Blog Chain Posts: The Revived

Alex tagged me in what she deems a “book meme” post and my first thought was: Oh yeah, the blog! Then my second thought was: Shoot, I need to put up a post!

And here you have it. A bunch of random questions to be answered by yours truly. Shall we begin?

How old are you?

What are you, the NSA?

What book are you reading?

The name escapes me, but it’s Book 2 in Sophie Jordan‘s Firelight series. Candlelight? Miller Lite? Anyways, I’m enjoying it. It’s an easy read about a girl who’s actually a dragon with romance. Ding!

What are you wearing?

Seriously, are you the NSA? But since you asked, my work out clothes. I worked out real good. And you’re probably glad blog posts don’t smell.


(For the old people in the audience: this is short for One True Pairing, or your favourite couple from a story.)

Right now I’m going to have to go with Yoo-Kyung and Hyun-Wook from a Korean drama called Pasta. HW is arrogant as all get out, but I still find him charming somehow, even though I’d prefer YK gave Mr. Cactus a chance. Doesn’t anyone care about Mr. Cactus?! ANYoNe?!

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LUW Conference – Notes Part 3

I caught the tail end of the morning keynote by Sophie Littlefield (Garden of Stones) and decided she would be one of the first panels I attended. She’s very entertaining and keeps the panel lively, so if you’re putting together a writers conference, she may be one you want to call. Her panel was called:


Start with yourself. We were all YA age once. Some of us may not remember all of the details of our YA age, but with a little thinking you can pull out those YA thoughts and feelings and infuse them in your fiction. So when asking yourself these questions, reach inside for that 14-year-old self and let’s begin.

Who am I – IN MY ENVIRONMENT. What difference does my presence make to my family, school, community, neighborhood?

Who am I – IN MY OWN HEAD. What emotions do I experience on an everyday basis? What is my emotional “resting state?” (For example, you’re typically a crabby person, a happy person, a shy person, etc.)

Who am I – WITH OTHER PEOPLE. What do others think of me? Am I well liked? Do I like others? Whose opinion matters to me? Who does my opinion matter to?

When writing YA don’t focus on the parent, unless they are a story trigger.

Now that you are 14 again…. How does it feel in your body? What emotions dominate? How is it different from being an adult? What do you care about that an adult doesn’t? What matters to you?

There are different types of approaches you can take to your story and more specifically the focus you’ll take in your story. One of the biggest themes of adolescent fiction is the forming of identity. Consider the “who am I” questions with your character in terms of identity.

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Row 80 Check-In July 24th

robert dansie pioneer

Robert Dansie the Pioneer

Happy Pioneer Day! Oh, what? You don’t celebrate Pioneer Day? Oh… Well, I never really did either, until I moved to Utah. And guess what? Got the day off. Thank you pioneers! Your holiday is much appreciated!

No, but seriously, I am grateful for the pioneer’s efforts. After all, Jae’s great-great-great-great-something or rather grandfather came across the plains back in the day. We Dansies are made of tough stuff. We figure if we can get through Wyoming with a wagon we can get through anything. And having been out to the area of Wyoming where lots of people died, my hats very much go off to those pioneers. You have to be a real cowboy to survive in Wyoming.

Onto the goals.

The Goals

1. Read at least 10 more Anton Chekhov short stories to add to my progress of 50 of 201. No new progress. Still just up to 54. Read them here free!

2. Finish reading both The Fire in Fiction and On Writing. I checked out some Spanish materials from the library and have been giving them my attention, but this goal is going to happen eventually.

3. Submit Trick or Tree to another writing contest. Finish Dog Shy and write at least one other short story, all to be submitted to contests. No new progress.

4. Write a flash fiction story. Started another flash fiction which is fast approaching the 750 word mark. Hopefully I can keep it under the limit for contests. It’s interesting writing flash fiction. I feel like because you really must make every word count you tend to keep your words more succinct even on larger projects. I highly recommend delving into flash fiction. This is where I put my plotter to rest and go all the way pantser.

5. Do at least one thing every week that increases my fluency in Spanish and Japanese. Check and check!  Teaching Tunes Tuesdays and I made it past the first unit of an intermediate course. Plus I’m coming across lots of great music via Pandora and recommendations from my co-worker. Latino Rock is awesome!

6. Finish feedback edits on SHADE and get it queried. CP had tons of stuff going on, including vacation, but I should be getting it soon and then I’ll probably be consumed with editing.

Bonus Goals. I’ve got about 2 chapters of a new novelette project I’m calling Code Name Clemmings. I feel like I need to get a first draft out before making actual title considerations. It’s been interesting writing something new with all the editing knowledge I’ve gained over the last year. First drafts definitely become better drafts than previous first drafts in my writing career. That just means editing will make it that much better.

5am coach is still a struggle, but mostly I’m winning!

How are you doing on your goals? When it comes to titles, do you know what you’ll call the story from the start or do you have to get a first draft out before one comes to you? Or do you struggle with titles anyway?

Row 80 Check-In July 17th

Hooray for Wednesdays! Middle of the week, goal check-in, life is good.

Speaking of life is good, those of you who’ve known me a bit know I’m a foodie. Well, remember on the 1982 version of Annie when they’re talking about what’s for dinner, and the cook talks about Baked Alaska (about 1:50 in)?

I’ve always wondered about what Baked Alaska was, all this time, and I’d heard it was a difficult dessert, so I put off making it for awhile. But for some reason it came to the surface again recently, and I produced this:

baked alaskaThe BFF’s favorite part was using the torch to give it that lovely golden-brown color. What is baked Alaska you ask? Three things: cake, ice cream, meringue. Based on a few lemon meringue store-bought pies I’ve had in the past, I thought meringue was kind of nasty. Not so! Fresh-made = delightful sugary awesomeness! And it doesn’t really “freeze” so it’s always good. The cake and ice cream, however, can become solid as bricks, so this is a dessert best eaten after baked or torched.

Okay, this is about goals after all.

The Goals

The book editing has come to an end, which has helped to supplement my Amazon buying addiction. I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, but progress still hath been made!

1. Read at least 10 more Anton Chekhov short stories to add to my progress of 50 of 201. I’ve read up to 54. It has certainly helped with writing short stories. I recommend to any of you to read Chekhov if you want to write short stories or even flash fiction. It teaches your brain about how long the story should be. Very helpful. And free!

2. Finish reading both The Fire in Fiction and On Writing. Last time I crossed those out to finish up Chime and Finnikin of the Rock. Finished Chime, which was decent-ish, and I’ll share more on that in a mini-review later. Finnikin, well… Let’s just say there was a reason I “finished” that so quickly. But onto the books. I think maybe On Writing first, since I’ve already read a couple Donald Maass books.

3. Submit Trick or Tree to another writing contest. Finish Dog Shy and write at least one other short story, all to be submitted to contests. No other short story, yet.

4. Write a flash fiction story. Wrote a flash fiction of 500ish words or so. I’m letting it get cold to see if it’s any good. It was fun to do and very fulfilling in a sense of finishing a story so quickly.

5. Do at least one thing every week that increases my fluency in Spanish and Japanese. Check and check! Still doing my Teaching Tunes Tuesdays and I checked out loads of Spanish-learning materials from the library. This morning I learned a phrase I hadn’t considered before: ¿Cómo te trata, la vida? which means, How’s life treating ya? I even tried this out on my Mexican co-worker, to which he responded in very quick Spanish something I didn’t catch at all. 😦 Oh well, carrying on.

6. Finish feedback edits on SHADE and get it queried. CP still on vacay.

Bonus Goals. It’s been fun to brainstorm about Book 2 (SHADE’s sequel), because I’ve changed a lot in Book 1 so ideas I had for Book 2 have also had to shift. I’m often faced with the “how does this scene work now that this has changed?” It’s fun to come up with answers. I love being a writer!

I’ve been doing fairly well keeping the 5am coach fired, at least when I make efforts to keep him fired he stays away. Now I’ve just got to get to bed a little earlier so I have a little more time for writing in the morning.

Are you accomplishing your writing goals? Have you ever tried Baked Alaska? What tips or tricks do you use to help you write flash fiction?

Mini-Reviews: Museum of Thieves, Mockingbird, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

God bless my Kindle and the wonderful ability it has given me to read more books. Now that I’m working on firing my 5am coach—again—I should be able to get more reading done on the train commute (vs. the car because I’m late). But, I still have managed to squeeze in three books, and here they be.


I believe it was Kati over at Mystic Cooking that first brought this book to my attention. Aside from the totally awesome book cover, this is a great MG, semi-dystopian read by Lian Tanner. It brings up some interesting social ideas too, specifically how much freedom we as a society are willing to trade for perceived security.

The main character is Goldie, a girl who eagerly awaits being set free from always being chained to a guardian or her parents—literally. But when a bomb explodes, the city leaders rethink letting the children off the hook so early. Goldie can’t take the imprisonment anymore, however, and runs away. She encounters the Museum of Thieves—a sanctuary for people like her—and soon learns that the ‘safe’ world she came from is much more nefarious than she ever imagined.

If you love visual-writing that doesn’t go over the top, this is the book for you. At times you almost care more about the museum itself than the story because it’s so fascinating (but don’t worry, the story is still excellent). Characters are well written and arc wonderfully, and for me there never was a dull moment. This book is certainly worth a look to see how the author married description with story so they worked together to hook readers. Great read!

My grade for this book: A+

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