Saturday, July 12, 2014

WriteGirl Poetry Drive!!

Buy a Poem, Help a Girl 
Get a Custom Poem Written Just For You 


For anybody interested, there is an exciting poetry drive fundraiser going on right now for WriteGirl! You may remember them from their wonderful Lights, Camera, WriteGirl event that they put on in April that I wrote about on this blog.    

WriteGirl is a non-profit organization committed to empowering teen girls to write and share their ideas, and find their voices.  WriteGirl fosters creativity in their mentees and participating in this poetry drive is one way that you can also help to inspire these teen girls.  And in return, be inspired by a custom made poem written just for you.  

The Indiegogo campaign is only 9 days away from concluding so don't miss your chance to be a part of this amazing community and contribute to the fundraiser! You can read more about the poetry drive and the types of poems you can buy on the WriteGirl campaign website here!

Never underestimate the power of a girl and her pen 

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend ~

Monday, June 23, 2014

Grammar Mistakes on Twitter: Celebrities

Which Celebrities Are Guilty of the Most Grammar Mistakes on Twitter??

An interesting study was conducted by the proofreading team at Grammarly that looked at grammatical errors on Twitter.  And specifically, grammatical errors on Twitter committed within pop culture.  Grammar mistakes on social media posts are not a rarity, as we probably all know, but what's interesting about the infographic below is that it charts the amount of spelling errors and grammar mistakes made by celebrities on Twitter.  Grammarly  gathered 25 of the most recent tweets from each of the top 150+ celebrities on Twitter, which was determined by their number of followers.  Here is a brief synopsis of what they found (source: .  View the full infographic below, after the jump! What does this say about social media, if anything? Or about our pop culture, if anything?

General Overview :

  • Female celebrities make fewer overall writing errors (11.1 mistakes per 100 words) than male celebrities (13 mistakes per 100 words) on Twitter. 
  • Musicians are the worst writers in any category of celebrity, including politicians, athletes, actors, and business leaders, with an average of 14.5 mistakes per every 100 words.  
  • Writers are the most accurate writers among all celebrities, with an average of 6.9 mistakes per 100 words.  
  • The accuracy of a celebrity's grammar correlates directly with that person's age -- younger celebrities make more grammar mistakes than older celebrities.  
  • Celebrities who are older than 40 years old make more spelling mistakes (5.5 mistakes per 100 words) than celebrities who are younger than 40 years old (2.7 mistakes per 100 words) 

Grammarly Celebrity Twitter Mistakes
source: courtesy of

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

From So Cal to No Cal

Inner Aspen is moving to NYC!
Or rather, as of yesterday, Inner Aspen has moved to NYC!

image from business insider
In what felt like a whirlwind of time, in a few short months I applied for admission to a summer publishing program at NYU, accepted a place at said publishing program at NYU, and will be residing at NYU starting tomorrow.  Along with this whirlwind came all of the emotions imaginable:

excitement, anxiety, frustration, relief, elation, and of course, sadness.  

Excitement at the prospect that things are happening and there is progress toward my building of the life I want.  Anxiety because I have no idea what to expect and picking up and moving my life all at once simultaneously feels like a smart and reckless decision.  Also because east coast weather is unpredictable and doesn't make sense to me sometimes.  Frustration because the logistics of moving and getting started with the program has not been easy. and packing. oh my goodness the packing was an ordeal. Relief at my acceptance into the program; the nugget of affirmation life has given to me about my pursuit of a career in publishing. Elation at the fact that I have quit my job - am done with that stressful, insane chapter, and at the end of the day, worst case, I'll have spent 6 weeks in New York.  And sadness because I have to leave for at least 6 weeks to live in New York.  Even though I know that it is the right time, and the right adventure for me, saying goodbye to my home, my family, my friendships, a relationship, and the comfort of my southern california suburb is sad. All of the emotions accompanied by all of the tears.  I know it's only 3 hours ahead and 5 hours away by plane from California, and as my mom bluntly put it, "it's not like you are moving to Tibet".  And while that may be true, there were definitely times when I felt like I might as well be.  I might. as. well. be. 

It's move in day to the dorms tomorrow for the start of something that promises to be very intensive - maybe intensive enough to distract from any feelings of homesickness.  Either way, I have put myself on this train that only goes forward and it will be interesting to see what this time in New York does for me.  Bookish content will continue to flow through this blog - though reviews may be scarce for now.  If you want to keep up with what I'm reading, visit Goodreads, as well as City Book Review for the time being.  Also remember to connect with Inner Aspen on Facebook for up to date blog news and other fun posts. 

Inner Aspen is ready to take on the Big Apple :) 

via tumblr
P.S - fellow bloggers, I know some of you guys are in NY. If you wish to meet up, feel free to reach out! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Two Performance Artists Kidnap Their Boss and Do Things With Him [ Book Spotlight ]

One of the things I love about the book industry is that there always seems to be regular, interesting content being published. I have an interesting book spotlight for you this week about street performance artists (courtesy of Worldwind Book Tours) ! Check it out below! I apologize for the lack of content recently- it's been a very crazy past couple of weeks.  I'm hoping to write up an update post soon! Don't forget to check out the new Inner Aspen Facebook Page, if you have not already and get updates that way too!

and very specially, Happy Mother's Day today! Thank you, mom, for everything that you do for me. I will continue to work hard and do my best, just like you taught me! I hope everybody enjoys their day today!



Hank and Larry are performance artists in San Francisco's underground performance art scene. But when the mind-numbing grind of their corporate jobs drives them over the edge, they plot the ultimate revenge: to kidnap their company’s billionaire CEO and brainwash him into becoming a manic performance artist.

Fueled by the author's performance art background, Two Performance Artists is a screwball dark comedy about best friends determined to tackle the American Dream with fish guts, duct tape, and a sticky AK-47.

Two Performance Artists is the first performance art novel by a working performance artist, tackling themes like fame, narcissism, and criticism, which are all timely in our "watch me!" age of reality TV, Instagram, and YouTube.

A first-round finalist in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, the book straddles several genres—it's a madcap adventure, a pulpy action novel, a caper comedy, and a "bromance" for sure. One early reviewer called it "Office Space meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meets Jackass."



            Performance artist SCOTCH WICHMANN was launched into the American art scene 23 years
ago with his debut piece, SNORTING MOUSE FUR, and he's been going strong ever since. Nominated with his performance troupe for Best Comedy and Best Stunt at the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, his work has become known for its surrealism, physical endurance, and Dadaist comedy at galleries and fringe festivals around the world.

            For more about Scotch, visit:
            Website and blog:
            Twitter: @scotchwichmann

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lights, Camera, WriteGirl!

For anyone that will be in the Southern California area this weekend, you may want to check out an exciting event on April 26th called Lights, Camera, WriteGirl!.  It is a very unique fundraiser for a great non-profit called WriteGirl, whose focus is to help teen girls grow through a series of creating writing workshops on a variety of topics, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

Come watch as original monologues and scenes written by the teen girls of WriteGirl are brought to life by special celebrity guest actors and actresses.  Some of the special guests will include Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars), Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls), Alison Becker (Parks and Recreation),  Aasha Davis (Friday Night Lights), Mike Rock (Chelsea Lately), Sprague Grayden (24), Trevor St. John (Bourne Ultimatum) and more!

I became a volunteer with WriteGirl late last year and it's been such a great experience.  I really feel that they help their girls tell their stories and craft their voice.  As bloggers, readers, and writers, we know how important writing can be: how cathartic, how empowering, and how fun.  And it will surely be such an interesting experience to see the girls' original writing come to life on stage.

For more info on the event, please click here.
And tickets are available for purchase here.  There are only a few days left so get your tickets today!

Please also stop by the WriteGirl website to see more about what they do and how we can support.  I hope some of you are able to make it!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Noise Beneath the Apple

Hello all ~

Heather Jacks, author of the new book The Noise Beneath the Apple, is a guest writer for the blog today.  There is a chance to enter a second giveaway of this week after the jump (brought to you by worldwind book tours)! Scroll to the bottom for more info and your chance to enter.  Don't forget to  Like Inner Aspen on Facebook if you haven't for more ways to be connected.  Want to guest write for this site? Find out how

Heather Jacks was raised on an Indian Reservation in Southeastern Oregon, until age 15. Jacks was the first 'experimental exchange student' to Australia in 1982 with an organization called YFU, Youth For Understanding where she spent 10.5 months.  Once she returned, she received her B.A from USF and followed that with 2 years of study at UC Davis. She has worked in the music industry in various capacities since the eighties: radio, production, A&R, booking, and music journalism.  She was recently named a finalist in the Book of the Year Award in the Performing Arts & Music category for her multi-media project The Noise Beneath the Apple which was inspired by her love for street music, busking, and the people who make it. Contact Heather at 

5 Things To Do Before You Launch Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Let’s talk about a topic that is a necessity of any and all creative ventures, but will probably cause you to break out in a sweat, just thinking about it: Funding.  No matter what your project is; a film, restaurant, music, clothing line, book, etc... You will need money for it. There are a number of ways to get funding; family—(which is always a bad idea), traditional lenders such as banks, venture capital, angel investors or loan sharks. But the reality is, the odds are against you in these models. Banks ascribe to a ‘no-risk’ or ‘low-risk’ philosophy; Venture Capitalists must be assured of a huge return on investment, and we’ve all watched The Godfather. However, there is another type of funder; the person who believes in you and your vision, but also wants a story with their investment; which brings us to crowdfunding. We’ve all heard of it, and probably know that in its simplest definition, crowdfunding is a way to raise for ventures via the internet.  Many projects succeed, more fail! One reason crowdfunders fail, is not because the project wasn’t great or wasn’t presented well, but because crowdfunding is hard work, that requires a tremendous amount of pre-planning.  If you don’t take the time and energy to pre-plan and establish a solid foundation BEFORE you launch a campaign; you will fail.  In fact, according to Ethan Mollick of The Wharton School of Business, over half do fail! Here are five things I have learned through my own crowdfunding experiences, that I hope you will find helpful.

1.     Build Your Network:  How many times have you heard an entrepreneur say, “I will do A, B and C, once I get funded.”?  Then they discover online crowdfunding and launch a campaign, which ultimately fails. Why? One reason is that people don’t take the time to build their network. Although I have run successful crowdfunding campaigns and met my goal in 30 days—(or less); it is essential to know that it took me three years to get there!  That’s three years of building an audience, blogging, connecting with people and developing relationships. Your network is a cornerstone to a successful campaign. Use all the social media at your disposal; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, YouTube, your blog, etc…This doesn’t mean, set up your social media today and launch a campaign tomorrow. It means you set up your social media and begin engaging with like-minded people today, tomorrow and every day, until you have a solid network. An interesting note about one of my campaigns was that nearly 1/3 of the people who supported it, are people I have never met; primarily finding me via Twitter!  Which brings us to another hugely important aspect of your campaign: Know your network.

2.     Know Your Network:  A country singer is not going to promote to a Hip/Hop crowd. Documentarians are not going to send their film to the SyFy Channel and fiction authors aren’t going to submit to true crime genres. The same holds true for crowdfunding. You must know your audience. Who are they? What are their interests? Are they engaged with you? Do you have a personal connection with them?  What do they talk about? Who are their friends? Who do they trust? How much can they fund? How can they contribute? Will they contribute?  You can’t approach your network as if they are one big walking ATM, waiting for you to input your request. In the case of your network, half a dozen of one is NOT like six of the other. They have different needs, different stories, different backgrounds, and different interests. A key to success is to know and honor this fact. Whether it’s on or off line, it’s still a people business and you are encouraging people to believe in you and your vision. It was Dale Carnegie who said, that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Get to know your network.

3.     The Story is the Thing:  This speaks directly to the heart of crowdfunding and the type of funder you are trying to acquire. As mentioned before, our investor wants a story, a water cooler topic, bragging rights, a legacy. This is why they, unlike traditional funders, will invest in Broadway plays, films, art, music—and even books.  Every crowdfunding site will require a project video, which can make or break a project. Some basic rules of thumb regarding the video are: be bright, be brief and be personal! Studies have shown that a 2-3 minute video is the most effective, and that the video must be personal. You are the face of the project, so show them your face! Talk to the people who are going to take a risk and fund your project. Tell them the story; the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of it. Make your audience a part of the story.

4.     Set A Realistic Funding Goal:  Again, this is contingent upon ‘knowing your network’ and ‘knowing your project’.  In regards to knowing your project, the question is; how much do you really need--Not how much can you raise?  A few years ago, I was engaged in Grant Writing. One thing I did was to contact actual board members and gather information. A very valuable piece of information that I learned is that, like a bank, what the grantors really want to know is; how are you going to do this project without the grant? Take a moment and really think about that, and it will help you with the success of your campaign.  I view crowdfunding projects in tiers. For example; think of a wedding.  What is the least amount of money you need to have a wedding?  You might start off with a basic ‘Dixie Cup’ style wedding. No frills, not much fanfare, but the essentials needed to ‘tie the knot’. If Uncle Fred pops in with a generous gift and you get to replace the Dixie Cups with crystal, that’s fantastic; but either way, you are having a wedding. Projects on crowdfunding work the same way. For example; as a writer, the difference might be softcover or hardcover? Color photos or B&W?  For a musician; MP3 download, physical CD’s or pressing vinyl records. It’s essential to think in terms of attainable goals, that you can build on, if you get a windfall.

5.     Find Your Project Champions BEFORE You Launch: Think of crowdfunding as an online event, which it is. No one wants to be first on the dance-floor, so you must have a few key project champions who are ready, able and willing to hop up and be the FIRST to support your campaign the moment it goes live. Studies show that ‘funders react to the actions of other backers’. Creating excitement from the onset is key.  However, ‘championing’ a project goes beyond the monetary amount someone may contribute. It also includes if they promote the project to their own network, media and outlets. If they share and tweet to friends and colleagues; perhaps an email blast.  Every individual in your network offers something of value; it’s not always just about the money.  In one of my campaigns, a friend handed my postcard to one of their customers; that customer found me via Twitter, visited my blog and has become one of my biggest supporters; not just during that campaign, but long afterwards as well. By the way; my friend who handed out the postcard, was never in a position to support the project financially, but, believed strongly in it. She was a ‘champion’ and what a payoff for everyone, now and in the future.

Crowdfunding has offered a wonderful and effective way to fund projects in a time when public programs supporting the Arts are going the way of the Dodo. Take time to set yourself up for a successful campaign and a rewarding experience. If you have stories, thoughts, tips or ideas about crowd funding, that you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Let’s start a conversation and help each other prosper, grow and become fulfilled in 2014

The Noise Beneath the Apple is on sale now! Buy it here at Amazon.  
Written by Heather Jacks and accompanied by an eleven-track vinyl record featuring the original music of a select number of participants, this 200-page art-style coffee table book measures 12’’ x 12’’ and weighs in at a whopping 8lbs. Putting the spotlight on the age-old profession of busking, Jacks also seeks to stem the tide of regulation intended to suffocate creative expression and take performers off the streets.  A limited-edition coffee table book, ‘The Noise Beneath the Apple®’, is a unique and vibrant study of the culture of street performance, its legitimacy in modern times and above all, an intimate look at thirty-five buskers throughout New York City. Released with an eleven-track vinyl record that was mastered by Grammy and Academy Award winning mastering engineer Reuben Cohen, this book is a singular achievement and a one-of-a-kind tribute to the chaotic, beautiful and spirited world of busking.

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