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Acknowledgements

Next one is 2017

Next GLBB is 2017

Attending the Great Lakes Book Bash a few weeks ago as an author signing at the event, it hit me how lucky I am to finally be doing what I should have been doing all along. Even if I never get past publishing three books (which I sure hope-to-shout I do, as more stories are in my head, pushing every day to get out), being able to produce something I am proud of and being able to semi-easily get it out in front of people is awesome! (Still working on how to get my books in front of the RIGHT people, but, all in good time, I guess…)

I feel like there are people along the way who were instrumental at me getting to this point, and they probably are not even aware of it. I feel like now might be the time to give them shout-outs. It wouldn’t be possible to do them justice in the back of a paperback on the flat page–I require links and multi-media.

I have already blogged about past teachers, such as dear Mrs. Raines who gave me my all-time favorite book way back in 2nd grade and dear Mr. Clark who put up with my crazy, even making me co-editor of the school newspaper when I never would have selected myself for such a job.

I feel like I should also mention my asbestos friend. We were writing buddies in 8th grade, and we still are now. (And I’m not sure my subject matter has changed all that much 😉 ) Extra kudos to her for being my beta reader. And apparently Linus to my Charlie Brown.

My best friend was fundamental to my development as well, although we enjoyed more art and drawing together than words. I don’t draw much anymore. But I love to do off-beat craft projects, such as Werecart creation and mystical giraffe repair. The skills I honed around her have now been funneled into logo, advertisement, and marketing materials.

Mixed media table display for The Riley Sisters series.

Mixed media table display for The Riley Sisters series.

In college one day I was talking with the head of the English department. He realized I had taken a butt-ton of classes in his area. He asked me why I didn’t minor in English. I said I wasn’t really interested in any of the higher level classes, which I would need for it to be an official minor on my transcript and all that. He suggested I just take an independent study with him. A class where all I do is write whatever I want to? Awesome! Too bad the story I worked on that semester sucked. But it was nice for someone to have yet again directed me closer to something I was already interested in. It seemed like most of school was crap I would never use again. (Algebra, I am talking about YOU!)

I was never a big reader (don’t be so shocked). I was always in love with television and the stories it told and the visual and aural (get your mind out of the gutter) experiences it could offer. If I grew up in today’s bounty of technology, I would probably be making programs on YouTube now rather than books. After all, Radio and TV production is what my bachelor’s degree is in.

Somehow "bachelor's degree" made me think of Bachelor Chow from Futurama.

Somehow “bachelor’s degree” made me think of Bachelor Chow from Futurama.

Speaking of which, I guess I should thank Steve in the Communications department of my alma mater for giving me A’s, and the delusion that I could create my own Riley Sisters series book teaser trailer. Blame him. It was great fun to make though! Click on the link below.

I did have plans to become a writer. When I got my first big grown-up job, I even bought myself a Word Processor. (It was 1999. I didn’t know any better.) I sat in front of it, and realized writing was hard. So, I made a conscious decision to give up that dream… until years later when I would learn that I must write because I can’t not write.

I should thank the now-defunct Borders, for providing me with invaluable book industry knowledge that I learned through osmosis from all those in cubicles near me (or those who were in cubes further away and were just loud). I got to experience first hand the evolving business of books, and the dire consequences of falling behind. I began my current venture with more awareness about the industry than many do.

And thank you to my green-haired friend and my crazy friend, my co-workers along the way, who kept reminding me daily how much I loved to write. Whether it was a fresh-off-the-presses poem I wrote, one they composed, or just reciting song lyrics to one another, they were continuous reminders of how much the written word touches our lives every day. (If I could say that about Borders, they might still be in business.) Creativity, in any form, is essential to our lives on this planet.

I didn’t really read, and find out what I liked to read, until I got my own apartment in June of 1999… and had no television for a month. I read a lot of books in that time. And I fell in love with Gaia from the Fearless series by Francine Pascal. For more on them, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/03/14/fearless/ While all the books are not cohesive (and I don’t even think they are all penned by Ms. Pascal), they drew me in and kept me hooked. I have been primarily a YA fan ever since.

But I never imagined I could write one until I read a little book called Twilight that changed my life in a lot of ways. For more about my Love of Twilight, start with this post: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/11/08/love-of-twilight-part-1-the-books/ Some people skewered it for not being a tome of high-brow literature. But that is not what it was ever intended to be. And that is exactly what I found accessible about it. It seemed like something my asbestos friend and I could have written. This opened my options back up to writing again, but I still wasn’t actually doing it more than in my dream journal. For more on the dream journaling, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2012/11/01/dreams-part-one-dream-journal/

I would never have a blog if it wasn’t for my former co-worker Dane. One day he mentioned that he had one, and I was fascinated. Anybody could get one of those? And FOR FREE? I pondered it for several weeks before I took the leap. What would I write about? Would I run out of things? The answer to the second question is apparently “no”, as it is now 4 1/2 years later. And the blog, well, that kept me writing until a big idea struck me, and then I had a book. And another. And another. And it is all Dane’s fault, because he had a blog and I wanted to copy him.* It is one of my fondest memories of him. That, and the time I was in a meeting sitting next to him and I felt my in utero son kick for the first time. That was just a coincidence, I think.

And thank you to my sister-in-law who, when I told her that I thought I might be writing a book after we had gone to a showing of the movie Safe Haven, didn’t laugh at me. She was one of the first people I told. That was The Wind Could Blow a Bug.

The Wind Could Blow a Bug by Jennifer Friess

The Wind Could Blow a Bug by Jennifer Friess

Thank you to my dog Dave for letting me pet her furry long orange coat when the anxiety gets to be too much. She just senses when I need her. Except if she is sleeping really soundly–she is coming up on 13 years old, after all. She is never allowed to die. She knows this. I tell her every day.

Rub mah bellah!

Rub mah bellah!

Of course I have to thank my son and husband for putting up with my fits when the computer breaks or I cannot find something and my whole world seems to be falling apart. And a million other things that can’t all be listed here. I also thank my son M for not destroying a whole box inventory of my books… yet. (I feel like that day is coming.)

RIP PARKER-final

And to anyone else I may have forgotten– My head is stuffed full with fictional towns and characters. Sometimes that makes it hard to process life properly.

*Note: This does not entitle Dane to any royalties from my burgeoning writing career.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

What I Learned This Week – 11/25/12

This week I learned that Breaking Dawn-Part 2 is a good movie. I got to go with my asbestos friend (click on new page “People of Interest” for more on her) on Monday night. I liked it. And I now know why people search the Internet for “breaking dawn carlisle fight”. Although they are not reaching the answers they seek on my blog. And that is all I will say about that, cuz I don’t want to be accused of giving away spoilers. And, dear readers, that being the fourth Twilight post this month, is probably the last time I will talk about Twilight for a little while.

I also learned that preparing for parties stresses me out. More on that on Tuesday.

If you are all still eating Thanksgiving leftovers, it is now time to freeze them or throw them out:)

One Degree of Twilight-Part 3

This man chased me across a stage.


This is my final installment in my three part Twilight blog extravaganza in honor of the final Twilight Saga movie, Breaking Dawn-Part 2, coming out this week. The story I’m about to tell you happened on Saturday, November 14, 2009. It was a week before New Moon, the second Twilight Saga movie was to hit theaters.

My asbestos friend and I, and her five year old daughter, all took a trip (about an hour) to Monroe, Michigan. I had heard that Peter Facinelli was to appear at the Frenchtown Square Mall. Facinelli, of course, plays the impossibly handsome and young Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the acting father of the Cullen clan of vampires.

Peter was due to arrive around noon. I believe we got there around 7:00AM. We were 30-50 people back from the door. I thought that was pretty darn good. As I remember, we ate snacks and played and talked and my friend’s daughter, MV, danced around. The line got so long it spread all the way in front of the mall, the Target attached to it, to the corner of the building.

When the mall opened, we got to go inside and wait like cattle being herded to the barn. The mall was having some sort of re-dedication ceremony, so there were a few chairs set up. We were so close to the front that we took turns sitting down in the chairs for a rest. When we looked back, the line went all the way back through half the mall, turned left down a hallway, and what we assumed (correctly) was right out the outside doors. The crowd was mostly teenagers, with some mothers there with their younger pre-teens.

The mall played music while we waited. They played “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus. I sang along (I admit, I really like that song.). A few other girls did too. Then “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift came on. The whole freakin’ joint was singing along, way more so than with Miley’s song. That is when I realized the awesome power of The Swift. It was pretty moving sharing this experience and hearing all those voices unite as one.

Then Peter Facinelli showed up! He was way cuter in person than I had anticipated and looked much better with his natural dark hair than with the artificial blond of Carlisle. He spoke for a few minutes. Talked about how the money you paid to get his autograph or a picture with him was going to a good cause.

I was planning on paying for an autograph, but my asbestos friend was not. (What a great friend to have come all that way just to stand with me…and see PFach in person.) I had brought my hardcover Twilight book to get autographed. My thought process was, as I meet people from the film, I could have each one sign a different page in it. It would serve as my official Twilight autograph book. (As of November 2012, only one page is autographed:(

There was an organizer girl standing at the top of the stairs, seemingly guarding the stage from the hormone hoard awaiting their turn. She was the woman with all the power…or so she thought. See, my friend was like “Why don’t you take MV up with you onto the stage when you get your book signed?” I agreed. The organizer girl must have been the one to take my money too. She was like “Only one autograph, correct?” eyeing MV suspiciously. Surrrrrre, lady. Whatever you say. But Peter had other ideas.

I got up on the stage and I think Peter chatted with MV for a minute. She was shyly peeking over the table he was signing on. I think he asked her if she was a vampire and was going to bite him. He probably liked her outfit, because she was dressed up so darn cute that day. I got my autograph. We began to walk across the stage to the exit. Then it happened.

Peter Facinelli, movie star, chased me across the stage.

He wanted to know if MV wanted an autograph too.

Bingo. MV’s cuteness had worked like a charm. It helped that Peter had 3 little girls at home himself.

Of course, some might say he was chasing MV across the stage. That is now how I tell it.

So, we walked back over to the table and he used one of his pictures from the stack he had of Dr. Cullen and autographed it for her. And she was in love!

After that, she would go to school and tell them Peter Facinelli was her boyfriend. As other kids at the bus stop debated Team Edward or Team Jacob, she would declare she was Team Peter Facinelli.

The local paper, the Monroe Evening News (I am pretty sure there hasn’t been a “Morning News” for a number of years.), reported that an estimated 2,500 fans showed up to meet Peter that day. He stayed until 8:45PM to autograph for everyone who had waited. He had been scheduled to leave at 4:00PM.

I always worry about going to events like that how everything will work out—-parking, waiting, standing, eating, bathroom, etc. But usually it all works out pretty well. And if I am obsessed at the time with whatever it is I am attending (ex. 2008 Obama Campaign stop in Detroit, MI), that helps win out over the anxiety that would otherwise keep me away.

At the time I was a viewer of CNN.com/live’s webcast for 8 hrs every day. They had a call out for people to submit their Twilight-inspired photos and videos. I submitted my stuff, and someone from CNN contacted me about verifying the info. It got approved as part of their “iReport” series.

You can view it here: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-358655

Maybe my blog will be chosen for media for release of the final movie. A girl can dream.

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Love of Twilight, Part 2-The Movies


The whole time I was reading and rereading Twilight, I was hoping for a movie. I am a much more visual person than a reader. It takes like six hours to read a book. I can watch a movie in two hours. My time is valuable to me. I also like the all-around viewing experience of the actors, costumes, special effects, music, and script. I like how they work together to provide you with a visceral reaction that no one element could give you on its own.

Twilight

I really enjoyed the movie Twilight. I have heard others repeatedly knock it. I don’t think a low-budget is a reason to knock a film. Although I have come to loathe the casting decision of Kristen Stewart as Bella. She doesn’t hold up on multiple viewings. I LOVED both the soundtrack and score from the first movie. I bought them both on CD. (Yes, I’m Old School.) Some good shots got relegated to the DVD deleted scenes, but it was good. My favorite parts are when Bella pictures Edward biting her, as if they were in a movie, and the beginning of the end credits with the Coldplay song and the black and white shots.

New Moon

When I first read New Moon, I hated it. After all, I was Team Edward and it was a book that Edward is only in about a third of. It is all Jacob and he is sooo annoying (in the book)! (Although Taylor Lautner is a fine actor.) But then I began to enjoy Bella’s pain and longing. My favorite part is when they are on the plane flying back from Italy and Bella just knows that Edward will leave her again, but she savors these moments together like a drowning man savors his oxygen.

I did like how in the movie they gave you a more fulfilling reason for Harry Clearwater’s death. In the books, Harry Clearwater is a close friend of Charlie’s , keeping him stocked in homemade fish fry. Harry is just suddenly snuffed out with a heart attack at a convenient plot transition. In the movie, Harry’s heart attack is brought upon my seeing and being confronted by Victoria the vampire. And right behind Charlie’s unsuspecting back. A very nice twist to add details to the bare-bones of the story the book tells.

“Edward stared right back at me, his dark eyes soft, and it was easy to pretend that he felt the same way. So that’s what I did. I pretended, to make the moment sweeter.”

“I touched his face, too. I couldn’t stop myself, though I was afraid it would hurt me later, when I was alone again. He continued to kiss my hair, my forehead, my wrists…but never my lips, and that was good. After all, how many ways can one heart be mangled and still be expected to keep beating? I’d lived through a lot that should have finished me in the last few days, but it didn’t make me feel strong. Instead, I felt horribly fragile, like one word could shatter me.”
– New Moon (Little, Brown and Co., Hachette, 2006)

And, of course, the movie cuts those scenes, those feeling of impending abandonment out altogether. And New Moon (the movie) has the most GOD AWFUL soundtrack! There are whole parts I have to mute when I watch it because the music is so horribly distracting. (Just before Edward leaves Bella in the forest and the spinning room are the worst.) So, while New Moon is my favorite book, it is my least favorite movie.

Eclipse

Eclipse is an OK movie. I love the part where Edward gets right in Jacob’s face after Jacob kissed Bella. I sooo want Edward and Jacob to kiss there. Then there is the awkward and obvious absence of one of the best Twi-universe quotes: “I refuse to be affected by territorial disputes between mythical creatures.” (I almost bought a shirt with that on it once. I totally should have. Where did I park that Time Machine…) It isn’t even in the DVD extras. Bummer. I liked that they beefed up Riley’s part.

Breaking Dawn-Part 1


Breaking Dawn-Part 1–> who paid how much for that to get a PG-13 rating? The birth scene makes it one of the most disturbing movies of all time. First you have Bella digitally emaciating (which I didn’t realize right away. I felt better when I realized it was not real, only a computer trick.). Then Edward is chewing open her uterus. Ew. Ew. Ugh. Then they show her bloody form following birth (which an actual O.B. pointed out in a print article was not nearly enough blood to be realistic!). There was not enough sex to balance out the gross factor. Although it is tame compared to what was in the book. They did a great job of cutting out lots of Jacob’s whining that was in the book. The wolves talking to each other in wolf form felt awkward, but that is how it is presented in the book.

Breaking Dawn-Part 2

I can’t wait for Breaking Dawn-Part 2. Although I did hear that Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg (screenwriter) dreamed up something new for the final third of the film over dinner. (Entertainment Weekly, Aug 17/24,2012) That worries me a little. Will the Volturi be defeated with giant meatballs? I can’t spoil it, because I don’t know what it is.

It will be nice to see Jacob happy instead of mooning over Bella. And maybe the rest of the Cullen family will have more to do in this movie than just stand around like statues. (In some movies I have wondered if it was Elizabeth Reaser or a mannequin playing Esme.) I hope Edward and Bella’s cottage doesn’t look as lame in the movie as Stephenie Meyer describes it in the book. And Alice really needs to quit trying to dress up Bella. And will THIS be the movie where Alice gets spiky short hair as it is actually described in the books?

To tell you the truth, I got my son’s name from the Twilight books. (But it wasn’t because I am such a hard-core obsessed fan. It is just one of the few names my husband and I could agree on. Now you are all trying to remember a name that starts with “M”, aren’t you?) Come back Wednesday for my retelling of how Peter Facinelli chased me across a stage;)

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

Love of Twilight, Part 1 – The Books


Due to the impending release of Breaking Dawn-Part 2 (and the end of a Twilight era), this is the first of three posts about my love of Twilight. This post focuses on the books.

I was supposed to have lunch with a former co-worker. It was September of 2007. She was excited that a book called Eclipse was coming out. It was by a chick named Stephenie Meyer. I had never heard of it or the author. My friend told me I must read the first book, Twilight.

The next day when we had lunch, she loaned me her copy of Twilight. I was magnetically drawn to it somehow. I got stuck in a construction zone on the way home, one notorious for a long wait. I knew from the back cover of Twilight that the girl falls in love with a vampire. (Thanks publishers, for spoiling the first 150 pages of the book.) I thought I would just look at the first few sentences while I sat in traffic. I think I read the first ten pages while crawling along at two miles per hour. (I know, bad me.) I was hooked.

When I got home I devoured the whole book. Within the week I would go to my local Waldenbooks (which of course no longer exists), and purchase the next two books, New Moon and Eclipse. I would finish reading them in the same week. I had never been so drawn into a book series before, except for Fearless.

Reading about Bella lusting after Edward across the lunch room was similar to my high school experience. I sat at the very far corner of the lunchroom from the boy that I thought was simply the dreamiest, but that had no idea I existed. The thought of if that boy had actually come up and talked to me, if he had driven me home too fast in his car. Agh! It left me twitter-pated.

I didn’t know who Edward or Bella were a week earlier. Now they had come to be my whole world. When I finished the three books, I started over again. Instead of my usual walk outdoors, I would hide in my car on my breaks at work to read it. I went a step further. I bought Twilight on audio book so that I could listen to it as I drove. (with a two hour daily commute, I got some good use out of those CDs.) I went from “never heard of it” to crazy obsessed overnight.

I have always considered myself Team Edward. In the books, Jacob is like the annoying younger brother I am glad I never had. But really thinking about it, I am too sensible a person. I hate change. If I were Bella, I would not be Team Edward or Team Jacob. I would be Team Mike Newton. Yup. Give me the normal human boy any day. At least you know what to expect with him. A little hand holding at the movies. Getting lucky after the prom. And Mike doesn’t have to worry about any super-human strength killing you at a climactic moment (Wait, did this post just turn into 50 Shades of Newton? I smell fan-fiction!).

Bella is so quick to assume that Jacob’s father, Billy Black, was never a werewolf. But what if he was? We never do hear how he ended up in a wheelchair. Freak shape-shifting accident, maybe? There would have been no Dr. Cullen around to re-break and set his bones if they had healed wrong after a bloodsucker incident. Even in a dream, Bella sees a wolf version of Billy Black:

“Rosalie, her hair swinging wet and golden down to the back of her knees, was lunging at an enormous wolf – it’s muzzle shot through with silver – that I instinctively recognized as Billy Black.”
– Eclipse (Little, Brown and Co., Hachette, 2007


I know some people aren’t Twilight people. But I was always drawn to young adult books anyway, especially about girls coming of age. And I realize that Stephenie Meyer isn’t a top-notch writer. That was part of it’s charm. It was like reading my asbestos friend’s writing in high school. (Except there were no hockey players. Hmmm…That could be that the Twi-universe is missing.) Meyer’s writing just felt comfortable to me in a way that I loved. I also loved that she came up with her characters and a whole chapter of Twilight (Chapter 13. Confessions) from a dream, as my dreams have given me many unfinished novel ideas.

I have read that fans have asked Stephenie Meyer how it affects Edward when Bella has her time of the month. (Ya, ew.) Stephenie answers that it is “dead” blood and Edward isn’t interested in it. A related, but different, question that always drives me nuts: Q. If the sight and smell of a drop of blood (in Science class) makes Bella faint, what the heck does she do for one week out of every month? Does Charlie have to scrape her up off the bathroom floor every time she has to change her feminine hygiene product and loses consciousness? What if an aversion to blood is her strongest strait that she carries with her into her new life as a vampire? She would end up an anorexic vampire.

When the fourth and final book, Breaking Dawn, was due out, the publisher started putting the first chapter at the end of Eclipse books. I stood at Walmart and read the whole first chapter while standing in front of their book section, so that I wouldn’t have to re-buy Eclipse. (And all I learned was that Edward sabotaged Bella’s beloved truck and Charlie didn’t shoot him.)

I decided to be one of those dorks who goes to the bookstore to buy Breaking Dawn at midnight the day it goes on sale. I had fun. And I went home and stayed up late reading it. I took a little nap. In the morning my husband asked me to go to the campground with him. And he was actually surprised that I turned him down in order to stay at home and read all day. Which I guess I deserved. It was probably the only time in my entire life that happened.

(Spoiler Alert: But if you haven’t read it by now, come on, you aren’t going to.) Throughout all the books I was eager, as Bella is, for her to become a vampire. It always seemed the inevitable end. That was almost the case in Twilight. After all, James did bite her. But, as a reader, I am very glad she was not turned until the final book. Because as soon as Bella becomes a vampire, I could no longer relate to her. I know it sounds crazy, but that is how deep her change affected me. Before she was clumsy Bella. Plain Bella. Worried Bella. Reckless Bella. In love Bella. Once she becomes a vampire, it was suddenly the same as reading about Frankenstein or Swamp Thing (Wolfman and Dracula were already taken.).

It ended alright. Probably the only way it could, with a happy ending. I am so glad we finally found out why Bella was immune to Edward’s abilities, and that she put her own new-found abilities to good use. I am also so glad that Charlie got to at least be clued in to a little of the supernatural that has been going on around him, right under his law enforcement nose. I also liked that he got some action.

Come back on Monday to read Love of Twilight, Part 2 – The Movies.

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

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