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.