Week of Mondays

It’s only Wednesday, but it’s been a week of Mondays here. And I mean that in the best possible way. I’m one of those people who love Mondays.

Mondays are a fresh start.
Mondays are productive.
Mondays are inspiring.
Mondays are peaceful (usually, in part, because I rarely have anywhere to rush off to, which leaves me to…)
Mondays are pajama days (most of the time—see above.)

This week has qualified as a week of awesome because:
1. FORTITUDE, my debut novel, will be out in one year. (Hooray!) 100_6830.1

2. Europe (Favorite. Band. EVER.) is releasing their US tour dates this Friday. (Hello, bucket list item number one—see Europe live!)

3. The Shannara TV series (first season based on my favorite Terry Brooks novel, The Elfstones of Shannara) keeps releasing cast news and pre-filming has begun (in New Zealand, of course.) 100_6841

4. I finally got to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

5. I’m on schedule for finishing my edits of CORRODED, so I’m closer to sending it back into Query Land.

It’s been exciting in my little corner of the world. What bits of awesome are filling your week?

Three Confessions

Confession #1: I have a lot of books.
Confession #2: I have a lot of bookshelves (but I could always use more.)
Confession #3: I keep my most treasured books behind closed doors.

I first started hiding my books after my eldest child started to “wear out” his own books. Lift-the-flap books with no flaps to lift. Using books as bridges, literally walking on them across the floor, was a favorite activity. And with his books, spines were optional. I feared for my beloved books, as well as my husband’s collection.

Our favorite books went from the top shelves—he could scale the bookshelves—to high levels inside cabinets. I could hear the cabinet doors opening, but I didn’t always hear him at the bookcases until it was too late.

In the past three years that I’ve been homeschooling, the book population has hit overdrive.

The main wall of books--about a third of what we have.

The main wall of books–about a third of what we have.

The non-fiction area has doubled and the sum of the middle grade novels that my oldest son reads every night is greater than anything I ever held as the lone reader of them. My youngest has a two shelf bookcase of picture books and all things pink while the middle child hoards The Magic Tree House and military history.
Last year I wrote a post about my oldest turning into a reader and he hasn’t slowed down. The other night, when he came looking for another book amid the post holiday explosion, I realized he hasn’t read Bridge to Terabithia or A Wrinkle in Time. All of the Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, Laurie Halse Anderson, Terry Brooks, and Orson Scott Card books are behind closed doors. Not to mention Narnia, Green Gables, Hogwarts, and The Shire.
Parenting fail!
So, my goal this month—hopefully this week—is to get these books out and into circulation among my household. No more restricted section in the family library. I’ll document this effort with photos, so stayed tuned!

FANTABUTITUS

I suffer from fantabutitus (fan-tab-you-tie-tus). That’s Wonderlonian (One-der-lone-e-an) for being a fan of fabulous people! As of today, I have not had a bad encounter with someone I’m a fan of who I’ve been able to meet in person or have contact with online. My eldest sister pointed out, over a decade ago, that I was blessed with great experiences. Apparently she’s heard horror stories about egos and rudeness.
Me? I always expected awesomeness from those I like, so I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. I’m a dedicated fan, loyal to those who speak to me even when the spotlight has moved on to newer faces. (Speak to me? Yes, speak to me. I shall blog about that next time.)
True, none of the celebrities I’ve met were athletes or “Hollywood” actors—mine are all music and literary related. I’m not big on starlets and such, though I wouldn’t mind running into Ethan Hawke or Brendan Fraser… But the rock and country musicians/singers and authors—they’ve all been friendly, approachable and even humble at times. Some have even gone out of their way to give back. I’ll keep to three varied examples.
Exhibit A: C.J. Snare Lead singer of Firehouse (Don’t Treat Me Bad, Love of a Lifetime, etc) opening act for Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse concert hosted by Pauly Shore (remember him?!) at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, CA. My friends and I made a day of it and enjoyed the rides before the concert. A few hours before the show I noticed C.J. out in the park with his date. I apologized for bothering him, but asked if he’d mind signing a concert flier (had the flier and my own Sharpie—always prepared!) He graciously autographed it and told me he hoped I’d enjoy the show. Then, he was surrounded by dozens more people wanting the same thing, but not being as polite about it, before he could get behind the safety of the backstage fence. (Yes, I stood back and watched the mini-mob. People can be real jerks at times, like the guy yelling “Hey, dude! Sign my girlfriend’s chest, will ya?” Classy.) A few months ago, I saw a comment by C.J. on a mutual friend’s status on Facebook and shared the story of my encounter with him almost twenty years before. He replied back thanking me for the good memory. Awe…
Exhibit B: Terry Brooks NYT bestselling author for two decades (now more than three) was on a book tour to promote The First King of Shannara in La Jolla, CA. The friend who got me reading Terry Brooks—a HUGE fan, all first edition hardcovers—lived less than two hours away but couldn’t make it to the event. My friend’s birthday was the following week and I told Mr. Brooks about him. I even gave him a slip of paper with my friend’s name and address on it, asked if he could send a birthday note. (Can’t say I didn’t try, though the people in line behind me rolled their eyes and huffed.) Of course, when my friend received a birthday postcard from someone signing himself as Terry Brooks he thought it was a joke. Nope, just the best birthday greeting ever!
Exhibit C: Matthew and Gunnar Nelson Yes, those blond twins—sons of the late, great Rick Nelson. After a sound check before a show in Biloxi, MS about a dozen years ago, they stopped to talk to my husband and I and signed the old school Nelson poster I’d brought along (which Bobby Rock had already signed a couple years previous—another pleasant meet and greet.) Gunnar sat at our table and talked with us for a while before heading out. Even my husband was impressed with that—but maybe it was because of Gunnar’s skydiving and bungee jumping stories.
I could keep going—have a cache of autographs and stories but I’ll spare you the geeky details. And never get me started on Mitch Malloy or Laurie Halse Anderson unless you want to hear me gush over their talents and genuine greatness. Sigh…
Now, I want to hear your fantabutitus (and not-so-nice) stories!

Reading by the Numbers

This morning I went out with the kidlets and friends on an alligator hunt and spied three gators.

It’s always fun to see animals in their natural habitat—especially from a safe vantage point.
This was our first week of summer break. Although I’m not officially starting back to homeschooling until mid-July, I’ve started the middle child on learning to read and the eldest with typing skills. It’s been a little slack these first few days, but I think we all needed some off time to refuel.
On a literary note, I’ve done next to nothing in the past three weeks on my WIP. My goal for this weekend is to get back on track. I need to finish the last tidbit of the first draft so I can better home into the poignant scenes in the beginning.
My reading the past few weeks:

Very insightful!

Fluffy fun–already passed on to a friend.

Still digesting this one. Full of GREAT information and advice. (Thanks for the loan, Joyce!)
Lately, I’ve been analyzing my reading habits and book collection. Though I’m not huge on numbers, I do love a good pie graph. Thanks to mathwarehouse.com for the pie making abilities.

These are my firm TOP TEN contemporary writers—authors who I’ve read five or more books by that have had new books out within the past decade. Otherwise I’d add in Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Beverly Cleary… you get the picture!
Middle Readers: Richard Peck (he might have some “teen”, but nearly all are middle readers that I know of), Gail Carson Levine (?), Susan Cooper (?), Katherine Paterson (but not exclusively—she’s written early readers and picture books, too…)
Young Adult: Laurie Halse Anderson (no, she does picture books and middle readers also…), Shannon Hale (NOPE- sometimes she’s found in middle readers—hello, Newbery Honor—and she has two adult books which I adore), Sarah Dessen (might be the only single genre writer on my list)
Adult: Terry Brooks (though many teens read his fantasy books), Beverly Lewis (no, wait… she does picture books, middle readers, and teen, too!)
Cross-overs:Madeleine L’Engle is all over the literary map—in a good way—but then again… it looks like 90% of my favorites are!

What would your pie graph look like?
To gather my thoughts in a parting gesture, I’d like to use a quote the lovely Léna Roy used on her own blog today, which was spoken by her grandmother:
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” -Madeleine L’Engle