Monday, April 30, 2012

In Which I Delay

Hey all! I was really hoping I'd be able to post some cool stuff relating to the awesome Children's & YA Writing Conference I attended this weekend, but it turns out that I really can't. But don't fret! I will! Just not today. I've actually got 2-3 posts planned. Maybe 4. Because THAT'S HOW AWESOME IT WAS.

AND I ran into Carrie Monroe at the conference who approached me because she recognized my name from my blog. How awesome and crazy is that? (hint: very).

I think after you attend cool conferences and events like these, two things happen: you get inspired and want to go home and get to work right away. And also you get a little sad and depressed and you don't want to do anything. And there's really no rhyme or reason as to why you feel this way.

Mostly I came out of this one in category 1. Which is good, because I am making some exciting headway on Break Free and I don't want to lose that momentum.

Anyhoo, I'll post all the cool stuff we learned later. I hope everyone enjoys the last day of the A-Z challenge and congrats to everyone who stuck with it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun

Woo hoo! We're back at the weekend already! And because it's spring, the days will just keep getting warmer and warmer, which is pawesome! Until it gets too warm and we miss the days of winter.

I need you sun. I need you to keep me warm. But not too warm...

Sigh. Seasons. What's a dog to do?

Funny Pictures - Cat Gifs

funny pictures - If it fits...I sits

funny pictures - Especially when all squeaky clean!

funny pictures - Horrible things come from here. Horrible things.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Weird

Now, I know we've talked about Animal Suicides before, but I still think it's fascinating (and weird) so here's another example of an out of character animal suicide (IE, not lemmings (though fun fact: Lemmings aren't actually committing suicide. They're just migrating in mass droves. When they jump off those cliffs, it's to swim across the body of water to get where they're headed. It's just that a lot of them drown due to exhaustion))

Today, lets talk about cows.

Yep. Cows.

Back in 2009 28 cows in Switzerland decided to kill themselves by jumping off a cliff. And we're not talking about a stampede frightening the animals into one mass exodus. No, we're talking about cows leaping to their death over the span of 3 days.

actual picture of some of the cows. poor cows

So it wasn't just a "follow the leader" herd mentality for all those cows. And on top of it, those cows were born there and understood the danger of the cliffs. It wasn't like they were in a new environment and didn't realize stepping off the cliff would kill them. Occasionally a cow might fall to their death, but so many cows, over three days, in the exact same spot?

There are no large predators native to the area so it's not like something could've frightened them either (in fact, they had to helicopter the dead cows off of the cliff floor so they wouldn't pollute the ground water, because there's nothing big enough in the environment to even eat the free meat)

So now we can add cows offing themselves to our list of weird stuff. I mean, it's not as weird (or creepy) as the dog suicide bridge, but still.

Thoughts? Theories? Let's hear them!


Monday, April 23, 2012

In Which I Conference

This weekend, myself and the awesometastic Hannah will be attending the Children's and Young Adult Literature Conference 2012 at The Loft Literary Center.

I'm super excited. First because spending time with Hannah is the shiz. (Hannah blogged about The Loft Here)
Second, because check out this lineup!!:

11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Picture Book Track–Picture Books 101: What To Do, What Not To Do with Stephen Shaskan
  • Middle Grade Track–What We Write About When We Write About Magic with Kelly Barnhill
  • Young Adult Track–Quirk can work! How to create curious and intriguing manuscript elements with Kirstin Cronn-Mills (Quirky” is an industry buzzword. It can mean unusual,
    curious, weird, or funky. Interested in adding more quirk to your work? Unusual characters, scenes, and story elements can help you amuse and connect with your readers. Quirky writing can also reveal deeper levels of story, character, and theme. Please come prepared to write
    and discuss your work.)
2–3:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Picture Book Track–Humpty Dumpty with Janet Graber
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade Track–Writing Suspense for Middle Grade Readers with Susan Runholt
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade Track–Steps for Revising: How to Make Your Novel Shine with Megan Atwood (You’ve written a draft of a novel, and the hard work is done, right? Not so much. Now comes the real work of writing a novel—revising. Where do you start? How
    do you get the perspective you need to see your work professionally? What elements are
    missing? What darlings should you kill? This session will give step-by-step revision
    suggestions to help you polish your manuscript until it shines)
3:30–4:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Picture Book Track–The Language of Picture Books with Molly Beth Griffin
  • Middle Grade Track–Planning a Chapter Book: Are You Sure Barbara Park Did It This Way? with Kurtis Scaletta and Eric Wight
  • Young Adult Track–Panel: Then Suddenly, Without Warning with M. Molly Backes, Julie Halpern, James Klise, and Claire Zulkey (Flannery O’Connor said that the ending of a
    story must be “both surprising and inevitable.” But what makes the difference between a wellplotted surprise and a predictable twist? Four young adult novelists discuss the deliberate
    process of foreshadowing and forgetting, setting up expectations and knocking them down, that
    leads to surprising yet inevitable endings for any novel.)
Sunday: 10–11 a.m. Featured Panel: Write Up, Write Down with Kelly Barnhill, Heather Bouwman, Pete Hautman, and Sheila O’Connor (she was one of my teachers at the U of M)(E.B. White once famously advised writers of children’s books to “write up, not down.” The authors on this panel have done just that, throwing big words, imaginary worlds, and tough situations at young readers—assuming, as White suggested, that children are “game for anything.” In this panel, they will discuss why, when, and how they “write up” to challenge their readers: what that means in terms of language, character, setting and plots; whether or not it is possible to lift a child up or put a child down with a novel; and the differences between writing for young people and writing for adults)

11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions

  • Picture Book Track–Hack, Tweak, & Polish: DIY Revision Workshop with Tracy Nelson Maurer
  • Middle Grade/Young Adult Track–Authentic Historical Settings with Jennie Goloboy
  • Young Adult Track–Seizing the YA moment with Andrew Karre (In the last few years, YA fiction has occupied a place in public discourse unlike any other time in the genre’s
    history. (You know you’ve arrived when you’re on The Simpsons and in the New Yorker in the same month.) I’ll discuss what this means for writers and their work,and why they should be excited and inspired by all the controversy and even the negativity. This is a unique moment for YA novelists, and authors should seize it rather than shrink from it.

So, needless to say, I'm super excited. I'll be hitting up all the YA tracks, though a few of the MG ones sounded pretty sweet (especially What We Write About When We Write About Magic)


Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Fun

Woo Hoo! A whole week has gone by again, and now Yvie has returned to get your weekend started with some FUN!

Has the fun started yet?

Here we go!!

funny pictures - Ai iz de nite who sez Nii.

Funny Pictures - Otter Gifs

funny pictures - *WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?*

funny pictures - No sharing!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Weird

Another thing I haven't gone into much yet on Wednesday Weird are UFOs. No matter where you stand on your belief of aliens and UFOs, there is documented proof of objects in the sky that remain unidentified. Everyone should be able to agree on this. Anything past that is where the arguments begin.

Anyway, today we're going to cover the Chiles-Whitted UFO Encounter

OK, so people on the ground spot UFOs all the time. But you know who else spots UFOs quite frequently? People in the sky. Pilots, airplane passengers, etc. It just makes sense, when you think about it. The Chiles-WHitted UFO Encounter is one of these.

It's not like Pilots are immune to identification errors. I mean, of course they aren't. They're just as human as every other person who mistakes a weather balloon for a craft. Hell, one summer night, a small squadron of old-timey biplanes buzzed over our house, in formation, and Twin, Brother and I raced outside to see what the hell it was. It wasn't until they came back later that we were able to properly identify what the hell it was. Yeah? Yeah.

Clarence Chiles and Charles Whitted were commercial airline pilots and this sighting occurred in the morning of July 24th, 1948.

So, both experienced pilots reported the same thing: some weird torpedo shaped object flying alongside of them. This is a big deal because it's allegedly the first UFO sighting that occurred close distance (within 100 feet or so), because both pilots were decorated for their service in WWII, AND, most interesting of all, it was the main reason that Project Sign (US Air-force study of UFOs) championed an extraterestial hypothesis.


So anyway, it wasn't just some flashing light that zipped past. Both pilots said they got a 10-15 second look at it. And, one of the passengers of the plane who was awake at the time ALSO saw the object. Later, when the Air-Force poked around, they found another witness on the ground (Walter Massey) who worked as a member of the ground crew at the air-force base and reported the object an hour before Chiles and Whitted. Even later, they'd discover that the same object was spotted in the Netherlands, but a month earlier. Everyone who saw it said it looked kind of like a rocket, with two decks lined with windows that glowed with an almost blinding light from beneath the craft.

The pilots got on the radio as asked if there were any experimental crafts in the area and there weren't (or at least, none that anyone knew of...)

So anyway, the military at first said it was weather balloon (natch), but then later retracted that statement and said it was a meteor. The pilots said no-way, since they had both seen meteors before and none of them had ever had, well, windows.

After investigating, the Air-Force famously came back and said they concluded that the object was in fact an alien spaceship.


Until their superiors said no way in hell. They pointed out that just because we don't know what the object is, doesn't mean it's aliens. Which is 100% true and needs to be remembered by anyone in any sort of fringe scientific field.

So where does that leave us? Nowhere. To this day the Chiles-Whitted UFO encounter has never been solved or identified.

What do you think?


Monday, April 16, 2012

In Which I Recommend A Book

So, I usually don't talk about books that much on my blog. Not because I don't love books (because clearly I do) but just because I don't really have much to say about them, other than "ooh I loved this book!" or "Ooh, I don't really care for that book".

For the books I don't love, I can usually articulate why. But this isn't a book blog, and I'm not a reviewer, so I don't feel it's my place to post why I don't like a book. I'm certainly willing to talk to you about it if you ask, I'm just not going to post it on my blog, or write a review on amazon or Goodreads. It's just not my thing, yeah?

And for the books I love, I often times have a hard time expressing what it is about the book that makes me love it so much. Sometimes I can speak to a certain character or scene, but sometimes I can't. Which is why when I do occasionally talk about books I love on my blog, usually it's just a sentence that says something like "I've read this book tons. I love it. You will too" and that's it.

But even with that, sometimes I feel the need to give it a shot.

I have a local NaNoWriMo pal. His name is David John Wellman. We've never actually met, due totally to my own fault at really not making much of an effort to hit up many NaNo write ins over the years. Also he lives in the southern half of the cities and us northerners disdain the south. It's just not as cool and this is a fact.

ANYWAY. He self-pubbed his 2005 NaNo novel back in December and I told him when I got a kindle I would buy it. And I did and it was the first book I bought after the lovely Anne Gallagher's Lady's Fate.

And here I am now, to tell you all about it. Not just because he's a pal, but because I really enjoyed his book and I think you might too.

Awakened (Blue Night #1) is awesome. Straight up. I knew next to nothing about it (because I was lazy and didn't bother reading the Goodreads info) but I couldn't put it down.

Here's the Goodread info for you, in case you're as lazy as me:

Not long from now, a meteor the size of Lower Manhattan slams into the Atlantic Ocean. Tsunamis spread across the globe, killing tens of millions and crushing great cities into rubble. Rain falls everywhere for weeks. Crops fail. Governments topple. Society hangs by a thread.

Scientists had predicted it would happen someday, but they could not have predicted what happened next. For the meteor brought something with it, something neither science nor religion could possibly explain. Something that awakened a part of the human race that had lain dormant for millions of years. Some call it witchcraft. Others call it divine power. Most do not believe, until it happens to them.

Now an unlikely band of heroes must struggle, not only to survive, but to understand what they have become. Only then can they survive the day when all of humanity will become Awakened

Things I like about it:

1. Multiple character POVs. Think Stephen King. This is a style that's kind of gone out of vogue. Mostly just because the types of books that shine with this style are not as popular anymore (Horror ala Koontz, Crichton (RIP) etc)

2. Apocalypse. A meteor impact apocalypse. I mean, if you don't know that I love pocys, then you don't really know me at all.

3. Likable characters. There's not a single character I don't like in the novel. Even the ones who do terrible things to main characters only earned my sympathy.

4. Set in MN. I know I've written in the past about how this sometimes freaks me out, but in this case it didn't. 

5. An immediate desire to read the sequel (which is not yet published BOO-URNS)

So. If this sounds up your alley, I would highly recommend getting your copy asap!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Fun

Hi Ape-Friends! It's me, Yvie again, here to set you on your path to a fun filled weekend.

I got some exciting news this week, too.

Wait, let me back up.

Did you know I have a hairless tummy? It's true, I do. And you know what a hairless tummy is good for? Tattoos.

Yep. That's right.

So I decided to get one.

Yes, there was a prize involved, and I may or may not have won a copy of Emily White's Elemental, but that's beside the point, because I can't read.

What's really awesome, is just how badass I look with my new tattoo with my mom.

All right! Onto the fun!

funny pictures - Thus ended Dave's brief but eventful run for Congress.

Funny Pictures - SOON Cats

Funny Pictures - Cat Gifs

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Weird

I'm actually surprised it's taken me so many weeks before I dove into one of my most favorite weird things. What's that you ask? Cryptozoology!

For those not in the know, Cryptolzoology is the study of hidden animals. Cryptozoology is the reason animals such as the panda and the okapi were discovered.

Today cryptozoology mostly centers around possible animals like Sasquatch etc, but there is also a lot of focus on Lazarus animals (animals that were presumed extinct and rediscovered alive. One of the most famous cases being both species of the Coelecanth)

So expect to see more cryptids in upcoming Wednesday Weirds.

Today, we're going to talk about one of my favorite cryptids, the Orang Pendek.

Orang Pendek is an animal that reportedly lives in the remote forests and jungles of Sumatra. Orang Pendek translates to mean "short person" because anyone who's seen it will tell you it's just like a little ape-man about 3 feet tall and covered in orange hair.

So it's just an ape, right? Yes and No. What's so awesome about Orang Pendek is that it's bi-pedal. It walks on two legs just like us.

So you say, OK, sure, maybe there is a little ape-man running bipedally down there and maybe there isn't. No smart people actually believe in it right?

Wrong. In fact, there have been so many eye-witness accounts of Orang Pendek that both National Geographic and Fauna and Flora International have sent teams for evidence gathering missions. The Fauna and Flora one lasted over 15 years.

What you have to remember is that the forests of Sumatra are amazing at hiding things. Scientists who live down there to study the Sumatran tiger or Sumatran elephants, animals we know exist have sometimes seen Orang Pendek more frequently than these known animals.

So if a frickin elephant can elude discovery in the jungles of Sumatra, it's certainly not difficult to believe a a little ape could, either.

Monday, April 9, 2012

In Which You Need A Critique?

Hmm, that title doesn't quite work...

Anyhoo, so a few weeks ago, I read this post on Matt's blog all about Brent Taylor's editing service.  And I was all "hmm. I could maybe use a critique.."

And then I checked his prices, and then I emailed him immediately. I'm not even joking.

And now here I am, recommending Brent to anyone who needs a MS critique.

Things that are awesome about Brent's service:

1. Affordable. Seriously, check out his webpage (linked above) for his rates. You won't find better ones.

2. Fast. It took Brent only about a week to read my MS. I'm sure length of time varies with each MS, but still. I was impressed.

3. Content. But don't think that because he's on the faster side that you won't get a great crit. Because mine was awesome. A sheet of big picture stuff (which is exactly what I wanted/needed) as well as a line edit and comments throughout the MS.

Seriously guys, Brent is awesome and I would definitely use him again.

What are you waiting for? Check him out!

Friday, April 6, 2012

In Which I Have No Post

Hi All!

I'll be away from the internet for much of the day, which means no post.

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Weird

Today we're going to talk about something that I just think is super awesome and cool (and weird of course)

The Antikythera Mechanism
The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient machine that dates back to about 100 BC. It was found in a shipwreck near Greece and it contains gears and other bits that weren't found in devices again until 1000 years later.
No one can really agree on who made it, though it's likely to be Greek since its instructions are written in Greek, but there's also pretty strong support for it being Sicilian.
The machine supposedly is used to figure out astronomical positions, which is no big deal until you realize this was created before anyone had discovered how planets and junk moved.
So, more or less, the machine had a function that no one alive during that time would've understood.
I mean, look at this crazy thing!
So many parts. And these damn instructions are like Greek. Literally.

this is a modern model of the machine
I love cool crap like that, things that throw a wrench into our understanding of history and the world. Good times.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In Which We Run

So, since I really, really wanted to lose weight and get in shape this year, Twin, Brother and I decided to give the Couch to 5K a try. We actually completed it two weeks ago and it was both hard and easy.

There was one week where you're running for 8 minutes, then walking for like 3, but at the end of the week you suddenly have to run for 20 min, which is a HUGE increase, but we all did it, and once we crossed that bridge, the last few weeks weren't bad.

Anyway, while we were doing all this, we discovered the wonderful awesomeness that is Run For Your Lives.

Run for Your Lives is a 5K, with obstacles. Oh, and zombies chase you.

Once Brother discovered this, back in January, we KNEW we had to compete. So we're signed up for the June 2nd Minneapolis run.

We're all super excited, both because we'll be running our first ever 5K (and actually be able to run the 5K) and also because there's zombies chasing you, trying to steal your flags.

If you make it out at the end with at least one flag remaining, you're considered a survivor and you get a survivor shirt. No flags means you died and you get a zombie shirt.

So we still have two months to train for it. Weather permitting (which is questionable right now) we're going to try running outside at least once this week, so wish us luck!

Here's a video of a 2012 Run For Your Lives in Atlanta. I'm just crossing my fingers that we'll have no rain, unlike them.

What about you? Would you participate?

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