My First Blogoversary!

I can't believe it's been a whole year! When I started last July, I had no idea what I was doing and certainly never imagined I'd have as much fun as I've had so far.

I've met so many great people through this blog, from writers to book bloggers to agents, and I can't express how grateful I am that you take time out of your busy lives to drop by and say hello every now and then.

I'd love to give you all great big hugs (but not those creepy hugs that linger just fifteen seconds too long where you don't know whether to move your hands or just act like a statue), but since I can't do that, I'm offering a great big slice of this,

and maybe a jumbo sized one of these,

and some great books that have debuted over the last year plus a couple of others geared toward writers simply as a "thank you" for being YOU.



Hardback Pre-Order
 A little something for everyone, yes? And for my many international friends, how about two books of your choice (up to $20.00) from the Book Depository?

All that is required for entry is your name and email address, but there are opportunities for extra chances too. Just fill out this FORM. The giveaway will end on August 3, at midnight est.

There will be six winners. The first name chosen will get their choice of three books, the second through sixth names chosen will each receive two books. I will try to get everyone their selected choices, but if everyone wants the same thing, that will not be possible.

I'll be taking the rest of the week off to get the kids ready to go back to school, but I'll be back on August 1st - 3rd for the Novel Films Blogfest. So have a great weekend and don't forget to check back in on August 4th for my Blogoversary winners!

It's Bleeping Hot!

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while should know that I hate to sweat, and barely tolerate it during exercise. If I'm not working out, I avoid it at all costs.

But today, wonderful bloggie friends, I found myself sweating after walking ten feet into my backyard to water my tomatoes.

I haven't seen weather like this since my brother's wedding in New Orleans fifteen years ago when the oppressive heat and humidity turned all of us bridesmaids' hours of hair and makeup to a fuzzy dripping mess simply by walking from the house to the limo.

I realize I am not alone after seeing our local weatherman, let's call him Mr. Obvious, excitedly pointing to the flaming red blob covering half of the United States (you KNOW weathermen take sadistic pleasure when this kind of crap happens because they get more face time).

So for all of us sweltering in this awful stuff, I'm posting some healing pictures. Take a deep breath (unless you're outside, 'cause nobody needs to suck that sh!t into their lungs) and let it out slooooowly. Now enjoy.

Better? Alrighty then.

Be back next week because I'm having a BLOGVERSARY party and you're all invited! There will be reminiscing, cool swag and probably some heavy drinking. We can throw confetti on each other. So put those party hats on and I'll see you Tuesday!

Please Ignore Vera Dietz - Book Review

I chose this book as part of my Award Winning Reads Challenge as it was a 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and it absolutely deserved the recognition.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

From Goodreads:
Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

My Thoughts:

This book had me at hello. Vera is such a strong character and most of the book is told from her point of view. She lives with her father after her mother abandons them both. And Charlie, her best friend since childhood, dies before she can tell him that she loves him.

After Vera's soul searching and chapters alternating between the past and the present we come to understand the guilt she feels about Charlie's death as well as the childhood secrets both have kept about their own families and each other.

The icing on the cake for me was the author including chapters from Charlie's point of view, or his spirit at least as these were given after his death. After the things he'd done to Vera, it was difficult to believe she could still have feelings for him, but his chapters redeemed him and I liked that. I could understand why Vera had loved him which made the ending even more poignant.

This was not a feel good book, although it did have a lot of humorous moments, but I found enough hope and growth in the end to be a very satisfied reader. Highly recommended.

Inspiration Blogfest and a Winner!

Blogfest 2011 has come to a close with over 300 entries on my humble little stop. I've chosen a winner using random.org for the $20.00 Amazon gift certificate.

Congrats to Sarah from I'm Loving Books!

Today is also the Inspiration Blogfest hosted by Summer at My Inner Fairy.

The rules are to post an inspirational writing or photo prompt and to visit everyone else's blog for some inspiration. I must admit I cheated a bit because I've listed three photos because I just couldn't pick one. 

I think they are all beautiful in their own way and bring to mind so many inspiring possibilities for tales to tell.

I'm off to soak up some inspiration from all the other participating blogs!



I'd like to thank Cinnamon from A Journey Of Books for hosting this HUGE blogfest. There are nearly 200 participants.

While my main reading and writing focus is YA, I enjoy a wide variety of genres and didn't want to limit those of you that stop by to a certain type, so I've decided to award the winner a $20.00 gift certificate to Amazon so you can choose whatever you enjoy reading.

The next five stops on the fest if you're going in order are:

And if you like to skip around like I do, you can keep track of where you've been by going HERE along with the chance to win an additional giveaway.

I'll be back on Monday to announce the winner and take part in Summer's Inspiration BlogFest. Good luck and have a great weekend!

I've made this simple. Just fill out the form below. Following is not required, but very much appreciated, so it will get you an extra entry.


Channeling The All-American Rejects

Wanna hear my dirty little secret?

I haven't been writing anything but blog posts and book reviews lately. Not only that, but I drift from self-loathing to just short of happiness because of it.

One reason behind these polar opposite feelings I've been having is the amount of stuff I've now had time to read: fiction, non-fiction, YA, MG, memoirs, best-sellers, the list goes on and on. I love it and my to-be-read pile is finally shrinking (a little).

Also, I'm a pantser but that doesn't mean I don't churn stuff over and over and over again in my head before I start writing it. I do that a lot. So I'm thinking that this small break is my brain chewing the cud of my current story so I won't get stuck in the middle (oh, who am I kidding?) as has happened before. Yeah, let's go with that.

In other news, I found the perfect birthday present for my daughter.

You can click for a better view, but it says "...Then Buffy staked Edward. The End."

I've transformed her into a rabid Buffy fan and I couldn't be happier. I've tried to shield her from how the actors look now. If she knew they were all my age, she may never watch it again.

So tell me blog buddies, have you ever taken an extended break from your WIP? How did it work out for you?

Have you ever found the perfect birthday/anniversary present for someone special?

10 Things We All Should Know By Now

1. Vampires are terrific in bed. What's a little blood loss between lovers? Pale is the new black, you know. But that whole sparkle in the sun like a diamond thing? Total myth. You're never leaving the bedroom so that shouldn't be a problem, right?

Can I get an Amen!
2. Plush towels don't actually dry you better than not-so-plush towels. I've found they tend to just push the water around on your skin until it evaporates instead of actually absorbing it. And don't get me started on the fuzz that comes off of those suckers until they are washed about 800 times.

3. 99.9% of all hotel room bedding and mattresses are nasty. I'd advise day trips from now on.

4. You will grow up to have children that are just like you as your mother predicted when you were younger. This in inevitable. Be afraid, be very afraid.

5. You should never leave the house without sunscreen slathered in layers all over your body. Have your vampire boyfriend help you with that.

6. You can't kill yourself by holding your breath. Take THAT, child that acts exactly like I did when I was her age.

7. Don't bite your nails. That whole tearing and spitting thing is disgusting and we are tired of stepping on your nail nubs while walking barefoot through the house. Also, there will come a time when your own life or someone else's hangs in the balance and you will need at least some sliver of a fingernail to escape that fate. Oh yeah, it's coming.

8. Zombies, while entertaining to watch, will never take over the world. Even I can run faster than they can and none of them are as smart as my dog.

First a treat, then WORLD DOMINATION!
9. There's a sharp-toothed snail living in your nose that will chomp your finger off if you try to stick it up there. It's true. I read it in a book.

10. The best things in life may be free, but that doesn't mean you are not still going to have to work damn hard to get them. Others have said it better than I could and here are a couple of my favorite quotes,

Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb but how well you bounce.  ~Vivian Komori
Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.  Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.  ~Jacob A. Riis

Persevere, my lovelies.

Where Am I?

I've been at the day job eleven hours today and I've got nothing. I'm asleep on my feet bloggie friends, but there are a couple of things I wanted to pass along to you.

Alexandra is having the first part of her ALA giveaway (I'm so ENVIOUS of everyone who got to attend) so be sure to visit and enter.

Ebyss is having an awesome Revision Contest which will be judged by the lovely Natalie Fischer from the Bradford Literary Agency. Only the first fifty entries will be accepted, so hurry!

Andrea is having a Three Good Things Book Giveaway where she will be giving away one wonderful Middle Grade novel per week for the next three. The contest for the first book ends Saturday July 9th.

There were a lot of book birthdays today but two in particular that I've been looking forward to reading:



I'm also closing in on my 1st blogversary and there will definitely be a PARTY in celebration of that momentous occasion.

What books are have come out recently or will be released soon that you can't wait to get your hands on? Do you have a contest going on that I missed?

What Have You Got In That Thing?

When I got home from work last night I realized my shoulder was killing me. I didn't have to look far for the cause of the problem. My bulging hulk of a purse (yes, it's black and it's summertime. Unfortunately, fashion is extremely low on my list so I don't even know if I'm committing a faux pas.) It's a wonder the strap hasn't just snapped off from the weight.
I know it's fuzzy, but that reads 9.5 pounds.
I thought this might be a good time to clean it out. Here's the before shot,
I never realized it looked like a face from the side.
And here's the after.

In case you can't see it clearly, it contained:

Jane Eyre My book borrowed from a friend at work whose daughter had to read it for class.
Water For Elephants A library book I just finished.
Tick Tock I checked this out from the library for a friend and she gave it back last week. I just never took it out.
Sony e-reader
Address Book
Cell phone
Digital Recorder
Cottonelle Fresh wipes (5)
Keys (2 sets)
Lip Balm (2)
Lip Gloss (5) What? Have you seen my avatar?
Mints (2)
Hand Lotion
Emory board
Pill case
Pens (3)  Pilfered from work
Make-Up bag  Obviously too small for all that lip stuff
Allergy eye drops
And that large pile of folded papers contain manuscripts (mine and others) in various stages of editing. I prefer to edit from a print version.

I encourage all of you who carry purses to dump them out and take pictures to post online so that we can all see what you have in there.

Last but not least, some exiting news from the uber talented John Green. The title of his new book due out May 1, 2012, has been announced and he has promised to sign all Amazon pre-orders. I've already added mine to the old shopping cart. Click below to get yours.

The Fault in Our Stars

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

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