Friday, October 30, 2009

Spooky Poetry Friday

Halloween is big in our house. I wanted to write a Halloween themed book for my children (and hopefully one day share it with other children), so I started writing Halloween parodies a few years ago. It turned into a collection, and it is titled I'm A Little Green Witch. I love parodies. I find myself singing different words to popular songs all the time, so it's only natural I wrote some down.
Here is one that did not make the cut for my manuscript. (I thought it might be too scary...what do you think?)


Do you know the bogeyman?
The bogeyman?
The bogeyman?
Do you know the bogeyman
Who lives under your bed?

Yes, I know the bogeyman.
The bogeyman.
The bogeyman.
Yes, I know the bogeyman.
Can I sleep with Mom instead?!
-by Kelly Polark, all rights reserved
Today's poetry roundup is at Bibliophile! Enjoy Halloween weekend!
Here are some past jack'o'lanterns from our home to get you into the Halloween spirit!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vampire Music

Did I mention that I liked vampires?
I am missing True Blood about now.
I am watching the Vampire Diaries. Good, but not True Blood.
(I discovered two things before I left for Florida: Face in Hole and how to schedule future blog posts! And FYI that was so not my body in the previous post! It was a model's body from Face in the I haven't worn a bikini since my third child did a number on my abs! Ha, ha!)

Today's tune for Tuesday is my most played song this month. I've been on a My Chemical Romance kick lately. Here is one of their earlier tunes. Perfect for vampire fans like me (and for the week before Halloween).
Listen to "Vampires Will Never Hurt You."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Greetings from Florida

I'm here!
In sunny Florida!
With my best friend and her family!
Tomorrow we are making the three day trek home.
Check out our driver!

Also, I recently received another acceptance to Highlights Puzzlemania! My word puzzle, Friend to the End, will be in a future issue! (very appropriate as I'm traveling with my friend to the end this week!)

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 Questions with Picture Book Author Amanda Noll

Need a fun monster themed book for Halloween? Want a refreshingly different monster under the bed story? Check out I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll ,published by Flashlight Press.
"A unique monster-under-the-bed story with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers, this picture book relies on the power of humor over fear, appeals to a child’s love for creatures both alarming and absurd, and glorifies the scope of a child’s imagination. One night, when Ethan checks under his bed for his monster, Gabe, he finds a note from him instead: "Gone fishing. Back in a week." Ethan knows that without Gabe’s familiar nightly scares he doesn't stand a chance of getting to sleep, so Ethan interviews potential substitutes to see if they've got the right equipment for the job." Read the rest of Barnes & Nobles synopsis and info here.

Here are my FIVE QUESTIONS with Amanda!

1. How did you get your idea for your book?
It came about because I wished my three year old daughter would stay in bed. It wasn’t my finest parenting moment.

2. Can you tell me a little about your road to publication?
I wrote (and rewrote) the story in mid 2005. By the end of 2005 I was submitting it to publishing houses. Flashlight Press was one of the first houses I sent it to. They held it in consideration and suggested revisions. By 2007 an offer was made. It was released in April of 2009.

3. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. What is your favorite Halloween costume?
I grew up in Australia, where we didn’t celebrate Halloween, so the dressing up was new to me. My ideal costume would be something from Dr. Who, although most people are unfamiliar with the science fiction series.

4. I am a huge music lover so I have to ask. What kind of music do you enjoy? Any favorite bands?
I love to write to music. Being a child of the 80’s and having spent my teen years in Australia, I tend to gravitate to music from: Ice House, Rick Astley, Men at Work, Crowded House, Duran Duran, and Wham. I also love ABBA.

5. Any advice to share for us writers?
Start writing. Write anything. Don’t make excuses about why you can’t write, don’t wait until the *perfect* time – it doesn’t exist.

Thank you so much, Amanda! Great answers (and I love Duran Duran, too)!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Magic Show

Just an FYI to my blogger buds, I won't be as active in the blogworld the next few weeks. I am substitute teaching for first grade this week. The class is so sweet, and I'm having lots of fun with them so far! And next week my best friend and I are going to do an Oprah/Gayle trip for five days so I will be off the grid a bit. We are flying to her parents' house to Florida, staying two nights, and one full day, then we are driving back home! It will be a rare kids-free getaway. I'm a little nervous as it will be the longest I've been away from my kids, but it will be also good for me to get a break from the daily routine. I will have a long list of daily schedules and reminders for my husband (and probably grandmas) when I'm gone.
What does this have to do with my blog post title today? Nothing!
But I do have a short story in this month's issue of Stories for Children magazine titled "The Magic Show."
This short story was one of the first stories I wrote when I started writing for children about three or four years ago. I took an online class with a local author, and this was one of the assignments. I looked at the story again this year, and I realized how much I have learned from reading tips on blogs, Verla Kay's message board, and SCBWI meetings and conferences in the last few years. I tweaked and revised the crap out of it, and you can read it here! I love the illustration that Beverly Luria created to go along perfectly with the story.
Today's tune for Tuesday is a classic Police song.
"Everything She Does is Magic."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tune for Tuesday/Scream 2009

Have you voted for the Scream 2009 Awards?? Do you love horror, science fiction or fantasy? Vote for your favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and more! Click here to vote! You can then watch the results on Spike TV on October 27.
I had a hard time choosing some categories as I’m a True Blood, Harry Potter and Twilight fan. I found I leaned toward Harry Potter votes though more than any other. Fun voting except they do have comic books represented which is cool, but not other books (which is not cool as many of the movies nominated come from awesome books!). I chose Harry Potter's Bellatrix for Best Villain, True Blood for Best TV Show and Robert Pattinson for Best Breakthrough Performance (I had to, it's Edward! Though I'm Team Jacob...but he wasn't in Twilight as much as he'll be in the next movie).
For Best Scream Song 2009 I voted for this song, today’s Tune for Tuesday.
It’s a remake of Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row” by one of my fave bands, My Chemical Romance. One of my characters in my latest WIP, Rock 'n' Roll Princesses Wear Black, is named after the lead singer. This song is from the Watchmen soundtrack.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Three Cool Things

1. Congrats to PJ Hoover! Her sequel The Navel of the World was released today! My oldest son and I enjoyed The Emerald Tablet, and we are excited to read the newest book!

2. I won this cool illustration by MG Higgins on her blog (see pic). She will be having another veggie pun contest on November 1! This was titled "Peas March." Thanks, MG!

3. Check out this cool giveaway blogsite. They have different giveaways each week. This week they are giving away a shirt from my sister's VaVaVroom business! Follow directions and enter to win by October 14!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

S is for Story

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting author/teacher/facilitator/speaker Esther Hershenhorn at my local SCBWI chapter meeting. Esther is the author of a fabulous new book for children (and us writers) titled S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet published by Sleeping Bear Press. This wonderful book is beautifully illustrated by Zachary Pullen. Isn't the cover fantastic?
Esther is the former Regional Director of Illinois SCBWI. Not only is she an author, but she teaches adult "Writing for Children" courses and facilitates Young Writers Workshops at schools.
Last night Esther detailed her journey from proposal to publication for us. Sleeping Bear Press alphabet books are all similar in format. They share the ABC's in rhyming couplets for little ones to enjoy, then there is a sidebar with further information about the topic (about 180 words worth of info). Esther also added a quote from an author for each subject as well. One of my favorite quotes in the book is by Linda Sue Park. Esther called her up to ask her for a riveting quote on plot for the letter P. She came up with a great one: "If everything goes smoothly, it's not a story!"
After she spoke, Esther signed books for us. Here she is signing one for my three kids.
Esther is such a lovely and lively woman. Her presentation was informative and entertaining, and I love her new book. Visit Esther on her website and blog! Her recent blog entries tell more about S is for Story!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tales from Middle School

My oldest son started middle school this year. He is in fifth grade and due to large enrollments in each grade level, fifth grade is now housed with the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the middle school. I’m not thrilled about fifth graders being with eighth graders, but I do know he can handle it. My husband and I even had “The Talk” with him before school started. I was afraid of what he might hear on the bus, and I just wanted to make sure he had the correct information. “The Talk” was slightly embarrassing, but it actually went quite well. We went through a pamphlet we got from the Mayo Clinic about puberty and went from there. Except for a few inappropriate comments from my husband (which is expected), we had a very good discussion.
Due to being the youngest in the school now, J-Man was a little nervous the first few weeks of school, but he seems to be taking it in stride now.
Here are a few conversations from the first few weeks of middle school.
Day One:
J-Man: “The eighth graders are HUGE! They are so tall!”
(And this is coming from J-Man who is one of the youngest yet tallest in his grade.)
Week One:
J-Man: “Mom! An 8th grader told me he liked my shirt today!” See shirt in picture. And now this is the shirt most frequently worn by J-Man this school year.
Week Two:
J-Man: “Mom, I accidentally tripped an 8th grader going down the stairs today!”
Mom: “Oh, no! Did you say you were sorry? What did you do?”
J-Man: “No, I ran!”
Week Three:
J-Man: “Mom, an 8th grader sat on the bus with me today.”
Mom: “So, did he talk to you?”
J-Man: “Yeah!”
Mom: “What did he say?”
J-Man: “Well, the bus started moving so he had to sit down quickly, and he sat in my seat. He said, “ I’m just going to sit here until the bus stops again.”
Mom: “What did you say?”
J-Man: “Nothing. I scooted closer to the window!”

My sweet little fifth grader.

Today’s tune for Tuesday is by Disturbed. The band from my son’s now most prized t-shirt. Disturbed is a successful rock band from Chicago. Their most famous song is probably 2001’s “Down with the Sickness.” My husband and I saw them live at Ozzfest in 2006, they were really great live! Here is a video from their most recent album, Indestructible. My son just bought this CD, but there are a few inappropriate songs on it, so I had to import it on my computer then burn him a CD with 9/12 songs on it. “Inside the Fire” is a number one hit from this album and is today's tune. And I've only let J-Man watch the first half of this video, the end is a little gruesome...but perfect for the month of October.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Poetry Friday

As you may or may have not noticed in my last post, I'm quite the fangirl of Adam Rex. He's terribly witty, clever, and wow, what an amazing illustrator! And his blog is funny, too!
Since it is October and the time of year for monsters and things all spooky and crazy, I want to revisit two of Adam Rex's books: Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and and 2008's Frankenstein Takes the Cake. My kids and I have read and reread these books and giggled, guffawed, snickered, busted a gut, and even cringed a few times. If you haven't read these yet, buy them, check them out at the library, or borrow my copies and read them! But really you should buy them, because you'll want to read them more than once. Really.
For Poetry Friday this week I have a link to one of Adam's poems, "New Glasses," from his book Frankenstein Takes the Cake. Check it out, straight from the man's blog HERE!

Today's poetry roundup is at Crossover!

Wait, there's more!
Here's silly video from Adam Rex about how he got Frankenstein to write the sequel to Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. I hope he gets the torch out again, and gets Frank to write another! How about Frankenstein Becomes a Vegetarian? Frankenstein Starts a Band? Frankenstein Joins the Cast of Dancing With the Stars? Bella Leaves Edward for Frankenstein? Anything! Get to it, Frank!