Monday, March 29, 2010

Castle Heats Up

As all my readers know, I am thoroughly devoted to the ABC series Castle. And why wouldn't I? Castle follows best-selling novelist Richard Castle as he uses his connections to partner with Detective Kate Beckett of the NYPD. He wants to follow her around in order to base his new character on her. We've watched their relationship evolve from cautious and wary to true friendship. In last week's first part of the two-part event, we watched the protective instincts within Castle sharpen as Kate became the focus for a serial killer who was dedicating his kills to Nikki Heat.



This week picks up the action from the destruction of Beckett's loft. While it's not exactly surprising that Kate survived the explosion, it's where our erstwhile duo goes from here that intrigues me. Dana Delany guest-starred last week and this as FBI Agent Jordan Shaw, a strong, capable agent who manages to have a family life. She's Beckett in twenty years or at least that's how Castle describes her. He's so absolutely fascinated by Shaw that it actually tweaks Beckett a bit, but the writers deftly avoided the cliché romantic route (thank you!) and made this more about the professional dynamics and inherent respect between Shaw and Beckett and Shaw even begins to acknowledge Castle's contributions.



This week, Beckett and Castle must deal with the fallout of the killer still being alive, Beckett's apartment being destroyed and the need to catch him before the other shoe drops. I can't wait to see how it plays out – rumor has it that Beckett will be moving into Castle's apartment for a time now that Martha has moved out.

Who can't wait to see her joining Alexis and Castle for breakfast?



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hot Picks: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs



I am beyond excited as the fifth novel in the Mercedes Thompson series releases this week. Silver Borne is scheduled for release on Tuesday, March 30, 2010. I just got the news that my copy was shipped and will be here Tuesday morning! Work will be a long day on Tuesday! Order your copy today!

Editorial Reviews from Amazon

From Publishers Weekly
Coyote-shifting garage mechanic Mercedes Thompson, now mated to Adam, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, embarks on her exciting fifth dark fantasy adventure (after 2009's bestselling Bone Crossed). Three subplots—Mercy's attempt to return a magical book to a fae friend-of-a-friend, her difficulties integrating into Adam's pack, and her roommate Samuel's misery over being a lone Alpha—come together seamlessly, and excitement builds as Mercy and her loved ones go through ever more intense experiences, including a house fire, a suicide attempt, a death sentence, and a reunion between long-ago loves. Briggs creates both well-rounded characters and a complex mythology, resulting in a rich read that's far more than a series of action adventures strung together. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I've been excited about this novel since I finished reading Bone Crossed! Are you ready for some Mercy?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Daily Dose Spring Break 2010 Winners!

It's the moment you've been waiting for! Our winners for the Daily Dose Spring 2010 giveaway! This was such a fabulous week, I can't wait to do it again next year! As you may recall, our giveaway includes: signed bookmarks and postcards from Janet Fox, author of FAITHFUL, and Alexandra Diaz (OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS). The winner will also score a special squeezy soccer ball from CHANGE OF HEART's author Shari Maurer, and two charms in honor of Bonnie Doerr's hero of ISLAND STING, the charming and adorable Angelo Sanchez: a key, reminiscent of Angelo's gift idea for Kenzie and a silver fish hook. He is, after all, not only an awesome fisherman, but also a supreme catch. But wait, there's more! Jeri Smith-Ready is pitching in a copy of her debut YA novel SHADE (and who wouldn't appreciate SHADE on spring break?) and Shannon Delany (13 TO LIFE) is adding a shiny 13 to Life pin, signed mini poster and other odds and ends.

In addition to these fabulous prizes donated by the guest authors, the prize pail winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to Amazon and three runners up will receive a $10 gift certificate each.

I entered all the names who commented on every Spring Break blog and nine of you qualified for the prize pail giveaway out of more than 200 comments total! What a fantastic week it truly was!

The Winners!
So without further ado, our grand prize pail winner is: Elizabeth!

Our three runners-up (each of whom wins a $10 gift certificate to Amazon) are:

  • Lynsey Newton

  • Kelly

  • bigferret



Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to all the authors of the Class of 2K10 who shared their spring break, creativity and more with all of us! If the winners will drop me a note, I will take care of getting their prizes out to them!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Break Hot Sheet

For those of you eagerly waiting for the winners of the Spring Break 2010 prize pail, I will be posting the winners tomorrow morning! We had such a tremendous turnout that I am still compiling names! It's been such a great week. My daughter is growing up to be such a fan of middle-school and young adult books that I wanted to share with you a few of her most recent discoveries. She gives all of the below solid two thumbs up.

Fablehaven

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite. Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken -- Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good -- powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

The series is five books long so far with the fifth being released just this week. My daughter is deeply immersed in the tales of Kendra and Seth.

Suddenly Supernatural

We found this little gem while vacationing in Washington D.C. She picked it up off the shelf and couldn't stop reading it. For Kat, life in Medford, NY, is complicated. Her mom's a professional medium, communing with spirits. After Kat's 13th birthday, she starts seeing ghosts, too, and she fears being ostracized and perpetually friendless. She becomes friendly with Jac, a talented cellist who lugs around her instrument but hasn't played since an incident of intense stage fright, and together the reluctant medium and reluctant musician share their secrets, Kat's new dog, and a supernatural experience in the school library. The ghost of a flute-playing former student needs their help.

This series is at least four books long and is in my daughter's succinct evaluation "totally cool".

Phillipa Fisher's Fairy Godsister

A great twist on an old fairytale device, ideal for fun and entertainment. Definitely populated with some laugh out loud moments. In the book, Philippa Fisher's life is a disaster. Her parents embarrass her in front of her friends; they are party entertainers and drive a bright yellow VW camper with pictures of clowns and jesters and rabbits painted on the side. Then her best friend moves away and she feels totally alone. She is so miserable, in fact, that the ATC (Above the Clouds) sends her a fairy godmother from 3WD (the Three Wishes Department). But Daisy, the fairy godmother (called a godsister because of her age), has serious attitude and is vexed at being paired with a human. She and Philippa get off to a dreadful start when her charge unknowingly leaves the transforming fairy with a limp and bruises. Just wanting to get the job done, Daisy delivers three wishes that give the girl the opportunity to change her life forever, which results in near disaster. Philippa, a self-conscious 11-year-old who desperately wants to be part of the popular crowd, is forced to rethink what friendship and parental love are all about.

What's on your hot sheet for recent reads?



Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Few Good Men

After an achingly long six weeks, The Vampire Diaries returns tonight with new episodes. Tonight's is dubbed "A Few Good Men" and in the blurb about the episode, we learn that Damon will be participating in an auction of Mystic Falls most eligible bachelors. Damon, of course, is grieving for having been so devoted to Katherine and retrieving her from the tomb for more than 142 years only to find out not only has Katherine not been in that tomb, she's been out and didn't care where Damon was.

So now, Damon's entire goal of existence has been yanked out from underneath him. To say he goes a little crazy, I suppose that would be mild. Nevertheless, in honor of the return of our most eligible vampire brothers, I thought we could come up with "A Few Good Men" of our own. Whom would you most like to see on that auction block and how far would you go to get an evening with those men?

Following the webclip for tonight's episode, check out my hot picks for most eligible bachelors!



Webclip for Tonight's Episode


Most Eligible Bachelors

For my list of top bachelor picks that I would most like to spend an evening with:

Richard Castle

He's smart, he's funny, he's sexy and he's loaded. Add to that he's a talented writer, a devoted dad and definitely understands how to have a good time – who wouldn't want to spend at least one evening (or more) with the guy?



Dr. Daniel Jackson

Daniel Jackson is a brilliant man with a gift for languages and understanding the nature of the universe. Despite everything he's seen, that sense of childlike wonder and faith in the impossible still exists within him. He's grown up from lovable geek to well-toned, smart and sexy. Despite his unlucky past with love, he's still in my top ten of men I'd love to spend time with.



Christopher Chance

Mark Valley's Christopher Chance is street smart, tough and dedicated to a hero complex. He's got a dark and murky past, one that definitely suggests a history of doing the wrong thing until one thing changed. That one thing we know was a woman, what happened to her changed Chance and now he puts himself directly in the line of fire to save other people. He's got a great sense of humor and he's easy on the eyes. I could definitely spend an evening with that.



Dr. Robert Chase

Hugh Laurie gets a lot of credit for House but I adore his "ducklings", especially Robert Chase who's been there since the beginning. He's coped with a distant father, career choices and falling in love with a woman who ultimately left him when he chose his career over their marriage. Recently he discovered that it's his good looks that woman are attracted to and not his personality – that's made him question if any relationship can be real. I wouldn't mind an evening to chat him up on the subject.





So – who are your top picks for a few good men?



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back from the Break

Good morning Daily Dosers! What did you think of our Class of 2K10 Spring Break week? When I first issued the invitation, I had no idea how absolutely spectacular these authors would all be and what wonderful tales they would share. If you missed out on any of those Spring Break tales, I would urge you to check them out. I am going to let the spring break contest remain open for one more day. Then it will close tomorrow and I will draw the winner. Be sure to check back on Saturday for who gets the fantastic prize pail.

Our Spring Break

Part of the reason I invited these authors was to cover for me while I took off on my first real spring break in years. My daughter and I drove to Washington D.C. for a fantastic sojourn in Northern Virginia and the Capitol. During our visit, we strolled the National Mall, visited the Smithsonian, spent time contemplating the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Wall.

At the Natural History Museum, we enjoyed a lengthy chat with real forensic anthropologists as they walked my daughter and I through identifying bone markers, including how to tell a female and male sacrum apart. The body was found, buried in the mid-Atlantic region. The nails in the coffin were similar to those used during colonial times prior to 1790. Her teeth indicated she was in her thirties. The length of her thigh bone told us she was approximately five foot two inches tall. Compression of the spinal column suggested hard labor with lots of heavy lifting. Seashells found around her neck were similar to those used as currency in Africa and Eastern Asia.

Each of these bits of information we had to discern from the comparisons and case data the anthropologist provided. Ultimately, we could infer that she was a woman in her thirties, likely from Africa, used to hard labor who died from unknown causes, but was then given a proper burial. While we don't know what killed her, we might infer that she was an indentured servant or a slave, but we have no way to actually prove that and of course, we don't have a name. My daughter dubbed her the Lady in Bone.

A Learning Vacation

The primary goal of our vacation was research coupled with time spent together. My novel Prime Evil is set in Northern Virginia and I lived there for many years. During this trip, I completed the research I needed to finish the second Chance Monroe novel and put together the outline for another new, standalone comedy romance. I learned a great deal about bodies and identification while also soaking up the rich, complex history present in our nation's capitol.

It was a spectacular Spring Break.

So tell me, what did you do for your spring break?



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Of All the Spring Break Stories

My most recent memorable spring break was two years ago when I went to visit my friend in Greece. Although I generally enjoy exploring new places on my own, having a local show you the sites can't be beat (especially since my Greek consisted of the bare minimum phrases and the inability to remember that “neh” meant yes instead of no). We went to many beautiful places in the northern and central part of the country which consisted of beautiful (but cold) beaches, roaring waterfalls, and inaccessible mountains with monasteries built on top.

Gorgeous.

One of the best things I loved about Greece was the food and the hospitality that came with it. Every meal is like a banquet. A couple dishes come out and you serve yourself thinking, that looks good. Then more and more plates come out until the whole table is groaning under the weight of easily 10 different dishes, all of which look delicious.

I tried to tell my friend that his mother didn't need to go through so much effort on my behalf but he said not to flatter myself; they always had all that food on the table. I'm sure I gained several pounds just being there a few days, but that didn't matter. It was worth it and besides, wasn't bikini season.

Not that I didn't try to get in the water. After spending a few days with my friend in the northern part of the country, I went down to Athens on my own. After doing the touristy Parthenon, I did head to the coast in an attempt to go swimming in March. Had someone else been there to feed my crazy/daring streak, I would have gotten in the water, but being alone, I did nothing more than stick my white feet in. However, the good part of that is that it left me with a desire to visit the beautiful country again sometime when it's warmer. I also know that I will need to pack a bikini a size too big, just so that I don't miss out on all that Greece has to offer!

Alexandria Diaz's Of All the Stupid Things is available now. Keep up with Alexandria at her website



Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break . . . Sprung Broken

My name is Tessa McMullen and I’m the main character in Kristina McBride’s new book, The Tension of Opposites. She roped me into this thing where I have to tell everyone my thoughts on Spring Break. Which is ironic, because I really don’t have any. See, I don’t do Spring Break. Not anymore.

Before Noelle went missing, Spring Break was always the best. It’s kind of pathetic, but you can just think of all the common clichés: fun in the sun, flip flops, coconut sunscreen, bikinis, lying out in the backyard and singing our favorite songs so loudly we’d drive Coop, Noelle’s little brother, totally insane. Add in the latest fashion magazines, trying new things with our hair, plus a touch of shopping, and you have some of the best weeks of my life. But that was before Noelle was kidnapped. Since then, everything has changed.

Spring Break is just about the last thing on my mind. I can’t do it anymore. None of it. One little laugh seems like the worst betrayal because, even though I’d never say it out loud, I’ve been pretty sure that whoever took Noelle made it so she can never laugh again. And I know it might sound stupid, but for all this time I’ve thought that I might be keeping her alive. That if I can remember her well enough, refuse to live a life without her, maybe, just maybe, she’ll come back to us.

The crazy thing is that it worked.

After two years with her kidnapper,

Noelle is still alive.

And she’s coming home.

Okay, so maybe listening to our theme song religiously, refusing to date boys, and isolating myself from everything but my photography aren’t the magic things bringing her home. I’m aware that she’s done some pretty amazing stuff to survive two years with her kidnapper. As much as I’ve tried not to face it, I’m not ignorant. Most kidnapped kids don’t make it home alive.

But Noelle, she’s always been special, seemed to have a little spark of magic inside. And I can’t even tell you how glad I am that she’s coming home. Now everything can go back to normal. Because no matter what they’re saying about her on the news, Noelle will always be Noelle.

The Tension of Opposites, which will be released on May 25, 2010, is Kristina McBride’s debut young adult novel. Kristina is a member of the Class of 2K10. The Tension of Oppositess is available for pre-order now.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break = Breaking out the Books?

Spring break is for fun in the sun, laying on the beach and … getting to all the books you’ve been dying to start but can’t because of all the books you have to read for school. I am currently finishing my master’s in creative writing and so school is not just fresh in my memory, it’s what I’m doing right now.

The last three years, spring break = time to break out the YA novels. This year, there are so many books I want to read by our Class of 2k10, all of whom are releasing their debut novels, from The Tension of Oppositesto The Secret Year to Three Rivers Rising.

My taste for books keeps on changing. Once I was addicted to fantasy novels, before that to fiction for adults, before that plays etc, etc. And, I would write in the genre I loved the most.

I’ve been addicted to YA for nearly a decade now. In addition to the coming of age story, the voice-y-ness (I’m inventing words), and the immediacy, I enjoy it for its variety of vision, from paranormal to fantasy to contemporary realism (which is my personal favorite). So it is no wonder that I’m writing YA now and Split falls into the last category.

Split is narrated by 16-year old Jace Witherspoon who has just fled 1300 miles after finally hitting his dad back. He hasn’t seen his brother, Christian, in five years. But with nowhere else to go, $3.84 in his pocket, and bruises on his face and a secret, he shows up on Christian’s doorstep. Split was inspired by the three years I coordinated a domestic violence legal clinic, I learned a lot of lessons about survival and courage. I talk about that more here or on my website.

I’m on to my next novel now which means that I’m spending my spring break on both sides of the pen: gobbling down great, new fiction of all varieties and trying to type it out, too. I can’t think of a better way to spend my spring break.

What about you?



Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Break in the Shade

“I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I DO believe in ghosts!”
--Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz

I don’t believe in ghosts. Not the way I believe in cats or cars or coffee mugs—things I can see and touch and understand. And if seeing is believing, I really don’t want to believe, because I don’t want to see.

Huh, you say?

Well, just because I’ve never seen a ghost and don’t technically believe they exist doesn’t mean I’m not scared pantless of them. While part of my brain knows that there’s a scientific explanation for each bump in the night, there’s another part that says…what if?

To answer “what if?”, novelists need vivid imaginations. We start with a tiny thing—an idea, a character, or even a single word—and turn it into something big: a story.

Problem is, I can’t shut off that imagination when I’m walking the dog down our lonely country lane…late at night…in the fog…and the flashlight beam makes our shadows dance in the thick air like demonic puppets…and—what was that? A rustle in the cornfield ten feet to my left. The dog freezes and pricks her ears. It’s probably just a rabbit or a fox. Or a zombie.

See what just happened? My mind took a tiny thing (a rustle) and turned it into a big thing (a zombie). In five seconds flat, I told myself a story that ended with my brains gobbled by a walking corpse. (And that’s when my dog and I turn around and go home. Quickly.)

At least no sane person will seriously claim to have encountered a zombie. But ghosts? Many people say they’ve seen or heard the spirits of the dead, the leftover piece of a human who has passed from this world.

I once stayed in the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Arizona, a place that was recently featured on the Ghost Hunters show. My friend who made the reservation sort of forgot to tell me it was haunted. When we checked in, I noticed a “Ghost Book” sitting at the front desk, where guests could describe the spooky things they’d seen and heard during their stay.

I told myself, Jeri, don’t read that, Jeri, don’t read that, Jeri, don’t read that.

I read it. I then spent the next three nights sleeping with the lights on (not that I slept much, or even closed my eyes). I only let my friend leave my side when I had to go to the bathroom, and then I wouldn’t look in the mirror because I just knew that something would be staring back at me.

One of the coolest parts of being a writer is that we can tame the things we fear by making them our own. In my upcoming novel Shade, ghosts are people, too. Everyone accepts that they exist, because everyone the age of my main character Aura and younger can see them. Aura’s not afraid of ghosts—they’re a normal, sometimes sad, sometimes incredibly annoying part of her life—but she would love to make them go away forever. Until her boyfriend Logan dies and becomes a ghost.

Then she learns first-hand that behind every glowing, floating, endlessly chattering spirit lies a real person with dreams and desires. Logan’s not ready to leave this world, not as long as there are concerts to go to, friends to party with, and a girlfriend to visit in the middle of the night, when the darkness shows him best. If our own world’s ghosts were as cute and friendly as Logan, maybe I wouldn’t mind seeing one every now and then.

Wait. No. It would still freak me out.

Oh, well. I guess that like the Cowardly Lion, I’m more “scaredy-cat” than “king of the forest.” I may not have conquered my fears here in the real world, but at least I created a place where, for a little while, I can believe in ghosts—and maybe even love them, too.

But I draw the line at zombies.


----

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one? Tell us your stories in the comments and enter to win the Daily Dose’s grand prize pack, including an autographed copy of Shade!

I love to hear from readers, so please feel free to reach me through my website or on Facebook or most frequently, on Twitter.



Friday, March 19, 2010

I am Your Wet Blanket (or Sandy Towel)

My spring breaks were almost always spent at home or maybe (if timing and paychecks worked out) my parents (both teachers) might take my kid brother and me to a beach for a daytrip. Cape May, New Jersey was a favorite spot (and still is, but off-season) and we made it to Atlantic City once or twice. I have no wacky stories from high school or college about hitting a beach and drinking myself stupid over spring break.

And since the first books in my 13 to Life series take place in the small town of Junction in fall... *shrug* All I can tell you about spring break is that not all of my cast of characters will live long enough to hang out on a beach together (or kick sand at each other). Yep. I know. I’m a total downer. But bad things tend to happen when your characters tangle with some of the stuff going down in 13 to Life.

But let’s not worry about that now, okay? Let’s look in on Jessie (13 to Life’s narrator and one of my main characters) and take a minute to visit the cafeteria at Junction High. No—you don’t need to bring your baggage with you—just relax wherever you are and imagine small town America in fall, leaves scampering by an older school building with a cafeteria at its heart...

Even my psychology teacher was experiencing an absurdly premature bout of spring fever, making us write poems about the psychological impact of spring. I’d done the assignment, but sitting at our regular lunch table I was beginning to doubt its worth. I bent the straw back and forth in my milk carton and groaned. “Poetry is not my...” I rubbed my eyes, searching for the term.

“Forte?” Sarah asked.

“Yeah. Poetry is not my forte. Heck, vocabulary may not be either.” I shrugged.

“So what did you write?” Sarah encouraged. “I’ll help if you want.”

I bit back a growl. I was the one with somewhat authorly (if that’s even a word) aspirations and there sat Sarah, perfect in so many ways, with her blossoming vocabulary and sparkly new do-gooder personality. A better person wouldn’t begrudge her help. So I pulled out my poem and silently repeated the mantra that kept me going—the phrase that nearly hummed in the back of my head like white noise.

Forgive her. You’ll be a great friend to her.

By repeating it I hoped to believe it. So far that theory wasn’t entirely working. “Don’t worry about helping,” I said, “but maybe if we all shared... I’ll start.” I cleared my throat.
“The Psychology of Spring.

“When winter weather’s beat us down
And far we are from autumn’s crown
Spring’s promise like a bud fresh sprung
Imagines birdsong not yet sung.
An itch we feel and cannot shake
A drive to explore, to shape and make.
Spring calls us out like a hen to chicks
And grows bright flowers from last year’s sticks.
Each spring utters an oath of life
Carried beyond cruel winter’s strife.”


I snarled the paper in my fingers, stuffing it into my backpack. “Ugh. It’s all rhyming couplets.”

Amy blinked at me. “That so didn’t suck.”

“Thanks. So what score does not sucking get me? I like to predict my class average.”

She stuck out her tongue.

“You’re next,” I announced.

“Fine.

“I raise my eyes to spring’s blue skies
Its puffy clouds and skimming breeze
Blow kisses that are meant to tease.
Love and lust is in the air
And people act without a care.”

“Love and lust, huh?” I winked at her. “Where is Marvin?”

She shrugged. “Maybe it’s not about him.”

“You two fighting again?”

Another shrug in answer.

“My turn!” Sarah volunteered. She held the paper before her and belted out:
“The queen bee in spring does—Ow!” Sarah’s paper crumpled in her hands as she was hip-checked into Sophie, sitting silently beside her.

“Yo. Sorry.” A couple members of the football team swarmed around the end of our table, shoving each other and messing around. Like normal. Oblivious to everyone else.

Until Sarah, ex-queen bee of Junction’s most socially savvy set, snapped at them. “Idiots!”

The guys jumped and for the briefest moment their faces tightened, pinching in something distinctly like fear as they stared at petite, beautiful and blonde Sarah Luxom. And then they remembered where they were, who we were and what rung on society’s ladder we each occupied. Chuckling and slapping each other’s backs they turned and walked away.

“Are you okay?” I asked, reaching for the arm she now clutched.

“Fine!” she insisted. But seeing the grim glint in her eyes as she watched the jocks leave, I had a sinking feeling we were suddenly much farther from fine than I hoped.

Welcome to Junction! Bwa-ha-ha! ;-) And have a great Spring Break!


Keep up with Shannon Delany at her website, on Twitter, her blog. 13 to Life releases June 22, 2010.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kenzie Ryan on Spring Break...

Angelo and I were talking about the spring breakers who migrate to the Florida Keys this time of year. At first we were jealous of all the fun they seem to have rumbling down US #1 on their motorcycles or whizzing by in their jam-packed cars. They’re squeezing a load of adventure into a short time period. But then it hit us. We don’t have to rush off anywhere for spring break.
Why would we?

We have beaches. We have sun. We have fun--all year. And this week we have more time for it. YAY!! We can hop in Angelo’s boat, cruise the islands and fish, snorkel, or dive. We can windsurf, kayak, sail, and play with the wildlife. (Though honestly, we don’t usually get in the water in March because we think it’s too cold.) To us spring vacation probably seems longer than it does to those traveling, frantic breakers because we don’t have to spend hours or days on the road. It’s a lot less expensive, too.
And you know what?
If we really want to travel to a foreign locale, we can take a day trip to the Dry Tortugas by boat, or sail to the backcountry and spend a day on a remote, uninhabited island. Or if we feel the need for a crazy escape, we can always drive north to Miami Beach for an exotic, urban wildlife experience. Heck, we have time to do all those things over our break!
So, thanks, spring break visitors. Thanks for the reminder. We’ll try not to gloat when we wave.
Discover intrigue, treachery and intrepid teens with Bonnie J. Doerr and the Island Sting.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Break: When I was a Teen ...

When I was a teen, spring break would have found me…reading. Well, okay, just about any time of the year would have found me reading. As a little kid I was the one under the blanket with the flashlight – and the Nancy Drew, or the Narnia books, or just about anything I could get my hands on.

So I have a “true confession” about my obsessive reading. A story that lives on in our family just to amuse everyone else and embarrass me.

I was about 14, and it was spring break – and I remember that it was spring break because we had chocolate bunnies on the counter. I was home and (yes) reading, and my mom, who was a great cook and worked hard to make good healthy meals, asked me to watch a pot on the stove while she took a well-earned break in the other room.

In the pot were green beans, and they were supposed to boil for ten minutes (or something, which I can’t remember because I was reading after all.) So, sure! I told her I’d watch the beans and turn off the stove after ten minutes.

Remember – I was sitting right there, next to the stove. Reading.

The next thing I knew, the kitchen was filled with smoke, and my mother was yelling and flapping her arms, and my mother never yelled or flapped. The water in the pot had boiled off and the pot had melted onto the stove. I never noticed, because I was... My mom, when she quieted down, banned me from the kitchen from then on.

I would bet that Maggie, my character in FAITHFUL, would initially have a similar kitchen problem because when the novel starts she’s pretty helpless about taking care of things domestic. Someone would have cooked for her, and she wouldn’t have a clue how to manage. By the end of the novel, I like to think she could handle just about anything.

So – do you prefer to cook, or to read? Or both?

Excerpt from Faithful
"I could not escape the question of what would become of me. In one direction my future was wide open. A great gaping hole waited there with nothing to hold me up. I imagined I was standing at my window at home, right at the sill, or on the cliff facing the sea. What would it be like to leap, to let go and fall?"

Keep up with author Janet Fox via her website. Her novel Faithful will be released May 13, 2010.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vacation Books and Why We Love Them

A woman jets off to a swanky resort with her boyfriend… who then mysteriously disappears. A girl connects with a secretive biker while spending the summer at a beach town. Three siblings find a mysterious map in their vacation home.

These three very different books (Here Today, Gone to Maui by Carol Snow; Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen; and Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper) have one thing in common: they all take place while the main characters are on vacation. This is part of what makes these types of books fun to read (and write): everything is new and different, for the character as well as for the reader. Throw in an exotic destination and the thrill of the new, and it’s no wonder we love vacation books!

But most importantly, there is the opportunity for the characters to encounter people and things, they would never have come across in the course of their ordinary lives. Because when you’re on vacation, ordinary life can feel like it’s very far away.

But of course, it’s never that simple. Even on vacation, you still have a history, a past… possibly something you’re running away from and trying to escape. The best vacation books usually don’t let the main character remain on vacation. Real life has to catch up. And of course, that’s when things start to get interesting. Turns out the boyfriend was hiding a few things, the girl has to face the problems she tried to leave behind, and the map will draw those siblings into to their magical heritage.

So what are your favorite vacations books? And what part do you love the most... the vacation, or when real life catches up?

Leah Cypress' novel Mistwood will be released April 27, 2010. Discover a novel about a desperate prince, a castle full of lies, and an ancient shapeshifter trapped in the form of a human girl. Keep up with Leah Cypress via her website.



Monday, March 15, 2010

Florida Vacations and Spring Break

In the movies, spring break is portrayed as a crazy romp on the beach, or maybe it’s a road trip. And to me, that was a purely fictional world that had nothing to do with reality. My spring breaks came in the middle of the second semester, and they were always filled with studying and term papers. Also, since “spring” break came early in March when it was still technically winter, the beach wasn’t that appealing even if it had been an option.

When it came time for me to invent my own fictional world, as I did in my debut novel The Secret Year, I slipped in some details about spring break that were borrowed from my own life. For example, here’s the opening of Chapter 15:

“Tom had spring break at the beginning of March, when the trees were bare and the mud still had shards of ice in it.”

But Tom, who is the main character’s brother, does get to go to Florida. He goes down on a marathon road trip with some classmates. Instead of going to drinking parties on the beach, though, he does what I would have done if I’d been able to:

“He told me about his Florida vacation, about the alligators and manatees and herons he’d seen. My brother was probably the only college student in the history of spring break to spend his time at nature preserves instead of the beach.”

Of course, I don’t really believe that every student goes to the beach, and neither does my narrator. The Secret Year is full of characters and situations that are not what they seem to be at first. The “spoiled rich girl” has a brain and ambition and likes playing in the mud. A relationship that is supposed to be just for fun turns out to be much more, maybe more than the participants can handle. And a notebook meant to protect secrets ends up revealing them.

Have you ever spent your spring break in Florida?

About The Secret Year:

After his secret girlfriend's death, seventeen-year-old Colt finds the notebook she left behind, but he is unprepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship.

Jennifer R. Hubbard is a member of the Class of 2k10, a group of debut authors. Learn more about Jennifer via her website and via live journal. Learn more about The Secret Year



Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let the Spring Shine In

Spring -- a time when the earth begins to thaw, when snow turns to rain, when the Easter Bunny leaves lots of yummy jelly beans in brightly colored baskets -- is one of my favorite seasons. But probably not for those reasons.

Sure, those are all good things. Great things, even. But the reason Spring is so utterly fabulous is that she's the life of the party. If Spring were a person, she'd be captivating, fetching, darling.

She'd bring lots of goodies to the table, not like Fall who'd fill up the buffet table with Grandma's recipes. Spring would bring tidbits and punch. Figs and olives. Blood oranges and kumquats. Powdered sugar covered lime tarts. Spring would play loud music, but it would exceptional music and totally danceable.

Because for me Spring embodies the pure joy of jumping off a cliff -- not to your death, but to adventure.

Spring is the time when you leave that heavy winter coat behind and immerse yourself completely in whatever it is you love.

For me, that's writing and stories.

And so I try to take a bit of Spring with me into my work.

In order to be a good writer I believe you have to dive head first into your story. You have to taste the kumquats at the party, quench your thirst with your main character's latte, and let the blood oranges dribble down your chin.

You have to believe in your characters.

You have to live in the town where they live, whether it's an enchanted forest or an apartment in New York City. You have to cry for your characters because you've given them so much emotion you can't help yourself.

So abandon yourself over to Spring. Invite her to your heart. I'm pretty sure she'll liven up the place. (And if you don't recognize her look for the girl wearing the cutest little cocktail dress and the most adorable shoes.)

Author Michele Corriel's Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery will be released from Blooming Tree/Tire Swing Press in July 2010. Learn more about Michele at her website.

All the cats in Fairview disappeared and only Thomas Weston, newspaperman extraordinaire (and eighth grader) can find them. All the while Thomas battles the never-ending hysterical headlines that pop up in his head!

What is your favorite 'rite' of spring?



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Break and Hometown Sweethearts

Okay, confession time. I have never gone to Florida for Spring Break. I’ve never gotten drunk at a beach side bar at 3 am. I’ve never taken off my bikini top and danced on the beach (who are we kidding—I’ve never even worn a bikini top).

There was never any debate about where my college Spring Breaks were going to be spent. As soon as my last class finished I would dash to the airport and head back to New York to see my boyfriend. In my Freshman dorm at Duke, of the 100 students, I think 50 had Hometowns, as we called high school sweethearts. By Thanksgiving Break, most had broken up and by the end of Freshman year I think it was down to me and my friend Amede. (okay, if you lived in Hanes Annex that year and want to dispute my numbers, go ahead—I’m trying to be as accurate as I can). By the middle of sophomore year even Amede and his girlfriend had succumbed to the difficulties and pressures of long distance dating.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who married my Hometown.

What kept us together? Well, it helped that he had a beautiful deep voice. Since so much of our relationship was over the telephone, I’m not sure my affection would have remained if he’d been squeaky-voiced. And pure and simple, I think it was a profound love; a connection that to this day I can’t really put into words. I got lucky—I met my soulmate when I was 17 years old.

How does this help me as a writer? Well, every day I have a reminder of what it’s like to be a 17 year old in love. That infatuation you feel and the heart-skipping excitement. In a way, I got to relive it with Sam and Emmi in Change of Heart. I remember what it was like to wait desperately for someone’s phone call or how I felt when our eyes would meet and the whole world and all of your problems would disappear, even if only for that moment.

So do I regret never going to Florida for Spring Break? Not for a minute. In my eyes, New York was just as sunny on those March days and just as warm.

Happy Spring Break everyone!

What is your favorite spring break destination?

Author Shari Maurer is a young adult writer from New City, New York. My debut novel, CHANGE OF HEART, will be published by WestSide Books in the Spring 2010. You can visit her website to learn more about her.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Daily Dose Spring Break 2010

Spring break is here and as you read this, I am speeding out of town on a road trip to explore the Smithsonian and other fabulous landmarks in our nation's capitol. I've been looking forward to this getaway for a long time. Life has been tremendously busy and exciting the last few months, but who doesn't enjoy a good getaway and quality time with the kiddo? That I get to combine the pleasure trip with some research is just incing on the cake. Here's hoping the Cherry Blossoms are in when we get to D.C.

In the meanwhile my loyal Daily Dose readers, I have a great Spring Break planned just for you with a series of guest blogs by some of young adult's rising stars. I want to urge you to check out these blogs and to even subscribe to the Daily Dose (you can get it sent straight to your email every day) so you don't miss out on the Spring Break Prize Pail.

Spring Break Itinerary

  • 3/13/2010 Spring Break and Hometown Sweethearts by Shari Maurer

  • 3/14/2010 Let the Spring Shine In - Michele Corriel

  • 3/15/2010 Florida Vacations and Spring Break - Jennifer R. Hubbard

  • 3/16/2010 Vacation Books & Why We Love Them - Leah Cypress

  • 3/17/2010 Spring Break: When I was a Teen ... - Janet Fox

  • 3/18/2010 Kenzie Ryan on Spring Break .... Bonnie Doerr

  • 3/19/2010 I am Your Wet Blanket (or Sandy Towel) - Shannon Delany

  • 3/20/2010 Spring Break in the Shade - Jeri Smith-Ready

  • 3/21/2010 Spring Break = Breaking out the Books? - Swati Avasthi

  • 3/22/2010 Spring Break ... Sprung Broken - Kristina McBride

  • 3/23/2010 Of All the Spring Break Stories - Alexandria Diaz



Spring Break Prize Pail
As part of our great spring break celebration, the guest authors and I invite you to respond to each and every blog, answer the author's question and enjoy the material. For those who respond to every blog (all 11 of them), you will be entered into a drawing for a prize pail.

In the prize pail one lucky winner will get signed bookmarks and postcards from Janet Fox, author of FAITHFUL, and Alexandra Diaz (OF ALL THE STUPID THINGS). The winner will also score a special squeezy soccer ball from CHANGE OF HEART's author Shari Maurer, and two charms in honor of Bonnie Doerr's hero of ISLAND STING, the charming and adorable Angelo Sanchez: a key, reminiscent of Angelo's gift idea for Kenzie and a silver fish hook. He is, after all, not only an awesome fisherman, but also a supreme catch. But wait, there's more! Jeri Smith-Ready is pitching in a copy of her debut YA novel SHADE (and who wouldn't appreciate SHADE on spring break?) and Shannon Delany (13 TO LIFE) is adding a shiny 13 to Life pin, signed mini poster and other odds and ends.

In addition to these fabulous prizes donated by the guest authors, the prize pail winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to Amazon and three runners up will receive a $10 gift certificate each.

Remember, all you have to do to enter, you have to comment on each blog and answer the question posed by the author. Our Daily Dose, Class of 2K10 Spring Break kicks off tomorrow. I can't wait to see you there!



Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Vampire Diaries: A Few Good Interviews

It's still a few weeks before our beloved The Vampire Diaries returns with a heartbroken Damon. I can't wait. I thought I'd share these little tidbits with you all before I headed off on spring break. Be sure to tune in tomorrow as we kick off Spring Break week with a great contest that you don't want to miss.


Interview with Ian Somerhalder





Interview with Julie Plec



A Few Good Men Trailer





Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Audio Books for iPod: One for the Road

Friday, my daughter and I are getting on the road for our Spring Break exodus to the capitol. The trip will be half for fun and half for research. As you may know, Prime Evil is set in Northern Virginia. My current WIP, which continues the adventures of Chance Monroe also take place in the state. Since I moved away more than five years ago, I wanted to get back to the roots of the tale. In the meanwhile, the road trip means the kiddo and I need audio books for iPod.

Road Trip Audio Books for iPod

As you may recall last year, Harry Dresden broke my CD player in the car and I've not had the chance to replace it yet. So for the road trip, the daughter and I have been debating what audio books will make it on the iPod so that we can both listen and enjoy. We could definitely use your help in narrowing it down, so we're looking for any suggestions and ideas you may have. In the running are:



  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

  • Prom Dates from Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore

  • Boys are Dogs, by Leslie Margolis

  • Bloody Jack, Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship's Boy, by L.A. Meyer

  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, by Michelle Paver

  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

  • Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery



As you can see, we have a wide range of fantasy to classic to modern day fairy tale. I can listen to just about anything. If you have any suggestions or recommendations, I'd love to hear them. Just remember that the kiddo is a girl, almost 10 and loves Harry Potter, Rick Riordan, Magic Tree House and How to Train Your Dragon currently.

Would love to go with Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn, but that's not out until we're already on the road.

Thanks in advance!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TV Series "V" Returns March 30th

The new TV series "V" returns to ABC on March 30th. The series is a remake of a pair of NBC mini-series called "V" and "V: The Final Battle." When those first mini-series aired in the early 80s, they were fraught with tension, Nazi symbolism and the desperate gasp for humanity's survival. It was aired in an age when a VCR wasn't common and when you had to be in front of your television or risk missing it. There was no catching it on DVD when it was released, television shows aired, and if you were lucky, you got a rerun chance, but most mini-series didn't. So it was watch or miss out.

Maybe this is why I wasn't sure what to make of the "V" remake. After all, we've seen the story of the Visitors. We know they lie. We know they seek domination of world resources and dude, they eat people and gerbils (hands down still the grossest scene ever on television), so what could this new series possibly offer to that tale? Would it pick up a generation later? Would they be returning? Would this be the "enemy" that a message was sent to all that long time ago – the enemy of the so-called "Visitors" in an attempt to find an ally strong enough to defeat them?

Well – apparently not.

Great Cast

Instead, we got a fantastic cast led by Morena Baccarin and Elizabeth Mitchell – two actresses that are phenomenal. I've enjoyed them in just about everything I've ever seen them in from Firefly for Baccarin to The Santa Claus 2 for Mitchell. The rest of the cast is similarly attractive and interesting. Smallville's Laura Vandervoot is a scrubbed, fresh faced alien while Alan Tudyk is delightful in another role of villainy (here's hoping we do see more of him).

Still, a great cast can't keep a series going if the storyline isn't there. The four episodes we got to watch last fall lacked the tension that made the first series so watchable – so must watchable. The problem we run into is that the writers are challenged to surprise us. We know that the aliens are lizards. We know they are not up to any good. We know that there's going to be a resistance and a war.

So what's left?

That's the challenge.

So check out the preview below and tune in March 30th so we can see what will happen next. I admit, I'm curious. Are you?






Monday, March 8, 2010

Writing: The Joy and the Pain

As a writer, you sometimes have to push passed the roadblocks to get to the meat of the story. Sometimes, those roadblocks are there for a reason. Have you ever read a book and wondered why an author took a detour from the main plot? Or worse, wondered why the author plowed through a subplot as if it wasn't there? As readers, we are trained to look for the subtleties in the story, to examine the idly mentioned characters and even the nuance of a background scene for a clue that may trump the story in later chapters.

You can blame writers like M. Night Shyamalan for this. I do. Shyamalan is the creative genius behind The Sixth Sense, the movie that changes dramatically with the twist at the end. Sadly, no other film of his has truly lived up to the power of the first because moviegoers are now conditioned to look for that "twist."



We are so conditioned to expect the bait and switch that we look for it. What is worse is that sometimes we're disappointed when we don't find it. One of the first rules of writing and editing is that if it doesn't move the scene along, if it doesn't contribute to the goal of your storytelling, then it goes. So when I am writing a first draft, I am constantly asking myself – does this scene really need to be here? Does this help tell the story? What about this character? Are they here just for scenery? Or do they actually contribute?

Tracker

In Prime Evil there is a character that appears on just a couple of pages. His name is Tracker. My editor challenged me about his presence in the story – after all, what did he really contribute? Not much – at that time, except that I needed him there, I needed him to be a part of what was going on in a role that left him at loose ends. Because I knew that, he was coming back. While his presence may not have propelled that book, I knew that down the line, he had a greater role to play and I needed to have him present.

Tracker is an interesting character with a tremendous back-story. We're only afforded glimpses of that back story, moments, mentions, anecdotal at best because the story is not told from his perspective. But knowing what I know about him, I knew he needed to be there. This is where trusting the writer comes into play.

Supporting Characters

Think about author J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) and the sheer number of characters that populate her In Death series. She has so many of them, some have small roles, some have large, but each one contributes not only to the book they are in, but also to the greater canvas of her world. Who would have thought when we first met Eve's best friend Mavis or even Dr. Mira that these two characters would become pivotal points for driving story thirty books later?

The cops, of course, are to be expected, they work with Eve. But there's the history of officer Trueheart. He was a uniformed cop who Eve took a liking to and the same for Peabody who has gone from beat cop to subordinate aid to friend and partner. The truth is, as wonderful as Eve and Roarke are, their story is made visceral and so much more moving by the inclusion of supporting characters whether the moments are fleeting or embedded.

Trusting the Author

We all want to write the story that has the twist that you didn't see coming. We all want to tell you a tale that makes you go "wow"! That wow factor, of course, is important. We want you to want to read our books. If you are constantly "wowed" by us, then you'll come back. But we have to not abuse that trust and do our utmost to keep those twists fresh and full of life. After all, who wants to see the same twist repeatedly? Sometimes, the best twists are the supporting characters, the ones we know better than you do, but who intrigue you enough to want to know more. Chances are, if the next book features that character, you're already primed to be wowed – and you'll give the book a shot.

It is all we can really ask for. So yes, there are joys and pains to answering these connections. But our characters are usually all the payoff we need.

What supporting character have you recently gone "wow" for?



Friday, March 5, 2010

Open Letter to Smallville


Dear Smallville Producers, Writers and Network,

Thank you for your announcement yesterday announcing the return of Smallville for a tenth season. 22 episodes in a tenth season will make television history for the show as it will easily pass the 200 episode mark in the fourth episode of the tenth season.

I have been avid fan of the show since the first season. I delighted in the rediscovering the wonder of Clark's powers as he grew up in the small town in Kansas. His initial friendship with Lex, the complicated choices that came between them and the cool, level-headed approach his father Jonathon took to helping Clark control his powers has led the young man to Metropolis, working as a reporter and finally embracing his powers as a hero.

We've had fabulous guest appearances of some great heroes from DC mythology and added Justin Hartley's Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) to the cast. After seeing "Absolute Justice" this past January, I am more engaged than ever. You have so many great opportunities for storytelling coming, but I think the 200th episode should offer fans the long awaited moment of Clark flying -- as Clark, not Kal-El or under the control of others. It's time for the Red-Blue blurb to become Superman, in spirit if not in name.

Chances are, season 10 will be the end and it's time to let the series go out with a bang. While I think the Justice League of America should formally name itself at the end of the tenth season, episode 200 should be about Clark embracing who he is, flying and even donning the familiar red and blue suit. While it's true that Clark's idealism is one of Superman's ultimate weaknesses, let the show embrace his strengths too.

Thank you again!



“SMALLVILLE” TO RETURN FOR A TENTH SEASON ON THE CW

March 4, 2010 (Burbank, California) ─ The CW Network has announced that its hit series “Smallville” will return in the fall of 2010 for a momentous tenth season.

“Smallville,” a modern retelling of the Superman legend, stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent. The series moved to Friday nights this season, where it currently ranks as network television’s #1 show in its time period among men 18-34 and men 18-49. Additionally, “Smallville” has dramatically improved The CW’s ratings performance in its Friday 8:00-9:00p.m.time period by 67% among adults 18-34 (1.5/6), 200% in men 18-34 (1.8/7), 75% in adults 18-49 (1.4/5), 183% in men 18-49 (1.7/6) and 74% in total viewers (3.12million).

“Smallville” joins the five previously announced series – “The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl,” “90210,” “Supernatural” and “America’s Next Top Model” – which will all return for another season on The CW.

“Smallville” was developed for television by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (“Shanghai Noon,” “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”), based on the DC Comics characters. Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson serve as executive producers, along with James Marshall, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. The series is produced by Tollin/Robbins Productions, Millar/Gough Ink and Warner Bros. Television. SUPERMAN was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Research is Best, Put Your Writing to the Test

Research. It's a fantastic word. It's a fantastic job. I remember when I was in school, every kid in the class groaned when the teacher would write research paper on the blackboard. But not me. Nope, I was that kid who grinned from ear to ear, wrote it down and any notes that went with it. I was the kid who went to the library and wrote an annotated research paper for extra credit.

Why?

Because I love research.

Committed to Lifelong Learning

Most of the authors I know are committed to lifelong learning. We don't turn down new experiences. We revel in going places we've never been. We love to return to familiar locales and sample their flavors in a new way. We want to bottle these experiences so we can perfume our pages with just the right combination to transport our readers there as well.

Two years ago, I was in London. I wrote enough notes to set a novel there some day. A couple of years before that, I went to California, I could write a book set on the plane, connecting flights and airports we spent time in. Last year, we went to Disney World. I've always wanted to write a book about a detective or woman on the run, who use Disney World to muddy their trail. Any idea how hard it is to tail someone in that place? Not to mention to notice that someone is following you? What if you were a character who worked there? The possibilities, of course, are endless.

This spring break, my love of research is going on the road as I take my daughter back to the state she was born in and spend some time enjoying the location's history. That's right, we're going back to Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. I lived in Northern VA for more than a decade. I met my husband there and I gave birth there. So I have a serious nostalgia factor going on when it comes to visiting.

But wait, there's more.

Chaos Unintended

My novel Prime Evil is set in the region as Leesburg is where main character Chance Monroe lives. Part of our return to the area is for research into the next book which I am writing as I type this (well, not literally because I can't type two things at the same time – ahh if only I could!). But the skeleton of the story already has musculature and major organs, now I need to give it the surface and area descriptions. It's been five years since my last visit, so I expect there are going to be changes, awakening of new memories and more.



Beyond the novel research, the other major destination is time in the capitol itself where we can see the Memorials, the Smithsonian, the White House and more. We have a laundry list of stops to make, photos to take and new information to absorb. Best of all, we're going to be writing notes.

Lots and lots of notes.

Spring Break at the Daily Dose

We've got a great spring break planned for the Daily Dose too, so be sure to check out our 'write' of spring as young adult authors go wild for the week! You just might win a few prizes along the way.

Do you have plans for spring break?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Name That ...

Do you want to play a game? I do! Have you ever spent some time reading your television's guide channel blurbs? You know, you're scrolling through the 952 channels to see what's on and you see a familiar film name, highlight it and then stare at the blurb agog?

For example, the film I am thinking of right now read:

Asteroid heads for Earth as a man's daughter finds love with his employee.

Now, if you saw that blurb anywhere, would you really be that interested?

Or:

Women play baseball while men fight war. Tom Hanks stars. Penny Marshall directed.

These blurbs make me crazy. I don't know if they are limited by space, creativity or just generally caring. But in that note, I have a little game for you to play. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to name all ten of the following books/movies/shows based on these one-line blurbs. Let's keep people honest too – you have to email them to me. I'll draw a name from those who submit for a gift certificate to somewhere fun.

Name That…




  • A New York cop spends his Christmas trapped in a L.A. high rise


  • This detective uses magic to find lost items, solve crimes and fight a magical war


  • The fate of the universe rests in the hands of a young farm boy.


  • A chauvinistic morning commentator practices romantic experiments on his producer


  • Convicts hijack a plane and an army ranger in this high-octane action film


  • A man seeks revenge on the best friend who sent him to prison and stole his fiancé


  • After he trips through time, this man finds unexpected love with an advertising executive


  • When this astronaut falls through a wormhole, he discovers new allies and enemies


  • When the world is in trouble, this Doctor is the only one who can save it


  • This young hero battles monsters, curses and destiny to save the Princess


Bonus: This experience veteran cop uses everything at her disposal to bring justice for the dead.

Can you name all of these? I can't wait to see what you come up with. Feel free to play along with your own one-line blurbs in the comments. I'd love to guess what you come up with too!




Monday, March 1, 2010

Let the Reading Begin

One of the hardest things about being a writer is finding time to read. The life of a writer, unless you are tremendously successful, is spent juggling obligations to work, family, life and writing. More often than not, this leaves little time for reading and in most cases, less than we writers would desire. My love affair with books began when I was a child, I've devoured whole series in just a few days. I would haunt the bookstore week in and week out to find new books by favorite authors while open to discovering new treasures by authors I'd never heard of before.

Still, as a writer, much of my 'spare' time is spent immersed in the worlds that I create, writing to discover what will happen next and exploring how it can be done better. This creative process can be like a fever, all consuming and leaving you aching and wanting more when you have to get up and go to work. Periodically, it can be grueling simply to separate yourself from the work in progress in order to focus on mundane matters like grocery shopping, laundry and working the day job long enough to pay the bills.



A Whole New World

The truer this is, the harder it can be to take the time to discover a wonderful new author and the world the author has lavishly and lovingly created. On Saturday, I spent most of the day sitting at a Barnes and Noble with a number of other authors who were signing their books for new readers and old fans alike. Some of these authors, I know from my local writers groups, yet I'd never seen their books before – why?

Because I just don't spend a lot of time reading new books, I miss those days when I could kick back with a book over lunch or after work. These days, my reading time is limited to the hour my daughter spends in dance class, once per week and the occasional time spent waiting elsewhere. That lack of reading time leads me to miss out on fabulous authors like Catherine Spangler, Shayla Black, Sheniqua Waters, Leslie Langtry and so many more.

So as we kick off March, I'm making a commitment to feature one new author a month that I've just heard of or discovered. I guarantee most will not come as a surprise to avid readers of paranormal romances, romantic suspense or fantasy – but for me, they are going to be new.

Shayla Black

My March pick for author of the month is Shayla Black. I have had the great good fortune to meet Shayla and she is a tremendously fun and funny woman. But her books, particularly her The Doomsday Brethren have intrigued me enough that I have the first three to read. I am about halfway through Tempt Me with Darkness, the book I mentioned in yesterday's snips and clips. In this novel we meet Marrok of Cadbury, cursed with immortal life and no release of any kind by Morgan LeFay for over 1500 years until he meets Olivia Gray, a Le Fay descendant. Their meeting occurs just as a Dark Wizard is coming back into his own power and they are in possession of a magical item he lusts for.

Can Marrok and Olivia work their problems out? Can Marrok keep Olivia alive? These are all fantastic questions for new readers.

So join me this March and check out Shayla Black. If you're interested in winning a copy of Tempt Me with Darkness leave a comment and tell me about a new author that you are enjoying, what books are best to start with and even a little about what made them stand out for you. I'll draw one winner, maybe two on March 31st!

Let the reading begin!