Monday, February 28, 2011

Being the one who didn't fit in

I've always been a little out of the group.

From a kid to an adult, I just don't seem to fit in 100%.   As a kid I listened to top 40, because everyone else was, but I loved classic rock.   Even now at 32 I listen at Alt rock, even though I am NOT the prime demographic.
On one level you would think that would make me more in touch with my students. But nope.  Every year only one or two students listen to the same music I listen to.

I don't watch too much network TV.  I watch The Office, How I met your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Glee.  No crime dramas.  No NCIS--- I've tried the show at least 5 different times and I find something really jarring about the characters.

I am the only one of my in real life friends who writes YA and reads it as often as I do.

Lots of times when I talk, people just  stare or nod.

I like anime before it was cool.  I had to take an hour train ride and twenty minute subway ride into Chinatown and go into an underground (literally) mall, just to get a few VHS of Kenshin.

 The simple fact is I don't care about the same things other people care about.  I don't know anything about sports, world events or politics.

I assume these are things that other people understand, because what else are they occupying their time with?

I've had groups where I fit in, a few people who share one or two of my interests, I've got friends.  I'm not a total social reject. 

But I spend a lot of time wondering what's going on with the rest of the world.

This is why I teach middle school and why I write YA.

I'm not an outcast but I'm an observer.  I know what it feels like not to fit in.  Not to fit in your own skin, your neighborhood.  To always be a little confused about what the people around me are talking about.

Mentally I never left middle school.

High school is still interesting to me.

College seems like a lifetime ago.

And honestly that's exactly how I like it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Contest pimping 2

Alicia and Miranda have over 100 followers and they're throwing a pretty awesome blog contest over at their blog.  Their goal is to get over 150 followers.

They're giving away:
  • One of two handmade scarves by Alicia*.
  • Cookie Prize Pack: one box of Girl Scout Cookies and a dozen homemade zombie cookies from Miranda.
  • Zombie Surival Kit: zombie survival flashcard, zombie mix cd, gift card, and your very own zombie.
  • Writer's Survival Kit: iTunes gift card, pens, post its, notepad, a copy of Bird by Bird, and your very own chocolate stash.

Blue Lipstick Samurai is having her 1 year blog birthday contest.  It's pretty sweet too.  She's giving away fairydust, A query crit by ELANA JOHNSON  a special giveaway from Janet Reid and whole bunch of other cool stuff.  
I will be announcing my own blog contest soon but Bluelipstick Samurai 's is WAY better, go enter her's and then when it's over enter mine, next week, sometime. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The waiting place

Ok yesterday I said wasn't going to talk about the  query process any more, and I'm not.  I'm going to talk about what to do while you're waiting for responses.

This is not a post agent's response time, and urging them to go faster.  Agents are VERY busy, and I'd rather them be working, then rushing to answer every single e-mail they get.

Nope, the average response time is between two weeks to two months. And that's cool with me.

But what to do during that time.

Well, here's what I plan on doing.

1) Catch up on Glee (although Rachel and Finn are getting on my nerves and I never understood what he saw in her.)

2)  Read, I have a lot of books on my TO READ list.
Across the Universe

3) Finish up BSG. I've been on season 4.5 for over a year and half now.

4) Outline the sequel to No System At All---it's a lot of wishful thinking on my part but hey, why not.

5) Catch up on my Youtube subscriptions.

I guess I'll be doing a lot of catching up. 

So if you had two months to kill, what would you do?

So I ask you, if you had two months to kill, that didn't included obsessively checking your e-mail every ten seconds.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Queries the dos and don't

I started the query process.
Since then I've associated clicking send with the vomit swelling my in throat.

Lovely image early on a Thursday Morning.

The shark herself posted, never talk about queries on your blog, never post by name which agent your querying.  The agents WILL find out. 

So obviously I will not be posting who I queried or any news about rejections.

Instead I will talk about HOW pick agents-

Everyone talks about RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH.  But what does that really mean?

According to there are 348 agents who rep YA.
Should I query every single one?  HOLY HANNAH, NO WAY!

So this was my process.
A few months ago Writer's Digest listed a bunch of agents looking for clients.  I went through and circled all the agents who repped YA.   I created a spread sheet, listing all their names, website,  if I thought they would be a good match with my novel.

Then a few weeks ago I went through the Guide of Literary Agents and looked at different agency that represented YA.   I circled all the agencies that I felt was a good match.   I added them to my spread sheet.

Then the hard work started.

I researched every agency and picked which agent would be the best match.

Then I cross referenced my list with Literary Ramblings and checked out if they had an agent profile. 

Literary Ramblings gave me WAY more information about the agent and helped me gauge if we would be a good match.

Are you noticing a trend here?

At every step I am evaluating if my novel matches what the agents likes.

I did not take into account the size the agency but my list contained big named places and small agency's as well.  

The next step is to rank and list them

I have a list of top 10, 10-20, 20-30. I should say, I was extremely through with my first list that ranking the agents were extremely hard. And really for most of them the only difference between a top ten and a 20-30, was some of the top ten's like John Green.  Sometimes it came down to how super facial stuff like the web design.   As far as I could tell from my research, every agent was professional and sold books.  But all 30 agents are awesome. 

I made a list of Round 1, Round 2, Round 3.

I pulled three agents from each list, my top ten, 10-20, 20-30.
So each round is mix of a bunch of different agents.

This way if I need to tweak my query,  I haven't blown my chances with all my top tens.

How long did I research?
Two hours for the writer's digest
Two hours with the Guide to literary agents
Six hours researching each agency and picking the best match.
Hour double checking to make sure I have all the submission requirements.

At least 11 hours of RESEARCH. 

Why would I spent three years writing a book and just sent it to any agent?  Why would I waste my time and theirs?

That's just silly.

I will NOT be posting on my progress on querying.  That's between me and the agents. 

Although I'm not above tweeting when I do a happy dance.

Jess also covered this topic AMAZINGLY on her blog go check it out 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday- ask a question

 This week is a little different. From the Twitter feed on YA Highway I see we're supposed to post a question on our blogs, and visit all the other blogs and answer everyone else's questions.

So I've started the query process (more to come on that) and I have one huge question.
  • Question 1 When an agent asks for a synopsis and an author bio, isn't that just a query?
  • Another question: What sort of prizes should I give away for my next contest? It will start on my birthday March 2. But I can't figure out what to give away. 
  • Last question:  What's the best book you've read of 2011 so far?

In other news my friend Mo is hosting a blogfest.  March 11 (Mo's Birthday) post five things on your Bucket List.  That's easy. Go sign up

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stupid Toy Tuesday-toothbrushes that make you go hmmm

When my daughter turned three, we got her a big girl toothbrush.  Now she loves brushing her teeth.  We ended up getting her a second toothbrush for the downstairs bathroom.  This one might have been a mistake.

The big purple blob is where you turn it on and off.  Yep, you  have to molest Ariel if you want to turn it on.... yep insert your own joke here.

Let's point out that the toothbrush vibrates... better then the first one my daughter got.

How about Ariel's pose,  tense arms, vacant stare, the confused smile.  yeah, she's been through this before.  She has a dark secret. 

I think the soft rubbery button could have been placed in a different location with less sexual tension.

That's all I'm saying. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Contest Winner

Wow, last week was awesome, so many blogfests and a pretty amazing interview with Antony John.

I want to thank Antony John for his time and interview.

And the winner of the book giveaway is.......

Email me with your address and I'll get it in the mail to you this week.

I have to admit I've been having a really good couple of weeks, not just blog wise but real life stuff.
My birthday is a few weeks away and my blog follower counter keeps climbing. 

I'm feeling a contest coming on, I've done CD's, I've done gift cards, I've done mystery boxes filled with box.    You tell me, what do you think I should give away? 

Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Happy Three Day Weekend everyone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

When I say the C word

Get your minds out of the gutter, it's not that c word. Cookie.  It's censorship.
I've always been quiet on the censorship issue but today I figured I'd talk about it.

When I read a book I tell my students about it.  Why because it's a great way to promote the writers I like and it introduces my students to books they might not have heard of.

However when I'm in front of the classroom, I'm not a writer, I'm not a fan of YA literature. I'm a teacher. It's how I pay my bills.

I teach above grade level 8th graders.  Are they high schoolers?  Nope.  Are they adults? Absolutely not.  Have they had all the life experainces I've had... dear God I hope not.

I also keep a list of books I've read on our class website.  I make a note next to the books that I would consider to be mature.  By mature I mean the target audience would be kids in high school or college.

Do I recommend EVERY book I read to them? Nope.

While I enjoyed The Duff-- I really did, but do I want my 8th grade girls reading it?  Well if a girl found the book on her own, that's one thing.  But it wasn't a book I stood in front of the class and raved about. 

Did I rave about some of the other books I read?  Yep.

Anna and the French Kiss- yes I did.

Paranormalcy- Yep

Gone- Yep

I am Number 4- Yep

Twenty Boy Summer- I said it's not for everyone reader-- you need to be a mature reader.

At this point of the year I know which kids can "handle" which books. The students who are mature and responsible tend to head towards the books I recommend. 

Am I going to recommend these books to my on and below grade level 7th graders?  Probably not.  I did recommend Gone to them.  

I should also say there's A BIG difference between TEACHING a book and reading it for fun, enjoyment or pleasure.   When you teaching a book- your looking at several keep factors and most of the time the books have been deemed "classics" by English professors. They are normally rich in whatever topic you're trying to teach at the time.  But reading to analyze text is different from reading for pleasure which is something I always stress. 

I never stop a student from reading a book, as long as the student and his or her parents are aware of the material.   A few years ago I had a student reading the books True Blood was based off of.  I told her if she wanted to read it and her mother was aware of the content of the book and her mother was fine with it, that's cool with me.  But I asked her not to do a book review and share it with the whole class.  The student completely understood why and had no objection to it. 

So is this censorship?  Is this professional judgment? I'd like to hear your opinions on it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interview with Antony John part 2

On Monday I posted the first part of an interview with John Antony, the author of Five Flavors of Dumb, which is possibly my new favorite book.  You can read my review of the  book here.

The rest of the interview is about publishing and his life.  Enjoy.

On Publishing
1) Once you got your agent who long did it take to see the book on the shelf?

I got my agent in June 2007 (I think), and BUSTED came out October 2008. That's a pretty quick
turnaround, though. FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB sold in September 2008, and didn't come out until
November 2010!

2) What's the best part about being a published author?
Most authors I know take their writing very seriously, whether or not they're published. To me, the
best thing about being a published author is that, even though I may not have changed at all,
other people's attitudes toward me have changed. Instead of feeling as though I have to justify an
hour spent writing, it's understood that I need that time. I suspect that this, as much as the lure of
being published, is what unpublished writers want: to be able to write without guilt!

3) What's the hardest part about being a published author?

Finding time to balance writing and publicity. Because I'm a stay-at-home dad, I only have two hours
each morning to write. But when DUMB came out -- and started getting good reviews -- I discovered
I needed more than two hours a day just to respond to emails, interviews, and requests for school
visits. Not that I'm complaining -- I'm committed to doing free school visits as often as my schedule
will allow; but when I do, I effectively lose a day of writing.

I've discovered that the solution is to save the morning for writing, and deal with everything else
once the kids have gone to bed.

Again, though, this is a really nice problem to have, right?

 4) What was the best moment throughout this whole process?  Was it winning  the Schneider Family Book Award.

Yes and no. Pre-publication, I'd say the best moment was when I completed the first draft and
handed it to my wife; I just knew, deep down, that this was a good story, and I was really proud of it.

Post-publication, the Schneider Award was an incredible (and wonderful) surprise. I was so worried
about misrepresenting deafness, and to be told I got it right means so much.

On life:
1) As a stay at home dad, how difficult is it to find time to write?

As I say, I get two hours every morning to write. It's not as much as I'd like, but it does keep me
focused and motivated, which is a good thing. I have a pipe dream that when I'm writing full-time
(my son is in kindergarten, and my daughter will be starting in 2012) I'll suddenly crank out four
novels a year, but that's almost certainly unrealistic. My most productive working time is the
morning, and by lunchtime, I'm practically useless. Seriously. Just ask my daughter.

Incidentally, I adore being a stay-at-home dad as much as I adore writing, so there's no trade-off


2) Being a parent, which TV show or movie have you seen over 50 times?

Actually, we don't have the TV on during the week usually. But I'm pretty sure my kids have seen
"Mary Poppins" and "Horton Hears a Who" at least four times each. Which, of course, means that I've
seen them that often too!

3) Which authors writing today makes you geek out in a fan tizzy?
(Translation, who is your favorite author writing today)

I am a huge fan of so many authors today, but if I had to pick one, I'd go with Meg Rosoff. I was
completely blown away by her first novel, HOW I LIVE NOW, and every novel since then has been
extraordinary. One of the things I find so impressive about her writing is how lean it is: there are no
wasted words, or extraneous scenes. Every chapter contributes narratively and enables the characters
to grow. If I could write half as well as her, I'd probably frame one of my many awards and go into
early retirement.

4) If you could offer one piece of advice my readers, what would it be?

Because I've followed the rules so well so far, I'm going to break them now and offer TWO pieces of

1. It seems to be a recurring theme these days, but
ENJOY THE PROCESS. We all have goals, and I
think goals are vital, but if the long-term plan is to have a career as a writer, you really need to be
able to enjoy writing day-to-day. If you're lucky, you'll have one book come out each year, and on
that day you'll celebrate, but on the next you'll get straight back to work. You need to be able to
derive satisfaction from both of those days.

2. Writing is all about empathy, so don't forget to empathize professionally as well. When you query

agents, try to put yourself in their place. Same with editors. I'm sure that when I started querying
agents I was too caught up in myself and my novel to realize that, at heart, agents are people who
LOVE NOVELS. It's really that simple. If you can write a great story and convince them to read it, great things might happen
I want to thank Antony for this interview- it's basically the best piece of blog content I've put out in a while (and I didn't even have to do much)  

Leave a comment below saying you would like to win the book.  You get an extra entry if you become a fan of Antony John on his Facebook page.   Contest ends 2-21-11
Please check out his webpage

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bernard Pivot Blogfest

I love questions that I know all the answer to.

  1. What is your favorite word?  Pez-- I don't even like the candy that much, but it's my go to word.
  2. What is your least favorite word? Dog, not the animal but calling a girl a dog to describe how she looks.
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Awesomeness- it's undefinable and yet totally recognizable, it comes in a million forms.
  4. What turns you off? Goo- gross slime stuff that no longer had recognizable matter or form.
  5. What is your favorite curse word? F*cktard
  6. What sound or noise do you love? Listening to my daughter belly laugh --- you can insert the cheesy music here.
  7. What sound or noise do you hate?- the sound of paper jamming in a photocopy machine or a printer.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Stand up comedian-  But I don't hate myself enough to be one.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Principal-- THERE'S NOT ENOUGH MONEY IN THE WORLD TO DO THAT JOB.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "S'up, I'm glad it took you a long time to get here. David Tennent is here and wants to tell you you're awesome."

Blog News
Enter to win a copy of Five Flavors of Dumb and swing by tomorrow to check out the rest of the interview with Antony John.

Do you like Blogfests?  Sign up for mine.  Gone but not Forgotten, on March 4 write about your top 5 favorite TV shows no longer on the air.  You can click on the badge on the side bar to get right to it.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Fake boyfriend Blogfest

    Amparo Ortiz from No Rest for the Lazy is doing a Fake Boyfriend Blogfest.

    You need to write a love letter to your fake boyfriend, here you go.

    Dear John Green

    There are few authors who have made a profound inpact on my life, like you have.  But you know what, you probably hear all time about how awesome and impactful you are... FRENCH THE LAMA, it's got to get old. 

    Yes, you're amazing.

    Let's go over the list shall we?

    Nerdy cool- check
    Does a ton of charity work and wants to end world suck- check
    Reminds people to be awesome - check
    Created an online community- check
    Makes nerds feel welcome all over the less sucky world- check
    Write the best books I've ever read- check
    Hangs out with cancer pateints- check
    Wants the world to be filled with Puppy Sized Elephants- Check.

    Yeah. So if John Green wasn't married to a Yeti and if I wasn't married, and if we both didn't have children, would I try to make John Green my boyfriend?  um, proably not.  I am awful at flirting, I have zero skillz, I would probably geek out and spaz all over him or get super shy and stumble over my words and either word vomit on him or really vomit on in.  So yeah.

    Dear God - I'm a social mitsfit.


    While I go off an tell my real husband how much I love him,  feel free to read some blog news

    Yesterday I posted the first part of two part interview with Antony John a truly incredible writer (I didn't choose him to be my fake boyfriend because I've emailed with him and I don't know if he reads my blog and I REALLY REALLY don't want to creep him out.)  But writing wise, Antony John is the next John Green.

    And if you like Blogfests, take a second and enter mine.  It's called Gone but Not Forgotten, on March 4 name your top 5 TV shows no longer on the air.  You can click on the slide bar to enter.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Interview with Antony John

    About a week ago I emailed Antony John and asked him for an interview.  He said yes,  I know I was shocked too, clearly he had no idea who I am.

    I reviewed his book a few days ago and I LOVED IT.   

    The interview will be in two parts-- today will talk about writing and Thursday will talk about publishing and his life. 

     On Writing Five Flavors of Dumb

    What was the inspiration for making Piper deaf?

    First off, thanks for inviting me along to your blog! It's a pleasure to be here.

    Given my background in music, and my fascination with rock music, I knew I wanted to write a book

    about a rock band. But let's be honest -- there are a TON of rock music novels out there, and a lot of
    them are very very good. So I knew I needed to offer readers something new.

    Well, I was talking to my wife one evening, and she said "Wouldn't it be cool for you to think about

    music from the perspective of a deaf person?" And honestly, that was my lightbulb moment. Right
    then, I had this image of Piper, and I even had a sense of who she was, and her "voice" in prose. And
    my wife was right: it really WAS cool to think about music from Piper's perspective.

     2) The book felt very realistic and well researched, about how much time did you spend researching?
    About 4-6 months, but not continuously. To be honest, I was paranoid about tackling a topic like
    deafness, and then screwing it up. So I did a LOT of research. As well as reading books and watching
    documentaries, I enlisted the help of deaf readers (who read early drafts), talked to audiologists, and
    sat in on an American Sign Language course. I still don't consider myself an expert on deafness, by
    any means, but I learned enough to realize just how complicated it is.

    3) Was there a fun fact you learned through your research that you'd like to share?

    I'm not sure it's a "fun" fact, but deaf people don't like to be referred to as "hearing-impaired," which
    is what most hearing people assume is the PC term. They much prefer "hard-of-hearing" or "deaf."

     4) What is your writing process like, do you outline, do you write  in order of the story, do you write by the seat of your pants?

    My first novel, BUSTED, was written by the seat of my pants. As any such ride ought to be, it was
    exhilarating, hair-raising, but not something I could see myself doing again.

    With DUMB, I took an entirely different approach. I planned the novel in detail (about 30,000 words)
    before I even began. It meant that some of the issues with the story were played out before I'd written
    the first draft, and also enabled me to write the novel out of order without worrying whether it would
    all come together at the end. I liked the result, and it made editing MUCH easier. So that's how I
    approach all my novels now.

    By the way, I'm not suggesting this approach will work for everyone. I truly believe that the writing
    process is a purely personal thing, and everyone needs to find what works best for them.

    5) How many drafts and revisions did Five Flavors of Dumb go through?

    My editor, Liz Waniewski, and I generally have three rounds of revisions, with the comments getting
    more specific each time. She knows exactly how to frame her comments to me, and knows how I
    work best, so the process is absolutely seamless. (At least, it seems that way to me!) It's a sign of
    how well-matched we are that I usually end up agreeing with about 99.9 percent of her suggested

     6) What is your favorite scene, wither it was fun to write or your simply proud of the way it turned out.

    The obvious answer would be the final (climactic) scene, or the scene in the salon (which were,
    indeed, a TON of fun to write). But just as gratifying were some of the smaller scenes, like the one
    where the three girls have coffee together and we suddenly realize that they're not quite who we
    thought they were. To peel back the layers was really exciting for me, and reminded me why I felt so
    connected to these characters.

    7) How many WIPs do you have sitting on your hard drive?

    Ha! I have notes for maybe 20 projects. But right now, I'm just focused on the four novels that I'm
    contracted to write for Dial. Okay, and maybe one other, because you can never have too many WIPs!

    WOW- How awesome is Antony?  I saw pretty awesome.  The rest of the interview will on Thursday. 

    Enter to win your own copy of the book.  
    Leave a comment below saying you would like to win the book.  You get an extra entry if you become a fan of Antony John on his Facebook page.    Contest ends 2-21-11

    Please check out his webpage

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    That's YAmore Blogfest

    Oasis for YA loves blogfests.  And we love good YA romance.  So we decided to combine the two in our first annual That's YAmore Blogfest.

    Starting the Friday before Valentine's Day (that's February 11th), we invite you to post 250 romantic, swoon-worthy words from your YA WIP.  Then check out the entries from some of the other participants.  (Just be sure you have a fan and/or a cold glass of water on hand.)  We know your Valentine will appreciate you getting yourself in a romantic state of mind.

    Here's a snippit from my WIP Penny and Hank.

    I replayed every moment I spent with her. How many times I missed opportunities. The one opportunity I had and I fucked up at Christmas. Why had that hurt me so much?
      Let’s look at the beginning. Why did I freak out when Adam threatened to hurt her? When we were locked down here, why was she my number one priority? Why was did I care so much? I never cared this much about anyone else.
      I knew the answer but I couldn’t bring myself to it. What if I admitted it and she rejected me again? Was it worse than losing her forever?
    The dogs barked. Bruiser jumped off the couch and ran to the front door. No knock. It opened. 

    “PENNY!” I jumped to my feet. I jumped over Meathead and threw my arms around her. She felt small, thinner. I buried my head in her neck, trying to hide my tears. She wrapped her arms around me. Her head nestled on my shoulder. “I’m glad you’re home.”
    I held her for as long as I could, forgetting about social norms that said that a hug should be no more than thirty seconds. I only stopped when she said, “Hank, are you watching Dora the Explorer?”
      “Um,” I peeked over my shoulder and sure enough Dora and Boots were singing that they did it, but I wasn’t sure what they did. “I think Swiper is an interesting character.”
    “I missed you,” she whispered.

    It gets hotter and later on, but I opted to go for funny.

    If you like Blogfests, you might want to check out my Gone But Not Forgotten Blogfest where you post your top five TV show's no longer on the air.  You can check it out here.  

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Book Review- Five Flavors of Dumb

    There are lots of excellent books out there getting TONS of Buzz.  Every once in a while I stumble on a book that I fall in love with and it's totally at random.  Last summer it was Half Life of Planets.  I picked it up because I liked the cover.

    A few days ago I was going through the new release list at my library and I saw this cover.  I didn't know anything about the book, but I hit the request button and a few days later poof I had it.

    Honestly, I didn't read anything about it, I didn't even read the blurb on the back until I sat down  to read it.

    It's about a girl named Piper who is managing the coolest band in town called Dumb.  But she's deaf and she can't tell if they're any good.

    Yeah that's a pretty amazing hook right there.

    But then you add in Piper's eleven month old deaf sister.  Her parents stole Piper's college fund to pay for hearing implants her baby sister.   Is Piper bitter and angry?  Hell yeah.   Could it make Piper a less likability character because she's mad at a baby?  Yeppers.   Does it? NOPE!!!!

    Then there's the complexity of the band members of Dumb.  They are a mess, and totally realistic.  They don't mesh well, they don't play at the same time, one member doesn't even speak.   But it's only when Piper takes lead as their manager that things start to change, some for good, some for worse.

    This book made me want to write!

    Every character felt real.  Every subplot moved the main plot forward. 

    I feel really blessed that nearly every book I've read in 2011 has been at this caliber.

    More awesome news I will be posting an interview with Anthony John and doing a giveaway of his amazing book, some time soon!


    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    road trip Wednesday- Fave Literary Couples

    Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival where the YA Highway posts a question, and the community answers it on their own blogs.

    This week's question: Who are your favorite literary couples?You know -- the ones you like by themselves, but LOVE together!

    In book form it's Anna and St. Claire.  Hands down.  Sure most people will say Bella and Edward, but no I vote for the painfully realistic and totally lovable Anna and St. Claire.     What's to say, Anna is every girl.  And St Claire is British, American and living in France.  Come on!  Even the iciest hearts have to melt a little bit.  He loves his mom, his dad is a jerk, he's kind and cuter then a basket of puppies. 

    My favorite TV couple... 
    Josh and Donna of the West Wing.  They work for the President, Josh is Donna's boss and they are both madly in love, but they aren't willing to risk their jobs or the reputation of the President to make the first move.  Beside Jim and Pam on the Office, they are the best TV couple.   

    Hey, I'm hosting a cool new blogfest, Gone but not Forgotten, on March 4.  You list your top 5 TV shows no longer on the air.   It's a fun and easy to find new blogs and have other people discover your blog.  Sign up if you get a chance.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Stupid Toy Tuesday-always look at the puzzle before you give it away.

    Hubby loves puzzles and every here his mom gives him one.  This Christmas I watched the exchange go down.
    He unwrapped it, saw it was a puzzle, said thank you and threw it to the side.
    His Mom said, "I liked the colors and thought you would too."

    Weeks pass and the Christmas decorations have been stored away the attic.  I found the puzzle in the office.  The first thing I noticed was the creepy sun.  Then I looked at the rest.  "OMG those gnomes are harvesting pot."

    I walked down to Hubby and said, "Why do you have a puzzle about gnomes harvesting pot?"

    Hubby says he has no idea what I'm talking about.

    A few hours later he says, "Erinn, those gnomes are harvesting pot?  Why would my mom buy me a puzzle like that?"

    We cracked the mystery--- she didn't look at the picture and neither did my husband.

    Good news is thanks to the safety messages on the side, my daughter is allowed to put together the puzzle,  since it's not safe for 0-3 year olds and my daughter is 3 and two weeks old. 

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    What's the message?

    So lately I've been thinking a lot about writing.  Truthfully I spend a lot of time thinking about writing, when I'm not thinking about my family and my job, the rest of my energy is tied up in writing. 

    Because I'm a teacher I want my students to learn something when they read.

    But when I look back at my own novel, there's not a clear lesson.  I never focused on a theme, or a motif or any of that stuff.  I focused on telling an entertaining story, realistic characters and the occasional joke.

    My book is about a boy who is a terrible boyfriend and doesn't see that he's a bad boyfriend.  He's not abusive or mean to his girlfriend, just absent most of the time.

    He also punishes the town bullies, in less the legal means.  But somehow it's justified because he's doing it to bad people.  It's a vigilante story... but he still does bad things and goes unpunished for them.

    But I really don't want to change the plot either.

    I should also point out that my students are not my audience.  I am gearing my book for an older YA crowd. 

    So what do you think?  Does every novel need a message?  Or can an entertaining story be enough?

    Friday, February 04, 2011

    Things I love-entertaining educational programing

    I love Nat Geo. I love this History Channel.  I love the Science channel.  I love being able to lay in bed and learn things without having to move.  I am VERY lazy.

    My DVR is FILLED with documentaries about Egypt (not about current events- I'm not really sure why everyone is so mad expect that the government took away the internet... which yeah would piss me off, but I'm thinking there's a lot more to it).

    I also have documentaries about space--- about four different shows.  I have documentaries about stuff underground-- like Crystal Caves and Cities of the Underworld.  Lots of stuff about animals.

    You know what I never ever ever expected to find on my DVR- shows that make me laugh.

    I am a little in in love with the show Pawn Stars. For those of your who don't know, it's about a pawn shop in Las Vegas, and you never know what's going to walk in through the front door. Every episode is exactly the same.  Something cool comes in,  Rick wants it but only if he can get it for the right price, he wants to make sure it's real, he calls in an expert.  The Expert gives a value- Rick offers half the retail value and the guy normally takes the deal.

    You would think it would get lame and boring but it's awesome. Rick knows everything and if he doesn't he can call someone who does. I love this show. My husband watched the first 2 seasons on netflix instant viewing over a weekend. You can't stop watching it.

    The next show is An Idiot Abroad-- IT's on the Science Channel- although I have NO idea why it's there and not on the Travel Channel- but it probably has to do with legal issues or something boring like that. There's NOTHING I can say that can make you watch the show expect if you watch this trailer you'll be hooked:

    The full show is even funnier.
    Go check your local listings

    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    New Blogfest!

    Our last blogfest was such a hit, we, Alicia, Holly, Pam and Quinta and I decided to do another one!  

    Nothing is meant to last forever.  Sometimes things run their course and other times things are shot down in their prime.  I’m talking about television shows of course.   As writers or humans who like to be entertains, we spend a lot of time watching television.  It’s cool to get inspiration anywhere.

    Sadly there are many AMAZING shows no longer on the air.  Does this mean we forget them? No! They will live forever through fanfiction and blogfest like this.

    List your top 5 TV shows no longer making NEW episodes. 

     They may still be on the air but in syndication.  These shows may be GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN.
    The blogfest will happen on MARCH 4. 

    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    Road Trip Wednesday- rereading- reliving

    Ya HIghway asked, which book would you read over and over again.  

    I love books but there's a short list of books I'd reread. 

    To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the few I've reread more then twice.   I love the richness of the language and the characters.  I"m also a sucker for Boo Bradly.

    The Sandman Series (graphic novels- I've reread in its entirety twice now too.  It's Death's character I relate to the most and if you've read the series you'd understand that's not nearly as morbid as it sounds. And if you haven't read it, you really have no excuse not to... it was written by NEIL FRAKING GIAMAN. 

    Restaurant at the End of the Universe I've read three times now.  I carried it with me in my car for four years while I was in college.  I also carried a toothbrush too in college but not a towel so clearly I didn't read the book to carefully.

    But Dark Knight Returns wins for the most rereads-- I think I've read it at least 5 times.  A possible gay Joker, Batman as the baddest badass that ever lived.  It's perfection in every sense of the word.  If I had a big enough house I would frame every page of that book and wallpaper my office with it. 

    Recent possible contenders for books I'd reread but having gotten around to them are Anna and the French Kiss, Perfect Chemistry, Paper Towns and Half Life of Planet (A NEW BOOK BY BRENDAN HALPIN AND EMILY FRANK CAME OUT THIS WEEK? Guess what I'm buying this weekend)

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    Toy Tueday- Tangled

    Yep the MOST appropriate titled toy of all time.

    This is what the toy looks like in the box-- how flipping cute, right?  She's so pretty, her hair is so long, there's three skirts to change her into.  Oh SO CUTE.

    This is what it looked like after I took it out of the box,

    Yep she's not nearly as cute or glamorous.

    In fact she looks like she had a couple of rough nights back in college and hasn't quite given up the lifestyle.

    I know what you were thinking Disney. You thought little girls LOVE to play with dolls with LONG hair.  Girls can brush the hair, braid it, and well that's about it.   But it's zero fun when it's a tangled mess.

    Oh wait, now I know why you renamed the movie from Rapunzel  to Tangled--- it was truth in advertising.  Well played Mickey Mouse, well played.