Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Recap and report card

Here's how I did:

Books read: 56
Books that made me cheer and cry and send embarrassing fangirl tweets to author: 1
Manuscripts started: 3
Manuscripts finished: 2
Words written: 270,000
Writing classes taken: 1
Online workshops: 2
Conferences attended: 2
Critique groups: 2
Mentorships applied for: 2
Blogs read religiously: 14
New ideas jotted down: somewhere between 50 and a jillion

Goals for 2012:

50+ books
4 completed manuscripts and 400K words
Also, to live a little :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last minute gift ideas

Here I am to save the day with some last-minute gift ideas! Now, even though Assistant Mufasa looks super-cute all packed up in his festive holiday bag, keep in mind that a kitty is NOT a good present.

A good rule of thumb is, any gift that requires the recipient to spend more money maintaining it than you did buying it is probably a bad call. When I was twenty, a boyfriend bought me a rabbit, presumably because I said his friend's bunny was cute. Newsflash, dude: horses and dolphins are cute too but that doesn't mean I want to raise one. Needless to say, I made Boy take Bunny back to the store and that relationship fizzled shortly thereafter.

Another boy gave me a plant for my dorm room in college. Now I know what you're thinking. 'Jeez Fiona, even a PLANT was too much work for you? How lazy can you be?' (Pretty lazy.) But in my defense, his two dollar plant required immediate repotting into a five dollar pot with five bucks worth of potting soil. And roommate discovered it had bugs. Not just bugs. Aphids. Do you know what aphids look like?

Your skin is crawling, isn't it? Mine is. *twitches uncontrollably* Go ahead and check your own houseplants. I'll wait here. Don't forget to check the underside of the leaves too.

Everything all right? Good. But see what sort of problems the wrong gift can cause? Now let's talk about the RIGHT gifts.

Stuff and Things

I'm not the biggest fan of physical presents that are going to clutter up my already cluttered, too-tiny apartment. But I know that some people collect stuff the way I collect passport stamps, so here are a few things to consider for the stuff-lover in your life.

1. A Galileo thermometer. I remember a few years ago when they were so stylish that you could pick one up at the corner drug store. They're a little harder to find now, but there's just something cool about a water-filled stick of glass that actually serves a purpose. Don't take my word for it, take the word of a random guy on the internet who writes "Everyone can appreciate the simple beauty of colored orbs floating in water." Sounds good to me. And keep in mind, what was cool five years ago can now be considered retro-cool.

2. One of those gradual-wake alarm clocks. I know they carry them at Bed Bath and Beyond, but those of you who prefer not to patronize megacorporations can surely find them online or at Mom & Pop stores in your neighborhood. You don't have to be a nurse like me to know that waking up gradually to soothing ocean waves is more therapeutic than being rudely jolted out of deep sleep by full-volume System of a Down.

3. Harry Potter DVDs. Now is the time to complete your collection before they pull them from the shelves and only sell them in unaffordable eight-DVD sets.


My dad was one of those guys who grumbled no matter WHAT I bought him for Christmas. I spent too much money. He didn't need it. There was nothing wrong with the shoes he'd been wearing for the last fifteen years (except that, you know, they had holes in the bottom.) Grumble, grumble, grumble. The least fun person to shop for EVER. So eventually my siblings and I got the great idea to donate to charity in Dad's name. He loved it. He especially loved getting a gift card to Kiva so that he got to pick the person he was helping and he got to keep track of the loan repayment. And then, when the loan was repaid, he got to do it all over again. Truly, the gift that keeps on giving.

I could give you a long list of awesome charities like First Book, Heifer Project, Doctors Without Borders, Ocean Conservancy, etc, but I think everyone has their own charities that they feel good about donating to, and the point isn't who you support, it's that supporting other people (or animals) feels good. 

If you're not sure though, a Kiva gift card is a really fun present, since it can be interactive if the recipient so chooses. (You're also welcome to just donate to the company's operating costs if choosing from among the thousands of possible lenders is overwhelming.)

Classes and Events

Blues games and ballets, live shows at the Pageant. Any vacation that you can imagine. Pottery classes I'll take in the spring. These are a few of my favorite things. 

The best gifts are the ones that make memories and have absolutely no chance of being infested by aphids. Hockey, football, basketball, college water polo, whatever--all but the tiniest towns have some sort of sporting events for the sports lover in your life. Take a cooking class. Take a rock climbing class. Take a weekend trip to Chicago to explore the Art Institute. His and hers massages. Buy glass-blowing lessons off of one of those Groupon-type sites. Go horseback riding or ice skating. Take your guy/girl/parent/kid to one of those Sky Zone places where you can play dodgeball and do flips.

And for the person who has everything? I recommend Hang gliding!!! (Can I come too?)

The point is, it's not too late to score an awesome present, so give that sausage and cheese tray to your boss, return the reindeer-print flannel pajama bottoms, and get shopping!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kitty vs' Candle***

Protagonists: the assistants, at least three times as ferocious as they are cute...

Antagonist: a candle, vanilla woods scented, half-price from Walgreens...

Rising action: My money is on the candle...

But then, just as I am about to intervene...

Climax: Tatsu lands a strong right hook!

Resolution: Behold the awesome extinguishing power of the assistants!

Assistants: 1 Candle: 0

***Note: For the aspiring PETA members in the audience, obviously I did not set up a grudge match between my lovely assistants and fire. For one, I'm not sadistic. Also, I am lazy, and setting up things sounds like a lot of work. But when the drama started to play out, I found myself transfixed. How would it all end? I just had to to know. Rest assured, no lovely assistants were injured during this activity. (However, one candle did get bitch-slapped.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Giveaway Winners!!!

I am super-excited to announce the winner of the Delirium Special Edition and Pandemonium ARC. It is...


SG, you have not only won both a Delirium Special Edition (with the pretty, pretty cover) and a Pandemonium ARC, you have also won another book of your choice from the list below, for a total of three books. Email me via the 'contact me' tab with your additional book of choice and your mailing address.

But wait, there's more!

Second place goes to Kate. Kate you have won your choice of two books from the list below. Email me your top three choices and your mailing address.

But wait, I'm not quite finished...

Third place goes to Natalie. Natalie you have won your choice of one book from the list below. Email me your top three choices and your mailing address.

Winners, put something like GIVEAWAY WINNER in your subject line in case the google mail decides to spam you when I'm not looking and I have to wade through emails about Nigerian lotteries and viagra specials to find you. (Am I the only one it does this to?) And remember, ARCs cannot legally be sold. Keep. Share. Give away on your own blog. But please do not sell, on ebay or anywhere else.

To everyone who didn't win: the list below is just a small sampling of the books I've got cluttering up my too-tiny apartment. Also, I do the occasional book review (under a different name) so I should be scoring sweet new ARCs in the future. I assure you there will be more giveaways, so stay tuned. Extra-special thanks to Lauren Oliver for donating two of her books.

Your possible FREE books include:

An ARC of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (lightly chewed cover *glares at assistant #2*)
An ARC of Liar's Moon by Eliazbeth C Bunce
An ARC of Icefall by Matthew Kirby
An ARC of Fire World by Chris d'Lacey
An ARC of The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
A hard cover of Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
A hard cover of Rip Tide by Kat Falls
A hard cover of Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
A soft cover of The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
A soft cover of Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
A soft cover of Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
A soft cover of The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
A soft cover of Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

(All books in new condition unless specified as chawed by a certain kitty I am thinking of renaming 'Pica')

Thursday, December 1, 2011


As promised, the details on how you can win a much-desired ARC of Lauren Oliver's PANDEMONIUM, as well as a DELIRIUM special edition, both graciously provided by Lauren herself. (Sorry, she forgot to sign them, but you don't care because you can have her sign them when you meet her at a conference someday and that will be even cooler.)

And since I'm feeling a little crazy today, I may just throw in a surprise bonus book, an ARC that's so tasty one of my assistants decided to eat part of the cover :)

This is going to be a random drawing. There are 5 ways to enter. You can do all 5 and have 5 entries. This contest will run for 5 days.

Ways to enter:
1. follow the blog
2. like me on FB
3. follow me on twitter
4. tweet about this contest
5. comment on something on the blog, other than the comment you will be posting in this thread, which will be your actual entry. I know there's not a ton of content here (yet!), but between ranting about things that drive you crazy and raving about TV shows, there should be something for everyone, right?

How to enter:
Post a comment (not an email, not a tweet) in this thread with the ways that you entered. So example:

Awesome reader chick said:
followed blog
liked on FB
commented on blog

Awesome reader chick gets three entries. Winner will be announced on December 6th. Questions?