“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Memories Anyone? I found the coolest thing!

My young adult novel, The Memory Box, centers around sixteen-year old, Cassie Harris, and her love of collecting memories.

The other day, while strolling through Target, I found these really cool journals called SMASH books from K&Company.  And I know my main character, Cassie, would absolutely ADORE these.

I'll give you a video to show you what they're all about...

So...can you see how more organized and creative Cassie could have been if she had a few of these?  Rather than an old wooden box?  Oh the possibilities!

Each colored book has a different theme (travel, city/industrial, romantic, flowers, etc). There are small, medium, and large books. And there are a bunch of accessories. These are just a few:

Anyway, I resisted buying one for myself, (only because I don't have the time right now to put it together), but I bought one for my daughter and am letting her start her own memory box/book.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Advice I need to follow...

I think I am definitely over-thinking book two.

I can't get started.  I can't keep momentum. And when I do, I'm easily distracted.

I don't like being distracted.

I know I have a lot going on in my life right now, but that hasn't stopped me before.

And I really don't like excuses.

I know once I'm a few chapters in, I'll be fine.  I have a rough draft and an outline to guide me. I have a million words, sentences, and scenes that are fighting to get out of my head, but I think I'm totally psyching myself out.

And I really really don't like being psyched out.

I know this will pass, but for now, I need to "calm down and write something".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Truth: I Hated Reading

I read this the other day...

And I couldn't help but think how true it is.

From a person who reads over 100 books a year, you'd be surprised to learn that when I was a kid I hated to read.


I hated it so much that in sixth grade, I took the lower grade on a book report just so I didn't have to finish the whole book. My time was better spent building tree forts and playing street hockey with the boys.

I really don't remember being required to read in my seventh and eighth grade English classes.  (Well, we might have been but obviously they weren't good enough to remember.)  But we wrote a lot, and because of that, I aced those classes easily.

In ninth grade, we were required to read two books and I hated them both, again I took the bad grade to get out of the assignments. By that time, I would have rathered hung out with my girlfriends at the mall and played different types of games with the boys.

After that, I went to an unconventional high school that didn't require reading, so I didn't.

But I think there was more than just not finding the right book, it also took me settling down. Sitting still for long lengths of time just didn't interest me as a kid.  Now that I'm an adult, it's one of my favorite things to do.

So if you're a parent or teacher and worry about your children not being readers, give them time or at least give them a book that they'll enjoy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

7,000th Day of Love

Today, January 7th, marks the 7,000th day that I’ve loved my husband. Which basically means, he’s aggravated the crap out of me at least 7,000 times. Probably made me cry 7,000 tears of frustration (mostly because I’m a big cry baby). But has also said I'm sorry 14,000 times, has said "I love you" at least 21,000 times, has kissed me more than 70,000 times, and has made me laugh well over 100,000.

I've enjoyed every second of those 7,000 days with him (that's 604,800,000 seconds). Even when he holds me down and tickles me so bad that I pray for a third hand to scratch his eyeballs out. Or when he puts on scary masks and jumps out of closets. Or when he puts me in wrestling moves where my face is in my ass and tells me to get out of it. He makes me crazy. Drives me insane. But also melts my heart and still gives me butterflies after all these years. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if you really love someone, with your whole heart and soul, it's not so hard either.

I love you babe! Here’s to 7,000 more.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My 2012 Favorite Books of the Year...

Young Adult

Laugh Out Loud Funny / Great Characters

1)  Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally                Description 
     (movie rights optioned)
2)  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins   Description
Drama, Romance & Swoon Worthy Boys

1)  The Vincent Boys (#1) by Abbi Glines        Description    

2)  The Vincent Brothers (#2)  by Abbi Glines   Description

Books that kick you in the heart and punch you in the brain...but you still love them anyway

1)  Hopeless by Colleen Hoover                    Description 
2)  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green      Description    
      (movie rights optioned)

3)  The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay      Description    

Books that have ALL OF THE ABOVE

1)  Slammed (#1) by Colleen Hoover              Description    

2)  Point of Retreat (#2) by Colleen Hoover    Description    
      (both movie rights optioned)

New Adult (College Aged Characters/More Mature Content)

Drama, Romance & Swoon Worthy Boys

1) Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire    Description
    (movie rights optioned)

2) The Sea Breeze Series by Abbi Glines    
            #1 - Breathe                   Description
            #2 - Because of Low      Description
            #3 - While it Lasts          Description
            #4 - Just for Now           Description

Adult Series (R Rated)

Chocolate Lovers Series by Tara Sivec

#1 - Seduction and Snacks     Description
#2 - Futures and Frostings     Description
#3 - Troubles and Treats        Description 

This series is not for the faint of heart but they could quite possibly be the funniest books you’ll ever read. They are crude, rude, and at times, over the top, but if you don’t mind all that, you are in for a TREAT! I love these books.

The Dark Duet Series by CJ Roberts

#1 - Captive in the Dark       Description
#2 - Seduced in the Dark     Description

To be honest, I don’t even know if I could describe these books correctly. They are ONE. BIG. MIND F*CK!  If you are looking for a book to mess with your head, doubt your morals, and make you squirm with disgust and excitement all at the same time, READ THESE BOOKS! They might not be your cup of tea, you might not even like them in the end, but you can’t deny that they’ve taken you on an emotional roller coaster that you needed to buckle in tight to get through. But BEWARE they are GRAPHIC and give you a horrifying glimpse into the sex trade business.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Dream Book Cover

So, I've been working hard at hardly working on my WIP these past few months. With the kids being home from school for the summer, my time to write and edit has been sparse. BUT, I did have a great day hanging out with my very talented thirteen year old daughter one afternoon. She is a whiz at editing pictures on the computer so I asked her if she could make me a book cover for my contemporary young adult novel, The Memory Box. 

I showed her the print advertisement I'd found and have used as a point of reference for my two characters, Travis and Cassie. She copied it and uploaded it onto her computer. Then we found a cabin on Google images and copied that onto her computer also.   

With a few magical effects and a text box, this is the result of our day:

SQUEEE!  I love it! She's amazing, right? It's exactly what I would've envisioned if I were to ever publish my book. I know I probably couldn't use it because these are paid models, but still, a girl can dream...

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Top 5, or 6, or 7 Young Adult Books of 2011

Sorry, I tried to pick 5, but couldn't do it.

Through the Goodreads.com website, I challenged myself to read seventy-five books this year – January through December.  I finished, with a few weeks to spare.  If you scroll down on the left hand side of the screen you can see some of the ones I read.

  First - I’d like to say that although some of these books may have been released in 2011, some were not.  This is not a “released in 2011” list.  It’s MY 2011 list. 
  Second - I am not a professional book reviewer or blogger. This is a list I compiled to share with my readers and linked them to websites for easy access. 
Favorite Young Adult Book of 2011:  Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater – Magical Realism/Historical Fantasy, Young Adult

I absolutely LOVED this book.  Best writing, hands down.  I’m sitting here trying to think of words to describe it, but can’t get past, Wow!  Maggie Stiefvater’s writing drops you right in the middle of Puck and Sean Kendrick’s world - a small island, home to the Scorpio Races - and takes you on an adventure like no other.  It's like you are right there on top of the white faced cliffs looking down at the beaches of Skarmouth.  You are riding Dove down the dirt lane and racing her brother Finn in the family car they named Morris.  You feel Sean Kendrick’s love for his horses, especially Corr, you hate Benjamin Malvern and his son Matthew, and you laugh and shake your head at the silly Maud sisters.  I can’t say enough good things about this book and I hope hope hope it makes it to the big screen one day. 
Author's WebsiteWhere to Buy  /  You Tube Audio Sample & Pics

I also recommend Maggie's Wolves of Mercy Falls Series
(Shiver, Linger, and Forever )

Sweetest Story:  The Sky is Everywhere, by Nelson Jandy - Contemporary, Young Adult 

 This is another Wow! book for me.  Lennie Walker is probably one of the sweetest characters I’ve ever read. Beyond the struggle of dealing with an absent mother and the loss of her big sister and best friend Bailey, Lennie is funny and witty and what you’d call an adorkable hero.  You cannot help but fall in love with her.  Lennie’s story is heart-breaking but there were times when I was laughing hysterically.  I recommend this book whole-heartedly.  Check out the You Tube Trailer below for some funny snippets of Lennie's personality.

 Most Interesting Concept:  Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi –  Dystopian, Young Adult

Not only am I giving this Most Interesting Concept but I’m also giving it the Most Swoon Worthy and Most Left-Me-Slobbering-For-More award.

INSERT:  Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.  The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

The writing in Shatter Me is nothing you’ve encountered before. So deliciously different. And I cannot wait for more. My only complaint is that I have to wait until next year to read book #2 and book #3 won’t hit shelves until 2013. Blah! I’m not used to waiting for books and it’s not fun.

 Most Touching:  Willow, by Julia Hoban.  Contemporary, Young Adult. 

INSERT:  Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy - one sensitive, soulful boy - discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.  

Need I say more?  Great writing. Great read. 
Where To Buy / You Tube Book Trailer

Best Page Turner:  Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Contemporary, Young Adult

INSERT:  Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.  On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

First of all, this book really gets its hooks into you and doesn’t let go.  It is a page-turner from page one.  It’s concept is different from anything I’ve read and I really enjoyed every page.

Second, I hope teenagers get a chance to read this book.  It is a perfect example of how your words and actions, which seem so simple at the time, can literally kill the spirit of a person.  Hannah Baker is another one of my sweet characters.  A great read and would suggest gifting it to a teen in your life. (That is, after you’ve read it first, carefully, without bending any pages.)

Author's Website / Where To Buy 

Favorite Series:  (This is tough because I have two) – The Summer Series, by Jenny Han and The Perfect Chemistry Series, by Simone Elkeles.  They are both Contemporary Young Adult books with a strong emphasis on their love stories.

The Summer Series consists of : The Summer I turned pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, and We’ll Always Have Summer.

Belly (Isabelle), Steven (brother), Conrad (hot & moody boy) and Jeremiah (sweet and fun boy).  The four of them meet with their two families at a beach house each summer.  These are light and fun books with some serious family issues sprinkled in, and of course a love triangle to top it all off and make it more interesting.

Author's Website / Where To Buy / You Tube Book Trailer

The Perfect Chemistry Series consists of:   Perfect Chemistry, Rules of Attraction, and Chain Reaction.

Each book follows the life of a different Fuentes brother as they navigate high school, girls, and their loyalties to their gang. 

Author's Website / Where To Buy  

Other Favorite Authors of the year:  Lisa Schroeder (Website), Sarah Dessen (Website), Sara Bennett-Wealer (Website)

Books I’m excited to read in 2012:  Crescendo & Silence of the Hush Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick, Crossed of the Matched Series by Ally Condie, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

NOW get reading!  I know I will.

ALSO, I love book recommendations!  Pass them along!