Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alpha Cities

Do you live in or near an Alpha city? Perhaps you worked in one once? How much of the economy, politics, and cultural aspects of your local community are affected by one of the world’s top alpha cities?

Less than 50 cities worldwide are known as “Alpha” cities in that amongst these few dozen metro areas the majority of all human commerce, cultural influences, politics, and even relative human populations reside. I’m always interested in how people interact with each other on a global scale, and living/working in a major Alpha city (San Francisco), I’m continually curious about how these major metropolises effect the ever converging mix of human cultures. Some of the most important Alpha cities you probably already know, cities such as New York and London, but everything from Beijing to Sydney are up there as well. See where your nearest urban city fits in on the list here.

So what are the unique cultural aspects of the place you live? How does its economy, politics, and unique way of thinking effect the way you live your life and write about it? If you could live in or near any Alpha city, which would it be? 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shakespeare’s Birthday

And you thought you were old? Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Or how about wishing happy birthday to the greatest playwright in the English language?

Scholars dispute Shakespeare’s exact date of birth, but it was definitely this week approximately four hundred plus years ago. The Bard left us so many great treasures from his comedies and tragedies to his sonnets and histories. Whether visiting the Globe Theatre in London or watching Joss Whedon’s latest rendition of Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s writing continues to shape and define our culture and our souls to this very day.

What are your favorite Shakespeare plays? Perhaps you’ve memorized a favorite sonnet? Which film or live productions have particularly brought Shakespeare to life for you?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fraction of Stone by Kelley Lynn

Checkout Kelley Lynn's new book!!! 
Release Date: March 21st, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy

Wind tunnels, torrential rains and earthquakes tear apart Casden. The cause of the world’s imbalance is unknown, but the mounting occurrences suggest there’s little time before life ceases to exist.

Rydan Gale and Akara Nazreth are the only humans with the ability to wield magic. The tattoo on their necks and the discovery of an ancient book, dictate they are the key to the world’s survival.

But the greatest obstacle for saving mankind isn’t the bizarre creatures, extreme betrayals and magic-fearing men hunting them.

It’s that Akara doesn’t believe the world is worth saving. 

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Kelley Lynn's Links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Trailer:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 15, 2013

Writers and Taxes

It’s the most dreaded day of the year…tax day. Have you filed your taxes yet? Still trying to get them in?

If you’re a writer, there are some great potential benefits to consider when filing your tax returns, and it can save you some money in the long run.  For instance, if you attend writers' conferences headed by non-profits you can list them on your tax returns and get credit for your registration fees. So long as you’re in the budding stages of writing and not making a profit, your taxes on writing should be nil. If, however, you are fortunate enough to start making money as an author you can declare yourself a corporation, which many bestseller authors eventually do to avoid paying steep taxes on their book sales. These are just a few of the many benefits writers can take advantage of when doing their taxes. But remember, the best part of all is that it costs nothing to blog!

So how do you incorporate your writing career into your taxes? Any good practices/techniques that you’ve discovered when declaring your writing expenses? Any strategies you plan to employ to save yourself some money next year?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fictional Languages You Wish You Could Speak

Ever wish you could speak Sindarin with the elves of Middle Earth? Or perhaps converse in Klingon aboard the starship Enterprise? Or maybe for once you would actually like to know what Chewbacca is really saying to Han Solo?

Literature and movies are replete with fictional languages, but some authors take it a step further by actually developing full-fledged lexicons and grammar for their make-believe cultures. It’s all part of world building, but when life imitates art, fans start learning these fictional tongues and make them a part of the real word. For instance, the bible has been translated into Klingon (no joke), and some Lord of the Rings forums are conducted in Elvish.

So what make-believe language would you like to learn to speak? Perhaps you already know one? Maybe the Dothraki of A Game of Thrones or Huttese of Star Wars or even Quenya from the Simarillion

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Home Gardening

It’s that time of year again! Are you ready to start your spring garden? Time to plant tomatoes and lettuce for those summer salads.

Last weekend I started planting my garden, with much needed help in labor from friends. Every year getting the garden going invigorates me, to write, to get outside and go hiking, and just to enjoy watching my plants grow. I love growing food, so my crop this year will include corn, pumpkins, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, and just for kicks a little patch of wheat. You don’t need a big yard to grow enough to feed the family for the summer.

What are you planting in your garden this year? Maybe you have a little window box full of herbs? Or perhaps you just like getting out and enjoying nature’s wildflowers? How’s your spring shaping up? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Goodreads Bought By Amazon

What does it all mean? Will Goodreads be forever changed or largely remain the same? Will Amazon use our info on Goodreads to bombard us with ads and to track our every reading habit?

Well, for the time being it probably means nothing, although I have noticed an influx of Amazon ads in my inbox lately. Amazon purportedly paid a pretty penny for Goodreads, which makes me wonder if they plan to do some major revamping in order to make good on their investment. After all, why build a social network from scratch when you can buy and modify one instead? Should Facebook and Twitter beware? Probably not. But then again Amazon has already drastically altered the publishing industry thus far, so who knows what tricks they’ve got up their sleeve.

Will Amazon’s recent acquisition effect your presence on Goodreads at all? Do you see the change as good, bad, or perhaps as a non-issue altogether?  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Opening Day

It’s just a game, right? So why is it so endlessly fascinating? Maybe it’s the sense of teamwork or its unpredictability despite what the statistics say?

Yesterday kicked off the start of the regular major league baseball season and I’m psyched and ready to go for the next 160+ games! My San Francisco Giants got off to their usual bad start by losing to our rivals, the Dodgers, but then again we tend to lose Opening Day and make up for it by winning the World Series at the end of the season. I’m sure that statement just made me a truckload of friends and enemies simultaneously:)

So what other tidings of spring get you into the season? A favorite sport like baseball? Getting ready for the garden or perhaps something else?