Liebster Blog Award

I was tagged/nominated by R.K. Grow, a fellow writer on Twitter @tolkien418, for a Liebster Award. Thank you!
Liebster Blog
The Liebster is awarded to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. The conditions that go with being nominated are:
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you;
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator and create 11 questions for your nominees;
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserves to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen;
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

My questions from R.K. Grow are:
1. Twizzlers or Red Vines?

Neither. Licorice isn’t my favorite and black licorice is even worse.
2. Do you have a current WIP? If so, tell us about it.
FORTITUDE: Dauphin Island, Alabama teen Claire O’Farrell and her best friend, Loretta Davis, get caught in the middle of the racial tensions of the Spanish-American War camps in Tampa, Florida during the summer of 1898.
3. What is your favorite punctuation mark?
4. If you could pick the songs for the soundtrack of your novel what would they be?
The soundtrack—complete with YouTube links—for CORRODED, the novel I’m currently querying, can be found here.
I’m only about one third of the way through the first draft of FORTITUDE so it doesn’t have a soundtrack, just a “Fortitude Groove” playlist on my iPod. It has 121 songs with the majority of flavors being Irish-Celtic, country/blue grass, and soundtrack instrumentals that evoke the emotions I hope to create in the reader. For now, I listen to it on shuffle when writing, researching, or just getting in the proper mood.
5. What are three words that describe how you feel about writing?
6. What is your favorite genre to read and why?
Middle Grade, especially those books geared for readers ten years and older. It can be contemporary, historical, fantasy, whatever—I’m just in love with the coming-of-age theme that is prevalent in literature for late childhood and the teen years. Part of that is because I’m still searching for where I fit in. I haven’t found my social niche, but at least now I’m comfortable with myself—usually.
7. What music do you listen to when you write, if any?
Music plays a HUGE part in my writing, but which music I listen to when writing depends on the story. I have over eight days worth of music up/down loaded into my iTunes account from a wide variety of genres. I gather music to fit the mood I wish to create when writing, then I painstakingly chose a soundtrack to mesh with the scenes of the novel as it progresses. This is something I’ve done since I began writing over twenty years ago. See question #4 for a sample.
8. What is your writing goal this year?
My immediate goal is to finish the first draft of FORTITUDE by my birthday (May 3.)
I also hope to hear at least one positive response from my queries about CORRODED in the meantime.
9. Laptop or desktop?
Laptop, but I use it on a desk/table/counter top with a full size keyboard and mouse whenever possible.
10. How do you stay motivated?
MUSIC—I’ve noticed if I don’t take time to listen to my music (as opposed to my kids’ stuff or whatever is playing around me) I lose inspiration.
BOOKS—Reading books by people whom I admire and hearing about them getting recognition for their efforts is inspiring, too.
GENEROSITY—The humility and generosity of some of the authors and musicians I respect the most is incredibly motivating. (See my posts on Fantabutitus.) I want the chance to pay-it-forward so I need to be writing successfully to do that on a higher level.
11. What is the primary focus for your blog?
Literature: both my own and other peoples.
I usually blog about reading and writing, though I often take themes from my novels as blog topics.
Seldom, I’ll post about my family or homeschooling—without it dealing with books—and even rarer do I mention current events.

So, now for awarding the next generation of Liebster Bloggers, and please don’t take offense if you have more than 200 followers—not all the blog have those stats public. If you don’t know these bloggers, take a minute and check them out.

And here are your questions—looking forward to reading the answers!

1. What gets you going in the morning?
2. Morning person or night owl?
3. If you could pick one, what book would you want the world to read?
4. Do you prefer TV shows or movies for entertainment?
5. Is your blog your main writing project? If not, tell us what else is in the works.
6. What is your favorite place to catch up on news—print, online, web, etc?
7. Peter Rabbit or the White Rabbit?
8. What’s on your desktop wallpaper right now?
9. Radio or your own personal music selection?
10. Best or worst concert experience.
11. Fiction or non-fiction?

In Which I’m Nerdy, Again



Today on The Nerdy Book Club, they are hosting my “Top Ten Books Featuring Autism Spectrum Disorder.” If you love children’s/teen literature, teaching, libraries, or anything related to those topics, be sure to follow their blog. Those nerdy people post daily and are full of inspiration and insight.

Did you miss my first post with the group? Find it here:

Rare Book Review

If you’re familiar with my old posts, you probably noticed I shared all the books—with cover art—that I’d read that week/month. Missed those days? Check here for an example. When I created my public page on Facebook I started sharing my current reads there because it’s much easier. But since I was fortunate to receive an ARC (advance reader copy) of Navigating Early navigating by Clare Vanderpool, I wanted to spread the love here as well. It’s rare that I actually get a copy of a book I request, and this copy was even delivered on Christmas Eve—merry holiday to me. I’m not one to write gushing reviews, but I’m opinionated and will recommend books to people when I like them.
I love this book!
• Target audience: 10+: all my favorite novels are! See for more recommendations.
• A story within a story: think Holes.
• Character with Asperger’s: I caught on right away, but didn’t know until reading the “Author’s Note” in back, after I finished, that I was correct.)
• The turmoil on the inside of the character is as strong as the pressure on the outside: I like quiet novels, but this one has more than enough exterior conflict to keep reluctant readers going.
• Tidbits of real information sprinkled throughout: I love learning through novels.

Navigating Early releases tomorrow, January 8, 2013. Do yourself a favor and get a copy, or you could beg to borrow mine.


          I tentatively reached over and pulled Ben’s right hand toward my face. With my index finger, I flipped over his medical bracelet and leaned in to read the inscription.

            “It’s titanium. I got it for Christmas because my old one broke.” A look of defeat fell over his face. “How long have you known?”

            “My parents told me this weekend, but they said you have Asperger’s. This says ‘Autism.’”

            We resumed walking to disperse our nervous energy, Ben re-pocketing his hands.

            “Not everyone knows what Asperger’s Syndrome is. It’s easier just to put ‘Autism’ on something like that. Besides, in a real emergency, I’m liable to completely freak out like anyone else on the spectrum.”     Autism superpower

            “You’re not going to have a meltdown or something right now, are you? I mean because you’re off schedule and all. My little cousin Zak has autism. I remember him screaming one time because I ate the last Popsicle. I think he hates me for that.”

            “Doubtful. It’s all the same spectrum, but hate isn’t something we usually deal with. Pain, fear, discomfort…. I didn’t start talking until I was five, but I could read before I turned three. Once I started talking, my mom couldn’t shut me up. I had so much information racing around my head. I’d recite the dates of the battles from the Revolutionary War until I fell asleep at night. Actually, I still do.”

            I laughed at his admission. “So, you’ve been Mr. History since you were a preschooler?”

            “Yeah, that’s me. A billion and one things about America and you’ll hear them all if you get me going.”

            “Then remind me not to. And try not to freak out.”

See  for more images and links.