Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seven Book Babes Vlog- Rambling about Bloggers Edition!

This is the video in which I feel like I'm talking very similar to the way Sarah Palin did in her Katie Couric interview, specifically with the bailout question (parody on SNL found here with basically the exact same dialogue), i.e. being nonsensical and not having any sort of point. It's a rambling mess, so take from it what you will. And you may want to use headphones for this. I wasn't talking as loudly as you usually am, for some odd reason. It gets better as the vlog goes on as I probably realize that I'm not talking loudly enough.

So there you go. My stream-of-consciousness ramblings on blogging. Isn't it fantastic? This is why I need to practice more and like make an outline on what I want to say, lol.

Coming up next week is another Fresh New Voice of YA week featuring Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph and Willow by Julia Hoban, so keep an eye out for all the blog entries that will be posted!

And I may start posting some reviews here this month since I'll be doing a GLBT month on the myspace blog and that will take up pretty much all my blogging days for the rest of May. So I may post non-GLBT themed reviews here during that time so those authors don't feel slighted.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Katie Alender Guest Blog

1) I sincerely apologize for the lateness in this post and my reviews. These past two days have been much busier than I thought they would be. The reviews will be up on the myspace blog tonight.

2) Since I'm going to be really busy the rest of today (driving back home, preparing myself for my first day of work tomorrow, writing the reviews, getting to bed early), I can't do my In My Mailbox vlog today. I will try and do it on Tuesday and post it then too.

Guest Blog
There are days when I tell my husband, “You go hang out with your friends… I have SO much to do today!” And he obediently packs up and goes, and then suddenly I blink and he’s home and asking, “So did you get a lot done?”

And I’m like, “Uh.”

The real answer is, YES, I did get a lot done. I probably did several loads of laundry and tidied up the house and maybe even made the bed. I might have gone to the store and dropped off the dry-cleaning and returned some overdue emails and gone through the junk mail. Chances are good I didn’t even get a chance to sit down ALL DAY. (Except maybe my “America’s Next Top Model”-slash-lunch break.)

But the REAL real answer is, NO. Because in spite of all the stuff I did, did I actually manage to accomplish the “so much” I was referring to when I sent him off? No. What I meant was that I have so much writing to do. And did I do it? Probably not.

I am the queen of procrastinators. I will scrub my whole house top to bottom before sitting down to write 200 words, if I’m not feeling completely confident about those words. But here’s the great thing… I’m not alone! There are tons and tons of writers out there who totally seem all buttoned up, but then when you actually ask them what they did that day, they’re like, “Oh, I repotted the violets and I finally changed the sheets in the guest room so Aunt Maude has fresh ones when she comes… whenever that will be… and I bought a book on home canning and I browsed Halloween costumes online, because you know how that holiday sneaks up on you!”

The thing is, a typical YA book is about 60,000 words. (Mine are much longer because I can’t stop once I get started.) If an author wrote 2,000 words a day, that would be 30 days to a complete novel. Instead, when you ask people how long it took to write their book, the answers are usually like, “Three months…” or “Six months…” or “A year.”

And the thing is, I think that’s okay. Because even though writing is a creative activity, once you start feeling like it’s a job, it gets that much harder. And for most writers, writing is something they use to unwind and chill out… that is, until there’s a deadline and pressure and all of that stuff.

So all of my wanderings and cleanings and miscellaneous runs to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (because I NEED pants hangers!)… I like to think of those as part of the creative process. Like writing is the clothes, but all of that other stuff is the detergent, and the machine, and the ironing board…

…Which totally reminds me, I have tons of laundry to do! Guess I’ll have to put off those revisions for one more day. ;-)

Thanks, BC, for welcoming me as your guest this week!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Interview with Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Go check out Cheryl's guest blog over on the Book Chic myspace here!

1) How did you get the idea for Breathing?

The initial idea for this book came to me at a writing group. We were doing this exercise where you have to write down a sound (the ocean), two numbers (15 and 36), a color (yellow), and a secret (can’t say this one). Then we wrote a piece that incorporated all those elements. On that night, a woman with a very strong Carolinian accent came to the group for the first time. Something about hearing her voice and those particular details set the story in motion. Savannah was born, and once that happened, she pretty much took over. Having said that, I’m sure that my own long-distance relationship with an older boy as a teen affected my telling of the story.

2) Are you like your character Savannah at all? Or are you more like another character in the novel? How much of yourself do you put into your characters?

I am like Savannah in that I’ve always been a dreamer and a romantic. I have to admit I also kind of felt like no one understood how hard it was to have a long-distance relationship as a teen. Like her, I did well in school also. I think my characters are affected by me on a subconscious level. I don’t necessarily intend to put myself into them. It just sort of happens.

3) What book(s) are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m working on a novel that takes places at summer camp. It’s about the power of friendship, self-discovery, and of course, romance!

4) What sorts of writing rituals do you have, if any? What's your writing process like?

I write while my kids are at school. I sit on my bed, usually wrapped up in a blanket, ‘cause I’m always cold. I light candles and incense to set the mood and make the atmosphere feel different. Then I sit with my laptop or pen and paper and try to just listen to what wants to be written.

5) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor?

Hot cinnamon!

6) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?

I’m reading Susane Colasanti’s Waiting for You.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The standard advice is write a lot and read a lot. But beyond that, write what moves you. And if you hope to get published, when that time comes, take classes or go to conferences that teach you about the business end of publication. There’s a lot to learn. And sadly, having a good story isn’t enough by itself. And finally, believe in your dreams and never give up!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Seven Book Babes Post featuring JOB NEWS!

So here's some exciting job news in this vlog!:

Yay, isn't that awesome!?!? I'm so excited. It means that I'll start getting money and can go places (like book signings- already planning on one for Cheryl Renee Herbsman in NC and one for Melissa Marr in MD/VA!) and can send out packages of books for fellow bloggers to borrow and YAY!!! :)

Also, I apologize for not really keeping up with posting my BEDA blogs here. I suck at cross-posting. Would links help? If so, here's a few:

1) My Stances on Issues of Importance
2) In the Nick of Time
3) My Friday Five post that was nonexistent due to problems with LJ!
4) My quick Saturday post from my roomie's bf's computer while I was in Richmond (more on that day to come in a blog post soon!)
5) My Friday Five typed up again and posted on Monday!

By clicking on the links, it'll take you straight to the entry itself so hopefully that will be ok with people for now. Feel free to comment too, either here or there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- Excerpt Vlogs!

Here are the excerpt vlogs for this month's Fresh New Voice of YA! First up is Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman, in which I attempt a Southern accent! The second video is of me reading from Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender.


And be sure to check out Katie Alender's interview over on my myspace blog here!

Also, Bad Girls Don't Die is out in bookstores today! And Breathing came out last week, so be sure to go get your copies of these great books!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of April 13

Here's my vlog for this past week. Will add links and such later to the books I mention. But right now, been up since 7:!5am Saturday morning and it's almost 4am now on Sunday. Must go to bed.

Night all- see you in the afternoon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Calling All Authors + Where are all the reviews? Also, funny tidbits!

First off, just a quick proposition to authors. If you have any sort of swag like bookmarks, postcards, magnets, etc. and you want to get them out there in the world, feel free to send them my way. In my opinion, a prize package is never complete until I put in some swag! I make it a point to do it every time I send a prize out and I feel bad if I'm not able to. So help me have a full stock of swag to give out to people! Email me at bookchicclub-at-gmail-dot-com for my address.

Secondly, on Lenore's blog, she did a fabulous post about authors contacting reviewers (btw, would love to see an author's take on the reversal- reviewers contacting authors!) and since I love reading discussions, I made it so that I could recieve in my inbox all followup comments after I'd posted my own comment. Well, one of the comments involved this little sentence from an anonymous author: "There is one blogger who gleefully lists all the book they get in the mail in a weekly video blog post, but never reviews ANYTHING." Now, I may be narcissistic and paranoid, but I feel like this author is talking about me. In the comments, I gave a rebuttal to that (and so did Lenore- thanks again for that, btw!).

I do review books and interview authors and feature them on my blog. Just not THIS one. I created this blog back in December or so to do bookish things, like In My Mailbox, Waiting on Wednesday, etc.- stuff that just wouldn't fit in with all the stuff I do on my myspace review blog. Plus, Blogger is better about posting pictures and such. My review blog can be found here on myspace- feel free to friend me! :)

So just to clarify, this is not my review blog!! It's just a side blog for bookish-related things and to talk a bit about my personal life. I am planning on including my review blog link on my profile page here and in other places. I foolishly thought that the Introduction post to the blog found here would be enough. Apparently not.

Now the funny tidbits! I was driving back to my apartment from my parent's place since I visited them for Easter and two funny things happened on the way back:

1) I passed by a road that was called "Pinch Em Slyly Place". Yes, that was the actual name! Wouldn't that be an awesome street to live on?!

2) I saw a restaurant (two different places though- it must be a local chain or something) that was called Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Cafe. The sign was a mixture of Spanish and Irish themes and it made me giggle.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of April 5

Hey everyone! Here's my post for In My Mailbox this week!

Hope you like it! And also be sure to check out my previous two posts that have updates from my participation in BEDA!

Here's my BEDA post from Saturday:

So I have to get up way early tomorrow (6:40am) to go to Easter mass with my mom. But at least she's making waffles for breakfast afterward, so that's a plus.

Anyway, I'm just gonna do a quick post. I was listening to the audio book of 3 Willows by Ann Brashares on my way back home today (it's a 4 hour drive, made an hour longer due to traffic on 95N) and, while I haven't finished it (I'm not even close- I ended up putting some music on midway through the second disc), I have some thoughts on the story so far.

It's a good book. I love Ann's writing because it flows so well and it's so calm and everything. BUT what's bugging me is the constant references back to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Now, I like it when authors who set a book in the same place as their previous novels make little references to other characters from those other novels (like Sarah Dessen does) but she's taking it a bit too far. Any time, and I do mean ANY time, a Sisterhood member is mentioned, there's a whole paragraph about that girl was part of the legendary Sisterhood. And I'm only on the second disc, so like 5 chapters in, and there's been about as many references, if not a few more, already. It detracts from the story and pulls me out from the novel, jarring my listening. I mean, I think perhaps one reference to the Sisterhood would be enough toward the beginning and then any time a member is referenced, it should be a subtle reference, hidden in the story for fans of Ann's previous books to find and enjoy, not boldly put out there which becomes annoying after a while.

So that's my take on it. Anybody else want to chime in?

Time for sleep now. See you all tomorrow!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday Five- Slightly Extended Edition (i.e. More Photos!)

1) Finally finished Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Such an intense book- highly recommended. Simply a fantastic read! Am now going on to Freaked by J.T. Dutton and Just One Wish by Janette Rallison. I also started The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose, which brings me to...

2) I got back from the signing a little over an hour ago and it was really fun. They did the signing part first- tons of people showed up and then his Talk/QnA. But since it took so long for that part to start (the event started at 7, the Talk started at 8:15), my friend Liz and I didn't stay too long. But he's doing another event here tomorrow so I may stop by for a bit and listen to him speak for a bit longer before heading home. I did get a couple pictures from the event. Here they are:

This is a picture of me burping with a murderous look in my eyes while we waited in line. I was not expecting this photo to be taken, though I had given my friend Liz free reign to take some practice shots. She also attempted to take one of just my eye, but it didn't turn out well so we deleted it.

This is a shot of Kevin Roose (the author) before we got up to his table. I think we were just a few people away from meeting him and my friend took a photo of him, lol. And now, we have...

the picture of me with Kevin Roose! This is one of my better pictures with an author, given that I don't look too horrible, but my one problem with that is that I'm not smiling enough and look like I don't want to be there. But of course maybe I was just too worried about keeping myself from falling over since I was squatting next to Kevin so I couldn't focus too much on the picture being taken.

Ah well.

I handled myself pretty well. I said some funny things, which is a step up from being mute like I was at the Ann Brashares signing. He asked us if we were Liberty students and we explained that we weren't, by which I mean I said we were Lynchburg College students. I didn't explain that I'd graduated and all that. Too complicated. He has a long line and like 1 minute with us- there's no need for all that.

3) As I said above, I'm going home tomorrow. I'm heading home for Easter. Will be leaving late tomorrow morning and then coming back Monday morning- should be a fun time. I got the 3 Willows by Ann Brashares audio book from the library so that'll be fun to listen to on the way there and the way back. I'll probably bring a music CD or two to break up the book a bit.

4) I got a call about this job here in Lynchburg from Spherion- they're a temp agency of sorts though they mainly try and get you in a career rather than a string of temp jobs. It's a clerk position for some company (I don't think the lady I chatted with ever told me who specifically I'd be working for) here in Lynchburg and it pays $10/hr. I had to do a couple online tests, which I did well on according to the lady from Spherion I talked to. Now it's just waiting to hear what the company says. I really hope I get an interview or, hey, even the job itself without an interview, though that's not as likely. Wish me luck!

5) I went to the LC Career Center this past Tuesday for an appointment I had. I met with Beverly Reid and she went over my resume, which looks better than it did when I went to her around this time last year. She said I should make a few slight changes that should help and she also showed me a couple sites to look at. She also told me that they could stage a mock interview for whenever I had an interview set up for somewhere, so that I could be prepared for it. It was a nice meeting. I then walked Becca to class, and hung out with Liz and Keavonnda for a bit. It was a fun day. :)

That's all for this week!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Updates from Ning!

I have been sorely neglecting this blog for most of the week, so here's all my Ning updates so far.

First off, links for two of the blog posts this week. The first is to my Seven Book Babes vlog, which can be found here, and the second is my reviews of Something, Maybe and Wintergirls (yes, they're finally up, lol), which can be found here!

Now, as for the real blogs, here's what's going on so far:

From Monday- "So yet again, I post on the next day rather than on the right day. *sigh* And I'm not even doing much during the day! I just do some job hunting (being unemployed sucks), play some Wii (Mario Kart rocks), eat lunch, play around online (I check my email like 50 bajillion times a day), do some reading (still reading Wintergirls right now), and hang out with my roommate when she gets home from work. Tonight, we went out to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, which she treated me to. It was quite good. However, we didn't leave until after 7, I think, because she had problems deciding a) if she should go out, as she's on a diet and b) where we should go to if we do go out.

Oh and on days like yesterday (Monday specifically, lol), I volunteer at my local library taking back checked out materials and answering questions that patrons have. I even sometimes know the right answer! It's fun to see what everyone reads and I also like seeing what people have on hold. One of the things I do to amuse myself (it doesn't take much, as you'll see in a moment) is to see if I can find all 4 Twilight books in the holds area and it doesn't matter if it's the actual book or the audiobook. There was even one time I think all 4 books in the series were on the same shelf! And no, they weren't all together for one person; they were definitely separate. Another thing I like to do is find books I like or at least know of, like today I saw that someone had put Evernight by Claudia Gray on hold. And someone returned Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

So we didn't get back until 9pm, which is just too late to be coming back from dinner. Then we played some Mario Party. She went to go talk to her bf on the phone while I fed the cats and put my bed back together (I had washed everything earlier in the day)."

From Tuesday- "1) I was on my former college campus earlier today (graduated last May) and was chatting with a friend of mine as I walked her to class. She was telling me that our other friend (who's her roommate) had to print off something for her art teacher. Now, the art teacher's first name is Ursula, which always reminds me of Ursula from the movie "The Little Mermaid". And so I got this mental image of our friend standing at a printer, clearly scared and also cowering, while Ursula is next to her, glowering. It made me giggle.

2) My roommate and I were coming back from somewhere earlier tonight and she was flipping through her XM stations and came across the band name 3oh!3. We thought that was an odd band name. She continued on and one of the stations stated "No info" and I said "That's an odd band name." But really, it wouldn't be odd, it would be an AWESOME band name, lol.

3) I landed on a lucky space twice in one game of Mario Party 8 on the Goomba's Booty Boardwalk map! I ended up getting a total of 4 stars and winning the game after it was done (that's including bonus stars at the end).

4) Also, this didn't happen today, but the other day, Tobias answered my math question about why you can't divide by zero, so if you ever wondered, go here to find out!

5) Meg Cabot posted a link to a fun video interview with her in the Barnes and Noble studio. I loved it! Go here to watch the video!

And yay, I finally posted on time! How awesome is that! :)"

I will try and post my Friday Five from my LJ up here tomorrow so I don't have to do a long update like this again, lol.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In My Mailbox- Week of March 30

Before I show off the vlog, here's some contests I want to tell you about:

1) Taren is running a contest for three of the five books in the Cutler series by VC Andrews on her blog The Chick Manifesto as part of the VC Andrews "Read the Good Trash" Movement. Click here to enter!

2) Ravenous Reader is running a contest because she got an extra ARC of Fragile Eternity (and I can't even get one, lol), so go check it out here!

And now, this week's set of books in vlog format, followed by my story about 20 Boy Summer.

OK, so my camera was on low batteries so I didn't get to finish this story, which is actually fine as I was cutting it VERY close anyway. It's also fine as I wasn't sure how to pronounce Sarah's last name. Now, I've been saying it as it looks- Ockler (the "ock" pronounced like it is in the word "dock"). However, in other vlogs, I've heard it pronounced with a long O (sorta like Oak) and this is done by people who have actually met her. So they could very well be right, but at the same time, I feel I'm right but only because I hate being wrong, lol. So Sarah, which is it?

Anyway, back to 20 Boy Summer. Sarah emailed me on Myspace like a month or so ago and asked if I wanted a review copy. Of course, I said yes because a) I want the book and b) Sarah's gonna be a Fresh New Voice of YA for the month of June (btw, just so everyone knows how geeky I am, I plan out these FNVs a long time in advance- I have up to September right now). So several weeks pass and everyone else is getting their copies of 20 Boy Summer but I have not. Eventually, Sarah emailed both myself and Kristi (The Story Siren) on Facebook wondering if we'd gotten our copies yet. And we did! I got mine the day after she emailed me (this is how it works, seriously- I will send off an email about a certain book or someone will email to see if I've recieved it, and it either shows up in the mail that day or the next day. It's FREAKY.) Kristi also got hers- YAY! So it's all good now. :)

And now, a list with links of all the books I mention in this vlog (in order)!

Freaked by J.T. Dutton
A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine DiRollo
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Discordia: The Eleventh Dimension by Dena K. Salmon
20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

See you all tomorrow with a new post about something, lol. I'm not entirely sure what I'll be posting. There may be a new picture post coming up this week!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday Five (from LJ) + Question

NEW QUESTION- Does anyone want to purchase a signed Meg Cabot book from me? I'm needing a bit of extra money and so am parting with my signed Queen of Babble in the Big City. Email me at bookchicclub-at-gmail-dot-com for more info.

Question for you all. Should I post everything here for BEDA or on the Ning? I was planning on using the Ning for everything being cross-posted to, but no one seems to be commenting there, save for a few awesome people. And I want comments, goshdarnit! lol. So let me know. Basically, the choice is either 1) all my entries will be posted on here and on the Ning or 2) everything cross-posted to the Ning and the usual stuff here (like I've been doing it). I'll make my decision Sunday night, probably about midnight EST.

Also, if you have Livejournal, feel free to add me. Here's the link to my LJ: http://boothyisawesome.livejournal.com/

1) So yes, I am posting every day, but not on here. On SEVERAL blogs, but all entries will be cross-posted onto the Ning that Maureen started. You can read the blogs (and vlogs) from the past few days as well as for the rest of the month. I will only be posting on this LJ every Friday. Here's the link to my Ning page: http://maureenjohnson.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=0989nysaq8p3k Hopefully that link will work for people not on Ning. If not, tell me and I'll list all the blogs I'll be posting on. It's only three different blogs, I think.

2) So my roomie and I have a Wii now!! We also recently got Mario Kart Wii, which is AWESOME. I also brought my Gamecube games from home, so I play those on the Wii occasionally. The Wii is awesomeness personified.

3) I did have a short temp job in December and January doing data entry for a company. But unfortunately, now I am unemployed and desperately searching for a job. It sucks. I am still waiting to hear back from Hampton Inns about a second interview. And of course I'm applying to lots of other places. Wish me luck please!!!

4) Our pet count has gone up. We now have two cats (a male and a female- don't worry, we keep them separate), a fish, and two male gerbils. In the past couple months, my roomie's bunny and other betta fish died (at different times- the bunny around Thanksgiving and the fish just a couple weeks ago).

5) My book review blog is still going pretty well. I've been neglecting it a bit lately and not posting as often, but I am still reading. Two big developments have been that an excerpt of one of my reviews is in the book Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra. The review is of her first book Graffiti Girl. The other development is that I'm in the acknowledgments of Fade by Lisa McMann. Like my whole name is there (middle name excluded). It's pretty awesome. At the moment, I'm finishing up Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott and am in the middle of reading Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

6) BONUS!! I am so excited about this. Earlier today, I got an email from a publicist at Penguin about recieving the book Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd. I have been wanting this book SO BADLY for like the past several months. Click on the title to see the Amazon page for more info about it. And I should be recieving it early next week!! I AM SO EXCITED!!! YAY!

So that's all for this week. If you want to know about anything else, let me know in the comments and I'll address it next week as I highly doubt I'll have 5 things to talk about every week, lol.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Update

Hey everyone!

Go here for my slightly expanded review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan that I did for GuysLitWire.

And for all my BEDA (Blog Every Day April) posts in one place, go check out the Ning here!!

Or you can always comment here, or on myspace, or on my Livejournal (first entry there will be posted tomorrow and I'll provide a link too!).

If you're on the Ning as well, please add me as a friend!! I love getting friends. Plus, I'll read your blog! Which I may do anyway, if you're already my friend through here, lol.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BEDA- SevenBookBabes Vlog (April 1)

Here's my vlog for today, in which I have a cold and also discuss my plans for BEDA!

That is all for now, as I'm still recovering from said cold.

Come back every day for something new from me! :)