Friday, January 28, 2011

My whole life has been like this recently.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wee Bit of Me

Every week when I do this, it feels a little self-indulgent... like there are so many people out there just clamoring to find out what my favorite condiment is. Alas... it will be good fodder for when I am actually famous and people really do care. :)

And so... Wee Bit of Me for the week:

{one} name one thing you worry about running out of.

Uh... I really don't know. I always have too much food in the house, but I've been known to run out of plenty of things.

{two} what is your favorite pizza topping?

Everything. Except pineapple, much to my husband's dismay.

{three} what is your favorite harrison ford movie?

Any of the Indiana Jones movies, although the last one is really pushing its luck.

{four} apple juice or orange juice?

Orange... low acid orange with no pulp to be very specific.

{five} what’s your favorite thing to do on a sunday afternoon?

Watch football, nap or knit.

{six} what is the wallpaper on your cellphone of?

A beach scene

{seven} do you have a favorite tv commercial?

I love the Allstate Mayhem commercials, and the Old Spice commercials.

{eight} what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Huh... I eat a fair amount of strange things because my mother always forced me to try everything. I guess the weirdest by common standards would be frog legs, escargot, and foie gras... all delicious I might add.

{nine} what is one piece of clothing you can’t live without?

Jeans. I live in jeans.

{ten} if you were a character from “lost”, who would you be?

I actually never watched Lost... so, from my best Google search and an online quiz... I am apparently Jack. Don't know if that's good or bad, but he looks sort of cute, so I'll take it. :)

Well then... that's enough narcissism for me for one day. Until next time. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wee Bit of Me for the New Year!

Well, Leigh is back over at myleighashley with Wee Bit of Me, so without further ado... more information that you could probaby not care less about. :)

{one} have you ever been on tv?

Yes, more times than I care to mention actually. When I was a kid, I was on PBS a couple of times, doing these little spots they did about local attractions. I think mine was on the Tabors or something. I really don't remember. And Lord in Heaven, if someone finds that on YouTube... oy.
I was actually on TV a fair amount in college because I was in the marching band and basketball band at CU. So, I often ended up with a camera stuffed in my face being asked to cheer. My favorite was when the camera man was below me at a basketball game and my well-endowed rump got splashed across ESPN for all to see. Yay... or not. :)

{two} what was the best movie you saw last year?

I really liked Inception. The writing was excellent; the effects were cool and I thought the cinematography was fantastic.

{three} do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

They start tucked in at the bottom, but rarely stay that way.

{four} do you cut coupons?

No... that's entirely too much effort.

{five} do you ever count your steps when you walk?

Not usually when I walk, but almost always when I go down stairs.

{six} what sauce do you dip your chicken nuggets in?

I don't really eat chicken nuggets as they are, by definition, covered in gluten, but when I did I loved Honey Mustard.

{seven} do you have any magazine subscriptions?

Oprah and The New Yorker

{eight} when was the last time you wrote a letter on paper?

Um... this morning. I always hand write thank you notes, and try to send letters to people on a semi-regular basis. Everyone likes getting something in the mail that's not a bill. :)

{nine} what’s your favorite fruit pie?

Probably blueberry or cherry, thouse I really like berry pies too. Honestly... it realyl doesn't matter. I love pie.

{ten} black olives or green olives?

Black, unless the green ones are stuffed with something awesome.

If there are questions that you would like to contribute to Wee Bit of Me, let me know in the comments!

Graceling- Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I can't remember who recommended this book to me now, but I really wish I could because I need to thank them profusely. Graceling is an excellent YA adventure/fantasy with a strong female protagonist, something of a rarity anymore.

There is not a whole lot that I can say about the plot without giving it away, but Katsa (it's always Kat, or Katniss, or Katsa isn't it? Makes me rethink my character being Katy) has a Grace. In Cashore's world, someone who is graced has two different colored eyes, and a remarkable ability at something: cooking, politics, singing, etc. Katsa's grace is killing. Interesting for sure.
When the book opens we are dropped immediately into the action without any explanation. I alternated between being thoroughly annoyed at this (What is going on!?!?) and totally loving it (just one more page/chapter). Ultimately, I think it really worked. The world is not so far off the charts that the reader can't easily follow along, and all is revealed in good time. It definitley makes the first part of the novel a page turner; I couldn't set it down.

In very short, Katsa goes on a bunch of adventures, meets a cute guy (Po) who is also graced, and has to fight to save herself and what she believes in. There is obviously much more to the book than that, but you should just go read it. :)

I think Cashore created some very interesting and believable characters. The plot was smooth and well paced, for the most part. There were a couple of spots that lagged. I liked the good guys and hated the bad guys. The idea of a grace is unique and really cool and I enjoyed all of the different graces that she came up with. I was a little bummed with the ending, mostly because I wanted more, which I thought was coming in her second book Fire, but that is apparently a prequel, not a sequel. I'm still waiting on that sequel Ms. Cashore, if you are ever trolling the web and read this. I really want to know what happens after Graceling ends.

My favorite part of this book though was the fact that Katsa is a strong, independent woman. In this age of simpering, whiny, weak heroines (cough, cough, Bella, cough), I appreciated that Katsa was her own woman and took charge of situations. She still had a love interest, which was also really well written, but her life didn't revolve around a man. She is just fine on her own, a welcome change.

So, I'd say go buy it, or check it out from your library, or download a sample to your Kindle, whatever, but read it. I think it's a must read for anyone writing YA and I'd strongly recommend it as a fun read to everyone else.

Check out my other reviews here!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year, New Year

Well... I have survived the holidays, albeit only barely. Sorry for the blog silence, but the insanity that is family, food and festivities took presidence. I had a wonderful Christmas, and hope that you all had a great Christmas/other holiday/winter Saturday. :) The new year always makes me think about new beginnings, and while I've stopped making resolutions, mostly because I can never keep them, I do like to think about what the new year holds for me, and the rest of the world.

A lot of these thoughts have been centered around writing. This spring my work schedule allows me to spend every other afternoon at Borders with my writing buddy and one of my favorite people of all time, Cari.We met a few years ago in a critique group and have supported each other in our writing since. Our new writing ritual has been great for me. I've been working hard on building character sketches and trying to flush out the motivations for my characters in the new YA fantasy novel I'm working on.

Cari and I have also spent a decent amount of time talking about the future of publishing, especially surrounding self-publishing on the Kindle and other ereaders, and the fate of the big traditional publishers. She had a great post on her blog today about her sadness over leaving behind the printed world in favor of her newly purchased Kindle.

I resisted the idea of an ereader for a long time. Citing that I liked the feel of the book in my hands, the smell of it, the way it looked on my shelf. No more than 6 months ago was I singing the song of the dead tree. That completely changed when I got my Kindle. I ended up buying it on craigslist for a bit of a discount, thinking that I wouldn't like it and would have to sell it shortly. Wrong. I love that stupid little thing like I love my cat, my shoes and my purses.... in other words, a friggin' lot. I don't' miss the feel of a book, or the smell, or all of the books on my shelf. I love the convenience. I love having books with me all the time, being able to download new books instantly. Heck, I even like working out now because it's another 45 minutes I can read without guilt.

So yes, I like my Kindle. I think it's the future of publishing. I know that JA Konrath has been extolling the virtues of indie publishing for a while, but I'm drinking the Kool-Aide with him now, especially after Borders' disasterous few days in the stock market. I think that epublishing will be great for authors. People, myself included, are a lot more willing to take risks on new authors and books outside of their normal interests when those books are only a few dollars. A perfect example: I haven't read and of Steig Larson's books- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and so forth. I know they've all received amazing reviews. I've even heard first hand from people whose tastes I trust that they are great books, but I hadn't read them yet. Why? The price. I didn't want to spend $15-20 on something I wasn't sure about. But, while scrolling through Amazon's recommendations for me yesterday, I came across those books, available for Kindle for $5. I downloaded them immediately. $20 is hard to risk, $5, not hard at all. I waste more money on coffee and tea.

I hope that I'm right about the future of publishing. Right now, I think I'd really prefer  self-publishing rather than taking on the uncertainty of a major publishing house contract, but we shall see what the future holds.

How about all of you? Do you have an ereader? Want one? How do you feel about the apparent downfall of major publishing houses and the rise of the indie author?


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