Showing posts from September, 2011

Challenge, Schmallenge: Favorite Banned Books

Fact: Tons of books have been banned or challenged. Further fact: None of them should, something I talked about on Tuesday . In preparing for today's post, I went through the ALA site to see what books have been challenged in the last seven years. The amount of stupid is staggering* and has me again asking, "WTF is wrong with you people?" *ahem* I won't soapbox today, Lurkdom. Or at least, I promise to try not to. Without further to do, I present... The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling. Why challenged/banned: One school district claimed it promoted the Wiccan religion**; many others gripe about warlocks and the occult. What the challengers are missing out on: Harry Potter is a fantastic, well-thought out series where everything comes to life. Rowling created such a vivid world, it's like a master class by reading it. There's adventure and character growth. Oh hell, most of you read it. Praise it in the comments! The Giver by Lois Lowry Wh

Post-Apocalyptic Scare Zone

Zombie Thursday! Brought to you by the iPad, so missing graphics for now! Like most Thursdays, I often have an idea of what to write about earlier in the weekend. But every once in awhile I have to throw aside the idea I was going to work on for something else. Today is one of those Thursdays. I was all set to blog about seeing Night of the Creeps on the big screen, but today on the train, I had this weird flashback to when I was thirteen and went to Six Flags for their Fright Festival over one weekend. Why I had a flashback to that weekend, I'm not sure. It could be that October 1st is fast approaching and I consider that the official kickoff to the Halloween season. It could be that I had zombies on my mind, or maybe just a sound or graffiti jogged my memory. But whatever the reason, let me tell you about one of the most frightening "haunted house" experience I've ever had! If you've never been to an amusement park Halloween festival, I highly recommend it!

Best Book of September

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 September? Unlike last month where I couldn't up my book count because of Camp NaNoWriMo, this month I devoured ten books. This has everything to do with the fact my plot ran away from me and I haven't been able to figure it out yet. 80% of what I read was awesome with four or five star ratings. You can see the winners below. I know what you're thinking, with all this awesome how can a best be picked? So simple. Only one of these got five stars--When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Blurb from Goodreads : By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy g

Sex, Swears, and Aggression

Credit If you're a book person, you already know that this week is Banned Books Week. As a writer and book lover, this is an extremely important week because yours truly believes that censorship is crap. Even High School Alicia and College Alicia didn't like the concept. It's one thing if you personally disagree/dislike/outwardly hate something, but it's totally different when you force your opinion down the throat of everyone around you. (It's not just books that have this problem. Music and film go through the censorship wringer as well, something that sets my teeth on edge.) When you look at the statistics on why books are banned, it's clear what people have a problem most with: sexual content, offensive language, and violence. The top ten reasons for challenging a book can be broken down into seven categories, which you can see on this super awesome pie chart. Information taken from ALA's Challenges By Reason 1990-2010 Chart Sex Almost

The Great Book Reorg of 2011

Back in the spring of 2010, I admitted that I have a book habit . Now in the fall of 2011, I'm here to tell you it hasn't improved. With the demise of Borders, the addiction grew worse. The combined TBR pile morphed into 4 totes full of unread books. Houston, we definitely have a problem. So a few weeks ago, Hubby finally agreed to the Great Book Reorg of 2011. Every book was stripped from the shelves* and unloaded from totes until we were able to see everything**. The amount of books we had was sort of disgusting because we knew we weren't going to read a lot of them. It had turned into hoarding. So we went through the process of brutal honesty on what we were going to read, reread, and not. If they were books we borrowed and weren't going to read them, they went into the "return" pile. If they were books bought on a whim, they went into the "resell" pile. The resell pile currently stands at 3 large grocery bags and 2 midsize boxes. Books we w

Oh the Places that I Go

If you follow my Twitter, you've probably noticed the tweets about how unuseful my cats are in terms of writing. That's because I deal with things like this: Yep. That's them on top of my work . Don't even get me started about them usurping my view of the laptop. Of course, there's also the case of Hubs who has the uncanny ability to come talk to me about something when I'm in the middle of a difficult scene or brainstorming. With these distractions at home, it's amazing I get anything done. When the home distractions get too ridiculous, I head out. My five local haunts: (c) Elizabeth Thomsen Watertown Public Library . It's about a ten minute walk from the apartment. There's a cafe. It's quiet. There's free internet. Plus, it's a library. The library has been extremely useful in terms of getting shit done without interruptions. I've plotted NaNo novels and edited the hell out of other novels here. I'll admit it:

Walking Dead, Season 2

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Hello, Lurkdom! We are just a little more than a week away from October, the most magical and spooky month of the year! I've already started gearing up for my favorite month. My decorations are in their "prep" stages, I'm going to begin work on my costume on Friday, and I'm beginning to schedule when all my favorite horror shows and movies will be playing on television and around the city. One premier I am greatly anticipating is, of course, the beginning of The Walking Dead, season two! Last season was amazingly produced and executed, but unfortunately with only six episodes. This season promises thirteen episodes which will hopefully take us all the way through Halloween and into the winter holiday season. I'm excited! You all should be too! It looks like season two is scheduled to start on October 16, so we still have a few weeks. In the time leading u

Covers, Posters... Same thing.

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 are your all-time favorite book covers? I've talked about covers once before , but some topics just need repeating. The covers below I think would look fantastic poster-sized. Hush, Hush , Halo , Pawn of Prophecy , Insurgent , White Cat , Sunrunner's Fire , A Wrinkle in Time , City of Bones Out of these eight, my most favorite is the Wrinkle in Time cover. I love it so much that I have a poster of it. Cliff Nielsen's use of colors combined with the depiction of Mrs. Whatsit is breathtaking. What book cover would you blow up to poster size? _______ hit of the day : M-16 by Descendents

Now I'm Feeling Linkified*

The Pie got another award**. This is pretty exciting. When we get an award, it's not only a prize for the blog, but a prize for the blogger. And by prize I totally mean built in blog post. Kelley at Writtled shared the 7x7 Link Award with the Pie. She's a fellow campaigner where I've been lurking lately***. I like her blog style and reviews so if you're looking for an additional place to lurk, definitely check her out. The deal with the award is to share 7 past blog articles that fit the superlative given. Then you're supposed to go and read those posts. I'm also to share the award with 7 other people. (Yep, I totally LOVED chain letters as a kid.) Without any more delay, I present you with my 7 blog posts! Most Beautiful: This is hard because I don't write in flowery, pretty prose. I do, however, like to share videos. This one is of an empty beach . Listen to the waves and feel the peace. Most Helpful: This has got to be a toss up between my t

Writing with R Kelly: Read On Prompts

Horrible movies. We've all seen them. Some people live for the craptacular*. The stilted dialogue and the horrible CGI make you giddy with glee. You've got your heckle down to a well-oiled machine. Hate or love them, bad movies do kinda rock. They rock even harder when you can learn from them. If you've followed The Pie for a while, you know that I've shared what you can learn about storyboarding by watching The Room . Did you can learn about tension by watching R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet? Yes, you can. Today we'll focus on the "read on prompt." For those in the Lurkdom who don't know what this means, it's when a scene or chapter ends in such a way that makes you want to read a bit more. The most common version of this is the cliffhanger. While R Kelly abuses the cliffhanger feature, he does the job of making you want to see what happens in the next scene. (That each scene grows a bit more ridiculous** is a totally different R Ke

Zombie Caterpillars?? Yes!

Zombie Thursdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Happy Thursday! Today's blog is compliments of Alicia who shared this gem of an article on the Twitters. We both decided it was blog worthy, so here you go! You may remember me posting at the start of the summer about a zombie ant fungus ... well guess what! There is now a virus that turns caterpillars into zombies! You read that correctly. A virus. It creates zombie caterpillars. Mind = Blown. According to this article on National Geographic, the virus infects the host caterpillar and reprograms its brain. Normally, the caterpillar will go to the tops of trees to feed during the day, but will then climb down at night to hide. Unfortunately for these poor infected little guys, the virus makes them stay up in the treetops all night where eventually their bodies become so infected and decayed that they die and turn to mush. There, from their high vantage point in the trees, the

You Can Write That Again

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 themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work? I'd love to say that I'm so freaking original that nothing from Story A shows up in Story B because as a writer's it's my job to make sure everything is fresh and unique and non-redundant. However, I can't. Some things just show up no matter what. One parent is always either dead or missing from the protagonist's life. And when I say missing, I do mean that in a "they've never physically been here" kind of way*. Sometimes both are gone. Project count: 4 The F-bomb shower. Found in early drafts only**, my love for this four-letter word gets showered across all dialogue and exposition. Project count: 4 Blonde girl who is e

Blot Spotlight: Read for Relief

Good morning, Lurkdom! The other week I mentioned Hurricane Irene in passing. I'll admit it was in a very snarky way. That's because right outside of Cambridge and Boston nothing happened, but that doesn't mean Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene didn't destroy other areas. It did. That's why it's great that Erin Bowman, Tracey Neithercott, Sarah Enni, and Caroline Richmond got together to start Read for Relief . These auctions are a great way to help and get something in return. You can bid on query and manuscript critiques, ARCs, books... the list keeps on growing. If you write YA and are in need of some serious crit help, I definitely suggest you go bid on the group critique that me and the other Weekend of Awesome ladies teamed up for. Below you'll find the description that's directly from the site. 6 YA writers and critique partners come together to give you a critique package that will make your manuscript submission-ready.  (NOTE: Manuscrip

From Idea to Draft As Described by a White Cat

I realized that I haven't talked about the cats recently. If they knew this I'm sure there would be more mayhem at Chez Gregoire*. The reason for lack of cat stories I guess is because the focus at The Pie is slowly becoming more writing and writing life oriented. But Alicia, I love hearing about your less-than-normal felines. Aw, thanks. I love talking about my furry children too. Because you asked and I do love them, I figured it's time to do a representation of how an idea becomes a story a la The White One. I should point out that this isn't an in-depth representation as there are only so many photos that work and so much brainpower to use. You get a kernel of an idea. It's just a teeny thing, but it definitely catches your attention. This usually happens when you're involved in something else so you have to look around what's in front of you to examine this HIGHLY INTERESTING THING OUTSIDE THE WINDOW. This new idea is something GROUNDBREAK

Summer Literary Recap

Lurkdom, you're officially reading post 500! *throws confetti and glitter* Because of this and the fact that math has broken my brain*, today's post will be short. I read some fantastically awesome published books this summer**. After having such a reading slump at the start of the year, it's amazing to see how my reading picked up. Pam raves about Ellen Hopkins and after her and a few other people talked it up enough, I caved.  Crank is cleverly written and covers a serious issue without being preachy. It's understandable why it's been banned*** in places, but you can't discount that Hopkins knows what she's doing. You can read my mini review here . Everyone who has read Anna and the French Kiss has loved it. At first it made me think that there was Kool Aid in the water. Then I read it. There were both funny and sweet moments. The description was fantastic. Believe you me, I'll be reading it again. Soon. You can read my review here . Th

More Apocalypse Livin'

Zombie Thur sdays is a weekly feature with guest blogger, Miranda. You can read more about her here . Hello, gentle readers! While I am still clinging to the hope that it is still summer, the weather seems to have a different idea. The weather in Chicago has been dropping, and I have been freezing. While I do enjoy autumn and my favorite season of Halloween goodness in October, I'm just not ready for it. I get cold very easily, and I hate shivering nonstop because it hurts my muscles and is all around unpleasant. Hopefully this is just a brief change and the temperature will climb again. Until it does, I have been clinging to the indoors! Who got to see TLC's special Livin' for the Apocalypse? I did, and it was a pretty interesting (and strange) look at survivalist families. It turns out that, yes, the Survival Doc is very weird and possibly crazy. All the families go above and beyond the normal amount of preparedness that a family should have. One family is teaching t

Time Travelling Tag Team

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 non-YA character would you love to see star in a YA book as themselves? Confession: I've thought about this topic all day. I've read everyone else's suggestions to see if it would spark mine. (Yours were all lovely BTW - a lot of Harry Potter and two Gandalfs - tons of wizard love.) I finally figured it out with all seriousosity. Paradoxes aside, I'd like to see a YA that focuses on these two guys during their teen years. Look: they even have the same expression. It's kismet. Think about it: they're both time traveling doctors. Can you imagine the craziness that would ensue? Maybe The Doctor taught Doc Brown the phrase "Great Scott!" Maybe Doc Brown gave The Doctor his love of bowties. The possibilities are en

Swinging Doors

So part of the platform building campaign is challenges. Rachael posted the first one on Monday. The challenge? To write a piece of flash fiction that is 200 words or less that begins with the phrase "the door swung open." Optional parts of the challenge are to make it 200 words exactly and  to close out the piece with "the door swung shut." Now, if you know anything about me, I don't write short. It's a miracle I tweet as much as I do since brevity definitely ain't the soul of my wit. Because of this, it shouldn't surprise you that it took me three hours to come up with 200 words. But, I did it. *points to paragraphs below* No title yet, sorry! The door swung open. The conversation in the media room ceased. Dusk kept himself poised in the doorway until the shock of his arrival wore off. For the barrage of questions to begin.  Last night’s performance was magnifique. Of course they would want to know more about his inspiration, his moti

Hidden Gems Blogfest: The Tower

So yesterday was Labor Day in the US, which meant somebody wasn't chained to her computer. (Shocking, I know.) What sucked about that was I couldn't post my entry for AJ Mullarky's blogfest right away. But Alicia, you could've scheduled it ahead of time. I know, but I'm kinda weird in that I don't like doing that. What if I changed my mind? Anyway. If you've lurked for a while, you've probably noticed my odd references to hard-to-pronounce rose fields or scary-ass trains. Then again, you might not have. If you're from the camp of "I don't know what the hell you're talking about," you're about to be schooled on one of the best series in the world. The Dark Tower series has pretty much ruled my life for a while. I totally believe in Roland's cause and identify with more than one person in his ka-tet. Bestie Danielle and I have discussed many aspects of these books over various email chains. A brief synopsis,

What's in a Name?

First apologies for the rather lame title. It's been established that titling is beyond my realm of success*, not to mention it's Friday before a long weekend in the US meaning Weekend Brain has already arrived. Thank goodness Paper Hangover's topic is easy peasy. Back when the topic was book covers , I mentioned that with books the cover catches my eye more than the title. This doesn't change the fact that sometimes the title does win out. Some examples of purchases based off of title alone are... Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging . When I saw this in the YA section of the bookstore, I stopped and stared. The hilarity grabbed my attention right off. The jacket copy totally cemented the purchase. The Fuck Up . Saw this at Newbuy Comics and thought, "Best. Title. Ever." It contained my most favorite swear and who doesn't love reading about slackers? A Visit from the Goon Squad . Between the title and the cover, I'm totally