Sunday, February 28, 2010

Something, Something, Something...Dark Side

There is something sinister going on at Gold's Gym. Not to worry, it isn't just any Gold's Gym--it isn't even my Gold's Gym--it is a nearby Gold's Gym that has gone over to the dark side.

Trust me, we're talking wicked voodoo magic here. It's the only possible explanation for the events that have occurred in this particular gym location...or at least the only one I'm willing to admit.

Regular readers of my blog may already be aware of another *ahem* mishap I've had on a gym excursions before. It may have involved a treadmill and a Cardio Cinema--lethal combination. This is part of my proof that something dark is happening here because it was at the SAME GYM LOCATION! *buh buh buum!*

Let me tell you of the unfortunate incident that occurred on Friday, February 26th, 2010.

It was a cold, wet day. I was in a different part of town than I usually roam. A place known in local circles as A.F. I went about my routine as usual. I swam my laps, then stretched in the hot tub and sauna--exactly as I do several times a week in my own gym to no ill effect. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred. After a few minutes in the steam room, I grabbed my towel and walked into the locker room.

As usual, I'd forgotten which locker I had placed my bag in. I paced back and forth, trying to remember where I'd been standing, but somehow...everything seemed different. Finally, I remembered it had been locker 13. Yes, locker 13--mysterious, no? That was when it hit me...

I was surrounded by men.

Men in towels, with jaws hanging wide open.

Yes, I'd been walking around in the men's locker room for over a minute.

Naturally, I handled the situation with grace and dignity. I threw my towel over my head, screamed, "Aaahhh, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" and ran out of the locker room.

As I stood, panting by the pool, I couldn't help but hear the outburst of laughter from the men who'd witnessed my unfortunate incident.

Now you've seen the evidence, you decide. Were there sinister machinations at work? Or was I just silly enough not to realize that the locker rooms were swapped from their locations at my normal gym?

One word of warning. Your responses may or may not determine whether I give you a cookie.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Few Things I Learned About Writing

I wanted to post a few things I've learned lately about writing--particularly writing sci-fi and fantasy. Because, well, learning stuff is good for you. So, suck it up. :)

1 - As technology changes, culture changes. Human emotion, however, is fairly constant.

2 - The more empathy you can create for a villain, the more powerful they are at affecting your audience.

3 - What feels exotic (in setting/culture) to the characters will also be exotic to the readers.

4- The more you make magic like science, the less sense of wonder you provide the audience from the magic itself.

5 - Sci-Fi is our world as it could be. Fantasy is our world as it could never be. Horror is our world as it should never be.

6 - Horror is in essence about morality. It is a study of good vs. evil.

7 - Children have fears that are concrete and abstract at the same time. For example: being afraid of "the dark"

8 - Real people with real psychological problems believe what they are doing makes sense--even if no one around them agrees.

9 - It is crucial to know all your characters motivating factors.

10 - There are six major motivating factors in a child/teenager: 1 - sense of belonging 2 - sense of protection 3 - curiosity 4 - denial of curiosity (knowing everything) 5 - desire to make things happen and affect the world around them 6 - to become or act more like a grown up

So, I hear the 10 is the it number when it comes to lists these days, so I'll stop there. What have you learned about writing lately?

P.S. I'm excited to be attending the LDS Storymakers Conference in April. If you're coming too, see you there! :)

They're also having a VERY cool Show Your Love for the Storymakers Contest. Let's just say, if I win...I will be surrounded by coolness.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feeling Inspired

I attended Life, the Universe and Everything last weekend. It was awesome. This is my 2nd year attending and I had even more fun this time. It is the only free writers conference/symposium I've heard of and I think it's great.

You've probably seen other bloggers mention Brandon Sanderson and his keynote address. If you haven't, I'll do a brief recap.

He quoted Sturgeon's Law - "90% of everything is crud." This refers to everything in the science fiction/fantasy arena, stating that by far the majority of it, well--sucks rocks.

Then he proceeded to disprove it. Some of my favorite quotes were.

"Don't buy into the myths." <--Referring to generalizations like Sturgeon's Law. He said doing that will lead to our cynical destruction as a genre.

"Science fiction and fantasy are inherently optimistic genres." <--Totally agree with this!

Favorite quote of the conference - "As soon as you start making stuff up, you're one of us."

His point was - be proud of your genre. Don't talk it down, and if other people mention they didn't like something within it, recommend another within the genre they will like. It was like a rally, very motivating and exciting. :)

What are your thoughts on Sturgeon's Law? Do you believe 90% of everything is crud?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

I received three awards this last week! THREE! I'm not always the best at passing these things on, but I'm going to do my best today. :)

The first is the Prolific Blogger Award. Thanks Shannon!

Here are the rules:
1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!
2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.
3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to the original post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.
4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we can all gete to know the other winners.

I'm only doing one because I like breaking the rules, so I pass this award to: Carolyn V. because she's so cute and I really enjoy her blog.

I received the Picasso award from Little Scribbler. Thanks! With this award I am supposed to state seven facts about myself and with the next award I'm supposed to do ten facts that make me happy so I'll just do ten (five of each) and it will count for both... mostly because I'm not that interesting that I can think of 17 things. :P

1. I have an abnormal passion for black olives--yes, I still put them on my fingertips like puppets.
2. I have the two cutest little boys in the world--also, I may or may not be biased.
3. I'm loyal to a fault, my mom and I frequently argued about my friends in high school--most of the time she was right, but don't tell her I said that.
4. I have painted my house, inside and out, almost entirely in the past year and a half. There are two rooms remaining and it will be 100%
5. I'm kind of handy. I like fixing and making old/broken things new.

Okay, there are my 5 for that one. I'm giving this award to Jenn Wilks for having such a cute blog and being just as cute in person. :)

I received that Happy Award from Stina Lindenblatt. Thanks Stina!

Five things that make me happy are:
1. My husband (yes, his accent is sexy--no, you can't have him)
2. My adorable kids (also, not for sale)
3. My awesome writing friends (depending on their "suggestions" possibly for sale... just kidding! You know I love you!)
4. Books...seriously, what would we do without them?
5. Writer's Conferences/Get Togethers...nothing is better at motivating me to keep going.
This one goes to Jaime Theler for being so happy every time I see her.
*phew* maybe next time I'll try to space them out. We all deserve a cookie after that one.

P.S. Elana, Shelli, and Shannon are all having cool contests this week! Check them out!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Funny Inspiration

I've been thinking a lot lately about creativity and inspiration. Where does it come from? What are the best ways to channel it? How do you find it again when it's gone?

I'm sure you've all asked yourself the same thing from time to time.

The other day, my 5-year-old taught me a lesson in creativity. My two sons and I were playing a game on PS3 called Little Big Planet. It's awesome, you may have heard of it.

There is an online community where kids can create their own levels and upload them for others to play. We were checking out some of the levels from that section, when we stumbled upon one where the description was written in Japanese characters.

My younger son just barely turned 5, and is still pretty new to reading, so we were reading the descriptions to him. He asked what this one said and I told him I didn't know. It was in a different language that I couldn't read.

He stared at it for a minute before nodding and stating, "I can read it."

My older son and I both looked at him, wondering what he was talking about, but he didn't bat an eye or even smile. He just looked at us.

"You can, huh? What does it say?" I finally asked.

He looked back at the screen and said with gusto, "It says: Hello! My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

We laughed until our sides hurt. It was the cutest, most unexpected thing I'd ever seen.

That was his creative side showing. Just being open to it seems to work for him. What works for you?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Answers! I have all the answers!

Okay, so maybe not all the answers...but more than I had last week!

Janna asked:
What would it take to get you a job as a stand-up comedienne? & Would you consider a creative passion other than writing?

Ha! It would probably take an exorbitant amount of money...paid to the stand-up club. I can't think on my feet, that's why I'm a writer! However, flattery will get you everywhere. *hugs*

I used to love painting, but I was never very good at it. I also love to sing.

L.T. Elliot asked:
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

It would have to be Mint Oreo...but I'm kind of an ice cream snob. I prefer mine to be mushed up right in front of me, or better yet, frozen with fancy chemicals like liquid nitrogen. I <3 SubZero.

Stina Lindenblatt asked:
Favorite type of chocolate? With nuts or cream centered?

My husband is from Finland. They make amazing, dream-worthy chocolate up there. There is one brand that I can't pronounce, or spell for that matter, but it has this wafer thing inside and it's to die for.

Jonathon Arntson asked:
If you became trapped on an island with Calypso for the rest of your life, but you became fast friends and she allowed to choose a new island on which to live out your abduction, what island would you choose and why?

I think I would choose Kauai, because it's gorgeous, warm, and they have this amazing ice cream/shaved ice/coconut milk concoction that should be outlawed due to sheer awesomeness.

Kimberly Franklin asked:
Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?

Yes, and no. I actually listen to music before I start writing, because I have an inability to hear songs I like without singing along, which then makes the writing side of my brain angry because it's easily distracted. With the two creative brain giants fighting, I get no writing done.

It's a disease really. I need help.

As for what, I tend to find songs that define certain characters. If I'm writing a scene with those characters, I listen to their music to help me get in their heads.

Melissa asked:
How long have you been writing? How many completed books do you have?

I've been officially writing for about a year and a half. I have one completed ms, two others under construction, and a bucketfull on the back burner.

Amber Lynae asked: Please tell us the stories of your worst and your best dates.

Wow, hmm--my worst date would have to be when a boy asked me to a dance by giving me a toilet seat...yes, you read that right...a toilet seat. It read, "Don't dump on me!" Talk about romantic.

My best date was when my husband had his dad take me up in an airplane and fly me around the coast of Finland. Afterward, we saw where he grew up, and sat on the dock by his house at sunset. Then he asked me to marry him. *sigh*

Candice asked: You seem to have been through quite a list of physical ailments in the past few months. Do you think any of them has given you superhero immunity? Or is it possible that the combination has caused cellular mutation and endowed you with an undiscovered power? And if so what do you think your power will be?

LOL Candi! Let's see. I'm going to go with yes, at least to the second part. It's pretty clear to anyone who knows me that something has gone awry. Mutation is a likely cause. I'm pretty sure my undiscovered power is the ability to make people suffer from similar ailments. You can call me Captain Contagious! Be very afraid.

My weakness, of course, is that I tend to call in sick alot. ;)

V.S. asked:
What is your favorite book?

Oh dear. Talk about a tough question. Maybe I could pick one per genre? Or one per decade? Or one per author? :D I'm naming two, even though you didn't ask for two, but um... tough! Two favorites are: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. LOVE THEM!

Sara McClung asked:
If your novel is turned into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Oh Sara, how I love to ponder this question. In fact, I've even devoted an entire blog post to it last year. Check it out here. You too can love Cam the way I do. :D *sigh...again*

Patti asked: If you could talk to any author in person by yourself for a whole afternoon, who would it be?

Hmm... I think I'd have to say J.K. Rowling. Because man, maybe I can absorb some of that talent by osmosis.

Kasie West asked: What would it take to convince you to give me your hair? I've thought extensively about this and I've decided I can either: a - make it into a wig for myself, or 2 - weave it into my own hair.

Oh my dear Kasie, you so don't want my hair. It's like having an extra tempermental child that enjoys giving you headaches and throwing tantrums at the most inopportune moments. In fact, have it! I think if anyone can pull off clumps of red curls in the midst of straight blonde bunches, it's you. ;)

Debbie asked: If you could write your own TV show, what would it be about? What role would I play? :)

Alright, picture the show "24" but with a female Jack Bauer. That would be you. I think you could totally make it work. When should we start shooting? :)

giddymomof6 asked: If you could have any super power what would it be?

I think I'd want to be like the Oman in my book and have them all! Muahahaha! Ahem--but if I had to pick one, it would be the power to see the future. Some lottery numbers would come in pretty handy right about now.

Thanks for the questions guys! That was super fun! :)