Saturday, October 31, 2009

You have the right to remain silent.

The squirrel that's been shamelessly running through the ceiling of the Bingham home has finally been taken into custody. After terrorizing a family with its morning antics, the squirrel (name with-held) went into the live trap on its own accord Thursday evening.

The suspect refused to make noise when the trap door shut, likely hoping to keep its new winter home even in the metal cage.

Authorities believe the squirrel had been living in the ceiling since October 24 making the intruder's stay six days long. No one has confirmed how it lived for six days without a water supply.

The squirrel was driven away from the home and released in another location.

In other news, a group of dancers (including my oldest son) are to perform Thriller (click here to see the news footage) all evening to commemorate Halloween and the passing of Michael Jackson. A professional makeup artist flew into town to make the dancers look like the authentic zombies. Dancers have been holding practices for a month to prepare for this event. Catch the Thriller action from 7-10 PM tonight at 1606 Harrison Blvd. in Boise. Dancers will be performing every fifteen minutes throughout the evening.

And, if you happen to get a trick or treater at your house before lunch today, be sure to give them something healthy to eat. It's probably my kids.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There's Something Stuck up in the Ceiling

There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and I don't know how many there is
But it's been there all week long.

Well the furniture is moved from underneath the infested side
just in case it falls from the ceiling again
It makes me want to cry.

There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and it makes a lot of noise
and we found some nuts and bones.

Well, we didn't know that squirrels ate bones
but apparently these rodents
eat more than the insulation in our home

There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and the live trap has some nuts
but it doesn't seem to work

Well, the kids are terrified to eat their breakfast anymore
and my little ones are hiding
behind closed doors.

There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and it's freaking me out
'cause I hear it running back and forth

Well there's a reason they call it a drop panel ceiling
A flipping squirrel already fell
inside my house on Sunday

There's something stuck up in my ceiling
and I'm ready to move out
but that's kind of hard to do

I have visions of the movie Ratatouille going on
and I have a creepy feeling
more than one squirrel is along

There's something stuck up in my ceiling
and I wonder if it's found
the old Decon from years ago

Well it would be disgusting if it died up there
and I can't imagine the smell
that would be terrible to bear

There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and we've called Animal Control
and they won't come do a thing

The live trap has a cookie, peanuts and some peanut butter
but apparently our litte friend
already has a stash that's better

There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and I'm losing my mind
I just want to get my safe house back.

And it's been there all week long.

do doo do doolidadoot da doot do doo.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mega Contest- like you need an excuse to win

We just announced the winner to the last contest yesterday. Congratulations Bella!

Now, for the rest of you...

If you like free stuff, this is just the contest for you. The Lateiner Gang is doing a Mega Contest (click here to see) with tons of prizes. Free books, gift cards- cool stuff. And, we're joining the fun.

This is a second chance to win a signed copy of Alvor. We're leading up the the next fun giveaway you won't want to miss. It's the Have you read Alvor? contest.

After this giveaway, we're going to do a fun post where you write your favorite sentence from Alvor and enter to win some great books. New books, popular titles. I can't wait.
So, here are some ways you can enter to win Alvor....

+1 comment and a follower
+1 link this contest to something (your blog, twitter, facebook, website, etc) Please include what you linked it to
+1 if someone enters the contest and mentions that you sent them here - they have to say your name to get the extra entry

You MUST leave your e-mail. I'll never find you if you don't.

We use to pick the winner.

The contest will run until 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Good luck to everyone. If you didn't enter the Lateiner Gang's contest, what are you waiting for? We're talking serious free stuff over there.

Good luck to everyone! You all deserve to win.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Here's the moment you've all been waiting for. The winner of our drawing for a signed copy of Alvor goes to.....

2.0 Blog

Thanks- all of you who came and left comments and wishes. It was so fun to see what you hope for.

As for my birthday wishes, I'm still hoping they'll come true. But that's a whole different story.

Weekend update. Hmmm. Spent Friday feeling like I was going to die of strep throat. Wasn't fun. I really don't recommend it to anyone.

Today my brother came into town and took my twelve year old skateboarding at the skate park. My son talked about how cool it was all day. Which is saying something since we spent 9 1/2 hours in Nampa for two shows for Irish Dance Idaho. This was their big recital, meaning matinee and evening show.

My oldest said he ate more today than he has ever eaten in one day in his whole life. It all started with five pancakes, then a breakfast cookie, tons of water, a baconator, a cookie dough twist frosty, fries, more water, three granola bars, hot tamales, a spicy chicken wrap, a root beer, five more pancakes and some scrambled eggs. And this list started at NOON! It ended about 10:30 tonight.

My guess is he's going to get even taller. He's already taller than me. I can only go so high with the high heels before I'm going to have to face being shorter than my boy.

Alright, if you didn't win, please buy my book and read it anyway. I promise, you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

School Visits and other Quests

It is nearly two weeks into October, and I am finally climbing onto the saddle.

One of the things I've been looking forward to the most since publishing Alvor is doing school visits. Ironic, in many ways because I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE DONE.

Ever. Not once.

I figured this could be a good thing. I mean, I can't copy everyone else even if I wanted to. And, I do have some plans in mind.

What brought on this conversation? Here's the scoop. I admit, I'm so excited about the possibilities.

Laura Jonio, the CRM at the Boise Barnes & Noble has organized an educators event for this afternoon at 4:30. The plan is for me to do a fifteen minute presentation followed by a book signing. Hopefully I'll have the chance to meet some teachers, librarians and other staff members of schools in this area.

One thing I've learned the hard way- if you're easily accessible and don't cost a fortune, nobody's intersted.

What does that mean? Let's say I'm a big time author. I call a handful of schools in the Boise area and tell them I'm planning on being in Boise for these two dates. Here is the cost of the visit- are you in or out? Pressure! Schools love pressure.

On the other hand, if you happen to live in Boise and you offer school visits for practically nothing, almost no one's interested. I say almost because there are a few that are willing to have me come even though I'm nearly always available and promise not to blow their budget.

Here's the other kicker. If Barnes & Noble sets the school visit up for me- it's free. Free.

I guess it's time I told you why I'm so excited about all of this. Besides the fact that I used to be a science teacher and I LOVE talking to kids, Laura Jonio has her mind made up that things are going to work out.

What she said was, "Let's sell a million books."
I said, "That's setting your sights pretty high."
She said, "Do you know book 4 of Fablehaven?"
Me, "Yes."
Her, "My name is in the back of the book. Do you know why?"
Me, "Uhhh."
Her, "Because I helped him sell a lot of books! We can do that with your's. Let's get you out there into the schools."
Me, "Okay. I'm game."
Her, "Good."

Then I got off the phone and went to my bookshelf. Sure enough. Her name is on page 541 of Fablehaven Book 4 by Brandon Mull.

That's when my week started looking a lot better. If she's as determined as she sounded on the phone, she's going to get me into a bunch of schools, and I'm going to have a blast visiting them.

If you came to this post to find out how to do a school visit, or to find out what my game plan is, I won't disappoint. Here's a brief outline that I'll be working with.

Why Follow your dreams?
*How reading can help you get to anywhere you want to be
*Practice your talents and let them grow
*Try new things
*If you never have a dream, your dreams can never come true.

What does an author look like as a kid?
*Good reading a writing habits
*Anyone can be good at reading, just start
*Even if you don't want to write books, reading teaches you, inspires, improves
problem solving skills and increases memory retention

Where do stories come from?
*Building a story using students' ideas

Pictures in your mind
*Read parts of the book out loud and talk about what students' see in their head.
*Show pictures of what some artists saw in their minds.

What if you fail?
*A discussion about the power of never giving up and the strength of persistence.
*True failure is never trying.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Editing, Synopsises and other gut wrenching activities

It's been such a strange week. One of those weeks that makes me wonder. My kids have been taking turns with the stomach flu. I've lucked out- haven't gotten the full version of it, but maybe hanging out with sick kids rubs off on you after a while.

And, I'm finally going to say it out loud, and live with the consequenses. I've finished writing book 2 of Alvor. I've been working on editing and revising. Anyone who's ever done that before knows that the process turns your love affair into a "I can't believe I was that stupid." Kind of like the butter, only worse.

Yet, in spite of my obvious flaws, I still like the story. A lot. It's a little more grown up than Alvor was. Still safe, but more teen.

But, for all practical purposes, I'm going through the stage of writing when I wonder if any of this is really going to work. Can I get an agent this time? Is there a bigger publisher out there for me? All the questions writers beat themselves over the head with until they finally get the only answer that will quell the raging storm. Yes.

I just need a yes.

In the meantime, I have been writing a dreaded full synopsis. If you've never heard of this, it's basically writing your entire novel in present tense condensed. In ten pages, tell the editor everything that happens in your story, from beginning to end, including all the subplots. Oh, and while you're at it, make it tense, suspenseful, full of emotion and captivating.

I'm one of those people that feels like writing a full synopsis is kind of like writing a really boring text book. It feels nothing like writing novels. I have pretended for months now that I would hire a brilliant synopsis writer to do the job for me, but even then, I knew was only hiding from the inevitable.

The fact is, I love writing novels and talking to people at presentations, book signings and school visits. That is the fun part of being an author. All the invisible work- like writing query letters and synopsises is not my idea of fun.

Did you know that the dictionary considers a synopsis a brief outline? Ug.

I'm setting out to finish what I started, which means trudging through this part of the process. And now that I'm officially 'out of the closet', I'll keep you posted with how things go. It's always fun to read about how many times a writer has been rejected. Sorry, I haven't been keeping score. But if I do hit a home run, I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conversations with Strangers

Someone asked me to write about the highlights of some of my book signings. And because I had a few laughs, I decided this weekend was as good as any to share.

Here are some of my favorite conversations from book signings from the last two days.

Lady: "There's someone famous in Costco!"
Me: "No, I'm not famous, I'm just here signing books."
Lady: "But you're here in Costco, so you must be famous."
Me: "No, I live here in Boise, I'm not famous."
Lady: "Someone in Boise is famous?"
Me: I gave up. "Yeah. I'm famous."

That one still makes me laugh. I'm so famous that no one in Boise even knows who I am.

Old man: "You know, you're the first author I've ever met in my whole life."
Me: shaking his hand, "Well, it's nice to meet you."
Him: "You need to sell one or two million books, then you'll be the first millionaire I've ever shaken hands with."

I'm still laughing about that one. Today I was wondering who the richest person I've shook hands with. My husband was the one to remind me. It was Glenn Beck. You know, the reason he didn't come to mind was because he was such a normal guy. Nice. He took a few moments to have a conversation. I guess I wasn't thinking about how rich he was, then or now.

More nice words from people this weekend:

Me: I'm talking about my book to someone, "It's a teen read."
Employee from across the aisle yells: "No, it's not! I read it and I loved it!"

Janitor pushing a really big trash can: "I bought your book for my wife and she loved it. She couldn't put it down. Said it was her new favorite book. I just wanted you to know."

I said thanks, but even that is not equal to what he did for me. I can't believe there are total strangers in this world who care enough to say such nice things.

I can't put their reviews in my query letters. No one will ever publish their comments in a newspaper or a national review. But that's okay. Really. When it's real people saying what they mean, it's impossible to top.

But, there were others. Three specifically come to mind. A teenage girl read the back of my book and when I asked her if I could sign one for her she said, "Not today." Her dad was standing there. It reminded me of all the times I told my daughter, "Not today" when she asked for something I just couldn't buy right then. It sounded the same.

The girl's dad whispered something in her ear and she smiled. She turned and picked up my book and asked me to sign it for her. I could tell it meant a lot to her. It was an honor to sign that book and become a small part of happiness in her world.

A boy stopped me as I was loading up my things to leave. He was probably ten years old. "Would you sign this for me?" He handed me a book. His big brown eyes were anxious and excited. His name was Jack. After I signed his book, he hugged it to his chest and practically skipped to his grandpa who was standing across the aisle.

The last was a little girl, maybe nine. She came up to me while I was putting up a sign at my last signing. "I'm looking for the author of this book," she said, holding Alvor.

Okay. You can tell I'm a softy for kids. But that's who I write for. To me, if they're looking for me, then I must have done something right. Maybe they're a little more forgiving. Maybe they're more innocent. Maybe sometimes you can see into their eyes and know there's a whole world waiting for them to become something amazing. When they cross paths with me, it reminds me why I do what I do.