Friday, December 30, 2011

My Five Faves

Another Friday Fives.

The wonderful people over at Paper Hangover have brought us all a Friday Five to usher in the New Year:

What were your FIVE favorite books in 2011?

This is going to be difficult, because 2011 was an amazing year for YA.  I had so many favorites, especially paranormal:

1. Die For Me by Amy Plum What don't I love about this book?  Paris, Zombies (well, Revenants), Vincent and Jules, self-sacrifice, and the fact that  the characters have actual pasts (I love the Helene story but perhaps that's because I'm addicted to the 1940's... *grin*)

2. The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare I blame the YASisterhood for this addiction. I think Jace and Will have utterly RUINED me for real boys...

3.  The Shade Series by Jeri Smith-Ready ... and Zach put the nail in my real-boy coffin with that Scottish accent.  Aura is also an incredibly believable YA heroine, even with all of the terrible (and wonderful) twists thrown her way.

4. Hourglass by Myra McEntire  While I love Kate, think Clary is kick-ass, and relate to Aura... I want Em to be my best friend.  Coffee-drinking, boy-throwing and all, she's perfect.  And I'll hang out with Kaleb when she's busy, because I love those sweet Southern boys.

5.  Divergent by Veronica Roth If I lived in Roth's dystopian Chicago, I would totally be Erudite.  And Tris would totally be able to kick my butt. (Truce, Tris?  I'll get a cool book tattoo or something, okay?)

5. Wings Series by Aprilynne Pike  And if I lived in Pike's Wings series, I'd be a Summer faerie.  Look, my hair already sparkles and I have an unhealthy addiction to glitter that spills into my tea drinking and cookie making. (But none of this has much to do with the series, except for the fact that I became so obsessed with it that I looked for more ways to make myself even SPARKLIER.  Laurel isn't anything like me, except that I'd steal Tamani away from her faster than she could say "diamond hair dangle."  And we'd happily live in Avalon, eating veggies and making out while I forced him to only speak with his Scottish accent.  Yes, I'm in my thirties.  No, I don't want a tour of Bellevue, thankyouverymuch.)

5.  Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini  Anyone who takes Romeo and Juliet and mashes it with the Illiad deserves worship.  While I hate R&J, I love Greek literature, and Angelini does an awesome job of creating a modern Greek tragedy... in Nantucket.

5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver I hated Sam so much when I started reading this book.  I (sad to say) actually didn't feel very sorry for her the first few times that she died.  But, by the end of the book, I loved her.  And I cried.  In the gym.  In front of my coworkers.  This is the mark of a great author.

See? Five.  Not so hard, after all.  So, what are YOUR fave five from 2011?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pretty, True, and Hopeful

I wanted to do a holiday post.  Something about light and hope in the middle of winter (ever notice how many religions set light festivals at this time of the year?)  Maybe something about gifts.  But then, I found this quote in my archives and realized that it fits the season very well.

I wish this for all of you, if you haven't found that something yet-- and for myself, as well:

"I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Something worth living for-- maybe even worth dying for-- Something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead.
I can't tell you what it might be-- that's for you to find, to choose, to love. I can just encourage you to start looking, and support you in the search."
--written by Sister Ita Ford to her niece shortly before she was martyred in El Salvador, Dec 2, 1980.

And, on a lighter note, the one quote that decorates all of my planners, notebooks, and even my cubicle wall.  Remember:

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."
-Coco Chanel

To those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas.  And to everyone, I wish happy, energizing, creative, enthusing Holidays!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


This post is sort of... historical.  Anyone who came here from my alter-ego's livejournal page *cough-cough* will probably recognize it, with a few tweaks, but I wanted to share it with those of you on this blog, too.  Because I'm sure that fear is a very familiar feeling to everyone:

There is absolutely nothing more frightening than having to fence (in a weapon that isn't your weapon of choice) against a guy about double your height and weight... oh, and don't forget that you're a little bit shaky thanks to the fact that you only ate a rice cake for lunch because you're a dysfuntional eater with an intense fear of being fat.
Not that the above has ever happened to me, noooo. (the bruises weren't pretty.  And yes, I do eat now.)

Or that first second of stepping onto the ice (or right before a new jump like, say, a flip or a lutz), when you're sure that you are a complete idiot, have no skating ability whatsoever, OH! and realize that you still have to go to work to pay the bills whether or not you fall and break yourself.

Or hitting the send button to get the first draft of your "book" to your friends (who naievely agreed to be beta readers), even though you're absolutely convinced that you have no talent and that they're going to laugh at your attempt. I had to keep from throwing up after that first send button was hit and my stomach still turns a little bit at the thought of this story being out for critique.

Or stepping onto the stage when you're a thirty something dancing with teenagers who are more flexible and more talented than you by FAR.

Fear is-- paralysing. Nauseating. Nightmare-inducing. Scary.

But, it's also exhilarating when you manage to push past it and accomplish amazing things.   Sometimes, that means holding my nose and jumping in feet first. It means stating my intentions in a public forum (like this blog or signup sheets for something, or spoken aloud to friends/aquaintances) so that I can't back out.

I like to push myself, to scare myself a little bit every now and again. Even failure (like the fencing bruises, the stitches on my chin from a skating fall, being rejected story-wise or by "guy who has a crush on me but won't ask me out") can be good. I actually work fairly well with failure. I don't like it, but it can make me mad enough to try harder-- if I really care about whatever it is I was trying for in the first place.

Still, I'm so stealing back my mini-socks one of these days.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Santa Baby

Another Paper Hangover Friday Five?  Sure!  This week's question is: What are your FIVE holidays wishes?

Of course, I'm wishing for health and happiness for my family in the new year.  And world peace.  And better equity in pay in all industries/professions in the world economy.  And for the Euro and Dollar to stop losing value.  But, I'm going to be more... selfish... in my answers today.

Dear Santa, please bring me:

1. A lutz.  This whole "perfect take-off position but intense fear of actually rotating" thing is getting old.  I know that I can do a lutz jump because I've done it by mistake a few times in the past.  So, I'm not asking for a lot here, am I?  Oh, and while you're at it, I've been overrotating my salchow lately.  Whatcha think of throwing in a double salchow, just for kicks?

2.  Snow.  It's been way too warm lately and, as a knitter, I want to wear my knitwear, darnit!

Yes, this is from when I was a blonde, but that teal looks just as awesome on red hair!
C'mon, Santa, don't let this hat languish in my closet!
3.  An agent?  Unless you freelance as one, of course, Santa.  And if you do, would you kindly request a full manuscript from me?  I'm CONVINCED that Mrs. Claus is totally into YA.

4.  Okay, this might be a tough one.  The other day, I was training a group of sales reps and one of them was a dead ringer for Chris Pine.  Star Trek, Princess Diaries 2 Chris Pine.  He was funny and stood next to me, throwing off my entire presentation because I would look up at him and just melt into an awkward puddle of girly engineer.  Because there were so many reps, I did not get his name or region.  And I didn't have my business cards on me.  So, I need help reconnecting.  Can you please help me with that?

Hey, a single girl has to have dreams and goals.  Mine just happen to look a lot like Captain McHottie.

5.  More bookshelves.  I have seriously run out of room.

Those are my (selfish) five-- what are yours?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

OMG, I'm Actually Doing This...

(Quick apologies... I'll follow up to comments and posts when I'm a little caught up-- 99% of my free time this week was dedicated to REVISIONS for Beta Draft 2* of The Desired AND the YASisterhood Heroine Tourney .  I advocated under another name and you all should go over there and VOTE!  Because these tourneys promote wonderful books and authors.)

This came in the mail yesterday:

(My name is blurred because, frankly, I say so.)

And it hit me then: I'm really doing this.  I'm really, really going to try to be a writer.

I'm not sure why it didn't hit me, uhm:

1. When actually writing my MS
2. The first gajillion edits
3. When sending the MS to my betas
4. Writing my query letter, writing my pitch line...
5. While glaring like a crazy woman at the person standing over me in the B&N cafe during my last heavy edit binge
6. When paying for my SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) membership and winter conference fee.

But, it didn't.  This, in a way, makes it feel "official", as if I've really committed to this endeavour.  I'm going to start querying this month-- assuming nothing huge comes out of Beta Draft 2-- and I'm sure a few rejections will make it feel even more real *insert winking emoticon here, if you're into emoticons.*  I think it's the "officialness" of a society... maybe all of the advice and support that they offer?

That was my "full committment" moment.  What made YOU say, "OMG, I'm actually doing this?"

*Yes, I have revision control on my drafts.  Beta Draft 2 follows Beta Draft 1, my Rough Drafts 1-4, and will hopefully be followed by Query Draft 1.   I am SUCH an engineer.