Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I don't know how many people will be online today, but I wanted to send out a warm "Happy Holidays" to everyone. Whether you are with family on Christmas, about five days into Hanukkah, gearing up for Kwanzaa, or just enjoying some time off, I hope the time is well spent and filled with laughter.

You are all wonderful people, who I am happy and proud to know. May the new year come with more happiness than ever, and great things around every corner.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, everyone.

And especially to the writers out there...

Happy writing, may your stories be complete and your characters unique.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Fluttering of Wings

I was thinking about...I don't actually know. I got up, had my coffee, sent a few emails, then picked about online for a while, visiting a few blogs. The last blog I looked at was about writing/editing and a few words snagged my attention. Not in the way you usually think of that phrase--they were so striking I will remember them forever, or at least long enough to write them down.

Instead, they were words that immediately, almost before their meaning sank in, sparked something else.

But spark is the wrong word.

Have you ever watched something, or been having a conversation, and go, "That reminds me," then switch to a seemingly unrelated topic? The commercial, show, or conversation before that point actually -did- remind you of something, but not in a way that you could have clearly drawn the lines from one to the other?

The connection is hard to grasp, hard to perceive sometimes. Like an invisible bird, taking flight beside you. You can't see it, but you can hear the fluttering of its wings, feel the wind kicked up, react to the brush of a wing tip against your chek, but when you look, you don't know where from it came.

It's inspiration, or something akin to it. You can't predict it, you can't always trace it back to its origins, but it does something for you, something that leads you down a new path, throws a few breadcrumbs for you to find. That fluttering draws your eye, your attention, and you look at a place you didn't notice before.

(Photos are by Russ Hansen, Allison Trentelman, and wikipedia, respectively)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Magick for Terri--Giving Thanks

Terri Windling is a name that pops up a lot when I think of fantasy. She has a blog I enjoy reading and am inspired by, I've read some of the anthologies she's been a part of, and through knowing of her work, I've found countless other writers. Terri an artist, a writer, and an editor of fantasy, bringing us (with others), the Year's Best Fantasy series, Bordertown, and a number of other anthologies. She is part of a huge community of writers.

And now, she needs some help.

Magick for Terri is an auction-based fundraiser for Terri, who is having some financial difficulties, and offers books, perfume (BPAL), site designs, cookies, and a whole host of other goodies from fans, friends, and fellow writers, including Ellen Kushner, Wendy and Brian Froud, Tamora Pierce, Pamela Dean, Nalo Hopkinson, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Charles Vess, Charles de Lint, and so many more your mind would be blown.

Tons of auction information at the LJ page, so if you want to show your thanks for everything she's done for the genre or for you, you can visit Magick for Terri and you can like it and get updates on facebook.

I also hear a certain writer with a charmed bracelet is offering up ginger jack cookies. And if these are the same I've had, you'll want to start bidding now.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Month of Writing Novels

Well, 50,000 words worth of one, at any rate. I've known about NaNoWriMo for a long time, but this is the first time I've actually signed up for it. I have started writing as of today, but my goal is really just to 1. type up all the hand-written scenes for this story, and 2. finish the zero draft before Christmas. 50,000 words will get me most of the way there, if not to the end (I have no idea how many words are written on the story at this point, though I think even 10,000 is still a low estimate).

I call it a zero draft because I know trying to finish it in a month, well, it's gonna be pretty rough, too rough to even fairly call it a first draft, and I'm okay with that. But I need the words on the page before I can do anything else.

So is anyone else doing NaNo this year? If you are and you want to connect for encouragement's sake, I am SabrinaV there.

Happy writing, everyone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Forest for the Trees

Yes, I changed the look of the blog. Much like my personal spaces, I occasionally get the urge to rearrange things.

It's also thematic.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the different paths and roads I've taken to get to where I am in my writing--how far my skill has progressed, what process works best for the way I write, what actions I've taken thus far to get better.

1. Mapless--I started writing stories by the seat of my pants, no idea where to begin, definitely no clue how to end, and often sparked by a single image or character. I started a lot of stories this way, but eventually finished one or two.

2. Obsessively marking my path after I've walked there--Like Gretal and her brother leaving breadcrumbs in their wake, or someone buying a postcard in every town they come to, I shifted slightly, still no clear objective of where I was going, but starting to keep track of where I'd been. I have one story with a separate file with chapter-by-chapter descriptions, another with scene-by-scene descriptions (and scene titles! I was listening to a lot of My Chemical Romance at the time, too). Helpful, but not quite the best route for me.

3. Not leaving the house without a map--well, more like, taking a few steps outside, realizing I had no map but did have a long way to go, and rushing back inside to rummage through things until I found a map. That's where I'm at right now. My clockwork ghost story is one that I wanted to write after I knew where I was going with it. What's the climax and what are a few of the main events? I had a beginning, I had hints and plenty of characters, more than I knew what to do with, but no clear plot. I left home, walked a bit, and hit a forest with far too much undergrowth to see any path, right or wrong.

This Thursday, I had a meeting at work, so got to spend a hour an a half on the bus. I decided that was a great amount of time to stop piddlefarting around and finally figure out what this story was doing. I drew a timeline. I marked the beginning of the story X, then starting filling in the information and events that I knew, X-18 years when our protagonist was born, X-23 when her parents met the greasy Cunningham, X+2 days when she hints her first big break, and promptly collapses and nearly dies. And so on. By the time I reached my destination, I knew where I was going (in the story). It's a great feeling, and it seems like this story I'd been dancing around is finally ready to be written. I am now doing my ~happywiggle~ dance.

None of these is the "perfect" method for me (assuming perfection exists). Even #3 took far too long to be reasonable. So I have not found my ninja way, but I'm getting closer. Ultimately, this just emphasizes the reminder "There is no one right way to write."

Find the way that works for you, but even as you search, keep writing.

Happy writing, everyone.

[I don't know why I can't see my followers anymore, though. Sad. I still <3 you all, though.]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Persephone, and an Herbalist walk into the Underworld...

Just wanted to send everyone to look at a recent "The Big Idea" post by John Scalzi. Various authors write about their recents releases, usually with some really interesting background about their inspiration.

This one: The Big Idea is about Merrie Haskell's The Princess Curse, which stems from some of her own fears, and loves.

Check it out. I am going to be on the lookout for it when I next go to a bookstore.

Friday, September 9, 2011

August disappeared, but hey, what about books?

With all the Borders closing, I am beyond irked and upset by their lack (in so many ways). I'm pretty sure this weekend will be the last for the Borders left on the island (the Waikele location closed earlier due to a different reason).

Without Borders, there will be two B&N left on Oahu, neither anywhere close to where I live.

So I get to thinking. I reach under the metaphorical bed for a dusty box I remember but haven't thought of for years. I dust it off, smile at the corner of a picture poking out from under the lid like a tongue, then I open it and rifle through the old, younger dreams of a me gone cynical and tired.

Is it so out of the realm of possibility and success to even vaguely consider in any whimsical, hypothetical way, that I might have the skills and resources to open a small bookstore nearby and in some way fill a tiny part of the footprint left behind Borders' departure?

Friday, July 15, 2011

SAD makes me irked

Seasonal Affective Disorder usually refers to a tendency for people to become depressed or sad during the winter holidays.

For me, it usually manifests with irritability during the summer. (Not that I am diagnosed with it. It is just a trend in my moods.)

I am not a summer kind of gal, said the person living in Hawaii for 20 years. But we're getting towards those hotter days and it's much harder to concentrate on anything.

On top of my weather-induced mood shift, there are a number of things that will make it hard to get any writing done. But I plan to try.

My aunt is coming for a long visit soon.

But, despite a nice-looking work schedule (sure I won't be able to eat for most of my Mondays and Wednesdays, but that's not really new), which affords me time to hang out with the family and rest, I'll have to be more diligent about writing.

I am finally getting into the swing of my clockwork ghost story, and I'm typing up notes for a collaborative UF with someone. [That will hopefully keep my creative juices flowing.] So I'm hoping that devoting some bus time to writing longhand, as well as setting aside time when I get home from work on Tuesdays and Thursday (when I finish work early) will help make a lot of headway on both stories.

I am also hoping that having taught here for a year, there will be less prep to do in the mornings,so I'll have time in the air conditioned office to do some writing as well.

It'll mean a lot of early mornings, which I am not prone to when the time is my own (I stayed up until 1 last night and could've stayed up later except I knew I had plans today), but the plan is those will be productive early mornings.

Anyway, so that's the update from me. Now please enjoy this random photo:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Writing is Not Solitary

I've been writing today.
I am in the midst of my two-week break between quarters, and although my time is full of other things (including some intensive spring cleaning for the whole house, gearing up for a visit from my aunt at the end of the month), I took today to write.

Shortly before dinner, and partly because of the heat, I decided to put my computer to sleep and rethink whether I wanted to continue writing after dinner. I ate, returned to my room and pondered. I woke it up and was going to shut down for the night when I checked a friend's blog.

There is a lot about writing that forces the writer to sit by him- or herself in a room with pen and paper, or computer, and work alone for hours, days, even weeks or months without real connections to other people. But it is not a solitary act.

It is not a solitary act.

Although some people don't work well with writing groups, usually a writer has at least someone they can talk to. This may be talking out plot points, or just looking for some encouragement. It may be a beta reader or a cheerleader. All have their purposes and place in the process. (I promise the alliteration isn't deliberate.)

Tonight, I regained the urge, even stronger than earlier today, to keep writing, to keep going for as long as I could. So thank you, fellow writer. I'd been sitting in a room by myself for too long.

Happy writing, everyone.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Change of Pace?

I am coming up on the final weeks of my fourth quarter teaching. These weeks will be incredibly and exhaustingly busy. Which makes it a bit of a surprise that earlier this week I had a spurt of "I wanna write. I wanna write right now!" and then actually wrote.

Lately, whenever I've had the urge, I have't had the time or honestly, just been too tired to do anything. When I did have teh time and energy, I didn't have the motivation.

Now, I've already talked about how much I love getting back to reading. I just finished An Artifical Night by Seanan McGuire, third book in her October Daye series and absolutely loved it, and I'll be starting the next, Late Eclipses, later today. But, the writing has taken a hit because of work and who knows how many psychological issues, so that I had the urge and followed through on it was pleasantly surprising. I rewrote the first couple of pages of my fae urban fantasy.

This Wednesday, I went to my writer's group and the general concensus was that the original pages were stronger in that the genre ("adult" UF vs. YA) and the attitude of the protagonist were clearer. I thought I had to change to the beginning of the story and apparently went too safe. It's hard to get shot down when you feel like you need more encouragement, but I'm going to take this as a sign that I'm ready to write again.

I want to write. I want to see my work in a bookstore. I want to inspire at least one other person to feel like their ideas are important and that they can do and be whatever they want. To get there, I need to write. And I want to. So I will.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Re-Crushing on Sabriel

Last post--the shiny, far-off thing from weeks ago--I talked about my childhood book crushes and it reminded me that (1) I really loved the book Sabriel by Garth Nix, which I bought and have kept near at hand since fourth grade. But also (2) I had not the foggiest idea what happens in that book. Years with too many books in between dimmed my memory to little more than the knowledge that I enjoyed it and it was a good book.

I wanted to visit it again. I wanted to reread that book.

Friends and fellow writers, I love that book. Despite how absurdly busy I've been with work and trying (in a very real, but positive, sense forcing myself) to maintain some semblance of a social life, I made time and read that book on the bus and enjoyed every minute of it.

For the full impact of this you need to know that I rarely reread books, so much so that I can't remember the last time I reread a book before this month. My thinking always seemed to be, "There are so many books I haven't read for the first time, I should read those first, then reread these others." (Incongruously, if I love a book, I want to own it, even if I never read it again, because I always think I will at some point.)

So on the first Saturday of May (Free Comic Book Day), I picked up the rest of the Nix series and a Mercedes Lackey book, Intrigues, which was the sequel to Foundation. I had read Foundation a while back, so here is where the first stirrings of a change in habit arose. I reread it, then moved onto Intrigues in quick succession.

Afterwards, I reread Sabriel. And as soon as that was done, I leapt into Lirael, and just as quickly into book 3, Abhorsen. I finished that this morning, and in between some little necessary computer stuff, have been reading pages of Across the Wall, an anthology whose first story is a novella that takes place in the same world.

I really want Garth Nix to write more books set in this world. I really, really do. Each time I finish a book, I love the characters and stories and world more and more, and really want to keep going.

Although my plans for today involve socialization and singing loudly into a mirophone (I'm going out to karaoke), I will be spending a healthy chunk of time on the bus, which means although I am tucking a new notebook, an old notebook, and a sketchbook in my bag, Across the Wall is coming with me. And I will be turning it back to the library with the last Old Kingdom story singing through me, making me sigh wistfully for one more story.

I love these books. And I love rereading them. And I am going to amend my thinking of the process because even if it pushes back equally good books that I haven't yet read, there is a warmth and excitement to reading a book I've read before that I won't deny anymore.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Have a Confession...

I've got a crush. Actually a number of them. Since my youthful years so long ago.

I'm picking up this topic from Jennifer Ambrose at The Charmed Bracelet. (Go there and read hers, it's a good post, along with many others!) She brought up the subject of literary crushes from childhood, which got me thinking about my own reading habits from yesteryears.

To be honest, I don't think I read as much fantasy when I was younger. The books that stick out for me now were mostly school books: "The Great Gilly Hopkins" (I loved how tough she was), "Julie of the Wolves" (possibly the start of my love for wolves), "Bridge to Terabithia" (I wished the world they created was real, and even now, I cry a little near the end), and "Tuck Everlasting" (I think my opinion of Winnie and the story changed every few pages, it brought up some complicated issues with immortality to my young mind).

My introduction to fantasy was probably through movies--I can still recite whole passages from "Labryinth" even though it's been a few years since I've watched it--but my first fantasy book that I recall was in fifth grade. [This is another story for another post about an awesome substitute I had. I'll tell it you later. ;) ]

After that, there were some books and characters that really stayed with me, mostly in the fantasy genre.

1. Vanyel Ashkevron in The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey

He went through a lot of tragedy, but he still worked hard to protect those he cared about, and he sacrificed a lot. I was struck by how he just kept going, even when he wanted to quit. This was also the first book I recall having gay and lesbian characters, who were main characters and side characters, and who were treated as individuals (both by the author and within the story's society). This is still something I feel is lacking in a great many books.

2. Alanna from The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

I should add the main character of Pierce's second Tortall quartet as well, Daine (and, frankly, her third with Keladry). Alanna was a twin (which I am not, but twins are awesome!), and she defied her family in order to become a knight. She was strong-willed and created a new family of friends and people she cared for and who cared for her (Jonathan, George, and the royal spymaster, Miles, a great father figure). I've always liked stories that showed the important side of friendship and non-blood families.

Daine was a softer character, a little more introverted, and had that wolf connection I loved, and I felt a more personal connection to her. I think that's something a lot of [young] readers look for, a character they can step into.

3. Sabriel from the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix

I saw this at a Scholastic book fair at my school. I will admit part of the reason I picked it up was because the titular character had a name similar to mine. A young girl on a journey to find and rescue her father, taking up a huge responsibility in the process--now that I think about it, this might have appealed because of my own childhood a little bit, where I felt my responsibilities (to get As in school, be "perfect") an inescapable burden, but one I was driven to achieve. Honestly, I really need to reread this series, because I've enjoyed Nix's other work and it's been far too long since I traveled with Sabriel.

4. Dorothy and Elphaba from "The Wizard of Oz" and "Wicked" by L. Frank Baum and Gregory MacGuire, respectively

(Idina Menzel as Elphaba)

Okay, so I've read these both in only the past few years, but the play of good versus evil and how those lines can be blurred so much is a theme I'm finding in some of my own work. I saw the Judy Garland film when I was very young and of course, imagined myself in Dorothy's place, but nowadays I think of that scene when the pair first meet and of the confrontation that ends with a bucket of water, and I ponder all the possibilities for new and different stories. Like a lot of fairy tales, I'd like to find a new interpretation and write my own version, because I think there's a lot to be said for finding or making your own path, listening to authority, and the homes and families you make for yourself.

(I feel like there may be a analytical article in all that. Huh.)


There are others. I stuck to characters from series, but as I mentioned in Ambrose's comment section, Eddi from "War for the Oaks" and Jack from "Jack of Kinrowan" are also strong characters that have stayed with me through the years and deserve a reread. They've also helped shape me as a writer in ways I can hardly begin to quantity or qualify.

So dear readers, who are your literary crushes from your childhoods? I'd like to know. I'm curious that way. Comment and better yet, link to your own post. I'd love to read them!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blogger Cookies, not the tasty kind

Blogger apparently doesn't want me to comment on posts anymore, blaming my cookie settings, which I never change (though I did delete them recently, along with my temporary files). I've gone into my internet options to allow Blogger cookies and it still won't let me leave a comment. In my own blog. Ergh. >.<

I'll admit it. Computers confuse me. I will never understand them quite as thoroughly as I'd like to. (~~~flashback~~~ I was halfway through high school before we even had a computer in our house. Even then, I got it as a donation from my school, from the bunch they were getting rid of, because we couldn't afford one otherwise. ~~~end flashback~~~)

Anyway, there's are posts coming in the next few days, but I'm hopefully going to figure this blogger/cookie thing first.

In the meantime, head on over to The Charmed Bracelet and read about Jennifer's first literary crushes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

(SAWD) Seasons Affecting Writing Disorder

Not quite like Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it hit pretty suddenly today all the same.

See, most days lately have been like this:


(Not actually Hawaii, but it has been rather overcast here, so our skies have looked quite a bit similar.)

But today, when I had work to do on the computer, so I knew I'd have it on all day (in a house with no AC, ugh), it was a hot day. It felt more like this:


What does this all have to do with writing?

I finished one novel in the wee hours between 10 pm and 2 am over winter break one year, completed another in fits and starts, also into the wee hours while living in the dorms, but between these two, I wrote another novel all on my own--these others I completed by having professors waiting for pages. This other novel, I wrote the summer after I graduated with my Bachelors'. I was at home, resting after going full-force for far too many years, but I very quickly got antsy.

I don't do well at home with no plans or expectations. I don't do well with prolonged lazy.

But that summer, it was hot. This heavy, oppressive heat that just settles on your head and shoulders, and basically, every exposed inch of flesh. But I spent hours on my computer, typing hundreds of thousands of words until I had a complete draft.

This heat today felt like that. Somehow I had forgotten how hot summers get here (I know, people who have been to other areas of the U.S. and world can argue, but I am not a fan of hot weather, so this is unpleasant). But just a few moments of realization and I was brought back to that summer, how accomplished I felt, and despite the heat, was ready and gearing up to work on my new novel.

I know, I know, what I need to do is focus on editing one thing, not write a new one. :P

(This rambly kind of post has been brought to by a day filled with non-fun-writing work and the letters s and t, for sore throat. Yeah. I really hope I'm not getting sick.)

Happy writing everyone, regardless of the weather outside your door or in your room.

*First photo is borrowed from:
**Second photo from this blog and credited thusly: "Picture taken by Peter near Longreach, western Queensland, in July 2004."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

LGBT "Issues" in Genre Fiction

Disclaimer: I've been thinking about this topic for days, so below are my thoughts and opinions as they are right now. I won't claim they're 100% correct or complete (I always forget something, it feels), and I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I don't want to start any fights. I just felt the need to organize my thoughts and present them here.

I say "issues" in quotation marks because a friend said something a few weeks back that struck me. "LGBT aren't issues, we're people." They're also individuals, but it seems lately, various people are too fond of treating them as a lump group.

So some of you may have heard about the Wicked Pretty Things anthology, and how one author's story, which had been accepted, was then rejected. The editor told the author she needed to change the gender of one character, so that the primary relationship was male/female, rather than male/male. This is despite the fact that it was m/m when first submitted and accepted. Other authors in the anthology have also subsequently pulled out of the project.

I won't try to guess at what the editor was thinking or how she truly feels about the situation or the story element in question. It'd be all speculation and unfair.

What I do want to discuss/think aloud about, is the fact that the presence of LGBT characters is becoming a bigger topic in the publishing industry, and one that despite a broad awareness, doesn't seem to have made much progress.

In an urban fantasy I'm working on, I have two characters who are openly gay and in a relationship. It's a challenge for me to write them being affectionate, more because I still have a lot to learn about romance in a writing sense and consider myself a novice in that area, and because I want to find a balance between not hiding their relationship and fan service (gratuitous affection), neither of which is fair. My goal is the portrayal of a solid relationship between two adults who, because of the story plot, have to deal with a lot of new stressors on their relationship.

I feel like it shouldn't matter whether these characters are gay or straight in order for me to show that, and I think it should have no bearing (I hoe it doesn't) on how likely I am to get this story published. I try to mimic real life in my casts, and in real life, a 3/4 Japanese woman in her 20s, living near the West Coast, is going to know a diverse group of people.

These two aren't my main characters, though they are present throughout the story, but there seem to be very few (if any) fantasy stories in the mainstream with LGBT characters, let alone as protagonists. That needs to change. One can make the argument (and as I heard some time last year, when a lot of blogs were debating about the inclusion of characters of color in fantasy) that a straight white girl shouldn't be writing characters who are gay men. ~shrug~ I can't say I'll get it right the first time, or the second, but I think there needs to be more diversity in fantasy, and if I can write a character who is foremost a person, and identifying as gay is one aspect of their personality, then I'm not going to shirk from that based on another individual's opinion.

I can only do my best to help make this change, but it's a change for the best IMHO, and I think the only way it will become more acceptable in mainstream publishing is for more people to include LGBT characters, and for more people to make it known that they'd read stories with LGBT characters. There's too much disconnect, so it seems, between what readers want, and what publishers/editors/etc. think readers want. That needs to change, too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Charmed Lives from Diana's Castle

Diana Wynne Jones is dead. Apparently she died last night (early in the morning of the 26th). She'd been dealing with cancer, which temporarily went into remission. More details are on her website.

I was just going online for a short break, and found this. It breaks my heart.

A few years ago (while working on my master's thesis, I believe), a friend recommended her book, "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland." It was hilarious and on point and so much fun (I kinda wanted to "forget" to return my friend's copy, but I was nice and gave it back). Since then, I've bought most of the Dalemark books from a library book sale, borrowed from the library (and then bought in omnibi) the Chrestomani books, and just as eagerly swiped up every book set in the world of Howl's Moving Castle that I could find. I ordered online "Mixed Magics," a Chrestomani anthology, and bought from Borders the anthology, "Unexpected Magic," which I read in bits and bobs when I need something short but damn good to make me happy.

In my heart, I continued to hope for more Chrestomanci books with Cat and Christopher, as well as stories featuring Sophie and Howl. I've yet to read a DWJ book with which I was disappointed.

Every death of a fantasy/sci fi writer leaves me feeling a little despondent, but this one hits particularly close to home. There are apparently two more books coming out by DWJ, "Earwig and the Witch," a short novel, and a collection of her lectures, articles and interviews. I look forward to both. According to her website, her papers are being preserved in Seven Stories, a gallery and archive for children's books. I would like to go there.

Although she may be considered a writer of children's books, Diana Wynne Jones was an author for everyone, regardless of age.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cranes: A Symbol of Wanting Hope

I live in Hawaii, so even if you know nothing else about origami, chances are you've made at least one origami crane in your life.

There's a tradition that if you make a 1,000 cranes, you get a wish. I went to a graduation party once, where 1,000 cranes were scattered around the tables to be unfolded later to make a wish for the graduate's mother (whose health wasn't good).

It was interesting to think of creating a wish by effort, by doing work, which built up the hope. It was a nice thought.

Therefore, below are the details for Students Rebuild, which is working with to send aid/donations to Japan.

Make as many cranes as you can, take a picture and email it to Students Rebuild, then send the cranes themselves. They're looking for a total of 100,000, which will result in a $200,000 donation from Bezos Family Foundation.

In their words:

"Help Japan by making paper cranes. These simple yet powerful gestures will trigger a $200,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation - $2 for each crane received - to Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan. Once we reach our goal of 100,000 submissions, the cranes will be woven into an art installation - a symbolic gift from students around the globe to Japanese youth.

Questions? Email us at"

And a breakdown of the steps:

"1. Make a paper crane (watch a how-to video)

2. Snap a photo and upload it, along with a message of support to the Facebook page "Paper Cranes for Japan."

3. Turn your crane into dollars for reconstruction - and eventually an art installation - by mailing it to us. Or, team up with friends and fold as many as you can! Email us to receive a pre-paid shipping label for large boxes (over 50 cranes please).

Students Rebuild
1700 7th Avenue
STE 116 # 145
Seattle, WA 98101"

So get together with friends, have fun, and build a little hope with some time and effort.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quick Update about Tsunami Post

Just wanted to let anyone who'd read it know that the friend of a friend was finally able to contact her family and friends (yesterday or earlier today I believe), and she's fine. She had been without power at home, but is now in a hotel. So she's good--not super keen on all the public attention, but we're all just happy she's okay.

Thanks to everyone who shared their concern and suggestions.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Please Respond if you have any information

Hawaii seems to have bounced back fairly quickly from our tsunami. Japan, not so much. I've heard that the Japanese government has even set up a website where people can post the names of missing family members and search for information about them.

Amanda is someone I know on Livejournal through a mutual friend who has been living in Japan the last few years, near Sendai in Higashi-Matsushima.

No one has heard from her since the earthquake and tsunami hit.

Our mutual friend and Amanda's family and other friends have searched for information on People Finder, but there're still no updates, and no one has been able to get in contact with her yet (which doesn't mean the worst, since a lot of places around there have little to no power or cell service, one likes a cat in a box with no windows).

This article and video: Parents Desperate for word from daughter in Japan is about her. It's a long shot, but if anyone might know anything--knows someone in Japan from the area, or has a suggestion of where to look or post information next--please let me know and I'll pass it on.

Thank you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami in Japan and Hawaii

First of all, my sincerest sympathies and good wishes to everyone and anyone in Japan affected by both the earthquake and the tsunami which hit last night, and to anyone worrying and waiting to hear from friends and relatives in Japan.

Last night, around 9 pm, my mother, sister and I heard about the earthquake in Japan, 8.9, and the tsunami created in its wake. Then we immediately heard that Hawaii was at risk for a rather large tsunami as an effect. Due to hit about 2:55 a.m.

Some months back, there was another tsunami warning, but it ended up only being a couple of inches, rather anti-climactic, thankfully. This time, as I apparently do with most major disasters, I watched the news for a few minutes then found something to distract myself (I think to avoid dealing with something so large that I feel useless to stop it). I live in Central Oahu--generally, if there's something coming and it's going to hit that far inland, there's not much I can do about it anyway. (Instead, I watched the Adam Lambert performance from the American Idol results show that I had recorded earlier and a few minutes of "27 Dresses".)

Eventually I was able to go to sleep, despite the emergency broadcast sirens going off every hour or so. According to the news, the tsunami hit Oahu around 3:30 a.m., sweeping around Kaua'i, then O'ahu, then Maui and the Big Island. Luckily, there hasn't been much damage, but buses still aren't running, evac zones are still evacuated, and we are still waiting for the all-clear.

Tsunami waves aren't always the big waves most people imagine, but more like a rising in sea level. Video from the near Japan showed an actual--large--wave, but right now I think we're just waiting to see if subsequent waves are as bad or if they'll lessen as they approach. By the time they got here, they'd already lessened somewhat, so no major damage so far.

Anyway, I woke up super early, so I figured I'd jump on and give you all an update so you wouldn't worry too much. (And then my internet became troublesome.)

My condolences to everyone in Japan hurt or suffering the damages of the earthquake and tsunami, and to anyone who is worrying and waiting to hear from someone in those regions. I saw the video last night and this morning and it hasn't been good.

Update: I'm watching the news, and Gov. Abercrombie has officially changed the status from Tsunami Warning to Tsunami Advisory, a lesser degree, which means some people who had evacuated can go home (not all if there was flooding).

For anyone who is in Hawaii, please don't go in the water. There are still "significant" waves. According to Lara Yamada at KITV, the tsunami will still be going on for another few hours.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Un-Birthday Request

Hi all. I have returned again, some more, finally.

Rather than make excuses, I'll just forge ahead to my purpose today: My birthday is coming up at the end of the month, but it's been a stressful 2011 so far (and Valentine's was not one of my favorites this time around).

So, I love birthdays. It's not just the whole 'presents' deal, but there's something about a birthday that makes it better than a normal holiday. I think it's because it's the one day people celebrate you. That you're here. Not to go the "special snowflake" route, but I think it's nice to be the focus of people's attention, at least once a year. I have this child-like excitement for the day that I honestly hope won't go away as I get older. I hate the thought of dreading my birthday.

This year, however, because of my work schedule, I won't really get to do anything on the day itself. My family is celebrating the day before, and I'm hoping to get a few friends together to celebrate the day after (my shorter work day). But this year, teh day itself will be pretty low-key, so I was thinking.

What I was wondering, since I am trying to write more, is if there are any aspects of a story you'd like to see in a short piece of writing? An archetype or character, a magical power, a twist on an old story or fairy tale, or a particular setting. I'll take all the suggestions and try to write a short story that includes all of them. If it doesn't completely make me want to set my laptop on fire, I'll post the final product for people to read and hopefully be entertained by.

So, anything come to mind?

Sunday, January 23, 2011


New Year's is going well so far. I think Tuesdays and Thursdday will be good days for writing, because my schedule was changed so I just have the one class, then can go home. It gives me time to rest a bit, maybe eat something and still write and do work.

Moving on the real subject, however brief, I've been reading a lot of X-Men comics. I've always been a fan, but never bought the comics myself (my sister had when I was younger, or I'd read the library copies), because it just added up to too much money. I bought Elfquest instead. :)

I don't know if others have this problem, but when I do something for a long time, or put a lot of focus on one thing--rubic's cube, a particular computer game, heavy workload--I close my eyes and still see it. My mind will create its own gameboard and run through the game or I'll see myself teachign a class or trying to explain something to a student. I think it's a bit of the way my brain processes information, but it means that reading over a dozen X-men graphic novels leaves images of mutants running, falling, flying, fighting. Sometimes they're actual characters, sometimes they're amalgamations or original creations of my brain.

Maybe I'm just weird.

I wish I had the skill to draw some of what I see. But I was wondering what it might say for my writing process. Maybe this is unrelated, but once some critiquers said my writing wrote like I played a lot of RPGs or RPG videogames, which left me very confused because I don't. I wonder if that comment was tied to writing visually, though. Thinking too much about how everything looks, as if it's a movie playing in your head, but my head is so full of stuff, any movie I "wrote" in it would be jumpy and haphazard.

I'm still noodling over those thoughts. Just figured I'd share for now. I'm off to do the usual Sunday morning routine then meet up with a friend for a movie and bookshopping (the same friend lending me his vast collection).

Happy writing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year--2011 edition

Happy New Year, Everyone!

After midnight, after finshing a comic (X-Men graphic novel featuring Mystique, Rogue and Nightcrawler), after a shower and bed, after waking up multiple times because of phone calls and finally staying up, and after getting some coffee, it is New Year's Day. I am reading blogs.

One was written by Owl, and it got me thinking about who I am and how I define myself, how I define "happy," whether I am happy and if not, how to get there. I've only just begun to think about it, so I don't want to offer you readers a muddled, rambly mess. I know that's my mood right now.

Instead, I'll share what I originally planned to, not my resolutions (I haven't decided on those yet), but my plans for today.

I decided to start a new tradition for myself, that on the first day of the new year, I will take some time to do a little bit of everything I love or want to improve on in this year. For instance:

1. Blog (clearly need to improve that)
2. Write some new pages on Clockwork Seams (I want to finish the first draft)
3. Rewrite/revise Hounds (I have some ideas for rewriting the beginning so it doesn't jump around and to fix some other ideas, now I need to do it)
4. Clean (I have a finite space, but ever-increasing amounts of clothes, books, and paper, not good)
5. Day job stuff (I need better time-management, so a little work today is a good start)
6. Some crafting (make a necklace or sew something, I have the materials and my sewing machine is still out, why not use it?)
7. Take a walk around the neighborhood (structured exercise is exceptionally hard to me to maintain, but healthy habits are good)
8. Read a book (I haven't been in the mood for a while, but the urge is building and once I start, I probably won't be able to stop)
9. Draw (the ideas are on the top of my brain)
10. Eat some french toast (I got a hankering for it this morning, found an easy recipe and tried it out--it was okay, too much cinnamon, and I was worried about the eggs being underdone, but I cooked something I'd never made before, yay new experiences!)

So as of right now, 1 and 10 are complete, 2, 3, and 5 will probably occur later in the day, and 4 is looking like my next step. I don't plan to spend a huge amount of time on all of them, but enough to feel accomplished, I think.

Feeling productive at the end of the day is always good, in my opinion, and as I said to a friend, I think this is a good way to start the new year on a high point.

Whish leads to me ask, what are your plans for today, readers and friends?