Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Sunday, December 19th - Yes! THIS Sunday!
Watch me get my face covered in plaster! You know you want to. The fun starts in the afternoon, probably at 1pm PST / 4pm EST!

Friday, December 10, 2010

And So Our Story Begins...

This is an exciting time for me and Crabcat Industries. You know, that amazing art / costume troupe I joined?

Yesterday I bought the first part of my costume. Yay! Alginate! I'll be getting a head cast created for me soon which means claustrophobia, I mean, encasement in plaster, uh, fun times. Yeah, I was as excited about that last part as I was to find out I needed my very first root canal last month. Oh well. No pain no gain, right?

Did I even mention who I was going to be? No? WELL...
I plan to transform into the awesome character Aria T'Loak from the video game franchise "Mass Effect." She's a pirate, a dictator and an all-around badass. Gotta love strong female characters.

I'll be chronicling everything here so you can come along on this fantastic journey with me. Some of it will be on the Crabcat blog, Sorcery and Glue, as well.

One more thing, be on the lookout for an announcement of something cool we're doing on the 18th. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fan Fiction: Real Writing or Not?

I’ve been a secret lurker of FanFiction.Net for about a year now, consuming stories from both the "Mass Effect" and "Dragon Age" universes, but just recently started to create my own.

Some writers feel fan fiction is a cop out with its already-established characters and for some, plot lines. I take a different stance. What about it being a great way to exercise the writing muscles? When you’re on a treadmill you’re not actually running a marathon, but you could be training for one. Isn’t the same true for fan fiction?

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog Fail, But Big Wins

I've been a bad blogger. No need to make nice. You can tell me how much I suck.

But before you do, I have a couple things to announce:

1 - Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters has been selling well and I've been accepted into a new edition to be released early next year. Yay. The new book is about grandmas because they're the best. Thanks again for your support!

2 - After a long search, I got a job as Director of Marketing for an international software company. My new role is all about long hours and stress. Double yay. Other than that, I'll be bringing the company's global message to the North American audience hopefully utilizing my creative mind. *insert maniacal laugh here*

3 - I've joined the illustrious and supremely-awesome production company Crabcat Industries. Aw, yeah. This group of talented artists, led by the reknowned Holly Conrad, brings characters from popular video games to life with movie-quality costumes and animatronics. If you haven't heard of them yet, believe me, you will. We've been slaving away on the website and will have lots of amazing news soon.

Anyway, that's all I've got. Do you forgive me now?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day of Yays

Today was a good day. Of course some bleakness crept into my silver lining, but overall, it was a very good day indeed. You know it’s true when I throw down the word, “indeed.”

Yay #1 – Got a free pedicure.

Yes, my friend and I inadvertently forgot to pay, but that’s beside the point. No one told us to fork over the dough, no one chased us down like dogs to rip away the marrow of our wallets, and certainly no one reminded anyone involved including myself, my friend, the nail, um, technician(?), the receptionist, other patrons, and security cameras that we hadn’t paid. Not to worry, you moral compass enforcers, we’ll make it up to them. It was still cool though. Moving on…

Yay #2 – Worked out at the gym for the first time in years.

The best part, each cardio machine had its own TV. Rachel Zoe, thank you for entertaining me during my calorie inferno. I’m not about to mention that my face took on the hue of an eggplant by the end… *cough* I’m a little out of shape.

Yay #3 – I’m finally over caffeine.

Diet Coke and coffee, you have no power over me!

Yay #4 – Started my new sci-fi book.

Only 300 words, but hey, better than nothing.

Yay #5 – Went to a great tapas restaurant for dinner.

Another friend and I swapped stories of married life betwixt bites of paella. Super yummy. The remainder of the night consisted of me trying to sell our server on the idea of trying the Mass Effect video games.

All in all, a great day. Just thought I’d share.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Addiction Distraction

This post is a little off topic, but that’s okay. Deciding in which direction this blog should go is not at the top of my priority list at the moment. The feeling my head has been cleaved in half by a very dull and rusty axe is. Caffeine withdrawal sucks.

I’m not sure if any of you have problems with addiction, but I certainly do. To be clear, I’m not a toothless wonder hobbling down dark alleys scrounging for my next hit of crack or anything. I just have a severe penchant for caffeine. And with me, I don’t just like something, I LOVE it.

Doctors have told me I should quit. Ha! Right. Me, the coffee aficionado, the three-Diet-Cokes-a-day connoisseur, the Excedrin extraordinaire, me? Good luck with that.

So, instead of conquering the universe on the wings of my violet pegasus or storming the castle with my laser-beam assault rifle, I’m loathing my very existence struggling not to give in to the temptation that is Diet Coke. Wish me luck and send me good-writing vibes. Peace.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Huh. I've been ignoring this blog lately. As if you couldn't tell. No doubt a lot of you have given up on me. But for those of you special people who haven't, I give you a rockin' high-five.

To tell the truth, I've been ignoring writing altogether. Perhaps being a "Writer" is too much pressure. Maybe the scrutiny got to me. I don't know.

I do know that I've started a new project; one that deviates wildly from anything I've ever created before.

(My blog, my rules. I can use as many freakin' adverbs as I want in this post.)

So, I will continue to tap the keg of creativity and hope you'll stick with me. I promise to write more often.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Funny Thing Happened...

I cut my hand open today. To be exact, I was pulled into a metal door jamb by my dog and scraped two layers of skin from my index finger. And because of my awesome aversion to blood, shock set in almost immediately.

Yep, that’s right, dizziness combined with nausea and sweating in equal parts. Loads of fun let me tell you. The one thing I thought as my head tumbled between my knees in the “I’m not gonna faint” position was how am I going to type with a bum hand?

A startling question since I’ve been hosting an epic-scale pity party for the past two months, the theme being, “Everyone’s making it but me” complete with depression draught and procrastination pie. Maybe scraping up the layers of emotional epidermis forced inspiration to flow to the surface.

I think it’s time to work on a new book. What do you say?

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Military Channel

“Babe! Hey Hil!”

Oh! My husband calls. Time to be the dutiful wife.

The swishing sounds of my crinoline skirt accompany me as I prance into the family room all Lucille Ball-like. Birds begin to chirp outside and the sun shines a wee bit brighter with my entrance. This is my blog post after all. Don’t mind me.

"Yes, my dearest most wonderfullest man o' mine.” I hand him a plate of freshly-baked cookies while I straighten my lace apron.

No, not really.

“Did you know we get the Military Channel in HD?” He smiles and squeezes the remote control tightly to his chest whilst squealing with delight. I might be exaggerating, but again, my blog my rules.

Little did I know this amazing discovery of television programming would haunt me. For weeks.

Battles and more battles and then more history about battles...

Throw in some shows about the newest technology for blowing things up and that’s about all I’ve heard coming from the big light box hanging on the wall. Granted, explosions do sound pretty cool in Dolby 7.1, but I digress.

An epiphany struck. Perhaps he loves the Military Channel because he was once IN the military. That got me thinking about writing. What if there was the Writing Channel?

Would I subject him to hours upon hours of literature history programs and interviews with famous authors?

What about documentaries on “the novels of the future” where we watch authors type their manuscripts and become victims of rejection?

Now that sounds like some quality television.

Reality shows like “Survivor” and “The Biggest Loser” could focus on writers pitching to agents. Hmm…

Anyway, the Military Channel is annoying. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Caught Up

Have you ever been so caught up in something that everything else vanishes?

I call this “Tunnel Vision Syndrome” AKA “Hilary’s Personality.”

There are positive aspects to this, I assume. Things like completing tasks quickly and perfecting the results… but at what cost?

Over the past month or so, my laser focus shifted to the negative and I completely dropped out of my online life. Sorry, guys. The good news is I’m coming out of it as evidenced by this blog post.

Being a writer can take its toll. For all of your hard work, there’s no external accolade, no one there to pat you on the back save friends and family, but aren’t they just a bit biased?

I’m no pessimist. Pshaw!

Anyway, part of getting better is forcing my eyes to see the whole spectrum, not just the one color I’ve deigned to be my obsession. And that’s what I’m determined to do. I’ve reevaluated my goals and set them against reality. I should write for me, improve my skill for me, tell a story for me – not for the hope of becoming the next Brown / Meyer / Rowling. Delusions can seduce you then leave you bitter.

Any thoughts on this?

Someone sent me this quote a while ago and it cracked me up. They suggested I substitute “publication” for “truth.”

“The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying bastards.” – Alexander Jablokov

Just don’t let your self-doubt become the biggest bastard. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My First Award!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Happy Award:

Thank you, Marybeth for this honor. You rock!

As with all good and happy things there are rules attached. I’m required to tell you 10 things that make me happy and list 10 blogs that make me happy. I’m sure you’re dying of anticipation, so I'll get on with it.

10 Things that Make me Happy!

1. Writing. (Shocking, I know.)

2. Singing. (Sometimes I even get paid.)

3. Sour candy.

4. Puppy kisses.

5. Snowboarding through the trees.

6. Reading.

7. Going anywhere in Europe.

8. Ketel One or Don Julio. Happiness in a bottle. ;)

9. A perfectly coordinated outfit, complete with "lotsa" jewelry and killer shoes.

10. Driving too fast.

10 Blog Friends that make me Happy!

1. Marybeth

2. Adam

3. Nicole (funniest blog EVER!)

4. Elana

5. Jillian

6. T Anne

7. Cindy

8. Linda

9. Annette

10. The Blonde

YAY! Now bring on the champagne!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Was a Bit Hasty...

Right about now I should be stuffing my toes in my mouth. Having just finished Fallen by Lauren Kate, it's clear the logic in my last post was a little flawed. Angels can be hot. Well, obviously not all of them. The pudge-r-iffic cherubs are not in any way hot. And it's never time for androgyny. (Yes, that was a SNL reference.)

Feathery attachments excluded, the book reeled me in with its disturbing setting and multifaceted characters. Ms. Kate did a fantastic job letting me, the reader, discover each person’s past. She shows, not tells, folks.

If you’re looking for some great dark and romantic YA, Fallen is the book for you.

Plot Summary:

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Angel Thing

After reading Hush, Hush, I got to thinking. (Yep, that little hamster’s still going strong.) What’s the deal with the new angel trend?

Maybe being brought up in a Baptist household changed my perception of God’s heavenly henchmen, but I don’t think there’s anything sexy about angels. Between androgynous representations like in “Constantine” (awesome movie) and the chubby cherubs seen in paintings, I don’t find hunky man-dude with feathery appendages. And about the feathers, that’s just weird. They’re like birdmen, but not. Have you seen a bird molt?

I heard someone say that angels are the new vampires. Granted, the idea of a fallen angel makes sense due to their lack of wings and sinful nature (and who doesn’t like a story about redemption?) but it’s hard for me to imagine falling in love with your guardian angel.

Let’s break this down –
1 – He’ll always be more beautiful than you with his sparkly essence and/or flowing robes of white.

2 – He’ll always make you feel bad for sinning, so you’d better get your guilt on.
(My internal editor just evacuated.)

3 – He’ll never age while you’ll continue to deteriorate. Vampires are cool because they can make you one too. I don’t see angels handing out seraph-dom.

On the flipside, the idea of sacrifice works. All I can hear right now is Sara McLachlan and it’s killing me – I’m getting there – “City of Angels” is a good example of this. Guardian angel throws away eternity to be human. Okay. I get it.

But I’m still creeped out by the feathers.

What do you think?

Disclaimer: I did enjoy Hush, Hush.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

YA Reading Fest

Over the past four days I've read four books. Yes, four: Hush, Hush, Shiver, Graceling, and Fire.

Now before you get all "she has no life" on me, you have to realize these books are unbelievably addictive. All of four engaged me, but Graceling and Fire stood out as my favorites. Both are by author Kristin Cashore.


Plot Summary:

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

My Impression:

I LOVED it and devoured the book within hours. All of the characters breathed (figuratively, of course), the plot moved at the right pace, and the writing transported me into Kristin Cashore's world. The romantic elements hooked me instantly, not to mention all the fight scenes!

What an amazing debut! (Yes, two exclamation points back-to-back. It was that good.)


Plot Summary:

She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

My Impression:

This story still haunts me. When I started it, I'd just finished Graceling, so the bar was set very high. I loved the idea of "monster" things -- Cashore's descriptions and ideas about her world improved from her first book. There was a more mature theme with this one, which I appreciated, and the relationships between characters were less straight-forward as in Graceling. Overall, Fire was a darker, more complicated book. I loved it.

My Impression of the Author:

She has a distinct style in which she uses a repetition of sentences beginning with the same pronoun or word, most often "she" or "the". Cashore uses this device several times in both books and it works. It seems to emphasize a growing intensity to the succession.

Her settings are phenomenal and I love that all of her characters have flaws. Both books do have a happily-ever-after, but not in a cookie-cutter kind of way. Sacrifices have to be made and not everyone lives.

In sum, Kristin Cashore is now one of my favorite authors. I hear she's working on a new book titled Bitterblue. Can't wait!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reasons Not to Get a Dog in 2010

In an effort to appear balanced, I would like to discuss the flipside of my post from Dec 29th: Reason to Get a Dog in 2010.

So, here goes. Why NOT to get a dog:

1 – MUD.

I live in LA where it NEVER rains and yet, there’s mud in my yard. It may have to do with Stoli being a Husky with a penchant for digging, but wiping paws six or seven times a day plus two baths a week is a major burden. No, not baths for me. I promise I take one daily.

2 – Exercise.

Dogs need loads of exercise. If you’re sedentary (apparently I was), this is a real issue.

3 – Hair.

Yeah. It’s everywhere and on everything. I thought cat hair was pervasive - its got nothing on dog hair. Vacuuming everyday and lots of sweeping / dusting / wiping is required.

4 – Commitment.

Having a dog is akin to having a child. It constantly needs to be watched, fed, and played with. Forget spontaneously taking off for the weekend. You need to plan for a sitter, er, kennel.

(yes, this is actually my dog)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to be a dog owner. Ah, look at that face.

Just be prepared before making that buying decision.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


For YA and MG writers, Kidlit is running a contest for the best beginning of a FINISHED manuscript. Entries need to be less than 500 words.

Click this link to read the rules:
Kidlit Contest
Deadline - January 31st

Nathan Bransford is also having a contest for the best teen diary entry less than 500 words. Here is the link to that:
Secret Year Diary Contest
Deadline - January 6th

Good luck!