Snow Day Update

Thanks for all the sympathy in the comments today.  The worst of it is, it really is beautiful outside. And it could always be worse. My power could go out and I could be trapped the entire day in a hotel room with a toddler refusing to nap. OH, WAIT!!!

Did I resort to putting the still pajama'ed lad on his monkey leash and letting him run laps around the fourth floor of the Embassy Suites?  Yes.  Yes, I did.

On the bright side, I will get some writing done this weekend, and the very nice Austin SCBWI RA said he'd send us our critiques and conference packet with submission guidelines.  A Nathan Bransfordless bright spot, but I'll take what I can get at this point.

You Can't Go Back Fridays: Snow Days

Oh, to be young and driver's licenseless.

Note:  Everyone in the north, please try to stifle your laughter throughout this post lest you alarm your co-workers and/or family.

Southerners, you know what I'm talking about.  A flake falls from the sky, and sake's alive, driving skills and common sense fly out the window.  And I'm not pointing fingers.  I stand guilty.

But remember snow days?  (I wish I had a fancy text editor because I would surround those words with sparkles and unicorns.)

Roads slick?  Do not care!
Mild frostbite?  Nothing hot chocolate can't cure!
Going to school into July?  Summer shmummer!

Nothing can go wrong on snow days!

And then, reality came crashing in on me in seventh grade when the neighborhood gang went sledding after an ice storm and one of the kids broke his leg. Not like a hairline fracture.  Broke.  There's nothing like a sixth grader screaming profanities for two hours straight to forever change the way you view snow days.  Snow days.

I'm feeling especially anti-winter right now because a massive winter storm is barricading me in my house, keeping me from going to the Austin SCBWI Conference with Kristin and Mandy this weekend.  Bleh.

If anyone is going, please e-mail me!  I'd love to chat with you about it.  

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

Yay!!!  Kristin Rae over at Kristin Creative gave me this award.  Consider me honored.

Rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers! (Okay, fine, I fudged a bit on the single wordedness of a few of them.)

Your Cell Phone? Free
Your Hair? Unruly
Your Mother? Protective
Your Father? Curious
Your Favorite Food? PizzaChocolateArtichokesCookiesSalsa
Your Dream Last Night? Convoluted
Your Favorite Drink? Coke
Your Dream/Goal? Author
What Room Are You In? Kitchen
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Isolation
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Mom
Where Were You Last Night? Here
Something That You Aren't? Quiet
Muffins? Blueberry
Wish List Item? Publication
Where Did You Grow Up? Rural
Last Thing You Did? Lullabye
What Are You Wearing? Usual
Your TV? Off
Your Pets? Naughty
Friends? Wonderful
Your Life? Good
Your Mood? Antsy
Missing Someone? Yep
Vehicle? Clean :)
Something You Aren't Wearing? Coat
Your Favorite Store? HobbyLobby
Your Favorite Color? Pink
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Recently
Last Time You Cried? Recently
Your Best Friend? Hubbykins
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? ChangingTable
Facebook? Occasionally
Favorite Place To Eat? Out

I hereby bequeath this award to:
Liz @ Cleverly Inked
Tiana Lei @ Spilled Ink
Elle @ Elle Strauss
Laurel @ Laurel's Leaves
Dawn @ Plotting and Scheming

 Don't forget to sign up for the "So-Long Blogfest" that's happening February 15th.  I can't wait to read others' snippets.

Oh, oh, oh, and I'm debuting a weekly feature next Tuesday that I'm super excited about!  There will be prizes.  Weekly!  I know!

Oh, the Tragedy

If you haven't read Sherrie's blog post today over at Solvang Sherrie, go now.  Then, join me in the weeping and gnashing of teeth at the fate of these paperbacks.

[Yes, perhaps I'm being a tad dramatic, but this is coming from the girl raised in a household where book surgery was a routine occurrence.  My mom would painstakingly punch holes in each page and rebind even the flimsiest paperback.  Stat!]

Also, if you haven't signed up yet for my so-long blogfest, get thee here!  Come on, people!  I want to see some angst, some tears, some "good riddance"s!

So-Long Blogfest

It's coming up February 15th 18th!

Read about it here.

Sign up here:

And start your writing!

Fare Thee Well, CoCo & Upcoming Blogfest

I fell asleep Friday night around 10:00 but woke up to the final farewell from Conan O'Brien on the Tonight Show.  I believe my exact question was, "Is that Heidi Klum singing Free Bird with Will Ferrell?"  (Answer: no.  It was Will Ferrell's pregnant wife.  All was forgiven when Will brought out the cowbell.)

This all got me thinking about farewells, classy (like Conan...who I would follow to Lifetime if that was his next network) and otherwise.

Now...we've had a perfectly passionate Kissing Day Blogfest recently hosted by Sherrinda at A Writer Wannabe.  Then, an awesomely awkward No-Kiss Blogfest hosted by Frankie over at Frankie Writes.

You know what comes next.

I think it's time for the break-up.  The "so-long, sweetie".

On February 15th (yes, I realize that's the day after Valentine's Day), post your fond (and otherwise) farewells from your WIP.  Or write something new.  Or, if you're not a writer, post your favorite break-up clip from a movie.

I'll get a Mr. Linky set up, then just sign up here and post about it over at your blog!

To get you in the  mood, here's a little tribute to my all-time favorite break-up movie, Say Anything:

You Can't Go Back Friday: Jelly Shoes

I feel I should preface this post with the admission that I think fashion peaked in the 80's.

No.  Really.

You can't tell, but I'm wearing an I <3 My Little Pony shirt.

So when pondering some fashions that I thought were all the rage and totally tubular, I couldn't get past jelly shoes (aka The Most Fantabulous Set of Footwear to Grace My Tootsies EVER).

Apparently, they (and by "they", I mean actual retailers who sell more than just 80's nostalgia stuff) still sell these.  J.Crew had a pair available when I went to Google Images to look for the above picture.

My mom fought and fought against the purchase of my white jelly ballet flats in first grade.  She didn't like the idea of me wearing "pool shoes" out and about.  And she thought they'd give me blisters.  Which they did.  Which did not matter because look at them.  It's like Cinderella's slipper, only plastic.

I believe "resplendent" is the word you're looking for.

Super Easy Way to Give to Haiti Relief Effort

Step 1...Grab that overflowing change jar that you swear you're saving up to go to Tahiti, but let's face it, you never will.  You'll just pull out the quarters for lattes you don't need.

Step 2...Head to your nearest Coinstar kiosk and dump the coins in.  Find the nearest one here.

Step 3...Choose the option to donate the coins to the UNICEF Relief Fund for Haiti and take your tax donation receipt.

Yep.  That easy.

We Have A Winner!!

The winner of the Pink Pampered Reader Giveaway (don't you love how I've changed the name of the contest in every single post?) is.....


Shannon O'Donnell

Congrats, Shannon!  I hope you enjoy all the girly contents, the chocolate, and re-gifting the box to a friend who could use a little pick-me-up.  I'll e-mail you shortly for your mailing address.

I'm also tossing in my beach book, Madeleine Wickham's The Gatecrasher.  It's a quick, silly read.  Hope you enjoy it as well.

I Am Back....

And drowning in laundry.

Last day to enter my contest.  And just for fun, I'm tossing my beach read in (it's a Sophie Kinsella book under her real name...can't remember which one at the moment).  It has a pink cover, so it seemed appropriate.

Quickly Now...

If you haven't gone to enter my giveaway contest, you have one more day.  Remember to enter through the form in the post, not through comments.

[P.S. Still someplace warm and sunny, but will be back tomorrow!]

You Can't Go Back Friday

You can go back here to see what this weekly feature is all about.  But you can't go back to capture the magic and wonder that was Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman (a.k.a. The Best Heartwarming Feminist Medical Drama Set In the Old West EVER).

First, I feel the need to confess a little something.  There were two reasons I watched DQ: MW.  One had wavy, long, perfectly highlighted & tousled hair and played Dr. Micheala* Quinn's love interest on the show.  I believe the actor's name was Joe Lando.  He shall henceforth be known only as Sully of the manly Sullies.**  The other was her teenage son.  Can't remember his name on the show.  The actor was Chad Somethingorother.  And I read recently that he shall forever remain on my list of poorly chosen celebrity crushes along with Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris (ha ha, Adam Lambert, couldn't get one past this girl!)

The thing I loved about Dr. Quinn was it was clean, wholesome, and every third show was "a very special" episode.

Basically, a female doctor from a wealthy family moves from Boston to Colorado in the late 1800's to become the town doctor (in Colorado SpringsManitou Springs?  near Denver somewhere).  She takes in three orphans in the first episode and eventually adopts them.

Allen!  Chad Allen.  Just remembered.  He played the oldest boy.  There was a middle daughter who changed actresses in the last season of the show and a scrappy little boy named Brian who was always getting into scrapes.  Usually with wild animals.  But I'll get back to that.

There were various cliche townsfolk:  crotchety storekeeper, busybody restauranteur, wise Native American.

And a smoldering, protective Grizzly Adams type*** coming in and out of her life.  There were several seasons of sexual tension, then she and Sully got married.

Here are the only three specific episodes I remember...
1.) Town busybody Myra (who by this point had hooked up with crotchety storekeeper) gets breast cancer.  Dr. Q. talks her into considering a new procedure called a masectomy.  Myra worries more about how she'll look post-masectomy than about the cancer itself.  Ummm, ARE YOU SERIOUS?  I would be much more concerned about going into surgery in the late 1800's.  (She's fine at the end.)

2.) Brian refuses to let Sully put down his dog after the dog gets bitten by a wild animal.  Dog then proceeds to bite Chad Allen's new Swedish wife and give. her. rabies.  I bawled.

3.) The wedding episode was very sweet.  Then, all of a sudden, it's bow-chicka-wow-wow as they're headed off to their honeymoon in a railroad sleeper car.

Looking back, I don't know why I loved this show so much.  It was cheesy, but in the best possible way.  And, oh dear, just searching through Google Images for a picture for my post, I want to watch it from beginning to end.  That would be breaking the cardinal rule of "You Can't Go Back Friday", but I don't know if I'll be able to stop myself.

*Mikayla? McKeyla?  I have no idea how you spell it.
**Seriously, he had a wolf for a pet.  A wolf.
***Did I mention he had a WOLF for a pet?

[shout-out to Marybeth over at Desperately Seaching for My Inner Mary Poppins for bringing this show to mind with a recent post of hers.]

Remember, I'm someplace warm and sunny and internetless right now.  Many apologies for not responding to any comments.  Don't forget to enter my pinkalicious pampered reader follower contest.

Where Were You When...?

[Remember...I'm someplace warm and sunny and won't be around to comment.  In the meantime, enjoy!]

The other day, the Pea blurted out a new word, one I'm sure every toddler mama dreads hearing.  "Elmo."  This only struck me as unusual as he's never watched an actual episode of Sesame Street.  He picked it up from a few Elmo books we own. (I feel I should clarify...I'm not one of those "no child of mine will watch television" moms...he just hasn't seen any Sesame Street yet.)  I promptly went to YouTube and searched for an Elmo song.  Found the duck one.  I warn you it's catchy and addictive but worth the watch if just for the fat little duck at the end.

Every life has those defining "where were you when...?" moments.  The Twin Towers fell?  The Challenger exploded?  You heard about Princess Diana?  JFK was killed?

I realized the other day that mine has a rather unusual one.  I remember where I was when I found out that Jim Henson died.  I was sitting in front of the TV, watching a PBS special about the composer Joe Raposo (who wrote many of the early Sesame Street hit songs, including the theme song).  At the end of the special, a screen came up that said, "Dedicated to the memory of Jim Henson September 24, 1936 – May 16, 1990".  It was May 16, 1990.

There was no internet, of course.  No  The evening news had already aired.  In my heart, I knew it was true, but I thought, "Maybe another Jim Henson."  The morning paper confirmed it was my beloved Jim Henson, though.

Now, I feel I should explain something.  You may have grown up watching Sesame Street, the Muppet Show and Muppet movies...they were revered in my family (and the creativity they represented).  Jim Henson probably had the single greatest impact on the development of my sense of humor of any one man.  Teeny Little Super Guy.  The pig Vikings' "In The Navy".  And, of course, ABDCEF...Cookie Monster!  I could go on for hours.

His ideas still inspire my writing today.  Twenty years later.

So I'm curious...what are the "Where were you when..." moments that color your writing (or other pursuits)?

Also, bonus point in my follower contest to the first person who can tell me the original color of Oscar the Grouch's fur!

Help for Haiti

My heart and prayers go out for those suffering in Haiti right now.  If you'd like to make a donation to help Haitians through an organization which was already serving in this country (which I encourage as they will already have the manpower and systems set up to deliver aid as quickly as possible), here are a couple I recommend:

Bethany Christian Services
Also, you can donate directly to one of the orphanages with which Bethany works, GLA Haiti (Their director, Dixie Bickel has a blog you can follow as well)

(FYI, I worked for Bethany pre-Pea, and they are an excellent agency.)


I'm headed out of town tomorrow.  My posts are written and scheduled, but I won't be around for comments, etc. until I get back next Tuesday.  I'm going someplace warm and sunny with a group of gal pals to celebrate my friend Amy's 30th birthday.  What's that high-pitched squee you ask?  My excitement?  Yes.  Yes, it is.

With a little anxiety mixed in.  This will be the longest I've ever been away from the Pea, and this Mama Pea is going to miss him.  He'll be in good hands with his Daddykins, and Aunt Ellen is helping out while Hubbykins is at work.  And my in-laws are coming in to town this weekend, so after a few days with Gammy and Grandpa B, the Pea's probably going to be all "meh...not Gammy" when I return.

Packing, I've been thinking about various trips I've taken.  During college, there was an English course offered every 2 or 3 years in which the class read several of Faulkner's novels, then took off on a road trip through rural Mississippi to check out his old haunts.  It was a popular course, but it never worked out with my schedule to take it.  C'est la vie.

The professor who taught that course must have gone to Faulkner's stomping ground dozens of times over the years.  That is commitment, folks.

That got me wondering if any of my readers have made any literary pilgrimages of their own.

Me?  I took the vacation of a lifetime a few years ago when Hubbykins jetted (okay, maybe "jetted" is a strong word for a flight path that took us from Memphis through Detroit) whisked me off to Prince Edward Island.

It is as delightful as L.M. Montgomery describes.  Anne Shirley was one blessed character.  The trip inspired my NaNo novel this year never to be seen by human eyes.  PEI makes me smile just thinking about it.

I'm curious...where have you been, literary-wise?  Where would you like to go?

Be Ye Kind...

Growing up, the verse my mother quoted the most often was, "Be ye kind, one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as Jesus Christ has forgiven you."  (doodley-doo, Ephesians 4:32.)  With three daughters, she said it a lot.

Over the years, it got shortened.  First to "Be ye kind, one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another."  Then, "Be ye kind, one to another."

Eventually, it got down to just "Be ye kind!"  And it usually sounded like a threat.

I've been thinking lately about all the blogging do's and don'ts out there, especially for writers' blogs.  Don't get me wrong.  I like a good blog tip post as much as the next girl.  But it seems to me it all boils down to that one directive:  "Be ye kind."

Don't gossip.   Don't speak negatively about others.  Do respond to comments and check out others' blogs.  Don't talk about yourself all the time.  Do share what's on your heart.

Be ye kind.

[Oh, and do give away pinkalicious pampered reader basket to your awesome followers!]

In Which My Obsessive Nature Finally Pays Off (Plus: The Tiniest Lady Gaga Picture EVER!)

Huzzah!  I won a critique from Laurel over at Laurel's Leaves for finding the ten hymn references in her brilliant poem, Sixth Story.  Please go read it right now if you haven't already.  It's stuck to my bones since I first read it Saturday.

On a completely unrelated note, Hubbykins was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas last week and took this teensy weensy picture of Lady Gaga.  She's the glowy white dot just left of center.  He also got pictures of Stan Lee and Drew Carey, but...ehh.

Don't forget about my giveaway.  You still have a week to enter!

New Feature: You Can't Go Back Friday

[If you haven't entered my follower contest, go here and enter it...right now...go, go go!]

Over Christmas at my parents' house, I sat around and whined reminisced about wanting (and never receiving) an E-Z Bake Oven growing up.  Actually, "want" is too wimpy a word.  I craved, coveted, longed for an E-Z Bake Oven.

Then, for my 23rd birthday, a friend of mine gave me one.  After squeeing for the rest of the afternoon, I went home and made some brownies.  I learned two important lessons that day:

1.  There's a reason that real ovens don't come with heating element options of gas, electric, convection, and...lightbulb.

2. Some things are better left in that wispy, wondrous place in your mind known as nostalgia.

And so, without further ado, a new feature of Novels During Naptime...

YOU CAN'T GO BACK FRIDAYs in which I present to you a piece of pop culture from the past that I adored at the time and am afraid to re-watch/listen to/read/experience in the fear that it will be ruined for me.

Here's the catch:  Said piece of nostalgia will be presented exactly as I remember it from my 6/8/12/whatever year-old mind.  In other words, I will not be referencing wikipedia, IMDB, my older sister, my younger sister, Google, etc. before posting.  Feel free to fill in gaps and point out inaccuracies, of which there will be many*.

First up: "The Boy Who Could Fly" (a.k.a. the best inspirational quasi-paranormal/sci-fi movie EVER)

This came out in the...hmmm....late '80s.  It starred the guy** who played Alan Thicke's robot son in the T.V. movies about being a teenage robot ("Almost Human" is ringing a bell) and the girl who looks like a cross between a young, perky Elisabeth Shue and Kimberly Williams-Paisley.

Basically, a boy who can't speak shows up out of nowhere and a family takes him in.  He immediately falls in love with their teenage daughter but can't express the way he feels.  He can fly, though, so to express his love for the girl, he takes her flying in a nightgown (she was wearing the nightgown, not him).

I remember him making puppy dog eyes a lot.

I think there was a funny scene where everyone's playing catch, and he flies up to catch the ball.

The military finds out about him and wants to run invasive experiments on him.  The girl helps him escape.

And I think he was an alien, so...he escaped to outer space?  I guess??

The important thing is, I loved it.

*There's also a very real possibility that I'm mixing a good portion of this plot up with "Short Circuit".

**I saw the actor a few years ago in a McDonald's commercial, and it made me really, really sad.  I think his name was Jay Something.

Pampered Reader Follower Contest (That Pays It Forward)

I was going to wait until Monday to start this, but I just can't!  And, yes, I am pretty excited about my first giveaway if you can't tell.

Since most of my followers are writers (and therefore readers), I decided to put together a little pinkalicious pampering package for readers.

Note to male readers:  I realize this is really pink.  But you should still enter.  It would make a girl in your life happy.
It includes:
-a booklight (I couldn't find one in pink, and, yes, that bothers me a little)
-a set of three beribboned bookmarks
-a pretty journal in which to write your thoughts
-decorative kleenex (very useful for tearjerkers)

-chocolate!!!  (very useful no matter what...actual chocolate count may differ slightly from the picture...don't you judge me!)
-a pink box to hold all your goodies (the box is actually repurposed from an old stationary box, but with a pleasant result if I might say so myself)

And ALL you have to do to win this prize is enter!

A few caveats (yeah, I know, I'm sorry):

1. This contest is only open to followers of this blog.  Not a follower yet?  No problem.  Move your mouse over to the right hand side, click "follow", there.  Now you can go enter.

2. This contest is only open to people living in North America.  (I'm sorry to my international readers.  No, I really am.  Blame the USPS)

3.  If you win, you have to promise to fill the box up with goodies and pass it on to bless someone else (and get the same promise from them).

That's it.

But, wait!  There's more!!!

If you want more chances to win, there are a few things you can do:
a.) Go over to my sister Ellen's blog and become a follower over there, too.  (+1 extra chance)
b.) Link to this contest in a blog post (+4)
c.) Tweet the link (+2)
d.) Post the link on other social networking sites (Facebook, chat rooms, etc.)  (+2/post)
e.) Special mystery bonus question (guess it right...+5)

***This is an important part.  You have to enter the contest through the form below (I'm the only one who will be able to see the answers).  Entries will NOT be counted through the comments section.***

Whew.  I think that's it.  You have until January 19th to enter.  I'll announce the winner on the 20th.

I can't wait to find out who wins it!!

(P.S. Yes, I realize that blogger doesn't like that form.  Some of it is cut off.  Blerg.  If you have any trouble filling it out, let me know.)

An Open Letter to Winter

Dear Winter,
I realize this is a little awkward since you only officially got here a few weeks ago, but...ummm...yeah...I'm going to need to ask  you to skedaddle.  You're just a little too intense for me.  This week, you're bordering on stalkerish.

What I'm saying's not me.  It's you.

No hard feelings?


On a related note, I think the Pea and I are both suffering from a raging case of cabin fever.  And I pinpointed it this morning as I was trying to wrangle the Pea into his red sweater--the occupation which being a toddler mom most closely resembles:

(But with slightly less destruction.  Slightly.)

Oh, the Angst

[ETA:  I just want to say, Ellen and I did not plan this today!]

So I don't know if you've been following the Teen Diary Contest Extravaganza over at Nathan Bransford's blog, but the entries are angstarific.  Who knew there were so many cases of dead best friends, cheating boyfriends, cruel mothers, treacherous sisters, and unrequited crushes?  (Okay, I knew about the unrequited crushes.)  I would love to see the word cloud of all the entries.  I think the words "hate", "fair", and "mom" would rank pretty high up there.

I fought the urge to pull out my high school journals before writing my entry (and I've actually read a few of my followers' entries while perusing the comments...well done, guys!)  So here's my entry, and I feel I should clarify that I already submitted it, so any ideas for changing it would be a little moot at this point, but you're welcome to give suggestions anyway in case I ever develop it into something. [Oh, and 3 bonus entries in my upcoming giveaway, which shall involve a lot of pinkness and awesomeness, to the first person who can guess what story this is a modern day takeoff of.  Hint:  there's a name clue.]

Without further adieu...angst-o-rama:

Dear Diary,
Oh. My. Gosh.  Is this really my life?
Whenever anyone asks how we ended up living in this neighborhood, I’m always tempted to say, “Ours was a slow descent into poverty.”  Doesn’t that sound deliciously intriguing?  (Instead of what it is—humiliating and crappy.)  But, then, I don’t because (a.) that sounds like something Mare the drama queen would say, and (b.) it’s not technically true.  Dad ran off with a nineteen year-old, so the whole thing went down pretty fast.  And even though I hate it, I guess you can’t actually refer to living in a two bedroom condo in the outskirts of the best school district in Phoenix as being “poverty-stricken”. 
But I do have to share a bedroom with Mare.  Which sucks.
I’m probably the only teenager alive who can say she went to high school with her stepmother.  Brianna was exactly what you’d think.  Head cheerleader, head pom squad, head of her class.  And, apparently, head homewrecker.
Secretly, I think Mare enjoys it a little.  Oh, not the reality of it—Dad gone and consignment shop clothes.  But I think she relishes the excuse to throw herself face down on the bed sobbing every night and refusing to eat like a two year-old.
I’m sharing my bedroom with a two year-old.
Yesterday, I asked Mare to keep it down while I was studying, and she yelled, “We can’t all be Spartacus like you!”  I’m sure she meant “Spartans”, but I couldn’t muster the emotional energy to correct her.
So what new artillery shell got thrown into my ditch this morning?  Oh, just that Brianna the evil she-shrew’s brother got transferred to our school.  How is it possible that she is still ruining my life over a year later?  She’s not even old enough to drink.
Mrs. Huggins, the guidance counselor, called Mare and me into her office to break the news to us.  Mare lapped it up, of course.  She actually managed to wrangle an off-campus lunch pass out of it…to help “manage her anxiety”.  Anxiety, my left bum cheek.  I found a bunch of fun-sized candy bar wrappers stuffed under the driver’s seat after school.
I still can’t decide if the forewarning made it easier or harder.  I couldn’t think about anything else all day.  Mrs. Huggins left the reason behind his transfer kind of vague, which didn’t help.  She said he had to leave his boarding school due to an “incident”.  Which is funny because everyone knows that his parents sent him to said boarding school because of an “incident”.  (Namely, his bimbo older sister running off with those poor Dashwood girls’ father.)  
So there I was in Trig this afternoon, trying to focus on the sine of x or the cosine of y or…oh, who knows what the frack was going on?  He walked into the classroom.  My stepuncle.  But it gets worse.
He’s hot.

[P.S. Mystery solved! My fabulous friend Kristin sent it to me for Christmas, and didn't include the gift tag.  It was one of her favorite books of 2009, and I can't wait to read it!]

Another Awesome Contest

It's like Santa came late this year...and is giving away presents by luck-of-the-draw.  Anyhoo, another fabulous contest going on over at Flipping Pages for All Ages, giving away a slew of books.  Huzzah!

Wicked Awesome Contest

Check it out:  Bethany and Suzette over at Shooting Stars are hosting a Contest Extravaganza.  Up for grabs?  2 Query Critiques, 2 First Five Pages Critiques, and an autographed copy of The Dark Divine.

Yeah, I know.  I want to win, too.

A Mystery Wrapped Within An Enigma

Two book-related mysteries have occurred in the last week.  This afternoon, I found a book stuck between the cushions of the Pea's rocker.  The puzzler?  I had never seen it before in my life.  Not like "Oh, hello there, Baby Einstein Touch & Feel Board Book, it's been awhile."  No, no.  Do not be deceived.  I have really, truly never laid eyes on this book to my knowledge before today.

The second mystery arrived in the mail two weeks ago.  From with no gift tag, invoice, or paperwork of any form...Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

 It really weirded Hubbykins out because it was addressed to me, and I don't know if I even have an Amazon account.  We always use his.  He double-checked our credit card, paypal, everything.  No accidental purchase.  So if the person who sent me this book is out there reading this...thank you.

The first incident is likely a result of a bad case of momnesia.  The second still has me scratching my head.

On a final note, the follower giveaway contest is coming up shortly.  I'm going to offer opportunities for more chances if you follow my sister Ellen's blog, and I want to hurry up and have the contest so I look like the philanthropic little sister before she has twice as many followers as I do (as she inevitably the end of next week).

My Unfounded Fear

I have a secret, recurring fear, and I'm curious if any of my readers share it.

Everytime I get an idea for a new picture book manuscript, I always wonder/worry, "Is this the last good idea I'm going to have?"  I have no concrete reason to have this concern.  The idea fountain hasn't dried up yet.

But I always worry a little.

There's just something so exhilirating when that spark ignites.  It happened yesterday, and it's

Of course, I should be working on my YA WIP.  I've given myself a deadline (which is not looking hopeful) of February 2nd.  I want that Groundhog to pop out of its hole and see my completed manuscript.  But that's going to be a hard deadline to meet when a small sheep is prancing around in my brain doing really funny things to distract me.

I'm not complaining, though!  I'm thankful that the ideas keep coming.

Happy New Year...Again!

New Year always seems like that holiday that just keeps going and going and going.  First, there's all the "end of of...worst of..." articles, news stories, blog posts, etc. that start the day after Thanksgiving.  Then, there's this chunk of down time betwixt Christmas and New Year's Eve where it's still "the holidays", but you don't really know what to do with yourself.

Then, there's the celebration itself.  Is it on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day?  And on years like this, where there's a weekend after the holiday, it's all football games, parades, or in my house, video games and snacking.

And, oh, the resolutions.  Don't get me started on my resolution track record.

But I still love it.

Anyhoo, with a bit of down time, I decided to catch up on a bloggy award I received from not one but two people a while back...the Honest Scrap Award (thank you, Michele and Dawn!)

The Rules:
1. List ten honest things about yourself.

2. Pass it on to seven other bloggers.

Here are my ten honest things:

1. I'm a messy person, but there's a method to my madness (even if I'm the only person who knows what that method is).
2. I collect movie ticket stubs and write a memory from the movie-going experience next to the ticket in my scrapbook.

3.  I played the drums in high school.

4.  I taught archery at camp.  I am horrible at it.

5.  I pronounce the word "debacle" DEB-a-cull.  This drives Hubbykins crazy.

6.  I spend a lot of time worrying that the Pea's diet is not varied enough.

I spend a lot of time worrying, period.

I was the ninth grade typing school champion.  (okay, that makes it sound like I went to typing school--typing champion of my junior high.)

9.  I, not so secretly, want to live here or here.

10.  I love my life.

And I am passing this on to seven ladies I know in real life who personify honesty and scrappiness in my most humble opinion:

(Can I just say how difficult it is to choose only seven people to give this award to?  Even after limiting it to people I'm friends with/related to IRL.)

Until later, keep it honest.  Keep it scrappy.

No Kiss Blogfest!

This one was a bit easier for me than the Kiss Blogfest that Sherrinda hosted.  Thank you to Frankie for hosting this!

Bear in mind, this is from my YA WIP with an emphasis on the IP.

The set up:  The MC, Elliot, has been through the wringer after her dream guy Wentz (who she sort of sack-of-trashed two years ago at math camp) walked into her high school cafeteria back in January.  Elliot's best frenemy Kelly latched on to him without skipping a beat, but he has since discovered that all that glitters is not platinum blonde.  This scene is immediately following a disastrous group outing on their Spring Break getaway.

We arrived back at the cabin at dusk.  After our nightmarish afternoon, I craved silence and solitude.  I found both at the end of Ben’s boat dock.  The fish emerged from the crystal depths of the lake, scavenging for tidbits of evening insects.  They darted below the surface when I dipped my toes into the water.  After a few minutes, one worked up the courage to come back up.  I giggled as it nibbled on my pinky toe then swam away disappointed.
              The dock shook as footsteps fell behind me.
              “Do you mind company?”  Wentz bent down to remove his flip-flops before lowering himself to my side.  I looked at his feet and let out a snicker.  He had shaved his toes.
              “Not at all,” I said, dipping my own toes further into the lake.
              “What’s so funny?” he asked.
              “Nothing,” I said.  But even as I said it, I knew that I was lying.  And I realized I was laughing at myself more than him—I actually missed the weird toe hair.
              We sat in silence for several more minutes.  I noticed that the fish found his feet more appetizing than mine.  He pulled them out of the water and scooted back to lie down.
              “Tickles,” he explained.  I pulled my own feet up and crossed them under me.  They’d grown acclimated to the cold of the water, but with the sun setting, the chill set in.  An involuntary shiver shook my frame.
              “Here,” Wentz said, tossing me his fleece jacket.
              He grinned in response before laying back down with his hands behind his head.  After a few more moments of calm, a mirthless chuckle escaped his lips.
              “What?” I asked.
              “It’s nothing.  It’s just,” he let out another half laugh, “who would have ever thought that we’d be sitting here now watching the stars come out?”
              “Technically, you’re not sitting,” I said in a vain attempt to change the subject.  He stretched out catlike to his full length as if to emphasize the fact that he did not give a rat’s heiny about this technicality.
              “Hmmm.  You’re right.  And technically, I don’t think that’s a star.  It’s Venus.”
              “Or Mars.”  I never could keep those two straight.
              “No, it’s Venus.  She shines brighter,” Wentz said with a surprising level of conviction.  But when I looked over at him, he wasn’t staring at the sky.  He held my gaze for only a moment before  turning his eyes upward.
              “Elliot, I’ve actually wanted to talk to you about something.  I know that the timing is kind of awkward now, but I need to get a few things cleared up.”  He sighed and grabbed his hair in his fists.  He didn’t make eye contact during any of his speech.
              “I just wanted to make sure that you know that Kelly and I are—”
              And that’s when my phone rang.  I glanced down and saw it was my mom.  Oh, by the hammer of Thor, I wanted to kill her.