It's time for our Spring 2020 roundup of interesting and useful posts that I found online during the last three months! Check out the links below.
Starting with this quarter in interesting diversions: This Tumblr post presents a chart of different sun gods worshiped in different time zones. This one proposes a super cool way to propose marriage! This New Scientist article talks about a tiny new moon the Earth recently (temporarily) gained.
Onto the important current issue of coronavirus: This Scientific American article presents a reasonable look at preparing to flatten the curve that is still helpful today. This University of Washington website shares coronavirus projections for different U.S. states. This Twitter thread talks about the unknown loss of possibility we will experience, while this thread from fellow chronically ill person and YA author Natasha Ngan gives advice on coping with being stuck at home for an extended period.
Meanwhile, this chart compares the death tolls of different pandemics across history (the coronavirus numbers have since risen to at least 88k):
It's time for some much needed humor today. Here are the twenty-five funniest posts I saw on the Internet during the last three months! Please enjoy.
My 26th birthday is tomorrow, so I'd like to take a look back 26 years at what the world was like on my birthdate! Let us return to Saturday, April 2nd, 1994:
Bill Clinton was the U.S. president. Some very typical tensions were occurring between the U.S. and areas like North Korea, China, and the Middle East, and there was unrest in South Africa, Haiti, and Bosnia. Tobacco's power in our country seemed to be waning (yay for not smoking!). Stocks had taken a recent dive, but March had been good in terms of hiring numbers. In New Mexico, the pilgrimage to Chimayo was happening.
Michael ("Who is Like God?") and Ashley ("From the Ash Tree Field") were the most popular baby names of 1994. However, in New Mexico, Jessica ("God Beholds") was the top female name.
The top song was "The Sign" by Ace of Base, which I think is a pretty decent tune. I'm actually familiar with it! Other names on the charts included R. Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion, along with other performers whom I do not know.
The top movie in the box office was Major League II, a baseball-related comedy sequel that does not sound like my kind of thing at all. Critics weren't into it, either, so. 🤷🏻♀️ Four Weddings and a Funeral (rom-com, of course) was the highest grossing film of the year so far.
This has been such a month. For once, I'm not surprised that it's ending. I guess that's how you slow down time--with a pandemic. 😬
Anyway, with the end of March comes my list of top to-read books that are coming out during the spring quarter! I have eighteen new YA releases from April through June for you all to get pumped up about. These authors could especially use promotion right now seeing as social distancing has cut down their opportunities to attend events. (You can also support the Winter 2020 releases seen here.) So let's check them out!
Hey, friends! Hope you're all doing well despite the ongoing pandemic. I've been dealing with a lot of lower respiratory symptoms this week, including breathlessness, which culminated in me going to a clinic and finding out I was having my first ever asthma attack! I don't even usually have allergies, but apparently my lungs are mad right now. That was a fun time.
Now for today's post: I share fanart in themed posts on this blog every so often, I reblog it on my Tumblr all the time, and I've also talked about my Art & Words Pinterest board in the past. Visual art is amazing to me! But I have yet to write a post introducing you to my favorite artists. I thought today would be a good time to remedy that.
Some of these artists primarily create fanart; some primarily create original works. There are photos, paintings, papercraft, and more! I hope through this you find some great visual artists to support. Art is such an essential part of human life: it educates, it enriches, it evokes, it inspires, it distracts! We need it most in difficult times like these.
Paola Pieretti has developed a style for her commissioned character portraits that really speaks to me, though I can't explain why. I just know that she's at the top of my list for artists I might commission once I have a published book to promote. I don't have any single favorite, but here are a few pieces that show off her abilities:
In the past, I've analyzed the selection of books that I was required to read in school, and I've expressed my frustrations with it--primarily with the lack of diversity in both the authors and the main characters. That led me to write this post, where I shared some classics I enjoyed that are by non-White-and-male authors.
Since then, I've had the chance to read many more classics on my own. So today, I thought I'd create my ideal list of classics for students to read while in school. The rule is that I'm not allowed to include any author more than once (not even Shakespeare!), because the lack of diversity in English curriculum is even worse when you consider how many of the authors are repeats. Books that I actually was required to read anytime from elementary school through my English BA are marked with an asterisk.
Let's get into it!
1) Hamlet by William Shakespeare.* This is my Shakespearean pick: a historical tragedy written in 1603 about an indecisive Danish prince who is told by his father's ghost that the uncle who married his mother and became the new king is, in fact, his father's murderer. This story's downward spiral into chaos and death fascinates me. (If I was allowed to also include a Shakespearean comedy, I'd pick Much Ado About Nothing, but that's against the rules, so. 🤷🏻♀️ )
2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.* I've enjoyed every Jane Austen book I've read, but this one is the most famous: a regency romance published in 1813 that tells the hate-to-love story of an intelligent and independent young woman and a rich, awkward, and aloof young man who each have pride and prejudice that adds strife to their relationship. Jane Austen's famous wit and feminist social commentary are well-displayed in this novel!
Welcome to March! Here's the update. (You can review February here.)
(Re)reading: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 213
Working: on a few scattered freelance projects
Watching: Hoarders episodes on YouTube
Playing: more Choices and Hogwarts Mystery
Bookmarking: the Ch21Con Discord!
Following: YA author Margaret Owen on Twitter
Getting: I was just gifted a framed picture of the Christus statue
Wearing: a navy blue tank top dress with a long-sleeved black shrug and blue goldstone
studs with dropping stars in back
Eating: pumpkin seeds again
Smelling: nothing in particular
Hearing: Zoey the cat eating cat food and Hogwarts Mystery background music
WriteOnCon 2020 was last weekend, and as usual, I am sharing my notes from the conference! For those who don't know, WriteOnCon is an amazing low-cost conference for children's book writers (including YA novelists) that takes place entirely online across three days. Which means my chronically ill butt can participate in it! I do it every year, and I love it. Here are last year's notes if you want to check them out!
This year, because I've gotten critique on my #OCDStory query documents during WriteOnCon multiple times and am now satisfied with them (but not yet ready to query), I did not post my own stuff on the forums. However, I did offer a few critiques on the YA query letters that I found most interesting. It's always so cool to see what people are creating!
I also did not do great time management in keeping up with the main conference content, which means I missed out on some of it. Boo! I'll have to be smarter about it next time. There's a lot of it to get through, though!
Here are highlights from the pieces I did catch:
Today's topic, as I participate in this weekend's WriteOnCon, is another Top Ten Tuesday prompt: books I read because of the hype. Originally, I was the kind of person who avoided hyped books. I don't do that anymore, thank goodness!
I do read a lot of YA,. Most traditionally published YA novels are on my TBR as soon as they sell to a publisher. But I might fast-track my reading of a book or add one to my list that I was uncertain about (or one that isn't YA) if I'm seeing a lot of hype about it online.
Here are ten examples:
1) The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Holly Black's past work hasn't really been for me--tricky fae amorality doesn't fit well with my personality. But this YA fantasy trilogy has been EV. ER. Y. WHERE. in the YA lit world, and one of my trusted friends recommended it. So in December 2019, I read the first book. I enjoyed how passionate and intriguing it is, and I look forward to where the the story goes!
2) Wilder Girls by Rory Power. This YA sci-fi horror novel was already on my TBR, but when I saw all the hype about it after its release, I bumped it up and read it earlier than I might have. In October 2019, it became one of my recommended books--brilliant, fascinating stuff.
3) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. If it was released nowadays, this YA fantasy trilogy probably would've already been on my TBR, but in 2014, I was new to Goodreads and not yet following book deals on Publisher's Weekly. Later, I heard how popular it was, and I gave the first book a read in October 2019. I liked it!
Hey, friends! This blog post idea is taken from the Top Ten Tuesday archive. It's a thought that's never really occurred to me before, but it marries two of my favorite things: fictional characters and social media. I'm excited to get into it!
1) Wanda Maximoff (MCU). Since she's my current favorite, this pick is unsurprising. I'd love to follow her adventures with the Avengers in real time and get more of an insight into her life and her personality. I imagine her being an Instagram kind of person.
2) Vision (MCU). As the other half of my Avengers OTP, Vision is another obvious choice here. In all honesty, I'd probably follow all of the Avengers, because I love them, but these are the two I doubt I'd ever unfollow, even if their feeds somehow became boring. I imagine Vision being active on Twitter.
3) Newt Scamander (Wizarding World). I don't know how he'd do on social media, seeing how socially awkward he is, but I adore Newt. I'd at least have to check his feed out. I can imagine him posting lots of videos and pictures of magical animals on YouTube or Instagram (if that weren't illegal and technologically impossible in his time). His granddaughter-in-law Luna would also be an interesting one to follow!
It's time for my February "taking stock" update! You can review January's update here.
Reading: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 175
Watching: That Chapter and other channels on YouTube
Playing: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Earworming: "Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd, thanks to me reviewing last month's post
Following: most recently on Twitter, Maddie Williams
Wearing: a grey long-sleeved dress with pockets and black cat cameo earrings
Eating: a new 45-day diet via Viome with more protein in it
Smelling: pumpkin seeds
Hearing: cat snores
Today, we're looking through my diaries for the events of my life that occurred on February 1st throughout the years. I don't think I've done the first of any month before, so that's kinda cool! For anyone interested, the previous installment (September 7) can be found here.
February 1st, 2000, Five Years Old
I drew a picture of my doll "Carm" outside a little house.
No February 1st entry in 2001, 2002, or 2003.
February 1st, 2004, Nine Years Old
My youngest brother threw up. I worked on making valentines for my friends.
February 1st, 2005, Ten Years Old
I had a fight with one of my friends--no details written about it.
February 1st, 2006, Eleven Years Old
I was somehow "off schedule" and not interested in writing much. However, I'd gotten some beta reader critiques on #DragonStory and an invitation to my best friend's birthday party that I put in my journal.
I don't recall having much trouble with time management in my life before now. (Keep in mind that my chronic illnesses have wiped a lot of my memory, so that's worth taking with a bit of salt.) However, since descending into severe chronic illness and then a little ways out again, I've been struggling. It's kind of funny because my chronic fatigue means I'm much more limited by my energy than by time, unlike most people, but of course, any change in life means adjustments to how you manage time.
When I became extremely ill in 2016, I was so low on energy that I couldn't do much with my time besides sleep, watch Netflix, and scroll through social media. (I also did read books and do a little writing, both in a lower amount than before.) By the time I started improving, I was almost running out of movies/TV to watch, which is not a common complaint. I was also very thoroughly entrenched in social media. I've always loved it, after all, ever since I first illicitly joined Facebook in high school. I love being able to interact with others through writing, which comes more naturally to me than in-person interactions, and I love learning from and enjoying content from people all over the world. Social media is perfect for someone like me, and with my disabilities, it's become most of my social life as well. It's proven to be pretty effective at keeping me from feeling lonely or isolated.
However, as my illnesses have improved, making it possible for me to spend more time on editing and writing and the like, social media in particular has become an issue. Most people aren't active on six different social media websites--with two profiles on one of them and three on another. I've been loathe to let go of my beloved social media, with how much I enjoy it, but time management, like life with chronic illness, is all about prioritizing. Social media is a priority for me, and a pretty low-energy one at that. But keeping up with my reading is an even higher priority, and I've been struggling there (well, struggling for me). Church, writing, and editing are also higher priorities for me than social media.
As of this week, it's been a year since I opened my online freelance editing business Kira B. Edits. It's been an interesting and enjoyable experience, and today, I wanted to talk about what I've learned.
Editing is something I've long enjoyed, just like writing. I went into college vaguely thinking I might become an editor for my day job, although my main dream has always been marriage, kids, and a career as a novelist. (I wasn't sure anyone could really succeed as an editor outside of NYC, though, which did not seem likely to suit me.)
While at Adams State University (the college I attended my freshman year), I was hired as the head copy editor of the school paper. I enjoyed that job a lot more than I'd expected to. I like being able to work fairly independently and on my own schedule, and I love the feeling of fixing up written text so that the words and ideas flow. I was definitely a beginner in terms of style rules (and comma rules), but I felt the job suited me.
When I transferred to BYU-Idaho, I decided to try going freelance as both a copy editor and copy writer on Fiverr. At the time, I was not aware that you were supposed to register yourself as a business when doing that sort of thing, but I didn't make taxable income anyway. In fact, I was quite underpaid, and that combined with the stress of copy writing led me to quit that job after a summer.
All right! It's time for my monthly update, given through a series of "-ing" verbs. Here's what's up in my life this January. (You can review December here.)
Eating: grapes and jicama
Wearing: a dark green long-sleeved dress with pockets
Reading: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Writing: blog posts and diary entries
Editing: #OCDStory, at page 153, and some
Listening: to my latest jam, "Blinding Lights" by The
Watching: the last few episodes of The Clone Wars
Bookmarking: most recently, some resources for my
job with Scribbr
Playing: not June's Journey anymore, because I
decided it was a (delightful) timesuck
Wanting: my dinner
Wishing: my body wasn't so invested in its sleep time
Deciding: what changes to make to #OCDStory
Admiring: how adorable my cat is
Enjoying: my life
Hoping: to accomplish my 2020 resolutions
I forgot to post this on Wednesday as I'd planned! Sorry about that. Here are the twenty-five funniest posts I saw on the Internet during the last three months, plus one video and a bonus link. Enjoy them!.
It's time for me to share the most interesting and useful posts I came across online during the last three months. Check it out!
First, in animals in need, the tweet pictured below has been making the rounds:
The next image shares websites of many different groups that help people in need of financial support for their sick/injured pets.
Welcome to 2020! Today marks not only the beginning of a new year but also the beginning of a new decade. I started this blog in mid-2012, which doesn't quite bring us to a decade ago, but there's still a lot of content here to explore if you'd like to review. A good place to start is with my past resolutions!
New Year's Resolutions
January Humor and New Year's Resolutions
Top Ten Tuesday: New Year's Resolutions
New Year's Resolutions 2017
New Year's Resolutions 2018
New Year's Resolutions 2019
For me, this decade was largely marked by illness, with 2010 being the year that I first started seeking help for my developing fibromyalgia. According to my journals, I started showing possible signs of interstitial cystitis as early as 2013, with chronic fatigue syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome possibly making their appearances around 2015. In mid-2016, I became ill enough that I could no longer perform substantial gainful activity, which continues today, although I saw a great deal of improvement after visiting Mayo Clinic in 2017. It's been an adventure, that's for sure!
âââNow we've got the Roaring 20s ahead of us.
As we move into 2020, it's time to share the books I'm most looking forward to that release during the winter quarter! These picks will be published between January and March. Check them out, and if any catches your eye, add it to your reading list.
1) A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer. This YA fantasy novel continues the story started in a favorite read from 2019, a Beauty and the Beast retelling that crosses between our world and a cursed fantasy world. The sequel will move past the retelling into new territory and promises some drama, too! It releases on January 7th.
2) Hollow Dolls by MarcyKate Connolly. This MG fantasy novel from the dark and whimsical MarcyKate Connolly features a mind reader who discovers a man with two minds--one the original and one a bodywalker. This book also releases on January 7th.
For my second best of 2019 list, I've decided to broaden things a bit. Instead of just sharing the new movies and TV shows I enjoyed most this year, I'm going to share all sorts of different content from this year (besides YA novels) that I recommend! Please enjoy, and have a happy Christmas if you celebrate!
1) Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. This five-star MG fantasy novel takes the Rick Riordan formula and adapts it using a combination of West African mythology and black American folklore to astonishing effect. I've never read anything that better depicts the incredible power of stories or the harrowing echoes of history. This is one of those books where I, as a writer, cannot understand how a human mind formed it, and I think everyone should read it.
2) Captain Marvel (PG-13). Going into this, I was thrilled to have a female-led film from Marvel at last but also worried that Carol Danvers would prove to be too much of a tough, stereotypical Strong Female Character for me. Luckily, that was not the case! Though Carol is physically strong, a part of the Armed Forces, and a tomboy type, she also has a lot of personality--plenty of sass and wit to hook me in. Though Wanda Maximoff will probably always be my top Marvel girl, Carol Danvers has a solid place in the lineup. This movie also expresses an important and relevant political message, and there's a cat! Every movie should have a cat.
3) Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG-13). This movie raises some questions about Tony Stark's wisdom (or lack thereof), but it's also such a delightful story for the YA crowd that I can't leave it off this list. It captures that high school/teen spirit perfectly and provides some fun twists, as well as Marvel's usual top-notch characterization. The villain has the most fantastic flamboyant vibe, there's a stunning CGI sequence in the middle, and the Spideychelle ship sets sail in adorable fashion. All in all, this is a great movie to push the MCU past the Infinity Saga and into a new phase.
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