takin' a break.

| Monday, February 21, 2011
Today's Tune: Resurrection Fern

So, the time has come for me to take a semi-hiatus from blogging. I don't plan on stopping altogether, but updates will definitely be more infrequent. I've got a bunch of excuses I won't bore you with -- mostly work related -- but I also need to take a step back from all of my internet activities in general and dedicate more energy toward actually, you know, writing fiction.

I haven't been able to devote as much time and energy to posting lately as I'd like, and I've also fallen way behind in keeping up with everyone else's blogs, which is uncool of me. But no worries! I'll still be around. I just won't be updating as often for an indeterminate amount of time (a few weeks, maybe). I'll visit your blogs when I can! Keep being awesome, everyone!

See you when I see you :)

language barriers (flash excerpt).

| Monday, February 14, 2011
Today's Tune: You Remind Me of Home

A random love-themed snippet from a short story I'm currently working on. Happy Valentine's Day!


There’s something easy and thrilling about making out with someone who doesn’t speak your language. Literally, I mean. Not in some metaphorical “we don’t operate on the same wavelength” way, but in a “he speaks Italian and I can only understand about every third word he says” way.

But he’s hot and his mouth is sweet. We’re two people smelling of oil paint caught in a piazza full of Roman rain. He tastes like rosewater gelato. It’s good. Other painters are throwing tarps over their easels and running around us, out of the downpour. I imagine we're rocks in a stream, the water pushing and caressing but never moving us. The image makes me giggle against his lips and I feel him smile in return. I catch a glimpse of his canvas and watch my face melt and puddle on the ground.

I didn’t used to be this ballsy. Not even close. I once stared at the back of a guy’s head in class for an entire school year and never said more than three words to him. Weird how a change of scenery can reinvent you. You come to a new place and it makes you a new person. Back home, I was all slick ponytails and downcast eyes. In Rome, I’m sopping-wet waves and artistic inspiration.

“Vieni, vieni,” he laughs, pulling me behind him as he joins the scattering artists. My feet don’t move right away. I’m tempted to stand here by the little fountain and the dripping paint and twirl in place like some scene from a movie. But he’s a really good kisser. I wonder if Kissing 101 is required in Italian secondary schools. I let him lead me by the hand and we run, run, run...


That's all you get! Mwahahahahaha!

So, doing anything special today? :)

platonic author crushes.

| Friday, February 11, 2011
Today's Tune: The Way I Am

Platonic author crush: a crush on an author's style, voice, talent, personality, and general way with words.

I get a lot of platonic author crushes. They usually begin to blossom when I start reading something and this thought enters my mind: "DAMN. WHY DOESN'T MY BRAIN WORK LIKE THIS."

Among my author crushes: Markus Zusak, Gayle Foreman, John Green, Hannah Moskowitz, Barry Hughart, J.K. Rowling, M.T. Anderson, and others.

It might be beautiful or creative prose. It might be witty dialogue. It might be characters who make my heart ache. It might be a scene that made my brain implode. But they all have something that makes my writer's heart go pitter-patter.

Who are your platonic author crushes and what made you fall for them?

Characterization & Avatar: The Last Airbender

| Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Okay, can we talk about Avatar: The Last Airbender? NOT THE TERRIBAD MOVIE. The animated series from Nickelodeon.

One: If you are a middle grade lit fan, a fantasy fan, a Harry Potter fan, an anime fan, or someone who enjoys a good epic journey story, you should really watch this series. If you haven't already, I mean. Hell, even if you have, watch it again.


Three: Seriously, if you are having trouble with characterization or writing endearing, heartfelt young characters, watch this show and take notes. The characterization of the Avatar cast is impeccable, from the protagonist to the one-off side characters to the adults.

I watched this show long ago and just recently rewatched it. As I watched, I was reminded of the same feelings I got while reading the Harry Potter novels -- that overwhelming feeling of excitement and joy and love. The feeling that the characters had life breathed into them and weren't merely vehicles for the story. Their humor and emotions are real and powerful. Inner struggles, shades of gray, and overcoming everything from embarrassing pubescent moments to loss to bravery in the face of crippling odds.

I also have to mention that I absolutely love the way this show deals with disabilities. Frankly, that this show deals with disabilities (and more than one disability) is pretty incredible in and of itself, but that they do it with such care is the icing on the cake. The disabled characters are never maliciously singled out or othered due to their disability. In fact, they're treated with the same respect and responsibility as the other characters.

(Mild SPOILER warning!) Toph's storyline in particular illustrates this. Her parents underestimate and shelter her to the point of insult, when really she is just as capable and powerful as any other character. Also, oh man, is she funny and awesome. Of course, that's my perspective as an abled person, so if anyone else wants to weigh in on this issue, please do.

Anyway. Don't take my word for it. Watch for yourself. I'm of the opinion that this show is a prime example of quality writing for the middle-grade market with crossover appeal, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on it :)

Chasing Shadows (short story) is published!

| Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Today's Tune: Pretty Dress

No real theme for today's post. Just my announcement that my short story, Chasing Shadows, is finally published on Hunger Mountain's site! I wrote and submitted this story around March 2010 and was notified that it was the YA runner-up for the Katherine Paterson Prize in September. And now, at last, it's up for you to read!

They even *interviewed* me, which made me feel very special and fancy. Squee!

You can also read the other runners up and the grand prize winner; their stories are posted, as well. If you have some time today, I'd love it if you went to go read.

I also just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, who supports me, and who reads my stuff and cheers me on. You guys are awesome and inspirational, and I deeply appreciate you taking time out of your lives to read my blah-dee-blog. Please never cease rocking.

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