Sunday, September 30, 2012

Random Acts Of Kindness #1

This evening I took my parents to the viewing of well-loved, long-time neighbor who had passed away last week.  When we returned home, another neighbor -- one who had opted not to go to the public event -- was quietly over on the driveway of the family who'd suffered the loss.  And she was sweeping up pounds of fallen crab apples that littered their driveway.  She dragged away a large garbage sack filled with them.
It was a small thing, yes.  But the family won't have to wipe smooshed crab apples off their shoes when they return home tonight.
It was possibly the nicest thing I saw all day long.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Half-Vampire Giveaway! Just In Time For Halloween!

Look at this lovely bag o' swag:

This is a big prize, worth over $30.00.
Here's what you could win: Paperback copies of BOTH Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire AND All in the Half-Vampire Family, a bookmark printed with both book covers, a "Just Another Average Half-Vampire" tee-shirt (size large -- I'm starting to run low on these), plastic fangs (because --hey, it's Halloween), a plastic "syringe" pen filled with fake "blood" (because that's how Eric gets the blood from animals) -- it writes with red ink, Bath and Body Works "vampire blood" liquid soap and hand sanitizer (both are plum-scented), and a plastic bat ring, all in a cotton draw-string Halloween print bag (suitable for re-use as a handy travel bag for socks or small items or for storing Halloween trinkets for next year).   That's quite a haul of stuff!  (I've been putting it together for quite a while now.)
Unfortunately, this is a US and Canada only giveaway, as I'm not paying more than the stuff is worth just to ship it across the globe.  Sorry.
Also, if you are under the age of 13, you must have permission from a parent or guardian to enter; that's the law.

Just enter here:  (This is my first time using Rafflecopter; I hope it works right.)
PS.  I WILL check your honesty.  If you cheat, I will remove your entries.  Seriously, I'm a school teacher; cheating annoys me.  (Why am I saying this?  Someone has already lied about an entry.  Geez. Grow up, people.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest is now closed.  The winner is Alicia.  Thanks for entering!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

All in the Half-Vampire Family Is Now On Kindle

The Amazon Kindle page is up and ready.  It even has a book cover showing!  (The POD version page still does not have a book cover visible yet.)
Just click here for Kindle.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Update on Half-Vampire Family

The Amazon page is up for the POD (that's "print on demand" for all those of you non-literati) of All in the Half-Vampire Family, but there's no book cover image as I type.  Nevertheless, you can check it out here.  (Don't forget to click the "like" button if you have an Amazon account!)
I've put the book onto Goodreads, so you can check out that page here.  (And add it to your TBR list!!)
I've put the Amazon link onto my "Books" page (see the tab at the top of this blog) and in the sidebar.  I also published the book on Kindle as of tonight, but it's still "in review," so I can't link to it yet.  Perhaps by tomorrow.
The prices?  POD = $9.99 in the US.  Kindle = $2.99 in the US.  All other prices are set to vary according to the rise and fall of currency rates.

UPDATE 9:18 PM: Brigid Kemmerer got me in the Apocalypsies!  Click here.

(PS.  I'm sorry if this seems rather sparse and cursory tonight, but a very close family friend passed away today.  It was not unexpected, as he was well into his 80s and had been slowly weakening for a couple of years, but it still made me cry for an hour or so, and I am rather subdued about everything at the moment -- even my own book.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

All in the Half-Vampire Family Is Now Officially Published!

I did it.  I clicked "Approve Proof" on my Create Space dashboard.  I'm tired of tinkering with the manuscript, and I think I've corrected all the typos now.  (If not, I can only assume readers will notify me, and changes can be made.)  But it's time to move on to my other WsIP.
Within a day or two, the book will be available on Amazon.  I should have the e-book up within the week as well.  I've also got a spiffy contest in the works with books and swag -- just in time for Halloween.  With self-publishing, one must create one's own fanfare.
But here are the cover and blurb:

Think you’ve got a weird family?

Eric’s mother is clearly in love with Patrick, who just happens to be Eric's first cousin once removed.  And a vampire.  Eric thinks Patrick would be the world’s coolest step-dad, but Mom’s in no mood for matrimony.
Worse than that, Mom's side of the family hasn’t spoken with her in Eric’s entire lifetime -- at least not until Eric and his way-too-attractive cousin Ari both win a piano competition that takes them to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  And into the path of Eric’s biological father, a vampire who’s recently begun attacking the locals at night.
But things get really creepy when Eric's dad finds Ari to be... tasty.
Can an accidental family reunion get any stranger than this?  Eric doesn’t think so.  And neither does the self-proclaimed vampire hunter staying right next door to him in the dorm.

It’s going to be one heck of a summer vacation.

And don't forget to have a look at the Sneak Peek right here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Creating Realistic YA Characters: Understanding The Teenage Worldview

One of my frequent complaints about some YA novels is that the teenage characters don't act/think like real kids.  Numerous authors forget the painful and embarrassing truths about puberty and what follows for the next few years.  Let me remind you and illustrate for you how 7th graders think.
Rule #1: Teenagers are the most narcissistic beings on earth, even more so than the average celebrity.

Illustration #1:  Just before the beginning of my 7th grade year, my mother had to take me shopping to get my required gym suit (a horrible, polyester, one-piece affair).  She picked me up from dance class -- and I had to go to the mall wearing a pair of denim shorts over a black leotard and pink tights.  I remember my humiliation, my fear that everyone was laughing at me as they passed, how every single person in that busy mall would think I had no fashion sense whatsoever because I was wearing shorts OVER MY TIGHTS!  Oh!  The Horror!!!!!
The experience was so dramatic that I can still feel myself cringing in that 12-year-old shell, even as I chuckle at it now.

Illustration #2:  A conversation between a 7th grade BOY and me.
Boy: I'm cold!
Me: You're only wearing a tee shirt.  Don't you have a hoodie you could wear to school?
Boy: Yeah, but putting it on would mess up my hair.
Me (rummaging in my desk for something I don't need in order to hide my smirk): Well, you could put the hoodie on BEFORE you gelled your hair in the mornings.
Boy: But then if I got to warm during the day, I'd have to take the hoodie off, and that'd mess up my hair!!
Me: What about getting one of those zip hoodies?
Boy: I got one for my birthday, but I don't wanna mess it up yet by wearing it to school.

Ah, doesn't your heart just bleed over his dilemma?

These realities, folks, are the ones that drive YA characters.  Narcissism is just one element, but it has to be there, or the fictional characters fall flat.
Sometimes adults ask me how I "dream up" all the hilarious situations that Eric (of Half-Vampire fame) gets himself into.  But kids never ask me that; they know Eric seems real because he acts just like a real kid.  To create the awkward and humorous situations, I simply write characters that react like a real teenager would.
Nerissa MacKay of my WIP which is in the "resting and ripening" stage is delightful in her narcissism. She, like so many teenagers, desperately wants to be SEEN, to be important, to have groupies, to be a star.  She tries so very hard to stand out and be "above" the ordinary.  And that is why I just had to have her accidentally turn herself invisible.  What could be worse for her than to be completely unseen?  Ah, adolescence!   There is a reason why most of us would never go back if given the chance.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Last Day To Enter On Free-Book Friday

Tomorrow they'll announce the winners of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, so if you want to enter, do it today!
Just click here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Odd Thoughts For A Wednesday

My regular readers may remember that I had two surgeries this summer, the first of which was a right parotidectomy to remove a tumor growing on my jaw.  (It was the size of a grape.)
Well, the surgeon did a fine job, and I've had no paralysis, but the numbness is still there (caused by his having to work right over the facial nerve).  It's not really a big problem, but it's odd sometimes.
For example, I have a heck of a time putting in an earring on that side now, for I can't feel when I get the post into the hole.  Very strange.
And even worse is when my ear itches.  This is likely caused by healing nerves, but it's awful to have an itch and not be able to relieve it by scratching.  Yes, I can scratch the skin, but I can't FEEL that I'm scratching it, so the itch often remains.  Argh!
Oh well.  Life could be much worse.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #32

It's time once again for our writers' game!  (Pssst.... you don't have to be a writer to play.  Really, it's easy.)
Here's how it works: the marvelous Carmi at Written Inc provides his readers with a photo theme.  Then, on my blog, we add a title and a single line of text to my chosen photo, making super-short flash fiction (which is sort of a bad pun on the photography part, if you think about it).  You can choose any genre: sci-fi, horror, mystery, romance, whatever you like.
Here's last week's for you to see if you need a sample.

So, this week's theme is "retro."

Here's my photo:

Title: The Cafe Next Door
Single line:  Only Mrs. Todd really knew where the liver came from.....

Your turn!  Add your own titles and single lines in the comments section.  The more, the merrier.

(For those of you who like to know the "real" story, Chick's Cafe has been serving chicken-fried steak and scones for roughly 80 years in the same location on Main Street in Heber City, Utah.)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why I Proofread My Manuscripts So Many Times (#7)

Suddenly, her comments from just before the first concert clicked into a a big jigsaw pattern in my mind.


Why I Proofread My Manuscripts So Many Times (#6)

“That’d help,” I said, then looked at my hands to finish the song while Chaz talked called the stage crew guy who was going to come and pick up the spinet.

And somehow I've not noticed this in the last six months' worth of re-reading this ms.  Oddly enough, the two people who've been proofreading to help me have missed it, too.  How?  The mind boggles.  Truly.

Giveaway! Three Autographed Copies of Confessions Of An Average Half-Vampire -- on Freebook Friday!

I filled in all the forms months ago, and it's finally my turn!
I'm giving away three autographed copies of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire this week on Free Book Friday!  Anyone can enter; you just need an e-mail address.
Click here to enter.  And please tell ALL your friends!!  (The whole point of this is advertising, you know.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire Will Be On Free Book Friday Next Week!

I've been in a cyber-line for  months on this, but this e-mail came this morning:

Hi Lisa,

Just wanted to let you know that "Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire" will be the featured post on FBF Indie for next week! I will let you know as soon as the link goes up so you can spread the word.



I'm very pleased, as this is great advertising.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #31

Every week, Carmi at Written Inc, hosts a themed photo-sharing event.  Most weeks, we  join in here on this blog -- but with a twist.  Carmi picks the theme, I pick a photo, and then we all add our own titles and single lines that match up with the photo.  In other words, it's the shortest of flash fiction ever, and you don't have to call yourself a writer to play.  Simple, right?
Here's an example if you'd like to see one.
This week, Carmi's theme is "angled."  So, here's my photo:

My story title: The Science Project
My single line: Dude, so this is what happens when you cross ragweed with a preying mantis and feed it steroids, Bill thought solemnly.

Your turn!  Add your own titles and single lines in the comments section.  I chose sci-fi, but you can choose any genre you like.  Just have some fun with it.

PS You can click on the pic to enlarge it.  And it's really nothing sinister, just a weeping fir of some sort photographed from underneath, against a lovely sky.

Twitter Follower Update

The crop circle people have finally stopped following me on Twitter.  But in their place, I seem to have acquired a follower who thinks I like to play "killer poker."  (Dude, if it were "killer Go Fish," then maybe......)
Ah, the mysteries of the twitterverse.....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Posting For A Bit Of Awesomeness About The Real Man Behind One Of My Characters

In Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire AND in All in the Half-Vampire Family, Eric's best friend is a wheelchair user named Joseph Mitchell.  In a previous post, I explained about three people who were the inspiration for Joseph, but, since one of those 3 real people has gone very public with his name, releasing a CD and now performing on So You Think You Can Dance, I'm going to tell you that his name is Joel Brown.  And he's paralyzed from the armpits down.
Yeah, you read that right: he's paralyzed AND he's on So You Think You Can Dance tonight.  Because he can.  Dance, that is.  I've seen him.

UPDATE FROM 9/7/12: Lila has provided a link for us to see this on youtube.  Click here to see this AMAZING performance.

Joel's great-aunt had a HUGE influence on modern dance and children's dance theatre in Utah.  I know that well, as she was my very first dance teacher.  Her name?  Virginia Tanner.  Her niece -- Joel's mother -- was my second dance teacher ever.
Joel danced before the accident that paralyzed him, and when he was about 14, his older brother Graham choreographed a number that put both brothers in and out of wheelchairs.  And Joel returned to dancing.
I recall when he got a role as one of Danny Zuko's friends in the high school production of Grease.  Joel danced so well that anyone not familiar with the role would've thought it was supposed to be for a wheelchair user.
The next year, Joel became the school's student-body president.  He also took up tennis, singing, swimming, and rock climbing.  "Handicapped" is not really a good adjective to describe the fellow, even if he is paralyzed.
I don't have a TV that actually picks up programs (it plays DVDs, though), so I can't watch tonight's show.  But, if any of you watch it tonight, just know that Joel Brown is amazing.  (I haven't seen him in a couple of years, but I've heard about his doings now and then.)
And, if you do watch AND you've read my book, you'll understand how the fictional Joseph Mitchell moves, since part of the character comes from Joel.

(PS.  People have been getting to this post by searching for how Joel ended up in a wheel chair, so I will add that info.  When Joel was 9, he went on a fishing excursion with his older siblings.  They were in a car accident, and Joel's spinal cord sustained significant damage.  He has never walked since, but he does just about everything else.)

(All photos from The Salt Lake Tribune.)

One Of My Favorite Lines #3

While making what I hope (please, please, please let it be so!) are the FREAKIN' FINAL edits on All in the Half-Vampire Family, I ran across this description, which I really, really like:

He kept stroking the beard, his fat eyebrows bunched together under thick bangs so that his eyes seemed to be fighting a losing battle against the hair on his face.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Current TBR List

(Note for the non-literati: TBR= to be read.)
On hold for me at the library AS SOON AS THEY COME IN are:
1) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
2) The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
3) The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
4) Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

I'm very anxious to dig into all of these!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #30

Carmi's has this week's theme up on Written Inc.  It's "weathered and worn."
Here on my blog, of course, we do more than just post a related photo.  I choose one to fit Carmi's theme, then I add a title and a single line of flash fiction to go with the photo.  Then you get to add your own titles and lines in the comments section.
Here's last week's, if you need a sample.

"Weathered and worn" strikes me as an easy theme, and here's one of my favorite photos to fit with it:

Title: The Mists of Time
Single line: It was the same boat he'd tied to the dock the night before, surely!  But it looked as though half a century had passed since then.

Your turn!  Choose a genre: horror, romance, sci-fi, mystery -- whatever you like.  Then add a title and a single line to go with this photo.
(You don't have to call yourself a writer to play.  Just do it.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Mystery of the Missing Pillowcases

Last weekend, I stripped the striped sheets off my bed, put them into the wash, and went to put the patterned sheets on.  But nowhere could I find the pillowcases.  I hunted through the entire linen closet, but to no avail.  I gave up and put a pair of solid-color cases that sort of blended with the sheets onto the pillows.
This morning, I stripped the patterned sheets and the solid-colored pillowcases off the bed and put them into the laundry basket.  I then dug out the flowered sheets and put them on the bed, but, alas!  there was only one flowered pillowcase!  Again, I hunted through the linen closet.  Lo and behold!  I found the patterned pillowcases I'd wanted last week but no second flowered pillowcase.  I gave up and used the one flowered case and one solid case that sort of blends with this set.
I can only assume that my linens are out to drive me slowly insane.
And I'm keeping a careful eye on the set of striped pillowcases that are due up for next week.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grandma Was Right!

Whenever I'd try to dangle so much as a couple of fingers out a car window when Grandma was riding with us, she'd always say, "If you hang it out the window, it'll go home with somebody else!"  It took until I was about 5 before I understood the euphemism, but I did understand that I wasn't supposed to put body parts out a car window.
This guy apparently needed a grandma in his life.