Banned Book Reviews

On T.H. Mafi's blog Grab a Pen, she encouraged her followers to review favorite titles from the banned books list.  And that's just what we are doing today.  If you have a favorite on the list, share it on your site and let others know about it.  Post a comment or link to it on her site (click link) and here on ours so we can enjoy your good read right along with you. Also, read our post from Monday on Banned Book Week (click here) to read more about our views on this very important topic.

Christy's Choice
One of my favorite authors is the courageous Katherine Paterson.  Both Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins are on the list.  I reread The Great Gilly Hopkins this past week so I could share it with you today. 

Gilly is an eleven year old girl who, after being moved from foster home to foster home, has built up an attitude and hard exterior to get her through a tough childhood.  She claims to be proud of being known as "Gruesome Gilly" even if she's reminding someone of her true name, Galadriel, in her next breath.  She tries to gain control by acting out and shocking those in charge of her.  Once she meets Trotter, her newest foster mother,one she considers the strangest yet, she doesn't plan to do it any differently.  In addition, she devises a plan to get her "gorgeous" mother, who writes her occasionally, to come and get her. Without ruining the ending for you, Gilly goes through a transformation throughout the course of the book and, though slightly "unlikable" in the beginning, you'll find you're rooting for her along the way.

Part of Gilly's tough girl act includes swearing and taking the Lord's name in vain, one of the reasons the book was banned in school libraries in Albermalre County, Virginia.  In fact, it was was ranked #20 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books for 1990-2000.  Katherine Paterson addressed the school board in Albermalre County in a letter saying, "Though Gilly's mouth is a very mild one compared to that of many lost children, if she had said `fiddlesticks' when frustrated, readers could not have believed in her and love would give them no hope."

I find Katherine Paterson not only courageous, but to be a phenomenal source of inspiration to me as a writer.  She obviously knew her characters well, but perhaps more importantly, her audience. She may have had a reader, a child, in mind for whom she wrote just in case the great Gilly could give them some hope.  I hope that child's hands found Gilly's story on the library's bookshelves when he or she needed it.

Quote found in an article entitled WHAT JOHNNY CAN'T READ Censorship in American Libraries by Suzanne Fisher Staples. 

Resource information along with an inspirational review also found on a blog entitled Small World Reads.  Worth checking out. 

Erica's Choice
I had very grand aspirations to read two banned books this week - one from the library and one that I purchased. But, um, well - my children and husband revolted when I explained my weekly schedule. So, I plan on soon doing a review of Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Today I'll talk about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
This is a banned book? What a shame. Because here's my review: Every. Sentence. Made. Me Laugh/Cry. Every. Sentence. (trust me, I don't say that often)

There was this one paragraph that has been contested. It has to do with the main character's infatuation wth math. Here it is (page 26 of the library hardcover edition):
"I'm proud of it.
I'm good at it.
I'm ambidextrous.
If there were a Professional Mathination League, I'd get drafted number one..."

I'm now looking forward to tomorrow, when my husband finds this hand-written note on the back of a bookmark: "Change masterbation to mathination"

So, this book wasn't owned by my library. I had to get it through interlibrary loan. I bought it and, when received, will donate it to my library. I urge you to do the same with any book you completely love (banned or not).


We think you are. (Oh! and BLOGFEST ALERT!)

But we want you to admit it.  To us. 

Are you in love with your protagonist?  Maybe your protagonist's love interest?  It's okay.  There's something in them that you're slightly infatuated with.  You created them.  It's only natural.

Who did you model them after?  Someone real?  A person you wish, deep down inside, was real?

(Of course, if you were their age, unmarried and without children and all.)

We can keep a secret.  So don't be ashamed.

Just leave a teeny comment to ease our curiousity...I mean satisfy our inkling...I mean justify our statement of knowing your heart and mind.


Take a Character on a Date
Fly on the Wall BLOGFEST
October 7
  erica and christy are proud to announce their very first:

If you could take your favorite character (one you created or one you just wish you had) out to dinner...where would you take them and what would you eat and drink?  What would they eat and drink?  What would you talk about?  What would you do afterward? (Keep it [relatively] clean here, kids.)  And okay, it doesn't have to be a romantic date...it can be a friendly meeting for coffee or tea.

We're dying to know. 

Show off your creative spirit and whip up a 500 word (or less) story sharing your imaginary dinner (see below). 

We'd love to be a fly on the wall.

TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BLOGFEST, leave a comment with a link to your blog where you've posted a story (500 words or less) describing your "date" with a character of your choice.  (Wait until October 7.  Post by midnight CST.) Don't forget to come back and follow the links to find more (secret infatuations) really great writing!


Twofer Tuesday: Two Takes on WriteOnCon x 2

Okay, so you guys were all at WriteOnCon last night for the live chat, right?


You didn't stay glued to your laptop/desktop the ENTIRE time?! Your husband/wife/kids/dog/bathroom break made you look away?! Don't worry, we're here to help. Today, we're each bringing you two things we learned from the live agent/publisher chat at http://writeoncon.com/ last night. (oh, yeah, and they leave it up forever, so if you missed the whole thing, follow the link and watch it at your leisure)

Two things Erica learned:
1. As you get to know Erica, you will realize I (sorry about the change in POV) mentioned a sequel right away. I soon found out that was a huge no-no. Imagine my surprise tonight. Roseanne says to mention it. Just don't pitch it. (this I can do)

2. Contemporary YA, anyone? Everyone on the panel said contemporary has the ability to take over the YA scene in the next 2-5 years. BTW: It takes about 2 years to get a book published. SO SEND CONTEMPORARY YA NOW. Nope, that's not a call for submissions. But I (Erica) sent mine. Have you sent yours?

Two things Christy learned:

1.  Well, since we get along so perfectly as blogging partners, it's no surprise our thoughts were in sync last night.  Just to add, it was interesting to "read" the differences in opinions between the panelists when the topic of sequels arose.  What I took from it was this:  it's a very subjective business.  And we just have to find the right agent and pitch our book to the right one with the right query.  I know I've heard that over and over...but somehow "seeing" it in action tonight was a little, well, comforting.  And, since I should find at least one thing different from you, I'll add this here also.  I was excited to find that contemporary YA was up and coming (according to the panelists) since my WIP is just that.  I'll take motivation in any way/shape/form...keep it comin'.

2.  Other items discussed were also interesting because I assumed there were just cut and dry answers for the questions.  For example, age groupings for YA, MG, crossovers, and  New Adult were delineated, yet opinions varied among the responders.  There was also a discussion about literary, commercial, and contemporary fiction, and of course, the panelists "wish to see" lists.  Their answers?  The usual:  show them a hook.  Show them a great story.  Show them great characters.  Oh, and possibly a dystopian or a contemporary w/o the romantic focus.  And a plot where there are great stakes for the protagonist.  (And one last thing.  Make sure your teen sounds like a teen.  Not like an adult trying to sound teen.  Be careful of hip language that might not be hip tomorrow.  I KNOW you know that.  I'm just telling you what they said in case you missed that part.)

Got it?  Go write.  Write, write, write! 

Except I'm going to bed.  I mean work.  (Stayed up too late last night.)  *yawns*

So, what did you learn? Or, is there a question you wanted to ask, but couldn't? Leave it in the comments and we'll see what we can do to help!


Banned Books Week

erica and christy feel it's important (as avid readers and writers with the dream of one day publishing a novel) to support Banned Books Week, a national celebration honoring the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week began in 1982 and is held the last week of September.  People are often unaware that hundreds of books are banned each year from libraries, schools and/or book stores.  Some of your favorites may well be on the list.

Some of ours are:  Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Patterson, the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer, Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier, Forever and Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park, and many, many more.  For a more comprehensive list (and information) check any one of these sites that support this important event. 

American Booksellers Association for Freedom of Expression  http://www.abffe.com/banned2010.htm
American Library Association http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=4986
Books, Boys, Buzz http://yawriters.blogspot.com/2010/09/buzz-girls-support-banned-books-week.html
Pimp My Novel http://pimpmynovel.blogspot.com/2010/09/banned-books-round-ups.html
Grab a Pen http://stiryourtea.blogspot.com/2010/09/life-altering-announcements.html
The Rejectionist http://www.therejectionist.com/2010/09/some-business.html

Some of these blogs are hosting events to help bring censorship of books to light.  Please check some out and participate on your blog.

What are your thoughts on this important issue...removing books from the public's grasp due to the opinion of one, or many, that a book is not appropriate for an audience (due to violence, contemporary issues, controversial language, and again, many, many more reasons?

Here are two blog events we are participating in this week:

The Rejectionist  announced an uncontest to kick off banned book week Monday, September 27.  Dig out and dust off your childhood journals and search for your most humiliating moment to post on your Monday blog.  (click on site above to participate.  hurry!)

So I (Christy) only found my 3rd and 4th grade journals.  One was done in school and every day I wrote about my schoolwork, recess, friends and how I spied God that day.  Nothing at all embarrassing. (My teacher wrote a nice, red, cursive "ok" at the bottom of each entry.)

Luckily, my next one carried into the summer...so I had some free writing to peruse.  I found this really great poem.  I titled it "School and Summer".

I like Summer
'cause school is a bummer,
with many things to do--
in summer you can play
without worrying about things to
get done,
in school you must work
without having any fun.

(I'm a teacher.  I'm appalled I once felt this way!  I also no longer write poetry.)

But lucky for you there's more on a different page.

"Spring and Nature"
Blue skies, drifting
soaring birds
all united; Green trees,
blooming flowers, scurrying
animals all together
as one;  The start of spring,
the beauty of nature.

And...the humiliation continues.

"Pen Pals"
Friends of a language
beauty unknown; friend
together since we've first come
home.  Friends of life never
to part.  Friendship the
beauty the wonder, all
from the heart.  (and my period was an actual heart, awww)

(Yeah, that one makes little sense to me either.)

Thursday, September 30 we'll be doing a banned book review (or two) to participate in the event sponsored by T.H. Mafi on her blog Grab a Pen.  (see links above or blogs we follow)

Also see our second post for today just below this one. (Hey, we've got two writers.  We can have two blog posts per day if we want to.  We couldn't skip our weekly Mealtime Madness Monday, could we? What would you eat for dinner if we did?) Scroll down!

Mealtime Madness Monday

Wow! This week has been amazing - our first coauthored posts, our first blogfest, and we averaged two new followers per day. Thanks so much to all of you!

In honor of the live chat on WriteOnCon tonight, I've (Erica) come up with a sure-fire idea to convince your family you're slaving away in the kitchen (but really you're watching the chat). They'll be so impressed, they'll forget they waited until 10:00 to eat... (or, alternatively, use this as a party recipe!)

My husband and his friends all hunt. Plus I live on a beef farm. So, as you can imagine, my family eats some sort of meat for every meal. As a teacher, I can be home most days by 4:00 (I live 2 miles from the school), but not everyone is that lucky. Time is precious. The family expects you to cook. You want to attend a live chat about agents and that could be your ticket to success and it starts in OHMYGOD an hour and what's a busy mom/dad to do and why are all these people asking me what's for dinner!?!

So, here's an idea. You might not be able to cook this tonight (unless you have someone who hunts), but plan on it for next month's chat or party night. Plus, who doesn't like bacon?

Duck-Breast Rumaki
Thinly sliced 1-2" pieces from breast of 1 wild duck
1/2 cup dry cooking sherry
1 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
8 slices bacon, cut in half
Canned water chestnuts
Laptop or desktop located in kitchen (this is, actually, the only necessity)

1. Mix sherry, oil, and ginger in bowl. Add duck pieces. Marinate at least an hour (or up to 24 hours).
2. Fire up laptop/desktop and log into http://writeoncon.com/ by no later than 8:55 PM EST on chat night
3. Type question in appropriate chat box. Let marinate until they open for posts.
4. Place one duck piece and one water chestnut on a piece of bacon. Wrap bacon around duck and water chestnut. Secure with toothpick. Place on broiling pan.
5. Open for questions already? Press submit with elbow, toothpick, or dry washcloth. Stare at screen to see if yours comes up.
6. Still staring at screen, use your peripherals to set oven to broil (or 550 degrees).
7. Keep making appetizers, place on pan.
8. Contemplate typing with nose. Instead, wrap pointer finger in washcloth and type another awesome question.
9. Put pan in oven no earlier than 9:50 EST.
10. Cook five minutes, turn appetizers, cook 5 more minutes.
11. YAY! Dinner's right on time! Say "Sorry it took me so long, but this was a complicated dish." (wipe forehead dramatically)


Weekend Wind Down

This past week was busy. We needed to spend a night winding down with a glass of wine and a good book. Except all that was in Erica's fridge was a bottle of Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss, so her wine of choice was a cold beer. Christy, on the other hand, had her last glass of Mirassou Merlot...and uh, some scooby snacks.  (Good thing tonight wasn't recipe night on our blog.)

Our good book was The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. I (Erica) discovered this book at the local library while pondering whether or not A New Day was ready to query (it wasn't). While reading a WIP of Christy's, I thought, this reminds me of the "mean girls" in TTAF (I love acronyms) and suggested it to her. This weekend, we read it together (as together as 2 people living 4 hours apart can).

Here's the blurb: Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She's stuck with a dull-as-dishwasher job at the library. And she'll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father's recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother's open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.

Here are our takes:

by Erica: Well, you can already guess what I think about TTAF, since I'm the one who recommended it. I've read several Sarah Dessen books and what strikes me the most is her use of characterization. Perfect, rigid, every-hair-in-place Macy makes you cheer her along on every tiny little adventurous step she takes. Fun, quirky secondary characters like Kristy and Bert stick in your mind long after the book is done. Artistic, sexy boys with peek-a-boo tattoos on their arms work for me, too, frankly. And the stark contrast of the two "perfect" men in Macy's life? It's amazing how Ms. Dessen manages to make them both not just possible, but plausible. To those who think contemporary YA is "boring" - do yourself a favor and read this book. Then come back and thank me.

by Christy:  I'm thanking you even though I never thought contemporary YA was boring.  But I have to admit I haven't read it since I was a pre-teen/teenager myself.  Lately I've been trying to read more fantasy to check out my genre for Solstice while throwing in some Adult reading by authors I've begun to enjoy the past couple of years.  So thanks for bringing me back around to an old fave and for giving me an author to admire while working on my new WIP which is contemporary romance for young adults. 

It took me all of a page to forget I was reading and get into the characters and Macy's head.  I felt for her immediately.  In fact I cried before the end of chapter one (but don't let that deter you from opening this book.  I'm a bit over-tired this weekend.)  There were moments I laughed too.  Promise.  (Out loud and everything.  Ask my husband who came to look over my shoulder at what I was reading.)

She created characters that were so contradictory to each other...and yeah, some examples are the "mean girls" vs Macy.  And sadly, girls treat each other that way, especially, as in Macy's case, when jealousy is involved.  Our sympathy is piqued since she is so innocently uninvolved in these girls' motivation to make her uncomfortable.  Dessen's writing was seamless.  Pages practically turned themselves (which was good since I was nearly too tired to move my arm).  It was a perfect book to wind down the weekend to.  Good book pick Erica!  I can't wait to see what book we read together for our next Weekend Wind Down book review!  (And to read another of Sarah Dessen's books!  What's your next recommendation?) (Hey, this is Erica saying to all Dessen fans, JL, anyone?!?)



What do you do when you just can't write another word?

Personally, I need to set a date with myself for some alone time with my characters.  It's been so long since I've been productive that I'm feeling pretty distanced from my old friends.  I need to head over to Barnes and Noble, take a corner table all by myself, wrap my hands around a hot paper cup filled with coffee, close my eyes and let my characters speak to me.  What would they say, I wonder.  I'm going to continue wondering for a while because I'm not sure when I'll get away by myself.  To be honest, I can hardly imagine what that would be like.  I guess I'll settle for trying to tune into their voices when my head hits the pillow or my feet pound the treadmill.

Just in case I steal away I'll keep some napkins and a pen in my purse.

Maybe I need some fresh ideas for inspiration.

Oh, Christy, I know what you mean. Last March I did get away - went to a work conference - 2 nights alone in a hotel room with my laptop. DIDN'T. WRITE. A. WORD. It was too quiet, too unfamiliar, no SpongeBob in the background (it seemed weird to turn it on when I was alone!). My best inspiration for A New Day was writing my dialogue long-hand. In fact, I ended up writing about 40 written pages helping myself know the characters. Most of what I wrote didn't make it in the final version, but it helped a lot. So far, I haven't needed to do that with Coyote Hotel. But I do need to turn off the internet for awhile.  

(Hmm, we should really think of something to help us along. Contest, anyone?)

What DO you do?


It's a BlogFeast!

So, when I heard about Angela MacAllister at http://jadedlovejunkie.blogspot.com/ hosting a blogfest including food, I knew erica and christy had to be involved. Because, you know, we're all about the (food) (wine) writing! Here's a few snippets about (food) my so-far-unpublished-but-currently-being-queried YA romance, A New Day. It's random sentences that are trying to get you to know more about my (food choices) book since I'm new to this whole blogging thing. Thanks, Angela, for the idea, and good luck with your Feast! (ignore the stuff in parenthesis - my laptop's obviously acting up!)

#1 What (I) they eat in a car
"It's a junk food extravaganza, Kenz," she said shortly after we left, pointing at the back seat. She was in full-on perky mode, the one she used when selling a house. She really wanted me to accept the move. "I don't want to stop right away, so I filled a cooler with our favorites. Doughnuts, potato chips, string cheese, iced coffee, diet soda, fruit juice, I don't even know what else. Want anything?"
"I better wait. My stomach's warning me it isn't going to keep much down just yet." I wished I was kidding, but the butterflies had started working overtime the minute I woke up that morning.

#2 What (I) they eat after moving into a new house
After the last box was emptied, it was way past suppertime and the refrigerator held three cans of soda. We decided to order delivery and eat in our dining room for the first time.
"Do you have any plans this weekend?" my mom asked casually as she dug into her peanut chicken.
"Just the usual. You know, fly to Vegas, get married. Why?” What did she expect? I knew no one.
"Ha ha. My boss called earlier and said he would hire a caterer for a housewarming party here Saturday night." She paused to take a quick peek at my face before continuing. I tried to keep it neutral while contemplating what this information could mean. "A few people I work with have high school kids and maybe some of the neighbors will stop in. Remember the man who let us in here the first night? He has a son around your age."
I managed to choke out an "Okay, whatever," and tried not to gag on my lo mein.

#3 What (I) they eat on a first date
"I wasn't lying about getting help tonight. If it were up to me, we'd be eating cheese and crackers. Luckily, my mom packed the food. Are you hungry?" he asked, opening the basket.
He pulled out chicken salad wraps and mixed fruit cups. There was no junk food involved, unlike any other picnic I had been to. I hoped that meant he was trying to impress me. More likely his family never did anything as pedestrian as eat potato chips. Either way, everything he had tasted wonderful.

#4 Nothing to do with food (but definitely yummy)
God, he smelled good. I pictured myself raiding the cologne samples at the mall the next time I went there, trying to find the right one. Spraying it on my pillow at night.

Thanks! Hope you enjoyed! Don't forget to visit our recipes tab above and keep visiting us for Mealtime Madness Mondays!


Maggie Stiefvater and me

By Christy

Recently I read Shiver and very, very shortly after scrambled to Barnes and Noble, bought and devoured Linger. So naturally, I now follow Maggie Stiefvater's Online Journal. You should too. Only if you follow mine you might not need to because in the course of two days I am posting two of her journal posts here. You're welcome.

After reading her (Partial) Day in the Life of an Author (click on link), I was inspired to write my very own (Partial) Day in the Life of an unpublished Author. (See below. Compare for yourself how very similar our lives are! I'm amazed too. Scary, isn't it?)

My Very Own
(Partial) Day in the Life of an unpublished Author

One day in my life is pretty much like any other so once I tell you about this day, well, you can apply it to all days before and after and get a pretty good glimpse at my life.
Tomorrow I should get a haircut, but probably won’t schedule an appointment and therefore won’t get one . Saturday I’ll go downtown to my hometown city’s annual Octoberfest celebration and eat myself plump. (I currently live 20 minutes outside of my hometown.)
My day starts before my alarm goes off (always does, but I still set it, forever hopeful that one night I’ll sleep so well my slumber will actually last until the 5 AM buzzing begins) when Lovely #1 who coughed throughout the entire night comes to my bedside to tell me he has to go potty. After he does this independently, he asks me to walk him back to bed to tuck him in. Since it is 4:53, I switch off the alarm before it can sound and wake up Lovely #2 who slept by me and hogged my pillow all night.
Hubby is asleep in Lovely #2’s bed because he got tired of me kicking him in the shin every time he snored above the acceptable snoring decibel (is there one?), so I ask him to return to our bed to feel assured that #2 doesn’t fall out while I am at the gym.
I attend gym class where tendonitis causes much discomfort, but finish the class regardless. I am proud that I am such a trooper and excited for my abs to hurt since I haven’t done crunches since, hmm. It was that long ago.
I return home, kiss the Lovelies, but not Hubby who is grumpy from lack of sleep, shower and dress. I make 1) toast for me 2) toast, cheerios, apple slices, and oj for Lovely #1, 3) mini pancakes, apple slices, and milk for Lovely #2. I put a second piece of whole wheat bread in the toaster, for me, pull out the coffee pot (which I faithfully put on Delay Brew for 6 AM nearly every night, and realize that last night I forgot the water and that is the cause of the steam, odd noise and absence of alluring coffee aroma. I add water and move to check email and blog for more followers while munching my toast coffeeless. (Note to faithful readers: Erica slept through all of this. And her abs hurt just thinking about it.)
There is one email from a member of The Voice who commented on my first 5 pages of Solstice, and five emails notifying me that people commented on someone else’s facebook post that I previously commented on. There are no new followers on our blog, but I received a comment from TH Mafi thanking me for a comment I left on her blog yesterday. I am deliriously happy about this.
I pour a cup of coffee, gulp it, deprived of caffeine for x number of minutes longer than usual, and burn my tongue. Lovely #2 announces that he “actually would like a waffle instead for breakfast” which is what I offered him before he told me he was “too sick to eat a waffle today” and would prefer “an apple” and the toast and cheerios I offered. A glance at the clock reminds me there is no time for a second meal preparation and that I’d better finish my hair and make up. I gaze longingly at my dining room table, wishing it were still summer and I could spend the better part of the morning writing and cursing at the beginning of Solstice.
I don a semi-wrinkled black sweatshirt once remembering I’m taking my second graders on a field trip and swap Capri jeans for full length ones. I wince putting on a tennis shoe over my sore foot and ankle and herd the boys into the back hall. Hubby reminds us that it’s "A" day in preschool and I sprint down the hall to the “people bin” to find the ankylosaurus Lovely #1 chose to bring to represent the letter. Hubby doubts it’s the right dinosaur, but #1 and I assure him we know our dinosaurs even if we classify them as people while organizing toys.
And we’re off.
I drop the kids off. Back in the car Hubby calls to let me know #1 and I were right: It was an anklyosaurus. He looked it up. I listen to the radio people discuss the number of calories in pizza pretty much the whole way to work until I switch the station and find Taylor Swift halfway through “Mine”. I sing along.
Had I gotten to work on Solstice I would probably have contemplated starting my novel from the my main male character’s point of view because I like the three chapters he takes over better. I haven’t written 1,400 words in two weeks, except for my query letter drafts, one of which is 200 words too long. Maybe this is why Maggie Stiefvater is published while I am not.
It took me several attempts and multiple sittings to write this baby of a blog. I started it hours before I posted it, took hours off in between, and now it’s bedtime. The Lovelies’ feet haven’t carried their little bodies down the hall in at least 13 minutes now so they might actually have gone to sleep. Each one got up at least four times for one reason or another. Twice each to tell me they loved me. (awww… “Back to bed!”) and once to say, “Mom, look at how I’m walking! Don’t I look like a penguin?”
I’ll end my recount of a (partial) day in my life here. In case you read through it this far. And yes, I realize I snuck in some past tense for the last two paragraphs. I may be unpublished but I know the difference between passed and prescente.
Credit, please. Remember, I know an ankylosaurus when I see one.

WriteOnCon...Need we say more?

Did you miss it? DID you? Take a deep breath. They're going to do it again!

This past August several super ladies hosted the first annual FREE ONLINE WRITER'S CONFERENCE. Yes, we did say FREE!

But you don't have to wait eleven months before you can check out all the amazing goodies they have to offer writers.


Yes, it's true! WriteOnCon will officially be doing monthly live events. The first one is Monday, September 27th at 9:00* pm EDT with Jessica Sinsheimer of The Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Roseanne Wells of The Marianne Strong Literary Agency, and others to be announced.

What does this mean for you (and us)? It means you go here: writeoncon.com and read everything. Go ahead. We'll wait for you. (whistles, hums, eats chocolate, grows old)

What, back so soon?! Great! Now, get ready for the live chat. I (Erica) participated on these back in August and they're super easy. Here's what you do: Make a list of 3 or so questions you've been dying to ask an agent, but make them general, not specific to your work. Once the chat starts, one of the organizers will open for questions. Type it in the box. Do not send again, she's got it and will post it if it follows the rules and there's time. I recommend sending early in the chat. And, if I can speak as a participant, save your "thank you, you're great for doing this" posts until the end when people have the option of logging out without missing anything. We know. You're thankful. We are, too.

And...we'll see you there!

(Don't forget to check out our NEWS tab to stay up to date with exciting conferences, blogfests and other happenings in the blogosphere!)


Revamped Blog! New CoBlogger! New Weekly Blogs Coming YOUR Way!

Erica joined me as a blogging buddy and we can't wait to get started on blogging together! We have a few ideas for the future, but we're kicking off our new coblog with a new Monday blog...check out the first post (by christy...inspired by erica).

Mealtime Madness Mondays...a weekly blog post for writing moms and dads (or hey, anyone who cooks meals)

and how is posting menu ideas helpful for writers and/or meal makers?

-THINK audience-
well...I've decided recently that making menu decisions (and ingredient decisions) is a lot like making writing decisions. Here's how (just one of many examples).

Cooking Audience: Don't add tomatoes or onions if your child refuses to eat them.
Agent Audience: Don't add a prologue if the agent you are querying just blogged about hating them.

See my point? I spend over an hour in the kitchen on most nights preparing meals-for two children (ages 2 and 4) and a husband who usually works late. When I make the usual meals I grew up eating...who eats them? Me. Even after I slave away. And none of us eat leftovers. (Wasteful, I know.)

In the past I've ended a blog by posting what I made for dinner and how successful it was with the fam. You may have noticed that they were usually not.

So, in sharing menu ideas on Mondays maybe we can help you avoid the same old meals that you've been serving to your families and maybe your success rate will be higher. (Maybe you don't have a problem with this and you can just help me!) Maybe (please!) you can all share your menu ideas and recipes with us! And my success rate can soar through the roof! (Help me fatten up my children who are always at the 2 percentile for weight!)

My Monday Menu to share for this very first blog post is---chili. And guess what? My kids ate most of it. Woo Hoo!

Heeeere goes. My recipe for Chili
1. Brown hamburger, add chopped onion, diced tomatoes, chilli powder, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt
2. Add dark red kidney beans, a large can of tomato soup and 3-5 handfuls of elbow noodles.
3. Add cooked sweet corn (optional..I like it, my husband does not...so tonight I didn't)
4. Stir often while it boils and the noodles soften
5. Serve with buttered saltine crackers and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
6. Follow with leftover birthday cake and ice cream once the whole family (nearly) empties their bowls! (optional)
Regardless whether or not you have a hard time getting your family to eat what you make, regardless whether or not you have difficulty coming up with meal options...everyone LOVES new recipes, right? and we hope you'll share yours with us as we share ours with you.
Do you have a chili recipe you'd love to share? Please do!


Rach Writes is Launching a Writers' Platform Building Crusade!

This is for all writers out there blogging and tweeting and facebooking, etc to build online platforms promoting work and ideas. If you'd love to "meet" more writers going through the same ups and downs of the process and have a few more followers...here's one way!

Follow Rach's blog and become a Crusader yourself! How? Here's her site.


Check it out, sign up and help yourself (and fellow writers) build your online platform. We'd all love more followers, right? (What, five's not enough?)

She'll publish a list of Crusaders on her site to promote their blogs! And you can do the same.

Get your name at the top of her list and sign up SOON! Here are a couple of blog sites you'll find in her list of followers:

http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/ Marieke's Musings



Freelance Editor CA Marshall's FREE EDIT CONTEST!
She writes YA and is a lit agency intern.

Visit http://www.camarshall.com/2010/09/freelance-editor-ca-marshalls-free-edit.html
to enter! You could win a free edit for your manuscript!

She's giving away a FREE substantial edit! (That's plot, pacing, character development, etc, up to 100k words) to one lucky reader!

You have until September 20...so check it out and enter soon!


So Little Blog Time

With school starting I haven't had time to write, visit forums, or blog (obviously). So recently I checked my own blog and realized I had comments and a new follower! So unexpected!

Thank you for finding my blog and giving me my first award, Marieke!

The Rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to fifteen bloggers that you think deserve it.
4. Lastly, contact all of the bloggers that you’ve picked for theaward.

Okay, next task. Seven things about me. Hmmm. What to share, what to share.
1. I love fall, but I am having a hard time letting summer go. It was way shorter than summers normally are. I didn't do half of the things I wanted to.
2. I live in a household of boys. Included are my husband, two sons and 7 year old dog (who since becoming a big brother no longer gets walks or cuddled they way he did when he was the baby).
3. I completed my final training run for my fifth half marathon this morning and I am going to run in the event even though I seem to have tendonitis in my right ankle/foot. And have for the past few months. Ibuprofen.
4. This is harder than I thought it would be.
5. I am supposed to be grading second graders' work right now.
6. I drink 20 oz of coffee each morning, but am working on adding more water to my diet. And more fruit.
7. I eat nachos and cheese every single day. Around 4 PM.

Here are some blogs I discovered over the course of August.

Cheryl Angst's Blog
A journey from pre-published, to published, and beyond!

Heather's Odyssey-a writer's journey to publication

The Insect Collector: I observe. I think. I write.

Jonathon Arnston: Writer for children of all ages

Shelley Watters

Phew. I have ten more to go. But, I really need to go grade papers. So, until next time. I promise, PROMISE to finish the requirements for accepting The Versatile Blogger Award!

Oh, and nobody ate the peanut butter toast I made them for dinner. But the watermelon was a huge success.