Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fan Month: This Isn't the End

This is it, the day has come! IT IS THE LAST DAY OF FAN MONTH. (Believe me, no one is happier than me; it was a good idea and I’d do it again but not tomorrow because I need a break now.)

I’m going to say thank you, to everyone who took anywhere from a few minutes to a week or more this month to work on their own fanship. I loved getting to read where each and every person came from, and I am glad that I didn’t do it alone, either.

Stain glasses sun light flare study continue
Flickr Credit: David Yu

But it is March 31. We read great posts, we did great things, and tomorrow, that ends. We may fall back into bad habits, and we may forget all that we learned and did and see it all fail.

It doesn’t have to. Every day can be a fan day and every month can be a fan month, maybe not to the same extent, but there are never days where there is not an opportunity to encourage and attend to someone else.

It takes practice, and you have to know what you’re doing, but once you know the way, there’s plenty to do. That being said, this month has given me a few ideas to make sure that I do a good job the rest of the year.


Set Goals

I was stupid and crazy to try and read 210 blog posts in a week, and yet I did. I will not be doing the same any time soon, but the point is that if we set a measurable bar, we’ll be more likely to achieve it.

Don’t Kid Yourself

If there are posts you know you aren’t going to read, however much you admire the blogger or the idea, then remove them from your feed. Don’t get bogged down by good intentions.

Pick Favorites

You can’t be a super-personal friend to every single blogger ever, but you can pick a few to lavish some extra love on. If they are someone you really admire or simply someone who looks like they could use an audience, refuse to let them think their posts go unread. Hunt them down!

Share and Search

Sharing too frequently can be annoying and impossible, but taking the extra time to tweet a favorite post or pass it on to a friend can be a big encouragement—and clicking through on posts your friends have shared helps both your friend and the person you visit.

Don’t Sweat It

We have school. We have work. We have manuscripts, TBR lists, bills, trips to the grocery store, children, siblings, emergencies, spontaneous dates, Netflix, and all the rest to get through. Never sweat the small stuff—the more you share because you can and not because you feel pressured, the happier an experience you’ll have!


So, take a break, rest up, get your favorite TV show out of the way, and when you’re ready—let’s be fans again!

~~~~~~

And now for blog-related stuff, because I am in the announcing mood:


  • I have added pages! Handy Links, the OFFICIAL Walden-Bond Index page, and Friends and Fingers are now up and you can explore them to explore what I’ve written, villain posts, and the bloggers I love
  • Be ready! I have a bunch of tags, follow-up posts, new ideas, and also a new series that may or may not work out (we’ll see) starting up in April. Stay tuned for the stuff that’s coming.
  • If you have a couple minutes, I have a checkup survey to parallel the survey you may remember from earlier this year. This is just to make sure I’m staying on track with what I decided to do earlier this year, and see if there are any other changes I should make to keep SIAS awesome.

And if you have anything else to say you can always shoot me a message, because hey, getting mail is fun.


Again, THANKS to everyone who has participated in Fan Month and KUDOS to everyone who has been working so hard on their own blogs and on others’. *high fives and cake all around*

Did you enjoy Fan Month? What is something you could do to keep the fanship going?


Sunday, March 29, 2015

#FanMonth: Update #3

A short update, today. It’s the last Sunday of #FanMonth, so things are starting to wind down, for sure. This is how it’s been the last few weeks.

26 peacock fan
Flickr Credit: Maggz

Writing


I continue to CP (although I am a slow revisioner) and mostly I just ignore that I have my own WIPs going on. But I also realize that I need to get a handle on that and that is also part of the reason why this is short—I want to write before I spend the afternoon watching TV with my best friend.

Reading


I’m on a reading slump, too. I read Three Girls and a Baby (which I finished at 3:30 Saturday morning because I had a miserable time of sleeping) and I’ve also finished reading the companion fairy tales to Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy. Remind me to talk about them because they were worth it.

Blogging


I keep writing posts, people comment on them, I read their posts, comment on theirs, and then they come back to see what I wrote and that is basically a summary of Fan Month right there. Mostly the big question of blogging right now is whether or not I would like to have a series wherein I rant about something that is important to me. Because I don’t want to be one of “those bloggers” but I also hate not talking about it. *smears face on brick wall* Deliberations are hard.

Also, I decided I’m not posting tomorrow because FREEDOM TO POST WHEN I WANT and also posting frequently is hard.

But I have a big announcement on Wednesday so that will be good.

Life


I chilled with my best friend twice. We watched Twilight and The Vicar of Dibley and Leverage. I hung out with my youth group, we served Lenten dinner and watched Guardians of the Galaxy, and I spent most of the week in my pajamas.

Music


I was listening to Elvis but now I believe I am listening to Sarah Brightman covering a Queen song. Also, I got my grandma’s Andrew Lloyd Webber CDs so that is good.


And that is all I’ve got to say for now because I’m going to go write. What are some awesome things you’ve run into this lovely Fan Month?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Love a Blogger #6

I have sad news. This is the last Love a Blogger (at least for now). I know, you are crushed. You don’t know how life can go on. You are cut straight to the core and have every chance of exploding. Well, I’m sorry.

You’ll just have to enjoy these three blogs for a really long time. Because—da da da da!—they’re awesome!

Clockwork Desires

https://clockworkdesires.wordpress.com/

I started visiting Precious’s blog frequently because she started visiting mine more frequently (so if you think commenting isn’t a good way to find followers you’re wrong). She does interesting things, like interview a book she’s read, discuss books she’d like to see converted into movies, and chats about book-related things, like book subscription services. She also participates in a lot of tags and awards, for example The Addictive Blog Award and Daydreamer Award, both of which she won very recently. I love reading her blog because she never gets too long, but she always stuffs her posts full of content.

If you’re interested, you might want to discuss whether you give authors a second chance with her.

Brett Michael Orr

http://www.brettmichaelorr.com/

How did I find this blog? I don’t remember. But I have not regretted following! Brett does really awesome things like interview people (like Cassie and Brett and Aimee and even me one time). Believe it or not I am not the kind of girl who really likes reading book reviews (and if I do read them, I dismiss them as books I shan’t be reading any time soon) so when I say that he writes awesome reviews, I mean it. And he convinced me to read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I wasn’t going to read those books, because I’d seen them reviewed too many times. But I was wrong. So, yes, great reviews, great interviews, and they’re always great reads.

Sometimes he links up with other blogs as well; for example, to discuss his favorite childhood/teen reads!

Opal Swirls

http://opalswirls.blogspot.com/

Opal recently started calling herself Opal, which I am happy about because it is five less letters to type, sounds pretty, and reminds me to read Artemis Fowl all the time. She actually just redesigned her blog! She has brought up some fascinating discussion points, like things she wishes she had known at age 13, the impact of extroverts on her life, and her home. Also, she was super excited when Fan Month started, and I was super grateful because it sucks when you have to do projects without any moral support. She also talks about reading, writing, and apparently plans to take over the world with her cat, but we’ll see how that goes later.

Also, she recently had a kind of controversial post about homeschooling versus public school, and it was very interesting to me.


THANK YOU to Precious, Brett, and Opal for being some of my favorite fantabulous bloggers out there. Visit them. Adore them. Don’t drool on them, that would be weird and would probably not be taken as a compliment. But you could shake hands.

That's all for this March! Let's love some bloggers again very soon!

Have you visited these blogs yet? Go say hi! And, which bloggers do you want to show a little extra love to this fine final week of Fan Month?


Friday, March 27, 2015

Dear Extroverts (Another Response Post)

You MUST read Opal’s letter to extroverts AND Aimee’s letter to introverts, because they are both valid and give you a feast for thought. They are also the reason I wrote this post, because my point is valid as well—and, as a bonus, told by Little Mermaid GIFs. 

(Ariel, if you were wondering, is me/introverts, and Eric is the Extrovert.)

Dearest Extroverts,

I love you people.

You’re talented, funny, charming, and all-around amazing folks, and in one way or another it’s true—I love you people.


To be fair, I hate you people too, but that is a temporary survival response and a natural (but rather unfortunate) side effect of being an introvert.

Sometimes I am incapable of greeting you or smiling at you in the halls. Sometimes I have not had access to my own bedroom for almost a week and I haven’t had a moment to myself in days (curse you, house guests). Sometimes I avoid you or ignore you or avoid eye contact or stumble over my words and it’s awkward.

Sorry.

I go crazy in my head when I am over-stimulated. That is okay. When you are by yourself and go crazy in your head from the lack of energy, that is okay, too. Sometimes it is necessary to forgive one another for the intrusions our brains make upon each other.


Sometimes you will be too loud and I will be too withdrawn and there will be a disconnect, and that is a fact of life.


Nonetheless, I love you people. We are just opposites, and that makes us perfect for each other!

I mean it. Yes, I need my alone time to recharge, but I like being with people, too. Specifically, I like being with people who make me like being with people. Lots of times, these people are extroverts. You.


Sometimes I need to talk, and other introverts can’t be there to listen. So I like that you draw me into conversation. You invite me to listen and to talk; you listen and talk in return. You listen to my ideas. You’re willing to exchange and edit viewpoints.

I like when you listen. I get hung up in my introverted mindset—what is the easiest way to do this without interacting with another human being? You convince me that sometimes further action is required.


Other times I need to be brave, or go crazy, or be in public. Not all introverts chicken out all the time like me, but if I bring an extrovert I have guaranteed moral support at my side.

I like that you let me loosen up. I’m uptight. Work always comes first. And I run myself into the ground. You deftly distract me. You remind me that there’s a time for laughter and there’s a time to just have fun for the fun of it, not for the express purpose of relaxation.


I like that you don’t leave me out. You make social situations easier and include me, and talk to me, even if it’s forced and hard, because you’re nice.

And it’s nice when you pay attention to me. I need people to pay attention to me sometimes. My family can walk in and out of the office all day and never say a word to me, which is fine, but it can feel neglecty sometimes, too.


When people share their time with me or aren’t scared to tell me that they love me, words just for me, that totally makes my day.


Seriously, you make my community FUN. You are ENERGETIC. You make yourselves pleasant to be with and you inflate our relationship so we can have the best of times together.


I meant what I said before. Extroverts, you complement introverts. I know, we’re not always the most fun people and we take a little extra maintenance, but you put up with us anyway. And we can understand each other’s needs—when extroverts claim that introverts are just “shy,” or an introvert associates loudness with stupidness, they are not being ideal extroverts or introverts. They are being uninformed. And sucky.


In reality, we get along well. You take our punches and you try to show us what revitalization means to you. You’re kind people. Caring people. And you fill in the blanks we introverts hold empty.


Believe me, you’ll run into some hates pretty soon. Speaking for myself, I will be grouchy and unforgiving and give you death glares until you retreat into some clandestine grave so that I may recover.

Sometimes I turn into an evil octopus. Sorry.
But I also need you guys, and you’re still there. So thanks for being you, extroverts. I love you people.


Sea ya later!


Heather

It's bad because I didn't use all the Little Mermaid GIFs I wanted to, and even though she is my favorite Disney princess I feel like I am getting a little too overboard. Anyway, who are some of the extroverts in your life? How do they make your life awesome? (I have two extroverted sisters, and they make my life a blast!)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursentary: Voice

Sometimes reading books is hard, like when there are a million words and you want to fall asleep and you have a problem where if you lose interest after five seconds you start daydreaming.


Other times, reading is incredibly easy, and you suddenly hear your alarm clock go off and realize, “Oh yeah, I was supposed to go to sleep.”


It’s an odd contrast, because they’re all the same words. Same ink. And they all tell stories—sometimes very interesting stories. The thing is, in these cases I do not believe it is the story itself, but how the story is told, that makes the difference.

Recently I read Autopista del Sur (Cortázar), Heart of Darkness (Conrad), and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (Monger).

Here is the interesting thing: Autopista del Sur was less than 20 pages, and it felt really long. Heart of Darkness hovered around the 100 page mark, maybe a little less, and that book went on forever and ever. Englishman was about 280 pages and it was a rapid read; it hardly took any time at all to devour.

Now, in numerical time, Englishman took the most time to read. But in perceived time, it did not. I have guesses as to why, with comparisons between all three books.

Autopista del Sur

  • short story, told mostly through narration 
  • little dialogue
  • lots of black space
  • most characters identified by their cars (instead of names)
  • discussion of social order and what happens when people are left to live on their own “islands”
  • in Spanish (which means it felt a little longer to me because reading in Spanish isn’t always easy)
  • hop-around characterization 
  • lots of action and continuous character updates
Basically the story, except for the car moves.

Heart of Darkness

  • novella, told almost completely through dialogue
  • little (formal) narration
  • lots of black space
  • many characters identified by their job or race
  • discussion of imperialism, various psychological forces, and morality
  • in English (which didn’t help)
  • focused characterization
  • TONS of figurative language
What would have been a welcome ending.

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain

  • novel, told with quite a bit of jaunty narration, but an awful lot of dialogue, too
  • first person narration of a third-person omniscient story
  • lots of white space
  • characters identified by name, by job, by country (English vs. Welsh), and by local nickname
  • discussion of national pride, community relationships, religion, teamwork, friendship
  • in English (with the occasional Welsh word)
  • hop-around and focused characterization
  • also, I watched the movie first 
Exciting action in town with lovely mountain scenery in the back.

You’ll notice that a, I’m biased, and b, Englishman did a lot of things differently that I personally do not think are unique to novels alone.

Englishman is told from the point of view of a grandson, who is telling the stories he has pieced together since hearing them as a boy. He talks like a human being, but also has the ability to look into each character’s mind because he himself is outside the story.

There’s a good mix of dialogue and of narration. It flows back and forth, to fill in the gaps that the other cannot fill.

The characters are fantastic. The first chapter, which is all about names, is hilarious, and they are identified by things that strongly characterize them as well. They’re memorable!

My native language does help a little. But also getting to enjoy Welsh is fun, too.

The characterization flows depending on what the story needs.

And, I could enjoy the story because I read it for my pleasure, and I could find ways to understand it without risking a grade or getting concerned about the details I’d be tested on.
via cool-download.org
Englishman enthralled me, rather. It was filled with laughs and smiles, but at the same time it was filled to the brim with Monger’s Welsh spirit, because this story is about a town’s identity, and working hard and long to keep that identity strong.

Is it that HOD or Autopista were bad stories? No. Were they brilliant in their own rights? I’m sure.

But they’re academic stories, in a way. They’re long, filled with details and hidden meanings and criticisms of what is and was.

Englishman is too, but I didn’t find it academic in the slightest. I found it passionate. Witty. Excited, and filled with a memory of a people.

I’m just saying, but when you put that kind of spirit and voice into a book, it’s impossible for it to feel too long. And it’s why Englishman was so much more enjoyable for me.

How do you feel an author’s voice and choices lend to the story? Are there any authors who have a particular style or voice you dis/like?


(By the way, if you don't have an hour and forty minutes or more to read or watch Englishman, you can enjoy the two-minute summary that has nothing to do with the actual story but hey, it's Veggie Tales!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beautiful People #7: Silverhand

I got super indecisive about this Beautiful People (hosted, of course, by the fantastic Cait and Sky). Because I thought I would do it on four characters in my WIP, and then I thought maybe I should do the FMC, and now I have changed my mind again.

Today I shall discuss Silverhand, a secondary character from a story I am sort-of writing.


1. What is his secret desire?


To be a normal dude. Not in that he’d want to give up his political power, but when he was born his mother purchased gifts from a fairy. His father, who prides in skill and talents unaided by magic, favors his “ungifted” sisters.

It isn’t that he is unloved; it’s just that since he was a child he’s been considered tainted—a hard mindset to escape.

2. What is the best and brightest moment he experiences during the story?


Standing in as best man for his best friend’s wedding, totally not dead and with a girl who has earned his respect.

3. What are the emotional places Silverhand is afraid to go to?


His family is a touchy subject. They love him, of course; his father is not a cruel man. He loves them, too. It’s just that they aren’t impressed by much he does at all, because they assume it’s just magic.

4. Is there a place/city/room where he will never go? Why?


He will never enter a lady’s room. Ever. He’ll fight with a woman, he will knock her to the floor of a bar, threaten her, cheat her, insult her, tease her, anger her, ignore her, and provoke her, but he will never enter her room.

He has sisters. And he is never making that mistake again.

5. If he were permanently leaving town, what would he easily throw out? What would he refuse to part with? (Why?)


Silverhand could easily part with most of his friendships, and even his family to some degree.  He wouldn’t want to leave behind his queen or his prince, though—they’ve showed him too much kindness for an easy break.

6. What does he want (consciously and tangibly)?


To succeed. The only place he’s felt at home is being a spy, and so he wants to weed out any threats to the royal family’s life. He wants to see that everything goes smoothly. And he wants it to be done quickly and efficiently.

7. On the other hand: what does he need (on the emotional, subconscious level)?


Forgiveness. He blames himself for [almost] not stopping an assassin, he dislikes himself for the gifts that have been given to him, and he is afraid of his failures. They make him almost too desperate to redeem himself.

8. If he could change one thing about himself, what would it be?


He would probably change his infallible health. He can’t get drunk, and while he can pretend very, very well, he’s never really understood what it’s like. Plus, nobody trusts a man with infallible health.

9. What is the most humiliating event of his life?


Always being lesser than his sisters, especially at social events when the other boys his age were often placed ahead of their sisters. He was considered a sissy boy, up until the point they played poker in the stables and they all left naked, and he had a new wardrobe.

They made him give it all back, of course, and he was punished with lashings in public. That was humiliating, too. But it also gave him his nickname: Silverhand.

10. What things do they turn to when they need a bit of hope?


Towards the beginning of the story, he only has the prince to turn to, really. Everyone assumes that his life revolves around money and that money makes him happy, when it really doesn’t. Although the FMC really hates him, eventually he finds himself turning to her for hope, because she knows just as well as he does that chasing money isn’t the key to happiness.

So, what are you working on? Pick two questions and tell me about your WIP—or, better yet, link me up to your post!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Common Courtesy: Visiting a Blog

People have confessed to struggling with commenting before, and I don’t blame them—sometimes it is hard to say nice or deep things.

When I was out and about during my fan week, though, sometimes I would see others who said and did yucky things, including in their comments.

Courteous
Flickr Credit: Maureen Davis

Top 5 Tips When Visiting a Blog


1. Be Respectful


Act like you’re in a stranger’s house. Most bloggers I know put a lot of work into their blogs, and even if you don’t like what they have to say, you do not have to forcibly impress your presence upon them—that is not your job.

2. Read the Posts


If you’re there, read a post. Don’t just skim. Read it! Most bloggers aren’t going to take more than five minutes of your time, and while the time adds up, so does your participation.

3. Comment Sincerely


The easiest way to show a blogger that you enjoy their work is by telling them. Be sincere in what you say, and be specific in what you talk about. “Nice post!” is not nearly as flattering as “Nice post! I was really impressed with the way you compared Harry Potter to the hopeless spirit animals on Mars, I never thought of it that way before!”

(Also, always follow the comment policy. For reals.)

4. Use Good Grammar


We’ve all made a stupid mistake and forgotten to proofread before we hit “send.” It happens. It’s good to double check, but make sure you’re using correct spelling and grammar in the first place. There should be no numbers instead of letters in your words.

(And if you’re a writer, by the way, I totally judge you based on your grammar. If I know you can’t use periods correctly now, what must your manuscript look like? Not fair of me, I know. But the way you type is one of the few things I have to go on.)

5. Don’t Lie


Don’t be mean, either. If saying “Nice post!” would be a lie for you, don’t be obliged to say, “Mediocre post!” because that’s just a little sad. But don’t pretend to like something you didn’t and don’t be pressured into lying for the sake of being nice. You can have you own opinion—but there’s always a way to express that opinion without shooting anybody else down.


I have this etiquette book by Emily Post (it’s so long) and it has some interesting things to say about manners. Double introductions are a no-no. However, there is no section on blogging, so this is my replacement on how not to be rude when visiting a blog.

What are some ways you show courtesy on other blogs? What are your rudeness pet peeves?

(Fun fact, cortés means courteous  in Spanish, and I find it super ironic that Hernán Cortés was named that and then overthrew the entire Aztec kingdom and captured all of Mexico for Spain. Like, I don’t know about you guys, but… rude.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

GUEST POST: A Fan's Five Stages of Grief with Elizabeth

I'm afraid to announce that our last guest post this month has arrived. Try to hold it together; you don't want to miss this. My own best friend agreed to cover a topic we really haven't touched on this month! Read her, enjoy her, and since she let me pick the GIFs I got to make the captions so don't think I'm not here, either. 

Hola, my amigos and amigas. The name’s Elizabeth (aka Spranz).

I’ve been mentioned before. I am Heather’s elusive best friend, and though I am not a blogger meself (yet), I am a fan, and was invited by Her Majesty to do a guest post. So here I am. My topic? The Five Stages of Grief (That You Go Through After Finishing a Really Good Book). So, in the famous words of Heather herself, buckle up, buttercup, as I tell you about one of the many dangers of being a fan of books.

1. Denial. Usually characterized by staring blankly at the last page, or saying, in a disbelieving monotone, “No! That can’t be how it ends! It can’t be over! There must be more.

Admit it. This is us. Every single book, it's us.
2. Anger. This is where you realize, like Winnie the Pooh, that there is, in fact, no more. Also the point at which you throw the book across the room with an incoherent scream of fury. (Note:  I recommend, if you have this urge, to throw something that you will not damage. Say, a pillow. No, I do not know this from experience.) If you experience strings of curse words directed at the author of the book flooding from your mouth at this point in time, do not be alarmed. These are all perfectly normal reactions.

Of all the things you could damage, Bubbles would probably be a worser idea.
3. Bargaining. In which you desperately Google the author’s name and the title of the book, in the (most of the time vain) hope that there is a sequel or a prequel or paraquel or something so that you will not be abandoned forever in the black abyss of despair (aka a world in which the story is over.) Now, I am not an avid reader of fanfiction, but I think this is probably when the most intense fanfiction reading goes on, for in your desperation to continue your life in the world of the story, you may dive down to depths unfathomable, in which strange people imagine relationships between characters that make you want to vomit. (The relationships, not the characters.)

Dear GIF, I know not where you're from, but your words sing so very true.
4. Depression. What I usually refer to as a “book hangover.” This can last anywhere from a few minutes to a day or two (to months and months and months), and involves you dragging your feet as you go about your business, a crazed look in your eyes and your hair uncombed. Your friends will ask you what’s wrong. Pity them, for you will then release a veritable flood of feels on their head. Also pity them because if they have to ask what’s wrong, they probably have never experienced a book hangover themselves, and thus probably do not care tuppence for all the info you dump on them. They will then nod nervously and back away. You may need to apologize later for your actions in order to persuade them once again that you are not, in fact, insane. (Note: the best of friends, when this occurs, will immediately go out and read the book, whether to join you in your misery or simply to discover the wonders of the book for themselves.)

Hey look, that phone has a cord. How quaint!
5. Acceptance. The moment you pick up another book, the cycle is complete. Congratulations – you have let your grief go and are ready to move on to another story! Do not feel guilty about this; it is only natural. And imagine if you were not able to move on. You would remain forever in the endless vortex of Depression, and would never get to experience another story. How sad would that be?

Problem. This is a Liz-and-Heather post and we're missing Tom.
So, there you have it. The Five Stages of Book Grief. However, coming to terms with the problem is only part of the solution – knowledge, however handy, usually does not help you pull yourself out of the Pit of Despair that is a book hangover. In order for you to complete the cycle and become a functional fan once more, you must reach the Stage of Acceptance. Here are a few good ways to do this:

1. Remember that friend who immediately went out and read the book? Contact them. Sob over the phone. Sob in person. Eat a gallon of ice cream with them. Bemoan the fates of all your favorite characters together. After all, misery loves company. Or, if all your friends are lame-o’s who hate reading (shame on them!) power up that computer. Surely there is someone in all the blogosphere who has read the same book and is willing to commiserate. (Though, admittedly, virtual ice cream is not nearly as good.)

We watched all of The Pirate Fairy, we can't just ignore him.
2. Take action! And by action, I do not mean going after the author with a pitchfork and a torch, though that would be very fun, and believe me, I have considered it more than once. (Darn you, John Flanagan, why do you have to live in Australia?) By action I mean actively moving on. Pick up another book and force yourself to read it. For example, you can choose a book with even more emotional trauma than the previous one. (I recommend Game of Thrones for this purpose. I’ve heard it’s a real doozy.) It’s like when someone asks you why you’re hitting yourself with a hammer. Answer:  because it feels so good when it stops!

Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. BACK INTO THE FRAY.
3. Last, but not least, remember that this is all a natural part of being a fan. It isn’t all fun and games and lollipops and happily ever after, you know. Sometimes it’s DEATH and PAIN and TORTURE and SADNESS and things like that. It always has, and it always will be.

Don't worry, folks. Go back to your knitting. Problem solved.
Good luck, my fandom friends. I believe you can push through your debilitating Book Grief and continue your puny little lives in reality. See you on the flipside.


Elizabeth (right) and
CJ, a friend (left)
Elizabeth is a Colorado humanities student, which means she studies all things awesome and having to do with how great humans are at their humanness. In her free time—and even in the time that isn't free—she reads obsessively and terrorizes her residence hall as the "crazy book girl." She can usually be found wrapped in a comforter, recovering from her latest book hangover. She doesn't have her own formal blog, but you can visit her on Tumblr at Blog of a Book-lover.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fan Week Wrap-up! (I'm back!)

*looks up from being a glop on the floor* Oh, hello. I am back, loosely speaking. Just let me crawl back from the recesses of my cave.

Ugh. I am literally insane.

More than that, I am tired and insane. Let’s preface everything else with this: the first person who feels bad because they did less than I did will get my fist through their face.

Except that is mean, so I will just glare at you disapprovingly, because who the heck wants to listen to a bunch of people compare themselves to you in a negative way? Not me.


What statistics do you have to share?

Goal: Get through Bloglovin’ posts

From the 160-170 posts I had to read to begin with, now only ONE remains. And that is this month’s Beautiful People because I need to post mine still.

Goal: 60 blogs, 210 comments

I visited 123 blogs; 41 of them were new to me. On those blogs I read 210 posts (exactly) and commented on almost each one (some people don’t allow comments, blah) .

Goal: Add/subtract various blogs

I did not keep track of who got kept and who got left, but suffice it to say it did happen and I am pleased with the bloggers I am now following and also pleased with my cleaner Bloglovin’ feed.

Goal: Comment back to every commenter

If you have ever commented on my blog and you have written a blog post since the last time I visited, I commented.

Goal: Write three WiaB posts

Yes, a few more. I’m actually doing a 30 Day Challenge over there, where I just write 250+ words a day about something or other.

Goal: Pay more attention to my WIPs.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. That didn’t happen.

If you were curious, the most-read blog was Cait’s Paper Fury, at 10 posts. Clockwork Desires and Go Teen Writers were the runners-up.

Also, I shared five of those posts on Facebook daily, tweeted thrice daily, and pinned almost every post on Pinterest. Also, I had a big spreadsheet.

Did you find or learn anything new and exciting this week?


I learned some stuff.

For example, For the Bookish, which I have seen around from Ana, is not said the same way you would say, “Do it for the vine!” Bookish, like bookish people, the same way you say nuevas, like nuevas personas. Ha. I am smart.

Don’t make the page font really weird; save it for titles and headings.

Avoid sounding like you are nine in your writing.

Saying “thank you” is enough.

Making candles sounds cool.

I have so many books to read.

Also, I learned that there are a lot of people younger than me. Like, sometimes it feels like “Oh, I am so similar in age to Aimee and Alyssa” but no. I am not. I am old. *headdesk*

Are there any blogs that made you want to make you change something about your own?


Mostly it’s a design thing. Like, I don’t think SIAS looks hideous but I don’t think it looks super professional either. I like the white, I like the font, but I don’t know what else I’d really want.

Anyway, I probably will not because I am too tired to do all that redesigning again. BS-ing my coding skills is great sometimes, and other times it is not.

What was your favorite part? Your least favorite part?


The best part? Everything is done. Good grief, everything is done. No more posts, no more comments back, no more frantic search for more posts because I ran out just as I reached the 200 mark.

I have met great people and read great posts and I have done great things. It was good.

The worst part? I am exhausted. I have not done any homework since Thursday. I don’t have a ton of stuff prepped for SIAS this week. And I kind of feel like I never want to look at a blog post ever again.

You have to realize, my superpower is also my weakness. I can get anything done that I want to get done. Just at a detriment to my own soul.

(Also, I’m an introvert and you would think that blog post comments would not be exhausting stimulation but you would be wrong.)

Did you enjoy your experience? Would you do it again?


Ask me in six months.

Just kidding, I would. But maybe I’d do it during a week I had off from school instead of doing it during the school week. That was not my most brilliant idea. On the bright side now it is spring break, so that is not a problem.

Other things of note, if you were curious:

  • Writing
    • finished first round reads for my CP, Alyssa
    • completely abandoned Alyssa and didn’t touch that folder since Thursday
    • did not write any of my own stuff
  • Reading
    • reading Ceremony for school
    • I think I’ve forgotten that I love to read but that’s okay
  • Blogging
    • started a WiaB 30 Day Challenge
    • totally didn’t post a new Love a Blogger because no way José
  • Life
    • learned to put my hair in a bun
    • three hour discussion of philosophy, life, school, books, and Twilight on Friday
    • watched new Annie movie (!)
    • my philosophy class may be ordering t-shirts 
  • Outside
    • why don’t you take a look for yourself?

So, I’m going to go watch Finian’s Rainbow and not blog. Don’t worry, though—there’s gonna be another awesome guest post tomorrow and I bet you’re going to love it.

How is #FanMonth going for you people?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Love a Blogger Saturday #5

Hi, this is Heather. I can’t take your message right now, but if you leave your name and number at the tone, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! *beep*

Just kidding; I do actually plan on responding to comments while I’m out—and out I am! I’m busy participating in my Fan Week, and catching up on all the blog posts I need to read, reconnecting with my community, and clearing up the 30+ blog-related tasks I have created for myself.

I know you’ll miss me. But never fear—it’s Saturday again, and if you’re longing for reading material, this is week five of the Love a Blogger series!


Wandering in a Blur

http://wanderinginablur.blogspot.com/

This kind of feels like cheating, because I blog there too, but I would like to give a shout out to my co-blogger Rob, because he is a great person, and a good friend besides. Admittedly, he doesn’t always have the time to post often (he’s crazy busy, let me tell you) but when he does post—true to our bio—he is DEEP. You can check out nearly any post: the one about Noir fiction, or the cyclical nature of things, or his end-of-year reflection. I love him because he sees things through a profound light, and yet he’s never too far from teenage boy-dom.

Also, my favorite post of his is called The Trope of the Geek and Nerd, and it was fantástico.

A Writer’s Faith

http://awritersfaith.blogspot.com/

Katie is just a nice person. Really, really nice—and I have a ton of her tags to catch up on! For example, she just did The Book Lovers’ Questionnaire, and let her love for books show. She was a great fan during February and loved on a few of her favorite writers, and she also had some great things to say about the relationship between music and writing for the TCWT chain last month. I love the sincere way she writes, and whether her posts are about her love of books or writing or something else, you just know she’s a sweet person.

Also, if you were interested, she just guest posted over at To the Barricade, with some tips for keeping track of the books you read!

The Devil Orders Takeout

http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

First of all, let’s just stop and appreciate that name, because how much better can a blog name get? Secondly, if you’re wondering where you heard that name before, it’s probably because Alyssa was fantastic enough to guest post for me on Monday! She’s promoted the awesome idea called #Followception, and is participating in Fan Month besides, but she also just had a blog party and it was totally awesome. I also really enjoy Alyssa’s perspective, because it lets her write about Chinese culture and host guest posts about her own WIP's cover (which I am reading and is also something to rave about, but now is not the time).

(Also, she's a great CP.)

And so pretty much I gushed over my favorite posts already so here, look at this book tag, because she talks about books, too.


So, THANKS to Rob, Katie, and Alyssa for writing some of the awesomest words on the street, and you should go visit, because they are worth it.

In the meantime, like I said, I’m out! Be sure to keep checking #FanMonth Central, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook for updates, and I’ll see you a week from today!

Have you visited these blogs yet? Check ‘em out! And, which bloggers do you want to show a little extra love to this fine week?

Friday, March 13, 2015

WBI: Professor Pike

Okay, so we have done all but TWO of the different kinds of villains (in this index, anyway), and we have not addressed a character from either of the worlds from which this index gets its name. And today I want to talk about H.I.V.E., so we’re going to talk about H.I.V.E.

Professor William Theodore Pike, from The Higher Institute of Villainous Education, ladies and gentlemen, by Mark Walden.


WBI Profile


Classification :: Π2479*
Role :: Technician (H.I.V.E.’s STEM head)
Motivation :: idealism (villainy), insubordination (H.I.V.E. employee), gain (work access), wealth (wages)
Bonus :: lair (H.I.V.E.)

Click to Big

A Study


old—I just want to make this clear: he is not the stereotypical young nerd, and even on the database his age is listed as “very old”

interesting story—by the way, his name was William and then it was Theodore and so his name is William but he goes by Theo (middle name) with close friends; that’s the story, anyway (it was funny watching Mark get out of that one)

employed—Pike has people above him, and he gets paid for what he does

plugged in—by working for someone, Pike is able to do what he does without necessarily having to fund all his projects himself

deceiving—Pike gives off an image of a careless professor with one outfit, but he is much, much more

“absent-minded”— he looks like he loses things, but he definitely accidentally left his students with the key to access H.I.V.E.’s secure database on purpose

sharp—when Pike and Nathaniel meet after YEARS apart, they (both) still remember where they were when they left off in their last game of chess

inventive—most of the gadgets in the series were designed by this guy, from purple swords that can cut through anything to the school’s A.I., H.I.V.E.mind

innovative—he also plays a main role in making things that are new and different, so our MCs have an edge

villainous—Pike does what he does on behalf of other villains; he loves to learn, but he has chosen where to apply his skills

daring—as he works on the cutting edge of science, Pike works to do things no one else has, and some things people wouldn’t think it right to do, but he finds it worth it

productive—Pike gets a lot of stuff done; he is never not busy, what with designing new weapons, teaching, minding H.I.V.E.mind, and all his other duties

resourceful—how many people do you know who carry enough C4 in their pockets to blow up a tank?

lenient—Pike gives a lot of freedom to his students, perhaps more than his boss would approve of; he encourages them to make potentially dangerous choices that can still cause good things

foolish—occasionally Pike will make a stupid decision, like get attacked by an enemy or his favorite student because he assumes he can manage, and then he can’t

reckless—with that innovation comes a fault of desire and confidence, the kind that accidentally gets your colleague stuck in the body of a cat or causes fatalities (only three this year!)

defensive—that being said, Pike is not going to be guilted into regretting turning Ms. Leon into a cat; he has his pride to think of

concerned—as much danger as Pike may create, he does care for his students and colleagues; he’s been known to take the fall for his students’ mistakes, and really tries to keep the school safe

at home—also, although H.I.V.E. is not a lair unique to Pike, it is where he works and lives, and it suits him as a place that provides him with everything he needs

crucial—Pike breaks the stereotype here; his advice and opinions are attended to, especially in regards to his inventions, because even though they are villains, mindless killing is not the goal (especially people on your own team)

respected—even more, Pike has been a long-valued member of the school, and has fills in as headmaster when Nero isn’t around; his role is weighted

Big Idea


old people can be awesome—whoever came up with this idea that everyone in a spy novel has to be under 40 or take a desk job is silly. I mean, yeah, Pike doesn’t get out into the field much, but he spends a good amount of time blowing stuff up and getting drawn into the action (albeit occasionally against his will).

trust the builder—remember this: the person who did the making is almost exclusively going to know more about the product than anyone else, though there are exceptions. Pike creates so much technology, and Nero trusts him, and listens to him, because he knows the professor is a great resource.

carelessness has consequences—it is all well and good to pretend to be careless, but there’s such a thing as being too trusting. Telling the guards to leave, for example, or creating the potential for a dangerous A.I. On the one hand, it characterizes his trust/risk attitudes. On the other, it opens up a lot of potentially life-threatening events for him to deal with.

give secondary characters detail—I’m guessing you haven’t read H.I.V.E. (and if you have, YAY). Professor Pike is a secondary character in both plot lines, and while he’s an important secondary character, his main function is to make action-y stuff for people, and also complicate things. But he is not a cardboard man. He doesn’t sit in the limelight, but he still has detail. He’s still good. And, you will find, he is more than the sum of his parts.

“How are you feeling?”
“Old, but that’s nothing new.” –Max Nero and Professor Pike, Zero Hour, Mark Walden, pg 94


There you go, Professor Pike! Have you ever written a Technician character? Would you ever write a Technician character? What doomsday devices might you have them invent? (I promise not to steal your ideas.)


Thursday, March 12, 2015

TCWT March Blog Chain: A Different Kind of Love

A short interlude from #FanMonth—your monthly Teens Can Write, Too! linkup. Yay.


“What are your thoughts on reading or writing books in non-novel formats? Are there any you’ve particularly enjoyed?”


I like reading non-novel books. I mean, there’s lots of ways to write a book. I myself have enjoyed some non-novel books lately. Here, look:

1. Pastrix, by Nadia Bolz-Weber :: a memoir (ish, thing) of a lady who became a Lutheran pastor. Sometimes it challenged me, sometimes it made me laugh, but I think it was a very raw version of Christianity we don’t see often enough.

2. Tattoos on the Heart, by Gregory Boyle :: another memoir about a Catholic priest who works with gang members in California. A very different version of raw Christianity, but still important to hear.

3. Olympians, by George O’Connor :: graphic novel series (IT COUNTS OKAY) of the Greek myths; I just reviewed the seventh one, and I loved it.

4. A Fine and Pleasant Misery, by Patrick F. McManus :: short stories originally written for newspaper about camping; when you read it, it’s like you’re sitting with pine needles in your butt listening to the stories with campfire smoke in your eyes, and they are beautiful.

Those are the most prominent. Yeah, I read a lot of novels. But you know what I really love, more than novels? Stories.

All of the books I just listed tell stories. Stories, stories, stories. And what is more beautiful than a story?

Stories about baking bread, and sleeping with your housemates’ significant others when they aren’t around, and being forgiven even though you are cranky and cantankerous (and aren’t we all?).

Stories about gangs—about watching kids kill each other on the street—about having a girl my age hop into the office, excited that she’s pregnant because she wants to have kids before she dies.


Stories about the gods: stories that teach you to admire Hera, to respect Zeus, to fear Poseidon, to pity Ares, to understand Aphrodite, and to love Hades even more than you already did.

Stories about adventure and misery. Stories about friendship. Stories about making stupid mistakes, and being somewhat over it by now.

It doesn’t take a novel to capture me. It doesn’t take a novel to remind me that I love to read when I forget. And it doesn’t take a novel to punch you in the gut with all the emotional weapons known to man.

I admire people who have those stories to share. They’re captivating. Branding. And if you swear off non-novel formats in principle, I tell you: you are missing out. Lots.

Do you write non-novel format? Do you read non-novel format? Tell me about it! Any recommendations?


If you ARE in the blog chain—drop me a link to your post, so I can be sure to come and visit!

If you ARE NOT in the blog chain—it is Fan Month. Take fifteen minutes, visit three other people who are in the chain. YOU CAN DO IT.

6th – Act I: How Theater Helps Us Write

7thNon-Novel Formats

8thI'm Sick of Novels

9th – http://rcubedreadsreviews.blogspot.com/

10th – TCWT Blog Chain Post

11th – Not Just Novels

12thConsider... maybe you're exactly where you ought to be.

13th – Poetry, Plays, Prose, Pictures, & More

14thTCWT March Blog Chain

15thLate, late, late!

16thMarch 2015 TCWT Blog Chain

17thTeens Can Write, Too! Post

18thMarch 17, 2015

19th – http://jasperlindell.blogspot.com.au/

20thNot limited to novels either :)

21stI'm Sorry: A Diary with a Strong Female Character

22ndWords in its many different forms

23rd – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

24thCreation-Ability

25thMarch TCWT Chain

26thTeens Can Write, Too! (March 2015)

27th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ultimate Book Tag

So, I saw that Tara did this super cool book tag, and since I’ve been on a roll, I thought I’d do it too. And I haven’t talked much about books lately, so I am going to remedy that.

(By the way, I used a million GIFs, and they are all from Pinterest and I didn't source them, bad me.)



1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?


Yes. Dude, I get sick from just being in the car—so I have perfected the art of NOT getting sick in the car. Air conditioning, light clothing, don’t read, and stick an audio book in the CD player. Unless, of course, your CD player breaks three hours into the drive to Nebraska.

Also, since I’ve been driving for over a year now I don’t really have the daring to try and read and drive at the same time.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?


I would say Martin Leicht and Isla Neal have a completely unique writing style in the Ever-Expanding Universe trilogy—I love Elvie’s voice, firstly, and is totally teenager without being totally idiotic. Secondly, they get pretty honest about pregnancy, which is nice for once.

3. The Harry Potter series or the Twilight Saga? Give three points to defend your answer.


Twilight Saga, which I’ve mentioned. Why? It has more profound questions of morality and a more artful depiction of moral ambiguity, Carlisle is a better Christ figure than Harry, and Charlie Swan is the bomb dot com.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it? (Besides books!)


No, but I made a fan bag for my favorite series that I don’t usually use because I don’t want to ruin it. Oh, well, I have a Bible bag, for the times when I want to smuggle books and notebooks into le church.

5. Do you smell your books?


Not really, no. I mean, they are all pretty new so they mostly don’t smell.

6. Books with or without illustrations?


Without, but I sit down and read picture books sometimes, too. We have a big Dr. Seuss collection here.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later that it wasn’t quality writing?


I would say Harry Potter or The 39 Clues. I mean, Harry Potter is not bad—it’s just a children’s book and I have grown out of it. Lots of people are welcome to enjoy it, but for me personally, I am out. The 39 Clues, on the other hand, is like that nice girl at school who leaves and becomes a slut and YOU USED TO BE MORE THAN JUST A SCHEME TO GET MONEY BUT YOU LIED TO ME AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I LISTENED TO YOU GOODBYE.
Oh, Ian... *sigh*

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!


I can’t remember any, sorry.

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelves?


I’m pretty sure I have a DuckTales comic on that shelf, and if it’s not that, then it’s the two Bee and Puppycat comics I have…

10. What is the thickest book on your shelves?


It’s either my mythology encyclopedia (because it is thick up-and-down-wise) or my Poe anthology.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself as an author in the future?


Yes, I write. What kind of question is this? I see me as a writer now. Or, if not now, then as soon as we finish watching an episode of Northern Exposure tonight.

12. When did you get into reading?


My parents like to brag that I learned my alphabet when I was 19 months old and after that I just picked up reading because they had me do reading lessons all the time.

13. What is your favorite classic book?



Okay, fine. Then I might pick The Handmaid’s Tale or Catch-22, because those are what we read in English so they probably count.

It’s just that they had such a different industry back then. DICKENS WROTE SERIALS. HE GOT PAID BY THE WORD. Which explains the inconsistencies and why it is so long and why I get bored fast. I do not read boring books.

14. In school, was your best subject Language Arts/English?


… I’m pretty good at all my classes, thanks. Yes, I’m good at English, but considering I get straight-A’s it’s sort of a no competition deal.

(If you want to know percentages, I have extra credit in Philosophy so I have more than 100%, but after that it’s English at 97%.)

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated… what would you do?


Thank the person who gave it to me and then donate it to the library. Or, if I were really disappointed, might result to less savory methods of disposal.

16. What is a lesser-known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?


Who cares? Like, I don’t know—neither really take my fancy anymore, so I don’t pay attention to the stories that are similar to them.

17. Besides rambling, what is a bad habit you always have while blogging?


My posts are really long. I don’t know if that counts as rambling or not—maybe I put in too much content?

18. What is your favorite word?


Doom.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?


I’m a geek, thanks. I do not have the technological affinity nor the D&D skills of a nerd, I am not a dongle, nor am I a stupid middle-schooler.

So I can quote movies to you, tell you anything you want to know about certain facts, I read IMDb trivia, I marathon movies, and all around I side with Rhett in this video. Let’s be specific with our tags, thanks.

20. Vampires or fairies? Why?


Vampires—admittedly, my best friend and I watched The Pirate Fairy very recently (it’s Tom Hiddleston, that makes it okay) but I think vampires are interesting because they suck out your life’s essence and you can go so many directions with that.

21. Shapeshifters or angels? Why?


Ummmm… I don’t know. Am I supposed to say angels because I’m a Christian? Shapeshifters are cool, but I don’t feel like I’ll fall in love with the idea until I figure out how such transformations are biologically possible when de and reselecting different alleles to represent the phenotypes of other species on cue would cost so. much. energy.

22. Spirits or werewolves? Why?


Werewolves. Not because I like werewolves, but I feel like werewolves have more rules I can live with. Full moon, man to wolf, eat stuff, awoooo, etcetera. I feel like no two spirits or ghosts or whatever have the same rules in books, and the ideas that surround them are just plain confusing. I can’t deal with that.

23. Zombies or vampires?


Oh, please. Vampires. At least they can pretend to be suave—who wants an enemy that’s falling apart and grody like that?
You know what I mean.

24. Love triangle or forbidden love?


I’m going to say love triangle, just because we all know that forbidden loves are either going to end up with them together or dead. If you have a love triangle, at least it indicates a variability of love, which means that maybe two will make a decision, or maybe the MC will choose neither, or maybe someone else will enter. I don’t think it happens in real life all too often but it adds excitement to a story.

25. Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?


Romance. Why, you ask? James Bond, that’s why. And when you just have action packed stories with love scenes mixed in you end up being a womanizer and as much as I enjoy those movies I suggest you either go with the whole romance or pick a book with romances important to the plot but are not central to the political, economic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or societal conflicts therein.
NONE OF THE BOND GIRLS ARE WEARING CLOTHES SO TAKE THIS IMAGE INSTEAD

I decided to do this because I felt like I could be a little snotty. So that is what happened. Yay.

Pick two questions—what would be your answers? And, if you want, feel free to steal the tag!