Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Is . . .

Gingery spice
Filling the air.
Spearmint leaves
Stuck to tasty houses
With Dum-dum light posts.

Cinna-minni sweetness
Rolled in butter
And fluffy dough.
Seeping stealthily through the house
Calling soon-to-be sticky fingers to the kitchen.

Joseph and Mary
Sitting in our house.
Careful not to fight
Just this one night.
Gently rocking baby doll Jesus
In His Tupperware manger.

Soft sighs of contentment
As kids snuggle under the covers
In new pajamas.
Cookies and note in place.
Knowing Santa is real.

More important, knowing Love is real.

This is me wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays whatever you may celebrate! I will be taking a break until the New Year, so I will see you then! 

In the mean time, what is Christmas to you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

*Cough* *Cough* Too Sick For a Real Post

I have been overwhelmed by (i.e. ROFL at) all your great name suggestions for the Chocolate-less Chocolate Chip Cookies. Who knew taking away a bit of chocolate would get such a reaction?!

So I have updated the list of choices (it more than doubled!), and if you want to change your vote, feel free! Here's the >>link<<. And since I have been horribly sick since yesterday, I'm afraid that's all you get. That, and a reminder to vote on the big Christmas debate!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate-less Chocolate Chip Cookies - Renamed


So last week I admitted that my favorite type of chocolate chip cookies are the ones with NO chocolate chips. I invited you all to give your suggestions for a new name, and here's what we have so far:
  1. Abomination Cookies
  2. Fiend Cookies
  3. Oxymoron Cookies
  4. Anti Chocolate Chip Cookies
  5. Brown Sugar Cookies
  6. Chipless Cookies
  7. Choc-less Chip Cookies
  8. Naked Cookies
  9. What the Heck Did You Do With My Chocolate Cookies
  10. Where-the-heck-are-my-chocolate-chip Cookies
  11. Faux Cookies
  12. Naked Cookies
  13. Who Took Ma Chips, Ma? Cookies
  14. Totally Bogus Cookies
  15. Un-Cookies
  16. Abomination and Desolation Cookies
I have my favorite, but I really think we need to vote on this. But if I don't like the results, I may have to play evil dictator. Just sayin'. ;)

What's your vote?

*With so many new options, if you need to change your vote, go for it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Perfect Balance

Over a month has passed since my post about playing a trick on one of my readers. If you missed it, click >>here<<. Some of you wanted to know what the trick was, but rats and phooey, I didn't take a picture. However, I am a writer, right?

So for my trick on Old Kitty, I sent a Halloween toy kitty that poops out jellybeans when you pull the tail. :) Maybe if we all beg, Old Kitty will post a picture for us. I still giggle when I think about it. The perfect trick, I tell you! And why? Because I'm not even a huge jellybean fan! ;)

Another perfect trick is balancing your writing life with everything else. Particularly during the holidays.

So here's my question to you . . . what is your trick for balancing it all? Do you forget about writing for the month? Stay up late? Ask for more time from Santa Claus (or any gift-bearing persona in your belief system)? How do you do it?

Monday, December 5, 2011

This vs. That: Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Sugar Cookies

Hello, hello! I'm so happy to be back. Especially because today is a This vs. That post. AND we had a record number of votes. So very awesome.

However, I find the results somewhat disappointing. I mean, really people. Does chocolate truly throw all other considerations out the window? But I digress. On to the results:

Total votes: 35 

Sugar Cookies: 10 votes; 29%
Chocolate Chip Cookies: 25 votes; 71%

Of those who voted for chocolate chip:
ONLY if gooey: 2 votes; 8% (of the 25 who voted for ChC)
ONLY if crispy/dunkable: 1 vote; 4%
Coated with a layer of chocolate: 1 vote; 4%

I had to add the subcategories, because I found it fascinating. And just for the record, there were a couple of you who voted chocolate chip, but said you'd change your vote if the Sugar Cookies had a specific frosting or sprinkles.

Hello! Of course the sugar cookies are made exactly to your specifications. You crazies. So your votes went to Sugar cookies. Besides, they could use the help.

And is there really a question about my vote? I went sugar cookies all the way. No question. In fact, when I was little, I used to pick out the chocolate chips or eat around them. If I could. Some cookies were more chocolate than cookie. If I were around when my mom made them, I would request chocolate-less chocolate chip cookies.

So here's a question for you . . . what do you call a chocolate-less chocolate chip cookie? Seriously. I'm taking suggestions.

Okay, okay. On to the next vote. I debated this one. Last year, we did Real vs. Artificial, and I was sorely tempted to do it again just to see how the results compared (last year they tied). But there are so many great Christmas debates, I couldn't resist a new one. Are you ready?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 
by Dr. Seuss


A Christmas Carol 
by Charles Dickens

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blog Critique and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, my blog is being critiqued by Laura Barnes over on her site, Laura B. Writer: Building Author Media Presence. So please, if you don't mind, steer clear of there.

Okay, okay. Please go check it out. Really. :P

And since it's a big holiday this week here in the States, I wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of the day, here is my short list of silly and serious thanks (my long list would take too long, but I'm sure you all understand it's there, right?):
  1. That I'm not a turkey.
  2. That my husband puts up with me day in and day out (crazy writer and all)
  3. That my kids still love to give me hugs (and that they brag to their friends that I write books)
  4. That my Savior, Jesus Christ, loved me enough to die for me, so I can repent of my multitude of sins.
What are you thankful for?

P.S. I will be back blogging on Monday, Dec. 5

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Conference Advice, Part 2

So it's lunchtime at the writing conference. My friend and I had been at separate sessions just prior so I'm looking everywhere for her in the dining area. When I'm certain she's not there, I find a mostly empty table and ask the women sitting there if they don't mind if I and a friend join them. Of course they graciously let me sit.

I found my friend, sat down and after catching up, turned to our neighbors. It was a woman and her 13-year-old daughter. Very nice. Her name was Bonnie. So here's a bit of the conversation that ensued:

BONNIE: Have you attended many conferences?

ME: [shrug] I've been to a few. How about you? Have you been to many?

BONNIE: [shrug] Yeah, I've presented at quite a few conferences.

ME: [choke on my salad] Oh. Yeah, I guess there's that.

SENIOR EDITOR BONNIE: [graciously ignoring my red cheeks] So what do you write?

Okay, so the point of this little story? STUDY THE LIST OF PRESENTERS BEFORE YOU GO. Cyber stalk them. Find their picture and know who they are. In fact, the conferences usually post these on the website. Then maybe, just maybe, you can avoid embarrassing yourself like I so thoroughly did.

Monday, November 14, 2011

At the Beginning

I spent this weekend in Gettysburg at the Tri-regional SCBWI conference. I had a great time, refueled my writing bucket, and met so many wonderful people. Okay, that sounds trite, but it's true.

Though we are limited in what we can share because of copyrights, I wanted to share one little nugget with you all:

In a session with Sarah Davies, Agent Extraordinaire of The Greenhouse Literary Agency, she said that about 50% of the submissions she receives start with one of the following opening scenes:
  • The MC [main character] just waking up
  • The MC eating breakfast
  • The MC in the process of moving
  • The MC at the airport
  • The MC involved in a major accident
What do they all have in common? They are all literal beginnings. Interesting, no?

She commented that when she sees this, though it sounds harsh, her expectations drop. It's an immediate strike against the manuscript which takes amazing writing to overcome.

Instead, start in an unexpected place, and you'll already be one up from about half the submissions. . . . The middle of a heist. Feeding the pigs. At the top of the school's flag pole. Standing on cloud 9 (literally). In a graveyard digging up a grave. At the scene of a murder.

So many options!

Perhaps we just need to give ourselves permission to go a little crazy. I mean, we are writers, write? (I mean, . . . right?)

Where does your book start?

Friday, November 11, 2011

String Bridge Amazon Rush Day!

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original  soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to: 


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost! And she has an amazing voice. You want this!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are not familiar with String Bridge
check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Moments of Joy

It snowed here the other day.

Unawares, my 2-year-old ran outside and in a case of sheer serendipity, my friend caught the exact moment of discovery.

You can see the joy radiating from her face. Shining through her eyes. Bursting from her whole being. I'm completely in love with this picture (and not just because it's my daughter)!

Do you remember what it's like to feel that way? Do you ever want to burst with joy after writing a particularly good bit of work? After receiving a glowing critique?

What brings you joy like that?

P.S. I deeply apologize for lack of responding to comments! My internet has been spotty at best. Hopefully things will improve next week when we switch providers. *grumble, mumble, asparagus*

Monday, November 7, 2011

Superheros in Real Life

As an incurable book fanatic, I am at an exciting time in my life as my oldest child is just getting past that initial learning-to-read stage and discovering the freedom that books can bring.

Nightly homework requires 20 minutes of reading, and his teacher strongly recommends that he try reading all genres, including non-fiction. Thus, at the library, I checked out a short book on Christopher Reeve. My son couldn't put it down and read till he had finished (long past the timed 20 minutes). Every mother's dream, no?

I still remember how shocked I felt when I heard about his horse accident. It seemed impossible that such a man--the epitome of physical strength--could find himself in such a situation.

After the accident, Christopher was ready to give up . . . certain that he would only become a burden on the people he loved. But lucky for him (and us), his amazing wife, Dana convinced him otherwise.

As a quadriplegic, Christopher Reeve accomplished more than most people can with the use of all their limbs. He even helped fund the American Paraylsis Foundation that is now aptly named the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. He never stopped working to improve his and others' situation, and he never stopped believing he would one day walk again. (Something that his doctor's claimed impossible for an injury as severe as his. After all, he couldn't even breathe without help!)

And then the miracle happened. He moved his index finger. And little by little, he regained control of some of his muscles. He could move some fingers, and he could walk on the bottom of a swimming pool. And he could even breathe for 90 minutes without the use of his ventilator.1

Unfortunately, he died shortly after this triumph, but what hope and what inspiration he gave to those who had had none! Those who had been told to accept their lot and go on. This man who once dressed up and pretended to play a superhero for all the world to see went on to become one in real life because he didn't give up. He took a personal tragedy and blessed the lives of countless people with it.

And that is what we must do. There have been times I've wanted to give up (on writing, not life, just to be clear), but then I'd never know what I might have accomplished if only I'd tried--if only I'd forged ahead, even when it was hard.

Don't give up.

Don't stop trying.

Become that superhero you've dreamed of becoming.



Thursday, November 3, 2011

SPECIAL EDITION: This vs. That - Trick vs. Treat

First, I want to thank all you great people who have stopped in and commented . . . and apologize for not responding*. Life has been hectically crazy here. I'm sure most of you know all about craziness. Especially the week of Halloween, which brings me to the REAL purpose of this post: The results!

Trick or Treat?

Total votes: 23

Trick: 3 votes; 13%
Treat: 19 votes; 83%
Depends on who's tricking: 1 vote; 4%

 Okay, no real surprises here. Who wouldn't like a treat? However, who said the trick had to be mean? SO . . . I voted for Trick, because I am playing a trick on all of you. spit out a number, and the number was Old Kitty's. Just send me your address within 24 hours if you dare, and I will send you something that is NOT a treat (bwa ha ha!).

If you miss the 24-hour mark (aka, 7 AM Nov. 4), will choose a second someone and so on and so forth. Even if I have your address, you still have to e-mail me! (see that "Contact Me" tab up there? Use it!) 

*If you have your email address connected to your account, I reply by email to your comment

Monday, October 31, 2011

If I had all the magic in the world, I'd . . .

. . . create a time pocket where time doesn't exist.

That way I could get all those tasks on my to-do list knocked off and still have plenty of time to smell the roses. *Dreamy sigh as I imagine the possibilities*

So today I joined in to help Elizabeth Mueller launch her YA romance, Darkspell. What a perfect day to launch a novel with such a title!
Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary . . .until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.

As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.

Will love prove thicker than magic?

You can purchase a kindle/ebook copy at Amazon >>here<<, but to learn more about Elizabeth, or to purchase your own signed copy, you can visit her blog or website.

Happy launch day, Elizabeth!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Today I am NOT going to conclude the chocolate chip vs. sugar cookies debate, so you can still go vote. But when I had this lightbulb moment, I couldn't resist. So today's debate?

(Yes, the cowgirl is me)




Monday, October 24, 2011

Conference Advice

This past weekend, I went to my local SCBWI region's annual conference. I had a great time, and my head is swimming with all the great advice and inspiration shared by the speakers.

I was reminded that agents and editors are nice, normal people, too. When you find yourself in the query trenches, it's easy to forget that. And same goes for award-winning authors.

Also, I got to meet Caroline Tung Richmond who blogs at Adventures in Space. This is the first time I've met a fellow blogger in person (and of course, I didn't have a camera), but we had a great time visiting!

Anyway, over the years, I have attended several conferences, and I wanted to impart a bit of advice to anyone considering going to one.
  1. GO. Find a nearby conference, bite the bullet, and pay the enterance fee.
  2. Sign up for a critique. This means you need to sign up early. And it costs extra. Plus it may break your heart. But trust me when I tell you it's worth it. These are the people who know the business. They know what they're talking about. Even the stuff that hurts to hear puts you that much further ahead.
  3. Volunteer. Okay, I can hear the groan. You don't have enough time. Or you doubt you have anything to offer. Or you're nervous because you don't know anyone. . . . I'm telling you to push past that. I have done it both ways. My first few conferences, I didn't dare volunteer. But when I finally got up the courage to do it, I enjoyed the conferences so much more. Not only did I meet a lot more people, I got a special name tag. *pauses while you all turn green with envy*
  4. Take notes. Because that stuff you think you will remember? You won't.
In short, my advice is to participate as fully as possible. There's nothing like a conference to boost your writers morale and get you inspired to finish your WIP. The more you put in, the more you get out. (cliché, I know, but still true).

Have you ever been to a conference? What was your experience?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Follow Your Heart

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I ran across this Steve Jobs quote while waiting in a doctor's office. This was from a commencement speech he gave. Anyway, I had to share:
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

"Almost everything---the external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure---these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important . . . There is no reason not to follow your heart."
Definitely puts it in perspective. There is no reason not to follow your heart, people. Let's do this thing!

P.S. If you haven't heard Shannon Whitney Messenger's amazing news, she had a book deal! A mega, super, awesome book deal. And she's celebrating with a crazy fun contest that you need to check out by Oct. 22nd. Seriously, you don't want to miss >>this.<<

Monday, October 17, 2011

Winner and License Plate Interpretation

First, a random picture just because.

Second, the winner of The Liar Society is Dawn Simon. Congratulations! If you haven't yet, please email me your address (rjljohnson.janetATgmailDOTcom), and I'll send it post haste. :)

Third, you may have noticed I took my Blog Roll down. Something to do with a virus on one of the referenced blogs. Easiest thing was to chop the whole kit and kaboodle. I'll start rebuilding soon. Just wanted to let you know.

Finally, I know I've kept you all in suspense for a horrible amount of time, so here are the license plate interpretations from >>this<< post (for the "hard" ones):
  1. CRPE DM = Carpe Diem
  2. TRNTLA  = Tarantula (Pontiac G5 Spyder)
  3. HAF PINT = Half Pint (Cream-colored convertible Mini Cooper)
  4. YES OCFR = Yes Ociffer (What a drunk person would say to the cop who pulled him over. Odacious, no?)
  5. APRESVU = After you. (How polite!)
P.S. Here is another interesting one: NOT ED'S. It was on a convertible BMW. What's the story this time?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blogfest

I know I don't usually post on Fridays, nor do I often join in the blogfests, but I like the spirit of this one, so I decided to jump in with two feet. Matthew MacNish and Alex J. Cavenaugh are hosting the Pay It Forward Blogfest today. You can click on their names to find the LONG list of blogs participating.

The idea is to share three under-the-radar blogs that I love and then visit all the blogs everyone else mentions. Okay, ALL might be impossible, but there we are.

And before I mention my three, just a quick note to say I would choose you all if I could! *waves and smiles to everyone reading this*

First is my long-time crit partner Victoria Dixon at The Ron Empire Wants You! She focuses on writing with Asian settings, which (even though I don't use them) I think is very interesting. Plus, she's a writer of gorgeous prose. Her work always makes me jealous. ;)

Second is Saumya at Left and Write Brained. She is fun and bubbly and I always leave her blog smiling. You should visit her.

And finally, Abby at Something to Write About. I found her through the Platform-building Campaign and just adore her posts. Personality exudes from her writing, plus I learn stuff. Like how to put polls directly in your post. (Yeah, okay, I'm slow.) Point is, she has a great blog!

So who would you recommend?

P.S. Click >>here<< to enter for a chance to win The Liar Society. You have through 16 September!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10 Random Facts

Lindsay, over at Adventures in Writing, tagged me last week with a Random Fact post. So it is my privilege to share 10 random things about myself (the trick is to keep you from getting bored).
  1. I bite my lip when I'm thinking. (My bottom lip really takes a beating when I'm writing.)
  2. I have amazingly high arches. Shoe shopping is very difficult.
  3. When I was age 6 or so, I randomly decided I was going to go to Harvard. That lasted until I looked at tuition prices in high school.
  4. I learned to play the guitar because my college roommate took a class and I thought it looked fun. I have a reperatoire of about 10 songs I can play (including "My Grandfather's Clock"). ;)
  5. I once slipped a piece of broccoli down my shirt to avoid eating it. I totally got caught because it fell onto the kitchen floor before I could dispose of it.
  6. My sister named the car I drove in high school "Calico." (Bet you can guess why.)
  7. The horn on Calico didn't work. Except when it did. And then it tried to make up for lost time.
  8. The passenger door on Calico wouldn't stay shut in freezing weather. We had a lot of freezing weather my senior year.
  9. When I was 15, I travelled to Mexico with my family to witness a total solar eclipse. It turned out to be cloudy.
  10. I like coloring in coloring books.
 I am tagging:

Kamille Elahi
Bethany Elizabeth
Maeve Frazier

P.S. This is a low-stress tag. Do with it what you will. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rockin' 2011 Debut Author Spotlight: Lisa and Laura Roecker

When Christina Lee suggested we band together to spotlight some of our favorite 2011 debut authors, I knew right away I wanted to spotlight Lisa and Laura Roecker who debuted in March with The Liar Society.

Fabulous book!

Here's the blurb from their blog:
 Best friends don't send emails once they're dead. With her dead best friend's pearls and skirts tiny enough to make Nancy Drew blush, Kate's on the trail to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...

I revel in brevity, so I give you Three Things I Loved about The Liar Soceity:
  1. The pink hair. This is not just an outward description of Kate (the MC). It's all part of the mystery of what happened and how it affected her. (I believe this is called Depth.)
  2. The mystery. It starts on page 1 and doesn't let up. I wanted to solve the mystery as much as Kate! And the clues? How cool that they show up in her email.
  3. The tension. It is no easy feat to fill every page of a book with just the right balance of tension and believability. Let's just say that I stayed up late to make sure Kate was okay. Laura and Lisa (just wanted to change things up there) rock at writing page turners.
In short, I can hardly wait for book 2!

To share the love, I'll be giving a copy away to one lucky commenter. You have until Sunday, 16 October 2011 EST to enter. So comment away (and please make sure I have a way to contact you in case you win)!

P.S. Feel free to stop by Christina's blog for the list of everyone who's spotlighting an author today.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Story of a Story

Today I want to tell you a story:

Once upon a time I wrote a book. It was not my first book, but I loved it like it was. People critiqued it, and I made changes. More people critiqued it, and I made more changes. People started telling my good things about my book. This made me happy.

So I worked on my query letter. People critiqued it, and I made changes. More people critiqued it, and I made more changes. And people told me happy things about my query letter. This made me happy, too.

And I wanted to query.

But one thing bothered me. . . .

. . . the page count.

My book was long. This did not make me happy.

So I started cutting. Little things at first:
  • "he said." 
  • "she said." 
  • "he turned and walked." 
  • "lightly" 
  • "stupidly" 
  • "blindly" 
  • "quickly" 
  • . . . blah, blah, blah . . . you get the idea. 
But it wasn't enough.
So I cut more. Bigger things this time:
  • "this passage is so funny! but it doesn't move the plot forward." 
  • "this passage tells us so much about this character! but it's already shown in other ways." 
  • "this information is so interesting! but it's all backstory in one big chunk."
  • . . . blah, blah, blah . . . you get the idea. 
But it still wasn't enough. (Yeah, it was LONG.)
So I cut more. Even bigger things this time:
  • "I really like how this plot line twists right there! but it's a bit long winded, and what if someone asks this question . . . you know, the one that makes all the logic of getting there crumble?"
  • "what I said before but for a different part of the story."
  • "I really like what happens here! but a similar thing happens in this other part."
  • . . . blah, blah, blah . . . you get the idea. 
And while this story isn't finished yet, I will tell you this: My beta re-readers between each cut session couldn't tell what I'd cut. None of it was missed. None. And while they did notice the plot changes I'd made . . . they thought it was better.

So if you, too, are struggling with the the dreaded thing called word count, are you sure you've cut all you can?

Monday, October 3, 2011

This vs. That: Pooh vs. Tigger

I know you've all been dying of anticipation on this one, so without adieu, on to the results:

Total votes: 20

Pooh: 12 votes; 60%
Tigger: 7 votes; 35%
Impossible to choose: 1 vote; 5%

That said, 4 of you who voted would rather have voted for Eeyore (20%); 2 of you mentioned Piglet (10%), and 1 person mentioned Owl (5%). Poor Rabbit didn't even get a pity mention. (Kanga and Roo have each other, so I don't worry as much about them.)

This round, I gave my vote to Pooh. Perhaps like Amy, I'm surrounded by so much Tigger, that the calm of Pooh sounded VERY attractive. Tiddely pom indeed!

On a side-note, I find it fascinating to learn everyone's favorite character. It's so telling! If you care to indulge us, I'd love to hear which one is your favorite and why.

My favorite has always been Roo. He's the combination of the sense of adventure of Tigger, the wonder of Winnie the Pooh, and the common sense of Christopher Robin. (In my humble opinion, of course. And wow, I wasn't even trying for the alliteration!)

Anyhoo, on to the next debate:

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Sugar Cookies
(Ahem. You may have recently read about my Kryptonite)

(Photo Credit:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I've Read from the Top 100

Emily V had this on her blog, and I thought it was interesting to see what others have read, so I’m copying.

A couple of disclaimers before I start:
  1. I don't know who originally made this list, so I don't know who is proclaiming these books to be the "Top YA." It actually excludes some I really love, and includes others I don't even consider to be YA.
  2. This list is NOT a list of my recommendations. Just because I've read it (or own it), doesn't mean I highly recommend it. And just because I haven't read something (and don't own it), doesn't mean I wouldn't like to. It's simply a list of what I've read.
So, with that in mind, here we go:

Bold = I've Read It
Italics = I Own It
Underline = Started, but Didn't Finish It

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3)
18. Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket - Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies (1, 2, 3, 4)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

So what have I missed that is a MUST READ in your book?

And P.S. This is your last weekend to vote on the THIS big debate before I tally the votes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

National Book Festival Gushings

Shortly after I moved to the DC area 2.5 years ago, I learned about the National Book Festival. I made it a point to go that first year (me and 3 kids, including a newborn), and boy am I glad I did.

Who knew that the Library of Congress threw a huge celebration of books and authors on a yearly basis? And this year they expanded the festival to 2 days to allow for even more awesomeness.

The invited authors (and all the sponsors) converged upon the Mall. Sarah Dessen spoke this year, along with Tomie DePaola (this is the end of the amazingly long line of people hoping to get his signature), . . . 

. . . Lisa Yee, Michael Buckley, Cassandra Clare, Toni Morrison, and oh so many others I can't possibly list them all without boring you to tears.

Since I was there with my kids, I participated in the picture book reading of Stagecoach Sal! by Deborah Hopkinson, who then signed copies and gave them to the audience (sponsored by Wells Fargo). We enjoyed the Build Your Own Book craft with Scholastic, the Book Nook provided by Target, and danced to the fun music of Steve Songs in the PBS kids tent. Though we just missed Clifford, and avoided the long line to meet the Cat in the Hat, we did get to meet Martha, from Martha Speaks (though my 2-year-old refused to get anywhere near her).

And after we got home, I tried to explain to my husband why I loved it all so much. Being surrounded by people who love books as much as I do is really something. It's power. It's inspiring.

It reminds me why I write. And why I put myself through the grind that is querying.

And do you know what else? It reminds me why I love being part of the blogosphere. How privileged am I to meet all of you amazing people and to share in your adventures as we make our way down this crazy and otherwise lonely road we call WRITING?

So thank you. Thank you for sharing, and visiting, and commenting, and just being you. Thank you.

What has inspired you lately?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's Your Kryptonite?

Every super hero has one. Something that trumps their amazing abilities. Because if they didn't, the story would sure get boring fast.

Imagine if there was no such thing as kryptonite. Lex Luthor would stand no chance. Zero. And where's the fun in that?
  • So, for Superman it's kryptonite. (Duh.)
  • For the Green Lantern Corp, it's anything yellow. (Seriously.)
  • For Ironman, it's magnets. (Build a suit of iron and what do you expect?)
  • For Captain America, Batman, and all those superheros who have no actual superpowers, you have your kryptonite of choice: guns, swords, grenades, etc.
Anyway, I'm sure there will be people who argue with me on this, but that's okay. Debate is good. My point in all this is to ask you:

What is your kryptonite?

Because mine . . . mine is cookies. As long as there are no nuts or fruit involved, I will fall to the power of a cookie every time. And don't even get me started on a soft sugar cookie with just a smidgen of cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Mmmm . . .

Everything tastes better with sprinkles.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a battle to lose.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Chillin'

Today, I am just admiring some license plates.
  1. CRPE DM
  2. TRNTLA (Bonus points if you guess the model of the car)
  3. AWSUM 1
  4. HUGGS
  6. HAF PINT (This one's funnier when you see the car)
  7. 2SLFSH
  8. YES OCFR (My personal favorite)
  10. LIV W1LD
Did you get them all? So which of these plates is on your car today?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Water Is Dangerous

When news of Hurricane Irena came, I happened to be vacationing in Virginia Beach with my husband's family. The morning before we were scheduled to evacuate, the Port Authority came by and posted this flag next to our waterfront beach house:

Now, I won't go into all the implications for the real-life scenario of this posted warning (rip-tides, being pulled under, etc.).

Rather, I am sending out a warning to all those contemplating entering the waters of writing.

WARNING: Water Is Dangerous

Top 5 Dangers:
  1. Book Brain. All spare brain power (and brain power that isn't so spare) is sucked into the void that is called plotting. Side effects include burned dinners, failure to pick up loved ones at scheduled times, taking wrong exits on the interstate, etc.
  2. Carpal Tunnel. Numbness of hands and mind. All that typing and writing can only lead to one thing. I mean besides a book.
  3. Schizophrenia. Voices whisper in your mind. Worse, they don't listen to you.
  4. E-mail Addiction. Neurotic need to constantly refresh your inbox. Because surely that agent whose had your ms for a day will finally respond NOW (as opposed to twenty seconds ago).
  5. Shattered Ego Syndrome. Certainty that your written work is crap. This includes Works-in-Progress, comments on blogs, and even grocery lists (because seriously, did you misspell Brocolli Broccoli again?)
Now let the records show. You have been warned!

So, what warnings would you add?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life's Too Short to Dry Tupperware

Today I'm going to do something I don't often do, which is to write a serious post. This past week has been full of craziness, and I'm feeling kind of somber.

Last week, my really good friend got the call. Not the good kind we author's often dream about. Just the opposite. The worst kind you can get . . . her mother (who had been suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease) was fading fast, and could she come?

Then, completely unrelated, Tropical Storm Lee paid us a visit. And let me tell you, I have never seen rain come down that hard for so long. Truly, it was astounding to watch. So I really can't blame the mother who went outside with her son and daughter to enjoy the amazingness of something I had surely never seen in my lifetime.

My heart still breaks when I think about it. A flash flood---right through their backyard---that swept away her 12-year-old son.

And of course, the week culminated with Sept.11. The tenth anniversary, no less. I sat at my computer last night and I looked through National Geographic's 25 indelible pictures, and I felt the horror of that day once again.

The point of all this is that life is too short to worry about things that don't matter (like drying the tupperware). It's also too short to NOT worry about the things that do. Play with your kids, call your parents or siblings. Tell them you love them, and don't let things that really don't matter get in the way.

And you know how you've been putting off editing that book you wrote? Or writing anything past the first chapter? Or querying the book you just finished? Well Nike knew what they were talking about:

Just Do It.

Don't wait. Because life's too short.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apples to Apples Winners

This post is already going to be epic, so I won't bore you with a long prelude. Voila, the winning answers:

Day 1: Darth Vader
  1. Asmatic (because, yeah) by R. Garret Wilson (+3)
  2. Yikes! (because I never want to meet him!) by Lenny (+2)
  3. Legos (because Legos are taking over my life) by Kelly (+1)
And an honorary win goes to Theresa Milstein for Lavendar. Because her link made me smile. Click HERE to see it.

Day 2: Stereotyped
  1. Bose (because I love a good play on words!) by Beth (+3)
  2. Asian mathematician (because its so TRUE!) by Lori M. Lee (+2)
  3. Mary Sue (because I'm a writer) by Amy Sonnichsen (+1)
Day 3: Rubber Gloves
  1. Comet (because I grew up cleaning with Comet) by LTM (+3)
  2. Super-villain (because I'd rather face one of those than the "exams" everyone else mentioned) by Bethany Elizabeth (+2)
  3. Dishes (because it's unfortunately true) by Reb's Photo World (first to mention it) (+1)
Day 4: Charming
  1. Toilet Paper (because that's just funny) by Lenny (+3)
  2. TIE: Chris Philips by Chris Philips (+2)
  3. TIE: Older Brother by MikeS (my real life older brother) (+2)
And the because on those? Yeah, if they have the moxy to put it out there, who am I not to laugh?

Day 5: Phony
  1. Baloney (because who doesn't like to say "Phony Baloney"?) by Lenny (+3)
  2. Reality TV (because that's about as phony as it gets) by Sarah Nicolas (+2)
  3. Folex (because I LOVE making up words) by Amy Sonnichsen (+1)
Day 6: License Plates
  1. Janet Sumner Johnson (because "Booyeah!" I've left my mark!) by R. Garret Wilson (first to mention me) (+3)
  2. Criminals (because I find it hilarious that I'm right in there with the criminals) by Theresa Milstein (+2)
  3. Drive-thru dinner ware (because it made me giggle) by MikeS (+1)
Day 7: Pigs
  1. Miss Piggy (because there's so much back story there I don't have the space to tell you) by Reb's Photo World (+3)
  2. Fly (because they do!) by LTM (+2)
  3. Christmas Ham (because I really wanted to choose BACON! but it was submitted too late) by Robyn Campbell (+1)
Day 8: Squeaky Clean
  1. Sterilized Mice (because I fell off my chair when I read it) by MikeS (+3)
  2. The money I made from organized crime (because LOL) by Chris Philips (+2)
  3. OCD (because I don't know anything about that. Really.) by CarolynV (+1)
Day 9: Absurd
  1. The National Debt (because le sigh) by MikeS (+3)
  2. Albert Camus (because I had to read his stuff for my thesis and he IS!) by Beth (+2)
  3. Turd (because I feel like a little kid saying it and then giggling) by Sangu (+1)*
Day 10: Pond Scum
  1. Delinquent Goldfish (because ROFL!) by Chris Philips (+3)
  2. Pogo Sticks (because it's SO random!) by LTM (+2)
  3. Ex-boyfriend (because I may have had one of those) by Missed Periods (+1)
Thank you to everyone who played along with me! I had a blast reading through all your answers, and can I just mention how HARD it was to choose? I'm thinking I'll have to do this again some time. Okay, so tallying up the scores, here are the winners:

1st Place

2nd Place: 

3rd Place (TIE): 

Since there are 4 winners, I'll add Mystery Prize Pack #2. First place gets the prize pack of his choice and then so on with the leftovers. I have e-mailed them all and will have shiny prizes in the mail as soon as the choices are all in. Thanks again for playing!

*Note: The author of this post does not encourage the use of the word Turd. ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Prizes to Win!

Perhaps I should have done this in the beginning, but to entice you to play this game with me, here are the prize packages to be won by the top three contestants:

The Possession Prize Package:

  • Hardback copy of Possession by Elana Johnson
  • $25 Gift Card to Best Buy (you'll be wanting lots of cool tech after reading Possession)
  • An Idea Book and Pen (because any good writer needs one)

The MG/PB Prize Package:

  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
  • An Idea Book and Pen

The Mystery Prize Package:

  • Ha! I got you . . . as if I'd reveal what's in there.
  • The tantalizing unknown (because who can resist that?)
For the complete rules, click here, but really, it's basic word association. So go ahead, click on over and add  your responses for each contest day.

Apples to Apples Contest Day 1
Apples to Apples Contest Day 2
Apples to Apples Contest Day 3
Apples to Apples Contest Day 4
Apples to Apples Contest Day 5
Apples to Apples Contest Day 6
Apples to Apples Contest Day 7
Apples to Apples Contest Day 8
Apples to Apples Contest Day 9
Apples to Apples Contest Day 10

And remember, the contest closes at Midnight, EDT, 4 September 2011. May the most clever answers win!

P.S. I won't be here Monday, as I'll be out there laboring or something for, you know, Labor Day. And my blogging friend Amy just nabbed an agent, so go congratulate her at The Green Bathtub if you get a chance. So excited for her!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 10 (Final day!)

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:

Pond Scum

And just as a reminder, you have until midnight EDT on Sunday, September 4 to add an entry to any of these 10 posts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Platform-building Campaign

Hi all! Just a quick pause from the Apples to Apples Contest for a brief public service announcement . . . 

After watching the first two Platform-building Campaigns over at Rachel Harrie's blog, Rach Writes, I've decided to finally join in. They have been amazingly successful under Rach's watchful eye.

You have until August 31st to join, so if you are interested in building your platform and helping others build theirs, head on over to her site to see what it entails. Just click here for the information. :)

And for any other campaigners out there, I look forward to meeting you!

Finally, don't forget, you have until Sunday, 4 September 2011 to enter a response on any of the Apples to Apples Contest days. I'm loving your cleverness!

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 9

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:


Monday, August 29, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 8

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:

Squeaky Clean

Friday, August 26, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 7

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 6

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:

License Plates

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 5

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 4

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:


Monday, August 22, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 3

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:

Rubber Gloves

Friday, August 19, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 2

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Apples to Apples Contest: Day 1

For the complete rules on how to play, click here. Otherwise, it's word-association--choose a word (or short phrase) associated with my word:

Darth Vader

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fun Times Ahead: The Rundown

As promised, today I unveil my super fun plans!

With WriteOnCon here this week, PLUS I'll be hosting scads of family for a family reunion, I had this brilliant idea (okay, I stole my brother's brilliant idea) for a fun way to still keep up with my blog.

So here's the deal---ever heard of Apples to Apples? This is just like that, only you don't get to draw cards.  Here are the rules:
  1. Beginning Thursday, August 19, I will post a word on my blog each weekday.
  2. In the comments, you leave a word associated with my word. It can be funny, serious or whatever. (Just keep in mind that I am the judge, so you want it to be a word you think I would associate with the first word).
  3. At the end of two weeks, I will choose my three favorite entries for each post and award 3 pts, 2 pts. and 1pt. respectively. I will add up the points and choose three overall winners.
  4. You can vote on any of the posts until midnight EDT on Sunday, September 4
  5. Anyone can play! If you want to follow or spread the word, great. But not required. However, if you don't think I have a way to contact you otherwise, be sure to leave an e-mail address (or something) just in case you win.
  6. I will announce winners sometime that next week. And YES, there will be prizes! Good ones.
To sum up.

-I write a word. Example: Keyboard.

-You write an associated word. Example: Letters; Typing; Music; Piano; Singing; Writing

-I choose my favorites.

-Three someones win a fun prize.

Easy? Easy. But if you have questions, feel free to ask.

During that time, I apologize that I won't be able to visit your blogs (can you say beach house?!!), or respond to your brilliant comments like usual (assuming you have an e-mail address connected to your profile), but thanks for visiting and good luck! I can't wait to read your pithy, hilarious, and overall genius responses!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This vs. That: Beach vs. Mountains

I have been Slacker on getting to this post in part because I hoped more people would vote, and in part, I was pulling a Donkey and enjoying the waffling with melty butter and hot drippy syrup . . . yummm . *wipes drool of her face and continues typing*

This was a surprisingly hard vote for me! So here are the results: 

Total votes: 18

Beach: 10 votes; 56%
Mountains: 8 votes; 44% 

While a few of you expressed love for your reject, and one of you did suggest mountains NEXT to the beach (after voting, so I didn't count a 'both' vote), most people were surprisingly sure of themselves.

And of course, I could have decided to split the vote 50/50, because after all, I grew up among the mountains, and I consider them to be my old friends. In fact, I miss them terribly and have considered starting a petition to rename the grossly misnamed Appalachians.

Hills, people. They are definitely HILLS.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. When I vacation, do I dream of packing up my tent and enduring the hard ground of a mosquito-infested campsite? No, I do not. So of course, my vote had to go to the beach. But I agree with Missed Periods. I'll take the 75 degree weather and crystal clear water, please. :)

Okay, now on to the next debate:



(And don't even try to claim you don't love them both!)!

Monday, August 8, 2011

More Contests!

1) Rachel McClellan over at Blackbird in my Window is hosting a summer writing contest with Lauren Ruth from the BookEnds Agency as the judge. Check out the contest rules here.

You have until August 11th to submit your first 500 words, so polish your work and go check it out.

2) Also, there is an editor-judged contest over at Gabriela Lessa's blog. There are four different editor-judges from Sourcebooks, each one judging a different category from PB through Adult lit. You can enter through Aug. 9th, so go check it out here.

Best of luck!

P.S. I know this isn't much of a post, but I have something super fun planned for the next couple of weeks! Can't wait to tell you all about it next Monday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Micro Synopsis Contest at YAtopia with agent John Cusick

These contests are suddenly popping up all over! Isn't it great?

This one is open to MG and YA and asks for a three sentence synopsis of your plot. Beginning. Middle. End. 1. 2. 3.

For the record, this is not so easy, but you should definitely take the challenge! You have until Aug. 11th. so follow the link to YAtopia and leave your entry in the comments.

Best of luck!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

That's Not Me!

A year ago (or so), I read about Google Alerts on Elana Johnson's blog.

They are pretty cool. You choose something you'd like to google, and once a week (or however often you want to receive them), Google sends you a list of the top-ranked pages for that search term. If you don't know how, you should definitely google it . . .that is, as soon as you're done commenting on my blog. ;)

As a writer and blogger, for example, you can set up an alert for your name just to get an idea of where and how frequently you are mentioned. Does your blog come up when someone searches for your name (ie agents and editors)? Are any other sites referencing you?

I decided to take a leap, and I loved the results. My blog came up consistently. And often, I'd find my name mentioned on other blogs (which was always a fun surprise!). 

Anyway, fast-forward several months, and Google (the stinkers!) changed the way they do something, and suddenly, my blog is gone from the lists. Except occasionally. So instead of seeing my posts proudly displayed, I learn about other Janet Johnsons (because there are a lot of us).

Did you know that in July, a one Janet Johnson of Texas gave birth to a sixteen-pound baby! Wow.

And do you know how often I find links to my obituary? At least once a month.

Still, it is amusing, and it's nice to know I do show up somewhere . . . even if it's a few links down.

So do you do Google Alerts? How does your name fare?