The Infinity Dreams Award

It’s award time again! (Yes, I’ve still got more after this one, so I’ll be catching up for a while.) This one comes from Victoria Grace Howell at Stori Tori’s Blog. She’s a fellow speculative fiction writer (currently working on a YA steampunk Red Riding Hood retelling and a YA dystopian sci-fi) who’s also a tea lover and Lord Of The Rings fanatic. If you don’t follow her blog yet, now is a great time to start. Thank you, Tori!

Here are the rules for the Infinity Dreams Award:

  1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
  2. Tell us eleven facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

With all these fact-centric tags lately, I’m afraid I’m going to run of ideas for random facts soon! But I think I’ve got a few more I haven’t shared with you yet. 😉

(Last reminder for the thank-you giveaways! Click here to learn how you can win free tea, a free book, or a critique of your WIP’s first chapter. Hurry, though – the giveaways end at midnight EST on October 31st!)

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Another Liebster Award!

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Still combing through the blog tags and awards I was recently nominated for, and today it’s Liebster Award time. Thank you for the nomination, Phoenix Grey! 🙂

Here are the rules for this version of the Liebster Award:

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post that thanks the person who nominated you and links back to their article.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in your post.
  3. Nominate 7 to 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Answer the 10 questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
  5. Make 10 questions of your own for your nominees.
  6. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.
  7. All of the nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.

So, Rules #1, 2, and 6 are done already. (I hope it’s OK that I’m skipping around…?) Now let’s go on to Phoenix’s questions!

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Recent Reads: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Susan Cain
Nonfiction / Behavioral Psychology / Self-Help


At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Rating: 5 / 5

Like Quiet author Susan Cain, I’m an introvert. I tend to listen more than speak. I thrive at deep conversations with friends or others who share common interests and passions, yet I stall when making small talk with strangers. I prefer solitary activities like reading and writing over large social events (though I enjoy concerts, literary events, and aerobics classes). So, when I found Quiet on a store shelf, I knew I should read it to gain a better understanding of introversion, and of myself. To say the book succeeded would be a colossal understatement.

Quiet packs a ton of information into its 270 pages, exploring introversion from various fields. Cain provides examples of introverts from history such as Steve Wozniak, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks; examines the results of various psychological and neurological studies; and shares excerpts of interviews she conducted with students, parents, teachers, religious leaders, and other individuals. She also presents some of her own personal quirks and anxieties as an introvert. Yes, it’s a lot to take in. Almost every time I sat down with Quiet, I marveled out loud at the meticulous research Cain put into it. However, every nugget and detail is relevant, like puzzle pieces that help complete the panoramic “big picture.”

At the same time, Quiet doesn’t feel like a scholarly work. Cain argues her points with eloquence, succinctness, and care. She even describes her various interviewees with the same keenness that fiction writers use to make their original characters come to life; these real people leap off the page. Also, while Cain is passionate about introversion, she’s careful not to hyperfocus on that one temperament. She spends ample time distinguishing the differences between extroverts and introverts, and explains how the two can learn to respect those differences and appreciate the other’s strengths. Her last few chapters also offer suggestions on how people of different temperaments can communicate with success and mutual understanding, from working and romantic partnerships to parent-child and teacher-student relations. It’s clear that Cain envisioned introverts and extroverts alike would read Quiet and catered her book to educate and appeal to both personalities.

For introverts like myself, though, Quiet is more than just a learning tool. Many of the interviewees’ quotes resonated with me at the most personal level – because if I had been in their shoes, I would have made the same observations. I related to Isabel, Maya, and other young students as they struggled with social interactions at school – because years ago, I was just like them, unsure of how to speak up in crowded classrooms and weary from the overstimulation by day’s end. Anything I found helpful or want to refer to in the future (especially some of Cain’s advice in the final chapters) is now underlined in pen or marked with a colored Post-It flag.

Normally my critiques would start creeping in here – but with Quiet, there’s not a single thing I would have done differently. This comprehensive resource radiates with conscience, empowering the quieter, thinking types without tearing down their more gregarious counterparts. Cain isn’t just an author here; she’s an articulate, compassionate guide who dives into the heart of her subject matter and writes in a way that’s easy for all readers to follow. If you’re an introvert, you’ll love and relate to Quiet. If you’re an extrovert who wants to better understand introverts, you should also read Quiet. Regardless of your temperament, make sure you take your time with this book to let its messages sink in. It’s that informative, and that profound.

Have you read Quiet? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it yet, do you think you might check it out based on what you’ve read above? Let me know by commenting below or visiting the same review at Amazon or Goodreads.

Field Trip: WANACon February 2014


In some ways, WANACon doesn’t count as a field trip in the true sense of the phrase. (Click here to read my “promo” article for WANACon.) It’s an online writing conference you can attend from the comforts of home, someone else’s house, a cafe – wherever you can bring your laptop and find a wifi connection. However, it meant two days of geeking out and investing time and money into learning more about the craft of writing, something I’m more than thrilled to do. I may have been at home and in front of my laptop for much of the time, but in my head I was seated in crowded classrooms and surrounded by other writers who shared my passion and excitement. I took flurries of notes, listened to each presenter with rapt attention, and almost immediately applied what I was learning to my work-in-progress (WIP). In other words, I was far, far away mentally – and I had a blast! Continue reading