Monday, March 31, 2008

Dems da Breaks

The spring breaks, that is.

Back in the age of dinosaurs cassette tapes, I was an athlete. I played basketball, softball, and was forced to run track. (running is from the devil and should be banned.) I grew up in the small town of Bryant, Arkansas (it's not so small now. When I graduated, the population was 2800. Now it's nearing 15,000, I think)

I wasn't on the first string by any stretch of the imagination. I alternated between second and third string, as my weight alternated between 135 and 140. (ridiculous, I know.) Anyway, we had a great team. We were undefeated throughout junior high, so by the time we entered high school, we had a target on our back.

Even so, we rarely lost more than a handful of games each year. Which meant we would go to the state tournament. Which was always spring break.

As was my birthday.

I never got to have a spring break in high school and I never got to celebrate my birthday. It sucked because the one day of the year that was supposed to be all about me was actually all about the Bryant Hornets. My friends could only whisper happy birthday to me because coach wanted us focused on the game only. And if we lost, he'd say it was because we were focused on other things. And yes, he'd look my way.

Same thing goes for Spring Break. We weren't allowed to go on vacay with the family because we had basketball. there was no choice. If a parent tried to trump the coach, then the kid would no longer be on the team. Period.

What does all this mean to me now? I celebrate the mess out of my birthday. March is my "Birthday Month" and I make sure it's all about me. (Gotta make up for lost time, you know?) And I try to do something special for spring break every year. This year, we didn't go anywhere, but last year, we spent our break stalking Mickey Mouse.

What do you guys do for Spring Break (and for your birthday?) And are coaches still as serious about their sports now as they were then?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gwen is about.....

Getting to know....Gwen

Yeah, I know I'm a writer-type person. But something about droning on and on about myself just doesn't appeal. So, I searched the internet for a fun meme...or bleme if you wanna get technical with made-up words.

Movie Meme

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.

Grease, Star Wars, any Disney movie from the 90's (thank my kids for that), Wayne's World, Christmas Vacation, Dirty Dancing, Princess Bride

2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.

Grease, Star Wars, Titanic, Dirty Dancing

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.

Harrison Ford, Will Ferrell
Cary Grant...he's dead, but I spose that would be part of the big draw.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.

Jim Carrey really bothers me.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.

Oh Gawd, don't get me started! Airplane, Napolean Dynamite, Blades of Glory, Christmas Vacation, Princess Bride, Dodgeball

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.

Grease. And any Disney movie from the 90's of course.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.

Grease..I got chills.......

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.

Blades of Glory and Titanic

9. Name a movie that you own.

Seriously? All the ones I've mentioned. And then some.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.

Will Smith

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?

Dodgeball was the last one.

12. Ever made out in a movie?

Am I really lame if I say no? Cuz no.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.

Night at the Roxbury

14. Ever walked out of a movie?

A movie reel broke once, so I had to leave. I was pretty upset about it too. And there was one movie my parents made me go to when I was really sick. I wish I could have walked out. I believe I napped.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.

Beaches, E.T., Titanic

16. Popcorn?

MUST have popcorn. A lot of it. Keep it coming.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?

Hardly ever anymore. Too spendy.

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

Blades of Glory, I think

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?

Comedy. In case you weren't sure.

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?

Cinderella (ella ella ella) is the first I remember. I'm sure there were some prior to that though.

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?

The Exorcist. I wish I could "unsee" it.

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?

11:14 was really bizaree and good. And The Last Supper...omG that was good

23. What is the scariest movie you've seen?

The Exorcist. I was too young. I'm still Traumatized.

24. What is the funniest movie you've seen?

No, really. I can't.
Something About Mary. maybe. Airplane. ack

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bonjour mes amis!

Yes, I'm using the masculine plural form of "Hello friends" because while let's face it...there will mostly be women reading this blog, who knows? Guys could like our books, too. So I'm equal opportunity.

Anyway, hi, I'm Amanda Brice and on Tuesday, March 25, 2008, I got the wonderful news that I'm nominated for a Golden Heart Award for my YA manuscript, Party Like It's 1899. Needless to say, I'm still partying like it's March 25. :) This is the story of Julie Florence, a 19-year-old college sophomore spending a semester in Paris when an enchanted Jules Verne book inadvertantly sends her back in time to the Belle Epoque.

I did actually spend a semester in Paris when I was in college, but alas, no time travel was involved.

OK, so about me...

I live in the DC area with my hottie hubby. In my day job I'm a trademark and copyright attorney, and he's a patent attorney, so we're a matched pair. LOL!

In my spare time, I dance. Dance has always been in my blood, ever since the first time I start bouncing up and down along to the music on the Coke commercial when I was 2 years old and my mom decided she needed to put me in dance classes. I made a fabulous Cuddly Duck in the recital, let me tell you.

Anyway, I joined a pre-professional dance company when I was in 5th grade, and continued all the way through high school. Most of the girls (and guy...yes, only one) from that company are now making their way on Broadway or on cruise ships, but as much as I loved dancing, I knew I was never going to be a professional dancer. So I majored in poli sci and French instead of dance in college, although I continued to take ballet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Then when I went to Paris for the semester my junior year, I started doing salsa and tango dancing. It was so different from anything I'd ever done, but I loved it! So when I came back to campus, I immediately enrolled in a ballroom dance class. This was right around the time that a brand new intercollegiate club sport was forming on campus...a ballroom dance team!

Needless to day, I auditioned and joined! And that's when a new love was born...competitive ballroom dancing. Yes, I admit it. I'm obsessed with Dancing with the Stars. I even have a clone of that show in one of my YA manuscripts. LOL!

In addition to dancing, I'd always loved writing, but my dad convinced me it was impractical, so I stopped until I was in my late twenties. Then one day, after reading the fabulous The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, I decided it would be a lot more fun to write chick lit than a paper on the patentability of indigenous medicinal methods. So I banged out the first 88 pages of my first novel, and I was hooked.

That first book will never see the light of day. Never. But that's OK, because it made me realize how much I love to write. When I was trying to come up with an idea for my next book, the plot popped fully formed into my head...but it seemed to be more for preteens than for adults.

That's when it hit me...I *loved* all the YA books I read in middle school and high school. So why not write for preteens and teens? It actually seemed to be a better fit for my voice, too, so I gave it a shot.

And YA rocks, because it's not even really a "genre" per se. Other genres are easily identifiable, but YA is more of a big giant umbrella under which you can have a wide range of genres. The only requirement is that it appeal to teens.

Works for me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

About moi--Rhonda Stapleton

Hola! (and by the way, that's the extent of my knowledge of the Spanish language).

I'm thrilled to be a part of Fictionistas. So, here's a little about me, randomly thrown out there:

I write young adult romantic comedy/chick lit. My trilogy, Stupid Cupid, will release with Simon Pulse starting December 2009. That seems like a lifetime away, but I know it'll be here before I know it.

You can visit my website HERE to find out more info as it gets closer to the release date, but in the meanwhile, here's a blurb about the trilogy:

When seventeen-year-old Felicity gets a job at Cupid’s Hollow, she’s skeptical at first when she finds out it’s no mere matchmaking gig: she’ll take on the role of a cupid (there’s more than one of them, you know) and matchmake her high school, using Palm Pilot technology to send love emails. In a stroke of sheer genius, Felicity decides to matchmake her best friends, which leads to all kinds of disaster…especially when she accidentally makes the whole school fall in love with Derek, the guy of her dreams.

I'm totally into manga and anime. I've been watching a lot of good stuff (Fruits Basket, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo), and I'm loving it! I'd love to write a graphic novel, but alas, I can't draw that well. I guess I'll have to find someone who can help out in that aspect, eh?

I adore movies, especially uber-romances, samurai/kung fu/ninja movies, and comedies. There are so many I've seen about a billion times. By the way, be on the lookout for excessive hyperboles, as I'm prone to them, as well.

Also, I'm one of those people who quotes movie and TV lines a lot, so be on the lookout for it. haha. Also also, I'm hooked on chapstick. I hate dry lips ("But my lips hurt real bad!"--see, I just did it, haha).

Okay, here's how I got started in YA: I started writing YA when a good friend of mine (Erin Lynn) suggested it to me. She pointed me at Serena Robar's book Braced 2 Bite (which is a hoot!), and I scarfed it up, enthralled by how much YA had changed from when I was younger. From then on, I knew I'd totally found my writing home. I immediately set out to write one of my own, which was the book that got my agent. In the meanwhile, I worked on Stupid Cupid (which was originally planned as one book). An editor at Simon Pulse read it and brilliantly suggested the book would work well as a trilogy. I happened to agree, and apparently, she liked my rewrites, because she acquired it! YAY!!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to yapping with you guys on here. Thanks for reading about me!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why I Write YA

Like most *ahem* "older" YA readers, Twilight was the book that got me turned on to YA again - a genre I had really considered since I was a teenager. Sure, I'd read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, but that's a book that really transcends age. I should have realized then that YA is so much more than Young Adult fiction - it's really about great storytelling, rich characters, and real life emotions. Who hasn't fallen in love or gotten their heart broken? Wished they were more popular? Or thinner? Or had better grades? Or that their family situation were somehow different?

Reading YA made me want to write YA. My voice seemed to fit the genre, according to my fab agent, so I decided to give it a try. I fell in love with writing it almost instantly. It seems a perfect fit. I tell people I write YA because I haven't grown up yet myself and I'm cool with that. Who wants to grow up anyway? Grown-ups have to pay bills and get jobs. No thank you! lol

The other aspect I love about YA is pretty much anything goes: from vampires, to fairies (Melissa Marr ROCKS!) to angst and boyfriends (Melissa Kantor) to real life situations that break your heart (Laurie Halse Anderson). YA is an open field for the imagination. I love it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Whoooooo Are You?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure that out for a long, long time.

Let's start with the basics. Melissa Francis, mother of two boys, writer of YA fiction. Everyone calls me Mel except for my hubby. He just can't do it. Kinda cracks me up.

I have been writing for about eight years. I write southern romantic fiction as well as my YA books (which are also set in the south because, well, it's what I know.) My debut novel is titled Bite Me! and it will hit the shelves Fall 2009 from HarperCollins. It's follow up, Love Sux! is scheduled for Spring 2010. Yeah, it seems like forever to me, too.

Here's a teaser:
AJ Ashe isn't a typical seventeen year old vampire. Her ex-boyfriend is now her stepbrother, who, as it turns out, is also warlock. Her two BFFs are in a huge fight and she's caught in the middle. She's totally framed for cheating on a Lit test. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. Like that's fair. What ever happened to the good old days when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her fetish for necks?
I love writing. It's a dream job really. I roll out of bed, grab a cup of joe and sit down in front of my cute little MacBook and just make stuff up. It's awesome. My boys are a little freaked out by the fact that I take them to school while wearing my PJs and house shoes, but I figure it's my right as their parent to embarrass them on occasion. Don't worry. I do change clothes at some point during the day. I very rarely ever pick them up after school wearing my PJs. Really. Hardly ever. Maybe once. Twice at the most.

YA fiction kind of hit me out of the blue. I loved reading when I was growing up and by the time I was thirteen, I had outgrown anything written for teens. Aside from Judy Blume (sigh, I heart Judy Blume) the books for kids seemed to be preachy and condescending. And frankly, that just wasn't my bag. I wanted to read for entertainment, not a life-lesson. So, when I had this little vampire girl talking to me, I decided maybe I should write a book for teens that is purely for entertainment. It's a little irreverent and not at all typical of a vampire story. I hope you'll check it out. (when it finally hits the shelves, that is.)

Welcome to the Fictionistas. I hope you'll add us to your daily blog hopping. Please leave us a comment and let us know you dropped by!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Get to Know Me!

Heya! My name is Chrissy Olinger. I've been a writer my entire life-- well, as long as I could pick up a crayon and make something with it, I suppose. For a long time I worked as a columnist, then as a teacher and part time columnist, then as a language forensics specialist for the FBI (not as cool as it sounds), then as a film critic...

Yeah... I got around. :)

But the crux of it all, in my years of wandering, was putting words on a page. And it is my great passion. So writing Young Adult fiction is a new adventure for me, but not at all a surprising one.

I'm really excited to be a part of Fictionistas. We'll be here on the blog every week, bringing you fun facts to know and tell... or maybe just fun.

Write on!