--C. S. Lewis
When we last saw Hope, our Mama Hummingbird, she was sitting on two eggs. So much has happened since then, much of which I've posted to Facebook. But I'll reprise the highlights on my blog, so that we can enjoy them all over again.
Hope leaves the nest for short periods, to forage for nectar and insects.
2/24 It's hardly recognizable as a baby hummingbird, but ta da! The first hatchling made his grand appearance today. (The second hummingbird pecked his shell open that same afternoon.)
Within just a couple of days, Hope's baby hummingbirds have almost doubled in size. Their beaks are slightly darker (barely visible at the 4:00 and 8:00 positions), and they're growing fuzzy little pinfeathers. At this stage, they’re very much a work in progress…
Day 3. Hope braces herself on the edge of the nest—it’s a windy afternoon, but her hatchlings are hungry!
Hope's hummingbird hatchlings are 4 days old! She feeds them a slurry of nectar & insects about every 20 minutes. In this blustery rainstorm, however, she's hunkered down on the nest more than usual. (I set up my camera shots when Hope's away from the nest, gathering food. And because I try to hurry, the pictures aren't always--well, picture perfect.)
Day 6. The nest is soaked clear through, but Hope and her brood weathered a violent storm that rolled in overnight. Heavy rains and hail. Thunder, lightning, and howling winds. I fretted for hours on end, hoping against long odds that they'd make it. And...as you can see here, they did! No worse for the wear, it seems, other than the fact that they're a bit wet. And quite obviously, very hungry.
More to come!
This guy was wanted for several bank robberies. What's more disturbing is that a few months ago he grabbed a teenager working at Palm Beach Tan, pushed her into his minivan and assaulted her. He then took off with her in the van. She escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle. She survived with serious injuries.
Recently, girls who attend the nearby middle and high school had reported a "creepy guy in a van" following them. Three cops, including one who is assigned to the high school, went looking for him. They found his van, but he didn't match the description and said he was going to the library. After he left, they noticed the front and rear plates of the van didn't match. The high school resource officer found the guy and asked him to put his hands up. Instead, he reached for a gun. He was shot in the head and the heart and died. The cop was wounded in the hand.
This all happened before the kung fu class I would normally attend. lass was cancelled last night, but I was actually out with Mutlnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue as they heard from a death investigator. She was a fill in because another medical examiner was doing an autopsy on the dead guy. Circles within circles.
Very strange and unsettling all the way around. Today two reporters tried to interrupt our kung fu class, but were turned away. I could have parked in the spot where I think he died but chose to park on the other side of the street. You can see my car on the right behind the reporter, on the other side of the street.
- Wed, 13:07: Photo: http://t.co/A9LFBn94HQ
- Wed, 13:07: Photo: wnderlst: Cochem, Germany | Ventura Carmona http://t.co/k1NnqOQ0Qc
- Wed, 13:08: Photo: omgthatdress: Dress 1950s Timeless Vixen Vintage http://t.co/Xw6j9owCHB
- Wed, 13:09: Photo: http://t.co/QTJ6NYmVua
- Wed, 13:43: I spent 45 minutes doing fitbit rockin' body rock it out. 0 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Wed, 13:43: I spent 15 minutes doing fitbit zumba activate. 0 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Wed, 14:55: I spent 15 minutes doing fitbit pound core: ab progression. 0 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Wed, 15:50: Photo: wnderlst: Rust Lake, Alaska | A. Andis http://t.co/RXYETInC1S
- Wed, 15:53: Photo: http://t.co/05XZL9QmGP
- Wed, 15:53: foodchewer: if ur looking for me i’ll be in the trash http://t.co/CKkZasg6cY
And I have so many great books just waiting to be read! This week I got my copy of Nalo Hopkinson's Sister Mine, which I've been wanting to read for about a year now. (I love Nalo's writing and I've bought every one of her books, but sadly, last year I could not afford to buy a hardcover edition. Still! Now I'm really looking forward to reading my shiny new paperback.)
My wonderful UK editor for the Kat books also sent me a fabulous book package today: Claire McFall's Bombmaker (a very cool-looking YA thriller) and Julia Wills's Fleeced!, which looks absolutely hilarious - even the back cover blurb made me giggle.
Oh, and if you're a fan of historical romance for adults - I'm halfway through Jeannie Lin's The Lotus Palace right now, and so far, it's my favorite historical romance in ages. It has a really rich, fascinating historical setting, wonderful characters, an interesting mystery, and really, really smart writing. (There are real, serious issues dividing the hero and heroine, ranging from status issues to past traumas, but by this point in the book, I'm loving them both so much that I am HUGELY invested in their eventual happy ending! I should add a trigger warning for rape issues, though, as the heroine is a rape survivor. I think that's handled really well in the book, though - and oh, do I love her as a character.)
I also discovered a new-to-me band I'm really loving, Paper Aeroplanes - lovely, wistful music with smart, sharp lyrics.
What about you guys? What are you reading or listening to right now?
And one last note: I'm over at Girls Heart Books this week, talking about A Question of Love and Series (talking about Cassandra Clare's fabulous response to the question of why she's still writing books set in the world of her first trilogy, and moving on to my own writing). I'd love to see comments either there or here about which series YOU wish had gone on a little longer, whether you're speaking as a reader or as a writer!
First, I think I'd like you to visit this link. Then come back, and we'll talk.
Did you look over there? Good. Just two short days ago, Ferret was writing blog posts that were sort of low about his chances of getting an agent. I'm glad that this story had a happy ending. I think more so, because I've watched this struggle over a matter of years. I met him in 2009, and I know he's been working on his writing career long before that.
This would be the point where I would normally do a reversal, and talk about myself. But since I'm so damn zen now (!), instead, I'd like to suggest that this experience is one that a lot of us can identify this. Why do I think Ferret finally got his agent? It's the same old, sort of like the same old advice on how to lose weight. Which is a different post. Here's what I see happening.
1. Ferret actively and continually improved his craft. He went to workshops and participated in other workshops, and tried to learn new tricks. He got educated.
2. Ferret ripped his stories to shreds and put them back together, a lot. He didn't send out crap. He sent out solid stories that were worth reading. Strange, yeah, but worth reading.
3. Ferret kept writing and submitting. Even in his darkest hours of doubt, depression, and rejection, he kept at it. Persistence was Ferret's mantra.
4. Ferret published short stories. He gained some recognition for it. Through this venue, he became a respected writer.
5. Ferret has an online presence as a writer, so people know what he's like and can access him. This tends to give a writer a boost.
6. Ferret wrote a couple of novels. He sent them out. And got rejected. And sent them out. And got rejected. And sent them out. And didn't get rejected.
There's probably a lot more than this I don't know. But you know, there's a lot of blog over in the Ferret-verse to get the whole picture. The point is, the salient points to me, my friends, is this one: all of this took time, and this man put in the time. He put in the work. He didn't let the rejection and the depression keep him from doing that. He's often said that it's work for him, that he doesn't have a natural sense of what to do. I can relate. I often intuit my way through a story, but costuming? Man, I had to build that skill through much trial and error. That ain't easy. There was no magic bullet here, or overnight success. He worked hard.
And I'm more puritan than I like to admit, because that whole work ethic thing just works for me. Also, it should give you hope. It gives me hope. Because this is what I'm doing too--creeping closer and trying to stay on track, and working my way to my goal.
I like to see success for someone when they've put in time and effort. It makes me happy. And you know, if Ferret can do it, we can follow his path. In the best sense, this guy deserves the blue ribbon.
Now, I gotta go wrestle some stories to the ground. It's my daily writing time.
Mirrored from Writer Tamago.
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Check out this fantastic author video by Kwame Alexander, promoting The Crossover (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Why is it so great?
Kwame's (a) irresistible combination of humor and charm, along with (b) a call to action and (c) a preview of the book to come.
From the promotional copy:
"'With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is sizzling. My sweat is drizzling. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering, ' announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell.
"He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.
"Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family."
It’s time for some Bookanista thrills and chills and no one does it better than my fellow Apocalypsie Gretchen McNeil. She makes me crazy giving me characters I fall in love with and then putting those people I now care about in heart pounding situations. Meanie!
Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.
Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.
Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.
Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.
But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.
By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?
From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.
Kimberly’s Review of 3:59:
This was my favorite Gretchen McNeil book to date!!! I’m more of a thriller reader than a horror aficionado and things like overlapping universes, doppelgängers and portals just make all my neurons fire. Add in intrigue, characters behaving unexpectedly and shadowy creatures and you’ve got an absolute page turner. And the ending???? I WANT MORE!!!!
You can find 3:59 here…
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a Romantic TimesTop Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Horror Fiction for Youth, and was nominated for “Best Young Adult Contemporary Novel of 2012″ by Romantic Times. Gretchen’s 2013 release is 3:59, a sci-fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places.
In 2014, Gretchen debuts her first series, Don’t Get Mad(pitched as “John Hughes with a body count”) about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls at their elite prep school. The Don’t Get Mad series begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Balzer + Bray. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology from Zest Books.
Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4′s Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs withThe Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels. She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Want to find out what the rest of the rest of the Bookanistas have been reading? You don’t have to go far…
And of course I need to know. If you had the chance to visit a parallel universe, who would be the one person in your life (besides yourself) that you’d want to check out and see what they were like?
- Tue, 15:15: I weighed in and lost 0.4 lbs. #LoseIt
- Tue, 16:38: Photo: arsenicinshell: Birgit Pichler photographie - Aiden Queen model http://t.co/fN9I665CKs
- Tue, 16:39: Photo: wnderlst: Niigata, Japan | Tom Taylor http://t.co/87v8lb5OJz
- Tue, 17:43: I earned a Fitbit Adjustment of 15 calories. #LoseIt
- Tue, 18:43: Photo: wnderlst: Val di Funes, Italy http://t.co/lId5p8eyrs
- Tue, 20:56: Photo: allthingseurope: Heidelberg, Germany (by C. Wendorf) http://t.co/MSKa1hpwL0
- Tue, 20:56: Photoset: fetishmode: Vogue Beauty, Vogue Italia October 2008 Models: Eniko Mihalik, Jenney Sweeny,... http://t.co/HMtjwOaw0q
- Tue, 20:59: Photo: concreteandlight: Ctenophore Location: �Aquarium of the Americas, New Orleans, LA http://t.co/5s5loPGEd6
- Tue, 21:21: I spent 15 minutes doing weights: 1 & 1 lb. 59 calories burned. #LoseIt
- Tue, 21:27: Photo: laluisarivera: La Poderosa Muerte http://t.co/EUKQv6GifN
Recently I have been talking with several other women authors about how hard it is to be a female writer. Many stressed how ironic it was given the fact that there are more women in publishing, more women writers, and more women readers.
But why, many asked, does it feel like women authors are never treated at the same level as male writers?
This unleashed a huge firestorm of discussion where authors brought up numerous examples of sexism that they have encountered not only from men, but from other women. And this is what I want to focus on.
Why are women so hard on each other? Why do we criticize women authors and women characters so much? We can't be too strong. We can't be too weak. We can't be too girly. We can't be too tomboyish. So much criticism.
I think it is because we all have some level of internalized sexism that doesn't allow us to look objectively at other females. Before you rail against me that you are a proud feminist, let me explain.
I'm not criticizing you, I'm criticizing our society. We live in a world that bombards us with images and rhetoric of how women need to constantly improve. Feminist empowerment articles can be found in the pages of our magazines that are covered with photoshopped pictures of beautiful, unrealistically figured women and posts about how to catch and keep your man.
Take a look at this fantastic Pantene commercial:
Yes, I understand the irony of a commercial that uses feminist messages to push a beauty product. But the message of the commercial is so true. We are always labeled by the society we live in. Nothing we do can be as good as what a man does.
But what is internalized sexism?
Cultural Bridges to Justice defines it as the "belief by girls and women that the lies, stereotypes and myths about girls and women that are delivered to everyone in a sexist society are true. Girls and women...hear that women are stupid, weak, passive, manipulative, with no capacity for intellectual pursuits or leadership. ...are taught to act out the lies and stereotypes, doubting themselves and other females...)."
What happens when we have internalized sexism is that we are more critical of other women than men. We have accepted the belief that society has pressed upon us that women are not as good, smart, capable, and strong as men, and we vilify those who step out of line."
Penny Rosenwasser, author and feminist, calls this a type of self-loathing. She says "Internalized oppression is an involuntary reaction to oppression which originates outside one's group and which results in group members loathing themselves, disliking others in their group, and blaming themselves for their oppression - rather than realizing that these beliefs are constructed in them by oppressive socio-economic political systems."
I don't know if I would go that far. After all, "self-loathing" is a strong term. But I think it is time for all women to take a good hard look at ourselves. No matter how feminist you are, you've internalized some sexism.
How could you not? It has been brainwashed into our heads since we were children. Our mainstream media consistently produces sexist and stereotypical portrayals of women.
A 2012 study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center "analyzed 855 top 30 box-office films from 1950 to 2006...women have been consistently underrepresented as main characters for at least six decades." Bleakley, the author of the paper states that "Movie-going youth...repeatedly exposed to portrayals of women as sexual and men as violent, may internalize these portrayals."
Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media researchers have found that "gender stereotyping is an inherent problem in today's entertainment landscape, and children are the most vulnerable recipients of depictions that send the message that girls are less valuable and capable than boys. ...female characters who are lucky enough to garner speaking roles tend to be highly stereotyped."
And this leads me back to my original point. Why are women so much harder on other women? Why are we so hard on female characters?
We need to understand that how we portray women in literature and film and television is a reflection of our role in society. The more we provide diversity of characters in these mediums, the more we show a fair view of who we are in the world. Because women come in all shapes, all sizes, all types, all races, all religious backgrounds, and a vast diversity of personalities.
We must recognize how society has played a part to keep us down. To brainwash us against one another. To find acceptable only one type of women over others.
So I challenge all women to recognize their own inherent sexism and to face it head on and step beyond it. For we can never be truly treated as equals if we don't take that first step within ourselves.