Monday, March 28, 2011

Dogsled Dreams Review

A captivating and exciting debut novel. - Superior Outdoors Magazine

I'll say! This book is unlike anything my kids and I have ever read before. I read it out loud to them, and I was a little nervous my fantasy-loving offspring would have a hard time getting into a book about dogsledding. Not to worry! This book grabbed us right away and kept us turning pages straight to the end.

From the back cover:

Twelve-year-old Rebecca dreams of becoming a famous dog sled racer. She's an inventive but self-doubting musher who tackles blinding blizzards, wild animal attacks, puppy training, and flying poo missiles. All of her challenges, though, seem easier than living up to the dogs' trust in her abilities.

The writing is so vivid and the descriptions so clear, I felt like I was right there with Rebecca, caring for her dogs, dreaming of becoming a famous musher, and running her first dogsledding race. Details like the sound of the Northern Lights and the smell of Juicy Fruit gum on the breath of the boy she likes put me right in the moment. With a perfect balance of Rebecca's personal life and dogsledding adventures, plus plenty of obstacles to keep me in suspense, Dogled Dreams is a joy to read.

Added bonus #1 - My kids and I learned a lot about a topic we previously knew nothing about, and we had fun doing it. I love a book that educates as well as entertains, especially one I can share with my kids. It even includes a glossary of terms at the end of the book.

Added bonus #2 - By reading Terry Lynn's blog, we continue to learn even more about dogsledding. I especially loved when she posted a photo of the real life Apollo, one of the dogs in the book. If you haven't checked out Terry Lynn's blog, I highly recommend it. And if you haven't read Dogsled Dreams, I highly recommend that as well. :)

How about you? Have you recently tried a book outside your usual genre that you really liked? Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Second Crusader Challenge

Image: luigi diamanti /

For our second Crusader Challenge, we were to write a flash fiction story of 100 words or less that starts with the words, "The goldfish bowl teetered". As an added challenge, we could write our story in our own genre, so mine's a fantasy.


The goldfish bowl teetered on my knees. Water sloshed. Red and Dot flapped their fins.

“Your parents’ estate is worth billions,” Mr. Driscoll said. “It’s all yours.”

I concentrated on an ant crawling up the wall. It sprouted a seventh leg and then an eighth. Then, as if too stunned to hold onto the wall, the spider fell.

“I’m sorry for the loss of your parents,” Mr. Driscoll said. “How tragic that Red’s and Dot’s bodies were never found after the fire. I miss them already.”

“Thank you.” I wrapped a protective arm around the fishbowl. “I miss them, too.”


So there's a little insight into my twisted mind. :) Have you ever tried writing flash fiction? I'll admit, I've never written anything this short before and I found it very, very hard!

I'm going to change my blogging schedule to post Monday and Thursday evenings, so be sure to stop by Monday for my review of Terry Lynn Johnson's Dogsled Dreams!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Getting to Know J.C. Martin

As many of you know, I joined Rachael Harrie's Second Platform-Building Crusade a while back. The Crusade is an awesome way to support fellow bloggers. One blogger who's really gone out of her way to do that is the wondeful J.C. Martin. J.C. is quizzing several of the Crusaders (look for my quiz on her blog in April 19!), so I decided to turn the tables on J. C. and pose her own questions back to her.

When did you start writing?
I 've always been writing. When I was a kid, I drew and wrote comics for my younger brother called The Adventures of Buffy & Misty. The stars of the comics were our pet dogs at the time! English was my favourite subject at school, especially when we're asked to write essays or short stories. Now I was brought up in Malaysia, and although English was my co-first language, it wasn't for most of my friends, and I soon got a reputation as a budding writer--I even 'ghost-wrote' a couple of my friend's homework! ;)

I wrote my first novel at 14, by hand, in a notebook. I hated it, and gave it away to a friend who liked the story. I like to dream that once I'm a famous author, he'd have agem mine on his hands!

Writing sort of fell by the wayside when I started university and the years after, as I struggled to decide what I wanted to do with my life, from medical research to school teaching, to martial arts instructing. Then, I started writing fanfiction for a bit of fun, and realised just how much I missed it! I started writing seriously from last September, when I left my teaching job, and started submitting short stories to publishers.

What genres do you write?
Two of my WiPs are crime and suspense, but one of them have a paranormal twist to it. Most of my short stories have been horror, although I've tried writing literary pieces and one romance piece, and I have a couple of ideas for novels in the YA/fantasy/paranormal genres...I'm all over the shop, really!

Sum up your current WiP in 10 words or less.
For ORACLE: Serial murders based on Greek mythology leading up to Olympics.
For SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: Serial killer stalks the labyrinthine tunnels of the London Underground.
For my as yet unnamed short story collection: A collection of horror stories about seemingly everyday objects.

What's your ultimate goal as a writer?
To see my book on bookshelves in stores.

How close are you to achieving this goal?
My short stories have been published by Pill Hill Press, Static Movement, IFWG Publishing and New Asian Writing. I'm working on publishing a short story collection with IFWG Publishing, but it'll be in eBook format. I'm also toying with self-publishing ORACLE, but again as an eBook. Until I complete SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND and start querying, I'm nowhere near yet! :)

Any quirky writing habits?
I'm a terribly slow writer! Against all advice, I sit staring at the screen until I figure out the perfect phrase. I edit as I go, which hopefully means revisions will be easier...

Best writing snack?
Chocolate leaves my fingers sticky, but a jar of Nutella and a spoon--heaven!!

Mmm...Nutella and a spoon - sounds yummy. :) Thanks for stopping by, J.C., it was fun to learn more about you! And good luck with your writing. It sounds like you have a lot of exciting stuff going on!

In other news, my copy of The Hating Game, which was donated by Laura Howard and I won on Talli Roland's blog, arrived yesterday! I can't wait to get started - thanks Laura and Talli!

So how about you? Can you sum up your wip in 10 words or less? Try it, it's not easy!

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I've started working my way through my BooKrushers 11 from 11 during 11 reading list, and I'm really excited about my most recent arrivals!

I read to my kids before they go to bed. We're all fantasy fans, and we pretty much always read MG fantasy, but this time I suggested we try something different:
I'll tell you more about this soon, as I intend to review it when we're finished, but for now I'll just say "Bravo, Terry Lynn!" And if you haven't checked out her blog, you really should!

I've just finished The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting and am now reading Desires of the Dead from my BooKrushers list. These books have all the stuff I love best in my YA: romance, paranormal, and lots of suspense.

I recently received J'adore New York by Isabelle Lafleche from the awesome Talli Roland:

And Delirium by Lauren Oliver from the wonderful Becky Taylor:

Also on my BooKrushers list, Across the Universe by Beth Revis:

Update: I just won a copy of The Hating Game on Talli Roland's blog!!! I've been dying to read this one and just waiting for the publication date (today - 3/9!) to get my own copy. If by some chance you don't know Talli yet, be sure to stop by her blog and tell her congratulations!
So much to read, so little time. *sigh*

What are you reading?

I'll be taking a little unplugged break while my kids are on spring break. I'll be back in a couple of weeks. Have a great Tuesday, Everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thankful for Thursday

Today I'm taking my first stab at participating in a meme. Oasis for YA hosts a weekly Thankful for Thursday meme. This week we're focusing on the special people in our lives. It was a really hard job to pick just one from my very extensive list, but the person who jumps right to mind is my mother. Here she is with me and two of my three sisters.

I chose my mom for all the obvious reasons (she raised me, loves me, is always there for me, etc.), but also because this blog is about writing, and I can't think of anyone who has been more supportive of my writing than my mother. That's not to say other family members aren't overwhelmingly supportive, because they definitely are, but I consider Mom my own personal cheering section. She reads lightning fast and is always willing to read anything I ask her to. She's usually got the entire thing - even full length novels - read and (honestly) critiqued in a day or two. I think she feels my writing joys and disappointments as deeply as I do, but she's always ready with an encouraging word and a hug.

For all you do, thanks Mom!
Who are you thankful for this Thursday?

Be sure to check out Oasis for YA to participate in the Thankful for Thursday meme (and to wish the wonderful Sheri Larsen a happy birthday!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Citrusy Blogging In Style

Wow - I'm blown away by all the blog love I've been getting lately! First off, Medeia Sharif gave me the Citrusy Blogger award. Thanks, Medeia!

I'd like to pass this award to:

Kristal at it's KRISTAL kLEEr

Dawn at Plotting and Scheming

Alison at Left-Brained by Day; Write Brained - All the Time

Regina at Unsettled

Amanda Valdez-Milner at Amanda's Twisted Truths

Brian at Brian's Home

Hema at Wading Through Words

Devin at Devin's Musings

Kristal at it's KRISTAL kLEEr, Dawn at Plotting and Scheming, Alison at Left-Brained by Day; Write Brained - All the Time, Regina at Unsettled, and Devin at Devin's Musings have bestowed the Stylish Blogger Award upon me - thanks guys!

I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself, so here goes:

1. I attended Michigan State University. Any other Spartans out there? *waves*

2. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, but I'm not telling you what year. :)

3. My last summer before graduating college, I did a summer internship at McDonnell Douglas Co. (now Boeing) in St. Louis.

4. That's where I met my husband. We were assigned to apartments with two other roommates. One of my roommates, Lorette, was friends with one of his roommates, Joe. Joe later married my third roommate, Lisa.

5. Other than those couple of months during our summer internships, my husband and I had a long distance relationship until we got married sixteen months later.

6. I first met my husband at a pool. Considering my skin is so fair I'm almost blinding in a swimsuit, that's about the last place I would have expected to meet my future husband. We stayed in the pool so long I got a bad sunburn, but it was worth it. :)

7. After getting my electrical engineering degree, I worked one year as an electrical engineer in Chicago and five years as a computer programmer before staying home to raise kids. That was fourteen years ago, and I've never looked back.

I'm supposed to pick fifteen people to pass this award to, but I wanted to give it to you all, so I decided I will! If you're reading this post, you are a treasured bloggy friend, and I'd like you to take this award as my way of thanking you for reading my blog, supporting me, and sharing this journey with me.
You guys are the best!

How about you? Where did you meet your significant other? Do you work in the same field you studied in school?

Happy Tuesday!