Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I have several very exciting announcements, but those will probably have to wait until tomorrow. For today, I just encourage you to have a happy Christmas. Enjoy the family and friends you get to spend your holidays with. Hug those near you, and treat yourself today. After all, calories don't count on holidays, right?

Much love!

I have some new info to post on "This Week," but I'm choosing to post last week for this post, and next week (this week) next post. Confused yet? Oh just read.


I listened to: The new Ministry of Magic Album, especially the song Lily- it was on repeat all week.

I watched: The Grinch, and back episodes of Glee. :)

I read: Anna and The French Kiss. It was completely wonderful.

I wrote: Down plot idea, and critiqued a query.

I wish: That this snow would melt JUST ENOUGH so that I could drive home and not have to hike up the mountain to get home.


So what did you listen to, watch, read, write and wish this week?







Saturday, November 20, 2010

Follow for a free copy of Anna and the French Kiss!

92. What is 92, you may ask? 92 is the number of people needed (as of 4:17 on Saturday the 20th) to give me 400 followers on Twitter. When I reach 400, I am going to give one personalized (As in, "Molly, I hope you enjoy every minute of Anna, I had so much fun writing it! XOXO, Steph." or something of that lot) autographed copy of Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins away to one of those randomly selected followers.(and breathe)Anyone is eligible, all you have to do is follow me! Here is a pre-written tweet with a link, but you can make up your own as well. Happy follow/RTing!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hi!

Hi!

My name is Molly. You might remember me from this blog... I used to post here until I didn’t. I feel REALLY bad about it. But, thank goodness you all are loving individuals who will read by blog even when I don’t post for a month, and tweet at me in the mean time! :)

I have been RIDICULOUSLY busy- with what, you may ask? Well, from October 27th- November 3rd, I was working on a political campaign for Marco Rubio, senatorial candidate from Florida. I work with a student political activism organization that pulls [primarily homeschooling] students from around the country to work on campaigns for pro-homeschooling candidates. I had an amazing experience, and met some really great people. I also collected some thoughts on our lovely political process, both in terms of voters, and bitter partisanship. That should get up soon.

Congratulations to everyone doing NaNoWriMo this year- I am really glad that I’m not doing it this go around. The fact that I have gotten NO writing done for my novel, and haven’t posted on my blog since mid-October is proof enough that writing a book in 30 days is not practical for me. Right now.

I got an iPhone! Gone is THE cheapest, tackiest phone known to man (it didn’t have a camera, speakerphone, or the ability to play anything but MIDIs. Ahhh!) I bought the 3GS, because I’ve heard too many bad stories about the 4. Oh, and the thing was $107 including tax, which is pretty cheap compared to some of the phones on the market right now. I love being to google anything I want WHENEVER. Nerd freedom! If anyone has app suggestions, I’m definitely willing to take them! Oh, and this brings my Apple total to a PowerMac, a (I think) G4 tower, a MacBook, two iPods (one 2nd Generation, one touch) an an iPhone. Considering getting an apple tattoo.

Vegetarianism- is still going strong. I didn’t expect to be able to keep it up while on campaign, because you spend all week eating food that someone else buys, but there was only ONE instance where I had meat, and that was at my cousin’s house. We had ribs, and they were good. During the campaign we were given gift cards with our meal allowance for the week- we had breakfast and lunch out. Therefore, I was able to choose meat-free items. I’m almost finished with a half-gallon of Silk, and bought Almond Breeze today. I also got a B12 supplement, which I’ve been told is recommended for vegetarians as B12 is pretty essential and apparently found primarily in meat. I feel great!

I think this is where I am going to leave you all- (after “This Week,” of course. I plan on getting back into Monday posting, so I will see you then!

I listened to: The ‘Ones Who Fly, Twos Who Die’ station on Pandora. On my iPhone. :D

I watched: Well, I’m not going to watch YET, but tomorrow (Friday) I will be watching HARRY POTTER!!! (Can you tell I’m excited??!)

I read: This post. It’s a call to action any geeks in the world (um, hello) to support Katie, a first grader with an awesome Star Wars water bottle.

I wrote: Nothing. Homework. Oh well.

I wish: You a Harry bliss-mass at the Friday premiere. (I’m getting punchy. Somebody stop me.)


So what did you listen to, watch, read, write and wish this week?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's still Monday in Seattle!

This was supposed to go up on MONDAY NIGHT, but my internet was tied
up. SO, instead of Monday night, it shall be posted Tuesday morning at
12:45. Heh.

Vegetarian Update! I really feel good. If I can stay this way, I know
that I can make this a long-time thing. I started out last week with
the intention of going completely dairy-free, and that didn't quite
happen. I had a birthday, see, and my dad makes A-freakingMAZING
cheesecake- mocha cheesecake, in fact. So I didn't keep up with it
over my birthday, but from that point out, I was pretty much as
dairy-free as I could go. It's actually not hard with work (Hi Kayla!)
because we have soy milk. (Actually, a soy coffee frappuccino is
REALLY REALLY good. You can hardly tell a difference.) I've heard from
SEVERAL people to be supercareful with soy, making sure that I don't
go overboard, and make sure to add some variety, and I plan on it. I'm
going to try rice milk next, then almond.

It's amazing how much of a difference I can tell in my sinuses when
I'm not having dairy. I never thought I had any problems before, just
the normal stuffyness. But I woke up on Tuesday (after only ONE DAY of
soy, and have felt the same way when I go dairy-free since) with
completely clear sinuses. It's weird! I like it!

The next step for me is to go meat-free, which I'm already enjoying.
My parents are pretty healthy eaters themselves, and my dad is a chef,
so I've grown up with some unusual foods, many of them from my mom's
favorite cookbook, which is vegetarian meals with five ingredients or
less. I got a soy toffee-nut latte at work, vegetarian pad-thai (vegan
to my knowledge... I asked for no egg, but that doesn't guarantee no
honey, etc.) and my mom made pasta with a zucchini-tomato sauce (no
meat, parmesan optional.) I want to look into getting some vitamin
supplements just to make sure I'm getting everything that I need, but
like I said, if it was this easy ( know it's not going to be like this
forever, um HELLO I've been at it for a week) I'd be a vegetarian
(with vegan tendencies) forever.

No writing this week, just homework and workwork. I'm getting mail
(with applications. *gulp*) all the time, and I'm trying to figure out
scholarships and grants and SAT scores... Stressful, let me tell you.
I also (yay!) got my full license Thursday, so I can now legally drive
whenever. I have a more writing-centered post to go up later this
week, so for now I think I'm going to go to la-la land and end this.
But not without:

THIS WEEK!

I listened to: The podcast "Stuff Mom Never Told You." Two co-hosts
(one of which is named Molly!) talk about some of the most RANDOM and
awesome topics, answering those questions you always wondered about.
Like, "Is Miss America relevant?" "Do men go through menopause?" "Does
my colon need cleansing?" :)

I watched: Easy A! It watches like a good teen novel reads. There's
language, but there's language everywhere. Really funny, and
surprisingly content-free for a movie about a girl who supposedly
sleeps with [practically, or so the rumor goes] her entire senior
class. I'd see it again, AND buy it on DVD.

I read: Scrambled Eggs and Midnight (Actually, I'm readING it.) and,
Tales of a Female Nomad. Love them both.

I wrote: Thank you notes.

I wish: I had Hermione's Time Turner.

So what did you listen to, watch, read, write and wish this week?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday! Vegetarianism! SBS!

I'm going to be a vegetarian for awhile. Just because. This post will have next to nothing writing related, just letting you know now. :)

I love a challenge, I love an adventure. I love EXPERIENCING, and being to look back, having realized that I survived. Which is why I'm attempting to be a vegetarian! I'm not doing it for health reasons, (but, hello side benefit!) or moral (although, I don't like the thought of dead anything so why the HE!! am I eating flesh?!? WILLINGLY!) I just am. I'm also not doing this to judge myself (or- heavens, anyone else), or show off, it just seems interesting.

Starting today, Monday, I will be going off dairy for the week. I want to test the water cutting out one major protein source, to see how it goes. If (by the end of the week) I'm still feeling okay, I'll cut out red meats, then chicken and turkey (don't really eat much fish or pork) but with some dairy allowance. At that point I'll be a vegetarian with vegan tendencies. ;) I would go all the way with the veganism (no animal products whatsoever, including gelatin and honey) but I'm not willing to make that kind of commitment. My life is stressful enough.

In other news, I think I might have Second Book Syndrome. I'm scared that I'm writing the same material [as March], just with different characters and a leap across the country. Stephanie Perkins told me that strong coffee and dance music helps, though- so I am going to take her up on that. :) Have you ever experienced SBS? Have you ever tried something just for the heck of it, just because you want the challenge?

THIS WEEK!

I listened to: Coldplay's The Scientist over and over and over and over, AND a customer who came into Starbucks talk about her life living in Crete for 8 months, just because. Oh, and she also traveled in Ireland, and recommended this book. I WANT HER LIFE.

I watched: Runaway Bride.

I read: Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins. Really enjoying it so far!

I wrote: very little- oh, except for my name for my LEAKYCON registration!!! :D

I wish: That someday my prince will come, riding on a shooting second star to the right somewhere over the rainbow. <---- I want to see that movie. Oh, and that my inbox didn't scare me as much as it does.

So what did you listen to, watch, read, write and wish this week? (Oh yeah, I'm starting season 6 of friends!  8 hours of show over 9 days.... :D)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'd like to thank the academy...



As a reader, I loved books for their stories, cover art and such. But now, as a writer, I love a different part. I love acknowledgments (thank you’s, the part of the book where the writer gushes about their amazing support systems, whatever you call it.)

 If you’re a writer yourself, you know how solitary writing can be. After all, your job is basically listening to the voices in your head, and writing them down... Not a whole lot of room for social activities. At least, in my experience, social writing is not very productive. The acknowledgments are so important to me, because I can only imagine how many personal sacrifices those people make because they love the writer.

There's a quote that says that women are like teabags- you don't know how strong they are until you put them in hot water. I think relationships are the same way. You can be fine, and have a GREAT relationship (or friendship) but when the going gets tough, or boring, or you lose time for each other, what happens? The test of any friendship is how they can relate to you when you're writing, and not being very interesting. It's NOT easy being friends with one of us, especially when we can't go out and do stuff because we need to get another couple of thousand words down. We don't make our part of the friendship easy- the voices in our head tend to dominate.

I want to throw this out there to anyone who cares, and anyone who knows me, and still speaks to me. Thank you. Writing is something so important to me, that I couldn't imagine living without it, and I owe you so much- for times when I had to cancel something fun, or wrote while we were on the phone, only managing to get out "Mhmm's" and "Oh, definitely. I get you." Without a great support system, we writers would take to the bottle before ten, and that would NOT be pretty. I’m not naming names, because anyone reading this blog, or anyone who has has some kind of interaction with me over the past year deserves this. So, thanks.

Who do you want to thank? Who supports you, despite the cost?

THIS WEEK:

I listened to: Dinah Washington, and ALL CAPS’s new album, lowercase.

I watched: Oliver! Live! With my lovely, lovely friend GloriaTangerine. “Who will buy this wonderful morning...?”

I read: Paranormalcy!

I wrote: “Everything alright?” Annie said from the kitchen.
“It should be. But next time, leave the parenting of MY daughter to me, okay?” She gathered up the bags, and ran back up the stairs. Jenny knocked again At Callie’s door, silently praying her daughter hadn’t changed her mind. The door handle twisted and the whitewashed door groaned as Callie opened it and let her mother in. She placed the colorful bags on the bed, and turned, ponytail whipping around behind her, to face Callie- one bag in her grasp, and an excited look on her face.

I wish: You joy and happiness, but above all this, I wish you love.

So what did you listen to, watch, read, write and wish this week?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Could it be? An ACTUAL post on a Monday?!

Today's post will not be a long one, partially due to the fact that I have seven minutes before work, partially because there's not much to tell. I've been working, and watching Friends, and doing Geometry. Bleh! But despite my boring, I hope your week was/will be productive and coffee filled. I've certainly got the coffee part down. So without further delay, I present: the end of my post.

THIS WEEK, I:

Listened to: The Ingles Advantage song, which plays every 45 seconds at work. Look it up on YouTube, and you, too will start crying.

I watched: Ross and Rachel get together, and break up, and fight, and not hate each other QUITE so much...

I read: Coffee cups. Decaf? Shots? Milk? Drink? Custom?

I wrote: X[decaf], 3, N PSL, XH (I bet Kayla can translate!)

I wish: I had five more minutes!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Time to whip out the Write or Die. {UPDATED}

I’m not getting any writing done, and I need to... So, I’m whipping out the WoD, setting it for 500 words in 30 minutes. Won’t be too hard, I just need the challenge. I would make this a live blog, but it’s two in the morning, and I doubt any of you are crazy enough to be awake with me. I’ll update this post, and answer questions once my half hour is up. *gulp*

UPDATE:

I am finished, awake, and rather pumped.



Like I said, the time limit wasn't TOO challenging. I can now sleep, and wish that I could write my entire novel that way. It's REALLY late, but if my calculations are correct, I could write a 50,000 word novel in 19 hours if I kept up that pace... Something to think about!


I listened to: These guys.

I watched: Temple Grandin- the movie. You can read more about this AMAZING woman here and here.

I read: This fablulous article on "boy books," by Maureen Johnson, two posts by Stephanie Perkins- one about hope for teens after high school, the other about censorship. I also perused the blogs of Glenna Walsh, Abby Stevens, and Kayla Olson. (Thank you for the comments! I love them all!)

I wrote: The guy came into the store again today, you know the cute one? His name is Brian, I don't remember if I mentioned it. I think he kind of asked me out, and I think I said yes. Oh, and get this- he's picking me up at my house! It's like a real date, only instead of a stern, "Young man, you treat me daughter right" father, I have a grandmother with a shotgun and 23 years of teaching experience. I wonder what will happen tomorrow. If things go well, will I be his girlfriend? I know that implies asking me out again, but where is the line between friends, and friends who go out, and friends who DATE?

I wish: That the dishwasher would load itself, and I could get caffeine in an IV.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

See that message below?

The blank one? It had a post. It was eloquent, and BEAUTIFUL. Blogger ate it. I am sad. SO, for your updating convenience, I am posting an older version of that post that was supposed to be on here two weeks ago. I am tired, and it's not updated for modern times. SorrySorrySorry!

Happy Thursday! A Starbucks job, an explanation, list of links and why I'm not doing NaNoWriMo...

So, last week I had this great post written out, and blogger had an issue, and it all went away. The rest of the week was COMPLETELY booked, so Monday became Tuesday, which became a Wednesday, evolving into a Thursday, and here we are again. There's been a lot of major news happen in my world recently, and I'm glad that it's FINALLY online. That makes it official, right?

The first bit of news is great, not quite as fantastic as the second, but amazing anyway. I got a job! At STARBUCKS! For hours a day, I am surrounded by coffee, and calls of "Chai Tea Latte!" or, "Breve Americano!" "Caramel Frappuccino!" Yes, in case you're wondering, I get an occasional free drink. ;) You would not believe the number of people who make it in the door, saying, "You know, I've been having a pretty crappy morning, but I know that when I come to Starbucks, there will be friendly people who will caffeinate me, which will get me through the day." It's a really nice feeling when we get to help.

The job also means that I am now am no longer megabroke, and am about 99.9% positive that I'll be able to go to LeakyCon 2011 next year, which I'm PUMPED about. My library hours changed a bit from summer to fall, in that I now get two hours a week, totaling about $30 dollars per paycheck. My cell phone bill is usually around $20, (I'm on the family plan) and Netflix is $9 per month. Yes, that is correct, I can cover my bills and that's it. With this new Starbucks job, my coffee costs are, well- lesser, and any money I get goes directly to my bank account, not to Netflix or ATT. Of course I say bank account...you had better believe I'll be doing a fair amount of online shopping pretty soon!

But there is bigger news, and this time, it's not about me. Okay, okay, it's SORT of mine: My dad got a job!! March of 2009, his employer said, "We love you, but we're cutting costs, so we can't pay you any more. Buh-bye!" Which, you know... sucks. He searched and worked at a grocery store deli for a few months before a seasonal executive chef position opened up at one of the bajillion summer camps in my area. Nice job, but seasonal. Then he heard about this job as a the catering chef at our local hospital- they are really working on changing their image food wise, and the job seemed like a perfect fit. He got fantastic references, and went to THREE levels of interviews, then one day, an email saying that they had hired someone from inside the company, but thanks anyway. You can imagine how bummed we were. A few weeks pass, and he gets a mysterious phone call from the guy doing all of the interviews. He says for my dad to call him back, and nothing else. Long phone call short, they decided to slightly modify the position, open it up once more, and weren't going to make a decision until the beginning of September. They had him come in last Tuesday, and offered him the job. Over a year and a half, and he finally has a position that he is qualified for, which will provide just the right amount of challenge! This has been a really long time coming. :)

Sooo, we had family in town last week, and then I started my job, AND we officially started school Tuesday. Basically, about a thousand words have been written this week. I also have a bit more news, which is not the happiest: I don't think I'll be able to do NaNoWriMo this year. As much as I would like to be SuperGirl, a job, senior year and some semblance of a life all together do not equal time for NaNoWriMo. I'm not completely ruling it out, because I could drop everything for two crazy weekends and wipe out my word count, 8k a day for six days, plus two 4k writing days... We'll see. I would really LOVE to do it this year, but I don't think I'll be able to do it without giving something up, and that CANNOT be my grades or my job.

Now I need to address a pet peeve. As you now know, (uh- read above) I have a job at Starbucks. It's really great, and most people know EXACTLY what they want to order before they walk in the door. Then there are those poor unfortunate souls (name the reference, anyone?) who walk in, and have NO IDEA what they want, and no idea what anything is. Therefore, I have created a guide, complete with tips and tricks for your ultimate Starbucks Experience. Go with me here.

*****************************************************************

THEKNITTINGNERD'S ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STARBUCKS!

Paying with a card is EASIER than cash. Before working as a barista, I always thought I was inconveniencing someone with a swipe. It's not a problem. We hit buttons, and don't have to count up change.

[Starbucks] Baristas are THOROUGHLY trained. We have (I think) a minimum of 35 hours of book training, throughout 11 manuals.

Just because it's not listed on the menu, (drink wise) doesn't mean we can't make it. Also, ask a barista what THEY like. My co-workers and I all have favorite combinations of syrups that create a new drink. One guy I work with created a neopolitan Frappuccino, as well as one flavored like orange sherbet. I love Pumpkin Spice lattes with vanilla syrup, and chocolate drizzle.

Bring in your own cup and get cheaper coffee!

Starbucks makes their own whipped cream out of heavy whipping cream and vanilla syrup. This might seem kinda minor, and "why would I care?"ish, but it's actually kinda cool. No whipped half-chemicals for us!

You're not inconveniencing us by having us MAKE a drink. If there are no dishes to be done, and the coffee is all brewed and ready to go, there's not a lot for baristas to do. We get bored. Order something, PLEASE?

As a stereotype, we [baristas] actually tend to LIKE our job. I've heard this from my coworkers, and my best friend works at another Starbucks in a neighboring town- same feelings there. :)

So what goes into a drink, you may ask?

A (grande) latte is two shots of espresso, and steamed milk- you hold the foam, and add a little to the top.

A (grande) cappuccino is two shots of espresso, and steamed milk- except the milk is poured (called free pour) without holding the foam, like when you make a latte.

You can get a latte on ice, which is just espresso, milk and ice, but you cannot get a cappuccino iced, because the basis of the drink is that there is more foam than in a latte. (A latte may or may not have foam, depending on your preference. It's not uncommon to get a latte with no foam.)

A (grande) caramel macchiato is syrup, steamed milk, and three shots of espresso poured in at the end, to "mark" the foam. (I believe macchiato is "mark" in Italian, but don't quote me.) then caramel drizzle is added to the top.

An americano is espresso with hot water... which we can add to taste.

A mocha is mocha syrup, two shots of espresso, and steamed milk, no foam and whip.

A chai latte is made of of chai concentrate, hot water and steamed milk. Buuut, the water is optional.

A Frappuccino is made with whole milk by default. If you love fraps, substituting 2% milk and no whip is a great way to have your drink taste pretty normal, (not light, which we CAN do- light syrup, sugar-free flavoring, nonfat milk, no whip) while saving calories.

A Frappuccino is also made with our specially-made coffee starter. You can substitute espresso as your coffee starter if you would like, you just need to ask. :)

The pastries (at least OUR pastries) are either one day, or two days, depending on the item. I've had numerous people ask "Is it fresh?" Each pastry is either hours, or one day old. I still count that as fresh.

~()* ]  <---- (it's a coffee cup!)

*****************************************************************

And now I have just a few notes, updates, links to insanity, stuff like that. Not afterthoughts, just coincidentally after those ^^ thoughts. :P

First off, I want to thank Myrna Foster again, for my prize package. I had a post written up (written on time, I swear) but didn't post it to the blog, so I had mentally written it off, but didn't quite follow through. THANK YOU, MYRNA! Goodnight, Good Knight is totally cute! (and the Nutella? Gone.) Myrna sent me some candy from Prague, PENS, and a pre-order of Paranormalcy, and Anna and the French Kiss. I haven't gotten Paranormalcy yet, (I live on a gravel road on the side of a mountain. Delivery prejudice happens all the time. You should have heard what happened when I tried to get my computer! Nightmare! BUT, I got it, and expect to get Paranormalcy soon!)

The Blue Lipstick Samurai rocks my socks off. I think this on an hourly basis.

Abby Stevens is home from England! I'm going to get her to take ME next time!

It blows my mind that you amazing people COMMENT on my blog! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

CONGRATS to Kiersten White on [Paranormalcy] debuting at #7 on the NYT Bestseller list!!


Sorry for the massive post this week... It's to make up for the two weeks minus real post, and I like to talk a lot. In a LOT of YouTube videos and blog posts, there is a standard set of statistics or questions answered and asked to readers/viewers. Kristina Horner lists the number of Chipotle burritos she's had this year so far, and what her last google search is. MY version (aside from WC) is going to be this:

This week:

I listened to: Glee. I can't wait for it to return! (So, UPDATE: Saw Glee. Laughed, SO EXCITED it's back!)

I watched: Friends! Just starting season 2 now. :D (Another update... FINISHED Season 2. Still love, but lots of doubt as to if I'm really spending my time well- NAH.)

I read: I Heard the Owl Call My Name, for my religions class.

I wrote:  Quiet nights after everyone had gone to bed, she would stare out the window of the small kitchenette, and imagine she was laying on a rooftop somewhere. Her fingers would be sticky from the watermelon she'd had earlier, and a quiet breeze would drift through the tar beach, and bring warmth up with it. Someone would  have a guitar, and they'd be so high up that the city noise would be indistinguishable, more like the crash of the ocean than horns and car motors. The popcorn ceiling glared back at her, a dank reminder that she was nowhere with stars worth watching.

I wish: That this 1,900 word blog post counted towards my novel word count.


So what did you listen to, watch, read, write and wish this week?



Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

*grumble* I had a post written out. GAH.

I had a post, but it is gone. I will update later in the week. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Six o'clock already? I was JUST in the middle of a dream...


(You need to skip to 0:22 to get to the actual song)

So here it is. Monday. The day of shared dread, the poor victim of our beginning of the week stress, and obviously part of the title of a song by a pretty awesome girl band of the 80's... Worthy of a Gilmore Girls cameo. As I mentioned in my last post (it's online, so it MUST be true) I'm now going to start posting EVERY Monday, and some days in between. So here it is. Why am I having so much trouble coming up with something to write about? Oh yeah- because there's no room left in my brain! Why? Howabout we take a look at my upcoming school schedule and see?

World Epic Lit
American History
Geometry
Micro Economics
World Religions
aaaand
French 2.

I'm exhausted just reading that list. But I'm also reminded why I do it all, why I've loaded myself with so many classes- it's because of a dream. Or, well, dreams.

I distinctly remember (and my friend Abbey will back me up on this) that as a 9-10-11yr old, I wanted three things in my life. I wanted to go to Hawaii, visit American Girl Place, and get my OWN laptop. Yes, I wanted a laptop as a nine year old. What can I say? I am happy to report that I have been to American Girl place, (I went during a visit to Chicago. It was amazing) and I have my own laptop. It only took me 8 years, but here I am. And the Hawaii thing? I might like to visit, but I really have no strong desires to go anymore. If I could choose one place to visit, it would either be somewhere in Europe, (probaby Paris or London) Seattle, or New York. Can you tell that I love cities?

When I was 13, I remember sitting on a blanket during an easter egg hunt (it was for the younger kids. I always liked hunting easter eggs) and someone suggested that I go into journalism. I had always said that I wanted a career as a writer, whatever I could get. Age 13 to... oh, 15 I was GOING to be a journalist. Ideally someone who worked for BBC, so I would have to travel back and forth from London (where I would live most of the time) to New York (only temporary, of course) all the time. But dreams change.

Like I no longer want to go to Hawaii, I don’t really want to be a journalist. Sure, it would be neat, but I like creating stories. I always did. It’s true that life is often stranger than fiction, but I wanted the strangeness to be my own creation. My dreams now are really different.

Through this college road trip, the one place I have fallen in love with more than any other, is New York. As of September of last year, I had never really considered writing a novel, until I opened a word document on my fancy-dancy new laptop, and began to write. I found out about this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo in October, signed up, and wrote 5011 words the next month, what would become my first completed novel.

My dreams are different now. I no longer want to live primarily in London, I really adore New York. I want to have a novel published (and NOT self-published) and I want to live in the city. I’ll work as a waitress to cover the bills,(if I have to) but hopefully pull an Ann Brashares, and work in publishing/editing/marketing while writing at 2 am. (Of course, my MAJOR dream right now would be to have a novel on the way to publication before college, write for four years, and have enough income to write full time, and live in an apartment with no more than one roommate. Dreaming here.) The point is that I want different things now. I see the world through potentially naive eyes, yes, but without the dream of something bigger, and the hope that I’ll reach those dreams, all I have is right here.

I have a laptop, and a head full of ideas, and a 3.somethingnottoosucky GPA. Those things in conjunction won’t get me anywhere. My grade point average isn’t going to convince an agent to sign with me, or Dutton to make an offer, or a college to fall at my feet. Dreams are what move us forward. The laptop holds a novel, and a dream. The Nottoosucky GPA holds the hope of college, the head full of ideas thinks big both academically and writing wise. But without that dream, I don’t go anywhere.

Without work, we rarely get what we want. But without dreams, we don't have something TO want. I'm excited about these dreams, but nervous that I won't achieve them. What will happen if I fail? Will my dreams change? What were your dreams when you were younger? What are they now?

 

5326 / 60000 words. 9% done!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rules.

I’m not really a rules person. I’m a bookish knitting hippie who likes to hang out in yoga pants all day, listening to Franz Ferdinand while reading Zelda Fitzgerald. I have a need to be surrounded by a computer, cell phone and book all at once, while wearing a “Save the Earth!” t-shirt. I de-stress by checking my email, or writing, or watching Gilmore Girls. I dream of living in a teenytiny apartment in New York, writing at three in the morning, waiting for my takeaway sesame chicken and lo mein to arrive. I would rather stay up really late and sleep in, rather than get up early, at the same time I love the energy early in the morning. It’s sunrises and coffee, and the fog/smog (I live in what is considered a rainforest- it’s actually fog here) is slowly disappearing from where it settled the night before. If I didn’t enjoy that thing we call sleep so much, I would live my life without it. I would run my life by freedom in my very basic security.

But, as much as I’m pained to say this, I think this might be a time for rules. I’ve been blogging when I could/thought of it for quite awhile now. I enjoy it immensely- I would have quit long ago if I didn’t like it. But with the school season steadily approaching, (SENIOR FREAKING YEAR) I need some structure. Again, in pain writing all of this. I have decided to post on Mondays and the occasional Friday. There is a certain degree of guilt involved in NOT posting- I like so many things that it’s difficult to just focus on one sometimes. If I’m in a position to write a blog post, and don’t already have something lined up, I’ll write something, and who knows- post it in the moment. That is my rule. Definitely post on Mondays, maybe on Fridays, and occasionally days in between.

Of course there’s much greater motivation behind this new policy, other than just school and life, and all that jazz. It’s something I never talk about on this blog- ever. Writing. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have three novels (“draft” is a dirty word) written (I don’t care how bad they are. They count.) by December 1st. I’m only 17. My goal right now is to finish Alaska Junction by November 1st, which currently gives me a little less than three months to write 55,000 more words than I have now. If I can write at least 734 words a day, I’ll have a 60,000 word novel by then. Wooohoo! The reason for the schedule both writing-wise and posting wise, is that I want to jump out of this amateur zone. I want to live this. I want to write, and this is how I will do so. Or, at least try to do so. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Your ULTIMATE guide to college tours!


I’m not an expert on college tours, but after eleven of them spread out over thirteen states, I definitely have something to say, and a bit of advice.

You will get a feel of a campus within the first five minutes. This shouldn’t completely turn you off to a school, often times you’ll need re-evaluation, but some campuses will click, and others won’t.

Student-directed tours are your best bet. Faculty members are great, but students will know where the hangout spots are, and what the school is like. I’m sure there’s a certain amount of, “I was taught to say this”-itis, but most students will give you their honest opinion.

An info session AND campus tour might not be necessary everywhere. Depending on the school, the info session will be redundant. Every tour I went on had time for Q & A, throughout the tour. You’re able to SEE parts of campus, and get information about the different departments, which is often enough, especially if you’re just looking. If this is your dream school, use the resources, go to the information session, talk to everyone you can. The info session is a higher-level tour without the visuals, which are important. It’s possible to love an educational philosophy, but hate the campus.

Locate the undergraduate admissions office, and have a phone number. This will save you time, hassle, and energy when you first arrive on campus. It’s as simple as a quick google search. If we had gotten the number of the Yale admissions office, we wouldn’t have walked from our old campus parking spot to the admissions building clear across campus, then proceeded to walk the school grounds.

Be prepared with quarters.
We spent over half an hour in Cambridge, MA trying to find quarters to feed the meters. Especially in smaller towns, the parking will be limited, and parking decks might not be around.

Find a guide with your ideal major, similar interests, and one who SPEAKS LOUDLY. It seems obvious, but in the moment won’t occur to you.

Be prepared to sweat, walk and hear repeated information.
Most tours take place during the summer. If you manage to tour during a breezy day, be grateful. If you do both the tour and the info session, you will hear repeated information. Wear comfortable shoes, because the goal of the tour is to get an accurate picture of what campus living would be like, not just the pretty parts.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, BUT some questions are best with a personal answer.
At the same time, don’t ask stupid questions. You can find a lot on the website. We had several people ask things like, “Do you teach Latin?” or, “Do you have this major?” Google, people. GOOGLE.

Talk to your guide while you walk, and after the tour is finished!
They are people after all. I found out some really interesting info by talking to the guides, like obscure history facts, or where to get the best cup of coffee nearby. ;)

Bring a notebook. Take notes. Even if you don’t plan on reading them again, or even using them, they’ll help you stay awake during info sessions, and can be useful when comparing colleges.

Grab literature.
Reference for later. Just do it.

COMMUNICATE.
Communicate with the FA advisor, admissions department, faculty, students, whoever you come in contact with. Don’t stalk them or anything, but if you want to get into a school, knowing the system will help you out.

Ask about financial aid, loans, work study programs, grants, scholarships.
Just because a school says that they have great financial aid, perhaps even meeting you 100%, doesn’t mean that half of that won’t be loans that you get to pay off five years post-graduation. Work study programs are great- most have you working 10-12 hours a week, which is not a lot of time, and a lot less money that you have to pay.

Use your resources!
Twitter, social networking, etc. I asked several people for advice on places to eat, or see, which were far more useful than what I could find in a guidebook. (If you’re ever in Portsmith, Rhode Island, go to the creperie just off the Brown campus. Trust me.)

See the library.
You will use it, so you better love it.

Ask about greek life.
Dartmouth has heavy involvement in Greek life, and that’s not something I’m interested in. If you’re dying to rush, then Dartmouth may be your cup of tea!

Survey your surroundings. Gonna pick on Dartmouth again- Sorry! Dartmouth has a beautiful campus, in what I like to fondly describe as “Nowhere, New Hampshire.” I already live in Nowhere, North Carolina, so hopping from one to another doesn’t appeal to me. Loving the campus is important, but loving the area is of equal importance.

Ask what YOU’RE looking for in a campus, and out of your education. Not just in a major, but extracurriculars, study abroad programs, even the curriculum style. What do students do on the weekends? Do people stay on campus, or go into the nearest city?

You CAN visit during the school year.
In fact, I think I would recommend this. You get a REAL experience of the campus, instead of the watered down version of summer. I’ve also heard of schools giving credit or excused absences for visiting colleges.

Act like a normal person, PLEASE. You are not in competition with every person who is touring. Be nice. Again, this is NOT a contest. That stage comes during applications, silly! Your space will not be compromised by everyone in the info session. So, don’t act that way.

Be comfortable. Most people don’t dress up for tours or info sessions. Interviews call for a more formal outfit, but every interview I had dictated business/business casual attire. The best outfits can be more or less casual depending on what everyone around you is wearing, and won’t wrinkle easily. Tours and info sessions are even more relaxed. Don’t be a prep, wear your non-torn jeans, and nicer shorts, ideally ones without something written on the bum. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

#YACinema

I'll be attending... Will YOU? http://yacinema.blogspot.com/2010/08/first-movie-penelope.html#comments

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The dangers of writing to a trend... Basically a long tweet.

Think about the publication process. Not only is the journey to creating an original piece difficult, it's also time consuming. I'm not an expert in the market, but any book start to finish will take YEARS. Now, your trend might last for years, (I do think this vampire thing has lasted awhile) and you could possibly have your work bumped up if it meets a need, but do you want to play like everyone else? By the time you give your work the time and attention it deserves, the trend will either be OVER, or people will be getting... Well, bored. Write something different. Don't abandon your project, but make it unlike any other. Write out of your comfort zone, write something you want to read- that doesn't already exist. ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stealing from the other blog again. Stay Tuned!

I'm totally scatterbrained right now, so there is a strong likelihood that this post wont make sense. Here we go. IF you haven't realized, all of my posts that aren't several paragraphs long have been text updates. Great for brief, in the moment stuff, but not for actual info. It's Sunday morning around 12:30 AM, of course I haven't been to bed yet, so I consider today Saturday night. I'm FINALLY in a hotel with WIFI, and I don't have to get up at six tomorrow. Finished the last of our tours, Georgetown was absolutely gorgeous. I have a whole list of our likes and dislikes about these schools, and several REAL posts, but those will have to wait. This has been a whirlwind trip, nine days of campus security, and needs-blind financial aid, and SAT scores. I've waved at Glenna's (The Blue Lipstick Samurai, who happens to have a CONTEST going on!) MOM in a car on a highway, and stayed in a New York apartment, toured the Pentagon, and ate crepes in Rhode Island. And that is only the beginning. Give me a bit of time, and I will tell all. Thanks for going on this trip with me! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In which I cheat. New York, Little India, and Georgie's Diner!

Hey everyone- Happy August! I'm having a great time on this crazy road trip- here is one of the most recent posts on my trip blog, www.shobust.blogspot.com!

There was little to do but drive. Our goal was to arrive by a decent hour in West Haven, Connecticut in order to visit Yale and Brown Monday (today, as I write this). The GPS was helpful to a point, but after awhile,
“Turn right, then turn right,” and “Oh dear, turn around when possible.” gets OLD. On the way, we found ourselves on I 90, just around New York City. That’s when the trouble began. In order to travel over the George Washington Bridge, only a three mile stretch, we sat in the car during horrible, rush hour traffic. It took us about an hour and forty-five minutes to get from the beginning of the three miles to the end. Of course, we had been waiting all day to reach a certain gas station in New Jersey which sold FlexFuel, which our car would take. When we had three miles to go, this would have been no problem- an hour and forty five minutes later, however, we were running on fumes. This meant that we had to get off somewhere once past the three mile hell streak, and that place was New York, and we had to get there FAST. We reached the toll at the beginning of the bridge, and asked the attendant where the best place to get gas would be. Her answer?
“Best place was before the bridge.”
Helpful, right? The best gas station was behind us. Onward we drove, narrowly missing the crazy drivers of both New Jersey and New York. They are completely fearless, zipping in and around anyone going too slow, creating their own lanes, pulling out in front of a car if they want to or need to, no ten-second blinker time, no, ‘Will you let me in?’ they go. We drove over the bridge, this time going much faster but even more dependent on fumes, and suddenly found ourselves in a jungle like no other. New York. Suffice it to say, that driving in and around and over and under and stopping and starting and LOTS of car horns were a part of our lives for the next twenty minutes. We were on the phone with family members who were sitting safe at their computers looking for the nearest gas station for us, freaking out over the six cars who almost hit us, and worrying about the fact that our stopping and starting could soon become a permanent fixture, running out of gas in the middle of the Bronx, what we later discovered to be Harlem... How’s THAT for daunting? Thankfully, after much honking, trial and error, along with directions from several people who didn’t speak English, we made it to a BP, our last choice in refueling, but filled up all the same.

Then, we reassessed. Five, polite non-New Yorkers driving through Harlem in a rental car. We drove and stopped, and almost got “t-boned” whatever the heck that is. Finally, once moderately safe, we pulled over and laughed for about twenty minutes, part stress, part, “Oh my gosh, we just about died” and a heavy dose of exhaustion.

Eventually, we got to our hotel- sorry- motel, lovingly renamed “Little India.” The place smelled like curry, and not in a good way. It was nine pm when everything was moved into our room, and we were all starving. Back to the car we went, stopping at a restaurant that had Chicken in its name. We stopped in, sat down, and twenty minutes later after the waitress finally came over, were told that there was absolutely no chicken in the restaurant, meaning that they had hot dogs and rice. Obviously, we had to leave. Found another place, whose entrees ranged $15-20. Great for roadtrippers 3,000 miles away from home.

Isn't it cute?
But finally, FINALLY, we saw a small diner which was adorable, and open. In we walked, met a fantastic waitress, had amazing food, and brought take-out menus so that we could tell our friends. SO. Anyone in West Haven, or visiting Yale should DEFINITELY check out Georgie’s Diner, at
http://georgies-diner.com! :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In which I bore you to death.

This will likely be one of my last updates for the next week and a half... Like I mentioned a few posts back, I'm going on a road trip! I have bought a TUB of Twizzlers (the essential road-trip food) and am now in the process of cleaning my room, doing a LOT of laundry, finding the discs to all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, and not freaking out over the fact that this trip will likely kill me. If all goes well, all FIVE of us, (Me, my mom, a friend of mine, her mom and younger brother) will climb into our camry-sized car at 9:15 Saturday morning, and magically appear in Lancaster, PA, 9 hours and 15 minutes later. Like I said, scary.





Sunday will be a tour of Princeton,
Monday will cover Yale and Brown,
Tuesday, Wellesley and Harvard,
Wednesday, Dartmouth, Champlain and the Ben & Jerry's factory! :)
Thursday, Middlebury and Vassar,
Friday, The King's College.
Saturday, we're going to Georgetown, and tour the Pentagon.
Sunday, travel home.
This will total 2,350 miles, with 50 hours in the car.

In the mean time, I will be updating (as regularly as I can) our trip blog, found at www.shobust.blogspot.com.
As to writing, I have 5,000 words of Alaska Junction to send to a certain pair of Irish Musketeers by tomorrow night, but that's about it. I hope you all have cell service, unlike me! Sorry I'm such a drag/spaz today- much to do, not much time! BUT, to make up for the boredom of this post, I invite you to check out this video I threw together... When Viral Videos Collide!



Later!

Monday, July 26, 2010

You ARE a writer.

I received a letter from a friend recently (a real letter, mind you- with a stamp and everything) which said something that completely threw me for a loop. Note that this is a good friend of mine- not close in that he knows all of my dirty laundry or anything, but a good enough friend to give advice, and in this case, admonition. He said something along the lines of:

You are not a professional authoress, and treating this [writing] hobby as such cannot be healthy.

At the core, the statement is not completely untrue. I’m still finishing the third draft of March, though not as full-steam-ahead as I suppose I could? To my credit, I really love writing and the creative outlet it provides me, which is why I’m working on Alaska Junction primarily right now. I need to create something, bring in new scenes, give a relationship and friendships different dynamics, add kissing and coffee and a whole new batch of fun exciting elements. Adding them to March would bring a devastating overload, and any hope I might have of acquiring an agent would be dashed like a ceramic mug, falling off of a counter, splattering French roast hope all over the floor.

His comment basically said that I should remind myself that this is a hobby, not a profession, that I should lighten up about writing and slow down. Up to this point, my own opinion can only be guessed at...

It made me mad.

I’m not a professional, I get that. Sometimes my writing behaviors are less than hobbyish, leaving me with minimal sleep and much caffeine. (Another concern of his, for my health, as I’m apparently writing, over-caffeinating and not sleeping myself to the grave. This is untrue.) I don’t see myself as a wannabe writer. I see myself as a writer working towards publication, which is what we all are, right? I don’t want to be published for the first time at the age of forty, after writing for 23 years. It’s not me. I never liked treading water in swimming lessons, and will not just hang out with a novel or two on my hard drive, waiting for something to happen. I know this sounds foolish and probably pretty naive, but if a manuscript of mine is consistently being rejected, then I need more work, more feedback, more critiques. I will work or my novels until they are usable, and valuable. My friend truly meant well, but my goals are not the same as his (he is a writer as well.) There is something special about emerging yourself into something you love, and watching it bloom. I could give up, I could settle for less structured (another fallacy on his part- there is much less writing and coffee, and way more sleep than he gives me credit for) and more freestyle-hobby work, but that won’t make me happy.


In the movie Julie and Julia, (one of my favorites- cannot watch it enough) Eric, Julie’s husband tells Julie that there are sixty-five messages on their answering machine, all from literary agents, television producers, editors, etc. (man I WISH that would happen, but that’s not my point...) she [Julie] remarks to Eric, “I’m going to be a writer!” and what he says is one of my favorite lines in the movie, of which there are many.

“You are a writer.”

Publication or not, we’re all writers. Full time or not, we all write, we all craft and it’s individual for each of us. A one-size approach does not fit all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Lovely Bones (Movie) an opinion...

I watched The Lovely Bones last night, and several people asked me for a review- or rather an opinion. Here we go!

The plot is relatively simple; Suzie Salmon narrates the story, detailing the events leading up to and the life of her family after her murder.
Yes, I realize this sounds REALLY freaky.
In some parts it is, but as a viewer, you never really see or relate to Suzie as a dead girl, or someone haunting her family- she's more of a trapped onlooker, forced to watch her family (and the boy she likes/liked) deal with their grief.
Yes, I realize this sounds more like a bad romcom or just a tragedy.
It's both.
The Lovely Bones is not for the faint of heart by any means... I would rate it PG13, borderline R.
It's not a traditionally scary movie, so nothing pops out and screams at you, but it IS really creepy, as you follow her killer who lives next door, and plots ways to trap and kill his next victim.
You see a couple of dead bodies, but none of them open their eyes or come alive or anything, and the soundtrack is not this constantly creepy undertone that keeps you on edge for three hours...
There is a definite flip flop, part CREEPY/FREAKY murder scene, part grieving family, part other world, which is rainbow colored and reminds me visually of what I pictured in the Gemma Doyle trilogy.
A big plus for me was the costumes- the story takes place in the 70's and early 80's, so everyone has awesome hair. If you're looking for a sweet movie, this in really not it. If you're looking for a horror film, you might be satisfied, but there aren't any jump-off-the-screen scare your pants off moments. I wouldnt' watch the film again, it's too much, and I'm sure that the book would be a bit intense for my tastes. But it wasn't completely horrible... I'm sure some of you might enjoy it. Hope that helps some of you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

List of threes

Last three books I’ve read:
1. If I Stay, by Gayle Foreman (listened to-still counts!) Five of Five
2. The Lonely Hearts Club, but Elizabeth Eulberg Four of Five
3. Under the Rose, by Diana Peterfreund Four of Five

Three announcements to make:
1. I’m thinking about trying BEDA (blog every day in August)but don't know if I'll be able to with the road trip and all.
2. Live posting will be less frequent until mid-August, as I’m freakishly busy. That is, unless I manage to schedule posts, which will probably make everything more frequent! Scary, huh?
3. A couple of authors and I are planning a livetweet movie night- more details to come!

Three Alaska Updates:
1. There is work being done, alas it is not much work.
2. Abby Stevens and Glenna Walsh are amazing, and not letting me stop, which I have considered.
3. There is a stack of guidebooks by my bed about the PNW; I figure that I can describe both what I know and remember, and what Arthur Frommer says.

Last three movies I watched:
1. Paper Heart (cute)
2. Fame (okay)
3. Whip It (fantastic)

Last three purchases:
1. Iced Latte
2. Baguette
3. Gummy Bears (I know, so sophisticated until number 3...)

Sorry for the delay!

Congrats to the 2nd half of my iBeta contest winner, K! Email me your manuscript, or whatever you’d like me to look over. I enjoyed the process of learning about each of your manuscripts, and wish I could read them all. (Maybe I could? Hmm...) ALSO, I am very excited to say that I WON Myrna Foster’s contest! I’m ridiculously grateful- you should all go send her e-hugs. Check back later today for more updates and... fun stuff, like real blog posts. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I want to win.

And will do anything necessary. What I want to win, is the contest on Myrna Foster's blog, giving away pre-orders of Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins (who I met in PERSON. She is AWESOME) AND Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White, who I (unfortunately) only know through Twitter stalking, but hear is pretty ahmaaazing. And get this: along with the books, she's giving away Nutella. Are you KIDDING ME? It's my dream contest! Check it out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hey look! It's HANNAH MOSKOWITZ!

So there's this freakishly awesome author named Hannah Moskowitz that I'm kiiiiinda obsessed with. I invited her over for an interview, and here it is! Enjoy! :)


Hello! Why don’t you tell us about you, who you are, your social security number, and favorite flavor of jam?
I'm a dirty girl with a platform. I have an older sister, two parents,
and either two or six cats, depending on which house you're talking
about. One of the houses also has a completely satanic puppy. I eat a
lot of cereal and ask a lot of questions.

My social security number is 12, and my favorite flavor of jam is grape.

I hear you have a novel coming out pretty soon. Tell me EVERYTHING.
So. Invincible Summer is about a boy named Chase and his relationships
with his family and the girl next door changing over four summers at
his beach house. Unlike BREAK, this one is actually darker than the
cover would have you believe. It's basically very gritty and
sexy--like having sex in the sand, really. There's also sign language,
a ton of philosophy, and one of the weirdest love triangles you'll
probably ever see. Probably because the only love is between the two
brothers on either end.


On an average day at 9AM you are....?
Fast asleep.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A singer. I really want to be a singer. I actually dreamed last night
that I sang MAMA WHO BORE ME for the cast of Work of Art and they were
very, very impressed.

How do you take your coffee?
In the trash. I hate coffee.

What is the worst advice you’ve ever received?

Give up.

Lima Beans or Brussels Sprouts?

I don't like either, so I'll make an executive decision and say that,
while Peru is cool, my best friend lived in Brussels for a while and I
like her very much. So Brussels Sprouts.

Do you have a writing method/routine?

I don't write all the time. When I do, it's in very quick, intense
bursts. I get down the first draft in about a week and edit intensely
for a few weeks after that. Then I'm done, and I get about a month off
before I start again. I'm in a month off right now, and it's lovely.

Who are your super heroes?

My mom.

Out of everything you’ve EVER written, who is your favorite character?

I really like Teeth in my #magicgayfish book. He's been removed from
real society since he was five, so he still has this childlike way
about him, but at the same time he's had to fend for himself for so
long that he has this very pragmatic mind, and he's been through a lot
since his exile, but didn't have anyone to put it into context for
him. Basically his view of the world is very different.

What was the last book you finished (reading)? Be honest, especially if it’s something REALLY embarrassing!
Not embarrassing at all---Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick. I adored it.

What is your favorite candy?
Everlasting Gobstoppers.

Where can we stalk you online? :)

So many places.

My website is www.untilhannah.com, though that's in the process of being redone.
Blog is http://hannahmosk.blogspot.com.
I generally blog 3 times a
week--Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday/Sunday.
Twitter is www.twitter.com/hannahmosk, and I'm there a LOT.
Personal facebook is http://www.facebook.com/happiness.only.real, if
you also want to see my conversations with my high school friends, and
the fan page is here if you just want book stuff:
http://www.facebook.com/Happiness.Only.Real#!/pages/Hannah-Moskowitz/121098598625?ref=ts

Thanks Hannah! For anyone interested [Read: ALL OF YOU] Go vote for Hannah's new novel, Invincible Summer on Goodreads (#38 at the moment, come on- lets get it to #1!), then go enter her ARC contest, right HERE.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The evolution of a blog header. OR, Life as a creative person with ADD.

Not many words, many pictures. :)












Not even going to show the  versions that DIDN'T make the cut.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Alaska Junction. It's the new Forks.

I have a lot going on this week, but have at least ONE other post coming up. For now, enjoy some info on my new project, ALASKA JUNCTION. (Oh, and vote in my contest. I will love you forever) (or at least promise to work on my lying problem) :)

***************




Callie Floyd knows music. Most importantly, Callie knows bands. She’s grown up on the tour circuit all her life, the daughter of a rather notorious band manager. Callie is more at home living out of an RV with a rubber-maid tub dresser than in a house; her home is where she lays her head. She has a bedroom in New York, a living room in Phoenix, a kitchen in Atlanta. But when Callie’s grandmother falls ill, Cal and her mother are forced to abandon the home they both know, to settle down in Alaska Junction, a small town which is DEFINITELY not home.


Hello playlist!

Something That You Said, The Bangles
A Day In The Life, The Beatles
Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles
It's All In Your Mind, Beck
Til Kingdom Come, Coldplay
Dreams, The Cranberries
Mr. Blue Sky, Electric Light Orchestra
This Life, Exit the Ordinary
Learn To Fly, Foo Fighters
Eleanor Put Your Boots On, Franz Ferdinand
Fools In Love, Inara George
Coffee Shop, Landon Pigg
Daydream, The Lovin' Spoonful
Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well, Mike Doughty
Holland, 1945, Neutral Milk Hotel
Hey There Delilah, Plain White T's
Break Me Out 2, Rescues
Junebug, Robert Francis
How To Be Dead, Snow Patrol
Chocolate, Snow Patrol

Sunday, July 4, 2010

May you spend today eating too much watermelon, watching fireworks, celebrating independence and mourning the fact that we missed out on that whole hot accent thing. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The last you'll hear from March for awhile.

March is taking a breather. I’m almost finished with draft #2, and will probably send it to betas once it’s finished. Then, who knows? As a farewell to March, (I’m focusing primarily on Alaska now) I have decided to post a rather tiny excerpt, which I hope you will enjoy.

******************************************************************************
The dress was a pale pink, with a shimmery later covering up white filmy panels underneath. There was a contrasting wrap around the waist of the dress, and the neckline was a square, with fabric gathered at the bodice.
I changed quickly, and Olivia helped me slip the dress over my head. I held my breath and closed my eyes tight, as she continued to adjust the dress in the back, and slowly zipped it up. The fabric was silky and the hem hit me right at the knee; I could feel the dress closing as the zipper climbed my spine, without stopping. I let out a breath, but kept my eyes shut.
“Well? How does it look?”
 She was quiet, then she finally said, “You have to see this.”
I kept my eyes shut, and she led me down the hall to be the big mirror which always makes everyone look fat. We stopped, she took my hair out of its pony tail, and stepped back.
“Open your eyes.”
I did, albeit slowly, and what I saw in reflection caught me completely off guard. It was amazing.
“You’re stunning!” She moved to my side, picked up the price tag, and began to laugh. “Not only does this baby fit you like a charm, it also happens to be 25 percent off!”
“No way!” I grabbed the sliver of card stock, and looked it over.
“It’s a sign,” she said. “It’s a sign, that this summer is going to be different. This summer is going to be... magic.”  She smiled, and with an overly dramatic sigh, waltzed back to the dressing room.
“We won’t be needing these!” She handed the remaining still-on-the-hanger dresses to the attendant, and went back in.
 I stood in the hallway a few seconds longer, just staring. There was a faint hope inside me that this dress would work some kind of magic spell. If there was ever a time, ever a summer, this would be it. I felt the buttery fabric at my waist, and slowly walked back to the dressing room, my best friend, the summer of my perfect pink dress, and an Orange Julius waiting for me.

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Coming up Monday: ALASKA!

Friday, July 2, 2010

How to choose your next project; at least how I chose mine!

(Didn’t I start my last post with this?) If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll be able to see (sorrysorrysorry) that I had a sort of hissy fit/freakout last night. For those who DON’T follow me on Twitter, don’t care, or look me over as inconsequential (been there- no hard feelings) my hissy fit was about not-so-top-secret project #2. (No hashtag intended.)

 I had three options, which I will now refer to by their short titles: Darcy, Foodie and Alaska. The way I get my ideas is best described by Elizabeth Gilbert, in a video I posted awhile back.  My ideas come like a charging bull, running either straight at me, or close by. My job is to grab that bull by the horns and capture the idea. Sometimes I miss the bull, and it keeps charging ahead to find some other writer willing to pay attention.

The problem that I was having, is that all three of these ideas are different, and I really could go either way. They all three take place in different cities; Foodie’s about food, (thank you captain obvious) Alaska’s about music, and Darcy is about writer. I can distinctly remember when I got all three ideas, Darcy while brushing my teeth, Alaska while visiting a small town in Washington (The town is called Alaska Junction, if anyone’s curious... Thus the title), and Foodie while in the car late one night on my way to the beach. Darcy is more chick-lit, while Alaska and Foodie are both YA. Each of them has a really cute boy, and I can see each character clearly in my head. Are you seeing my problem?! I care enough about these three ideas that I can’t imagine choosing one just by randomly pointing, or drawing a slip of paper out of a hat.

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I chose Alaska.

For those of you asking how, I’m still figuring that out myself. I compared all three to choose which was the most UNLIKE March. Callie (MC of Alaska, and my new BFF.) is younger than most of the characters I’ve written before, and younger than Erin. Callie is an only child, Erin has three siblings, a brother-in-law and a niece or nephew on the way.

If I could get any author to blurb the cover of March, it would be Sarah Dessen- it’s that kind of book. If anyone blurbed Alaska, I’d like to hope it would be Hannah Moskowitz, John Green, Lauren Myracle, or Libba Bray. Bit of a difference. (For those curious, Darcy would probably be Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner or Jodi Piccoult, and Foodie would be more Maureen Johnson, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, maybe Meg Cabot?)

All of my ideas (can’t call them novels just yet) deal with friendship. Darcy and March both focus on the sometimes negative parts, and both have friendships that are (spoiler) bruised, even destroyed. As I was looking for something DIFFERENT than March, that was a strike against Darcy.  Then there were two.

Foodie is definitely a “me” book. Fiona (yes, that’s her name. No, you can’t convince me to change it. She named herself. Leave me alone.) is the daughter of a chef, and is surrounded by LOTS of really good food. Molly (yes, that’s my name. I’d like to change it. My parents named me. Leave me alone.) is the daughter of a chef, and is surrounded by LOTS of really good food. Erin had some major friendship trouble, a penchant for Twizzlers, I Love Lucy and Washington D.C. So did/does Molly, and Fiona can definitely relate. Molly, Erin and Fiona would be TOTALLY close.

CALLIE, on the other hand doesn’t have time for TV. Her wardrobe is almost 90% black, and her best friends live through her computer. Callie plays pickup basketball like one of the guys, has a blog and is constantly surrounded by music. Constantly. I can relate to certain elements, but Alaska will be a challenge, which I'm definitely ready for.

So THAT is how I chose. I’m really lucky that I was able to whittle everything down to those three... I have a document with 20 other ideas. They all have character names, plots, snippets of dialogue, locations, whatever comes to me at the time. I write them all down, and go back when I need inspiration, or a new project.

I chose Alaska this time, but you better believe that the MAJORITY of those 20 will be written. So here is my question: how do YOU choose what your next project will be, especially when you have multiple choices?

 Tomorrow will be an excerpt post from March, and then Monday I’ll have some goodies for Alaska, stuff like a playlist and pictures. But here’s something that you might find amusing right now:

Alaska is the story of a teenage girl who moves to a small town in Washington.

Sound familiar? ;)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Updates and advice, from me to YOU. (Oh, and some self-made cover art)

I’m exhausted, and it was worth it. In November of 2009, I wrote a novel. That novel has evolved and become the manuscript that I’m working on now. If you’ve followed me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you will know that I’ve been major deadlining the past few days. That deadline was for a free proof copy of my NaNo novel, from CreateSpace, a division of Amazon. I successfully uploaded all of my files, including my own cover art, (which I will show below, hold your horses) BUT there’s a review window or something... I should have checked the website out earlier to go over their policy, but there’s been other stuff on my head recently. If I get the free proof copy, FANTASTIC. If I don’t, nothing will have changed.

At ten pm, I realized something vital- which is the advice I mentioned in the title. I love hearing writing advice, because I’m still so new at this whole thing, and knowing what works for you might  work for me, and vice versa. But I’m pretty confident in this one, and I hope you can use it too.

Stay connected.

I think this is important in many aspects of life, but especially when it comes to writing. There is definitely a time for breaks, but if your novel is important to you, the best thing for it is to breathe your style and soul into its’ words. The way you do this is to be passionate about what you’re writing, and I believe that the way to do THAT is to keep in touch with your novel. I might even be so bold as to say that you want to emotionally connect yourself so that the novel is something you want to finish for YOU. Involving yourself in the writing process is vital for anyone, and this is one of my biggest mistakes. There was a point where I was writing the novel I thought would sell, or what agents would enjoy. In that process, my words became just words, and not the story I so desperately wanted to tell. I don’t think that writing every day is the best plan for everyone; I try to get some writing done, but have a no-guilt policy if I don’t.

 But here’s the thing. When I connect myself to my work,  really care about what happens, and want to meet my characters in real life, I want to write. I want to get the story on paper, I want to get it right, and I do it because I love what I can accomplish. It’s hard not to be fixated on word counts and deadlines, but my novel was not as complete as I’d like, and I’m not speaking as any kind of perfectionist. As I was driving home from the coffee shop where I worked on March, I commented to my mom the one thing I hope you’ll take away from this post:

“I submitted the manuscript. Guess what I’m going to do when I get home?”
“Go to bed?” My mother asked.
“No. Keep writing.”

I came home and kept writing because I wanted to, and because I believe that with hard work, I’ll be able to finish the novel that I want. I want to write because I love it, and the power I have (literally!) at my fingertips. That is the key to success. Write what you love, write what you hate, but in the end, write you.

Housekeeping! Today is the LAST DAY to enter my iBeta contest, before I open the voting.. Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW, and I’ll have the voting page up soon. My family was in town Sunday through today, so I was able to spend a nice amount of time with them getting sunburnt and swimming. I went to the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) book sale and came out with a complete steal. I bought:

Novels:
Marley and Me, by John Grogan
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
Weekend in Paris, by Robyn Sisman

College/College related books
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Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition Complete Course
American College English, by Warfel, Mathews and Bushman
Introductory Algebra 1, by Russell F. Jacobs
How to Solve Word Problems in Algebra A Solved Problem Approach, by Mildred Johnson
A History of English Literature by Moody and Lovett
Colleges That Change Lives, by Loren Pope
The Best Way to Save For College by Joseph Hurley

Writings on writing:
McCrimmon Writing with a Purpose, 6th edition
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, paperback edition
Writing Down the Bones Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Travel
:
Get Ready, Get Set, Go! A Young Traveler’s guide to Europe by Stan Raiff
Seattle Discovered by Bob Peterson

Memoir:
Beverly Cleary, A Girl from Yamhill

Obscure:
Emily Post’s Etiquette, Eleventh edition

Total number of books, 21. Total cost, $3.00.

They’re not all super-modern novels, or even the most recent additions of anything. But the math hater in me figured math books couldn’t hurt, the English dork in me figures there’s something to learn from any book, and the college-bound rising senior in me is, well- obviously- looking into college. Speaking of college, I am going to be going on a road trip with a friend at the end of the month for nine days. We’ll be visiting a billion colleges all on the East Coast, starting at Georgetown, and heading up to a school in Vermont, called Champlain. If any of you are near a major Ivy League school (not necessarily for me- I'm looking at smaller schools, my friend is looking IL) I'd love to maybe try and meet up for coffee or something. It will be fun, but pretty intense. I’m looking forward to it.

Also, MAJOR SHOUTOUT to Gloria Tangerine (aka Abbey) because it's her BIRTHDAY TODAY! Fellow well-wishes encouraged. And so, as I promised- here is my proof copy cover art, and a picture of me writing with a special helper..

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

 There is no such thing as a perfect childhood, but mine came pretty darn close, and I don’t even consider myself fully grown just yet. Part of that, probably a LARGE part of that can be attributed to my dad. You guys, I got REALLY lucky. My dad gave me this awesome creative knack, that my mom doesn’t always get. My dad gave me a love of Earth Wind and Fire, and computers, really good food, and- oh yeah, Carolina basketball. I got my dad’s blue eyes, and his curly brown hair, and taste for hazelnut iced coffees. If you know me at all, (um, if you don’t know me, a good introduction would be the FAQ page) you’ll notice a lot of the similarities between the two of us... And for that, I’m REALLY grateful.

I’m grateful that my dad is the kind of guy who cares about people, he’s the kind of guy who brings home the groceries and a dozen small extra things that we didn’t need, but enjoy. I’m grateful that my dad loves I Love Lucy, and Alfred Hitchcock, and is (occasionally) still willing to watch Pride and Prejudice with mom and I. I love him because he has a heart for me and my brother and my mom still, after all these years and breakdowns, and speaks louder with his quietness than others do, shouting from the top of their lungs. I love him because he loves God, and therefore loves people. I love the fact that he tells really funny jokes, and for the longest time drove a green VW bug, that I want. I love him for the tiny things, and those hugs that he gives me when I’m sad, and the fact that he’s biting his tongue right now and NOT mentioning how I could edit this post to make it more efficient, and combine those two sentences right there... Happy Father’s Day, dad!


Thank You.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 things I like.



Whoa. I'm stealing AGAIN. Major shout-out to Abby Stevens, who is basically locking herself away to finish the most recent draft of her novel, that- get this-
! So I was reading this post on her blog, all about the things that she likes. I like this idea. But I'm going go even FURTHER and make a two part post, part one will be about things I LIKE, and part two, things I DON'T like. Except, I'm only doing mine in picture form. Therefore, I present: Part 1!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

In which I put on the hat of televison producer, and steal from Sarah Dessen.

I have (no joke) been online all day, and done absolutely NOTHING worthwhile that matters in the real world. (Before you start, let me just say that a LOT of nail polish was involved. Yeah. THAT kind of worthlessnessism) I would LIKE to think that this is just one of those creative experience things, but who am I kidding? I’m NOT writing. Aaaaand as Mur Lafferty says, I should be. Ha. ANYWAY. I was stalking reading Sarah Dessen’s blog, and saw this post. If you don’t know who Sarah Dessen is, (what is WRONG WITH YOU?) she is an AMAZING author, living in Chapel Hill (NC. Keep up) and a self professed TV fan. I’m not quite up to her caliber (both in the ways of writing and televisionfandomania) (wow, I’m really into making up words tonight) (and parentheses SPAMMING) (no more caps lock for you) but I’d like to be some day. In the above linked-for-your-ease (hehe) blog update, she wrote:

Just watch: next, they'll make a show about aspiring authors. They'll call it By The Book: The Next Great Novelist, and gather together twenty people or whatever in a gorgeous loft with pretty laptops and too much coffee and let them just go at it while they try to write drafts and tackle various writing exercises. Witness the drama of writer's block as it happens! Watch pretty people turn ugly when responding to editorial letters! FEEL the drama as they rush to finish chapters and read them aloud to a judges' panel made up of Pat Conroy, Jennifer Weiner, and, say, a critic from either the New Yorker or the NYT.

I just read that TODAY, but have been plotting a writer’s reality show all week. I was thinking it would be ten writers, and each challenge takes up a week at a time… Obviously, a ten week challenge.
The first week, their challenge is simple: write (at least) 50,000 words of a NEW manuscript in seven days. That’s just over 7,000 words a day, which is actually kind of do-able. Of course, I can get 600ish words in half an hour, so maybe that’s just me.
The next challenge, is to edit that MS, and send out query letters to agents. Two-show immunity for anyone who signs.
That next few weeks, they have to write at least 30,000 words of a specific genre, which is where the guest judges (and author-visitor-mentors) come in! Okay, so during that time, part of the voting process (you know there HAS to be a voting process) is that the first chapter (or what is best believed to represent the novel) of each MS will be posted online, and WE THE VIEWERS get to vote on our favorite.
The winner will receive a one-book deal with a major publishing house. Their big break.  So what do YOU think? I know I want to watch it!
Thanks Sarah, for the “prompt” and I’m going to go procrastinate now. BYE!

I. AM. UPDATED!

What's this? Is that a review policy, updated iBeta page, and F.A.Q. section? Why yes it is! Some fun stuff is happening in YDEland, mostly involving successful revision; I'm still alive, so that's progress. I took the SAT and don't think I COMPLETELY bombed, my friend Gloria Tangerine and I are starting a local book club, my dad has a second interview for a job, I'm planning a college road trip for late July, and had toast for breakfast. Big thank you to Blue Lipstick Samurai, for bestowing me with "The Versatile Blogger" award; I'll have a full post listing those I'M giving the award to soon. What's new with you?

P.S. Congrats to Chris Ing, for winning the first part of my contest. Good luck to those still in the running!