Category: General

The 2011 Favorite List

Favorite Book Read in 2011:

I thought for sure Maggie Steifvater’s conclusion to the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy would have been my favorite. Instead, this riveting story of races, choices, and the ocean kept me awake at night and lingered in my thoughts for weeks. Image is linked to my goodreads review.

Favorite Game Played in 2011:

I usually have the choice between sleeping and playing video-games. 99.9% of times, I will choose sleep. Skyrim is the exception. This is my favorite game of 2011 even though I’m still technically playing it. I have never been so excited to chase butterflies and fight dragons.

Favorite Moments of 2011:

I met the author of Blood and Chocolate. This is Annette Curtis Klause, ambushed at an escalator at fairiecon.

Yes, that is a dead fox around my neck. No, I do not have any photos of myself dressed normally while meeting authors.

I have read Blood and Chocolate at least once a year for the last 12 years of my life. Whatever ‘it” is, she gets it.

Favorite Song of 2011:

The Calendar Hung itself Youtube

I’m cheating a bit here, because this isn’t my favorite song of 2011. It wasn’t even released in 2011. This is really the most listened to song of 2011, because this is the song that sums up The Project the most. It was stuck in my head every time I wrote. I listen to metal and alternative rock- this shouldn’t be what I focus my novel on.

Biggest Accomplishment of 2011:

I finished my novel.

It was hard to pick one considering I’ve accomplished quite a bit this past year. But on a blog focusing on my attempt to write a novel, I think this should come as a given.



New Years Resolution

Down under, in Australia, my critique partner will have already celebrated the start of the new year. I’m celebrating the fact that I finally started Skyrim (the real reason why I haven’t posted all week) and that I matched all the socks that came out of the dryer.  It seems like a good way to end the year.

I completed all 12 of my resolutions in 2011.

Instead of deciding on a huge amount of resolutions in the beginning of the year, I pick one thing I really want to do the entire year (finish my novel) and keep that in my head. I try to contribute to this resolution a little more each month. Each month, I also try and come up with a small resolution that I have roughly 30 days to complete. This year, I had resolutions that were mostly exercise related. Some of my resolutions were very personal, but here are a few I’ve completed:

  • Finish my novel before 2012
  • Go to the gym regularly for 4 weeks
  • Read at least 10 non-fiction books
  • Use 8lb weights
  • Go to Skirmish and Survive

I always have an optional resolution, one that I treat as a bonus round. If I complete this resolution, I reward myself with something nice. If I don’t complete it, no big loss. In 2011, my bonus-round was to learn a dance. I was delighted to find out that my college was offering a 2-weekend course with salsa and waltz dancing. Unfortunately, I ended up with mono and missed both the deadline and event.I’m thinking about keeping this resolution for my bonus-round in 2012. We’ll see how it goes.

My all-year Resolution for 2012: Pull back by Bow before the end of the year.

I have arms like twigs. (Alright, twigs with some fat on them, but for the most part they’re still twigs.) My lack of arm strength has prevented me from doing a lot of things in my life: climbing ropes, lifting the serving trays at work, dealing a good punch, helping people carry in large amounts of groceries, water ski, and so on and so forth.

About two years ago, one of my father’s friends dropped off his son’s old hunting bow. His son is now  a strapping giant and I’m still a terribly short, twig-armed half-elf. Father took me outside, handed me the bow, pointed to the target, and in delight I pulled back on the string and—-


Because I couldn’t pull the bow back. Even on the lowest setting, I lack the arm strength and the right stance.

So, for 2012, I want to pull back my bow.

And maybe dance.


Rabbit Kick-Ball

Today, I watched Rabbits play kick-ball.

In an attempt to fill the big, empty feeling in my gut when I walk into my living room with my shoes still on and then realize I don’t have a dog to take out, I signed up for the SPCA. I figured I can cram my exercise and community service into one bundle: I can walk dogs a few times a week. I promised myself when I signed up that I wouldn’t take any animals home with me. I’m there to volunteer, not adopt.

But those damn bunnies.

I came in, went through the orientation session, and was shown the small animals room. A wall of fluffy bundles of fur with huge eyes and droopy ears looked at me. Stuffed animals come to life.

There are two on the floor.

Immediately, they stop what they’re doing and rush up to us. The man in front of me stares down awkwardly as both rabbits hop onto his shoes and viciously sniff him. Behind me, a rabbit is making a strange affectionate sound in his cage. The man in the room who was handling the rabbits rolls one of those blow-up childrens balls I see in the grocery store all the time.

The rabbits batted it back and forth together.

I had to look away and remind myself that I’m a broke college student with two cats, two turtles, and a very obese goldfish.



This Isn’t Halloween

This is the first year I didn’t dress up for Halloween.

Actually, let me elaborate: This is the first year I didn’t wear a costume for Halloween.

Remember the scene in Mean Girls where the narrator learns that Halloween means wearing lingerie, adding a pair of animal ears, and calling it a costume? Apparently, people think this is serious business. I slapped on a pair of cat-ears on my regular black corset/skirt/boots ensemble and got quite a few compliments on how “awesome” my “black-cat” costume was. I listened to the other goth chick complain how everyone thought her outfit was a costume and being insulted but hey, a compliment is a compliment.

I was getting a little disheartened that I simply didn’t have the time or even the reason to do zombie make-up on myself this year, so the PennState Gals came to the rescue. The trio was volunteering at a local haunted house thing and cheered me up by letting me make them into zombies. I realized halfway into the make-up that I was missing a core ingredient.

I had no fake blood.

Not having fake blood for a zombie costume is like having no water for soup! I dug through my kit frantically and finally found one of those generic CVS tubes of red dye that pretends to be fake blood, but I think it worked out okay. I finally made it up to party city post-Halloween for a container, just in time for Faeriecon.

Luckily, you don’t need fake blood to carve your dead dog onto a pumpkin.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


My middle-class is canceled today and I have a three-hour break.
To go home, or not to go home.

I didn’t bring my flashdrive or clothes for the gym, anticipating for this class to take up a lot of time. This is the perfect time to work on my novel- I’m feeling motivated. I owe Anjulie, my critique partner, her chapter.

But do I really want to pay for parking and gas again?

I’m not cheap, I’m broke.

Broke for a good reason, though. The Universe delivered me a bookshelf- I’ve wanted one for two years. The neighbors down the street were selling my dream-shelves for $20. Down. The. Street. No shipping and handling, no obnoxiously long car-trips with rope to meet a sketchy craigslist posting….DOWN THE STREET!

If I go home I don’t have to pay for lunch.

I guess I’m going home. I have a budget to keep and a novel to write.

Baked Goods and Books

My first favorite part of October is the smell. The cold, dying-leaves-and-sun-dried-plants smell sticks to my clothes. Even now, wearing my favorite jacket, I can still smell that fall-scent and I get a shiver of excitement. That October-smell conjures memories of eating dinner and having Dad opening the garage door, the musky smell of hunting fatigues and dead animal mingling with  the warm scent of soup. Deer steak and jerk would soon follow. It was hunting season.

After a trip to the local library and bakery, I opened the garage door to catch a whiff of something sticky-sweet.  The oven chimed as I closed the door behind me. The sticky-sweet smell quickly turned into something fresher and spicier: lemon and pumpkin. Mother was baking. This is my second favorite part of October.

The picture on the right is a prime example of why my mouth quickly filled with drool. Unfortunately one can’t appreciate the full beauty of what was once a mini-loaf of Lemon-Poppy bread, because I ended up eating about a million pieces. Unfortunately, my camera lacks a macro-setting so I have a bad feeling the pictures a little blurry.

Five thousand pieces of lemon-poppy-bread unfortunately quenched my appetite for the baked goods I had picked up. The tiny bakery in the center of town will never go out of business. I can walk in with $5, come out with a box filled with deliciousness and still have change left over. If only the home-made chocolate place was still open.


  I stopped at the library to continue my decision to read non-fiction books. I ended up picking up Paul Dobransky’s The Secret Psychology of How We fall in Love. The book claims to have “nine proven steps to lasting love” but I’m less interested in seeing the steps and more interested in the psychology. I have a feeling I’ll have this finished way before Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. There’s something incredibly slow-going about this book. It’s only 400 pages, but it might as well be 4,000 for the progress I’m making. I can’t bring myself to care about the characters. Nothing has happened, though the plot is moving along. This is my second attempt at reading this book. If I wasn’t already invested in it, I’d put it down and give up. I definitely won’t be reading the sequels.


Oh wait. Maybe, to make myself feel better, I’ll have some delicious raspberry-filled-white-cake from the bakery. They almost never have these puppies. I don’t know if I’m missing them, or if they’re an October-only thing. Either way, I have a feeling that this will be my (unhealthy)breakfast the next few days.



 Oh, and the cutest cookie in the entire world.

Maybe the sugar rush will give me the boost I need to finish that damn chapter in my novel. I’m on re-write number 4.


Mono-tastic Cleaning

For the last few weeks, my bookshelf has looked like this:

It’s sort of like an elaborate game of “where’s waldo” when it comes to finding my laptop. The crow-wing, turkey-bones and gargoyles are all still visible, but none of these things are going  to help me finish my school work. Neither are those over-due library books, the glass of apple-juice, lysol, or Halloween mask. The binder with my project stuff in it is half inside that green-bin, which should have the school-work fr the barnes and noble box. Unfortunately the barnes and noble box still has the books I need to do the school work in it. When will I get the time to clean it?

Oh wait. I have mono. I wont be going anywhere for a few days. What should I do when I get a huge energy burst at 1 am?

Great. Now I’m going to sleep for another 13 hours. And don’t even think about asking me to walk down the stairs.

Yes, summer is over. If you live in an area where the leaves change, you know it’s been over for a while. I would have had this blog updated ages ago, but I’ve had minor crisis after minor crisis. None the less, the laptop is back on my desk, I’m done working 13-hour-weekends, and I’ll be wearing contacts again shortly.

So, you might ask, “ReD, with all the free time you had this summer, did you finish your novel?”

And the answer is, “oh hell no.”

There’s definitely something inspiring about being unable to work on a novel. When I had seven hours of homework a night, I wouldn’t care about iambic pentameter or persuasive speeches. I would care about how much my plot sucked and how badly I wanted to finish the next chapter. I’d have a great idea on how I could put my protagonist in a sticky situation and minimize my 10-page essay to do a quick paragraph. And you know what? As much as I hated it, I loved it.

This summer I did have free time. Sister was able to take on some of the chores. No homework. Staying up late. Zero inspiration to write a story. I did work on it a little bit, but when my critique partner reminded me that it’s been over a month since I sent her the chapter I wrote, I knew I was slacking.

I had too much freedom. For roughly eighty-days, I wasn’t involved in the real world. Sure, I set up my own bank-account and took out student loans. I got a job and bought my first car. Very real world stuff, but I didn’t have responsibilities. I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, to an extent. I read books. I saw movies. I visited friends. I learned how to play airsoft.  So, there was no reason for me to write a novel.

Now, with a long school days, longer work days, and finding myself scheduling sleep again, I’m back to the real world.

And back to putting real work into my novel.

Chapter Six Playlist

I’ve started writing with music once again, and I’m quite pleased with the success I’ve had finding songs to match the scene. Much of what I’ve found for this section has been Bright Eyes music. Have I mentioned that I’m in love with

A lot of people use youtube to find songs they enjoy, but I hate youtube. I hate buffering with videos, I hate fighting with crappy audio versions and finding anime-clipped music videos that TOTALLY MATCH THE SONG YOU GUYZ! Grooveshark has given me the perfect opportunity to find bands I normally wouldn’t find. As a result, I’ve recently discovered I like Screaming Trees and will be buying a Bright Eyes CD next time I go out. I definitely recommend trying the side for yourself. You can subscribe to remove adds, but I’ve been satisfied with the free-membership.

1. Time Code (Bright Eyes)

2.Sunset, Sunrise (Bright Eyes)

3. Bittersweet Sundown (Framing Hanley)

4. A Dance Around Memory Tree (Oren Lavie)

5. Freak on a Leash (Korn)






Bio-hazard Level 4: Werewolves

Personally, I would love to see a zombie novel that had werewolves instead of zombies.

Maybe I’ll add this to Unending List of Things I want to Write,  since both ‘post-apocalyptic’ and ‘disease that kills people and forces the rest into hiding’ are high up on my list. So, doing some work for The Project yesterday, I ended up spending a very, very long time reading about Ebola, bio-hazard levels, locations of bio-hazard level buildings, and the treatment for various diseases. How did all of this happen?

I was playing Left4Dead2 with Sir Keel, Sir Greg, and The Sister yesterday. Unfortunately, I take that game very seriously, and panic whenever I see a horde of zombies approaching and I’m running low on ammo and Coach and Rochelle are busy standing and watching the jockey and hunter run towards me while I scream loudly and make run on sentences out of my jibberish while I panic and button mash. I was also reading Carrie Ryan’s Dead Tossed Waves the other day.

The Werewolves in The Project:

I like the idea of genetics playing a roll in with werewolves. I’d already decided that, for sake of the story, people with a French or German background are more likely to have the ‘gene’ that causes werewolfism. I chose this due to the large amount of werewolf stories that come from French and Germany. Now, it’s assumed that a large portion of the population would carry this gene, but it wouldn’t react unless given the right circumstances. (Those circumstances being: Wolf bite, high stress/adrenaline pumping, and Full moon, or just werewolf bite.)

When werewolves are new, they are often more animal like and nervous, and can react violently when frightened. With heightened senses, the ability to shift into an animal and see in the dark, and ability to live of wildlife and not need shelter as a wolf, Werewolves would make a very good weapon.

Given the lack of vaccine and treatment for werewolfism, and the high percentage of casualties and destruction that would result from this, it makes sense that werewolfism would be classified as a Biohazard Level 4. At least according to Wikipedia. (Yes, I will be looking for more sources.)

As a result, Ren now has a new reason to hate hospitals, besides ‘They smell really bad.’

How does The Project’s Werewolf Disease Spread:

It’s definitely got to be spit to blood. I want it to transfer from the mouth (a bite) and into the blood stream. Unfortunately, I’m not a good science student, so I’ll have to do some more research on this. Originally, I wanted it to be any kind of fluid contact, but that would be hell if a werewolf is making out with a human and then BAM, disease transferred.

“Does that mean werewolf-ism is like herpes?”

Hmmm. Not that would add an interesting aspect to my novel.