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!
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.


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.


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?

The Winner of the YA Mythology Blog Hop Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats, Shauna! Rafflecopter have chosen you to receive an e-copy of Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper!

An email will be sent your way to confirm this arrangement. If a response isn't given within a week, another winner will be chosen.

Some Notes

Cover of Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper.
Also, thanks for everyone who entered but didn't win! The turnout was surprisingly high, with over fifty entrants. This guarantees another giveaway in the near future, so stay turned for Thanksgiving and early December!

More hops are soon. I promise.

Also, there's an ebook vault I'm stocking up. The more people that enter, the more clout I can use to pull connections. Soon, bundles will be available for you guys, on both the fiction and non-fiction sides. Fun, isn't it?

If you still want Tangled Tides, you can buy it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Here's a summary:

Yara Jones doesn't believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.
When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.
Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman ...

YOUR TURN: What kind of items do you want to be seen given away?

PS: I've already said earlier today, but if you're of age and an American citizen, don't forget to vote tomorrow!

How to Slaughter Your Writing Distractions

Believe me, one of the most lethal skills for a writer's career is how to waste time.

It's one of the easiest things to do. Want an example? Well, I can wake up at 5:45, spend fifteen minutes reading through some websites on the iPhone. Get out of bed, start the computer, get dressed, have a quick breakfast...and then it's 6:20. It's thirty minutes before the bus.

Guess how many ways I can waste those thirty minutes.

One way? Throw Tumblr, YouTube and my Blogger RSS feed into the blender, drink the smoothie, and soon enough...time to go to the bus!


Yes, the Social Media Cycle is a predator that needs to be laid down.

It's time for some blood...

Today, let's butcher the distraction beasts and make art with the carcasses.

Dogtown Weekly: NaNoWriMo Day 1

Weekly Roundup: 11/2/12

Writer's Update: NaNoWriMo Start!

It's now the 2nd day of NaNoWriMo, but I like to make an assessment of Day One, which I write this section of the post during.

So as I type this blog post, I have a total of 1776 words toward my story. That's around 110 more words than the daily word count. In short, I am ahead.

I didn't expect to get that much, but hear this.

I typed most of those words before school. I woke up, made sure to start writing before the bus arrived, and then parked myself in the computer lab before first period. At first period, I snuck a hundred words in, but in short, NaNoWriMo should be a breeze, as long as I maintain my current habits, or hone them.

A brief note to the side: I crossed out two paragraphs of those words. I started a section, but decided that I didn't like the direction I sent my protagonist in, so I backtracked.

I know. I shouldn't be self-editing, but in the end, it barely dented my momentum.

Now, whatever this story will be the story that will get me out there is an entire different issue. To confess, I'm not overly excited with this story, after putting it onto paper, but I'm going to hold on, and see what Niv decides to do.

The beginning and ends are map. All I need to do is to see if the middle will blow me away.

Please, Niv. Make me love your story.

Blog Updates: Giveaway's a Success!

After several attempts at attracting new followers, it turns out that a giveaway hop is one of the best ways to do the trick. 

To admit, my guest posting blitz had little effect, but it was the blog hop there that got me new followers. My giveaway of "Let's Write a Short Story!" had modest results. What it took was to be on a linky list on a couple of major book review blogs, and a hundred of minor ones.

In the GFC front, my count shot from 84 to 130.

Welcome, my new 46 followers.

Now, the question is: What do you want to see here? Metrics are useless unless it's backed with activity, whatever that's social sharing, comments, or email subscribing (which got an increase too). 

I want to interact with you guys.

And as an obvious reminder, the giveaway is still going. Enter for a chance to win Tangled Tides!

Personal Note: Halloween!

Yesterday was probably my last trick-or-treat session, but it was worth it.

I went out as a bookworm/custom-made book, and got two streets worth of candy. I recognized the usual houses that stand out (one has a hunted house display, another always put their candy on the porch, one gives away soda, two people team up on one porch, etc.) and manage to see the full moon.

Too bad the people in New York probably couldn't do trick-or-treating, due to the infamous Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully, next year for them will be better.

Maybe next year, I'll write an article on how to create my costume!


Now, I will be going forth with NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck!

YOUR TURN: Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How is it going for you so far?