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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday is for Secrets


Enough said.
Quote of the Day:
Trade your secrets and become who you are.
Frank Warren

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Although It May Seem Unlikely, I'm Still Alive (Somewhere)

Hey guys. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. You're actually getting a real live post from me... well, as real live as blogger gets. lol

I feel terrible. No author segments and no reviews lately.

So much has been going on over the last month that it's been hard to handle everything that I am juggling, not including the blog.

I've been really sick... really bad off for a while. I've been running tests and junk but as of now we still don't know :/. Tons of drama with the real life. Senior year's killing me.

But on the bright side, I got my acceptance letter I've been waiting for a few days ago.

I do promise, dearies -- I will try to get some posts out to you guys soon!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Blogging with Beth Kephart

Blogging with us today is Beth Kephart.

Beth Kephart spends the daylight hours as the strategic planning and writing partner of a boutique communications firm. In the early mornings, she writes. She was named a National Book Award finalist, an NEA grant winner, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts recipient, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts winner, a Leeway Foundation award winner, and a Speakeasy Poetry Prize winner. GHOSTS IN THE GARDEN was a Book Sense pick. UNDERCOVER and HOUSE OF DANCE were both recently nominated for the ALA Best Books for Young Readers List. Visit her at her blog, www.beth-kephart.blogspot.com.

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Long before blogging became a vehicle for souls such as me, I searched for ways to combine actual color and image with words. I’d buy those blank books and watercolor page after page, blotting the tints until they dried, until I could write my poems above them. I had a colored-pencil stage. I had a scatter-the-words-across-the-page-in-varying-font-styles episode.

Then blogging entered my life (I was a little late to start, but I started nonetheless), and it was as if I’d found the key to heaven. All those photos I’d been taking had a sudden, potential purpose—a virtual home. All those stories I wanted to tell, those moods I wanted to evoke, those hanging possibilities could now be succored by a picture.

Blogging for me is about completing a puzzle—about finding synchronicities between images and ideas. Sometimes I’ll go out with my camera hunting for a specific image that might support a blog story. Sometimes I study my existing photographs until they suggest an angle, an idea. The effect, in the end, is reverberatory. Blogging enables me to live inside an echo chamber.

Thanks so much, Beth!

Quote of the Day:


Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Monday, October 6, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Beth Kephart

Let's extend a warm welcome to author Beth Kephart!


How did you decide to become an author?

I don’t know that I decided to become an author; I think I simply could not help myself. I’ve loved the sound of words from a very young age—the swoosh and swirl of consonants and vowels. As I grew older I discovered that writing calms me. It forces me to think more deeply. It forces me to try to understand.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

From the age of nine on, I wanted to be a writer. Only. Today I am an author, but I also run a business with my husband that does consume some 70 hours a week, on average.

Who or what’s your greatest influence?

My son. He is wise beyond measure, generous, interested in the world and in the ways that people get along, or don’t. Often I read him passages I’m working on. Usually he can hear what is wrong. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do now that he’s in college. He’s been my inspiration for such a long time.

Are you working on something right now?

I have a book coming out next June called Nothing but Ghosts, which is a bit of a mystery and a romance and also an exploration of how a teen named Katie deals with the sudden death of her mother. I have a story about a teen suicide due out in a HarperTeen anthology next year. In February 2010 I have a book due out called The Heart is Not a Size, which takes a group of privileged teens to a squatter’s village in Juarez, Mexico, where they all come to terms with different parts of themselves. I’ve also just finished an historical novel that takes place on a single day in 1876.

So at this very, very moment I’m recovering. I’m doing work for my business (which involves a lot of writing, but of another kind) and reading books that I haven’t been able to read for a long time (I’ve got to get caught up with GoodReads!). I’m also blogging most every day, which I approach in journaling fashion. I take a lot of time with each entry.

Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

All the time. My first five books were memoirs, and every inch of every page was guided by the question, Could this line or reference at any future time hurt any one that I love? Will I wish I hadn’t published this two years or ten years from now? People, real people, have got to come first. I wrote thematic memoirs, therefore, in which I was using my own life to reflect on large, universal issues, such as, What is Friendship? Or, Do we ever real know the ones we love?

In my fiction I’m careful about other things. I don’t want to write a book that would inadvertently embarrass a reader. That means that I don’t write the sort of books that will ever gain true mass appeal—that I don’t have long passages dedicated to sex or drug use or the like. I’m interested in how characters deal with other issues—with loneliness, with family ruptures, with poor self-image, with loss. I’m interested in writing books that feel timeless, somehow, not immediately marked by cultural trends or brands.

What’s your favorite author? Your favorite book?

Michael Ondaatje, who wrote The English Patient, Coming through Slaughter, Running in the Family, Anil’s Ghost, and other books, is, I think, an utterly seductive writer. He makes me believe in the power of language.

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Excellent questions. I feel no need to say one word more. :)


Quote of the Day:


There's no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard
And no song that I could sing but I can try for your heart.
-- Jack Johnson "Better Together"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Daria Snadowsky

Today, we have with us Daria Snadowsky.

Daria Snadowsky grew up in New York City and Las Vegas. She holds a joint B.A./M.A. in film studies from Emory University in Atlanta, where she graduated in '01 with highest honors and on full merit scholarship. As a student she wrote for Creative Loafing and Las Vegas Weekly magazines. In addition she holds a J.D. from UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law, which she attended also on full merit scholarship. There she served as notes editor of Nevada Law Journal and received the school's Carl W. Tobias Excellence in Writing Award for best student note, which was published in volume 6. She's licensed to practice law in Nevada, her present domicile. Anatomy of a Boyfriend is her first novel. Visit her website at www.dariasnadowsky.com.

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How did you decide to become an author?

I was going through a long period of unemployment, and one day I just started writing. After a few weeks and a hundred pages, I thought it might have the makings of a book. When I finished it over a year later, that's when I started looking for agents and dreamed of having it published.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

I thought of being a journalist, because I enjoyed writing, or a professor, because I loved university-life. Honestly, I still dream about being a journalist or a professor!

Who or what's your greatest influence?

Judy Blume's Forever (1975) is the central inspiration behind Anatomy of a Boyfriend. When writing Anatomy, I tried to be as honest and informative as Forever is with regard to the issues of love and sex.

Are you working on something right now?

I have ideas, but at the moment I'm concentrating on law (my other career).

Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

So far, no. Certainly, I knew the sex scenes in Anatomy of a Boyfriend might raise some eyebrows, but that's not a bad thing. Whenever you write about touchy subjects, it's always going to inspire a range of reactions.

What's your favorite author? Your favorite book?

That's easy! Judy Blume is my favorite author and Forever is one of my favorite books. Speaking of Judy Blume, I actually mailed Judy Blume a mostly-edited version of Anatomy of a Boyfriend a few months before it came out. I wasn't expecting her to read it since she's so busy, but she did! She emailed me that she enjoyed it so much she had trouble putting it down!

Thanks so much, Daria!

Quote of the Day:

Everybody likes to go their own way -- to choose their own time and manner of devotion.
-- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let Me Tell You A Story...

Once, there was this wonnnnnnnderful girl who was very sad. She was known all across BookLand as a writer of reviews. Alas, her poor temperment could take no more of her website's attitue, so she said "Good bye, horrible," and returned to her old blog. There, she will be happy for ages to come.

Know who I'm talking about?

Chelsea has returned to her old blog right here on blogger, The Page Flipper. www.thepageflipper.blogspot.com

Visit her and give her some support!

Quote of the Day:

"Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry"
--The Beatles, "Because"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sundays are for Secrets

PostSecret << click here. Self explanitory.



Feel free to share your own secrets in the comments on this post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Terri Clark

Today, we get a visit from author Terri Clark!


Terri Clark has the two best jobs in the world. She works as a teen patron specialist in her local library and has realized her dream of publishing teen fiction for the readers she interacts with on a daily basis. Prior to selling her first book, she worked as a movie critic and entertainment writer, among other things. Terri currently lives in Colorado with her husband, two children, and their dog, Domino. Sleepless is her first novel. You can visit Terri online at http://www.terriclarkbooks.com/.

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How did you decide to become an author?

I've always written. I still have short stories and poems I wrote as a teen. I even have a play I wrote in the sixth grade called THE RED ROSE KILLER. However, I never considered writing as a job, it's just what I did. Instead I went to college and got my Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology. It wasn't until I became a stay-at-home mom and found an online writer's community that I started to take writing seriously and think I could do it as a profession. I began by trying to write romance novels and I did a lot of freelance writing. I wrote for everything from bridal magazines to eco-friendly magazines, but my specialty was entertainment pieces, mostly movie reviews. Then by best friend suggested I would be great at writing teen fiction and I gave it a try. I feel like that's where I'm meant to be.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

I toyed with the idea of being a teacher and I secretly yearned to be an actress, but I was painfully shy so that wasn't going to happen. In college I planned to specialize in abnormal psych with crazy plans of sitting across a table with the likes of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. I was fascinated with their psyches and I even did a detailed research paper on serial killers that both repelled and fascinated me. People like that scared me a lot more after I had children, so I decided to just write scary things instead.

Who or what's your greatest influence?

Wow, that's a tough question. I'd say Meg Cabot was a big influence. It was after reading her 1-800-Where-R-U and Mediator series that I decided to write young adult fiction. My best friend, Lynda Sandoval, a YA author herself, has also been an incredible influence on me as a writer. But, in general, I think I draw inspiration and artistry from everything I read. That's the beauty of reading books, you learn and absorb with every page. I'd also say that working with teens, I'm a teen librarian, and having teens around my house really influences me.

Are you working on something right now?

Yes, a couple things. I have a paranormal romantic comedy that I'm working on that pokes fun at Hollywood, another dark, beach thriller and a funny vampire novel. People should check out my blog (myspace.com/terristake) and website (www.terriclarkbooks.com) for updates.

Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

No, never. When I write I let myself go. I write unhindered and tell the story the way it's meant to be. It's after, when other people are reading it, that I tend to freak and worry. Mostly I worry about what my grandma thinks.

What’s your favorite author? Your favorite book?

Favorite authors, I couldn't possibly pick one -- John Green, Meg Cabot, Lynda Sandoval, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Gabrielle Zevin, Scott Westerfeld, Karin Slaughter, Rick Riordan, Gail Giles, Laura Weiss and Niki Burnham. As for a favorite book, again impossible to pick one, but there are three that really got to me--Unwind by Neal Schusterman, Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Weiss and Shattering Glass by Gail Giles.

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

What one goal you'd really like to achieve?

I'd really like to be known as a favorite (and best-selling) paranormal author among teens.



Thanks so much, Terri!



Quote of the Day:

It's as simple as something that nobody knows
That her eyes are as big as her bubbly toes.
-- Jack Johnson, "Bubble Toes"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

100 Books

According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on this list.

The instructions:
Look at the list and:
Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.
Underline the books you LOVE.
Reprint this list in your own blog.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87.Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92.The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Of the 100 books listed here, I:
Read 33
Loved 9
Intend to read 18

Well -- At least I've read more than the average adult on this list!

Quote of the Day:

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
-- Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Dia Calhoun

Today we have with us Dia Calhoun.

Dia Calhoun grew up in Seattle, Washington, where she studied ballet for many years. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mills College with a double major in English and Book Arts. Calhoun returned to Seattle to build a successful career as a freelance lettering and logo artist. Her most visible work is the logo for “Alaska” on the side of Alaska Airlines’ aircraft. She also taught typography and lettering at the Cornish College of the Arts.

Now a full time writer, Calhoun makes frequent school visits to share her work with kids. In her spare time she sings Italian arias, fly-fishes, gardens, and eats lots of chocolate. She lives with her husband, two cats, and two ghost cats in Tacoma, Washington.

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How did you decide to become an author?

I had a dynamite second grade teacher who loved poetry. She helped awaken the love of language in me. We wrote reams of stories and poems in her class. And I read stories voraciously, just gulped them down. Later, I majored in English at Mills College, where I took several creative writing classes. After college I became a freelance graphic artist. A few years later, once my business was established, I began writing every morning for an hour before work. It took me five years to write my first novel, FIREGOLD.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?


For ten years I studied quite seriously to be a ballet dancer. When I turned seventeen, I had to choose between college and dancing. This was an agonizing decision (and later it was the inspiration for my fantasy novel, ARIA OF THE SEA.) I chose college.


What is your greatest influence?


My books are influenced by my inner struggles. I write about my own dilemmas in a fictionalized way. For example, THE PHOENIX DANCE was inspired by my bipolar illness. AVIELLE OF RHIA (winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature) was inspired by my psychological reactions to September 11th . WHITE MIDNIGHT by my love of land and desire to own my own land someday.


Who is your favorite author? Your favorite book?


My favorite books are the ones I loved to read over and over as a child. The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher. BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeld. A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeline L’Engle. THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula Le Guin. LORD OF THE RINGS by Tolkien. As an adult I found Robin McKinley’s THE BLUE SWORD, a book I reread once a year.


Are you working on something right now?


I just finished a new fantasy novel in four voices. It is my first book in first person, and I loved the challenge of trying to write four different, distinct voices. Currently I’m working on a middle grace fantasy series.


Have your ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?


Not at all. I’ve refrained from writing one particular novel because I’m afraid of how I would react to it, to all the feelings the writing would dredge up. Some day!


Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?


I’m tying to give back to my fans by promoting literacy among teen girls. I am one of the four readergirlz divas (with Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen Headley, and Mitali Perkins). Readergirlz is an online book community which inspires girls to read, reflect, and reach out. You can learn more at www.readergirlz.com

Thank you so much for this interview! For more about me visit my web page at http://www.diacalhoun.com/.


Thank you, Dia!



Quote of the Day:

Thoughts could leave deeper scarring than almost anything else.
-- J.K. Rowling,
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Monday, September 15, 2008

Corner Reviews: I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone


I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
Stephanie Kuehnert
MTV Books

Emily Black lives a punk rock life. She and her friends in her small town visit River’s Edge most nights, an abandoned building that’s sort of a legend around those parts. Many bands made their start at this teenage music hangout.

When she earns a reputation of the worst kind, Emily takes matters into her own hands and forms her own band with her best friend. Now she’s no longer considered a groupie – she has her own. She Laughs attracts fans from far and wide.

But when Emily wants to leave and expand her own music, her father is upset. After all, Emily was told that her mother left them when Emily was a baby to follow the music. Well, her mother should find her if she is as good as everyone says she is—right?

But what will Emily have to do to get to the top? And what if the reunion with her mother isn’t exactly what she was expecting?

This novel has it all – girl strength, great music, and a powerful message. It would be hard not to be drawn into this story from page one. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone has found its way to, and has definitely earned a spot on, my recommendation list, and not to mention, my favorites list. I hope to see more soon from Stephanie Kuehnert!

Quote of the Day:

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.
-- Thomas Carlyle

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday is for Secrets

PostSecret




Quote of the Day:

There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Friday, September 12, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View with Tera Lynn Childs

How did you decide to become an author?

I never really decided to be an author. Since I was more of a science girl growing up, it never really crossed my mind. Then, after I finished graduate school and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I spent a lot of time reading. And the more I read the more I started getting ideas of my own. Ideas of what I would have done differently, what I would have had the characters do. So I decided to try writing a book of my own.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

A million different things. I had a different dream every week, I think. Here’s an abridged list: teacher, architect, fashion designer, actress, environmental biologist, lawyer, doctor, dancer, and mommy.

Who or what’s your greatest influence?

I don’t think I can name a single influence on my writing. I tend to absorb things subconsciously (like the summer I spent at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival when I started speaking in Elizabethan English), so I’m sure I’ve absorbed many influences over the years. I do know that THE LIVELY ART OF WRITING by Lucile Vaughan Payne taunt me a lot about the mechanics of style.

Are you working on something right now?

Yes, but it’s hush-hush and unofficial. I can tell you that it is not connected to OH. MY. GODS. or GODDESS BOOT CAMP (coming June 2009) and that it involves a different branch of mythology.

Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

No, and I don’t think I would. I’m a firm believer in the idea that plot is derived from character and so the action of any book will naturally develop from that characters. If my characters ever lead me to a controversial topic, then it must be necessary to the story and I could not ignore that for the sake of avoiding controversy.

What’s your favorite author? Your favorite book?

My default answer is Jane Austen and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, but I have many favorite authors and even more favorite books.

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

What color is your toenail polish?
Sparkly Caribbean blue!

Thanks, Tera!

Quote of the Day:

A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election...
-- Bill Vaughan

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Corner Reviews: Serafina67 *Urgently Requires Life*


serafina67 *urgently requires life*
Susie Day
Scholastic Press

After getting a new laptop for Christmas, our main character decides she is going to start a blog. Therein lays the creation of serafina67. Sera only has a few rules for her blog – no typing in ALL CAPS (except for when she just has to rant about her dad and the “stepmonster”), and no one must EVER speak about the Incident.

So she sets herself a happiness deadline to achieve some goals. She wants to make her mom happy. She (of course!) doesn’t want any repeats of the Incident. She wants to get a boyfriend and make new friends.

So what’s going on between her and patchworkboy? And who is this mysterious person she has befriended, who goes by the name of Daisy? Keep checking back for daily posts!

Okay… I’m going to go ahead and get this out of my system. I know that this is a book about a girl’s blog, but jeez… ever heard of spell check and punctuation? Seriously, lots of people blog, but I don’t see many of them typing this way. I also had a little trouble understanding what she was saying sometimes because of the slang terms.

Now, you may get the assumption that I disliked the book. Well, you’re wrong. Despite all of these things, I was really able to get into the story, and the person behind Daisy really surprised me. If you don’t mind those minor things, you should definitely consider looking into this book!

Quote of the Day:

I love you the more that I believe you have liked me for my own sake and for nothing else.
-- John Keats

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Guest Blogging with Tera Lynn Childs

Happy Birthday! WOO!

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Today ... is my birthday. At precisely 10:52am (Central Time) I will be thirty-mumble-mumble. Okay fine, I’ll be thirty-two. Not the end of the world. Right?

It’s a little scary, though. I mean, I’m now officially twice as old as when I got my drivers’ license. (Actually, since I failed the test on my birthday and had to take it again the next day, I’ll be twice as old two days from now.) I’m more than three times as old as when I had my golden birthday, when I turned ten on September 10. I don’t even want to think about how many times older I am than when I had my first real birthday party in first grade.

But the thing is ... I don’t feel old.

An old person doesn’t watch Disney Channel or read Gossip Girl or listen to Kid Rock. They don’t play Neopets or spends hours upon hours watching marathons of Buffy or Hannah Montana. They definitely don’t buy High School Musical water bottles and spiral notebooks.

I was watching an episode of Buffy tonight (the one where Willow casts a spell and everyone loses their memories of everything about themselves) and there was a part where Buffy called Dawn a kid and Dawn said, “A teenager.” And that got me thinking: How did Dawn know she was a teenager? She had no memory of how old she was. She had no ID. She couldn’t see herself. How did she know she wasn’t twelve or twenty.

Think about it. If you closed your eyes and forgot how old you were, could you guess? With no other clues, could you ... feel your age? Would you be right?

If I close my eyes and forget that I’m thirty-mumble-mumble, my brain short-circuits me right back to high school. I might as well be that seventeen-year-old, ready to graduate and take on the world. I still feel that fear and excitement and absolute belief in the future that I felt fifteen years ago. (Only now it’s kind of blurred by the fact that I have to pay bills and act like an adult ... most of the time.)

Maybe that’s why I love writing teen fiction so much. I get to indulge that inner teenager who hasn’t realized that she’s trapped in a grownup’s body. I hope she never does.

Keep your eyes open later this week to learn some more about Tera!

Quote of the Day:

I put my faith in you,
So much faith and then you
Just threw it away.
-- Paramore, For A Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic (Riot!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Did You Miss Me?

Hey guys! You've finally got me back (well... sort of). I'm on a computer in another town right now because guess what? I have power and water, but not cable and internet :[

As soon as I can, I PROMISE that I will flood you guys with reviews.

As for other news....

I just spent like almost four hours checking my email and wading through all my google reader posts. If I didn't read yours, I'm sorry -- I ended up just pressing "mark all as read". It's alot to keep up with!

And I'm sick :[ It's not very fun.

Thanks to Chelsea for making sure that everything was posting right!

I miss you guys, and I hope to have internet back in my home realllllly soon.

Quote of the Day:
Man, hurricanes suck.
-- Me

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Guest Blogging With Regina Scott

The Things We Do for Love

I’m delighted to be here today. Thanks to Megan for having me as a guest! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Regina Scott, and I write primarily historical fiction, usually set in the nineteenth century in England. My first young adult novel, La Petite Four, is available now in fine stores everywhere. I love the glamour, the interesting stories, the sheer adventure that is the nineteenth century. But when you write history, you have to research.

And that’s a love in itself.

They say write what you know. To write about a historical period, you have to know everything from what they ate to how they got around town to what they called their best friends. I’ve read dozens of books on the Regency period (1810 to 1820 in England), gone to a plethora of museums and conferences, but, for me, head knowledge isn’t enough. I have to experience it.

And that’s led me down some rather odd paths.

I’ve handled nineteenth century dueling pistols in New Orleans. I learned to fence with the epée and once fought a silver medalist from Iran to a draw. I’ve driven a coach and four around the park. I’ve danced to Hole in the Wall and the Sir Roger de Coverly, two famous Regency country dances. I’ve peered through quizzing glasses and laced up corsets. I’ve dressed up like a Regency dandy to prove it was possible for a girl to masquerade as a boy. (And it isn’t as easy as it sounds, believe me!)

It wasn’t until this year, though, that I could do the ultimate research—go to England and experience it for myself. Oh, a lot has changed since the nineteenth century, but there’s so much in England that still reminds me of the period I love so much. For example, the city of Bath holds a lot of its nineteenth century charm. One of the original spa towns, people used to go to bathe in and drink the water that bubbles up from hot springs below. Of course I had to try it.

Besides the obvious places like Spencer House, the home of Princess Diana’s ancestors, there are little known corners of London that whisper of times past. I loved seeing Hyde Park and Rotten Row, where my characters ride their horses, and Bond Street, where they shop. My wonderful critique partner Kristin and I even stumbled into this little alley off St. James’s where we found what must have been a mews at one time. Each of the lower doors would have housed a prized bit of horseflesh for the aristocracy living nearby while grooms and coachmen lived in the upper rooms. Can’t you just see the horses prancing into the yard, so proud, hear the jingle of tack and the call of the grooms? Now, that’s what research is all about, making your story more real!

If you love history or just good stories, be sure to stop by the blog I share with talented author Marissa Doyle. Nineteen Teen (http://www.nineteenteen.blogspot.com) features interesting tidbits about life in nineteenth century England, along with fun quizzes and contests. And my website http://www.lapetitefour.com has articles and more pictures on the Regency as well. Until we meet again, blessings!

Quote of the Day:
If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.
-- Virginia Woolf

Monday, September 1, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Regina Scott


Regina Scott, Author Interrupted ( :] )

How did you decide to become an author?

I loved books so much, and I loved telling stories. Becoming an author was a natural fit.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

An author. I wrote my first novel in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, it was never published.

Who or what’s your greatest influence?

My faith. I was born again a few years ago, and that’s made me rethink my priorities, my vocation, what I write, and the way I write. Once you start following Jesus, there’s no looking back, only forward.

Are you working on something right now?

I’m trying my hand at a contemporary YA (shock!) about a British teen transplanted to a Florida high school. Hey, I had to get England in there somehow!

Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

Not a specific topic. I do have to be careful in writing about history, though, to make sure that the story doesn’t get lost in the historical detail that I find so fascinating. I also take care to choose the right details. For example, I know they had chamber pots and outhouses, and women wore no underwear so they could use those conveniences, but that’s TMI for most people.

What’s your favorite author? Your favorite book?

Oh, this is hard! I have so many favorites on my keeper shelf! One series I’ve read over and over again since I was a kid is the Prydain fantasies by Lloyd Alexander (The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King). Most recently I’ve read Revenge of the Homecoming Queen and Twisted Sisters by Stephanie Hale and laughed myself sick. I just read Shelley Adina’s first book in her new series, It’s All About Us. Friends, fashion, faith. Fantastic!

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Why write historical stories? There’s something magical to me about the past. The whisper of long skirts, the scent of lavender verbena perfume, the comfort of chamomile tea and raspberry scones. Galloping across the fields, defending your honor by sword, dancing the night away with a handsome viscount at your side. Ah, the stuff of dreams. I hope I get to share them for many years to come.

Quote of the Day:

When the whole world fits inside of your arms,
Do we really need to pay attention to the alarm?
-- Jack Johnson "Banana Pancakes"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ma, There's A Hurricane A'Comin!

Hey, guys! As many of you know, there's a tropical storm/hurricane out there. Unfortunately, hurricanes love our Louisiana culture, so it might come straight to where I am. I'm trying to schedule as many things as I can within the next few days so you're not completely deprived (while I am lol).

And if it seems like I've fallen off the face of the earth, I probably... did. lol Just cross your fingers that it's not too bad!

Quote of the Day:

The longest journey is the journey inward.
--Dag Hammarskjold

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View With Elizabeth Scott


Today, let's welcome author Elizabeth Scott.


How did you decide to become an author?

I was very lucky, and things just sort of fell into place for me---I started writing in 1999, but it was until the end of 2004, after years of prompting by (very) patient friends that I sent a few short stories out to various magazines. To my shock, they got published, and my friends urged me to do more. So I pulled together a query letter for my first young adult novel (Bloom), and, in early 2005, sent it off to an agent, figuring the agent would pass and I could say, "Look, I tried!" and go back to doing what I was doing, which was writing while I was at work. (What a model employee I was!!)

Anyway, long story short, to my continued shock and gratitude, I ended up signing with that agent, and sold my first few books.

I never thought I wanted to be a writer, but once I started, I loved it, and being an author--well, that's just been icing on the cake. I'm always aware of how lucky I got--and still am.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

I never really had a clear picture of this, which is probably why I've had about six million different jobs. I actually went and asked my parents if they remembered me talking about what I wanted to be and I quote:

My dad: "I remember you wanted to read everything. You used to read my tool catalogs. And all our encyclopedias."
Me: "Thanks, Dad. Now I look like a huge loser."
My mom: "Hmmm. I don't remember anything, but let me check you baby book. Hold on....okay. Your baby book says at age four you liked reading, coloring, and building things with blocks. But I don't have anything about you saying what you wanted to be."
Me: "Oh."
Mom: "Maybe you'd better make up something."
Me: "Or confess that I seemed to have a stunning lack of ambition."
Dad: "Well, we did always have a hard time getting you to take out the trash."

Who or what’s your greatest influence?

Wow, no one's ever asked me this before! I feel like I should say my parents or list a bunch of writers or a teacher or something but I think my biggest influence is just people--the world--in general. Wondering why people think the things they do, why they do the things they do--that fascinates me. It always has.

Are you working on something right now?

I'm always working on something--but as for whether or not it will turn into anything--well, that's the thing, and it's what makes writing so much fun. (Though rather nerve-wracking at times!)

Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

No. One thing my parents always told me--and that I'm very grateful to them for--is that defining yourself by worrying about what other people will think is a bad idea. I mean, if you try to please everyone--which can never happen--what kind of life would you have, really? What would happen to the part of you that's uniquely you?

What’s your favorite author? Your favorite book?

I can't pick a favorite author or favorite book! I love too many of both to ever want to narrow it down to one.

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Q: French fries with gravy--awesome or abomination?
A: Awesome.


Quote of the Day:

To be great is to be misunderstood.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sundays Are For Secrets...

PostSecret day!

Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret, encourages everyone to put their secrets on a 4x6 postcard and mail them to him. He picks a handful every Sunday and puts them up on his blog.

Quote of the Day:

It was your heart that saved you.
-- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Friday, August 22, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Mini-View with Linda Joy Singleton

Special treat! Today we have with us Linda Joy Singleton.


Linda Joy Singleton is the author of over 30 books, including STRANGE ENCOUNTERS, THE SEER and soon-2-B-released DEAD GIRL trilogy with Flux Books. She has a supportive husband (who occasionally builds bookshelves) and two great young adults. She considers herself lucky to live in the country in Northern CA with an office that looks out on oaks, pines peacocks and horses. For book news, personal photos and a "True Piggy Tale," check out her website http://www.lindajoysingleton.com/ .

-----------

How did you decide to become an author?

I've had a passion for writing since I was about 8 years old. I wrote for fun up until I was 17, filling notebooks as well as typing stories. I submitted short stories with my father's help when I was in high school and received some kind rejections from magazines. Then I got married too young, got a job and gave up my writing dreams for a decade, until I heard about a local writing conference. Going to that conference revived my dreams and I joined a writing group, later a critique group and within three years I'd sold my first book.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

At first because of my love for animals, I wanted to be a vet. But about age 12, I realized needles and blood was involved, so I decided I could work in an office and be a secretary since I was a fast typist. While I wanted to be a writer, I didn't see how it could happen when I lived in California and publishers were in New York, plus I wasn't able to go to college. Fortunately, by attending writing conferences, writing obsessively and reading constantly, I learned enough to become published.


What’s your greatest influence?

When I was 13, I wrote a fan letter to Margaret Sutton, the author of the Judy Bolton mystery series. My parents had helped me find vintage girl mysteries in secondhand bookstores and I loved them so much I wanted to write my own mystery series. I was thrilled with Margaret Sutton wrote back and our letters continued over 30 years. I met her in person for the first time when she came to my high school graduation party. And years later she put me in touch with other Judy Bolton fans (http://www.judybolton.com/) and I was even able to co-write and self-publish a new Judy Bolton mystery (THE TALKING SNOWMAN) with Margaret before she died at age 98. (The original Judy Bolton series is being reprinted and already listed on Amazon...yay!).


Are you working on something right now?

I just finished writing the 2nd book in my new, DEAD GIRL trilogy: DEAD GIRL DANCING. This series is like Quantum Leap meets Touched by an Angel -- set in high school. It's serious, mysterious and humorous. The first book, DEAD GIRL WALKING, comes out in September; covers & excerpt available at http://www.lindajoysingleton.com/


Have you ever refrained from writing about a certain topic for fear of how others would react to it?

Not that I can think of. I write paranormal topics, which believers may consider true and non-believers will consider fiction. The viewpoints in my books come from my characters, not my own personal opinions.

Who’s your favorite author?

Too many favorite authors, but for vintage books my favorite remains Margaret Sutton. For newer books (as cliche as it may be) my favorite is J.K. Rowling. I think her books are truly magic.

Your favorite book?

Again, too many, but I'll list a few: City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, Magyk by Angie Sage, Island of the Aunts by Ibbotson, Poison Study by Maria V. Synder and a new fantasy titled Savvy by Ingrid Law.

Is there something that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Well I can talk a little about writing, how it's so important to me but hard work, too. I write almost every day and show up at my computer the way a 8-5 employee shows at a normal job. I love writing about kids where everything is new, exciting and magical. People who read can't help but be more empathetic to others because reading offers a window into someone else's problems. I believe that books can make the world a better place. Words, emotions, ideas are powerful. Besides, it's just plain fun to read (g).

Thanks so much, Linda!



Quote of the Day:


It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live...
-- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Katie Davis

Today, we have a visit from author Katie Davis!

Katie Davis is the best-selling author-illustrator of seven picture books, including Who Hops? and Kindergarten Rocks!. The Curse of Addy McMahon is her first novel. She lives near New York City with her two kids, husband, and Mango, the cutest dog on the entire planet.

--------------------

I'm thrilled to have my first guest blogging experience at your blog, Megan. Thank you for having me!

A young woman emailed me recently after being frustrated in her attempts to create great characters for a story she was writing. Her complaint was that everyone in her book seemed like they were made up, and of course even though that was true she didn’t want it to be so obvious! She wanted to know what was she doing wrong? How could she make her characters come alive and seem as real as the characters in the books she was reading?

While writing my novel The Curse of Addy McMahon, I learned a ton about developing characters – my big problem were my secondary characters, though. In the early drafts, I just wasn’t paying as much attention to them. I’ll probably always write like that, but at least I know that I know how to develop them so that by the final draft they won’t be flat as the paper they inhabit.

So you understand what scenes and to whom I’m about to refer, here is a description from an interview I did with Cynthia Leitich Smith (http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2008/08/author-interview-katie-davis-on-curse.html):

The McMahon family lore revolves around a curse. It started when Addy's great granddad chopped down what was rumored to be a fairy lair back in Ireland. Addy blames this alleged curse for all the bad things that happen in her life, when maybe she should actually take responsibility for some of them.

Addy keeps her diary in graphic novel format, which she calls her "autobiogra-strip". Through them we learn that her best friend Jackie hates her…the curse caused that? Everyone saw a mean comic she did…was that because of the curse? And worst, her dad died a few years ago, and it looks like her mom’s friend Jonathan may actually be a new love interest. That’s just gotta be the curse…doesn’t it?

So now that you know a little of what the story is, I can continue…

My favorite experience writing this book was watching the characters develop beyond the two-dimensional paper I was writing on. They feel like real people to me now, but they didn’t always - they developed after I received criticism that one character or another wasn’t fully drawn.

One reader told me he couldn’t “see or hear” the character of Jonathan. I realized the reason was because I couldn’t…so how could anyone else? I decided to give myself a leg up, and went on a search for some kind of reference material, as I often do when I illustrate. I picked a TV character upon which to model Jonathan and whose look matched how I saw him – handsome and charming. (If you’re curious, the TV show was West Wing, and the character was “Josh”, played by Bradley Whitford.)

I saw him differently than Addy would though, so when I (as Addy) ended up drawing him for her autobiogra-strip, he ended up looking like a total dork because that’s how Addy’s sees him.

I learned the most about character development (and, frankly, plot development as well), after my editor made a comment that now seems very funny to me. The book starts right before the Christmas break. The next scene was New Year’s Eve. I had completely skipped over the actual holiday! My editor told me that Addy didn’t have to celebrate it, but it seemed odd not to mention it at all.

That one little comment, scribbled in the margin of my manuscript, opened what ended up being many threads that I was able to weave throughout the story and which enabled me to bring it to a whole different – deeper - level.

For one thing, it became a vehicle for Addy’s best friend, Jackie. Addy has a Christmas gift for Jackie in the beginning which Jackie tries to open early because “She has to know absolutely everything,” Addy explains, revealing an important characteristic of Jackie’s that gives weight to a later scene (can’t tell you what it is though – it’s a spoiler!).

Another thing that was added after “The Christmas Comment” is a scene that takes place on Christmas day. Addy goes downstairs and sits alone in the pre-dawn darkness. Because of their fight, she and Jackie do not share their traditional opening of their stockings and trading candy canes for chocolate before everyone else is awake. I love that scene because it poignantly illustrates Addy’s pain at being estranged from Jackie.
I wouldn’t have thought to put that in if I hadn’t gotten the one line of critique from my editor!

Remember there are many ways to develop characters. Try to imagine their likes and dislikes, their quirks and personal habits – they’re all clues into a personality. Think of the various habits and attitudes of people you know and ascribe them to one of your characters. Whether it’s social tics, a certain way they hold a pencil, or how they always greet their friends, every well-rounded character needs something (actually, a lot of somethings!) to make them real and lure them off the paper and into a reader’s life.

Thanks so much, Katie!

Quote of the Day:

A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: 'There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.'
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Monday, August 18, 2008

Reviewer Profile

Yes ma'am! Steph over at Reviewer X interviewed me! (now, it was SUPPOSED to be posted on my birthday, but things happen... so we'll all forgive her, yes? :]] )

Click here to learn (more) randomness about me!

Corner Reviews: Rumors


Rumors
Anna Godbersen

We all remembered what happened to Elizabeth Holland, and the tragic events that led to her disappearance. But the town has put that behind them for the most part. Many matchmakers are now beginning to worry whether or not the catch of the ton, Elizabeth’s fiancé, Henry Schoonmaker, will be out of mourning for the Season.

And now that Elizabeth’s gone, the family troubles fall on her sister, Diana. She has no problem with this—especially since she’s got her eye on a certain someone. But would it be too improper?

Word has circled around that Elizabeth’s engagement ring has appeared. Could she still be alive? What does that mean for her family? Or… for her “friends”?

Whoever said that sequels don’t measure up to the first books obviously haven’t read Rumors yet. After awaiting somewhat impatiently for this book to come out, I devoured it with extremely high expectations. And I wasn’t disappointed! It was like I read The Luxe and Rumors back to back. There was no break in the story to distract me. Look for the next book in The Luxe series, Envy, coming soon.


Quote of the Day:

The things we know best are the things we haven't been taught.
-- Marquis de Vauvenargues

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Woo! Birthday!

Today's my birthday! Woo!

I just wanted to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday today.

Oh... want to learn more about me? Check out my interview over at Bookluver-Carol's Reviews.

Quote of the Day:


I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.
-- Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Review: The Year of Disappearances

The Year of Disappearances
Susan Hubbard

Thirteen year old Ari Montero is unique on both sides of the equation: she’s half human and half vampire. That doesn’t stop her from trying to find her place on both sides. While she lives with her mother, she makes a few friends. She thinks things are going good for once. But then her new best friend is murdered.

Scared, her mother enrolls her into college in another state. She meets some more interesting people. But one by one, they all start disappearing. Her family forms problems bigger than she could imagine.

But where does she fit into this equation? With factions pulling at her from every side, she’s bound to be confused.

The Year of Disappearances was definitely a unique book. I’ve been starting to get wary of new “vampire” novels that are coming out (because, face it—it’s a growing trend, and not all of the new novels are the best). However, I was impressed with this novel. It had a unique story line that I hadn’t encountered.





Quote of the Day:


I never seen nobody move the way she did
Well she did and she does and she'll do it again.
-- Jack Johnson, "Bubble Toes"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Jennifer Ziegler

Today we have a guest blog from author Jennifer Ziegler (How NOT to be Popular). You can find out more about her at her website.


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Ever since my second novel, How NOT to be Popular, came out this past January, I get asked a lot about popularity.


"Were you popular in high school?" they'll ask. My answers usually range from "no" to "maybe a little" to "I don't know."


I guess I'm never sure how to reply because I'm not clear on what they mean by "popular." Do they mean well-liked? If so, then yeah. I guess. I didn't have any mortal enemies and I did manage to get elected to class office a couple of times. Or do they mean crown-on-your-head popular? Everyone-knows-your-face popular? Salivated-over-by-every-male-student popular? If so, the answer is loud and clear "no way!"


"What are you trying to tell us with your book?" I'll sometimes get asked. "What point does it make?"


That's also tough to respond to. See … when I write a novel, I don't try to impart some grand message or lesson. First of all, I really don't have great wisdom on any subject – I'm still figuring things out for myself. And secondly, I hate it when novels do that. As a reader, I want to be caught up in a story, not preached to. With How NOT to be Popular, as with all my writing, I'm simply exploring things. I'll ask questions that the reader can maybe think about and try to answer on his/her own, but I'm not going to tell them what to think.


So here are some of the themes my book investigates – without drawing conclusions:


What makes someone popular or not popular? Is it something you are born with or a learned skill? Can someone who is not popular look and behave in a way that will bring them popularity? Inversely, can people who are naturally charismatic somehow turn it off and make themselves unappealing?


How are popular people different from not-as-popular people? Are they bolder? Cooler? Better looking? Are they all special trendsetters? Or perhaps one or two trendsetters surrounded by a group of followers?


Is it good to be popular? Does popularity make things easier for a person … or tougher? Should everyone try to be popular? Or are there times when it's just not worth it?


I'd like to know what YOU think. How do you feel about popularity? What are your thoughts and experiences?


Maybe we can find some answers together.


Thanks so much, Jennifer!


Quote of the Day:


It's as common as something that nobody knows

Her beauty will follow wherever she goes.

-- Jack Johnson, "Bubble Toes"

Monday, August 11, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Dominique over at The Book Vault. I'm glad she tagged me, cause I was about to steal this meme anyways from someone else!

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Getting ready to go back to school! (Second grade, anyone?)

What are five things on my to-do list today?
(Does it count if I've already done one?)
1) Go to dentist (this is the one I've already done... bleh. Found out I have to get my wisdom teeth pulled)
2) Finish reading summer reading book (Big one on this list... school starts in two days.)
3) Email interview questions.
4) Clean room.
5) Finish packing

Snacks I enjoy:
Fruit
Rice cakes (Not lying-- I hate most of them, but I like the caramel ones)
Queso dip (c'mon... who doesn't?)
Frozen yogurt

Places I've lived:
Massachusetts
Louisiana

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Give to charity
Pay for my college tuition (even though it's paid... just in case)
Pay for my best friends' college tuition
Buy a (nicer) car (and by nicer, I mean one that currently runs)
Buy a house
Books! Books! Books!

I'm supposed to tag people, but I think everyone's already done this one. But if you haven't, consider yourself tagged!


Quote of the Day:

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday! Woo!

In case you don't know why I get excited for Sundays, I'll explain...


PostSecret is a blog run by a man named Frank Warren. We are encouraged to send him our own secrets on a 4x6 postcard. He picks some every week and posts them on this blog.


Quote of the Day:

Can't you see that it's just raining?
There ain't no need to go outside.
-- Jack Johnson "Banana Pancakes"

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Yay! Busybody Meme

I was tagged by Reviewer X. But unlike her, I never get tagged for memes, so I'm excited!



WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR TODAY?

That would be... work. Work at 2 PM (central) and off at 7. Not so bad. Probably hang out with the boyfriend. Drop hints on what I want for my birthday. That type of thing :]

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?

Let's see... I haven't eaten anything yet today, so last night... strawberry frozen yogurt

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?

A few days ago... apparently I had fractured my arm about a week ago and no one would believe me about the agonizing pain. So they finally took me to the hospital and bam... fractured arm (and painkillers!)

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?

It's unique. I've heard alot of people like it -- does that count?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?

Like.. sandwiches? Turkey, I guess. Random.

DO YOU HAVE KIDS?

uh... no. I don't think I'll have any for quite a while.

DO YOU USE SARCASM?

3/4 of the words that spew from my mouth are sarcasm.

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?

Yes ma'am.

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?

Not al all. Heights and I don't mix. Especially when I'm being "safe" with a cord.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?

Fruity Pebbles or Capt. Crunch. My faves :]

WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?

I have two, but I'll name one. I don't let anyone get close to me.

WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?

uhm... blue shorts and no shoes.

IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?

What kind of question is that? I see where our children's minds are corrupted.

Green. My favorite color :]

FAVORITE SMELLS?

Vanilla. Rain. My boyfriend's cologne. :]

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?

Boyfriend. Yay.

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?

Happy endings for movies. I can't watch scary movies. For books, I just want what would seem right for the particular book.

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?

The Dark Knight

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?

uh... one of the ones I need to read on my list. I haven't started a new one yet. (I feel like I'm always between books when people ask me this question)

WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?

an ocean looking thingy?

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT?

Law and Order SVU, Psych, House.

FAVORITE SOUND?

Rain falling. Specific ringtone. Boyfriend's voice.

ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?

Uh.. both.

WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?

I've pretty much been to every state in the continental US. That's about as far as I've been.

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?

Possibly not. What do you think?

TAGGING!
The Page Flipper
And Another Book Read
The Story Siren


Quote of the Day:

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
-- Sir Francis Bacon

Friday, August 8, 2008

Liv's BDAY contest!

Liv is holding a prettyyyyyyyy big contest.

Check her blog for more details.

You could win one of three prize packs!


Quote of the Day:

Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison, and are so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.
-- C. S. Lewis (The Last Battle)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So You've Seen the Review...

Yep, I've gotten Breaking Dawn out of my system. However, I don't think I'm going to post a review for it. After all of the negative reviews and criticism I had read, PLUS knowing what was going to happen, I expected that I wouldn't like it.

Well, I was wrong... sort of.

I did like it. But I didn't LOVE it like I did the other three books. In fact, I felt like it was completely written by someone else. I'm not saying that I didn't have major criticisms about the novel. I did. But I kind of liked it... like a 5 on a scale to 10... you know? Kind of in between.

So no review... but you're getting other reviews that I've been putting off... soo... fair deal? Excited that I'm back to posting reviews (and reading books!)

Put in your imput!!

Oh, and btw, not announcing contest now (prob tomorrow), but.....

Random (It's a personal one, so double extra entries if you can get it):

August 16, 1991

(Tell me why you think it's important to me by emailing me at darklaceoflight@aol.com with AUGUST 16, 1991 as the SUBJ line. If you forgot what this is about, click here.)

Oh, and PS -- You have until August 15th at midnight central time to email me :]

PostSecret Sunday

So if you haven't heard, the highlight of my Sundays is PostSecret. If you've never heard of it, PostSecret is a blog run by a guy named Frank Warren who encourages people to send their secrets to him on 4x6 postcards.



Quote of the Day:

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.
-- Charles W. Eliot

Review: Violet in Private

Violet in Private
Melissa Walker

Violet Greenfield’s back, but the question on everyone’s mind is “for how long”? Sure, she said she’s finished with modeling (except for that huge contract she landed) and going to college. And Violet’s worried that people will recognize her, or worse. . . that they won’t.

Of course, she really likes college and most of her classes. But when her ad comes out, she realizes that most people know who she is… and don’t like what she portrays in the ad. So Violet writes a piece for the campus newspaper. And it gets picked up by the Herald, she gets an offer that many would kill for: to be an intern at Teen Fashionista magazine.

But then, she’s Chloe’s responsibility. She has to deal with her when all she wants to do is be with Roger. Then, something happens that completely rearranges Violet and Roger’s friendship.

I’ve enjoyed all of Melissa Walker’s books in the Violet series. This one is no exception. When I picked up this book, it was like I hadn’t missed a single thing. The characters came back to me, and I was immediately absorbed into their story.

However, I do have one small criticism. It wasn’t enough for me to dislike the story (remember that, because I liked it a lot), but I didn’t really like how Violet and Roger’s relationship played out. When it got to a certain point, I kind of wanted to throw the book against the wall. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Still, it was a great book, and you should all immediately rush out and buy it!


Quote of the Day:

And our dreams, they are made out of real things
Like a shoebox of photographs with sepia-toned loving.
-- Jack Johnson, "Better Together"


Expect another post later today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Book Vault’s Birthday Contest Riddle

This is the next leg of The Book Vault’s birthday book riddle contest! For more information on the contest, go here: http://the-book-vault.blogspot.com/2008/08/birthday-contest.html
Each correct answer counts as an entry into the drawing on August 29th!

Riddle: She was #71 until she and her friends found a way to get her higher on the food chain. But the main character learns that the popular crowd might be full of more betrayals than glamour and true friends.
What book is this?

Know the answer? Send Dominique an email at bookvault@yahoo.com with:

BDAY CONTEST” in the subject line

Please include:

Name:

The Riddle:
She was #71 until she and her friends found a way to get her higher on the food chain. But the main character learns that the popular crowd might be full of more betrayals than glamour and true friends.
What book is this?

Answer: (full book title + author)

The name of the site where you found the riddle: From the Corner of Megan’s Mind

Your site’s URL: (if you have one)

Please send a separate email for each riddle you answer!

Good luck!!

Quote of the Day:

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
-- H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Jessica Burkhart

Today's author feature spotlights Jessica Burkhart, an upcoming debut author. Her novel, Take the Reins (a Canterwood Crest Novel), will be released in January of 2009.

(I know I usually do the author feature on Wednesdays, but you'll see why I didn't tomorrow.)

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The awesome Megan was kind enough to offer to let me guest blog today! Woo hoo!

So, I wanted to talk a bit about what’s coming up on my Websites and blog. :) There are going to be lots of things going on that will gear up for the release of Take the Reins and future Canterwood Crest books.

The Blog

When the Canterwood Crest site goes live, my blog will have a brand-new look. It will be THE place for the latest Canterwood Crest news including giveaways, contests, vlogs and more. I’ll be taking my camera everywhere I go, so look for brand new Diary of a Debut Author videos and follow me as I count down the days till January 27.

JessicaBurkhart.com

The events calendar is going to fill up! I’ve got events scheduled from Florida to the mid-West starting early next year. I’ll be hitting Florida book fairs over the fall and you’ll find the complete list on my Website in September. If you’re hitting the Florida circuit, maybe I’ll see you around!

CanterwoodCrest.com

This is an ALL new Website coming in September that’s just for my Canterwood Crest series from Aladdin M!X. What will you find on the site? A quiz, downloads, never before seen photos of the Canterwood Crest models and much more. The site is being designed right now and OMG, it’s going to be great. You’ll find announcements on my blog and personal Website when the site goes live.

So, there are lots of ways to keep in touch and my journey as a soon-to-be debut author is just beginning!

If you’re a writer, what’s one thing YOU most look forward to when your first book is published? Share! :)

Thanks so much, Jessica!

Until her websites are up, you can visit and chat with Jessica at her blog, http://jessicaburkhart.blogspot.com/.

Quote of the Day:

To be amused by what you read -- that is the great spring of happy quotations.
-- C. E. Montague

Monday, August 4, 2008

Quote of the Day

Today starts the quote of the day... where I find and pick a quote and post it.

If you'd like to see a quote up here, email me at darklaceoflight@aol.com with your quote.

Quote of the Day:

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well...

Sorry guys...

If you haven't noticed, my blog has been a little light on the reviews for the past two weeks.

I just can't keep my mind on a book to finish it!

*there goes the big crowd gasp*

Yeah... I went from reading 10ish books a week to none...

But you all know the reason why. Once I say it, you'll be nodding too....

Breaking Dawn.

Yep. My mind's on one track, and it won't be satisfied until I read Breaking Dawn. So sorry about the lack of reviews-- I'm pretty sure that once I finish Breaking Dawn, the blog will get an influx of reviews from me.

But in the meantime, check out some of the other cool kids on my blogroll that haven't let the wait for Breaking Dawn beat them down...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Melissa Walker

Today we have with us Melissa Walker, author of the amazing Violet series. The next novel in the series, Violet in Private, comes out on August 5. You can visit Melissa on her own blog.

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I just finished a really great book, and it made me want to write about when I know that I l-o-v-e something Iʼm reading.

I know I love a book if its world completely overtakes me. This has happened with a range of authors, from William Faulkner to Mo Willems (he writes awesome picture books that are totally set in my Brooklyn neighborhood).

Just this weekend, as I was reading John Greenʼs Looking for Alaska, I got so involved in the story that even when I took a break to take a walk, I didnʼt really want to talk to my boyfriend. I just wanted to stay silent in my own mind and ponder Alaskaʼs past and The Colonelʼs present and Milesʼs future. (If you donʼt know who Iʼm talking about, that means you havenʼt read Looking for Alaska, and you really, really should. I know what Iʼm talking about here. The book is GOOD.)

Of course, John Green won a Printz Award, which is all gold-foil-literary, but thatʼs not what makes the book good. Itʼs the voice and the way a reader can get entrenched in the main characterʼs world. I like a lot of books, but I love the ones that completely overtake me and make my own reality a little hazy.

Some others that have done that for me recently include Elizabeth Scottʼs Bloom (with riveting romantic chemistry) and Sarah Mlynowskiʼs Bras & Broomsticks (with total hilarious energy).

So what books have you used the L-word to describe? Iʼd love to know.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Authors in the Corner: Linda Gerber

Today we have with us Linda Gerber.

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It Takes a Village?

Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but making a book is not. At the moment, I'm finishing the final approvals on one book and digging into edits on another and I am struck by the number of people involved in the process. Here's a little rundown on the individuals involved in the success of my current release, DEATH BY BIKINI.

In the beginning, there's just me. I have an idea and I write it down. I play with it. I massage it. It comes to life and takes shape as I write the first draft of what will become the book. And it pretty much sucks. Not the idea. I still love the idea. But the writing needs some fine-tuning. A little tweaking here, a little cleaning up there. This is when I seek the input from my fabulous critique partners.

Can I just tell you how much I love my CPs? We have been together for six years and they are tireless in their help and encouragement, and believe me, during that first and second draft process, I need all the encouragement I can get.

After my CPs, the manuscript goes to my agent, who is one smart cookie. She will give me more feedback and I'll do more tweaking, and then the ms. gets sent to my editor.

I may be a wee bit prejudiced, but I believe I work with one of the best editors in the business. She's diplomatic and thorough and about as nice as they come, even when she's digging through the ms and finding all the mistakes and misses that slipped through the first few drafts. There's even a backup editor whose sharp eyes pick up anything my editor might miss. They give me their notes, and I tweak again.

At this point, the ms heads to copyediting. The copyeditor combs through and makes sure all my punctuation and grammar is correct, and that I got all my facts right. Not a fun job.

Meanwhile, the design team comes up with the cover art. I love the design team! Isn't the DEATH BY BIKINI cover fabulous? Yay, designers!!!

When the interior and cover is all approved, it goes to the good folks in printing. In the meantime, the tireless and brilliant sales team hits the pavement and gets the book into the hands of buyers, convincing them to take a chance on its success. They sold through the first print run before the release and even got DEATH BY BIKINI included in the Scholastic Book Fairs. I heart the sales team!!!

In the bookstores, the staff keeps the book on the shelves, recommends it to customers and reorders when their stock gets low. They arrange signings and events. Love the booksellers!

Finally, there are the readers, some of whom might get advanced copies before the release. They spread the word, offering reviews and telling friends what they thought of the book. Without them, there would be no purpose for the book in the first place.

So there you have it. It takes a village to make a book. Solitary? not.