Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns Talks 11 Years

It’s no secret that Rooster Teeth, creators of Red vs. Blue, are pretty much my favorite content producers online. The company recently hit their 11 year anniversary, which is an even more impressive milestone when you consider that they started making online videos in a time before YouTube.

This week, Burnie Burns, creative director, wrote some thoughts on what it means to him to hit this mark, and what it was like the first time Rooster Teeth realized that it had a global audience, thanks to the web. Touching and inspiring stuff.

“Waiting is a huge part of a writer’s life. And I hate it. When I’m waiting, those thoughts creep in. That I’m not a very good writer, that no editor would want my book, that I’ll never have another idea as good as the last one I wrote…So, for those of us who can’t handle the waiting, here’s my thought: Stop waiting. Stop saying you’re waiting. Stop thinking about it that way. If you want news to come to you, make the news happen.”

-Kate Brauning

The Scorpio Races

One of my favorite books I’ve read in recent years, Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES absolutely blew me away. Built on a simple, strange and interesting premise, this is a book about a girl who decides to enter her island’s annual horse race with her pony. The catch is that the other entrants are man-eating horses.

Filled with stunning language, captivating characters and some real emotional hooks, THE SCORPIO RACES is one of those books that totally catches you by surprise and doesn’t let go. I read the book in just a couple of sittings and cried like a baby as I read the last few pages on a plane. It’s an instant favorite. And hey, it’s about horses, so there you go.

From Amazon:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.

Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

When You Reach Me

I’ve always had a soft spot for time travel. Particularly when it’s done with as much precision as Rebecca Stead employs in WHEN YOU REACH ME, a high-concept middle-grade novel about a young girl who starts to receive mysterious (and quite frankly, creepy) messages from the future.

Set against the backdrop of 1970s New York, WHEN YOU REACH ME is a book about game shows, young love, losing your best friends and how to treat people. Spectacularly written, the book winds to a riveting conclusion that ties together all the book’s many threads in a way that’s a joy to see on the page. If you’re into time travel, check this out.

From Amazon:

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

The Bitter Kingdom

THE BITTER KINGDOM is the third and final book of the GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS trilogy by Rae Carson. I have previously doted upon these books for being well-written, unique YA fantasies that feature a brave-but-terrified Elisa, who undergoes a physical and emotional transformation while trying to puzzle out God’s will for her in a world full of dangerous animagi desperate to hunt her down.

THE BITTER KINGDOM maintains a relentless, nail-biting pace that gives you just enough space to breathe before ramping things up for Elisa and her friends, each time with more dire consequences. The amount of ground covered in this book is astonishing, and makes it among the best finales I’ve ever read. Yes, ever. Do yourself a favor and read this series. 5/5

From Amazon:

Elisa, the seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen, will travel into an unknown enemy’s realm to win back her true love, save her kingdom, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny…the third and final book in the trilogy takes the young queen on a journey more dangerous than any she has faced before. Elisa will stand before the gate of the enemy. And she must rise up as champion—even to those who have hated her—or her kingdom will fall. Full of sorcery, adventure, sizzling romance, and secrets that challenge everything she believes, this is a bold and powerful conclusion to an extraordinary trilogy.

Icepocalypse 2014: The Documentary

It was a bit crazy here in Houston the last couple of days. Schools, shut down from icy conditions. Accidents, piling up all across the city. Ice, destroying our society with its crystalline coating.

Someone had to document the catastrophe. It might as well have been me.

#1: Before

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“Your writing career will be long. Lots of peaks and valleys. Lots of digging in dirt, lots of learning ‘wax-on, wax-off,’ not sure how waxing a fucking car will teach you goddamn karate…

Every writer is her own creature, and every book a monster child different from the last.

A writing career isn’t a short game — it’s a long con.

You should always be writing, but never be hurrying.

It takes the time that it takes.”

- Chuck Wendig

How I Wrote 3 Novels in 2013

In terms of sheer word output, 2013 was the most productive year I’ve ever had. After spending the previous two years working a discombobulated, utterly confused (and confusing) novel down to the bone, I decided I needed a different approach to writing novels. (Side note: this mess of a book turned into a soon-to-be-published short story. Hooray!)

The downfall with devoting all my time and energy to one single project was two-fold: for one, it becomes impossible to see the forest for the trees when your mind is singularly focused on one creative work. Every problem feels magnified, and every solution proves insufficient, tethered to a busted framework that had no business propping up a story to begin with.

Secondly, it’s good to step away and flex different creative muscles. Marathon trainers work on split times, long distance runs and sprint intervals to vary their training. Shouldn’t writers also work different areas? I wondered if maybe the best thing for my brain was to move from project to project, stepping away so that my story had space to breathe, and so I could gain some distance, perspective and ideally, new skills, all honed by time spent writing new stories.

I set a rather audacious goal. I wanted to write 3 novels in 2013. Continue reading →

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