Welcome! I'm Riv Re, teenager and aspiring author. I post Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Tuesdays are for book reviews; Thursdays are for a weekly meme called "Character Dolls," which showcases character depictions I made online; and on Sundays I just wing it.
This blog is for my writing misadventures, my reviews, ramblings, and rants. My favorite genre is fantasy, so expect a lot of the unusual.

Warning: I've got an awful sense of humor. Don't blame me if you keel up and die from reading the jokes I crack.
Notice: I hold no responsibility for any deaths caused by previously mentioned jokes.

Enjoy and happy reading!

Current Book Showcase-Starling by Lesley Livingston Trailer!
(What's Book Showcase? Click HERE!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Like Mandarin Midway Mention

Hey Blogger Buds,
I haven't had an MM in a while, so let me refresh your memory.
Midway Mention is a feature here on Riv Reads, in which I talk about a book I'm currently reading. Usually, I'm about halfway through the book.

Today's MM is for Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard. It's about Grace Carpenter, a average girl who wants to break free and leave Nowheresville, Wyoming. Grace has another goal that focuses around wild, beautiful, carefree Mandarin Ramey. Grace wants to be Like Mandarin.

I'm absolutely LOVING this book. As cheesy as it may sound, I see myself in Grace. Sure, I live in the city that never sleeps, not in the badlands of Wyoming, but Grace wants to leave, and see something besides what she's seen all her life; she wants to meet new people, find someplace different.
The book is written really well, and I can understand and feel Grace's emotions, her frustration, her anger, her sadness, her elation, and everything in between.

So far, I give Like Mandarin 5 stars. I would give it more, except I haven't finished it yet, and I want to wait until I'm done to rate it off the charts.
I'm on page 177 out of 305 (more, if you count the acknowledgments.)
Add Like Mandarin on Goodreads.

Peace and oranges,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summer Reads Sunday (6)

Hey Blogger Buds,
I'm back! I didn't get through much of what I planned, but I did get to read Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, and I got some great stuff in the mail while I was gone. :)

Last Week Month I Planned To Read

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Eberheardt by Riv Re (Me!!!)

Last Week Month I Read
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Right Now I'm Reading
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Eberheardt by Riv Re (Me!!!)
The Inheritance Almanac by Michael Macauley

My Thoughts
1) Forever was amazing.  I totally miss the series now. :,(
2) I got a copy of my book, Eberheardt, through Lulu. Reading old writing of mine is...embarrassing.
3) The Inheritance Almanac is so I can remember what's flying if/when I get Inheritance in November (hopefully). When I read Brisingr, I spent half the book trying to remember who each character was.

This Week I Plan To Read
The Inheritance Almanac by Michael Macauley
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
(I'm not going to make promises about what else I'm going to read.)

Other Stuff I'm Planning This Week
Just a lot of reading, and email checking. And writing, hopefully.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm Back! (An identical title to my late August post last year)

Hey Blogger Buds,
I'm back! Did you miss me? Wait. Don't answer that one.
A ton happened while I was gone. Awesome books came out. More popped up on the radar. I got 300+ emails. There was an earthquake and a hurricane warning. Small stuff like that.

If you sent me an email in the past month, I apologize if I haven't replied. It's probably buried under all of my various site updates, newsletters, etc.
Confession: I still don't have my inbox organized from last August.

I read Forever by Maggie Stiefvater during my time away. It was a-MAZ-ing.

I got a ton of stuff in the mail. Including: Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. I plan to read and review it sometime before the release date.

Well, I'm not sure what else to say. Earthquakes are scary. Twitter is awesome.* I'll be posting a Summer Reads Sunday on, well, Sunday. See you then. Enjoy your weekend. :)

Peace and Earthquakes,
Riv Re

*Apparently, thanks to Twitter, people along the east coast knew they were going to feel the earthquake before it even reached them. I was just scared out of my wits.

Current Music: Story of Us by Taylor Swift (ironic, as I just received "The Future of Us")

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Comic Thursday

Hey Blogger Buds,
Time for more comic strips from xkcd! These are the last ones.

Title Text: Man, this trick has saved me so many times.

Click to make 'em bigger!
Pet Peeve #114
Title Text: I'm reading a godd@mn book, thank you very much.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Post: Doing Impossible Things

Hey Blogger Buds,
Last year, I sent out a plea for guest posts. Basil Spring answered. He's the author of The Triskaidek, which I reviewed on my blog a few months back. This post is around a year old. Reminder: Anything I have to say will be in red like THIS. Woops, I mean THIS.....Forget it.

I have been doing impossible things all year long, like asking my fairy friends to help me hack into Riv's Blogger account while she's away on vacation. It is easy for fairies. They don't even need a keyboard or mouse. Just make sure they wash their hands before they do it, or they might damage your computer's motherboard. And they might even bring down the whole internet, if you don't make sure they dry them too. (Good to know.)

Doing the impossible has taught me some vital lessons, but I can't share them all with you because then I'd have no secrets. I would, however, like to share with you this one: Always do six impossible things each day before breakfast, even if it means making breakfast your last meal of the day. (A bowl of cereal at 1AM can be a great thing! (Is there any other kind?)
OK, so I'm exaggerating, but I'm doing it to make a point. It's called hyperbole. And if you say that just right, it's called sarcasm, too. (You're starting to sound like me. I should be flattered, but I pity you. What will your friends think if you start acting like me? tsk tsk. GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!)
All of these impossible things are probably not impossible to all of you all of the time. But I'm almost certain that some of them are impossible to all of you some of the time, and all of them impossible to some of you occasionally, and none of them are impossible to all of you all the time. (*scratches head*)

Here's my suggested list, but you may wish to expand or contract it, or stick it in an envelope and mail it to the moon (Can you get me the moon's address?):

Particularly believe in what you are writing. Nobody else is going to believe in it if you don't. I suggest you live it (so long as it isn't too terribly immoral) or at least live some portion of it. Take my fairies, for instance. They live it because I believe it. (I DO believe in fairies!) The bottom line, don't write it if you don't believe in it. Believe passionately in it, if you are going to write it.

Keep on writing, even if you don't have time to write anything down. If you are so greatly disciplined that you write every day, then stretch your writing even beyond that into rewriting. Rewriting can be a lot more work than writing, and trust me, most of the time you can write it better the second or third time. If you can't get to a computer at all on any given day, then at least email yourself some thoughts. Impossible, you say? Try using an old fashioned bit of paper and a number 2 pencil. I suggest Dixon Ticonderoga, but my fairies have something they prefer carved from Sandwood on Aldair 9.

Don't ever lose hope that others will enjoy the stories you have inside you. Some of you may be very lucky (a small minority) and have hit it off with an excellent publishing company and an editor who partners with you, and this helps feed that hope. But most of you have not. Don't let them kill your hope. Share your stories with others even if you have to give them away. Hope will come back to you in the form of fans. One devoted fan can give you a lot of hope. I suggest you write remember the things your fans tell you and write them down, or print them out if they've been emailed to you. And don't kid yourself into believing the TWO LIES. (Sounds ominous...)

The Two Lies are: (1) if one person doesn't love your story, nobody will, so you might as well feel crushed. (2) if you can't find any publishers who loves your story, then it isn't good enough to be heard. (That's probably the toughest lie to disbelieve.) Don't believe these lies. If one person doesn't like your story, then that's just one person who doesn't like your story. There's several billion more left on this planet who might, so don't give up so soon! The same thing can be said for publishers. But you are going to tell me there aren't several billion publishers - wrong! With print-on-demand technology there are several billion publishers now. Anyone can be a publisher. But that doesn't mean you should publish your first draft for the whole world to see. Work on it until it is so good you've got a few believers, but don't ever let a doubter crush your spirit! There are probably some other great lies that it would be good to disbelieve. I know when I first thought of the two lies, back in "C", it was two different lies, and it changed while I wrote it. That's the truth, if you are willing to believe a liar. (Scratches head...again.)

Even if they are both lies. After all, if you write fiction professionally, you are a professional liar. If you write fiction as an amateur, you are an amateur liar. If you write fiction at all, you are a liar. Learn to be a good liar. A good liar has to make sacrifices. That means leaving some important scenes on the cutting-room floor. Sometimes maybe even leaving an important character, or an important bit of dialog, or an important setting - leaving it for a future book, or just junking it entirely. Yes, even when you get to that future book, don't be afraid to leave it behind if it isn't building your story. (I am not a liar. *shifty eyes*)

Remember to include "The Three Things" in what you are writing as much as possible. That's how you build your story. Try for ALL THREE if you can. "The Three Things" come from this simple rule: you should strive to make every paragraph you write accomplish all three things: (1) strengthen the plot, (2) strengthen a character, (3) strengthen a setting/scene. They say that if a paragraph doesn't do at least one of the three things, delete it. It doesn't belong in your story. A good paragraph will do at least two of these. A great paragraph will do all three.

But try to get it into your computer as soon as you can afterward. I do some of my best writing while I am out on a walk, or driving to work with music blaring, or sitting on the.... never mind. When I say "into your computer" I mean, whatever it is you use to write. If you are still writing on yellow notepads, that works too. (NaNoWriMo+tiny junky notebooks=win win! [Even though I lost NaNo]) Maybe you text yourself the next great sentence or idea. Awesome! Maybe you scribble your ideas on the back of your hand, or carve them into your bedposts while you sleep at night (bad idea to sleep with a knife, by the way) (unless you need protection from assassins. In which case, can I interview you for my book?) or email yourself from your blackberry like I do, or make letters out of toothpicks in the sand (at low tide only). The point being: never stop writing (yes, you will lose a few friends, but were they really your friends?) (who needs friends when you have books, anyway?) and never be too far away from something you can jot stuff down on, like a square of toilet paper, or the back of an unused fortune from your fortune cookie. (I'm waiting for the day when mine says "Publishing will cross your path in the form of The Big Six".)

The Chinese don't put those fortunes into fortune cookies for nothing. Use some of the ones you've saved up for a rainy day. After all, that's how they come true. (Spur of the Moment Tip: Use one of the fortunes as a writing prompt. Five hundred words based on "You can always find happiness at work on Friday")

Is that six yet?

I know I'm not a number genius, but isn't that eight? Or I'm just pointing out the obvious...hey look! Something sparkly!

Wait! You know what those six eight spell? BEHONTWU! Which sounds like "behind you!" Like that zombie sneaking up that's about to...never mind, I'll leave it to it's....yeah. Bye-bye Basil!

Thanks guys! Riv, you can have your account back now. Thanks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Comic Thursday

Hey Blogger Buds,
As you know, I'm away and posting comic strips courtesy of xkcd.com every Thursday.
Centrifugal Force
Title Text: You spin me right round, baby right round, in a manner depriving me of an inertial reference frame. Baby.

Once again, click for a better image.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Post: You Can be All That AND More!

Hey Blogger Buds,
Last year, I sent out a call for guest posts. Lindsey, one of my awesome interweb friends, responded. I didn't have time to schedule posts last year, so here we are! I commented in red. For fun, my comments are in a Southern accent.

Hi everyone. Riv was asking for guest bloggers, and she agreed to let me be one of them for you. ("Agreed"? The pleasure is mine, hon.)
I am talking about becoming a better writer in this post. What I say is not the words you should live by. What I say is simply advice and so forth from me, a writer who is seeking to get her work published, as I am sure some of you are trying to do.
How can I be better? You might already feel that you are a good writer, or maybe others tell you, "Your story is amazing! This should be published." You can already be a talented writer and still more. When you are an unpublished author this especially applies to you. (*pricks up ears*)
The fact of the matter is that you can always improve. Think about those times you have looked back ay your older projects. Whether you meant to or not, you were probably editing them as you read and your jaw was hanging open. (*nods at sage advice*) Okay, maybe your jaw hanging open is a little over dramatic, but we all know that our older projects are nothing like our new ones. That is because we improve our projects as we continue to write more and learn more about what is good and what is ugly in a manuscript.
I think one of the best ways to improve yourself as a writer is to try to find time to write most every day. Even if you just write in a journal, it's still something. I once heard from an anonymous published author that she would write something before going back to her main project she was working on. I have found that this technique is rather helpful. I've mostly been doing short stories while working on novels, but sometimes it is hard to work on both with the same amount of time and effort.
Another way to improve yourself is to constantly look back over your work and, yes, edit it through. We all know we've edited our main project many times over and over again, but until that manuscript is published; the least you can do is keep re-editing it. You can even post your work somewhere (suggestion: inkpop.com) or have a friend read it and ask others to edit your work. Editing is sometimes annoying because you do it so many times, but it is getting your project(s) somewhere.
It's not bad to have this high self esteem about the work you do, but do not let that esteem take over your whole mind and your projects to the point where you're going, "Eh, I really don't have to anything else because my last chapter was so good." Ever part in your story is important, and in the end it is all of those parts put together that makes the novel all that it is and makes you, the writer, all that you can be.
You can be a good writer. You can be a greater writer. Writers, you can still be more. Do not be afraid to be more than all that you already are. (I think I can! I think I can!)
I hope that this post helped some of you out, and if not then I guess this was just a long post of me rambling on. (Never, Lindsey. We adore your rambles.) If you dare to hear more of my rambling about writing, you can follow me on my blog: http://lrenees-fictionalwriter.blogspot.com/ (Y'all have my personal recommendation to follow Lindsey. She's a doll.)

When you write... you can write magic.

Happy writing,

*claps* Thanks for the amazing post, Lindsey!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comic Thursday

Hey Blogger Buds,
Since I'm gone, I'm bringing you guys some comics straight from the xkcd archives!
Title Text: Excellent recovery;...which we could try to use to somehow save your original brother!
(Click to view it clearer!)

Fiction Rule of Thumb
Title Text: Except for anything by Lewis Carroll and Tolkien, you get five made-up words per story. I'm looking at you, Anathem.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Soapbox Style: Word Verifications

Hey Blogger Buds,
So it's Soapbox time again. Just a preface: I in no way am trying to insult any blogger. I never mention names. "Soapbox Style" posts are just for me to vent, and maybe shed some light. This is not a personal attack on anyone.

Okay, so I'm Soapboxing about this because I needed to find something to post, since I have no internet connection right now.

I absolutely hate when blogs have word verifications. I know, it's great for finding weird words, and it's relatively easy when you're posting a ton of comments in a row on one blog so you can win an amazing contest and you haven't slept for three days (Loooong story. I know there's a certain someone reading this right now and laughing), but it totally turns me off. I love commenting on blogs, but when I know there's a word verification thingy required, I don't. It's such a pain! I spend anywhere between twenty minutes and an hour checking blogs a day, even more on weekends because I love IMMs, including all the five minute (or ten, even) videos. I comment a lot, even if it's "Ooh! So jealous of ___!" or "____ is amazing! Enjoy!" And I'm turned off if I know from past experience that a blog requires verification.

Blogger has an amazing spam finder. Just today it caught a junk comment. My first ever real spam. So why do blogs with only a few dozen followers have  verifications, if I don't, after 100+?

If you're one of those super big blogs that gets tons of spam that sneaks past the filter, go for it. Kudos. Enjoy putting up your filter. But any average blog? Argh! ("But I don't WANNA be a pirate!" [Cookies if you know where that's from])

I absolutely hate the word verifications. (If you couldn't tell.)


PS: Hope you guys are enjoying the two weekly posts! I'm missing you!