Tuesday, October 30, 2012

People, The Whole "Three More Star Wars Movies" Kerfluffle Is NOT New!

So, it's all over Twitter tonight: Disney's buying out Lucasfilms.  Okay, no real surprise, but Leia's a MUCH tougher princess than anything Disney's ever put on a screen.
But what's really gotten some knickers into twists is the fact that three more Star Wars movies have been announced.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind "Star Wars," from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It's also making a seventh movie in the "Star Wars" series called "Episode 7," set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.

Tweets are showing people aghast.

Whaaaaat? 3 more Star Wars movies? My inner geek is freaking out right now!!

Gosh, what a shock.
People, Lucas announced that there were TWELVE parts to the Star Wars saga as early as 1979.  TWELVE parts.  In 1979.
As someone who keeps everything, I needed only 5 minutes tonight to locate my August 1979, edition of Scholastic's Dynamite magazine (Vol. 3 No. 2).  (No, I am NOT kidding.  It's right in front of me as I type this.)
In the article, "Dynamite Update: Star Wars Sequel, The Empire Strikes Back," (pp. 12-13) by Chip Lovitt, we have this little tidbit, "Originally, Empire was to be called Star Wars II, but Lucas and Kurtz decided against it.  It seems that Lucas's original outline for Star Wars was so long, it had to be divided into 12 parts.  Star Wars was actually the fourth segment of the outline.  According to Lucas's master plan, if the sequel is a success, we may be seeing other films showing some of the 10 other segments."

Yes, people, Lucas announced there were 12 parts before the release of The Empire Strikes Back.  Why is anyone surprised that there is to be a movie #7?  We've only half-finished the master plan.  If all goes according to Lucas, there are SIX more movies coming, not three.

Please Forgive The Lull In Posting This Week

It's the end of the term.  I'm swamped with grading.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I've Started A Readers' Gallery

And here's the first photo!
This is Max-created.  As many of you know, Max is boy-wonder when it comes to a camera, and he has taken two photos of himself, playing with the light and dark shirts and the light and dark book covers, to show himself doubly engrossed in my books.  (Perhaps he will share his pic secrets in the comments section.)
At any rate, I am now accepting (requesting, even!) photos of my readers (no one under 18 unless they appear with a parent -- for legal reasons, sorry) to add to my gallery.  If you'd like to appear, get someone to take a photo of you where my book cover shows (putting the book cover on an e-reader, iPad, or laptop is fine, as long as you're showing us the cover), and send me the jpg file.  Feel free to photoshop it -- put yourself reading Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire in front of Dracula's castle or reading All in the Half-Vampire Family next to Bela Lugosi, if you like.  :D (If you already have my e-mail address, awesome.  If not, there's a "contact me" tab at the top of this blog that gives you instructions on how to contact me without putting your info up for all to see.  You may also tweet me a photo @lisamshafer if you use instagram or one of the others.)  I will then add it to my gallery.
If you just want to see the gallery, click the tab at the top of the blog.  Or you can just click here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reminiscing: China, 2001

Eleven years ago tonight, on Monday, October 22, 2001, I was in Hangzhou, China, on what was to be the final international dance tour of my life.  (My first international dance tour had been in 1981.)
In honor of that fact and fitting in with Carmi's photo theme for the week on his Written Inc blog, I'm actually going to do something I have NEVER done before in all my blogging history: I'm posting pictures of myself.  (Okay, they're 11 years old.  Deal with it.)
So, what, exactly was I doing 11 years ago tonight?  This:

Not a bad place to be, come to think of it.  :D
(Yeah, I'm the one on the left.  Yes, my hair is wrapped into braided loops that still hang to my waist in the photo.  Yes, my hair really is THAT long; it still hangs mid-thigh.  And, no, I didn't actually take this photo -- obviously.  Yes, these are all digital photos of photos in a scrapbook; I don't have a scanner.)
And what had I done that day?  I'd visited a man-made island in the middle of a man-made lake.  Pretty spiffy, actually.
So, that was boat travel.  Not too exotic, I guess.  But since Carmi's theme is "travel," let me share a couple of other "travel" pics from the same dance tour.
How about travel in a cart pulled by water buffalo?

The curvy line at the top of the pic is the canvas top of the cart that I was riding in just ahead of my fellow dancers seen here.
Here's where we ended up after the cart ride: on a bamboo raft, wearing life jackets and plastic booties (because the loaded raft sank about 3 inches under water).

See the movie camera dude and the newspaper photographer in the background?  Yeah, we were being filmed for a documentary in China.
In fact, I was a rather popular subject for the photographers because of my unusual hair.
A few days earlier, while we were walking around before a performance at a festival, I was mobbed by photographers and made to understand I was wanted to pose for some kind of peace flag event.  Dozens of Chinese festival attendees were in line to sew a stitch of peace in the festival flag, but I was scooted up to the front quickly (while my dark-haired, shorter friend was left behind -- probably because she didn't look as "unusual" as I did in China) and made to sew stitch after stitch in that flag while smiling stiffly at 5 or 6 photographers.  The next day, one of our interpreters gave me this:

Under the pic of me is a quote from some interview that I assure you did not happen.  No one there spoke English, and my Mandarin is limited to "hello," "thank you," and "rabbit stomach."  (Not kidding, but it's a long story.)
What type of performances were they?  This group, which disbanded after the 2001 tour, was called the Rocky Mountain Dancers.  They were in existence from the late 1970s until 2001, and the director was George Frandsen, long time vice president of the (UNESCO) International Organization of Folkart (IOV), based in Vienna, Austria. (Apparently, he holds a different position with them now, as I found out by doing a yahoo search.) We performed exhibition square dancing, pioneer round dancing and reels, and Appalachian clogging.  (I loved, loved, LOVED it.)  Here's a pic of a few of us in costume at our hotel after a show.

That's me as the standing woman on the far right, holding my skirt out with my left hand.
And, since this is a travel-themed photo post, what's a photo tour of China without the Great Wall?
I'm the one on the right.  I'm not really short; it's just that the gal standing next to me is about six feet tall.  If you look closely at this photo-of-a-photo, you'll see that we're standing on the Great Wall (just outside of Beijing).
My favorite thing in China was most definitely the terracotta warriors in Xi'an, but getting good photos there with a point-and-shoot film camera was well-nigh impossible, so I won't post any of those.  Nor do I have room to post pics of us all picking tea on a tea farm, eating duck tongue at way too many banquets, standing solemnly at Tiannenmen Square while our Chinese college-kid hosts asked us why we were so sad in a "happy place" (the official version of Chinese history doesn't include what the West knows happened there in '89), touring a cigarette factory in one town because the Chinese government had it on our schedule, or dancing in front of over 17,000 students at a translation college, or parading for more than 20,000 people elsewhere.
It was a good last tour.  I wish I could still do such things again, but, even if the group had not disbanded and then lost half the costumes to a wildfire (the costumes were stored in a cabin, which did not survive the fire), I, personally, could not do this again, as my back injury prevents anything of the kind nowadays.  (I do mourn the loss.)
But thanks for wandering through my travel memory tonight. :)
(Tempppo, I hope you especially enjoyed it.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Soon, My Pretties, Soon There Will Be A New Cover

This is the WIP cover for my novella, The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay.
I love this idea, but I can't make it work on a vertical book cover.
Fixing this problem has been in the back of my mind for months now, and today, what I think/hope will be the solution dawned on me.
Max has agreed to help.
The new cover will involve iridescent royal blue taffeta.  And Flamenco shoes.  And a tiara.
Oh, and an iPod.  The iPod is extremely important.
Unfortunately, my only tiara doesn't match my iPod too well.  (And I doubt that Max has a tiara.)
Soon, my lovelies.  Soon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway Of All In The Half-Vampire Family

Goodreads Book Giveaway

All in the Half-Vampire Family by Lisa Shafer

All in the Half-Vampire Family

by Lisa Shafer

Giveaway ends October 31, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Feeling Famous In My Own Little Corner Of The World

So, last week, I dropped in to see Richard Frost at Frost's Book Store.  He agreed to take a couple of copies of All in the Half-Vampire Family to sell, and he was pleased with my bookmarks.  He took a stack to give away at the cash register, and he let me put a free bookmark in all his YA vampire books in the store (well, I refused to put bookmarks in Twilight books, of course).
Then, he moved Half-Vampire Family AND Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire to his current "local authors" table display.  Thus, for right now, my books are keeping company with the Junior League cook book (Salt To Honey) and Walking Salt Lake City.

And then I discovered that in our own school library, I'm a "featured author."  The librarian has framed a photo of me with my Amazon author bio.  He's put this with copies (8 of them!) of Half-Vampire Family -- and for reasons unknown to me, a black rose -- on an end table in the comfy-chair reading only section of the library.

Okay, it's not much.  But these things make me feel warm and fuzzy.  :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #33

Okay, it's been a few weeks since we've done this, so let's review the "rules."
Carmi, at Written Inc., posts a photo theme for the week.  Here on this blog, I post a photo that goes with his theme, but then we add the shortest of flash fiction: a title and a single line of a story that goes with the photo.  Easy, right?  Here's an earlier contest so you can get an idea.
Remember:  you don't have to be a writer to play.
Carmi's theme this week is "drink up."
Here's my photo:

My story title:  The Innocent Pirates
Single line:  "THAT is NOT rum!" shouted the captain.

Your turn: look at the photo and pick any genre you like (sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, etc.), then add your own story titles and single lines in the comments section.  (It just has to match the photo.  You DON'T have to stick with my pirates theme.)  The more, the merrier!  Comment away!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Announcing The Winner

The winner of the Bag o' Swag, with both Half-Vampire books, tee shirt, pen, bookmark, "vampire blood" soap and hand sanitizer, fangs, and  bag is Alicia E.
I've sent Alicia an e-mail to request her address.  If I don't hear back from her within 10 days, I will choose another winner.
Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A 9th-Grader?

The numerous required standardized tests for my students often include questions involving what the writer world calls "copy editing" and what teachers call "editing."  In other words, those who want the "data" from these tests hope to see if kids can spot and correct errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
My assignments on this skill are a bit stale, as I created them a good six years ago, and I wanted something new.  So, for the last couple of weeks, I've simply copied and pasted errors I've read and/or heard on the internet and used them to create new assignments.
So, are you smarter than a 9th-grader?  Can you correct any of the following errors I've gathered?  (I'm giving you a greatly-condensed list here.)

Correct The Errors

  1. "If I had of gone at 18, I wouldn’t have messed up so much between 18 and 19," Salazar quipped.   -- Donald W. Meyers, reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. 10/7/12
  2. “ ...the drill instructor had a book .... that he found in his muffle bag.”  -- blogger. 10/6/12.
  3. “ The real question ...  is what kind of Christians they are?” Peggy Fletcher Stack, reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune.  10/7/12
  4. “Contests are earning less entries.”  -- blogger 10/8/12.
  5. “We've got to face it- blog-blitz enthusiasm has wained” -- blogger  10/8/12.
  6. “If you have a review request that is part of a series, We do ask that you provide a copy of each of it's predecessors.”  -- on a blog with well over 2000 followers. 10/9/12.
  7. “Overall though its very simple to use.” -- ditto.
  8. “It came in a nice gift-able box that features the unit itself and SodaStream logo's.” -- ditto.
  9. “The Winner will win the unit pictured below. You will also get your choice of Red, White or Black for the color of the unit as well as pick 3 regular sized flavorings of your choice.” -- ditto.
  10. “Publishers are cutting down their lists, and agents are taking on less clients.” -- blogger, 10/10/12
  11.  “After running a mile, a screw came loose in Ben’s prosthetic leg.” -- Melissa Knowles on Trending Now Yahoo!, 10/11/12
  12. “He can eat, sleep and do everything other sheeps can." -- author of a Yahoo! article about a malformed sheep, 10/11/12

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lend A Hand To Support A Self-Published Author

Want to help me out?
Sure, you could buy one of my POD Half-Vampire books.  Or you could buy one of the e-books.  (Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire is only 99¢.  Seriously, that's less than 1/3 the price of a gallon of gas.  It's the price of a candy bar in a vending machine -- but you freakin' get a WHOLE BOOK for that price!)
But even if you don't want to spend any money, there are ways you can help me out.

Do you have an Amazon account?  If so you can help me out by clicking the "like" button on my books: here, here, here, and here.  (This would be especially important on the 2 latter links, which are for the new book and don't have many "likes" yet.)
You can also click that the five-star reviews on any of the books are "helpful."  Here are links to the 5-star reviews for Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire e-book and POD.  And here are the links to the 5-star reviews for All in the Half-Vampire Family e-book and POD.  Pick any or all of the reviews and click "yes" to say they are helpful.
Have you already read one of the books?  You can write a review and post it on Amazon.  Just go to the pages linked above and click on "write your own customer review."

Do you have a Goodreads account?  If you do, you could "friend" me on Goodreads.
You could add Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire to your TBR list or write a review.  And All in the Half-Vampire Family is looking very lonely there; you could write a review or add it to your TBR list.  (Please?)

Do you have a Facebook page?  You could link to this post and ask your friends to help me out.

Are you on Twitter?  You could tweet a link to this post to your friends and ask them to help out.  You could also follow me on Twitter, if you like.

You could go to Youtube and watch my book trailer.

And you could always enter my current giveaway, which seems to be sorely lacking  in entries right now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Holy Cow! Sorry About The Posting Problem!

Okay, so I tried to post some humorous tweets from Twitter tonight --- and the "publish" button on blogger went on the fritz!!!
When I tried to check the post, it had multiplied itself as fast as Fibonacci's famous sequence, but not one of the posts actually worked.  All the images were superimposed over each other.
As I result, I have probably filled you "blogs you follow" listings with numerous repetitions of a post you'll never see.
Ouch.  Sorry about that.
I have no freakin' clue how I did it or what happened.

Support From A Fellow Author

Utah author Paige Shelton sent me this e-mail today about All in the Half-Vampire Family:

I’m about 1/3 through Half-Vampire 2, and I am really enjoying it. I adore Eric and I love how you’ve kept him true to himself. Can’t wait to get my work done today so I can head back to Edinburgh.

Yea!  Warm fuzzies all around!

What's Next For JK Rowling?

I found this announcement very interesting today.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In Which Max Proposes A Toast

Max found this and thought of me.  :D

But I can't help but wonder why it isn't RED wine.......???
(PS. No, I don't drink.  The pic is of Max's table and glass, not mine.  I just like the picture and the idea.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eric's Playlist From All in the Half-Vampire Family

In All in the Half-Vampire Family, Eric wins a contest and is selected to play a series of concerts in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Eric is an amateur pianist, and his favorite composer is Scott Joplin -- mainly because there is nothing remotely vampirical about ragtime music.  :)
Naturally, this kind of a plot and such a setting lend themselves to the mention of many different songs. Thus, for your instruction (in case some of these tunes are unfamiliar to you) and enjoyment, I'm listing (and linking!) all the songs which are mentioned in the book, in order of their appearance.
Here we go:

1. "Orange Blossom Special" (folk tune)
2. "Für Elise" by Beethoven
3. "Maple Leaf Rag" by Joplin
4. "Peacherine Rag" by Joplin
5. "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven
6. "Arizona" by Mark Lindsay (Okay, this song isn't mentioned, but the girl described in the song is the entire inspiration for my character Arizona Olsen.)
7. "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General" by Gilbert and Sullivan
8. "Three Little Maids From School" by Gilbert and Sullivan
9. "Easy Winners" by Joplin
10. "Pineapple Rag" by Joplin
11. "How Beautifully Blue The Sky" by Gilbert and Sullivan
12. "Shoptime Rag" by Joplin
13. "Kismet Rag" by Joplin
14. "March Majestic" by Joplin
15. "Silver Swan Rag" by Joplin
16. "Fig Leaf Rag" by Joplin
17. "Fat Bottom Girls" by Queen
18. "Gethsemane" by Andrew Lloyd Weber
19. "Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik" by Mozart
20. "Rose Leaf Rag" by Joplin
21. "The Entertainer" by Joplin
22. "Rhapsody In Blue" by Gershwin
23. "It's Raining On Prom Night" from Grease
24. "Sleepers, Awake!" by Bach
25. "Phantom Of The Opera" by Andrews Lloyd Weber
26. "Auld Lang Syne" (folk tune with lyrics by Robert Burns)
27. "Loch Lomond" (folk tune)
28.  "Mary Mack" (folk tune)
29. "Skye Boat Song" (folk tune)
30. "Scotland The Brave" (folk tune)
31. "Highland Cathedral" (folk tune)
32.  "Lewis Bridal Song" (aka "Mhairi's Wedding)  (folk tune)

Now, Eric also mentions songs by Calliope and The Narcissistic Sarcophiles.  They don't exist -- except in Eric's world.  I made them up for the two books.  So, unless one of my readers decides to compose "Seven Men, Seven Heroes" or one of the other songs, I cannot give anyone a link to anything there. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Look What Came In The Mail Today!

As I dragged myself up to the porch from the car after another marathon session of parent-teacher conferences (a 13-hour work day, got another one to do tomorrow, thanks very much), I saw a box waiting for me.

It's my first box of copies of All in the Half-Vampire Family!!!
Want one?  You can buy a print copy here or an e-copy here.
Or you could get one FREE -- plus a copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire AND swag -- by entering the contest here.