I opened my e-mail to some great news the other day: Untethered was awarded an Indie B.R.A.G. medallion! What does that mean, you ask? The Book Readers Appreciation Group is an organization of readers around the world. According to the website all books sent to them go through a serious selection process :
" ... an initial screening to
ensure that the author's work meets certain minimum standards of quality
and content. If it passes this preliminary assessment, it is then read
by members drawn from our global reader group. They judge the merits of
the book based on a comprehensive list of criteria, including;
One final factor our readers use to judge a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend.
On average, 50% of the books submitted to us fail to pass the initial
screen and another 40% are subsequently rejected by our readers. Thus,
only 10% of the books we consider are awarded our B.R.A.G. Medallion."
On their website they have a large list of books that have already gone through this process and been awarded a medallion. Check them out and get some awesome indie books: http://www.bragmedallion.com/
The absolutely awesome Wendy Storer tagged me in the Chocolate Book Challenge. She figured with my living in Switzerland, I should know a thing or two about chocolate. And I do. Like most Swiss, I eat it all the time --the Swiss eat an average of 12 kilos of chocolate a year!
I also read books. While eating chocolate (and popcorn!).
The challenge is to list one book for each type of chocolate -- dark, milk and white. I'm going to list one book for each but add more chocolate types, because there's a variety of chocolate out there that deserves to be covered. As for authors, I'm sticking with mostly indies here, but there are a couple more well-known ones thrown in.
Dark Chocolate is for the adult in us. It's rich, but somewhat bitter. Right away, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood comes to mind. Adult in intelligence and theme, bitter in outlook, but sooooo rich in language. A classic, but I had to list it here because it is a book that I read twenty years ago but that still sticks with me.
Dark Chocolate with Hot Pepper. Adult in a very spicy way. Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart combines mythology with some adult action. It's hot and satisfying.
Dark Chocolate covered Caramel. Less adult, but very, very dark. You'll want to chew on it for a while. Angelfall by Susan Ee is probably one of my all-time favorite YA books ever. It keeps you turning pages and it also makes your skin crawl.
Dark Chocolate filled with Liquor. A mix of taste and texture with an attitude. Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak is a steampunk adventure that involves airships, absinthe and opium.
Dark Chocolate (can you tell I like dark chocolate?) with Lemon filling. You'd think the two don't go together -- the super sweet lemon and the bitter dark chocolate -- but they're divine together. Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming is a zombie apocalypse novel that is full of lovable characters. Zombie but not horror.
Milk Chocolate is all about indulgence and fun. Obitchuary by Stephanie Hayes is a romp in the world of chic lit crime stories.
Milk Chocolate with Krispies. Fun with some snap, crackle and pop. Miss Hyde by Imogen Bold is an historical romantic YA take on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story.
Hazelnut Milk Chocolate. Fun and a little nutty. Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins is about the ghost of a young woman who wakes up in Alabama. It just gets crazier from there.
White Chocolate is for the younger crowd. It's sweet but rich and good to savor. Where Bluebirds Fly by Wendy Storer is a middle-grade novel about a girl in a school for kids with emotional problems. Deep and heart-warming at the same time.
White Chocolate with Nougat. Still young, but the nougat adds an adult aspect. Someone Different by Kate Hanney is a tasty upper middle grade romance about two kids from opposite sides of the tracks.
So there you go. Go out, buy a variety pack of chocolate, and fire up your kindle. Time to read....and time for me to tag the next round of chocolatiers:
So we all have those days, right? Well, I've been having a few weeks of those days. Maybe even two years of those days... (but who's counting?) I figure I am in total need of a Killer Cute Fix. And while I can find all sorts of adorable animal pics on Pinterest, I was looking for the cute in my own life. My real life on the other side of the screen. So, here it is. Nothing but my pics to make you smile:
My fave kitties. I know. I take too many pictures of them. But, come on, they are pretty darn cute.
Getting these two was one of the best decisions we made all year. Seriously, it's crazy the amount of joy they've brought into our life. (Although they've also brought huge vet bills and a good deal of chewed through wires, shoes and clothing.)
And my favorite kiddies. I take lots of pics of them, too, but am less apt to post them online. They are everything to me.
I cannot say enough cool stuff about Margo Bond Collins. She's an author I discovered via the Rave Reviews Book Club who writes paranormal and who just plain rocks. Her new book, Legally Undead, is coming out on May 27th and she has several more titles on the way. Margo is a gracious and generous writer who is definitely Very Inspiring. She just tagged me on the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
Check out her blog HERE.
The Very Inspiring Blogger Award is given by bloggers to bloggers. Here are the rules:
1.Link back to the person nominating you for the award
2.Display the Very Inspiring Blogger logo
3.Reveal seven things about yourself
4.Nominate seven others to receive the award
Okay. So seven things about me that you won't find on my profile:
1. I was reading YA as an adult way before it was considered cool. I
started off reading Lois Duncan (love her love her -- her stuff
inspired Untethered) when I was a teen, but continued reading all things teen all the way through my twenties, thirties and, uh, beyond. It didn't take Twilight to turn me on to what YA has to offer. It took Stranger with My Face.
2. I cannot write with music on. And I really don't understand those people who can. I need either silence or white noise in order to work. Same thing to sleep. Hmmmm.....Which may be why I often fall asleep on the keyboard.
3. If I ever become a millionaire, the very first thing I'm doing is hiring a chef. I adore eating but I loathe cooking. Baking? Fine. Cooking? Absolute torture. For me and for those at the table.
4. I'm a home makeover show addict. Maybe one day if we can get out of our rented apartment and buy a place, I'll get my fix by making over my own home. *sighs* I can always dream.
5. I'm becoming an amateur expert on living with someone with minor brain trauma. My husband had a ruptured brain aneurysm two years ago and we're still dealing with the fallout. Who knows, I may just write a book on it.
6. It's not a party if there is no dancing involved, IMO.
7. I speak fluent French (I need to here in Geneva), but my accent is cringe-worthy. My kids have to "translate" my French words into better enunciated French words for their friends all the time.
So there you go, seven things about me. Now here are seven writer/ bloggers who inspire me. Maybe they will inspire you, too:
When I finished obligatory schooling, I thought I'd finished dealing with "mean girls" forever. I breezed through university and most of adult life without coming face to face with those vile beasts. I focused on feminism and the ever-present enemy of misogyny and inequality rather than railing against girls taking down other girls for no good reason.
And then I had children. Two girls with gentle hearts and naive ideas. Not angels, no. But NICE. Then I put these two in school with other kids. And low and behold...those base creatures called mean girls were there -- claws out, teeth bared, sniffing for prey. Right now, they're making a meal of my eldest.
Forget feminism. Forget female empowerment. Forget girl power. We're back in the dark ages. A part of me wants to see these kids burned at the stake for ruining my own daughter's love of life. Another part of me wants shake their eyes open so they can see they aren't helping anyone. Not even themselves.
But most of me doesn't understand why being mean is just so... prevalent.
It's a question that pops up in my writing -- whether it be Untethered or The Mask Between Us (that will hopefully be published soon). What makes us act evil? Does it come from our own fears and weaknesses, or does it run deeper?
Why are there so many people out there who take pleasure in hurting others? I'm talking from small emotional barbs to bigger issues of abuse all the way to taking a life. My mother, a devout Catholic, would say it's the devil. My good friend, an atheist, would say it's a degree of mental illness. I don't know what I believe, but either way, it scares me.
Yes, the mean girls are only a minute drop in the bucket. Among the horrors in the world, calling someone "stupid" or "fat" or throwing things at her may be insubstantial by comparison. It's a nearly invisible fissure in the dam that holds back evil. But enough fissures weaken the dam and evil dribbles in through the cracks.
Girls taking down other girls for no good reason cripples feminism. Girls taking down other girls for no good reason cripples our sense of worth. Mean girls cripple their victims socially and they even cripple themselves when it comes to learning how to love.
Unfortunately, I now have to arm my daughters against the mean girl attacks. I have to train them for a warfare of words and hope their emotional defenses hold off any lasting damage. Thing is, I'm not very skilled at that.
So my goal will be this: Get them through alive. And get them through knowing not all girls are mean girls.
There are plenty who are kick-ass awesome. My girls are two of them.