Monday, May 5, 2014

Getting Back To It

More often than should be necessary, I find myself typing up a blog post saying "I'M BACK!" only to drop off the face of the blogging planet immediately.

Why is that?

I'm not entirely sure why, but I've always seemed to struggle with blogging. Every time I sit down with my laptop to post something new, this little voice starts nagging at me telling me that "Nobody wants to read that" or "Seriously? You're not really saying anything." No matter what I always seem to feel like I need a REASON to blog/email/text/call/etc. and I have been reminding myself lately that "just because" can be reason enough.

I can't and won't promise that I'll turn into Miss PostingPants, but I can promise that I'm going to try my best to post more frequntly. For once, I don't feel this random obligation to my blog and it's something that I want to do. I'm really hoping that this little corner of the Internet can be a place for me to turn to when I'm stuggling with my writing and maybe, just maybe, meet a new writer friend or two.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Toomer's Corner

Unless you a part of a the Auburn family, the few minutes spent reading this will probably mean absolutely nothing to you. You should know that when I'm a fan..I fan hard, whether it be Supernatural or my Auburn family.

One of the trees before they were poisoned

Today is the day that the Live Oaks that adorn Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama will be removed from the earth. These trees have been a part of Auburn's tradition for decades and their landscape even longer.

Earlier this year

To you they're probably just pitiful looking trees. Maybe you heard about the *insert choice expletive here* Alabama "fan" who poisoned 133 year old Oaks because that team he hates won the Iron Bowl AND the National Championship over the 2010 season.

After the 2010 National Championship

After every Auburn win I would go with my husband and friends to celebrate by visiting Toomer's Corner. The tradition of rolling the trees began many years ago and quickly became one of my favorite Auburn traditions (second only to our eagles Nova or Spirit flying around the stadium before a game). To see something so beautiful and held so dear to so many taken away from us because ONE person wanted to "get back" at Auburn just breaks my heart.

Yes, they are just trees to some, but to me, they're a symbol of not just tradition but one of family. From one person's hate comes something even more beautiful and lovely. This act of hatred brought so many members of the Auburn family together this past Saturday for a reunion and a celebration of all things Auburn. It was a bittersweet goodbye to our beloved trees. We were there on that corner to say goodbye to something that meant so much to all of us and will be forever rooted in our memories but it was also a day of joy spent with friends and reveling in the beauty of those toilet papered trees.

April 20, 2013 for the final roll of Toomer's Corner as well all knew it

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!

We all know that with each new year, the majority of people will make resolutions and by the second week of January all those people will basically be yelling "JUST KIDDING!"

So I'm not so much resolving to do anything but setting goals for myself. For some reason, having a goal just sounds more flexible and not all end of the world like. Like a lot of bloggers, I'm going to share my goals for 2013 in the hopes that since they are out there for the world to see, that maybe I'll achieve them.

1. Write more. This is my main goal for the year. I want 2013 to be the year that I finish a draft and start revisions on it. If I want to be a serious writer (which I do), I need to kick myself in the arse and get in gear. It's not easy and I know my shortcomings but I WILL write at least a little each day. Whether that word count is 20 or 2k, something is better than nothing.

2. Move. Ok, so this is like the obligatory one. I'm not setting a goal of losing weight because while that is the ultimate goal, I don't want to focus on the numbers. So instead of saying I want to exercise and eat healthy all the time, I just want to move more. I'm going to do the same thing I did with the caffeine thing (BTW - I've officially quit drinking caffeine for a year. WOOP!) and just do it week by week and start slow. This month, I'm going to try to do Yoga or Pilates a couple of times a week and again, I'm not setting a certain amount of days a week or anything. I've found that if I miss a day of something then I'm all "welp, that's a fail" and quit. Not this time.

3. Go on a writing retreat. My friend Natalie and I have been talking about doing this for a while and I really want it to happen. Now that Kelsey has it on her 30 by 30 list? I'm making sure it happens this year.

4. Travel. I love to travel and visit friends and nothing makes me happier than visiting new places. It doesn't matter whether it's Kansas City or Paris, I just want to visit a place I've never been before. When the hubs and I first got married, we decided that we'd visit at least one new place a year, whether it was new to one or both of us, and so far we've succeeded in doing that.

I'm sure there are other things I'll add to my list but for now, these are the main ones.

Are any of my goals ones you have set for yourself? What's the biggest thing you want to accomplish in 2013?

I also want to say that the winners have been chosen for my giveaway and the winners were Jill W. and Angel M. Thanks to everyone who entered! Congratulations ladies!

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Christmas Time Again...

Since I participated in the superlatives blogfest, I thought I might do something I haven't done in who knows long -- blog for five consecutive days.

I know, unheard of, right? I'll make this short and sweet.

First up, the rules.

This giveaway will run until the ball drops in New York on New Years' Eve and two winners will be announced on New Years' Day. You'll have 48 hours to claim your prize otherwise that whole forfeit thing happens and somebody else will be picked.

Each winner will receive two signed books. The grand prize winner will receive their choice of 1 of 3 signed books PLUS they can pick one of the titles (unsigned) that I featured during the 2012 YA Superlatives blogfest! The grand prize winner will also receive my current favorite Christmas song (gifted through iTunes) and a small surprise gift. The second winner will receive the two remaining signed books.

The books you can win are:

WINTER WONDERS Anthology signed by Me and maybe a few other people
ENTHRALLED: Paranormal Diversions Anthology - signed by Carrie Ryan, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and Kimberly Derting

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Class of 2012: Best in Show

It is the final day of the YA Superlatives blogfest hosted by Jessica Love, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Favorite Cover:
If I were to list all my favorite covers, we'd be here all day long so I picked my top three for the year. First up is Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins. I really do think she gets the best covers and I'm excited to see that her spin-off series is going to be following the same look. 
The cover for The Disenchantments totally threw me because I didn't know anything going into it and it was a major surprise (a good one though) to find out Colby was the narrator. I like this cover because it just reminds me of summer and fun.
Until I Die is just plain pretty. I love everything about it from the purples to the swirls around the title.

Cutest Couple:
Hazel and Augustus win this category hands down. Their relationship was just beautiful overall and they were just like two puzzle pieces that were made for each other. 

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner):
I really don't think I have to say anything here.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (The book you just couldn't put down!):
The Raven Boys did make me stay up to read until my eyes wouldn't stay open any longer. As soon as I was finished reading I wanted to open it back up to page one and start all over again. Just call me Veruca Salt because I want book two and I want it NOW!

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up):
What I like about Jackson Pearce's re-tellings is that they're dark and they all somehow tie together. I almost didn't pick this one for this category but then I remembered how she tied this together with Sisters Red and Sweetly and that right there clenched it for me. 

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel:
A LOT of stuff happened in The Savage Grace and the first thing I remember thinking when I finished reading it was, "now that's how you finish a series!"

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:
Whitley and Nathan FOR SURE. I mean, damn, the tension between those two leapt off the page *fans self*

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author):
This was a no-brainer for me. This was one of my favorite stories of the year and I loved that it wasn't just a re-telling of Hades/Persephone but a loose re-imagining. 

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012):
OH, PERKS! How I love thee. I first read this book back in 2004 when a co-worker gave me her extra copy and I have loved it ever since. Very few books have stayed with me like The Perks of Being a Wallflower has and for a while there, I read this book at least once a year. I can't tell you how THRILLED I was when the movie finally came out in my city and to see that it was absolute perfection. That my friends, is how a movie adaptation is done.

Most Likely To Make a Grown Man Cry:
If you read this book and DON'T cry your name must be Chandler Bing. Seriously, you robot. 

Most Pleasant Surprise (The book you didn't think you'd like, but totally did):
Initially, the only reason I bought this book (and the first one) is because I was at Amy Plum's book signing* and after hearing her talk and see how she interacted with her fans, I knew I had to buy both. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. It was a few weeks before I actually started reading the series but I was surprised with just how much I loved it. 

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:
All I'm going to say about this one, in case someone hasn't read it, this is how a love triangle should be done. *bows to Maggie*

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more):
I picked both of these books because not only did I love them but very few of my book nerd friends had heard of them/read them. I really enjoyed both books for different reasons and I can only hope that one person who hasn't read these will see this and decide to give them a try.

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite MG or adult 2012 book):
I mentioned it the other day but it's worth repeating: I am a complete sucker for the Percy Jackson books. I love everything about all books relating to Percy and friends and this is one reason I look forward to October rolling around. 
I also picked The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 1 because it is just SO DARN cute and you can't help but smile when flipping through it. It may only take five minutes to read, but the idea behind it is just so cool. Plus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is involved so it can't be bad, right?
I don't typically read Romance but my friend Macy Beckett's debut novel, Sultry with a Twist was released earlier this year and even if she weren't my friend, I'd still love it. It's playful, funny, and hot and I know this girl is going to have an awesome writing career!

Pick your own superlative category! - Most Likely to End up in the Freezer:
If you know anything about the TV show FRIENDS, you know why a book would end up in the freezer. I even mentioned as much to my husband and he looked at me like I was crazy. 

Welp, that's it for the Class of 2012. I had a blast compiling my picks and seeing everything that other people chose. Happy reading!!

*Even though I had never heard of her before, Birmingham doesn't get very YA Authors for signings in town so when they come, I have to show my support. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Class of 2012: Elements of Fiction

Welcome back for day three of the YA Superlatives blogfest hosted by Jessica Love, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Most Envy-Inducting Plot (Or, the plot you wish you'd thought of yourself):
Yep. If you've seen my blog the past few days, you're probably not surprised to see The Raven Boys in this spot. Maggie is a freaking genius and everything about this book just makes shake my head in awe.  She has a way with words and builds such complex, beautiful, fun, and mysterious works of art and all I can do is just sit back and let her take me on a ride that I know will not disappoint.

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you most definitely would NOT want to travel to):
The reason I picked This is not a Test over any of the other books is that you have people surrounding you and you can fight for something --whether it's overthrowing the villain or quests to save friends --but in this world? It's basically hopeless. You're constantly on the run and always scavenging for food and safety, and if The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it's you can't even trust your closest friend.

Wanderlust-Inducting (Or, the setting you'd happily travel to):
Paris is on my must-see list of places to visit before I die and I love stories that take place there. I actually don't know why Amy Plum's books haven't made my list until now because I've really enjoyed them.

Loveliest Prose:
John Green is a master of words and I was going to put a quote or two from The Fault in our Stars here but how can you only pick one? I mean, just reading this makes me feel all the feels.

I can't leave out Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor because writing beautiful is just in them. 

Most Dynamic Main Character:
Karou hands down. Had I participated last year, she would be the reigning champ.

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending:
All I will say about this is that there were some things I expected to happen but the ending was not one of them. 

Best Performance in a Supporting Role:
I kept flip-flopping on whether to pick The Raven Boys for this one but I decided that since their voice is heard, I would go with Cole in Everneath. Cole is such a complex character and there are times where you don't know whether to root for him or hate him. In my opinion, he's the ultimate bad boy because of the way he can make you believe him and while you know he might be deceiving you, you still want to believe in him. 

Best use of Theme:
I picked This is not a Test earlier because that world just seems completely and utterly hopeless but in Laini Taylor's series, there's nothing but hope. Even though there is war and death, you need some kind of hope to be able to want to move forward.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Class of 2012: Popularity Contest

Welcome to day two of the 2012 YA Superlatives blogfest hosted by Jessica LoveKaty UppermanAlison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Today we'll be delving into some of my favorite characters.

Class Clown:
Yes, The Fault in our Stars may be about cancer, but Gus and Hazel are just so dang funny! They're real and they don't let their cancer define who they are are people and when you can joke about a friend going blind and it not be mean? That's a win in my book.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star:
I knew only picking one book per category would only last so long. I picked Bev from The Disenchantments because while she may not be the best, she has the attitude and drive to be successful. Fake it til you make it should be her motto. I also picked Emme from Elizabeth Eulberg's Take a Bow. Unlike Bev, Emme is dripping with talent on the singer/songwriter scale and the only thing that can stop her is a lack of confidence in herself.

Mostly Likely to Start a Riot:
Ronan wins this category for sure. He doesn't put up with things he doesn't like and you'll know it. He's also pretty loyal to friends and isn't afraid to be heard.

Biggest Flirt:
Picking Whitley was a no-brainer for this category. The things that go down with her love interest is proof and Whitley isn't above making people uncomfortable for the sake of flirting.

Fashion King and/or Queen:
Evie has great fashion sense and is always looking pretty spiffy inside the book, but even the cover for Endlessly is gorgeous. 

Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF:
Zuzana! I've wanted to be BFF's with Zuzana since I first read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and that was solidified when in the first chapter of Days of Blood and Starlight she forms a plan on what she wants to do to Kaz.

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School:
Four is basically a given. I mean, come on, it's Four. I love all the Raven Boys for different reasons and I also picked Colby from The Disenchantments because he's loyal and sweet and just an all around good guy.

Most Likely to Become President:
There's just something about Gansey that screams President to me. He has the upbringing for it and is pretty much the glue that is holding his group together. I also decided to add Elder as a Vice President because while he's not exactly cut out for leading, he desperately wants to do the right thing and I think he would be a great right hand man to Gansey.

Villain You Love to Hate:
There were two villains that I wasn't sure whether to like them or hate them because both the Darkling from Shadow and Bone and Cole from Everneath had these different layers to them and you just wanted to see what made them tick. Both of these guys are worthy of having a book that focuses solely on them.

Favorite Parental Figure:
Blue Sargent's whole psychic family. I really hope book two includes more of them because I like seeing parental figures involved in what's going on with their teenager.

Coolest Nerd:
I obviously have a lot of love for Gansey and I don't know if I would exactly classify him as a nerd but he does get total nerdgasms over his research and finding Glendower.