Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye, Blogust

blogust banner

Today is the last day of Blogust, which was hosted by Beyond Elsewhere and The Chum Buckett. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person still participating in this challenge, but that's okay. It taught me a lot. For one, no matter how many posts you schedule in advance, they start to run out all too quickly. Also, when I'm in the middle of a work in progress, as I am right now, I think there will have to be a moratorium on blog posts. One would think there'd be enough hours in a day to work on a manuscript and write short blog posts, but apparently not.

One good result of Blogust was that the topics we were given really gave me a lot to think about and helped me focus on what I want and appreciate what I have right now. Although I have several other blogs, I haven't blogged about my personal life in years--I take care to only mention it superficially, if at all, on my other sites. Honestly, opening up about my life here was uncomfortable and a little nerve-wracking; but now that the month's over, I think I realized some important things due to those posts.

I'm not sure I've really settled on a "voice" for this blog yet, which was the goal I originally had for Blogust, but the event has given the blog a great start. So thank you, Blogust!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bad Pinterest Ideas

This is one of those craft projects one runs across on Pinterest. It's supposed to be an alternative to carving pumpkins for Halloween--just stretch a stocking over your pumpkins instead!

First of all, how lazy do you have to be not to carve pumpkins for Halloween? I don't carve pumpkins for Halloween, admittedly, but that's because I hate Halloween. I try to deny it even exists. Hallo-what? But even if you were that lazy, and didn't hate Halloween, why not just put out uncarved pumpkins? Or draw a face on the pumpkin with a magic marker? It would still look better than this, which reminds me of that leg lamp from A Christmas Story. I can just imagine some tiny trick-or-treator (-treater?) seeing that on someone's front porch and going, "Mommy, why did that lady put a stocking on top of her pumpkin?" Why indeed, little kid.

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012


interview lolcat

Today I decided to interview my brother! A little background: my brother--let's call him Apollo Drake--and I are 13 years apart. He is still a teenager and this will be the first year he can vote. He lives in his bedroom and likes to play video games and watches The Office on a loop. I thought it would fun to annoy interview him, as he is usually quite laconic (where on earth could he have gotten that from?).

Question 1: What is your favorite animal?
Apollo: Dogs, I guess.
Ellis: What kind of dog?
Apollo: I don't know, a schnauzer.
Ellis: Why schnauzers?
Apollo: Because we own one.

Question 2: Do you think female gamers are bullied because they're girls?
Apollo: I don't think they're bullied, I think they're sexually harassed.
Ellis: Hm. Why do you think they're harassed?
Apollo: Because they're a minority.
Ellis: How do the girls react to this?
Apollo: Usually they just ignore it.

Question 3: If you could go anywhere for 24 hours, where would you go?
Apollo: Mmmmm, Venice.
Ellis: Venice! Why Venice?
Apollo: So I could ride on a gondola.
Ellis: What are you going to do for the other 22 hours?
Apollo: Just walk around I guess.

Question 4: Have you ever experienced deja-vu?
Apollo: Yes. I don't really remember any details.

Question 5: What's your favorite movie?
Apollo: The Breakfast Club
Ellis: Who's your favorite character?
Apollo: The criminal guy.

Question 6: Do you think time travel is possible?
Apollo: I think it's possible to go backward in time, but not forward.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge

monks of the cloister

A fun project today for Blogust: take a look at this picture, write a short story about it, and I will post your responses in September! You can leave your stories in the comments or, if you'd rather, e-mail them to me.

Most importantly, have fun. I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Fun fact: a literary description (i.e., poem or short story) of a work of art is called ekphrasis.

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Climb Every Mountain

following dreams

Yes, I'm scared to follow my dreams. Who isn't? Nothing's worse than a dream that dies in its pursuit, lying crushed on the ground like a bird that flew straight into a window.

Just because I'm scared to follow them, though, doesn't mean I don't. I think the opportunities to do the things you've always wanted to do come along--maybe not in the time frame and way that you want or imagine they will, but eventually they do. A professor of mine once told me, "If you really want to go to Europe, you'll get the chance," and he was right. In such cases it would be foolish not to go for it.

However, sometimes you (meaning I) get impatient and want to FORCE things to happen. This never works out and tends to make you and everyone around you miserable.

So while I am scared to follow my dreams, I think I'm more frightened that I'll lose faith they'll come true and stop dreaming.

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012


twitter bird

I have accounts on several social media sites, but the only one I use with any regularity is Twitter. One of the people I follow--or "tweeps," as they're called, or "twitterati" when I'm feeling punchy--once referred to Twitter a giant cocktail party, and I think that's a very apt description. Like any social group, you tend to gravitate towards people with similar interests, and sometimes you're more closely tied to another than you might think.

Twitter isn't for everyone, I'm ready to admit--it tends to attract people who like words and writing. There are tons of authors, journalists, and bloggers on twitter. You wouldn't think you could get a lot said in 180 characters, but you actually can. And if you can't, trying to fit what you have to say into that space is a fun challenge.

I really like Twitter because it's simple. You can tweet anything you want within the character limit, follow anyone you want, unfollow anyone, and drop in or out of the conversation at any time.

I also love following events on Twitter, like award shows or breaking news. You really do get the news before anyone else on Twitter, and you experience it with everyone else.

Twitter is a dream method of communication, in my opinion. And that's why I'm on there so much!

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fate and Destiny

The three Nornir, or Fates. Found in Fredrik Sander's 1893 edition of the Poetic Edda.

A man's character is his fate.

Do you believe in fate? I definitely do. We all have things happen to us that are beyond our control--the circumstances of our births being the most obvious. But our reactions to those events, that is our destiny.

The thing is, people are going to react a certain way based on their personalities. That's just a fact. Yes, you can achieve a certain kind of self-awareness, but if you do, do you think you can escape fate? If you've read even one Greek tragedy you know the answer to that question.

Fate and questions of free will and destiny provide a rich fodder for stories. Although we can make our own choices, once those choices are made, we can't go back from them; and who knows but that there wasn't really any other choice for us to make? No matter who we are or what we decide, it all leads us to the same fate.

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Childhood Trauma-Or, Sports

fantasy sports

Question: what is something you're exceptionally bad at?

I would have say any and all team sports. When I was in middle school, PE class was the bane of my life. Chasing a ball around just doesn't interest me. Not to mention the fact that I'm not very flexible or strong, and my coordination is somewhat questionable, and I am just not built for playing sports. I also HATE having things fly at my face, so things like baseball? No.

By far my least favorite sport to play, though, is volley ball. I'm so bad at it I literally got a concussion once. I was attempting to serve the ball, fell backward, and knocked my head against the concrete floor. I have no idea where the ball the went. That's bad, right?

I do like some sports--that I can do on my own. I love hiking, skiing, even golf. But team sports? For the safety of myself and everyone around me, I think not.

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sexy Nightwear

pink panther nightgown

Today for Blogust, we're asked what the oldest piece of clothing we still wear is. I have to confess I have a lot of old clothes. I still own t-shirts from middle school, no joke. But by far my oldest pieces of clothing are my nightgowns. This Pink Panther nighty (my parents really like the Pink Panther, I don't know why), for sure dates back to the '80s. I don't know how far back, but it's pretty old. I have another one with a bear on it that says "Give Me a Bear Hug" that I definitely remember wearing in grade school. And I still fit into both of them just fine and wear them all the time! Sad, no?

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012



Today's topic for Blogust is, do you think family is defined by blood or action?

I would have to say both.

No matter what, you're tied to your biological family through genetics, and that's a powerful tie that can't be denied or changed. Not just physical traits, but habits, diseases, and memories can be imbedded in blood and bone. No matter how your parents behave after you're born, you're still connected to them and your siblings physically, if not emotionally. And no one can deny there's a biological and emotional imperative to create and nurture that connection in most people.

But people also create families, all the time, through emotional bonds. My grandparents emigrated to the US, and I have never met any of their relatives who lived in Germany. However, they created another family in the US through their friends and fellow immigrants who are my "aunts" and "uncles," and who served as my extended family.

Personally, I think people need both. Family is family--you kind of have to put up with each other, and that can be a wonderful and an awful thing. But having the type of family that's forged because you choose to associate and not because you have to is important, too.

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Friends

Keep your eyes on the road, Sally!

Today's Blogust topic is friendship and what it means to us. But I've been thinking about romantic comedies lately and would like to take the question in another direction--do you think men and women can be friends?

One of the most popular romantic comedies of all time is When Harry Met Sally, where Harry posits that men and women can't be friends. Then he and Sally become friends (after several missteps), and then they sleep together, and worry that their friendship is ruined.

when harry met sally screen shot

I first saw When Harry Met Sally when I was about twelve. A few days later, my Sunday School teacher was giving me a ride somewhere--I forget where, or why--and we stopped at her friend's house on the way to pick something up. As we were driving away she felt the need to tell me about this guy and that he was her best friend.

"Men and women can't be friends," I quoted automatically, since I had just seen When Harry Met Sally.

"That is NOT true. That can't be true," she said, and went into a rant about how men and women could, in fact, be just friends. I thought her response was a bit overly vehement, considering it's just a stupid movie quote (and who hasn't seen that movie?) and what the heck would a twelve-year-old know about men and women anyway; but I let her go on. When she dropped me off, she drove away with a severe frowny face.

Three months later, they were getting married.

I tell this story not to illustrate the fact that men and women can't be friends--and I don't think that's the point of When Harry Met Sally, either--but because to my impressionable tween self it underscored the idea that one should be friends with the person they marry.

At the same time, though, it definitely doesn't disprove what Harry was saying, either. If a man and woman are friends, there's always the possibility, even if it's only perceived by society, that The Sex Issue might pop up. I always thought it was a bit unrealistic in Harry Potter that Hermione and Harry were friends and the thought of getting together never once crossed their hormonal teenage minds.

Another part of me thinks the whole "men and women can't be friends," thing has more to do with power than sex, an attitude that women are meant to be claimed rather than treated with respect or as equals (especially when it comes to the character of Harry from When Harry Met Sally).

So let me ask you: do you think men and women can be friends?

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Monday, August 20, 2012



Today's topic for Blogust is comfort food. Since we already had a post devoted to that, however (see Comfort Food Haiku), I decided to change it up a little and talk about my favorite drinks.

I love mixing cocktails. It makes me feel a bit like I'm in a Hogwarts potions class. You measure and stir and shake, and hopefully by the end you have a delicious, magical drink!

There are millions of cocktails, and some are very complex. Ignore those; you can have a professional bartender make them for you. A true classic cocktail is simple and has between three and four ingredients. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Martini--I take my martinis old skool style, basically equal parts gin and dry vermouth. Most martinis these days are really dry, like 2 drops of vermouth in the glass. From my perspective, why not just drink straight gin? Blech. The great thing about martinis are that they're like PB&J sandwiches: there are two ingredients, you stir them together with ice, strain, and drink. You can't screw this one up.
  • Sours--You can turn any alcohol base into a sour. And I mean ANY--I've done absinthe sours, amaretto sours, sours with flavored liquor; you're only limited by your bar stock. Shake together 1 1/2 ounces of the base alcohol, 1 oz simple syrup (mix 1 part sugar to 1 part warm water until the sugar is dissolved), and 3/4 oz lemon juice with 3-4 ice cubes. You can also add egg white if you want, but it's a pain in the ass. If you pour the sour on top of ice and add club soda, it's a fizz.
  • Sidecar--Sidecars are AMAZING. These are my absolute favorite cocktails. Once again, I prefer the old skool proportions: 2 parts brandy or cognac, 1 part triple-sec (like Cointreau, although if you're using cognac you should go for broke and use Grand Marnier while you're at it), 1 part lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Drink and feel like a boss.
  • Toddies--Hot toddies were probably the first cocktails I made, and I love them! My favorite toddy recipe comes from Epicurious: 2 tbsps brandy (the recipe calls for bourbon, but I use brandy because it's my fave), 1 tbsp honey, and 2 tsps lemon juice. Mix with boiling water, drink, and feel 100% better.

What are some of your favorite drinks?

This post is part of Blogust, a meme where we post every day in August. For more information, topics, or to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sock Girl

blogust button

Today for blogust, our task is to post stream-of-consciousness writing. Here is a little flash fiction I wrote, thanks to Write or Die:

He was handsome. Unlike many people she'd seen on TV, who looked good in only two dimensions, he looked good in all dimensions; better, even. On the screen he seemed too pretty; in person his flaws made him seem nearly approachable.

But not enough for her. Her heart fluttered as he approached, smirking, surrounded by people asking for his autograph. He mostly ignored them. She took a deep breath, dreading the moment when she had to make him notice her. If he did, would he see that she wanted a piece of him, just like everyone else? Or, even more humiliating, would he stare at her blankly like a non-entity, giving her the same consideration he'd give an ATM?

She stepped in front of him before his entourage could block her. "Hello, sir, I'm with the studio. If you could please come this way."

She turned as soon as she knew he'd heard her and led the way into the lot, her uncomfortable heels clicking against the stone pavement. Did she dream of moments like this when she came to LA, wondering if she'd meet her idols? Undoubtedly. But faced with the reality was much more intimidating than she'd expected--and she'd expected it to be intimidating.

She showed him around the lot, pointing out the catering table, his dressing room, and the green room. "Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything," she concluded, turning to look at him for the second and probably last time. He was less than six inches away, but she was careful not to invade his personal space.

"What did you say your name was again?" he asked. He was definitely LOOKING at her, and not in the way one looks at an ATM.

His voice threw her a bit. She knew his accent was different than on TV--he was British but played American roles--and was expecting it. But it was still weird to heard to hear a completely different voice from the one she was used to associating with him. She relaxed slightly.

"Evans. I'm the assistant director."

"It's nice to meet you." Smirk.

Aha, the smirk--he knew she was interested in him, then. She supposed she had been painfully obvious about it.

"Nice to meet you, as well." They shook hands. Evans couldn't stop herself from adding, "I'm such a fan of your work."

"That's always nice to hear."

A member of the entourage--blonde, probably ten years younger than Evans--trotted up and attached herself to the actor. Evans recalled herself and her place. She was the low woman on the totem pole, very low, and of no interest to someone like the actor in front of her.

"There's a cake in the green room, just like you asked," the blonde said breathlessly.

"Excuse me," Evans said, and scampered away as fast as she could, her heart pounding.

Later that night, Evans sat alone in her 200-square-foot studio apartment, eating ice cream. She wondered if she'd ever have the balls to reach for something she wanted. Meeting a man as handsome as the actor today and not making a move only confirmed to her that she would be alone forever. She'd just keep dating losers who didn't scare--or rock--her socks off for the rest of her life. Not that she dated that much anyway.

Just then, her cell phone rang. It wasn't a number she recognized, but she often got emergency calls for her job. "Hello?"

"Hello, is this Evans?" a very British voice said on the other end. "This is ---. I need something."

She sat back. He was much easier to deal with when she didn't have to see him. "Sorry, my offer was limited to your appearance on our show. What was it you needed?"

"Well, I need fashion advice. Grey socks or blue?"

She was starting to feel like she was Claire Danes in Shop Girl. "Sorry, I'm not an expert on men's fashion. But I doubt anyone will be looking at your socks."

"Ah. Thank you for your advice. Cheers." He hung up.

How odd, Evans thought. Yes, it was very Shop Girl; but then Claire Danes only had Steve Martin and Jason Schwartzman to chose from. And she test drove both of them first. Evans stared at the phone for several long seconds, then called the last number. His voice answered, sounding confused.

"Where are you?" she asked. "I might have to see those socks for myself."

This post is part of blogust. For more information, topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012


You're a lizard, Harry.

A few things I miss:
  • Harry Potter release parties.
  • Not having to worry about car payments, loan payments, etc.
  • The brioche-chocolate muffins I used to make for breakfast (recipe is in storage).
  • Sunday brunch with the entire family at my grandparents' house.
What are some things you miss?

This post is part of Blogust, a challenge to post every day this August. For more information, post topics, or to sign up, see Beyond Elsewhere.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ear Bugs

Three songs that inspire me or lift my mood:

  • "It's Coming Up" by Paul McCartney--I actually think of this as my theme song. This is going to sound totally dorky, but I tend to think of myself as a flower--I need lots of sun and water, and if I'm tired I get all droopy. This song always makes me feel optimistic.
  • "Tequila Sunrise" by The Eagles--I am a huge Eagles fan, and this is one of my favorite songs of all time. I love how it evokes a mood and tells a story.
  • "Even if it Breaks Your Heart" by Will Hoge--This is my current ear bug. I love the message of this song and the melody is perfect.
So now that it's clear I listen to a lot of classic rock, what are some of your most inspirational songs?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dream List To-Dos

Tome Reader

If money were no object, I would:

  1. Pay off my student loans.
  2. Visit Edinburgh, Scotland.
  3. Start a scholarship for women in liberal arts.
  4. Live off Veuve Clicquot.
  5. Open a bookstore.

What sort of things would you do?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Miss Otis Regrets

iz sorry

There are people who say, "I don't want to live with any regrets." Personally, I think anyone who doesn't regret anything is either a major asshole or a shut-in. Everyone makes mistakes; everyone is occasionally selfish or reacts out of fear or anger. Not regretting your mistakes simply means you don't learn from them.

I think my biggest regrets have to do with not taking advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves. When I was a senior in high school, I was accepted into one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, but I let other people bully me into staying at home and going to our local university. Now that I'm older, I realize the opportunities I would have had with a degree from a college like that, and I get very upset with myself for not going for it. I don't blame the people who discouraged me--it's totally my fault for not following my dream, because going to that college WAS my dream at the time.

I really think the decision to not go to my dream college started a domino effect in my life. I made a lot of choices that I wouldn't have otherwise because of it, many of them not all that great.

On the other hand, I'm glad that's my only major regret in life so far.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Promo: TWEET THE POLICE now available!

tweet the police cover

Exciting news: my new short mystery, Tweet the Police is now available for purchase! You can currently get it at:

It will be available at iBooks and Barnes & Noble online storefronts in a few days, and I will update my Books page when I have those links (note you can purchase formats for Nook, iPad, Kobo, Sony, and Kindle at Smashwords right now).

What is Tweet the Police about?

Story summary: Rick thought being a sheriff's deputy in the small New Mexico town of Ultima would be a quiet job--but that was before he met Mrs. Pendergast, the local busybody who fancies herself an amateur sleuth.

When Mrs. P sees a tweet asking for help on her new smartphone, she's determined to find out if the "tweep" is okay; and it's all Rick and her granddaughter, Sylvie, can do to keep up with her!

I got the idea for this story when I caught a joke by Jimmy Kimmel one night that someone had "tweeted the police." I thought "Tweet the Police" would be a great title for a story. And being a member of the Twitterati myself, I couldn't help but think about how tweeting the police would work in real life.

Law enforcement using social media to catch criminals isn't that unusual. Several people have been arrested after bragging about their crimes on FaceBook (which should definitely go into the Dumb Criminals file), and a city not far from where I live actually has a police team dedicated to scanning social media sites. Of course, solving the mystery in Tweet the Police isn't as straight-forward as looking up someone's status update.

The heart of the story, though, is the characters, especially Mrs. Pendergast. Mrs. P is a retiree who's still learning new things and following her passions. She deserves a lot more respect than she gets from the sheriff's office, which is something they find out during the course of the story.

I hope you all enjoy reading Tweet the Police as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Eat Pray Love Moment

Three years ago, I was 28 years old, and I thought I knew where I was going with my life--I was going to get my Ph.D. and be professor. Although, to be fair, I had my doubts even then about this plan, I was nevertheless sticking to it. Because staying in school is easier than getting a job? Possibly.

Then I actually taught, and found some other jobs, and I realized a few things: one, I do not have the patience for teaching. I realize the challenges I face in the classroom are the same ones other teachers face, but I'm just not equipped to deal with those challenges. Instead of getting better at handling them, I get worse. And two, art history didn't really interest me the way it used to. Not that it was ever my passion, mind--that was reading and books. But I did like to learn about it. Nowadays putting more art history stuff in my brain feels like a major effort.

Essentially, because I didn't listen to that little inner voice that was telling me I needed to do some major rethinking, I had a mini-breakdown and completely checked out of school and work. Yes, I went a little Elizabeth Gilbert, except I didn't get travel or do anything fun.

Now, physically and financially I'm in almost the exact same place, but emotionally and directionally I'm a little lost.

Have you ever had to change careers or goals, and how did you deal with it?

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ode to Jake 2.0 and Chuck

My favorite TV show of all time is Jake 2.0. It lasted one season on the CW, and is about a tech support geek who's accidentally injected with nano technology that makes him super-fast, -strong, etc. It stars a young Christopher Gorham, and he is SO CUTE. I love this show so much. Sadly, it's not even on DVD, it's so obscure. Sometimes Syfy will play mini-marathons of it in the afternoon.


Another TV show I love love love love love is Chuck. Maybe not as much as Jake 2.0, because it doesn't have Christopher Gorham in it, but it is my anti-drug. I AM SERIOUS, it's my anti-drug. It's also about tech geek who works at a Best Buy-type store, and visually downloads "the Intersect," which gives him ALL THE INFORMATION. Then spies have to drag him along with them on missions.

So clearly, I have a think for computer geeks. What's you favorite TV show?

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why I Love Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre cover

My favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Brontë had me from practically the first sentence of this novel. I love Jane because she always remains true to herself, even when it forces her to make decisions that most people would find impossible to make. I don't think I could be as strong as Jane Eyre if I found myself in some of the situations she found herself in; but because she's willing to take chances, eventually she realizes her dreams.

If I was going to ask Jane Eyre anything, it would be, did you ever completely lose hope?

What's your favorite novel?

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

7 Facts About Ellis Drake

iz sekret
  1. My name is not Ellis Drake.
  2. All the things in my first short story, Hanged to Death, actually happened (except for the murder, of course).
  3. I don't know how to swim.
  4. My dream is to have a pet octopus. THIS IS MY DREAM.
  5. For some reason, I can still remember all of my student i.d. numbers and the license plate of my first car.
  6. I go to the library so much I'm on a first-name basis with the security guards.
  7. According to my grandma, when I was little I could count in Russian, German, Polish, and Spanish (and English, of course).
This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Promo: HANGED TO DEATH free for a limited time!

Hanged to Death cover

In anticipation of the release of Tweet the Police, I'm offering Hanged to Death free for a limited time. This edition contains a small teaser of Tweet the Police at the end.

Where to download:
Smashwords (Nook and Kindle editions also available here)

Invisible Me

invisible text message break-up

If I could have any superpower, I would love to be able to turn invisible. Just think of it--I could go anywhere! I could do anything! Airport security: bam. Living in a museum like those kids from The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: easy. I could explore on a whim.

According to The A-Z Files, this question about superpower tends to boil down to four powers: flying, invisibility, teleportation, and time travel. The personalities of people who pick invisibility are:
You're a generous team player, a solid rock and the foundation for any successful collaborative endeavor. You're always humble about your contributions, and your broad and deep empathy drives you to put others before yourself. You enjoy a quiet moment to yourself after a job well done.
Perhaps not coincidentally considering our culture, the only comic book characters with the power to turn invisible are women.

Don't know what your superpower would be? Take this quiz!

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

iPod Shuffle

Seduction of Claude Debussy by The Art of Noise cover

Top ten results of a random iTunes shuffle:
  1. "Don't Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)" by Shania Twain--Ah, Shania Twain. I think I summed up my feelings on this one when I told my friend, "She's pretty good if you don't mind shallow."
  2. "Surprise Hotel" by Fool's Gold--This was a free weekly download on iTunes. /end why I have it on my iTunes
  3. "Always" by Panic! At the Disco--I saw this CD at my library and was like, "w00t, free CD." Panic! At the Disco is okay. My brother thinks they're an an emo band (they kind of are).
  4. "Make You Feel My Love" by Maria Muldaur--Muldaur made an entire album of Bob Dylan covers. It's pretty good if Dylan is a little too up-tempo for you. Slow that song down, buddy, I was almost staying awake.
  5. "San Francisco Bay Blues" by Eric Clapton--It's Eric Clapton. /end why I have it on my iTunes
  6. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" by Eddie Izzard--Uhg, I actually HATE this song. Or not the song, really, just the way Eddie Izzard sings it. It's on the Across the Universe soundtrack. I would delete it, but having incomplete soundtracks on my iTunes makes me twitchy.
  7. "Pick Somebody Up" by Rick Midon--Pretty sure this was another free download.
  8. "Rapt: In the Evening Air" by The Art of Noise--This is part of an album I heard about on Twitter, The Seduction of Claude Debussy. The Art of Noise used Debussy's ideas of music evoking all the senses and blended Debussy's compositions with jazz, hip-hop, electronica, opera, narration, etc. I like this track especially because of the line, "It will remind you of a line from Baudelaire: sound and perfume swirling in the evening air."
  9. "Paradise (Not for Me)" by Madonna--I like Madonna. She's ballsy.
  10. "Brokedown Palace" by The Grateful Dead--I was totally obsessed with The Grateful Dead when I was in high school, but I haven't listened to this song in forever! I'm suddenly struck with the desire to sit outside and do absolutely nothing.
Any of these on your iTunes?

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Guilty Pleasure

william & kate
It looks so real!

Confession: I am a total sucker for cheesy Cinderella-type movies. You know that Lifetime movie about about Prince William and Kate Middleton, William & Kate, that aired almost two years ago? I totally watched that at least seven times. And then a few months later I rented the DVD so I could watch it some more. Why? Why would I do that to myself? It was such a stupid movie.

Another really good Cinderella movie (by which I mean totally cheesy yet fun) is Another Cinderella Story--such an original title!--starring Selena Gomez. Yes, I am fifteen years old. On the inside. Gomez also starred in a not-quite-as-good cheesy movie called Monte Carlo, where she had an evil doppelganger. I really like Selena Gomez; I think I might become a fan on FaceBook.

Of course, we can't forget The Prince & Me, starring Julia What's-Her-Face, which I may or may not have watched three too many times (and yes, I did watch the sequel. As if I wouldn't); A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff, and all those Princess Diaries movies.

There are also some take-offs on the Cinderella theme that don't strictly follow the rules of the fairy tale, but feel like they do because they are so corny. Such as What a Girl Wants (Colin Firth plays the British dad... you know that one) and Chasing Liberty (President's daughter goes to Prague, Matthew Goode is adorable).

What makes me feel guilty about watching these movies is that I know while I'm watching them that they're totally teenager-y (is that a word? It is now) and stupid. But that's also why I like them! It's like when I'm watching a stupid movie, I can stop worrying about all the stupid problems in my own life, at least temporarily. Then, when it's over, I'm like, "Dreams really do come truuuuuuuuue." I am such a cheeseball sometimes.

What are your favorite cheesy movies?

This post is part of Blogust. To find out more information, see post topics, or sign up, go to Beyond Elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dream Job

Wanted: employment

Desired elements of employment:
  • Travel
  • Making lots of money
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving
  • Wearing awesome clothes
  • Setting my own hours and schedule
My skills include:
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Finding cute cat videos on the internet
  • Reading digital clocks
  • Mixing cocktails
  • Ability to order food in French, German, Italian, and English. Ability to curse in French and English.
Please put inquiries or suggestions in the comments. :)

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Favorite Summer Memories

I wish I could say my favorite summer memories were from the year my parents forced me to go to a resort that, weirdly, employed professional ballroom dancers, and I fell in love with the bad-boy dance instructor, then impressed my parents at the end of the month with a super-special ballroom routine. Or... it was the summer after I'd just graduated high school, and I spent it driving around in a car with my buds, drag racing Harrison Ford, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and chasing an elusive blonde. Memories!

Honestly, nothing has ever happened to me (yet) during the summer. I spent most of my childhood summers reading and maybe taking one or two art classes. Not that that wasn't great! It just doesn't make for a very exciting story. I think my best summer reading was when I found my mom's huge stack of Glenna Finley and Emilie Loring romances (I counted once--there were 108) and burned my way through them. Spoiler alert: they all had the same plot.

Oh, and one summer when I was fourteen I was in a production of Grease.

Off-topic question: what's your favorite movie about summer?

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, post topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Comfort Food Haiku

Image credit: "Miso" by emurray

My favorite comfort meal
Whenever I finish,
filled with contentment.

garlicky bread crumbs spaghetti
Image credit: "Garlicy Bread Crumbs Spaghetti" by familyfriendsandfood

Carb lover
with cheese and butter
twirling forkfuls and tomato sauce.

This post is part of Blogust. For more information, a list of topics, and to sign up, visit Beyond Elsewhere.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012


Florence dome

Travel can be scary and stressful. The last time I flew, I declared I never wanted to be in sight of an airport ever again. I do not enjoy being trapped on a plane or in a car for hours on end, or having to sleep in strange places and live out of a suitcase.

But traveling can also be inspirational. Going to different places and learning about them first-hand is my biggest source of inspiration. In one of my current works in progress, my heroine goes to Rome and Florence, and through her I re-experienced some of my favorite places in Italy.

The thing is, I would never be able to write a story like that if I hadn't been there. I'm horrible at translating descriptions into a visual reality (one of the reasons why I dislike long descriptions in books), so if I tried to write about Florence based on guidebook descriptions, it wouldn't make any sense. But I also wouldn't be interested in writing about Florence if I hadn't been there--I wouldn't have anything to connect it to in my mind that would make me think, "This setting would be perfect for a story!"

Whether it's horrible or fun, travel is an experience. Going to other places makes me think, "What would would it be like to live here?" and have some first-hand experience to help answer that question. The rest is inspiration.

This post is part of Blogust. Check out Beyond Elsewhere for topics, information, and to sign up.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Top 5 Twitter Pet Peeves

tweets about the olympics

Pet peeves! There are so many, how can I choose just five? I think I'll limit this list to Twitter pet peeves, just to give it some focus. I don't spend a lot of time on FaceBook, but I do on Twitter (according to RescueTime, I spend 6 1/2 hours a day on the computer, and nearly 4 of that is on TweetDeck), and I've gotten to the point where I'm pretty precise about what's going to make me annoyed enough to unfollow someone.

  1. Saying "lol" all the time. Like ALL THE TIME, multiple times per tweet. "That was so funny, lol. lol you guys should have seen it." "lol Look at the sunset." "Just walked into a wall and broke my nose, lol." I am not loling at your lols; stop doing that!
  2. People who believe their tweets are so important they can't carry on a conversation with you without making sure everyone else can see their responses. They usually do this by RTing your tweet, then putting their reply ahead of it, or putting a period in front of the @reply, or putting the @reply at the end of the tweet. Most of the people who do this see every tweet as a promotion of themselves--I actually literally saw a tweet that the other day that said, "I need to focus my tweets on promoting myself, so I can't carry on a private conversation with you." Wow, unfollow. Listen, you do realize that if people want to see your @replies to others, they can tweak Twitter's settings to do that, right? If they don't, you're just annoying them and making yourself look like an attention whore, which probably isn't the best message when you're trying to promote yourself.
  3. Boobs. I don't need to see pictures of your boobs at any time, but most especially I don't need them popping up in my Twitter stream constantly while you're tweeting. And do you really think that's professional, Author Who's Trying To Promote Her Books On Twitter?
  4. Celebrities who only have conversations with one another. You guys can't text?
  5. And last but not least, particularly in irony: People who whine about what other people tweet. Twitter is an open forum where anyone can say anything--that's the beauty of it! It's freedom of speech at work. Likewise, you are free to unfollow a person at any time. IF SOMEONE IS ANNOYING YOU, UNFOLLOW THEM. Don't tweet or @them about how the hashtag they're using is clogging up your twitter stream, or the joke they just made was completely inappropriate, or you don't want to hear about what they had for lunch. If people are annoying you on twitter, it's not their problem, it's yours. Unfollow or stfu.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?

I personally hate being confronted with this question. I have trouble planning a week ahead, let alone years. Not to mention, with certain variables like possible apocalypses coming up, who can really say?

I think these questions are also based on a fallacy of thinking that life is linear you can anticipate going from point A to point C. When in fact, life is more like a labyrinth. You can travel what seems like a long ways and find yourself in nearly the same place you started, or in a completely different place than you expected.

I have no idea where I'll be in ten years. I certainly have hopes for where I'll be (or at the very least, not be), and I have things I'd like to do during that time, but no idea where that will take me. Wherever it is, though, I hope to be surprised!

This post is part of Blogust. Check out Beyond Elsewhere's blog for more information, daily topics, and to sign up!

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Why Do I Write?

blogust button

Hello, my as-yet small group of readers. Since this is the official start of my blog, I thought joining Blogust, hosted by Beyond Elsewhere, would be a great way to kick things off. What is Blogust? Basically posting every day in the month of August. There are daily prompts that sound really interesting. I encourage you all to join!

Today's topic is very appropriate for me: Why do you write? I like most people write simply because they want to communicate, and I do too. Writing is one of the few mediums where I feel absolutely comfortable expressing myself. At the same time, writing is mysterious--how does a story work, what makes a book "good" or make it click with certain readers put others off? Where does inspiration come from? There are no certain answers to these questions, and anyone who says otherwise is putting you on.

To me, writing is a world of possibilities--a world of ifs instead of thens. When you open a book, anything can happen. One of my earliest memories, in fact, is of sitting in front of my mom's bookshelf and imagining what stories were embedded in the pages of all those books. Writing has just as much, if not more, chance for possibility and discovery, if you're willing to wonder.

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