Tuesday, November 14, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 14: Character Names

I always have a tough time with character names, and people are always asking me how I name my characters, so here's how.

Tara=I dunno, I wanted a "T" name. She was originally Tasha, but I didn't like that after the first page
Dylan=I've been promising myself to name a character Dylan for awhile now, because I like the name and it just fit for this cute 9 year old
Bartimus=I have no idea, it came as soon as I wrote "alchemist" I think
Serasai= It sounded like hissing, and I totally made it up...I think. I wanted an "S" name for sure though
Mo Wrinoan=My variation of Mr. Ian Woon (nanowrimo)

Suggestions for naming characters:
-Know the character first. If it's a regular kid, give it a regular name (remember guys like simple names girls like more unique pretty names)
-Use sites like Behind the Name and 20000 names if you get stuck
-If the character is from a different time period, open up a Bible. They have great names (the majority of my elemental council have names from the Bible). The first page of Matthew (first book of the New Testament) has a great list
-If you're really stuck, open up to a random page in the dictionary, this works really well with last names. (that's how I got Tessa Inselberg and Brian Tungstien)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NaNoWriMo 11 Tips for Day 11

It's day 11 already! Wow, time sure flies when you're writing. I'm still a first timer keep in mind, but I've compiled a list of 11 tips for nanowrimo participants.

1. Chat. I've been in the MSN/Yahoo chats every weeknight (hosted by the great janipanda) with other wrimo writers and it has certainly helped my story! The word wars and suggestions they all make are great. And the people are very nice, they'll even offer up help. Last night I asked for help naming a character and they all jumped to help.

2. Word war. The idea is to write as much as you can in 15 minutes, some are themed some aren't. Just write in short bursts, it significantly helps your word count!

3. Steal all the time you can. Lock your door, eat your meals at your desk, write during your breaks, and realize that you don't have to answer every phone call.

4. Don't you dare give up! Avoid that week 2 wall and keep at it. Do as much as you can and if you don't get your 50000 at least you tried, and there's always next year. "The only thing you can't edit is a blank page"-WrimoRadio

5. Play some music in the background, it helps. Maybe an old movie you've seen thousands of times, just be careful not to put the plot from there into your story.

6. Manage your time wisely. Keep up with the daily quotas (1,667 words a day roughly) and try not to fall too far behind. If you can't be at your computer, bring a notebook with you and brainstorm. There's always the option of longhand too.

7. Compromise with your characters. If you made it to day 11, you've realized already they are not your's, you are their's. Allow them to make changes, but don't let them take over. Find some common ground and run with it.

8. Back up your file! I cannot stress this enough, in fact, this is the second time I wrote this post. Computers are malicious little devils, and you don't want one eating up your file. Email it to yourself, put a copy on that unused old laptop you have sitting around, or even better, on a flash drive. Just keep two copies and make sure it's always backed up!

9. Ignore how far you have to go. Lock away that calculator and don't worry about how many you have to write to reach your daily quota or until you reach 50000. Just write, write, and write, as much as you possibly can!

10. Ignore your inner editor. This is often easier said than done, I know. If you go back and read what you've got, that's fine I suppose, but don't ever cut anything out! Add things in, yes, that helps tremendously, but never take anything out--that'll take away from your word count too.

11. If all else fails, add in a cliché. Make it satirical of writing if you want, that's always fun. If you're low on plot, add in a love story, or a big battle between the good buy and the villain, a quest, a monkey, a vampire, the possibilities are endless! Don't dispare over lost plot, just keep going until you find it again. There's always the plot doctoring section of the nanoforums if you get stuck.

Above all, remember: November is for writing, December is for editing (and/or burning).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

October 2006 Reading List

It's very little I'm afraid, and my full year list is missing, oh dear.

Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
Young Zaphod Plays it Safe by Douglas Adams (short story)
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams

I'm almost done with Specials by Scott Westerfeld, and I started Evolution's Darling, also by Westerfeld. I must say I found it slightly disturbing and left it be for November so I could write my novel.

NaNoWriMo Day 4

Sorry I couldn't update last night, I was on the computer without internet. So far NaNoWriMo is going pretty well, though I admit I haven't gotten much writing done for today. I've been very busy and away from my computer (either). I did however read what I have so far to my sister during a car trip and she likes it. She says I'm too wordy and that I need to use simpler terms, but my sister's not a big reader, in fact she doesn't like to read much at all.

Which reminds me, my challenge for myself during this (as if writing the novel wasn't enough of a challenge on its own) is to use as many of this semester's vocabulary words as I can. I've managed quite a few already, actually.

Just something I wanted to see when I was writing yesterday: what music I listened to while writing.
Bittersweet-Plumb; Black Horse and The Cherry Tree-KT Tunstall; Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen, It's On-Superchic[k]; Breakfast-Newsboys; Breathe Your Name-Six Pense None the Richer; Bring 'em Out-Hawk Nelson; Burn for You-Toby Mac; Burning Love-Wynonna; By Surprise-Joy Williams; California-Hawk Nelson; Candycoatedwaterdrops-Plumb; Commodity-Sarah Brendel; Concrete Angel-Martina McBride; Courage-Superchic[k]; Crazy Little Thing Called Love-Queen; Dancing Through Life-Wicked; Day by Day-Avalon; Diverse City-Toby Mac; Draw Me Close-Kutless; Endangered Love-Veggietales; Entertaining Angels-Newsboys; Route 66-John Mayer; As Long as You're Mine-Wicked; Our Town-James Taylor; Another One Bites the Dust-Queen; Other Side of the Radio-Chris Rice; Barlow Girls-Superchic[k]; Follow Your Leader-John Reuben.

I've learned I can listen to almost anything while writing, as long as I have something to listen to--and it can't be something I get really into singing like "Defying Gravity" because then I don't get anything done.
I have 3 chapters, a prologue, and 4,419 words. Tomorrow is another long trip, which means I'll be writing long hand which I'm never as good at, and possibly that my mum will read my story (depending on who's driving of coarse).

I'll also have a non-nanowrimo post coming up soon about something that's been bugging me as of late.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 2 post 2

NaNoWriMo Day 2

It's day 2 of NaNoWriMo and I'm already behind (going by the 1667 words a day quota). I have 805 words as of the last count and I know what my book is about.

My characters so far:
Tara-16, blonde, green eyes
Dylan-7, brown hair, brown eyes, Tara's new stepbrother
Lydia-Tara's mother
George-Dylan's dad
Bartimus-amature alchemist/wizard, obsessed with knowledge of Tara and Dylan's world

Dares from fellow participants I've taken the initiative of taking:
Have a character always carrying a towel (a la Hitchhiker)--Done, it shall be Bartimus
"you learn more if you don't knock"--still working on incorporating
"I like you, you smell responsible"--I want so badly to use this one, still working on how though.

2529 words left today (to meet the day 2 quota), 49195 total. Wish me luck!

EDIT: At last count here at 6 pm CST, I have 1073 words. I'm past my 1000 word milestone! And the first chapter "The Ferris Wheel" is complete. Novel remains nameless.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

Come join us in this challenge! Write a 175 pg novel in a month. It's not about quality, it's about quanity and fun. See if you can do it!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

September 2006 Reading List

September 2006
Predator's Gold (Hungry City Chronicles #2) by Philip Reeve
NYX volume 1: Wanna Be (comic trade)
Emma Frost Vol 3: Bloom (comic trade)
New X-Men: Childhood's End (comic trade)
New X-Men: Hellions (comic trade)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, book 2) by Douglas Adams
The Last Days (sequel to Peeps) by Scott Westerfeld
Pheonix: Endsong (comic trade)

As always, this list does not include books I have yet to finish, single comic issues, my (very slow) reading through of any of the books in the Bible, or books I was required to read for school or otherwise.

As of the end of September (yesterday), I've finished reading 68 books, also not including single comics or required readings. I think that's pretty good, though I feel I've been slacking in reading lately.

Little Miss Sunshine--As I Lay Dying?

In case I don't get a full post out this week, I want to get the basics of this down before I forget any of it.

I saw Little Miss Sunshine this weekend (which is rated R btw), and I just finished reading As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner in school and I couldn't stop thinking of connections between the two, especially in the characters as the movie went on.

Contains spoilers for both Little Miss Sunshine and As I Lay Dying

Addie Bundren to Grandpa Edwin Hoover-Basically they die. And they have similar personalities, and leave a little "curse" by making the family travel (or continue travelling in the grandpa's case) with their dead body.

Anse Bundren to Sheryl Hoover-Quiet, indecisive, will do all they can to keep a promise to a family member, takes the family on a crazy road trip to keep said promise

Cash Bundren to Dwayne Hoover-Quiet, determined, most sane?, and the oldest son

Darl Bundren to Frank Ginsburg-Considered crazy, the outsider, misunderstood, and knew more than the others

Jewel Bundren to Richard Hoover-Abusive to family members, possibly the strongest in the family, puts something else above the family (horse; job)

Vardaman Bundren to Olive Hoover-Young, innocent, confused by/unaware of situations and people around them

Those are just the basics, hopefully I'll be able to make a decent post on the connections and elaborate more on them.

(Also, not a connection, but Vardaman has the best chapter ever "My mother is a fish")

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Review: The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld

The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
YA/Science Fiction

In Peeps we were first introduced to the parasite that turns people into modern day vampires, and we know a lot about the world in which they live from the main character, Cal. The Last Days is a different story. These five don't know much about the parasite, except for their singer who has experienced the effects, but doesn't know the cause. They just want to start up a band, but will they be able to do that in this world with more and more people contracting the parasite everyday and the apocalypse waiting just around the corner?

The characters in this book were great, all very original and interesting. And their slang made them sound like any other teenager. The book is set up so that each chapter is told from one of the band member's point of view, which constantly changes, making it a fun and different read. This is also the first band book I've ever read that I didn't hate, in fact, I loved it. I admit that I liked Peeps better, but this book was loved in a much different way, and is, like most of Westerfeld's books, one of my favorites. Although I also have to admit that I think it could have used a better ending, something with slightly more closure on the characters themselves, though it did bring things full circle.

Overall, a great read that teens will love, especially those teens who like vampire or band stories.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

For those in the Chicago area

Shine.FM has relaunched their book club. The book this month is Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole. The book will be discussed at 8:10 every Friday morning throughout the month on Shine.FM (89.7) during the Rise and Shine morning show. There will also be give-a-ways during the discussion.

Coming up at the Homer Township Public Library:
September 26, 7pm: Teen techies
October 2, 7pm: Teen book club: The Red Cayak by Pricilla Cummings
October 17, 7pm: Local Author Fair
October 18, 7:30 pm: Adult book club: The Cave by Jose Saramago
October 22-28: Teen Read Week
November 15th, 7:30 pm: The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
For more info, try these links: Homer Library Homepage, Teen Events, Teen Reviews, and The Homer Teens webpage.

Coming up at the Des Plaines Public Library:
October 10, 10:30 am: book discussion: Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg
October 12, 6:30 pm: book discussion: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco

And don't forget the Online Library Book Discussion.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Yes, I heard that Steve Irwin died. It's really sad, because he wasn't just entertainment, he was educational. I do know that a lot of people watched him just for his crazy antics, funny dialouge, and to see when he'd get bit. But while we watched The Crocodile Hunter we learned more about the animals in the world. And he made it interesting, I wouldn't care half as much about that stuff if it were taught to me in school.

My mum had predicted for years that he'd die slipping on some soap in the shower. If you ask me, I think he'd much rather die this way than death by soap.

She told me and at first I was like "Crikey! No way!" and then after a minute or two I looked up at her and said, "So...it wasn't soap then?" and we both smiled and laughed. Then I started quoting Steve Irwin.

But it's still really sad, I loved watching him and his crazy antics.

(for those who don't know: he was stabbed in the heart by a stingray)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Why Sci-Fi?

Someone asked me recently "why scifi?"

Why do I write in the sci-fi/fantasy genre?
Science Fiction/Fantasy is interesting, and more fun to write. With things like mutants, parallel worlds, and space travel acceptable, there's a million possible stories that can be written.

Why not some realistic fiction?
Well, there's two reasons for that. The first is that the majority of real life is boring, dull, and monotonously mundane. The second is that my real life is pretty rough and I'm afraid I'll end up having an emo fest in a book. The reason I started writing was because I wanted to imagine things differently, not write about how they are with my life.

You've always wanted to write some historical fiction, why don't you do that?
This is simple: research. In sci-fi you can get away with pretending that engines can run on butter or something in the future, the facts don't all have to be, well, factual. I definately love looking up some things (like say, spiders or dictators), but I don't like looking up everything to make it work in with history. Why do you think The Conqueror takes place on a fictional island?

Besides, I love reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy and I know I say this all the time, but "the true key to being a good writer is being a good reader."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

July/August 2006 Reading List

July 2006
House of M volume 1 (comic trade)
Spider-Man: House of M (comic trade)
Peter Parker Spider-Man: A Day in the Life (comic trade)
Exiles: Earn Your Wings (comic trade)
New Mutants Volume 1: Back to School (comic trade)
Spider-Man: Wild Blue Yonder (comic trade)
Spider-Man: Blue (comic trade)

August 2006
Wetware by Mike Haydu (unpublished, I was editing it)
Ultra Maniac Vol 1 by Wataru Yoshizumi (manga)
Ultra Maniac Vol 2 by Wataru Yoshizumi (manga)
Ultra Maniac Vol 3 by Wataru Yoshizumi (manga)
Ultra Maniac Vol 4 by Wataru Yoshizumi (manga)
Ultra Maniac Vol 5 by Wataru Yoshizumi (manga)
Fruits Basket Vol 14 by Natsuki Takaya (manga)

As always, this list does not include individual comics (although I recommend the X-Factor series for YA/Adult) or books/short stories I had to read for school. As you can see, I haven't finished any (new) books lately. I'm still working on reading Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve (and I highly recommend it) and Specials by Scott Westerfeld (conclusion of the Uglies series).

August Wrap-Up

Wow, August sure went by fast! And I've been very busy with school starting, applying/visiting colleges, and more, so sorry for not posting. I've been meaning to post a bunch of this stuff, so I'll just roll it all into one big post.

"Personally I think we’ll never decide what a planet is. They’ll pass a definition, but for eternity people will challenge it and it’ll get revised until it’s a paper 3000 pages long and anything, everything, and nothing will all simultaneously be named “planets.”"-me commenting on Westerfeld's blog.

Pluto is no longer a planet, that was the final decision.

My english paper. The prompt was "Why is Paris Hilton important to American society?"

Another English paper, the prompt for this was "if you were a food, which would you be?" and was to be written like a college application essay.

And be sure to check out John Scalzi's blog. I read it when Scott Westerfeld was linking him on the Pluto thing and I got hooked.

Lastly, don't forget about Homer Teen Reviews. Get some good book recommendations and post some yourself.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pluto Controversy: Overview

Alright, I've been following this for a few days now, and have been meaning to write up something about it since the beginning. School is starting tomorrow, so I wanted to get at least an overview of the whole topic written up. If I have time tonight or this weekend I'll add more (and possibly go into detail on my stance).

Okay, for all of those who haven't been following, listen up: The IAU (International Astronomical Union) is deciding whether or not Pluto should be a planet. And depending on what they decide, we could have 4, 8, 9, or 12 planets. That's right, you'll have to come up with a new mnemonic device (which if everyone had a different one, how did that work in schools anyways?).

The most amusing part of this whole controversy is the debate between Science Fiction writers, Scott Westerfeld and John Sclazi, so click on their names when you're done here to get other views (and more information) on the whole controversy. And I'd like to mention that even though I love Westerfeld and his books, I am not going to take that into my final decision. Now, onto the good stuff.

Westerfeld gave a pretty good description of all the different groups involved, but he left out a few. I'll be using the group names he provided, and one that Scalzi pointed out, to talk about all the views on this subject (and they're all quite different too).

The No Iceball Left Behind Group
Okay, these guys love Pluto. They're the ones trying to save Pluto's planet title by defining a planet as an object that orbits a star (without being a star itself) and its gravity has to be strong enough to pull it into a spherical shape. So, if that goes through, they have accomplished their mission: Pluto will still be a planet. But in the process, they opened a can of worms. Think of all the new "planets" under this. If it goes through, we'll immediately induct Ceres, Charon, and 2003 UB313 (Xena?); there's about 43 total actually. So, uh...how does that save the mnemonic devices again?

The Culture Vultures
I know a few of these, one of whom was brave enough to debate it with me (which I love him for, debates are fun and I haven't had a good partner for a long time now). So, like my buddy Mike, these guys are pulling for a plan that basicly ends up in the "nine historical planets." Well, that's where Mike gets seperated from the culture vultures. They don't like change at all; Mike and others just want to keep the nine planets (and their handy mnemonic devices). But those two types of people got grouped together for this one because it's just their stance on this topic; just wanted to make that clear.

Mike Brown, the "UB313 Guy"
This guy's his own group really. He wants the "nine historical planets," but with only 1 extra: UB313, the planet he helped discover. He's a culture vulture who likes the idea of no iceball left behind, which proves that there are always going to be freethinkers who don't fit in with a certain group (and with that I say "good on ya Mike Brown"). So he wants 10 planets, nothing more. He realizes that the new plan will bring in every hunk of space junk we find and doesn't want all that, but he does want his own planet, which of coarse he's biased towards.

The "Pluto-haytas"
They're they opposite of the first group, they don't like Pluto. Or at least they don't want it to be a planet. Seeing as how Pluto is just a tiny little iceball out on the edge of the solar system, they don't think it should be a planet; they're more for the "eight classic planets." Westerfeld likes this idea, and he says before we go and define planet, we should learn more about the universe. If we don't, we'll end up like those guys back in the day who thought the Sun revolved around the Earth and that the sun and moon were both planets.

And that's the end of Scott's 4 groups, which brings us to the last one:
The Quads (I'm the one that named them that btw)
They don't want 9 planets, 12, or even 8. They want 4: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. Charlie Stross seems to be the biggest supporter of this (and the only one I found today). He (and any others there may be) think only the four biggest should be considered as planets, the rest of us are just space rocks. I'm betting this guy's gonna loose, sorry dude.

The one that has gone over best is the 12 planet system, Discovery will even have toys ready by Christmas if it goes through. Unfortunately the more important textbooks won't be totally implemented for 7 years. So, we'll have out-dated books in schools, but I guess we could just skip that chapter and implement our own, right?

Time for the wrap-up, then I'll get started on my stance explaination and get ready for the first day of school. The final vote by the IAU is on the 24th of August, 1 week from today. I'll post something on the decision for you.

For related links, check out my del.icio.us account, under the PlutoControversy tag.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Reviews: Hitchhiker's Guide and Sherlock Holmes

Quick reviews I wrote up for Homer Teen Reviews (check it out, book recommendations and reviews for teens; YA and Adult books) that I decided to cross-post here.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Adult fiction

Hitchhiker is classic. Adams has a great sense of humour and loves to poke fun at life here on earth from an alien's point of view.

Earth has been destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway. Ford Prefect has been stranded on Earth for fifteen years now, and finds his way out just before the planet is blown up by hitching a ride on the construction ships sent to destroy it. And he decides to take with him Earthling Arthur Dent. Together they travel the galaxy looking for the mythical planet Magrathea on the ship Heart of Gold, home of the improbability drive. This book is definately worth reading (and much better than the movie too).

The book also includes entries from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a guide about how to travel the galaxy cheaply. You never know when you'll need that sort of information.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adult Fiction

A Study in Scarlet is one of the lesser-known books in the Sherlock Holmes series, which is a shame considering it's the very first. Doyle's style of telling a story is ingenious. The book is split into two parts, the first told from Doctor Watson's perspective, starting from the time he meets his new roommate, Sherlock Holmes, to the wrap-up of a mystery. The second half is the story behind the crime, filling in all the holes. I like this because you can really get the whole story. The second half may be a bit of a bore, but it's worth it to see how everything ties together (and it's not that bad once you get past the first few chapters of part II).

The story that birthed an icon, definately worth a read.

Also: watch this blog for a post on Pluto sometime this week. I would post it tonight, but I want to research the topic and make sure I've got all my facts right first.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Speling Changus?

Simplr spellings 2 cum?

And my response:
First off, ow. Reading that hurt with all the misspellings.
That said, I think this is ridiculous and would cause much more trouble than it's worth. Yes, it's hard on our brains some times when spellings of words don't make sense (I've even had conversations about this recently), but changing the way we do everything would make things more confusing than that. My vote is for neither changing the system or keeping it the same. I say that we do what was mentioned in that article, alternate spellings. We can keep "tonight" but also have "tonite" as an acceptable spelling. Changing everything would take forever to do anyways. Everyone would have to learn how to read and spell all over again, not just little kids. What's the point in that? Yes, we helped the little children learn to read, but we inhibited everyone else; sounds like a Pyrrhic victory to me.

Also, our English language has evolved throughout the generations to give us what we have today. It started out as local dialects, eventually became Latin, which after awhile became English. That English has existed in England for centuries, and in the 18th century came to The United States where it became "Modern American English." So the spellings today have evolved, and whereas they have been getting shorter, they have not changed like this. Therefore a change this drastic would be stripping us of some of our culture and heritage.

So, in conclusion, keep the old stuff, but let some of the new stuff in as well. It'll help everyone in the long run.
All that being said, I feel compelled to say that I use colour, honour, and labour, as well as theatre and centre. I also subscribe to the SHIFT theory if anyone has read So Yesterday.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reviews: Blue Noon, Peeps, and Lost in a Good Book

These are short, so I thought I'd put them all in one post.

Midnighters: Blue Noon, Scott Westerfeld (young adult fiction)
Westerfeld certainly doesn't fail in his dramatic conclusion of the Midnighters trilogy. In the Midnighters series anyone born at midnight who lives in Bixby, OK gets an extra hour a day. Sounds great, huh? Everyone wants an extra hour, but these kids don't use that time to finish their homework, they're too busy saving the world. While everyone else is frozen, completely oblivious to the midnight hour or "blue time", creatures are all over the place, creatures who exist only inside the blue time. But those creatures, darklings, are getting ready to hunt. So when the blue time suddenly occurs at times other than midnight the teens are forced to investigate and find a way to stop the darklings from getting their way.

This book was fantastic, admittedly not my favourite of the series, but still great. It brings a great close to the series, but also leaves it open if Westerfeld decides to continue it. I really hope he does because this book got me to pay attention to math more, keep an eye out for tridecagolisms, and make me wish I could visit the blue time. And I couldn't put it down, not even for sleep; a great book for the dark hours.

Peeps, Scott Westerfeld (young adult fiction)
Westerfeld puts a new spin on the classic vampire story in Peeps. Peeps are people who are "parasite positive" or vampires. Cal is a carrier for the parasite, someone who has it, but isn't effected by it, besides increased strength and heightened senses. It's Cal's job to find other peeps and capture them before they cause any more harm or spread the disease farther.

If you've read Westerfeld's So Yesterday, then you'll love Peeps. I loved the plot and suspense of the novel, and can't wait for the next installment coming this September. But if you're squeamish you probably shouldn't read this book because all the even numbered chapters are information on real life parasites.

Lost in a Good Book, Jasper Fforde (adult fiction)
In the series the main character Thursday Next works for SpecOps (Special Operations) in the Literary Detectives has to save the classic of Jane Eyre, from the notorious Archeron Hades, by heading into the book itself. Last time she used an invention of her Uncle Mycroft's the Prose Portal, but now she'll have to read her way in. Once inside the book world, she is drafted into Jurisfiction, the government inside books, and apprenticed to Miss Havisham (yes, that Miss Havisham, the one from Great Expectations). Will she be able to save Jack Schitt for Goliath, save her husband, and make her fictious court date?

This book, the second in the series, is my favorite of the four that have been released. I love learning more about Jurisfiction and the book world, and Thursday's world amuses me to no end. The thing I most love about this book, however, is the villian. I'll try not to give away too much, but the villian is quite formidable, and has the most unique way of trying to kill Thursday. But who is this foe, what score do they have to settle, and what is their power? You'll have to read and find out.

June 2006 Reading List

Here's all what I read in June.

Midnighters (Volume 3) Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
PhD: Phantasy Degree Volume 1 by Son Hee-Joon (manga)
Fushigi Yûgi Volume 1 by Yû Watase (manga)
Fushigi Yûgi Volume 2 by Yû Watase (manga)
Fushigi Yûgi Volume 3 by Yû Watase (manga)
Ultimate X-Men Volume 9 (comic trade)
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

It doesn't look like much, but those books were great. Look for some short reviews on the novels here soon, I've got to write them for the library anyways.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Writing, reading, life update

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last update, so sorry about that. Thing is, without school or a daily job, everything just melds together and I loose all track of time what-so-ever. Like tomorrow is the 4th of July, that doesn't seem possible at all. And I also just realized it's 1:30 AM here, probably shouldn't be on, but I'm awake and I won't remember to update when I'm online later.

So, because of the time, I'll try to keep things short.
I'm taking a short break from The Conqueror to get some things sorted out with its plot, mostly with the timeline of it all. Been working a little on Zarcona, but not much writing sadly. Zarcona book 1 is planned out from start to finish, just a sketchy outline, but at least I won't have the problems Conqueror has given me. And I've got a plot bunny gnawing on my leg to write some fanfiction.

With reading I haven't read too much that's new, but right now I'm reading Scott Westerfeld's "Specials", the conclusion of his Uglies series. I love Westerfeld, so I'm enjoying this book. And really trying to catch up with comics, because I'm a comic junkie and I missed so much over the past few months. And as predicted, I finished my books for the library's summer reading program in the first two weeks, a whole month before I was supposed to be done.

Speaking of the summer reading program, I've been busy with it. Months ago I figured I'd have a totally boring summer and I'd want something to do, so I signed up to volunteer with a lot of things at the library. And now I'm there a lot and just wanting to bang my head against the wall repetitively most of the time. And handling 4 younger siblings full time babysitting, not fun.

So busy, busy, busy, but still alive.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday's are the writer's candy

Well, I just got back from a short trip to my aunt's house. And long car trips/vacation downtime are great for getting me on task with my writing. I think it's the lack of internet that helps best. But while I was gone I couldn't work on The Conqueror because everything I have written for that so far, and all my sticky notes with ideas, were at home on my desk and bulletin board. Fortunately I had everything I needed to work on Zarcona written down in small easy-to-pack notebooks. Now I'm happy to say I have the basic plot of the first book all written down. Of coarse this isn't all the little details or anything, it's just an overview, but it's a big step.

In other news, Friday's are the days I usually like to have off to give the creative juices a break. I find that a day spent with friends and having fun can be good to keep my stories from becoming dull and dry.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Writer's Checklist

I was thinking the other day, and I decided that there are 5 things a writer needs and why. I decided to write it down for all of you.

Computer- I usually need to sit at my computer and just start typing to really get a storyline to work for me. I can come up with a plot, but I can't get it to work unless I'm typing and staring at the light of my laptop's screen. Plus it comes with a spell checker.

Paper & Pen- First off, it should always be pen, pencil smudges and erases. Never erase something because even if it sounds stupid after you write it, who knows, maybe it will work for something later? And I usually keep at least two pens of different colours on me when I'm writing on paper because I can make notes that I know will stand out against the paragraphs of writing. The old fashioned way is good too. I like to write down ideas on paper, and type them up later. Plus, I don't always have access to my computer when I get a fantastic idea, and I can always write something down.

Someone else- Another human being. They don't have to be a writer or an editer, just someone who will listen to your crazy ranting for awhile. Or who will read through your early drafts and point out all your plot holes for you. It's always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. I have two: my friend Jess (also a writer) and my sister (who has to sit next to me on the bus every day and listen to my ideas for writing, poor thing). They can point out things or ask questions about something you didn't think about before. They can also give you ideas to go off of in your early stages of writing.

Imagination- Even when writing non-fic you need imagination as a writer. You need to think of a good way of describing something that will make the reader see it in their head. And in fiction you need to make the whole story. Especially the characters, the characters are pivitol in a story, so you have to see these made up events through some made up eyes. I don't know how anyone could do that if they didn't have imagination.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

May 2006 Reading List

Here's all the books/manga I read in the month of May, in order.

Café Kichijouji (manga) by Yuki Miyamoto
Ouran Host Club (manga) by Bisco Hatori
Ouran Host Club Vol 2 (manga) by Bisco Hatori
Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles Vol 3 (manga) by CLAMP
Tokyo Pop Manga Sampler
Shounen Jump Manga Sampler
Ouran Host Club Vol 3 (manga) by Bisco Hatori
Ouran Host Club Vol 4 (manga) by Bisco Hatori
Ouran Host Club Vol 5 (manga) by Bisco Hatori
Ouran Host Club Vol 6 (manga) by Bisco Hatori
Fruits Basket Vol 1 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Mandie and the Graduation Mystery by Lois Gladys Leppard (Mandie book 40)
Fruits Basket Vol 2 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Flyte by Angie Sage (Septimus Heap book 2)
Fruits Basket Vol 3 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 4 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 5 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Midnighters Vol 1: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Fruits Basket Vol 6 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 7 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 8 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 9 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 10 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 11 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 12 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Fruits Basket Vol 13 (manga) by Natsuki Tayaka
Midnighters Vol 2: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld

And this month I plan on reading Midnighters Vol 3, Peeps, Specials, and anything else that jumps out at me. I've already half way through Midnighters, I love that series!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Is WebSense Common Sense?

I read an article yesterday my friend had co-written for our school newspaper. It was a pro/con essay and my friend Amanda had the con side while her partner had the pro.
Amanda's arguement was that WebSense, the web censorship program that many schools and businesses use, blocked too much. And I've had this problem as well. For a Web Design project in my Multimedia Presentation and Design class I had to access the CBS site everyday. On the fifth day the site was blocked under "entertainment" and I couldn't use it in my project any longer. Also, I've tried to access lists for the top 100 children's books here at school and it was blocked under "shopping." Some things that may be blocked are needed for school or clubs. I can't even access my own website anymore, which I need to be able to when I'm participating in web design club.
On the pro side, WebSense keeps students and workers on task. Who wants to do research when you can be on MySpace, LiveJournal, or Addicting Games? No one will be doing their work. It also blocks inappropriate websites which are not allowed in schools in the first place.

But the question I ask of you is, should censorship be used in schools and businesses? And should it be used to the extent it currently is used at?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Finals kill inspiration


Well, this is quite interesting isn't it? I've applied to be added to the Author's Blogs listings. I should be on there soon. Can't wait to find time to check out other author's blogs.

In other news I've not been writing so much as I have been brainstorming. I've got The Conqueror all planned out and I can tell you one thing...it's going to be exceedingly long. Also, I've been looking back on some of my old ideas for fiction books wondering if I would want to go back and work on those after I finish The Conqueror and Zarcona (at least the first book). I think I'll just wait and see what's going on at that point.

In my time at school when I'm not writing or studying for finals, I've been looking over the writings of a friend of mine. She's definately got a lot of potential, but needs help with little things like grammar and spelling, and maybe a little bit of clarity could be of use as well. Her story is definately interesting and I hope she continues to pursue writing in the future. As far as I know she's going to a state college to learn psychology, but I'm not sure if that's what she plans to be her major.

Well, only 3 days of school left, two of them shortened, and all three involving finals. This should get interesting...and highly stress-making. As you can tell from the title, the finals have temporarily squashed my inspiration to write. But starting this time next week, I will have loads of time for writing, reading, and volunteering. Also this summer I will be meeting with my pastor about the possibility of me attending a Christian school after high school is over with. I really hope I can go.

Some book recommendations:
Midnighters (trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld. There's a 25th hour that only certain people can get into while the rest of the world remains frozen. Jessica Day discovers she can reach this world, and that 4 other teens can too. But the true Midnight hour hides many other creatures that she'll have to face.

Fruits Basket by natsuki Tayaka. A fantasy manga about an orphan girl who is taken in by the mysterious Sohma family. Soon she finds out that this family isn't all they appear to be, they're actually possessed by the spirits of the zodiac!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Good Times Coming Fast

Hullo, just a quick update about my life here before I start on a review of Angie Sage's Flyte. The English Research/Creative/Writing project that has been restricting my creative juices and hogging all my time was turned in today. I finished it late last night and I'm really proud of how it turned out and I'm especially relieved that it is finally over with. This was my last English project of the school year, thankfully. But it also means we're back to reading novels and that I'll have a reading assignment every night (but it's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so it's no big deal).

There are only 11 days left in the school year for me, and 3 of those are early dismissals (2 of which are exam days that will feel longer than a full day...). This summer I plan to spend lots of time writing, reading, raising the munchkins that are my brothers, and volunteering a lot at my local library. I'm really looking forward to the time at the library because it combines my three loves: reading, writing, and web design. Yes, I will be fixing up the library's webpage.

Since I just a few minutes ago finished Flyte, and I don't have the money to buy Scott Westerfeld's Pretties (I'm just going to buy it, Westerfeld is my fave writer and it's the conclusion to one of my favourite series) just yet, does anyone have any book recommendations? I'm headed to the library tonight and might find something there, but I always welcome recommendations.

Well, I'm off to dance class where we're having a meditation day which I will probably sleep through again.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Zarcona becomes a series

For all of you who have been lurking over at my writing journal, then you probably know about Zarcona. Well, it is no longer a book, it is now going to be a series. I have not decided if it will be set of two or of three, but it is most decidedly longer than one book.

Some background information for those who have not read my journal:
Zarcona originally started out with the title Ledgends of Certaori (really Zarcona is still a working title). The story is, like all my other works, satirical. This one is satirical of religion in government, and as usual, government in general. Zarcona takes place in a fantasy world in a city ruled by the Demis. The Demis are a group of different types of beings, all the top in their field. When the Demi of Religion goes missing, his daughter Zerea is appointed to team up with the guide Merka, and the Demi's young assistant, Gala, to serch for him. But are the Demis all they really seem to be?
Zarcona was put off for a while when I got the idea for The Conqueror and couldn't help but jump on that one instead. Over the past months in which I have worked on The Conqueror I've been planning a little bit for Zarcona, but haven't done much writing. Until now. I'm currently finishing up The Conqueror, and restarting on Zarcona, so I'm balancing two books. But I've recently been bogged down with inspiration and new plot ideas for Zarcona, so I hope that the series will move quickly.

So, is anyone interested in hearing more about Zarcona? What do you think of my pitch? And would you read either The Conqueror or Zarcona?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dance is Free Expression

This year I took a beginning dance class for gym. I expected an easy "a" and maybe a little fun along the way. Also, it was the only class I could take because I can't run on my bad ankles. But as the semester nears and end and my days as a beginning dancer do also, I've started to notice some things about my dance class.

First, dance requires confidence. I knew no one in my class, so I rarely spoke the first week or so, and the class was no fun at all, which means I didn't care enough to excell in it. But as the weeks wore on, I opened up to the other girls and let the real me shine through. I'm not a shy person, but dance class for some reason made me as such. So soon I realized I had to shed that shy outer layer and just be the open, bold geek that I am. And soon I grew in that in a way I didn't in other classes. I actually became bolder, I was no longer afraid of what might happen. "Will I look stupid doing this?" "What will happen if I say this?" "What if I mess up and fall flat on my face?" All those questions were now gone from my mind. And you know what? I did look stupid some times, but I had fun doing it and I was able to laugh at myself. I did say some things I shouldn't have, but also some things that I wouldn't have before that people thought were really smart. And yes, I did fall down a few times, but I laughed, got right up again, and continued dancing. So, dance made me more confident in all the things I do, and that confidence also made me a better dancer.

Second, be friendly. First time I walked into that class I looked at everyone I didn't know, and at those I knew but never became close with and just shut my mouth. After the confidence kicked in, I became much more friendly with the other girls. So what if I didn't know them? If I didn't say anything, I would never get to know them. Soon I had a new best friend, Risty. She's pretty shy, but I got to know her and we had a lot in common. Now thanks to that class, I now have another anime/manga dork to laugh with, and I have a friend in the class.

Third, dance requires an open mind. In this class I've had to do all sorts of different styles of dance, had to listen to different types of music, and had to try things I'd never done before. For a group project we had to create a dance to any music we wanted. I was out voted on the music and our group did a song by Shakira I would have never heard but for that class. And I like the beat a lot. For that same project I had to do some hip hop and some salsa, two dance styles I had never even thought of trying. And I loved that too.

And lastly, dance is free expression. Any kind of dance you do, you're putting a part of yourself into it. The hula dance tells a story. Lyrical dance shows actions behind words. Interpretive dance shows emotions through movements. Each dance has its own way of showing your personality through your actions. It is a way to express yourself to the world.

So dance like no one's watching, and let the real you come through.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My Lenten Revelation

As some of you may know, I gave up gum for Lent. When Lent was over I had lots of gum. But Monday night I laid there about to go to sleep and thought "man, I'm seriously addicted to gum" which led me to thinking about giving things up like that and I realized something.

Every year we give up something for Lent that we love. Something we'll have a hard time living (normally) without. And we for the most part, do. I think I'm starting to figure Lent out. When I thought about how hard it was to live without something trivial like bubble gum I thought, wow, how hard would it be to live with out knowing Jesus saved us? Or how hard would it be to live without God period? It's a scary thought. So, one aspect of giving something up is the realization of how we can't live without somethings. It also shows us which things are more important. Obviously God is more important to me than gum, but it's like one of those things you always knew but never really thought about. It's a reality shock.

Also, like Advent, Lent is a time to reflect on and grow in your relationship with God. It's a time to slow down a bit from your totally hectic lives and think about your beliefs and where you want to go with them. Want to read your bible more? Lent's a great time (especially on that long weekend off from work and school). Want to pray more? Well, religious holidays always remind people to do that, just try to keep going after Easter. Want to get closer to God? Well, talk to someone else about it, or read your bible, or just go to church on Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and even Easter Monday (it's that extra day off work some of us have to reflect more).

I couldn't really include all I thought about that I wanted to because, well, I have one horrible memory and I can't think about all that right now. If I think of anything else I'll add it in a comment.

Just something to think about, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Lent too!

(x-posted to Friends in Faith (Ambassadors for Christ) and Typeset World)

Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (review pt 1)

My notes on Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines, full review to follow

London is always moving
•Tom’s view is always changing
•Changes in his life and how he feels about different topics

Simple choice launches Tom into an adventure
•Tom dreams of adventure
•Careful what you wish for

Constant theme: Only the strong survive

Character Changes and Notes
Tom Natsworthy
•Irresponsible > responsible
•Trustworthy > suspicious
•Loves Municipal Darwinism > thinks it’s barbaric
•Loves Catherine > Loves Hester

Hester Shaw
•Doesn’t trust anyone > trusts Tom (and possibly Anna Fang?)
•Hates Valentine > feels sorry for him (similar losses)
•Hides all emotion > shows emotions (loves Tom and cries at the end)
•Angry with Tom all the time > understands and accepts him

Thaddeus Valentine
•Ruthless > understanding
•Loves Medusa > realizes how bad it is
•Obedient > questions Crome (the Lord Mayor)

Catherine Valentine
•Obedient > questions everyone’s motives
•Trustworthy > suspicious
•Quiet > brave and bold
•Secondary protagonist

•Has nothing > gains adventure and love (a purpose?)
•Feels little > gains emotions

Review: Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm

Review of Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm by Lois Gladys Leppard

Spoilers ahead.
As I mentioned in my last post, I started reading the Mandie series when I was 12 years old, and I'm still reading them. Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm is book number 39 in the series (out of 40 total) and really leaves more to be desired. I love Mandie books, and Mrs. Leppard, but this book didn't do much for me.

The mystery in this book is where as Mandie's teacher, Miss Hope, gone to? Really, I solved this mystery on page 23. And Mandie didn't even solve this mystery, the answer was revealed to her. Miss Hope ran off and got married, I saw that one coming. Of coarse, I did have the groom picked out wrong, but I got the basic idea correctly. This was really predictable and could have been played out better as well.

I normally wouldn't nitpick the writing style of this series because I am not used to reading the simplified language of junior fiction books, but this time it really started to annoy me. The thing that really bothered me was the redundancy and repetition Leppard included in her tale. The narration states one thing, and on the next line the character says the same thing. If we already know that, why do Celia or Mandie restate it?

One other thing that bothered me about this particular installment in the series was how fast it went by. Of coarse, with all the coffee they drink it's not surprising. Everything seemed to be really rushed, time wise and in the writing style. I understand that you can't have non-stop action all day long, but you could mention what happened in between the main occurances. The story skipped over many things and I find this to be poor narration.

But, for this series and genre, it was an okay book. Not a great one though. Still, if you plan on reading the whole series, don't skip this one because it is mentioned in the next book Mandie and the Graduation Mystery. Overall, the book ranked a 5 (points for continuity, character development, and general battling for Mandie's heart).

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I'm an avid book reader, so I relate everything to books. Because of that most of my examples for this will be for books, but you need no prior literary knowledge. You can relate this to anything you love.

When I was younger my grandmother gave me a book for Christmas, Mandie and the Jumping Juniper by Lois Gladys Leppard. I loved that book, and it was number 17 in a series, so naturally, I read the other books. A few years ago I won a copy of the newest Mandie book, Mandie and the New York Secret, autographed by Mrs. Leppard. I had found my holy grail, and loved that book emmensely. But soon enough I got bored with it and wanted something else.

Which brought me to thinking, what will make me satisfied? No earthy thing came to mind, and I started to see that humans will never be satisfied. Something can hold their attention for some time, but a better thing comes out and the old is forgotten. You love your 8-track tapes, but then you want cassette tapes, then CDs, then MP3s, and soon you're waiting in line at Apple at 5AM waiting for the newest iPod to go on sale.

We will never be satisfied because something better will always come along, that's how most companies make their money. They create a product that's okay, then they give you something good, knowing you'll want it, then they come out with great, fantastic, amazing, etc. So if we can never find that one thing that will make us happy, why do we keep spending our money on all this junk just so it can sit in our closets and start gathering dust two weeks later?

Truth is, I don't have the answer either. Sorry to tell you, but no one does. The advertising companies may try to convince you that they know, but they have no clue, just like us. But the advice I can give you is don't worry about what's the latest model or newest upgrade, find something you're happy with that works for you. If AIM 5.0 works great for you, why would you need to upgrade to AIM 9.0? Just stick with what you know and what you like. It'll work for you and you can be more satisfied than before because you won't feel the need to rush out and buy something, that pressure will be gone. Plus, you'll have a lot of extra cash, and cash is usually good, right?

Just something I thought of.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Introduction (1st Post)

Hello there, somehow you wound up on my blog! I suppose you want to know what to expect, eh? Well here I'll be talking about society and my life, along with many book reviews (in depth and basic), and beware, I'll rant about mass media brainwashing issues. But you'll probably get more book reviews than anything, I'm a major bookworm.

A little about me: I'm an author who writes young adult novels. I don't have anything published just yet, I'm only just starting out, but I hope to be published in the near future. I'm a huge cybergeek, typesetter (online writer/journalist/blogger), and bookworm. Basicly geek in general, but stay tuned and you'll find out.

First real post will be soon. And I've got a lengthy in depth review of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines coming up. I wrote up my notes a long time ago, but never typed it all out in coherent fashion, but trust me, this could probably qualify as a spark-note level review. Look for it sometime next week

Be sure to visit my writing journal by clicking on the post title, or by clicking here


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