Friday, April 29, 2011


What am I reading now? Shadowspell (Jenna Black)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far? I enjoyed the first in this series Glimmerglass. It got **** from me on Goodreads. I bought this right after it came out but haven't rescued it from the nightstand waiting-to-be-read-stack because of the deer/elk/hart on the cover--unappealing. Pick it up--put it down. Pick it up--put it down. Over and over. The deer probably means something. I'll be watching for that.
         I'm four chapters in and it's just starting to get good with Keene sneaking Dana out to Kimber's party. Of course Ethan will be there. Oh, and the Erlking is in town marauding around. Is he really there after Dana? I love the questions you have when you start a new book. Did one of the Faerie Queens recruit him to get rid of Dana? What's up with her aunt too? Is Dana going to hold it against Ethan for betraying her, or will she choose goose bumps and breathy kisses instead?


No, no, no--not pitchy!

Next weekend Deanna and I are attending LDStorymakers Writing Conference. While we're there we'll be pitching Wish Thief to Sara Crowe. New experience for us. We were trying to prepare for it last night but . . . since we've never done it or heard about it or seen it done, we didn't even know what to do to prepare. We'll be doing our homework this week.
Wish us luck!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

What am I reading now?  Princess of the Midnight Ball (Jessica Day George)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  I confessed (see blog Apr. 11) that I bought this book because of the beautiful dress on the cover. Yes, the dress got me to pick it up, but I soon discovered it's the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Who doesn't love a great fairy tale? I've always loved that story and this book did not disappoint me in any way. I loved (Let's count how many times I say love in this blurb.) the twists from the original tale as well as the familiar elements. Curses, trickery, deceit, love, war, contracts with the devil--what every child should hear before being tucked gently into bed. I think you'll love this one!

Teacher Appreciation Week
My daughter is decorating a kindergarten teacher's classroom door on Monday. She's making flowers out of paper cups and having the children write their name inside a flower. The flowers will be posted on the door around the simple words, "Thank you."

Here's my thank you to an important teacher in my life:

Thanks to my library teacher at Central Elementary in Colorado. I was in fourth grade. All my friends were voracious readers. My friends were--not me. I knew I didn't read well and I was embarrassed. One day after school I snuck into the library to check out a book some of the kids had been talking about, Blue Bay Mystery. Everyone was reading The Boxcar Children--everyone but me. It was against school rules to stay inside the school after school, but she let me go in anyway. I decided that I could plod though the book, then I could talk about the book too. There was no way I was going to check out the book at a time when my classmates would see me though then they'd ask me about the book. What if I failed? What if I couldn't read it? What would I say? I checked out the book after school that day, tucked it into my coat and walked to my grandmother's house since I'd already missed my bus home.

I read it! That was the very first book I ever read and my world changed. I was a reader.
Now I'm a reading specialist. Maybe because I know (read as: remember) what is confusing to struggling readers, I can help others make it to being a reader too.

Is there a teacher who has touched your life?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Break

What am I reading now?  Story Engineering (Larry Brooks)
Annnd. . . how do I like it so far?  I'm taking his class at StoryMakers Conference in a couple of weeks, and he suggested that we would get more out of his session if we read this first. Wow--everything you wanted to know about outlining a novel, and why you should do it even if you don't want to originally. I'm still out on how much outlining I want to do, but I'm open to thinking about this.

Spring Break Highlights
The Las Vegas M&M Store with my grand-daughters,

Trying all the samplers at the Coke store with the Fam,

And the PBR Last Cowboy Standing Rodeo at
To watch Luke Snyder win $200,000 by being the last cowboy standing,

AND apparently, I can't leave the writer-in-me home even on vacation. I was just walking down The Strip, reading the stars on the sidewalk on autopilot when I noticed this:

Yes, singer is spelled wrong. The N is backwards. I suppose the lesson here is that if you are going to set it in stone and sink it into concrete, it might be worth proof reading--first.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Do you judge a book by its cover?

What am I reading now?  Glimmerglass (Jenna Black)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far? Dana's mother is a drunk, unfortunately a public drunk. They move frequently to hide Dana from her dad. Her dad is a powerful member of the Seeley Court. (Oh, she finds out later he's a Seeley Prince. Mom could have been a little more specific up front.) Dana decides to run away to Avalon to find her dad. Anything's got to be better than her life now. Not! Her Aunt Grace picks her up at the airport then locks her in a dungeon in her basement. Then Dana was saved/captured by Ethan and his sister, Kimber. Again, not what it seems to be. This one has lots of twists. Kind of glad the sequel is already out so I don't have to wait for the story to continue.

"You can't  judge a book by its cover."
Well--you can.
I do.

Some books I've picked up just because I like the dress on the cover:

Or the jewelry.

Maybe I like the metaphor,
of being trapped,

Or fallen
Bad title? (Jessica's Guides to Dating on the Dark Side) Yes. Good book? Yes!

Bad cover? Yes. (The upside down wolf is odd) Good book? Definitely.

So do you judge a book by its cover? Have you picked up a book because of the cover? Or liked a book in spite of the cover?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lime Soup (Yes. Lime.)

What am I reading now?  Bees in My Butt (Rebecca Shelley)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far? I know, I usually tell you about young adult literature and this isn't so. . . WARNING . . . This book is full of
     •over the top antics that would never be tolerated in school
     •exaggerated noises from bodily functions
     •Smartboys that aren’t all boys
     •kids outsmarting adults, rather easily if you ask them
And that, my friends, is exactly why the target market for this book (middle grade readers; grades 2-4) will chuckle all the way through reading it.  (p.s. Personally loved the Smartboys Club Secret Notebook at the end. )

Here's the official promo for the book and info on how to snag a copy for your own Smartboys:
     Take Monkey, a literary genius with flatulence; Bean, a science and math guru; Vinny, a computer whiz who can't keep her mouth shut; and Art, an artist who can shoot a basketball like a pro, confront them with a mess of fourth grade trouble, and watch the fun explode.
     In Bees in My Butt, the first book of the Smartboys Club series, the members of the Smartboys Club use their skills to battle a group of crazed Ninjas that take over the school. And it happens on a day when Monkey has the worst case of flatulence imaginable.

Another original recipe. . . . . . . . Lime Soup
Bring 4 c. chicken stock and 2 c. beef stock to a boil. Drop in two bay leaves and reduce to a simmer.

Stir 1 packet of taco seasoning mix into a 16 ounce tub of sour cream and set aside until serving.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Cook 1/2 onion, 2 tablespoons minced garlic and 1 small can of green chile until tender. Add 2 cubed chicken breasts, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes.

When chicken has cooked through, add chicken, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and 1/4 c. lime juice to the broth. Remove bay leaves.

Dice 3 roma tomatoes and 3 avocados. Stir together with 2 tablespoons of lime juice and place in a separate bowl.

To serve, ladle soup into bowl. Place 2-3 heaping tablespoons of fresh tomato/avocado salsa in a heap in the middle of the soup. Top with a tablespoon of sour cream mixture. Serve with warmed flour tortilla.

Oh, so yummy!

Click here for the ingredients list.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My First Blog Tour

So what am I reading now?  Depths of Deceit (Betty Briggs)
Annnd. . . what do I think about it so far? Stephanie Saunders is just starting her legal career. She wants credibility and respect in her profession, but fears her clients and coworkers only see a beautiful woman and not a competent lawyer. Her escape is training horses, and her heart and soul renew from the time she spends with them.
            Unexpectedly, she finds she’s pregnant and her boyfriend proposes. Stephanie reevaluates her life and the choices she has to make. Does she love her boyfriend in a yes-I’ll-marry-you sort of way? Why has one of the partners in the firm taken special interest in her personal life? While the other partner only seems interested in how she looks? Is her new client, Josh Durrant, stalking her? Finally—How can she keep her pregnancy a secret until she decides what she needs for her future?
            One wish I would have had for the book is that the main character develop more personal strength over the story. What I really liked was the authenticity of her knowledge about horses and the legal system. It's a quick read for a good afternoon escape.

            Here’s a link to where you can purchase the book, and you can visit the author's website here.

My first blog tour: So, what's a blog tour?

•Why would an author want a blog tour?
            It's a quick way to travel around and reach a lot of potential readers. Imagine that one day you are in Utah, the next day in California, the day after that in Texas and the next day in North Dakota. Whew! Can you say jet-lag? It would be hard to keep that up for a month or more. But with a blog tour, you can be virtually there. 

•How do they get set up?
            Sometimes the author asks other writing friends to help spread the word. Publishers also help arrange online marketing. Or the author might contact a private marketing consultant to help make the arrangements.

•Are the bloggers paid to participate?
            No. I got a copy of the book, but no check with loads of zeros after a modest numeral. 

•What are the benefits?
            Seems like a risk to put your book out there and hope the reviews will be positive--oh wait--that's what authors do. They write stories and put them out there. The blog tour is kind of like speed dating for new releases. The author wants to make a connection with new readers, get them to visit their website and check out their books, maybe even start up a relationship. ;)