Friday, May 29, 2015

To Fangirl, or Not to Fangirl?

via Pinterest
It’s become abundantly clear to me that I am a fangirl, if not because I know all about what I pin on
Pinterest, then because I was up until two yesterday (or, today, I guess; it’s Tuesday) writing about teen pregnancy as an issue that should have been discussed at Camp Half-Blood.

That’s the sort of thing I can talk about: details. My dad said something to that effect when he read my philosophy final, like, “You watch too much TV.” And he meant that as like, I watch too much TV, but also, I read WAY into the story.

Usually I just talk about fandom stuff with my best friend, but I could probably host some interesting discussions about stuff. I was thinking about making it a Saturday feature for the duration of the summer.

So, I have two questions. What do you think? Would me reading into random details sound cool?

And, two, what fandoms do we overlap on? These are mine, and I know that I can talk about them… Which ones would you like to listen about?

(Heads Up: The book part of the deal might not be as fluid as I’d like just because all of my books are packed up right now and it’s hard to write stuff away from the source.)

Which Fandoms Would You Find Interesting to Read About?

I know there are some things that I’m going to do regardless of voting. Ana was confused about Twilight being a religious allegory and I couldn’t do it justice in a comment, so I’ll explain that somewhere. I was thinking about talking about V for Vendetta and Phantom of the Opera as parallels, so maybe we’ll do that. And maybe I could talk about why I don’t like the morality presented in Harry Potter (because it’s boring) but that’s all for that guy.

I dunno. Should this be a thing? It could be a thing. We’ll see what things happen soon.

Do you want this to be a thing? Does it sound cool? Or boring? Do tell.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursentary: Why Christians Should Support #WeNeedDiverseBooks

It’s kind of ironic that “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC came on as I started to rewrite this post. I’m going to assume that it isn’t a message from God, and hope that He likes this song as much as I do—because if not, I guess I’m writing a damned post. I don’t believe in doing things halfway, so if we’re damned, let’s be good and damned, and get the ball rolling.

This is something I truly believe: We Need Diverse Books. More than that, I believe Christians should support diversity in books as well.

Now, I know this sounds weird, especially if you are a Christian and you know that WNDB actively promotes the presence of minority religions, LGBT+ issues, minority cultures, and people with disabilities, among other things. Because if you are a Christian, you know that we have some stuff to say about those things. If you’re willing, hear me out—sometimes these things aren’t fun to hear and aren’t fun to think about, but if we can’t discuss, then we can’t grow, and that is a problem.

via Mary Wilson Kerr
To begin, I think there are a few misconceptions that should be cleared up, just so we are all on the same page:

1. This is not a movement to shame non-minorities—maybe you are like me, and are a white, straight, mostly able-bodied Protestant; maybe you are not. This is who I am, and it’s not bad to be me, but what would be bad was if EVERY CHARACTER was like me. Majority rule works when you’re voting for pizza toppings, but when it comes to a cast of characters, then you probably want a variety of people represented, especially if you want a variety of people to connect to the story.

2. This is not a movement to shame existing books—okay, it’s called #WeNeedDiverseBooks, not #BurnBooksLackingMinorities. There are some books out there with a lot of diverse characters and crappy writing, and well-written books with few minorities represented at all. Yes, it’s lovely to see many people represented, but diversity alone is not the measure of a book’s value.

3. This is not going to become a publishing checklist—if WNDB gains popularity then we’re probably going to see more kinds of representation in books, but I seriously doubt that publishers will refuse to publish a book because it doesn’t meet a “diversity quota.” The story still comes first, and today’s ideas about diversity may not factor in depending on what you are writing.

4. This is not actually supposed to threaten you—I think I felt this way when I first heard about the movement. Since I’m not in a minority, does this mean all my values and things will be removed from the literary world? No, they won’t. This isn’t about destroying what was; it is about sharing the stage.

5. This is not an unrealistic expectation—fun fact: books are written for the people that can read them. For a long time (in the U.S.A., anyway), the people who could read were the (you guessed it) white, middle-upper class, Christian-ish, population. Due to some law things about people with different skin colors, religions, and economic circumstances going to the same schools, a lot more people can read than your average WASP. It makes sense to write books against the historical norms of race, sexual orientation, religion, and ability, if not because of the economic opportunity, then because authors are going to encounter people of different races, sexual orientations, religions, and abilities, and nobody wants to read books where they can’t connect to the characters.

To summarize: the point of WNDB is not to freak people out or exclude them, but to have our books reflect the world that we live in today.

via Reading Rainbow
As a Christian, I don’t think this is bad.

I mean, for one thing, trusting in God is not an excuse to pretend that the parts of the world you don’t like don’t exist—stay informed, people. You can’t change something if you’re ignoring it (except to maybe make it worse). But secondly, I think we should care that all kinds of people are written in books because we want to form relationships with all kinds of people.

Now, that sounds like secret code for, “we want to convert people,” but that is not really what I mean.

If we’re Christians, then our purpose is to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Translated, that means it’s our job, first and foremost, to demonstrate God’s love to anyone and everyone we meet with the same faith and love that Jesus showed us first. Serving people. Being kind to people. Offering people what they need at your own expense. Showing what God’s love means, even if his name never leaves your lips.

I’m not a theological expert or anything but I think it’s really hard to love someone looking down at them from a pedestal.

That’s why Jesus didn’t. He went to people in the temple. He went to people in their homes. He met with people on the roads and in the hills and all over the place—wherever they were, exactly where they were at. Dude, he went to freaking SAMARIA, and if you want to know about people who hated each other, look up Jewish people and Samaritans. Jesus reached out to people—to all people—and in getting to know them, he introduced himself.

Now, reading a book all by yourself is not really the same thing as going out and showing love to the masses—but it can prepare you for going out into them. When you read a book about someone who believes something differently than you, feels differently, looks differently, functions differently, you open yourself to caring about something that matters to them.

via Goodreads
That’s not to say that reading diverse books makes you an expert, or prepares you for every eventuality. Neal Shusterman’s  Challenger Deep isn’t the stock story of mental illness. Sold by Patricia McCormick isn’t every story of prostitution or enslavement. And reading Harry Potter doesn’t make you well-informed on British culture. I’m just saying. You will be reading a story. Someone’s story. And if you practice caring about someone’s story—someone’s battles, someone’s fears, someone’s challenges—then you can do it again when you’re looking up at a face instead of down at a page.

It is amazing how much it matters when someone invests their time and energy to care about something you care about, merely because they care about you.

And if you don’t believe me, let me ask you a simple question: who have you loved that tells you so?

Have you ever loved a gay friend, and listened to his stories, his fears, his beliefs? Have you ever loved someone from another culture, and practiced her traditions, her celebrations, her norm? Have you ever loved someone with a disability? Have you ever loved someone with another skin color? Have you ever loved someone of a different religion?

Who have you loved? I’m not talking about affection. Who have you loved more than yourself?

via Matt Rogers
I’m not going to say that I’m good at this myself—but I’ve had the privilege of watching a role model reach out to others my entire life. My dad has driven a mentally ill man we know to church, sometimes frequently, sometimes sporadically—this guy rarely has an idea of what religion he wants to believe in, but my dad listens to him and drives him to church anyway. He’s invited in Jehovah’s Witnesses in to talk about what they believe, even though he has no interest in becoming one. He’s gone out to lunch with people, he’s reached out on mission trips, he advocates an inviting website, and he loves that time at church when you shake everybody’s hand. If there’s one thing that guy has taught me, it’s that you have to be the one to take the first step.

For me, encouraging diversity is the first step to reaching out. To making new friends and to sharing ideas. I invariably learn something from the people most different from me, and funnily enough, I also learn to love them most.

When it comes down to it, these people who are so different from me in our diverse little world are meant to be my brothers and sisters. And if they care about something, then I want to care about it, too, even if it’s only so that we can have a conversation together. I’m not going to tell you what to believe about LGBT+ rights or whether your disabilities reflect your sins, but I will tell you this: if something as simple as a book can help me love another person, then hell yes, I’m going to read that book.

We need diverse books because we have diverse people—and more than anything, that calls for a diverse, all-encompassing love.

So, that was really long. Sorry about that. Let’s change the subject: why do you read books with diversity? What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Creative Blogger Award

If you can believe it, Alyssa, and Liz, and Shar, and Susanna, and Opal all nominated me for the creative blogger award! Thanks, ladies!

First, let us check out the almighty rules:

~Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
~Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
~Share 5 facts about yourself with your readers
~Pass these rules on to them

Now, five facts seems kinda boring to me. Let’s talk about five CREATIVE facts that you probably had no anticipation of, and will never see the likes of again (maybe).

1. I Invent Meals Worthy of College Students

As I finish this, I have just eaten butter-vinegar noodles. Would you like the recipe? Boil Thai noodles until they look pretty darn boiled, drain, and place in a bowl. Place what was probably closer to two tablespoons than not of white vinegar into the noodles, and stir. Then, take out a fresh vegan buttery stick from the fridge and place 1/7 of the stick in the noodles. Attack the noodles with a fork until the butter has melted evenly over the noodles. Enjoy! (It was actually not that bad.)

2. I Do Not Write Down My Dreams, But I Should

Last night I dreamed that Sherlock (from Sherlock) was my philosophy teacher, and class was being held in a boarding hospital (like a boarding school, but you’re hospitalized) and there was a monster that looked a lot like the monster in 1x16 of Fringe (like a big scorpion with tiger traits and other poisonous qualities) and no one believed that it existed—my mom was beginning to think I was in a state of permanent hallucination—and its main function was to separate you from all who loved you. No one believed it existed except my philosophy teacher, and I woke up while he was defending me from the monster. I assume we were devoured.

via Basement Rejects

3. Mary Poppins Is a Lifelong Mentor

I apply the phrase, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game!” to every area of my life, especially school. I, for the life of me, was terrified of writing a dream journal for my psychology class—until I turned it into a secret mission called “Project Specter” and I was an operative in my high school’s intelligence agency. I turned in a dossier and everything. When I was supposed to do a philosophy project about free will, it was BORING until I turned it into a film analysis including Fringe, Firefly, Leverage, Kung-Fu Panda, Brave, Forrest Gump, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Princess and the Frog, Wreck-It Ralph, Star Trek, Star Wars, etcetera. These are some of my favorite projects EVER.

4. I Could Commandeer a Radio Station and Confuse the Heck Out of Everybody

I could. Whether I’m listening to a playlist on Youtube or my Pandora station, I just listen to whatever suits my fancy. It was my dad’s idea that I should take over a radio station with a certain niche and simply do what I do. People would call in and they would be like, “What happened?” and we would be like, “Heather happened.” and then they’d get stuck listening to whatever I pleased all day.

5. I Color in Coloring Books with Crayons

Do other people do this? I don’t know. Coloring provides this kind of catharsis I can’t explain. I don’t have a religious coloring schedule or anything, but I promise you, the $1 coloring book of Disney characters I bought at Michael’s was one of the best investments I ever made. I’m currently working through the Dumbo section, and after that I think I shall do the 101 Dalmatians bit. I am saving The Lion King for last because I LOVE THE LION KING!

Now, since last time I nominated my GFC followers, it’s Bloglovin’s turn! Share some creative things about yourselves, people. It will be interesting!

What is something creative and interesting about you? Tell me in the comments, or, better yet, link me up to your post, too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Five Ways Reading Books is Better Than Watching Movies

the swedish book corner
via ami photography
I read. Not as much as a lot of people, but I remember in March when a boy at school asked me how many books I’d read so far this year—I said, “only sixteen.” He was like, “Oh, right, ONLY.” because apparently he had read even fewer. Especially among my age group, it seems like books are much less read than movies watched (at least in my case), and that’s kind of sad. Books are more worthwhile in some ways. Allow me to explain.

1.  Books are Ancient

I’m not saying that you should like books because they’re old—I am saying that the concept of a book carries a lot simply because it has been around so long. We’ve been acting out stories for a long time, but the actual art of movies is a product of the twentieth century. With a book, you can read something centuries old and be connected to the past, or you can read something published yesterday and still be connected to the past—because the craft we put into books is centuries in the making!

2. It’s Okay to Have Fourteen Books in a Series

You can have multiple books in a series and it’s totally okay. There’s also some leeway if you make multiple movies based off of a book series—you have the fanbase and things tend to work out. However, there’s a limit to how many movies you can have in a series before it starts to look stupid. There are seven Fast and Furious movies now, which, to me, looks silly. Not that I like the Matrix movies anyway, but they might have been better off with just one. Multiple movies have plot shakiness, less continuity, and tend to look less professional than books. The story goes ever on and on in books, and that’s the way we like it.

3. It’s Easier to Tell

There is that saying “show, don’t tell” but the reality of it is, “show and tell in appropriate amounts to suit the story.” Movies have to do an awful lot of showing, simply because they are a visual medium. More often than not, if you want to tell the audience something you can’t show, you have to find a way for a character to tell it. In a book, narrators have a greater freedom to share details simply by telling, instead of manufacturing scenes just so that characters can discuss something important. (That isn’t to say it doesn’t happen in books, of course.)

4. There’s a Voice

In movies, the camera has to be your voice, because usually there is not an omniscient narrator. In a book, not only do the characters have unique voices, but whoever the narrator may be, there is an extra voice there. Maybe the narrator is the main character, maybe God, but either way, the author’s choice with voice adds that something extra to the story.

5. Books are Portable

I get it, you can truck movies around on your phone or whatever—and that works out for some people. However, as long as you have a light and a decent ignorance of the world around you, then you are going to have the ability to read, regardless of battery power, connectivity, passwords, whatever. I can read during graduation rehearsal, during class, while I’m waiting for an appointment, wherever! You can take the story with you, and it will serve you well.

Books are great—stories are great! We shouldn’t discount movies, of course (and we won’t—guess what my next post shall be!), but books bring a lot to the table, and make up a big portion of entertainment in my life. Keep reading, everybody—it’s worth it.

What about you? Why do you enjoy books? (Or, do you not enjoy books? Why not?) What is your favorite book, and why?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview a Notebook: Third Grade Notebook

This is the third post I’ve tried writing for today—but this is the one I’m going to stick with. As I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say, there’s been flooding in my basement, which means I’ve been cleaning out my room. I had no idea that I still had one of my first writer’s notebooks: something I’ve been keeping since 2005.


Like, wow, for me, right? How could I NOT interview this notebook? I graduated high school on Friday, and looking back ten years? Just, wow. Wow, wow, wow. So, let’s talk about this!

Tell a little bit about this notebook. Where did you get this notebook? Why did you start writing in it?

Well, ten years ago—this would be my third-grade notebook. Looking at this, it’s from a time when my best friend moved to Pennsylvania, my school was not a good fit for me, and apparently I had no filter. Anyway, Mom bought me this during back-to-school shopping, I decorated it, and everything else is just the assignments I was given!

How long did it take you to fill all the pages?

Actually, not all of the pages are filled, but I used this notebook during the 2005-2006 school year. I never believed the teacher when she said I should date my pages (and I still don’t, haha) but this really did help me place this notebook!

Summarize the things you’ve written in the notebook. 

Let’s take a look—there’s a lot of brainstorming lists in here, short narratives, poetry, lists of sensory information, my personal thoughts… There’s a lot of stuff.

Paste a snippet from within the story, as is. No editing allowed! 

[I changed my sister’s name to her Avengers name, by the way. For protection purposes.]

Cracking the mirror (11/30/05)

It was a nice sunny weekend. Thor, my hot-temperd little sister was so bored. Me, a distresed older sister of two (1). I wished I were asleep in an airplane than being in the spot where I was. “Hey! Why don’t we dance?” The stentence blurted out of me like I put a hot potato in my mouth. Holly agree, and so I snaped on some music. I was dancing like it were the only thing I could do in the world. BLAM!!!! I had just acsadently kicked the mirror. Lines shot up spot my foot managed to kick. I felt like I was naked standing in front of the whole U.S.! I stole some air as I tiptoed down stairs. I was scared but I worked on my way down to mom’s office. “Mom,” I nearly wisperd. “Yes?” Mom ansered. “Mom, I cracked the mirror in the living room.” As just like that mom was thanking me. She said she had never liked the mirror (2) We took it down and painted it in the next few weeks. And that’s when I cracked the mirror.

(1) Was even boreder.

(2) In about four days we took the mirror down. Then it took a week-and-a-half to take all the golden adheseve off. I hated that part was the worst, mom had to put poison on the wall. Mom then painted the wall electrick green.

What’s the best doodle/brain bubble in the margins?

Observe: a shape poem.

“I got the fish but then it said, my wishbone broke in half so I made a wish, I wished I had a fish.”

Are you still working on anything originally written in this notebook?

No, no I am not. Unless you count the life I am living—I’m still here.

Do you think you would go back to anything written in this notebook?

I don’t think so. I mean, sometimes people write really awesome memoirs but I don’t think my life is interesting or funny enough to make it worth it. I am glad to have the memories, though—I definitely saw the world in a different light back then!

Are you mostly embarrassed by this notebook, or mostly proud?

I think I’m proud. Even though the writing is poor (as witnessed above) and my handwriting is ridiculous, I love... that I wrote. I know I am a different person than I was then, but having this notebook makes me feel a connection to that little girl I was in elementary school, and points out the parts of me that still haven’t changed. It’s something that makes me smile.

What is your favorite thing about this notebook?

I love the cover—it’s so unique! These pictures, these things… They’re just personal, and I love that about it. I don’t think I’d do it now, but still. I love seeing the messy, glue-stained photographs all cut up and stickered now. I was one cool kid.

Just for fun, edit the snippet from before—do you think you’ve grown?

Hell yeah I’ve grown. Watch me.

My parents called it the living room, but to us it was a stage. The sea as I pondered my unrealized dream of becoming Ariel. Ground zero in the war against my nemesis: the vacuum cleaner. The cathedral where I donned my bridal gown and married the tiger of my dreams. And, of course, on occasion, a platform upon which we danced. Sometimes the poise of a graceful ballerina possessed me, other times the spirit of a deep-fried rock star, minus the tattoos. Looking back on it, I probably looked more like a firecracker zooming around the room, completely incapable of remembering lyrics and devoid of a sense of rhythm. But I was awesome anyway. 
On this day, because I was tall enough to reach the VHS player—score one for Heather—I popped in the VBS video from last summer. My younger sister, Thor, was bored enough to join me, although it wasn’t like anybody had anything better to do on such a dull afternoon. We wiggled, we jammed, we brought down the house. I got caught up in the fantastic swirl of an expert-twirler, reveling in my own talent and joy, certainly dancing better than Thor, and—SMACK. 
But for the ignorant TV, which did not stop for accidents, I was greeted by the silence of the condemned child: the sound of awed nothing, which only means one thing. You are in sooo much trouble… 
You see, my house was a child of the seventies. Or eighties. Whenever it was—it was the era of mirrored walls, highlighted by mustard streaks across the glass because I guess it was stylish. My fervent dancing veered very close to this wall, and in a moment of joyous passion, my clever foot cleaved the square panel into a spider web of geometric anomalies. 
Or, to put it simply, I cracked a mirror. A mirror, just in a noticeable spot in the one room guests saw when they knocked upon the front door. I set the noose around my neck and took the long walk down the stairs, treating every step on the rough gray carpet as though it were my last. Mom was going to kill me. 
I tiptoed to her office, wishing my bottle of courage wasn’t nearly so leaky. Perhaps I condemned myself to death—but I’d be honest and dead, which was the most I could ask for now. 
“Mom,” I said quietly.  
She glanced up from her work, unaware of the rage about to curdle beneath her skin. “Yes?” 
“I, um, cracked the mirror in the living room.” 
I stood stock straight, awaiting my fate like the big girl I was. I could take it. Even if I had to do the dishwasher all by myself, I could take it. 
A mischievous smile played upon Mom’s lips. “You know,” she told me. “I’ve always hated those mirrors. I should actually thank you—now we have an excuse to change them!” 
Cool air suffocated my lungs as my ears tried to rehear what she was saying—I did a good thing? She wasn’t mad? Hallelujah! 
I skipped back up the stairs, grinning and ready to relate the story to my sisters. I was Heather, vanquisher of mirrors, and darn right I broke it. My stage was due for a renovation, anyway—it wasn’t easy, being a star.

Wow, that was super cool. Have you ever stumbled on any of your baby writing? Do you love it? Can you share it?

Friday, May 22, 2015

WBI: Sophie Devereaux

I have a special place in my heart for Sophie Devereaux, and not just because “Devereaux” won me a game of hangman two weeks ago. (And the rule about no proper nouns is not a thing.) Sophie is the mother of the Leverage team, and now that I have finished that series I am going to draw out my hangover as long as possible.

via AXN

As corporations and other powers leave the little guys hanging, Sophie Devereaux joins the Leverage crew to grift for justice. Her emotional investment ensures not only that she sees the clients compensated, but that the crew itself stays strong and powerful at its core, even if they never see her true face.

WBI Profile

Classification :: Ξ24579$*&
Role :: Avenger (grifts on behalf of others)
Motivation :: idealism (bringing the rich and powerful to justice), insubordination (Nate’s employee), lifestyle (grifting/stealing is life), personal/material gain (emotional satisfaction, art, etc.), wealth (money)
Bonus :: money (from stealing), lair (Leverage HQ), family ties (Leverage crew)

A Study

grifter—Sophie’s primary role is to get money from the mark while pretending to be a different person

experienced—that being said, she is remarkably attuned to the responses and quirks of everyone around her; she knows what she’s doing

lost—however, even though Sophie reads other people well, she struggles with her own personal identity and who the woman behind “Sophie” is

private—her life is very much a mystery; we don’t know her name, what she’s done, or where she’s been: we only know what she can do

determined—more often than not, Sophie follows the leader, but as soon as she decides on something she wants to do, she gets it done, period

attentive—though Sophie can be heartless to the marks, she pays attention to the needs and problems of the rest of the team, and builds them up in their times of weakness

emotional—she is driven by emotional feedback and fulfillment, and anticipates the same in others; sometimes she is wrong, but usually her emotional nature helps her identify motivation on the dot

growing—she begins a pathetic actress who tries to be good, she ends an aspiring director who is content with her identity and morality; her time on the Leverage crew is never static

director—she began an actress, and although she’s improved, she learns that she enjoys herself more backstage, and gains direction of where she wants to go in the future.

mother—it’s like Hardison says; the team trusts Sophie to make sure that everyone is okay, and Sophie’s emotional, heeding nature demonstrates her gentle but firm position of leadership over the crew

Big Idea

spare the details—though we know little of Sophie’s backstory (especially compared to other characters), it doesn’t really matter. Her actions now show who she is and what we can expect in her future; who she was, though not irrelevant, is not important.

trust matters—the “good guys” don’t have to trust each other, so long as they all put their ideals over their personalities. With “bad guys,” trust is everything, and Sophie helps foment a family-like strength within the Leverage crew by trusting, and influencing trust.

be dynamic—Sophie’s original acting skills made you want to pry out your eyeballs with a plastic spoon; by the end, she is a talented actress, capable of mesmerizing an audience. She changes just as much as a person, and by the end, we know why she is who she is.

And, one of my all-time favorite Sophie quotes: “Meat should never be used as an adjective.” –Leverage, “The Tap Out Job” (2x2)

Have you watched Leverage? What do you think made Sophie a righteous villain? What do you think is most important when writing an Avenger character?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Leibster Award 2015

I have been nominated for the Leibster Award not one but three times by Precious, Alyssa, and Shar. Thanks, amigas!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.
  5. Come up with 11 questions for your nominees!


  1. I graduate on Friday.
  2. I find giving people advice on writing intimidating.
  3. I do not think you should rule the world
  4. I’m packing up my room for basement renovation, so my bookshelves won’t look like this anymore.
  5. I do like Harry Potter, if I’ve been unclear, it’s just that I like a lot of things a lot better.
  6. I actually did the Leibster Award one time, before I had anybody to tag.
  7. I just put everything on hold because I found the link to the song on the previous award post and I LOVE THAT SONG so I am playing it loud over the sound of the dehumidifiers. 
  8. I just started a new notebook to practice Spanish for the duration of this summer.
  9. I need to get a job.
  10. I’m hungry.
  11. I don’t really like telling people about myself. I can’t imagine I’m all that interesting.

Questions (a grand total of 19, from the other blogs): 

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

The people and the practice. There are some amazing humans out there, if you aren’t aware, and I love hearing what they have to say. Also, I think it’s good practice with interaction—they say to write for yourself, but blogging lets you take some risks with what you want to say and practice with more immediate feedback than you’ll get with a novel.

What are three things you can’t live without?

Food, water, shelter.

What was the last movie you watched? Did you enjoy it?

Movie? Dead Poets Society with my English class, and my feelings died, as they always do with that movie. TV show? Leverage, and my feelings died, as they always do with that TV show.

If you could be a character from any novel, who would you be and why?

I wouldn’t be. I would rather die.

What’s your favorite animal? Why?

Sting ray. They are smooth and slippery and nice to touch, and it is fun to feed them fish at the aquarium.

What is the ultimate dream vacation? (It could be to a fictional or real place.)

I might like to visit Madrid again, or England, or anywhere… I don’t know. Honestly, I would probably be happiest buying a hotel room in my own town and just staying there all day.


What was your favorite childhood TV show?

Barney, Arthur, Cyberchase, Dragon Tales, SagwaTellytubbies, Liberty’s Kids, Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman, and—what? What do you mean you wanted one?

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? Why?

1997. I have no memories of myself as a baby and so this would be an age that I have no memory of but it would be interesting to watch myself as I started to do things for the first time.

Can you solve a rubix cube?


What kind of music are you into?

I DUNNO. I listen to a lot of stuff. My dad has suggested that someday I commandeer a radio station and freak all the listeners out who are expecting one genre, and then they get ten in the space of 15 minutes.

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

No one. I do not want a movie about my life.

What First World problem would you solve?

People wouldn’t have flooding in their houses ever.

You have the magical power to create any one drink you want. ANY. Which drink?

Orange juice. The no-pulp kind. And I would drink it. :)

Best life hack you've learned?

You can put bread bag hold-closers on wires so you can tell what computer wire does what!


Ice cream or cake?

…….. Ice cake cream.

Chocolate or coffee?

Chocolate, duh. Coffee is not for me.

Which tribute in the 75th Hunger Games would you sponsor and why?

When is the 75th Hunger Games? Sorry. I only read this book once in middle school because it was not very interesting.

Weapon of choice?

*shrugs* Do you think my family lets me hold weapons for long periods of time?

Describe your ideal pet dragon.

Lap-sized, warm blooded, can purr and fetch, can fly, doesn’t poop on my shoulders. Silver-gray. Well trained and will not set the mailman on fire.

Wow. That was a lot. And now for 11 more:

What blog post are you most proud of?
Do you find knees super disgusting? (side note: KNEES ARE SO DISGUSTING HOLY CRAP WHY)
What are you currently listening to, or what did you most recently listen to?
Do you like warm hugs?
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite snack to make?
If you were going to sum up your blog in three words, what would they be?
Have you ever seen a production on stage?
What’s the best thing that happened to you this week?
What’s your favorite book tag?
If you could say one thing to anyone, what would you say to whom?

And, because I have awesome followers who I do not give enough shout-outs to, I shall tag some people from le Google Friend Connect (don’t worry, Bloglovin’ people, I will do you next time).

Sorry, that was long. Why don’t you pick three questions from above and tell me what your answers would be? Or, better yet, link me up to your post as well!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Courtship Tag

Mariella has tagged me for the Courtship Tag! On the one hand, I have serious problems with the idea of courtship in general, but book tags are fun. I will put aside my moral dilemmas for the time being, because that is what everyone does, I suppose. Let’s go.

Phase 1Initial Attraction: a book that you bought because of the cover

My mind is running a blank. It is pretty often that I will choose not to read a book because I dislike the cover, but it’s also very rare that I will ever buy a book because I like the cover. Like, I have to have heard good things about it and like the genre.

Phase 2First Impressions: a book that you got because of the summary

via Amazon
Okay, so Somebody Tell Aunt Tilly She’s Dead! by Christiana Miller was on sale and I thought the idea was funny and I bought it. Here is the summary (via Amazon):

A little magic can go a long way -- to really screwing up a girl's life! 
Mara is having the worst month of her life. At least, that's what her cards tell her and they've never been wrong. She's evicted from her apartment, loses her job and is banned from Beverly Hills. So when the tarot cards predict her imminent demise, she uses a little magic to make her world right. 
Suddenly, an aunt she's never met dies, leaving Mara as her sole heir. But when Mara moves into her inherited home, she discovers Aunt Tillie never moved out. She's still one pissed-off old lady, even post-mortem, and she blames Mara's magical meddling for her death. 
When Mara accidentally releases a demon and awakens the spirit of the most powerful witch in history, Tillie's ready to kill her -- literally. It's the only way she can think of to save the girl from herself. 
The witch and the demon, however, have other plans for Mara's body!

Phase 3Sweet Talk: a book with great writing

via Goodreads
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. I just finished this book, and I love the way he has put so much detail and description into this book so that even if I don’t always understand I still know. It’s beautiful, though. Really, really beautiful—the way Caden sees things reminds me of the way a heartbeat looks, convulsive and violent but at the same time trembling and filled with blood and love and life all at once.

Which is exactly what I’d expect from a Neal Shusterman book.

Phase 4First Date: a first book of a series which made you want to pursue the rest of the series

via Goodreads
“Pursue.” What kind of word is that? On the first definition implies that pursuing something means following it to kill it. WOW. Don’t kill things; it’s not nice.

I will say that Cinder by Marissa Meyer really captivated me and left me hanging when I read it the first time, and I was really, really eager to get into Scarlet and the rest.

Phase 5Late Night Phone Calls: a book that kept you up all night long

via Goodreads
My father has apparently wormed his way into my brain so usually I have the willpower to set things down. However, not so the case with Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal; that one, I just pushed on through. (But it was like 1AM when I finished and that’s not really that late or all night, so there you go.)

Phase 6Always on My Mind: a book that you could not stop thinking about

via Goodreads
H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden. I think about it daily. Always. Daily. Just… yeah. Daily.

Phase 7Getting Physical: a book in which you love the way it feels

via Goodreads
Getting physical with your books is also kind of disgusting. This tag disturbs me on many levels.

I would maybe say Artemis Fowl or Ranger’s Apprentice. I can remember those feeling pretty good (I guess?). Like, foreign but familiar, and warm but cold.

Phase 8Meeting the Parents: a book in which you would recommend to your friends and family

via Goodreads
HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I asked my sister daily if she had started yet and then I wanted hour-by-hour updates. I loved that book…

Phase 9Thinking About the Future: a book or series that you know you’ll re-read many times in the future

via Goodreads
That’s presuming a lot. I could get hit by a car and die and I have no way of knowing if I’ll ever read anything again. Plus, my tastes change all the time. I reread things while my heart is there and then my heart goes on and it is not there anymore. Books are not like people and it is okay if you are unchaste in your loyalties when it comes to stories.

The only thing I can think of is probably Dr. Seuss because I love those books and rhyming words are fun.

Phase 10Share the Love! Who would you like to tag?

I don’t think I want to spread this with the work of my own hands. I would prefer that everyone make their own moral decisions about whether this tag creeps them out or not and then deal with that situation themselves.

That was awkward. Was it awkward for you, too? I don’t know. Why don’t you pick out two questions and tell me what your answers would be? Or you could do the tag if you want; I don’t know, it’s your life. If so, link me up!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dissonance Cover Reveal

Guess what.

(This is the part where you say, “Chicken butt.”)

You may recall this guest post by Mariella Hunt on her book, Dissonance. I’ve had the privilege of reading the book multiple times, and I’m really excited to see it in print—unfortunately, she had to back out her initial release date in December, but the ball is rolling and I’m looking forward to seeing it come out in June!

And, to celebrate that coming date, today we’re doing the cover reveal! Check it out:

Fifteen-year-old Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.

When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met.

Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her. The cure she needs is rare, requiring of him a difficult sacrifice. Allie soon suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll turn her world around.

But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the the finishing chord of a song.

About Mariella: Mariella Hunt is a writer with a strong love for coffee and guinea pigs. She likes using big words in everyday speech, and keeps journals of quotes from the greats.

Most days you'll find her on a well-loved armchair, reading--or working on one of her many projects. As she cannot stick to an outline, she rewrites way too much.

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Stay tuned, people. Dissonance is happening!

Tweet: Check out the #DissonanceNovel cover reveal from @mariellahunt! #SaveAlessandra

Monday, May 18, 2015

On Writing Breaks

Watermans, Paris.
Flickr Credit: Lee Morley
There are some people who write every day, and to them I say: kudos. I am not like you.

There have only been a few times in my life when I’ve been able to write every day, and that was usually in a typing-up-editing phase, and it was good. But for me, at least, I don’t really like writing every day—I like being a writer every day, but not writing.

Some days I focus on blogging, and I get through my to-read list (like I just did! *fist pump*), and then I spend time writing posts to schedule for the next week (as I am now). Blogging does take a few days for me, because even though I’m writing this post now, on Friday, I will be closing the document and not revising/scheduling until tomorrow. And, of course, there’s commenting to be done, and other housekeeping things.

Some days I focus on reading/watching TV. I am like, that one person who basically sees reading and watching TV as equivalents. That may not be what it’s like for you, but for me, reading and watching are basically the intake of details, and man, there are so many details to attend to. I recently asked my best friend if she has other friends who send her thousand-word rants about the latest book/movie watched, and she said no, but that’s why I’m her best friend.

And, of course, other days I actually write stuff. Which is hard, because there’s various stages of drafting and editing that all have to be coordinated and it’s like noooo but you must because that is what writing is.

The last one is kind of the important one—the one that I have to do if I want to be a writer, and it is hard. Over the last week, especially. I mean, for one thing, my grandmother died—there haven’t been a lot of tears around here (to clarify: it’s not that I don’t care; I feel like I already grieved for her death previously, and now death seems to have become the perfect resolution), but there’s a lot of things to be done when someone dies. And the basement flooded.

I don’t know if you have ever had to go get toilet paper when you have run out. It’s a pretty standard operation, even when one has stayed up until midnight and is creeping around by herself in the basement. But I assure you: everything changes when you step into a puddle of ice-cold water, and realize it is stretching all the way to the back wall.

My parents have never been so grateful that I’m a night owl, and we did stop a lot of the damage, but after heavy rain, it looks like we’re going to be renovating our entire basement to put in sump pumps and everything.

The good news is: hopefully we will prevent flooding.

The bad news is: I have to pack up all of my things and put them into storage, because the basement is where my room is. But, on the bright side, maybe we’ll repaint my room.

Also, I went to an awards ceremony at school yesterday and not that it was a bad thing but it was like, three hours long, and yes, I very much enjoyed some of the benefits of being a good student, but you can’t write at the same time as getting awarded stuff. You can’t.

So, the last couple weeks have been filled with a lot of not-exactly-writing. And I’m okay with that. I do not feel guilty or upset. What I do feel is that, now that things are settling down, it’s time to get started again. To all my Word documents: here I come.

How do you decide what you want to do as a writer in a day? When do you decide to give yourself a break?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thursentary: You Might Be Reading Christian Fiction If... (Part II)

Surprise! Working on this at school has enabled me to deliver part two of last week's list of cliches—but I am not being as snarky in the introduction because, a, I'm not feeling it, and b, you probably already know this is going to be sarcastic and having none of it. Also, it was the last day of school and I feel free.

And, because I am being sincere until the purple text below, there are a few things I feel I should mention, before I continue:

a) I think it's totally okay if you like reading Christian fiction.
b) I think Christian fiction has its own merits as a genre and as an art form.
c) I think those things about pretty much every genre, and although I've tried to write tons of things justifying these posts, I have concluded that I don't need to. These things are what I've noticed, and what I think. In the great words of Homer Simpson, "It's funny because it's true."

via Polyvore

You (still) might be reading Christian fiction if...

…Christians do not doubt God.

(If you’re a doubter you’re like Thomas and Jesus will make you leave the ring of fellowship.)

…church is where perfect people with mildly unfortunate circumstances go to pray for one another in circles on fold up chairs.

(We can certainly pray for that peculiar outsider, but only once, and don’t let him in. It looks like he slept under a bridge.)

…praying solves everything.

(What? God would never call us to take any action that might put us in danger.)

…life is automatically better when you’re a Christian.

(Pretty sure God sent his only Son so we could PAR-TAY!)

…the “Jesus came to earth and died for you” speech shows up for all the conversions.

(The target audience seems to have a terrible memory when it comes to that speech—after all, they’ve been Christians their whole lives.)

…at least one person has to convert, or return to God.

(Otherwise God looks plain lazy.)

via Travel♥Quotes

…names like C.S. Lewis are thrown out at every opportunity.

(He was perfect and makes our religion more valid so we should worship him, too.)

…Creation theory has to be defended.

(Because the church has never been wrong about science before.)

…God’s existence must also be defended.

(That guy is helpless without our convicting arguments.)

…all controversial issues are not handled as plot points but as sermons.

(Speaking of people with agendas.)

...religious controversy is ignored and we only pick fights we know we can win.

(Let’s stick Catholics in the corner with opinions about baptism and female preachers and move on.)

…people randomly have the Bible memorized to suit the story’s needs.

(You don’t have to understand it, you just have to know it.)

via LDS Memes

…the only memorized verses come from Psalms, or Proverbs, the Gospels, or something Paul wrote.

(How much of the Bible do we really need, after all?)

…all quoted verses use the King James Version.

(That’s what English sounded like when Jesus spoke it, you know.)

…you will never question your own morality or the truth of anything religious.

(Every time you wonder, Satan is up by ten points.)

…by the end, everyone who is available is in a secure waiting-until-marriage relationship and all hand-holding occurs under parental supervision.

(Good news: we solved the over-sexualization of women by simply objectifying them!)

…God comes through at the very end of the book because it’s not like he would leave you hanging for years and years in real life, would he?

(Click to read your typical two-hour miracle story.)

…everyone is a Christian at the end of the book or movie.

(Mission accomplished.)

via someecards

There you have it; the complete list. I do not believe I've read any Christfic that hasn't had something from one of these lists... And that is why I treat all these books like I would a plague: with intense curiosity, but still keeping my distance.

What are some of your least favorite cliches in Christian fiction?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Cake Tag

The wonderful Shanti at Weaving Waves Words and the glorious Alyssa of The Devil Orders Takeout were awesome and tagged me for the Cake Tag! Who does not love cake, I ask you? (Nobody here, I assure you.) Without further ado… your cake books.


~a book that started slowly and turned out amazingly~

Let’s see. The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode. I remember reading it while I was waiting for my visit to a cadaver lab with my science class—it almost seemed like staring at the coffee shop would be more interesting than the book.

Boy, was I wrong. To be totally honest, this might be the best book I’ve read so far this year. I thought it was a really interesting religious interpretation and designed beautiful, dirty, honest truths about life that are totally worth remembering. 

(Also, by the way, if the title wasn’t clear—it’s an adult book. Just warning you. But, if it makes you feel better, the main character can’t help but curse like a Baptist, but we all need practice.)


~a book with an incredibly detailed and rich plot~

This one, I might say Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. To be fair, I can’t help but get over psychological perspective and the romance and the awesome worldbuilding. Just, love. 


~a book that you thought you would dislike, but was actually amazing~

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is why this is funny. Any book that has ever claimed to be my favorite book was once a book I was completely positive I would hate. This is a fact. Here is a list of some books I thought I would hate:
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  • H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
  • The Scarlet Trilogy by A.C. Gaughen
  • The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
  • The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
  • Mythic Misadventures by Carolyn Hennesy
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (seriously, I had to get stuck at an airport before I considered opening them)
  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Innocent by David Baldacci

Now, if we’ve discussed these books at all together, then you know I adore these books. They’re spectacular. I’d recommend any one of them. But I was so SURE I would hate them! You asked for an egg? Have a dozen.


~a fluffy, sweet and fun book~

I will say Mothership for this one, because it’s a fun sci-fi chick lit book, but it’s also about motherhood and aliens taking over the world and taking responsibility for your future and achieving your dreams. 


~a book you will love forever and ever because it is (almost) perfect and fulfills your exacting requirements~

Twilight. I don’t know… As my butter might have indicated, I am a complete and total sap for religious allegories and I just die whenever I try to explore all the intricacies in the worldbuilding that have taken place. Just… DETAILS. DETAILS. DETAILS. 


~a book that always cheers you up~

This is ironic, but if you put me with A Series of Unfortunate Events and a plate of cookies I will be as happy as a clam for hours.

~it's powder on a baked good what more do you want from me~

Baking Powder 

~a book you think is absolutely necessary for everyone to read~

I would say Unwind by Neal Shusterman, because, yes, it’s a captivating, awesome, gut-wrenching thriller and there will be people in the comments to back me up on this one (statistical likelihood, don’t fail me now) but it’s also about teenagers. 

Teenagers and us and not teenagers like us. Teenagers like us because they are like us—lives and boyfriends and girlfriends and sex and drugs and fear and craziness. But not like us, because other people determine how valuable their lives are.

In some ways, I feel like people have forgotten that teenagers can be pretty powerful, and we forget that even though we’re young, we’re people, too. We have responsibilities, we are stronger than we think, and we have to be ready, because people may try to make us think otherwise.

And Finally : Cherry on the Top

~your favorite book this year so far~

Aw, I’ve used up The Dirty Parts of the Bible, and Cruel Beauty. Hm. The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill and Came Down a Mountain.

The movie and the book… Just… HEARTS AND JOY. It makes me wish I were Welsh, and not just descended from Welsh people. Because it’s just so beautiful. The companionship! The determination! AND O’BRIEN FROM STAR TREK IS IN THE MOVIE. Telephone booths, cabbage… OH AND POTIPHAR FROM JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT IS IN THERE TOO.

Yeah. It’s good. Go read it.

(all images taken from Goodreads)
And there we have my cake of books. Thanks Shanti and Alyssa for the tag! 

What would some of your ingredients be? Share two in the comments! Or, even better, link me to your own post!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quick Announcement

I shall keep this short: my basement flooded, I only have one post scheduled for this week, and the computers have been turned off due to the water. We'll relocate them so we can do homework but I'm not really confident in the whole blogging/entertainment side of things.

So, blogging's going to be spacey this week. Maybe I'll just have a holiday and do my own thing this week. :)

Thanks for being patient until life gets sorted out over here!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thursentary: You Might Be Reading Christian Fiction If... (Part I)

As with princesses, there are some very important elements of Christian fiction that we have to have. A 100% conversion rate. Historical settings. Respectfully distant romance. I mean, we’re the reactionary’s entertainment hotspot—if the story didn’t have these things, how would we be able to tell it’s Christian fiction in the first place?

Fear not, friends. I have heard your cries and I have formed a list so that we will have no more doubts about what makes up Christian fiction!

You Might Be Reading Christian Fiction If…

…the only people in the world are Christians and atheists.

(Are you suggesting there are other teams?)

...there are Christians, atheists, Jews, and Muslims; technically they were mentioned in the Bible, too.

(We can let Ishmael in, if we have to. But there will be no forgiveness. Forgiveness is bad.)

…people who don’t believe in God hate all Christians, ever.

(It is impossible for a Christian and non-Christian to be friends.

…the cast = white majority + 1 choice ethnicity (preferably in need of charitable help)

(Look how racially conscious we are!)

(All satire aside, this is legit my most favorite pickup line of all time.)

…the girl gets her heart broken or is victimized or is dumped with a baby by some non-God-fearing male because that is what happens to sinful girls.

(Perfect girls do not have this problem. And boys are also perfect so it isn’t a problem.)

…everybody who is married must have or will have kids.

(Marriages are not valid unless you have babies. Single people can attend the Saturday night service until they straighten up and fly right.)

…gender roles are strict and obvious and immutable.

(Women can’t be spiritual leaders; they stay home and pray while strong and independent and brave men dominate the battlefield and do NOT need a woman’s help.)

…it takes place far away from urban life, preferably in the country or a historically sparsely-populated region.

(We’re hiding from the Witnesses.)

via Quick Meme

…there’s Amish people. Amish people EVERYWHERE. 

(America is so immoral; I’ll feel better about my life by reading books where your ankles are indecent.)

…Amish culture is used to contrast liberal modern American Christianity, because their unforgiving theology and lifestyle can routinely be summed up in three hundred pages or less. 

(I’m sure they can’t be that complicated.)

…if a Christian is in jail then it’s probably because they’re a Christian.

(It would be absurd for a Christian to be a murderer.)

...Christians are persecuted, SO MUCH PERSECUTION, but nobody else.

(Christians are one thing—but who on earth would care if another group was persecuted?)

via Christian Memes

…all future Christians are being oppressed because it can only go downhill from here.

(There’s a zero chance that people in the future will allow for religious tolerance.)

…the future is so bad, the very word “Christian” is right up there with “terrorist.”

(Ooooh, you said it.)

…the plot is about as edgy as a dandelion circling its prey.

(That historical fiction romance scene though.)

…at least one popular Christian band is mentioned to carry the pop culture aspect.

(We’re traditional AND not totally lame!)

via Christian Memes

…the romance consists of a girl wanting to marry a guy and God not letting her marry the guy right this instant.

(God made me a woman, women exist solely to complement men, therefore God owes me a man. Why would he make me wait so long?)

…someone gets pregnant.

(This is either the most obvious display of immoral sin ever or the creation of new and beautiful life that we praise God for every day. There is no in between.)

…Christians never do tyrannous things in the name of God.

(That would never happen.

…normally bad decisions are okay, so long as they support Christian values.

(Shotgun weddings, marriages straight out of high school, stalking people, being rude. Whatever!)

And there you have it, half of all you need to know about Christian fiction. Stay tuned for next week’s edition, when all else will be revealed!

How do you know you’re reading Christian fiction? Do you have anything to add? And, of course, are you excited for next week?