Friday, December 19, 2014

#FlashFridayFootage: "A New Planet"

Happy Friday, folks! Hopefully many of you will get a chance to take a little break in the upcoming weeks. (I am using all of my PTO to take two days off so I can go back to Iowa! I think I must be crazy.) In any case, #FFF will be on a little break, but will be back in 2015 for more flashes of SFF for your weekend enjoyment.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Wanna Be A Novelist! (Throwback Thursday)

Okay, I'm not saying that this is going to be a regular thing, but I kinda had fun doing Throwback Thursday last week. So I decided to dig back into my archives for a prose sample. I like to see how far I've come over the past 14 years! Because, yes, this excerpt is from my very first novel that I ever wrote, when I was 13 years old. I don't think I knew the term "infodump" yet...
Richare and his wife, Gracia, lived together not far from where Rialana and Fred lived. Renla, Rialana’s sister, lived by Richare and Gracia. All of them were telepaths, and very nice people besides. Neither Fred nor Gracia were telekinetics, but that wasn’t unusual. Very few telkins (The common word for telekinetics. All of the Touched abilities had shortened names like that, which confused me for a while at first.) lived at Land’s Point. Of the two hundred Touched that lived at Land’s Points, there were 50 telkins, 42 telehealers, 26 telelemens (fire, earth, or ice), 18 telemeteors, 16 teleblocks, 4 telempaths, and 4 teleseers, and the other 40 were telpats only. It was rumored that once teleherins had existed, a twisted Touched ability that gave the power to completely control the bodies of others. Although it was just a rumor, it sent shivers down everyone’s spine to think of what a terrible power that would be.
This is from the second chapter of my first novel (not novel 1, which is actually the third novel I wrote, confusingly), and I think this is actually a product of an edit/partial re-write I did in high school. So I somehow read this at least twice and thought it was okay!

After a brutal writing sample like that, I think I'll play it safe with the photo. Throwing it all the way back to Baby!Nora, who was totes adorbs. This is, appropriately, a December picture. The kitten's name was Russia, and she grew up alongside me for many happy years.

I don't think she was stealing my soul, here...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Virtue of Vice

Sitting down to write a blog post today, I had to blink at my screen and figure out what I wanted to write. Not because I didn’t have anything to say—on the contrary, I feel like I have too much! First, there’s a list of “Blog Post Ideas” on my Todoist for those times that I can’t come up with anything. Second, there’s the fact that I just finished editing Novel 7. Third, there’s finding out, 5 months into my boyfriend’s deployment, that it’s getting extended. Fourth, there’s the holidays coming up. Fifth—well, okay, you get the idea. I have a few things on my mind!

So I’m going to say screw all that and write a totally different post. Just something that I’ve been musing on lately.

We are subjected to a constant bombardment of advice and exhortations regarding our health. Exercise 30 minutes a day! Eat your weight in vegetables every week! Don’t drink! Okay, drink a glass of red wine, but other than that, don’t drink! Don’t slouch! Don’t sit! Don’t sleep too much or too little! And each of us, according to our ways, either ignores this or strives for it or, most likely, a little of both.

But what are we really chasing? A few extra years of life in some distant future? Looking better naked? Perhaps even, somewhat sheepishly, happiness? I don’t know. Somehow it’s all just considered self-evident. You should do this, because it’s good for you. The definition of “good” is left as an exercise for the reader.

Which brings us to me. I’d imagine that I am somewhat of a health professional’s dream. I do not smoke. I do not drink (usually—every couple of months, maybe). I do not consume caffeine. I exercise regularly. I count calories and watch what I eat. I floss and mouthwash every night and use an electric toothbrush twice a day. I take walking breaks during the day at work. I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I rarely wear makeup or use heat on my hair and wash my face twice a day and use anti-wrinkle cream at night.

But at some point, I began to wonder, why? This was brought to a point yesterday when I had a dental checkup and they found two cavities. Not me! I am diligent about my oral hygiene! They smiled and said it could be worse, and I made an appointment to give up my MLK day to fillings. And as I lay in bed last night, trying to fall asleep when I wasn’t particularly tired so that I could ensure I got my 8 hours, I wondered why I bother.

I am not, it must be said, a particularly happy person. Many of the things I listed above I do to help self-treat my depression, but it doesn’t really seem to be working. I don’t particularly want to live a long life, as the idea of 60 vs 63 more years seems small and, in either case, exhausting. Sure I want to be physically fit, but the world doesn’t end if I don’t maintain my 18.5 BMI. Maybe, just maybe, I would be a little happier if I let loose a little. If I stocked my fridge with wine or stayed up until 1 AM or drank my coffee caffeinated.

Maybe. But…I don’t really want to. So for now I’ll keep being my boring self. But because that’s me, not because I’m following someone else’s dictates. I like the way my mouth feels after a good flossing, whether or not I still end up with cavities.

And as much as we all receive life and health advice, so do writers receive writing advice. Constantly. Conflictingly. Write every day! Outline! Don’t outline! Butt in chair! Character worksheets! Discovery writing! You could go crazy trying to follow it all. So don’t! Find the pieces that work for you, but don’t be afraid to mix a little vice into your virtue. Maybe you write only one day a week, but it’s better writing than you’d produce every day. Maybe you make half an outline but pants the rest. At the end of the day, following all of the writing advice isn’t going to make you happy/a perfect writer/published/whatever. So you do you, writers. You do you.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I'm No Poet (Throwback Thursday)

In honor of Throwback Thursday (or #TBT, for you young hip folks out there), I decided to dig into the wasteland that is my “Archived Projects” folder. I unearthed this gem, dating back to a period in my life when I believed that all serious writers should write poetry. Erm, yeah. I don’t even like reading poetry! And “serious writer”—ha, that’s a label I don’t even want anymore (I’ve heard it comes with mandatory elbow patches and a penchant for cigarillos).

In any case, at least it’s good for a chuckle. I present to you the poetry stylings of HighSchool!Nora (not entirely sure, but I think I was 16):


Monotonous tick,
Somniferous tock.
I lay awake listening
To the click of the clock.

Hum of the crickets,
Chirp of the birds.
I lay awake listening
To a song without words.

Creak of the mattress,
Squeak of the sheets.
I lay awake listening
To the night’s restless beats.

And just to ensure the humiliation is total, an accompanying picture of the poet:

Okay, this is probably the least embarrassing photo of me at 16 in existence. I’m easing myself in to this…

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mugs, Mugs, Mugs!

Okay, it felt so good to get my last confession off my chest that I have to go again. Yes, my friends, it is time for me to stand up and say: I LOVE MUGS!

They are beautiful containers designed for hot beverages, what isn't there to love? If you're really feeling fancy, they can even be used to make cakes! They look great on shelves, make great souvenirs, but yet are still so practical. Plus I feel extra writerly when I have a mug on my desk. No, I don't think I'm ashamed of my mug collection one bit.

So I will shout it from the rooftops--or at least YouTube!