Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blog Vacation Packing...

I may have mentioned once or twice that I'm going to Florida in a few days...woo-hoo! I'm already about halfway packed. I've been packing for about three weeks now (like I said, I'm excited).

Now, I need to do some blog packing. As in, preparing blogs for next week when I'm gone This is a Macbook free vacation, I'm just taking my writing journal. We'll have a computer, but I don't plan to do writing. However, I'm sure I'll be checking it a few times a day just in case someone decides to buy my book (ugh, this waiting, the waiting...).

What this means is that I need to prepare stuff now to post while I'm away. Here is where you come in. I'm looking for two things from my audience:

1) Questions
Send me any questions you have that you'd like me to answer (or try to answer). This can be anything from questions about writing, finding an agent, submitting, MFA programs, teaching English to teenagers or anything about my life. I'm not shy...ask away!

2) Guest blog posts
I'd love to feature some of you on my site. I get a lot of traffic because my students (teens!) read these postings. If you have a blog that you'd like to share with me, send it my way. I'll try to post some while I'm away and link to your site (more traffic for you).

You can post your questions in my comment section or e-mail them directly to me. You can e-mail your guest blog entries to me at (rachelealpine@gmail.com). If I choose your blog, I'll notify you ahead of time. If I get a lot of them, I may save some for a later date.

Please share or ask questions, I'd love to feature some new voices or ideas on my blog! Thanks in advance!

Send these no later than Friday at 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Chance At Redemption

One of the bigger revisions I made before sending my book out on submission was to rework one of the main characters, Kate's boyfriend Jack. Jack ended up being a pretty awful person in my book. He didn't always treat Kate well and in my first versions, he was a pretty big asshole. Lina (my agent!) told me that I didn't need to make every one the villian. We talked about how people can do bad things, but they don't need to be bad.

I thought it would be pretty hard to make my story work without Jack being the way he is. I thought about it for a few days, trying to figure out how characters can fall and then have redemtion. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that's what I wanted to say with my writing. I didn't want unlikable characters. I didn't want to take away my characters second chances. I wanted characters who could change. Characters who realized their mistakes and didn't just make choices without remorse.

I rewrote a large part of the book looking at Jack in a different way. I started to understand why he made this mistake and through the analysis of his character, I realized that he could still be good. He had his second chances and I gave him the opportunity to possibe become a different person. Whether or not he chose those options, you'll have to wait to read the book to find out. However, he's no longer a villian with his back up against the wall and no where to turn. I gave him secret passages and trap doors to get out of the situations he'd created. He surprised me with his choices and it made my book a lot stronger.

My students and I discuss a quote from Romeo and Juliet that I think fits this idea perfectly, "Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied/And vice sometime by action dignified."

Villians don't always need to stay villians, just like good people can sometimes turn bad. It's something to think about and a new way of looking at your writing.

Having said that....here is a scene I deleted in which I had Jack cheating on Kate....

IT WAS just a flash of red next to a flash of blue.

Blue like the middle of a flame sparking in the dark or a grape not yet ripe.

The red flared up like blood.

It was only a flash of red and a flash of blue, but it cut deeper than any knife could.

It punched harder than any prized fighter would.

It bite harder, pinched meaner, slapped with a sting that throbbed longer, ached rawer, pulsed stronger, rubbed me deeper than any other image I’d ever seen in my life.

It sat on the tip of my nose, engraved itself in the back of my brain and clung to both sides of my head, shaking me until my insides rattled.

It was just a flash of red next to a flash of blue, but that was all I needed to distinguish the last of the flame inside of me, fighting to survive, fighting to live.

It was just a flash of red next to a flash of blue, Jack and Haley, Jack and Haley, Jack and Haley.

It was just a flash of red next to a flash of blue, but the color was so bright it was able to end all hope I held inside, to destroy my world, destroy my will, destroy me…


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Monday Morning Randomness

First...thanks for all the great comments about commenting! It looks like the best place to reply to all of you is in my comment section, so that's where I'll be writing back. Make sure to visit once in awhile if you post something to me.

This weekend I spent a bit of time deciding exactly what books to bring to Florida (5 days and counting!). I decided to pack five, because my annual trip to Florida involved pretty much nothing but laying next to the pool or on the beach and reading. I also plan to stop whatever I'm reading next Tuesday when I run out and buy Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Uhm...are you as excited for it as I am? Seriously, I'm bouncing up and down right now thinking about it.

Here's the books I decided on. They're all obscure titles but come highly recommended from different places (and a few are from publishing houses where editors have my book).


I'm racing through Before I Fall so I have it done before I go. It's not hard to get through it fast, though, because it's awesome. Seriously. Go buy it now and READ IT! I think the best part is that it's long. I love getting into a good book that you don't finish in a few days. I like to spend some time with my books.



And how about this rocking bookmark my cousin's four year old son, Everett, made?

You can tell I'm a reader because my main squeeze and I looked at a house today that we're thinking of putting a bid on. I made him go into the library so I could check it out. Don't you know how important it is to have a good library near your house? This one is a block away from the house...a dream come true.

In other news...you can tell I only have four more days until Spring Break. I'm getting giddy and busting out the red glitter nail polish. I'm super conservative when it comes to stuff like nail polish, make-up, clothes or jewelry during the school year (my students notice everything), but I wanted something fun. I've been writing a lot lately, and I love how sparkly my nails are now when I type.


I hope your week is starting with something as great as sparkly nail polish! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

To My Readers...

I'm going to hit one hundred blog followers soon, which is huge for me (and will result in a super duper contest, believe me...I'm already planning it!). I only started this blog a few months ago and didn't even know if I'd get any readers.

I can't tell you all how much I look forward to your comments each day, how I think about what might interest you when I'm writing my blogs and how excited I get when my number of followers and return visitors go up. You all are awesome and I couldn't of imagined how supportive everyone is in the blog world.

In other words, I wanted to say thank you for reading, following and commenting on my blog. Hopefully you find it interesting, useful, and amusing.

While I love my comments, I never know how to reply back. Sometimes I write back in the comment sections, sometimes I'll go to your blogs and sometimes I'll just enjoy the comments without saying anything.

I need you to let me know what you're looking for...
Do you look for a reply?
How do you want me to reply? Would you like me to write back in the comments, reply on your blog or send an e-mail?
Do you have a blog? Link to it in the comments; I'd love to check it out (or I may be reading it already!).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I love my readers and want to become more interactive in my conversations with you. Thanks again for reading; you've made this blog something I look forward to doing every single day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Confession: I'm A Book Snob

Okay, I have a confession to make.

I'm a new book snob.

I'm not sure when this happened. I think maybe after I got a job where I was making real money that I could spend or perhaps when I started writing and realized how important it was to support writers by buying their books. Regardless of where it started, I am addicted to brand new book.

Exhibit A:
I place a $25.00+ dollar order about every two weeks to Amazon.com (Shhh! Don't tell my main squeeze). I love how they recommend other books under the books you order. It's such a good marketing ploy because I'm always buying one of those books too.

Exhibit B:
I can't walk into a bookstore without coming out with a book. I'm lucky because I got the educator discount which makes buying a book a little bit cheaper.

Exhibit C:
A student recommended a book to me yesterday called Montana 1954. It sounds often (the themes remind me of my own book Canary). I asked if I could borrow her copy and she dropped it off today. Well, it was old and kind of dingy. But...you could still read it easily. What do you think I did? Ordered a new copy off Amazon because I wanted a new copy of it.

Exhibit D:
I try to rationalize my excessive buying of books with the idea that I'm using them in my classroom, but the truth is that I have stacks and stacks of books at home. A lot of the time they don't even make it to my classroom. I like surrounding myself with good novels while I'm writing, it motivates me.

All this evidence shows that I'm guilty, but I wasn't always a new book snob. I went to the library so much when I was young that the librarians all knew my name and I didn't need my card (they just looked me up in the computer). I also worked at the library in high school. I am a firm supporter for libraries, and I even wrote a letter to my governor when he started cutting hours and closing libraries in Ohio.

I have no doubt that when I have kids, I'll be back at the libraries all the time, but for now, give me a brand new book. There is no arguing that there's nothing better than the smell of a brand new book!

What about you? Are you a book snob?

ADDITION: Jennifer Hubbard is taking donations on her blog (and links to several other blogs participating). She will donate fifty cents to her local library for every comment she gets. I may be a book snob, but I also know how important libraries are! Please donate a comment!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

YA Literature As A Savior

Part of the reason I like to write YA literature is because I remember how confusing and hard it was going through those years of my life. I can still close my eyes and vividly connect to how I felt during those times.

Books were my savior during those years. I turned to them to help find answers, escape or to understand that other people were going through a lot of the same things that I was.

Books are so powerful and I believe they can sometimes save a person when nothing else around them can. I write because I want to speak to my readers and let them know that they aren't going through things alone. I want them to see that they're not the only ones going through these emotions and that they can (and will) make it through okay (and usually stronger).

I was paging through my elementary school diary and found an entry from when I was eleven and then when I was twelve. I think the entries below speak volumes for how with all the pressures I see my students going through now, teens today need honest well written literature that they can grab on to when everything else around them is spinning.


We Just Needed A Break....

My writing and I broke up for awhile when my book went on submission. I got all insecure and didn't think that my writing was deserving of me. After my book was on sub for two weeks, I started to loose faith in my writing. I tried to make it wrote, I shared new excerpts with you, but it just wasn't like it used to be.

My writing and I talked about it and we decided it was best to "take a break." We didn't see other people or go out and get wild with our single friends. We just spent some time away.

But....it's official. We're back together! We're back, we're back, we're back!

I've written 57 pages in the last week for my new novel and it's just like our relationship wasn't even on a break! I'm writing again, the ideas are flowing and I feel compulsed to write at all hours.

This is good stuff, folks! Very good stuff!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Submission Free Weekend

This weekend I made it a point to fill it with activities guaranteed to help me relax and not worry about the fact that my book has been on submission for five weeks (ugh! That seems like so long...too long when I read about books that get bought after being on submission for two weeks). I pushed the worries and stress of being on submission out of my mind and had a great weekend. I recommend a stress free weekend to all!

Here's the summary (complete with links so you can follow me around on my weekend)...

Friday:
*I headed to Old Navy after school to take advantage of the 30% Friends and Family coupon I had for the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy (I may or may not have already taken advantage of it the night before online!). I got the deal of the century on boyfriend fit pocket tees that were marked down to five dollar (three-fifty with the discount!)

*My main squeeze and I went to Pizzazz, our favorite hole in the wall pizza place. I love it because they make a cheeseless pizza for me loaded with veggies and sauce so you don't miss the cheese. I eat low fat, so it's nice when I find a restaurant that has healthy options.

*We headed to downtown Willoughby for dessert at Oliver Twist. I splurged on chocolate, which kind of negates the healthy pizza I got!

Saturday:
*I slept in until ten (okay, who am I kidding...I sleep in every weekend morning. I love to sleep!) and then went to get a 90 minute massage. It was my Valentine gift from my main squeeze and it was just glorious.

*My main squeeze and I headed out to Legacy Village for some shopping and then dinner at Stir Crazy (another favorite because they'll make my stir fry with chicken broth instead of oil).

*Talked main squeeze into going to Joseph Beth bookstore (even though we were heading to Borders). This is my favorite bookstore in Cleveland...loves it!

*We finished the night with a trip to Borders because it was educator's discount weekend (which meant 30% all purchases). I loaded up on new YA titles and got a few gifts for a special family member who is turning one in less than a month!

*Tried to talk my main squeeze into getting Mitchells Ice Cream. They have my favorite vanilla frozen yogurt in the world and since moving from the west side to the east side of Cleveland, it's no longer in walking distance (in fact, it's about a twenty mile drive). He didn't believe that I truly wanted ice-cream at 9:45, so we skipped it. I talked him into running through the McDonalds drive-thru because I really was craving an ice-cream cone.

Sunday:
* I met my mom and sister at Aurora Farms Outlets to again take advantage of the Friends and Family coupon at Banana Republic and Gap outlets. Let's just say that my sister owns stock in the Gap, and I think I helped make it go up with all my purchases!

*And then....my main squeeze, sister and I went to see DAVID GRAY! I love love love him and he didn't disappoint. We had front row seats in the mezzanine at the Cleveland State Theatre. It's small and the perfect venue to see a singer. He was amazing and I don't even mind how exhausted I am this morning! I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I love bands from the UK. Damien Rice is my favorite singer of all time and the best concert I've ever been to in my life (if you don't know him, check out his music) and next month I'm going to see The Swell Season.

It was the perfect weekend, and I didn't stress at all. What about you? What's something great you did this weekend? Share!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Get That Weak Stuff Outta Here!

I'm sharing an excerpt from a draft of my novel last January (early 2009) that went out to agents. I only sent a few queries out (to test the waters...gah! My book was not ready) and was offered representation, but the agent wanted me to change some aspects about my book that I felt very strongly about. It was a hard decision back then, but now I'm so glad I held strong to changes that I felt would make my book something different than it was. I have an amazing agent now and felt no regrets after I declined my first offer of representation (and a few more after if you can believe it...what was I thinking!?).

However, before I sent my book out to new agents, I made some major revisions in the book (see this post). I'm a bit embarrassed about this first version because Kate, my main character, is nothing like the girl she is now. In the first version, she was weak and let herself be pushed around by her boyfriend. She turned ignored things that were wrong and allowed herself to be treated like dirt. She wasn't what I wanted a girl character to be like, and I realized that when I worked on revisions all summer.

Kate is now strong, sure of herself and an individual. She makes poor choices in my book, but she isn't a weak person. I love her now and have no idea who the wimpy girl in my early excerpt below was...

I would like to think that we all have those moments.

Those times when you want to believe everything is good, everything is pure and all intentions are true.

You feel safe, secure, maybe even loved, and you want to think this moment is going to last.

That you are a part of something that can only get better.

With everything that was going on in my life; I wanted to think that Jack and I were still good, that I could still count on him.

That’s why I ignored what happened between Jack and I.

That’s why I went to school the next day, found him near his locker and walked to his class with him like everything was the same.

That’s why when Jack didn’t bring up the parties again, I didn’t even and when he told me he was busy Saturday night, I nodded and let him be busy without me.

That’s why when Jack started becoming more busy during the week and soon on the weekends,

I told him I understood.

That’s why I didn’t ask why he wasn’t inviting me to be busy with him.

That’s why I stopped asking Jack things.

That’s why I took the questions that I had rattling around in my head, keeping me up at night, and pushed them down deeper, letting them get lost with all my fears about Brett.

I

felt

Jack

slipping

a

w

a

y

so I didn’t try to push Jack, I didn’t try to demand things or ask things. I tiptoed around him on glass slippers, careful not to crack through the ice that was our relationship.

There were times when I wanted to say more, times when it would be fair to ask why he turned when I saw him coming down the hallway at school or why I heard people talking about a party he was at, when he had told me he was at home obeying the curfew my dad enforced. I wanted to ask him what was going on, because I knew something was going on, but maybe that something wasn’t what I wanted to know about, so as messed up as it sounded, it was easier to ignore things, to pretend the bad feelings I were having were nothing.

What about you? Have you included things in your book that you later look back and wonder why you did that?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You're My Inspiration

Vania has an awesome blog full of her photographs. She does book covers, promo packs and trailers. If (when!) my book sells to a publisher, I'm going to do whatever I can to have her do a photo shoot for my book. I love the bookmarks that she creates. She captures the essence of the novels and the pictures alone tell a story.

I write in journals before I type out my books, and I paste pictures on the pages as a way to find inspiration and encourage ideas. I've been pulling pictures for my newest book, but only have a few so far.

However, I have the pictures for Canary (remember that book I wrote, that's on submission? Yeah, I've kind of been blocking it from my mind because the waiting to hear back from editors is TORTURE!). I kept them bookmarked because each time I started a new journal, I repasted the inspiration pictures. Here are the ones that I used:

This first picture goes along with the title of my book...it's background on my computer right now too!

This picture has to do with the title of my book and the theme:

Basketball is the center of my main character Kate's world. She grew up watching her dad coach high school basketball:


Kate and her dad used to play basketball outside every night. It was the way that they were connected, but when her mom dies and her dad shuts down, they stop playing basketball. The loss of this time with her dad affects Kate greatly.


Kate's dad lands a job at Beacon, an elite private school. I picture Beacon to look a lot like the oldest dorm at Kenyon College:


The school might not be like Gossip Girl, but I like the uniforms that they wear:

Beacon's school colors are maroon and yellow. I pictured all the boys wearing ties like this:

Kate's brother, Brett, enlists in the Army. She starts to pull away from her friends because she fears Brett will get hurt:

Kate swims at night as a way to cope with her mom's death. I love the images of a pool lit up at night.



What about you? What images inspire your writing? Share these images or link up to your own blog with pictures.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Can You Crush on Someone's Writing?

When I was little I use to crush on people bad...real bad...as evidenced by the dramatic blog posting over the younger man (he was in fifth grade, I was in sixth...gasp!). I used to fall head over heels for movie stars growing up and I was convince more than once that I would marry a few of them.

Please observe the evolution of my crushes....

The Early Years

I kind of had a thing for cartoons. I loved Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks. I think I found him so attractive because he went for Jeanette, who always carried a stack of books with her. Sadly, I'm over him. I'm not digging the make-over he got for the new Chipmunk movies. He totally sold out for Hollywood.

Cartoons weren't the only thing I liked when I was young. I was also attracted to older men. My sister and I grew up listening to Micheal Jackon (I even had a MJ Barbie doll complete with a white glove you could take off), and I was convinced that he was the man for me. This year for my 31st birthday I went with twelve of my friends to see a MJ impersonator band at House of Blues!


The Grade School Years

Ricky Schroder first caught my eye in Silver Spoons. Well, maybe it wasn't him, but more the train he had that you could ride on. I mean, come on, who wouldn't want a guy with a train running through his house? And perhaps, I was a bit of a gold digger. He had the best toys! I practiced my early writing skills by drafting letters to him professing my love. I wish I still had copies of those gems!


I quickly gave up Ricky when Fred Savage came on the scene. I also wrote letters to him and sent them! I still have an autographed picture from him hidden somewhere. I remember carrying the picture around in my bookbag. Oh geez!


Jonathan Brandis was probably my biggest crush. The Neverending Story was my favorite movie growing up. When the sequal came out, it seemed right that I would give my heart to the boy in the movie.

I was crazy about Jonathan Brandis. I begged my mom to buy me a leather jacket like the one he wore in Lady Bugs and I made a giant bulletin board full of pictures of him.


The High School Years

My best friend and I were crazy about Jared Leto and Gavin Rosdale together. I am still convinced that My So Called Life is the best show ever made and the two of us ventured (braved!) a Bush concert to see Gavin sing.



The last major crush I had was Joshua Jackson from Dawson's Creek. Okay, so maybe I watched the show while I was in college, maybe I had the soundtrack to the show (and till listen to it sometimes when I write) and maybe I watch DVDs of it once in awhile. Shhh!


Now, fast forward to the present day. My main squeeze holds all the room in my heart and I've given up my crushes on celebrities, but something happened the other day.

I got really excited when I realized the newest book by an author I love is coming out in less than a month. And...not only is it coming out in less than a month, it comes out just in time for my Florida trip. I love having the perfect vacation book. I went and reported this to my friend.
"You have such an author crush," she said.

"A what?" I asked.

"An author crush. You love this author."

Love? Well, maybe not in the way I love my main squeeze or how I loved Fred Savage and Ricky Schroder.

But maybe she's right, because I do love this author's writing. I think he's brilliant and I could only dream of writing as good as he does. I follow his blog, his vblog and read any article that I can. Seriously, his writing is awesome and if you can have a crush on the way someone writes, I guess I'm crushing on his words!

So I must complete my evolution of a crush by listing my list one...


John Green!

He's awesome! He's amazing! He deserves all these exclamation marks!

And if you haven't read him, you have been living an uncompleted life. Check him out. I have a feeling you might start crushing on his words too.
What about you? Who are your author crushes???

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Boo Hole

I think I've posted about To Kill a Mockingbird before. It's one of my favorite books. I love the story and Atticus is one of the most incredible and upstanding characters I've ever read about in literature. I teach it with my students and read the book over and over again.

Harper Lee broke silence four years ago and wrote an open letter to Oprah to be published in O magazine. She writes about growing up with an endless supply of books in her house and how students are more into electronics today than reading. She argues that no one wants to curl up with a cold hard computer, while she spent many nights up late with a book. I couldn't agree with her more. I use the letter with my students and we talk about whether they agree with Harper Lee or not about students and how much they read. It's always a great and interesting conversation.

A year or two ago I stumbled across this website by a woman who creates Boo Holes.

Boo Holes are holes that she finds in trees much like the one Jem and Scout encounter in To Kill a Mockingbird. She plays "Boo Radley" and hides gifts in these trees for the children in her neighborhood to find. She encourages people who visit her website to do the same and send her pictures of these Boo holes.

I love this idea! What a great way to pass on a part of this story to others. The woman who started the site has a list of items you can buy to put in the Boo Hole. I'm thinking you could find some fun stuff at flea markets, craft shows or magic/hobby shops.
So what are you waiting for? The weather is getting nicer and kids are going to be outside more and more. How about looking around your neighborhood for a Boo Hole? I know I'm going to start looking out for one. What would you put in your Boo Hole?

"Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad..."

~Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Like My Characters Flawed

I've been working on my new book, tentatively titled The Field, and I'm really liking where it's taking me. It 's based off of a 35 page short story I wrote for my MFA program. I thought it would be hard to take a story with a concrete ending and turn it into a novel, but it's working. A short story has to be condensed and the pace should move quickly. I now have the chance to slow things down and spend more times on scenes or include parts that I had to cut out.

The only problem is that my main character isn't the nicest. Her sister is dying and instead of grieving, she's jealous. She's always been jealous of her sister and now in the last weeks of her sister's life, these feelings intensify to the point where she does some pretty awful things. Things that I'm something shocked about in my own writing. Scenes that make me ashamed for both my character and the world I've created in the story.

However, there's redemption for my main character. She has reasons for why she does what she does and the story isn't about the negative relationship with her sister, but in the end (if I execute it right), one of strong love and ferocious caring for a person you're going to lose.

I think it will work, even if my main character pisses me off at times.

Do you ever create characters you don't like? Do you give your character flaws so that they aren't perfect? Is this hard for you to do?

I haven't shared in awhile, so I'm including a scene from the piece. Enjoy and happy Friday!

When Amelia first got sick, she started running at night. My dad, who had moved back home after the diagnosis and was sleeping in a guest room as if to let us know that he was in fact just visiting, said matter or fact, “It’s because she can’t sleep, just like your mom.”

Dad believed my sister’s night became day and oftentimes, her life never turned to the hours of sleep. I asked him if he had the same feelings and tried to tell him about my own nightmares that kept me awake, but they evaporated in the air. He had already left the room and I found myself talking to myself.

I knew the truth, though. Amelia didn’t run at night because she couldn’t sleep; she ran because she didn’t want to sleep.

“There’s going to be a time when I won’t have the energy to run anymore,” she confessed to me when I found her hiding in the mudroom, bent over her tennis shoes, lacing them up quickly. She had put a finger to her lip and squatted down, nodding at me to do the same. My mom was looking for her, wandering slowly through the house and it seemed like she was the one who needed to be found. “Tell her I’m gone; I’m already running.”

I nodded and she was off, her shadow dark and racing against a sky that was even darker. When she rounded the corner, I went inside, closed the door and dead bolted it. I turned off the light over the front awning, making our house a black unwelcoming hole against the candles that burned from the miracle seekers in our fields. Sometimes I had wished my sister would just run and run and never come home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Take Me To A Tropical Island STAT!

I'm trying to keep my head above water right now...the grading period is ending (which means I've been pulling some late late nights grading papers), I'm away from my classroom for a workshop and I have parent teacher conferences tomorrow night.

This is me right now...


How classy is it that I grade in my pearls? You can always use a little fancy in your life!

Please forgive me for the lack of posting. I promise I'll be back on Friday, but right now I must neglect my blog. I'm so sorry!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Library Cougar

Remember when I shared my diary?

Especially some of those great questions I created before my first boy/girl party? Apparently, I was nervous about someone turning off the lights at the boy girl party.


Well, I found a good entry to share with you today. It's full of adolescent angst and the trauma of "loving" someone who is younger than you...and someone you met at the library!

"If only I was born 1 year later my life would be the best. I met a boy named Jason -. He's so cute! Right when I saw him I knew I liked him. I never did believe in love at first sight but now I do. I know he likes me too but theres one big problem. He's going into 5th grade and I'm going into 6th grade. See I first met him at the Rad (read and discussion) club at the library. Every once in a-while he'd smile at me or I'd smile at him...."

I'm not sure what's more funny, that I fell in love "at first sight" at the library or that I believed I sketched a realistic picture of this boy:

Uhm, seriously?

I was in love with Ronald McDonald!

Nothing like robbing the cradle at the library! I was a cougar at the ripe old age of eleven!

Why I Write Young Adult Literature

I often try to explain to people why I write young adult literature. Why I'm so drawn to teenagers and their experiences. The voice of my characters have always been one of a teen, even when I write short pieces in my MFA program.

I think the tribute last night on the Oscars to John Hughes helps give voice to my reasons for writing Young Adult literature.

If you have a minute, watch it. It's amazing....





Be sure to check back tomorrow...I plan on sharing more of my teenage years with you when I realize some more pages of my diary! You know you can't miss that!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Reading in a Snuggie

I flew through two books this past week. I just got an order of new ones from Amazon, and I have a feeling that I'll be up late reading the next few nights. I love when I have a stack of good books to read!

Book Number Eight:
The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) 284 pages
I already raved about this book, but I'll rave about it again. I can't believe it took me so long to pick it up and read. I devoured the book (ha, ha, do you get the lame pun?). I think I'm going to save Catching Fire for my Florida trip, but I'm not sure I'll be able to hold out!


Book Number Nine:
Beautiful (Amy Reed) 240 pages
This was a heartbreakingly beautiful book. I always have a soft spot for YA writers who have a MFA, because I am one. Amy Reed crafted a novel that is at times tough to read. It reminds me a lot of the movie Thirteen. I think what made this book so tragic was that they heroine wasn't even in high school, so her downward spiral into drugs, drinking and sex has an even stronger impact on how it can destroy a person.

And how much do you love this cover? It's AMAZING!

I'm not sure what my next book is going to be, but I do know that I'll be reading it in style.

Why?

Because I'm going to Cavs Snuggie night! The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to break the world record for the most people wearing snuggies at the same time. I can't even handle how funny this is going to be.

Seriously, you'll all be jealous of my Guinness Book of World Records certificate that I'll be receiving for helping break this record tonight!

Only in Cleveland can you do something as crazy as this!


Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Room of My Own

There was a family vacation that I remember vividly. A whole bunch of my relatives rented some condos at Crystal Mountain, a ski and golf resort in Michigan, and stayed for a week. It was a wonderful place, and I started thinking about it the other night.


I thought it would be a great place for a writer's retreat, a place to go for a week or so and write. A writer's vacation.

Until I found this and wanted to just move there...

A condo for sale nestled at the bottom of the mountains in the resort. How amazing it it!?

Can't you just imagine yourself writing in here?

Drinking tea and revising in this kitchen?

Curling up on this porch and reading over your manuscript?

Going to sleep here and plotting ideas for the next day?


I am insanely jealous of Laurie Halse Anderson's writing cottage in the woods behind her house.



How amazing would it be to have a place like this to go to and write everyday? Laurie's writing cottage is incredible!


The condo at Crystal Mountain is just a dream and I can't imagine building something like Anderson's writing cottage, but I may be getting closer to a writer's retreat than I think.

My Main Squeeze and I have been house shopping. This weekend we'll be looking at a house on a large wooded lot. It's not anything like the spaces above, but the house has an additional garage that is heated, has electricity and is wired for Internet. I could make this little writer's retreat cute, right?
It also has an outdoor porch with a fireplace.

I think this house was made for a writer...let's hope we like the rest of it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I May Be Plotting To Take Over The World And You Wouldn't Even Know It

If you've been following my blog, you know that I like to knit. My mom taught me when I was younger and it's a great way to get rid of my stress.

I knit while I watch TV. I'm usually on the couch and my Main Squeeze sits on our chair. We're about five feet away from each other (remember this fact, it will be important in a minute).

This year I've knitted a lot of little projects like baby blankets...

Scarves...
Hats...
Socks...
Writer's Gloves...However, I also worked on a big project.

This lounge hoodie I just finished...

I put it on the other day to show my Main Squeeze.

Do you want to know what he said?

"When did you make that?"

Seriously?

Remember how I said we sit and watch TV on the couch and the chair...which are only FIVE FEET away from each other?

He really missed me knitting for months to make a sweater THIS BIG?!


A sweater so big that I have to bend down to button it!



It's nice to know that I can plot to take over the world with my Main Squeeze sitting next to me. If he didn't notice me knitting a sweater this big, my plot for world domination will most likely go unnoticed by him!