"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Friday, July 31, 2009

This and That

Mostly cross-posted from the eHarlequin message board.

The challenging thing I face with my writing at the moment is figuring out how to balance my writing with caring for my 3-almost-4-month old son. I would have thought I would've had that all figured out by now, but just as I think I'm beginning to figure out his schedule, he changes it on me.

It kind of sucks because I really enjoy writing everything by hand before typing it on the computer, but since I spend so much of my time just nursing him, I really only have one free hand. On the (not-so?) plus side, I'm getting really good at typing one-handed again.

Urban Fantasy

This is cross-posted from the Absolute Write Water Cooler message board.

Are you an UF fan?


If so, for how long and what authors did you start with?

I've been reading urban fantasy since high school. Probably the first UF I read was Christopher Pike's Last Vampire series and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' novels. I got hooked on UF when I read Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong in college.

Who are your favorite authors?

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes continues to be one of my favorite authors, but I've also read Kelley Armstrong, Lillith Saintcrow, Meg Cabot's Mediator series, Laurell K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Melissa Marr, and others.

Are you writing urban fantasy?


If so, what or who inspired you?

I've been inspired by real life, dreams, movies, anime, manga, books, and role-playing games.

What stage are you at with your UF novel or short story?

I'm still trying to figure out this whole revision thing with my current WIP (Butterfly Mask). I have a YA vampire novel (Like a Frothing Rabid Dog is Adorable) that needs to be revised and kicked out the door. A screenplay (Awaken) that I'd like to turn into a novel. The first draft of a MG (or young YA) novel (My Life as a Magical Girl). The first couple chapters of a YA UF novel (No Leaf Clover). A completed angel and demon short story that may or may not become chapter 1 of something longer (Angel Love, Demon Love). I'm about 3/4 of the way through a YA werewolf romance (Wolf Eyes). And a completed short story about a psychic.

Also known as, I need to get off my butt, finish all these stories I have lying around and kick them out the door so I can get working on all the new ideas that keep popping up without feeling guilty over not finishing my other stories.

I should also look also look into a market for my short psychic story to see about getting a publishing credit for when I finally finish Butterfly Mask and start submitting it to agents.

What's been the most difficult challenge for you?

How to make my vampires, shapeshifters, etc. different from everybody else's. How to add more "cool tech" and general sci fi to my far futuristic world.

Does your story include other genres like sci fi, romance or mystery?

Almost all of my stories have a guy and a girl who eventually get a happy ever after. I think of my YA vampire story as a bit of a murder mystery. And my current WIP takes place in the far future, so I'm trying to mix sci fi with UF.

What's your definition of an urban fantasy?

Vampires, shapeshifters, psychics, witches, faeries, and other supernatural creatures existing in "the world as we know it". "The world as we know it" can be Earth's past, Earth's present, an alternate past, an alternate present, or the projected future from one of these times.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Been a Long Weekend . . . And an Even Longer Week

So I was going to post this last Monday (like over a week ago), and am now just getting around to finishing the post. As as aside, I find that I have no problem starting things, like blog posts or a load of laundry, I just have a difficult time finishing things. Especially when the baby's demanding my attention, then I tend to forget about everything else. So here goes the post from last week, with some changes to account for the delay in posting.

A week ago from last Thursday, I got to meet the newest member in my husband's family. Which means my little guy is no longer the youngest grandchild on his dad's family. I knew he wouldn't be for long, but still. There's something about him being only three months old and already having a younger cousin that makes him seem old. I mean he's only three months, and he's still pretty young, but still he seems older somehow.

At least he's still the youngest grandchild on his mom's family.

Saturday started fun. One of my friend's from college who just got married in October had her first baby on July 14. So I finally got to meet him. It would've been more fun to visit him in the hospital, but it was easier to go up on the weekend, given my husband's work schedule.

While visiting her, I realized that there's a lot of difference in my perspective as a mom in just three months. My baby was born at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. And he seemed tiny when he was born. Now he's around 12 pounds. But these last three months, he's just always weighed what he weighs, so even though I know he's getting bigger, he doesn't seem like it. As I mentioned before, he seems to be exactly the same as he was the day before and the day before that. Even though the numbers tell me he's getting bigger and I'm lifting more than I was, you don't really realize how much bigger he is until you lift a baby that about half his weight.

My friend's baby weighs about 6 pounds, 11 ounces (at least when I was holding him). Just looking at him, he seemed pretty small. But that's to be expected. He wasn't even a week old. But when I went to hold him, it seemed like there was nothing to him. He just seemed so tiny. The weirdest thing about it was that he was born bigger than my baby, and I just couldn't imagine my baby being smaller than him. I mean, I knew that's how it was because my baby was born at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. But there's something about holding a baby smaller than him and considering how big my baby is now, it just seems like it was impossible that there was a time where he was smaller.

At least I'm out of the needing to feed my baby every three hours and needing to wake him up even though he's sleeping so peacefully and I'm so tired just because he needs to eat and gain weight. And I don't envy any new parent for that experience. But somehow, now that I'm past that phase, it seems like it didn't even happen. Probably by the time I have another kid, I'll have completely forgotten all about what that felt like.

After visiting my friend, her husband and her baby, we went to a mini going away party for another friend of ours who's going to Japan. Though now he should be there. But it was pretty fun getting to talk to him again, since I hadn't seen him since Christmas time.

It was sometime during that going away party that the "fun" of the weekend started. Back in February, I ended up getting gallstones and they chose that weekend to "attack" me. So we went to the emergency room that night because I couldn't stand the pain any longer. Okay, it didn't hurt as bad as when I was delivering my baby (because I did that sans painkiller), but it still hurt. And worse, I had no idea why it was hurting. After spending the night at the emergency room, they wheeled me upstairs where the surgeon pretty much said, "You can have surgery now, or you can have surgery later." And since I was already there, I went with the surgery now option.

But apparently getting my gall bladder removed wasn't enough, since there was a bit of scare last week about needing to go in for another procedure. So I got an MRI. And I don't know what it is, but the writer in me was like, "I gotta use this in a book somehow. I don't know what I'll do with it, but it would work really well in a sci fi." The MRI came back clear. It's been over a week post-surgery and everything's all better (well, except for the incisions, which are still healing). What's best is that the pain's gone and it'll never be back. At least not because of gall stones.

The only annoying thing is that I was given a weight limit of 15 pounds for two weeks and all of last week, I couldn't even pick the little guy up. I was pretty glad to have my father-in-law around to help me while my husband was at work. But I am definitely much happier now that I can pick the little guy up again. And when you go for a week not being able to pick up your baby, so you're just limited to holding him, you actually realize how much weight he really does gain once you are able to pick him up again.

But still, when you're picking him up on a daily basis, he weighs the same as he did the day before and the day before that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

YA Book Meme

I got this meme from Melissa Marr's blog.


Put an “X” next to the books you’ve read
Put a “+” next to the books you LOVE
Put a “#” next to the books you plan on reading

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams X
2. Kit’s Wilderness / David Almond
3. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
4. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Feed / M.T. Anderson
6. Flowers in the Attic / V.C. Andrews
7. 13 Reasons Why / Jay Asher
8. Am I Blue? / Marion Dane Bauer (editor)
9. Audrey Wait! / Robin Benway
10. Weetzie Bat / Francesca Lia Block
11. Tangerine / Edward Bloor
12. Forever / Judy Blume X
13. What I Saw and How I Lied / Judy Blundell
14. Tyrell / Coe Booth
15. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants / Ann Brashares
16. A Great and Terrible Beauty / Libba Bray #
17. The Princess Diaries / Meg Cabot #
18. The Stranger / Albert Camus
19. Ender’s Game / Orson Scott Card X
20. Postcards from No Man’s Land / Aidan Chambers
21. Perks of Being a Wallflower / Stephen Chbosky
22. And Then There Were None / Agatha Christie
23. Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn
24. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist / Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
25. Artemis Fowl (series) / Eoin Colfer #
26. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins #
27. The Midwife’s Apprentice / Karen Cushman X +
28. The Truth About Forever / Sarah Dessen
29. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
30. A Northern Light / Jennifer Donnelly
31. Tears of a Tiger / Sharon Draper
32. The House of the Scorpion / Nancy Farmer #
33. Breathing Underwater / Alex Flinn
34. Stardust / Neil Gaiman
35. Annie on My Mind / Nancy Garden
36. What Happened to Cass McBride / Gail Giles
37. Fat Kid Rules the World / K.L. Going
38. Lord of the Flies / William Golding
39. Looking for Alaska / John Green #
40. Bronx Masquerade / Nikki Grimes X
41. Out of the Dust / Karen Hesse
42. Hoot / Carl Hiaasen
43. The Outsiders / S.E. Hinton #
44. Crank / Ellen Hopkins
45. The First Part Last / Angela Johnson
46. Blood and Chocolate / Annette Curtis Klause X +
47. Arrow’s Flight / Mercedes Lackey
48. Hattie Big Sky / Kirby Larson
49. To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee X
50. Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan
51. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks / E. Lockhart
52. The Giver / Lois Lowry
53. Number the Stars / Lois Lowry
54. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie / David Lubar
55. Inexcusable / Chris Lynch
56. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things / Carolyn Mackler
57. Dragonsong / Anne McCaffrey #
58. White Darkness / Geraldine McCaughrean
59. Sold / Patricia McCormick
60. Jellicoe Road / Melina Marchetta
61. Wicked Lovely / Melissa Marr X +
62. Twilight / Stephenie Meyer X
63. Dairy Queen / Catherine Murdock
64. Fallen Angels / Walter Dean Myers
65. Monster / Walter Dean Myers
66. Step From Heaven / An Na
67. Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
68. The Keys to the Kingdom (series) / Garth Nix #
69. Sabriel / Garth Nix X +
70. Airborn / Kenneth Oppel
71. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
72. Hatchet / Gary Paulsen X
73. Life As We Knew It / Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. The Golden Compass / Phillip Pullman
75. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging / Louise Rennison
76. The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan
77. Always Running: La Vida Loca / Luis Rodriguez
78. How I Live Now / Meg Rosoff
79. Harry Potter (series) / J.K. Rowling
80. Holes / Louis Sachar
81. Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger #
82. Push / Sapphire
83. Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
84. Unwind / Neil Shusterman
85. Coldest Winter Ever / Sister Souljah
86. Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli
87. Chanda’s Secrets / Allan Stratton
88. Tale of One Bad Rat / Brian Talbot
89. Rats Saw God / Rob Thomas
90. Lord of the Rings / J.R.R. Tolkien
91. Stuck in Neutral / Terry Trueman
92. Gossip Girl / Cecily Von Ziegesar #
93. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld #
94. Every Time a Rainbow Dies / Rita Williams-Garcia
95. Pedro and Me / Judd Winick
96. Hard Love / Ellen Wittlinger
97. American Born Chinese / Gene Luen Yang
98. Elsewhere / Gabrielle Zevin
99. I am the Messenger / Markus Zusak
100. The Book Thief / Markus Zusak #

Six books I think should be added:

1. In the Forests of the Night / Amelia Atwater-Rhodes X +
2. The Mediator (series) / Meg Cabot X +
3. Wake / Lisa McMann X
4. Thirsty / M.T. Anderson X
5. The Last Vampire (series) / Christopher Pike X
6. Shattered Mirror / Amelia Atwater-Rhodes X +

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

This was the first year I was able to watch fireworks in my hometown in quite a while.

2008 - Yamaguchi, Japan. If you remember, I was in Japan where my husband and I had to buy our own fireworks for a mini 4th of July celebration.

2007 - Gumi, South Korea. I honestly don't remember what we did. Aside from we were in Korea and nearing the end of our stay there.

2006 - Mankato, MN. This was the year we graduated from college and went to visit our friends who weren't into watching fireworks. Even though I thought the Mankato ones were better.

2005 - Mankato, MN. I think we celebrated the 4th at our appartment. Or at least we tried to. Maybe. Honestly, I don't remember.

The last time I know for sure that we watched fireworks here was in 2000, the summer after we graduated from high school and our first summer together. We tried to watch them from a small boat on the river. Unfortunately we had too many people on the boat for its size and not enough life jackets.

But this year we were finally able to watch them at home again. And either I don't remember them being so good or they increased their fireworks budget, but I was really impressed with them this year. Then again, maybe it had something to do with being glad to be home, and glad to watch the fireworks with my husband, my son, and my puppy. Especially since I'm pretty sure Baby Nate enjoyed watching them just as much as we did. And my puppy didn't get scared until towards the end of the grand finale.

All in all, it was a pretty good time.

Also, my husband and I wore our yukata. And one person that we passed while crossing the street on our way to the Levee Park actually recognized them for what they were. And said, "What beautiful yukatas."