Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CassaFire Release Day!

The day we've been waiting for is here! It's the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh! For anyone who doesn't know Alex, (is there anyone?) he is an amazing guy and a fiercely talented writer.

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library 

CassaStar was just the beginning…
The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.
The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.
To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at Alex's blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex's site for details. Awesome, right? Now go check it out!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Just Had to Share

I had first grade conferences last night for my seven-year-old daughter, (the oldest of my four) and her teacher told me, "she's a writer."

YAY! How much did I love hearing that? A lot! In fact, I might just say it again. She's a writer.

Apparently she spends any free time she has writing stories. In fact, she told me she's working on a chapter book.

:) :)

Also, don't forget, Alex Cavanaugh's launch party for CassaFire is next Tuesday! Yay for that, too. :) It's not too late to sign up, just click on the link above. You could win a copy of the book.

Oh, and one last thing, go sign up for WiP: The Movie. It's going to be fun!

Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

WIP: The Movie

Kyra Lennon at Write Here, Write Now and I are hosting a bloghop! WIP: The Movie.


Have you ever fantasized about your book being turned into a movie? (If you say no, I might call you a liar.) It's fun to think about. So, we want you to make your movie.
Here are the rules:
Cast at least one character from your book, and post a picture of him or her on your blog.
Post at least one song that would be on the soundtrack.
Follow me and Kyra. (We will follow back.)
Post your entries on March 9th, hop around and check out people's posts.

Kyra and I will each draw a winner from all the blogs who play along. You will get to choose between two books.

Kyra will be offering a choice between Water for Elephants or Bridget Jones' Diary. (Both books to movies which she enjoyed.)
 I will be offering a choice between The Princess Bride, (best book to movie ever) or The Hunger Games, (which I'm hoping will be good.)

Blog about this before March 8th and you'll get your name in the drawing an extra time. Let us know if you do, so we don't miss it. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tag and a Bloghop

I was tagged by the awesome Angela Cothran. Since I already did this once, I won't be tagging more people, but I will put up a list of questions and I would love to hear your responses to any of them in the comments.

Also, I am going to be hosting a bloghop with Kyra Lennon and it is going to be so much fun! We'll be posting more details soon, but for now I can tell you this: It is called WIP: The Movie. We want you to 'cast' who would play the characters in your WIP if it were made into a movie. Also, what would be on the soundtrack? You can share one character and one song, or as many as you like!

Sound like fun? I hope so. :)

So here are Angela's questions:
  1. Do you write your books out long hand with paper and pen or typed on a computer?
I have done both. My first novel was done all by hand first because my computer was in the basement and I couldn't work on it during the day and watch my kids at the same time. I could, however, write in a notebook sometimes while I let them watch Mickey Mouse. :)

2. If you had to live your life without one of these which would you pick—Underwear or Shoes? Why?

Hmm, I'm going to have to say underwear, just because I live in Minnesota and I my feet wouldn't last long without shoes.

3. Where is the best place to vacation?

I don't know. We don't vacation. You'll have to tell me. :)

4. What would the world be better without?


5. If you could live in one fairy tale, which one would you pick?

This is tough. I love fairy tales. I'll say Thumbalina. I like the idea of getting to live with fairies.

6. What is your strength as a writer?

I have no idea. I do enjoy writing dialogue.

7. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Early bird, because my girls are early birds and I have no choice.

8. Favorite cosmetic product?


9. If you could be friends with one published author who would you pick?

There are so many I enjoy. . .I'll say Sarah Addison Allen, she seems like she'd be really interesting.

10. Hollywood star you look most like?

I've been told Katie Holmes, but I don't see it.

11. What is one thing you miss about your childhood?

The simplicity of my relationships. I loved my parents and my siblings, even though I sometimes wanted to throw them out a window, (the siblings, not my parents.) As an adult everything is so complicated.

Here are my questions, if any one wants to answer them:

1. If you could have a mythical animal as a pet, what would it be?
2. What is one thing you really hope is invented while you are still alive to enjoy it?
3. What's one thing you thought you'd be too scared to do, but found you had the courage after all?
4. Pancakes or waffles?
5. If you could put your name on the cover of one book that's already been written, what would it be? (Does that question make sense?)
6. What book made you cry?
7. What book made you wish you could rewrite the ending?
8. If someone told you to write a flash fiction piece right NOW! What would it be about? (In other words, what was the first thing to come into your head?)
9. What do you never get sick of reading about?
10. What are you so sick of reading about?
11. Other than your spouse or kids, who is your favorite person?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Hope Roberson at Writing with Hope has a fun post today about manuscripts to movies. Who hasn't dreamed, at least a little, about their book becoming a movie? So I was thinking about how much fun it would be to have a blog hop where we can post pictures of who we would have star in our movie.

Sound like fun? Let me know if you think you'd join in. If there is any interest then maybe I'll just have to figure out how to actually do a blog hop. :) And maybe come up with a fun prize. . .Perhaps the book behind one of our favorite movies?

What do you guys think?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heather Bouwman Interview

Remarkable & Very True Story of Lucy & Snowcap

Heather Bouwman is the author of the middle grade novel The Remarkable and Very True Story of Lucy and Snowcap. (Which  I reviewed here.) You can also check out her website here.

Now on to the interview!

 This is your first published novel. As aspiring authors we hear about writing 'practice novels' before reaching a point where we'll have one good enough to publish. Do you have any novels 'under the bed?' If so, do you think you'll ever go back to them with what you've learned along the way and revise them?

Lucy & Snowcap is my first published novel. It's also the first novel I wrote; I got really, really lucky with it. My second novel, which I've worked on off and on for years, will (I think) also be publication-worthy soon. But my third novel has been shoved "under the bed," as you put it (okay, not really; the dust bunnies have pretty much claimed that area as their territory). It's on my computer in its 120-page draft form, and it will likely never be printed out--or finished.

The difference between the second and third novels, I think, is that the second novel was REALLY BAD when I finished the rough draft, but there was a spark there, and I was interested in continuing to work on it. The third novel was REALLY BAD, and it bored me so much that the thought of working on it for a couple of years (at best) was coma-inducing. I think that "Puts the Author to Sleep" is a sign that one should set the novel aside. I guess there's the possibility that I'll pick it up again someday...but I don't think so.

Are you an outliner, or do you just sit down and start writing?

Both. Neither. It depends on the project. I do always have at least a vague idea of where the book is headed, plot-wise (not that that helped me with the third book!). I've tried writing detailed outlines, and I've tried seat-of-pantsing. I have no real opinions either way--I'm just willing to try whatever seems like it will keep me writing productively and happily.

The main characters have names from each other's cultures, was that part of the original spark of an idea or did that come later?

Originally there was only Lucy (no Snowcap), and her name was Lucy from the start, and I had no idea why. When Snowcap appeared, her name popped into my head before anything else--and again, I didn't know why. I pretty much go with my gut on names, and then I try to figure out later why the name is important. It makes for interesting and surprising backstory.

Adam and Rob were named after my two oldest nephews--and yet I think the names are really apt for the characters.

Who was your favorite character to write about? Why?

Philip--because, essentially, he's modeled on me. How awful, yes? But there it is. There was a LOT more of him in the novel originally, but my editor convinced me that no one would be interested.... SIGH. (She was right, of course.)

I loved writing Lucy and Snowcap too, of course. They're so ornery that they were a blast to have in scene. And when I was revising Adam (and making him speak flash-cant--18th-century thieves' dialect), he suddenly became a lot of fun to quote. Even my kids got into it, until they were regularly calling each other "kinchen-cove."

In the book Snowcap thinks, "somehow everything was better with a horse around.' Are you a horse person yourself?

If by "horse person" you mean "someone who actually knows a lot about horses and is around them a lot (or much at all)," then I am not a horse person. However, if by "horse person" you mean "someone who fantasized endlessly as a child about owning a horse, read all the books on horses that she could get her hands on (_Misty of Chincoteague_, anyone?), and still is, at heart, that child"--then yes, I am very much a horse person.

Is this the kind of book you would have read when you were ten or eleven?

YES! But to be fair, I would have read almost anything. :->

You're working on another book, can you tell us anything about it?
I'm working on a couple of things right now. One is novel #2 that I mentioned above, that I've been revising off and on for a while now. It's a historical novel--and it's the manuscript for which I received the McKnight fellowship this past year. YAY! The other novel is really new (I'm still drafting)--and it's historical fantasy again, more in the Lucy and Snowcap vein. I cannot even say how much fun it has been to draft; but it's far from being ready to send out. I will say this: it contains sea monsters. So every time I get stuck, I tell myself to "Get kraken." (Have I mentioned how much I like cheesy puns?)

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Oh, I have no idea.... I might say, "Write every day, no matter how busy you are"--because that's what works for me. But I know many successful writers who don't write every day. I do think, though, that in order to write you have to actually WRITE: that is, you have to persevere, whether that means writing every day or not. Endurance counts for a lot. And in order to keep writing, you need to keep finding the joy in it--which doesn't come from a publishing contract or an award. It comes from seeing your own words bead out across a page--and you think they're beautiful, and you recognize them as something you made.

Thank you so much, Heather!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Ashley Nixon tagged me last week, and now that the bloghops are done I finally get to answer her. :) Thanks, Ashley!
The idea is to answer the 11 questions, then ask 11 questions and tag 11 more people.

1. Writing or reading, who is your favorite character and why?
Are you serious? Are you going to ask me who my favorite kid is, too? ;)

2. What's your favorite color?
3. Your favorite book-to-movie movie? (lol).
The Princess Bride (Because it's wonderful.)

4. Favorite book?
The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. Okay, yes, I picked a kid book, but, but, it's just so good!

5. Do you have a pet? If so what kind and name.
Two cats- Hemi and Fido. We also have an angel fish named Superhero. :)
6.Aside from writing, what's another hobby you enjoy?
I show Arabian horses.
7. Have you ever visited another country? If so, where did you go?
I've been to Canada (which only kinda' counts) and Wales, which was amazing.

8. Have you ever went sky diving or bungee jumped or something crazy like that?
Um no. And I never will.

9.What's one word you would use to describe yourself?

10. What is something you have to have on you at all times?
Right now? My baby, she never leaves my side. ;)11. What's your favorite website? (Maybe writer's resources?)
For writers, I really love Janet Reid's blog Query Shark. Also, Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group is an absolutely amazing thing. Ps. His new book, CassaFire comes out this month!

Now I get to ask the questions and tag some more people. Fun. :) But quick, I will be posting my interview with author Heather Bouwman this week, so stay tuned! :)

Tag you're it:
Stephanie Copeman
Victoria at Confessions of a Twenty Something Fiction Writer
Jade Hart
Even In Australia
Angela Cothran
Marta Szemik
Suzie F.
Cassie Mae
Susan Gourley/Kelley
Hope Roberson
Annalisa Crawford

Now I know some of you are scheduled for about the next three years on your blog, and that's fine. :) If you were willing to answer some (or all) in the comments here, we'd love to hear from you. :)
1. What is one item on your bucket list?
2. Please share a goal you have accomplished.
3. What's the next book on your To be read list?
4. What's the last book you loved?
5.What author would you love to meet? (Alive or dead is fine, it's a fantasy afterall.)
6. If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?
7. What was your first pet?
8. Chocolate or caramel?
9. Do you like to read about the past, present or future?
10. Where would be your dream vacation?
11. What did you have for dinner last night?

Okay, I totally ran out of questions. Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Blog Hop

For Valentine's day I am participating in a blog hop all about kissing scenes. Fun, right? Thanks Cassie and Hope for hosting it!  Check it out! 
 Oh, and happy anniversary, Luke!

Here's my scene:

It was a beautiful wedding, and I was happy for them, really, I was. It’s just that, well, it sucks being alone at a wedding. It sucks being alone any day knowing that the person you love is thousands of miles away and has been, and will be, for months.
So I may have been moping, just a little bit, when my dad came and found me. He said Jenny needed help with her corsage or something and led me back to the group. When we got there, Jenny stepped to the side and I gasped.
There he was, in his dress blues, grinning like the Cheshire cat. He stood up and hugged me. I held him tight, tears in my eyes. He kissed me, but it wasn’t the kiss I wanted, the kiss I’d been waiting for. It was an everyone is watching, including your father, kind of kiss.
My cousin came up and whispered in my ear, “you better marry this one.” Oh, I plan to.
We walked around and said our hellos, waiting for the moment when we could slip away. Every time we looked at each other I could hear his thoughts echoing mine.  I felt like the sparks flickering between us were so obvious even my grandmother would notice. We got out of there as soon as we could.
In the dark, under the stars I said, “I missed you.”
Then he pulled me toward him and wrapped his arms around me. Chest to chest I swear I could feel his heart beating. He pressed his lips to mine and I kissed him back with three month’s worth of longing.
His voice was low as he whispered in my ear, “I missed you, too.”

Monday, February 13, 2012


Okay, to be honest, I don't really remember anything specific that made me want to write. Sorry.

What I can remember is looking for any excuse to have to write something. And I remember going to the Young Writer's workshops as a kid, a program where teachers pick which of their students get to miss a day of school to go learn about writing. I was able to go three times. It was a wonderful experience. I got to meet Stanley Kiesel, the author of The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids. (I sill have my signed copy.)

But I don't think I ever really thought about writing a book and getting it published myself. Not until much much later. 

Reading picture books (lots and lots of picture books) every day with my kids made me want to write one, but I can't draw or paint to save my life. So I got this idea that I'd make a picture book with photographs. I did, and it totally sucked, by the way. Don't worry, I never sent it out.

What I learned was that you don't need to be able to draw or paint, or know someone who can. (Um, duh, right? Man, I really knew nothing.) I've been writing ever since, and trying to learn as much as possible.

So, that's my story. I can't wait to read everyone's, here's the link. :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm Hearing Voices: Emotion

So today was the hardest assignment yet for I'm Hearing Voices, if you ask me. Show some emotion in 250 words or less. I am going to give just a (tiny) bit of back story here. Amy is a seven-year-old girl, whom Sylvia has been 'mothering' since they've been locked in the school. (And I'm still under 250 with that.) ;)

Sylvia saw the grey hand reach out and grab Amy’s leg. It was like time just stopped for a second, then hurdled forward as Sylvia grabbed the gun and shot the zombie in the head. Blood splashed across Amy’s jeans, and the hand let go and fell to the cement floor. 

Sylvia didn’t have time to stop. She shoved Amy into the van, got in next to her and slammed the door shut. Erwin pealed out of the garage, thudding over the grey body they’d left behind. Her heart was pounding. She couldn’t look at Amy’s face. Instead she looked at the dark red blood on Amy’s pants. She felt herself hesitate, for just a second, afraid of what she might see. Then she pushed up the leg of Amy’s jeans.

Everything contracted around Sylvia’s heart so sharply it hurt, before slowly melting away and spreading through her limbs like warm water. Her hand trembled as she ran it over the girl’s pale, unbroken skin.

“It’s okay,” she whispered, trying to catch her breath, “you’re okay.” Goosebumps spread across her skin, and she looked up at Amy. Amy’s eyes were still wide with shock; the tears Sylvia had been trying to hold back, broke through. She held Amy and cried.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm Hearing Voices: Dialogue Introduction

The assignment for today's I'm Hearing Voices post is to introduce two of your characters using only dialogue. No back story, and no internalization.

Meet Jake and Sylvia.

Pretty Woman? Seriously? That's your favorite movie?

What's wrong with Pretty Woman?

It's just not what I would have guessed.

It's funny, and romantic. I like can like romantic stuff, too.

It's romantic? She's a hooker. The movie starts with him buying her! How is that romantic?

Fine, smart ass, what's your favorite movie?

Well, it used to be Night of the Living Dead, but if my favorite movies are going to start coming true, then maybe I'll pick Pretty Woman, too.

Really? Is hooking up with a hooker a big  dream of yours?

I'm not picky. It doesn't have to be a hooker.

Nice. Well, I tell you what, if we ever get out of here I'll get you a nice prostitute myself.

Hey, we may not make it out of here. You don't want to die a virgin, do you?

What makes you think I'm a virgin?

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm Hearing Voices: Character on the Couch

It's the first day of the I'm Hearing Voices, character blog fest. Day one is a brief interview with one of you characters. The questions were provided by the hop hosts, Cassie and Angie, and they weren't easy! (For me any way, seriously, I don't know how I'd answer some of these myself.) :) Thank you Cassie and Angie for hosting this, it's such a great idea.

I'm interviewing Erwin, a high school senior.

Question one:
What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
I guess I have a hard time letting go of the past. Unfortunately, it's less of a secret than I'd like it to be.

Question two:
What do people believe about you that is false?
That I'm kind of naive about people, only seeing what I want to see. It's not true. I do see the bad stuff, too, I just think the good stuff out weighs it.

Question three:
What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
That I try to take care of everyone, fix everything, whether they want me to or not.

Question four:
What would that same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
(Laughs) I don't know, I guess that I do stick to my guns maybe.

Question five:
What do you want most? What will you do to get it?
I want to keep my group together and safe. What will I do? I don't know. Once I figure out what it will take to do that, then I'll do it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cloud Nine

Yesterday was pretty much awesome. We had our first speech meet of the year and it was great! It was a huge meet, and we only had half our team there. My two more experienced girls both placed, twice actually. They double-entered and did a duo together, plus they placed in their own catagories. One was a tenth grader, and she won prose! (It's actually a pretty big deal.) I am very proud of both of them. I was totally on cloud nine last night.

And, to add to my fun, I was given two blogging awards by Victoria at Confessions of a Twentysomething Fiction Writer.  She has a great blog about her journey as a writer.

Now I have to share ten random facts about myself and pass these great awards on to someone else.

 1: I am the middle of five kids.
2: In kindergarten my teacher asked my mom if I had ever been exposed to paper and pencils. I had, of course, but I apparently had no interest.
3: I got married at 22, to a man I'd only known for a little over a year.
4: We'll have been married for eight years this month.
5: I started showing horses when I was ten.
6: As a kid I had huge glasses and was a major nerd.
7: I was a captain on my speech team for three years.
8: I started coaching speech the year after I graduated.
9: I love spaghetti.
10. I think it's hard to come up with ten random facts about me.

Okay, now to pass this award on to others. :) Aka, the fun part. (I tried to give these to people who didn't already have them.)

Beautiful Chaos
Live to Write...Edit When Necessary
Edited to Within an Inch of my Life
My Not so Secret Writing Life
Pink Tea and Paper
Wake up, eat, write, sleep
Priscilla Burris

Now go check them out, 'cause they're awesome. :) Also, tomorrow is the first day of the I'm Hearing Voices character blogfest.. It's going to be fun, I can't wait!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

So I decided to join Susanna Leonard Hill in perfect picture book Friday. Today she is talking about good picture books for boys, which made me think of one of my son's favorite picture books.
Dinotrux Dinotrux, written and illustrated by Chris Gall
opening: Millions of years ago prehistoric trucks roamed the earth. They were huge. They were hungry. But they weren't helpful like they are today.
brief synopsis:  Prehistoric ancestors of today's trucks, such as Dozeratops and Dumploducus, roamed the earth until they rusted and became extinct.

Why I like this book: Trucks and dinosaurs? How can you go wrong? We checked this book out from the library when my son was three or four. He slept with it every night. Finally we bought our own. It's funny and really quite unique. I've recommended it to all my friends with boys, and they've had similar experiences with it.

Well, that's it. Have a fun Friday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Big Fat Chicken

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group day, time to write about one of the current things making me crazy. If you haven't checked out the Insecure Writer's Support Group before, I highly recommend it! Everyone is so supportive, it's really quite amazing. Here's the link.

And here's my post:

I have a picture book manuscript that has been worked and reworked, a lot. Seriously, it is the best I can make it. I should be sending it out, but I haven't yet. My husband bugs me about it all the time. I have a dozen various excuses as to why I haven't done it. But the truth is I am a big, fat, chicken.

That's it. I'm a chicken. I'm scared to send it out and then somehow see all the things I should have changed before sending it out. I'm scared to send it out, wait months, get my hopes up when I see my SASE in the mail, then get crushed with a form rejection.

I know rejection is part of the game. I know I will get a lot of rejection, and I am okay with it, really I am. I just keep putting it off.

Ugh. Does anyone else feel this way? How do you get past it and get up the guts to just put the damn thing in the mail already?