Ode to bamboo

Well, not an ode per se, as I am the world’s worst poet, but the intent is there believe me. Because I am in love with a fabric, and that fabric is bamboo.

I am currently wearing bamboo sweatpants (get your lounge on, people!) and there is nothing bad I can say about them. Except maybe that they don’t look more respectable, so I probably still have to get for-real dressed to leave the house.

I need bamboo jeans…

Anyhoo, today’s gratitude goes to my awesome pants, with the added bonus of being able to mention pants, because PANTS!

– Liz

P.S. I totally have good things to tell you guys soon! It’s KILLING ME to keep it to myself!!! *BLARGH!!!*

Confessional Gratitude

At the end of last year, I landed myself in the hospital.  Nothing life-threatening, but it wasn’t fun.  I won’t explain all the complications, but the start of it all was kidney stones.  And yes, they are everything you’ve ever heard about them, and more.

Me, with kidney stones.

Why am I telling you this?  Because that’s where the trouble started.  See, I had to be on pain medication for quite a while and it pretty much sapped my will to do anything but watch TV.  A lot of TV.  And that’s really saying something because I already watch kind of a lot of TV (Don’t judge me.)  The problem was I was watching TV instead of reading.  I just couldn’t concentrate enough to read a book.

I think I went a solid two months without reading a book.  Maybe a page or two of a puppy-training book (have I mentioned my puppy?) but that’s all I could muster.

My puppy, Alex

My puppy, Alex

Turns out, I need to read.  I think my writing brain might be fueled on the words of others.  Maybe my brain eats them, mulches them and rearranges them into my own books.  I’m not sure.  But with that lack of concentration and lack of reading, came a serious lack of writing.  I could tap out a few hundred words now and again, but nothing more than that.

Lucky for me, I was pretty much between things with my contract.  I did some line edits (thankfully not too straining on my addled brain) and some other non-writing jobs (like getting my author photo done.)

Then, finally, after the new year, when I realized I hadn’t even started a page for my 2013 Book List on ye olde blog, I decided to pick up one of the books on my to-read pile.  It was Laura Ellen‘s BLIND SPOT, and it was fantastic.  I loved it and I ate it up like candy.

Sooooo goooooood!

I started mainlining audiobooks again (Christopher Moore is my new back-up boyfriend) and now I’m deep into E.M. Kokie‘s PERSONAL EFFECTS.

Have you read this? Why not?

And guess what?  The rusting machinery of writing deep in my brain chugged to life.

So, thank you, Apocalypsies, for saving me from a life of television-induced ennui. (Note:  I will still be watching all of my favorite–you guys, Bunheads is on tonight!–but I will no longer be surfing for daytime nonsense.)

Are you watching this show? WHY NOT?

– Liz

Author Friends

Dear Everyone I Know Who Has Already Been Published,

Thank you for blazing a trail ahead of me, so I know I’m normal when I fill out that wretched Author Questionnaire and feel like the least-connected nobody that ever wrote a book.  Without you guys going through all of this ahead of me, I would no doubt be curled up under the table rocking myself and whimpering.

– Liz

 

Dear Brain

Dear Brain,

Thank you for remembering to get a new toothbrush out of the cabinet tonight, even though I left the old one on the counter after I used it to brush the dog’s teeth earlier. That was solid of you.

– Liz

20130109-230444.jpg

Author Photo

Author Photo

Dear Shannon Wucherer,

Thanks for making me look a whole lot better than I have any right to.

Liz

Dear Baristas

To all the baristas as Starbucks near my house,

Thanks for never batting an eye no matter what weirdness I order.  I appreciate your lack of judgment on my morning beverage habits.

Liz

Books I Read in 2012

Books I’ve Read 2012

  1. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart – Deb Caletti
  2. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  3. Entwined – Heather Dixon
  4. Ditched – Robin Mellon
  5. No Dress Required – Cari Quinn
  6. Unidentified – Rae Mariz
  7. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  8. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
  9. The Edumacation of Jay Baker – Jay Clark
  10. Tangled – Carolyn Mackler
  11. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  12. Rotters – Daniel Krauss
  13. The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman – Louise Plummer
  14. 13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher
  15. The Secret Year – Jennifer Hubbard
  16. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  17. Love You, Hate You, Miss You – Elizabeth Scott
  18. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
  19. Girl, Stolen – April Henry
  20. Enclave – Ann Aguirre
  21. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson
  22. Article 5 – Kristen Simmons
  23. Across the Universe – Beth Revis
  24. Purity – Jackson Pearce
  25. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
  26. Hourglass – Myra McEntire
  27. The Future of Us – Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
  28. Unraveling – Elizabeth Norris
  29. Belles – Jen Calonita
  30. Everblue – Brenda Pandos
  31. 50 Shades of Grey – E.L. James
  32. This Girl Is Different – JJ Johnson
  33. Revived – Cat Patrick
  34. Slide – Jill Hathaway
  35. Tempest – Julie Cross
  36. Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator – Josh Berk
  37. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
  38. Fake Me a Match – Lauren Barnholdt
  39. Sometimes it Happens – Lauren Barnholdt
  40. Past Perfect – Leila Sales
  41. Withering Tights – Louise Rennison
  42. Team Human – Sarah Rees Brennan & Justine Larbalastier
  43. Katana – Cole Gibsen
  44. Fifty Shades Darker – E.L. James
  45. Fifty Shades Freed – E.L. James
  46. Sacre Bleu – Christopher Moore
  47. The Sex Lives of Cannibals – J. Maarten Troost
  48. Will Work for Prom Dress – Aimee Farris
  49. Getting Stoned with Savages – J. Maarten Troost
  50. Life on Planet China – J. Maarten Troost
  51. Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief – Bill Mason
  52. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith
  53. Cinder – Marissa Meyer
  54. The Selection – Kiera Cass
  55. Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
  56. The Company – Robert Littel
  57. The End of Faith – Sam Harris
  58. Shadows – Ilsa J. Bick
  59. My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick
  60. The Madness Underneath – Maureen Johnson
  61. Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler
  62. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  63. The Panther – Nelson DeMille
  64. Notorious Nineteen – Janet Evanovich

Books I’ve Read to/with My Son 2012

  1. Ready, Freddy:  Apple Orchard Race – Abby Klein
  2. Ready, Freddy:  Help! A Vampire’s Coming – Abby Klein
  3. Ready, Freddy:  Shark Tooth Tale – Abby Klein
  4. Froggy’s Best Babysitter Ever – Jonathan London
  5. Froggy Goes to Camp – Jonathan London
  6. Froggy Plays T-Ball – Jonathan London
  7. Bad Kitty! – Nick Bruel
  8. What’s It Like to Be a Cat? – Karla Kuskin
  9. Lots of Dots – Craig Frazier
  10. Waking Up Wendell – April Stevens
  11. The Seal – Barbara Makar
  12. I Am Going! – Mo Willems
  13. My Friend Is Sad – Mo Willems
  14. What’s Your Sound, Hound the Hound? – Mo Willems
  15. Ready, Freddy:  Yikes! Bikes! – Abby Klein
  16. Ready, Freddy:  Super Secret Valentine – Abby Klein
  17. Ready, Freddy:  The Camping Catastrophe – Abby Klein
  18. Corduroy – Don Freeman
  19. Crazy Hair – Neil Gaiman
  20. The Carrot Seed – Ruth Krauss
  21. The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments – Arnold Lobel
  22. A Bad Kitty Christmas – Nick Bruel
  23. Poor Puppy – Nick Bruel
  24. Bad Kitty Meets the Baby – Nick Bruel
  25. It’s Time for School, Charlie Brown – Charles Schulz
  26. Lose the Blanket, Linus – Charles Schulz
  27. Kick the Football, Charlie Brown – Charles Schulz
  28. I Am Invited to a Party – Mo Willems
  29. I Will Surprise My Friend – Mo Willems
  30. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – J. Fred Coots & Haven Gillespie
  31. Llama, Llama, Red Pajama – Anna Dewdney
  32. Mac is Fine – Barbara Makar
  33. The Joke – Barbara Makar
  34. Ready, Freddy:  Firehouse Fun – Abby Klein
  35. Ready, Freddy:  The King of Show and Tell – Abby Klein
  36. Big, Bad Bunny – Franny Billingsley
  37. Mr. Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans – Cynthia Rylant
  38. Snow Valentines – Karen Gray Ruelle
  39. Wacky Wednesday – Theo LeSieg
  40. I Wish That I Had Duck Feet – Theo LeSieg
  41. Froggy Goes to School – Jonathan London
  42. Let’s Go, Froggy! – Jonathan London
  43. Could Be Worse! – James Stevenson
  44. The Purple Coat – Amy Hest
  45. Boing! – Nick Bruel
  46. The Dirty Little Boy – Margaret Wise Brown
  47. Far Far Away! – John Segal
  48. Who Is Melvin Bubble – Nick Bruel
  49. Sneaky Sheep – Chris Monroe
  50. We Are In a Book – Mo Willems
  51. Don’t Make Me Laugh – James Stevenson
  52. Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! – Dr. Seuss
  53. April Fool – Karen Gray Ruelle
  54. All The Water in the World – George Ella Lyon
  55. George and Martha – James Marshall
  56. Blueberry Girl – Neil Gaiman
  57. Ready, Freddy:  Penguin Problem – Abby Klein
  58. Ready, Freddy:  The Perfect Present – Abby Klein
  59. Henry’s Awful Mistake – Robert Quackenbush
  60. Hudson Hates School – Ella Hudson
  61. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy – Mo Willems
  62. The Clown-Arounds – Joanna Cole
  63. Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia! – Peggy Parrish
  64. One – Kathryn Otoshi
  65. The 100th Customer – Byung-Gyu Kim
  66. Henry’s World Tour – Robert Quackenbush
  67. The Book That Eats People – John Perry
  68. Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator – Mo Willems
  69. Bunny Days – Tao Nyeu
  70. Zero – Kathryn Otoshi
  71. Henry’s Important Date – Robert Quackenbush
  72. Amelia Bedelia Under Construction – Herman Parrish
  73. Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parrish
  74. Too Many Lollypops – Robert Quackenbush
  75. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Laura Numeroff
  76. Ready, Freddy: Shark Attack – Abby Klein
  77. Just a Second – Steve Jenkins
  78. The Quiet Book – Deborah Underwood
  79. Spoon – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  80. I Want My Hat Back – Jon Klassen
  81. Stuck – Oliver Jeffers
  82. Mouse Days – Leo Lionni
  83. The Dot – Peter H. Reynolds
  84. Ish – Peter H. Reynolds
  85. Not a Box – Antoinette Portis
  86. When the Fireflies Come – Jonathan London
  87. The Curious Garden – Peter Brown
  88. The Incredible Book Eating Boy – Oliver Jeffers
  89. The Way Back Home – Oliver Jeffers
  90. How to Catch a Star – Oliver Jeffers
  91. Up and Down – Oliver Jeffers
  92. Knuffle Bunny Too – Mo Willems
  93. Library Mouse A Museum Adventure – Daniel Kirk
  94. I’m a Shark – Bob Shea
  95. Children Make Terrible Pets – Peter Brown
  96. You Will Be My Friend – Peter Brown
  97. Blackout – John Rocco
  98. No Jumping on the Bed! – Tedd Arnold
  99. The Hueys in: The New Sweater – Oliver Jeffers
  100. Boy + Bot – Ame Dyckman
  101. Lost and Found – Oliver Jeffers
  102. Plant a Kiss – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  103. Dinosaur vs. Bedtime – Bob Shea
  104. I’m Here – Peter H. Reynolds
  105. Froggy Goes to Hawaii – Jonathan London
  106. Me Want Pet – Bob Shea
  107. Not a Stick – Antoinette Portis
  108. Moonpowder – John Rocco
  109. Hi! Fly Guy – Ted Arnold
  110. Shoo, Fly Guy! – Ted Arnold
  111. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Fly Guy – Ted Arnold
  112. Fly High, Fly Guy! – Ted Arnold
  113. Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure – Jeff Brown
  114. Flat Stanley: Stanley, Flat Again! – Jeff Brown
  115. Flat Stanley: Invisible Stanley – Jeff Brown
  116. Flat Stanley: Stanley in Space – Jeff Brown
  117. The Problem with Pumpkins – Barney Saltzberg
  118. The Halloween Kid – Rhode Montijo
  119. A Very Brave Witch – Allison McGhee
  120. The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School – Laurie Halse Andersen
  121. Chicken Cheeks – Michael Ian Black
  122. The Foot Book – Dr. Seuss
  123. Flat Stanley:  Stanley Saves Christmas – Jeff Brown
  124. Let’s Go Driving – Mo Willems
  125. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! – Dr. Seuss
  126. Go, Dog! Go! – P.D. Eastman
  127. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! – Dr. Seuss with Jack Prelutsky & Lane Smith
  128. A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose – Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  129. Milo’s Hat Trick – Jon Agee
  130. I Spy Fly Guy! – Tedd Arnold
  131. Super Fly Guy – Tedd Arnold
  132. The Ear Book – Al Perkins
  133. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs – Mo Willems
  134. Excuse Me! – Lisa Kopelke
  135. I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat – Donald Hall
  136. The Kettles Get New Clothes – Dayle Ann Dodd
  137. Nate the Great – Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  138. Punk Farm – Jarrett Krosoczka
  139. The Silly Book – Babette Cole
  140. Sneezenesia – Deb Lucke
  141. Nate the Great Goes Undercover – Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  142. Nate the Great and the Crunchy Christmas – Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  143. Oh the Thinks You Can Think – Dr. Suess
  144. Olivia Helps with Christmas – Ian Falconer
  145. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Suess
  146. That Is Not My Hat – Jon Klassen

2012, I’m talking to you

Dear 2012,

Thanks for not actually being the end of the world.  I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and I would have been really bummed to disappear in a fireball before I could see any of it come to fruition.

– Liz

The Year of Gratitude

2012 was a very good year for me.  It was sometimes a very bad year for me, too, but in the end, the balance sheet was decidedly in the black.  And with my debut now just about a year away, it seems like 2013 has the potential to be a very good year as well.

Because of that, and inspired by ThxThxThx, I’ve decided to focus my blog on gratitude this year. Sometimes it will be simple–bordering on idiotic–and sometimes it will be big–can you say cover art?

So, come with me if you will, and revel is all there is to be thankful for.

– Liz

My Own Personal Book Awards 2012

Last year was the first year I decided to post some of my favorite books in the form of awards, and I really enjoyed thinking back on everything I’d read over the year.  So, I’ve decided to do it again.

Just like last year, the books are in no particular order in the categories below.  I have a heck of a time deciding on a favorite in any category, since I choose each one for different reasons.  You can be sure that i would recommend any of them.

So, without further ado…

Favorite Reads of 2012

1. The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

This book is magical.  I didn’t know what to expect when I started it, and I couldn’t predict what would happen next page after page.  It’s rare to have no idea where a book is going, but love every second of it.  The characters are so rich, the world so complete and compelling, the mythology believable…I’ve never wanted to be a ghost more in my life.  This one passed the litmus test for wondrousness:  I forced my mom to read it as soon as I was done.

2.  Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

Great literature, this book is not, but rarely have I been so enamored of a world.  It was clear from page one that this book was meticulously researched and a true labor of love for Cline.  If you grew up in the 1980s, there will be so many shout-outs in this book you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.  I’m not sure if non-geeks will love this book as much as I did, but I’d love to get everyone to read it.  In fact, I made my mom and my husband start reading it before I was even done.

3.  Past Perfect
by Leila Sales

The cover of this book drives me nuts.  It tells you NOTHING about the story.  It certainly doesn’t do justice to how fantastic this book is.  It’s funny, and different, and quirky.  The characters are realistic and accessible, the romance is sweet and heart-pounding, the setting is unlike any other.  Historical re-enactment, people!  Trust me, if you love contemporary, you will love this book.

4.  The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

This book had me under its spell from page one.  I swear, it has magical properties.  The way Morgenstern weaves her breath-taking world around you, keeping you on your toes with jumps through time, and multiple POVs…I felt like I was being led through a Viennese Waltz by a skilled partner.  Beautiful, exciting, enchanting.

5.  Sacre Bleu
by Christopher Moore

To say that this book is about the color blue is madness, and yet it is.  Moore sheds his unique light on the Impressionists of Paris, intermingling their lives, and peppering the world with a supernatural mystery.  I listened to this one as an audiobook, which I would highly recommend.  The reader’s command of French added to the atmosphere of the book.  If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, Moulin Rouge, or The Night Circus, I’d give this one a try.

Five Books That Made Me Feel Like a Hack as a Writer in 2012

1.  The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

If I could write like Morgenstern, I’d charge you all admission just to read my blog.  The gorgeous language, the complexity of the construction, the imagination…I just…there are no words.  This book is straight-up beautiful.

2.  The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

If Gaiman doesn’t make you feel a little bit like a hack as a writer, you’re probably not reading very carefully.  He is a rare talent that I suspect will go down as one of the greats.  There will be college courses dedicated to his works down the road, mark my words.  The turns of phrase, the language, the genuine affection for the characters that is so evident in his words.  A sparkling gem of a book.

3.  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

The pace of this book is quite slow, especially at first, but I still found myself curious about what Riggs was up to.  The way he balanced the modern with the historic was delightful, and the descriptions made me feel like I was there.  I feel like I can’t say too much about this book without giving it all away.  The secrets are worth the effort.

4.  Sacre Bleu
by Christopher Moore

Oh to be as effortlessly hilarious as Christopher Moore!  He brings so much life and fun to a historical setting.  I usually don’t read historicals because I like a more casual tone and humor–not drawing room comedy humor–but I always know Moore will deliver.

5.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

The first page of this book made my jaw drop.  Not because it was so shocking, but because the language and style was so tremendous.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I loved this book.  It took a turn in the middle I didn’t expect, and didn’t love, but it was so beautifully written I stayed with it.  Tremendous world-building, and amazing characters unlike any you’ve encountered.

Favorite Female Characters of 2012

1.  Mel from Team Human
by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier

You guys, I’m so annoyed.  I had all this stuff written below all of the books on the rest of this list, and WordPress ate them.  I can’t even remember what all I said, and I’m too tired to go through and do it again.  Just know that they are all awesome books and if you want to know why I like them, just ask.  Color me frustrated!!!

2.  Chelsea from Past Perfect by Leila Sales

3.  Hannah from 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

4.  Shelby from Purity by Jackson Pearce

5.  Emerson from Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Favorite Male Characters of 2012

1.  Joey from Rotters by Daniel Krauss

2.  Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

3.  Biff from Lamb by Christopher Moore

4.  Marco from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

5.  Josh from The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Best Love Stories of 2012

1.  Samantha and Jase from My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

2.  Min and Ed from Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

3.  Celia and Marco from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

4.  Chelsea and Dan from Past Perfect by Leila Sales

5.  Cinder and Prince Kai from Cinder by Marissa Meyer