Sunday, August 28, 2011

How's This For A Promotion? (aka Non-Sappy Sunday #1)

Hello people of the blogosphere! Thank you for stopping by, if indeed you are actually reading this. You're so special and I love you. I. Love. You.

Anyway, I've been following a certain blogger's blog (blogger's blog...haha...that sounds so funny for some reason...) for a few weeks now, and she really knows her stuff. I don't readily admit when someone is younger than me and can write circles around what I do, but here I go:

She can write circles around me, and I like it.

She likes to go by the name Silent Pages, and quite frankly, I'm glad. As long as she's hiding behind that pseudonym, I can still have that tiny belief in the back of my mind that she might just be a figment of my imagination concocted to make me feel bad about my own writing skillz. Those things do happen, you know. Really, they do.

But, since I'm on the topic of great ideas, writing tips, and so on, I would like to pass her link on to you folks so y'all can each get an idea of what I'm trying to say. Whatever that may be.

Without further ado, I give you Silent Pages' blog. Go crazy. (Warning: Her blog posts are so amazingly long, wonderful, and wise that you will feel inadequate, but be comforted in the fact that everyone else is feeling the same way.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's An Alien World After All

Okay, so this post doesn't really have anything to do with that picture. I just thought it was funny. He's so happy about chopping folks into tiny bits...*sigh*

On to better thoughts. Just recently, like about ten minutes ago, I was being a good college student and reading an essay for my literary theory class. It was okay. I don't have anything against it as a piece of literature.

Basically, the whole essay was about whether or not literature could be ethical and thus make its readers more ethical. I don't know why that matters, but obviously it must to the author. (Who also happens to be my teacher. What a strange coinkydink, right? Yeah...)

To make a long essay short, I came away with one thing, and it was a quote. Perhaps I should have come away with more, but hey, this is literary theory I'm talking about, not Algebra. There is no clear answer.

"Reading is just that: a way of giving way not only to a host of alien words, images, ideas, but also to the very alien principle which utters them and shelters them."

I grant that it doesn't make much sense out of context of the essay, but if you'd read it, you'd also know that the theorist Georges Poulet was being referenced for his theory (so many theories!) that by reading, one puts oneself into the hands of the author and allows the book to invade one's mind and become "the subject of thoughts other than my own."

Let's pause and think about this for a minute, and I'm going to dumb this down to my own level, possibly losing some of the meaning behind what Poulet said, but if it's lost, I say I didn't need it in the first place. He should learn to theorize more clearly.

As readers (and writers which I know a lot of you are) we have the particular pleasure of delving into a work of literature and in doing so, we open ourselves up to new ideas, new experiences, and many times those things are completely foreign to us. In order to get the full effect of some piece of literature, you have to be willing to immerse yourself completely, losing your own pre-conceived ideas about life or what-have-you, and thus permitting the "alien" to be sheltered inside your own mind.

Now, this may sound kinda creepy. I admit that. However, once you think about it, it makes sense. As writers, we want to have a lasting effect on our audience. We want to convey at least some portion of what we mean to them, and it is our ultimate hope that they experience things the way you actually intended them to be read.

I know how frustrating it is to write something, to know exactly what you mean, and then have someone come along and blindly read a piece and pronounce it dull, boring, unreadable, horrible, etc. It's heartbreaking. If only they could SEE things the way you do, they would understand!

That is what Poulet (and that quote waaaaay up there) meant. As readers, we must be conscious of how we read, because if we only read with a sliver of our attention, we're doing the work and the author a disservice. Also, we're not reading to our fullest potential.

Another way to interpret Poulet's little idea, is that all literature is attempting to be a form of mind control. And that idea just used up my allotment of Crazy Speak for the day.

I don't know if any of what I just wrote made any sense, but if it helps, I typed the entire thing while speaking what I typed aloud in a British accent. So, if you weren't already reading what I've written in a British accent, well, just think of this last paragraph as me apologizing for not telling you sooner that that was what I was doing. Oh well. Cheerio!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RTW: Good Old Mind Plunger

Welcome to our 93th Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:

Ah, the topic of champions. Writer's Block is something that we all face, but some people are often skeptical if it in actuality even exists.

I'm here to say how I feel on the matter and try to explain how to beat it until it raises the white flag in retreat.

First, I believe that Writer's Block is real, BUT--and it's a necessary but--it does not mean that a writer is incapable of writing anything. It simply means a writer is temporarily devoid of inspiration along a certain train of thought. It happens, though we wish it didn't, and we are struck dumb with the overwhelming horror of Not Having Anything We Think Is Worth Saying.

It's terrifying, and I admit that I've had that same issue at times. I feel like I stare at the screen for hours on end just waiting for the Muses to whack me upside the head with something, anything, that will be worthy of being written.
Image courtesy digitalart/

Let's pause right there for a moment. Worth. That is where we get hung up and our worry just exacerbates the problem until all we can see is that blank screen or that empty page. Why does what we write have to be worth writing? Can't it simply be nonsense or junk?

It's not like anyone besides ourselves has to read it, right? That's what I thought.

So there is a solution to our problem right there. Whenever you feel like you have nothing to write about and Writer's Block worries are getting you down, just start writing. It doesn't have to be about anything, just so long as it's real words strung together. The simple act of putting those words on screen or paper is enough to kick-start your tired Writing Motor. While it may take some time, you will be free of Writer's Block.

That's the good thing about the subject. Writer's Block is temporary. It doesn't have to dominate your life. It will, if you let it, but if you refuse to allow the doubt it brings you to creep into your writing life, then it won't be given the chance to gain a foothold.

So, be brave, dear stalwart writers. Fight for your ability to create and destroy worlds with your words.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

It's An Animal Cracker Morning

Arcadia Child My photos that have a creative c...Image via WikipediaI can hear what you're thinking. What am I doing up this early and why am I writing a post about it? I respect your questions. In fact, I may even be wondering the same things myself.

Today, dear people, is Monday. Yes, I know it's fairly obvious from the way your bodies don't want to do anything, but hear me out. It's Monday and I'm awake, coherent--or at least enough to be able to type so you can read it--and I'm currently looking at a bag of animal crackers.

What's the significance you may ask? My, my, my, aren't you all a bunch of curious folks in the morning.

Well, those animal crackers symbolize my childhood. They also make me sing "Animal Crackers in My Soup" in my head whenever I see any, but this post isn't about my humming habits.

Childhood. It's a place of myth and legend. Somehow, my mind distinguishes between those two things and separates them, yet places childhood in both categories. Children, those little people, have the ability to exist in two worlds: ours and theirs.

Our world, the world of fact and logic, is what we call reality. It makes sense and, as adults, we like it that way. Reality makes us feel like we have some control over what happens in our lives. Reality is real.

But children live part of the time in a world all their own, where reality mingles with fiction. They have imaginary friends and conduct intense tea parties with a nine course meal. Their conversations deal with the nonsensical and fantastic. Their young minds cannot grasp the fullest idea of our reality, and that is what makes them special.

As writers, we all have to nourish our inner child. We do this is many ways, mine at the moment is pretending my animals crackers are alive and have their own names, lives, friends, enemies, etc. It's childish and that's what makes it fun. It feeds my inner child. She appreciates it and it shows in my writing.

All writers have to have a sense of the childish. It's what makes writing so much fun and makes our works rich. All literature, in order to become worthwhile, must appeal to the inner children of its readers. They may not know what is so interesting about a book because they've never acknowledged their own inner children, but the thrill they get from reading something comes from that secret place.

So, thus ends my little Monday morning post. I hope it makes enough sense and perhaps even no sense at all. Have a great week!
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sappy Sunday

Here's a new addition to my little blog and I hope someone finds it...worthwhile. Sometimes, when I'm not quite sure where to go or what to write in regards to my WIPs, I open a new Word doc and start putting down my thoughts in verse. Often I don't know what I'm writing about until I finish. And sometimes it comes out so that I can understand it.

Original caption from NASA: "S103-E-5037 ...Image via WikipediaI don't share the poetry that I write very often, and when I do it's mostly on YWS and not much gets posted on there, but for some reason I'm feeling really sappy today. Hence the title. It may have something to do with the fact that it just hit me that I'm a junior in college and that fall semester classes start tomorrow. It could possibly be due to the fact that I'm currently in a good mood from drinking a caramel Macchiato.

Whatever the true reason, I leave you dear readers and fellow bloggers to what you do best--reading. Thanks for all of the support.

(Don't worry. This poem is not an indication of a depressed mind. I'm very happy with life. My brain just thinks in circles, even though I don't like circles. Actually, I'd rather describe my thought process as an infinity loop. I like those. Okay. That's what it will be from now on.

"Falling to Find You"

Is it fair how life’s sweetness falls
Bitterly upon all wounded hearts?
The touch, the twist of passion
Turns dark in a fit of rage.
Echoes of people lost in a world
Where silence is so heavy it weighs
More than words. It’s not me, it’s you.
The phrase haunts, flipping and
Switching until it makes no more sense
Than what we give it. A feather falls to
Earth, grounded from flight that once
Gave it meaning—a fate met with pain
As the quick is drawn from the flesh.
The slap and chill of loss the only
Comfort, but nothing compared to this—
A kiss of the past. A memory of what was,
And isn’t, and can never be again.
A sign of old age. Stagnant, yet virile. Hurt
And healed. Those things that coincide in
The mind and are not visible to the sight.
Are we really aware of anything?
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Fives: Apps to Apps

It's Friday at last and I've done some major 'stuff' today, which means I've been out doing errands and saving the world, so I've come to wind down from all that doing that I've done. Thankfully, Paper Hangover has a great prompt today.

Top Five Apps? I really hate choosing, but since I'm an app freak, I have a whole litany to pick from. Here are five:

1. Fruit Ninja
Best. App. For. Phone. Ever. Amen.

2. Google Calendar
I seriously would not be able to survive without this. You can color code your appointments, classes, jobs, writing time, etc and you have the option for Google to e-mail you every morning with your day's itinerary. I LOVE IT.

3. Shazaam
I have this problem where I'm a musicaholic and if I hear a song, I like it, but no one within a mile radius can tell me what it is, I have this nifty little app to do the work for me. It's saved me from a bunch of headaches. Obsessive behavior 0: Shazaam 1

4. Symbaloo
It's the penultimate homepage for the OCD person inside of you. Little squares, pretty colors, all arranged how you like them. All your favorite destinations in one place.

5. Words with Friends
I was so addicted to this scrabblelicious game a while ago that I didn't let my phone out of my sight for fear that someone would play a word and I wouldn't hear it. I've slacked off lately though, but if any of you have this app and feel up to challenging me, I'm more than willing to fight with words with you. (I'm Baywolf25.)

What are some of y'all's favorite apps? Are they as awesome as mine?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

RTW: Look at All the Pretty Places

Welcome to our 92nd Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This week's question:
What is the most inspiring setting you've ever visited in real life?

This should be easy. Key word: should. In fact, I'm actually finding it difficult to name the most inspiring setting I've ever seen with my own two eyes, drunk in with my senses, and that's set my soul to soaring.

Why is this so hard?

I'm torn between memories of my years living in the Mississippi backwoods, where trees were plentiful and you could get lost easily if you didn't know your way around. It was like a type of heaven for a kid like me. I've always been a loner, and I don't mean that in the way that I'm weird, smell bad, or hate the sight of other human beings. I'm only one of those three, and I'm glad. It's easy being weird, but I never forget to wear deodorant. That's just common sense. And people are okay in small quantities.

I loved the scenery of my past. It was a constant sea of green, that changed slightly when the "winter" came. Only the hardwoods changed their colors, and my world was still half green afterwards. Paradise.

And then I flash forward to only a few years ago when I graduated from high school. My family went on a trip to the British Virgin Islands, and we sailed from island to island on a catamaran that felt like a tiny floating palace. The water, the sea-life, the small islands covered in brush and cacti, arid amidst a vast expanse of turquoise. I was bronzed, relaxed, and at one with the rocking motion of my surroundings.

Those two places were full of inspiring scenes and scenery that took my breath away at times. I remember one crisp Fall day in Mississippi, the leaves were just beginning to change, I was on a four-wheeler, making my way over the river and through the woods to my grandfather's house, when all of a sudden, in front of me sprang a small herd of deer. They were all bucks, and they were mighty and proud. I could see their vibrancy in the way they held their heads and flew across the ground. I barely had time to react, I didn't even hit the brakes before they were gone and bounding fiercely through the woods. It's not something that you can forget. Even now, just writing about it gives me chills.

Down in the Caribbean, I felt like I was in another world half the time, since I spent half of my day in the water with my face submerged. I just couldn't get enough of what I saw. The colors, so vibrant, the shapes, shifting, merging, fantastic, all encased in an atmosphere of liquid that sparkled like a gem in the sunlight.

How can I choose? I can't. I won't. They're both equally inspiring, and perhaps in different ways, as I feel almost as if they are polar opposites yet the same in essence. One terra, one aqua. One youth, one coming-of-age. All mine. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Series in Review: The First Law Trilogy

I mentioned these books a few posts ago, and while I was driving to work yesterday, I suddenly decided to do a series review because I-just-love-them-so-much.

So here's the layout: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings. All three are penned by the talented Joe Abercrombie of Great Britain. On to the good stuff!

The Blade Itself

Upon reading this book, I knew I was hooked. The fact that, once I finished, I immediately had to run to the bookstore and purchase the other two was enough evidence of that. All of the other reviews mention the amazing fight scenes and the witty dialogue of the characters, and they're all spot on. So, I'm not going to beat those topics anymore than already has been done.

In this first novel in the trilogy, readers are introduced to the menagerie of main characters and as a group, they're all pretty much likable. They all have their quirks, but we can understand them and it makes us believe in them even more for having those idiosyncrasies. I was fascinated by the way Abercrombie managed to make the different narratives cohere into a flowing book.

Each character, or main character to be more precise, has a different way of viewing the world. The story isn't told in first person, but through each little piece of the story, we get a rounder whole of what is going on in the book. It's mesmerizing.

I'm trying not to give any spoilers, because I highly recommend that if you love fantasy with wizards, warriors, kings, battles, good and evil and in-between, and sword-play, then this is definitely a series for you.

In this first book, Abercrombie sets the stage, introduces the plot, MC's, stirs the trouble pot, and sinks his author hooks in us.

Logen Ninefingers
Jezal dan Luthar
Sand dan Glokta
Bayaz the Magus
Collem West
Ferro Maljin

There are many other supporting characters as well, and some of them I love almost as much as I adore those up there. My favorite is forthcoming.

Before They Are Hanged

This second installment in the trilogy does exactly what a middle book should do. It fulfills some promises set forth in the first book, and sets the pieces up for the grand finale in the third. There is some great character development in this novel, and I fell even further in love with the characters as the chapters progressed. As a matter of fact, I even grew to hate a few of them, and my hatred was justified and perhaps exactly what Abercrombie intended. However that hate was not fully solidified until the last book.

I'm consistently amazed these days by the perception of sex in literature, especially in YA. I'm just in awe at how often sex is shown as some magical experience (often between magical beings, no less) and I just can't help but be a tad disbelieving when a book makes sex a priority and fantasizes it for the readers. This trilogy does quite the opposite. In The Blade Itself, there was little to no mention of sex. It was slightly surprising considering it was an adult book and the world inside it was violent and medieval at times. However, in Before They Are Hanged, sex is introduced between some of the characters, but it's not made a spectacle. It just happens and then it's done. It's not emphasized in any way and doesn't tie into the story line at all (until the last book, but I said no spoilers.) So, that little tidbit made the books go up another notch in my mind.

Last Argument of Kings

The last book, at last. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant at first to actually start reading it. The truth was, I didn't want this series to end, and lately, all of the books I'd read had left me with a sour taste in my mouth because their endings...for lack of a better word...sucked. I didn't want this series--one I'd put so much time into and enjoyed so thoroughly--to be like those that let me down in the end.

Eventually, I had to get on with the reading and I'm glad I did. Let's just say, without spoiling it for those of you who may read this trilogy, that the ending was very satisfying. It even left open a door to MORE books about these characters*.

It is in Last of Argument of Kings that Abercrombie does some major character development that he'd been setting up in the other books. It was like magic, since as it was happening, I was remembering certain things that the characters did or said in the previous books and I could see how those past events led them to their present selves. Fantastic. That's writing artistry right there folks.

Finally, (without giving anything away) Abercrombie manages to introduce some spectacular twists in the plot that aren't at all unexpected after we're given time to digest them. Everyone gets what they deserve, somewhat, and those that get more than they deserve are manipulated so that we don't feel pity for them. You'll just have to read the books to understand what I mean.

As a last parting gift to this series in review, I would like to give a shout out to my favorite character and my most hated character.

Sand dan Glokta
He may be a crippled torturer with a penchant for cruelty, but I just can't help but love him anyway. For some reason, he's the most sympathetic character in the series. And I mean that in the way that I find  it easy to understand and sympathize with him. Perhaps I should reword that second sentence. Nah. It's fine. Either way you read it works.

Least Favorite, Most Hated:
Bayaz the Magus
He started out in my favor, but then I grew to despise him because of his choices and his overall manipulative personality. As bad magical beings go though, he's not nearly as evil as Voldemort, so he has that going for him. Although he is bald...huh.

Well, that's all folks! Hopefully I haven't rambled about nothing too much.

*There are two other books in the First Law series. Best Served Cold and The Heroes. They are meant as stand-alone novels and are not part of the trilogy despite being numbered First Law #4 and #5. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Fives: Authors I'd Love to Hug

This is the first time I've done Paper Hangover's Friday Fives post, so I'm a little nervous/excited. It's so much fun to do new things, but alas, I'm one of those types of people who HATES change. Don't worry, I think I'll pull through. On to the five authors!

1. J.K. Rowling
She's my hero and I would probably pass out or squeal like a tiny little girl if I actually got to see her in person, much less get close enough to talk to her. 

2. Lilith Saintcrow
She writes such bad*ss characters that I can't help but admire her style. Plus, she's a Twitter fiend and I'm always amused by her Tweets. I think we'd have a very interesting conversation or two.

3. Garth Nix
His books are simply lovely in the best way. Nothing is overdone, everything is where it should be and the characters are wonderfully wrought.  It would be nice to be able to tell him in person how many times I've read Sabriel just because I know I will enjoy reading it again. 

Since it wasn't specified if the authors have to be alive, I'm going back in time for the last two.

4. Edgar Rice Burroughs
The father of modern science fiction. His books about Venus, Mars, and dinosaurs thrilled me when I was growing up. My favorite Burroughs novels are the Pellucidar series.

5. J. R. R. Tolkien
The father of modern fantasy. He set the bar for high fantasy and the world of Middle Earth has yet to be equaled in its sheer scope. I'm sure I would be way outclassed in the intellect department, but if I could only have met Tolkien back when he was alive, I don't doubt that it would have been a memorable experience.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

RTW: Tick-tock-tap-tap-tapping on My Keyboard

Welcome to our 91st Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link in the comments - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week's Topic:

What time do you prefer to do your writing? Early Worm? Night Owl ? Any five seconds you can grab?

Time. That tricky little minx always seems to do its darndest to avoid me. It's funny that today's prompt was about time and how it relates to our writing schedules, because I spent most of my morning plotting out my life for the Fall semester using Google Calender. It's color-coded with all of my classes, job schedule, and my weekly Editor meeting. I really like it.

The one thing it doesn't have though, are allotted time slots for me to sit and write for fun. That's just what I get for having a busy life, right? Wrong. (Does that make sense? I don't know. I haven't had espresso today.)

I can't plan for when I write. Sometimes I write in the morning. Other times the night is when inspiration grabs hold of my ponytail and won't let go until I've churned out a couple thousand words. Inspiration is a beyotch like that.

My point is this: I prefer to do my writing when I can sit down uninterrupted for a while. It's not a set date that I look forward to every day or week, but it isn't too rare of an occasion either. Just when I start to despair of never getting a chance to write ever again, I stumble across a block of time that seems to have fallen straight from the heavens, and I use it to mollify that part of me that fears being too busy to do what I want to do.

Every time it happens I'm always surprised, and I just take it as a sign that I'm meant to be a writer. Even time understands my destiny. Either that or I'm just extremely lucky. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

You Guessed It, Another Contest

This one is on my dear friend's writer's blog. Word to the wise: if you step on Kills (the lovely Kelsey Sutton), Bambi will be the one hunting you. (I just had one of my weird overprotective moments, so just ignore that last sentence. Maybe.)

Anyway, the contest is to win a copy of Possession by Elana Johnson.

I love the cover. It's so simple, yet elegant. A frozen butterfly. How chillingly fantastic. It gives me shivers.
The contest is open until August 21st, so scurry off to Kelsey's blog to fill out the form and write your own blog entries to earn points. I know I did.

Although, with my luck lately, I doubt I'll win. I just have fun entering contests. I'm crazy like that.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sharing Saturday #2

Howdy folks! As you may know, it's Saturday and although I may be posting this thirty minutes before it's Sunday, I still feel like I should stick with the title. I didn't start Sharing Sunday, now did I? No.

This little excerpt is from...where is it from? Ah yes, it's from my WIP about Angels in space. So much fun to write! Without further ado, I give you a piece of Falling Angels.

“You cannot go to Earth,” Gyre admonished Aren for about the fiftieth time that sun cycle. She was busy packing the things she thought might be needed on the world of Earth. She didn’t quite know what to expect, since her only ideas about the planet and its inhabitants came from time at the University and gossip.
An ornamented vest was removed, then replaced, then removed again. In its place Aren stuck a book she had been given by her grandfather. She tucked it carefully between two soft-as-down, everyday shirts.
She was inclined to believe it would be like an adventure. Life on the Angel’s home world had become too tame, but she wasn’t of the mind to be stuck on a star cruiser with her parents. Aren had a feeling that whatever the Queen had in store for her couldn’t possibly be as exciting as an expedition to a primitive planet would be.
Besides, she had others on Earth there for the same reason. And she was going to be safe. Gyre would be there.
“I can’t come with you,” Gyre said softly.
Aren stopped her packing and turned to face him, a confused look on her face. “Whatever do you mean, you can’t come with me? You are my Guardian, aren’t you?” Once a Guardian was assigned, he or she was not allowed to desert his post for the remainder of his life. Aren knew this, and was shocked to hear him announce he was staying. It was unheard of and left Aren with a horrible feeling in her heart.
Gyre shook his head. “I’m a member of the Royal Squad. You know I cannot leave the planet unless the Queen permits it.”
Aren scowled and she understood. “And she won’t allow it, especially since I’m the one you would be attending. She had to let you protect me here where others were watching her, but on Earth…”
Gyre frowned. “That is not the reason she—“
“Don’t patronize me, Gyre. I’m not an idiot. I can see as well as hear, and I know she does not look favorably upon my branch of the family tree. Who can blame her? My grandfather wanted to start a war with the—“
“It is forbidden to speak of that time,” Gyre reminded hurriedly. His dark amber eyes widened and flitted around him trying to see into the shadows that might be hiding listening ears. The punishment for mentioning the Great Rebellion was something worse than death. He was rightly afraid.
Aren flapped her hand dismissively. “There’s no one to hear, but I’ll stop. I don’t want you to get your wings clipped, or have mine done for that matter.” She shuddered once and grew serious at that thought. “I’m going to miss you, Gyre. Earth won’t feel as safe as I had anticipated without you to watch my wings.”
He smiled at her compliment, though still uneasy about their earlier topic. It wasn’t often that she showed such emotion or favoritism.
“It has been my honor,” he said with a bow of his dark blond head.
Aren returned with a small smile to her packing, and tried to edge out the growing feeling of unease in her stomach. She hoped she was making the right choice, but really, what other choice did she have? She didn’t feel at home anywhere, so why should Earth be any different? At least it would be away from the more powerful reminders of her past.
Maybe I can find some peace at last, she thought as she watched Gyre leave to return to his duties. Is that too much to ask?

Well, that's all for tonight/today folks! If you have any comments, leave 'em below and feel free to share something of your own!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Just One of Those Thursdays

I don't know if you've noticed, but I did a little sprucing up around the blog. Does it look bigger? I think it does, but then again I'm just glad I managed to log in to Blogger since my browser seems to have a grudge against the site. Oh internet...

I'm loving not having anything important besides work to do. It's so pleasant. I've actually managed to read two books this week. Two! That's nearly doubled the amount I've read this summer, which is slightly sad. (In case you're wondering, the books in question are The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie. Awesome trilogy. I'm working on the last one, Last Argument of Kings, at the moment. Love. It.)

In other news, since it seems like this blog post will be mainly updates, I have snagged a place in Pottermore! I wrote a post about how I was looking forward to this a little while back (here), but now it's here and I'm so excited!! I can't believe it...I stayed up all night in anticipation of finding the Magical Quill. Alas, the clue wasn't released until noon today, but I got in! My lack of sleep hardly matters at all, unless you consider the fact that I'm yawning while typing this.

Here's a screenshot of my name on the list of magical people!

I've only dreamed of seeing that since the first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. And now I'm going to be able to re-read the books with ME in it! Excited ceases to cover the scope of my status at this moment.

So, if you want to join in on the Pottermore fun, you have just two more days to discover the clues, race to find the Magical Quill, and then register! Only 1 million will be let in early, and despite looking like a big number, it's only a fraction of the fans clamoring to gain entrance.

Until next time, stay cool! (No really, it's super hot outside.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

RTW: More Than Lumps of Wood or Clay

Welcome to our 90th Road Trip Wednesday!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This Week'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.

I've always been told that I'm a visual person, and when I was younger I thought that meant I was visible and I secretly wondered what the Other people, the ones who weren't visual, looked like.

These days I know that refers to how I perceive the world around me and also how I learn new things. I like pictures, I'm better at faces than names, I love drawing but I have to have a picture to draw from, and when I write, I tend to describe things as they look rather than how they feel, smell, sound, or the rarest of all, taste. There are some things that are better off not tasted.

When I go back over my writing, I always have to remain conscious of the fact that even though I may be able to imagine what I've written perfectly, people who read it might not come away with the same idea. So, I have to go back and add in all those details that I "forgot" at the start. Yes, it may be somewhat tedious to me, but once I'm done, the effect is more well-rounded and even me--the visual person--can sense the difference.

It's a long way down, when we climb too high.
It's amazing when you're reading how the senses don't even come to mind, the story just flows and details click into some hidden places in your mind without any conscious effort on your part. Without realizing it, you've just fallen from a tree, the crushing branches and rough bark banging you up, the air suddenly thick with fear, your skin slippery and hands too weak to grab hold of something, anything to break your descent, and then with a "whoompf!" you hit the ground below. You know exactly how the character felt, each bump, each scrape, and the impact, so jarring, almost seems to knock your own breath loose from your lungs. Magic.

It's a magic that tinges the written word and colors our favorite books in shades of color that no eye can see. It's on a level beyond our cognition. The senses are there but we don't really see them unless we look and peer past our own ability to sew the fabric of our reality.

What senses are we using right now? Touch. Sight. I'm eating cantaloupe, so taste is certainly a factor for me.

Our entire lives are just a series of senses strung together to form our memories, our days, our nights, our presents, and our futures. We would be merely lumps of wood or clay without them, I should think.