Archive for May, 2013

Hi, friends!

I’m just popping in to let you know that I’ll be at Book Expo America Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, AND I’M SO EXCITED.

What’s BEA? It’s a convention just for BOOKS. People give away copies, ARCs, do signings, etc. It’s going to be awesome, and it’s held in NYC, so that means I’ll be running around trying to see as much as I can while I’m there.

I already know of a couple people going to BEA, but will any of you others be there?

I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures for those of you that can’t make it!!

Wish me fun! 😀

We’ve all been there. It’s a dark and stormy morning/afternoon/evening (dun dun DUN), and the lights flicker.

“Please, PLEASE don’t go out,” you say, as you quickly unplug your laptop so it doesn’t get fried and save the document you’re currently working on about six times, just to be sure. “I have SO much work to do.”

But eventually the inevitable will happen. The power will go out and stay out. Not only does this increase your chances of running into a wall if you’re like me (who has trouble not running into them when she does have her glasses on and it’s light out and both eyes are open and she’s been living in the same house for three years…), but it seriously puts a damper on your writing.

Or does it?

I try very hard not to be one of those people who can’t live without the internet. Yeah, sure, I’m on it a lot and I always have my phone and I feel naked if I go on a trip without my laptop, but I can put these things down and walk away if I have to. I’m addicted, but I’m not THAT addicted.

When the power went out at my house the other day, I was just a tad bit frustrated. I had a lot of things I had to do, and about 98% of them needed the internet. I still had some juice in my computer and phone, so it’s not like I was without technology, but I wasn’t *connected*.

So, I decided I’d get some work done anyway. Hey, maybe actually writing a story out on paper (*gasp!*) would get the muse all fired up. Maybe this was a good thing!

Writers are understandably quite reliant on the internet these days. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs and emails and social media, oh my! But when the power goes out, there’s not much you can do about that stuff. So, how do you survive? What can you do in the meantime? Here are my suggestions.

1. Write anyway. You don’t need a computer to be able to write. Sit in front of a window or grab a flashlight and do it the old fashioned way. I love writing things out on paper, but it’s inefficient (for me) when it has to end up on the computer in the end anyway, so I don’t do it that often. The power going out afforded me the opportunity to work on my handwriting (which I love to do, don’t ask me why) and start on my next short story. The spooky weather helped to set the mood too, so that was great.

2. Do some research. If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch of books for research. The internet is great and all, but sometimes flipping through a book is a better (and more reliable) way to get answers. Have you been meaning to do a little world building? Grab a text and get studying. Have you mean meaning to look up a few things in one of your craft books? Grab the resource and dig in!

3. Read a book. What I really love about when the power goes out is that it forces you to stop and slow down. I very rarely do that, and usually when I do, I feel immensely guilty. But when a storm knocks out the power, you have no choice to stop and smell the roses (but not literally, because you’d get soaked). Pick up a book, relax, and start reading. In a way, you’re still working because we all know that the best writers are voracious readers.

4. Get organized. Got a messy desk that’s keeping you from writing? Clean it. Been meaning to reshelve your books so they’re easier to find? Get going. Have you been wanting to write your scenes down on index cards so you can lay them out and work on the structure of your story? What’s stopping you!? This is the perfect opportunity to do something physical in order to get your stories in order. Many of us love to organize and color coordinate, and as long as you can still see, you can still get stuff done.

5. Get some sleep. Your computer is dead, and so is your phone. It’s too dark to see, and your flashlight isn’t powerful enough to light up your room in order to do what you need to do. It’s 10:00 at night and you’re frustrated and tired. If the power hadn’t gone out, you would’ve gotten another two hours of work done. Yeah, that may be true, but this is the opportunity to turn two currently unproductive hours into two extra hours of sleep. By the time you wake up, you’ll feel more refreshed and more than likely the power will be back on!

What do you do when the power goes out and you really need to get some work done?

ROW80 – R2C8 – Craziness

Posted: May 26, 2013 in ROW80
Tags: , ,

ROW80LogocopyNo, I’m not talking about my craziness. I never said it wasn’t there, we’re just not discussing it right now.

Right now, we’re discussing the fact that this was supposed to be the week before my crazy week. It turned out being my crazy week before my even crazier week.


Main Goals

  1. Write or edit every day. 2/7 Two days this week, but I started on my next (AND LAST) story for my horror collection, so I’m in the homestretch and it feels so good.
  2. Read every day. 3/7 I’m listening to Paradise Lost right now. I remembered liking it in high school when we read an excerpt of it, but it’s kind of a snooze fest at the moment. I’ve got about half of it left. I’m also reading Gameboard of the Gods, which is…different.
  3. Exercise three times a week. 0/3 This actually kind of slipped by me this week. Oops.

Bonus Goals

  1. Finish up my last short story for my collection. Working on it!
  2. Update my contests doc. *looks away guiltily*

List of Awesome

  1. The third book in the Noble Intentions series has been released! You can check it out here.
  2. Over on Hypable, the other book writers and I wrote up some summer reading lists. I had New Adult and Dystopian.
  3. We also put out another Book Hype podcast. I’m VERY proud of this one. We talk about adaptations, and we had so much to say that we actually had to split the episode in two. The second one will be coming soon!
  4. We also released another Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast episode. This one actually talks about werewolf mythology as a whole, and we include some very popular shows in our discussion! You can listen to this even if you don’t watch Teen Wolf, and I think you’d enjoy it!
  5. Oh, and let’s not forget about the latest episode of ReWatchable. We talked about Firefly‘s “Trash.”
  6. By the next check-in, I’ll have already been to Book Expo America, and I’m sure I’ll have lots of cool stories to tell you guys!

Points and Words

Each of my main goals gets FIVE POINTS. Bonus goals get TEN POINTS if they’re completed.

  • Week 1 – 15 points
  • Week 2 – 60 points
  • Week 3 – 85 points
  • Week 4 – 35 points
  • Week 5 – 35 points
  • Week 6 – 55 points
  • Week 7 – 75 points
  • Week 8 – 25 points

This week I wrote:

  • Week 1 – 0 words
  • Week 2 – 1,188 words
  • Week 3 – 2,509 words
  • Week 4 – 0 words
  • Week 5 – 0 words
  • Week 6 – 1,815 words
  • Week 7 – 1820 words
  • Week 8 – 781 words

Total words written in round 2: 8,113 words

Total words for the year: 65,627 words written since January 1, 2013

(You’ll notice my total went down from last week. That’s because I’m a dummy and I was adding wrong. *headdesk* I’m not going to go back and fix my other weeks. Just…ignore them. 😛 This number is right.)

Have you guys ever been to BEA? Or any sort of book convention? Any good stories or tips?

I’m really immature.

White animals are evil. Except white horses and white albatrosses.

Because that makes sense.

A 135 chapter book about whales is not my cup of tea.

Wishbone Moby DickI miss Wishbone.

Because seriously. That dog knew how to tell a story, man.

Do not put footnotes in your novel.

Who does this? Am I reading a textbook? Because I thought it was a novel.

The anatomy of a whale can take up several long chapters.

You don’t even want to know all the information that’s in my head about whales right now. Information I will never use. Ever.

Whalers are drunks.

Not that we needed proof, but…

Someone out there tell me I’m not the only one who didn’t enjoy Moby Dick. What other classics have you had to push yourself to finish?


The first mushroom foray of 2013 has concluded, and I found diddly-squat. Well, that’s not true. I found some stuff, but what I found was pretty worthless.

It was a lot of…”Hey, I think I found something! Oh, no, never mind. Just a leaf.” *sigh*

But still. I had fun. And that’s sort of the point, you know? It’s like a treasure hunt. You’re not always going to find the treasure, but sometimes the act of looking is just as entertaining. I disconnected myself from the internet for the majority of a day (gasp!) and I got to walk in the woods (what is this thing called sunshine? it buuuurrrrnnnsss!).

So, what were we looking for? *points to the right side of the page*

These are called morels. They’re edible and pretty rare. They grow from about mid-May to about the beginning of June. It’s a pretty short window, so you need to be out there quickly to look for them.

I know what many of you are asking right about now…how do they taste? Pretty good, actually. I don’t find that mushrooms have a very strong taste to begin with, so a lot of times they’re fairly bland to me. But with some added ingredients, they can taste pretty fabulous. And these did.


We cut them in half (—>) to clean them out and to double check that they were the real morels. There are false morels that are NOT hollow on the inside. You don’t want to eat that kind.

After we did that, we cut them up and added some onions and wild leeks (basically, more onions), and then cooked them up in a pan and added some white wine and a couple other things. Then we just ate them like that! Wow, they were really flavorful. And they would’ve tasted sooo good on a steak.

It’s too bad we didn’t find more of them, but they are pretty rare. We’re lucky we found these! Some years you can find a lot, and some years they’re just not there. It depends on the weather, especially how much rain we’ve gotten up to this point.

But we all got a taste of the morels, and it was fun looking for them anyway!

Next up we had some Dryad’s Saddle. This is another edible mushroom, but only when you catch them young and small enough. If they’re too old and large, they get really hard and inedible.

That’s what you see below, in the pan. The wild leeks are on top (the green stuff).


I didn’t like these nearly as much. They were kind of bland, but that’s really nobody’s fault. Sometimes mushrooms just taste that way, and you can only fix it by taking the time to cook them up in a sauce or by adding them to something else, and we had limited time.

But still! Mushrooms are mushrooms, and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. These are mush less rare, but getting them young enough can be a bit of a challenge. We found more of these than any type of mushroom, but the majority of them were HUGE and inedible. You’ll see them in the picture of our findings down below.

We found some other things as well, but those were the two main ones. This was a good hunt, but my favorite one is still the third foray of the year. Last year I found dozens of different types of mushrooms. Not all of them were edible, but it was a lot of fun finding types I had never seen before. Some of them came in awesome colors like bright yellow or purple.

Our next foray will focus on finding black trumpets. You’ll get another post them, sometime near the end of July.

Till then, check out some of the other pics I snapped:

Our loot. Look at all those mushrooms!

Our loot. Look at all those mushrooms!

Everyone brings a dish to pass, and the food is GOOD. I made broccoli salad.

Everyone brings a dish to pass, and the food is GOOD. I made broccoli salad.

Probably the most exciting thing I found. Because, you know, the deer is so elusive in this part of New York.

Probably the most exciting thing I found. Because, you know, deer are so elusive in this part of New York.

Fiddle head ferns! These are edible as well, but only if you grab them earlier enough. These are too old.

Fiddle head ferns! These are edible as well, but only if you grab them earlier enough. These are too old because they’ve already started to unfurl.

My haul. Pathetic. A couple dried up puffballs, a few common mushrooms (no idea what they are), and a couple of fiddle head ferns.

My haul. Pathetic. A couple dried up puffballs, a few common mushrooms (no idea what they are), and a couple of fiddle head ferns.

Have you ever found any mushrooms in the forest? Did you know what any of them were? Would you ever eat a morel if someone offered it to you?

Star Trek Into Darkness PosterI saw Star Trek Into Darkness on Sunday, and HOLY CRAP. That was a great movie. I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but that’s not to say I don’t want to be. I haven’t seen the original series (yet), and I’ve only watched the first Star Trek movie once, but as I delve deeper into my passion for science-fiction, I appreciate smart, funny, and heartwarming stories like this.

And, man, was Into Darkness heartwarming. I mean, it had a lot of other stuff too. There was tons of action and surprises and humor and emotion and Benedict Cumberatch. Oh, did I say that out loud? Oops.

In all seriousness, my absolute favorite scene was between Kirk and Spock near the end of the movie. (Do I have to preface this with spoilers? It seems kind of silly considering this is a reboot of sorts. Well, consider this your warning anyway.) Kirk went into a chamber to save the ship and the crew from certain death. As a result, he took in vast amounts of radiation. His death was imminent, and Spock couldn’t do anything about it. If he opened the door to the chamber, the radiation would flood the rest of the vessel.

And so, there they were, a pane of glass separating them. One was dying and the other was free to live. Two people that definitely started off on the wrong foot, that constantly butted heads, that were literally complete opposites…now they were losing each other, and neither one of them knew what to do about it.

Kirk is a playboy and a rebel. He likes women and adventure. Preferably in the same night. He goes with his gut, he relies on chance and luck, and appears to actively enjoy breaking the rules. He’s a good person, even if he’s sometimes a loose cannon.

Spock is everything Kirk is not. He’s calm, controlled, and logical. He does not act without first thinking through every possibility and taking the best path for everyone. No matter the consequences.

Their differences are best summed up in the first scene of the movie. There is a planet with a race of inhabitants that will surely die if the volcano on their island erupts. These people are the last of their kind, and Spock cannot let them perish. So, he sets about being lowered into the volcano to freeze it mid-eruption, thus saving everyone.

Star Trek Into Darkness Spok KirkBut, of course, nothing goes according to the plan. Basically, Spock is willing to give up his life in order to save the planet. It’s the most logical choice. There’s no point in risking anyone else’s life to save him, and they don’t want the inhabitants to see their ship (they’re a primitive species, so it would be shocking to say the least). But Kirk will have none of that. He’s willing to risk everyone (which sounds horrible, but it’s with their consent) to get Spock back.

Hence the butting of their heads.

But when Kirk is dying at the end of the movie, they both let down their walls. Kirk admits that’s he’s afraid – something he’s probably never said out loud before. And you know what Spock does? He cries.

That sound? Oh, that’s just the noise my heart makes when it shatters into a million pieces.

As heartwrenching as this scene was, it was my favorite one – probably out of both movies. Kirk admits he doesn’t have all the answers, that everything might not be okay, and Spock finally let’s emotion rule him. To see them going from adversaries to best friends is one of the most beautiful storylines I’ve seen in film or on television. It was handled well, without sacrificing either of their personalities.

If you’re looking for a strong example of how to turn to characters from enemies to friends, go watch both Star Trek movies. You won’t be disappointed.

What was your favorite scene in Into Darkness? What other enemies-turned-friends storylines have you enjoyed seeing?

ROW80 – R2C7 – Better Late?

Posted: May 21, 2013 in ROW80
Tags: , ,

ROW80Logocopy*Pushes open the TARDIS door and beckons you inside*

Yes, yes, bigger on the inside. You’re not the first person to say that, you know. Hang on to something. No, not that! She doesn’t like it when strangers touch her levers, and she’s already in a bad mood. Yes, that’s fine. Hold tight.

*Pushes buttons, whirls knobs, throws a switch, straightens bow tie*

*Ahem* Welcome to Sunday morning! Yes, this past Sunday morning. No, we’re not in Victorian times, or on a starship, or in another country. And no, I will not take you to the planet Midnight, even if it’s the only place with a saffire waterfall. You don’t even want to know what happened the last time I was there.

Why are we here? Yes, well. I may have potentially gotten kind of super far behind on stuff and, well, yeah.

We’re going to make up for lost time, even if I can’t actually hop into a TARDIS and fix it all.

Main Goals

  1. Write or edit every day. 2/7 Only two days, but I got a lot done. More on that later!
  2. Read every day. 5/7 I finally, finally, FINALLY finished Moby Dick. Post on that coming soon.
  3. Exercise three times a week. 4/3 Did all my usual, and counted my mushroom foray as exercise because we walked around in the woods, up and down hills, and across creeks for a couple of hours. It totally counts.

Bonus Goals

  1. Rewrite one of my short stories. BAM. I finished TWO short stories. *dances*
  2. Think up a concept for another short story. I actually think I did that today. I have to figure out what’s going on still, but I have a character, and that’s a start. AND THIS WILL HOPEFULLY BE MY LAST ONE IN THIS COLLECTION AND THEN I CAN PUBLISH IT. OH MY GOD.
  3. Update my contests doc. *looks away guiltily*

List of Awesome

  1. I sent off “Rush” and “Ghost” to two beta readers. They both liked “Rush,” though it needs a little work. Only one got back to me on “Ghost,” but she liked that as well.
  2. I had a ton of podcasts out this week, including ReWatchable (talked about “War Stories” from Firefly), Onceable (the season finale of Once Upon a Time has aired!), and Not Another Teen Wolf Podcast (we talk about shipping, slash, and fan-fic, and you don’t have to know Teen Wolf to appreciate some of the stuff we say, especially about the popularity of slash shipping!).
  3. I also wrote this fun column about which characters we’d like to see on season 3 of Once Upon a Time. Check it out – I put some weird ones in there!

Points and Words

Each of my main goals gets FIVE POINTS. Bonus goals get TEN POINTS if they’re completed.

  • Week 1 – 15 points
  • Week 2 – 60 points
  • Week 3 – 85 points
  • Week 4 – 35 points
  • Week 5 – 35 points
  • Week 6 – 55 points
  • Week 7 – 75 points

This week I wrote:

  • Week 1 – 0 words
  • Week 2 – 1,188 words
  • Week 3 – 2,509 words
  • Week 4 – 0 words
  • Week 5 – 0 words
  • Week 6 – 1,815 words
  • Week 7 – 1820 words

Total words written in round 2: 7,332 words

Total words for the year: 75,243 words written since January 1, 2013

Okay, confession time. If you had a TARDIS, what would you go back and catch up on?

There are going to be a lot of great shows airing this fall. Some oldies-but-goodies will return, and there are even a couple of spinoff shows, which I always enjoy watching if I like the original.

There are going to be some new shows too, but I’m throwing down the gauntlet right now: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to be the best one.

If you haven’t seen the promo yet, watch it here:

Reasons why ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is going to be AWESOME:

1. It’s a spinoff of The Avengers. I mean, you kind of can’t go wrong if you’re basing your show off of the third highest grossing movie of all time, right? People love The Avengers for about a million reasons, and even though nearly all of the characters from the film won’t be involved, it’s still based in the same world. And that’s definitely something to be excited about.

2. It’s a TV show. I’m a huge movie buff, but sometimes television just kind of trumps film. Would you rather have a two hour movie, or a 22-episode season? I guess that would depend, but in this case I’m super excited this wasn’t turned into a spinoff movie, but a spinoff show instead. We’re going to be able to get so much more action and information now, and it’s going to be amazing! I’m sure it’s going to go on to see many seasons.

CLARK GREGG3. COULSON LIVES. “I’m clearance level six. I know that Agent Coulson was killed in action before the battle of New York.” *Coulson emerges from the shadows* “Welcome to level seven.” YEAH, THAT JUST HAPPENED. It was so heartbreaking when Coulson died in The Avengers, so I’m so glad to see him back. I knew he was involved with the show, but I thought this might take place pre-New York Battle, but it’s not! He’s going to add so much to this series. 😀

4. It’s got it all. Action, comedy, mystery, supernatural elements. Seriously. We’ve got some kickass characters (they are spies, after all), some hilarious lines (I want to walk around quoting “Don’t touch Lola” all day), some intriguing story lines about the protags and antags alike (“S.H.I.E.L.D. Government. Scary men in dark suits that come after guys like you.”), and we’ve also got some superheroes. The latter is probably what I’m anticipating the most because we’re going to be able to see a lot more characters than just the ones in the movie. Yay!

5. Joss Whedon is involved. Whedon is like King Midas of the movie and television industry. At this point, it’s like saying, “Yeah, Chris Nolan is directing,” or “Yeah, Morgan Freeman is starring.” You know it’s just going to be out of this world. Whedon has a great record with television (well, according to the fans, at least), and this is going to be exactly his element. I wish he were MORE involved, but as of right now he’s sort of overseeing it and directing the first episode. Good enough for me!

Honestly, there’s about a hundred other reasons why I seriously can’t wait for this show (not least of which is that Melinda May looks completely amazing and whoever plays Agent Ward is, whew, *fans self*), but these are the big ones. I was excited before, but the premiere is better than I ever could have hoped it would be. It’s just…ahhh…*flails*

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me.

Are you excited for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Will you be watching it? What are you most looking forward to?

If you’re new to my blog, you might not know about my interest in mushrooms.

Or that interest is an understatement.

I’m kind of obsessed with them. Don’t ask me why, because I have no idea. I used to hate them. I never even wanted to touch the things. Then one day I decided to give them a go. I didn’t mind them, and soon I found I was craving them.

MorelsNow? I go crazy for them! If someone brings me something with mushrooms on it – or just mushrooms by themselves because, hey, I’m not picky – I tend to declare my undying love for said bringer of fungus-y goodness.

And, no, that’s not an exaggeration.

I kind of wish it was, because this is turning into an issue. (Also an understatement.)

I’m a part of my local Mycological Society (yay, other fungus lovers!), and each year they hold four mushroom forays. We strap on our boots, grab a basket, and head out into the woods to look for any type of mushroom we can find – edible, inedible, and poisonous alike.

When we find edible ones (like the morels pictured above), they clean ’em, cook ’em, and we eat ’em! It’s a lot of fun to mingle and learn some new things, plus it’s a great excuse to go walking in the woods.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, this Saturday is our very first foray of 2013, and we’re going to be looking for morels, among others. I’m going to be posting pictures and stories after each foray, just like I did last year. If you want to check out my previous entries, you can find them under the ‘mushrooms’ tag.

The first one will probably be up on Monday if everything goes according to plan. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as I know I will, and that you’ll be able to learn a lot and maybe gain a better appreciation for mushrooms.


How was that for alliteration, eh?

Ong Bak PosterI just recently watched Ong Bak, which is a great movie about a man named Ting who is forced to fight to get the head of a sacred statue back to his village. It stars Tony Jaa, who is an amazing martial artist, and incorporates one of my favorite fighting styles, Muay Thai. I recommend seeing the film for some grade-A fights, which is always helpful to watch if you have some fighting sequences in your novels.

But today I want to talk about why I love foreign fighting films. I’ve been trying my hardest to watch as many as I can on Netflix, and I found some that I have truly fallen in love with. I’ll watch pretty much anything Jeeja Yanin is in because I think she’s incredibly talented, and I always love seeing a girl doing her own stunts and totally kicking butt! I also recently discovered Tony Jaa, and I think he’s amazing. I can’t wait to see more of his movies.

The main reason why I love foreign martial arts films is because the fighting is almost always superior to American-made films. The sequences are more complex and more beautiful. It’s not just about throwing punches and who can take the most hits before they fall over, it’s about your skill set and your ability to adapt to your opponents’ style, to truly defeat them using your mind and your body.

I find the sequences to be far more realistic, both in how they play out (i.e. when someone gets punched, they don’t get knocked out cold for the rest of the scene, they actually get back up and try to keep fighting) and how they look. From the movies I’ve seen, a lot of the times these actors are taking real hits. It’s a lot more dangerous that way, but it also makes for some incredible shots.

Another reason why I love them is because they have far more respect for the art than most American films do. In so many of these action films we have here in the States, people get beat up and blown away by guns and no one really thinks about the impact it makes on a person. It’s just entertainment. And that’s fine. It really is. I love action movies, and I think they serve their purpose. But films like Ong Bak often portray the main character as a reluctant fighter, and I think that’s important. A lot of the time it isn’t about revenge, it’s about self defense. They have a respect for what they can do, and they know how dangerous even one punch can be. It’s something I’d like to see more of in all kinds of movies.

While the storylines aren’t always the greatest (for example, if I were to watching Raging Phoenix  again, I’d stop about three-quarters of the way through and pretend it ended there), that’s because the highlight of the film is the fighting. If you can get past the cheese and the silly dialogue and the not-always-solid writing and just focus on the talent of the actors and their skill sets, you’ll find movies like Ong Bak to be incredibly enjoyable and enlightening.

Do you like watching foreign martial arts films? Which ones have been your favorites? Least favorites? Do you have any recommendations for me? (Preferably something I can find on Netflix Instant!)