Two: Multi-Task
Some people will argue that no one can truly multi-task, that our brains aren't structured that way. While I know for a fact I can't tap my head and rub my belly simultaneously, I can walk and chew gum. It's a fine line, but it's still multi-tasking.

Most of  us do this naturally. Have you ever read on the treadmill? Talked to your mom while grocery shopping? If you answered yes, that's multi-tasking. The trick to do this effectively is to tackle to semi-easy things at once. You can catch up on your blog reading while watching your favorite show*.

Your turn: Go ahead and write up your task list for the day. Then, using what you learned last week, determine what your A, B, and C priorities are. Once you've done that, pull back and see what you can double-up.

* Can you tell what I'm doing right now?
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Universal by Anathema

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Haiku: Caffeinated Edition

Because it's Monday and I'm busy with conferences and way too many work deadlines, caffeine is imperative. I've been known to blog about my love of all things caffeinated, so that I have a haiku in the wings shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in The Lurkdom.

#3caffeine photo © 2008 shira gal | more info (via: Wylio)
Nectar caresses
My palette, zinging my brain.
Caffeine, I love thee.

Come haiku with me. In the comments, write a haiku about one of your favorite things. And if you're new to The Pie, go enter our contest.
____
Last.fm hit of the day: Everything by Anathema

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday

Every Friday the peeps that run Paper Hangover run Flash Fiction Friday. Yours truly blows at flash fiction--it always winds up being a longer piece down the road.

Anyway, poached directly from their site:

"Here's the gist. Each week, one of us we'll give you some kind of writing prompt--it won't always be stories, just something to get those creative juices flowing. If you want to participate, just leave your link in the comments and we'll stop by and see your work. Easy, right??"
This week's prompt is In 300 words or less, write a story that begins with 'It's not you, it's me...'

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zombie Thursday Double-shot: Quiz Time!



To say I listen to "eclectic" and "unconventional" music is an understatement. I'm fully aware that my music taste and most of the Lurkdom don't match up. But today isn't about why you should join the dark side and embrace Dimmu Borgir videos as your number one source of entertainment*. It's Zombie Thursday which means we must address the zombie in music.

Now, I should examine why zombies are prevalent in certain musical genres, but the 9-5 job is kicking my butt. You can get an idea of what Miranda would say on the matter by reading her inaugural ZT post.

Instead, what I'm going to do is list songs with "zombie" or a zombie reference in the title with links to the lyrics. Your job is to argue whether or not it's really about zombies or something more.

Zombie - The Cranberries
Pet Sematary - Ramones
Zombie Prostitute - Voltaire
Now I'm Feeling Zombified - Alien Sex Fiend
Dawn of the Dead - Michale Graves

Let the debating begin!

* Though you should.
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Attitude by Sepultura

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday. 

Today's question: Which book character would you like most as a next door neighbor?

Bella Swan! She's so perfect and smart and charming and has a perfect sense of self.

Wait, she's none of these things?

Credit
*shrugs* Moving on.

My taste in neighbors has changed in recent years. When I was in college (still living at home and for the most part desperately single), all I wanted was a hot single neighbor that D and I could silently drool over and make lame attempts at conversation. If there was an accent, all the better. Now, as a quasi-adult with a husband and 2 children cats, I just want someone amicable that goes to the same gym*.
  
College Alicia's Choices
Ray Caine, the rock star from the Glory St. Clair books. He's hot, sings, and has an accent since he's not from Boston. He's a vampire, but sometimes that happens.

Jace from The Mortal Instruments series. He's hot. He's a bad boy. I would definitely do a lot of staring**.

Present Day Alicia's Choices
Vicky Austin as an adult. I would've loved having her as a bestie in school, so it's pretty safe to say that Adult Vicky would be pretty awesome too.

Jessica Darling. Maybe. We'd either become awesome friends or I would plot ways to let the air out of her tires. Though, if she lived in the same building as me, we would definitely bond over the commonality of how we would move, but the rent is so cheap.

Has your choices for a neighbor changed over the years?

Be sure to check out what the other participants are saying over at YA Highway and GO FORTH AND ENTER OUR CONTEST.

* Because that way, my odds of going are better.
** Followed by a lot of running in the opposite direction.
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Real (attempts I-3) by Ephrat

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Task-Setting For Writers, Part I: Priorities

Welcome to part one of task-setting for writers. This will be a weekly feature for the next several weeks.

To say that the art of writing is time-intensive is like saying chocolate is awesome*.

In my fantasy world, I have an unlimited amount of time each day to work on my projects, still train for a marathon, and give the pool boy a good tongue-lashing. Reality is pretty different. There's the day job, social commitments, housework, cats. Life. All of this chips away at the time I mentally block off as "writing time."

"Writing time" consists of anything that falls into the writing bucket: researching, editing, revising, beta-reading, and *gasp* actual writing. That's a lot to fit in and it's not surprising that everything sorta overflows like that time I forgot to add the flour to the cookies**. The key to stop the overflow is to quit.

Kidding.

Balancephoto © 2008 Hartwig HKD | more info (via: Wylio)
All you need to do is find balance. Balance is that precarious thing that all cats but The White One rock at and we strive for daily. The best way to handle this is to prioritize, multi-task, bargain/compromise, and sometimes say "no."

Part One: Prioritize
Not everything has a "omgimustgetthisdoneNOW" level of importance. For example, rearranging your pens based off barrel color shouldn't take precedence over fixing that problem scene. However, fixing that problem scene shouldn't happen until you mailed out the rent check.

This is where the task list is your friend. Take a sheet of paper and write down everything you want to accomplish for the day. Once the anxiety attack passes, examine each item and label them in order of importance. I use the Franklin Covey priority system***. The Franklin Covey system is based off of letters and numbers. Urgent and important tasks are labeled with an 'A,' middle-of-the-road tasks are marked 'B,' and tasks that can wait until later with a 'C.' From there, you number the tasks within each label from 1-whatever based on how important each one is.

When prioritizing tasks, you should ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is there a deadline?
  • What would happen if I didn't complete this?
Using the example from above, the rent check would definitely be listed as A1 (if I don't pay rent on time, I could be homeless) and the pen arranging C1 (no deadline, no urgency). Assuming that these are my only tasks for the day, the problem scene for me would be A2 because obviously this is blocking me from continuing with the project and knowing me, gave myself a deadline.

Your turn: Write out what tasks you want to accomplish today. What's your A1?


* Which, of course, it is.
** Never forget to add flour to the cookies. Ever. 
*** Disclaimer: I would never have done this on my own, but it was an optional, paid workshop. Always take the freebies, kids. Always.
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Do Squirrels Talk About?

If you're reading this post, that means the day job has kicked my butt again and I pulled out one of the last ditch posts. That I've written this with a raging PMS migraine isn't helping the thought process*.

Credit
Last month, Lauren sent me this as further proof of the squirrel apocalypse. Here you can see Abe whispering plot details to Charlie. What can they be talking about if not about overtaking the government?**

The squirrels were quiet all winter. I'm not sure if this is because squirrels hibernate or if the weekly snowstorm just buried them all. Perhaps they were vactioning in Boca. Now that the rains erased any traces of snow in about 2 weeks, all wildlife is back in full force. This includes these little dumpster divers. The cats have never been so excited.

If Abe and Charlie aren't canoodling or talking about a political coup, what else could they be discussing?

By the way, we need 26 more followers before the Race to 150 closes. Don't you want cookies? Go enter.

* Or the fact I'm watching the live action Masters of the Universe movie.
** By the way, I'm not the only one who has squirrel paranoia. Besides members of The Lurkdom, there's this person.
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Waging War by Hellyeah

Friday, March 18, 2011

About The White One

The White One is problematic. He's an asshat of a cat, but also very lovey. With a touch of emo-ness. That said, living with him is sometimes a challenge*. Last week was no exception because apparently he may have a case of The Clap.

But even when he does things like crack Android phone screens and snap video cards, he then balances them with something hysterically funny like the time he got his head stuck in a Kleenex box.

This is because he's the epitome of catness.The video below is one of these times. If there's a cat stereotype, he fits it.

I present you with Lucky Versus The Wreath Box.



Have a great Friday. Here's hoping next week isn't as crazy as this one!

* I should've known this the first weekend with him when he destroyed a cat toy in 5 minutes.
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Love Sounds by Abigail's Ghost

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hello Kitty Zombie... Part Two!


Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

Just like any good zombie, you really can't keep something dead for long. Thus, we're revisiting a topic I have posted about before-- the Hello Kitty Zombie. You may recall from my previous Zombie Kitty post that I was in the process of moving and wanted to make a small room in my apartment a girly Hello Kitty room. Well, ironically, I have just moved again! I'm not sure if the plan remains to turn a room into a Sanrio room... we'll see.

In my last HK post, I showed pictures of fan-art type of things-- zombie kitty tattoos, a cake, artwork, etc. None of it officially licensed or anything. All that has now changed! Sanrio has produced a limited line of Hello Kitty Zombie products (along with some of HK's closest friends). It seems most of these products are sold at (surprise, surprise) Hot Topic stores. Nonetheless, they are really cute. And kudos to Sanrio for capitalizing on something fans were already doing. Did you know Hot Topic sends out employees to basically spy on popular youth culture, to take what people are already creating and styles they're wearing, then they mass produce it into cheap clothing and accessories? True story... but that's a blog for another day. In the meantime, here are some officially licensed Sanrio zombie products, including a picture of a necklace set a friend got me for Christmas.

Zombie Kitty necklace, with zombie HK logo necklace

Zombie Kitty hoodie. The back has a scene with zombie Sanrio characters.

Zombie Kitty body spray-- "Rest in Peach"

Zombie Kitty and all her friends-- throw blanket


Don't forget... sign up for our "Race to 150" contest! We're less than 30 people away from hitting our goal and putting a stop to entries. Lots of prizes up for grabs!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Write People You Know

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday. 

Today's question: Who from real life have you written into a book?


My creative writing professor in college gave us this sound advice on incorporating real life people into works of fiction:

"Change their penis or breast size."

Um, no Annie, that's not how it works.

Like a lot of the other road trippers, I'm a trait stealer. In Falling to Normal, Cheyenne's extremely Catholic uncle is modeled in part by my dad and several conversations I've had with my former nun aunt. At least the staunch Catholic part is. And all of Cheyenne's extended family is modeled in part after my father's 18 brothers and sisters*.
With this many aunts & uncles, you got an inevitable trait farm.
An earlier version of Falling to Normal even ripped kids I went to high school with. I drilled that down to two people, one of those being me. (I know what you're thinking: "god, she thinks highly of herself." No, my fictionalized self is the worst case scenario: naive as hell, a major follower, and no spine. I wouldn't be friends with fictionalized me.) The other is one of the besties and again I've made her a worst-case scenario of herself**.

The White One has even been fictionalized in that yet to be titled co-authored project***.

Out of these, I find that fictionalizing my family the easiest to do. I think this is because there's a distance there that you don't always have with the besties.

How do you handle fictionalizing real people?


* That's not an exaggerated number.
** Since she's read a gazillion drafts, I don't think she has a problem with this.
*** Speaking of, you can read an excerpt from chapter 2 here.
_________
Last.fm hit of the day: Hail! Hail! by Ike Reilly

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hearts are Broken Now

Today is the last day of Dawn Embers' Broken Hearts Blogfest. So if you're coming from there, hello, and why don't you enter a contest while you're here? If you say you're from this blogfest, you'll get an extra entry.

What is that?
I'll let Dawn explain:
"... the basic idea is to write about a heart breaking or one that is already broken. Show us the wretched emotions, the anger, depression, fear, whatever happens after the happy honeymooon lovey-dove V-day stuff is over and all that is left is a broken heart."

This blogfest has been on my radar for a while, but wasn't sure if I'd enter it. I'm twitchy about sharing excerpts from WIPs, but I'm trying to get better at it. Feedback is a good thing to have, after all.

The below is a bit from my co-authored yet-to-be-titled WIP. The MC, Laurel, is seeing her ex-boyfriend for the first time in almost two years. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dear Monday, Come Back Later

You know I'll never get sick of this one.
Life has overrun the day job and the day job has overrun my brain. I can feel the stress level creeping up to the point where neither chocolate nor ice cream will eliminate the problem. The headache is pounding to the point where holding my head like Deadpool here might be the best alternative.

I'm sorry. Why?
  • Apparently The White One has fleas which means everything in the house needs to be cleaned/scrubbed/boiled in water.
  • Reporting to three different managers for the day job is starting to take it's toll.
  • My brain is overcapacity and can't process much else*.

Is there anything we can do?
Sure.

  • Tell people to enter our race to 150 contest. The more people you refer, the more chances you get to win. Also, I really want to ship out all the prizes. 
  • It's Pi Day and what would Slice of the Blog Pie be without honoring it? But, I'm too lazy to write about pie. Instead, check out this awesome recipe for pie pops.
  • If you participated in the bucket list blogfest, I haven't forgotten you. I'll be going through the lists over the course of the day.
  • Perri and Kris awarded us with the Stylish Blogger award this week. This is pretty awesome because now we've been given it four times. You can read about this here.

The regularly scheduled dose of random and blogging should resume tomorrow. In the meantime, Lurkdom, tell me how do you handle weeks of insanity?

* It's my belief that my brain is the size of a field mouse.
_______
Last.fm hit of the day: My Brother's Wife by Butthole Surfers

Friday, March 11, 2011

Before We Kick It

First off, thanks to Mo for hosting this blogfest. As it's still March 11th over here, we're not late. (PS: If you're new, you should enter our contest.)

The "Bucket List" blogfest is all about things you want to do before you die. Things you want to do before you kick the bucket.


Things Miranda Wants to do Before She Dies

Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been very bad for me. I feel like any list I write is going to sound incredibly emo and depressing, so I'll make my list very brief and tame.

1. Travel to Europe
2. Travel to Asia, specifically Japan
3. Feed the rhinos at the San Diego Zoo
4. See a real flesh eating zombie

That's really it. I'm kind of a boring person!

Things Alicia Wants to do Before She Dies

1. Have a book published the traditional way*.
2. Go to Egypt.
3. Go back to England.
4. Teach the cats how to do housework.
5. Really win the lottery.




That's it, kids. Sorry for the lateness and the non-wittiness of today's entry, but like Miranda, I'm just not feeling it today.


What thing would you like to do before you die?


* For those not in the know, that means through an actual publishing house and not self-publishing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zombies Face Off in a Dance of the Dead



Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here.

I'm not a fan of reality television shows. I find them to be completely unrealistic, even the "competition" shows. Producers constantly set the outcome of who stays and who goes. Let's face it-- you can't send home the bitch on the show in the first episode because then there would be no drama. No drama, no viewers, no ratings. This fact always bothers me. In a competition to find the next best *whatever,* the producers are pulling strings for ratings, not real talent. Ever wonder how Jeffery managed to win his season of Project Runway after consistently being in the bottom two every week for the first half of the season? He was an asshole, so they kept him around.

With all this hatred in mind, I decided to give a new reality show a chance, but only because I'm highly interested in the subject matter. The show is on Syfy (or whatever they call themselves these days to sound cooler) and it is known as Face Off. This might get a chuckle from those who remember a completely implausible movie of the same name starring John Travolta and Nick Cage.


The competition on Face Off is simple-- twelve of the "best" budding make up and special effects artists compete each week in challenges designed to showcase and stretch their abilities in design, fabrication, and execution. Often they are only given two days to completely sculpt, mold, paint, and apply a variety of latex, foam, and silicone pieces to transform their models into a variety of creatures and people. Having dabbled in some molding and latex work myself, I can say that this is no easy task. It takes time and real talent, so I'm always very impressed when people can fabricate such awesome things in a very short time. Some of the challenges have been creating aliens, horror villains, and a gender swap episode. And since zombies are so "in" these days and are heavily present in films and now television (Walking Dead season one is available now on DVD and Blu-ray), no special effects show would be complete without a zombie episode!

The challenge from last week's episode was to create an original zombie, but half way into day one they were thrown a (not so major) curve ball-- the zombie make up had to hold up during a dance number, "Thriller" style. (The actual dance was done to the song "Zombie" by Natalia Kills)


All the contestants came up with some amazing designs that translated really well on the models. My favorite was a World War II zombie who had glass and shrapnel sticking out of his face and arms. Of course, the person who should have gone home did not because she's the contestant everyone on the show hates. The judges kept her because, although her implementation was horrible, "she had the most creative idea." I'm sorry, anyone can come up with a cool idea. I thought the purpose of the show was to create and present the ideas? (See why I hate reality television?)

All the zombies held up during the dance number, which was actually pretty cool! The show is getting down to the final people, but I still recommend checking it out for all the other cool things they create. I've really enjoyed watching it and I've tried to ignore all the stupid downfalls of reality shows. But because of the zombie episode, if that's how the producers keep fixing it, I probably won't make it watching another season (if it gets the greenlight for a second one). It airs Wednesday nights on Syfy channel and is also available on Hulu and On Demand on Comcast. Below is the video from the dance number. It was difficult to find a version to embed, so the quality is a bit wonky and there's an ad that pops up randomly... but hopefully you can still enjoy!


And don't forget to check out the "Race to 150" contest! It's easy to enter and there are lots of prizes up for grabs, including a Zombie Survival Kit from yours truly!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In Which We Peek into High School Alicia's Brain

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

First, a big hello to everyone new in The Lurkdom. Please comment often. Second, a big thanks to Lauren Kaycee for our fancy new logo.

So, today's question is to celebrate the release of Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin* where the main character wants to be like someone else. It's more like a statement, really.

I would have given anything to be like...


My childhood photos are littered with pictures of me sitting somewhere near my cousin Kim, usually in identical sitting positions. She's a couple of years older than me and, therefore, taller. My first grade portrait has me in a cranberry ensemble that used to belong to her. I slept over more times than I remember.

Enter High School Alicia.

Not during the High School Alicia phase.
One thing you need to understand is that High School Alicia was full of self-loathing. All I saw were the ghosts of braces, over-sized eyeglasses, and a reluctance to pack away my Barbies**. Royal bitchiness paired with shyness were my outer defense mechanisms, but I wanted everyone to like me.

To High School Alicia, High School Kim represented everything I wanted to be: pretty, smart, funny, taller***, and skinnier. Not to mention more stylish and a way more active social life. Oh, and better hair. She was always driven and definitely more confident than me.

I'm pretty sure that looking up to Kim subconsciously informed some of my choices as High School Senior Alicia, College Alicia, and Not-Quite-An-Adult Alicia. This isn't a bad thing.

The beauty of high school, it ends, as does the "if only I was more like so-and-so, everything would be better." Even though I still sometimes see myself as the girl with the glass that take over half her face, I'm definitely more comfortable with who I am now.

Lurkdom, who did you look up to growing up?


If you haven't already, go and enter our Race to 150 contest. Homebaked goods, scarves, an ARC of Divergent, and more are up for grabs!

* You can read the first chapter over on Kirsten's blog.
** No, I'm not kidding.
*** Those few extra inches count. A lot.
___________
Last.fm hit of the day: H.A.A.G. by Saint Vitus

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review - Divergent

credit
Last week I won an ARC of Divergent through Goodreads. I did a dance of joy when I saw the Harper Collins mailer on my front porch last night. Happy Monday to me.

What's that about?
Blurb from Goodreads:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
That's awesome. How is it?
Please see my letter to Veronica Roth below*. 



Dear Veronica Roth,

This is to let you know that I'll be blaming you and Divergent for not being awake at the day job today. How dare you make me stay up until 1 reading when I planned on stopping for the night after page 100?

Of course, I was supposed to stop reading after 30 minutes, but that stopped me at a pretty crucial place. I knew what choice was going to happen, but I had to see how it played out. Very sneaky.

At first, I admit, I wasn't sure if Divergent was going to live up to all the hype I've seen on the Twitters and internets because to me the beginning was slow and there were too many terms  that I didn't know. That lasted for about 10 minutes before I got enough to go through.

Your version of Chicago, by the way? Scary as hell. (Not to mention I'm super-curious what happened there.)

Beatrice is likeable and is so well drawn that those instances where she feels disgust over certain people and things, I totally understand and, most of the time, felt the same. Four is terrific and also well drawn. Even though I wasn't surprised by some** of the events in his timelime, it didn't ruin my enjoyment of Divergent.

I should also let you know that I haven't been head-over-heels impressed with many of my literary choices as of late. In the last three months, only three books impressed me as much as yours: Kiersten White's Paranormalcy and Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series and Clockwork Angel.

If your follow up is anything like Divergent, I'll be expecting a Dunkin Donuts card so I can stay caffeinated the day after.

Yawnily yours,
Alicia

PS: The Stripey and White Ones also approved as they both cuddled with Divergent the few times I put it down.

Divergent will be available for purchase May 3, 2011. If you can't wait that long, you can enter our Race to 150 contest to win an ARC.





* No, I didn't send it. I just thought this might be a fun way to write a review.
** The bigger ones did take me by surprise and that's what counts.
___________
Last.fm hit of the day: She Was a Teenage Zombie by Murderdolls

Monday, March 7, 2011

Name the Beastie Challenge Winner

Thanks to all who participated in the Name the Beastie Challenge. There were some good suggestions out there, but, like Highlander, there can be only one.

Congrats to Tracey Neithercott!

My little bug-like guy is now known as a coleptra.

If you like winning fun stuff, you should enter The Pie's Race to 150 contest. We've added some new prizes such as cupcakes of awesome and a critter, not as in a "I'm going to crit your work," but as in "look at this adorable penguin!"

Adipose and Edward the Penguin.
_______
Last.fm hit of the day: This Love by Pantera

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten Blogfest 3/4/11

The Gone, but Not Forgotten blogfest is Erinn's brainchild. All we need to do is list our top five shows that no longer have new episodes being made.

OMG, this is the easiest blogfest ever!!
Really? This is much, much harder than you would think. There are so many ways to organize this list: cartoons, teen drama, childhood faves. My brain is exploding with the possibilities.

For example, Out of this World. I loved the show, do I miss it enough to see new episodes? Probably not*. What about Swans Crossing? If it could replace the current version of 90210, probably.

Alicia's Top 5 Shows That Ended Way Too Soon

5. Highlander. With 7 seasons, it really didn't end too soon, but the storyline faded away from the original premise. Technically, there can only be one and therefore the show shouldn't have been in existence, since Connor was the one. *deep breath* Sorry for the geekout. If they could go back to season 4 and redo the last 3, that would be awesome.
4. The Muppet Show. I'm talking about the original series. As a member of the Sesame Street generation, I love muppets. There were so many great moments on this show and watching old clips on YouTube still have me cracking up.

3. Dark Angel. Two season of this really wasn't enough.
2. The Powerpuff Girls. The show was cute and quirky.
1. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Best. Show. Ever. Bruce Campbell as a Harvard educated bounty hunter looking to capture the people responsible for his father's death. Oh, did I mention it also includes sci fi and steampunk? AND Bruce Campbell?

Miranda's Top 5 Shows That Ended Way Too Soon

This is especially hard for me as well because Alicia actually picked a few that would have been on my list. But I'll try. Most of these are recent shows, I'm not going too old school.

5. Arrested Development. As I described it to a friend recently, it is comedy for smart people. The writing is superb, the way all the story arcs are tied together is amazingly clever, and it's just freaking funny! Even though the creators said they ended it when they wanted to and they did all the wanted to do... we all know it was just cancelled. Apparently a movie is in the works!
4. American Dreams. I'm not usually a fan of family dramas, but I really enjoyed this one. I used to watch it with my parents and it allowed me to ask all sorts of questions about the era since my mom was roughly the same age as Brittany Snow's character on the show. Cancelled with no proper ending. LAME.
3. Joan of Arcadia. Cancelled around the same time as American Dreams... cute show, more family drama... but just when they were introducing SATAN as a character, it got sent to Hell.
2. Pushing Daisies. Beautifully shot, cleverly written, and touching. Only having two seasons was a crime. I just don't think television was ready for such a smart show.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You have probably figured out by now that I'm a huge dork, and yes, I love Buffy. Seven seasons is a long run (and longer if you count the comic series for Season 8), and there wasn't much more to do. But I was still sad to see it end. I never followed Angel, but I wish they had done the spinoff "Ripper" that was supposed to be about Giles.

Don't forget to enter our race to 150 contest!


Lurkdom, what show do you wish was still on the air?


* Though I would do anything for Evie's power to stop time.
________
Last.fm hit of the day: Black Sunshine by White Zombie


Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Day of Zombies Not Enough?

Fact: Some people have a problem with the fact Zombie Thursday is only on Thursdays.

*blinks*

I'm sorry, but whoever invented the days of the week declared Thursday only happens once every 7 days. There's no circumventing this.

You're a cruel mistress, you know that?
True dat.

Don't despair, though. For those who want Zombie Thursday every day, you can actually go to ZombiePlace.com. That's right. It's an actual website.

And it's awesome.

Credit
At ZombiePlace.com, they post every few days with a variety of zombie related information: educational, amusement, and informative. They even have zombie Star Wars movie posters.

So if you need another hit for your zombie fix, I definitely say check out ZombiePlace.com.


Don't forget to enter our contest. I've been told there will be cupcakes of awesome.
_________
Last.fm hit of the day: Born Like This by Three Days Grace

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Name the Beastie Challenge!

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.


Today's topic: Invent your own magical creature.

You mean the Wild Beezus isn't one? He's white with blue eyes and yodels with a nose that twitches like a bunny and ears reminiscent of a mouse.

Witness my photo as proof.

* waits*

Okay, since none of you believe the fuzzy picture is a magical creature, I guess I'll have to share what I have.

In my current WIP's world, I deal with magical beings, but the main ones are established beasties like golyms and chimeras. I have created something, but don't know what it should be called.

So, in addition to this being Road Trip Wednesday, this is also a contest to name the beastie.

The rules:
Read the description.
Comment with a name and leave your email address.
Contest will remain open through Friday.

The prize:
Something fun and magical, like Shrinky Dinks, perhaps*.
Credit for naming and general renown for awesomeness.

The beastie:
Small (fits in palm of hand) and bug-like. It scuttles when it walks. It has a phosphorus glow. It has little bumps for ears that are called "nodes" and are situated on the top of the head. It's friendly and makes noises that other humans find endearing (so it purrs, coos, meeps, etc.) as a survival mechanism. It's used to help hone magic for those who practice.

That's it, but hey, it's a WIP.

So, Lurkdom, what should this critter be called?

Don't forget to enter our race to 150 contest.




* As you can tell, I haven't thought the prize through, but it will be fun!
_______
Last.fm hit of the day: When Everyone Forgets by ThouShaltNot

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Writing....

Credit 
Style and methods, that is!

I totally poached this meme from Holly that she posted back in December. I've kept it filed away for a day when I needed something in a pinch. Since today's Tuesday and the 9-5 job has my brain all scrambled, it looks like today would be the day.

Writing style and methodology vary per person. There is no right or wrong way to do go about a writing project. So what works for me will not necessarily work for you. Also, style and methods can change over time*.


1. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
For those in The Lurkdom that don't know these terms, I'll give you a quick breakdown: pantser is when you write a story without any planning, just going by the seat of your pants. Plotter is the exact

From the dawn of time, I used to be 100% panster; I would have the characters and backstory in my head and then just let my fingers and brain tag team to get the story down. While this is fun, it was a pain in the ass when I wrote myself in a corner**. My first NaNoWriMo changed that entirely. Having the scenes mapped out ahead of time made the story go much smoother. I'm never going back.


2. Detailed character sketches or the character builds itself?
A little bit of both. My characters hang out in my head for a while before they usually hit a story, but on the off chance that they don't, character sheets do help.

3. Do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing? Or is that something you discover only after you're in the thick?
It depends on the character and the story. In Falling to Normal and Phoenix Rising, I know what my MC's primary goals were. The rest I usually don't figure out right away.

4. Books on plotting?
I love writing books, but oddly enough, I don't have many on plotting. Scene, description, writing exercises, and editing? I have tons. The only plotting book I have is Fill in the Blank Plotting, which I still owe a review of.

5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?
I can't not write. (The fact that I haven't written anything new in weeks eats at me to the point where I'm pretty bitchy day-to-day.) Though I rant tons about editing, I'll even work on that. It's in my blood so I can't ignore it***.

6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?
Hours. HOURS.

7. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?
Ideally, I'm a midday gal. It's when I'm my most productive. Of course, the 9-5 job would frown on me writing when I should be doing event planning and whatever other task fits in my job description, so I have to adjust and work at night. I'm training myself to be productive past 10 PM****.

8. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?
I always have my headphones in, so the location doesn't matter. Working with Hubby nearby is sometimes a daunting task because he likes to talk. This happens usually when I'm in the middle of a difficult scene or if I'm really engrossed.

9. Computer or longhand?
I love writing long hand, but the computer makes everything so much simpler. I'll always do a massive edit/revise on paper though.

10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?
This goes with being a pantser versus plotter. For Falling to Normal, where I pantsed, no. For Phoenix Rising, where I plotted, yes.

11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?
Hell no. Though, I wouldn't be opposed to some Twilight money.

12. Editing – love it or hate it?

If you read yesterday's entry, follow me on Twitter, or are friends with me on Facebook, you'll see how much I loathe love remain neutral about editing. Editing is part of the job and contrary to what Nemesis thinks, work needs to be polished if you want to be noticed.

Lurkdom, what's your writing style?

Don't forget to enter our race to 150 contest, where there may be more prizes in the future.

* Just by looking at what I decided to use for NaNoEdMo is proof of this. (Hint: the date on one piece if from 1994.)
** And I so wrote myself into impossible corners.
*** Procrastinating on other aspects of my life however...
**** Suggestions on how to do this are most welcome.
_________
Last.fm hit of the day: Burning Love by Elvis
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