Saturday, March 29, 2014

More Zombocalypse Fun

I was always surprised that with all the zombie apocalypse stuff that’s out there, people don’t use the word zombocalypse for short. But frigging ginormous, that’s okay.

Sometimes I am just so mad at the world.

Anyway, Liz shared with me this awesome test of your zombie apocalypse survival skills. It tests your knowledge of zombies, how fast you can react, and asks about your overall physical health in order to determine how long you would last should a zombie apocalypse occur. I got 84 days, probably because I’m not exactly an athlete. If the zombies chasing me aren’t the slow, shambling variety, I’m getting eaten.

I’m not sure how accurate this survey is considering how short it is, but it will indicate whether or not you need to start hitting the gym to avoid the oncoming zombie hordes.

So how long will you live for? Be sure to share!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

April Goals

Yes, I’m really doing this before the end of the month :P, and on what should be Etymology Thursday to boot. Since I’m taking part in the A-to-Z challenge, I figured it was better to do it now than to double post. So here we go.

I thought February was bad, but this month was just uuuuugh. Nothing went right. For some reason, I felt more anxious than usual, so it was really hard for me to concentrate on all the things I was supposed to be doing. It didn’t help things that last month’s queries for COLLAPSE received zero interest. It was kind of a bummer.

March Goals
1. Send out 10 more queries for COLLAPSE (still AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!).
Did not do this, although that was because with all the rejections I got, I thought it was best to rework my query. It’s frustrating because I’m still not sure about it.

2. Write two more Apocalypse posts for (I hope) your entertainment.
I did this. At least I got something right.

3. Actually finish REMEMBER. And maybe, if I do, write the book that’s been rolling around in my head the past couple of weeks!
REMEMBER is still sketchy. I want to put it on hold for now, what with YA being oversaturated. It’s kind of a bummer, but the other book I’m working on, MALICE, is adult, so it might have a better chance. Plus I’m 30K into it and I’m really having fun.

March was a great big failure, except for the new book. Sigh…

April Goals
1. Get more feedback on COLLAPSE query, maybe even rewrite it again. If I get something I like, I want to send out ten more queries.

2. Forty thousand more words written in MALICE.

3. A-to-Z challenge!!! Wooo! I’m planning on visiting at least ten other A-to-Z-ers every day, in addition to all the people I normally visit who are participating.

I really hope I meet my April Goals. I think I will, although I’m nervous about number 1. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that April remains stress free. Please please please.

What are you guys up to this month?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

So Kate Larkindale tagged me in a blog hop and since I’m always looking for ideas to fill up post days, I’m going to answer some questions. If you don’t know about what, you really have to learn to read titles.

1)  What am I working on?
Currently, I’m in the middle of the first draft a soft sci-fi action story. I’m also querying a YA apocalyptic, but I haven’t been having as much luck with that…

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hm, this is a tough one. I’d have to say my story is something like a conspiracy thriller in a sci-fi setting.

3)  Why do I write what I do?
Because that’s what I have ideas for!

4)  How does your writing process work?
First comes the idea. It’s usually a small fragment of a dream or even something I see in real life that makes me wonder “what if…?” For my current WIP, it was such a tiny piece, just a name, that morphed into a character, that created an entire world, that gave me an entire story. Now I just have to stay focused enough to get it all down.

The two people I’m passing it on to are Liz and Dianne. Hope you have fun with it!

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I’m sure you’ll be terribly disappointed, but there won’t an etymology post next week. I’m saving it all for next month, when I participate in the A-to-Z challenge.

This is the first year I’ve taken part in the challenge. Previous years I was too lazy busy to take part in it, but I have an idea for it (etymology, obviously) and I think I’ll actually have enough time to make the visits to other blogs.

So what can you expect next here next month? Luckily, words begin with letters, so I easily found a word to etymologize each day. Except for X. I mean, I found one, but man, it wasn’t easy. Not a lot of actual words begin with X. I ended up with a freaking prefix because it was either that or xylophone.

I also made sure that there was something interesting, like a weird connection between words that you didn’t realize. The posts are very brief, of course—I don’t totally bore my new A-to-Z friends! Most of them are of words I never would have done anyway because there wasn’t enough to blog about, so the challenge is the perfect time for them.

Anyway, that’s the plan for next month. Regular commenters who aren’t doing the challenge, don’t feel obligated to comment every day. Fellow A-to-Z-ers, good luck!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Secret Origins: Q

Q is a confusing letter. We use it when we want to make the “kw” sound, in which case it’s always paired with u, or in the transliteration of a foreign word. It’s really a kind of useless letter since we have perfectly good letters to make any sound it makes. But it has survived, where letters like thorn and eth have not.

If you look at the alphabet gif, you’ll see that Q looked more like a circle on top of a stick back in early Latin. It got that symbol from Etruscan, a language from a region now part of Italy, and the ones that would pass on the alphabet to the Romans (and thus, the rest of Europe). Their alphabet derived from that of the Euboan Greeks that traveled to Italy. Q was the letter “qoppa” in Greek, the symbol for it pretty much the same circle-stick thing. It disappeared from use, probably because they had kappa.

Now, the Greek alphabet was created from the Phoenician alphabet sometime around the ninth century BCE. Q was part of the Phoenician alphabet, where q was called qoph, where the symbol appeared as a circle with a line running all the way down. Before that was proto Sinaitic, an abjad (consonant alphabet) that developed somewhere around 1800 BCE—almost four thousand years ago. Q was called qoph (the ph was like in phone, but rather p with a soft sound at the end, making it more like qoppa) and it was represented by a symbol that looks like a figure 8. K also existed in this form, so I’m not sure how Q was used differently from that, except as “kw”.

TL;DR: Q has always been a redundant letter, but no one but the Greeks stopped using it.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Have I used this title before? I think I have, when referring to writer’s block. Which this isn’t about.

Having followers is nice. It means someone’s willing to put up with your ramblings. But of course there are those who turn the process into a crapshoot by being the digital equivalent of the creepy guy on the bus who sits next to you when there are like ten empty seats and some of them are next to each other so why are you here?

1. People with pornographic avatars.
One time, on my old blog, I gained a new follower and was like, yay. I clicked on the followers button on the dashboard. I look at the picture of my new follower, and I’m like, “What is that? It almost looks like a…oh, crap, it is.”

2. People who don’t use correct grammar in their bios.
It’s usually a sign that they just put something through Google Translate and posted it, which means a spammer, of course.

3. People with an advertisement in their bio.
I’m not talking about people with links to their books on Amazon or something. These people (okay, spammers) will want you to buy whatever it is they’re selling, whether it’s spambot followers or Vitamins to Help you lose wieght.

4. People with innocuous sounding handles that turn out to mean something way crazy/offensive.
I was so excited to get a new follower on Tumblr, and I followed “Thingtwoknow” back to be courteous. And then my dashboard was filled with rants about how mass shootings have nothing to do with guns, but are actually the fault of the medications people take for mental illness. Annnnnd block.

5. Anyone anonymous.
It should be pretty obvious why. People are a lot less likely to be jerks when their name is attached to whatever idiocy they’re spouting.

Seriously. Pick another seat.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Apocalypse Scenario 1: Zombies

It’s a zombie apocalypse! Oh noes! What do I do?

General Zombie Apocalypse Survival
1. Don’t assume a headshot will kill a zombie. It could be an original-Night-of-the-Living-Dead zombie, and nothing but total immolation could kill those.

2. Should you be in a scenario where headshots do work, still always consider a zombie to be dangerous, even if you’ve neutralized it. It might only be stunned or you could inadvertently be exposed to the zombie virus by merely touching it.

3. In order to reduce risk of infection, behead all dead zombies and burn them. Be sure to use heavy-duty gloves while in contact with them.

4. Never not kill a zombie if you have the chance. Less of them equals less of them. Seriously, if there is a zombie and you can kill it, do it or you just know it will come back to kill you/your loved ones in an ironic death. Which I think happens on The Walking Dead at least once a season.

5. Stay out of cities. Where there’s lots of people, there’s lots of zombies.

6. Stay out of buildings/houses during your regular travels. Outside, there’s a lot less chance of getting boxed in. And always check every room before you decide to bunk down for the night in a strange house. Do you want to wake up and find something gnawing on you?

7. Not all zombies decay—think of 28 Days Later, where the virus didn’t reanimate the dead, but made the living act like them. The advantage of “living” zombies is that they will eventually starve to death. The disadvantage: they won’t decay and thus will always be able to hear, see, and smell you.

8. Don’t use chainsaws. Just don’t. What if it gets stuck halfway through the shoulder blade? Then you still have a zombie plus no weapon.

So what will you do when the living dead rise?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Language of Confusion: More Parts

Did you know there were a lot of parts that make up the human body? Last week barely scratched the surface. Today, we’ll be focusing on things from the neck up.

Head comes from the Old English heafod, meaning either top of the body or a leader (which explains another definition of head). Heafod comes from the Proto Germanic haubudam, which in turn comes from the Proto Indo European kaput. Seriously, kaput, which in some crazy way is actually related to the modern word kaput. Anyway, the reason head spelled with an A when it rhymes with red is because back in the fifteenth century, when spellings started to matter, head was pronounced “heed”, so the h-e-a-d actually made sense. Then the pronunciation changed and no one bothered to update the spelling, because they never do.

Eye showed up in the early thirteenth century from the Old English ege/eage. It came from the Proto Germanic augon and can be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European okw (think ocular).

Nose comes from the Old English nosu and Proto Germanic nusus, and further back the Proto Indo European nas, all with the same meaning of that thing on the front of your face. Hm, not much interesting about this one.

Ear, like what’s on your head, not what corn comes from, is from the Old English eare (not too different) and before that, the Proto Germanic auzon (now that’s pretty different). This one can also be traced to Proto Indo European, where it was ous-. The corn ear has a totally different origin, coming from the Old English ear/aeher (where it was a “spike” of grain) Proto Germanic akhaz, and Proto Indo European ak, which meant sharp or pointed (hence the spike). The only reason they’re the same word in English is because somewhere between Proto Germanic and Old English, we stopped pronouncing all the letters that made them different.

Mouth comes from the Old English muþ (remember, þ is thorn, one of the forgotten letters; it’s pronounced like the th in math), where it had basically the same meaning. It comes from the Proto Germanic munthaz and before that, the Proto Indo European mnto-s. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that; I have no idea. But in my head, I can’t help but think of it as “Mentos”.

Wow. I find the etymology of the words for body parts entirely too interesting.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blogger’s Block

Yes, I have such terrible blogger’s block right now. I can’t think of any good posts. Well, I did for the rest of the week, but today I came up blank. So instead, I’ll post ideas of what to do when you have blogger’s block.

Sure, that’ll work.

Things to do when you can’t think of what to post, in order from most to least effort.
1. Write a book review. You actually have to do some writing, but there’s also reading, which is almost no work. As my friend Zoe Whitten said, “I’m riffing off of someone else’s creativity in the absence of my own.”

2. Find an excuse, no matter how flimsy, to repost an old post. There is some effort involved with coming up with the excuse. “I can’t believe what’s going on in Europe. This reminds me of the time I came up with a list of words you should avoid while writing.” (Note, this example might need work.)

3. Convince someone to do a guest post. Again, you may have to put some work into the convincing. It depends on how many followers you have. For the number I have, I’ll have to resort to kidnapping.

4. CAT PICTURES!!! As long as you can get the cats to sit still for a picture. I recommend during nap time.

5. Post a list of what to do when you have blogger’s block.

And to finish us off, here’s a number 4.

This is the post-afternoon pre-evening nap.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Visit from the Spamfiles

Because sometimes I don’t feel like making up new content. So Spamfiles!

I got this message from a little old lady with a cancer problem. She wants to give me her money so I can give it away to “Less privileged people, orphanages, widows, and propagating the word of God.” Can you imagine if she gave you all her money and you kept it for yourself? You’d be a monster.

…I think “nail fungus” says it all.

Plus, there’s a way you can lose seventeen pounds in 30 days! Amputation of a limb would probably cover it.

I also came across this advertisement. See, when you swallow condoms full of heroine, you’re not supposed to eat or the stomach acid will erode the rubber and you’ll OD. So if you keep drug muling, you’ll probably lose some weight. If you’re not murdered first.

Finally, there’s…okay, I have no idea what’s going on here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Language of Confusion: Parts

Body parts, to be specific. I guess I could have been more clear in the title.

We’ve got hands, we’ve got legs, we’ve got eyes, we’ve got toes…so many things that this is going to be another multiparter. Haven’t done that in a while. Wait, don’t leave!

Arm the body part comes from the Old English earm (same meaning), and can be traced further back to the Proto Germanic armaz and Proto Indo European ar-, which means join. There’s also the arm that means weapon. That arm comes by way of Old French and classical Latin, but before that, it also came from ar-. So the two definitions of arm started out from the same thing, became different words in different languages, only to come back together as a homonym in English. Languages!

Leg first showed up in the late thirteenth century. It came from one of the Scandinavian languages (not sure which one), which in turn came from Proto Germanic where it was lagjaz. Further back is a big question mark, but it’s worth noting that “leg” replaced another word, the Old English shank. Which today survives as a word for an improvised stabbing utensil.

Hand comes from the Old English hond/hand, which in addition to meaning hand, meant control/possession, or a side, and before that the proto Germanic khanduz. The interesting fact about this one is that back in Old English, the plural of hond/hand was handa, and then in Middle English, it was handen.

Foot comes from the Old English fot and Proto Germanic fot. They didn’t even attempt to change that. Anyway, before it was fot, it was the Proto Indo European ped, which you still see in Latin derived words like pedicure. The reason the plural of foot is feet is because of what’s called a mutation of the oo in foot. Basically, a mutation is when saying a word wrong becomes so common that it turns into the correct way of saying it. In this case, foot underwent an i-mutation, where people stopped saying oo and started saying ee—think of how you pronounce “women”; you don’t say woe-mehn, you say wim-min. In this case, the mutation was used as the plural of foot.

That’s all for this week. Tune in next week for…a bunch more of this stuff, I guess.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Goals

Ugh, February. It really is the Monday of the months. The newness of the year that comes with January is stale, plus the weather is, at best, frigidly cold, and at worst a slush-filled blanket that you have to get out of the driveway before the temperature drops and it freezes over until mid-March. So in summation, February, I hate you.

I already know I didn’t do a good job on my goals this month, because of that list I made staring me in the face every day. Ugh. Again.

February Goals
1. Finish outline, read aloud, and notes for REMEMBER. This is going to be a big one…
Nope, didn’t do this. I opened up REMEMBER and found out it was way more unfinished than I thought it was. The outline is done except for the places it’s STILL unfinished, and I obviously wasn’t able to get to the rest since there’s no point in starting if the rough draft isn’t complete.

2. Send out 10 queries for COLLAPSE (AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!) and revise query as needed.
This I did, netting me two rejections already. I’ve worked on my query a bit, gotten it to the point where I actually think it’s good. I just have to wait and see, which I totally hate.

3. Work on Apocalypse Blog.
Uh, kind of? I posted another apocalypse thing last Saturday, which means it was technically in March, although I wrote it in February. I didn’t start up the actual blog yet, because I’m still not sure it could stand alone as its own blog. I might keep this as a feature here.

Not a very good job. Querying was even more stressful than I anticipated (and I anticipated stress!), so I kept working on my shiny new project rather than REMEMBER like I was supposed to. Anyway, now for March.

March Goals
1. Send out 10 more queries for COLLAPSE (still AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!).

2. Write two more Apocalypse posts for (I hope) your entertainment.

3. Actually finish REMEMBER. And maybe, if I do, write the book that’s been rolling around in my head the past couple of weeks!

Okay. I think this is doable. What are you up to this March? Do you other A-to-Z-ers have your posts ready yet?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Perfect Place

More from my apocalypse survival guide. Which I’m really not sure what to do with. I still haven’t made a blog for it (as you may have noticed), but I don’t know how to make it work.

Anyway, like in real estate, surviving the apocalypse requires location-location-LOCATION. Pick a bad one, and you’re screwed.

The Mall
Pros:    Lots of stores means lots of supplies.
            Plenty of space for a lot of people.
            Can finally take everything you want without consequence.

Cons:   There are a lot of entrances you’ll have to guard.
            The amount of supplies you have access to depends on a lot of things, like how big the mall is, how well-stocked it is, and what kind of stores it has (you’re not very secure in a mall filled with clothing stores).
            There’s no electricity to power all the fancy stuff you steal.

Grocery Store
Pros:    Tons of food, which is the most important thing to have access to (besides water, of course).
            Should have plenty of water, too, so you’re good there.
            Not as much space as a mall, but still a lot.
            Smaller means fewer entrances and easier to defend.

Cons:   All that fresh meat and produce is going to go bad real fast.
            Plus there’s a bunch of things like cake mixes and spices that aren’t going to be much good.
            Seriously, everyone is going to try and raid the grocery store. You’re in for a tough fight.

Warehouse Club Store
Pros:    Basically a big grocery store.
            Has random things that can be useful, like clothes and tires, which could be useful.
            Some of these places sell guns.

Cons:   A lot of useless stuff (although not as much as a mall). We’re probably not going to need cheap phones and OPEN signs during the apocalypse.
            Another prime target for looters.

Survival Bunker
Pros:    Isolated can be good, depending on the apocalypse.
            You won’t have as many annoying people to deal with.

Cons:   There’s no one around to help you.
            Unless you’ve managed to become self-sustaining, you are going to have to leave for supplies at some point.
            You better hope you don’t get locked in.

Your House/Apartment
Pros:    Duh, it’s your house.
            Most people are going to hit stores first, so you should be okay for a while.

Cons:   There’s going to be some risk in going out for supplies.
            Depending on the type of apocalypse, your house might not be safe (it could get melted by lava or slide off into the ocean or something).
            Your house might not be secure enough to keep you alive in a lawless, post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Where will you ride out the apocalypse?