Martian Inspired Footwear


A while back, I commented on a line of footwear that was (supposedly) inspired by classic American literature. Since the final product was so watered down, I created a few of my own shoe designs for classic novels.

I love drawing shoes, so I came up with another book-inspired design. This one is based on Andy Weir’s novel, The Martian, which was so fabulous that I’m still thinking about it!

Any other fans of The Martian out there? Are you going to check out the movie?

Phew, Finally Finished


In November of 2013, I participated in NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in one month. It’s an awesome challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was so proud of myself for completing the word count goal. (Read about my experience here.)

Only problem was, November was over and I had reached 50,000 words, but my story wasn’t finished. I had a beginning and a whole lot of middle, but no ending! Without the accountability of NaNoWriMo, I didn’t have the motivation to continue writing. And to be honest, I wasn’t too sure about how my novel was supposed to end, anyhow. I would add little bits and pieces here and there, but the conclusion always seemed out of reach.

Recently, I decided that I was going to do it. I was going to finish my novel. So guess what? I did! I typed out the ending on my iPad mini (one finger typing, no less!) all while nursing my baby. For some reason, it all came together and three pages later, I had an ending. Final word count: 61,113 words. It feels really good to have given my characters and plot a resolution. Is this book going to make me rich?! Of course not (much to my husband’s dismay!), but I completed a goal, and that’s gotta count for something, right?

Now, if only I could manage to get it edited and printed…

Casting The Madman’s Daughter


So truth? I’m not sure I would actually go see the film version of this book because…it’s scary! I’m not into scary movies, and it was a surprise to me that I liked this dark, creepy book. I even liked it enough to read the next two books in the trilogy, too. While the third book would make the most fun movie, the first book really sets the stage for all the strangeness, so let’s start there.

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd takes the story of H.G. Wells’s Island of Dr. Moreau and imagines what it would be like if the doctor (who experiments with animals so that they are able to walk and talk like humans) had a teenage daughter. This daughter, Juliet, must decide if her father is a genius or a mad scientist who needs to be stopped. Along the way, she is caught in a love triangle between Montgomery, her father’s assistant whom Juliet has loved for many years, and Edward, a mysterious shipwreck survivor she meets on her father’s island. Both Montgomery and Edward have secrets, but so does Juliet. After all, Juliet may have a little madness in her as well.

In book two of the Madman’s Daughter trilogy, Her Dark Curiosity, the author uses some of the same characters to pull readers into the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. In the third book, A Cold Legacy, Juliet and friends take on a Frankenstein-inspired tale. These dark, gothic reads are revamped for the modern age and are a great way to get young adults interested in classic literature. The writing is clever, fresh, and totally enjoyable.

Clearly, I’m not the only reader who enjoyed these books. The first novel has been optioned for film and has a screenwriter, but so far, that’s all the progress this project has made. Read about it on the author’s blog:

 If they needed a little help casting the film, here are a few of my suggestions: 


Have you read this trilogy yet? Who would you cast in the film version?

Quite Possibly My Favorite Book of the Year

martianThis may come as a surprise after the way I raved about the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, but I think I just read my favorite book of the year. There are still four months left, of course, and I’ve read some really great books this year (like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell), but this latest book is easily the best adult book I’ve read. So what book is it? It’s a New York Times bestseller that actually lived up to its hype: The Martian by Andy Weir.

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Here’s what I loved about it:

1. It’s sci-fi, but believable.

There weren’t any aliens, or a time-space continuum, a meteor on an Earth-destroying path, or epic space battles. This was just a straight up mission to Mars where the astronauts were all scheduled to do some experiments, collect rock and soil samples, and return home. Easy-peasy. Or at least, that was the plan…

2. The main character had a great sense of humor.

Mark Watney could have crumbled under the despair of being abandoned on Mars. But he doesn’t. He’s calm and clever and keeps it light. Most people wouldn’t be able to do this, but he’s an astronaut. They train for the unexpected, plus they’re just cooler than the average human, right?

An example of his humor: when Mark tries using a laptop outside of his main hub, the extreme cold of Mars causes the laptop to instantly die. He teases, “Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”‘

3. The suspense kept me racing to find out what would happen next.

This may be sci-fi, but it’s really a survival story. We’ve all heard about the robots and missions where one miscalculation has led to million dollar failures. With one problem after another, will Mark survive on Mars? Will he ever make it back to Earth? How could one astronaut survive the odds?

4. The math and science-heavy parts were oddly satisfying.

I am terrible at math. My brain just doesn’t do well with numbers and complex problem solving. But I admire Watney’s ability to do those things. Math and science really do save his life. His MacGyvering skills would be useless (and a bit unbelievable) if he didn’t have the calculations to back up his plans. Also, I can appreciate the work the author put in to achieve the book’s thoroughness. The author really knew his stuff.

5. The story of how this book became a bestseller is a writer’s dream.

In the back of the e-book version of The Martian, there is a short essay by the author explaining how a nerdy idea became a bestselling novel. Just for fun, the author decided to plan out a manned mission to Mars, complete with software to calculate the crew’s trip. From there, he started thinking about all the things that could go wrong. So he wrote The Martian and posted chapters on his website. His readers asked him to make the book available on Amazon, so he formatted it into an e-book, and set the price at the lowest available: 99 cents. Lo and behold, it became an Amazon bestseller. Publishers wanted the book and so did movie studios. The book was republished and became a New York Times bestseller. In October, the movie version starring Matt Damon will hit theaters. Not too bad for a self-proclaimed nerd, eh?!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Will you see the movie?

Below is the trailer for the film. Caution: if you plan on reading the novel, I would steer clear of the trailer. It reveals a lot of the book’s content.

Casting Chaos Walking

As is the way with fantastic YA novels, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series may be getting the film treatment. According to an article posted in October 2011, Lionsgate acquired the rights for the Chaos Walking trilogy. I hadn’t realized the series was that old! Turns out the first book was published in 2008 and the third book was published in 2010. I can’t believe it took me so long to stumble upon these books. A more recent update (if you can call August 2014 recent!) notes that the project will have a new screenplay written by Jamie Linden. Robert Zemeckis will direct (Back to the Future and Forrest Gump are among his notable films). We’ll see if this movie ever comes to fruition. Until then, here are a few casting suggestions I came up with.

chaos_castingAfter reading the novels, who would star in your dream cast?

~ Interested in Chaos Walking? Read about my gushing review of the series here and read about its awesome villain here.