Sunday, May 31, 2009

First CHANGE UP Reader Reaction and Revision Lessons

I'm in the middle of watching some exciting World Series softball right now on ESPN2. Wow, Florida just hit a walk off grand slam to send the Gators to their first final. Great stuff. 

The fabulous Lauren, a fan of the SCREWBALL series and local high school and ASA softball player, contacted me via MySpace a few months ago to tell me how much she loved SCREWBALL. I love, love, love hearing from readers and Lauren absolutely made my day. A few honest teens help me to authenticate plot, character, and dialogue and Lauren recently volunteered to be part of the crew. After I received my ARCs last Friday, I immediately sent a copy of CHANGE UP Lauren's way to thank her for her help with SCREWBALL 3 and the prequel. 

Here's what she said: 

I got CHANGE UP in the mail today! I got home at like 1 and could not stop reading it! I didn't put it down until I finished five minutes ago. I haven't read a book this great in so long. Ashley never failed to surprise me! (I can't post the rest because it's full of spoilers. :))

Thanks, Lauren!!!!

Recent Revision Lessons: 

1. Grab is my fave word. Recently, I used the word 'grab' 127 times in a 300 page manuscript. That's almost once every two pages. Yikes. Nevertheless, if anyone needs help with using another word besides grab, feel free to email me, since I spent last weekend coming up with one hundred ways to describe scenes without using the word, grab. :)
2. I also tend to overuse the word 'seriously'. This particular word I only used 54 times, but sometimes, I used it twice on one page. Then, I realized I overuse this word in real life too. Seriously. :) 

What words do you tend to overuse?? 

Just for Fun: My bud, Justin the Teen Librarian, blogged about this the other day. How many days old are you? Find out here.  

Happy Monday! 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What I'll Be Watching all Weekend...

Full coverage on ESPN, starting today!! :) Yay!!! 

Who am I routing for? Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and/or Michigan - Go East! Until a few years ago, the south and west completely dominated college softball. Since I'm a Jersey girl, I'm cheering for the eastern teams, hoping Florida pulls it off. However, I'm also a huge Coach Candrea fan (I had the pleasure of interviewing him last year and he's amazing) so I'm throwing in one cheer for Arizona. 

What are you doing this weekend? 

Enjoy! :) 

Monday, May 25, 2009

ARCs Have Arrived!!

Happy Memorial Day!! And thanks to all the men and women out there who risk their lives everyday to keep us safe and serve our country. 
CHANGE UP has landed! After Kaci and I arrived home after a trip to the beach, a huge cardboard box was waiting patiently for me on the porch filled with ten ARC copies of CHANGE UP!! :) (My former writing instructor would cringe witnessing all these exclamation points, but I'm soooo excited!!! Sorry, Kristin!!) 
I took CHANGE UP with me everywhere this weekend - to the beach, the boardwalk, my parent's house, the park, the Olive Garden, and I gave one to my ninety two year old ailing grandmother. My always honest first reader, Emily (Kaci's babysitter) was the first to receive a copy. She called me two days later to tell me she loved it! In fact, she said she couldn't put it down. Yay! 
Want to win an ARC? Enter to win an ARC of CHANGE UP, plus four amazing novels here. More CHANGE UP contests coming soon! :) 

Back to work on the prequel to SCREWBALL and SCREWBALL 3. Thanks for letting me spew exclamation points!!!!!! 

Have a fabulous day, everyone! :) 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: The College World Series is here! Check out the latest news here

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What the...

Did anyone watch the ONE TREE HILL finale last night? 

Spoiler Alert: 

I sat on the edge of my seat for one straight hour waiting for something to happen to Lucas and Peyton after reports were confirmed by the network that both were leaving the show. Nothing happened. Nada. No signature OTH drama at all. In fact, the season finale ended happy with dreams coming true and Lucas and Peyton driving into the sunset with their new baby. Okay, I should be elated and it was a nice ending, but it was the total opposite of what I was expecting. What the? Argh.. :) 

What season finales are you watching?  

THE GEEK GIRLS GUIDE TO CHEERLEADING drops today. Join the party here

Don't miss this great blog about the National Pro Fastpitch. If you live near a team, check out a game. It's a great time and the tickets are cheap. :)  

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Get caught up with the week in softball here

Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! :) 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Remembering Amy

Did you ever meet an angel?  
I was lucky enough to work closely with one two years ago before I left my seventh grade teaching job. Amy was a walking Barbie doll. Seriously. She was absolutely gorgeous both inside and out. 

We met after my principal asked me to mentor Amy during her first year of teaching. Amy and I shared a fun year together talking endlessly about teaching, friends, family, writing, my move, celebrities, workouts, books, and Amy's upcoming wedding. Not only was Amy easy to work with and an amazing, caring teacher, she was also a softball coach, so excited to snag a middle school position this spring. We clicked instantly and became good friends.

Amy was killed in an automobile accident on April 8th, 2009 on her way to work.  

Although DeMasi Middle School lost a wonderful teacher and coach on that horrendous day, heaven welcomed a beautiful angel. I was blessed to share so much time with you, Amy, on your short visit here on Earth. I miss you.   

Monday, May 11, 2009

If You Let Me Play

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Hope you had a great day. Kaci surprised me with a giant heart necklace and a matching pink heart balloon she picked out all by herself. :) I'm loving three. 

Speaking of moms, did anyone participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure? My mom and I decided, after watching the event on television yesterday, we are definitely participating next year. Did I ever mention how amazing and strong my mother is? Her strength this past year was unbelievable and super inspiring. Happy Mothers Day, Mom.

Work is picking up and exciting. I should have my first ARC of CHANGE UP in my hand by the end of the month. This morning I finished up a proposal and sent it to my agent for another sporty series I'm working on with a brand. :) Right now, I'm brainstorming the SCREWBALL prequel, along with writing SCREWBALL 3 (untitled).  

With the release of CHANGE UP days away, I've been thinking about why I write sporty. Besides the fact that I love sports and yearned to read a book with a sporty protagonist when I was a tween, I think one of my favorite NIKE commercials of all time sums it up. :) 

Looking for a good sporty read? Check out my Blogderby for a list of current sporty reads for teens and tweens. 

Pretty Tough Tuesday: Get caught up with the week in softball - Fastpitch 411

Happy Monday, everyone!! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Book Review Club - PERFECT FIFTHS

Hope you had a super Cinco De Mayo! We enjoyed our annual soft taco supremes and nachos for dinner. :) Yum. 

The first Wednesday means another edition of the Book Review Club. Today I'm  featuring PERFECT FIFTHS from my May Chick Lit Pick column for South Jersey Mom magazine. Thanks again to Barrie Summy,
fabulous author of I DO DON'T DO MYSTERIES for organizing this event. 

Perfect Fifths
By: Megan McCafferty

New Jersey mom and best-selling author, Megan McCafferty pens Perfect Fifths, the highly anticipated fifth book of the bestselling Jessica Darling series.

Eight years ago, McCafferty introduced readers to New Jersey native, Jessica Darling and her eccentric high school classmate, Marcus Flutie with Sloppy Firsts. Four novels later, Jessica and Marcus have endured high school drama, separate ivy league educations, a marriage proposal, infidelity, and death, leaving readers wondering if this duo was truly destined to be. Told over the course of hours during a chance encounter at an airport, McCafferty switches from her usual first person point of view to third person, sprinkling in scenes of pure dialogue and poetry, thus allowing readers a chance to dive into Marcus’s head for the first time. Will Marcus and Jessica end up together? Or are they just too different?

Unique and unforgettable, McCafferty’s incredible voice and creative prose will carry Perfect Fifths to the top of the bestsellers’ list. Don’t miss this amazing series.

Today I'm recommending Perfect Fifths to Nicole at WORD for Teens. Enjoy, Nicole! But, I have a sneaky suspicion, you probably already read this one. 

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! And don't forget to check out more book reviews here

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Talking about Teaching

I'm over at the Writing Playground today answering questions about teaching, sporty writing, and the SCREWBALL series. Thanks to the marvelous J. Aday Kennedy for her fun and challenging questions. :) Enjoy your weekend! 

Friday, May 1, 2009


I love summer. In fact, it's my absolute favorite season. Our barren, ghost resort town wakes up, the rides light up, the boardwalk fills with tourists, and the beaches are beautified. But, best of all, my extended family visits to vacation and we spend tons of fun summer time together. :) Love it. 
I also love a good beach read. So this time, I'm giving away five fun, summer novels (including mine) to kick back, relax, and enjoy - fellow Jersey girl Megan McCafferty's PERFECT FIFTHS, Terri Clark's SLEEPLESS, Haily Abbott's SUMMER BOYS, Aimee Friedman's SOUTH BEACH and a super new, signed ARC of CHANGE UP.
To enter to win these five super fabulous books, I need help with a novel I'm working on. What's your fave break up song? For some reason, most of my break ups happened during the summer. Hmm... :) I'm in desperate need of some fresh new songs and ideas. Not my usual, overplayed on my IPod nineties tunes. :) If you don't have a favorite break up song, what are your summer plans? 
One break up song that sticks out in my head (I'm going to date myself here, so don't laugh) is Aerosmith's WHAT IT TAKES. This song is wrapped around a summer break up memory of me hanging out the door of friend's parked car, a soccer field, a new boy, and this song blasting on the radio. :) 
I'm super psyched about my summer plans because I'm traveling to softball tournaments and NPF games to promote CHANGE UP, teaching a Teen Writer's Workshop, working on some exciting projects, and hanging out at the beach with Kaci and my hubby as much as I can. :) Yay, Summer! :) 
Here are the contest rules: 
1. To enter to win the above mentioned books, leave a comment mentioning your fave breakup song or summer events you're looking forward to. 
2. The contest ends on midnight, June 30th, 2009. The winner will be posted on July 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 writing friends. 
4. If you post the contest on your blog, FACEBOOK, MySpace, or anywhere else, you automatically receive two entries. Last month's winner was a poster. 

Good luck, everyone!!  




Congratulations, Hope!! I printed out the comments, cut each one out, tossed them on the floor, and my dog grabbed Hope first. Thanks to everyone who entered this season's contest. I loved reading about all the spring break plans. :)  Don't forget to check out the YAY FOR YA SUMMER GIVEAWAY posted today! :)