Wednesday, October 28, 2015

That Really Deep Writing Post, Part Two

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post comparing my housekeeping job at a classy inn to what writers tend to go through, and if you haven’t read that one yet, you should. Or else.

Currently, I’m in the middle of packing, and I’m switching gears as I prepare to move to another state, so I’ve finished up with that job (don’t worry, I wasn’t fired—this was the plan all along). But, since I really enjoyed working at the inn and I know that I’ll miss it, I wanted to write a second comparison post. You’re welcome.

Treat Your Housekeepers/Writers Well. (This idea was actually suggested by one of my fellow housekeepers, so I can’t take credit for it.) Housekeepers work hard to make sure that the rooms you stay in are clean and presentable. They have to run back and forth, swapping stained sheets for unstained sheets and stained towels for unstained towels, all the while cursing the easily-marred whiteness of the linens and the terrycloth. They get down on their hands and knees to clean the toilets and the mop boards and the scuff marks on the walls from careless luggage handling. They go into trashed rooms and turn them into livable environments (even when they’d rather just call a Hazmat team and get it over with).

Writers, too, work hard. We spend hours and hours pounding out our first drafts, and even more hours turning those into something vaguely readable. We chop words and kill darlings and torture our characters, and we drink copious amounts of caffeinated liquid in a desperate attempt to remain sane. We endure the embarrassment and the disappointment and all the other negative emotions that come with receiving critiques from beta readers. And very many of us do this, not for money, but because we want to.

Without housekeepers, you wouldn’t have clean hotel rooms, and without writers, you wouldn’t have books. So treat your housekeepers and your writers well, and they won’t plan your death. True story.

Judgements. Both housekeepers and writers must deal with the opinions of others, whether good or bad. We like it when people recognize our hard work and tell us how much they appreciate what we do, but there will be times where we must endure harsh, often unwarranted criticism. Guests might complain about nitpicky details that are beyond our control. Irritated customers might call us lazy and misconstrue our actions, even when we’re working our bums off and following policy (I’m speaking from experience here).

Likewise, writers will have fans, however many, but they will also have not-fans. Sometimes those not-fans will have legitimate reasons, and sometimes they will share those reasons nicely and rationally, but often it seems that people find fault because they want to find fault. And they won’t necessarily by polite when they point out those faults. Readers will question a writer’s motives and make judgments about that writer’s character. They will misinterpret stories and react far too strongly for the situation, and they will give less weight than they should to the author’s intentions.

Unfortunately, that’s all part of the job. At least the bad experiences make the good ones seem so much better, and at least we can use the negative feedback as a chance to learn and improve.

Advice. In a similar vein, people will offer advice, whether solicited or unsolicited. And no one seems shy about sharing their opinions.

Often people will tell my boss what they feel she could do differently—that she should add such and such a feature to her rooms or her lawn or whatever. Some of this advice might be helpful, but for the most part it’s better to just smile and nod and ignore all the fiscally irresponsible feedback. People tend to be far too eager to run other people’s businesses, anyway.

Likewise, with writers, we face all sorts of input. If we have shared our work in any way, shape, or form, people will tell us what they think. And they will also tell us what they think we could be doing better, even if we have not asked for their opinions. They will offer us story ideas and character ideas and whatnot. They will inform us the ways in which both our writing and our style can improve. Again, some of this input can be valuable, but authors have to throw out most suggestions in favor of sanity.

All in all, it’s a matter of personal discretion, and hotel owners/housekeepers/writers must find their own style and stick with it, even if it means ignoring much of the unsolicited but generally well-meaning advice. Once you put yourself in their shoes, you’ll understand what it’s like.

Interaction. Last, but not least, both housekeepers and writers face customer reviews. Some people seem eager to point out all the good qualities of our work—others seem far more eager to find the faults (whether real or imagined). While we can benefit from facing up to the ratings and the reviews, at times we also need to distance ourselves. To the customer, our services are a product to be evaluated, and that’s fine. But to us, our services are a matter of pride and joy, and it can be difficult to watch people tear us down for all the world to see. Likewise, it can be similarly hard to process good feedback (yes, we are rather interesting creatures, are we not?). In the end, it boils down to a matter of personality—do we benefit from the ratings and the write-ups, or do we benefit from walking away and avoiding the outside voices. Does the input help, or does it drown out our own inner peace or creative muse? No two housekeepers are alike, and no two writers are alike, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another.

Well, that’s it, my little coffee beans. I probably won’t come up with any other housekeeper/writer comparisons now that I’m moving on to another job. But I’d love to know if you have any work/writing parallels of your own.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Note: Since I've finally decided to claim my blog on Bloglovin', here's the link: Follow my blog with Bloglovin. (You're under no obligation to follow, of course.)

Warning: As always, I try to stay relatively spoiler free. But it doesn’t hurt to proceed with caution.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi

Rating: Two stars—Meh

On the whole, I don’t think UNDER THE NEVER SKY lives up to its potential. While there were things I genuinely liked about it, I spent most of the book feeling disinterested and disappointed. I mean, the first bit of action with Aria is great and I was all excited for a sci-fi, dystopian with lots of mental landscapes and hordes of people who can’t bear reality. Then the narrative switched to Peregrine’s view point, and I just got kind of…bored. Sure, he’s a cool guy who can smell people’s emotions and see well in the dark. Plus he’s hot (according to Aria). What’s not to like about him? But he lives in a village and hunts for a living and deals with typical medievalish problems. That’s not to say I don’t like stories about that sort of thing, but I was expecting UNDER THE NEVER SKY to be techy and cool and futuristic. I was not prepared for chickens and blood lords and savages with weird super senses. Probably this is my fault, because if I had read enough about the book before I started, I would have known what I was getting into. My bad.

However, I was thrown off for other reasons as well. The romance is creepy and weird, and the transformation between “I hate you” to “I love you” hinges on a rather superficial event. Not to mention, it’s a tad upsetting to know Perry can smell all of Aria’s emotions (and he won’t stop sniffing her #awkward). Give poor Aria a little privacy, please and thank you.

What disappointed me the most, though, was the dystopian element itself. For one thing, Perry’s culture, which takes up most of the book, doesn’t feel hugely dystopian. I mean, sure, Perry and his brother (who happens to be in charge) don’t get along, and the Aether might possibly torch the place, and the people might starve. But none of those things are characteristically dystopian, in the strictest sense—they just happen to be obstacles in the way of happily ever after.
For another thing, I wanted to spend more time in the Pods. The people of Reverie (one of the Pods), always wear Smarteyes, devices that allow them to live in hundreds of virtual realms while they go about their daily lives. Aria has been told that people began using Smarteyes as means of entertainment because the Pods are super boring. But that feels like an overly simplistic answer. I want to know why people chose unproductive technology over other forms of entertainment, such as invention and industry and physical play. I want to know the deep hurts in society—the roots of this issue. The Smarteyes—the need to constantly daydream and the fulfillment thereof—are a symptom, and I want to know the cause. Rossi doesn’t dwell on that. Maybe she expands the sci-fi and psychological elements further in the rest of the trilogy (which I do plan to read at some point), but I would have appreciated a more solid first book.



Rating: Three stars—Good

I like this story, and I don’t like it (which is my typical reaction to anything by Marie Lu). On the one hand, I love Lu’s ability to create dark atmosphere and heightened tension; but on the other hand, I always find her character dynamics a little lacking. At first I was a bit iffy about the premise, the idea that a mysterious plague has given some of its victims strange (and random) powers, like the ability to control wind, the ability to create illusions, and the ability to affect emotions. But I liked that is was supposed to be a villain’s origins story, so I finally took the plunge.

In some ways, Adelina (our main character) did not disappoint me. She is selfish, sadistic, and warped. Her father’s cruelty haunts her, and her sister’s goodness burns her. Unfortunately, I feel that Marie Lu spent more time telling us (through Adelina) that Adelina is all these things, rather than just showing us through actions. I also got a little (translation=a lot) skittish about Adelina’s crush on Enzo, because let’s face it, she knows that he’s an equally sadistic jerk. He mistreats her and she still gets the hots for him. Umm… Granted, I know she’s messed up and all, but really?

The ending though—the ending won me over. I may feel dubious about the plausibility of many Marie Lu plot points, and I may cringe a little at some of the characterizations and relationships and whatnot, but let it never be said I don’t appreciate the emotion Lu is able to convey so well. There is that.


THE SHIFTER by Janice Hardy

Rating: Four Stars—Great

Right from the start, I fell in love with this book. It has that perfect blend of quirky narrative and intriguing premise that I tend to crave. Maybe the concept isn’t wholly original, but I’ve never seen anything like it before. Unlike the Healers in the league who remove pain from people’s bodies and transfer it to enchanted Pynvium, Nya can shift pain into other people, a talent that makes her a valuable commodity to those with unsavory intentions. When her sister, Tali, goes missing, Nya must determine what morals she is willing to cast aside in order to get her back.

I love the dynamic here, the way Nya wants to be a good person and not hurt people and all that fun stuff, and the way she justifies her compromises throughout the narrative. I also like how often she remembers her Grannyma’s rather interesting words of advice. Her personality and her backstory feel real and full, yet the author doesn’t spend a long time giving us a huge info dump on the subject.

Also, the world-building is great. From the Healer’s League to the docks, we get to see the contrast between the upper class and the lower class, the ones who can afford healing whatever the cost, and the ones who struggle each day just to find a job so they can eat. I think the setting might have some Egyptian influences, but don’t quote me on that.

Ultimately, I’m glad Janice Hardy didn’t feel the need to send her characters on a quest in order for her story to be a “proper fantasy”, but I do think she could have made life a little more difficult for her darlings. What am I saying, though? I’m just sore that the story ended so quickly, because I WANT MORE. And I want Nya and Danello to become a thing. Aasdfjlksdfk. That is all.

Well, that’s it for today, my little coffee beans. What are your thoughts on these books? Have you read any of them? Do you know if the sequels to UNDER THE NEVER SKY are any good?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Letter to My Seven-Year-Old Self

Note: After a great deal of procrastination, I bring to you another sample of my experiences in Africa. It might be two or three months before I write the next piece on Côte d’Ivoire, so enjoy. If you haven’t already read the initial installment, I Am Seven, I recommend you check that one out as well.
Voila, seven-year-old me at school (in Africa)
Dear Seven-Year-Old Me,

I know that it’s difficult for you, going back to Africa now that you’re older, now that you’ve had almost two years to build friendships with your fellow students here in America. Naturally, you don’t want to leave them behind for ages and ages, only to find them grown and strange when you return. But I also know that you’re excited as well because, at this point, Africa is still one of your biggest memories, and you’ve been a little lonely since none of your friends have been able to relate to your previous experiences.

Despite how eager you are to get home, you were three when you went over the first time, hardly old enough to understand or worry about the huge cultural leap you were making. And now that you have finally begun to adjust to America, you have to leave again. You have to go back to the place that rejected you like a body rejects a virus. In so many ways, you feel like a ping-pong ball, bouncing back and forth across the little net in the middle of the table. You just want to land somewhere and rest.

Soon enough, you will, but not yet. And I’m sorry that you have to go through so much in the meantime. I promise you’ll be okay.

First of all, the trip over is going to get…interesting. In Liberia, two men will board your plane, claiming to seek asylum. For whatever reason, they will rip up their papers (visas and such, I imagine), but they will get caught. It’s going to be super scary, hearing them yelling as the authorities drag them past you up to the cockpit while the plane you sit in flies through the air, suspended on two flimsy bits of metal, so breakable. At the time, you’ll be watching a movie, and the harsh transition between fiction and reality will jar you. So much so, that, by the time you finally land in Côte d’Ivoire, you’ll be shaken and wishing for the familiar.

Hang in there.

After spending the night at the home of a kindly woman (who blesses your heart because you’re so sleepy) and an extroverted man (who wears a cowboy hat and defends your luggage from thieves), you’ll find yourself packed into a hot, tight car for the long trip to Yamoussoukro (Yakro for short). Your excitement will return and then grow on that long stretch while the red dirt plains and the towering ant hills streak by in your periphery.

More than anything, you won’t be able to stop thinking about that music box you left behind the first time. You’ll remember picking it out from the Mission Barrel (a place where missionaries drop and swap). It was like digging up gold from a slag heap of old clothes and angry hornets. That music box is perhaps your most valued possession, and years down the road, you still won’t have the slightest clue why. All the while you’ve stayed in America, the fact that you didn’t rescue it earlier has eaten at you. I realize you already know this—of course you do, since your very first thought on learning you were going back to Africa was that you could reclaim that music box (your second thought, of course, centered around how much you’d miss your cousins)—but I had to say something.

So, the music box will consume your mind as you make headway to your old home, that building that still stands safe and sound, filled with all your belongings, untouched by the locals, just waiting for you. Along the way, you’ll remind your sister multiple times that, when you arrive, the music box is yours and yours alone. She can’t have it—in fact, you’ll prefer it if she didn’t even touch it. (The thought of her picking it up first will really bother you.) All you’ll think about is lifting that lid with the little glass window in it and winding the key so you can watch the flimsy plastic dancer with her raised arm and her wisp-of-lace skirt spin while the music tinkles out.

But, horror of horrors, the car you’re riding in will break down, and you’ll be forced to wait ages and ages—itching—no, dying—in anticipation while your driver (the cowboy-hat-wearing, luggage-saving, missionary man) figures out what to do. Fortunately, a flatbed tow truck will happen along and rescue you. Even though it’s probably super dangerous, after they hitch your vehicle onto the back of theirs, you’ll ride inside the car on the last stretch to Ivory Coast’s capitol city.

As an aside, here, Lizzie, it’s going to bug you when you research Côte d’Ivoire later and find that some cartographers are under the illusion that Abidjan is still the capitol of Ivory Coast. Take comfort in knowing that the presidential palace is in Yakro, not Abidjan, which means—no matter what people might say to the contrary—the official capitol is Yamoussoukro. And that’s where you live, where your music box waits for you. So let’s get back to that.

Strange though it may seem, you’ll feel a little sad when you burst through the blue gate that leads from the courtyard to your yard, as you fly down the stone path to the house you remember so well and yet don’t. For one, your faithful German shepherd won’t be there, and you’ll feel a pang at that. You miss her, so you have to remember that it isn’t your fault she’s dead, even though you can’t shake the notion that it is. Seriously, it’s not your fault that the vet gave her cow-sized shots which made her sick and sore. Of course you’d wanted to comfort her—who could blame you?—and it wasn’t your fault you petted her right on the spot where they gave her the medicine (and got chomped for your trouble). Later, after you’d left the continent, when she ran out into the street because she didn’t want to go to the vet, it wasn’t your fault the taxi killed her. So don’t beat yourself up about it.

I’m telling you this because you’ll find Africa to be a surprisingly emotional place this time around. First of all, there’ll be a weird drop from the giddy adrenaline high you’ve been riding on for the past day or so. On top of that, some of your friends from before won’t be coming back, and you’ll have to adjust to a bunch of new faces in your little missionary community. You’ll find that you won’t slide back into the old groove of things the way you expect to. You’ve grown and changed as a person since the last time you were here, so you can’t expect everything to be the same.

Sure, the walls in your house will still be peeling, (and you’ll remember—with fondness—how you would often pull the paint off and then eat the chips to hide the evidence). You’ll have some cleaning to do, since ants have built their nests in papers and under furniture. You’ll find you’re almost too big for your bike. You’ll find the dark shadows around the edges of your yard, where the trees shade the grass and the shed presses close to the wall, will frighten you far more than they did before. Nothing will seem quite so innocent anymore.

You’ll be shocked by how homesick you get. At first, it won’t be all that strong, just the normal stuff. And you’ll tell yourself it will pass. But it won’t, not really. Though you’ll enjoy spending time with your friends, even the bright spots will get lost in the gloom far too often for your taste. You’ll discover just how thick and black that strange, seemingly inexplicable loneliness will become. Unfortunately, you won’t really realize until much later that the new medication you’ll be taking to prevent malaria comes with some nasty psychological side effects. That stuff will give you vivid, vivid nightmares. It will, in fact, forever change the way you dream—even when your sleep is sweet. Though the effects aren’t as permanent, the medicine will also intensify and warp all your waking emotions. Let’s face it, you’ll be tired to begin with, and some of your dreams will feature your worst fears (like coming back to the US after being away for ten years only to find that your cousins are all grown up and singing in rock bonds and they have no clue who you are). So you need to brace yourself for that, and always remember, stuff won’t be as bad as it’s going to seem.

As much as you can, try to focus on the cool stuff, the way the mission community will play capture-the-flag in the dark—the way you’ll have potlucks—the way your best friends will be British and Northern Irish (and those won’t be the only nationalities). You’ll study French, and you’ll love it so much, you’ll try to teach it to your Dad’s African friend even though he already speaks the language fluently (rest assured, he’ll still humor you because he’s sweet like that). Though it would probably break about a thousand American safety regulations, you’ll get to play in a giant, human-sized hamster wheel in the school playground (safety is for wimps). One day, your father will bring home a dead, headless viper, and he’ll take pictures that make it look like it’s attacking him. You’ll get to visit a zoo at a gas station and a restaurant with a deer living indoors, and you’ll get to play at a pizza place that has a tree growing up through the ceiling and a stream cutting off the corner of the yard with a swing set on the other side. Could it really get much better than all that?

Unfortunately, you won’t get to bring that music box home with you, and even when you’re much older than you are now, that loss will bother you far more than it should. (In fact, you’ll probably always get the urge to cry when you see a music box.) But you’ll bring home a collection of memories and pictures instead, vivid and sure, unfading; even though sometimes you’ll wish to just forget it all, because it will hurt—it will hurt so much to let go, to look but not touch.

So please, I know you’ll be homesick and sad, and I know you’ll be scared and a lot of things won’t make sense. You’ll be growing up, and that hurts just by itself. But the clock starts when you set foot on African soil, and you’ll only have three months to reacquaint yourself with this life before you lose it again. You’ll never be able to recreate the comradery that you’ll find there—the way a bunch of different nationalities can band together, and yes, disagree about how to do the dishes and whatnot. But you have it good now, and you won’t even realize that until later, when you find that America is so much colder, in more ways than one.

Don’t be too sad. Please have fun. Take notes and remember everything. You won’t get another chance like this. Soon, all you’ll think about is wanting to leave Africa, but when it comes time to go, you’ll realize too late that you want so badly to stay.

Don’t waste the time you do have.



Note: The main bombing described in I Am Seven took place on November 6, 2004. We left the country shortly thereafter, and while we originally planned to return to Africa—this time as missionaries to Guinea—we chose to take several years off from missionary work instead. During our break, we learned of political unrest in Guinea and decided to remain permanently stateside.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Warning: As always, I try to stay relatively spoiler free. But it doesn’t hurt to proceed with caution.

Rating: Two and a half stars—Okay

I know, how dare I give a John Green book fewer than five stars? Excuse me while I go hang my head in shame. I should probably hide from all the rabid fans. Honestly, though, despite my less-than-stellar rating, I enjoyed AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES very much, and I can understand full well why so many people love John Green’s work. But, I had a few issues with this one. So let’s talk about it.

Colin. I adore Colin. In fact, he’s pretty much everything I could have hoped for—super smart, whiney, needy, clever and yet simultaneously dense, self-centered, hurting. I could go on. At this point, some of you are probably planning to point out that most of these character qualities I listed are not, you know, super great. That’s the idea.

I love that Colin isn’t portrayed as superior to everyone else just because he’s extra intelligent. Instead, he struggles even to feel adequate, and he worries way more often than most of his peers that he will amount to nothing more than a failure. He is a prodigy with a great past and little hope for his future. He is a drama queen, and he stays so focused on his own losses and his own worries and his own thoughts that he really doesn’t tune into what his friend, Hassan, might be going through. While he doesn’t mean to treat others as less important, he still manages to convey that what occupies his thoughts is more pressing than anything else. And while he bemoans his latest break-up, it’s clear he did his fair share of smothering the relationship.

Hassan. I liked Hassan, and I didn’t. Though he isn’t a prodigy like Colin, he’s still pretty smart, and he has a great sense of humor (for the most part). He was a fun guy to read about, and he had a great presence in the book. As Colin’s best (and only) friend, he’s able to point out some of the ways Colin sabotages himself. However, I’m a bit of a stick in the mud, and I felt that Hassan had way too many inappropriate things to contribute, and sometimes he seemed like a walking innuendo.

The Prodigy Issue. I love the distinction John Green draws between “prodigy” and “genius”. I love Colin’s real and imagined fears about his future as a childhood prodigy. But I got a little upset every time Hassan or Lindsey shut Colin up. Like, I understand that it can be a tad boring for some people to hear a steady stream of random trivia, because not everyone gets excited about that sort of thing. I do though, and I wanted to read more random facts. I wanted Colin to be able to express himself in the way that makes him Colin, and I felt bad that he had to, so often, zip his lips and tailor his personality to something that pleases other people. Sure, not everyone is as smart as Colin, but if Hassan and Lindsey really care about him, they should be willing to listen to some of the more boring things, because those are parts of Colin’s identity. (I mean, Colin could definitely work on not being a know-it-all or a conversation hog—I’m just saying, the interestingness factor shouldn’t be the only judge of value for what Colin wants to say).

The Concept. The premise is what really drew me in here, even more so than John Green’s name and fame. But, I do feel just a smidge misled because the back cover copy says Colin has been in love with nineteen different girls named Katherine, when in fact, he’s only ever been in love with eighteen (if you’re confused about Katherine the nineteenth, the book will explain—I just don’t want to spoil it for you). Rest assured, this isn’t what won the book such a low rating.

Plot and Characters and Writing. I’ve already mentioned, in so many words, that the characters feel deep and sympathetic. I’m not exactly certain how John Green manages to make a third-person-point-of-view narration feel so close and personable, but I should probably take notes. He offers a dry sense of humor, a healthy dose of trivia, and a level of depth that goes beyond what I might normally find in a YA novel. Sure, the story is about a boy who goes on a road trip with his best friend in order to find some purpose for his life as he deals with his most recent breakup. But it’s also about so much more, like how people wear each other down and build each other up, or how people aren’t always what they seem and first impressions don’t tell the whole story.

Ultimately, while I wasn’t disappointed when it came to story and characters, plot and writing, I was disappointed with some of the execution, specifically, the innuendo. There’s also a sex scene, although it’s not what you probably expect. And there’s a heavy amount of language as well. While it’s not my place to tell authors how to write their books, I, personally, would have preferred it if John Green had cut back on some of these elements. That’s the reason why I’m only giving the book 2.5 stars. I really liked AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, but I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable recommending it to many people, and, to me, a higher rating would constitute a recommendation. That’s all.

What about you, little coffee beans? Have you read AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES or any other John Green novel? Which of his works is your favorite? What are your thoughts on his writing style and his characterizations? What do you think about Colin? Are you more chill than I am when it comes to rating books? Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Even More Tags

Note: Next Wednesday, you will finally get to read another Africa post. So, yeah, just a head’s up. *nods* As you were.

The Tag of Happiness

A while back, I’d seen this tag bouncing around the blogosphere, and I had seriously contemplated stealing it. Fortunately, though, the ever-brilliant Opal @ Opal Swirls nominated me before I was forced to resort to petty theft. Thanks, Opal!

So here are the rules:

Take the banner and put it in your post.
List as many things as you want in each category.
Come up with more categories if you wish.
Tag as many people as you want.

(I love those rules—they make me so happy. I don’t even get the urge to break them, or anything.)

Some songs that make you happy

Au Revoir by OneRepublic—I’m not sure why. It just feels like the perfect blend of sadness and hope and longing, although I honestly have no clue what the song’s supposed to be about. In fact, I think it’s the ambiguity, most of all, that makes me like it so much. (Honorable mention goes to Can’t Stop—also by OneRepublic.)

Ocean Front Property by George Strait—I don’t even need to say anything. Just listen to it and you’ll understand.

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons—It makes me feel epic, and I don’t even care that that’s a lame reason.

Some books that make you happy

Watership Down by Richard Adams—This book has always been like a comfort food to me because the writing is so atmospheric and because I can’t help getting emotionally invested in those rabbits.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—You could respond to this either of two ways. You could assume that I love this book because I’m a cold-hearted monster who enjoys reading about children fighting to the death (hey, you know, it’s possible). Or you could check out my review here.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury—Combine evil book-burning firemen with gorgeous writing and a heavy dose of melancholy, and you get something brilliant and wonderful.


Some movies that make you happy

Miss Austen Regrets—Saying that Miss Austen Regrets makes me happy is like saying, “I enjoy tearing my heart into little shreds”. But, in this case, it’s true—and nothing gets me into the writing mood like this movie. Plus the music is amazing.


Tron: Legacy—Garrett Hedlund is adorable, and I would kill for the soundtrack (but, you know, not literally *hides from the police*).


Lorna Doone (2000)—Even if the story were terrible, I would still watch it just for the score. (Are you noticing a pattern here, by any chance?)


Some foods that make you happy

Pizza—I could eat pizza every night for a month and still not get bored of it. (This statement is purely hypothetical, as I’ve never had a chance to test it. But I imagine it would be true.)


Cheesecake—Bless the person who first thought, “Hmm, cheese is yummy. So is cake. Now let’s see what sort of deliciousness we shall achieve if we combine the two concepts.”


Ice Cream—I would eat ice cream even if I were freezing to death.


Coffee—I know coffee is not a food, but it should be.


Some words that make you happy









Some scents that make you happy

The smell of black coffee.


The smell of coffee with pumpkin pie spice creamer.


The smell of coffee with peppermint mocha creamer.


The smell of coffee with cinnamon bun creamer.


The smell of new books.


Some random things that make you happy

Small, furry animals—specifically: small, furry rodents.


The sound of typing—music to a writer’s ears.


Free WiFi—if you don’t understand why this is important, I’m not sure I have anything to say to you.


And that’s it for this tag. Now, on to the next one.

One Lovely Blog Award

The lovely Alexa @ Summer Snowflakes nominated me for this one, and I just had to do it because how can I resist talking about myself?

Thank you, Alexa!

Here are the rules:

Link back to the blogger who nominated you
Post seven facts about yourself
Nominate fifteen bloggers of your own

Seven facts about myself (I mean, seriously, what could be more fascinating?):

Fact One: I get ridiculously excited about gorgeous book covers, and the majority of my most recent book purchases could be traced to cover love alone. I’m not even ashamed about that, actually.

Fact Two: People generally assume I’m a lot older than I am.

Fact Three: I am the most content when it’s raining, especially when it’s raining heavily.

Fact Four: I actually enjoy tea (GASP), (but nowhere near as much as I love coffee, so don’t get too upset).

Fact Five: While I am by no means fluent or even nearly competent, I can understand a great deal of Spanish considering I’ve never studied the language.

Fact Six: Autumn might be my favorite season, but I love the color of leaves in spring.

Fact Seven: My fear of spiders only makes me meaner, and if I see one anywhere inside, I will not rest until I hunt it down and kill it.

Okay, little coffee beans, if I nominate you, it’s for both tags, but I won’t cry too hard if you decline either one. Also, if I haven’t named you and you’d like to steal these, just let me know in the comments and I’ll link to your post.

So, without any further ado, I tag:


Now it’s your turn. What are some things that make you happy? Feel free to share seven (or more) facts about yourself.