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Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly



Today is the day...it's finally time for the Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest hosted by Jen and Melissa!


This year has been absolutely insane, but I'm excited for Christmas none-the-less. Once school is out and I manage to get my classroom situated I'll be all set.(Yes I have to move my room in the middle of the year!)

So here are some pics of what we do to celebrate Christmas...

The stockings...yes, the animals have their own.


The tree...


The house...


The luminaries...every year my neighborhood puts out luminaries on Christmas Eve. It's hard to see, but the effect is amazing.


So there you have a little peek into our Christmas. I can't wait to see what the rest of you have posted! I will not be posting for the rest of the week, as I mentioned earlier...I have to move my entire classroom. Plus all the cooking and baking, company coming...you get the idea.

I'll still be visiting your blogs though! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

On My Wishlist...


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

This week on my wishlist...

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
I can hardly contain my excitement as I write this post. Feast your eyes on this gorgeous cover!!!!



Goodreads Description:
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

And just in case that's not enough check out this phenomenal trailer...



I don't know about all of you, but for me April cannot get here soon enough! Have a great weekend everyone, I'll see you back here Monday for Jenn and Melissa's Holiday Blogfest!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keep It Simple

So I had this idea.

It has been growing and festering in my mind for quite some time now, just waiting to get out. But, I put it on hold. I had revisions to finish.

Still the idea grew. But, I had another manuscript to complete before starting a new one because that would be crazy right?

Well, I finally tied up all the loose ends and began to map out all the details of this new idea. I made out a rough outline, found pictures for the setting and characters. Began character sheets and filled out interviews for those characters.

Then I stopped. I can't work like this, I can't do it. I am ridiculously organized about everything else in my life and that's why writing has been such a great outlet. I love starting a new idea and being uncertain where that notion will lead. I love plotting and scheming as I muddle my way through each and every chapter.

So I set all of that hard work aside and just dove in and started writing. I ended up finishing a complete chapter in one sitting. Now I'm not saying all that research and planning didn't help, but giving my mind the freedom to wander where it may was just the medicine I needed to get through my little slump.

Now, I'll hang on to the outline and all the work I've already done, but from here on out my pantser ways are going to come into play. I'm glad I have all of the pictures and the outline to refer to in the event of another slump. But I'm removing the pressure of writing inside the box and now the ideas are flooding in.

So what about you? Have you ever tried something new in your writing? Did it work, or are you like me and stuck in your ways? (Not that that's a bad thing.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library. You can find more information on how to participate in the In My Mailbox meme by visiting The Story Siren.

This week in my mailbox...

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6) by Richelle Mead

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules.

She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?


Though I was sad to see this series come to an end, it was well worth the wait. I finished this fabulous read last night and have the bags under my eyes to prove it.

Second on my list...

The Lying Game (The Lying Game #1) by Sara Shepard


Goodreads Description:
I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.


Pretty Little Liars did not disappoint, so I'm sure this new series from Sara Shepard will be no exception. So what did you add to your reading pile? I'd love to hear about it. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Friday, December 10, 2010

On My Wishlist...


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

This week on my wishlist...

Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads Description:
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater.

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.



Haunted (Dreaming Anastasia #2) by Joy Preble

Goodreads Description:
Anne Michaelson’s world turned upside down last fall when a handsome, blue-eyed and temporarily immortal Russian named Ethan informed her that she had a destiny to save the Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, held captive for decades by the witch Baba Yaga. But Anastasia had her own thoughts about destiny. And Anne and Ethan discovered that some things aren’t so easily undone. Now, six months later, the craziness in Anne’s world hasn’t gone away. Neither have her feelings for Ethan. Anne still has powers she doesn’t fully understand. She’s still dreaming about Baba Yaga’s forest. And she’s got a new boyfriend – very normal and very sweet lifeguard, Ben Logan. As for Ethan, well, he hasn’t quite gotten over the events of last fall, either. And he definitely hasn’t gotten over Anne. In short, everyone’s haunted by something – or someone.

Enter the rusalka – a Russian folklore mermaid with a malevolent streak - and a particular interest in Anne. When Ethan suddenly returns from Europe, Anne’s world collides with the paranormal once again. Her heart torn between Ben and Ethan, Anne’s search for the rusalka’s identity reveals deep and startling secrets - including the true source of Anne’s powers.

Like Dreaming Anastasia, Haunted is a wild adventure of a tale, a genre blend of fantasy, folklore and romance.


That's all I have...for now at least. Any must have books on your wishlists? Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Writer, A Sister and Three Teachers...

Its been said that writing is a solitary act...that it must be done alone. Well, maybe this statement is true for a large part of the writing process, but I've learned throughout this little journey that writers can't do it alone.

We all need help.

Before you sign with an agent, before an editor picks up your manuscript, your work needs to be seen. The thought of this is terrifying I know, but it is a necessary evil.

I used to hide away in my little writing hole scribbling incessantly on my manuscript with no plans for any other human eyes to see it but my own. And then the day came that I sent a little snippet of something I had been working on to my sister. She immediately called me back asking questions. You see she was the first person to ever know what I was up to. So she became my first critic. I'd send her work, she'd go over it with a fine tooth comb and then send it back to me.

Now I have an even larger circle of betas or critics...whatever you want to call them. Four who are non-writers...my sister and three co-workers who are avid readers and don't hold back on their opinions. If something is off, they let me know. My final beta is a fabulous writer in her own right. You all know her, the fabulous Lindsay over at Adventures in Writing. She goes through and finds all the embarrassing little mistakes that I manage to miss no matter how many times I edit my ms. Did I mention that I love adverbs? Oh yeah...she fixes those as well. She also gives me priceless feedback about things that might be unclear or ideas I hadn't even thought about.

So as you can see, all of the help is absolutely worth the torment of having an outside source read your work. If you don't have crit partners. Get them. If you haven't had someone else read your work. Find someone. You won't be sorry.

Still unconvinced? The best place to start if your a little nervous is querytracker. This site is a must have resource for writers at all stages of the process. Go to the forum and there is a thread where you can post the first five pages of your manuscript for others to review. The members are honest and positive.

So there you have it, a little peek into the method of my madness. Any tips on how you whip that WIP into shape? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, December 6, 2010

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library. You can find more information on how to participate in the In My Mailbox meme by visiting The Story Siren.

This week in my mailbox...

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

Goodreads Description:
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


I've already finished this fabulous book and what a great read it was! I love powerful stories that have you questioning everything. I highly recommend it!

The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl #7) by Eoin Colfer

Goodreads Description:
Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common among guilt-ridden fairies -- not humans -- and most likely triggered by Artemis’s dabbling with fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind -- and the grips of a giant squid -- in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants?


I just cracked open this little jewel, but know I won't be disappointed. Whenever Artemis Fowl is concerned, there is bound to be an unmitigated disaster.

That's it for today...I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, December 3, 2010

On My Wishlist


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

This week on my wishlist...

Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand


Goodreads Description:
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?


Falling Under by Gwen Hayes


Goodreads Description:
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.


So what little gems do you have on your wishlist? Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

You know those stories that pull you in from the very first page and hold tight until the very last word is read? I love those stories...thrive on them. For me Nightshade slid right into that category beautifully. Just look at that gorgeous cover!


The character driven plot took off and kept me intrigued until the very end. Calla, the Alpha of the Nightshade pack is destined to be with Ren, the Alpha of the Bane pack. Their fates have been entwined since they were born. But when Shay comes into the picture, fate twists itself in something unrecognizable to Calla. As truth becomes fiction and facts become blurred...Calla begins to question a future that has always been crystal clear to her.

Readers will not be disappointed in Nightshade.

Goodreads Description:
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Need I say more? This book has literally been staring at me from my book shelf for weeks. My only regret is that I didn't read it sooner!

Now if you thought the first cover was droolworthy...check out the second installment due in stores July of 2011.

Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer
Betrayal, loss, pain, fear. How many trials can love endure and still survive?

I can't wait to add this little jewel to my shelves! If you have't picked up Nightshade yet, I highly recommend you do so. You can get it pretty much anywhere so grab yourself a copy and dive in...you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hating Game...

What better way to bring in the new month than by celebrating the release of a fabulous new book? Join me today to help Talli Roland's book THE HATING GAME hit the Bestseller's List on Amazon!! Talli is a wonderful writer and a very supportive blogger. So let's spread the word!



About THE HATING GAME:
When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Doesn't is just sound amazing?

To order The Hating Game for yourself simply follow the links:
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com


No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.
Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest on her website here.

Extra: Want to have a snippet of your work critiqued in a positive and anonymous manner? Shannon McMahon is offering this amazing service over on her blog. Volunteers post their work and other bloggers can off their positive feedback. Intrigued? Check it out for yourself on her blog...Somewhere Between Fact and Fiction.