Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ho, Ho, Ho, Gotta Go!

Gotta prepare for the holidays, you know!

This will be my last post of 2011 since I will be busy with Christmas and family festivities for the remainder of the year. I want to thank you all for coming by the ole blog to say hi. Thank you to followers new and old for your wonderful support! I'll still be popping by blogland to say HEY this year, but just not posting here.

I will be posting a few more times at my other blog, Book Recs of the Rock & Famous this year. Find out what a witty TV host is reading today! Please stop on by!

Lastly, I am down to number 19 in the Meegenius Author Challenge. Not too bad considering there are almost 400 entries, but I'd love to get into the top 15! Thank you for all of your support voting and sharing my link on your facebook page or retweeting it! If by chance you haven't voted, here's the link! Thanks for your help! :)

Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends!

I have an eclectic Christmas carol playlist, but this one is my fave. Peace and love to you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift for Teacher!

Here's a rerun of a post I did a few years ago, but it is relevant every year!

It's that time of year again. Time for gifts for everyone, including your child's teacher. Most teachers seriously do not expect a holiday gift from their students, but it is a nice gesture. Your child's teacher spends the majority of the week with your child. What are some good ways to thank them for this?

One: Thank them! Yes, especially if money is tight this year, write a sincere thank you note to your child's teacher. Mention specific things on how he/she helped your child or lessons you or your child enjoyed. Your child can also make his/her own thank you or holiday card as well.

Two: Gift Card. Let them splurge a little or be practical. I know from experience that most teachers use their own money for some supplies in the classroom. They can spend the gift card on themselves or use it towards the classroom. Better yet, have a parent collect $5-10 from each student to buy one gift card or certificate from the class. If a class of 20 each gives $5, that's a nice $100 gift certificate for the teacher and a small price to pay for the students' families as well.

Three: You and your child can create something for your teacher. Every year when my children and I hang ornaments on our tree, I put up homemade ones from former students and tell my children about that student who made me the ornament. A parent also once made me a beautiful ceramic Christmas tree that adorns my house each year.

Four: Supplies for the classroom. Ask ahead of time if the teacher needs anything specific from extra pencils or paper to manipulatives or books (most likely he/she will have needs these days). Books are always a great gift for anyone!

I'm a former full time teacher, current teacher's aide who now buys gifts for my children's teachers. I usually give a gift card with a book or two for the classroom as a thank you.

So if you do decide to give a gift for your child's teacher, give it some thought, write a sincere sentiment to go along with it, and your child's teacher will appreciate it! Do you have any other good ideas for teacher gifts?

Here's a holiday tune from the Killers: A Great Big Sled. This tune was a charity single from 2006 aiding the (RED) campaign.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NanoUhOh! PBPick ME!

Hello, friends! I've come up for a breath to say HEY and ask HOW THE HEY ARE YA?

For you crazy NaNoWriMo peeps, how was your month? (One more day!) I started out strong, but fizzled out as work and family obligations increased. Jon and I didn't finish our story, but I did get more writing than I would have if I didn't challenge myself with Nano. I think I'm like the turtle in the race. Slow and steady. I'm just not a fast and furious writer. My projects get done, but it may take a little while longer! (Unless I have a true deadline, then I can do it! Go figure.)

How did you do? I noticed that some of you made your 50,000 words, so big congrats to Jemi, Elana, and Lola! If you finished, tell me in the comments so I can congratulate you! (Tina, I know you were almost there!) That is a HUGE accomplishment!

To those of you not doing Nano, how was your month?


I am participating in the Meegenius Author Challenge. I'm very excited about my manuscript titled, "The First Time I Saw My Baby." I do need your help though. I need lots of LIKES on my entry to be considered a finalist. I would love my book to be published into a Meegenius picture book app.
Would you kindly follow the link to my page and press LIKE (only if you like it, of course)? THANK YOU! I very much appreciate it! I can't do it without you! Voting ends mid December.

CLICK HERE to vote for my story. :)

Lastly, I have the beautiful Angie Harmon at Book Recs of the Rock & Famous today. She tells me her fave books and what her three girls are reading!

Have a fabulous week!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Untraceable tour: The Beats of Writing

Today is the second stop in the Untraceable blog tour! I am thrilled to be one of the first to read the YA thriller by Shelli Johannes-Wells. As you probably know, Shelli is the master marketer at the popular blog "Market My Words."

I give you unequivocal assurance that this book is a must read! My unbiased brief review is below.

Untraceable is unbelievably good. It's unbearable when the main character Grace's dad goes missing and totally unfair that the case might be closed. Grace's unadulterated love of nature is evident throughout the novel. The chemistry Grace has with another male character is undeniable. Yet, there's another boy who undoubtedly has her attention, too. There are plenty of unalienable characters that you will grow to despise them. The many twists and turns will keep you unhinged til the end. This book captured my undivided attention, and I read it in two days.

Untraceable comes out in 2 weeks!

Since you all know I love my tunes, I asked Shelli to share a little about her musical interests.

The Beats of Writing

1. What song can't you get out of your head this week?

I still have "Forget You" in my head. I don’t know why I still can't lose that song. It’s just fun to sing, and my kids love it.

2. What is your favorite band? (or bands)

Yikes. I love so many bands and songs. It really depends on my mood. This month, I love Coldplay, Adele, Rachel Yamagata, Jack Johnson.

3. What is the last concert you went to?

Oh gosh, I know the first. It was Dolly Parton's and Kenny Roger's Islands in the Stream tour. My mom took me with her. The last concert I went to was Black Eyes Peas and Pussycat Dolls. Or was it Rod Stewart? I did go to a KISS concert in an outdoor theatre - that was a fun experience. A little scary too.

4. Do you write to music? If so what types of songs do you listen to.

Once I plot out a story and know what is happening. Yes, I write to a scene. I have a different song for each chapter that puts me in the mood. For example, in Untraceable, the first scene is a chase scene in the woods. I listened to Muse’s "Time is Running Out." My character’s name is Grace so when I sit down to write I always play U2's "Grace." The lyrics are so perfect for my book.

5. If your life had a soundtrack, what would be your main song?

I actually posted about this along time ago, because my life is a soundtrack. (See post here.)
Right now? "
Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. No seriously – the songs that really touch me that I always go back to when I need to straighten out are "Live like We’re Dying" from Kris Allen, "Glitter in the Air" by Pink, or "Fix You" by Coldplay.

Great choices! Things are "Crazy" now I'm sure, and I hope you have some CRAZY awesome sales! Thank you, Shelli, for rockin' this interview!

Please visit Shelli at her blog or on Twitter. Also, check out her out at Goodreads!
You can sign up for Shelli's newsletter here. Anyone who is signed up for the newsletter will get a discount for the first 24 hours the books is released!
Untraceable will be available on November 29 in paperback and ebook at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and other sellers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sssshhhhh. I'm Nanoing.

Yes. I'm diving into NanoWriMo for the very first time. (That's National Novel Writing Month for the non-writers.) I'm a little frightened, but a lot excited about it. Jon and I are bending the rules a little to fit our needs. But that's okay, because we are going to finish our novel this month. Yes, I said it. We are FINISHING it. I won't be writing 50,000 words this month, but I will be writing a whole heck of a lot and accomplish something more important to me. So there. I'm going to kick some Nano butt!

Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? WHO'S WITH ME??!

If so, here are a few links for some great tips for a successful Nano month of November.

Gearing Up for Nano (which I guess you should have done last month, but it's still helpful!)

Nano Prep Tips Lola Style (okay, so use these tips to prep you for week two and to help you carve time for Nano; it's good stuff!)

Planning Your Novel's Beginning (Because we are in the first week of Nano!)

Nano for the New and Insane Author Lazette Gifford's FREE ebook ! (Ha! Love the title!)

Due to the furious nature of Nano, I will not be posting much at this blog in November (though look for a cool post on Nov. 15). Please, please, please visit my other blog, Book Recs of the Rock & Famous instead of here this month. I'm trying to gain more followers there. And you might find a great book that a rocker or cool celebrity recommended!

Thank you, and good luck to us all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oktober Blogfest & Halloween Hop!

Bish is hosting a spooky Oktober blogfest today, and this weekend is the Halloween Hop at the blog of Jeremy Bates! I thought I'd combine these two fests in one post!

That's my sister and me in the top left picture. I'm a bunny; she's the clown. Aren't we sweet?

Here are a few fun fast Halloween favorites of mine.

Best Songs for Halloween: Thriller by MJ! Dragula by Rob Zombie! Psycho by Puddle of Mudd! Nightmare and Scream by Avenged Sevenfold! Vampires Will Never Hurt You by MCR!

(Yes, I have a Scary Song mix on my iPod.)

Best Halloween Joke: What do adult ghosts like to drink? BOOze.

Best Halloween candy: I love so many kinds of candy, but my fave are Reese's peanut butter cups.

Best Halloween costume: as a child - butterfly, as an adult- Wonder Woman

Best Vampire Show: True Blood of course!

Tell me your favorites in the comments!

And for the Oktober Blogfest:

My family loves Halloween. Each Halloween we have more family over, and we go trick-or-treating with the kids. One Halloween morning, I ran to the grocery store to get things for our upcoming family party. My husband was incapacitated with a terrible flu so he was banished to the basement. I needed help so I called my dad to watch my three children (ages newborn, 2, and 5 at the time) while I did a quick trip to the store.

When I returned, my daughter was lying on the floor and holding her face. Apparently, right before I opened the door, my oldest son was having a pillow fight with my 2 yr old daughter, and she got hurt and fell to the floor. She was dazed, her eyes were open, and she was crying a little. After I inspected her, she became extremely dazed and absolutely not herself. She is one spunky child, and she was staring into space and not responding to me. I raced her to the emergency room, crying and praying the whole way. I pulled over at one point because she was falling asleep or passing out (even at 2 she rarely took naps) in her carseat, and I was fearful for her. My dad ran to the neighbor to watch my other two so he could follow in his car.

The ER took her after awhile and diagnosed her with a scratched cornea. I do believe she had a concussion, but they didn't diagnose her with that. We came home, let her rest, dressed her in her adorable bunny costume, and then put her in a wagon for trick or treating. This wasn't the scariest health incident regarding my daughter as she's had worse medical diagnoses, but thankfully she is now a healthy (and still quite spunky) nine year old.

The funny thing about this story is my daughter (now in fourth grade) just wrote an essay about her best Halloween. She wrote about the one when she was a bunny and 2 years old. She totally missed the part of her being in the ER that day. Totally forgotten. I'm just glad she remembered the best part of the day!

This is my favorite Halloween picture of my children from that day.

I am featuring a few horror movie actors at the Book Recs of the Rock and Famous tomorrow and Halloween Monday! Find out tomorrow what a major movie star who started in a horror film is reading and on Monday I have one of the most recognizable horror movie characters ever! Please stop by and see what they are reading!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blogfest

Matthew McNish and Alex Cavanaugh (the King of Blogfests) are partying Pay It Forward style today. Click on their names to find almost 200 links to those participating. I'm looking forward to checking out some cool new blogs today.

So, which blogs do I want you to check out?

First, I want to give props a few rock star blogs that you probably know. If you don't, click and follow.

Elana Johnson - Informative, friendly posts. Elana is so generous with her time, and she is the Query Queen. And the author of Possession.

Literary Rambles - Major resource of agent info thanks to Casey and Natalie.

Here are some blogs you may or may not be following but absolutely should! Seriously. Follow them. Or I'll scream Motley Crue songs in your ear until you do.

1. CAROLINA VALDEZ MILLER - I have never read more exquisite book reviews than at her blog. She could sell a book about a wombat/laundry basket/Jared Leto love triangle with her perfectly worded, vivid reviews. She is very generous with book giveaways. And she's fun! She was my concert buddy to a 30 Seconds to Mars Blood Ball. Did you hear she's going to Haiti soon? What a woman!

2. CHRIS PHILLIPS - Funniest guy in the blogosphere. He makes me laugh every time. Unless he's making me tear up with his poetry. The man has talent, yo.

3. THE PRACTICE ROOM - Tina and crew set up times each week day to write and then reconvene in a chat room to discuss your writing progress or whatever else is on your mind. This is a great motivator, and also a great resource for moral support! (And of course some laughs are interspersed in between the encouraging words!)

Special Bonus Recommendation:

Author ADAM REX.

Did you know this talented artist had a blog? Adam shares sneak peeks of his illustrations or random photos of pigeons on his porch or even pictures of himself in a dress. Did you know he was my all time favorite author? The man writes picture books, poetry, middle grade AND young adult. And he's an extremely talented illustrator. And quite witty. So check it out. And tell him his number one fangirl, Kelly, sent you.


Lastly (shameless plug alert), check out my new blog Book Recs of the Rock & Famous! This week I have an alternative rocker and a funny lady sharing their current reads! Thanks, and have a most excellent weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kick Butt Debut Author Spotlight

Welcome to a Kick Butt Debut Author Spotlight! Go to Christina Lee's blog to find links to other blogs who are celebrating favorite authors.

Today I am spotlighting one of my favorite middle grade authors, Anita Laydon Miller!
Not only can she dance and make me laugh, but she writes awesome middle grade e-books.
Just this year she has debuted her first middle grade novel in March and her second great kids' ebook in August.

11-year-old Mikey Murphy wakes to find a stranger in his room—a kid who looks exactly like him. Meeting his alien clone and his clone’s sister is just the start of Mikey’s adventures. Can he befriend the siblings, bust into a military installation, fight expert assassins, discover an evil alien’s lair and save the world?

Two words change 12-year-old Hannah Stone’s life forever: Help me. With her best friend Ollie at her side, she’ll do anything to save a life. But will she lose her own?

Both books are selling well, and it's no surprise. Earthling Hero is an exciting sci-fi adventure book, and A Scary Good Book is very suspenseful, and even a bit creepy. I highly recommend both! And best of all, both books sell for only 99 cents!

Check out the brand spanking new trailer of this mg mystery!

You can visit Anita at her two blogs, Anita Laydon Miller and Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog.

Also, please visit my other blog, Book Recs of the Rock and Famous! Today an eccentric, alternative rocker shares what he is currently reading.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm Burnin' Up.

The lovely Susan Fields tagged me a fun, random meme many moons ago. Thank you, Susan, for the opportunity for a random, quirky Q&A. I'm also combining this with the Blog on Fire Award that I received from Julie Fedderson, especially since the first question is hot, hot hot! Thanks, Julie!

Let's do this!

1. Do you think you're hot? (this question struck me as odd, but I'll answer it anyway!)

I do I have to admit, I do think I'm hot occasionally, but when I'm all dressed up (which isn't too often). Confidence is okay, right? But most of the time I feel like a regular middle-aged mom. Which I'm proud to be!

2. Upload a picture or wallpaper you are using at the moment.

I have a similar northern lights background on my computer. I've had it since I got the laptop 4-5 years ago. It's pretty! I have seen the northern lights. Beautiful!


3. When was the last time you ate chicken meat?

Last night I made a chicken recipe in the crockpot with Russian dressing and apricot preserves for my dad and stepmom. It was yummy!

4. The song(s) you listened to most recently?

Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO because it reminds me of my recent Florida trip with the girls.
And I do enjoy it even though it's not my usual hard rock. You can't help but dance to it!

5. What were you thinking as you were doing this?

My kids are SO loud!

6. Do you have nicknames?

Many call me Kel. When I was younger, my parents called me Smel. And a few friends call me Kmp!

I'm supposed to tag others for the meme, but I get uncomfortable doing that for some reason. I will, however, give the Blog on Fire award to Jimmy Garcia. Go to his blog to find out why. I've also won other awards in the past few months from awesome people, thank you! Forgive me for not writing them down when I read them! I'm an airhead that way! They are appreciated!!

If you'd really love to answer these randoms, please do and consider yourself tagged!

Also, I have a comedian up at the Book Recs of the Rock and Famous today! Check and see what inappropriate question I asked him!
Lastly, I'm going to ask you all the same question Susan did. Do you have any nicknames? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

F is for Florida, Fun, and Friends

Many years ago there were three girls who grew up in the same neighborhood. They played Barbies. They had sleepovers. They all bought hermit crabs together (see picture...can you guess which one is me?). They went to the same grade school and high school. Two girls even roomed together in college. They stood up in each other's weddings. They held each other's babies. Thankfully they stayed best friends throughout their lives.

Fast forward to last week. These three girls took their first vacation together since spring break in high school (we sailed to the Virgin Islands our senior year). We added another high school friend to our vacation plans and a few more surprise family members. Two of us flew in from Illinois, one from Michigan, and one all the way from Spain.

We spent five nights in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We laughed. We giggled. One even giggled so hard she peed her pants. We cried a little. We danced a lot. We shopped. We enjoyed massages and facials. We sang karaoke. We ate together. And then we laughed some more. And forever this song will remind me of this trip.

We even reenacted the picture we took almost 30 years ago.

Here are a few pics from our vacation together.


Aren't friends grand?

I took everyone's advice and left my computer at home, too! I did absolutely no writing and read Elana Johnson's Possession on the plane to and from Florida. Awesome book. Awesome trip. Awesome friends.

My friend Becky also posted a blog about our trip today. See her post HERE.

Please check out this week's posts at Book Recs of the Rock and Famous! I have my kids' favorite Disney channel actor and a rocker with an amazing voice this week!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This and That Thursday

Is it Thursday already? How can that be?

1. I may be MIA from blogland next week. Three of my friends from high school and I are going to Florida for a girly getaway. We've never done anything like this before. I know it will be a blast! I will miss my kiddos though. It's hard to tear me away from them. But sun and fun with my girlies is going to be crazy fun! I'm debating whether or not to bring my computer though...

2. I am LOVING my mornings in the kindergarten class. It is so great to be back in the classroom and making a difference. The children are filled with such joy, I smile all morning long.


My arm has been twisted, and I will be doing Nano for the first time this year. I'm slightly scared but mostly pumped, because I know our book's first draft will be finished by the end of November. Who's with me?!


This week at Book Recs of the Rock & Famous I have a True Blood hunk and a fantastic, thorough interview about books with the Goo Goo dolls drummer, Mike Malinin. It's so interesting to see what actors and musicians read. It gives a different insight into their personalities. Check my new blog out HERE!

Thank you to Cori Jackson for the Amazon gift card I won on her blog! I promptly bought Possession by Elana Johnson and Forever by Maggie Stiefvator. My mom has already abducted Forever to read, and I will be reading Elana's book on the beach next week. If I can wait til then...

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Allegiance to Rock

Last week I attended yet another concert. This Rock Allegiance tour consisted of seven killer bands, five of which we saw: RED, POD, Puddle of Mudd, Papa Roach, and Buckcherry.

Two of these bands I've seen multiple times (Papa Roach - 7, Buckcherry - 5), so when I heard they were in the general area, I HAD to go!

My mom and my friend Shanon accompanied me on this 90+ degree evening. We were pleasantly surprised that the festival venue was next to a river and had a friendly, casual atmosphere and best of all - the seats were awesome and we snuck even closer! We were happy, sweaty rock fans.

Here are a few pics. I've written a full review at a new ezine that goes live soon. I will link it when it does. Yep, I've got another writing gig!

My friend and I with Tobin Esperance, bassist of Papa Roach.

Puddle of Mudd

Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach

Josh Todd of Buckcherry

A quick snippet of 3 bands at the fest. Watch to the end to see Josh Todd of Buckcherry dance. He can move!

It was a great way to end summer! Did you do anything special to commemmorate the end of the summer season?

Don't forget to check out my other blog, Book Recs of the Rock and Famous. This week I have Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees and John Taylor of Duran Duran featured! Thanks!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This and That Thursday

I like big books and I cannot lie
You other mothers can't deny
That when a man walks in with a beer belly waist
And a rectangle thing in your face
You feel young
Wanna pull up tough
Cuz you notice that book was stuffed
Deep in the jacket he's wearing
I'm hooked and I can't stop staring
Oh, baby I wanna read with ya
And take your picture!

1. One of my favorite things to do is take the kids to the book store when we are on vacation. This month we frequented a Barnes & Noble the same day I bought my big books tee at Hot Topic. Here's the Little Red Writing Book that I couldn't pass up.Photobucket

Here's a peek inside.Photobucket

2. Speaking of books, did you see Anita Laydon Miller's new cover for the middle grade ebook, Earthling Hero?Photobucket

Beautiful, isn't it?? And speaking of Anita, I read A Scary Good Book last weekend in two sittings. I highly recommend this mg mystery! It's suspenseful, it's slightly creepy, and it has such likable characters. And I'm NOT just saying that because she was at the shooting range yesterday.

3. Thank you so much for showing your support on my new blog, "Book Recs of the Rock & Famous." If you haven't visited yet, click HERE to see what Kate Middleton and Leah Remini have been reading. Next week I have a True Blood hunk and a rockerboy on deck. Spread the word that reading ROCKS!

4. And a hello to all of you wonderful people stopping by from the campaign! I'll be bloghopping soon!

5. I almost forgot to mention that I just started my first Monday-Friday job in twelve years! I used to be a full time grade school teacher until I became a stay at home mom to my three kids. Now I'm a teacher's aide in a morning kindergarten class at my kids' school. I love it so far! It's wonderful to be able to be part of a regular classroom again. The pay is meh, but I figure it's a great way to ease myself back into the realm of education and have my afternoons free for errands and writing. So be careful while commenting. I may be correcting your punctuation! :)

Have a fabulous Labor Day weekend, all! Any plans?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Random Thoughts About the VMA's

Last night was the Mtv Video Music Awards. Which shocks me every year as Mtv hardly airs many music videos anymore. And I LOVE music videos.

Here's my usual Random Thoughts While Watching the VMA's.

Click here for a complete list of winners (who do I look like, Riki Rachtman?).

1. Gaga totally reminds me of Ralph Macchio in the Outsiders. Do it for Johnny! (but lose the cigarette...)

2. The Biebs doesn't seem too thrilled in the audience...

3. Yay, Foo Fighters! They won best Rock Video for "Walk" which was based on the movie "Falling Down." Great tune. I heart Dave Grohl.

4. My fave quote of the night: "Never lose faith in real rock 'n' roll music." - Dave Grohl

5. Paul Rudd is all over the place lately. What a cutie. Slappin' da bass!

6. Whoa! Quick wardrobe change for Katy Perry! (which I should know from Jon Arntson's Katy Perry concert review.)

7. I just found out that my hubby is an Adele fan and has her CD in his truck. Who knew?!

8. Wow! Can't believe that Bieber beat out Eminem! The specs are kind of cute.

9. Surprised to see Chris Brown here. Doesn't anyone hold any grudges against woman beaters??? And how does Dave Grohl feel about Chris lipsyching to a Nirvana song??

10. Cute Britney montage!

11. Beyonce is an amazing performer as always. And if you haven't heard, she's preggers!

12. Is Jared Leto wearing a skirt? And a mini mullet? Take off those shades, Jared, and show us your baby blues!

13. And I wish Gaga would have done a wardrobe change. Enough with the Andrew Dice Clay/Macchio impression.

14. Hunger Games trailer! Man, I wish it was longer and showed more of the movie! Can't wait!

15. What the H does Katy have on her head??? And I love the "Firework" video. And song.

16. As always, not enough rock 'n' roll at this awards show.

Anyone else watch the VMA's? What did you think?

I've joined the Campaign! I feel all warrior-like saying that. I've seen the Campaign badge all over the blogs lately, so I decided to join forces with you all to build our platforms, support one another, meet new blog friends, and take over the blogging world!!! (cue maniacal laughter)

If you'd like to join forces with us, go to Racheal Harrie's blog and join in by August 31! Who's with me??

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Recs That Rock

Hello, friends!

I am starting a new blog next week to promote literacy. I will be compiling and posting book recommendations of different celebrities and posting them once or twice a week. We all know that reading is a very cool pasttime, but I want the starstruck world to know it, too. I want someone to google celebrities and see what they are READING, not what they are wearing, not who they are smooching, but what they are recommending. (To be fair, I read Us Weekly and read about that other stuff, too :).

Please click on BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS to go to my new blog. Please follow so everyone will know that reading is important to so many of us! I don't expect anyone to comment on every post, just do if you feel like it.
I appreciate your help and support! Spread the word if you can.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Rockin' & Writin'

What's better than a concert? A FREE concert! Last week my sister and I attended the SummerKrush concert in Chicago. It was seriously free for everyone and sponsored by Samsung. We saw Bush and Chevelle, two bands that are frequently played on my iPod. This is the third time I've seen Chevelle and first time for Bush (though I've seen Gavin Rossdale solo before). Even though the venue was packed and super sweaty, we jumped up and down and sang along to all the great Bush (like "Comedown" & "Glycerine") and Chevelle (my fave -"Send the Pain Below") hits plus some new songs.

Here's a few pics of Gavin, lead singer of Bush (also husband of Gwen Stefani).
He's British (and ripped) so he can wear this.Photobucket

And I told you it was hot and sweaty in there! Photobucket
The best part was that the bands gave us a few writing tips while we were there! Listen and learn...
(and speaking of writing tips, did WRITEONCON rock, or what?!)

Okay, I tried. I just wanted to show some cool clips from the concert. :)
And did you notice my new rockin' banner up top? A big thank you to Jon Arntson! He made it for me!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vacay Days

Hello my dear blog friends!
My family and I have been traipsing all over the northern Midwest. My kids spent quality time with grandparents, caught lots of fish, and enjoyed nature at its best. My hubby and dad caught giant muskies. The kids also back to school shopped, rode amusement parks at the Mall of America, and clogged toilets everywhere they went (don't ask).

Here are a few vacation pics.

I kissed a fawn, and I liked it. Last vacation I kissed a dolphin. It seems I kiss animals everywhere I go. Kind of like college, but no beer goggles necessary for these kisses from me.

Hubs and I went to see one of our fave comedians, Daniel Tosh in Duluth. Hilarity ensued.

The Polark Five took a walk in the wilderness.
And we have added two cool new voices on our Garmin to guide us through the galaxy. Yes, the force is with us.

I hope you are all enjoying the last weeks of summer! School starts next week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

What can you get for a buck?

A book for a buck, that's what! (Actually for less!) Congratulations to middle grade author, Anita Laydon Miller! Her newest release, A SCARY GOOD BOOK, is available today. Please go read a sample, and you will be sucked in and want more. Read that HERE. And read how you can purchase this kids ebook HERE! An awesome mystery for only 99 cents!!!

Twelve-year-old Hannah Stone tells everyone she’s “okay,” but that’s a total lie. Two years ago her dad was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The detective in charge of the case never found the driver, but he somehow managed to get Hannah’s mom to fall in love with him. The jerk. And speaking of love, Hannah’s developed a major crush on Ollie Ortega—he’s her best friend and the only one she can talk to—a crush on Ollie is so not a good idea.
Also not a good idea? Searching for a missing person with no help from the police. But that’s exactly what Hannah does when she finds messages in library books—underlined words that point her in the direction of someone who needs her.
And, suddenly, Hannah’s even further from okay. She breaks into a library, gets caught in a kidnapper’s web, and is stalked by her dad’s killer, all in an effort to save a life…but can she save herself, too?

CONGRATS, ANITA! This will be the first book I buy my daughter when she gets her ereader this month! I can't wait to read the rest of the book (and share it with her)!

Also, I've been a lucky blog winner this week. Thank you to Ellen Oh; I won Carrie Harris's BAD TASTE IN BOYS on her blog!! I know it's going to be a riot. Also I won Julie Fedderson's colloquialism contest. You won't believe what phrase won me a cool Honey Bee gift basket! Thank you, Julie!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This and That Thursday

I watched three movies in the theater last week. I do believe that is a record for me. I watched Zookeeper with the family when our power was out for two days. (It was okay, but kids liked it) Hubs and I saw Horrible Bosses. It amused me, but I thought it would be funnier. But still it was pretty funny, more of a dark comedy. Great actors in it. Then of course I had to see HP7. Hubs and I took our oldest. I was on the verge of tears from the beginning knowing what was going to happen and knowing this was the last movie of the series. My son begged me not to sob loudly during a certain scene that he knew I might (because I sobbed loudly when I read the scene to him). I sobbed, but quietly into my Coca Cola. The movie was absolutely amazing. AMAZING! The only thing that could have been improved was more Fred and George. I love Fred and George.

Did you see HP7? Any other movies you recommend?


I read through 3/4 of the Vampire Diaries books by LS Smith last week when my power was out. I liked them (I'm such a good reviewer, aren't I?). I saw the first two episodes on TV, but stopped because I decided I wanted to read the books first. So I will have to watch the Diaries on Netflix at some point. I am now reading Ditched by Robin Mellom which is very amusing. I enjoy Robin's humor, and I won the ARC on a blog contest at her blog! Thank you, Robin!


I've been reading and writing poetry for the last few weeks. I missed it. I'd been concentrating on my middle grade novels, so it's been so refreshing to get back to what started me writing in the first place!

And you know that poem that I posted below? I made it to the final four in Shelly's Poetry contest! I actually didn't realize it was a contest when I entered the blogfest. So, it was a pleasant surprise! Today is the last day to vote for your fave of the four!


I enjoyed rocking to Poison and Motley Crue last month. It was super fun and even better, the tickets were free (and amazing seats!). My high school friend is good friends with Poison's drummer, Rikki Rockett (see below), and he gave us tickets! Photobucket My friend Sue and I had a blast! We loved singing along with the classic hits. And Tommy Lee even had a drum coaster at the Crue set! At the end of the show, Nikki Sixx sprayed blood on the front row (see video). It seems I can't get away from bloody concerts! (See Blood Ball with 30stm!).

No other concerts planned yet, but I did just buy Daniel Tosh tickets for my hubs and I. That will be gigglicious I am sure!!

What summer fun are you up to?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest/Poetry Friday

Today I'm doing double poetry duty! I'm joining in at the Poetry Schmoetry blogfest today at Shelley's blog. Check here to see more entries. I am also participating in Poetry Friday which is being hosted at A Year of Reading today. I used to do Poetry Friday a lot, but my middle grade writing took over. It's time to pay my respects to poetry again!

I'm sharing a poem today that I wrote after watching a preschooler reunite with his father when he returned from war. It was so incredibly touching. I was tearing up along with all the other moms watching the special moment.


Months of waiting.
Daddy’s home.

Smiles beaming.
Tears are streaming.
Daddy’s home.

We are racing.
Warm embracing.
Daddy's home!

No more missing.
Hugs and kissing.
My daddy is home!

-Kelly Polark, all rights reserved

Saturday, June 25, 2011

First 250+

Today I'm participating in Shelly Watter's Birthday Blowout Contest!
And here I go. Any feedback is appreciated!

Title: Rock 'n' Roll Princesses Wear Black
Genre: Humorous Middle Grade
Wordcount: 26,000

My cousin Gina coined our place, The Loud House.

“Yes, I’m back in black!” blasted from the family room speakers. My little brother cried like a baby in his bedroom, because, well, he’s a baby. I stepped into my room and shut the door for some rare peace and quiet. Why couldn’t our place be The Occasionally Loud House?

Even with my door closed I could hear my dad listening to his AC/DC playlist on the iPod speakers. He always did that when he paid bills. AC/DC is a classic rock band. Which means they’re old. I like music and all; in fact, I love it. But there’s a time for rocking out, and there’s a time to get things done. I needed to find something to wear to Brooke’s birthday party right now. Stat. Immediately. Pronto. If only my brother would go back to sleep. He should be napping now. He usually can sleep through music playing, dogs barking, anything in The Loud House. Mom said that he’s teething. Another reason for my parents to smother him with attention. Another reason to say, “Stef, wait a minute. Stef, I can’t do this now. Stef, your brother is the only thing we care about.” Okay, maybe they’ve never said that last one, but they’ve probably thought it.

I rifled through the middle drawer of my white dresser and searched for something to wear. I couldn’t find one thing with pink on it. My mom was not going to like that I left the shirts in a rumple instead of neatly in a stack. She worked at the Gap in high school and learned how to perfectly fold clothes. Maybe I’ll let her redo my stacks, you know, to remind her of the good ole days of high school.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This and That Thursday


Look who I got to meet this week! Shelley Moore Thomas had a wonderful and busy library book tour in Illinois recently, and lucky for me, one was about 30 minutes from my house! I took my younger two to listen to her tell stories and read A Good Knight's Rest. My children and the children attending all adored her. Shelley has such a way of entertaining the little ones with her fabulous voices, cute puppets, and interactive stories. I was so glad to not only meet her, but watch her do her magic! She isn't called the Storyqueen for nothin'!


I apologize for not being around the blogosphere lately. I am taking two graduate courses in four weeks, and it is taking up the majority of my time. I have an Illinois teaching certificate, but I am applying for a Wisconsin one, too. I need 6 hours of graduate credit to get it since I've been out of the classroom for so long (it's been twelve years since I've been a full time teacher!). Even though it is a buttload of work (that's a new educational term I learned), I am finding the courses so interesting and informative. I'll be checking blogs more often in July!


There is so much great news for my bloggy friends!

1. Congrats to Stephanie Blake. She recently signed with an agent! Go congratulate her and find out the deets!

2. Congrats to Donna Earnhardt! She recently signed a contract with Flashpoint Press for a picture book. Go say, "Way to Go!" here.

3. Congrats to Myra McEntire on her YA book release, Hourglass! Isn't the cover awesome?!

4. Have you seen Elana Johnson's fan website for Possession?! It is amazing. Check it out here.

5. It's summer! Have you downloaded PJ Hoover's newest book Solstice yet? Go to her blog to see how you can purchase her book for 99 cents!

Do you have any fun or good news to share?


Yes, I'm going to another concert on Saturday. Isn't that what summer is for? It will be a great break between assignments. I'm so excited to see Motley Crue, Poison and the New York Dolls. I've seen the Crue and Poison many times in my day; they always put on a kick butt show! Now where's the hairspray???

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Today I am participating in a Possession Celebration Blog Hop hosted by Nichole Giles !
First of all, congratulations to the wonderful, generous, talented Elana Johnson on her book birthday for her debut young adult novel POSSESSION! And another congratulations to Elana, because the companion novel to POSSESSION recently sold! What a fabulous June you are having, my dear!

To celebrate, I am supposed to tell about a time I broke the rules. This is hard for me as I am a strict rule follower, law abider. I was a good kid. I'm a good adult. So, I will tell you about the first time I got a speeding ticket. (I've only had a few!)

I was in college and driving my friend Becky home from our summer jobs as Human Resources interns. The sun was shining, we were giggling as always on our way home with the radio blasting. I sang along loudly to the chorus of Queensryche's "Jet City Woman" as it played on THE BLAZE hair band radio station. And then I looked in the rear view mirror at the lights flashing behind me. My heart sank.
I looked nervously at Becky and pulled over to the side of the road. I knew I had been speeding. I wasn't paying attention.
As the officer approached my car, I hiked up my mini skirt to show some more leg as a last minute attempt to bat my eyelashes out of the ticket. But the tired looking, older gentleman asked for my license and registration anyway. As I waited nervously in the car, he returned with my very first speeding ticket. Crap!
I'm pretty sure I cried when I told my mom when I got home. I paid for the ticket myself with my summer job money. But I did the crime, so I paid the fine.

So that is my rule breaking story that my long, tan legs didn't get me out of. Nothing exciting, but definitely a moment I'll always remember!!
Were you a troublemaker?? :)

PhotobucketI also want to give another book birthday shout out to Shelley Moore Thomas! Her picture book A Good Knight's Rest is released today, too!! Congrats, Shelley!

Today's Tune for Tuesday is "Breaking the Law" by Judas Priest. I loved when James sang with them on the Idol finale! Also random fact about me: I yell, "Judas Priest" like a curse word! (My grandma used to, too.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun and Games Blogfest

The king of blogfests, Alex Cavanaugh is hosting today's superdeeduper fun blogfest. Participants are to list their three favorite games.

Here are mine!

1. Scattergories - I love this, because you think it should be easy, but it isn't! I also love that it is fun for all ages so we can have family games.

2. You Don't Know Jack - My hubby and I used to play this game on the computer many years ago before kids. We are super competitive with one another, and this one was great because we were about even with wins. We are getting him the Wii or Xbox version for Father's Day! (shhhh, don't tell him! He's so busy with work this week; I know he won't read this!)

3. Apples To Apples - We have family games around the table. Even my kindergartener can play it! The only downside is no one likes it when I'm the judge. They think I'm a terrible judge! But it's so fun anyway!

Honorable mention - Pig or horse at the basketball hoop in the driveway with my son. Competitiveness runs in the fam.

What's your favorite game?? Find out what others have to say at Alex's blogfest headquarters! Join in on the fun!

Another favorite pasttime of mine? Concerts! I went to Q101 Jamboree with my mom and sister on Saturday. I even got to see Carolina Valdez Miller and Erica Chapman there (they had Pit tickets, brave girls). We ended up with fifth row seats, so we were pretty happy! We saw Sum 41, Papa Roach, Seether, and 30 Seconds to Mars! Papa Roach is now the band I've seen the most times live (this was my sixth!). And I even got a hug from Papa Roach's electrifying frontman, Jacoby Shaddix, when he came out into the crowd! Here he is right before he couldn't resist my charms.
And here's a pic of Jared Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars, another amazing frontman!
I hope the photo resizing and post formatting works. This Blogger is driving me nuts!
Have a great week, everyone!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What up, bfro?

Last Saturday night I did something that I am certain none of you were doing at 8:30pm on a Saturday. I attended a BFRO meeting. What does BFRO stand for? Bland Food Regurgitation Organization? Booming Fart Reverberation Outlet? Buckcherry Fanclub Reunion Outing?

Nope. Bigfoot Field Researcher's Organization.

Why would I go to a bfro presentation besides the fact I wear size ten shoes? (I really do, so shush your giggles now.) Jon Arntson and I are in the midst of writing our middle grade novel which involves the main character having an encounter with Bigfoot (or Sasquatch if you prefer). The research has been fun as has the chats, emails, & Skypes with Jon brainstorming, character building, plotting, and cheering one another on.

The meeting was conveniently held near where I was vacationing with my fam over the weekend. My mother-in-law was reading a newspaper Friday night and happened to show us the ad about the Bigfoot meeting. Coincidence or fate? My husband said, "We have to go!"

So go we did. My father-in-law, hubs and I went to a campground on the Mississippi River where the presentation was held. About 35 adults and 20 children (who probably had trouble getting to sleep in their tents that night) gathered to hear what the bfro member had to say.

Here's a teaser of what I learned. If you want to know more about Sasquatch, you'll have to read our book one day!

1. BFRO has received over 3,600 reports of Sasquatch encounters. Half the reports are goofballs just messing around. They publish only 10-15% of reports after a phone call to verify.

2. Not just one "Bigfoot." Could be from 500-2,000 of these creatures.

3. Signs of Sasquatch: stick structures, intense smell, twisted trees, branch breaking.

4. Best question of the night from a child: "Are they like Wookies?"

5. Lots of info plus read the actual reports at their site. Or you can stop by and read the four pages of notes I wrote.

Have you taken any research field trips? Anita Laydon Miller had to get security clearance to visit NORAD in Colorado to research for her middle grade book, Earthling Hero. I also had to attend many concerts for my finished middle grade manuscript Rock 'n' Roll Princesses Wear Black. I know, someone totally twisted my arm for me to attend those concerts. Spill about your research in the comments!

Lastly, click here for sounds of Sasquatch.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dear Diary 6

On to my next Dear Diary entry. If you missed the Diary of a With It Kid entries, see my aspirations here, puke entry here, and fourth grade entry here,how Anne Frank helped my love life here and the ups and downs of a short lived junior high romance.

Next is an excerpt from eighth grade. The top of the junior high food chain yet still in the throes of hormonal angst. Read on about the short (yet - omg - so important!) relationships of middle graders. Some names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. Middle grade writers take note.

November 17
Howdy! Apparently my diary was made in Texas. I just figured out how long I went out with people. Chase I went out with for 2 months and 2 days. Logan 2 months and 14 days. Mike 1 month 21 days. Todd 3-4 days. That was Dear Diary 5. And Aidan 6-7 days!
Oh yeah, from October 19 to October 25. At the dance I went out with Aidan. The following weekend we went bike riding around his dad's and my neighborhood. You know he could be really sweet. Well, that Thursday he broke up over the phone. Poor Kelly, third time in a row being the dumpee. But at least he had the gonads to break the news himself! He tried and tried to explain why. He said our relationship was like him holding a chocolate cake. He liked the cake, but he was always afraid he'd drop it and ruin it. I was crying when I was talking to him and you know what he said before I hung up - I love you! A couple of times! I go, Yeah, sure. How could he say that after he broke up! Even the next day I go to him - Do you still love me? BOLD girl! He goes, Yeah! We still talk a lot so we're still good friends. I guess I like Ryan or Todd again. I don't know though. I guess I miss liking Aidan or something. I think he likes Wendy now. 4th hour Mike said, "I wish Aidan still liked you instead of a slut like Winnie." I laughed. Mike is one of my good friends now. But I guess I still like Aidan. I guess I always will. Or not.

This post was way before Forrest Gump's "Life is like a box of chocolates." Aidan you were on to something! A relationship with Kelly is like a teetering chocolate cake!

Now tell me a funny or different way you were dumped, and we'll all compare notes!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Leigh T. Moore and Lydia Kang are hosting today's funtastical Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest. Check their blogs for a others participating, and your Monday is going to feel like a freakin' Saturday night!

Here are my attempts at humor for you today.

Have you seen the movie Constipated?
It never came out.
(My kids love that one!)

Fave funny books to check out: Picture Book - Guess Again by Mac Barnett Middle Grade: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger Adult: Any book by Chelsea Handler
What funny books do you recommend?

Today's Twitter Game is #quirksnperksofawriter Play along with us!

Tomorrow I'll be Chris Phillips' guest for Music to Make Write To. Be sure to check out my picks! One is the funniest music video by this band. Here is their second funniest video. (Sidenote: I own a lavender I heart Davey Grolton shirt that the screaming fans are wearing in the video. And my family likes to say Saul Goode for kicks. Plus if this song is on in the car, we all cross our hands in front of our face at the end like in the video...)
LONG ROAD to RUIN by Foo Fighters