Friday, February 26, 2010

What I read this week

This week I read Captivate by Carrie Jones. I read Need last year and this is the sequel to that book. I really liked Need when I read it because I thought it was nice for readers who like fantasy but might be getting bored of the whole Twilight thing. Plus I read it at about the time a lot of my friends were reading the Twilight books so I had that whole "Oh yeah, I read those like forever ago. I'm reading this now."
I don’t keep up on what book is coming out when because I usually get my books from the library, which means that if it is a book that has a lot of buzz I could wait forever. Seriously I just got Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride in January even though it came out in the summer. I saw this book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble and I went home and reserved it at the library.
In this book Zara and her friends have the evil pixies are all safely locked up only to find that there are more pixies on the way. New pixies show up, who are hoping to take over the territory of the old pixies who are weak and locked up.
One of the pixies claims Zara is meant to be his queen and Zara must decide if this is true. The new pixie says a lot of things, which Zara has to decide if she can trust or not.
The book basically seems to set up a bigger war going on between good and evil and the end seems to be setting up for another book.
There were a couple references to Buffy in this book which always makes me happy.
The kids in this book have little phrases they say such as “made of awesome” and I swear by the end of the book I found myself talking like that.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Last week was the first week of a fitness competition I signed up for called The Meltdown. Basically you sign up with a partner and you get points for exercise, keeping a food log and attending clinics. You also earn bonus points if you do things like attend a group fitness class or attend a yoga class.
You sign up in teams of two and my partner also happens to be my coworker so that is kind of cool.
The good thing about this competition is that it has me in the gym for an hour every day. Some sort of magical brain thing happens for me in between minute 30 and minute 60 on the cardio machines and that seems to be when my brain wakes up. I have had a few good story ideas while working out at the gym. Of course then I have to go home and scribble them down before I forget them.
On Saturday my teammate got to the gym only to find out that she had forgotten her sneakers.
OK considering 30 minutes of exercise= 1 point and you can earn up to 12 points a week you basically have to get two points a day six days a week. A week goes from Monday thru Sunday so she really needed her two points for that day.
Not to be discouraged she stopped by the lost and found bins where she found a pair of shoes that were 1/2 size smaller than hers so she "borrowed" them for an hour and did the work out she was originally planning before she forgot her shoes. At the end of her workout she returned the shoes.
It made me think about excuses and sometimes it is easy to make excuses for things. "I can't work out today because I forgot my shoes" instead my teammate found a way to make fitness happen for her that day. I'm good at making fitness a part of my life but I know there are other things I can approach with a no excuses attitude so that is my goal for the week.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


When people first meet me for some reason they tend to think I practice yoga. I think they think that yoga is one of the things that single chicks that live in the city do. I ride my bike, I have a fun job in the arts, I try to be an enlightened person, and I care about the earth so I must do yoga. I don’t.
The idea of me bending and stretching into different poses couldn’t be farther from the truth. Over the last three years I have tried to embrace yoga and make it a practice in my life. But something always stops me. Sometimes it is that the class is too full and I end up with someone’s warty foot in my face while trying to hold one leg in the air behind me, balance on the other and not fall over. Sometimes it is the timing of the class.
Then there is the fact that I don’t always like to slow down. Seriously if I can’t blast at least 300 calories what is the point?
But the big reason is I have a hard time accepting my un-bendy self. Even as a child I failed the seated reach test on the Presidential Fitness test.
In other areas of fitness I totally accept where I am. Running for example is something that I like to do but I do slow. I know that I am not going to win any running awards but that doesn’t stop me from trying.
Right now because of my neck my running level is walk and I totally accept that.
I’m able to apply the things I learn while running to my writing life. For example I’ve never won any awards at running but just cause I didn’t win doesn’t mean I quit running. The same goes for writing. Sometimes I get rejected but that doesn’t mean I should quit writing.
I don’t approach yoga with the same mindset as other things. I’m bad at yoga. Unlike writing or running I can’t seem to get past this. But yoga won’t give up on me. It keeps showing up in my life as bonus points for fitness competitions or friends who teach yoga classes.
Recently yoga has shown up in my life again as one of the self care things I can do for my neck. I set up a routine on my wii fit plus and now I am finding relief and doing 15 minutes of yoga 3 times a week.
I am trying to be more accepting of my yoga shortcomings and figure out how yoga applies to my writing life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reconnecting with my writing groups

I've been reading my friend Wendy's blog and feeling like my blog could benefit from more photos or something.
I had meetings this week with two different critique groups this week. My novel group and my picture book group so I finally remembered my desire to take pictures and brought my camera only to fail to take pictures.
Monday's writing group meeting consisted of a check in about where we were, setting goals for the week and a reminder of our assignment to bring an example of inner conflict for the last meeting of the month. We also took a field trip to to check out the Writer's Studios at The Loft.
Now ever since I have been thinking about whether renting a writer's studio is a realistic thing for me to want to do. On one hand I feel like my life lacks some of the normal distractions that some people have. Of course I have my share of distractions like pets, laundry, dishes and Facebook. But because of my relative lack of distractions in my life I sometimes go to the coffee shop just to be around people and activity while I write. On the other side there is the whole idea of having a designated time and space where I will work on my writing, revision or whatever.
Today I went to my picture book writing group which I haven't been to in 3 months due to 10:30 matinees. I was excited to be back and so excited to see what everyone had worked on. It was wonderful to read everyone's work and get some feedback on a shorter piece that I just had to write even though I promised myself I would concentrate on my novel revision and not work on short pieces. I got the idea for the story from a mixture of things and the inspirational moment happened on the elliptical at the gym and I was afraid if I didn't write down something that I would lose it and not remember it later.
Now my goal for the rest of the week is to work on my assignment for Monday.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bargain Book Shopping

Yesterday I tried to focus on writing and I was successful. I worked on three things for a little while each. The biggest thing I did yesterday was start my rewrite of my novel. And by start I mean I rewrote page one. But it was the third thing I worked on and I've never rewritten anything before so baby steps, right.
Today was Bargain Book Shopping with friends from my Cycle and Chat class also known as Cycle and Chat Book Club. We went to Magers and Quinn in Uptown because if I spent $10 there I could get a discount on registration for the Loft's Children's Literature Conference. Spending $10 was no problem and now I have a stack of books to read. We also went to Half Price Books where I picked up a $2 fantasy book.
Currently thanks to the Cycle and Chat book club I am reading the Sun and Moon books by Holly Lisle. So far there are two books in the trilogy, The Ruby Key and The Silver Door.
I have to say that I don't usually read fantasy books but I got hooked on these early in the first book. The book follows Genna and her brother, Danrith as they sneak out one night in hopes of collecting tanduu sap to save their mother. Instead they are brought before the Nightling King where they learn that saving their mother is going to take more than the tanduu sap. They must instead bargain with the Kai-Lord to save not only their mother but themselves and their entire village from the Uncle Banris who has made a deal to sacrifice all of them in exchange for immortality.
When I was reading this book I was annoyed with the fact that the character kept saying how she was too young to do all this and she was just a kid. I kept thinking "Isn't this the point of YA fiction, that kids sometimes get to do extraordinary things, especially in fantasy type books. At the end of the book the fact that she is humble and thinks of herself as just a kid is a really important trait and come into play at the end so then I felt OK with the set up.
Now I'm reading the second book, The Silver Door in which Genna is trying to learn about her destiny as the Sunrider and instead is taken with her friend to The Spire where she meets a boy who had been frozen in time. She must figure out how to save her village and fight her Uncle who is leading an army against the humans.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Yesterday my Mom came to visit. I always joke with her about the amount of my brother's childhood things she's save (a whole bedroom) vs the amount of my childhood stuff she saved. But she is moving out of her old house which means that even my brother's childhood toys are no longer safe.
When they came to visit at Christmas my stepdad kept talking about finding a bunch of stuff I wrote when I was in middle school and high school. I really had no idea what he was talking about. The idea that there were some copies of things I wrote somewhere in my parents house made me a little nervous especially since I didn't know what he was talking about.
Fortunately he was not talking about the soap opera scripts that I used to write when I was bored in middle school.
This week when my mom came to visit she proudly brought me a copy of The Growl and two "literary magazines" from middle school with collected short stories, poems and artwork.
"See. You've been a writer for a long time," she said as she gave me evidence that, yes indeed I've been writing since I was a kid.
I do remember my time as editor of the news section of my high school paper because back then my dreams were to work at Sassy magazine.
This week I also printed out my first draft of my novel and I am going through that and making notes on things that need work. I've written a couple "novels" for NaNoWriMo in the past but never anything that I decided to revise in hopes of making it better so this is a first for me but I'm excited to see how it goes.