30.12.12

Here's to 2012: My Year In Review (with pictures)


Even though I knew the world wasn't going to end on December 21st, I'm still glad that we get to live to see another year. Speaking of years, 2012 has been a crazy one for me, but I am thankful for all the things that it has given me. I hope everyone has had a great year, and if you have a 2012 recap posted on your blog, please post a link in the comments.


April
 
 
 
April 17th
I turned down a $70,000 scholarship from a private university and decided that I wanted to spend the next four years of my life at the Pennsylvania State University. There are three other people in my family who went to Penn State, but that isn't the reason why I decided that Penn State was the school for me. People can say what they want about PSU and trust me when I say I've heard some pretty mean things said due to all the controversy surrounding the school, but unless you're a student or faculty member there you don't know what it's like to be a Nittany Lion.
 
There's a quote from the school's Alma Mater hanging on the wall in the dorm lobby that goes "...May no act of ours bring shame, to one heart that loves thy name." I can't begin to tell you how much I love my school. I can't begin to explain all of the things Penn State has given me. And despite all the negativity surrounding the school, nothing can change the fact that a Penn State degree will take you anywhere. I will always and forever be proud of my choice.
 
 
WE ARE.... PENN STATE.
 
April
 
 

 
May 24th
PROOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!
 
I didn't have a date and for a while I didn't have a dress, but I eventually got  a dress and I went to prom and had a blast. I danced the night away, got called Cinderella a few times, and some people didn't even recognize me. It was a pain having to hold that dress up the entire night, but I felt like a princess, and that's always a good thing.
 
June
 
 
 
 
June 9th
I graduated from high school. It had been a tough year for me. For one, my original school closed so I had to spend my senior year with complete strangers. I didn't make any friends until the last couple months of school, and let me just say that my senior year was the worst year of my life, but it was also the year that I learned something about me: I am strong. Despite being in an unfamiliar place, and being in a school where people didn't think I could keep up academically because of the school I came from, I kept up and graduated with high honors.
 
 
June 21st
I turned 18.
 
 
July
 
 
July 3rd
After months of falling in and out of love with it, I finished my novel Things Left Unsaid. It probably will never see the light of day, and I have yet to let anyone read it because plotwise it's not good, but the writing is solid (at least I think so) and the book as a whole is proof that I can finish writing something. I look at TLU every time I have doubts about writing and it reminds me that I have words inside of me, I just have to be strong enough to let them out.
 

 
 
July 5th
I went to go hear President Obama talk at Carnegie Mellon University. It was an extremely hot day, and I was in Oakland for what felt like an eternity waiting for the President to arrive, but after hearing him talk, I knew the wait was worth it.
 
 
August - September
 
 
August 23rd
I left home and this became my new home-away-from-home.
 
 
 
 
Not sure of the dates but from the end of August to the beginning of September is when I met my friends.
 
 
I have more pictures of us together, but this is my favorite.
 
 
November
 
 
November 6th
I voted for the first time!!!!
 
After tuning in to all of the Presidential Debates and watching CNN to form my own opinions on both candidates, I knew who I wanted to run my country. I am happy that President Obama is still in office and that I help keep him there.
 
CANNING!!!
Not sure of the date (haha, I really have a bad memory when it comes to dates) but...I went canning for Thon. If you're not sure what Thon is, well, Thon is a Penn State organization that helps raise money for kids with pediatric cancer. We do a lot of different events and take to the streets to help raise money. I'm not sure how much we raised this year, but Thon is another reason why I'm in love with my school.
 
 
 
December
 
December 18th
Done with finals and my first semester of college. I did okay grade-wise, but next semester, I'm going to try my hardest to get a 4.0.
 
December 25th
CHRISTMAS!!!
I didn't do anything spectacular. My family isn't big on getting together for the holidays, but my mom did cook dinner and we exchanged gifts. I bought her a Kindle Fire and she got me a guitar and a flat screen for my dorm room. Best. Gifts. EVERRRR.
 
 
And there we have it: my year in review. Tomorrow I'm going to (hopefully) be doing a colossal post on books/tv shows/music I've read/watched/listened to this year. This has been a great year for me, as you can see, and so I hope 2013 is even better.
 
 
Thanks for reading!
 
22.12.12

The Imaginary Line or Why Young Adult Readers Need NA



Let me start off by saying that I am in no way an expert on the New Adult genre. I won a few NA books a while back and they are currently sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read. That said - take everything I say with a grain of salt.

There are a lot of interesting tweets circulating on twitter surrounding New Adult, if you want to get caught up on everything that's being said just hashtag New Adult and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Being 18 and a college freshman, I have had to come to terms with the fact that in the YA world, I'm an adult. Sure there are 18 year olds who are seniors in high school, but the stories about those teens are limited, just as (at the time) the stories about those same teens who go off to college were close to nonexistant. I always wanted to read stories about kids in college. Even when I was in 10th grade I found college life fascinating, and maybe it was a 'different life', maybe people in college have totally different experiences than me, a high schooler, but I never looked at it like that.

I knew from the moment I started high school that I was going to go to college and part of me knew that their life, would one day be my life. Maybe I wouldn't experience EVERYTHING they experienced, but being in college is way different from being in high school. It's this strange world where you're still a teen in every since of the word, but you're forced to make 'adult decisions' because for one, if you're living on campus, you're miles away from home and every choice you make is on you, especially if you're 18.

Once you realize that, life becomes really scary because even though you have teen tacked on to the end of your age, you're an adult, and from the time you start college to time you finish it - people will treat you like an adult even though you might not feel like one.

People have a lot of issues with NA. They say that it's a genre that caters mostly to romance and sexytimes and...if you want to look at it that way, then fine, do so. It's just, why does that have to be an issue? One of the things that has bothered me about YA (and let me tell you, I love the genre to pieces) is that even though YA's intended audience is teens, YA is dominated by adult readers/writers/publishers etc.

In no way am I saying that this is a bad thing. In no way am I saying that adults shouldn't read or write YA. Everyone can read YA, that's the beauty of the genre. I'm just saying that when it's marketed as a genre 'for teens' and adults get to decide exactly what these books look like in terms of the content such as sex, violence etc. that feels very wrong to me.

Teens are not stupid. The idea that sex and violence falls under the 'adult content' umbrella in YA doesn't sit right with me because there is no such thing as an imaginary line, and if you cross it by putting sex and violence in your YA book that you intended for teens to read, your book doesn't automatically become an adult book.

For people who believe that, or are under the impression that teens don't have/watch/read or know about explicit sex, and don't know anything that is ANYTHING about violence, then not only are you offending the intelligence of teens who read YA, but you're attacking the entire Adult fiction genre.

Having violence and explicit sex doesn't make a book an Adult book, just as having a book with a 16 year old protagonist doesn't make the book YA

I think, in order for people to understand New Adult and accept it as a genre, they're going to have to figure out what Young Adult and Adult fiction is, in terms of what makes up both genres and why a book in both genres gets classified as Young Adult or Adult.

So, yeah, like I said earlier college is NOT high school. People who are in college now or have been out of college for a while should know that. But one thing I can tell you that I know to be true, is that college kids are not adults yet...mentally. Parties happen a lot, people get drunk, pranks are played, and when people aren't studying or doing homework, life is one big explosion of fun. It has to be. College is extremely stressful, and the only way to make it NOT stressful is to have fun. My friends and I go out on the weekends, we watch movies, and play card games, just to alleviate stress and let me tell you something...we act like big kids in the process. The only difference between me and a high schooler is...I can't be a kid all the time. There are moments where I have to be mature, and worry about my actions etc. etc.

This is not to say that once you start college you wake up one morning feeling like you're an adult and you're mature and you're no longer the kid you were in high school. No that is not what happens. But let me tell you what does. Just like any other coming-of-age story, you're learning about who you are, and the person you want to become. You're stuck in between teenager-dom and adulthood, not quite a teen, but not an adult yet either. College is new, uncharted territory and that is why I think young adult readers need NA. Just as YA got many teens through high school, NA will get many of those same teens through college and that awkward stage in their life when, in the words of J. M. Barrie they're in a 'place between sleep and awake'.

Most of us are walking around with our eyes closed, in the sense that we don't know everything about life yet because being on our own and making our own decisions is still so new to us, but that doesn't mean we're blind to the fact that we have to grow up sooner or later.

I don't want to read a book about what it's like for a mother of three who's going through a divorce. I don't want to read a book about a middle-aged man who is looking for his long lost son. Not sure if these are real books (most likely they're not), the point is I don't want to read books about 'old adult' characters until it's relevant to my life.

Another thing I want to point out before I end this post is that NA shouldn't just be about the college experience, just as YA isn't all about the high school experience. As the genre flourishes, I hope to see more books where the characters aren't in college and have to deal with the challenges of not going to school.  Also, I want to see more NA books that are not set in a contemporary world. If YA and Adult fiction can explore different subgenres, then NA should be able to do the same thing.

As a side note, if you're concerned with the way NA is now, the only way to fix that is to write it the way you think it should be. Don't just sit around and put down an entire genre, especially if you're a writer and have the power to help shape it into something great. YA didn't become the force it is today without different writers saying 'I don't like the way YA is now' and 'this is how I think YA should be written'.

Thanks for reading!
14.8.12

I write because...



Writing is in my blood.

Maybe that sounds cheesy to you, but for those of you who read my blog, you know that I have been writing ever since I was five years old. I have thirteen years worth of stories packed away in boxes. Some fill up notebooks, others are from my earlier days or the time when I liked to scribble words in my mom's medical books with an orange crown.

So, yeah, writing is not just a hobby to me.

Hobbies can be forgotten about, and like playing the piano or collecting coins you can decide one day that you're no longer interested in doing those things but...writing is different. Telling stories is my passion, sharing the things that I write with other people is a dream.

I don't know what the future holds. I don't know if getting an agent and selling a few books will happen for me. I do know that even if it doesn't, at the end of the day, I'll still be a writer. There are people out there who think that because they don't have an agent, they're not really writers, or that writing is pointless unless you want to one day become a published author.

I can't think like that.

Yes, I want an agent.

Yes, I want to be published.

But none of those things will happen for me, if I write solely for those reasons.

I'm going to write the stories that I want to write, and I'm going to write them well. Then after I do that, I'm going to write them again. I'm going to put blood, sweat, and tears into every manuscript I write because that's what writing is all about. If you're going to write, don't half-ass anything you work on. Owe it to yourself to tell stories, and to tell them not only in the way they want to be told, but in a way that you can be proud of whenever you finish.

Tear off pieces of your soul, sit down in front of your computer, and in the words of Thomas Wolfe, open up a vein and bleed.

I write the stories that I feel are important; the stories that I want to tell because I feel that I need to hear them, and maybe one day other people will hear them too, but in the mean time, I write because I opened up a vein a long time ago, and it hasn't stopped bleeding since.

So, writers, tell me.

Why do YOU write?
9.8.12

Thursday Obsessions: Supernatural, Sparkling Flavored Water, and Wuthering Heights


I leave for college in 2 weeks, guys. 2 WEEKS!

It seems like graduation was yesterday, and not two months ago. O.o

Well, since it's Thursday, here are the things I'm obsessed with this week*:

Supernatural: I was ten when this show first came on, and though I really wasn't into it back then, I'm in LOVE with it now. Everything about this show is badass. I mean, what's not to love about two extremely cute brothers who hunt demons and other things that go bump in the night? Every episode is like a mini horror movie and...just when you think you know what's going to happen, something that you never expected to happen happens and...I just REALLY LOVE THIS SHOW. Okay, I also really love Sam/Dean but can you blame me?

Fruition: This is the name of the brand of sparkling flavored water at Giant Eagles and...let me tell you, it is soooo good. I stopped drinking pop a couple months ago, so I was a little excited when I found something healthier (It has natural fruit flavoring, and is sodium, sugar, and calorie free) to drink. OK, it doesn't beat plain water, but I need something flavored to drink (that isn't Crystal Light) from time to time or I go crazy.

Wuthering Heights: I just really love quoting WH. The writing is haunting and dark and the love that Catherine/Heathcliff have is destructive and beautiful. If you have never read the book (you should seriously read it) or aren't a fan of the Bronte sisters, at least watch the movie (the one with Tom Hardy) to get what I'm talking about.

I'll leave you guys with a few of my favorite quotes:

"If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime, he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day." - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger." - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

"Your veins are full of ice water and mine are boiling." - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights


What are you obsessed with this week?

*Stolen from Rachel. Click here to read her post.

25.7.12

RTW: If I could be reincarnated as a fictional character...


Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival created by the lovely bloggers over at YA Highway. Every week (on Wednesday) they post a question for other bloggers to answer on their respective blogs.

This week's topic:

If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?

So I recently finished rereading Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It's one of my favorite books and it makes me swoon every time I read it. If you haven't read it and you're looking for a love story that will sweep you off of your feet, then you should give this book a try.

I know there are a million other heroines out there who kick-butt and take names but I doubt that if I were reincarnated, I'd be any braver than I am now. I'm no Katniss and I definitely wouldn't be able to handle living in Panem or survive the Hunger Games. So...because I am such a chicken, the character who is least likely to be put in a dangerous life or death situation that I really really wouldn't mind changing places with is, if you haven't guessed already, the main character from Anna & the French Kiss, Anna Oliphant.

I have always wanted to go Paris. Ever since I took French in middle school, I've been in love with the culture and the history of the city. I can't really speak French anymore. I can say the alphabet and tell you my name but...that's about it. Haha, my professeur would be so proud.

In the book, Anna wasn't too happy about leaving her home in Atlanta and spending her last year of high school in Paris and even though I get where she was coming from there were times where I just wanted to reach inside the book and shake her. I just don't get how anyone could be sad in one of the most beautiful places in the world. What I wouldn't give to see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, tour the city in a boat along the Seine (okay, maybe not that...boats are scary) and share all of the beauty of this city with someone I love.

I wouldn't mind if that person was St. Clair, either. I have a major crush on him and yes, I know he's a fictional character, but I have so many fictional boy crushes it's insane. I kept wishing he were real when I was reading the book and since there isn't any way for me to bring him to life, it seems like the better choice would be for me to wait to be reincarnated as Anna (there is a chance that this can happen, right?).


So, how about you guys? What fictional character would you want to be reincarnated as?
24.7.12

Teaser Tuesday


Happy Tuesday everyone!

I found out who my roommate is yesterday and I have her number and though we're encouraged to call each other, I'm really nervous about calling her because I might just squee into the phone or do something really really weird. WhatshouldIdo?

Haha. In other news, my rewrites/revisions are under way! I am almost finished rewriting the first chapter and it is A MILLION TIMES better than the original one. Trust. Me.

I'm also working on writing a pitch for Things Left Unsaid to enter this contest for teen writers that I am super excited about entering, and let me tell you...pitches are so hard to write. It seems easy if you think about it. 35 words, 3 sentences. A piece of cake, right? NOT. I have a pitch written but as it is now it sucks and I only have five days to get it right. FIVE DAYS.

*takes a deep breath*

Okay.

Since it's Teaser Tuesday and I wrote 4K yesterday (squee!), I'm going to post an excerpt from Things Left Unsaid.

---


I fished my phone out of my pocket and answer the call. “Hello.”

“Claire where are you?”

“I’m with Danny. We just picked up Tucker, so I should be home in a few.”

I could picture a look of relief washing over her face. “Okay, that’s good. Your uncle wanted me to ask you if you liked Karen.”

Karen? Karen? Karen? The name didn’t ring a bell. “Oh, yeah, she was really nice.” My voice squeaked a little at the end. I hoped she didn’t notice, but knowing Virginia she probably did.

“Maybe you and her daughter, Sam, can hang out sometime.”

“Yeah, yeah.”  And Danny said I wasn’t good at lying.

“Claire,” Virginia breathed.

“Yes?”

“You didn’t go talk to Karen, did you?”

           There were two approaches I could take. The first would be to get on the offensive, pretend like I was hurt that she would call and check up on me, which is what she probably did. The second was to give in, add a few sniffles into the equation, and pray to whoever was listening that she wouldn’t come down on me too hard.

I chose the latter. “I just don’t think I’d like it there. I’m not good at painting.”

Virginia sighed. It was a tired sigh, one that was usually followed by a gaze so wary it made her look older than her thirty-nine years. When my sister died, she and Pierre dropped everything to come live with me and my mom. They only lived a few hours away, so it wasn’t hard for them, but it wasn’t easy either. I know me refusing to get help wasn’t a piece of cake for them, especially since my mother was a lost cause. She hardly ever came out of her room, and when she did decide to grace us with her presence she looked empty - like everything inside of her had been scooped out. I wasn’t breaking into a million pieces. I didn’t lock myself in my room and cry myself to sleep. But that’s why they’re worried about me. My sister is gone and I don’t feel a thing.

“Your uncle and I just want the best for you, Claire. Karen is a wonderful person. She’s a retired therapist who doesn’t believe in the traditional methods of therapy. Plus she has a son who knows what you’re going through.”

“I’m not going through anything,” I tell her.

“Claire, you’re in denial. Karen said that it’s normal for…”

“I don’t care what Karen says.”

“We’ll talk about this when you get home.”

I hang up.

Lately, that's how all of our conversations end.

“Are you two…” When I turn around, Tucker and Danny are looking at me; both of them wearing the same pitiful look on their face that everyone who looks at me seems to wear. It’s like there’s a store somewhere around here that sells I'm sorry for your loss masks and people are snatching them off the shelves just so they can put them on whenever I'm around.
I want to find that store and burn it to the ground.



Thanks for reading! <3


22.7.12

Why YOU Shouldn't Write YA


I love YA.

Not because I'm a teen or because I write the genre but because there are some AMAZING Young Adult novels out there. Some are already published, some are soon-to-be published, and others are trying to find their way into the spotlight. It doesn't matter what the subgenre is, as long as the main character is smart and learns from their mistakes then chances are I'll like the book.

But there are some writers who only write YA because they feel that it's easy. I'm a teen, and just because I'm closer to the age of my characters, it doesn't make writing a book ANY easier. Just as I'm sure an adult writing adult fiction would say that their age doesn't make writing their book easier.

Writing a book is hard.

So if you're thinking that novel writing is going to be a piece of cake just because you're writing a book that features a teen protagonist, then please stop writing your book.

If you're not even going to do your research on how a REAL teen acts and behaves and you just base your story off of how YOU think a real teen acts and behaves, then please stop writing your book.

If you feel the need to dumb down your teen protagonists just because you believe their age makes them naive, then please stop writing your book.

YA means a lot to a lot of people. It has helped me get through the worst four years of my life (a.k.a high school) and I'm sure it helped many other teens, too.

And people (not all, but some) underestimate how amazing my generation is. Seriously, though.* I went to school with a girl who spent her entire senior year doing stem cell research at a local university. I also know a lot of teens who do community service and try to help out their environment (not because they were told to do it, either), which is more than you can say for other people. As someone who was a mentor for a human rights and racial justice group, I can honestly say that teens are awesome. We are more than our age, and people need to start seeing that.

So don't write YA if you can't see that.

Also, don't waste your time if you think writing YA is easy, because it's not, and if it is, then maybe you're not doing it right.

* Have you guys heard about the girls who called out both Teen Vogue and Seventeen on their usage of airbrushing on their cover models? I don't know about you guys, but I think that's pretty amazing.

20.7.12

Word Clouds!


I made one for Things Left Unsaid using Word It Out.

Word cloud made with WordItOut

17.7.12

The Lucky Seven Meme


So I was tagged in the Lucky Seven Meme by Morgan Hyde, whose entry you should seriously check out, especially if you like fantasy stories as much as I do. In case you missed it, I posted the first 250 of my current wip Dominion yesterday and since it's Teaser Tuesday and July 17th it only seems right that I do this meme. (Also, seven is my favorite number. I don't know about you guys, but I think it's the coolest number.)





Here are the rules:
  1. Go to the 7th or 77th page of your current WIP
  2. Go down to the 7th line
  3. Copy the next 7 sentences or paragraphs and post them AS IS (no secret editing - the guilt monkeys will know).
  4. Tag 7 other authors and let them know

I'm going to post a snippet from the first draft of my finished manuscript Things Left Unsaid. And I didn't edit it, so sorry if it sucks at the moment!
---

His eyes landed back on earth. At first, I didn’t think he heard me, but the knowing look that washed across his face told me that he did, but instead of saying I’m sorry, he stuck out his hand and said: “I’m Sam.”
I could have just continued back on into Burger World.  He was a complete stranger. For all I know, he could be an ax murderer or something infinitely worse, but there was something about him that just made me feel…I don’t even know exactly what I felt…but it made me feel.
These past few months I’ve been walking around like a zombie, trying to figure out how to bring myself back to life, and for once I felt like I was finally living again.
I shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, Sam. My name is Claire.”



CHAPTER FIVE



“You shouldn’t talk to him.” I turned around to find Marianne close behind me.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, taking in the tired look in her eyes. The uninterested tone was absent from her voice. It was now replaced with a more serious one.
“Sam,” she replied. “He has a whole lot of issues.”
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t we all.”
I was getting ready to head back to my table when she grabbed a hold of my arm, her freshly manicured fingernails delving into my skin.
“Look, I don’t know you but I know him. He’s got some things he needs to work out and I should know. I used to…” She turned away for a moment before she met my eyes again. “I used to date him.”
I snatched my arm away not really in the mood for jealous ex-girlfriends. She frowned at me. “You’re young. There’s plenty of…”



Thanks for reading and if you want to do this meme please do and make sure to leave a link to your post in the comments. <3
16.7.12

WIP Monday


My new project is tricky. It's unlike anything I've written before but it's a story that I really want to tell. Aside from plotting (something I never ever do) I'm also doing A LOT of world-building. I don't want to do too much though because eventually I'll have more research notes than I have wordage and that's not good.

When I'm not writing and trying to figure out who my characters are, I'm working on Dominion's Pinterest board. Every time I find a picture that reminds me of my wip, I get excited because I'm not only blending genres, but I'm also blending two worlds. Dominion takes place in the future, but a lot of the culture and the way people dress is inspired by Ancient Greece. So it really helps to have a place that I can put all the visuals for the story.

I talked about Dominion a little bit a few post ago. Basically it's about a girl who wants to avenge the death of her father, an underground organization who claims that they can help her, and a weapon named, Theo, who specializes in killing Greek gods. I'm really excited for this project even though it's making me want to pull my hair out at the moment. I hope to have at least 20,000 words written for it before I go off to college. *crosses fingers*


Here's the first 250 words:

Someone was hovering over me. It was dark but my cyber-eyes could make out the outline of the person standing by my cot. When a hand fell on my shoulder, I wasted no time in reacting. Body going into overdrive, the intruder didn’t make a sound when I jumped up and threw them across the room with so much force they went through the wall. Pieces of wood and centuries old dust rained down around me, but I didn’t let any of it stop me from finishing what I started. Grabbing the blade I kept underneath my pillow, I moved over to where the intruder should’ve landed, only to find that no one was there.
The floor creaked behind me.
“You picked the wrong girl to mess with,” I hissed, spinning around. I didn’t have time to think about what I was going to do. If this person was fast and could survive getting thrown through a wall, they were either a machine or a dem. Though I would rather fight another Borg, the odds of it being a demigod were a lot higher. And that could mean only one thing.
The Legion was here.
Warner said we would be safe in Erimos; that they wouldn’t find us, but as I charged towards the dark figure standing in the doorway, I knew that the legionaries somehow managed to track us down.
“Shit, Leila!” My database matched the voice with a face at the same time I barreled into my brother.


So what you guys working on?
15.7.12

In which I talk about sex and violence


I just really wanted to blog about something, because I can't sleep, I can't seem to get any words out, and...did I mention that I couldn't sleep? I'm also thinking a lot about sex and violence in YA. There was a very interesting YALitchat on Twitter the other day that I meant to blog about but didn't.

Most of the people who particapated in the chat (I believe) were adults. Technically...as my mom pointed out to me yesterday, I'm an 'adult' too but since I still have 'teen' tacked on to the end of my age, I consider myself a teenager. Just, you know, a very old one.

But getting to the point...a lot of people said things that I totally agreed with. Like this:

One thing I hate about (and I don't usually use this word) media (movies, tv shows etc.) is that people my age are portrayed (not all the time) as naive, mindless drones, who make decisions based on what other people are doing, and don't really know anything because they are young. Sometimes the way teens are viewed in media makes me sick because not all of it is realistic and I don't really care how old you are, you can be fifty years old and still be naive. You can be thirty and not have a bit of sense. Trust me, I know this for a fact.  So...what exactly is it that I'm trying to say here? Well, for starters, when you're writing books for teens my age or younger don't write for us like we're children. I understand that depending on who your audience is, you have to set boundaries, but to quote Jay Kristoff yet again:

Yes, Mr. Kristoff, that is EXACTLY what parents are for. To teach their children what's "right" and "wrong". Hey, I'm not going to pretend like I know anything about parenting nor do I want to know at this age, but we live in a crazy world. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as STDs, kids get gunned down for being 'in the wrong neighborhood', teens get pregnant, wars break out, and society is just...excuse zee French...completely fucked up. So, do parents need to protect their kids? In a way, they do, but sheltering them from all the 'bad stuff' isn't any way to protect them. I mean, it's certainly not going to make all of the bad stuff go away. We live in a really messed up world, but in addition to teaching their kids right from wrong, parents need to give them the freedom to decide for themselves what they can and can not handle.

When Myspace first came out, all of my friends had an account and I didn't. While my cousins were watching scary movies and checking out the latest music videos...I was watching the Disney Channel. My mom didn't let me listen to certain music, which I ended up listening to anyways because HELLO once you go to middle school you're kids are not safe from bad language, violence, or anything, really. Not all parents are the same. Not all parents put their foot down when their kids watch Rated R movies. Not all parents control what their kids listen to or what they read.

My mom did for a while and because I was (and still am) your typical teenager, I did the complete opposite of what my mother wanted me to do.  I watched my first Rated R movie when I was fourteen. (I hope my mom doesn't read this) It didn't make me want to go out and kill somebody because of all the violence it. It didn't make me want to curse like a sailor and let's just say...watching that movie was like watching anything else, except it was different from what I was used to.

Some people have this preconceived notion that kids imitate what they see/read/listen to. Well, let me tell you something, that is a lot of bull. Kids don't turn to violence because someone in a song sings about it or because they see it in a game/movie/tv show. If that were the case, high schools would turn into the freaking Hunger Games at lunch. Though people still think teens are naive and don't really know any better...we have BRAINS and can THINK for ourselves. So, writers, don't censor yourselves when you're writing, don't worry about getting complaints from parents or librarians or whoever. Just write the story the way you see fit because at the end of the day, when someone tells a teen not to read, listen, or watch this, they're going to do it anyways.

Also, as someone who has recently graduated from high school, I can tell you that high schools in YA books are nothing NOTHING like high school in real life. I mean, HS in books make it seem so simple and wonderful and like new kids automatically get friends, like kids don't shout curse words in the hallways and that fights don't break out ALL THE TIME when they do especially if it's a city school with a bunch of kids. I don't know what school was like in the 60s/70s/80s but...um high school today is like Hell, only without the fire and brimstone. And do you know how many kids, even the sweet freshmen, talk about sex during the course of the day? Do you? I understand the concept of hormones but the things I've heard at school...made the sexytimes (or lackthereof) in YA seem like a walk in the park.

So, I dare you to say that teens are naive. That they don't know anything about ANYTHING because they do.

I am in no way saying that all teens are responsible creatures or that all teens think before they act because there is a class of teenagers who do stupid things that make the rest of us look bad, but I am saying that it's time to stop treating teens like children because...teens today are not like teens from the 70s/80s. Teens today are aware of things now that people then weren't and we have technology to thank for that.

Going back to the not worrying about censoring yourself when it comes to sex and violence thing...um have you ever watched a Disney movie? I'm pretty sure 85% of my generation grew up watching them and just because they are cartoons, just because they were made for little kids, it doesn't mean that there weren't subliminal messages or that they didn't have violence. Maybe someone who is seven wouldn't pick up on those things because they are too busy focusing on all of the pretty shapes and colors but it doesn't change the fact that it's there, and yet parents let their kids watch Disney movies. Why? Because cartoons are 'harmless'. Well, if cartoons are harmless, then so are books.

I have a hard time getting all of my thoughts together, but really all I'm trying to say is violence and sex is apart of my generation's reality. I don't really condone the former, but I can't really argue with the latter either, because, well, it's how we all got here*. Just do yourselves a favor writers: put sex and violence in your novels if it fits the book and not just for shock value. Parents: talk to your teens, get invested in what they are reading/watching but don't get on the offensive when whatever they're watching/reading goes against YOUR beliefs/comfort zone. From experience with my mom, trust me when I say, that your kids are completely different from you and no matter how much you try to shield them it's not going to help anything. Once your kids walk out that door, they're going to experience things that you will not have control over. The only thing you do have control over is how they find out...so level with them. Don't preach, and make sure you're honest. Again, I don't know anything about parenting, so take what I'm saying with  a grain of salt.

*In no way am I saying that there should be more sex in YA because even though teens have sex and it's something that does happen, it's not good to put sex in a novel just because 'it happens'. I don't need to tell you guys that when it just 'happens' things like 'teen pregnancy' also happen. I've witnessed a lot of my peers get pregnant and no it wasn't because they read Breaking Dawn or any other young adult novel with sex in it. Honestly, I don't even know if it's a matter of 'why it happened' but a matter of 'it happened' and 'it happens'. So write about sex, if you want to, but if you're going to write about it...write about it in a way that is realistic. As for violence, I don't condone it in real life, but in books/movies/tv shows I don't really mind it because, again, it happens. Not putting violence in books and movies isn't going to stop people from shooting each other, it's not going to put an end to war or domestic violence either. We don't necassarily need violence in our media but we can't ignore that it's apart of our realities.

Okay, it is now after six o'clock which means I've spent a little under three hours trying to write this post and I can hear the birds chirping outside my window which means I should probably go to bed.

Thanks for reading! <3
12.7.12

Thursday Obsessions: Tom Hiddleston, Greek Mythology, and...Tom Hiddleston!

I totes stole this from Rachel who stole it from Leigh Ann Kopans and...so if you want to steal this go right ahead. If you do decide to continue this cycle of thievery, please post a link to your Thursday Obsessions post in the comments because I really want to know what you guys have been obsessing over this week. :)



Tom Hiddleston




*swoons*

If you don't know who this guy is, he plays Loki in both Thor and The Avengers. He is in a lot of other movies that I still need to watch but besides being a fantastic actor from what I've seen, Tom Hiddleston is articulate, intelligent, and he just seems so charming. I've watched a lot of interviews with him in it and there's just something about him...well you have to see for yourself....



Okay, maybe this doesn't show how articulate he is, but you can't deny that him eating chocolate is seriously like the BEST THING EVER.



And finally...





I also just found out that he played F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris which I still need to see. If you follow me on twitter or know me personally, then you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors and to know that Tom Hiddleston portrayed him in a movie blows my mind.




Greek Mythology



I have been living and breathing Greek Mythology for the past week and a half now. My latest project Dominion doesn't center around a particular myth but it has to do with Greek Gods and one particular person from Greek Mythology whose story I thought would be cool if told in a Sci-Fi setting. I don't want to give away too much about the story but it's about....



a girl named Leila who wants revenge

(they're not called the Men In Black but they do all wear black for some strange reason)
a secret organization who says they can help her get revenge if she helps them find a weapon and


the boy who is the weapon, Theo.


There will be some kissing and A LOT of explosions and action and science fiction-y stuff. I'm super excited about this project because it's something that I would LOVE to read and plus who doesn't like explosions?


So...what are you guys obsessing over this week?
3.7.12

I FINISHED MY NOVEL


I'm literally on cloud nine right now.

I typed the last sentence of Things Left Unsaid a few moments ago and then when I realized that I was done...I kinda had a moment where I cried a really ugly cry which, if you watch Grey's Anatomy, was identical to Meredith's crying in the season finale. Well, we were crying for different reasons, but...now I can't stop dancing and grinning and acting like a crazy person. My mom asked me what was going on, and when I told her she was all like FINALLY.

She also asked me what I planned on doing next, and I honestly don't know. I want to start working on a new project, but I also know I need to revise, and maybe even rewrite half of TLU. I'm not going to worry about that now though. Because...it's time to PARTY.

Since it is Tuesday, I'll leave you guys with a snippet from TLU:


“You wouldn’t understand,” I said, because she wouldn’t. Danny doesn’t understand anything that doesn’t have anything to do with her. She’s so self-absorbed that it hurts, but she’s my best friend. The only friend I have.

“Like hell I wouldn’t.” She gets up from my bed and starts pacing around the room, the way she does when I know she’s getting ready to explode, and believe  me when I say that any minute now she’s going to go off.
I grab my pillow and hold it to my chest, like it will be enough to shield me from her ticking-time-bomb anger. She stops in the center of my room, turns to face me, hair so fiery that it could burn down a whole village. Her words fall from her lips like missiles. "Your sister is dead, Claire. She's not coming back. No matter how many times you throw on her clothes or spend time with her friends, she's never coming back."
27.6.12

Road Trip Wednesday: Best Book of June

It's been a while since I participated in this but to those who don't know Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival hosted by the lovely bloggers over at YA Highway. Every Wednesday a question is asked and bloggers are invited to answer the question on their own respective blogs. This week's topic:

What was the best book you read in June?


Out of the four books I've read this month, I am going to have to say that I enjoyed This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers the most.




It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


I had high hopes for this book.

Having read and loved Courtney Summers' previous novels, I didn't doubt that This Is Not A Test would live up to my expectations. I also wasn't suprised when it exceeded them. There comes a time when you find an author whose books you won't hesitate to buy, and I think Courtney Summers is that author for me.

Everything she writes is so raw, so heartbreakingly honest that you forget that what you're reading is fiction and that the characters aren't real. The same three dimenionsal qualities of Summers' previous main characters exist in Sloane Price. Though there is a special place in my heart for Parker, Regina, and Eddie, Sloane is a character that I won't forget. It's been a few days since I read TINAT, but it's still with me, even now as I'm typing this review. 

This novel was a force. It made my heart explode in the best way possible.

For those of you who don't like reading about the walking dead, don't worry, this book isn't about zombies. If anything, This Is Not A Test is about hope when there isn't any. It's about surviving when you don't really know how. It's about living when you're surrounded by death, and when it all boils down, it's about what happens to six teenagers when they are faced not just with the world but the end of it.

You're not going to want to miss this one.

Thanks for reading! <3
26.6.12

Teaser Tuesday


I'm on a mission to write a collection of short stories.

I have the first one finished.

It's called Glass House.


The house reminded me of a toy chest I had when I was little. It was filled with used trinkets, thingamabobs, thingamajigs, and any kind of thing you can think of. Despite all of the clutter, it was essentially empty just as the wooden box I kept all of my dolls in was. There was no heart, no soul inside of that house. Even when people were still living in it, the place seemed dead, like it was a glass corpse, rotting from the inside out.

I saw the Franklin’s lives unfold every night. Everyone in the neighborhood did. People from neighboring counties and cities came by to take pictures, to ask questions about the famous glass house. One time a kid threw a rock at it, thinking that it would be funny, that even if the house shattered into a million pieces, Mr. Franklin would be able to piece it back together.

Strangely enough, that rock was the beginning of the end.

Mrs. Franklin wanted to move. She was tired of her life being on display for everyone to see. She wanted some privacy; she wanted to be able to eat breakfast without someone staring at her from the other side of the glass. I knew all of this because Jameson told me. He told me everything that went on in that house, because even though you could see everything - you couldn’t hear it. It was like a real-life silent film, only this one was in Technicolor.

Never really understood why Jamie ever told me anything. We hardly spoke to each other in school. He hung out with the artsy types, and though I didn’t like to be - I was a loner. No one wanted anything to do with the girl whose father died in a fire.

A fire everyone thinks I set.

My mother doesn’t even let me near any open flame. She checks my pockets for matches whenever I walk through the door. Sometimes I’m happy my house isn’t made out of glass.

I don’t tell Jamie any of this because even though he’s telling it all, giving me the inside scoop, he doesn’t need to know about the times my mother gets so drunk that she says things she claims she doesn’t mean. Things like I wish it was you instead of him and I wish you were never born. There was a time when she loved me, a time when she didn’t look at me like I was a demon sent from her own personal hell. She still tells me that she loves me but I know she isn’t sincere, that those three words are proof that she’s trying to forgive me for what everyone has made her think I’ve done.

If it weren’t for her and Pa’s religious upbringing I probably would’ve been in some home for troubled teens, or out on the street begging for handouts. She probably would’ve moved so far away that I wouldn’t be able to find her. Not that I would want to anyways. Just because she was trying to forgive me, it didn’t mean that she did, and I didn’t like living with someone who secretly hated me. I’d rather her tell me how she truly felt instead of pretending like we were still the same people we were before.

Pa always preached that forgiveness was the key to living a good life, and that grudges never got anyone anywhere, but I couldn’t bring myself to forgive him.

I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.

Sometimes I think Jamie wants to ask me about him, but he doesn’t. It’s like he knows that I don’t want to talk about it, that I won’t talk about it. Not even with him, the boy who has eyes that are so empty they almost seem to be made out of glass too.

There is always something for him to tell me. It’s like he wants his lungs to be empty of all of the secrets of the glass house. He tells me how his parents always argue, over the miscarriage, over him, over their marriage, the house, anything he can think of really. He tells me they never have time for anything he does, and are always telling him he couldn’t survive on his art alone, that he needed to do something practical with his life after high school.

“They’re all about keeping up appearances,” he says, and I nod like I understand, because in a way, I do. I guess.

“It wouldn’t be like that,” he continues. “If our house wasn’t fucking made out of glass.”

And I want to tell him that yes it would still be like that. I know this, I want to tell him, because my mother tries to make it seem like we have a loving, healthy relationship. She tries to pretend that Pa’s death only brought us closer together so people can think that we’re on the road to recovery even though we both know that road is miles and miles away.

But my mouth stays sealed shut, like a vault. Soon Jamie has told it all and we’re sitting underneath the old oak tree that separates our houses. Usually after he’s finished he thanks me for listening to him, like I’m his shrink or something, and slips back inside his house before his parents can notice he’s gone, but this time he stays. The air is congested, heavy, like soon something somewhere is going to explode. But the world stands still for a few moments. The crickets chirp. The cicadas hum. Then he’s kissing me. I don’t know how or why but I don’t protest. I let it happen because my body has been keeping a secret of its own all this time. It wanted this to happen. For Jamie to lean over and kiss me. All the times I sat out here and listened to Jameson Franklin talk about what it’s like to live in a glass house with a family that was just as breakable as the glass tomb he lived in, I wanted him to – my body wanted him to – kiss me. That makes sense.

It has to because I don’t break away. I lean into his kiss, let his palm rest against my cheek. I taste the beer on his lips. He offered me a taste plenty of times but I refused. If only he knew that my mother was a drunk, then he would understand. Then maybe…he wouldn’t have left.

I have a hard time telling people things. I’m not see-through so no one ever knows what’s going on inside of me. When I didn’t cry at my father’s funeral, everyone thought maybe I was heartless, that I was hollow, just like the glass house is now that the Franklins are gone. But the truth is I was cluttered. I was alive. I was more alive than I ever felt since my father died. He lit the match himself. He kept telling me he was sorry, and that the only way he could forgive himself is if he burned in hell. Maybe things would’ve been different if he wasn’t drunk. Maybe he wouldn’t have tried to…

I can’t think about it.

Not now.

My mother still hates me silently. She still drinks and yells and says that she wishes I hadn’t been born. She still apologizes and checks my pockets, making sure that there aren’t any lighters or matches. I’m always clean when she checks me but that doesn’t stop her from seeing for herself.
We never know what to say to each other so we don’t speak actual words, unless she’s screaming, and that doesn’t count because she’s drunk and even though you can understand what she’s saying her words are born from an alphabet that I haven’t learned yet.

Jamie still hasn’t returned my call. Calls. I called him more than once. Not that I’m desperate or anything, I just want to know why he left, why he unloaded all of his burdens on my shoulder, kissed me and left. It wasn’t like he had to go. He was eighteen, an adult. If his parents wanted to leave, fine, but that didn’t mean he had to go. Jamie was the only person who didn’t make me feel invisible.
Now that he’s gone I really do feel like that glass house.

When his letter arrives a few months later, I almost throw it away. But then I don’t. I open the envelope carefully, as if I’m holding a bomb that’s getting ready to detonate. I unfold the paper, and let the words he wrote explode in my face:

I thought maybe it was best to leave you alone. You’re stronger than I am. You’re not made out of glass; you’re not something that can easily break. I envy you for that, but I also know that your ability to keep things bottled up inside, means that you are dealing with something far more heavy than anything I have had to deal with. You never told me what it was and I kept hoping that you would, when you were ready. Then I kissed you and I thought maybe everything between us would be ruined. You’re the only person I can talk to, the only person who will listen, and I kiss you like you just being there isn’t enough, like I need to somehow become one with you to make myself feel whole again. That’s why I left. You’re strong – you’re made out of brick and stone. I am weak. I am glass. I hated that house so much because it was me, it was my parents. We were fragile and see-through and eventually we broke, we shattered. The truth is, I guess, is that I wanted to feel something other than that and when I kissed you I did feel something. I felt everything. You pieced me back together every moment that you were there for me. Part of me was hoping that I could break you apart, see the stuff that you were made of, so that I could somehow become like you, but then I realized that your strength is an art, one that I have to master on my own. Maybe one day we’ll see each other again. We only moved across town, so I’m not that far away. My aunt and uncle took us in. Their house isn't made out of glass.



Tell me what you guys think. I'm currently writing the next story in the series. It's called Seven and it's about a girl on the run. Might post it next Tuesday, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading! <3
23.6.12

Why identity is important when writing a POC


I'm black.

Though most people would say that I'm African American.

Because of me being AA - I am a minority.

But are those three things - me being black, African American, and a minority apart of my identity?

Identity n.

The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.

Notice the parts that I underlined. This wasn't the first definition that I found for identity, but I thought it was the most accurate one. That is not to say everyone will agree with this meaning, it's just that as a whole...people often tend to group people together by both personal characteristics (what they look like) and behavorial ones (how they act). As a result of that - stereotypes come into play.

I'm sure everyone is aware of the tv show on HBO called Girls. I never watched the show but every article I read about it mentions that the show centers around the lives of a group of girls in their early 20s. When it first aired, a lot of people were angry because the majority of the cast was white, and since it takes place in New York, an extremely diverse city (from what I've heard), you would think that there would be a little more diversity in the cast.

Getting to the point, the writer of the show, Lesley Arfin tweeted this a few months ago:

“What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.”

She has long since removed the tweet but many bloggers have seen it, many have taken it apart, analyzed it, and often called Arfin racist for tweeting it.

I'm not going to go into what I think of what she said because there really isn't a point, and to be completely honest, I haven't seen Precious. I might watch it one day but judging from the clips I've seen onYouTube, and the descriptions of both the book (Push) and the movie that I've read, I can honestly say that there isn't any "representation of ME" either. Sure I'm black...but does that really count as representation?

I never really understand that. When people throw POCs in a book or movie they expect POCs to relate to those characters just because they are POCs. That may not be true of everyone, and it might not be true at all but...if that weren't the case, then what exactly is the point of tokens?

Whenever I read articles about race and the media, I look at the comments. I try to read all of them because I want to know what other people are thinking. Some people agree that there is a huge discorrelation between race and media (this includes books and movies) but others don't understand why there needs to be a large representation of minorities in any media since America is comprised of mostly white people. On a side note, I think that is completely inaccurate. In all my eighteen years of living, I've never had someone come knock on the door to take a census. I don't even know how they perfrom censuses nowadays, but it seems to me that unless each and every door to each and every house and homeless shelter in America was knocked on, the percentages of each group living in this country is wrong. Maybe not but whatever.

Why does it even matter?

Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic wrote  “We exist — whether HBO adapts our stories or not.” He was referring again to the tv show Girls but I think that quote can be applied to every show, movie, book or what have you. We do exist. POCs do live in America (and in other countries around the world), and regardless of the number, there is no denying that we're here and that we deserve a fair representation in media.

Going back to Precious not being a "representation of ME" thing. It's not a representation of me. I can't relate to being illiterate. I can't relate to being a young mother...I can't relate to living in a bad neighborhood...I can't relate to being abused by my mother... so therefore I'm not represented either. Push and it's movie, does however, represent many young girls around the world regardless of who they are, and what language they speak. Not all teen mothers are black. Not all young black girls are illiterate. A lot of people experience abuse, and grow up in rough neighborhoods.

These are all universal issues.

I can't really say if that is what the movie or book is about but...what I can say is that the book covers issues that go beyond something as insignificant as skin color. Because that's all race is. You can disagree with me, but race is a concept. It's a social construct and it's used to separate people and group those who 'look alike' together. Because of this construct, people lose sight of the fact that we are all human, and that we all, no matter what we look like, have a story to tell, one that someone who may be different from us can relate to if they look beyond the supposed 'identity' of the character.

So...why is identity important when writing a POC?

Well, because, the identity has nothing to do with the POC being of color. It has nothing to do with any outside characteristic, but is has everything to do with the individual, and how they identify themselves. I'm black but that has nothing to do with the way that I act, it doesn't affect my decisions nor does it decide who I hang out with, or the way I view life.

I also don't like being called black because technically I'm brown (never really understood the whole white and black thing). But then I also don't consider myself African American. Because I'm not. People have argued with me back and forth saying things like 'well your ancestors came from Africa' and 'you're dark-skinned which means you're of African descent'.

Just like America - Africa is comprised of many different cultures and people. A Nigerian is not the same as an Egyptian. Both places are in Africa, yes, but they are completely different. You don't have to take a trip to Egypt or Nigeria to know that.

Also, the key word is culture. I'm more American than I am African. I think it's offensive to say that a whole group of people who were born and raised in America are African, when Africans and 'African Americans' are nothing alike. Charlize Theron is more African than I am. She's from South Africa and she's white...so I rest my case.

Really, it's just my personal opinion. But at the end of the day being black or African American has nothing to do with who I am. Being American has nothing to do with who I am. I am an individual. I have my own mind, my own thoughts, my own likes and dislikes. Those among many other things are what make up my identity.

I'm tired of being seen as a color. I'm tired of seeing stereotypes in both books and on screen. I'm tired because none of it is...a representation of me.

When I'm reading a book or watching a movie with a POC I don't want it to be about what it's like to be a POC because there's no such thing as a 'minority experience'. Everyone who is of color doesn't go through the same trials and tribulations. Some don't even encounter racism and aren't struggling with being of color. Our skin color doesn't govern our lives, and so it shouldn't in media. Sure racism exists and there are people who deal with it everyday but...there is so much more to people of color than having to deal with something, as I said, as insignificant as skin.

C. S. Lewis once said "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." I'm not sure what he meant when he said (or wrote) that but... to me that quote means that we are more than just the outer shell. Sure we have a body that makes up our physical selves but who we are on the inside is much more important, much more significant than who we are on the outside.

Now there are people who would say after reading this post...what's the point of putting more POCs in media if we aren't our outer appearance, if we can all essentially relate to each other? Well, this might not be the best answer to that question but...why not? If we can all essentially relate to each other, why not have a show with four Hispanic girls living in New York City, why not have an Asian woman play the female version of Dr. Watson (okay...there already is. Is anyone else excited for Elemental?) Why not have post-apocalyptic shows with more than one black person on it?

Why can't diversity and media walk hand in hand with other?

I don't care if the majority of people in America were purple...people read books and watch movies to escape from the world around them. Even if the world around them isn't diverse, that doesn't mean media shouldn't promote diversity. Let's face it...the reason for racial profiling and animosity between races is partly because people depend on stereotypes instead of actually talking to a person and forming their own opinions about them.

Those stereotypes came (partly) from media, so if there were more accurate representations of POCs in media (books and movies included), I'm not saying that it would change the world, but it would get people to see that everyone...no matter what color they are...is human; that diversity isn't a bad word.

You guys should check out this post YA Author Sumayyah Daud posted on Tumblr, if you haven't seen it already.

Thanks for reading.
15.6.12

In which I talk about THINGS LEFT UNSAID and how it feels to be a high school graduate



I graduated last Friday.

I meant to do a blog about it but every time I sat down to type it, I got this extremely giddy feeling and decided to break out into dance instead. That isn't something you guys would want to see, because I am a HORRIBLE dancer, but that's how happy I was. There were a few tears of joy along the way but guys....I'M A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE. That alone is something I'm proud of, not because I didn't think I would graduate, but because I made it through a really tough year.

Some people are lucky enough to have wonderful senior years in which they get to spend time partying with their friends and making so their schedules are similar and all of that kind of fun stuff while people like me...aren't so lucky. The school that I spent my freshman, sophomore, and junior year at closed. It hurt to see my school die...because if a building could actually die...that one did. All of the life, all of the hope drained out of it, once everyone heard we weren't going to make it another year. I remember my ninth grade year...there were so many people there, and it actually felt like a high school. As the years went on, we lost teachers, book supplies, and kids started doing poorly on their test.

There were a lot of meetings, in which my principal called me and a few other high-achieving students down to her office to talk to members of the school board. They kept asking us how we were getting good grades, how we were doing so well in a school that...sucked. That wasn't their word choice but the school, even though I loved my teachers and my friends, did suck. When your English teacher in ninth grade tells you that she can't teach you, then you know something is wrong. Well, anyways, we couldn't give any of the adults who were asking us questions any answer. For me, I can't not (excuse the double negative) do well. I want to be a lawyer. I want to make the Dean's list, get impeccably good grades, and go to a prestigious law school...which means I can't slack. Ever. It's just the way I'm wired, and I can't help that. I'm not the smartest person in the world...don't get me wrong, but I do work hard at everything I do, even if I fail, I keep working hard. So that's what I told them, and even though it wasn't something they wanted to hear, even though they were hoping to get a formula or some secret recipe to make other students in the school do better, they didn't get it.

And then people started leaving. You might ask why I didn't leave, and to tell you the truth...I did. My mom wanted to put me into another school, but with the way the school system is here (not sure about other cities) you have to go to your neighborhood school, even if it's bad and you're not learning anything, you have to go. So, I was stuck for three years, in a school that I liked but didn't enjoy. I made a lot of friends, however, and met people that accepted me for who I was, which isn't something you find everywhere. When the last day of junior year came...it hit me, just before I was getting ready leave that building for the last time in my life. Tears of anger and sadness and so many other emotions that weren't really positive started streaming down my face, and I didn't know what was going to happen to me senior year. I didn't know where I was going to go, because now there were two high schools on the side of town that I lived in, and neither of them were better schools than the one I had went to. So...that summer, my mom searched around for places to live. And at the last minute, someone finally called her back.

We moved.

I don't like my new neighborhood at all. People here are mean and we get looked at funny everywhere we go, but I got a chance to go to a school that got way more funding than my old school did. A school where the kids didn't have to worry about closings, or losing teachers or not having clubs...they had SO MANY of them. It took awhile for me to fit in, because I'm so shy and people there weren't really looking for a new friend, so...I can honestly say I only know 10 people out of the 342 seniors that I graduated with. So it wasn't the best year of my life, but I made it, guys. Some people might not see a high school diploma as something amazing, but I have to appreciate it more with all that I had to do just so I could get it.

Now, in a few months, I'll be a college freshman. Yesterday, I went up to my university (I have to get into the habit of calling it that) to put together my schedule and it is the BEST SCHEDULE OF ALL SCHEDULES. I have a Creative Writing class (squee), two Psych classes, a Film & Arts class that is supposed to go in depth in how both affect people, a Stats class, and there is another class that I have that I can't remember...but I AM SO excited. I'm a little sad because I will be leaving home, scared because I don't know who my roommate is yet, and I don't know if it'll be anyone who will know how to take my geekiness. If they're not a Doctor Who fan then we're going to have some serious problems.

So, I feel great about being a high school graduate. There are buttload of other words I could use, but I think this smile pretty much sums it up:



Now to talk about Things Left Unsaid. I started this project last summer and gave up on it after not knowing where to go with it. I also thought that it was sucky and that I should just scrap it. Then I told myself, hey, you're almost finished with this thing...SO FINISH IT. And that's what I'm going to do this summer. I reached 40K two days and so I have 15,000 words to write. I have no idea how I'm going to end it, or if I'll go over my goal, but I can't wait to type THE END. Once I do that, then I will have finished my first project and I will have proven to myself that I can do this writing thing. I can. I can. I can.

Though sometimes I feel like I can't do it, and when I feel like that I contemplate writing a werewolf into the story just so it can eat all the characters a la Little Red Riding Hood and be done with it that way, but I talked myself out of doing that...even though I was tempted to do it. Wouldn't that make a great ending though? You have to admit it would be unexpected. Like...all of a sudden people are arguing in the kitchen, throwing flour at each other, and then a werewolf jumps through the window like that scene in the one episode of Vampire Diaries, gobbles them up, transforms into a human, goes on with his life until the super hot painter guy in the story reveals that he's vampire who eats red paint so that he doesn't have to drink blood.

Okay, okay. I'm kidding.

I just can't wait to be done with it. It needs to go through some extreme revisions before I beg people to beta-read it for me. And if I'm lucky, I might get to query on my 40th birthday.

Here's the cover I made for it a long time ago:




So wish me luck. I am definitely going to need it to finish TLU. And my birthday is next Thursday (I'm going to be 18...yikes). So expect a post from me then.

Thanks for reading! <3