Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Break

Well, I'm taking the week off.

Today is my birthday and our school is on spring break, 
so I'll be spending the week my kiddos.

See you next Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Writer is Like . . .

"A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a pointed stick collecting stuff."
~ Tony Hillerman

(photo source)

I came across this quote recently and remembered this post. I originally posted it a couple of years ago, but I thought it would be fun to do again.
Okay everyone, on three...

Grab bags!
Ready sticks!

What creative and playful simile can you come up with today?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Today is Important

A New Day
Dr. Heartsill wilson 

This is the beginning of a new day.

I have been given this day to use as I will.

I can waste it, or use it.

I can make it a day long to be remembered for its joy, its beauty and its achievements, or it can be filled with pettiness.

What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, but I shall hold something which I have traded for it.

It may be no more than a memory, but if it is a worthy one I shall not regret the price.
I want it to be gain not loss, good not evil, success not failure.

Make the most of today. Make it count, if only in small ways, because small things are the foundation of bigger things.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Crater Lake

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.  

Crater Lake: 
Battle for Wizard island
by Steve Westover

Crater Lake

Goodreads Blurb:
While visiting his crazy Uncle Bart at Crater Lake National Park, thirteen-year-old Ethan's world collapses when all the adults at Crater Lake disappear, including his parents. Now Ethan must rally his new friends and decipher the legends of Crater Lake to find the key to rescuing his parents from their earthen prison before he's captured too and their captivity becomes permanent.

I realized a long time ago that I usually enjoy MG titles from Cedar Fort Publishing. I only review books I like well enough to recommend, and last year from Cedar Fort I reviewed multiple strong MG stories including: Guardians of the Hidden Scepter, The Last Archangel, Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure, Skipping Stones at the center of the Earth, and more recently, Time Gangsters.

Crater Lake is another story I can gladly add to that list. I love the setting of this story. The kids (from different groups at first) are originally visiting Crater Lake National Park, some with parents and some with a scout troop. When things go big-time crazy, it's up to the kids to save their parents and return things to normal. They do that with a combination of courage, magic, friendship, and teamwork. The combination of wilderness adventure, Native American folklore, and local legend make this a very fun read.

** Others who can be counted on for MMGM: **
And today Sheri Larsen is highlighting BEYONDERS at Writer's Alley. Be sure to stop by!

 Happy Monday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Anticipation and Tidbits

Anticipation = waiting and waiting and waiting for the next book in a series. 

I've waited for what feels like for-freaking-ever for book 4 of Henry Neff's Tapestry series. You can find my review of book one HERE. And here are the first few awesome covers:

Aren't those covers amazing? Well, so are the books. And guess what?  Book four finally has a title and a release date!!  Ahhhhhhhh!  The Maelstrom: Book Four of the Tapestry will be released October 23, 2012 by Random House.

I. CAN'T. WAIT. I may even have tweeted Henry about it. Multiple times. So far, though, no restraining order. Phew!

Here's what the newest cover will look like:

 Complete and total woo-hoo-ness!!

Be sure to add these to your Goodreads list. In my opinion, this series ranks right up there with Fablehaven and Percy Jackson. It's one of my VERY FAVORITES.  (and as my 14-year-old son just read this over my shoulder, he wants you to know that he thinks it's BETTER than Percy Jackson. LOL)

And don't worry: I'll be sure to remind you again.



* Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is showcasing Lynne Kelley's AMAZING trailer for CHAINED at Project Middle Grade Mayhem today. Don't miss it. It's fantastic.

* I featured Michael Grant's MG series on Monday, but many of us mentioned his YA series, GONE, as well. The Kindle version is currently only $2.99 right now. You can get it HERE if you're interested.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Allyn Stotz Blog Tour + Guest Post

Today, I am happy to welcome picture book author, Allyn Stotz, and her adorable story. Don't miss the coloring book version, too, which includes the story first and then lots of fun pages to color. Allyn has agreed to share her journey to publication with us. I thought it might be nice for all the aspiring PB authors out there. Enjoy!!

The Pea in the Peanut Butter
by Allyn Stotz

Kailee loves peanut butter. But a bedtime snack turns into a dance party with all of the foods in the kitchen pantry when they come to life. 

Guest Post: 

I am so pleased to be guest blogging today and would like to thank Shannon for allowing me to do so. She has asked me to talk a little bit about my road to publication. It’s not a very exciting story, but it’s MY story!

My road to publication began about 4 years ago; I am now 55 yrs. old. As a child, I enjoyed writing stories, inventing them, and playing them out with my siblings. We were always putting on some type of skit for our parents. They were so patient and tolerant! Until now, my career mostly consisted of administrative jobs and/or working in human resources. On those jobs, I wrote several procedures manuals, created newsletters and did lots of memo writing. Those were always my favorite parts of the job. My husband’s company has transferred us many times so I’ve lived in several cities in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi; therefore that led to me having quite a few different jobs along the way.

My family is made up of several journalists. First off is my father, who owned and wrote our town newspaper. My mother helped him with that newspaper and wrote a weekly column. One of my sisters majored in journalism and is now a freelance editor and writer. So I believe that writing was always in my blood, it just never screamed out to me in volume.

Then one day while reading my brother’s blog, I came across a story he was toying around with. My brother is not a writer per say, but you wouldn’t have known that by reading his descriptions of a computer game he loved playing. After reading his descriptions of that fantasy game world, I had the big “wow” moment go off in my brain. My first thought was, “wow, he can really write!” Then I thought to myself how fun it would be to write a fantasy story and I decided to investigate into it further. I did a little research about the subject of writing for children and then sat down to begin. The words just began to flow from my fingertips and have not stopped since!

My road to actual publication took a little over 1 ½ years, which in retrospect, was pretty quick. Some authors have to wait years before they are fortunate enough to become published.  I believe what helped me was that I did a good year of research on writing children’s picture books and enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature. After doing both of those, I finally became confident enough to send out my first submission. I was one of lucky ones and had that first submission accepted by an online children’s magazine. From there, I spent the next 10 months sending out more manuscripts and receiving many rejections. Then to my surprise, I finally heard back from FutureWord Publishing who wanted to publish my story The Pea in Peanut Butter. Talk about thrilling!

Getting published is not an easy process and most times, not quick but it is a journey that is well worth the time and effort. There is nothing more satisfying to me than hearing that a child or their parent enjoyed the words that I wrote.  But everyone’s journey is different and so is the outcome. If you are one of those people contemplating becoming a children’s writer I would say to you that your first step should be to find your truth. Dig deep into your soul and find the real reason you want to write. Then never forget those reasons, get out that pen and write, write, write! Always remember that you can’t get published if you don’t submit your work. But most importantly, never give up.

And on that note, I’d like to tell you all that after my 83 yr. old mother watched me get published, she decided to work on making her dream of writing a novel come true. She and my editor sister have written a book together and the first of the series will be published soon! So if we can do it… so can you!

Please feel free to visit my blog at or drop me a line at I love hearing from other writers and/or readers. 

The Pea in Peanut Butter is available in book format, kindle, and coloring book format (this is where the book is in the front and coloring pages in the back). 

You can purchase your copy on my blog, on or at Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Magnificent 12: The Trap

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.  

The Magnificent 12: The Trap
by Michael Grant

Amazon Blurb:
In the thrilling second book of the Magnificent 12 series, Mack MacAvoy is challenged by his spectral mentor, Grimluk—who only appears in the shiny chrome pipes of bathrooms.
Mack must find the ancient ones, the great forgotten forces. Some will help; some not so much. But above all—
  • Learn the ways of Vargran!
  • Assemble the twelve!
  • Go to the nine dragons of Daidu.
  • Go to the Egge rocks.
  • Beware of . . . the trap.
Time is short! The wicked Pale Queen’s three-thousand-year banishment ends in thirty-five days, and she will be free to destroy the world. It’s up to Mack to stop her return. But what do all of Grimluk’s clues mean? Can Mack achieve everything he must do without getting killed by the evil Risky—and escape the trap?
The Magnificent 12: The Trap is another fast-paced episode in bestselling author Michael Grant’s hilarious fantasy-adventure series.

First, I love, love, love Michael Grant. If he wrote it, you need to read it. Period. His YA GONE series is fantastic, but I can't tell you how much I enjoy this particular MG series (my review of book one is HERE).

I love the storyline of The Magnificent Twelve, but the characters and humor trump all. I think I would read this even if the storyline was only so-so, that's how great the characters are and how much I enjoy the humor. 

The wild adventure begun in the The Call continues in The Trap, but the stakes are higher and we meet a new cast of characters along the way. While I love Mack and his phobias, Stefan is still my favorite character by far. He started out as a mega-bully, but he's just mega-hilarious! I adore him.

The Magnificent 12 is a FIVE STAR series, folks! It's perfect for middle grade readers. Scoop it up right away; trust me. All three of my kids love it. I love it. Even my father-in-law read it and loved it. It's a guaranteed hit.

** Others who can be counted on for MMGM: **
 Happy Monday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Word Stones

"Like stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill."  
~ Edmund Morrison

I haven't been particularly patient or purposeful lately, which means I haven't been too skillful, either. My goal this weekend: to sit my butt down and do some serious revision. 

Hopefully my husband, three children, two cats and a dog will cooperate. What are the odds? Hmmm . . .

What is your goal this weekend?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Have You Seen This?

"Write your YA book with the guidance of an author published by Penguin and Simon & Schuster."

Nova Ren Suma, author of IMAGINARY GIRLS, will be teaching an online writing class through 

Course description from Nova's blog:

The course starts April 19, and the goal is to come away with the first draft of a YA novel (or middle-grade novel—writers of middle-grade are welcome) by the end of the class! We’ll be talking about ideas, characters, plotting a novel, outlining and how it can help to write the dreaded synopsis before you finish your book, voice, strategies for moving forward and making it to the end, and we’ll also be thinking ahead to revision strategies and agent querying and what publishers are looking for. But mostly, if you take the class, you’ll be writing, writing, writing, and I’ll be reading and commenting on your pages as you go, as will other writers in the class with you! I can’t wait to read the students’ novels.

The class is entirely online, so you don’t have to be here in New York City to take it… There is a one-hour chat session each week, and it’s late enough to accommodate writers on the West Coast (and a transcript will be saved every week if you happen to miss it). So the class will be a lot of work, but it’s flexible… and I think that’s the best part.

You can apply for the class on

The cost is $610, which is too pricey for me right now, but if you have the budget for it,  it might be fun. For more info, check it out on Nova's blog or

Let me know if you sign up!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tag . . . I'm it! + GLIMMER Winner


 The lucky winner of my Glimmer ARC is . . .

Lilian from Honolulu, Hawaii!!

While I was missing from the blogosphere, the awesome blog critique expert, Laura Barnes (who is responsible for inspiring my recent blog makeover), tagged me with 10 fun questions. Here we go . . .

1. What is your dream vacation? 
A trip to Ireland.

2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead?
I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants gal.

3. Tell us one thing you want to do but don’t dare to do.
I kinda want to do the permanent eyeliner tattooing they offer at my hair salon. It looks awesome on people I know who've done it, but I'm a coward.

4. What's your biggest phobia?
Loss of a loved one, particularly the fear of losing one of my children. 

5. If you were stranded on a desert island – what 3 things would you want with you (not including laptop, or family).

Books, books, and more books
A super-soft blanket and pillow
Peanut M&Ms

6. Name three blessings in your life.

My kids
Life in Montana
Job security

7. What was your nickname in High School?

Muffie. Do. Not. Ask.

8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?

You broke your promise to help education!

9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be?

Meggie from Inkheart.

10. What is your favorite quote?

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now." ~ Annie Dillard

Have a great day!!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'll Be Back Wednesday

Sorry I've been missing for the past week. I've been working on state writing assessment scoring and haven't been at school. I also haven't been online.

BUT . . . I'll be back tomorrow with the winner of the blog hop and a Wednesday post.

See you soon.
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