Friday, December 31, 2010

2011- Year of Awesome

There's a lot of things I'm looking forward to in 2011

There's a bunch of books I want to read-- lots of sequels.

1) The Queen of the Dead

Look at that cover-- Look at how annoyed Will looks. 

It's coming out on June 7th.  Here's the description.---- CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR GHOST AND THE GOTH.

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.

Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.

Seriously how can you not LOVE this? It's fluff wrapped in more fluff being hugged by a baby kitten.  YES!

2) Plague  By Michael Grant
It's the fourth book in the Gone series.  I'm still behind in the series but I plan on reading Hunger and Lies... but if it's anything teh first book, it will be brain exploding awesome.

3) The Power of Six-  the sequel of I am Number Four.
I finished I am Number Four two days ago and instantly ran out to amazon to find out of there is a sequel coming out... yep there is.  Awesomeness--- There's no cover art released yet and it's coming out August 23.

4) Delirium--  
Holly reviewed this on her blog a few weeks ago and I'm still cleaning off the brain explosion from my computer. I"m sure there's lots of Buzz about this book already but still I can't wait to read it.

But the thing I'm MOST EXCITED FOR IS WEEKEND OF AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
You can tell I'm excited by all the exclamation marks.

2011 LOOK OUT.  
It's going to be made out of awesome... instead of dates and times and numbers and stuff. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010: Best Books

Snagging the idea from Kate Hart and Sarah E:

Here's a list of my FAVORITE books of 2010

I read a lot of books this year--- most of them trendy and cool with lots of buzz.  The Duff, Paranormalcy, If I Stay...  these books were excellent reads and I highly recommend them, but there were a few books I wanted to feature because I enjoyed them more.

Half Life of Planets:
I loved this book- I reviewed it on my blog and e-mail the author.  I loved this book more than Will Grayson Will Grayson.  It's a story told from two POV and one of the character is an boy with Asperger's syndrome.  As a teacher, every year I teach at least one student with  Asperger's syndrome and I never stop to think how they are going to handle their first love. This book touched me on personal and professional level.  And I wasn't the only one who loved this book.

The Ghost and The Goth
100% solid FUN.  Every page 100% fun.  The voices of the two characters were very distinct voices and very different motivations.  The plot was solid.  Will was one of the most interesting characters I've read all year.  I even gave him a Christmas Gift this year.

Little Brother
Possibly one of the most important books I've read all year.  The story about a boy who's a techie kid and the government thinks he's a terrorist.  He's not and doesn't become one until the government kidnaps him and goes too far.   It's about friendship and impossible odds.  It raises lots of questions about privacy and safety. 

Perfect Chemistry:

HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT. Did I mention this book is HOT?  A gang member makes a bet he can sleep with the perfect girl in school.  Seriously her rep is that she's perfect.  However once the story goes on, she's not perfect by a long shot.  It reads fast and it's fun and powerfully touching.  I loved this book.

October Sky:
I didn't want to teach it.  I didn't want to read it. I was convinced my students would kill me or complain the board of ed and have me fired.  You know what? I loved it.  I cried at the end.  I whimpered. My students LOVED it- three students finished it in a week.  Before we left on winter break nine students finished the book.  20% of my students finished the book before the class got to page 60.  Nearly 50% of the students were further in the book then we were reading as a class.   The story is about a boy growing up in a West Virgina Coal mining town who decides to build rockets.  It's a wonderfully inspirational story. 

Go forth and read-- What are your top books of 2010?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday- Best Book of December

I'm in the middle of a book binge right now, which means when I finish reading one book I start another one.  I've read a lot of books week and I plan on reading a few more before I need to go back to school next week. 

The books I've read so far

How to train your dragon: 8/10
Totally different from the movie- the movie and the book shared almost ZERO similarities expect for the names of the characters and that there were dragons.  That being said, the book was an EXCELLENT MG book.

Sh*t My Dad Says8.5/10
Possibly the best memoir I've read since the Know It All.  I laughed aloud at the Dad's logic and there was no point in the book where I doubted teh father didn't love his son.  The tweets he says are genius and the best part of the book.  Read this, go out and read this now.

Pay The Piper: 5/10
A modern retelling of the Pided Piper story with a dash of rock music thrown in.   I didn't love it.  I didn't hate it.  I had NO IDEA the main character was American though... I TOTALLY thought she was British.

Clockwork Angel
 Set in Victorian England it was a prequel to the City of Bones books, which I"ll admit I haven't read it.  It was an interesting story, the characters were well developed.  There was a tad to much description for my taste and it didn't make me want to rush out and read the next book in the series.  But it was a solid read. 

The BEST Book was

I am Number Four
AWESOME.  I'll admit it- I learned about the book when I watched the movie trailer and saw on of my students reading it.  Action packed.  Written in first person PRESENT-- impressive and interesting and not once did it take me out of the story.  It's about an alien boy who is being hunted by the alien race that destroyed his home planet.  There are nine surviving alien children- three of them have been killed, and the main character is number four. 
It's awesome.  Action packed, funny, sweet and a little bit of romance.

I am 120 pages into The 20 Boy Summer and next I plan on reading Anna and The French Kiss and Son of the Mob. 
More to come soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best of 2010: Cool stuff

The top five event of 2010

5) Whale Watching in Boston- 
I saw a whole bunch of Humpback whales and being the sci-fi dork I am, my brain instantly thought about that Star Trek movie when the crew had to come back to Earth- it's an awful movie but  Whale Watching was awesome.  My daughter thought they did somersaults.

4) Project Nice-
This time last year I was being interviewed on a local news station for my blog be nice to a stranger.  My goal was to a do one nice thing for a stranger every day for the month of December.  Then I did it again in February- I ultimately did 65 nice things.  But I didn't stop there.  I asked around to see if other people could do 7 nice things in four weeks.  I asked them to write it up and I would post it on my blog.  It went from February to June over 180 good deeds were done.  Most of the people were complete strangers to me.  It was a wonderful example of truly connected we are via the internet.

3) Meeting Literary Agents-
I met Mary Kole, it was the highlight of an amazing writers conference.  Then a few months later I had a lovely phone conversation with Kathleen Ortiz.  You know what I learned, "Agents are people too"-- I had heard rumors of this but I didn't want believe.   But you know what, they are people and pretty cool people at that.

2) Weekend at Chrisfield MD.
I've been living in Maryland for 10 years now and this year was the first time I went crabbing.   I caught three or four all by myself.  I felt like a great hunter--- you know pulling a crab trap out the water and stuff.    But the best part was all the wildlife.  Besides the crabs, we caught gars, puffer fish and during high tide my daughter was able to pick up a baby crab.  Hubby's uncle caught a turtle.  I saw a sting ray.  I also read three books that weekend. It was amazing.

1) Flash Mob-
 I'm not picking this because it was the most recent event but because it was by far the most awesome.
To read all about it and see the videos click here.  
Lots of stuff went down included some awkward hand holding and a co working in at the wrong moment.  
It was a goal I had for a very long time and it was achieved.

2010 was a great year and I think 2011 will be even better.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best of 2010: Goals Recap.

Last year I set some goals for myself.  Those goals in black.  In April I updated the list... the ones in red means it was sucussful back in April.  The ones in blue means I failed back in April and the ones in green mean the goal status was still unknown. 

Purple is for the finally tally

1)Daughter  will learn her ABC and get potty trained. Daughter officially went to pee on the potty TWICE today.  Potty training VICTORY

2) I will try not to make chicken every night I cook. A few nights ago I made Pork Chops-- that counts right.  I cooked pork chops TWICE.

3) Learn all the lyrics to Diego and Dora, not just fumble through them like I do. EPIC FAIL... I still can't do it.  Daughter fell out of love with Dora and Diego but I can get about 90% of the song.  And bout 80% of the Phineas and Freb song.

4) Talk to my husband, not just hi's and day to day stuff but deep stuff. I plead the 5th,  Not the best but better than it was.


1) Find my desk My desk is that thing that holds my computer up, right? I found BOTH of my desks if only for a short time.

2) Raise my scores for assessments --- Don't know, scores aren't due until June.  HIGHEST ASSESSMENTS SCORES EVER!!!!

3) Try new things every year.--- Wiki Pages for students to do book talks... awesome.  WIKI AND A NEW BOOK--- Students are LOVING October Sky.  6 kids out of 60 finished it within a week.


1) Go to the gym more then once a week Kinda--I either go to the gym or take my "Dance" class.  Got out of routain of going to class but I do go on the weekends.

2) Learn something new every day. I totally learned something really snazzy yesterday about time but I totally forgot it. Learned a whole lot about flash mobs.

3) Take better care of myself... fail I gained 5 pounds and my neighbor asked me if I was pregnant. I think I should have truly define the meaning of "better care" of myself.  I started sleeping better which is awesome.


1) Finish 10th draft of NSAA= write 11th draft of No System At All Done Draft 11, waiting on feedback. Newest goal get that ready to query this summer.  I hit draft 15.  I plan on Query in February. For real this time.

2) Revise New York Karma- get it ready for a summer query Revised NYK- Done, I want to push NSAA forward sooner. NYK will get queried in Novemeber while everyone is doing NANOWRIMO. (I'm so evil)  FAIL--- got wrapped up in the edits for No System At all. 

3) Start writing sequel to NSAA Not a fail, but I started a new project  No Sequel but I'm CONSTANTLY thinking about it.  I did write Penny and Hank instead. 

4) maintain this blog and Be Nice To Strangers. Be Nice to Strangers was renamed to Project Nice, and it has something nice happening on it every day from Feb 1 to June 17. NICE WORK   Project nice was a success in my book. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best Present

So what's the best presents:

Hubby's best present that he got:
Hubby loved his Learning Japanese computer software

Daughter's best present that she got:
Toothless action figure-- (if I had known that I would have skipped on all the other stuff she got)

My best presents that I got:
Nook Color
A Kate Spade handbag
Writer's Market 2011
2011 Guide to Literary Agents.


What was yours?

Saturday, December 25, 2010




I hope you got everything you wanted.

I hope you eat lots of good food.

I hope none of your pets ate the ornaments from the trees.

And if you don't celebrate Christmas, enjoy your Saturday.  I hope you slept in and ate pancakes.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flash Mob--- how it all went down

December 22 2010 will gone done in infamy... or at least local history...
or at least I might remember it for like a week or two.

Flash Mob.... I did a flash mob.  While the event happened in one night, the prep lasted several.

December 17 2010 1:15 pm- learned all about the flashmob-- got some of the deets and told my friend Cindy.
December 17 2010 1:16pm - Cindy and I let out ear splitting squeals of delight.
December 17 2010 8:30  told everyone at the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party about the mob.
December 19 2010- contacted the head of the flash mob
December 20 2010- heard back from the leader-- there's over 300 people, she's getting concerned.  I wasn't sure if that gave me permission to go or not. Cindy and I said SCREW IT we're doing it.  Beside I had already told a bunch of people I was doing it, so if I didn't I'd be a lair.

Had flash mob nightmares-- there was only twenty people going and another flash mob showed up and stole our thunder.

December 21 2010 9:00 pm-- I watched the youtube video of the dance.

First watch- OH CRAP I AM GOING TO SCREW THIS UP.  --- it's the understatement of the year, I can't dance, or sing and combining both seems like an impossible task.  There's over 1500 students who could witnessed both acts and can agree.

Second watch- it seemed less scary- maybe I could try. --- danced in my chair

Third watch- stood up, tried it for real... realized there's a good likelihood I'm screwing up my lefts and my rights because I'm doing the same thing as the video.

Fourth watch- It's not flawless but far less sucky then I though

Fifth watch- Rocking around the Christmas Tree will forever be in my head.  CRAP.  And half way though, when we're "decking the halls with bells of holly." I get a foot cramp. CRAP CRAP. This does NOT bode well.

December 22 2010- DAY IT ALL GOES DOWN.
10:00 am-  Cindy and I practice our dance moves.  Here's the problem, we're doing this at work--at school and our computers can't get YouTube. Thankfully Cindy has a Droid and she gets the vid on her phone.  We're standing in my classroom, in the direct line of the door--(in retrospect, not the best location) and we're dancing along to the video.  There's a moment where we had to hold hands and swing along.
A co worker walked in.
He can't hear the music.
He can't see the video.
He just sees two women laughing and holding hands.
He pauses.
"Um, I can come back later."

5:00  We drove to Riverhill High School the meeting point.  It was incredibly WELL ORGANIZED.  We walked in, we got three pieces of paper, rules, the procedures and map.  Then we were handed a letter.  The letter matched a location on the map.
The woman organizing the mob came up and said, "Tonight you are acting, you're role is "a shopper." A part of the magic of a flash mob is no one knows it's going to happen so DON'T TELL ANYONE ABOUT THIS."

This is everyone listening to the directions not to text their friends

5:30 We learned the dance.  200 people were in one room, and 100 people were in dance studio.
I was in the Dance Studio.  Behind me was a mother and her sister with four month old twins in snuggies-- not the blanket with sleeves but the baby carrier. In front of me was a five year old, her 7 year old sister and their mother. To my left was an elderly couple. 

Everyone.  It was everyone.

6:15 We learned the entire dance... flawless.  Sort of.

6:30 We were dismissed and we had to head over to the mall.

7:05 Cindy and I FINALLY get to the mall... there was a LOT of traffic.

7:10 Cindy and I shed our coats and purses and left them in the car.  And walked the 1/4 mile to the mall, in 30 degrees.  Ok we didn't walked-- we ran.

7:15 We were in the mall, and I was HUNGRY-  I played the role of a HUNGRY SHOPPER very well.  We went into Williams Sonoma and snagged some free bark--- I know where all free food is in the mall.

Someone leaked the new time because the upper level was FULL of people. Also there were 300 people without coats in one section of the mall, which was sort of a dead give away something was going to happen.  75 people were waiting in line for Auntie Annie's Pretzels.   70 were in the flash mob, 5 people wanted a pretzel.

I guess that's why they started  early.  15 minutes early.

Cindy yelled "It's STARTING"  What's the point in keeping it a secret?

We rushed to our locations. 

The music started. We danced.

You can see Cindy and I at the 1:30 second mark.  If you missed it, here it is:

I'm the one on the left  with the black and white hat... more of that to come.

Then we vanished.

I bought my daughter mittens.  I took my role of a shopper VERY seriously.

Then we went out to dinner with the David Greisman- he runs a website called and our friend Mo wrote a GREAT piece on the Flash mob.  His video is pretty great because you can see a couple trapped by the mob. 

It was the first official flash mob in Howard County history.  Rumor has it there was another one on Thursday night. One a week is good for me. 

Amazing night.

Cindy is on the left, Mo is on the right.  The cool chick wearing the cow hat, that's me.  There should NEVER be a question as to why I don't have a profile picture.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Ever since I heard of the idea of a FLASH MOB I desperately wanted to join one.  The idea of a flash mob is a LARGE group of people show up in a PUBLIC location, do something, and shocking the crap out of everyone else around.

Here are some classic examples of flash mobs.

Frozen in Grand Central Station

Oprah's flash mob

Food court

Now if you know me at all, you now I can't see and I can't dance. But to be in a flash mob, I'm willing to try my hardest.

I heard about one going on....
Did I do it?
Did I make an ass out of myself?

It will be TOTALLY worth checking back tomorrow on Christmas Eve for this story... TRUST ME!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday- gift for your favorite character

What gift would you give your favorite character for Christmas?

Hmmm, I've been thinking about all the books I've read this year. I read more books this year and I did all the last three years.

I know what my favorite books were (see next week's posts about that)
But my favorite characters?  Hmmm

I really liked Will from The Ghost and the Goth--- he was the goth.

I think I would give him the entire Bayside CD Collection, because if you need to drown out the sound of yammering Ghosts, nothing does it better then emo pop punk.  The music is so bouncy but the lyrics slit your wrists depressing.   I think he's be really into them and he wouldn't have to listen to the hot dead cheerleader that's pestering him.  A hot dead cheerleader that only tangible when she's near him... lucky guy.  Forget it, he has a hot dead cheerleader... he doesn't need a Christmas present.

The next winner for my favorite character would be Sam from Gone, after all the adults vanish and a whole bunch of kids look up to him for leadership, but he shies away from it because he's scared but eventually  accepts it.  Sam needs a hug.   A BIG ONE.

Death from The Book Thief he needs the last five seasons of Doctor Who.

Why?  Because it's awesome and I think Death could appreciate a 900 year old Time Lord who hasn't died. The Doctor makes Death's job SO much easier... but the Doctor does have a high body count, so maybe it would only piss Death off.

For Katniss of the Hunger Games--- She's getting a Twinkie and a goat.

Because it anything can survive the Hunger Games, it's a Twinkie.

She's getting a goat because she spends four damn pages talking about her sister's goat and I think she has goat envy. 

On second thought, I'd give all those guys  a hug. 


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Fair Warehouse Sale

Being a teacher is a pretty awesome gig.  I love it.  I love the kids, the content I teach, the school I work at and the most recent addition to things I love... Scholatsic Book Fair WAREHOUSE SALES!!!!!

So here's the deal, the local warehouse has two sales a year.  Every book is either 25% off or 50-80% off. WHAT? SERIOUSLY?  YOU'RE KIDDING RIGHT?

Plus if you spend $50 you save $10 or if you spend $100 you save $25.

At first the awesomeness is overwhleming.

Then its time to focus and load up your cart.  SO MANY BOOKS.

I walked up to the register with $85 in books, the woman said, "go pick out two more books, it will sent your total to $100 and then you can you the save $25 coupon."

I walked over to this Unwanted Book cart and found THE BOOK THIEF sitting right on top.  Awesome.

Wanna see how many books I got for $75?

5 Books for my daughter (she's going through a dinosuar phase right now and 2 high interest low reading level books.

Big book about animals, EON (one of the discarded books) The Book Thief, a Bone Book, Gregor the Overlander by a little lady who wrote an unknown series called The Hunger Games, Scat, What I saw and How I lied (SO looking forward to reading this one) Maxium Ride Book 1, and Hero's for my Son-- I know the Author Brad Meltzer and he's an awesome man.  I started reading the book in the warehouse and I started to cry.    9 books.

Dragon Keeper, Full Tilt, two books I don't know anything about.  Amela Rules , I"ve been reading this comic for YEARS now and I"m SUPER excited to see a company like Scholastic backing it.  Laika, my friend bought me this book and I took it with me when I went into labor,  I read the rest when I was on maternity leave.  The first book in the Seekers series,  The Juvie Three, because I LOVE Gorman Korman and Leviathan.  7 Books

AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME  23 books for $75 average cost per book $3.17.

Oh you are ALL SO jealous of me.

I'm giving away some as prizes to my students.  I had 10 students watch Project For Awesome Videos-- four kids watched over 30 videos and commented.  Project for awesome raised over $100,000.  Thanks John and Hank for being totally and utterly awesome.

BTW- Last night Holly and Alicia and I chatted about the Bloggers Getaway. Lots of giggles, lots of talking (by me) and a whole lot of fun.

In the first week of January we will featuring three getaway locations and three conference locations.  Be sure that to follow Holly's and Alicia's blogs so you can get the details.   Surveys will come shortly after we feature the locations.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest!

So Jen over at unedited and her friend Mellisa are doing a Be Jolly by Golly blog fest and I thought I'd join in the fun.

The year my Hubby and I bought a fake tree was the year Christmas died for me.  We ended up getting a pretty amazing deal on it... $500 tree for $80.  But despite my frugal nature, I coudn't muster too much of the Christmas Spirit.

Maybe it's because I'm in a competion with my neighbors for holiday decoration and I lost every year until I accidently murreder his decorations. Or maybe it's because my other neighbors stole the battery  out of my light up wreath.  

Christmas got fun again when my daughter was born and now that Santa Clause no longer terrifies her, it's getting pretty exciting.  My hubby started shopping back in June and now she has more gifts than a Toys R Us. 

But let's focus on the happy, shall we?

Our Lego Christmas Village.  My Hubby LOVES Legos and instead of buying some fancy Christmas Village (my parents have one that's the evny of all who see it) we  opted something a little different.
Apparently it has some ULTRA RARE lego pieces- yep I didn't know there was such thing as rare lego pieces, but there is.

Stocking hung with care.

And of course the tree...wanna hear something SO annoying my daughter's gifts have been wrapped since October.  You hate me now, don't you?

Here are our outdoor decorations--- the big thing is a polar bear.  Yep that's it... that's all the lights we have. 

Lastly we don't really have a Christmas traditional cookie at our house, but this year my daughter and I made cupcakes.

I'm off to listening to the Phineas and Ferb Christmas Special soundtrack... because it's awesome. 


Friday, December 17, 2010

Book verse Movie, How to Train Your Dragon

I'm sort of an expert on the movie How to Train Your Dragon, because my daughter is COMPLETELY obessed with it. 

When I found out it was a book series I rushed over to amazon and ordered their first book. 
Here's where the movie and the book are going to duke it out.

Book: How To Train Your Dragon.
Age group: older elementary, middle grade
Characters:  Hiccup, (age 10)  Fishlegs, (10)  Snoutlout, (10) Toothless (a yearish)  and others.

Conflict:  Vikings have been flying dragons for generations.  Dragons are much smaller in the book than in the movie and only listen to vikings because they feed the dragons.  In order to be a man in the village, a young boy must steal a dragon from a cave and train the dragon.  If he can not train his dragon by Thor's Day then he is kicked out of the tribe.
The main piece of advice given on how to train your dragon is to yell at it.
Hiccup is small and knows yelling at the dragon won't work, and since he can speak Dragonese (he is the only one in the tribe who can).
 Hiccup picks the smallest dragon who is also sort of a jerk and never listens to him.
Problems only get worse when a giant sea dragon shows up and refuses to leave.  The vikings are SHOCKED that yelling at, it didn't work.

It was cute, fun, a super fast read,  The pace was perfect, the characters felt alive and the cute little drawings through out added a lot to the story.  My favorite part was the book includes the How To Train Your Dragon book (a book with the book) it takes up 5 pages of the 200 page novel, and it's possibly the funniest part of the whole book.

How to Train Your Dragon: the Movie

Age group: family
Characters: Hiccup (16) Astrid (16) Toothless (unknown)
Conflicts:  Dragons and Vikings are at war.  In order to be a man in the village you have to kill a dragon.  Hiccup shoots down the rarest of all dragons but is unable to kill it.  He is sent into dragon killing training with the rest of the teens in the tribe.   He also trains Toothless and uses the skills he has learned to succeed in battle arena without harming any of the dragons.

I loved the visuals of the movie, (it really comes through on the Blu Ray).  I love how the movie sets up the conflict INSTANTLY and every shot is there for a very focused reason.  I'm sort of a dork for the techy aspects of the movie.   But mostly I love how high the stakes are for Hiccup.  Toothless is completely different, for one he doesn't speak and he's more cat like then dragon. 

Changes from the book to movie
The book has a grandfather figure and NO love interest. 
The dragons and their conflicts are different too. 

Final opinion
They are too different to compare. 
I loved both of them and both were entertaining and heartfelt. 
Although the book was funnier. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Abandon Warehouses

Writing has LOTS of cliches, there are web pages decided to them.  Movies are equally punishable for this crime.


You need something bad to happen to your characters, they're kidnapped, plotting a murder, or just scheming to do something hideous.  Where can they go to do these acts of villainy?

Starbucks?  No it's all full of writers who will probably steal your idea for their next book.

The public library?  It's hard to do evil when you're in the children's section listening to a 45 year old woman reading The Velveteen Rabbit to pre-schoolers.

The mall?  Too easily distracted by the great sales going on.

Your place? No never mix business with your home life... ever.

Abandon warehouse it is.

Take a second to stop and think how many movies have a scene in an abandon factory or warehouse?  I only saw 5 movies this year (in the theaters) and two of them had the scenes in the abandon warehouse, Inception and Red.

So I was thinking, if movies were like real life, and every movie, or TV show or book was based in the real world... then there would be WAY more evil deed done then available empty warehouses.

Does evil have a sign up sheet to use the warehouses?  What happens if it get double booked?  Is there a security deposit for the warehouse, because most likely there will be a mass shooting or at least ceiling damage from a super hero crashing through it. Who pays for the damages?  Who cleans up the mess?

These are the deep questions that pop into my brain. 

What sort of movie/writing cliches makes you stop and wonder would it be like if it was a REAL LIFE thing?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday- Santa, listen up


This Week's Topic:
You spot Santa at the mall, climb onto his lap, and whisper that you've been a good boy or girl in his ear. What do you want Santa to bring you this year? Go wild! Have fun! After all, you earned it!

I'm not looking for a TARDIS, although that would be SUPER cool. 

I want time to read, time to write, time to blog, time to do all the things I want to do without having Mommy Guilt, Teacher Guilt, or Wife Guilt, kicking in. 

I told my husband I wanted to check into a hotel for a night and just write.  He didn't like that idea at all.  He thought it would be weird. 

He bought me something in a square box that's too big to be an iPad. 
I think it might be a rumba. 

He claims it isn't.

Time is what I want more than anything- which is why I'm SUPER excited for the Blogger's Getaway.  WOOT.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More youtube clips

Again I have no ideas about what I can be blogging out, so I wanted to talk to everyone about Project for Awesome.

As you may or may not know by now, I love the Vlog Brothers.  I heart them a lot.  A few years ago they came up with this idea to hijack youtube for one day and post messages about charities.  So for one day the most popular website on the internet, most popular video's would be about  great works of human kindness.

That is in fact the true definition of awesome.  Or at least my definition. 

Here's this year's informational video.

All you have to do to participate is make comments on the videos.  John Green is also raffling of a NEVER TO BE PUBLISHED Novella.  He think it's crap and refuses to get it writer's shame affects even the greats like John Green.

Go check it out, it's happening this weekend.

Besides what were you going to do over teh weekend?  Finish that last minute holiday shopping? making cookies and start holiday traditions?  No me, I'm sitting in front of my computer like I always do and I'm watching YouTube for the betterment of humanity.

Now don't you feel guiltily for making cookies.

Yeah I thought so.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It happened again

Once again I'm sitting down at my computer, avoiding cleaning, editing and grading.



What to post, what to post.  Yep, right now I'm breaking every rule for maintaining an interesting blog.
A good blog should remember its audience, keep to interesting and informative topics, try not to show YouTube clips because those get blocked on firewalls and makes the whole blog reading experience longer.

Here's a YouTube clip. 
Before you watch it or don't watch it, whatever, no pressure, you should understand WHY I'm posting this.


So this is a music video for the movie Tangled.  The whole thing is done with one continuous shot, a film making style I personally love.  What I dig most about this clip is it's all the workers, the animators, the writers, none of the famous people in the movie.

Look at how much fun they're having.  

Also look at how many women are working there.  For a long time I wanted, I dreamed at working at Disney. Who didn't?   But somewhere along the way I gave up on that dreaming, thinking it would be too hard or impossible.  Disney was always such a boys club.  But this clip makes me happy for SO many reasons.
I hope you enjoy:

In other news, The Blogger's Getaways is picking up steam!  We have 15 girls interested.  If you signed up then hopefully you got your interest survey.   Please fill it out,  I"m privy to all sorts of information and it looks like it's going to be an AMAZING time.    The sooner you fill it out, the sooner we can get working on it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Writers' getaway

 Once again, my daughter interfered with my writing life.  I saw the Writer's digest Conference and got all excited, all the agents, all the editor, all the awesomeness... then I saw the date.  Jan 21-23.  Yep my daughter's birthday party is on the 23.  This is because she decided to pop out a month early and screw up my writing plans three years ago.

She talks about her birthday party at least twenty times a day.

Being the ever good mom I am, I passed on the conference.


I was complaining to my good buddy Alicia and she said Holly wanted to do a meet up with bloggers. Hence my post a few days ago.

Then I got on board and the three of us have been planning up a storm.  Lots of super cool ideas have been kicked around, like meeting a conference or having a writer's retreat, maybe if we're super lucky we can score some pretty awesome stuff.

Anyway if your interested please click over here at Alicia's blog and Or Holly's Blog you can fill out the SUPER quick info survey.  Soon Alicia will send you a survey that asks what sort of things you'd be interested in doing.

By the way, I've seen the list of people who have already shown interest and guess what.... my brain exploded with the possibility of funesss.

I got the OKAY from my Hubby to go.  All I have to do is clean up the dog poop in the yard, which is smelly and gross and my job, since it's my dog.  Winter poop is sort of the best, because it's frozen and not as smelly.  And it's way better than Fall poop which gets tough to tell what is poop and what is  a leaf. 

Down side, my dog started pooping like six times a day. 


In other news there's lots of very cool contests going on.

Kathleen Ortiz is giving away a prize a day until the publishing industry shuts down for the holiday.
Go check it out.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Traveling and plants don't mix well.

I went away over Thanksgiving Break down to South Carolina.  It was a ten hour drive.

I'm pretty good with long drives.  Back in college I used to travel 3 hours on the weekends to go home.

But three hours was about my max.

Beyond three hours and I'll fly.

Then nearly three years ago, something happened.  I had a kid.

Yep. A kid.

I didn't want to give up traveling.

But I certainly didn't want to fly with a baby. NO ONE likes that person.

So the long car drives started when she was nine months old.  We've traveled to South Carolina three times, up to Boston and down to Disney World.

My kid is an AWESOME traveler.  She only watches one movie for long car rides and the rest of the time she entertains herself.

Long car rides make me feel sort of zen.  It's the feeling of every mile gets you to your destination.  Every mile is a way of feeling productive.   We'll get there. Even if we're trapped in traffic, eventually we'll get there.

Insert Obligatory Writing Reference here : It's the same thing with writing... every draft makes you stronger.

The drive down was fine.
The trip was great.
I got a TON of writing done.
We watched How to Train Your Dragon a billion times.

It was wonderful.

But when we got home tragedy struck.

All my plants died.

They were outdoor plants that I never watered or took care of.  So it wasn't the lack of love of my part that caused their death.

Even the Chia Pet didn't make it.

Sigh.  Homer looked like a crazed hillbilly serial killer.   It was a sad day in our household.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday- My life in 6 words

So there's the famous story about Hemingway and some other guy.  Other Guy bets Hemingway he can't write a story in six words.  Hemingway writes, "for sale, baby shoes, never worn."

(BTW I wonder how many people will post with that little tidbit of information- my guess is four.)

The YA Highway is asking us to write our life story in six words.

I lived, I loved, very awesome.

All forms of entertainment are important. 

The universe is endless, life isn't.  

In other news made out of AWESOME:
So yesterday I posted that I thought we, bloggers,  should meet up at a con.  I won't lie, I sort of jumped on the idea from my good friend Alicia and follow blogger Holly.    We started chatting and came up with this idea.

Bunches of blogging buddies, one trip, loads of laughs and learning along the way.  Critique sessions, all-night giggle fests, whatever your heart desires from the friends you only thought existed online!  If you're interested in being included in the awesomeness, give us your name and email address below.  Alicia is going to send out an email to everyone who responds with a survey. 

We're using the survey to determine the where, when, and how so that the most people possible can be accommodated.

The three of us are super excited about the possibility of meeting all of you in person!

If you're interested in this please head over to Alicia or Holly's blog and sign up.  I would have a sign up on my blog, but I'm not smart enough to embed the cool gadget thingy.  **hangs head in shame**

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dear Bloggers

I've been blogging over a year now and I try to comment on many of your blogs.

This is what I've learned.

1) We all write.
2) We're all pretty awesome
3) We're all funny.
4) We all long for some sort of human connection (not in that creepy Avatar way) otherwise we wouldn't be blogging.
5) We all LOVE books, writing and awesomeness.

Ok. So I'm really nervous now, because I'm going to suggestion some... Hold on! **off to check my hair looks ok and there's no food in my teeth**

I think we should meetupatawritersconferenceorsomething.

I talk fast when I'm nervous.

Let's try that again...
I'm suggesting we meet up at a writers conference or something.

There are TONS of cool conferences coming up in 2011.

I know-- I'm throwing it out there very early BUT conferences require a few things:

1) Money
2) Knowing which conference we want to go to
3) Money
4) A piece of writing worth pitching to someone
5) Childcare

So, who's interested?  

Sort of terrified to hit Publish Post-- doing it anyway.

Repost my favorite post: Laser Cats and writer's fears

Originally Post back in May.

I was going to do a post where I took a picture of my "what the hell?" face and do a whole rant pondering the question if that face was around back in the 1600's. Then I looked at the picture my webcam had taken and I wanted to kill small puppies.

Needless to say it was not at all flattering and it was too late at night to put on make up for a blog. That's the best part about the internet, you never have to look your best, or good or remotely human.

But it did get me to thinking, in my head I looked awesome, until I saw the photographic evidence. Then reality sucker punched me in the face.

So often I believe one thing and the total opposite is true. In my head, the novels I write are awesome. Perfect? No. But pretty damn close (or it will be in the next draft) but what if, they are really Laser Cats.

Yep that was a weird thing to say. Let me back up. There's a digital short on SNL called Laser Cats. Basically it's Andy Sandburg trying to pitch a skit to Loren Michaels about cats that shoot lasers out of their butts.

Yep. But here's the thing, they keep pitching it. This is Laser Cats 5.

So what if I'm really writing not a book about a band who one day makes it big, but Laser Cats the musical?

Dear writers/readers what crazy insecure fears keep you up at night?

You know besides that your cat will shoot lasers out of his butt.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Insert your own joke here.

If you every had doubt about my maturity level, I think this picture sums it up.

Create your own caption:

  • Wow, advertising is getting a little pushy.

  • At least the store wasn't cold.

  • But I'm not ready to question my sexuality yet.

  • Normally you have to pay up front first before you get to touch.

Note about the picture:
This was taken in a store called Dicks.

I also cut off one word with my camera (intentionally)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Contest Winners

So the winners of Christmas Gifts for People You Are Indifferent To

and Mo

YAY YOU!!!  You'll have one less gift to send to someone or you can keep for yourself. 
E-mail me your address. 
fussymonkey2 at gmail dot com 

I'll get it out to you some time next week.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What I learned about Writing From Watching How To Train Your Dragon

My daughter is obessed with this little unknown movie called How to Train Your Dragon.  She was sick on Saturday and watched it twice in one day.  This is after watching it every day for the last week.

She loves Toothless.

She thinks the little dragons are funny.

She still doesn't know Hiccup's name, but she does call him the boy.

And the MOST important fact is, 'the big dragon is a little bit scary.  He looks like a dinosaur and he says roar."

My daughter the movie expert.

Since I've sat down next to her and watched the movie every time she watched it, I'm sort of an expert at it too.
I also spent an hour on a Friday night researching the different types of dragons and learning all about the book series. (Yep, you can insert your jokes here)

Yep it's a children's book series.  10 books.  How I missed a 10 book series is beyond me, but I've already ordered the first book.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Anyway the movie does a masterful jump of setting up conflict and creating a hook in the first 5 minutes.
  • The first minute you are introduced to the setting of story and the main character, Hiccup a very scrawny but smart boy.
  • By the second minute there is a dragon attack on the village, we all meet all the secondary characters too.
  • In the third minute we've established that Hiccup doesn't fit in and all he wants is to kill a dragon and be apart of the community.  He is also not at all liked by anyone, including the Chief of the village.
  • Minute four he breaks down all the different dragons in that will appear in the movie and tell all about the Night Fury, the most deadly of all the dragons.  He has created a weapon that will shoot a dragon for him,
  • By the fifth minute he shoots down the Night Fury and is attacked by another dragon.  While running away he does more damage than good.  He is saved by the village chief, who turns out to be the best dragon killer and Hiccup's dad. 

Every word, every image, is there for a reason. No fluff. No filler.  It give a TON of information without being an info dump.

It's perfect.

Look at the opening of your book, the first chapter.
Is there a hook?
Does it introduce your prime conflict?
Does it introduce your main character?
Does it establish your setting without being over loaded with imagery?

Your home work this weekend, watch How To Train Your Dragon.  Pay attention to the story telling.  

Christmas Gifts for People You Are Indifferent To.  
I will give away three mystery gifts.   
Contest ends on TOMORROW at NOON.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday-Movie into books

This week's road trip we're asking to think about which movies we would like to read in book form.

Interesting fact but possibly outdated.  Hollywood makes 100 movies a year, and out of those 100 movies 50% are from previously created content, like books, TV shows, sequels or fairy tales, even other movies.
Some how 50% seems very low to me, I think now a days it would be closer to 75%.

The first thing is that you have to find a movie that was original.
Avatar- nope
Harry Potter- nope
Lord of the Rings- nope

Basically the only movie company that is creating completely new content is ...pixar.

But Disney makes comic books for the Pixar movies.

But how great would it be to see a YA book about Andy told from the POV of his toys.  Andy invites the first girl over to his house,  Mrs Potato Head doesn't like her, she's not good enough for her Andy.  Oh the drama.

The Goonies.... THAT'S MY ANSWER!!!!  I want to read a YA series about The Goonies.  How does Mouth handle high school.  Did Mickey ever get over his ashma?  Does he ever manage to steal Andy away from his brother.

Second choice- Ocean's Eleven--- I want to see Ocean's team break into Fort Knox, just to prove that they can.

Extra Credit.

Book series I would like to see turned into a movie Artemis Fowl.  Live Action with CGI to enhance the awesomeness of the fairies.   Get some unknowns to play Artemis and Holly.  But I would cast Jason Statham as Butler.

Or The Rock,  or Vin Diesel.  Any of those three would do.

I think Disney owns the rights to that one.

Mickey get on it.