A to Z Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Day 26 - Letter Z

Today's the final day! We're down to the letter Z in our Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:

Zombies - My Favorites from Books to Movies

I'm not gonna lie, I absolutely love me some good zombies. I have no idea why I enjoy having the bejeezus scared out of me, particulary by those that were alive, then died, then came back to life again. Whatever it is, zombies are definitely a guilty pleasure for me - and here are a few of my favorites:

Favorite Book(s):


Goodreads Summary:

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Just the idea of having to live life inside a fenced-in village, surrounded by the undead who are constantly trying to claw their way in, sends chills down my spine. Carrie Ryan's Unconsecrated are the epitomy of things that go bump in the night. For more details, my review of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH can be found here.


Goodreads Summary:

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves. 

The second installment of TFOHAT trilogy picks right up where the first one left off. Equally entertaining and full of the undead that haunted me in the first book, this one takes a closer look at how things got to be the way they did.


Goodreads Summary:

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again. 
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

I enjoyed all three of these books - but the third and final installment, is definitely my favorite. Not only are the characters faced with the Unconsecrated, but they also have what's left of a desperate human race to contend with as well...leaving you question, if the world actually were to come down to this, who would be worse?   My review can be found here.

Favorite TV Show:


AMC Summary:

Based on one of the most successful and popular comic books of all time, written by Robert Kirkman, AMC’sThe Walking Dead captures the ongoing human drama following a zombie apocalypse. The series follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln (Love ActuallyTeachers,Strike Back), who are traveling in search of a safe and secure home. However, instead of the zombies, it is the living who remain that truly become the walking dead. 

This show is hands down, 100%, absolutely a-mazing - and one of my favorites on TV. Fabulous cast, entertaining, yet thrilling plot, and all with some of the most incredible make-up and visual effects I've seen on TV - trust me, you'll wanna leave the lights on when you watch this!

Favorite Movie:


IMDB Summary:

A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the Last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park, join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Woody Harrelson is hilarious in this flick - on his quest to find the world's last Twinkie, help a kid reunite with his family, and all while battling the undead. Not so much scary, but definitely entertaining, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie!

Zombies - do you have a favorite book, TV show, or movie?

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Day 25 - Letter Y

The fabulous Y is up in today's Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:

Young Adult

When people find out I write - let alone that my genre is Young Adult - it's amazing to hear what comes out of their mouth:

Them: "Oh, you write? What do you write? Have I read anything of yours?"

Me: "I write a lot of things, but I love writing Young Adult - and no, I'm not published...yet."

Them: "Young Adult? Oh, you mean you write kids books? Huh. When do think you'll write something for a-dults?"

Me: "Um, no, not "kids" books - I write about Teenagers." 

Then later I'd think back to the conversation, and realize, this is how it translated:

1. People can't believe I write - because everyone knows, only J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and now some woman named Suzanne Collins, is allowed to do this.
2. You can see their wheels turning that I am NOT one of the above.
3. Instantly they assume that since I write, I MUST be published and of course, that they - in all their infinite years of reading - have read something by me, but they just didn't know it was me (this often can result in them asking if I write under a pseudonym, which is a conversation you'll want to steer clear of, believe me. Otherwise, you'll end up with a plethora of suggestions that they deem "cool").
4. Young Adult? Oh, I must not take this whole writing thing seriously. Because if I did, I'd write something real.


Throughout all of the above, what was more frustrating, was for some reason I would dive into this whole conversation on why Young Adult books are so amazing and why I write them - as if I was trying to defend the genre. 

However, in the last year, I've been really listening to my reaction to these conversations - and I've noticed my tune has changed. I'm tired of feeling like I have to defend a genre that is SIMPLY ONE OF THE MOST AWESOME GENRES TO WRITE IN. I'm sick of people who are afraid to admit, that they enjoyed reading or watching HARRY POTTER. And how THE HUNGER GAMES movie "wasn't so bad". Or that Young Adult is only for Young Adults.

Ultimately, I think it's because I know, this is EXACTLY what I want to do. It's what I love.

I know I may be in the minority, but I LOVED my teenage years. Sure it had it's drama. Of course I thought I knew the answer to everything, and grew horns and a tail when I was told I did not. And it really sucked when the cute boy, didn't think I was so cute.

But even with all it's awkwardness, all the fumbling through, all the fights and cattiness - man how I loved being a teen. All my friends. Pep rallies. Playing sports. Friday night football games. Going to Homecoming. Hallway and locker room conversations. Great gossip. Passing notes. Getting my driver's license. Partying on a Saturday night - booze included. Skipping curfew. Sneaking out. First kisses. Holding hands. First loves. And the first time.

I've said it before, but I'd do it all over again, if I could. I really would. Even with how times have changed from when I was a teen.

Because all of the above? Yeah, that's EXACTLY why I write Young Adult. And I'm no longer afraid to admit that.

Young Adult: What do you love most about this genre? Why do you write and read YA?

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Day 24 - Letter X

Oy vey, we've got X up today, in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:

David Letterman's Erin L. Schneider's Top Ten "X" Words

Because I couldn't agree on one X word for today's post that was "writerly" themed, I decided to offer up 10 fabulous selections - all so others would have options for next year's A to Z challenge. See how that worked there? And totally selfless, too. 

Without further adieu, here's my list of ten "X" words, served up ala David Letterman style:

10. Xerox (n) - the brand of copier in your office that I'm sorry to say, is more intelligent than you'll ever be. Say hello to HAL2000. You'll wanna be nice to HAL2000, trust me. She's known to hold your 9am deadline projects hostage at 8:58am, she constantly gets backed-up, and when she's super pissy, will print only a corner of your 11x17 content on an 8.5" x 11" page, just because she can.

9. Xerography (n) - A process wherein you bribe above mentioned HAL2000 to replicate images and reproduce documents, by feeding it neverending reams of paper, keep said paper free from jamming, and constantly supply a powdery substance called "Cyan", "Magenta", "Yellow", and "Black" - that trust me, you DO NOT want to get on your skin or your clothes. 

8. Xeric (adj.) - Dry or desert-like conditions; having very little moisture - ew, very much so dislike the base form of this word. In fact, that's the worst word in the English language, and it actually makes me twitch, everytime I hear it said aloud (I couldn't even type it - yes, had to cut and paste). I confess, this is my Kryptonite. We'll be changing that word to dampness. Ahhh, much better.

7. Xenophobia (n) - fear or hatred towards foreigners, foreign countries, or anything foreign. Other related words: xenophobic (adj.) and xenophobe (n). Um, weird. Nuff said.

6. Xenon (n) - a heavy, colorless and odorless gas that is found in very small quantities in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is often used in lasers, vacuu tubes and luminescent tubes for electric lamps. I believe this is also what makes the headlights in my car, shine a pretty ghostly blue. Me likes pretty lights. But me also wonders how a gas can be heavy? Huh.

5. Xenolith (n) - a fragment of a rock embedded inside another rock. Kinda like a pregnant rock. Does not make for a good skipping rock, due to it's weight. But never call a xenolith fat. Not nice, she's just fluffy.

4. Xebec (n) - Possibly a made up word, since I've never heard it before. "Supposedly" it stands for a small, three-masted sailing ship once commonly used in the Mediterranean. Not sure if the other bodies of water around the world were biased, but it sure sounds like it to me.

3. Xenoien (n) - The perfect human being, thought only to exist in legend. Although, this is according to UrbanDictionary.com, so who knows what kind of bologna this is. Gross, bologna. And I only know how to spell that, because I had to sing the jingle out loud. My dog howled. It's a talent, I know.

2. Xylophone (n) - a percussion instrument with a series of graduated wooden bars that is played by stricking with two small mallets. Not to be confused with the glockenspiel, which has bars made of metal. And also has a way cooler name: glockenspiel, glockenspiel, glockenspiel. Great, I'll be saying that all day now. 

1. Xanadu (n) - an exotic, luxurious place. This word comes from the poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel T. Coleridge. Also happens to be one of my favorite ABBA tunes. Don't judge. Yes, I love ABBA.

So there you have it, my top ten words that begin with "X", and their meanings. Which I am in no way liable for confirming or validating, if the meaning or the word, actually exists.

X: What fabulous word did you come up with today and what does it really mean?

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Day 23 - Letter W

The fabulous W is up in today's Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:

Writer's Block

No, not sun block. Writer's block. And oh, how I wish I could say I had no idea what that was. 

Unfortunately, I know it all to well - and according to Wikipedia (don't judge my sources. :)), I have a condition:

Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers.

Wow. After reading that, I think I'd be inclined to seek medical attention. Or therapy. Or shock treatment. Or all of the above.

But I digress.

Oddly enough, my best time of the year to write, is between April and June - probably because that's when high school prom and graduation are taking place, and that feeling in the air gives me all kinds of inspiration. But my worst time of the year is definitely between September and October (ha! Go figure, it's when the kids go back to school!) - and it never fails every September, that I find myself sitting and staring with wide, blank eyes, at my computer. 

So what do I do when this happens?

Well, last August I wrote a post for Road Trip Wednesday, on this exact topic - which I though I'd repost, since it was so fitting:

From August 24th, 2011, my post on writer's block, and how I beat it:

Similar to Friday Fives, Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ hosted by the fabulous ladies over at YA Highway. Each Wednesday, they post a weekly writing - or reading - related question, and I get to answer it here! And this week's topic is something near and dear *insert glaring sideways and growling here* to my heart:

How do you beat writer's block?

Around this time last year, I'd been well under way on a new manuscript (which I'd started last July). However, around 6 weeks into writing it, I started to sputter out. 

Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of ideas of where I wanted the story to go - and being as though I'm more of a pantser style writer, I knew I had options. It's just that I couldn't, for the life of me, bridge the gap from where I was, to where I wanted to take the story. So I put it aside and did other things. And every time I thought about it (which was more often than not, as I was really excited about this one), I'd try to write...but nothing happened. In fact, I used the backspace key more than any other key on my keyboard. It was horrible.

I went from writing 15,000 words a weekend (which when I'm on a roll, roughly equates to my average for 2 days of writing) to nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nadda. Nope. None. Boo.

So what did I do? 

1. Exercise. I joined a CrossFit box with my husband and started diving into exercise. I knew I needed to get my rear in gear anyhow, and well, since I couldn't seem to get on with my writing, this was a VERY good outlet for me. And while CrossFit is super intense, everybody can do it, as it's completely scalable. I swear. If you don't know what Crossfit is you can read more about it here - or here's a great video:

2. Eating. Boy do I love good food. But thanks to my lovely muse taking a 'round the world vacation, this time I decided to try eating right. Hubby and I started cutting out Gluten from our diets and introducing more Paleo type recipes. For those of you unaware of Paleo, you can read more about it here and here - it can be pretty hard core, but it doesn't have to be - and you can adjust it to your lifestyle. It's all around just better for you. This is still a huge challenge for me, but something I'm really trying to commit to.

3. Reading. I read lots and lots and LOTS of books. Over 65 books between July and November of last year, to be exact. Not only does it help kick your writing into gear, but it's so great to help hone your own craft. 

4. Hanging Out. I had some time off last year and was able to do things like hang out at the mall. On a Tuesday. At 11am (really, I've always envied anyone who can do this...*le sigh*). Which, during the summer, is the perfect place to spy observe my target audience: teenagers.

5. NaNoWriMo. Ultimately, this was EXACTLY what I needed to kick my muse into gear. A deadline. A challenge. Competition. Who knew? Thanks to NaNo, I wrote over 60,000 words in the month of November and finished my manuscript. It. Was. Awesome. I was on fire and couldn't stop writing. On more than one occasion, I heard my alarm going off to wake me up for work - and I so didn't want to go to the office. I wanted to write! A big thanks to NaNo, for giving me that push to get my manuscript finished. 


Eight months later, I still find all of the above helpful in combating writer's block - especially working out or running. But I'm always looking for new ways to tame the beast. So with that, I leave you with:

Writer's block - What helps pull you through? 

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Day 22 - Letter V

We've got V on the table in today's Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:

V is for V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N

The month of April has been a doozy - what with work, trying to get back into running, my rewrites (which, by the way, I blasted through almost half my manuscript this past weekend!), blogging from A to Z, Rock the Drop, and trying to whittle down my TBR pile, to make room for more...phew! I don't know about you all, but I could really use a va-cation!

Good thing I'm headed out of town next Monday. As in 5 days. I'm outta here. Blowing this pop stand. Arrivederci! Sayonara! I bid you adieu! 

And I can't wait.

But where am I going? Well, my husband and I are meeting my sister, her husband, and my niece, in a place I haven't been to, since I was 8 years old. And with next Tuesday being my b'day - it will officially have been *gasp* twenty-eight years since I've been. Yikes. That's bad, huh?

I'll give you a hint:

Yep! Disneyland - and I have to admit, I'm beyond excited!

I'll also be hanging out in LA, shopping, and going to dinner at some fabulous restaurants:

Monday Night: Osteria Mozza - a little gem associated with the wonderful MARIO BATALI - I've heard it's a-mazing...I'm definitely looking forward to it!

And for my b'day on Tuesday - one of my all time favs in Hollywood: Yamashiro's - I cannot wait to eat sushi here...it's simply divine.

There are several other great restaurants we have on the list, but it will all depend on how long the niece keeps us riding the coasters! Plus, to keep the husband truly happy, we'll be heading up to Six Flags on one of those days. And believe you me, I almost feel bad for anyone - be it a kid or an adult - that gets in his way. He may seriously hip-check a few peeps, as he runs from getting off the ride, to get back in line for the same ride. Oy.

Good thing I have my prescription for the Transderm patch filled and ready to go, because I, do not do well being flipped upside down at 90 miles an hour. And I vaguely remember being head-over-heels in a garbage can at Seuss Land / Universal Studios the last time we hit up a theme park...which was NOT pleasant (and although it's been a few years, The Cat in the Hat kinda creeps me out!).

Anywho - I do plan on doing a few writerly things while on my vacation. For instance, I will be driving to a bookstore first thing Tuesday morning, and buying INSURGENT. Because, well, I SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT A WHOLE WEEK UNTIL I GET HOME TO READ IT!!! I'll also be bringing my laptop / iPad down with me, and hope to write / revise some, while out at the pool. 

But in the end, I mostly plan on spending the majority of the time relaxing and recharging the batteries. Because when I get back, I will be finishing those revisions!

Vacations - anyone have a fun vacation coming up? And how do you plan on filling the time?

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Day 21 - Letter U

We're down to the home stretch in letters, and today, U is up in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge - and my topic:


Okay, maybe this one's a strectch, but I'll admit I was having a tough time with the letter U! However, after reading the lovely Jaime Morrow's post from yesterday (T = TBR), that gave me the idea!

And while I won't post a picture of my Unread stack like Jaime did (eh em, mine's a little embarrassing, since all my books are stacked up on top of my dresser...and have since, spilled over to my hamper, as well!), I will go ahead and list several of the books I have in my Unread pile.

In no particular order:

  1. GRACELING, FIRE, and BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore
  2. JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta
  3. SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson
  4. PANDEMONIUM and BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
  5. NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley
  6. A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL by Suzanne Young
  7. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys
  8. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis
  9. DITCHED by Robin Mellom
  10. YOU AGAINST ME by Jenny Downham
  12. GOING BOVINE and BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray

And no joke, around 45 more! 

I will admit, I have a slight problem with buying more books, before I've read those in my stacks - but it cannot be helped! Besides, I'd like to think I'm doing my part to keep printed books, in business. :)

So what's on your Unread list? Anything good I may have missed above? Oh do please share - there's always room on my husband's side of the dresser!