Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Cool Year!

I hope you all have a fabulous New Year's weekend!
I watched part of the Kennedy Center Honors this week, and I wanted to share with you my favorite performances of the night.

Here's No Doubt honoring the great Paul McCartney with "Hello, Goodbye" and "Penny Lane."
I heart Gwen. I hope there is a new No Doubt album soon.

Next is one of my fave musicians, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana), and the beautiful Norah Jones singing the gorgeous song, "Maybe I'm Amazed.
Enjoy and happy new year! May 2011 be your best year yet!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly

Today is the Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest, hosted by Jen and Melissa! Check here for more fabulously festive links!

This year my house isn't as decorated as ushe (how do you spell the short word for usual?!), because my house is for sale. But here's a peek at our tree!!Photobucket You only get a peek, because I have a string of lights that are out. And because I've already been to the store twice to replace other LED strings this year, I refuse to go again! It's the principle (and it's cold outside)! My three kids love to help me decorate the tree each year. We put on the Christmas carols (My Chem, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Elvis, and other rockin' tunes of course), trim the tree, and then have hot cocoa.
Our front lawn is sporting our Polar(k) bears, but no other lights outside this time. Photobucket
For a giggle, check out these hilariously crazy nativity decorations at List of the Day blog.

For a special treat, I make these easy Holly Cookies that my kids love. You can also make them into the shape of wreaths, but glopping a spoonful on the wax paper for the holly is much easier than shaping a wreath. It's busy this time of year, you know!
Here's the recipe:

32 large marshmallows

1 stick butter or margarine
1 1/2 green food coloring
red cinnamon candies (my kids don't like those, so I use red sugar sprinkles)

Heat butter and marshmallows to melt. Pour over 3 1/2 cups cornflakes. Stir. Set on greased wax paper. Add red candy. Eat it up!

Here is my favorite holiday tune, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" My fave part is the Simon LeBon part. (I'm a rocker who loves Duran Duran you know!)

Have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends. See you next year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Concert Romance

Yes, I have a love affair with concerts. It's one night where I'm not a mom;I'm not washing the dishes;I'm not worried about my word count;I'm not in my sweats. Concerts recharge me. I go nuts and sing as loud as I can. And guess what? I got to see a band that I've been dying to see live forever on Wednesday night: My Chemical Romance!
My sister and I went to the House of Blues
for the show. I've been there several times, and this is the most packed I've seen for a concert. I still managed to squeeze my way to front row - the best place to be!
The band started with "NaNaNaNa" from their latest album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and ended with "Vampire Money," with favorites from all of their albums in between. Gerard Way's voice sounded awesome, the music was loud (could it be because I was right by the speaker, too?), and lots of crowd surfing going on (and no way was one of them me!). An amazing night!
Here's a clip of their second single from Danger Days, "Sing"

Here's Frank, who I think I look like with no makeup on (which is half the time). I glance at myself at the mirror and think, "I look like Frank!" One day I'm going to put red lipstick on him and see if he resembles me at all.
Here's my sister, Denise, and I from the free photo booth! We also got free tshirts for being registered organ donors!
And lastly, another pic of G, but you can't see his tight pants in this one...

Also, it was my lucky day for many reasons! I won a contest at Gayle Krause's blog. Thank you to Gayle as she'll be sending me her picture book, Rock Star Santa! Now does that sound like a perfect book for my rockin' kids or what? Thanks, Gayle!
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All Kinds of Critter News

Okay, now can I have a book contract? See HERE for why I look so ridonkulous!

Fine, I'll spray tan myself orange for a contract, but I will not go in that nasty bacteria filled hot tub with The Situation or with any other of Snooki's sloppy seconds.
I'm just sayin'.


Critter is now up for auction! If you'd like this Ian Sands creation that has traveled the kidlitosphere (with multiple autographs), please bid! Proceeds go to St. Jude! Read more about Critter's travels at Christy's blog.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This and That Thursday

I printed my manuscript on Tuesday, and I'm tweaking it line by line. I used the word "looked" a few too many times. Yikes. But it's much better now, and I still love it!

1. I finally read Mockingjay over the weekend. I could not put it down. I read it in two evenings. I was satisfied with how it ended thankfully. What an amazing series.

2. I just started reading PJ Hoover's, The Navel of the World. My 6th grader recently finished reading it and did a very cool reading project on it for school. J-Man created a sequencing game based on the book. He said the book was "awesome" and asked for the next book in the series, The Necropolis, for Christmas. I love when my kids get excited over books! (Thanks, PJ!)
How is your holiday shopping going? I have two more gifts left to buy for Christmas. Most of my shopping was done online. I had a fun shopping (and champagne) day with some girlfriends yesterday in which we all bought the new Miraculous bras at Victoria's Secret and then changed into them so we were extra busty while shopping (it may or may not have been the champagne). We also got a glimpse of Victoria's Secret model, Adriana Lima, who is just as beautiful in person. We did not though wait in the neverending line to meet her, and Adriana may or may not have been bustier than us.

1. I hope to meet up with Candyland on Saturday (weather permitting, there is snow predicted) to see New Medicine in concert! I'll be bringing J-Man and my mom along as well. It will be J-Man's second concert. My 123rd (Just kidding, I have no idea).

2. And to close, here's "Little Drummer Boy" by Jason Segal (from one of my fave shows, How I Met Your Mother) and Jack Black. This song goes on sale on iTunes beginning Tuesday, with proceeds going to Blue Star Families, a nonprofit that connects, supports and empowers military families.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Search me

I love hearing what search words bring people to their blog. Tell me what the funniest words that people googled and ended up at your blog.
And if you tell me yours, I'll tell you mine!
Fun Fact: I started this blog post almost a year ago and never posted it! I added a few more search words, but I will consider this a gift of Christmas Past.

Most common search words (besides my name) that lead people to this blog
How to Make Butterbeer (Thanks, Harry)
cinquain poem
Big Ticks
funny frog poems (you would not believe how many people search for this!)
cardinal poem (should I include in my query letter for my bird poetry collection that so many people search for this one?!)
I said Good Day!

Plus people search Mark McVeigh and Marietta Zacker and get to my blog interviews with them (yay!).

And of course searching names of rock bands also bring people to my blog (and then the teenager gasps at the picture of the somewhat middle aged lady on the right side of the blog and quickly exits).

Searches that made me laugh or cringe include
Addicted to Blood (and this search came from the Mayo Clinic!)
A Word that Rhymes with Saliva (ummmm, shmabiva?)
Spooky Rhyming Poems How to Cook a Teacher? (What?!)
Vampire Music (I do love music, and I do love vampires)
Kelly 14 Years Stripping (what kind of pervs am I attracting?)
Jacoby Shaddix's wife Kelly (No, I am not his wife, but I have seen him with his band Papa Roach in concert five times)
my wild and raunchy son (certainly not MY son!)
a cinquain poem that teachers don't know (somebody's trying to plagiarize?)
Son knaws on his arm (I'm not that bad of a cook)
"Heather Kelly" + dance (Heather are you holding out on us!?!)
few seconds of awesome (why yes, reading my blog would bring a few seconds of awesome to your day)
funny poems about Justin Beaver (so my hubby isn't the only one who thinks that's his name)
Jared Leto not aging (what is that guy's secret anyway?)
oldest person at a 30 Seconds to Mars concert (sheesh, don't everyone look at me at once!)
the family that headbangs together, stays together (yeah, baby!)

Okay, now your turn to share!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This and That Thursday

1. Have you checked to see if you were one of seventeen winners in the Critterpalooza contest? Check the winners here. Congrats to LadyJai who I will be sending a Poetry Pack of Poetrees by Douglas Florian and Stampede by Laura Salas. Douglas and Laura were kind enough to send signed nameplates to go with the book as well.

2. Now that I'm done with the first draft of my middle grade manuscript, I've been breaking it down chapter by chapter. Soon I'll send it to some readers. Maybe to a few agents come January.

3. Still getting the hang of Twitter. I participated (okay, lurked) at my first #yalitchat last night. I also tweeted Maggie Stiefvater about something and she replied back! That made my day! I've been enjoying following some fave rockers and comedians, too, and of course some of you fabulous people!
4. Another awesome webinar is being offered by agent Mark McVeigh! Check out the details HERE!

Both of my boys started their basketball season recently. So if I'm not at home, I'll be at the gym cheering them on or chauffering them to and from practice. My daughter's cheer season ends this weekend. She is competing at the state competition. Before she joined this year, I had no idea how involved cheerleading was these days! It is definitely a sport now. I do have to admit they are darn good for seven and eight year olds. I just showed my kids a video of me cheering in high school. We thought we were hot stuff doing a simple stunt. It's nothing compared to what stunts they do now, even in grade school! I'm thankful that my daughter is tall like me and will never be a flyer!

I'm loving the holiday tunes about now. I received Monster Christmas Ballads last year for Christmas. Yes, 80's hair bands singin' the carols. I have been playing a Christmas mix of My Chemical Romance, Smashing Pumpkins, Jewel, Elvis, No Doubt, Chicago plus my new rockin' ballads. Buckcherry just came out with a new Christmas tune, "Christmas is Here," which I promptly bought, too. Just because it's a holiday tune, doesn't mean it can't rock! See the picture for their Christmas single above. I tell you it took me forever to get that paint off my arse!
Speaking of Christmas, Sharon Mayhew gave me a heads up on something I need to put on my wish list. Anyone want to join me?
Who is your favorite holiday warbler?

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm a Twit!

Oh, yes I am. I decided to join the timesucking world of Twitter last week! I am having fun with it so far. I have found some of you on Twitter, but if I haven't let me know in the comments and I'll follow you! (And if you want, you can, um, follow me @kellypolark!)

Because behind this glossy exterior, I am a bit of a geek (don't all nod your heads at once), I still don't know my way around Twitter. I need my dear blog friends to show me the way.

First, check out Laura Pauling's funny posts about Twitter here and here.

Also, Debbie Ridpath Ohi has very useful information about Writers who use Twitter. Check her site here if you are in the dark like me!

Second, my questions (there's no such thing as a dumb question, right? RIGHT?!).

1. Okay, what does RT stand for and when do you use it?

2. If you retweet, how do you write something with the retweet to post at the same time?

3. How do you post an http link but not make it so freaking long?

4. Hashtags. Can you just make them up? Are they real links to something?
Hi. I'm Kelly. #I don't know what the heck I'm doing.

5. Are there any Twitter etiquette tips I need to know?

6. How do you post a photo to Twitter and have a short link for it?
7. How do you put the retweet sign at the end of a post?

THANKS for your help, peoples! I think once I get this thing down, I'll be having me some fun times on Twitter!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Need to Pelt Me

with Smarties because I am done! I finished my middle grade manuscript! I knew if I proclaimed my goal on my blog, it would force me to finish. The power of peer pressure!
Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement!
I am going to take the rest of the week to revise a little bit and actually give Mr. He and Mrs. She real names. (I have trouble thinking of names sometimes.) Plus make a hard copy to fix those typos. Then off to some readers in December! Yay!

Don't forget to check out Kidlit Critterpalooza at The Bookshelf Muse! There are 17 amazing prizes to win! Contest ends on November 28!

I am thankful that I finished, and I am so very thankful for each and every one of you who comes by just to read or to read and comment. You make my day!
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving!!

My Tune for Tuesday is "All My Life" by Foo Fighters. One because my main character's dad kind of looks like Dave Grohl, but with a goatee. And I turned this up, danced, and sang,
"DONE! DONE! ON TO THE NEXT ONE! DONE, I'M DONE! I'M ONTO THE NEXT!" (Yes, I seriously did...)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Remember my lil buddy, Critter? I had him hang at my place in January. We had loads of fun and for over a year now, CRITTER, the creation of artist Ian Sands, has been travelling the world, meeting many talented writers and authors and exploring where they live. At each stop he learns more and more about KIDLIT and the importance of literacy and creativity. This journey was the brainchild of Christy Evers, who got her hands on Critter after an interactive art project of Ian’s, where 500 Critters were hidden all over her city for people to find.

Critter has visited PJ Hoover (and the Texas Sweethearts!) in Texas, Beth Revis in North Carolina, Christina Farley in Korea, New England with Nandini Bajpai, Illinois with little ole me, MG Higgins in California, Rena Jones in Montana, Cynthia Leitich Smith in Texas, Bish Denham in the Virgin Islands, Jacqui Robbins in Michigan, Tina Ferraro in California, Cynthia Chapman Willis in New Jersey, Jill S. Alexander in Texas, Ellen Oh in Virginia and finally, Alberta Canada with Angela Ackerman.

Critter has been to college, rock concerts (see him crowdsurfing in the above picture), national landmarks, a palace, attended his first SCBWI conference, walked among giant redwoods, and met the world famous artist, Robert Bateman. Now that his journey is coming to a close, it’s CRITTER’S hope that you will help him celebrate over at The Bookshelf Muse. His new hosts, together with old hosts, have teamed up to create the Kidlit-inspired event, Critterpalooza! and you’re invited! Party at the Muse! Party at the Muse!

There are many AMAZING prizes to be won, all in the spirit of helping Critter celebrate the wonderful creativity & support within out KIDLIT community, and to also raise awareness for his charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Seriously, great prizes! I'm offering a Poetry Pack with Poetrees by Douglas Florian and Stampede by Laura Purdie Salas. There are so many other fabulous prizes including a Skype chat, critiques, signed books, goodies and so much more!!! Don't miss it!

If you would like to donate a few dollars to Critter’s charity, just click on the I Love St. Jude button. Children’s lives are saved every day thanks to the support of people like you!

Isn't that awesome?! And here's another great contest in the wonderful world of blogs:

Carol's Dark and Twisty and Rule Breaky Giveaway! Carolina Valdez Miller is giving away two signed books! Plus lotsa cool arcs! Isn't she sweet? She's so not dark and twisty!
So, click those links and get on over to Angela's and Carol's blog. Do it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So Close

I'm so close I can taste it. And it tastes like Smarties and chocolate milk. Because those are my main character's fave treats (separately of course, you can't wash Smarties with chocolate milk! Well, you can, but you shan't). Did you just google if shan't is a word? Take my word for it, I have no idea.
I'm so close to finishing my middle grade manuscript. I had a month off while working on my house. Now I am using that energy towards my story. I have worked and reworked this manuscript since spring. I originally had written it as a chapter book the year before, but after some valuable advice, started rewriting it as a middle grade in April. So here I am working on the last chapter. I am almost there. I'm excited. I still love my story. Even after rereading it so many times.
You see when I add a chapter or scene to my story, I reread all the chapters I've written up to that point. I know it's slow going, but it just helps my writing flow into the next scene. And after all of this rereading, thankfully I still smile when I am reading it.
So, I am publicly putting it out there that I am going to finish it this week. I will send it out to beta readers (anyone want to read?) and critique groups soon after. How am I going to celebrate when I'm done? With a large glass of chocolate milk (hold the Smarties) of course! So please check in next Monday to see if I reached my goal. If I haven't, I give you permission to call me names, slap me silly, or even pelt me with Smarties.

Did anyone else catch the live author/agent chat on WriteOnCon last night? Make sure you follow their blog so you don't miss any of these awesome opportunities to pick the brains of cool, talented people in the publishing biz! Last night agent Stephen Barbara and author Leila Sales(Mostly Good Girls) chatted about the agent/author relationship. Fun and informative!

Since I'm Closer to the End, today's Tune for Tuesday is "Closer to the Edge" by 30 Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto of My So Called Life and movie fame is the lead singer. I saw them live in April (see picture of Jared's arm around me here), and they were amazing. You can see for yourself how a 30STM concert experience really is in the video. The venue is usually packed. The crowd knows all the words. You can see the crowd move three steps forward (which was impossible for me at my concert as I was about next to the stage which prompted me to swear at him (he didn't hear me ;) and have strangers be squished all around me). But the concert was awesome enough to let me forgive him for that. He also walked into the crowd, on top of the crowd just like in the video.
Watch and listen to CLOSER TO THE EDGE!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Block Writer's Block!: Guest Post by Stephen Tremp

November is the month of Nanowrimo and PiBoIdMo as well. There is a lot of pressure to get words and ideas onto the paper. What do you do if just can't think of one more scene? What do you do if you can't think of any more picture book ideas? What do you do if you can't stop eating Halloween candy (okay, that is a topic for another discussion)?

Today I have author Stephen Tremp to help you work through Writer's Block. Stephen Tremp is author of the near future science fiction action thriller Breakthrough. Stop by and visit Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs where Breakthrough is available for purchase and download to all eReaders. Take it away, Steve!

PhotobucketI have blogged about Writer’s Block on and off for the past year. This heinous dark thief of creativity can affect a writer in trivial or monumental ways and often rears its head at the worst of times. Writers Block can frustrate a writer’s creativity and source of inspiration and thus impede their ability to translate mental concepts into written words.

But not to fear. There are numerous simple exercises one can use to slay this sinister villain of imaginativeness. Here is a comprehensive list of methods I use to fight off this evildoer. This is a great blog to save to your Favorites or Bookmarks. Okay, here we go:

“What if …” Scenarios These two words have inspired writers and poets to pen masterpieces that are now considered literary classics. Think of a “What if …” statement, then make a pot of coffee, sit down, and begin writing. Please take a moment to read this brief link, then try it your self.

What would you do if you were not a writer: Here's a little exercise I do to get the creative juices flowing. I ask myself a question, "What would I be if I could be anything in the world other than a writer?" Then I place myself in this situation and think, “What can I do with this?” Again, take a moment to read this brief link and you’ll be amazed at how such a simple exercise can open the door for multiple stories.

Ask other bloggers to help with a particular problem: This is a great exercise with a huge payoff. Example: I was struggling with a particular chapter. I needed a jailbreak. And not just any ol’ jailbreak. I needed to bust out someone from the center of a state-of-the-art facility. It had to be clever and high tech. The response was 40 terrific comments. Although I won’t use all of the ideas in the actual jailbreak, I can use them while the characters are brainstorming ideas to bust the professor out. So I ended up with two chapters, the jailbreak itself, and a chapter covering the planning stage. Two for the price of one!

Research the research: I don’t have a particle accelerator in my garage. Good thing I don’t need one in order to perform research in the area of physics. I can research the research. Make two lists: One of topics you would like to research and one people who have a deep understanding of such topics. Then, go to theoretical physics or the name of a respected expert in the respective field of your story. For example, type in “theoretical physics” and a multitude of clips will come up that you can watch. These are free, concise, and usually reliable sources.

Weekend Follies Captions: This is a great way to get the creativity moving forward. On weekends I often post my Weekend Follies, five pictures of cute animals doing silly things and ask people to write a clever or witty captions. This exercise quickly stimulates the mind (best to do with a cup of coffee) and helps the neurons in the brain make those all-important chemical synapses between the nerve cells in the brain.

Guest bloggers: I belong to a few Yahoo! Writers Groups and we each take turns hosting. These are talented people; writer, editors, poets, teachers, researchers, etc. with fresh ideas. I subscribe to all posts, quickly eliminate those that are not pertinent, then reading and sometime saving the relevant ones.

Finally, ask your editor: You do have an editor, don’t you? Think of an editor more as a mentor. A life coach. A friend in need. Your editor is one of the best sources to bounce ideas off. Just don’t call them in the middle of the night. They hate that.

Please join me Monday as I visit Jemi Fraser’s blog and we discuss an emerging genre: Modern Steampunk.

Thanks for stopping by on Stephen's blog tour. Great suggestions, and I just might have to ask my wonderful blogger friends for help with future scenes...For example, in one scene I have a character that wants to meet her favorite rock band. How should I (cough)- I mean she go about doing that ? :).
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spot the Blunder, Shawty!

Last week our realtor sent a photographer to take pictures of our house to go on our brochures and online realty sites. Before this, she sent a stager to make sure our house would look as presentable as it could be. The stager was amazing. She told us the best way to position our couch. Which plant or what kind of centerpiece would look best on the table and so on. Have you ever watched HGTV's Get It Sold? Kind of like that.
So the photographer came and I had the place as clean and perfectly placed as possible. Which is a huge feat as I am not known as the world's most fabulous housekeeper. I checked and rechecked each room and I knew I was ready.
Or was I? Can you see what I forgot?

Yep, the bed's a mess. I'm a terrible bedmaker, I am. But you'd think my eyes would scan the foot of the bed to make sure the comforter was covering the sheet for crying out loud! Oi. But thankfully, my only blunder. But definitely a true Kelly blunder. Okay, I could have taken my TBR pile out of the nightstand too, but hey, I love my books. You'd think the photographer might have noticed the bed blunder, but maybe she didn't want to offend. Her pictures turned out awesome by the way. She made my wood floors look so shiny and the colors of the walls of the bedrooms pop.
Thankfully I am not a terrible writer (at least I hope not). But you'd think my eyes would scan my manuscript and catch every misspelled word or tweak each scene just right. But I can't. I'm only human. So use your critique group, use your family, win great blog contests like I did and get people (and by people, I mean definitely more than one person) to read your stuff. And your comforter, I mean, your manuscript won't be a mess.

One last thing.
Who the heck is Shawty?
This I wondered after I looked up the lyrics to Dynamite to make sure it was acceptable for my son to download on Itunes (it was fine...and catchy). Then I recalled the song from Fred the Movie (a Nickelodeon movie), "Call 9-1-1, Shawty burnin on the dance floor" and the Usher commercial singing "Happy Birthday" to Shawty.
Who is this mysterious Shawty that everyone and their mother is singing about?
So I googled "Who is Shawty?"
It turns out according to the Urban Dictionary, Shawty is used as a pronoun like man or dog or girl. It is also commonly used as a term for a hot female or girlfriend. So there you have it.

Am I geek for not knowing this or a bigger geek for googling it? You know it, Shawty!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This and That Thursday

1. My house went on the market on Monday! The house is just about perfect, and the cleanest I've ever seen it. I even bought a St. Joseph statue to bury in the yard (thanks for the reminder, Anita!). I have to admit I cried when the sign went up. I love this home and area so much. But I know we will be happy in cheeseland once we sell this house and are settled there.

2. Thank you to Ishta Mercurio for an awesome critique of one of my picture book manuscripts! I won a critique at her blog, Musings of a Restless Mind. She gave me such valuable advice and suggestions!

3. I also won a critique from Marcia Hoehne. I'll be sending her the first 1000 words of my middle grade manuscript soon. Thanks, Marcia!

*Jen Daiker at Unedited is having a superdeeduper contest on her blog! Enter to win a $65 CSN gift certificate!!

*Susan Fields is having a Back From Hiatus contest. Win your choice of a great non-fiction book that will help you write much gooder!
*Don't forget about Candyland's I Heart Joy Like Br80 contest! A fabulous cause with fabulous cash prizes and concert tix - yes, concert tix to a band I love, too (New Medicine, baby)!
*Marcia Hoehne is giving away Sara Pennypacker's Clementine, Friend of the Week!
*Kimberly Franklin is giving away a signed, yes, signed copy of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney! Plus bookmarks!

5. Next Friday I will have a guest blogger. Breakthrough author Stephen Tremp will give tips on Writer's Block! Make sure to stop by to check it out!

6. Now that my house is ready, I can get back to my writing!!! I am finishing that middle grade manuscript once and for all! I even finally stopped by The Practice Room again for a session yesterday. Yay!

7. Remember a few weeks ago when I said I wanted to see a certain band? (Okay you don't, but I did, darn it.) Well, soon after I found out they would be playing nearby in December!! I finally get to see My Chemical Romance live for the first time!!! Yay! Here's a preview of their next single, "Sing." Did I mention that I named a character in my middle grade after the lead singer? Did I also mention that the lead singer is an author of a comic book series titled The Umbrella Academy? And I get to see him in concert!!!!!!

What are you excited about?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ha Ha Halloween

Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? This photo is of me and my two best friends in third grade. We are still besties today! See, I have always liked vampires. Somehow I don't look as hot as Eric Northman or Edward here though.... Everyone has an awkward stage, you know!

With all of my packing, organizing, and trips to Home Depot, and juggling the kids' schedules I do feel more like this lately:Photobucket

Here are a few of my favorite Halloween funnies to join the silly pictures.

Why did the ghost do to the bar? For the booooo-ze.

Why do demons and ghouls hang out together? Because demons are a ghouls best friend!

Why doesn't anybody like Dracula? He has a bat temper.

Do you have any funny Halloween jokes to add?

I have two tunes for Tuesday for your Halloween listening pleasure, both zombie related.

Thuggish cartoon disco metal band, Uncle Rotter, joined up with fellow Manchester gothic industrial band, Resist, for a charity single for Zombie-Aid.
The Zombie-Aid single will be released on October 25th in the aim of reaching the No1spot in the charts for Halloween. The single will be available for download from major online stores such as Amazon, HMV,, iTunes and 7Digital.
All money made from the single will be going to UK charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation, who grant magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.
Check it and you will be singing, "Zombie!" all day long!

My second tune today is by Rob Zombie. I just love this song, and the video is creepy, yet funny! Dig through the ditches and burn through the witches and
slam in the back of my DRAGULA!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rick Springfield Book Signing

And she's watching him with those eyes. And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it. Yeah 'n' he's holding her in his arms late, late at night!

Yup. That pretty much sums up my night with Rick Springfield. Except for the lovin' him with that body....but he did hold me in his arms (okay, one arm) not so late in the night. But still...

My friend, Sue, and my new friend, Deb, and I had a fun girl's day out on an amazingly beautiful fall day yesterday. It was a much needed escape for me from my endless packing and cleaning.

We started the day doing a little shopping, that led to some champagne, giggling, and the tastiest salad I've ever eaten (Southern Chicken Salad at The White Chocolate Grill) with of course a white chocolate brownie dessert. We celebrated Suzy's birthday, too!

The yumminess didn't end there. We then went to the Rick Springfield book signing with 500 other crazed middle aged women! Actually most were pretty calm. The three of us tried singing Jessie's Girl outside the bookstore to see if we could rouse a Springfield singalong but unfortunately no one chimed in. Apparently Rick told them "Don't Talk to Strangers."

The line went pretty swiftly, and finally it was our turn to have a photo, a one armed hug (because we all need the Human Touch), and his signature (with a heart) on his new book, Late, Late at Night.

For me: Books + Musician +Friends + champagne + white chocolate + Coca Cola = An Affair of the Heart ;)
I'm not sure that last one made any sense, but the song titles just kept spilling out of me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This and That Thursday


Hello, my dear blogging friends. As you may or may not have noticed, I have not been as present in the blogosphere lately. I have good reason for this. My husband and I are getting our house ready for sale. We are relocating to the state north of us due to my husband's new job. I'm so thankful for this really wonderful opportunity for my husband, but it will be hard to say goodbye to my home and family that live here. Luckily our new place will be less than two hours from where we live now.

So, I have been scrubbing and scrubbing some more. We have had handymen doing minor repairs and painting. We've donated fifty plus bags of clothing and household items to charities. My days and nights have been consumed by organizing, decluttering, and packing. I really do love that it is forcing me to get my things in order, even though I fall into bed sore and exhausted each night. This house will be perfect... right in time for us to move!

I love this home so much. It's a beautiful partly wooded lot with a big area for the kids to play. I love the autumn leaves surrounding us in the fall and when the forest POPS with green in the spring. I've rocked all my newborn babies and watched them go on the school bus for the first time here. We've had fun family parties and barbecues and just so many great memories. I will miss it so, but I am ready for the next adventure in my future community and home. Well, not quite ready yet. We have to sell this house first! ACK!


Due to my days and nights being consumed by getting my house in order, my writing has stalled. And I am almost there. Almost to the end of my middle grade manuscript. I have one more chapter to finish (the second to last chapter) and then a few revisions before I send it to some critique partners. Then more revisions and hopefully off to agentland. It's been slow going as I reread my a few chapters or all of my manuscript almost every time I write. I like to feel the flow of the story and continue. Luckily, I still love my story. I do sincerely love it. Once my house is up for sale, I will be finishing that thing once and for all!

Where are you in your manuscript?


Thank you so much to Carolyn Abiad and Patricia Timms for giving my the One Lovely Blogger Award! That was lovely of you ladies!!! Thank you also to Ishta Mercurio as well for awarding me The Versatile Blogger award. Check their wonderful blogs out!
And WOWZA! I surpassed 200 followers sometime in my cleaning hibernation. Hello to my new followers, thanks for coming by!

PhotobucketVaVaVroom, the company my sister owns, is having an amazing contest. If you ride or know someone who rides a motorcycle or scooter, check out her Are You One Of Those Girls? contest. Tell your story and you can win over $650 in motorcycle apparel and accessories!
Even though I don't ride, I wear her clothing, because it's so darn cute.


No more concerts on the horizon until probably 2011. Though just heard about a new album coming out soon and I'm psyched! My Chemical Romance's new album with a very long title drops November 22. I've never seen them live, so hope they'll tour the U.S. sooner than later! Here's a preview:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tune for Tuesday

Last week I saw one of the best live bands ever, Papa Roach, for the third time this summer! Seriously, I've seen many bands live and they are by far the best! Lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, can get the crowd crazy! (In fact, I was bumped by moshers a few times during the concert). My mom, my hubby's aunt Beth, my friend Shanon and I Photobucketwent to the Congress Theatre in Chicago to rock it out.
Here's a super short clip of a song that may be about Paris or Lindsay...and it shows how pumped up Jacoby gets the crowd!

They started the concert with "Kick in the Teeth" from their just released album. I love it, especially when having a hard day. One time I played it 12 times in a row on our way home from Wisconsin (I wasn't having a bad day, I just love the song). Here's some lyrics to my Tune for Tuesday:

Don't fight, or it deny it, invite it cause when it ..
Feels like a kick in the teeth, I can take it.
Throw your stones and you won't see me break it.
Say what you want, take your shots.
You're setting me free with one more kick in the teeth !

So, next time you are feeling a little ticked off, put on this song and turn this mother up! Or you can check out this pick me up post from Sharon Mayhew, too!

*Don't forget: Tomorrow is the last day to enter Angela Ackerman at The Bookshelf Muse is celebrating 1000 followers (wow!) by having a fabulous contest that includes critiques and a mentorship! Check out details HERE quickly as the contest closes tomorrow!
* I was a contest winner again! Thank you to PJ Hoover for sending me Nerds by Michael Buckley. Also thanks to Candace Ganger and Elana Johnson for a beautiful homemade bookmark and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I'm a lucky girl!

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Great Blogging Experiment: Quirky Characters

A few weeks ago my daughter brought home a writing exercise from school. She had drawn a picture of her little brother, JD, laughing in bed.

Underneath she wrote, "My brother is weird because he laughs in his sleep."

I giggled when I saw it, because my youngest son really does laugh in his sleep (it's adorable!). I asked Little Missy what the teacher asked the class to write about. Apparently the teacher told the students to write about a family member and what is weird about them. An interesting class discussion followed I am sure.

My daughter then piped in, "And I told the class that Dad swears in his sleep!"

Being a former teacher, students told me all kinds of things I'm sure their parents would be embarrassed about, and now it was our family's turn to be embarrassed. My husband really does occasionally swear in his sleep. Sometimes it's annoying;sometimes it's funny. My daughter witnessed it firsthand once while we were in a hotel. My husband yelled an expletive in the night, and my daughter turned to me and we both startled giggling.

Weird isn't a bad thing. My kids tell me I'm weird all the time, and I take it as a compliment. Normal is boring.

Take a look at your family, your friends. Is anybody truly normal? Aunt Betty doodles zombies and graveyards when she talks on the phone. Grandpa Teddy doesn't bother to put pants on when guests come over. Cousin Suzy hums while every time she texts. Your brother sniffs each bite of food before putting it in his mouth. What's my quirk? What makes me, me? I slouch. I sing loudly along with my rock music in my car. I look forward to tweezing my eyebrows every day. What is your quirk?

How about your characters? Is he a twitcher? Does she have a nasty ear picking habit? Does he hide Country Living magazines under his bed? Does he save tater tots in his pockets for later?

Make your characters odd, bizarre, peculiar, mysterious, outlandish, awe-inspiring. Because normal is boring and forgettable. To make your characters compelling, you need them to be multifaceted. Uniqueness is just one facet of your character that makes readers relate to her or care about him.

Now hop on over to Elana Johnson's blog to find out what over 170 others have to say about How to Write Compelling Characters in The Great Blogging Experiment!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top Ten TV Shows Blogfest!

Cassastar author Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting this fun and fabulous TV themed blogfest today! Check his blog to go see what shows others have chosen. I bet there is not one list alike on all the blogs!

I watch TV to be entertained. I don't really watch many shows. I DVR so I can save time and fast forward through commercials. But a few times a week, it is so nice to lay on the couch and veg out. I don't want to cry. Sometimes I don't even want to learn. I want to laugh. So I do.

1. True Blood - Did you expect any other show at the top of my list? I'll say it again. It's sexy, shocking, suspenseful, and funny. Click here if you missed my True Blood Survival Guide.

2. The Soup - I like funny. I like sarcasm. I like when people make fun of reality shows, soap operas, entertainment shows, basically anything on TV. I like this show. It's on the E! channel, and I hope Joel McHale never stops hosting it. He's also on a sitcom called Community which also amuses me. I LOL every single episode of The Soup. Every one.

3. Friends - I loved this show. Yes, I once got "The Rachel" haircut. I even almost broke my nose running into a closed closet door while hanging up laundry during a commercial, because I heard the show come back on and ran BAM! into the door! My favorite character was Chandler. Could he be any funnier?

4. That 70's Show -Witty Eric. Dumbbunny Kelso. Great, great characters on this show, every single one of them. "I said Good day!"

5. Saturday Night Live - This show combines two of my favorite things: comedy and music. I have to admit I don't always watch it anymore, but I've watched so many episodes since I was a fifth grader on it's not funny. But it is. There's been great years, and not so great years, but so many comedians have shined here: Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferell, Chris Farley, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, and so many more.

6. Nip/Tuck - My mother-in-law turned me on to this show. My husband and I watched this insanely wicked show each week wondering what in the world Christian and Sean would get themselves into next. This show was not afraid of any subject. Even though I closed my eyes during the surgery scenes, my mouth dropped at other scenes that made me yell at the TV, "They did not just do that!" It was a drama, but funny scenes here and there as well.

7. Cheers - I remember watching this with my family once a week. And I do believe I watched the final episode in a bar. I'm not even going to tell you if I was 21 or not!

8. How I Met Your Mother - It's legen...wait for it...dary. Barney is awesome. Ted is cute. Everyone cracks me up.

9. Seinfeld - But of course it's here. It was amusing because they made fun of things everyone else wanted to but didn't. Or made ordinary things funny. It's not in my personal top five, but it is a great one. I'm sure most of you have quoted this show before.

10. The Cosby Show - I so wanted to live with the Huxtables! But not wear the loud sweaters. I thought Claire Huxtable was so gorgeous and smart, and there was a kid for every age group to relate to.

Honorable Mentions: Everybody Loves Raymond, Modern Family (this probably would make the list next year if this season is as fab as last season), and The Young and the Restless (I've been watching it on and off since I was eleven!)

What's your all time favorite TV show?Photobucket

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

True Blood Loss

It's over. What am I going to do now? The season finale of the third season of True Blood aired Sunday night. It was fantabulous, shocking, grotesque, and off the chain as usual. But now what will I do on Sunday nights? I contemplated with my husband what to do about this last episode. We thought maybe we'd watch two minutes a week to make the last episode last, but we couldn't hold out. We had to watch it! I seriously have not ever loved a TV show like I love this one. It's bordering obsession. Why?
I'll Tell You Why
1. Eric Northman (and no this isn't the last time you'll see that pic at the left).
2. It's a show my husband and I both love to watch together.
3. It's funny. Watch this funny scene of a vampire texting an expletive. (Franklin was one hilariously insane vampire!)
4. It's suspenseful, even if you've read the Sookie Stackhouse novels.
5. Eric Northman - not just because he's gorgeous, but the character is humorous, complex and unpredictable.
6. It's shocking. Have you ever seen vampire goo being carried around in a fancy jar?
7. I love Sookie's southern accent and the way Bill says, "Sookie."
8. Handsome hardbodies. (Not only Eric, but Jason, Alcide, Bill, Sam, heck, even Hoyt's kind of cute in his own way.)
9. I love the clicking sound when the vampire teeth retract and extend.
10. This character.

Here's my Survival Guide until Season 4 premieres next summer.

1. Read the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (I just finished book four; there are currently eleven, and the books are funny and suspenseful, too).
2. Read and reread this issue of Rolling Stone magazine.Photobucket

3. Drink True Blood beverage (I seriously have two in my kitchen pantry in case Eric stops by).

4. Dress like a Merlotte's waitress for Halloween this year.

5. Read the Vampire Diaries book and finally watch the eighteen episodes I have on my DVR.

6. Watch Zoolander (I have never seen it and I love funny movies. Oh, and Alexander Skarsgard is in it!)

7. Watch and groove to Snoop Dogg's music video titled, "Oh, Sookie."

8. Visit Bon Temps, Louisiana on Spring Break.

9. Rent Eclipse when it finally comes out on DVD (I haven't seen it yet!!).

10. Give blood at church preferably in the evening so I can scan the area for thirsty yet non violent vampires (I actually already do that - well, the first part anyway).

Any other suggestions for me to get me through this difficult time? ;)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

With a Rebel Yell

I cried, "Mo! Mo! Mo....concerts!"
Last night I enjoyed seeing two rock icons play live right in front of me. My friend Sue and I went to the Riviera Theatre to see Billy Idol and Slash rock it out. Of course we had to make our way close to the stage for an up close and personal (and LOUD) rock show.
Slash was first. Myles Kennedy (from the band Alter Bridge) was the powerful lead singer who sang songs from Slash's solo album plus Velvet Revolver and Guns N Roses tunes. So much fun! Todd Kerns was awesome on bass, too. Photobucket
This was the third time I've seen Slash live. I saw him with GnR in the 90's and with Velvet Revolver about five years ago. He's such an amazing guitarist.
Here's one of the best guitar riffs ever!

Then came Mr. Idol. His lip was curled and his abs were six packed. This 54 year old can still rock it. He sang favorites like "Dancing with Myself," "White Wedding," "Flesh for Fantasy," and "Mony Mony" (Hey! Hey what!).
Rebel Yell!

These girls were grinning and rockin through the concert, and our ears are still ringing today!
What's your fave Billy Idol or Slash song?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dear Diary 3

I'm continuing my Dear Diary series just for kicks in case anyone wants to laugh at little Kelly or to gain some insight on a certain age group for their works in progress!
So far I have shared an entry about future occupations and vomit in my this series.

As I was perusing through my diary to decide which entry I'd put next, I discovered two things. One, I jumped around in my diary and it is not in chronological order which is currently not very helpful and two, I wrote about boys. A lot. I started writing about which boys were cute in third grade! Do girls already notice boys this young? My daughter had a "boyfriend" in first grade so I guess I unfortunately know the answer to that question. And she is her mother's daughter. My oldest son rarely mentions girls, but I have a feeling he notices them by now. Most of my diary entries from fifth grade through junior high are about, you guessed it, BOYS!

This is a peek at an entry from fourth grade, age nine. (Some names may or may not have been changed to protect the hotties, I mean innocent. My present day comments are in red.)
This is me from my fourth grade class picture. This fashionable fourth grader is wearing a velour top of her favorite shades of blue with light blue cordoroys. The Coke bottle glasses finish the look. Was I a babe magnet or what? HA!

Saturday, Feb 7

Dear Diary,

In school we are doing reports. I am doing it on rabbits. I HAD A BEAUTIFUL PET RABBIT NAMED ZIGGY. Lori already finished hers. My report is better though. DID I MENTION I WAS HUMBLE? I am almost finished. I'm still hoping that Les, Jon, and Brian like me. NOTICE I PUT AND - NOT OR. I SHOULD ALSO MENTION THAT LES WAS A 17 YEAR OLD BASKETBALL PLAYER ON MY DAD'S TEAM THAT I NEVER SPOKE TO ONCE. DID I REALLY THINK I HAD A CHANCE WITH HIM?! I want be a veterinarian, a teacher or something to do with animals when I grow up. GLAD I ENDED ON AN ASPIRATIONAL NOTE.

And what can we learn from this?

One, you are never too young to appreciate the opposite sex.

Two, sometimes a grade schooler's view can be totally out of whack (a high schooler?!).

Three, you can dream big and many do come true! (I did become a teacher and had a date with the Jon mentioned four years later.)
What childhood dreams of yours came true?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Things for Thursday

1. Guess what my very thoughtful best friend gave me? A subscription to Writer's Digest! My friend, Becky, who is also a writer subscribes to it and thought I'd benefit from it, too. In the first issue that I received, I read a fabulous interview with Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, and read great articles on how to raise the stakes in your story. Thanks, Becky!
Do you subscribe to any writing magazines? Which ones do you find helpful?

2. Attention Teachers and Parents! offers a wonderful variety of supplemental educational worksheets including math facts, social studies, and reading comprehension. They even have fun puzzlers. Check it out! I recently sold a few to them. You can see one of mine about states here.

3. The kids are back to school. My baby is now in afternoon kindergarten, and I am facing long afternoons without him. For some reason, it's a difficult transition for me (luckily he is loving school), but I know I will be thankful for this extra time to concentrate on my writing without interruption once I stop moping. I am composing a daily schedule to help me not waste time and use the time productively. Any tips for me?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmy Award Wrap Up

I don't watch a ton of TV, but I do have a handful of shows that I record on the DVR. In fact I have to still finish a few episodes of some before the new season starts in September! But I do DVR the Emmy's and do a quick fast forward run through each year. I love the dresses and love to see my favorite TV stars get nominated.

Click here to see a list of winners (who I do I look like, Ryan Seacrest?).

Here is my usual:

1. Love the Born To Run/Glee opening! And Joel McHale was in it! Bonus! And Tina Fey! Double Bonus! I know I would love the show, Glee. I need to buy or rent the DVD set one day.

2. I adore Jimmy Fallon and his guitar! And Conan, what a good sport!

3. Ty Burrell (Modern Family) or Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) - both nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy. Both are hilarious. Either should win! Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family won, but that's great because Modern Family is awesome!

4. Love the Modern Family parody clip! Stewie! 3D Sofia! George Clooney! Always clever, that show. Love, love, love it!

5. Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) has way too much blush on.

6. Musical Tribute to three shows (Lost, 24, Law & Order) was funny. Jimmy Fallon is so talented. He crooned about Lost to the tune of Green Day, "I didn't understand it, but I tried."

7. Yay! Joel McHale again! And he towers over Jeff Probst...

8. I have to admit I stopped fast forwarding through commercials during the Community/Infinity QX56 commercials. C'mon it's Joel McHale AND Chevy Chase!

9. Beautiful song by Jewel for the In Memoriam.

10. Woo hoo! Eric, Sookie and Bill presenting! Boo hoo! Only two more True Blood episodes left to watch this season.

11. Hmmmm, I thought Lawrence Fishburne would be presenting for adult TV films..(Sorry, Lawrence! Yikes...)

12. Mad Men wins for Best Drama instead of True Blood! Bastards!

Quote of the Night by Stephen Colbert: "Hello, ladies. Many of you look lovely tonight."

Best Dressed Male: TIE! Alexander Skarsgard and Joel McHale (They win no matter what they wore!)

Best Dressed Female: Navy was the big color this year and did look pretty. The dresses didn't wow me as a whole this year but I thought Rutina Wesley (Tara on True Blood) looked smokin' as did Nina Dobrev (of Vampire Diaries) - and no, not just because they are from shows about vampires! Claire Danes looked lovely as well, but I find it hard to compliment her as I still don't forgive her for having an affair with Billy Crudup while his longtime girlfriend, Mary-Louise Parker, was pregnant...
Amy Poehler also looked amazing for just giving birth three weeks ago!

Did you watch the Emmy's?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Family That Rocks Together

...stays together. Last Saturday was a momentous occasion in my oldest son's life. My mother-in-law and I took him to his very first rock concert. My first concert (REO Speedwagon and Survivor) was with my parents at age eleven. Now his first concert was at the age of four days shy of eleven. When I saw that 2/3 of his favorite bands (Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold) were playing in the same festival, I knew I had to take him! The other main band playing (Stone Sour) also has the same lead singer and guitarist from another fave band of his, Slipknot, so that was an added plus.

The Rockstar Uproar Festival started at 3pm. We arrived at about 3:40 to make sure we received bracelets for the Stone Sour Meet and Greet. We also wanted to see one of the band playing on the side stage, New Medicine. This band I discovered on Candyland's blog recently!

We rocked out to New Medicine then waited in line in the hot sun for an hour to meet Stone Sour. It was so fun watching my son mingle with some of his fave musicians.
Here he is with Stone Sour/Slipknot guitarist, Jim Root

J-Man talking with Stone Sour/Slipknot lead singer, Corey Taylor

After the Stone Sour meeting, I ran to the New Medicine Meet and Greet and met the guys.

I said Hi to Brady, guitarist of New Medicine, for Candace Ganger! He was just as nice as Candace said he was. See here how Brady and Candyland raise money for women of Ghana.
After being out in the sun for a few hours, we were ready to get some food and eat at our seats in the main ampitheater. We enjoyed the band, Halestorm, while we had dinner.

Then Stone Sour came on and I got to see my son headbang for the first time! He can scream the lyrics and throw the horns just like his mum. My fave songs were their newest single, "Say You'll Haunt Me" and "Through the Glass."

Here's a short clip of "Say You'll Haunt Me."

Avenged Sevenfold was next, my son's favorite band. The set was spooky and the music LOUD (I made my son wear ear plugs at the concert). Lots of fire and energy! They played some new songs and old faves like my favorite song of all time, "Unholy Confessions." Can you see the man dangling in the air? He bungy jumped and hung there for the first song! Creepy!
Here's a short clip of a fiery "Buried Alive."

Remember when my son and I did a Rock Band tribute for Avenged Sevenfold's drummer who passed away in December? See it here. Avenged also sang a tribute song called "So Far Away" for him at the concert.

Disturbed, a Chicago band, was next. Excellent graphics in the background, and David has an amazing voice. My fave song of their set was "Inside the Fire." Their most popular song is "Down With the Sickness."
We left before Disturbed was done with their set since my son is a minor and we'd already had a long, fun day. Plus we could beat the crowd after the concert. We left exhausted and happy.

A day my son will remember for the rest of his life. His mom will, too.