Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back to the Future lesson

Hey there blog readers,

I've just finished watching Back to the Future (again). When people think of this movie, they usually think of time travel and crazy scientists and stuff. But when I watched it again, I realized that this movie teaches you an important lesson in life.

It taught me that no matter how smart you are, or how talented you are, you won't get anywhere in life if you're not confident.

The character of Marty McFly is someone that hates being called a coward. This is because his father is always intimidated by the bully. Marty's dad is a coward who holds his head down and flinches in fear at the slightest thing. He just sits there and takes the abuse that the world dishes out at him. He's not confident at all.

As a result, their house and life and etc... are just pieces of cow manure.

However, when Marty goes back in time and inadvertently gives his father more self-confidence, he then returns to the future, only to discover his father lives in a nicer house, with a richer life, and he just published a novel (plus the once scary bully is now waxing his car).

This goes to show you that you need confidence to succeed in life. I don't care if you are intelligent or if you have some special talent. If you don't have an ounce of confidence, people are going to walk all over you. You'll just be that cubicle guy who has coworkers making you crunch their numbers so that they can go home and relax, while you stress over paperwork with the janitor pushing a mop around late at night.

So be confident. Don't think about how you might not make it, or how your work might get rejected, or how you'll fail. You've got to believe that the novel/song/invention that you've created will become something big someday. Put your mind to it and make it happen.

Be Confident!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Forever cover!

I'm a follower of Maggie Stiefvater's blog, and she has just revealed the cover for the third novel of her Wolves of Mercy Falls series! Today!

Here it is:

This novel will come out on July 2011. I can't wait!

The Impotence of Proofreading

I just found this video, and I think that it really defines how proofreading your words can help improve your writing. And it's super funny!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The (De)Evolution of a Writer

One of the funniest (and true) writing comics I've ever seen.

If it's too small to read, check it out here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Abundance of Katherines ... in your pants

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun-but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predicatability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and may finally win him the girl.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green deals with a character named Colin, a prodigy that's not a genius. After getting dumped by Katherine XIX, his best friend's solution is to take him on a road trip to forget about her. Of course, the majority of the book is not really a road trip. They have to eventually end up somewhere, so they stop at a place called GutShot.

The main character, Colin, is a self-centered smartypants who constantly worries about the future and his relationships with other people. He fears that one day he's going to die and no one will remember him. So, he tries to get a "Eureka!" moment so that he can create something big that many people will remember him for.

Throughout the book, we get glimpses of his past, which shows us why he only dates girls named Katherine. With all this combined, we get a story that is not only hilariously funny, but it also talks about relationships in an insightful way.

I highly recommend this book. Not only will it be an enjoyable read, but you can also learn a few things from it as well, such as:

1) Just because you have a super genius brain, doesn't mean that you will grow up to win the Nobel Prize or something. Most geniuses grow up to be just a simple doctor or lawyer. One even grew up to become a murderer (although they never proved it).

2) If you ever have a child who is a prodigy, don't make him waste his time by learning Sanskrit and other dead languages. It does show off his mental abilities, but in the end, it's pretty useless. He has all this potential, don't waste it.

3) Bees can only sting you once, and then they die. I already knew that. But, thanks to this book, I learned that hornets are able to sting you multiple times without killing themselves.

*I also learned other things from this book, like Thomas Edison didn't technically invent the lightbulb, and that Nikola Tesla once fell in love with a pigeon. But those 3 things I listed were kernels of knowledge that for some reason struck home with me.

Also, here is my most favorite quote from the book: "What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?"

Read this book. You'll love it.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Thirteenth Chime interview

About a month ago, Emma Michaels published a great novel called The Thirteenth Chime. She is a blogger who became an author of her very own book (something I hope to accomplish soon). So, I did a post-publication interview with her to find out how it feels to now be a writer.

1) Where did the idea for "The Thirteenth Chime" come from?

A) The Thirteenth Chime was born from a series of small experiences I encountered one night and my desire to write something different from anything else that is currently available on the market.

2) Now that you're published, how does it feel?

A) It is an incredible feeling and although the road was long and difficult, it was worth it! I have learned so much, met so many amazing people and am just loving it!

3) One of the things that make a published writer different from an aspiring writer is the deadline. How does a deadline for your second novel affect your writing?

A) I find that I work best with a deadline. Not only is it easier to keep on track, but it provides me with a bar that I can rise above. I also have a few helpful tools I use including that my plot outline has it set up for how many pages to write a day and I give myself little prizes. (Snacks like a chocolate kiss per page or some dried blueberries!)

4) If you were a superhero, what would your power(s) be and what would be your kryptonite?

A) I love this question!! *laughs* I think my kryptonite would have to be chocolate or writers block! :-)

5) If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A) There are many wonderful places I would love to visit. Currently, it is a toss-up for me between Japan and Brazil. Both countries have so much to offer visitors and are rich in history and culture.

6) Do you ever go back and reread your book?

A) Definitely! I like to go back through my work, especially when I am experiencing different emotions. For me, this will not only allow me to obtain a better grasp on how readers will enjoy the book, but it allows me to write an even better story in the future.

7) If you could ask any author just one question, who would you choose and what would you ask?

A) I would ask J.K. Rowling if she ever had any regrets - not just about her writing, but overall in her life.

8) In the event of your untimely demise, who (any fictional character) would you like to solve your murder?

A) David - he is very intuitive and most likely to give everyone fair perspective while never giving up on the truth. I would want to not only know who killed me, but to understand why it happened and know everyone's perspectives. I feel certain that David is the right choice.

9) Were you surprised at the number of people who bought your book? Or did the numbers meet your expectations?

A) I've actually been blown away as to how many people have not only bought the book, but in how that number is increasing weekly. Although I have not been given an exact count yet by my publisher as even they only find out after a certain amount of time has passed, but we've been given a ballpark figure and I am ecstatic!! Thank you to everyone who has been so wonderful in supporting me and sharing your warm wishes!

10) Is there any advice you would like to give aspiring writers?

A) Never give up! I know the road is a long and arduous one, but it is worth it once you make it here. Enjoy the road because every step you take both pre-publication and post-publication is another opportunity to learn!

Thank you so much John and to everyone reading!!! I appreciate your support and feel so blessed to have so many wonderful people cheering me on!

Emma Michaels

Thank you Emma for doing this interview with me. I wish you great success in your path as a writer. I can't wait until the next book comes out!

You can find out more about Emma on her blog:

Check out a preview of her novel:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Concert Giveaways!

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I'd gone to the 102.7 Fresh concert, featuring Tyler Hilton, Five for Fighting, and KT Tunstall. While I was there, I managed to get some autographs. So I decided to do a Giveaway! Yay!
The prizes are:

A 102.7 Fresh sticker card, signed by Tyler Hilton

Five for Fighting's latest album Slice, signed by John Ondrasik (singer of Five for Fighting)

*For all those KT Tunstall fans out there, I'm sorry but I didn't manage to get her autograph :(

Anyway, I'm planning to give out these prizes separately, so there can be two winners. So tell all your friends about this giveaway!

To try to win these prizes, all you have to do is earn some points. The more points you get, the higher your chances of getting a prize. Please leave a comment, if you've done any of this:

+1 If you follow my blog
+1 If you follow me on twitter
+1 If you're a fan on facebook
+2 If you tweet about this giveaway (please leave a link)
+3 If you blog about this giveaway (please leave a link)
+5 If you subscribe to my youtube channel
+1 If you add up your points for me (no cheating!)

You can only get a maximum of 14 points (like a sonnet).

Remember to leave a comment with all of your points. Also, don't forget to leave an email address so I can contact you if you're a winner. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your email address on my blog, then email me:

johnsmith00042 (at) gmail (dot) com

Good luck to all of you!

Bran Hambric: The Specter Key trailer!

Hey there blog readers,

The trailer for Bran Hambric: The Specter Key has come out! This is the trailer for the second novel of the Bran Hambric series written by Kaleb Nation. For those of you who don't know, Kaleb is a blogger/vlogger who became a writer (which I hope to be someday as well). He created this trailer himself, so watch it and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kings of Clonmel

When mankind seeks protection from the world's many dangers, they put their faith in warriors, kings, gods, and even money.

In the neighboring kingdom of Clonmel, a mysterious cult has sprung up, promising defense against lawless marauders in exchange for people's riches. Their sermons are attracting audiences from miles around, but there's a dark side to this seemingly charitable group, prompting Halt, Will and Horace to investigate. What the trio uncovers could threaten the safety of not only Clonmel, but their homeland of Araluen as well.

The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan is the 8th book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. This book deals with a religious cult that is tricking people with bandits and false gods to get control of Clonmel. They want money and power, so it's up to the Rangers to stop them. This book also reveals the past of one particular Ranger... the famous and mysterious Halt.

You should definitely read this, even if you haven't read any of the previous books in the series yet. This book seems to be the beginning of the latest arc in the series. They will face new enemies, journey through new lands, and meet Halt's twin brother, Ferris, who turns out to be the king. Of course, everyone hates Ferris, but not because he's evil (even though he tried to kill Halt a few times when they were kids). Ferris just comes across as a fat, lazy, and pathetic king, which is a huge contrast to the legendary Halt.

But anyway, read this book. With swordfighting, trials of combat, and past secrets being revealed, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat, with a laptop on your lap, ordering the next book off of Amazon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monologue Song (La La La)

Although I don't watch Saturday Night Live that often, I do sometimes hear about some extremely funny things about it. Recently, I heard of a song played by Taylor Swift when she hosted SNL a few months ago. So I went and checked it out, and it was hilarious!

She played a song called "Monologue Song (La La La)", and if you want to watch her perform this song as well, here is a link.

P.S. - This is a video from NBC's website. It's not a youtube video, so I don't know how to embed it on my blog.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Secondary character is more interesting

Hey there blog readers,

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I've been writing a novel. Here is an update. My novel is going very slowly, especially since I just found out that my character development sucks. So I've been brushing up on my skills... and I also procrastinated. But now I'm seriously typing away again. And do you know what I've discovered?

My main character is boring.

Not only that, but one of my secondary characters is starting to seem more interesting. There's a part of me that's now thinking that I should rewrite the novel with her as the new main character. But there's two problems with this:

1) This secondary character is supposed to be sort of mysterious, and making her into the main character will put her in the spotlight, which will make her less mysterious.

2) I'm too lazy to rewrite the whole thing, even though I haven't even finished the rough draft yet.

So after much debate, I decided to keep my MC as my main character. However, my secondary character will now start playing a vital role in my novel. Although I hope that my MC will be less boring.

So here's the question to you blog readers. Do you ever get the feeling that your characters are taking on a life of their own? Because there is a part of me that thinks that my secondary character wants to kill my MC and take the main role of my novel, even though she wasn't that important in the first place.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Erak's Ransom

What does it mean to earn the Silver Oakleaf? So few men have done so. For Will, a mere boy and apprentice to the most difficult Ranger to please, that symbol of honor has long seemed out of reach. If he is to ever earn it, he must prove himself in ways he never imagined.

Now, in the wake of Araluen's uneasy truce with the raiding Skandians comes word that the Skandian leader, Erak, has been captured by a desert tribe. The Rangers, along with a small party of warriors, are sent to free him. But the desert is like nothing these warriors have seen before. Strangers in a strange land, they are brutalized by sandstorms, beaten by the unrelenting heat, tricked by one tribe that plays by its own rules, and surprisingly befriended by another. Like a mirage, nothing is at it seems.

Yet one thing is constant: the bravery of the Rangers.

Erak's Ransom by John Flanagan is the 7th book in the Ranger's Apprentice series. This novel begins with a beautiful wedding, but then it immediately jumps into a journey at sea, and then to a harsh desert adventure (if you're writing a book, this is an example that you should start a book as close to the action as possible, so as to catch the reader's interest). The characters that I've come to know and love are thrust into an unforgiving land. Now they are out of their element as they try to rescue their friend and ally, Oberjarl Erak.

I would recommend this book to anyone, even to those who haven't read any of the previous books in the series yet. This book contains swordfighting, twists and turns, contrast in different cultures, and amazing details about the desert that makes you think that you're really there. This story will take you on an adventure full of suspense and danger. I don't know how many times I wondered if the main character was going to survive until the end of the book. Seriously, go read it.