Apr 30, 2011

Z is for Catching Some zzZZzz's

Happy last day of April! I did it - I blogged everyday (excluding Sundays) for the whole month. Whew.

Thank you to those who came by several times. I am sorry my posts were not riveting and relied heavily on the use of music videos. I think the Anita Miller posts were pretty extraordinary.

Finals week is here and I'll be studying and getting ready for multiple presentations. By Thursday night, I'll be ready for one mighty nap. We should collectively nap. Like when they have the global turn out the lights for an hour thing. Let's all take a nap for an hour. Or just lay down and chill out, reflect, and .

Oh, and my inbox is at 995 emails; it's time for spring cleaning, methinks.

Apr 29, 2011

Y is for ...Yes?

Anita is "finishing" up her Earthling Hero tour today at Project Middle Grade Mayhem!

A friend recently told me I am a scaredy-cat and I need to start saying yes to more things. And I have a ridiculous example. Yesterday the cafe on campus was closed because it's the end of the semester. In place of the cafe, the student council has a cookout of hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ(<---shamefully, I don't even know what that is*). One of my classmates saw me walking and she's like, "Take some food!" 

This was in the lounge, by the way, so there were like fifty other students around, half of whom stopped and looked between me and the yeller. I froze...I looked around at the food, which was taking up four folding tables (it was a lot of food) and I just froze up. I was not connecting the dots in my head hot dog + bun + ketchup = blah. And so I said, "I gotta go," which was technically true because I was an hour and a half away from taking an exam I had yet to study for and the textbook was at my house.

I start walking toward the door, in this giant room, and she asks me why I am not taking anything. I had the perfect reason: it was pouring rain outside and I am one of those who park their car in the furthest corner of the parking lot. How could I possibly take two made up hot dogs across half a mile, when I already had a backpack, a half empty thermos of coffee, and my nerves? Yeah, no.

Then, I got home, and I rreeaallyy wanted one of those freaking hot dogs.

I need to learn to say yes.

* My Southern friends are rolling their eyes at this

Apr 28, 2011

X is for The xx "Islands"

I win the X post - look at how many there are in the video!

And I just had to include my favorite The xx song.

Apr 26, 2011

V is for Vicarious

I have said this before: I need to start living my own life and stop piggy-backing of others. Operation: Inhibition Annihilation (O:IA) is a major part of that. In an effort to give myself some life skills, I am going to take on tasks that I hope will give me some independence, confidence, and self-reference. I have no idea what these things will be, but let's count becoming a server as the first of many self-imposed ego boosters.

Please, feel free to share stories of when you overcame a fear of doing something or worked hard for something and persisted until it paid off. Also, I'll take suggestions.

To clarify, I am not talking about sky-diving here (although I so want to do that, but it's way too expensive). And I am not talking about joining the military either (which I did want to do, long story).

Does this post make any sense? I am realizing it is quite vague. I am interested in seeing how you interpret it.

And just because - music from one of my writing playlists:

"Honor Amongst Thieves" These United States

Apr 25, 2011

U is for Understanding

Last summer, I debuted a smorgasbord of new blogs that I thought captured my varied interests. It turns out it is impossible to run  multiple blogs without a co-captain. The blog I miss the most is Know Diversity because I think it captured my spirit as a writer for children and teens.

In Know Diversity's short life of three months, I discussed a few books that I felt pushed diversity and tolerance - two things that are important to me. I had a guest post from my good friend Dena, who gave an in-depth review of Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison. I miss that blog, I do. But, like an idiot, I deleted the blog and its contents. Why I thought I'd still have access to the material after hitting delete is beyond me.

And so, today, I am starting work on the rekindling of Know Diversity, as a page here at Jon's Life. I need to recommit myself to personal growth and the constant will for understanding (and trust me, that is greatly needed when observing a room of thirty high school sophomores). I'll also be working on more blog banners, you guys liked the bold ones, which incidentally take the longest, so I'll have to create a balance between easy and difficult.

I won't bore you with the details of my schoolwork to-do list, but I can tell you that the semester ends in two weeks! Oh, and Operation: Inhibition Annihilation is going well*. I have a few issues while serving tables that I need to work out, like speaking more loudly and clearly, becoming more familiar with the menu, and listening for details. And I need to take away plates when guests are finished eating and before they order their free ice cream...I keep forgetting that!

* I'll post a picture of my uniform for Anita soon - I keep forgetting to have someone take one.

It's all about balance, right? Yeah, it's always about balance.

Apr 23, 2011

T is for Theme

I am sorry if you thought this was going to be some awesome post about themes in writing, but it's not. I'll do that another day.

Anywho, I am asking for your input. I have been changing my banner every 7-10 days because I think it's fun to do. Plus, I had made up several banners in one creative spree, but have none on-deck. I am a total novice when it comes to graphic design, but I like a challenge. And so I ask you: gimme some themes and ideas for banners.

Here are the retired banners:
(For Saint Patty's Day)

Apr 21, 2011

R is for R&R

I have always thought R&R meant rest and relaxation, but I recently discovered it's a military term that actually means Rest and Recuperation. I love the power of words. Relaxation is banal while recuperation is more vivid and implies the recuperator is on the mend from some drawn out battle. (Thank you, servicemembers, for your hard work and sacrifice!)

According to Wiki, R&R can also mean:
rescue and resuscitation
read and review (as in book bloggers...who knew?)
recent and relevant
resettlement and rehabilitation (when would you ever use that?)

Other than the last one, I think the phrase "we can all use a little R&R" is absolutely true in any of these cases. 

Speaking of rescue and resuscitation, your comments on my plea for a butt-kicking are sinking in and I have mapped some things out in my mind. And now to get those thoughts onto Google Docs...

Apr 20, 2011

Q is for Quota

Anita and Natalie are hanging out today at Literary Rambles. Go, now, and it's okay if you don't come back here.

And Paul is spotlighting debut author Timothy Power, whose MG book looks like an instant classic. (Paul is giving away a copy.)

I assigned myself the task of writing half a mg novel with my friend Kelly, you all know that. Well, I need to stop looking at it as pulling in my half of the words and start looking at the finish line. Kelly seems convinced that SE will be my first published book. I like that idea and it feels like a great place to jump into the arena of pub'd authors. Here's my main problem: how do you measure that? How do I set obtainable goals when I am not even sure what I am doing. How do I reach my phantom quota?

You know that toy that every tourist trap shop has where no matter how you hold it, it slides through your hands? Yeah, it's hard to describe. Anyway, that is SASQUATCH ELEANOR for me. I have a hold on it one second and the next it's on the floor writhing. And perhaps I am blinded by the grandeur of this book being good enough to jump start my career. Of course, that's an incentive isn't it? And the book could jump start Kelly's career too. Wow, this book has got to get rolling.

I said it before and a few of you gave light-hearted jests, but I am looking for some hardcore crit partner heckling and/or threatening. Are you there for me? Kelly would be much appreciative of your jeeringcheering me along. (Even if she might deny that.)

Let me give you prompts. What would you like to see in a mythological character who is actually very real? What type of attributes are exciting and believable in a thirteen year old girl who makes friends with an unlikely being? When you are willing to fight for something, how far will you go? 

Apr 19, 2011

P is for Potatoes, Peanut Butter, and Pork

After a string of paltry self-reflective posts, it is clear I need to move on. I believe the best way to move on is to talk about food. I have a lot of favorite foods and even more least favorite foods. Today, I'd like to celebrate the foods I love that start with the letter P.

baked, boiled, fried, mashed, salad, scalloped, twice-baked, twice-baked mashed

Peanut butter:
ANYTHING Reese's, in and on ice cream, J-E-L-L-O Peanut Butter Squares, on Oreos, pb cheesecake, Peanut Butter M&M's, straight from from the jar

Pan crust with pepperoni, ground beef (NOT sausage), extra green olives, and extra black olives. And I like the edges blackened. If one cm2 of that pizza is soggy, I will not touch it. Occasionally, I'll order a supreme.

Easter's this week. Need I say more?

Did I leave out any variations? Do you have a favorite food that starts with the letter P? Chances are it's one of my least favorites.

Apr 18, 2011

O is for Once Upon a Time

Hey there!

 Anita is stopping by Carol's for the day with some words to live by!

Once upon a time, in a land called West Michigan, there was a kid named Jon. He didn't have typical dreams in life. His dreams were not as palpable as everyone else's seemed to be: doctor, engineer, architect, consultant (still trying to figure out what that is), etc. Rather, his dreams were elusive and impossible to capture. Jon was too afraid (and perhaps too stubborn) to go after them for his dreams had a life of their own.

They still do. It's a fun game, really; chasing my dreams around is my favorite way to waste time. Think Peter Pan and his shadow (minus the flying). As my dreams become more apparent and less like apparitions I feel more lifted and more...powerful - as weird as that may sound. There's less looking these days and more living - another side effect of being so stubborn.

The Jon of ten years ago is still very much alive, he's fed regularly. He is losing power, however, and perhaps the go-getter Jon will have the upper-hand soon.

FYI: Operation: Inhibition Annihilation goes into full implementation tonight AKA I start my new job as a server. Give up or live up, right?

Oh, and I have spent about twelve hours observing a teacher at a local high school. It's been very enlightening.

Thanks for stopping by!

Apr 16, 2011

N is for New Beginnings (or not)

Wouldn't that make a nice post? N is for New Beginnings... But you see, I have rebooted myself too many times, there are no new beginnings left. But that's okay because I finally realized there's no need for new beginnings in my life. I need new courses, plans, and directions, for sure.

Instead, let's try a new motto, a new direction, and the same old me? Well, I tried that. Yes, I did. It didn't totally pan out, but pieces of that mindset linger in my mind today. And so I am taking those little bits and putting them back together to rekindle the motto:

I am not going through the same rigmarole that I went through last September, but the idea is that I am choosing to live up to my expectations of myself, rather than give up altogether. Last year the theme song was "Shut Up and Let Me Go" from The Ting Tings. And the new theme song is...

(links to YouTube video)

On I go, playing it loud and living up!

Apr 15, 2011

M is for Meet Me Halfway

Anita and Heather are chatting (and there's a fun video involved)!

Me: Ugh, I am over school and zero mullah.

Myself: Ugh, I am over crappy jobs and zero mullah.

Me: Yeah, well you don't have to work on homework over forty hours a week.

Myself: Yeah, well you don't have to wait on annoying customers, mop, and stock milk twenty hours a week.

Me: I thought you quit...

Myself: Oh, I did. I start as a waiter on Monday.

Me: Sweet.

Myself: Yeah, I know.

Me: Whatta ya say?

Myself: Meet me half way?

I: Finally.

Apr 14, 2011

L is for Loser




No time to rack my brain for smart-sounding content, enjoy this video instead:

Apr 13, 2011

K is for Kelly

Two birds, one stone.

Kelly is hosting Anita on her Earthling Heroes tour today!

Kelly is a cool chick.

Kelly and I are writing a book together.

If you'd like me to do my part and get the first draft finished, email me - I need a talking to.

And trust me, you want us to finish it:

Apr 11, 2011

I is for iTunes Most Played

Anita is at Darby Karchut's blog today!

Most of you know how much I love music. I checked the top played songs in my iTunes library to see what they say about me. Honestly, the top two are only there because they were on my Study! playlist last summer and last fall. The third is on there because it's a newfound favorite.

Most played songs
#1 "Swansea" Bombay Bicycle Club
#2 "Twenty Two" Wakey!Wakey!
#3 "Mall and Misery" Broken Bells

Most played albums
#1 Abbey Road the Beatles
#2 Castaways and Cutouts The Decemberists
#3 Third Eye Blind Third Eye Blind

More telling are the top albums, which I chose based on the number of plays of the songs within the album. Abbey Road is a duh. I am a Beatles fan through and through. Castaways and Cutouts is the first The Decemberists album I owned and it is still my favorite of theirs. Third Eye Blind had one of the best albums of the nineties and when I write, their music placates to my nostalgia.

It's funny how  I thought listing three songs could say something about me. Right under those front-runners is list of songs with over a hundred plays. They are eclectic, indie, and soothing - with the occasional happy dance song ("Time to Pretend" MGMT). Now all I want to do is lay around and listen to music all day!

Apr 9, 2011

H is for Heather

Heather Kelly is my writing partner. She's a big part of the reason I am so freaking busy all the time. That is to say, she's a big part of the reason I will be a successful writer one day.

We are collaborating on several fiction and writing advice projects, and we work so well together that we collectively meddle in other people's writing lives (you know who you are and we love you!)

I really don't think I could find a more perfect writing partner. Thank you, Heather. If there's one weakness you have, it's not kicking my butt enough.

* Hey WIBIJ fans and those who are curious cats: we'll be back with a big announcement in the next few weeks!! I hope you're ready for some fun this summer...

Apr 8, 2011

G is for Gay

A few things first:
1. Anita is stopping at Elana Johnson's today with a video! By the way, Elana is having a fun contest, Tag, You're It, through facebook (both links take you to Elana's blog).
2. Andrew Smith is revealing the cover to his next novel, Stick (which I may or may not cryptically refer to below), via other bloggers. I'm linking to Matt at The QQQE for the reveal because I owe him one after forgetting to link to his host post on Wednesday.

And now to spring clean my mind:

If you've read the ABOUT ME at the top of the sidebar you know that I am gay. I have an odd confession on this topic: I have two opposing thoughts plaguing my mind. Please keep in mind that I do not find either of these thoughts to be normal or even acceptable - they just...are.

As a writer, I sort of feel like I have an advantage by being gay. Many agents state that they are looking for quality LGBT stories that don't bang the reader over the head with a message - or something like that. As irrational as it sounds, I think that's exactly where my writing career can and will start. While I do not doubt a good writer's ability to produce a genuine-sounding gay character (I am reading such a novel right now, written by a friend who is straight), I think the perspective I have is different in the way that it wants out of me - it doesn't necessarily have to do with my writing chops. After a life of feeling disadvantaged, perhaps this is just my mind playing tricks on me.

On the other hand, I am also going into secondary education. Not a day goes by without me dreaming up a scenario where being gay makes my job hell. It may sound ridiculous, but it weighs heavily on my mind. Did you know that many states have no law against firing a teacher for being gay? Sadly, many of those states are where teaching jobs are available. Job security and anti-job security in the same place, go freaking figure.

The other day, I wrote that teaching is my fall back if writing doesn't work out. Well, in all honesty, they switch places every other day. Today, writing is a fall back in case teaching doesn't work out.

And I'll restate that I think all this sounds ridiculous; I am making a mountain out of a molehill. Just putting my thoughts out there because man do they take up a lot of space in my head.

Apr 7, 2011

F is for Film Review Paper: Slumdog Millionaire

I cannot believe I am posting this...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was busy writing a million papers and that one of them was for Film class. Here's the paper:

Hindered by my ignorance, I had previously thought the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire was just another movie out of Bollywood. In fact, I equated it to Bride and Prejudice (2004), which let’s face it, was a zany, watered down feel-good attempt at showing the rest of the world the integrity of Indian films. Bride and Prejudice failed miserably at its attempt, but Slumdog Millionaire transcended genres and blew me away. Danny Boyle, who has a raft of seriously effed up films, had just the right amount of genius and audacity in his director’s repertoire to bring the story of a stray dog boy to the big screen. Jamal Malik, and his brother Salim, watch their mother die as a result of the centuries old Arab/Hindi conflict in India. The boys run through the lanes and corridors of their Indian slum, meet up with another recently orphaned girl, and escape to the outskirts of their shanty town. Despite the growing animosity and competition between the brothers, they band together for survival’s sake, and accept the girl, Latika, creating The Three Musketeers.
Fiercely edited by Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire gives us a cause and effect presentation: Jamal receives a question while sitting in the hot-seat on the set of India’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and we are sent back in time to Jamal as a child or into the future to Jamal as an arrestee following accusations that he cheated on his first episode of the show. Though the editing was jagged, it was not painful to watch. In fact, the constant change in stimuli kept my keen interest for the film’s entire runtime of 121 minutes (including the entertaining credits.) With a myriad of storylines, Dickens gave the viewer a unified film through dramatic focus and varying points of view. Never did I find myself confused by the non-chronological sequence of events.
Equally as impressive as the editing was the performance style from a cast of names I had never heard of. Dev Patel (Jamal), Freida Pinto (Latika), and Madhur Mittal (Sarim) give us three dimensional characters, full of faults, but also resolve. It helped that they fit the profile of someone living in India. The situations Jamal survives as a child inadvertently provide him with the answers to the questions he faces as a contestant on the game show. The answers show up in minute details or some seemingly trivial lines his enemies say, but end up engraved in Jamal’s brain. And the disturbing positions Jamal finds himself in as a child – a street peddler working for a slumlord, for instance – prepare him for the camera and light-filled pressures of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? stage (and the brutal interrogation he faces after correctly answering twelve questions, which elicits suspicion of cheating). It’s the defense of their own lives that constantly breaks up the Three Musketeers, and causes the viewer to come to conclusions that make little sense. If I thought I had it all figured out, Boyle would pull me out of the present and give me more pieces of the past that muddled my perception. And Patel as the contestant and the detainee, pale in comparison to the love-driven boy who fights to win back his girl, Latika, multiple times.
Though the theme, “it’s destiny”, is indeed strong in Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle does not fool us into thinking that it is the film’s prevailing force. “Love conquers all” may be too strong of a title to put on the dynamic between Jamal and Latika, but the energy between the two characters appropriately fills the multiple storylines of the film.
The lighting used in the film placates to the emotion on the actors’ faces. Realistic lightning, like the harsh spotlights of the slums contrast with neon lights of inner Mumbai – both cast upon a ruthless landscape. Pictorial lighting makes a dramatic presence in the film. A couple of times, soft light is sent through a cloud of dust or smoke to make a time transition. While this seems to be commonplace in a meathead action film, the way it is done in Slumdog Millionaire is artistic. The lighting is almost a character in the film, as it is a strong presence in the plot.
If lighting is almost a character, then the music is a main character. A.R. Rahman’s score for the film reaches audiences across the world, but never strays far from Mumbai. With traditional filmi music – classical Indian music written for the cinema with the intention of becoming popular – mixed with hip hop and dance music from the United States and the United Kingdom, the soundtrack for Slumdog Millionaire is upbeat, poignant, and devastating all at the same time. A previously favorite song of mine, “Paper Planes”, plays during a scene that involves Jamal and Samil train hopping and stealing food to survive. It is during this scene they further their skills as peddlers on their way to teenhood to the tune of guns clicking and money cha-chinging. The score highlights the constant struggles of survival the protagonists face, but it reprises the giddy feelings at all the right spots. And despite this, the Bollywood-influenced film score is never too festive or jovial for the distressed film.
Critics adored Slumdog Millionaire across the board and the film won eight Oscars, including Best Picture of 2009. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times was most impressed with the directing of the film, for which Boyle earned an Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing. In her review, Dargis references Trainspotting, which epitomizes Boyle’s bizarre sense of humor, and strange way of making an upbeat story out of desolation. He keeps the trend going with Slumdog Millionaire, in Dargis’s opinion. She says, “[Slumdog Millionaire] proves to be one of the most upbeat stories about living in hell imaginable.” Dargis also talks about the cinematography, stating the film is “Beautifully shot with great sensitivity to color…Slumdog Millionaire makes for a better viewing experience than it does for a reflective one.”
Dargis gave one bit of criticism by wondering if the whole account is too convenient and contrived. She said, “…its joyfulness feels more like a filmmaker’s calculation than an honest cry from the heart about the human spirit (or, better yet, a moral tale).” But despite Boyle’s buoyant layer, Dargis felt the film was extremely successful, and that Boyle’s seasoned directing skills made the difference.
Peter Traverse of Rolling Stone agreed with Manohla Dargis on many points, calling Boyle the MVP among many talented crewmembers. He adored the upbeat feeling of the film and the musical score. Also similar to Dargis, Traverse questioned the sequence of events and said, “the concept bends coincidence to the breaking point.”
I have to admit, I felt the same way as the two critics: the sequential events were, at times, too expedient. But despite the nonpragmatic storyline, Slumdog Millionaire is a gorgeous example of filmmaking. Before viewing the film, Danny Boyle was just an eccentric, out-of-the-box director in my mind. But now, I see him as an artist and intense director. He pulled off a masterpiece that eclipses any other film I have seen in the last few years. It seems Boyle is a trifecta of talent, and he knows how to pick ‘em: A.R. Rahman for the score, Anthony Dod Mantle for cinematography, and Chris Dickens for editing; all of whom Dargis and Traverse cited as excellent. The cast, a strange mix of small screen veterans and child actors, blew me away. Each cast member fit his or her part like a glove. I believed in Jamal for the entire film, and that is rare for me. I tend to be cynical and reproachful, especially in melodramatic instances. But, while the critics seemed to equate the viewing experience of Slumdog Millionaire to sucking a lollipop while high, I found it to be a reminder of the need for empathy and understanding. The human experience is more than an abstract painting of bright, swirling colors, and Boyle delved past the goop. I have adjusted my expectations accordingly for his next work.

And because I know you'll ask - the grade:

Anita has interviewed Chris Rylander at her middle grade blog. It's short and funny, check it out!

Apr 6, 2011

E is for Education

I forgot to tell you that Anita's release tour continues today at Matthew Rush's The QQQE.

On the first day of Education class this semester, my prof asked us all to introduce ourselves and tell what our career plans are. I like to be one of the first people to go because I hate the feeling of sitting there looking at all the other people who have not done their introductions and playing eye-chicken to see who has to go next.

So, yeah, I went, like, third. Here's what I said:

"I am a writer. But I am going into Secondary Ed: English in case I don't write a good enough novel."

Alright. I play off my insecurities by utilizing a blase attitude. I'm a guy after all - it's what we do. But the look on my profs face killed me inside a little. I am not sure if he was more offended that I thought I thought couldn't write a good novel or that I was going into Ed as a fall back. Whatever the case, I hate that I say things that do not take ownership for my real feelings. If I had been there that first day, really been there, I would have said,
"I am going into Education because I am a writer for teens and children and I look forward to being able to connect with youngster in other ways. I want to teach The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian and I want to watch students teach each other about what it means to be gay, Hispanic, short, tall, White, lonely, high-spirited......different and the same."
My personal teaching philosophy is rather progressive, with shreds of essentialism and existentialism in there. I will be at the students side and they will teach me as much as I teach them, perhaps more.

If I had been truly speaking from the heart, I would have made it obvious that I am quite passionate about the prospect of becoming a teacher. I am full of missed opportunities, so I have had to make up for that nonchalant statement through my work since that very first day. Perhaps it was meant to be.

Apr 5, 2011

D is for Dangitall


I guess I'll give you all a reprieve for the day. I am full of nonsensical data for my interpersonal communications exam.

Oh, I posted about needing to level up on my writing siblings skills a few weeks ago. Using Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry, and Emily Blunt as characters, I want to build a history between them and learn how to write the sibling dynamic. I have a few unfinished short stories, but I think I came up with a great idea this morning (via a friend). Poker Night at the Three Sisters House. 

There you have it - a token writing anecdote.

Apr 4, 2011

Welcome to the Kick-Off of Anita Miller's EARTHLING HERO E-Book Release Tour

Thanks for coming by today. I posted the winners of my contests as my C post (part of the A-Z blogging challenge) yesterday. Today is all about my friend Anita and her story.

(<---) Anita Laydon Miller queried, signed with an agent, and worked with said agent to ready her middle grade book for publishing. Everything went as planned, except the publishing part. This is not one of those stories where Anita got mad and went on a rage. In fact, I read her blog every day (even if she hasn't posted in a week) and she never gave so much as an inkling about her plans - until a few weeks ago.

It all started with a blog post titled I've got an announcement...it's not what you think...unless you read minds. Luckily for me, I do read minds and I quickly discovered that Anita was going to e-publish her book. A subsequent post explained more of the back story - I urge you to visit her blog and participate in the upcoming posts along Anita's tour to learn more about the whole journey (links below).

When I first read the post that Anita was heading for self-publication, I scoffed. Not gonna lie. How can she do that?! I thought. To be honest, I once told Elana Johnson that I thought e-publishing would go nowhere and it was stupid (I said this without doing my homework). After processing Anita's news for about fifteen seconds, I realized this was a good thing. Anita is a smart girl and she knows what she's doing. Well, as it turns out, that was an understatement.

In the last two weeks, Anita has started a MG blog (my first clue as to what was going on), designed a cover (and photographed the gorgeous rock formation on the cover), uploaded her manuscript, and started a marketing effort. Like, whoa. The whole process has been blowing me away. To top it all off, we organized a rocking blog tour in less than a week (more about that below).

Before I discuss the content of the book, I want to point out that Earthling Hero is an inexpensive e-book for kids - Anita has priced it book at $0.99. Yeah, that's 99 cents, folks.

I am in the middle of the book and it does not read like a ninety-nine cent book. Earthling Hero is a bona fide middle grade e-book of quality and integrity, worth $19.99, no doubt.

I am impressed with Anita's humor, which will be familiar to her blog followers. And her main character(s), Mikey Murphy, is a classic boy character with some not so classic problems. I love the way Anita intermittently puts Mikey in action sequences and in thoughtful passages. Earthling Hero is compelling through the middle and I am putting off homework in order to get to the end. Don't yell at me. If I had kids, I would make this a family affair and gather 'round the computer and take turns reading aloud. Instead, I have the pleasure of being a crazy uncle, I so I am going to purchase a copy of the book for a few nieces and nephews.

Some questions and concerns arise when speaking about e-books - Anita will be on-hand today (and any time via email) to answer questions. Please ask anything that comes to mind. Do you remember when you were in fifth grade and the teacher said over and over again, "If you have a question, there's a good chance several other students have the same question"? Well, this is one of those instances. I'll answer a few questions right away: No, you do not need an e-reader in order to read Earthling Hero. I am reading the novel on my computer, but it looks just as nice on my iPod via the Stanza app. Yes, you can read EH on a Mac and a PC. I am using the latter, but I'll ask some of my fancy friends to weigh with their reading experiences using the former (ahem Robert and Tina). Please, please, please ask away!

Here's some linkage:
Earthling Hero is for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords (the venue through which I now own a copy).

Anita's tenacious attitude and willingness to go out on a limb is sure to make this experience successful for her. Join us for the rest of the tour's three weeks to learn more about Anita, e-publishing, and, um, dancing. The next stop on the tour takes place on Wednesday at Matthew Rush's blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment (<---I cannot believe I just typed that whole thing without errors). Friday, we'll be stopping at the blog of Elana Johnson, who has her own experience with e-book publishing. I'll post about the rest of the tour as those days approach. There are some awesome stops along the way!

Thanks again for joining us and please treat the comment section like an ongoing conversation and with respect (AKA don't make assumptions like me).

Apr 3, 2011

C is for Contest Winners!!!

I am posting on Sunday because I need the C post for today.

Anyway, March was, like, freaking crazy. I gained, um, a hundred new followers thanks to Carol, Elana, and Anita. I am sure I have a hundred others to thank for sharing my name. Thank you all!

Alright, let's get to business. My part in Carol's MegaGiveaway winner:

A $15 e-gift card to Barnes and Noble Simon Larter! (<---who i secretly want as a drinking buddy)

Three Questions. Two Blogs. One Elana. Possession Contest winners:

Question #1: Kelly Polark, she asked "If you and the other WriteOnCon ladies formed a band, what two songs would you play in concert?" <---what self-respecting music lover wouldn't choose that?!

Question #2: Kris Asselin, she asked "How planned has your marketing plan been? Or did it develop organically?" <---I love how relevant Kris's question is to this whole blog tour and the vlog through which Elana will be answering the question.

Question #3: Theresa's Blog! (Blog #2)

ARC of Possession: Erica and Christy (co-bloggers) they can fight over it in Wisconsin.

Congrats, guys! And thank you to everyone who participated and supported Elana and Carol.

Apr 2, 2011

B is for the Black Eyed Peas

Not all twenty-six of my posts will be about music - I promise*. But this one is actually about writing. It's writing advice from Will.i.am. 

I pledge my allegiance,
To rhythm and sound.
Music is my medicine,
Let the rhythm pound.**

I love how dedicating to music and craft Will.i.am is. You can see it in the quality of music he  produces and the longevity of his career. I need to put those words in my head and get writing. I have been dragging my knuckles for months, waiting for some divine intervention to show me the way. I know it's totally up to me to make my career. I will write a book with Kelly, even if we are both super busy. The story idea is behind Sasquatch Eleanor is too amazing and original to abandon and working with Kelly is a dream. At this point it's all about getting my head in the game. I will finish STEPBROTHERS - the book I have restarted and shelved more times than Michelle Duggar has been pregnant. I will complete the sekrit manual Heather and I have been contriving. It will be a writing guide that blows socks off. 

I pledge my allegiance to myself.

* I cannot honestly promise this because  - as all my veteran followers know - I am made of music.
** Lyrics are from the Black Eyed Peas song "Play it Loud". I recommend a listen.

Apr 1, 2011

A is for Adele and Her Cover of The Cult's "Lovesong"

Her voice is disturbingly carnal - it feeds me.

Thanks for visiting as I kickoff the A-Z Blogging Challenge in my little corner of the blogosphere. A thousand other bloggers have joined in. While that number is daunting, I urge you to visit a comfortable number of them each day or week. Challenge yourself to get out there and meet some new peeps. I think I'll even feature some of the other bloggers in posts, in case I have a hard time thinking up topics (which I know I will).

Oh, and an awesome blog tour is coming your way! It's about a fresh new voice, a new spin on publishing, and a book for $0.99. Stay tuned! I'll incorporate it all into the A-Z thing somehow.