Teaser Tuesday – 5/25/10

This one comes shortly after the last one, so we’re still with Ace telling us a story about Apollo (who he used to be).

Apollo also wasn’t really looking to get into a life of crime.  Ironic, I know, considering where I am now, but really all he wanted was to borrow the book and look inside for a bit.  A single spell–I mean, formula–was all he wanted.  Something that would make him more visible to his dad that didn’t require holding up a bank or screaming “Fire” in the middle of the lab.  Something so subtle that Dr. Easton would notice and not even realize anything was different.  Some way to make it the most natural thing in the world.  That was all Apollo wanted.  Not so much to ask.

He sat at the bottom of a set of stairs that led up to his dad’s personal office and started reading.

“A formula to increase strength.”

No, not right.

“A formula to improve the visual appeal of an object.”

Or a person?  He considered this, but discarded it.  What good was making yourself more handsome if nobody looked at you?

“A formula to make pests disappear.”

He shuddered, thinking of pests in the annoying son sense, rather than insects and rodents.  What if someone had used that on him when he was little?

“Fuel for a hyper-reactor.”

He didn’t know what a hyper-reactor was, but he was certain he didn’t need fuel for one.

He went through the book slowly.  No matter what he read–a chemical compound that created obedience, the formula to fix a broken heart, and so on–nothing was quite right.  And the more he read the more he felt like it really was a spell book instead of a chemistry book.  He looked up expecting to see Professor Snape in front of him.

Instead a blonde girl peered her face over the edge of the book.  “What are you reading?”

Currently on iPod: Freak Out by Avril Lavigne

Lots of love,
Sage

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Leeloo Dallas Multitask

I love the Fifth Element, thus the title.  I know all of, like, three people will get it, but for those three people, I love you.

I’m a big fan of multitasking.  I write and listen to music.  I work and listen to audiobooks.  I watch tv while I cook. 

For most of 2010, I’ve been multitasking my reading.  It’s not just three books (real, e, and audio), right now I have NINE books I consider myself to be reading (and on Wednesday, it was ten, but I finished two and added one).

The thing is that I’m reading different books based on situation.  If I’m at work, I’m going to be using an audiobook.  If I’m at the gym, it’s definitely an ebook.  If I’m home it might be a real book or an ebook.  Sometimes I have a novel I’m betaing too, and that’s possibly going to be on my computer or else printed on letter-sized paper.

Within these categories, I have multiple books going based on my mood.  I downloaded the complete Narnia series on my iPod, but I can only listen to so much of the same sorta thing, so I started listening to other things in between.  I’m having an Agatha Christie craving, and those are better on the Kindle (the books all have tiny print) so I have one there, but before I got the Kindle, I bought a three-in-one book of Poirot novels, and I’ve been making my way through that.  I have a Poirot on the Kindle, but I can only read one of those at a time, or else the clues will get jumbled, so I put that ebook aside.  Meanwhile, I’m reading The Secret Garden at the gym on the ebook.  I downloaded If I Stay after previewing it on the Kindle because I kept hearing how it made people cry.  And I downloaded Northinger Abby after watching The Jane Austen Book Club (and it’s free on the Kindle), but shortly after doing so, I put that one down because the long paragraphs at the beginning are hard to read on the Kindle.  Beside the Agatha Christie I’m reading in hardcopy, I also have Luna, which is going slowly for some reason, and Sphinx Princess, which I wanted for a long time and finally bought on my birthday when nobody bought it for me first.  Finally, I have an adult novel I’ve been working on since December, that I really want to finish someday, but I’m afraid I’ll be too confused after so much time (I was researching MG books when I put it down, but it’s still by my bed, waiting to be opened again)

So here’s the run down:

  1. Three Days to Dead
  2. Luna
  3. Sphnix Princess
  4. Appointment with Death
  5. Poirot’s Early Cases
  6. If I Stay
  7. The Secret Garden
  8. Northinger Abby
  9. The Last Battle

Yep, nine books.  On Wednesday I finished The Silver Chair and Fairest.

What’s nice about the multitasking is that I finish books in waves.  On one day I might finish multiple books.  Of course, you would think that this slows down the reading of any one book, and it undoubtedly does, but since I’m choosing the novel based on mood, it’s possible I wouldn’t feel like reading the books I don’t choose then anyway.  And obviously work and gym time would be non-reading time if it wasn’t for the iPod and Kindle, respectively.  (I’ve talked about how hard it was with a real book at the gym before).

You also might think I’d get confused between the novels.  But really, as long as I don’t read two Agatha Christies or listen to two Narnia books at the same time, I don’t.  The closest I get to it is when I get this feeling that I was really emotionally into some fictional work, and my brain is trying to work out which one it was.  But this also spans tv and movies, and occasionally still influences my next read.  For example, after the movie The Good Son was on the other day and I caught the end of it, I was very creeped out by sadistic people, and, hey, I happened to be reading Appointment With Death, where the soon-to-be-murdered “victim” is also very sadistic.  That influenced which book I chose for a while.

Will I slow down as I finish books in this set?  Recent experience has told me “no.”  I keep adding books to the list.  Finishing one and starting two.  Obviously, when I finish Appointment with Death, I will go to the last novel in that three-in-one book.  Plus I have a bunch of books I’m dying to read on my bookcase, and plenty at my fingertips on the Kindle.  However, my iPod listening will slow down for now because I have to think at work for the next two weeks at least.

But we’ll see.  I’m going to try to finish one book tonight.  Off to read Sphinx Princess.

Currently on iPod: Foreplay/Long Time by Boston

Lots of love,
Sage

Lots of love Thursday 2

It feels like it was just LoLT, and here we are again.  I wasn’t so diligent about keeping track as I said I was going to be, lol.

Incidently, you might notice that I sign posts (and e-mails) with “Lots of love.”   I’ve done that for quite a long time, more than a decade.  Back when I was on my first internet forum, I saw lots of people just randomly posting “LOL.”  I didn’t know what it meant, but it always seemed to be a positive response.  I decided that it meant “lots of love,” like people were sending “lots of love” for comments that they liked (like we might press “Like” for certain things now).  But then I saw someone use it some way that didn’t make sense, so I finally asked, and of  course I found out it meant “laugh out loud.”  I was so amused that I started using “lots of love” as my e-mail signature all the time.

I ramble on about this now because I don’t think I have that many things this week, so I’m filling up the post 😉

Things I loved this week:

  • Ella Enchanted (the book): I just read this this weekend for the first time.  I had seen the movie, which I really like, but this is practically a different entity from the movie.  Like two stories with the same basic concept.  I really liked it, so I downloaded Fairest, also by Gail Carson Levine, as an audiobook (which was a good choice because it was full of music).
  • Homestyle mac ‘n’ cheese by Kraft: Someone was talking about homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, and I don’t know how to make it, so I went to get Kraft’s mac ‘n’ cheese instead, and I saw they had a “homestyle” version now that basically looks the same.  I made it and it’s GREAT.  It only takes a couple minutes longer, actually, unless you bake it (and then only 5 minutes longer than that), which I did and is totally worth it.
  • Joss Whedon/Neil Patrick Harris/Glee: It was an excellent episode with excellent music. 
  • The Buffy thread on a forum I frequent: Speaking of Joss, one of my friends is watching Buffy for the first time and she’s on season 5, which is my favorite 😀  I love watching her reaction to things.
  • Justin (Voice Game version): He’s a character in Love Sucks, but he’s a real creep there.  However, I brought him into a RPG (we call it the Voice Game, in case I mention it again) and basically the path he went down there led him from being as sleazy as in LS.  He’s such a complicated character, and his life has really sucked.  What I love best about playing him is that he’s gradually started trying harder to be a better person now that he feels like people actually care about him, but he doesn’t always try to do the right thing.  The other characters are always torturing themselves about trying to do the right thing even when it hurts him, but sometimes he just won’t do it.  I loved him this week because he saw his boyfriend kiss another boy and ran off to destroy a hotel room where his uncle once beat him. 

That’s really it for this week, as far as I can remember.  Next week I’ll try to remember to write things down as I go.

Currently on iPod: Fly Like an Eagle by Seal

Lots of love,

Sage

Teaser Tuesday 5/18/10

After a few weeks of no teasers, I finally broke past that stupid scene I hated, and moved on (with huge notes to fix it in revisions, lol).  So here I have NEW stuff.  Ace’s POV.  In case, you need catching up, Apollo is supposedly dead, but there’ve been enough hints for the reader to know that Apollo is probably now Ace.

Apollo was so weak.

I stare up into the blackness of my room, appreciating the sound of the fan overhead.  If it wasn’t for that, I might as well be in a blackhole.  No sight. No sound.  Just the story of Apollo.

The most badass thing he had done by the time he met Evie was stealing Dad’s copy of Superchemistry for Superscientists.  His dad didn’t notice.

Dad was setting up Pure East, getting it established as the local bottled water that everyone should drink.  He purified it in the plant and added the vitamins, but very few people were choosing Pure East over Aquafina or Evian.

By the way, Evian spelled backwards is Naïve.  Think about it.

At first, his dad worked out of the garage of their house, but once the factory got established and he was finally making money on Pure East instead of losing it–barely, but enough–he moved the supersciencistry into an unused room in the factory.

Apollo hardly ever saw his dad unless he visited the factory after that.  Dad was always there or trying to make contacts with the League or advertising Pure East of something.  Anything but spending time with his son.  Mom had left, so Apollo was left to do whatever he felt like.

Some–smarter–kids might have used this to their advantage.  Thrown parties, get laid, do drugs.  Not Goody-Two-Shoes Apollo.  He stupidly kept trying for Dad.  Trying to be good and smart and out of the way even as I begged Dad to pay attention to me.

Dad ignored him.

There it is.  Hope you enjoyed.

Currently on iPod: Feelin’ (Here to Infinity Remix) by Gloria Estefan

The “Feel” songs have been pretty good.  Today I heard: “Feel a Whole Lot Better” by Tom Petty, “Feel Good Drag” by Amberlin, “Feel Like Rain” by Motion City Soundtrack, “Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good” by Nickelback, and the orginialy “Feelin'” by Gloria Estefan.  I’m not sure why the Nickelback song played before the Gloria songs, but oh well.

Lots of love,

Sage

Lots of Love Thursdays

Happy birthday to meeeeee 😀

I’m starting a new segment.  Lots of Love Thursdays, where I talk about all the things I’ve loved in the last week.  Obviously from week to week, I’ll have some overlap, but that’s fine.  Here’s what I’ve loved this week:

  • Musers:  When I got all depressed about Fireflies and said I didn’t know what was wrong with it, they came at me en masse and asked to help crit it extensively (and they are)
  • My parents: They weren’t going to send me birthday presents because they’re paying for the Hawaii cruise at Christmas, but they sent me stuff anyway.
  • The postcard from Rome that came in their box: Completely made my day.  They told me I wasn’t as old as the Vatican but I was just as awesome and I attracted cats too.
  • This week’s Glee: Fun music, good plot together in one episode?  You can do it, writers, I knew you could
  • Listening to “The Power of Madonna” at work alone on Sunday: Nothing at work is better than dancing around the lab while singing along to Glee
  • My songs that start with “Ev”: see the last post
  • Nashville Auction: It’s lots of fun, though it’s also stressful and I’m sleep deprived because each auction ends at 1 a.m. EST.

If I wait a few hours, I could probably add a facial and a pedicure, plus ice cream and dinner at Romano’s to this list, but I want to post this now because I have a busy day full of the above things plus presents and writing.

I’m going to add notes onto my iPod as I go through the week so I can remember on Thursday all the things that make me happy.

Currently on iPod: Fall, Baby, Fall by Ryan Cabrera

Lots of love,

Sage

Request/Rejection Timing

I’ve decided I’m going to try to do a new themed weekly post.  This is probably going to fall on Thursdays, which I don’t think is a particularly post-heavy day from me.  Details on Thursday (which, incidently, is my birthday).

So for some reason, a question I see a lot on AW is “when is the best day of the week to query?” and “what day do agents respond?”  And overwhelmingly the “people who know” on AW will tell you that there’s no better day to query and no consistent day that will get a response.  And this is kinda true.  Obviously, not all agents are going to answer their queries on the same day.  They don’t do it the same way (some seem to respond right away as if they keep an eye on their inbox, some take ages as if all queries are in a queue and you have to wait your turn).  And I doubt that there’s any day that you can query that’s going to guarantee a quicker response or a more positive one.

That said, here’s what I noticed while querying Fireflies.

Requests:

90% (this is an estimate, not a stat) of my requests came from the beginning of the work week.  Monday-Wednesday were where a majority of my requests came from.  And Tuesday was by far the day with the most requests.

Request rejections:

Almost all of the responses to requests that I’ve gotten so far have fallen on weekends  (including Friday).  I noticed this when I made a prediction on a certain Sunday that I was going to get good news, and my writer friends said, “Oh, it’s Sunday.  Give them until the work week,” and that exact day I received three rejections–two request rejections and one query rejection.  I started paying attention to when I was getting rejections.  Query rejections might come any day (I didn’t study when they came), but the fulls and partials seem to be falling on weekends.

I suppose this info makes sense.  Agents read requests outside of work hours, and weekends are the obvious time for this.  As for answering queries, that probably seems like a good thing to get out of the way at the beginning of the week, and Tuesday may be the most popular day because Monday is full of work that the agents received from their clients on the weekend.

As for when to send that query?  I don’t think there’s really any reason to worry about that.  It will get answered when it does and you can’t predict (unless you have dealt with that agent before and notice a pattern for them) when they’ll answer and in what order.

In music news, I am near the end of the Es, and can I say that the EVs were extraordinary (like the song I’m on).  “Evacuating London” and “Even If It Kills Me” made my cry the other day as they played one after the other (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe soundtrack and Motion City Soundtrack, respectively).  Today I started with The Slip’s “Even Rats,” Sheryl Crow’s “Every Day is a Winding Road,” Avenue Q’s “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” (which followed Dr. Horrible‘s “Everyone’s a Hero” and was followed by “Everything You Ever Wanted,” but those are not my fave Dr. Horrible songs), Motion City Soundtrack’s “Everything is All Right,” and Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want.”  Those are my two favorite MCS songs, btw.

But currently on iPod: Extraordinary by Liz Phair

Lots of love,
Sage

Books vs. E-readers vs. Audiobooks

Wow, the Do the Write Thing for Nashville auction is going so well already.  Mandy Morgan tells me that they have several more days worth of items, and they keep getting more, even more fabulous “items.”  I’ve heard some rumors about some donations they’re getting and all I can say is “Wow.”  I cannot believe the generosity of some of the donators.  Futhermore, some of the items that are already up for bid keep getting sweetened by the donators.

On to my actual post.

So I’m still pretty new at this audiobook and Kindle thing, but I’ve already figured out what I prefer while reading. 

Audiobooks are handy sometimes.  Certainly when I’m mounting bugs onto slides all day long, it’s not exactly a task that requires much of my attention.  So I’ve been trying the audiobook thing.  It keeps me entertained during work, sure, and for my 100 book challenge this year, I’m certainly getting a lot of books done.  But… I’m not really an auditory person.  I pay attention to words better when I read them.  For some things this isn’t a problem (Chronicles of Narnia are simple enough).  For some things, it is (I would have had a hard enough time remembering the names in one book if it was on paper, much less auditory).  And the voices are hit or miss.  I’ve been previewing the ones I download beforehand, but sometimes it seems like a pleasant enough voice until you’re 4 hours in and have 5 to go and have gotten annoyed with it.  Plus they’re expensive.  And finally, two of them didn’t download properly the first time, so I had to go to iTunes and say, Hey, give me these again, which was a hassle.  So there are good things and bad things about it, and it’s definitely not my favorite.

Real books have several advantages.  While it’s harder to find time to read them, they do give me more of a sense of accomplishment when I do.  I mentioned, of course, the difference between reading and listening.  One of my current reading obsessions right now is Agatha Christie, but I’d never catch the clues in an audiobook.  It’s got to be visual for me.  And then, when I’m done, I can put the book with it’s pretty pretty cover on my bookshelves and pick it up again at anytime.  This is both good and bad, of course.  Unlike the e-reader and iPod, I feel better taking books to certain places (to a soccer game in the rain (in my purse, but still) into the bathroom, etc.), but there are also certain places I don’t want to bring it (it’s a hassle turning pages at the gym).

Finally, I get to the Kindle.  I have to admit, I’m getting spoiled by it.  While I have no physical copy of the book, this does save me shelf space for the books I want on my bookcases enough to buy.  Obviously, there’s the ease of turning pages, a blessing when I’m eating or at the gym.  I can change the font size (and it’s a uniform font, which I happen to like) to suit my needs.  One problem I have with physical Agatha Christie books is that the font is all tiny and the margins are as well.  This is also great at the gym, where I can make the words bigger to read while on the treadmill.  So a good and bad thing about it is the ease with which I can find and buy a book.  Granted, a lot of books aren’t in e-reader form.  But if I finish one, I can pop onto the Kindle Store and find a new book pretty fast.  And I always always sample it if I can.  The sampling option is great, and I’ve been using it for all the books I’ve been interested in lately, no matter what form I eventually get them in.  But often I get to the end of the sample and just hit buy.  It’s so easy.  It’s kinda expensive when I’m doing this and ignoring books I already own, lol.  But the number one thing I miss about real books?  Bookstores.  I love going to bookstores.  I love getting drawn into a cover and taking the book to the cafe and drinking a coffee while I look at the blurb and first pages to see if it’s any good.  Or hitting a bookstore cafe to write with a pile of books by my side as a shield because all I’m buying that day is water.  I love looking for my friends’ books on the shelves or just seeing what all that buzz is about for a certain book, or picking up a bunch and looking at their opening pages to see if I want to add them to my Amazon wishlist for my upcoming birthday.  I love bookstores.  And it’s harder to find an excuse to go when I prefer reading the e-book.

So that’s my breakdown of books vs. e-books vs. audiobooks.  I’ve definitely come down in favor of the Kindle, at least while I’m reading.  For a purchase I basically made to use at the gym, it’s turned into a great one. 

Currently on my iPod: Escape from “Surprise” from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer – Christophe Beck

Lots of love,

Sage

P.S.  Since I missed it last time, on my iPod was Echoes by Dar Williams, I think.