Friday, February 24, 2012

Vlog #4

Just in case you don't go onto Youtube, you can see my newest vlog here. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Interview with "Awake: A Fairytale" Author Jessica Grey

Hey there!
I was fortunate enough to become acquainted with Jessica Grey via the interwebs of it all. :)  (She's friends with a fellow blogger friend, Rebecca. Six Degrees, etc.) It seems that Jess is my long-lost twin! We both love so many of the same things (Disneyland, Coke, Starbucks, Princess Aurora) and both grew up in So. Cal. To read more about Jessica, check out her website.

Her YA fairy tale is titled "Awake: A Fairytale" and it is SO great! I finished reading it (using my husband's iPad) last week. It is available on Amazon and Smashwords for only $2.99 and it is totally worth it!  And she has a beautiful trailer for it, too! I love a good fairy tale and this one rocks. Alex is a smart girl but a bit of a loner (I can identify somehow...). Luke is a...well, he's a stud. Alex is in love with him but of course he doesn't know it. Because boys are like that. Through many twists and exciting turns, Alex is able to grow into the woman she's meant to be. And Luke wises up. ;)

Here's Jessica to tell you more about it and answering my random questions. (My comments will be [bracketed] in the interview. ;)

Interview Questions
So, your book is Awake: A Fairytale.  Give me a little synopsis of it.
Awake: A Fairytale is a Young Adult fantasy / retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  It explores the idea that Sleeping Beauty was awakened in modern day Los Angeles 850 plus years after she was first cursed.  However, instead of breaking the curse, the kiss instead just transferred the sleeping spell to the kisser.  The heroine Alexandra (Alex) and her best friend, Becca, are now stuck with a twelfth century princess and an enchanted sleeping man who just so happens to be Alex’s childhood friend.  And there’s a lot of rain.  And magic.  And diamonds.  And a hot guy. 

When did you start writing it?
This is a hard question actually.  I usually start a story because I get a really strong visual image of a scene or a series of scenes, like a movie, in my head.  I might not have any names or ideas attached, just the image.  In the case of Awake, the image was of the enchanted sleeping man on the magical, crazy metal vine and jewel encrusted bed.  That scene as it appears in Awake is almost exactly the original image that fell into my head one day at least eight years ago.  I started actually writing Awake for National Novel Writing Month in 2010.  I wrote a grand total of 4 thousand words (all of which was what eventually became that scene).  We moved to Montana in March on 2011 and I started writing in earnest. I didn’t have friends or social stuff to distract me I guess!  I wrote the entire first draft between late March and early June, mostly at my local Starbucks. [Yay for writing at Starbucks!]

What was your biggest motivator to finish the story?
Once I finally got started I was motivated to finish the story to see how it ended!  Okay, that sounds like there was no planning involved at all, and while I am a pantser, I am not quite that much of a free-wheeler.  I knew where I was going, if a bit vaguely, but seeing it all come together is so much fun!

Who is your favorite character in the story? Why?
I have several favorites for different reasons.  I am not going to lie, I have a totally awkward crush on the hero of Awake, Luke Reed, cause, well, he’s hot (and nice, but also hot).  However, I identify the most with Alex, the heroine.  She is smart and she realizes this, but she still has some major self-doubts and underestimates herself a lot.  Watching her grow as a character gives me hope for myself!  On the other hand, I love Becca Ward, Alex’s friend. She’s smart and spunky and would probably be the most fun to hang out with. [I like Alex, too!]

What are your future plans for the book series? 
The grand plan for the Fairytale Trilogy is to have the next two books come out over the next two years.  Atone: A Fairytale is next.  It’s a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale.  It is still in process, but my awesome cover designer sent me a mock-up of the cover (we planned all three out together so they’d be consistent) and it is mind-blowingly amazing.  I cannot wait!  After Atone is Aspire: A Fairytale and it is a twist on the Snow Queen story. [I can't wait to read them all.]

Red or Blue?  This is a hard one. I love colors! Um. Red. No. Blue. No. Purple!
Computer or Television?  Computer.  Especially if it is a Mac.
Pizza or Potatoes?  Potatoes.
Coke or Pepsi?  Coke.  Hands down. This shouldn’t even be a question. Sniff. [Totally agree.]
Noise or Silence?  Noise. I need a certain amount, but not too much.  This is why I take headphones with me to the copy shop.  It allows me to listen to music at the right level and not be distracted by each and every conversation around me. 
Batman or Spiderman?  Superman.
Summer or Winter?  Summer.  I prefer flip-flops.  They are the perfect footwear.  A little more difficult to wear in the winter months here in Montana but I HAVE worn them while it was snowing. 
E-mail or Text?  Text.
Mouse or touchpad?  Touchpad, just cause I’m too lazy to move around a mouse with my laptop.
Science or English Literature? English Literature!  Although, both Alex and Becca in Awake are science majors! [Yay for literature!]
Telekinesis or Flying?  Flying, of course!
Have two bellybuttons or no bellybutton?  Hmm, I guess no belly button?  That could be achieved with a really creepy tummy tuck.
Be a tow truck driver or an amusement park ride operator?  Ride operator. Preferably something in Fantasyland.  I’m thinking Alice in Wonderland. [Of course Fantasyland. We already live there. Oh, wait. That's in my head...] 
Wait on someone else or have someone wait on you?  I’d say have someone wait on me, but I don’t love being the center of attention so waiting on someone would probably be easier.
Skateboarding or Pogosticking?  It doesn’t really matter, I’m breaking a limb either way. [Me too! I am forbidden to pogostick. Last time I did it, I fell off and scraped my shin on a trailer hitch, removing a nice thick layer of skin. Good times.]
Favorite Disney princess?  Aurora.  I am sure this is a shocker seeing as my book is about Sleeping Beauty. [And you see??? Aurora is also MY favorite!!]

-Other questions of randomness-
Last movie you saw in the theater?  Breaking Dawn part 1. Don’t judge.  It was girls’ night and I don’t usually get out to movies (I have toddlers). [So judging you right now.]
Last book you read?  Death Benefits by Jennifer Becton.  Spunky but believable heroine, hot, hot, hot hero.  Jennifer inspired me to self-publish actually.
Last book you read that you cried while reading it?  The Hunger Games.  Like a baby.  A very upset baby. [Same here. Not a book to read in public.]
If you could dress up as anything, what would it be?  Princess Leia, but not the first white dress, the white one she wears at the end of Star Wars with the amazing cape like sleeves and the chunky silver jewelry.  I might be able to pull it off too cause I kind of look like Carrie Fisher. [I have to admit to wearing the first white dress as a costume. Husband wanted to be Han Solo for a costume party. I then had to be Leia.]
The area of the bookstore you spend the most time in?  The coffee shop (I sometimes write at my local bookstore), followed by the children’s section.
What did you want to be when you grew up?  A movie director.  This was The Plan for a lot of years.  I may have written an essay on “why George Lucas is my hero” at some point.  And then the prequels happened.  Evil.  Actually, I had switched majors before that, but still.  I feel like blaming him so I will. [Prequels = so awful]
What is the next place you want to travel to?  The next place I am travelling to is back home to California in October and we are going to go to Disneyland.  Tragically it will be right after the regular baseball season ends.  Although I fully expect the Angels to make the playoffs I do not expect to be able to afford playoff tickets. [Yay! Disneyland!! Maybe I'll meet up with you. We can take our pic with Aurora. ;) ]

Thanks, Jessica, for answering all of my weird questions! Now you should all go buy her book! :)

Happy reading!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I was recently introduced to the awesomeness that is John and Hank Green, nerdfighting brothers. They have a vlog channel on Youtube that is SO funny. I waste too much time on Youtube but this is worth it!! :) What is "nerdfighting"? You'd have to watch the video on it. And then join Nerdfighteria. And take a quiz to see which kind of nerd you are. I'm a "writing-type nerd." Yeah, I know, big surprise. ;)  (Warning - I haven't seen very many videos so there be some that are not appropriate for younger audiences. All the ones I've seen have been fine but...a little caution, you know.)

One of my favorite quotes (that John does SO well!) is, "And the English nerd would be like, umm, 'I know a lot of Shakespeare quotes!' *John's side note* Using the English nerd when you’re playing Nerd Fighters is kind of like using Toad when you’re playing Super Mario Kart."

Sadly, this is true. :)  Throwing Shakespeare at a football player will not stop him from rushing you. Fact. Be careful out there, my nerdy brethren. 

And, of course, Don't Forget To Be Awesome.

Friday, February 17, 2012

All These Things I Do

I haven't been blogging as much lately because I've being doing...other things. Yes, even writers have real lives. (As much as I would love to write all day long, that's not a possibility.)

I devoted these last two weeks to Getting Stuff Done. You know, all those annoying projects that get started and then you have to clean them up because friends are coming over so you throw them into a bag and throw the bag into a closet and promptly forget all about that project until you're searching for that random thing you put in a "safe place" and you stumble upon the Best Project Ever Thought Of! that you never actually finished? Yeah. That's what I was doing. And I cleaned/cleaned out my house REALLY well. Two big bags to the Goodwill well. Lots of vacuuming and dusting well. And I have pictures to prove it! :)

Project #1 - Curtains for my bedroom
I found the fabric that matches my bedspread at Joann Fabrics about a year after I bought the bedspread. I was SO happy to find it because they didn't sell the matching curtains at Target (where I bought the bedspread). I really wanted matching curtains! Because I'm Melissa and I'm like that. So, I sewed some curtains and put them up. *go me!*

See the matching bedspread? And matching curtains? See the happy Melissa? ;)

The curtains are made up of the front and reverse fabrics of the bedspread. (Stripes/flowers)
Project #2 - Necklace Holder
I bought this photo memo board for $2 at the Goodwill. I didn't like the fabric and it was missing buttons. So...I decided to do something to it!

Reverse side of memo board with wrong side of fabric facing up in preparation for hot gluing the edges.

Hot glued the edges of the fabric down.


Space out the tiny nails and hammer them in to hang your necklaces so they won't get tangled up.

Nail to the wall!
(Um, nice view of my shoe rack. Yes, I don't have a lot of shoes. Big, wide feet = not many cute shoes available. Tragic? Not so much. More $ to spend on books!)
Necklaces! They are there. Most of them are silver so they just blend in.

Project #3 - Valentine's cookies
I saw these kinds of cookies at the bakery in the market and I thought, "I need to make those!! And so I did for Valentine's Day!

Chocolate chip cookies with whipped vanilla frosting in the middle, dipped into chocolate and then sprinkled with Valentine's Day sprinkles. <3

And I've been writing on Book 3. So...yeah. That's what I've been doing the last two weeks. What's up with you guys?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Thank you to everyone who has asked about Book 2! I got the final final FINAL cover this morning from the awesomesauce Matt Maniscalco. He was (once again) able to take my ramblings and turn them into...gorgeousness. No spoilers here. When you read the book, you'll know EXACTLY what the cover is about.

THE HIDDEN BLESSING is slated to be released June 2012. (That's in 4 months, guys!!) *squee* I'll have to have another birthday party for this book! Let me know if you're interested in holding any interviews, blog tours, etc. for my book. I'm so excited to be able to share with you!

*drum roll...*

I SO SO SO love this!! I will very soon (I promise!) have the back flap summary up here on my blog. (I'm working on writing it's taking a while to get right.)

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Catching Up with Real Life

I've been on a writing kick lately. Which has been great for the writing but not so great for my house. So today I've declared a "No Writing Day." Well, except for this blog post to alert the whole world about the day. And THEN I'll walk away from the computer. I'll even close the lid to my laptop! And then proceed to vacuum, dust, do know, all that fun stuff that needs to be done. My house will be happy. My husband will be happy. My children won't notice. And then I can get back to writing. ;)

Happy cleaning!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vlog: Reading and Funny Faces

A new vlog post in which I read part of Chapter One of THE SEVENTH BLESSING while my son Wyatt makes odd faces and gives valuable input. He is five, after all. ;) And he knows stuff.