Sunday, November 29, 2015

Beautiful Books Linkup--November

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful Books." It's a lot like her "Beautiful People" linkup, except focused more on the actual book than the characters. It's also great for answering questions about your NaNoWriMo book, which I'll be doing this month. It's called Ms. Holmes.

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?

Yes and no. The book is very much following the original outline I wrote in October, but as always, my characters run the show. Recently my villain's love interest tried to tell me that she was actually my secondary character, too, and has been disguising herself as her in order to screw my main character over. I shut that one down pretty quickly because it was insane and would require a massive overhaul on the last hundred pages or so, but it did spark some ideas.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

The morning was cold, but the fire crackling across the room kept the place above chilly levels. There hadn’t been a day this week that wasn’t rainy or grey. It was just another November in London, but I hardly noticed it. My face had been buried in sketches for weeks. My fingertips, smudged with pencil, matched the color of the sky. Raindrops pelted the window with a kind of ferocity that made it sound like kids throwing pebbles at it again. I shut the curtains and moved my plans by the fire to read.

As you can see, it needs lots of work.

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?

I started out as a complete pantser. I'd have the smallest idea in mind and I would run with it until I got bored, which means I have a lot of unfinished novels in the depths of my documents. I tried plotting a few years ago--for NaNoWriMo, actually--and really liked it, because it made it easier to push through certain scenes since I knew what was coming next. Now I consider myself a "plantser." I almost always write an outline for my book before starting, but I'm flexible enough to change it as I go if something isn't working out. This has helped me actually finish a lot more stories.

4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?

Netflix, usually. I recently got into "The 100," so I don't let myself watch another episode until I reach my word count.

5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?

It totally depends on the character. Sometimes I'll go for name meanings, but that limits me a lot, so I usually just pick a name I like for my main characters. I try to go for something unique enough to be remembered, but not so crazy that you can't pronounce or spell it. I used baby naming books a lot when I was younger and compiled a list of names I liked that I keep in my inspiration folder. Whenever I hear a name I want to use, I write it down, then I go through the list when it's time to create characters. I have to make a note of which names I use and in what books now so I don't reuse them accidentally!

Here's a page from my "Awesome First Names" list. I have one for last names, as well, but this one is definitely more extensive.

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

Usually it depends on the story, but I love to write endings, especially of the bittersweet variety. Finding that perfect last line or scene that'll make your readers cry sparks my creativity like nothing else. But beginnings are always fun, too, because I'm always so excited to start this new and shiny project. I can knock out 5,000 words in an hour. But once I hit the 15,000-20,000 word mark, I start slowing down. I like the idea of middles more than I like writing it.

7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I'm really liking the one-eyed cat (whose name is Sir Mittens, but Astrid refuses to call him anything but "it" or "the cat") and Mr. Hudson. Sir Mittens is like my dog in the sense that he's a little neurotic and likes to lie down on anything, even if it's the project you're working on at that very moment. And Mr. Hudson is just so happy and welcoming to everyone, and he and his boyfriend are adorable together.

8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)

Google is my best friend. I can find anything with it, including when rubber bands were invented and the effects of certain slow-acting poisons. I think if anyone outside my family and writerly friends had seen just how excited I was to find a page all about poisons and what they smell/look like, they would've been seriously concerned.

9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?

I get more excited about my work when I'm with other writer friends, but I think I'm actually more productive alone. And I share my work all the time, but usually just with my critique partners who I know will give me helpful and honest advice without being harsh about it. I'll share snippets on my blog, but generally not much more than that.

10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

I live off of Cheez-Its and mochas in November, although right now with Christmas coming up I'm enjoying holiday cookies (like biscoitos, yum!). I almost always listen to music (a lot of "Sherlock" soundtrack music has been showing up on my playlists recently), unless I'm really trying to focus on a complicated plot point or tricky wording in a sentence. Then the lyrics can get really distracting. I don't think the time of day matters much, since I can write whenever, but it's definitely easier to focus when I get up earlier than everyone else.

Biscoitos, a Portuguese holiday cookie. It's similar to a shortbread, but really soft and chewy. My dog loves them, too.

I love my writing space. It's tucked away, cozy, and has a very creative feel to it when I sit down at my desk. Plus, everything I need is within arm's reach, so I don't even have to get up and ruin my flow to grab something.

A closer look at one side of the desk. My handy whiteboard is up on the wall, pencils and a notepad by my keyboard, inspirational quotes framed where I can see them.

And the other side. My corkboard has been super helpful when I'm trying to organize all of the edits my CPs give me, plus I can switch out fun pictures for an inspiration boost. I keep those "You should be writing" pictures right where I can see them so if I'm ever tempted to get distracted, they put me back on track.
Your turn! Feel free to answer some or all of the questions in the comments below. :) I love hearing from other writers!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Importance of Fan-Fiction

About a year ago when I joined Tumblr I discovered something magical . . . fan-fiction. I'd known about its existence for a long time (thank you Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell) and I'd written some before I even knew what it was called (I have Harry Potter 8, 9, 10, and 11 written by my seven-year-old self tucked away underneath my mattress as we speak). But I didn't realize just how huge it was until I started following a few fandom blogs.

Me upon discovering how much there was to read.
Fan-fiction is magical! I know it gets a lot of flak for not being "real writing" (whatever the hell "real writing" means, seeing as anything that's been written is by its very definition "real" . . .) or being a waste of time, but I strongly disagree. Sure, there are some pretty poorly written stories out there, but there are poorly written stories for every genre.

Still not convinced? Let me list out a few of my reasons of why fan-fiction is so important.

1. It makes you feel like a part of the fandom

And I'm not just talking about being a part of the fandom as a fan (though it certainly does that, too). I'm talking about becoming an actual character in the story. Ever heard of reader inserts? I didn't either until last year, but I absolutely love them.

The basics are it's a normal fan-fiction story, but it's told in the second person. "Y/N" is the main character, which stands for "your name." So "Y/N" becomes "Kate" (in my case), and suddenly I'm the protagonist in the story. I'm a student at Hogwarts, or one of the Doctor's companions, or riding shotgun with Dean Winchester on the way to hunt down a demon. And I can do all of these things just by reading a story in the safety of my own bedroom under the covers. Here's an example of a reader insert:

“I so owned those guys!” Charlie squealed happily. She held up her hand for a high-five, which you accepted with your own grin. Leave it to Charlie to look like she'd been dropped in the middle of Disneyland when in reality you were covered in blood outside an abandoned bar.

“Yeah you did,” you said, beaming at her. “Are you sure this was your first vampire hunt?”

She rolled her eyes. “Totally sure. Couldn't you tell after that first one?”

You giggled, remembering how Charlie had had to swing three times before she could get the head completely off. It was funnier now that you weren't in life-threatening danger.

2. It's great for exercise

There are all kinds of fan-fic stories, but some of the most popular kinds are definitely ones that involve the impossibly cute couples from all of your favorite fandoms. I've read some pretty adorable Tenrose fics that have made me flail and squeal, and all of that helps to burn a few hundred calories. Reading and exercise, all in one. ;)

Me after reading about Rose and the Meta-Crisis Doctor going to the park with their daughter and being so freaking cute and aoidjgoasdl;liaje.
But since we're also talking about fandoms and ships here, I've also read some extremely sad ones . . . I've gross sobbed over fan-fic series before. It wasn't pretty. But I did get a good workout.

Me after reading the Stolen Dance Supernatural Sam/reader fan-fiction series. Go look it up immediately. Or just click HERE for part 1. It's fabulous. Clearly, considering it's shipworthy and heartbreaking all at the same time.
3. It's easier to write

I'm not saying that it's always going to be easier to write, or that it's somehow this magical genre that flows effortlessly from your fingertips at all times, but the already developed characters and storyworld certainly help. You don't have to come up with the complicated backstories of your main characters or figure out all of the rooms and secret passageways in Hogwarts. It's already been written for you! Now all you have to do is plop those characters somewhere and make them move. Easy as pie.

4. It's a fantastic warm up

Me writing fan-fiction. Apparently I have a thing for gifs of people--or animals--typing like their lives depend on it.
Fan-fiction is amazing for creativity! This past year I've struggled with varying kinds of writer's block, all of which frustrated me to no end, but fan-fiction was always the thing I just had no trouble writing. When my original characters refused to do anything, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were right there and ready to solve a mystery.

And even just staying in the habit of writing was great for me, because eventually the writer's block vanished and I was able to pick right back up where I left off. Even now I'll write a page or two of my fan-fiction series before diving into my NaNoWriMo novel. It's my favorite kind of warm up.

5. It can be adapted for publication

Though you should never try to make money off of your fan-fiction without the express permission from the original creator, you can take those fan-fiction pieces and rework them so they read as regular short stories. Just take out the unique elements and characters that make it fan-fiction and replace it with characters and elements of your own design.

One of my fan-fiction series that's still in the works has hit 20,000 words and is still going strong. I'm loving it! And when it's finished I'm planning to edit it so it reads like a novella. I just have to change a few things, replace Dean Winchester with a character of my own, and voila. Instant story with the possibility for publication.

6. You can make new friends

This is definitely my top reason to promote fan-fiction. I've bonded with so many people over a shared love for different fandoms. (And as bloggers, you should know just how important online connections are, too!)

In about January of this year, I discovered a fan-fiction writer by the name of Kazzy. She has thousands of faithful followers who read every story she posts (and I'm one of them! She's an awesome writer and the author of the aforementioned Stolen Dance series.). One day, she had the idea to host an online "sleepover." So she set up a Chatzy room so all of us who wanted to could join and talk about "Supernatural" and get to know each other as fellow fangirls/boys.

That night, a girl under the pseudonym Sam Winchester invited me to a private chat so I could participate in a Supernatural roleplay with her and nine other girls. We connected instantly. These girls were so welcoming to me and when I say we've spoken every day since, I'm not exaggerating. We roleplay on nearly a daily basis, text each other all the time, and Skype frequently. I've even met one of roleplayers offline because she only lives a couple hours from me! Even though we've known each other for maybe ten months now, I feel like I know these girls like sisters. We're one big family, and I love it.

My friend Charlie and me being nerdy dorks, as usual, after she surprised me by showing up at my house when I had no idea she was coming!! (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for helping to set that up. :) )
Charlie and me at a book festival.
So not only does fan-fiction provide entertainment, but it gives you the opportunity to form new friendships. If that isn't a selling point, I'm not sure what is.

What are some of the best fan-fiction stories you've read? Any personal stories of your own having to do with fan-fic you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about your experiences with it! Leave a comment!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo Tag

I stole this tag from Emma at "Kittens on Bookshelves" because it just looked like too much fun to resist. And as we are officially at the halfway point for NaNoWriMo, what better time to post it than now?

1. How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

This is my seventh year! Although this is only my third year with a 50,000-word goal. I've been participating with my family since I was nine, so you'd think I'd become a pro at staying on track with my goal all the time . . . you would be wrong. I still procrastinate horribly whenever I hit a plot hole and can't figure out how to fix it. Then I generally end up writing like a cat on crack on the last day to write the last 5,000 or so words.

I came across this gif forever ago and have been waiting for an excuse to use it . . . you're welcome.

2. How did you first find out about NaNoWriMo?

My mom found out about it from a friend, told me and asked if I'd be interested, and I believe I responded with, "Um, yes?!?!"

3. What was the name of the first novel you attempted with NaNo?

The Adventure That Started With Nuts. It was a chapter book about a squirrel and a chipmunk who were best friends. They traveled all over the country and got into tons of shenanigans. Eventually they ended up accidentally getting trapped on a boat headed to Antarctica. It was was all very dramatic.

4. Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you’re writing this year.
Genderbent, steampunk, Sherlock Holmes story involves one-eyed cats and time traveling train machines.

5. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I think the general piece of advice "write what you love" is the best thing any writer can keep in mind. If you don't enjoy what you're writing, your reader won't either.

6. Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why?

Not yet! There may come a year when I will, but I don't see that happening for a while.

7. What's your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write?

I have ideas to spare (and a notebook full of them to prove it), so the main problem is usually figuring out which one to start with! When I'm actually in the process of writing it, though, music and food are a huge help. A little Taylor Swift or "Doctor Who" scores, chocolate/coffee/tea/Cheez-Its, and I'm good.

8. Read us the first sentence from one of your novels.
First lines are the hardest part of any story for me, but there is one I'm particularly proud of. It's from my 2010 NaNoWriMo story, a middle-grade fantasy that's called Fantasya: A Giant Problem. "There is no 'once upon a time' in this book, because that’s how a fairytale starts, and this is not a fairytale."

9. Why do you love writing?

Because I can create something out of absolutely nothing! With a few taps of the keyboard I can write a story that has the ability to make someone laugh or cry or get inspired to make something of their own. Stories change people for the better, and I love that I get to be a part of that.

How's your NaNoWriMo going? What's your word count looking like right now? What's your story about? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Beautiful Books Linkup--October

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful Books." It's a lot like her "Beautiful People" linkup, except focused more on the actual book than the characters.

Today I'll be talking about my NaNoWriMo book, Ms. Holmes. I'm so excited to write it.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I don't know exactly how I got the idea for the novel, except that I've had four different things I've been wanting to experiment with in my writing: 1. Retellings 2. Time travel 3. The steampunk genre and 4. Genderbending. So I mixed them all up and here we are.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

BECAUSE TIME TRAVEL. And also Sherlock Holmes. I've been obsessed with "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" for a while now, and the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes has always fascinated me. There will also be a one-eyed cat, a gossipy landlord, and tea. Lots and lots of tea.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

The title of the book is Ms. Holmes (which I'm extremely pleased with, since it's one of the few NaNoWriMo titles I had in mind right from the start), and as for what it's about, I'll just post my summary here:

What’s the best way to solve a murder? Stop it from happening in the first place. Astrid Holmes, teenage inventor and consulting detective, has spent years helping Scotland Yard’s best catch criminals and murderers and put them behind bars where they belong. But recently she’s been able to perfect a new invention that could help them even more: a time machine. Astrid and her most trusted companion, Dawn Watson, test their steam-powered machine, disguised as a train, and travel back in time to prevent said murders from ever happening. Little does Astrid know that she has a new and even more threatening enemy.

Faye Moriarty treats time as her plaything. Messing about with both past and future, Faye threatens everything Astrid’s put her life into rebuilding, and it won’t be easy to catch her. She’s slippery as an eel and deadly as the dragon she’s working night and day to build. Can Astrid and Dawn catch Faye before it’s too late? Or will time make monsters of them all?

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

I have a lot of characters in mind right now, but here we go:

Astrid Holmes (consulting detective/inventor) - Brilliant
Dawn Watson (investigative journalist) - Compassionate
Faye Moriarty (inventor) - Megalomaniac

Sahara Moran (sniper/assassin) - Loyal
Natalie Lestrade (Detective Inspector) - Stubborn

Mr. Hudson (landlord/“housekeeper”) - Welcoming

Cecily Forester (Clock-keeper) - Outcast
Emily Forester (Clock-keeper’s daughter) - Shy
Mia Holmes (Astrid’s little sister) - Sweet

Olive Harrington (Timekeeper for train station) - Odd

Kelsey and Lance Stark (Train conductors, husband and wife) - strong and adventurous, respectively
Jeffrey Stark (Son of Kelsey and Lance Stark) - Filterless
Griffon Geller (Serial killer) - Psychotic

Sir Mittens (Dawn’s one-eyed cat) - Cunning
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Ack, this is so hard to choose! I love each of my characters for different reasons, but side characters tend to be my favorites. So other than Astrid (especially her fighting with Sir Mittens when he gets in the way of her projects), I think my favorites are going to be Cecily (because she's a quirky klutz and just a bouncy, fun character) and Natalie (because she can get easily grumpy and irritable, which is always fun to write). Faye is also a villain I'm really excited to play with since I haven't ever written anyone like her.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

Astrid wants to solve the various murders and crimes Faye is carrying out with her newly completed time machine, but time is complicated and Faye is just as brilliant as she is. Not only are both past and future being messed with by Faye, but there's a problem in the present. A serial killer by the name of Griffon Geller has recently escaped from prison, and Astrid's made it her personal mission to capture him again.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

Victorian London! Mainly at 221B Baker Street, Big Ben, and the train station.

If you want to see more pictures, click HERE to go to my Pinterest board.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

Astrid's most important relationship was with her little sister Mia, but her most important current relationship is hands down with Dawn. She's the first person Astrid could even consider calling her friend.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Through Dawn's influence, Astrid will grow more and more compassionate, when before she was more closed off and cold.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

I don't usually go into a book with specific themes in mind. The best themes seem to be the ones that aren't planned, but emerge as you're writing the story. So I have no idea how to answer this question, but I know friendship is always something that's a big deal in my novels, no matter the genre or story.

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

1. Forget perfection. That's what editing is for. If you're one of those writers who can't stand to move on until everything's just how you want it to be, leave yourself a note to go fix it later. But there's no way you'll be able to write as quickly as you want to if you can't move past a plot hole.

2. Don't procrastinate. Hit your daily word goal ASAP before doing anything else, if you can avoid it. I've had years where I had to scramble to write 7,000+ words on the last day because I'd had such bad writer's block throughout the month. It never turns out as well as it would've otherwise.

3. Have fun! Win or "lose," NaNoWriMo is tons of fun. You can meet so many great people and get all of these ideas, so try not to let stressing out about your goal the main point of the event. Participate in Word Wars online, talk to other writers, and type like crazy. You'll love it even more if you do.

Your turn! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Is it your first time or are you a NaNo pro? What's your book about? Leave a comment!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Spinoff Series

In the fandom world, there's nothing I like more than fangirling over one of my favorite books or TV shows. But there's nothing worse than seeing that series take a hiatus or, *gasp*, end completely.

I'll pause here for dramatic effect. Feel free to join me in sniffling and staring longingly into the distance.

All right.

But there's a brilliant invention that helps to soothe that pain: the spinoff series.

"Doctor Who" in particular is fantastic at this. I've watched all of "Torchwood" and loved it, and now both "The Sarah Jane Adventures" and the upcoming "Class" series (*squees*) are on my to-be-watched list. I'm also over-the-moon excited for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

But if I were supreme ruler of the fandom world, so many more shows and book series would exist. For example . . .

Harry Potter - ANY STORY EVER

I will always take more Harry Potter. Whether it's a book about Luna's life with her father hunting down Crumple-Horned Snorkacks or entire series dedicated to James and Lily's years at Hogwarts, I'll read it all. Every single bit of it.

"Supernatural" - "Wayward Daughters"

There's been buzz around the Twitter and Tumblr community about the possibility of a spinoff featuring sheriffs Jody Mills and Donna Hanscum. It would be the usual "saving people, hunting things," but involving more of the awesome female characters in the "Supernatural" series that don't get as much screen time. You can find more information about it HERE and sign the petition to get the people in charge of making it happen to consider it HERE. It looks a-maz-ing.

"Sherlock" - "Moriarty"

Moriarty is one of the best villains I've seen in a long time. He's not only evil, he's hysterical, too. I'd love to see an entire show dedicated to him carrying out his elaborate plans with Sebastian Moran by his side. It'd be funny as well as action-packed, and maybe the seasons could even be staggered so we could get new episodes in between new "Sherlock" episodes.

Throne of Glass - Chaol's story

Beautiful fanart of Chaol and Dorian
I'm almost done reading Crown of Midnight, and I've got to say I freaking love that I'm getting to see this much of Chaol, even though this whole book is breaking my heart. Wouldn't it be great to see a prequel series with Chaol getting his position as Captain of the Guard and carrying out royal duties while befriending Dorian? I'd snatch it up right away.

"Gilmore Girls" - Luke's childhood, Lorelai's childhood, Jess, Kirk

Basically there are tons of options for spinoff series featuring "Gilmore Girls" characters. We could have entire shows about Luke's childhood in Stars Hollow and the transition from the hardware store to the diner, or Lorelai's childhood and life living with the rich crowd, or Jess and his adventures pre- and post-"Gilmore Girls," or even Kirk! I'm sure there are so many things about Kirk we don't know that could merit a miniseries. Come on Amy Sherman-Palladino, we all want to see them!

"Once Upon a Time" - Regina, Mulan and Aurora

I'm so happy we're getting to see more of Regina this season, and I always love the flashbacks featuring her character, but I want to see more! Her backstory is probably the most intricate one, she'd be the perfect anti-hero for a new show. And how about Mulan and Aurora? I feel like we were just starting to get to know them before that storyline was dropped. (Plus I totally ship them, so that series is just a set-up for major feels.)

How about you? What spinoff series would you like to see? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#WritersLife Tag

This is stolen from Cait, who stole it from somebody else, because it just looked like too much fun to pass up. And also I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like, and blog tags are always a good way to get back in that rhythm.

Write Fuel: What do you eat/drink while writing?

Cheez-Its have become my go-to writing snack, but I'll also go for anything chocolate (especially Reese's products). As for drinks, something warm and writerly, like tea or hot chocolate or a mocha.

Write Sounds: What do you listen to while writing?

Anything and everything. Sometimes depending on the book I'm writing, I'll have a specific playlist for that, but most of the time it's whatever comes on my iPod. Taylor Swift, "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" soundtracks, and the current song on repeat 24/7 are my favorites. I tried writing while having a "Doctor Who" episode playing in the background, but that ended poorly . . . mostly my characters just started saying whatever the Doctor was saying. Then I just stopped writing all together and got sucked into the episode.

Write Vice: What's your most debilitating distraction?

Whatever's going on just outside the room. Most likely my dog freaking out about something new. That and the internet in general. Tumblr is just too shiny.

Write Horror: What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you while writing?

Rejections are pretty horrible at first, but I think the winner would have to be that moment of panic when something goes screwy and you lose a big chunk of your writing. Even if you try to recreate it right away, it's never the same.

Write Joy: What's the best thing that's ever happened or how do you celebrate small victories?

Best things . . .

-Finishing my first novel
-Winning NaNoWriMo
-Winning contests
-Taking on jobs at different writing websites
-Having a critique partner/beta reader rave about a certain character or part of a story that I'm particularly proud of
-Making myself cry while writing
-Having an agent request a full manuscript

How I celebrate . . .

-Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
-Spinning around aimlessly in my desk chair while I revel in the feeling of productivity.
-Netflix, usually with a "Doctor Who" episode.
-Telling my friends/family.

Write Crew: Who do you communicate with or not communicate with while writing?

Usually I keep my first drafts mostly to myself, though I will post snippets here and there on my blog and/or Twitter. I'll go to my critique partners for help, too, if I need it. Right now, though, I'm writing a novel using characters based off of the original characters my friends are playing in our Supernatural roleplay, so I'm teasing them with random excerpts via text message.

Write Secret: What's your writing secret to success or hidden flaw?

Believe me, if I knew the secret to success, I would share it with you. I'd also be getting a lot more done. But if there is a secret, I haven't found it yet. So I'll just leave you with the advice to find something about whatever you're writing to be excited about and hang onto it. If you're not enthusiastic about your project, it won't get finished.

As far as my "hidden" flaw, I procrastinate. Endlessly. Hence the not posting on here for almost a month (oops). When I don't have any ideas, I tend to put it off and wait for the inspiration to hit, which any good writer will tell you is a terrible way to go about things. Don't do it.

Also my characters "raise a single eyebrow" a lot, which is very unrealistic, because most people I know aren't capable of doing this . . .

Write-spiration: What always makes you productive?

As much as it might seem weird, Pinterest! Like I said before, you have to find something to be excited about when it comes to your writing. So sure, I might "waste" an afternoon creating an elaborate Pinterest board for my novel, but after that I'm practically bouncing out of my chair with anticipation of actually writing the whole thing.

Putting together a playlist also helps for similar reasons. If I have pins of actors and actresses "playing" my characters and an awesome soundtrack to go with it, the fangirl in my starts squeeing over the imaginary movie and I hurry up to get it written so that's actually a possibility.

Write Peeve: What's one thing writers do (or you do) that's annoying?

I'll just say the first thing that popped into my head, because my mind's drawing a blank: plotlines that drop off. I hate it when an author teases us about a possible storyline, but never does anything with it. Drives. Me. Crazy. Of course I'm guilty of the same thing, but I generally catch myself after the first round of edits.

WriteWords: Share one sentence from a project, past or present.

I'll break the rules and share a short snippet from my two current projects, Beneath the Moon and Stars (which I'm editing) and 'Til the Last Star Dies (which I'm writing):


I rolled my eyes at him, though a grin took over the rest of my face. “You’re so self-deprecating.”

“I could say the same to you.”

I shrugged. “Call it that, call it me trying not to attract attention.”

Lane’s blue eyes twinkled, as if his wide smile had lit up his whole being. “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”


Maybe it was the way she sat slumped over her glass of Coke, shoulders pulled up almost to her ears as her long, lazy curls of hair—a shade of burned golden, like a toasted marshmallow—worked hard to hide her face. Maybe it was the oversized hoodie that seemed to swallow her whole, dark clothes melting into the shadows. Maybe it was the fact that the ice in her soda had long since melted, watering it down, but in all the time Lila had been sitting at the bar, she hadn't taken a single sip.

 But most of all, it was her aura. A foggy forest green, but there was something off about it. It shimmered too much, almost like it was shivering. The energy was tense and buzzing, static electricity causing the hairs on Lila's arms to stand on end. The woman was trying so hard not to be seen that it was difficult for Lila to focus on anything but her, on the nervousness and fear, on wondering what she could do to fix it. The draw to her was nearly impossible to ignore, pulling them together like a couple of magnets.

Lila raised her hand to the bartender and gave a quiet, “One more,” then gestured to the woman, who sat a few stools away from her. She didn't even glance up when Lila spoke. 

I'm tagging . . .

All of you writers! Write a blog post or leave a comment. I want to hear all of your writerly secrets. ;)

Friday, October 2, 2015

September Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Looking For Alaska by John Green


Definitely much better than Paper Towns. I feel like it had more depth to it, though I am sick and tired of the "mysterious girl next door that's kind of a jerk but something about her just draws me in" character John Green seems to be so fond of. It was easy to get into despite the fact that the first hundred pages didn't have a clear plot in mind. But the last half flew by and it was a good story overall.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Maggie Stiefvater did it again! Another great paranormal read with short chapters and likable characters and beautiful writing. It reads very fast, and it had a great kind of "Teen Wolf" vibe to it mixed with something else I can't quite put my finger on. Plus, it's a good book for this time of year now that it's getting colder out.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs


I loved this! It was such a fun book to read as a fangirl, and a great way to learn about new fandoms. For boys and girls alike, if you're into Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or "Doctor Who" or . . . any fandom, really, this is for you.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio


Such a fantastic addition to the "We Need Diverse Books" community. I had very little knowledge on people who are intersex before reading this. I feel educated without feeling preached to, and the story itself did a pretty good job overall of giving us good plots and interesting characters that weren't completely defined by the protagonist's diagnosis. Kristin is intersex, but she's also a high-school student, a daughter of a single father, an athlete, and all of these other things. I highly recommend it.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier


Like all of Raina's books, this one is adorable. The illustrations are so simple, but it doesn't take away from the story. And as a kid who's gone through a ton of orthodontic work, I could totally relate to a lot of her situation. It won't take you more than an afternoon to finish.

Movies I Watched

"The Return of the King"


This was probably my favorite movie out of the three, even if it's the longest. I don't remember much from the books, but the friendship between Sam and Frodo in the movie is one of the best I've seen in a long time. And of course Merry and Pippin are always great. The only part that felt really dragged out was the ending, because I kept thinking it was going to end, and then it'd switch to another scene.

"One Crazy Summer"


This was super goofy and cheesy, but fun. I liked it more than "Better Off Dead," because it had somewhat more of a stable plot in mind while keeping the same style of movie. I'll never see Curtis Armstrong as anyone but Metatron, though. It's still really weird to see him in any other role.

"Ocean's Thirteen"


After "Ocean's Eleven," this one was my favorite. I love movies that involve some great heist or crime or something that requires a thousand different steps to pull off. It's fascinating and keeps me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Plus, you laugh a lot with the Ocean's movies, too.

Obsessions I Acquired

Spotify. I use this all the time when I'm writing now, because it's so easy to create different playlists and find new songs. The mobile app is pretty convenient, though I much prefer the computer version.

Guitar/ukulele. I bought myself a ukulele recently and I've loved playing it. The chords are so much simpler! I probably should've started with that before doing guitar, but I've found that I can play both pretty well now considering I've just taught myself online. I've even tried writing a song or two, which was extremely difficult and probably won't be doing again anytime soon, but it was fun to try it out.

My Beneath the Moon and Stars Pinterest board. With all the editing I've been doing recently, I took a break to organize my Pinterest board and, well, that break stretched into four-plus hours of photo editing and fangirling endlessly over casting choices. Everyone just fits so perfectly.

This video. Oh. My. God, is this gorgeous. Apparently it was a routine on "So You Think You Can Dance," but I like this version better. And the subway station atmosphere fit perfectly. I've watched it no less than a dozen times now. There's something mesmerizing about it.

Picture of the Month

From my Pinterest board, this is a pretend movie cover I designed featuring a quote from the book (said by Lane, of course, because he's smooth like that). I love the simplicity of it, and the pretty font.

How was your September?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

July/August Wrap-Up

So since I was away at the end of July, I decided to just combine my July and August wrap-ups. Here we go:


Books I Read

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King


This was a fantastic read. I'd love to be able to compare it to another book or two, but it's impossible to categorize since the whole story is about not being categorized. So I'll recommend it to everyone. Once you accept the fact that you can swallow yourself or let your hair grow ten feet in one night or fly an invisible helicopter, you'll hardly even notice the time passing. Read my review here!

Doubt #1. by Yoshiki Tonogai


I'm not a huge manga person in general, but a friend recommended this series to me and I thought I'd check it out. It was actually pretty good! Super creepy, not exactly a book full of depth or something that'll make you think about it days after you've read it, but it's a fun mystery. I read each book in maybe an hour. It was a nice way to spend a summer afternoon.

Doubt #2. by Yoshiki Tonogai


(See above.)

Movies I Watched

"Midnight In Paris"


I. Loved. This. For people who like quirky movies, "Stuck In Love," and love to write, this is the movie for you. I watched it the first night of my overnight writer's camp with a bunch of friends and we couldn't stop talking about it even the day after we'd seen it. It was really short (we all couldn't believe it was already over when the credits started rolling) but it was fantastic. Highly recommended.

"Big Hero 6"


If you like "The Incredibles" or any Marvel movie ever, you'll probably like this one. Super cute and fun with the perfect amount of humor and action, this totally seemed like an animated Spider-Man kind of movie. (And the Fallout Boy song in the credits is great, too.)

Obsessions I Acquired

Picmonkey I've really wanted to do more art lately, so I've been experimenting with all kinds of different forms of it. Sketching was a really popular one for a while, but recently I've found out how addicting photo editing can be. I love quotes (especially ones from books and TV shows) and with my recently discovered love for fan-fiction, combining the two is so much fun. I've been taking the quotes from my favorite fan-fic stories and pairing them with artsy photos. Picmonkey is the easiest site to use for this stuff, in my opinion, so that's what I've been doing with some of my free time.

Picture of the Month

This is one of the pictures I'm especially proud of for making. It's from a "Supernatural" fan-fiction series by a Tumblr writer, Kazzy, who helped me to find a bunch of other fangirls to talk to. This is from her Stolen Dance series.


Books I Read

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm


A great, super quick read (it took me about half an hour to read it) with simple illustrations and a good story. This is my kind of graphic novel, just fun and easy to read. And for a middle-grade novel, it tackled some pretty tough subjects you wouldn't expect to show up in a book geared for ages 8-12.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey


I don't really like zombies or zombie stories in general. If this hadn't been the pick for a sci-fi book club I'm in, I wouldn't have picked it up at all. But I was pleasantly surprised. It read a lot like a dystopian would, but it was very creative in the sense that the "zombies" weren't the typical rotting, drooling, "braaaaaaiiiinnnnsss"kind of creature you'd expect. It was more of an infection than it was a paranormal creature, something that you could almost see existing in a very scary version of the future. Lots of action and adventure, it'll keep you interested the whole time.

You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day


I freaking love Felicia Day, and this is hands down one of the best books I've read this year. Lately I’ve felt a little stuck and discouraged creatively, and by the time I read the Acknowledgements, I was tearing up a little bit. Not only has this given me the push I need to keep going, but now I want to buy several copies of this book and shove it into the hands of everyone I know who's ever felt weird or wanted to create something and share it with the world but doesn't know how. Read my review here!

Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel


I don't have particularly strong feelings about this one, but I stuck to my "rule" (which I hesitate to even call a rule, because it sounds so strict and scary. It's more of a personal reading guideline of mine.) of putting down a book that doesn't grab my interest after 100 pages. By the time I hit 100, I still wasn't interested enough in the protagonist or the plot to keep going. That's not to say that it somebody else won't like it, so I'm not going to discourage you from picking it up. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


Another Maggie Stiefvater success! I love her writing style. While I think I definitely enjoyed The Raven Boys more, I still ate this one up. The ending was the only reason why I knocked off a start, because I felt like the last 100 pages or so dragged on for a little too long. There were a lot of unnecessary details and extra plot lines that I feel like could've been cut for the sake of keeping my interest. BUT. The characters are still phenomenal. I love Blue and Gansey and Ronan and basically everyone in the book for different reasons. It's a great series.

Nevermore by Keith. R.A. deCandido


I was so disappointed that I didn't like this one more than I did. It sounded really promising from the premise, and a "Supernatural" companion novel?! Sign me up! But even if my standards for fan-fiction weren't as high as they are now (I'm extremely picky with how authors portray the characters since I already know them so well), this story would still be a major fail. 100 pages in and the plot wasn't going anywhere. It was just a lot of Dean listening to classic rock and getting frustrated with New York traffic and Sam rolling his eyes at him. (And the author couldn't even get their PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS right! I mean Dean with blue eyes? No. No no.)

Movies I Watched

"Legally Blonde"


A fun summer movie with a clever story. Not anything to scream about, but I definitely liked it. Just enough fluff to be lighthearted, but not so much that it's stupid. You'd never guess it'd be as good as it is from the DVD cover.

"500 Days of Summer"


Indie film! Zooey Deschanel! Good music! Quirky premise! I loved it. There was even a bit of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff going on (not anything sci-fi related, just in the way that the flashbacks and flash-forwards were played out). The ending wasn't what I'd expected, but it strayed away from Hollywood expectations and fit perfectly with the overall theme. Go watch it!

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (a rewatch)


Good ol' Harry Potter, of course I enjoyed it. For the shortest movie in the series, it did a pretty good job of sticking to the plot and getting all the major details in. (Though I'm still always confused why they decided to make the Collin Creevy character Nigel instead. WTH?) The music was especially good, as always. I like watching these movies any time of the year.

"Easy A" 


If you like "Mean Girls," this is the movie for you. Emma Stone is fantastic. It was laugh-out-loud funny, witty, and super clever. I loved the characters and all of the pop culture references. It was great.

Obsessions I Acquired

Sleeping At Last Especially their songs "Jupiter," "Neptune," and "Turning Page." (Say what you will about Twilight, even if you despise the story, the movie has a freaking awesome soundtrack.) I've been writing to their "Atlas" album and I'm loving how inspired I feel whenever I hear it.

Picture of the Month

A blogger's dream come true, I got to meet one of my best online friends in real life! We spent the day yesterday walking around the small town she used to live in before she moved away. It was so much fun. She's just like she is online, super sweet and funny, and we hit it off like we'd known each other for years. Now time to meet all of you guys!

How was your July/August?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) (a book review)

You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

Released: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Touchstone
Pages: 272

From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was "homeschooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.


I can't shout this book from the rooftops enough. Felicia Day is so incredibly honest about her life and work while also being hysterical and making me laugh every few pages. I could relate to so much of it, and each chapter I read continued to inspire me.

I’m also a homeschooled, nerdy, fangirl of a teen who looks to the internet for a lot of her relationships when her real life friends don’t get all of her fandom quirks. (Not to say that my real life friendships aren't important, because both are incredible and extremely important, but there's something special about connecting with someone--even if that person is in Australia or across the country--over something you love deeply enough to fangirl about obsessively.) I write fan-fiction, some of my best and probably lifelong friends are through blogging and a “Supernatural” roleplay that’s been going for six months now (I play Dean Winchester as well as two original characters, a hunter named Isabel Walker and a librarian named Emma Sparks who got dragged into the whole mess by being Sam’s best friend), and I’ve been trying for what feels like forever to make it in the novel writing world.

Lately I’ve felt a little stuck and discouraged creatively, and I found myself nodding through the entire chapter of how Felicia struggled through writing the pilot of “The Guild” (one of the many things she's created that I absolutely adore). By the time I read the Acknowledgements, I was tearing up a little bit (I still am as I write this). Not only has this given me the push I need to keep going, but now I want to buy several copies of this book and shove it into the hands of everyone I know who's ever felt weird or wanted to create something and share it with the world but doesn't know how.

I guess I'll just leave you all with an emphatic "READ THIS BOOK" and hope that you pick it up someday. I'm sure everyone who flips through will find something with which they can connect.


Meet the author:

Felicia Day is a professional actress who has appeared in numerous mainstream television shows and films, currently recurring on the CW show "Supernatural", and recently completing a two-season arc on the SyFy series "Eureka".

However, Felicia is best known for her work in the web video world, behind and in front of the camera. She co-starred in Joss Whedon’s Internet musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” which was ranked in the “Top 10 Best TV of 2008” by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine and won an Emmy in 2009. She also created and stars in the hit
web series “The Guild,” which is currently in its sixth season. “The Guild” has won numerous awards for web video excellence, most recently garnering a PGA nomination for best web series in 2011. She has expanded the brand into numerous merchandizing opportunities, including a hit comic book series with Dark Horse Comics.

Her production company Knights of Good produced the innovative web series “Dragon Age” in conjunction with EA/Bioware in 2011 and in 2012 she launched a funded YouTube channel called Geek & Sundry. Since launching in April 2012, the channel has garnered over one million subscribers and over 200 million views. In 2014, the company was sold to Legendary Entertainment. Felicia continues to work as creative chief officer with her company, as well as develop television and web projects for her to write, produce and star in.

Connect with Felicia Day:
Twitter: @feliciaday

What's something you're struggling to do creatively? What are your favorite parts about the internet?  Leave a comment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Six Books I'd Love to See as Movies/TV Shows

Hey, there! I'm not dead or anything, I've just been insanely busy with this summer. Our family hosted foreign exchange students for three weeks (which was awesome and so much fun) and we went to California for a family reunion (also awesome and tons of fun). It has made blogging more difficult, but I'm back now. Let's jump right in to a blog meme, shall we?

I saw this meme floating around forever ago and saved it as a post to write sometime, so I'm finally getting around to it now. I love movie and TV show adaptations if they're done right, so the following are books I'd like to see adapted, but only by the right people with the right actors. Here is my list, in no particular order:

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Now this is a book I absolutely adore, so it'd have to be done perfectly. This means Rainbow writing the script (which is already happening, so yay!), being involved in casting (if they make Eleanor skinny I might throw things), and the ending remaining the same (which was perfect and shouldn't ever be changed). But can you imagine how great of an Indie film this would make?! I can already hear the awesome music they'd include. This needs to happen.

2. The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

This would make the best movie series. Maybe Peter Jackson could even get involved, it'd have some epic fight scenes, etc. Just as long as they don't split the last book into two movies, because that's getting really old. But I would totally go see this in the theaters.

3. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Two words: time travel. We need more movies with time travel, they're just too good. It's not super confusing, either, so it'd be even easier to follow than "Doctor Who." But there's plenty of action and the plot is fantastic. I'd go to the midnight release if they had one.

4. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

THIS NEEDS TO BE A TV SHOW. Seriously, how has no one picked it up yet?! It's perfect! There are so many characters with storylines that intertwine. This could easily be a four or five series show once Winter comes out. There are also times when I can imagine John Barrowman playing Thorne . . .

5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

More sci-fi! I know this was picked up as a possible TV show a while back, but I actually think it'd make a better movie. As long as Tarver and Lilac have believable chemistry, because if they don't that's going to be an awkward two hours or so, considering they're pretty much the only characters involved . . . And Karen Gillan needs to play Lilac. I want to see that so badly.

6. The Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong

I can see a TV series of this so clearly, especially if it were made by the people who did "Teen Wolf." I ate this trilogy up in three days and I loved every bit of it. It's got action, romance, and paranormal activity that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Crawl Through It (a book review)

I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

Released: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 336

A boldly surreal novel from one of the best YA writers working today.

Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving trauma, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults--and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them... until they learn the only way to escape reality is to fly right into it.

Buy a SIGNED COPY at Aaron's Books

I Crawl Through It was my first dip into the surrealism genre. And it was a great first read. It took me a little bit to get into at first, but then the rest of it flew by. It's a bizarre book, but in a good way. It definitely stands out from everything else I've read.

The story mainly follows four characters: Stanzi, Gustav, China, and Lansdale. Stanzi is a girl who feels as if she's two people crammed into one body. She loves dissection and thinks her mother is Hawkeye Pierce. Gustav is a boy who's building an invisible helicopter able to be seen by very few (even Stanzi can only see it on Tuesdays). Lansdale is a compulsive liar whose hair grows like Pinocchio's nose. China is a girl who sometimes turns herself inside out. She writes poetry to be heard.

The plot is simple, but it's the details that really make the story. Everything about it is short and to the point, but poetic. It's a story about not fitting into boxes (or in this case, ovals) and understanding the questions before you can know the answers.

As for the characters, I can't pick a favorite. They were all so unique. I did feel incredibly sorry for each of them, though. The adults in this book were absent, negligent, and avoided tough topics to the point of letting the teens stew in their own guilt and grief. You're never quite sure what exactly happened to each of them throughout the book until the end when everything starts to piece together, and I loved that.

Overall, it was a fantastic read. I'd love to be able to compare it to another book or two, but it's impossible to categorize since the whole story is about not being categorized. So I'll recommend it to everyone. Once you accept the fact that you can swallow yourself or let your hair grow ten feet in one night or fly an invisible helicopter, you'll hardly even notice the time passing.

Meet the author:

A.S. King is best known for her award-winning young adult novels, though she writes novel-length and short fiction for adults as well. After more than a decade in Ireland dividing herself between self-sufficiency, restoring her farm, teaching adult literacy, and writing novels, she returned to the US in 2004. Amy now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and children, teaches  writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, and is a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut, corn on the cob, libraries, and roller skating.

Connect with A.S. King:
Twitter: @AS_King

What are your favorite delightfully bizarre books? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Happy End-of-the-World-that-Wasn't!

Today--July 15th, 2015--marks the day Grijalva would've hit if it hadn't missed. Celebrate by reading your favorite Fauxpocalypse stories! You can buy a copy at Aaron's Books. Here's my contribution to the anthology, It's the End of the World As We Know It:

Tomorrow my life will end.
    Hold up, I'm not talking about suicide or anything. Nothing that dramatic. No, I'm talking about the end of the world.
    Hold the screaming! I know the scientists have proven it. I know everyone's at home, hugging family and friends and saying their goodbyes, but I'm not.
    Why waste your time on something that's never going to happen?
    I know I said that my life was going to end tomorrow, but that was just a trap to get you to read my story.
    Did it work?
    My story is just way too interesting for anybody to ignore.
    Little Rock, AR, USA--14July2015. 3:00 p.m.
    "Aren't you worried?" my best friend Ellie asks me in her Southern drawl.
    "Worried about what?" I ask, licking a drip of ice cream off of my hand.
    "Worried about what's going to happen after tomorrow."
    "What's going on tomorrow?"
    Ellie stares at me as if I'm an alien riding the comet that's supposed to destroy the world.
    "You can't be serious, Natalie."
    "Ohhh," I say, smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand. "That. No, I'm not worried. Not at all. It shouldn't hurt if it's supposed to hit the Earth and destroy it in a few seconds, right? I mean, it should just be like, boom! Life over. World destroyed. Kablooie!"
    Ellie shakes her head with her lower lip stuck out.
    "What? What did I say?"
    "That wasn't what I meant. I meant, aren't you worried what's going to happen after the world ends?"
    "It's not gonna end, Ells," I say, rolling my eyes. "I'm sure of it."
    I’m sure of it. Part of me wonders if I’m saying all of this just to convince myself. I shake off the doubt quickly and listen to Ellie’s next outrageous statement.
    "The sooner you accept it, the better. You need to spend time thinking about your sins."
    "My what?"
    "Your sins. You know, the things that you've done wrong. Think about the people you've hurt, including yourself. What have you done wrong?"
    "What twisted guilt trip is this?"
    "Natalie you need to repent. Don't worry, God will forgive you."
    "God doesn't exist," I say with a shrug.
    Ellie gasps and covers her mouth, her brown eyes round with pain and worry. "You'd better repent fast. You don't want to end up in hell. Forever's a long time."
    I turn to face Ellie and put my hands on her shoulder. It's an easy reach, since I'm a good three or four inches taller than her.
    "The. World. Is. Not. Going. To. End," I say slowly, shaking her gently for emphasis. "And God doesn't exist. Neither does the devil or Satan or whatever the heck you call him. Where's the proof?"
    "There is no proof. Not like science. You can feel him in your heart."
    She places her hand over her heart and closes her eyes, taking a deep breath. She takes my hand and places it over my heart.
    "What do you feel?" she says seriously, gazing up at me.
    I raise my eyebrows. "The beating of a healthy heart. Why?"
    Ellie backs away, looking concerned. She takes my hand and squeezes it. "If you end up in hell, I want you to know that I will always be your best friend."
    "Good to know. Thanks for that. Now if you will please exit the church?”
    Ellie rolls her eyes.
    11:00 p.m.
That night, my mom and dad spent what feels like forever hugging and kissing me. They assure me that they love me and will always love me and that it shouldn't hurt when the world ends. I humor them by hugging them back, refraining from letting some sarcastic comment slip from my lips.
    The only good things are that they don't make me go to bed, and I'm allowed to have whatever I want for dinner.
    "You should enjoy your last day on Earth," Mom says with tears in her eyes.
    "Do whatever you want," Dad says. "We love you."
    I hug them and trot off happily to the kitchen, where I gorge myself on cookies and order pizza delivery.
    My parents, along with most of our highly religious neighbors, have decided that they should spend their last day on Earth at home with their family. Unlike most of the world, they don't want to hop on planes to go to Disneyland or Europe before they die. They just want to sit around, holding hands and making bargains with God.
    “I can’t believe I managed to get pizza delivery tonight of all nights,” I say. I hand the pizza delivery guy some money and take the pizza box. It smells like cheese and doughy bread.
    The pizza guy shrugs.
    “I just don’t buy it,” he says. “The apocalypse? Really? This is the sort of stuff you hear about in sci-fi movies set in the year three-thousand.”
    I grin and high-five him before he leaves.
    The night is a long one. No one sleeps, no one eats, no one does anything but curl up on the couch and wait for the end.
    It's eleven thirty at night and we're moping around like someone's just died. I start to feel little twinges in my stomach despite the fact that I firmly believe we’ll be okay. For the most part.
    When the grandfather clock in our house chimes twelve, my mom squeals and hugs my dad. Dad makes me join the group hug. I can't make out what either of them are saying, due to all of the snot and tears trickling into their mouths.
    "I don't wanna die!" Mom says. "I don't want the world to end!"
    "It's the end of the world as we know it," I sing to myself.
    Dad glares at me.
    "As the comet comes closer to Earth, we bid everyone farewell and a pleasant afterlife," the man on the news channel says. His voice cracks at the end of his report and the screen goes black.
    I manage to squirm away from the group hug and glance out the window. I don't see any sign of a comet or anything remotely scary-looking.
    I see my drum set out of the corner of my eyes. An idea pops into my head and I sneak over to it.
My mom and dad jump about a foot in the air and I drop onto the floor, laughing like a madman. The bass drum is still ringing, but no one can hear it because my parents are screaming at me for playing "such a nasty trick" on them. My laughter drowns them out.
    The minute hand moves forward on the clock, indicating that: one, the world didn't end; two, we all look like idiots now (except for me); three, we've wasted a whole day of our lives doing nothing but sit around and look depressed; and, four, I'm going to puke from the amount of junk food I've eaten for the past two days.
    "Jesus Christ," Mom says weakly. It's a mark of how shocked she is, taking the Lord's name in vain. She stands up, legs shaking, and looks out the window.
    "The world didn't end," Dad says. He's staring at the clock. It's now 12:02 a.m. "The world didn't end!"
    The realization dawns on them and they jump up and down, hugging each other and squealing with delight. Tears of joy roll down their face and they squeeze each other, babbling incoherently.
    I just vomit all over the carpet.

What would you do if you thought it was your last day on Earth? What are your favorite stories from the Fauxpocalypse anthology? Leave a comment and happy doomsday!