Mar 31, 2010

Because I love you, I miss you, and I'm great at breaking promises + good newses.

Yes, newses.

Cool news: check out Tina's and Heather's reciprocal posts from today.  They call me ambitious, but they are totally Pinky and the Brain, minus the constant failure and creepiness.  You two, don't ask me to state who's who.  Tina is on the verge of what may become my biggest non-secret to success in my writing career.  Interested?  You should be.

Great news: totally got a job, kinda, I think.  It's at a gas station and will be so much fun.  yup.  Not.  But, it'll be more fun that being poor and will give me some street cred with my future YA readers.

Further explanation of why I've really broken my silence:



8:30pm EDIT:
I totally forgot, I joined Inkwell, which Casey McCormick posted about recently.  It's a site for writers, via the Ning network.  It's flashy and pretty, but more importantly is supportive of writers, since it's ran by writers, and it's growing, fast.  I am proud to say that I am the moderator of the All Things YA group, where we discuss, well, all things YA.  It's fun and fancy and an overall good time.  They also have an onsite chat.  Although it is currently underutilized, I'd love to see you guys there and we can chat it up!  Also, the site is for any type of writer and illustrators.  Head on over!


Oh, and I am bowing - I made it to 100 followers!!

Mar 26, 2010

The Blues and Some Clues.

So, you may have noticed my absence all week and right after my infamous (and successful, ahem, Anita) unplugged week.  I am in an unusual state and I need to take action.


I have done a lot of reflecting the past week and I keep thinking about my blog.  Jon's Life.  "Jon's Life."  Well, Jon's life is...not being properly lived, and I may come to regret this decision, but I am remaining optimistic:


I am taking a break from this blog.  For a month.  Or so.


In the meantime, I can be found at W.I.B.I.J.?!.  I really believe in that site and its message and I am hoping it's positive waves will wash over me.  Please join Tina, Heather and me at the site and do not fear the electricity you'll find.


My bath of exuberance awaits.  Ta-ta for now.

Mar 23, 2010

W.I.B.I.J.?!

Be there or be square!


Wednesday, March 24 at 1:00pm EST or take the leisurely route until Thursday at 1:00pm EST.  An action-packed recap will be posted on Friday with an awards ceremony.  Totally fun.  Don't be a chicken.  If you get confused, pick yourself up and try again.

Mar 20, 2010

SAMS


Kelly asked:
SAMS: what is Jon's alcoholic drink of choice?

 or

GREY GOOSE® Original     ++  

Mar 19, 2010

Guest post at Literary Rambles

Please head over to Casey McCormick's blog, Literary Rambles.  Me and my outlaws, Tina and Heather, are taking over.  Okay, not, we are really quite polite.  Check it out.

Mar 18, 2010

Funsies

Lot's of coolness today:



W.I.B.I.J.?!
where in the blogosphere is Jon?!
(They made me the chosen one)
(I like it)


Tomorrow, Casey McCormick is allotting us a post to tell about how WIBIJ?! came to be, go read at Literary Ramblestomorrow.


W.I.B.I.J.?! is a game - a scavenger hunt, WhereintheWorldisCarmenSandiego kinda thing.
W.I.B.I.J.?! is a community - a resource for writers new and old, published or not.
W.I.B.I.J.?! is an opportunity - agents, publishers, writers can all participate in the game and comments.  There's even an awards ceremony.
W.I.B.I.J.?! is a project - a feat of collaboration.
Read this clue for a taste of WIBIJ?! and follow to an auxiliary post on W.I.B.I.J.?!


She starts each week at the beginning
with a planning Monday Meeting.
Returns on Friday with a Feature
of an up and coming writerly creature.
She's a blogging inspiration
and a coworker sensation.
Many want to catch her,
But to me she's ever a blur!

Okay, off you go to the next post!  Follow the clue.

Mar 17, 2010

(I'm back) (kinda)

My unpluggage officially ended last night at 12:01.  I went to several of my favorite blogs and commented.  There're a few things I forgot about blogging: 1. It's a bit of a chore when you're tired.  2. I hate comment moderation, when you're in the grove it's not so annoying, but last night it sure was.  3. Bloggers are awesome: you go away for a week and you come back to the coolest posts and the best comments that you may have taken for granted otherwise.


I like the Blogosphere.


I am temporarily going into Every-Other-Mode, meaning I will be posting every other day.  This is in effect as I try and catch up on all the stuff I was supposed to do during my unpluggage, but I was busy travelling and getting drunk, and I bought a new computer, so I had to set that all up.  Anyway, I have a few successes to report
1. I did not make it to ten thou, but close: 8,654.
2. I created a pretty blog button for a friend.
3. I purchased two writing aid books, more on Friday.
4. W.I.B.I.J.?! is catching on, more on that tomorrow.


I've missed you.

Mar 11, 2010

Unplugged? Moi? Jealous?

THE LAST DAY BEFORE...
(week)

: (        : )        : (        : )        : (        : )        : (        : )

So, I could spend this whole post talking about my uber goals for the next week. I could talk about how much I'll miss you. I could waste your time in any number of ways. Instead, I'm just going to say...

PEACE OUT!

See you on Wednesday, March 17. I'll miss you. I'll still be commenting today and checking comments here and there.  I am open to time-pressing or urgent emails during this time and will still be conducting critiques.  My Goodreads profile will be checked regularly, as well, since I add five books an hour to the TBR.

Can't help it, gotta mention the ten thou wordage goal.  Yippee!

Mar 10, 2010

April's reading event.

First, I just realized I like the word Yucca. Second April's reading event is...
I know, a bit of a stretch, but you love me anyway. Just like with March is Classic, a list will be selected and I'll read every book on the list. You may participate, if you're not too chicken. Unlike with March is Classic, I will not determine the list. Some of you will. I have decided to choose my list-makers based on the history of my blog's comments.

The list of the chosen choosers
Lifelong (two-month) supporters:
1. Heather Kelly
2. Kelly Pollark
3. Tina Laurel Lee
Chosen because I am very curious as to what they'll pick:
4. Anita Laydon Miller
5. Ali Cross
Chosen for leaving the best comment ever:
6. Paul Murphy
Chosen for...'cause I can:
7. Mariah Irvin
8. Casey McCormick
9. Shannon O'Donnell

Remember, your choice must be a middle grade book. Here is my profile on Goodreads. If I've already read your initial choice, but you do not like what I have to say about it, make me give it another shot. Or, choose another coolio book.

If you are selected, email me your choice for a MG book (jonarntson@gmail.com) and I will read it, no ifs ands or buts about it. No ( ))'s either. If you're too nervous to assign a book, then I'll choose one for you and tell everyone you made me read Captain Underpants. Please, don't choose that. pwease.

If you didn't make my list, because its completely rigged and nepotist, leave your suggestion in the comments and tell me why your choice is THE choice and I will try to read it. In the end, all books will be attached to my TBR.

Curious or confused about this thing I've been referring to for a month and a half called W.I.B.I.J.?!, head over to Heather's today for an explanation and a link.

Mar 9, 2010

Tubular Tuesday and the Goals of Unpluggage

I haven't been responding to every comment like I usually do, please forgive me. This week is critical mass here at Jon's Life. The secret project is being revealed (kinda), I am going unplugged on Friday, for five days. Believe it Anita, it's going to happen. I am buying a new computer...right before the unpluggage...INSANE, I know. But it'll be nice to get acclimated to the new comp during my time off, which is really only unpluggage from the internet, btw. I will be writing the whole time. Ten thou is the goal for the week. Uhuh, read it and weep with jealousy. I will also work on The Snowflake Method which I totally flaked out on, sorry guys. Bad me. So today, I'll outline my Unpluggage Goals. (Oh, the unpluggage focus is STEPBROTHERS.)
- Study plot mapping, in preparation for week long plot blitz at the end of March. That's right. Sound like a challenge? It so is.
- Finish character profile, step 3 of The Snowflake Method, for the two MC's.
- Tenthou. Yeah, baby!

Okay, that's it. Yell at me. Encourage me. Envy me. Do whatever you want, in three days, I'm outta here!

Oh, I started Watership Down, which has been labeled 'my favorite book' by far the most people during my classics research. One person disliked it so far, just one. I have forty-seven loves. I am interested to see what happens on the heels of The Catcher in the Rye.

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah!!!!
(excitement)
Today's high is 48 degrees! That's twelve above average, I am so excited! The ground is about 75% covered with snow, I'm hoping by tonight it'll be 50%. All you Floridian, Arizonian, or Whereeveritswarmians, stop snickering.

Mar 8, 2010

NonReview: THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

Maybe I'm just a sucker. Maybe I was just looking for something to believe in. Or maybe the cynics need to just get over themselves because this was THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. There, I said it. The Road has been dethroned and The Giver falls off my top ten list. It's disgusting, I know it is, but it is what it is. Okay, okay, I've talked myself outta that. I'll make it number 11 because it's my list, people think it's weird enough that I have this list, and no one is going to really care anyway. Um.


Salinger uses the English language in a way I've never seen. He makes a sixteen year old boy (seventeen as the narrator) who is both perceptive and insensitive into an endearing character. Holden Caulfield narrates the days following his expulsion from a young men's preparatory school. He comes from a family that is well-off, but he makes it clear that he doesn't buy into the lifestyle (even though he kinda does). Holden describes anyone who is not true to themselves as a 'phony', which he believes is everyone, except maybe his little sister, Phoebe who he is enamored with. Ya know, it's funny, Salinger manages to take this self-involved young man and make him endearing. Also, I could totally relate to Holden. Feeling lost, feeling distant, feeling depressed, on the verge of being clinically insane. Sorry to be vague here folks, but totally been there. I have been through all the emotions Holden went through. He is not an icon to teens because he's cool and rebellious. He is an icon because he is every teen.


Some things that struck me while reading The Catcher in the Rye:


Salinger gives Holden an everyday sort of language. This made it all real. The book is complex in occurrences, yet simply prolific in message. Strange thoughts of death, protecting children, bashing phonies...


I believe some people will get nothing more than annoyance out of this book. Yay, good for you, you have your life together and don't have time for the shenanigans of hopeless teenagers. Good for you. The rest of us though, the rest of us need this book. I NEEDED this book.


I needed someone to say the things most other people don't have the guts to do.


I needed someone to want to protect my childhood innocence.


I needed someone to keep me from falling off the cliff.


I needed my own catcher.

Mar 6, 2010

SAMS and stuffs <<< ha, never.

Please follow up with your own answers in the comments!!

For being considered dark and introverted people, I have been feeling very well reached out to these past two months of blogging by you writer people. Here's the thing, as writers, we are wildly emotional people. How many pages have your very own tears on them? How many times have you hid an expressive writing session from your family because you're already the 'weird writer'? I am leading into something we all get, the feedback blues. If you don't, well, then just go away or share your secret. But, actually don't. I think the feedback blues are a vital part of our writing experience. I really do. So, yesterday I received my very first YA critique EVER. I'm not going to say whose it was, but she's a fellow blogger of ours. Okay, so I prepare myself. Not just for the bad, but let's be honest who wants to open it up and see, "I liked it." That would be worse than, "Wtf? is this crap?" (secret anonymous blogger critter, I was not referring to my own writing there, just hypothetics.) Okay, so this critter blogger person told me that I keep referring to my writing as crap on here and that she wants to reach through the screen and strangle me or something. She might've said make out...but... Anyhoosiers, so she was like, "You are a freakishly amazing writer and I forgot that I was reading an unpublished book." Well, that's not what she said, I paraphrased a little. A lot. But it was along those lines. So, I'm sitting there, wine glass in hand, it was full btw, and I didn't even take a sip, I kept reading and inhaling and exhaling and I realized something - I can do this. Her "bad" stuff wasn't even bad, it was things to work on or improve and it was like, I love your voice, just be careful of yanking the reader out of the story and other cool advice. I am still reeling. I am just elated. I think I'm in love with Holden Caulfield.

Uh, anyway, on to more stuff about me; less deep, more useful.

Terry Johnson asked:
If you woke up tomorrow with a new skill, what would it be? Now, Terry, what would it be leaves this wide open. Like, is it 1. what do I want it to be or 2. what would it most likely be, given the complete lack of luck in my life? 1. I'd love to wake up with the tennis skills of a world-class professional, that would be awesome! 2. I'd most likely wake up with the innate skill to whittle a miniature Eiffel Tower out of driftwood from our beach, I'd die from starvation.



Heather Kelly asked:
Who's your favorite superhero? My favorite superhero is the dark knight AKA Christian Bale. Holla. What superhero does the world need now? WordGirl!


482 words...crap.
Granny May made me.

Mar 5, 2010

FuFri and, uh, stuff. have you ever noticed people using 'fleeces' instead of 'fleece'? It really irks me.

Please, my PB friends, visit Verla Kay's blog and provide answers to the questions she currently has posted, if you have time, it's a lengthy process.

I am almost finished with The Catcher in the Rye. I cannot yet tell you my feelings because they scare me, not in the way you think, I am sure. I am breaking the rules a little and reading The Secret Year this weekend because they just got to me on the hold list and if I decline it will be forever until I can read it again and it's only 292 pages. Watership Down follows.

No one has asked any SAMS questions this week, so I am not planning on posting tomorrow.

I forgot how much I love Coldplay, "Scientist", espec.

Goals for the day:
- Complete two critiques for my YA group. They are due March 8. I have exhausted one and am in the early stages of another. I've got the whole weekend.
- Work on secret stuff and pray the FBI isn't tapping the line.

Token puppy pic:

puppy - ignore + hour walk in the woods = a simple success!

Mar 4, 2010

Thesaurus Thursday and Goals: Revisited: kinda

Lazily expanding my vocabulary one commenter's synonym at a time...

Success.

Easy Street, accomplishment, achievement,advance, arrival, ascendancy, attainment, bed of roses, benefit, big hit, boom, clover,consummation, do well, eminence, fame, flying colors, fortune, fruition, gain, good luck, good times, grand slam, gravy train, happiness, happy days, hit, killing, lap of luxury, laugher, maturation, profit, progress, prosperity,realization, reward, savvy, sensation, snap,strike, successfulness, triumph, victory, walkaway, walkover, win, ├ęclat

Success?

900 words.
10,000 words.
100,000 words.

Success?

revelation + epiphany - action = ?
revelation + epiphany + action = luck?
revelation + epiphany + action + luck = success

IS that the secret formula? I've had my fair share of epiphanitastic events in my life. No revelations as far as I'm aware. Well, there was that one time. I am a procrastinator. It's in my blood. It's in my being. I have no luck. I once won $2 on a scratch-off lotto ticket when I was like 12. My uncle bought it for me.

epiphany + 1(revelation) - action - luck = 0

Today, I'm taking action.

Does anyone take everything out of context as bad as I do?

I have to be modest since others can't.
success.

Mar 3, 2010

wTf? wEdNeSdAy! Lookie what I made! and Review: ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHIN

wTf? wEdNeSdAy! Everyone needs a day to say wtf? What day is better than Hump Day?

Two parter today, I know, wtf?! I am scared of going over 400, but one is a reviewishness.

1. Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins (Illustrated American Classics)

I had few preconceived notions about O'Dell's classic, except that everyone kept telling me how much they loved it. Often times, with classics, I find myself hesitant or fearful that I won't understand, but with this book, it is overly simple. We follow an island native and her struggles to survive. Karana, the woman, is eighteen when she and her tribe leave her island with a European or American ship. The tribe leaves after a people from the north kill most of their members, they decide to go East. Upon learning her younger brother was left behind, she leaps overboard and swims back to shore. Her brother is killed by a pack of wild dogs a few days later and we follow her for almost two decades through the day to day and through some interesting adventures. Thought the island is small, she manages to find new places to explore and hide, should anyone come to the island. Karana builds a relationship with one of the wild dogs, a non-indigenous species, and they become best friends.

I am not totally sure of why I love this book. It is strangely written and not that compelling in it storyline. The execution and the way Karana's story bores into your emotional guard make this a powerful read for one afternoon.

2. My pretties: (which may or may not only be interesting to my PB buddies)
I have been devoting much of my time to PB work, hoping fervor for YA will return later this week. My crit group has been very supportive and I have received input from other sources, including an author, on my main PB WiP, MYLAR. A few months ago, I read a suggestion about laying the story out on a board. All PB's are thirty-two pages long, which you'd think would make it super easy. The concept does have its advantages. I created this board with 32 sheets and have started my rewrite, dividing the manuscript into pages as I go. I'll share the board today and the outcome in a few days.
*










*Robin Radtke is The BFF and I am using the back of the board because she is weird and wants to keep the other side intact, apparently until she's thirty.
(Anita, the other side of the board is a science report titled HOW DOES CHLORINE AFFECT BATHING SUIT FABRIC?)


On page 96 of The Catcher in the Rye.

Mar 2, 2010

Tubular Tuesday: Review: GOING BOVINE

Wow. This book is f*ing A-Ma-Zing! In fact, it's not a book. It is an HBO mini-series playing in your mind, if LotR met Dude Where's My Car, had a baby, that baby grew up and met every epic teen novel and movie from the last fifteen years and they all had one big literary orgy. Protection was used. Kinda.

Going Bovine
by Libba Bray

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:
Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy.

Going Bovine is more than an unusual book; it is abnormal, bizarre, controversial, and extraordinary. I am a quick reader; you could say that I am a big fan of quickies. This book took me TWO WEEKS to read. A record not broken since like 2006...yes, when I only read three books. This is not a basis by which to consider the book bad. The delay is all blogging's fault, well, my fault for blogging too much and not reading enough. Uh, back to the book.

Bray brings on an impressive cast of characters, from a drag queen to odd scientists to these weird happy cult people. Bray doesn't just hand you a sucker of fervor, she makes you work for your feelings toward the characters, for both good and bad. Frankly, the MC, Cameron, annoyed the hell outta me most of the time, but since he's dying, I had to cut him slack. Have you ever had a friend who was very sick, but they are annoying and insufferable - not from being sick, just because they're that way - and you find yourself loyally sticking by their side until they come to their "I am a bad person, what the hell is wrong with me" epiphany? No, okay, well, neither have I, but I found myself doing that with Cameron. Thankfully it's not just you and him in the room. You've got this hella funny Little Person, the friend that always makes you laugh, but they have weird quirks that make you laugh even hard when they are attempting to be serious. There's also the cool buddy that everyone likes, he's a garden gnome. You've got the above all of you friend, that is trying to be just like you, but no matter how hard they try, you continue to shine them in a different light, mostly because you're probably in love with them, oh and no one else can see them, which makes you look crazy. Oh, then there's you, the reader, the listener. You don't have any input on anything, but you are subject to every high and every low.


Living inside Cameron's head as he travels across the US after ditching the hospital with the LP is tedious, at times, and fantastically funny at others. The book takes place in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Bray gives us a satirical book based on completely believable characters, even the magical ones seem so right. I found myself rooting for Cameron because I wanted him to, like, save the world, but I also found myself rooting for Bray. She turns some of today's ideas: pop-culture, corporate America, etc., and shines on them an unfamiliar light. I laughed hysterically throughout the book. Some of the time because what she was telling us I felt to be completely true and other times because I felt I was learning something new in a way all teachers would envy. In the end, Bray's message is about life, reality, and our right to control the two.


Please forgive the long-winded and mostly discombobulated sorry excuse for a review. I so wish I had some powerful message to poetically place here, but, alas, you get a 'read the damn book!' instead. It will take patience, I will tell you that. It's not wrapped up in a pretty bow, but the last page will make it all so worth it. I dare you to stay a cynic. 5/5