Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That AREN’T about Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

So this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a little different! It’s NOT about books! Let’s see if I can make you interested anyways…

1. Facebook

Seriously, are you surprised? you shouldn’t be. 😛

2. Twitter

Again, no surprise there. I LIVE on my Hootsuite, tracking down book giveaways. I maaaaaay have an addiction to that.

3. YouTube

Not for the reasons you might think! I actually look up more show promos on here than anything else. Last thing I looked up? The new James Bond trailer!

4. Duotrope’s Digest

This is a site for writers, where they can track their submissions to magazines. When I have stories out (which I don’t at this moment) I’m checking it 60 times a day for absolutely no reason.

5. Yahoo! Sports

MY RANGERS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS! Plus one of the baseball dudes does spectacular MLB power rankings. It’s my homepage, so it’s also the fastest sports access. 😛

6. Television Without Pity

I adore the photo galleries these guys put together. They are absolutely hysterical, even when they’re about shows I like! There are tons more stuff related to TV on there, but I don’t actually look at anything but the photos.

7. Google

Did you know that if you go to Google Maps and ask for walking directions from The Shire to Mordor, Google will tell you that “One cannot simply walk into Mordor”? Seriously, try it out. It’s AWESOME.

8. Big Fish Games

I am slightly obsessed with hidden object adventure games. And time management games. And those games that are hybrids of the two. And– uh, Big Fish just happens to have some fantastic games on it and I get bored sometimes. 😛

9. Netflix

I just recently developed an addiction to Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Having finished it in a week, I have decided that the mind of Joss Whedon is a terrifying, confusing place that makes up the best-worst things ever. (BUFFY FOREVER!)

10. Yahoo! Movie Trailers

I have a thing with movie trailers! I am like a movie trailer guru. It is from Yahoo! Movies I learn my wisdom, so you may start there, young grasshopper.

Happy Holidays.com – How my Christmas (book) shopping was effected by the economy, the web and Goodreads

I am one of those people who, when instantly having no gift ideas for other people, thinks BOOKS. It helps that I talk to people who are book people. This year, when wondering about the gifts I should be, I actually had books in mind for certain people, mostly selfishly chosen but still. Other people I knew I wanted to give books, I just didn’t have an idea. It helped that the two people I had no clue about had a Goodreads account so I could stalk their reading tastes.

 Yeah, I stalked bad. I was all over their to-read list like ketchup on french fries. Multiple times, too, when I couldn’t find a single book on the to-read list I was even vaguely familiar with and therefore had to come up with some sort of feel for the list so I could pick something I’d read that was vaguely related. Still pretty sure I failed, there, but we’ll see what the reaction is at Christmas. The entire point of this is that, without Goodreads–this book-centered Facebook–I actually had a clue what I was going to get these people and I was glad for it.

But then I had a problem. I HAD NO BOOKSTORES.

Seriously! My closest chain was a Borders, which cleared out weeks ago. My local indie, as small as it was, always had the big-ticket items in stock and could order whatever I needed, but that recently went out of business as well after years and years of losing money. This had been a long time coming (in fact, the store had been losing so much money over the years but kept in business so long that the IRS was looking into them being a tax shelter), but it still reduced me to tears. Plus, now I had NOWHERE TO SHOP FOR BOOKS. NO PLACE TO BROWSE. (Plus, my indie had been carrying my books. Now what was I going to do to sell these suckers?) It was the stuff of my nightmares, quite literally. And now my Christmas shopping plans were quite defunct.

Now, instantly you are saying, “…online shopping, you dummy.” But here’s the thing: I HATE shopping for books online. There are no words that adequately describe how much that makes me ill. Don’t even get me started on eReaders. Just see the side picture. Book stores and libraries have been my heavens and havens for as long as I can remember, and they are what I worship–not electronic buying and reading. Browsing bookstores is a favorite pastime of mine when I’ve got a place to do it. All this means, however, was that it took me forever to come to terms with the fact that I had to order all my presents ONLINE.

This, of course, made me cranky and late, which made me extra cranky. Then the books came late and I had to frantically wrap and yadda yadda. The insult to injury came that, when asked what I wanted for Christmas, my usual answer of “gift card to the bookstore” died on my lips. It was no longer a gift that existed, yet it was a gift I had lived off of on birthdays and Christmases alike. I had to ask for Amazon gift cards. It felt like I was spewing acid.

Even now, I can’t decide if the internet is helping or harming me right now. I know that without it, I wouldn’t have Christmases presents for 75% of my recipients and I wouldn’t have known what to get them to boot. However, I also know that it’s the internet that shoved my little indie out of business, and for that I will never forgive it. Well, unless it gives me a bookstore. Then we’d be even.

How do you write to concen– Oh look, sparkly!

Lately, all I’ve wanted to do is write. I’ve been coming up with new ideas for my current work in progress and having a blast. But when I sit down at my computer, I can’t CONCENTRATE. Yes, I have ADD—but it’s never been this bad. I have always assumed that it’s easier to write on the computer. After all, everything I write has to get here sometime, right? But it turns out that this isn’t for me.

When I write, I need to write. Trying to type on my computer is too distracting. I never actually write. I go to Twitter, I go to Facebook, I go to Inkpop—anything and everything. No matter how badly I want to write, I can’t get anything done. (How I’m writing this blog post is beyond me.) However, when I write by hand into a notebook, I can write for hours. I don’t care that writing by hand gives me blisters or makes my back and shoulders hurt—I’m WRITING. This way, when it comes time to put it into the computer, I don’t actually have to think. Typically, I type it in while watching some of my TV addictions online. Today, for instance, I typed up two chapters while catching up on Glee. Does it take more time? Yes. But I get more DONE.

Some of you, I know, wouldn’t agree. You can actually type on a computer and get more done. I’m very jealous, just so you know. It would be more time-effective. What I want to know is, is there anyone who types an even more different way? Like, do you use speech recognition software? Do you use a typewriter? Quill and ink? Something else? What do you do to get your imagination on the page?

*gasp* Twitter is useful to writers!

So, I’ve had this blog for EVER but I’ve never gotten around to any actual … blogging. Sure, I’ve posted things I’ve written but that probably gets a little dull after a while. So here we go–I’m going to use my blog to BLOG. How novel.

As a writer, I hear people talking about their “platforms” all the time. There’s the constant debate over whether they’re necessary, how much time they take up, blah blah. For me, hearing Facebook and Twitter could actually be useful to aspiring writers made me laugh and laugh. I SEE the kind of junk me and my friends post around on those sites–how could they be useful to a business venture or whatnot?

Well, I’ll tell you when I see it on Facebook–I’m still trying to wade through the strange teenage addiction to post my every living moment of my life on there. Twitter, however, is another story.

I’ll admit, it isn’t like I just had a revelation. I was just reading through a back issue of Writer’s Digest on how writing has moved to the World Wide Web. However, it was the first time I’d read stuff about it when I actually HAD a Facebook and a Twitter. The gains for my Tweeting life have been extraordinary.

For example, I understand for the first time just what exactly it means when people type in #somethingsomething. It’s called a hashtag, and if you search them you can find a whole bunch of random people discussing the same thing. I was already using the hashtag #amwriting without really understanding what I was doing, but then I got ahold of hashtags that have actual discussions attached to them! For instance, check out #WriteChat on Twitter. Just go search it. BAM. People sticking their Tweets into a melting pot of random discussion. Granted, there is a whole lot of junk out there, too, but there are actual PEOPLE looking to meet other WRITERS. For someone who spends most of their life stuck like a hermit at their desk, this is very exciting. One of my new favorites is #yalitchat, which has a website attached to it at http://yalitchat.ning.org. They have Twitter discussions once a week, besides connecting writers with writers every day. I’ll report more when I’ve actually explored these options fully, but I urge you to check it out. YA Lit might not be your thing, but rest assured there are PLENTY of other hashtags out there for you. I’ve yet to search anything in the Twitter search bar and have nothing come up.

Go forth and tweet! If nothing else, it’s really addicting, er, fun! 😀

All Goes to Pieces

I’m proud to say this is a piece I performed today, but it’s not really a piece that I think I should record. I’m currently playing with different ways to do that, and we’ll see if I actually do or just type it up at let you act it out. 😀

All Goes to Pieces

A girl kneels beside her bed
As if in prayer but not
She is staring at the blue vein in her wrist
Wondering how she got so low that she knows opening it won’t help
The house shelters her from the weather outside
Wishing it could kneel in prayer to a God she does not believe
Because it would be something more to give than four walls

But it helps the boys more
Welding the lock to their door
Not to keep them in but to keep the shouting out
The parents are upstairs
Shaking window panes and slamming doors
The house cannot keep the screaming contained
They hear it through failing walls

So the girl changes her Facebook religion to atheist
Saying “This I now know”
As the brothers lie in their bunk bed
Ashamed to admit the comfort of their solidarity
And the parents plan a vacation
That would send them each to a different corner of the country
And they welcome it

As they sit around the TV
Drowning out the wind that’s lashing the outside
The girl and the house stare at each other through the two-faced window
Both wondering if this is where it all goes to pieces