Monday, August 31, 2009

Mad Monday: Concert Review

On Saturday, August 22nd, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a concert at the House of Blues with my sister. It is one that we had been looking forward to for months (literally).

The concert opened with a group called Ours. I had never heard this group before. I am not a fan of hearing a group for the first time in concert because you can't always get a true guage of your opinion of them. The drums drowned out many of the words the lead singer was singing, so I have no way of knowing whether or not I liked the lyrics of their songs. And lyrics are important to me. They sounded good, but I need to look them up again to give a true opinion of their music.

Next up was Switchfoot. I have been a fan of their music for a long time, so I was quite delighted to see them in person. They put on an amazing show. The lead singer was quite enthusiastic and even came out into the audience to sing. We were a bit worried that one girl's lighter was going to catch him on fire while he was out there, but it was still amazing. They sound just as good in person and I would highly recommend seeing them if you get the chance. I also heard that they should have a new album coming out soon...

Last was the headliner: Blue October. They were the reason we bought the tickets. I am happy to say that they sound amazing in person. I was in no way disappointed by them. They played many of the songs that I love by them including "My Never," which has inspired a lot in Shadows of Forever. They are another band that I would recommend seeing in person.

If you have not heard of Switchfoot or Blue October, I would recommend looking up their music over at I can recommend a few songs if you're interested...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Simply Sunday: Micro-Managing My Life

This year is going to be busy - very busy. This past week made that clear to me. I barely caught a glimpse of Crystal and hardly had any time to do anything but work, school, and bed. While this is nice, it also means that I'm going to have to schedule "me" time. I will go crazy without it.

That being said, my goal tomorrow night is to micro-manage my life. I'm going to sit down with my syllabi, my calendar, and pens. Then, I'm going to color-code everything I have to do over the next couple of months. I was planning on doing this today until I realized that I won't have my final syllabus until tomorrow night. So, there's no point in doing something twice. I will post pictures of my calendar so that you can see just how busy things are.

With this being Sunday and the topic being "simple," I'm going to keep this short and wish you a great week!

Share your organization and time management techniques with me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The New Posting Schedule + What to Expect Next Week

I think I've finally decided on my posting schedule. Each day is themed and I hope you'll be as excited as I am to see what I've got planned.

Simply Sundays - This one's going to be a simple, relaxing post. It will vary from week to week, but I will keep it calm.

Mad Monday - Mondays will be focused on movies and music. It will vary from week to week but I hope to review some of my favorite movies and music. Maybe you'll find something new.

Talkative Tuesday - I want to start interviewing people of interest - writers, bloggers, and more. If you're interested in being interviewed, leave a note in the comments section and I'll add you to my list! Or, if you have someone that you'd be interested in seeing an interview of, drop a note and I'll see what I can do.

Writerly Wednesday - This blog originally began with a focus on writing. However, I have quickly learned that my brain likes to jump around a lot and one single focus is not a lot. That being said, Wednesdays are going to be devoted to all things writerly!

Thoughtful Thursday - I'm going to be posting about some of my favorite books and some of the books I'm currently reading (once I've finished with them). Look for these posts on Thursdays! Other thoughts that creep into my mind may also make it out on this day (including a few teacher thoughts).

Fun Fridays - Fridays are going to be devoted to fun. I want to kick off the weekend right. Look for contests, games, and more on the last day before the weekend officially begins!

Silly Saturdays - This day is devoted to being silly. The nice thing about the word "silly" is that it encompasses many things. Look for posts that are not of the ordinary on these days!

What can you look forward to next week?
Sunday - Micro-Managing my Life
Monday - Concert review of the Ours, Switchfoot, and Blue October concert
Tuesday - An interview with my one and only sister, Crystal (she doesn't know it yet)
Wednesday - Making Editing Fun
Thursday - My Favorite Book
Friday - Back to School Delights
Saturday - Build-A-Bear

Also, would you like a "What to Expect Next Week" post each week?

Remember, I love comments!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stress and Fiction

Stress is a big part of everyday life. It comes in many forms, good and bad. If you're like me, you've probably seen lots of people stress and handle in in different ways.

But, have you ever really thought about the reasons people stress? That's what's currently on my mind. What exactly causes stress? Is it an overload of the brain's power? Is it putting too much on our plate at once and causing our body to freak out? What exactly is the underlying cause of stress?

I'm no psychology expert and I don't ever intend to be. I am in the business of studying people and their reactions, both as a writer and a teacher. I've taken one psychology course in high school and a couple education courses focused on the way the brain works. And yet, the answer to what causes us to stress still isn't clear to me.

Is it something innate or is it something learned?

Either way, it is clear to me that stress affects us in many ways. And therefore, it should affect our characters in many ways. Everything we face in our day to day lives is incorporated into what we write.

While writing (and reading) allows us to escape from reality, there are also many things we have to consider about fiction and reality. Fiction will always be rooted in some semblance of reality as long as people are the ones writing it.

How much of reality gets into your fiction?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Themed Days

I have decided something. It's something I've been thinking on for a while, but I just now officially decided it. It's sort of two things actually.

One, I want to have theme days for my blog. This will help in two ways. It will help me know what to post and it will help you know what to look forward to.

The second thing is that I want this blog to be about the followers, not about me. That being said, I want your input on things.

We'll start with the themed days. If you have a great idea for a theme day, drop me a comment! The only thing I'm asking is that the suggestions be things that I can talk about and things that I can talk about several times. Movies, books, and writing are a few good ideas.

But, I want to know...what creative things can you come up with?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ballad Trailer from Maggie Stiefvater

I'm currently in the process of reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. It's a great love story between a werewolf and a girl. Seeing how I have fallen in love with all things wolf since writing Dancing beneat the Moon, I have found this book very enjoyable.

That being said, I wanted to let you guys know about the next book she has coming out. The title of it is Ballad and it is a sequel to her first novel, Lament. As I have not yet read Lament, the only thing I can honestly tell you about this duo of novels is that it is about fairies. I can also tell you that I'm planning to read Lament as soon as I get through the other numerous books that I want to read.

Maggie often puts a lot of effort into publicizing her books, which I admire greatly. You may have seen the trailer for Shiver floating around somewhere. (If you haven't, search it in'll be amazed.) She's done another one for Ballad that I would love to share with you now:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Contest to Win Books

Click the link above to find a great little blog where you can enter contests to win books. Currently, there is a contest to win SEVERAL books and ARCS. I highly recommend clicking that link!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recipe Review: Taco Bowls

This will be my first ever food review here on my blog. With today being devoted to a day of writing, Crystal and I decided to do appetizer type foods for our dinner. The first one that we started with is Taco Bowls. I am going to give you my opinion on them and what we did to alter the recipe a bit when we couldn't find one of the ingredients.

We found the recipe here:

We went shopping for all of the ingredients yesterday and couldn't find the salsa that was mentioned in the recipe. We stared at all of the salsas for a while and decided that we didn't know enough about salsas to pick one. However, we have made tacos several times in the past and we've used Taco Bell seasoning sauce. So, we plucked it off the shelf in place of salsa.

I made the shells, while Crystal made the meat. The shells were simple to make and took ten minutes to finish. The meat was done shortly after the shells finished cooking. Next, we filled the bowls and topped them with our favorite toppings. For me, that's just cheese.

Next came eating the bowls. They proved to be very delicious. The only problem I had was that they were tricky to figure out how to eat without making a mess. But, in a way, that made them more fun to eat.

Would I recommend them? Most definitely! I'm a taco lover at heart and these certainly did not disappoint.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

People Watching = Character Developing

I spent the entire day in a workshop. It wasn't a bad workshop but like most workshops, it did have it's downtime. This downtime actually proved to be my friend.

Admist the craziness that ensues when you give more than one hundred people a break, I found something to do. I people watched. I know it sounds cliche, but I did.

Only, this time it was different. Often times, people watching involves lightly poking at the way people act when they don't know you're watching. Not this time though - this time, I focused on people and thought about how I would describe them in a story.

I watched people of different ages. I took in what they were wearing and how they were gesturing. But most importantly, I took in the first impression they gave me.

There was the gum chewer, who seemed less than professional; the lady with red high heels; and the nicely dressed lady in tennis shoes. Each of these aspects gave me an impression of one sort or another.

It made me think - what first impressions do our characters give to each other and what first impression do they give to readers? Is it the one we truly want to convey. Each day, we spend time getting dressed and preparing ourselves. Essentially, this is our way of preparing our first impression. Shouldn't we devote some time to helping our characters give good first impressoins? Don't they deserve it?

I've rambled too long. Let's make this simple and concise for you and me. In a nutshell, I learned that as writers, we can learn a lot from people watching. We can learn about mannerisms, clothing, and language - all of which are important aspects of developing a character. Remember first impressions - the are key.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"They" Say

They say you should write what you know. I don't entirely agree with this, but let's just see if it works, shall we?

What do I know?

I know what it's like to be a sister.

I know how to help raise a puppy.

I know what it's like to have parents that are still married - to each other.

I know what it feels like to grow up on a military base.

I know how it feels to lose someone.

I know what it's like to play Barbies well past the "appropriate" age.

I know how it feels to be made fun for something you have no control over.

I know what it's like to be shy.

I know what it's like to be outgoing.

I know how it feels when you're left out.

I know what it's like to leave someone out.

I know a few really good books to read.

I know many great movies to watch.

I know how to cry at a movie.

I know what a child's smile looks like.

I know how thick a first draft of a novel is.

I know what it feels like to be let down by "friends."

I know how it feels to stay up all night chatting.

I know how tough finding a job can be.

There's plenty more that I know from my {almost} 23 years of experience in life, but I'm going to stop there for now.

What do you know?