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.