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.


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.


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.


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!


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???

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

“Full of action, suspense, and mystery, Death by Latte is a thrilling edition to the Death by series!”
The Story Siren

Facebook: http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=518643863

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
straighten up house

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


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
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.


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!