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Showing posts from August, 2008

Review: My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel

Recently, I had a chance to read an ARC of Courtney Sheinmel's debut novel--My So-Called Family. Unfortunately, I had a problem...I had to stop working because I couldn't put it down!

The book follows thirteen-year-old Leah Hoffman-Ross--a smart, artistic and identifiable girl. Leah's family moves to New York City and Leah thinks she'll be able to have a fresh start. She desperately wants one after being teased for something she tried to keep secret--she has a donor, not a father.

But Leah soon realizes that moving doesn't solve her problems. Something--or someone--is missing in her life. Leah embarks on a journey to meet the other children of her donor and Leah's choices teach her more about the word family than she ever imagined.

Author Courtney Sheinmel writes with honesty and clarity about Leah's feelings. My So-Called Family has a tight plot, strong voice and memorable characters. The book makes me think about my definition of "family." The dive…

So not chillin'

Um, no. I'm not chillin' with that cat! Things are wicked swamped right now. I've been:

* ordering the coolest TAKE THE REINS postcards (woo hoo!)
* querying a few mags
* devouring MY SO-CALLED FAMILY by Courtney Sheinmel
* prepping for an upcoming radio interview (thanks, Rose and Celeste!)
* starting to prep my Power Point for my Missouri Writers' Guild speeches
* planning a trip
* giving evil eyes to the new hurricane and threatening it to stay away
* and working on various book projects

I've also been glued to the DNC and am loving every minute of coverage. (Michelle Obama, you have awesome hair!)

Back to work...


We're drying out today. We had...drumroll...20 (that's 2-0) inches of rain and just when you thought it was over--nope! We had another thunderstorm this morning and it knocked out power from 6:30-10am. Bleh. I'm sooo over hurricane season!! C'mon fall!

I just read that the "Dancing With the Stars" cast was announced on GMA this morning. According to Yahoo!, we've got:

Susan Lucci (When did Erica get out of jail?!)
Toni Braxton
Lance Bass (Bet he'll learn the choreography easily with his NSYNC past!)
Cloris Leachman
Kim Kardashian
Ted McGinley (Was I the ONLY one who watched "Hope and Faith"??)
Brooke Burke
Warren Sapp (??)
Misty May-Treanor (YAY!! I loved her in the Olympics!)
Maurice Green
Rocco DiSpirito (The producers won't need a food cart anymore...)
Cody Linley

Interesting cast. I'll definitely be watching. Anyone else with me?

Interview over at 3 Questions...and Answers

I've got an interview up with Amy over at 3 Questions...and Answers. Thank you, Amy!!

Tropical Storm Fay Update:

We've had 6 inches of rain, 50 mph wind gusts and my backyard could double as a pond. It's STILL pouring and if I can get a good pic of the yard, I'll post it here.

It's dark and gloomy so I'm reading a grown up book (OMG--something that's not YA or MG!) and watching Little League.

Tropical Storm Fay is coming

Well, we're getting ready for Tropical Storm Fay. Ugh. It's sitting over open water now and is expected to swing back, hit my town and dump up to 12 inches of rain over 48 hours. Eeek. My city floods--big time.

Plus, we seem to lose power easily even though we're in a big-ish city. When Hurricane Charley (I think...) hit in 2005, we lost power for ten days. TEN. Not fun. Not at all.

So, I'm just hoping the winds aren't too bad and that the power stays on. Things will heat up tomorrow and kick in on Sat.

Fingers crossed!

Missouri Writers' Guild 2009 Conference

So...I've got big news for everyone!

On April 3-5, 2009, I'll be speaking at the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference!

I've been graciously invited to speak twice and participate on a panel. My sessions will be "Freelancing to Fiction" and "Do's and Don'ts of Tween Fiction."

Plus...I'll be doing a special panel with details to be revealed a bit later.

The conference will be in Cape Girardeau and you do NOT, I repeat, NOT have to be a member of the MWG to attend.

More info will be popping up here over the next few months and there will be a special guest blogger who will give more fantastic details about the conference.

Yay!! :)

Cheryl Klein's speech at Harry Potter conference

Cheryl Klein, senior editor at Arthur A. Levine books (Scholastic), recently posted this. It's "A Few Things Writers Can Learn from Harry Potter" and it was her keynote speech at a Chicago Harry Potter conference.

First, how cool of Cheryl to share it with everyone. (She went from fangirl to editor--how awesome is that?!) Second, wow. If I wasn't already inspired by JK Rowling and Harry Potter, I'm that much more impressed now. (Now I have to reread the books...again)

Check out Cheryl's speech to read how she referenced character, plot, theme and show vs. tell. This is a speech to print and read.


I heart the olympics

Okay, I've been getting veerry little done because...I've been watching non-stop Olympic coverage! Swimming! Beach volleyball! Gymnastics! Rowing! :)

Okay, everything. I watch the morning coverage while I work and then I'm watching from eight to midnight to catch the primetime coverage.

I'm cheering on Michael Phelps as he continues to rack up wins. The dude is a force of nature. Seriously.

I was sad that our female gymnasts got second to China, but China's team did SO well. It seemed that after Alicia Sacramone fell off the beam--the team just fell apart. Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin both stepped out of bounds on the floor exercise. That gave China enough room to squeak by for the gold. At least there's still a chance for individual medals later in the week.

I'm waiting for the equestrian events, since I haven't seen any of those yet.

When I'm not watching, I'm reading. I picked up Savvy by Ingrid Law and Family Affairs (Secrets of My Hollywood L…

Giveaway results and what's up with our female Olympic gymnasts?

The winner of the Nancy Viau giveaway is...BREANNA! Congrats! I've sent you an email, so please email me back and we'll get you the awesome prize. :) Thanks so much to Nancy and keep checking the sidebar for more author interviews and giveaways.

So, I just wandered over to MySpace and my Breaking Dawn review vlog has 1090 hits. Wow. Nice! Thanks to everyone who rated and commented over there. We've got quite a discussion going.

I'm off to get coffee. I stayed up late watching the Olympics last night. They were great, but man, did our female gymnasts have TROUBLE last night! So glad it was only the qualifying round. I've NEVER seen Nastia Liukin fall on her back as she did during bars. Insane. Plus, the look her dad gave her was super-scary! The dude's intimidating! Shawn Johnson, as always, was near-perfect. Hopefully, it'll be gold and silver for them. Can't wait for Tuesday night!

Author Visit: Nancy Viau

Please welcome author Nancy Viau!

It's the lovely Nancy Viau!

Short Summary:Sam is a ten-year-old mad scientist, but she doesn't blow up stuff or change kids into cats that bark. She just has a little trouble keeping a lid on her temper, and she “ab-so-lutely” loves science (especially rocks). But science isn’t all that helpful when it comes to the big questions like, why does she get into trouble, why is her sister so annoying, and why won’t anyone talk about her dad. When Sam’s mom announces a trip to the Grand Canyon, it’s a dream-come-true. But if Sam can’t get a grip on her emotions, she’s going to miss seeing her favorite rocks, and miss finding out the answers to some of her questions.Samantha Hansen Has Rocks In Her Head is a hilarious and touching debut that introduces middle graders to an exuberant new character who joyfully studies the
world around her, and her own heart.

Why this story? What about Sam made you write a book about her?Well, Samantha Hansen didn’t star…

Tomorrow's guest: Nancy Viau

Tomorrow, I've got 2k8 author Nancy Viau here with a Q&A and a giveaway! :) Check back then for a chance to win the great prizes listed on the sidebar.

Anyone else going to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics tomorrow? I'm super-excited!

Take the Reins bag

Looky, looky! :) Isn't it pretty? On the back, it has my Website, title and phone number. Verrrry nice. Friends, you'll be getting these as gifts, LOL. :)

Breaking Dawn vlog review

I just couldn't wait, so here's my vlog Breaking Dawn review! I can't wait to hear what everyone else thinks. Be warned! There are spoilers in the vlog and will be spoilers in the comments. Read and watch at your own risk. :)

A truly lucky find at Books a Million

I had totally planned on going to a Breaking Dawn party last night, but after storms and a power outage, I couldn't make it. So, I finally got out the door around 1pm today and hurried over to Books a Million. The beautiful BD display rack was...empty. Yeah. Not one copy anywhere. People were asking the sales girls and guys, "Where is BD? Do you have one in the back room?" Of course, the answer was no. Behind the counter, was a stack of probably twenty glorious copies with a big sign for VOUCHERS ONLY. Curses!!

I whined, moped and stomped around the store. I moodily browsed the YA section and was temporarily happy when I saw so many books of friends. Yay, guys! Okay, in all honesty, I was browsing the aisle just in case BD had been shelved. But yeah, you know the answer to that question.

I was about to leave and go home to sulk when I decided to go where Take the Reins will be shelved next year. On the shelf where the books for authors with the last name starting with &qu…

Breaking Dawn is Coming!!


Enough said!!! :) Anyone standing in line tonight?

I will *not* be reading blogs until I finish the book just in case spoilers are posted without warning. It's the whole "if the ending gets ruined, I'll have to beat up the blogger" sort of thing. :) You understand.