Go, Go, Bloggers, Go!

For those about to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I salute you. I will be cheering you on and visiting as many sites as possible during the month of April. And while I didn't sign up myself (because I can barely post twice a week much less six), I wish all 927 of you the best of luck.

I was sad to read the farewell post of D.L. Hammons. He is an all around nice guy and judging by the works of his I've read, a talented writer. I hope he can revive his writing dream one day. We will miss Cruising Altitude.

As a finalist in the 2nd Crusade Challenge, I would like to say it was an honor just to be nominated, but come on...I wanted to WIN! Seriously, the winner, Bess Weatherby, and the runner up, Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, both had terrific entries and the picture on Bess's blog post today made me giggle. Congrats, ladies!

I hope you all have checked out the auctions on Write Hope. I plan on sneaking in on a couple at the last minute and taking the prize, so watch out.

Have a wonderful April Fool's Day and an even better weekend. May the muses be with you.


Decisions, Decisions

Have you heard about the Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference? Here are the details:

The Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference is being held April 13-17 and we are very excited to have some fabulous publishers involved and to be offering thirty audio panels, numerous forums, and chat rooms. The best part is you can attend from the comfort of your home!

We will be giving away books to all bloggers and reviewers attending and all the panels are recorded so that if you miss any live you have a month to catch up. Learn how to work with publishers and get review copies, where you can attend live events, what other bloggers are doing to promote their blogs, and gain a better understanding of how the industry works.

Publishers Participating
Simon & Schuster, Penguin USA, Bloomsbury, Sourcebooks, Bell Bridge Books, Egmont, The Wild Rose Press, MLR, Lyrical Press, Breathless Press, Ravenous Romance, Dreamspinner Press, Dark Castle Lords, and 15 more.

Registration is $45 for 5 days - Depending on Genre You will receive more than the price of admittance in free books - Shipping of $7 or under may be added for the shipping on the large print giveaways. If money is an issue please email us and see about helping with the conference in exchange for attending.

I am intrigued, but still on the fence about it (forty-five bucks would buy a lot of books). I'm not technically a book blogger, but there do seem to be some really interesting discussions lined up including:

Is YA White Washed? Are the characters in Young Adult novels realistic? Are the themes bland or do they push the limit on what is acceptable?

YA Blogging Over 30? 40? 50?

Self Publishing is Changing - What do we think?

Promoting Your Blog

Blogger Burnout and How To Conquer It

And, let's face it, I'm a giveaway whore. Any chance to win free books is hard for me to pass up.

How about you? Have you ever been to a conference that was slightly outside your ideal fit?

Crusade Challenge Part Deux

The Challenge:

Write a flash fiction story (in any format) in 100 words or less, excluding the title. Begin the story with the words, "The goldfish bowl teetered". These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional, and not part of the judging criteria), see if you can write the story in your own genre.

My entry at 100 words exactly:

The goldfish bowl teetered and fell as I bumped against the nightstand on my way to the bathroom. Blood dripped on the carpet. Shit. My stepmother would freak. Bad enough that I'd broken her mirror, cutting my arm in the process, now I'd defiled her Berber.

I applied bandages and surveyed the damage. It looked like a botched suicide. I'd need long sleeves for school. Lucas was enough of an asshole to imply our breaking up had pushed me over the edge.

He was wrong.

I'd live, which is more than I could say for that fish he'd given me.

I couldn't come up with a title, so I left it off. Any suggestions?

Review - The Mockingbirds

From Goodreads:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

I knew a little bit about this book going in. I knew it was about date rape, and I knew it made reference to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my all time favorite books. The author brings an important authenticity to this book because she lived through a similar situation while at college and therefore is able to convey the complex emotions felt by Alex, our MC throughout the story. She also shows how icrucial it is to reach out to others for help when something terrible like this happens. Whether it be family, friends or teachers, it's important to the healing process to talk about it rather than let it devour you from the inside out.

The self-doubt felt by Alex throughout the book is something all of us can relate to and it makes her journey of remembering exactly what happened to her that night all the more haunting.  

The message in this book is a vital one and I think every girl should hear it. Bravo, Daisy Whitney.


Awards and more Awards

I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
                                                                                        Jack Benny 

First, I would like to thank Have Mercy! Killer Reviews for giving me The Stylish Blogger Award.

I would like to pass this award onto the following bloggers I have met through last year's Write On Con and The Crusade. Some of them may have already received this award which wouldn't surprise me because they are all wonderful.
  1. Lynda at lyndaryoung.blogspot.com
  2. Angela at whimsywritingandreading.weebly.com
  3. Nina at jr-williams.com/blog
  4. Laura at laurajmoss.com/laurablog
  5. Dominic at dominicdemattos.blogspot.com

Next, I would like to thank Rogue Mutt, a fellow writer/blogger that I met what seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, for passing along to me a new award that he created:

It's a beauty, isn't it? I love the pacifier. The rules that go along with this award are to first answer these three pointless questions:
  1. Favorite Condiment: Mayo (real mayo, not that awful Miracle Whip nastiness)
  2. Favorite ’80s Song: "Take On Me" by A-Ha (Only one? One? That's just cruel)
  3. Which Simpsons Character Do You Most Identify With: Lisa, of course.
 And then to pay it forward to five other blogs that don't suck:
  1. Diane at www.digillette.com/index.html
  2. Becky at whatsyourthoughtonthat.blogspot.com
  3. Jen at whatsonthebookshelf-jen.blogspot.com
  4. Pam at pamparker.wordpress.com
  5. L.L. McKinney at tangynt.wordpress.com
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

The Vampire That Is Bracketology

March Madness is upon us, and if you thought Twitter was a gigantic time suck, it's nothing compared to the NCAA tournament here in Big10 country.

After filling out forty brackets for various local and national contests like we do in my house each year, it feels kinda like all of your creativity and will for life has been sucked right out of you. My daughter asked me to give her a synonym for great and my frazzled brain drew a complete blank. I told her to Google it.

From past experience, we've learned it can take a few weeks to recover (good thing there are basketball games to watch). But I don't think I could stop if I wanted to. Each of those little bracket lines whispers my name, promising this will be the year I triumph. I will win money, possibly oodles of it, and receive accolades from friends and co-workers because of my uncanny luck skill at picking winners.

Now on to some fantastic news about a fellow Hoosier and blog buddy of mine..

Please join me in congratulating the beautiful Carolina Valdez Miller on snagging agent Vicki Motter. She's having a party to celebrate and you are all invited! Hop on over and join in the fun. There are awesome prizes and fun to be had by all!

So do you obsess over the NCAA brackets? Whose your pick to take it all? I could just tell you who's going to win, since I already know, but what's the fun in that?

Until next time, happy writing.

Klingons, The Master of Thornfield Hall and the Great White Bear

Well, the Star Trek exhibit was pretty amazing, except for the fact that they didn't allow ANY PHOTOGRAPHY WHATSOEVER. WTH?

You could get your picture taken in the Captain's chair and on the transporter by the museum staff for "only twenty-one dollars," said the little man dressed like Spock and SO not pulling it off. But after the forty-six bucks we paid to get in, I just couldn't justify the additional expense.

What surprised me the most as we wandered through the weapons display was how closely they resembled the toy guns my kids have at home. We learned that the creators of said weapons only gave them enough detail to look good on television, which meant they looked kinda cheesy in real life.

This weekend I'm planning on getting my English governess on when I go see the latest adaptation of one of my favorite books of all time.

I can hardly contain my excitement! Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes look very encouraging (Yes, I look at reviews. Yes, I've taken a lot of crap about it from all the anti-review moviegoers out there including my kids. Rest assured, reviews are only one small factor I use in deciding whether or not to see a film). I'm taking my stash of Kleenex with me. I always feel very refreshed after a good cry at the theater.

Before I go, I saw this short piece on 60 Minutes last week that fascinated me so I thought I would share...

Anyone seen a good movie lately? Any films you're eagerly awaiting?

Hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!


Fellow Crusader Louise Wise brought this terrific book to my attention and I wanted to pass it along to you.

Seven authors (Jo Davis, HD Hatcher, Omegia Keeys, Autumn Prince, Lisa Rusczyk, KJ Thompson, and Vogue) have joined forces to send one message. That message is, You are not Unloved! Unloved is an anthology dedicated to those who have been the victim of bullying, or know someone who has been bullied.

Bullying can take on different forms. Bullying is not just a physical act but can also be an emotional, written, or verbal act as well. Bullying can take place in the workplace, school, online, and even while we are traveling in our vehicles on the road. Bullying is a form of abuse that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and civilized nations across the globe.
All proceeds from Unloved will go to charities in support of Bully Prevention and/or Suicide Prevention.

For more information, please visit: www.hdhatcher.com or www.passionatewriterpublishing.com or visit the Unloved Facebook page.

I wanted to tell you a personal story about being bullied. In sixth grade, a girl physically stuffed me into a locker and wouldn't let me out because she thought I was checking out her boyfriend. She covered up the little slats at the top and told me I would soon pass out from lack of oxygen. Being in honors science, I was fairly certain this wouldn't actually happen, but I was borderline claustrophobic and doubt began to set in.

It was her boyfriend that ended up letting me out a couple of minutes later (he was my neighbor and my lab partner which made it impossible to avoid looking at him).

When I think back on it now, I wish I would have slugged her. She wasn't that much bigger than me and it probably would have put an end to the whole situation. Unfortunately, the bullying continued the entire year until my family moved and I started going to a different school.

So what are your experiences with bullying? Are you the parent of a child that's been bullied? Have you experienced bullying first hand? How did you handle it? How have you taught your kids to deal with it?


So right and SO Wrong

RIGHT - The wonderful and talented Anne Riley has released her first novel, The Clearing, into the world. The story:

Natalie Watson doesn't believe the reports about the way her parents died. In fact, she's not sure she believes in much of anything these days. But after moving from her home in Georgia to her aunt's boarding school in Maine, solving the mystery of her parents' deaths is just one of several things on her mind. When she's not fending off attacks from the popular kids or taking refuge in the pages of a novel, she ponders the rumors circulating about a certain boy in her math class... a boy with fiery red hair who never speaks to anyone.

Despite suspicions that he may have murdered his sister a year earlier, Natalie finds it impossible to stay away from Liam Abernathy - especially when he confesses to knowing something about her parents. Soon she's following him into the forest, where things happen she doesn't understand... things that shouldn't be possible....

As Liam's story unfolds, Natalie realizes she's more connected to him than she ever thought - and not everyone she counts as a friend can be trusted.

Sounds great, right? Well you can own your very own copy in paperback or e-version.

WRONG - I couldn't do one more blog post without mentioning poor Charlie Sheen. I recall a fresh faced youth, on drugs and sitting in a police station in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Well, well, well. It seems we've come full circle now haven't we? 
I hope you all have a glorious weekend. I'll be taking the kids to see the Star Trek exhibit at our local science center (I'm such a fangirl). They have the Captain's chair from the original TV series! I promise to take pics and share them with you next week.

Hello Happy Midget Derby

First, I would like to say hello to all of my new Crusader friends. I've enjoyed your comments and all the blogs I've visited so far have been wonderful. 

Next, I would also like to give a shout out to the beautiful Lisa and Laura Roecker. Their first book, The Liar Society, was officially born today. Happy Book Birthday!

I watched the Oscars as I do every year and wondered the same thing...

Why does Nicole Kidman keep marrying such short men?


 And last, but certainly not least,

We're getting ready for Kentucky Derby season in my part of the world. I'm planning on giving it some blog love.  It may be the fastest two minutes in sports, but around here the celebration lasts for three whole weeks.

Until next time, happy writing!
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