Thursday, May 17, 2018

My A to Z Liebster from True North Bricks

This year, during the A to Z Challenge, I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Tom from True North Bricks. I know there are sometimes too many awards going around, and the Liebster is for newer blogs, but I'll tell you what: I'm accepting this because even though I'll be celebrating the completion of five years for this blog in June, it still feels new to me after taking an extended break in the middle of those years. And doggone it, it's always nice when someone takes notice and tells others to check out what I'm doing here, which is really what the Liebster is all about—sharing blogs of interest.

So thank you, Tom. I'll proudly display my badge. If any of you are adult fans of LEGO® or just like anything that's made from LEGO bricks and minifigs, you really need to check out this blog. His A to Z involved LEGO-fying pop culture posters and covers. The artwork, photoshopping, and accuracy is pretty impressive! He is also on Instagram if you want to look for him there.

Tom's questions for his nominees are mostly LEGO-related!

1. Everyone has a LEGO story from some point in their life, what is yours? I am the youngest of two girls, and I was always jealous of the boys in our neighborhood because they had LEGO sets and we only had Barbie dolls. My husband spent countless hours of creativity with LEGO bricks, erector sets, model kits, and all the fun stuff I never experienced. When we started having children, I couldn't wait for them to be old enough for us to buy LEGO for them and was thrilled to have our oldest receive baby Duplos®—if you've never gotten the baby version of LEGO bricks, these ones are each about the size of a golf ball and are completely adorable. Over the years, they collected dozens of sets, both large and small, and I still smile when I think of how many worlds they created, some of the silly character names they came up with, and the fun I had playing right along with them.

2.  Pick a face from below that best suits your mood today, and explain your choice.
I would probably have to choose the happy face for today, and for most days. I'm a generally happy person and would only change my face choice if they had a sarcastic one. I have so much to be thankful for that it's hard to maintain a bad mood for long unless I'm really tired.

3. If you won an all-expenses-paid trip to any LEGOLAND in the world, which would you pick and why? True confession time here: I didn't realize there were more than two! But gosh, there are eight of them, with a ninth one on the way in 2020, which is pretty exciting. If I had all my expenses paid, though, I would definitely go overseas. My choice is LEGOLAND® Billund in Denmark, since it was the first LEGOLAND Park and opened in 1968 alongside the factory.

4.  If you could have anything turned into a LEGO set, what would it be? That's a tough one! But . . . if I could have a Les Paul Junior with a Fender Amp, all made of LEGO bricks, I'd give it to my husband as a gift to decorate our musician-filled household.

5.  What is your favorite activity to unwind with? Reading has always been a staple for me when I just want to be still and quiet. I'm not a big TV watcher but I can lose myself in a book for days if I have the free time to indulge.

6.  What is your favorite movie, and why? I don't know that I have a favorite, but there are certain ones that make me laugh and stop to watch even if I'm just passing through. Classics like The Music Man (the old one with Robert Preston), kids' movies like The Emperor's New Groove and The LEGO Movie, and ones that just make me say, "I love that movie!" when it's over like Secondhand Lions or The Princess Bride or The Prestige or Ocean's Eleven. Split was creepy cool, too. I guess my guideline is whether I can't resist rewatching it because it was just so cleverly done.

7.  If you were to start writing a new book today, what would it be about? As much as I love to read science fiction and fantasy, I don't think I'm nearly creative enough to come up with anything original. I'd probably write a memoir about a particularly difficult time in my life that I'm still dealing with as I watch other family members deal with the fallout. My daughter is the storyteller. She's told me about characters and worlds she's thought up, and they're incredible. I told her I would be happy to help her get it all down if she wants to, and then she can sort it from there. So I can picture writing her book with/for her just to get it in first draft form.

8.  If all of a sudden you were given infinite resources to pursue your passion professionally, what would you do? I'd probably spend it all on two things: first would be music lessons for the variety of instruments I've taught myself over the years. I'm okay at a couple, and mediocre at best on the remainder of them. Most of it boils down to time available for practice, since I seem to get the hang of them if I'm putting regular time into it. I'd set up a studio in my house so my kids can record in a soundproof area without having to kick everyone out of the house for the evening. The second thing I'd do would be to expand my business to include services that would take an author from draft through publishing: writing coach, developmental editing, copyediting and proofreading, indexing, formatting/design, cover design, marketing. I'm fortunate to have two jobs I love: I sing for a living and I edit. I can't imagine investing in one while ignoring the other.

9.  Why did you start your blog? Originally, I thought I'd "get my name out there" so I could drum up some editing business. Then, when I realized only about three people even read my blog, I figured I'd just have fun with it while keeping with the editing & writing theme. I've had some hilarious chats over coffee, author interviews, notes for writers from an editor's point of view, and other miscellaneous things that may or may not have ever made an impression on anyone. But I've met some great people along the way and my favorite moments are when my commenters end up conversing with each other.

10.  Recently, LEGO released Series 18 of their Minifigure blind bags. Which one would you want to have, and why? This set has so many cool ones, it was really tough to choose. Cactus Girl is terrific, and so are the others, but I think Fireworks Guy is my favorite. He just looks like he's having a . . . blast. It's me, really, as a firecracker.

11.  Give one random fact about yourself. I always wanted to be a professional musician. My parents forbade me to pursue it. My second choice was journalism or something that allowed me to write or be involved with writers. My parents also forbade that. I ended up going to a college not of my choice to earn a degree I didn't really want or choose. And whaddya know, thirty years and four children later, I ended up being a musician and a copyeditor. Ha! I am where I wanted to be, in a completely different way than I ever thought it would happen.

So there are my answers to some great questions. And now I'm going to try to follow the rules properly and nominate a couple other bloggers. I never know how these things will turn out, but I will nominate two bloggers I enjoy quite a bit:

1. Kim M. Watt—Kim is an author who writes the most clever and humorous short stories. She shares a good many of them on her blog (I recommend all of them, but especially those involving Glenda and the Horsemen). She loves dragons and from what I've seen, they love her right back.

2. Rebekah of Barren to Beautiful—Rebekah's blog is a mixture of family stuff, stories of infertility and hope, and just plain fun life observations. Sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, you'll always be glad you visited.

And here are my questions for them:

  1. What is your favorite perk of writing?
  2. Have you ever liked the movie better than the book?
  3. If you had three days, all expenses paid, away from home, where would you go to relax?
  4. Tell us about your strangest talent.
  5. What makes you smile most often during an average day?
  6. If calories and health were not a concern, what would your go-to treat be?
  7. Do you have a bucket list, and if you do, what is one of the bigger items on it?
  8. Is there one person who's been influential enough in your life that you always think of them with a grateful heart?
  9. Would you rather be completely invisible for one day, or have the ability to fly for one day?
  10. What's your least favorite fashion (any decade) that you wish would have gone away before it started?
  11. What "old person" things do you catch yourself doing?



1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award logo.

2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger sets for you.

3. Nominate blogs that you think are deserving of the award.

4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let your nominees know about their nomination.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Guest Post: C. Lee McKenzie Shares Her Latest Release

This is typically an "off" week for me, but I wanted to share some fun stuff with all of you while it's timely. Many of you already know C. Lee McKenzie as the author of Double Negative, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Sign of the Green Dragon, and many more young adult & middle-grade books. What you may not know is that she once gave me a donkey named Donkey to keep my pig, Live Bacon, company, came to my house for coffee, brought me homemade jam as a housewarming gift, and brought a yak named Hannibal to my backyard, but thankfully took him home with her at the end of the day.

But that's a tale for another tellin'. Today, I'm letting Lee take the reins so she can tell you about her newest book, the third in the Adventures of Pete and Weasel book series.

Lee, I'm so glad to have you as my guest, and can't believe it's been so long since you were here last. Enjoy yourself! My readers try their best not to be threatening.


I know you've just finished the A to Z, so I consider you a hero. I didn't do it this year. I just couldn't with two books coming out in the same month. Anyway, I love being here today on your blog during this launch. 

Some Very Messy Medieval Magic
May 15, Dancing Lemur Press, LLC

Some Very Messy Medieval Magic is the third book in The Adventures of Pete and Weasel. Alligators Overhead was the first and The Great Timelock Disaster the second. Instead of writing a tagline to explain what this series is about, here's the trailer that sums of the three books very quickly.

Here's how this latest adventure begins. 

         By the fourth week of eighth grade, everybody in class, including know-it-all, Curtis Lamont,  decided that having Dr. Dread Wraith as a teacher until June was going to be worse than a bowl of turnips for dessert.

The pop quizzes weren’t even a surprise anymore because he gave one almost every day. And all any kid had to do was squirm when Wraith was giving one of his lectures on the theory of general relativity, which nobody—even Weasel—had ever heard of, and he’d slap them with detention.

They cringed every time they heard his name. It was a cringe-able name after all. Pete wanted to tell the kids the reason Dr. Dread Wraith called himself that, but he didn’t want to bring up how their sub was really a bigwig in the Cross-Temporal Consortium of Witches and Wizards. Or that he had to go toe to toe with bad dudes like Genghis Khan. Like Wraith told him, without his bone-chilling name, he didn’t have the clout he needed.  

If Pete did explain all of that, then that would lead to having to explain how Wraith, who wasn’t really a bad guy, just a menace of a teacher, had followed Pete and Weasel back from their last time trip.  And that. . .well, that was just too much for any eighth grader to swallow.

All my books are available online. 

Some Very Messy Medieval Magic is available at these locations. 

Print ISBN 9781939844460 / EBook ISBN 9781939844477

Order through Ingram, Follett, or from the publisher

EBook available in all formats 

My publisher has created a library request letter that I'm including. If people want to check out the book, rather than buy a copy, this is one way to make that possible.