Last Minute NaNoWriMo Inspiration

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Friday, I'm In Love by The Cure.

This is why writer friends are so awesome. Tell me that does not inspire a story of tiny mayhem. :)

While still being adorable.

I will now only cut my tongue depressors for log cabin replicas with miniaturized saws. I really should feature more of her creations more often.

By the way, those books in the background? I recommend Novelist's Boot Camp. I haven't reviewed it in a few years but I remember it being extremely useful. It was a fun format to boot (get it? Pun?). Nothing to inspire you like a Drill Sergent making metaphors to kick your butt in gear. Just in case you need that last little push for NaNoWriMo (you can do it!). Have a great Wednesday! YOU CAN MAKE IT!

Monday's Muse, 43rd edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Outside the City by Young Galaxy.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

When Courage Came To Call by L. M. Fuge.

Everything changed when the first bomb fell. Now there is the Resistance. Now there are the rules. RULE ONE. We do our work under the cover of darkness. RULE TWO. If you trust me, I will trust you. RULE THREE. We work for the good and safety of Zamascus. This will include killing. Imm is about to find out if he has what it takes to survive - and what it will cost him.

Peeled by Joan Bauer.

As a high school journalist living in upstate New York apple country, Hildy Biddle finds herself needing to get to the core of a problem plaguing her town. The town newspaper has been revived by Pen Piedmont, whose stories spread apprehension centered around the local "haunted" house. Ominous notes are posted on the house, and a psychic moves into town to further stir anxieties. Hildy and her staff find support from a washed up newsman, Baker Polton, but a dead body, a frightened child, and worried orchard owners edge the town toward unhealthy panic. Summoning courage from the memories of her journalist father; a new student, Zach, who is determined to see things scientifically; and restaurant owner Minska who grew up during the solidarity movement in Poland, Hildy determinedly digs for the truth to save her town from being swallowed by greedy developers. Bauer again presents readers with a strong protagonist who wrestles hope from a situation fraught with tribulations. Hildy is surrounded by a finely drawn cast of major and minor characters, from the feisty Elders Against Evil squad to the wise Minska and cynical wordsmith Polton. Bauer uses apple farming as an apt metaphor for the world, where one must deal with what cannot be changed but work tirelessly to make the best of it. In a time when journalism too often flaunts sensationalism, Hildy and crew demonstrate ethics and determination in a story that is wonderfully teachable, highly readable, and ready to delight Bauer fans, old and new. ---Mary Ann Darby, VOYA.

By These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle.

A bone-chilling tale of werewolves and love, set in medieval Scotland

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins the admiration of the weaver's daughter, Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.

There is an evil presence in the carver's life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her-and what price she is willing to pay to keep it.

Wringer by Jerry Spinelli.

When Palmer LaRue turns nine, he becomes one of the guys. Now a member of a popular gang, with the cool nickname of Snots, life is looking very good, except for one thing. He is now only a year away from becoming a wringer, one of the 10-year-old boys who break the necks of wounded birds in the town's annual pigeon shoot. Unlike his pals who can't wait for that privilege, Palmer dreads it. To make matters worse, a stray pigeon shows up at his window, and soon he is feeding and sheltering it in his room. His life becomes a balancing act of hanging out with the guys, who hate pigeons, and attending to his new pet, Nipper, and Palmer is required to go to great lengths to keep the two worlds apart. When he turns 10, and the pigeon shoot rolls around, the boy is forced to take a stand, and eventually has to rescue Nipper from being killed. Spinelli's characters are memorable, convincing, and both endearing and villainous; and they are involved in a plot that, from the first page, is riveting. The story is told in language simple enough for young readers, yet elegant enough for adults. There is humor, suspense, a bird with personality, and a moral dilemma familiar to everyone: how does one stand up for one's beliefs when they will be very unpopular? A wide audience will enjoy this thought-provoking book.---Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT, School Library Journal.

The Voices of Silence by Bel Mooney.

Life is hard for Flora Popescu and her parents, living in Bucharest during Nicholas Ceauescu's cruel regime. Food is scarce, water and electricity are erratic, and the family's one-room apartment is cramped and cheerless. A new student, Daniel, well-dressed and shod, appears at school and has lunches of which Flora can only dream: meat, cake, soft bread, and chocolate. From the first, Daniel befriends Flora and shares his food, but her best friend, Alys, doesn't trust Daniel, and she and Flora become estranged. Tensions mount in the Popescu household, and in the city; Flora's father decides to flee the country and return later for his family. After he departs, the people begin to rise against Ceauescu, and fighting breaks out in the city. Many are killed, but Flora, with the help of Alys and other rebels, escapes, without knowing the fate of her father, or what role Daniel may have played in the uprising. Mooney paints a chilling picture of life under the repressive Eastern European governments of the late 1980s. Her sensitive and empathetic tale will keep readers in suspense until the final page. --Kirkus.

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater Rhodes.

Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk’s form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long, no one can remember how the fighting began. As heir to the avian throne, she’ll do anything in her power to stop this war—even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind’s greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.

Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica—and all they ask of their people—but it may be more than she can give.

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins.

Well-educated American boys from privileged families have abundant options for college and career. For Chiko, their Burmese counterpart, there are no good choices. There is never enough to eat, and his family lives in constant fear of the military regime that has imprisoned Chiko s physician father. Soon Chiko is commandeered by the army, trained to hunt down members of the Karenni ethnic minority. Tai, another "recruit," uses his streetwise survival skills to help them both survive. Meanwhile, Tu Reh, a Karenni youth whose village was torched by the Burmese Army, has been chosen for his first military mission in his people s resistance movement. How the boys meet and what comes of it is the crux of this multi-voiced novel. While Perkins doesn t sugarcoat her subject coming of age in a brutal, fascistic society this is a gentle story with a lot of heart, suitable for younger readers than the subject matter might suggest. It answers the question, "What is it like to be a child soldier?" clearly, but with hope. --Kirkus.

My Adventure with a Very Special Book

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Actress in Time Layers by Susumu Hirasawa [Millenium Actress soundtrack].

So. There was this really good book I read. So good in fact, I couldn't put it down, even to go on an adventure to Disney World. So it came along for the ride and we had an adventure together.

Which book, might you ask? It was A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis, which comes out in less two and a half months (I'm so excited! *bubbles inside*). It is REALLY good. It is just like the first one with twists and turns and more than a few jaw-dropping moments (I think this may have happened literally at one point). It is fantastic. You're going to want to get your hands on this one as soon as you possibly can. If this is any indication of her writing level and progress, I cannot wait to see her growth over the next few years.

First up, this quote, which of course you managed to guess accurately right off the bat. Yes, yes, well done. *grumbles* The only thing you could have done to make it more specific is name what wall this was on. Good gracious. *facepalm* And while true, this is from the American Adventure in Epcot, I really think this quote captures a lot of the heart and spirit behind the mission of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and Godspeed itself. But not all. I have two more quotes to tease you with before this post is up. ;)

First up, Amy and Elder went toe-to-toe with one of the biggest baddies in all of sci-fi. Yep, Darth Vadar himself. I don't think Elder got the significance of the meeting, but Amy knew what she was doing and didn't hesitate. She's a fierce thing. Luckily, there was no loss of hand or limb, and no choke hold to speak of on this encounter.

This may of course had something to do with the fact that they met a friendly ally to help them out of the sticky situation.

Amy's fiery passion is one of the things I love about her. And probably why she passed Jedi Academy so quickly.

Pretty name badge. *strokes*

After that, this guy didn't even phase them. But a guard is the least of their worries in A MILLION SUNS. Imagine of the worst possible worst case scenario, and you are probably not far off. No joke, you are in for a roller coaster of a ride with this one.

And after all that, they stopped in for a quick bite to eat here (appropriate, yes?) :) (By the way, this place is fantastic. Not only do you eat in a car while watching old sci-fi B-movies from the 50's, the food is so good. Best burger I've had in Disney World. So atmospheric, so much fun. I was in geekery 7th heaven). ^_^

Speeder bike race, of course. (I will let you decide who won). ;)

This space suit turned out to be more appropriate than I imagined. Not saying a word more on this one. *zips lips*

"Mickey Mouse and the Orbiting Nightmare" - oddly appropriate. :) (I was giddy when I found this one. I giggled. Out loud). And I love how Mickey is looking at them. But you know, I think Amy and Elder are a lot worse off. I don't think Mickey has anything on them, even with his dapper suit and startled expression. A MILLION SUNS kept me up at night. I would try and sneak a few pages in, even after I'd been going nonstop in the parks for 10-14 hours every day. I dreamt of A MILLION SUNS. I *never* dream about books.

And I threw this in for fun, because it would be something Amy would miss. And I realized something Elder would never see (such a pity).

And here are the two quotes I thought fit in nicely with Beth Revis' heart-pounding world. I'll let you decide how they fit in. :)

This book is wonderful, and I do not say that lightly. It is a page turner and a seamless, natural continuation to the world and characters she's already built. This is one of the very rare books where the second book is better than the first. In a trilogy I can name few with that distinction. They are usually the opening curtain for the final act. Necessary, but not anything special. Not here. This book is special, and I can't wait for the next ride.

Feature Fun Friday - Interview with an Audiobook Narrator

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Mario Kart Long Song by Sam Hart.

Now this is a really cool find. In fact I don't think I've ever encountered this before - an interview with an audiobook narrator. Heather Lind to be precise, from the audiobook BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young (which I've heard nothing but praises about). Really, what a fun concept! I think it really should be done more. Hope you enjoy this glimpse behind the scenes as much as I did. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Guess My Adventure

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Circus Girl by Mindy Gledhill.

Now I have to be extra tricky, because you hooligans keep outguessing me. I *try* and think of the unnamable photo clue, but you just keep winning. So I'm pulling out all of the stops. You guys are getting a quote. That's right -- a quote. A photo of a quote, granted, but still. And it relates directly to Monday's post which I've been super excited to share with you for weeks (but the book bomb of Variant took precedence, as it should have). So here we go. Do your worst.

An Update of the Book Bomb of VARIANT

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): All the Right Moves by OneRepublic. <---- yeah, that's you.

Dude. DUDE. When you guys set your minds to something, you mean serious business. I'm still speechless. Our book bomb of Robinson Wells' VARIANT was bigger than I imagined possible. He skyrocketed up the charts to say the least.

Larry Correia did a blow by blow post of the numbers throughout the day. It blew my mind every time I clicked that little "refresh" button on the hour. The number just. kept. getting. smaller.

But here, Larry says it best the next day in his own words:

When I started this, I though we’d give Rob a nice little nudge. In the past book bombs I’ve been able to get people up into the top 20 of their genre. I didn’t know about this one though, because Rob was in one of the most competitive genres in the entire business. But it didn’t matter. You guys were all like, “whatever, gimme ten more copies.”

When I bought my copy, it was at #256. I thought the surge was starting to die down and oh so adorably thought I was giving it a boost right when it was starting to lag. *shakes head* It was only beginning.

When I checked for some comparative titles, I went straight for ECLIPSE by Stephenie Meyer (since it is generally considered the favorite of her series, plus I figured copies were being bought in preparation for the latest movie). It was resting at #3,660. Which is NOT a number to sneeze at. Do you realize what this means? You guys beat out Stephenie Meyer's book, if even for a single day! HOLY CRAP. Don't ever let anyone tell you you can't/don't/won't make a difference because you just proved them wrong.

Robinson Wells book improved 10,000% in a single day. TEN THOUSAND PERCENT. It shot up to the fastest selling book on amazon Thursday. (They have a special category for that one too).

And THEN to top it off, I checked the next day. I was met with this image:

You guys SOLD OUT the amazon warehouse. I think this is where my mind exploded.

The next day they had this:

(They have since had it back in stock, which is awesome, but who cares? You cleaned out amazon. Not many people can lay claim to that lofty achievement. Give yourselves a mighty pat on the back).

You guys blow my mind. You are so incredible, there are not words for it other than YOU PWNED IT ALL. And best news of all? He is still in the top #10,000 (currently at #5,663). He won't get to see any of the numbers for a while, but I know this made a serious dent in his advance. All of you, thank you. I am honored to know you.

(my copy just came yesterday! ^_^)

Monday's Muse, 42nd edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Starlight by Muse.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl.

The Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back the invasion of Andrecia by an aggressive, space faring Youngling civilization. How can she possibly help the Andrecians who still believe in magic and superstition, against a force armed with advanced technology, without revealing her alien powers?

Apprentice Medical Officer Jarel wishes that the planet the Imperial Exploration Corps have chosen to colonize didn't have a "humanoid" population already living on it. The invaders don't consider the Andrecians to be human and Jarel has seen the atrocious treatment the natives get from his people. How can he make a difference, when he alone regrets the destruction that is people bring?

Georyn, the youngest son of a poor Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a terrible dragon on the other side of the enchanted forest, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat it. In his mind, Elana is the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy of defeating the dragon and its powerful minions. Despite both Elana's and Jarel's inner turmoil, Georyn's burden is by far the heaviest. Ultimately, he must pit his innocent faith in the magic of his Enchantress from the Stars against foes who have come from a world beyond his comprehension.

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gills.

Durango is the 16-year-old chief of a team of mercenaries who eke out a living on Mars by earning meager commissions for their dangerous work. Their current job, and the main thrust of this high-energy, action-filled, science-fiction romp, is to protect South Pole miners from the Dræu, a cannibalistic group who are after the miners' treasure. Two feisty women help Durango lead. Second-in-command Vienne and Durango care more for each other than either wants to admit, although there is little time for romance amid all the flying bullets and detonating bombs. Mimi, the other central woman and Durango's former chief, is now implanted in his brain as an artificial intelligence. The repartee between Durango and Mimi is particularly brilliant, but throughout the novel, the dialogue crackles with expertly delivered sarcastic wit and venom. If intelligent sophomoric humor exists, Gill is the master at creating it. The intriguing dystopian setting is a Mars purposely polluted by immigrants from Earth. Readers will have a hard time turning the pages fast enough as the body count rises to the climactic, satisfying ending, which will leave new fans hopeful for more adventures. --Cindy Dobrez, Booklist.

Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis

Sixteen-year-old Nathan Shepherd has a great life traveling where the careers of his father, an investigator, and mother, a renowned violinist, take him … until his parents are found murdered. Left with only a mirror and notes from his father’s last case, Nathan goes into hiding at the remote country home of Tony, his father’s college buddy, and Tony’s teenage daughter, Kelly. The mysterious mirror must be a clue to what happened to his parents, and when images appear in it—people and things that don’t exist—Nathan and Kelly painstakingly gather evidence. But the killers want the mirror too, and danger threatens the teens at every turn. As it becomes evident that Nathan’s father had stumbled upon dark forces at work in the world, several questions arise. Could it be that the mirror is a portal to a parallel world? Could this technology be used for evil purposes? And could his parents still be alive, trapped in another dimension? Nathan and Kelly struggle to solve the mystery before they too become victims. This chilling, hair-raising adventure is jam-packed with action in a fantastical world where nothing is as it seems, and even mirrors tell lies.

Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel.

This sequel to Airborn (2004) and Skybreaker (2005, both Eos) continues the fabulous adventures of Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries. In classic steampunk fashion, this book blends the best of Victorian society and science fiction. No longer content to be confined to planet Earth, Kate and Matt leap at the opportunity to travel into space when Kate is invited to be a part of the Canadian astralnaut program for her scientific expertise and Matt must undergo rigorous training before he is accepted as a crew member. Unexpected mechanical difficulties, friction among those onboard, sabotage, and encounters with strange alien life-forms test their courage and ingenuity and love for one another. Starclimber is a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a book, full of humor and derring-do and guaranteed to keep readers up long past midnight.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK, School Library Journal.

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks.

All is well on the spaceship Plexus. Decades into a journey that has left earth far behind, the couple thousand residents live a life of insulated security. Their social interactions are sensitive and enlightened, their meals prepared instantaneously, and a serene aura of peace makes their slow search for an inhabitable planet a tranquil one. But what’s that up ahead? A radiation field? Soon after the ship passes through, 17-year-old Cheney finds himself in the middle—literally—of a nightmare. (Warning: somewhat of a first-act spoiler ahead.) With shocking rapidity, the ship begins turning into a biologic organism: the walls become muscle, cables become veins, and simple devices like transport vehicles become equivalent to cellular defenders out to devour viruses—and the viruses are the humans. An unbelievably tense first half plateaus after a time, but that hardly diminishes the gooey, sticky, mucus-covered fun. Jinks’ well-thought-out environs and rational characters help ground this otherwise out-of-control interstellar thriller. --Daniel Kraus, Booklist.

The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

As young Bart Steele stood looking over the Lhari spaceport, he heard a gong sound, touching off an explosion of warning bells. He looked up. A starship was arriving. Bart ran down the ramp, thinking: I wonder if Dad will know me after five years. He searched through the crowd, looking in vain for his father's tall figure. Suddenly he spotted a fat little man coming toward him with his arms outstretched. "Hello, son," the man said loudly, grasping Bart's arms. "Well, boy, you've sure grown. But you're not too grown-up to give your old Dad a hug, are you?" Bart started to pull away and stammer that the man had made a mistake, but the man pulled him roughly into his arms. "Bart, listen to me," the stranger whispered. "Call me Dad, good and loud, if you want to live. Because, believe me, your life is in danger - right now!"

The Softwire : Virus on Orbis 1 by PJ Haarsma.

Like the other 198 parentless children on the spaceship Renaissance, 12-year-old Johnny Turnbull (JT) and his seven-year-old sister are headed to Orbis, a multicultural world made up of four rings orbiting a wormhole. Upon landing, the children are shocked to learn that they must work as slaves for Star Wars-like aliens to repay their passage. When it is discovered that JT is a softwire, a being able to communicate telepathically with computers, the boy, both feared and coveted by different factions, becomes the prime suspect when the computer that runs the operations on Orbis 1 malfunctions. It's obvious that this is the first book in a series, but Haarsma fills it with exotic aliens, dangerous situations, and fast-paced adventure. Younger sf fans will happily hang in with JT as he tries to stay alive and keep Orbis from being conquered from within, and they'll look forward to other volumes in the Softwire series. --Diana Herald, Booklist.

Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky.

Jesse is in history class when a formidable, efficient race of aliens quietly takes over the earth in less time than it takes him to brush his teeth. Most humans simply fall asleep and never wake up. In moments, everyone Jesse knows and loves is gone, and he finds that he is now a slave to an inept alien leader. On the bright side, Jesse discovers he’s developing telepathic powers, and he’s not the only one. Soon he’s forging new friendships and feeling unexpectedly hopeful. When a mysterious girl appears in his dreams, talking about escaping, Jesse begins to think the aliens may not be invincible after all. But if Jesse and his friends succeed, is there anywhere left to go? Brian Yansky offers a funny, grim novel packed with everything boys and sci-fi fans love: aliens, humor, action, and a healthy dose of triumph.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis.

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Feature Fun Friday - The Black Cauldron Bookie Woogie Review by Lilly

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Here In Your Arms by Hellogoodbye.

If I haven't expressed my love for Bookie Woogie enough, here is just another reason. Lily is 8 and has created her own personal review of The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander. It completely brought me back to when I first read this story. And it is adorable to boot. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Bookie Woogie: The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander from Z-Dad on Vimeo.

Let's Book Bomb Variant!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Into the Fire by Thirteen Senses.

Variant by Robinson Wells. Buy it. TODAY. Here's the scoop. Well, let me recap from where I heard the news. From Larry Correia's blog:

Mark your calender. On Thursday, November 10th, I’m going to book bomb somebody, and not only that, I’m going to ask all of you for help spread the word because this particular author is in dire need of a boost.

I’ve already plugged Variant by Robison Wells once before. I know many of you read it and liked it. Rob is a friend of mine and a member of Writer Nerd Game Night. Variant is an excellent read, sort of a sci-fi take on Lord of the Flies with a twist, and don’t just take my word for it, it made the Publisher’s Weekly list of the top books of the year. (which is quite the honor, despite PW hating Hard Magic and giving it a sloppy review that made it obvious their lazy ass reviewer only read the first 1/4 of the book. Ultra good Grimnoir and ultra evil Imperium my ass) :)

But I digress. Variant was one of the best books I’ve read this year. I stayed up late to read it in one sitting.

Normally I wouldn’t bomb the same book again, but Rob is also going through a really tough time. A little while ago he was diagnosed with a severe panic disorder. Basically, something in his brain chemistry has gone out of whack, and his fight or flight reflex is constantly switched on. As a result this has really screwed up his life. He has been trying to get it under control and his doctors have been experimenting with different treatments trying to find the one that will click.

Recently, Rob was laid off from his day job as a result of his illness. This is a real financial hardship for him and his family.

What many people don’t realize about writers is that we keep our day jobs until we have about five or six books in circulation, and sometimes longer depending on how well they are selling. Writing isn’t the most steady of paychecks. (I’m doing well enough now that I could just be a writer, but I happen to love my day job, so I plan on doing it for probably another year). You’ve got to earn back the advance and even then you only get paid every six months. Variant is Rob’s first book on the national market. He had a ways to go before he would be able to quit the day job, but his illness totally wrecked that plan.

So I want to book bomb the HELL out of Variant. I want to shove that thing up the bestseller lists on Amazon and I want to give my friend a hand.

That was blatant thievery of most of his post, but it's for a good cause, so I hope he forgives me.

What is a book bomb you may ask? You've seen how I rank my reviews based on "current Amazon ranking" right? Well, that is a bit of an deceptive determiner because it changes hourly on some secret voodoo algorithm of theirs that they guard like the holy grail. But in essence it is based on how many books are bought on their site in a given time frame then stacked against all of the other 6,000,000 books or so available on Amazon. (plus some more voodoo magic, I'm sure).

The higher you creep up on that number, the most Top 100 and Top 10 book lists you show up on. So you will appear on something like "#9 in Books > Nonfiction > Insect Stuff > Mating Calls of the Bioluminescent Glowworm." :)

So the goal is to bomb the heck out of this book today, get it as high as humanly possible, and help out a debut writer in need. This is what is going to feed his family. And you know what? It has already been vaulted to #256 today. DO YOU KNOW HOW HUGE THAT IS? Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer is at #3,660 right now. Early yesterday VARIANT was lost in obscurity in the #100,000+ range. An incalculable difference is being made right now before your eyes.

And besides all this it sounds like a good book. A really good book. I'm about to put my money where my mouth is.

So sally forth! Tell everyone you know. Today is the day for a book bombing!

Adventures in Disney World - Animal Edition

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Do You Know The Way To San Jose by Dionne Warwick.

If you were here with my on my last covert mission to Disney World, you will realized I made a grave error. I *thought* my mission was to find the last hand flush toilet in the parks, since they didn't seem to exist anywhere. Turns out - they're everywhere! First time I was there I did not find a single one, save for my awe-inspiring moment on the second floor of Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios.

Yes, I took a picture of it. I needed proof, people.

This time, I think the ratio was 70-30 in favor of the flush variety. But in the converse, I made every single bus walking on them save for four (or run on, as a couple of the cases were). So I'll take the trade off. :)

And it turns out my camera with the extra SD card is not currently in my possession, so some of my more candid shots will have to wait until later. BUT. I have some awesome photos to show you, well, because animals are just cool. No, I never grew out of being a little kid.

The best time to go on Kilimanjaro Safari? First thing in the morning, especially if you have early hours because you're staying on Disney property.* Why? Because they feed them first thing in the morning and that is when they are the most active. So instead of a lump of a sleeping lion, you get a shot like this

He was totally posing by the way. I'm not kidding.

Catch me on my good side.

See? They like being out when there's food.

The second time I went on the safari, as we rounded the "savanna", we came upon a sight that shocked even our tour guide. A giraffe was chasing a wildebeest. All of the cars had to stop. Which was fine by me because I was snapping as many photos as I could in the early morning light. This set off a mini stampede of over half the giraffes (but not the reticulated giraffes. They were as calm as cats munching on their leafy greens). It was something beautiful to see.

I know some people think giraffes look silly or absurd when they run, but I think it is stunning and all kinds of cool for something to even move like that.

And I caught this guy sunbathing. What I wouldn't give to see one of these guys run. :) (If you want to see a weird run, type in "komodo dragon running" into youtube or some other video sharing site. Now that's a strange run. But don't begrudge them that. They can outstrip humans easy with, going over 30 mph).

*Second best time to go? 5:00 PM or later when they are beginning to close. Also feeding time. :)

I'll Be Back *said in the best Terminator voice*

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Becoming a Geisha by John Williams [Memoirs of Geisha soundtrack]

Because I'm off to Disney World! :D I will see you all next week. I miss you already.