Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years!

Have I got a NEWS STORY for you!

An eighty-eight year old woman is hanging in her home one morning. The door flies open and a naked man rushes in. This old woman (God bless her quick thinking soul) yells, "Lord Almighty!" grabs his "cahoulies" (her words, not mine) and squeezes. The man runs away (slowly, I'm sure) and the police catch him. His name is...




Wait for it....


Michael Dick.

Fabulous. You can't make that stuff up, people.

And as a gift for all of you, I offer the most fabulous of boozenog recipes.

3 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
6 eggs
Vanilla
nutmeg
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup brandy
3/4 cup bourbon

Separate eggs. Beat yolks with sugar till thick. Pour in milk and two cups of cream. Add booze. Chill for 2 hours. Add vanilla. (I use a regular spoonful)Add nutmeg to taste. Beat egg whites till they have stiff peaks and gently fold into nog. Beat last cup of cream until it has stiff peaks. Fold into nog. Imbibe freely. Don't climb on scale for at least a week.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Week After

It's the week after Christmas and all through the house...

Mayhem.

After a lovely weekend during which my husband and I confirmed our commitment to one another (or maybe just proving we should both be committed considering the amount of cash spent, food consumed and alcohol imbibed)I woke up to a Monday morning, hungover and with a to do list as long as my arm.

To top it all off, I have no driver's license. Turns out the silly thing expired on my birthday when we were all stuck at home because of TONS of white frozen stuff on the roads. The DMV's were closed too, so it really wasn't my fault, per se. And during the ten years since I last had it renewed, you have to do a lot more to prove that you are who you say you are. And no, Virginia, I do not have a birth certificate. I lost it sometime during the eighties, along with my virginity and girlish figure. So I spent hours on the phone tracking it down and getting everything set. Then I spent hours more being ferried around by my daughter who is obscenely delighted that mom can't drive our car.

Teri's To Do List:

1. Lose the &*%#@ pounds I gained during the holidays. (Damn boozenog)I tackled this one the way any red-blooded American woman would... by spending a ridiculous amount of money on new running shoes and workout clothes like the word recession had never been uttered. (They are so cute though!)

2. Write overdue article

3. Finish the last twenty-five pages of my proposal by the fifth.

4. Finish Painting Bathroom I hate painting!

5. Throw traditional New Year's Eve party together. (Egads, more booze and food!)Honestly, if I never party again, it will be too soon. My poor liver concurs.

I'm getting a headache just thinking about it, so I'm going to go for a run. Or maybe to bed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living Large

In celebration of our twentieth anniversary, the DH and I are taking 24 hours to live it up.

We are heading downtown here:




And here:

We will be staying here:






Checking out art here:



Having drinks here:



And dining here:

We got one another no Christmas gifts so we could do this. I didn't go out on my birthday so we could do this. For the next twenty four hours we are living large, people! After all, not many marriages last twenty years!

Friday, December 26, 2008

GCC Presents... Laurie Faria Stolarz!



I cannot WAIT to read this one!

DEADLY LITTLE SECRET (A TOUCH NOVEL)
BY LAURIE FARIA STOLARZ
Hyperion Books for Children


Some secrets shouldn't be kept...
Until three months ago, everything about sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes far from ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead she's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help – but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something...but he's not the only one with a secret.

Advanced Praise:
"A boy to admire from afar, a girl you want to befriend, a novel to keep you turning the pages because you won't know who to trust. Laurie Faria Stolarz's DEADLY LITTLE SECRET is a blend of mystery, chills, and forbidden touches--one captivating story you have to experience." - Kelly Parra, author of INVISIBLE TOUCH.

“The book was full of shocking surprises and revelations, earning the book five stars. This is a must-read for fans of romance, suspense, and mystery because it won't disappoint.” – Teens Read Too

"...lively first-person narrative.... CW-worthy dialogue, quirky secondary characters, romance and suspense: a winning combination" - Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging, eerie tale about the darker side of relationships - when it becomes a matter of life and death to know who your friends are." - KLIATT

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the bestselling author of the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, which has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. The series comprises Blue is for Nightmares, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, Red is for Remembrance, and the forthcoming Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz's titles have been part of the Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers list, the Top Ten Teen Pick list, and YALSA's Popular Paperback list, all through the American Library Association. Also the author of Bleed and Project 17, her most current work, Deadly Little Secret, the first book in the TOUCH series, is due out in December 2008. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, visit Laurie’s website at www.lauriestolarz.com.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I just want to say that I have been waiting my entire life for a white Christmas and have discovered it is highly overrated! for the last twelve days we have had some kind of frozen precipitation here in the Portland area. Because of the weather, we didn't go to a single planned holiday event, including a wonderful Christmas eve Celebration at my father in laws home. We are going to try for Sunday.

So instead I put together an impromptu celebration at my house with my family of four and my daughter's boyfriend. I picked up some brie, dip, and a bottle of wine. I made a special dinner of chicken breasts, pasta, and bbqed roasted pepper salad. Yes, you can bbq in the snow! Then we ate the chocolate cake we were to take to the family party and we didn't feel guilty at all. You never feel guilty eating a cake from the Beaverton Bakery! After stuffing ourselves, we had homemade boozenog and watched The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. We hadn't seen it before. What fun!

Then the kids wrapped the last of their gifts while Alan and I watched Rick Steves European Christmas. That show always makes me cry. So lovely. Then we all had to go to bed because it was time for Santa to come!

We scaled back on gifts this year. It seemed crazy not to with the economy the way it is, to say nothing about not being able to get out much due to layers of snow and ice!

This morning was wonderful and am waiting for the jam cakes I whipped up to be done so we can eat breakfast. Thank God my parents are close by so we don't have to cancel our Christmas dinner plans!

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quick Post!

It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to... or not:)

We have fifteen inches of snow here. We are lucky if it snows at all here in Portland. So the city has pretty much stopped working. But my dh let me sleep in, made me breakfast, gave me a gorgy shell for running in and took me to starbucks. Actually we walked and it was wonderful.

Am going to go work!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ah, The Plot!

It happens to me in the fifth chapter. The proposal is polished, the synopsis done and I have to actually figure out the nuts and bolts of the book. I know my characters,though they will continue to reveal themselves to me as I write, and I have a vague idea where the book is going. After all, I wrote the synopsis right? This is where I run into trouble because basically, the synopsis is a two page book blurb. No nitty gritty. And I flounder. I have spent a month or more on the fifth chapter trying to figure things out. This go round, I don't have the time as my agent is ready and waiting for this one. So...

I have tried many different ways to plot out a book. Diana Peterfreund swears by the plotting board method with notes on each scene written out on sticky notes. I tried it and loved it... for a while. Then my book veered so far off what I had originally planned that I would have had to replace almost the entire last half of the board to keep it relevant. Then I tried the collage method. Jennifer Crusie swears by it and though I loved doing it (both computer collage and hard collage,) I still ran into chapter five plotting issues. I've tried keeping a hard copy notebook with all the information in it, but that didn't work either. Yesterday, one of my fabulous cp's mentioned that she worked on a mac and absolutely loved Scrivner. She spoke about it so glowingly, she almost made me, a PC, want a mac. Then I started thinking about what my friend told me about One Note, a program that came with my 2007 word program. I started playing around with it and OMG.

I'm in LOVE. I created a notebook just for Speed.It looks EXACTLY like a digital binder with each page having it own tab. I have a page for the synopsis and every chapter. I have a page for a point by point plot outline. I have one to track each character and their cars, that even contains a pix of their car! It automatically tracks the website the pix came from, and the file where I pasted each completed chapter. I took each point in my plot outline and pasted them in the chapter on where I think they will go. Each point will then become a scene. Today I am going to do a character treatment on each character. So instead of having a doc file containing a dozen different word docs, I will have all the pertinent info all in one very user friendly place. AT MY FINGER TIPS!

This gives me so much freedom, I can't even believe it. It makes plotting a JOY!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Inclement Weather

I feel such a cad for complaining. Compared to what they're going through in the Midwest and the east, four inches of snow is nothing, but frankly, it's sure putting a crimp in my holiday plans. I was ahead of the game and now I'm not. I know, I know, WAH. It could be worse... I could be without power. (In which case, I'd simply put my head in the oven and END IT ALL. Oh, wait, I have an electric oven, not gas and it's not like I'm going to bake my head to death. Plus, I wouldn't have electricity and if I did, I wouldn't be ending it all in the first place. So scratch that.)

But I am getting behind, people. I have a few gifts but nothing for my OWN KIDS at all. Plus, I'm rather concerned about the whole lack of Christmas booze. Right now, my booze shelf holds a couple bottles of wine and about a shot of vodka from my Fourth-Of-July booze stash and nothing more. Where's the rum for Hot Buttered Rums? Where's the tequila for Spanish Coffees? Where is the cognac for BOOZENOG??? I WANT MY BOOZENOG! (deep breath) Okay, better now. I would walk because the booze store is only about a couple of miles from here, but me thinks carrying $100 worth of alcohol across glare ice is a bad idea. (Not to mention a little desperate.)

In other news, I'm finishing up chapter five in my WIP. It's time for a bit more plotting. Chapter five in every book is like pulling teeth for me. WITHOUT anesthesia. It's that place where I start to think I don't have enough for a book and-what-the-hell-was-I-thinking. I actually have tons of ideas, but I don't think my agent would appreciate me throwing in a piebald horse named Mr. Chips.(Don't ask.)So today, I'm breaking out the plotting board and I'm gonna figure out the last ten chapters or so of my book. So send prayers, good thoughts, writing mojo and a couple of muses my way. Chocolate would also be appreciated.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Preparations

After almost having a nervous breakdown last week because of work, writing, and the holidays and having almost nothing done, I have managed to kinda get on track. Here's my list:

Christmas shopping: I actually have some of it done.
Baking supplies procured: I have everything I need to make a plethora of delicious Christmas treats.
Christmas Tree: Is up and decorated. (See pix)perfectionist daughter wouldn't let us put our old ornaments on. Instead she created a HGTV tree that looks like it came right out of a magazine.
Christmas Cards: The cards containing my yearly tongue in cheek holiday letters, are all signed sealed and sitting on the counter ready to go.
Christmas Craft: Made a Christmas Card Tree (See Pix)I can't remember where I got this idea, but by the end of the season it will be covered with Christmas cards.

I also finished a chapter in my WIP, (am behind, but hoping to catch up today), one of my articles and all my work related stuff.

BIG DEEP SIGH OF RELIEF. Christmas will NOT kick my butt. I am FINE.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Simon Elkeles-Perfect Chemistry Rap Video

One of the most inventive trailers, promo ops, rap videos I've ever seen. So so so cool. If you love books, check this out.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Club!!!

I only have a few minutes away from my writing and cleaning to give a quick update.

The book club met for the first time last night. We had six girls and one guy.... they were so excited they were there 30 minutes before it was time. I brought Brie, grapes and little toasts and served it on a silver platter, much to the delight of the girls who thought it was the most elegant thing ever. CPAH provided pizzas and pop and we ate with much hilarity. Then we discussed book club and the schedule. When they got their books they were so excited they wanted to start reading out loud. I wasn't going to have them do that because I didn't want anyone to feel put on the spot, but they insisted. Lisa Schroeder's book, I Heart You You Haunt Me, is perfect for reading out aloud because it's a novel in verse, which none of them had experienced before. The only one who passed was the boy, because he can't read. I'm not sure if he meant he can't read in English or can't even read in his own native Somali, but I didn't make a big deal out of it. His sister said she would help him. only three of the kids are native English speakers.

The girls want a tea party and the boy said he wouldn't care if the food was good! Not sure how I'm going to pull off a tea party, but I am already thinking ahead to our next meeting and what I can surprise them with then... maybe cheese and chocolate fondue? Any ideas? And Lisa Schroeder her coming to sign their books and answer questions!

This is going to be a blast!!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Check me out

I'm being interviewed by my chapter mate, Genene Valleau here. Also my friend Barry Summie is celebrating her debut release here. I So Don't Do Mysteries sounds like a great book!


And I need you all to help me... I have to have fifty more pages of my WIP by the 5th of January. Yes, through Christmas, my birthday, anniversary, work, etc.... but I can do it.

Anyway. That's the plan.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Fast Cars and Linoleum Glue

The title says it all, folks. Somehow my weekend plans of finishing chapter four got lost between the car show and remodeling. Oh, not to mention putting my husband's five gazillion fishing poles up on craigslist, (Yes, he is aware of this, I'm not doing it in a fit of marital pique)and loading my father in laws digital picture frame which was supposed to have been done in September on the date of his actual birthday.

Yesterday, I spent the morning trying to peel up, inch by painful inch, the gluey linoleum backing still stuck to the bathroom floor. This is the same substance used by NASA to put together the space shuttle. I also think it's the base for that horrifying diaper rash ointment, Desitin, that once rubbed on a baby's bottom, NEVER EVER, comes off. In fact, I think there's still traces of it on my daughter's seventeen year old tush. At any rate, I worked for hours on the floor and only managed to get off a 2 by 2 foot square, even with the help of another toxic substance that had me seeing pink elephants by the time I was done, Krud Kutter. (And no, I wouldn't make that up. That's it's real name.)

Then there was the car show where I got to see all my Xcessive Speedz peeps. They took home four trophies! Woot! Including Most Charitable Club, which is something they really wanted. I know for a fact they are the greatest people on earth because not only are they helping me with my WIP, they are also giving a mini car show at the community center and bringing all the kids toys! The show was a blast. Loud, exciting, and I got my first glimpse of some car hos... I wanted to go interview them, but my daughter wouldn't let me., In fact, she pretty much kept a tight grip on my arm the whole time. I was like a kid in a candy shop:) Here's some car pix...






Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Topic Everyone is Talking About

Finally, a topic that overshadows the Stephanie Myer phenom: The Doom and Gloom of the Publishing Industry. I have few opinions except, "That's just freaking great," and "Please buy my books." But here's a list of what other people are saying. (A short list, because I have no time for a comprehensive one... I have writing to do people!)

Kristin Nelson asks "When is a freeze not a freeze," here.

Nathan Bransford asks writers to please not tell him how desperately they need the money in a query here.

John Scalzi mentions that it might be a bad time for debut authors here.

Jennifer Jackson wonders if she is fiddling while Rome is Burning here.

There's more, but I don't have the heart for it. I have a book to write.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Love Me Some Christmas Movies!

I watched the Miracle on 34th Street last night to get me in the Christmas mood. I love me some Miracle. Then I watched the Hollywood Backstory on it... Did you know it won three Oscars? and they released it in June and the trailers didn't mention that it was a Christmas movie? And it ran longer than any other movie until that time... over six months, all the way till Christmas? Like I said, I love me some Miracle. When Santa sings with that little Dutch girl...chokes me up every time.

I have a Christmas story in mind... not sure whether it's a whole book or a novella. Maybe I'll actually work on it someday when I get time.

So I am looking forward to the Christmas season... and more Christmas movies like The Santa Clause, It's a Wonderful Life, The Little Drummer Boy, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Nester the Christmas Donkey, Love Actually, and soooo many others. It's the one time of year I actually get sentimental.

So what are your favorite holiday movies?

Monday, December 01, 2008

December First

Where did the time go? Thanksgiving is over, turkey soup is finished and ready to eat and Christmas is approaching at the speed of freaking light.

Dh and I decided not to give one another gifts this year. We will stuff one another's stockings(cause Santa doesn't usually bring to grownups) and put a bow on our bathroom which is COSTING US A FORTUNE! In fact, we may just end up spending our twentieth anniversary (12/27) in the BATHROOM.

I had to work on Saturday... took the center kids to the ballet, stopping to get the kids from another center on the way. it was fun but a bit of a nightmare. (I just reread that and it sound like an oxymoron, but it was fun after the fact),I didn't know the other children and was freaking out, thinking we were going to lose someone else's child which is, I'm sure, an offense worthy of burning in the fiery pits of hell for all ETERNITY! I kept herding other people's children into our group to the concern of their mothers. Can you imagine taking your child to the Christmas ballet only to find a wild-eyed woman grabbing your child by the arm and hissing, "I told everyone to get into line according to size!"

Yesterday, I ended up taking my brother to Kent, about a 3 1/2 hour drive down I5. I hate that drive with a passion, but what could I do? The trains and buses were full and he had to work today. I told my Mom, "I'll never make this drive again except if someone dies and maybe not even then." She laughed, thinking I was kidding. I was so NOT.

So back to work today. I have articles to do, fiction to do and I have to rip out the bathroom floor and get to work. Tra la la la laaaa la la la la.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gastronomic Success

And a good time was had by all.

Baked the pies and roasted the Turkey on Wednesday, so all I had to do today was make the mashed potatoes, the stuffing (stovetop) and set everything out. We had turkey sandwiches, which consisted of a slice of white bread (we usually eat wheat, so this was a treat) a layer of turkey, a thick layer of cranberry sauce, a layer of stuffing, a glob of mashed potatos, and then you cover the entire thing with gravy. Not just any gravy, but the best gravy on the face of the planet. It was a new recipe that involved cooking sherry, dijon mustard, turkey drippings and endless stirring and reducing. Let's just say it was worth it.

I don't think I'm ever going to make a traditional turkey dinner again. I'ts so much easier doing the turkey the day before. Gives me a chance to enjoy the day too.

But honestly, I ate too much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cascading List of Home Repair

We had a leaky sink and it has morphed into gutting the entire bathroom. Let me explain.

Monday, Dh, who is off for a week, decided to fix the minor leak under the bathroom sink. Finds out the pipes from the sink to the wall are rusted through. Discovers the seal on the sink is rusted. Chips the porcelain in trying to get it out. We decided to replace the sink because we have a two sink vanity. Then it just cascaded from there.

*If we replace one sink, we have to replace the other.
*The vanity is ancient and since we're replacing the sink, we might as well replace the vanity.
*If we're going to replace the vanity, we might as well replace the tile, which is also ancient.
*If we replace the tile, we might as well replace the toilet.
*As long as we're at it, let's go ahead and replace the ancient cedar siding the moron before us put in half the bathroom.

So that's why I have bits and pieces of the only bathroom we have in my living room the day before Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll use the vanity for a side bar and put the gravy in the one working sink. GAH!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Conversations Heard Around My House This Weekend

Key: Ds--dear son
Dh--dear husband
DD--dear daughter
Mom-- Me


DS: OMG I have to work forty hours this next week. Ima die.
DH: When I was 19...
DS: Save it, dad. You were never 19.
DH: I was too!
DS: No, you were born a fully formed forty year old and you worked harder than anyone has ever worked in the world.
Dh: That's true.

DD:We will too finish our homework!
Mom: You and your boyfriend are incapable of doing homework together. You always end up necking.
DD: Mom. We do not neck. That went out with the fifties and I know you're not that old. We make out.
Mom: AH HA! I told you, you wouldn't get your homework done.
DD: We do too! We work a little, then kiss a little and then work a little, then kiss a little...
DH: (Muttering) So that's why she always comes home with chapped lips and paper cuts.

(Telephone Rings)
Dh gets up from the computer to answer it:"Hello?"
Mom on the couch with her cell phone: "Can you let the cat in while you're up?"
Dh: DANG IT!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank you!

Huge thanks to the writing community. Thanks to many wonderful donors, I have the books I need for the book club. After I finish an article today, I am going to make out a year long schedule for the club, so I can begin getting books and donations early. The girls are seriously excited... I hope I can create a club that lives up to their expectations!

I'm not so much writing right now as I am thinking about writing. This would concern me, but I'm not really blocked, just busy and waiting for my next step to become apparent. I have three proposals ready to go and one almost ready, (am waiting on agent feedback), And really don't want to write more until I know the next step in my writing career.

But hey, it's not like I don't have things to keep me occupied!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Speechless and book club.

Or should that be wordless?

Because I am screaming busy and can't find a decent topic to blog about.

One thing... I have started a book club at the low income community center where I work. I imagine it's going to be about eight or nine girls.We will read a book every month and then one night a month will discuss the book over cocoa and cookies. Once every three months we will take a trip to the starbucks at the mall and then next door to the book store. I am looking for contributors that will help get books into the hands of these girls. The library is well started, but I need eight or nine copies of whatever book we are going to be reading that month. I especially need them for the first month which starts on Tuesday December 2nd.

The first book I have chosen is, I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder. It's a lovely book in verse and since Lisa lives in the area, she agreed to come and speak to the girls in January. The girls are ages 10 to 14. I Heart You is a novel in verse and is both easy enough for the younger girls and compelling enough for the older ones. If you have any copies lying around you would like to give to a good cause, please leave a comment and I'll get in touch with you. We exist on a shoestring budget so all help is appreciated! If you want to check out the organization I work for see here
Thanks!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Retrospect

It's been a busy week. Of course, after Wordstock last weekend, it seemed pretty tame.

Monday-worked in the yard for about six hours. Realized that I'm a fab writer.
Tuesday-worked, scrambled for sources, had coffee with Kerry. Realized that I suck at writing.
Wednesday-worked, got my own word woman super hero, finished up Speed proposal.Am once again a fab writer.
Thursday- worked, polished Speed proposal, got my sources.

I don't work today so it's devoted to writing. One article due today, one due Monday. Have to find the glass cleaner so I can clean my house.

Oh, and a Huge shout out to my oldest baby who turns 19 today. Yes. 19. At some point I'm going to have to stop giving out my children's ages because wow, that makes me so old!



Last Halloween. I gave birth to a disco zombie?



Happy birthday buddy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Talent

Woke up with a screaming headache so will keep this short. This is my super hero, drawn for me by one of the teens at my work. She did this freehand in about 25-30 minutes. I love it! Click on it to make it bigger. WOW.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wordstock!

What a weekend!

I spoke the first day... Which would have been fine except the guy I was speaking with was very popular, wore a dapper hat, had a great MG audience and a fab power point with the word POOP in it. A hard act to follow. Who can go after someone who uses POOP in a presentation? I did my best, and told everyone that my book has a few references to poop as well, though probably not in the same way. The adults laughed anyway. Then the question and answer period was great. We sat in chairs and played off one another so well I told him we should take it off the road. The Basye and Brown show. Vaudevillian writers. It was fun:)

Yesterday was my workshop and I think it went well. Once the latest trends power point was over they had questions on everything under the sun... took almost the whole hour! Plus, an editor from Darkhorse comics was there and I got some great info on graphic novels, as well.

After running down the street for a quick lunch at Burgerville (I'm sorry for all you people who don't live in the northwest to get a taste of what a burger place should be!), I went and saw my fellow class of 2k8er, Lisa Schroeder before she had to give her talk. I couldn't stay to watch her because I had to meet the fam out front so we could make it to the TSO concert on time.

So my speaking engagements are done for a while... though I have an idea for another one and need to get my brochure done so I can get it out to schools. But for now I can concentrate on my writing!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Excited for Wordstock!

I'm speaking twice this weekend at Wordstock. Saturday, I read, answer questions and sign books. Sunday, I have a workshop to give. Can I just say, I am seriously excited? Four years ago, I saw John Irving at a Wordstock event....one of the highlights of my life. Now I am speaking at it!

The list of authors attending is amaing and I feel so blessed to be counted amoung them. And I am excited about the workshop, too. Imagine getting paid to talk about YA?!!!

After my workshop, I will be going to the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert. I love this show. It's like nothing else out there.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Win for the Ages

No matter where you stood on the presidential race, I think America won.

As a certified (Or is it certifiable?) Republican let me explain.

Whether or not Obama will be a good president remains to be seen. Goodness knows he has a mess on his hands. But... we have come a long way since the evil days of segregation. Slavery and the aftermath of hate and bigotry have long been a wound in our nation’s soul. It hasn't healed yet, but it's truly begun.

Martin Luther King had a dream.

Last night it came true.

Peace, love and prosperity to both the reds and the blues, the blacks and the whites and everything in between.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Wild Weekend

From start to finish this was an exhausting weekend. Some parts of it were fantastic, others were horrible. My dh took me out Friday night-- our kids were having a party-- and he wanted to plan the whole thing. He took me to a little Italian place downtown, plied me with wine, bread, Alfredo and tirimiso, then took me out for coffee and to my favorite bookstore. Then we went to that Woody Allen Film, Vicky Christine Barcelona, which was fabulous. Okay, so the everyone going to bed together kind of turned me off, but it was beautifully filmed, well written and genuinely funny.

That date was the highlight.

Saturday morning we had to attend a memorial for our friends twin babies. They were born too soon and couldn't make it. Horrible and sad.

The rest of the weekend was work, work, work. My daughter had a four page final she needed help and encouragement with. And a one page report. And I had an article due. And I wanted to finish a chapter in my WIP. And I had a crit due to a friend.

By last night I felt like I had never been away from the computer and would never get away from the computer again.

This week doesn't look much better. I have two different presentations to write for Wordstock next week. One a twenty minute talk and one hour long workshop.

I have two articles to research for. And a ton of fiction work to do. And I have to get my hair cut before the weekend... provided I can get an appointment with my hair magician.

Does anyone else hate making appointments by phone? Both kids need to go to the dentist. One needs a doctor's appointment. I have to call the school to excuse an absence... I am horrible about that kind of stuff. What is it about making a simple phone call that paralyzes me with procrastination?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Surprising Things

Things that surprise me:

1. Shopping for Toothpaste. Shopping for for teethcleaner ain't what it used to be. My dh told me at the store last night to run over and grab some toothpaste. Fifteen minutes later, I'm still there staring in shock at the dizzying array of choices. Anti-plaque, whitening, sensitive gums, floride, and any combination thereof. Then there are FLAVORS. Bubble gum mint, vanilla mint creme... that's just wrong. Whatever happened to just cleaning your teeth?

2.How Much I Love the Kids I Work With. I had no idea when I began working there just how much those little heathens would get under my skin. My mind is always abuzz with different plans on how I can help, or what would be good for them. Stay tuned.

3. How Generous People Are. I have had some wonderful donations of books from some very awesome people. You know who you are.

4. How Much I Love Writing. Can you tell it's going good right now? And I realized that the girls (Jennifer Cruisie's description of her muses) are always working. A couple weeks ago, I discovered a theme in my WIP-- that everyone is playing a part. The main characters, the people they meet on the road, even the animals. Nothing is what it seems. The girls were working and I didn't even know it. Turns out I'm deeper than I thought I was.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Woman's show and Completely Overwhelmed

The best thing about the woman's show was that I did great. The worst thing was that they didn't have my books there and they didn't validate my parking. Enough said!

Now I have to look ahead to Wordstock. Friday, November 7th, I have an author's reception. Saturday the 8th, I have my presentation/reading/signing. And on Sunday I have an hour long workshop I'm giving called The Latest Trends in Young Adult Fiction. Yeah, I have a lot of work ahead of me, especially since the power point slide is due tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow. Where did the month go?

November also brings six nonfiction assignments, two fiction submissions going out, and three chapters for two different books-- one that I want done by Friday.

Add in the holidays, the TSO concert, the new job and the whole wife and mom bit, and I am looking at a pretty busy month.

So if you hear a blub, blub, blub while visiting my blog, you'll know it's the sound of me drowning.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Things We'll Do For Research...

So Saturday night, I decided to go with my daughter and her boyfriend to a car club meeting. I'm on chapter two of Excessive Speed and needed to get some serious insight and research done. There's SO MUCH I don't know.

And besides, I just really wanted to feel cool again.

Because people, going fast in a really loud car is cool. (Getting your brains picked up off of a road isn't cool, so don't think I'm advocating speeding. No siree bob, not me.)

But, you know... sitting in the back of a seriously cool car, going to meet other people in their seriously cool cars is, well, cool.

Turns out having people check you and all your friends out in a parking lot is cool too. And Moonstruck chocolate--beyond cool.

The purpose of the evening was to all head down to an empty mall parking lot and take pix of the cars and the club members. So we jetted back down the freeway in a caravan (I can't even tell you how COOL that was.)

Once there, they talked a lot about how to set up the pix, while I interviewed various members. It was very odd to see my daughter in that environment. She and her boyfriend are a little younger than most of the people there... the pres calls them the next generation.

Lots of antics and hilarity ensued... helped by a sercurity guard, so entranced with the cars, he didn't tell us to leave and even got a ladder so my daughter could climb up on to a giant trash compacter to take shots. SO here's some pix... and I'm sorry they are so small... I can't figure out how to make them bigger.






My ride for the night. (My daughter's boyfriend's car)




One of the club's pride and joys-- a "lambo"

I got pages of notes, shared tat stories with a multi inked young man, and checked out some very cool cars.

It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

GCC Presents Kelly Parra

I just finished Graffiti Girl and I must get this new book. Kelly Parra is a gifted writer and a fabulous person. Check out her latest release Invisible Touch.



Do you believe in fate?

Kara Martinez has been trying to be "normal" ever since the accident that took her father's life when she was eleven years old. She's buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be -- compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.

Because Kara has a gift -- one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person's fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she's been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she's been warned about -- until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it's her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it's too late...or lead her even further into danger?

Praise for Invisible Touch

"A magical blending of mystery, romance, and deep and dangerous secrets. Kelly Parra’s Invisible Touch is an action-packed coming-of-age novel, sure to keep readers turning pages and begging for a sequel." 
-- Laurie Faria Stolarz, Bestselling author of Blue is for Nightmares and Deadly Little Secret

"Readers are going to delight in this fast-paced, gripping story, and be kept spellbound until its surprising finish." 
 -- Tina Ferraro, author of How To Hook A Hottie

"The Gold Award of Excellence! An amazing, touching novel that deals with big issues in an original context." -- TeensReadToo

"Five out of five gold pens for Invisible Touch."—The Salinas Californian

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Verizon Burping and other Non-Consequentials

Verizon is being mean this morning and not sending or recieving emails for me. I hate that. Especially when I'm waiting to hear back on a couple of things.

I think I'm going to live, but not sure about my daughter. Finally took her to the urgent care the other night and they gave her an antibiotic. She's still home from school and has missed over a week. Not good when this is her senior year and she has a certain number of credits to get in order to graduate.

They are laying off over 140 people at my husband's company today. My dh is safe because he's been there for almost eighteen years and they would have to shut down the whole shop in order to get to him. Of course, in these economic times, that doesn't make me feel too much better. I feel for the families who are losing their jobs today. Bailout schmailout.

Almost finished with my NW woman's presentation. Just need to polish it up and make some handouts.

I need to get started on my YA workshop. That's coming up PDQ.

Okay. Back to work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Corner VS Stage

I am going to be speaking at the Northwest Woman's show at the Oregon
Convention Center at 1:00 on Friday. The talk will be on Why your Daughters
Should Read. That sounds nice and mom-like right? (Friday is Mom's Day Out,
so I wanted something that would appeal.) Now I just have to figure out what
I'm going to say.

When they asked me to speak, they said I would be in the AUTHOR'S CORNER.
Now they are saying the CORNER, which is nice and nonthreatening, is actually
a STAGE, which is not a CORNER. Definitely NOT. And the CORNER holds 100
people. No CORNER I have ever been in holds 100 people. One hundred spiders
maybe, especially in my GARAGE which is NOT a STAGE either and does not hold
100 PEOPLE.

You get my drift.

So if you’re in Portland, Oregon this Friday, I would love to see some friendly faces in my CORNER.

Also, the talented Delilah Marvelle posted a fabulous PIX at the Rose City Romance Writer's Blog that is hysterical. If you're a writer, you will definitely relate. Check it out here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Lost a Week and Want Some Fish?

I stuck my head out of my quarantined cave and found that I lost a week somewhere. A week where I was supposed to be prepping for an article due TODAY!

Guess what I'll be doing?

I did however manage to finish and polish the first chapter of Speed, which my CP's fondly refer to as the BEST STUFF I'VE EVER WRITTEN. Actually, My Cp's don't call it that, I do. But it's right up there. Every scene pops, the words flow and the pacing is perfect. Sent it off to my agent last night in a flurry of elation. Hopefully she will think the same thing.

My husband caught more fish. We have fish coming out our ears, people. Unfortunately, The Children and I HATE fish. As in, don't even cook it in the house because massive retching and gagging will commence.

My son and husband have been fishing like a gazillion times in the last three weeks and have brought home huge hulking salmonoids every damn time. They say it's like Alaska, there are so many rolling in the river. My freezer and fridge are now full of salmon steaks and bright orangy red eggs in varying degrees of curedness. This makes my son and husband really excited. Me, not so much. It's very disconcerting to open up the fridge for your morning milk and find an EYE staring back at you.

I leave you with Pix.





Saturday, October 18, 2008

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Stacey DeKeyser



This week I'm touring Jump the Cracks by Stacey DeKeyser. This books looks fantastic and is going on my to be bought list. Check it out!

Jump the Cracks

What would you do?

As far as I'm concerned, there's no excuse not to be decent...Especially when you're responsible for a kid.

It just figures that fifteen-year old Victoria's dad fails once again to be at the train station like he's promised. Fuming, Victoria watches as a teen mom stashes her bruised little boy in the train's bathroom. When the mom gets off the train alone, Victoria decides she has had it with all the poor excuses who call them selves parents. Making a split-second decision, Victoria boards the next train out of town-taking the little boy with her.

No, really, what would you do? Victoria's staying on the run until everyone responsible starts keeping their promises. This kid's not falling through the cracks. Not on her watch.


Reviews for Jump the Cracks:
“Bracingly realistic….With a combination of lively adventure and humane treatment of its characters, this is an absorbing and emotionally effective read.” — BCCB
"Strong characters and fast-paced action." — VOYA
"Thought-provoking....Introspective tweeners will find plenty to chew on." — Booklist
“Teens are sure to find this an interesting read.” — School Library Journal

And reader praise:
"Teen kidnaps toddler--or does she? The story was terrific...The ending fits the story perfectly."
— Linda Sue Park, Newbery-winning author
"Julia LOVES your book. She has told a few kids in her 6th grade class about it and has informed me that they get first dibs on reading her copy before me!" — mother of Julia, age 12
“I thought it was amazing! I couldn't put it down. The end almost made me cry.” — Jessica, age 17

 Nominated for YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2009
 Nominated for the Texas Lone Star Reading List, 2009
 Under consideration for the 2009 Edgar Award

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This Magic Moment....

Imagine you were an eighteen year old boy in love with a seventeen year old girl. Imagine being led outside with a blindfold on. Imagine the Drifters playing This Magic Moment. Imagine opening your eyes to have the lights go on and a romantic meal for two is set with candles and twinkly lights.

My daughter has a way with setting a romantic scene though sometimes such as the infamous prom night, it doesn't turn out.

Last night turned out and they dined on freshly caught salmon, pasta, bruschetta and warm chocolate chip cookies served on plates drizzled with caramel. She knows the way to a man's heart. I think the romance is for her. The food is for him.

It was their sixth month anniversary.

PPhhbbbttt.

My twentieth is coming up and I'll be lucky if I get a nap.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Have to Blow By Nothes

Yep, the Brown family has been stricken by the plague. The PLAGUE I tell you!

I missed work yesterday. My second full week of work and I miss a day. Now they know the truth, that their dedicated activist who wants to change the world is a WEENIE!

Though not as bad as my teenage daughter who lets loose with HISTRIONICS at the first sign of a sniffle. And let me tell you, this is more than a sniffle. Poor dear was practically comatose on the bathroom floor last night. The conversation went like this:

Me: Megs, if you don't take medicine, you won't feel better.
Megan: I'm dying. I can't breathe. I can't swallow. How can I take medicine if I can't swallow?
Me: Put these in your mouth and swallow.
Megan: I CANNNNNNN'TTTTTT!

Half hour later:

Me: Just Try.
Megan: I CANNNNN'TTTTT!
Me: NOW! I'm sick too! I want to go to bed!
Megan: (Putting pills in her mouth, holding them till they melt, then gagging and spitting them into the tub) I told you I can't!
Me: MEGAN!
Megan: I want Daddy!
Me: I'm getting your father.

I tell you, it's worse than having a three year old. Her boyfriend, who's no dummy, took one look at her and ran screaming into the night. Actually, he rubbed her back and told her she looks beautiful even though she has no makeup, a red nose and watery eyes. Now that's a boy who wants something, don't you think?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good News Bad News

Good News:) My agent loved my revised proposal!

Bad News:( I'm sick as a dog. One of the hazards of working with kids.

Good News:) My agent also loves my series proposal!

Bad News:( I have to work tomorrow... sick.

Good News::) I got a lot of assignments this month!

Bad News:( I have one due day after tomorrow and I'm not even close to being ready for it.

Good News:) I'm super excited about my WIP!

Bad News:( I have no energy to work on it.

Good News:) I get to go to bed right after dinner!

Badnews:( I have to make dinner.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Putting Together a Library

I'm dedicating a shelf at the community center where I work for teens, so I'm collecting teen fiction. Now I have a great collection myself and have donated quite a few, but I have some I just can't part with. I'm looking mostly for multicultural books. Community Partners for Affordable Housing, where I work, is an amazing organization. They own and run four properties and only 26% of the money comes from the government. One of them is for low income seniors and the others are for low income families, mostly single moms. Each property has a community center and runs an afterschool tutoring center for children k-middle school. Teens get their own parties and there is also a scholarship program in place. The programs are designed as a support for families in need. The program includes tutoring, nutritious snacks, computer time and fun and games. We also teach character traits.

I figure that having a teen library right in the community center will give these teens easy access to books that are about them. A teen hesitant to go to the public library will be able to walk over to the community center for a book. I'm planning on including a checkout program (perhaps putting a teen in charge of it) and a list of multicultural books. I am so excited about this! If anyone has a book they would like to donate, or any other ideas, please let me know!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Maybe I'm an Cynical Idealist?

So I watched the presidential debate the other night. Now, I rarely get political on my blog because quiet frankly, it's no one's business. But this is just getting too damn befuddling for me. So this is my breakdown:

Obama looks so bloody presidential. Point for Obama. Poor McCain's stiff armed stance can't even compare. Of course, McCain is a broken up man, broken up by age (ie experience)and serving our country, so point for McCain.

I want to believe Obama. I do. He has such wonderful words and says them with such sincerity. I love the idealism he promotes. I want to BELIEVE the idealism he promotes. So point for Obama because he makes me WANT to believe.

But maybe I'm just too old? Maybe I'm just a cynic at heart? And there's that whole, running for president since the 2004 democratic convention thing. I remember hearing someone say, "that man could run for president." I think Obama heard it too, because he's been running ever since.

Of course, McCain has been running for president since the BEGINNING OF FREAKING TIME, so they come out even on that one.

And did anyone else scream "HOW?" at the TV everytime one of them promoted something?

So I don't know. I know we need change (Gawd, that's a word I don't ever want to hear again!) And whoever takes over the presidency is going to have a mess on their hands.

Sigh. So what to do? I have voted in every presidential election since I turned eighteen. I was the girl who showed up at parties with voter's regustration cards in the back pocket of my acid washed jeans. I'm the young mom who treated election day as an exciting field trip and holiday all rolled up into one fun trip to the polls and the ice cream parlor.

Ten years ago, this wouldn't have been an issue. I know who I would have voted for. Twenty years ago, this wouldn't have been an issue, I know who I would have voted for. And no, in case you're wondering, it wouldn't have been the same person.

Now I'm both more cynical and more mellow.

And I have no clue who I'm voting for. Maybe it's peri-menopause?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I think I won them over...

My new job is filled with children ages 5 to 12. As any mother can tell you this is a HUGE age difference. One likes coloring, the other likes coloring her hair. One likes playing tag, the other likes tagging bathroom stalls. One likes, okay, you get the idea.

So what do we do with this group of 17 children of widely disparate ages? Homework, food, playing games/activity. Oh, and try to teach them character traits so that when they are walking home some day and someone hands them a crack pipe, they'll say "No, get thee behind me, you scuzz covered, snaggletoothed, SATAN!"

That's the idea anyway.


There's a group of fifth and sixth grade girls who come to program. They are cooler than me. They are cooler than anyone on the face of the planet. So I put my best "I'm still cool even though I'm over FORTY face", and introduced myself. Being an author of TEEN fiction gave me a step up, so I think I did pretty well the first day.

The second day, I did pretty well too, because I brought in my book. By the third day, they seemed over it and were waiting for what else I had. Sorry, girls, I'm a one trick pony. I write and that's pretty much it. I tried to be funny and earned mild amusement. So I snuck them out extra snacks. Yep, I stooped to bribery. So I think I'm "in."

Hmmm. Maybe sometime this week I'll have my daughter's cute boyfriend pick me up in his brand new WRX. That should do the trick. Right? Or my boss will misinterpret and it'll get me FIRED! The kid does look like he's TWELVE.

Being cool is EXHUASTING! Thank God, the little ones are easy. I played 25 minutes of swamp monster tag yesterday and I'm in like Flynn. Oh, cool people don't say in like Flynn, do they?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Ponderings

Coffee-- I love coffee. Has anyone noticed how coffee has become a more and more like a verb? As in let's do coffee. Time for coffee! Going out for coffee (and yes, I do realize that coffee is a noun) has become something you do. I go out for coffee with friends (though less now that the economy has tanked),go to coffee by myself (when I wish to write) and make coffee in the mornings for my husband. Now, I love me some tea and understand that in many places of the world going out for tea means the same thing... spending time with friends over a refreshment that contains caffiene. But my first love is coffee. Of course, going out for drinks means much the same thing with the added bonus of slight intoxication, so I have no clue where I'm going with this. HA! And you read this far thinking that I had some deeper meaning. I don't. I really don't.

Weddings-- I attended my neice's wedding yesterday. It was lovely. The service was lovely, the bride was lovely and the frog who croaked through the entire service was lovely. Of course, it wasn't lovely to see the father of the bride and my husband (brothers)trying to hold back the laughter concerning said frog, but hey, you can't have everything. The bride has a great sense of humor and thought it was funny while the groom's mother looked mortified. Ribbit.

Daughters-- Since the neice who is now residing in wedded bliss is barely eighteen, it makes me think about my daughter who is going on eighteen. Now, I've never worried much about her because she goes through young men like I go through, well, coffee. But she now has a swain who has been with her for almost six months and I'm starting to get a little concerned. I hear the peels of laughter coming from her room when he's over and remember how my husband and I laughed when we first got together, (still do, on occasion). I watch the way he rubs her back when she's having a bad day, or drops everything to be with her and I'm thinking. Uh Oh. This one's going to be around for a while. When he pulled out of a college that was two hours away to go to one that is twenty minutes away, I really started to worry. That, my friends, is the actions of a young man in lurve. This kid is kinda like having a third child.

I know. We're feeding him.

The week-- First full week at the new job. I'm feeling the pressure of having to be somewhere everyday at a given time. Hate that. Didn't finish my rewrite, so that's on the agenda. Also have a new month's worth of articles to do. I deep cleaned the house on Saturday and it still looks decent, so won't have to worry about that much.
Lot's of crits to get to though and no doubt stuff will come up!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Huge to do list

Note--

Were you one of the millions who watched the vice presidential debate last night? Anyone else decide they like both vice presidential candiates better than either one of the presidential candidates? Sigh.

To do list
Finish grocery list
Go grocery shopping
Finish article due
Finish chapter two of proposal rewrite
clean house
Go to high school and excuse dd's absences

Full day. Best get to it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

WOOT!

Yesterday, I was totally down in the dumps about the rewrite on my proposal, but today is another day and I am LOVING my story!

I'm almost halfway through the second chapter and I'm so pleased with my first chapter now that I'm dying for my other CP's to read it. The chapter now has an air of mystery about it and the characters are really coming alive. I'm having to dig deeper for this-- doing things I've never done before, but the results are going to be so worth it!

I started the new job yesterday and loved it. It was loud and confusing, but what a fabulous program for low income kids. I'm really proud to be a part of such an awesome organization. Of course, it was a bit loud and chaotic, but I'll get used to it.

Okay, now to finish off chapter two!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Its FARM TIME

it's October first and that means it's time for farms. That's what we call it in our family. Farm time. Since I had the luxury, or perhaps the insanity, to homeschool my kids, we were always going on a field trip because that's so much more interesting than sitting at the kitchen table doing schoolwork. I even wrote a book on it called Day Tripping.

One of our favorite field trips was farm time. Of course, my children being city slickers have no idea what it's like to actually live on a farm. It means getting up before school to thaw out your horse's water, feeding the damn chickens and stepping in chicken crap,changing irrigation pipes--twice a day-- cows getting out, pigs getting out, weazles getting the eggs, coyotes getting the lambs... yeah..Farm life. Dirty, smelly, far from romantic, farm life.

No, my children think farm life is bright crisp apples, petting zoo's, hay rides, fresh produce, and picking out pumpkins. And that is exactly the way I wanted it, because I was NEVER going to live the reality again. No sir, not me!

Ahem.

But we do love farm time. That means we get to visit pretty picturesque farms, go through hay and corn mazes, taste apples, listen to music and wander through gift stores. It means I get to come home to my snug suburban home and decorate with fall decorations while my now teens enjoy it like little kids, setting bowls of Indian corn about the house, tying up stalks of dried corn for the front porch... we pretty much go all out and have for years.

I wish they enjoyed raking leaves half as much.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Book Week

This week is banned book week, so I wanted to take a minute to talk about something near and dear to my heart.

As a Christian, I've known many people who would ban books. (Notice I say known because I left that church, baby.) I can't say I don't understand where the mentality comes from a wee bit, because if you were to find erotica in your child's school library, wouldn't you be a little upset? But who defines what erotica is? For instance, Judy Blume's, Forever is a fabulous, touching book about a girl's first sexual experience. To some it's erotica. To most of us, it was pretty enlightening and helpful. Are You there God? It's Me, Margaret, taught me things I wouldn't have learned anywhere else. It helped me feel normal. Nether of these books would be on school book shelves if it were up to some people.

So I agree that there has to be some oversight in a school library (I'm talking elementary school here) I pretty much trust the ALA and the school librarians... they really do have the best interest of our children at heart. But highschool and public libraries are a whole different ballgame and banning books and control of ideas frightens me.

I leave you with this from the ALA press release:

CHICAGO – Are books like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” or the Harry Potter series available at your public or school library? According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), due to book challenges, more than a book a day faces removal from public access in school and public libraries. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.

You can read the whole press release here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend in Retrospect

First off, I am hugely bummed that I didn't get out to see the lovely and talented Zu Vincent while she was here for the KIDlit Blogger's conference. That was the only major bummer to my weekend.

FRIDAY--My weekend actually began on Friday, when I finished most of my writing work in the morning so I could do the week's grocery shopping and deep clean the house because I knew the rest of the weekend was going to be PACKED. I mean, even more PACKED than the family truckster heading to Wallyworld. After finishing the house, I rush back to work on both of the proposals that need to be rewritten. Well, one rewrite, the other just a page needs to be redone. I also made several HUGE pans of ultimate nachos for the family (and the daughter's boyfriend who has attached himself to the family.

SATURDAY-- I spent ALL day Saturday at the Selah True North Seminar at George Fox University. It was incredible and amazing. The speakers were talented and funny and the breakout sessions were phenomenal. What I loved about this seminar is that it not only valued the spiritual over the traditional (they had a workshop of yoga and spirituality, for goodness sake!) but it took women seriously. In general, I usually HATE women's ministries because women are often treated as bits of fluff who only value shopping and theme parties. And yes, I know those in charge of women's ministries are usually women, and I think they are devaluing themselves by perpetuating the stereotype. Yes, shopping and theme parties have their place in women's lives, but it isn't the ONLY thing! But I digress, this conference was amazing and the sessions not only included the aforementioned yoga, but also meditation, contemplative prayer stations and others that valued a person's spirituality. Very cool and very unusual for a Christian conference. Kudos to the Selah organizers.

SUNDAY-- I woke up in the wee hours to enjoy a run with my best friend, annie... what a way to celebrate your birthday, eh, Annie? Then my darling dh and I actually grabbed some time alone together and went off to Starbucks to enjoy coffee and those little breakfast sandwiches. My friend Jorge was there, a fellow writer from Columbia who is now retired and spends his time writing and traveling the world with his wife. The DJ had never met Jorge, one of my Starbucks friends... Jorge and I have written together, philosophized together and solved all the problems of the world over a cup of Joe at Starbucks. it was nice to be able to introduce him to my other life.

After coffee we attended church and then headed back home. I had hours of writing to do, and managed to make cinnamon rolls for this morning. At six, I had to head back up to the church for another meeting. And no, I usually don't spend so much of my weekend at church... in fact, lots of times I don't go to the church all weekend, HA! But this weekend just happened to be one of those weekends. Making up for lost time. Snort.

And yes, I did all this with big bruises under my eyes!

This weeks to do list.

Three articles due
chapter one due
Send series overview to agent
finish 2k8 stuff and send to the Fab Terri Clark

Okay, there's also tons of home and family stuff to do, but I'll spare you all...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Pays to Have Friends in High Places

I have a sweetheart of a friend. Actually, she's a smart, sarcastic, 21-year-old with a biting wit, but she's still a sweetheart:) I've known her since she was five years old and her little sister is my daughter's best friend.

ANYHOO...

This sweetheart of a friend now works for a place that does dermatology and laser surgery. You know, face stuff for those of us past a certain age. Actually for anyone who has skin issues which is a real boon to highschoolers prone to serious pimpleage. I knew a kid in high school who's acne was so bad that his face positively oozed. He also had the unfortunate luck to have the name ROCKY. I kid you not.

ANYHOO...

Shay called me and said the doctor she worked for was having a training session at the center and needed faces to participate, free of charge. Could I be a face? Hot damn! It just so happens that I have a face! So yesterday I go gallivanting off to The Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery to get the wrinkle lines around my mouth fixed in a training session. FOR FREE!

After Shay numbed my face, one of the doctors popped her head in all excited and says it's going to take a bit longer because the new filler has a lot more indications than they had thought. I asked if it could take care of the bags under my eyes and the doctors said YES! She disappears and I instruct Shay to numb my whole bloody face just in case.

I'm not going to describe what happened next in respect for those blog readers who get queasy stomachs due to needles or blood talk. Suffice it to say that it was a little bit more painful than I thought, but that was mostly because they did a lot more than I thought they would do.

So now I have no bags under my eyes, no lines running from my mouth to my nose and for the first time in my life... I have cheek bones. Real actual cheek bones. And they promised that after the swelling and bruises go away that it is going to be super natural.One of the reasons they love this new product is that it's hypo allergenic, incredibly natural looking, actually stimulates your own collagen growth, and lasts for a year. Which can either be a bad thing or a good thing. HA!

But combined with the weight loss, I think it's going to be a good thing! So yeah, I basically got an $2800 cosmetic procedure for the price of gas. I love my friends!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Writing and The Economy

So I've been watching a lot on the economy and I'm wondering how it's going to affect writers.

As a freelancer, I get nervous whenever the economy dips and quite frankly, I've never seen a dip like this one. I am also worried because I don't as of the moment have another book contract and wonder what is going to happen to the publishing houses during this time.

At home, we are battening down the hatches and tightening the sails. No more credit card purchases unless absolutely necessary, stick to the meals plans I've been doing, plan cheaper meals, check out the grocery outlet stores, use less lights, less gas, less everything. Things we probably should have been doing all along.

We canceled our bathroom remodel and our contractor said we weren't the only ones. I feel for those kinds of businesses.. they will probably be the first ones hit.

I'm glad for my job now and we are waiting to hear on a nice city job for my son. Believe it or not, my eighteen-year-old son has serious connections in our small city. He was on the youth advisory council for four years, two as vice president and one as president. He knows the mayor, the city manager, various people in the parks department and several policemen. The assistant to the city manager thinks the sun rises and sets on him, so hopefully he'll get the job. (Knock wood)

Then that will make all four of us employed. Daughter pays for half her insurance and some of her essentials and both can start helping with gas. We also gave up skate lessons until she can afford to take them herself. Son's college is paid for as long as he keeps his scholarship.

We'll make it. We'll probably learn a thing or two on the way, things we used to know, like how to live on a tight budget! I'm sure our children will learn a lot! They've been spoiled for years.

What are you doing to survive the economy?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Teen Fiction Cafe and The Economy Strikes!

I'm blogging at Teen Fiction Cafe today... if you want to know what I was like in Junior High, you can check it out here. Hint: I've been known to devour bad poetry...literally!

Also, the economy has struck and my husband lost all his overtime at work. That's a third of our income, people. The upshot of this is that I had to pull out of my classes at school and put it off until next term, when hopefully things will be better.

Sigh.

But that's okay. I know there's a reason for it. Maybe God knows I'm on the verge of a whole bunch of book contracts and he knows I couldn't handle everything! LOL Nothing like being positive!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Race For the Cure!

Today I will be doing my first 5k race. Unfortunately, I woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. I really want to run the whole thing... we'll see. I will be running with Delilah Marvelle, fellow author and all around fabulous person. We are so doing this!

Edit: I DID IT! I RAN THE WHOLE WAY!

And I didn't actually run with Delilah... she runs way too fast:) But we did high five at one section where the course ran back past itself and she did wait for me to finish. What a pal! My husband got waylayed into doing someone else's job and wasn't there to see me finished, so I was really happy to see her. Took me 34:13 minutes...

But I did it.

Edit 2: If you are trying to get in touch with me via text message, be advised that my phone is basically dead... the inside screen is dark. I had to take it with me on the run so I could find my family afterwards and I didn't want to carry it so I stuck it in my cleavage. Wear a regular bra and a sports bra and you have killer cleavage. In more ways than one, cause my phone is now incapacitated. That'll teach it to get fresh.

Friday, September 19, 2008

GCC Presents: Death By Latte!

How fun does this look???



DEATH BY LATTE
by Linda Gerber

Following on the heels of this summer’s killer YA mystery, DEATH BY BIKINI, DEATH BY LATTE (Puffin Paperback; September 18, 2008; $9.99) is a modern-day romantic mystery/suspense in the tradition of Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr.

DEATH BY LATTE Aphra Connolly, who had been living a quiet existence on her father’s secluded island resort, until Seth Mulo turns up and steals her heart… and provides information that leads her to find her mom in Seattle. But the reunion isn’t quite what she expected. Aphra’s mom, Natalie, doesn’t seem happy to see Aphra, and Natalie’s boyfriend, Joe, insists that Aphra go home. Even worse, Seth shows up, only to ask her to return the ring he had given her that summer. At least Natalie’s good-looking neighbor is sympathetic. But when Joe is found dead at a nearby coffee shop, Aphra discovers her whole trip to Seattle has been based on a lie. And now someone just might be trying to kill her. . . .


Praise for DEATH BY LATTE:

“Great characters, plot twists, and non-stop action and excitement.”
YA Books Central
http://www.yabookscentral.com/cfusion/index.cfm?fuseAction=books.review&review_id=13742

“Full of action, suspense, and mystery, Death by Latte is a thrilling edition to the Death by series!”
The Story Siren
http://www.thestorysiren.com/2008/09/death-by-latte.html

Website:
http://lindagerber.com
Facebook: http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518643863
Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/gerbsplace
Blogger:
http://lindagerber.blogspot.com/
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/gerbsan

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mini Rants

Just thought I'd get a few things off my chest...

1. Sharing a Car with my Daughter. Yall met her when she jacked my blog. Pretty. Funny. And a diabolical car snatcher. One moment it's there, the next moment when I'm heading out with my keys in a blind craze to get myself a pint of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia... it's not. I furiously start to text her and realize she shouldn't be reading texts while driving our new car anyway. By the time she gets home, I'm usually asleep in a sugar deprived coma and by the next morning I have forgotten until I need the car again. Note to self. Hide her keys. And mine.

2.Family Drama: Not my little family, extended family. Because OH. MY. GOD. (Insert huge massive eye roll. So large in fact, that my eyes dislodge themselves from their mooring and roll across the floor.)

3. Waiting If there's anything about the publishing business that I can't stand, it's the waiting. Wait for your agent to read a proposal. Wait for an editor to read a proposal. Wait for the marketing people to read a proposal. Wait for a contract. Wait for Advance. Wait for the cover art. Good grief, people. Do you know that what time a writer isn't spent on writing and marketing is spent on waiting?

And because I never want to end on a negative note, check out my post on Linda Gerber's blog where we are all celebrating the launch of her new YA book, Death by Latte! Then check out this fantastic book trailer for The Possibilities of Sainthood. I must get this book! It's gotten HUGE rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and the like.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Step at a Time

I'm about to go running with my best friend. I wouldn't have believed when I started this five months ago, that I would ever be at this point. I can run. I don't smoke. I'm going back to school. I have a job, working part time for an organization that I believe deeply in. My writing is going very well and I hope to have good news soon.

And it all started with a single step. Then another. And another.

Did losing weight and working out change my life? I could say yes, but I believe that it goes deeper than that. I believe that for all human beings it starts by making a decision to be proactive. Then continuing to make that choice each and every day.

And then confidence begins to enter the picture... if I can do this, what else can I do? The possibilities are endless.

There's a passage in the Bible that talks about renewing your mind and I think that is key. Hope comes from change, changes comes from risk, risk comes from faith and faith gives you the hope to risk again. I believe humans were made for change, women, with their ability to adapt and multitask, were especially made for change. The opposite of change is stagnation. I don't want my body, my mind, my writing or my relationships to ever stagnant!

SO I am off to run with my friend. What a change that is!

Today's To Do

Blog Mom for 2k8
Call in prescription
My blog
Work on new non fiction articles
plot out Speed
Work on super secret project
run
dinner
straighten up house

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

OMG!

Pretty much going crazy here. Yesterday was so much fun... or would have been had I not been so incredibly tired! I got to hang out with four fabulous women; Jennifer Bradbury, Lisa Schroeder, Liz Gallagher, and a 2k9er, Roseanne Perry. We did a panel presentation on group marketing and I think it went really well. A lot of input from the fabulous audience, full of writers, booksellers and librarians. The lunch speaker was great, Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. So much fun! Maybe next time I won't be so bleary eyed and can enjoy it even more.

Have decided to drop a class and only take one. With my new job, running, and possible book deals, it is just smarter. Plus, I think easing my way back into school makes more sense... especially since I wasn't particularly successful the first time around;-)

Todays to do list is insane. On the upside, I don't have to go anywhere except to the track to run. YAY! A home day!

Today's to do

Blog Mom for 2k8
My blog
Next weeks 2k8 blog
Find article for PR rep
Finish gentle birth article and send (Due today! Ack!)
Check on status of first trimester questions
Get anecdotal Sources for first trimester
Drop Writing Class
Call mom and CANCEL today's plans
Call in Prescription
Get Dinner in Crockpot
Straighten up house
Run
Plot Speed some more (If I have time. HA!)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A quick Monday check in...

Wow, nothing like a little altruism to make a mother proud... almost brings a tear to my eye. ;-)

A really quick check in:

1. I got the job. I'm now working for Community Partners for Affordable Housing. It's a fabulous organization and they even have an annual fundraiser called homeword, that fetes authors at a big dinner... and yes, they asked me if I wanted to be involved in that before they ever hired me. I will be working at one of the community centers 12 hours a week. I am so happy to be part of such a worthy organization.

2. I will be speaking today at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association annual conference with several other 2k8 authors. I am so exicted!

3. And finally, my agent loved loved loved one of the ideas I sent her. Am so excited to get to work on a new book...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Jacked My Mom's Blog!

So Mom has been blogging about doing good things with the money you get from book sales and that gave me a fabulous idea! Mom once told me that if she sells enough books, she would send me to Cabo for spring break. Well, actually, I asked, "Mommy, if you sell a lot of books and make a lot of money, could I go to Cabo for spring break?" And she said, "MmmHmmm." Of course, she was staring at the computer screen, which is the very best time to ask her ANYTHING!!!!

So that's my idea for a Charity!! The Send Megan to CABO Fundraiser! Everytime you buy one of her books, you increase MY chances for going to Cabo San Lucas. Check out this picture, can't you just see me in Cabo?



And this is me with my best friend Dani. She wants to go to Cabo too!


Okay, I have to bounce because I have to get ready for school, but remember to buy my Mom's books so I can have the senior trip of a lifetime!

Peace Out
Megan Brown

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Books and Giving Back

Reading Nancy Viau's pledge to give a dollar for each individual comment to the National Park fund, got me to thinking. How many authors use their books as a platform for change. I think this happens a lot more in nonfiction than fiction, but novelist like Nancy do it, as well.

Nina Nelson, who wrote, Bringing the Boy Home, a middle grade book set in the Amazon rain forest, is giving a portion of her profits to the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT).

Jeanne Ralston, Author of The Unlikely Lavender Queen, is giving a portion of her Amazon profit to various charities, including a Lavender Farm in Mexico. You can read more about it here.

So what do you think about writing and giving back? Do you think people could get jaded about it being just a promotional tool, or is it a good way to combine passions with altruism?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sound Bites

Actually, not Sound Bites, more like Print Bites. Oooh! I like that! I should copywrite that for something. Maybe a column? Print Bites by Teri Brown. Sounds good to me!

Anyway, a few print bites for today:

1.As you all know, I'm a member of the Class of 2k8. On the blog today, Nancy Viau, author of the MG book, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in her Head is donating one dollar to the National Park Foundation for every different person that comments on her launch this week—Monday through Friday. You can check it out here. Leave a comment, give a buck to a good cause!

2. I got an interview for that job I mentioned on Saturday, the one for Community Partners for Affordable Housing. Cross your fingers!

3. I ran two miles yesterday. On road! I really need to step up my training this week-- twelve days to my 5k!

4. I have a new and diverse project in the works with another fabulous writer. I'm super excited about this and if all goes as planned, I should be announcing it in the next month or so. It is writing related, but not book related... so ponder that if you want:)

5. My to do list this week is BRUTAL!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wow, Even More Direction...

So I go to church yesterday and reconnect with an old friend. A very smart, compassionate woman with a masters in counseling who owns her own business. We talk a little about my aspirations and she suggests that I attend the Genesis Change orientation that is meeting that night. So I do.

Wow.

Not only is it a powerful counseling and addiction recovery program, but it has an amazing success rate and combines the lastest in neuroscience and human behavior with faith. One of the leaders of the group also returned to school to get a counseling degree and got credit for the Genesis training seminars she attended because it's so well thought of. This is fabulous for me, because not only can I get a grip on changing any destructive behaviors I might have,(like my currently off, but easily turned on addiction to nicotine) but in order to get into the counseling program at the college, I have to undergo counseling myself and this will totally fill that requirement.

A total win win. It's a pretty intensive program and will take all year, but I am so psyched! I am going to learn a TON!

See, if you are open to direction, it comes.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Little More Direction...

Okay, so I have a bit more direction...

I didn't get the job. But they were impressed enough with me to ask me to please come in for an author event and to please propose a couple of classes because they would love to have me teach, They also wanted me to be a facilitator for a group of homeschool parents, but that would actually interfere with my new school schedule!

So I go to the advising session, which was awesome, but I was too late to get a drug and alcohol class, so I'm taking a couple of Gen Ed classes. Psychology 201 and Writing 121. I register online today.

I also applied for another job... only nine hours a week at a low income housing complex... I'd be doing after school activities with middle grade kids. I would really, really like this one and the hours work out well with my schedule. So please say prayers that I get an interview. I have no formal training with kids, but have done a ton of volunteer work in that area. So maybe.

If I work for a social work, I would have a better chance of getting into the counseling program and the job might fill my practicum requirements as well.

So... we'll see.

But I am registering for classes today. One step at a time:)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Project Runway, Children's Book Style

You have to run over to the class of 2k8 and check out Today's Blog. Hysterical version of Project Runway!

In other quick news, I have another meeting with an academic advisor today up at the college. What I do depends on whether or not I get that job. If I don't get a call today that means I didn't get it. If I don't get it, I'll take two classes. If I do, I'll only take one.

Also, check out this vid... it's announcing the Death By Latte Cyber Party and it is going to be a party!!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sooo Much

So much going on, so little time with which to explain...

1. I ran off track yesterday. Which means I ran on an actual road with actual hills. And I did great. Ran for about 30 minutes. It felt awesome!

2. My interview went well. I don't know if I have the job, but I do have new fans. They thought I was hysterical. I think maybe I over did it. I couldn't help it! I was nervous. The job is basically an office job, but it's at a homeschool resource center. I can't believe how big it is... they offer over 92 classes a week and the community has over 600 students, family members and staff. Wow. I would have loved to have something like that when I was homeschooling! I would like the job, but really, I'm good either way... At this point, I'm just waiting for God to open whatever door he wants me to go through.

3. In the last four days, I have received five nonfiction assignments... is that a sign? I thought the market was drying up...

4. I am taking college placement tests today. Yes, I think I'm going back to college to get a degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling with an emphasis in prevention. I would really like to work with teens as well as write for them.

How am I going to do all this and write too? Plus cook and clean and continue to mother my kids until they leave the roost? Well, I am pretty confident that it's doable. One of my dear friends, Linda Sherwood, actually went back to school and got her masters while working three part time jobs and raising four young children. Three part time jobs come up to more than one full time job. And all of her kids were in sports, so often times that meant running to more than one town in an afternoon... and she lives out in the wilds of Michigan where towns are fifty miles or more apart. If she can do that, surely I can handle a job, nonfiction, school, novel writing, promotion and a family, right? Right?

Plus, who knows, a door might shut at any moment, relieving me of something. Right now, everything is kind of up in the air, and, oddly enough, I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

This is it...

This is what I am going to need...


Isn't it purty? Am trying to find a nice one on ebay.

Hey all, wish me luck... I have an interview today. My first interview in like years. Or at least the kind you you have when you are trying to get a job... not the kind where I'm doing an article and need someone's expertise!

It's very odd.

My to do list is insane today and it includes looking presentable. I hate that!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Getting Organzied

In anticipation of the many changes that will be taking place in the next month or so, I am trying to get my life organized. Again.

It's the perfect time to do it. To me, fall is way more the season for new possibilities than spring is. Fall means back to school: new shoes, pencils and peechees. And for me this year it means getting it together and going for it. Physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. All good stuff.

But that also means I'd best get my act together. I ordered MS office yesterday, the student version that we've needed forever, and I also ordered the new 2007 Outlook. I have Outlook Express and love it, but never cared for the old Outlook. Several techies now tell me that 2007 is so much better, I won't even believe it. It better be.

What I really need is the calendar and the ability to sync it to a palm device. Now, I would really like a blackberry, but financially, that isn't happening right now... the phone isn't too bad, but we can't add another 30 bucks to an already astronomical monthly cell phone bill. So I'm looking at a Z22 palm because it has syncing capabilities and doesn't look hard to use at all. Since it doesn't have wifi, etc, it's pretty basic and really pretty cheap. Does anyone have one of these? I am going to need one to track my new schedule. Thank God, my children are getting pretty good at dealing with their own schedules, so I don't have to keep as close an eye on theirs as I used to,... the big problem is going to be sharing a car with my daughter.

Meals might be a problem too... I looked and looked and finally found an online meal planning system that not only has tons of recipes to choose from, but it takes your meal plan and generates a grocery list from it. Then you have the ability to add or delete from the list so if you already have vanilla, you can delete it. It also has a pantry area, but I haven't played with that yet. Best of all, it's free! It looks a little labor intensive to start, but once you have your family's basic meals in there, you can use a repeat feature for following weeks. I am hoping it will save me both time and money.

I cleaned off my desk and work area and was pleased to see that my filing system is still efficient if I actually work it! I do need to ad a few new files, but I went through the kid's binders and tossed anything that wasn't current. I still have some things to do for Megan's school, but E's is pretty easy this term and he can do it himself:)

So all good thing. Today I continue my house cleaning and organizing quest... we have a bbq with the inlaws today. Which is nice in a way cause at least the house will get clean!