Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Fives- Best Books of 2011

Paper Hangover asks the question What are your five favorite books in 2011?

1. Plain Kate by Erin Bow- The writing in this book was beautiful.  The story was beautiful and the main character, Plain Kate was so compelling.  Seriously if you haven't read this book you need to.  For real

2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray- This book was hilarious.  Seriously I laughed so many times while reading this book several times.  It is also an interesting book about some of the pressure society puts on girls/women.  Check it out.  I also highly recommend listening to the audio book because it is read by Libba Bray and the voices she does for the characters are pretty awesome.

3 Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu- I just loved this new take on the Snow Queen story.  The main character, Hazel, is so brave.  Any kid would be lucky to have a friend like Hazel in their lives.

4. Matched by Ally Condie- I've heard mixed reviews on this one but I really liked this book.  I loved the use of poetry and the decisions that Cassia has to make.

5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman.  I really enjoyed this follow up to If I Stay.  I read it in an afternoon while on vacation and could not put it down.  I really loved seeing where these characters went with their lives and how they end up back in each other's lives.

What were your favorite reads of 2011?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goals and such

With Christmas over, New Year's and my birthday are approaching.  This means I have to get my goals in order for the next year.  Since my birthday is right after the beginning of the New Year I always feel extra pressure to get my goals and resolutions right because I don't really get the luxury of a spring, summer or fall birthday to take stock of goals later in the year.

I feel like I've been stuck on my current revision so getting that finished is at the top of my goal list.

Writing more is on my list.

One thing I'd really like to do is rearrange my desk and possibly make it so I can stand while I work.

In 2011 I read 60 books.

I need to learn to say no to outside things.  Right now I'm worried I've said yes to too many outside things.  I need to remember that these things are not writing and that they take time away from my writing.  Hopefully I can figure out which little things to keep and which to let go as the year goes on.  I think I'm too good at manifesting some things that I think I need for example a wish for a "little part time job, a few hours a week, with lots of flexibility" has turned into 3 little jobs that fit that description.  I wish I could do the same with books.

So those are the things I plan to work on in the New Year.

Do you make resolutions or goals for New Year's or your birthday?  Are your goals writing related?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RTW-Book buying

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

Where do you buy most of your books? No one is judging.

I got a Kindle last year for Christmas so a lot of my book purchases have been amazon e-books this year.

There also happens to be a half price books on the way home from my chiropractor so I tend to stop there on the way home from my chiro appts.

I also go to the Wild Rumpus.  It is a wonderful children's bookstore in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis. The selection for kid and teen lit is amazing.   

Monday, December 19, 2011

Harry Potter Quilt- Finished product

Some of you have been following my progress on this quilt.  I am happy to report that it is finished.  In time for Christmas.

I'm not sure if I could have finished it in time without prodding from my coworker who was helping me and encouraging me.  Later on I'll have to do a post on how quilting is like writing but for now just a done quilt. 

If you missed any squares or want to see something up close check out these posts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu and Friday Fives

DL Hammons, Lydia Kang, Creepy Query Girl and Nicole Ducleroir are hosting the Deja Vu Blogfest today.

Basically you repost a favorite blog post.  Some of my favorite people in the world are my family members and this post about my Aunt Ursula is still one of my favorites.

I would have given anything to be like...
My Aunt Ursula. Ursula is my dad's youngest sister. Ursula is awesome. Ursula came to visit us when she was sixteen on her summer road trip. She got to travel the county by herself visiting relatives by herself. How cool is that? She had the feathered hair and blue eye shadow that all the teenagers in the movies had. Feathered hair was cool. Blue eye shadow was cool. My hair would not feather like hers with all the hairspray in the world. I'm pretty sure she was the coolest person I had ever met.
She lived in Texas. She had a cool name.
She could talk back to my dad and get away with it.
In addition to the feathered hair and eye shadow she also had her own horse.
I spent three weeks by her side. We went to the movies. We watched MTV. There were still music videos on MTV. I listened to her stories about her horse and her dogs. She came on vacation with us. She helped us build the biggest sand castle in the resort sand box. She invited all the kids who were staying at the resort that week to help with the sand castle.
Instead of swimming like my siblings and I she covered herself in tanning oil and spent her days sunning herself on a blow up air raft. I wanted to tan too but I loved swimming more.

This was the last vacation we would take as a whole family. My parents got divorced after this vacation. Being around Ursula helped me forget that my parents were fighting all the time. She was like a shield during this stressful time at the end of my parent's marriage.

Eventually my parents got divorced. A couple years later my stepsister Gail would enter my life. She was cool in my eyes for a lot of the same reasons that Urs was cool. Feathered hair, horse, awesome music, make up and cool clothes. I wanted to be like her too.

Who would you give anything to be like?

Paper Hangover asks a weekly question.  This week What are your five holiday wishes?

1. Books.  I love books.  I have a reading list that is bigger than my bank account so I love books.

2. Snow.  I live in Minnesota and right now it's pretty green/brown outside.  Last year at this time we were still digging out from an epic snow storm and while I don't wish for that I need some white stuff on the ground.

3. I'm not sure if Santa can do anything about this but I'd really like to see something I've written become a book.

4. Socks.  The fact I live in MN means I also love socks.  SmartWool socks are my favorites.  

5. I wish for an improvement to this tough economy.  This economy has created so much need.  I'm blessed at this season to have a job and a home I can afford.  I wish the same for all the people who have been effected by this economy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RTW- Stocking Stuffers

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

What would be the ideal holiday present for your main character (or favorite character)? 

This is a great question for my MC, Hannah.  In my wip Hannah's dad goes away over Christmas with her new step-family leaving her at home with her mom.  She's upset about this.  When they come back her stepbrothers have given her an awesome Christmas surprise by decorating her room from the boring frilly pink that her step mom picked out, which she hates,  to an awesome beach inspired room.  

My PB manuscript, Tucker Takes the Lead, since Tucker is a dog I'm pretty sure his perfect present would be a new chew toy.  

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday Fives- Christmas Stories

What are your FIVE favorite Christmas/holidays stories or novels?

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens- This story has been part of my holiday tradition for the last ten years.  I've worked on my theater's production in some way either big or small for the last 10 years.  I really like this year's version. I love this story of redemption and change.  I'm excited because our new version of the play includes the parts where he sees Belle after she has moved on and married someone else.  I like that part in the book and I'm glad it's part of our play now.  I also enjoy The Muppet Christmas Carol.
The Guthrie

The Muppets

 2. The House Without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock- I read this in school and watched the TV special as well.  Addie Mills really wants a Christmas tree but her dad doesn't celebrate anymore cause it reminds him to much of Addie's mom. She wins a tree from school, brings it home and decorates it with decorations in the attic.  Dad remembers the joy of Christmas.
The House Without a Christmas Tree

3. The Christmas story from the Bible.  Growing up Catholic this was at the center of Christmas.  Not only would I hear it at school but also Midnight Mass with Mom.  My mom remarried and while we stopped going to midnight mass reading the Christmas story was an important part of our new family's Christmas tradition. Reading a combination of Matthew and Luke was a Christmas eve tradition.  Everyone read a verse from the littlest cousin who was just learning to read to our Grandma.  After we read we would sing Christmas carols.

4. Chapter 19 of Little House on the Prairie- Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus- If you grew up reading these books you probably know this chapter.  Basically Laura and Mary are worried Santa won't be able to make it to them because it hasn't snowed yet, the creek hasn't frozen and the water is too high.  Thank goodness for Mr. Edwards, who encounters Santa in town.

5. Twas the Night Before Christmas- I memorized this poem in first grade and it has been a favorite ever since.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

RTW- How far would you go?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs.

How far would you go to get published?

I have to say I'm not the kind of person who could write to trends.  I feel best writing something I want to write. I'm still kicking myself for not revising my YA NaNoWriMo Novel from 2007 with angels because I could maybe have caught that little trend.

I would do endless revisions and cut out parts of the story.  I've actually had a couple things published in magazines and have learned a little about revising from that experience.  For one story in a Sunday School paper I had to get the story down to 300 words.  It felt like a lot at the time but it was totally worth it to get my first paid publishing credit.

I've considered self-publishing.  I have a couple Picture Book manuscripts that I feel are in good shape.  Sometimes I think about working my butt off or giving up my trips to the coffee shop so I can hire an illustrator to get these books out there.  With things like the iPad, Nook Color and Kindle Fire it makes me wonder if a picture book author has the chance to enjoy success in the ebook format.  

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I am a sucker for Christmas music.  During this time of year I usually alternate between two stations that play Christmas music in my car and I also have my Christmas music playlist and CD's.

This morning there were beautiful snow flakes on my car. Beautiful= so light you don't actually have to scrape them off.
snowflake, Silver holiday white snowflake gray winter wall art Christmas decorating geekery neutral cold frost ice
Image from Etsy

Words I love from Christmas music-

Divine, Peace, Joy, Cheer, Happy, Snow, Glow, Warm, Fire, Glisten, Listen, Carol, Friend, Heart

And I can't wait until the lake by my house looks like this again
ice rink with the warming house
Photo from Powderhorn365

Thursday, December 01, 2011

HP quilt- Marauder's Map

OMG only 24 quilting days until Christmas.

So these are my side panels.  Enjoy.

Once  finish stitching in the names I can finish putting the top together then comes the quilting part.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RTW- Best Book of November

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This week's question

What's the best book you read in November?

November was a good month for reading for me. 

My favorite book this month was Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu


I just loved this story of friendship and growing up.  The writing is wonderful. Hazel is a brave and true friend and I love that about this book.  

I read this book on the first snowy afternoon in Minnesota and even though the snow didn't stick around I think this book is the perfect winter read.  You may even take back some of the bad things you've said about snow in the past and see snow for all the magical possibilities it holds.  

This book is the December Pick for NPR's Backseat Book Club so you should probably read it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adjectives Rock

I heard this on the radio yesterday.  It needed to be shared

Getting into a revision groove and working on a fun picture book idea.  When I get stuck with one I switch to the other.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quilt Progress

For all my friends doing NaNoWriMo- You can do it!  You're almost there.

I made some progress on my quilt.  I finished the last square and got the top and bottom borders finished.
Hogwarts Crest

Hufflepuff Badger Don't Care

Top and Bottom borders

Now I just have my side panels to figure out so I'm feeling a little more confident that this may actually get finished in time for Christmas.  

In writing news I revisited a PB idea that I've had in my head for a while and I really like how that is getting started.

I read Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu this week and loved it.  It was an amazing book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Should You Be Writing Right Now?

Last week I worked at a high school helping with costumes for Midsummer Night's Dream.  The theater and music area is nestled in the same hallway and I walked by this sign several times a day. Practice Chart
You can find this sign at the Odd Quartet

I was so inspired by this sign about practicing that I decided to make my own version for writing.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Fives- Writing Necessities

Paper Hangover asks the question What are the FIVE things you need to write with, other than pen, paper, and a computer.

1. The Loft- I'm so lucky to live in Minneapolis where the Loft has been a part of my writing journey.  I've taken a number of classes there, attended conferences and met my writing groups through this place.  The atmosphere is just great for writing.

2. Tea- I don't drink coffee so tea is my caffeinated beverage of choice.

3. Note cards- I really like to use these to write notes about my WIP as inspiration strikes.

4. iPod Touch- I like being able to tweet/facebook without leaving my wip.  I've also used to notepad to write down ideas when inspiration strikes.

5. Kindle- I use my Kindle to read drafts of my wip.  I can read my wip anywhere without needing to lug around a stack of paper or my laptop.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

RTW- School Daze

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

My pick would be 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  I'm sure lots of school are using this as part of curriculums.  It is a compelling book and has the power to make people think about how they treat each other.

I also really liked Matched by Allie Condie and I could see it being used in schools.  The idea of choice and having access to the written word and music.  The use of poetry in the book also seems like it would work well in a classroom.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Minnesota Monday- Readings

On Sunday I attended a reading at The Loft.

The series is called the Second Story Reading Series and it pairs a new MG or YA author with an established author.  Each reads from their works and then they answer a some questions from the audience.  The idea is that a reader will come to hear one author and then be introduced to a new author.

This time the authors were Anne Ursu and Kelly Barnhill.

Kelly read from her book The Mostly True Story of Jack
Product Details

I haven't read this book and I made the mistake of not buying it on my way in.  The first chapter totally had me on the edge of my seat.  The MC, Jack, has to spend his summer in Iowa.  I'm from Iowa so when  she started talking about Jack spending his summer in Iowa I kicked myself for not buying it on the way in.  The beginning of this book has that sort of scary suspense that makes me want to keep reading.

Anne Ursu read from her latest book Breadcrumbs

Product Details

About a year ago Anne critiqued my PB manuscript at a Minnesota SCBWI conference.  She was super helpful and her advice really helped once I applied it to my story.  I haven't had a chance to read this book yet either but I purchased it on my way in. She read from the first chapter and then a chapter where Jack meets the Ice Queen.  I can't wait to read it.

This was a wonderful event.  My only mistake was not buying both the books on the way in.  I haven't been able to go to a lot of SCBWI events lately because of my work schedule but readings like this have been really great to help me feel more connected to writing.  

As I was watching these wonderful authors speak I began thinking about the public speaking aspect of being an author.  I think because standing standing up in front of people and talking is one of my big fears.  Many of us spend time building a platform, tweeting, blogging and collecting followers but how do you add the public speaking piece in?  Do you take theater and improv classes?  Sing karaoke without liquid courage?  Join a local Toastmasters group?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I've never been into audiobooks.  I've tried to listen to them in the past but usually my need to sing in my car (the acoustics in the car are amazing) wins.  All that time running, on the stationary bike or elliptical?  Yep, music.
But this week I'm stitching in a costume shop.  It's not really a chatty space nor is it a dance break space.  I thought I was going to be locked away by myself labeling Christmas Carol but instead I'm sewing in the room on actual costumes.  So I downloaded some audiobooks.

How have I not been listening to audiobooks more often?  Also do you count audiobooks on your reading list on Goodreads?  What about books you're re-reading?

Here's what I listened to so far this week.

Matched by Ally Condie- How have I not read this book sooner?  I thought this story was more than just a YA dystopian novel.  I thought it was a beautiful story about the need to create things and the importance of writing and words.  I thought it was amazing and now I can't wait to read Crossed.

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell- I found myself totally wrapped up in the suspenseful parts of this story.  I'd been wanting to read this book since I saw another blogger talk about it.  It deals with lots of things I love.  Theater, following a dream.  There is also the added suspense of a mystery when the main character is given a place to stay in NYC by a mob lawyer.
Strings Attached

You know what I love?  When my coworkers read the YA books I love.  One of my coworkers just read The Hunger Games.  She loved them.  It usually takes them a while to read them, you know like when they hit Twilight or Hunger Games popularity.  But I always get that cool kid feeling like "Oh yeah I read that ages ago."  I wonder if I'll be lending them all my copy of the Matched trilogy in a couple years.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Day Walking diary

1. I work in the evenings.  I'm a night walker.
2. I usually work 4-5 hours at a time.  If it is a two show day I work and have a 1-2 hour break in between these shifts.

This week I'm working during the day in the costume shop.  Here is a diary of my day walking adventures.

O' dark thirty- alarm goes off. Press snooze.  Repeat 4 times.  

Dawn- finally wake up.  Go to gym for only 30 minutes since I slept through the other 30.

8:30- arrive at work.  Start labeling project.

9:00-  Move from labeling project to sewing actual costume.  Unprepared for this because a.) not really awake and b) thought I was going to label all day.

9- 12- Sewing. Sitting by window. Sun is so bright in my eyes I consider going to my car to get sunglasses.

Also start listening to Matched by Ally Condie on iPod.  OMG this book is amazing.  Why didn't I read it sooner.

Spend rest of morning making skirt and listening to audiobook.

12:30 Lunch.  Cook lunch and eat lunch.  OMG how do people make and eat lunch in 30 minutes?  Decide to research GF bread if I ever do this again.  But a) don't like bread and b) GF bread is expensive and c) don't really like bread.

3:00 finish skirt.  Woot.  Start working on bodice.

4:00 OMG sitting for so long.  Body= sore.  Need to go home and play dance video games.

5:00 leave.  It is dark

6:30- home after chiro appt.  Make dinner.  I am awesome at making tacos. Eat dinner then go to sleep by 9.

12:00 a.m.  woken up by cats because this is the time I usually go to bed so this is the time they also usually get food.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

HP Quilt- Platform 9 3/4

Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4.  

I continue to chug along making progress on my quilt. One more square and then borders and putting the whole thing together.

I realized there were two squares I never posted.

Invisibility Cloak

In case you've missed squares or you just want to see them again here is the list.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday Fives- Inspiration

Paper Hangover asks the question The FIVE authors who inspire you, writing or otherwise.

1. Judy Blume- I've always been a Judy Blume fan.  I love her ability to write about real characters with real problems.

2. Beverly Cleary- I read the Ramona books when I was growing up and loved them.  The book that was really influential for me was Dear Mr. Henshaw.  I read this book when my parents were getting divorced and it made me feel like I wasn't alone.  That someone else had made it through the problem I was facing.

3. J. K. Rowling- I love the Harry Potter books and what these books have done for children's literature.  When I need a little inspiration I watch her Harvard commencement speech.

4. Laurie Halse Anderson- Her books are influential and amazing.  

5. Rachel Cohn- I'd just gotten out of college when I first saw Gingerbread in the bookstore.  The striped tights and awesome boots seemed to call to me and even though I was no longer a YA I bought the book. This book made me love YA and made me want to write YA.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

RTW- Put me in coach

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question.

This week's question
What kind of writing coach do you need? When you have to coach friends, what kind of coach are you

I need a coach like my friend Maddog.  Coach Maddog was the coach of the kickball team I played on a a few years ago.  
Here's the thing about kickball.  I thought it would be easy.  I thought I'd go to games, hang out with my friends, maybe kick the ball a few times.  Kickball was hard.  You see there's a rule about how many girls have to be on the field to make up a team.
Maddog was organized with lists of who would play and what position.  And she made me play.  A lot. 
Some things about coach Maddog
She doesn't put up with whiners.  You signed up, you're playing.  Shut up and get out there.
She wants to win. 
She cheered us on.  
She's tough but fun. 

I need a writing coach like Maddog.  Someone who doesn't put up with whiners and someone who wants a win.

Sometimes I turn to the advice of Yogi Berra.  I'm too young to remember Yogi as a coach but my grandparents had these busts of Yogi and Casey Stengal at their house.  I was sort of obsessed with Yogi.  I'd dress him up and make him part of my games.

You better write.  Right now.

I love Yogi's sayings. I love his book What Time is it? You Mean Now?  It is an advice book set up alphabet style.  It's all about hard work and dedication.  Not being a whiner and being grateful for what you have.  

My current favorite coach is Ron Gardenhire, the coach of the Minnesota Twins.  
Gardy is no nonsense.  He gets along with his players.  He gets us to the playoffs, well except for this year but that's OK we'll get em next year.  

I also love my writing group.  I feel like these girls are encouraging and we all push each other by working and setting goals.  I love the encouragement I get from these girls   

Monday, October 31, 2011

Minnesota Monday- Blogs I love

Happy Halloween.

Happy NaNoWriMo Eve.

As I read all the #snowloween posts on Twitter this weekend all I can say is that I'm really happy it wasn't Minnesota.

Here are some Minnesota bloggers I think are a treat to follow.

Barbara Watson- she just started an ABC's of Middle Grade series on Thursdays.

Hannah at The Palindrome Effect - She's doing NaNo.  Friend her and cheer her on.

Mary at Play Off the Page

Sarah at Falen Formulates Fiction

Emily- An actor, knitter, quilter, blogger and wonderful person.

Jenn's Photo Project- One day Jenn and I were talking and I said "you should start a blog" and she did.  She's doing awesome at her 365 photo blog.

The Marketing Mama- She writes about parenting, allergies and marketing.

Elise's Kitchen- Writer's need to eat and Elise has so many wonderful recipes.  She's also an amazing photographer, click on her 365 tab or just salivate over her food photos in her posts.

I went to a Halloween party last night and am looking forward to passing out candy tonight and maybe watching Coraline.

When I watch Coraline I am reminded of a little door in the guest room of my grandparent's house.  It was just the size of the little door Coraline crawls through in the movie.  At Grandma's house there was a bed in front of the little door which proved to be an obstacle because 1) it was heavy and 2) when parents hear furniture being moved they tend to wonder what is going on.

I spent a lot of time contemplating what was behind the door.  Every year I got stronger and could move the bed a little more.  Every year I would open it a little farther to try to get a peek at what was behind there.  Sometimes I couldn't get it closed and I would dream about an army of trolls or munchkins coming through the door in the middle of the night.

One year when I was a teenager I finally did open the door only to discover that it was the attic over the garage (as opposed to the real attic) and that it was full of luggage.  Not nearly as exciting as what I imagined.

I'm glad the movie Coraline could remind me of the little door and all the scary things I believed lived behind it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to make a costume

Halloween is tomorrow and this year I made my own costume.
I wanted something that was 1) cheap and 2) easy.  After looking on the internet I decided it would be pretty cheap and easy for me to make my own R2D2 costume.  Here's how I did it.

2 pieces of large poster board
Duck Tape
bike light
cheap plastic helmet or bowl
spray paint

First off I started by drawing R2's markings on the poster board. Then I colored in the markings.

I added some accents to the body with duct tape

Next I spray painted the helmet and once it was dry added markings with blue duct tape.  I also added one of my bike lights.  This one blinks so I most likely won't turn it on since I don't actually want to blind my friends.  I also used black, red and silver tape for accents on the helmet.  I used a cheap plastic "police" helmet and turned it backwards.

My next step was to take a second piece of poster board and attach it to the first one so it formed a tube.  This picture doesn't show them but I added shoulder straps with elastic.

So far the costume is doing it's job in that it was 1) cheap and 2) easy.  It is also funny which I was hoping it would be too.  

If you didn't get your Halloween celebration on this weekend and you are still scrambling for a costume I think this could easily be adapted for other robots. 

I did consider being Maru the Cat for Halloween but didn't know if everyone would know who Maru was. But it did inspire the R2 idea.
pic from Craft:

Here's a video of Maru the cat

If you are still stumped for a costume check out this story featuring a crow costume made out of garbage bags, a baseball cap and duct tape.  

What are you going to be for Halloween 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fives- Fantasy Worlds

Paper Hangover asks the question What five (book or movie) worlds would you love to live in.

1. Hogwarts- OK seriously who doesn't hope for an acceptance letter every time they see an owl?

2. Oz- My parents used to let me stay up late and watch this movie when it was on TV.  Everytime I heard tornado sirens I was full of excitement at the possibility that our house could be picked up and carried away in a twister to a magical land. I read the books as soon as I could check them out.  I also enjoyed Wicked by Gregory Maguire and the musical Wicked.  So yeah, Oz.

3. The Shire- I could totally hang out with hobbits.  Minneapolis is full of little stucco Tudor style houses. The short houses and arched doorways make me think of the Shire.  I've often dreamed of buying a "hobbit house".

The Shire

An example of a Minneapolis "hobbit house"

4. Kiki Strike's New York- OK so Kiki Strike is like this totally kick-butt chick and with her troop of delinquent girl scouts they fight crime in the city. Ananka Fishbein looks out her apartment window and sees a little blonde girl sneaking into a tunnel.  She does what any level headed 12 year old would do.  She follows and finds a maze of tunnels under NYC.  I love the idea of underground cities.

5. Speaking of underground cities I also loved the London Below of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  How much did I love it?  So much that I cried at the end of the book because I was sad the adventure was over.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

HP quilt- The Deathly Hallows

Here's the nest square

I love reading all the NaNo posts.  I will not be doing NaNo this year because I have a quilt to finish in time for Christmas.  I am currently working on a draft of my wip and don't want to abandon it for NaNo.  Good luck to all the NaNo-ers out there.  You rock!.  You can do it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RTW- Best book in October

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This weeks question What was the best book you read in October?

I thought this was going to be an easy question but then I remembered that I read some good books in October.

But my favorite read of this month was The Duff by Kody Keplinger

This book was an amazing, fun read.  Seriously, I picked this book up and I couldn't put it down.  I loved the main character Bianca.  She was confident, strong and sarcastic.  I loved Bianca's voice.  I loved everything about this book.

I also read The Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

I love this book that is set on Coney Island.  

Also Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff

A wonderful book.  Also reading this book for #fridayreads and sharing on twitter can help homeless youth.  Check out the details here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Minnesota Monday- Football

I'm revising and that is a little like football.  Well, it's a little like this season of Vikings football.
In draft 4 (see, just like football)  of my novel I got some feedback about a character that needed to be cut.  She didn't stand out.  She was confusing because there was nothing that really set her apart from some of the other characters in the book.  She also seems to drop out of the book after a while not really making it to the 4th quarter.  After thinking long and hard I decided to cut her.
This is not unlike the decision Leslie Frazier had to make to put Donovan McNabb on the bench

and start rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.  Against arch rivals, defending Super Bowl champs, the Green Bay Packers.  Border. Battle. O.M.G. Drama. (This is the kind of drama novels are made of people)

In football the point of the game is to move the ball and score points.  As writers our characters and scenes  need to move the story forward.  If a character or scene isn't doing that it's time to let it go.

I'm sure Coach Frazier didn't want to put McNabb on the bench.  We spent a lot of money on him and had high hopes.  Writers feel the same way about our characters. We spend a lot of time on them, even the little guys and we don't want to cut them but sometimes we have to to make our novels better.

Turns out my character needed to be cut.  I cut my character and now my story is flowing better, other characters are beginning to shine and I have room to develop other characters.  I'm excited to write again.

The Vikings didn't win against Green Bay yesterday but they put up a good fight and played well.  I look forward to seeing Ponder play more this season.  I'm excited about football again.

The Vikings may not have won yesterday but here is a list of the people who won in my Rocktober giveaway.

1. Linnaea(Amber)- Coraline
2. Matthew McNish  - The Graveyard Book
3 Tracie T-$10 Starbucks gift card

How is writing like football for you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fives- Through the Ages

This week Paper Hangover asks the question What are the five best ages of your life and why?

1. Age 5.  My favorite color was red.  I loved kindergarten.  My favorite thing was learning the alphabet.  For every letter our homework was to cut out pictures from magazines that started with that letter and make a collage.  I went to parochial school but kindergarteners didn't have to wear uniforms.

2. Age 9.  Age 8 was tough.  Nothing could be worse than 8.  My parents got divorced.  My third grade teacher put me in remedial reading, not because I couldn't read but because I was so shy that reading out loud was a problem for me.  My best school friend moved away.  Fourth grade was way better.  I loved my teacher.  I was back in the awesome reading group.  I was on the swim team.  I could walk on stilts. I wanted to be an artist or a teacher.

3. Age 11.  My mom got remarried at we moved.  I started 6th grade in a new school.  That was OK cause everyone else was new on the first day of 6th grade too.  My hobbies were roller skating, swimming and hanging out with friends.  My friends and I started our own babysitter's club.  I listened to New Kids on the Block and planned my future with Joe McIntyre.   I wrote in my first journal in Language Arts class.

4. Age 14.  I was a freshman in high school.   I loved everything about high school.  Pep rallies, dances, football games.  Skipping gym class. I was on the debate team.  I joined the newspaper staff.  I had a job babysitting at the church during choir practice.  I wanted to grow up and work at Sassy magazine.

5. Age 24/25.  I lived in Minneapolis.  I'd recently quit a boring, low paying day job to be a waitress because, well, I made more money being a waitress and I had more free time.  Also my friends were also servers and it was more fun than my other job.  I'd been through a rough relationship and break up but I was on the other side of that.  I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I met someone who reminded me that I loved writing and who planted the idea that I should write for kids.  Her words made sense to me and I've remembered them ever since.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HP Quilt- Hedwig

Work on the quilt continues

Below is a documentary about my progress the last couple days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

RTW #101- Reason to Write

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.
This weeks question:
What's your numero-uno reason for writing?

Writing is like a best friend.  Writing has been with me since my childhood.  When things are good, I write.  When things are bad, I write.  I write because I love it.    

What are your reasons for writing?

Also I'm doing a giveaway.  Check it out here