Friday, December 24, 2010

YAtopia!

I've been waiting for a while to make this announcement and I'm so excited to share this with y'all! Starting the first week of 2011, I will be one of eight contributors to a new YA blog: YAtopia.



What is YAtopia? We're eight writers passionate about Young Adult literature in all shapes and sizes. We'll be blogging about books, writing and anything related to YA literature.

We'll start posting the first week of 2011, but I'd be honored if you would check out our beautiful blog and read a little about the contributors.

What would you like to see from this new blog? Any questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I only get FIVE minutes?

5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

We all know 2010 wasn't my best year ever, but that doesn't mean I want to forget all of it. *sets the timer for five minutes* *pauses TV* Here goes...

  • your heart pounding as you press send on that first e-query for THE DEMONS YOU KNOW

  • Jasper trying to cuddle with you on the love seat when your back is so messed up you can't even go to the bathroom

  • Chelsea singing "Think of Me" over and over again because she knows it makes you smile

  • Looking through Jarrod's sketchbook at writer's group meetings

  • Getting that first full request … even though it didn't turn out so great

  • Feeling so loved and welcomed by the lovely ladies at the RWA conference. Except for that one chick... but whatevs.

  • Getting to hang out (Lunch, dinner, she even saved you a seat at a session!) with one of your favorite writers at RWA.

  • Being able to pick up with Erin T like you hadn't just spent years apart.

  • The Foundation giving a record number of Scholarships thanks to your fundraising efforts. And making the heartbreaking decision to step down from your position because you knew it was best for everyone.

  • Phi Rho Parents and Alumni weekend where that girl went totally fan girl on you. "You're Sarah, the founder!"

  • Dressing up as Dorothy for work, making all the OZ props out of $4 worth of construction paper

  • Getting a text message from Alli with a pic of her and Steph's babies

  • Playing "you know what today is?" with (coworker) Melissa every day

  • Dragon*Con!!

  • Year of Months

  • Being retweeted by Maureen Johnson and Laurie Halse Anderson!

  • Dan, Chelsea, James, Stephanie, John-Michael, Matt W, Matt B, Phi Rho NC and Foundation, Melody, Scott, Jen, Melissa, Bridget, Bradley, Adam, Erin, Colleen, Brittany, Paool, Josie, K, Chris, Todd, Lisa, Amy, Beth, Alina, Jan, Cookie, Joe, Charlie, Janet, Dyer, Mike, Matt H, RKJ, and OH GOD I'M OUT OF TIME SO PLEASE DON'T HATE ME IF YOU'RE NOT HERE BECAUSE YOU SHOULD BE!!!


Hm, yeah. It's a good thing I type fast!

This post is party of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More #reverb10 Catch-up

December 12: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

In the spirit of being honest with y'all, I'm going to tell you: I've never felt more at war with my body than in this past year. With a back injury, weight-gained, and persistent other issues, my body has become an antagonist in my story.

I noticed in the past month that a lot of these issues are probably a result of having my most sedentary job ever. Sitting in a crappy computer chair for forty hours a week without any kind of physical activity AT ALL has been hard on my body in ways that all my years of playing sports and pushing myself to the limit could never touch. So I guess my mind fired the first shot in this war, but I'm calling a truce.

Maybe losing my job is a blessing in disguise? Time will tell.

December 13: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

To get back in shape:

  1. Go to the gym.

  2. Take Jasper on long walks

  3. Find good places to hike

  4. Try yoga

  5. OK, maybe not


To find a job:

  1. I've already spruced up my resume

  2. Continue networking

  3. Get shifts at Gaylord to pay the bills until I...

  4. Find a job I really want


For my writing:

  1. Continue to query THE DEMONS YOU KNOW

  2. Re-start writing my next book...

  3. My MC needs to be revamped so I need to do....

  4. Character sketches.


December 14: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

This is an easy one: my friends. It's funny; I've never had fewer friends that I regularly spend time with, but that's only made me appreciate them more. And I hope they know it. I hope they notice when I can't help but smile when I see them. I hope they notice that when I hug them hello, it's more than just going through the motions. I hope they know that every time I ask them to hang out, I truly do want to spend time with them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

#reverb10 - Playing Catch Up

For anyone who hasn't heard, I was laid off last Thursday. That's kinda why I haven't been posting here the last few days, but apparently I've run that excuse dry – or I think that's what Adam has trying to tell me. :-) So here's some catch-up...

December 10: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

I can't say there's a single decision that sticks out to me from this year – at least not one I haven't mentioned in the past two weeks. If I'm being completely honest, 'wisdom' doesn't hold that much weight in my decision-making process lately. The process is kinda more like this:

  1. What do I want to do?

  2. Do that.


Most of my life, I've been doing what I 'should' do. I've weighed the pros and cons, evaluated the situation, always taken the safe path.

And it just wasn't working for me. So I'm trying something new. And I guess there is some wisdom in that, even if it is unconventional.

December 11: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Cutting back on things is actually something I've been working toward. I know a lot of people took this in the non-literal sense, but I think it's important to literally un-clutter your life also.

  1. Dishes. Not all of them, just a lot of them. Our kitchen has quadruples of pretty much everything. It drives me nuts.

  2. Clothes. I have a huge closet, half-filled with clothes I haven't worn in over six months.

  3. Stuff. Anything I use less than twice a year. I don't even like to keep trinkets or seasonal decorations. It's apparently weird, but I don't imbue emotions on material possessions – so why bother keeping them around?

  4. Weight. Some extra pounds. I won't say how many, but they're as good as gone. Just give me a few months.

  5. Toiletries. I don't know why, but I collect lotion, shampoo, body wash, etc faster than I can use it.

  6. Dust. Though I'm totally anti-clutter, I'm not a fan of dusting. I know I should, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. I'll try.

  7. Lame Duck Friends. You know the ones. You think they're a good friend, until you need them. Or maybe you keep inviting them to things and they always have an excuse and never return the invites. Not worth it.

  8. Rejection Letters. I hate them. I know they're inevitable, but I'll do everything I can to keep them to a minimum – short of not submitting, of course.

  9. Traffic. Sounds awesome, right? I can only think of one way to do this: move somewhere where I can walk to just about anything I need.

  10. Uncomfortable Shoes. Life is way too short for me to spend any amount of time thinking about my feet hurting – especially when I've done it to myself. If I can't dance in them for hours, they're gone.

  11. Junk food. I'm not saying I want to get rid of it completely (I'm not one of those people), but cut down significantly. I guess this will help with number four too.


So I was planning on doing at least one more post, but I'm tired and it's time to go to bed. Expect more tomorrow!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

People Make the Party

Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Let me just say: what a relief this prompt is! I was really worried I was going to have to be all serious and mushy-gushy for the rest of the month. And not only that, this is a topic I love. J

In my opinion, people make the party so the rest of it? Doesn’t matter so much.



The first awesome party of the year was really only halfway in this year. (Wow. That sentence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Oh well, it’s staying.) Chels hosted a fantastic New Year’s party that a lot of people came into town for – we even had one guest from California!



And then there was the entire summer. The pool setup at our apartment complex is pretty awesome so we had people over for barbecues and swimming almost every weekend during the summer. Oh man, is there anything better than burgers on the grill, the radio cranked up, beer in the cooler and a blue floatie with two cup holders?



All the Area O meetups. For those who don’t know, I belong to a group here that’s based on our common love of Sci-Fi. These are the people who always get my Firefly references and don’t look at me weird when I make Star Trek jokes. <3 Them!

I could go on, but… well, everyone knows my roommates and I host awesome parties. I can plan an event like nobody’s business and the weird thing is I love planning them as much as I love going to them!

This post is party of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Six Words, Beautifully Different

It’s been a while since I participated in YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday so today’s post is going to be doing double duty. Today’s prompt results in my shortest RTW answer ever, though it was also one of the hardest to answer. Basically, they want you to write your memoir. In six words. Here’s what I came up with:

Standing on the shoulders of Giants

What about you? What’s your six-word memoir look like?

Now on to today's #reverb10 prompt: December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

I know I’m a weirdo and contrary and I just blogged about how being different is awesome, but this prompt makes me feel uncomfortable.

It's not because I don't think there's anything differently beautiful about me. I know there is. (Most days) But y'all don't come to this blog to read me bragging about myself. And it's also not because the prompt sounds like something a "personal life coach" would say at a "life actualization" seminar. (Thought it does. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing. Me? Not so much.)

Also, I think pretty much everyone has trouble identifying the good things that make them different, even when they really dig deep and try. Very few people ever see themselves clearly. So instead of really answering this prompt, I'm going to ask something of you:

Take a look at the people around you. What is different about them that you love?

Tell them.

Go ahead.

I'll start:

  • Chels: I love how you randomly break out into song or verse at the hint of a lyric. And you say things like, "I love you even if you're a snake. But if you start slithering on the floor, I'm going to step on you. Cuz that's what you do to snakes."

  • Nina: You say the sweetest things without any provocation and you always make me smile.

  • Jen: My mind goes in really unique directions. Often, yours goes in the same direction as mine. As awesome as it is weird.

  • JM: I'm pretty sure you know the words to every song ever written. Except for the country ones, but don't worry; I have those covered.

  • Dan: You're the most thoughtful (in the true sense of the word) person I know. You're constantly sending us articles, taking pictures for us, introducing us to people that you just "think we should get to know."

  • Adam: You quote both Terry Pratchet AND Taylor Swift on your Facebook profile. And you so are "as cute as my facebook pic makes me out to be."

  • Erin T: You think that me making analogies like "Commonwealth is to Andromeda as the Federation is to Star Trek" is awesome.

  • Pretty much every writer friend I have: It takes dedication to finish a whole novel. It takes courage to put it out there for others to critique. It takes resilience to bounce back after a rough rejection. Not many people have one of those, not to mention all three. Rock on!

  • I really could go on for a long time, but I think that's enough sap from me for a week or two and it's getting close to midnight.


This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Communit(ies)

Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Oh man! I could write 20 pages on this, but I’ll try to spare y’all and keep it as succinct as possible.

The one that’s had the biggest impact on me is the online writers community. There are some websites that we frequent, but it’s a kind of organic, awesome thing centered around Twitter and a few blogs. This past year I’ve been completely blown away by the support and camaraderie I’ve found online. I’ve met people that make me laugh every day (even when I want to cry after getting a rejection), people who celebrate and mourn with me, who cheer me on when I feel like setting fire to my manuscript. It’s been indispensible.

If you’re not quite yet involved with this community (and would like to be), here are some tips:

  • If you don’t have it, get Twitter. Seriously. If you’re scared or hesitant, I’d be glad to discuss it with you one-on-one and help you get started. I’ve run social media campaigns for several small non-profits and websites and have helped dozens of writers get started. I love doing it. Send me an email.

  • Once you have twitter, check out hashtags like #amwriting, #askagent, #kidlit, #yalit, #kidlitchat, #yalitchat, #pubtip, #writegoal. Follow people, read their blogs, click on links, comment

  • Check out some (or all) of the links in my sidebar over there ß


Another, similar community I’ve been becoming more ensconced in is my local writers community. Trust me, I’m one of the biggest proponents of online interaction, but sometimes there’s nothing like sitting down to a cup of coffee with other writers, getting face to face critiques, discussing the business when you can see the plentiful smiles and feel the hugs.

For 2011 I have two exciting new communities I’ll be taking by storm ;-) One is a small YA writing community that I’ll be able to make official announcements about soon! (Keep an eye out for those announcements cuz it’s going to be AWESOME!)

The second (which I will also be talking about soon) will find me more involved with local artists of all kinds. I’m talking sculptors, musicians, graphic designers, poets, singers, actors, artists, photographers. And writers of course. Gosh, I’m getting so excited now just thinking about it!

What about you? What communities have you become more involved in in 2010 and which do you hope to join in 2011?

This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.



PS: Since y’all asked so nicely, here’s the recipe for that beautiful Chicken Bistro Twist pictured on yesterday’s blog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken

  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper

  • ¼ cup snipped fresh basil leaves

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided

  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 garlic clove, pressed

  • 2 packages (11 oz each) refrigerated French bread dough

  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

  • 1 teaspoon Pantry Italian Seasoning Mix


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Chop chicken. Dice bell pepper. Snip basil using kitchen shears. In bowl, combine chicken, bell pepper, basil, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise and garlic; mix well.

2) Place bread dough, seam sides up, on smooth side of a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf lengthwise, end to end, cutting halfway through to center of loaf; spread open flat. Lightly sprinkle flour evenly over dough (I didn’t do this). Flatten dough crosswise to about 4-inch width, creating a well down center of each loaf.

3) Spoon half of the chicken mixture down center of each loaf. Gather up edges over filling, pinching firmly to seal. Place loaves, seam sides down, in an “X” pattern on a baking pan. Crisscross ends of dough to form a large figure-8, keeping ends of dough 1 inch from edge of the pan and leaving two 1 ½ inch openings in center of twist.

4) Combine egg white and seasoning mix; lightly brush over dough. Cut a 3-inch slit in each of the top sections of the twist to reveal filling. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese over loaf. Bake 30-32 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes.

8 servings at 300 calories each.  You can also experiment with the filling if you’d like!

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm So Writing a Cookbook

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I’m not sure if this was the true intent of this post, but the last thing I ‘made’ was these:



Normally, I wouldn’t be so proud, but I made these without a recipe, not even sure if the ingredients would taste good together – and they were delicious! On top of that, it’s the second thing I’ve EVER fried.

I had some leftover pre-cooked chicken, wontons and cheese and I was hungry.

If you want to recreate them, here are my sort-of directions:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup – ish pre-cooked chicken

  • a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of small-curd cottage cheese

  • Small wonton wrappers

  • oil – I used canola but just about anything will do

  • a few sprinkles of Provencal Herbs (or you can try something else)

  • bowl of water


Instructions:

  1. Mix the chicken, mozzarella, cottage cheese and Provencal herbs in a bowl. Adjust ingredients as you see fit.

  2. heat oil approximately 1 inch deep in a large skillet or wok to around 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, I used the setting a few clicks past “medium” heat. You may actually want to do this once you are almost done with the next step, depending on how quickly your stove heats up.

  3. Place a little spoonful of the mixture on a wonton wrapper. Stick your finger in the water and lightly wet all four edges of the wrapper.

  4. Fold one corner of the wrapper over to form a triangle and press the edges together to seal all the filling inside.

  5. Stop when you’ve run out of filling or wontons. *shrug* this isn’t exactly a scientific process

  6. Once the oil is heated, place four to five wontons in the skillet with tongs. After approximately 30 seconds, or when the underside is brown to your liking, flip them over.

  7. Remove the wontons from the oil with the tongs (Tip: turn them sideways to drain out any oil that may have gotten inside the wrapper) and place them on a plate with a paper towel.

  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you run out of wontons.

  9. Enjoy. Open your windows, turn on your fans, and use lots of air freshener. 'Cause grease STINKS.

  10. Send me a thank-you email.


See, that wasn’t so hard. I could so write a cookbook. It’d be called: Sarah’s Kitchen: No Measuring Things Required

The day before, I also made this:



It’s stuffed with chicken, red peppers and cheese and it’s as delicious as it is pretty. I have an actual recipe for this and if you ask nicely, I may give it to you.

For those of you who came here looking for some sort of crafty thing? I tried that once, for a month. It didn’t end well. I have the hand-eye coordination of a walrus that’s never had to catch his own food.

One thing I’d like to do is take all my sorority tshirts and make a quilt-blanket thing out of it. Or maybe I can trick my roommate into doing it for me! :)

This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?



I’m not sure if this was the true intent of this post, but the last thing I ‘made’ was these:



Normally, I wouldn’t be so proud, but I made these without a recipe, not even sure if the ingredients would taste good together – and they were delicious! On top of that, it’s the second thing I’ve EVER fried.



I had some leftover pre-cooked chicken, wontons and cheese and I was hungry.



If you want to recreate them, here are my sort-of directions:



Ingredients:




  • 3/4 cup – ish pre-cooked chicken

  • a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of small-curd cottage cheese

  • Small wonton wrappers

  • oil – I used canola but just about anything will do

  • a few sprinkles of Provencal Herbs (or you can try something else)

  • bowl of water



Instructions:




  1. Mix the chicken, mozzarella, cottage cheese and Provencal herbs in a bowl. Adjust ingredients as you see fit.

  2. heat oil approximately 1 inch deep in a large skillet or wok to around 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, I used the setting a few clicks past “medium” heat. You may actually want to do this once you are almost done with the next step, depending on how quickly your stove heats up.

  3. Place a little spoonful of the mixture on a wonton wrapper. Stick your finger in the water and lightly wet all four edges of the wrapper.

  4. Fold one corner of the wrapper over to form a triangle and press the edges together to seal all the filling inside.

  5. Stop when you’ve run out of filling or wontons. *shrug* this isn’t exactly a scientific process

  6. Once the oil is heated, place four to five wontons in the skillet with tongs. After approximately 30 seconds, or when the underside is brown to your liking, flip them over.

  7. Remove the wontons from the oil with the tongs (Tip: turn them sideways to drain out any oil that may have gotten inside the wrapper) and place them on a plate with a paper towel.

  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you run out of wontons.

  9. Enjoy.

  10. Send me a thank-you email.



See, that wasn’t so hard. I could so write a cookbook. It’d be called: Sarah’s Kitchen: No Measuring Things Required



The day before, I also made this:



It’s stuffed with chicken, red peppers and cheese. It’s as delicious as it is pretty. I have an actual recipe for this and if you ask nicely, I may give it to you.



For those of you who came here looking for some so


Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I’m not sure if this was the true intent of this post, but the last thing I ‘made’ was these:

Normally, I wouldn’t be so proud, but I made these without a recipe, not even sure if the ingredients would taste good together – and they were delicious! On top of that, it’s the second thing I’ve EVER fried.

I had some leftover pre-cooked chicken, wontons and cheese and I was hungry.

If you want to recreate them, here are my sort-of directions:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup – ish pre-cooked chicken

  • a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of small-curd cottage cheese

  • Small wonton wrappers

  • oil – I used canola but just about anything will do

  • a few sprinkles of Provencal Herbs (or you can try something else)

  • bowl of water


Instructions:

  1. Mix the chicken, mozzarella, cottage cheese and Provencal herbs in a bowl. Adjust ingredients as you see fit.

  2. heat oil approximately 1 inch deep in a large skillet or wok to around 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, I used the setting a few clicks past “medium” heat. You may actually want to do this once you are almost done with the next step, depending on how quickly your stove heats up.

  3. Place a little spoonful of the mixture on a wonton wrapper. Stick your finger in the water and lightly wet all four edges of the wrapper.

  4. Fold one corner of the wrapper over to form a triangle and press the edges together to seal all the filling inside.

  5. Stop when you’ve run out of filling or wontons. *shrug* this isn’t exactly a scientific process

  6. Once the oil is heated, place four to five wontons in the skillet with tongs. After approximately 30 seconds, or when the underside is brown to your liking, flip them over.

  7. Remove the wontons from the oil with the tongs (Tip: turn them sideways to drain out any oil that may have gotten inside the wrapper) and place them on a plate with a paper towel.

  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you run out of wontons.

  9. Enjoy.

  10. Send me a thank-you email.


See, that wasn’t so hard. I could so write a cookbook. It’d be called: Sarah’s Kitchen: No Measuring Things Required

The day before, I also made this:

It’s stuffed with chicken, red peppers and cheese. It’s as delicious as it is pretty. I have an actual recipe for this and if you ask nicely, I may give it to you.

For those of you who came here looking for some sort of crafty thing? I tried that once http://sarahnicolas.com/year-of-months/, for a month. It didn’t end well. I have the hand-eye coordination of a walrus that’s never had to catch his own food.

One thing I’d like to do is take all my sorority tshirts and make a quilt-blanket thing out of it. Or maybe I can trick my roommate into doing it for me! J

This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

rt of crafty


Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I’m not sure if this was the true intent of this post, but the last thing I ‘made’ was these:

Normally, I wouldn’t be so proud, but I made these without a recipe, not even sure if the ingredients would taste good together – and they were delicious! On top of that, it’s the second thing I’ve EVER fried.

I had some leftover pre-cooked chicken, wontons and cheese and I was hungry.

If you want to recreate them, here are my sort-of directions:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup – ish pre-cooked chicken

  • a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of small-curd cottage cheese

  • Small wonton wrappers

  • oil – I used canola but just about anything will do

  • a few sprinkles of Provencal Herbs (or you can try something else)

  • bowl of water


Instructions:

  1. Mix the chicken, mozzarella, cottage cheese and Provencal herbs in a bowl. Adjust ingredients as you see fit.

  2. heat oil approximately 1 inch deep in a large skillet or wok to around 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, I used the setting a few clicks past “medium” heat. You may actually want to do this once you are almost done with the next step, depending on how quickly your stove heats up.

  3. Place a little spoonful of the mixture on a wonton wrapper. Stick your finger in the water and lightly wet all four edges of the wrapper.

  4. Fold one corner of the wrapper over to form a triangle and press the edges together to seal all the filling inside.

  5. Stop when you’ve run out of filling or wontons. *shrug* this isn’t exactly a scientific process

  6. Once the oil is heated, place four to five wontons in the skillet with tongs. After approximately 30 seconds, or when the underside is brown to your liking, flip them over.

  7. Remove the wontons from the oil with the tongs (Tip: turn them sideways to drain out any oil that may have gotten inside the wrapper) and place them on a plate with a paper towel.

  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you run out of wontons.

  9. Enjoy.

  10. Send me a thank-you email.


See, that wasn’t so hard. I could so write a cookbook. It’d be called: Sarah’s Kitchen: No Measuring Things Required

The day before, I also made this:

It’s stuffed with chicken, red peppers and cheese. It’s as delicious as it is pretty. I have an actual recipe for this and if you ask nicely, I may give it to you.

For those of you who came here looking for some sort of crafty thing? I tried that once http://sarahnicolas.com/year-of-months/, for a month. It didn’t end well. I have the hand-eye coordination of a walrus that’s never had to catch his own food.

One thing I’d like to do is take all my sorority tshirts and make a quilt-blanket thing out of it. Or maybe I can trick my roommate into doing it for me! J

This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

thing? I tried that once http://sarahnicolas.com/year-of-months/, for a month. It didn’t end well. I have the hand-eye coordination of a walrus that’s never had to catch his own food.



One thing I’d like to do is take all my sorority tshirts and make a quilt-blanket thing out of it. Or maybe I can trick my roommate into doing it for me! J



This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let Go

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I actually blogged about this not too long ago, shortly before I switched my blog here when I announced my resignation of my VP of Development position for a small non-profit. This past year I've given myself permission to take a step back and drop some things that weren't a top priority. I really enjoy volunteering, but it took me a while to realize I can't say 'yes' to everything AND give every project my best effort. I'm fortunate that I'm able to choose the projects that are important to me, but I know I have to limit my involvement or things start to slip.

And it's worked out pretty well for me. I'm working on some projects that are really exciting. This year I was able to finish The Demons You Know and have begun the querying process. That's a major milestone and it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't learned to say no.

This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wonder

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Wonder

–verb (used without object)


  1. to think or speculate curiously: to wonder about the origin of the solar system.

  2. to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel (often fol. by at )

  3. to doubt



I started the Year of Months with the goal of expanding my horizons, but it wasn't until reading this question that I realized that project regularly instills a sense of wonder in me. There are months that have made me feel like I have a completely new set of eyes with which to see the world. I'm often seeing things that don't make sense to me and, instead of dismissing them, I find myself trying to understand them. And maybe experiencing them a little bit later.

The other thing I regularly do that cultivates wonder in my life is: reading. When you read, you get to see the world through the author's eyes who is trying to understand it through their character's eyes. They notice things I would never notice and find importance in the smallest of details.

What about you? Do you do anything that cultivates a sense of wonder for you? If you don't, I'd recommend it :-)

This post is part of my #reverb10. Check out their website for more information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Moment(s)

Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I must be feeling ornery or something the past few days because I keep wanting to defy the prompt.  Every time I tried to whittle it down to a single moment, hundreds of memories flash through my mind.

I may be picking at semantics here, but I don’t think there are times when I feel “more alive” than others, but there are certainly times when I feel “less alive.” Because, for me, “alive” – and I mean really being and feeling alive – is my natural state. Maybe this isn’t so for others? I don’t know.

So, blog rebel that I am, I give you some moments:

  • That moment in a conversation with a good friend when I realize five hours has passed even though I could swear he/she only arrived fifteen minutes ago.

  • That moment just after I wake up when my dog is cuddled up next to me and I can feel his warmth and breathe in that puppy smell while lying in that quality of light that only occurs as the sun is crossing the horizon.

  • That moment when I realize I’m dancing for joy with people ebbing all around me and I don’t care what they think because it really doesn’t matter.

  • That moment when I just know I’m where I should be and working toward my true heart’s desire.

  • That moment when my friend and I make the same exact joke at the same exact time and laugh at each other and time seems to slow down so that we can laugh a little bit longer.


What about you? What makes you feel alive?

This post is part of my #reverb10. Visit their website to learn more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Everything Contributes

Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?



First, I’m not a big fan of this prompt. I know most of us doing #reverb10 are writers, but there are many who aren’t. So for those who aren’t, I hope you’ll replace the word “writing” with whatever else is a top priority for you and do this post anyway.

I don’t believe there’s much I do in a day that doesn’t contribute to my writing. Mainly because “contribute to my writing” is such a broad statement. My books may be about Fire Mages fighting demons and Irish goddesses reborn and steampunk submarines, but they’re also about people. And everything I read, see, watch, hear or experience contributes to my understanding of people.

As writers, we bring the sum of our experiences to the table every time we write, whether we know it or not. Every moment we have lived through contributes in some way to our writing.

So, unless you spend a large portion of your day simply picking your own nose, I don’t think there is a single activity that “doesn’t contribute.” However, there’s balance to consider. For example, I watch teen TV shows to keep up with teen culture. But if I spend five hours a day watching these shows, claiming to be doing research, and have no or very little time writing, that’s a problem.

What about you? Is there anything you need to be doing less of so you can focus on your writing/business/relationship/whatever-is-important to you?

This post is part of my #reverb10. Please visit their website to learn more.


Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?



First, I’m not a big fan of this prompt. I know most of us doing #reverb10 are writers, but there are many who aren’t. So for those who aren’t, I hope you’ll replace the word “writing” with whatever else is a top priority for you and do this post anyway.



I don’t believe there’s much I do in a day that doesn’t contribute to my writing. Mainly because “contribute to my writing” is such a broad statement. My books may be about Fire Mages fighting demons and Irish goddesses reborn and steampunk submarines, but they’re also about people. And everything I read, see, watch, hear or experience contributes to my understanding of people.



So, unless you spend a large portion of your day simply picking your own nose, I don’t think there is a sing


Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?



First, I’m not a big fan of this prompt. I know most of us doing #reverb10 are writers, but there are many who aren’t. So for those who aren’t, I hope you’ll replace the word “writing” with whatever else is a top priority for you and do this post anyway.



I don’t believe there’s much I do in a day that doesn’t contribute to my writing. Mainly because “contribute to my writing” is such a broad statement. My books may be about Fire Mages fighting demons and Irish goddesses reborn and steampunk submarines, but they’re also about people. And everything I read, see, watch, hear or experience contributes to my understanding of people.



So, unless you spend a large portion of your day simply picking your own nose, I don’t think there is a single activity that “doesn’t contribute.” However, there’s balance to consider. For example, I watch teen TV shows to keep up with teen culture. But if I spend five hours a day watching these shows, claiming to be doing research, and have no or very little time writing, that’s a problem.



What about you? Is there anything you need to be doing less of so you can focus on your writing/business/relationship/whatever-is-important to you?

le activity that “doesn’t contribute.” However, there’s balance to consider. For example, I watch teen TV shows to keep up with teen culture. But if I spend five hours a day watching these shows, claiming to be doing research, and have no or very little time writing, that’s a problem.



What about you? Is there anything you need to be doing less of so you can focus on your writing/business/relationship/whatever-is-important to you?



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One Word

December is here and #reverb10 has begun. Just as a fair warning to my usual readers: my posts this month are going to be a little more me-centric than usual, due to the nature of reverb10, which is about reflecting on the past year and manifesting what’s next. I hope you’ll join me J Even if you don’t make your own posts, feel free to leave your responses in my comments. Without further ado, today’s prompt:

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?



Meandering.

This past year I’ve felt like I’ve been wandering, trying to find my place in the world. I know what place I want: On bookshelves in libraries, teen bedrooms, and bookstores. But that’s not a place I can get to quickly even though I’m working toward it every day. So the question becomes: what else?

I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but discovered that I’m not interested in that as a career. So what should I do? Should I try to get a job in another industry that I’m passionate about? Should I suck it up and work in engineering? Should I pursue more education so that I can switch fields? (Just to be clear, I’m not actually asking for advice. Just thinking out loud)

And it’s not just professionally either. I’m starting to discover more and more things about myself that have nothing to do with a career. I’m realizing I don’t want all the things I’m expected to, the same things everyone else wants. And people try to tell me I’m “wrong,” that I’ll change my mind because I can’t possibly be right. I think I spent so much time lost because it took me a long while to realize exactly how big a load of BS that is.

Different isn’t wrong.

And that’s something I know everyone struggles with. No matter what your difference is, people try to bulldoze it, try to assimilate you. And that is a terrible shame. Because “different” is awesome. It’s what makes the world beautiful and what makes life interesting.

I see this all around me: people who have allowed others to suppress their difference. And they’re miserable. I’m talking the find-joy-in-knocking-others-down, groping-through-life-with-no-passion, substituting-material-possessions-for-true-happiness kind of miserable.

And I don’t want to be one of those people. So the one word I hope will describe 2011 for me is:

Different.

Different experiences. Different emotions. Different locations. Different people.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the experiences, emotions, places and people that have been a part of my life so far. But there’s no reason why I can’t expand my horizons and seek out new challenges.

So there you have it. What about you? What is the one word that describes your 2010? And the word that you hope will describe your 2011.