Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How I won an ARC of "Forever" by Maggie Stiefvader and embarrassed my daughter (and myself) without really trying....much.

I know it's along name for a post, especially since I haven't posted in over a month, but I have a good reason for that. And an even better story...

Have you ever had one of those times where the planets, stars, and everything else alligns in just the right way to give you something really unexpected and cool?

Today was one of those days for me.

This morning I was on the phone with my mom, which in itself was not that unusual, but what we were doing was...looking at Facebook together. She was asking me questions about how to send messages and stuff. I gave her the info she needed then scrolled through my friends' posts. Nothing was out of the ordinary until I read this from our local indie bookstore:

First person to come in to Copperfield's TODAY (6/15) that sings us a verse of 'Don't Stop Believing' gets an advance copy of "Forever", the third and final book of the Shiver series. Starting right NOW.

I noted that a mere 23 minutes had passed since it was posted. I gave out a squeal to my mom, told her I needed to go, hung up on her and yelled out to my kids I was running an errand. As I drove, my hand was frantically searching for my iPod because I KNEW I had that song in my playlist. At the next stoplight, I found it and played it over...and over...and over for the 10 minutes or so it took me to get to Copperfield's (thanks to shortened stoplights, traffic through downtown and having to park in the parking structure).

Popping into the store, I went to the front desk and asked the gal, "Has anyone won Forever yet?" She looked at the childrens' section and told me, "Ask Patty."

I virtually skipped to Patty. But as I was about to say something, I noticed a friend of mine who I've known for some 10 years was standing there looking thorugh the YA section. Patty saw me coming, shifted her body toward me and greeted me with, "You should definitely know this." as I preceeded to sing the first verse, very quickly and nervously, of "Don't Stop Believing".

She smiled and congratulated me. As she went back to grab the book, my friend started laughing telling me, "Lisa, you are too funny!"

I thanked Patty, said good-bye to my friend and literally floated out of the store with my copy of Forever sitting snuggly in my purse. When I got in the car, I called home. My 12 yr old daughter answered. This is the conversation that ensued:

Me: "Guess what I just did?"
Daughter: "What?"
Me: "I got an ARC of Forever!"
Daughter: "How?"
Me: "I went to Copperfield's and sang the first verse of 'Don't Stop Believing' at the store."
Daughter: "No you didn't."
Me: "Yes I did!"
Daughter (panicking): "You did not!"
Me: "Yes, I did! And Mrs. Rocca was there to hear it."
Daughter (horrified): "Oh my God, you did not just do that!"
Me: "Yep, I'll see you when I get home."

So that is my story of how I won an AWESOME book and embarassed my daughter at the same time. And trufully, if I got the chance to do it again, I a heart beat. At least I know what I'll be reading this weeekend...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Another Sunday WOW

Hmm, I guess I'm starting to change things up with this weekend version of WOW. My youngest keeps telling me Sunday is technically the first day of the week, so I think I may just have to keep this going.

Okay, with that being said, this weeks WOW is a very appropriate one for many reasons. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

The week's WOW is...


Farewell - n. An acknowledgement at parting; a goodbye. OR int. Used to express goodbye.

I realize both defintions are basically the same, but I have a reason for doing that. On Friday I, and the rest of our school, had to say farewell to my boss and our principal after 19 years at our school district. After school ended, the staff at both schools in our district joined together in a celebration. And even though there were a lot of tears, there were a lot of laughs and much reminiscing.

For me, though, this parting is very bittersweet. This man was my older child's biggest champion during a very dark time for him in elementary school. He was the reason I could tell my son, "I know you don't want to go to school, but keep your eye on the will get better."

And it has.

This man was also saw in me enough potential offer me a job at our school one afternoon while I was waiting for my younger son to get out of Kindergarden. I had applied for another position, and during the interview, his last questions to me was, "It this position didn't work out, would I be interested in something else?" Of course I said sure...even though I had no idea what I would be getting myself into.

What I got into was the opportunity to work with special needs kids and utilizing all of my strengths my mentor teachers had expressed to me while I was getting my credential, even though they knew teaching in front of a class wasn't my passion.

I am so grateful and so sad...yet, I am so very happy for him and this opportunity. And I wish him all the happiness in the world.

So, farewell, Dr. will be missed! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A late WOW...but a good one...

It's been a nutsy kind of week. Although most schools have another couple weeks of school left (and some are open until the middle of June), we - thanks to our bankrupt state - are having our last week of school this week. Because of that, I've been running behind, as usual, but I had not forgotten this week's WOW.

So without further ado, the WOW is....


Understatement - n. The act or an instance of stating something in restrained terms, or as less than it is.

That having been say this has been a nutsy week is a vast understatement! In between packing and moving my curriculum out of my current classroom, to dealing with my son's 3rd grade play, and MORE's taking all my strength just to keep my head above water.

However the school has stopped posting their WOW, starting with this one, so I'm on my own. I've already got my next one for Friday, so I'm a head of the game. Thank goodness!

Have a great week!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I feel like Ellen Tebbits....

I originally posted this last September. But in honor of Beverly Cleary's 95th birthday a couple weeks ago, I'm reposting it because it's just as true now as it was then. Enjoy!

Why I feel like Ellen Tebbits . . .
I am a HUGE fan of Beverly Clearly. Apart from not reading Dear Mr. Henshaw, I've read nearly every book of hers out there (including her "teen" books - Fifteen, Sister of the Bride, etc.)

Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve her books . . . Like when I lost my 9th birthday party (don't ask why) but I still got a couple of presents and one of them was Ramona and her Mother. And then there was the time I cured myself of reading in the bathtub when I accidentally dropped my beloved copy of Ramona the Pest and made it 3 times its normal size.

I do have my favorites: Ramona the Pest, Socks, Fifteen, Emily's Runaway Imagination, Mitch and Amy, and my all time favorite . . . Ellen Tebbits.

Last week, during quiet reading time at school, I pulled out a copy of Ellen Tebbits from our class library and suddenly I was 9 years old again. And I realized that of all the Beverly Cleary books I have read, Ellen Tebbits is the only one I could probably recite, part and parcel, the entire story from beginning to end.

And that made me wonder . . . why is that?

After mulling this question over and over in my brain this past weekend, I figured out it probably has to do with how much I identify with Ellen. Then as much as now.

Ellen tries her best to be perfect . . . to do her best at everything. Obey her mother, desperately wants her teacher's approval and is devastated when things don't work out the way she plans.

For better or for worse, that was me as a kid. And to a certain extent, that's me now. The great thing about Ellen is that she does learn from her mistakes.

And just like Ellen, I like to think that I do too. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A new WOW! A day late, but not a dollar short!

I was hoping to get this posted yesterday, but with baseball/softball/whatever stuff going on in my life, I didn't get a chance. However, I'm here now....

I'm hoping the WOW for this week has future applications for me since I have less than 3 months until LA!

So this week's WOW is: JUBILANT!

Jubliant: adj. - Feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph.

Now I have had jubliant times that had nothing to do with writing. In fact, I've had quite the opposite experience in many cases - especially when I see that dreaded manilla envelope in the mailbox - but I can tell you the jubliant times I've had related to my writing are the reasons why I'm still writing now.

- Hearing the happiness in my Grandma's voice when I explained to her Grandma's Secret was written for her.

- Getting my first magazine acceptance from Boys' Quest (even though it was going to be 5 years before my article would be published).

- Listening to whoops and hollers my 6th grade class gave me last year every time the teacher told them I was reading to them...and having those same kids come up to me every other day to ask me, "Are you reading to us today Mrs. Aikins?"

- Receiving such a favorable response from an agent last year about Sophia with her telling me, "This was my favorite manuscript of the conference!" - Even though things didn't pan out.

There are many more instances I could tell you, but it is Saturday night and I do have a manuscript to polish for LA...

So I hope you all have a jubliant night and fabulous weekend!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Facebook Vs. Twitter...may the battle begin!

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm hooked on Twitter.

About two and a half years ago, one of my best friends suggested I go on Facebook. We were about to have our 20th high school reunion, and she said it would be a great way to connect with people before and after the reunion. So, I did.

Since then, Facebook has been a great resource for me. Not just in finding long-lost old friends, but also keeping up with long-distance cousins and family members. Then last year, after the 6th graders in my class told me they wanted to keep up with my literary accomplishments, I started my own "fan page". That's been pretty cool, and I have to admit, easier to keep up on than my blog. *cough, cough*

Then last Spring, on the recommendation of several friends and comments from the Kid Lit world, I decided to take the plunge into Twitter. I signed up, and then did nothing.

Within a few days, I found there were a few people following me even though I only made one or two tweets. Of course those people un-followed me and my poor twitter page went south.

For some reason, with the upcoming LA SCBWI conference coming up, I decided to blow the dust off my Twitter account and actually Tweet.

I'm here to tell you I am SSSSSSOOOOOO glad I did!

Within two weeks, I have just over 100 followers, have entered two pitch contests for my YA novels and got the inside scoop on an additional critique opportunity in LA. Plus, I have found a really fun, cool group of peers that I wouldn't have otherwise met.

So am I still using my Facebook, absolutely.

But unless something better comes along, I'm a tweeter for good. If you want to follow me, I'm @elabkwrm.

Have a great night! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

A new WOW....WOW! :)

I know it's been a while, but I'm finally back to working on my Friday WOW (word of the week). Unfortunately, now that I have only 3 weeks of school left, I only get to borrow 3 more words from our school's marque. So, I'll be back to making them up myself. Bummer!

However, the one of this week is a doozy.

Drum roll, please....

This week's WOW is: SERENDIPITY

Serendipity - (n) The occurance and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I love this word, because just about everything I have written in the past 15+ years has come out of some sort of event, meeting, or person. I know I've written about this before, so I'll not repeat myself, but I truly believe people and events happen to you (good and bad) for a reason. Serendipity is the word for the good stuff.

Short, sweet, and too the point!

Have a wonderful weekend! :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm back...and hopefully for good!

I know, I know...I've posted this before.


Only to have something else in my life come up and screw everything up. And of course when that happens, the one thing that suffers first, is my blog. But no longer. I'm back with a new layout, a new attitude and renewed hope that I will do everything with this blog that I hoped to about kid lit.

So Hello again! And welcome! :)