Epic Book Survey - 2009

Well, instead of my original plan to post up a 2009 New Years post, I decided to go with YA Highways EPIC BOOK SURVEY 2009. Not only do I love surveys, but I loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore. A random winner gets Fire, the kind-of prequel.

Alrighty, lets see if I can fill them all in. It's going to be tricky; I'm having trouble remembering which books I read this year...which actually wasn't many at all. Stupid broke college studentness...

I really need to start reading again. Too bad I didn't get a chance to read the three books I got for Christmas. I'm sure I'd have a ton to add to this list. Oh wells.

Most imaginative:
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Funniest: The Bro Code by Barney Stinson
Edgiest contemporary: Wake by Lisa McMann (though it's contemp with magical realism)
Creepiest SF/dystopia: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Most hilarious
: When Katsa shouts Po's name in Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Most disturbing: Janie's dreams of Cabel's past in Wake by Lisa McMann
Steamiest: Do non-agented friends count? Jordan/Adrian in Luminous by Sarah Harian
Most exciting: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Biggest tear-jerker: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Best plot twist/revelation (no spoilers!!) : Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Best couple: Katniss and Peeta from Catching Fire
Who you'd want as your best friend: Wanda in The Host by Stephenie Meyer (heck yeah, alien for a best friend!)
Who you fell in love with: Peeta from Catching Fire
Worst (best?) villain: The Capital in Catching Fire
Best character twist (who you loved, then hated, or vice versa): Ian from The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Favorite all-around kickass female: Katniss from Catching Fire
Favorite all-around kickass male: Po from Graceling

Best book cover:
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Best title: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Most memorable voice: Clay from Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Most memorable first line: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Best setting: Prettytown in Uglies
Most beautiful writing: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Will any of the books you've read in 2009 make your life list of Favorite Books?
The Hunger Games trilogy will definitely be at my top favorites, battling for number one with Harry Potter. While I'm pretty must done with the Twilight hype, being annoyed into disliking them my all of the obsessive fangirls, I really adored The Host, mainly for the character of Ian, who quickly went from hating to loving. Also, Thirteen Reasons Why struck a chord with me. It's at the top as well.
Wow, I have about six books playing around on a loop. Goes to show how good my memory is at remembering books for an entire year...
It's also obvious how much I love Catching Fire...I'm pretty sure it dominated the rest.

Brain, I love you!

There are certain days where everything just seems to fall into place. The fog rolls away, the world seems brighter...and you become best friends with your own brain.

It seems that this happens a lot lately--mostly at 3am and after four shots of espresso--but it is still a raucous, overwhelming joy, mixed with a smidge of your heart trying to leap through your chest. And honestly, I can't get enough.

I'm proud of myself for how much I was able to write today, catching up with the days that I missed during the holidays and pulling ahead to complete 40k words, up from 35. It wasn't only the fact that I, astonishingly, reached my goal and brought myself to just under halfway finished, but I created an entirely new and more exciting plot twist for the chapters I was working on. An added bonus to completing my goal, which I set above my actual expectations in hopes of the elated feeling I'm having right now.

Of course, the worst part of finding my muse at 3am is I have no one to blab it to in person. Back when I lived in my last apartment, I would barge into Sarah's room, awake or asleep, and babble on about my exciting new discovery. Poor girl.

Now, however, I must keep it to myself, hide it away until tomorrow, where I will proceed to babble on to Sarah about my exciting new discovery. Again, poor girl :P

At least I have you, Blogger *hugs* You might prevent me from fursploding from excitement. No promises.

Almost done...

With the year, not with Concealed. While I'll admit that I've slacked (and felt terribly lazy for it) on writing with the Christmas holidays, I'm happy to say that I'll be back to it tomorrow. After a gift card for iTunes store, Forever 21, various trinkets, and a ton of food, I'm more than ready to get back onto that horse again. It was a much needed break after the constant rush of writing, but now I'm just eager for it to be done. I'm just worried that if I can't make it go the right direction, I'm going to end up writing myself into a hole.

I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

In other news, a big congrats to my favorite little writer *coughandbestfriendcough*, Sarah, who will be finishing her manuscript this next week...again. Same characters, same plot points, same length--different focus, dealing with bigger issues like morals and making difficult decisions. I think it's going to be wonderful, as is her writing, but I know that I can't wait to tear it to pieces--err--beta read it :D Much love, hun. You have me completely excited!

As a last little update, I have at least decided to get to 35k words before the night ends, which really doesn't mean anything since I've been at 34,870 for 3 days now. It's just more of bragging rights.

Anyways, Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope it was cheerful :)

Teaser Tuesday/Late Official Kissing Day

I must have missed the memo, too involved with writing to check the blog updates for the day. Well, at least I am posting now :) Here and ready to bask in the Official Kissing Day loooove. On with the show! Teaser Tuesday featuring Kissing Day!




i can haz riting tyme?

Another late night up writing. It seems that lately this is the best time for me to write, uninterrupted and peaceful, my brain still buzzing with the days events. As mentioned in a previous post, this is when my muse is most active, it seems. After not being able to write anything in three days, then to come back and pick up at 11pm for a hurried 1k words in less than an hour...I have to say, I love nighttime.

With Christmas season approaching, I'm surprised how much I've had to limit my writing output for shopping, friends and family, work, and a wedding. I was able to write tonight, and it came out nice.

However, I am falling behind on my own novel goal with the delays, not sure if I'll be able to finish in 50k words in 3 weeks plus a week of revisions. The goal was set to finish my WIP before my friend departs for Scotland for six months.

I wanted to finish around January 15th, 11 days before she left so that I would have time to revise and fix things, but that's not going to happen the way I imagined. I'll have to go till later and cut down the revision time from 11 days to 7 days or less. I have so many plot holes or points that need to be spruced up (as seen in my last post). I figured that it's a 10 hour flight with two layovers...she might want something to entertain her, assuming that it's entertaining of course :-S

If I can reach my goal, I'll not only make my friend (hopefully) happy, but I'll be ready to settle down and revise, revise, revise and query, query, query. Depending on how well Concealed goes, I'll either be working on a YA contempt/mystery/thriller-ish SNI that came to mind a week or so back. It's not an epic, world-building, magic trilogy with kickass characters, but it's still pretty epic. I'm pretty excited to write it, even if it does mean putting Feral and Concealed aside. I hope that one day Concealed will find a home, even if it means trying to sell another idea and coming back to that one. Don't worry Neira, Kalina, Adarin, and Dayne; I will never forget about you guys!

If the miraculous does happen and I'm able to finish 50k, there shall be a party.

Current word count: 32,246

Chapters: on 17

Pages: 127 Word/137 preferred text format

Words per day to reach goal: 1657

By golly, I think I can do it. It'll be difficult, but I guess since work has slowed waaaay down, leaving no events until January, I have much more time to dedicate to writing. Let's see how I do :)

Writing: fixing plot holes--complete with pictures!

When I started seriously writing almost two years ago, the barest essentials were all I had. Being a broke college student, it basically translated to: Ramen Noodles, the weekly Starbucks coffee from Sarah, and my computer. For the most part, it was the two of us, sitting on opposite couches, drinking French-pressed coffee, and listening to Two Steps From Hell or Transformers soundtrack. Nothing was more fun that that--the incessant giggling as we realized what was coming, or funny lines that we put in there.

Today, not much has changed. You can still find us sitting in her room, compies on our laps, coffee nearby, music playing from the speakers, still laughing at our own creative geniuses.

But I do use other things that actually really help when I'm struggling. For example: plot holes. Those dreaded little crinkles in your plans, clashing together like hot pink and red. With help from me and Sarah's inside joke, I present:

(Let's pretend my room is this neat)

That's right, me and Sarah's "Epic Board 'O Stickies' or 'Epic Board 'O Plot Holes' as I also like to call it. Of course, not all of these pretty little squares are holes. Some of them are future references, sections I would like to make better, or info on things like people or societies.

But I won't lie, 2/3 are plot holes.

I've also realized just how mean/demanding/snooty my inner editor can be. I do believe one of the stickies on the board reads in regard to a certain scene, "Too boring! Get more action in there." "So, is Dayne ageless? Might want to fix that." "Trackers come before branding, not after." Alright already! I'll fix it when I'm finished writing, sheesh!"

Of course, not only has the "Epic Board" helped me out, but so have these two fabulous items:

(They really do make a wonderful couple)

I've already mentioned coffee once, so I'll just say, 'God Bless!' and move on to notebooks.

Now, I'm really not one to be writing in notebooks--unless of course, I'm sitting in a three hour Econ class that I would always leave half way through every class because the professor was so monotone that I could barely keep my eyes open. Not sure how I ended up with a B-, but I just went with it.

Anyways, yes, I have written in a notebook before. I actually had a good...hmm...I dunno--50 pages of my old draft in misc notebooks scattered around my apartment. While I preferred my computer, I couldn't deny the appreciation I would give notebooks on those days when I had to wait some where for a doctors app or vet trip.

Recently, I decided to map out my thoughts, tidying up everything in my mind, straightening out the clutter.

(Again, let's pretend my room is this clean)

For the most part, there was a lot of scratching things out, smushing words into a corner, drawing a bunch of arrows. Had I not made it blurry, you'd be able to see the pure chaos going on here. The funny thing is, it completely worked. Brain unblocked! Clutter removal attempt: Successful!

Some days just don't go as smoothly. After attempting to write a decent, fairly emotional scene, I found myself making things worse. Not only was I repeating words within the same sentence, it took me forever to spell everything correctly. I was constantly backspacing words and retyping them once, twice--three times even. At that point, I gave up. No writing that night. It was just souring my mood.

Instead, I decided to work on something I haven't done in a long time: a puzzle. I'm not sure entirely what it is, but for the life of me, I swear puzzles are cat-magnets. The moment I had set it on my bed and grabbed up a small table, she was there, gnawing on my mini masterpieces.

(I was missing one piece when I finished the puzzle. I wasn't thrilled...)

Not sure how many times I had to shoo he away (which didn't work. She got grumpy, I got grumpy) but eventually, I managed to work around her. I had forgotten how A.) good I was at puzzles and B.) how long it kept me preoccupied. I had started at around 10pm, and when I looked at the clock after being 2/3 of the way done, it was 4am. Oops. I set it aside, went to bed, and finished the rest of it within the hour. It was a nice break.

After finishing it, I hopped on the computer where I started writing, getting a nice chunk done in FNW. I had to stop eventually because of an approaching plot twist, but it was nice to blow past the 30k mark, and even the 31k mark. I'm currently sitting pretty at 31,178 words, a plot hole free in my head (as far as I can tell. There's a lot crammed in there) and a maybe-query which I'll send Sarah's way. I'm pretty sure it's crap, because I don't like it, but I like her opinion.

So what's your helpful tools? Any other programs, methods and/or items that help get you out of trenches and holes?

29k? I'll take it!

I've just passed the 1/3 mark for my story, which I'm very happy about. I really only started cranking down on writing a little over 2 weeks ago and I'm nearing the 30k mark. This also makes me a tad sad, realizing that I could have easily done NaNo had I not switched stories in between. This is okay though. No use fussing about it now. This new idea is better than anything I had written before. Better idea, insane plot twists, hopefully gut-wrenching emotional scenes, and heartfelt family bonds. I'm pleased with the comments I've been receiving on snippets, even though the drafts are so raw, most of which aren't even read through before I post it. So naturally, I'm having plot holes galore right now. It's thrilling, watching my Epic Board 'O Stickies turn into an Epic Wall 'O Stickies. I'll hit that mark soon, but that's the problem with writing and suddenly changing your mind/coming up with a better twist/conflicting plot twists etc...All a part of the writing package.

I currently stand at 29k on the fifteen chapter, 114 Word Pages.

At this rate, I'll be to my goal by the end of January, which is what I'm hoping for so I can give my friend Kaitlyn the manuscript to keep her entertained while she leaves for a missionary program to Scotland. I wanted to be able to write and do one set of revisions to fill in the holes before I give it to her, so writing, writing, and more writing is in store.

As a last little humorous note, I decided to post the screenshot I took after I updated Twitter. I use the web program Google Chrome, finding it more useful than Mozilla and Internet Explorer, but I've come to realize that it likes to imitate Microsoft Word and correct misspellings for me.
Or in this case read minds:

Taylor "Tautness". Yeah, I pretty much fursploded while reading it. It catchy and it applies.

Sexy Baddies and Road Trip Wed

This post was spurred by a convo between me and Kristin and our love for dangerous guys.

What is it about the sexy villain--the guy we KNOW is evil--that just pulls us in further? When it comes to attractive, mysterious, subtly evil male villains, it's like we swallowed a huge magnet, pulling us unwillingly towards towards him. So what is it?

I like to think that girls are attracted to evil, handsome guys because of the redemption factor, the What-if-I-could-save-him-and-turn-him-good-again. But when he's actually good, we lose a bit of interest. It's the bait they offer, the thrill of the chase.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the good guy. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games is a freaking doll--hands down my favorite male book character. But nice characters, with me, sometimes get the shaft when a brooding, charming villain is introduced. Take Draco Malfoy for example. For the most part, I was obsessed. The dark, sisister, and angsty aura that followed around him was like a freakin drug. Cue reading fanfiction, cue browsing fanart, cue writing fanfiction. I stumbled upon Cassandra Clare's Draco Trilogy years and years ago before she even had an agent, fell in love with her characters, plots, descriptions. She managed to capture Draco in a sense that I think would fit him. We never really got a good look at his character, never delved inside his head, but it was always fun to imagine.

I'll cut it short here and move onto Road Trip Wed so I don't bore everyone...or make it insanely long :D

What are the three best books you've read this year?
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I have to put this one on my list, being that this is my favorite book series tied with Harry Potter. Peeta was adorable, Katniss was brilliant, mean cliffie ending--I loved it all!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. One of the most beautifully written, tear-jerking, adorable books I've ever read. There was laughing, tears, anger--everything. After the last roadtrip Wed, I had to *facepaw* myself for forgetting another crush on the list: Clay. The more I read about his inner dialogue or how he felt about a certain person or people, I more I loved his character.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. At the encouragement of my best friend, Sarah, I finally caved and bought the series. While I am stile finishing Pretties (because I've been more obsessed with writing than reading, which I suppose it good :D) I fell instantly in love with the first of the trilogy. The title is deceiving, showing no signs of the epicness and action that lay between the covers. I was pleasantly impressed with everything about it

If you could meet one author (living or dead), who would it be?
I know these are going to sound completely generic, but it's a toss up between J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkein. I honestly can't choose who because these two authors are responsible for so much. Harry Potter was the reason that I loved to read. I picked up the first book in sixth grade, 11 years ago, a year after the first book was published. This was a series that I literally grew up with. It got me started on reading and writing fanfiction--helping me to decide that I loved to write.

J.R.R. Tolkein taught me to create a world bigger than my own, to conjure up stories of magic and good triumphing over evil.

Without these two authors, I wouldn't be where I am today. They literally changed my life.

What book are you most looking forward to in 2010?
Hunger Games (Book 3) is a given, so I'll post another one, which is Kody Keplinger's The DUFF. I'm very excited for her and to read her book. She's an amazing writer and I can't wait for her book to hit the shelves.

Well, I suppose that should wrap up this long blog post. Guess I'm just making up for lack of blog postage :D

Nighttime: My Muse's Muse

It's one of the unexplainable phenomenons , like Stonehenge and Jello.

It's late. Lying in the bed of your cave (or bedroom. Whatever normal people call it.), you close your eyes, attempting to shut down your mind, only to suddenly snap awake. You scramble out of bed and to your roommate's door, knocking quickly because the world will just end if you don't tell them what is so important. Without waiting for an answer, you burst in, waking them from sleep.
"What?" they ask, grumpy from fatigue and being scared half to death from the door slamming against the wall.
"I just had an epiphany!"
Blank stare.
"I know how this section of the story is going to end."
You close the door just as the pillow hits, a smile on your face.

Nighttime writing: the most amazing gift I've ever received. I don't know what it is about the darkness, the quiet, and the growing fatigue that makes my mind race with ideas. I've already laid out my hours of operation, which is mostly from 11am or noon to 3am, leaving me a nice 8-9 hour sleep. A part of me doesn't like feeling that I waste my entire morning, the other half is calling me and idiot because it knows I like the nighttime better. My insulting half won.

Of course, the above story never actually happened...at least not that way. When I lived with Sarah, there was no pillow throwing, irritated voices, or blank stars (*snickers* Okay, there were those). Mostly it was calling me a nerd and laughing as I closed the door and went back into my room to reflect on my own brilliance.

For the most part, I'm curious if anyone else is like me--valuing the ideas that nighttime gives, or perhaps you have their more inspirational moments in the morning after you first wake up. Maybe it's in the middle of the day.

Most inspired time to write. Go!

Shiny new contest!

The wonderful peeps over at YA Highway are having a contest! Very excited one at that. Go check it out. Go ogle books and bookshelves. Enjoy! :)


And no I don't mean the super catchy Paramore song.
YA Highway asked the question, "Who are your fictional crushes?" and because I love a question to rant about my loves, this post is dedicated to all those nerdy, mysterious, I-just-want-to-pounce-on-you dream boys from YA novels. The type of oh-so-adorable guys who could make my heart melt in one minute and then explode from frustrating/irritating/so damn cute it's almost nauseating moments. Prepare yourselves for this :)

*WARNING* There's a few spoilers here. Just a heads up for those who don't want some of the books ruined.

1.) Peeta Mellark - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blond, cunning, and willing to do anything to protect the girl. What is not to like?! I grew an immediate attachment from the moment Katniss recalls how he had given her the strength to keep living with just a simple loaf of bread. The bruise and the reprimanding didn't steer him away from his need to help her then, it certainly didn't throughout the rest of the book. He remains a knight in shining armor without the leading lady even realizing that he meant every word he had ever spoken and all moves he had ever made.

It was bad enough trying to see through the hearts pounding in my eyes every time I read about him; I can only imagine how worse it will get once the movie (Screenplay written by Suzanne Collins herself! *squeeeeeee*) comes out in 2011.

Quote: "Maybe not that long," says Peeta. "What was that you were saying just before the food arrieved? Something about me...no competition...best thing that ever happened to you..."

"I don't remember that last part," I say, hoping it's too dim in here for the cameras to pick up my blush.

"Oh, that's right. That's what I was thinking," he says. "Scoot over, I'm freezing."

2.) Ian O'Shea - The Host by Stephenie Meyer

So I know that it's technically an adult novel, but for some reason, my brain reads YA. Maybe because the MC-host Melanie, in the flashbacks, is 17. A crush is a crush right?

What's funny about this crush, is he tried to kill the MC-alien--which I take as a symbol of love. He wasn't just choking the life from her, he was doing it with love and compassion. In all honestly, he quickly became my favorite character in the book, and most likely the series with SM finishes the next two books. Fear can make people do strange things, like attempt to strangle the half-alien, but only acceptance can make him love her. The book had a lot of messages, good messages about sacrificing anything for the ones you love, accepting and understanding what you are afraid of, and admitting that you were wrong. This book has it all, and so does Ian. To watch his character turn from an asshat to the most sincere person in the entire camp is a fun transition. I find that every time I read The Host, I crush even more.

Quote:He nuzzled his face against mine until he found my lips, then he kissed me, slow and gentle, the flow of molten rock swelling languidly in the dark at the center of the earth, until my shaking slowed.

3.) Ron Weasley/Draco Malfoy - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

This decision was too difficult. I adore Ron, who has always been a fictional crush since the middle of the first book. The comic relief, awkward schoolboy, and has "the emotional range of a teaspoon," his personality had me dying to read more. There were so many moments when I just wanted to smack him over the head, wanted to *facepalm* at some of the things he did, but all the same, I couldn't ever hate him, or stay mad for long. Just a cute redhead with a boyishness charm.

Quote: "...from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell 'die, Ron, die.' I'm chucking them in the bin where they belong."

On the other hand, despite all of the cruelty and taunting he gives, there is something about Draco Malfoy that just grabs me, reeling me in. Completely mysterious, dark, and brooding--we all see him joining the Death Eaters. But wait! Do I see redemption in the future? Is my psycho fangirl crush not completely psycho after all? We never really get a deep look into his character, which is a shame in my opinion, but we do see this unexpected side of him in the sixth and seventh book. Angsty and proud with a hint of sarcasm and insecurity. Don't worry, I'd be happy to take him under my wing ;)

Quote: "Azkaban - the wizard's prison, Goyle. Honestly, if you were any slower, you'd be going backwards."

4.) Cabel Strumheller - Wake by Lisa McMann

What's hot about a nerd-gone-popular who is actually still a nerd? Everything. There were many things I enjoyed about Wake like the language, which captured teenagers very well. The premise was interesting, the first-person present was bearable. But those things didn't keep me reading. It was definitely the secretly attractive Cabel. Mysterious, intriguing, heartbreaking--you got it all with him. You also got his caring, his compassion, his understanding. While Janie struggles with a life she never asked for, in a world she believes really doesn't care, her path wanders into that of Cabel, the person who will love her unconditionally, who--without even knowing what was going on--sheltered her, held her numb hands, shooed away anyone who was curious.
Plus, he ends up being an undercover cop. *fans self* 'Nuff said :)

Quote: She feels like crying, and she does, a little. She closes her eyes and doesn't move. Can't move. The tears leak out. Cabel wipes her cheeks gently with his thumb.
That makes her cry harder.


And that, ladies and gents, is my fangirl crushes, in order of my favorites. *sighs dreamily* And I can go visit them any day that I want.

New layout.

Like it. Love it. Snuggle it.
That's what I did :D


Why yes, I have started Teaser Tuesdays again with the lovely ladies at AW. I must say, it feels excellent. A seriously brief update first followed by a section of Concealed that I really like as an unofficial query.

Words: 12446
Chapters: 7
Pages: 46

Not too bad. It's going by quickly. Well, only the teaser :)



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