Friday, May 28, 2010

Friendship Friday

I've kept most of the details of my health situation underwraps for the past several weeks, but letting friends know bits and pieces and on the whole, letting everyone know I'm going to be okay (it might just take a little while for me to get back my brain capacity!)

Well, I'm going on another blog hiatus after today and I won't be back until about mid-June. I'm taking this time to do some resting, recuperating and (hopefully) some reading and writing.

I'm going in for a procedure early next week to close a hole in my heart (also known as a PFO). This seems to be the underlying cause of my severe headaches and equilibrium issues. It took a long time before we got to this point and lots and LOTS of tests before this diagnosis came about. So no wonder I'm all about the emotional books--my heart is broken, literally. Lol!

But before I go on leave to have all this taken care of, I wanted to make sure I took this post to tell all of my friends out there how amazing you are.

Some of you I know in RL, most of you not, but your words, thoughts and sentiments to me during this time have been greatly appreciated and have really helped me keep positive and continue to smile even when the tests got pretty rough. (Spinal tap, anyone??)

I'll still be around, checking my email and on FB and Twitter, since I've learned that I can be nearly incoherent and still sound mildly amusing on those sites, so catch me there if you need me/want to chat :)

Thanks again to everyone for your support and when I get back ... I swear, we're doing a giveaway of epic proportions! You guys so totally deserve it!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recent Reads: Shipbreaker, Tell Me A Secret, Gigi Lane

Book: Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Book Count: 25

Ship Breakers are basically contract workers whose sole job it is to tear apart the wreckage of old tankers that have washed ashore in a dystopian society. Nailer works on a salvage crew, stripping valuable metals from the ships that have washed ashore, but he dreams of riding away from his day-to-day life, fighting to survive, on one of the richmen's clippers. Maybe someday having one of his own. When a terrible storm wrecks a clipper in a hidden cove, Nailer meets Lucky Girl and gets a chance to walk away from his hard life. But can he trust her with his life? I don't read a lot of dystopian books, so I'm no expert by any means, but I will say this: I was sucked into this story from the first chapter. There were so many difficult choices that had to be made in this story, it was gutwrenching at times, but a great read.

Book: Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
Book Count: 26

Since Miranda's sister, Xanda, died, she's done everything her parents asked her to. Even though, they've kept everything about her sister's death from her. But now she's on the cusp of her dreams, with a boy she loves, the dream school where she wants to go to college all spread out in front of her. She can walk away from all the secrets. Until two little pink lines show up on a pregnancy test. Another AMAZING contemporary fiction story. Wow, I loved it. Have to be honest though ... I cried. It was so good.

Book: The Exile of Gigi Lane by Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Book Count: 27

Gigi Lane is the heir apparent to the most popular clique in school. Her entire junior year she's been running errands and doing the dirty work for the Head Hottie and the rest of the Hot Spot, Swan's Lake School for Girls' most prominent clique. But when Gigi has a meltdown right before taking her place as Head Hottie of Swan's Lake, it takes an exile of the harshest course for her to see the light. This book was like The Skulls crossed with Mean Girls who have hearts of gold. Great for laughs, light enough to get through quick, but still with enough depth to make you think.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recent Reads: Linger

Book: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (July 2010)
Book Count: 24

Have you read Shiver? If you haven't you NEED to. Not sure if you want to? Check out my Recent Reads post on Shiver. Linger is the 2nd book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and WOW. It's amazing! It's a continuation of Shiver, and it's hard to give a thorough review of anything without spoilers. All I'll say is this: There are so many twists and turns, I couldn't put it down. I read the whole book in a day (much like with Shiver) and personally, I actually thought the story moved faster, which I think is different from the way a lot of other trilogies, where the 2nd book drags. Nope. Not here. I still like Grace, I love Sam even more and I actually found something redeeming in Isabel. I had a few, "oh, she's not just a mean girl, she might actually have a heart," moments!

Now I have to wait FOREVER for, well, FOREVER, the final book in the trilogy. Suck. The waiting, I mean, not the books. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Relationship Maintenance

One of my friends from college moved up to Seattle "for a couple years" and 6 years later, she's still there. We talk every so often and try to get together whenever she's in town (because she's got tons of family here), but she got me thinking. Though she's not a day-to-day part of my life, I really value her friendship, more so than some of the people who are in my life day-in and day-out.

Our friendship is low maintenance: we don't have to talk/text/see each other every day or even every other day, yet whenever we get together or chat on the phone, it's like picking up exactly where we left off last time, plus a quick recap of all that's gone on since the last time we talked. Around when I need her, and I'm there for her whenever, but we both recognize we have our own lives. It's great.

Now, if only my characters were that way. My relationship with my characters are far more high maintenance then I'd like them to be, especially during a first draft-which is where nearly all my wips are right now.

How much maintenance are the relationships you have with your characters? And how do you handle it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Follow Along

Who's a Justin Beiber fan? *crickets* Anyone? *more crickets* Anyone at all? Bueller? Bueller?

Okay, so the other day I was at my mom's house and my little brother showed me a video on YouTube. I know I sound rambly right now, but bear with me. PLEASE, I have a point, I swear. If you've been following me for a while, you know I have a point, and if not, well, sometimes it takes a while for me to make it.

Over the weekend (and probably prior to my rant yesterday) I hit a milestone that means a whole heckuva lot to me: 100 followers.

It is my first 100 and you first 100 will forever be in my bloggy-heart. I WILL be doing something to commemorate this, however, I think that may take a trip to some sort of bookish place that smells of freshly printed paper and coffee beans to inspire me as to what. I don't know about you, but I sorta am feeling a GIVEAWAY to come! Soon, my pretties, very very soon. ;)

But back to this idea of followers. (I <3 you!) Don't you sorta think it comes across a little ... I don't know ... stalkerish? Don't get me wrong. I love the followers I have and I love being a follower, learning through lurking, sometimes jumping into convos I never would've been a part of if I wasn't a stalk-uh, I mean, a follower, but ... yeah. I guess that's all.

Hmmm, maybe I didn't have a point.

Anyway, I don't have any other really profound thing to say about this, but mostly, this rambling came courtesy of this YouTube video that seriously made me ROFLMAO.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Cure

I've been a bad blogger lately. No schedule. No real subject. Just lots of randomness to fill each day and only some of it do I remember to share. I really must do better.

I'm just not yet sure what will help me do better right now. I'm not really writing much at all, blog or wip. Even my tweets are growing sparse and if you know me, you know that is a major sign that something isn't flowing right. I mean, I've even lost a lot of my thrill and will to read. Seriously. It's taking me days to get through books that once would have taken me a few hours.

Anyone else know what this is? Is it just fallout from the insane weather we've been having in Utah? First 80* then the next day blizzard? Is that what is messing up my jive?

Any magical cures out there?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Off the Hoozle!

Last night, that is what 4yo Kidlet said to me.

I can't even remember what we were doing but suddenly she said "Mommy, you're off the hoozle!" I think I just stood there and stared at her for a minute. Then I asked her where she heard that phrase.

It was from G Force. A Disney move (of all places). Yeah, I know, that is some *insert eye roll* filmmaking genius there. Let's just say some kiddie movies are easier to sit through as a parent than others. Anyway, Kidlet only watched the movie once and yet that phrase totally stuck with her months after seeing it.

So that got me thinking about those catch phrases in general. I know they come from songs and movies and TV, but do you know of one from a book? Do you have one in your book?

Maybe it's one the MC thinks all the time. Or what a supporting character says. Maybe you have one and you've never noticed?

My personal fave that I read in a book (can't recall which), is SUCKTACULAR. I mean, come on! There's so much spunk and personality and creativity in there!

Any come to mind for you, whether you made up the word yourself or read it somewhere? Share! Share! I'm all about expanding my vocabulary :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Doggy in the Window

Firstly - I have not received information from all the Spread the Awesome - Elizabeth Scott contest winners. I can't send you books if you don't tell me where to send them! You know who you are. Please email me your information asap to windy (dot) aphayrath (at) gmail (dot) com ... Thanks!

Okay, so I don't have pets. My husband has had a couple beta fish for-ev-er, but they are not mine. I do not feed them, do not clean them, I do not make any necessary flushing funeral arrangements for them. I am not a pet person.

There's a story here: You see, when I was sixteen and my little brother was four my dad got each of us a puppy. Yes, I know that's a crazy age gap, but that's a different story for another blog post. Anyway, so they were just a couple little mutt puppies who looked like adorable little black labs.

We loved them. All the neighbor kids loved them. And then one day we came home from some errands and they were gone. It was a sad sad day.

Since them, I think I've been sorta traumatized by the whole pet thing. Husband's been negotiating for a dog FOR-EV-ER. Like, way back when he was just Boyfriend, he's been wanting to get a dog together.

And then a few things changed and now I'll introduce you to Lucy! She's the newest crew member of the Aphayrath ship! (Argh - her eyepatch and parrot are still on order.)

This was a HUGE thing for me, as handling two kidlets is already crazy. Toss in a 6-month old boxer puppy and holy cow, it's been craziness around here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Winners! Winners! Winners!

I know you stopped by to see if you won.

I know it isn't really my charming personality, my ability to make the most random comments or my great hair straightening techniques that draw you in. It was bribery, wasn't it? You can admit it, you succumbed to my wooing by offering loads of AWESOME signed books by Elizabeth Scott and you just couldn't help yourself.

It's okay. I won't take it personally. I probably woulda done the same thing because, like you, I've got that whole “I'm in love with books” problem too.

Anyway, let me get the fine print out of the way because people sometimes forget to read on after they've found out they won.

If you're one of the LUCKY 10 winners of a book by Awesome Elizabeth Scott, please email the address you want the books sent to (again, US only) to me at windy (dot) aphayrath (at) gmail (dot) com also please make sure and let me know if you've read any of the books shown below so I can try to make sure you get one you haven't read yet. Unless you have no preference, then just tell me that too.

And without further ado, the winners are . . .

Kristen from Take It As It Comes
Kelly from The Book Hunter
Readerly Person
Shannon Whitney Messenger
Taffy of Taffy’s Candy
Rebecca L. Sutton
Pam Harris
Aik of The Bookaholics
Kimberly from The Brown Eyes Have It
The Blue Lipstick Samurai

Congrats to all the winners! Don’t forget to send me your info.

And thanks to EVERYONE for coming along for the ride on this first contest adventure and of course, a HUGE-UNGOUS thank you to the uber-fantastic, amazing and overall AWESOME Elizabeth Scott for all her generosity, allowing me to make this contest absolutely fabulous.

As ever, Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Twitterly-dee, Twitterly-do

I love Twitter.

There, I said it.

You don't have to like Twitter, but of all social networking I couldn't give up at this point, it would be Twitter. Why, you ask? I've personally got a couple reasons.

#1) It's 140 characters. That's it. No extras. Unless you really want then, then you can go off and sign up for them. (TwitPic, Twishorts, etc)

#2) The opportunity to "chat" with people I wouldn't otherwise get to talk to. Like I've had convo's with Cindy Pon about sushi and persimmons and discussed my love for Tobey Bell with Susane Colasanti (go read her book When It Happens if you don't know who he is) while getting the latest news updates and participating in discussions with publishing pros with #askagent, #kidlitchat and #yalitchat

Oh, and I guess there's one more... a very important one, I think.

#3) Research. That's right. I said it. I thought I left it behind with my senior thesis in college too, but alas, no.  You see, I hate research. Oh, there are few things I despise more than research ... but what is not to love about how quickly you can get an answer on Twitter? Yes, you can do this with your FB status update too, I suppose, but I've found there's something so much more personal about commenting on someone's FB that often I hesitate to say anything if I don't know them. Twitter takes away the "wallflower" aspect for me.

What about you? Which Social Networking medium could you not live without if you could only pick one?

P.S. If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my Elizabeth Scott is Awesome contest - it's running through Sunday at Noon, EST.  Oh, and you can follow her on twitter too @escottwrites :)

Tweet, tweet!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Awesomeness Everywhere!

If you missed out on yesterday's huge-ungous blogfest to Spread the Awesome, because you were sick or on vacation or living under a rock or something ;), you can check out all the books/authors featured at Elana Johnson's blog. There are still a ton of contests open, so poke around to see if you can get hooked up with free books - some signed by the awesome authors!

Holy wow! There were so many awesome books out there, some I already had on my TBR list, but so many others I was just getting introduced to. Love discovering new books.

I'm off to see what I can find at the library and bookstore.

And in case you haven't yet, don't forget to head over to my post on Elizabeth Scott's Awesomeness for a chance to win one of TEN signed copies of her books - contest open until Sunday, May 9!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spread the Awesome with Elizabeth Scott Sprinkles!

I'm back! And since you guys were so patient while I was gone, I decided we needed to start things off with some fun: First some awesome spreading, then a CONTEST!

Thanks to Elana Johnson for pulling together this blogfest of Awesome Fun, with over 60 wirters talking about their favorite books! I ended up not being able to choose just one book, but several by the amazing Elizabeth Scott.

Elizabeth writes YA because, in her words, "Being a teenager is both the most amazing and most frightening thing--there's so much going on . . . it can be really exciting, but it's also a lot to deal with!" With that in mind, she's said she could never see herself writing anything else! Thank goodness for us!

And thanks to Elizabeth's generosity, I have 10 . . . that's right TEN of her books, signed and ready to giveaway! Keep reading for the deets.

The Unwritten Rule
Sarah's liked Ryan since forever, it seems. Sarah's best friend Brianna is all things Sarah thinks she's not: beautiful, perky, popular, oh, and Ryan's girlfriend. But one night changes everything and when the truth comes out, it shines a light on more than Sarah expected. A great story putting friendship and loyalty into perspective.

Living Dead Girl
Ray kidnapped Alice several years ago, holding her captive as his little girl. But Alice is swiftly growing up and out of the little girl shell Ray has tried to keep her in. All she wants is to go home. Dealing with a heavy topic and at times disturbing, this is a beautiful and haunting story of love and human nature.

Something, Maybe
Hannah's parents take the cake on the embarrassment scale: her mom's a sometimes employed former TV starlet running a website in her underwear; her dad's rich, old and manipulative, always surrounded with plastic surgery enhanced women for his reality show. When Hannah's finally noticed by her longtime crush, it turns out being in love with someone and being in love with the idea of them are very different. Hilarious, emotional and so real!

Stealing Heaven
Danielle's spent most of her life as her mother's right hand in the family business: silver theft. When her mom cases out the small town of Heaven for their next heist, Danielle expects it to be like any other job. But heaven turns out to be completely different from any place Danielle's ever known and for the first time, she finds herself questioning if the life she lives is the life she wants. A great story about understanding, love and loyalty, another amazing read!

You can check out more about Elizabeth and her awesome books on her website, follow her on Twitter, or Fan her on FB!

Still with me? Okay, now for the Contest-o'-Awesome!
For your chance to win a signed copy of one of the books shown above, all you have to do, is enter! (And have a shipping address in the United States - sorry to international peeps.) The contest will be open from right this second through 12:00 PM on Sunday, May 9. I'll announce all winners in a week!

How do you enter, you ask?
  • Comment on this post (otherwise, how will I know you want to be entered? Lol!)
And, for some extra entries, let me know if you're
Email me at windy (dot) aphayrath (at) gmail (dot) com if you've got questions, and good luck!

If you want to find out about another great book, check out Paul Greci's blog about Carol Lynch Williams' The Chosen One. Or you can check out the entire list of Awesome books you should add to your TBR piles on Elana's blog.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Those who attain any excellence
commonly spend life in one pursuit,
for excellence is not often granted
upon easier terms."

Samuel Johnson