Banned Books Week Vlog: His Dark Materials

| Thursday, September 30, 2010
It's BANNED BOOKS WEEK YAAAAAAAY. Or nay? Maybe? Because banning books sucks?

Either way, I filmed a vlog. YAAAAAAAAY.

I'm discussing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, which is WONDERFUL and I highly recommend it. The direct link to the video is here if you can't get the embedded player to work. If you have any additional questions about the series, please feel free to ask in comments and I'll be happy to answer. Enjoy!


on rating books.

| Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Today's Tune: Hands Open

You might have maybe heard that it's Banned Books Week or something? Heh.

I'm planning on posting about one of my personal favorite banned books tomorrow (actually, it's a series of three), so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I'd like to discuss something I see bandied about a lot when the subject of book banning comes up: wouldn't it be easier/better just to impose a ratings system on books? You know, like movies?

And here's my opinion on that: no. No, it wouldn't.

It's difficult for me to explain exactly why this concept bothers me so much, other than telling you that I don't believe literature should be "kept" from anyone, or that there's any sort of blanket age when a person is "ready" to read a certain book. Some children and teens are mature enough to handle certain themes, some aren't.

Also, I feel a rating system would be fairly arbitrary. Who would decide which books are best for which ages? Do we base it on reading level, or specific content? If content, than what sort of content? Presence of sexuality? Swearing? Violence? Themes? Religious viewpoint? Age of the protagonist? What level of violence is okay for a 10-year old, and what is okay for a 15-year old?

What do we rate the Bible? There's a LOT of sex and violence in there. How about Shakespeare? I mean, you've READ Shakespeare's plays, right? That stuff is LOADED. And also taught in nearly every pubic school in America.

What if a book doesn't contain sex, but the characters briefly mention it? Does that need to be noted along with a "contains sexuality" tag? How specific are we going to get here?

Not to mention the monumental nature of this task. First, a universal rating system would need to be put in place. Then, every book (EVERY. BOOK.) would need to be read and ran through this rating system to determine the appropriate rating. That's approximately 170,000 books a year in this country alone. And boy, do we have a serious backlog of previously published work to get through. Compare that to the approximately 600 films released a year. Yeah. Yeah.

And what of self-publishing? Who rates those? And if a book is rated Teen, does that mean a kid has to produce identification to prove that they're X number of years old before they're allowed to check out or purchase a book?

I have kind of a bucking bronto reaction to the implication that literature is something that shouldn't be accessible to a portion of the population, even if that population is children. I like to think that a novel is about the overall theme of the work, not a scene or two. I want people to decide for themselves what literature suits them and what doesn't.

To be fair, I think a parent has the right to decide if they don't think a certain novel is appropriate for their kids. I just balk at the idea of some arbitrary rating system deciding for everyone which books are "okay" for which people. You just can't pigeonhole literature that way. The themes of fiction can resonate for any age group, and who am I to say otherwise?

What are your thoughts on rating books?

public humiliation uncontest. oh dear.

| Monday, September 27, 2010
Today's Tune: Lovefool

First: Oh hey, have you heard I'm hosting an INCREDIBLY AWESOME BLOGFEST? With prizes? And that there are only a few more days to enter and you totally should because it will be SO MUCH FUN? Oh you have? FABULOUS. Moving on.

If you haven't heard, Le R is having a
Public Humiliation Uncontest today. The drill: post deeply embarrassing excerpts from your childhood journals. OH GOD WHY DID I AGREE TO DO THIS.

I was unfortunately unable to find anything from my journals before the age of 13, but my 13-year old self was full of such DEEP THOUGHTS that I definitely found them worth sharing. So OH BOY ARE YOU IN FOR A TREAT TODAY. Punctuation, spelling, and emphasis have been left intact. Names have been removed to protect what is left of my modesty.


***

7-13-97

Dear Diary,

Sup! Not much has happened since last time, but I just thought I’d check in! I don’t want you to have to go unwritten in until something exciting happens in my life (which won’t be for quite a while). I can’t believe I’m out of [jr. high school] and almost a HIGH SCHOOLER already! That went SO FAST!!! I seriously doubt that G will even call me this summer, so I’d better find something else to think about. I’m gonna have surfing lessons! That is so neat! Then I’ll be able to surf in the summer and snowboard in the winter! (I forgot to tell you that I learned how to snowboard last winter!) Well, gotta go. I have some killer ideas for my story!

XOXO,
Stephanie

***

Yes, I was already writing a "novel" at the tender age of 13. Would you like to see an excerpt? OF COURSE YOU WOULD.

***

A full moon shines down upon the Forest of Color, its silver light illuminating the reds, blues, purples and greens of the trees, colors of the rainbow dimmed by twilight. Mt. Majic rises above the Plains of Plenty as if proud, its snow-capped peak glistening with a glowing white light that shines through the mist. A hundred thousand stars shine above in the crystal-clear air, like priceless diamonds, waiting to be plucked from the heavens above the land of Zingawai.

All is quiet; most of the forest and field creatures are asleep. An occasional nocturnal rodent of some sort scurries among the tall, golden grass, searching for opine nuts and regal berries. From the forest comes a quick, silver movement. A creature of majestic beauty steps cautiously out of the shadows, his cloven hooves choosing his steps carefully. A single white horn spurts from his brow, glowing with a gentle gold light. A silver mane tumbles down to his back, and smells of lilac and roses, probably because he has many of these flowers woven into his silky hair. A tail resembling that of a lion twitches nervously.

***

CRINGE. I mean, not terrible considering I wrote this at 13, BUT CRINGE.

But this part made me LOL for serious.

***

As Chris approaches him, he bends just to her eye level and says with a smart smile, “Look, sweetling, no offense intended, but you’re not someone that people envision as saving the world or anything.”

It is now Chris’s turn to break into and amused smile. She looks at Kam and says sweetly, “You haven’t ever seen an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have you?” She pulls back her right hand and hits him, hard. Her fist connects with his face just below his right eye. The blow takes him totally by surprise. In all his life, he had never seen a girl hurt anything, let alone himself. Not even his sisters or mother had ever laid a finger on him.

***

THAT'S RIGHT, FEMINIST FROM AGE 13. WHAT. I mean, it's absolutely awful that I'm 1.) citing pop culture and 2.) using violence as a means to convey female power, BUT DUDE.

Okay okay, enough fiction. How about another journal entry?

***

In ethics today we were doing ethical dillemas, and one of the one's we did was: If you and someone you love deeply were put in two seperate rooms with only a button in the room, then told that you would both die within 60 minutes unless one of you pushed the button (if you push the button, you die instantly, but the other person lives), what would you do? Well, I said I'd totally push the button. I wouldn't even think about sacrificing my life for someone I love. Yes, I would be all distraught about having to DIE and everything, but it wouldn't even be a question. I love other people THAT much. I would even sacrifice my life for that stud that I'm in love with and have yet to name, and I would bet everything I own that he wouldn't for me.

***

I love other people THAT much, guys. LOOK AT ME I WAS SO SELFLESS. "That stud" OMG. And the idea of dying is like, totally distressing. Totally. Also, yes, I took philosophy and ethics. They offered it at my high school. I WAS VERY VERY DEEP.

Okay, how about some angsty poetry/lyrics? I promise I'll stop after this.


***

This world’s full of webs and lies
It’s trapping me inside
These frozen bars that hold me in
I can feel the ice against my skin
My heart aches to beat
The ground shudders beneath my feet
My tears blur my eyes as they fall
Burning a hole through it all…

When my heart is unclothed
And I’m bearing my soul
Night threatens to swallow me whole
Frightened as a newborn foal
Raise me into a stallion
So I can run away, run away…

I’m walking on a razor blade
I try hard not to fade
Staying true to what’s inside of me
No idea what I want to be
Should I try for love, try for fame
Go for it all, or go insane?

Screaming out from where I stand
No one can navigate this lost land
Put your best foot forward, they all say
But what if it slips and I lose my way?
Just like always, like I always do
I am such a fool…

And I stand naked, no shield for me
Wicked eyes prying away at me
Tearing at my heart and soul
Frightened as a newborn foal…

Raise me into a stallion
So I can run away, run away…

Run away…


***

There you go. The shame of my youth. Bask in it.

friday ramblings.

| Friday, September 24, 2010
Today's Tune: Boys Don't Cry

ACK, late with my post for the second time this week. WEAK, STEPHANIE. WEAK.

Just a few quick things: if you missed Social Good Day/my video yesterday, please check it out. There's a direct link before the embedded video if you can't get it to work. I talk about a few causes I really believe in, and I'd love it if you gave them a shot.

Second, everyone needs to check out Guys Read like, right this second. There have been many blog posts and articles written about the fact that boy readers significantly drop off once they reach high school age, and there are a lot of reasons for that. The Guys Read website is there to inspire a love of reading in boys from a young age, and is a fantastic go-to resource for subject boys may find interesting and want to read about.

I mean, yes, the topics are sort of stereotypically masculine, but I recognize the fact that young boys may not quite grasp the nuances of gender dualism and all that, and the most important thing is to get them reading so they grow up in a reading culture. Also, Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Golden Compass, Tuck Everlasting and others are on the list, so they get a pass from me.

I have clearly been spending WAY TOO MUCH TIME on forums lately, because I just tried to italicize with BB code. DERP.

Aaaaand I think that's about all I have time for today, but I will have LOTS OF SHINY NEW POSTS NEXT WEEK!

Also, we're coming up on the VERY LAST WEEK to sign up for the Mash-Up Blogfest!!! You should definitely join. It will be a great writing exercise and lots of fun, I promise. Plus, PRIZES. You know you want prizes. And in case there was any confusion about this, I am totally willing to send internationally. So if you're in a country other than the U.S. and you've been holding off on entering because you thought I wouldn't ship to you, then you should know I WILL TOTALLY SHIP TO YOU IF YOU WIN so you should join. It may take a little longer, but I will make it happen.

Okay. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Happy Social Good Day!

| Thursday, September 23, 2010


Direct link here if the embedded player isn't working.

What causes do you support? Share in comments!

social media for social good.

| Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Today's Tune: King of Anything

Oooooh, I'm a little late with my post today. Sorry!

I got some AWESOME, AWESOME writerly news yesterday, and I'm going to be a complete jerktease and not tell you what because I want it to be "official" first. But as soon as it is, I'll let you know! To ease the speculation, it's not agent news and it's not book news ;) But it is related to my writing.

Anyway!


Mashable has declared tomorrow Social Good Day, and I'm planning on participating via vlog. I encourage all my readers to participate as well. The idea is to use your social media platform and outreach to encourage people to participate in causes for social good. Here are a few ideas from Mashable about how you can use your sphere of influence to support a cause. I'm going to be plugging a few causes I really believe in by tying them together with relevant YA books in my video tomorrow. You can also post a blog, talk about it on Twitter, Like your favorite causes on Facebook, update all your daily statuses to encourage involvement in charity, and whatever else you can think of.

While no one's required to donate, of course, I'm planning on donating to each of my respective causes because I believe in putting my money where my mouth is. But if you can't afford a donation right now, spreading the word is just as important. There are also meetups that will be going on all over the world tomorrow for those that want to meet others who are into social media for social good.

Those who have been following me for a while know that I'm super into social media and everything it can mean. It can be used for a lot of things - good, evil, community, vanity, marketing, sharing... the list goes on. But here it is in a nutshell: social media gives all of us the opportunity to talk to dozens, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people all at once. You. Me. Any of us. We have a platform. And I believe in using that platform for good.

So tomorrow, please consider participating in #socialgood and using YOUR platform to make the world a little less sucky and a little more wonderful :)

See you then!

Speak out for SPEAK

| Monday, September 20, 2010
Today's Tune: Silence

If you've already read a dozen or so entries speaking out against that dude who wants Laurie Halse Anderson's award-winning novel SPEAK banned, then you're about to read another one.

So, some guy (who happens to be a university professor and a speaker for Reclaiming Missouri for Christ) wants parents to "get involved" in keeping their children from "soft pornography" like SPEAK and other novels. He misconstrues SPEAK as a novel about promiscuous sex and, quote, "... the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like." He does touch on the fact that the main character is then raped, but overall he gives the impression that this novel is a book about sex.

Read Ms. Anderson's response post here.

Now, as has been echoed across the internet, I don't want to turn this into a "GRRRR HORRIBLE CHRISTIANS TRYING TO BAN BOOKS BLAH BLAH IGNORANCE BLAH BLAH." Because this guy is not reflective of Christians. He's reflective of head-in-the-sand ignorance and misinterpreting works of fiction, and that has little to do with his religion.

Because SPEAK is not about promiscuous sex. In fact, I'd argue that it's not really about sex at all. It's about a young rape survivor learning to deal with what happened to her and finding her voice again. It is such a painful, beautiful, moving novel. It turns the stone over on a subject that is rarely talked about in the open, and it has helped so many people, young and old alike, to find their own voices.

And to consider that this book, this amazing book, could be denied to youths who may benefit from it because some parents believed it's a dirty sex book? That kills me and makes me angry. It makes me an angry zombie, is what it does.

Rape is not sex. It's assault. It's abuse. That's why they call it "sexual assault/abuse." Sex is merely the tool a rapist uses in order to abuse and assault. Soft pornography? SOFT PORNOGRAPHY?! If you're a highly disturbed individual, I guess.

Ignorance is not the same thing as innocence. I wish people could understand that. You can't keep the world of sex, peer pressure, drugs, and violence from children by not telling them about it. And if you don't want your child to read what you consider to be a "trashy" novel, that's fine. They're your kids, and until they're 18, they're under your rules. But you do not get to deny public access to literature that strengthens and empowers teenagers because you somehow equated rape to porn.

I cannot fathom the person that could read SPEAK and think it would somehow be the novel that sullies the minds of "innocents" with "filthy" sex. I really can't. We are already so lax when it comes to talking about sexual violence with our youth.

I'm not saying that we have to frighten young men and women with graphic descriptions of rape. But it's such an important topic to breach. We can't continue to pretend that rape is something that only happens to "bad" girls. That's damaging, and it's bullshit. Please excuse my cursing.


If you think this is as ridiculous and heartbreaking as I do, please speak out on your own blog. You can also join the Twitter conversation by including the hashtag #SpeakLoudly in your Tweets.

in which I perform for you like a trained animal.

| Friday, September 17, 2010
OMG it is so late at night and I am so tired. But I have a treat for you!

I totally got a Flip cam, and I totally recorded a vlog. YAY.



Direct link here for those who can't get the embedded player to work.

And now I am going to go pass the heck OUT. Enjoy. And, um, subscribe? Maybe? I'll love you for always? :D

WHY DOES FORMATTING HATE ME WHENEVER I PUT FOREIGN HTML INTO MY POSTS. AAAARGH.

social media will eat you whole.

| Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Today's Tune: Meantime

Writing a Historic Sci-Fi Mystery Romance? Post an excerpt for the Mash-Up Blogfest!

You must have heard by now that Twitter is UNLEASHING A BRAND NEW INTERFACE OMG, right? No? Um, where have you been for the last five minutes? This is the age of the Internet, people!

Heh, I kid. But only kind of.

Yesterday Nathan Bransford wrote a blog post asking whether people believe social media sells books, based on a discussion from the forum. You may have noticed that I am, um, very involved in both discussions on the side of pro-social media *shifty eyes*.

So, yes, I am dedicating a blog entry to social media, in which I rehash all the fluffy and serious commentary and arguments for social media. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED. But you should read, because it might interest you. Or make you laugh.

Now, I don't claim to be any kind of social media expert. Anybody with an Internet connection and a Twitter account can claim to be a social media "expert." Which means what, exactly? Nothiiiiing. I do claim the title of social media rockstar, though. Because it sounds awesome.

Everyone's tired of hearing about the GLOBAL EPIC AMAZING SUPERFORCE that is social media, I know. Humor me? There are a few points I'd like to go over, which I'll post in list form. Because who doesn't like lists? Besides katastichophobics, I mean.

1.) "Social media is for self-indulgent people that want to post their self-indulgent noise for attention." Well, yes and no. Yes, there are self-indulgent attention whores all over social media. It gives everyone a voice that has the potential to reach MILLIOOOOONS and some people let that go to their head. But most people are just there to have a conversation with other people with similar interests. It's like a giant cocktail party for everyone, including people who normally hate going to cocktail parties because there are way too many asshats and people spill their drinks on you and too many people in an enclosed space makes you really really nervous.

2.) "Internet 'relationships' are for dorky teenagers and complete losers. It's not 'real' interaction." No. Patently false. I am forced to believe that people who think this have either never really used social media, or they had really bad experiences with it. I'm not sure how we came to this place where conversation on the Internet somehow "doesn't count." Of course it does. Unless you spend your time jabbering away to spambots, you're talking to real people. How is a friend you met over the Internet and have only "met" in person a handful of times different than any other friend you don't live close to? What, just because I went to high school with people I haven't seen in ten years, they "count" more than the friends I talk to daily on Twitter/blogs/email/Skype? Pft.

3.) "You can't just scream at people to buy your sh*t." This one I actually agree with. No one likes a spammer, or someone who cares more about a sale than you as a person. If you add me on Twitter and then clog my feed with eleventy million "Oh hey I'm an author did I tell you I was an author yep I am I have this book it's right here click the link clickitclickit and join my mailing list and buy my book here look at the cover isn't it shiny it's $9.99 on Amazon you should buy it oh please dear God buy my book" Tweets, I AM GOING TO BLOCK YOU. As will anyone else who's paying attention.

4.) "All it is is millions of voices screaming into the ether trying to be heard over one another." Again, yes and no. Yes, there is a lot of clamoring and people that hoard followers and whine and bitch about no one responding to them ever. (Mostly because they are ANNOYING AS CRAP OH MY GOD). But there are also those that are perfectly content to lurk and watch, or happily banter with their little circle of buddies. It doesn't have to be all-involved all the time. You don't have to Tweet to be on Twitter. Though it's recommended to at least post a "Hey I am NOT A BOT I'm just a lurker" introductory Tweet.

5.) "It's a time suck." Yeah, if you let it, it totally is. And if you don't want to invest the time, that is totally acceptable.

6.) "It has no effect on sales." This is a tough one, because it depends on so many factors. If you are like the aforementioned "Hey I'm an author buy my sh*t" persona, then no, it'll have no effect on your sales. If you half-ass it, it'll have little effect. But if you figure out a niche or a style that people can connect to and actually care about, it can have SUCH an effect on sales. Here's a truth: great books often do well. Here's another truth: great books are often overlooked. Can we change that? Maybe. Maybe not. But know what doesn't hurt your sales? Talking to people. Making friends.

Basically, it boils down to this: if you think social media is stupid and you don't want to be there, then don't be there. No big. There are many other avenues to explore. But it *is* a big deal. A very large portion of the population is using the technology. It's constantly evolving, and it's not going away. And I'm not trying to be all, "Get with the times, Gramps!" Seriously, if you hate it, you won't reap the benefits, so it's okay if you pass. All I'm saying is not to discount it entirely.

It works for some of us. Some of us love it. Some of us think it is SO COOL that we can talk to a friend in Chicago and a friend in England and a friend in Canada simultaneously FOR FREE. It's always been about people and conversation and OMG I know you've heard all that before but it's true.

Okay, I'm going to stop blahblahblah'ing with my blahblah-hole now. Talk social media in comments, pals! I love to talk about it. In case you hadn't noticed.

it's that friday time again.

| Friday, September 10, 2010
Today's Tune: How Far We've Come

Hello, blogger man-friends and lady-friends! I hope this Friday finds you well.

FIRST! I totally joined inkpop. I mentioned it months and months ago, along with my skepticism about its success. My hesitancy about the "contest" elements still stands. Because, after all, people are inherently selfish. They want things for themselves, and sometimes for their friends, so votes ("picks") are occasionally traded, the good is passed over for the popular, and blah blah blah.

BUT. There is some serious talent over there. The site is far and away geared toward teenagers, and man. Some of the writers over there? Extraordinary talent. Strong writing. And a lot of it even makes it to the top picks. It's pretty incredible. And I love love love that these teen writers have this outlet. They're starting young, they're finding their voice among peers, and it is. So. Awesome.

SECOND! So I recently discovered the VlogBrothers, and you need to subscribe to their channel. Like, yesterday. John Green (who you've probably heard of if you follow YA literature AT ALL) and Hank Green film back and forth videos to one another about everything. I realize that I am probably waaaaaay behind the times on this, but I'm excited about my new discovery so SUCK IT LET ME HAVE MY MOMENT. And go watch their videos because they make the whole of my being happy.

THIRD! I received a very sweet message from a reader who said she occasionally lurked on my blog. She read my Red Riding Hood, P.I. story and mentioned that she really enjoyed it and would like to read anything else I've written. AndThisTotallyMadeMyDay. Seriously. Is there anything better for a writer than hearing from someone who liked what you wrote? It's like crack. NEED MOAR.

OKAY, that's all I have for you today. I'm sure you were tired of my random capitalization anyway. Have a wonderful Friday! Or possibly Saturday if you're in one of those timezones that is across the world from me.

LOVE.

balancing brilliance with the "i sucks."

| Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Today's Tune: Cheap and Cheerful

I think, as a writer, I've been pretty lucky. I've never had anyone tell me I'm terrible, or that I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing. I've never had anyone discourage my writing as an unworthy endeavor.

In fact, quite the opposite. All my life, my writer-self has been nurtured and encouraged. My parents always lavished me with praise and told me to keep going. Hell, my dad knew I was going to be a children's book writer before I did. Friends told me my work was smart, witty, funny, awesome, and any other positive adjective you can think of. My teachers and professors gave me A's and positively raved about my creativity and mastery over words, all the way up through university. I could fly through English courses barely batting an eye.

So you can imagine my feelings of confusion and betrayal when I was turned out into the "real" world of writing, only to find that many people aren't all that impressed with me.

Not that I'm terrible. I'm not. I'm pretty good, actually. And I enjoy criticism. It helps me strengthen something that was just "pretty good," but not great. It took me a little while to get to this point. Sometimes I still struggle with it.

This is a lesson we all have to learn - balancing our believed greatness with our real greatness. Learning that all the best-intentioned praise and encouragement in the world doesn't mean we're natural Faulkners and Shakespeares. Even with natural talent, we still have to work hard to craft our skill into something that will make it in the hard, cold world of publishing.

But we can't thrive on criticism alone. We need that balance of encouragement to keep us going through the "I suck so bad" moments. We just have to be so careful it doesn't go to our heads.

How do you find the balance between praise and criticism? Which parts do you find the most difficult to handle? Can you still hold your head high and see the good things about your writing, even in the face of the red pencil?

break for Labor Day.

| Monday, September 6, 2010
Today's Tune: She Works Hard For The Money

I'm taking a break from blogging today, since it's a holiday here in the States :) Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone celebrating has a fun and safe holiday. Regular blogging picks back up on Wednesday :D

In the meantime, you should check out my Mash-Up Blogfest! Edgar Allan Poe action figure, dude.

Till we meet again!

Announcing the MASH-UP BLOGFEST!

| Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Today's Tune: Halo/Walking On Sunshine

I've participated in quite a few blogfests, and I always find them super fun. But I've never hosted one. And I thought to myself, hey, self, we should remedy that. Also, there are prizes. Prizes!

SO I PRESENT TO YOU: THE MASH-UP BLOGFEST!


MEIN GOTT, WHAT IS IT?!

The Mash-Up Blogfest is a 'fest inspired by musical mash-ups like this or this or this - taking two different songs and weaving them together in a humorous or pleasing way. Participants will "mash up" two genres that are not normally written together into one delightfully weird piece of flash fiction. Or poetry, if you're so inclined. Think Romantic Horror, Sci-Fi Court Drama, or Medical Thriller Western.

Also, this is not a traditional mash-up per se, but it's Rivers Cuomo and B.O.B. mixing pop rock with hip hop and it's awesooooooome.

WHEN IS IT DUE?!

Friday, October 1st. That gives you exactly one month!

THE RULES! ARE RIGHT HERE!

1.) In no more than 1000 words, produce an original work of fiction or poetry that combines two genres that are not normally written together. You may include characters or a scene from a WIP, but make sure it fits within the theme of the blogfest.

2.) It is due October 1st by 11:59 PM. You are welcome to participate later, but your entry will not count toward the prizes.

3.) Sign up on Mr. Linky at the bottom of this entry to participate.

4.) You can specify the genres you're mashing, or leave it up to the readers to decide. Up to you.

WHY AM I YELLING?!

I DON'T KNOW. STOP IT.

Sorry. What else do participants need to know?

I'm totally stealing Emily White's idea of selecting 5 finalists and then letting the masses vote for the winners. Pressure off me! Ha! Sort of.

I will give one little pointer to watch for: Please, please, please edit. It doesn't have to be super-polished quality. I understand that a month is a tight time constraint and will take that into account, but I am expecting at least one rough edit for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and homonym errors. I view blogfests as lots of fun, but also potential writing exercises/learning experiences. Don't worry, I'm not going to discount your entry if you make a mistake. Just saying it doesn't hurt to practice self-editing skills, too.

Also, I'm looking for entries that think outside the box, but you don't have to be wacky for the sake of being wacky. If you can make me think, "Wow, this Western Space Opera Spy Heist Thriller really WORKS," I will be impressed.

Okay okay. What about the prizes?

FIRST PLACE: Your choice of one of the following prize packs.

STARDUST PRIZE PACK


The Stardust graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess


AND The Stardust DVD, which is SUCH A GOOD MOVIE


AND your choice of one of the following perfumes from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab*:

Lady Una - Honey musk, green tea leaf, blackberry leaf, vanilla bean, and fae spices.

or Tristran - Dust on your trousers, mud on your boots, and stars in your eyes: redwood, tonka bean, white sandalwood, lemon peel, patchouli, rosewood, coriander, and crushed mint.


or the EDGAR ALLAN POE PRIZE PACK


Tales of Death & Dementia - Four of Poe's short stories illustrated by Gris Grimly

AND an Edgar Allan Poe action figure


AND your choice of one of the following perfumes from BPAL*:

Detestable Putrescence - A melty vanilla ice cream!

or Hideous Heart - A macabre Valentine: Wild black cherries, licorice root, & cinnamon.

*Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab creates unique perfume oils in small vials, and are of very high quality. The scents are not synthetic, and can vary based on skin chemistry. They can be worn by men or women.

SECOND PLACE: You will receive the other prize pack - First Place gets first dibs.

THIRD PLACE: You will receive your choice of a $20 Amazon gift card OR Eat Me perfume from BPAL (Three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants).

***

Yeah. You know you want to get in on this. So do it! Leave your name and blog link below! Hopefully it works... if not, I'll figure something out.

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