Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The MOST Rhetorical Question Game!

Does anyone else get overwhelmed at the bookstore? I want to buy EVERYTHING, and my sweet and lovely ten dollar gift card won't accomplish that. I become frozen with indecision. I mean, OF COURSE I'll end up spending more than the ten bucks-- that's a given. But even then I find myself staring at a pile of books, totally unprepared to narrow it down to two books (okay, three. Three books MAX). The bookstore always wins when someone gives me a gift card. *sigh* What shoes are to other women, books are to me.

While at the bookstore on Monday (Twitter-friends, that was the day of the evil electric company overlord box that killed my AC), while at the bookstore I noticed something... rhetorical questions! They're a huge query no-no, but on book covers I think they must be okay. And while I was there (making fun of the questions, of course), I thought it would be fun to play a game: The MOST Rhetorical Question Game! Does anyone have a question that's the MOST rhetorical? Even better, can you ANSWER them?? (CAN they be answered?? See? I'm playing the game already!).

What is love?

When is love not enough?????????

What if everything you knew about love was a LIE???????!?!?!?!?!!!!!

(Game variation!)

Does anyone have a funny rhetorical question of their own? Here's mine:

What if you found out your boyfriend was a vampire zombie, who was torn about using his Gifts to slay his own kind for the good of the world? What if he was ALSO your brother????!?!?!?! WAIT?! WHAT IF HE WASN'T?

Before I go, I want to say thanks to everyone who commented/tweeted their suggestions for my sisters. We hung out on Saturday and it was awesome (almost unbelievable) that we talked books for so long. They both want to read The Duff (but my copy is in the hands of my friend-who-became-a-reader). One sister is reading Hush Hush and so far loves it! Anyway, it was great having lots of books to talk about with them, thanks blog friends!! Awww, *group hug*

Fyi this post was typed up from my phone (when is it not?? Rhetorical question again, ahhh!!!!) Sorry as usual for typos/clumsiness! Now let's see those rhetorical questions!! xo, Di
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ROMANCE? Help Keep My Sisters Interested In Reading

Quick post from my phone; forgive the clumsiness and/or typos.

Thanks to Twilight, my sisters have slowly become interested in reading. (They were NOT readers before, so regardless of any personal opinions about the vampire romance-- which I enjoyed-- I am grateful). Ever since Twilight caught their attention, they've come often to my bookcase and borrowed from my extensive stash of YA books. They don't always finish them. Actually, I'd say ninety percent of the books they borrow come back, unfinished :( I'm talking best-selling authors, books I have LOVED. ("Really?" I ask them. "Sorry Nana," they say). Anyway, they want MORE romance, (so they keep telling me). Most of the stories I have aren't as saturated with LOVE as they want. Soooo, I figured I'd start guiding them to my adult romance novel collection (also extensive) but they want the blushing-crushing-first-love story. I can't make them happy! Except recently they became ADDICTED to Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles and they said, MORE LIKE THAT DIANA!!!!! The back and forth guy pov was a hit, as was the "romance first and other stuff second" focus of the story. I suggested Shiver/Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, which I remember being that way, and they LOVED it too. Yay! But that was a while ago. Now I'm at a loss. Every time I Google "YA romance" I come up with a similar list of books I already own...books my darling sisters didn't find romancey enough.

So blog friends, I need your help!!!!! Suggestions of YA romance novels? NOT novels that "have romance" but that are ACTUAL romance novels? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? We're hanging out this weekend so I'd love to have some fantastic suggestions for them; thanks in advance... Di
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Guest Post: Diana's Brain

I am Diana's brain. Diana has been asking incessantly for me to guest blog and although I am much too busy, what with running Diana's life and keeping her alive (no easy job, believe me), I finally agreed.

Being a thorough brain, as all good brains are (and please let's be clear, all brains are good brains. It's their owners who choose to act without them), it is my goal to provide insight into my inner workings, as well as discuss my grievances toward Diana and how she ignores me.

Before I proceed I would like to say, I despise Diana's abhorrent abuse of the word "awesome," her increasing use of asterisk actions (*shudder* indeed), and I firmly believe that the use of more than one exclamation point at the end of a sentence is a firm sign of a lunatic. You will see none of this today. As you can imagine, I have (forcibly) read Diana's past blog posts-- although you'll agree I haven't been allowed a big part in most of them-- and the way Diana refers to me in this very blog as, and I quote, "stupid brain," causes me significant offense. What greater insult could there be to a brain than stupidity? However, being a civilized brain, I am willing to make certain allowances for my mistress. She and I don't always connect, but my loyalty is unwavering.

I realize that Diana's consistent disrespect to me and my office stem from her frustrations with me. She thinks I'm far too uptight, here in my ivory cranium, but the truth is, to describe what I do as an enormous job is a gross understatement. A mistress like Diana, with her constant daydreaming and being here inside her head with me more often than she's out there in the world, well she gives me no peace. Compound this with her obstinate refusal to listen to me, and my work is made immeasurably more difficult. Sleep, I tell her, making her lids heavy, but she drinks coffee, too besotted with her current Story to listen to me. I send her hunger pains, yet she can't be induced away from whichever love affair she's in the middle of to think about feeding us. Not to mention what she feeds us! With all of this happening, is it any wonder my frontal lobe is too cluttered for messages to get through to her? Indeed I tell her where the keys are, and I remind her to charge her phone, and that her aunt's birthday is coming up, but my messages can't get through when she leaves me in such a state!

Oh wretched existence, to be so ignored! 

My grievance list continues, for her biological neglect isn't the worst of it. I want desperately to help her in her life. I want her to be happy, and I care about her future as a writer. Yet she ignores me when I tell her to outline before writing a story. She ignores me when I tell her to stop revising Twists of Fate and give it a little distance-- for goodness' sake, she only just finished the book a month ago! It would be wiser, so much wiser, to rewrite Wishmaker, or do a nice final revision on Sinister Charms, but no... she keeps going back to Twists of Fate. I've never seen her so enamored. Bah! Fine, ignore me Diana! Ignore your own brain! You've gotten along quite well without me so far, haven't you? And that was sarcasm, my dear, in case you missed it!

Doesn't Diana realize that the only way to get to her precious stories is through me? Never mind her muse-- don't make me laugh! Diana may enjoy her muse's company (when her royal highness bothers showing up), but Diana also doesn't coddle the silly thing. If Diana and I agree on only one thing, it's that her muse is not to be counted upon. Neither of us understand her muse, flighty thing that she is, and we definitely don't wait for her to show up before beginning our work.

But I must admit... a part of me is a tad worried that she's listening to my nemesis, her muse. I won't say Diana's muse is worthless, but she is most definitely a lazy diva. Yes, I said it! Muse, if you're reading this, which I doubt, please take a moment from your bon-bon eating existence and prove me wrong!

But enough about her. The muse and I are seldom on speaking terms.

Back to the matter at hand. Diana's future as a writer. It's all well and good to have torrid love affairs with story after story (and there have been many. You know what they say, for every story an author's completed, there's at least three skeleton stories in her closet-- whether she writes them or not is immaterial. She's thinking about them! I'm her brain for crying out loud!), but when will Diana settle down and get to the business of querying? Yes, she's gone down that road before, and yes it's the PC thing to say that a writer in today's modern world doesn't need to query to be happy, but I know Diana inside and out. Having illicit affairs with story after story isn't enough for her. I can see from the gleam in her optic nerve that she has ambition. She wants more than just the rush of writing a story. She wants to be a working author.

In conclusion, I urge you all to think about your brains from time to time, how overworked they are, how thankless their job can be. Banging upon your skull and blaming us for your problems will only induce us to exact retribution and give you a massive headache. And please, please, refrain from telling jokes regarding zombies. We all know what they eat. I fail to see the hilarity in listening to my mistress laugh as someone moans "brains" on that insipid thing called Twitter.

Thank you for reading my side of things. For your sake, I hope you are a wiser master-or-mistress of your own brain, and that you actually defer to your brain's intelligence on a consistent basis, unlike my mistress, who-- well, let's just say has a mind of her own.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Please read Laurie Halse Anderson's blog post concerning her book, Speak, and how an influential person in Missouri is calling the book soft pornography, filthy, and immoral, because of how it depicts rape.

I don't believe in banning books. Not for a curse word. Not for a sex scene. Not for portraying truth.

As you may have figured out by now, I normally leave politics, sex and religion out of my blog. Unless you are a personal friend of mine, you don't know those things about me.

But like Myra McEntire , like Tina Lynn , like Frankie Diane (who's hosting a Speak Giveaway) and so many others, I can't stay quiet.

I haven't read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson , but I can't condone banning a book. Especially when its banning is being called for because of a rape scene.

What this pro-banning person (who I won't name in my blog because I don't want his voice to have more power), what he seems to want, is to keep rape from being described-- to keep it hidden-- and that sends the wrong message to both the survivor and the rapist. Survivors have a right to speak, and everyone, even teens, should have access to those voices.

I am going to the bookstore tomorrow and buying Speak. It's hard for me to read books that deal with issues like rape. I have a survivor family member. I choose to read for escapism and maybe I'll never have the courage to read Speak. But that's the point. It's my choice. And I choose to buy this book.

Others have discussed this so much more thoroughly. I encourage you to not only blog and tweet about Speak, but TALK about it! Let people know, outside of your internet circle, that a rape victim's story should never be silenced. Speak!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Talk: Mockingjay

"One of the reasons it's important for me to write about war is I really think that the concept of war, the specifics of war, the nature of war, the ethical ambiguities of war are introduced too late to children. I think they can hear them, understand them, know about them, at a much younger age without being scared to death by the stories. It's not comfortable for us to talk about, so we generally don't talk about these issues with our kids. But I feel that if the whole concept of war were introduced to kids at an earlier age, we would have better dialogues going on about it, and we would have a fuller understanding."
-Suzanne Collins, in an interview by Rick Margolis (School Library Journal)

Mockingjay is not a "people pleaser." I doubt that Ms. Collins' intentions were to write a feel-good book, or an angsty love story, and I wouldn't describe Mockingjay as either. The book is a look at war and what war does to people... people we have grown to love very much.

What happens in Mockingjay doesn't make sense. It isn't fair. It isn't even right. That is the genius of this book. Ms. Collins didn't make war into something that could be neatly packaged. Innocent people die in war. People change, sometimes in ways we can't understand or even respect. War is a vicious cycle. Hard decisions are made, and we don't always agree with what the leaders of our nation decide to do. People are senselessly killed. People die without warning. And even worse, we don't get answers about every person lost in a war. Not in real life, and not in Mockingjay.

What a legacy we have in Mockingjay. What an opportunity. I admire Ms. Collins more than ever, not only for this exceptionally well-written novel, but for having the courage to be truthful to her audience about what war is like. How HUGE a lie it would have been to have Katniss obsessing over which boy to love, or seeking stolen moments of passion with whoever she felt most drawn to. I'm so grateful that Katniss remained true to her character throughout these novels. Katniss was a normal girl thrust into an overwhelming situation. Yes, she grew and changed-- her personality developed from the world she was a part of, for better or worse-- but she was always herself. Deep inside herself, Katniss always held on to one thing, even when her mind told her it was pointless, even when she didn't want to let herself believe it were possible, and that thing was hope.

Reading this book broke my heart, enraged me, unsettled me, and ultimately left me with a sense of mournful triumph. As a writer, I could not be happier to find a story that inspired so much. Deep parts of my brain felt opened, and I thought for a long time after closing this book. The world is real. The characters unforgettable. The challenges all-too familiar. This book is about more than Panem. It's a book about truths happening right now, as I type this blog post. As you read it.

This is a necessary book. People like me, in cozy suburbs with problems that could not be considered problems by over eighty percent of the world's population need to read this book and really think about life. Thank you, Ms. Collins.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Ode to San Diego, with pictures. And Why-Don't-I-Live-On-The-Beach???

Oh yeah, I don't live on the beach because it's freaking expensive. But it's also freaking beautiful.

Our mini-beach-road-trip was AMAZING. We spent the weekend going down to San Diego, first to the Marina and Seaport Village Friday night.

Here's the view from the Seaport Village shops, with an aircraft carrier in the distance, amidst other Navy ships. The opposite side of Seaport Village has a view of the marina, filled with sailboats and powerboats like a big boat parking lot.

I LOVE Seaport Village. There is so. much. to. do. Street performers and vendors line the boardwalk, which is full of cute shops and restaurants. My favorite place to eat is Marion's Fish Market-- oh my goshhhhh I love them! I get the fish, shrimp and chips (my favorite is the huge, crispy shrimp), or the clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl, yummmmm. The popcorn shrimp is fantastic too, but those big shrimp coated in all that crunchy goodness are really the yummiest. Plus the seating area is right on the boardwalk overlooking the water... time it at sunset and you'll be in paradise.

The next day we saw the Midway, then spent the rest of the morning at Balboa Park. We drove across the huge bridge in the last picture (below) to Coronado Beach after that. Nothing brings out my hunger like the beach, so we came back to Seaport Village for lots more shrimp and then spent time at the pool.

I didn't take a good picture of Balboa Park, so here is one from a blog called San Diego Daily Photo . Balboa Park is an incredible place, just gorgeous. The fountains and ponds and gardens and especially the architecture blow me away every time I go. On top of that, there are restaurants and so many museums (a really cool classical art museum, which is also FREE, is one of my favorite places. A lot of medieval and renaissance art in oil).

I love Balboa Park. Isn't it pretttttttyyyy?

Sunday we headed back up the coast to Solana Beach for a while, then to the Carlsbad Company Stores and finally Oceanside (gotta love North County). We didn't want to get home too late on Monday so we drove up the coast early to spend some time at Huntington Beach (props to the O.C., one of my usual beach hangouts) before our mini-beach-road-trip was over.

I have family in Orange County and spend a lot of time there, but there is a really special vibe down in San Diego. Everyone is super friendly and they REALLY take pride in their city (they even call it "America's Finest City"). I finished college in San Diego, so I'm probably looking back through the lens of nostalgia, but it's one of my favorite places to go.

Me, stuffed with shrimp and thoroughly happy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Road Trip!!!!!

Need I say more? Road trip, yeah baby!!! Loyal followers will be stunned (insert sarcasm) to find out the locale is of the coastal variety. Yes, a beach road trip-- surprise surprise!

Here is where I'm NOT going:

There is no way to take a road trip to the above place because sadly, there are no roads to Hawaii. I love Hawaii though. The first time I went I was determined to live there, that's how hard I fell in love. But I also love Southern Cali... too much to leave it. So Hawaii gets to be a special something to really look forward to. Like the best dessert ever.

ANYWAY, this weekend's road trip will be-- I hope-- a full-on blasty blast! No repetitions of the pop-up shade debaucle, please!! And no, my beloved sister's aren't coming... this time it'll be my brother and his super-amazing wife. The two of them are so cute together! *insert floaty balloon hearts* Yay road trips!! Any guesses on where I'm going? I'll tell you next week and let you know how it went.

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!