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Showing posts from May, 2011

Interactive Story Time: The Raccoon and The Gator

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Happy Tuesday, Lurkdom, where today is my Thursday. What's awesome about this is that we're that much closer to summer. I'd like to celebrate this with a lawn ornament. Now that the weather has decided to rise to a decent late-spring temperature*, I can enjoy all the tacky glory the residents put out. This one is particularly interesting because I can't decide what is on top of the corn cob - corn silk or dog hair. This is very disturbing. Why are you showing us this? Because I have questions that only you can answer! How did the raccoon get the corn?  Why is the alligator okay with being a taxi?  Is the raccoon PRAYING to the corn for safe passage through the mulch? Is the alligator vegetarian? Let's get this started! * And my revisions are just about done. __________ Last.fm hit of the day : Judgement by Anathema

The Internet: Distractor Extraordinaire

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Oh the internet. It's so shiny. So distracting. True fact: As of right now*, instead of working on my revisions, I'm drafting this entry. That's a litmus test for distraction. Right? Right. So, since I am on a deadline, working on minimal sleep, and borrowing my time from revising, this will be short. (But I've included a bonus!) Facebook . Or rather, Facebook games . Bejeweled Blitz calls to me. It's constant and sometimes it's so bad I envision strategy before I sleep. Twitter . I <3 Twitter as much as the next person, but I find that whenever I get stuck/bored/agitated I'll just open it up "for a second" to see what's going on. It's never a second. And OMG, the links you people share! Blogs via Twitter . If 4KidLit , Angela Ackerman , or Laura Pauling happen to be tweeting, there are links. When there are links, there are some damn good articles. I get stuck in a knowledge hole. Wikipedia . It starts with a simple search f

Inspirational Shortlist

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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 : Who in your life has most inspired your writing? My knee-jerk response to this is "no one" because this isn't something I actually think about. I've explained before how fan girl crush number one reminds me that age is relative blah blah blah and how Stephen King is a great example of maintain faith in the project that refuses to die , but I've never talked about the IRL factor. Then I realized that maybe I don't really know what the word "inspiration" means. Definition courtesy of dictionary.com . Hm... not exceedingly helpful, Internet, but I'll make due. In real life, the people who have most inspired my writing is my family*. They supply me with a lot of jumping points for both plot

Cue the Q & A!

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So yesterday was all about The Lurkdom asking questions . So, thanks for that. We got some great ones. Miranda answered most in the comments section, but for simplicity, I've included them here. Credit Holly Dodson asked What's your favorite kind of pie? Miranda: Miranda says, "The kind that has blog mixed in!" Okay, really though... I LOVE blackberry pie. It is more difficult to find in the store, so I do also love a good peach pie. Alicia: For desserts, I'm more of a cake gal, but I've been known to narf pudding pie like you wouldn't believe. The best by far (not for dessert) is pork pie. (Note to family: please send me samples.) Kikyo_Cat had three questions. 1. Miranda, what was your favorite part of ACen? : (For more information on ACen, go here .) Miranda: I only went for 12 hours, so I didn't really do much during the day other than spend three and a half hours in line, and then spent three hours wandering the vendor halls with Mary

Ask Us Anything!

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Credit It's a hectic week over at The Pie, this might have everything to do with revision deadlines and convention recoveries*. This in mind, we're turning the blog over to you! Say wha? For reals. Ask Miranda or Alicia any question that comes to mind. We'll answer. More complicated questions will take longer for us to answer, but we still will. You can ask as many as you want as well. One caveat: since this is an all ages blog, please don't ask anything intended for readers over the age of 18. Little Phantasma lurks here too, you know. * And nothing with the failed rapture. ___________ Last.fm hit of the day :  Revenge is a Vulture by 3 Inches of Blood

Writing Crutches I Can't Live Without

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What writer doesn't have some sort of ritual to get into the groove of things? I know, I know. The robot kind. Guess what? We're not talking about robots today. It's all about me answering Paper Hangover's Friday Five . I'm forgoing the obvious things here like laptop, notes, and manuscript since it's kinda hard to write or revise without these. Instead, I'll drive down to the more specific items. Part habit , part ritual , there are certain things that can never be far from me. Scented candle. There's something soothing about the flicker of a flame combined with the fragrance of whatever Yankee Candle is sitting on my table/desk/bureau*. Comfy pants. The looser, the better. It's relaxing not to be confined by buttons and zippers. Music. Whether it's to set the mood or to filter out the noise of Hubby yelling obscenities at Call of Duty, music always plays a part of my writing and revision process. If it's not playing, you know I'm

The CDC Wants You to be Prepared!!

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Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . With the Rapture fast approaching ( remember, it is this Saturday, May 21st ) and the possibility of the dead rising from their graves to create a zombie apocalypse, the CDC has posted a blog about being prepared for a widespread zombie attack. YES. You read that correctly. The CDC, as in the officially government sanctioned Center for Disease Control. This is NOT a joke. Well... sort of. A few days ago, the CDC did, in fact, post an entry to their blog called Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. In it, it describes the steps a family or individual should take to be prepared for a zombie uprising... or more importantly (and realistically) a true natural disaster. I have to give the CDC credit for this amazing tongue-in-cheek blog! If you had any doubts as to the popularity and influence that zombies have on our culture and society, I'm pretty sure those can all be permanentl

Ring that Bell

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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 : How do you reward yourself when you meet your writing goals? That YA Highway is asking me this and that tons of people do reward themselves is maybe an indicator that I forgot something important along the way. I promised myself a second tattoo once I sign with an agent, but I have nothing in place for short term goals. It's almost too Pavlovian for me*. In fact, I have no idea what kind of reward would be good for me. Good thing you guys are here to help me with the problem. My goal is to complete my second draft of Phoenix Rising by May 31st**. Because there's only 13 days left to do this in and with at least 4 of those taken over by life, my reward needs to be wicked enticing. And cheap. And not food***. I can think of thre

NESCBWI Conference Recap, Part II

It's kind of hard not to get good advice when you're at a conference for three days. Even at the crappiest of conferences, you should be able to take back one nugget of information. Since I'm an avid note-taker, I have pages of information. Unfortunately, I can't share everything with you. But I can share a few thoughts. After reviewing my notes* from the weekend, I found some of the most memorable bits of information could be broken down into three main groups. Plot and Subplot "When plotting, list all possible assets, obstacles, allies, and rivals as they relate to your protagonist--you never know what can be used." -- J.L.Bell "Subplots come from your primary characters' secondary wants or your secondary characters' primary wants." -- Sarah Aronson Critiquing, Rejection, and Distance "Listen with 'elephant ears' when being critiqued. This helps you be more open-minded." -- Lin Oliver "It's important

NESCBWI Conference Recap, Part I

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It's Monday, Lurkdom, and after my truncated week last week, the day job exploded all over itself.* You know what that means... I'm still thinking about the 25th Annual NESCBWI Regional Conference I attended this weekend. I hung out with some fantastic people ( Kris Asselin , Laura Pauling , and Heather Kelly specifically) and learned a bunch of stuff. I come here to learn stuff. Care to share? It's nice to have a room to yourself. After the constant go, go, go of the conference, there was nothing better than heading back up to my hotel room and sitting in silence. Kidlit writers are some of the friendliest people on the planet. Networking doesn't have to be anxiety-ridden. When I checked in on Friday, I asked the lady at the registration desk what I needed to know. She said "say hello to at least five new people a day." What a great low-stress idea. We rarely look like our avatar. I had problems recognizing both Laura and Heather (neither of

Flutter by Erin E. Moulton debuts today!

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Hey, everyone! While it is Thursday and this is Miranda writing, I'm sorry to inform you all that today I will not be blogging about zombies. But the good news is that since most of our readers are writers and enjoy the Young Adult genre, today's entry is still for you! When I was in college in Boston, I didn't really have any friends at my school. While I thought college would be a place where I'd meet people like me and finally find a group of people who understood me and "got" me, unfortunately I did not. But before you get a mental image of me as an emo loser sitting alone in her dorm room... okay, that actually would be a fairly accurate portrayal of how I spent four years in school. However! There was one person whom I did click with-- my friend and now author, Erin Moulton! Erin was in my major and department for lighting design at Emerson College. I'm not lying when I say she was pretty much the only other lighting major that I liked! Fortu

The Voice Behind the Curtain

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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 : If you got to choose a celebrity narrator for the audio book of your WIP or your favorite novel, who would it be and why? I don't know much about audio books. Like, how one goes about picking the perfect voice. To be honest, I never give audio books much thought*, so it shouldn't shock you that I have no idea about any of my WIPs. What I do know is that I like the sound of a badass. Like that scene in the Dukes of Hazzard movie ** where Bo Duke is listening to AL UNSER JUNIOR: NO QUESTIONS, ONLY UNSERS as told by Laurence Fishburne. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the clip on YouTube, so to get Fishburne's voice, let's watch Sesame Street. I'm not sure what I'd want him to read, but I'm sure it would be aw

When The Blog and The Day Job Collide: Sir Cumference and the First Round Table

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If you follow me on Twitter, you might know I blog about math as part of the day job*. Every week I struggle to find a math topic that excites me enough to write three complete paragraphs on it. Thank goodness for the internet. If it wasn't for that, I'd never realize that there's a whole subset of math fiction . So with the help of the Boston Public Library, I had a copy of Sir Cumference and the First Round Table in my hot little hands when I should've been revising**. Image from Charlesbridge Publishing . Sir Cumference and the Round Table is a cute story that takes place in Arthurian England. King Arthur and his knights have a meeting to discuss potential invaders to Camelot but have problems talking with a rectangular table in the way. Through a series of trial and error , they try different shaped tables but each shape poses their own problems. What I liked about it: The character names and how they relate to circles. The naming conventions do rem

Shiny Things

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The Pie received another award*! This time KO dropped us the Blog on Fire award . It's shiny and reddish. There's no meme attached to it, so I'll acknowledge it and give you a few facts about fire before this goes onto the sidebar with the other shinies. Fire Facts In the US, there are 5 classes of fires that are based off what is actually causing the fire. Boston is the home of the oldest continuously operating fire department in the US. There are 1,080,000 hits about the flammability of vampires and only 323,000 about zombies. In other news, I'm about a month away from my first ever writing retreat. The first ever Weekend of Awesome is taking place in South Carolina the first weekend of June. After the craptastic April, I definitely need a getaway to focus on writing. Erinn and I have been working hard on the scheduling and Erinn has definitely kicked some major ass on the retreat bags. Even though we had a lot of initial interest, life and finances got in t

Friday Fives: Advice Link Up

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Go to Paper Hangover . Go! When I saw this topic last week, I huffed and sighed. There's no way I received five pieces of advice as an aspiring writer. I normally don't talk about my craft with people*. Imagine my surprise when I discovered I've blogged about this not once but twice in the past year. Read a lot of everything. Believe it or not, I got this advice from Madeleine L'Engle**. First and foremost, write for yourself. I've heard this a lot, but couldn't remember who said it recently until I saw Erinn's post today . Thanks Scott Treimel. Never give up . This I got straight from Jack Ketchum*** along with some other jewels . There ain't no road too long . There is nothing chocolate can't fix. Okay, so I might have just made up that final one, but it does hold true. Right? Also, if you're about to start querying, wouldn't it be awesome to have seven people crit your package AND manuscript? Of course it would! Go to Hel

Zombies-- Are They "Fun Guys?"

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Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . I'm starting off the evening with a bad pun... "fun guys" versus "fungi?" Har har har! Although my titling skills may not be the greatest, the basis for my bad joke is actually pretty awesome! Last week, I focused on how a zombie apocalypse might begin on May 21 of this year. Although unlikely, I suppose it could be a possibility. Well, this week (and probably next week) I am focusing on other *real* zombie cases that while they remain at a small level now, they may grow, mutate, and expand to infect humans someday. And then we should all panic. I was straightening up my house today and noticed a sure sign of spring/summer-- an ant was crawling around! Ants are super annoying because you never have to deal with just one. There are always about five thousand more following behind the one or two you kill. In fact, certain types of ants can have colonies t

Random Notes and Books

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Before I talk about books, let me redirect you to Help Write Now . This writing auction goes live today to help the South after Mother Nature kicked the shit out of it. If you want a more in-depth explanation, YA Highway explains it better . Myself along with a few blogging friends will be part of the auction in the form of a kick-ass crit package, so look out for that. Onto the daily deal... It turns out I haven't talked about a best of the month since February. This is in part because the series Sandman ruled my life for a month and a half, so I figured a quarterly review was in order*. After devouring books 1-3 of The Mortal Instruments series in the last few days of December, I had hit a literary wall. Almost nothing I picked up resonated with me. I got bored easily. It's amazing I read as many books as I did**. My top three books for the first quarter of the year are: 3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, which I talked about here . 2. Dream Country, Sandman #

Review: Don't You Forget About Me

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The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Weird Science. Pretty in Pink. Who hasn't watched any of these movies and go "damn, that's me"? Image courtesy of 123nonstop . Don't You Forget About Me is a documentary about John Hughes' impact on teens worldwide. The documentary follows four directors as they road trip in search of John Hughes. Throughout we get bits of interviews with people who Hughes' influence has touched. This includes the actors he had worked with during the making of these films plus directors of today. What I liked best was the interviews they did with kids who were currently in school. Every one interviewed spoke to how the "teen films" that Hughes wrote spoke to them more than the current teen films today. This is because movies like the ones I mentioned on top tackle things we all went through without glamorizing it. (How many teen flicks have the perfect boy and/or girl driving the lates

A Cupcake To Wear

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Today's post has been interrupted by life and not-quite-shiny things. Because of this, it's time for something random. Image courtesy of Woot . This is the print on one of my favorite Woot shirts. I think it's appropriate to wear when thinking about cupcakes. _____ Last.fm hit of the day : That's My Mom by The Graveyard Boulevard