Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and that Santa brings you everything you put on your list...you did write a letter to Santa?

Here is a video of A Visit From St. Nicholas better know as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Clement Clark Moore wrote this poem as a Christmas present for his children.

I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Signing at Weihnachtsmakt

Weihnachtsmakt is a Christmas market to benefit the Sophienburg Museum and Archives in New Braunfels, Texas.

It starts on Friday, November 22, and runs through Sunday, November 24.

I will be there as a part of the Meet the Author Book Fair on
     Saturday, November 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and
     Sunday, November 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It's a great opportunity to meet me and buy signed copies of my books.

Books make great Christmas gifts for the young adults in your life.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Another BBQ Competition

 Yesterday, we competed in the Comal County Fair and Rodeo BBQ Cook Off. We placed 1st with our brisket and took Reserve Champion.

The trophies the guys are holding are really cool!
The worst part of this year's competition was the rain on Friday night, because it left us with a muddy mess.

Here are some other pictures I took.

The first two pictures are of our pit and trailer.

The next two pictures are some of the other cookers around us.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Moving Toward the Holiday Season

I've been back to work as a teacher in one of the local school districts for three weeks now, and it has been a very busy three weeks! I'm teaching two new classes this year, plus the one I taught last year. I've never taught the two new classes, so I'm building lesson plans and activities from scratch.

Three weeks into the school year means we are three weeks closer to the holiday season. Halloween will be here soon.

The stores are already putting out Halloween stuff, and yes, I've already picked up a bag  of candy corn. I'm trying to slowly eat it, but it's hard. I've also started a little decorating for Halloween. I picked up a new door mat for the holidays. I saw several other items I want, but I didn't get them today. Maybe I'll get them next week.

Halloween through Christmas is my favorite time of year. It's just a magical time. You have the fun of Halloween, giving thanks for family and friends at Thanksgiving, and the lights and wonders of Christmas.

This year I'm going to be part of the pre-Thanksgiving shopping. The Saturday and Sunday before Thanksgiving, I will be at the Meet the Authors Book Fair which is part of the Weihnachtsmarkt 2013 in New Braunfels. The event runs from Friday, November 22, through Sunday, November 24. I will only be there Saturday and Sunday. I will be selling and signing books and bookmarks.

Here are the bookmarks for Guardian of Atlantis and Wrath of Hades.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Five: Back to School SUCCESS Tips

We are getting closer to school time so I thought I would share a few Back to School SUCCESS Tips.

  1. Get enough sleep.
  2. Eat breakfast.
  3. Read every chance you get.
  4. Manage online time.
  5. Take school serious, but have some fun.

What are some of your Back to School SUCCESS Tips?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Five: Five Reason I Don't Want to Go Back to School

The ads are back on television. The stores have huge displays.

It's that time again --Back to School!!!

A lot of you know, I'm a teacher (okay, no more hissing and booing). In three weeks I have to go back to school, and students where I teach at go back in four weeks.  I'm not ready to go back. It seems like summer just started and now August is almost here.

I don't want to go back to school because...

  1. I like sleeping late.
  2. I can stay up late any night I want to during the summer.
  3. I can watch daytime television.
  4. I don't have to worry about grading papers.
  5. I can write all day long during the summer!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Choices are everywhere.

We make them all the time, and for the most part, we probably don't even realize we are making choices.

But the choices we make define who we are and create the structure of who we are to become.

If we chose the easy route, we create a structure toward that and eventually we become a person who takes the easy way out on everything, and we wonder why we have nothing to show for our troubles.

Don't let your choices define you. Make choices that define who you want to be.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Happy One Year Anniversary--Sorry, It's Kinda Late

It just dawned on me, but as of July, I've been a published author for a year and my blog is one year old.


Neither date was written down on my calendar, so I didn't remember. The running joke is, if it's not written on my calendar, it doesn't happen. Between writing, blogging, family stuff, and all the extra school stuff I do during the school year, I have to have a calendar to keep up with it all.

I use a spiral notebook type of calendar. I love technology, but i hate the calendar on my cell phone. it drives me crazy trying to put in a simple entry.

We all have our bet peeves, and right now electronic calendars are one of mine.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Five: Chores I Hate

Let's face it. We all have things we don't like to do. One of the biggest gripes I hear is about chores. Honestly, I hate doing chores, but often no one else will do them, so I get stuck with the job.

So here are the five chores I really hate doing.

  1. Unloading dishwasher
  2. Cleaning the shower
  3. Taking out the trash
  4. Vacuuming
  5. Dusting
What chores do you hate doing?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bizarre and Unique August Holidays

If you really look, you can find a "holiday" for every day of the year. Obviously, the majority are not major holidays or are celebrated by everyone. Here are some I found for August that I thought were interesting.

August 2
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

August 9
Book Lovers Day -- encourages you to find a shady place to relax with a good book.

August 19
National Aviation Day -- in honor of Orville Wright's birthday. The day honors the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers. It's sometimes called Wright Brothers' Day.

August 22
Be an Angel Day -- encourages people to do an act of kindness and to help others. Jayne Howard Feldman, the creator of this day, says she was inspired by angels.

August 30
Frankenstein Day -- is in honor of author Mary Wollenstone Shelley who was born on August 30, 1797. She wrote Frankenstein in 1818.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Five: Childhood Sitcoms

Last week when I was writing about my favorite sitcoms, I realized I as writing about the ones I currently watch even though most of them are no longer in production. I didn't even think about the sitcoms I watched when I was a kid.

So here are the top five.

  1. The Brady Bunch -- The family seemed like they had a lot of fun, and they seemed to always have everything they wanted. 
  2. Happy Days -- The Fonz! Do I need to say any more?
  3. The Facts of Life -- The problems the girls got into and dealt with hysterical.
  4. M*A*S*H --  Even now, I'll watch some of the reruns of this show.  It lasted for 11 seasons, not bad for a bunch of army surgeons.
  5. Different Strokes -- Arnold, played by Gary Coleman, was hilarious.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Five: Sitcoms I Like

Narrowing the list down to only five sitcoms was actually tougher than I thought it would be, but I did it.

  1. The Cosby Show -- The show is warm, caring and funny.
  2. Roseanne -- A typical, working-class family struggling with bills, jobs and family issues. The show is funny. I love Roseanne's snarky, out-spoken personality.
  3. Home Improvement -- Tim Allen is so funny. This is a great "escape"  show.
  4. The Golden Girls -- I didn't start watching this show until I happened to stop on it late one night, but I immediately fell in love with the ladies who play the characters.
  5. The Drew Carey Show -- Again, this is a show I didn't start watching until I caught it syndication. I just love Mimi!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated with a project is not just a pitfall of writers. At some time or another, everyone needs a little motivation to keep them going so that she can finish her project.

But what is motivation?

According to Dictionary.com, motivation means providing with a reason to act in a certain way. in other words, we need reasons to keep pushing us until we cross the finish line.

Writers, for the most part, appear to be highly motivated people. They sit, day after day, churning out words to create their stories. What they do looks so easy that anyone could do it. And yes, writers are very motivated, but we have days when we need a little extra help--a push or reason to keep us writing, because in a lot of ways, we are very much self-destructive. We are our own worse critics.

I'm constantly questioning myself about what I'm writing. Is it good enough? Will anyone actually read it? Will they like it?

So how do we stay motivated?

If you're like me, you probably have several "tricks" you use to help keep you motivated. Here are some of the things I use to give me the reasons to finish my writing projects.

  1. Reread what you have written. Sometimes it helps to go back and read the stories I've written. It's a way for me to prove to myself that I can write, as well as putting my head back on track, especially when I'm working on a stress.
  2. Changing writing locations. Right now I have a desk in my bedroom where I do the majority of my writing, but some days it just doesn't work. I can't stand staring at the wall in front of me. So moving  to a different location often helps get me re-motivated with the story I'm working on.
  3. Read letters  and notes from fans. Self-doubts are big motivation killers, and writers are filled with self-doubts. Reading letters and notes from fans helps to squish the self-doubts because you're reading the praise from a complete stranger who is not motivated by food and clean clothes to tell you how great a writer you are.
  4. Little treats. Finish the scene and I can go to the local coffee shop for a latte. If I write another thousand words, then I can watch another episode of Grimm. I think you get the idea. It's the old trick of dangling a carrot in front of the mule to get it motivated to pull the plow.
These are just a few things, or tricks, I use to help keep me motivated. How do you keep yourself motivated.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Writers Write. Do You?

When people find out I'm a writer, I get a wide range of reactions.

"That's really cool!"
"I've never met a writer before."
These kind of responses usually led to a neat discussion about my books and books in general.

"How much have you made from your books?"
"I have an idea for a book you can write."
These are the questions that I have to plaster a smile on my face. I was taught that you don't ask ask people how much money they make, so it's something I don't discuss. If you have an idea for a book, I'm excited for you, but I want you to write it, not me. I have lots of ideas and even several outlines waiting for me to work on, so thank you for the offer, but I have to politely decline.

"When do you find time to write?" 
Finding time to write is not always that easy. There are a few writers who make enough off of their writing to quit their day jobs and write full time. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them, though one day I would like to be.

I have a full time day job. I teach in a public school. My day job helps to pay the household bills. The lucky part of teaching is that I do get holidays and summer off with the exception of the workshops I have to attend during summer.

During the school year, I do a lot of my writing on weekends and in the evenings, often after the rest of the house is asleep because there are few distractions that way. My writing goal is to write a minimum of 1000 words a day, but there are days I can barely get in a few 100 words. I've learned I have to be flexible. Life happens.

Writing during the summer often presents a whole new list of challenges. Typically, I spend most of the day writing and working on household chores or running errands when I take breaks from writing. The main challenge to my writing time comes from friends and family. It's the "you're off and at home doing nothing, so you can do this for me" attitude. I have no problem helping family and friends, but sometimes it comes to a point that I have to save no.

So where do I find writing time?
I find writing time anywhere and everywhere I can.
I even take a pen and notebook with me everywhere I go.

Writers write because, not only do we love writing, we have to do it. Writing is as much a part of us as breathing and eating is. Being writers are who we are even if we never take the step to publish our stories.

Are you a writer?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Covers

If you haven't noticed, take a look to your left. I've posted the new covers for Guardian of Atlantis and Wrath of Hades.

I decided the series needed a more uniform look. In a few days the new covers will be up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. I've also re-edited both books.

In a few days, I will do a cover reveal for Ethan's Trials.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Movie Memory Lane

(This was originally posted by me on Downtown YA.)

The other day I overheard a conversation between several of the girls in one of my classes. They were talking about Patrick Swayze and the movie Dirty Dancing (1987), which they had watched over the weekend. They were talking about how good looking Patrick Swayze was, and one of the girls said she wanted to marry him.

By now they realized I’m listening to them and they asked me if I had seen the movie and if I thought Patrick Swayze was good looking.

Yes, I’ve seen the movie. In fact, I saw it when it first came out.

Yes, Patrick Swayze was absolute good looking! And I thought it was a sad day when he died a few years ago.

The girls got really quiet for a little bit then they asked me what other movies I saw when I was a teen.

How many of you remember when these movies came out?

  • The Breakfast Club (1985)  --  Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought. 
  • Weird Science (1985)  --  Two nerdish boys attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.
  • Sixteen Candles (1984)  --  A young girl’s “sweet sixteen” birthday becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.
  • Pretty in Pink (1986)  --  A poor girl must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart and a rich but sensitive playboy.
  • The Lost Boys (1987)  --  After moving to a new town, two brothers are convinced that the area is frequented by vampires.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved these movies and still watch them today when I get the opportunity. And a lot of the girls I teach are watching them too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Cute Gift

One of my students gave this to me at the end of school this year. It's simple, but one of the cutest ideas I've seen in awhile. I would never have though of reusing a 2 liter soda bottle this way.
Bet you can't guess what our school colors are?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Zombies are everywhere!!!

(This was originally posted by me on Downtown YA.)  

Zombies are popular.

Warm Bodies, the movie, is doing very well in theaters. Now we have World War Z to watch. Walking Dead is back for another season.

Zombies are definitely popular.

Last year, after a series of zombie nightmares, I started tossing around ideas for a zombie book.
In my dreams, the zombies were relentless, seemingly unstoppable monsters, and they chased me everywhere. I couldn’t get away from them. Yes, the dreams bothered me because I remembered a lot of the details you normally forget. So to deal with my dreams, I tossed around zombies as a possible book idea.

Some people would probably call this therapy.

I called it dealing with my nightmares while coming up with a cool story idea.

I took the zombie idea and ran with it. Before long I had a complete outline. And what did I do with it? I put the outline in a binder and forgot about it. The nightmares were gone, so I wasn’t thinking about zombies anymore.

And then I found the outline.
I read through it, and BAM! Before I knew it, I had a complete manuscript.

The nightmares about zombies haven’t returned. I like to think that whatever caused the nightmares, is happy with the story I wrote.

And the story?  Well, you’ll have to be the judge of that Middle Grade book.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Fishing Trip

Earlier this month Mr. Cole and I got to go bay fishing for the day in the Gulf of Mexico just out of Seadrift, Texas. I had a blast. Lost the first red fish I caught when the line broke. Wish I had gotten him in the boat to see just how big he was because he put up a fight!

 Later that morning I managed to haul in another red fish. I was so excited. This was the first time I had ever caught one big enough that I had to put a tag on him. It was so cool! He was 30.5 inches long. I also caught a trout that was 28 inches long.
The guy next to me caught the second biggest red fish. The fish hanging behind us is the total catch between both boats.

Out of the group that went on this trip--eight people in the group divided out on two boats with guides--I caught the biggest fish. It's kind of funny, because I was the only female in the group.

A view of the Gulf from the front of the boat.

The pelican were hanging around the dock, just waiting for someone to start cleaning fish. The guys threw the heads and other remains into the water, and the pelicans just swarmed the area. We even had a couple of dolphins show up, but they were moving a little too fast for me to catch a good picture of them with my cellphone.

Here's another view of the Gulf and the shoreline from the boat I was on. In most of the places we went, the water was only inches deep. It was cool to look down and see stuff swim around the boat.

As you can see from the above picture, the sun and I do not get along very well. I'm still peeling, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I tend to sun burn really easy even with sunscreen on.  My face looks really red, but it was more wind burnt than sun burnt because I wore a hat during the entire trip. And yes, I had on sunscreen the whole time and still got sun burnt. But I love fishing, even though I don't get to go as often as I would like, so I just have to deal with the sun. :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The importance of music

(This was originally posted by me on Downtown YA.)  

When I taught writing, I played music because it inspired creativity in my students’ writings. When I taught reading I played music to calm and sooth my students as they read and drifted into the worlds they were reading about.

As I write, I listen to music. I create play lists for the stories. Pick songs that fit the characters and the moods of the story.

But why is music so important?

  1. Music is a universal language. It evokes feelings, and even bridges gaps that spoken language often cannot. It brings people together in celebration and prayer. It is a commonality in a world of diversity. It is something we can all understand even when we don't understand each others language.
  2. Music inspires and evokes emotions. Music helps us to express feelings and emotions that we sometimes find very difficult to find the words to express. It can help us to express our love. It can help us to express our sorrow.
  3. Music sparks imagination and enhances our creativity. The right song at the right time can cause a spark to ignite, and suddenly a masterpiece is born.
  4. Music enhances learning. Music effects learning. It makes it more enjoyable. Various studies have shown that music effects several different brain functions--motor control, imagination, sight, hearing, and memory. Music in the classroom increases learning and raises student scores.
  5. Music creates ambiance. It can enhance or add to the mood the environment is already evoking. It helps people to relax.
  6. Music is spiritual. All religions use music. 
  7. Music is just fun.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Next?

I've had several emails and students from the school where I teach asking if there is another book and if so when is it coming out.

The answer is yes, there is another book in the Children of Atlantis series.

I'm working on the outline for the third book and it will be out in the early 2014. The working title right now is Warrior of Atlantis. The book will pick up immediately where Wrath of Hades ended.

I'm also working on a novella that will come out toward the summer. It's working title is Ethan's Trials. This story will focus on Ethan and consequences of his actions in Wrath of Hades.

I've created a lot of background information and stories for various characters so that I would have an idea of what's making them act the way they are now. I plan to rework some of the stories and release them as novellas. Right now, I don't have any release dates for them, but as I do, I will post them in the Works in Progress section.

I've also have ideas for a couple of new series. I'm working on the outlines for one and refining the idea for the other, but it will be a little longer before these are anywhere near the stage for me to begin writing.

Too bad I can't spend the summer by the gulf writing all day long.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Inspiration is Everywhere, You Just Have to Look.

(This was originally posted by me on Downtown YA.)

People, especially my students, often ask me how I come up with all the ideas for my stories, and my answer to them is you can find ideas and inspiration everywhere.

And then they ask me what I mean by that.

So where do my ideas, or at least the inspirations, come from? Well, they come from:
  • My nightmares,
  • Pictures,
  • The news,
  • People,
  • Odd or strange places,
  • Things that scare me,
  • Myths and fairy tales.
These are just a few of the places my ideas come from.

Look at the following picture and what do you see?

Cemetery in Cameron, Texas (picture by Annie Rachel Cole)
Obviously, I see an old grave with a metal fence around it. But is there anything else there? What does your imagination tell you?

I see a grave with a fence around it, and I wonder...is the fence meant to keep people out, or is it meant to keep something in? Who or what is buried there? How did they get there? Maybe there's a ghost who roams the cemetery--the ghost of a woman who was buried alive.

I remember driving by this very cemetery as a teenager, the only difference was it was very much over grown with bushes and weeds, but during winter you could get a glimpse of tombstones. This cemetery was the inspiration for my short story 'No Rest for the Spirit'--a short story about a woman who was buried alive and now haunts the area.

Ideas or inspiration for stories are everywhere.
Look around. 
And then ask yourself, WHAT IF?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Life is Crazy

The last four weeks have been absolutely crazy, and not all of it in a good way. In May I had a virtual blurb tour for How Not to Train a Zombie. This is the first I've ever done and I learned a lot of things as to how to make the next one better. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and gave their support.

May is also the beginning of the end of the school year. That means end of the year field trips, band concerts, award ceremonies...the list goes on, and then we get ready for finals. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's been a crazy trip.

And then, in the middle of all this, we get word that my DH's aunt had a stroke. It was a bad stroke and now she's in a nursing rehab home. It left her paralyzed on her left side and unable to speak. Strokes are so cruel. One night you go to bed and the next morning you wake but aren't able to move or call for help. She's always been so independent. I don't know if she's going to make it or not.

Life is crazy, but somehow it goes on.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ten Things NOT to Say to Your Teacher

I thought you could use a good laugh, so here are some of the excuses I've heard over the years.
  1. "I left my paper at home. Seriously, I did it and it's lying on my desk at home."
  2. "My dog ate my homework."
  3. "You didn't tell ME I had to do the assignment."
  4. "This is stupid. Why do I have to learn ___? I'll never use it."
  5. "Are we doing anything important in class today?"
  6. "Why did you give me an F?"
  7. "I turned in the paper. You lost it because you don't like me."
  8. "Why did I get and F?" I copied from ___ and he/she got an A."
  9. "I couldn't do the homework because...of football practice (or any sport practice), I had to wash the dog, there was a game last night, it was ___ birthday party, etc.
  10. "My mom/dad said I didn't have to do the assignment because it was stupid.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Signs of Being a Writer and Yes, I'm Guilty of a Few

  • You sometimes argue with people who aren't there.
  • Your work uniform consists of over-sized t-shirts, socks, flannel pants, etc.
  • You drink a lot of coffee/caffeinated drinks by the gallons. 
  • You ask people lots of weird questions about their jobs.
  • You have a strange fascination with body farms which bothers some of your family members. 
  • You plan elaborate torture and death scenes for the people who irritate them.
  • You walk around with pen and paper because you never know when an idea will hit. You have to be prepared, just in case.
  • You have a favorite pen and you're obsessed with post-it notes and notebooks. Be warned. I know when one of my pens is missing.
  • You would rather stay home and write than go out.
  • You find story and character ideas everywhere.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Quotes About the Writing Life

"All writers have this vague hope that the elves will com in the night and finish any stories."
  --Neil Gaiman

"Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed."
  --Ray Bradbury

"I'm writing. The pages are starting to stack up. My morale is improving the more I feel like a writer."
  --Neil Gaiman

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blurb Blitz Tour

I'm excited and nervous. Tomorrow kicks off the first day of a two week Blurb Blitz Tour for How NOT to Train a Zombie!!! I've never done a tour before so this is a new experience for me. I've posted the links to the bloggers who have generously given me a day on their blogs, and below is the dates for each stop on the tour. Stop by each day and leave a comment. At the end of the tour, I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.

May 6    
The Muse Unleashed

May 7    
Andi's Middle Grade and Chapter Books
(STOP TWO) Straight from Library

May 8    
Mom With a Kindle

May 9    
Zombie Girl Shambling

May 10  
Deal Sharing Aunt

May 13   
Sandra's Blog
(STOP TWO) Long and Short Reviews

May 14 
Storm Goddess Book Reviews and More
(STOP TWO) Frankie Blooding's Bookshelf

May 15 
Books in the Hall

May 16 
J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer

May 17 
It's Raining Books

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I WRITE because...

Writers write for different reasons. In fact, the reasons are as wide and varied as the individual personalities of the writers themselves. But no matter the reason there's something that drives us to write.

I write because...

The characters in my head won't leave me alone. Sometimes they push and shove each other to the point I feel like I'm going a bit crazy. And the reason they do this? To see who'll get his or her story told first.

Writing is like breathing, if I don't do it, I'll die. I carry a notepad and pen with me all the time. Jotting down notes, ideas for new stories, solutions to scene problems--the list is endless. I have to write.

It keeps me sane. Try walking around with all the voices in your head. By writing I can get rid of some of the noise and give myself some quiet time, though it usually doesn't last long. Plus, if a character decides to fade away or disappear, I have their essence on paper so I won't forget.

I can torture anyone I want to in my writing and not have to worry about criminal persecution. Turn the bad guy in your story into the weasel who irritated you this morning. Now you can torture them, lock them away with no chance of parole, or feed them to the zombies. A good, safe way to relieve some of your frustrations.

Writing gives me a chance to create new worlds or realities that I want to go back and revisit over and over. I can add new characters and new problems, and revisit old friends.

Writing is a fairly cheap addiction. you just need a pen and paper. Not too expensive. at least not too expensive as long as I stay away form all the pretty and colorful pens and notebooks.


On days I don't get to write, I get cranky. You know, us writers have to get our fix somehow.

Oh, and by the way, I know when one of my pens is missing!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekly Recap #12

This week has been fast and slow at the same time. Crazy as it sounds, I've got another BBQ Cook-off this weekend, and the child is leaving Monday. At school, we're getting ready for the last two days of state testing on the grade level I teach.

Life has definitely reared its head.

As for writing, I've managed to jot down ideas as I scurried from one thing to the next and a paragraph here and there in the evenings.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'll post pictures and let you know how the cook-off went. Fingers crossed. I'm trying a new dessert recipe on the pit. Sounds good in theory, but this will be the first time I try it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Readers Have Rights Too!!!

The other day, I found the Reader's Bill of Rights by Daniel Pennac. I thought this was a great idea, so here they are along with my thoughts/comments.

The Right to Not Read
If I don't want to read something, I don't have to read it. Now I know some of you who are still in school are high-fiving each other. Sorry, I'm not talking about school assignments, which novels assigned by your teachers fall under. I talking about the books you check out or buy. Sometimes you start reading the book and realize it's not for you, even though all your friends have recommended it.

The Right to Skip Pages
Sometimes when I'm reading, I skip pages. I can hear the moans and groans, but sometimes the author has redundant information, or sections that don't pertain to me. Obviously, I'm talking more about the tech and professional books I read, but sometimes it pertains to the stuff I read for fun.

The Right to Not Finish
I have stopped reading books and even series for various reasons. Why continue reading if you're not getting any pleasure out of it?

The Right to Re-read
I re-read books all the time, either for fun or in connection with my day job. I enjoy these authors and their writing styles. Sometimes I just want to get lost in a story that I know I'll like.

The Right to Read Anything
 If I like it, I should be able to read it. Yes, I write Young Adult books, and I read a lot of YA books, but that's not all that I read. I love paranormal fantasy, whether it's YA or adult romance. I enjoy horror and science fiction too. I'm not stuck just reading YA because I write it.

The Right to Escapism
I like to get lost in the story I'm reading and that's okay. I get to get away from reality for a few hours, and I get to use my imaginations. Definitely not a bad thing. Books give us a chance to get away from what's going on in our lives, which in some cases may not be very pleasant.

The Right to Read Anywhere
I have the right to read anywhere I want to whether it be on the trip to visit relatives (as long as I'm not driving), at supper (I'm very guilty of this especially with my Kindle), while watching television (again guilty of this), on the beach...you get the idea.

The Right to Browse
 I love to browse through books! I'm guilty of reading summaries and the first chapter excerpts.

The Right to Read Out Loud
I don't read out loud, unless I'm reading to my students, but sometimes you need to read the passage out loud.

The Right to Not Defend Your Tastes
Not everyone is going to like what you read, as you are not going to like everything that others read.

Monday, April 15, 2013

BBQ Cook-off

This past weekend went by so fast! It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. We were entered in all the categories, but only placed in one. We took first place with our brisket.
L to R: Hubby, Friend, Me

This coming Friday and Saturday, we're entered in another BBQ Cook-off. We were asked to cook this one for a local company. Pretty cool!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekly Recap #11

I haven't gotten a lot of writing done this week, but I knew this week and next would probably be that way. I did, in joking with one of my classes, come up with another middle grade book idea. I'm am playing with the plot (I can work and stop and come back to it without losing any of the idea as sometimes happens when I have to stop in the middle of writing a scene). The best way to describe the idea right now is science fiction horror meets The Breakfast Club. The base idea is down. I'm playing with characters and character names.

Right now, we getting ready for the BBQ Cook-off this weekend, and the child's party this evening. The child, as I call him, is actually a grown man ( I have to keep reminding myself). He'll be 22 in a couple of months. The party tonight is to celebrate one of those milestones in your life. Next week he leaves for basic training. Yelp, the child is enlisted in the army. I'm proud of him and what he's accomplished to get to this point in his life, but, as a mom, I'm said because my baby is leaving and I'm worried about what he will have to face as a soldier. I've tried not to do any crying, but a I write this, the reality is hitting me and the tears are coming.

With what's going on in the world right now, I pray for all the soldiers and their families.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Looking Back Blurb from How NOT to Train a Zombie!!!

Here's an excerpt from chapter 1 of my Middle Grade book, How NOT to Train a Zombie!!!

“That’s not only the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’ll get us in all sorts of trouble.” Chad’s nasally baritone voice blasted its way through the crowded hallway. Only the clanks of locker doors slamming shut were louder, but not by much.

Up and down the hallway, students turned and stared at Chad and Max. Some pointed and laughed, but most just ignored them as if they didn’t exist.

“Sheesh! Can you talk a little louder? I don’t think they heard you in the band hall.” Max’s face turned several shades redder than the lockers lining the wall. This wasn’t exactly the kind of attention he wanted, especially not after yesterday’s Career Fair. How his mom found out about it, was beyond him. He had thrown away the first flyer asking for volunteers to speak to his class about their careers over a month ago, and he made sure to throw away every flyer he had gotten since then.

But somehow she found out.

And yesterday, she showed up in a bright pink flower shirt and her overalls and talked to the class about the joys of being a gardener. Max wanted to die. Gardening wasn’t even her career. It was her hobby! And everyone knew it. And then his mom singled him out when she left. Shaking hands would have been okay, but is that what his mom did?

Oh no!

She hugged him in front of the whole class. Even having Eddy Pratt’s dad talk about being a zombie exterminator couldn’t erase the embarrassment and humiliation Max endured the rest of the day.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Recap #10

The past two weeks have been really, really busy!!!

Most of you know I teach at a junior high school. I'm also the yearbook adviser for my campus, meaning I'm the person in charge making sure the yearbook is produced--everything from pictures to creating the pages. The deadline to have it finished was looming, but with a lot of work, it got done and sent in to the company who will print it. At the same time I was dealing with the paperwork for the annual 8th grade trip to Schlitterbahn. And then there was the last minute prep for the state tests--lots of meetings and paperwork for the teachers. This week the 8th graders took their math and reading state tests, and I'm glad the two days are over. A lot of stress for everyone involved.

In the mix, was Easter (earlier this year then most years). Saturday, the Hubby decided to BBQ chicken because he wanted to try a couple of alterations to his original recipe. I didn't have to do a lot of cooking, just potato salad and deviled eggs which was fine with me. We had friends over and everyone had a really good time.

Oh, and what did Hubby learn about the chicken recipe alterations?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!! The original recipe does not need to be changed, but then I told him that before he started his experiment.

I'm trying to finish up the rough draft of a story I'm working on. Once I've finished it, I'll start writing WARRIOR OF ATLANTIS, book 3 in the Children of Atlantis series. It will be available at the end of summer.

I'm also looking at changing the covers for GUARDIAN OF ATLANTIS (book 1) and WRATH OF HADES (book 2) to make them more uniform looking since they are part of a series. I've been looking around at different artist who create book covers and stock photos. If you have any thoughts or ideas, let me know.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Upcoming Events

Saturday, April 6, NO REST FOR THE SPIRIT AND OTHER GHOSTLY TALES is going to be free for the day at Amazon. So if you like ghost stories, here's your chance to download the ebook for free.
NO REST FOR TH SPIRIT AND OTHER GHOSTLY TALES and GUARDIAN OF ATLANTIS are both part of Amazon Prime. That means Prime members can borrow either ebook for free.

May 6-17 HOW NOT TO TRAIN A ZOMBIE will be on a Blurb Blitz Tour along with a giveaway at the end of the tour. Toward the end of the month, I'll post a list of stops on the tour. Be sure to check it out.

Friday and Saturday, April12 and 13, the Hubby and I are competing in a BBQ Cook-off. This is the first one we've done in awhile, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. We'll be BBQing brisket, pork spare ribs, and chicken. We're also entered in the Jackpot beans and Chef's Choice desserts, both of which have cash prizes. A day or two after the tournament, I'll post some pictures and let you know how it went and if we placed.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The following is an excerpt from "Marlow Bridge Specter" which can be found in NO REST FOR THE SPIRIT AND OTHER GHOSTLY TALES.

On cool nights when the moon is full, a woman can be seen walking up and down Marlow Bridge. Along with the sobs carried on the wind, the name Peter can be heard.

Rose Dillet grew up in an upper middle class family. As members of the country club, Rose was always going to dances and other social events in town. In school, she was a very good student. Her parents had plans of sending her off to a good finishing school and then on a chaperoned tour of Europe before they married her off. And they had even planned her marriage too, even down to who she would marry and the dress she would wear when she walked down the aisle on her wedding day.

There was only one problem.

Her parents never bothered to consult Rose or her heart which had other plans...