Monday, August 24, 2009
#1: My review of Needtobreathe's new album The Outsiders is up on JFH! I don't remember if I've ever talked about it before here, but in the past few months, I've been picking up CD review gigs there. I'm pretty ecstatic to be able to blend my two big loves - writing and music - and share my little musical opinions with the Christian music community.
I plug this one in particular, because it is my favorite album reviewed so far. (I gave it 4.5 stars. That's not normal. ;)) More important than reading my rambles... please check out the CD. It came out today and it's super-great.
#2: Speaking of reviews... got a copy of Andrew Peterson's new book North! Or Be Eaten in my mailbox the other day. It's the second book in his Wingfeather Saga, and as a fan of the wonderful first, I couldn't be more excited to participate in the official blog tour. Yay!
Full review coming soon. Also kicking around giveaway ideas. I've never done a contest on this blog before, so it's about time... and everyone loves free stuff, right? Of course.
#3: Other writing... ah, fiction slump. Boo! :( My little short story/future novel is still languishing on the hard drive, still resting a bit. I hope to start tinkering with it again soon. And it may languish a little longer because NaNoWriMo is on the way! (as evidenced by the lovely green and blue button to your right) It's hard to believe in a short two months I'll be back in marathon writing mode... where does the time go? - Anyone else in?
There. Oh, enough about my stuff. Better writers... did you know Donald Miller and Susan Isaacs are heading out on tour this fall? The authors of two of my favorite books... should be a great tour! Check out the widget below to see if they're coming to a town near you. I already have my calendar marked for the Longwood date! :)
This... could be the most rambling ADD blog post ever. Ha.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's, like, totally the next Twilight. And Leah O. Dodd? Oh, that's me. I needed a pen name so I won't have people stalking me on Facebook when I become totally famous.
Um, yeah. Couldn't resist. :) Found via Pop Candy... it's a little game called Create Your Debut YA Cover. (Check out the gallery. Some of them are pretty good!)
The rules, if you want to make your own instant bestseller:
1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” or click http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/I actually kind of like my cover. Maybe I'll write this fake YA novel.
The name that appears is your author name.
2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” or click http://www.websitestyle.com/parser/randomword.shtml
The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.
3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or click http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/index.php
Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.
4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.
5 – Post it to your site along with this text.
But not with a name like Leah O. Dodd. What teen girl would read a book by someone with a name like that? :P
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Last night, I tried to scrap together some thoughts for an essay I've been wanting and needing to write. I've been reading Anne Lamott again lately, and something about her makes me want to attempt smart, funny, deep spiritual musings, probably because in my wildest dreams I'd like to write like her. (Which brings me to Discovery #2: What goes in your head sometimes comes out on your paper. So read good stuff.)
Anyway. After jotting down a paragraph, I went to bed. But random images kept popping up, floating from my subconscious, where they like to hang out unless I'm driving, in the shower, or trying to sleep. So, with a harrumph and a protest ("But I gotta get up eaaaarrrrly tomorrow!"), I flipped on the lamp, whipped out a journal, and scribbled away til well past midnight.
I haven't gone back yet to look at what I came up with and see if any of it is usable yet. I am aware that every scrap, every loose fragment, is important. It's hard to accept sometimes, but even your half-asleep scribbles -- no, especially your half-asleep scribbles -- have a glimmer of potential. They're simply waiting to be put together, maybe in a current piece, or maybe in something entirely different that won't show up for years, a ragtag, patchwork quilt of scraps dug from the back of the closet.
That's what makes this writing thing so fun, right? Are words keeping you up at night?
Photo Credit: Sleepy Writer by FiacreG on Flickr.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
So I took the survey as follows:
LN Question #1: Did you attend Coldplay at Ford Amphitheatre?
Me: No (dork), the show was canceled or postponed (and this was going to be the highlight of my summer and I have spent the last few days getting over it and I heard their last Tampa show was postponed, so what if they're allergic to Florida and never come back and now my car is acting funny and omg this is the worst vacation ever *emoemoemo*!)*
LN: We're sorry your show was postponed. We're now exiting the survey. *window closes super fast*
Yeah. In case you didn't hear, the day before the Tampa show (last stop on the U.S. tour), the event was postponed for medical reasons. (Initial Reaction: Medical? Eek!!!) Really, it's stupid to get too distressed because... well, everyone does get sick. Even rock stars. Buzz on Facebook and forums ranged from "How could they do this! Coldplay hates Tampa! My weekend is ruined!!!! @#&^!!!" to "Stop being such insensitive @#&^*@s! People get sick!!!" It's all too easy to swing between both camps.
Anyway. Yeah, I was looking forward to endless paper butterflies, the giant bell, and thousands of people singing along to "Fix You" and "Viva la Vida," but.... people get sick. Even rock stars. Even members of one of the "biggest bands on earth." Who knew?
So we went to console ourselves with a little lindy hop. That's when the a/c went out in my car, but that's another story entirely.
I wish there was a profound point to writing this out, some important life lesson. But sometimes, life kind of sucks and things don't go according to plan. You know it's not that important in the grand scheme of the universe, that it could've been worse and you should shut up, be grateful for the good, and make the best of it.
I wish that were the point I was trying to make. But I'm human and get frustrated over stupid things too. We all do. Pretending to be anything else would make me a liar.
As I stressed about my car problems today, Sherri said I should blog about it, and it would make me feel better. And sometimes, that's what blogging is for... self-serving feel-betterness. In the writing, I see how silly these things are, how tiny and pathetic. I look at the reflection in the words, pointing back and laughing at me, and I laugh too.
I feel better already. Oh, crazy writers. :)
In the meantime, there's always the free download of LeftRightLeftRightLeft to tide us over, the mind-blowing "Strawberry Swing" video (have you seen this thing? Amazing. Even if you don't like Coldplay, watch it for the amazing sidewalk chalk animation), and the consolation that they will re-schedule the show, and maybe, just maybe, it'll be, like, beautiful Florida winter, instead of stifling Florida August. That would be pretty sweet.
Get well soon, Coldplay guys. We'll practice our "Viva la Vida" singalong and have an awesome time when you come back.
*Due to the multiple choice nature of the survey, all italicized parenthetical comments exist solely in my head. Well, and here.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
So, two more reasons I'm thrilled for August... oddly enough, with a similar cover art theme. I'm not sure why Anchor & Braille and Needtobreathe, two artists I adore, have creepy animal heads on the covers, but... okay.
Exhibit A: The Deer Head
I am a borderline fangirl when it comes to Anberlin, so when Stephen Christian's solo demos first appeared on MySpace a few years ago, I took notice. Along the way he collaborated with Copeland's Aaron Marsh, played some shows here and there, and released a 7" vinyl under the name Anchor & Braille. After catching their set at Cornerstone FL in 2007 (has it really been that long?), I knew something great was in the making. But where, oh where was a sign of moving forward on the project?
And now, after a few good years of (im)patiently waiting, the debut LP Felt is here! Anchor & Braille is nothing like Anberlin... yet Stephen's voice and songwriting is unmistakable. Early reviews point to something even more introspective and personal than his work with Anberlin... very singer-songwriter, a little bit folk, a little bit Copeland-esque pop.
The album releases August 4th (okay, 3 days from now!), but the whole thing is streaming on MySpace now! Experiencing it for the first time as I type this. Beautiful stuff. Definite favorites are "Like Steps in a Dance," "Wedding/Funeral," and "Sleep. When We Die." So worth the wait.
Exhibit B: The Target-Dog-on-Steroids Horse
(Like the Target-Dog-on-Steroids description? I can't take credit... my friend and biggest-NtB-fan-ever Sheila came up with it. :))
I became a Needtobreathe fan when I got a used copy of The Heat. With their second album, they really came into their own with a lively Southern rock sound, singable choruses, and great lyrics. The Outsiders is an extension of what they did with The Heat, and my after a couple listens to a preview copy, I'm happy to say the new project lives up to the anticipation.
I guess I shouldn't say too much... you can read my analysis when my JfH review comes out. ;) For now, check out their MySpace for a "Taste of the Outsiders" demo, and please, if you're not familiar, definitely check out The Heat and get to know these talented guys. The Outsiders drops on August 25th.
Now in real life news... hey, Sherri and I are making our triumphant return to the dance floor tomorrow! I don't know why we stopped swing dancing this year, to be honest. Life got in the way, I guess? Working, taking a writing class... so many things in so many directions. But somehow, I had that nagging little feeling that I missed dancing. I missed the music, the people, the fun of vintage dance culture and telling people I had this unusual skill.
So, we signed up for Flyin' Footwork's upcoming Lindy Hop class. I love Lindy, but it's a tough dance... figured easing back into it rather than showing up at Whirl & Twirl and making a dork of myself would be the better way. I can't wait to see Rob & Dawn and get on the dance floor again. It's been too long.
Here's to the hope of using the "Swingin'" tag on my blog more. I'm excited and terrified. Just pray no poor dancing dudes get injured by my rusty dancing skills tomorrow. :)