Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What defines your year?

My life goes beyond writing and reading . . . but since this is a writing/reading/creativity blog, I'm going to define my reading life by authors. Sound weird? It might. I read a lot of books and I've noticed a trend. In 2007 I read Lois Lowery for the first time (as an adult) and I gobbled up all her books that year. In 2008 I devoured all of Eva Ibbotsons books. In 2009, I discovered Neal Shusterman for the very first time and read every book that I could get my hands on that he had written. There may be a couple more that I need to read, but I've read pert' near all ov'em!

It makes me wonder what author I'll discover or rediscover in 2010. Any suggestions? I'm up for it!

Consequently, I didn't reach the "50 books in a year" challenge, but I had fun trying. :0)

Also, I want to appologize for not being more involved w/ my blog friends at the end of this year. Along w/ my kids going all all different directions since school started and my current writing rut, I've had less time for blog interaction. I'm going to go visit blogs right now to make up for it.

Happy New Year, and Happy reading!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Books, books and more books! Here's a link to a giveaway!

OK, not only was Christina Farley an awesome host for Critter, but she's also a very generous gal. She's hosting a massive book giveaway. Go to her blog NOW to enter! Clickety-click right here!

I'm drooling all over this giveaway! Wowza!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Critter's new Destination!

YaY! Christina Farley has chosen a new destination for Critter. He's going to visit Nandini in New England!

Stay posted for Critter's new adventures in New England.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Would you like Critter to come visit you?

It's time for Critter to leave Korea. Would you like him to come visit you? Christina Farley will be choosing a new location for Critter on Wed. so head on over to her blog, leave a message and maybe Critter will come to visit you next!

Good luck!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Critter is in Korea!!!!

I'm so dang giddy! Critter is in Korea with Christina Farley and he's being treated like royalty. They made him a little outfit, took him shopping and he went to visit a historic Palace in Seoul. Is it normal to feel jealous of a piece of painted foam board? This is one lucky piece of art.

YOuv'e got to check out Christina's posts!

Also, don't forget to check out Critter's creator, Ian Sands.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

ohhhhhh! BOOK GIVE-A-WAY!!!! YaY~

For a great book giveaway, check out Tabitha's blog right here!

You gotta luv people who give away books! you go girl!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Give the gift of Telekinesis at Christmas this year. Really!

immage from
I'm not kidding. There is a telekinetic obstacle course for sale Click here to watch the video.

This may be the coolest gift EVER! I'm amazed. Gosh~ what's next? I'll be the first in line for a telekinetic vacuum and mop! Or . . . even better yet, a telekinetic Litter-box cleaner!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Starbucks and disgruntled dogs . . . Crazy momma say wha??

I interrupt this writerly rut for a creative moment: (dot, dot, dot, dot-de-dot, dot, dot.)

I normally go to the gym for an hour, after I drop the kids off at school. Today, however, was a perfect fall day. Sun: warm, but not hot, the leaves drifting aslant in the wind, at my favorite park. A prefect calm lake surrounded by calico leaves, dancing in the sky as well as dotting the path.

I passed up my usual water bottle for a Starbucks Vanilla Latte. Walking around a calm lake on a perfect autumn day . . . sipping my favorite latte . . . bliss! A surreal moment. A time to remember that life can be beautiful, despite the destruction all around us.

On to my point . . .

I was walking behind a woman who was walking a pure white yorkie. A beautiful dog. So cute. But he was looking at me, standing on his hind legs like a mini grizzly bear, and making a . . . I don't know what kind of sound. Half growl/ have whine. I'm not sure. I looked behind me, thinking another dog-walking person was behind me, attracting the attention of this yorkie. There was no one. Just me. The yorkie, hind-legging and unknown-noise-making at me. But why? I was just walking. Other dogs walked by the Yorkie. He just sniffed . . . and walked by. Regular dog stuff.

So, then the dog walker stepped by the wayside so that I could pass. As I did, she said (in th most fabulous British accent.), "It's the coffee cup."

All I could respond was, "Oh, is that what it was?" And laughed.

I wish I could have asked more. Why the coffee cup? But that would have been cruel to keep the dog in his over-active/alert state. So I moved on. Leaving me to ponder why a dog would care about a coffee cup. Was he angered? Amused? I had no idea. I spent the rest of my 2 mile hike wondering about the psyche of this dog. What caused him to react to my coffee cup?

If you know a reasonable answer.. . . I'd love to know. I'm perplexed.

However .. . I"m a writer at heart and I'd love to hear some creative answers. Why would a dog react to a coffee cup in such an animated way?

Had he once tasted the spilled spoils at a local Starbucks hangout . . . only to become addicted?

Was he raised in a poor litter . . . where they only chewed empty coffee cups instead of bones?

Does a coffee cup resemble an alien space phone and he's dying to call back to his canine race?

Are there zones in this park where animals go wonky when they enter it, leaving them crazed and delirious?

You tell me. Real life, or pure imagination. . . . what could cause a dog to act this way?

hmmmm . . . . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Critter is going to Korea!!! Plus, a Shout out for PJ!

I've got to give a bug "hurrah" to Beth Revis. When I started this Critter in Blogland thing, I had small hopes that Critter would go international. If he did, I thought the furthest would be Canada. But Beth is willing to flip the bill for Critter's trip to to Korea. Gam-sa Ham-nee-da, Beth. That will be Critter's new way of saying "Thank-you" when he gets home from his oversea's travels. This is so cool! His host is Korea is Christina Farley. I can't wait to see where he'll get to go!

I also want to give a great big shout out to PJ Hoover. Her latest book, The Navel of The World, is now out! Go out and buy a copy! I'm sure you'll be glad you did. I can't wait to get mine!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's time for Critter to find a new vacation spot

Head on over to Beth's blog. See some great pictures of Critter at the Biltmore Castle and tell Beth where you would take Critter if he came to see you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Critter Siting!

There's some great pictures of Critter over at Beth blog! You've got to go see what he's been up to!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And the Winners are . . . . .

Congratulations to 3 lucky winners!

The winner for th copy of The Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Promdress is . . . . . Solvang Sherrie!

The winner of the 1st copy of The ABC's of Kissing Boys is . . . . Terry Lynn Johnson!!!

And the 2nd copy of The ABC's of Kissing Boys goes to . . . . Janelle!!!!


Congratulations folks! Just e-mail me at christyevers (at) ATT (dot) net with your mailing address.

Thanks for playing along everyone! I hope to have another give away soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Author, Tina Ferraro Talks about "Voice": Plus, a 3 book giveaway!

Today's Special guest blogger is Tina Ferraro. Not only is she talented at creating a strong character "voice", she's also generous. When I told her that I was going to give away a copy of The ABC's of Kissing Boys along with her interview, she offered to give away two books as well; another copy of The ABC's of Kissing Boys and one copy of The Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Promdress. So, if you leave a comment below there will be 3 winners drawn on Wednesday. You can also have extra chances to win if you post this giveaway on your blog, Twitter or Facebook and if you follow this blog. You receive an extra entry for each thing that you do. Make sure you let me know in the comments so that I can give you the correct amount of chances to win in my tupper-ware-bowl of winningness.

The thing that I love so much about Tina's characters is that they are relatable, strong and funny. So, I asked Tina a few questions about "Voice." Here's what she has to say:

1) How do you define "voice"?

Well, let me start by saying I often have two streams of thought running in my head. What I say and what I think. For instance, a lady is holding up the supermarket line, trying to find all her coupons. She turns and apologizes. I would smile and say, "No problem, I love using coupons, too," while I am thinking, "Lady, for crying out loud, get organized! I've been standing here for so long I think I celebrated a birthday."

Voice, to me, is what I'd think--not what I'd say. Doesn't have to be funny, but it generally hits higher highs and lower lows than a person's normal life.

2) How and why is "voice" crucial in a manuscript?

I think it's make-or-break critical to have voice. For instance, anyone could tell the story of a southern plantation on the verge of the Civil War, but only Margaret Mitchell delivered Scarlett O'Hara and her "fiddle-de-de" that was at once irritating and oddly endearing.

3) What have you done that has attributed to your strong sense of voice? (Classes? Advice? Workshops, etc.)

The most important thing that I found in establishing voice is letting go of my natural inhibitions. When I was writing TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS and got to the first scene where Nicolette was dancing alone in her bedroom in her dress, I was so embarrassed for us (Nic and me) that I about dove under the desk. I felt like I'd just exposed our rawest side to the world. Later, I got more compliments on that scene than any other.

4) When writing The ABC's of Kissing Boys, how were you able to maintain a consistent voice through out the entire book?

Well, whenever I felt unsure of the story or voice (which was often), I went back and re-read earlier scenes. Then I then grabbed Parker's hand and we jumped back in...

5) What advice would you give to aspiring authors so that they can improve their literary voice?

Take a good look at yourself and see what pushes your buttons, what is going to take you and your readers to entertaining places. While you don't have to write your life (I surely don't), try to twist fiction with fantasy. For instance, in THE ABC'S OF KISSING BOYS, Parker worried that she was a bad kisser...and while it's been a long time since I've had that concern, I continue to be a queen of performance doubt, so I could easily relate to that fear.

6) What is your favorite "voice" book(s)?

Oh, so many! But here's few that I recently read include THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie, GOOD ENOUGH by Paula Yoo, and SOPHOMORE UNDERCOVER by Ben Esch.

Thank you, Tina, for thoughts on VOICE!

Now, go ahead and
*leave a comment
*tweet this contest
*mention this contest on your blog and/or Facebook
*Become a follower of this blog.

And then I'll choose 3 winners on Wednesday.
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Something Fabtabulous Planned for Monday!!!!

Just want to give you a heads up for what is coming up on Monday. I don't want you to miss it. I'm going to post an interview with Author, Tina Ferraro and what she has to say about what literary "voice" is and its importance in a manuscript.

But that's not all. There's going to be a 3 book giveaway for those of you who leave a comment. That right! count'em 1 . . . 2 . . . 3!

So that improves your chances of winning.
Be sure to come back on Monday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Critter has Castles and Mountains in his future

Critter update: Critter is on his way to the Carolina mountains with Beth Revis, where he has a good chance of seeing Biltmore Estates. I can't wait to hear more. Here's a link to Beth's blog so you can see for yourself. Go Critter go!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hurry over to PJ's Blog. Critter is going someplace new!

PJ's blog is calling for all those who would like Critter to come visit them. Go see PJ and leave her a comment for a chance for Critter to come visit you! Critter has all sorts of great offers so far. People want to take him to Castles, Space Needles, Mylie Cyris concerts, airplane rides, woodland hikes, and costco! This is one luck critter!

Don't forget to check out critters creator and artistic genius extrodinaire, Ian Sands.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Critter Update and some great reading

Critter is having some great fun in Texas. He even got to cozy up next to a copy of Catching Fire before I did. Check out PJ Hoover's blog to see what Critter is up to. Also, it looks like Critter will start looking for a new place to visit this Wednesday, so be sure to visit PJ's blog for a chance to have Critter come visit you.

Please take note that on my side bar I'm going to follow Critter's blog locations as he travels.

I was so jealous of Critter and his elbow rubbings with Catching Fire, that I had to go out and get my own copy. And let me tell you, it's a fabulous sequal to The Hunger Games. If you haven't read it yet, you should.

I've been on a great reading kick. Some other good book's I've read are:
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
~ it's a charming book and way better than the movie

Dreadlocks by Neal Shusterman
~ a dark fusion of Goldie Locks and the 3 bears and Greek Mythology. Sounds strange? yes. But Neal makes it work. A very clever and enjoyable read. Also a short, easy read.

When You Reach me by Rebecca Stead
This is a sci-fi book, but it doesn't feel like it until the end. I think this time-travel book, in the tradition of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, will touch lovers of all genre's, not just sci-fi fans. This is also a short and easy read.

Currently, I'm reading Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey, the sequel to Skin Hunger. I just started it today. It's a thick book, and may take me longer to read, but I'm already hooked!

Hope you had a great Labor Day! Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Critter's first visit in Blogland will be with . . . . .

Critter is very excited. He's packed his bag and is ready for his Blogland adventure.

All the entries are in my handy-dandy tupperware bowl of winningness and Critter is about to milk his pants from the the excitement. (If you haven't noticed, this critter is part cow.)

And the first person Critter will come to visit is . . . . .


YaY PJ! Critter will be able to enjoy Texas w/o the fear of too much perspiration. :0)

But don't worry folks. There are 14 more places that Critter will get to visit, so you still have 14 more chances to win a visit by following him on his journey I will post links to the places that Critter is going so you'll be able to have another chance on the other blogs. PJ's blog is Check out her blog and watch for Critter to show up! :0)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Critter's Adventure in Blogland starts with YOU!

OK. It's time to unleash my desire to bring interactive art to Blogland. I have acquired one of Ian Sands famous Critters and the Critter is ready to go on his Blogland adventure. This is how it will work. I must add that this lightweight foam Critter is an actual piece of art. It is a miniature version of what you might see at Ian's exhibits or on his Etsy shop

1) Those who want to participate can leave a comment in the comments section to have a chance to have Critter come to visit you. You may also increase your number of entries by following my blog, mentioning this contest on your blog, twitter, Facebook or any other social networking place. You may also gain another entry by commenting about the kind of adventure that Critter may have if he comes to visit you.

2) This Wed. I will draw the name of the lucky person who gets to have Critter come for a visit. I will get your mailing address from you and will send Critter to your house.

3) When you get Critter in the mail, write your name and City location.

4) Now you get to Send Critter someplace else. Host a contest for Critter on your blog and then send Critter to the winner from your blog. (the critter is made of a light weight foam board, so it should not be too expensive to mail.)

5) I will track Critter's location so we can see where he has been and where he will be going.

There are 16 name spaces on Critter. My name is on the #1 spot. So, Critter gets to go to 15 other places. The last person will send Critter back to me. This is a trial run. If people like it, maybe we can do it again some other time.

So. Are you in? Please make sure that you are willing to keep Critter going on his adventure if you sign up for this. If you don't follow through, you'll break Critter's heart (and ruin the fun for the rest of us.)

On your mark, get set . . . . leave a comment! Be sure to tell me in the comments if you mention this contest anywhere else so that I can put and extra entry in the bowl for each extra thing that you do.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Lost Critter Project

photo borrowed from the Ian's Blog

If you're in Downtown Apex NC this week, you can hunt for critters made by artist, Ian Sands and his crew of High school Students. Yes, this art teach actually inspires kids to volunteer for projects over the summer. (you can read the article by clicking here.)

They made 500 foam board critters, each hidden around town and carrying instructions regarding which Downtown business the critter should be returned. When returned, the founder is rewarded with a sucker, a kit-kat or various other treats. This is an interactive public art project intended to promote local business.

Isn't that the most creative and fun thing you've ever heard of?!?

Anyway, since Ian is a friend and Critique buddy of mine, I have an idea to bring this interactive art to our blogs. I have to work out the details, but keep your eyes peeled. I'm thinking of calling it "Critter Around the World" or "Critter's Adventure in Blogland" or something like that. (much akin to a Flat Stanley kind of thing) I would need you blog owners to participate, or it wouldn't be any good.

Details to come. . . .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random title and plot generators

OK, here's a couple things for fun. Who knows, you might even get something good out of it.

First is the random title generator. When I tried it there were some rediculous titles (obviously) but there were actually a few that I liked too. One was "Waves in the Ashes" If you go to the link, let me know what good titles came up for you.

Here's the link to the Random Title Generator

The random plot generator is hillarious. I'd be surprised if you get a really good idea out of this one, but who knows, perhaps this could be good for a creative writing exercise or just something to get your creative juices flowing.

Here's the link to the Random Plot Generator

Enjoy! :0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A peek into an editor's day

Wow! I can't believe how long it has been since my last post. But you know how things get sometimes. Busy, busy, busy. The kids are back in school, which means I'm actually able to be more productive which means less computer/blogging time.

However, I came across a great blog that is maintained by seven Children's book professionals. The latest post is about what goes on in a editor's day. Don't we all wonder why it take so long for them to get back to us? Don't we wonder why a submission or a query must be perfect and why it must stand out from all the other submissions? Read this and you'll understand much better. Wow! I got tired just reading it.

I've also added this blog to my side bar. FYI :0)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

beach books and getting conference ready

I'm back from the beach.

I read the main chunk of The Forrest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan while sitting on a beach chair by the ocean. Which is super cool, because a major thru-line is this book is the main characters desire to see the ocean. It's a driving motivational force for Mary and it makes it extra cool to read about Mary's burning desire to see the ocean. It makes you feel like you're really waiting for her on the other side, pulling her along in her quest. Because of this I nominate this book as the #1 best beach read of the year.

The other book I read was Red Riders Hood by Neal Shusterman. Yes. Another Shusterman book. I'm determined to read all his books. He's a brilliant story teller. Red Riders Hood is a dark Urban twist on the Little Red Riding Hood tale. As usual, Shusterman is clever, creative and pulls off a story that not every author could. It's a fun read!

I've been home for a few days, but I haven't blogged because, in addition to house and family stuff, I've been getting my critiques prepared to send out for the SCBWI Carolina's Fall Conference in Sept. I'm sending out two critiques this year. The deadline to get them in is the 31st, so I had to finish them up and send them out today so I could meet the deadline.

I miss the beach, but it's good to be back too. Now I have to go catch up on everyone elses blogs and see what ya'll have been up to.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beach Reading

I'm leaving for the beach on Sunday, so I was hoping to find a book that I could read that would suck me in. I wasn't sure what to get.

I've been wanting to read The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, but my Library didn't have it yet. I had asked if they had it a couple of months ago and they didn't. So, when I saw this sitting out on the display shelf yesterday, I audibly ~gasped~ and did a head dive for the shelf, (the kind like tennis or volley ball players will do to make a good save) and snatched up the book before anyone else could. (not that there was anyone w/i 10 feet of me, but a girl can not be too careful you know.)

So, now I have a good beach read for my vacation. The only problem is that I'll be gone for a week and I'll probably finish this in one day (2 days tops.) Anyone have any page-turners to recommend for additional beach reading? My book list is on the side bar of this blog if you want to see what I've recently read.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dimly Enlightened.

Today's blog is brought to you by The Training Institute for Flying Squirels

Between the research I'm doing for my current WIP and my wonderful antique Children's Literature Text book, I've been thinking a lot about the past, the present and how generations change, how thinking and idea's morph over time.

Each generation thinks they have an enlightened view of the world. Each era has it's own sense of superiority.

It makes me wonder what we hold or reject in society today. What do we believe to be true, or how do we see ourselves as "enlightened" only generations from now we will be proven wrong?

For example: In my research of Medical History past, I've found that doctors were skeptical of the use of antiseptic. Here's a blurb from the Book "The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800's" by Marc McCutcheon. (a google search will also provide similar info)

This section of the book comes from a glossary of terms re: Health, Medicine and Hygiene in the 1800's:

carbolic spray: an antiseptic spray strongly recommended by Lister to disinfect operating rooms of germs but used only by a handful of surgeons even as late as the 1870's. Pysicians were ignorant of the importance of cleanliness for most of the century. Antiseptic practices were not widely adopted until the 1880's and consequently cases of septicemia were common.

Her's a bit from Samuel Gross, Professor of Surgery, Philadelphia, in a medical review:
"Little if any faith is placed by any enlightened surgeon on this side of the Atlantic in the so-called carbolic acid treatment of Professor Lister."

Does that hit you like it hits me? Kind of makes you wonder. . . . huh?
What thoughts or people are though of in a negative way that will one day be praised? What of these do we see as good, that will go on to be thought of as "bad?" What is absurd now that will be commonplace in the future? what is common now that will be absurd in the future? hmmmmm . . . . Dang. My thinker is set in overdrive.

Will Diet Coke one day be found to be as destructive to our health as smoking (I hope not.)?

Will the key to good health be found in chocolate?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A fly on the wall in the slush pile: Thoughts from agent, Elana Roth

Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall as a editor or agent goes through their query stash? Just to get a glimpse into what they are thinking . . . now that would be good info to possess. If only I had enough of this inside info I could be like . . . like a writing Jedi; enlightened, wise, and my likeness could be cloned into a pointy-eared action figure.

One nice thing about twitter is that you can "follow" agents and editors without looking like cRaZeD stalker. Sometimes you get a glimpse into what they are looking for or other nuggets of info that might make you a better writer or query-ster or you can get a better idea of what is going on in the world of publishing.

Yesterday Elana Roth, Agent at Caren Johnson Literary Agency, tweeted some of her "realizations" about her thoughts as she went through her query stash. I found them interesting, so I thought you might too. I've quoted a few of them, but you can head on over to the agency blog where she compiled her entire list. Click-ity, click right here to swoosh on over to Elana's post.

A few of Elana's Query Realization "Tweets"
  • Slush Realization #1: I guess I'm just not a fan of non-human characters and narrators.
  • Slush Realization #2: I really hate e-stationery.
  • Slush Realization #3: If you hire someone to query on your behalf (don't), wouldn't you want them to have read my submission guidelines?
  • Slush Realization #4: Sometimes people make up things so strange that classifying them as "fantasy" still doesn't help me understand them.
  • Slush Realization #5: Apparently just saying "no thanks" can equal feeding the trolls. A rejection letter does not a dialogue opener make.
  • Slush Realization #9: If an email doesn't LOOK cleanly formatted, I tend to think words-on-a-page might not be your thing.
A big thanks to Elana for allowing me to quote and link her tweets!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Congratulations to Jacqui Robbins for the release of her new Picture Book. Available in stores and online today!

YaY Jacqui! *\o/*

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thoughts on Children's Literature from 1927

I recently found this gem of a book in an antique shop. It's a Handbook of Children's Literature text book by Gardner and Ramsey, copyrighted in 1927.

I thought it would be interesting to see how opinions have changed over the years. When I read the opening sentence I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.

It begins:

"Whether or not literature can be taught has been a long-debated question, but it has finally yielded its place to the more significant topic "What literature shall be taught?"

That got me right off the bat. Really? There was a debate on whether or not literature COULD be taught. I find it interesting that the wording wasn't "should be taught" I'm baffled that there was a question about the "can" literature be taught. I can't wrap my mind around that.

It makes my head hurt.

I've already come across some interesting things and I'll share some things over time, for instance, there is no section for fantasy literature in this text book. It talks about Folk Literature, Poetry and rhymes (which they spell it "Rimes"), Subject Matter books and Illustrated books.

And then, after noticing the lack of Fantasy literature, I came across this passage on Page 13. My comments are in red.

"Literature for children should be not only basically true (I guess that throws Fantasy Lit out the window.) but of such a nature that it appeals to the emotions. . . . . .. .It is the emotional appeal which leads a child to ask again and again for certain selections. The pleasure they give him may be the gentle melancholy (Isn't "melancholy" another word for "I'm bored out of my friggen skull!") which is the instinctive reaction to a "thing of beauty," as in the case of "The Snow Queen," by Hans Christian Anderson. Again the feeling aroused may be mirthful, like that excited by the "Jabberwocky," of Lewis Carroll; or it may be a thrill of excitement or fear, such as comes from tales of daring like those of Robert Louis Stevenson. Literature that excites disgust, (I wonder what these authors and their students would think of Dave Pilkey and Captain Underpants?) contempt, and despair with reference to people, conditions, and life itself should have no place in children's lives. If realistic literature is chosen it should be the kind of realism which is fair to life, not that wich makes it a sorry, hopeless business to be borne as best it may. Adolescents frequently find a kind of morbid pleasure in poring over stories which represnt all effort as futile struggle. (Yes. by all means, lets not give children subject matters that acutally appeals to them and captures their interest. That would just be silliness.) As a substituted they may be led to read some good historical novels, books of travel and adventure, bracing biographies, and beautiful poetry."

I'm interested to know. What are your thoughts and reactions to this passage?

What do you think was positive about this way of thinking? and/or Why do you think that there has been a huge shift in this philosophy?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Monster Luv! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I've been rereading Everlost by Neal Shusterman. There are so many great things about this book, but one thing that really struck me is how much I LUV the monster in this story, The McGill. He's not a good monster. The McGill is nasty and mean and he likes it that way. He works hard to be a terror. Don't worry. Those arent' the things I love.

What I love is that even though he's so repulsive, Shusterman still finds a way to make him likable in a way that you hate to love a villan. I've been trying to pinpoint the aspects of this great monster and what makes him so great. Here's what I've come up with so far.

1) He's written w/ humor, in a way that made me think of this monster as more of a young boy trying to be a bully.

2) The McGill develops a respect for the female protagonist even though he isn't prone to giveing repect to anyone.

3) This is probably my most favoritest part and PARTIAL SPOILERS BELOW:
In Everlost, there are 2 thru-lines that are weaved together nicely. They are shown early in the story and follow through til the end and are tied together by showing the reader how the McGill came into existence.
A. In Everlost, people will sink into the ground if they stand still for too long and will sink to the core of the earth. No one is able to get out of the core of the earth. The souls just sit and wait until the end of time.
B. In Everlost, if you forget what you look like, your appearance will change accordingly. ie: someone who prized their smile might start to develop too many teeth. A bully that used his fists might grow oversized hands etc.

Now, this is the good part:
Toward the end we find out that before the McGill became the McGill, he was just a regular little boy who sank to the middle of the earth. But . . . as he sat there with all the other sunken souls, he imagined himself strong and powerful. Little by little as his body changed accordingly, he grew strong enough to claw his way out. Something that no one else had done before. However, the very thing that gave him the ability to climb out of the depths is the same thing that turned him into something mean, horrible and heartless.

As the McGill grows in fondness for the female protagonist, his features start to change again; only this time he starts to become less horrific.

Isn't that brilliant!!!! So many threads come together and the monster isn't just a monster for monsters sake. He has a past. He has endearing qualities.

I can't think of any other literary monster that has struck a cord in my quite like this one.

How about you? Do you have any monsters/villans that you love to hate or hate to love?

Monday, June 22, 2009


I'm still working on the stinking !@#$@#% synopsis. So far I've got it down from 2 pages to 1. The reason I'm doing this is because I want to submit to an agent that accepts queries only. Right now I have a synopsis that is about 1/2 page, but I don't think it highlights the unique qualities of the story. It doesn't sparkle! Since the agent only accepts queries, I figure I better make it sparkle and highlight what makes the story unique. It's hard. It's really really hard.

The only glimmer of joy in trying to write a better synopsis is that I've been able to revisit some of my favorite scenes and remember the inspiration behind them.

One of my favorite chapters is when my protagonist goes to obtain a Charm that is guarded by an eccentric painter and his minions of impish monkeys. It's a chapter about how things aren't always as the seem. . . .

Artwork by Edgar Muller

One of the main inspirations behind this chapter comes from 3D chalk art much like this one found at

Cool, huh? I never get tired of looking at these. They never cease to amaze me!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why is a synposis harder to write than the whole dang book? - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

First, the good news. Over the weekend I finished the first round of revisions for the fast draft that I did as my NaNoWriMo project this past Nov. It's called Kiss The Frog. I love the story and I'm having fun with it. YaY! Now just a gazillion more revisions to go . . .and I can send it out. ;0)

Now that I'm done w/ that, I'm setting it aside for at least a couple of weeks and I decided to sparkle up the synopsis for my YA Fantasy titled UNSEEN. I just started sending it out. I have a synopsis, but I don't think it conveys enough of what makes the story unique. Unfortunately I have to do better than the doggie in above picture.

The synopsis is hard. It's really really hard. Why is that?

In my quest for a better synopsis/query, I found a great resource on Agent, Kristen Nelson's blog. She gives real queries that she received along with her reaction to them. These are all books/authors that she ended up representing. You'll find them a little ways down on her sidebar. There are about 9 queries from different authors. Very helpful. Thnx agent Kristen. U R dah BEST!

Anyone else have any good synopsis/query advice?

Monday, June 8, 2009

I found my untapped Super Power in Pennsylvania

Does this caterpillar make my hand look fat?

The retreat was great, but what really surprised me was that I discovered my untapped Super Power while I was there.

As it turns out, I'm a caterpillar rescuer!

On average, I saved at least 20 caterpilars that had wandered into peril, whether it was in my cabin, or if they were dangling from a spider web, I was there to save them! (insert super hero trumpet here)

Thanks to me, there will be more butterflies in PA this year.

What is your Super Power?

If you don't know your Super Power, Click here to find out what it is.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Author, Rich Wallace on Voice: What are your favorite "voice" books? - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Here's that mysterious word writers hear about all the time.


It's a crucial element in a manuscript but it's a confusing term. It's hard to wrap our minds around of what "voice" really means. I've found it very helpful to listen to those in the "know" talk about their take on what "voice" is.

Last year about this time I got to hear editor, Martha Mihalik's explaination of "Voice"

This year I got to hear the perspective of a successful author, Rich Wallace. Rich had some awesome points and gave great examples as well.

If I were to boil down Rich's advice, I'd say that


How do your characters show their unique perspective of the world and their thoughts through the words that you choose?

Here was Rich's advice on developing "Voice":

1) Develop a unique eye that makes a scene different.
An example that I can think of from this is Judy Blundell's description of the moon from "What I Saw and How I Lied" A FAT CUSTARD MOON WAS SPLAT IN THE PURPLE SKY.
I think Judy nailed the "unique scenery description" with that one!

2) Research dialogue in specific regions in order to may your dialogue believable.
He uses author (I don't know if I copied her name correctly, so I will refrain from using it) as an example. This author drives around area's, gets out of her car and simply listens and looks for the local oddities that make the area unique. She'll go into bars and listen to how the locals talk to one another.

One of my personal recent examples would be Ingrid Law, author of SAVVY where just one sentence gives you a sense of the characters speech.
"I had liked it with a mighty kind of liking." Ch 1

3) Develop and eye for details that make a person unique.

Mr. Wallace used the example of Susan Orlean who developed a unique sense of personal details by traveling with a group of gospel singers.

An example that I can think of is from "The book Without Words" by Avi

Ch 2 "Everything about Mistress Weebly was small: small body; small face; small gimlet eyes; small nose. Her smallness was emphasized by her being dressed in an overlarge, soiled gown of green that reached her ankles - sleeves pinched at her wrists, apron over all, wimple on her head. It was as if she had been dropped into a dirty sack and was spying out from it. Indeed, the womans only largeness was her curiosity."

I just love that one!!!

What about you? Do you have any authors in mind that have mastered any of these elements of voice?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is Magic Fairy Dust Made of? Where does it come from?

What book characters have become real to you?

When the Good Fairy waves her magic wand, Fairy Dust flies and "POOF" Pinnochio becomes a real boy. Easy for her, right? Wave. Sparkle. Poof. But did you ever stop to think about where this Magic Fairy Dust comes from?

Well. . . I'll tell ya what. One thing that I've learned from this workshop is that this natural resource is not easily mined. Mined. That's right. The stuff that Magic Fairy dust is made of comes deep from the caverns that many do not dare to go and this Fairy dust isn't just handed over, you have to work for it. . . and in our very first morning session, Rich Wallace led us there. Let me explain:

This is where it started. From this cozy living room on a warm country morning, Rich led us into the depths of our memories; that dark forbidden place where Fairy Dust is born. The magic that can turn a paper character in to a flesh and blood person to whom we can relate.

Rich's advice to us was this: Use the emotional heat from your experience and give it to your characters.

You don't have to make every story a direct experience from your life. But you can add the feelings of anticipation, sadness, love, etc. pluck it out of your life and add it to whatever circumstance is in your story.

Rich also told us to put ourselves inside of each of your characters heads. Even the antagonist. Because to have a believable antagonist, he/she needs to seem real to the reader. So, instead of having just a skeletal villan, we need to put flesh and blood on his bones. Since we tend to hate our own antagonists and want the reader to hate him/her, we tend to only think of them as bad. But to give the antagonist more depth, Rich suggests that we ask ourselves this: "What do you like best about your antagonist?"

Rich led us through an exercise where we were to think of a life changing moment from our past. First we were to list details that we remember; emotions, those involved, sensory details, words spoken, etc.

Once we made our list of details, we went back and wrote the memory in story form. Then we each shared our memory with the group. This was like a therapy session. I think if Rich had not become a writer he may have very well made a good therapist. We all reconnected to that time in our life and the emotion showed in our voices. Many of us even cried.

Our final assignment was to take the emotion from that moment in our lives and start a new story that involved the emotions we had just dug up. (I'll share more about what I came up with in a later post.)

This was such an awesome exercise and it was interesting to hear how each of the other ladies processed their emotions.

But mining a memory and putting it into a story isn't easy. You may not want to go back and face certain emotional moments. You may not want to put those feelings into a story for fear of showing a more vulnerable side of yourself. You may even come out liking something about your antagonist and relating to him/her even though you really don't want to.

So. Next time you read a book where a character or scene moves you, one where you can relate and connect. . . I'd say that you'd better bet your bippy that the author had to face a struggle to mine those gems and graft them into the story.

It's not easy, but ohhhhh. . . the difference it makes!

For me, One of the most memorable characters that I've read lately is Katniss from "The Hunger Games" Even though I've never been in her situation, I feel like she was written in a way that I can relate and feel for her. I wanted to stay with her through the whole ride.

What are some of the most memorable characters that you've encountered?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In a cabin in the woods; Writing in style!

If you're ever interested in going on a writing retreat, the Highlights Founders Workshops are well worth it. Even if your low on $$$$$ they do offer scholarships.

This is the main house. This is where we got pampered and had our sessions. They have unbelievable cooks that are willing to cook to order if you have special dietary needs. Before I even got to the retreat center I was already hearing "rave reviews" over the food. Let me tell you, it's not just hype. Stuffed portabella mushrooms, grilled meats, waffles, scrambled eggs, fresh fruits, fresh baked cookies, gourmet desserts . . . nom, nom, nom, nom, nom. I must stop now. I'm getting hungry.

But even w/ all the fancy food, the kitchen is homey and the fridge is stocked w/ an assortment of beverages and they make you feel at home so that you can grab whatever you need at any time.

Only a short gravel-road distance from the main house are the cabins. There are about 21 or so. . . I forget how many.
We each had our own cabin. This was mine. Sweet #17 where approx. 20 caterpillars greeted me on the prorch and I had a great view of the woods.

The inside of the cabins are clean, well furnished and each room had a mini-fridge and a cofee maker.
On our first evening we ate dinner on the screened in front porch as we sat around and got to know each other better. Our facilitator was author Rich Wallace. He was so nice, patient and down to earth and was a wealth of information. I couldn't think of anyone who could do a better job. I'll share more of what we learned fromr Rich in future posts.

So, I've shared my dreamy writing retreat space. Now you tell me. Where is your dream writing retreat? Have you been there already?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Highlights of Higlights: Day 1

Today's blog is brought to you by: The horse that wanted to be Pooh Bear.

HI! I'm back from my writing retreat! Did you miss me? I missed you!

You know how sometimes you get a mental image of how something is going to be, but you're dead wrong? That's what happened to me this weekend.

I grew up with Highlights magazine. They were in every doctors office and school. Now that I'm an adult, Highlights is still going strong and is known as the Creme-de la Creme of Children's magazines. I've always thought that if I could have an article published in Highlights, then it means I've made it! If I'm good enough for them, I can write anything!

I suppose that's why I had a mental image of the Highlights editorial offices to be New Yorkish; A hustle and bustle of editors rushing around in black suits and uncomfortable shoes among offices that are furnished in a way that would make James Bond jealous.

So, imagine my surprise when we arrive in Honesdale PA, (a quaint town with beautiful churches and an old-time feel) and I arrived at the building below. I didn't really know where I was. At first I thought I was at the retreat center. But then again, that couldn't be right because I was under the impression that the retreat was out in the middle of nowhere.

Eventually (because I'm quick witted and all) I realized that this beautiful old home was the Highlights Editorial offices.

I wasn't disappointed in the least to find that my imagined stream-lined, pseudo New York office wasn't a reality. This down-home, small town feel was a breath of fresh air.

Before heading out to the retreat center, they gave us a tour of the Highlights Editorial office.

This is the foyer. I felt so cozy and right at home. :0)

This is one of the editorial offices. We got to hear from several of the editors. They were all so nice.

Speaking of feeling at home . . . I was giddy when the tour included visuals of how the Highlights covers have changed over the years. One of the covers they used as their modern example was illustrated by my friend and critique buddy, Karen Lee. How fun to go so far away and see things that are so near and dear to me. :0)

They also had Karen's cover framed and hung on the wall. (I know such cool people!)
I just thought it was interesting to see one of the first (and this may be the very first) covers of Highlights.

And then they took us out into the woods, in the middle of nowhere . . . more to come.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lost and Found Project: My favorite Artist has done it again.

Funny and smart writing is my favorite kind of read, so I guess adorable and smart art would be my obvious fave as well. That's why Ian Sands is my FaVoRiTesT artist. His creations are whimsical yet there's a deeper meaning behind the art. He's an artist that thinks out of the box . . . or should I say out of the frame. Even his art has a hard time being contained inside the proverbial four corners. Ian constantly has some creative scheme afoot. He loves art and I can tell that he loves it when people enjoy art. He gets people involved. He even gets his students excited about art when school is out.

He's the kind of artist that creates a 6 ft. monster and places it on a park bench in the downtown Apex area. He uses art for political statements. What did I tell you. Fun with a deeper meaning. his critters are adorable. . . but just sit back and think about what he might be trying to say. It's fun!

Just when I think he can't get any more creative . . . he goes and thinks up something more creative-califragilisticexpealidocious!

Picture this: an interactive art exhibit. He placed 22 critters around downtown Apex that encouraged the finder to return the critter to the exhibit hall. It's like a super-cool exhbit invitation! This video (below) explains it better. (and, I must add, his 8 year old son created the video.)

Enjoy! :0)

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've been thinking of 100 different ways. . . .


I've been thinking about trying a creative writing exercise. You know how artists will take an object like a coffee cup and draw that same object from different angles every day for a specified number of days?

Well, I was wondering if maybe I could benefit from a similar exercise as a writer. Maybe I should pick an object that I see everyday, like a tree or a building etc. and try to think of 100 different ways to describe that one object.

Has anyone ever tried that before? Anyone want to try it with me?

Now .. . . what object should I pick? hmmmmm . . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do you have your book goggles on?

Today's blog is brought to you by Citizens against Steroid Use for Melons.

I just picked up Downsiders by Neal Shusterman from the library last night. I"ve been on a Shusterman kick. This is my 18th book in the "50 books in 2009" challenge. 4 of those are Shusterman books. Downsiders will make #5. Shusterman is creative, witty and takes his characters to places where I find myself thinking "Whoa! I can't believe what he just did to that character!"

But recently I've noticed another thing that Shusterman books do to me. Each one has an everyday element in the book that I can't help but think about when I see that object in real life.

Everytime I see a fortune cookie, I think of Everlost.

Everytime I hear the phrase "Unwind" I think of his book UNWIND. Which by the way, I can't say that I'm going to "unwind" anymore, because the word makes me think of the word in terms of the Shusterman book. It's just too creepy for me to say anymore.

I think of THE EYES OF KID MIDAS, when I see sunglasses.

I think of FULL TILT when I see amusement park rides.

And although I've only just started DOWNSIDERS, I'm certain that I'll never look at another manhole cover the same again.

Shusterman's writing is so vivid and powerful that those common objects connect me back to his books. I'd love to be able to write like that! It's like I'm looking at the world through book goggles.

What about you? Are you wearing book goggles? What things in everyday life remind you of a book? Was it the writing, or an experience or memory from the time that you read the book?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Start Wearing Purple . . . All your sanity and wits they will all vanish, I promise

I don't know about you, but I could use a case of the Monday Morning giggles. This song does it for me. It's wacked out, so if you need something to make sense in order to tickle your funny bone. . . this won't do it for you. It does for me though. :0P

So . . . Start wearing purple for me nooooowwwwwww!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

ohhhhhh! YAY!

It seems as if my unfortunate dealings w/ illness this past month have inspired Author Jacqui Robbins.

I feel so special! :0)

Monday, May 4, 2009

May is looking good!

May is looking better for me than April. April about did me in. This gives a whole new meaning to April showers bring May flowers. My April was more like a down pour, but I do have some pretty awesome May flowers coming up!

First, is that my 16 year Anniversary is on the 8th. 16 years! Wow!

Then, my critique group is hosting an SCBWI Schmooze at Quail Ridge Books on May 17th. You're welcome to come if you're in the area.

And then today . . . I finished making travel plans to attend a writing retreat for a Highlights Founders Workshop called Mining Your Memories led by author, Rich Wallace. I read one of his books, "Restless" a coupe of weeks ago. It was very clever and entertaining.

I learned so much from the Chapel Hill retreat that I attended last year. It was a great experience for me in so many ways.

ahhhhhh . . . having things to look forward to feels really, really good!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tree's speak to me (said in spooky Sixth Sense Whisper)

I got to take a walk this week. ~squeeee~ With all the CrAzInEss this month, that's a big deal. It's a breath of fresh air in a frenzied time.

I find that I'm drawn to odd shaped trees. Straight, perfect trees are pretty, but the ones that are bent out of shape intrigue me. They're eye-catching. Make me wonder . . . they're inspiring and even encouraging. They tell stories. Lately, when I take walks, I find that God's creation is teaching me a lesson of hope by way of example.

You see. . . the last 10 years have been rough. Grief, loss, illness (me and other family memebers) It's been one thing after another. I've found that over the long haul of difficulty, I've lost a bit of my old self. Things that I used to like about me have vanished. I've changed and I can't go back. I was a young sappling, straight and shooting skyward. 10 years worth of pressure tends to bend the bough in strange positions.

But you know what? I like the odd shaped trees. They stick out from the crowd. They have character.

This type of bendy tree below, that's the kind where we like to take pictures of loved ones gathered 'round or even sitting upon. The bendier, the better. There were trees w/ more bent than this one, but my camera batteries died. I call this tree the "back stretch tree" Makes my back feel better just looking at it.

This tree is the champion of all trees. It wasn't just weighted down by a dead wood. It was hemmed in by rotting roots, covered by dead weight; top, bottom and sides. This tree found a sliver of hope and stood its ground. Sometimes all we have is a small sliver of light. This tree took it and calls out to us to, "Grab onto the light, no matter how slight, and GROW!"

I cal this combo of trees the "Lovers Embrace" Two tree's entwined in an eternal tango. It even looks like the big one is puckering up for a kiss. ~Geesh~ Makes me want to put a privacy screen around these two. I'm starting to blush! Passion. Commitment. Lucky trees!

This is not a tree. It's a goose w/ baby fuzzy-lings. I just thought they were cute. I love to see new hatchlings in spring.
So, these trees taugh me something. Although I've longed to go back to be the old me, the perfectly straight tree that blends in with most of the others. I realize that a bent tree can't go back to the way it was. But the mangled trees are beautiful. They are picture worthy. They have a story to tell. Hope to give. Maybe, instead, when wind, circumstance (or whatever) bends our bough, we should seek out the beauty and benefit of our new shape instead of trying to regain the old. And maybe I should give more effort into appreciating the strange bent of others. . . . . . . . . .

I think I feel a sequel of this post coming up for the future. I better charge those camera batteries!

What kind of things in nature inspire you?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Release Day for Cindy Pon's Debut Novel "Silver Pheonix"

Just wanted to give a shout out to Cindy Pon. Her Debut Novel has been released today! Give a little Cyber luv and say Congrats to Cindy! YaY! Cindy!

Head on over to her blog today where she is giving away release day prizes, which is an original art, by her, or a $100 gift car. click here to head on over.

I can't wait to read it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why Zombies Make Bad Toothfairies: - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Why do Zombies make bad toothfairies? Because they'll screw it up everytime. It doesn't matter how good their intentions are. Pasty-faced, mostly dead people just don't fit in with the wand-waving, curly-haired perfectionists. They never will. How do I know? Experience.

I've been a zombie for the last week and a half. My Dr. called it an upper respiratory infection. But I know better. My body had been infected by the zombie-mites and were working over-time to claim my entire being.

Some people might call my Dr. just well . . . um . . . Doctor. But I call her THE ZOMBIE SLAYER. And she gave me wonderful horse pills that I refer to as anti-zombie pills! So, if you ever suspect that you've become a zombie, promptly see your local Zombie Slayer and ask him/her for anti-zombie pills. Of course, if you do, they may throw in a few extra pills and a free pass for a mental exam. Anyway . . . I'm getting off track.

Anyway, my 7 year old lost a tooth yesterday. It's her 5th tooth in the last few months. She lost it at school so her teacher put it in a plastic baggie and written in marker it said "We have a tooth that's ready for the Tooth Fairy.

Also, Last night my 5 year old was complaining of an ear ache.

I put the 7 year old to bed w/ her plastic baggie and tooth neatly tucked under the pillow. Then, I tended to the 5 year old who I was comforting on the downstairs couch. By time the 5 year old was calm and sleepy enough to go to bed, I was also very sleepy, over-whelmed and frazzled.

You know where this is going don't you. You're so smart.

I forgot about the tooth. When I woke up my 7 year old for school this morning and she complained that she was too tired to get up, I remembered and hoped she would fight getting up (see, zombies are backwards) so that I could grab some money and do the ol' switcheroo before she noticed anything.

I grabbed 3 dollars. 1 dollar is our standard rate. The other 2 dollars were to cover my guilt. I went back into my daughers room where I found her holding her plastic baggie and looking near tears as she caressed her tooth. (At this point I wondered if I should've gone back and gave her $5 instead of $3.)

Luckily, I was on day 7 of my anti-zombie pills so I was able to think quickly. I handed her the money and said, "The tooth fairy gave this money to me so that I could explain to you that this is an EXTRA special tooth. She allows kids to keep special teeth. Since you lost this tooth at school, your teacher wrote on the baggie and it's your first top row tooth that you've lost, The Tooth Fairy thinks that this is a special tooth that you should keep. WOW! How about that! That's one special tooth! Plus! She gave you $3 dollars instead of the regular $1. Wow!"

She was extatic. Whew! That was a close one. I blame the zombie state for the mess up. Thankfully my anti-zombie pills had done there job to give me a clear enough head or else . . . yikes! I would've had to give her $50 or something.

I'm all for equal opportunity employment, except for the case of zombies who want to be tooth fairies. It just never works.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hurry! There's still time!

There's still a little time to run over to Cheryl Renee Herbsman's blog to enter for an autographed copy of her new book BREATHING! Click on the link to get there! Good luck!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sharing a juicy family secret - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

OK people. This is why you come to my blog. I've got something to say and it's JUICY and it's from my family. (are you nervous mom?) he he he he

Well. . . maybe it's not what you think. But you'll be happy to have learned this bit of info. You may actually come back and thank me one day.

Here's the deal. If you've read my blog the past month you've probably noticed the posts have been few and I've talked about illness running around the house. Well, to top off this "lovely" (ah-hem) month, I developed the grand-daddy of upper respiratory infections. I'll spare you the details. I've been about as healthy as a slug at a salt convention and as useful as a bull at Tea Party.

I do have one thing to offer, my friends. It's the blessed home remedy that my parents passed on to me on how to relieve stomach discomfort. I've never personally known it to fail.

It's easy and it's YUMMY!

Are you ready?

OK. Here it is.

It's JELLO. Not the chilled kind. What you do is get a box of sugar free gelatin mix. Any flavor will do. Prepare it according to the directions. BUT you don't chill it in the fridge. Instead, you pour the liquid into a glass and sip it through a straw. The liquid gelatin coats your throat, stomach and other innards so that no matter what way the stomach discomfort has chosen to manifest itself it provides relief for either (ah-hem) end.

I'm surprised that more people haven't heard of this just for the plain fact that it works so well. I dont' have to fight the kids to take it either. As a matter of fact they ask for it. My kids refer to it as Jello Juice (hence the title of my post). :0D Everyone that I've shared this with has marveled at the results. This also helps to ease nausea. A great thing for pregnant women to try or just anyone who feels icky in the belly and wants it to go away.

So. Now you know the secret too. I hope you'll never need it, but if you do . . . you'll be glad that you know! (P.S. it's good to keep a box or 2 in your pantry just in case. You never know when you'll need it.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

my critique buddies are on Fi-ahhh!

Yep. That's right. My critique group buddies are not just hot, happenin' and cool. They aren't on fire. They R on Fi-Ahhhhhh! I'm so proud of them.

Take for instance Ian Sands. Yes. I'm mentioning Ian again. That's because is art is taking off faster than a like a gazelle at a cheetah convention. (Does that phrase make me sound southern?)

In addition to his exhibits, sales and contest wins, he has just released a book called Ligers, Tigons and Pizzlies that gives insight into the inspiration of his latest exhibit, The Newimal Collection, which is based on real life hybrid animals. Give your mouse a clickety-click right here to purchase a copy.

Next is another critique buddy, Kathleen Reilly. This gal knows her stuff. If I were ever stranded out in the wilderness I would want to be stuck with her. Last year Kate launched her book Planet Earth. In honor of Earth Day this month, she is giving away a free copy of this awesome environment-friendly project book. Go on over to her blog and leave a comment for a chance to win. Hurry! Why are you still here? Go on over! But be sure to come back. There's more.

Are you back? Good.

The last thing I need to mention is that my critique group is putting together a schmooze coming up in May at Quail Ridge books in Raleigh, NC. Our guest speaker will be author, Kelly Starling-Lyons. It's gonna be great. More details to come!