Friday, April 27, 2012

Grounded

I finally got out of the house and visited the new shoppe in town that no one seems to know of.  It's called Paperdoodles and is right next to my favorite bakery.  I've been threatening to go there, but always manage to get that way after hours.  Since I was out yesterday, I used that as an excuse to stop by.

While they have all sorts of cute decorations and gift ideas, where I spent most of my time was in the writing corner.  I lost track of how many kinds of pens they had on display.  There were a few I put back after reminding myself of the over-stuffed pen holder I have here on my desk.  It's safe to say I have too many pens.  They are also stashed all over the house with tiny notepads.  Believe it or not, some ideas don't stick around long enough to run upstairs and boot up the computer.

Anywho, I spent too much time with the pens.  Plenty to choose from.  Everything from fancy silver and golden pens to goofy pens made of some kind of clay and shaped into wide-eyed critters.  Tall pens, short pens, thick and thin pens.  One even looked like a tube of glue.  I don't know how that one worked and I chickened out of trying it out.

A little farther into the corner stood a display of note pads and composition books.  There was a massive selection of items designed by Vera Bradley.  No, I didn't know who that was.  The clerk took some time to show me all kinds of patterns and collections, but I was still lost.  I picked up a crazy green and yellow notebook and matching binder clips (I'm out of binders yet again), but then spied a pretty lavender and silver clip in the bottom of the jar.  The ever helpful clerk helped me fish it out find the composition notebook that went with it.

Bookmarks, stationary, bags, boxes, all that fun stuff I can always find something to do with.  Even still, I managed to make it to the register with the notebook and nine binder clips.  The clerk pulled out a jar from behind the counter of pens also designed by Vera Bradley.  I had already talked myself into skipping the pen, but I found one to go with my lavender and silver set up.

While I was digging through a display about five minutes after I got there, another lady came into the store and started looking around.  The clerk offered to help her find something, but the lady proceeded to rant and ramble about how stupid the store was and pointless all their products were.  She was still griping when she came over to my spot as if to scare me off.  I just reached around her with a smile and grabbed another binder clip.  The lady stormed out with a continued lecture about useless junk, and the clerk looked over at me with a chuckle.

"Would you like a basket?"
"Please!"

Maybe I was in my own world once again, but I could have spent all day in that shoppe.  When I finally checked out, I signed up for two of their newsletter type programs.  I told Colt about the awesome shoppe when he got home from work, and I have a feeling I will still be going there alone.  He just smiled and nodded, "Another notepad, how nice."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chael's Luck Blog Tour Drops By

Stop number 12 of the Chael's Luck Blog Tour with Mireille Chester is here!  Swag packs and e-books are up for grabs at each stop.  All you need to do is leave a comment with your name and email address to be entered to win.  As was mentioned earlier, there will be another set of goodies at the end of the tour, so if you miss out at the stops, there is still time.

Chael's Luck Goodreads page is loaded with great reviews.  I fell in love with the book before it even came out.  Mireille Chester has a wonderful habit of posting blurbs on her Facebook page, so if you follow that, you will never be bored.

To catch a little blurb and a closer look at the story, hop over to the Knights of Dorathan page on Mireille's blog.

Anywho, Mireille was kind and patient enough to entertain a bunch of questions for this stop.  I've never taken part in a hop before, so I'm still learning.  On to the questions:


1)    What was your favorite scene in Chael's Luck to write?
I’d have to say that my favorite scene to write was the one where Chael is kissing the princess.  I can’t say why because it will give too much away, but those that read the story will understand. :D

2)    What was the most difficult scene to write?
For most difficult, I’ll have to go with Ian’s love scene.  I tend to get a little carried away and scenes like that never stay very PG13. Lol Trying to tone it down so I could file this book into the Young Adult section was really hard for me.

3)    Is there any certain scene that seemed to write itself?
When Chael sneaks back into Gleama and asks Jasmine to help get him to Mac and the others so he can let them know what’s going on.  The part where he’s telling them his big secret, it was great.  I just sort of put my fingers on the keyboard and pages later, I went, “Wow.”.  lol

4)    If you could pick any song out there, which would be the theme song for Chael's Luck?
‘When I look at you’ by Miley Cyrus.  It really just embodies the entire story; the whole finding yourself as a person thing and having someone there to help you because they care.

5)    Let's say Chael's Luck is made into a movie - If you could pick any actor/actress to play any character, who would it be?
I have actually picked some actors and actresses.  The one I couldn’t find the perfect face for was Chael.  If others out there have read the book, I’d love some suggestions!  For Ian, I’d go with Brock Harris (he’s a model).  Mac: Ceasar Curti.  He was Mister International 2011. The twins, Harry and Hal, would have to be played by James & Oliver Phelps (they play the Weasly twins in Harry Potter), and for Caleb, I’d go with Liam Hemsworth.

6)    If you could take any one thing from Dorathan as a souvenir, what would it be?
Hmmmm…. That’s a tough one.  I guess I’d have to go with Ian.  Hahaha! Just kidding.  Ah, I’d probably want to bring home Chael’s dagger.  I loved that Chael’s Luck was carved into the blade.

7)    If you could pick a character from any of your other works, who would you parachute into Dorathan to give Chael and Ian a hand and why?
Rainen.  I think I’d send Rainen in to help them out.  Those causing all the trouble in Dorathan could use a good dose of the Maj Sorceress’s cruelness.

8)    There were many scenes that kept me reading long into the early hours of the morning, one in particular was figuring out the Sun's Blood, I couldn't put it down.  Is there any certain scene that you've gotten lots of feedback about?
The scene most people bring up after reading the book is the one where Chael reveals his big secret.  I’m glad to say that most people are shocked since I was a bit scared that it would be too obvious.  What I really like is that once the secret is revealed, readers think back to other scenes and go, ‘omg, that makes sense now,’ and ‘that is so funny now that we know what’s going on!’.  lol

9)    What was the most interesting thing you found in doing research for Chael's Luck?
I guess here I have to admit that I didn’t do any research.  This just came right out of my head.

10) Is it true that Chael's Luck was written during the National Novel Writing Month, and if so, was there any one experience in the process that would bring you back for the next NaNoWriMo?
Yes! I did write Chael’s Luck during Nanowrimo.  I had actually never heard of this and when a teacher friend of mine asked me to come talk to her Nano group about writing, I got hooked.  I spent every Friday with her highschool class tossing ideas around and playing word games.  I tell you, the experience was amazing.  To hear those kids talk about books and stories with such passion was great.  Since you aren’t allowed to use and existing story for Nano, I decided to work on an idea I’d had floating around.  It turned into Chael’s Luck.  It was a blast to push myself and see if I could make the 50,000 word count in one month.  I will definitely be doing it again this year.
 


April 1- A Diary of a Book Addict http://adiaryofabookaddict.blogspot.com/
April 2- Starry Night Book Reviews http://starrynightbookreviews.blogspot.com/
April 3- Books Complete Me http://www.bookscompleteme.com/
April 4- Twimom101 Book Blog http://twimom101bookblog.blogspot.com/
April 5- The Book Mystress http://thebookmystress.blogspot.com/
April 6- Author C.A. Kunz http://cakunz.blogspot.com/
April 7- Melissa Stevens melissastevens.us
April 9- Book Passion for Life http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/
April 10- My Book Chatter http://mybookchatterchat.blogspot.com/
April 11- Paranormal Book Club http://paranormal-bookclub.com/
April 12- Scribblings of Wendy Jane http://wjsmithblog.blogspot.com/
April 13- A Page Away http://pageaway.blogspot.com/
April 15- Forever Lost in My Own World http://mireillechester.blogspot.com/
April 16- Read2Review http://read2review.com/
April 17- Forever Lost in My Own World http://mireillechester.blogspot.com/

Now's time to enter to win goodies!  Leave a comment and feel free to share the news!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Goofing Around

I am supposed to be ironing at the moment, but I'm possibly the worst housewife ever.  I made the mistake of opening some of my older WIPs.  Several were quickly locked away, while a few others have me thinking.  Shattered Remnants is still my current project, with Always & Forever is beyond due, so I probably won't pick another up too soon.  Anywho, I posted a sample of one I wrote about a year ago called Tarny.  It is very much in rough draft form and riddled with plot bunnies.  Even still, I thought I'd toss it up for a little while just for kicks.  I'll polish a few other samples and add them as well.  They'll be posted on my Author Facebook page under Notes.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coming Soon

On Thursday the 12th, the blog tour for Chael's Luck will stop by here.  There's a fun little interview ready and Mireille will be giving away an ebook at each stop, then at the end of the tour, everyone who posted a comment (name & email address needed) will be entered to win one of five swag packs.  There will be another five ebooks up for grabs once all the names are in, so if you missed out at the stops, your name will be in the drawing for one of those five.  I know I'm repeating myself, but this is a great book and you don't want to miss out. 

See you there!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rail Car

I woke up around six this morning to the sound of a passing train.  The track is a good ways away from our house and is of the lesser active ones in town, so I haven't gotten used to the rumble yet.  I can sleep through thunderstorms, Fort Hood drills, and tornado sirens, but not trains.  A long time after it passed, I was still listening to the distant whistle and fading roll.  The week I spent in NYC with friends in Brooklyn became a bit of a joke.  We were all sleeping in the living room and every time the subway went by (very often even on night schedules), I would lie awake, unable to ignore the passing train.  By the end of our week, I had the times down and made a point to wake my friends to let them know they missed the train each time.  They were from the area and never even noticed the rumble of the subway anymore.  I became our walking train schedule.  (I sucked at catching buses and cabs)  (And learned that our stop was Jay Street and not "J")

Trains have captured my attention.  It's not necessarily that I like them, though I'm not (usually) terrified of them.  I suppose it's just their sheer power seems to be unstoppable.  Who argues with a train?  Even still, each time I hear one, I revisit a certain day from roughly two decades ago.

My mom is an avid bird watcher.  I remember spending many weekends in the car as we made some unreal trek to see a rare or unusual bird.  To this day, I have no idea where she would hear about these sightings, but I think it's safe to say she never missed a single one.  I'm not complaining.  Every trip offered its own adventure, and we always went as a family, the five of us.  Us kids knew the drill; you have to be extra quiet, walk carefully, and keep your eyes open.  I never found it easy to pick the one Ross Gull out of flocks of countless gulls.  I would try and try to spot it, but I was usually the last to see, or simply nodded that I spied it so we could move on to the next challenge.

This particular day was spent on a hike along the Mississippi just south of St. Louis.  I don't remember if it was late spring or early fall, but the morning was very cool and I started out with a heavy sweater that ended up tied around my waist before lunch.  Mom had found out about a nesting site of bald eagles we watched grow from clumsy brown fledglings.  There was a law (I could be wrong) about how close you could get to the eagles, I think since they were protected, so new sightings were always exciting.  This one was reported behind a farmer's field where it backed up to the river.  The only access (other than tromping through the guy's crop) was to follow the train tracks from a crossing south of it.

So we did.  We set out on the given path walking between the river bank and the tracks.  It wasn't long before we climbed over the tracks and stuck to the tree line to avoid boot-sucking mud.  My dad and sister took turns balancing on the rails while my mom and brother kept closer to the trees.  I traced the ditch between the tracks and the tree line with my eyes glued to the ground in front of me, determined to find a box turtle.  I pointed out deer, raccoon, and opossum tracks more than watched for birds.  Toads and salamanders kept my attention just fine.

The trees were full around us and the Mississippi was rolling near by.  The five of us walked along as silently as we could.  We were coming up on the recommended area to watch for the eagles when a train caught us off guard, seeming to come out of nowhere, and sent us scrambling for the tree line.  I will never be able to relate the absurdity of a loaded cargo train sneaking up on us in the middle of nowhere.

Once we clustered along a group of logs, we could only look at each other and the train and be glad we heard it when we did.  Trains are loud.  They are more than loud, but thunderous.  How could this one be right on top of us before we knew it was coming?  How can you miss a train!?!  Apparently, you can.

At first, it was obvious we were all shocked and surprised, then it grew more embarrassing as we realized it just happened.  We figured the mighty Mississippi and the windblown trees around us disguised the coming train.  We were soon back on our way with a bit more respect for the tracks we followed.

By the end of the day, we were able to see the reported bald eagles and watched them snatch fish out of the river with ease.  I never found a turtle, but had a pocket full of river-smoothed rocks and a good count of the passing barges.  Two more trains came down the tracks before we got back to the car.  These didn't sneak up on us quite as much.  We had several false alarms, but were eventually able to tell when one was barreling toward us.  We even had enough time before one of them to each put a penny on the train tracks before it was too close.  (I lost my penny in this last move)

We were soon sitting at Ted Drew's Frozen Custard laughing about how insane we must have sounded to tell about a train sneaking up on us.  We had a new respect for the tracks.  I already had a healthy fear of the Mississippi, but train tracks didn't mean much to me until then.

To this day I am still awed by the speed and size of that train.  They are a common sight around here, and this area has more unmarked crossings than marked ones.  Reports come every year about some one getting hit while walking on the tracks, or a car not getting out of the way fast enough, and I am reminded about that day.  The movie "Stand By Me" has always struck a chord with me.  My husbands sits next to me a swears it is impossible for a coming train to go unnoticed.  While I'm reliving that crazy encounter, he is going on about how if a person gets hit by a train, it's their own careless fault.  I believe otherwise.  I think it's safe to say that all five of us learned that day of how possible it actually is.  Trains have embodied an indomitable power in my mind since.