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?

                                Monday, May 16, 2011

                                Aspiring Author Interview with Erica and Christy

                                Hello Friends!

                                In light of the Blogger Fiasco of 2011, I'm posting the link to the interview of Erica and Christy I put up on Thursday.  That way if you didn't get to read it, or if blogger swallowed you whole and spit you out, you can head on over.  I want to give those lovely ladies the same amount of face time my other interviewees got.

                                So please clicky on the linky- it would make me and two pretty ladies VERY happy :)  I'm disabling comments on this post so you can just go ahead and comment on the interview.  Thanks everyone!

                                Aspiring Author Interview with Erica and Christy

                                Wednesday, May 11, 2011

                                Aspiring Author Interview with Erica and Christy

                                Erica on the left and Christy on the right...
                                unless you are looking at their right and left, in which case
                                Erica is on the right and Christy on the left...

                                Today I have a special double dose of aspiring author interviews!  Two of my very good bloggy buddies Erica and Christy are answering my questions!  Here's the cool thing- they manage their blog together!  Both are teachers, moms, and writers!  And get this- they only just met at last years Writeoncon online, and decided to start the blog together.  They finally got to meet face to face at this years Writers Institute in Wisconsin.  What a sweet bestie friendie story!  I'm so happy to have gotten to know them over this year, and consider them great friends!

                                erica's blue

                                christy’s green
                                1. Tell us the scoop on how you got into writing novels. 
                                I wrote a few short stories during high school and read just about any book I could find. College got in the way and fun reading/writing was gone for several years. After my son was born, I had a few new ideas and started a couple, but never got past about 30 pages. After my niece started talking about all these fantastic books she'd read (yes, 4 of them were written by someone with the initials SM), I started thinking about it again and wrote my first complete book in about six months.
                                When I was little (middle school age) one of my best friends and I wanted to write a mystery series.  (We’d read Babysitter’s Club, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High…lots of series.)  I remember writing during sixth grade study hall.  I don’t think I wrote again until October 2009.  After reading the Twilight saga.
                                1. What genre do you write? 
                                So far, YA and MG. I have a complete YA contemporary and a half-done MG ghost story plus some other started YA and MG   contemporaries.
                                YA.  So far I have a 95% completed Paranormal Romance and a 60% completed Contemporary Romance.  I have a YA Sci Fi  brewing that I am super excited to get started on!!!!
                                1. What authors inspire you? 
                                I really enjoy character-driven novels, which is why I tend to talk about Sarah Dessen a lot. 
                                Before writing, I read a variety of adult novels.  Historical fiction, romance, legal thrillers, mystery. I blush when admitting this, but I got started reading YA only AFTER starting to write.  (Except for Twilight, of course.)  Even more embarrassing, I didn’t read much at all the first eight months of writing.  I didn’t make time for it.  At this point, I can say that I love characters with a strong voice.  My fave YA so far?  Kiersten White’s Evie.  But I have lots more reading to do.  
                                1. How often do you write? 
                                I used to write every day. Now, I edit more than I write, so my numbers are way down. I have a goal for this summer, though.
                                I started rewriting a novel in February.  For a while I wrote TONS just trying to make a contest deadline.  Whenever I needed a break, I took three days to read and relax. When I’m constantly editing/revising/rewriting I don’t feel like I’m really writing at all.  I’m ready to get back into writing writing again.  And soon!  Then, I hope every single day for at least an hour.
                                1. Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
                                I'm a pantser, although recently I've felt the need for a support group, because I hit a total dead-end on my WIP.
                                I’m here for you Erica!  A little of both.  BUT for my brand new shiny idea I am going to plot that thing out really well.  Then I’m hoping it will just write itself.  I’m sick of getting stuck ¾ of the way through.  I want to know exactly where I’m heading and why from the get-go.
                                6.Where do you write best, and do you listen to music while you write?
                                 Next week, I'm making my own office area in an alcove behind our kitchen. It's a tiny space completely surrounded by windows overlooking our farm and woods. I hope that works for me. So far, I've been serenaded by SpongeBob and Big Time Rush (I work in the living room with two kids). 
                                In silence.  I don’t care where I am.  Silence is so rare though.  I suppose downstairs in the office—with the door locked.  I listen to music when I run and plot, but not so much when I’m actually typing away.
                                7.What is on your TBR pile? 
                                The Book Thief, The Hunger Games series
                                It’s huge!  Across the Universe, Gone series by Michael Grant, Wake series, Matched, Possession, Shatter Me, and like five more paranormal books that I can’t think of the name right now but I can picture their covers.
                                8.If Stephanie Meyer and JK Rowling got in a cat fight, who would win? 
                                Mcgonagall (you said cat fight).
                                What she said.
                                9.What is your “day” job? 
                                I'm a center manager/teacher of a Head Start center for low-income and at-risk preschoolers.
                                I’m an elementary school teacher (part-time) and teach reading, writing and math.  Then I go home to my adorable five and three year olds. (And our eight year old dog.  He’s cute too.)
                                10.What can you not leave home without? (cell phones are off limits) 
                                Car keys?
                                11.Mac or PC? 
                                12.Favorite dessert? 
                                I don't eat many mom makes these Mounds bars with coconut that are super yummy, so I'll pick that.  
                                Cold Stone:  sweet cream ice cream, oreos, yellow cake and a little bit of hot fudge in a plain waffle bowl
                                13.Favorite desert? 
                                I don't think I could name more than one, so I'll go with Sahara (if only because of the movie) 
                                 I don’t have a favorite.
                                14.Where is your dream vacation? 
                                I don't even have a passport, so anything out of the US seems exotic and dreamy. My husband's always wanted to go to New Zealand, so I'll pick that. 
                                 I visited Switzerland while in college.  Since I’ve had kids I’m afraid to fly, but I’d love to bring my husband back some day.  Option B is Las Vegas.  I’ve had the worst craving to go there lately.  Can you crave a place?
                                15.Finally, link us to your website, blog, fb, twitter and anything else you might like to shamelessly plug for yourself 
                                Thanks so much Abby.  You are one of the coolest and I’m so glad you’re off of your April break!

                                Monday, May 9, 2011

                                Who Has Two Thumbs, is 45 and Thin as a Stick? This Girl.

                                So says Little Monster, anyway.

                                As you all know, yesterday was Mother's Day.

                                Little Monster made me some cards and such at school. I thought I'd post some for you.

                                In this one, apparently I'm 45, stick thin and bald with no face.  Which is way better than the 52 years old her friend's mother is.  And I'm super healthy- my favorite food is strawberries.  In the picture, I'm throwing grass.  Because I'm cool like that.

                                This next one is the envelope she decorated for my card.  At the top of the envelope, she has a booboo and is crying, and I'm putting a band aid on it.  If you look closely, you can see our super awesome Lady Gaga hair.  The next picture, it doesn't get better and she's still crying so I give her a hug.  The squiggly lines are her long flowing hair.  Lastly, she has two hearts- one for me and one for Daddy.  There are check marks after her sentences- she said it was her list she was checking off.  

                                I hope your Mother's Day was as special as mine- whether you are a mommy, son, daughter, grandma, pet owner (because you are a mommy to your pets), or thinking of a special woman in your life or remembering your own mother.  

                                Did you do anything special this weekend?

                                Monday, May 2, 2011

                                My Date With Meg Cabot

                                Hello Chummies!

                                Well, it's been a wonderful month off, filled with writing, critiquing, painting, and playing, and now I'm back and rearing to go with the blogging.  Although I must add a disclaimer: It's total crunch time, so my blogging may be sporadic in the next couple months.  I've got to get my WIP done, my query letter polished, and start researching agents.

                                But onto more fun and lovely things!

                                Like my date with Meg Cabot!

                                 Okay, so there were about 60 other people on the date as well, but we won't talk about that.

                                Seriously though, she came to my old stomping grounds to promote her new book Abandon, so my sister and I went to her signing.  (And I want to publicly thank my awesome sis for letting me drag her along so she could take pics of me and Meg)

                                Let me just say, meeting authors is like meeting celebrities for me, so I was all giddy and nervy and knew I had to keep my mouth shut or else something spazzy and uncool would squeak out of my mouth.

                                I have to tell you a little background on my first experience with a Meg Cabot book.  It was back in 2001 when I was in college, I started reading The Princess Diaries.  I remember my boyfriend (who later landed the role of the Hubs) had an internship at the state Capital with the Majority Leader of the House.

                                I would visit him occasionally, and on the last day of session, I came up so we could go to the Inaugural Ball of the new Governor.    Working with the Majority Leader gave Future Hubs the great opportunity of going on the floor of the House, and basically running around, passing out documents to all the representatives.  He would stand in this little deputy guy's office at the edge of the floor and then go out when he needed to.

                                 I came with him that day and sat in that little office while he worked.  I was bored, so I started reading the Princess Diaries.  That was a mistake.  I snorted and snickered so hard, trying not to laugh out loud, I think I blew snot all over the carpet.  The deputy guy probably called the Feds, telling them to keep an eye on the loony blonde with tears streaming down her face reading a pink teen book at the Capital.  (Now that I think about it, that's probably why my "free" HBO mysteriously got canceled after I told someone about it on the phone.)

                                I'm surprised future Hubs decided to marry me after that embarrassing display.

                                All that aside, I loved the books and they were a great distraction from homework and papers and she's been one of my favorite authors ever since.

                                On to the signing.  She was awesome of course, regaling us with funny childhood stories, cute (and awesome) drawings, and a little bit about the inspiration for Abandon.

                                She showed some old school notebooks with doodles and drawings all over her math problems, and it reminded me of my own old notebooks with drawings all over them. We're total twinkies in that department. (ooh and she had a mac, so more twinkie goodness)

                                She signed my copy of Abandon for me, and also a copy of an Allie Finkle book for Little Monster (and my super sis's ticket stub).  Of course I just stood there grinning like a loon.  I think I said hi.  Not sure.  I may have stuttered something about loving her books.  But I kinda blacked out for a second.  

                                I had a fabulous experience and am SO glad I got to go.  

                                Maybe someday, in my wildest dreams, I can sign MY book next to her while chatting about things like the Royal Wedding and what type of fascinator we'd wear.

                                Like this one:
                                photo credit

                                or maybe this one:

                                photo credit
                                But in all honesty, I think I'd go with this one:

                                photo credit

                                Haha, just kidding.  Probably this one, actually.

                                photo credit
                                I'd wear a smile with mine though.  Although, I'm pretty sure its physically impossible for Vbecks to smile (I totally just made that nickname up.  It kinda sounds like vbac...)

                                I'm glad to be back, and I really have truly missed you all!  

                                What have you all been up to this month?  I'm dying to know!