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Friday, November 30, 2012

College: Winter Break Advice

It's that time of year again. Time to start getting ready to go home for winter break. It's an exciting time, the break between semesters. Thanksgiving break isn't nice, but with the homework and stressing about finals, it's not really a break. Here is some advice on how to get ready to go home.

Turn in any necessary paperwork 
If there's anything that you need to turn in about going home or living arrangements for next semester, make sure to get it in on time.

Pack anything and everything you'll need for home 
Make sure you have any clothes, toiletries, personal supplies, electronics, chargers, and everything else that you need at home. If you're planning on bringing up extra stuff after break, you might want to leave a little extra room in your suitcases for it. 

Make travel arrangements and don't forget to budget money for it 
If you're not driving yourself home, make sure to find and settle plans with a ride ahead of time. Don't forget to budget money for gas and food on the trip. Don't wait until the last minute because you might not be able to catch a ride. Everyone leaves at different times and cars can fill up fast.

Do anything required by your dorm
If you live in the dorms, make sure to attend any meetings, talk to your resident adviser, check out properly, and do anything else that's required by your personal dorms. Here we have so sign up for a check-out time a week or so in advance. In addition to the normal check-out right before we leave, we also have to do preliminary check-outs ahead of time. 

Clean the room
It's a lot better to come home to a clean room after break, so make sure to get everything organized. Change the sheets, make the bed, dust everything down, organize your desk, throw out any clutter that has accumulated over the year, and vacuum, sweep, and mop the floors. If you're not planning on taking any laundry home, make sure you get all of it done before you leave.

Defrost the fridge
Clean out all the food out of your fridge. You're probably going to have to unplug it while you're gone and the last thing you want to come back to is a disgusting mess. Put a towel underneath, unplug it, and let all the ice melt inside. Give it a good final clean if required.

Get rid or take home any food
If you have any perishable food, make sure to either throw it out or pack it to take home. You don't want to come home to any rotting or stale food. Nonperishable food is okay to leave, as long as its safely sealed and organized.

Make sure to unplug everything 
Before you leave, unplug everything. Give all the outlets a final glance to make sure that everything is out. This is also a chance to check and make sure that you have all the chargers that you need.

Do a last-minute check to make sure you haven't forgotten anything 
Make sure that you have everything you need before you leave. Here, once you check-out you have to leave the building and you're not supposed to come back in. Make sure that you have any house keys, wallet, identification, luggage, and anything else you might need.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Recs: Middle Grade

Christmas is just around the corner and so is that period of trying to figure out what to buy for everyone. Here are some ideas of great middle grade books and why I love them so much.

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
No list of mine discussing middle grade books would be complete with Tamora Pierce.  I've been reading this one at least once a year since fifth grade and I've never gotten tired of it. WM is the first book in the Immortals quartet. It's a great story with strong female and male characters, wild fantasy creatures, and a touch of romance later in the series.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
This is the first book in the Song of the Lioness quartet. It's another amazing story with strong female and male characters, surprising twists, and a bit more romance than Immortals.

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
I got into this series in middle school and just recently discovered it again. It hasn't lost any of its magic over the years. This is the first book in the eight-book series. I recommend it for a upper middle grade readers simply because each installment is rather long. It's the story of a girl who discovers a book in a library So You Want to be a Wizard and takes the Oath to become a wizard, expecting nothing of it. The series is one of magic, great characters, and being strong in the face of adversity.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This series is five books long, all of them fantastic. There is also a companion series Heroes of Olympus, also five books long, but only three of them are out so far. The series centers on Percy Jackson who, after many years of bizarre accidents resulting in him getting kicked out of school-after-school, discovers that he's the son of a Greek god and is taken to Camp Half-Blood where demigods are trained to fight.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
I read this book way back in seventh grade and I still look on it fondly. It's one of the few school-assigned classics that I can honestly say I loved when I read it in class.  In Jonas's world everything is assigned: jobs, houses, even spouses. When Jonas receives his occupation, he gets a shock: he has been chosen to be the Giver, the one to hold all the memories of things outside of their world, to see beyond. There are three sequels, one of which just came out very recently.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
This is the first book in the Kane Chronicles trilogy. The story centers on Carter and Sadie whose father, a famed Egyptologist, unleashes the Egyptian god Set and forces them to embark on a dangerous journey. This trilogy, like Percy Jackson, centers on mythology but it's Egyptian instead of Greek.

What are your recommendations for great middle grade books? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

RTW - Best Book of November

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. 

This Week's Topic: 
What's the best book you read in November?

Last month I hadn't finished any books and I'm happy to say that I fared much better this month reading-wise. I managed to finish two books, both of them amazing. The first was Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie. This was my second of her works that I've read and I loved it. 

My pick for best book, however has to go to... 

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This book is definitely a classic. I have to admit, it was a little strange but I loved it anyway. The epistolary style is very well-done and all the characters are brilliant. I've been wanting to read this one for years (and now I really regret that I passed it up in high school), but the movie is what really made me settle in to read it. I'm even more psyched for the movie now that I've read the book!

It's just so true to life and high school. This book really spoke to me. I wish I could send it back in time to my high school freshman self because I really think it would have helped.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why I Love NCIS's Characters

Over the last couple months, I've been on an NCIS-watching marathon. I've made it all the way to the end of season three so far. It's one of my all-time favorite shows. One of the reasons for that is its amazing characters. I love all of them and asking me which one is my favorite is like asking me to pick my favorite best friend.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs
No discussion of NCIS characters would be complete without Gibbs. Say whatever you want about him, he's probably one of the greatest characters written today. The backstory behind his character and everything he does is incredible. As I'm watching the show, I keep learning more and more about him. Every time an episode mentions his wife and child, or I see him dealing with a case that includes a child, I burst into tears. I can't help it. You might call him a chauvinist, but is he really? When a naval officer protested when he requested to bring Kate on board a submarine, didn't Gibbs fight until Kate was allowed on board? Gibbs would do anything for his team.

Anthony Dinozzo
I have to admit, I wasn't a fan of Tony at first. He's the real chauvinist of the show, always going after women and bragging about his conquests. He's always goofing around and causing trouble and lording his seniority over the other agents. But at the same time, he's an incredible agent and I know why Gibbs keeps him around. 

Abby Sciuto
If you ask me who my favorite character is, it will end up being a toss-up between Gibbs and Abby. Abby is the forensic scientist of NCIS and she's completely brilliant. She's always hyped up on caffeine, listening to loud rock music, and being a normal goth. She's the sweetest member of the team and she really cares about everyone. Her father-daughter relationship with Gibbs gets me every time.

Ziva David 
Ziva can be quick to jump for the trigger (she was an assassin before joining NCIS as a liason), but she's a great agent. She's the only one who can match Tony. Her inability to grasp American sayings and slang is great comic relief for the show and she does get a lot better at it as the show goes on. She has a complicated story behind her and the way she came to join NCIS that makes her character that much more fascinating.

Doctor Mallard
Ducky is the medical examiner for NCIS. He always has some kind of story that goes with everything and he can monologue for long periods of time, whether or not the story has any kind of relevance to the case or not. The only one who can ever seem to keep him completely on track is Gibbs. He's known Gibbs for a very long time.

Jimmy Palmer 
Jimmy is, as Tony puts it, the "autopsy gremlin" or Ducky's assistant. He makes his mistakes and gets nervous about doing things on his own, but he learns very quickly and will be a fantastic ME someday. I haven't seen a lot of him to where I am in the series, but he's such a sweetheart and he tries his absolute hardest to do his job right.

The main point of this is that every NCIS character, down to the smallest, feels like a real person. They all interact like real people. They have their friendships and their fights and their disagreements. But, at the end of the day, they're all a team. They make mistakes and they break Gibbs' rules and they learn from them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNo Update Week Four

Total Word Count: 40,284
Mon: 0
Tues: 0
Wed: 4,154
Thurs: 0
Fri: 2,981
Sat: 2,152
Sun: 0

It was a very up and down week writing-wise for me. Monday was an extremely stressful day for a lot of reasons. Tuesday I spent most of the day in a car traveling from uni to home (and then spent most of the day Sunday making the same trek in the opposite direction). And Thursday was Thanksgiving so I think that one speaks for itself. Other than that, though, it was a solid writing week. It occurred to me on Friday that all I needed to finish up that last leg of the story is one great writing spree.

How is everyone doing? It's the last week of NaNo! That means it's time to buckle down and blast out those final words.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

RTW - Balancing Writing with the Holidays

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic is:  
With Thanksgiving on the horizon we want to know how you balance hectic times like the holidays with your writing schedule.

I'm probably not the best person to be answering this question because I haven't written in three days (combination of getting everything ready to come home for break and stress). However, I'm hoping to go on a huge writing spree while I'm home so I can get ahead on NaNo (I'm behind right now) because the last week of November is the second-to-last week before finals (YIKES!). 

My biggest advice for writing during hectic times is write in your down-time. Even if you can only write 250 words at a time, those words add up a lot over time. And just a little bit of progress is better than none at all.

Don't make yourself feel guilty if you can't get a writing session in. If you don't write well under pressure, don't tell yourself that you have to write twice as much the next day because you didn't hit your target. Find the right balance between spending time with family and writing. 

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Monday, November 19, 2012

NaNo Week Three Update

Total Word Count: 30,997 words
Mon: 2,605
Tues: 1,192
Wed: 2,744
Thurs: 0
Fri:  2,095
Sat: 3,860
Sun: 0

It was a good weekend in writing. I've been trying to get ahead again so that I don't feel too pressured while I'm getting ready to go home and hanging out with my family over the holidays. This is the first time I'll see them since I got up here in August, so I don't anticipate having too much time for writing this week.

Tip:
Prioritize and give yourself permission if you need a day to catch up on other things. A few of my 0-word days were the result of my attempt to finish most of my homework in one day so that I could concentrate on writing later.

Even if you're normally a pantser, consider trying outlining if you're struggling to decide what to write. I have three points of view, so I outline chapters ahead so I know what's going to happen with each point of view. It helps to eliminate writers' block because I don't have to remember where each character is and what they were doing. 

How is everyone else doing? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

College: Going Home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is next week (I know, I'm in shock too) which means it's almost time to head home for the holiday! If you're lucky enough to get the whole week off, you might be on your way home already. If you have to wait until Wednesday, I sympathize. Here are some tips on going home for the holidays.

Get homework done
You might think that you'll have plenty of time for homework when you get home, but in my experience the holidays are the worst time to try to get things done. Home is nine hours away from college for me, so going home is a really big deal. My days tend to be packed with visiting people and going out. Therefore, check your syllabi and make a list of all the homework that you should get done. Get as much of it done before you leave as you can.

Make plans with any rides/passengers early
If you're catching a ride home or taking on any passengers, make sure you get all plans set ahead of time. There's nothing more annoying than having to wait for a driver or passenger because plans weren't clear. Things happen but try to stick to a schedule. 

Prepare your dorm room for the time away
Make any arrangements that you need to. Don't forget to clean out the fridge and get rid of any food that will spoil while you're away. If you have fish or other pets, make arrangements for them. Clean up your room and make sure to get rid of any garbage. The last thing you want is to come back to a room filled with fruit flies or smelling like rotten garbage.

Budget gas money
Gas is really expensive so make sure to prepare for that. If you're riding home with someone else, discuss how the costs will be divided and don't forget to bring enough money to cover your portion. If you're driving and taking passengers, make sure to talk to them about dividing the cost of gas and stick to the decided division.

Don't forget to pack
It's the weirdest feeling to pack stuff from your dorm room into a suitcase to go home.  Don't forget to pack ahead of time so you're not rushing to throw things into your suitcase five minutes before you're supposed to leave.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Releases: Ashes of Twilight, Undeadly, Struck by Lightning

Ashes of Twilight
by Kassy Taylor 
Ashes Trilogy #1
Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth.

Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time.

But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire?

When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.

 Undeadly
by Michele Vail
The Reaper Diaries #1

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble....

 Struck by Lightning: 
The Carson Phillips Journal
by Chris Colfer

Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips, who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

RTW -- Bits of Inspiration

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.


This week's topic: 
Share your most inspiring and/or motivational video, book, or quote on writing!

I love quotes and I have a whole collection of them. I started going through them looking for something to do this post and then I ended up not being able to decide which one I liked best. So here are a few of my favorites: 

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. ~ J.K. Rowling

I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had. ~ J.K. Rowling

“’What’ and ‘if’ are as non-threatening as two words can be. But put them together and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.” ~ Letters to Juliet

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” ~ Sidonie Gabriel

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach

“Want to know a secret? No one is ever ready. That’s why they call it a ‘leap.’ And if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll wait forever.” ~ My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” ~ Unknown

“Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more then what we are now: students. If they can do it, why not us?” – Order of the Phoenix

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ambiguous Characters

On Sunday nights, I have a tradition of watching Once Upon a Time. If you've never seen the show, basically the evil queen curses every fairy tale character to a little town in our world. It's a fantastic show on its second season.

But, anyway, my favorite character by far is Rumplestitskin. He only ever acts to his own ends and you can never tell which side he's really on. His agenda with a lot of things is unclear.

That's why I love him. I love the ambiguity of his character. I love his back story and everything that led to him becoming the way he is (no spoilers, I promise).

My favorite characters are often the ones where you can never tell which side they're on. They might do the right things for the wrong reasons or the wrong things for the right reasons. 

We love ambiguous characters because no one is always good or always bad. As Sirius said, "The world isn't divided into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got light and dark inside of us."

If you have characters that are ambiguous or characters that are evil, give them back stories. These are often the most rounded characters in the story. Don't make a character do horrible things because they're "evil." Make them do horrible things for a reason. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNo Week Two Update

Total Word Count: 18,501 words
Mon: 5,017
Tues: 1,777
Wed: 2,036
Thurs: 0
Fri: 2,127
Sat: 0
Sun: 0

I've been in a big slump. I have a rough idea of things that I want to happen, but no idea on how to make them happen. I've been busy with a lot of schoolwork, reading, and friends. Hopefully getting back into a class schedule through this week will help me get over my sparse weekend.

This Week in Tweets:

Starbucks. Gingerbread latte (may be my new favorite). Two hours until my next class. Time to write! #amwriting #NaNo

Just hit 10k! Maybe I should do caffeine-fueled writing sprints in Starbucks more often... #NaNo

Note to self: Telling friends that "my characters aren't talking to me" might make them find me insane.

I'm ahead in #NaNo, but behind on homework. Shows where my priorities are, doesn't it? #muststudy #wanttowrite

Word count for today: 0. I did, however, get quite a bit of homework done.

Tip:

At the end of every writing session, leave yourself a note on where your character was going next. This will give you a starting point at your next session and prevent writers' block that results from trying to decide where your character will go next.

How is everyone else doing? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Going to College in a Cold Climate

I'm so far north that half of the locals have Canadian-sounding accents. So when it comes to winter, it hits us hard. We got our first snow a week ago so I figured that now might be a good time to talk about how to handle the cold winter months.

1. Dress in layers
There are times up here when it'll be negative outside and then about seventy in the classrooms. (I wish I was kidding. I'm not.) The best thing to do is dress in layers. When I'm going to class, I generally wear a T-shirt or light long-sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, and a thick winter coat. There will also become a point when I'll start wearing Under Armour pants underneath my jeans. To keep your feet warm, get a couple pairs of fuzzy socks. When I'm going to spending a lot of time outside in the cold, I wear an Under Armour shirt, a warm long-sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and my winter coat.

2. Scarves are wonderful 
I have a thick woolen Gryffindor scarf that I wrap around my neck in the winter. It's also very nice if you do it in such a way that you can pull it up over your nose and mouth. Especially when the wind has decided to blow in such a way that ice crystals are flying into your face. 

3. Get a nice pair of boots with good traction
Boots are an essential in winter, especially once it really starts snowing. There are a lot of stylish and warm boots out there, though, that get terrible traction. That's the last thing you want when the sidewalks are covered in a slippery layer of ice and snow.

4. There's nothing better on a cold day than a hot shower
This one pretty much speaks for itself.

5. Be careful on slick roads
This one is particular to students who drive to classes. Check the road conditions before you leave and if it's not safe, don't go. Most professors will understand if you miss class because road conditions aren't safe, though try not to make a habit of it. Just make sure to let them know ahead of time that you won't be there. I had a professor tell us last week that he would be prefer us to email him and say that we can't make it to class safely than try to get there and crash.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Releases: Black City, Renegade, Meant to Be

Black City
by Elizabeth Richards
Black City #1
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

 Renegade
by J.A. Soulders
The Elysium Chronicles #1
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.

Her memories have been altered.

Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.

And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all. 

 Meant to Be 
by Lauren Morill
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

RTW: Best Book of October

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. 

 This week's topic: 
What's the best book you read in October?

I thought about just skipping RTW, but I'm kind of hoping that this confession encourages me to actually start reading. 

I have a confession to make: I didn't finish a single book for fun in October. It's been a very crazy month all around and reading just hasn't been in the cards. Instead, I think I'll talk about the books that I started reading but haven't yet finished...

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
This looks to be promising a very epic second installment to the series (yes, I am very behind) and I'm really excited about it. I only stopped reading because of the arrival of:  

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling 
I've been trying to read this book since it arrived at the beginning of the month. I am honestly enjoying it but it's a book that takes a lot of thought and concentration to read. It's not a very good pick for when I'm trying to read for a few minutes between classes. I'm thinking about putting it down until Christmas break when I have more time to devote towards it. 
I'm really hoping this month is better. How did everyone else fare when it came to reading in October?

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNo Week One Update

Word Count Total: 7,492 words
Day 1: 4,180 words
Day 2: 1,304 words
Day 3: 2,008 words
Day 4:       0 words

Tweets from This Week: 
Wrote almost 500 words at breakfast! I was planning to write at lunch but then I remembered I have a lab report due tomorrow...

I need to get one of those screensavers like #Castle has that says "You should be writing" scrolling across the screen…

It's really frustrating when my killer can't decide who to target next. #NaNo #murdermystery

Time to watch the end of Avengers and write. Word count today is 0 and that needs to change.

I'm to the point in my #NaNo where I'm staring at the screen asking "What happens next?"

Tips: 

1. Write whenever you can, wherever you can. Even if it's just for a few minutes, just get the words down.

2. If your target word count for the day is too daunting, write in short sprints. My target for each day is 2,000 words so when I'm struggling I do sprints of 250 words. Breaking the larger goal into smaller ones makes it more manageable.

3. Join in word wars with friends. Mutual support can really help motivation.

4. Give yourself permission to have an "off day." It's okay not to hit your target once in awhile. Don't beat yourself up over it and don't tell pressure yourself to "make up for it" the next day. Just write as much as you can and keep on trucking.

If you're participating, how are things going?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Releases: The Lost Prince, Venom

Sidenote: Happy first day of NaNo everyone! If you're participating, I hope you have a very productive first day of writing.
The Lost Prince
by Julie Kagawa 
The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

Venom
by Fiona Paul
Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?