I did a post like this back at the very beginning of this blog, but today, inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, I'm going to list some more books that were outside my comfort zone, that I didn't expect to like, but that I now recommend. A lot of them will probably feature these book turn-offs. Check them out!
1) Munmun by Jesse Andrews. The premise for this YA dystopian novel sounds pretty ridiculous and more like something from a children's book than YA, but upon reading it, I discovered it to be a brilliant and harsh allegory for class in our society. It's worthy of Jonathan Gulliver, who has an epigraph at the beginning. It definitely affected my perspective on poverty and wealth. The book tells the story of an impoverished teen boy living in a U.S. where your physical size is proportional to your wealth.
2) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Unlike the majority of YA readers, I didn't like Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Strange the Dreamer is a YA fantasy that takes place in the same universe (multiverse?), so I held off for a while, but once I read it, I fell head over heels. I plan to reread Daughter of Smoke and Bone just because of how much I loved this duology! It follows a young librarian on an adventure he's always dreamed of and a half-goddess in hiding above a city full of traumatized humans who slaughtered the gods when she was just a baby.
3) Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King. A.S. King is another author I'd read before and not really liked--in this case, I'd read multiple books by her, and their incredible strangeness was what held me off. With this YA magical realism novel, though, I felt that the oddity only strengthened the narrative. It follows a depressed teen girl with a very unhealthy family situation who keeps seeing different versions of herself all over the place. It's a powerful read.
It's time for a new "on this day in my history," where I paraphrase my diary entries from across the years on this day, September 7. It provides a bit of a glimpse into my life--and after all, this is what diaries are for. 😉 The last installment, for January 26, can be found here, Let's see what I've been up to on September 7! The first entry I have for this day is from 2007.
September 7, 2007, Thirteen Years Old
Before school, one of my friends had fun winding me up by talking about how attractive she found my crush's legs. (She liked to cause drama.) In social studies, we did some busy work with posters, and we got a new seating chart. A guy who kept getting in trouble for talking was put next to me, which I didn't think was the smartest idea, since the two of us got along well. (It wasn't going to get him to stop talking.) In my forever-terrible GATE class, I couldn't participate in a caffeine-related experiment because of my religious beliefs. The teacher then pressured me to perform a song I was writing, which made me want to stop writing the song entirely. I worried some about seating in orchestra and which of us was the best cellist. I actually enjoyed Ultimate Frisbee in P.E. We talked about the metric system in science class, and the New Zealander exchange student made fun of us for being confused. I had a hard time with a math test..
Today, inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, I figured I'd talk about some of the traits I like best in characters--and also in real life people, haha. These traits probably won't come as a surprise; you can see them in these posts about my favorite male and female characters or in this more recent Tumblr list of favorites. These qualities do tend to differ a little based on gender--maybe because I pick female characters I want to be like and male characters I'd want to date? I'm not sure. But for this post, I'm going to be splitting things up as such. Enjoy!
Soft: One of the major features of the male characters I love best is that they are soft. I am not interested in any Alpha Male types. Not here, no sirree! I want sweethearts whom I feel safe being around. I want boys who respect other people, who are gentle, loyal, and trustworthy, who have self-control They are adorable and good. They can also be incredibly powerful, but they use that power with wisdom and compassion, letting their softness guide them. See: Vision from Marvel, Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games, Newt Scamander from the Wizarding World, Finn from Star Wars.
One of my pet peeves is an ableist microaggression that I've talked about before: offering unsolicited medical advice to chronically ill people, especially when you're not a medical professional. This is a problem for a few different reasons.
First, we chronically ill people have to be able to reach a place of acceptance. We have to face the fact that our lives have changed. We have to do our best to plan for a future where our illnesses continue to exist and may even worsen, as this is often the reality. We can't waste all our time and energy putting our lives on hold to search for a magical cure. (Unless we're also medical researchers.) When people are constantly throwing ideas at us for how to "fix" our chronic illnesses, it can be really hard to move on. I know that you're trying to offer us hope, to keep us from "giving up," but that's not how this works. That's not what we need. Acceptance is really the key.
Second, it assumes that we aren't already aware of the existing possibilities for treatments. It assumes that we don't know our own body, our own illnesses, that we don't have professionals we're working with on this, that if we just tried harder we could make this whole problem go away. And that's offensive and untrue. People with chronic illnesses tend to be quite familiar with the research, probably much more than you are. And the solutions you offer us? They're usually either things we've already tried or things that we're pretty darn sure are quackery. So give it a rest, all right?
Hey friends! Today, inspired by a Top Ten Tuesday prompt, I'm going to share my thoughts on some recent cover redesigns for YA books.
Publishers do redesigns, usually partway through a series, when they feel that the current design doesn't properly engage the market they want. This is often the bane of readers' existences, because you can end up buying different cover styles for books in the same series--and that's not as pretty-looking! (But remember, in traditional publishing, authors don't have a lot of say about the cover, so don't rag on them about it.)
I've found that, most of the time, I don't actually like cover redesigns as much as the originals. But we'll see what turns up today!
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
From following bookish people on Twitter (like the ones I recommended last week), I've learned a lot about the interactions authors have with other people. I've learned what some of the etiquette rules are for those interactions. So today I thought I'd share some of those rules, looking at reader to author, author to reader, agent to author, and author to agent dos and don'ts. This will give you an idea of what to expect from yourself and others!
Reader to Author
Hey friends! It's been a good long while since I shared my recommendations for who to follow on social media. Way back when this blog was just beginning, I thought that the best way to do that was to list everyone I was following. But you know what? All anyone would have to do if they wanted to see that is look at who I'm following on my profiles. (And you can do that if you'd like to!)
So instead, I'm going to share a handful of recommendations from each social media platform I'm on: the people I most enjoy following and why. This was hard to narrow down on some platforms, so if I follow you and I didn't list you here, please feel free to promote yourself in the comments! I have a lot of people I'm friendly with online--after all, social media is most of my chronically ill social life. For now, check these people out!
Recently, I decided for the sake of time to cut my Facebook use way back. These days, other social media platforms are more popular, interesting, and helpful. So on Facebook right now, I pretty much just follow people I know IRL and local news. I do have one recommendation from the platform, though:
Whatever social media platform you're on, I recommend following SparkNotes (they're pretty much on every platform) for hilarious and clever content about classic English literature. This famous purveyor of literature study guides does a fantastic job at making social media fun!
Hey-o! Today I'm sharing with you a truly terrible comic that I made, depicting a metaphor that I often use for my fibromyalgia et al. (Hint: chronic pain is basically just a lot of noise.) Check it out, share it if you'd like, and I'll be back next week with my favorite people to follow on social media.
As my longtime readers know, I've aspired towards becoming a published novelist since I was young. I started trying to write my first novel when was nine, and I sent my first query letters when I was twelve. I had a goal to get traditionally published before middle school started... then before high school, then before college, then before my graduation from college. I was (and continue to be!) a huge supporter of teen writer initiatives. But none of these things turned out for me, and here I am, twenty-five years old, nineteen novels written, 117 query letters sent, and still unpublished.
My younger self would be horrified, and a small part of me is disappointed. However, there are reasons why I'm actually glad I haven't been published yet. It's not because I was too young--I stand by my support of teen authors, All authors have to start somewhere, and some are ready for publication sooner in their writing career (and in their lives) than others are. But I, as a writer and a person, was not ready for publication before. I don't know if I'm ready now, or when I will be, but there were at least three reasons why it wouldn't have worked in the past. I'm sharing them here to help other writers who might be facing the same issues and setbacks.
It has now been a lucky seven years since I started this blog! And those seven years have been quite a ride. Per the usual, I'm celebrating by rounding up my best posts this year for you to go back and review. Thanks for all your support, and let me know if there's anything new you'd like to hear about! I'll be back next week with a post about why it's good that I haven't been published yet.
About My Life
Adventures in Family History 8/18/18
What's In My Memory Box 8/25/18
Changing My Future Path 10/20/18
Librarians Are Boss: What I Learned in Grad School 1/12/19
My Most and Least Favorite Classes 1/19/19
25 Lessons From 25 Years 4/3/19 *Author's Favorite of the Year*
On Living With Roommates 4/20/19
Hey everyone! Are you ready for our humor roundup? Here are the twenty-five funniest posts I've come across in the last three months, plus one video. Please enjoy!
*Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahoy*
Today I thought I'd try out adding a third post to my quarterly roundups: a speedlinking-type roundup of cool, interesting, useful, etc. stuff that I saw online across the last three months! In this case, I'll be sharing stuff that I've found since the speedlinking post I did in February. If it goes well, I'll continue this series quarterly. So check it out!
In the books world, here's a website that will tell you what book was the NYT bestseller the year that you were born! And if you're a Harry Potter fan, this quiz will tell you which Defense Against the Dark Arts professor you are. (I got the coolest one, Remus Lupin!) I also came across this cool Twitter thread by a librarian about what she's learned while doing her job. And some huge book deal news has just been announced: Suzanne Collins will be releasing a Hunger Games prequel that takes place 64 years before Katniss's story. It comes out in May 2020!
In the writing world, here's a Tumblr guide to female characters and male characters to avoid in your work. This post also offers some helpful advice about "writing what you know," while this one acts as a solid mythology reference. Finally, this language-related post is pretty awesome:
Hey, everyone! It's almost July, and that means it's time for our quarterly roundups. First up, today, I'm sharing the books I'm most excited about that are releasing in the summer quarter, July - September, of this year. There are fourteen titles this time, all YA, so go ahead and give them all a look!
1) Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra. This YA contemporary romance follows a sixteen-year-old Indian-American girl adjusting to her new life as the youngest doctor in the U.S. She gets drawn into a romance with a cancer patient that changes her life. This book releases on July 2nd.
2) Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. This YA fantasy tells the Chinese-inspired story of a girl who dresses as a boy in order to enter a competition to become imperial tailor and who must create three magical dresses from the sun, the moon, and the stars in order to win. It will release on July 9th.
Today I thought I'd try something a bit new. I am a huge lover of fanart, and I share other people's pieces often on my fandom Tumblr and my Pinterest (and I follow a lot of artists on Instagram too). One of the things I most look forward to once I get published is fanart--hopefully one of my books will be popular enough to catch an artist's eye!
I've shared my most favorite fanart pieces on this blog before, in this post and this post, but I want to celebrate fanart even more than that! So I'm going to start sharing my favorite pieces related to upcoming book/movie/TV releases that I'm super excited about.
In two weeks, Spiderman: Far From Home will be in theaters, so today I'm going to share my twenty-five most favorite fanart pieces featuring Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and the like! I hope you enjoy, and please go check out these artists if you enjoy their work. You can click on each image for its source. (I didn't include any pieces that I couldn't find the artist for.) *Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahoy*
Welcome back, friends! It's time for an update on my life as told through a collection of "-ing" verbs.
Eating: lots and lots of red grapes
Wearing: a tie-dye blue and white dress
Smelling: baby carrots
Reading: podcast transcripts and Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Writing: #SnowQueenStory, very very slowly
Editing: nothing at the moment; Kira B. Edits is open to new
Making: myself tired staying up too late
Listening: to podcasts
Earworming: the opening theme for the Accused podcast
Watching: nothing in particular right now, just Netflix and YouTube
things here and there
Bookmarking: a bunch of podcasts to check out
Playing: different phone games, here and there
Wanting: to be less of a night owl by nature
Wishing: I had more energy during the day
As y'all know, I share roundups of my favorite (YA) books of the year each December. Today, in a challenge inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, I'm going to try to narrow these down and pick a single favorite for each year from 2010-2019. It's a good way to close out the decade, but certainly an extremely hard task! We'll see how it turns out.
1) 2010: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Like, dude. The only way you could beat this is if you were a Harry Potter book. For anyone living under a rock, Mockingjay is the final book in a YA sci-fi dystopian trilogy about a girl who takes her sister's place fighting to the death in an arena full of teens. (Taken from Best YA Books of 2010.)
2) 2011: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. This is another book/series that I commonly cite as being one of my most favorites, so it makes sense that it'd be on this list! It's a YA fantasy, the first in a trilogy, about an awkward, self-conscious girl with a great, unknown destiny who gets kidnapped after entering an arranged marriage with a king. (Taken from Best YA Books of 2011.)
3) 2012: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Oof! This is a hard year to narrow down, but it seems fitting that I choose the book that I've mentioned on this blog the most often. Cinder is the first book in a YA sci-fi fairytale retelling series, featuring an Asian Cinderella with a prosthetic foot. (Taken from Top Ten Tuesday: Best YA Books of 2012.)
I reorganize my bookshelf by color again! Apologies for the watermark; I was not aware that Filmora's free version requires it.
Music: "Delicate" by Taylor Swift
Links mentioned in video:
Hello, readers! It's that time of year again: today I'm participating in the Ch1Con & Ch21Con 2019 Blog Tour, an annual tour in preparation for this year’s conferences, which brings original content from the Chapter One Events team to a number of fantastic, writing-related blogs.
Chapter One Events is a nonprofit organization that brings writing information and publishing opportunities to young writers, culminating in the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con, ages 11-20) and Chapter Twenty-One Conference (Ch21Con, ages 21-29) each year. The two conferences bring tweens, teens, and young adults together to hear from accomplished authors their own age, participate in professional workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world. With an atmosphere that combines the professional aspects of writing conferences with the awesomeness of hanging out with fellow young book nerds, Ch1Con and Ch21Con are truly can’t-miss events!
The Chapter One Events team is composed of a mix of middle school, high school, college, and twenty-something writers who work together to create a unique, inclusive experience for young attendees. One of these team members is here today to talk about a subject important to me right now: rekindling your passion for writing. Everyone, please say hello to Katie Sherwood!
My name is Kira Brighton, and I am a carboholic.
I love sugar, love it, and when I had to go on a low-carb elimination diet for two weeks in spring of 2017 to figure out my IBS, I was miserable. Yes, thank you, I would like to never ever do that again, please. Sugar is a lot of what gets me through my days--because it's not easy, living in a body with lots of pain and little energy. Sugar makes me happy, in a way that few things do.
As such, it makes sense that, after I was diagnosed with IC and multiple food sensitivities and had to permanently start a very limited diet, I defaulted to carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Not only do carbs make me happy, but they are easy to find in prepared form--even when the list of ingredients that you can't eat is a mile wide. Seeing as I have no energy to spare and absolutely despise cooking (I have no idea how anyone can enjoy it), of course my diet focused at first on the easiest things I could still have: baked potatoes with cheese, pasta with cheese, and vanilla wafers.
As y'all might have noticed, Camp NaNoWriMo didn't work out so well for me this last month. In April, I wrote just a little over 8,000 words of my new #SnowQueenStory. For someone who used to be able to win NaNoWriMo (50,000 words) in two weeks or less, that's... really discouraging. But this is my reality, and reality can be harsh at times.
It's important that I recognize that this is my first attempt at writing a new, original novel since 2014. (I did write a novel-length fanfic that helped comfort and bolster me through the worst of things in 2016/2017. It took about a year to write.) This is my first attempt at a new, original novel after my chronic illness crisis. Expecting it to be easy, and expecting to be able to win NaNoWriMo right off the bat again, wasn't realistic of me.
I did face challenges that I couldn't have anticipated, c'est la vie for us all, right? For most of the month, my chronic illnesses were flaring due to acupuncture, which I'd decided to try out after like a million people recommended it to me--turns out it was not a good idea for me. I wasn't sure it would do anything at all, but I definitely didn't expect it to have such a strong negative effect!
Why I Hate James Pat...
Hitler and Mother Ter...
The Lesser Evil: Femi...
Guest Post: 5 Fandom...
PTSD and the Hunger...
Successful People W...