Showing posts from August, 2011

Best Book of August

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 August? With Real World Cape Cod at the start of the month, I expected to read more books than I did because who doesn't love reading while baking on the sand? Alas, it was also Camp NaNoWriMo, so my reading suffered a bit. This month I only read six books. Six is impressive anyway . Thanks. What's awesome is that I had a good run of reading material. Wanna see what I read? Of course you do. So many plots... Out of the six, Kody Keplinger's sophomore novel, SHUT OUT* was the best by far. Blurb from Goodreads :   Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is

Things that Amuse Me: Laugh at that Rejection

After a year spent revising, last night I started querying again. A good chunk of The Lurkdom knows the ups and downs of querying: how it's a waiting game where you can go from super manically happy to downright suicidal in the course of the day*. This being the case, let's have a laugh at rejection today on The Pie. Disclaimer: The staff at The Pie does not endorse writing snarky, rude response letters to industry professionals or ranting about said rejection in a public forum. We at The Pie understand rejection is part of the road to publication. As yours truly said to her father during her first driving lesson: "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." * We won't even go into how many times I've checked my email since I woke up this morning. OCD doesn't even cover it. _____ hit of the day : Bereit by Panzer AG

Writing Lessons from Step Up 3D

This weekend while we were supposed to be ravaged by Hurricane Tropical Storm A Lot of Wind Irene, I spent more time hammering out my latest WIP. I got tired of watching bad 90s television for background noise and decided I would see what entertainment On Demand had for me. Don't judge The first two movies in the Step Up franchise are among my guilty pleasures : awesome dance sequences, decent enough plots, and predictable love stories totally rock my world*. Step Up 3 (as my On Demand called it) is part of a series of loosely-linked movies. It's also one of the first dance films using 3D technology, the first (as far as I can tell) is StreetDance 3D , released a few months prior. Today I'll focus on both aspects and how this applies to writing. Whose story you're telling might change. You start your current WIP talking about Hunky Henry and his love of metal sporks, but somewhere in your drafting process you find out that Ginormous Jennifer is involved wit

Twice More on the Trapeze!

Hello, readers! You get a double dose of Miranda this week! Alicia has handed over Pie duties to me today. I'm guessing she is preparing for the hurricane of doom that is soon to be hitting the East Coast. So to all you people in that area, I hope you stay safe and that you keep your power and internet! Stay indoors! While you are stuck inside, I thought I would bring even more flying trapeze your way since I have gotten positive feedback on my less the normal hobby. So today, I have two videos to show you. In them I am performing the set split trick. Yes, this is basically doing the splits on a trapeze bar and then throwing yourself off to be caught. Sometimes it goes really well, as you will see directly below... and sometimes it goes, well, not so great. But it's good to see even the worst attempts because it helps to learn where you mess up and how to avoid it in the future. And now for the not so great attempt-- If you happen to live in the Chicago area, tonight,

Livin' for the Apocalypse

Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . It's rare that a blog topic will just fall into my lap. But this week it did! While watching some ridiculous show on TLC (most likely "Toddlers & Tiaras"... don't judge), I saw a commercial for a new special called Livin' for the Apocalypse. It was instantly exciting for me because the show illustrates perfectly what I was talking about a few weeks ago-- survivalists! The show airs this weekend, Sunday, August 28 at 9pm Central time and 10pm for you East Coasters (check your local guide though to be sure). From what I can tell, it is a documentary style show that follows four different families who are all survivalists. They have shelves of canned foods and gas masks (yes, really). They raise rabbits to slaughter and eat for food when the apocalypse hits. And they have guns. Lots of guns. While the focus isn't on zombies, it still shows the len

Surefire Methods to Beat Writer's Block

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 beat writer's block? Sometimes I think the ladies at YA Highway read my mind. I'm beginning to burn out from my frantic writing pace for Camp NaNoWriMo* and the other night I started five separate scenes before I found one that I could actually write. I can feel the writer's block creeping upon me. Here are three things I do to trick writer's block into retreating. Free Write. I open up Write or Die and set the timer for at least fifteen minutes. During the free write I examine why I'm blocked, what directions the story can potential go to, and use the word "cheese" or "blah."** Fifteen minutes is usually long enough to clear out whatever is trapped. Exercise. If the free writing doesn't work, an

WIP Snapshot: Phoenix Rising

The following has been shamelessly poached from the following people: Kiersten White , Pam , and Quita . (Though I did first see on Kiersten White's blog and thought, "Hey, this is a wicked good idea. *I* should do the same.") Credit Title: Phoenix Rising Genre: Urban Fantasy Pages: 330 Chapters: 20... ish Word Count: 66,500 Draft Time: I've done two drafts, totaling about 3 months. But I did spend a lot of time being proactive and outlining and letting the idea germinate in my brain. Origin: I had the idea of everyone talking about the new boy on campus, but there had to be a reason why he was drawing so much attention. I definitely didn't want to do another YA contemporary so close to finishing revisions on my last one and NaNoWriMo was coming up, so I thought it was time to do something different. I read a lot of paranormal and UF, so that seemed to be the logical choice, but I didn't want to deal with the usual suspects found in t

Monday Shinies

My calendar is telling me it's Monday, but my brain is in disagreement. This has everything to do with the fact that when I left my Camp NaNoWriMo WIP last night, I was in Tuesday. This should tell you how completelyy entrenched I am with my fictional friends and trying to figure out exactly what is up with my protagonist and her male sidekick. Because of this, it's time for Show and Tell, web badge edition. The first is the Liebster Award. Christine Murray handed it over almost a month ago . It's for blogs that have under 200 followers. In turn, I'm supposed to hand it out to 5 people, but The Pie likes to break the rules, so I'll hand it off to one. Glenna at The Blue Lipstick Samurai . I enjoy lurking around her blog. It's professional, fun, and she has an awesome blog title. You should all follow her. Today I joined Rachel Harrie's 3rd Platform-Building Campaign . It's designed to help writers connect with each other while cultivating a b

Top 5 Applications for Writers

It's Friday. That means it's time for Paper Hangover's Friday Fives. Today's topic ? Oh, apps. You little things that can become such a time sink for yours truly*. I don't really have an addictive personality, but there are certain things that make me forget outside things exist. Take this example: back in dial up only days, The Lou had an old computer in our basement. This computer had Tetris. I would shoot down there for a "quick game" only to re-emerge five hours later. So because my favorite non-productive apps are games like Tetris, I should probably focus on things that tie into writing. You're shocked, I know. Write or Die . I actually paid the $10 for the download so I can use it when I'm not attached to the internet. You set a word count goal and a time limit and -BOOM!- you write to your heart's content. It kinda forces you to turn off your editor. Freedom . My love of all things shiny runs deep. This means I have a cons

Settings to Switch Genres For

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 the most inspiring setting you’ve ever visited IRL? As I get deeper into my writing journey, I pay more attention to things I should have paid attention to a loooong time ago. One of these being location. But Alicia, isn't setting an important piece of fiction? Erm, yes. *whistles* In my earlier pieces, my setting was laid out soap opera style where there were only certain pieces selected and described in detail. Everything else was the sound stage of my mind. You'd be happy to know that since then I've gotten MUCH BETTER. Last year, during The Real World Cape Cod, Season 2, I decided that I have to have a story that takes place on the beach. This story will also have to have sun, cute boys, and kissing. So at some point down t

Takeaways from Real World Cape Cod

Apologies for the radio silence yesterday, but my brain was still set on vacation mode. This meant a lot of staring at objects trying to figure out how they worked. Like the day job's phone and the internet*. Last week I was in Cape Cod with my in laws. Not the most glamorous of vacations, but it was free and I was guaranteed a lot of reading and writing time. We did have some organizational snafus**, not to mention one bathroom for ten people***, but overall it was a good vacation. This was our third year down with Hub's family and certain things are a given like mini golf, too much ice cream, and family outings. The 2011 Real World Cape Cod crew, courtesy of SIL the Younger. The best part of the vacation (aside from being away from the day job) was all the live research Writer Alicia got to do. We all know that writing is primarily a solitary affair where we spend a good amount of time chumming around with the people in our head, so it was awesome to watch this

Friday Fives-- Authors I'd Die to Meet!

Welcome to another Friday at 'The Pie!' Alicia is still on vacation, so you get to see my thoughts on the Paper Hangover's Friday Fives. This topic is kind of difficult. Fan conventions, book signings, and other events make it easier than ever to meet your favorite authors. Case in point-- I've already met my favorite author of all time, Clive Barker! Of course I would absolutely love meeting him again... but I've already been fortunate enough to spend an entire weekend with him. Here at 'The Pie,' you probably already know we like to break rules. I'm going to interpret that "authors I'm dying to meet" means that I would have to be dead to meet them. And so... the Five Deceased Authors I Would Die to Meet! 5. Charles Darwin-- This man still sparks tons of controversy, not to mention "founding" a set of pretty funny 'awards.' I don't know what I would ask him, but he would just be cool to meet! 4. Freud-- Wheth

Max Brooks Discusses Zombies

Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Greetings! And a spooky Thursday to you all! With the summer months still actively heating the world, and fantastic holidays like Halloween seeming so far away, some of our newer readers may be confused about all the zombie and horror posts that appear here each Thursday. To our newest members of the Lurkdom-- welcome! Feel free to check out the "Why Zombies?" tab for more information and join me, Miranda, back here each week. As I was in Walgreens today to purchase nail polish remover, I was beyond excited to see that candy corn and candy pumpkins have already graced the shelves of impulse items right by the registers! Even though it's summer, fall is right around the corner... which means soon I'll be seeing even more horrific decorations and items in stores. Huzzah! As we gear up for the greatest season of all, especially for us gothic folks, I thought it mig

Flying Trapeze-- Whip Trick!

Hello again, dear readers! Miranda here. I apologize for missing yesterday. As it turns out, when one is used to working second shift (typically a 2-11pm shift), it is a bit disorienting to switch to working from 9am to 6pm. As such, I crashed and crashed hard when I got home last night. Unfortunately, I also had this entire blog typed out and finished when Blogger decide to go into 'Read Only Mode.' While I thought it had saved everything I had just finished typing, it did not. Once the blackout period was over, I came back to publish and it was all gone. Except for the first paragraph above. GRRRRRR. So, I apologize it is being posted so late. Today is Wednesday, so normally it would be reserved for the YA Highway post. Unfortunately, the topic for today was specific to writers and at what times of the day do they like to write, etc. Unlike Alicia (and probably a lot of you all), I am not a fiction writer. So I couldn't give any answers. But I encourage you to follow the

American Sign Language

Hello, lovely Pie readers! Surprise! You get another week with me, Miranda! Alicia is off vacationing in the "Real World House," so I volunteered to take up the duties over here on the blog. Hope you all don't mind. So without further ado-- Another small fun fact about me is that, while in college, I actually minored in American Sign Language. There was no real reason for this. I had already met the language requirement for my school by taking seven years of French from ages 9 to 16. So, I didn't even need to take ASL. I just really wanted to learn a new language. After the first semester, I loved it and wanted to learn more, so I continued and was able to make it my minor. Some of you may be familiar with ASL, maybe you know a person in the deaf community. But it's also likely that many of you may have no experience with the language and culture beyond learning how to finger spell many years ago in grade school. I'd like to give you some interesting fac

Inspire Me

YA Highway asked this question a few weeks ago. Then I shared pictures of the day job's complex, which is the setting for the assassin project. Since I did that already, I didn't want to cheat. So today's post is going to be split into two parts: pictures that I'd like to write something about and pictures of people who inspire me. What I'd Like to Write About A few years ago, I went to the MFA for my birthday. In the Roman section, I saw this earring. Look at the detail of this thing. I think something like this would make a great piece in a cat burglar story or something like that. This was the view from our cabin when Hubs and I honeymooned to the Caribbean. This was about 6 AM as we came into St. Thomas. I'd love to have a story set somewhere like this. (Side note: This was the best vacation ever. I've never been so stress-free in my life.) Those Who Inspire Me to Continue On My parents. I've mentioned before how I dra

2012 Survivalists... the "Real" Zombie Apocalypse?

Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . As zombie fans, it's fun to speculate about what it would be like to live during and after a zombie apocalypse. There are movies, television shows, books, etc. that are all designed to give a somewhat accurate portrayal of what our lives could be like with little food and water, no electricity, and with the world in chaos and riots. A great show that exists is the "reality" show The Colony which has participants spend seventy-two hours in a simulated quarantine before joining forces to form a survivalist community. They forage for food, set up battery operated generators, ward off roving gangs trying to steal their supplies, and generally try to adapt to a new way of living as if the world has been destroyed by a highly contagious super virus. But even that show is under controlled circumstances. There are obviously camera crews following them, producers pulling cast

Hone Your Senses!

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 : The Five Senses. How you use them in your writing, how you are inspired by them, pictorial essays, that character with smelly socks, books that have used them well, the ones that are currently missing from your work, etc. For someone who writes, I'm one of the least observant people I know. I have to make sure that I pay attention to things like the exact smell of grass or the nuanced flavor profile of Hubby's chili* or I get nothing. This totally explains why my initial drafts of anything lack detail**. One way to help notice more of the details around you is to do an observation exercise. Sit somewhere with paper and a pen. For five minutes, jot down everything you observe: smells, sounds, sights, textures, tastes. Don't worry

Pansters and Plotters

When I first started writing, I was totally a pantser. Whatever came to my head in terms of scene, I'd write. While this made for a fun first draft, it proved to be utter shit for my revision process*. As I progressed in my writing, I tried different things. Like plotting something out. Talk about life-changing. My drafting time went from three years to two months. In turn, my revision process went smoother. After years of pantsing, I've become a plotter. This November will mark my second plotter anniversary. With a few years under my belt, I thought it would be nice to give a rundown of what's different between plotters and pantsers. Pantsers... Go into a project with a rough idea. The key here is rough. They might only have a piece of a scene. Work more off of premise. Battling robots might sound awesome, but it's not enough to build a 50,000 word novel. Have more writer's block. They write themselves into a corner and can't figure out how to get

Vacation Books

This time next week I'll be an active participant of The Real World Cape Cod and let me tell you: it can't come soon enough. This summer has been somewhat of a suckfest so getting away for a few days is a definite must. One thing I always make sure I pack for vacation are books. The more, the better. I think about this before the all-important clothes issue*. Back in June , I declared this summer the fluff read summer. While I haven't been entirely successful, I'm aiming to continue on next week. And because it's Monday, I thought I'd share my book packing list with you. The Real World Cape Cod Book List Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen Supernaturally by Kiersten White Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols Possession by Elana Johnson I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer Withering Tights by Louise Rennison I know. That's a lot of reading material to devour in between writing and organized activity**, but I like to be prepared. What books