Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shit Storm Averted

So yesterday I was a little stressed. I didn't mention why, but I guess I will now. I'm going to make a short story long to give you some back story.

So, Thing Two is very musically talented. She's been picking out stuff on the piano and guitar for eons, but she also wanted to take voice, so I put her in music lessons for guitar and voice.

Her music teacher had been working with her, then a couple months into her lessons she came home from practice one day and said, Vinny's band (her cousin, yeah, I know, "her cousin Vinny") needed a bass player and could I take her to buy a bass.

Me: you know how to play bass?
Her: Scott's (music teacher) teaching me. We have a gig in a month.


So we go to the pawn shop and buy a bass. One month later, Thing Two is playing her first gig. And she's good. She also sang a song in that first gig, and she's very shy, so I was very proud of her.

And she's come home since from lessons having played drums, and saying her teacher is going to teach her cello.

Again, O.o. I'm sure she can learn it because she's played the viola. Right? *cough*

So, anyway, to make a long story even longer, she had another gig last night, planned for at least a couple months.

In a parallel universe, okay, in mine, but it seems like a parallel one, I know at some point she has a choir concert coming up because she tried out for a solo and she got this singing part with two other girls that she was excited about. She loves choir, only class she's been getting an A in all year, yadda yadda yadda...

So day before rock gig, she tells me choir concert is the same night. O.o.

Okay, in theory if I was June Cleaver, I'd have known this. But I'm not JC, I'm JFC which stands for June Fucking Cleaver which is this day and ages June Cleaver which means I'm a kick ass mom that's too unorganized to be JC but is awesome in her own right. *cough*

I also forgot about that solo thingy.

And Thing Two is freaking out because said choir concert is a major part of her grade.

So I say screw it. I've paid for lessons, the band can't go on without her, the choir can. I write her teacher, explain that she's doing a music thing can she be lenient with the grade.

I get a call back immediately. And when I say immediately, I mean now.

Rachel is an integral part of the soprano section.

Choreography will need to be changed (really? choreography? I had no idea choreography would be involved).

Teacher is very disappointed.

Her grade would go from an A to a B-.


Teacher is freaking out. Mom is freaking out. Thing Two is freaking out. Mom calls Dad and alerts him of the situation.

What time is the choir concert? What time is she supposed to go on at the gig? When during the concert is her solo thingy?  What is music lesson guy's phone number?

I DON'T KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to hand it to the guy. I dealt with teacher, went to the club to save seats for a bajillion people including him, grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family, friends, he contacted music teacher, took Thing Two to her concert, which we found out was from 6:30 to 7:00 (though teacher kept them ten minutes late >:( shame on her). Then her rushed her to Jazzbones for her gig. She got there in plenty of time.

Teacher was happy. Thing Two was happy. Mom was happy (once they'd finally shown up because Grandparent One and Two were driving her nuts about when is she going to get here? is she on her way? where is she? to the point where I almost had to tell my own parents to shut up, which I would never do *cough*)

And the shows went on.

Here's to dad for saving the day. Here's to my BF for keeping me off the ledge (and the drink called the white gummy bear).

Happy Thursday everyone. Rock on.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I was going to blog about the Zombie Apocalypse but...

...then chaos struck again. Why is it when you feel like you finally get your shit together another crap storm hits?

Megan needs a xanax.

So yesterday was a great day. I got up early. Did crunches. Blogged. Caught up on email, Facebook and other crap. Was productive at work. Ran the kids around. Wrote. Walked. Grocery shopped. Watered plants. Folded laundry. Read. Had insomnia so wrote some more.

Aside from the insomnia, a good day.

Today, worlds collide. And it sucks.

That's all I'm saying about that. Need to let go and breathe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monkey Madness Monday: Fresh Starts

How many fresh starts are we allowed in life anyway? Do you think we should be limited? I feel like I'm always starting over on something, mostly being healthy and happy in life.

Is it possible to sabotage our own health and happiness in favor of creativity? Sometimes I wonder if I do this to myself. I know that sounds horrible, but I think I may fear that if I let myself be utterly and completely happy I will use that edge that allows me to write the way I do.

The BF said maybe if I let go of that I'll be free to become an even better writer. What if he's wrong? What if I become completely blissful and I can't write another word? I'm already struggling with poetry. I have this crazy idea, which I'm keeping to myself at the moment, but involves poetry, but I'm not sure I'll be able to do it because I've not written a poem in...let's just say...awhile.  And don't get me wrong. I'm happy, but I keep that little bit of angst that give me an edge, teetering on madness, in my opinion, in a good way. lol. And really, I'd have to change the name of my blog, right? :)

Regardless of all that, I'm heading for a fresh start health wise. I ran yesterday. Something I hadn't done in a couple weeks, and while I wasn't really starting at square one, it was like two or three, so I have some work to do. And I eat well during the day and at dinner I fail. SO for this girl only good stuff. Fruit, veggies, poultry, fish, probiotics. Yep.

I think though, the bliss can wait for now.

Friday, May 25, 2012

F³A: Why I like school visits

School visits for me is one of the most rewarding things about being an author, and right now, I don't even get paid for it. Then why you ask? Why do I love school visits so much?
(to the left, Danny Marks, me, Marissa Meyer, J Anderson Coats, and Jennifer Shaw Wolf at North Thurston High School)
  • I like to connect with teens. They are who I write for. I like to know what they're reading, what kind of books they'd like to see on the shelves in the future.
  • I like to make teens laugh. I sometimes worry that they won't laugh in the right places of my presentation, but they always do.
  • I like to shoot SWAG at them. They love SWAG and it engages them and gets them to ask question they may be timid to ask if they know they'll get something for it. Yes, I'm bribing them, sue me.
  • I enjoy telling them that in this age of technology, word of mouth is still the best form of publicity for an author, and if they like a book, they should tell someone. This always surprises them.
  • Mostly, I like to encourage and inspire kids to pick up a book and read, whether it's my book or one of the books I mention in my presentation (I mention a lot of books, it's not just me me me). I feel like when I leave, kids are excited about reading. Even if just one more kid picks up a book that normally wouldn't I've done my job.
If you know of a school that would like a guest speaker, doesn't matter where it is, Skype is a beautiful thing, I love talking to the students about reading.

I encourage all authors to do school visits. If you're nervous, climb out of your comfort zone. I was terrified at my first visit, but once I started talking, I was fine. And I feel that I get better and better with each one. Or, if you have other authors in your area, do a group presentation, I've done that too and it's great fun!

Okay, time for the Friday Scribbles.

Random Pandora Song (Nirvana Radio):

Book of the Week: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. Terrifying and wonderful. A story about a young pioneer girl with dyslexia trapped in a cabin alone for months, including during a winter storm.

Redbox of the Week: The Vow. One of those heartrending movies. I love Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, swoon.

Quote of the Week: “I bet if you look at the average teenager and the average adult, the average teenager has read more books in the last year than the average adult. Now of course the adult would be all like, 'I'm busy, I got a job, I got stuff to do.' WHATEVER! READ! I mean, you're watching CSI: Miami. Why would you be watching CSI: Miami, when you could be READING CSI: Miami, the novelization?”
John Green

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


Did you miss me?

Did you even notice I've been absent for a few days?

Megan who you ask?

I swear, I've been a scattered mess lately. I had a four school visit yesterday with some of my fellow Harbingers of Doom, Danny Marks, Jennifer Shaw Wolf, Marissa Meyer, and Jillian Anderson Coats. It was great fun, completely exhausting, and I had no idea what I was doing all day. I just let Danny drive me around and followed everyone.

I've got BEA coming up and feel so lost. Thank god I'm not planning it and double thank god for Lynda Mulally Hunt who is.

I'm doing a complete rewrite for Cheesy, aka An Unbalanced Line, some of you may remember this as my girl-who-wants-to-play-high-school-football boot from a few years ago. Yeah, well my editor likes the idea, but it needs a lot of work, like not even revisions, it needs to be rewritten. So I've been trying to do that.

One top add: two teenage girls with music, soccer, social events, a day job, continuing marketing on Never Eighteen, yard work, house work, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Okay, maybe not that last one.

I'd also like to get back to my vlog and doing video reviews.  (I miss my vlog and I'm sure my vlog fan, no that's not a typo, misses me)

What I need: I new driver, mine quit (college girl, internship, NY). Seriously, you may think I'm silly for having hired one, but she took a lot of pressure off of me. Well worth the money. I also could use a cleaning person, yard person, and personal assistant.

What I don't have: $ for all the above.

I could also use a deadline so I'm more motivated to finish rewrites.

Oh, and an agent. Did I mention I'm without one now?

This is what my life has become in the last couple of weeks. A ball of chaotic mess, which it normally is, but the ball got wound a little tighter and became a little bigger.

Maybe during the long weekend I can sort things out and get to fresh start number 7,948,849, but who's counting?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For the Love of Reading

In my busy world of working, marketing, writing, rewriting, Things One and Two, etc, etc, the one thing I abandoned was a good book.  Every year I tell myself, I'll read more, and I really don't. I think I read about 5-7 books last year. I'd like to read at least one a month, and that's pathetic I know, two a month would be better.

This year I'm up to four, which I suppose, isn't too far behind my goal, but still feels like it's not enough. I miss getting lost in a good book. I love the feeling of not wanting to put the book down, of can't waiting to pick it back up.

I finished a book Monday night, Velveteen by my friend Danny Marks. It felt so good to finish a book again. I picked another one up last night, Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay. I devoured that one in one sitting. I forgot how much I love to read, and of all things in my life to push aside in favor of others, reading should not be one of them. It's one of the only things I do for me.

Lately, I've been feeling the need for a little escape--to forget about where I am, who I am. To forget or not care what time it is. To travel to a place outside my own reality, be it Purgatory, New Hampshire, or Vietnam (one of the books I read this year was Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhaa Lai).

I am going to read more this year. I'm up to four books. I'm starting another one today. I'm not going to push aside my means of escape, my free therapy, my only thing for me, anymore.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Irritations

I'm really trying not to focus on the little irritations in life, but sometimes, you just gotta vent you know? So, here's a list of little irritations:

Toilets in which you have to hold the handle down for a long time to flush and the people who don't take the time to do it.  I mean, the toilet is annoying enough, but you, the person that doesn't flush it all the way, I mean, ew.

Too big lettuce.  I hate when restaurants feed you salad with huge pieces of lettuce that you have to cram in your mouth and you get dressing all around your face and then you look like a slob with ranch at the corners of your mouth, even though you try to hide it until you can bring your napkin up to your face.  Can't you cut it up a little bit more?

People who drive too slow. And yes, I drive fast, but I'm talking about people who don't even drive the speed limit. I have encountered this so much this last week. I don't know if the sun makes people stupid or just slower, but I mean, 20 in a 35? Come on!

Bicyclists who now longer tell you when they're coming up behind you. When I was cycling a lot, there used to be a polite phrase we used to warn walkers up ahead with their back to us. "On your left" or "On your right". I walk the Narrows Bridge a lot, and these cyclists, you can't hear them coming, and they zoom by you without warning. I mean, what if I happened to move an inch to my left at the exact moment they went whizzing by? Them: up over the top of their handlebars. Me: face down on the pavement. Lawsuit: Megan 1, Cyclist 0. I actually did have two very polite ones yesterday, one with a bell, and one who warned us and then even said thank you when we moved aside. Unfortunately, that is not the norm.

That's it for today. Got any irritations you'd like to get off your chest this morning?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monkey Madness Monday: Mother's Day Weekend

Um, I couldn't decide. They were all too cute, the baby monkeys with their moms. I had a really great Mother's Day weekend. I took off to Portland, OR for the weekend with my boyfriend, Mike (he doesn't like to be called boyfriend, but the only other name I can think to call him is Jerk and that just doesn't seem nice. {disclaimer: I'm kidding} ) We got there late Friday afternoon. Traffic wasn't bad at all. Our hotel was nice, they gave us free drinks at happy hour, two each, plus soup and salad (salad left a lot to be desired). Then we went out on the town for a bit.

Saturday, Holly Cupala happened to be in Portland for a book signing, so Mike and I arrived early to see if there was anything to do in the area. Unless we wanted to load up on coffee, food and beer, there was nothing to do.

So we hopped back in the car and headed to the waterfront where there was some kind of Doggie Run (um, yeah, those of you who know me probably know this was no thrill). Saturday Market was also taking place, so we shopped around a bit until it was time to go back to the book signing.  The weather was gorgeous, so the walk was really nice.

Back to Holly. She read from her book, Don't Breathe a Word, which sounded fantastic, she gave away prizes (one was Never Eighteen, she's so sweet), I bought her book, got it signed, she gave me some swag for Things One and Two, and we headed back to our hotel. (BTW, Holly just recently had a baby boy and he is adorable and she looks great)

Then came the reason we were in Portland to begin with, Cirque de Soleil's show, Ovo. I'd never been to a Cirque show, Mike had been to at least four (I think, don't quote me). It was amazing, colorful and funny. And oh my god, the acrobatics. GASP! People were spinning things...and people...and doing things the human body has no reason doing. There was jumping and flipping and people flying in the air. And there was beauty and sitting on the edge of your seat and clapping and did I mention the gasping? There was one part in which there was a spider, which I don't like anyway, but she was so flexible I almost wanted to puke. It was kind of gross and I was pretty sure she was going to break her neck or some other important body part.

Then we came home early Sunday, I grabbed my Things (One and Two) and went to my parents house and sat in the sun, swam, read, and barbecued burgers and zucchini and made caprese salad. The weather was perfect, the company was perfect (aside from my girls, my sister, niece and nephew came down, and Mike came down after spending time with his mom).

So, all in all a beautiful, sunny, wonderful weekend. What did you do?

Friday, May 11, 2012

F³A: Mothers

Back in the day
With Mother's Day right around the corner, I thought I would talk about my mom a little bit. 

My mother is one of the most wonderful people in the world. No, it's true. She came from a life of adversity. I'm not sure she'd like me telling her story here, so let's just say, things weren't easy. She didn't really have a father until my grandmother married the father of her brothers, she lived with her aunt for awhile, and she helped raise her three brothers.

Mom selling books at my release party
Wanting to escape, she married right after high school to a man who promised her the world, only to find disappointment. She ended up leaving that, but one beautiful daughter later. She put herself through school (one regret is that she didn't finish) and worked very hard to single handedly raise that daughter. She tells me working back in those days was exactly like it is on Mad Men by the way. lol.

She met my dad working tables at a nightclub. They married, had three more kids, the rest is history. 

She is one of the kindest people I know. She always tries to help those in need, sometimes to her own detriment unfortunately. She's generous, beautiful, smart, and funny. She donates time to Catholic Community Services and the homeless shelter here in Tacoma as well as donating money to other worthy charities. 

Me and my mom at Sundance
She is a light that draws people in and is loved by many. She has helped me in many ways, emotionally, *cough* monetarily,  physically. 

People tell her she looks like Shirley MacClain. 

I honestly believe it's possible I may not be here today if not for this woman. Love you Mom (she doesn't read my blog, not that computer savvy, but ya know).

Don't forget to do something nice for your mom this weekend. At least tell her you love her. I tell my mom every time I see her and sometimes when I don't.

Friday Scribbles:
Random iPod shuffle song:

Book of the Week: I'm going to go with a mother daughter book by my friend Carole Estby Dagg, The Year We Were Famous. Seriously intriguing story, read about Helga and Clara's story here.

Movie of the Week: Terms of Endearment. One of the best Mother/Daughter movies, PLUS Shirley MacClain.

Quote of the Week: "Grown don't mean nothing to a mother.  A child is a child.  They get bigger, older, but grown?  What's that suppose to mean?  In my heart it don't mean a thing."  ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Join the Never Eighteen Street Team!

So, if you read and liked Never Eighteen and would like to help spread the word, consider joining the Street Team. I was going to open this to teens only, but I've had some adults interested too, so all ages.

What's in it for you, you ask?
  • One free Never Eighteen Street Team T-shirt. 
  • One Never Eighteen Street Team Button
  • Street Team Pack

What do you have to do? 

Take the items from your Street Team Pack and:

  • Hand out swag, in your community to help promote the book in your area while wearing your Street Team Shirt
  • Tell people, word of mouth, about Never Eighteen
  • Ask your local libraries and bookstores to carry Never Eighteen
  • Online promotion, Facebook, Tweet, post reviews etc, etc about Never Eighteen
  • If you Youtube, create a video review, trailer, or some other kind of promotional video
  • Posting recommendations on online book forums
  •  Utilize your individual skills to help out and support the book, like create a cool flyer, widget, etc.
  • Anything else you can think of that will help spread the word.

Places to hand out  swag:
  • Book fairs and festivals
  • Farmers markets
  • Arts fairs
  • Middle and High schools
  • Anywhere else you can think of 

When you do what you've done, let me know. You can tell me, take pics, whatever, there may be prizes involved!
So, if you or anyone you know would be interested, comment here, or send an email to
I'm only taking a couple per city, so act fast! (hahaha, right?)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Like Mysteries? Like Prizes? Introducing Hart Johnson

My friend Hart Johnson and her friend Elizabeth Spann Craig both have books coming out June 5th. This is Hart's VERY FIRST BOOK!!!! So, I congratulate her on that.

They are releasing what's called cozy mysteries. Don't know what that is? Let me tell you, in Hart's words:

Cozy Mysteries are like Mystery-Lite—there is still a dead body (or two), still a mystery to solve, and still lots of twists and turns. But they are
low on gore (murder happens off the page), low on violence (happens off the page), low on sex (though not necessarily anti-innuendo or ogling—again, just not on the page) -- the whole thing is kept very PG-- and because the sleuth is an amateur, they are also low on technical forensic or police procedural language, making them very approachable. (and far easier for a non-cop to write)

But in ADDITION, they also tend to have
a lot of humor, some quirky characters, a recurring cast, and frequently there is a THEME (Elizabeth's is quilting, mine is gardening).
Here is the contest they are running:

Crazy Cozy Blogfest

The idea is to think of the craziest, zaniest set-up for a cozy mystery you can—this is strictly for entertainment value—we don't plan to take these ideas and actually write series (though if you think YOU want to, go for it!). But we are asking you to come up with
a wacky theme, a zany sleuth, a crazy setting for your OWN Crazy Cozy Mystery idea.


1)  Sleuth (age, occupation, maybe a little family info)
2)  Sidekick (either friend or foil, but someone who always seems to be around)
3)  Setting (town, city, or other sort of place)
4)  Theme (go nuts)
5)  Twist (be as creative as you like)

Write it up in 150-250 words (so short)--for the blogfest portion anyway—we want people to be able to read a bunch of these without too much burden. Keep the traditions in mind, but we are judging on entertainment value--which we enjoy most, not how realistic it is to make a best seller. We want people to laugh.  WE want to laugh. (so consider those rules more like guidelines, really)

And then please include either our book brief descriptions, a brief word of promo, or a link for people to FIND more if they want to (find info at the end of the blog).
Okay, so without further ado, here is my entry into Hart and Elizabeth's Crazy Cozy Blogfest Contest!
Lily Walter, 32, is the secretary of the Rainy Day Youth Soccer Club. She’s the single mother of one daughter, Faith, 12. Her parents, Jim and Fancy, are a curmudgeon, and an airhead with a hearing problem. They treat Lily as if she were 16, and are always trying to marry her off. Lily’s only interested in one man, Faith’s soccer coach, Scott Simpson.
Enter Kitty Clark, 28. Also a single mother, daughter Ashley plays Faith’s soccer team. Lily is terribly jealous of Kitty; she’s younger, prettier, and rich. She is also after the handsome coach, Scott Simpson.
The setting: rainy Seattle, Washington. The theme: select soccer. We all know how ugly that can get.
Sudden Death
When the president of the club Mike Martin ends up dead, everyone is surprised until Trixie Jones, whose daughter Valerie plays for Mike, runs up and collapses on his casket professing her love. Most surprised are their spouses, and all assume one of them is the killer.
As Lily goes through soccer club paperwork, she finds Mike has some enemies: A disgruntled parent whose daughter has been cut from Mike’s team, a coach with complaints of inappropriate behavior, and a treasurer who has been embezzling funds to pay off a gambling debt.
In a crazy turn of events it wasn’t the spouses, angry parent, deviant coach, or pilfering treasurer who killed Mike. It was Valerie, daughter of Mike’s lover. Upon being arrested she said, “Mike committed a foul—I gave him a red card.”
Prizes: (yes, I said prizes! erm...not extravagant, but we wanted to give you something) Each Elizabeth and I will choose our favorite and BOTH winners will get BOTH books (signed).

We'd love help promoting the blogfest, as well. Feel free to take the button and banner and/or share the Linky Tool below. And I'm sure you will be hearing more about this over the next two months.

Quilt or Innocence
Beatrice has a lot of gossip to catch up on—especially with the Patchwork Cottage quilt shop about to close. It seems that Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate, wants to raise the rent, despite being a quilter herself… But when Judith is found dead, the harmless gossip becomes an intricate patchwork of mischievous motives. And it’s up to Beatrice’s expert eye to decipher the pattern and catch the killer, before her life gets sewn up for good.

Elizabeth Spann Craig
: Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer's Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.

As the mother of two, Elizabeth writes on the run as she juggles duties as Girl Scout leader, referees play dates, drives carpools, and is dragged along as a hostage/chaperone on field trips.



Barnes and Noble

Indie Bound

Mystery Writing is Murder

The Azalea Assault
Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting
Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson
: Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson who writes books from her bathtub. By day she is an academic researcher at a large midwestern university. She lives with her husband, two teenage children and two fur balls. The dust bunnies don't count. This will be her first published book.


Barnes and Noble

Indie Bound

Confessions of a Watery Tart

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monkey Madness Monday: Becoming PC

So, there are a couple words I use that aren't quite PC. I'm a little embarrassed to write them out loud, but the first starts with "re" and ends in "tarded". I have a friend I spend time with, we go to lunch at least once every month or so, and we went to the Mariners game Saturday night (awesome game btw) and she doesn't like the word because she happens to work with people who have special needs.

Soooo, I decided it was time to find a new word. I got out my phone and clicked on my thesaurus and looked up stupid. Retarded was actually one of the words. Even the thesaurus isn't PC, sigh.

The word I decided to go with is Lumpish.
1.resembling a lump.
2.having a heavy appearance; moving clumsily.
3.having a sluggish mind; unresponsive; dull; stupid.
Example: You're so lumpish.
I'll also be using the word Lumpen.
(ˈlʌmp ə n)
stupid or unthinking
However, I've decided to use it as a noun.
Example:  You're such a lumpen

I will also be using the word Lumpy which I will be using as a proper name.

Example: Smooth move, Lumpy.

So, I've found a new word and I will no longer be unPC, using the "R" word and causing my friend  to cringe.

I've also found another new word, Festal, but I was told I didn't have to use that one because what I'd replaced it for wasn't as insulting.

Happiest of Monkey Madness Mondays to you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

F³A: No visit is a bad visit

I had a visit with a book club yesterday at a library north of me. I drove about 35 miles. In attendance, 3 kids, 1 librarian. At first I was disappointed. Then I wasn't. You know, I've already come to realize that these visits aren't always about selling books. Sometimes they're about learning what kids are reading. Sometimes they're about inspiring people. Sometimes they're about networking and connecting. But yeah, sometimes they're about selling books.

When I got there, they first talked about what they'd read. The librarian, Rosalie couldn't say enough things about a book called Trash by Andy Mulligan. She was currently reading The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers, which she found weird, but intriguing. Both two completely different books, both sounded interesting.

Then one of the girls said though she hadn't really read much in the way of books, she was doing this online interactive book call Home Stuck. It's a game that this guy made up using nothing but MS Paint. It looks interesting enough, you can find it here if you want to take a look.

The next girl had read a book called Kill You Last by Todd Strasser. It's part of what he calls a Thrillology. The book sounded pretty interesting and she said she'd put it on the "hot list". She was currently reading a book called...crap! Can't remember. Anyway, she was kind of liking it. It was called Summer Storm or something like that.

Then the lone boy said he had read the Tarzan series and talked about how the girls wouldn't like it because it was pretty sexist. He was also reading the Mars Trilogy

I talked about my book and the writing process. A few questions were asked, jokes made. Then the librarian and I talked about writing. She was an aspiring writer with a girls sports series and some contemporary fiction she had written and was trying to get published. I gave her some advice.

Then I talked about the Class of 2k12 and the Apocalypsies and told them how many great books were coming out this year in all sorts of different genres, gave them some 2k12 bookmarks and Never Eighteen swag and was on my way. 

So, if the library doesn't have my book, I'm sure they will soon. Maybe one of those kids will read it and like it. I'm sure the librarian will read it, AND I gave her some motivation (she was getting down about rejection from agents)

All in all, though a small group, not a waste of time. These visits are NEVER a waste of time.

Friday Scribbles:

Random iPod shuffle song:

Netflix of the Week: Archer Season One. This is hilarious. If you like totally inappropriate humor and cartoons, this is for you. Yeeuup!

Book of the Week: Still reading Danny Marks Velveteen and loving it! Not out until October, but I believe you  reviewers can get it on Netgalley right now.

Quote of the Week: "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." ~Rodin

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Finding My Zen

Okay, so this is harder than I imagined. Especially when I'm driving. I had a less than Zen moment in my car yesterday while driving my kids home from school.

I think it was a series of annoying events that contributed.

The first? Justin Bieber's Boyfriend came on the radio. Normally I turn the station when this happens, but Thing One insisted I leave it on. And she kept turning it up. I kept turning it down. It irritated me, but I was trying to be Zen.

Then another song came on. I think I blocked it out my mind as I can't remember what song it was, but Thing One was singing loudly and annoyingly. I calmly asked her to please stop.

Then it happened. We're stopped at a stop light. There are a few cars ahead of us. Light turns green. Cars start to go. But wait. The car ahead of me stops. I'm like WTF? THEN she decides to turn on her left turn blinker. That was it. Screw Zen. Expletives were spewed left and right. I may have pounded on my steering wheel a couple times. I wished for her window to be down so I could yell at her as we went around her; no luck.

I lost my Zen.

A set back. I regained my Zen for the remainder of the day.

I will continue to try to keep my Zen from now on.  When something pisses me off I will breathe in and out deep until it passes. I'm going to read about Buddha and see how he handled assholes. That may help.

Have a great Thrustday people.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fresh Starts

Photo by Alan Levine
How many fresh starts are we allowed in life anyway? I think the answer is: However many we require. I know I've taken my share, and I've currently taken another. 

I sometimes let stress get the best of me. It doesn't help that I'm Scot, Italian, and an Aries. I find myself getting angry, depressed. I find myself on a journey of serious self destruction sometimes to the point where I can't get out of bed for a couple of days. I felt myself getting there again. I can usually feel it coming and I had to stop it before it got to that point. It's not a good place to be.

These are the things I'm trying to do to not go to that dark place again:

  • Find my inner Zen. When I find myself getting angry, I'm going to take a couple of deep breaths before speaking or acting.
  • Don't use the word "hate". I usually reserve the word for petty things, but I'm going to try to cut the word out of my vocabulary altogether.
  • Continue exercising. I've been doing pretty good, I'm going to keep at it.
  • Cut down on the vino. I'm a writer. And Italian. I drink. 
  • Write for myself every day. It's cheaper than therapy. 
  • Try not to spread myself too thin. I seriously do take on a lot in life. Between my writing, working, kids, and house (cleaning, yard, etc) sometimes that's enough.
  • Get organized. My office is a mess. My house is a mess. my yard is a mess. Organization is not my strong suit, but I find myself losing important things, bills, and other stuff I'd rather have than not have.
  • Read about inspiring people. My reading time is short. I admit this. I'm reading all my fellow 2k12ers books. So, this is twofold. One is to read MORE, the other is to read about people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Buddha, and Anne Frank.

I think that's about it. We'll see how those things work out. How do you beat stress?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Skype Visit

I had my first Skype visit yesterday with Central A & M High School in Moweaqua, Illinois. One of their students had contacted me through my website and told me she was doing a book project for her class on Never Eighteen and asked if I had any ideas or could I come visit her class. 

I sent her to the discussion guide on my website and said, "I love doing school visits!" Of course, this was before I knew she lived in Illinois. When I found that out, I offered a Skype visit.

There were some technical difficulties on their end at first (a sound cord had come unplugged) but after that, it was awesome. I talked about my book, they asked some questions about writing and publishing. It was a lot of fun!

I'm sending a package of SWAG to the class.

The student sent me her Powerpoint presentation of my book yesterday afternoon and it was awesome. I guess her fellow classmates told her teacher she should get an A+.

I felt very honored to be invited into their classroom and told them I'd be happy to come back when I had another book on the shelf. 

I have to thank author Bruce Hale for his awesome session on Skype at my local SCBWI conference a couple weeks ago. Good info that helped with my visit. 

If you know of any middle or high school classes looking for an author to Skype with, pass my name along!

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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