Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!!

I'm off to my hometown to celebrate the season with my family. Tons of exciting stuff like a birthday, an anniversary, and of course the big day. :) 

I'll be back in January with an interview with the amazing PJ Hoover, JaNoWriMo, giveaways, and an exciting new series release. :) 

Home for the Holidays: On June 7th, high school softball pitcher, Ashley Runion was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with leukemia. Over six months later, Ashley has endured countless medical procedures, chemotherapy, and spent 165 days in the hospital battling the disease. She is truly an amazing inspiration and I just found out through her site, she's strong enough to spend the holidays at home with her family! Way to go, Ashley! :)  

Have a jolly holiday, everyone! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pretty Tough Tuesday

Need a last minute gift for a sporty chick? Check out today's Pretty Tough blog, Last Minute Gift List: Sporty Bags. :) 

Have a jolly day, everyone! :) 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yay for YA JANUARY GIVEAWAY

Happy 2009 and Happy Birthday to Elvis! :) Two weeks after Christmas, Elvis Presley and I celebrate our birthdays. I absolutely love birthdays, but sharing my birthday with the King of Rock and Roll kind of sucks. When I was a little girl, I had to endure countless hours of Elvis movies, music, and dedications. Sorry, Elvis, I do like your song "Can't Help Falling in Love" even though I prefer the U2 version and a few late sixties tunes, but your movies.. Not so much... :) 

To celebrate the first month of the year, I have some amazing books to giveaway, including this month's South Jersey Mom Magazine's Chick Lit Pick and a brand new hot off the press special autographed copy.  

Lauren Barnholdt is one of my absolute fave authors, so I have to part with and giveaway one of her books to share the love. Her first book, Reality Chick, hooked me, like she always does, from page one and I nonstop read the entire book during one summer day. This one is a fun, can't miss novel. 
January's South Jersey Mom Magazine's Chick Lit Pick is Jennifer Lee Carrell's international bestseller, Interred With Their Bones which is an action packed literary adventure. Filled with detailed description and edge of your seat prose, this book will sure to please reader's looking for an intellectual escape. 
Last, but certainly not least, my fellow author and friend, Jessica Burkhart debuts her first book from the Canterwood Crest Series, Take the Reins, this month. I cannot wait to get my hands on this series. I love reading books by authors who show some serious sparkle for their subject. And Jessica is an equestrian fanatic. She's giving away one signed copy of Take the Reins and a postcard. 

To enter to win Reality Chick, Interred With Their Bones, and a signed copy of Take the Reins, this month's question is: Who shares your birthday? If you're not sure who celebrates your big day with you, click here

Besides Elvis, David Bowie shares my birthday. Too bad I can't sing. But, the interesting birthday sharer in the family is my hubby who celebrates with Adolf Hitler. Yikes. :)

Here are the contest rules: 
1. To enter to win the above mentioned two books and autographed copy of Take the Reins, leave a comment telling me who shares your big day. 
2. The contest ends at midnight on January 31st, 2009. The winner will be posted on February 1st, 2009. A family member or friend will pick the winner (including my dog at times). 
3. The contest is open to everyone. Don't be shy my writer friends. 
4. If you post the contest on MySpace, Facebook, or your blog, you automatically receive two entries. 

Good luck, everyone! :)   

Yay For YA HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY WINNER


The winner of LET IT SNOW, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, and the TWILIGHT poster is...

RYLIE!!!!!

A big thank you to everyone who entered and posted about the contest. I loved reading each and every festive comment.  Recently, my daughter is getting into games. So this month, we made a card for each comment (two if you posted) and she choose Rylie bright and early this morning. Check out the Yay for YA January Giveaway posted today and have a jolly holiday! :) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Barbies and Bestsellers


It's been a long, long time. But, now we're reunited. Finally. Barbie, I missed you. 
Yes, I know I turned my back to you after my BFF discovered my stash shoved underneath my bed after a seventh grade basketball game. But, seriously, it was time. Now we're together again after Kaci caught the fever and thankfully begged for Barbies for her birthday. And, wow! The twenty-first century Barbie is so much better. Diamond castles, gorgeous outfits, and even a soccer coach Barbie. Amazing. 
Why did I love Barbies so much? I loved creating stories, settings, and characters. Barbies were the beginning of my writing career. So many Friday nights I spent memorizing DALLAS so I could run back into my room and recreate the Pam and Bobby scenes. Then, during the day, I would do the same thing with soaps. Okay, it was blatant plagiarism, but it was the beginning of plotting. And, I always knew I needed a Ken, Barbie, mean Ken, and mean Barbie. Hence, the beginning of character development. :) 
However, Barbie and I do have one unresolved issue. What's the deal? How come I didn't grow up to look like you? 

Did you play with Barbies? If not, what did you play with obsessively? For the moms and dads out there, what toy do you secretly enjoy playing with? :)  

SCREWBALL News: We're gearing up for the release of CHANGE UP, the sequel to SCREWBALL. In the meantime, SCREWBALL is the number one bestseller at the Pretty Tough shop. Yay! Thanks, readers. :) 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: I'm over at Pretty Tough today blogging about my trip to Texas. :) 

Have a jolly day, everyone! :)  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Won NaNoWriMo! (Kind of)

I finished NaNoWriMo! However, I have a confession. I did write the 59,000 words, revised the entire new novel, and sent it to my agent on Sunday night. So, it counts, right? But, I began writing my book on October 15th and finished 25,000 words before November 1st because I really wanted to win and I knew holiday hoopla and my teaching job would get in the way. I feel like a fake. Here's the question: Am I still a NaNoWriMo winner? Or am I turning into one of those annoying athletic has beens who has to win at everything? I felt so guilty on Sunday, I never claimed my prize. :( 

The amazing Meg Cabot says, "It's a challenge, not a competition." And I promise next year, I will adopt this mantra and refrain from this behavior. :)

Other embarrassing Thanksgiving examples of my compulsive competitive nature: 

1. Tumbling over a bush and grass staining my best jeans the day before Thanksgiving to score on a breakaway against my hubby and dad. My eight year old niece and I won the family backyard soccer game by one goal. Girl Power. :)

2. Instead of letting my adorable four-year-old niece win a Memory game on Thanksgiving, I beat her. She accused me of cheating and said I took an extra turn. I definitely won fair and square. :) 

I seriously need competition rehab or something. :) 

Are you competitive? Do you have to win? 

Speaking of winning, thanks Alea! I won her Novel Adventure Giveaway. Check out her site for amazing giveaways and fun posts. :) 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: After a short break to write my new novel, I'll be back blogging for Pretty Tough next Tuesday! :) 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

I'm heading to my hometown for the holiday to celebrate Turkey Day with bunches of football, food, and fun with my family. 

What are you doing this Thanksgiving? 

Have a fabulous day! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

High School Homecomings and Cool Aid

I've been thinking a lot about High School Homecomings. Most likely because my WIP is wrapped around the high school homecoming season. 

Homecoming was a huge event in my tiny hometown. A court and official song were chosen. A parade rolled down Main Street. The Maple Shade Progress covered the festivities. And the days leading up to homecoming were filled with contests, hallway decorations, a pep rally, games, a sock hop, and the official presentation of the spirit stick. 

My memories of high school consist of tiny flashes of time. Homecoming is no exception. Important soccer games, hanging out with friends at the parade and football game, dances, good times, and songs flood my brain. Oh and I remember the football team kind of sucked. I don't think we actually won a homecoming game during my four years. Wait, maybe junior year. But, we always had fun afterwards. :) 

Did your school or does your school celebrate homecoming? If your school participates, what sticks out in your mind about homecoming? What did you or do you like about it? Dislike? Do you have a fave homecoming memory? 

My fave memory? A hilarious moment at the football game during my junior year. The skies opened up and it began to pour. My best friend and I were loyal Wildcat fans and stuck around with a few others to cheer in the stands. When I turned around to look at her, red water rolled down her face. 

Me: "Tam, red water is rolling down your face." 
Tammi: "Uh. It's Cool Aid." 
Me: "What?" 
Tammi: "I wanted red highlights this morning so I washed my hair with Cool Aid." 

Happy Homecoming Season and have a great day! :)  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Terrific Texas Weekend


Texas was a blast! I met a ton of fantastic people and the food, softball, and facilities were amazing. I ate at my first yummy Tex Mex Restaurant, I only freaked out once on the plane, and I bought my first cowboy hat for Kaci. And don't laugh, but I actually came home with sunburn in November. :) Thanks, Kim, Amanda, and Kathy for shuttling me around the great state of Texas. 
The best day was Sunday, when I met and hung out with USA Softball gold and silver medalist and the best shortstop in the world, Natasha Watley. Not only is she an incredibly talented softball player, but she is super sweet, beautiful, and shared some fantastic stories. 

What's the best news? Besides meeting hundreds of super softball players, my publisher estimated we sold and signed over 120 copies of SCREWBALL. Thanks, Texas! :) 

Ever been to Texas? How was your weekend? 

Happy Veterans Day, Dad!! And have an amazing day, everyone! 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Texas Bound

This weekend I'm heading to Houston, Texas to meet my publisher for a SCREWBALL book signing at The Ronald McDonald Tournament which benefits the Ronald McDonald House in Houston. And besides hanging out with amazing 16U, 14U, and 12U softball players all weekend, on Sunday, I'm spending the day with USA softball superstar, Natasha Watley! :)

I'm so excited because this is my first trip to Texas. What are you doing this weekend? :) 

Have a great day, everyone! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Five for Stephanie Kuehnert

Whenever I read a novel that sticks in my noggin, I'm dying to ask the author tons of questions. Especially, when the novel is written so personally, I swear the main character is the author. After finishing I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, I was burning with a boat load of questions. And the fabulous Stephanie Kuehnert was kind enough to answer each one. 

Don't forget to check out the YAY FOR YA HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY. You can snag a copy of IWBYJR, LET IT SNOW, and a TWILIGHT poster. :) 

1. I was impressed with your description and how you were able to capture the sometimes suffocating feeling of living in a small town, like Carlisle, Wisconsin. Did you grow up in a small town? If so, do you prefer the city or the suburb? 

I grew up in a suburb that really felt like a small town at times. I moved from a working class neighborhood in St. Louis to Oak Park, IL, the middle class suburb of Chicago that is famous for Ernest Hemmingway (whose writing I never liked even though that might be blasphemy in some circles) and Frank Lloyd Wright. I felt pretty suffocated growing up there and I'm sure I used some of those feelings when writing about Carlisle from Emily's perspective. Now I live in another suburb of Chicago, but it feels more like a neighborhood than a suburb, so I like it. Chicago just feels too big for me to live in the city proper, plus I just can't afford it. I prefer smaller cities. I lived right in downtown Madison, Wisconsin and I loved it. My dream place to live would be Seattle, Washington. I think both of these places feel a bit closer to nature than Chicago. I love Chicago dearly, but I do miss that about living in Madison and it is why I may defect for Seattle one of these days. 

2. The main character in IWBYJR, Emily Black, has an amazing passion for music. How were you able to capture and communicate this passion so vividly? 

Because I have the same passion. No, I can't play music. I've tried but since I didn't have Emily's natural gift for it, I didn't have the discipline to keep practicing -- I reserved that discipline for my writing! But I have the same feelings as Emily about music. It stirs me up, it soothes me, it is my escape. I got into alternative rock and punk rock when I was about ten or eleven. I felt like a real misfit in my suburban town at that time, but I felt like bands like Nirvana, Social Distortion, Hole, etc, understood me and when I went to concerts I really felt like I was part of something. It also encouraged my creative side. I always write about things inspired by music in one way or another! 

3. I loved the characters in IWBYJR and I remember reading that you list your character traits on index cards. What types of traits do you list on the index cards? Do you interview your characters? Is this something you list before you write or during? 

I actually started the index card trait thing for my second book, BALLADS OF SUBURBIA, because I was dealing with so many characters and needed to keep track. With IWBYJR, I wrote a short story form the perspective of each character (Emily, Louisa, Michael, Molly, Regan, Tom) to get to know them and where they are coming from fully. I wrote about the pivotal moments of change in their lives, the story that made them who they are really. Some of those stories stayed in the book in some form or another and some did not, but I think that was my version of interviewing them. I did that for BALLADS too, but those actually stayed in that book because each character gets a chance to tell their "ballad" which is the pivotabl moment I described above. I do all this stuff including the index cards while I'm writing. I'm not too good at plotting out my writing. I see a scene in my mind and I dive right into it and keep going until I get stuck basically. I fill in details as I discover them and keep track of them on my index card if the story is so big it necessitates that. 

4. Do you follow a daily writing schedule? Or do you only write when you feel creative? 

I crave a daily writing schedule. I would love to have one. I actually prefer to start and the morning and write as long as I'm feeling it, but alas there is work and promoting IWBYJR and all sorts of other things that are in my way right now and mildly frustrating me. So right now, sadly, I write when I find time. But the goal is by the end of the month to have a daily writing schedule. 

5. As a teen, how involved were you with the 90's music scene? Were you part of a band? Did you meet or see any up and coming bands before they hit it big? 

I wasn't part of a band though I was friends with people in bands and I went to concerts religiously. There was a place called the Fireside Bowl, a bowling alley where the punk shows were put on that I went to usually once a week. Did I see bands before they made it big... Well it depends what "Big" means. I saw lots of early to mid-nineties punk bands when they were just starting out though I'm not sure if any of them got to be huge or anything. The best example is probably that I saw some of Sleater-Kinney's earliest shows and did meet them at a show in Madison. I saw bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Offspring and Beck right when they were on the cusp of big. More recently, I saw/hung out with Against Me! about a year before their major label debut because they are friends of a friend. Office is a band that got a lot of buzz last year and should be HUGE and I went to high school with the guitarist, Tom and saw almost all of his early shows with this first two bands, The Skexies and the Slackjaws. The drummer of the Slackjaws, Mike, is in a band called Social Studies now that also deserves to be big. I've thoroughly believed since I met them that Tom and Mike would be huge someday and I hope they will. 

Thanks, Stephanie! 

Have a great day, everyone!! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

YAY FOR YA HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY

I absolutely adore the holiday season. Besides summer, the holidays are my favorite time of year. Tons of family time, gift giving, decorations, carols, shopping, twinkly lights, and parties. In fact, some of my best life moments happened during the holiday season. My daughter's birthday is December 7th. My hubby asked me to marry him in New York City during the holidays. And the first ARC of SCREWBALL arrived at my doorstep a few days after Christmas last year. 

I'm so excited to give away two of my most recent favorite reads: Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson, and John Green's Let It Snow: Three Holiday Stories and Stephanie Kuehnert's I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. Also, as a special holiday gift, I'm including a Twilight movie poster. Why am I in such a festive mood already? Because I'm about to announce amazing novel news and I'm flying to Texas next weekend to sign books and hang out with USA Softball superstar, Natasha Watley. :) 

Want a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit? Let it Snow: Three Holiday Stories is a fantastic seasonal story collection. All the stories interconnect in a way only Myracle, Johnson, and Green can do it. In fact, I'm about to read this one again, I liked it so much. 

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a wonderful novel about music, friendship, finding yourself, and the pitfalls along the way. Stephanie sucked me right in on page one and never let me go. After finishing the book, I was burning with tons of questions for Stephanie about her writing style, the characters, and setting. Stephanie was kind enough to answer each one. I'll be posting the interview on Tuesday. 

And check out this small TWILIGHT poster (it's double sided) I'm including with the giveaway: 
To enter to win two books and a poster, this month's question is: Are you a giver or a receiver? What do you like better? To give presents or to receive them? Or what is the best present you ever gave or received? 

I used to be a definite receiver, but now, I seriously love giving presents. Watching my daughter's eyes light is absolutely amazing. And, of course, I love spoiling my nieces. My best present? Definitely my daughter. :) 

Here are the contest rules: 

1. To enter to win the above mentioned two books and poster, leave a comment telling me about whether you are a giver or receiver or the best present you ever gave or received. 
2. The contest ends at midnight on December 14th, 2008 and the winner will be posted on December 15th, 2008. A family member will pick the winner (including my dog at times). 
3. The contest is open to everyone. Don't be shy, my writer friends. 
4. If you post the contest on MySpace or your blog, you automatically receive two entries. 

Good luck, everyone!! :)

YAY FOR YA OCTOBER GIVEAWAY WINNER

The winner of the entire Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series, Al Capone Does My Shirts, and An Abundance of Katherines is...............

Kelly!!!!!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! I really enjoyed reading comments about costumes, pumpkins, foliage, and everything fall. My nieces were kind enough to participate this month. After some pushing and shoving, they choose Kelly's entry from an empty Halloween Trick or Treat bag this morning. 

Hope you had an amazing Halloween! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Name Game

Yesterday, while time wasting instead of writing, I stumbled across Is This Your Name? website. Check it out. Just type in your first and last name and the website will fill you in on extremely important information, like how many people in the USA share your name, the percentage of vowels, your name in pig latin, your personal power animal, and your name's origin and meaning. 

According to the website, I'm the only American with the name, Keri Mikulski, and my personal power animal is a hippopotamus. :) How about you? How many people share your name? What's your personal power animal? 

Phillies Fever is at an all-time high here in South Jersey and my friends and family are torturing me (I'm a huge Yankees fan). While the Phillies are one game away (actually three and a half innings) from winning the World Series, Derek Jeter is spending his off time with his newest galpal actress, Minka Kelly. Something else I was researching yesterday instead of writing. 

What are you *cough* researching right now? ;) 

Congratulations, PJ Hoover. Her new novel, THE EMERALD TABLET dropped last week. I can't wait to check it out. :) 

Have an amazing day, everyone! :) 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spooky Stories


Halloween is a measly ten days away. The weather is chilly. Orange and black decorations pepper lawns across our town. And the days are getting shorter. 

Every October, I love to curl up with at least one spooky novel. This year, I picked up Interred with their Bones, Wicked Lovely, and Bliss to satisfy my scary craving. What are you reading? Do you like to curl up with creepy stories during the month of October? Did anyone read Interred with their Bones, Wicked Lovely, or Bliss? What did you think? 

Another books I can't wait to check out is debut author and fellow Jersey girl, Cyn Balog's FAIRY LUST. :) Cyn Balog was kind enough to carve out some time to answer a few questions about her writing journey, her other job, the call, and her brand spanking new novel. 
1. How long have you been writing? Did you always write or did you work in another profession? 

I've always been a writer. I read a hundreds of books a year and reading them always inspired me to write my own. I still have several old manuscripts from when I was eight or nine. One of them was a Choose Your Own Adventure book that I wrote because I was obsessed with them as a kid. Recently, I sat down and went through them all and wow. I have no idea where my ideas came from. But, I am jealous of how prolific I was! I had a dozen stories going on at that time. My friends and family always knew I wanted to write. My uncles and aunts bought me writing books as gifts, my friends called me 'writer girl', and my parents bought me a word processor and a writing desk when I was very young. I think when I did get 'the call' they were like, "it's about time". 

2. Tell us about the day you received 'The Call' for FAIRY LUST. 

A lot of writers, when their book goes on submissions, might hear about the interest their book is generating. I heard nothing. It was on submission for six weeks and *crickets*. This was the second book my agent had sent on submissions, and I was sitting there thinking, "Well, if it was going to sell, I would have heard SOMETHING by now." It was at that exact moment that my agent called and said that Stephanie Lane at Delacorte loved it. I was thinking, "Well, that's great. If she loves it, now it will have to go through an editorial board and a bunch of other hoops and maybe, just maybe, they will buy it." And that's when she told me they offered a 'pre-empt'. I screamed and cried and told everyone at work, who kind of just gave me a blank stare because no one knew I was a writer. Then my husband and I celebrated by getting McDonalds (yes, we know how to live it up). 

3. Are you working on any other projects right now? 

Yes, I just sold a book titled SLEEPLESS for publication in Summer 2010. And an untitled project for publication in Summer 2011, to Delacorte. I am so thrilled because Delacorte is wonderful, and I love everything they've done with FAIRY LUST. SLEEPLESS is a paranormal about the afterlife and a forbidden romance. Not sure what the next project is, but I'm sure it will be paranormal. 

4. I've read that you are involved with the running magazine, RUNNER'S WORLD. Can you tell us about your mag job? And have you ever ran a marathon? 

I am the events manager for Runner's World. I run a program that they have to sponsor races across the country, and I get to travel to many of them, which is exciting. A few years ago, before the birth of my daughter, I was running twenty-five miles a week. That's actually not that much, when you consider I work with marathon winners who go on 100-mile ultra-runs for fun - it's a little intimidating. Unfortunately, I'm no longer a serious runner, though I love running a lot and keep trying to get back into it. But with a full-time job, a family, and writing, something had to give. 

5. I love the cover of FAIRY LUST. Can you tell us about the cover design? 

Marci Senders is the amazing designer who created the cover. I was extremely lucky because I never had to give any input whatsoever. I just received a jpg one day, opened it, and squealed with glee. It was unanimous. Everyone loved it. 

Make sure to pick up a copy of FAIRY LUST when it drops June 23, 2009 or pre-order a copy today. Check out the blurb for FAIRY LUST below: 

Morgan Sparks and Cam Brown are a match made in heaven. They've been best friends practically since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah - they're totally hot for each other. 

But a week before they're joint sweet sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam's awkward cousin, Pip comes to stay, and Cam starts acting distant. Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away. When Morgan demands answers, she's shocked the reason for Cam's distance. It's not another girl - it's another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously, a fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King. 

Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny. Witty, original, and unexpectedly touching, FAIRY LUST will captivate fans of TWILIGHT and WICKED LOVELY. 

Thanks, Cyn for joining us today. 

Don't miss this: The fabulous Book Muncher is on Wheel of Fortune tomorrow night. :) 

Have an amazing day, everyone! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Invaded

Last Thursday, my house was invaded. 

While in the midst of my usual morning routine, I grabbed Kaci's Flinestones' sour gummy multivitamin out of the cabinet and spotted two ants on the countertop. I looked left to open the fridge and ants were seriously everywhere. Zillions on my fridge, the cabinet, the floor, the island, the countertops, even the dishwasher. It was disgusting.

At first, I freaked out. Insects are nasty. Then, I called my hubby to come home and lead the massacre. A few hours later, we were completely bug free and I could breathe again. 

I have an insect issue. Bugs give me the willies. But, I hate killing them. I mean, each ant is a mommy ant's baby and I feel terrible about ending lives. 

Are you a bug smasher or do you call someone else to do the dirty deed? Do you feel bad about killing insects? 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Check out Part Four of my interview with fastpitch phenom, Angela Tincher. 

Amazing Giveaway: Don't miss Kelly Parra's Secret Fates Giveaway. Tons of authors and tons of free books. Happy Release Day, Kelly! :) 

Have a great day, everyone! :) 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Fair and Bloodied

Last weekend, I attended the Collingswood Book Fair, spent way too much money, and hung out with a ton of amazing authors, like..





Later, I went for a run. I don't know if it was the excitement of meeting such fabulous authors or if it was the brand new inhaler my doctor prescribed that's shaving a minute off my mile time or if it's the new novel I'm brainstorming, but I tripped. And I didn't just stumble a bit, I fell hard. Hard enough for someone to stop their car and ask if I was okay. Hard enough to cut up and bruise four body parts. So hard that four days later, I'm still picking stones out of my gashes. 

In fact, my knees look worse then Amy Winehouse's do in this pic. I tried to laugh it off, but it hurt. Like seriously. And it was embarrassing because I think I tripped over my own feet. And when I returned to the scene I couldn't exactly find anything sticking up or out.  :) 

Did anyone ever wipe out running? Or did anyone ever trip or do something strange because their mind was on something else? 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Check out Part 3 of Angela Tincher's interview. Today, Angela shares what it's like to play professional softball. 

Have an amazing day, everyone! :) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

YAY FOR YA OCTOBER GIVEAWAY

The nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter. October is here. And every October, a spooky story or mystery is always next on my TBR pile. 

In honor of October, I'm giving away a record breaking six books: Julie Kenner's entire Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series, John Green's An Abundance of Katherines, and Gennifer Choldenko's Al Capone Does My Shirts

The best selling Days and Nights of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom fantasy suburban adventure series follows Kate Conner as she battles demons and juggles a family life. Filled with suspense and fun, this edge of your seat series includes four books: Carpe Demon, California Demon, Demons are Forever, and Deja Demon

Although, John Green's An Abundance of Katherines isn't Halloweenish, I had to share it with everyone. Green's voice is amazing and An Abundance of Katherines is an entertaining coming of age novel. Thanks, Kaitlyn for the recommendation. :)

What's October without a novel with a spooky setting? Moose Flanagan is forced to live on the prison island of Alcatraz during the 1920's.  Al Capone Does My Shirts is another book my students consistently raved about. Therefore, the novel I'm giving away is loved. 

Can you believe Halloween is a measly thirty days away? I enjoy Halloween because it signals the beginning of the holiday season. Plus, I love trick or treating with my daughter and helping her choose her costume. This year, we're even dressing up the dog. :) Even though, I'm a bit too shy to go all out on Halloween, I absolutely love answering the door and walking the streets to witness others wearing amazing duds.  

To enter to win October's giveaway, all you have to do is share with me your favorite costume of all time. If you don't celebrate Halloween or you don't have a fave costume, just tell me what you like best about October.

My fave costume of all-time is my Star Wars Princess Leia costume I wore when I was seven.  My mom created the white dress with the matching white boots, exactly like the movie. And she wrapped my blond hair in those crazy side buns. I carried my brother's water gun. Tons of fun. 

Here are the contest rules:
 
1. To enter to win the above mentioned six books, leave a comment about your all time favorite costume or your favorite thing about October. 
2. The contest ends at midnight on October 31st, 2008 and the winner will be posted on November 1st, 2008. My daughter or dog will pick the winner. 
3. The contest is open to everyone. Don't be shy my writer friends. :)
4. If you post the contest on your blog or MySpace, you automatically receive two entries. Once again, last month's winner was a poster. 

Good luck! Have an amazing day everyone! :)  

YAY FOR YA SEPTEMBER GIVEAWAY WINNER

The winner for the Yay for YA September Giveaway is....

ALYCE!!!

Once again I tossed the entries on the floor. Kaci picked up Alyce first. Congratulations, Alyce! Please email me your address and I'll send the books ASAP Thanks for entering everyone and check out the Yay for YA October Giveaway posted today. I'm giving away six books. :) 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pretty Tough Tuesday


Check out Part 2 of my exclusive Pretty Tough interview with 2008 Collegiate Player of the Year and super nice softball superstar, Angela Tincher. Today, Tincher shares pitching tips and what it was like to tryout for Team USA. 

Don't forget today is the last day to enter to win the Yay for YA September Giveaway. Tomorrow morning I'll post the winner and a brand new October five book giveaway. Good luck! 

Have an amazing day, everyone! :) Back to work.

Friday, September 26, 2008

TGIF Tag


Beth from Writing it Out tagged me for a meme. :) Check out her blog this week. She's posting tons of notes from a SCBWI conference. Good stuff. 




Rules: 
1. People tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves. 
2. Tag 8 people to do this quiz. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person they were tagged by. Continue the game by sending it to other people. 

1. What are your nicknames? Bucky and Boo Boo. :)

2. What do you do before bedtime? Read a book to my daughter, tuck her in, watch television, and chat with my hubby.

3. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD form? Grease 

4. What is your favorite scent? Vanilla

5. If you had a million dollars you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it? Buy a gorgeous beach house in Stone Harbor. :)  

6. Share some recent good news. I just landed an amazing agent! ;) 

7. Do you trust easily? Yes, but I'm getting more suspicious as I age. 

8. Do you generally think before you act or act before you think? Usually I act before I think.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days? When people I love are ill or suffering.

10. Do you have a good body image?  Sometimes. 

11. What is your favorite fruit? Apples 

12. What websites do you visit daily? Perez Hilton :) 

13. What have you seriously been addicted to lately? One Tree Hill

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? An incredibly smart, nice, amazing teacher, and person. :)

15. What is the last song that got stuck in your head? "The Backyardigans" theme song. 

16. What is your favorite item of clothing? Long sleeve tees and a good pair of jeans.

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? As long as they're in the treat form. 

18. What would you do if you saw $100 on the ground? Look around, then pick it up. 

19. What items could you not go without during the day? My laptop. 

20. What should you be doing right now? Writing :)

I tag the everyone at Amoeba Made of Awesome, Teri Brown, and anyone else who wants to participate. And if you don't feel like tackling the whole thing, pick your favorite question and answer it. I love reading MeMe's. :)

Have an amazing day everyone!! :) 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Sunday night, fans and players said goodbye to Yankee Stadium. I don't know why, but when the word goodbye is involved, I tend to get all emotional. Saying goodbye sucks. 

Here's Derek Jeter's speech after the game. He's amazing. 
Most of the time I avoid saying goodbye. Maybe it's change I don't handle well, but I hate endings. Beginnings are okay, but endings are gut wrenching. When I played my last soccer game, I cried like a baby and refused to take my uniform off. When I left my teaching job to work part time and stay home with my daughter, I left with a giant lump in my throat. Even when I'm writing an ending, I get emotional. Normally, I'm not a huge crier, but when it comes to saying goodbye I unload.

How do you feel about saying goodbye? Are you good at it? Or do you avoid goodbyes? Did you ever overreact to a simple goodbye? 
 
Pretty Tough Tuesday: I had the pleasure of interviewing NCAA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year, Angela Tincher, last week. Tincher made softball history when she lead Virginia Tech to a no hit, shut out win against Team USA last spring. She's incredibly nice, humble, and an absolute joy to interview. Check it out here

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's Cyber Party Time

Tons of giveaways.. Check it out here. :) Enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Do You Think?

Did you hear? Recently, Lauren Conrad, star of THE HILLS, signed a three book deal with Harper Collins. Out next summer, the three young adult books will be based on a girl who moves to Los Angeles and stars in a reality show. 

What do you think of the deal? 

The teacher in me is thrilled. As long as teens are reading, I'm for any book or books they're interested in. The reader in me might read the books. Okay, I admit it, I probably will. I mean, I was first in line to buy and loved Pamela Anderson's two novels, STAR and STAR STRUCK. And the author in me is wondering how the books will sell. Do you think they'll hit the bestseller's list? Will you read the books? 

Don't miss Brooke Taylor's enlightening and hilarious post about Conrad's deal here.  :)

Happy Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Thanks book bloggers for everything you do to promote authors, books, and reading. You guys are amazing. :) 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Check out a list of Facebook groups for fastpitch fans and players here

Have an amazing day everyone! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Because I Played Sports

A couple of weeks ago, my publisher at Pretty Tough sent me a link to a new sporty blog to check out. As I scrolled through the amazing blog, I literally cheered when I read the site was founded by a former Haddon Heights High School athlete. Yay, 3HS alumi! I coached softball at HHHS for a couple of years and it's a great school. Small world. :) 

Check out this interview with Because I Played Sports Editor in Chief and HHHS grad, Megan Hueter. Yesterday, she posted a story about a female kicker who was 'kicked' off her high school football team because she's a girl. Hello? It's 2008. :(

I love the name of your blog - Because I Played Sports. How did you come up with the title? 

This is a really interesting question, primarily because I've been thinking about it so much lately. I'm so glad you like it. 

When I first started my blog, the purpose was to convey a message that participation in sport is vitally important as we grow into adu
lts. My site would seek to find those stories and tell them. Then in, writing and reading, I realized that my passion primarily lies in women's sports, so now I have the female focus with a general mission of bringing a voice to women's sports online. I hope to tell more stories of how participation sports has affected successful women as I progress my writing and interviewing. 

One of the biggest messages I wanted to convey in the beginning and would still like to see more of is that of providing a supportive environment to young female athletes. I have to thank my parents for enrolling me in sports at a young age. They did a great job raising me, and were never overbearing on pushing on athletics, which (I believe) is a reason I love it so much to this day. I was taught teamwork, the importance of diversity, leadership, goal-setting, what it feels like to succeed, and what it feels like to fail. I've learned the value of hard work and the importance of asking for help. My parents have always been supportive and let me make my own decisions. I think that type of environment is important and necessary for development, and is a message I'm looking to develop as my blog continues to grow. 

Since I've shifted the focus to be more upon women's sports news lately (largely due to the Olympics) I've reconsidered the name. I've tooled with the idea of changing my site to "Because She Played Sports" to drive home my primary mission of bringing a voice to women's sports, but I've received mixed feedback. Many say that I should keep it, "Because I Played Sports" so it's not perpetuating stereotypes that already exist in the industry. What I mean here is that because a lot of sports coverage separate what is "female sports new" from what is "sports news", it's important that I remain with the neutral "I" in the name. I haven't made a decision, but I think I might keep it the way it is (to be different). But I'm always open to new feedback. 

What inspired you to start your amazing blog? 

My boss once asked me what my "dream job" would be. These days, I'd have to say that it would be to become a thought leader in the female sports industry. 

Down the road, I'd love to dedicate my entire career toward contributing toward its growth - in a fight to generate consistent, quality coverage in the media and overcome the obstacle of generating some much-needed continue corporate sponsorship. 

In a little while, I'll be revamping my site and will hopefully offer the ability to have guest bloggers. I hope to bring more voices and more stories, which will add value to the content and visibility. 

Tell me a little bit about your sport's career - highlights, best moments, honors, and awards. Do you still participate in competitive athletics today? 

I played high school basketball at Haddon Heights High School in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. My best moment is winning the conference championship my senior year. For the first time in 30 years, Haddon Heights women's basketball beat Haddonfield (school rival) in the Colonial conference championship. We did it coming from behind in the second half of the game, and performed in front of a packed gym. I don't think I'll ever be able to describe what that feels like. I'm still very good friends with many of the girls who I played with, and I'll never forget that moment. In high school, I also played softball, and it enjoyed it very much, though basketball was my true love. 

After high school, I played basketball for The College of New Jersey (Ewing, NJ). I played all foour years, and was captain my senior year. At TCNJ, my best friends (for the most part) were my teammates. During that time, I learned more about myself then I ever though possible, and I have to credit my teammates for a lot of that self-discovery (as well as some of my professors).

I still participate in competitive athletics on a recreational level. I play in an adult competitive basketball league, both coed and women. I've met some great people in DC, and I highly recommend every young professional who has (or hasn't) played sports to enroll in a local league as soon as possible. It's a great feeling to play sports for fun again (I almost forgot how that felt). It also helps keep me healthy. 

What is your favorite sport to cover? What is your favorite sport to watch? 

This is a difficult question. Since I've been blogging, I've learned so much about so many different sports. One of the things I like most about this experience is learning about events I never thought could be interesting. Living "outside the box" is a great way to look at the world and the sports industry. Women are competing on all kinds of playing fields, everywhere in the world, and they're kicking ass, which is a truly great thing to see and follow.  

Because I'm a competitive person, my favorite sport to play is, of course, basketball. That said, I'm open to new things and look forward to finally finding the time to take up new sports. I also coach AAU basketball for a group of eighth graders in Bethesda, Maryland, and I'm enjoying every second. I'm finally able to give back - it's all coming full circle for me. 

Tell me about your job. Do you work in the sports field? 

I work full-time for a public relations firm in Washington, DC. I work in online public affairs, primarily for healthcare accounts. I've learned an incredible amount about the online space, how it works and how messages are conveyed. Although I'm constantly incredibly busy, I love my job because I've learned more than I ever thought possible in such a short period of time. I hope to utilize these skills in the future. 

I don't work on sports accounts - this is purely a hobby of mine which I hope will one day turn into my dream job. Right now, I'm still learning. 

I'm in graduate school at Johns Hopkins - so I'll be going to school at night for a MA in Communications. Right now, my goal is to get my feet off the ground with my blog, lean as much as I possibly can and see where my knowledge and voice can take me. Hopefully, it's somewhere good. 

Wow, thanks, Megan!! 

In the News:  
1. Nancy Vaiu, author of SAMANTHA HANSON HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD, is donating a dollar to The National Park Foundation for every person who comments on her launch this week. Check out her launch here
2. Don't miss Jennifer Lynn Barnes's interesting post about Stephen King's comment about the Young Adult genre. What do you think?

As you know, today is September 11th. Eerily, the weather is exactly the same as this day seven years ago. The skies were clear blue until later, when the smoke drifted from New York and hovered over New Jersey. We will never forget.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oprah's in Town: Celebrity Sightings

While our little South Jersey shore towns are packing up for the summer, guess who rolls in? Oprah Winfrey. Rumor has it, she owns one heck of a beach house on one of the islands. :) That's right. Oprah gave a speech and donated a huge chuck of cash only five short minutes from my home. Her fiance, Stedman Graham, grew up in Middle Township, New Jersey. He was a local high school basketball star and continues to stay very active in his hometown. Oprah and Stedman visit once a summer and a bunch of locals know the famous duo personally. 

Okay, did I attend Oprah's speech? No. Why? Because I freak out when I spot celebrities in the flesh. Last Spring, while interviewing the USA Softball team, I literally shook like a Tickle Me Elmo doll. A few years ago when I found myself two feet away from Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera, I almost threw up. Yes, I'm a freak.

Rumor has it Anne Hathaway was also in town over the holiday. And I swore I saw Richard Gere in a coffee house during the month of July. Did I talk to him? Of course not. I left.:) But, in my defense, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the real Richard. 

Did anyone ever meet a celebrity? What was your reaction? If you never met a celebrity face-to-face, who would you want to meet? Me, Derek Jeter. But I'd probably pass out. :)  

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Need to read? Want to read a good sporty book? Follow this link.  

Screwball News: The amazing Beth interviewed me about characters, Double Dare, and deserted islands. Check out Beth's Blog and the fun interview here. :) Thanks, Beth! 

Have a great day, everyone!! :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

YAY FOR YA SEPTEMBER GIVEAWAY

Summer's over and September is upon us. September might seem yucky to some, but the month of September is filled with excitement and possibilities. A new school year, new semester, new television season, brand new books to write, fall sports, and great weather. The tourists are gone. And the beach and bay are deserted. All ours once again. 

In honor of September, I'm giving away three great books that each represent the month of September: Jenny O'Connell's THE BOOK OF LUKE, Lauren Weisberger's EVERYONE WORTH KNOWING, and Jennifer Donnelly's A NORTHERN LIGHT


I'm devouring THE BOOK OF LUKE right now and loving it. Can you imagine moving from your hometown to another high school, then moving back to your old high school in the middle of your senior year? That's what happened to Emily and things get really sticky when she falls for her best friend's old boyfriend. Yes, it's set in the middle of the school year, but starting over is definitely a September thing. :)

Since September is an exciting month for television, I'm including EVERYONE WORTH KNOWING by THE DEVEL WEARS PRADA author, Laura Weisberger. EWK is a fun, celebrity filled book about a woman who quits her Manhattan banking job and begins working for the biggest PR firm in the city. Consequently, she finds herself in the VIP room of the most exclusive New York nightclubs and splashed across the gossip columns. Juicy. 

Back to school. Back to books. I taught seventh grade for many years. And every school year, I loved matching students with books. I could never go wrong with A NORTHERN LIGHT. Everyone loved this book. :) 

Why am I so excited about September? I cannot wait for the new seasons of ONE TREE HILL, GOSSIP GIRLS, and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Honestly, I never watched ONE TREE HILL until about two weeks ago when I was nursing a cold and caught a few episodes on the SOAP network. Now, I'm hooked and Ti-Voing every single re-run. Right now, I'm caught up to the 2005 season. And of course, as a teen of the nineties and huge 90210 fan, I'm so excited to watch the new 90210 tomorrow night. Did you hear the rumor that Kelly has a son and Dylan is the father? Great stuff. :) 

So, what television show are you excited to watch? Or if you're not a television junkie, what's your favorite thing about the month of September? 

Here are the contest rules: 
1. To enter to win the above mentioned three books, leave a comment about the television show you are most excited about or your favorite thing about September. 
2. The contest ends at midnight on September 30, 2008 and the winner will be posted on October 1st, 2008. My daughter or dog will pick the winner. :) 
3. The contest is open to everyone. Don't be shy my writer friends. :) 
4. If you post the contest on your blog or MySpace, you automatically receive two entries. Last month's winner was a poster. :) 

Good luck everyone and thanks for entering!! :)