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  1. Taking a Break

    September 6, 2012 by Kiersi

    My boyfriend is probably the only reason I don’t work 16 hours a day. Balancing contracting work, edits on my upcoming publication, Devil’s Fire, reworking The Aeronauts, writing and refining a query–it’s been a bit of a top load lately. Luckily I have that guy around telling me to get off my ass and take a break already. “Go play a video game for a while,” he insists–frequently. “Or watch a movie with me.”

    "Kracka" Munny, by Kidrobot

    One thing I don’t do enough of anymore is art. I used to illustrate children’s books and make miniature sculpey statuettes, but haven’t had much time for hobbies with writing becoming my full-time gig.

    I forgot how much art recharges my batteries, or I would have done a project like this one sooner.

    A few weeks back, while hanging with my super-cool college friend and budding entrepreneur Amber Case (@caseorganic), we decided on a whim to buy these cute vinyl toys (called Munny) by Boulder company Kidrobot. I guess not so much of a surprise, considering my obsession with tiny, cute things.

    The concept of the Munny is a brilliant one. Sure, it’s a somewhat creepy-looking blank, white, vinyl critter that bears a striking resemblance to a hippo/dog/dinosaur (depending on your angle). But it’s also a blank slate: something you can cut, sculpt, and customize however you please. And some folks have done some really cool stuff with it. (more…)

  2. Film Noir, Dying Genres, and Tic-Tacs

    August 31, 2012 by Kiersi

    A week’s worth of contracting work instead of finishing my query? SO WHAT. This thing is in the bag!


    And it’s Friday.

    I’ve posted about Veronica Mars before (and how it’s the best teen TV show pretty much ever–but I’m not really a Buffy person), but this girl really went the extra distance to talk about the film noir elements of Rob Thomas’s crowning achievement in her article, “VERONICA MARS (Is Smarter Than Everybody).” She also has gathered an impressive collection of snarky Veronica gifs (if you’re into that kind of thing–and you might just be after you see this.)

    GOD, I love smart, sassy girl heroes. And the noir-style detective tale? An untapped YA sub-genre that, to me, seems ripe for the pickin’s.

    And while we’re on the topic of trending (and dying) genres, I read an interesting post this week by literary agent Suzie Townsend called “The Truth About Dead Genres.” She makes a great point: Write the book you want to write, not what you think you should write to stay on top of the market. There’s no way to know what’ll hit and what won’t a few years down the line.

    One last thing: Just in case you weren’t already aware, this is how you eat a tic-tac like a boss. I mean, seriously, why is this not an NBC “The More You Know” ad?

  3. WordCamp Portland: Blogging Your Platform

    August 13, 2012 by Kiersi

    WordCamp Portland 2012

    Hey! If you’re in or around the Portland area, why not attend WordCamp Portland 2012 on August 18th? It will be a fun and educational event for all WordPress bloggers and enthusiasts.

    Plus, I’ll be speaking! Specifically, I’ll be dropping some hints and tricks on creating content, using your blog as a creative platform, and establishing yourself in a community. The primary focus is getting creative types guerilla marketing themselves through their blogs.

    To buy a ticket, visit the WordCamp Portland website. There’s a great line-up of presenters, including:

    – Laura Kimball, How to Blog Once a Day

    – Grant Landram, How to Build a Professional WordPress Business

    – Robert Rowley, WordPress Security 101 (and beyond)

    – And many others–though I have to admit that these are probably the ones I’ll be checking out, as I am not yet a PHP developer. (Thank god.)

    I hope you’ll come see us on August 18th. There will be jokes.

  4. California Road Trip 2012: The Hip-Necks

    August 7, 2012 by Kiersi

    Look at that charmer.

    Day… who cares?

    At this point, I don’t remember what day it is. That’s what I love about my friend’s ranch up in Bodega. It’s just this place where you can go without cell phone reception, without an internet connection, and just see life for what it is–days passing one after another, not towards any particular goal, just an endless journey meant to be enjoyed. (more…)

  5. California Road Trip 2012: San Francisco

    August 5, 2012 by Kiersi

    Day 9: San Jose

    After crashing for the night in Los Angeles, I got my stuff together and headed up north to see a friend in San Jose. He used to work as a tour guide at the Winchester Mansion, and he’d ranted and raved to me so many times about this strange, fascinating place that I insisted we go and sell our spare limbs to go on the tour. For real: it costs three times as much as going to a movie to see the Winchester Mansion for one hour.

    But I rest my case. A brilliantly bizarre place to visit. (more…)

  6. California Road Trip 2012: San Diego

    August 1, 2012 by Kiersi

    Day 6: San Diego

    I made it to San Diego just in time for a poolside lounge session with podcaster, blogger, and fellow YA author Jon Yang.

    Jon and I take on San Diego

    After Jon showed me to some of San Diego’s finest raw fish, we grabbed a late showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I have a whole slew of criticisms about the movie (What is the deal with that thing on Bane’s face? And I didn’t realize it was so easy to fix a broken back), but overall, I enjoyed my first IMAX experience. My biggest complaint with the medium is the sound quality. Yes, great, you have a fabulous speaker system, congratulations–but it doesn’t matter how loud it is unless it’s used right. I felt like the bass was permanently damaging my ability to reproduce, and yet there were still sequences of dialogue too quiet to understand. (more…)

  7. Day 3, 4 & 5 (California Road Trip ’12)

    July 26, 2012 by Kiersi

    Day 3: Santa Rosa to Los Angeles

    I thought about stopping for another night to camp on my way south, but I had a few freelance articles due soon and needed a layover day to get caught up. After three days of straight driving, I was ready to get off the road for a while. My friend lives in Westwood (see this article and this other article about my research trip last March), not a stone’s throw from UCLA and Hollywood; overall, a great place to hunker down in a cute little coffee shop and relax. (more…)

  8. Day 1 and 2 (California Road Trip ’12)

    July 20, 2012 by Kiersi

    Day 1: Portland to Mt. Shasta

    You can't see how fast I'm going in this picture, right? Good. That's probably good.

    As usual, I didn’t get out of the house until at least three hours after the time I had initially convinced myself was “crazy late.” Late is the new early. I started listening to the audiobook of Marie Lu’s Legend. Holy cow, if you haven’t read it already and you’re a fan of dystopian YA, Legend is a great find.

    Anyway, it was a five hour drive or so to Mount Shasta, where I navigated my little rear-wheel-drive Squirtle-mobile over road (or what passes for “road” in places like this) that was probably only intended for four-wheel-drive vehicles. Well, c’est la vie, Squirtle.

    I pitched my tent and heated some soup. Rather, I tried to heat some soup, but I’d forgotten a can opener (and a cloth, and soap, and a knife, and a bowl). Hmm. No can opener. (more…)

  9. Interview with Kelly Hashway

    June 4, 2012 by Kiersi

    Young adult novelist Kelly Hashway (author of the upcoming Touch of Death, SpencerHill Press January 2013) let me interview her last week about a number of important, burning topics. Most importantly, we talked about why she is so awesome.

    Here is the interview, so you readers and writers out there can glean some of her wisdom, and turn it into prolificness! And, of course, get a sneak peek into the inner workings of a talented wordsmith. I didn’t edit a thing, just for you.

    Me: So, Kelly. You have a YA novel coming out with SpencerHill Press in January of next year, a sequel already slated to released six months later, and a triquel in the works (later she corrected me that, in fact, she had finished a first draft of the final book in the series and was just waiting to be contracted for it).

    Now I know that your first YA book, Touch of Death, is about necromancers. Why did you pick necromancers?

    Kelly: I came up with the idea when I was writing another novel that had to do with the thirteenth sign of the zodiac. He didn’t play a major part in the novel, but when I looked into his story I learned a lesser-known myth about him. It had to do with Medusa. His name is Ophiuchus (K note: I had to look up how to spell this), and he has the ability to bring the dead back to life. I thought that was pretty cool, but necromancer books have been done before—so I wanted to do something a little different. (more…)

  10. Days of Blood and Starlight Cover Reveal

    May 25, 2012 by Kiersi

    Okay, normally I don’t get into this kind of thing, but Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone really hit me where it hurts when I picked it up a few weeks ago. (Read one of my rare five-heart reviews here.) Ever since Taylor’s brilliant prose, unstoppable storytelling style and simply beautiful concept knocked me off my feet, I’ve been waiting with a pounding heart for any information about the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, to emerge.

    Well, my bookish prayers have been answered, and Entertainment Weekly dropped a cover reveal today.

    Laini Taylor's Days of Blood and Starlight

    If that doesn’t get you excited for the Daughter sequel, I don’t know what will. And there’s probably something wrong with you.