Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garth Nix's Creating a Book

I love Garth Nix. Like, he is my absolute favorite author of all time. His website is pretty great if you haven't checked it out. It is easy to find: On his site, you'll find a list of his favorite books, a Q&A, bio, book plugs and two little gems: The 9 Stages of a Garth Nix Novel, and How I Write: The Process of Creating a Book. 9 Stages is funny and worth the read. However, I am all about the Process of Creating a Book page. It is an incredible look into the way my favorite author writes. Check it out! Read on after the jump.

Brave is here!

Blogger seems to be having a bit of a problem today. Hopefully this posts finally, as I wrote it last night and it wouldn't let me post at all.

I've been waiting for the movie trailer for Brave to come out for a while now. I heard about Pixar putting out a fairy tale for some time but all we had to go on was a poster and a blurb. Here is the short info:

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, "Brave" features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

Voices include Emma Thompson, Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, and Billy Connolly. I'm stoked about this cast because most of them are in the Harry Potter movies! Emma Thompson was Professor Trelawney, Kelly Macdonald was Helena Ravenclaw, Robbie Coltrane was Hagrid, Julie Walters was Mrs. Weasly!

I'm so freaking excited. Watch the trailer and see if you think it'll be good.

Anyone else think the stallion looked more like a donkey there at the very beginning? Maybe it was just my imagination.

Thursday Thrift: Goodwill Inc.

Goodwill is a cornerstone of many communities. There has been one in every town that I have resided. My grandma used to drag me to several across the county every Saturday. If I could, I would visit a few every Saturday now.
Goodwill Inc. is non-profit organization that uses their funds for job training, employment placement, and other community-based programs for the disabled, less-educated, inexperienced, and jobless. They  operate over 2,500 stores in 16 countries. According to Wikipedia, they began as Morgan Mission in 1902 when Reverend Edgar J. Helms and his congregation collected discarded items and hired unemployed individuals to mend those items. The refurbished items were then given away to the needy (often the same individuals that mended them). Goodwill Industries was officially branded in 1915.
According to Goodwill's website, their mission is:
Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.
They strive to give everyone the opportunity to reach their potential and live a fulfilling life. Their branded values are respect, stewardship, ethics, learning, and innovation.
During my research, I was happy to note that Goodwill opened a temporary store specifically designed to hire transgendered people in 2010 through a partnership with Transgendered Economic Empowerment Initiative. The San Francisco store closed in 2011 after the employees were transferred to stores around the greater San Francisco area.
You can get involved with this organization by donating money and goods, volunteering, shopping at one of their many stores, and advocating for them. Check their website (link above) to get find out more.
Oh yeah, they are a Green company too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alice in Wonderland Inspiration

I am a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. The books, the movies (Johnny Depp has nothing to do with it, I promise. Okay, that is a lie.), all of it. I found a link to this list on Twitter today. It is a top 10 list of the coolest items inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

Check the link and see if you can figure out my favorite! Come back and find out after the jump!

Wednesday Wiki: Phantosmia

This episode of Wednesday Wiki is dedicated to Phantosmia. Find it here.
Phantosmia is a condition where a patient experiences "olfactory hallucinations" where they smell things that are not there. The smells patients experience are typically nasty smells like rotting flesh (creepy much?).
This condition has several reported causes including seizures, Alzheimer's Disease, brain trauma, schizophrenia, and sinus infection. So if you like your sniffer to convey reality instead of zombie flesh, avoid strobe lights, aging, hitting your head, listening to the voices in your head, and nasal congestion. Yikes.
The episodes of Phantosmia start out infrequently, but can evolve into a daily occurrence. Thankfully, they seem to only last for a couple minutes then go away. Unfortunately, the only treatment seems to be surgery called transnasal excision. That sounds almost as bad as smelling zombie rot. Freaky, freaky, freaky!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tales: Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. The first published version came out in 1740, written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. It was abridged in 1756, and then translated into English in 1757.
The story is fairly simple. The Beast was born a prince and cursed to live as a beast until he found true love. A young woman, Belle, goes to live with the Beast, after an agreement between the Beast and her father saves her father's life. The Beast and Belle become friends and Belle learns of all the enchantments in the Beast's castle. When she fails to return to the castle on time after a trip to see her family, the Beast nearly dies of heart break. Belle returns and confesses her love for the Beast, and her tears break his curse. They get married and live happily ever after.
The fairy tale has been adapted into new stories, films, and plays many times since its original publication. Disney adapted a musical animated film of Beauty and the Beast in 1991. A horror version came out in 1979, called The Virgin and the Monster. Disney adapted a stage production for Broadway that ran from 1999 to 2007, playing over 5,000 shows. Beastly, written by Alex Flinn, modernized the fairy tale and set it in Manhattan in 2007. It was later adapted into a movie. George C. Scott was nominated for an Emmy for his 1976 television performance of BatB.
This is probably my favorite fairy tale. The theme of love redeeming misdeeds is heartwarming, inspiring, and consistent. I was a child when the Disney musical came out. It filled me with wonder at the possibility that all the toys in my room, and the dishes in the kitchen, might be able to walk and talk! I'm sure I wanted to marry the little tea-cup.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Mood: Pride

Continuing to honor Gay Pride month, this Monday Mood is about pride. Pride is defined as a feeling of honor and self-respect. The philosophers of old, like Aristotle, saw pride as a virtue. Most religions view it as a sin. Conundrum, yes?
I see nothing wrong with having some pride. Nations celebrate their pride. One of my favorite songs is "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood. Many ethnic groups celebrate pride in their heritage. Without black pride, we might never have had the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. LGBT pride is celebrated across the world, empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning individuals.
Having pride is generally positively associated with altruism and can increase productivity and creativity. What employer doesn't want an employee that prides himself in his work? What coach doesn't want an athlete that prides himself in his talent, effort, and team?
Be proud of who you are. Accept your talents and flaws as an entire package, because you are perfect the way you are.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Sales: OMG It's finally coming!

This Sunday Sales is dedicated to the wonderfully talented Christopher Paolini and his Inheritance Cycle. Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance comprise the incredible tales of the fictional Alagaesia.
Edit: 8/15/2012 Image removed. I don't want to be sued. It was a picture of the 4 books in the series.
Eragon was self-published in 2002 by Paolini's family press, then republished by Knopf in 2003. Eldest was released in 2005. Brisingr came out in 2008. Inheritance will be released November 8 of this year. Pre-sales are happening now so check Amazon here for information.
For those that are not familiar with the Inheritance Cycle, it follows a poor farm boy, Eragon, turned Dragon Rider, and his dragon Saphira, through their adventures as they rise to defeat the evil Rider and self-styled King Galbatorix. Inheritance is the long awaited culmination of the series, as fans originally expected the series to finish as a trilogy. In 2007, Paolini announced that he was expanding the Inheritance Trilogy into the Inheritance Cycle, and split the 3rd book into two parts. I cannot wait until Inheritance finally comes out!
On a side note, a movie version of Eragon was released in 2006. While I am not normally a fan of books made into movies because they usually suck, this movie looked promising. It had Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, and Rachel Weisz in it, so I was excited. However, the movie was awful. Not just bad. Not just differing from the book. They cut out everything that would be important in the 2nd book. It was the 10th worst rated movie of 2006 according to Rotten Tomatoes. How it managed to get two Saturn Award nominations is beyond me. If you've seen the movie, but haven't read the books, you are really missing out!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

200 page views!

Wow. I never expected such a fast response to this blog. I have officially passed 200 page views, with viewers from 7 different countries! Some views are from friends and family I am sure, but that might account for 50 of the views. So hi all you people that I don't know! I hope you are enjoying the blog as much as I am enjoying writing it each day. Let me know how I can improve and make this blog even better!

Saturday Solicitation: How I Write by Janet Evanovich

This Saturday Solicitation is devoted to Janet Evanovich's How I Write. It is co-authored by Ina Yalof and Alex Evanovich. It differs dramatically from King's On Writing, which I reviewed earlier, in advice, pacing, and format. I read How I Write in one sitting, over about 3 hours. It isn't terribly long, but I usually find non-fiction reading a labor intensive project akin to my college days pushing textbooks. Mrs. Evanovich's style of writing definitely aided the fast reading pace. She is witty, quick to the point, and genuine. I will admit that I have never read an Evanovich book, as I am not a romance reader and I stopped reading mysteries with Nancy Drew many summers ago. Even though I dislike a small portion of How I Write, the personal discourse of it makes me think I should pick up one of the Plum books. We'll see.
The book is full of the same information as all other writing books. Check the table of contents when you look up the book and you'll find creating characters, writing mechanics, structure, and editing. This book also includes a pretty hard nosed looked at getting published. It is finished off with words of encouragement, an inside look at Mrs. Evanovich's writing life, and reprinted examples of items found throughout the book. None of the information is new. If you look, you'll find every bit of the information free online. However, the presentation of the material makes for a pleasant reading experience. She advocates a sort of minimalistic outlining and character profiles, but it works for her so I won't judge. Something I found hilarious: While King outright suggests that aspiring writers blow up their televisions and read a damn book, Mrs. Evanovich actually suggests watching television or a movie to help stimulate creativity. Different minds.
What I like about this book: First of all, the presentation of How I Write is great. King's On Writing reads like a textbook. It makes sense when you realize he has a degree to teach English. Mrs. Evanovich does not have a degree in English or writing or what-have-you. She started as an artist and moved on to writing. This book is presented in choppy sections that consist of blurbs of information and question and answer segments drawn directly from the author's website over the years. She offers great advice for those that want to be a writer: you either ARE a writer, or you are NOT a writer. Pick your role and play the part. I like that. It is very honest. A lot of her advice is the same advice found elsewhere, but that is because it is solid. Write every day. Make writing your job. Get over the blank page. It was interesting to read that she doesn't believe in writer's block.
What I didn't like about this book: I took exception to one part of this book. Included in the publishing section is a small bit about self-publishing. Mrs. Evanovich is not exactly subtle in her disdain for those that choose to self-publish. Granted, this book was published in 2006, well before self-publishing and eBooks started becoming so popular. In 2011, I wonder if her comments still stand.

History in the Making

The bill in New York passed 33-29! New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has already signed it into law hours after the final votes were counted. 30 days from now, count on lots and lots of happy couples saying "I do" as New York doesn't require residency for marriage. Way to go New York! We've come a long way since 1969! 44 more states to go!

Oh, and check this out:

Edit: 8/15/2012 Image removed. I don't want to be sued. Click here to go to a post on Mashable that has an amazing picture and article about this image going viral.

How cool is that? The rainbow lights were set in honor of Gay Pride week in New York and will stay lit through Sunday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Five: Favorite Book Series

My 5 favorite book series
  1. The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix My absolute favorite series! This is the only series I have bought as a box set.
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis I read this as a child and have continued to read it time and time again as an adult.
  3. Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling I was a little late to the Potter Party, but I was a fangirl by book 3. Not in the weird "Harry + Malfoy" shipper kind of way though. Yikes.
  4. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini I was so pissed off when book 3 came out and I saw that the series wasn't finished with that book. I hate waiting for books I love to come out. The movie was one of the most atrocious excuses for films that I have ever been forced to sit through.
  5. Mercedes Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs I love the back story of the characters, the intricate way the "rules" for interspecies relations are explained, and the intrigue in each novel. Superb storytelling.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


It has been an incredibly busy month for me, and it isn't even over yet! I just finished a month long visit with my little sisters, E & L. They are 7 and 8, full of insane amounts of energy (seriously, they get up with the sun!), and are incredibly smart for their ages. Okay, so maybe I am a bit biased on that last part, but I swear they are incredible kids. Their visit taught me several things: 1) not all Disney channel shows are KF, no matter what the Disney folks may think (strongly worded letters may soon reach those folks); 2) I have become attached to the characters from Wizards of Waveryly Place, iCarly, Shake It Up Chicago, and Good Luck Charlie (please, someone blow up my television); 3) when putting sunscreen on little girls, don't forget sunscreen for yourself (sunburn #3 is finally healing). We had a really good visit that included trips to the pool, the library, Wal-Mart (their idea, not mine), and the Dollar Store. We found paper dolls and coloring books. We read like maniacs (more my idea of course). I learned how to operate a Nintendo DSi. They wanted ramen noodles and tuna sandwiches for every single meal. Oh, and oatmeal (blech!).

During their visit, I started and completed several projects. First, I launched my blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. So far so good on these. I'm enjoying this blog thing a lot! We managed to almost finish the remodeling project in the living room. New paint, new flooring (good bye fur embedded carpet, hello tile), new trim. All that is left is some touch up painting and replacing a few light fixtures and the project will officially be closed. It only took three months. The touch up painting will be done over the next week and my dearest Daddy will be replacing the light fixtures when he has the time. No one in this house is qualified to work with electrical wiring so we wait patiently for him. My third project was difficult for me to start and it is definitely a work in progress. I am addicted to the internet and my method of absorption is internet games. is a favorite. As is Facebook games. I have blocked all Facebook games after some serious whining. I took NotDoppler off my bookmarks. I have stubbornly refused to quit playing "mind" games like Sudoku, Kakuro, Rummikub, Mahjong, and Hearts. They are intellectually stimulating, right?

With all the extra free time on my hands sans internet games, I have been able to read a lot more. That makes me so happy, you don't even know. I used to read a good 30-40 books a year at least when I was in high school. In college, that dropped down to about 20 a year, mostly over school holidays, between semesters, and between classes. I was busy! Then came World of Warcrack and Facebook. My reading dropped considerably, maybe 5 books a year if the internet was out a lot. That is depressing. I've never been a television person. I loved Buffy when it was on. I love Glee now that it is on. That is about it. Internet gaming has been my time consuming, entertaining, book replacement. I kicked the WoW habit after several years, but really just replaced it with MORE Facebook games. Since I blocked all the games, I have read 7 books! Even with the girls here, I managed a lot of reading. I was still active online (minus a few days when I was sunburned so badly). I maintained contact with friends and family. I made sure the girls didn't turn feral and run away with the cats.

Yay for old loves coming back full force! How much do you read? What keeps you from reading? What helps you focus on reading?

Moral of the story: Turn off the television and close the games. Open a book and turn on your imagination!

Thursday Thrift: Intro

Thursday Thrift is for us cheap bastards that love to find a good deal. Discount stores, consignment shops, yard sales, clearance racks... so much fun!
I will admit when I was younger, I thought that I was "better" than the people that frequented thrift sales. I rolled my eyes every time my mom pulled over at a yard sale (although I did look for books at every single one). I cried when I found out my homecoming dress was second-hand. I was a bit of a brat about it. When I moved out on my own, I learned very quickly that second-hand is better than sitting on the floor because I couldn't afford the beautiful $3,000 sofa and $1,750 leather recliner that I wanted. I gratefully accepted the mix-matched plates, bowls, and cups my mom gave me. I was elated when I found a table and chairs for twenty bucks at a yard sale.
So what do you need to know about thrift shopping? You know the saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure" right? That definitely applies to thrift shopping. You can find some of the coolest stuff at thrift stores and yard sales.
·         Shop around the entire place before you start picking things out. Keep an open mind when looking at everything.
·         Think creatively as you browse (ever seen a claw foot tub sitting as the center piece of a garden?).
·         Be nice to the staff because they can help you find diamonds in the rough.
·         Subscribe to the newsletters of your local thrift store for discount days and coupons.
·         Donate your own "trash" to your local thrift store so that it can become a "treasure" for someone else. Have a yard sale and make some extra money.
·         Get over your fear of haggling when it comes to yard sales. The tag price isn't usually the bottom dollar.
·         Have fun looking around!
If you don't live under a rock, you know that we are living in tough economic times. Tough times call for tougher measures. Buckling down on your budget doesn't mean you have to go without. If you have found a stellar item while thrift shopping, email me the story (and a picture if you can) and I'll feature it in a Thursday Thrift!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Wiki: Reno 911! Episode List

My first Wednesday Wiki random page was List of Reno 911! episodes. Find it here.
I am a huge fan of the show so this made my day! Reno 911 aired from 2003 to 2009. Its 6 seasons have a total of 88 episodes, plus a movie that came out in 2007. All six seasons are now available on DVD.
The wiki article gives a small blurb describing each episode. My favorite episodes are "Accidental Marriage (Part 1)" from season 2, "Crime Scene Idiots" from season 3, and "Dangle's Murder Mystery (Parts 1 and 2)" from season 6.
The entire show is hilarious, fun adult satire. It isn't for everyone. Well, actually, it isn't for most people I wager. Off color humor is not everyone's cup of tea but I loved it. The improv skills of Thomas Lennon, Kerry Kenney-Silver, and Cedric Yarbrough is amazing. The rest of the cast is equally great. If you are over the age of 18, like irreverent British inspired satire, and have a sense of humor, check out Reno 911!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It Gets Better video: Authors and Illustrators

I am in love with this IGB video. Some incredibly talented folks lent their voices to support our troubled youth. How many folks do you recognize?

Neat Tiger vid

Gosh. So freaking cool and disgusting at the same time. Moral of the story: Stay away from the fence dude!

1 million eBooks sold for Locke

Thriller writer, John Locke, has sold 1 million eBooks through the Kindle store. Amazon announced the news yesterday. He joins James Patterson and Stieg Larsson in this elite group. The difference is that John Locke has self-published, where Patterson and Larsson are published through the big Houses. Way to go John! He just published "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months." His literary agent is working on film rights currently but he is not seeking House representation. He is adamant that he will not sign with a House so that when writing stops being fun, he can move on to something else. Well played Sir. Congratulations!

Tuesday Tales: JRR Tolkien's On Fairy-Stories

I love fairy tales. I read the ones adapted for children when I was a kid. I read the much scarier "originals" versions in college. As an adult, I still love a good fairy tale. I relish new spins on old stories. I look up the stories behind the stories when I get a hankering.
I came across a document a while back from J. R. R. Tolkien that was riveting. Tolkien wrote this piece, On Fairy-Stories, for a speech back in the late 1930's. It was first printed, with some help by C. S. Lewis, in the mid to late 40's. Several incarnations have been published over the years. It is 60 pages (including 10 pages of notes) of Tolkien's philosophy of fantasy and mythology. Read the entire text here.
Tolkien argues that the fantasy genre is able to help a reader see the world from a different perspective. He encourages leisure reading, or reading as an "escapist pleasure" for everyone. He also suggests that the happy ending of fairy tales can provide a person with consolation otherwise unachieved.
It is a long and interesting read. What Tolkien piece isn't? The notes at the end are an incredible insight into the mind of one of the pioneers of my favored genre.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Mood: Love

June is Gay Pride month and I am a full supporter of gay rights. In honor of Gay Pride month, my first Monday Mood is all about love. Love is defined as an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. Whether you love your car, your dog, or your significant other, love is at the core of human emotion.
Cliches abound with love, Virgi's "love conquers all" and the Beatles' "All You Need is Love" come to mind. Love crosses all boundaries. It is what makes people cry at weddings, funerals, and births. It is a driving force in the foundations of our lives. It is a basic necessity, like food, water, and shelter.
Love is a wonderful and terrible thing. It has built and destroyed nations. It has given people a reason to live and a reason to end their lives. It is the most powerful emotion I can think of in how much love can do to our world.
Love yourself. Love those around you. Love what you do. Love is love, no matter the back story.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Happy Father's Day to all the Dads on the interwebs! In honor of Father's Day, my first Sunday Sales pitch is for You Can Do Anything, Daddy by Michael Rex. Find it on Amazon here.
Edit: 8/15/2012 Image removed. I don't want to be sued. Click the link above to see the image.
You Can Do Anything, Daddy was published in March, 2007 by Putnam Juvenile. It is seriously cute! A young boy tests his father's love and devotion by asking him if he would rescue him if he were kidnapped by pirates. His dad would not only face pirates, but would swim through shark infested waters, travel through tiger infested jungles, and defeat the pirates who of course become robot gorilla pirates from Mars. It is also fully illustrated by Mr. Rex!
If you like You Can Do Anything, Daddy, you can also check out more of Mr. Rex's works, which include Good Night Goon: A Petrifying Parody; Furious George Goes Bananas: A Primate Parody; Runaway Mummy: A Petrifying Parody; and many, many others.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday Solicitation

My first review for Saturday Solicitation is of a book that I have been meaning to re-read for a while now: Stephen King's On Writing. As I have sat and read this past week, I realized that I must not have given this book the full read that it deserves. I vaguely remember the big points in this book. The first half is a memoir that explains how Mr. King grew up to be the writer he is. The second half is writing instruction that includes a writer's toolbox, paragraph building, grammar and word usage, plotting and characterization, a recommended reading list, and writing assignments/corrected writing sample. I remember all of that being there, so when I picked the book up a few years ago, I must have read some of it at least.

I didn't know that Stephen King went to college to be a teacher. An English teacher at that. I found out that Mr. King hates outlines almost as much as I do. That was neat. He uses his medium to explain what is and what isn't helpful to a writer, including writing skills and writing location. He uses real examples of literature to discuss writers with large vocabularies. He talks about how planning and outlining doesn't work for him and compares his style of writing to digging up fossils. He lets the story unfold as it will with the characters driving it on, instead of outlines, character notes, and rigid plot layouts. Basically, he is a pantser like I am.

What I liked about this book: The memoir made me laugh, made me cry, made me cheer. It is touching and an incredible look at King's development. King gives some incredible writing advice that works for everyone, from beginner to professional. His writing is clear, without the political correctness of many other "writing manuals" on the shelf. If you genuinely want to improve your writing skills, check out this book.

What I didn't like about this book: Okay, so this is not a narrative. I am not usually fond of non-fiction because it makes me feel like I'm back in college reading text book after text book for a grade. On Writing confused my reader sensibilities sometimes. It was difficult to change gears from the often hilarious uncensored look at King's early life to his theories on writing. I could have done without the memoir as the writing advice goes. The other way is true too. I could have done without the writing section and just read the memoir. Neither part was bad. It was just difficult for me to go from one to the other in a single reading session. Perhaps for the first time reader, stop reading after the memoir ends for a little bit before starting the writing part.

Round of Applause for you Sir!

New York Republican Senator Roy McDonald released a press statement with a quote heard round the world. If you haven't seen it yet, please extricate yourself from the rock you are under. Seriously. New York is currently voting on the issue of gay marriage. As of the 16th, they only needed 1 more vote to pass the Senate I believe.

So most republican politicos are against gay marriage and I personally think they are morons. No one has yet to explain to me how someone's marriage could threaten and/or destroy the marriage of another just by association. Now, my eyes have been opened to one republican that is not a moron. I don't know the rest of his political history, but the man is taking a stand on gay marriage that surprised the hell out of me. Read the link or just read the quote below.

Copying from the article: (bad language ahead, you were warned)

“You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing,” McDonald, 64, told reporters. 
“You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. 
“I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this.”

Mr. McDonald, I do not think YOU are a moron, sir. I respect the fact that you are trying to do the right thing and I sincerely wish you all the best. Thank you for standing up for the people. You rock!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Novel Title

While scouring online for ideas for a book cover for Immo1, I was dismayed to find that another author is using the same name for the title of her series. I created the name in 2009 and as far as I could tell, it was unique at the time. Her books started coming out in 2010. So now I'm left with a serious dilemma. Do I continue using the title that I have used for the past 2 years, or do I abandon it and craft a new title in lieu of this other series? Part of me wants to say "Screw all that. It is MY title, dammit!" But, this author is writing in the same genre, is published through the same ebook distributor as I will be, and she has three novels out already under that name. So, part of me wants to concede and avoid competition, confusion, and possible alienation of that author.

Adding to this, I found out that R. A. Salvator published a novel under the same name in 2003. Apparently I missed that back in 2009. It is the name of a few World of Warcraft guilds and an album name for a metal band as well. o.0

Ugh. What to do?

Friday Five

Using my 5 senses to describe my bedroom (a little) in my first Friday Five...
  • I can SEE a drafting table turned computer desk, mismatched quit and sheets, blinking printer light, plain white walls, and a cobweb.
  • I can HEAR my computer fan, the air conditioner, Firework by The Glee Project kids streaming, and some Disney show dialogue filtering in from the living room.
  • I can TASTE peppermint mocha coffee, mints, and grape taffy.
  • I can FEEL the low thread count sheets, the computer chair cushion, and my fuzzy socks.
  • I can SMELL coffee, lunch cooking, the ashtray, and a Sentsy candle.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A daily "thing"

So I've been reading a lot of blogs and saw that a lot of people do the Friday Five, where they make a list of 5 things. The topic of the list is random, but all the things on the list are related. I suppose it is like Twitter's Follow Friday where users use #FF and list folks they think their followers should follow as well. I've seen variations of themes for different days and I've come up with my own based on my interests.

Monday Moods: We all have them. I like to read about moods and emotions, their causes and effects, and with what those various moods are associated. I'd like to try to associate the topics with either personally relevant moods at the time, pop-culture, and general interest.

Tuesday Tales: I love fairy tales. I especially like reading about the origins of those tales and their adaptations over the years. I will pick a fairy tale and discuss it and its various incarnations in literature, film, and theater when applicable.

Wednesday Wiki: Wikipedia is a wealth of (sometimes reliable) information. When I'm bored, I like to use the "random article" feature and read about something new. I'll find a random link, post it here, and talk about it.

Thursday Thrift: I love thrift stores. It is like Christmas morning in a warehouse. There are tons of stuff all over the net about them so I'll share links to fun articles, talk about the history of specific chains, and just basically be a cheap fangirl.

Friday Five: A random list of five connected things. I can't really describe it beyond that because the topic is really, really random.

Saturday Solicitation: Book reviews! While I will probably do some book reviews throughout each week, I want to make a point of doing at least  one a week and Saturday is that day. Got a book you'd like me to read and review? Contact me to make that happen. I prefer open format ebooks, but if you have an .html or .txt version, I'll take that too.

Sunday Sales: Okay, so this is something like a book review, but not really. On Sunday, I want to plug some books/movies that I am anticipating, authors that I know with books out, and tour happenings.

This is a tentative plan for now, but I hope that it works out well because I love this idea. My posts are random as it is, but at least this is a great way to share some of my interests without going the "me, me, and me" route.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Samuel L. Jackson is narrating smash hit book!

Samuel L. Jackson of Snakes on a Plane and Pulp Fiction fame is the voice of Go the F**k to Sleep. GFS is an adult nursery rhyme written as a "children's" picture book. It is definitely not KF, as the title demonstrates.

I thought it was really interesting how this book came into fruition. The author, Adam Mansbach, has a young daughter that just would not go to sleep. I have read several accounts that he made a tongue-in-cheek status post on Facebook about writing a new bedtime story for his kid titled "Go the F**k to Sleep" because of the issue. He got so many positive responses to the idea that he decided to actually write it! I might not have the details correct, but I swear I remember reading that a few weeks ago.

The cubs and the lions are snoring, Wrapped in a big snuggly heap. How come you can do all this other great sh*t But you can't lie the f**k down and sleep?

The book has gotten rave reviews, pre-sales have been huge, its first printing order was increased, and now Samuel L. Jackson is involved. Is that not totally epic? I love that Mansbach is finding so much success. I definitely want to read this 32 page book when it comes out, even though I don't have children.;_ylt=AknnQNq2K03E25bxPCCjTatREhkF;_ylu=X3oDMTM0Mml0dXFmBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTEwNjE0L3VzX2Jvb2tzX2dvX3RoZV9ibGVlcF90b19zbGVlcARwb3MDMQRzZWMDeW5fcGFnaW5hdGVfc3VtbWFyeV9saXN0BHNsawNzYW11ZWxsamFja3M-

**Just realized that I misspelled Samuel twice. But I spelled it right twice too. Meh.***

Bio Questions

A friend of mine forwarded me a list of questions to "help" me talk about myself. In her words, "The first post was cute, but a random blog visitor will have no idea who you are or a reason to care one way or the other." So, fine, I'll answer some questions. I'm not happy about it though.

  • Name: Dee R. Sutter
  • Age: 27
  • Hometown: within 50 miles of Cincinnati, OH (yes that is intentionally vague... I like my privacy. Sorry.)
  • What did you want to be growing up? A veterinarian for large cats.
  • What are you doing now that you've grown up? Full time writer.
  • Worst habit? Biting my nails.
  • Best habit? I write every day.
  • What is your family like? In my house, it is me, my better half, the cats, and whoever else seems to be here when I get home. We are weird, energetic, and random.
  • Favorite color: green Least favorite color: orange
  • Favorite movie: The Goonies Least favorite movie: Cable Guy
  • Favorite book: The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix (I don't have a favorite out of the 3, as a whole, they are amazing) Least favorite book: um...all the ones that I picked up and never finished... Lestat by Anne Rice comes to mind. Love the rest of her stuff, but I couldn't get through Lestat
  • Favorite vacation spot: I haven't been on a vacation since I was a teenager and it was awful so I don't have a favorite.
  • Biggest fear: water that I can't see through (like murky ponds/lakes) and birds
  • Biggest achievement: graduating from college
  • Best childhood memory: the summer when I was 12, a friend of my mom gave me a refrigerator box full of books. About 50 Nancy Drew books, some Hardy Boys, a couple V. C. Andrews books (Flowers in the Attic was there), some Goosebumps, and a Harlequin Romance. My love of reading started that summer!
  • Worst childhood memory: I was attacked by a small flock of Canadian Geese when I was three for getting too close to their nest. It was very bad.
  • What clique were you in during school? I will forever be a nerd. Junior High and High School were very different beasts. Jr. High was awful. I was bullied all the time for being short, looking weird, and reading too much. In high school (at a different school), I was friends with everyone. No one had a problem with me being smart, because I helped them out when they needed it.
  • If you could do one thing right now, what would it be? Pet a tiger. It has been a dream for a long time.
  • What do you hope to accomplish in your life? I want to reach people, give them something to smile and talk about, and hopefully encourage them to reach for their dreams too.

Please, please, please tell me that is enough?! Add me on Facebook, send me a tweet, or comment here if you would like a specific question answered.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Help L.A. Banks

I read a lot of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, whatever the popular name is today. I was deeply saddened to learn today that author Leslie Esdaile, also known as L.A. Banks, is battling late stage cancer. She is the author of the Vampire Huntress series that I absolute love. Follow the link below to read more about Ms. Esdaile's condition and learn how you can help donate to her rising medical bills.

Please keep this wonderfully talented woman in your thoughts.

Currently reading

I'm still working my way through the Fablehaven books. It has been really busy around here so I haven't had a lot of time to sit and read. Also, after my post on writer's block, I decided to revisit On Writing by Stephen King. A third book that is sitting beside me is How I Write by Janet Evanovich. The librarian suggested it to me. I'll review these once I reread On Writing and read How I Write. What are you reading?

2011 Tony Awards!!! The Glee Project!!!

Alright, so I missed the Tonys last night. I watched the Glee Project after my dinner plans were canceled. It was a tough choice, but I figured the Glee Project would be more kid friendly (KF) than the Tonys. After catching parts of the Tonys, I'm not sure either one was KF.

At any rate. So, the Tonys were great! Book of Mormon won best Musical!!!!!!! That cracks me up. The best part of the Tonys for me was Neil Patrick Harris. I have been a huge fan of his for years. The opening sequence (watch below if you didn't see it) was awesome!

Broadway really isn't just for gays. Incredible performance, witty lyrics, charming dialogue. It was great!

I did catch The Glee Project last night. I am a huge Glee fan and I've been eagerly awaiting TGP since it was announced last year. It was good. The auditions were good. They didn't go the American Idol route and embarrass the ones that "thought" they were good. They showed real talented individuals. The top 12 was a great mix of different musical styles, personalities, and people types. I have high hopes for the show.

I was sad to see Bryce go. He had a great personality, but the other two, Ellis and Damian, worked more efficiently with the producers, directors, and so on. Bryce is incredibly talented, a great looking man, and could definitely go far if he gets that chip off his shoulder and really puts himself out there. Well see what next week brings!

Edit: 8/15/2012 Image removed. I don't want to be sued.

I'm still learning their names. The ones without the * are the ones I have memorized so far.
From L-R, Top to Bottom: Damian, Bryce, *Samuel, Hannah, Cameron, *Alex, *Emily, *Lindsey, Ellis, McKynleigh, Matheus, *Marissa. It's a work in progress.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My cats are crazy!

These are old pictures of my beautiful fuzzballs. Sam is the one hiding behind the couch. Sabriel is my green eyed girl. Both of these pictures were taken days after I brought each of them home. Sam's picture is circa 2009; Sabriel's picture is circa 2007 I think.

So, my kittys' stories...

Sabriel was originally my brother's roommate's girlfriend's cat. Yeah. If my memory is correct, the woman found Sabriel under a car in a Wal Mart parking lot, apparently a stray or drop off. She brought her to her boyfriend's apartment, as she couldn't keep the cat in her apartment. My brother and his roommate were less than thrilled to have a new roommate; when she had 5 kittens two weeks later, they were even less so. The roommate and his girlfriend got married and kept one of the kittens. My brother kept one. My Mom and Dad took one. Other friends took the other two kittens. Sabriel (under a different, less than stellar name) became mine with a new name.

She was a very shy cat, skittish around nearly everyone. In the years that I have had her, she has blossomed. She is now, more or less, social with people after they have been in the house for a few minutes. Loud noises, quick movements...that still freaks her out slightly. She has gotten so much better in the past 4-ish years. She is getting older now. She is getting spiteful and mean to some extent. She has claimed dominion over the house, so much so that when I have visitors stay over, she shows her displeasure by pissing on their bedding. The vet said there isn't anything wrong with her; she's just tossing up attitude. We're working on that.

Sam's story is much more tragic. Sam was purchased from a Maine Coone breeder by a lady that fell in love with his beautiful big eyes. He had been with her about 6 months when she met a man, fell in love, and they decided to get married. One problem: the guy was deathly allergic to cats and Sam has long hair. Over the time that she had kept him, she made the brilliant decision to have him declawed...not just the front, but the back as well. That decision came back to bite her in the butt when the love of her life made her choose between him and her cat. She told a co-worker that she was going to "just throw him out" when she and her soon to be husband moved in together. Her co-worker knew this was a terrible idea for a clawless cat. He offered to take the cat off her hands and the lady agreed. So Sam went to live with this new man and his family. His wife was MY co-worker. As charming and lovable and smart as Sam is, she couldn't stand the fur. It really gets everywhere!

Sam came to me just a few weeks after moving from his original owner's home and he is here to stay, fur and all. His original name was Samson, for his size I assume, and I modified it to Sameth to fit with Sabriel's name. Sam is his name in short. I call him FB sometimes. Fuzzbutt, furball, fatboy, etc. He is banned from my bedroom for trying to smother me in my sleep, walk on my throat, and drool in my ear. He is nosy, plays with his food and water, and demands constant attention. The world revolves around him in his mind.

So now you have met Sam and Sabriel. They are my lovable furrballs!

Kicking musicians out of Central Park...really?!

I just ran across this while browsing the news. Go read the article then pop back here.

Okay, I have never been to New York. But, when I think of NYC, I see Times Square being loud, obnoxious, full of tourists with cameras, taxi cabs, and the Broadway signs. It is beautiful and awful all at once for those of us (me) that loves all things Broadway but loves the quiet as well. Nothing says quiet like stringed instruments floating across soft grass and a shimmering lake. So why in the hell are they banning musicians from Central Park?! It doesn't make any sense. Folks go to NYC for many reasons; a lot of folks go to NYC specifically for the concerts in CP.

I like the point brought up by Arlen Oleson in the article. They bring concerts to CP all the time, where music blares through speakers at ear drum busting decibels. How is that better than a harp playing softly in the grass?

Like I said, I've never been to NYC. I don't know personally if the street musicians are actually causing a disturbance. I cannot for my life imagine that they would though. It seems to me that the people making up these rules in NYC need to focus on more important matters like violence in the streets, children going hungry, and rising unemployment (which they are contributing to by forcing these musicians out of the park). Just my opinion.

Get Fuzzy

Edit: 8/15/2012 Image removed. I don't want to be sued.

I love Get Fuzzy. Bucky reminds me of some of the demon cats I have had (and still have) over the years. This was yesterday or the day before's cartoon. Darby, you rock! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Simon's Cat

This real quick, because I gotta run out for a while. I love Simon's Cat. It is brilliant and 100% true to life. ;)

Writer's Block

The worst thing a writer can tackle is writer's block. It hits randomly, hits hard, and really screws up your day (or week, or year...). Big name writers from every genre have written about writer's block. You'll find countless forums, articles, and blog posts on the topic. It gets to everyone one way or the other.

The dozen notebooks full of story ideas aren't around for nothing. I have thought up hundreds of really great story ideas, character descriptions, worlds, etc. But writer's block kept me from picking them up and running with them. I never completed school assignments until I absolutely had to. So in elementary and high school, I wrote the rough draft the day it was due; in college, all of my papers were written the night before. Immo1 is the first full length first story I have seen through to completion.

In 2009, I spent a lot of time evaluating why I couldn't finish a project. It wasn't because the ideas were boring, or I hated where it was going or my writing skill. I couldn't even get that far to make a determination. The only way I was able to work on and then finish something was a deadline...a very short deadline. It was then that I realized that I work the best under a time frame that doesn't give me wiggle room. That in itself is why I wanted to participate in the NaNo. It gave me everything I craved. A time frame (30 days). A tangible goal (50,000 words). Check points along the way (daily goals, notification if you were behind or ahead). A prize at the end (being a NaNo winner, the blue bar).

Here are some things that may help with writer's block.
  • Find your writing setup. Mine is a fresh cup of coffee, music in the background, things to stare at, and a comfortable chair. Non-messy snack foods help too (mints are great). What is relaxing to you? What inspires you? What can you live with and live without while you write?

  • Find a time that works. I have read a lot about people that feel writing is best done in the morning, with the sun rising and the birds chirping. Well, I hate the glare from the sun on my computer and birds freak me out. My best writing time is evening. It is mostly quiet. The critters are less active. I am not groggy from just waking up. I've gotten at least five cups of coffee in by then. When are you the most energetic? I'm not talking spastic, just awake and ready to DO things. Temper that with when you CAN work. There are few folks that are lucky enough to make writing their job. Most of us have jobs away from our personal computers. When I wrote Immo1, I was in work mode from 6am to about 4pm five days a week. I couldn't write until evening anyways. Find your equilibrium. If for some reason, you don't have to work (adopt me. seriously.), you are luckier than the rest of us.

  • Get rid of your inner editor. Yes, I know. Editing is important, blah blah blah. But if you never write your story, you'll never have something to edit. Get your story down first, then worry about nit picking it to death if you must. That is the first rule of the NaNo and I absolutely love it. You can fix mistakes later. You can fill in missing details later. If it isn't important to get the story running, don't worry about it until after the story is written!

  • Think of writing as a job. Yes, for some folks, that means taking on a second or third job. If you want to be a writer, deal with it. Stephen King wrote about writing as a job in his book On Writing. He likened it to a physical, labor intensive job. I agree with him. When you think of yourself as a creator, not of art, but as a craftsman, you are laying the foundation for a great work. You work piece by piece (or in this case, word by word) to make it great.

  • Create deadlines. I absolutely must do this in order to write. If I don't have a specific time to turn something in, then I get lazy and stare at it, but never work on it. It is a real problem. I make up short and long term goals and set deadlines for each. It is a learning process in itself. Maybe you think way to highly of your ability to crank out pages and set a deadline to write a 100,000 word epic in a week. Possible? Probable? That is up to you to determine. Figure out what you can work with, and stick to it.

  • Multitask. Work on multiple projects when you can. I'm currently writing Immo2 in addition to building up notes for a second series that I will be writing once I finish the last of this trilogy. When I feel like I have nothing to give Immo, I switch gears. Writing a story and planning a story are two very different things. It helps to have something else to work on that is in a different step of the writing process. They are very different projects. Immo is epic fantasy. The untitled series will be young adult urban fantasy. That helps too. Do you have something else you can work on? If you are a writer, you do. You know you have other writing projects sitting around, waiting to be picked up. Blogging is great for this. But make sure you blog about something other than your current main project. Too much repetition makes Jack a dull boy.
You write because you love to write. If you are writing for any other reason, you are doing it wrong. Keep that in mind the next time you get frustrated by the blank screen.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Helpful Stuff

I spend a great deal of time online. I got to Writer's Digest a lot. I found several articles to be useful in the current trilogy I am writing and in planning for the second series I have bouncing around in my mind.

A checklist for developing your hero or heroine

Writer's blueprint (I didn't use this for Immo, but will probably use it for my 2nd series)

Understanding your character

Writing mistakes

I'll add more as I go through my bookmarks.

The writing process (part 2)

Continuing from where I left off.
  • Revision
Before I actively started writing, I considered revision and editing to be one and the same. I learned that they are actually very different things. I wrote the first 15,000 words of Immo1 as free writing. I didn't have names, locations were scattered around an inconsistent map, and details were very skimpy. I took a day off of writing to go back and fill in the missing names and make a real map. It ended up taking me half a week. I didn't understand the difference in revising something and editing it. Revision is where things are rearranged, removed, and replaced. I kept finding spelling mistakes (big surprise), extra or missing commas, gibberish, and random things that I didn't remember writing.

After speaking with a few writer friends, I figured out that I was attempting to revise and edit at the same time, which can be difficult and time consuming. They told me that a lot of people do it that exact way though. Since I was on a time crunch, I had to force myself to stop editing, and just worry about the story. Does this flashback make sense right here? Shouldn't he say that sooner? Four chapters ago, this town was in the north, so why is it sitting in the middle of the southern most lake now? I fixed those kind of details at certain milestones in the story, after meeting a word count goal, or when I didn't feel up to continuing the story right then.
  • Editing
The bane of my existence! Editing, oh how I hate you. I mentioned that I am really bad at spelling. Like, not in the sense of my fingers type faster than my brain and type something wrong. I honestly cannot spell worth a damn. I understand homonyms and that ilk. I certainly try to use words correctly. But I still spell a lot of words by ear. I also like to make up words. Yeah, it is a terrible habit. Editing is a nightmare for me.

Thankfully, I have a really great friend that has devoted countless hours of his (and his wife's) life to editing my writing. He can tell when I find a word that I like, because I'll use it seventeen more times in the next three paragraphs. He catches my grammar mistakes (there is so much green in my Word .doc! Ugh!). He is the lord of prose and has helped me improve dialogue and descriptions when they were not quite right.

If you aren't lucky enough to have someone in your personal circle that seems to enjoy (blech) editing... and is good at it... then you have to buckle down and do it yourself. I do edit my work. I just hate it. Mostly because a good majority of the time, it looks right to me. I could spend three hours editing a 5 page paper, give it to my friend, and it'll come back with a ton of missed commas, corrected words, etc in thirty minutes. Really. There are a lot of really great people online that will edit your work for you as well, either on a trade basis (you read and critique my story and I'll edit yours) or for a fee. I have seen editing fees from individuals that are just passing time to be relatively cheap to outright exorbitant. The same goes with professional editing services. Do your homework before you pay anyone for anything, especially online.

My editing process also includes readers. I call my readers my alpha readers and beta readers. Alpha readers just read for the story. Does it make sense? Is it exciting? What do you love/hate about it? My beta readers come in after several edits and revisions, based upon alpha suggestions and my feelings on the story. Did you find anything repetitive? Did you understand the story? Was the writing clear and easy to understand? Any glaring grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes? A fresh set of eyes on a project really helps!

I also find it incredibly hard to edit on the computer. I print it all out, edit by hand with a highlighter and red pen, and then edit page by page in the digital file. It may seem that it takes longer, but for me, it is actually faster. I could spend two days doing it by hand and then another day entering the changes into the document, or I could spend two weeks editing it in the digital document and miss half the changes that I would have found when doing it by hand. I get distracted way too easily.
  • Publishing
This is the last step in the writing process. If you've made it this far, congratulations to you! Most writers finish countless pieces only to store them away in a cabinet, binder, or document file. You have to go out there and make your publishing dreams come true. It doesn't happen over night, and it will not just fall into your lap (unless you are a celebrity...)!

I shared portions of Immo1 with several writing groups, friends, and family. I submitted it to a few contests. I am currently finishing up the final details in order to publish it as an ebook. I want people to read my novel. I want them to wait in anticipation for the 2nd and 3rd. I have set up at night, unable to sleep because I sent off part or all of my story to someone and couldn't stand waiting to hear their response. I got a lot of really good responses. I got a lot of really helpful criticism. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Make your work available. Submit it to contests and magazines. Begin researching how to query and submit your work for consideration at big time agents/publishers if you want to go that route. Blog about it. Share some of your work with the online writing community. Get out there and claim your spot as a writer. You are part of an exclusive club; act like it!

The writing process (part 1)

There are so many resources online pertaining to the writing process, and most of them have different ideas about what is and what isn't in this process. Prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing seem fairly elementary but what folks think is [should be] included in each seems to differ somewhat. So, I'll add my two cents to the views.

  • Prewriting
Obviously, writing starts with an idea. Even if you are looking at a blank page and just free write, you still have an idea in your head. Maybe that isn't what ends up being written, but its the idea at the beginning that gets a person writing. From that idea, there are lots of opinions on how to proceed. Outlining, brainstorming, free writing, etc. I have seen countless websites that say "You MUST have an outline for your novel; Outline the entire story, each chapter, and each scene!" What you end up with is an outline within an outline within an outline. Blech! That gets way to confusing to me.

I approach prewriting oddly I suppose. I detest outlining. It makes me feel confined to a determined outcome, regardless of how the story might change as I go along. When I wrote Immo1, I started with my prologue. It was the singular thing resonated in my mind. From there, I spent several days thinking of how I could turn the prologue information into a full length novel. I wrote down each idea, or plot arch I suppose, and reevaluated how each idea made me feel as a reader. If it sounded like it would get boring, I deleted it. Then I evaluated what was left as a writer. I asked myself, "Which of these sounds like it would be fun to write?" I chose the one that best fit me as a reader and a writer.

  • Writing
Back to outlines. When someone creates an outline, he should know all of the major events that will happen in his story. He may not know details, but he knows Character X bludgeons Character Z with a frying pan in Chapter 2. As a reader, I am really bad about looking up the characters and plot of a book I'm reading because I hate surprises. I'm reading Fablehaven right now, by Brandon Mull, and I already know all about each character, who betrays who, who dies, etc. Wikipedia is incredibly handy.

As a writer, I do not want to "know" what is going to happen. My style of writing has been called "by the seat of your pants" writing, and that is because I don't have everything planned out. I wrote the first scene of my book with a lot of replacement words. My main character didn't have a name. She was "female main character, FMC" for a good week. I didn't have names for other things, such as towns. I sat in a bookstore coffee shop and stared out the windows for names, looked at random Google images, and turned a random radio station on to a low setting. I picked names as I went along because I'm terrible at names.

I started writing...and just kept writing. I didn't worry about names, unimportant details like colors, and settings. The story was the important part. I did go back through later and fix it all, but I just wanted to get my story on paper. Everyone knows the hardest part of writing is defeating the blank page. I was determined to do that, and I did. So all you "pantsers" out there, keep up the good work. And, if you are one of those people (most people, I guess) that live by outlines, character biographies, and binders full of notes, keep on keeping on if it works for you. If it doesn't, try a new method. It couldn't make you write any less than staring at that blank page.

I'll say this now. I am an incredibly finicky writer. I love to sit in coffee shops and write for hours on end. People watching helps me stay sane and I get an incredible amount of writing done. It may or may not have anything to do with the insane amount of coffee I consume in one sitting. Even if I sit on the patio, with traffic noises, screaming kids, and random creatures that gravitate toward me (I'm looking at you, wasp), there is nothing like sitting at your favorite coffee shop with a fresh brew, soft music, and a story.

Writing at home is different, and more difficult for me. I feel more inclined to be social at home with friends and family. I get on the internet. I play computer games (Hearts, I will win one of these days...). The cats want fed every 5 minutes. Even retreating to the computer in my bedroom doesn't help. I can't just "unplug" from the internet. I use reference sites all the time. I can't spell to save my life, but neither can Microsoft Word. is my lifeline. Wikipedia is great for checking how others have portrayed a type of character. I use Google to make sure the idea in my head isn't in there because the book I read last week used it. I like to stream music when I write. Unplugging doesn't work for me.

You have to find your writing spot. Sometimes, the perfect writing situation isn't available all the time. I can't go to the bookstore every day. So I compromise by keeping a fresh pot of coffee on, leaving the door cracked so I can hear my family and friends (most of the time), and resisting the urge to cuddle the furrballs. I still get a decent amount of writing completed when I sit down to write.

Part 2 to come...

Firefly Muppets mashup

A friend of mine forwarded this to me this morning because he thought I'd love it...and I do. Okay, whoever drew this is a creative genius. I love you. Seriously. If anyone knows the artist of this incredible piece, please let me know so I can provide his or her name here.

Edit: 8/15/2012 Image removed. I don't want to be sued. Follow the link here to view the original artist's website. James Hance, the artist of "Firefrog" is amazing and I am a huge fan of his work now that I know who he is. :D

And I thought I was a crazy cat lady

Okay, so I love cats. Clearly, not as much as this chick loves cats though. Wow. I really hope this is a stunt, troll, indie film...something.

Wrapping up my first novel

It has taken nearly 2 years for me to finish my first novel. It started as a single line of thought while I was relaxing in the bath in July, 2009. In October of that year, I wrote the prologue. Half a dozen versions later, it is still there, mostly intact. A very good friend of mine encouraged me to continue the story so I decided to try something I always wanted to try: National Novel Writing Month.

2/3's of the novel was written during NaNoWriMo. I had a goal and I chased it down. I managed to eek out 60,000 words in 30 days. I was astonished with my success. True, I didn't finish Immortalis 1 (affectionately nicknamed Immo1 so you know) in the 30 days, but I met the word goal of 50,000+ all the same. I put the story away for a while. I went back from time to time to add to my notes, but I mostly left it alone. In October of 2010, I realized that the NaNo was coming up again and made myself sit down and finish Immo1. I finished it two weeks later...or at least finished the first draft.

November 2010 came and went. I decided to put off editing Immo1 for the NaNo and started Immo2 for that year's competition. It is half finished now. I had even more fun writing Immo2 than I did writing Immo1. Continuing the adventure made it all exciting all over again! I'm in serious anticipation of NaNo2011 so that I can write the last part, Immo3. I know most writers don't choose a certain month to start their novels, but Immo and NaNo have become intertwined for me. It doesn't feel right to start the next novel before the competition. Besides, I have a YA urban fantasy waiting in the wings once I finish this trilogy that I haven't associated with NaNo.

Immo1 is now in the hands of some very brilliant folks. While they are doing a last read-through before the final editing, I am searching high and low for some cover art for Immo1. I know a lot of talented artists, but I know nothing about how to licence work of another for my benefit. I suppose a credit in the acknowledgements for the cover art would work beyond payment for the art? No idea. The waiting is killing me. I never imagined writing a book would take such a long time to see it to the end. Maybe that's why I have a dozen notebooks full of writing ideas that never ended up coming to fruition.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Currently reading...

I am a huge fan of juvenile and young adult fantasy. I've been a Harry Potter fan for ten years. I read The Chronicles of Narnia at least ten times since I picked it up as a child. The Abhorsen Trilogy is the first and only series I have bought in a box set. Twilight and Eragon were great (even though I hate the movies for all of them). Nancy Drew is my first love. I am a perpetual child when it comes to literature that I want to read over and over again. That isn't to say that I do not read adult fiction/fantasy. Anne Rice's Beauty Trilogy is well worn on my bookshelf. I am a fan of Sookie Stackhouse, Anita Blake, and Mercedes Thompson too.

Right now, I'm reading the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. There are five books in the series and I am currently on book 2. Normally, I read this kind of book really fast. Due to scrambling to finish my own novel and family commitments, I have not been able to sit and read as I would like. Anyways, about Fablehaven.

This series has everything I love in fantasy. Fairies, trolls, satyrs, dark evil creatures, magic, dragons, betrayal, curses, and more. It follows the exploits of two children, brother and sister Seth and Kendra Sorenson, in a nature preserve for mystical creatures. The premise is great. The characters are believable. The pacing keeps me rushing forward. In short, I am in love with Fablehaven. I wish I lived there. Grandpa Sorenson should adopt me.

I am not very good at "bashing" a novel. If I finish a book, its because I have enjoyed it. Even if there are little things about the writing that irritate me, I can overlook it when the story is good. If I don't like something, chances are, I know it within the first 30 pages and will just stop reading. If the story cannot compel me to continue reading, even an editorial masterpiece will not help. This series is great. I cannot pick out anything that has bothered me so far. I'll update this if I find something between now and the end of the series.

If you are looking for a good, fun read, check this one out. It works for all ages, in my honest opinion.

My first blog!

With all the time I spend online, you'd think I would have a blog by now. And yet, here I am, writing my first blog post. Pretty exciting stuff.

I am Dee Sutter, author of "Immortalis: The Journey" which will be available soon. Immortalis is the first book of a trilogy. I am very happy to announce that I am half way through writing the second book.

Let's see... This is where I get to be egomaniacle and talk about myself in flattering ways. Admittedly, I'm awful at this. I mean, I love to write and create stories and characters. I hate talking about myself. I'd rather talk about those stories and characters. So, some quick things about me. I have 2 beautiful cats that have ruined my carpets and furniture. Sam and Sabriel are balls of fur and claws, and they are fantastic. I am addicted to coffee, kakuro/sudoku, and the interwebs. I am finally over a near five year addiction to World of Warcraft. I like to make up words, use creative spelling, and otherwise pretend that I would not epically fail an elementary school spelling test. Okay, I really hope that is good enough.

On to more important matters: you! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? Are you a browncoat? Cake or death? I need to know these things!