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Preparations

First and foremost I’m going to apologize. I’m an inconsistent, frustrating slacker. I figured I’d mention it in case you didn’t notice already. I get times where I just can’t motivate myself to do anything unless I’m on a deadline. That being said, guess what! I’m on a deadline.

I go on vacation next week and my internet access will be spotty at best. I’m not even sure I’ll have access to a computer. As such, I’m taking my responsibility over on SciFi4Me first and foremost. I’ve got this week’s Geekly to work on, and I have to prepare next week’s Geekly for my editor to publish. As such, no Top Ten Tuesday today. I know, I know. I’m a slacker. But, after all, I haven’t read 10 books since I started this blog! Once I’m caught up, I may have something up over the weekend, but no big promises. I have a lot to do….

In other news, I HAVE finally read something I should have long ago… Game of Thrones. I’m working on the series and A Clash of Kings now between my duties to SciFi4Me and packing. I’ll try to have something fun up about that later, but not right now.

Also, a moment of happy news… a very good friend of mine has finally come back from Afghanistan!

Okay, now, back to the vacation thing…guess where I’m going? I’ll give you a few hints: Indiana Jones, Galaxy Quest, Barsoom, Doctor Who, and Star Trek (the newest film to have been released).

Don’t worry, I’ll bring back souvenirs!

Top Ten Tuesday 7 August 2012

Well, it’s that time again…after my slacking of last week (hey, all I could come up with for “Top Ten Characters I’d Like to Switch Places with for 24 Hours” was “anyone in the Harry Potter world”…Let’s just say I read books where the characters have some serious issues. You know, people trying to kill them, curses worked against them, demons and monsters of all sorts causing problems…the works).

Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU

Well, the nice thing about this is that I’ve been writing for some time. I realize a lot of my posts don’t end up over HERE, per say, but I have a lot of ones that I’m very proud of over at SciFi4Me.com. Jason (my editor) gives me a lot of nice wiggle room to say what I’d like…as long as it pertains to genre, of course.

10. That being said, I have a great post about my writing for SciFi4Me. While the Cat’s Away… was written on a day I had actually managed to do a lot. Speaking of which, I need to probably get to work on another roundup (a somewhat interesting news-format piece over on the site).

9. The Geekly with a Twist It goes without saying…I want everyone to be reading this column I write for SciFi4Me every week! It’s a good mash-up of me: my love of history, my inherent geekiness, my randomness, and my love of a good cocktail! It publishes on Fridays (usually around midday) every week and features a list of geeky events in history that have happened that particular week. Fun side note: I actually created the above image. It’s one of my only successful trips into Photoshop (and my editor helped me a little more by resizing it when WordPress and the featured image started being silly and also by blending the calendar more).

8. My reviews are also a thing of particular pride for me. I can express happiness, like my gushing for Drew Magary’s The Postmortal or my disdain like my review on Blizzard’s Diablo III. I’ve got others, but those two are some of my better ones.

7. I’m also a huge fangirl. Especially when it comes to The Guild and Firefly. While my recent Guild article wasn’t much other than a method of preparation, Can the Signal Be Restarted? Ever? is an article which still makes me happy. While it’s a little bit of a rant, I don’t regret a word of it. And! Bonus…I actually predicted a few things to come along later (such as a little girl in Kaylee overalls and a LEGO Serenity).

6. Speaking of a little girl in Kaylee overalls… Things features not only that, but a bunch of other things that make me alternately happy and sad. It’s a good insight into what sort of stuff I hate, what sort of stuff I love, and what makes me SQUEE!

5. Taking a different turn, I started out on SciFi4Me with a little article called The Lush’s Top 10 Alcoholic Beverages of Science Fiction. It was the first exposure my lushy self got on SciFi4Me and it was a good intro before I started writing the Geekly.

4. Another thing I do, besides drink, is actually quite different. By my real name (yup, Annaleigh Josephs is a nom de plume! Muahahahaha!), I am a makeup artist and mask maker. One of my favorite articles I got to write over at SciFi4Me incorporates my love of SciFi and fantasy, Halloween, and makeup into The Lush Life: Flesh, Blood, and Scales (I’m not sure if my editor took out the Oxford comma or I did, but I’m a firm believer in it).

3. Now, I’ve been a bit of a fangirl all of my life. To put it like Jamie over at The Broke and The Bookish on today’s post, I can end up “fangirling that happened in the times of boy bands like BSB, Hanson & Nsync.” The hardest part is quelling that fangirlism into professionalism. I kind of made that hard realization at my first con and decided to write about the experience in an article entitled Geeks are People, too (in which I meet faces such as Robin Thorsen, Amy Okuda, the cast of Buck Rogers, Edward James Olmos, and Michael Golden).

2. Another one I’m fond of was over here on this blog…and it’s a typical ‘me’ moment. Prosciutto Taste on a Bologna Budget features a lot of how I think, how I write, and how I rant. It’s also a good look at my tastes and just how far I’ll go for a really good pizza.

1. And, of course, last but most certainly not least, my number one blog post that gives the best picture of ME is another one from my The Lush Life series…The Lush GEEKY Life: Why Being a Geek Rocks. One, it’s a very ‘me’ rant. Two, you get to see a little bit into my past. And, three, it’s very geeky. Geekiness is awesomeness.

Speaking of awesome geekiness, I’m putting final ideas into my Halloween costume…it’s getting to be that time. I’ll post more about that maybe later this week…just stay tuned, I guess!

Top Ten Tuesday 24 July 2012

So, quick news before I get down to business…

Friday night was my friend’s first fight (we’ll call her Belle…she kind of looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast…this is Turtle’s fiancée)…and she kicked butt. Literally. I drove an hour to watch a killer minute and a half round and I’m super proud of her! Yay!

Saturday was the Wine Walk on Delaware. While it didn’t to much for my current diet, I made some good connections and had as much fun as I do any time I get to talk about wine for several hours straight. I had to ice down my voicebox the next day because they had me attempting to talk over a guy playing music in a very echo-y space, so that was rough, but I still had a lot of fun. Next time I’m going to bug my contact to put the musician upstairs or something where I don’t have to strain my voice. (Of course, I’m going to kick my contact’s butt if he puts another scented candle in my tasting area….)

Sunday was the birthday of one of the boyfriend’s cousins and also her last game before State Championships in softball. They won the game the boyfriend and I made it down to, so yay! They ended up losing the championship, but it was to a team that plays competitively for the whole season (her team plays recreational, then “all-stars” are chosen to play in tournaments to get to go to the state level). And! They only lost 2-0 to these girls that looked about 5 years older than the league (seriously, I wonder what’s in the water in that town!).

So, enough rambling, time for the weekly bit of awesome sauce from the folks at The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings in Book

10. Kibou-diani from Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold: More specifically, I LOVE the catacombs beneath the world. The darkness and panic is just simply perfect for the opening of this wonderful book in the Vorkosigan Saga.

9. Barsoom from A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs: I know it’s not scientifically correct, but I LOVE Barsoom (and I can’t wait to visit its real-world location for the John Carter film next month).

8. Goodsmanwood from The Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell: The woods are very dark and deep, so to say…and the book uses its setting to beautiful degree as its main character. [More on my review over at SciFi4Me.com]

7. Westeros from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin: Duh! Can’t you just fill the winter’s chill creeping up on you from the very beginning of A Game of Thrones? The wolves feel real, as does the snow, and the heights of the Eyrie dizzied me from the first passage.

6. Panem from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Taking a note from the wonderful Julia from The Broke and Bookish, I have to agree with her choice of Panem. It’s dreary and dreadful in District 12, but it feels so dreary it can’t help but be real. I almost feel like I’ve stepped back to the old coal mines of the 18th century in this wonderful bit of YA fiction.

5. Fortriu from The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier: While it is technically based off of a historical place, Juliet Marillier fills in the details of the 6th century Pictish homeland as if she had grown up there herself. Everything from the flora and fauna down to the reasons for various deity worship ring perfect in this first novel of a trilogy.

4. Sevenwaters from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: She does it again! Sevenwaters feels so real, I feel like I need to go there on vacation. It’s the perfect escape!

3. Midkemia and Kelewar from the Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist: Oh my god, can these exist, please? While Midkemia provides the perfect typical fantasy setting, Kelewar provides a beautiful (and colorful) tropical alternative not often seen in the genre.

2. The world of Harry Potter from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling: Again, a duh. How many of us have waited on our letters from Hogwarts? After all, Quidditch is a sport nowadays.

1. Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien: And, lastly, a duh. I would live in Mirkwood in a heartbeat (of course, then again…spiders).

Top Ten Tuesday 17 July 12

Yeah, I know, I’m running behind today. But, HEY! I forgot it was Tuesday. And I had an eventful weekend. And stuffs. Excuses. Things.

Top Ten Books For People Who Like X Book

10. If you like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you should read “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by none other than Edgar Allan Poe. It’s the first of its kind in mystery, and it’s a quick read!

9. If you like Ella Enchanted, you should read The Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The original collected tales are, well, enchanting!

8. If you like The Lovely Bones, you should read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The bad guy isn’t as apparent, but it’s really quite wonderful in a similar sense as Bones. Oh, but the movie adaptation is probably one of the worst. Avoid it at all costs.

7. It’s a gimme but if you like Game of Thrones, you should read both The Lord of the Rings and The Riftwar Saga.

6. If you like The Diary of Anne Frank, you should read Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley. The novel is set in a diary-like form alternating between current events and flashbacks and features a strong center of religious persecution.

5. If you like Daughter of the Forest, you should read Juliet Marillier’s other novels…specifically The Dark Mirror.

4. If you like Dracula, you should read Interview with a Vampire or any of the other vampire novels by Anne Rice.

3. If you like Interview with a Vampire or any of the other novels by Anne Rice, you should read The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt (Anne Rice’s sister).

2. If you like 1984, you should read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Hello dystopia!

1. If you like anything horrific and suspenseful (such as works by H.P. Lovecraft), you should read The Darkest Part of the Woods by Ramsey Campbell. I’ve got a review in the works over at SciFi4Me, so stay tuned!

Yup, I feel like I’ve phone this bad boy in, but voila! What do ya think?

 

Top Ten Tuesday 10 July 2012

Holy crud…I’m managing to post two in a row!

Today’s TTT is a Freebie, so I went with a fun older one…

Bookish Pet Peeves

I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to books (both in the physical aspect as well as what the writer does), but I think I’ve narrowed it down…

10. Improperly Researched Facts– Okay, so I’m not going to notice the difference if you’re talking nuclear physics and get it wrong but there’s a reason the creators of The Big Bang Theory have scientists and mathematicians on staff…someone will. I know I have issues when there’s a bottle of wine described incorrectly. It’s a simple process and it should always be done…just research your facts! If you don’t know something, find someone that does and double check! Your book is worth it!

9. Authors Who Claim Writers Such as Tolkien as Inspiration, but Have the Vocabulary of a Third Grader– Tolkien was a PROFESSOR of LANGUAGE. George R.R. Martin has a degree in JOURNALISM. Implying that such prolific authors are your inspiration, you should at least throw a few SAT words into your work. When you have the vocabulary of a 3rd grader, you imply you’ve never actually read the books- watching movies and TV shows are not good inspiration for novels unless you want to be a copycat.

8. “Kreatyve” Fantasy Spellings– Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. While I’m guilty of enjoying a few odd spellings of fairly common names, I’m getting really sick of all of the extra “y”s when writers don’t get as creative as they’d like to imply on names. (My current favorite name doesn’t have a single y- Valea.)

7. Predictable Endings (especially in books that take themselves seriously)– It happens all the time. You pick up a highly recommended book and expect to enjoy the mystery or twists you love of certain genres…and then you guess the ending within the first two chapters. It’s one thing if it’s a cheesy romance book you’ve picked up just to kill some time or let your brain take a break, but I’m sick of it happening in mystery and “epic” novels.

6. Boring Sentence Structure– I can’t stand it when an author refuses to vary their sentence structure. If you’ve got simple sentences over a large period of time, it ends up reading like a first grade primer. If your sentences are constantly run-ons, the flow is broken. Vary your style. Vary your length. Your readers will thank you for it.

5. Plot Holes– Okay, who doesn’t hate plot holes? When something doesn’t get resolved and leaves open huge questions it detracts from enjoyment of the novel. One of the last books I read and disliked was riddled with question-inducing plot holes (and not the good kind of questions, either).

4. Inconsistent Timelines– Even worse than plot holes (and perhaps more specifically) are inconsistent timelines. I hate reading a book which gives you clues to the main character being born in the 70s, but yet young enough to be pregnant in a dystopian future. There is a limit to human fertility, and there is a limit to how much wiggle room you have when time is linear. Write out yourself a timeline and stick to it.

3. Grammatical Errors– There’s a reason you have an editor. I realize that, many times, when I get a book to read that’s an uncorrected proof, I’m going to see errors. That’s fine. I can’t deal with it when the book is in its final state and the editor has clearly not done their job. I’ve even seen a “your”/”you’re” mixup. What on Earth?

2. Dog Ears– There’s two reasons grammatical errors are not at the top of my list. Both of them are physical pet peeves. The first of the sins with books is when you dog ear. It’s not that hard to find something to mark your place. Scraps of paper, tissue paper, pieces of string, specialty bookmarks, scraps of cloth, come on! Of course, there’s one thing you really shouldn’t do aside from folding the paper of the book and that is…

1. Breaking the Spine– You and I were not meant to be friends if you are willing to break the spine on a precious book. It’s one thing to fold back a work book, but hardcovers were NOT MEANT TO BEND THAT WAY. Do book collectors of the future a favor and be nice to your books.

What is anyone else’s big pet peeve?

Also, in case you haven’t checked it out yet, I’ve got a special giveaway going on over at SciFi4Me.com in celebration of my one year anniversary of The Geekly with a Twist (as well as my 100th post). You should check it out…the prize pack is awesome sauce!