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Dear Emily…

I was going to write on a Christmas-y subject today, but I ran across something that reminded me of an Emily Dickinson poem, and now all I can think of is Dickinson, Dickinson, Dickinson, so that other post will have to wait.

The “something” I ran across was this fabulous quote by Willa Cather, arguably another extremely important woman in the wide scope of American literature, but someone I know considerably less about, and have never personally read:

The fact that I was a girl never damaged my ambitions to be a pope or an emperor.

My mind jumped immediately to what is possibly my favorite Emily Dickinson poem:

No matter — now — Sweet —
But when I’m Earl —
Won’t you wish you’d spoken
To that dull Girl?

Trivial a Word — just —
Trivial — a Smile —
But won’t you wish you’d spared one
When I’m Earl?

I shan’t need it — then —
Crests — will do —
Eagles on my Buckles —
On my Belt — too —

Ermine — my familiar Gown —
Say — Sweet — then
Won’t you wish you’d smiled — just —
Me upon?

— Emily Dickinson – # 704

So, in case you didn’t know this… in case you had the mistaken idea that Emily Dickinson was this depressed, lonely girl who did nothing but dress in white and lock herself up and hide away from the world… read that poem again.  Emily Dickinson was a rock star.  Her imagination had NO limitations, and she was pretty much one of the smartest people who ever lived. (It’s true… if you don’t understand one of her poems, go back and look EVERY word up in the dictionary, then you’ll want to cry because you’ll see how smart she is.)  She was also, obviously, not afraid of female empowerment, and writing freely about it.  Not that all of her poems are about her… that’s something you definitely don’t want to assume, especially when she writes about remembering being a young boy, etc. 😉

Okay, I know I fangirl weird things.  I do.  Emily Dickinson is NOT a normal thing for someone to fangirl.  A professor of mine my very first semester of college nipped me with the Dickinson Love bug, though, and there’s no coming back from that.

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2010 Year in Review

Apparently nothing grinds a blog (or writing in general, in fact) to a halt like planning and organizing a wedding.  I got married November 9th (hip hip hooray!) and am only just starting to get my routine back into place.  I’d like to say “back to normal,” but my husband and I are actually planning on going to Japan for a year… if I can find a teaching job there, that is.  Here’s hoping!

This year has been a tumultuous one, to say the least, but also one of the most eventful. Got engaged, got married, etc, etc…  the year is a bit of a blur, really, but it seems to have lasted a long time, too.  I’m just a bundle of clichés when I try to talk about it.  Suffice it to say that it’s been a good year, and I’m happy with how everything turned out.  Did I expect to be here a year ago today?  Not hardly… but when life happens, you can either let it, or hide from it, and I’m starting to think that giving in and not hiding from it anymore was a big part of my growing up this year.

As to other things… I’ve done pitifully at my 52 books challenge.  I have finished exactly a dozen books so far this year.  I have fairly good chances of finishing Anne of Ingleside before the year peters out, but that’s still a good 39 books short of my goal, and 40 less than last year.  I’ve been feeling the absence in my life, too.

The plan is to start online presences off a little fresh in 2011.  Tales From the Hollow Tree will be completely revamped, with a couple of extra staff members coming on board.  CinderLisaDesign, my alter ego, will finally be getting back to regular updates, too.  I’ll even be getting back to my tumblr, where I’m most likely to talk about any and all of the above in one place.

As to other plans… as I said, Japan.  Sadly I’ve missed a lot of deadlines, but I’ve worked up a CV, and I’m going to start sending it out as soon as possible.  It may be a bit insane, but we’re broke as broke right now anyhow, and when will we be able to do it in the future?  After we have kids and start a family? Not likely.  So we’re destination Japan. Wish us luck.


(I realize I’ve gone from writing “me” to “us”… I don’t know that this blog will stay that involved in my married life—not likely—but still… apologies, if  it’s thrown you off!)

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Very quickly here, a meme

You Are Realistic Fiction

You are an outgoing person and very interested in others. You have many relationships that are important to you.

You are always willing to lend an ear to a friend with a problem. And you’re even pretty good at giving advice!

Some may accuse you of loving drama, but you just seem to find yourself in the middle of it.

You are a true people person. You find the lives of others to be fascinating. You’re up for hearing anyone’s life story.

What Kind of Book Are You?
I think most of my friends got Science Fiction on this, but I’ll admit this probably hits my mark pretty well.  Especially that last bit.  I love listening to someone tell a good story. 😉

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Step into the Hollow Tree…


My friend Isabelle Santiago and I have been thinking for a long time about a big gap in the blogosphere—a centralized location for people to discuss, theorize, and basically REVEL in the wonderful and ever-expanding world that is Young Adult Fantasy.

We finally decided to just go ahead and create it ourselves, but then she had to finish edits for an ebook she had sold, and then I’ve been traveling and moving the past year, and she had a baby, so the plan got put on hold for a bit. But we’ve both finally gotten to the point in our lives where we can really invest in this, and so we’re going ahead and doing it. And we are SO excited!

We will be posting on a daily schedule M-F, including book reviews, books we’re looking forward to, the translation from the page to the silver screen, and even a section called Mythology 101, where we’ll have mini lessons on some of the fantastic stories and legends that have been enthralling the human mind for thousands of years! Hopefully in the future we will also be including author chats, interviews and giveaways!

Oh, and before I forget, Isabelle and I will also be offering mini free reads twice monthly, to keep those creative juices alive. 😉

The blog is called Tales from the Hollow Tree, and there’s an introductory post up right now, so go have a look!

We’ll be dealing with almost anything that can constitute as Young Adult Fantasy, from paranormal to urban to high fantasy. We’ll probably dip into children’s fantasy once in a while, too—so long as it’s really, really good. We’re really hoping that this will be a blog where readers feel comfortable to interact, too, to tell us what YOU want to see forthcoming.

So come slip into The Hollow Tree! We’re looking forward to meeting you, and you never know what you might find. 😉

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Organic Pop-Tarts, etc.



is what I’m eating right now.  For dinner.  More specifically, I’m eating the Brown Sugar/Maple Syrup variety, but the CherryPom is waiting to be tried as well.  This is sort of how my new life in Utah is going at the moment.  Not that I’m so poor that I can only buy pop-tarts (though that’s close-ish to the truth) but my life here seems to constitute of simpler things, including simpler meals.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to die of scurvy or starvation.  At least I don’t think.

It’s very odd to go from nearly a year of traveling and working around the clock to suddenly having an open schedule in a small, slow-paced town in northern Utah.  I have doubled the size of my manuscript in the two weeks I’ve been here.  Okay, really all that means is that I’ve gone from 4000 something words to 8000 something, but still.  And I’m currently finishing about a chapter a week.  I’m decided to keep this pace up.   I’m also looking into a short-story submission Isabelle Santiago has made me aware of, which I am certainly interested in.  Stick around and we just might have some announcements about some other things, too.   😉

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I’ve been meaning to update…

But really every time I get over here, I just feel like this:


Isn’t this photo divine?  It’s by Dalla, and I found it over at flickr.  It really is indicative of how I am at the end of the night, the last few nights.  I’ve been working my behind off trying to get ready for this move, especially now that I have some slightly more solid deadlines, so even while I have two books to review, and some generally good writing vibes lately… I just don’t have the energy to write about them just now.  I’d sort of rather just fall asleep on the floor, my head on a cushion.

Then again, I have contacts to consider… and that would make for some very dry eyes in the morning, so I guess I’ll have to stave off sleep for a few minutes more now…


Goodnight, y’all.

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Things I’ll Miss, Part I

SDC12340 There’s no denying that one of the things I’ll miss most about Southern California is the ocean.  Bonfires on the beach, fishing off the pier.  Some of my best memories involve walking the beaches at night, or wandering around the harbor with a few good friends.  There’s something about the sound and the breeze and the salt in the air.  In college (UCSB) I lived a stone’s throw from the beach, and slept with my windows open as often as possible, just to get a whiff of that air.

This past weekend, I’ve been to the ocean twice, both as failed attempts at Grunion running.  Alas, we saw no grunions either time, but it was very nice getting out there and walking the various beaches near Oceanside.  Without grunions, we spent most of our time digging up sand crabs (of some truly impressive sizes), and SDC12441walking the pier.  I’m sorry we didn’t get to see any fish, since it had been my first ever grunion run, but we had a pretty good time anyhow, trying, and ultimately failing, to avoid the sweep of the high tides.

Tonight or tomorrow I’m off for a roadtrip to Salt Lake.  Not the road trip, bound to leave me there, but just a week trip, so I can scope out the area and my brother can look at the colleges.  Internet access on this trip is highly doubtful, just to let you know.  But I’ll be thinking about you.  And I’ll come back with pictures.

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My Life in Boxes, Part I

The move continues.  Actually, to be quite honest, I’m not to the moving part just yet.  Mainly I’ve been going through the large amounts of stuff that I have.  Taking pictures of various things that I love, so that I can give them away despite myself.

The hardest thing to give away?  You guessed it, my books.  I’ve already depleted the number by about half… given away almost all of my classics, because I know that I can find them again.  The few I’ve kept are either really pretty (let’s be honest here) or have extreme sentimental value.  For example, my copy of Jane Eyre—because ugly as it is in it’s dark orange Signet Classic, slightly bent up cover… how do you give away the book that introduced you to a character like Rochester?  You can’t.  It’s that simple.  I’m keeping my Russians, too, because while different translators don’t change much about the experience… they do change some.  And I love those dreary, excitement-prone Russians.  But for the main part, classics are classics, and I know I’ll be able to find those again.

It’s the odd little books that no one’s heard of that are the ones that I really refuse to let go of.  And the guilty pleasures, of course – we must have those.  There are very few Young Adult books I’ve let myself let go of, and even some kids’ books that I’m holding on to pretty tightly.   (Yes, Pagemaster, I mean you.)

I’m going to be alternating posts for the next while between reflections on what I can and can’t give away, and the various things about California itself that I’m going to be missing… partially for the nostalgia kick, partially to give me a chance to spotlight some things that I truly love about my state.  Because, yes, I’m one of  those.  No matter where I end up, I’ll always be California, born and bred.

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Book #10 – finally.

I did something today that I haven’t done in quite a while now—I finished a book.  Not even a book, book, really.  One of those little positivity self-help-like books.  But I’m going to count it, because I’m too far behind not to!

I’ve never read anything by Anna Quindlen before, and this is a scant fifty pages – not even that, because the type is big, the margins are big, and more than half the pictures are pages.  But I’m still counting it. 😛

Actually reading it was quite nice.  It reminded me of what my professor said reading an original copy of Pride and Prejudice felt like.  You know how Austen’s books are divided up into volumes?  Well when they were first published, those volumes were actually seperate books, and from his description, were a breeze to read through because of their big font and wide margins.   This was a quick flip through and a rather nice one, too.  While not all of this is immediately acknowledgeable today (this was published in 2000) as there is not really “an embarrassment of riches” at the moment for some of us—many of us—just the unfortunate consequence of such, there was a lot of good things to ponder in this little book, mainly enjoying the journey, rather than looking forward to the destination, etc.  Nothing you haven’t heard before… but we can all do to hear it once in a while, hm?

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Still on Vacation

Grand Canyon

It’s been a busy few weeks for me.  I went to Las Vegas, then Los Angeles, then yesterday I went through the Grand Canyon and am now in Las Vegas again (I also stopped in Salt Lake City for a little today!) and tomorrow I’ll be headed back to Los Angeles, then finally, finally home.  So apologies that I’ve been falling behind in the blogosphere, but I’ve had a lot of great experiences and just no time to blog about them!  I wanted to share a little nudge with you, though, so here’s a picture I took at the Grand Canyon, playing with my new camera.  I’ve been here half a dozen times, and it never, ever gets old.

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