Monthly Archives: September 2007


…Am I reading one of my all time favorite authors and getting bugged out of my freaking mind by the INSANE comma problems?!?
I guess they’re breaking in a new copy editor for NYT best selling authors.
For years I’ve watched the comma pretty much disappear from genre fiction unless it’s between two independent clauses joined by a conjunction or for clarity. And I’ve been cool with that.
But when that little blob of black ink is plopped down where it serves no purpose and completely breaks the rules…UGH. It’s driving me, crazy. It’s, ridiculous. I, totally, hate when my reading pleasure, is disrupted by bad copy editing, and surprised, too. I can understand, one, or even a handful, of problems. But, when we’re going on ten, from two pages, that’s crossing the line.

Whoa. New book coming soon. Only problem, the hero in this reminds me way too much of Chris Moneymaker. But whoa, the book sounds incredible.


Mary posted an interview with MTH from Harlequin/Silhouette that left me more than a little dejected.
Seems SRS is looking for light suspense with a lot of romance instead of a lot of suspense mixed in with a lot of romance.
I don’t write light suspense, but my new books “felt” more like the SRS’s I’ve read recently than the Intrigues I’ve read. I love both lines, and the SRS’s I’ve read recently have been hot books with big suspense plots, completely at odds with the “light” suspense news.

Bummer. 😦

LOVED Twilight! It’s a highly recommend from me.
Next up: The new JD Robb paperback and then Linda Howard. McCafferty’s new book is out, but it’s only in hardback right now, so I’ll be checking it out from the library first.

Reading Lessons 2

“Miss, Miss, which book should I read?”
Her hard New York accent sounds across the room as she gazes at the overfull bookcase in my room.
She knows my answer without looking, but still she turns to me and waits.
“Whichever you want. You choose.”
Her hand inches toward the new book I placed there only yesterday. Its cover screams NYT Bestseller. National Book Award. Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year! I understand why she’s drawn to it.
“Is this one good?”
I smile and shrug. “You decide.”
She takes the book and then walks with me to our other classroom, happy, I’m sure, with her new reading material…even though I stopped reading it after five chapters. I did flip to the end to see how things turned out, but the overwhelming sadness of the story held little appeal for me. Before she took it, it sat between Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and The House of Sand and Fog. Both amazing books. Both too sad for me. But not for several of my students who have read and loved them.
While teaching my students about reading for FUN, I often find myself having to explain the concept of subjectivity  and reading tastes. Often they believe that just because they only like to read non-fiction, sci. fi., romance, (insert whatever other genre) that something’s wrong with them. That they’re “broken.” They don’t understand that a good book to me might not be a good book to them.
It makes me think of all the horrible reviews I’ve read over the years of books I LOVE.
I hope when they leave my classroom, they’ll look at the library with the same kind of wonder and awe I still feel when I find myself standing in the stacks searching for my newest find.
Speaking of which, I just started Twilight and WHOA! It’ll definitely be making its way to the newsroom bookshelf.


He trudges into the classroom, back slightly bent under the weight of a full back pack, long bangs hanging in his eyes, those covered eyes gazing at the floor.
“I hate this book.”
I barely hear his voice over the cattle call sounds of classes passing, but the dejected way he lifted the paperback clutched in his hand helped me understand his words.
His shuffling steps continued on to the class but stopped abruptly at my words. “So stop reading it.”
Slinging his hair out of his eyes, he shot me a confused look. “I can’t. You make us read.”
“You’re required to read but that,” I pointed to the book I couldn’t really see, “isn’t required reading.”

Every year I give the same old speech to my students: “You want to be a great writer? READ. Read everything. Newspapers, magazines, the back of the cereal box. Whatever.” And every year I hear the long, low grumble of a class filled with kids who think I’m crazy.
They don’t know how to read for fun. Somewhere between fourth and eighth grade books become about as interesting as watching mosquitoes fly into a bug zapper on a warm spring night.
I tell my kids life’s too short for bad books, but sometimes, I don’t think they get it. They don’t understand the real magic of the library. The endless aisles of books to dip into. For some reason boys have a harder time than girls finding books they enjoy.
My goal this year is to get them to try a little bit of everything:
Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, Stephen King–anything, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Chocolate War, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, Philip Pullman, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, The Last Picture Show, The Kite Runner…and that’s just fiction. Somewhere on those shelves is a book that will capture them, pull them in, take them away to a world they don’t realize exists. A book they’ll enjoy reading just because. No tests. No symbolism or metaphor or irony. No vocab tests or AP timed writings or five paragraph essays on what the author meant or character analysis.
I’m sure I won’t find 100% success on this mission of mine, but I’m going to try. And when that boy who sneered at the novel in his hand today finds the book he loves, I’ll write about that too.


Rosemary Clement-Moore’s Prom Dates from Hell is a must-have book for teen book shelves. I love most YA I read these days and this book was no exception.
Heroine Maggie Quinn is smart and funny and the story kept me intrigued.
I knew I was going to like the book when I discovered Maggie writes for her high school paper and takes photos for the yearbook. 🙂 Definitely a book I’ll put on the newsroom bookshelf. (The trade paper is getting a whole new look that will fit the feel of the book much better!)

Sarah Dessen’s Dreamland was a little too melodramatic for me. It reminded me of the teen books I read when I was a kid that went a little like this: girl makes mistake, girl gets caught in drug world, girl’s entire life falls apart. The writing was great though and so was the characterization. I’m a three chapter girl. A writers has three chapters to get me before I put the book down for something new. I finished this book.

Dessen’s That Summer is FABULOUS! Very real.

Up next: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I’ve heard a lot about the book and I’m looking forward to it.

Friday Night Football….

…is Saturday night football and our local stadium is sold out. We’re number four in the state and we’re playing number two. Both teams are undefeated so far this season. This ought to be the best football game ever!

DH got a laptop so I have my computer again. Woo Hoo!!!


Finished Michelle Willingham’s The Warrior’s Touch and WOW!!!! It was even better than Her Irish Warrior. The book definitely has a place on my keeper shelf.
Tons of tension, a great plot, fabulous characters. I’m sad I reached the end.
It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. I can’t wait for Patrick’s story!

Hot, hot, hot

The weathermen predicted 80s and rain for this week. It’s been dry and 90. Which would’ve been fine.
IF THE AIR HADN’T GONE OUT at my school yesterday. My classroom was 90 without all the bodies. The kids were in the floor because the tiles were cold.
Did you know cinderblock is cold when a room is hot? It is.
I was lucky. Across the hall my friend’s  HEATER was blowing full blast.
They said it was a problem with the wiring, but it that were the case, why would heaters be on?!?

Rosemary Clement-Moore spoke to my writer’s group today. She was AWESOME!!!! I can’t wait to read her book.

TV: Distraction or inspiration?!?

I freely admit it. I’m a TV addict. The DV-R has made it worse than ever.
I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing.
Grey’s Anatomy teaches me about characterization.
Buffy: great dialogue
Gilmore Girls: great writing
Saving Grace and The Closer: WHOA! Amazing everything.
Now there’s a new show, and I think it might be my most favorite ever.
Talk about PLOT! Whoa. It’s fantastic. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next. And watching it makes me want to write.
If you like RS, you should be watching this show.


Jessica tagged me, so here goes:

Four jobs I’ve had or currently have in my life:

1. Writer
2. Publications adviser
3. Sonic carhop (carhop of the year two years in a row!)
4. Del Taco

Four countries I’ve been to:

1. USA
2. Mexico
3. Canada
4. Nowhere else BUT next summer I’m going to London, Paris and Rome!

Four places I’d rather be right now:

1. The Cancun beach
2. Family Reunion in Sulpher, OK
3. Mustang Island
4. The Florida coast

Four foods I like to eat:

1. Mexican food…all of it!
2. Manicotti
3. Mashed potatoes
4. Dark Chocolate

Four personal heroes, past or present:

1. Mary Ella Vanderburg (my Grandma)
2. Martha (from the bible. She gets a bad rap. I mean seriously, Jesus is there to visit and she’s busting her butt cooking and cleaning and her sister is sitting around laughing and playing with the Man, so yeah, she’s an unhappy camper. She just wants a little help around the house. And Jesus, like all men, discounts all her hard work!)
3. Anne Patterson…one of the best teachers I’ve ever in my life seen in action!
4. Odel Vanderburg (my grandpa)

Four books you’ve read or are currently reading:

1. The Warrior’s Touch by Michelle Willingham. I’m just on pg. 4, but it’s great so far!
2. Up Against the Wall by Julie Miller…AWESOME!!! And it’s on shelves now!
3. Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund…GREAT!
4. Prince Charming by Julie Garwood…still wonderful after all these years!

Four words or phrases you would like to see used more often:

1. Thank you.
2. Please.
3. Good job!
4. The price of gas is going down.

Four reasons for ending a friendship:

1. Abuse (emotional or physical)
2. Betrayal.
3. S/He feels competitive.
4. Lies.

Four smells that make you feel good about the world:

1. Vanilla
2. Rain
3. The Ocean
4. Downy

My question: If heaven exists, four people you’d like to see when you get there

1. Jesus
2. Martha (see above!)
3. Grandmother
4. Papa