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.