Saturday, January 31, 2009

What does your blog say about you?

Tara posted this test on her blog. This test was (for the most part) scary-spot-on for me! While age and life circumstances has taken a bit of my "energy and talking" away, this is still mostly true. I'm not always a big talker, but if I feel comfortable, I can be. Go to typelyzer, stick in your blog address and they analyze your personality based on your blog. This is what they said about me:

ESTP - The Doers

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Trailers:

here's my polished version of the Unseen trailer. :0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Putting the trailer before the horse: my book trailer

I'm impressionable. When I read Becca and Angela's blog I thought it might be fun to try to create a trailer for my book and I had to try it RIGHT AWAY.

OK. So Trailers are really for books that are already published or newly published. But what about a trailer to interest editors and agents?

Shelli posted an interview with editor Martha Mihalik at Greenwillow. It's a great interview. Martha openly admits that she checks out blogs. I'm sure many other editors and agents do too. So . . . if we're hoping to entice them . . . why not a trailer to wet their whistle. Make their blog-browsing efforts worth their while.

I got really excited about the idea so I tinkered around a bit on my computer last night and this is what I came up with. I'm not really looking for any critiques. I was just having fun. I'll probably spruce it up some other time. Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Random spouts of memory: online it's normal, face to face would be a little creepy

Picture this: You're sitting in a restaurant or coffee house when a total stranger leans over to you and says "You know what? I just remembered the time when I first heard the phrase "the check is in the mail."

Betcha you'd be weirded out, huh?

But here, in Blogland, it's OK. A lot of people who come here know me now, but some of you may be strangers. And I'm about to tell you about the first time I heard the phrase "The check is in the mail." And it's not so strange. Is it? I luv that! :0)

I have no idea why , but I just remembered when I was in Gym class. I forget what grade, Maybe 1st or 2nd. I helped the teacher put away the dodge balls and he said "Thanks! The check is in the mail." OMG! I was so excited. I really thought I was getting paid for helping out! And was very disappointed when the check never came. ;0P

That's it. nothing more. Just a memory of wide-eyed innocence.

What about you? Any memories of the first time you heard a phrase and misunderstood it or took it too literally?

My hubby told me about one of his friends who thought the laugh track on the t.v. was really the sound of all the children around the world watching the same show. So when he laughed, he laughed as loud as he could into the t.v. screen so all the other kids in the world could hear him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I LUV this book! The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

A Semi-Review (no spoilers included)

Ever thought of challenging unwritten social rules?
Ever wanted to show up the people who underestimate your abilities?
Ever want to make things happen. . .
get people to care about things. . .
know that you can make a difference?
Gain respect from the top dog?

Yes? Then You'll LOVE Frankie Landau-Banks.

As a writer, this book is a great example of characterization, pacing and plot. I also liked her use of comparison and contrast.

I read this book thinking "This is the girl I wish I was in High School. Heck! It's the girl I wish I was now!" But even though this character is so different from me, I could also relate. She did so many things she shouldn't have, but I understood why she did them. I was rooting for her the whole way. We see the worst and the best in this character, but the best books are the ones that make the characters feel real. Are they not? Characters that are too precious and too perfect are normally boring and preachy. Frankie's real, she's relatable, she faces the consequences head on and she's got guts.

I will concede. . . when I finished the book I (only at first) didn't like the ending. I connected with Frankie, so I wanted her to have it all. Wanted her to have more in the end. (I'm not going to say how it ends. I don't want to spoil it for you)

BUT . . .
When I closed the back cover, I kept thinking about it. I thought. I thunk. . .
got thinker, thinkier and thinkiest . . .
(This is my blog so the above words are hereby deemed correct)

I couldn't stop thinking about the book and really, I had to get honest with myself. The ending HAD to be the way it was. It is a good ending. It's just not the one I wanted because of how "into" the character I was. If Lockhart was going to stay true to the underlying themes of self empowerment and challenging the unwritten social norms, and Frankie needed to face consequences for her actions. . . then the way it ended was, indeed, the best possible ending.

But you'll have to read it for yourself.

But be forewarned, if you go to the library, you'll probably have to be put on a wait list. This book is hot!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And the Kreativ Blogger award goes to . . . .

I've been awarded the Kreataive Blogger award by Rena, Kelly and Bish. Thanks guys!

I am supposed to list 7 things that I love, and then pass on the award to 7 other people.

LIke many others who have already listed their things . . . I could list my family, God and Jesus, but for me, those are a give it. Since this is a Kreative award, I will list 7 things I love that fuel my Kreativity:

1) The beach
2) Reading a book that I don't want to put down
3) The feeling of accomplishment/making things happen
4) Validation
5) Lattees from Starbucks
6) My lap top
7) Friends that I can bounce idea's off of.

OK, there's slim pickings a lot of blogs that I frequent have already done this, and the ones that haven't don's usually like to do these things . . . but I also don't like to leave anyone out. But, I'll follow the rules, so here's who I'm tagging

1) Stephanie
2) Beth
3) Susan
4) Angela
5) PJ
6) Ellen
7) Anyone else who would like to participate

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And the Winner is . . .

And the Winner of a copy of
How to Milk a Dinosaur is . . . .


Joyce, you can e-mail me at
with your mailing info.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Book Giveaway! How to Milk a Dinosaur, by Ian Sands

This book giveaway not only is autographed, but there is also an Ian Sands original doodle as well.

Let's give a big WELCOME to author/illustrator, Ian Sands. And I might want to add. . . the interview is about as entertaining as the book. You don't want to miss this!

1) Can you tell us what How to Milk a Dinosaur is about?

Sure, as long as you promise not to share this with anyone. I don’t want you posting this on your blog or Facebook or anyplace crazy where everyone can see my inside guts.

Don't worry Ian, Nobody Else will see this. Promise! ;0D

Dinocow is a true account of something that happened to me when I was a kid. I changed a few things to protect the innocent, like my teacher’s real name and the fact that the dinosaur was a triceratops and not a stegosaurus but everything else really happened.

2) What did you like the best about writing this book?

I liked how easy it was to write. All I had to do was remember what happened and write it down. That makes writing so easy because you don’t get bogged down having to use your imagination or making stuff up. I also liked writing about Jules because, even though I sort of was snippy with her in the story, she really was my bestest friend.

3) What did you like the least about writing this book?

I don’t like all that stuff that gets in the way of having fun when I write like spelling stuff right and punctuationing things correctly.

4) You did the cover art as well . . . tell us a little bit about your art background.
What’s this “us” stuff? Do you have multiple personalities? I hope you aren’t sharing this with anyone.

Of course not. I mean "me" . . . tell ME about your art background (insert evil giggle here)

Anyhow, I don’t have an art background. I have an art curse. When I was in high school I wanted to be a rock star and I told my mother that music was my future. She got mad and said art was my future. Little did I know that from that point on, anything that I tired that was non-art would fail miserably. So I went to art school and later became a graphic designer and now I teach art. And I really like teaching art but without the curse I’m sure I could have become a professional goalie.

5) What are you working on right now?

I’m trying to write a big boy book, a manuscript that is more than 5,000 words. Meanwhile, I’ve got plenty of manuscripts for the slush piles. I’ve also been working on a series of artworks I’ve titled pop expressionism and have been doing fairly well lining up exhibits for 2009.

Ok, I wrote the answers to your questions. Now, where are the cookies you promised me?

The cookies are in the mail, Ian! Thanks for sharing with us . . . errrr. . . ummm. . . I mean me. :0D

Now, for all of you who aren't REALLY reading this, go ahead and leave a comment below and I'll enter your name for a free, autographed copy of How to Milk a Dinosaur! The drawing will take place on Wednesday. Or, you can order your copy here!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Perchance I amuse my neighbor?

My neighbor smokes on his front porch. I think he might find me peculiar. You know, like times when I go outside in my short sleeved t-shirt and yoga pants on a freezing January day to take a picture of my tree and my deck table. I'm thinking maybe not everybody does this.

You see. . . I'm drawn to contrast. Both in books and real life. And this, is tell-tale of a NC winter. It's warm enough to make the trees bud. My picture is nothing. There are red bud trees on some other roads that are bright purple and ready to sprout leaves. But this is the best I can do in my front yard. Buds! Buds in January.

However . . . last nights temperatures were so severely cold, that it shattered my deck table! I rarely need more than a sweatshirt to keep me warm in the winter (I"m from Illinois/Wisconsin) But it's cold today. Cold enough to freeze us to bits. Literally!

Another winter phenomena I experienced last week was a full-arched double rainbow. It was a stormy day and when the sun came out, the clouds turned golden and a full arched double rainbow graced the sky. I was driving and I could see the start of the rainbow on the road where I was driving. Imagine a long straing road, and at the end of where the human eye could see, the rainbow started. It looked like if I kept driving that I would drive right up the rainbow. What I wouldn't give to have had my camera with me!!!!!

I don't usually like winter. I prefer warm beaches. However, I can totally appreciate the rare winter phenomena.

What winter rarities have you enjoyed? I'd love to hear!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave me a comment or I'll .. . . . ummm . .. I don't know what I'll do . . . but you won't like it! ;0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Release day to Author Tina Ferraro and the ABC's of Kissing Boys!

Hold onto your hats. This is exciting! Today is the day that Tina's latest book "The ABC's of Kissing Boys" is released. Here is an exclusive interview with Tina where she gives us some dirt on her first kiss and shares her exciting news about how t.v. studios are shopping her 2nd book "How to Hook a Hottie" for a possible pilot. How's that for exciting! Anyway, you don't want to keep hearing me yammer on and on. . . I know you want to hear it all from Tina, so here it is:

1) Hi Tina! We're so excited about the release of your latest book, The ABC's of Kissing Boys. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Thank you! I'm excited, too! Here's the premise: Sixteen year-old Parker Stanhope’s teammate friends got promoted to Varsity soccer without her. She's desperate to make things right, and concocts a crazy-but-just-might-work plan that includes kissing the socks off the prom king at the Sports Fair Kissing Booth. But before that, she needs to learn everything she can about kissing--somehow. She ends up finding a coach in the most unlikely of guys--and suddenly keeping that relationship a secret becomes as dire as her need to win back her soccer status and her friends.

2) What about this book do you think will appeal most to your readers?

Well, although I had a wonderful time learning and relaying all the information about kissing, I suspect what will appeal most is Parker's struggle to retain her dignity and spirit in the face of social adversity. I know that element really spoke to me.

In fact, the challenge for me as a writer was creating bully-type scenarios that were humorous, but hit Parker like poison darts. So I was thrilled when Kirkus Reviews commented, "This [book] is familiar territory for anyone who's seen Mean Girls, but Ferraro's protagonist is resilient enough to withstand and prevail over her tormentors."

3) OK, so spill the beans . . . do you have any interesting or funny "kissing" stories" to share from your real life experiences?

Sure! And this is the first time I've owned up to this in public, so you're getting an interview exclusive. :) The boy who gave me my first kiss told me it was his first, too. Years later, chatting with an old friend from school, the subject of first kisses came up. We found out we'd both had first kisses from the same guy. So naturally, we exchanged details, and it turns out he'd kissed her a whole year before me. Makes you wonder how many there were between us, huh? So, yeah, if that guy is reading this...the cat's outta the bag, dude! You were a serial first kisser! (And thanks for the memories...)

4) So what are you working on now? What do we have to look forward to in the future?

I have another book coming out in the summer of 2010, which I am also really excited about. Here's a first draft of the blurb:

When Bad Flings Happen to Good Girls

It took 17 years for Brandy to get her life the way she wanted it--and about 17 seconds for it to fall apart. Her well-intending friends tell her it's time to stop working so hard and "get a life." By this, they mean a boyfriend, and they give her the summer to find one, or they're going to go hunting the halls themselves. Not realizing that adding a boyfriend to her hectic AP and robotics team schedule, she'd have zero for them.

Away at her uncle's cabin, she sets out to find a guy who will "break her heart," so she can return from summer in need of her friend's TLC, rather than matchmaking skills, and then can resume her well-planned life.

She quickly finds the perfect candidate. But hooking up with the user/loser lifeguard proves harder than she can imagine. Even with the help from his nice-guy friend who seems to have his own reasons for getting them together--and keeping them apart...


It's also fun to mention that a "webisode" version of How to Hook a Hottie is currently being shopped at tv studios. A "webisode" is a mini-episode, especially geared at websites. You'll find them popping up on your favorite TV channel websites in the forms of brand-new programming, and "extras" from your favorite TV shows. For instance, "The Office" just ran a three-part webisode series on the NBC website, which I loved. Anyway, yeah, so wish me luck on that?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Tina!

My Copy of The ABC's of Kissing boys has been pre-ordered and should be on its way! Once I read it, I'll give a review along with a book giveaway! So keep your eyes out for that!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reading Challenge: 50 books in 2009

PJ Hoover challenged people on her blog to read 50 books in 2009. It's still not too late to join the challenge.

Consequently, PJ's book The Emerald Tablet, is a book on the top of my TBR pile. Once I read it, I'll also review it along with a book giveaway!

I'm currently reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salmon Rushdie and also the Haunting of Granit Falls by Eva Ibbotson.

Another on my TBR list is The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro. I'm mentioning this because the release of this book is TOMORROW! Yay! AND . . . That's not all . . . I also have an exclusive interview with Tina where she not only talks about her new book, but she also gives us interesting tid-bit about her first kiss. So come back tomorrow and read all about it! But until then, you can head on over to YA Fresh and Books Boys Buzz, where Tina is hosting contests to give away free copies!

I'm excited, because I got a bunch of new books in the mail over the weekend. I plan on reviewing all of them and also doing book give aways! It's my way of spreading the reading luv! Don't 'cha just feel all warm and fuzzy? :0D

So, anyway. . . Who's up to the challenge?

Here's PJ's rules copied and pasted from her blog. But she encourages everyone to adapt the rules if they need to. The point is just to get reading:

My rules
(and seriously, if you're doing the challenge, change these in any way you need and feel good about):

  • Cannot count anything you've read before (which is why I didn't add any books on writing craft I've already read. I plan to reread many of those throughout the year.)
  • No picture books.
  • Reading my own books doesn't count. Even if I read them 50 times during revisions.
  • Reading critique partners manuscripts doesn't count.
  • Mix it up so it's not all YA. I've listed some classics, some adult, and I plan to add some non-fiction.
  • When making my list, leave room for spontaneous reads, new releases that are "must reads", and anything I happen to pick up at the library during a given week.
  • Record what I read on Goodreads.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Poll time! What kind of reader are you?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A good example of the Writer as a Human Camera lens

Have you read anything by Eva Ibbotson? It's a treat, I tell you. When I read Eva's books I get the feeling like the narrator is the cutest, plump English, apron-clad grandmother in the whole world, and that she's telling me the story over a plate of fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk. To get the most out of reading Eva Ibbotson, you really must read her books out loud and in your best British accent. It's a hoot! :0D

I recently finished reading The Secret of Platform 13 and there's a great example of how the differing perceptions of the characters can give us insights into their personalities and how they think.

This book is about a Prince that is kidnapped from a magical kingdom. 9 years later, an unlikely foursome of rescuers are given the task to rescue the Prince. One of these rescuers is a giant one-eyed Ogre. The rescuers need to go into the real world unnoticed, so they have to cover the giant Ogre in a lotion that will make him invisible. Except for his one eye.

The boy that they believe to be the prince is a horrible and spoiled boy named Raymond.

The boy that they wish was the prince is a servant boy named Ben.

Here are the different reactions of Ben and Raymond upon their first observation of the Ogre's disembodied eye.

Bens Reaction in Chapter 4:

"The ogre had managed to follow them to the bench with his eye shut, but the Prince's" ( They think that Ben, was the prince at this point) "voice pleased him so much that he now opened it. Cor frowned at him, Gurkie shook her head--they had been so careful not to startle the Prince, and invisible ogres are unusual; there is nothing to be done about that. But the boy didn't seem at all put out by a single blue eye floating halfay up the trunk of the tree.
'Is he. . . or she . . . I don't want to pry, but is he a friend of yours?"

Raymonds Reaction in Chapter 7:

"But now Raymond sat up very straight and pointed to the door. 'Eeek!' he shouted. 'There's a horrible thing there! An eye! It's disgusting; it's creepy. I want my mummy!'

The others turned their heads in dismay. They knew how sensitive the ogre was, and to call such a clean-living person 'creepy' is about as hurtful as it is possible to be. And sure enough, a tear welled up in Hans' clear blue eye, trembled there . . . and fell. Then the eye vanished, and from the space where the giant sat, there came a deep, unhappy sigh."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wonder Writer Powers, ACTIVATE: Form of a human camera lens

That's right. the secret is out. Writers have Super Powers!

One such power is the ability to turn ourselves into a human camera lens.

One camera, one setting, one moment of time can be artistically altered to create a mood or capture a desired effect.

The author is the camera lens to the reader, only we get to pick the settings. The way you describe your character should also come through not just in descriptive narrative, but also in the way your character views the world around him/her.

Let's take this chance to flex our literary Super Skills shall we? Stretch, bend, fly around the room. There. I think we're all warmed up now.

Let's try this exercise together. The two photographs pictured are of the same scene the same general moment in time, only the photo's appear different because of the angle and camera settings that I used.

Now, here's the exercise, and please feel free to post your ideas in the comments below. There are no wrong answers. We're just brainstorming here.

1) Imagine that you have two characters looking at the same scene. Character 1 (We'll call her Snickergiggle) She see's the seen as picture in the top photo.

Character 2 (we'll call him Grumbleschnitz) He views the scene as pictured in the bottom photo.

2) Now, brainstorm. Why do they see each scene as they do? What events, idea's or circumstances influence how they see the world around them? What are they feeling? Why does one notice people and the sides of balconies, while the other notices the slants of light breaking through the clouds? Why does one see things lighter and the other darker?

3) this last step is for the brave only. Do not attempt this step if you are not properly stretched and hydrated. Now, tell me . . . what kind of descriptions could be used to describe this beach scene based on the viewpoint of the character. . . How would they describe the water, the clouds, the waves . . . etc. How could these pictures be described, not just to tell us about the scenery, but also to give us information about the character as well.

On your mark, get set . . . . GO!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chasing Seagulls/ Writing for publication. Same difference

Yes. I've been to the beach again. The Carolina coast is pleasant this time of year. The ocean isn't swim-worthy. But it is great for playing in the sand and feeding the seagulls. I love watching small children chase the seagulls. They think they can catch them. Think they can run fast enough. Don't realize their reflexes are too slow and the gulls instincts are too sharp. Even the baby seagull that looked like a microwaved cotton ball was too swift for my tiny tot.

And of course . . . as any good writer would be inspired . . . my rusty think-mobile got to churning. Writers are kind of like seagull-chasing toddlers. We run after a lofty dream, we think we can write fast enough. Don't realize our skills aren't polished and the editors and agents instincts are too sharp. Even the fresh-out-of-college-interns are too well versed in Dickens, Twain and the Bronte sisters for our fresh/modern minds. We know we're brilliant, for crying out loud! What's taking everyone else so long in figuring it out too???? ;0D

Sometimes I wonder if people look at us like adults look at the toddlers on the shore. We smile, cock our heads and think "how cute" Perhaps they think adults should concern ourselves with real life instead of concocting stories. Maybe they think we aren't good enough. Maybe they don't understand that achieving publication takes years. . . most likely decades before our dreams are realized and think we're wasting our time.

And then I thought about People who raise, handle and even train birds for a living. They were once kids. Innocent toddlers chasing an impossibility. But the love and the joy of pursuit followed them from the crib into adulthood. They loved it. They realized their limitations . . . maximized their strengths and learned to handle a bird in ways that most of us never will. the love, determination, devotion to the craft. That's what turns the toddler into falconologists or various bird trainers. That's what turns a writer into an author.

I might have caputred a picture of my kiddo chasing a seagull. I'll probably add it to the post when I get home. :0)

I love the beach!! Inspiration lives here!