Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Overdose

After storm #2.
I live in New England.

We're famous for "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." We're also notorious for complaining about said weather. Since Boxing Day, we've had about a storm a week that will dump anywhere between 6 and 12 inches of snow.

While I'll admit that it's pretty when it first hits and clings to the trees, it takes about five minutes before it turns into a murky pile of ugh.

This pile of grossness takes over the entire town. I live in what some of my relatives like to call "the city*" which means not a whole lot of room to stick things. Like four feet of snow. The piles that bookend our driveway are taller than me.

We're getting three more storms this week.

What does that mean?
G3 buried during storm #2
A few things.

Everyone and their mom will freak out and raid Stop and Shop for milk. Why milk is such a necessity when threatened with a foot of snow, I'm not sure. I'd be more concerned about water.

We'll have to figure out where to put more of this white stuff.

If making a snowperson army would be the easiest, most efficient way of handling the snow, I'd do it. Not only would it be entertaining, but it's a great tribute to Calvin and Hobbes.

Why are you blogging about this?
I gotta admit, the snow really crushes me. The spidery fingers of despair are creeping up on me and my descriptions are becoming more purple and over-exaggerated each day**. It's becoming more difficult to put on the "I care" face. Good thing there's too much socially going on or I'd just curl up in bed and wait until the thaw.

In other news, Groundhog Day is this week. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we won't have the extended version of winter this year.

Does the cold and snowiness of winter get you down? Share below.

* Note to family: I live in a suburb, not an urb.
** This I blame on my inner goth.
_________ hit of the day: The Impartial Orchestral Mix by The Clockwork Dolls

Friday, January 28, 2011

The 99th Page

Finally, the day has arrived for the...

When reading this page and all the others, you should focus and answer the following three questions:

1. Would you turn to page 100?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on what you read, how likely would you buy the book?

In true Page 99 test fashion, I'm giving you anything about the story except the genre. Oh and I'll give the title as well.

Phoenix Rising
Urban Fantasy

"Eating dinner." Walker tore into another portion. He felt barbecue sauce smear across his chin and with sick amusement bet it looked like blood.

"You should be out finding that girl." Walker could now hear the irritation in his voice. Good.

"The redhead? She's in my seminar."

"That's some of the best news of the day. Tell me: have you conversed with her yet?" Walker didn't answer; he was too busy worrying a stubborn piece of meat off the tendon. Ianos cuffed him off the back of the head. Walker let a small growl trickle out of his throat.

"Eating," he said.

"I asked a question. You'll answer it."

Walker took his time with the answer. He made it seem like he was trying to formulate or explain what he and Kyla had done. But in truth, he was just trying to finish the rib in his hand. "Her name's Kyla." He paused. "She's not the one you're looking for. She smells too new."

"She's the means to the end. It's one of the three she was with. Your job is to get to the other three. Have you met them yet?"


So what did you all think?
___________ hit of the day: Back in Blood by The 69 Eyes

Don't forget to check out all the other particpants (and it's not too late to join!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Repo! the Genetic Opera

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

Today I am hijacking my own guest spot to write a totally different blog that isn't about zombies! But don't worry, the zombies will be back at their regularly scheduled time next Thursday.

Besides zombies, I do have a few other interests in my life. One of those interests is a film called Repo! the Genetic Opera. Never heard of Repo? Don't feel bad, most people haven't heard of it.

Begun as a stage play in Los Angeles, Repo! started off as a ten minute goth-rock opera called The Necromerchant's Debt. The story revolved around a Graverobber who is being stalked by an organ Repo Man trying to collect on a debt the necromerchant owed. After many evolutions and revisions, the play turned into a full length performance that eventually made it's Off-off-Broadway debut in New York to highly positive reviews. The very first director of this full length opera was Darren Lynn Bousman who later went on to direct three of the Saw franchise films. After gaining some success in the film industry, he promised his friends that if they ever got the chance to make Repo! into a movie, they would.

And they did.

There's a lot of history and controversy surrounding how the film was made, how it was all but abandoned by the film company producing it, how the director and creators used their own money to tour the film around the country so fans could see it in theatres, and how another film with a very similar (read-- stolen) plot was released a year later.

But I'm not going to bore you with all that. What I want to tell you about is my other passion project-- shadowcasting Repo! the Genetic Opera!

A shadowcast is where a group of people do a live performance of a movie with that film playing on the big screen behind them (although Repo! is nothing like Rocky Horror, it is shadowcasted in that style). Shortly after Repo! was released, I met a group of people who were also fans of the movie and who traveled huge distances to Chicago to watch it in the one theatre that was showing it. Similar groups of fans were forming all over the country and we all came together and started creating casts to do these performances.

In our shows, we stay true to the material and blocking in the film. But the most fun part about shadowcasting is we add in our own jokes, sight gags, crazy costumes, and other little bits that make the experience truly unique. Audiences aren't just watching us do the film like puppets, they get to see the film acted out, but even bigger and as more of a spectacle! We encourage our audience to come dressed up in costumes as well, and since Repo! is a legitimate opera (all music, no dialogue), we want everyone to sing along! And the movie has something for everyone-- an all-star cast, beautiful scenery and costumes, a tragic plot worthy of Shakespeare, a variety of musical styles, comedy, nudity, blood, guts, and gore.

My group, the 90 Day Delinquents, has been doing shadowcast performances of the film since April 2009 in Chicago. We have a show that is coming up next week and for anyone who lives even remotely close to the Chicago area, this is my personal invitation to you to come out and see the show! Our performance is on Saturday, February 5th at Midnight at the historic Music Box Theatre. If you don't live in Chicago, but think this whole Repo! thing sounds intriguing, don't be sad! As I said, there are still active casts all over the world and there may just be one near your hometown. You can check out the official Repo! Shadowcasts page to find one near you.

I will leave you with a video from our very first show ever. This song is called "Zydrate Anatomy" and is probably the most popular and best known scene in the film. If you're looking for me in the clip, I'll give you a hint-- that's my character in the flyer above... you can't miss me!

Reminder: 99th Page Blogfest Happening TOMORROW

Sorry for the horrible graphic. Please send a better one.
That's right, tomorrow I'm co-hosting a blogfest with Erinn, Holly, Pam, and Quita. You can read the initial post here. If you didn't bother to click, the gist is to post page 99 of one of your writing projects and then visit everyone else who signed up. (As of 8.30 AM Thursday, we have 19 people*.)

Several people have asked what the rules are for tomorrow's blogfest. When visiting everyone else's page, you should focus and answer the following three questions:

1. Would you turn to page 100?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on what you read, how likely would you buy the book?

So simple. So fun.

Please remember, when critting to be polite. Don't write anything you wouldn't say to the person's face. You know us writer types are a sensitive bunch.

And since it's Thursday, Miranda will be at the controls later today, so definitely come back!

* 19 is such a meaningful number. Stephen King would be proud.
_________ hit of the day: Leave No Trace by Anathema

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trapped in a Book

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: If you could live within the universe of one book, which would you choose?

I panicked about this a little last night. I mean, there are so many to choose from. I finally narrowed it down to three.

The Dark Tower. Well, the part before it all went to pot. I'd like to live in Mejis for the country feel or Gilead for the pomp. Of course, I'd have to pull an Aline so I could do the gunslinger thing if I was in Gilead.

The Anitaverse. Vampires, lyncanthropes, zombies and more. All at your fingertips and not in hiding. It would make life very interesting.

But the number one pick for me?
The Mortal Instruments. Shadowhunters. Demons. Jace.

Stop by YA Highway and see what the others are saying. Also, tell me what book universe you would live in.

Reminder! The 99th Page Blogfest is happening on Friday. Have you signed up yet?
_______ hit of the day: Closer by Anathema

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ten of My Favorite Songs

You all know by now that music sorta permeates my life. I can't play an instrument or nor did I marry a musical genius, but the obsession is there just the same. If you've lurked for a while you know how I like to force my fangirl crushes on you and my closest friends--Hubby included--are forced to listen to me blather about this band, that band, andohmigodTHISBAND. The CD collection is out of control and I'm trying very hard NOT to succumb to the siren song of the iTunes store.

You get the picture.

So distilling thousands--and I do mean thousands--of songs to the ten favorite of all time? Heh, it would be easier to not eat mint chocolate chip ice cream*.

Without any more bull and in no particular order, I give you


The Song: Full Circle by Aerosmith
The Why: Whenever I hear this song, I'm immediately transported back to the Holiday Inn in Glen Ellyn, IL in 2000 where I met one of my best friends (plus others) in real life for the first time. This became the friendship theme song for a certain group for a short amount of time. In fact, the picture of Miranda and I you see on the left is from that same weekend.

The Song: Don't Stop Believing by Journey
The Why: Family Guy.

The Song: Take On Me by A-Ha
The Why: I'm not sure if the video or the song caught my attention first, but something about the two has cemented this in my head as the greatest song of all time. Also, as I mentioned before, it proves my love of Scandinavian music runs deep.

The Song: Santa Monica by Everclear
The Why: Some songs just move you and you don't know why. Santa Monica is one of those songs. Whenever I hear it, I have to sing along badly.

The Song: Theme from The Greatest American Hero
The Why: Why the hell not? It's just an upbeat, FANTASTIC song. As I type, it's playing in my head. The chorus gets me every time: "Believe it or not, I'm walking on air. I never thought I could feel so free. Flying away on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not, it's just me."

The Song: Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead and covered by Jason Charles Miller
The Why: I'd totally forgot that this song existed until I listened to the cover version. It's truly beautiful and haunting. Why a cover and not the original? Sometimes Thom Yorke's voice wants me to stab things. Sorry, but true.

The Song: Wicked Game by Chris Isaak covered by HIM
The Why: The Chris Isaak version was exciting and tweenage Alicia was confused as to why***. The HIM version was just as exciting, but updated musically.

The Song: I Love to Say Fuck by Murderdolls
The Why: Like you didn't see this one coming. The lyrics are awesome and smart. It contains my favorite curse word ever. Not to mention it involves fangirl crush number one.

The Song: Wish by Nine Inch Nails
The Why: While everyone else says "Closer" is the best NIN song ever, they're dead wrong. When working on the ongoing co-authored project, this goes into rotation a lot. It's one of my MCs all-time favorite NIN songs as well.

The Song: I'll Fall With Your Knife by Peter Murphy
The Why: Just like one of my MCs loves "Wish," my other MC in the same project loves this song. Of course, I do too. Peter Murphy's voice is phenomenal and the song gets stuck in my head for days.

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for hosting this blogfest!

While you don't need to tell me your top ten, Lurkdom, I do want to know what one song will always be a favorite?

* Which I had last night, actually.
** The opinions of Alicia are subject to change at any given time.
*** Tweenage Alicia wasn't the most savvy of tweens entirely due to the parental rock in which she lived. At least Teenage Alicia had some fissures in the same rock.
_________ hit of the day: Destiny is Dead by Anathema

Friday, January 21, 2011

Squirrel Appreciation Day Redux

Sometimes I think the world likes to mess with me. Like having these enormous hips and no about 2 inches of torso* or when I want milk, all cartons are frozen blocks of white. No matter, I can accept it.

I really can't accept there's a day dedicated to squirrels. You can read my reasoning on it here. Today I'll play devil's advocate for the furry front.

Reasons We Should Appreciate Squirrels
  1. They sometimes eat insects and other rodents.
  2. The nuts they hide in the winter a lot of the time just become seedlings.
  3. They have incredibly fluffy tails.

That's all I got. My squirrel paranoia is too strong. Now if this was Chicken Apprecation Day**...

If you're an avid squirrel lover, read what the NWF says about how to celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day. Then, you can go to What On Earth and buy some squirrel merchandise.

* This might be a slight exaggeration on my part.
** May 4th.
_______ hit of the day: The Exile by Vernian Process

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Would You Want a Pet Zombie?

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

First off, I have to begin today's Zombie Thursday with a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALICIA! That's right, today is the birthday of the woman who is the brains behind the whole 'Pie' operation! So in her honor, I would like to share this with everyone (found on the "MonkeyMinion" Etsy shop, available for purchase)--

Yay! Happy Birthday! As soon as I discover where a post office is in Chicago (no, I really haven't figured this one out yet), her real birthday present will be in the mail! I still remember one birthday involving a hotel pool and an inflatable sheep... but I'll let her tell that story someday.

I have been watching a lot of movies lately. I'm not sure why, but I've just been in a horror movie watching kick. Good, bad, funny, horribly awful-- I've been watching them all. I've even had time to squeeze in some zombie films. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I had never seen the zombie film Fido despite hearing nothing but good reviews on it. So this week, I had a moment to watch Fido and I can say with certainty that it is very, very good!

In the film, the world has suffered from poisoning due to radioactive space dust. The cloud that descends upon the Earth naturally turns all dead bodies into reanimated zombies. As such, a Zombie War took place in which humans were victorious and stopped a complete apocalypse. One biotech company emerges as a saviour of sorts-- ZomCon. ZomCon has created a collar device that blocks a zombies natural tendencies to eat human flesh. With the collar on, zombies are docile and can act as household servants.

One family purchases a zombie, who is played by Billy Connolly (Boondock Saints, etc.), and their young son becomes quite attached to him and names him Fido. He treats him like a pet and a friend, trying to play catch and fetch and making him help with his chores. Unfortunately, Fido's collar malfunctions and he kills a neighbor, who then kills and turns others! With a containment issue on their hands, ZomCon steps in and separates the boy from his zombie pet. The rest of the film follows the boy's plan to save Fido and bring him home, although it doesn't quite go as planned... but I'll let you watch to find out how it all ends!

If I could use any word to describe this film, it would be 'cute.' I know one typically wouldn't use that term to describe a zombie film, but it really is just a cute, sweet little movie. While it is funny and has its moments, I wouldn't personally describe it as a comedy (at least not the laugh-out-loud variety). The character relationships are really interesting-- Timmy (the young son) and Fido, Fido and Timmy's mother, and even Timmy's neighbor with his zombie "girlfriend," Tammy.

One theme throughout the movie is whether or not people want to be zombies when they die or have "head coffins" to be buried in (a separate coffin just for a decapitated head, ensuring no reanimation). Timmy's father is extremely adamant that he wants to be buried in a head coffin while Timmy and his mom decide they want to "go zombie." Definitely an interesting concept, having a choice of how you die. Zombies can become seemingly useful members of society, and based on the interactions between Timmy and Fido it is revealed that Fido has feelings and emotions towards Timmy, a sense of loyalty (even when the collar has malfunctioned). Given that, the zombies aren't necessarily mindless flesh eating machines... so would it be so bad to be a zombie?

Definitely check this film out! Even though it is rated R, there really isn't anything outlandishly bad other than a little gore and obviously gun violence. But it is quite tame compared to any other zombie movie I've seen. And although I obviously didn't grow up or live in the 1950s, I always find something strangely nostalgic and comforting about movies that take place during that time period. Those movies just always seem so happy, and I think Fido is the same way!

As a final note, 'The Pie' is quickly gaining in the Lurkdom... we're almost to 75!! Alicia and I are cooking something up for a race to 100 type of contest, so stay tuned and bring your friends along to join in on the fun!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blurb On!

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: Give a blurb for your favorite book or one of your own!

I've never been good at that "concise" thing. Back in school, book reports were hard. How was I supposed to sumamrize a 200-page book in one handwritten page?* Now that I'm working on finding representation, I'm expected to even be more concise: synopsis**, elevator pitch, and YA Highway wants me to blurb!?

I think the girls over there want to kill me.

For those not in the know...
Some people also say the blurb is the teaser synopsis on the back of the book. Either way, it's hard***.

So hard in fact, I'm going to make shit up based off what I've read about it on the internet.

The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm****
Fans of the nonsensical and extremely long-winded will blah all over this!

Anybody Can Be Cool... But Awesome Takes Practice*****
I was trapped in 2011 until I read this book, now I've transported myself back to 1988. Tubular!

Have you read anything lately that you want to endorse? And don't forget to stop by YA Highway to see what everyone else is saying!

Don't forget to join the 99th page blogfest that's happening on January 28th.

* I doubt that my elementary school teachers really read the damn things anyway. I know I read the book.  If you want to know about it, pick it up and read it yourself. Yeah, I was one of those kids.
** Which if you don't know, isn't like a book report.
*** So hard I feel the onset of an anxiety attack.
**** This bad boy clocks in at over 7300 pages.
***** According to Amazon, people who bought this also bought the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book.
__________ hit of the day: Haunt Me by Wednesday 13

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 99th Page Blogfest

Happy Monday Tuesday, Lurkdom! For something different, we're experiencing weather (read: snow) in New England and I have a truncated work week. What does that mean for you? Real fast blog entries!

On January 28th, Erinn, Holly, Pam, Quita, and I will host the first ever 99th page blogfest*. This was inspired by If you're too lazy to click the link**, the skinny is to have some read your 99th page and see if they would continue on. Neat concept, right?


So, we thought it would be great to do this on our blogs. All you need to do is sign up using the linky below. Please spread the word!

* If you've already ran one of these, sorry. I was lazy on the internet search today.
** I don't blame you. It is Monday.
_______ hit of the day: Hey Man Nice Shot by Filter

Friday, January 14, 2011

The List Starting with the Letter "I"

With 59 minutes left until the long weekend starts, I'm flat out. The Tuesday/ Wednesday blizzard didn't deter my work effort, but the day after did. I didn't get to my desk until this time yesterday*. Today was only a drop better. My brain's buzzing with stuff*.

Next week will be better I promise.

Because of this full-brain syndrome, I thought I'd share a few random thoughts with you.

  • I can't handle long blog posts. I start to lose focus halfway through.
  • I also can't handle most prog rock. That's a case of "too many notes."
  • It's difficult to edit your WIP when you stupidly forget your marked up pages in your office "to do" pile*.
  • If you could lose weight by eating pasta only, I'd now be a size 2. 
  • I finally found someone in this office who listens to industrial metal.

What random thing would you like to share?

* It's kinda hard to do work when you're not at your desk.
* That I can't articulate what that means is probably bad.
* And I would've forgotten it again if I didn't type that.
________ hit of the day: Nihilistic Stency by Lightning Swords of Death

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dead Alive! The Goriest Zombie Film Ever?

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

Very recently I re-watched a great zombie film, one that I had kind of forgotten about. Peter Jackson's 1992 film Dead Alive (as it was released in America, or Braindead in its home country of New Zealand) is often called the goriest film ever made! Even if you're not a fan of horror films or zombie movies, most reader's will know Peter Jackson as the mastermind behind the Lord of the Rings films. And knowing Jackson as the man who brought Tolkien to the screen, it is hard to imagine that he is also the creator of something like Dead Alive.

That's not to say Dead Alive is a bad film, by any means. Low budget by today's standards (made for three million), it's very much a "90's film." I remember being young and going to the video store (when people still went to video stores) and although my parents would never actually let me rent one, I'd always browse the horror section, looking at all the covers. In particular, I distinctly remember the cover for Dead Alive. And while it is a memorable cover, it really has nothing to do with the movie.

Essentially, this film is a zombie movie. The beginning of the film shows men smuggling a caged animal off of "Skull Island" (yes, the same island as in King Kong, another later Jackson film). The location of Skull Island will look familiar to LotR fans-- it is the same place used to film the Paths of the Dead in The Return of the King. When the animal bites one of the men, it is obvious this is a bad thing. His companions immediately dismember and decapitate him to stop the spread of whatever the bite contains. Eventually, this animal, the Sumatran rat-monkey, makes its way to a zoo.

You can probably guess what happens next... the rat-monkey bites the domineering mother of the main character. She slowly turns into a ravenous zombie and in turn makes others zombies as well. And that's when the fun really begins! The faithful son tries his best to keep them locked up and fed, but it doesn't go so well. Two zombies end up having sex and produce a zombie baby (a very humorous part of the film), a whole party is turned into a horde, and eventually the mother turns into a giant zombie monster! The most well known scene involves a lawnmower and lots and lots of blood... one trivia fact says the fake blood was pumped at five gallons per second!

I wouldn't say there is anything groundbreaking about this movie. No deeper messages, no hidden meanings. It's just a good fun zombie movie. It's hilarious (on purpose) and deserves to be watched! Just make sure you have a pretty strong stomach... I can handle a lot of gore, but upon re-watching this, there were many parts where I felt like I was going to be sick! You have been warned...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Lines

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: What is your favorite line from your WIP?

If you're in the Northeast, I hope you're surviving this blizzard safely and full of hot chocolate. I have about 50% of that down and the day job has been dogging me all day.

Now onto business.

Disclaimer: I always get twitchy about sharing excerpts on the blog. No one has told me why, but there you go*.

So with my sharing paranoia shoved deep down, I out FALLING TO NORMAL** to find one of my favorite bits. 

The corner of his mouth twitched up into a smile of sorts and had my stomach drop to my toes. I didn’t have a clear concept of what “sexy” was, but I thought Luke’s half-smile fell into that category. Because of his face, he was what some of the girls would call a “pretty boy,” like Jordan Catalano, but the set of his jaw moved him into what the Blondettes called “yummy.” That term sounded so wrong and made me think that Jess and Sam maybe were cannibals.

Don't forget to stop by YA Highway to see what others are saying.

What are some of the best lines you've read recently?

* I could've shared my favorite lines form other books, but I'd have to go back and find those. That takes time.
** For a brief synopsis of FALLING TO NORMAL, click the tab up top.
_______ hit of the day: Ladies and Gentlemen by Saliva

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 Best Hot Chocolates

Nothing is more awesome than a cup of good hot chocolate.

I'm not talking about Swiss Miss, but the kind that comes with actual chocolate bits. Right now I'm enjoying some dark chocolate peppermint stick hot chocolate. The only way it would be better was if it wasn't an hour old and if the office had milk for me to use instead of water*.

Granted, I wasn't always a hot chocolate snob. When I didn't have any knowledge of the great beyond, I loved Swiss Miss instant hot chocolate. I didn't even think about the connotations of "instant" and that mean there was a "non-instant" version out there.

I smartened up.

So, as the work day winds down and my to do list ratchets up, I present you with the four best hot chocolates I've had in the Boston area.

3. Dark Hot Chocolate, Burdick's. It's very chocolatey and extremely rich. This is concrete proof that chocolate can be a meal.

2. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, Starbucks. Maybe I don't get out as much as I should, but I really love this hot chocolate despite the fact I hate caramel. Go figure.

1. El Diablo Hot Chocolate, JP Licks. You'd think spicy chocolate is gross, but it's really not. The cayenne gives you just the right kick.

What's the best hot chocolate you've ever had?

* But that's another issue and one not really blog-worthy.

______ hit of the day: Disarm Me [With Your Loneliness] by HIM

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movie Shame

Last Tuesday, I talked about guilty pleasure music. If you haven't read it and are too lazy to click the link, I'll recap what defines a "guilty pleasure."

A guilty pleasure has to be something that you're reluctant to admit to. It's that thing you get all excited about even though you know you shouldn't.

For a movie, this isn't the hipster movie you like though you know you shouldn't because of it's awful acting, plot, writing, etc. If you like The Room, that's not a guilty pleasure. If you Google it, you'll find a lot of people who admit to liking it too.

I'm a little less hesitant to share my movie guilty pleasures because it's not as big of a secret. I own the DVDs, but I still get all red when Hubby teases me. And you know what? I'm not even going to defend them*. I'll just show you movie posters.

Lurkdom, help me out here. WHAT ARE YOUR MOVIE GUILTY PLEASURES?

* Well, maybe I'll defend What a Girl Wants. It has Colin Firth. That's my defense.
__________ hit of the day: Mesopotamia by Black Light Burns

Friday, January 7, 2011

Four For Friday

We've survived the first week of 2011, Lurkdom. *throws confetti and high fives all around*

I'm slightly distractable today, not to mention that work has kicked my keister. That the 9-5 job has decided to do this on a Friday is awful because I can't keep my head on those projects when it's buzzing with these writing projects:

Four For Friday: Literary Irons in the Fire Edition

1. Falling to Normal
Current status: out for critique.
I sent my contemporary YA out for another beta read, and, quite honestly, I hope this is the last time I need to. There's things that need fixing and I trust that someone who's kick ass and loves cookies can help.

2. Phoenix Rising
Current status: revising
My current WIP is an urban fantasy that came from my first NaNoWriMo attempt in 2009. My goal is to have this out to beta readers by April. To do that, I should invest in more caffeine.

3. Untitled YA Project
Current status: taking notes
What was originally going to be my NaNoWriMo 2010 project got derailed by lack of time and preparation. It's about teens and assassins. It likes to infiltrate my progress on revisions and the 9-5 job whenever possible. It's like ninja-sneaky.

4. Untitled and Undetermined Genre Project
Current status: disrupting normal sleep patterns
Whenever I'm deep in another writing project, this one crops up. Sometimes it's a coauthored project with Danielle, sometimes it wants to go off and do it's own thing. It's been a hanger-on for too long and keeps changing it's packaging.

These are the writing projects that I'm juggling currently.

Lurkdom, what are you working on?
____________ hit of the day: Marilyn My Bitterness by The Cruxshadows

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zombie Sex-tacular! presents "Zombie Sex for the Kiddies"

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

That's right! It's time for another addition of Zombie Sex-tacular! But don't worry, today's blog is rated PG for the kids... kind of... I think...

Recently, Alicia was displeased that my blog entry about "Haeckel's Tale" was the top read entry on the blog. I argued it was because people had an interest in Clive Barker or the Masters of Horror series. But Alicia thinks it's because people are freaks and just like the zombies getting it on. "Haeckel's Tale" is most assuredly rated R, and although I'm sure that entry was read by some minors, I thought, "shouldn't I write about something for the kids?" And because Alicia's blog focuses a lot on young adult novels, I found a series of books that are not only about sex and zombies... but also young adults!

Generation Dead is the first novel in a series of books by author Daniel Waters. While the next two books have different titles (Kiss of Life and Passing Strange), they are considered a "Generation Dead Novel." The story line has a very interesting premise and take on the zombie mythos-- all across the country, people are legitimately dying, but then anywhere from eight minutes to eight days later are coming back to "life." The catch is, it's only teenagers, mostly those 13-17 years old. No one has been able to explain why this phenomenon is occurring or what causes it. The teenagers don't come back as blood thirsty, brain eating zombies. They are basically their former selves, however many tend to move much slower, they don't need to breathe or eat. They don't even sleep and can't feel cold or heat, or even pain for the most part.

This cheerleader is not a character in the books, but she has awesome boots!

The first book revolves around a "goth" girl named Phoebe and a love triangle she finds herself in with her life long best friend from next door, Adam, and a "differently biotic" (aka- zombie) boy, Tommy. Tommy is a very high functioning zombie and can speak very clearly and even joins the football team (although to many protests from the community). Not every zombie is as articulate as Tommy. Some when they come back can barely speak or walk; it may take them five minutes to get one sentence out.

Tommy runs his own blog-- (and yes, this is a real tie-in website to the book series where you can read Tommy's blogs as well as blogs written by other characters). Tommy is an advocate for differently biotic rights and has many theories as to why some zombies come back "better" than others. His main theory is... LOVE. Yes, Tommy believes that it is love that makes zombies articulate and mobile. To test his theory, he starts dating Phoebe and thinks that if a living girl would just kiss him (or more?) that it would bring him back to life!

I don't want to give any more of the story away as there are three novels so far and the plot becomes quite a bit more complex, especially in the love and relationship departments. They are published by Hyperion Books which is owned by Disney. Methinks I smell a movie in the future... However, kudos to Disney because there is a lesbian character revealed in the later novels, although I did notice that in the novel where she comes out, the Disney logo was dropped from the front cover... hmmmm...

This series is definitely worth checking out! I am really intrigued by some of the questions it brings up-- Can there be romantic relationships between a living person and a zombie? What causes the return to "life" and why is it only teenagers? Should these zombies have legal rights and citizenship after death? (So far in the books, they do not have any legal rights; the novels do have a lot of political undertones.)

Some down sides to the series are that they are not the most well written novels ever. I find some of the dialogue hard to digest, but I find that often happens when an adult man is trying to write for a sixteen-year-old girl (think James Patterson's Maximum Ride series). Also, in book two especially, the editing is TERRIBLE. It was so bad it really distracted me from the story. I'm used to seeing maybe one or two errors or typos per book (hey, it happens), but it seemed like there was some error every chapter, and not just spelling errors. In one case it read, "Tommy said..." when it should have been "Phoebe said..." I figured it out, but a younger kid might have a difficult time with the content inconsistencies. Hopefully if they are released in paperback editions, they will be fixed up a bit. So far (and I'm half way through the third novel), Passing Strange has been much better in the editing department.

These two are apparently Phoebe and Adam, except Phoebe doesn't die in the novels (so far...)

Like any good novel written for kids it is filled with dating angst, lots of making out, many sexual references, especially to boobs (one character even calls a girl "Pinky McKnockers"), nudity, and some under-the-shirt fun. I always feel a little awkward reading stuff like this in a book made for teenagers, but the reality is that the kiddies like the sex. And apparently they like the zombie sex too!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The 5 Best of 2010

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 are the best five books you've read in 2010?

There was an alternate question about summing up your year in a title, but if you know me, you know I can't title worth shit so I'm going the easy route.

It turns out I read a lot more than I thought I did last year* by reading 52 books. That's an average of one per week, even though I didn't really pick up anything to read until March. I didn't think it was possible given how lazy I've been but I did it. Go me!

*shakes pom poms*

You should know that my choices are based on how much I still think of them. If I said something was awesome, but it didn't make this list, that doesn't mean I don't like it anymore. As it is, I had to cheat on my top 5.

5. Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. I've read it twice in six months. I've talked about it a few times. Whenever I read it, my fingers itch to work on that other project--the one with the band. The one that has changed so many times it's frightening.

4. Ender's Game. For the main reason that sci-fi doesn't need to hurt your head. You can read my review here.

3. Fill in the Blank Plotting. This is the easiest book on craft ever. I spent a good chunk of time exclaiming, "Of course!" and "That's so simple!" I promise a better review down the road when I reread it**.

2. Paranormalcy. This book was so worthy of all the hype. You can read my thoughts here***.

1. Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments, Books 1-3. I devoured all three in about 5 days and am pissed I have to wait until spring for book 4. I'm still thinking about the story now. In fact, I'm guessing when I'll get it back from Danielle so I can reread and mark it up. Loved, loved, LOVED it.

Stop by YA Highway to see what other people are saying about their 2010 reads!

What was the best book you read in 2010?

Don't forget to tell me what you'd like to see more of here. So far we have writing excerpts, contests, and some YA zombie stuff, but we need more suggestions from you!

Also! If you previously signed up for information on the writing retreat, check your email. Erinn, Holly, and I found a place for the WEEKEND OF AWESOME.

* My stats wouldn't be possible without the aid of Goodreads.
** It's 60 pages, so rereading is a non-issue.
*** Also, Kiersten White commented on the blog. How cool is that?
__________ hit of the day: The Whistler by Demons & Wizards

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pop Music Shame

For some half-cracked reason that I yet to understand, I joined a book club that focuses on reading music-related nonfiction. The book club started up this month by reading Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond, which I talked about here and then fangirled some more here.

It's a great way to kick off a book club devoted only to music, since Steve Almond gives clear examples of what he calls "drooling fanaticism" -- that thing we do when our music tastes must become everyone else's, or when we want to become BFFs with the musician in THAT band because the music is OMG SOOOOO AWESOME!!, or when we love an album so much we spoon it in bed*. I married a DF, I'm a quasi-DF, I know a few others, so this book hits a lot of points, even though I don't know more than half of the musicians mentioned.

Alicia, what the hell are you getting at?
Well, with the book club, there's a website and blog. Over the weekend, they asked the following question:


It took me a while to answer this because of how deep my denial was. The guilty pleasure has to be something that you're reluctant to admit to. It's that thing you get all excited about even though you know you shouldn't.

For me, it's Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone."**

The tune is infectious. The morning news program I listened to for a while played it way too much and the lyrics stuck with me. I hadn't felt this good from an angry girl song since Alanis Morrisette***. Hours after hearing it, the song would still be in my head.

Even now, I'm singing it in my head though thrash metal thumps through my headphones and I feel a wave of shame about to consume me.

Lurkdom, confess! What music is your guilty pleasure?

For more information about the Rock and Roll Book Club, click here.

Also! Go here to tell me what you'd like to see this year on The Pie****.

* I'm guilty of at least one of these things.
** Admitting that just lost me about a bazillion metalhead points.
*** Jagged Little Pill is another guilty pleasure.
**** I'm still in shock that I gave the blog a nickname.

____ hit of the day: Can't Happen Here by Stabbing Westward

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things

So this is what 2011 looks like: the Boxing Day blizzard melted away and the clack of keyboards everywhere. I'm trying to stay positive since it's only January 3rd.

Everyone is talking about their resolutions and their goals. Since I've already done that, I want to talk about what you can look for here on The Pie* in the coming months.

  1. Zombies. Of course there'd be zombies. Miranda can talk more about what we can expect on Thursdays.
  2. Movies and the Writing Journey. I had so much fun with the Follow That Bird blog that I plan to have movies and writing a regular feature.
  3. Contests. I'm nearing 75 lurkers, not to mention the hopeful 100. There should be contests for this.
  4. Blog Spotlights.
  5. Book Reviews. I can guarantee that there will be at least 12 of these.

Of course, I'm always open up to suggestions on content. Tell me what you'd like to see over here.

* Yes, I've given the blog a nickname.
________ hit of the day: Horror Movie Baby by The Texas Drag Queen Massacre
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