I'm a HUGE scary movie fan. I mean, HUGE. I throw Friday the 13th parties and invite my friends over to help celebrate the freaky holiday by watching scary movies! So, when the original Scream came out back in 1996, I was in horror heaven! For the first time, I'd found a scary movie that was both terrifying and hilarious at the same time. And I fell in love.
I was in high school when the movie came out and I remember how people freaked over the flick. Suddenly, all prank calls included the line, "What's your favorite scary movie?" and the white ghost face was the new bad guy to be feared. There was nothing out there like it...until Scream 2 and then later, Scream 3 came out of course. Now whereas most sequels are just plain bad, I felt like the second and third movies only got better.
So, you can imagine my reaction when I heard they were filming Scream 4! And after many months of waiting, the trailer is now out! So, if you're as big a fan of scary movies as I am, check it out. It looks like a SCREAM!
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's tackling public transportation. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
Ah...one of the benefits of living in NYC is taking public transportation. Especially when mother nature decides to drop a s#!t-ton of snow on the city like last week. But along with public transportation comes, well, the public...a.k.a. people. And you all know how I feel about people...all at once now kiddies: I hate them.
10. People who lean their bodies against the pole instead of holding onto them. Hey there missy, I'd like the opportunity to secure myself, in case the train has to stop short. So, step away from the pole and hold on like a dignified human being or sit your ass down, Princess. DELETE!
6. Anyone soliciting money...period. DELETE!
So, I'm traveling today...finally heading to Atlanta for the premier of Bring It On: The Musical (if you remember, the night I was originally supposed to go was cancelled and I had to rebook my entire trip) and despite my annoyance with the logistics, I'm excited to see the show. I'll be in Georgia for less than 24 hours, so for all you guys living out there whom I'm friends with...I'm sorry and I'll try to catch you the next time around!
In the meantime, as a sorry, here's a little Friday pick-me-up. My friend found this online and I just had to share.
So, NYC got about 19 inches of snow yesterday (into last night), and people are jumping over embankments of snow to get into work today. The trek actually wasn't as treacherous as I thought it might be and an hour after I left my apartment, I'm sitting here at my desk.
To keep you toasty warm on this cool, snowy morning, I'm unveiling my first author video for your entertainment. Matty did a great job of editing it, so I don't look too much like a fool (It's amazing how much you have to shoot for ONE little video!). So, enjoy, and have fun if you're off on a snow day!
Okay....so, I know that this is the cheesiest, craziest dance video that I've ever seen, but I thought it was completely appropriate given the CRAZY Winterpalooza that's going on outside right now. Am I a total weirdo that I sort of want to learn the dance? Cuz I've got me some double dream hands!
Please watch it until the end...the last 45 seconds really takes performing to a whole new level!
I'm a big fan of zombie stories. Forget vampires...they're so overdone right now. But zombies? Well, they've certainly been done, but I really feel like there are so many good stories out there just waiting to be written!
I recently finished reading the third book in the zombie series by Carrie Ryan. Now, I have to admit, I mostly picked up The Dark and Hollow Places because I'd heard of the other books Carrie had written: The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves. And though I hadn't read either, I'd heard from others that they were really good, and thought it was about time I checked them out.
And I've gotta say it was worth it.
The Dark and Hollow Places is about a girl, Annah, who's just trying to survive the current outbreak of zombies in the city where she lives. She's been waiting for several years for her old friend—and onetime crush—Elias to come back home after joining up with an army of men called the Recruiters. She's just about to leave the city for good, when she runs into her long-lost twin sister whom she'd always thought was dead. Even more shocking is that Elias is with her sister and tagging along is another handsome young man called Catcher. When this new group of loners escape from the incoming horde of zombies and find refuge on an island nearby. But the same place where they've gone to seek safety is about to become just as dangerous as the streets filled with the undead. Now Annah and the others must find a way out...and they might not all make it out alive.
I really enjoyed reading The Dark and Hollow Places and understand why Carrie's books are so well-liked. She writes very epic tales...not just about creepy crawlies that go bump in the night or a zombie or two popping up out of the darkness. But instead, it's more about the infestation of a disease—in this case, zombies—and the will to survive. I'd thoroughly recommend this book....of course, since it's sort of a spin-off of the other two books, I'd probably pick up those ones first. Which actually works out well, because The Dark and Hollow Places doesn't come out until March.
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's taking on her big move. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
As you may or may not know, I moved recently, and with that comes hiccups. Moving is a tad stressful, and believe me, I've had plenty of opportunities to flip a switch. But as the lady of dignity and grace that I am, I just take passive aggressive action and bitch about it here...and then administer a few mental eye rolls when nobody's watching.
Parking in NYC. Are you kidding me? The day of my move there was an ice storm (note to self: living in the Northeast...DELETE) and the City had suspended alternate side of the street parking. So, Little Ms. Sassy Pants had to get creative in a pinch. What did I do you ask? I parked on the bloody sidewalk. Wouldn't you? So, to no parking in Manhattan and all of the absurd rules there are here...DELETE.
I just posted the next chapter in my book, Life's a Witch on wattpad! Be sure to check out what's happening with Hadley. Will she make up with her mom? Is her reign over the school in jeopardy? What spell will she do next? Go on and read chapter 4 to find out!
So, recently, in an attempt to connect in yet another way with my fans on wattpad, I decided it would be a good idea to shoot some videos for the web. I figured I'd use the videos to introduce myself and let people know a little bit about me: my likes, my writing process, my favorite authors, "Life's A Witch" etc. Because we all know that people connect with you more if you let them get to know you a little.
And as you know, my boyfriend went to Columbia film school and shoots and produces videos for his company, so of course when I decided I was going to do this, I went to him first. A little bit of begging and promises of back rubs later (kidding...he said yes right away. But I do think after all his hard work, he deserves a little TLC. Hear that, babe? A backrub's coming your way!) and he'd agreed to shoot me on his company's green screen and then edit the videos for me.
So, we agreed on a time for me to meet him at work and planned out all the videos and questions that I'd be answering in each. We talked a little bit about it beforehand, but decided that instead of having cue cards, I'd just wing it when we were there. I mean, how hard could it be? I've never had a problem talking...and I'm practically a pro at talking about myself. And talking about books and writing? Forget about it. I could prattle on for hours. So, I figured it would be easy!
The shoot day arrived and I was psyched for my film debut. I brought a few cute shirts with me and had done my makeup in bright colors that morning. As I waited for Matt to finish up what he was doing, I stole one of the Jolly Ranchers from his desk (he seriously has a vat of them) and thought about what I was going to say.
When everyone else had left his office, Matt ushered me into their soundproof studio and set me up on a stool in front of the green screen (which is really just a big green piece of paper; the idea is that later on, another image will replace the green in the background, so you can make it look like you're shooting anywhere. Cool, huh?). Once he'd set everything up and made sure the camera was poised on me, he turned on the filming lights (which nearly blinded me) and then basically said, "Go."
And I totally blanked.
Good thing we'd taken notes on what I'd wanted to say, and Matt prompted me from there on out. But still, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be! First off, the Jolly Rancher I'd eaten while I'd been waiting had stained my tongue blue...so, every time I talked, you could see little flashes of blue on my tongue. I had to rinse my mouth out with seltzer and brush my tongue, just to get it looking less like I'd just eaten a smurf.
Next, I kept making mistakes in what I was saying. And on stupid stuff. Like saying, "Hey guys!" Suddenly I was uber aware of what my arms were doing and how I was saying things, and I'd throw in words like "y'all" even though I'm not southern. It was really bizarre.
I also noticed how tired I looked. Even though my makeup looked great in person, I really needed a whole lot more for filming, because on screen you could barely tell I was wearing anything! And I don't mean to sound superficial, but if I'm putting this out for all to see, I don't want to look like a bloated zombie. Unless of course, that's what I was going for. Like if I was talking about zombies...then, it would at least make sense in the moment.
In the end, after taping an hour's worth of me messing up and attempting to talk to my fans, it would only boil down to about 15 minutes of useable stuff. And poor Matt had to go through all the footage and start cutting it this weekend....and being the genius he is, he managed to make even me look good!
I'll be posting the video on here, YouTube and on wattpad later this week, so be sure to check back! And please, no laughing.
So, I came down with a cold this weekend...the one that all my co-workers and friends have had over the past couple of weeks. And it pretty much sucks! I'm stuffed up, can't stop sneezing and when I breathe through my nostril, it feels like it's on fire! Ugh. When you're sick, it's hard to remember what it feels like to be well.
BUT the one (and only) good thing that comes along with being sick, is that it's like the one time you don't have to feel guilty about being lazy. It's practically required that you lay around, take naps, drink lots of fluids, watching bad television and movies, and play on the computer. So, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that I watched about a dozen eps of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and a bunch of movies over the three-day weekend.
I did manage to drag myself out to the movies (bundled up and in sweats of course) on Sunday, to see Black Swan—though in hindsight, I'm not sure it was worth leaving the house for. I'd heard so much about Black Swan that I was really excited to see it. People have been pretty close-lipped about the storyline, just saying that it's "intense," "dark" and "messed up." From the previews, I couldn't tell whether it was a horror film or a psychological thriller (it was the latter), so I wasn't absolutely sure what I was getting myself into when we went. In the end, I was mostly underwhelmed. I didn't think it was all that shocking (although there's a lot of sexual situations and some violence), and I didn't think it was incredibly groundbreaking.
Not usually a fan of Natalie Portman, I actually found her to be great in the role, doing a good job of creating a brand-new character through her voice choices and mannerisms. And I'm a big fan of Mila Kunis, so it was nice to see her in a darker role. The movie was shot beautifully though, and especially the ending with her turning into the Black Swan—that was incredible! The dancing was also really good, and at times it was hard to tell when it was Natalie dancing or her body double.
But all in all, I was expecting more. More drama, more intensity, more darkness, more something. I thought that the over-use of sexual context was a bit much and really think the film would've been better without it, though I applaud Natalie and Mila for being willing to go there.
So, there it is. Black Swan: While visually stunning, the storyline left a lot to be desired. Did any of you see any movies this weekend? Anything good?
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's got some tips on how to spot a jerk. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
So, as you know, I now have a Hot Boyfriend who helps me paint AND move. But there have been other guys in the past who haven’t treated me like the princess I am. I'm so glad that I’m no longer in the ring a.k.a. the NYC dating scene. I hope to soon have a different sort of “ring” to look forward to, and DELETE all those bad dates and man behavior from my memory once and for all.
I would be doing the world a disservice if I didn’t share my extensive experience with the masses. Someone's got to warn you about the emotional vampires lurking in unsuspecting places, just waiting to attack! Here are a few of the warning signs that maybe things aren't really headed in the right direction.
He goes radio silent over Valentine’s Day weekend…never to be heard from again. Unless you’ve been abducted by aliens, illegal or extraterrestrial, DELETE.
When he invites you out to dinner at 7:30 and then texts you at 10:00 to let you know that he is going to stay in for the night...DELETE.
If he ever utters the words, “Don’t fall in love with me.”...DELETE.
If he asks you what you're going to do when he breaks your heart...DELETE.
If he sends you photos of “junior”...DELETE.
If he refers to your chest as a “nice rack”...DELETE.
If he hosts after-parties…just for girls. Let me put it to you this way, “Hugh”…DELETE.
He goes dark for a week, and then out of the blue, sends you a text to see how you are. Well as far as you’re concerned, I might as well be dead, because you won’t be hearing from me again, sir...DELETE.
Good luck out there.
Since my previous weekend plans crashed and burned (long story. Well, maybe not so long...they canceled opening night of Bring it On: The Musical, so my trip was also canceled), I'm getting to stay here in New York for my first weekend with no plans since before the holidays. And I can't even tell you how happy I am for a relaxing day for once.
So, to start my weekend off right, I've published another chapter in my book, Life's a Witch! So please go and check it out. And of course, have a great 3-day weekend!
However, right now, HOT-lanta is really COLD-lanta on account of it being 22 degrees and snow still covering the ground. But alas, I will be heading there bright and early tomorrow morning to go to opening night of Bring It On: The Musical! Yes, there's a musical about Bring It On. How awesome is that?!?! And from what I hear, the show is amazing! And with people like Andy Blankenbuehler (Tony Award Winner for In the Heights) directing the show, we wouldn't expect anything less.
So, I'm beyond excited to see a blend of music and cheer, with a few stunts and tumbling runs peppered in for a little extra spirit. I'll be taking pics while I'm there and will let you know how it all goes!
In the meantime, have a great Friday and Bring it On!
A few weeks ago, Matt and I were driving around NYC, picking stuff up for the new apartment and we were listening to a podcast called "This American Life." The show chooses topics, such as "rest stops at midnight" or "backed into a corner," and then they provide interviews and stories to the listener. It's a great show that brings a lot of insight into many different topics.
Anyhoo, we were listening to this one podcast that seemed to be about the modern-day hero and what makes someone do heroic things. They interviewed three different people, including a woman and a man who'd jumped into a bull ring to save another woman being trampled; a man who witnessed a car accident just outside his house and pulled four teenage boys out of the burning car to save them before it blew up; and finally, a man who'd jumped onto the train tracks in NYC after a stranger had fallen. In all the stories, these questions were posed to them: "Why did you do it?" "What was going through your head at the time?" "Were you worried about your own safety at any point?"
The first two people said that they couldn't remember what they were thinking at the time and that their instincts had just kicked in. That it was their first reaction to go and help. They also said they felt they had to help, stating that they were sure that anyone else would have done the same. The last man, the one who jumped in front of the train, he had a different story.
Wesley Autrey was an out-of-work construction worker who was on the platform that day with his two young daughters. And when he saw a stranger near him suffer from a seizure and then fall onto the tracks, he jumped into action, leaving his kids up above and jumping down t0 try and help the man. He tried to pick the man up, who was still unconscious at the time, but he couldn't lift his limp body. Then the train started to come. It was 50 feet away. 40 feet, 30 feet, 20 feet. And then it was 10 feet away. So what did Wesley do?
He pushed the young man down in between the two tracks and then placed his body on top of his just in time for the train to pass overhead. The podcast mentioned that Wesley could feel the brush of the train on his calves and his beanie had grease marks when he got out from under the train later. As the train was still overhead, the young man woke up and asked Wesley, "What happened?" Wesley told him that he'd had a seizure, fallen onto the tracks and that he'd tried to get him out. The young man asked Wesley if they were dead, and he responded, "No. We're under the train."
Of course, by this time in the story, I was bawling, moved to tears by this man's heroics. When they asked Wesley why he'd done it, he said that he'd gotten the idea in his head, "You can do this." And he believed it. See, apparently Wesley had been held up at gunpoint many years before this and when the guy pulled the trigger, the gun malfunctioned and didn't go off. Ever since, Wesley's felt as if he got a second chance, and had always wondered why he'd been spared. So, his saving the young man that day was actually what he saw as his duty. The reason he was still alive.
Since this podcast, I've been thinking a lot about whether heroism is instinctual or if it's in an individual person's character. And of course I've been wondering, if the circumstances were to arise, would do the same? Would my instincts kick in and I'd just automatically go help someone in need without concern for myself?
Well, last night, I feel like I got my first chance to jump to action....
...and I failed.
As I was leaving work, I was walking across 23rd street in a rush to get to a meeting, when I watched a young blind man attempting to walk across the street with his seeing eye dog pulling him along. Another man had pointed him in the right direction, but as I watched, he began to veer into oncoming traffic. And I just stood there—panicking. Too late I realized that I should try to sprint across the street to help him, but by the time my feet started to move, he was called back toward the sidewalk and ended up being fine. But I felt some major guilt last night over the fact that my heroic instincts didn't kick in fast enough. And I'm still pretty disappointed that I didn't automatically hop right into action. Then again, maybe this was a test. Something to make me more aware for next time?
How about you? Have you ever done something heroic? Do you think you would if faced with a situation like those above? Let me know in the comments below!
Oh, and P.S.? The construction worker who so selflessly saved the young man? He ended up on Time magazine's 100 List of Most Influential People in 2007. He also received a lifetime subscription to Playboy, a new beanie (the beanie cap that got smudged under the train had the playboy bunny logo on it), and additional Playboy merchandise. Wesley also earned the title "Hero of Harlem" and appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where he was presented with a $5,000 GAP gift card, tickets and backstage passes to a Beyoncé concert, season tickets to the New Jersey Nets, a signed jersey from Jason Kidd, a brand new Jeep Patriot, two years' worth of car insurance from Progressive and a one-year free parking pass for use anywhere in NYC. His daughters were also given new computers that would be updated every three years until they graduate from high school.
I went to bed last night happy and warm, thinking that I would be working from home today, cuddled up under a mountain of blankets in my PJ's with my TV on in the background and typing away at my computer. I even went to the store last night to pick up cream cheese for the bagels I'd be eating as I did my work this morning.
And then I woke up and saw that the roads looked pretty clear—at least clear enough to walk to the subway—and the news said that public schools were all still open for the day. So, alas, here I am, at work instead of holed up in my warm apartment.
I know. How sad am I?
Anyhoo...in case you got a fake-out this morning too and HAD to go into work while others in the country have a snow day, here's something to melt your icy heart (and toes). Now, this guy's sort of a YouTube sensation. He has millions of followers and reviews viral videos, making all sorts of funny but questionable comments (watch out for language on here). The first part of the vid is a really funny cat bit (prepare to LOL; if you're in the office, your co-workers may think you've gone crazy), the second one isn't all that funny and/or cool; BUT the third one? It made my heart go all warm and fuzzy. It's about a guy who's homeless but who has an incredible...well, you'll just have to watch to see.
Okay, so there you go. Enjoy your day—even if you're like me and had to go into work!
So, these past few weeks have been absolutely crazy! I moved in with a boy, and spent an obscene amount of money (for me) on new furniture to get our place looking like a combination of both of us. I've been dealing with some changes at work and have been teaching cheerleading classes to kids at a youth center. But one of the biggest things that's come up in the new year is that I'm now officially publishing the stuff I write!
I know I've mentioned it a few times now, but Wattpad.com has truly changed my writing life. When I was approached by the people at this online writing community, I wasn't sure how me publishing my stuff for free was going to help me to reach my ultimate goal of being a published author. In fact, I'd received advice from several published authors (including my favorite author of all time) that a writer should never give away their work for free. However, after contacting several published authors who also post on Wattpad, and asking them about their experiences, I started to look at the site in a different way.
It was explained to me that by having your stuff up on a site where there are millions of unique viewers a month, I'm able to create an audience for myself. And having a loyal audience of fans is instrumental to your success as an author. First of all, publishing companies aren't going to be willing to take a chance on you if they don't think you're going to be able to give them a large base of people who will run out and buy your book. And even if you're lucky enough to get your first book published, you need to be able to keep your fans coming back for every book thereafter. And creating that connection with a reader where they're willing to buy and read anything you write just because you wrote it....that's writing GOLD. So far, after only a week and a half and three chapters posted, I've already had 4,500+ people read my stuff!
But beyond that, I think the most profoundly incredible aspect to publishing my latest book, Life's a Witch, on the site has been the response I've received from fans. Seriously, in a world (publishing) that's been mostly filled with rejection (okay, that's not entirely true; I've had a lot of positive feedback along the way too, but ultimately it always ended in rejection), hearing what actual readers think has reinvigorated my writing life. I never would have thought that in a place where everyone's hoping to stand out among each other, that people would be such champions of other writer's work. But it's true. I've received so many glowing, beautiful, thoughtful comments on my chapters--some from other writers and some from readers--and it's made my heart soar. Everyone on there really wants you to succeed.
And that got me thinking: Why haven't I done this before?!?! I have SIX other books sitting around collecting space in my computer, all of which are worth reading, but no one's enjoying them. What's the point of being a writer and putting such a large amount of time into creating these works of fiction for no one to read them? I think I may have had my priorities in the wrong place; instead of thinking that a publishing company is the end-all to my story, really, I should have been focusing on getting my stuff out to people to read however I can. It's mostly my ego that wants the hardcopy publishing deal with Harper Collin's Childrens anyway (Not that that wouldn't make me flip out, either).
So, for now, I'm officially a Wattpaddy! Take a look at some of the amazing comments I've received so far and then go read my book here and leave some of your own!
"I must say you have a great skill of writing. It was truly believable and you def know about the salem witch trials, since I was watching a movie about that, and the scenes were playing in my head. I think you have great potential and a big hit on an original story!" —LucyLovely
"Wow, that was an amazing first chapter. I'm already dying for more. Your writing is amazing and I love how you've done some research on the subject cuz it makes it even more fascinating... I can't wait to see where this story goes, so i hope you keep writing it. I haven't seen any other books on here like yours so it's good to see something new. Oh, and I love how even though it was in third person it felt like I was experiencing all those things too—just as informative as first person—so again I love your writing style. Now off to read the next chapter!" —Eva2010
"This reminds me of Gossip Girl except less rude and the 'queen bee' is smart and nice cool. Can't wait for your upload Saturday!" —Cheese_is_Good
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's seriously annoyed with painting...and her new boyfriend...and not necessarily in that order. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
I hate people...but I hate painting even more. As much as I love the end result, the process BLOWS. And what’s even more annoying, the comments from the peanut gallery (a.k.a. the boyfriend). All this time spent bitching and moaning about being single, well let me tell ya ladies and gents, the grass ain’t always greener.
So let me put it to you this way: having a hot boyfriend that's at your beck and call AND who helps you paint…yes, please! Having a hot boyfriend with a brain AND an opinion while you're painting…DELETE.
So here's a brief insight into the dialogue that went on this weekend:
Hot Boyfriend: "This is the color you’re going with?" Hot Girlfriend (that’s me): "You’re in my apartment holding the can of paint...did you think I’m just collecting paint for shits and giggles? Yes, that's the color I’m going with...is there a problem?" DELETE!
Hot Boyfriend: "This tape isn’t straight…this is how you need to do it." Hot Girlfriend: "I don’t remember needing instructions on anything last night, so how about not telling me what to do now? Okay? Thanks." DELETE!
Hot Girlfriend to Hot Boyfriend after his diatribe about how to "properly roll” the paint: “I understand how a roller works, so you can spare me the commentary. Or are you just doing a piece for the Times?” DELETE!
Hot Girlfriend to Hot Boyfriend when he started comparing his painting skills to hers: "I'm sorry...I didn’t realize this was a competition. As far as I’m concerned you should be doing all the painting." So, by actually making me paint at all? DELETE!
Hot Girlfriend to Hot Boyfriend when he stepped in paint and tracked it all around the apartment: "This isn't a barn." DELETE!
So, next week I’ll be moving into aforementioned apartment. I’m sure THAT will provide endless DELETE material...stay tuned!
If you haven't already checked it out, I've been posting chapters of my latest book, Life's a Witch, on this cool, community writing site, wattpad. Well, every Saturday I'm uploading a new chapter and I just put up chapter two! So far the response has been AMAZING and people really seem to like it (over 2400 people have already read it!)! Please help support me and gain more fans by passing this link on to your friends and encouraging them to check it out. I promise, you won't be disappointed! Oh, and don't forget to let me know what you think by leaving a comment of your own!
Since I was designing my own book cover recently, I've been paying extra close attention to the cover of novels. There seems to be a distinct style that I like (either the peek of a person where you don't quite get to see their whole look, or bright and fun, colorful covers)...and like I've mentioned on this blog before, I do judge a book by its cover. At least enough to help me decide whether I'm going to pick it up and read it.
Wither was sent to me recently and though the cover wasn't exactly like the ones I tend to gravitate toward, I was instantly sucked in. How beautiful is it?!?! It's such an interesting photo, gorgeous as well as harrowing, and slightly sad and mysterious. And all of this conveyed before you even open the book!
I might have also been drawn to it because the model on the book reminded me of Jane—one of the contestants on "America's Next Top Model" cycle 15. What do you think? Don't they look alike? At one point I was scrutinizing the pic to see if it actually was her (I don't think it was)!
Anyway...once I got past that first page and started to read the contents, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story actually reflected a lot of the elegance and beauty of its cover. The language of Wither is what really drew me into the story; besides being well-written, this sort of dystopian future-tale of a girl who's kidnapped and force to marry a rich man and become one of his many wives, had me excited to pick it up chapter after chapter.
Here's the description:
In the not-too-distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human is a ticking time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. To keep the population from dying out, girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine is taken, she enters a world of wealth and privilege that both entices and terrifies her. She has everything she ever wanted—except freedom. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to escape before it's too late.
Though it's not as fast-paced or action-packed as other dystopian books (it's no Hunger Games) I truly enjoyed reading Wither. If you're looking for an interesting read with beautiful use of the English language (and an even more gorgeous cover), you can pick it up in March when it hits bookstores!
I was recently introduced to Diana Ilinca, an amazing up-and-coming author on Wattpad and in the literary world. Besides being super friendly, I'm mesmerized by the way Diana's able to create worlds of fairies and magic. She truly is a gifted writer and storyteller—and apparently others feel the same way! The 25-year-old's debut book, Zirconya: The Sage of Aluh'Nehn, will be published later this year. In the meantime, you can check out Nahtaia: A Faery's Tale an exclusive-to-Wattpad, spin-off of her debut novel.
Diana was kind enough to take a break from her works in progress to answer a few questions about her writing journey, the world of fantasy and getting published.
Brittany: You're an author whose debut novel is coming out next year. Can you tell us a little about your journey to getting published?
Diana: I’d love to! In all honesty, I never planned to be published. I started hand-writing a story I was going to call Genesis, with an idea of parallel dimensions, similar to Zirconya. I was writing just for the heck of it. About three pages in, I had no idea where I was going with it, so I tore it up and thought about starting fresh.
Around that time, my best friend and I started creating a whole new world full of elves, faeries, dragons and the like; even creatures we made up. We called it Zirconya. During that time, ideas were piling up in my mind and I started to write. That story became the Zirconya trilogy.
As I was in the middle of writing the book that is now The Sage of Aluh’Nehn, a few friends read it and asked me why I didn’t try to publish it, but at the time, my mind was on just finishing the book. I figured I’d think about publishing when I was done....and Zirconya wasn't finished until six years later! I didn’t exactly push myself, because I wasn’t actually planning on publishing it, and as a teenager, I was simply distracted. Then, I got married at eighteen, moved to North Carolina and eleven months later, had a baby.
When my daughter was two, I finally finished writing the book. I tried submitting my manuscript to agents, but it wasn’t ready. That year was full of rejection after rejection, and I put the story aside for a few months, completely heartbroken. When I picked it up again, I read it and realized how badly written it actually was! What was I thinking sending that in? So, naturally, I did an extensive rewrite. After that, I started submitting again, but this time I submitted to publishing houses as well as agents. Almost two years of rejections and rewrites later, Champagne Books offered me a contract! The feeling was indescribable and it still is!
Brittany: Did you always want to be a writer?
Diana: I always loved to write but I never considered myself a writer or thought I’d actually become one. I went through a lot of phases while trying to find my talent. I tried poetry, which I was actually pretty good at...considering I was 12 at the time. Then during my freshman year of high school, someone wrote a poem so touching and well-written that I completely lost my confidence. I couldn’t compete with the girl and felt torn. My young, teenage-self held a grudge against her for years and the poor girl didn’t even know my name!
After that came a photography phase which didn’t go over too well. Then, a drawing stage. I gave that up after a few months of horrid sketching. Only after that did I sit down and decide to write something more than just poetry.
AC: The first book in your upcoming trilogy is called Zirconya: The Sage of Aluh’Nehn...can you tell us a little about the book?
Diana: The story's about another world called Zirconya. It’s parallel to ours and full of all the creatures we know as myth—and then some. Elves, dragons, faeries, trolls, etc. The four “Sages” that created Zirconya are murdered, calling on their blood-relatives to take their places as the new Sages. The Sages of water and fire, Caelum and Melanya, are young and weak, and become easy targets for the first Sages’ murderer, the Dark Lord Sireg’Wethyl. In an attempt to save their lives, the two future-Sages are sent to be reborn in the parallel dimension called Earth. They lose their memories when the “Ceremony of Rebirth” is crashed by a hoard Sinstarians, an evil, man-like race led by Sireg’Wethyl.
The story follows 17-year-old Chloe Wiles, who's unaware of her Zirconyan past life as Caelum and her destiny to become the water Sage of Aluh’Nehn. It takes you through her skepticism with of the very idea of an alternate dimension—which was brought to her by Zirconyan guardian, Maze—regaining her memories and elven abilties, and the heartbreak of having to choose between two lives and two worlds.
It’s a fun balance between magic and real-world; elves, wizards and swords that tear doorways between dimensions mixed with nosy moms, high school heartbreak and that sense of not knowing who you are that so many teens deal with today.
Brittany: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Diana: Read and write! Read! Write! Oh yeah—and read and write some more! The more you read, the better your writing will become. Also, don’t send your manuscript out too soon. It’s the worst thing you can do. After you re-read and re-edit about a hundred times, go and do it again.
Also, find a beta and/or join a critique group to read through your work. Not a family member or a good friend. You need someone who won’t be afraid to hurt your feelings, which brings me to the next bit of advice: get ready for rejection after rejection. Expect to be heartbroken and offended. It comes with the territory.
Brittany: Readers don’t have to wait until June to read your stuff, because you’ve written an original book exclusively for the literary website, Wattpad. Can you tell us about Nahtaia: A Faery's Tale?
Diana: Oh boy, has this been fun! Nahtaia has exploded into a story of its own. It’s an offshoot of Zirconya: The Sage of Aluh’Nehn and it’s free to read on Wattpad. I wrote it especially for the purpose of introducing readers to the world of Zirconya and my work.
Nahtaia: A Faery’s Tale is about a faery named Nahtaia—who you actually meet in the first chapters of The Sage of Aluh’Nehn. She has a gift called distortion, giving her the ability to change the color, size or shape of anything she wants. The problem is that she’s the most mischievous faery in all of Zirconya. When she accidentally shrinks a human boy, Kale, into faery size, the Sages immediately seize her powers. With the help of the attractive but obnoxious military faery named Oren, the three set out on a journey to find the Sages and regain Nahtaia’s powers in order to change Kale back to his natural size. It’s a funny story packed with adventure and romance.
Brittany: What’s been the reaction to this book so far?
Diana: My goodness, I can't believe how much attention Nahtaia has received! Over the three days I took off from the computer for Thanksgiving, it received about twenty five thousand reads! I actually contacted Wattpad to see if there was a glitch in their counter—and there wasn’t! Thousands of readers stop by every hour to read it! Want to know the best part? It’s not even edited yet. Every Tuesday, I add a new chapter and when it’s completely finished, I will go through and do a massive edit and update session. I can hardly wait.
Brittany: You mentioned it before, but the publishing world is full of rejection. How do you deal with the tough days?
Diana: I cry and eat candy until I slip into a sugar coma. Okay, not really, but I feel like I want to do that sometimes. Every time I send another query, I feel like I’m asking a guy out or something—which really sucks because I thought those feelings were over five years ago when I got married!
But in terms of rejection, I just remind myself how difficult it is to squeeze in with the millions of people wanting to get published. I tell myself that if I get another rejection, I’m just not ready yet. There’s not much else you can do but keep your head held high, double-check your work and keep moving forward.
Brittany: What’s the best advice you've ever received?
Diana: The same advice I gave before...to read a lot! It helps massively with my own writing. Whenever I don’t feel like I've got the brainpower to write, all I have to do to perk myself back up is read.5x5,
Once a week, my guest blogger (who shall remain nameless...okay, not nameless...let's call her Ms. Sassy Pants. Sassy for short) stops by to share all the things in her life that deserve a big, fat DELETE. Anyhoo, her majesty is back and this week, she's fed up with passive-aggressive BS. Check out what she had to say and then come up with a few DELETES of your own.
Recently I was having a conversation with a friend (yes, I have them) and he said something extremely off-putting and then had the nerve to follow up with “I’m just kidding.” Really? Were you now? Or were you really speaking the truth, veiled by a joke? Truth in humor, we all know exists, but just how much can we take of this round-about-way of stating your opinion? Cut to the chase buddy…as far as I’m concerned (and that is clearly all that matters here) this is one phrase that should be DELETED from our vocabulary.
But before we DELETE it forever, here are a few others that should be eliminated as well. How about…
Do you ever stop talking? I’m just kidding…I love listening to your stories. DELETE.
Is your boyfriend always so boring? I’m just kidding…he seems like an excellent listener. DELETE.
Have you gained weight? I’m just kidding…you look so healthy! DELETE.
What did you do to your hair? I’m just kidding…platinum blonde is so 50’s bombshell. DELETE.
Your apartment is actually smaller than mine—I didn’t know that was possible! I’m just kidding…it’s so cozy. DELETE.
I love you. I’m just kidding...I just wanted to see what you were going to say. DELETE.
I’m still hooking up with my ex. I’m just kidding...Or am I? Just kidding…or not. DELETE.
Ever heard of personal space? Just kidding…you're so intimate. DELETE.
Alright kiddies…I’m sure you can take it from here.