Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pick Up Your Ninja Stars and Fight (or not)

Hey, all! How are you today? Were your holidays fantastic? -waits patiently for answer- Oh, good. That's very good -- except for those that weren't. And for you, I suggest cookies. Or Starburst. Either will work wonders, I promise.
So. Christmas is over. Target is no longer a place where you might lose appendages to rabid shoppers, and there will be no more obnoxious music being blasted on the radio. (Well. No more seasonal obnoxious music, at least.) But the stories of Christmas stay around, right? The heart warming ones -- the ones that you hear in school, or occasionally on the television (when the news isn't telling us how we're all going to die, that is) or the ones you just see. This is the time of year that good things happen. That brave and strong people are highlighted in stories.
Which leads to this thought -- why don't we always highlight brave and strong? Why does it take a Christmas story?
And--what is brave? And what is strong?
In movies, it's easy to identify. Look for the red eyes. The covert-behind-the-heroine's-back nod at the not-so-clean-ally. You'll have found the bad guy.
(Most of the time. Sometimes, it could look like this, and then end up way confusing, and we all die a little on the inside.)
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But think about books. And think about life. Brave is hard to identify sometimes. We can see cowards without skipping a beat -- the boy who picks the easy way out, the girl who lets herself fall apart without fighting and is too scared to stand on her own, the people who put themselves before everyone, even children, -- but seeing heroes can be harder. The boy who chose to be on his own instead of hurting the people he cares about, the girl who fights for herself, the people who give up their time and energy to take care of children -- are they brave?
I think so.
But we overlook just how brave, and just important, those moments of courage are. We admire them, but defining them as anything more than temporarily admirable is kind of rare. And figuring out brave?
Yeah. Not easy.
Very few of us look at our life and can say that we've always been courageous. That we've always fought for something, some idea, some moral, or some prospect. The only way to get stronger is to fight, but we don't always do it. It's certainly easier not to. But if we read a book a that the character didn't fight, didn't try to be their best, would we keep reading?
Probably not. I mean, we don't like cowards, right? And if someone isn't always brave, then they are indeed a coward. Right? (-insert sarcasm here-)
It's one thing to have a moment of weakness. But inherent weakness? Inherent cowardliness? We would put the book down. Wrinkle our noses.
Despite the fact that we, ourselves, are not always inherently brave. Despite the fact that we don't even acknowledge bravery when we do see it.
Welcome to my Wonderland » <3 Danbo -Roaring Fox

In school, situations go bad fast. Drama, fireworks, whispered rumors, passive aggressive Facebook posts (I'm not kidding. Facebook is a battle ground, yo, and sometimes, there be blood) and flat out meanness can come out of tiny situations. When the situation grows, so can the fallout. And the people who start bandaging problems, who start fixing things, who don't cry, scream, or proclaim that they are going to die, are viewed positively. Brave, even. But take it out of school. Take situations out in the real world. Would simply fixing conflict be brave? Or is confronting the one causing the problem braver? Is it weak to want things to fit back to normal, or would it be wrong to let life crumble?
Courage is relative. It's hard to figure out, and it's messy. Sometimes being brave sucks. When you look to Scarlet O'Hara, a character who is often very brave, but not very nice, we get a character that many people don't like. But she is almost universally admired; I mean, there's a reason that thousands of people have slogged through the hundreds of pages of Gone With The Wind, and it's not just for the corsets.
Because we like to read about heroes. In situations that we never thought we would have to face. In situations we are scared of. In situations that sometimes, aren't even possible. But we read about heroes because we can see bravery, we can figure it out. It's like those Christmas stories -- seeing bravery, seeing heroes, gives us hope and happiness and other fuzzy, sparkly stuff that would totally bake into an awesome cake.
We like making our characters infallible. But it's not brave to fight when you have nothing to lose. It's one of those things in writing that has to be addressed -- weakness is what makes us strong.
Make your characters brave, guys. Make them strong. But remember -- the best heroes are the ones who are like us. Who aren't always brave. Who aren't always strong. Who, sometimes, are scared to fight -- but ultimately, pull out their sword, their machete, or their wicked awesome ninja stars, and fight anyway. Katniss Everdeen, Harry Potter, even Bella Swan are brave, in the end, because they are scared and fight anyway.  Those are the real heroes.
 (Are you still wrinkling your nose because I called Bella brave? I feel like you are.) (Siggggh.)
More later, guys, probably in the form of reviews. I've got a lot to catch up on. I hope your holiday remainder is fan-flipping-tabulous, all, and don't have too much fun come New Years.
(Or do. I don't judge.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 1st, 2011

Good Reads Says: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I Say:
Holy monkeys and pandas, dude.
This book?
Nightmares. Do you know the last book that gave me nightmares?
Oh. You don't? (Wait, you don't know my every thought? -blinks- Huh.)
Anyway, I guess I can't be too annoyed by that since I don't even remember.  And yet, I woke up at 3 in the morning, decided to finish the book, and went back to sleep at 4. I then went on to dream and wake up totally freaked out.
Here's the thing that makes Delirium scary--it makes sense.
I have had a sucky time with boys lately. I don't like feeling sad, depressed, angry, that whole shebang. So when I picked up Delirium, I was half thinking, hey, a government that takes away the side affects of that? Creepy, I guess, but not that bad.
Yeah.
Dude.
That bad.
Lena is ready. Lena doesn't want to feel love. She's scared of it. Doesn't even want to say the word. She lives in a world that is eerily similar to ours, and at the same time, is incredibly different. She doesn't know what poetry is, and a mother that declared love is considered shameful. A mark on her record. Lena wants her emotions gone. And--I mean, as creepy as it is, there's a weird sense to it.
But then you see it in action.
And Lauren Oliver's writing is so flipping beautiful. The writing is not as pretty as that of Before I Fall, but there are still brilliant moments. The plot is not always fast, but I promise--the end? Yeah. The last ten pages are so slam packed and so heart jolting that its definitely worth getting there.
The back of the book compared Delirium to the danger of Hunger Games and the romance of Romeo and Juliet. It's scary in a different way than Hunger Games, because it seems, in a way, more realistic. And as for romance? The boy Lena falls for is -- interesting. She falls pretty quickly, but at the same time, it makes sense. She's never even talked to boys before, and the budding relationship seemed realistic enough. But the way the story built and twined and grew?
Yeah.
Waaaaay more romantic than Romeo and Juliet. (Of course, I do have a low opinion of that play. Cept the version with Leonardo Di Caprio as Romeo.)

(Lord, the boy be pretty.)
Anyway.
Bottom line: Sometimes, true enough, the story did drag. The prose was beautiful, and the characters/society were believable, if not as mind numbingly fantastic as those in Before I Fall (which, actually, is one of my top reads, though -- so yeah) (Actually, had a friend start randomly talking about BIF yesterday. Seriously. She had no idea that I loved it, but she raved for like, ten minutes. It was kind of great.) But Lauren Oliver shows you a society that is absolutely terrifying. And I am thinking about it. I am unsettled and bothered and that, to me, is what makes a good book. I can't get the dang thing out of my head.
And now?
I don't want my feelings gone. These crappy feelings, these awful feelings -- they're better than nothing. Indifference is terrifying. I've always believed it, but I gotta say, Delirium reminded me. And kind of smacked me in the process. With a ten pound weight.
It's thought provoking, y'all. Be ready. And, to finish it off, the Amazon quote--

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

Gah. -shivers-
More later, everyone. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here come the holidays

Hey all! How are you? Freezing? Dancing around with hot chocolate and apple cider? Wearing fuzzy socks?
Dude.
Why not?
Hi There
Anyway, the holidays are here or coming, depending on your denomination, and I think we should CELEBRATE. And how should we do that?
Well. With books, obviously.
Every year, my mom buys books for Christmas. Seriously, there are usually quite a few books. This year, I know several of the ones I'm getting, though. (How? She let me pick them out. AND THEN SHE TOOK THEM AWAY. Yes. My mother is mean.) (Hi, mom. Love you oodles. :P )
Anyway.
Do you give books for Christmas? I'm always nervous to hand people book babies, because what if they don't like them? Seriously, that would be no bueno. (Why yes, I am in Spanish III. Can't you tell?) However, there are a few that I know are usually good bets. And now we segue into the point of this post.
PRESENTS.
What books make good presents? Now. I know. You can't give the same book to everyone. It would be BAD. Giving me a book on the intricacies of tuna, for instance, would not go over well. But there are some blanket books that work relatively well, I think.
 For instance, for little girls?
This one.
Seriously. I loved this book dearly when I was younger. It has LESSONS and PRINCESSES and dude, it even has monkeys.
This is obviously the sign of supremacy in the book world.
I'd offer up Harry Potter, but everyone in their right mind has already read it. If you haven't, you should.
 (-cough-Maggie-cough-) (Someday, she'll get sick of me harassing her and read them. And I will be very pleased.)
For the teenage set, I can definately recommend one this year. Serious, I wasn't joking. Need a present for a teenage girl? I suggest Anna And The French Kiss.

It's funny. It's sweet. It's everything that you want for Christmas. I actually can't think of a friend that probably wouldn't like it. I'm generally the most cynical of my group, and I thought it was adorable. And dude, I don't use that word often. Only when it comes to puppies, boys, sparkles, monkeys, pandas, more boys, waving cats, movies, aliens, other boys, Glee, and some books. So really, it's a pretty dang exclusive list.
This usually goes over pretty well, also. Now the movie is coming out, too, which means reading it is imperative. Seriously, City Of Bones is great.
Seriously. I actually haven't heard a teenager say they DIDN'T love this book. (Jace be hot, y'all.)
-ponders other books-
This was good for adult-like things. (AND THIS MOVIE IS COMING OUT TOO ZOMG. Why the caps? Because it's Rob Pattinson, and when he is not sparkly, he is really really hot.)

I don't usually like adult stuff (because, hello, I'm 16 and have severe Peter Pan syndrome) but Water for Elephants actually has kept me entertained.
I'm reading The Inferno now, but I don't really suggest that. I mean, I guess it's probably good to read, but for Christmas? I suggest brain candy. Candy is good. And it's Christmas, so candy implies peppermint. Win!
Dude. Is it just me, or does that look REALLY good?
Anyway. School is almost out for semester, which means a couple weeks of sleeping, Disney movies, reading, writing, and hopefully, no more petty school drama. You have no idea how excited I am for all of that. I will be delving into the worlds of fictional characters and drinking yummy peppermint chocolate. For realz, yo.
What about you? What are your plans for the holidays? And what books would you suggest as gifts?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hey, girls, let's talk

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Remember that, okay?
I've been watching too many of my friends ripping themselves apart, too many strangers checking themselves in the mirror. I've heard too many freshman asking me quietly if I thought they were pretty, too many boys making rude comments about a girl's hair or clothes or face. I walked into the bathroom at a debate tournament to find a girl crying; at the next tournament, there was one hiding in a hallway, crying. Crying, crying, crying, all because they didn't think they were good enough.
And I've checked the mirror too many times. I've searched for that compliment, I've turned to the boy I knew would give it. And guess what? It's not needed. Not for me, not for you. 
No girl should be fourteen and crying in the bathroom. No girl should be any age and crying in the bathroom. No boy should be dragged down by the stupid, petty comments people make. It's not cool, it's not okay, and it's so not needed. 
And it's worse with creative people. I've noticed something about writers -- and specifically, teens that write. There are these moments -- these really dark moments. We all seem to get them. They are everywhere. Where the world seems too small, too bleak. Where we aren't good enough. And then, we're the girl or the guy with the problem. Luckily, there are enough people to pull us out, and luckily, most of us can pull ourselves out. But those moments still lurk. 
You know. Those moments. The stupid ones that refuse to go away.
And that's normal.
But dwelling on it is bad. So let's not dwell. We know we're worth it, right? Even in the darkest moments, we need to remember that. The bathroom is not the place to cry. 
We're better than this, y'all. All of us, guys and girls alike. The little stuff isn't worth it, and the big stuff will work its way out. And someday, it'll make a good story to tell.
(And yes. I promise, I will have book reviews up soon.) (Not that I don't mean everything I posted. I totally do.)
Anyways. More later.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Books are Famous

Ahem.
Hi.
-blinks-
-looks down in shame-
-wonders if whining about debate and finals will make it better that I've totally been neglecting my blog-
....
-hands you cookies-

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Ahem. Anyway. Moving on.
Guess what?
No.
Seriously. Guess.
....You aren't guessing. Fine. Whatever. I suppose that's okay. I'll survive. More importantly, THIS came out last week.

(And because of debate, I was not able to start it until yesterday. I would like to point out that this is a sign of how much of my life debate eats away. I'm not just neglecting you, dear people. I'm neglecting shmexy vampire boy things. So...yeah. -hands over more cookies- )
Anyway. I would give a book review, but there are plenty of those. Plus, I've still got like, twenty pages left. Stupid teachers keep teaching and making me pay attention to things like molecular geometry instead of, you know, finishing the book.
BUT.
There is something fascinating about this book. And no. It isn't just the shmexy boys or the pretty cover (mygodiwanttolooklikethaaaat.) It's the reaction people keep giving.
To this point, there have been four people that have grabbed book, petted book, read parts of book, asked me about book, and one that about had a break down when I tried to talk about it. (On the upside, it was really kind of funny.)
I have never seen that reaction to a movie. To a magazine. To a video game, even.
(Fine. Maybe I have. Shut up.)
(Oh, crap, don't shut up. I'm sorry. Come back.) (Here. Take this. Please?)
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Seriously. It was the best thing ever. People I've never talked to, people I thought were stuck up or annoying, people who think I'm pretentious and spend too much time talking about debate (ahemiprobablydocoughahem) suddenly engaged in deep conversation about the hotness of Dimitri/Adrian, the prettiness of the cover, the love of Lissa, and holycrapohmygoodness, who will Rose chose? 
I find this wonderful. I find this fascinating.
I find it a sign that books are now the new cool accessory.
-nods-
-blinks-
Well. Fine. Ipods might still win. Or puppies.
-ponders-
Yeah.
Puppies might win. Or sparkly debate trophies. 
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But personally, I would totally rather have the book.
(Okay. Fine. I want debate trophies too.) (And puppies.) 
But yeah.  The book is still best.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Boys and Books

Relationships in high school?
Suck.
Just saying. You can be happy for like, ten seconds. Even REALLY happy for about ten seconds. And then there is crushing, awful, horrid pain. Then they are done and over. At least, my opinion right now. (And can annnnyone say 'jaded?')
However.
There is a silver lining, and it is only, only because of books. I'm not joking. Books, authors, and friends are way better than chocolate.

(Even though that would be good too.)
Every book I have ever read has been my teacher this past week. They have taught me everything to do, everything to say, and that every feeling -- every god awful, heart wrenching feeling -- is okay. Is normal. And best of all?
It'll be over. This hole in my chest will get better. The way my stomach wants to twist into circles when I see him will eventually settle. The weird mix of fury, humiliation, and sadness will fade. School won't be a battle, but something I actually enjoy; this upcoming debate tournament won't be dreaded for any reason other than the fact I am too lazy to do proper research about banking and such. I won't wake up at 3 in the morning with these awful, awful dreams and then realize -- oh wait, dude, that happened. (Well, now at least I know I can write about this truly.)
I mentioned humiliation. Well. Books. Books, books, books -- they tell me it happens, they tell me that it happens and you can survive. That the humiliation will fade. The sadness will die. The fury -- well, I hope it goes away, because part of me still really wants to stay friends with the dude.
And someday? I won't care anymore. That is the most hopeful right now. I won't care someday. (I swear to god, if it isn't soon, I am moving to London this summer.)
It's funny. Even my English teacher came up to talk to me about it -- not that she knows what boy, because I don't particularly feel the need to do that to him -- and was kind of amazing. It's proof. English people are way cool -- it's just the way it is. (Of course, she came up because I walked into the room and, literally, like some bad, bad teen flick, everyone turned to stare, and five people flooded to talk to me, so that wasn't quite as cool.)
But. Books have an answer for that too. It also goes away. Soon it will just be a grimy rumor on the circuit. And it gives me hope, because I am assuming that authors write books off their experiences. (I am so putting this in a book someday. Ahem. Is that evil? I won't mention names...) Anyway. That means that real people, awesome, amazing people, have felt this awful feeling, and they survived.
So. I'm going to survive it too.
My friends have been amazing. Books told me that, too, but I wasn't sure that I believed it. Immediately, there was a battalion of them ready. (Granted. Their way of armor? They told people. At least, I'm assuming that's how everyone seems to know. Not so great there, but hey, I've had like, seven people I've barely talked to come and tell me how sorry they are. I'm feeling kind of really bad for the guy involved, actually.) My friends, though, have really, really been there. My mom and sister too, and my sister's best friend even drove over here the night it happened because sis was at college. (My dad is just kind of like, wait, what? What?! Baha. Good to know the books got that right too.)
I don't know that I would have survived this so ... so whole .... without books. It still sucks. God, does it suck. But even if I can't bear to open one with a relationship up right now, I know that they are there. And there are ones with plenty of bombs and crap to tide me over until a week or two weeks pass, and I'm feeling more optimistic about relationships.
And best of all?
Someday, according to every book I have loved most? According to every book that right now, I'm too scared to open?
There will be at least some element of a happy ending.
And this time, the guy won't act like such an asshole.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)


Release Date: December 2, 2010 (Soon, guys! Soon! BE ON THE LOOK OUT!)

Amazon says:
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris — until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.
I say:
Oh, gosh, you guys.
This book is so cute.
Seriously. Maggie and Sarah (their names link to their reviews) have been talking about it for literally weeks (like, nonstop love talk) and I can totally see why. I'm overwhelmed with the need of emoticons for this review -- that's my level of incessant adoration. It was sweet and well written and hilarious. It had a cute boy that was the best friend as well as the love interest. There are snippets of Paris and of young love and of awesome food and great cinema.
Anna is sent to the boarding school because her dad is a novelist and wants her to be cultured. And honestly? I totally love that, because it seems realistic on some level. She doesn't utterly, totally and completely hate the idea, but she sure isn't thrilled. I mean, the girl took Spanish -- she knows nothing about France. Well. Nothing more than like, I would know. (Hello, Spanish 3.) And I can just tell you -- I would NOT be happy to be uprooted and tossed in Paris, even if it is Paris.


(Well. Maybe.)
But honestly, it would suck -- lose your life to move to a city where you don't even speak the language. Anna is not thrilled. But then she's there.
And there is a BOY-THING.
And BOY-THING is BRITISH.
Seriously, dude.
British boy in Paris. What more could you want?
The thing is, this romance is so real. Like, St. Clair is more than just Anna's object of omigawdhawtness. He's her friend. This is a story about finding love, but more than that, it's about friendship. And, you know, Paris.
(I sooooo wanna go to Paris.)
Books like this are not my favorite, normally. Too easy they can cross the line into cliche and possibly annoying. The Summer I Turned Pretty is about the closest I've come to true love for a book in this genre, and I've got to say,  the list after that doesn't get all that much longer. However, Anna and the French Kiss is just as good as my favorites in any genre; I love it just as much.
:P Seriously. You won't be disappointed. If you buy a book this Christmas, I suggest this one whole-heartedly.

(Also, randomly, I love the girl on the cover. She just FITS.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Win?

-offers you knife-
Why? Because I am a bad blogger. I am giving you the change to cyber stab me. It's okay. My cyber self can take it. I understand. I have been a bad blogger.
And for the moment, I'm continuing that. I've got a massive essay due in -- ahem -- twelve hours, and I haven't started it yet. (Shush. I'm a bad student, too.)
You know what I'm okay at, though?
Talking.
Remember me whining about losing?
Well. Now I have a pretty 2nd place trophy. And it was seriously awesome getting it.
(Even if my coach LIED TO ME and said I got FIFTH and I got on stage and was like Wait, why the freak aren't they calling my name -- OMG THEY FORGOT ME -- OR NO, OH CRAP, I AM NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE UP HERE AND THIS IS BAD AND I KNEW A JUNIOR WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO GET THIS FAR AND--wait, what? Second? SECOND?) (And then the debate team was CRACKING UP across the auditorium because I am on stage blinking and looking around like a freak. Yes. Some teams clap. Others laugh hysterically at their poor misinformed 11th grader.)
Anyway.
It just goes to show you -- sometimes you have to lose to figure out how the heck you are supposed to win. It's the same in writing, the same in everything; just keep going, just keep at it, and guess what? You'll win. I have a cheap plastic shiny thing in my kitchen proving that to be true.
Cheers, all.
I'll have a book review up later this weekend. More later.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week of Evil With A Metallic Edge

Let's take a look at least week.
...
.....
...
Nuff said.
Moronic Monday (which, ahem, actually led to half the problems later on in the week.) Terrible Tuesday. Wrecked Wendsay. Thursday wasn't bad, but I staid until almost 6 at night to help get our school's debate tournament together. Was at school till 11:30 at night on Friday, then back at 6:45 in the morning on Saturday.
I like my sleep.
6:45 in the morning on a Saturday should not even be a possibility. Just saying.
There were boy problems (aren't there always?) and friend problems, and siblings annoyances and grade disasters and social dances that seem like a waste of time and yet are exercised anyway. Yelling teachers and crying students and mirrors of evil and the Corner of Emo. (Picture of Emo Corner available here.) The kind of week that usually makes me want to go pull a blanket over my head and watch lots of Disney movies. You know. That week.
Serious. These are my go to, guys.
Know something interesting, though? I've realized a pattern lately. When something goes bad in my life, I don't feel as awful as I used to. Yes, it sucks. Yes, I have to catch my breath every once in a while and try not to have a mental breakdown. However, there's a silver lining. 
Every crappy thing that happens to me is a story. Every awful moment, every bratty comment, every screaming teacher, every weird social ritual. 
Every asshole that hurts my feeling a character.
The boy that makes my head/heart hurt will get a scene. 
The friend that isn't a friend will see her due. The friend that's alway there will get her moment, too.
Weirdly enough, it makes me feel better. It seems as if I'm not the only one, either. Upon telling Maggie my boy issues, she blinked at me and informed me what a good scene the moment stressing me out would make.
Experience is the best teacher in math, and people always say it's the best mentor in writing as well. It's always calmed me down, but I never thought it could be a therapist as well.
I've been doing as much as I can lately to tally experiences up. Someday, they'll be moments to draw inspiration from.
That quote really had nothing to do with anything, but I like it. Therefor, since my week sucked, I am going to put it on my blog. Because I'm cool like that.
What about you? When something bad happens, do you write about it?
Also, as a side note, any boy advice would be lovely too. Perhaps about how it gets better in college.
(I'm joking.)
(Kind of.)
What am I saying? I'm just gonna marry one of these two. 
vampire-diaries-ian-somerhalder-dam.jpg image by gurleenkaur2009
Later, all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So you wanna be a writer

I'm a writer. I want to write.
Easy enough to say? Right? I mean, dude, I've got a blog dedicated to it. Obviously I want to write. I do it a lot, more than anything else except maybe reading and incessantly jabbering at my friends/family. But despite that, admitting that I write?
Um.
No. Just . . . No.
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No.
Nope.
Nuh uh.
Doesn't happen.
When a debate friend asks what I'm going to be in ten years, I don't hesitate before saying what they'd esxpect. I don't tell people I write. When someone compliments my essays, I just kind of smile. I have at least a dozen notebooks filled with random scribblings, but I don't share that. The thing is, writing is dear to me, and it's something that is -- weirdly enough -- kind of personal. Not as in 'Oh, god, no one must read this' but more of a 'I'm not going to share this with you just to get mocked.' The only time I've ever told my friends about writing was last March, during Inkpop. The reaction I got was a good one, but still, I don't like 'bragging' about my stories. It's too personal, and I don't have any degree of success to measure that I'm not wasting my time.
(I don't think I am. But still, I don't want to be all Dude, I'm Ninja Writer.)
Anyway. Maybe it's because I'm so weird about my own writing, but when someone else my age starts talking about how they ARE an author, especially at school, I'm always -- perhaps unjustly -- skeptical.
See, it seems to me that  there are two types of people who want to write.
There are the ones who write. Who sweat and cry and laugh at their own jokes and stay up till two in the morning to write something that might never meet the air.
And the ones who don't, but like to say they do.
For instance, the kid in English class that gets good grades and understands a metaphor. (This is hypothetical. I don't have a kid like this in my English class, but I know of several.) This kid wants to be a writer. They say it loudly, daily, and often with waggling eyebrows that dare you to contradict them.
And then they get a bad grade and they are PISSED. Righteously furious. Possibly on the verge of tears.
And I'm just sitting there, thinking . . . . Honey, that's not what a writer does.
Writing is the easiest part. The tears, the deep emo depression, the freaky highs and the awful lows -- that is the best part of writing. But it's the easiest. The hard part comes later. It comes when you send in a story to an agent and are told you just aren't good enough.
So you rewrite. You don't sleep. You don't do your math homework, or you slack a little at your job, and for some poor parents, they stay awake all night so not to neglect their kids. You end up cranky and falling asleep at random intervals.

But you do it. You write, because if you want to be a writer, then there is no other choice.
And you send it again.
And you still aren't good enough. The characters are wrong. The opening scene is flimsy. You're funny, and you have talent, but you don't understand how to plot. Slowly, things improve. Slowly. Very slowly. But it doesn't sparkle and grow wings without work. That is what makes someone a writer, I think. The ability to cut, abuse, smash, take a machete against and possibly someday even throw away a manuscript.
Yeppers. Your baby might end up in there. Any other world, that would be considered sick.


Nano is interesting to me. However, it annoys me greatly when people start talking about how it makes them a writer. It's a tool, it's a step, and it's a way in the right direction. I was listening to some friends talk about it -- they were introduced for the first time this year -- and tried not to smile at the assumption that writing 50k is easy. Only 1600 words a day.
Right. That's an essay. A long essay.
But I didn't say anything. That lesson is one someone has to learn on their own. And learning that lesson is key to becoming a writer.
Writing takes a backbone. People don't understand just how much until they get into it. Seriously, it can suck. But I entered querying a stupid 14 year old with an ego I didn't even realize I had and not nearly as much talent as I though I possessed. I entered it at a time when things were going south for my social life -- complications with a guy, best friends changing and turning out not to be so hot, a dislike for looking in the mirror too long -- and through the bashing, the building, the machete-ing (dude, you know it's a word) I may have lost some that dumb inflated ego I had. But I've grown. And that is just one reason I love writing. Why I keep doing it, keep hacking and cutting and writing, because at the end, I've got something I love.

(I am feeling ridiculously gushy right now. Let's talk about zombies or  something.)
 Okay, I'm rambling.
The rewrites, the editing, the obsessive combing over chapter after chapter -- it's worth it. At least, I think it is. And honestly, those days when I think that no, I'm not a writer, I'll never be a writer, not until I'm published, I think about the hours and days and weeks I've poured into stories.
I'm not an author yet. But I want to write, and I do write. Maybe I write crap a lot of the time, but honestly, I don't know that it truly matters all that much. I'll get better. It's scientific fact.
And yeah. I still can't say the words out loud, but I think that maybe, just maybe, that's enough to make me a writer.
What about you? What drives you to keep doing it? Do you think that ninja penguin was cute? Seriously, I now really, really want a ninja penguin.
More later.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Have Some Candy


Happy All Hallows Eve, yay! -hands you candy-

-blinks-
That ... doesn't look so great.
Here.
Have these.
I'm off to do my homework (ew) and hand candy out to ungrateful goblins cute children (aw) and listen to Taylor Swift music (yay!). 


Friday, October 29, 2010

Foreign Friday: Kind of

So, this is totally cheating because I technically already did Twilight -- what? Oh.
-waits patiently for Twilight bashing to occur-
Okay, moving on --
I realize these are just for marketing. I realize they are totally dumb. I realize that the UK, land of pretty boys and accents (my apologies to any UK people I may be offending), is also a marketing genius for selling these.
And yet I love them.
Lots.

Seriously. I think these are SO pretty. The better pictures are here.
Ahem.
Sorry for the cop out;  I was having issues finding stuff this week. Normally, I'd do what I was reading, but this week that consisted of Dante's Inferno, Frankenstein, and a book on the fall of the Spanish Armada.
And yes.
It is EXACTLY as interesting as it sounds.
(Though, on the upside, I'm at 17k on my new shiny story, which is fun. Hoping for 25k by the end of the weekend.)
More later.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baha

Mother's, siblings, teenagers, all alike. Look. Look at This
It.
Is.
So.
True.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Release Date: It's out. -shrugs- I'm not actually sure when it was technically released.

Amazon says:

After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.


I say:

First, a disclaimer. The Percy Jackson books are some of my all time favorites.
That said, this (the companion series/kind of sequel) wasn't as good. However, it could be soon.
The Lost Hero is setting up a saga. Dude. It's setting up something that could be freaking epic. It isn't quite there yet -- maybe because so much world building had to go on -- but Riordan's classic humor and great characters were enough to make this book worth reading. I love, love, love all of the characters -- he does a fantastic job of making three dimensional and flawed teenagers. You want them to be your friends, and if you're me, you basically want to write like this.
There's a lot of talk about diversity in YA lately. I loved this book because it did a great job of having a diverse cast without preaching about it -- the kids were just kids. Well. Kids with gods as parents. Seriously, I think this is the best example of a diverse cast that still maintains a story line that doesn't highlight how great diversity is. Plus, the girls in this series? They totally kick butt.
The twist is easy enough to figure out; you're given heavy handed hints through the entire story. Still, the end of the novel left me drooling for the sequel. The cliff hanger is worthy of Hunger Games and the story, while not as fast paced as the Percy books moves fast enough that you can't wait for more.
I think my main problem came from the point of view. There are three different characters who the POV switches between, and while that was interesting, I did kind of miss the first person narrative -- only because Mr. Riordan does such a fantastic job with it. That said, I'm excited for the next book.
Oh -- and this is in the same world as the previous Olympian books. Annabeth shows up, and Percy seems to have a major role in the next one. This is planned to be a five book series, and quite honestly, by the end of it, I imagine it will be just as good as the Percy books.
Oh again -- on a random note, the cover lies. This book isn't as middle grade as the first few Percy books. The kids are all fifteen and sixteen, I think, and they act like it. I'm not sure why the cover regressed a few years, but hey, it actually fits the book pretty well. The steampunk elements are kind of awesome; I'm glad it came out on the cover.
All in all, worth your time.
But how the heck are we supposed to wait an entire YEAR??

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bothered

I was going to post a book review. Seriously, I was. And then I got on Twitter and went to the #SpeakLoudly page. And I found an article. 
It shouldn't bug me so much. Seriously, I hear comments like this every day.
But .. . . I'm bothered.
In fact, I'm really bothered. Bothered by this
I am a firm believer that girls can do anything guys can. Dude, it's never even seriously occurred to me that we couldn't. And I hear comments like this every day. 'No means Yes.' Sure. Yeah. When a girl says no, she really is saying yes. Of course. Comments about rape are thrown around the classroom daily. Girls are demeaned and boys are smacked and life goes on. 
Debate rounds lost? The people were 'raped.'
A girl gets pregnant? 'Slut.'
And if a guy gets a girl pregnant? Player.
It's not news. It's a double standard, blah, blah, feminist crap, whatever. Right? That's what a teacher said once. Feminist crap. Double standard -- just means women need to work harder to prove it wrong.
And don't get me wrong.
Girls can do everything guys can. Working hard will reverse a double standard; I believe that fully. Maybe I'm naive or young or whatever you want to call it, but I believe that girls have every opportunity in the world. 
That doesn't, however, mean that they should be treated like that. A double standard is one thing, but this? This is blatant disrespect, flagrant idiocy.  At Yale, of all places. A place where the smartest are cultivated to be smarter. Right? 
What crap.
A slap on the wrist. Is that really what those boys deserve? No. But they don't deserve expulsion either, because come on -- what would that fix? It's not their fault we live in a society where movies, musics and television tell us this sort of thing is okay.
 No. Let them read Speak, The Mockingbirds, let them go to sessions where crushed and hurt girls tell their stories. Let them talk to their closest female friends, their sisters, their girlfriends. 
Not just these particular boys. 
All of them. Hell, all of the girls too. Because we don't get how dumb we are sometimes. We've trivialized something that should never been made littler than it is. 
Ack. 
More book stuff later. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zomg Harry Potter

Y'all, take a minute. Breathe deep. Now. Get ready for a freaking ton of awesome.
Because guess what?
It's almost November.
And that, my dears, means one thing.
No. Not Thanksgiving. This is better than turkey.
No -- not Nanowrite. Really, guys?
I'm talking something EPIC BEYOND WORDS.
Yeah. You got it.
Harry Potter.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PosterEmma Watson as Hermione GrangerRupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Dudes. I could paper every inch of my walls with these. Not even joking. They would go right over my Japanese fans and pictures of my friends and all the other junk I've nailed up. Just google the posters. There's TONS. 
Midnight release, anyone?
After all -- who really needs public American school? Hogwarts is totally better.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Awards!

Zomg, guys. It's the weekend, and I'm NOT at a debate tournament. Do you realize the epicness of this? No? Well. To put in perspective, this will be one of the last -- no seriously, one of two open weekends -- I have until February. That doesn't include Christmas, but really, school shouldn't be considered for those latter weeks of December.
(Technically, I should be at a tournament. My coach offered, but I wanted to hang with my sister. She's bringing pie; obviously this means I need to give her a due amount of worship.)
I read several very ninja books this week and will have reviews up later -- except for Linger, which I took a day to reread (it involved ignoring three of my teachers, one of whom was mildly offended that I thought the book was more interesting than the notes) -- as well as some other random. But for now, Abby over Above Water has given me an award!
Abby is pretty much epic, y'all. She's a mom, which automatically makes her way more ninja than average, and works at the library, which in my book is on par with working at like, a store that sold candy and sparkles and Harry Potter paraphernalia.
Anyway, to accept the award, I get to answer this question:

If I had the chance to go back and change one thing in my life, would I and what would it be?


-blinks- -shifts uncomfortably-
Mm.
Well.
I can think of a few things. Not freezing at debate districts comes to mind. Researching more thoroughly before I jumped into querying the first time. And then there's a boy. (Isn't there always?) 
-ponders-
Yeah. The boy thing wins. I wish I could deal with it way more ninja like. 
See, everyone talks about how I'll look back on that fondly and be like BOOM, Sarrah Dessan-esque book deal, but now? It still stings. Even if he is one of my best friends, I wish I could go back and be all suave and chill and just do things different. For instance, taping my mouth shut would have been a GREAT idea. At the very least, I wish I could go back and stop myself from crying. It kills me that I cried over it. 
-wrinkles nose in distaste- 
Oh, WAIT.
There's also the time I ran over that snake. Dude. I wish I could have stopped that. 
Sigh. All in all, I suppose everything I've gone through has made me who I am today. For a 16 year old girl, I'm pretty okay with myself. -shrugs- (I still wish I hadn't killed the snake.)
Anyway. Giving the award to five people now:


Maggiebecause I plan on living on her fame when I'm old and decrepit. 
Cipherqueen because she is very good at cheering me up.
Aspen because holy crap, that girl can edit like no other.
Sarah because there is no one better to talk books with. (Even though I don't think she technically always does awards. Hmm.)
Katharine because she's basically what I was at 12. Cept, you know, way smarter. 


All right, farewell, friends! I'm off to go pull my sister's hair and steal her clothes watch Social Network with my family. 
More later!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Foreign Friday: Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennon

Okay, all. I loved this book. If I could marry this book, I might. (Maggie, shut up. I can have as many book spouses as I want.) It's snarky and clever and basically wonderful. Here is the author's website: Below is the original US cover.
I actually couldn't bring myself to pick up that cover. I don't know why; it just never caught my eye. I think it's a little bit too 'Hello, I am hot and brooding' which is so not what the book is about.
 This is the newer US cover. 
Still not my favorite cover, but I'm still fond of it. It's pretty and dark, but the guy looks a little bit too old to be a teenager. Actually, he really reminds me of Paul Wesley.
Anyway, this is the French Cover.

Still old looking, but hey, props for the fire.
Here's the Indonesian cover.
I actually like this better than the US one. Why? Um, well, it has purple on it. Plus, he doesn't glow.
This is the Ukranian version. And, um, I am kind of in love with it. 
It has FIRE. 
Here's the UK cover.

I'm kind of fond of it. It looks a little cartoony, but in a good way.
So, what say you? What's your favorite?