Sunday, March 24, 2013

LA Times Festival of Books!

Hey book friends!

I'll be at the LA Times Festival of Books on Saturday, April 20th!

I'll be at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore booth #368 
from 2:30-3:00 p.m.

Come on by and experience the awesomeness of the LATFoB! (It's on the USC campus which is REALLY big. The walk from the parking lot to the festival might take you ten minutes so arrive accordingly.) :)
Admission to the festival is free. I think parking was $10 last year to park in the campus parking structure. Wear walking shoes and bring water, a hat, and sunscreen.

There will be lots of authors, publishers, bookstores, and events happening at the festival. For a list, go to the LATFoB site. Attendee FAQs.

Some confirmed authors that I would love to meet:
Orson Scott Card
Sarah Dessen
Cornelia Funke
Lauren Oliver
Veronica Roth

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Melissa-ish Monday: Indiana Jones Party edition

Happy Monday! (or not so happy. Daylight savings, losing an hour of sleep, blah.)

Indiana Jones Party! 

Saturday was the day of the Epic Indiana Jones Party! My 10 year old wanted to be Indy and I was happy to comply with this request. (My ringtone on my phone is the theme song to Indiana Jones.) I found LOTS of ideas for party games, decorations, food, etc. on the interwebz. I couldn't do all the things because of time, money, enthusiasm, working 4 out of 5 days last week. The party was still fun.

I love making cakes for my kids' parties. I searched for an Indy figure to put on top of the cake. I could not find one and time was running out. I asked my husband to go to the grocery store bakery and ask if they had an Indiana Jones cake decorating set (it could happen, right??). He walks in to the store and THERE at the bakery counter is a fully decorated Indy cake, ready to go! What?! He called and asked if he should buy it, of course I said yes, and we had a great cake and no more stress! I made some cupcakes so we would have enough sweets. 'Cuz everyone loves cupcakes, right?  (And I wish I had more pics! I'll have to see if my mom has some.)


Vines and streamers hung from the tree in our backyard. An old steamer trunk with old books, a clock, a candle set up. My son's friend dressed up as Indy. (Face blurred for anonymity.)


Dressed up!
My awesome husband dressed up like Indy! (Leading the "Guess the Weight" game)

"Snake Pit Crawl"
"Treasure Hunt"
"River Dash"
"Guess the Weight of the Golden Monkey Idol"

A fun party and my son and his friends all had fun. Goal met.

Updated word count (keeping accountable!) 540 words. That's all. Very sad. I'll work on getting this up this week. For reasons about such small word count - see above post. ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Book Review  
THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Summary from Goodreads

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

My review

I read Book 1 THE FALSE PRINCE last year after receiving from Scholastic at BEA. It was a fantastic read. I loved Sage's character. He was smart, funny, and mischevious. He has an authentic voice and he makes mistakes that he owns up to. There are consequences to actions that he makes. All of the awesomeness of Book 1 continues in Book 2, THE RUNAWAY KING. It picks up a few weeks after Book 1, which I appreciated (no time lag).

Jaron is forced to run away from his country in order to prevent war. He easily slips back into his former self "Sage" as he attempts to find the pirates who tried to kill him four years earlier. **No spoilers** I really liked how Jaron/Sage grew in the story and became more sure of himself and learned what kind of king he wanted to be. He sees how situations in his country are the result of his father's inattention and I believe he'll try to change those things in Book 3.

I love his relationship with Mott and Tobias. Friends that will lay down their lives for you are rare, as Jaron discovers. I appreciate that there isn't any foul language or inappropriate situations in the book. (There is some violence but it's in good taste.)

I would recommend this book to those who like action/adventure stories, coming-of-age stories, medieval-ish times.

I was provided an e-ARC by Scholastic for free for the purpose of reviewing the book. All commentaries/thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Photo Challenge

Monthly Photo Challenge from "I Heart Faces"
"Creatively Framed"

"JoJo juggles apples"

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Monday, March 4, 2013

Melissa-ish Monday: Word Count

Melissa-ish Monday
"Word Count"

I'm back to working on my YA contemp now that I'm done with Book 3 in my fantasy series. Yay! I'm trying to keep myself accountable to write every day. It's a difficult thing to do. I have a lot of other things on my plate (being a wife, mom, volunteer, substitute teacher...) and taking the time to write sometimes feels like I'm stealing time and attention away from those other things. BUT I'm making myself do it. What do this mean? Well, maybe not playing Candy Crush for twenty minutes and using that time to write. Not being lost on the interwebz looking for cool Tumblr posts. Not staring out the window, thinking about the plot in the story. Just writing. I read somewhere that if you can just write four pages a day, that would equal about 1,000 words a day. That's 30,000 words in a month (okay, take off the weekends and you still have about 22,000 words!) In three months, you'd have a novel. It's similar to the NaNoWriMo challenge but not so crazy.

So, here I am being accountable. Current word count for YA contemp novel: 38,070. Each week I'll give my current word count. (I'm keeping track in an Excel spreadsheet so I can see when I'm most productive. Keeping track of times and where I'm writing will help that. Example: Starbucks - 9-10 a.m. 900 words., Home office - 8-9 p.m. 1,200 words.) <---- made up situation

How about you? Do you keep track of how many words you write? Does it matter to you?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Photo Friday: Foresty Stream

Happy Friday!

Find a peaceful place to read or write this weekend. I love the arboretum in my city.