Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guns and Writers?

What am I reading now? City of Fallen Angels (Cassandra Clare)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far? Well, I finished it. Have you noticed how many books are part of a series? Not just a trilogy but 5, 6, 10-book series? I think my limit is 3 to 4 books per series. I was content to let the end of the story be City of Glass. This felt like a brand new series to me, but I think I'm done. The book itself was well written, the characters interesting, the premise fit with the other books. Really nothing bad to say--just it's like having a house guest that's worn out their welcome. Time to move on.
     Cassandra Clare is the author, and I'm all over her next series that's a prequel to the City of. . . Series. I hope it wraps up before I get worn out.

Cheri--you won Wolves, Boys and Other Things that Might Kill Me!
Andrea--you won Ninth Ward!

Guns and Writers
Our online writers' group (Authors Incognito) got together for a quarterly activity. One of the lively chats a couple of months ago was about details for scenes several of us were writing and needed information on shooting guns.

So, an activity was planned for us by a member, Nichole, and we went to a shooting range and had some experience.

Here's the proof.

Yeah, I pinged one of the metal targets with a handgun and got the bad guys on the paper targets when I shot a rifle.

Do you think it's possible to write realistically without writing from experience?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Sad! Last book in the Blogk Party.

Well, this has been a fun party! I've given away a book on all the even days in June. This is the last one--to be given away on the 30th.
What am I giving away now?  Ninth Ward (Jewell Parker Rhodes)

Annnd. . . what's the blurb? Wow--powerful emotions--love, friendship, family
Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane—Katrina—fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength to help them both survive the storm.

To enter the drawing:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment
3) Check back to see if you win

Visit Deanna's blog to sign up for books too--click HERE to pop over and enter.

I Love to Read
That's the phrase I want to hear every child say. A couple of years ago, my supervisor asked me what I thought might be the most important thing we could do to improve literacy.

My answer was to convey to every reader the idea of authorship. That children understood that a book represents a person who has a story to tell them or ideas to present to them. If that author could sit beside them on the couch and share those words, our understanding would be increased through that conversation. But they can't. So they wrote those ideas down and offer them to us through a book. We, as readers, carry on a conversation with the author of every book we pick up.

Helping children read to understand the author's message and to make their own meaning is the purpose of reading, the motivation of reading and in fact--it is reading itself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Love this book--You will too!

What am I giving away now?  Wolves, Boys and Other Things that Might Kill Me (Kristen Chandler)
Annnd. . .  what 's the blurb? When KJ Carson is assigned to write a column for her school newspaper about the wolves in nearby Yellowstone National Park, she’s more interested in impressing Virgil Whitman, the new kid in school and the photographer assigned as her partner, than in investigative journalism. But before long, KJ has a face-to-face encounter with a wolf that changes her and the way she thinks about wolves. 






To enter the drawing:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment
3) Check back to see if you win
Deanna is giving away books in June too--click HERE to pop over and enter.

Creating a Platform
At our ANWA (American Night Writers Association) meeting this month, Heather B. Moore (Author of 9 books--here's her website LINK) talked with us about creating a platform for promoting ourselves as authors and our books. Her ideas fell into the categories of networking, building expertise, creating relationships with readers and promoting your books.

She gave a whole page of ideas for us to think about; here are some highlights:
Networking
• join author groups
• volunteer at conferences
• join a speakers' bureau

Building Expertise
• research background
• visit societies that connect to the topics of your books
• write articles

Creating Relationships with Readers
• blog regularly
• Facebook
• Twitter

Promoting Your Books
• visit groups interested in your books' topics
• make a book trailer
• sometimes you only have 30 days from the time it's out to push it before your publisher moves on to newer books

What are you doing to build your platform?
Or
How do you connect with the authors of books you like?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hey, you won a book!

Russ, Jenni and The Girls win
Rick Walton's book
Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse
and
Nichole Giles
The Chosen One (Carol Lynch Williams)
Let me know where to send the books.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Writers' Picnic

What am I giving away now? The Chosen One (Carol Lynch Williams)

Annnd. . . what's the blurb?  Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. Will she question it when a marriage is arranged for her to her sixty-year-old uncle?







To enter the drawing:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment
3) Check back to see if you win

Deanna is also giving away books this month--click HERE to pop over and enter there too.

Writers' Picnic
Had a great time Wednesday with other writers--not writing.
We had some great food to choose from (the plates were too little).
Then we ate and chatted.


And the kids played.



Great times!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gardening!

What am I giving away now?
Around the House the Fox Chased the Mouse
(Rick Walton)
Annd. . .  what's the blurb? Under the fence, into the barn, out the window. . . this fun prepositional tale will be a hit with your kids.

Genre: Picture Book

To enter the drawing:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment
3) Check back to see if you win

Deanna is also giving away books this month--click HERE to pop over and enter there too.


We Planted a Garden
Yesterday.
Can you name this plant? Here's a hint.
You only need one.

Right zucchini!




Kind of late (a lot) to plant, I know.

So we had to go the insta-garden route
and buy everything in big pots.


Still--I can't wait for the fresh salsa and all things zucchini.
Last year we had a full week where every meal had something zucchini in it. Shrimp and Zucchini? Yup, pretty tasty when deep fried in hushpuppies.


We put a few pretty corners in too.

To win Rick Walton's book
1) be a follower
2) leave a comment
3) check back to see if you won

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two Winners

The winner of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel 
is Donna!



The winner of Paranormalcy
is Carolyn!

Contact me, and I'll get them sent out ASAP.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sugar Fetish

What am I giving away now?  Paranormalcy (Kiersten White)
Annnd. . . what's the blurb?  Are you really normal if your best friend is a mermaid, you hunt vamps and you kiss a shape-shifter? Maybe not, but for Evie that's the life she has. She's being raised by Raquel in a center that bags and tags paranormals for surveillance. Oh, and she's the best at capturing paranormals. Yeah, so not normal.

This is a signed, hard bound book. :)

Can't wait for the next book to come out--Supernaturally. Mark your calendar for July 26th.

To enter the drawing:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment
3) Check back to see if you win

Deanna is also giving away books this month--click HERE to pop over and enter there too.

Sugar Fetish
You've probably noticed I like treats. Did I say like? I mean treasure, adore, cherish, lust.
Anyhoo,
I went cruising for some inspiration for my next attempt. I found these little cuties:

 This looks do-able too:



But this one  


and these are kinda out of my league.


But this cupcake is going to be my next project. Easy-peasy. Regular cupcake. Top with moose. Dip in magic shell. Oh, yes--it will be all chocolate.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Come over and win--

What book am I giving away now?  (dis)Abilities and the Gospel

Annd. . .  what's the blurb?  This book is full of useful information for enlarging our understanding of others, by increasing our knowledge of special needs. It also provides wonderful (easy to find and use) ideas for greater fellowship. The authors have created a resource using real experiences and heartfelt wisdom.
     Although the book is written with the perspective of using it in religious settings, I think this applies to any time we want to treat someone with love and understand, and learn how to work within their challenges.

The subtitle says it best: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ.

Here's a video--oh, wait--grab tissues first.
These young women have learned how to follow Jesus--by loving as he did--and blessing someone else's life.

Trina H. You win the copy of
Trait Based Mini-Lessons for Teaching Writing.
Let me know where to send it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Renae? You Win!


Dear Renae,
You win
Bedtime at the Swamp!
Email me and let me know where to send it.
Oh, yeah, you'll love this one.
Happy reading,
Canda

Things are Changin'

What am I giving away now?  Trait Based Mini-Lessons for Teaching Writing (Megan S. Sloan)

Annnd. . . what's the blub? A whole book of writing lessons for children in grades 2-4. No, you probably won't teach any of these lessons just the way they're written, but it could give you some ideas to springboard from.

Things are Changin'
We are working hard this summer! Normally you think of schools as shutting down in the summer and cranking up again in August. Nope--okay the schools are probably closed, but our team at the district is very busy. And it's a good thing!

Our state is one of many who adopted a curriculum with more rigorous academic standards, and we start training teachers next year (and continue for three years).

I'm on board with the change.

What do I like about it? 
•I like the combination of reading and writing in every lesson (from kindergarten through high school)
•and the emphasis it places on nonfiction as well as fictional texts.
•The lessons require deeper thinking skills and decision making by learners.
•I like the de-emphasis on WORKSHEETS (all caps because it's really a four letter word)
•Grammar is taught in context (I'm sure some publishers will put out more workbooks though) because that's what grammar really is--speaking, listening, writing and reading messages.

If you'd like to win this book, enter the drawing by:
1. be a follower
2. leave a comment
3. check back to see if you won

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blog Improvement

What am I reading giving away now?  Bedtime at the Swamp (Kristyn Crow)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far what's the blurb? So if you find yourself in the swamp being chased by a monster, there's only one person who can save you . . .
Genre: Picture Book

Fun, lyrical bedtime story--love it.

To win this signed copy of Bedtime at the Swamp:
1.  Follow my blog
2.  Leave a comment
3. Check back to see if you won.

Shelly wins Wrong Number--contact me and let me know where to send it. :)

Blog Improvement
I started blogging last fall--it's been quite an experiment. I try new things or add features to my blog based on what I see on blogs I read.

BUT I could really use your advice.

What do you like blogs to look like?
What makes a good blog post?
What should I avoid on my blog?
What are some great ideas you've seen elsewhere?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do you love caprese salad?



What am I reading giving away now? Wrong Number (Rachelle J. Christensen)


Annnd. . . what do I think so far what's the blurb? Is it just a prank or should she call the police and tell them about the strange phone call she received on her way to work?
The body is
          •in a manhole
          •on 33rd
          •Tidmore did the job
This is the fun-chills kind of murder mystery where you are left thinking--yeah, it could happen to me.
Genre: Romantic Suspense

This is a signed copy.  I really enjoyed this story--hope you do.

Do you love caprese salad? 
YES!
My daughter showed me a picture of an individual caprese salad
made in a roma tomato. 


Here's my innovation on that idea.





Olive-Caprese Salad

Cut 2/3 of the way down a grape tomato.

Slice small sections from string cheese.
 Cut basil leaves into ribbons (Yes, it looks like I'll cut my finger, but honesty it is just a poor camera angle. No cooks were injured in the photographing of this salad.)
 Assemble basil around the cheese and stuff into the tomato.
Arrange on service platter with your choice of olives and sprinkle with olive oil.

Impressive huh? And it's easy.
Bon apetito!

Put your name in the drawing to win WRONG NUMBER:
1.  Become a Follower of my blog. ( If you are already a Follower, you can skip to the next step)
2.  Leave a comment.
3.  Check back to see if you won or to sign up for other book give-aways.

More Books to Win
Click here to go over to Deanna's Blog. She's having a Summer Book Party too.

Hey, Liz

Please contact me
to let me know where to send your prize:
Reasonable Doubt (Marcia Mickelson)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Donna Wins!

A New Found Land goes to Donna Weaver.















Let me know where to send it!

The First Five Pages

What am I reading giving away now?  Reasonable Doubt (Marcia Mickelson)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far what's the blurb? A college basketball star was murdered and her finance´ is the suspect.

Genre: Murder Mystery

This is a signed copy.
Writing Tip: The First Five Pages. . . 
Advice given at Storymakers 2010 from Krista Marino of Delacourt Press.
• Amazing first sentence
• Start in the middle of action
• Don't tell too much, readers need questions to move on
• Save physical descriptions of characters until later, work them in where they matter
• Avoid starting with a dream, alarm clock or the weather (see too many of these, your story won't stand out)
• Clean grammar, spelling and punctuation

More Books to Win
Click here to go over to Deanna's Blog. She's having a Summer Book Party too.

3 EASY Steps to win 
1.  Become a Follower of my blog. ( If you are already a Follower, you can skip to the next step)
2.  Leave a comment.
3.  Check back to see if you won or to sign up for other book give-aways.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Natalie wins Possession

Possession (Elana Johnson) goes to Natalie Kay.
Please contact me with an address to send your book to.

Oh, I think you're going to enjoy reading this!
Thanks for coming by my blog.

Summer Book Party Continues

What am I reading giving away now?  New Found Land (Allan Wolf)



Annnd. . . what do I think so far what's the blurb?
 The ideas and experiences of the member of the Corps of Discovery follow their journey through an untamed, fresh wilderness to find an overland route to the Pacific with Lewis & Clark.


Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Emotional Characters 
Have you read a bad story? Probably at least part of a bad story, before you tossed the book in the trash. What makes a bad story? One way might be that the main character doesn't reveal enough of his/her personality. Not just a surface personality, but the the real them--hidden deep under the layers of masks. The characters I like to read about are characters who interpret the events around them, giving me an opportunity to gather evidence that reveals their strengths, weaknesses, biases and dreams.

3 EASY Steps to win New Found Land 
1.  Become a Follower of my blog. ( If you are already a Follower, you can skip to the next step)
2.  Leave a comment.
3.  Check back to see if you won or to sign up for other book give-aways.

More Books to Win
Click here to go over to Deanna's Blog. Today she's giving away The Maze Runner by James Dashner!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Random Pick Generator

April--You win a signed copy of Matched!

I thought I'd share how I get a random selection from the entries on my blog for the drawings:
First, I write the names on little squares of paper.
Next, I fold each one and shake the papers around in my hands for a few seconds, then I drop them on a high chair--yes, high chair.


That's when the magic happens:


video

Possession--It's Out!

If you ordered Possession (Elana Johnson) at 12:01 am on your kindle this morning, you could have finished it by now. I've been waiting a long time (click here to see blog on 3-31-11) with whip-stitched lips and they're about to burst!
Read. 
Hurry. (no bathroom breaks 'till you're done)
Talk to me about it.


Post here if you haven't read it yet: Why do you want to read it? What have you heard?
Or if you've read it: What did you like? What surprised you? What do you still wonder about? 
Either way: What would you ask Alena about her book?


More Books to Win
Click here to go over to Deanna's Blog. She's having a Summer Book Party too.

To Win a Signed Copy of POSSESSION:
1.  become a follower
2.  leave a comment
3. check back to see if you won or to put your name in for other drawings

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gayle wins Willow

Contact me so I can send out your book.
candamortensen [at] yahoo [dot] com

Sugar Cups with Candied Almonds

What am I reading giving away now?  Matched (Ally Condie)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far what's the blurb? Cassia has to decide if perfect is perfect for her. Decisions really haven't been too tough--especially because in her society there aren't many they get to make. What to wear? No. What to do? No. Who to marry? - - - maybe.
Genre: YA Dystopian

Oh--did I mention this is a signed copy!

Here's the cover for the next book in this series--love it!
Sugar Cups with Candied Almonds
When I was little, my mom would make sugar eggs for Easter. They were two halves that were hollow because of the mold. She would leave a hole in one side. Then we decorated them with royal frosting and put a nest with robin eggs inside, sealing the two halves together. 

Here's my innovation on the idea. I used a small votive cup for the mold. Then filled it with Candied Almonds. Here's the recipe for both.

Sugar Cups: 
•Mix 2 cups sugar with 2 teaspoons of highly colored water and press mixture into a mold. 
•They take several days to dry.

Candied Almonds:
•Mix 6 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons cloves, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper. 
•Blanch 1 1/2 cups whole almonds in boiling water for 1 minute. 
•Dab off excess water and toss in sugar mixture to coat.
•Place nuts on a cookie sheet
•Sprinkle with another sugar mixture (1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup sugar)
•These taste best 1-2 days after making them.

More Books to Win
Click here to go over to Deanna's Blog. She's having a Summer Book Party too.

3 EASY Steps to win Matched
1. Become a Follower of my blog. 
2.  Leave a comment. (If it doesn't work here, put it on my Facebook page)
3.  Check back to see if you won or to sign up for other book give-aways.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Marenda you win!

The winner of Teaching Comprehension with Nonfiction Text is Marenda.

One of the winners of a book has not contacted me yet

I really, really want to give it away. It's already in the envelope with stamps, just waiting for your address to be on its merry way.

Critiques

What am I reading giving away now?  Willow (Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan)
Annnd. . . what do I think so far what's the blurb? What happens when creativity runs wild? Art!
Genre: Children's Picture Book

Ooh--I love this book!

Critiques
Aprilynne Pike spoke to our Book Club a couple of months ago and made a statement that became real for me this week. She said the critique that offends you is the one you should pay attention to. The story I've been working on for the last few months opens with the Main Character dead. She has a chance to look back at how that happened. I've shared the story with critique partners in different situations--so about 10 other authors. They all concur--start with how the death happened instead of using a flashblack to show it.

No. I'm the author of this story. I can listen, but ultimately I have to make the decisions and live with them.

Well, I reconsidered it this week. How can TEN great writers all say the same thing and all be wrong? So, I changed it. Read it. Considered it. And it's much better. Yup, they were right.  It's okay that they're all reading this blog now and saying, "Told you so!" I'm happy they were right--it's a stronger hook. Thanks!







More Books to Win
Click here to go over to Deanna's Blog. She's having a Summer Book Party too.

3 EASY Steps to win Willow
1. Become a Follower of my blog. 
2.  Leave a comment. (If it doesn't work here, put it on my Facebook page)
3.  Check back to see if you won or to sign up for other book give-aways.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

And the WINNER is:

The winner of "A Long Way Gone" is Angie. Email me so I can get your book to you.

We went to the Festival of Books today at BYU.

And got books--




















And balloons and snowies

and more books to give away on this blog. Some are signed. . .



Drop by LOTS in June to sign up for the drawings.