Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RTW- Best book of February

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

What was the best book you read in February?

This is a tough one to answer because I read so many amazing books this month.
My reading list for this month includes The Fault in Our Stars, The Mostly True Story of Jack, The Scorpio Races and Divergent. So yeah, how do I pick from those.

I loved The Scorpio Races.  The writing and the story was beautiful.  I loved the characters and I seriously wanted to move to the island of Thisby when I was finished with this book. 

The Scorpio Races

I won Divergent from Colin D. Smith. This was another one of those books that totally sucked me in.  Maybe it is because I went to Chicago last summer to watch the Minnesota Twins play. Of course I did all the touristy things like Navy Pier (my friend works at a theater there) and the John Hancock building. (The lounge offers amazing views for the price of a $15 cocktail) Reading a story set in a future Chicago was really fun.
The story was exciting and compelling and I couldn't put this book down.  Can't wait until May when Insurgent comes out.

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

What were your favorite reads of February?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RTW- Black History Month

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. 

February is Black History Month and it's also the month of Valentine's Day. So let's show some writerly love by answering the following question: Who is your favorite African American author or fictional character?

One of my favorite African American authors is Toni Morrison.  I read The Bluest Eye in college and this book is one that stuck with me.  The story is about Pecola Breedlove, a seven year old who wishes to look like the blond haired, blue eyed images she sees everywhere.  

Even though this book was set in 1940 and I feel like we've made some progress I feel like it rings true today.  The blonde ringlet haired image on the tea cup in this book has been replaced by a blonde princesses and fairies. I often see kids in my neighborhood waiting for the bus with images of Tinkerbell and Cinderella on their backpacks and lunch boxes and I think of The Bluest Eye.

The Bluest Eye

Monday, February 20, 2012

DIY stand up desk

I've wanted to make my desk into a standing desk for a while.  I read an article last year in the SCBWI Bulletin about treadmill desks.  I've read lots of articles about how sitting for long periods of time is bad for health.  Last year I swapped my chair for a stability ball but kept dreaming of a standing desk. 

A treadmill desk isn't realistic for me since I live in a condo and have neighbors.  
I thought about doing something like this but the wind trainer on my bike too loud.
photo from Obesity Panacea

My job is actually a lot of standing since I stand while I iron and while waiting for quick changes but I sit a lot while writing.

I have this desk that I got from IKEA a few years ago. The thing took me three days to build when I bought it.  

I'd been thinking if I move my printer to the bottom part and put my laptop on the top part I could stand while working.

The shelf ended up being a little high for me but I added a ministepper which give me a little height and makes this like my own little version of a treadmill desk.

One thing I noticed is that while standing at the computer I'm more focused.  I feel like I haven't spent as much on sites like Facebook because it is easy to limit time on these sites when I'm standing rather than sitting.

Does anyone else have a standing or treadmill desk?  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Books make the best gifts

Two years ago my dad got remarried to a woman he met in Mexico.  His wife has a daughter which means that I have a 10 year old stepsister.

Me and Hannia with a dolphin
I love giving books to kids I know plus the fact that I read MG and YA means that I usually give a book that the reader likes.

My dad expressed an interest in books for he and Hannia to read together so I stocked up on my some of my favorite books. Since Hannia speaks Spanish as her first language I also tried to find books in Spanish. I ended up with a stack of classics like Charlotte's Web, The BFG, the first two Harry Potter books and as well as Esperanza Renace and El Bosque de los Pigmeos both in Spanish.

Yesterday I got a thank you email from my dad saying they are currently reading Charlotte's Web and Esperanza Renace (Esperanza Rising in Spanish) together.  They are very thankful for the Spanish books as he says they are harder for him to find.

My dad isn't a big reader unless the book is about computer-y things.  He is also a dad and not a mom, meaning he doesn't think about things like thank you cards and stuff so to get a thank you email from him is a pretty big deal.  

I am now off to my local Savers in hopes of finding more books in Spanish.

What books have you given that have been a big hit with the recipient?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

12 x 12 update

Earlier this year I signed up for the 12 x 12 in 12 challenge on Julie Hedlund's blog .

The challenge is to write 1 picture book draft a month for the year.  So far this challenge is going well for me.  It has also been a lot of fun.

The other day a friend of mine from work dropped the most PB idea in my lap so I have been working on that and I'm excited to see where it will end up.

I don't want to give away too much but the story happens to be about a dog. Even tough I'm a cat owner I like writing about dogs.  One of my cats also acts more like a dog than a cat most days.

I love how a conversation can spark an idea.  I love how listening to friends can make me say "That would make a good picture book."

Where do you get your ideas?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs.

This week's question

What SNI were you psyched to work on, but discovered it was too close to something already done?

I was totally psyched to work on my 2010 NaNoWriMo novel.  It was going to be set at a drama camp. Musical numbers, jazz hands.  The campers were going to perform my favorite musical, Guys and Dolls. I was even going to try to have a little mystery as part of the plot. It was going to combine my life in theater with my love of writing.  It was going to be like Glee for books. I worked on it and it turned out how most of my NaNo projects turn out which is to say it was a 50,000 word mess.  

Watching the 2011 Tony's and keeping my fingers crossed for the cast of a show I worked on and seeing what Twitter had to say about it I discovered that someone else had already written a book that takes place at theater camp where there is a production of Guys and Dolls.  Dramarama by E. Lockhart. 


I haven't worked on my summer theater camp story since I crossed the 50,000 mark in November of 2010.  I still hope to someday write a story that involves theater but I'm not sure my summer theater camp story is the right one.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

RTW- Best book of January

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This week's question
What was the best book you read in January?

For me the best book was Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

 Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)

I have to confess this book and series kind of surprised me.  I didn't think I was going to be interested in a book about wolves but this book sucked me.  Actually it wasn't the wolves that got me into this book, it was Mercy Falls being in Minnesota that sucked me in.  This series surprised me because I liked the second book even better than the first.  I like that Grace and Sam's story gets more complex in this book as Sam finds himself human but Grace finds herself feeling more like a wolf.  The addition of Cole and Isabelle's povs also sucked me in.

Other January books
My goal in January was to read some of the books I had on my Kindle.  I'm not sure if other people who own readers find themselves buying ebooks when they are at a lower price.  I do.  I decided I needed to read some of these books before I could buy some of the regularly priced ebooks on my list ($9.99)

A Scary Good Book by Anita Laydon Miller- Loved this great mystery.  Fans of Nancy Drew and other mystery books will love Hannah Stone and how her love of reading lands her in the middle of solving a mystery.

The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff- I really like Brooklyn Burning so when I saw this book on sale on amazon I bought it.  I liked the povs of the three characters and how they see this one event.  Even though the characters appear to be best friends they actually know very little about each others lives.

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski- I snagged this book for 99 cents from the Epic Reads, Epic Deals sale.  This book was fun and reminded me of when I had my first apartment with my best friend after college.

What was your favorite book of January?