Monday, February 25, 2013

Why the Oscars Were Such a Hit

*Disclaimer: All the following is from my opinion. And, in my opinion, the 2013 Academy Awards were FANTASTIC.*

I do not own this photo. does.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen my Oscar-tweets last night. I LOVED THE OSCARS!!!! This was the first time I was so excited for them - I even watched almost all of the red carpet stuff (and I'm a guy).

Why did I love them so much?

Because the movies were movies I loved.

Do you remember last year's Oscars? If you don't, I'll inform you: a movie called "The Artist" won basically everything. It is a black-and-white (and, I think, silent for the most part) film. It is definitely Oscar-bait, and without a doubt, I am sure it was a great and excellent movie. Trouble is, I never watched it (and neither did the majority of America).

However, this year? Let me give you a run down of the films.

Les Mis. (I am a HUGE fan of the book (haven't watched the musical, sadly), and the thing is, a LOT of other people are fans of it too. Plus, it has big-name actors (Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter, etc.)

Zero Dark Thirty. Honestly, who doesn't like a film about how Osama was killed? Instant hook. Same goes for:

Argo. Instant hook. Most Americans can relate.

Silver Linings Playbook. (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper... instant hit.)

Lincoln. It's about Lincoln, and directed by Spielberg.

Django Unchained. Leonardo DiCaprio. (He'll get the Oscar next year with The Great Gatsby. I'm calling it right now.)

Other than Amour (which is a movie I want to watch now because I LOVVVE (and am torn apart by) sad old people) and Beasts of the Southern Wild (which is another movie I want to see because I want to see that 9-year-old in action), there was no movie I had not heard of in the listing.

Most of the movies were very popular. They had significant buzz and excitement around them. PLUS, amazing people like *WOO* Adele performed. HOW COULD PEOPLE NOT BE EXCITED? Definitely one of the best Oscars ever.

Secondly, the people and the vibe of the night were so friendly. I felt like cheering for each winner because they felt like real people, like my friends (yeah, I know, I wish). They just brought me into the event.

This is how the Oscars should be. A fun night, tons of excitement because beloved movies are in the listing, and beloved actors too. Apparently, one billion people watched the Oscars last night (that's what the host kept saying). That's more than a tenth of the world's population, guys.

The host.

I'm still undecided about Seth MacFarlane's hosting (at some times, hilarious. At other times, I felt bad for those at the butt of his jokes - although he did deflect some of them onto himself at the end).

But there is no denying it: this year's Oscars has been one of the funnest in a long time. And, I think a lot of it has to do with Seth MacFarlane. He undeniably brought a lighter tone to the Oscars than in past years, and in turn, made it more fun. The issue of his insults and jabs are a debate for another time.
I was especially excited for the results of two awards. (I probably would have been more excited for other awards, but Les Mis and Adele were my main two draws to the Oscars.)

First, Anne Hathaway. She was AMAZING in Les Mis. Truly. It was just fantastic what she did. She deserved that award :D

Secondly, I am so, SO thrilled that Adele won the Oscar. (My sister changed the channel to Iron Man 2 before Adele got the award, so anger kind of killed my happiness at that moment. Now I'm ravaging YouTube trying to find a clip of her speech. HALP!) Now, she's a 9-time Grammy winner, Golden Globe winner, and Oscar winner. She is just so fantastic. And her performance of the song "Skyfall" was stunning that night.

I was upset neither Adele nor Anne Hathaway got a standing ovation. Grrr. (Did Adele get one for her speech? She didn't get it for her singing, at least.) Next time, guys, next time.

Daniel Radcliffe came out and sang and danced for us, the cast of Les Mis belted out "Suddenly," and Michelle Obama camein at the end to present the final award? HOW CRAZY WAS THAT?! So many surprises and secrets in the show :) It was truly amazing.

Awesome, AWESOME night! Sigh. Definitely the best Oscars I've seen.

I'm going to sleep (it's Sunday night as I'm writing this) all happy and smiling. The Oscars went fantastically. Exactly and even better than how I hoped they would go, so much so that I'm smiling as I write this. It was fantastic :)

Did you like the Oscars? How about Adele, Daniel Radcliffe, and the cast of Les Mis's performances? *Sigh* And how did you feel about the host?

Friday, February 22, 2013

CASSASTORM Cover Reveal from a Prominent Member of the Blogging World

YES! TWO cover reveals this week!

I am so, SO happy to announce that  Alex J. Cavanaugh's sci-fi novel now has a cover! LOOK AT IT. LOOK.

Blurby blurb blurb.
A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…
When it's coming out!

September 17, 2013

Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure
Random info if you are into this kind of stuff! (Actually, it's probably important. I'm just clueless.)

Print ISBN 9781939844002

E-book ISBN 9781939844019

Alex from my perspective

Alex is without a doubt the hardest-working, most dedicated blogger I know. He goes on hundreds of blogs every day (probably) and COMMENTS ON EVERY SINGLE ONE. He is so nice, so friendly, and has a huge impact on the writerly blogging world. You probably saw his icon in the comments section of many blogs! He is amazing, truly. I am so happy that his new book is soon to be released.

Visit his blog and comment - he is fantastic.


I'm sure many of you know Alex (and if you don't, get to :D). How do you feel about him? And how about that awesome cover?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mindy McGinnis's "Not a Drop to Drink" COVER REVEAL!! WOO!!

Alright, I've been waiting on this cover FOREVER. I mean, the night before it was revealed, I actually dreamt of two possible covers for it!

Mindy McGinnis, the author of NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is BBC over at Agent Query Connect. Let me tell you, she is SO, SO funny, and so helpful. Brighton (another AQC member) and I are known as "the boys" by her because we got Query Critiques from her. She is also hilarious. I mean, just watch this video:

and this one!

SHE IS SO FUNNY! I can keep watching her videos over and over.

ANYWAY. Back to the book cover.

Here it is!

I do not own this picture. Katherine Tegen Books,
Harper Collins, Mindy McGinnis, and basically, the designers
of this book do.

You can win an ARC for this book on this website, where the rest of the details of the books are as well (for example, the summary, which I've copied and pasted below).

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

DOESN'T THAT SOUND FANTASTIC? I can't wait until September 9th, when it comes out.

Head over to her blog to congratulate her!

Thanks for all your help with AQC, Mindy.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Who Am I?

I've realized I've been blogging all about writing, but I've never really told you guys who I am. If you clicked the 'About Me' tab above, then thanks :D

(Also, I'm drawing a blank as to what to blog about. Anyone want to help me out?)

I AM A GUY!!! Moving on..... (Too many people have thought the opposite. I don't need any confessions if it was you. But I'm watching you.)

My greatest inspiration?

JK Rowling of course! Because of her awesome writing and bad-arsery (see how I used some British words in there). Just Youtube her interviews to see how absolutely awesome she is.

To be honest, Rowling might be my inspiration to write. However, Victor Hugo is my inspiration as to what to write. I loved, LOVED Les Misérables, and once I finished it, I realized, "This is what I want to do." I want to write something with meaning to it, not something that will be forgotten.

I plan on getting all of Hugo's books (but that's going to be costly, so it might have to wait a while).

I love people who get famous the right way and the better way with only their hard work and talent. This, even though it is hard, makes them a bigger celebrities than others. Everyone loves a real person. This means JKR, and Adele (for me). No tricks, no gimmicks, no politicking - just talent, and kindness.

Favorite books?

HARRY POTTER (!!!) and Les Misérables (!!!) (my favorite series and favorite single novel of all time). Catcher in the Rye. Tale of Two Cities too. ToTC's last scene is the best written and most beautiful scene of all literature. At least, I think so. I love it.

What I write about?

I write about an underwater world, where a teen named Alphi is forced to become part of the prejudiced rulers' twisted regime. Alphi joins the rebels and turns her wand against the royal tyrants -her own family. But in doing so, she finds pain she never thought existed: the pain of having to attack the mother who raised her so lovingly.

Coral reefs and magic; that's where the fantasy comes in. Depression, injustice, and agonizing pain; that's where the YA part comes in.

My other two WIPs are an adult novels, and that's all I'm going to say so far :D

Random Stuff
  1. I love to paint (oil paints, usually).
  2. I love music. I sing too. Maybe I can be a singing writer that paints.
  3. I love science/math/research. I just love feeling that the universe has an order to it, and not learning about it is almost frustrating to me; I feel ignorant.
  4. I own a few Harry Potter wands (Dumbledore's wand is my favorite).
  5. A few years ago, I started writing the MS I'm currently rewriting (again). I wrote in a (badly) coffee-stained journal with a quill.
  6. I like to laugh.
  7. I've never full-on cried in a book. Most is probably a ball in my throat, and if I try, I can squeeze out a tear or two.

I tweet :D

WOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now off to copy-and-paste this to my 'About Me' section!

How about you guys? Your favorite books? What do you write about?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Secret to Writing WOWZA Metaphors

You know those moments: when the writer writers that one sentence and you're just like.... "That's not fair. That was SO FREAKING GOOD!"

From this fantastic book, I learned how to arrange words that make the reader go "Wowza!"

It's all about pushing your comparisons/similes/metaphors.

Don't settle for the first thing that pops into your mind. Or the second. Or the third. Even the fifth. KEEP PUSHING IT!

One example is in JK Rowling's A Casual Vacancy. She says Samantha "enjoyed [Miles'] pomposity with precisely the same spirit as she liked, on formal occasions, to wear a hat."

Another example is a lyric from the epic musical, Les Misérables. "We'll be ready for these schoolboys. They will wet themselves with blood."

Do you think those two quotes were first attempts? Do you think they just sprang into the writer's mind on the first try? No. They pushed it and pushed it, and this fantastic book gives a writerly exercise to help you do the same.

Basically, it lists a character trait (say, "silly") then gives you columns to write your attempts. Keep in mind the connotations of whatever word you decide! You can really flex those writing skills by choosing a word that has a connotation in touch with your voice/imagery. For example, in "silly," the various ways to describe silly can really add nuance to really describing what kind of silly that character is. Your first attempt might be: "She was a clown." BORING. 2nd. "She was a monkey." BORING. (But see the difference in effect when you use 'monkey' vs. 'clown'? Clown seems much more like her silliness is fake/a performance. 'Monkey' makes it seem like it's natural to her personality. 3rd. "She's one of those girls who would make out with her girl friend to piss off anti-gay protesters." This is so different than the first. It gives so much development to the character, and the connotation of "silly" is so different than "clown".

So what are the Secrets to writing WOWZA comparisons?

The Secrets to Writing WOWZA Comparisons

1. On a separate piece of paper, write down the word you are trying to describe. Then, next to it, write at least five (solid) phrases as attempts to describe your base word. PUSH IT! You'll be incredibly pleased with the results (I hope).

2. Incorporate voice and attitude in your comparisons. For example, if you're writing a serious, nonfiction piece, do NOT use silly metaphors. Your comparisons should reflect your story's voice and attitude.

3. Utilize your story's world! For example, if you have a city in the clouds, push your comparisons to be more related to clouds, thunderstorms, snow, sun, wind, etc. Use your metaphors to create even more of a believable world.

I actually haven't utilized the first Secret at all in my manuscript, and after writing this post, I think I will (I'm starting the editing phase).

The thing is, it takes a good deal of time to come up with stellar comparisons. It involves a lot of thinking. So I suggest you do it in the editing phase; don't bog down your first-draft momentum to create one delicious sentence (HOW YOU LIKE THAT COMPARISON, HMMM? 'Delicious' instead of 'amazing'! I'm learning already!!!).

How do you go about crafting luscious sentences?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fun Facts about Charles Dickens for his BIRTHDAY!!


Technically, his birthday was on Thursday (February 7th). I'm writing this on the 7th, but as this will post on the 8th, you might get a bit confused.

Born February 7th, 1812, he died at age 58 on June 9, 1870. He was one of the greatest novelists of all time (as you probably know).

I've only read two of his works (A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations), but I LOVED Tale (not Great Expectations so much). I own Bleak House, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol (which I've started), and David Copperfield, and they are waiting to be read. COME ON, TO-BE-READ PILE! SHRINK!

Here are some fun facts about this great novelist:

1. His full name was Charles John Huffam Dickens (hehe).
2. He was never knighted by the Queen (writers didn't get knighted much, and Dickens' personal life was a bit shady). So no 'Sir Charles Dickens' for him.
3. He was involved in a theatrical company.
4. He was quite the social activist!
5. He pioneered the serialization method of writing by publishing a few chapters every month or so (this, inconsequentially, made him able to change parts of his books at the suggestions of his friends). Dickens was today's Desperate Housewives. This method of publication became the standard of 19th century publishing; even in Russia, Anna Karenina and War and Peace by Tolstoy (a huge Dickens fan) were published serially.
6. His favorite book written by himself was David Copperfield (saying it was like a favorite child).
7. His bestselling book was A Tale of Two Cities.
8. His most critically acclaimed book was Bleak House.
9. His (arguably) most popular/influential book was A Christmas Carol. It gave birth to a lot of parodies, movies, etc.

Which of those four books is the 'best' book? What's more important: the writer's love, the audience's love, the professional's love, or society's love? Ponder THAT!

Here are more fun facts that haven't been covered by me. Did you know he saved live when a train derailed?

In the meantime, celebrate the birth of one of the most influential writers of all time, and a person beloved by many novelists to this day :D

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLES DICKENS!! I can't wait to read more of your books! May you rest in peace, buried in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey (was I the only one who thought 'Westminster' was 'Westminister' until spell check told me it was wrong?).

What is your favorite Dickens novel?

Monday, February 4, 2013

If Barnes and Noble Dies

What will happen if Barnes and Noble dies?

As many of you have heard, Barnes and Noble plans to shut down a third of its stores within a decade.

But the news that almost a third of its stores will be shut down... that is scary. Seriously. I can't imagine B&N becoming what it once was. And now that Borders has gone, B&N is the last hope for large retail bookstores, and that hope is dwindling.

Unless there is a huge surge of interest, corporations do not shut down a third of their stores in hopes of opening them up later. Usually, it is permanent. And, usually, more closures follow.

My hope is that there will be a huge surge of interest when people realize just how harmful the destruction of B&N will be to physical books. Right now, mainly writers and those in publishing are freaking out about this. Only when it hits close to home - when day-to-day people realize bookstores might be a thing of the past - will there be panic and call for change.

I truly don't think people have lost their love for physical books. Most book sales are still for physical books, although ebook sales are high. I think that there is this huge ebook scare which has spread like an epidemic through our community. But let me play devil's advocate and think of what will happen if B&N dies. I believe that if B&N dies, people will react.

I read another interesting article (read it, it is hilarious/true) just yesterday which made me think harder about this. The article basically begs Barnes and Noble to stop shoving its Nook down the throats of its customers. Customers go to B&N for print books, not ebooks.

When I see my own Barnes and Noble, I have to agree with the writer.

The lonely Nook saleswoman at the entrance is just that: lonely. Almost every single person who walks into the store goes to the shelves, browses the stands, picks up a hardcover or a paperback; the Nook is not on their agenda.

The article says that instead of discouraging customers to buy physical books, B&N should encourage them. Barnes and Noble has come to symbolize the physical book; Amazon, the ebook. Shouldn't B&N capitalize on the niche that it has? Might that tactic be its savior - a widespread campaign for physical books?

To add on, if B&N dies, unless independent booksellers spring up, the Kindle will have a monopoly on publishing. If people still want to read, Kindles and ereaders will become like the cell phone: once a luxury, now a necessity. BUT, people won't want to fork over a hundred dollars to read. Let's be honest. Reading is not a necessity. People can do without it, and if ereaders become the only way to read a book, non-booklovers (the more common folk) won't be motivated to buy them; reading as a whole will stagnate.

So I am willing to bet that most ereader-buyers are book lovers (who else would spend about $100 on a tablet with the purpose to buy more books?). NON-BOOKLOVERS BUY BOOKS TOO! In fact, non-booklovers as a populace buy more books than the fanatic book lovers. The non-booklover can be the print book's savior. Instead of putting an $100 investment in reading, non-booklovers can buy each book individually (and cheaper too).

Have faith that people won't want to fork over $100+ for an investment to read more. Ironically, non-booklovers may be B&N's best friends.

HERE is where the beauty of capitalism comes into play. If B&N dies, other competitors will pop up and challenge Amazon's crown. Most of the populace still thinks that the idea of ebooks becoming the standard is ludicrous and don't believe the threat. The outcry when they do realize the threat will give birth to competitors (and hopefully, B&N) wanting to meet the demand.

But I worry about the state of us writers in that transition period. The Big 5 publishers sell to bookstores, and B&N is a HUGE part of that. What will Harper Collins do if B&N falls? Sell to Amazon or to the as-of-yet unorganized independent publishers that are trying to fill the B&N vacuum? What will they do during that transition? Just wait around? Will the Big 5 (just a few months ago, the Big 6) become the Big 4?

It is a scary thought, but in the end, realize that everything works out for the best. If people feel passionately about an issue, trust that the issue will see to itself. I frankly like ebooks; I can get all the classics for free on my iPad. Still, I buy more classics than I download (I like the feeling of making SOME physical headway in 800-1000 page books -___-).

This ebook scare is a scare, and we have to calm down and see it for what it truly is: an innovation that is making room for itself. Change is good, and have trust in people to speak up for their passions. 
My hope (and trust) is that ebooks and physical books will find equilibrium at some point. After all, if one thinks about it, B&N has a monopoly on bookstores. Let ebooks rise and physical books fall, and they'll meet in the middle.

Until then, all we can do is wait.

How do you feel about all this?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Why Twitter is Fantastic for Writers

There are three online things that I think help writers the most.

1. Writer Community Groups (such as Agent Query Connect).

2. Blogs

3. Twitter.

This blog post will focus on Twitter, and in the future, I will go back and talk more in depth about the benefits of blogs and community groups.

Why is Twitter so great?

It is so easy and personal.

Twitter's interface is incredibly simple; even the most technologically-disabled person can handle it.
To add on, you do not need to Tweet like crazy. You can come to Twitter just to get help and learn. Who cares if you don't have 2304982309492!@#@*(@0923 followers (yes, I realize some of those are not numbers)? When it comes to writing, the main thing you have to worry about is the book itself. Worry more about followers once you have to. Enjoy the peace :D

Twitter is fantastic for getting help, but you have to know where to look.

First off, hashtags.

Some of the best ones are #pubtib, #writetip, #10queriesin10tweets (and the new #5pagesin5tweets), and #askagent. (#askagent is FANTASTIC. Tweet the agents that are online (and doing #askagent) a question, and they'll answer! Great for personal help.)

Get on them hash tags. Them is awesome.

Secondly, the people/accounts.

Follow the accounts that are actually helpful for writers. I suggest agents and interns. One amazing account is @.... GOOD GOSH I FORGOT. And I can't find him/her anywhere! It was SUCH A GOOD ACCOUNT! ARGH! I literally spent 15-20 minutes just reading the person's tweets! Ugh. #disappointed.

(For those who aren't hip and happenin', hashtags (like #disappointed) are mega-tight to express emotion and other thoughts, dawg (I really don't speak or write like this in real life)).

I'll put the account in the next post if I remember it.

But investigate the hashtags and see which tweets are the most helpful. From there, follow the accounts that make those tweets. Chances are, the account's other tweets will be just as helpful

So get on that Twitter train, writers! Twitter need not just be a social networking site. You can use it to help you along as well :D

Do you use Twitter? If so, get in touch with me (@SC_Author)! Do you find Twitter helpful?

Oh, and happy first of February, guys! Rabbit Rabbit! (It's good luck.)