Dec 01

A few weeks ago I talked about cleaning up my Kindle, including getting rid of stuff I’d gotten for free, but now know I’ll probably never read. And I did some organizing by creating several collections (folders).
 
-Kids stories
-Short stories/novellas (because when I want something short, it’s easy to find)
-Books on writing (it’s good to reference these every once in a while)
 
So proud of myself. But also kicking myself for not doing this long ago.
 
Now on to Goodreads. I look at reviews of course, but I haven’t used it much other than my to-read and read list. And really, I just add books to my to-read list, I don’t have them in any order.
 
But now I’ve realized I should be using GR to categorize books I want to read, because I so often forget what’s waiting to be read. So I set up a folder to show these to-read books
 
-Books I can get at the library, whether e-book or real.
-Short stories/novellas on my Kindle
-Novels on my Kindle
-Books (real) I own
 
This will help me better keep track of what’s available, because my to-read list includes many books that aren’t currently available to me. (Mostly because I’m not ready to buy them, cause you know… I got too many books waiting to be read and don’t need to buy more.)
 
So do you use the categories on Goodreads for more than just to-read and read lists? What categories have you set up?

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Oct 27


First, I’d like to say thank you to YA Fusion. I won a copy of Ellen Hopkins new novel Smoke. I’ve read several of hers and really liked them, and I look forward to this one too.
 
So, for those who don’t know, I mostly read contemporary young adult. And I didn’t start reading it until a few years ago when I started writing it. Since then I’ve kinda fallen away from the classics, horrors and thrillers that I’d mostly read before that.
 
During the month of October, I hardly read anything, and finally jumped back into reading this last week. Christa Desir just released her new YA novel, Fault Line and I’d been waiting a long time to read it. It’s a powerful book, and I’d definitely recommend it. And it got me excited about reading again.
 
After finishing, I decided to go through my Kindle and clean up: remove books I won’t get to and do some other organizing. Since I have hundreds of books on the Kindle, and haven’t read probably ½ of them, I had a lot to go through.
 
And I found many interesting books I’d forgotten about. One is Night of Knives by Jon Evans:
 
Veronica Kelly came to Africa to start her life over. Still reeling from her divorce, she is grateful when a handsome stranger invites her to join a tour to visit gorillas in Uganda’s wild Impenetrable Forest. A trip that goes desperately wrong when their group is captured by brutal gunmen.
 Then one tourist is executed.
 And then another.
 This is no random kidnapping: their abduction is only the first move in a deadly strategic game. A game in which Veronica’s ex-husband is somehow involved. Now she must embark on a wild journey across Africa, to unveil a malignant conspiracy before it consumes entire nations – and thousands of lives…

 
The Congo. Deception. Murder. Doesn’t that sound cool? And I’ve got many others like that I discovered once again. I definitely need to go through my Kindle more often. Or maybe Goodreads. I mean, hello, I can rate my to-read books by number. Usually I just add books to my to-read list and then forget about them.
 
I really need to be more organized.
 
So if you’re a Kindle or a Nook reader, do you have way too many books waiting to be read? Do you forget what books you have and then get a nice surprise when looking for something new to read?

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Jul 06


Cool writer friends I want to meet
 
I’m really excited because next week I get to meet some very cool ladies at a writing retreat. I kinda feel weird telling non-writing people that hey, I’m going to spend the weekend at a house in a little town with a bunch of people (women) I’ve never met, but even though we haven’t met, I consider them my friends.
 
So then it’s like, will they like me? Will they think I’m weird? Will they totally delete me from their e-mail, Twitter and Facebook accounts after they get home from this weekend?
 
Okay, I’m sure they won’t do that, because they’re all great ladies. :) But it’ll be fun to see how different people are from their online personalities. Not because they’re misrepresentating themselves, but some people may seem really chatty online, but are quiet in person.
 
So there are so many writers I’d love to meet, and if I ever end up in their towns, I definitely want to look them up. People like:
 
Dani, who has the guts to get tattoos, piercings and major hair dye jobs. (Because obviously I’m too chicken for that stuff. :) )
 
Jade Hart, who has had an amazing life of travel to places I’ll probably never get, and I’d love to hear her stories.
 
Lara Schiffbauer because she posts the best funny Friday photos, and she doesn’t mind my rambling e-mails.
 
Chloe Banks, who not only writes novels but has been successful writing short stories.
 
Mark Koopmans, dad extraordinaire who writes the funniest blog posts.
 
Eileen Cook, whose blog posts always make me laugh.
 
Christa Desir, whose passion about her writing and those issues she cares about is inspiring.
 
Dahlia Adler, who not only is a wealth of publishing information, but also writes the best tweets.
 
Lynne Schmidt, who has been through a lot of crap, but keeps fighting and is so open about it.
 
Jolene Perry, who is just the most awesome person ever.
 
Kelley Lynn, who is an engineer like me. :)
 
Amy Sonnichsen, who has lived in Hong Kong and Northern China, and it’d be so fun to hear more about that.
 
Stacy Stokes, who was the very first person who beta read for me and who I beta-ed for. (And now that book is going to be published!)
 
So that’s just a few. There are so many others I didn’t list here because this post would get too long, and hopefully we’ll hook up at conferences or retreats, or if I just happen to be in your neighborhood. (Um, and I live in North Dakota if anyone ever happens to travel my way. :) ) Anyways, this writing community is terrific and I’m so glad to get to know all of you.
 
Have you gotten to meet any of your online writer friends?
 

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Jun 30

 
So I have this little thing I do, and I’ve often wondered if it’s just me, but before I get to it, I’d better give the background.
 
(FYI: If you’re a speech therapist, please read this and tell me if you have any insight into this odd problem.)
 
Back when my son was little, I read him this book over and over—as usually happens with children. Thomas and the Big Big Bridge. One time I was reading the story to him, I realized there’s this line where I transposed one word. I didn’t skip it, but I moved it to another place in the sentence.
 
The next time I’m reading, I noticed I did the same thing again. And it happens again and again. Almost every time I read that sentence, I automatically moved that word.
 
Since I was reading aloud a lot, I noticed I did this in other books too. It’s like I move a word to another spot, where obviously it sounds/flows better. While I’m reading, I’m completely conscious of the fact I move words, but I’m not moving them on purpose. It just comes out of my mouth that way. (This might happen once per book on average.)
 

Image courtesy of Master isolated / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What is wrong with my brain? Is this why I hated reading aloud in high school? Do I have some weird dyslexic-type thing where people do this? Am I the only one?
 
Now I know I’m not really dyslexic cause I’ve always been a good reader/writer, and I loved English classes and generally did well in school.
 
And now that I’ve become a writer and have found I love critiquing, I’m starting to wonder if my brain is so smart and advanced that it’s automatically editing the text before it passes them along to my mouth. I mean, that makes perfect sense, right?
 
No, but seriously, it’s the weirdest thing, and I have no clue why it happens? Do you ever do this?
 

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Jun 16

 

Are you one of those people who get annoyed when you find grammatical errors in a novel? (Or novella, short story, newspaper/magazine article, children’s book… :) )
 
And do you get annoyed a lot? Or just a little?
 
I fall into the I-don’t-get-annoyed-much category, with the exception of if it’s a mistake that happens consistently throughout the book. But sometimes I get into a story that has style issues I don’t like. Of course that’s a totally personal thing, but I’m gonna talk about the ones I don’t like. Actually, I’ll only talk about one today because:
 
1. People tend to skim posts when they get too long
2. I want to drag this out into two posts cause it’s one less posting I have to create. :)
 
So have you seen any novels where the author didn’t use quotation marks?
 
A few years back I ready LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard. I loved the story and would still recommend it to others, but one thing about it frustrated me. Her lack of quotation marks. She used dialog tags, but still, sometimes it got confusing. In the end, it took away from the enjoyment of the book.
 
It was just weird. I’ve never read anything else by her, so I don’t know if she’s used that style a lot, or if LABOR DAY was the only one. But it is the only novel I’ve read with no quotation marks, and I’m sure there are others. It won’t stop me from read a book, but it will slow me down.
 
Have you ever read a book that didn’t use quotation marks in their dialogue?
Did it bother you?
Have you read LABOR DAY? (If you haven’t, you should.)
 

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Feb 24


Since I started writing, I’ve stumbled into these weird coincidences between life and my reading/writing. Coincidences that make me go—whoa, did that really just happen?
 
I’m not a superstitious person, but I would like to think it’s a sign.
Unfortunately, nothing’s happened with my novels yet. But maybe this sign thing is on a little delay. The good thing this sign was hinting at might not come for years. Who knows.
 
Whether it’s a sign or not, I still find these coincidences interesting. Hopefully you will too. This one was probably my first and happened May 2010. (Yes, I’ve been waiting that long to share this story.) So without further ado…
 
Backstory:
I was working on a story that had a character who becomes addicted to crack, so of course, I was reading books about crack addicts. One was a memoir by William Moyers (son of PBS’ Bill Moyers) William got addicted to crack and ended up at the Hazeldon treatment facility (several times).
 
All I knew of Hazeldon before reading of this book, was that it’s located in the Twin Cities area (that would be Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN & suburbs for those who don’t know), and that sometimes famous people go there for treatment. That’s it.
 
So I was probably about halfway through the book, and he’d already been at Hazeldon at that point.
 
Story:
My father and I had this training session in Arden Hills, MN, which is in the north central part of the Twin Cities. (You probably didn’t know that I am certified to do pollution prevention plans in Minnesota—but I am—and that’s what the class was for.) We ended up staying with my aunt/uncle who live on the MN/WI border. Unfortunately it was a long drive—about 45 minutes to get to the class.
 
Instead of going to the interstate, Dad took a highway through the northeast side of the Twin Cities, passing through lots of little towns. We’re driving along and I look up to see a street sign.
 
Pleasant Valley Road. Hmmm. That sounds familiar-why? Because I haven’t been up in this area—like never.
 
Then I see it… a sign for Hazeldon. I was dumbfounded. Here I was reading a book that took place at Hazeldon, a place I knew almost nothing of, except by name, and now I was driving right by the facility.
 
Coincidence. Or sign? Either way, it’s very strange.
 
So that was actually my first coincidence. Now that novel is the 3rd one I wrote, and it’s been temporarily shelved along with the other 5 companion novels cause I got interested in YA. But I’ll go back to it someday. And make lots of fixes, because it’s probably pretty crappy. (The whole I sucked at writing until just recently thing cause I didn’t know a damn thing about writing back then.)
 
So, any coincidences with your writing life ever happen? Do you believe in signs?

In case you’re interested in seeing the first two coincidences/signs.
Here they are: Part 1 and Part 2.

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Feb 19

 
Today I get to be a stop on Elizabeth Arroyo’s blog tour for her newly released The Second Sign. Elizabeth has been very involved with helping her community, and now she is going to talk about working with teens.
 
Take it away Elizabeth.
 

I’ve worked in the community with families and youth for about ten years. It takes a certain…skill-set to work with teens. Here’s a few I learned from the school of hard knocks (the upside-the-head kind).
 
• Do NOT assume anything. Assumptions makes an ASS out of U and ME as my brother-in-law so eloquently puts it. Never Assume.
 
• You will always be “them” in the “us” vs “them” equation. Unless you’re seventeen in this time, in this generation, that statement is correct whether you want to believe it or not. Yeah, I’ve been there, done that, but that was then this is now…a totally different ballgame.
 
• Listen. Just Listen.
 
• Don’t be afraid to be who you are. I’ve met adults who say they’d like to help but they’ve never experience poverty or violence and I tell them…great, when can you come out? Kids need to hear all types of experiences. I knew this counselor who worked hard every year to get funding for a skiing trip for a group of youth. I’m thinking…huh? These kids need school uniforms, food, school supplies and you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a ski trip? It took me a while to understand that this guy was providing them with much more than clothes and school supplies. He was providing them with hope. With a look at the world outside their four corners. Think outside the box.
 
• Don’t give up on them. That kid who’s slouching, rolling his eyes at you as you talk about the creative art of writing IS listening. I helped organize a youth event where teens were able to talk to professionals in various career fields. During the evaluation 99% noted that it was the first time they’ve ever talked to a professional and they wanted more time.

 
About Elizabeth:
 
Elizabeth has worked in the community for the bulk of her professional career. She enjoys quiet moments, action flicks, and dancing with her four-year-old. THE SECOND SIGN is her debut novel. You can find more information about Elizabeth at:
 
You can find her at Website | Blog | Twitter
 

THE SECOND SIGN
Dark YA Paranormal Romance
Sapphire Star Publishing


Bred to believe in the war between angels and demons, Gabby has come to the conclusion that love is responsible for war, jealousy, and all the other deadly sins she can think of. So when she’s exiled to the middle of nowhere for getting kicked out of her fifth school for fighting, she doesn’t expect to meet Jake. Much less fall in love. But Jake is quickly drawn to the eerie beauty of her violet eyes while Gabby is unsettled by their undeniable connection.

When a demon guardian comes to collect her soul, she refuses to give it up. She’s not a demon. She can’t be. Her father and twin brother are angels. The demon gives Gabby twenty-four hours to decide her allegiance, and then starts killing her short list of friends, leaving a message behind: She is the Second Sign.

As Gabby and Jake begin to unravel the mystery behind the Second Sign, she learns Jake may be the key to saving her soul. But it means a sacrifice has to be made that will change their lives forever.

The Second Sign



Amazon and B&N
 
And her Trailer
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Feb 17


 
Did you read Archie Comics when they were younger?


 
I did. Like all the time. Even into high school and college. I loved Archie, Betty and Veronica, Jughead, Reggie and the whole gang, and bought a lot of Archie Comics. Both the small book-like Digests and the typical comic book sized ones.
 
I had over 150 of the Digest sized comics. And maybe about 80 regular sized ones. I even got into buying 1st editions. Not really old ones, but the ones from the late 80s and early 90s.
 
The only annoying thing was, because I read them so often, I started to see stories repeated. And I felt ripped off because I was paying money for a story I’d already read.
 
So not long ago I put up my collection on Ebay. I’d looked into local comic book stores, but they were not interested. So Ebay was the place to go. Sold them in 3 lots. And was pretty stunned to make about $140 total. I was quite pleased.
 
I haven’t sold my full-sized Archies yet, but they’re next on my Ebay list.
 
I have a few other comics, Josie and the PussyCats, Richie Rich, even an Annie comic. They’re fun to look at, and even though I tend to be a saver, it was time to get rid of them.
 
So goodbye Archie. I’ll miss you, but not the space you took up.
 
Did you read any comics growing up? Or do you now?

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Feb 03

 
 
So I got two more signed books to add to my collection. Yay! I won’t go into a long explanation, but basically Kelley York donated some prizes for an auction to raise money for people the Sandy Hook tragedy. And I won.
 
 


So two of those many items she donated were signed copies of Suicide Watch —her recently released book, and Hollowed—her first paranormal novel. Both YA. I’ve read Hollowed a while back, but Suicide Watch is new. And I started reading it the day I got it. ‘They’ say the first page is so important and Suicide Watch has a first page that grabs your attention right away and makes you want to keep reading.
 
 
 

Kelley also included 2 signed bookmarks from her book Hushed—which I’ve read and loved too. So thank you, Kelley for everything.
 
 
 
 
 
My final Jan Plan update
 
So I had 2 goals I was trying to accomplish partcipating in for Christa Desir’s JanPlan. Goal #1 was to finish a few things in The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. Well technically I finished the things I’d planned at the time, but then I found lots more things to fix. So I’m gonna call it completed—at least what I wanted to finish when I first made the goals. #2 was to finish the rough draft of my NaNo project. Which I did. Time to let it sit for a bit now.
 
So I’ll call it successful.
 
Anybody do Christa’s Jan Plan?
 
Or, as I ask every time I do an I-got-a-new-signed-book post, do you have any signed books?

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Jan 27

 
Not long ago I let a friend read The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. And her name is Chloe, just like my main character. That made me wonder, does it feel weird to read a story with a main character that has the same name as you.
 
I asked the real Chloe, and she said no, it didn’t feel weird to her.
 
But I’m wondering what other people think. Especially those with common names that show up in stories. Because mine does not.
 
I went to the Social Security Baby Names Wesite. I reference this site a lot when I’m trying to find character names. It’s great because you can look them up by popularity of any year. Of the top 1000 names. So if you need a name from an earlier decade, it’s easy to find them.
 
And big surprise, Suzi doesn’t even rate in the top 1000. Neither does Suzie or Suzy.
 
Susan actually rated pretty high my birth year. #27. But Susan isn’t my name, so it doesn’t count. Susie came in at 541. But still, it’s not my name.
 
So my point is, I don’t think I’ve ever ran across my exact name in a book. And I’m curious if it feels weird for you to read a story with your name.
 
And, have you found a story that has your first AND last name?
 
That would be pretty cool.
 

(Come back tomorrow for more name stuff with the Allow Me to Re-introduce Myself Bloghop.)

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