Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happiness with Amazon (yes, the big book-guys)

What am I reading now?  The Kiss of a Stranger (Sarah Eden)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  Oh. How. Fun. This is a Regency era romance. The book kicks off with the most eligible bachelor (Of course he's rich. Of course he's gorgeous. Of course he's sought after.) who kisses a humble servant to prove to a noble lady that he is able to swoon anyone he kisses. Yeah, it doesn't go so well, then the fun takes off. This book is loaded with awkward situations and laugh out loud moments. And since you want my opinion--yes, you should read it.

So, I decided to submit a novel, Wish Thief, to this contest in the Young Adult Category.
Round 1: They accept 10,000 entries.
Round 2: Then they narrow the list to 2000.
Round 3: Then to 500.
Round 4: Then to 100.
Round 5: Then to 6.
Then 2 manuscripts are chosen. One for Adult Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction--who are awarded cash and a publishing contract.

Today the list was posted for which stories will move on to the next round. Many of my writing friends were buzzing about this all day, but I was so nervous I decided to avoid it. When I got home from work, I considered looking but cooked dinner instead. Then my curiosity got the best of me and I looked.

I made it into the second round.

I know there are still hundreds of people hoping their novel makes it to the third round, me included. I know it's a long shot. I know.

I'm still excited!
Here's a pic of my little corner of the list.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


What am I reading now?  Mark Of Royalty
 (Jennifer K. Clark  and Stephonie K. Williams)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  Finished it. I liked the twists between the sisters and the love interests in this historical romance. I've already passed it on to one of my daughters to read. She will love it too.
Looky-looky. I passed the half-way mark in Damnation.
Yay, 25,056 words!
The first half of the books are always the hardest for me.
So many decisions to make. I've changed character names 3 times.
Taken out whole scenes that went nowhere, but took time to write.
I'm excited to write the next part. Stay tuned I'll update the meter as the story grows.

Shared Reading
One of my favorite times of the day for teaching first graders (or 2nd, 3rd, or 4th for that matter) is Shared Reading. We read fun books or poems together and learn about words. Why I like it? Reading together builds community, pricks curiosity, fosters safety in reading, plus it's fun-fun to play with words.

Here's a poem I wrote to use with my students. If you'd like to use some of my poems in your class, download this document with poems and teaching ideas you might use.

Dear Tooth Fairy
by Canda Mortensen

My tooth is loose.
It's hanging down.
It wiggles and squiggles
And turns around.

My tooth is loose.
It hangs by a thread,
And swings and flings
Inside my head.

My tooth WAS loose.
I wrote this note,
Because it slid
Right down my throat:

"Dear Tooth Fairy,
Please send money,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Blogfest Love at First Sight ~ NEWBIE Style

What am I reading now?  Persuasion (Jane Austen)
Annnd. . . what do I think of it so far?  Mmm--can't think of a better read for kicking off Valentine's Day!
          Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne: I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. . . You  do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in F.W.

romance blogfest badgeAfter reading this post, click on this icon to read more.

Love at first sight? I wouldn't call it that, but Sophie did make a lasting impression. You might want to read the blurb at the bottom of this page to get the gist of what the story NEWBIE is about. This excerpt is from Sophie's first day as a first grade teacher. Things didn't go really well for her. . .then she met Liam. . .and things got worse.

           “Shaunee, did Jacquie go to the bathroom?” Shaunee just shakes her head and continues writing her name on her paper. “Has anyone seen Jacquie?” No one looks up. My face, neck and chest prickle with panic. I can feel the blood in my head coursing faster. I don’t think my college classes covered this.
            Ellie raises her hand, “Teacher, don’t you think you should call the office now? They need to know you lost Jacquie.”
            My heart is racing. I really did. I lost someone. After three deep breaths I call the office to explain the problem to the secretary, Mrs. Johnson. Even after this confession my panic doesn’t ease. In fact, it seems even more real—she’s lost and I’m to blame.
            “Okay, Sophie. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll get back to you.” Mrs. Johnson hangs up before I can add to the conversation, apologize or plead for amnesty, and I can’t help but think that she seems oddly unconcerned. I wonder if she understood?
            What do I do now? I’m just supposed to go on, teaching? My stomach is clenched as if gripped by a tight fist—like when you're at the top of the Towering Death Drop in an amusement park, and it suddenly falls. You’re scared and sick and filled with regret. Yeah, it’s just like that.
            I should have known Jacquie was gone; it was too quiet and peaceful. How can I keep teaching when Jacquie is lost? I’m sure Jacquie’s mom is terrified. How could anyone trust me again with their child? I failed my very first day. Not even a day. Three hours. This is why I should be a real estate agent—you can’t lose people, just deals.
            I teach the next lesson but glance back and forth from the class to the door, hoping for Jacquie to enter. When anything outside the window moves, I look to see if Jacquie is out there.
            A few minutes later Mrs. Johnson calls. “Sophie, Jacquie went home for lunch. She’ll come again tomorrow. Her mom is explaining to her that in first grade you stay all day.”
            “She went home? She’s home? Safe?”
            “Yes, she is fine. Bye.”
            Note to self—count students after recess and lunch.
            By the end of the day, I’m trying to get the students to call me Miss Sophie, but that is going about as well as Miss Kanakaredes. Ellie stops at the door as she leaves the room. “Teacher, actually, we are just going to call you Teacher. Okay?”
            I turn off the lights, kick off my shoes and lay on the couch in the book nook. If I quit now—then what? I’m obviously not suited to this. I didn’t even notice a student was missing! I can’t really quit though—I’m stuck.
            After a few minutes the lights flick on, and I peep over the back of the sofa to see Mr. Chavez, the principal, in the doorway. I right myself as he walks across the room. “Hi.”
            “Coming to see how you feel your first day went.”
            Terrible. Children sucked on markers. I ate fast enough to have hiccups for the next half hour. I lost a person. “It was fine. Um, except for the Jacquie bit, did you hear?”
            “Ellie mentioned that, and Mrs. Johnson filled me in as well. You know we lose one almost every year. They’re used to going home at lunch during kindergarten. Pretty scary. Sorry it happened in your class. You okay then?”
            “Yeah, okay after Mrs. Johnson called back. I’ll count them from now on.”
            “Good first day. You’ll learn something every day.” Then he turns back into the hallway.
            I run across the hall to Beth’s room and see her on a group of desks hanging the art projects from the ceiling over each child’s seat. There is a paperclip on the string that is suspended from the ceiling tile. Huh, cute. I could do that. “Come talk to me before you leave, ‘kay?” I ask.
            Mrs. Hays steps in the threshold as I stand on desks to hang the art in my own room. “How was everything?” she asks.
            “Fine.” As far as you’re concerned.
            “Oh, I’m glad to hear that. It must have been a rumor that you lost a child today. It’s a relief to know that our neighborhood children are in the professional and capable hands of someone who accepts her role of teacher as a moral responsibility. Bye now.” Just leave already. Her hand flicks over her shoulder and she leaves as quickly as she darkened the door. What is her problem?
            Just as I’m hanging the art pictures above the last row of desks, a bee practically flies up my nose. I panic, my head snaps backward with my arms flailing. I feel my heel slip off the edge of the desk. Overcorrecting doesn’t help much as I thrust my head and chest forward, but gravity and momentum are already winning.
            It isn’t at all like slow motion but I am acutely aware of every movement my body makes. I land squarely on my tailbone, no damage but it really hurts. Just rub it out. Moving slowly I try to shift down the hemline of my skirt which is somewhere near the top of my thighs. The slit has ripped a couple of inches higher.
            As I’m pulling my skirt around to get a better look he clears his throat. Of course someone saw. I look up to see him walking toward me. . . and he’s hot.
            “I was at your door. You fell? Are you alright?” Since instead of answering I’m just staring at his sandy hair and green eyes, he continues, “Beth asked me to drop these off.” He hands me a stack of flyers. “Are you all right?”
            “All right, sure, all right. Um, hi, I’m Sophie. It was a bee,” I say pointing toward the ceiling.
            “Okay. I’m Liam. Be careful up there.”
            “Right, thanks,” I mumble as he heads back out the door. Don’t check him out. He’s probably someone’s dad from Beth’s class. I do anyway. Confirmed, ‘hot-dad’.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Weekend Gig

What am I reading now?  Thumper's Fluffy Tail (Disney Bunnies)
Annnd. . . What do I think so far?  Very tactile (fluffy tail, scratchy grass, smooth rock, bumpy bark, soft fur)

Monday through Friday, I work teaching teachers. I'm lucky to have a job doing something I love, improving literacy. On the weekends, I have an even better job~I'm the morning nannie for my granddaughters. Here's a peek at how cute it is:

and this:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wear the Wings

What am I reading now?
Meg's Melody (Kaylee Baldwin)
Annnd. . . What do I think so far?  I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet romance. Sometimes when you lose love, you find your own strength and get your life back. This is a great read for Valentine's.

Wear the Wings

A few days ago, I dropped in after lunchtime while my granddaughter was helping her mom make a lemon cake for dinner. Here's what I saw:
The wings make me giggle. Then, this past Sunday, she wore tap shoes to church. OMG--how cute is she!

Here's the point~
•Stop thinking about what the right thing to do is--like there must be a right thing in all things.
•Stop thinking about what someone might think.
•Just wear the wings and tap as happily as you want to.

Maybe there's a day when she won't want to put on the wings. Sad, but okay. She'll do something else that makes her equally happy.

Let's say it together, "Me, too."