Thursday, December 29, 2011

Interview With My Awesome Sister On Books (and Movies)

I like learning about people's reading habits, because I find it fascinating how different they can be from person to person. So far I've interviewed my best friend, my brother, and my dad. Today, I will be interviewing my sister.

My sister is 19 years old, and she has Down Syndrome which means she learns slower than other kids her age, but also that she has an awesome personality. She loves movies and loves to make us laugh. She is also quite short compared to the rest of my family, and I like to tease her by calling her "Shortbread Cookie". :) She also likes to be a chatterbox, although she wasn't so much in this interview because we weren't talking about movies.

Anyway... onto the interview!

Me: So, what kinds of books do you like?


Sis: Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables, Flat Stanley.


Me: So why do you like those books?


Sis: 'Cause... interesting?


Me: Why are they interesting?


Sis: They’re based on a movie.


Me: Oh, so you like books based off movies.


Sis: Yeah.


Me: How come you don’t read more?


Sis: I don’t know! I always read before bed.


Me: What’s your favourite book?


Sis: Wizard of Oz


Me: Do you like reading?


Sis: Yes.


Me: Why?


Sis: ‘Cause... everything.


Me: Yeah, but why?


Sis: (groans) I enjoy reading.


Me: Why?


Sis: I enjoy reading!


Me: Yeah, but why? Is it fun, or...?


Sis: It’s fun!


Me: Would you read a book that I wrote?

Sis: No.


Me: No! Why not?


Sis: Cause... not fun.


Me: Why not?


Sis: It’s not based on a movie.


Me: (laughing) Oh... well, thanks. So if I got a movie made, and then I wrote a book...?


Sis: Yup.


Me: You’re silly. What books do you not like?


Sis: Your books.


Me: What? Oh, like the books I read?


Sis: Yeah.


Me: Why not?

Sis: Cause kind of bit boring.


Me: Why are they boring?


Sis: Cause not based on a movie. I like Wizard of Oz, because it’s based on a movie.


Me: So how do you pick a book to read?


Sis: Just pick one book, and read it.


Me: Yeah but is it the title or the cover?


Sis: The cover.


Me: Or...


Sis: The cover!!


Me: What do you like about the cover?


Sis: The pictures.


Me: Do you have anything else to say about reading and books?


Sis: Nope. Bye.

So, in case you didn't catch that... she likes movies. And the Wizard of Oz. Haha. Isn't she cute? :)

What's your favourite movie based on a book?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to Actually ACCOMPLISH Your Goals

Around New Year's is the time when we start to think more about these things called "resolutions" because new year, new start, right?

So I think that "resolution" is just a fancy way of replacing one of my absolute FAVOURITE WORDS OF ALL TIME:

GOAL.

You may think I am crazy, but goals definitely are NOT just for January. This year I have made Summer Goals, New School Year Goals, and Mid-Semester Goals. I have goals in various categories such as health, reading, writing, school, and more. Now, I don't know, maybe everyone makes a lot of goals. But I bet a lot of people don't actually accomplish (okay, what is the correct term when you uh, reach a goal? reach? finish? accomplish?) their goals. And what's the use of making goals if you don't actually accomplish them??

So I bring you today...

GRACIE'S GUIDE TO REACHING YOUR GOALS

Tip #1: Make a plan

If you just flippantly say "I resolve to write more" or something, and then that's it, it's pretty difficult to reach that goal. OK, so I'm going to use a goal I made at the beginning of September as an example. I made a goal to run more, building up so I could go farther.

So, first step in making a plan, I think, is dividing up your goals.

Tip #2: Divide up  your goals



When I make goals, I try to be as specific as possible. "Write stuff this month" should be "write at least 3 scenes of work in progress" or "Write 50,000 words this month". Then I'd divide it up even more: "In order to write 50,000 words this month, I will write 1,667 words a day"; "In order to run 60 miles this month, I will run 2 miles each day." This is all part of my plan for reaching my goals.

The next thing that most people would say now is that you can motivate yourself by bribing yourself. "If you abstain from sweets this week, you can have a piece of cake on Saturday." This definitely works for some people, but I don't understand this kind of motivation - you encourage yourself with something that is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish... okay, then. But it does work for some people.

For me, I just need to be focused and constantly plan and be absolutely determined to reach my goal. The actual accomplishing of the goal is a huge reward for me, actually, especially in areas like fitness because as you live healthier, you actually feel more energetic, better, etc.

Another motivation for me is sort of competition. My dad and I both run and he is always impressed when I say I've run longer than usual, and sometimes that will motivate me. I think, "I'm going to run 5 miles today, then just wait until dad hears how long I went for!" I think we both encourage other, and in some cases it is a little competitive. Some time in mid-November, I'd run 45 days in a row and my dad was going on the treadmill and I heard him say to my mom, "I have to run! [Gracie]'s run 45 days in a row!"

Tip #3: Use encouragement and competition from another person to motivate you.

And guess what? My goal of running 60 miles in November I reached, and passed... I actually ran around 65 miles, and I ran everyday from October 24 to December 22, and so far I've only missed 2 days in December. I know I used running as an example, but all these things you can apply to writing goals (or any other goals) too.

I hope this helps you a bit when trying to reach your New Year's Goals! Good luck!

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do you ever actually accomplish them? What's your strategy?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Book: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: YA Contemporary
Why I picked it up: I saw it somewhere...
Cover: I love it when covers just have one symbolic image on the front that says so, so much about the story inside.

Summary:

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

Last year sometime I saw this book on a blog, asked for it for Christmas or my birthday or something, got it as a present, read it, and then fell completely in love with it. Jellicoe Road is a book that I have read 3 times this year. It also made me cry each time, and I think the best books are the ones that make you cry.

Each time I read this book I am amazed at everything. The writing is amazing, the stories are amazingly intricate and touching, and the characters are awesome and completely lovable. The idea itself is also quite interesting and completely unique.

Even though there is so much sadness in this book, and so many horrible things it never gets to be too much. It's all just part of the story and makes it so the beauty of life shines through even better. I love how it switches between past and present, and how you have to work to figure out what's going on but when you do figure out, you're blown away.

I loved the characters. Taylor is such an awesome character, so beyond any of the stereotypes you see in a lot of books today. Actually all of the characters were. I loved how at the beginning Taylor distanced herself from everyone, and at the end she had a whole group of friends which made a cast of characters that you just wanted to stay around forever. The best books always have characters that become friends to you by the end of the book.

This book is just so unique and different and not stereotypical or annoying at all. It's like no other book out there, but it so, so beautiful. I love this book (obviously, I read it 3 times already this year and I'm sure I will read it many more times) and I really, really want you to read it too.

I think EVERYONE should read this book. Go. Now. Read it!!!!

LINKS:
Jellicoe Road on Goodreads
Jellicoe Road on Amazon.com
Jellicoe Road on Amazon.ca

Melina Marchetta's Website

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Corrine Jackson's IF I LIE Cover Reveal!

Guess what? Today I am helping to spread the word about the cover of Corrine Jackson's IF I LIE. I've been following Corrine Jackson on her blog for a while, and I really enjoy reading it. I also interviewed her here.

Now, summary of IF I LIE....

A powerful debut novel about the gray space between truth and perception.Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Being branded a cheater would be bad enough, but Quinn is deemed a traitor, and shunned by all of her friends. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s serving in Afghanistan and revered by everyone in their small, military town.



Quinn could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets that she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. And when Carey goes MIA, Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.
 
Then, the cover!!
 
 
It comes out August 28, 2012. I'm so excited!! :)
 
Links:
Corrine Jackson's Twitter
Corrine Jackson's Facebook
Corrine Jackson's Website

Monday, December 19, 2011

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO...and 39 New Things To Try On Your Blog

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. I feel like I'm a little kid again, back in the time before I was a hard-working, motivated young person with lots of goals to reach and... y'know, before I spent my time lurking the Internet. *ahem*  Anyway, I feel like it's perpetually one of those days where I'm sitting on the couch and outside, the sun is shining, and my mom is bustling about and all I can think of to do is whine, "I don't know what to do-oooooooo!!" And then Mom replies threateningly, "Well I could give you something to do." And I scurry off before she puts any evil scheme into motion.


So. That's pretty much how I feel about this blog right now, I have no idea what to do. There's lots of stuff I could do, but none of it really excites me.

Yeah and then I remembered that I actually made a list of "new things to try on your blog". I read something once that said you should try new things on your blog to see what works the best. Not to mention it's fun. So now I present to you, 39 New Things to Try on Your Blog!

1. Post your inspiring pictures
2. Take pictures of your neighbourhood and post them
3. Take pictures of any area inside your house and post them
4. Give a virtual tour of your desk/writing area/bedroom/most important room in your house
5. Draw cartoons and post them
6. Use drawings to illustrate a point you're trying to make in a post
7. A different format, like vlogging, or aerial writing...
8. Do a post on video
9. Post a pardoy video
10. Make a short fun/serious film
11. Live blog (which is when you update a specific post throughout the day)
12. Live chat
13. Create a blogfest
14. Create a blog award
15. Do a link roundup
16. Get quotes from a whole bunch of people (bloggers, authors, experts, etc) on a certain topic and post them
17. Create a weekly meme
18. Organize a blog scavenger hunt
19. Hold a contest
20. Giveaway prizes
21. Do an interview with someone
22. Do an interview with someone on a specific topic (like their reading habits)
23. Do an interview with someone with video chat
24. Do an in-person interview with someone on video
25. Do an interview and post the audio
26. Host a guest on your blog
27. Do a blog swap with another blogger
28. Create a post of your favourite quotes
29. Create a post of quotes on a specific topic or issue
30. Post about your music inspiration
31. Ask a question so that lots of people comment and discuss stuff
32. Do a book review/suggestion
33. Tell a funny story
34. Post part of someone's MS and critique it (with permission)
35. Do a blog series on a specific topic
36. Hold a writing contest
37. Share an excerpt of your WiP or anything
38. Post your opinion on an issue
39. Write a post in a different perspective

So yeah... those are just some ideas for you, and just because they've all been done before doesn't mean they can't be new to you and your blog. :D

I also wanted to update you on my ideas of the Teen Scene Link Roundup and my Ask-the-Teen questions. I'm going to post a December Teen Scene Link Roundup on January 1st, and the Ask the Teens thing I am going to start sometime in the New Year (in January, probably). And I made about pages too... the about page for the Teen Scene Link Roundup is here and the about page for the ask the teens thing is here.

Do you have any ideas for new things to try? What new thing do you think I should try? ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray




Book: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA
Why I picked it up: I've seen a lot of talk online about Libba Bray and a couple of her books, this one and another (Beauty Queens).
Cover: My favourite covers are the ones that have just a couple of simple images that represent the story... and this one definitely falls into that category!

What it's about:

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

So, I guess I'll admit it... I was kind of weirded out by this book at first. But then it started to make sense, and then it was pretty cool.

It's kind of like the Wizard of Oz in the sense that Cameron, the MC, falls into this really weird dream world where he goes on a long, fun, weird journey and meets people along the way.

I loved the way this book didn't fall into the trap of focusing entirely on the romance... it gave a lot of room to the friendships Cameron formed too, which is awesome! Before I read this book, I was like, where are all the awesome best friends in YA?? Well, I found some in this book.

I liked the weirdness of it... in the end it just made it fun and made me appreciate Libba Bray's creativity (and I am slightly jealous because this book would have been so much fun to write).

I would recommend this book to you if...
-you like those crazy adventure books
-you're looking for a book with some good friendships in it
-you don't mind books being on the kind of weird, random, creative side

Links:
Going Bovine on Goodreads
Going Bovine on Amazon.ca
Going Bovine on Amazon.com
Going Bovine on Libba Bray's Website (...where you can find a whole bunch of other links of where to get it)
Libba Bray's Official Website
Libba Bray's Twitter
Libba Bray's Blog

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BEWARE THE BOOK CURSE!!



A terrible thing happened the other day... and I'm not really sure I am able to talk about it with you, as it was such a traumatizing experience. But I will try.

See, I was at the library. Innocently, I was gathering books for the coming week. Hours later, I innocently went up to the checkout counter and piled my 21 books (barcode up, you're welcome, librarian) on the wood surface. 20 beeps later, and I was almost home free.

BUT THEN.

Then something happened that, at the time, I didn't notice as being strange. But now I realize how naive this was, for of course it sticks it out now! You see, now I recall the event and in recalling the event I remember the librarian's appearance. Gnarled, wrinkled hands with lengthy fingernails the ends of which were tinged green. A gray bun in the centre of her head framed perfectly by wispy gray hairs. A hooked nose, a mole, beady eyes... and a suspicious smell.

At the time, I dismissed her slightly odd appearance but now I wished I would have been more alert (oh, what the excitement of 21 new books to read can do...)

The strange librarian scanned my last book, and then did a strange tapping pattern on the cover before sliding it over to me. The next part gives me shivers - she grabbed a bookmark from beneath her desk and tucked in this last book. After closing the cover, she gave it one last tap and grinned at me, revealing yellowed teeth. "Enjoy," she said in a decidedly sickeningly sweet voice that was flavoured with cackle.

Strange things were happening - and this was only the beginning.

I went home with my bags weighed down with lovely blocks of words, eager to dig in. When I got home I was for some reason drawn to that last book, the one the librarian had tapped and slipped a bookmark into. I opened it.

And soon found I could not let go. My eyes devoured the pages and my heart pounded and I could feel the drip of sweat on my forehead. What was happening to me?

Despite my efforts to not read this book all of the time, I could not stop. I spent all of my time in this book. It was a lengthy book, too, and I began to realize everything was disappearing around me: my family, my friends, my life outside of the fictional realm. My social life was disappearing along with my health - now in addition to increased pulse and sweating, my head hurt and my eyes drooped.

At one o'clock A.M. that night (morning, I guess) I realized I had been talking to the book. I had been yelling at the characters, warning them of what I thought was ahead, and crying with them when they were hurt. I was talking to fictional characters! Yet at the time I thought, I knew they were real.

My mind, my health, my family, my friends... all gone. What was going on?

That's when I remembered... the strange gray-haired, hooked-nose librarian. The tapping. The bookmark. The sickly sweet "Enjoy" accompanied by a yellow-toothed grin.

It was five-thirty in the morning. I was on page 254 of many more. I gasped.


A witch! A curse! The tapping... obviously some sort of code to unlock a crazy spell. The bookmark... obviously injected with some sort of witchy potion. I had been cursed!

Yet I could do nothing to stop it... the only thing I could think of was to finish the book.

I holed up in my room for the next two days, not wanting anyone to know I had fallen for any librarian's harebrained tricks. I read and read and read, and my vision began to swim but I kept on.

On the third day, I finished the book. I closed the cover with a smack and immediately felt a sigh on my lips and a weight lift off my chest. I knew the curse had run its course. Although I could still feel some remnants of the curse as I felt a twinge of sadness that I had finished the book...
And maybe I am still cursed after all... for I still have a longing to return to that wretched place, the library, that caused me to be cursed in the first place....

**This entire post is fictional, although I may have been "cursed" by a good book a few times... also, librarians, my description of you is for the purpose of the story. None of you that I've seen ever look like that... :) What books have you been "cursed" by??

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Winter In Canada REALLY Looks Like: The Stick Figure Version

Hey guys! Well, I have decided that it is time for some more amazing drawings of mine. Right?? Ha. Anyway. The reason why I decided to illustrate my life in the 6 or so months of winter in Canada is because I have to deal with a lot of Canadian sterotypes in my day to day life (okay, not in my day to day life, or really that often at all...) so I decided to show you the truth!

...Although actually it's really pointless since Canada is such a large country and stretches from one ocean to another, so there are lots of varying climates. Like where I live we get tons of snow and cold, yet on the East or West coast (where the oceans are), there's not very much snow or cold at all.

And maybe I just want it to snow already, and I am wallowing in my sadness by dreaming and drawing about winter.

ON WITH THE DRAWINGS!

The #1 Question Asked At Halloween: Will this costume fit over my snowsuit?

This is how I feel right now... SNOW!!!

I wish those purple boots existed in my real life... although it's probably a good thing my drawings aren't real life because then I would be a stick figure. And I wouldn't have a nose.




Despite the fact that it snows a lot, we NEVER HAVE SNOW DAYS. Life isn't fair.




One time in middle school there was an icestorm in April and the power went out at school... unfortunately not long enough to justify sending us home. :P


And we've come full circle....

So, folks, that is winter where I live...
What is YOUR winter like?? Are you enjoying some snow right now? No? Is it even winter where you live? :D

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

So I said I was going to start doing book "suggestions" although really who am I kidding, yes they are going to be reviews, basically.

So I just finished this book, My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison, and it was such a cute read.

Book: My Unfair Godmother
Author: Janette Rallison
Genre: YA Romantic Comedy
Why I picked up this book: I vaguely recollected seeing this reviewed online somewhere... but I remembered the cover.

Here's what it's about:

Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control.

So I didn't actually read the book flap before I read this book, so I was unexpectedly surprised with all the weird twists and turns... I completely did not expect for the majority of the book to be set in the Middle Ages. It was good, though, that I couldn't follow what was happening. That bugs me sometimes, when the problem is obvious from the start and it's pretty clear how everything is going to play out. It wasn't like that in this book.

I also like the characters. If you like character-driven books, this book is for you. Tansy is fun and spunky; the love interest Hudson has a personality, and Tansy also has a family. I like books with famillies. I especially liked Tansy's relationship with her brother, Nick. (Yay! Siblings in YA. :D)

So I would suggest this book to you if...

-You like spending time with an cast of awesome characters with spunky personalities
-You like fun, cute, funny reads that maybe aren't believable but are still enjoyable
-You are a girl (probably from 12-19 years)
-You want something easy to read just for entertainment

I think this book could also be classified as middle grade, just because it's light and fun and similar to some other middle grade novels. Not to say that young adults can't enjoy it because, well, I liked it... :) I am definitely going to be checking out some more of Janette Rallison's novels.

Links:
My Unfair Godmother on Amazon.com
My Unfair Godmother on Amazon.ca
My Unfair Godmother on Goodreads
Janette Rallison's Website
Janette Rallison's Blog

Oh! And before you go... in my last post I asked what you wanted to see on the blog and gave you a form to fill out, and if you haven't done that, it would be awesome if you did! Thank you so much.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Would I Be Less Impressed? I Think Not




I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago so some of the information is a little bit outdated... but I decided that I liked it so now I'm posting it. :)

I had the scariest dream EVER the other night... I was dreaming that I went into the living room late at night to get a book from the bookshelf where we keep the library books that we get out, and my library books WEREN'T THERE. And I was like, OH NO I took all the library books back and I WASN'T DONE ALL OF THEM!!!! And there were some really good books in there that I wanted to read, too!! What a nightmare... thankfully, I woke up, and all my library books were still there. YAY!

OK, anyways... my book-related nightmares are not the subject of this post. Actually, I wanted to talk about a question that YA author Elana Johnson asked last week . She was talking about all her online acheivements when she asked: would you be less impressed? 

The pressing question is this: Would you be less impressed? I honestly want to know. In this wide world of blogging, have we allowed ourselves to get carried away? Have we somehow deluded ourselves that our blog matters? That we can't write good books without blogging? That people will be disappointed in an author if they don't have a blog/Facebook/twitter?
Are we less impressed by the author who doesn't have an online presence?
So I think somehow this is backwards... if anything, why would I be impressed by an author's online presence? An author is not a blogger, nor a Facebooker, nor a twitterer. An author is someone who writes books. If anything, I should be impressed by the author's writing.

Before I joined the online writing community, I had absolutely no idea so many authors had blogs and websites and such. I read books, I read LOTS of books. And if I so  happened to fall in love with a book, then I would want to devour everything I could about that book, or more. If that meant scouring the earth for another book by the same author, so be  it (uh... actually, I still do this...) and usually I would do this by looking at an author's website, but pretty much the only thing I would click there is the "BOOKS" link, and then subsequently put all the books available by the author in my library on hold. To be honest, the author as a person didn't really matter to me - just the author as a writer.

If an author wants to impress me, they should put all their efforts into practising writing, honing their craft, trying to be the best they can be so their writing shines and when I'm done their book I sit back and go "ahhhh" in contentment.

I have an example for you... so, I read these books by this author, Megan Whalen Turner. The books were The Thief, Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia. I was seriously blown away by this woman's ability. Her writing was so clever and amazing and surprising and utterly perfect my jaw was dropped in awe after each new book in the series. I didn't find her online. Even after I read her books, I didn't find that she had much of an online presence. Was I less impressed? No, because that's not what mattered.

I think I shall use math to make my point:
Loving book leads to finding online presence > online presence leads to picking up book

I know there are lot of people who are online and find books that way (honestly I add more books to my TBR list from review blogs than books of authors whose blogs I follow) but there are a lot of people who find books other ways, too.

So, to answer the question: "would I be less impressed" the answer would be, I wouldn't even care if I never saw you online. As long as you give me a good book to read. ;)

What do you think? Would you be less impressed?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ARE MY IDEAS GOOD!? (or What Do You Want To See?)

I keep an EYE on you... from in my computer...

**Even if you don't have time to read this whole post, I would appreciate it so much if you still filled out the form at the bottom. Thanks!

A couple of weeks ago I did go into a blogging "slump" if you will, where I could not think of what to blog for a long time. But that doesn't matter -inspiration comes. And it did, as it always does. But what I realized is that I like variety and creativity, and I want to try new things. (I looked it up on the internet, y'know "new things to try on your blog" and seriously found NOTHING helpful so I will take the initiative and do a post on that soon :D). BUT I also want your input. Here are some ideas and please let me know what you think:

A Monthly Teen-Scene Round-up


One idea I had was doing a round-up of all posts by teens or about teens that may help YA writers and authors get inside the heads of teens, as well as maybe posting about contests and such that teens can enter, as well as maybe new teen authors/writers/bloggers I find. I follow lots of teens and YA blogs that have teen-related features, and I am also a teen. I think this would have to be monthly, though, as for the moment there doesn't seem to be enough material to round up in a week. You can find some other teen-scene round-ups that I've done here and here so you can see kind of how I would do them (I would probably do it more along the lines of the second link where I link to specific posts and not just teens' blogs).

So... would a teen-scene link round-up be helpful to you? Would you like to see me do this? Would you like to see a November teen-scene round-up?

                                               
Weekly Ask-The-Teens Question


I was also thinking I could host a weekly (or maybe bi-weekly? monthly?) meme or prompt or whatever that's called (like YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday) that asks a question that would be helpful to YA writers/authors, and then teens would answer it on their writing or book blogs. For this one, I would need both teen and YA writer/author support. I think it'd be good, though, because both the teens and the YA writers would benefit.

So, teens, would you be open to answering a question on your blog each week that would help YA writers get inside your heads? YA writers, would you like to benefit from having teens answer your questions?


Book Suggestions


Yes, I talk about books on my blog. But I don't talk about specific books that often. I've come to realize how awesome and important book reviews are - when you share about a book, it helps the author grow their audience, and market and sell their book and, y'know, survive. If I become a published author, I want that support. So I've decided I'm going to start doing book suggestions. Not reviews, because everyone has different tastes (I've explained that more here), but suggestions. I won't criticize books as much, persay, but suggest them for people with certain tastes (like "if you like ___, you will like this book because ____", or "you should read this book because ____"). Also this way, I can get word out about my all time favourite books. I'll probably do this weekly, and I'll put one up either this week or next to see how it goes.

So... this idea isn't really tentative, I am going to do it, but still... do you think it's a good idea?


Interviews and Guest Posts


So! If you so please, I would love to interview you or have you (yes, YOU) guest post here on the blog. I am being perfectly honest with you when I say that if you ask to be interviewed or do a guest post here, I will say yes. Just go to the Contact page above to get my e-mail address and e-mail me about your idea, and then we'll go from there. (If you want to interview me or have me guest post, that's great too. :D)

So... would you like to be featured here? E-mail me!


So those are some of MY ideas, but if YOU have any ideas, awesome! Just share in the comments (or e-mail me). Also if something I've done on the blog in the past you really liked, tell me and I'll try to do more of whatever you liked.

So what would you like to see?? I would love it if you could try and tell me your thoughts on these ideas!!


Oh! To make things easier for you, I've made a form. You don't have to answer all the questions and it won't take you very long. If you don't want to fill out the form, please comment! Awesome!


Thank you so much! (You have no idea how happy this form makes me. Organization! Yay!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mid-Nano (And November) Motivation: Cake!

November 15th! Halfway through NaNo (who's doing it? how are you doing?), and halfway through just plain old November. And for all you people bustling through writing a 50,000 MS in 30 days, and because you're HALFWAY THROUGH!, here is something I think you need at this point....

CAKE!

OK, so all you non-Nanoers like me can have some too. It's a busy time, mid-November and I'm sure you are most likely trying to work instead of reading blog posts etc. But who doesn't have time to eat cake (except for my dad. he is not allowed to eat cake. Or his gross peanut butter icing sugar mix that he makes for a midnight snack.)

Anyway, enjoy!





Yes, of course eat the icing last... it's the only way! :)

Happy Nanoing!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Random Stuff (Including But Not Limited To Blog Awards)

Hey everyone! So Halloween is over and we're in the midst of the craziness of NaNoWriMo (which I'm actually not doing but anyway) and I have some stuff I need to get done... like doling out some more blog awards I've received!

First of all, Monica from Breaking Fantasy gave me the Versatile Blog Award.


The rules are 7 random facts about yourself, plus give the award to 7 awesome bloggers. I always seem to spouting random facts about myself (and my family), so instead I'll just list 7 things on my wall (I'm in the basement right now at my desk, and the wall is stuccoish thing so you can stick tacks into it):

1. "Save the Polar Bears" poster I drew in grade 8 for some contest (obviously I didn't win as I never handed it in).
2. Small piece of paper from a notepad with "Weird Expressions" listed on it.
3. A shelf that I painted white with multicoloured spots that has a red candle on top of it.
4. A picture of me and my friend when we were six, riding on a plastic red seesaw in my backyard.
5. A clown that I bought from Dollarama (or actually, my grandparents bought it for me).
6. A happy face printed on cardstock.
7. A Christmas card my sister made me.

...those are just 7 things, though, I actually have more stuff on the basement wall (that I took over) than that... :)

I also received the One Lovely Blog Award from Julie, who also hosted the Oh, The Early Work Blogfest that I participated in here. I had tons of fun going through some of my old work, and guess what? There was a contest with the blogfest, and I won! Yay! :)



Okay, so now I would like to pass on the awards to... (oh, and whoever I give the award to can take whichever one they want :D)

1. Nick Hight at Writing Fire - I always find his posts funny and insightful and most importantly, interesting.

2. Belle at Belle's Bookshelf - This is a great book blog that you should definitely follow. Everything is very organized and all the features she does are interesting and fun.

3. Alison Miller's blog is also a fun blog that I've recently started following. She's really fun and interesting and she's also a part of the team at YA Confidential which is a new group blog on the blogosphere... hey, can I give awards to group blogs? Is that allowed? Because then...

4. YA Confidential - This blog is super cool and if you're a YA writer/author (or even if you're not), you should definitely follow it. Their entire mission over there is to get into the minds of teens, and do they ever do an amazing job! I'm also one of the "teen analysts" over there if you ever see them referencing the analysts, know that I'm one of them! Haha. ;)

5. Sarah Enni - She is so cool, I love all her posts. There's something to be said about bloggers who can get their points across with amazing clarity, and Sarah Enni is one of those bloggers. Also, she gets bonus points for awesome organization. :D (One of her recent cool posts is this one).

6. Julie at Rosewood Pencil Box - Fun person and fun posts and cool host of cool blogfests... haha. Anyway I like her posts. :)

I know that's only 6 blogs but... oh well.

So! I want to know how everyone is doing... are you doing NaNo? How's it going? How's life and such? See you later!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

BOOK PUMPKIN!!!

I AM SO EXCITED, because look what I did!!!

I MADE A HUNGER GAMES PUMPKIN!!!! (Er... carved...)


I am  mostly excited because seriously usually when I try and do these things it totally does not work AT ALL but I was clever this time and worked hard to get it right!!! And it's really cool when it's lit because it kind of looks like the Mockingjay is on fire and yeah, Katniss is the Girl on Fire, right???

I'm so excited this is the most awesome pumpkin I've ever carved!!!! :D:D:D:D:D

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Interview with A Real Live Bookworm! (aka My Best Friend)


One thing I am fascinated by  is different people's reading habits. It's cool to see the very, very different kinds of books that people enjoy. So what I've been doing once in a while is interviewing some people I know about their reading habits. I started with my brother, and then I interviewed my dad, and now I'm going interview one of my close friends, Emily. If you would like to be interviewed about your reading habits (it doesn't matter if you read a lot or not) then go the "Contact" page above to e-mail me.

Okay, so some more about Emily before we start:

Emily is 17 years old, an avid reader, and a slightly avid writer. She lives with cats galore, piles of books in the hallway and lots of bruises from walking into things since she always has her nose in a book. Wait.... that’s from the picture book The Library... In real life, Emily is allergic to cats, has only two piles of book in her room, and still has lots of bruises from walking into things since she always has her nose in a book. She also loves to sing.
You can find Emily here at her book review blog.

Now to the questions!

What are your favourite kinds of books and why?


I guess that would have to be fiction that mimics real life, like in the Christy Miller series because it could happen. It’s like a fictional character in real life. Also things still based in real life but you know would never happen, like the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa where this girl finds out that she’s half fairy and her dad is king Oberon from a midsummer night’s dream. Percy Jackson as well -you know greek gods aren’t real but it’s still a fun series.

Male or female MCs [Main Characters]?

Actually I don’t have a preference, both are fun to read.

How do you go about picking books to read?

When I'm at home, I look for books I already read and loved and I read those.

When I go to the library, I pull random books off shelves, and then I go sit at a table and read the jackets and then leave the ones I don’t want on the table. I don’t like prejudicing myself by covers.

I also use book review sites sometimes: goodreads, teen readers book club (through our library), blogs... I use one blog a lot called
Belle's Bookshelf. [I love that blog too! You guys should definitely check it out.]What makes you put down a book without finishing it?
Poor writing quality, idiotic characters (those characters that just ramble on and don’t shut up), a slow storyline (I had to put down War and Peace because it went so slow), too weird. I’ll only keep reading a book when I don’t enjoy it if a family member has given it to me.

What is your favourite book?

Can I pick like, 15? I guess it would have to be Make Way for Ducklings, because that was my favourite when I was younger. I love those little duckies!!

Does age of the MC matter to you?

Actually no. Most appealing to read would be middle grade, because honestly high schools in books do not match what my high school is like in the slightest.

What do you have to say about relationships in books? What kinds of relationships are your favourite, etc?

I’m... in one? Oh, in books! Haha... I don’t really care whether its friendship or romantic, but I don’t like it when the relationship between two characters takes away from the story.
Is there a certain element of a book that would guarantee that you would read it?Something that will draw me to books is adventure. That’s why I like the Warriors, Percy Jackson and Iron Fey series. How long does it take you to read a book? How many books to you read in a week?On average, it takes me a day and a half to read a book considering I read during class all the time... in a week, on average three or four. I read incredibly fast! (Unfortunately then people don’t believe that I don’t absorb all the information... but I don’t scan the pages!) What makes you buy a book?
Either it’s part of a series I’ve already read, and the next book has come out OR it’s a book I’ve read before after borrowing from the library or a friend and I have to have it because I love it so much.

---


Thank you so much, Emily! If any of you guys have any more questions for Emily, I'm sure she'll answer them. Or if you guys want to answer any of the questions in the comments, feel free! Oh and don't forget to check out her
blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why You Should Save (AND BACKUP!!!) Your Work


What Marlin and Dory found in THE ABYSS... no
lost stories, though... :(

While checking out posts for the "Oh, The Early Work" Blogfest, I noticed a pattern of people saying things like "unfortunately I've lost all my childhood stories I wrote" or "yeah somehow all my work got deleted" before they went on to describe their early work. But it isn't just recently that I've been hearing this kind of thing. I've seen a lot of people say they've lost their work because they didn't save or back it up and then it got deleted or flushed down the toilet or thrown into the great, giant abyss.

YOU GUYS. SAVE YOUR WORK. BACK UP YOUR WORK.

Wait, I don't think you got the message yet:

SAAAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVVVVEEEE!!!!!!!!! BACKUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So WHY am I so passionate about saving and backing up your work? Wait, before I tell you, if you're working on something right now, go save it. You did? All right, good. We can continue.

So, why does it even MATTER if you don't save/backup your work? Especially, like, old embarassing stories you wrote when you were little and childish and didn't know anything? Or even some of the stories you write now that you know you're not going to want later because you're just kind of barfing stuff onto the page anyway?

Well, let's make a list.

1. You really DON'T know if you'll want to use those ideas later.

Let's say that you, I don't know, wrote this weird paragraph-long prologue-sort of thing one time when you were bored at Christmas (and you wanted to try out your new office folder you got) and you pretty much thought you'd never use it again. BUT THEN later you had a whole bunch of other ideas and then it turned out that you could actually incorporate that old prologue thing you wrote at Christmas into your new ideas. And you gasp and realize you actually KEPT that prologue and it's in your filing cabinet RIGHT NOW and you are so HAPPY because for once when you're writing you ACTUALLY KNOW WHERE TO START. And then the story that branched from the prologue becomes a trilogy and it's all because you kept that one paragraph.


Yup, it's true... I'm the kind of person that loves getting office
supplies for Christmas. Oh yeah, I'm that cool.

SO if you didn't catch that, it is AWESOME if, when you realize you can use an idea you had way back when, it turns out that you still have some scrappy writings to start from. It is quite awesome not to have to start from a blank page, right writers? I think this would be the biggest reason to save your work.

2. You can see how far you've come.


(source)
 Obviously as you write more, you'll become better at the craft of writing (as happens with anything you practise). When you look back at old stuff you've written years ago, you realize exactly how far you have come, and I think that's pretty cool. You feel proud of yourself when you see that.

3. You can laugh at your silly self later.


I had a fascination with dragons when I was younger...
quite a few of my stories featured them. GO DRAGONS!!

Kind of like I did here. This one isn't quite as useful a reason as the other two, but still. It is fun.

And as for backing up your work....

4. Your work WILL get lost/deleted/whathaveyou.
And guess what? If you have backups, then that won't matter. Go out there and figure out a way to backup your work automatically, or make extra copies and store them in different places, or whatever. But do it, in case you lose your work or it gets deleted.

---
I'm not the best person to ask exactly how you should save or backup your work (although while you're writing I think you should press Ctrl/Command+S after every sentence) but I would like to tell you that YES, IT IS WORTH IT to put the effort in to take the time to set up something so that your work gets backed up in case something happens. Better safe than sorry, right?



(source: http://www.thingsihavelearnedinmylife.com/)

Why do you think it is important to save or backup your work? How do you go about backing up your work?

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