"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, July 30, 2010

Five on a Friday

Who can believe summer is halfway over? Seriously. Where has the time gone? We're supposed to hit 100 today here in Austin which you may not think is unusual, and normally it isn't. But we've had a mild summer thus far deep in the heart of Texas.


Here are five things for the week:

1) My mother-in-law and her sister are visiting this week, and the sister has an iPhone. Yes, now I really do want one (or a similar phone). I'm beyond impressed. I think it was the Star Walking app that really pushed me over.

2) My tortoises are getting huge. So big I am now thinking we're at the point where they need to grow into a little more space (like the backyard). Must research heated enclosures for tortoises.

3) I'm listening on audio to THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett, and can I just say I am beyond impressed. Talk about voice. This book should be used as a teaching tool. It's amazing.

4) Also finally reading BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver. I've heard so many, many good things about this book, and ten pages in, I'm not disappointed (I was very tired last night while reading).

5) I forgot to mention we're giving away a whole shlew of books over on The Spectacle including and ARC of MATCHED by Ally Condie. For your chance to win, check out this post! And wait...there are only two more days to enter!


I'm looking at two weeks of camp in the future which equates to two weeks of writing time for me! The kids love it. I love it. All around, it's a win-win situation. In the meantime, I'm off to admire my bookshelves just a bit more.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Creating Worlds


I'm blogging over on The Spectacle today about why you should create your own fantasy world. What was the spark that made you decide to start on your own? Stop over if you get the chance and weigh in!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

THE MARBURY LENS ARC Giveaway

So I said on Monday I'd be giving away ARCs of my two favorite reads so far this year. I've mentioned this one quite a few times on my blog thus far, but in case you missed it, this is a book you don't want to miss. It blew me away on so many levels and really stood out as something amazing in the YA market. The book is:

THE MARBURY LENS by Andrew Smith (Feiwel & Friends, Nov 2010)


From Amazon:

Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.
There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.
Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.
Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.
But it’s not.
Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds.


For your chance to win this awesome ARC, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday, August 6, 2010!


And don't forget:

Enter to win an ARC of BLACK HOLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill,

Enter to win an ARC of BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl,

Enter to win an ARC of WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by Jessica Warman.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This Week's Featured Sweetheart

Head over to THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS blog when you get a chance and check out our very cool featured sweetheart this week.
For those of you involved in Kidlitchat on Twitter, you'll recognize Greg Pincus, but for those of you who don't, here's your chance to read all about him!

Shifting Perspective

I hope summer's been treating you all great! With the kids home much of the time, I've been off the computer more than usual, so I'm taking that time to get some organization done around the house.

Note: I love organizing, and so does my son. My daughter...not so much.

Anyway, in cleaning up my office, I got some new bookshelves to fill a wall! I know, how exciting is that? There's nothing quite like new bookshelves to get you excited about cleaning up, right? The good news was that I had tons of new space. The bad news was the thermostat was right behind the shelves. Not so convenient for changing the temperature. So I had to move the thermostat and figured I'd move it over to the right a couple feet (behind the picture on the purple wall). Easy enough since the attic is above.

Notice my faithful companion.

The problem was once I got up in the attic, it couldn't have been more of a pain in the rear. There were about five reasons why it wouldn't work, and so after the hot frustration that is an attic in Texas in the summer, I took a shower. And that's where I had my "eureka" moment.

There was no reason the thermostat had to stay on that wall. The world was my oyster since it was upstairs. There was a much better spot in my office proper that already had a new switch wired to it. All I had to do was follow the wire. (see the spot on the far left on the golden wall.)

So why does this matter?

Because I was set in the mindset that I had to keep it on the same wall, and that was bogus. Sometimes I/we get so set in a paradigm of how things have to be done that we don't open up our mind to new possibilities. Happens in moving thermostats. Happens in writing. Happens in revisions. We need to shift perspectives.

In revisions this is one of those things that comes so much more quickly once I've had time away from a manuscript (like years). So the trick is learning to do this sooner rather than later. If you figure out how to do this, let me know. Maybe I should add it to my checklist.


PEANUT UPDATE: Nobody ate the peanut. We did have fun waiting to see if my husband would, but he didn't bite.

Monday, July 26, 2010

BLACK HOLE SUN ARC Giveaway

This week I've giving away ARCs of two of my favorite reads this year. Up first is

BLACK HOLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill (Harper/Greenwillow, August 2010)

I loved the world building in this book and could hardly stop reading it once I picked it up. And I'm not alone. David scored a sweet blurb from Suzanne Collins, author of THE HUNGER GAMES.


From Amazon:

Durango is playing the cards he was dealt. And it’s not a good hand.

He’s lost his family.

He’s lost his crew.

And he’s got the scars to prove it.

You don’t want to mess with Durango.


For your chance to win this awesome ARC, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday, August 6, 2010!


And don't forget:

Enter to win an ARC of BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl!

and

Enter to win an ARC of WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by Jessica Warman!

GUARDIAN OF THE GATE ARC Winner!

A huge thank you to everyone who has been entering my ARC giveaways!

The winner of an ARC of GUARDIAN OF THE GATE (Prophecy of the Sisters Book 2) by Michelle Zink



is...

Marissa and Martina at Adventures in Children's Publishing!

*****

Congratulations! And thank you again to everyone who entered!

Don't forget I am also giving away...


WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by Jessica Warman (Walker, October 2010)
Click here to enter.

and


BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown, October 2010)
Click here to enter.


Look for more giveaways coming this week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend Plans

My Friday night is shaping up with this! I brought this back from Virginia, and it hasn't been played in probably thirty years. So it creeped me out when I found an old peanut in the box. Left in on the counter to see if my husband or kids eats it :)


Saturday, it's off to Ikea to get new bookshelves.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES ARC Giveaway

Up for giveaway this week is a book I loved. I couldn't put it down while I was reading it and kept flipping pages late into the night to find out how it would end.


WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by Jessica Warman (author of BREATHLESS)

From Amazon:

On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But Emily also suffers from devastating nightmares about fire and water, and nobody knows why. Then the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, and Emily is immediately swept away—but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. As the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmare; on a journey that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This companion novel to Warman's critically acclaimed Breathless proves that sometimes the biggest lies are told to the people you love the most.




For your chance to win this awesome ARC, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday July 30, 2010!


And don't forget:

Enter to win an ARC of BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl !

and

Enter to win an ARC of GUARDIAN OF THE GATE by Michelle Zink!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Our Newest Featured Sweetheart!

Head over to THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS blog when you get a chance and check out our awesome featured sweetheart this week.
Most of you probably recognize Shelli Johannes-Wells of Market My Words, but for those of you who don't, you're missing out!

Shadows


So I'm back from vacation (of which I'll blog more about here and there). It was OSUM to get away but now it's so nice to be back in the swing of things.


I take TONS of pictures while away, and with the heat wave on the East Coast, shadows fascinated me.


I'm not sure what it is about them that's so intriguing, but maybe because we feel like we can't see the entire picture and they leave so much open to mystery.


We can see postures and hints of sizes and surroundings, but we don't know much about who is behind the shadow.


Hope you all are having a great week, and keep an eye out for shadows.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS ARC Giveaway

For all of you who *loved* BEAUTIFUL CREATURES as much as I did, this ARC giveaway is for you! Yes, I'm giving away and ARC of


BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown, October 2010)

From Amazon:

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.



For your chance to win this awesome ARC, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday July 30, 2010!


And don't forget:

Enter to win an ARC of GUARDIAN OF THE GATE by Michelle Zink!

TORMENT, THE DUFF, and LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE ARC Winners!

A huge thank you to everyone who has been entering my ARC giveaways!

The winner of an ARC of TORMENT by Lauren Kate (Delacorte, Sept 2010), the sequel to FALLEN



is...

RAELENA at Throuthehaze

*****

and the winner of the ARCs of THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger (Poppy, September 2010) and LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE by Sarah Dooley (Feiwel & Friends, August 2010)





is...


*****

Congratulations! And thank you again to everyone who entered!

Don't forget I am also giving away...




GUARDIAN OF THE GATE (Prophecy of the Sisters Book 2) by Michelle Zink

Click here for your chance to enter, and look for more giveaways coming this week!

Monday, July 12, 2010

At the beach!



Complete with oodles of sand, shells, and kids.

Anyone want to guess which one?

See you guys in a few days!

GUARDIAN OF THE GATE ARC Giveaway

This week I'm giving away the ARC for a sequel to a book I loved.


GUARDIAN OF THE GATE (Prophecy of the Sisters Book 2) by Michelle Zink

From Amazon:

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.



For your chance to win this awesome ARC, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday July 23, 2010!


And don't forget:

Enter to win an ARC of TORMENT by Lauren Kate and

Enter to win ARCs of THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger and LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE by Sarah Dooley.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why you should listen to your kids

Or maybe why I should find something more productive to do with my time...

Final Day at ALA

It's hard to believe ALA is already over, and this is my last official post on it. Monday I had much of the time to wander by myself as Jessica Lee Anderson met with her rockstar agent Andrea Cascardi in the morning. Once she was done, we hit Chinatown again for lunch and then it was back to the show where most of the publishers were either selling dirt cheap or giving away all books left. (I know, how awesome is that?).

We stopped by Cynthea Liu's signing. Love Cynthea! And I'm looking forward to seeing her again at NCTE this fall at Disneyworld!!!!!


On our way out we ran into Elizabeth Law who I showed all my Egmont books to. Jessica Lee Anderson, Elizabeth Law, and me.


And who thinks this is what Jessica and I had for lunch?

I'll post later on some of the awesome books I've read recently, both obtained at ALA and otherwise!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

CLOCKWORK ANGEL and RADIANCE Contest Winners

A huge thank you to everyone who has been entering my ARC giveaways!

The winner of an ARC of CLOCKWORK ANGEL: THE INFERNAL DEVICES Book One by Cassandra Clare


is...

MISS HAVOC at Cry Havoc! Reviews

*****

and the winner of an ARC of RADIANCE by Alyson Noel (author of the bestselling IMMORTALS series)


is...

BRANDILEIGH2003 at Blkosiner's Book Blog

*****

Yay, Heather! And thank you again to everyone who entered!

Don't forget I am also giving away...


TORMENT by Lauren Kate (Delacorte, Sept 2010), the sequel to FALLEN.

Check here for your chance to enter!

and...



THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger (Poppy, September 2010)
LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE by Sarah Dooley (Feiwel & Friends, August 2010)

Check here for your chance to enter!

THE DUFF and LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE ARC Giveaway

For one week only, up for giveaway, are two great YA ARCs:



THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger (Poppy, September 2010)
LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE by Sarah Dooley (Feiwel & Friends, August 2010)

From Amazon for THE DUFF:
"Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone."



From Amazon for LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE:
"Olivia “Livvie” Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they again face eviction, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.

The problem is, Livvie burned down that house.

But she’s not giving up. Here is her story."



For your chance to win these TWO awesome ARCs, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday July 16, 2010!

And don't forget about entering to win:

Enter to win an ARC of TORMENT by Lauren Kate!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Suburb Beyond the Stars: A Short (Smart, Funny, Mysterious, Scary) Movie

Thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for this fantastic, fun movie!

From author M.T. Anderson's official website:

This book trailer, stitched together out of pieces filmed before
M. T. Anderson’s unfortunate disappearance, discusses his new book The Suburb Beyond the Stars.

It is part of a larger set of documents about the strange and mysterious sightings and deaths in the area of Mount Norumbega — all of which will be released soon on Scholastic’s website. We’re working to make them available to a waiting public.


We hope you can make more sense of this film than we can.

The Suburb Beyond the Stars from Sang Lee on Vimeo

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Getting Inspired

Inspired by my daughter and her monster letter writing, I tried to make my own monster name. I figure next time I'll make it a bit more random, but at least it's colorful and it's a start.

my monster name


my daughter's monster name

Hope you all are having a great summer! I'm still here in Virginia, looking forward to a book club this Sunday, the Dulles Air & Space museum tomorrow, possibly the zoo on Friday (my kids want to attempt to see the panda). Then it's the beach for a few days next week. I'll be around and about on the blogosphere and back in full force on July 19th!

On a happy note, by son read and loved book three in the THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS TRILOGY: THE NECROPOLIS (which happens to be available for pre-order, btw). He said it is the best yet! Seriously, I'm just happy he read it. I had some tough competition with ALVIN HO and THE MAGIC THIEF, but I scraped my way in there.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Newest Featured Sweethearts!

Head over to THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS blog when you get a chance and check out our awesome featured sweethearts this week (yes, two of them),
Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear, co-founders of Figment!

TORMENT by Lauren Kate ARC Giveaway

Up this week for a book giveaway is an ARC of TORMENT by Lauren Kate (Delacorte, Sept 2010), the sequel to FALLEN.


For your chance to win this awesome ARC, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Follow The Texas Sweethearts blog
3) Comment on this blog post


For extra entries:

1) Blog about this contest and leave a comment telling me
2) Tweet about this contest and leave a comment telling me


And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday July 16, 2010!

And don't forget about entering to win:

CLOCKWORK ANGEL: THE INFERNAL DEVICES Book One by Cassandra Clare

and

RADIANCE by Alyson Noel!

More Fun from ALA

Sunday was the designated fun day at ALA. We got a late start, had a few signings we wanted to make, and otherwise had no agenda until the evening when we went to hear the Newbery and Caldecott speeches. The first thing we did upon getting there was hit the free ice cream bar booth. Sorry, no pics :) But the next booth was even better.

Jessica Lee Anderson (BORDER CROSSING) and me having our picture taken with the President :) And no, he is not wax. Once we convinced Libba Bray (GOING BOVINE) of this fact, she and Tammi Sauer (CHICKEN DANCE) and Cynthea Liu (PARIS PAN) also had their pictures taken with him.


I had to get a picture of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (with Cynthea and Jessica).


We stopped by Mitali Perkins (BAMBOO PEOPLE) signing where she took this picture of Jessica and me.


And we made a point of stopping by Andrew Smith's signing (THE MARBURY LENS) where I fangirled it over his books. I did mention you guys should read THE MARBURY LENS when it comes out this fall, right?


Holly Cupola (TELL ME A SECRET) was also on our list of signings for the day. Jessica, me, Holly, and Libba.


The exhibit floor from above


Book Bloggers Meaghan Stevens (A Bookworm's Haven), James Booth (Book Chic), and me


Everyone should wear a chicken hat. Here I am at Tammi Sauer's signing.


Jessica and I went to dinner with Tammi and Cynthea and then headed to the awards.


Me, Cynthea, and Pam Bachorz (CANDOR)

We're winding down on days (only one more!). Now, posting all these, I wish I was going to SCBWI LA. Anyone going to that who will promise to take pics so I can read all about it?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Onto the next day at ALA

Jessica Lee Anderson and I started off early on Saturday, getting to ALA close to the opening hour. Because pics speak so much better than words I try to type when my kids are awake, here we go.

One of the first people I ran into was James Booth, aka awesome book blogger Book Chic!


Jessica showing off author Bethany Hegedus' newest book, TRUTH WITH A CAPITAL T.
Yay, Bethany!


Why not pose by a cute, stuffed Library Lion?


Jessica, Harold Underdown, Liz Garton Scanlon, and Me


These are the kind of moments I love about conventions. You never know who you'll see.


Kekla Magoon, Toni Buzzeo, Me, and Jessica


Jessica had a rock star signing on Saturday!


Me, David Macinnis Gill, and Jessica.
David's newest book, BLACK HOLE SUN, comes out in a couple months and is FABULOUS!!!!



We headed to Chinatown for lunch because it's one of the things I'd never done in DC. Check.


Jaclyn Dolomore, author of MAGIC UNDER GLASS, and Jessica


Kate Messner signing ARCS of SUGAR AND ICE and Jessica


Later Saturday night, Jessica and I headed to Old Town, Alexandria where one of my high school buddies, Mike Evans, gave us a private ghost tour of the city! I hadn't seen Mike in over 20 years!

Me and Mike Evans, our ghost tour guide!


An old, haunted ice house in Old Town where they used to store bodies on ice


My favorite restaurant in Old Town!

Hope you all are having a great week!