Friday, March 25, 2011

Favorite Childhood Series

Uhm....have you heard the big news????

Sweet Valley Confidential is coming out next week! It's the story of the Sweet Valley characters (you know, Elizabeth and Jessica and their so called perfect size 6 figures) and what happened to them ten years after the series ended.

I. Can't. Wait.

I LOVED those books (both Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley Kids) and am openingly admitting that I plan to buy the book.

Time Magazine came out with this article today about the top 10 children's series that we want to come back. The link starts at 10, so view it backwards.

Uhm....number 2 is totally my FAVORITE series ever. I'm pretty sure I have every book in the series tucked away in my mom's attic.

What about you? What is your favorite series of childhood books? Which one do you want to see making a return. And will you be buying Sweet Valley Confidential?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Writer's Workout

There have been a lot of days lately when I'll come home from teaching and conveniently ignore my workout to write my book.

I'm feeling the guilt.

I'm pumping my new book out and am excited to work on it in the afternoons, but I know I need to get my butt in gear and also start riding my exercise bike again. I have a wedding dress to look good in, y'all!

So I decided to check out what a "writer's workout" would be. I used some online calculators and this is what I came up with according to my height, weight and age....

29 calories burned an hour

46 calories burned an hour

17 calories an hour

Pacing back and forth (trying to come up with an idea):
87 calories an hour

Laughing (when I refresh my inbox every second and expect an e-mail to magically appear):
1.3 calories a minute

There you have it! The writer's workout. Now go get in "writing" shape!

Monday, March 14, 2011

My New Writing Companion!

While I was in graduate school at Boston University, I had one of the best roommates in the world.

Sage, the wonder dog!

She was my roommates' dog and I got to help raise her from a little puppy.

Ever since, I've been obsessed with Wheaten Terriers. I've waited patiently for years and years through apartments and then a condo. We finally got a house and now I get a wheaten of my own!

This is Cherry and my puppy when she was less than an hour old!

And here she is cuddling up to her mama on a cold winter's night....

I get to bring her home in less than four weeks...awwww! I can't wait!

We're trying to pick a name, and I really want something literary. So far my favorites are Harper, Radley or Salinger. What do you think? Do you have any good ideas?

How about ways to make four weeks fly by because a month has never seemed so long away!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some Thoughts About Japan

I am saddened by the news of the disaster in Japan today.

I was lucky enough to travel to Japan a few years ago through the Fulbright Memorial Fund. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The people there were so kind and welcoming and I won't ever forget the time I spent there.

I was there for three weeks during the school year (my school was awesome enough to allow this to happen) and my students followed my adventures on a blog I created for the trip. The blog hasn't been updated since I got back, but if you want to read about the country and my time there you can find it here. You should start at the beginning of the blog to follow my adventures if you do decide to read it. There's some great pictures. The only thing I ask is to ignore my typos on it. I tried to update it every day there and usually I was on a Japanese keyboard writing stuff. That was any adventure within itself!

Luckily, my host family is okay, but there are a lot of people who aren't. The country needs your positive thoughts and prayers right now. If you can help in a monetary way, author Maureen Johnson is doing an awesome thing through SHELTERBOX. An organization that builds emergency housing for people in the midst of disasters. You can read more about it here, or on Twitter. The Red Cross is also making it easy to donate through texting. All you have to do is text REDCROSS to 90999. Information for donating to the Red Cross is here.

If you haven't read Heidi Kling's Sea, yet, please do so. It's a beautiful young adult novel about tsunami relief and shows you the importance of becoming involved.

The news today is devastating, but I know that the power of people coming together to help can be amazing so I remain hopeful.

Shrine at a Japanese Temple
Tokyo Fish Market
Japanese Elementary School
Shrine in my Host Family's House
Staying at a Japanese Hotel (where we had to wear kimonos and sandals)
Sea of Japan

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIVERGENT Winner! And Kindle Covers!

Wow! I had so many entries in the DIVERGENT arc contest, but seriously, this book is so great that I understand why.

I used a random number generator and it gave me number 9. Number 9 belonged too....


Woo hoo!!!

I'm sending an e-mail your way...congrats! :)

Remember the Kindle case that I posted last week that my mom made?

Well, now you can get one too!

She listed a few on Etsy and is making more as we speak.

Her shop is called whitedogblackdog after our two terriers Mcgee and Libby! She's still working on making the shop look pretty, but the first cases are listed there.

If you like what you see and want something different, contact her or shoot me over an e-mail and she can work with you. I love my case (and the fact that it looks like a cute clutch).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Queen of Procrastination

Here's a huge time suck if you want to procrastinate from writing. It's crazy addictive.

We often use this method to settle disputes in my classroom. I know, I know...very legit. I employ the highest forms of justice while teaching!
I won't tell you what it is, I'll let you discover it for yourself. But don't say that I didn't warn you!

Click here if you dare!

And don't forget that I'll close my DIVERGENT advance reader copy contest tonight at midnight. Enter now if you haven't yet. The book rocks!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Best Cover Ever!

I seem to be on a Lord of the Flies kick. This post is going to have my second mention of the book this week.

I just discovered Libba Bray's new book Beauty Queens. How I did not know about this, I'm not sure. Seriously. Why is no one talking about it?

Here's the cover...

Waaaa! I mean, awesome is this!?!

And here's her description of it, "I'm writing a book about a bunch of beauty queens whose plane crashes on a deserted island. It's Lord of the Flies meets Lost but with a bitchin' talent portion and lots of sequins. Stay tuned."

My mind cannot even behold the amazingness of this. In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die."

It doesn't come out until the end of March, but in the meantime, if you haven't ever listened to her Printz acceptance speech, you must. It's hilarious...

And don't forget to enter my DIVERGENT arc contest. The contest closes on SUNDAY at MIDNIGHT! Each time you re-tweet, blog or Facebook, you get more entries. You can let me know if the comments if you do! Good luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Book That Helps You Shed Pounds

I'm a member of an awesome Cleveland YA book club (well, maybe part time, since I can't ever seem to make a meeting during the school year). We have some awesome writers and writers to be in the group. These past two weeks, two of there books have come out. Leah Clifford's A Touch Mortal and the Lisa and Laura Roecker's Liar Society.

I was lucky enough to win Lisa and Laura's arc contest a few weeks ago. I got a stack of totally awesome books that have found a well loved home in my classroom.

I was ecstatic when I got my arc of Liar Society, but...because I also teach and take MFA classes, I couldn't get to the book right away. So I passed it on to my students.

They haven't given it up. It's been making the rounds in my classroom.

So when it came out on Tuesday, I knew I had to have my own copy. It was calling to me on my Kindle.

I downloaded it today, and let me tell's the best exercise tool out there!

My main squeeze got me this awesome tool for my bike (the same one Lance Armstrong uses) so that I can ride it inside. Essentially, it turns it into a spinning bike.

I love riding it, but it can get tedious (okay, who am I kidding...all forms of exercise to me is tedious!). And then I started reading this book. I rode and read and suddenly I had been on the bike for fourteen minutes and had read three chapters. I kept riding and my workout flew by.

Woo-hoo! A book so good it makes you forget that you're exercising! If that's not a great book endorsement, I don't know what is!

P.S. The book club picture is compliments of Christina Lee....check out her blog!

And don't forget to enter my DIVERGENT arc contest. I'll pick a winner a week from today. Each time you re-tweet, blog or Facebook, you get more entries. You can let me know if the comments if you do! Good luck!