Happy Thanksgiving!

Short post today to mostly say this will be the only post this week since it will be Turkey Day on Thursday, and I've got a 4 day weekend. This means, I will be stuffing my face, but also hopefully I will be madly trying to close the gap in my NaNoWriMo word count.

While I've still had my lows and moments of existential crisis this year (like I still don't know what the heck I'm doing with myself), this has also been a semi-charmed 11 months for me.

  • I've won more things this year than I have EVER won in my life: books, ARCs, pins, T-shirts, um a freaking LAPTOP (Aesil, my love).
  • I've lived it up with my besties and homeslices.
  • I got to read Alz's amazing thesis and will wait in anticipation with her until she finds out if she's got her Master's.
  • I got a better hang of this whole blogging business.
  • AND I've met so many sweet, awesome, and cool beans people through the blog.

For all this and more, I am SO THANKFUL. This blog started this year with like 15 followers, and now there's over 60! So, THANK YOU.

I leave you with a pic of the Butterbeer cupcakes my talented friend made last weekend. (I did the frosting, so some of it is kinda ugly. :P )

Have a happy, relaxing, and delicious-food-filled Thanksgiving weekend! I hope you get all the things you want during those post-Thanksgiving sales too! See you next week!

P.S. Harry Potter movie, by the way, was so good. LOVED IT.

P.P.S. You can find the butterbeer cupcake recipe we used at amybites.


Randomosity on Fridays: Harry Potter Edition

I am SO EXCITED for tonight because I'm going to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Yes, I am totally jealous of you people who saw it at midnight. I would've been there, but you know, work the next day on 4 hours of sleep isn't exactly fun. So yes, I settled for tonight.

I don't know about you, but I totally associate Harry Potter movies with the winter holiday season, probably because many of the movies came out during the winter. But there's just something very...wintery about it all. Maybe it's the snow and scarves and such (I don't see much snow).

In any case, here's the Potter themed Friday 7 (for the 7th movie)!

1. As promised, here's another look at my sister's Dark Marked shoe. This time a close-up. We bought a pack of fine-tipped Sharpies - easier to maneuver. She found me a reference, and I drew it on. I penciled a rough sketch first, outlined in Sharpie, and then shaded and put in the green patterns.

Plus, I've had a lot of practice drawing it onto her arm with eyeliner when she dressed up as a Death Eater or Slytherin for Halloween / midnight premiers / conventions.

Trust, Sharpie is a lot easier.

2. I was totally not interested in reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when I first heard about it. I was wrangled into buying it for an after-school class I was taking. Finished the first book in a week. Later, I bought Books 2 and 3 together. Read Chamber of Secrets in 2 days. Read Prisoner of Azkaban in a day. Best. Assignment. Ever.

3. I was Sirius Black for Halloween one year. I made the sign out of cardboard, which took me forever because I couldn't, for the life of me, find an exacto knife. So I carved out those rectangles with a razor blade. Think I ended up with a blister on my finger. But it was kind of worth it.

4. For the 6th book, we pre-ordered a copy, but my sister also wanted to go to our local Borders' midnight release party. There was a trivia contest where prizes got better as the questions got harder. Luce got a low-level prize - a temporary tattoo -but the store guy gave her 2 because she was waving around the Azkaban sign I'd made for my costume. Prize of the night though was a copy of Half-Blood Prince at midnight. You wouldn't have to wait; you'd get the book first. My sister won that prize. Freaking EPIC.

5. My favorite book of the 7 is Prisoner of Azkaban. This is also my favorite of the movies. My least favorite book is Order of the Phoenix (too long!). I adore the Marauders (wish there was more about them), and I have a total school girl crush on Professor Lupin. If I were to be sorted, I'd totally be Ravenclaw. Beyond doubt, my sister is a Slytherin.

6. For the first 2 movies, my sister, friends and I would play Where is Oliver Wood? And we'd spend the entire movie looking for him in the background scenes. Loved that guy.

7. If you haven't, you should totally check out Potter Puppet Pals. My favorite one is The Mysterious Ticking Noise.

What are your Harry Potter stories? Which books did you like best and least? Who are your favorite characters? Which House do you belong in? Are you excited about the movie?!

I'm off to see the movie tonight! Happy weekend everyone!!!

P.S. My sister was looking at Noble Collections' Harry Potter catalog while I wrote this post. We were discussing Lucius Malfoy's awesomesauce pimp cane - you know the one with the silver snake head handle and hidden wand (totally want it!) - when my sister says, "That's because he's a classy man. I mean look at him."


Maniacal Monday: Let's Nano at Last!

Hello, hello! It's been approximately a very long time since last I posted anything. I have slightly more excuse than usual (Krispy is my shining bloggerstar) because I have been furiously finishing my thesis that I might earn my MFA in Creative Writing and have a beautiful piece of paper to stick on my wall and admire while I'm eating Cup o' Noodle and wearing holey socks and trying to write, as my father so fondly hopes, the next Harry Potter.

Yesterday I printed out three copies of my thesis novel at Staples and today I handed it in. Two years of grad school, two years of slave labor, two years of feedback and critique and the support of the most amazing and talented classmates and professors, and I have completed my first novel. (Well, second. Technically my first novel was my first NaNoWriMo effort, entitled The Magical Valley and the Search for Pooka, and I made no effort to make it anything other than a silly magical romp of romping magical silliness.)

Want to know what two years of grad school workshop looks like?

The neatly stacked bit at the pinnacle is one copy of my monstrous thesis, which sounds really exciting if I describe it as an pan-mythological apocalyptic urban fantasy, though when you read it it's probably not nearly as exciting.

The rest is two years' worth of workshop: say, 4 to 5 submissions per semester x 4 semesters, x 8 to 10 copies of each submission (one for each classmate and the prof to write crtique upon), x 20-30 pages per submission + 3 thesis copies x 530 pages each = a two-foot-tall stack of paper. Fortunately my writing program offered basic free printing.

It was a long hard road and a long hard haul, but ultimately quite rewarding. I like to think that I have grown as a writer.

When I earned my driver license, I titled myself Alz, Scourge of the Roads. Now I'm thinking I should add another title: Alz, Killer of Trees.

Now that the crazy is over with, I'm ready to relax by tackling NaNoWriMo. Yes, after all that summer-into-fall thesis frenzy, NaNoWriMo is my idea of relaxation. I'm not going to be writing a novel. Instead this is going to be creative playtime, to flex my writerly muscles and pursue other tones, points of view, stories, and magical zombie unicorns. You can watch my progress on my NaNo page here. I re-activated my account today after handing in my thesis and asking myself, "Alz, do you really want to try writing 50,000 words in two weeks after you just wrote a novel and have to wait a month for your pass/fail notice?"

I said to myself, "Yes, Alz. Yes I do."


Randomosity on Fridays: Shopping Edition

Another week has passed my friends! It means we are THAT much closer to HARRY POTTER! I was so going to do an HP Randomosity today, but I decided to save that for next week. I am SO excited.

I'm also still VERY behind in NaNo, but things are starting to move forward faster. Yay!

Anyway, I had a rather eventful SHOPPING weekend and a little more shopping went down today, but hey, I had a coupon!

So I now present you with (mostly) Shopping related randomness.

1. I was a total shoe monster and got like 4 new pairs of shoes this weekend. In my defense, they were REALLY GOOD deals, like REALLY. I mean, look at theses beauties.

2. The sister was responsible for 1 pair that I did not know I was getting. She went to a sample sale and scored me a pair of TOMS. They're light blue and very comfy.

She bought herself a very Slytherin pair: two-toned in green and white. She then requested I Harry Potter-ify them. So I did.

Yeah, that's the Dark Mark all up on those shoes, drawn on with Sharpie. We're contemplating adding something to the other shoe. I'll post some close-ups next week for Harry Potter randomosity. :)

3. I went to Sephora today because I had a coupon and bought pretty things.

4. Also from this week, I saw this new trailer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I'm excited for Harry Potter, sure, but after that, it's going to be Narnia!

My, my Prince (King) Caspian. You seem to have lost your princely accent, but I still love you.

5. OK GO also premiere their newest vid for the sweet, lovely song "Last Leaf." You should check out The Last Leaf vid at their website. It's super cute, creative, and involves hundreds of pieces of toast. Yeah, toast.

So that was my week. Oh, and I made some more headway in my NaNo word count, but there is a very long way to go. How was your week / How is your NaNo going?

What are you shopping splurging on this holiday season?

Hope you all had a Happy Veterans Day, and have a fantastic weekend!

P.S. Randomly, I found a pic I took of my sneaky secret costume that I wore to work. Sneaky and secret because I wasn't sure anyone was going to dress up (a bunch of people did, though I was like 1 of the very few people who did last year) and because I was pretty sure no one would recognize me anyway.


I did a fake bob, gold eyeliner, and a head-to-toe black, skinny-jeaned outfit, complete with kick ass black shoes. I felt pretty awesome, not gonna lie. Black really is flattering.


WriMo Wednesday: Beginning at the Beginning

I have a confession to make: the first 800 words of my NaNoWriMo project are a prologue. I don't even know if it's a good prologue or a necessary prologue, but there it is. My muse decided You must start here, so here I have started. It also took me an entire week + a few days for me to finally get it all down, and last night, I finally started Chapter 1.

The point of all this is that beginnings are hard. I sucked at writing intros for English essays and college papers. Trust. I was hard-pressed to write the rest of my paper if I didn't have an intro down first. It's why I often had really crappy intros, which I had to go back and revise later, but they needed to be there to direct the rest of my paper. You always hear about the importance of the thesis sentence. Well, it's true.

Strangely enough though, when it comes to writing fiction, I tend to have no trouble with the beginning. It's everything else that gets me. Of course, that isn't to say my beginnings are any good or that they're the right beginning, but they put me in a place to be able to write the rest. For me, my beginnings must set the stage for me and the reader; the tone has to feel right to me, and there has to be a hook for the reader. It's kind of a lot of pressure if you think about it too much. That's why it's the hardest for me to turn off my internal editor when I start. (Yes, that's probably the reason it took me a week to write 800-some words. That and being really distracted by watching True Blood. I finished Season 1!)

But now I'm on Chapter 1, and the pressure is slightly off. The prologue was all SRS BSNS, but now I'm into the fun, ridiculous stuff. Hopefully, the ball will get rolling.

Here's how it starts:

Casey knew it was going to be a bad day when she woke up to an angel leaning over her bed. She reacted by throwing her alarm clock at his face.


Endings are hard too (I also hated writing conclusions), but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Do you find it hard to start too? How do you know if you're beginning at the right beginning? Who else is very, very behind in NaNo wordage? Do you think we still have a chance?!


Randomosity on Fridays: November, November

The first week of November has past, and I am already abysmally behind with my NaNo word count. You can all see my shameful wordage on the sidebar there. It's okay though because I'm not daunted! (This is how I start all NaNos - that is, with optimism.)

Okay, the real reason I'm behind is because I've been watching True Blood. Yeah, I finally jumped on the bandwagon. You may recall, my friends' Halloween costumes were True Blood-related, so I had to begin the series. It's a lot funnier than I thought it'd be and quite addictive.

ANYWAY, Friday 5 and Halloween pictures. :)

1. Being a wind-up doll requires more work than I originally thought. Must make improvements to wind-up key in future. I'm wearing like a million necklaces. All in all though, the costume was a success!

2. I have a lot of friends with November birthdays. It makes the holiday season very fun, but also very difficult when it comes to gift buying. Time moves by in a rush starting like now.

3. Luce has hidden talents. She sewed the double skirt of my sister's Peter Pan costume AND crocheted a cowl-scarf in 2 hours!

4. This is turning out to be like my luckiest year ever! I won 3 books recently, including a signed copy of SHIVER. (Thanks Tahereh & Sherrie!!!) I should go buy some lottery tickets.

5. And pictures pictures pictures!
Dancer at the Edison

Inventor and Doll

Beel and Sookeh (or Bill & Sookie, if you prefer)

Steampunkers & Bill: partying 1800s style

Hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween! Now onwards to a glorious November! Those of you doing NaNo, push on! How are your Novembers looking?

P.S. Have you seen this Poem of Novels / A Poem for a Fallen Angel on Tahereh's blog? It's awesome! I love it!