Friday, November 11, 2011

STRING BRIDGE Chart Rush! Get a free copy of the album with purchase of the book!

Hello all of my bloggy friends!  I am crawling out from under my edits (and crazy life, for that matter) to promote my good friend Jessica Bell's new book STRING BRIDGE!

Here are a couple sweet things you need to know about Jessica and just how cool she is:
She's Australian- need I say more?
She lives in Greece- um, SO romantic!
Not only does she write books, she also composes and performs her own music!
She writes Women's Fiction which is a nice compliment to YA when you are itching for something with a little bit older themes.

Scroll down to read some reviews and click on the links to read more about the book.  Plus if you buy the book TODAY, she'll email you the link to download the whole album for free!  You won't be disappointed with this one!

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit
the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is
purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and
then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are
not familiar with String Bridge,
check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my
veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page,
yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of
heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as
with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.
~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and
musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge
is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the
difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout,
seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that
allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world
begins to unravel …
String Bridge is
a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a
hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion
and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer
of great skill and depth.
She doesn't pull back from the difficult
scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds
barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop
character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel.
I look forward to reading her
next novel, and next and next.” 
~ Karen Jones
Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Evening With Sarah Ockler

As many of you know, Sarah Ockler's book, Twenty Boy Summer, was recently "banned" from my town's high school along with Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.  Right before Banned Books Week, the school board voted to put both books back in the high school library.

But there's a catch.

They're kept behind the desk in the school library and only parents can come and check the book out for their teens like the books are some dirty magazines or something.  Which is a pretty lame solution.  I guarantee you the kids that really need those books don't have parents who will go to the school on their own time to check it out for them.  Sigh...

Anyway, my library was able to receive a grant that allowed us to bring Sarah Ockler to speak during Banned Books Week!  How awesome is that?

And get this!  I met her!  Squeeee!

I always wondered what authors who write somewhat depressing books are like- like are they all emo with black hair and clothes with a debbie-downer outlook on life?  No way!  They're totally awesome and well spoken and LOVE teens.  All Sarah wants is to convey these truly real emotions teens experience every day.  And even though Contemporary Fiction is generally not my cup 'o tea, I really think it's needed.  Teens need to feel validated that they aren't alone in what they're feeling.  That some adults DO get them.

Anyway, Sarah was absolutely awesome and had a wonderful answer to every question asked.  And there were a TON of questions.  It looked like she took days of careful thinking when in reality, she had no idea what the questions would be coming into the talk.

The message she stressed that night was that this book is first and foremost about grief and the ways different teens deal with it.  I think its funny she and her publishers had never once thought her book would be banned when she wrote it.  I mean, why would a book about grief be banned?

We had a great turnout and it was such an honor to have Sarah Ockler to our library.

And for those of you who still don't believe I work with THE Greenbeanteenqueen, here is a pic with her and Sarah!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

My bloggy buddy Michael over at In Time... is hosting a blogfest!  He wants us to write about what we did on our summer vacation- much like those groan-inducing essays we had to write EVERY.SINGLE.FIRST.DAY.OF.SCHOOL for 12 years.  What's one more in the grand scheme of things?  Besides, I was so holed up at my house editing, I'm practically a vampire.  I want to see what my chaps have been up to!

I've decided to write my essay from the point of view of my 1st Grader.  Except with correct spelling and grammar (because I'm sure you don't want to read 300 words of "I ouent to the prk wif my Mommy and Dady and rid my bic and ouent swmmmmg."

Actually I must say, her spelling has improved dramatically in just the first few weeks of school.  I'm one proud mama!

What I Did on My Summer Vacation
By Little Monster
Mr. DiGesu   Homeroom

My Summer Vacation was so awesome, except I really really missed school.  I told my mom this every day.  In fact, I asked her every single day when I was going to go back.  I think she even may have mentioned how excited she was for me to go back.  I'm glad she loves school as much as I do.

I've decided this year that I'm terrified of bugs.  Doesn't matter what kind, really.  I will run and scream as if I'm being chased by an axe murderer.  Silly me. I can't wait for the snow to come.

I was asked to join the competitive gymnastics team in June.  I had to practice 12 hours a week!  I loved every minute of it and I could tell my mom did too.  When she heard my practice was 3 hours a day her eyes lit up. She even dropped me off early and practically sped off while I was halfway out the door. I'm so glad she's so happy for me.

I turned 6 in July this year, which is SO much better than 5.  When you're 6, your teeth start falling out and you get money from the tooth fairy. I'm happy I got enough money to buy my own diary!  No one knows where my diary is except all the kids in my class, my teacher, my best friend, and my whole neighborhood. Good thing I hid it in my mom and dad's closet so they won't find it.

We went to Chicago on a train for my birthday and it was WONDERFUL!  We saw all sorts of things including a HUGE crab, jellyfish and dinosaur bones. My Gamma and Pop-pop came too.  They stayed in the same huge hotel, ate out at all the cool restaurants and went to all the museums with us.  But I don't know why they didn't get me very many that I think about it, Mommy and Daddy didn't really get me anything either. 

I had a blast with my mom and dad and my friends this summer.  I am glad to be back in school and am very excited for the snow to come.  In fact, I ask my mom every day when it will come.  She's so sweet, she just pats my head and leaves the room for a while.  She wants me to have some peace and quiet to help center my chi.  She loves me so much.

Welp, that was Little Monster's summer in an nutshell!  How was yours?  Did you do anything fun?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sabriel Kicks Ass

One of my favorite authors, Garth Nix, is having a contest.  I kind of almost didn't want to tell you guys because naturally I want to win it and I don't want you all running to enter.  But the only way to win is to write a review/musing of one of his books online.  Plus if I could enlighten you all about this book and how completely and totally awesome it is, I'll jump at the chance!

If you have ever been a 14 year old girl, you know how awesome it is to read books with strong female characters.  If you have never been a 14 year old girl...just pretend.  Besides I'm pretty sure 14 year old boys love kick-ass male characters so you know what it's like.  And if you are a 14 year old boy and you love kick-ass female characters?  You are going to go far in life, my friend.

Anyway, when I was in Junior High I was at a point in my life where I devoured books with independent, kick butt female characters (side note: I'm 30 and I STILL devour YA books with independent, kick butt female characters).  She had to be strong, witty, smart, (and beautiful of course).  I loved to get lost in a completely different world, leave my worries behind and pretend I was that girl in which there was always a romance and always some kind of epic battle.

Photo Credit - Garth Nix
I picked up Sabriel by Garth Nix around that time.  It had all the elements I wanted in a fantasy.  A main character, Sabriel, that was smart, had magical abilities (she could walk in death- how cool is that??), she was independent and actually rescued the love interest (not once, but twice!), Touchstone, whom annoyed her at first but she soon grew fond of.  I mean, how awesome is that?  Now this was a character I wanted to be like!  She wasn't a snively little whiny-butt who could do nothing without a man.  She took matters into her own hands and controlled the dead with the ring of a bell.

After reading this book, I knew some day I wanted to be a fantasy writer.  It changed my life because of how vivid his storytelling and characters are.  How it made me feel after reading it.  How I kept thinking about it after putting it down.  How I devoured any little anthology with stories taking place in that world after the trilogy had come out.  I wanted to make readers feel the same way I felt after reading that book. I wanted my main characters to be like Sabriel.

Garth Nix was one of the first pioneers of strong YA female protagonists.  I will be forever thankful to him for inspiring me to make up fantastical worlds with girls who kick some serious booty.  The time of the Damsel in Distress is long gone.  In her place is the girl who saves the Prince in Distress.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Avoid Eating a Bogey Flavored Bertie Bott Bean Whilst Looking Like Jo Calderone

Okay guys, calm down, I'm not officially back yet.  I've still got some edits to work on so my attendance will be sporadic (ha, my favorite word).

Anyway, my alter ego, Abby Gabby is posting over at the Thestral Gazette today.  She's got some great advice for students of Hogwarts including how to avoid getting those nasty bogey flavored Bertie Bott's beans.

So hipppity hop on over there - I'd greatly appreciate it!

Also, I think my alter ego needs a picture/personality.

What do you think of this?

Photo Credit

Too Rough?

Okay, how about this one?

Too Nymphy?

Aha!  Here it is:

Photo Credit

Yep, this one totally adds class with a touch of Avant-garde.  Plus it keeps my identity hidden with the big glasses and hat.  But I'm still all proper and Jackie-O stylish.  Love it!  

P.S. I miss you guys so much!  Just a little more time for edits and I'll be back!  Toodles!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

#Speakloudly: Two Books Have Been Banned.

I'm sorry, I know I said I was going on a blogging hiatus but I had to blog about this.  If you see a flaming ball of fire somewhere in southwest Missouri, that would be me.

Remember the #Speakloudly campaign? (you can find my original post here.)  Mr. Scroggins tried to get three books banned from the Republic MO school district: Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, and Slaughterhouse Five.  He succeeded in getting two of the three banned.  Republic schools will no longer keep Twenty Boy Summer or Slaughterhouse Five on their shelves.  And get this: only 1 out of the 4 board members who voted read the books.

He managed to get two books banned from a school district in which he has no children attending at the moment.  I'm at a loss for words so I will let Sarah Ockler take over:

Banned, but never ashamed (she references the article and has a link for it on her blog you can get to from there.)

The superintendent is basically calling his students immature.  He believes they aren't old enough to handle the very things they witness in their own lives.

Please never give up the fight to keep books on the shelves.  Our world isn't some sparkly wonderful fairytale full of rainbows and unicorns.  These problems do exist and if these brave authors that write about them are silenced, our teens who need help the most will be silenced.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bright and Shiny and New

So you know how while you're in the middle of one manuscript, a new idea for another pops into your head?  So you frantically open a new document and furiously type out your idea to make sure it doesn't float away.  Then you close it and continue on your trusty manuscript in front of you because even though your heart is screaming "WRITE THE NEW ONE! WRITE THE NEW ONE!" your brain is screaming "DON'T GIVE IN! THIS IS WHAT SEPARATES REAL AUTHORS FROM THOSE WHO DON'T EVER FINISH MANUSCRIPTS!"  So you listen to your brain (hopefully...if not, you'll get there) and finish your current WIP.  Ahhhhhhh.


It's time.

In the midst of those edits of your trusty current WIP (c'mon, we all need a little break from mind numbing edits) you open that word document you so frantically typed up 6 months ago.

And there it is.

Your bright and shiny new idea.

Your heart beats faster, your fingers itch to start typing.  Your characters are screaming in your head to be let out and the story is bursting at the seams ready to be told.  Every day as you edit your current love, the new love calls your name.

Your mind churns while at work and you have to grab any piece of scrap paper to jot down the ideas that are rolling around.  You come to revelations while in the middle of a playdate.  So you try to type up some kind of cryptic notes on your phone praying you'll remember what they mean (and praying the other moms don't think you're a crappy mom for seemingly texting on your phone all day) (and praying that your child doesn't fall on her face while you aren't watching...oh wait, mine already did that).

That's where I'm at right now.  I have that old feeling I got when I started writing my first novel.  That feeling that made my hands twitch all day, itching to write it all down.  For now, I'm satisfied with beefing up my notes and fleshing out the plot.  I've written the first chapter.  Now it is waiting patiently for me to finish my edits.

Because I have to balance myself.  I still have to reign myself in and truly finish this first ms so I can start querying.  And once the querying starts, I can pour myself into my bright and shiny new novel.  Because if my current WIP doesn't cut it, I have to have this one ready to try.

And if this new one doesn't work, I have tons of other bright and shiny new ideas waiting their turn.

That's what makes writing exciting for me.  That is what keeps me coming back.

P.S. I know I've been pretty nonexistent anyway, but I will be taking August off of blogging to finish up my editing.  Hope you all have a fantastic end to your summer and are ready to face all the fun things that come with Fall!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chi Town!

Okay so I think only people who DON'T live in Chicago call it Chi Town to feel like we're cool and in-the-know.  So I'm convincing myself that since I've now been to Chicago 3 times I am a total expert and can pretty much be considered a local.

Anywho, we took Little Monster to Chicago for her birthday.  Yes, LM is 6.  I can't believe the day has come.  She is 6, missing two teeth, and starting 1st grade in a MONTH.  Omg.  I think I'm hyperventilating.  Oh, and to top it all off, she was asked to join the competitive gymnastics team.  She practices 12 hours a week.  Yeah, she's hardcore.

So we took the train up to Chi Town (see? It just flows out of my mouth so naturally) with my parents to stay for a couple days.

The plight of the short person.  My feet don't reach the foot rest (sigh....):

Guess who I met while up there???

Yep!  It's Michael De Gesu from In Time...!  He heard we were coming up and we decided we just HAD to meet.  I'm so glad I did because he's so much fun!  And a sweetheart to top it all off!  Of course we had a little mishap with meeting and it was like some kind of comedy show where we kept showing up where the other had just been, texting each other and going "I'm at this place" "Oh, I was just there, I'm coming to you" "Oh, I just left to come to you" "Meet me at this place" "Where is that?"  "Dude, just stay put. I'm coming to you".  This went on for like, a half an hour.  Seriously.

The next day we went to the Shedd Aquarium and Little Monster simply LOVED it.  We saw the dolphin show and spent like, 7 HOURS there.  Her favorite was the Sea Horses.

This was my favorite:

Tee hee.  Had to do it.

No, actually my favorite were the jellyfish.

No, the dolphins.  Or the seahorses.  No, wait, the spider crab.  Look how freaking huge this guy was:

This next guy kept staring Little Monster down.  Every time she'd move away, he'd kinda drift off.  But as soon as she came close he'd go up to the glass and get all moody with her.  Hilarious.

Then we ate some classic Chicago style pizza at Ginos.  Yum!  The 2 hour wait was totally worth it (but will probably never be done again.  Good thing I don't have a toddler.  Yeesh.)

Next up: The Field Museum! My absolute favorite (as was LM's) was the evolution exhibit with the dinosaurs.  I'm a huge sucker for evolution and dinosaur bones.  I was going to be a paleontologist (as well as an astronaut, archaeologist, zoologist and a dolphin trainer) when I was young.

I also loved the Egyptian exhibit.  Especially now that I know the aliens helped them build the pyramids.  I mean seriously, what human could pull a gajillion ton brick without some kind of machinery?

And we topped off the trip with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe with the poor little crazy fish next to us (he kept swimming back and forth, back and forth...reminded me of the fish in the tank from Nemo) and the volcano dessert!

We had a lovely trip and I'm so glad we took the train and didn't have to walk like these people did.  They walked all the way from Poland and had to eat their torsos to stay alive.  That may or may not be speculation on my part.

And that concludes the slide presentation of my trip to Chicago.  Ha, aren't you glad this isn't the 70's and you have to come over and sit in my dark basement feeling all awkward and look at all 200 slides of my trip?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Ravenclaw at Platform 9 3/4

My sis and I at Platform 9/34 at
Kings Cross Station in London in 2007
Apparently I'm a full-blooded muggle because I smashed into the wall face first.  Either that or Dobby REALLY didn't want us to come to Hogwarts.  Most likely because he heard I had devoured Twilight in one sitting.  (I swear, Dobby, even though I'm just slightly team Edward, I am Team Harry ALL THE WAY! I PROMISE!)  Bella's incessant whining and stuttering, Edward's weird displays of affections (i.e. staring creepily at her while she slept) and Jacob's excessive shirt-ripping have NOTHING on the courageous Harry, Ron, and Hermione!

Tell me friends, have you ever wanted to know what house you'd be in if you went to Hogwarts?  This quiz has been around for a while, and if you haven't taken it yet, you probably a) live in a cave or b) hate HP.  In which case, if you chose b, you can just leave.  Now.  Buh-bye.

Okay, now that we have the TRUE fans (and those of you who live in caves)... take the quiz!  I just love this one.  It is pretty much spot on, in my opinion.

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!

Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."
Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Tell me what your house would be and if you think it fits you!

**click HERE to get sorted!!**

And now for the sad news:  I won't be seeing the midnight showing :(  In fact, I won't be seeing it until sometime next week when the stars align and hubs and I actually have a consecutive 4 hours off together AND a babysitter can be found.  So those of you going tonight- I am SO jealous!  I can't wait to see what everyone thinks on Friday!

Excuse me while I go and cry into my pillow because it all ends tonight!!

Don't forget to visit my Pottermania friends to see what they have to say today!

Jen Daiker

Michael DiGesu

Laurel Garver

Lisa Galek

Renae Mercado

Colene Murphy

Melissa Sarno

Monday, July 11, 2011

Deathly Hallows Week!

It's finally here!  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 comes out on Friday!  Can you believe this will be the last Harry Potter movie EVER?  Its been a long but fun road, but we always knew it would end.  Makes me a little verklempt just thinking about it.

All the stars looked simply dashing at the Premier the other night:

Photo Credit

And OMG, Neville has a HOT girlfriend!  Good for him!  I love him!

Photo Credit

And of course, Jo was there in her um...floral comforter.

Photo Credit

If you want to read more about the premier and see the rest of the stars just click on the any of those photo credits above!

To celebrate the upcoming release of the movie, several bloggy buddies and I have decided to dedicate our blogs to all things Harry Potter this week!  Please clicky on everyone's links to find loads of fun HP stuff!

Lisa Galek
Melissa Sarno
Laurel Garver
Colene Murphy
Jen Daiker
Melissa Wideen
Michael Di Gesu
Renae Mercado

First off:

Lisa Galek is having a contest! She is SUPER cool and is spending the week at the Leakycon 2011 convention at Harry Potter World in Florida!!  She gets to watch HP7 with all the other crazy HP fanatics Thursday at midnight.  SO jealous.  Plus I think some of the prizes will be some cool loot from HP World itself!

I'm a judge for the contest so make those entries count!

For a little light reading (as Hermione would say) go HERE to read some fun articles from the Hogwarts student-run paper Thestral Gazette.  My Abby Gabby piece is included, so make sure to check that out.

And lastly, E! online is running an awesome Twi-Potter Tournament in which they put a person from Twilight against a person from Harry Potter.  Each day you can vote as to who would win their duel.  (I mean, it's totally obvious to all of us who would win...but it's fun to see who they pit against each other.)

So tell me, friends.  What has been your favorite HP movie so far? (just movie- we'll cover the books another day)

For some reason I keep going back to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Even though Harry is shunned for the first half of the  movie, the end with the prophecies and the fight between Voldy's Death Eaters and The Order is just so awesome.  And then the super cool Yoda/Vader fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort just blows me away every time.  Although I'm anticipating part 2 on Friday will give it a run for its money.

**P.S. I will be traveling back home from Chicago on a train all day so I will have zero internet access :(  I promise I'll catch up on blogs tomorrow!
P.P.S. 10 hour train ride = awesomeness.
P.P.P.S. Oh wait, no it doesn't.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear Diary, my secret fear is...

Little Monster bought a Hello Kitty diary with her own money the other day.  She saved up allowance and tooth fairy money to buy something on her own.  (Btw- apparently the tooth fairy is doing well for herself in the recession because she gave LM 5 bucks for her first lost tooth.)

Anyway, so she picked out this diary and when we get in the car she starts writing in it.  Her first entry:
Dear Diary,
My secret fear is lightning bugs.

She's terrified of lightning bugs.  Runs screaming into the house like they're evil invaders of Planet Firefly out to install little lights on all of our butts.

(She's actually terrified of all bugs.  When we leave our house to go out, she runs clear out into the middle of the lawn in this huge wide circle to stay away from the flowers in the garden in front of our house because there are bees on them.  I don't have the heart to tell her there are probably a ton of bees out on the clover in our grass. )

Little Monster then decided no one can read it, except Mason, Kenzie, Hunter, Ava, Chandler, her whole summer school class, and pretty much the entire neighborhood.  So she needed to hide it from the poor soul who isn't included in her list of people that are allowed to read it.  Which may in fact be me, now that I think about it.

So she told me she was going to hide it where NO ONE can find it.  And then showed me where she hid it in our closet.

So that got me thinking: do you have a secret fear?  Maybe an irrational one that seems silly, but is SO not silly to you?

Go ahead, spill it.  I'll make sure no one sees your answer.  Except maybe Mason, Kenzie, Hunter, Ava, Chandler, the entire neighborhood and the whole blogosphere.  But NO ONE else.  I swear.

Here's mine: My secret fear is walking on those sewer grate thingies on sidewalks in the city.  No matter how big or how wide, I have to veer completely around them, even if it means walking in the street to possibly get hit by a bus.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Banned from Blogger

Hey everyone!  Sorry for my absence last week.  Hubs and Little Monster were out of town so I took the opportunity to crank out the rest of my edits for my WIP.  So after hours of editing, possible hallucinations, and a sore butt my first round of edits are officially done!!


Yes, there's a but....

Now it's on to my 2nd round of edits from my 3 crit partners....le sigh....


I am on a Major Editing (Salute -- Major Editing) roll right now, and don't want to lose steam, so I've banned myself from blogger until I can crank out at least the first part of my 2nd round of edits.

My attendance will be sporadic at best, but please know I still love you guys!  But a book won't publish itself on it's own, so I gotta take some action here.

I will leave you with some pearls of wisdom: When you are home alone for a whole week, you may want to maintain contact with the outside world.  By the end of the week, I'm pretty sure I had a Girls Night with two of my main characters.  Complete with pillow fights in our underwear, consuming mass quantities of cookie dough, and watching Beaches.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with JE Fritz

Look, even her picture is mysterious-
we can't see her face very well
Hello to everyone on this beautiful sunny day!  (at least, I hope its beautiful and sunny in your neck of the woods!)  My interview today is with JE Fritz of Still Writing...  I'm keeping her first name a secret because she doesn't list it on her blog, so I'm keeping the mysteriousness that surrounds her in tact. (although if you look hard enough, you just might find it)  We all could use a little mysteriousness in our lives.  For example: you have no idea what I'm wearing as I write this.  I could be wearing a prom dress, or a big bunny suit.  Or I might not be wearing pants (little known fact: lots of authors don't wear pants).  JE was one of my first followers when I started almost a year ago.  She's smart and funny and finds really great tips and information on writing.  So, here she is!

     Tell us the scoop on how you got into writing novels.

‘Scoop’ makes it sound interesting. I just wanted to write a novel…and I did! It wasn’t a very good novel, I admit, but for me, it was wonderful to be creating something with words. I’ve wanted to be an author for years (I think high school is when I first went “Hmmm. Can I do this?”).

What genre do you write?
YA, although that’s more of an audience I’m trying to reach. I like speculative fiction (dystopian, post-apocalyptic) and urban fantasy/paranormal. Most of them just seem to come out YA. 

What authors inspire you?
Stephen King definitely inspires me in his raw output of prose. Mark Z. Danielewski is amazing in terms of voice and skill. 

How often do you write?
I try to every day, even if it’s just a paragraph. Having a blog really helps keep me writing, even if I’m in the middle of doing non-writerly tasks.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Pantser, at least for the first draft. When I’m done, then I outline, move things around, make sure everything is how I want it. But I never know the details when I type that first word, so that definitely makes me a pantser.

Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?
I write best in my room, where I have a comfortable chair (or can stand comfortably; sometimes I do this, too). I definitely go for music when I’m writing, cranking up the most depressing and/or angriest music I have. It really helps!

What is on your TBR pile?
World War Z, The Water Wars, The Hunger Games (again)

If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?
JK Rowling, and thus, society. 

What is your “day” job?
Right now, just some researching for a tech company. 

What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits)
My flashdrive. Just in case someone breaks into my house and steals my laptop. Because you never know and paranoia is right sometimes. 

Mac or PC?
PC. I’ve heard Macs are better, but I doubt I have the skills to use one. Me and computers = not good.

Favorite dessert?
Chocolate pudding cake. 

Favorite desert?
The ones I made up in my book! Shameless plug-y enough? Of course, those were inspired by the deserts of the southwest. I’ve only seen them in pictures, but they’re beautiful. As long as you bring enough water. 

Where is your dream vacation?
Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go there and see the volcanoes and the Pacific.

Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's a twista, it's a twista!

For some people, tornadoes conjure up fun memories of watching The Wizard of Oz, all cozy in their houses eating popcorn and huddled under their snuggies.  Dorothy's house gets swept up in a twister and brought all the way to the land of Oz, where fun and magical things happen like dancing scarecrows and her hair magically changing length a million times.

Photo Credit

But for most of us, tornadoes mean death and destruction, plowing their way through towns with no mercy whatsoever.  As much as I love weather, (my first semester of college I majored in broadcast journalism and wanted to eventually be a meteorologist) I know we have no control over it, and know that the damage it can cause can be devastating.

A couple weeks ago a town very close to mine was destroyed by an Ef-5 tornado.  The highest rating a tornado can get.  It was 3/4 mile wide, and traveled 6 miles straight through the center of town, destroying huge businesses and homes alike.  The death toll is still rising and is somewhere in the 140-range. Right around that same week, tornadoes also destroyed cities in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama before that.  There were many more in other states as well.  This has been the deadliest year for tornadoes since they started recording them sometime in the 1950's.

Joplin Tornado: photo credit
Joplin Tornado: photo credit

I'm listing some links if you'd like to try to help in any way.  I know many towns are hosting areas to drop off donations, and of course the red cross could always use blood.  You can give a monetary donation (which is what they prefer, so they can quickly cater to the victim's needs.)  It doesn't have to be much- every little bit helps.

A friend is holding an auction for her photography that she will give 100% to the Joplin tornado victims (the picture is beautiful!):

Latest news on the Joplin tornado, and ways to donate sponsored by the United Way (also if you live close, you can sign up to help with cleanup):
Rebuild Joplin

For the Joplin, Missouri tornado victims:
An article with lists of ways to donate:

For the Tuscaloosa, Alabama tornado victims:

For a general disaster relief donation to the Red Cross:;4993.donation=form1

I know author Maureen Johnson had an auction up last week to help raise money for tornado victims, the Chiefs donated $35,000 to the Joplin victims, and Home Depot donated $1 Million to direct relief to the Joplin victims (the Home Depot in Joplin was completely leveled, killing numerous people).

The response to all the devastation our country has experienced in the past months has been overwhelming!  It's nice to know that even a country that is so divided in many ways, can come together for a cause like this.  It gives me a shred of hope that maybe someday we can come together in other ways to make our country stronger.

This article made me smile: Paying it Forward

Thanks for all the prayers and help- those communities will survive because of you.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Joysee part 2

So I've decided to be totally un-original with my title because I'm tired.  Sorry for the utter lack of coolness on my part.

But, you want to know what dripped with coolness this weekend?  My trip to New Jersey! (okay, it actually dripped with sweat because it was like, 90 degrees)

We went down the shore one day

I got to see a plethora of relatives from aunts and uncles, to cousins, my Godmother and of course, Grandma.

I wanted to put a fascinator on her,
but she opted for the wide brimmed straw hat
Ahh, my Grandmother.  We had hours of enjoyment at the nursing home.  Let me just say, even though she's lost most of her short term memory, she has not lost her spunk and ability to talk dirty.

She regaled us with songs in Polish, informing us that one particular song she liked was about a tramp.  She then turned to my mom (her daughter) and asked very innocently: "Are you a tramp?"  Naturally my mom said, "No not for a while now."  And my grandmother very sweetly but very knowingly said, "Well, you've got some smears on your shirt there, Honey."

She liked to tell us about all her boyfriends, and that they were waiting at her mother's house for her.  Then she lowers her voice and says, "And you know, we weren't really able to do much lovemaking until just last year."  Not skipping a beat, she remarks on how beautiful the trees are, and how she hadn't had a chance to climb them yet this year.

These are the trees she was facing-
every other minute she'd remark on how breathtaking the trees were.
Every. Other.  Minute.
After a few more laughs, we wheel her back into the nursing home so she could hang out with the elderly priest who is apparently her boyfriend.  It's okay- he blesses everyone he sees, so we're good to go.

As I left, I just had to get a picture of her roommate.  She's 107 years old!

She kinda stared at me blankly when I asked her if I could take her picture.
  I took that as a yes.

We are so lucky that my grandmother is happy where she is, and even though she knows who Abby is, I don't look like her Abby.  She still thinks of me as a little girl.  And you know what?  That's totally fine with me.

Quick promo: I'm posting as my alter-ego Abby Gabby for the Thestral Gazette over at Laurel's Leaves today!  Head on over there and read my advice column for Hogwarts students.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Joysee

Isn't it funny when you tell people you are from Jersey or traveling there, someone always says, "Oh, New Joysee?", in what I can only guess is their version of a New Jersey accent.  But I've never heard a native actually call it Joysee.  True, New Jerseyans can have a pretty thick accent depending what part they are from, but it doesn't quite go that far.  But we all have our interpretations of what accents are, for example: when I skype with one of my crit partners who is from Canada, I always imagine she says "eh?" after every sentence, and says "aboot" quite frequently.  Obviously she doesn't (much...).  I just assume she loves Hockey and the movie Strange Brew.

I'm not saying to give up your perceptions of people (because it's kinda funny) and I'm not at all offended when someone talks about New Jersey like that, or that the Midwest is full of hicks and meth addicts.  Now if you let it interfere with your judgement of someone, that's going a little far.  You never know who they really are until you  meet them and find out more about them.

Anyhoo, I'm leaving my meth lab smack dab in the middle of the country to travel to New Joysee to visit my relatives.  I'm excited because I haven't seen my grandma in 2 years, and this'll be my only chance this year to see the ocean.  And I get to eat REAL New York pizza.  YUM.

I won't be back until next week, so there won't be a post on Monday.  Have a lovely weekend everyone, and I'll see you when I get back!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aspiring Author Interview with Donea Lee

I don't want to take anything away from Donea's spotlight, but last night a town 30 minutes west from me was leveled by a tornado.  There were many injuries and fatalities and the hospital there was hit badly.  Thankfully it moved south of my town, so we just got the storm.  But in the wake of all the devastation was left this:

I know there are a few double rainbow jokes in your head right now (trust me, we got it all out on facebook last night) but to me today, it symbolizes hope for those who lost everything last night.  My thoughts are with them as they start to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives.

Now onto cheerier things:

Donea and her daughter
Donea Lee's interview!  Donea is an aspiring writer who loves Buffy The Vampire Slayer just like me.  Need I say more on how awesome she is?  She has a segment on her blog on Fridays called Find the Story Friday, that she's been doing for a long time.  She posts pictures and asks the readers to create a story about the picture.  It's fun to see what people come up with!  I've known Donea for a while now, and in a year I've watched her readership grow and it's so awesome to see a friend do so well in the blogosphere.

Tell us the scoop on how you got into writing novels.
    I really AM that girl who’s written/told stories for as long as I can remember.  Several of them got me into trouble when I was a kid.  Who knows, maybe I’ll write about that someday.  When I was a teen I wrote silly novellas, usually about the shy girl (me) who got the cute popular boy (my latest crush) in the end.  In college and my twenties, I wrote lots of novel starts, but usually got stuck somewhere in the middle.  It was later in life, when I discovered Harry Potter and I started creeping up on the age J.K. Rowling was when her first book came out, that I decided I needed to get serious about my writing.  Yeah, well…I’m still working on the “serious” part.  But, I get a little closer every day!
    What genre do you write?
      I dabble in a little bit of everything.  I’ve written poetry, women’s fiction, a murder mystery or two, and I’ve got (what is, I believe) a great idea for an MG novel, but my focus lately has been a YA magical realism trilogy.
      What authors inspire you?
        I love the epic-ness of Tolkien, even if I did skip over most of the songs…(in my defense, so did Peter Jackson…just sayin’).  I LOVE the magic of Harry Potter.  Rowling created a world I wish with all my heart was real and characters I would love to know.  I love Shannon Hale’s lyrical phrasing, so beautiful, especially in her Goose Girl series.  And then I’ve got to give props to the creative geniuses/authors behind some of my favorite television shows:  Joss Whedon and Bryan Fuller – for their witty dialogue!  I wish I were that clever.
        How often do you write?
          My procrastinating ways still get the best of me from time to time, so I can’t say I write daily.  But, I do write several days a week. 
          Are you a plotter or a pantser?
            A sporadic pantser with aspirations to be a fantastically focused plotter!
            Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?
              I don’t really have a favorite place to write.  When I need to get the words down, I get them down- be it in the car, at work, at home.  And I don’t necessarily need music to write.  I don’t mind having it on.  Often, it gets lost in the background of my thoughts.  But, I can say that certain songs have spurred story ideas.
              What is on your TBR pile?
                SO many great books!  It makes my head swim sometimes.  But, I’ve got The Liar Society, The Scorch Trials, Beautiful Darkness, Cassastar and Matched on hand at the moment.
                If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win?
                  JK – no question.  However, if we’re talking about their fans…well, let’s just say I’d feel much safer at a HP convention than in the middle of a Team: Edward vs. Team: Jacob rally…
                  What is your “day” job?
                    Is “glorified peon” an acceptable answer to this?  Actually, I’m an administrative assistant/office manager, wishing I could answer “full-time writer” to this question.
                    What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits)
                      My daughter tells me I should answer, “my daughter” to this question, so I’ll go with that. 
                      Mac or PC?
                        I’m not cool enough for a Mac yet… and I kind of want to throw things at my home PC right now.  I’ve got plans to buy my very first laptop anytime now.  Yep, I’ve never had a laptop.  Which explains the “not cool” comment pretty well, right?
                        Favorite dessert?
                          Baked goods.  All of them.
                          Favorite desert?
                            Ack!  I hate the heat.  But, if I have to pick one, I’ll say the desert area around Bouse, AZ, in the spring when the cacti are in bloom.
                            Where is your dream vacation?
                              I LOVE to travel!  I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like, which – let’s face it – would be 350 days a year (taking out holidays and my birthday, when I’d want to be home and close to family, of course.)  Well, maybe not that many days, but A LOT.  And to make this long explanation longer – my ultimate dream vacation would be a nice long European Tour visiting the old castles in Ireland, Scotland and Germany, I’d have to visit every place in Austria The Sound of Music was filmed, visiting the cafĂ©’s and museums in London and Paris, a spa retreat in Tuscany, ballroom dancing classes in Barcelona, ending with mythology/ancient ruins and pizza/gelato tours in Italy and Greece.  I’m sure I missed something, but that’d be a good start!
                              Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself
                                I most often lurk around my blog, which you can find here: The Queen of Procrastination @
                                Thank you so much, Abby!  This is my first official aspiring-author interview and I couldn’t be happier that it will be featured on your blog.  I enjoyed answering these awesome questions.  This is such a wonderful feature on your blog.  It’s so great to get to know a little bit more about all the amazing writers/bloggers in this great writing community of ours.  I don’t forget that you were one of my first followers, and I really appreciate all your thoughtful blog posts, your wonderful comments on my posts and your friendship.  Thanks, again! 
                                *One little thing – a lot of people out there know me as Donea Lee.  Lee is actually my middle name.  Donea Lee Weaver is what they might see on a book someday, if I’m lucky!

                                Thursday, May 19, 2011

                                Our First Look at Katniss!

                                Here it is, folks!  The moment we've all been waiting for!  Our first official look at Katniss.  And I have to say, she looks perfect!  I wasn't sure at first when I heard Jennifer Lawrence was cast, but now I'm confident she'll be a great Katniss.

                                EW Article

                                So, let's see, we have Woody Harrelson as Haymitch (who I was leery about at first, but now he's grown on me), Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, and Liam Hemsworth as Gale.  I was surprised at the pick for Peeta, but then I read a statement from Suzanne Collins saying she basically helped cast him.  So I have confidence it's a good choice.

                                Hunger Games Website

                                Stanley Tucci is Caesar Flickerman which I think he will be marvelous at and Elizabeth Banks is Effie Trinket- I can't wait to see what she does with her.

                                Stanley Tucci
                                Elizabeth Banks

                                 All the tributes have been cast I believe, and I think Amandla Stenberg as Rue and Willow Shields as Prim are perfect.

                                Amandla Stenberg
                                Willow Shields
                                Now I'm REALLY interested to see who plays Cinna.  I've seen some rumors swirling, with nothing confirmed, but some names flying about are Cillian Murphy, Jude Law and James Marsden.  I would put my bet on Cillian Murphy.

                                Cillian Murphy

                                Any of the links underneath the pictures will take you to the Hunger Games Fansite where you can find all sorts of cool and surprisingly up-to-date info and rumors.

                                So Hunger Games Fans, what do you think of all these cast members?  Do they excite you or disappoint you?  Who would you like to see play Cinna?  Or President Snow?