Thursday, June 30

What I have been up to lately.

Three things, actually. First, I've been rereading the Harry Potter series, which I'm also going to bring with me to China (actually, just books 1-4). I'm now on the Chamber of Secrets--really good so far, of course, because J.K. Rowling is a writing goddess--and I really want to watch the movies again, even though I'm not that big a fan of some of them. Except, the only movie I have is the Sorcerer's Stone, and that's on a VCR tape. Plus, our VCR player won't work, so...nope, no Harry Potter movies for me this week.

The second thing is this:

There's a difference between these four books. The first two are the ones I bought at Walmart two days ago because the bottom two were decapitated and...dead. You know the bottom two versions of the Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix are a few years old because their bindings are different from the first two: they have patterns instead just a single solid color like those <--. They also have pages that are browner and thinner, and they're extremely worn. In fact, they're so worn, that they were once split into parts: The Goblet of Fire was split into thirds (with 1/3 missing) and the Order of the Phoenix was split into sevenths (with 2/7 missing). I had to hunt all of the pieces down, like horcruxes (ha ha ha, bad Harry Potter joke :P). Then I hot glued the pieces together and taped the bindings. With book five, I had to make a whole new binding. Now I have two book fours and two book fives.

And that, everyone, is the second thing I've been up to.

The third thing is of course PSAT studying. Lately I've been diligent and committed to my prep book, but I think I'm about to crack. There's only so much studying a fourteen year old can do when she isn't even going to take the test until September.

This picture over here --> are some of the PSAT notes I took on sample problems covering what the prep book calls "basic math". It includes rate, average, symbols, and special triangles. I don't know why I took these notes. Math is supposed to be a subject where, you know, you either know it or you don't. There isn't too much studying required (or so everyone says). Just practice, practice, practice.

But not for me. I take notes. I make detailed step-to-step notes on how to solve a specific problem, and then follow it up with an explanation why. I don't know why I do this...and now that I look at this picture, I'm like, "Outlining math problems? What the heck was I even thinking?" Maybe this is my writer side coming out.

And, just for the heck of it, here's a song I really like by a band I haven't listened to in awhile, that reminds me of the last book of my demon slayer series.

- E

Monday, June 27

I wrote 2,000 words today.

I kid you not, I really did.

My goodness. 2,000 words.

While studying PSATs and rereading The Lightning Thief.

2,000 words.

This really is a Big Deal to me because I rarely ever write more than a thousand on a daily basis, and until lately, I've barely even written that much. It's really pathetic, I know, but I get distracted so easily. I wrote these 2,000 words in one sitting too, while munching on toasted almonds and drinking pink guava juice and listening to nothing. It sounds like a weird combination, but hey, I guess it works.

- E

Saturday, June 25

Motivation music for PSAT studying.

I'm taking my first ever PSATs this September, which is great and all because it means I have a shot at getting a scholarship. However, it also means I have to study over the summer, as my parents have relentlessly reminded me over and over again. I have one more week before I leave for the Amazing China, and if I'm really hard-core studying, I might take my PSAT prep book with me. Which, actually, wouldn't really ruin my vacation.

I don't want to study, but studying isn't all that bad either over the summer when you have nothing to do. I know, I know. I'm supposed to be writing. But I should also keep up my academic work and credits too. Writing isn't my life (since I'm only going to be minoring in Creative Writing) because I feel like I'm still way too young to be choosing what my life will ultimately include.

Anyway, while doing the diagnostic test in my PSAT prep book, I was listening to music. I don't normally listen to music when I study, but I realized that it helped me concentrate and calmed me down when I got to a math problem I couldn't dream of solving (I'm awful at math). Studying music for me is never loud and fast beat, even though loud and fast beat music tend to be epic and "motivational". Studying music for me is calm and soothing. Like these songs, for example:

All right, so the X-Men soundtrack isn't exactly calm or soothing, but it's not loud and filled with guitar solos or whatever either. The X-Men: First Class soundtrack is phenomenal. I also loved the movie.

- E

Sunday, June 19

Book List: Insurgent (#3)

My Ultimate Book List is a collection of books that I really, really want to read, whether they have been released or not. Some of these books might not be on the shelves yet; some of these books might have been on the shelves for ages. It doesn't matter. I just really, really want to read them.
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. 

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. 

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Because I loved Divergent. So, so much. And the cover for Insurgent is so pretty... o.o

- E

Edit: I just found out that the cover and synopsis for Courtney Allison Moulton's sequel to Angelfire (a book I haven't even read yet but really want to) has also been posted. So here's the Cover and Synopsis for Wings of the Wicked.

Wednesday, June 15

Pokemon rant.

I normally don't double post, but for some reason, I felt like it today. Maybe because I had this strong feeling that everyone loves to hear about my life.

Ha. Right.

Well, it's not like I'm forcing you to read this post. But if you'd like, then go ahead and read it. Hm. Maybe I should create a poll on posts I (there goes my diverse vocabulary again). Like a bunch of other blogs. the point of this post.

When I was little, I used to collect Pokemon cards by the packetful. I remember whenever we'd go into a supermarket or toy store (like Toys 'R' Us) that sold them, my dad would buy a few packets (they came in little packets for those who are unfamiliar with Pokemon cards; plastic wrappers that held about twenty or so. I can't remember the exact number) for me and my sister. Those were Golden Times. We traded them, then played with them (even though I don't think either of us ever figured out the actual rules), and made cut-out Pokeballs. We were obsessed with Pokemon.

By now, you're probably wondering, "Okay? Why are you suddenly telling us this?" Well yesterday, I stumbled across our Pokemon cards in our storage-room-for-things-we-don't-use-anymore. We keep them in pencil boxes (the kind some people used to get for elementary school; now the pencil pouches are in), because we had a bunch of pencil boxes. I counted them because I had that much free time until band, and it yielded around two hundred or more. It was a happy time for me. I'd honestly missed my Pokemon cards, and the show, and Pokemon in general. Even though the show right now (Pokemon Black and White, I believe) I haven't seen one single episode of, and all I can remember from recent seasons was a bunch of predictability. (Ash and friends meet a new person, meet a new Pokemon, Team Rocket finds the same Pokemon and wants it and Pikachu, they form a stupid plan, their plan gets destroyed by Pikachu even though they did succeed in capturing Pikachu for a little bit, and then the day ends with Ash and friends continuing on their journey. Well, maybe I only watched the boring episodes). Frankly, the most interesting things to watch of Pokemon were the gym battles, the contests, and the movies.

I especially loved the Pokemon DS games. I only have one (Platinum), but it was addicting, and I've watched some of my friends play others like Soul Silver and Pokemon Diamond/Pearl before. Unfortunately, I've also lost my DS...actually, my sister did, and I never got to finish Platinum. Which is quite depressing.

And that, everyone is my geeky self finally coming out.

- E

Monday, June 13

Have a secret about me.

Do you see all the "Ella" on this blog? Ella's Muse,, "*waves* I'm Ella"...all of these indicate that my name is indeed Ella.

Well, actually, it's not.

It's a blog name. Or, more accurately, it's a pen name for my writer self. My name isn't Ella (but my name does start with an E), and I actually wanted to be frank with everyone because, well, it seemed like a good time to finally...let it out. There's a reason why I don't sign "-Ella" at the end of my blog posts, after all.

There's a story behind my naming (Ella, not my real name), actually, and I'll probably talk about it some time later. But for now, my real name isn't Ella...and I hope everyone can accept that. :P

- E

Thursday, June 2

And so another journey begins.

The first day of summer break and I'm plotting and writing. How dedicated hardworking late am I?

Very late, actually, because I've started plotting and writing a few weeks ago, with a single excerpt. I've written a good seven pages or so before I realized that I should probably get going on the actual manuscript, especially since I already have more than enough basic facts to get me going. That's some awful procrastinating.

I've also procrastinated by playing the Sims, being on Facebook, reading, and of course, writing this blog post. Which, I guess, should be when I say that I'm going to be posting less frequently now that I'm in the Writing Zone again. Common sense says so. But too bad, common sense, because I highly doubt I'll be able to do that.

My mind functions like Dug from the movie Up. Well, I guess it functions like all the dogs from Up. I get distracted easily--not to the point where I'll suddenly scream out "Squirrel!" or anything, but to the point where I'll do anything to not write or plan or whatever it is that I do whenever I'm not procrastinating. And that means rambling on my blog about inconsequential stuff. It's a really bad habit I really need to break before getting to my junior year (the hardest year of high school, they say) and college. And hopefully I'll be able to. You know. Some time later.

Wish me luck on draft one!

- E

Wednesday, June 1

I'm a sophomore now! Kind of.

So today was the official last day of my freshman year, and let's just say the day ended with a less of a celebration than my last day of sixth and eighth grade. The last days of school is now just becoming "see you in two months!" The excitement I used to get when I was still in elementary school pretty much died. The only things that kept today interesting were:

How To Train Your Dragon: watched in AP and Algebra II, even though we never finished
mmmm... <3
And when I got home, I remembered that today's indeed June the first, which means Julie Kagawa's e-novella Summer's Crossing is out and free to download, and her cover for the next book, The Iron Knight, is up for view on her blog HERE.

Now, where was I? Oh, right. Freshman year (and feel free to skip the rest of his post if you don't want to read my boring reflection :3).

Freshman year...was not fun. At all. I started out with great expectations, but the only thing my first year of high school had to offer was homework, drama, and things-boring-me-into-submission. If it weren't for books, writing, and several of my friends, I'd say that I honestly hated this year. I've heard from many that you either love high school, or you hate it, and right now, it's beginning to seem like I'll hate it. (Except that's okay because the superawesome author Sarah Dessen wasn't a huge fan of high school, either). On top of that, I'd gotten "sick" (AKA stuffy nose, cough, and two fevers) at least five times, and I'm "sick" once again, somehow, when it's about 90 degrees outside (I think it's because of the dry air and its effects-on-my-sinus). The only thing amazing about freshman year was marching band.

And I'm going to say it again: I loved marching band.

And guess what? Marching band is starting next Monday! Ah! I think when I get my hands on my mellophone, I'm going to kiss it. I've missed it oh-so-much (:

Also, for future references, I'll be going on hiatus in July and won't be coming back until the second week or so of August.

Have a good summer!

- E