Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest

Banner by Cody Underwood

Ahoy, me hearties!

If ye haven't heard the news, Sharon Bayliss and Court Young from Curiosity Quills Press are hosting the Buccaneer Blogfest from July 9th to August 3rd, and you're all invited to put yer sea legs on, splice the main brace, and join the fun.

Here's how it works:

1) Add your blog link to the linky below.
2) Throughout the fest, visit other participant blogs (and comment) as often as you can.
3. Post your entries on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The prompts can be found here.
4) Re-post the Linky & Buccaneer banner on your own blog to show your pirate pride and promote the blog fest
5) Have fun!

Need more information?

Weigh anchor and head on over to visit Sharon Bayliss for all of the requisite details.

In the meantime, I've got to haul wind and get back to edits before I get keelhauled. Don't hang the jib though, me hearties. I do believe you've hit the motherload this week, and a few dear friends will be stopping by to entertain ye while I'm away.

xoxo,
A.K.M.

P.S.: I may have a wee bit of an obsession with pirates. ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reality Check

Ayden gave me permission to randomly post on her blog this week. I'm post-call and don't feel like studying, so today is the day. I should be editing my manuscript, since I haven't picked it up in over a week, but trying to learn all there is to learn about the human body has put that project on hold. As of late, I've done a fair amount of thinking about the fictional world vs. the real world. As my means of unwinding from a long day in the hospital, I watch Grey's Anatomy. Since we're off season right now, I'm watching old seasons on Netflix.

I'm sometimes struck by just how different their (fictional) lives are to mine (don't even get me started on House. I had to stop watching that one). Just to set the record straight, here are a few things that continue to bother me:

1) The specialties. There are many ways to become a surgeon. You can become an OB/GYN, in which case you can do C-sections and other gynecologic surgeries (ovarian cancer, hysterectomies, etc). You can become a neurosurgeon. You can become an orthopaedic surgeon. Or you can become a 'general' surgeon. But you do not enter a general surgery program (as Meredith et al. have) and train with neurosurgeons or OB/GYNs or orthopaedic surgeons. They are different career paths. Of note, Cardiothoracic, Peds, Endocrine, Transplant, etc, are all specialties you can go into from general surgery. So Christina is on the right path.

2) ORs aren't dark. For the most part, anyway. They tend to kill the lights when working with the microscopes (ENT, ocular, vascular surgeries, etc), but most of the time, the lights are on. Which confused the heck out of me the first time I stood in on a surgery. As a side note, every time someone walks into an OR without a mask on, they're in trouble. Especially if the patient is in the room. After the wound is closed, it's okay to take off the mask, but before that, it's a huge no-no.

3) The stethoscopes This is more of an amusing fact than something that actually bothers me, but a lot of TV doctors wear their stethoscopes backwards. The ear pieces are supposed to point forward.

4) Surgeons do not spend all day, every day, in the hospital. On my two week orthopaedics rotation, three full days were spent in clinic. Surgeons have to follow their patients for a certain amount of time post-op, and have a clinic designed for that. Often they see their patients pre-op in clinic as well, though in some cases, the patient may be hospitalized first. But the hospital is generally not the first time most surgeons see their patients.

5) Chief of Surgery =/= CEO Dr. Weber has a lot of power. He runs the surgery department, which includes all the staff: surgeons, residents, likely even the OR nurses. But he does not run the hospital. He does not run the floor, where the patients are held before/after surgery. He does not completely run the ORs, the hospital does. So for all his power, Dr. Weber does a heck of a lot outside his power too. So there you go: 5 reasons Grey's Anatomy is not like the experience of real doctors.

Brought to you by your friendly medical student/writer, Chelle Lynn :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Research Tips and Tools

As a teaching assistant, I answered a lot of questions from a lot of students on a daily basis. One of the questions I was always asked was "How do I find information on _________."

As an author and a nerd, I hear the same question in its many varied forms. How did I find this, where did I find that, can I recommend this or that... whether you're a college student or a writer, research can be a daunting task. It can also be just as critical.

Obviously, writers have a little leeway for creative license that a grad student isn't going to have, but - and this is a big but! - readers notice when the details aren't quite right. If your story is set in the south, readers will expect you to have a good grasp of southern living. If your story is set in 1840 England, your characters probably aren't going to be wearing bikinis and lounging around poolside. If Pearl Harbor was attacked in June instead of December in your novel, you'd better have a darn good explanation for the change!  

I could go on, but you get the point. Details are important, which means research is important. But... where do you start? At this point, we all know how to find Google, or visit the local library, but research can be a little more complicated than that, especially when it comes to finding exactly what you need.

The process is the same whether you're a student or a writer. And it doesn't have to be as frightening as it sounds.

*Identify what you need to know - Not sure exactly what you need to research? Take notes! Highlight information that you're not positive about while you write (or edit), so you can go back later to tweak the details if necessary.

*Narrow your subject - Too much of something can be a bad thing, trust me! There are thousands upon thousands of resources out there, and it can be overwhelming to wade through all of that information if you don't need it. If you're looking for information on Pearl Harbor in a specific period, start there (ie: Pearl Harbor in 1953).  If you can't find what you're looking for that way, broaden the search (Pearl Harbor 1950s, etc).  

*Use key terms - Just because you'd search things one way, doesn't mean everyone else does. Keep that in mind when you're using a search engine, and try different terms. For teen drinking, for instance, you might have teens & alcohol, alcohol abuse & youth, and alcoholism in youth each pull up results that the other terms did not. If your first key term doesn't work, try another. Not sure what other key terms might be used? Try something like Google AdWords Keyword Tool. It will give you a list of popular search terms related to your subject.

*Save your research - There is nothing more frustrating that finding a great resource only to lose it when you're ready to start writing or editing. And remember: just because a website is available today, doesn't mean it will be next week. If you find something you want to go back to later, don't just bookmark it. Print or save a copy, and back the information up. Make notes on books you need to look at, or articles you want to read... find a system that works for you, and use it. 

*Evaluate your resources - If you went to college, you probably perfected the art of bullshitting your way through papers. Remember that other people did, too. Just because a website (or book) says something, doesn't mean it's true. Don't believe Joe's word that he's an expert in forensic anthropology just because he sounds like he knows what he's talking about. Double check the information against other sources before using it because, again, readers will notice if you're wrong. The last thing you want is Sandy to write an Amazon review telling everyone how horrible the book is because your research was utter crap and is nowhere close to accurate.

*Understand primary and secondary resources - If Bob says something and Tom quotes it, Bob is the primary resource. Tom is the secondary. Don't just assume that Tom quoted Bob reliably, because he probably didn't. Check out the primary source yourself to confirm the authenticity of the information before you use it.

*Steer clear of biased resources - These are resources published with an agenda. For instance, if I'm trying to convince you that Red Bull is healthy... chances are everything I say is going to support that opinion. That doesn't make it true. As with secondary resources, things can be taken out of context to support my point. Always be mindful of that, and remember that your readers will be, too.

*Ask for help - If you're not sure if a resource is accurate or not, ask for help. Fellow authors, professionals, and hobbyists are a great source of information. That's not to say you should always take their word as fact. We can be wrong, too. But, at the very least, you'll walk away with an idea of where to start (or who to avoid in the future).

*Not all information is created equal - While websites like Wikipedia, Gather, Associated Content and Suite101 can be a great way to locate initial information, you have to remember that anyone can edit Wikipedia, and that you don't have to be an expert or have the credentials to write for these other sites, either. This means that the information may or may not be accurate. In academia, these resources are not permitted by most professors for this very reason. Fiction writing is a little more lenient, but if you're going to use these websites, be aware of the realities and double check the information before taking it as gospel!

*Cite, Cite, Cite - If you didn't say it, don't use it (that's called plagiarism and is not okay). If you do use it (say you quote Byron), cite it (it takes all of thirty seconds to find a way to work in Byron's name into dialogue). If John down the street taught you everything you know about drug trafficking, acknowledge him, whether that's an official acknowledgement in the book, a shoutout on your blog, or a plate of cookies and a thank you note. It's just bad form to take all the credit for something you had help with.

Don't forget to check out my Resources for Writers post as well!

xoxo,
A.K.M.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teaser Tuesday No. 3: Fall

I'm still pecking away at Fall, so this week's teaser is another little snippet from the novel. I'm also in the middle of rereading Lauren Kate's Fallen series in preparation for the last book of the series finally arriving on my Kindle (which it hasn't yet... grr), and it's tearing my little heart out again. So this week, I've picked a scene that makes me smile.

I hope it brings you a smile, too.

And if you don't hear from me for a few days, blame Ms. Kate and the ever amazing Luce and Daniel. ;)

. . .

“Where are we going?” I demanded as Dace settled me into the passenger seat of his Jeep three hours later. I hadn’t asked for details once since he’d asked me not to, but curiosity was killing me. He had me bundled up like an Eskimo, with blankets piled in the backseat. What kind of tradition was this?

“You’ll see,” was all the response I got from him.


He brushed a light kiss across my forehead and circled the Jeep. I stared out the windshield as he climbed in, soaking in the moment. We were actually leaving the house. Miracles did exist.

Dace snorted as he fastened his seatbelt.


The clouds hanging overhead had stopped dropping snow, but the entire town, or what I could see of it anyway, was still blanketed in white. The massive, red Victorian my dad and I called home looked like a gothic castle with the snow spread out, untouched, all around. All we needed were gargoyles standing guard on the roof and the scene would be complete.
  
“Hey, are gargoyles real?” I asked Dace.


“Um, no?”

I nodded as I fastened my seatbelt. “Just checking.”

He gave me an odd look.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“It was a legitimate question.”

“For you, maybe.” He shook his head, trying to hide a smile. “Gargoyles, Arionna?”

I shrugged.

. . .

I'm on Ari's side in this one. Gargoyles could happen. Right?

xoxo,
A.K.M.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Hom-a-what?!: Ayden's Easy Guide to Homonyms

You don't have to be an English major to understand the rules of basic grammar. Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that we've stopped learning the basics in favor of that handy-dandy grammar check feature in our word processing programs.

What Word forgot to tell you, however, is that their rules don't necessarily work well in the real world. Just because Word doesn't tell you that you used "their" wrong, doesn't mean you're right. In fact, Word very rarely correctly differentiates between homonyms or contraction and possessive forms of said homonyms.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference. And that difference is important. It's also fairly simple.

Homonyms are groups of words that sound the same, but have different meanings, and can include possessive and contraction forms of a given word (such as your/you're, or their/they're).

If you can rewrite (or read) a sentence with any of the following words, you're looking at a contraction:

Are
Not
Would
Have
Had
Is
Will
Shall

If none of those words apply, you're typically not looking at a contraction. You're looking at a possessive pronoun, adjective, etc.

Common Offenders:

Your - possessive, as in: Your welcome was most appreciated.
You're - contraction, as in: You're welcome.

Its - possessive, as in: Its tentacles were huge.
It's - contraction, as in: It's almost bedtime.

Its/It's is a little tricky because most of us are used to adding an apostrophe when referring to someone's possessions (like that). Its is one very big exception to that rule. The only time an apostrophe is used is when you're using the word as a contraction. No exceptions. So, the claws might belong to it, but it is special, so we skip the apostrophe.

Whose - possessive, as in: Whose clothes are these?
Who's - contraction, as in: Who's in the bathroom?

Their - possessive, as in: Their house is on fire.
They're - contraction, as in: They're going to be in so much trouble.
There - refers to a place/location, as in: The dog is over there.

Still confused?

When in doubt, read it out.

If you're still not sure if you need the possessive or contraction form of a word, read the sentence out loud. If one of the contractions from the list above fit, you're looking at the contraction, not the possessive.

Contraction and possesive forms of homonyms aren't the only ones we frequently mess up. In fact, they're just a few of them. A few other common offenders, none of which are possessive or contractive, are:

To - preposition, as in: I want to go to the store.
Too - synonym for also or an indication of excessiveness, as in: I want to go, too. or: I have too many books.
Two - the spelling of the number, as in: Two heads are better than one.

Than - comparative, as in Her room is better than his room.
Then - time or sequence, as in Let's swim first, and then surf later.

Peak - summit, as in: We climbed the peak of the mountain.
Peek - glimpse, as in: She tried to peek at her gift.
Pique - stimulate, as in: He piqued my curiosity.

Rain - water, as in: Is it going to rain today?
Rein - a leather strap used to guide, as in: Please rein in the horse before he kicks someone.
Reign - period of occupation or governance, as in: The dictator's reign was full of abuses of power.

You can find a more comprehensive list of commonly mixed up homonyms here.

In the case of a homonym, one cannot substitute one word for another without changing the meaning of the sentence. There are very few, if any, exceptions to this rule.

Pretty simple, right?

xoxo,
A.K.M.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #2: Fall

On Sunday, I used six sentences from Fall. For Teaser Tuesday today, I'm giving you guys a little bit more of the story. This little scene reminds me of myself and The Husbinator. I've wanted a pet cow for a few years now, and he's refused that request for a few years now. One of his reasons is because, "if it rains or snows, you'll want to bring it inside so it doesn't get cold." I'll never admit it to him, but he's probably right. ;)

I hope you enjoy this little teaser!


           "It's so beautiful," I said. "How can you not like it?"

            "Because it's cold?"

            "Grinch."

            "It's nearly spring, Ari," he pointed out. "The Grinch stole Christmas."

            "Same thing," I said, watching as flakes drifted toward the ground.

            "You're really loving this, aren't you?" Dace asked.

            I nodded. "Everything is so soft and quiet when it snows. It doesn't even matter if it is freezing cold."

            "Unless you're a wolf.”

            "Oh!" I whipped my head in his direction "They're okay, aren't they?"

            "They're fine," he promised, squeezing my waist lightly.

            "You're sure?" I frowned, biting at my bottom lip. "Can we let them in the house if they're cold?"

            “No.”

            “Why not?”

            "We are not letting ten fully grown wolves into the house just because it snowed. Besides which, they wouldn't come in anyway. They're wild for a reason, love."

            "Fuki isn't fully grown," I reminded him, but didn't argue further. He was right. Fuki might have come inside, but I couldn't see the others stepping foot inside the door. Not even Buka, and she was nearly as curious as her half-grown cub.

            "Regardless," Dace said, his tone final, "they're fine. Not cold."

No Bullies Allowed

Two months ago, The Husbinator and I took guardianship of Miss Tate. She's 14 years old. Officially that dreaded T word: a teenager. I'm only 28 so when we found out she was moving in with us I thought, "Teenager? Pfft, I can do this!"

By the end of the first week, I'd probably texted my mom, The Husbinator, my sister, and my best friend about four-thousand times to say, "OMG, do you remember teenagers being so _____." You can add your word of choice in that blank. Chances are, they're still laughing at me for the text message that contained it.

By the end of the first month, I'd come to the frightening conclusion that I had, in fact, turned into my mom. At some point during the course of the month, I'd said everything my mom used to say to me that I absolutely hated.

You better eat everything you put on your plate. Kids are starving in Africa!

If you even think about saying whatever you're about to say, you will be grounded until you're thirty!

If you change outfits one more time, you're doing your own laundry!

Turn the water off!

Brush your teeth.

Say "thank you!"

If you curse one more time...

If I ever find a picture of you in your bikini online, you'll never see another computer!

I'm not cleaning up your mess.

No, you may not skip school.

That's right, folks. One month into parenting a teenager, and I had become my mother. Death glare, even tone, tapping foot and all.

It's given me an entirely new perspective on when I was a teenager.

Turns out: I wasn't as horrid as I thought I was!

Who knew, right?

I'm serious though. I only thought being a teenage girl 10-15 years ago was difficult. In reality, I had it easy. Being a teenage girl then was a walk in the park compared to being a teenage girl today.

Teenagers, girls in particular, can be mean and spiteful. We all know this. We all went through it. But I'm genuinely shocked at how horrible girls are to one another now. Not sure what I'm talking about?

Borrow your kid's Facebook for a while and browse through friends' status updates and comments.

Hop on Topix or another popular site for teenagers, and read through some of the discussions happening in your hometown from kids in your hometown about kids in your hometown. Here’s a few little tidbits (with names removed) from my hometown:

“Of course *** would think that because she is a dumb bitch who likes to try and get pregnantthen have an abortion.”

“Pregnant every other week always a pity party for herself different boyfriend every week stop screamin rape”

“You know the saying you CAN'T TURN A HOE INTO A HOUSES WIFE! THIS Bitch is nothing more than a whore! I'm mean she ruins peoples lifes and jumps from one guy to another who ever would have her nasty azz! The sad thing is she is bouncing bed to bed…”

You get the point.

Chances are, you'll find a whole lot of similar (or worse) discussion going on. And you’re either going to walk away cringing, or you're going to shrug it off and say kids will be kids. If you're in the latter category, you're absolutely right. Kids will be kids.

And kids can be viciously and blatantly cruel.

Since Miss Tate has moved in, I’ve heard some pretty horrible things that are being said about kids she knows, or by kids she knows. She’s gotten in trouble for saying some pretty cruel things herself.

When I blogged about Trayvon Martin a couple of months ago, I mentioned that we don’t see a lot of stories like his in popular YA novels for various reasons. One of those reasons, as I said then, is perhaps because as YA authors, there’s a line we can’t (or won’t) cross.

We all know that kids have sex, but we’re not going to go into explicit detail if our characters do happen to do the deed. We all know that kids do drugs, but we’re not going to go into explicit detail on that either. We know that kids bully one another, but think about all of the bullies you’ve read about in YA novels, and then scroll back up and read the quotes I included above.

When’s the last time you saw anything close to that level of verbal bullying in a popular YA novel?

You probably haven’t, because, as YA authors, there’s that line we can’t cross. And most of us don’t want to cross it. We know how tough it can be to be a kid these days. Kids know it. They don’t want to read it in their novels. And parents definitely don’t want to see it in YA novels. And, quite honestly, most of us YA authors don’t want to write it into our novels.

But since Miss Tate moved in and I took responsibility for her and her well being, there’s this little part of me that’s started whispering, “But what exactly are we accomplishing by staying on the right side of that line?” Obviously, we’re giving kids an escape from the sad, and often tragic, things they see, hear, feel, or deal with every day. But at what expense? Bullying has become a widespread issue, but we tend to not really understand the severity of it. We think kids will be kids, and figure they'll grow out of it eventually. But the truth is kids have become downright cruel, and they don't always grow out of it. Pretending that's not true won't make the problem go away.

As YA authors, we water down the reality because we’re expected to. Because, god forbid if a YA character calls someone a nasty whore. And god forbid if a YA character has sex, or experiments with drugs. Parents would lynch us for that.

And yet… in the last two months, I’ve seen and heard things a whole lot worse from the very kids we’re supposed to be protecting from such horrid behavior and such grim realities. And in the last two months, I’ve seen and heard those same parents who scream over YA novels turn a blind eye and take a “kids will be kids” mentality when it’s their kids doing the bullying, or it's their kids cruelly pressuring their friends into experimenting with drugs or alcohol, or into beating up the girl who said it wasn’t cool to pick on the only openly gay student at school.

And I’ve realized that many of those parents have no clue what their kids are really saying or doing. I’m not going to pretend I know why that is, because I don’t. Maybe they’re too tired after working 12 hour days to monitor as closely as they’d like to. Or maybe they simply expect better of their children. I don’t know.

What I do know is this: as adults, we have got to stop ignoring kid's behavor when their behavior is at the expense of another child. As a YA author, I respect the line that's been drawn, but that doesn't mean I have to pretend the problem doesn't exist, because it does.

In two months, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for my teen years because they were no where near as difficult as this. And I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for my mom, because she did monitor us, and she would give us ten kinds of hell if we did anything remotely close to what I’ve seen all over the place since bringing Miss Tate home.

Ten years ago, I would have been mortified to realize I'd turned into my mom. Right now, I'm pretty dang proud of that fact. Because she did teach us to treat others as we wanted to be treated. And she did make our lives miserable if we didn't. She knew then what I'm only now experiencing for myself: It's not enough to assume your kids know better, or to believe they’re well-behaved.

I love my kid. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s compassionate. She knows how to say thank you. She recognizes that some things are simply not okay. She’s amazing, and I am beyond grateful that she's here with me and The Husbinator.

But none of that stopped her from cursing someone out on Facebook, and then posting the entire nasty show to her wall to embarras the kid. It didn’t stop her from calling her best friend a bitch on Facebook either. Had I not been paying attention, I wouldn’t have known because I know she knows better, and I assumed that she’d follow the rules. She didn’t, and unless you’re monitoring your kids, you can’t assume they are either. Because you’re right: kids will be kids.

And sometimes they need a come-to-Jesus, as we call it around here, because while we’ve been trying to protect them from the grim reality, they’ve been living it. And it’s a whole lot nastier out there than it was when we were kids. They might not read it in their favorite books, or see it in their favorite t.v. shows, but they are living it.

So I'm glad I've turned into my mom. And I sincerely hope that some day, Miss Tate looks back at her teenage years and is grateful that I was such a pain in the ass about bullying too. She might resent me for it now, but I'm okay with that. And you should be too, because even if they never say thank you, it will be a lesson they pass on to their children some day.

xoxo,
A.K.M








Sunday, June 3, 2012

Six Sentences from Fall #SixSunday

I haven't done Six Sentence Sunday in a while, so I figured since I've spent all afternoon writing, I'd jump in tonight and post a few new sentences from Fall, the follow-up to Fade. I love writing interactions like this between Ari and Dace. They're both so stubborn, it makes for a lot of fun, relatable moments. I mean, who hasn't experienced something a whole lot like this little moment with a significant other before?!

Enjoy!

I wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling. I needed to know, but sometimes . . . well, sometimes those thoughts and feelings were enough to make me want to scream. Dace might have been gorgeous, and I might have loved him beyond reason, but he was also stubborn, closed off, and completely infuriating.
All three of the last traits had grown by leaps and bounds in the past few weeks.
You know I can hear you.
So? I rolled my eyes in response to his reproachful tone, not feeling the least guilty that he'd heard my thoughts.  

 
xoxo,
A.K.M

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What's in a name: Picking the perfect penname

An author by any other name...likes privacy
When I started posting my writing a few years ago, I decided to do so under an alias, or a penname. That's a common theme in the writing world... and it's a common source of curiosity for the non-writing world.

My non-writer friends and family are always asking why I chose a penname, and my writer friends are always asking why the penname is so different than my real name. My answer to the first is fairly standard: I like my privacy.

So do most authors who choose to write under a penname. We're not writing with the expectation that we're going to gain a million fans or become rich and famous, but I think most of us have a little voice that whispers, "People are going to look for you."

If you like privacy, that's an immediate moment of panic. And some comes the penname. Having that buffer zone helps calm the nerves, and allows us to have a life that isn't for everyone to follow.

I adore my readers, but I don't necessarily want just anyone to know my address, where I shop, where the Keeper of the Cheerios lives, the names of all my family members, etc. And, well, I don't necessarily want every one I've ever met in my entire life to know I write. The first is private information and should be kept, well, private. And the second is just a frightening concept to consider because I know a lot of crazy people.

My point is: quite a few authors feel the same way. We absolutely love having a relationship with our readers, but would you tell anyone you came across the most intimate details of your life before you even got to know them?

Probably not.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same. Some people have no sense of where to draw the line when it comes to asking for personal information or intimate details. They have an expectation that because you write, your entire life is fair game. That's just not true! I've had readers pry for incredibly intimate details of my life like my address, what my sex life is like, or where I buy panties. That's creepy and crosses the line by miles! It also makes me rather glad I do have a penname and don't have to worry about the people that ask those questions camping out on my front lawn.

I know I don't live in a bubble, because, let's face it, you've all seen my secret ninja smile by now and know enough to do some sleuthing should you really want to go stalkerazzi up in herr (you know you wanted to laugh), but most readers respect the boundaries. I can trust they aren't going to be stalking my real-life Facebook, and I can simply decline request from those who do without closing myself off entirely to readers. It's a win-win situation. Unless you want to know all about my sex life, and then you're just SOL. 

How I came up with my penname and why it's so different than my real name is a totally different story, and it may or may not help you in your penname quest, but then again, maybe it will. :)

Unique names have become a tradition in my family, so that was a requirement for my handy-dandy alias. But I didn't just want to name myself Rainbow Starchild either. My name had to be more personal and significant than that, and it had to fit me.

Easy enough criteria. But when it came time to actually sit down and come up with a penname, I had no clue what I really wanted.

If you haven't already noticed, I freaking adore my nieces and nephews, so rather than trying to come up with a name myself, I decided I was going to let them name me. I figured my requirements would be met that way. Let me just say... that's probably not the best way to go about the penname business, especially when toddlers are involved, but it worked out well for me.

Kai told me I should be a Kai (or a Tiger). Losh pointed at himself, which was his way of telling me I should name me after him. Little Princess didn't talk yet, but she was giving me the, "Hey, I'm too cute to leave out and I will bite you" look. And Jay wasn't there, but I couldn't forget him either. Instead of fighting the inevitable because I'm a sucker and do whatever they want most of the time, I decide to take their advice and name myself after all of them on my own terms. Thus saving myself from becoming Dora the Kai and Losh and Little Princess and Jay Bubble Blowing Vampire Ninja Wrestling Champion of the Pirate World.

I played around with different parts of their names, put them altogether, and Ayden Kai'al Morgen magically appeared. That's too much to cram into a byline though, so I cheated and opted to condense it into initials on the official stuff. The kids think it's awesome, the name fits me, and I get to have my cake or privacy and eat it too. :)

Now, go forth and name yourself. Just not Rainbow Starchild. That one's already taken. ;)

xoxo,
A.K.M.