Tag Archives: fun

What’s New This Year:

1 Jan

Well for starters:

#1: Social Vibe: I’m raising money for education but not in the way you’d think. Here’s how it works. Click on the social vibe widget (further down my sidebar) and it’ll open to a set of Company based ads. You watch the ad and the company donates money to the cause. It cost them money and each of us 5 minutes of our time. A really easy/great way to give back.

#2: The 2011 Debut Authors Challenge – hosted by The Story Siren. This is exciting to me. Because as a writer it’s easy to sometimes write/critique and forget to read. (Or get too busy to read). I’m hoping this challenge will help me step back even more to simply enjoy a book and of course support Debut Authors. Just found this out as well, each month/for every review done on a debut book participants names are put into a drawing for a prize pack. Below is a photo of January’s pack. Let me just say, WOW!

https://rachelmariepratt.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/dacjan.jpg?w=300

#3: The contest area in my sidebar. (Which I may move lower, because it distracts me for some reason.)

#4: Totally 4 YA: It’s a fantastic NEW authors group geared completely at teens, their lives, their world, YA reading, YA writing… the list goes on and on.

#5: A *hush-hush* sisters site getting ready to launch.

As you can see it’s starting off to be an exciting year already! Oh and before you go, don’t forget to tell me, what’s new with you?

BIG NEWS: The Replacement and Rules of Attraction Blog Tours!

22 Dec

https://i1.wp.com/i161.photobucket.com/albums/t231/chosenbuffy100/TheReplacementblogtoursidebar.jpg https://i0.wp.com/i161.photobucket.com/albums/t231/chosenbuffy100/RulesofAttractionblogtoursidebar.jpg

Two Fabulous Authors Doing UK Blog Tours.

And since they’re on line tours, we can all play!! Thanks to Jenny over at  Wondrous Reads, for this Fab info!! She says to check out all the details on the banners and join in! (banners made by the talented Kat at S&S!)

I adore both of these authors. Simone Elkeles who I author crush…BIG TIME! And Brenna Yovanoff, who was absolutely lovely participating on a YA panel at Romance Divas! So excited for this event arranged by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK (@simonkids_UK on Twitter).

Tell me, will you be available to play on any of these dates?

Before you go click over to read the most recent December ‘SHORT REVIEW’.

Teenage Letter To Santa

20 Dec

Dear Santa,

Mom says if I don’t believe in you I don’t get crap for Christmas. So rather than risk it, I’m writing you this letter. Okay, so here goes: If you get me what I want for Christmas, I swear I’ll be awesome-good next year. Like I won’t lie about texting in school or fight with my brother—actually I still might—but I’ll be nice to him too. And when it’s my turn to do dishes, I’ll do them without complaining, probably.

And here’s the list of what I would like: Kindle, Gift cards for music and books, a laptop, a 19inch flat screen tv for my bedroom (the one I have is reeeeeeeally old), a digital camera, an Ipod touch, clothes, store cards so I can buy my own clothes (no offense, but you’ve worn the same suit forever now) and maybe get yourself something nice.

I pledge to believe in you for as long as I live at home.

Me

p.s. If you really want kids to believe in you, maybe consider a website and provide an e-mail address for us to contact you directly. Sorry, but everything is techy now. And while I know kids aren’t supposed to see you, maybe you could start a blog and post pics of your wife, house, reindeer and elves.  Also, maybe you could change your name to Cyber Santa, just a thought.

Merry Christmas!

Finally Friday Segment:Introducing Baby Girl, BeeGee, BG.

24 Sep

Sitting back I realized a big part of my sanity when it comes to reading and writing stems from the moments I share with my 12 year old daughter, who I’ll call BeeGee (not like the group, but like a way cooler nickname than Baby Girl). Hmm, maybe I’ll go lazy and just use BG, I think I will. Moving on.

So BG and I sat down together this weekend and came up with the idea to do blog posts together. Sometimes we’ll have giveaways, she’ll write a post of her own. We’ll talk ‘stuff’ and focus as best we can on reading, writing, and life in the Gilbert house.

Since this is our first Finally Friday Segment we’ll begin with her introduction.

How about you tell the readers something about yourself…

BG: Well, as Mom said, I’m 12. What she didn’t say is I’m in the 6th grade. I love to…

Should I have told them you’re in the 6th grade?

BG: I think you should have. *smiles* Anyway, like I was saying, I love to read, listen to music, and I really like learning about Egypt. Also, I enjoy a good mystery, even if I’m the one who wrote it. I’m not very fond of math. Science is okay. (But I would rather be in Social Studies or Language Arts.)

So would you rather read or write?

BG: Probably read. But I guess, it depends on the day.

Would you rather do LOTS of math or get a tetanus shot? (Seeing as she just went in for her shots it should be an easy comparison).

BG: MATH, big time!!

I’ll remember that next time you sit down to do homework.

BG: (Thank heaven she doesn’t remember things too well. Hehehe!)

Don’t worry; it’s going on THE LIST! Mwahahaha!!! *clears throat* Okay, now back to reading. BG and I are going to celebrate the launch of our Finally Friday Segment with a GIVEAWAY. Yay!!

BG: Oh my gosh Mom, we’re only giving away a book.

Yeah, but tell ‘em what book.

BG: It’s a really cute comedy book that we read together.

That’s right, it’s about this girl, Juli–

BG: And this boy named Bryce–

I read Juli–

BG: Oh, and I read Bryce–

Juli was a bit clueless and naive and totally crushing on Bryce.

BG: Bryce was hilarious and tried his best to avoid Juli.

But eventually things flip and the two begin to see one another differently–

BG: Yeah, my favorite part was at the beginning when he’s trying to get Juli to let go of his hand and he’s thinking about how she has him ‘in a death grip.’

I loved that part, (lol) and her thoughts were priceless: ‘I almost got my first kiss that day, I’m sure of it.’ When the whole time Bryce is trying to get away.

The book we’re talking about is Flipped By: Wendelin Van Draanen.

BG: Yeah, Flipped is totally flipping awesome!!

Um…yep it is. At the heart of the story is true friendship, finding something to believe in, and the value of family. If you want to win a copy of Flipped for you–

BG: Or someone you love.

Go ahead and leave a comment. Anything to add, BG?

BG: How will the readers know who wins? Maybe we could number the comments and draw a number.

Sounds good.

BG: Do I get to draw the winner?

Sure, and we’ll announce who’s won on–

BG: Monday!

Okay, so there you have it, you have the weekend to comment.

BG: Adios!!!

Thanks for stopping by. And a quick recap, don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Flipped and while you’re here say ‘hi’ to my baby girl–don’t tell her I said that–and let us know what you think of our Finally Friday Segment.

https://i2.wp.com/www.randomhouse.com/kids/vandraanen/images/cover_flipped_ebook.jpg

BG: Be our first WINNER!! (And so you know, we ordered the book from my scholastic book order…and I’m not exactly sure how soon it’ll be in).

Out Numbered

12 Jun

I never knew how nice it was to have another girl in the house until I dropped my daughter off at the airport and came home to not 1, but 3 boys. Sure I’ve spent a couple days without her in the house. But she doesn’t come home from Disney until next Thursday.

(Searches for panic button).

Okay, so maybe I’m not exactly panicking, but I sure do miss her. We like to talk books and writing and music. I treasure our conversations and love that we share common interest. Especially with the teen years looming on the horizon. In some ways, I hope these common interests will narrow the gap when she gets into the TEENDOM. (Yes, this is a real place. It’s between: I Know Everything Because I’m Ten and Will You Fill Out My Collage Apps Because I’m So Busy And Tired Reality Check.)

On the other hand, I love that she’s experiencing something new. Quite frankly, we tend to visit museums, not theme parks. So this is a fun opportunity for her. And she’s called at least twice a day since she’s left. <– without prompting. Yay! And when she gets back we’ll have a blast making trips to the library.

Because I never get enough of hearing her say:

AND

We counted the days together until she left. And now I count the days until she comes home again.

Six days of car talk, video games, ball, wrestling…Don’t get me wrong, I can change oil in the vehicles with the best of them. I love the guys, but that doesn’t mean I want to be one of them. They’re even talking about the ‘man camp’. Save me!

Seriously, I hope she has a blast and comes back with lots of great stories to tell. Because, if there is one thing her and I love, it’s a great story.

On Review

26 May

Current Read:

Going Bovine Written by: Libba Bray

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WHY I WANT TO READ IT: The cover. I can’t help it the cover is too much. 😛  Also, it was  mentioned in the threads at YA Fiction Fanatics (crit group). And finally, I want to read something written in the male POV–though I’ll likely never write in it. lol.

WHAT‘S IT ABOUT: Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family’s attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray’s surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack ‘N’ Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy. (***Description from Goodreads)

~Other Books I’ve read recently and their mini reviews~

The Hunger Games* (Genre-YA Fiction) Written by: Susanne Collins

Catching Fire* (Genre-YA Fiction) Written by: Susanne Collins

*These books are a part of a series. Susanne Collins captured my attention from the start and kept it until the end with both books.Definitely on my favorites list. Her 3rd book in the series coming soon: Mockingjay

https://i0.wp.com/img.photobucket.com/albums/v353/keikochan/Book%20covers/teampeeta.pngI have to admit I’m flying my Team Peeta Banner on this one.



Silk and Stone** (Genre- Adult Romance Fiction) Written by: Lisa Dane

**A book my husbands grandma gave me some time ago to read. The characters were believable and the setting good. Overall the book was a little predictable, but I enjoyed it.

Circle Star***(Genre- Steamy Adult Fiction- Not for those under 18) Written by: Tatiana March

***This was a great book, with wonderful descriptions. A lot like getting two stories in one. Thumbs up here.

So that’s what’s “On Review”. Click  in with me again when I’m mini reviewing Going Bovine. And find out why I’ve picked my next book…or maybe leave a ‘book suggestion’ for me in the comments section. 😉

Unrealistic Much?

14 May

https://i0.wp.com/thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_69/1151959724yp372c.jpgAuthors are, I guess.

At YA Fiction Fanatics (YAFF – an on-line critique group consisting of myself and other aspiring authors) one of our members posted a link to a teen blog, where the girl went on about how ‘unrealistic’ YA novels are today. And how writers don’t realistically capture the high school experience.

The girl’s spunky, which was great, but the blog prompted thoughts from several of us in the group. After all, no matter our age now (and I’m pretty far from old) we did each go to high school. lol. Even if high school didn’t include a hundred cells in every class.

Basically her thoughts were this. Cliques are not as apparent as novels like to suggest, high school kids tend to be very stressed about school, not just the opposite sex, and college plans exhaust them to NO END. Added on that, sports, work, and texting and she’s down right wiped out. OMG. (Makes me tired just thinking about. J/k. Like I said I’m not that old). In her post she went on to say that the YA novels don’t focus on the truth of 5 hours of homework a night and constant collage plans. (I’m paraphrasing here, these are not her exact words. Well the 5 hours of homework is…maybe that should be in quotations?)

Well anyway, her thoughts prompted a discussion within the group and here’s what we came up with: that it may be possible ‘cliques’ seem less noticeable when your popular. (The fact that the girl had well over 700 subscribers to her blog and over 28 comments on this one post alone, tells me she’s doing okay in that department.) And then there’s the whole how BIG is your school? We, out-of-touch-writers–once students ourselves–have determined that the social cliques might be a bit more obvious in the smaller schools. But since I don’t plan on cyber-stalking to find out what school said teen goes to, I’ll just assume it’s average–whatever average is. lol. (Yes, I know my research efforts are very focused).

Lastly, we writers thought, hmmm, YA FICTION. I’m not sure the girl would be reading so much if we all wrote books about 5 hours of homework a night and college apps. I think maybe some teens prefer unrealistic cliques, love interests, and making the grade with minimal effort. I do have to say though, I don’t think I ever went to school with any werewolves, vampires, mind readers, or the like.

Still, the girls post was fantastic. Most times I don’t think YA writers get across the pressures on teens today, but I think instead we try to offer time away from that stress, if only for 250-300 pages. (TA4N–oh, for those who don’t read text: That’s all for now).

Strawberry Sundae Saturday…

8 May

https://i2.wp.com/www.jgoode.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/sundae.jpgSitting in a booth at a local truck stop, sucking down a strawberry sundae with whipped cream on top. I glance over at my husband and admit to having the urge to jump across the table to kiss the crumbs, from his fried mushrooms, off his lips. lol. I’m not sure what triggered the thought but it was there. So much so, that I put my spoon down and gripped the bench I was sitting on to keep from doing just what I wanted. (There was young children in the room after all.)  🙂

Anyway, I asked him, why he thought I was wanting to leap over the table and devour him. He shrugged and said, maybe it was because he was smiling more today.

This got me thinking about the characters in books and what triggers their attraction to each other. Contrary to what some may think, not all characters are so beautiful that they immediately want each other. An author/friend of mine has said on several occasions that it drives her crazy reading romances where the hero and heroine are attracted to each other but for no apparent reason. She says, “Feelings come from somewhere.”

And she’s right.

Today’s feelings for my husband were brought on by a smile. (That’s what he said.) But after further thought, I like to mix sweet and salty foods. So, I’m chalking up my urge to jump over the table, to eating a strawberry sundae and wanting something fried/salty with it. And it’s not my fault the crumbs were clinging to his lips. 🙂

When you write do you consider the ‘why’? Why does your character feel this way or that? If you can’t answer the why you may need to go back to the drawing board. (Also, do you mix sweet/salty foods?) I recently taught our kids to dip french fries in ice cream. (But only as a treat. Once or twice per summer.)  😉

Recipe for Relaxation

25 Jan

This weekend was uncommon for me. I stayed up until 2am Saturday morning after a long night of family Karaoke. We sang anything from Dean Martin to LinkinPark, Evanescense and Avril Lavigne to Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. CCR, Buckcherry, Kelly Clarkson and Johnny Cash topped the list as well. The kids had a blast and so did Michael and I.

Saturday turned into another day of relaxing after a lunch with Grandma to celebrate my birthday and much of the day spent lazing around with family. Again not hitting the sheets until about 2am. And for the first time in a long time, I slept in while Mike got up and around with the kids. I stayed in my pajamas all day Sunday which occurs maybe once a year and spent most of the day watching movies with Michael.

Aside from making a few meals it was an all out relaxing weekend. I feel blessed to have it.

And for those of you that read this post expecting to find an actual recipe, I don’t want to disappoint. So here is a recipe for one of the meals I made over the weekend:

T-Bone Steak, Bake Potatoes and Quick Salad:

What you’ll need: T-Bones, Zesty Italian Dressing, potatoes, lettuce, tomato, and onion. And your choice of salad dressing.

For Steak: Place steak in a glass dish and pour Italian dressing over top. Cover and put in the fridge for 1hr-3days (depending on when you want to cook them and how long you want them to sit and marinate). Then light grill. (Yes, I cook on the grill in the middle of a Michigan winter). Next, cook the steaks at a medium setting for about 15-20minutes, depending on thickness, then turn. Cook and additional 10-15 minutes.

For Potatoes: I prefer, Michigan white potatoes because they are very easy to clean. After scrubbing potatoes poke with a fork and knife. Then place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Or if you prefer the microwave you’ll want to look for a suggested cooking times.

For salad: Cut lettuce, tomato, and onion. Toss together in a bowl and top with favorite dressing.

Okay, not exactly an awe inspiring recipe, but after a half hour we had a delicious meal on our plates and went right back to relaxing.

Hope you had a great weekend too. And if you’d like to take a second, let me know what you do to relax as a family. Just click on the small comment button below. 🙂

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