Monday, February 28, 2011

Super 8 Debut Albums Blog Hop Plus the Oscars!

Well, hello! Thanks for stopping by for the Super 8 Debut Albums Blog Hop hosted by DiscConnected . Check other lists at DiscConnected's blog!

Since I also have the Oscars to talk about today, I'm going to jump right into the list!
Honorable Mention: Winger by (yes) Winger. I loved this album SO much! I played it over and over and I even had a poster of Kip Winger on my college dorm wall. Seriously. Who doesn't love "Headed for a Heartbreak?" Okay, well I do.

8. Habits by Neon Trees and Race You to the Bottom by New Medicine. (2010)They get a mention because both of these bands came out with debut albums just last year. Both have amazing tracks on their albums. I saw both of them live while attending concerts for other bands that I love, but they ended up being just as good! I'll see them both live again this year. I love when you can listen to the entire album without wanting to skip songs.

7. Infest by Papa Roach (2000) Triple platinum major label debut album by one of my favorite bands. "Last Resort" and "Between Angels and Insects" from this album are staples at live concerts. I've seen Papa Roach live five times because they are all energy and all over the place live.

6. Skid Row (1989) Sebastian Bach has killer vocals. Plus I had his Rolling Stone cover on my sorority house bedroom door. This album has rockin' songs as "Youth Gone Wild" and "I Remember You." They opened for GnR when I saw them live in the early 90's.

5. Rubberneck by The Toadies. (1994) The Toadies are pretty much known for their hit, "Possum Kingdom" but this whole album rocks. "Tyler" is one of my fave songs of all time. I haven't ever seen The Toadies live :(.

4. Foo Fighters. (1995) This album is amazing because Dave Grohl wrote and recorded this album all by himself. He did the writing, vocals, and instruments. He's so freaking talented! Great songs like "This is a Call," "Big Me," and "I'll Stick Around" are on this album. Plus the silly Foo Fighter music videos started with "Big Me." I've seen them live twice, and I'm looking forward to their next album that comes out this year!

3. Third Eye Blind. (1997)I wish 3EB would release another successful album like this. I love every single song on this album (faves: "SemiCharmed Life" and "Narcolepsy"). I played this CD and only this CD for months maybe years in the late 90's. I also saw them in concert in 1997 and 2009.

2. Hot Fuss by the Killers (2004). I heard "Somebody Told Me" on the radio, and I had to bought the CD right away. Along with great songs like "Mr. Brightside" and "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine ", this was an album my hubby loves too. We saw them in concert in 2009. They were awesome live, too. Love Brandon Flowers' quirky lyrics and smooth vocals (and okay, he's not bad on the eyes either).

1. Appetite for Destruction by Guns 'n' Roses. (1987) This album came out in the height of the hair bands, but it was true and dirty rock 'n' roll. I bought this cassette in high school and turned it up on my boom box in my room F bombs and all. I felt like such a rebel knowing my parents would be appalled at the language on this album. But um, they never said anything. So much for my big rebellion in high school. I was 13th row for a GnR concert in the early nineties. Pure awesome. I was screaming along to the words in my preppy white tee and ponytail with the metalheads (with my friend passed out from JD next to me). I've also seen Slash, one of the best guitarists ever, play live with Velvet Revolver and his last solo tour. If only Axl wasn't such an ass...

See a complete list of winners here (who do I look like, Maria Menounos?).


1. Cute beginning montage of the James, Anne, and Alec Baldwin within the nominated movies (and I just finally saw Inception the night before). James Franco and Anne Hathaway are an odd pick for hosts as cute as they are. I kind of feel bad for James that he can't just kick back and enjoy the night being nominated.

2. Do you think Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem planned their outfits? (don't love the cream suit...but I love the name Javier. Favorite Spanish name. JAVIER!)
3. Wow. Trent Reznor looks and sounds like a dignified businessman. I kind of want him to break out into "Head Like a Hole!" Seriously, he's a gifted musician. Congrats to him.
4. Matthew McConaughey should receive Excellence in Sound. Love his draawwwwl. (only his, though. Others remind me of Larry the Cable Guy.) Did they make him put on a shirt at the Oscars? Darn!
5. Ha! Which brings us to "Doesn't He Own a Shirt" ditty by Edward Cullen.
6. Fave James Franco quote of the night: "I'm a little offended by some of the movie titles this year. A little inappropriate for network tv. Winter's Bone. Rabbit Hole. How to Train Your Dragon. That's disgusting."
7. I'm kind of sick of seeing Gwyneth singing on these awards shows. (I'm sorry!) She doesn't seem as comfortable as a singer as she does as an actress.
8. Best moral of the night: "Listen to your mother." And who else thinks Tom Hooper looks a bit like James Cameron?
9. Colin Firth permeates class. Handsome, talented, and eloquent. And as Myra put: adorkable.

Best Dressed: Jennifer Hudson looked amazing. Love the bright color, and it fit perfectly on her (except in the chest area), I loved how it showed off her trim figure! I also loved Anne Hathaway's shiny, red dress.
Worst Dressed: Cate Blanchett. She's such a phenomenal actress, natural beauty, but that dress! Yikes.
Best Accessory: Nicole Kidman's choker necklace.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm White and Nerdy at the Book Brunch

On Saturday, I was pleased to attend Anderson's Bookshop 9th Annual Children's Literature Breakfast. This breakfast included amazing keynote speakers like Mark Teague, Tim Green, and Weird Al Yankovic (yes, that Weird Al). Several Illinois authors also participated in this fabulous event.


Trent Reed wrote Words in the Dust about an Afghan girl after serving there in the U.S. Army. Best quote: "Literature is an essential part of life-not a luxury."

  • Tim Green was definitely the most vivacious speaker. Green is an ex-NFL player, earned his law degree, and now has written several books for adults and middle school readers like Football Genius. And yes, he's handsome too. He visits schools and tells the kids this: "Take your talent and work like a maniac! Work maniacally until you throw up! Also, you need to be lucky along the way, so you need a back up plan with education. Know what you want to be - what you CAN be!"
  • Mark Teague, the fabulous illustrator of my favorite Jane Yolen Dinosaur books, showed us illustrations of his book, Firehouse! I loved how the dog in his book is inspired by his own Boston terrier.

  • Kathryn Lasky's books such as the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series are centered around animals. She said, "For the past ten years, I have written about animals and to be truthful, I don't really care for animals." And she really doesn't! Funny!

  • The last speaker was Al Yankovic. Not only is he a genius of parodies (and yes, I've even seen him in concert once as a teen), but a picture book author, too. Al did a fun Q&A, and he really is witty in person. When asked does he want to remembered as an author or a singer or a poet or question mark, he replied, "A question mark. An enigma."
He signed this book for my kids who have seen his "White and Nerdy" video a hundred times!
I also enjoyed meeting and chatting with these wonderful ILLINOIS AUTHORS!

Next to me is Lori Degman, the author of 1 Zany Zoo which was also the winner in the Cheerio's Spoonful of Stories Contest. Next to her is Laura Ripes whose picture book, The Spaghetti Slurping Sewer Serpent is coming out next year! Both ladies attend the same local SCBWI chapter as I do!

After reading a week of James Kennedy on Murph's blog, I was excited to meet the very funny James Kennedy, author of The Order of Odd-Fish. James helped launch the 90 Second Newbery Film Festival. Check out details here. Film one yourself or watch the clips! Deadline is September. I also just realized that James kind of resembles James Spader in this pic...

Yes, Hilary Wagner is as sweet and beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I was so glad to meet her in person. The sequel to her middle grade novel Nightshade City comes out in October!

Who writes funny stuff about kissing zombie and American history plus gives ghost tours in Chicago? Adam Selzer, that's who. I am looking forward to reading I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It. My children now like to sing that version of the Katy Perry song...

I also met the wonderful Cynthea Liu who signed Paris Pan Takes the Dare for my daughter. I wish I'd taken my picture with her! She was very helpful with a manuscript in one of her Red Light, Green Light critiques!

My Tune for Tuesday today is by of course, Weird Al Yankovic. Check out the hilarious "White and Nerdy."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This and That Thursday

Last week I met Sue Kirchner for coffee (okay, iced tea/lemonade) at a local Starbucks. Sue is the CFO (Chief Fun Officer) at Chocolate Cake Moments. Chocolate Cake is a website for busy parents. It features lots of fun activities/crafts for kids and parents to do, movie reviews, party ideas, and more! On the site, there is even a Chocolate Cake Club online boutique with products that make parent's lives easier. Check it out!

Hubby and I are taking our three kids to a waterpark for a fun getaway one night soon. Splish! Splash! I hope I don't blind anyone with my pasty, winter white skin! And thank goodness for tankinis!


I read two funny books this week. Guys Read Funny Business, edited by Jon Scieszka and The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. Both amused me. Funny Business is a collection of short stories by entertaining authors such as Adam Rex, Jeff Kinney and more smart aleck men (plus Kate Dicamillo!). Origami Yoda reminded me a bit of Diary of a Wimpy Kid with awesome Star Wars references and different viewpoints.

What are you reading right now?


According to my statcounter, lately the majority of people coming to my blog through a google search has searched CRYING! Remember my post For Crying Out Loud? Seriously there are 20 "crying" searches in the last week for every other one. So I hope they come here and smile instead of cry. Chin up, people! Stop your blubbering! Life is beautiful!

Thank you to Adventures in Children's Publishing blog! I won Cloaked and Beastly by Alex Flinn in a recent contest!!!

Plus thank you to Teresa Milstein and Nicole Zoltack! I won a query critique from Nicole at Teresa's blog celebrating her 400 followers! Thanks, ladies!

I'm still very much a newbie at tweeting. I do though find it fun. I especially enjoy the kidlitchats on Tuesday nights. It's fun to chat with a bunch of writers (though I'm still a little intimidated to post too much during the chat).
I also bombard Daniel Tosh on Tuesdays with questions on Twitter. Daniel live tweets with fans during Tosh.0 (on Comedy Central) those nights. He still hasn't answered any of my questions yet (bastard), but I will keep them coming until he does. I mean he must only get a thousand or so during that night, right? Speaking of Tosh.0, if you love inappropriate humor, you will love this show. It may knock The Soup on E! to number two for my fave TV show. Heh, heh. I said number two.
Are you tweeting yet? Why or why not?
I put my car iPod on song shuffle so I could listen to songs I haven't heard in a while. I get into grooves of listening to the same band and ignore my other bands, so I thought I'd give them all a chance. My kids aren't loving it. On the way to basketball practice, they cringed at Adam Ant's "Beat My Guest." But they did enjoy the Beatles. I have mostly rock on my iPod but I do have other genres as well.
When I work out to my Sports Active Wii, I also have been listening to blocks of some of my well liked, yet ignored artists. Monday was Alien Ant Farm. Tuesday was Brides of Destruction. Wednesday was Justin Timberlake. Today? Maybe the Killers or Foo Fighters...or Duran Duran.
What bands do you like but have ignored lately?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammy Wrap Up

I almost didn't watch the Grammy's last night. I just don't love any of the artists nominated, and there's not enough rock 'n' roll in the show anymore. But I figured "What the hey" and watched it anyway for the love of music.

Click here for a complete list of the winners (who do I look like, Lisa Rinna? Okay, besides the lips...)


1. Nice Aretha (my hubby calls her Urethra, sorry Miss Franklin) tribute with an eclectic group of talented ladies. I hope Christina remembers the words... (I know, I know. She has one amazing voice!)

2. I just realized that this Aretha tribute was 12 minutes long. Whoa.

3. "Yeah!" yelled my 8 yr old daughter when Train won for Best Pop Duo or Group Performance for "Hey, Soul Sister," her fave song.

4. I need to get myself a pair of silver pants (like Ricky).

5. I think Lady Gaga "Hatched This Way."

6. I hope the Volturi don't take notice of the blatant vampire sparkles of Muse!

7. Awww, cute pep talk from Usher to the Biebs.

8. They found someone shorter than Bieber to sing with him! And speaking of Jaden Smith, I gotta wonder why Will and Jada let their kids enter the entertainment industry so young...

9. Best Rock Album nominees are a bunch of old guys (except for Muse). What about newer rock bands? They are good, too! Muse did win and frontman mentioned his "Beautiful, pregnant girlfriend" (Kate Hudson) then cackled nervously.

10. Lady Gaga has got herself some round, protruding leather boobies and bootay!

11. Lead singer of Mumford & Sons looks like a cross between Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and Mario Lopez.

12. They bring muppets in for the F - U song?!

13. Did anyone else catch Katy Perry on one of my favorite shows last week? She was on How I Met Your Mother!

14. Who wants to bet that John Mayer hit on Norah Jones after the awards show? (Norah's hair looks adorable btw)

15. I think Shy Ronnie should have joined Eminem and Rihanna on stage. (Cool dress for Love the Way You Lie, and it's a cool song.)

16. In Memoriam left out the Rev of platinum selling rock band, Avenged Sevenfold, last year and left out Slipnot bassist, Paul Gray, this year. Slipknot even won a Grammy in 2006 for "Before I Forget!" Ticks me off that they left them out and didn't honor them.

16. Tik Tok! This guy looks like Mick Jagger. Oh, it is!

17. Did the audience give a standing ovation for Barbra because they didn't have to pay the usual $1000 like the attendees at her regular concerts? I know, she's a music legend!

18. Did they not show all the awards? Did I miss Them Crooked Vultures win Best Rock Performance? Speaking of awards, is it just me, or was it twenty minutes between each award?!

Best Dressed

Ladies: Selena Gomez in a beautiful metallic dress and Margaret Cho had a simple, but beautiful gray gown.

Men: This guy looked cute, especially the metallic nails.

Best Tweet about the Grammy Awards by @Lord Voldemort7 (yes, I follow the Dark Lord. He's actually quite funny). I also follow Darth Vader. Srsly.

"#grammyforbieber is trending. I'm concerned. Is this about the music award or has his fan base moved from tweens to the elderly"

Anyone else watch?

And by the way, I heart you for stopping by my blog today! Happy Valentine's Day! I hope your day is filled with hugs and chocolate!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This and That Thursday

On chapter two of the new mg and writing some fun pbs for the Picture Book Marathon.

I finished Charlaine Harris's Dead as a Doornail (book five of the dark and humorous Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series) and started Head Games by Keri Mikulski. I saw her book at Borders, jumped up and down, and bought it! Her book is about a basketball player with a crush (like me in high school!!). Hurray for sporty girls and for books about sporty girls!


The McVeigh Agency discontinued its blog this month. I was happy to be one of the blog's first followers and met Mark after he generously offered Skype book chats to some of his new followers. Though I'll miss his blog posts, I understand the time constraints of keeping up a blog along with everything else. You can visit The McVeigh Agency website here.

Here are Mark's parting words on his last blog post:

Anyone who has tried to follow this blog has likely been disappointed with my lack of posts over the last few months. Looking at what I have posted, the only things I ever really got excited about were when something good happened to a client and when someone tried to ban a book.

Since Twitter is far more effective for spreading good news, of which there has been quite a lot lately, and writing only about things that make me angry seems self-indulgent at best, I'm going to shut this blog down in a few days. There's too much work to be done at the agency as it grows (and much is left undone for too long) to turn out an intelligent post even once a week. There are so many blogs that offer great information about publishing, writing, books of note, and the people who make them that adding my own perspective to the mix seems inevitably redundant and a poor waste of my time.

Besides that, it occurred to me that from the start I had overlooked one very fundamental fact about myself. While I don't lack for opinions, I've never really liked sharing them with many people. Silence is an under-rated virtue in this social media age. The most interesting people, to me, have always been those who were highly circumspect in their availability.

Consider this anecdote from the sole authorized biography of one of the most famous, and famously silent, people of the 20th century, a woman who worked as an editor for many years. As a young bride, her rich, handsome, doomed husband asked her teasingly--challenged her, really--at table: "A penny for your thoughts?"

Before all their guests, she replied, "If I told you, then they wouldn't be mine any more, would they?" I tend to agree. I'll keep mine to myself.

Of course, the point of the story shifts 180 degrees when you learn one final fact about the book from which it is taken.

The subject, editing her life before it was halfway done, didn't think much of the author's first draft. So she wrote the biography (and likely invented the story) herself, myth making. An unreliable narrator: my favorite kind. I empathize.

Thank you to all who read this blog, thanks to all who've been so supportive in so many ways, and here's to continued good things--publicly acknowledged or not--for all of us, friends, clients, readers, creators, and myth makers as we head into 2011.

Thanks for your mindful, sincere words, Mark! You can follow Mark and The McVeigh Agency on Twitter @mcveighagency .


Congrats to Hilary Wagner (author of Nightshade City) on her recent sale of City of Goblins to Holiday House through her agent, Marietta Zacker! City of Goblins is a middle grade adventure fantasy proposed to be released in the spring of 2012.

I found this fun post on the Verla Kay's blueboards. Ever secretly wonder about the Snooki book but didn't want to read it? Check out Lynne Kelly's hilarious wrap up here. Make sure you tell her that K-Woww sent ya.Photobucket
Read and reflect on such literary gems as "But now, like a chronic STD, Gia was back!"


Lola at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword is having a LOLApalooza! Win great prizes and do nice things for your fellow writers. Kindness is contagious!

Donna Earnhardt is having an awesome Picture Book contest! You can win Anastasia Suen's Picture Writing book and a critique! Contest ends tomorrow. Enter HERE!

Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


What's a Bieber?
What was your favorite commercial of the Super Bowl? I only watched a little bit of the Super Bowl, and my fave commercial was the Best Buy one with Justin Bieber and Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne. Our home was fortunate enough to be Bieber fever free for a long time (except for a short lapse due to Murphblog's Bieber's Hair Attacked Me story last April - my then 5 year old was seriously scared that JB's hair was going to attack him in the night), but Bieber fever has officially hit this rock 'n' roll household. Even my 11 year old rocker son bought the song "Baby" on Itunes last week. I have heard that song so much that I was forced to institute a One Bieber Song Per Hour law in my home. My former house of rock...
"Like baby, baby, baby, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Of course, my children were familiar with Ozzy Osbourne way before Bieber fever. C'mon, I am their mother. So naturally we all enjoyed this ad (and watched it 10+ times). Can you believe that is JB with the mustache and crazy hair at the end? I like how Ozzy and Justin can make fun of themselves in this.

Bieber also made a cameo on SNL this weekend that made me laugh. Click here if you want to see him with the Church Lady and in a hilarious parody of The Roommate!
So, please stop here often for all of your Bieber needs! Just kidding, this blog will revert back to its rock 'n' roll format after this paragraph.
Speaking of SNL, I also loved seeing Wayne's World after all of these years! Click here to see the newest Wayne and Garth skit. I love silly, juvenile humor. Party on!

For my tune for Tuesday, here's a classic video of Ozzy Osbourne singing my fave Ozzy song, "I Don't Know." Even though Ozzy gets a bit confused at times, he is seriously talented. He exhibits an amazing, distinctive singing voice and some huge rock hits that span decades.

Do you have a favorite Bieber or Ozzy song?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Way! It's This and That Thursday!


Like many of you, we got hit by a major blizzard this week. I have to say it was rather exciting! I videotaped it every few hours, and the next morning it was so fun watching the kids' reactions when they saw all the snow! We got maybe 18 inches or so. My husband was in Arizona for business and was so disappointed he missed all the snow! Seriously! The kids' school was closed yesterday and again today which they are quite happy about. My productivity went down, but my family fun meter went up!

I'm on to writing my next middle grade. Jon and I are collaborating on this one. I like how we set a weekly goal and then Skype about our progress and ideas. It forces me to produce, and it also makes our story stronger when we discuss a story we both have vested interest in.

I'm also in the Picture Book Marathon: 26 pb rough drafts in 28 days. I knew I wouldn't produce that many, but I thought signing up would force me to do more than I would have normally. My goal is to do four rough drafts. I know, far from 26, but I'm being realistic and it will be four more than I would have done this month without the marathon!
What are you working on this week?


Thank you to Kate Scott! I won Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer at her blog this week! I've wanted to try that series, so thank you, Kate!

Head on over to Roots In Myth blog, and enter the contest for a free query critique by PJ Hoover or Jessica Lee Anderson! They are such Texas Sweethearts!


Due to the blizzard, my Buckcherry concert was cancelled Tuesday night. It is supposed to be rescheduled, so I hope it is soon!!
Besides Buckcherry, I listen to my usual (yet, constantly changing) "Current Faves" mix when I exercise to my Sports Active Wii game. As of today, this consists of my 25 fave songs of the moment which today includes Avenged Sevenfold, MCR, 30STM, Papa Roach and more. My newest fave on this mix is "Bodies" by Drowning Pool seen below. It gets my body moving!

Keep your body warm this week! It's so freaking cold today!