Orlando

I don’t know what to say.

I feel bad that I didn’t post about this right after I’d heard about the tragedy––I was just in such shock, rage, and pain that I couldn’t even form words. I still can’t. I don’t think there’s any way I can articulate how devastated and furious I am.

Above all else, my heart hurts for the victims, for all their friends and family. The pain and horror they have to endure is unimaginable.

49 innocent people were killed, and 53 were injured. 49 people don’t get to live out the rest of their lives or see their loved ones ever again. 53 people have to live with lifelong injuries, scars, and PTSD (if they all survive). All because one man was so offended by the sight of two men kissing that he decided 49 people had to pay for it with their lives.

They were more than just numbers, more than just victims. They were beautiful human beings. Here are their names. They were dancers, artists, students, teachers, musicians, nurses. They were parents, they were sons and daughters. They died alongside beloved friends and partners. It’s so tragic and unfair that it makes me want to scream.

This was an act of domestic terrorism as well as a hate crime. Nothing about this tragedy is a coincidence. It’s not a coincidence that the shooter targeted a gay nightclub. It’s not a coincidence that he chose to attack on a Lantinx-themed night hosted by trans women. It’s not a coincidence that he chose to attack during Pride Month. He specifically targeted LGBTQIA+ people of color, one of the most marginalized groups in the country (and the world), and he chose to attack them in their safe space. Typing out those words literally makes me feel dizzy and sick to my stomach. I can’t believe that someone could be so monstrous.

But if that’s not disgusting enough, it also infuriates me that this is not new or entirely unexpected. We live in a country that fuels hatred and gives people the means to carry out hate crimes. We live in a country that politicizes love and marriage,  but does nothing when it comes to controlling violence. Apparently everyone has the right to own a machine gun––including people on FBI watch lists, people with histories of committing violence/abuse, and people who are openly racist and/or homophobic/transphobic––but LGBTQIA+ people (especially LGBTQIA+ people of color) don’t have the right to walk outside, or even to exist in their own safe spaces, without the fear of being attacked or killed for their mere existence.

I’ve seen people blaming this tragedy on guns, and others blaming it on hatred. The fact is, it’s both. If we’re going to prevent hate crimes and mass shootings, we need to stand up for the rights of marginalized people and listen to their voices and have a better control on violence.

We still have a very long way to go. But I’m still trying to be hopeful about the future, as bleak as things may seem right now. Even though this attack is a huge blow, I’ve still seen a lot of progress in my lifetime. I see more and more people accepting who they are, and at younger and younger ages. I see more and more LGBTQIA+ representation in the media (even if it’s still not nearly enough, but at least it’s happening). I’ve only very recently started to accept my own identity as a bisexual woman, and it’s because I’ve had so much love, support, and acceptance from friends and family––many of whom are also LGBTQIA+.

The tragedy in Orlando weighs so heavily on my heart, and I know change will not come easily. But ultimately, love is love, and it will always be stronger and louder than hatred.

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I Met Maggie Stiefvater!

This post is coming a little late, but I wanted to tell you all about my experience meeting Maggie Stiefvater the other week! *screams and fangirls* She is currently on her book tour for The Raven King (the final book in the Raven Cycle series), and she happened to stop by Brookline, MA (which is fairly close to where I live), and I was fortunate enough to attend the event––and I’m really happy I was able to reserve tickets for me and my mom, because it sold out in less than five minutes! 😱

In case you didn’t know, Maggie is the author of a bunch of best-selling YA books/series, including The Wolves of Mercy Falls (aka the Shiver trilogy)The Scorpio Races, and The Raven Cycle. And she’s one of my favorite authors ever.

First of all, the talk she gave was so funny. It was almost like a stand-up routine, really. Everyone was just laughing their heads off and it was so much fun. Topics included ugly babies, evil goats, vomiting on airplanes, accidentally posting photos of her boobs on the internet, and setting John Green on fire.

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Here she is, pretending to be one of her pet goats attempting to fly off the roof. 

 

After the talk, of course, was the book signing. I was near the end of the line, but I didn’t mind because it gave me more time to pull myself together and decide what on earth I was going to say.

I always feel so intimidated when I meet authors, and as a result I often get tongue-tied. But luckily, Maggie was super friendly, and I managed to say something semi-coherent about how much I love her books and characters. *whew*

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!!!!!!!!

 Here is my signed copy of The Raven Boys!

Processed with Rookie Cam

And I also got this lovely “book hugger” which wraps around all four of the Raven Cycle books (with beautiful art by Maggie herself––gosh, how can one person be so talented?!):

Processed with Rookie Cam

It was such an amazing event, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors!


 

How about you guys?

  • Have you met any authors?
  • If so, who did you meet? What was the experience like?
  • If not, which author(s) would you most like to meet?

Infitiny Dreams Award

Lauren at Always Me nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Award! Lauren is incredibly nice and awesome, and you should most definitely check out her blog. 🙂

Rules:

1. Give 11 facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions set to you by the blogger who nominated you.

3. Nominate up to 11 bloggers to receive this award.

4. Ask the bloggers you have nominated to answer 11 questions (bonus points for those who answer in a vlog).

11 Facts About Me

  1. I’m the oldest of 6 kids. 🙂

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2. I’m a bit of a coffee addict
. I started drinking coffee when I was 10 years old (it was only in small increments and only like once a week, but still) and my addiction has only grown since then.

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3. Probably related to the above: I’m a terrible insomniac.

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It’s kind of a miracle if I can fall asleep within an hour or two of lying down, and I usually wake up pretty early, too. There are some nights I don’t fall asleep until like 4 or 5 am even if I’m lying there with my eyes closed the whole time! Lately I’ve been trying to cut back on caffeine in the afternoon/evening though, and that generally seems to help. 😛

4. I love earrings. And any other kind of jewelry, really––but especially earrings. I’m always buying new ones, even though I already have a zillion pairs.

5. Also I have a nose piercing!

6. I used to dye my hair funny colors. It started out just with red, but then I moved on to pink, blue, purple, green, etc. I really enjoyed having dyed hair, but it was kind of a pain to maintain it. Also after I stopped, my hair was a weird greenish/blondish color for months and months. I still kinda miss having wacky-colored hair, though!

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7. I’m a little obsessed with animated things––movies, TV shows, you name it. I even have an animation blog on Tumblr, shh.

8. I love to draw! Mostly I do fan art. 😛

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9. I briefly did stand-up comedy. Last year (when I was still in college) I did a few stand-up shows! It was kind of surreal because I never thought I’d have the confidence to do something like that. But actually I really enjoyed it! I’ve been meaning to try it again … eventually. 😀

10. I really love going to concerts. They’re a little overwhelming, but it’s worth it––I just get unbelievably excited to see my favorite bands/singers perform live. Most recently I went to see Magic Man, The Griswolds, and Panama Wedding, which was one of the most fun concerts I’ve been to! Up next, I am seeing CHVRCHES in June and I can’t wait. *screams*

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11. I have a hamster (or well, my family does). Her name is Lilo! We adopted her from an animal rescue shelter last year. She likes to climb on top of her wheel, and then jump up and grab the bars at the top of her cage and swing around … it’s very weird. But she is so cute. LOOK AT HER.

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So that’s it for my 11 facts! And now for my answers to Lauren’s questions … *drumroll* in a vlog! (Excuse the lengthiness and my general awkwardness.)

Hope you guys liked the video (if you watched it)! I had a lot of technical difficulties but I’m glad it finally worked, and I had fun doing it. 🙂

My 11 Questions:

  1. Do you like to re-read books? If so, what book have you read the most times?
  2. What are some of your hobbies?
  3. What is the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?
  4. What is/was your favorite subject in school?
  5. Do you have any pets?
  6. How many languages do you speak?
  7. What’s a book that really surprised you?
  8. Do you believe in aliens?
  9. What’s something that made you laugh recently?
  10. If you were a superhero, what power would you most like to have?
  11. If you could meet any author (alive or dead), who would it be and why? (Or if you’ve met your favorite author, who was it?)

I tag:

Of course, if you guys are too busy or don’t want to do the tag, no hard feelings at all! Or if you want to do the tag but you’d rather answer my questions in writing (rather than in a vlog) that’s totally fine as well. 🙂 Also, as always, if anyone else would like to participate then I’d be happy to add you to my tags!

Upcoming: Tomorrow I will be posting my WIPMarathon post for April, which will also be my Camp NaNoWriMo wrap-up. See you again soon, my friends!

Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2016): Week Three

Only a little more than a week of Camp NaNoWriMo left! I’ve been a bit busier than usual lately, so I’ve fallen slightly behind. But I still think I can catch up in these last 9 days.

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Week Three Progress Report:

Last Week’s WC/CC: 57,563 words / 23 chapters

Current WC/CC: 60,156 words / 24 chapters

Progress Since Last Week: 2,593 words / 1 chapter

Progress So Far This Month: 9,656 words / 5 chapters

How It’s Going:

In terms of word count, this has been my worst week so far. I’m trying not to despair about it, though. At least I’ve kept up my streak of writing every day this month, so that’s something to be proud of! And I’m not too behind on my goal, so I think I can still make my 15k monthly goal.

As for the story itself, I’m still floundering a little bit. I didn’t write as much as I wanted to this week, so I’m still working my way towards some more interesting chapters. But I think in the last week, I’ll be writing some more fast-paced scenes.

An Excerpt From This Week:

Sure enough, when Gabriel lifted his head, he saw Matthias sprinting down the street––dodging the other people around him, his coattails flapping madly in the wind.

“Henry, Gabriel!”

Gabriel smiled, surprised by how genuinely relieved he felt. “Told you he wasn’t dead.”

“You didn’t, though.” Henry pocketed the few coins they had made, and stuffed his hat back on his head. “You just said it wouldn’t be funny if he was dead.”

There was no more time to argue about it, because just then Matthias came stumbling to a halt in front of him. Bright redness dappled his cheeks, and he bent over for a moment to catch his breath.

“Good God, Matt. Is something wrong?” Henry demanded, stepping forward.

Matthias waved him off. “No, no. I just ran from the school, that’s all. I realized I forgot to come by this morning and tell you I was fine.” He stood up straight again, adjusting the collar on his jacket. “It was just … I was running a bit late, and I had an exam. And I needed to pay Lena first.”

“Ah, that’s right,” Henry said. “Lena.” He drew out her name as if it had some kind of secret significance, but he sobered when Gabriel threw him a look. “So, how is she? She didn’t decide to … turn us in, I take it?”

“Not that I’m aware of,” Matthias said, finally starting to get his breath back. “In fact, she said she would help us again if we needed it.”

“Again?” the Beckett brothers both said at once.

“You can’t be serious,” Gabriel said. “I thought this was just …” He couldn’t even seem to find the words to finish the sentence.

Matthias looked between them with a surprisingly shocked expression, as if he couldn’t understand why they weren’t thrilled about stealing dead bodies.

And that’s a wrap on Week Three! For those of you who are also working on something for Camp NaNo, good luck in the sprint to the finish line. 🙂

Camp NaNoWriMo (April 2016): Week Two

As of yesterday, week two of Camp NaNoWriMo has come to an end. For all of you who are participating, I hope you’re making good progress and cranking out those words! Week two always seems to be the hardest, so I hope you are all pushing through. I believe in you! 😀

In case you missed my update last week: I am using Camp NaNo to continue working on The Resurrectionists, which I started in November for NaNo ’15. My monthly goal is 15,000 words (500 words a day), which will bring the whole manuscript to around 65k.

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Week Two Progress Report:

Last Week’s WC/CC: 53,605 words / 21 chapters

Current WC/CC: 57,563 words / 23 chapters

Progress since last week: 3,958 words / 2 chapters

Progress so far this month: 7,069 words / 4 chapters

How It’s Going:

Week two was a bit tougher for me than week one. I still managed to stay on track and to write every day, which is great! However, I felt like the actual writing was a bit rough this week. I kept putting off writing until late at night, and at that point it just kind of felt like a chore. Like, “I have to do this or I can’t go to sleep, so I’d better do it.”

As a result, I feel like the two chapters I wrote were not particularly exciting or interesting; they both consist of somewhat lengthy conversations that don’t seem to have much of a point. In some ways it’s been helpful, though, because it’s made me realize I need to work more on my characters’ personalities and motivations. I keep starting scenes thinking, “Okay, what do the characters want in this scene?” And then I discover … I don’t really know. So, that’s a bit of a problem.

Additionally, as I said last week, I’m still playing things by ear. That is, I’m essentially making this story up as a go. In a way, it makes things feel more spontaneous and fun––but also, I feel like at times I wander too much from the main plotline because I don’t know how much I should be revealing yet. I think I’m getting into some of the more important chapters soon, though, so hopefully I will have some more interesting things to write in the next few days.

An Excerpt From This Week:

Cyrus walked along the length of the desk, trailing his fingers along the edge. “Yes,” he said, “I believe she’s going to be all right. I didn’t have time to check on her progress this morning, but Alice and Isaac are taking good care of her, I’m sure.”

“Alice and Isaac,” Matthias repeated. “You told me they were––that you’d …” He couldn’t seem to form the words, because they still seemed too preposterous to believe.

“Yes.” Cyrus smiled again. He had now walked around the desk, and stood facing Matthias with his hands clasped behind his back. “I brought them back.”

“You resurrected them.”

“Well …” Oddly enough, the professor chuckled. “It sounds so serious when you put it that way.” When he saw the shock on Matthias’s face, he sobered. “I’m sorry, I suppose I shouldn’t be joking about it. You’re right, Winters. It is quite a feat––a miracle, one might say. But I can’t take all the credit for it.”

Matthias frowned, not understanding. “Someone’s helping you?”

The professor looked down suddenly, and turned to look out the small classroom window. “Not exactly.”

“I don’t understand, professor.”

“I’m sorry. What I meant to say is … not anymore.”

Something about his distant expression, and the grim tone to his voice, prevented Matthias from asking further questions.

Cyrus cleared his throat. “I can’t go into detail––not now, anyway. But I can tell you, I once had two … colleagues, I suppose you could call them. Many years ago. Brilliant men, both of them. Unfortunately, we went out separate ways.”

Something about the vague anecdote seemed unsettling to Matthias, although he couldn’t quite place what it was. But he had the sense that there was a lot more to the story than that.

Happy end of Week Two! We’re halfway through Camp NaNo already, and I wish the best of luck to anyone else who is participating. 😊

#WIPWednesday: 3/23/16

#WIPWednesday is a meme I started to post an update about how my WIP is going each week. Other writers are totally welcome to join!


 

WIP: I Chose the Monster

Writing or Revising: Revising

Progress Since Last Week: ….. UHHHH.

How It’s Going:

I … did not really get any work done this week. Basically, I’ve been thinking I need to change my approach to editing ICTM. This whole thing where I’m trying to do “light edits” while also juggling new ideas for the next draft is not working out all too well. At this point, I have several different versions of the story spinning around in my head, and I can’t seem to make up my mind about what I want to do. I think I might need a little distance from the story before I continue with revisions. Maybe I dove into editing too soon, and I’m not quite ready for it yet.

Camp NaNo might be a good break from editing, and all month I’ve been debating over whether or not I should participate. The question is: if I do participate, what should I work on? I’ve thought about using Camp to either work more on The Resurrectionists or The Waters and the Wild (or a little of both??), but I’m not sure yet. Guess I still have a week to decide! One thing I do know is that I really miss writing (rather than editing, that is), and I’d really love to get back to it.

In any case, I think I should prioritize applying to the BPL writer-in-residence program. The deadline is in less than a month and I still have to fill out the application form, as well as write a plot synopsis and a book proposal … so, I should probably start that!

Goals For Next Week:

  • Start that book proposal & synopsis (like I’ve been saying I would do for the past like three weeks)!
  • Decide whether or not I’m going to do Camp NaNo––and if so, I need to choose what the heck I’m going to write. 😛

WIPpet

#WIPpetWednesday is a meme started by Emily at A Keyboard and an Open Mind. The only rule: Every Wednesday, post a snippet of your WIP that is related to today’s date somehow.

3*23+20+16=105, so … I went to a random page of I Chose the Monster, and here are 105 words from it.

Now I can see there’s sweat breaking out on his forehead. “I don’t think it’s as bad as … it looks.”

“Shut up,” Juliet snaps, although I can hear the worry in her voice. “Enough with the hero act. We just need to get back to the motel, and I think it’s only a few minutes away. Do you think you can keep walking?”

Gavin says nothing for a second, but then he nods.

“Okay,” Juliet says. “Good.”

She keeps walking. I hang back, waiting for Gavin. “Are you sure?” I ask him.

He doesn’t look at me. “Yeah, yeah. It’s okay. Don’t worry about me.”

Spoiler: he’s not okay. 😈

*whistles innocently* ANYWAY. That’s it for WIPWednesday! Thanks for joining me.


How about you guys?

  • Tell me about what you’ve been working on this week!
  • If you also wrote a #WIPWednesday and/or #WIPpet post, please link me to it. I’d love to read it!

Writer Q & A Tag

I was tagged by Sarah at Write It Anyway  to do the Writer Q & A Tag! Thanks Sarah. 🙂

The Rules: 

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog in your post.

2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.

3. Nominate up to 10 other bloggers.

4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations.

Sarah’s Questions (And My Answers!)

Do you keep a written list of goals? And if so, do you post them somewhere you’ll see them every day? Or do you prefer to keep it digital and stored in Evernote or something like that?

Yes and no. I tend to keep a mental list of goals (like, “okay, I’m going to try to edit at least one chapter this week”) and I tend to share my weekly/monthly goals in my WIPWednesday/WIPMarathon posts. I don’t have them hanging on my wall or anything, though––maybe that would help me actually reach them, haha.

If you could have a magic coffee maker or teapot that would make your favorite caffeinated (or herbal) drink any time you wished –without your ever having to buy ingredients for it, what would that drink be (doesn’t have to be the same exact drink every day. I’d get bored of the same thing, eventually), and how do you picture the actual coffee maker or teapot (For example, do you immediately think of the those food and drink makers on Star Trek TNG and Captain Picard saying, “Tea. Earl Gray. Hot”?)?

Lol! Well I’m a big coffee lover, so I’d have to say I would love a magic coffee pot. If it could dispense various flavors of coffee, that would be awesome. As for how I picture it … I don’t know, I’m kind of picturing it as a really big and fancy Keurig machine. 😀

As a general rule, when you’re working on the first draft of a novel or short story or nonfiction book, do you prefer to type or write by hand in a paper notebook or notepad?

Nowadays, I write almost exclusively on my laptop (on Scrivener), but I also have a notebook where I handwrite snippets/ideas. I entirely handwrote the first draft of my first novel, but it took forever (and the notebook fell apart like 20 times, lol).

Have you ever ruined a computer or electronic device by spilling something on it? (Full disclosure: I spilled wine on my laptop the other day, and my husband managed to get all the wine out of its insides, but he had to physically disconnect the permanently addled keyboard, so I’m typing this on an external keyboard plugged into one of the USB ports.)

Oh gosh––first of all, sorry about your laptop Sarah! Hope it’s okay. Does it smell really grape-y now? 😉

And to answer the question … yes. *bows head in shame* Last year, I spilled tea all over my laptop keyboard. I dried it off and it seemed fine for a while––and then about an hour later, a huge black splotch appeared in the corner of the screen and then quickly spread until the whole screen went black!

Understandably, I freaked out, especially because I was in the middle of doing my senior project for college and I was scared I’d lost a huge chunk of work. But then … a miracle happened. I left my laptop upside down over night (as per my mom’s advice––she’s a computer expert) and the next day it started working again! So I was extremely lucky. I have been extra careful with liquids around my laptop since then, though!

Are you a morning person or more of a night owl? What time of day is the best time for you to write?

Ugh, I’m definitely not a morning person. I love to sleep in! I’m more of a night owl––partly by choice, partly because I’m a terrible insomniac. I hardly ever write in the morning. Usually I write in the afternoon/evening, and sometimes I try to squeeze some words in late at night.

Do you need silence in the room where you write when you’re working? Or do you work better with music or white noise (anything but whining or sudden screams of “OW!!” which jolt you out of your writing zone and make you belt out something like, ‘What the hell?!” or “What?! What’s going on?”)?

Having grown up with a huge family in a small house, I really had no choice but to condition myself to work in noisy environments. I can tune out just about anything at this point. 😉 If I happen to be alone in the house while I’m writing (which is extremely rare, haha) I almost always put on some music. There are a lot of great instrumental playlists to write to on 8tracks.

What do you love most about blogging or about your own blog in particular?

Definitely the community of people I’ve met! Blogging has helped me meet so many wonderful writers and book bloggers. The blogging world is full of such supportive people, who are always so kind and encouraging. Plus I love reading everyone else’s posts and gaining inspiration from them. 😀

If you could live anywhere in the world (not necessarily for the rest of your life), where would it be?

I’m not sure where I would live specifically, but I always dream about living in a cute little old house somewhere near the ocean. That would be lovely!

If you had to choose between being able to communicate (and read) in any language instantly (without having to study the language) or being able to go anywhere at the speed of thought, which would you choose?

Oh, definitely travel anywhere at the speed of thought. I never travel because a) I can’t afford it and b) I have terrible travel anxiety, but I feel like being able to travel anywhere at will would help resolve those problems. 😉 I’d also love to learn every language, but honestly I love studying languages so I don’t really mind that it takes time, haha.

Would you rather be effortlessly persuasive or deeply empathetic? Or would you rather rid the universe of adverbs?

I’d like to think I’m already pretty empathetic, and I’m terrible at being persuasive––so I think I’d rather be effortlessly persuasive. 🙂 As for adverbs, they can be a pain, but I don’t want to get rid of them entirely!

Thanks again for tagging me, Sarah! These questions were so much fun to answer. 🙂


 

My Questions: 

  1. Who do you think is your greatest writing influence?
  2. Where is the strangest (or most unexpected) place you have ever gotten a story idea?
  3. Do you try to write a certain number of words per day/week/month, or do you just write as much as you feel like?
  4. What is your favorite genre to write, and why is it your favorite?
  5. What is the first book you remember reading?
  6. What is the first story you remember writing?
  7. Whenever you feel stuck in your writing, how do you get yourself unstuck?
  8. If you could meet any author, who would it be?
  9. Are you a planner or a pantser? (That is, do you plan out your stories, or do you make them up as you go?)
  10. Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what kind of music do you listen to?

I tag:

Sara Beth at Life, Love, Writing
Shanjeniah at Shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos
A.E. Browne
creativewriter at Creative Writing For Me
Rachel at Rachel Also Writes

… And if anyone else wants to be tagged, just let me know!

 

 

The Ultimate Book Tag

I was tagged by Melanie Noell Bernard to do the Ultimate Book Tag! Thanks for tagging me. 😀 Let’s do this thing!


 

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

Nope! It used to make me nauseated when I was a kid, but I always did it anyway … and I think I desensitized myself to it or something, because once I was a teenager it stopped making me sick. *shrugs*

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

PATRICK NESS! ❤ His trilogy Chaos Walking is one of the most original things I’ve read, and the writing style is so distinct. I know a lot of people don’t care for it (it’s written in dialect and a lot of words are spelled phonetically), but personally I find it really great and fitting to the story/characters. I also love that Ness changes up his style with every book he writes; it’s always something new and interesting.

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3. Harry Potter series or Twilight saga? Give 3 points to explain your answer.

*Headsmack* Honestly I’ve never liked this debate because like … they’re two very different series, and I don’t really see why we have to compare them just because they’re both popular.

I’ll be honest: when I first read the Twilight books in middle school, I really liked them. This was before the movies and the huge hype and everything. I have some fond memories of my friends and I talking about them. Now that I’m older, I definitely see that the relationships in them are problematic and the writing was not very good. But I also don’t really hate them. *shrugs* So … I’m pretty neutral about them I guess?

Another confession: I didn’t really read Harry Potter until like five years ago. *GASP!* So shocking, I know! But I finally did, and I loved them. In fact, I just finished re-reading the first book yesterday, and I plan to re-read the rest of the series as well. 🙂 Anyway, to get to the point, I prefer Harry Potter. My three reasons:

  • I love the meticulous and original world-building.
  • It has an awesome cast of characters.
  • J.K. Rowling obviously planned out the series really carefully. As I was re-reading the first book, I noticed all the subtle hints about things that aren’t explained until later books. I’m really blown away by how well she planned all seven books.

 

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

*Scoffs* For me, EVERY BAG IS A BOOK BAG. Don’t underestimate my powers. If I have a tiny purse with me, I’ll still be like, “I wonder if I can fit a book into this.” But generally when I buy bags of any kind, one of my main criteria is that it has to be at least big enough to fit one book. As for what else I’ll keep in my bag––you know, the usual stuff. Phone, keys, wallet, chapstick, tissues … other necessities. 😛

5. Do you smell your books?

Aw yeah, I am a book sniffer. I love the smell of a nice old paperback. MMMM.

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I feel ya, Rory.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I love illustrations! I wish more YA and adult books had them. I’m an artist as well as a writer, so I always appreciate illustrations, whether they’re full-page ones or just little ones at the beginnings of chapters.

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

Oh boy. There are a bunch of books I liked as a child/teen that would probably not hold up if I read them again today. But one of the first big things that comes to mind is the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson (aka a bunch of ghostwriters who were probably forced to write each book on like a two-week deadline).

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I read the first book when I was around 12 or 13, and I was obsessed with it. And to be fair, the first book was not as awful as some of the later ones. It at least started out with a fast-paced story, a group of characters that shared a strong bond, and some intriguing plot twists. The problem was … a lot of those plot twists were never explained or acknowledged again.

This series is so inconsistent, it’s cringe-worthy. As the books continue, it just gets worse and worse. The characters constantly discover they have new powers, but then only use them once and never mention them again. The main character describes her hair as like five different colors throughout the books. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s probably worse than that, though, is that books 4 and onward are incredibly preachy. I don’t know what happened, but it turned from a sci-fi action series to “kids with wings try to prevent global warming and pollution.” I’m not kidding.

Ah-hem. So yeah. I really liked the first couple of books when I was younger, but as I got older and the books got worse, I realized there was not much effort going into them.

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

Apparently when I was really little, I would do this thing where I’d pick up a book and start whacking one of my parents with it and saying something that sounded like “DANKU, DANKU.” They didn’t understand at first, but my mom eventually realized I was trying to say “thank you” and essentially I was thanking them in advance for reading to me. 😛

9. What is the tiniest book on your shelf?

Hmmm I think it’s probably The Elements of Style by E.B. White and William Strunk. It’s only like 100 pages.

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10. What’s the thickest book on your shelf?

Oh, it’s definitely The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s about 1,300 pages. *screams*

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I tried to read it this past summer, and I just ended up getting distracted by other books. But I will finish it eventually! I WILL.

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

I think anyone who follows this blog knows the answer to this, haha. But yes, I am a writer and I hope to be an author one day!

12. When did you get into reading?

Hmm, I’m not sure. I know I always loved it when my parents read to me. But I don’t think I enjoyed reading to myself until I was around 7 or 8. I feel like it was around third grade when I started to get really enthusiastic about books.

13. What is your favorite classic book?

I love a lot of classics, but I think my favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird. I was really sad to hear of Harper Lee’s recent passing. 😦 She wrote such an amazing and ground-breaking book.

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14. In school, what was your best subject?

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… I was terrible at pretty much everything else, lol.

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

I would smile and say thank you because I’m not a huge jerk? 🙂 And then maybe I would exchange it later on, I don’t know.

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

I’m kind of drawing a blank here, but I’ll go with something similar to The Hunger Games. But when I say “similar” I’m comparing them very loosely.

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The Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman. I’m currently re-reading the first book, and it’s just as amazing as the first time I read it! I’ve read the second book too, but I have yet to read books three and four. From what I’ve read, though, this is one of the best dystopias out there. It’s very disturbing, compelling, and has some great world-building and morally complex characters. And like Hunger Games, it also has a lot of thought-provoking political undertones.

17. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?

Probably my worst habit is writing posts that are way too long (like this one, hahaha).

18. What is your favorite word?

Huh, I’m not sure. I used to always say my favorite word was “kerfuffle” but nowadays I don’t really know. 😀

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

Honestly, I don’t really know what the difference is. I guess of the three, I think of myself as more of a nerd.

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20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

I’m more partial to fairies. I know most people think of fairies as like … Tinkerbell. But the fairies from old Celtic mythology are actually quite scary and mischievous. That’s one of my main inspirations for The Waters and the Wild. 🙂

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters! I’ve read a few books about angels that I liked, but usually I’m not all that interested in them.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Hmm, I think spirits are a bit more interesting to me. There’s just so much interesting mythology about spirits from so many different cultures––and I’ve always been drawn to the idea of unseen spirits/ghosts floating around everywhere.

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23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?

Well, you know me. I am writing a zombie book after all (kind of, anyway), so I feel like I have to say zombies. I think it does depend a lot on the story, though. Vampires can also be very scary!

24. Love triangle or forbidden love?

Definitely forbidden love! I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been like “wow, this love triangle is great and totally necessary.” 😛

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

The latter. I love a well-developed romance, but usually I prefer that it doesn’t overshadow the plot too much.


This was really fun to do! Thanks again for tagging me, Melanie. 😀

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a little shy about tagging people. But if you’re interested in doing this tag, just let me know and I will tag you!

Tagged:

Valentine’s Day: 10 of my OTPs!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you have a lovely day whether or not you have a significant other. If you’re like me (aka you’ll probably be single for life, lol) it’s at least a good excuse to buy a lot of heart-shaped chocolate for yourself.

I’ve seen some other bloggers taking this opportunity to share some of their OTPs (in case you don’t know, OTP = One True Pairing) so I thought I would do the same! So without further ado, here are 10 of my favorite OTPs from various books, movies, and TV shows (in no particular order).


 

Percy & Annabeth

Percy Jackson & the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan –

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“Because you’re my friend, Seaweed Brain. Any more stupid questions?”

Art from here

Todd & Viola

– Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness –

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“It’s not that you should never love something so much it can control you. It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.”

Art from here

 Hiccup & Astrid

– How To Train Your Dragon 

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“What you’re searching for … It’s in here.”

Korra & Asami

– The Legend of Korra

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“I want you to know that I’m here for you … If you ever want to talk or … anything.”

Art from here

Alek & Deryn

– Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and Keith Thompson –

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“He makes me feel like that. Like flying.”

Art from here

Cress & Thorne

– The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer –

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“Captain? … I’m in love with you.”

“I should hope so, after all that. … And I love you too.”

Art from here

April & Andy

– Parks and Recreation

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“I guess I kind of hate most things. But I never really seem to hate you. So I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Is that cool?”

Ben & Leslie

Parks and Recreation

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“I love Leslie. I want to be with her and I don’t want to hide the way I feel about her anymore. So yes, it was worth it, because I’m in love with Leslie Knope.”

(Yeah I’m a little obsessed with Parks.)

Ari & Dante

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz –

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“And it seemed to me that Dante’s face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness. Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?”

Art from here

Pazu & Sheeta

Castle in the Sky

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“No matter how many weapons you have, no matter how great your technology might be, the world cannot live without love.”


I could write like a five-page essay about each of these couples, but I will hold myself back. I’m trying to decide what really makes an OTP for me––and looking at all of this, I think the key thing is that I love a well-developed romance. I don’t like insta-love––I need to be shown that the characters love each other, not just told. Several of these pairings never even say that they love each other … but they don’t have to because it’s shown so well. ❤

How about you guys?

  • Do we share any OTPs? Do you have any to add?
  • What makes a good romantic fictional pairing for you?

Random Tag!

I was tagged by Melanie Noell Bernard to answer a few questions about myself!

1. What is your favorite food?

Gosh, I don’t know. I love so many foods. I’m especially a big fan of breakfast food, though! Like, waffles. Bacon. Mmmmm.

Yes, I am actually Leslie Knope.

 

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2. What are you having for dinner tonight? 

… I have no idea. It’s only 11:23 am and I don’t even know what I’m going to eat for lunch yet!

3. Who was the last person you emailed?

My new critique partner! She is kindly reading my barely-edited draft of I Chose the Monster. 😀

4. What sports do you do?

I have never willingly played a sport in my life.

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(Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with Parks and Rec?)

5. Do you have any pet hates?

Okay so I don’t know what “pet hates” means but I’m going to assume it’s supposed to be “pet peeves”. In which case … Hmm, I don’t know. One of my biggest pet peeves is just people being closed-minded and intolerant of other people’s opinions. That really gets on my nerves to no end.

6. Do you play any instruments?

Kind of? 😛 I can play the guitar and ukulele very badly (I haven’t been learning for very long, and I’m mostly just learning from YouTube tutorials). I can also play like two songs on the piano, but I haven’t practiced in like a year.

I’m awful at tagging people––but if anyone wants to do this, just let me know in the comments and I will tag you. 🙂

Tagged:

Sarah at Write It Anyway