Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Top 5 Books of All Time

This changes from time to time if I discover a truly remarkable book, but as of right now, these are my top 5 books.

I pick these books based on a 4-point criteria. The principles I consider are plot; characters; style; relatibility/what they mean to me & what I take away from them at the end.

Unfortunately, I have a very hard time ranking these from 1-5, so I'm not going to. Just know these are the top 5, in alphabetical order.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Plot - This story is amazing & even the smallest things end up being important. The story also doesn't drag along.
Characters - The characters in this book are very original, yet the main character Shadow is still easy to relate to. All the characters are very developed, no matter how small a part they play.
Style - I don't even know how to describe Gaiman's style, just that it would include every synonym for "amazing" I know. I would even look some new ones up. I think people would just have to read it to understand.
What it means to me & What I took away - I liked the way this book approached faith, without encroaching on any one person's beliefs. So I was still able to keep my devout belief in God, and in a strange way, actually made it stronger. Also, his style helped me with my own writing. Secondly, I think I gained a much broader idea of faith.

Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Plot - This story is great & moves along quickly. A modern "selling your soul" story, which tackles how to beat the deal someone you know enters into with a devil.
Characters - Johnson writes the best characters in my opinion, always unique but so real you probably know someone just like them. And the depth of the characters is amazing, makes them whole.
Style - Maureen Johnson is my favorite writer, so I had to include her in my top 5. Her style is witty, funny, and thought-provoking. I like to look at her style, in this book especially, as an example of amazing writing.
What it means to me & what I got from it - I think this is a great coming of age book, that shows the strength that friendship can reach. This is another book that helped with my own writing, as I said.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Plot - This is a story that never gets old, and is played out time and time again in real life. A person doing all he can to win back his true love that he lost to someone else? No one can say that hasn't happened to them or someone they know. But despite how often this story is played out, Fitzgerald manages to have something original and in my opinion, he's perfected that story.
Characters - These characters are real, original, and deep. And honestly, I fell in love with Gatsby. The rest were just like people I actually know.
Style - This book is a masterpiece. Fitzgerald has a style all his own that is on a whole other level above any other author I've ever read. And the objective stance of the narrator is fabulous, considering how involved he gets.
What it means/What I got - This book truly touched me deep down in a soul-wretching way. The ending really hurt me in a way no other book has been able to. That alone is enough to get this book into my top 5, everything else is what makes it my #1. The icing on the cake is that this book has readability. I feel like each time I unconver this book I find a new layer of meaning in it, and that I will never be able to get to the center of it.

Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
Plot - I have always loved this books, it's one of the first books I ever fell in love with, and the plot is one of the reasons for it. I really like the idea of being transported to another world, but in a different way than most books have done it. And giving a cancer patient the chance to live a full life free of his pain is really touching.
Characters - The main character, Lucien/Luciano is the first character I ever fell in love with. I love his depth & sincerity. And Arianna is fantastic & relatible, as are all the rest.
Style - This was the first book I read from different view points. I think this is such a cool idea that really helps move the story along and give it new sides.
What it means/what I got - This book was the first book, and one of the very very few books to ever make me cry. It was able to reach into me and touch my heart. In fact, though I don't cry anymore, I still come very close everytime I read the end of this book. Also, I took that fabulous idea of different view points and applied it to my own writing, and I honestly believe that it has made a world of difference in my books.

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
Plot - What a cute imaginative story! This is a great story to share with anyone, especially children.
Characters - These are the most unique characters of any book I've ever read. Alice is very innocent, and the Red Queen overbearing, and the White Knight is helpful and imaginative. This book has a wide cast where every character is very different from any other.
Style - I think the most notable thing about the writing style in this book is the crossing of rivers. Every time Alice crossed a river to bring her into a new square Lewis put in a zigzag of astricks. It was the simplest way to show a change, and also looked like a river, in a way that the reader also jumps over the river.
What it meant/what I got - I had to include this book in my top 5 because it's the book that made me fall in love with reading. I re-read this book at least once a year and it never gets old. This book will always hold a special place in my heart. In fact, I was reading from my great-grandmother's leather-bound pocket edition, which was mint condition when I got it...and I read it so many times when I was younger that the cover fell off and the pages began to yellow and come out. I have a new copy now, but I refuse to get rid of my original.

My Top Books of 2007

Alright, I've read 105 books, comics, & manga this year and I've gone through them again to try and decide what my top books are. This is really hard because I read so many great books this year. I don't think there were any I didn't like.

In order of when I read them, because I doubt I could rank these. I'm including first reads only.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney -- My little brother was reading this and forgot it at home one day, and I picked it up. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. This book was hilarious! And the way Kinney wrote it, half journal-half comic, was inspiring and made the story move along easier. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages.

  • Young Adult
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by JK Rowling -- This is my favorite book of the entire Harry Potter series, which I read at the very beginning of the year. The plot of this book is fabulous and the entire scene in the Department of Mysteries was amazing. Do not judge this book by its movie because the movie doesn't even begin to compare in my opinion.

  • Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier -- The fabulous first book in the Magic or Madness series which poses an interesting choice: use your magic and die young, or ignore your power and go insane. It's really cool to see the story told by three different and unique characters from two different continents.

  • Twilight, New Moon, & Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer -- I usually don't go for the "vampire in love with a mortal" books, but my friends finally got me to read this series & I really like it. I'm not really a fan of the main character, but its the action & vampires & werewolves that keep me going. New Moon is definately my favorite, and shows Meyer's unique style the best of the three.

  • Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier -- the amazing last book in the Magic or Madness trilogy. I loved the ending of this series, very interesting! But I won't spoil anything, you'll have to read it for yourself.

  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson -- I love Maureen's books first off, and this is one of my favorites. I love the odd coming-of-age adventure, it keeps you interested the whole way through. The ending was unexpected, and splendidly done. And Maureen's characters are always the best part of her books.

  • Devilish by Maureen Johnson -- My favorite of Maureen's books. This book is very adventurous & interesting. Johnson's style of writing in this book amazes me. I wrote down one of the scenes in my notebook to look back on it every now and again as an example of great writing.

  • Feed by MT Anderson -- I love this book. These characters seem real, because they talk like teens, even if it would be offensive to some readers. The story is fantastic and I love Anderson's style. Absolutely love it.

  • Extras by Scott Westerfeld -- The sequel to Westerfeld's Uglies series. This one happens after the events in Specials, in a new area, with a new character. Honestly this is my favorite in the entire series. I think it was the change of main character, because I never really liked Tally, whereas I really like Aya. And this book gets extra points from me because the whole face-rank system is interesting & satorical.

  • Adult
  • The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare -- A classic play that I ended up falling in love with, despite my preconceptions of it. It was hilarious and amusing with its odd take on a love story. Seeing this play performed shortly after I read it was great too.

  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -- This book blew me away, seriously. I'm glad to finally find a book that represents time travel as non-changing, because I'm tired of "let's go back in time & change it" stories. The disjointed way of telling this story works so well for this book & the characters are fabulous.

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison -- This book is so different from anything else I usually read. Honestly, it disturbed me most of the time, but the funny thing is, that's why I liked it. It was real, unlike most books out these days--even the nonfiction stories. Morrison doesn't worry about what's acceptable or not, she just writes what's real and holds nothing back.

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman -- I love this book. So much. I took a chance on this book, taking advice from one of the leaders of a local book club. Another book that doesn't hold back. The story stayed interesting every bit of the way, and nothing written wasn't important, no matter how small it seemed at first. And Gaiman's style and characters are astounding.
  • Reading List July-December 2007

    July 2007
  • The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

  • Civil War: Fantastic Four #541 by Michael Straczynski

  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

  • Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows by JK Rowling

  • X-Factor #21 by Peter David

  • X-Factor #22 by Peter David

  • X-Men Endangered Species by Mike Carey

  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #21 by Peter David

  • August 2007
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

  • The Next Adventures of Guy by Norm Cowie

  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Vol 13 by CLAMP

  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Vol 14 by CLAMP

  • Devilish by Maureen Johnson

  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #23 by Peter David

  • Marvel Adventures Hulk #2

  • Gambit: House of Cards

  • X-Men #200 by Mike Carey

  • Uncanny X-Men #488 by Brubaker

  • New X-Men #40 by Christopher Yost

  • X-Factor #23 by Peter David

  • X-Men #202 by Mike Carey

  • September 2007
  • Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

  • Feed by MT Anderson

  • Fruits Basket Vol 17 by Natsuki Takaya

  • Ouran Host Club Vol 9 by Bisco Hatori

  • October 2007
  • So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

  • Extras by Scott Westerfeld

  • Thursday Next: A First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

  • Piratica II: Return to Parrot Island by Tanith Lee

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Generation X: Genogoths by J Steven York

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

  • X-Factor #24 by Peter David

  • X-Factor #25 by Peter David

  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

  • November 2007
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

  • December 2007
  • Fruits Basket Vol 18 by Natsuki Tayaka

  • New X-Men #44 by Craig Kyle & Chris Yost

  • Fall in Love Like a Comic by Chitose Yagami

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

  • Runaways Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan

  • Colossus: Bloodline

  • Spider-Man: Breakout
  • Friday, December 28, 2007

    Chicago Ranked 36th Most Literate City

    For the last 10 years Central Connecticut State University has ranked America's largest cities in terms of most literate. This is done using six factors: number of booksellers; education; Internet Resources; Library Resources; Newspaper Circulation; and Periodical publications.

    The top 10 are as follows:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Seattle, WA (last year's #1)
    St. Paul, MN
    Denver, CO
    Washington, DC
    St. Louis, MO
    San Francisco, CA
    Atlanta, GA
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Boston, MA

    Living in the South Chicago Suburbs, I was curious how well Chicago ranked and was dismayed when I found it at number 40, falling from 39 last year, but rising from 46 in 2005. Overall 69 cities were ranked, so 40 puts Chicago in the bottom half. With Chicago being the 3rd most populated city in the US this puts are literacy rate low. In 2000 there were 78 libraries within the city limits of Chicago and 596 public schools (elementary & secondary). 28.2% of Chicagoans above age 25 have not received a high school diploma.

    I've checked many different sources and all the data I received from each one disappointed me. What could we do to raise our rankings? What could we do to keep kids in school? What could we do to promote reading?
  • Support the schools. The better the school, the more likely a student is to stay through high school and the higher standard of learning the school provides.

  • Support local libraries. Some people see libraries as outdated because they don't have the funds available to keep up with the technological growth.

  • Support organizations such as First Read that help children learn to read and provide them with the resources necessary.

  • Or the simplest thing anyone can do:
  • Read to children.
  • As a parent, the best way to encourage education is to read to your child. Teach them how to read, how to improve their skills, and make it interesting. Also children do what they see their parents do. If a child sees a parent reading, they'll want to read. But if they see their parent do nothing but watch tv, they might not take the initiative to do anything else.
    You can also read to your younger siblings or cousins or neighbors. You could volunteer at your local library or elementary school. Just read to them.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Never Underestimate Nerds in Large Groups

    On Monday 17 December 2007 at 12:00 (EST) the "Power Project for Awesome" hit the net, or more specifically, YouTube. What was this project? It was a fabulous idea thought up and made possible by John & Hank Green, the brothers of Brotherhood 2.0, in which they asked all of their NerdFighters (their fans) to make a video on YouTube, all with the same thumbnail center image. In these videos the brothers asked us, the video-making NerdFighters, to promote a charity. Then, over the course of the next 24 hours the NerdFighters took the web, commenting, rating, favoriting, and subscribing to these hundreds of videos in order to get them onto the Most Discussed Page on YouTube. This way, all the videos on that page would have the same thumbnail and would also help the cause to decrease WorldSuck. And it worked.

    This project was one of the best uses for the internet and social networking I've ever seen. It combined viral marketing with charity in a way to decrease WorldSuck by increasing the amount of awesome the NerdFighters daily put out. John and Hank have really come upon something great here and have banded together over 4000 people worldwide and have not let them hanging. The project started out with two brothers making videos and grew to a movement. These two did not forget to be awesome.

    The impact of this project--not just the Power Project for Awesome--but Brotherhood 2.0 in general--is unbelievable and I doubt we've even seen the full extent of its affect yet. In the beginning, John and Hank were fun to watch and gave us entertainment, then they gathered a following which grouped every weekday in the comment threads on the videos (both on YouTube & And then it grew to a large, awesome community with the creation of the Brotherhood 2.0 forum, My Pants. In My Pants (that joke never gets old) the NerdFighters were able to connect with each other and talk about ways to decrease WorldSuck and generally spread around the awesome. But the Power Project was a whole other level of awesome. It took a great idea and great people and combined them with an even greater cause. All it took was a mailing list and a few thousand devoted NerdFighters. YouTube didn't know what hit them.

    It all goes to show you, don't underestimate the power of nerds (or rather, NerdFighters) in large groups.

    Brotherhood 2.0 is winding down to its last days now, ending on the 31st of December 2007 with the end of the year. It's been a good run, but all good things must come to an end. We will miss the daily videos, but I don't see the end of the NerdFighter movement anywhere in sight. These are the kinds of things that last. Trekkies will never give up their costumes and stop going to conventions and the NerdFighters will never stop their fight against WorldSuck.

    Thank you, John and Hank Green, for giving us something special.

    And now, I will link to my favorite videos involved in this project, as well as more articles & information on it.
    Hank Green's explanation of the project
    John Green's video on the project
    Power Project for Awesome: italktosnakes, cause: First Book
    Power Project for Awesome: skystreak22 in which they show us a computer from 1985, cause: Hearts & Horses
    Power Project for Awesome: ransriggs, causes: one laptop for child; Reading is Fundamental
    Power Project for Awesome: SongsfromaHat which features an awesome song, cause: Mr. Holland's Opus
    Power Project for Awesome: Charlieissocoollike, cause: Teenage Cancer Trust
    Power Project for Awesome: Johnnysmooth, cause: SOS Children's Villiage (we share this cause)
    Power Project for Awesome: Namlhots in which Tom donates a kidney, causes: Red Cross & Locks of Love (we share this cause)
    Power Project for Awesome: ObsessiveJez, hey that's me!, causes: Locks of Love & SOS Children's Villiage (part project/part Insomniac Theatre, my infrequent vlog)
    All of the videos involved in the Power Project for Awesome
    Brotherhood 2.0
    The Brotherhood 2.0 channel on YouTube
    The My Pants Forum

    Thursday, December 13, 2007


    I will not be posting about the controversy with The Golden Compass. I really, really want to, but I made a promise that I wouldn't because I get very upset about it.

    But in short, I think it's stupid and ironic and without justification.

    (but you are free to ask me to defend my stance via email or MSN messenger)

    For anyone who wants to read about this on-going debate, I suggest you check out this thread on Scott Westerfeld's blog & his own commentary here. I will be printing out a copy of Scott's argument & giving it to my aunt the next time I see her.

    NaNoWriMo Participant Interviews Part 3: Casye

    And now we come to the third and final installment of this year's NaNoWriMo participant interviews (unless any are out there who want to be me). Up to bat now is Casye who in my opinion is a spectacular writer. Unfortunately she did not finish her NaNo this year because she was too busy with her work in Children of Eden (which I can't wait to see btw), but she did find the time to answer my questions.

    It's very hard to keep writing when you realize how bad it is, but the best thing to do is ignore it and continue. Remind yourself that you have no deadline for editing, just one for word count.

    Like I always say: November is for writing, December is for editing (and/or burning)

    My advice to other writers is write about what you love. If you pick something that you think will make millions of dollars, but you don't absolutely adore it, you're gonna go nowhere. I advise people to write what they really want to say and the things that they have always thought privately, but have been too afraid to say so outloud. Don't be afraid! Say exactly what you feel in novel form. It can even be social commentary.

    I love that piece of advice, it's very true. This is probably why our research papers are so boring...

    You can read the full interview with Casye here or go back and read the previous interviews with Anita and Jessica.

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    NaNoWriMo Participant Interviews, Part 2: Anita

    Here is the second interview, in which I talk to published author Anita about her first year participating in NaNoWriMo. She tells us about pushing yourself to write and about how she managed to write an entire children's novel in a month.

    A few snipets from the interview:
    After my NaNoWriMo experience, I would say to any other writers wishing to give it a go – just be true to yourself and not worry about what everybody else is doing. I knew I was never going to write 50,000 words, as I was writing a children’s book. It was never destined to be that long. Once I realised and came to terms with this, it was a lot easier to just write.

    I had come to a grinding halt, with doubts about my story and characters and even more concerns about the word count not rising as fast as desired. That was when I plotted the story and got on with it. I don’t like letting people down.

    Thank you, Anita, so much for your input! Congratulations on your finished piece and good luck during the editing process. I think the best thing someone can do in this challenge is end up with something completed, despite its word count. You did a fabulous job your first year!

    You can read the full interview with Anita here or read the first interview, with highschooler & winner Jessica here.

    Hopefully I will hear from our third participant, Casye, soon & can post her interview as well.

    NaNoWriMo Participant Interviews, Part 1: Jessica

    November was a hectic month for 101,729 people in 2007. Not because Thanksgiving was coming and the local grocery was sold out of turkeys. Not because of doorbusters on Black Friday. The entire month was hectic for those people because those thousands were all writers participating in NaNoWriMo. I myself participated in NaNo last year, but was unable to join in the fun this year because I had a book to finish & working on something you started before November was not allowed. So I sat along the sidelines and cheered my friends and thousands I didn't know, on to victory! Many finished, many did not, but they all had a fun time while they laboriously pushed towards that golden 50,000th word in their new novel.

    When the excitement ended, I took the opportunity to interview a few of those participants on their rushed writing experience, asking about hard deadlines, pushing yourself to write, and writing tips.

    First off, we have Jessica. 2007 was her fourth year for NaNoWriMo and her first time to finish!

    You can read the full interview here.

    Here's a few highlights from this interview:
    What was the hardest part about getting yourself to write?
    We all have lives, friends, and just things we want to be doing. Not only do we have things we want to be doing, but things we have to do... like essays or family gatherings. I love being out of the house, so sitting down at my computer can be a pain...A new setting helped a lot.

    My best advice to other people, especially NaNo-ers and other people who have a limited time to write something would be to just have fun. If it's not fun anymore, move on to another fun part. Get advice from friends, even if you never use it, it could inspire a great idea, the missing piece for your story.

    Everyday, just write 10 words. They don't have to be good, or interesting, or anything much at all. Just ten words. Just put in a little effort every day. If you're stuck those ten words might get you unstuck, or at least for that day you know that you would have tried.

    Jess had more to say about how to defeat the dreaded writer's block, characters not cooperating, and how her story has no end yet. You can read all of it here.

    Congratulations on that and on getting over 50,000 words this year! Thank you for answering my questions, Jess, and I wish you the best of luck with your trilogy. I hope to be able to read the first part soon!

    Sunday, December 02, 2007

    MIA lately, sorry//More on gifts

    I've been a little MIA lately on the internets, I appologize. I posted here once and it was kind of a downer post on Christmas. Truth be told, I love Christmas, I just don't like buying gifts.

    Why don't I like buying gifts? I'm going to blame my father for this one, my father & people like him.
    See, my dad, gets up bright & early on Black Friday for all the great sales. And what does he do? He buys everything he wants for himself. How are the rest of us supposed to get him something when he's already gone and bought it all for himself? Not to mention he's hard to shop for to begin with.

    I need his gift by Friday because that's when I celebrate Christmas with my dad this year. I think when I go shopping at the mall with my friend today I'm going to go into Sears or somewhere & go up to some normal looking dad kid of guy and ask him "If you were my dad, what would you want?"

    Because I am not afraid to ask those kinds of questions. I think I proved that today when I asked anyone around me (including my sister) what kind of ornament they would want to receive from their boyfriend's daughter. I ended up with two very nice silver ornaments...and the lady next to me ended up with a rustic Moose I said I liked but wouldn't buy for my dad's tree. So, we helped each other. Communication is the key.

    I will be catching up on blogs & all that this week, so please excuse my lateness on anything!

    Also, I'm doing a little survey thing for people who participated in NaNoWriMo this year or any past years. Just a few questions for my blog here about writing, pushing yourself to write, & deadlines. If you want to help me out, please email me at lyokofans at yahoo dot com

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Christmas Shopping

    First off, thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on the question in my last post about whether or not I am required to give a present to my dad's girlfriend. A special thanks to my good friend Eliza who suggested I get a nice ornament for the tree at their house, that way I'm able to give them a gift without it going specificly to any of them. It will go to my dad & his new family.

    And now, on to more about Christmas shopping. So far we have survived Black Friday & we've also survived the biggest internet shopping day of the year (Black Monday?). I mostly survived my staying indoors because my car is in the shop, honestly. But here's the thing: where is all this shopping getting us? Are we better people because we went out and spent hundreds of dollars on things?

    I was thinking about this long before Hank Green (of Brotherhood 2.0) brought it up, but he makes a very good point. People don't want our stuff, they want our time. Your family does not love you for your income & the things you might buy for them with it. Neither do your friends. And if they do, well, I'm sorry, they're not really your friends. Call me a cynic if you will, but I don't like the idea of going out and buying gifts for people, I'd rather not give gifts. And here's the truth: most people don't want more stuff. They will have it out for awhile, put it in storage, or maybe they'll throw it away, unless they're nice and give it to Goodwill or Juvenile Diabetes or any other such charity. I'd much rather give my money to a charity instead, to the people who actually need it. Because, let's face it, my family does not need another anything that I would buy them. They would like it, yes, but they don't need it.

    When did Christmas become so materialistic anyway? That's not the point of the holiday, no matter if you are Christian or not. I believe that Christmas is to celebrate Christ, but if you do not believe that, well, I'm still willing to bet that you think of Christmas as a holiday to be spent with your loved ones. Why does our environment pressure us so much to give gifts at the holidays? Why do we give into that? What's the point?

    The only gift I know I'm giving this year is a CD to my friend Katie of me singing 15 of our favorite Christmas carols. It's something I make for her because I love her and it's something she wants. Plus, it doesn't take up an awful lot of space.

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Rejection Letters + Question

    First off, I got past the query letter and they read over my short story, but in the end I received a rejection letter. I have to say though, I don't mind. I didn't really expect anything big my first try. But I did gain a lot from this. First off, I've already written my first query letter, so the fear factor is gone and I'll have a chance to make that better next time. Secondly, a publisher read my work, which is a lot farther than I'd gotten before. And thirdly, they gave me a lot of great feedback and ways to fix it up, which is what I've been looking for all along. No offense to my creative writing teacher, she helped me out tremendously, but she was always afraid of giving me criticism. She would always talk about what I did really well or the parts she liked, but she never once mentioned something she didn't like or how I could make it better. I actually like getting criticism, it's constructive. Plus, it takes an awful lot to get under my skin, so no one should fear hurting me by saying they didn't like something. I know my work is not perfect, and it's strange but, I like hearing that every now and again because it helps me see what parts need fixing and how I can fix them.

    So yes, I was rejected. But I now have a tiny bit of experience, which is good.

    Secondly, I need some feedback on something completely unrelated to my writing. Just let me know what you think.
    My dad is currently living with his girlfriend & her 3 kids and they've been together a few months now. My question to you is: do my siblings & I have to buy Christmas presents for his girlfriend and/or her kids? I know we're getting presents that are from my dad and his girlfriend together, so does that obligate us to give them presents too?

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Query Letters

    I just sent off my first real query letter to Quake, which is the new YA branch of Echelon Press. It's for my short story, You Always Knew, which I have had published previously in my high school's literary magazine and in my creative writing group's collection.
    My writer friend Norm Cowie suggested this to me, which I am quite thankful for. Wish me luck on getting published!

    But I'm really new to this whole process, so I'm not sure if I wrote the query letter right. So, for future use, do any of you have anything to say on the process of sending query letters? What exactly should I include? Any tips?

    In other news...
  • This past weekend I cut off 15" of my hair and donated it to Locks of Love. I really like my new hairstyle, but I am really not used to it yet, it's so different than anything I have ever had before. I have always had really long hair and I just went from waist-length to above my shoulder 0.0 I admit that I have walked past mirrors and not recognized myself at first. But I am glad that I did it, because I know that somewhere out there someone will be very thankful for that hair.

  • I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, no matter how much I want to. I really need to finish up The Conqueror and I can't do that if I take off a month to work on something completely new. I will definately be cheering on all of those who will be participating and I am here for moral support when you reach weeks 3 and 4 (or even week 1 should you need it). I have the utmost faith in all of you and I know you'll do fantastically!
  • Saturday, September 29, 2007

    Westerfeld & The Golden Compass

    Okay, it's pretty much crunch time for me if I'm going to finish by Christmas, so I really won't be posting loads unless I really need a break from writing.

    Scott Westerfeld Signing
    When: Tuesday October 2nd 2007
    Where: Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL
    Time: 7:00 PM

    Justine has told me that she'll make sure to be at this one to sign my copy of Magic or Madness, so you'll be able to see both Scott & Justine if you come out with us next Tuesday!

    Check out the interview with the stars of The Golden Compass on daemons. I really cannot wait for this movie to come out in theatres

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

    It's time I get back to writing reviews! First up is 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

    Ginny recieves a letter from her eccentric Aunt Peg that tells her to get a passport, a one-way ticket from New York to London, and a backpack, then go to Peg's apartment in New York where she's to pick up a package. The letter has a few rules in it too: Rule 1, take only what fits in the backpack. Rule 2, no guidebooks. Rule 3, no extra money. Rule 4, no electronics or cell phone. For Aunt Peg, this isn't exactly strange. What is strange is that Aunt Peg is dead. This letter, and the 13 additional ones she gets in the package are what Peg has left to her: an adventure across Europe and glimpses of her life.

    The story of 13 Little Blue Envelopes is fantastic and imaginative and overall, a true adventure. Maureen Johnson succeeds yet again with her brilliant, yet believable characters and wonderful plot. The main character Ginny is one that teen girls can easily relate to and the other characters, no matter how small they are, are painted vividly in the reader's mind and take on a life of their own. A story part mystery, part adventure, and part coming-of-age book. I highly recommend this, and anything else Ms Johnson has written.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    I've Returned!

    Okay, hiatus over, I'm back!
    I've gotten the rough sketches of my writing all done, and I have a fairly good first draft done too, which I had a friend of mine look at (sorry and thank you) and she really liked it. I'm sure she would have liked it much more if I would have had access to everything I'd written up to that point, but being without my computer doesn't help with that.

    My trip went really well, it was both relaxing and fun. It's great to get away sometimes, so the week off was good for me. And I got a lot of reading done too!

    So, now that I'm back, here's what you can expect in the near future:
    Review of 13 Little Blue Envelopes I've been promising for ages
    Review of The Next Adventures of Guy
    Review of the Twilight series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse)
    Notes from the Stephenie Meyer appearance at the premiere event for Eclipse
    Continuation of the Where to Write blog series
    New blog post series: Character Voices

    That's...a lot. Quite a daunting list of tasks there. It will take me quite some time to get through all those, especially since I will be starting up at the local junior college on Monday.

    Sunday, July 29, 2007

    Authors Answer: Favorite Characters

    About two weeks ago I emailed a bunch of authors and asked them two to three simple questions (depending on their answers) about their characters, two of them emailed me back so far. If any reply after this (because some got sent late because of full inboxes and other problems) I will continue to post their answers. Here's what I've received so far though.

    Justine Larbalestier
    Who was your favorite character in your books and why?
    That is an unanswerable question. I love them all! Even the villians.
    Honest. Except for when I hate them all.

    Who was your favorite character to *write* and why?
    Usually whichever is the one I'm finding easiest, which varies. Right
    now it would be the protag of the novel I'm working on right now. But
    who knows who it'll be in a few weeks?

    Norm Cowie
    Who was your favorite character in your books and why?
    Tough question. That's why I wrote a sequel. I loved the characters. The word play between Knob (the elf wannabe) and Thurman (the sorcerer) comes from both characters. And then they both gang up on Guy, with the Warrior keeping a fond 'parental' eye over their squabbling, making it dialogue rich and fun at the same time. But if you pinned me down, ... I'd bleed, maybe sue for assault... but in the end, I'd have to admit that Knob is my favorite. He's clueless, learned, innocent, sensitive, ferociously protective and creative at the same time.

    Who was your favorite character to *write* and why?
    The Warrior might ... just might ... be my favorite. Again, it's tough, because they are all a hoot. But writing her battle cries ("I earned these spider veins!" and "Ketchup is too a food group!") and creatively reaching to try and write a believeable woman character was a fun test of my imagination. She's vulnerable, but can kick your butt at the same time.

    If these are different, why?
    I think for the reasons I gave. One was fun to create because I'm so far removed from being a lady warrior. But the other is, well, a guy, and I have some experience there, and the truth just had to be told.

    Thank you very much to Norm & Justine for replying to me! Hopefully I can get some late replies too. :) And if you're a fellow writer, you don't need to be emailed to answer these, I would love if you sent me your answers too! lyokofans at yahoo dot com

    Also, all blogging is going to be put off for awhile while I write. I made a few major breakthroughs over the past few days (one which woke me up and kept me awake for an hour while I made notes, haha) and I really need to write them out before I loose all the details.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    Potter fans, have no fear

    It's not entirely over. There may be no more books, but JK Rowling said she is going to write a charcter encyclopedia which will include unpublished backstories as well as what happens to characters & the wizarding world at large after the end of the 7th book.

    The entire article is here, but read only if you've finished the 7th book as it contains many spoilers!

    Btw, my reviews for 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows are still coming. Be patient please, I've been working hard lately to get all my college plans in order :)

    EDIT: There's another article here that gives a tiny bit of info on some of the characters to do with what happens to them after the epilogue.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Harry Potter Midnight Release Experience

    So, as usual, I'm behind on blogging. Except that this time I have a legitimate excuse which about 90% of the book-reading population will accept: I was reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I will not spoil you here and now, I promise. I just want to talk about my midnight release experience. And as Justine Larbalestier commented on her blog, it seems the majority of the internets disappeared along with me for the same reason.

    Alright, so it actually started out at 9 in the morning Friday believe it or not. The Borders I was going to for the release party opens at 9, and that's when you can pick-up your wristband that determines the order in which you get your book. I was actually 5 minutes late, but my friend thankfully saved me a spot in line. The line was unbelievably long and wrapped around the store. I did not end up far back in that line, but I still waited about 40 minutes. In that 40 minutes I discussed with my friend Jess and her friend who's name I don't actually know, the possibilities of the series conclusion, the different characters, (some Twilight), and then I played on my iPod for them two songs. The first was Accio Deathly Hallows by Hank Green of Brotherhood 2.0, the second was Mysterious Ticking from Potter Puppet Pals. They loved it, and I loved the odd looks we were getting from those around us. Life's more fun that way.

    Anyway, I got the wrist band and I ended up in the second group: silver. Which I was happy with, it meant a heck of a lot less waiting at midnight!

    But here's the thing, my friend Jess who I had gone with, she had her graduation party that day too, which was fun and all, but it meant we couldn't leave her party until 11:30 at the earliest. And I think we got out of there even later than that because we dressed up and had to get ready still.

    The party at Borders we went to was called the Grand Hallows Ball, so my friends and I all dressed up in formal ball dresses (well, as close as we could get: prom dresses), which was, admittedly, my idea. So yeah, it took us a bit to get ready, and then we had to pick up a friend on the way. I wish we could have been there for everything though, there was a Harry Potter spelling bee, and the Great Snape Debate, and a raffle too.

    So we show up and it takes us about 10 minutes to figure out what's going on and where we need to be. Half of our group had green wristbands, and Jess and I had silver ones. Half way through the store was where you got the books and they had just started on green, so Jess and I got to skip right to the book table. We made a lot of people mad, but we were like "waited a long time this morning for this wristband, we're even." I refused to open the book in line because I knew I'd go crazy if I had to stop in the middle of a page or chapter or something when it came time to pay for it. I had to cover my eyes when Jess flipped to the last page to check how many pages there were because I know myself: I can't not read something on a page I flip to. 758 pages by the way. The line went really fast and I paid and all that, and got a free poster too! It'll be going on my wall once I find somewhere to put it, I think I'm going to need to move things around a bit.

    I got a lot of compliments and questions on my dress (and mask too, my friend Chris brought materials for us to make house color masks) and I saw so many great costumes. There were a lot of girls with pink hair as Tonks, they were easy to spot. And one of the cashiers was Mad-Eye Moody. Some people dressed as Hogwarts students, and some in house colors. The best costume I saw though was one of the Borders employees as Dolores Umbridge. I swear, she could have been Umbridge in the movie. I talked with her for a few minutes and she explained to me that she could have done better if she could have worn her pink heels, but she couldn't for some reason (I forget what) and went with pink trainers instead. It still worked really well, and was honestly the best costume I've seen so far either in real life or from pictures of other release parties.

    I had an awful lot of fun that night, and I wish Borders had midnight releases for other series too because I would definately go. And this time I'd show up for all the activities.

    Sad that this is the last one, but I think it was ended very well. I won't spoil you though.

    P.s. did I mention last week that I met the Phelps twins (movie Weasley twins) when I went to see Order of the Phoenix? So much cuter in person!)

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Change in Plans

    Sorry folks, no review of 13 Little Blue Envelopes from me tonight. I had a small stomach ache when I typed up that post, and it's only gotten worse. I'm calling in sick and heading to bed (which I guess any normal person would do at the time of 1 AM), I'll get to the review when I feel better.

    In the meantime, go read the book for yourself, after the first chapter you won't need me to tell you how great it is.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Tell an Author You Care Day

    Happy Tell an Author You Care Day! (I'm late by 13 minutes, but we'll pretend that's not true by backdating the entry)

    Okay, here's how it's going to go, I'm going to give a few shout-outs to authors first, and then I'll go into what I had planned (even when I didn't know what day it was) to post today.

    Scott Westerfeld: I love your YA books. So Yesterday is my favorite, but the Midnighters series kept me up all night because I couldn't put them down. And I'm sure you know by now that everyone who has ever read the Uglies series has fallen in love with it. I personally love the langauge, and have taken on a few phrases ("bubbly" "nervous-making" etc) and my friend and I think you should write your own dictionary. Plus, I'm absolutely on pins & needles waiting for Extras. That first chapter you posted? Genius. Pure evil genius. I say evil because it's cruel to tease us and make us wait.

    Justine Larbalestier: In the past week I have gotten my sister and my friend to read your Magic or Madness series because I raved about it so much. I love it to pieces. I think what I liked best about it was the way you combined two different countries in a very realistic way, and mostly because it was magic that wasn't all about saving the entire world. Sorry, Harry, but I can't believe that the entire universe lays in the hands of a single teen. Justine, you're amazing and I'm addicted to your blog (and thanks for emailing me back).

    Stephenie Meyer: First off, I'm coming to see you at the book kick-off in Naperville on the 7th. The 7th of August just so happens to be my birthday and I know this one is going to be amazing and one of my best because I get a new book, get to go to this party, and get to meet you. Now that I've said that, I love how you've managed to encapture so many teens (though mostly girls I have to admit) with your fantastic writing and brilliant suspense/romance story! Your characters are what I like best about your stories, I mean, barely into the first book and I was in love with Edward. And now I'm having a hard time choosing which I like better: Edward or Jacob (though Edward's still my choice for Bella). And Bella is a great character, very realistic, even in a fantasy novel.

    Norm Cowie: I think it's pretty cool that I know a twice-published author in person. Glad we were able to meet at the author fair. Okay, I love your book (I say this because I've yet to get a copy of the sequel), it is by far the funniest book I've ever read. You're hilarious and I love the plot and the characters. I love how the characters interact with each other in the plot. I hope to see you at this year's author fair too!

    Maureen Johnson: Maureen, you are the lucky person who really gets cared about today. See, the post I was going to write was all about you and your books. Today I went to Barnes & Noble and bought 13 Little Blue Envelopes because I thought it was one of the best books I've read this year, and I was so close to buying the splash-proof edition of The Bermudez Triangle (next time, for sure). Then I went across the street to see if Borders had Key to the Golden Firebird, and they did, so I quickly bought it! I've said it before "Even if she [being you] wrote the most horrendous pile of sludge plot ever, I would still read it because I love Maureen Johnson and her writing" Your style is fantastic, I'm absolutely in love with it. And your characters are superb! I have to say, out of all the books of your's I've read so far (all except Devilish, that's next) I've always fallen in love with one of the guys, even if the girl didn't. You write great people.

    The part I was going to do next (after telling Maureen how much I love her books & that I bought 2 today, to give me a total of 3 MJ titles) I was going to write a review of 13 Little Blue Envelopes. I'm going to make that a seperate post.

    All authors, everwhere, I thank you for what you've done for me and every other reader. We appreciate you very much and more importantly, we care. Thank you!

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Odd Fact & Question

    Just two more things, then I swear I'll stop bombarding you with lots of posts all at once. I just get into a posting mood and have a hard time stopping, sorry about that.

    Odd Fact: Humans cannot sneeze while sleeping. I was wondering about this a few nights ago and looked it up and it turns out you can cough, snore, and talk while asleep, but you can't sneeze. Weird, eh? Just wanted to let you know that in case you ever wondered, or maybe to stop you from wondering.

    Question: what makes one a secret identity and the other just an identity? Can someone have two secret identities? More?

    I am prepared for one argument, I like to be complicated like that.
    Karina: The one that is secret is the one that you assumed second. If you assume more than one identity, then, yes, you can have two. Or more.
    Jez: But doesn't Superman keep Clark Kent a secret, just like Clark Kent keeps Superman a secret? Wouldn't that make them both secret identities?

    Harry Potter pre-book hype

    psst, there's HP spoilers here, that fan and anti-fan alike need to read.

    Where to Write: Making It Your's

    So, wherever you write, be it your office, your room, or your bathtub, you need to make it a good place to write, because there are really some bad places.

    First off, you need a door, not just any door, a door you can shut. Actually, this is what writer Stephen King recommends too. In order to write you need to be able to shut out the rest of the world in order to create new ones. You need to be able to cut out distractions, because, let's face it, writers are easily distracted. Another great thing about doors is that they don't just keep people out, they keep you in. And it's bad if you leave your writing space because you're going to get distracted, and you won't write anything. So, step 1, close your door, it's no use to you writing if you leave it open.

    Now, get comfortable, you want to spend a lot of time in this place, right? This is another clever ploy to keep you from leaving, but it also makes you more at ease to write. So, make sure your chair is comfortable, and if you're not in your chair (in your closet?) maybe bring a pillow or a few blankets. Write in your pjs if you have to*. And bring snacks, something to munch on while you chew on new ideas, and keep something to drink on hand of coarse too. Something that will help you write, most writers suggest tea, but I'm nothing without a Coke (I'm a serious caffine addict).

    Make the environment a writing environment (so not too comfy). Keep paper and all different kinds and colors of writing utensils on hand because sometimes things are easier to figure out on paper than on screen. Keep sticky notes nearby--making notes is never a bad thing. Make reminders for yourself that will make you want to write, or can help you encourage you to write when you get stuck**.

    Keep it your writing space. Don't make it the same as your goof-off space.

    Finally, to make it wholly your writing space: go write there. Now's a good time, isn't it?

    *Some writers will not write in their PJs because it inclines them to want to sleep or goof off. Some actually get up, shower, eat breakfast, dress for work, just like they would any other job, except that they go into the next room instead of some big building downtown. It helps put them in the mood to write because they then feel like they need to work. Try this is the comfy approach doesn't work well.
    **I have things like pictures of my characters, notes of encouragement (the whole series of Pamela Johnson advice posts from Anita Loughrey's blog, notes, and even a family tree to remind me how different characters are related. And notes like "make a map!" and "act it out!" help when I get stuck.

    Question for Authors

    If any authors out there wouldn't mind taking a minute out of their day, could you please answer these quick questions for me?

    Who is your favorite character from your book(s)? Why?
    Who was your favorite character to write? Why
    If these are different, why do you think that is?

    I hope to get a good amount of feedback, so for those of you who are not authors, look for the answers soon here on Typeset World (within the next two weeks, that should be a fair amount of time for authors to get back in touch).

    Thank you!

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    May/June 2007 Reading List

    I didn't post the reading list for May because I really hadn't read that much, and admittedly I didn't read much more in April. I guess that's what happens when you work two jobs and volunteer and such. Hopefully the library's summer reading program will continue to keep me on track.

    The Bermudez Triange, Maureen Johnson, 384 pages, library
    X-Factor #19, Peter David, 32 pages, own
    Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #19, 32 pages, own
    The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, 560 pages, 7 May-2 June, loan/library
    Girl at Sea, Maureen Johnson, 323 pages, 1 June-9 June, own
    The Key to the Golden Firebird, Maureen Johnson, 304 pages, 27 June-28 June, library
    X-Factor #20, Peter David, 32 pages, 27 June, own
    Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #20, Peter David, 32 pages, 27 June, own

    8 books by 3 authors with a total of 1699 pages, which is fairly pathetic.

    Right now I'm in the middle of The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke and I'm really liking it. I'm also working my way through The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien, and I have 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Vampire Beach on hold at the library. If I finish all these soon I'll finish my required amount for the library's summer reading program.

    A Guy Who Deserves Some Free Advertising

    I just received word from author Norm Cowie that the sequel to The Adventures of Guy, The Next Adventures of Guy is now in publication!

    Places you can find this sure to be hilarious book:
    His publisher's site:
    Empire Books in Frankfort, IL which will soon have autographed copies
    And of coarse Amazon and other bookstores

    I highly suggest you check out this brand-new (and I mean, really new) book by Norm Cowie, and The Adventures of Guy if you haven't read that yet--they're garaunteed to make you laugh!

    Thursday, June 28, 2007

    The Votes are In...My Blog Is Rated PG

    Online Dating

    Mingle2 - Online Dating

    This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
    suck (7x) death (1x)

    I'm finding this funny because all 7 times of saying "suck" were in the same post. ALL of them.

    I think this is the lowest rating I've seen so far. Candy and Justine both got rated R.

    BTW, at the end of this post, the "suck" count will reach 10

    Monday, June 25, 2007

    Newsflash: Teen Writing Usually Does Suck

    This is a blog reply to Scalzi's 10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing and On Teens, and the Fact that Their Writing Sucks posts.

    Teens, I'm sorry, but on the overall, your writing really does suck. Don't tell me I don't understand, because, guess what! I'm a teen writer. Yes, I'm a teen writer and I'm agreeing with Scalzi that our (yes, our) writing sucks.

    If I look back on my writing just a few years ago, I wince. My writing seriously sucked. Now it just sucks a little less, I'm starting to come out of the suck phase, but I'm not quite out yet. All of us can, I'm sure, I mean, all the writers before us have (well, all the good ones), we just need to push through it.

    See, as Scalzi points out in his original post, we're young. We haven't had time to really make a style for ourselves, yet to find our true writing voice. But we still have time.

    Just keep reading and writing, and don't be afraid to change, because not changing will keep you in the suck phase, and then you'd have a real problem.

    Don't complain about it, and don't yell at Scalzi for telling the truth, just keep on working through it. If you really try, you'll get it eventually.

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    A Life in Books a la Newsweek

    For awhile Newsweek ran a small article (maybe they still do? I don't know, I got my issues through school and now we're out for summer) where they would interview writers, reporters, professors, and the like and asked them these three important questions about books, which I will now answer as well.

    My Five Most Important Books
    First off, how do you consider a book important? Is it a good read? Did it influence your life or mindset? Was it written well? Did you identify with the characters? I tried to take all of these into consideration.

    1) Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, this book was the book that first got me into reading and writing. Sure, I'd read many books before, but none of them made me like to read. Plus, it's terribly creative and imaginative!

    2) City of Masks by Mary Hoffman, this book has such style, amazing characters, and a superb plot! It was told in a way that I, personally, had never seen before, but immediately fell in love with. One of my own books is told through this multi-character 3rd person limited style. It was also the first book that made me cry, plus it's still my favorite book.

    3) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I love how this book is told out of order, but for a reason. It shows time travel the way it should be written as, and it's great to see how everything comes together. And the characters were really interesting too.

    4) The Giver by Lois Lowry. This book is so radically different from anything I had read before it (keep in mind, it was 3rd grade), and I see it different everytime I read it. There's so many layers I feel I'll never know it all. In short, it's interesting and has rereadability.

    5) Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. Easy, I love this book, all of Westerfeld's books, and it was the first book that I had read that taught me to look at legends and stories in a completely different way than we've always been taught.

    >>A classic that, on rereading, disappointed: I'm really not sure, I've never been a huge fan of the classics, so I never reread them. But a book that I reread that disappointed me? Actually, I don't know that either. Romeo & Juliet looses more and more of my respect every time I read it though.

    >>A Certified Important Book you haven't read: The Catcher in the Rye, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Kite Runner. It seems everyone has read these, and they're supposed to be must-reads, but I haven't read any of them.

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Printer's Row, Chicago Book Fair

    The Annual Printer's Row Book Fair in Chicago is this coming weekend, June 9-10th. All fair events are free and all authors are required to stay an hour after their appearances to sign books. It's going to be great fun, I'm going with my book club.

    The site (here) has information on traveling there, event schedules, and a list of authors, as well as a FAQ section.

    I'm especially excited to see Audrey Niffenegger as I just finished her book, The Time Traveler's Wife (which I will be reviewing soon).

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    Where to Write

    Yesterday, Candy Gorlay blogged about Stephen King and all the places one can read (with amusing pictures too).
    As for writing a lot, Scary Steve says a writing room "only needs one thing: a door which you are willing to shut".

    I commented pointing out that you need something a little more than a closed door, you need to be cut off from distractions, because writers get easily distracted. We'll even (attempt to) vaccuum our cat if it means time away from writing. Yes, we do frequently try to avoid the thing we love most, the thing that is our lives and our jobs, it's what we do. So I've made a list in response to Candy's post of all the places you can write in your house without being distracted.

    Your bathroom tub!
    Under your desk!
    In your car in your driveway (with the radio off)!
    In the storage room!
    And my fave, in the closet!

    Seriously, take your laptop into the closet, turn on the light, close the door, and start writing!

    April 2007 Reading List


    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Vol 10; CLAMP; 192; 3 April; Borrowed from Chris
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Vol 11; CLAMP; 192; 4 April; Borrowed from Chris
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Vol 12; CLAMP; 192; 4 April; Borrowed from Chris
    X-Factor #17; Peter David; 32; 4 April; Own
    Clamp School Detectives Vol 1; CLAMP; 201; 4 April; Borrowed from Chris
    Clamp School Detectives Vol 2; CLAMP; 196; 5 April; Borrowed from Chris
    Clamp School Detectives Vol 3; CLAMP; 192; 6-7 April; Borrowed from Chris
    Man of Many Faces; CLAMP; 192; 7 April; Borrowed from Chris
    Duklyon Clamp School Defenders Vol 1; CLAMP; 192; ?; Borrowed from Chris
    Duklyon Clamp School Defenders Vol 2; CLAMP; 192; ?; Borrowed from Chris
    Keys to the Kingdom #5: Lady Friday; Garth Nix; 304; 27 Feb-22 April; Own
    Man of Many Faces Vol 2; CLAMP; 192; ?; Borrowed from Chris
    X-Factor #18; Peter David; 32; 24 April; Own
    Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #18; Peter David; 32; 25 April; Own
    An Abundance of Katherines; John Green; 256; 25-29 April; Library

    15 books by 4 authors with a total of 2589 pages which is 263 pages more than in March. This is still 1056 pages less than January, but that month is going to be really hard to beat, well, July shows a fighting chance with the books coming out around then. We'll see.

    Review of John Green's An Abundance of Katherines will be up soon.

    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    SkillsUSA Results

    The past few days I spent at the IL SkillsUSA state competitions. I had a blast.

    I won 2nd Place in Adobe Photoshop! I'm so happy XDD
    I also placed 8th in partner web design, which is better than the 10th from last year
    My school also placed 2nd in Architecture

    I'll let you know our other standings when I find out the exact numbers tomorrow. But two 2nd places!

    March 2007 Reading List


    X-Factor #16; Peter David; 32; 1 March; Own
    The Amazing Spider-Man (Civil War) #538; J. Michael Straczynski; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
    Blue Beetle #4; Keith Giffen & John Rogers; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
    Blue Beetle #5; Keith Giffen & John Rogers; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
    Flash Fastest Man Alive #1; Danny Bilson & Paul Demeo; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
    The All-New Atom; Gail Simone; 32; 1 March; Own (gift from Joe)
    Magic Knight Rayearth Book I Volume 3; CLAMP; 208; 2 March; Borrowed from Noel
    Magic Knight Rayearth Book II Volume 1; CLAMP; 192; 3 March; Borrowed from Noel
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 6; CLAMP; 192; 17 March; Borrowed from Chris
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 7; CLAMP; 194; 17 March; Borrowed from Chris
    The Taming of the Shrew; William Shakespeare; 222; ?-17 March; Own
    Magic Knight Rayearth Book II Volume 2; CLAMP; 221; 19 March; Borrowed from Noel
    Magic Knight Rayearth Book II Volume 3; CLAMP; 222; 20 March; Borrowed from Noel
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 8; CLAMP; 195; 23 March; Borrowed from Chris
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles Volume 9; CLAMP; 192; 23 March; Borrowed from Chris
    Magic's Child; Justine Larbalestier; 296; 27 March; Own

    17 books by 8 authors with a total of 2326 pages. That's 683 pages more than in February, but 1319 pages less than in January. It's going to be hard beating January because that was the month I sprained my ankle over winter break and read the entire Harry Potter series in a week.

    Sunday, April 15, 2007


    In which I rant on why giftcards are actually a bad idea.

    Today I remembered that in my wallet (which I got free from the library and has their contact info on it) I had a Simon Giftcard which may or may not still have money on it. So I pull it out to find out where to look that up at and I find 3 other giftcards! No wonder the ID side of my wallet was so thick!
    So I looked them up online.
    The Simon Giftcard had $1.53
    The Kohl's Giftcard had $6.73
    The McDonald's Giftcard had $0.18
    The Marshall Fields Giftcard doesn't give you the option of looking it up online. Maybe this is because Marshall Field's doesn't exist in Chicagoland anymore?*

    Okay, why this sucks:
    Simon Giftcard- I found out recently that places won't take these cards unless it's over $7. I have $1.53. That doesn't work very well. I tried donating it to the Green Brothers' Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck, but PayPal doesn't like the card either. So, I can combine it with something else I guess, but as a cashier I can honestly say that cashiers don't like doing this, which means I'd have to do it somewhere I'm not a regular (like say, Amazing Fantasy Comics? or Dominick's grocery?) where they would remember me and hate me for awhile. But, overall, not so bad, but still bad because now the receiver of the giftcard needs to pay money to get their "gift."

    Kohl's Giftcard- The amount on this actually doesn't suck all that much because I can get stuff with that. But I know that because I don't have any money to add to it it would end up like the Simon and McDonald's giftcards with low, unusuable (alone) amounts. The thing that actually does suck about this card is that it's excluded to one store. What if I didn't shop at Kohl's? What if I bought my clothes somewhere equally cheap like Target? This would be a problem.

    McDonald's Giftcard- What could I possibly use 18 cents for? See this one sucks more than the Simon Giftcard because of three reasons I've already mentioned. 1)It's exclusive (to a place I don't eat!). 2)It's an insanely low amount that will probably never be used. 3)If I were ever to combine it with actual money (which I don't have) it would be a pain in the rear for the chashier (which rhymes btw) and yes, working at McDonald's pretty much means that the cashier already hates me for living and eating at their "restaurant" but now on top of that hate they have reasonable hate! It's just not a good thing.

    Marshall Fields- I really don't think I ever used this. It could be expired for all I know. This sucks because it's exclusive to a store I don't shop at (because everything is too expensive)**. And you can't see your balance, how can I buy things if I don't know how much money I have?

    In conclusion: give cash. If you absolutely must give a giftcard, give a Simon Giftcard because they can be used anywhere that accepts VISA. Oh, and make sure it's over $7.

    So...anyone want 18 cents at McDonald's? If you send me a self-addressed envelope I'd willingly give it to you (hey, I'd even throw in 2 pennies to make it an even 20 cents). Actually, if you send me your address (in an email so you don't have to put it here-- that's lyokofans @ I'll send you the card + 2 pennies. I'll pay for the postage with any change I find in the couch tomorrow...or on my bed if I ever clear it off.

    Really, though. Someone take this McDonald's giftcard from me. I don't eat McDonald's! (for those interested I spent the other $4.82 on ice cream and my mom's lunch)
    *Soon I will write up a blog post on why Macy's is a horrible place (hopefully tomorrow, but I sort of want to include a picture of something)
    **You know you're poor when you can't shop at Marshall Fields (I refuse to call it by the evil name)

    Saturday, April 14, 2007

    Book Review: Magic's Child (and the rest of the Magic or Madness series too)

    First off, I am sorry this took so long Justine, but you should know that because yesterday I promised that I'd do this today that I actually would even though I had a "oh my gosh, why are people so horrible?" day at work. So, here it is, the review of Magic's Child! I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.

    Magic is a myth, that's what Reason Cansino had been taught growing up, unlike the majority of children who spend their early years watching movies and television shows about magic school buses and fairytale princesses and reading books about young wizards in school. Of coarse, Reason is much different from other children having grown up in the outback with just her mother by her side, travelling from place to place to escape her grandmother. Oh, and did I mention that she actually is magic? That's right, no matter what she was told, magic actually does exist, and she inherits it and the curse it brings with it. See, magic isn't all flowers and butterflies (despite what the covers may lead you to believe), it's actually quite a burden as Reason finds out. She's given a choice now: use her magic and die an early death, or not to use her magic and go insane. Definately not all flowers and butterflies.

    Magic's Child is the third installment in the Magic or Madness series by Justine Larbalestier and is in a word, Brilliant (with a capital B). The characters are dealing with old enemies and changing the relationships between them all and they're dealing with their choices in a big way. Jay Tee is paying the price for using so much magic earlier and Reason is trying to come to terms with a few earth-shattering things and at the same time find a solution for the double-edged sword that magic has provided. I think she does an amazing job at all of this, especially for her age. Her solution to the problem is so painfully obvious that it's the last thing expected and is bloody brilliant. Magic's Child will keep you interested from beginning to end and is a satisfying conclusion to Justine Larbalestier's wonderful series. Well, mostly. It may be satisfying, but the characters, plot, and writing style (not to mention the last chapter) will make you beg Justine for more. I certainly want to read more of this, and I hope Larbalestier will do that for us. Please?

    In short, the entire Magic or Madness series is amazing and you should all read it right now. All three books. Get them all at the same time because once you've read Magic or Madness you'll immediately want to pick up Magic Lessons and after that you'll absolutely need to read Magic's Child.

    I wish I could write pages and pages more on this book and its author, but that would be spoilery and I think I've done a bit much of that already (because even a little bit of spoilers is a little bit too much).

    Bravo, Justine!

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    On Titantic and Carbon Output

    I thought this should be seperate from the Christopher Robin thing.

    CBS Chicago news is telling me that a Swiss watch company is making watches using pieces of the Titantic. I find this highly depressing and wrong. Taking part of the great ship and wearing it on your wrist seems to me to be a might disrespectful of the lives lost. I believe we should leave the ship where it is, or in museums, but not as part of ticking accessories. Not to mention it seems to be really pointless to pay that much for a watch and it sort of uh...flashy? I don't think that's the word I want, but oh well.

    Also, John Green got me interested, so I went and figured out my carbon footprint on It's 11 tons, which is 7.58 tons less than the average American. See, this figure makes me feel good, but answering some of those questions and watching the picture change did not make me feel good, in fact it made me feel like I was killing the Ozone layer...which, I kind of am, just not on my own is all.

    Christopher Robin will not be ignored or forgotten!

    There's going to be a lot of posts tonight, probably anyway.

    I couldn't find the article on Newsweek's site, but fortunately it's a short one, so I can just type it up on here:
    Oh Bother! It's Darby.
    The Hundred Acre Wood had welcomed only one human: Christopher Robin. But fans who tune in to the May 12 debut of Disney's latest Pooh series, "My friends Tigger & Pooh," will find the boy has been largely replaced--by a 6-year-old girl named Darby. In the new show, Tigger and Pooh don superhero duds and solve mysteries (who's stealing Rabbit's rutabagas?). Executive producer Brian Hohlfeld thought Christopher Robin was too old for such sleuthing, so he designed Darby. She was a huge hit in the postproduction testing. But Pooh purists won't be pleased: Christopher Robin appears in only two of the 26 episodes. British journalist Hugh Fraser, who launched a "Save Christopher Robin" campaign on his blog, says Darby subverts A. A. Milne's vision. "For a girl to intrude breaks the spell of the story," he says. "They aren't
    her toys."-Sarina Rosenberg, Newsweek

    The blog mentioned is here.

    I'm really set against the idea of Darby on the show. The whole point of Winnie the Pooh is that everyone in the Hundred Acre Woods is a stuffed animal of Christopher Robin's; does this not mean they are part of his imagination? So, who is this new girl to just show up in the Woods and play with Christopher Robin's stuffed animals, steal from his imagination in a way. Of coarse, she seems to have made a few changes when imagining these timeless characters: she made them superheros, but not just that even, superhero detectives. I must admit, the whole superhero detective thing only works with Jamie Madrox, and I think I'm a little biased towards that because it's Jamie; if it were anyone else I might think this was odd like I do now with Pooh and Tigger. But, okay, sluething superhero stuffed animals...that's a little over the top. Another thing, I may be probably the biggest Tigger fan for miles (okay, am) and I love that he's getting the recognition he deserves (outside of the Tigger movie, that is), but still, even Tigger shouldn't take higher billing than Winnie the Pooh on a Pooh-themed show. It's wrong. Okay, more on Darby because I got off topic there and don't see a way I could change it and still keep the superhero/detective thing the way I want it. I think Disney's just trying to work with a different gender on the show so they don't seem sexist. Of coarse, this fails. Darby is a tomboyish girl, and it would still be sexist (if it were to begin with, which I don't think it is) because they took out Christopher Robin, so it's just switching one gender out for another. And this is a lot less important compared to the other things I just mentioned, but it's also a 3-D animated show, which I find well, odd, compared to the style everyone remembers with Winnie the Pooh.

    Needless to say, I'm against the idea of this new show...but I will still watch it because I like to have means behind my madness on occassion. This is just a first impression thing you're reading.

    Save Christopher Robin! (use the link above please)
    "They can't get rid of Christopher Robin because there's a song about him!"-Susan W.

    My dream and April Musings

    Okay, commenting on my own blog's last post: I'm sorry I'm late on all the stuff I said I'd do, but uh, I got really sick, I was working, and I'm just really lazy and procrastinate a lot. I appologize most of all to Justine Larbalestier to whom I promised a book review to awhile back. It's coming tomorrow, for sure this time--I promise (and I can do this because my plans were cancelled and I know I won't be crazy like I am tonight because work will steal my energy in the morning). Also, I will eventually learn to put commas between my tags so they actually work...sorry about that to anyone who actually uses them.

    Okay, on to posting. I originally had this one on my LJ but I decided to cross post it because it seemed bloggish and I can, so I am.

    My dream is to be interviewed about my writing. It's been my dream for awhile now, I really want someone to interview me about any of my writings...except my poetry, I'd really hate that, unless it was a rant about why I now hate poetry and how poetry fans are fickle.

    Hah, I just remembered, this is actually literally my dream, I had a dream the other day where I was doing an author appearance for the Great Books Club, just as I promised Mrs. Satcher-Jones. I got up there, told them about my books and gave Mrs. SJ a signed copy of The Elemental Spell, which was my first published book (and had done rather well I might add) and was also dedicated to her and my sister. "To my sister, Kayla and Mrs. Satcher-Jones who ran the Great Books Club. Thanks for being my biggest fans and for doing the job no one else wanted to do: read those early drafts. Thanks for getting through those and for always asking for more." Then it was question and answer time. I got up there and said "Alright, you can ask me anything--go ahead, anything from writing, to publishing, to my beliefs on buffalo rights." Too bad I can't remember any farther than that because that would've been funny--especially since Kay-san, Jackie, and Dodi were all still members (which means if this comes true like all my other dreams that I'll be published by next year!)

    ...other posts coming up in just a little bit here tonight because I'm in a ranting mood today.

    Oh, but first, check out Brotherhood 2.0 because it's awesome and hilarious and both these guys are very cool.

    Monday, April 09, 2007

    April Notes

    Just a few things of note: (skip to the end for the short version if you like)
  • I have a job now! Guess that explains the lack of posting, huh? Yes, I now work at the Family Christian Bookstores, which is you know, awesome. Of coarse I may end up spending my whole paycheck on VeggieTales, Mandie books, and the Left Behind series

  • X-Factor #17 = yes. Buy it because it rocks. Too bad it's not Raimondi's art though

  • I bought Case for Christ by Lee Strobel the other day when it was a $5 members only item at work and it's really good. It's this guy writing an article where he tries to prove that Christ doesn't exist, but you know what? He finds out He does. I haven't gotten very far at all yet, but I'm certainly learning things from the interviews he has with experts--things I wasn't even informed enough before to think of asking anyone.

  • I owe the readers of this blog:
  • My reading list for March 2007 (and it's long, which is why I'm not posting it now)

  • A review of Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier

  • A blog post on...something. Would you be interested in reading a religious post on why Matthew is my hero?

  • Also...
  • On April 19th-21st I will be at the SkillsUSA competition (that geek olympics thing I mention from time to time) and I think this year I'm going to blog about it on here to give you a feeling of what the contest is like--for me at least.

  • I've had one of the teachers at my school (not one of mine though oddly enough, she's the head of the Great Books Club) read the first chapter of Marshall Manor and the first four chapters of The Elemental Spell recently. She is pretty much my biggest fan now. Mrs. S has read them at least twice, the first from an editor's point of view and the second from a regular reader's perspective. She says I have a style that cannot be taught and that the only problems she saw were little typos and such--and trust me, I asked her many questions trying desperately to get her to tear it to shreds, but she assured me there was no way she could do that, even if she didn't know me. Which makes me feel really good because she was being totally sincere. I hope to finish the second chapter of Marshall Manor by Wednesday for her to read, and I just finished up the (first) revisions for The Elemental Spell, chapters 5-10 that I will be sharing with Mrs. S and my sister, the poor souls who read my first drafts...and actually ask for more. Oh, I don't think I mentioned it just yet, but I came up with the perfect ending for Elemental a few weeks back. I've been writing/plotting this book since November last year so I'm glad to finally get it all figured out in my head.

  • Short version: So yeah, that's the news: there's lots coming up, I have a job, I'm almost finished with the second chapter of Marshall Manor as well as the revisions for The Elemental Spell, I have a new beta reader, you all should read X-Factor #17 and I'll get up my March reading list tomorrow afternoon.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    The Importance of Re-Reading

    When I was in elementary school, I had to read The Giver for school. It was a good book, Lois Lowry's style is easy for a child to read, and the plot was interesting, as were the characters. Later in life my mum bought me a copy of Gathering Blue, Lowry's companion book to The Giver, which was also good. This year I found the third book in the companion series, Messenger and wanted to read it, but it had been years since I'd read The Giver, so I re-read it. Looking at this book from where I am in life, years later than when I had first read it, I find it to be completely different. It's incredibly dark, something I only got a glimpse of when I was young. The community Jonas lives in is a perfect communism, absolute mannequinism as well. When we first read this book, we had yet to be taught what a communism was, we would have never made that oh-so-clear connection.

    Things change as you age, you gain more experience to draw on, more connections to be made, and even a better understanding of the vocabulary and topics in a book. Maybe you missed something when you first read a book a few years ago, something that you'll understand now. Maybe you'll love a book you didn't much care for before, maybe you'll see a classic in a new light. Rereading isn't repeating, it's a new way of looking at things, and as a reader, and certainly as a writer*, this is important.

    *Why is it important for writers? Because we can get a glimpse at what our readers will think when they read our book--the different ways it can be viewed. Some people will get the message, some won't. Some will like it, some won't. It depends on the reader--but who knows, maybe they'll re-read it later in life and finally understand what you want.

    Are We Pushing Kids Too Much?

    Ronald Reagan, did you know his favorite food was jelly beans? A third grader named Joe does. For a presentation on former US President Reagan, Joe had to research everything about Reagan's life, or so it seemed; certainly this 9 year old knows more than most adults do about this man--or any past president. He needed to find out about his childhood, his time spent in the movies, and his time spent in and out of office, and then present it to his fellow third graders. Everyone in his class did this with a different president, and the really famous ones like Washington weren't allowed. Earlier this year the class did an in-depth report on national parks which included knowing the location, square footage, history, and animal habits, more even. A word on a recent spelling test was "picturesque," which Joe's 16 year old sister had a hard time even pronouncing. I must point out, this class is a "gifted" class, but that should mean they're learning at a 4th grade level, not at a 12th grade one. I know for a fact that average high school seniors do not have projects like this.

    When these kids are being prepared for universities before they even make it to middle school, we have to ask ourselves: are we pushing kids too much to achieve in school? Are we expecting too much? Should 5th graders really be smarter than us--should they have a show proving it? And how much stress are we giving these children, pressuring them to get good marks and achieve now so they can do well in life later on?

    Let kids be kids, because once you're grown there's no turning back time.

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    February 2007 Reading List

    Messenger by Lois Lowry; 169 pages; 28 Jan-13 Feb; library
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer; 498 pages; 13 Feb-18 Feb; library
    New Moon by Stephenie Meyer; 576 pages; 18 Feb-21 Feb; borrowed from Jess M
    Magic Knight: Rayearth I Vol 1; CLAMP; 192 pages; 22 Feb; borrowed from Noel R
    Magic Knight: Rayearth I Vol 2; CLAMP; 208 pages; 22 Feb; borrowed from Noel R

    5 books by 3 authors with a total of 1643 pages, not bad for February, eh?

    Notes of interest:
  • I tied for first place in my qualifying exam for the IL state SkillsUSA photoshop competition

  • For those in the area, the Homer Library is hosting a digital art contest, a YouTube contest, and a free HTML class that I will be co-teaching.

  • I'm going to be competing in 4 contests this year: homepage design, web design, photoshop, and get this...suitcase. It's the biggest joke to our team, so we decided to enter this year

  • My new books, if anyone cares what I'm buying: Lady Friday by Garth Nix, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol, and Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare. I also just recieved the boxed set of Harry Potter I ordered through Scholastic last month.

  • Lady Friday, the 5th book in the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix is out! Everyone go read it, it's brilliant!

  • X-Factor #16 is also out, all fans of X-Factor, Multiple Man, or just comics in general should read it--my favorite series with my favorite character!
  • Sunday, February 25, 2007

    She's Cine It (link) and an Update

    She's Cine It, a blog reviewing (and probably smashing) movies that K has seen. It'll be great, trust me, I've read some of her older reviews.

    Also, I've been busy lately and have gotten behind on blogs, I'm catching up now, please forgive me for my tardiness.
    But my news, I had my qualifying exam for the SkillsUSA IL photoshop competition Friday night, and I think I did really good. I placed 2nd on the qualifying last year, I hope I got 1st this year! I'll have the scores back sometime this week, but I'm for sure going down state for Skills in web design and homepage design--wish me luck!
    And I'm writing more with The Elemental Spell, the big news of this being that I figured out the ending! Yes, now all I have to do is write it. Now, if only I could get over my writer's block for Marshall Manor...

    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Book Review: The Adventures of Guy by Norm Cowie

    In this book we meet a guy named, well, Guy. Guy and his friends Knob and Thurman, along with a warrior, are out to save Guy's little brother Seth from the most vile of villains: telemarketers. See, the boys haven't heard about the Do Not Call listing, and now their phone rings non-stop and they never answer it. That is, until Seth comes over one day and does. And the telemarketers stole his brain. Now they're on a quest to get it back. They have the essentials of the perfect questing team: Guy as the reluctant leader, Knob as the elf, Thurman as the wizard, and the warrior: a woman with two placenta--you don't cross her. They begin to track down the telemarketers, but are they after more than they bargained for?

    This book is a witty and sarcastic tale with great characters that will make you literally laugh out loud. Cowie's style is very unique and makes for an easy read, but one that will hold your attention from page 1 to the very end. This is not a book I would recommend to my 13 year old sister, but I certainly recommend it to all the adults and most older teens I know. It's a funny book with real-life villains (mostly).

    Also, you can read the first few chapters of this book here

    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    January 2007 Reading List

    It's the first reading list of the year! I'm doing things a little bit different this time, I'm adding more information, so now I have the title, the author, number of pages, the dates I read it, and how I aquired the book. Also, I'm including comic issues and magazines this year, as long as they have a decent amount of reading--and my magazines are devotionals, so they certainly do.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling; 734 pages; 29 Dec 2006-1 Jan 2007; owned
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling; 870 pages; 2 Jan-5 Jan; library
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling; 652 pages; 5 Jan-8 Jan; owned
    Avatar: The Lost Scrolls: Fire by Tom Mason; 64 pages; 8 Jan-9 Jan; owned
    Ceres Celestial Ledgend Volume 1: Aya (manga); 208 pages; 12 Jan; borrowed from Katie B
    Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier; 271 pages; 18 Jan-22 Jan; library
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (reread); 179; 15 Jan-23 Jan; owned
    X-Factor #15 by Peter David; 32 pages; 24 Jan; owned
    New X-Men: Childhood's End, Volume 3 by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost; 136 pages; 24 Jan; library
    (X-Men) Day of the Atom by Chuck Austen; 224 pages; 24 Jan; library
    Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier; 275 pages; 24 Jan-28 Jan; library

    This past month I have read 12 books by 9 authors with a total of 3645 pages. And because I know someone will ask, I read a lot of those over Christmas break when I had a badly twisted ankle; spent the whole day reading.

    As soon as I have time (next week) I'll get back to writing reviews, starting with The Adventures of Guy by Norm Cowie and I'll make a post on the importance of rereading books.

    Monday, January 22, 2007

    Chapter Length--Edit: Link

    It has come to my attention in all my blog-reading today* that the great Justine Larbalestier has written lately on a similar topic to my last post. Check out her post on paragraph length.

    Just check out Justine in general, she's great. By the way, she's the one with the posts about writing times. (And John Scalzi had some to say on the subject too)

    *My younger brother is sick and I am staying home with him today to take care of him due to the fact that my dad is working in Chicago and my mum is at some esthetician's class in San Diego

    Chapter Length/Writing Time

    "And it really was the kitten after all."

    "My mother is a fish."

    Both of the above quotes are from well-known pieces of literature (Through the Looking Glass and As I Lay Dying respectively), and I hope you'll notice something: they're both one sentence long. They're chapters; chapters with less than ten words. Some books have chapters unbelievably long, 30 pages, more. Large sums of writers worry about their chapter lengths, if they're long enough, but should they? If these two books had chapters 5 or 8 words long, and made it better than most others, should we really worry about how many pages long our chapters are? If we get the point across how we want, the word count doesn't matter.

    Also, there's a lot of buzz in the sci-fi community of authors about how much time should be spent writing a day. Some say 4 hours a day, some say more; some of us, however, agree that it depends on the writer. I myself only spend about an hour a day (usually) writing, but I'm a student with younger siblings to take care of. Sometimes I'll get in up to 5 hours a day, but that's not exactly normal, and even then it's not constant: I get snacks, mess around with the songs in iTunes, check other books for things, draw, doll how my character looks, use the bathroom, and in general, procrastinate. Again, who cares how long it takes to get done as long as it gets done?

    Monday, January 15, 2007

    December 2006 Reading List/Final

    December 2006
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
    Avatar: The Last Airbender Cinemanga Volume 1
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
    Avatar: The Lost Scrolls: Water
    Harry Potter and the Prisioner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

    So, in 2006 I read 82 books by 19 authors. This year I will be keeping track of other things as well, such as number of pages and how I acquired the book (so far I have 5 books with a total of 2528 pages). Should be interesting, and I'm hoping to reach 100 books this year, maybe even more!

    October/November 2006 Reading List

    Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
    Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
    X/1999 Volume 1 by CLAMP
    X/1999 Volume 2 by CLAMP
    The Adventures of Guy by Norm Cowie
    Specials by Scott Westerfeld
    X/1999 Volume 3 CLAMP


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