Friday, November 30, 2012

And November Ends

It seems like this month just got started, but here we are. It's the last day of November and December is just hours away.

It's been a busy month. A whole lot of people participated in Nanowrimo, and made their goals of 50k words in a month. Congratulations to everyone who participated. I didn't participate because I was in the middle of Wrath of Hades and I didn't want to start anything new. But I did finish the draft and am currently in the middle of rewrites/edits.

I had two really AWESOME book reviews this month! First was Caitlin's review at her blog, The YA Bookworm and then Samantha's review at her blog, The Secret Life of a Bookworm. If you have checked out the reviews or the blogs of these young ladies, you need to do so. Thank you Caitlin and Samantha!!! I know how much time it takes to stop what your doing and read a book.

I was also a guest blogger over at Beckie's blog, Bittersweet Enchantment. I talked about mythology and how I got the idea for Guardian of Atlantis. There is also a book giveaway going on at Beckie's blog. So if you want to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Guardian of Atlantis, you need to hurry over there and enter. The giveaway is only open until December 5.

Guardian of Atlantis is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both ebook and paperback. Today, I ventured into Kobo land. The ebook should be live in a day or two. So for those of you who don't have Kindles or Nooks, there is now an epub format you'll be able to buy. So watch the Kobo store.

This month I started the the Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) feature. And I think it's going really well. No one's told me otherwise. LOL!

Thanksgiving holidays went really smooth. They were just too short, like most holidays are. Now everyone's thinking about Christmas. I'm a little sad this year. It may be my son's last Christmas at home. I'll know more in a couple of weeks.

Onward to December!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

AWESOME Book Review

Check out the AWESOME review Samantha Stewart gave Guardian of Atlantis over at her blog, The Secret Life of a Bookworm.

Thank you Samantha!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser #4

From chapter 2 of Wrath of Hades:


“Now, we’re back to the insignificant human taunt. Personally, it’s not much of an insult. But does your mate know that you think humans are insignificant? And what about all the other humans who are mated to Hellhounds? Aren’t most of the Hellhound kids half human? So what is your issue with humans? Besides I thought you said I wasn’t human.”

Murmurs rose from the gather Hellhounds.

“Make up your mind. It’s one or the other, not both.”

“Enough of your insolence!” roared Cerberus. “How dare you!”

Raven shrugged her shoulders. “Do you think I’m going to treat you any different than I do anyone else? The big mighty Cerberus. Sorry. If Zeus didn’t scare me, you’re not going to scare me either.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Stress Tips

The holidays are here! And for many, this begins the most stressful time of the year. In years past, I've done the huge family Thanksgiving meal. This year, we're cooking mainly for just us and anyone who drops by and if no one comes by to eat, that's okay too. I've got plans for the extra ham and turkey to help with lunches and meals next week.. I've started baking bread today. In fact, it's in the oven rising right now. A little later, I'll make a chocolate pudding pie and bake a few cookies. My son brought home three half gallons of Blue Bell's Christmas Cookies ice cream. If you haven't tried it, don't. It is very addictive!!!

This year, I'm not stressed like I sometimes get. But a lot of people are half way there if not already totally stressed out. So here are some tips.

  • Get plenty of sleep. In our society (at least America it seems) everything is rush, rush, rush and there's not enough hours in the day. I'm very guilty of not getting enough sleep. I work full time and I write full time, as well as doing all the other stuff that has to be done.
  • Get plenty of exercise. I'm very guilty of not doing this.
  • Try to control your eating. Yeah, I know. Difficult this time of year. I've already found the Christmas Cookies ice cream. And it's gooood!
  • Don't worry about the stuff you can't control. Okay, all the control freaks, no buts! Just take a deep breath and say "I can't control everything. I can't control everything." This will drive you crazy if you try to control everything.
  • Keep a positive attitude. It's so easy to let the negative thoughts creep in. But don't. It just increases your stress if you do.
  • Don't do everything yourself. Get others to help you. And if something doesn't get done, don't worry about it.
  • Slow down. Take a deep breath and get a cup of coffee (or whatever your favorite drink is) and sit down.
  • Learn to say "NO!" This is often very difficult with friends and especially with family. This year, we're having to say no to a lot of people. I'm still paying off last year's Christmas for a family member who said they needed help and would pay us back. I honestly don't know if they don't realize the financial burden they've put on us, or if they just don't care. This year, the "in" word is NO.
  • Have realistic expectations. There's no such thing as a perfect meal or the perfect gifts. Everyone has different expectations. Just do the best you can, and if someone complains, tell them they're in charge of the meal and hosting responsibilities next year.
  • Stop and enjoy the small things that make you happy. Maybe it's the smell of vanilla candles, watching the children play in the yard, just sitting and petting  and playing with your cat. You get the idea. It's the old "stop and smell the roses" thing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Guest Blogging at Bittersweet Enchantment

Hey guys,

I'm guest blogging over at Bittersweet Enchantment. I'm talking about mythology and how I came up with the idea for Guardian of Atlantis. There's also a giveaway for a signed copy of Guardian of Atlantis.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser #3

Here's a teaser from Chapter 3 of Wrath of Hades.


Raven saw Ethan take a step toward her but was immediately stopped by two of the sword wielding guys. Billy and another guy, after a short struggle, pulled him away from the guards.

"You insignificant human."

"I though we'd already cleared up that little matter. A minute ago, you said I wasn't human." Raven shook her head. "Are you as hard of hearing as you are hardheaded? Oh, and by the way, I'm Raven Weir. You know, the Guardian of Atlantis."

"You're going to be the dead guardian."

"Oh, like I haven't heard that one before. I think there's a line of people in front of you who want me dead."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Title Reveal

Okay, it's not often I get to do this but here goes....the draft of book 2 of the Children of Atlantis series is finished and now waiting for edits and rewrites.

So what is the title of book 2?

It is...


Wrath of Hades


I'm so excited!

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I'm going to work on the book cover. 
 If you're interested in hosting a book cover reveal, email me. I want to try to do this the first part of December because the book will be out around Christmas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ramblings About the Week

Honestly, this week went by really quick. At least it seemed that way to me. Don't get me wrong, I was glad to see the weekend get here because I've got a few things going on. For one, I've got to brave the grocery store. The closer it gets to Thanksgiving, the crazier the stores get. Well, correction, the crazier the people get. Tonight I've got to make my list.

My week started off nice. The book fair at my school finished up Monday. That afternoon, just before school was out for the day, the librarian came by and gave me several books that they bought for me off my wish list. Only about four of the teachers filled out wish lists, so the librarians got each of us some books. I thought that was really nice. I got Son by Lois Lowry, Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry, and Entwined by Heather Dixon. After I finish reading them, I'll put them into my classroom library.

I finished reading Son by Lois Lowry yesterday. When I was the 8th grade reading teacher, I always started the school year with The Giver by Lois Lowry because it would grab even my most reluctant reader's attention. I enjoyed Son. I got to go back and revisit Jonas's community, and I got to find out what happened to Gabe and Jonas. The book tied in characters from Gathering Blue and Messenger. For some reason, I've never read those two books, but I'm going to check them out next week for the holidays.

Okay, tomorrow is the day I have to get my rough draft finished. I'm actually excited about doing the edits and rewrites. It's probably because this time I have a solid bone structure to work with, so really I'm just fleshing out the spots that need it and doing the editing stuff that has to get done. It really pays, at least for me, to have a detailed outline and to have already worked out the plot problems before I even began writing. I like the story and I hope you'll like it too.

I've got to get to work now. If you have any questions, or blog ideas, leave a comment. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Few Turkey Facts for Thanksgiving

The most popular ways to eat leftover turkey include: as a sandwich, in a stew, chili, or soup, in a casserole, or as a burger. What's your favorite way to eat leftover turkey?

A 15-lb turkey has about 70% white meat and 30% dark meat. 15-lbs is also the average weight of turkeys purchased at Thanksgiving. (Just bought mine and it's a little over 12-lbs.)

Commercially raised turkeys can not fly, but wild turkeys can fly for short distances.

Male turkeys gobble. Hens (the females) only cluck.

Turkeys can and do have heart attacks. Turkeys in fields near Air Force test areas where the sound barrier was broken were known to drop dead from the shock of passing jets.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Countdown--my game plan...hopefully

Originally I was planning on a really quiet day with just my husband and son, but you know how that goes. It seems like plans are always changing. You just have to go with the flow. So I have to come up with a new game plan, and I think I've got it...hopefully.

I don't have to worry about the turkey or the ham. My husband's going to smoke both of them on the BBQ pit.

Sunday, I have to make a couple of pumpkin logs. My son asked for those because he wants to take one to work with him. No one at my house, except for me likes pumpkin pie, but everyone will eat the pumpkin logs--go figure. There's my substitute for pumpkin pie.

Wednesday is my first day of Thanksgiving holidays from school. I'm going to bake several different cookies and bread rolls. I'll definitely have to make extras, because they will disappear when I'm not looking. I'll also make the cornbread I need for dressing.

So on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) while my husband is cooking the turkey and ham, I just have to make the cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy and put together a veggie tray (I probably should do that on Wednesday night).

What else do I need to do?
Definitely have to go by Starbucks to get coffee beans. I'm the only one in the house who drinks coffee, so I "splurge" on my coffee beans. Hopefully they'll still have one of the holiday blends. If not, I'll get something like the Yukon Blend or Pike's Place Roast.
I'll really need the coffee because I'll be working on book 2 (Children of Atlantis series) edits and rewrites once the visitors are gone. I also have to work on the cover design too.
I'm almost finished with the first draft. Just two chapters left to write. I'll meet my deadline on Saturday! YEAH!!!!

Get ready!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Historical Facts

I dug up (she says as she tosses the shovel behind her) some interesting facts about Thanksgiving.

Our national bird is the bald eagle. But did you know Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird?

Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of the popular nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. On October 3, 1963, President Abraham Lincoln issued a "Thanksgiving Proclamation" which officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.

Do you enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? It's an annual tradition that actually started in the 1920s. The first parade was in 1924 and was called Macy's Christmas Day Parade even though it was held on Thanksgiving Day.

In 1939, to help bolster retail sales during one of the final years of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving, making it one week earlier than normal. This move created a lot of problems from holiday plans, to football games, college registrars, and calender makers. Twenty-three states observed the non-traditional  date, twenty-two states observed the traditional November 30 date, and three states--Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas--observed both dates.

On December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law, making sure all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year. Texas was the last state to change its law to match the federal law. In 1956, Texas observed the last Thursday of November for Thanksgiving for the last time.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser

Here's another teaser from chapter 1 of Book 2 of the Children of Atlantis series.


"What's the point of having a cellphone if no one answers when you call them?" Raven touched the screen, ending the last call without leaving a message.

It was strange how her phone started working as soon as she got out of the cemetery, but Raven dismissed the thought. She had bigger problems. Ethan never ignored her calls.

Something wasn't right.

Honoring Vets Past and Present

courtesy of www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Anniverary Sesame Street!!!

Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, the Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, and The Count along with all the others who lived on Sesame Street are a part of my younger years. I remember watching Sesame Street at home and at school. It was so cool. I learned to count with them, my alphabet, and a whole bunch of other things. The show made learning fun and more often than not, I didn't realize I was learning.

On November 10, 1969, Sesame Street premiered on PBS (Public Broadcast Service).

Sesame Street has received positive ratings and high reviews.It had a multicultural cast that included children and adults of different backgrounds who played and worked together. The show was all about teaching. The educational material was communicated creatively through a combination of Jim Henson's muppets, animation, short films, humor, and cultural references.

The show has won 11 Grammy Awards and 109 Emmy Awards. It is the longest running TV show and has been broadcasted into about 120 countries. Not bad for a show designed to teach children.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY SESAME STREET!!!

And thank you all the things you taught me!

Friday, November 9, 2012

More Friday Ramblings

It's been a crazy, busy week.

Last Friday, I had a really cool interview over at Reading Away the Days. Thanks Megan for doing  the interview!!!

On Wednesday, I had a really awesome review of Guardian of Atlantis on The YA Bookworm Blogger. Thanks a bunch Caitlin for the review!!!

It's so great to have awesome bloggers who are willing to take time to do interviews, book promos, and book reviews. I just want to say THANK YOU!!! You don't have to make the time to do these things, but you do and this is one self-published, independent author who appreciates what you do!

And I also want to thank everyone who has read my books. Ya'll are awesome too!!!

The librarian at the school I teach at bought two copies of Guardian of Atlantis for the jr high library and two for the high school library. The two at the high school stay checked out, and often one or the other has a hold on it for someone waiting for it to be checked in. On the jr high campus, one of the students I teach  checked out a copy for his book talk, and another student came back to my room from the library with the other copy of Guardian of Atlantis.

At school this week, the library's had a book fair going on. There was a lot of books I wanted, but...anyway, the librarian asked for the teachers to fill out wish lists because it helps them with points or something so that they can purchase books for the library from the book fair. So I filled out a wish list just to help them out. Honestly, I didn't expect anyone to even look at the wish lists, let alone buy me a book. Today, before I left school, the counselor on my campus gave me a book she had bought me. Wasn't that really sweet of her? I'm now the proud owner of The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Few Tidbits about the First American Thanksgiving

Here's a few tidbits about the first American Thanksgiving.

  • The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • The first Thanksgiving feast did not include: mashed potatoes, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, cranberries, or pumpkin pie.
  • The first Thanksgiving feast may have had: lobster, chicken, fish, rabbit, squashes, beans onions, cabbage, eggs, goat cheese, chestnuts, and honey.
  • Spoons, knives, and fingers were the "silverware" used.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser

What is Sunday W(ork) I(n) P(rogress) Teaser? It's a new weekly blog I'm starting today. Each Sunday, I'll put up between six and ten sentences from the current manuscript I'm working on or wip. Right now, I'm working on book 2 of the Children of Atlantis series.

So here is the first teaser. It comes from chapter 1.

Raven wiped the moisture off of her cheeks. She looked at the statue. "Thanks for listening. Sorry if I got you wet." She patted the cold marble and sighed.

The snap of something or someone stepping on a broken twig echoed through the area. Raven whirled around. She scanned the area, but the mausoleums blocked most of her view.

"Great," she mumbled. "Just great. I walked right into the perfect ambush. What was I thinking?" She slapped her hand to her forehead. "Oh yeah, I wasn't."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

the tent is back!!!

The tent is back!
I saw it yesterday as I drove to work. Just before Halloween, I was wondering when the tent would finally make its appearance. And then--almost like magic POOF!!! There it is.

Every year, in the same lot next to the Shell gas station, a huge tent is put up around the first of November. Friday, it didn't have the sides on yet, but they'll be on in a day or two, as will the rv. What do they sell, you ask? I think you've probably have already guessed by now. But if you haven't, they sell Christmas trees!!!

In less than three weeks, it'll be Thanksgiving (for us in the US). It's starting to feel like the holiday season, except for the weather. I don't know about you, but highs in the 80s (F) is not holiday weather for this time of year. Hey, you guys up north! Could you get out your blowers and force some of that cold air down to me? Please?

At school (my work), we started the annual canned food drive to help out a local food bank. They've challenged the 2nd period classes to see who can bring the most canned food. We'll find out just how competitive some of the classes are in the next two weeks.

On a writing note, I've got two weeks to get the first draft down. I'm actually making really good progress toward that goal. In fact, I've got today (Saturday) pretty much all to myself. Husband's gone hunting and son's at work. So it's just me and the two kitties. Time to get to work.