Monday, November 1, 2010

13 to Life

I haven't done too well on my Debut Author Challenge.....

But......

13 to Life  by Shannon Delany was good. I thought it was better than some of the books by well-established writers I've read recently. The plot was kind of predictable, but YA usually is. I thought the characters had intriguing personalities, which made up for that and there were a few surprises along the way too. I didn't expect how the car accident happened, and though I think Jess, the main character, is way too self-less when it comes to Sarah, I know there has to be more to it and I'm looking forward to reading the next book to find out what it is. I also liked that Pietr's true identity wasn't revealed until the end, though I did expect it. I also like how the Russian Mafia tied in. That was a new twist too. Overall, I think this was a good book. My 14 year-old-daughter has already read it and is passing it on to her friends. She's already asked me to buy her to next one when it comes out! That's a good sign, Ms. Delany!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Books Week



It's Banned Books Week. Check out the ALA's Banned Books Page to learn about banned books and tips on how to celebrate the week. I am surprised by some of the books on the list. I hope one of my books gets banned some day :)

This site is in PDF version and has a list of recently banned books and ways to get involved.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

But the words get in the way....

I keep hearing that Gloria Estefan song in my head:

"But the words get in the way

There's so much I want to say
But it's locked deep inside"

Only it's not the words, it's life. Teaching full time, raising four kids, but those aren't the only things keeping me from writing, life is. I haven't watched tv in three weeks, (except the weather when a tornado was heading our way). So I can't use that as an excuse, but I do have a really good excuse right now. I always seem to, unfortunately.

My father-in-law, a wonderful man named Tommie Morse, who I have had the pleasure of having as part of my life for over 18 years, only has a day or two left. Sadly, his cancer returned and spread. He is awesome and strong and it is so sad to see him like this. It is just as sad to see my husband and children as upset as they are. I'm being strong for them as much as I can, as well as trying not to bring it to work and upset my students.

Life keeps getting in the way, but I love my life and I'm glad Tommie has been a part of it. We're going to miss you Papaw. Love you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

There's Only One Way You Can Turn Into A Giant Wolf....

Or so my main character says. She keeps telling me that and I keep listening to her, but I haven't quite gotten down how to do it. Of course, she's learning shape-shifting from her grandfather, and it is something you learn, not a "gift you're born with." That's what Grandpa keeps telling her anyways.

I need to hurry up and get her story out there, but I'm so dang critical of myself that Ican't seem to stop changing things and just write it down and let go.

Let go and let God, they say.... Guess that's just what I need to do. People keep asking me what's going on with that book I've been writing. Tweaking.... that's what I tell them. I wrote it, now I'm tweaking it. They think it just gets written, sent out, published, done deal. Movie on the way.

Whatever!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sum Sum Summertime!

Well, it's summer and I had so many plans for writing. Then, my laptop crashed again! BUT I won't give up. I've been writing a lot by hand and borrowing my hubby's laptop when he gets home from work. I have to finish the rewrites on my first novel, as well as starting a couple of the other stories I have swirling around in my head.

I got a notebook with dividers and designated a section for each book idea. I have made outlines and/or jotted down specific ideas.

Soon I will be spending a week in Oklahoma taking care of my mom after she has surgery. I plan to do some research on some Choctaw legends while I'm there, in the Choctaw Nation. I would like to incorporate some legends into my book.

I'm also getting lots of YA reading done.

Of course, my 4 kiddos MUST come first! My son has to have his 11th Birthday party and my daughter her Eclipse party!

Next month my baby turns 5!

Lovin' Summer!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's YA Highway's 1 Year Anniversary - Contests!!!!

YA Highway, an awesome group of YA authors, is celebrating their one year anniversary. AND we get to benefit from it!

They are giving away some terrific books, such as: The Mockingjay, the third installment of The Hunger Games series. All of the kiddos here at school have devoured that series. I blogged before about the dirty looks I was getting from middle schoolers for getting ahold of Catching Fire before they did. Another teacher here had the book and there was a line, but I cutted! Nanny-nanny boo boo!

The also have Linger, The Eternal Ones, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson all of which I would LOVE to have!

Check out their blog for a chance to win! YA Highway Contest Blog

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rejection - It Could Happen to Anyone.....Apparently

I recently read an article about 30 famous authors who were rejected. From JK Rowling to Stephen King, William Faulkner to Sylvia Plath, I couldn't believe that these great writers were rejected so many times before they were actually published.

My favorite part of the article said, that ee cummings’ first work, The Enormous Room, was rejected by 15 publishers. He eventually self-published the book and he dedicated it to the 15 publishers who rejected him!

Some of the books listed that were rejected were Carrie, Lord of the Flies, The Diary of Anne Frank, Animal Farm, A Time to Kill, Lolita, A Wrinkle in Time, and Gone with the Wind.

I'm not going to give up. If even these great works can be rejected, I have to keep the faith. I bet some agents and publishers were kicking themselves in the hineys :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good books!

I had to sit in a waiting room a long time yesterday while my daughter went through some tests. She has seizures and every once in a while we have to go through stuff like this. Anyway, I had a lot of time on my hands, so I curled up in the big chair in the waiting room and read Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I had almost finished the book when the testing was over and I had to find out what happened, so I stayed up last night until I'd finished.

That is an awesome book. Of course, my mind is in story-mode all the time, but I'm pretty sure I dreamed about Katniss and Peeta last night. I couldn't wait to get to school this morning and get my hands on Catching Fire, the second book in the series. I went to one of the teachers here to borrow her copy. There was a waiting list, but I pulled seniority and got the book. Four 12 and 13 year old girls have given me dirty looks all day! I read faster than them anyway! They'll just have to wait!

My daughter is in the middle of Hunger Games. She started it on the way home yesterday and grabbed the book this morning when she found out I'd finished. If I know her, she'll finish by tomorrow. Then she can wait in line like everyone else!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Debut Authors

I've been trying to work on the Debut Author's Challenge, but I'm getting a little frustrated. I went to Books-a-Million, the closest bookstore to my house, and they didn't have any of the books on my list. When I asked, I was told they could order one of them, but didn't expect to get the other one I asked about.

That's not good, right? I hope my books end up at Books-a-Million and Barnes and Noble, which are the two local book store chains near my home. We had a Borders but it went out of business. We really don't have any local small bookstores. I wish we did. Maybe, if I win the lottery or something, I'll open one.

I guess I'll order them all on Amazon. Then they can just come to my house and I won't have to worry about it, but my whole family loves going to the book store.

My daughter runs, literally, to the teen section. She could spend every dollar she has on books, plus my money too. I won't complain though, she's a teenager and she wants books..... :) My ten-year-old son is obsessed with Star Wars, but he's started reading The Lightning Thief series. When we get to the bookstore he is found sitting on the floor in the middle grade section. My husband and 17-year-old son will head to the magazines and I will follow my 4-year old over to the kids' section where we have to make the important decision of whether to buy a Spongebob, Dora, or Disney Princess book. Once she's happy, I get to shop.

I usually head over to the teen section or middle-grade section. As a teacher and writer, that's what I read. A great day for the family involves the bookstore. I just wish they carried more books by debut authors.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

My emotions got away from me....

One of my classes just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. What an amazing writer and book. I couldn't even finish reading the last page out loud. One of my students had to read it. I was too busy bawling. Of course, I'd been crying for the last 10 pages, but I just couldn't go on. And some of his passages, just put you there, in that simpler time, where the most important things in life were those dogs. This is another time I could show my kiddos that the movie just doesn't do the book justice.

One of my favorite parts is when Billy had just gotten Old Dan and Little Ann and was walking through town, when a group of kids starts picking on him. One of them had already stomped on his toe and they were singing a song to get him on the defensive, but nothing set him off until they started picking at his dogs. When he finally decides to fight back, Rawls says "I reached way back in Arkansas somewhere. By the time my fist had travelled all the way down to the Cherokee strip, there was a lot of power behind it." Now that's momentum!

I hope I can find ways to describe the scenes in my book that paint a picture and put you in the story! I'm working hard and I hope some day my books will be able to allow readers to become such a part of the story that their emotions get away from them and they can hardly finish reading the book outloud, or they are so scared they can't sleep with the light on, or they laugh outloud!

Friday, March 5, 2010

What Research Can Show You

My first completed novel (which I decided wasn't good enough, though I may go back to it later) was set in a location that I didn't know much about, so I decided I'd have to fix that problem with my next WIP.

So.... I started to doing some research on the surrounding area. Googled, went to Amazon looking for books, etc. I finally came across a book, written by the nephew of a man who had been born and grew up in this area of Texas. His uncle had told him stories, and he had recorded them. Then he sat down and wrote the book. Seems simple enough....

I want to do a paranormal YA, but I want to put some historical aspects in there too. I was so exited to read some of the tales from the late 1800s and early 1900s. This tiny town used to be a booming area with the railroad and mineral wells. The water was bottled and sold, supposedly because of its ability to heal. There was a military academy here in the l890s, yeah, that one gave me some ideas, and the post-master committed suicide when the auditor showed up unexpectedly. Apparently, he'd been embezzling money. Hmmm......There were stories from before the town was even a town.

I'm going to write more about what I know this time. In fact, I've been carrying around my trusty journal, jotting down ideas, and I've got so many scenes in my head that I know will fit in there somewhere.

Off to write......

Friday, February 19, 2010

I turned 4001

Today's my birthday. The kids at the middle school I teach at seem to think I'm a leprechaun. It all started because they make fun of me for being short. I'm only 5 ft tall. I've been called a munchkin and oompa-loompa too, but this leprechaun thing has really stuck.

I told them that they couldn't have my pot of gold. The 8th grade boys went so far as to bring me some Lucky Charms cereal and then steal some of it, so I could say they "stole me Lucky Charms!" They even come give me high-five before a basketball game so they can have some of my luck!

Apparently they think leprechauns are really old too, because they've decided that I turned 4001 today. I'm actually 34, but maybe I need to check into some kind of wrinkle remover if I look that old!

Thing is, I am so short, that I can blend right in with the 6th graders - sad I know, but I figure if all they have to make fun of me over is being short, then I'm doing good. Middle school age kids can be mean and they LOVE to make fun of people!

So today I celebrate my 4001st birthday, maybe they'll listen to the wisdom I've learned throughout all my years. Nah, they already know everything!

Loss and snow



Last week wasn't great for us. My dog, Adrian, got run over. She's been part of our family for the last eight year. We named her Adrian to go with Rocky, our Boxer pup, who died from Parvo. She, along with her siblings, had been abandoned at a vet's office. Her mother's owner was not happy when his German Shepard bred with a Black Lab, and my Adrian was one of the resulting pups. A girl I worked with was friends with the vet and brought the puppies to school. We bottle-fed them in her classroom. Adrian was one of my babies. She had out-lived all of our pets and I was devastated when I found out that she was gone.

My husband came home from picking our exchange-student up from her basketball game. As he drove up toward our drive-way he saw her, right in front of our mailbox. She was still in the road, and fortunately, she died instantly. I don't know how I would have dealt with her lying there suffering. I was so upset, I couldn't help get her out of the road. My 17-year old went and helped his dad. They were both sniffling when they came back in. I told my 13-year old, but my two little ones were already asleep, so I waited until morning to tell them. My son took it the worst. He's 10 and there's just something about a boy and his dog. He didn't want to go to school and told me that he felt "all torn up inside." My 4-year old just kept asking me where she was.

Two days later, it snowed. Snow in Texas is a rarity, and this was our second snow of the season. It snowed a lot too. I kept thinking of how much fun Adrian would have had playing with the kids in the snow. We missed school Friday because of the bad weather, and we had Monday off for President's Day. The four-day weekend was helpful. My brain needed the rest, and the kids did enjoy the snow. I don't know when I'll be able to get into and out of my pick-up without expecting her to greet me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The 2010 Debut Author's Challenge

The Story Siren, an awesome blog I'm following, is hosting a challenge to promote 2010 Debut Authors.

What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?

The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year. (This challenge is limited to novels released in 2010).

The Story Siren is challenging everyone to read at least 12 debut novels!

You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year.

Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on Amazon.com/BarnesandNoble.com/GoodReads/Shelfari, or any other bookish site.

The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!

Their challenge is 12, but I bet I can do better than that! I might even do a little challenge of my own with my 13-year-old bookaholic daughter! Wonder who can read the most!?!?! I can put both my and her reviews on my blog. What do you think?

I'm signing up to participate! If you'd like to join me in the challenge, or would like to learn more about it go to The 2010 Debut Author's Challenge.

These are the books I've chosen so far:

1. Everlasting by Angie Frazier
2. A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
3. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
4. Split by Swati Avasthi
5. Mistwood by Leah Cypess
6. 13 to Life by Shannon Delany
7. Under My Skin by Judith Graves
8. The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman

9. Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
10. The Handcuff Kid by Laura Quimby
11. Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
12. Shade by Jeri Smith-Redy


Go join the challenge!