Donde Esta la Biblioteca?

(This was supposed to post in the morning. Sorry about the unplanned change in schedule.)

Earlier tonight I joined an already-in-progress Spanish class, where I met a group of very nice people and got to practice my Spanish! I’ve been worried that I’ll lose my fluency the longer I’m away from Spanish speakers, and while I’m not sure if this group is the best fit for me (they’re still beginning) it was wonderful to be part of a group with a common interest. For small town Michigan, it was a more diverse group than I expected, and they welcomed me with open dictionaries.

Kind of like writers.

I’ve said it before, but it really has to be said again: My writing friends rock. I’ve avoided talk of queries and agents here, but that doesn’t mean I’m not up to my armpits in anxiety, nerves, and the occasional frenzy. (Stacey, I blame you.) The support you all have given me — while unwavering for as long as I’ve known you — still catches me by surprise. Not to mention to critiques, advice, and gentle suggestions that, yanno, maybe you should reconsider that word choice…


On Monday I had intended for you to be able to read the page I screen-captured in the picture, but photobucket shrank my photo. I’m reposting here for your reading pleasure. It’s the middle of chapter one. Enjoy!


The song ends and the blinking lights slow to a lazy loop around the room. Crap. I also promised Robbie one slow dance, and from the look on his face as he weaves through the couples already pressed close together, I’m not getting out of this.

He smiles. “They’re playing our song.”

“We don’t have a song”

“I know, but I requested it so that makes it our song.” His lips graze my cheek and he places my hands behind his neck. Our bodies brush as we turn in a small circle. “Is this really so bad?” he whispers.

“No.” I rest my head against his shoulder. My eyes close but my thoughts are anything but relaxed. This is supposed to be what I want. A boy who wants to dance with me and spend time with me and seems to think I’m cute. So why do I feel so antsy when he’s around? I mean, I know why—he’s hardly the first boy I’ve dated and I always get this feeling after a couple months. But why can’t I just be happy?

Robbie trails his fingers up and down my back, then pushes my hair off my shoulder. His warm breath on my neck gives me the shivers, but it’s not the reaction he was going for.

I pull away. “I think I need to get some air.”

He looks at me tenderly, misinterpreting all my signals. “Okay.”

I turn away and push through our classmates, but he grabs my hand, stopping me. I face him.

His eyes are clearer, the smile gone. “You don’t have to run away from me. I’ll come with you.”

Whatever. I let him lead me into the hallway, but he turns around a corner into a darker corridor. “Robbie, wait.” I stop, his fingers still linked through mine. This isn’t what I want.

“Biz, you just said you wanted to get some air.” He does air quotes around the last part.

“It wasn’t code for making out. I really needed to get out of there. The lights…”

He rolls his eyes. “It’s practically pitch black in there.”

I’ve never explained my deal with light to Robbie, and I sure as hell am not going to clue him in now. “Forget it.”

His hand snakes around my neck and he tries to pull me close.

My hands flatten against his chest. “Robbie…” I warn.

A noise behind us makes me turn. Cam is standing at the end of the corridor, bathed in light from the main hallway. And he’s glaring at Robbie.


The Macbook Has Landed

I have my new Macbook! I went to the store Friday night fully expecting to have to wait another week before getting my baby, but they had what I wanted in stock!

As you can imagine I spent the weekend installing software, transferring data, and figuring out how to carry such a honking laptop around. One good thing about the HP Mini is it’s teeny tiny and can be carried around with one hand. But I LOVE it so.

I’ve switched from Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel to iWorks Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, and the coolest feature I’ve discovered so far is the full view screen in Pages. Look at how I’m going to be writing:

How awesome is that? No distractions! And I love the dark background.

Oh yeah, it’s also wicked fast and I got a free HP printer for my trouble.

How was YOUR weekend?

A Moment of Silence

My beloved Mac, who’s stood by my side for almost seven years, will be put to rest in the next few days.

Starting with that first journey from the Apple Store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, to a four-day trip across the US and Mexico buried beneath a pile of boxes and clothes so no one would notice, to a return flight packed in styrofoam, it’s been a wonderful ride. We’ve been through many mice, two keyboards, and two separate scares where I thought I’d have to write this post much sooner.

*bows head*

Today after work I will embark on a new journey, one that begins in another Apple Store. I don’t expect they’ll have my new baby in stock, but I’ll share photos of my new LAPTOP as soon as I can.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Not me, but I’m so excited you’d think I was the one who sold my first book.

My dear friend Stacey Graham announced Monday that Sourcebooks has bought The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide! This is the same Stacey who lured me to Seattle to play with zombies (and convinced me to photograph myself doing yoga dressed as a zombie) but ghosts are nestled deeper in her heart.

(This is also the same Stacey who’s the other half of Slaps & Waggles, our yodeling duo, but that’s another story…)

She’s the mother of FIVE daughters and has hunted ghosts for years, so this book is a natural for her. I’m so proud of her! Everyone swing by her blog to congratulate her!

(Look Stacey! I tagged this post “publishing industry”!)

Fracture and Fissure are Born!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting?

Aside from enjoying a leisurely four-day weekend that included a yummy dinner with my family, shopping and watching Black Swan with my sister, and lots of play time with Owen, I also Skyped with Erica for an hour and a half and plotted the rest of my YA trilogy!

As you’re aware, the book I’ve already written is called Flicker, and I wanted titles that both go along with that name AND reflect the plot for each book. Fracture is about someone struggling to adapt to her old “normal” life while dealing with the horrors she faced over the past four years. Fissure is about a betrayal that splits apart everything the main character has come to believe. I just made up those summaries off the top of my head, so if they seem generic… well, that’s all you’re getting.

I love that I’ve found a writing friend who not only has a wicked mind for plots, but is also funny, nice, and a hoot to hang out with. (Yes, I said hoot.) I used to daydream about finding a real live writer who lived close enough to get together with, and I finally have that. Now I hope my writing does these ideas justice.

Birthday Post at Ermas!

To mark my birthday yesterday I wrote a post called It’s Not Easy Being Green for An Army of Ermas. The post should be up mid-morning — go check it out!

ETA: Link is live.

There’s a picture!

Long Lost Friends

Over the past year I’ve slowly sorted through the piles of boxes stored in my parents’ garage. (I have a LOT of wine glasses, but no silverware.) I’ve rediscovered photos and games and clothes, but one box in particular had completely vanished. Figures it was the box of my favorite books.

Well look what I found!

I cannot explain how happy I am to have them. Over the past year I’d remember a certain title, then go on a hunt through the garage, only to leave dusty handed. Sunday I took an hour to move everything from one storage place to another (ie: one end of the garage to the other — don’t ask, it was requested of me…) yet the books were nowhere to be found. I trudged back to the basement determined not to stop until I unearthed them, and this time I prevailed over the depths of the basement. Ha-HA!

I also found these beauties.

Have you found any old treasures lately?

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

I’m not one for book reviews, especially two weeks in a row, but there’s no way I CAN’T tell you about this book.

Seventeen-year old Anna is sent to the School of America in Paris, thanks to her rich father’s need to fit in with his pretentious friends. She dreads saying goodbye to her best friend and the boy she likes, and is terrified of living in a country where “the only French word I know is oui, which means “yes,” and only recently did I learn it’s spelled o-u-i and not w-e-e.”

I mean, how can you not love her?

Here’s the jacket copy:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all… including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Lights, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

One of the reviews in the front of the book says “you’ll want to date this book,” and they aren’t kidding. I read it in two days (yes, that makes two books last week) and I immediately wanted to re-read it—at 1:30am. The characters are SO REAL and the dialogue is so dead on that I found myself wishing I could write that well and wondering how I could make my own book better (and I have a total crush on MY book right now). The tension between Anna and Étienne made me long for that crazy rush of first love and I had to really fight not to skip ahead and find out what happens.

On a personal note, it was bizarre how much I relate to this book. From being sent to boarding school at age fifteen and saying goodbye to all my friends and the only life I knew, to living in another country where I struggled (at first) to speak the language (she also studied Spanish), to being left-handed and loving Thin Mints and Tagalongs—I felt a strange connection with Anna. Especially when she falls for the HOT boy with the English accent (mine was Puerto Rican). The little details about dorm life in high school—having to stand in line for the bathroom with your worst enemy, seeing the boy you like right after rolling out of bed—were so dead on that I’m curious about how in-depth she researched boarding school life.

The final clue that this book really hit home for me—Saturday night I dreamed I was living in France and kept trying to speak Spanish when ordering at a restaurant.

I can’t recommend this book enough, and I’m sad I have to give it back to Erica, who loaned it to me.


Synopsis [si-nop-sis] a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject.

Apparently Webster hasn’t met me.

Let’s go with this one instead:

Synopsis [si-nop-sis] a brief summary of the plot of a novel, motion picture, play, etc.

That’s more like it.


An interesting tidbit I picked up during my Weekend of Fabulousness is that it’s much easier to write a synopsis for a book that has yet to be written. It sounded crazy to me at the time, but I’m here to tell you that it’s true.

Think about it. You’re making up the story as you go along — very much like writing an actual book, just much much shorter. There are no pesky details to muddle up the flow. Minor characters don’t exist so they don’t clamor for attention in your 1-2 page single spaced file. All that’s included is the guts of the book.

I wrote the synopsis for book two this week, and while it still needs a bit of polishing (anyone have a spare tub of elbow grease?), it was leaps and bounds easier than the others I’ve written. Including the synopsis for book one. I cobbled that together, much to the amusement of my minor characters who fought to be mentioned, the subplots that scoffed at not being included, and the dance — THE DANCE — let’s just say it’s pissed I didn’t ask it to… well, dance.

Next up is the synopsis for book three.

If you’re wondering why I’m writing synopses for books I haven’t yet written, considering I don’t have an agent or book deal or anything, it’s because I’d like to have outlines ready to go for the entire trilogy when I query book one. I know you’re only supposed to mention one book per query, but it is permissible to mention if a book is part of a series, and I figure I’ll increase my odds if I already have those materials ready to go.

I’ve also finally added an explanation of Flicker to the writing page of my website. Go take a peek if you’re curious…

Lisa and Laura Roecker’s The Liar Society

Last weekend Erica Chapman and I road-tripped to Cleveland to attend Lisa and Laura Roecker’s launch party for their debut novel, The Liar Society.

Seriously the sweetest people you will ever meet.

You know me, I live my back cover blurbs:

Best friends don’t send emails once they’re dead.

With her dead best friend’s pearls and skirts tiny enough to make Nancy Drew blush, Kate’s on the trail to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder…

What the blurb doesn’t tell you is how AWESOME this book is. I bought it at the signing on Saturday and figured I’d have to save my review for next week, but I finished it Monday night. Considering I didn’t get home from Cleveland until 9:30 Sunday night, that means it took me one work day to read this sucker.

Kate is a instantly likable character whose entire world changed when her best friend died. She’s snarky and sarcastic, but doesn’t push things so far that you don’t care what happens to her (like has happened in a couple other books I’ve read). The love interest, Liam, is HOT, and there’s enough humor to balance out the non-stop sleuthing.

I admit I couldn’t help but wonder who wrote which parts, but really, it doesn’t matter. The Liar Society is a fast-paced, enjoyable ride that will leave you wanting more.

Bloggers unite! Even though I only "met" them online a couple weeks ago, they were beyond gracious and included me like they'd known me for years.

Monday Lisa and Laura celebrated with a virtual book launch party by posting bits from the Saturday signing and giving away a book every two hours. Guess who managed to dominate one of the posts? I swear I didn’t mean to monopolize their video.

You can learn more about Lisa and Laura on their website.

The rest of the weekend has been described as a comedy of errors (pouring rain mixed with intense fog for the four+ hour drive, a dead skunk, a broken toll booth, and a broken cell phone — just on the way there) but Erica and I had a blast. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time and we’re already looking forward to our next adventure (hopefully to a writing conference).

Finally, it wouldn’t be a road trip without a picture in front of a giant FREE stamp.

© Copyright 2012 melaniehoo
Social Media Icons Powered by Acurax Web Design Company
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Google Plus