Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween everyone!

Mwahahahaha! Trick of treat! Candy, costumes and more galore!

It's here! We've finally made it to that day where the veil between the physical and the supernatural worlds is lifted, and all too often through the day we feel like maybe a little magic could happen. That is, if you believe in it. ;)

So what should you do on this day? Make a little magic yourself, of course! Tonight at the stroke of midnight NaNoWriMo participants all over will be feverishly typing away in their coffee-induced hazes, parties will ensue, and people will spend all day baking in preparation for friends or family or what have you. In light of my favorite holiday I did three things to make a little magic happen today.

One, I gave a little cash to a homeless man we came across inside McDonald's today. He was super-sweet, and I really hope he'll be okay.
Two, I found a super-cool photo of the cupcakes I'm going to try to make tonight before NaNo AND I'm judging for a NaNo contest! How cool is that?
Three, there's a few kick-butt-awesome FREE short stories over at the Halloween blog for you to get into the spirit of things! Who doesn't love a free story?!

And there you have it! A little of everything for a day crawling with mischief. Without further adieu, here's a picture of cupcakes! (hint hint, they're the ones I'm making.)

Hope you all have a wicked Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

That's right- I'm guest blogging again! It's kind of like a new fun-filled addiction for me, really. But anyway, I'm over at WriMos FTW today! The topic? Why and How music can really get you through that hard-to-write spot in your head (because it's all in our heads, right?)Click on the link below to read the guest post and feel free to leave a comment!

Music Always Holds The Key!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So maybe BLACK WINGS gave you a tingle on your skin. GAMES made you gasp. But I bet the newest story up there, THE MANDRAKE RUSE, will probably have the hairs standing on the back of your neck! Either way, they're all free to read on the Halloween blog!

Dark clouds are coming- was that a scream? The Mandrake Ruse is up to read!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What do Amazon, Goodreads, Apple, and tons of blogs all have in common?

If you guessed bad book reviews, you're right.

When you're a constant book lover and devourer you're always in the search for new books. Some of us wander into our local indie or B&N, find our section and typically pick up one that catches our eye and has an intriguing jacket description. Others like myself, we read reviews online. Reading reviews online is typically like sticking your hand into an alligator's mouth. Catch him on the wrong day and you could pull back a stump.

Readers today have a power stronger than any advertising could possibly offer, and that's reviewing or blogging about a recent book they've read and how they felt about it. And when we find a book we love, we can't shut up about it. Which is great and all, but what happens when the book isn't something everyone likes?

Of course I'm not saying any book or every book out there can be enjoyed by everyone. There will always be someone who will find the book you're obsessed with less than enjoyable. Hell, they may even hate it. When most of us find a book we don't like, we put it down and move on. But there are those who wont just stop at putting the book down. Instead, they try to put your book in an early grave.

Some people can't look past a book when it holds some kind of negative value to it within the story. Elle over at The Book Memoirs showed us a current iconic example by citing Twilight. While there are tons of us on one side of the coin objecting to the bad image imposed upon teenage-angst-romance, the other coin has people swearing their love to it because of the simple theme of 'Love Trumping All.'

After reading her post, she shed a piece of light on something I wasn't all too keen to admit. I was book bashing, too. Me, playing Negative Nancy. If my life were played on a board game of Clue, it would be me in the Kitchen with the candlestick. As Elle so blatantly points out, who are we to tell them what is good and bad? Sure, some of the stuff within the book (Edward watching Isabella while she slept... before she knew, obsessively denying her visiting rights to her friend Jacob) isn't exactly all sunshine-and-rainbows, but to some, they hold a love for it like a martyr for the cause. Thinking about it now, I can't say anything bad about them: I'd do the same for any Harry Potter book you try to abuse.

We don't have the right to tell someone off because we don't like what's inside the pages. No matter how justified our point is, no matter how driven, it's just not our place. Just because we don't like one book doesn't mean someone else won't. Maybe they'll love it and start a fan club. Maybe they'll love it and petition for it to be made into a film. Regardless of what's inside those pages, you can't tell them the book sucks when they love it. Because the only thing you're doing is looking like a jerk who forgot your morning coffee.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Have you been keeping up with the Halloween blog? A new short story was just posted, and trust me, the twist at the end will really leave a mark on your neck!

Take a peek- Games awaits, if you're willing to play!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can." - Elsa Maxwell

It's a tough crowd out there, ladies and gents. In our tiny 24-hour window of a day we're given an insane amount of things to do- homework, chores, seeing friends and family, sports, the list just extends and extends and keeps on extending. Oh, and here's the real kicker. You have to do it all perfectly. Not a hair can be out of place, and every project presented for you to complete has to be done with 100% precision. No big deal, right?

With that kind of tall order given, it's no surprise we've all got our super-serious face masks on, hiding that wonderful grin just beneath the surface. You know which one I'm talking about, the one that laughs when you spill juice all over yourself, or relaxes enough to breathe. That thing you do with your teeth and lips when you show 'em all off and mean it, not just because there's a delicious looking cupcake in front of you to be eaten. Unless you're a snake, then you don't really do that, you just kind of swallow everything whole, but I'm running off from my topic.

As crazy-robot-like humans in today's world, we never take enough time to stop and smell the roses. Crack a joke. Laugh a little! Ever see those segments in movies where two parents watch their kid get a kick out of bubbles or ripping paper and wish they could laugh like that? Umm, they can! And so can you.

We try to hide our flaws and insecurities so hard, it's like a second job. Trust me, I've been there and done that. High School was the biggest joke of my life. I must have pretended to like anything to get anyone to stop for a second and agree with me. And anything embarrassing from my past? Oh hell, I covered that up so bad. One of my worst moments was the first time I wrote my first PG-13+ moment with a close friend. When we read it back, it sounded more like my character was leaving to go to a bakery and get a muffin, not do, ahem, unsavory things with his partner. I was teased about this for years. And instead of laughing it off, I let it eat me alive. Looking back now, I can laugh it off and just say it was a mistake, but in that moment, I was petrified.

I tend to look at things like this these days. I could sit down and stress all day that I'm 20 and haven't published, that I opted to not go to college, that those last few pounds aren't coming off as easily as I'd want them to, the list could go on. Instead, I take a moment and tell myself I'm going to do all in my power and take it one day at a time. Books weren't written overnight, college will still be there if I decide to go later, and those last few pounds will only be better when they come off with hard work and patience.

If that doesn't work, I look up this video.

So wherever you are, whatever you're doing, take a second. Breathe! The world honestly isn't going to end tomorrow. Make the best of whatever you've got going on in your life and give the glass a look at it being half-full, not half-empty. And if you're feeling really gutsy, laugh off that embarrassing moment.

So let's hear it! What's one of your embarrassing moments? (That you're willing to share!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

it's up and live!

I'm very pleased to present to you guys that silly thing I've been mentioning all week- the Halloween short story blog! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

So if you've been following my Twitter the past few days, you may have noticed a few messages I've been posting. You know, the ones asking for the short and spooky stories? Well, if you've been sitting and staring at your screen wondering just what the heck I'm talking about, you'll only have to wait a few more days to get a really wicked treat mixed in with all those tricks leading up to Halloween!

Staring Monday, October 17th and leading up to the big night of Halloween I will be releasing a blog featuring, you guessed it, those short stories I've been asking for! What's better than getting to read tons of free short stories from your friends and fellow writers? Well, candy is, but I don't recommend trying to eat your monitor for the sugar rush you'll get reading these shorts! Double bonus; now when your Mom, friends, family, and younger cousin keep asking to read your work, you can easily direct them to your story on the blog and keep them distracted- hopefully long enough to write more of your big WIP or give you enough time to prep some more for NaNoWriMo!

There's only a few days left to submit your piece to be featured on the Halloween-tales blog, so don't dawdle! You can go right here for additional details!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Calling all the monsters! And ghouls, ghosts, banshees, goblins, witches, wizards, demons, fae... you get my point.

I'm giving my first shot at letting of spreading a little love and shedding a little light on some fellow writers! How, may you ask (preferably in an awkward false-British accent?) By hosting a little gathering of words and minds alike in the name of Halloween! If you'll see at the top of my blog, there's a neat new little tab called Collaborations! which will hold the information for this spooky little festivities!

Read all the details here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

you should be reading right now! yes, now.

Sometimes as writers, we tend to get ahead of ourselves. And by ahead of ourselves, I mean we hide in a cubbyhole somewhere in the middle of a dark library and say, "I will write this. N reading, no socializing, no anything until this blog post/short story/novel/random piece is done!"

This is a bad example, guys and gals. Like, number one bad example.

Let's pause here and think for a moment. When was the first time you wrote something? Sure, it may have been for your English class and yes it may have been in that annoying paper that had all those lines on it and you had to do cursive or you'd fail and you get my point. It probably wasn't for sport. But what, pray tell, did you write about? Did you make up something? Was it a fictional version of your favorite story staring you, or an alternate reality piece?

Chances are the first thing you wrote came from something you read or heard or saw. The first time I wrote a short story in 5th grade, it had some kind of malevolent candy land backdrop and a plot so pointlessly weird I don't even remember it. It wasn't until after I thought about it that, lo and behold, I had been reading some book with candy in it (I think it was about that kid who touched anything turned it into chocolate...) and my story came to life. To prove my point even further, I didn't start really writing until after reading most of the Harry Potter series! I fell in love with the story so much I HAD to make my own Hogwarts and make my own people to run through the halls wreaking havoc. My first three heartfelt characters, Ryoko, Lilix, and Kelly Jasper, all were born from a desire to write in the centerfold of Harry Potter.

I guess what I'm trying to say here in too many words is that if you think hiding in that hole is going to make you an awesome writer, it really isn't. In order to find where you fit and how you work and how to improve, you have to read. And read more. And keep reading until your eyeballs fall out. So for any writer, be it a NaNo enthusiast or just a person aching to finish your novel, go read! Pick up a book, fall in love with the characters and setting and mood, and understand why. Then apply it to yourself and your writing, your characters, your mood.

What about you? Where and when did you start writing? What sparked the itch to put words on the page?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I have two great pieces of news for you guys and gals today! Well, okay, one is really cool and the other is just flat out awesome.

Really cool: I'm updating the NaNoWriMo Project tab tomorrow to include a little something special- a little more surrounding the story I'll be grinding my nose into during November.

Flat out awesome: I'm a guest blogger today at WriMos FTW! blog! My post over there contains brand-new details surrounding the NaNo project, so you don't want to miss giving it a read. I promise you it's not a million pages long, and I double-promise that reading it is most definitely worth it.