Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Tour - The Mis-Adventures of Philip Isaac Penn

 Expected publication: June 14th, 2011 

Goodreads Blurb:
Pip, whose real name is Phillip Isaac Penn, feels that the world is against him as he struggles to deal with angry parents, a bossy older sister, a frazzled teacher, and memorable characters such as Bully Bart, Cheater Chaz, Know-It-All Nell, Liar Lizzy, Stealer Steffan, Conman Cody, and Tattle-Tale Tess.  Every day of the week brings another challenge that Pip handles in his own endearing way.  Yet, no matter how hard he tries, he realizes that it’s just not easy being a kid.
I thought this book was a cute read, but repetitive. My daughter thought it was hilarious!  And THAT is the significance of target audience. I'm an adult, so I don't like the circular and repetitive structure as much, but kids do. They love it. And Donna L. Peterson did it artfully.

Each chapter is another day in Pip's week of difficulties. His mornings begin the same way, with irritated family members because of some silly thing Pip did that makes perfect sense to him. He has troubles at school, deals with them creatively, and figures things out. His day ends better, but with the reinforcement that it's not easy being a kid.

My daughter giggled and giggled as she read this book, and that's all the convincing I need that it hits its mark with kids. Plus, I LOVE that cover!!

You can find more fun with PIP in the following places:
Facebook Fan Page
Also, five of the tour's participating blogs will be giving away a copy, so be sure to visit them. Click to see the full schedule

**ebook from Cedar Fort Books through netGalley. Thanks, Cedar Fort! 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Divergent - Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth

Holy macaroni, people!  If you haven't read this book yet, drop everything you are doing and read it this weekend. You won't regret it, trust me.

Goodreads Blurb:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

This is one of those books I'm not sure I'm worthy of reviewing. How do you express in words the power of a book like this? IT. WAS. UNBELIEVABLE! So was this review by Sara McClung from Babbling Flow, by the way. 

I'm not going to repeat the blurb, because that's what blurbs are for, but I will tell you this: Tris is a strong, kick-butt female MC with just the right amount of vulnerability; Four is hot, hot, hot; the world Veronica built is one I hope we never see, and she made it REAL. The ending is a cliff-hanger so suspenseful that it's almost painful. Sounds pretty great, huh?  IT. IS.

When (because "if" is unacceptable) you read this book, plan to get thoroughly pulled in and don't forget to buckle up--it's a very wild ride!! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shelley Watters Contest

Shelley Watters
Made of Awesome Contest!

Shelley is sponsoring an agent-judged contest of the first 250 words of our complete MS. If your MS is finished, whip up a quick post and join the fun! The agent judge is Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson Associates, who is currently building her client list. Yay!

For those who may be interested in joining in today, here are Shelley's rules:
  1. Sign up on the link below. (at Shelley's blog)
  2. On May 28th, post your title, genre, word count and the first 250 words on your blog for critique.
  3. From May 28th through May 30th, hop around to the other contestant's blogs and critique their first 250 words.
  4. On May 31st, come back to my blog and post your final entry on my dedicated contest entry blog post. 
* Many of you have seen snippets of my excerpt before, but thanks to excellent feedback, the MS is vastly improved. So here is the latest, greatest version.  :-)

    Title: Scott and the Naughty Boy Factory
    Genre: Young MG
    Word Count: 19,700

    Pink pony piñata . . . check.
    Invisibility . . . check.
    Cup of worms . . . check.
    I crouched in my favorite tree, fourth branch up from the ground and only one branch over from my sister’s piñata. The perfect place for a ninja ambush. I just needed those girly girls to come a little bit closer.
    My little sister, Victoria, spent all morning picking out her perfect party dress, pink and lacy, with a bow in the back. She and her frilly friends had a fashion show with fake jewelry and feather boas, played “Pin the Crown on the Princess,” and paraded around Fancy Nancy style through the back yard.
     Boor-ing. Time to show Victoria how fun is done.
    I waited above her piñata, holding an old soda cup filled with worms. Only the best ones, though: long and fat and slimy. If worm-collecting was an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medal winner for sure.
    Oh, yeah. This was gonna be good.
    When the girls finally got close enough, I took careful aim and dumped. The worms and dirt tumbled out of my cup and then—splat!—Victoria screamed and started hopping up and down. I raced down the tree for a better look.
    Victoria’s hair and the shoulders of her pink, frilly dress were covered in dirt and wriggly worms. Excellent! She shook her head and flipped her blond ponytail like it was on fire. Dirt and worms were everywhere, even on some of her friends—and they were screaming too.
    It may have been the greatest moment of my life.


    Be sure to stop by Shelley's blog HERE to visit other participants.

    Thank you, Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates!

    Friday, May 27, 2011


    Once again, I thank you for your friendship, your comments and your uber-coolness! This blogging community means more to me than any of you could ever know. The writer me would be LOST without you guys.

    According to random.org, 
    the lucky number for today is . . .

    Random Integer Generator

    Here are your random numbers:
    Timestamp: 2011-05-27 15:09:42 UTC

    Congratualtions, Natalie! Email me with the book of your choice.
    Have a wonderful weekend, friends!  

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Champion of Valor Blog Tour

    Today I am featuring fantasy romance author Nicole Zoltak and her latest book, Champion of Valor, the third book in her Kingdom of Arnhem series, published by Desert Breeze Publishing. 

    Nicole is also a junior editor with MuseItUp Publishing. Cool, huh?

    Goodreads Blurb:
    The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

    The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

    Nicole is a wonderful member of our blogging community, and her books have received much enthusiastic praise. If you are a lover of medieval or fantasy or romance or ALL THREE, you will enjoy this trilogy!

    For other cool stops on the blog tour, visit:
    A.J. for info about Female Knights in the Middle Ages

    Regina for info about Religion in the Middle Ages

    And then go say hello to Nicole and be sure you're following her! 

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    You Guys are the Best + Giveaway!

    Have I mentioned how much I love all you guys?!  'Cause I SERIOUSLY do! 

    Thanks so much for all the kind comments yesterday. It really lowered my stress and guilt levels (even though I lost a follower yesterday, he he). This blogging thing is built on give and take relationships, and I don't want to be a taker more than a giver. Ya know?

    Anyway, as a way of saying thanks and showing my appreciation to all of you, I am going to select one random commenter from today's post to win any book of your choice. International bloggy friends are included too!

    I will announce the winner on Friday.
    Thank you for your support and your comments and your FRIENDSHIP. You guys are the BEST!!

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    I'll Do Better, I Promise

    Okay, today is reserved for a very big apology to you all. 

    I have not been a good bloggy friend for the past few weeks. School is winding down, and as our district's writing specialist, I have done a number of in-service trainings for teachers and misc. other curriculum duties. 

    AND it's baseball season, so I've been living at the ball fields watching my three kiddos play (for the record: one is done, one is undefeated, and one has yet to win a game).

    So, I apologize for not visiting your blogs and commenting as faithfully as I try to do. 

    I thank those of you who have continued to visit me, despite my absence on your own blogs. I appreciate every one of your comments and promise to be better about returning them soon. 

    I have the best followers in the world and I appreciate every single one of you!

    Question of the day: Do you forgive me, bloggy friends? 
    *smiles sweetly and bats eyelashes*

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do it Yourself Book

    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday  

    Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born.

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do it Yourself Book
    by Jeff Kinney

    From Amazon Description:
    Now you can write your own bestseller!

    With The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, you're the author, illustrator, and main character. Filled with loads of interactive pages and plenty of space to write your own life's story, this book is all you need to create your masterpiece. Whatever you do, make sure you put it someplace safe after you finish. Because when you're rich and famous, this thing is going to be worth a fortune.

    Includes more than 60 new pages! 32 pages of full-color comics (16 brand-new)!
    Like virtually every other kid on the planet, my 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter both LOVE the Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. This latest book was released May 1st, and my kids are all over it.

    My son hates art--hates it--so I didn't think he'd like the Do-it-Yourself version. I. Was. So. Wrong. Not only does he love it, but he'll sit for ages trying to draw a "just right" picture. 

    When he's not around, I'll catch my daughter sneaking the book to her bedroom (I am NOT making this up). When she sees me, she says, "I'll just do one. He won't like this one, Mom, I promise." It's seriously adorable. I think she'll probably end up with one of her own, though. Her birthday is next week. Shhhh, don't tell her!

    If your kids are on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, don't pass this one up. It still has lots of reading, but it has plenty of writing/drawing opportunities that will hook even art haters.

    *book courtesy of Abrams Books. Thank you, Laura!! 

    *** Others who can be counted on for a great MMGM review each week: ***

    Happy Monday!

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    101 Success Secrets - Christine Fonseca

    Goodreads Blurb:
    Pssst! Want to know a secret? 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids: The Ultimate Handbook is a must-read for gifted kids ages 8 to 12 who want to find success in school and life. If you're a gifted kid or you know gifted kids, you need the 101 awesome secrets, tips, and tricks included in this book!

    Chock full of fun suggestions and practical strategies, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids covers topics including bullying, school performance, perfectionism, friendships, and sibling rivalries. Fun quizzes, tip sheets, and practical Q & A sections from other gifted preteens and kids make this book fun to read and give gifted kids insight into everything they've ever wanted to know about being gifted. Proven strategies on dealing with stress management, parents' and teachers' expectations, anxiety, cyber-bullying, friendship troubles, and more make this the must-have guide for every gifted kid!

    We all know and love blogging buddy Christine Fonseca. Her first book, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings has been a huge success. I own it and love it!

    Now, she's done it again with her latest book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. I can't tell you how much both books have helped me deal with my daughter this year--and she's only six!

    If you teach, if you parent, if you write about gifted kids . . . you need this book!!  Christine has made life with my daughter SO MUCH better. For the first time, I'm beginning to understand her emotionalism and intensity, her drive to outperform her 3rd grade brother, and her quick-flaring frustration. And I am so thankful!!

    You can find Christine here:
    * Blog
    * Website
    * Twitter 
    * Facebook

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Possession Blog Tour with Elana J.

    Today, I am HONORED to be a stop along Elana's pre-release blog tour for Possession.

    More than that, she has authored a guest post for us all about the TECH WORLD of Possession. Which is TOTALLY AWESOME, btw!

    Elana Johnson’s debut novel, Possession, will be published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster) on June 7, 2011. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for free download. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog and WriteOnCon, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers. Elana is represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.

    Okay, so today, we’re going to tech-geek out. Sort of. See, I’m not really a tech geek. Don’t get me wrong, my MyTouch changed my life (email anywhere! Twitter at the stoplight! Angry birds!), but I’m not someone who keeps up with all the latest technology and gets it the day it comes out.

    I’m going to admit something…

    The technology is POSSESSION came as an after-thought. I knew I was writing a dystopian, but I didn’t know I was going to include cool tech until, well, until it showed up on the page.

    The first thing I wrote that needed tech takes place in chapter two. And since you can read the first two chapters for free here (link to: http://www.possessionthebook.com), I’m going to expand a little.

    I’d written several scenes in POSSESSION before I wrote this one. In fact, Vi and Jag had gotten to know each other very well before I even wrote this scene where they meet. But in chapter two, they meet just before going into a hearing together. Vi’s not sure why Jag’s there with her at all, and she’s a bit nervous in front of this huge Thinker council, but she doesn’t let that deter her attitude.

    So she curses.

    And just like that, I wrote “Mech-749 slapped a patch on my neck. A silencer. Cursing is always silenced.”

    And I sat back, and thought, “Cool.”

    That lasted about 4.3 seconds before the panic set in. I was now going to have to add “Tech gadgets and/or gizmos” to my list of things to add to my ever-growing list of world-building fixes.

    So I did.

    I wrote a few more scenes with the specific goal to incorporate more tech. In fact, I went back to the first scene I’d ever written, and changed the source of the flashing red light to a tech gadget instead of a police car. (It’s on page 135 or something, so I won’t spoil it here.) True fact.

    Then I started writing chapter one. I knew I needed some mention of tech, but I couldn’t quite figure out the gadget. Plus, I wanted the first gadget to be the silencer in chapter two. (See? I do think about my novels!)

    So at the end of the chapter, I included this weird little thing where Vi can sense technology. I ended the chapter, sat back, and thought, “Cool.”

    Then the true hysteria set in. It was many months before I was able to tie that technological nightmare into a neat little bow.

    Another of my tech inventions came out of sheer desperation. Vi simply needed something to eat, stat. I had to give her a tech gadget to get that accomplished.

    So yeah. While the tech in POSSESSION is super-cool, and I wish we had a lot of it in our world right now, it evolved out of after-thoughts, panic, and desperation.

    Tell me some of your coolest stuff comes out of nowhere, too, okay? Or if not, how do you come up with your gadgets?

    And there's more!

    Yesterday, Elana shared that we can now download a Book Club Sampler from Simon & Schuster. here is the link:
    * Sampler website: http://pages.simonandschuster.com/somethingtoreadabout

    If you haven't already pre-ordered a copy, here is the link to Amazon:

    Elana: I love you and I LOVE your book. Thank you for including me in your tour and for all you do around the blogosphere. You are a rock star!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    See It Through

    See It Through

    When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face;
    Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.
    When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
    Do the best that you can do;
    You may fail, but you may conquer,
    See it through!
    Black may be the clouds about you
    And your future may seem grim,
    But don’t let your nerve desert you;
    Keep yourself in fighting trim.
    If the worst is bound to happen,
    Spite of all that you can do,
    Running from it will not save you,
    See it through!

    Even hope may seem but futile,
    When with troubles you’re beset,
    But remember you are facing
    Just what other men have met.
    You may fail, but fall still fighting;
    Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
    Eyes front, head high to the finish.
    See it through!

    ~ Edgar A. Guest

    Think positive
    Have a great day!!

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Riff, Remember

    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday  

    Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. 

    Riff, Remember
    by Lynn Hall

    Goodreads Review (James):
    A borzoi, whose original owner has died, finds a new home with a lonely boy who lives at a wilderness campground. Unlike those around him, the boy doesn't like to kill animals--only to "hunt" with his camera. When the boy is killed by a hunter in a covered-up accident, Riff does his best to bring the killer to justice. Very sad story that stuck with me throughout my childhood, and was just as touching when read much later as an adult.
    Today's MMGM review is a sentimental one for me. The book is no longer in print, but you can still find it in libraries and if you're willing to hunt for it online. I've even found a couple of copies at thrift stores. 

    I chose to include James's review because it was perfect--much better than the blurb.  I read this book in 7th grade, and it has remained with me ever since. For years after reading this story, I dreamed of having a Borzoi dog when I grew up. Not a practical dream. It is a beautiful and haunting story for those who love dog books, but it's a sad one. The wonderful thing about this story--the true power of it--is that it will never leave you. Once you've read it, it just kind of becomes a part of you. I keep this one inside my heart, always.

    *** Others who can be counted on for a great MMGM review each week: ***

    Happy Monday!

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Don't Even Think About It

    “Try to enjoy the writing itself. Don't even think about publication. Just focus on making every sentence, every paragraph, every page the very best you can make it. Then, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite until the work is even better!” 
    ~ Suzanne Lieurance

    This is the kind of attitude I need to have right now.  Lots of query silence + trickling rejections = attitude adjustment. But . . . I am still waiting to hear back on a full. In the meantime, I'll just keep swimming.

    How is your attitude surviving these days?

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Cats on Mats

    "The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the other cat's mat is a story." 
    ~ John LeCarre

     Okay now, be honest - 
    How many cats on other cats' mats do you have in your story? 

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    I Gave In

    Yep! I finally caved and joined Twitter. 

    Yep! I'm still pretty lost. Craziness.

    BUT . .  with the help of friends like Angela Ackerman, I'll keep collecting tips and "how-to's" until I figure it out. Any suggestions or tips or even warnings of what NOT to do are welcome and appreciated.

    My twitter name is: shankodonnell

    Now, as clarification, here's where that came from:

    Shan(non) K(ristine) O'Donnell is my name. Too many others share this name apparently, so I had to play with combinations. Please think of it as Shan K. O'Donnell and not as shank.  Although, shank has provided much entertainment already. He he he.  :-)

    See you around the Twittersphere!

    P.S. I've tried multiple times to get the share buttons to work at the bottom of my posts, but they will not show up. Any suggestions?

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Nightshade City

    Marvelous Middle Grade Monday  

    Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born. 

    Nightshade City
    by Hilary Wagner

    Goodreads Blurb:

    Lose yourself in NIGHTSHADE CITY, a fantasy adventure by a talented new novelist featuring a memorable cast of rats both heroic and villainous in an exciting tale of intrigue and adventure.Deep beneath Trillium City, a modern metropolis, lies the Catacombs, a kingdom of rats of extraordinary intelligence and ability. The once peaceful and democratic colony has become a harsh dictatorship ruled by the High Minister Kildeer and his henchman, Billycan, who runs the Kill Army and collects weekly Stipend from the terrified subjects. The two of them rule with iron fists. With most of the adult rats wiped out in Killdeer's Bloody Coup and the subsequent great flood, orphaned young male rats are forced into the army and the females into servitude or worse. But change is coming. . . .

    Two orphan brothers, Vincent and Victor Nightshade, sons of a hero killed in the Bloody Coup, manage to escape from the Kill Army and meet up with Juniper Belancourt, leader of a rebel group seeking to overthrow their oppressors and restore peace and democracy in a new city. The brothers are quickly caught up in Juniper's cause: "We survive by cover of night. We live in the shadows, waiting for our redemption! Our name must symbolize our burning spirit. . . . Tonight and forever, we are Nightshade City!"

    Juniper's plans are complicated by many factors. His lovely young niece Clover has been picked by Killdeer to be his next Chosen One, so the rebels and their allies the Earthworms must work fast to save her. Can the rebels locate their enemies' War Room? Can Juniper's former love, now holding a position in Killdeer's Ministry, be trusted? Will the rebels be able to execute their plans without the aid of a young Topsider (human)? And how will Vincent and Victor fare in battle will they honor their father's legacy of courage?

    NIGHTSHADE CITY is rich with memorable characters: Vincent, who comes of age in this time of change; his worshipful younger brother, Victor; beautiful, intelligent Clover; Mother Gallo, a canny survivor who discovers her lost love only to risk losing him again; the charismatic Juniper, a kind and courageous leader whose vision carries the rebels into great danger; Killdeer, a decadent narcissist with surprising depth; and Billycan, a truly demented former lab rat, brilliant, vicious, and Juniper's sworn enemy.

    This enthralling animal fantasy, in the classic tradition of Redwall and Watership Down, encompasses timeless themes of honor and loyalty, family ties and lost love, alliances and betrayals. Readers will respond enthusiastically to this surefire page-turner, set in a brilliantly imagined world filled with easy-to-root-for heroes and villains they'll love to hate.

    This book is no stranger to most of you. Hilary is part of our blogging circle and her book has been widely celebrated. Even better, The White Assassin (the next in the series) is only 174 days away from its release! So if it's so recent, why is this my MMGM pick of the week?

    My three kids have a great time waiting to see which book I'll choose each Monday, and my oldest has been adamant that I need to do an MMGM post on Nightshade City. Last week I was re-reading it (since I planned to surprise the kids with this post), and my 6 year old daughter asked if she could read it. Since books are addictive and I am the queen pusher, I immediately handed over my copy. She read it until bedtime, loving every page.

    That's one of the things I love most about this book. My kids are in 1st, 3rd, and 8th grade. My students are in high school. I am an adult. We ALL loved this book! Hilary's characters rock!  Killdeer and Billycan = pure evil. Vincent and Victor and Clover = wonderful heroes. The whole book = Awesome!  

    Nightshade City is destined to become a classic, like Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of Nimh

    Sheri Larsen has an interview with MG Author Kari Lee Townsend about Samantha Granger today.

    *** Others who can be counted on for a great MMGM review each week: ***
    Happy Monday!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty

    by Megan McCafferty

    Goodreads Blurb:
    When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

    Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

    Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

    When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
    Wow. This is not a book to be started unless you have the time to finish it. I read it in ONE day. There was no way I could sleep until I finished it--and then I still couldn't sleep because I couldn't get it out of my head! The ending is a cliff-hanger to rival ALL cliffhangers.

    Megan, please hurry and write the next book. 
    I MUST know what happens next!! 

    ** eBook from HarperCollins through netGalley. Thanks, HarperCollins!

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly

     Angel Burn
    by L.A. Weatherly

    Goodreads Blurb:
    Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them.

    When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

    This book was a tough one for me. On the one hand, I didn't like it that angels were evil and the cause of so much pain and suffering--chronic pain, mental illness, cancer... On the other hand, I found myself fully captured by the story, compelled to keep reading. And yes, I will read the sequel.

    The characters of Alex and Willow are both strong and independent, and the development of their relationship is enthralling. The writing and storyline are very well done, sucking you in and holding you to the end. In spite of my early doubts, I ended up really enjoying this book. It's a great YA read!
    **ebook from Candlewick Press through netGalley. Thanks, Candlewick! 

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant Blog Tour + Guest Post with Mark Jeffrey

    Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant
    by Mark Jeffrey

    Released May 1st by HarperCollins

    Goodreads Blurb:
    When time mysteriously stops one day, nearly everyone in the world is trapped in suspension. But not Max Quick. Now Max must travel across America to see if he can discover how to set things right.

    Along the way, he joins forces with a girl named Casey and a boy named Ian. In their hunt for answers, Max and his companions encounter ancient mysteries, magical books, and clues to the riddle of stopped time and the suspicious villains who seem to have caused it in the first place.

    Yet the more Max learns about the time stop, the more it seems that his own true identity is not what he once believed...


    "driven -- and driven well -- by good old-fashioned sci-fi storytelling." - Kirkus Reviews

    ForeWord Magazine 'Book of the Year' Finalist 2005
    We are extra lucky because Mark was sweet enough to write a blog post just for us about his journey to publication:

    Getting published is sort of a weird thing.

    For example, you would think that the cover artist and I know each other or that at least we met.  Answer: Nope.  In fact I didn't even know his name until I saw the final version of the cover and his name was written on the inside jacket flap. 

    Oh I understand why that is.  Or at least I can guess: the publisher doesn't want the author harassing the artist.  Publishers are professionals when it comes to selling books.  They know how to make covers that work.  An author may be a great writer but that doesn't mean they know how to make great cover.  Imagine if they had a really terrible idea  -- and imagine if they knew the artist's phone number.  Right.  That poor artists phone would ring off the hook.  And the publisher would be upset -- especially if he author succeeded at bullying the artist into doing something really terrible.

    Apparently even Mary DeGrandpre, famous for all those wonderful chapter-heading doodles in every Harry Potter book, has never met J.K Rowling

    Here's another funny thing: when my editor told me she was sending me an edited copy of my manuscript, I was surprised to find there was no attachment to the email.  When I pointed this out to her, she said, "Oh no.  Its been FedEx'd to you.  It should be there tomorrow."  My jaw hit the floor: this was a hand-corrected hardcopy?  I had expected a Word file with Track Changes turned on.  It had simply never occurred to me that it was even possible that I might be getting a stack of paper. 

    Even lawyers, who are among the least tech-friendly people I know, use Word with track changes turned on. 

    So I sat there with my hand-corrected paper copy and painstakingly typed in the changes (or not -- sometimes I objected for some reason or other). 

    I tell you all this because I had a very different picture in my head of what the process of actually getting published was like.  The reality was much stranger and I guess more pedestrian that I would have thought.

    Still.  I'm not complaining :) Getting published may be sort of a weird thing, but there is nothing like seeing your book for sale in the bookstore for the first time.  I'm told by other more famouser authors that this actually never gets old. :)

    And now, for your viewing pleasure:


    Don't miss this fun middle grade
    fantasy adventure!

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Let's Dance

    "Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor." 
    ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

      clip art source 

    Get those dancing shoes polished
    cue the music!!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Reject Me - I Love It!

    "If we are unwilling to change it is highly likely we have already reached our maximum level of achievement."
    ~John Fuhrman

    In his book, Reject Me - I Love It!, John Fuhrman provides us with a book full of strategies to use rejection to our advantage. In chapter nine he uses the word success to provide some of those strategies:
    • Self-evaluate
    • Understand each task
    • Care
    • Concentrate
    • Expect
    • See
    • Share
    Self-evaluation requires us to evaluate and compliment ourselves. Fuhrman advises us to evaluate our mistakes, determining how we can make changes for the future, and encourages us to be equally committed to rewarding ourselves with compliments when we do well.

    We must understand not only the task we have created for ourselves but also why we need to make our dream happen. Focus and clarity keep us on the right road. Avoiding rejection detours us from our chosen path--our path is supposed to have rejection on it.

    Care about your dreams and goals. Fuhrman reminds us that if we don't care about something, we won't pay attention to the details; the map becomes vague.

    Concentration allows us learn how actions affect results, which allows us to make adjustments or new plans.
    Concentration allows us to understand what we have learned so we can avoid the same mistakes. It keeps us focused on our goals and dreams, protecting us from distractions that would slow our progress and helping us overcome the fear of rejection.

    Expect to succeed. Expecting something confirms its certainty in your mind.

    See, feel and hear your future. Fuhrman tells us we should walk backwards toward success. Picture yourself as successful already and act accordingly.

    Share how you achieve success with others. This is my favorite one. Fuhrman tells us that as we become successful we need to share what we receive, something our blogging circle does exceedingly well.
    "It's not only the doing of great things, but also the sharing of how you did it that's key to your success. It makes your life happier, more fulfilling, and worthwhile. It also supports others in their quest for success--inspiring them to achieve the same rewards."
    Rejection doesn't always have to be a bad thing. 
    The key is in how we choose to deal with it.

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