Saturday, March 31, 2012

Skinny Love by Birdy

My cousin showed this to me last weekend. This girl is 14-years-old. Gorgeous voice. Thought I'd share. ;)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Link Blitz

Monday morning I went to my new orthodontist to have a magic appliance put into my mouth.

It's basically a retainer that fits over my bottom molars, with imprints of my upper teeth on top of it. It makes it so I can't close my mouth without lining up those teeth, therefore forcing my jaw forward. (I actually can't close my mouth all the way period, so when I smile at people they look at me kind of funny.)

I have an over-cross-bite, which is the reason my jaw has hurt so much for the last, oh, three years. I can't get braces to fix it since I'm moving in four months, so this is the next best thing. I wear it for a week and then something (not sure what) will happen when I visit the orthodontist again.

The downside is not my jaw hurting. It's a) that I keep biting my tongue, and b) that the bar that connects the two side of the appliances is chafing like a crazy. SO MUCH FUN. (Is it possible to develop tongue callouses? Because I would love one of those.)

I'm also not allowed to take it out unless I'm cleaning it. Chewing has been an adventure.

Onto the blitz! :D

Writers' Potpourri:

Keep Your Characters True to Themselves

Agents Want to Know--Part 2

Who Needs Amazon? Rowling Goes It Alone

The Dos and Don'ts of Novel Endings

7 Things I've Learned in 7 Years of Publishing

Branding for Writers: An Essential Step to Building Your Author Platform

Do You Know the Two Ingredients in a Perfect Ending?

Fantasy Writing for the Description Impaired

Other Babble:

Rome Reborn 2.2: A Tour of Ancient Rome in 320 CE (This is awesome)

Top 10 Most Misunderstood Lines in Literary History

Hunger Games board game:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Someday Stars: Meet Eileen Rhoadarmer

What’s your name, and where are you from?

My name is Eileen Rhoadarmer. I was born on the east coast, but have lived in Colorado since my memories began.

How long have you been writing?

According to my mother, I was writing so many stories using unintelligible, invented spelling when I was four years old; she thought it prudent to teach me to spell the words "once upon a time." Writing has been with me, off and on, ever since, although there were many other career paths I considered, including actress, astronomer, and volcanologist. I decided to focus on writing in 2005, but it wasn't until two years ago that I really got serious about it.

What genre(s) do you write?

My primary emphasis is on sociological science fiction, though I've dabbled in mainstream, mystery, and even horror. I may also be delving into picture books in the near future.

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?

I'm juggling a few projects at the moment. The big one is my first novel, of which I'm mired deep in the editing process. It takes place in the near future, where low orbit has turned into another Vegas. My protagonist is one of the few real astronauts left, but she gets framed for the destruction of her own ship. As she struggles to clear her name, she uncovers a conspiracy with Earth-shattering consequences.

I'm also trying to produce—and submit—more stories this year, so I'm presently writing a short about a young woman who moves in with her infirm grandfather only to discover that he's messing about with time travel, and I'm editing a story about a little girl who uncovers the real truth about Santa Claus.

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?

I used to work at the box office for the largest performing arts complex in the country, and that job had so many sporadic periods of down time that it really helped my writing (or my homework, as the case often was.) I wish I'd been taking my writing more seriously back then, because I could have gotten so much more done.

These days, I am a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful boys, ages 9 months and 3 years. While they sometimes give me inspiration and encouragement, they definitely hinder my hands-on writing time. Often they just have to come first. Those (daily) instances can range from the amusing—when my son wanted help putting toilet paper tubes on his hands so he could run gleefully through the house; to the mildly annoying, such as allowing my son to climb onto my lap while I tried to steal a few extra minutes of writing time, only to discover that his pants were soaked because his pull-up leaked; to the traumatic—when my son woke up wheezing from a nap after an earlier choking episode, and the necessary trip to the ER revealed that he'd aspirated a piece of carrot during lunch. If I hadn't already written on that particular day, my streak of daily writing would have been over.

Who is your favorite author?

I really admire Connie Willis. I love the style of her books, and the content, and the humor. She writes a lot like the way I try to write. Mercedes Lackey played a big part in my youth, but I feel that I've outgrown her.

Favorite book?

Sheesh, pick one? By Connie Willis, I would probably say Light Raid. I really enjoyed the romance and adventure in that one. It's been a long time, but 1984 by George Orwell really struck a chord in my youth, and it still impacts me from time to time. Other books I've read over and over throughout the years are The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, the Harry Potter books (particularly the first four, I read them every few months back in college,) and it may sound silly, but the Tom Corbett series by Carey Rockwell. Those last are very corny science fiction from the 1950s, given to me by my dad when my interest in science fiction was just beginning to blossom. I knew how silly (and sexist) they were right from the start, but they were just so much fun! Even now, if I'm looking for something simple and amusing to read, I'll pull one of them off the shelf. They're like candy for my brain—easy to digest and so much fun, not to mention bringing back comfortable feelings of childhood.

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?

I've found a love for gardening in the last few years, and though it's been more difficult with littles running around, I still enjoy planting, maintaining, and eating food from my own backyard. I enjoy scrapbooking, though I haven't had time to do much since my oldest was born. I also enjoy counted cross stitch, though ditto the scrapbooking—it took me 14 months to make my oldest son's Christmas stocking, and I'm still working on my younger son's—and have been for more than two years. Acting, juggling, and fencing are other things I've enjoyed at one time or another.

What is something unique about yourself?

I once fenced a bout against an Olympic fencer, and actually scored two points on him (he scored 15 on me.) Fencing is one of the many things I wish I had time (and money) for these days, and is something I hope to return to, one day.

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?

My blog is You can like me on facebook from there as well. I try to blog in (somewhat) equal parts about writing and being a parent/life in general.

Want people to know who you are? Email me at CNHolmberg (at) for a Someday Stars interview!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guest Post: Finding Your Voice for Writing Short Stories and Novels by Michelle Eging

Back in December when I visited my parents, I went through some boxes I still have at their house to see what I could fit in my suitcase to take home. My family has moved at least eighteen times and for the majority of those moves, I have had boxes labeled "Papers". As I went through my "Paper" boxes, I re-read some of the stores that were essentially my teething days as a writer. I picked up on something I had never noticed before.  Even in middle school, I my writing had a voice.

There were turns of phrase, descriptions, and words that I used back then that I use now. There were details that I chose to focus on over others, wry humor, and themes that still exist in my writing. I had a style woven within the tapestry of what I'd learned from the books I'd read at that point in my life.

For a budding writer, and, perhaps, even the more advanced (I'm not sure, I'll let you know when I get there), the search for a voice is almost like the search for the Holy Grail. It's this abstract thing that everyone's heard of, but no one's ever seen, or touched.  How do you know if you have a voice or not in your writing? How do you develop it? What the heck is a voice, even?

The writer's voice is what makes that story unique from the millions of narratives out there. As much as we like to think our stories are original, chances are, a version of it has been told somewhere, sometime before. It is the filter through which a story, that has no doubt been told countless times, becomes new. Perhaps another word you can use for voice is style. Not only does this encompass the story you choose to tell, but the details you include, the adjectives and verbs you use, the structure of your sentences, your pacing, your spacing. Each stroke of ink you make creates your voice.

Without it, your writing is bland and will sound cliché. With it, you become a storyteller that people seek out because they want to spend time with not just the characters you've created and the plot you've subjected them to (or they've brought upon themselves, depending on how you write), but your unique voice as well.

I might sound like a parrot when share the keys I've found to uncovering a writing voice and then polishing it so it glimmers and shines. Forgive me for not being original—I'll just have to entrance you with my voice so you won't mind:)

First, you need to read . . . a lot. Yes, it keeps you up to date with what is being written in your genre, and yes, it's great market research. But reading does more than that. It opens your mind to what is possible with narrative. For me, I can think of two books that changed the caliber of my writing and the strength of my voice in very different ways. The first is the History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Here I encountered a style that I'd never been conscious of before, one which shared similar threads with my own voice (so many metaphors!) and made me recognize their existence within me. Just minutes after finished this book, I wrote a short story unlike anything I'd ever written before, in a voice that was even more distinct. The second book is Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaimon. I never knew short stories could do what Neil Gaimon does with the art form...until I read what he did. Reading this book gave me a key I didn't know I was looking for to a door I never dreamed existed. And, as a result, I used the short story form to explore a whole new realm of what ifs.

The next method to developing your voice is just as paradigm changing as the first: write, write, and write some more. Do you expect to play Chopin after one piano lesson? Or sculpt a statue of David the first time you pick up a chisel? For some reason, a lot of people don't see writing as an art form that takes just as much practice as becoming a virtuoso with the cello. Since I can only speak from personal experience, I will tell you that I have spent thousands of hours writing—sacrificing socializing, pursuing other interests, studying for exams, and sleep—because of this drive to tell a story and tell it well. I have one novel that I've been working on since I was sixteen, learning something new about writing novels with each draft. My last draft (the tenth draft) was 500 pages long and I threw out the whole thing because I needed to change a few fundamental elements that made my story predictable and cliché.  What all this time spent writing has amounted to is an ability to use punctuation, grammar, and syntax to communicate my ideas with what seems to be little effort. This time spent writing has made the written language my element, my mouthpiece, my voice.  

Michelle Eging is a Copywriter at Five Star Franchising. She received her bachelor degree from Brigham Young University for Humanities with an English Emphasis. Her short story "Fishbowl" was published with Yareah Magazine and she is in the rewriting process for two other short stories which she hopes to shop soon. She has a blog called Grab Life By the Pen and you can find her on twitter at @MCEging

Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Fold a Paper Crane

Why would I show you how to fold an origami crane when there are probably a million sites out there that could do a better job?

Because Saturday night, along with dreaming that I was a member of Kara, I dreamed that I wrote a blog post about how to fold an origami crane. Obviously it's a sign (of something. What, I don't know). But it took a lot more pictures (with my sub-par cell phone camera) to explain than I thought it would. (There is also a video at the end for those who don't understand my written instructions, which I imagine will be most of you.)

1. First, start with a square piece of paper.

2. Fold it in half.

3. Fold it in half again.

4. Keeping that center fold, you're going to open up a "mouth" in the paper and fold it down, forming a square.

5. Repeat on the other side.

6. Next, take one edge of this square (don't pick up the paper beneath it) and fold it so the edge aligns with the center crease.

7. Do this on the other side as well. It will look like a kite.

8. Fold the top corner down.

9. This is probably the most complicated part, mayhaps the video will better explain. Unfold the top corner and the "kite" flaps, and lift up the bottom corner, making, again, another mouth.

9.You're going to wrestle with the mouth a little and fold down its left and right halves, to form a long diamond.

10. Flip the paper over and repeat steps 6 through 9.

11. Now you're going to open the side of the diamond, AKA the place where I am pointing. (This is to make a "flying" crane. The "fat-body" crane [which I think is prettier] will be later in this post.)

12. The big, downward-pointing triangle will be a wing, to put things in perspective. You're going to fold it up.

13. And do the same to the other side, for the other wing.

14. Pick one of the points of paper sticking up and bend its edge to form a head.

15. To make the bird fly, you're going to bow out the back fold of its wings (where my finger is). Stick your finger in there (or a pen if the crane is small) and make it into a little pocket.

This is the finished flying crane.

To make the crane fly, pinch its breast in one hand, and pull the tail with the other. When you pull the tail, the wings go down. When you relax it, the wings go up. Therefore it is flying. (I recommend this crane for the entertaining of children during long hours of church.)

For the "fat-body" crane (the one that is more traditionally Japanese), we're going to rewind to step ten, where we have the long triangle.

11A. Take the outside edge of the diamond (don't pick up the paper behind it) and fold it in so that the edge is lined up with the center crease.

12A. Do this on both sides, then flip the paper over and repeat. It will look like this:

13A. Now, just like in step 11, you're going to open the side of the crane, though this time the piece you're folding up isn't a wing, it's a neck/tail. Do this on both sides.

14A. Bent down one of these points to make the crane's head.

15A. Pinching the base of the crane's wings in both hands, you're going to gently pull the wings apart. This will inflate the body.

The finished crane.

Here's a video of me folding the "fat-body" crane:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Link Blitz (Video Edition)

So, a question.

Do any of you live or know someone that lives in the Moscow, ID/Pullman, WA area? Because if we could get some networking going I will definitely send out some swanky care packages.

Why, do you ask?

Well, I'm moving to Idaho.

That's right! The decision has been more-or-less made. Husband is still quasi-considering San Jose, just because he doesn't want to put his foot down just yet, but we're 99.99% set on Idaho.

I hear it's a cute town with a very small population, 10 minutes from the Washington border, somewhat mild, and there may or may not be a chapter of skinheads nearby. (I'm white, and that still frightens me.)

Anyway, the move means I'll be leaving Fusion-io in August and will need to find new work somewhere in the field of writing and editing. So seriously, if you know anyone, email me.*

Onto the links!

Writer's Potpourri:

Why the Pretty White Girl YA Book Cover Trend Needs to End

March Madness: Are You a Victim of the Duh Factor?

Taming the Evil Monster! (Platform)

Kim: Humor for Writers

Friday's with Agent Kristin: Episode 6 - Pitch Versus the Synopsis:

Bob Mayer: What to Write:

Bob Mayer: Conflict:

Other Babble:

Katie Alves's DeviantArt Page (It's incredible what this woman can do with eyeshadow)

*CNHolmberg (at) gmail (dot) com :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Character Commission: Lanterne

10 more days until I meet with my writing group and collect all the revisions I'll need for City of Teeth. I'm excited! Still plunking away at my side projects, and wondering what on earth I'll write for book #6. I have a few ideas, but are they the right ones? Maybe if I could pull my head out of The Wheel of Time for two seconds I could actually outline something.*

In the meantime, my wonderful friend Sara sent me a commission of Lanterne, the protagonist in City of Teeth. I LOVE IT. As you should, too.


This alone is getting me pumped up for the long stream of edits I'll be making on the story. :)

*After a weekend of reading, my husband finally came to me Sunday night to tell me I was neglecting him. I felt so bad. ><

Monday, March 19, 2012

Guest Post: World Building

World building. Worldbuilding. One word or two? (I like one, but auto-correct sure doesn't.)

My good friend Michelle Eging (Author of "Fishbowl," which you can read here) asked me to guest post on world building on her new blog. She's an insightful chica, so I recommend following her!

Image from

Friday, March 16, 2012

Link Blitz

Things are getting a little crazy in the world of Charlie. I've decided to put my side project up in the current works side bar, though I'm not entirely sure how dedicated I am to it. If nothing else, it's practice (and helps me maintain a daily word count). Come April, I'll be cranking out revisions to CITY OF TEETH.

Meanwhile, I will need to be job hunting. Well, soon. I'm the sort of person that, when something needs doing, I prefer to do it right away. I don't like it looming. But seeing as I won't be moving to said place* where I need to find a job until August (possibly July), it's a little early to send in resumes. Ask me if that's driving me crazy. (Answer: yes.)

Onto the blitz!

Writer's Potpourri:

March Madness: It's Not Me, It's You

5 Tips for Writing Prequels or Side Stories

Writing Toward Your Midpoint

A Lesson in "Don't Write to the Trend"

To Tell or Not to Tell: Should You Spill the Plot Beans in Your Query Letter?

Switching Agents within an Agency

Expert Tips on Writing Sensory Details in Setting & Description

Other Babble:

Contest: Win a Free Headshot (For Utahns or those visiting Utah in the next year)

2-liter Flower Paintings (I thought these looked cool)

*I know where we're moving, but Husband refuses to actually hit the red button on it yet...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Someday Stars: Meet Nathan Major

What’s your name, and where are you from?
I'm Nathan Major, I grew up in Paso Robles, California (aka wine country). I am currently residing in Provo, UT in a tricked-out basement. 

How long have you been writing?
I actually started writing as a very young boy. My brothers and I were homeschooled for most of elementary school, and my mother would have us do writing exercises called "30 Minute Writes" where she'd give us nothing but a title and then we were to write a complete story in thirty minutes. I started enjoying them so much (and adding silly connections between them) that my mother and I actually edited and compiled the best of them into a book, which is still at my house. My mother is constantly badgering me to rewrite it and try to get someone to buy it (she currently uses it to teach special ed. kids to read). 

I started writing "for serious" back in 2006, after reading Eragon and deciding I could totally do that. I've been at it pretty regularly from then on out (just finished book #8). 

What genre(s) do you write?
Epic fantasy and young adult (urban and traditional fantasy) primarily, but my goal this year is to try and write a middle grade (maybe a rewrite of the above mentioned childhood story) as well as test out a few new genres. 

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?
 It is a young adult novel starring a girl named Aria, who is a skilled violinist. She also had horrendous stage fright to the point that even being called on in class can cause her to get socially anxious. Her mother is deceased so she lives by herself in a big house, essentially a hermit.

Oh yeah, and did I mention she's the literal daughter of Death? 

It seems that when we die, before Death ushers us to the hereafter, we are allowed to hear one song of our choosing. Aria accompanies her father to these meetings as both a means to help ease the burdens of the deceased and a way to gradually overcome her panic attack inducing stage fright.

Of course, if you are the daughter of Death your life never continues as usual, and if questions about what happened to her mother weren't bad enough, Aria's life is about to be completely uprooted in the most insane way imaginable. 

And that's it. My writing group reads this blog, and I gotta keep them in the dark for the alpha. :P

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?
I work in a call center providing technical support, part-time. In truth, it does nothing but burn hours I could have spent planning, but I do get some time to at least re-read what I've written the night before and brainstorm on my breaks. I'm unfortunately the kind of person who has to have relatively ideal circumstances in order to write (ie be at home on the couch with some music), and whenever I've tried at work it usually ends up being more effort than it's worth. 

Who is your favorite author?
That is an extremely difficult question, so I'll go with the two I'm currently heavily invested in: George R. R. Martin and Terry Pratchett. Martin because his dark, realistic, "every character is gray" fantasy feels like it was completely written just for me, and Pratchett because he is probably the cleverest writer I've discovered. 

Others included Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, John Bellairs, Jim Butcher, Orson Wells, and... I'll stop there for sake of time. 

Favorite book?
An old, out-of-print (but still available on Kindle) fantasy novel called "The Face in the Frost," by John Bellairs. It's a very short book, but is brilliant at blending humor, realistic magic, and absolutely nail-biting horror. Bellairs was famous for writing middle grade horror novels that were genuinely terrifying (yes, really. I think only Dan Wells comes close to doing something like that now-a-days), but this fantasy novel was really something incredibly unique and witty. It's a fun little read, and I highly suggest picking it up if you want to see how to manage both humor and horror in the same book without it seeming convoluted or awkward. 

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?
Well, I play a lot of video games. That's a hobby. I also enjoy walking, reading, playing the piano, and just generally Being Awesome.  

What is something unique about yourself?
 I have crazy red hair and a beard. I was one test away from a black belt in Tae Kwon Do when I went to college and got lazy. I really, really like Pokemon more than a grown man should. My wife and I don't have kids, but we do have like 30 video game themed plush toys. I am obsessed with Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. 

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?
I do indeed. is my writing blog, but sometimes I do stupid things like review the Kindle Fire or Rice Krispies Treats Cereals. I also am going through and reviewing every single video game I've ever played, which may or may not kill me, but you can read them all at Lastly, I'd love if you followed me on Twitter at @TheUselessGod. I promise that at least ONE of my tweets will be interesting. Eventually. 

If you're willing to be interviewed for Someday Stars, please email me at CNHolmberg (at)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hooks (And My Staycation)

Salt Lake City, UT
Husband has spring break this week, so I took Tuesday off so we could have a staycation--AKA a one-day vacation right here in Salt Lake City.

First we went to a diner for breakfast, where we both ate until we were stuffed (I literally have not been hungry all day because of that breakfast). Then we drove downtown to the Salt Lake Library, read some kids books in the fun rooms they have, and looked at some magazines.

I copied an excerpt from Writer's Digest for you guys. I know, I'm so great (but not really).

Tips on evaluating your hook:

1. Grab the reader's attention
2. Introduce a character your readers care about
3. Set the story's mood
4. Establish the storyteller's voice
5. Orient readers to the world of the protagonist (and enable them to picture it)
6. Lock in the genre
7. End in a way that is both surprising and satisfying

We were then going to go to the new Leonardo [interactive] Museum, but they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. They're open on Sundays, but they're closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Yeah, try to connect the dots on that one.

So instead we went to the mall and the planetarium. Then to an overpriced pastry shop (where we also purchased mac & cheese). We came home, attempted to sleep (I read more of The Wheel of Time), and grabbed dinner at Mimi's Cafe, despite not being that hungry. Leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

Overall, good day! And hopefully I'll have news on THE MOVE soon.

Any of your guys taking a "spring break"?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I know, I'm an epic fantasy author who, until now, has never read The Wheel of Time. I'm a menace to the world of fantasy fiction. I just hate the idea of committing to a series, especially one that is 15 books long (that's how many it will be once Sanderson finishes it, right? Ugh.)

But, I finished The Eye of the World last night (being Saturday, because I'm writing this on Sunday), and I'm very upset today. Not because the book was bad, but because I don't have the second one and I'm going NUTS RIGHT NOW.*

Every waking minute of spare time I've had over the last three days has been dedicated to reading this book. It kills me to put it down. I'm completely fan-girl-obsessed with Lan, too. So much for reading those other books in the queue, eh? I have a feeling I'll be spending my entire spring/summer cranking through this series, and then sit on Brandon Sanderson's doorstep for the last book with everybody else.

The Wheel of Time is like heroin. Sweet, addictive heroin. Now I have to buy WoT T-shirts or my life will never be fulfilled.

Anyway, onto the book. Robert Jordan writes AMAZING characters. I absolutely adore his protagonist, Rand, and I have yet to actually hate anyone (Mat was pushing it, but he had reasons. Which you all probably know already because I think everyone in the world has read this book but me).

The plot of this book? Travelling. Traveling from a small town to a bigger city. That's it. But it's amazing. Our farming, Aes Sedai, and Warder friends have run-in after run-in with darkfriends along the way, and Jordan even humored me by sprinkling on some romantic tension here and there. The magic isn't entirely explained, but I'm all right with that. All three of our viewpoint characters don't really get it, either.

Jordan's writing is exquisite (even if he breaks viewpoint now and then). I never got bored with this book, though in the more intense scenes I did skip a paragraph or two to get to the meat.

Definitely five out of five stars on this one! Onto The Great Hunt!

*I have since obtained the second book and am mentally satiated.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Link Blitz

So. My life right now.

First, the verdict is [almost] in for where Husband and I will be moving in August. We're 99% sure, but I want to make sure we're committed before I say anything publicly.* That, and I have real-world people I need to discuss things with...

Second, my writing is in a weird limbo stage right now where I'm waiting for alpha-reader feedback, but I'm not committed to any one story. I have 2 1/2 right now, and due to a character coming to me in a dream earlier this week, I've written two chapters of what technically would be the prequel to WEIRS. Though it won't match up perfectly. I'm not committed to this book yet, but I've given it about 5,000 words, and if it keeps tickling my fancy I may just finish it. Meanwhile I have a loose, unfinished outline for a book that I can best describe as Keturah and Lord Death  meets Daughter of the Forest, but again, I'm not committed to it. The color story and I are in a bit of a fight right now. So there's that.

Onto the Blitz!

Writer's Potpourri:

Twelve Writer Woes and the Books to Cure Them (Love this!)

Put Your Characters in a Box and Squeeze. Voila! Inspiration.

Failure--The Key Ingredient to the Successful Writing Career

How to Write a Good Review

First Sentence/First Chapter Exercises

What I Learned at the SCBWI Conference (I recommend "On Dialogue" and "On the Slush Pile")

Tip Tuesdays by Literary Rambles (Subscribe to this blog!)

The Business of Writing: Pulling it All Together

Other Babble:

Homemade Nutella (So ready for my next grocery trip so I can buy hazelnuts for this...)

*I keep wanting to spell "publicly" p-u-b-i-c-a-l-l-y. Why?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Commenting on Blogs

Everyone and their cat has a blog nowadays. You write your blog, you read others' blogs, you comment on others' blogs.

But how do you comment on your own?

This is something I've been considering as of late. When a person leaves a comment on your blog, how do you respond to it? Now that Blogger finally has threaded comments, you can just hit "reply" to the particular comment and write one of your own, right?

That's what I thought until a couple of months ago, when I read a blog post (and I wish I remembered where I found it so I could link, but you'll just have to take my word on it) that stated the best way the respond to comments is to do so on the other's person's blog, especially in the case of Blogger.

You see, Blogger won't notify you when someone replies to your comment. You can sign up for all comment updates, but (especially with more popular blogs), who wants flood of emails relaying every comment someone else received on their blog?

I thought, "This [replying on the commenter's blog] is ingenius. Who would ever come back to my blog just to see if I replied to them?"

So I've been trying to answer comments (namely those with questions) by seeking out the commenter's blog and commenting there. I've noticed, however, that this is not the norm.

What do you do? Do you reply to comments on your blog, on the commenter's blog, or not at all? How often do you check a blog you commented on to see if someone replied? How do you prefer people reply to your comments, or do you not give a hoot n' holler to begin with?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Floating, Reading, and Dancing Teddy Bears

Still in-between projects at the moment . . . I have two ideas for book #6, but one I'm not sure I'm up for writing, and the other has yet to develop into an actual story. We'll see what happens. (Maybe time for the next WotF entry?)

I started reading On Writing by Stephen King (because I need another book on my current roster . . . oi. Trying to swallow three [and soon four] right now), and it's not what I expected. It's more an autobiography than a book on writing, though so far I've discovered one chunk of advice amidst the rather entertaining anecdotes of King's boyhood. ;)

I've also been asked to guest-post on a friend's blog, so I need to get started on that! (I have a yearning to quote Orson Scott Card in it, but I don't have his How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy on my person.)

Meanwhile, enjoy this ridiculous but very entertaining commercial:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Link Blitz

The replies to Husband's grad school applications are coming in this week and next. There are three places we could end up: San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA, or Moscow, Idaho.

Two days ago Husband got his reply from Idaho--he's in! Not only that, but they want to give him a 10 hour-per-week TA position that, as a benefit, would know 50% off his out-of-state tuition. Um, amazing! We're very happy about it, but no decisions can be made until we hear from the other schools. (I know he's hoping for good news from Washington, so we shall see.)

Writer's Potpourri

How to Resurrect a Stalled Manuscript

Use Descriptive Writing & Writing Exercises to Avoid Writing a Boring Book

Writing Advice to Writers

Alpha-reading (Great tips)

You Have Nothing to Fear byt That Big Hair Spider Crawling Up the Back if Your Neck by Tristi Pinkston: The Top Ten Fears of Unpublished Writers

13 Ways to Impress an Agent

5 Tips for Writing a Novel/Memoir Synopsis

February Requests: The Nudge

7 Ways Agents Measure Social Media

Other Babble:

(Despite the title, this is not a dirty video):

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Someday Stars: Meet Danny Chipman

What’s your name, and where are you from?

Danny Chipman (formerly Nicholes) from Midvale, UT.

How long have you been writing?

11 years now; I cut my teeth on fanfiction whenever I didn't like the way a story ended and had a pretty good response from the community, so a few years back I decided to try out my own ideas.

What genre(s) do you write?

Mostly fantasy, but with ambitions to branch out in sci-fi and historical fiction. I also have plans to write non-fiction for English-speaking learners of Japanese, which is what I graduated from BYU in.

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?

Well, it was an epic fantasy, but then the Powers That Be smacked me upside the head and said I had to work on a YA urban fantasy based on Shinto instead, which wasn't in the plan, but oh well... Maybe something will come of it.

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?

SAHM (stay-at-home-mom); at this point it's pretty much 100% hindrance (I could and do sing the glories of motherhood, but writing-wise, it's a knife in the spleen). There's always enormous guilt about sticking the kids in front of the TV to buy some writing time (thank heaven for PBS!). When time naturally avails itself (ie, naptime and bedtime), I usually have to choose between finishing errands and housework and time with my hubby, or fight my own physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion to try to eke out a word count.

Who is your favorite author?

Hmmm... "of all time" I'd have to say Robert Jordan, for his Wheel of Time series that Brandon Sanderson has now taken over. He is, in my opinion, the quintessential epic fantasy writer (Jordan, that is. Sanderson is okay.)

Favorite book?

The Wheel of Time series probably tops my list, and I'd probably say #7 (A Crown of Swords), if you're looking for an individual title.

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?

Japanese, musical performance, Irish dance (when I "have" to exercise), and the various domestic arts (sewing, cooking, gardening, playing with/educating my kids, etc.)

What is something unique about yourself?

Well, I don't think you'll often find the above-mentioned all condensed into one person.

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to?

I can be found on Facebook (Danny Nicholes Chipman), or LiveJournal (thetriad125). I honestly would implode if I also had to keep up a blog or follow Twitter at this stage in my life!

If you're willing to be interviewed for Someday Stars, please email me at CNHolmberg (at)