Blog Month Is OVER!!

And to celebrate, we decided to have an OkPotato party with our friends.

IMG_2026This month has been a crazy ride for me in particular. I started a new job, kept up with the blog, and added a few thousand words to my story. Cheri and I even added to our writing group and are seriously looking at finishing our WIPs in the new year. All in all, the Ultimate Blogging Challenge was a great way to get us motivated about this blog and to force us into the discipline of blogging regularly.

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January-Itis: How Did We Do?

The month is finally ending and our Ultimate Blogging Challenge will be ending tomorrow with our OKPotato Purple Potato Party! We definitely forgot to use the #blogboost and to even advertise our posts on our Twitter, but we got to meet a lot of new blogs and even some new followers. Coming up with ideas for daily, substantial posts has required a lot of planning, panicking, and cooperation, which has made for super stronger admins (…arguably) but also some blogging burnout. We’ll be glad to go back to a slightly more lax posting schedule. Fear not, we will still be bringing you quality posts on books, movies, TV, and diversity…just not every day. For now.

rabbitNext month Chebk and I will be back to respective biweekly postings:

  • Cheri: Tuesdays and Fridays
  • Chebk: Wednesdays and Sundays

You can look forward to more of Chebk and guest blogger Sanjiv’s Psych 101 series on representation of psychological disorders in media and my guides to Diverse Writing. We will also be participating in Harry Potter Book Night on Feb. 5. (Let us know if you are too so we can live blog together!)

hpJoin us tomorrow for our last Ultimate Blogging Challenge PARTY POST! And as always, if you have any recs or thoughts for us, let us know in the comments.

Giveaway Winners!

And the results are in!

We have two winners for two books and the winner of Ender’s Shadow is…

 

Mark Murata

 

And the winner of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is…

 

onlyfragments

 

Please email us at cheriandrensaic@gmail.com your mailing information which we promise to use only to mail the books with.

See y’all tomorrow!

Have another book you want to see given away? Let us know in the comments below!

YAY TV 2015

All the books we’ve been discussing are A+ and would recommend (or would really not recommend, depending on the post) but for once we are going to discuss my great, forever love: TV SHOWS.

I was raised in a fairly strict household as a kid. We had no cable until I was mostly through middle school and, up until then, my brother and I were allowed one hour of television per day. This could have turned me into a person who has little interest in the latest daily entertainment. I am sure that is what my parents would have wanted for me. Luckily, I became an avid viewer instead.

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I am a devourer of stories in all forms, music videos to movies. Books are my first love, and the world of wordplay will always enchant me. But nothing can tell a story the way a TV series can. F

(I can already hear Chebk coming at me with the Kushiel series.) Powers-that-be willing, characters can go through not only multiple but elongated arcs over years and large casts are more readily handled thanks to visuals: LOST, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Game of Thrones.

TV is also a pretty good gauge of media representation trends. Movies, with their big budgets, aren’t willing to take a risk on diversity, even with steps as small as female leads (still waiting on that Black Widow movie, Marvel…) As stated before, even readers easily ignore diversity cues in books. TV shows are more willing to take risks on diverse casts and with actual visual representations, it’s easier to actually represent diverse characters (which is not to say that all representations are made well or equal).

Lucy Liu in Elementary, Korra from Legend of Korra, and Kerry Washington in Scandal.
Lucy Liu in Elementary, Korra from Legend of Korra, and Kerry Washington in Scandal.

Arguably, the storylines on television are getting stronger and more original as movie content sticks to safe formulas and predictable plots and character tropes: More PoC leads and storylines on network television, as seen with Kerry Washington in Scandal, Lucy Liu in Elementary, and even in children’s animated shows, such as Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra. Complex representation of PoC, women, LGBTQ, and some disabilities (e.g. Switched at Birth has a deaf lead and most characters sign in ASL throughout the drama). It’s clear to see that at least some of the big networks are making pushes for diverse representation, (and benefitting from higher viewerships).

Here are some TV diversity triumphs to celebrate this new year:

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Top Ten Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club (If I Had A Book Club)

Second of my posts today starts with a PLEASE JOIN OUR GIVEAWAY! I want to give away these great books so please join if you would like a free book!

And second, thanks to the good folks at The Broke and the Bookish we here at OkPotato have decided to jump on the bandwagon and do our first installment of:

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Books I’d Love to Read With My Book Club (If I Had a Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Club)

This would be one of the hardest book clubs ever because of the length of the books, but if I were part of one, I would really push for these books. (Links to Goodreads)

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1. Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey

I keep telling Cheri, if she wants diversity, POC, and LGBTQAI representation, to read this fantasy author, because she does it all. In this particular series, we follow a queer bard protagonist as he struggles to live a queer protagonist life.

kushiel's dart

2. Kushiel’s Dart by Jaqueline Carey

Mentioned once before, will be mentioned a hundred times more, I can’t get enough of this lady’s amazingness. I would spread her awesome words, ideas, and writing to the very corners of the earth. Fantasy.

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3. Empire by Orson Scott Card

How fragile the government and whole nations can be. I love the books statement of the power of fear and an idea can have on people of a nation. Sci-fi.

the rowan

4. The Rowan by Anne McCaffery

One of the first series to ever take me on the full journey of the spectrum that a woman’s life might hold — and a powerful woman at that. The Rowan takes us from the unlikely tread of a child to a woman with children of her own, and she is a force to be reckoned with, make no mistake. Sci-fi

carbide tipped pens

5. Carbide Tipped Pens edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi

A good place to get your feet wet in the deep end of sci-fi. An anthology spoken about before.

beggars in spain

6. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress

I don’t know why or how, but this sci-fi book keeps popping up on my ‘recommended readings’ no matter where I turn. So I will one day read this book about those who don’t sleep.

robopocalypse

7. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson

This is the first book in my entire life that I would say that I would read because of the writing. There is something about the way that he writes that makes you keep reading. And by the end of this book, I will have figured it out.

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8. Cold Magic by Kate Elliott

Something about steampunk, magic and dinosaurs? I like it already.

The Sparrow

9. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

A good book (arguably great book) regarding some morality issues and stuff. Mostly put in because I was running out of books. This one is a sci-fi.

the queen's dagger

10.The Queen’s Dagger by Merilee Andelin Saunders

Another one that keeps popping up on my to reads but this one is fantasy. Political intrigue abounds and power is for those who would take it.

What did you think of my choices? Got something to add? Let me know in the comments below!

Psych 101: From the Banana Bunch

As Cheri mentioned, I am in the flu-zone. So I apologize for my tardiness and intend to make it up with two posts today. This one will be an introduction to an upcoming series in collaboration with one of our friends from the Banana Bunch:

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Gif approximation of the Banana Bunch

As stated in a post long ago, Cheri and the rest of my friends are quite amazing. One goes by Sanjiv and is a doctoral student of child clinical psychology. Most of her research and experience focuses on PTSD. One day I asked her: What’s the biggest problem you have with inaccurate portrayals of mental illness in media?

Increases in stigma against those with mental disorders, inaccuracies about mental health are perpetuated, the way they are portrayed can often cause those who are experiencing mental health issues to have negative perceptions of themselves and discourage them from seeking treatment. Treatment is often portrayed as ineffective.

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Almost There!: Brief Update

Chebk’s out with the flu, so we’re a little behind on the last week of our Ultimate Blogging Challenge. Apologies! A brief update before we resume our regularly scheduled blogging:

  • Our OKPotato page raised a grand total of $455 for the National Book Foundation via purchases at Chebk’s TheCraftingMuse Etsy page. You can still buy awesome beanies, cozies, and crochet dolls there, but our readathon donation page is now closed.
  • Our writing group has recently expanded (with even more watercolor flash fiction), which is very exciting! We will be having guest bloggers from our writing group very soon…with some persuasion/begging/bribery.

We’ll soon be ending the January Ultimate Blogging Challenge, which is both sad and relieving (you can guess which emotion ultimately wins out). I thought it was a good way to begin 2015, getting both of us writing daily and generating new material. It will be nice to have a little more time for our personal writing projects though.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this challenge? PLANNING. Chebk is great at that, but this was the first time she really succeeded in getting me to sit down and plan out our blog topics all in one go. It was much easier to stick to deadlines this way and I’m already badgering Chebk to meet up so we can start planning out February.

We still have a few more days left, though, so stick with us for the announcement of our giveaway winners (IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO ENTER: win a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and/or Ender’s Shadow) and our big send-off to the end of this crazy month.

Here we go!