Tuesday, November 4, 2014

LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD

I am so excited to be a part of the Little Dead Riding Hood blog tour! Mother-Daughter writing team, Amie & Bethanie Borst have written another amazing book in their Scarily Ever Laughter series. 



You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!
 
Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.
 
Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list here Purchase LDRH at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite Indie bookstore!

***

Q: Tell us a bit about your MC, Scarlet.
Amie: Scarlet is a FANGtastic main character. She's funny, a little awkward, hot tempered, and a little self-deprecating. Oh, and she's a vampire.
Q: Does she have any fears?
Amie: Fears? Since when do vampires have fears? Only when you're talking about werewolves, and the dark, and being alone in the woods.
Q: So being a vampire, she must love blood. It's gotta be her favorite meal.
Amie: Yes and no. Only animal blood. She's been banned her entire afterlife from ever drinking human blood again. She mostly survives on Bloody Toms (that's tomato juice) and Cheetoes (made with real cheetas!)
Q: Any last things you'd like to tell us?
Amie: Scarlet has issues with sweets. It's not pretty.
About us:
Amiee Borst is a PAL member of SCBWI. She believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate. 
Bethanie Borst is a spunky 14 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life. She was only 9 when she came up with the idea for Cinderskella!

Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013.

You can find them on facebook. Amie can be found on twitter, pinterest, and her blog. 

***
They are having two great giveaways as part of their  blog tour! The first is for a copy of LITTLE DEAD RIDING HOOD! So be sure to enter the giveaway by following the steps on the rafflecopter form below.
THEN - as soon as you finish that, be sure to stop by Amie's Blog for a second contest! She's having a SCAVENGER HUNT that you won't want to miss with lots of extra great prizes! All you have to do is make sure you enter the contest below first then hopping over to her blog and filling out the rafflecopter form there! Super easy! Here's the rafflecopter form for my blog just in case you missed it!   
a Rafflecopter giveaway


See you soon!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I TEXT DEAD PEOPLE COVER REVEAL

Super excited to finally show off my new book cover for I Text Dead People! This is the first book in the new Dead Serious series by Random House.


About the book:
You can’t block the dead. 
Annabel Craven hopes she’ll fit in—maybe even be popular—at the Academy. She’s worried she’ll stay friendless and phoneless (it’s true). But when she finds a mysterious phone in the woods near the cemetery, one of her problems is solved . . . and another one is just beginning. 

Someone won’t stop texting her. And that someone seems . . . dead. How is Annabel supposed to make friends when her phone keeps blowing up with messages from the afterlife? And what will happen if she doesn't text back?

And here's the back cover...



I already got my ARCS and I'm so in love with it! This is a story I've wanted to write nearly forever and it's gone through soooo many changes to become what it is now. 

About ten years ago it was a dark YA titled, Confessions of a Morticians Daughter. After putting that back on the shelf for a few years, it was a lighter version but still YA, called Deadies Don't Gossip. But then my Blogtastic Novel series took over and after finding my true voice in MG, I Text Dead People was born. And yes, I do realize now how inappropriate the second title was because Deadies do gossip. And they love every minute of it! 

I TEXT DEAD PEOPLE will be released June 9, 2015. But don't worry, you can totally pre-order it now :)



P.S. Keep those receipts if you do because details on a  pre-order giveaway coming soon!



Monday, August 25, 2014

Lazy Daisy

I just got a puppy...my first puppy ever (I've always been more of a cat person) and adopted Daisy from the SPCA. She's nine months old, and already a handful. 

For instance, I took her on a walk....


Whoa! Calm down girl. So I finally got her to walk again, but then she was like....


Don't over do it, Daisy. So in a firm voice I told her "C'mon shmoopy" and urged her on her back up and walking.

By this point we had been out for 20 min and had walked a total of half a block. I know what you're thinking...slow down, don't over do it!

No problem. Because in that next instance Daisy spotted a squirrel, got so excited and was all...


BAM! Excitement sucked the energy right out of her little body. So much, that I could not get her to stand up and walk. 

So what's a girl to do? This walk was apparently over so I scooped Daisy up and carried her home. 

As soon as we got home, she did this incredible act of excitement...


She had a hard day...can you blame her?



Friday, August 1, 2014

Building Your Author Platform

On August 2nd I will be speaking at the Placerville Library in Placerville, CA. I love speaking with other writers so I'm really excited to be a part of this. If you're a writer in the area...join us!

What questions do you have about building an author platform? 



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Thursday, March 20, 2014

EMS 5th Period: Zylock and the Bionic Werewolves

Character and story collaboration by the creative minds of
 Enterprise Middle School's 2nd Period art class. Read about the activity HERE!



As the story goes, when Zylock was born, his parents were forced to protect him and catapulted him
into the skies, away from the danger. Others say they threw him on a rocket and launched him into space. Nobody can be certain which is true. His parents were unavailable for an interview.

Regardless of how it happened, Zylock crash landed on a nearby planet. A planet that was also a nuclear site.  If you were to view this planet from earth, it would look like the moon. It was round with craters and gave off almost as much light as the moon. Other might say it looked like a cookie.

Maybe it was.

Because of the nuclear waste, Zylock didn't look like earth kids. Even some of the other nuclear kids looked different from him. Some had two heads. Some had four arms. Some had none.

Zylock spent his nights nestled tightly inside cocoons, hanging from the family of trees high above the ground. In his cozy cocoon, he was warm. And safe. Safe from the roaming bionic werewolves that hunted nearby.


In the distance, Zylock could hear the hungry cries. He knew what they searched for. What they hunted. He looked down at the box held tightly in his grasp.

A box. Not a mystery box, but an exclamation point box that looked very much like a treasure chest. And inside that box, besides rotten slices of pizza which were a delicacy to the bionic wolves, there was something else. A bigger secret. So secret, in fact, that not even Zylock knew what it was.

He only knew the bionic werewolves wanted it. Needed it. It was important for their survival.

Whatever it was, the smell attracted hundreds upon hundreds of fish from all over the cookie-looking planet. Fish that were vicious (and bit his big toe) and could live for several days washed up on the land without a drop of water. It became such a problem that Zylock could barely walk without stepping in a puddle of fish.

Zylock knew he wanted a better life than this. So one night after the passing of a storm, when the cookie shower turned into a mere drizzle of sprinkles, Zylock took the treasure chest looking box and went off in search of the secret factory. A factory so secret, not even Zylock knew where it was located.

This lack of information made the journey for Zylock extremely challenging, he even lost the box along the way. But finally, he found the secret factory and went on to make Canadian toasters and become a secret millionaire.

And whatever happened to that non-mystery, treasure chest-looking box?
 To this day, it is still lost and if you look hard enough into the sky late at night and see a slightly orange glowing object that may or may not be moving, it could quite possibly be Zylock's missing box.









Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EMS 4th Period: Chanel from Norway



Character and story collaboration by the creative minds of
 Enterprise Middle School's 3rd Period art class. Read about the activity HERE!
 
 
Chanel, a foreign exchange student from Norway, danced under the dizzying disco ball that hung and spun from the skinny branch of the twisted tree. Chanel was exhausted, her arms ached and her legs burned. She wished more than anything she could this dancing.

But she was cursed. Literally. Chanel had to pay for what she did, and she was sentenced to a lifetime of dancing by a Norwegian Witch.

Chanel sighed, remembering how awesome that night was suppose to be. After all, she had been planning a party. Not just any party, but THE party everyone would be talking about. It was her birthday and she had been determined to have the best of everything. The best cake, best decorations, and definitely the best music.

The family Chanel lived with seemed to have everything. Big house, fancy cars, and all the best things money could buy. So while the family was out, Chanel did a little snooping to look for items she could use for her party.

Chanel had tip toed up the winding staircase, searching the first floor of the house. Nothing.

Then the second floor. Still nothing.

When at last she reached the third floor, she opened the creaky door to the attic and that's when she saw it--the most fabulous party decoration. And she had to have it.

Chanel carefully lifted the disco ball, running her fingers over the smooth, reflective glass. Nobody would care, or even notice, it she took this one little thing. And it wasn't exactly stealing. She just planned to borrow it and give it back after the party.

Little did Chanel know, someone was watching her every move. The family she stayed with had a daughter, Shanee, exactly her age. But that was where any similarities between the two ended. Shanee was unhappy all the time. And very, very angry. She had a secret that she held onto, a secret that included Chanel.

Chanel's leg started cramping from the dancing. She wished she could go back to that night and choose differently. She would choose to not take the disco ball. Or have the party.  Because the night of the party, although Shanee wasn't invited, she still showed up. That was when she told Chanel exactly who she was.

"We're Twitches!" Shanee had yelled at her.

Chanel raised an eyebrow. "We're...what?"

"Twin witches!" Shanee stomped her feet like a kid throwing a tantrum. "We were separated at birth, but we are definitely twins."

Chanel laughed in her face. "There is no such thing as witches!"

"Well if I'm not at witch, then I shouldn't be able to curse you," Shanee threatened, as she muttered words under her breath and pointed at the disco ball. And in the blink of an eye, Chanel began dancing.

And she couldn't stop. Her evil twin sister made certain of that. And because Chanel was definitely not a witch, there was no way to break the curse. So everywhere Chanel went, she took the disco ball. She made it look like she was trying to dance wherever she went, and not because she didn't have a choice.

Chanel's leg cramped up even more, as she lost her balance and slammed against the tree. The branches moved with the force and Chanel's legs and arms kept twitching in rhythmic motion.

The disco ball swung side to side on the edge of the branch. It dangled at the very tip, ready to fall at any moment. Coming up with an idea, Chanel threw her body up against the tree again. It was enough to knock the disco ball off the branch and fall to the ground, shattering into a million tiny pieces.

And as simple as that, Chanel stopped dancing. She collapsed from exhaustion and watched with wide eyes as smoke poured from the shattered pieces of the ball. Except...it wasn't smoke. It was Shanee's happiness. It had been taken away from her and locked up inside the ball. Releasing her happiness meant destroying anything evil...including the curse.

Maybe now Chanel could get to know her real sister. As long as she never had to dance or see another disco ball for the rest of her life. Could you really blame her though?

Other characters & stories by Enterprise Middle School:2nd Period: Bubbles
3rd Period: Marlon Barry Jr.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

EMS 3rd Period: Marlon Barry Jr.



Character and story collaboration by the creative minds of
 Enterprise Middle School's 3rd Period art class. Read about the activity HERE!


Marlon Barry Jr. (yes, there's another one just like him out there!) just had his 25th birthday and couldn't believe how old he had become. He looked back on his life, remembering how much he loved playing soccer as a kid. Why hadn't he stuck with it? Maybe if he had, he would've become a great soccer star!

That's when the greatest idea struck Marlon Barry Jr.! He would go back in time!  His father, somewhat of a crazy inventor, created a time machine that surely could bring Marlon back to his childhood years. But...which exact day and year should he choose?

Marlon thought. And thought. And thought.

Student Drawing

"Ah ha!" he exclaimed. He knew exactly when to go.

He was five years old when he first began playing soccer. That would be the perfect age to begin training! As for the exact day, he would choose the week after his 5th birthday--when he ate 100 ice cream cones. He would be crazy not to relive that day! Well, minus the stomachache. But that was beside the point.

With a thundering boom and a flash of light, Marlon Barry Jr. transported back in time to his five-year-old self. Except...there was one teeny, tiny, little problem. Marlon was--gulp!--stuck in his 25-year-old body!

He may have looked old on the outside, but on the inside, he was that same cute, energetic kid that he remembered so well. He would just have to settle for being a little big for his age, which surely would give him an advantage to his soccer career.
Student Drawing

As time went on, Marlon Barry Jr. became the best player on his team. He could easily outrun, outplay, and out maneuver all those smaller kids. However, he did run into some problems. He never grew bigger as he aged, but his hair continued to grow. Unfortunately, this got him into some pretty hairy situations. Anything and everything seemed to get stuck in his massive curls. Especially on windy days.


Student Drawing
As a prank, another kid on the soccer team who was jealous of Marlon and his mad skills, smothered the soccer ball in super glue. As Marlon gave his best pose for the soccer team photos, his foot stuck to the ball. No matter how hard he tried, Marlon could not remove the ball. The idea of simply removing his shoes never occurred to him.

However, this never stopped him from achieving his dreams and he became a soccer champ, playing in Barcelona, alongside his pet Hot Dog. And if you look closely, you could tell what Marlon has been up to by examining his hair. For instance, you can see just the tip top of the horn belonging to a unicorn that has been deeply embedded in his curls for quite some time. Also? he might have a pet spider in there somewhere...that tarantula has been missing for awhile!

Other characters & stories by Enterprise Middle School:
2nd Period: Bubbles


Monday, March 17, 2014

EMS 2nd Period: Bubbles

 
Character and story collaboration by the creative minds of
 Enterprise Middle School's 2nd Period art class. Read about the activity HERE!



Bubbles had goals in life. Actually, one goal to be exact. And that was to become the world's greatest clown. As a kid, he was always the class clown. Making people laugh was his speciality, whether they were laughing with him or at him. He knew he had to take advantage of this talent and of course, becoming a clown was the way to do just that.

Although he was born with the name Zitch, which was almost as funny as he was, he still went on to change his name to Bubbles once he entered his dream school...Clown University. But quickly, things went from good to terrible.

Bubbles attended too many clown parties and stayed up all hours of the night, too exhausted to ever study for his classes. His chuckles became too weak, his grades became laughable (the bad kind), and his attempts at being funny were epic failures. And then he flunked the Clown Exam and was booted from school.

Although Bubbles had failed, he still was determined to make it as the worlds greatest clown. He went to many, many, many job interviews, hoping that someone---anyone--would see he was destined for a laughable future and give him the chance.

They never did.

With his head hung low, his shoulders hunched, and his big red shoes shuffling awkwardly down the street, he made his way to one last interview. His stomach fluttered with nervous butterflies and growled as it demanded food. Bubbles made a stop at Walmart to grab a quick snack.

He couldn't be late for the interview, so Bubbles hastily sped down the isles, nearly tripping over his clunky shoes, and grabbed the first item he saw---a block of cheese.

He left the store, tearing off the wrapper and shoved the block of cheese in his mouth, not paying any attention to how the cheese actually tasted, or that the wrapper had said "soap."

For his interview, he had to shoot out of a human cannon. "No problem," said Bubbles as he waved his hand dismissively. "I've got this."

1...2...3!

Bubbles blasted from the cannon and shot out faster, higher, and funnier than any clown in the history of...well, clowns. Bubbles knew he did it. This would make his career. This would--

Splat!

Bubbles smacked right into the window of a hovering helicopter. The force caused the window to crack and bubbles to float right out of his ears. As if in slow motion, Bubbles slowly slid down the length of the window, falling straight down into a manhole and was washed out to sea.

To this day, there have been sightings of Bubbles who washed up on shore of a nearby island except, he wasn't exactly the same. Instead of the bright, red, bulbous nose, he wore an eye patch over his left eye and a hook on his right hand.

Yep, you guessed it. He was the worlds greatest pirate. And, he had developed quite a craving for cheese. Or was it soap?

Other characters & stories by Enterprise Middle School:
3rd Period: Marlon Barry Jr.

Enterprise Middle School: Art and Characters and Stories...oh my!

Last week while I was in WA for the Cavalcade of Authors,  I had the pleasure of visiting Enterprise Middle School. I did an activity with Mrs. Tsoukalas art classes for 2nd-6th period and each day this week I will be posting the classes creation for this activity.

The activity went something like this:

Together with the class, we created a single character. The class told me what to draw starting with the eyes (shape, size, etc.), following with the head, nose, mouth all the way to the expression and body language. Many times I chose students to come up and draw their ideas on the poster board. Once finished, the class named the character, then created a story using all the basic elements of who, what, when, where, why and how. I wrote down everything they told me and today you will get to see that character and read that character's story.

The students at Enterprise were VERY creative, interactive, and SO much fun! Comments are definitely encouraged as I'm sure the students would love to read them! Many of these participating students are hoping to be writers, illustrators, or even animators some day.

I also took photos of additional pictures drawn by students who wanted to share, so I'll be posting those as well.

Characters & stories by Enterprise Middle School:

2nd Period: Bubbles
3rd Period: Marlon Barry Jr.
4th Period: Chanel From Norway
5th Period: Zylock and Bionic Werewolves (Thursday)
6th Period:00 Penguin and the City of Whatchamacallit (Friday)


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...eh, it's just a plane




The countdown begins!

On March 11th I'm getting on an airplane for the first time (ever!) unless you count that one time I went skydiving then it's really just the first time I'm landing in an airplane (ever!) and heading to Pasco, WA for Cavalcade of Authors. I'm really very honored to have been asked to participate in this annual event of awesomeness.

While there I will be doing school visits, book signings, and giving a workshop... along with other authorly (yes, I declare this a word!)  things as well. Everything will be done in the span of 4 days so I will be busy, busy, busy. But I love busy. And I'll enjoy every minute of it.

And yes, I must take Sofia with me. She's actually kind of excited too. She even updated her blog (finally!) and announced it HERE.

So...any tips for a first time flyer (and lander)?


Monday, March 3, 2014

Little Dead Riding Hood: Cover Reveal & Giveaway!


You know things are going to suck when you’re the new kid. But when you’re the new kid and a vampire… well, it bites!

Unlike most kids, Scarlet Small’s problems go far beyond just trying to fit in. She would settle for a normal life, but being twelve years old for an entire century is a real pain in the neck. Plus, her appetite for security guards, house pets and bloody toms (tomato juice) is out of control. So in order to keep their vampire-secret, her parents, Mort and Drac, resort to moving for the hundredth time, despite Scarlet being dead-set against it. Things couldn’t be worse at her new school, either. Not only does she have a strange skeleton-girl as a classmate, but a smelly werewolf is intent on revealing her secret. When she meets Granny—who fills her with cookies, goodies, and treats, and seems to understand her more than anyone—she’s sure things will be different. But with a fork-stabbing incident, a cherry pie massacre, and a town full of crazy people, Scarlet’s O-positive she’ll never live to see another undead day.

Not even her Vampire Rule Book can save her from the mess she’s in. Why can’t she ever just follow the rules?

Add Little Dead Riding Hood to your Goodreads to-read list HERE


GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

To celebrate the cover for Little Dead Riding Hood, Amie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The more ways you share, the more points you earn!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



believes in Unicorns, uses glitter whenever the opportunity arises, accessories in pink and eats too much chocolate. 

Bethanie Borst is a spunky 13 year old who loves archery, long bike rides and studying edible plant-life.

Little Dead Riding Hood is their second book in the Scarily Ever Laughter series. Their first book, Cinderskella, released in October 2013 and has been nominated for three awards.  

You can find Amie on:
 Twitter 

Blog 
Together they can be found on Facebook

Congrats Amie and Bethanie! I am once again so happy for your continued success and look forward to your newest book!

Monday, January 27, 2014

To Trademark or not to Trademark?


Today I will be on Red River Radio, discussing my art, books, and even the subject of trademarks.  Those of you that have kept up with my blog or Facebook probably remember when I was doodling and crafting some of my images and right when it seemed to start taking off...they disappeared. Completely unrelated to my books, a situation randomly presented itself and...I learned a lot from the experience. Such things as how people will come after you for any reason when you have stuff out there online and what I could've done to protect myself and if it was really worth it. And sometimes, staying silent isn't always the best choice.

So tune in today to Red River Radio, 10:00am pacific time, since I will be discussing some of this. And later this week I will have a follow up post to anyone who was unable to listen. This info will be especially helpful to any writers, illustrators, artists or anyone thinking of posting work online.




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Folsom Lake: Mormon Island Ruins

Who knew that the lake I live so close to had a super secret sunken city beneath it? Not me, and I've lived here practically my whole life!  I guess for others it's not so super of a secret. And the city beneath Folsom Lake is the ruins of Mormon Island. And I only happened to find out because the water levels of the lake have plummeted, revealing the ruins.


Folsom Lake before (top)  and Folsom Lake now (bottom) with low water levels

For anyone who's a history buff, it was in the mid-1800's when a group of Mormons and other miners came to this area for the gold rush. It became a small city and, at its peak, had a population of more than 2,500 and included four hotels, a school and many small shops. In the 1940's, only few families remained and moved out of the area when Folsom Dam was built and the city was intentionally flooded with water to create Folsom Lake.

So over the weekend we took a trip to the lake, along with hundreds of other people. The parking was down the boat launch areas. We knew we reached the spot where the ruins were exposed when we came across this sign:
 

 

 
The tops of tree stumps had artifacts displayed, left by people who found the items, including bricks from buildings, glass, rusty tools and nails, and pottery pieces.
  

 
 
The coolest thing to see were the walls of buildings and an old cemetery from the outskirts of the city. The rest of the city still lies about 90 feet below the lake...but the way this drought is headed, more could be uncovered yet. 
 
The corner of a building

The largest wall uncovered. Stands about 8ft tall.

This is the foundation from the school.
 I loved learning about history so close to home. So much, that we took a trip to Folsom Prison right afterwards (but that's a post for another day!).
My two youngest boys had a blast!

 
What kind of history does your town hold?