Tuesday, December 28, 2010
These fab books are up for grabs!!!!
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Matched by Ally Condie
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Monday, December 27, 2010
And then it all took a hellish turn like in I Dreamed a Dream, from Les Miserables. Acquisitions wouldn't support pubbing it. I'll never forget that day either. I was getting my house ready to have the minister and about 30 other people from church for lunch the next day. I was so upset by the afternoon call, that I couldn't go to church that night. My faith had been tested. But once again, I pulled myself up my the bootstraps and went on.
One of the bright spots was acquiring Duke aka Little Man. Sure, he was supposed to be my grandmother's dog until his crackdog energy antics made her unable to keep him. And he's eaten more of my shoes than I care to say, but he's also one of the sweetest tempered dogs I've ever seen. He's also so very loving, and he brightened many dark, dark days with his crazy antics.
Monday, December 6, 2010
VERDICT: 5 out of 5 Thumbs Up
(1). The MC, Lena, is kick ass, but not in the typical kick ass of beating people up. She has strength of emotional character. What she has endured and then what she continues to endure throughout the course of the book is really epic. I thought she showed great courage under fire. I also enjoyed how her character evolves throughout the book.
(2). Alex was totally swoon-worthy. The way he is introduced at the beginning gives us a total James Dean Rebel Without a Cause mentality. It is both sexy and endearing as the novel progresses. He isn't just dangerous and forbidden, but he's dangerous and forbidden with a purpose. He really epitomizes the Snow Patrol song Open Your Eyes in the way his relationship evolves with Lena. And the scenes when they are together are WHITE HOT SMEXINESS!! I mean, you might want to prepare to turn the heat down, turn on a fan or smoke a cigarette b/c it is HOTT!!!
(3). Great BFF in the form of Hana....I loved how wild and free she was, and how she got Lena to question things.
(4). The prose is phenomenal! I mean, I'm blown away and made to feel completely inadequate with my own writing. Ms. Oliver's turn phrase is really impressive. The pictures she painted with her words really enhanced my appreciation of the book.
(5). The aspect of "love" being forbidden isn't just restricted to physical love between two people....it is the love between mother and child, family, friends, etc. The scenes where Lena flashbacked to her mom were heartbreaking--especially since I've lost my own mom and could totally connect with her pain.
(1). While there's not a whole lot of bad, I saw a lot of similarities between this book and Matched, and since I know Ms. Oliver works for a development company, that kinda concerned me. BUT, for me, I liked Delirium a whole lot more. I feel it had far more depth of story, character, etc. and she should have gotten the seven figures advanced, lol. :) It was hard for me to stop reading, even late into the night.
(2). Some aspects of the whole "love being banned" didn't necessarily ring true of why a government would want to necessarily do that.....besides the Big Brother aspect there wasn't a whole lot of government motivation and all.
(1). Honestly, the ending really isn't ugly it just blew me away....and not necessarily in a good way. I won't divulge too much more, but you should just be prepared. It's also agony thinking of waiting for the next book to come out.
I would totally recommend Delirium, and it is probably going to be my favorite Dystopian next to the Hunger Games!!! :)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Where will I be at Midnight tonight?
Monday, November 8, 2010
I'm stressed....I'm going to go right ahead and say it. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. I'm at the Jessie Spano/Saved By the Bell "I'm so excited, I'm so excited...I'm scared!" meltdown moment. :)
Here's some reasons why....
(1). Love, love my new teaching job. Don't love how I'm making CONSIDERABLY less than I did at my previous teaching job. So, this means I have to supplement my monthly income by doing freelance articles. Sure, they're not that hard....Sure, I feel very lucky to have this side job...BUT, it's also tough after a day of teaching to go home and focus on writing articles OR to have to pick them up on the weekends, BLECH!
(2). I'm trying to participate in NaNO. Really, Krista? You might be asking. Didn't you just complete 35 to 40K of a novel LAST month? Why yes, I did. However, it is a Dystopian, and Dystopians are becoming a dime a dozen with the market being flooded. Yes, I have a book on sub, but it's YAUF, which is also saturated, and holy hell, it's got angels in it! EESH! So, I'm hoping to finish a quirky little YAUF that I had 5K in when I abandoned it as well as a Contemp that I love, love, love, which had 20K in it for NaNO. Finding time to write between school and articles is HARD!
(3). Life....in general. Yeah, I just lost one of my favorite uncles to cancer. He really stepped in after my parents died to be there for me whenever I needed him. Plus, he was just plain and simple hilarious and was always doing something to make me laugh. I'm really, really going to miss him, and I know this holiday season is going to be really, really hard.
So yeah, that's why I'm at my Jesse Spano meltdown moment. I'm seriously considering taking up mediating to try to counteract with all this stress.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
If I had to have a favorite character besides my MC, it would be Malacky Greene. He's one of those characters who was never supposed to have a big story. He was simply Cadence's brother's best friend in one of the introductory scenes--and he kinda had some funny banter with her. And then suddenly, he was much, much more! He harboured a crush on Cadence and would do anything to keep her safe and happy. He's also a bit of a goofball, and he tries to hide behind his humor a lot. I seriously fell in love with him when I was writing! LOL Fortunately, he's 19 in the story, so it wasn't some pervy, underage thing! LOL
And then my cocky, but misunderstood, Cullen, which I'm sure I'll get grief for the name, but srsly, I didn't go for a Twilight knock-off. Most of the characters have names with Gaelic origins, and Cullen means "handsome" in Gaelic. I never really wanted to write a love triangle, and when Malacky wrote himself, so did the love triangle. Cullen's the rich son of the CEO who now rules the former America. While he's used to having his way, he also has a softer side, and one beta reader totally fell in love with him! LOL
Friday, October 8, 2010
(1). Get Married: Yes, I've been waiting for this dream to materialize since I was a little girl. Even though the divorce rate is 50%, I still want to take one trip down the aisle. And even though I'm not seeing anyone at the moment, I know that Mr. Right could appear at any moment!
(2). Have a Baby: My dream to have a child is probably stronger than my desire to get married. I've just always been maternal, wanted children, etc. If you had talked to "10 yrs ago Krista", she would have already believe this dream would've come true. But alas, it hasn't. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and saying prayers that both #1 and #2 happen SOON!!!
(3). Publish a book, or two, or 5: I think this is probably the dream of every writer. To be published. I've wanted to be a published author since I was a little girl. I got close this summer, and I'm hoping to finally achieve this dream soon!
(4). See Ireland & Scotland: Although my family has been here in America since the 1700's in some cases, I have an affinity deep in my bones for the "homeland", so to speak, of Ireland and Scotland. This is where family on both sides of my family came from along with England(but I've been there before). I really, really want to see these places. Hmm, maybe when I get a book deal!
(5). Be able to teach 1/2 time: I guess this dream goes along wtih the publishing dream b/c I'd love to just have to work part time. Well, it could also go along with #1 too, lol. I'd love to have more time to devote to writing and volunteering.
So there you have it. My 5 Dreams. What are yours? Be sure to stop by Karla's contest!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
For the most part, September is notoriously a hard month for me. It reaps a harvest of painful memories and takes me back to the last stretch of my mother's life. She was diagnosed with glioblastoma--one of the most severe and most aggressive brain tumors on August 26th, 2002. At first, the doctors were very positive. She would have the tumor removed, have some radiation at best, and all would be good. However, that was before they did the actual surgery and realized the type and severity of the tumor. The mortality rate for Glioblastomas are 24 months at best. My mom only got four weeks. She passed away on the 28th of September, 2002.
Time does heal wounds, but you're never fully healed. And months like September seem to pour salt on those wounds. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss my mother--that I don't wish to be comforted by her again, to hear her laugh, to feel her arms around me. Then there are days when it shifts to a painful ache--one that leaves me emotionally crippled. But somehow you get through--somehow you survive, and you find the strength to go on in the love that you shared.
Mama, you gave life to me.
Turned a baby into a lady.
And mama, all you had to offer was a promise of a lifetime of love.
Now I know.
And I know love so complete someday must leave.
Must say goodbye.
Goodbye's the saddest word I'll ever hear.
Goodbye's the last time I will hold you near.
Someday you'll say that word and I will cry.
It'll break my heart to hear you say goodbye.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
If you follow me on twitter or go to message boards I'm on, you might be going, "Um, really Krista, you're a strong Christian? Hmm..." I'll be the first to admit I cuss like a sailor, crack sexual inuendo jokes, probably diss/gossip about people way more than I should, etc. Dude, those are my major vices and sins, lol, and I repent with the best of them! But when it comes down to it, I'm as Christian/spiritual/faith based as they come.
At the core of my being and in all facets of my life, I am a person of faith. Church was what I was brought up with--my grandfather was a Baptist minister, my mother and father's families all went to the same small, Baptist church. I've lost friends and boyfriends because of my moral choices, but hey, it's what I believed. As for my church, it is like a second home to me. The people that belong there have stood by me during the darkest times of my life.
You can't have experienced what I have in life and survive practically unscathed(aka not an alcoholic or drug abuser) if you're not a person of faith. I lost my dad to cancer just two weeks before I graduated high school. Five years later, my mom passed away also from cancer. They were 51 and 52 respectively. A month after my mom passed away, her sister who was like a 2nd mom to me, also died. As an only child and unmarried, I felt all alone in the world. But the truth is I was far from alone. Not only did I have my grandmother, my extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and my church family, but I had much more--I had a personal relationship with God who brought me from extreme darkness to light.
Since speaking up is important, I want to speak up about the depression I experienced bc if my story can help anyone, then it all won't be in vain. I've been to the bottom most reaches of despair--so much so I contemplated taking my own life on two occasions. One of the occasions found me in the garage with the car running, praying for God to give me the strength to take my life. But he never did. Instead, he held me in his arms and saw me through the darkest moments. There are still low times in my life--I'm waiting for things I've been praying for and are waiting for them to come to fruition. But I know that God and my faith will see me through.
I felt the need to talk about my faith since the very talented and fabulous Myra McEntire also did in her post. I wanted to preface that I was a Christian, but I cannot imagine trying to ban books. While there are certainly books out there I wouldn't want my future kids reading, that's MY choice to tell them not to read it; it shouldn't be the choice of one parent or a school board to say what is right or wrong. I've always been horrified by Christians who hop on the book burning bandwagon like with harmless books like Harry Potter. Sheesh. It's like my mom used to say when some Christians wanted to make a big deal about dressing as witches or goblins. She was like, "Well, those people do not have very much religion or faith if that is what they have to worry about!" I think this goes along with book banning as well.
I'm also labeled as many things because I'm a Christian. Intolerance seems to be the biggest issue among Christians today. Unfortunately, the most intolerant of us are the most vocal. There's a large silent majority who live by the Bible's teachings, which is to leave judgement to God. I find it most appalling that a minister would advocate the burning of the Quran, or that Christians would go protest a fallen soldier's funeral or a homosexual's. Those are not principles of the Bible and certainly not WWJD aka What Would Jesus Do!
I taught Speak a year ago, and it was one of the best experiences I've had with a novel. Both my Freshman girls and boys loved it. We had great, thought provoking discussions. I'm not teaching 9th this year, but if I was, I would TOTALLY teach Speak again. I am planning on saying something with my Seniors tomorrow about Speak, about book burning etc, even though it is not on the curriculum.
At ALA in June, I got to meet Laurie, and she signed copies of Forge and Chains. I was able t0 tell her how much teaching Speak meant to me and how much I loved her work. She is one of the kindest, most giving authors I've ever met. With all her success, there are no airs about her. She seems as down to earth as anyone I know. But most of all, I know she's taken on tough issues so that teenagers can have a voice and perspective in the world. I admire her for that, and she and always will be a literary hero of mine.
So, I'm about to order several copies of Speak on Amazon. I suggest you do the same. Let's stand up for the rights of young women. I know I've had and do have students who have been victims of sexual abuse. I want them to have a voice. I want everyone who has been abused to have a voice. And I want people of faith to get on their knees and pray for guidance rather than spewing hate and intolerance.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Here's some quick facts I learned! (Props to Myra McEntire and Heather Tresse since my phone died partway through, and I'm borrowing some of their tweets! Was sooo excited to me the awesomely lovely and funny Myra McEntire! You need to mark Hourglass to read come this May! It will be teh bomb! Bummed that Heather and I were in the same room, yet we didn't manage to say hello. Argh!
The Method Behind the Magic panel with Saundra Mitchell, Jessica Verday, Cinda Williams Chima and Kathleen Duey.
*Alyxandra Harvey and I could be twins. She doesn't outline, and she doesn't like to listen to music with lyrics while writing. That's SO me.
Here's Rachel Hawkins and Nancy Werlin during the panel.
*The guy who lead the Zombie vs. Vampire smackdown with Carrie Ryan and Alyxandra Harvey was HILARIOUS! I love how he had us answer prozombie or provampire with either zombie groans or vampire hisses! LOL
*I ducked out at the start of the Hawkins/Werlin panel to run down to Decatur High where my cousin, former Georgia Poet Laureate, David Bottoms, was on a panel of poets. I got to hear him for a bit and then run down to the end of the stage to say a quick hello since I needed to get back to the YA panel instead of his signing. *I have several of his books of poetry and his novel signed anyway, lol*
*Nancy Werlin, author of Impossible and Extraordinary, suggests that a book cover doesn't have to have anything to do with your book. It just has to make people pick it up. She showed us the two different covers for Impossible, and we automatically gravitated towards the one with more color and a mysterious girl on the cover rather than a white washed one.
*Carrie Ryan was a Debutante back in the day, and she also worked at the Coroner's Office. So, she's got real life experience describe Zombie bones poking out and all, lol. She also wrote Forest of Hands and Teeth for NaNo month.
*I made somewhat of a goof when meeting the very funny, awesome, and approachable Rachel Hawkins of Hex Hall. I thought she was the person that Myra had been looking for in the room(we were tweeting to each other), and I made a "And you are?" loser faux paus. She was very nice about it tho. :)
*Per Rachel Hawkins: Covers matter--especially when they put a cat on yours, and there's no cat in the book. She has since revisited her cat stance, and there is a cat being introduced into book three since so many people have written to her about the cat! We all had a laugh imagining people writing fan fiction about the cat.
*Jessica Verday suggests building a book bible when coming up with your fantasy world. It helps to keep yourself in check and remember what you need to about your world.
*Kathleen Duey's advice on writing fantasy is to STRETCH!
*Saundra Mitchell says with fantasy that she makes it up as she goes along, but she does stop and check in with reality as she goes along! lOL
Anyway, it was so awesome, and I wish I had gotten to see Cassie Clare, Michelle Zink, and Jackson Pearce on Sunday. Bummer!
Monday, August 30, 2010
But the greatest gift I've found with my critique partners is the friendship. These are people who will pick me up when the publishing game has left me bloodied and battered on the floor. They are the wind beneath my wings, and the reason I get up, brush myself off, and try to fly once again. Some people say it takes a village to raise a child. I think this is true in the publishing world as well. I know I couldn't have made it this far without my critique partners....my manuscripts most CERTAINLY could not have made this far!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
There's been two kind of reactions when I told people I would not be going back to teaching next year.
I think people are shocked for a number of reasons. The first being I've taught for nine years. Yep, nine years. I like to flatter myself I was just a mere child myself when I started teaching....actually, it's more like I was barely 22 when I got my first job. I taught six years in middle school, three years in high school, and I also taught one year of adjunct college classes. Besides the experience, most people know I spent time and energy on teaching. In other words, I got my Masters degree and my Gifted Certification. I also won a Class Act Teaching Award and got featured on a local news station. And most know that I love teaching. They've heard me tell stories about teaching, talk about my students--even request prayer at church for them. So I guess that's why they've been baffled.
And really, I'm taking a break this year. I don't intend to turn my back on teaching forever. I'd miss the kids too much to do that.
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
I'm not leaving teaching to do nothing but sit around the house. I DO HAVE another job--I would not have left without making sure I had another income. I will be freelance writing for Demand Studios. I know the word "freelance" makes it sound like fly by night or not steady work. But it is! I can make as much as I did teaching....frankly, I can make more than I made teaching. It just depends on the hours I want to devote to it. I write on what I want to, when I want to, and I get paid twice a week. Not bad, huh? And I get to work from the comfort of home....in my pajamas. *yes, I'm smiling right now*
So what do I write? I get to write on anything and everything. Demand gives you set titles. You research about them and then write them. I've written on everything from the Top Buckhead Condos, to how to get cat urine how of carpet, to goals for student teachers, to RV campgrounds in Idaho. That's the beauty of it. You write on so many different things that it's hard to get bored.
Here's what my new work schedule will look like:
7:00: Get up and go walk(I want to build back to the 5miles I once did)
8:00-8:30: Breakfast & Shower
12:00-2:00: Lunch and Afternoon Break(Probably cooking some for my grammy to make sure she's eating better)
But here's the truth and real reason I left: I needed a change. I was mentally and physically broken down. Some people might not think that Anemia coupled with B12 deficiency is really an issue. Trust me, it is. When you come in from work and have to sleep two hours just to get through the evening, it's a problem. I went from walking five miles a day to barely having the
energy to get through the day, least of all walk. I'm on two self given B12 shots a week now--not fun for the gal who hates needles. Once upon a time, I could get a B12 and then run laps around my house. Nope, that's sadly not the case anymore. They're more for energy surival than energy boosts now. I'm hoping that this year off will help me recharge and get back to where I once was. Then I'll go back to teaching, or if something else has come along then, I'll do that.
What it boils down to is this is a God thing. He's calling the shots. He gave me the answers I needed to know what I was doing was the right thing. It's terribly hard trust him and not doing what feels comfortable to you. But in the end, I know it's for the best.
So, that's the skinny on why I'm not teaching this year.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
*DISCLAIMER: I HAVE BEEN MESSING WITH THE MARGINS, SPACING, PICTURES, etc FOR THIS POST FOR OVER AN HOUR!!! I GIVE UP! I HATE, HATE, HATE BLOGGER!!!
Anyway, carry on!!!
While I blogged over at GotYA about my ALA experience( here is the LINK if you wanna check it out), I wanted to do a little recap of my DC trip. I'd never been to our nation's capital before, so I left two days before the conference started to do a little sight seeing.
First stop was the Smithsonian--can't believe how huge and how many of them there are. Once I figured to head over to the Museum of American History(no offense, I wasn't much on the Natural History--although seeing the Hope Diamond was way cool! As a history nerd, I really wanted to see the First Ladies dresses. And as an even bigger Kennedy fan, I was stoked to see Jackie Kennedy's innaugural gown.
And here's Michelle Obama's
Also in the museum of American History are the Ruby Red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz. I played Auntie Em in an elementary school version back in the day! LOL
And then as a big fan of the Carol Burnette Show, I loved that they had the gown she wore in the Gone with the Wind parody sketch with the "curtain" dress
After the Smithsonian, I headed over to the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are housed. And don't let the movie National Treasure fool you. They keep the room very dim to protect the documents, and the average wait time to see them is forty-five minutes. The actual Declaration is hard to read in parts because the writing has faded over time. Very cool to see it up close and personal.
While walking around I saw the Hoover FBI building and the Bobby Kennedy Justice Building. Then I took a Trolley tour of the city, and I got to see the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Jefferson Memorial, Capital, Union Station, White House South lawn, etc . On Thursday afternoon, I had also planned to see Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot, but I found out after the fact you had to get your tickets a day in advance, so I only got to see the outside of the building. BUMMER! I packed a lot into Thursday from 12:00 on, so I headed back to the hotel with burning feet and took it easy for the rest of the evening, lol.
On Friday morning, I headed out with a group tour to George Washington's home, Mt. Vernon. The former plantation grounds are immense and very beautiful. The Washington's loved to entertain, and they almost always had guests at their house. We even saw the bedroom where George died. I also met a lot of great people on the tour, which was also very nice.
Then we headed over to Arlington National Cemetery to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, which is really amazing, humbling, emotional, etc to watch.
After Arlington, we stopped at the WWII Navy monument, which is also known as the Iwa Jima memorial. My grandfather served in the Navy during WWII, so this was especially poignant for me.
Our last stop was at the Vietnam, Korean, and Lincoln Memorials. The Vietnam Memorial is especially important to me since my dad served in Vietnam and passed away in 1997 from Agent Orange Related cancer from his service. He visited the wall in the 80's, and I have pictures of him standing before it and the statue of soliders. As a child, I saw the Moving Wall several times at the Vietnam Veteran campouts we would go to over Memorial Day. But seeing the actual one was very important.
The Presidents I admire most are Lincoln, Roosevelt, and JFK. So, the Lincoln Memorial was on my list of places I HAD to see for many reasons. The first being it was about the man I greatly admired and felt a great affinity with. Lincoln struggled for most of his life with depression over the loss of family members, especially his mother, but his depression was the kind that fueled his greatness. I certainly feel a connection with him on that matter. Secondly, my great-grandfather, a master stone carver, actually worked on the Lincoln monument back in the 20's. So, visiting there was an appreciation of his work as well. Finally, another man I great admire, Martin Luther King Jr, gave his famous I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was amazing to think of how much history has been there.
A view from the bottom of the monument.
View from the steps...much of what MLK would've seen as he delivered his speech.
Once again, by 7pm, I was exhausted! I was supposed to go on a DC by Dark tour Friday night, but I knew if I wanted to have any energy for walking around the exhibit hall at ALA, I had better rest up. So I headed back to the hotel for Chinese food and Moonstruck on tv. Couldn't ask for more.
Saturday at the Washington Convention Center for ALA with Rebecca, Miranda, and Sumayyah was AWESOME!!! Then I left on a 11am flight on Sunday. So, it was a pretty whirlwind trip, but I'm so glad I went, and I got to see as much as I did.