Sunday, September 16, 2012


Ah, Middle Grade. That precarious time in life when friendships either fall away or blossom into something... different. AUDITION AND SUBTRACTION by Amy Fellner Dominy is all about the blossom, wonderful and terrible as it may be, during some of the most difficult years of growing up. And she does it with heaping dose of humor, too :D

From amydominy.comBest friends Tatum and Lori are used to doing everything together—including a clarinet/flute duet for District Honor Band auditions. But all that changes when Michael transfers to their middle school, and into their band. Suddenly, not only is he competition for Tatum’s spot on stage, but he’s stealing Lori, too. Tatum is determined to stop him, and hold on to what she’s got.  She enlists the help of her good friend, Aaron, but now he seems to believe her fib that they’re boyfriend and girlfriend.  And her mom, to cope with a separation from her dad, is performing in community theater, of all things! Amy Fellner Dominy composes an equally heartwarming and hilarious story of how holding tight to what you have can keep you from reaching for your dreams—and how oftentimes the best way to move forward is by going solo.

AUDITION AND SUBTRACTION is like a favorite boyfriend on a cool afternoon; something you want to cozy up with and never let go. Her middle grade voice carried me back to the days of marching bands, first loves, and discovering the world isn't always the wonderful place you thought it should be. The sweet and honest story kept me up way past my bedtime because, like that first boyfriend I talked all hours on the phone with, I wasn't ready to say goodnight. It was a quick read that had me nodding my head in empathy, and laughing more times than I could count. A&S is one of the best reads I've had this year! 

My fav line: (From Tatum's mother) "'Can't' is what we tell ourselves when something is hard."

Amen, sister.

Pick this one up as soon as you can; just click on the pic and it'll take you where you need to go. Or better yet, visit your local indy bookstore. Either way, you'll be happy you did :)

Happy reading and ¡Buen Provecho! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Polish. And Polish.

Deana BarnhartAnd polish! So goes the life of a pitch. Over at the most awesome Deana Barnhart's Gearing Up To Get An Agent, 111 of us have posted our pitches for just such an adventure. If you have a hankering to lend a hand to my word weary query and first 150 words, you can find them here. And if you have one posted, let me know, and I'll be happy to return the favor. 

Lastly, but most importantly on this day, let me take a moment to say that I shall never forget. 


Happy polishing and ¡Buen Provecho!  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

HOLA! GUTGAA Meet and Greet

Hola, dear bloggers, and bienvenidos to the Gearing Up To Get An Agent Meet & Greet! I'm excited to meet & greet old and new friends, and want to wish the best of luck to everyone during this exciting and nerve-wracking event. Without further yada yada yada....

Questions for the Meet and Greet

-Where do you write?
Depends on the time of year. Summers are best suited for late night writings while mid-mornings~early afternoons work best during the quite school-year days.

HAHA! I just noticed this said WHERE not WHEN. Chalk it up to cold medicine. WHERE I like to write is either at our communal computer desk or my comfy, leather recliner. No one is allowed in mom's chair but mom :)

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
Kleenix. Lots of kleenix, new and used. I've been sick.

-Favorite time to write?
Any time that's quite, but if I could choose, a cloudy, thundering afternoon would be nice.

-Drink of choice while writing?
1 bag Trader Joe's jasmine green tea + 1 bag Trader Joe's decaf green tea with 1 packet sweet n low. Ahhhhh. 

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I prefer the silence, but sometime a song with a strong beat keeps my energy up, just like if I were running. If I ran. Which I don't :)

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
I was inspired to write DAY OF THE NOT SO DEAD after reading about the Hero Twins in Mayan mythology (they rescued their father from the Underworld) and watching Machete with Danny Trejo. Weird combo, yes, but the best ideas are born through weirdness :) 

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
On a first draft, write without concentrating on the words so much as the idea. Bad words are better than no words.

Well, that's me :) Looking forward to hopping and meeting as many people as I can. Until the next event, may the agents be ever in you favor!

Happy meeting & greeting and ¡Buen Provecho!  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cover reveal of THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS by Cassandra Marshall and a GIVEAWAY!

¡Bienvenidos, dear bloggers! While the temperature is still in the 100s, summer has come to end here in the Casa de Shiela. Kids are back in school, using a blanket at night again, and we've even had the first school virus snake its way home. I had some great summer writing adventures, including new friends I met at WriteOnCon, an online (FREE!) writers conference. If you missed it, mark it for next year - it was amazing! But more on that later. For now, I'd like to introduce you to one of these new friends, Cassandra Marshall, and her new book, THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS.

Alison Arroway takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. She has to, or she won’t get paid. Alison is a stunt double for pampered teen actress Pomegranate and when the director takes the shoot to Portugal, Alison is anything but thrilled to be rooming with Pom. But getting to hang around teen hearthrob Erik? Now that’s a plus.

Erik invites both girls on a sunset boat trip and Alison manages to have a decent time. Until the storm hits and the boat is shipwrecked on a small island, leaving Erik missing and the boat captain dead.

In the morning light, Alison and Pom find themselves on the lost island of Atlantis. Only one problem: now that the girls know the secret of the island, the Atlanteans don’t want them to leave. They're stuck with corsets, full-skirted dresses, and the strange steam-driven contraptions that are just a way of life for the islanders.

When a plot by the ruthless army Captain to take over the island and declare himself General over all emerges, an underground group promises to return the girls to the mainland if they can help stop him. They'll go through a mountain, literally, to find the Book of Blue, a book that will explain how to make ‘the stars fall sideways' in order to save the day and earn their freedom.

THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS, a YA Steampunkish fantasy, coming October 1st from MolliePup Press!

I read Cassandra's query and first five pages at writeoncon, and was impressed with not just her story, but her writing as well. She drew me right in. I love stories about Hollywood types, especially the unknowns like stunt women. Combine this with a steampunky Atlantis, and I'm all in!

And it only gets better: Cassandra Marshall is giving away a signed pre-order of THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS! To enter, visit each of the blogs below to find special inside info about THE STARS FELL SIDEWAYS and Cassandra Marshall. The special inside info for this blog is: "After Alison and Pom arrive on the island, they have to spend a week in seclusion so that they don't bring sickness to the island. This actually happened to a lot of tribes in the Amazon Rainforest who were wiped out by the common cold." Be sure to visit all of the blogs to find all of the insider info and then visit to enter to win a signed pre-order!  You can gain additional entries by sharing links to the cover reveals! 

Here's a list of all participants and links to their blogs:

Happy reading and ¡Buen Provecho! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

¡Lunes Libro Fantástico!: Replay by Robin Brande


I know I said I wasn't going to blog this summer, but when you read a book so great, you just have to share it, well, stuff happens :) The book in question is REPLAY by Robin Brande. For those of you who have recently joined, Robin is by far one of my favorite YA authors (see reviews for OPERATION ERASE, CAUGHT IN THE PARALLEL, INTO THE PARALLEL). She doesn't disappoint with her newest YA, REPLAY. 

Cara Campbell thought she had it made: star athlete, popular student, winner. But when she dies during surgery, she sees something she knows no one would ever believe. The doctors manage to revive her, but what happened during those 42 seconds of death has changed everything.
Now Cara is having a hard time adjusting to her former life. None of her friends or accomplishments matter anymore. What does matter is the face she saw as she came rushing back into her body. That face belongs to David Mayer, a brainy outcast who dislikes Cara even more than she does him.
As Cara sorts through the ramifications of her near-death experience, and struggles to overcome her fear of telling everyone what really happened, she discovers a path she never realized lay ahead of her.
And as Cara is about to learn, there are no coincidences.
From me:
I LOVED Replay! I gasped, cried, and cheered in all the right places. It was completely honest and raw. I felt what Cara felt. More importantly, I felt for her. One of the facets of Robin Brande's multi-talented writing is how she's never afraid to go "there". Pulls no punches. Doesn't matter whether it's morality (rape, loss of innocence, abuse) or spirituality (God, church, philosophy, science) - she shows it how her characters see it. So courageous! She takes something that's not mainstreamed, like time-travel or reincarnation, and makes it not just plausible, but real. Replay is a tense, romantic, fast-paced read that should be at the top of your summer book list!

What parents should know: there is some adult language including a few big bombs, and also mature, but not explicit, talk about sex and rape. 
REPLAY is available as an e-book through KindleNook, and Smashwords, and as a paperback.

Happy reading and ¡Buen Provecho! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Phoenix Comicon 2012

I'm so sorry, dear bloggers, for disappearing the last few weeks. But I have a great excuse. Last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, was the 2012 Phoenix Comicon. And this year, I was on staff. I even have the badge to prove it:

Safe to say, there was a ton of preparation before hand. Setting up signs:

Placing the Tardis:

And the best of all, being assigned to my actor:

You know, that guy from Reading Rainbow? There was that other show, too. What was it again? Oh, yeah, that science fiction show with all these other guys:

Yes, that's me with most of the cast of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. And that's Levar's thank you for being his handler all weekend. 

Best. Weekend. Ever. 

Again :)

Now that Comicon is over, summer has officially begun here in Phoenix. The kids are out school and we've already hit 107 degrees a few times. Which means it's time for my blogging sabbatical. I  don't have what it takes to be a good blogger and a good mommy when the kids are home full-time, so mommy-ing wins. 

I'll pop in from time to time and see what everyone is up to. Keep on writing, revising, and working out. Rest assured, I'll be right there with you. See you in August!

Until next time...

Happy Summer and ¡Buen Provecho! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Love's Blogfest - My Fabulous Four

Today is the First Loves Blogfest! Your first movie, first music (song/band,) first book, and first person. Four loves, one blogfest! Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for hosting :) 

Buy Godzilla's Revenge on DVD

First Movie: Godzilla's Revenge. Ah, I might aswell put Godzilla as my first love, too. But I won't. This one had so many Toho monsters in it - I was in heaven! Anyone else remember World Beyond on Saturday mornings?

First Music: So many! I think I have to go with Sugar, Sugar by the Archies. Bubble Gum music and preschool. A match made in sugar heaven.

First book: The Monster at the End of this Book. No question. 

monkees main 3Finally, First Person: Did I mention Godzilla already? Well, if I must go with in my own species, I'll have to go with Peter Tork of the Monkees. I took turns falling in love with each one of them, but Peter was the first.

Yeah. I'm old :) 
Click here for the complete blogfest list.

Happy hopping and ¡Buen Provecho!