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Showing posts from July, 2011

First Lines: A Sampler

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Due to last week's blogging hiatus (not to mention a general case of head-up-the-ass), I didn't prepare for today's Friday Fives. Thank god for online book previews. Below you'll find some of my favorite beginnings*. "Are you still mad?" Alec, leaning against the wall of the elevator, glared across the small space at Jace. "I'm not mad." - City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare Why I Like It: I just reread the first three books in The Mortal Instruments so this scene is fresh in my mind. After spending one book already with Jace, Alec, and crew, you have a good idea of their personalities which makes the scene more fun. The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. - The Gunslinger, Stephen King Why I Like It: I've blogged about this once before , but this sentence restored my faith in Stephen King. That withstanding, it's pretty intriguing. Why is this guy being followed across the desert? "

More Flying Trapeze!

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Hello, friends! Miranda here. I'm hijacking the zombies to share more trapeze with you! But don't worry, the zombies will be back next week. What I want to talk about involves zombies, 2012, fear of death, and survivalism... a little too hefty to get my thoughts together for today. This week has been a pretty big one for me. I quit my job at the unnamed coffee company (my last day is Sunday), and will soon be working for Apple! This prospect is very exciting for me, as I type this blog on my Apple laptop. Woohoo! Not only did a I secure a new job, quit my old one, but I also went back for another round of Trapeze School. Like my first class, the second was also amazing. Possibly even better because this time I did not break any more toes (the other one is still healing). I even managed to learn a new trick called "heels off." This trick is where you hang on to the bar with your hands and have your heels hooked over the bar as well. When you do a catch, you release y

Best of July, aka Why the Hell Did I Wait So Long!?

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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: What's the best book you read in July? Oh, this one is sooo easy. Goodreads blurb: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited? What I Liked About It

Writing Camp!

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Remember how I said I was going to do some writing for fun? Um, apparently that means participating in Camp NaNoWriMo . What the hell are you talking about? Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer version of NaNoWriMo. In fact, it's organized by the same people. There are two sessions you can choose to participate in, just like real camp. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. But I'm not stressing about this as much as I do in November. This is summer. I'm still hardwired to think of July and August as vacation time. So I will not stress. I have an outline that has no tension and a totally sagging middle, but that's okay because I'm doing this for fun. If I win it, cool. If I don't, also cool. You're insane. You know that, right? Of course. ... Besides, look at the pretty web badge with its trees and its greeny goodness. How I can I resist? The timing of this is awesome as I plan to do a lot of this during my stay in The Real World house. So the

Back in the Swing

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First off, a huge, huge thanks to Miranda for taking over last week. I hope you guys enjoyed her entries as much I did. It's been a little hard going for yours truly as of late. Without going into too much detail, there was a death in Hubby's family. I had declared 2011 as a wake/funeral-free year, but obviously there were greater, more annoying forces at work. I spent the majority of last week trapped in my own head, trying to get past the lump of sadness lodged in my brain like a freaking blood clot. I only realized in the last few days that the death hit me harder than I thought*. But it's a new week and I'm this much closer to vacation where I'll experience The Real World: Cape Cod for a second time. I'm excited for it, moreso than last year and I have some great things planned for myself while there. In the meantime, I'm going to get resettled with my blogging and writing schedule. I'll also have to work on the feng shui situation of my new

Zombie Survival Video Style

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Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Hey zombie fans! Thanks for sticking me this week as I've blogged about non-zombie things! It feels like it's been a long week for me in my personal life, so today I just need to write/post about something funny and mindless. I love searching for interweb videos, and I came across this one. The quality isn't outrageously good, but clearly these are amateur/independent filmmakers who were able to make an entertaining short video with an obviously low budget. Probably akin to the type of film I would (or rather have) make. So, enjoy this take on how to survive a zombie outbreak! (And note the use of my weapon of choice-- the crowbar!)

Everyone Loves a Villain!

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Or in Alicia's case, everyone loves a bad boy (as we learned from her favorite cliches)! 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 are your favorite literary villains/antagonists, and why? While Alicia is still taking a small blogging break, I (Miranda) am back to help out with today's YA Highway topic! Alicia may be back, so she can add on to my picks or push me aside. But I'm pretty excited because I LOVE villains. I've always sympathized with the bad guy in books in movies. Now would be a good time to once again bring up my thesis topic... but that may bore you all. So here goes! My favorite literary villains/antagonists! 1. Professor Severus Snape - Perhaps I have Harry Potter on the brain from recently seeing part 2, but he is a great antagonist. While I do love the movie

The Daring Young Girl on the Flying Trapeze

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Miranda here again at the wheel, ready to share with you another "normal" hobby of mine. I say "normal" with quotation marks because most people might not think this interest is for the average person. I've had a life long obsession with the circus. I'm not sure how or why it started. It could be because my grandfather is a Shriner, and every year they would put on the "Shrine Circus" for charity and I would attend with my family. Or it may be because in 1st grade, my school put on a "circus." I auditioned to be the Ringmaster (my brother had been the one in his year); I was the best reader in my grade, but they gave it someone else-- a boy, because girls aren't Ringmasters... Or it may be from repeatedly watching Dumbo as a child (I now collect Dumbo things). I'm not really sure of the reason, but it stuck. As a result, I wrote my thesis about side shows and freak shows, I go out of my way to buy anything that has to do with c

Kittehs everywhere!!

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Happy Monday, Lurkdom!! Surprise! This is Miranda and I'm taking over some 'Pie' duties while Alicia has life happen. Last week, I had life happen. So, I apologize for missing "Zombie Thursday." My week was so all over the place, I honestly didn't even have my days straight. But don't worry... you don't have to put up with a week full of horror writing. As I've mentioned in the past, I actually do have "normal" hobbies and interests and I'd like to take at least today and tomorrow to talk about some of them. Animals! I've been a vegetarian for about thirteen years now. While I do love the taste of meat (I just haven't had any in many years), I love fluffy (and non-fluffy) animals more. Four years ago, I had a psycho little dog come into my life-- Mia. She isn't technically a "rescue" puppy, but I think of her that way. I don't think the family we got her from treated her very well. She had an intense fear

Impromptu Hiatus

Dear Lurkdom, Don't be alarmed if there is lack of new blog posts over the course of this week. Life happened and yours truly is taking a couple of days off from the blogosphere. In the meantime, feel free to read past posts. I suggest: Task-Setting for Writers Book, movies, and television reviews. Road Trip Wednesday posts. Learning from Movies. Musings. Have a wonderful beginning of the week. Loff, Alicia

It's Like a Yellow Submarine, But Not

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I should probably let you all in on a not-so-secret secret: I'm anti-social. This totally contradicts the amount of time I spend on the Twitters and here, but sometimes that's how I roll. Anyway. Listing 5 writing communities shouldn't be too hard. Twitter . This is where I've made a lot of my writing connections. The #amediting and #amwriting hashtags are a great way to remind you you're not like Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. And since I'm chained at a desk all day*, this is a good thing. NaNoWriMo . The Boston WriMos have been awesome. It's well past November and I still meet up with them weekly for write ins. We'll overlook the fact that most of the time I'm so busy busting a gut that writing might not get done. Weekend of Awesome . I really can't stress enough how fantastic this weekend was and how awesome the ladies in it are. They've become my personalized writing community. I realize how lucky I am. SCBWI . Without SC

D'OH!

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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 : What's the biggest writing / querying / publishing mistake you've made? Oi. I've been writing for a loooong time which means there's a long bucket list of things never to do again. Like writing a 100K YA contemporary, Or being too cocky in a query letter, Or not doing proper agent research. These are just a few of my many mistakes. But the biggest one of all has to be when I took every single piece of feedback my crit group gave me. This is the same crit group that birthed Nemesis, so that I listened to everything they said is crazy. Doing this added another 3 years on getting my WIP back on track*. I was so intent on everyone liking my writing that I forgot to listen to my instinct. I won't be making that mistake ever again.

Review: Writing & Selling the YA Novel

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During Weekend of Awesome, we shared our favorite writing resource. Erinn brought in Writing and Selling the YA Novel by KL Going. So I borrowed it and read it on the botched plane ride home*. What I  liked about it : It was easy to read. Most books on craft lean toward the dense side, but KL Going's writing is easy on the brain. It paired well with the book's chapters, which were broken up by school subject. For example, the one titled "math**" is all about the business end of writing. What you should know : The book covers all writing basics but gives them a "how to write YA" spin. If you write YA (which I'm pretty sure most of the writers in the Lurkdom do), think of this as a refresher course. If you're curious about writing a novel for the YA market, this should be the first thing you should read. Because contrary to what people think, writing for teens is just as much work as writing literary fiction. (I'm looking at you, Katie Crouch

Things That Amuse Me: Daschunds

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Daschunds. Hot dog dogs. Weiner dogs. Whatever you call them, I find them hysterical. They're the perfect combination of long torso and short legs so they always look like they're in a hurry. And the ears are usually floppy which adds to the amusement factor when they run. Image courtesy of Bay Area Dogs In fact, I'm smiling right now looking at this handsome little feller. They crack me up so much that Hubby is aware of my conditions if I was to become a dog owner. Must be a daschund. His name will be Sparky. He will have his own doggie treadmill and wind machine. We will buy him a cape. This is all so I can have a superhero dog named Super Sparky so I can watch him run and his ears flail. Now that I've probably condemned myself to the looney bin, watch this cute dachshund puppy play with the mirror version of himself. ________ Last.fm hit of the day : Dreaming Light by Anathema

The Top 5 Tools Every Writer Should Use

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First, I'd like to announce the winner of the Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance Giveaway... KO! Now back to our originally scheduled Friday Fives . In every writer's life, a bit of research must fall. Yours truly isn't an exception. Where do I go for all my researcherly needs? Google by far. I just type in a question and bam! instant answers. Yeah, sometimes I get some hits that are wicked off the mark, but 99% of the time Google gives me answers. Wikipedia. Great for fact-checking, Wikipedia picks up where The World Book left off*. Naming the World. The resource used for monthly writing workshops at Newtonville Books, I've gotten a lot of prewriting and scene work done with the exercises from this book. Guide to Literary Agents, Writer's Market, and QueryTracker. I'll be swimming in all three of these as the summer pushes it's way into fall. These are great for all things literary agent-y. Google Earth . One of my in-development project

Rob Zombie!

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Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Hello, everyone! Today's post not only encompasses a zombie, but also fits in with my new segment-- Zombie Thursdays presents-- Miranda Talks About Other Scary Horror Stuff that isn't Necessarily Related to Zombies, but that She Thinks You'll Enjoy Too! (Working Title) If you were to do a word association game with an Average Joe and said "zombie," chances are they may counter with "Rob." After all, Rob Zombie is fairly synonymous with horror, witches, zombies, Halloween, and all things creepy. Not to mention amazing music! Even if you're not a fan of his music, the man is talented. He's sold millions of albums worldwide and has been nominated for several Grammy awards. Clearly, I am a fan and must admit that his concert was probably one of the best and most fun shows I have ever been to! Some cool facts about Rob that you may not know: 1.

When The Blog and The Day Job Collide: Setting and the WIP

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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 : Share some images that inspire your WIP. Even though I have a bunch of them stored on my computer, I never used a picture for inspiration. Until this weekend, of course. Sunday I went on a photo walk around the day job's grounds to take pictures for one of my in development WIPs*. Where do you find your visual inspiration? * Which, despite having only a sketchy outline, will be YA. ________ Last.fm hit of the day : Get Off Get Out by Anathema

Tuesday Haiku

It's my Monday, which means this week will plod to Friday*. The only saving grace is the stack of projects that I want to complete. (Hint: they're all writing related.) Anyway, my brain wouldn't function today at all, so I thought a bad haiku was in order. 7 The rook called. I listened. O’er the crest, Reaper smiled In his arms I lie Despite the moribity of the haiku content, I'm in a cheerful mood. I get to read Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School for the day job and I sat in a giant's chair yesterday. * Why this is always the case with shortened weeks is beyond me. _______ Last.fm hit of the day : Star War by Backyard Babies

In the Memetime...

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A couple of weeks ago, Alison Miller tagged me in this meme-type thing. Since it's Monday and the majority of us are enjoying hot dogs, parades, and fireworks it's perfect timing. Right? Right? Right. For once I'm blogging ahead of schedule and catching up on TV to boot, so I might as well warn you: sarcasm will be aplenty. 1) Do you think you're hot? Such an odd question, but it has such an easy answer. Nope. 2) Upload a pic or wallpaper you're using. Since I'm on the home machine I get to share the cuteness the graphic designer at work made for me. It's of The Stripey One. Isn't this awesome? 3) When was the last time you ate chicken? Thursday night at b Good in Boston. It was a grilled chicken breast because I've grown tired of burgers. 4) What were you thinking while doing this? Three things: Since I'm watching the season finale of The Vampire Diaries, I'm wondering if this is the kiss of death for Damon.  Also since

Cliches Are Awesome

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It's Friday and in under six hours I'll be having a fantastic long weekend. Until then, you're stuck with me and my five favorite cliches. When the general public thinks cliche, chances are they'll think a catch phrase. When I think cliche, I think things in writing. Let's count them down: The dumb blonde and dumb jock. Even though they're fun to write, it's a challenge to see how far you can go with the stereotype before busting up in laughter. There can be only one. Chosen one, that is. It's a convenient plot device and shows up in almost every book that has a fantastical element to it. Roland's the gunslinger. Anita has all the power. Buffy is the chosen one. The love triangle. As long as it doesn't involve a questionably sparkling bloodsucker, a werewolf, and a dipshit, the love triangle is awesome. If done properly we can see multiple sides of the person stuck in the middle to help solidify which "team" you're on. Howe