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Top 10 Most Popular Posts on This Blog 2012 (Sorta)

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm glad we're all alive.

Thanks to something I stumbled on via Google+, I was able to compile a list via Google Analytics based on number of pageviews. Unfortunately, it isn't an entirely accurate list, since I only installed the code on my blog at the beginning of July, but it's a good reflection on what happened during the last six months of 2012.

Besides, the Blogger stats are broken.

Seriously. Don't rely on those. Use Google Analytics instead for the true numbers.

Drumroll please..


The Jelly Bean Crisis [Tour & Book Blast]

Hey, this will be the second of two book blasts I'll be a part of this month.

This time, it's an actual YA book. Unlike yesterday's post, there won't be an guest post by the author.

The people in charge are giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.

So go at it.

But first, this post is sponsored by...

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For What It's Worth Blog Tour: How a Cake Inspired a Novel [Guest Post]

Blog tour badge.
Hover over this picture.
Remember the giveaway from Last Wednesday?

Well, the event wasn't over then. As apart of the blog tour, I'm bringing in a guest post. Technically  it won't be my first guest post (by any definition), but I personally think it's a tasty contrast from the rest of this blog.

See what I did there?

Now, give a welcome to Karey White.

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"How a Cake Inspired a Novel"


This Blog Is Going into Semi-Haitus...Again

With 2012 closing down and the end of the world looming, I've decided to enforce another semi-hiatus, like the one earlier in the year.

What does this mean?

  • Monday posts, Dogtown Weekly, and yMusic will not be posted for the rest of 2012.
  • Other posts, like tomorrow's guest post and another book blast, will still be posted.

Why am I calling this semi-hiatus?

  • To focus on studying for finals.
  • To focus on writing actual fiction.
  • To focus on writing a better quality line-up of blog posts for January 2013.

I hope you don't mind, and I hope you understand.

Hopefully, 2013 will be this blog's year, and it will be a year that a community is formed, unlike the feeble attempt I tried earlier.

Happy holidays!

PS: What do you think of the differently styled subheadings?

Dogtown Weekly: School Shenanigans

Weekly Round-up: 12/7/12



(Yes, I'm still messing with the format. Comment on your preference.)

Last-Minute Update!

Google+ have added communities, and I've created one: Young Adult Lit and Writing.

Even if you're not a friend of YA, I suggest checking it out. It was just formed last night, but I'll be happy to see any fellow writers on Google+ taking apart in organized discussion.

Writer's Update: The School Filter

Something bad happened in the school district.

I can't go into detail, because everything I heard about the incident is second-hand. Let's just say that it's newsworthy, if the teachers are right.

Regardless of nature, this led the tech department to crackdown on a few website and bulk up the school filter. The results?

A Quick Word on Story Cartel

Logo of Story Cartel.
This post will be quick to the point. No padding, no redundant concluding sentences.

Right now, I'm reading a YA novel, Roxy by PJ Reece, for the price of reviewing it.

It's not a new concept. In fact, I first became familiar with reviewing ebooks for free with Grasping at Eternity. However, I didn't receive Roxy directly from the author.

Instead, I received it via a brand-new review website that I joined during the day, if not the hour, of its launch. That site is called Story Cartel.


For What It's Worth Tour and Book Blast!

Cover of For What It's Worth by Karey White.
Take a slice.
Today, I'm hosting a different kind of giveaway.

Instead of being apart of a blog hop or being a solo endeavour it's one Rafflecopter form on multiple blogs, for the purpose of "blasting" For What It's Worth by Karey White into the book blogosphere.

It's hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Although the odds are low, a $50 Amazon Gift Card is in stake here. That'll be great for Christmas shopping.

Before we get to that though, let me give a...taste of the lucky novel being highlighted here today.

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For What It's Worth by Karey White Blog Tour badge.

For What It's Worth by Karey White

Twenty-four-year-old Abby Benson has dreams of owning her own wedding cake shop. An inheritance from her aunt gives her the ability to make those dreams come true. She hires Dane, a handsome contractor, to help her get the bakery up and running and soon they’re moving toward their own happy ending.
Unsure what to charge for her cakes, Abby has a crazy idea to let the customer decide what they think their cake is worth. This plan has its ups and downs, but the novelty of the idea makes her a local celebrity. When she is interviewed on television about the unusual idea, business booms and Abby has cake adventures she never dreamed possible. But as her fame grows, Abby is swept up in a whirlwind that threatens everything she values. With the challenges that face her, will she be able to determine what is worth the most?

Although clean adult romance is usually not my genre, the premise of this particular novel stuck out to me.

PURCHASE AT: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Book Blast Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

One More Thing

Don't forget to return on the 11th for a guest post from the author! Also, check out the other blogs a part of this event.


YOUR TURN: Does this novel sound interesting to you? Would you buy it?

NaNoWriMo: Reflection

Winner's badge for NaNoWriMo 2012.
Here! Take this.
I passed 50,000 words one and a half hours before midnight November 30th. It felt underwhelming, because at that point, I had written myself into a hole and was ready to bail the draft.

Yep. It was a little hard, but I made it. I wrote more than I wrote in six months, if not more. It's proof that I can get my game up and stick with a goal, even if the means are less than glamorous.

With it being December now, it's time to dissect my adventure and analyze what I can take from it.


Dogtown Weekly Will Be This Weekend

This will possibly be the shortest post on this blog.

I'm currently at 49k for my NaNoWriMo project. I'll be writing about the experience tomorrow or Saturday, once I'm done with those thousand words left. It's just too late to complete the final sprint tonight, but I'll certainly fulfill it tomorrow--even if it involves a race against the clock.

Good luck, fellow writers, on finishing the 50k.

Quill Cafe on Food-like Skin Colors

Since I'm not doing a craft post this week, I'll instead share the equivalent of a blog post to you guys, from Keri Payton of the blog/vlog Quill Cafe.

This is definitely a blooming channel. Keri's demeanor and sense of humor, along with the exploration of atypical topics, are promising. Also, Quillbert is a cuter mascot than my avatar, which I'm yet to incorporate into any of my blog posts, because I'm holding out for something less markety.

If Keri continues for another year or so, she might have a hefty fanbase over at YouTube...but only if people follower her.

Like you. Yes, I'm ordering you to subscribe to another blogger's channel. I'm not doing anything on YouTube, so it's her domain. I'll take Tumblr instead, but only once I'm done with NaNoWriMo.

Which means I should shut up soon, but I have a few minutes left.

The Video

Ever encounter descriptions like "honey-tinted skin" and "skin like hot chocolate"? Well, Keri has something to says about that.


YOUR TURN: What do you think of food descriptions being used for skin color? Have anything better? Know any unusual

Winners of the INDIE-giving Blogfest!

Another giveaway is over, one more successful than the one before that.

On Sunday, I let the Random Roll God decide the two lucky blog readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations, Debra! You won the $5 Amazon Gift Card

And congratulation Denise! You won the three-page critique.

You should either have received an email earlier, or you should receive an email too. If you don't receive it (or you accidently throw it out with the spam, like I did with one email), contact me via @chihuahuazero over at Twitter. If you two want to swap prizes, make the arrangement and let me know.

Also, I'll like to thank everybody else who entered! With over 270+ entries, this was a larger sweep than last  time. Stick around, since there will be more in the future. I promise!

In fact, the next giveaway planned will be apart of an even larger event...

One More Thing

This is the only Monday post, and there will be no Weekly Round-up this Friday.

Let's say I've fallen behind on NaNoWriMo, and I have to put aside a lower priority to finish. I'm sorry, but I promise that December will bring better bounties.

See you then!

How to Type 1667 Words in 30 Minutes

A picture of a person typing at a keyboard with two hands.
Type like lightning!
Source
To me, 500 words in thirty minutes is unacceptable. Yet, in a couple #wordmongering sessions on Twitter, that was what a few of my partners got out of it.

On the other hand, I can pound out 1100 words in the same amount of time, but I still have a long way to go.

So, forgive me for giving advice on a matter I have little experience in, except that I know I can reach this goal. I once been able to reach this goal, but months of not writing regularly left me rusty. My goal for NaNoWriMo is to regain this speed.

So, want to know how to write 1667 words in thirty minutes? Proceed.


INDIE-giving Blogfest [Giveaway]

It's time for another giveaway, this time thanks to the INDIE-giving Blogfest!

For of all, I'll like to be thankful for:


  • The gift of writing.
  • Books, both print and ebooks.
  • Music.
  • The ability to run.
  • The power of the Internet.
  • My friends.
  • My blog followers.
  • Anything else I forgot to add to this list.

...Okay, that was lame, but there's a lot I'm thankful for. Right now, life is good, and I'm thankful it's staying that way.


The Giveaway

I have upped the anti. Instead of an ebook, I'm giving away a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a three-page in-line critique of your manuscript from me.

I have some more GC dough to blow, and I'll like to offer my critiquing skills as a nice 2nd place.

While the GC will be only be available to US readers (sorry, everyone else!), the critique is international. I'll be sending more details to the winner, but keep in mind that I'm a minor, and I won't be reading erotica.

All right? Odds are good. The only mandatory condition is one of the easiest possible. Good luck, and happy Thanksgiving!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Dogtown Weekly: Halfway

Weekly Round-up: 11/16/12


Quick Stuff

Sorry for the late post. Last night, I had an orchestra concert for school, and that pretty much ended the day for me.

On the other hand though, I'm doing quite well with NaNoWriMo! I'm pass the 30k mark, and I'll probably finish on the 24th at the pace I'm at. Although the middle-of-the-draft slump threatened to hit, I'm entertaining myself by putting in plenty of stuff to kill that sagging middle, so hopefully that'll lead to a better story in the end.

Enjoy the weekend! See you on Sunday!

[;)]

The One Underestimated Skill of a Writer

Lately, I've been honing one important skill. It's a skill that some writers don't need to hone, but for me, it's needed. Without it, writing is impossible.

For example, right now, I have a large backpack behind me, making sure I keep my back straight, and my hands on the keyboard.

Yes, I'm training myself to sit correctly, but regardless, ergonomics is a valuable skill you need to keep in mind if you want to maintain efficiency.

Sitting Like L

One of my many quirks as a writer is that I sit strangely.

One of my standard position is to lean back in my seat, crouching, with knees against the edge of the table. Strange, but it's comfortable.

Another favorite that I do it private is that somehow, my legs would be against the wall.

Even now, as I'm typing this with back straight, one leg is rested above my other leg's knee.

I uncross it now, but my knees buckle in.

I straighten it and scoot back.

The only reason why this position will last is because I'll have to leave for first period in a few minutes.

At least my many sitting positions give me material for character quirks.

Why It's Important

The problem is that many of my sitting positions make the keyboard unreachable.

There's this one big chair by the desktop that I'm always trying to swap out for a smaller, but more rigid, chair. It's because I have a tendency to lean back, get comfy--and then only be able to reach the mouse. And I'll become too lazy to even bulge to fix it.

It's important to maintain a proper sitting position so you can physically write.

A Sorta Universal

Sitting correctly is all relative. For example, as I'm typing this paragraph, I'm sitting on my foot. Sure, I can type all right, but soon my foot will fall asleep, and who knows what position I'll assume next.

But basically, it's whatever position lets you make words. With many methods of writing, and many different kinds of people, there's not one position that works for everyone.

Can you still write in that position? Go ahead? Laying down? Go ahead! On top of your head? Umm...go ahead!

But if you're leaning back in your chair to the point that you can't reach the keyboard, you can't physically type!

So, What's the Point of This Article?

Next writing session, take note of your position. Can you write efficiently that way? Would adjusting your position shift your energy, injecting a must-needed boost into your motivation?

Sometimes, putting a backpack behind you and sitting straight can do wonders to your productivity.

YOUR TURN: What's your writing position? Answer in the comments, or post your own response on your blog and link back here.

By the way, if you want more articles, don't forget to sign up for email updates!

"Diamonds" by Rihanna Music Video Review [yMusic]

Album cover for Unapologetic, Rihanna's upcoming album.
First of all, sorry for not having a yMusic review for awhile. NaNoWriMo has drawn from that.

Also, it seems that they'll be mostly on Sundays, but also on Saturdays if I can make that date.


Rihanna's album, Unapologetic, has a fitting cover. She's baring it, while covered in a graffiti wall of words. Yet, elements of brightness are held in the stark background.

The only hint to the album's tone is "Diamonds", which I mentioned in a post a month or two earlier.


The Video: Summary and Interpretation

I'll let one YouTube user summarize it for you:
What the hell does her damn finger nail, some horses, some police officers beating up burning people, a vase shattering and some roses on fire have to do with shining bright like a diamond?
Basically, it's a chockfold of imagery, but that doesn't mean that the end product isn't wonderful.

No "We Found Love"

This music video is a strange combination of both light and dark, or rather, death and rebirth.
Death and rebirth are the main motifs in this video.

Death is represented by Rihanna drowning in an ocean, police chasing burning people, and burning roses. Rebirth is represented by the horses standing and galloping away, and a room reverting the destruction.

Image of Rihanna and "Chris Brown" with hands interlocked in "Diamonds".
Interesting background.
But what's probably the most notable image in the entire videos are Rihanna holding a heavily tattooed hand--and letting it go. It's a blatant allusion to her relationship with Chris Brown.

Interesting enough, the track listing on Wikipedia indicates that he's one of the featured artist on "Nobody's Business", so who knows what part of the relationship they're in? Hopefully, they won't come back together and continue the cycle, and let's hope that title doesn't carry any implications.

Aurora

There's something striking about Rihanna's main shots. For the majority of the video, she's seen in a black-and-white void. She's emotive, in a good way. Melodramatic, but it works. The work she did for the video is certainly going to be memorable. Maybe not in a completely mainstream way, but it's going to work.

Conclusion

I've preordered the album via Amazon, along with Lana Del Rey's upcoming mini-album Paradise. I should have both of them by the trip to Thanksgiving--around the time I've bought Rihanna's last album.
I hope Rihanna tops Talk That Talk.

I have high hopes.

YOUR TURN: What do you think of this music video and the song?

For more reviews on Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and other artists, read this page.

Dogtown Weekly: Giveaway Incoming...Soon.

Weekly Round-up: 11/9/12

Blogging Update: Another Blog Hop Coming Soon

Badge for the INDIE-giving Blogfest at The Indelibles.
Pumpkins and wood...yum?
I've joined the INDIE-giving Blogfest, hosted by The Indelibles. Thanks for the opportunity, guys! I have some of your books.

Considering the landslide success of the previous blog hop, I'm definitely riding the wagon here. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to be thankful, and for you to receive something in the process. Ah, right in front of a cozy fireplace.

The only question is...what will be the item being given away?

I don't know yet.

I will know soon enough. Currently, I'm negotiating with a fellow writer over an arrangement.

Hint: It won't be an e-book. Part of not being a typical blog is varying up the prizes. Let me see how many ways I can do that while spending at least money as possible with the power of Internet magic.

NaNoWriMo Update: Blazing Ahead

By now, I'm pass 18k and not stopping. If projections are right, I'll finish before Thanksgiving.

This is a short section, but I think that I'm finally arriving in the interesting portions of the novel, although fully exploring them will certainly take me into December, if I stick with Road for long. Check out some of my #NaNoWriMo tweets for further details.

By the way, here's my NaNoWriMo profile.

YOUR TURN: Are you hosting any giveaways also?