Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

“Well hey there, peeping tom,” an amused-sounding voice said.

Startled out of my terror (minimally distracted, anyway) I looked up and realized that I was at the next door neighbor’s second story window. And there was a guy leaning out the window, grinning at me.

And may I say (as a loyal girlfriend intent on getting it on with her current boyfriend)… damn.

He was some sort of Hispanic; dark skin the color of yadda yadda, as they say in those Romeo and Juliet but Nobody Dies movies. He had a plain white T-shirt on, but I was pretty sure there were some muscles under those sleeves. His hair was cut close – really close – but he managed to avoid the “I’ve been scalped” look so popular among skinheads.

I swallowed and said the first words that came into my head.

“Save me please?”

Neighbor Boy gave me one of those “she might be crazy” looks that I get a little more often than I’d prefer.

“Save you from what, exactly?”

“Um… the ground?”

He cocked his head to the side and gave me a flat-out “you’re insane” look.

“I’m serious! Look, I was bored so I climbed up this ladder because it was there, and now I’m very high off the ground. And I don’t want to climb down, because I’d have to do it without looking and knowing my luck I’d put a leg through the gap, knock the entire thing over, and come crashing through your living room.” I paused for a second. “And die.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

YA Highway: Whose Writing Career Would You Have?

The question over at fabulous YA Highway today is: Whose writing career would you like to emulate?

I've read a bunch of these and the general answer is "I'd like to be popular, but not J.K. Rowling."

Okay, well, I'm not afraid to admit that I would love money and fame and if I become the next Stephanie Meyer there will be nobody more happy than me. :) If I could provide for my family and tell my parents they never had to work again, any amount of dealing with the downsides of fame would be worth it.

Maybe one day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Thoughts on Paranormal Romance

Okay, this is a topic that's been coming up a lot recently. There have been already been a ton of great posts like this and this and this , so I'm not going to go over why this trend of psuedo-rapist love interests is a Very Bad Thing.

Instead, I'm going to talk about why I think these books have become so popular.

Paranormal books are (mostly) about escapism, for a lot of people. They whisk you away into magical adventures with magical creatures that you wish you could see and talk to.

Or do you? Most of these books (for instance the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr) involve extremely dangerous creatures who hurl the main characters into life-threatening situations. Often friends or family members die, or at least are put in extreme situations. The main character has to grow up fast and make hard choices.

Do you really truly want to live in that world? Probably not. And yet we gobble up books like Twilight where the main character has her uterus ripped open by someone's teeth.

I think that the romances in paranormal books operate on this same principle. It has to be more extreme than real life. If someone were to hop into our bedroom at night and be like "Oh hai there how ya doin", we would be mightily freaked out. If a guy sexually assaults us, trust me, we will no longer find him attractive. Ever. Real life sexual assault is horrifying and frightening and demeaning.

But in books, this romantic intensity operates on the same principles of all the rape books that were so popular in the 50's and back. Girls like the idea of a boy being absolutely overcome with need for them, to the point where the girl can keep turning him down and he'll come back. In real life this doesn't happen because if we like someone, when they ask us out we go "YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU SIR". There's no chance for a guy to go to extremes chasing us. Books like Twilight and Hush, Hush let us live the fantasy without ever having to be in danger or discomfort.

Teaser Tuesday

From the WIP, now named Getting Some.

June 13th, 5:20 pm

Trying to research (aka reading Cosmo). It’s difficult though with Princess Sparklepoop looking over my shoulder in what is in her opinion a sneaky manner.

It’s not.

June 13th, 5:25 pm

Gave up reading; went onto mybook.com instead. It’s basically a glorified excuse to cause drama, but I like to look at the “In a Relationship with Cooper” on the side of the page. And there’s a little picture of the two of us so everybody can see how hot he is. Cooper doesn’t go to my school, so mybook.com is one of the better ways to make sure everybody knows that in fact I am not a widow.

I clicked through several people trying to get me to join a “Compare People” app. Oh good, an opportunity to give people a reason to hate me! I was sort of tempted to join the “Anonymous Opinions” app, but decided that leaving “You ruin people’s lives” on Mia’s page was probably not very best friendly.

Then again, neither was ruining my life in front of the entire cafeteria. Still, you win some you lose some. Although I seemed to lose more.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Author Appreciation Week:K.A.A. Applegate


Okay, so I may have not done #3 yesterday. I was busy with... school? And life? Anyway. I'm gonna try to do TWO today to make up for it, but don't hold me to it. Now, on to the author!

K.A.A. Applegate is the creator of what is still one of my favorite series of all time: Animorphs. To me, this work embodies what good young adult is all about: it's exciting, has characters you fall in love with, and it doesn't pull any punches. The books were short and I think technically shelved in middle grade, but I don't think a lot of parents would want their children reading these books if they knew the content. Aliens that crept into your ear and took over your mind, constant war with humans and aliens dying and limbs being torn off, massive internal struggles between good and evil. Not to mention kids sneaking out all the time.

Not your average young adult book. But I absolutely could not get enough of them. I loved the moral battles they had to go through, and the way they never seemed more than human. I loved the creation of the whole world of aliens (and how they weren't just humans with bumps on their foreheads).

Animorphs wasn't the only thing K.A.A. Applegate wrote, though. She also wrote a lot of teen books during the 80s, all of which I also dug up at used bookstores. And loved. The most well known of these is probably the Making Out series, which was awesome. I have to admit, when I was about to go to college, I read the ones where the characters go to college over and over again. (Although at the end I still wasn't quite sure what was happening with Nina and Ben...)

Thank you, K.A.A. Applegate for giving me some of my most beloved books and characters. Although for some reason Blogger won't let me do the < thingies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Author Appreciation Week: Louise Rennison

My author appreciation today is an author that I actually did find when I was legit in my teens. And these books... wow. I can't really tell you how much they affected me (which sounds funny since they're a completely comedy series).

Louise Rennison and the Georgia Nicolson books. Wow. These books are so side-splittingly funny that I cannot help but laugh out loud every single time I read them. In high school, my two best friends and I would sit around my kitchen table and take turns reading them out loud, even though we'd all read them before. The language in the book became part of our language (and still is, even though we were about 14 when we read the books for the first time). We tried out all the british words and kept the ones that didn't make us sound like huge posers (mostly). I go to Scotland every year, so I would snag up the books early and bring them home in all their shiny hardcover glory. On the occasion the release date wasn't timed right, my dad would always go to some lengths to get it from amazon.co.uk. Guess he knew how much I loved them.

These books really influenced my idea of good comedy, and how to make it. They're real life, but then they go that little bit over the edge that makes them hilarious. Which is basically my model for good comedy, and good novels in fact: real life, but more.

And, though this is really neither here nor there, the Fabbity Fab Fab Journal is the place where I first wrote down, "My boyfriend just said he loved me. Whaaaaaaaaaat?!"

Bison Horn dance to you, Louise Rennison!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday time! This is from the (still, yes) as-of-yet untitled WIP

Freezy’s, the ice cream store, was packed when we got in. Since I was holding Cooper’s hand I looked around hoping to see someone I knew, but no luck. We've been going out for almost a year, but it's never too late to lord your good fortune over other people and reduce your own karma to zilch.

We hung out there for awhile; I got fat and Cooper got a health shake. Bleh. He says they’re good; I say they’re rabbit food. Then again, this may be the reason that he is 170 pounds of pant-worthy muscle and I’m 155 pounds of barely-mobile flab.

Then we got back in the car and headed toward my house. Neither of us turned on the radio. The silence got really thick; it almost obscured the gigantic pink elephant dancing in the backseat. I shifted in my seat; this car ride was about as comfortable as when Dumbo went on his acid trip.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Author Appreciation Week: Tamora Pierce

This week is Author Appreciation week! Hosted by Heidi King, who has a book coming out that I'm vair vair excited to read.

The really difficult part of this was figuring out which author I wanted to talk about first, but when I got down to heavy thinking (management homework? what management homework?) I realized that the first one I thanked could only be one person: Tamora Pierce.

I think pretty much any girl even somewhat into fantasy who's between the ages of 13 and 25 will recognize this name and start squeeing immediately. Tamora Pierce wrote incredible quartets set in the fantasy kingdom of Tortall. Her best known books are probably the Alanna series and the Daine series, and Kel is pretty well known too.

I flat out adored these books. These are the kinds of books that the covers are falling off of because they've been read so many times. They featured strong female heroines who still had believable flaws and lovable personalities. There were some pretty frightening bad guys (some who even rose from the grave with the help of the good guys), and guys I fell completely in love with (hello Shang master and GEORGE THE THIEF. YES.).

These books dealt with a lot of complex issues - sex, teacher/student relationships, poverty, the idea of the world needing teamwork more than it needs lone heroes. Nothing was simple, and nothing was preachy.

I honestly feel like these books changed me a little. Not in any concrete way that I can point to, but their presence affected my life and my dreams as a kid.

So thank you, Tamora Pierce, for writing these books. I'm seriously looking forward to the Numair series!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Race and Writing

Okay, I've tried to avoid this topic for as long as possible, but the fact is that there isn't anything to be gained by avoiding it. (There are possibly many people to offend, but... I'll just hope that this is taken in the spirit it's meant.) Everybody knows not to judge by skin color (if they don't they're a hopeless case and I vote for the "eject" button), so I'm going to talk instead about something racially oriented that bothers me.

I feel like a lot of so-called "progress" is really holding us back. For instance, the African American Interest section in all bookstores. Basically what that says is, "If you're black this is where you belong, because you won't be interested in anything that's not about black people, written by black people." It's so limiting. What's next - bookstores divided not into science fiction, romance, and non-fiction, but instead into Chinese, Korean, and Japanese?

I truly believe that the color of your skin means nothing. But I don't want to act like culture is meaningless - If you send an African American from New York and a white person from Louisiana to Africa, who are they going to have more in common with? The fellow American, of course. Backgrounds and cultural norms do mean something, but not the color of our skin.

And those backgrounds and cultures... what do they mean if we can't learn from each other? If this wall of "yours" and "mine" is up, how will anybody understand each other? You can claim that these segregations are to try to cater to the unique needs of African Americans, but that makes about as much sense as a line of books for "Nordic Descent". I personally have on quite a few occasions bought books targeted for African Americans, and let me tell you - people give you funny looks, black or white. I don't feel like I should have to explain myself for enjoying the work of an African American author. Whether intentional or not, these divisions throw up more barriers that need to be torn down.

If we're going to make divides, it would make more sense to me if books were split up in "lower socio-economic class", "middle socio-economic class", etc. After all, a black person from the Bronx is going to have a hell of a lot more in common with a white person from Harlem than with a black person from Georgetown, VA.

Pride in your culture is great, but when it comes down to it: it's not where you're from, it's where you're going.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

This is from my newest WIP. I meant to write something else, but this plot bunny came along last night and ATE MY MIND. It refuses to stop.


Seriously, what the hell just happened? One minute I was in math texting Cooper (god forbid I pay attention, algebra might eat my mind) and then the next I got a little beep… and a message that said “U sure ur ready?”

WHAT. IS. THAT. I’ll tell you what it isn’t – It isn’t a roaring primal scream of triumph echoing over the hilltops. If the boy who must not be named had any decency at all, he would hop in his car, zoom over here going at least 40 over the speed limit, and carry me out in his arms because he had to take me right then and there.

But no. No no. Instead, I get the heartless text OF THE CENTURY. What is wrong with him?!

Got to go – bell’s about to ring. Wouldn’t want to be late; the universe might want to give me a pop quiz or anvil to the head or something.

September 10th, 4:00 pm

It was the pop quiz. Screw you geography, I know how to use Google Maps. Nice to know that Wile E. Coyote will still be getting his comeuppance, though.