Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Freebies 4

This time seems to be lots of books you can win. But those are great, because you don't have to be a writer to enjoy a free novel.

Two Chances to Win Free Books : It seems Ms. Miller there gets a lot of free books to give away. Am I jealous? Yes, I am.

Free Editing : InkMuse does fabulous critiques, and every week (or sometimes every other week) she gives them away for free. How are you not signed up for this already?

Partial Critique : It's mostly for teen writers, but those of us past that stage in our lives can enter as well. 50 pages critique. Not bad. Not bad at all.

8 Books : Don't forget this chance to win 8 books!

So four contests in all, and that is not even including contests that don't run on a Friday.

Good luck though! I hope one of us wins.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Episode 3: Burning Documents


Great, now my hair is a real mess. I need a hair dresser fast. I think I have a card somewhere in my bag. I push aside the receipts and knick-knacks I've collected. It's no good. I can't find anything in here.

I pour out the contents of my purse onto the counter, papers goes everywhere. A business card floats right onto the scented candle. The lit scented candle. Oh bother. What if it gets burned? I think I have some chemicals in my purse that I can use to read what was written on the card! But I'll need to save it in time...


I didn't really have one this time. I just had the two scenarios I was interested in learning about. I suppose I thought the paper would just burn right up and you couldn't save anything really. But I really did want the Sherlock Holmes stuff (salvaging an already burned paper) to work.


Yeah, I was wrong on both counts.


The burned paper disintegrated in my hand. There was no recovering it. At least it was just a small corner. I can easily read the card. Phew. Now to just get out of here.


The first thing I tried was throwing the paper in the fire to see if I could leap in and save it in time. I could. Only the corner was burned. That could make an interesting scene if that corner had the final location of the treasure or the name of the heir to the fortune! Otherwise, it won't cause much trouble.

I also threw a stack into the pile and left it. The pages burned from the bottom up. The ones that got left for a long time were burned on the top and bottom, but the middle pages were just burned on the edges. They were still quite readable.

As for the super sleuth attempts? Well I burned the edge of the paper and left it to burn. That was the how they did it in the last Super Sleuth movie I saw. It just burned out quickly when I set it down. When I held it up to let it burn, it crinkled in a lovely way. I'm a pyromaniac like that I suppose.

As for saving what was on the paper? It's highly unlikely to happen as the pages are so delicate they fall apart when touched or moved too quickly. A very trained specialist might be able to salvage what was on there, but he would have to be careful. Just be aware of that in your scenes.

Final detail: the ashes would blow away or rise up in the smoke, so don't expect to find much left over if the papers were left in the fire.

Thanks as always for reading. Sorry to be a little late this week. Youtube was being silly about uploading the video.

P.S. The video was edited by my assistant/husband "The Drudge," which is why the style is so different this time. He's so talented.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Shorts: Stalking 101

Okay, let me start off with my legal warning: the tests in this blog are for fictional use only. Please don't stalk people or spy on them. Thank you.

I've been watching movies and whatnot for ideas lately, and some can be episodes but others (like the black eye) work best here in Sunday Shorts. I was viewing a certain former-spy thriller, and he looks through his scope at people in a building. He's got such a great view he can pick out who is in the room, and how tired they look. Wow!

But would that really work?

So I got out my stalker-goggles (aka binoculars) and went peeping. The things I do for you guys.

I used empty houses under construction and my own house to test this. I looked through my window into someone else's window (matching lighting sources so to speak), and I looked from outside into my own windows. I did my tests in the morning, afternoon, and at night.

Here's what I learned:

  • If the sun is up, and the window is closed, you can't see a darn thing unless its right next to the window (like curtains, but not a person standing there).
  • If the sun is down, you can see everything.
  • If the window is open, you can see fairly well but not brilliantly.
Lesson here? Lighting is everything. If the lighting outside (aka the sun) is brighter than the lighting inside, you can't see what's inside. Even when I stood in the shade or looked at a shaded part of the house, the windows still had a glare that made it impossible to see much. But at night, I had no problems at all making out every detail.

Also, I felt super creepy doing this, even knowing the houses were empty.

So if you characters need to spy on someone, unless they have super awesome polarized spy gear, they better do their spying at night, or on a very dark and cloudy day.

Thanks for reading guys! Let me know if you have any ideas for things I can test in a video or just in a write-up here on the blog.

Keep your pants on!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Freebies 3

Fridays are a good day to find free things. So I'll post some for you. You get five this time instead of the usual four.

Win $1000!!! : Yup, you could win $1000 and a chance to send your full MS to an agent. Just submit your first 500 words. Easy right?

2-Sentence Pitch : I seem to find a lot of these. But go ahead and enter because Victoria Marini is an awesome agent. And no I'm not just sucking up because she has my MS. (It would be but she doesn't read my blog.)

Teen Writer? : If you're a teen you could enter this one! Ages 14-18 could win a trip to NYC to hang with an editor. Sweet right?

Free Edits : CA Marshall will edit queries. Contest ends today though, so better hurry.

Books Giveaway : I love free books. Someday I want to actually get some.

Thanks again guys. New Episode on Wednesday. Keep your eyes out for that and your pants on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zombunny and Aydan

New episode in one week. But for today I have a contest entry to win a cute little zombunny doll. To win I have to make something cute and evil. Can be a drawing or a short story or anything. (Remember I told you about this on Friday.)

If I get nominated, would you all vote for me? Vote Here!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Freebies 2

Another Friday, another list of all new freebies. Yup, they just keep coming.

Rafflecopter is still going by the way.

You might also like:

Teen Judges : Get free editing from an agent intern based on the Teen Judges top picks.

FREE EDITS : InkMuse has many contests all with fabulous free edits! I've won once already and it was definitely worth it. She still has that $50 book up for grabs.

Pitch to Vicki Motter : 50 max entries. Only a few slots left. But you could get your ms before an agent. Worth it!

Cute Evil : Win a stuffed zombie bunny with your cute evil story/picture/whatever.

There were also a bunch of contests that opened and closed in between Fridays so I couldn't announce them. So keep your eyes open and your pants on!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Episode 2: Dagger Hair Cut


My face is no longer bleeding, but my dignity has not fared so well. I stare at myself in the mirror, noticing my long scraggly hair. Perhaps I am a bit unkempt, but sloven? His accusations sting like my new knife.
That's right! I do have a new knife. I can show him now. I'll just clean up my appearance a bit. When I go back out, he'll see. They'll all see!
I clutch my dagger, grab ahold of my long hair, and steady myself.

So what's next? Do I have fabulous new do or will this only make things worse like the whole bottle breaking incident?


I was certain it was going to hurt and pull my hair. I had braided it just to be sure there would be no direct pull on my scalp but just the same. My plan was to do it as quickly as possible.


Well, as you can see for yourself it didn't quite work out as planned. I can't see it in the video, but my hair does not look super awesome. It kind of does until you get to the part that is shorter than the rest. That's what I get for braiding it. But the salon artist mentioned she'd seen the same results from cutting a ponytail off. So its not really the braids fault.


I attempt a swift sweeping cut, but nothing happens.
"Great." I roll my eyes at my luck and start sawing away.
It does work. Eventually. But now my hair is even worse than before. I shake it out. THe ends aren't even and there's a section in the back that's shorter than the rest.
I toss down the detached braid. "Fidgets."
I'll just have to think of another bright idea.


Firstly, it did not hurt. At all. I really had no problems with pain even on the first cut when I tried to do it just like the movies. The knife just slid off the hair and I had no pulling on my scalp at all.

Secondly, obviously it does not work like in the movies. I had to cut and saw at my hair to get through it all. It was a brand new knife that we even honed just to be sure it was the best we could get. But as sharp as it was, the hair needed more work. This is partly because hair is about the same as aluminum in strength. You read that correctly. Hair=aluminum. When they match in thickness they are about the same. Think about breaking a hair and tearing a piece of aluminum foil. Its about the same. Hair is tough stuff in the end. Especially when grouped together like that in a ponytail or braid.

Thirdly, I did not get a cute haircut from my braid cut off attempt. It was mostly okay until you got to that one short part. Which was just going to be inevitable no matter how much time I'd spent making sure I braided it evenly and smoothed out all the hairs. Nothing beats a good ole pair of scissors and a bit more time.

That being said, I bet if I had taken the hair in smaller sections and cut it similarly to a normal stylist's method, then it wouldn't be too bad. But that wasn't what we were looking at. This was about the one slice hair style. And it doesn't work. (Don't worry though, it looks pretty good now that I've been to a real salon.)

In case you're curious, my hair was roughly 22-24 inches long. I cut off about 9-10 inches with the knife (depending on the spot). The hair stylist cut off an additional two inches to make it all even. So my hair is about 10-12 inches now. (I layered it). I also still have the hair. It's a little weird.

Anyways, it was a fun one to do. I appreciate my parents for letting me film in their lovely backyard. Please leave comments (like suggestions for other things I can do) and I'll post another episode in two weeks (Hint: It's about super sleuths and treasure hunting).

Keep your pants on!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Freebies

I don't have anything free for you. But I figure on Fridays I can let you know about Freebies and Contests I find around the ole Internets.

There is a slight self-interest here that I won't deny: often these contests require you to promote them for entry.

For now here are four contests I know are currently running.

The Great Rafflecopter : Win Books or Website Design!

Elevator Pitch Contest : Win a chance to send Bree Ogden a full or partial of your YA or MG MS.

July Giveaway : Win Deepening Fiction, a MFA textbook.

Kensington Brava : Get a Novella published!

Sweet prizes available this summer. So if querying is slow or writing is blocked, go take a look.

See you Sunday for Sunday Shorts, and keep your pants on.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Case of the Mondays

Alas, no Sunday Shorts yesterday. I spent the day in bed with a cold. My apologies loyal fans. Well, I'm hoping you're still loyal. I'm building up a buffer of episodes, so even if Sunday Shorts isn't consistent the semi-weekly Wednesday Episodes will not be. So check back next Wednesday for another awesome Belief Suspenders.

For missing yesterday though, I offer you this useful trinket:

Did you know that the body can absorb some types of fishing line? It's true. Some doctors will use it for stitches because they don't have to be removed. So if your characters are out fishing and one of them gets a deep gash well...they could sew it up quite conveniently. Except for the whole infection thing.

For infection there are a few natural cures that could help. Garlic, though not readily available in the wild, does work as an antiseptic. So if your chars brought some to put on their fish their set.

But wait! He's bleeding too heavily. What do they do now? need an astringent. Something to help the muscles swell and close up. The one I'm most familiar with is yarrow. Some people know it because you can chew on the roots to numb your mouth. But its also an astringent and a decent bug repellent (decent not brilliant). Chew on the root for a toothache. Shove a leaf up your nose for a bloody nose. Or just apply to heavy bleeding.

Please note: This is not medical advice from a doctor. I'm a blog writer with no medical degree or naturalist experience. If you have an injury, see a real doctor. This is for use with fictional situations only. Thank you.