Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skype Fail

This past year I learned of the wonders of Skype & Face Time (video chatting over the Internet). It's a wonderful way to stay in touch with family and friends. Sure, there are phones, email, and Facebook. But, it's different when you actually get to see the person you are communicating with. There are so many unsaid things that can be inferred by facial expressions and pertinent pauses in conversation.

You can even have pizza dates as Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend) and I do since he recently moved away for school. We even will watch NFL games together.

But, I've noticed something that I do that probably makes me seem like an egocentric video chatter. When you face time or skype a video stream of your image shows up in a little box in the corner of the screen. Sometimes I find that I end up looking at myself more than the person I am chatting with--and no it's not because I like to look at myself--it's more because I'm worried about what I look like. Usually I will video chat with my laptop, but then I started using my iPad and Sarcastically Delicious asked why I looked orange and puffy. Apparently there is a different in picture quality between the two devices and also a difference in lag time between video and audio. Sometimes S.D. says I look like a badly dubbed Asian movie.

Regardless of the device, I've become self conscious about looking like a life size Cheeto on the web or a character from Kung Pow (which if you haven't seen and you like stupid-funny movies, i highly recommend) So rather than enjoying the full experience of web chatting, I'm looking at myself forty to fifty percent of the time, rather than devoting one hundred percent of my attention to the person I'm talking to. Chatting fail.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Yay! For Meeting New People!

I had the opportunity yesterday to spend almost four hours in the car with a new friend. We hit it off right away and talked about all sorts of topics from sports to the non-linear concept of time to frustrating college professors. 

What I hadn't expected from this car ride, though, was to find the answer to a problem with my manuscript. Car Friend isn't even a writer, she's a ballerina that likes math, and she had no clue that I was struggling with a problem with one of the male characters of my book. But, she just brought up this random concept in our conversation, and as soon as she introduced the idea, the gears in my head started turning and I became increasingly excited.

I tried explaining to Car Friend how literally giddy I was about said idea and how I wanted to apply it in my book, and of course she was happy that she could help, but I think she had no idea just how epic this conversation was for me. I can't wait to get back to my manuscript and incorporate this shiny, bright, new idea. And on that note, I'm going to shove off. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I love British accents.
I don't know why. I just do. They have a hypnotizing effect on me; music to my ears. Maybe I was British in another life. Maybe it's because the British occupied India for so long. Or maybe because British accents are bloody fantastic and anyone who doesn't think so is mental?

I guess it isn't ironic that five of the characters in my novel are British (technically one is Welsh). Three are adults and two are teens, and because I want my characters to be as authentic as possible I tune into and try to study all things British. Television. Movies. Audio books. Youtube videos by Charlie McDonnell.

The problem is that it's kind of seeping into my language. The other day I told my staff at work that something was "spot on." Which is weird coming from an Indian girl, born in Alabama, whose speech developed in Ohio and Missouri, but then picked up a few southernisms (yes, I made up that word...I think...) later in life, talking to someone from a tiny town in Alabama. It's just a bit odd, isn't it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Anita Land

Anita land has been quite adventurous lately.
  • I managed to lock myself out of my friend's house. At 7:00 am. Friend is out of town.
  • The poo gods have blessed my home with copious amounts of cat diarrhea recently. Perhaps it's a good omen, like having a bird poop on your head (laughing to myself thinking about fly by pooping).
  • I was mistaken for a federal agent.
  • A guy that jumps out of planes told me that I look younger than I really am.
  • Purple ink has become my color of choice and I don't understand why it isn't acceptable to use for legal documents or medical records.
  • And this song about the BP oil spill has been playing on permanent repeat in my head, and it's not exactly one of those songs I should sing out loud...
  • I really want to be a part of a flash mob and throw a green tea and broccoli party.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Question to Those Much Wiser Than I

I read a lot of young adult books since that's what I like to write. And I've been noticing a trend. Many of the endings are not in fact endings. They are cliffhangers, sometimes at intense moments, and if you want to know what happens next you've got to read the next book.

Now, I've always heard that as an un-agented, un-published writer you should write your novel so that it can stand alone on it's own and then if later down the line your book sells with possibly a sequel, then your editor and you will decide where book two and so on will go.

Does the term stand-alone then preclude a cliff hanger ending? A perfect example is Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, did she initially write that book with an intended cliff hanger ending, or was that something that she and her agent changed before submissions, or something that she and her editor added after it sold as a series?

Should I pretty much tie up all the story threads at the ending of my novel or should I leave some of them loose and dangling?

Any comments or clarifications?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gossip Time...Red Glove

Red Glove by Holly Black is the sequel to White Cat (click link to read my Gossip Time review of this book).

I LOVED both of these books. In this second installment we spend time with the oh-so-intriguing Cassel Sharpe (don't worry I'm not going to give away any spoilers). He's still attending Wallingford prep school, still a fabulous con man and a smart ass, but the family angst, federal angst, and pressure from the crime families only increases, and things with the love of his life Lila only get more complicated.

I couldn't put this book down and I can't wait to spend more time in Cassel Sharpe's word when the third installment of the Curse Worker Series, Black Heart comes out April 3, 2012.

If you haven't already, check out Holly Black's nifty website.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


This weekend my videography company filmed an ice skating competition. Watching all the pre-teens and teens in their skating dresses reminded me of the awkwardness of adolescence.

I was one of those twelve-year-old who had reached full height and whose feet were too big for her. It didn't help when other people noticed. I remember getting fitted for skates and wanting to curl up my toes as they took measurements. I wore shoes that were about a size and a half too small for me. I claimed I liked them snug, that I liked the feeling of them molding to my feet like ice skates. But, I think was really trying that whole Chinese-binding-feet thing.

I saw lanky girls in ice skating dresses that reminded me of myself at that age. I saw the horrendous things that mother's do to their children in the name of ice skating. I mean, come on, isn't being an adolescent awkward enough without your Mom adding blond extensions to your pony tail that are three shades lighter than your actual hair and hanging down to your butt? I think this girls pony tail threw off her center of gravity because all of her spins traveled quite a bit. There was another girl whose parents had put her in black skates. Boy skates! It would have been better if she had been in brown rental skates. But, to wear boy skates? I could tell she was uncomfortable, skating with her shoulders hunched up to her ears. I felt sorry for her. Another parent placed what seemed like an entire bouquet of white flowers on top of her child's head. Again, being head heavy it seemed to hinder her balance.

Remembering the awkwardness of adolescence reminded me that as a young adult writer it's important not to forget how uncomfortable our characters can be with their bodies and self image. That being one hundred percent comfortable with your self, ok, maybe eighty percent comfortable with yourself, comes with time and the slow building up of confidence.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I feel like I write the best when I write a little bit everyday. In the late winter/early spring time I was on a roll. My hands were constantly in my story, I barely had to re-read what I wrote from one writing session to the next. I was always in the moment, my characters and plot consistently somewhere in my mind, whether it be in the forefront or the background. I could take a fifteen minute break in the day and use it to pump out a decent amount of wordage.

Lately, writing has become sporadic. And I find it's harder to squeeze in productive writing sessions. I still try though, but often I have to re-read the last couple of pages just to reacquaint myself with the setting and the mood. And right when I get to the end of what I'm reading, itching to grab the pen and plunge in, that's precisely when life interrupts me. Sigh. I close my notebook and shift my attention to life.

As this happens more and more, a negative attitude sets in of why even try because I know as soon as I try to re-read any of my manuscript in preparation to write, something will pop up and thwart my intentions. And then before you know it a couple, then several days pass without writing a word because I'm searching for that ideal time to write; a couple of free hours to dedicate to my pen and imagination. Soon, the guilt sets in as I realize I'm not giving my goals one hundred percent. I'll never finish this draft.

When I listen to an audio book or walk by books at the store or library I no longer feel that surge of exhilaration that comes with dreaming and aspiring. There's a total disconnect. And then when I do find time to write, I'll choose to peruse my manuscript instead only to disbelieve that I actually wrote any of it. I'm mental, what can I say.

Eventually, I put myself back together and the writing and the dreaming proceeds again without a hitch, but only after I take the time to crawl out of the swampy disconnect that I've created for myself.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


This weekend my cousin Namita is getting married and I am supremely excited. It's always fun when you're awesome cousin or a close friend gets married. But even if I don't know the couple, I still love weddings. Yes, I suppose being a girl, I'm genetically wired to adore weddings. But, to me a wedding is such a multi-layered experience--kind of like reading a book. Weddings are love stories, a very important episode in the epic saga of love.

When I'm not writing, I also run a video production company and one of our specialities is wedding videography. As a videographer we have a unique relationship with the bride, groom, their family and friends. We get to see the behind the scenes stuff. We get to hear about the journey that brought the couple together for their momentous occassion. I often stay in touch with couples afterwards. Usually things end up happy, or normal you could say. They have babies, maybe move across the country, grow succesful careers. But sometimes bad things happen. A huband leaves his wife before I can even deliver the wedding DVD. Injury and sickness. Sometimes the reality of life hits some harder than others.

My favorite part of wedding videography isn't necessarily the filming per say, but the editting process, specifically making highlight/montage videos. Making a highlight/montage video gives me the opportunity to tell the story of the couple's wedding day with images and music instead of words. I guess when it comes down to it, I'm a story teller at heart.

I know a lot of authors and aspiring writers out there are amazing artists and share their wonderful sketches and designs on their blog. I like to think of myself of a video artist...