Friday, December 5, 2014

Poetry Friday

I haven't participated in Poetry Friday in a while, which is a shame, because I LOVE poetry! I've been busy teaching preschool this year, so my mind is on the very younger set while writing poetry.
Here's a number poem about a kid favorite - the puzzle!


One piece, two piece

Three piece, four

All together

On the floor.

Five piece, six piece

Seven piece, Eight

It’s almost done.

I can’t wait!

Nine piece, ten piece

They all fit.

I’m finished now.

What is it?

- by Kelly Polark, all rights reserved

*Adorable illustration by Kelli Ann Little from picture book, ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION
(turned into a puzzle by me)

Thanks so much for stopping by! Go find other poems to read HERE at today's poetry roundup at Anastasia's Booktalking blog!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Memoir, A Mutant, and a Manuscript Maven!

My friend and fellow blogger, Samantha Verant had an amazing October. Her debut memoir, SEVEN LETTERS FROM PARIS, was released as well as her debut middle grade novel, KING OF THE MUTANTS. (Yes, that is a photo of us taken six years ago in Chicago!)

Let me tell you about the two books!

1. Sam is one witty author.
2. The story made me laugh, sigh, and even tear up.
3. So yes, there is heartbreak, but there is much laughter and love, too.
4. Amazing story about second chances.
5. It embraces the lost art of letter writing.
6. There's a place in France where Sam likes to dance. (Maybe or maybe not)
7. I'm mentioned in the acknowledgements!

I haven't read all of Sam's King of the Mutants yet (I've read the first few chapters long ago!), but I will because my son is getting it for Christmas! Here's the scoop:
Maverick Mercury is the sideshow attraction known as “Gator Boy” at Grumbling’s Traveling Circus and Sideshow. Despite being routinely kicked around by the other performers, Maverick has always been comfortable in his skin. That is, until he overhears Burt Grumbling talking about him behind his reptilian-like back. It seems Maverick’s freakish mutations are the result of some billionaire geneticist’s experiments gone awry. Apparently, this guy kidnaps kids, turns them into supermutants, and sells their powers to the highest bidder. Now, Maverick is on a mission to find the mad scientist who may have created him. All he has to do is steal some wheels from Burt, escape the clutches of one-eyed Yorgi and his gang of killer clowns, and make his way from some Podunk town in Florida to the Big Apple.

So happy for Sam on her double book whammy in October!


I have big news about my blogger friend, Sharon!
Sharon Johnson Mayhew
The wonderful Sharon Mayhew has started an editing business called THE MANUSCRIPT MAVEN! Don't you love the name?! She has critiqued many of my manuscripts, and I highly recommend her. Check out her new website HERE!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy birthday, Lenny!

A very cool and special blogger turns fifteen today!

Happy birthday, Lenny!
Lenny, I hope you get fifteen hugs, fifteen bites of cake, fifteen minutes playing video games (okay, more), fifteen smiles, fifteen songs, fifteen fist bumps, fifteen happy emails, fifteen texts that make you laugh, and fifteen (and more) bloggers celebrating you today!
(And here's a virtual  hug, smile, and fist bump from me to start!)
Visit Sharon Mayhew's blog to see more bloggers who are celebrating Mr. Lee today!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


To celebrate the release of Jessica Bell’s latest novel, WHITE LADY, she is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

One of Jessica Bell’s many nicknames in her early twenties was ...

a. Jezebel

b. Bessie

c. Jessica Rabbit

 What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only from the time of posting.

If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.


*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.

​Sonia yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she’s rehabilitating herself as a “normal” mother and mathematics teacher, it’s time to stop dreaming about slicing people’s throats.

While being the wife of Melbourne’s leading drug lord and simultaneously dating his best mate is not ideal, she’s determined to make it work.
It does work. Until Mia, her lover’s daughter, starts exchanging saliva with her son, Mick. They plan to commit a crime behind Sonia’s back. It isn’t long before she finds out and gets involved to protect them.
But is protecting the kids really Sonia’s motive?
Click HERE to view the book trailer.
Click HERE for purchase links.
Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.
Connect with Jessica online:
Congrats, Jessica!!!!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

May the Fun Be With You

This past weekend we celebrated my youngest son's birthday with his friends. All three of my children have their birthdays within a month so this is the last one for about a year. Back to school time and three birthdays make this the craziest time of the year for me!

Here are some fun photos from the Star Wars Extravaganza! (The majority of ideas executed here are of course from Pinterest!) 14 boys total made for a raucous house and a sweaty, stinky basement! Did I mention it was a sleepover, too?!

Warrooooum. (Light saber sound effect.)
 May the snacks be with you.
 Cue Imperial March.
There was Jedi Training.

And now I must nap.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Goodbye, summer! Hello, sale!

How can it be September already?

Gear up for the new school year with  new books! I'm ready for a new year in my preschool classroom, and I've already picked so many great books to share with my class!

My newest picture book, WORDS ON BIRDS,  is a great gift for teachers! You can purchase it HERE or enter to win a copy at Goodreads HERE!

Also, for your preteen girls, the ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK middle grade ebook is on sale for 99 cents HERE for just a few more weeks! Great Back to School sale!

Read Shelley Sly's great review of it HERE!

Also, thank you to the wonderful peeps at WRITE ON CON! Loved getting great suggestions on my newest picture book manuscript. Check out the website here!

Goodbye, summer! Hello, new school year. I went to see One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer with my daughter and mother-in-law this past weekend (certainly not my usual rock concert, but fun!) and also to a joyful family wedding.  Pinterest has been my friend for sure the last few weeks between planning for my kids' birthday parties and the new school year.
Yup. Here's Liam, Harry, and Niall singing to us!

How are you getting ready for the new school year? What did you do on Labor Day weekend?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour

I have been tagged by Sherrie Petersen, author of middle grade novel, WISH YOU WEREN'T, to participate in the MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR! Read her post HERE!
Let me introduce you to Stef, the main character of my middle grade novel, ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK (you can purchase here!)
1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
The main character in ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK is 12 year old Stefani Lucas. She was named after the fabulous Gwen Stefani.  I thought I was so clever in naming her this (I started writing this 6+ years ago) until I watched the DVD BABY MAMA starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. At the end, Amy's character names a baby Stefani (pronounced like Gwen's last name). I may or may have not said an expletive when I saw that! But I still kept my main character's name. Which is pronounced Stephanie though, and she is usually called Stef.
2) When and where is the story set?
The story is a contemporary novel so set in current times and also set somewhere in the Midwest!
3) What should we know about him/her?
Stef is a huge music lover, loves to read, and plays piano. She loves to wear the color black because it is cool and because it's easy. Her best friend is Gabi Rivera, and they have a strong friendship.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Stefani Lucas is a rockin’ sixth grader who loves music and dresses like a mini hipster in all black, but there's one thing cramping her style - her lame baby brother who manages to hog all the attention from her parents. When classmates tease her about her clothes and even double dare her to (gasp!) wear another color, Stef decides a minor makeover may be in order. Can Stef change for others and still stay true to herself? Will she continue feeling left out at home?
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Stef just wants to have a conflict-free life at school and more attention from her parents. Typical junior high angst.

Thank you, Sherrie, for tagging me! You can purchase ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK at amazon, barnesandnoble, kobo, and select bookstores!
*SALE* The ebook will go on sale for 99 cents starting this Wednesday for a week!
If you would like to hop on this tour, post one week from now and tag Sherrie and me in it! I'd love to get to know your characters, too! This tour highlights a main character from one of your WIP/recently published or soon to be published work. The person who invites you will have a set day to post. You will post ONE WEEK after that. The authors you tag will post one week after you, and so on.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kickin' It Like the Girl That I Am

I'm joining in on the Kicks Like A Girl blog tour. Thank you Suzanne Casemento for inviting me!Check out KICKS LIKE A GIRL by Melissa Westemeyer here, and check out Suzanne's post here!

Now for this blog tour I tell you a little about myself.

First thing ever published in a magazine was this in Us Weekly back in 2000! :) (Yes, McConaughey is one of my all time faves). Okay, technically not a paid piece. My first paid piece was rhyming bird riddles in Nature Friend magazine!

My first picture book was published in 2012 by Meegenius. I wrote this story for an assignment for an online writing course. Several years and revisions later, it became BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER.

I'm also the author of Meegenius book, HOLD THE MUSTARD. My other picture books include ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION and  the most recent, WORDS ON BIRDS. My debut middle grade novel, ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK, was published in March. (See cutie patootie Francesca Capaldi from Disney Channel below holding it!)

Lastly, after spending time with my family, my favorite thing is going to rock concerts. See below a depiction of all the bands I've seen and how many times! (This is actually from 2013. Since then, I've seen Buckcherry one more time plus Alter Bridge and The Toadies for the first time!)

Thanks for stopping by! If you want to hop on this blog tour, let me know and I'll link to your next Monday's post!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Birds, Books, and a Bog

Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon at a beautiful state natural area near our home called Volo Bog. My dad and I signed books for visitors that came for International Bog Day! (Yes, there is such a thing!) A blues band played, refreshments were enjoyed, crafts were made, and we met many lovely people who also love nature. Kids made a cute robin craft that I found on Pinterest (see below), and we were signing right by the buttons where you can hear various bird calls.

Special day with my dad and family!

You can purchase our picture book WORDS ON BIRDS online at amazon, BarnesandNoble, and select bookstores.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Double Negative

Do you know C. Lee McKenzie? If the answer is yes or no, I have some Double Positive news for you. She is one warm, friendly and talented author, and she has a new book!
Lee takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short story, Premeditated Cat, appears in the anthology, The First Time, and her Into the Sea of Dew is part of a collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. In 2012, her first middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead, came out.
Lee's newest Young Adult novel, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, is available TODAY!
Hutchison Mc Queen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. He’s a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.
You can purchase DOUBLE NEGATIVE HERE!
Stop by and say hi to C. Lee McKenzie at her website, blog, and Facebook.
Congrats, LEE!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand?

I recently discovered What’s on Your Nightstand? at the  5 Minutes for Books fabulous website.

On the fourth Tuesday of each month you share what you are reading!

Here's what my July looks like.

This month I read WATERCOLOR by Leigh Talbert Moore on my Kindle (Check out the awesome Dragonfly series here!). Then I read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. (Yes, I cried.) After my 9 year old son purchased the Gennifer Choldenko books at Alcatraz last month, he read them quickly and raved about them. He told me I had to read them. So on Saturday I read AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS. I am almost done reading AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES. Such great historical fiction and so amazing that they are set where we just visited last month! What is cooler than a book set on Alcatraz!?

Also on my nightstand is Maggie Steifvater's THE DREAM THIEVES from the library. And after that, I plan to read WISHING FOR WASHINGTON by Shelley Sly on my Kindle. I also just bought SAVE THE CAT to read and learn from at some point.

You might also see Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly on the nightstand, too. I do enjoy pop culture. And I also see my new nonfiction picture book WORDS ON BIRDS peeking out! Yes, I did turn the books so you could read the titles, but I hate to say that my nightstand usually is as cluttered as this!

So, tell me. What's on your nightstand this week? Check out a list of blogs featuring nightstand reads here!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Bird Day to Me!

Tweet! Tweet!

Guess what? My children's nonfiction book about birds is now available online!

WORDS ON BIRDS is a collaboration between my dad and me that we had been talking about for years. It is finally here! My dad is an award-winning nature photographer whose work has been in many magazines and catalogs.

Interesting facts about common American birds are set to rhyme for easy reading and enjoyment in this picture book. Young readers will be introduced to fourteen backyard birds in an entertaining manner. The beautiful, bright photographs will further entice them in wanting to search their own backyard for these lovely creatures.

The book is now available in paperback and will be available in hardcover in a week or two!

Perfect book for the summer! Read then spot and identify these birds in the backyard! Also, super primary teacher gift, too!

You can purchase it here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Writing Process

Hello, writer friends! I hope you are having an amazing summer. Recently I was tagged by fellow SCBWI-IL writer, Beverly Patt, to write about my writing process. Beverly is the author of BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK and HAVEN. Check out her post about the writing process HERE!
If you would like to write about your writing process, too, let me know in the comments and I will add your link at the end of my post!
This is how I roll, dawg. This is how I do!

1. What are you currently working on?

I currently have three projects going on. I’m preparing for my next picture book release next week (WORDS ON BIRDS). I recently revisited a middle grade novel that I started co-writing with someone and we got busy and dropped it for a few years. Having fun getting back to that -over halfway done!  And I am also revising a picture book I wrote in the spring.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

My last couple of published projects (ROCKABET picture book and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK mg) differ as their themes are rock ‘n’ roll which is a different little niche in kids lit.

3. Why do you want to write?

Writing is a creative outlet for me. I have SO many ideas that I want to put out there. I feel so accomplished when I finish a chapter, my goal for the day, or when I see a book of mine on a bookshelf! Also, being a mom and educator, I want to promote literacy any way I can, and let people know that READING ROCKS!

4. How does your individual writing process work?

I actually do not have any regular writing process. I’m more of a pantser than a planner, but my next project I am going to try to plan more. J For picture books and poetry, I generally write in a notebook and erase, scratch out and revise as I write. Also, I enjoy being outside and it’s easier to write in a notebook instead of the laptop there! But in general, I write, revise, revise, revise, revise, and then revise like most writers!

And that is how I roll.
Don't forget to let me know if you want to join in on the fun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Hope all of you are enjoying summer between thunderstorms!

Last night I toyed with iMovie and created this trailer for my middle grade novel,

Edited: For some reason, Blogger is only showing 3/4 of the screen so if you want to see the full screen trailer click here!

Let me know what you think!

The ebook is now on sale at $2.99! You can purchase the ebook or paperback online at  amazon, barnesandnoble and kobo!

You rock!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Marketing and Writing Go Together with S.R. Johannes

Today I have YA author, S.R. Johannes, to help us with marketing! Read on for some amazing tips to get your book seen! You can buy Shelli's third installment in the Nature of Grace series, UNSTOPPABLE, on Visit Shelli at her website, her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!

Thanks for the great info, Shelli!

How marketing and writing go together.

Every writer loves to write. But not every writer loves the business side of publishing.

These days it's important to know all aspects of the business (marketing, sales, taxes etc) - especially if you decide to indie publish at any point.
First, it's important to understand the basics of marketing. You need a web site, you need some form of social media, and you will want to start an email list. But this is all online marketing.

You need more than that and this is where it can get overwhelming.

But if you think of "marketing" in a different way, maybe it can be fun. Think of marketing as networking with your target audience - AKA our readers.

Basically, marketing your book is about finding your audiences and just letting them know about your book, about the themes in your book. Marketing is about connecting to your readers. And that's why we write! You first need to understand your writing, the genre, and all the secondary topics your book addresses - directly and indirectly.

All YA have similar audiences at a high level - teachers, librarians, teens, parents, and bookstore owners. But you can't stop there. If you want your writing to touch people, you have to focus on the next level of readers. For example - My Nature of Grace series is for young adults and it is a thriller. But it also touches on animal conservation, nature, going green, survival, outdoors, and the region surrounding the Smoky Mountains. These are all possible targets for me to consider. Here's what you need to do to break it down into smaller chunks.

Once you have targeted the audiences listed above, then do this:
• List out the topics/themes your book covers.
• Pick the most dominant theme
• List out what 3-5 audiences would want to read it.
• Find out where they hang out most (forums, ezines, festivals etc)
• Document who to contact
• Then figure out how to contact them

Hope this helps you realize that marketing can be fun especially if you break it down into smaller chunks. It's about connecting to your readers on a more personal level.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Wish, A Gator Boy, and a Princess

Well, hello, peoples!

Do you love middle grade novels as much as me? Yeah?
I've got two new fun middle grade novels to share with you.

Have you ever wished upon a star? When you were little, have you ever wished that your brother or sister was never born? Check out this clever story by Sherrie Petersen about just that!

It's WISH YOU WEREN'T! You can purchase it here and click here to have a chance to win an ebook! 

Also, another pal, Samantha Verant just shared her cover of her upcoming middle grade novel, KING OF THE MUTANTS. Looks crazy cool, right? You can win an ebook and gift card here!

And speaking of middle grades, you can have a chance to win a copy of ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK on Goodreads! If you want to read it, you can click that, too!

The first chapter of RNRPWB is now on here on Wattpad. If you are curious about it, give it a quick read!

And not only do I love middle grade novels, but of course Young Adult books are on my Kindle and nightstand as well.

Here are some cool new YA releases!

If you loved Suzanne Casamento's FINGERPRINTS, the companion novel was just released!!

Also, just in time for prom season, check out Laura Pauling's PROM IMPOSSIBLE!

Happy reading, and thanks again for all of your wonderful support! YOU ROCK!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Last Leg of the Rock 'n' Roll Princess Tour

Happy Monday, people!

Thank you to Blog Tours by Elana, we have the last stops of my ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK blog tour! RNRPWB is now available in paperback! Woot!

Please stop by these wonderful ladies' blogs this week!

Guess which bands I got to hang with plus win an ITunes gift card!

Sherrie just released her debut middle grade novel, WISH YOU WEREN'T. You can purchase it here!

ELANA JOHNSON - Last stop is Elana's tomorrow! Check out what she has to say about ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK!

Elana's novel in verse, ELEVATED, has been getting rave reviews! It's only 99 cents for a few more days! Buy it here!

Both of these books are on my Kindle, and I can't wait to read them!

Have an amazing week, everyone! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments and support for my new middle grade novel! YOU ROCK!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World Book Night and More Rock Princess Tour!

Today is World Book Night. I applied to be a book giver again, and I was thrilled to be accepted! Today I get to hand out 20 copies of HOOT to reluctant readers. Yep, just give them away. What an amazing way to promote literacy! This is the box of awesome that I picked up at Johnsburg Public Library last week. So I will be handing these babies out at different places after school.
Check out these tour stops this week!
Tuesday: Check out the Rock Princess playlist at I Am A Reader
Wednesday: A rockin' review at Domestic Chanteuse
Friday: Another review at Cover2Cover Blog
ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES  is now available in paperback! You can purchase it here!
Thanks so much for your support, guys! You rock!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Princesses On Tour

Thanks to Blog Tours by Elana, I have an awesome line up for you the next few weeks!

Here is this week's rockin' tour dates.

On April 16, stop by the Observation Desk with Katie and play GUESS THE BAND!

Come visit the Bookworm For Kids blog and read their review!

Thank you to everyone for your support! Paperback will be out at the end of this week! :)


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rock 'n' Roll Princesses Wear Black Ebook is Here!

Happy book birthday to me!


My debut middle grade novel releases today!


Music class and recess totally rock, but being teased in school and ignored at home totally stinks. Stefani Lucas is a rockin’ sixth grader who loves music and dresses like a mini hipster in all black, but there's one thing cramping her style - her lame baby brother who manages to hog all the attention from her parents.

When classmates tease her about her clothes and even double dare her to (gasp!) wear another color, Stef decides a minor makeover may be in order.  Can Stef change for others and still stay true to herself?
You can buy the ebook on Amazon and Kobo right now.
Paperback will be available mid-April!
Thank you all for your wonderful support! I love this writing community so much! I sincerely could not have done this without your sharing great information, critiques, your comments, tweets, posts.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Random Thoughts About the Oscars

Looky! It's me and an Oscar winner!!!!!
Yes, I stayed up to watch the entire Oscars last night. I have to say it was more entertaining than other years. Here are my Oscars Musings...not in order this year of watching it. These are afterthoughts!

1. I heart Ellen. LOVE her. She cracks me up and everyone else, too. I hope she hosts next year. She had me literally laughing out loud throughout the night.

2. Here's the super selfie that broke Twitter!

3. Lupita Nyong'o looked classy and lovely as usual. Her vibrant, beautiful dresses have been the highlight of every award show this season. Her speech was amazing, too.

4. Performances by P!NK and U2? Love it!

5. PIZZA!!!!! And of course Jennifer Lawrence is chowing down! Glad to see a Hollywood actress not take herself too seriously.

6. Um. Was John Travolta's wig on too tight? Wouldn't you make sure that you knew how to pronounce someone's name before introducing her??? By the way, @ has about 5k followers on Twitter! Ha!

7. Stunning dresses this year. My favorites were Lupita's flowing light blue dress, and I thought Jennifer Garner's silver flapper dress was really fun and cute! Charlize Theron looked gorgeous as usual, too.

6. Jared. Jared. Jared. Yes, he should cut those long, luscious locks. But so happy he won. I adored how he thanked his mom so eloquently and also thought of others less fortunate in his speech. Handsome and multi-talented (you all know he's lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, don't you?? My photo above was taken before a concert). If you haven't seen him in Requiem For a Dream, another great performance in that movie.

6. Alright. Alright. Alright. Absolutely thrilled for Matthew McConaughey. He has been my fave since he was Jake Brigance in A Time to Kill in the 90's. He is amazing on True Detective on HBO - only one more episode! His speech was thoughtful and so very quirky like Matthew. Sooooo incredibly handsome, that man. But one thing is for sure. McConaughey's gonna get older, and that Oscar is gonna stay the saaaame age.

Here's me and Matty. (okay, okay, okay. This one may or may not have been photoshopped...)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

ROCKABET on the WGN News!

So, I'm pretty darn excited, because my ABC picture book, ROCKABET, and my celebrity book recommendation site, BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS, were both featured in a cute little segment on WGN Morning News yesterday! (My mother in law messaged me the photo above.)

If you don't watch Chicago's WGN Morning News  (you can watch a live stream here), you need to. The news team is so funny! I start every weekday morning with it on. They seriously crack me up.

You can view the news clip here:

Thank you, WGN.  ROCKABET can be purchased here!

Check out BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS here. This week I have an actress from Once Upon A Time.

Also, thank you to all the fabulous people that have shared their expertise at IndieReCon this week. What a wonderful resource for writers.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend.  READING ROCKS!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

ROCKABET Book Trailer

I played around with iMovie yesterday and made this!

You can purchase a paperback or hardcover ROCKABET book here! :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CONTROL Yourself!

This past Friday I visited one of my favorite bookstores, Anderson's Bookshop, to see our fabulous blogger friend, Lydia Kang!  She was there for her booksigning with Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampire series. Before the signing, the ladies spoke of their writing journey and fun anecdotes about the life of an author. I was so excited to not only meet Lydia in person, but get her debut YA  novel, CONTROL (signed, of course)! Lydia was as lovely and amazing in person as she is online. If you haven't visited her informative and entertaining blog, check it out here. You can buy CONTROL here.

If by chance you have been hibernating, here's the Amazon blurb of CONTROL:
Set in 2150 -- in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms -- this is about the human genetic "mistakes" that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

When their overprotective father is killed in a terrible accident, Zel and her younger sister, Dylia, are lost in grief. But it's not until strangers appear, using bizarre sensory weapons, that the life they had is truly eviscerated. Zel ends up in a safe house for teens that aren't like any she's ever seen -- teens who, by law, shouldn't even exist. One of them -- an angry tattooed boy haunted by tragedy -- can help Zel reunite with her sister.
But only if she is willing to lose him.

Have a great week, all!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Very Tricky Spider

Have you heard of Anansi the spider? I hadn't until I bought ANANSI AND COMPANY by  my blogger buddy, Bish Denham. Anansi is a tricky little guy. He can be bold, he can be clever, he can even trick a tiger!
ANANSI AND COMPANY is a fun collection of retold Jamaican tales with Anansi as the star. I'm so glad that I met Anansi and read about his clever adventures. Not only is this collection an entertaining read at home, but I can also see this collection being used in classrooms while studying fables or folklore from various countries.

I give ANANSI AND COMPANY 8 out of 8 spider legs! :)
Congratulations to Bish on her fabulous collection! Cute illustrations, too!

About Anansi and Company

How do you escape a hungry tiger? Why do ram-goats smell? What happens if you get too greedy? In this collection of ten retold Jamaican stories, Anansi the spider tricks, sings, and dances his way into and out of trouble. But who is Anansi? It was the Ashanti of West Africa who brought the spider into the Caribbean. He clung tight to the web he wove in the minds of those who had been captured, surviving not only the harrowing passage across the Atlantic Ocean, but hundreds of years of slavery. As a trickster, Anansi has both good and bad traits, which makes him very human. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. When he wins he dances and sings for joy. When he loses, he shakes it off and keeps on living, a lesson for us all.

About the Author
Bish Denham, whose mother's side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there and visits them regularly. She says, "Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named them, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. Pirates plied the waters and hundred of years of slavery left its indelible mark. It was within this atmosphere of magic and wonder that I grew up. My hope is pass some of that magic and wonder on to my readers."

You can learn more about Bish by visiting her blog:
Random Thoughts:
She can also be found on Facebook:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Random Thoughts While Watching the Golden Globes

Yes, it's that time again. Time for actors and actresses to get gussied up, down a few cocktails, and pat each other on the back with a faketastic smile. The amazing Amy Poehler and Tina Fey served as the beautiful and funny hosts of the glamorous evening, and that is always a plus. Though they should have  been featured more on the show.

For a complete list of last night's winners, check here (who do I look like, Billy Bush?).

And my usual
1. Amy and Tina look amazing! Fave zinger in opening act: "Gravity- It's the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age."
2. Of course. JLaw wins! She's soooo breathless! And so darn cute.
3. Is Jacqueline Bisset really so shocked or on something???
4. Paula Patton is gorgeous, but what the H is draped over her shoulder?!
5. U2 wins for "Ordinary Love" from the Mandela film. Music icons for sure. U is for U2 in that cool picture book, ROCKABET, too!
6. Olivia Wilde has the cutest baby bump ever.
7. Not just a pretty face or amazing rock frontman - Jared Leto wins!
8. Ha ha! Amy plants a big one on Bono! And wins!
9. Uma Thurman just may get my pick as Best Look of the Night. Uma or Tina Fey.
10. Does Leo DiCaprio have a dip in his lower lip??? (as in tobacco????)
11. Alright, alright, alright! Matthew McConaughey wins! I've adored him since A Time to Kill. What a handsome, laid back, quirky son of a gun. Just keep livin', man.
Did you watch the Golden Globes? What did you think?

Thursday, January 2, 2014


is so last year.
But a good one! I started working full days in Early Childhood this year. First time working a full school day since I had kids. It's so wonderful to see a child grow and learn so much in one year. Two picture books were released (ROCKABET and HOLD THE MUSTARD!). Thank you so much for your support! We took fun family vacations to Wisconsin, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Utah and Arizona. And three of my three children are currently playing on basketball teams (my favorite sport to watch!). So it was a busy year!

So busy I only read 14 books (but enjoyed them!).

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Make It Morning by Jody Bainter
Tenth of December by George Saunders
The Truth About Letting Go by LTM
Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie
Life of Pi
Safe Haven
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Dragonfly by Leigh T. Moore
Fingerprints by Suzanne Casamento
All of You Christina Lee
Indiestructable Edited by Jessica Bell
Undertow by Leigh T. Moore

I watched these movies (as you can tell, comedies are my favorite).

Escape from Planet Earth
Life of Pi
The Hobbit
Monsters University
Man of Steel
One Direction: This Is Us (twice!)
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Dumb and Dumber
This Is The End
GrownUps 2
Catching Fire

And went to these concerts (as you can tell, Papa Roach is my favorite).

Papa Roach/Stone Sour/Otherwise
Maroon 5/Neon Trees/Owl City
30 Seconds to Mars
Papa Roach/Otherwise
Daughtry/Three Doors Down
Lita Ford/Dokken/Winger/Sebastian Bach/Ratt (see Kip Winger below!)
Papa Roach/Shinedown
P!NK/New Politics
Bought these new albums (all awesome but 2 faves are Buckcherry & Mike Sanchez).
Love Lust Faith + Dreams by 30 Seconds to Mars
Stars and Hotel Bars by Mike Sanchez
Confessions by Buckcherry
Hail to the King by Avenged Sevenfold
Baptized by Daughtry

What were your favorite books, movies and music in 2013?