Hey! I just figured how to schedule posts! There WILL be Feature Fun Friday after all! Huzzah! *does the Snoopy Happy Dance*

My New Mission!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on ipod right now): Rosanna by Toto.

After Tuesday's awesomeness of book releases, I have decided to start including book reviews on my blog. I know, novel idea, right? (cymbals for the pun). :D

But it is not going to be just be your normal blog review. I've set up some very interesting rules for myself. I want to highlight unknown fiction. In a post on my old blog, I had a Publisher Weekly's report. It said that there was something like 30,000 Children and YA books released LAST YEAR alone. That does not include non-fiction or any other genre, just YA and kids. That is a lot of books getting passed over. One of my new super-hero missions is to try and bring some of them forward. Go digging for diamonds in the rough. What can I say? I thrive on a challenge.

So my rules:

I will focus on YA and Children's literature (with very rare exceptions).
I will not review any book that is one of the top 25,000 selling books (based on amazon ranks)
I will try and aim for books 100,000 or bigger.
I will not review books before my 2005 (with very rare exceptions).
I will try and lead up every review with an interview.

I want books to succeed, and some get lost in the shuffle. That's what a superhero is all about, right? Saving people? I aim to save books from obscurity. Who's with me?! If you have a book you love but no one seems to know about it, shoot me a message, a comment, an email, anything! And I'll get on it. Together, we'll save the world, one book at a time. Woohoo! Superheroes unite!

Release Day!

Current Theme Song (aka what’s playing on my ipod right now): Oceano by Josh Groban.

Today has been the most amazing day for YA releases. Seriously people, what are you trying to do to me? Bankrupt me? Couldn’t you spread the love over a few weeks? Nah, I know how eager you’ve been to see your babies come out. Here are just a few that have sent my heart a pitter pat that were released today. Gosh, I love YA literature.

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon – Here I put this on my old blog under my “undiscovered gems” post and now it looks like it is going to be one of the biggest releases that will soon be talked about. Not only does she have a dang hot-awesome book trailer (see here) but I’m seeing this thing everywhere. I am humbled (and ecstatic, so so ecstatic) that Cindy Pon has agreed to do an interview on here. Can I squee yet? I think I’m going to. This title is so big that I couldn’t even find it at my bookstore today when I went hunting for it.

Once a Princess by Sherwood Smith – Now this is a huge soft spot in my heart. I really love Sherwood’s work. Her worlds are characters are so unique, but still so familiar somehow. And this premise just rocks. I’m bummed it’s not being first released in hardcover (I’m a hardcover girl, and yes, I do know I’m crazy), but I’m buying it the second my bookstore can order it in. It was too small to reach the normal shelves, so all the more reason I need to spread the love. Her work is amazing, and well worth reading.

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman – Another debuter! And wow, besides that title and that cover (all I can say is dang!), she has got it covered. The story is a retelling of the myth of Persephone and Hades, but with a twist. What if she wasn’t kidnapped by the lord of the underworld, but went willingly? (and Hades isn’t the automatic total evil guy? Heck yeah!). She nailed my third favorite Greek myth down in blissful book-length form, and for that reason alone I’m already in love (I can’t tell you my first favorite because I want to write it, and three separate authors have already taken one of my favorite fairy tales I was planning on writing. And here I thought East of the Sun, West of the Moon was an unknown story. Can I still claim King Thrushbeard though?) :) But yes, rock on Ms. Witman. I’m keeping an eager eye on you.

And I cannot CANNOT forget to give a shout out to a little known author, you might have heard of her. Nelle Harper Lee, Pulitzer prize winner of To Kill a Mockinbird? Happy birthday ole’ gal. You’re 83 today. Thank you for one of my most treasured books.

(that was my eighteenth birthday present to myself, you know. I bought a signed facsimile copy of the original. You know Kuzco’s speech about his birthday present to himself? Yeah, totally did that).

I'm flying, in a jet plane!

Current Theme Song (aka what’s playing on my ipod right now): Wunderkind by Harry Gregson Williams.

The Secret Adventures of Writer Girl: The Archived Episodes!

I’m in an airplane right now, writing this. I’ve already played “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” so I’m set. I did get a little choked up when the chorus came and sang “I’m leaving, on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.” I hate leaving places I’ve come to love, but I do it a fair bit. It comes with the territory of being a college student. I’m looking forward to the day when I can truly call a place my own, a place I can stay and have for keeps.

And I’m discovering things all over again:

- ipods are a gift from the gods. They make even the longest flight positively pleasant. Add audiobooks and I’m in heaven.
- Complimentary juice drinkies are still one of the best things on any flight. Nice flight attendants even more so. ^_^
- I’m also discovering turbulence is really fun. No seriously, I mean that. We’ve had out fair share this flight (and definitely more than I’ve ever experienced before. Then again, I’ve only been on three other flights, and that includes the flight out here). And I really like it – that gut-wrenching feeling when you drop and then jerk back up – it's like a roller coaster, but a wee bit higher in the air. ;) I don’t know where I can use it in a book, but it’s gonna happen. :D

Speaking of being high up, one of the coolest things I’ve discovered up here is that the sky has a landscape all its own. The clouds have their own terrain, complete with hills, valleys, rivers, and mountains. It's incredible. I have been privileged to see such sights. And even luckier, I was able to capture some of them. *wicked grin*

(warning: these photos may be contraband. I never checked to see if cameras were on the “approved electronics” list. Better to beg forgiveness and all that) :)

Aren’t they amazing?! We live in such a beautiful world. What a grand adventure we are all on. Oooh, and it looks like another adventure is about to begin. Turbulence is back. Wee!

Feature Fun Friday - Silver Phoenix book trailer!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Dreams by The Cranberries.

You've been holding out on me Cindy. Shame on you. I had to go digging for this. Tsk tsk. For those of you who don't know, Cindy Pon is the author of a debut novel, Silver Phoenix, a fantasy adventure based in ancient China (how cool is that!?). It is going to be released this Tuesday (my plug - go buy it. I'm totally stoked for this book, and not just because I pretend to know the beautiful and gorgeous Cindy). She also has a fabulous website and blog.

I am picky about the book trailers I put on my Feature Fun Fridays. I am a strict censor. I'm like a big burly bar hop who only lets the best of the best in (do you see me crossing my arms?). Slideshows don't usually impress me, but this trailer actually did a pretty darn good job of following a realistic story/character arc (without using different photos that are "supposed" to be the same person - hate that). But what really got me was the music. Oh my gosh! My heart fluttered in joy and rapture when the music took off. It's amazing. I really need this book. And something to look forward to as well - Cindy promised to do an interview on here, so keep an eye out for that. Enjoy your pre-release trailer and have an absolutely amazing weekend everyone!

(Look Cindy, I even gave you a pretty little border. :) I say break out the sparkling cider, it's a time to celebrate. Your book is about to be released!)

Goodbye DC

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Pageant - Cirque du Soleil's KÀ.

The Tourist Philosopher

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): One Jump Ahead - Aladdin Soundtrack.

The Secret Adventures of Writer-Girl - The Archived Episodes!

You've turned me into looking like a perpetual tourist. (How else do you think I get these photos for you?). But you know what? I don't think that is such a bad thing. Because seriously, what is the point of lugging around a camera and entering the ultimate level of geekdom? So that we can capture the moment and take everything in so that we don't forget. Because what I said two posts ago is really true. This moment, right now, only happens once. Even something as repetative as work or school can be, that moment, with those people, only happens once. I learned this from my personal finance professor of all places, on my last day in his class, and I have never forgotten it.

It is the single greatest lesson that has helped me see life entirely differently. It makes it so I don't have "boring" days anymore. And it has helped me so much as a writer. When you see every moment as something slipping away forever, you soak it all in so you don't forget. I drink life up now, even more than I did before. I love waking, loving every day just a little bit more. I love life, and I am soaking every sight and sound while I am still here. Life is a fantastic thing, and I want to live every moment of it. That is what being an author, and a human, is all about - living.

Remember this moment, and every moment. It's all we have.

What I found in my room. . .

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Into the Fire by Thirteen Senses

This is perhaps the weirdest thing I have ever found cleaning my room. Some bizarre homework assignment from my little sisters gone horribly wrong? Gremlins branching out to the arts? A strange outpouring of my subconscious? Either way, written here, in full verbatim, is a transcription of a piece of paper I found in my room that made me go "what the. . ."

The short (very short) stories:

Once upon a time there was a pretty little kitten, this kitten's name was Sophia. One day there was a evil grumpy dog that decided to eat Sofia, she died.

Once upon a time there was a toad named Manfred, he liked to hop on lily pads, One day there was a snake that decided to gobble Manfred up, he died.

Once upon a time there was a whale named Stew he loved to eat krill, they died.

Once upon a time there was a sailor named Rodger, he liked to knit. One day while out at sea, the infamous giant squid came up and Rodger showed him his knitting work.

Once upon a time there was a girl in class who was very bored, she typed about random things, Then the chair she sat on grew teeth, she d.....d..i..............................fajearigjwtewlsjd;;'/.....

Children's book, anyone? :)

Stupid Telepathic Song

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Upside Down by Jack Johnson.

The Secret Adventures of Writer-Girl - The Archived Episodes!

When you realize you are leaving a place you have grown to love, everything seems more important, especially the little things. Like the walk through the underground tunnels to your metro stop, the green mural that has given me more book ideas than I can name, the view from my balcony, the wind that blasts my hair back as the train arrives.

The view from my balcony is not much of a view at all. In fact I mostly see the other side of my building.

(look at me and my amazing paint skillz. So cool that I must add the "z":)

You know, the little things. Oh, now that's just not fair. My theme song just switched and guess what it is playing, just guess. "I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane," sung by Chantal Kreviazuk. I have 432 songs on this thing and it decides to pick that one? That's just cruel. Boo. Did you know I played this song when I left for Washington DC to begin my internship here at the Smithsonian? I was going to play it exactly as we took off, but they told us to turn off all electronics, you know, so it doesn't crash the plane and all... Oh! And the water on the river each day as I pass over it. I'm going to miss that so much (can you tell I'm crossing it right now?). I take the yellow line every day just so I can cross over the river instead of under it (it was faster anyway, but even if it wasn't I would have done it anyway). So many memories. And the lesson I've learned from living out here where every single day has been an adventure? Live each day to the fullest. Live every moment live it won't ever happen again. Because it won't. I'm not going to let any moment pass me by that I have left here. Now, off to work, and then Coldstone. Ice cream makes everything happier. ^_^ (see my secret loves if you don't believe me). Mmm, ice cream.

And don't forget my hot-awesome contest where you can win any book you want. That's right, any book. And there are 3.7 kajilllion ways you can win. I counted. (I didn't. But it's close:).

Feature Fun Friday - A - B - Cs and Kermit

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Awakening by Switchfoot

This was a special feature on my old blog. Each week I scour the internet for the best videos on all things related to books - author interviews, book trailers, clips from movies based on books, you name it. I've found some really awesome things, but this one has to be one of the sweetest of all.

Old clip. 1970's. Kermit the frog singing ABCs with small, adorable child. You can't get better than this. Particularly if that little girl has some ideas of her own on how the song should go. If you are ever having a bad day, just come back to this clip and you will cheer right up. I've done it on many occasions.

Kelsey will know this one, I think. She's been around long enough for it. This was one of my original Feature Fun Fridays, but has been so long since buried in my archives, I think it deserves a revival. And really, what better place to start Feature Fun Friday's than with your A-B-C's? Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Thursday's proof of my insanity

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Wish You Were Here by Blackmore's Night.

Part 2 of my cleaning escapade yesterday. I keep having phantom "fresh" scent following me everywhere. It's kinda bizarre and I'm beginning to wonder if I didn't inhale a bit too much (you are now forewarned when your parents make you clean your oven. Learn from those who have gone before to bring back such precious knowledge).

Photo op! Scrub that icky grime away. And my ipod fell out of my ear. Poo.

Me rocking out with a very dirt wash cloth. I think the look could catch on. :)

And look! After one day, look at all the pretty lights across the country of people who have seen my little piece of the cyber-world. :) Though I'm pretty sure Virginia is completely because of me. :D But look at Ohio and New Jersey! I don't know anyone over there! I love you!

[Edit]: Massachusetts! I'm sorry! I was remembering the wrong state. I promise I know what you look like. And in other announcements, today is Support Teen Literature Day, how cool is that?!

Adventures in cleaning!

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Aftermath by Soul Eclipse

6:30 in the morning is too early to clean an oven. Just saying. I learned things one should never learn at that hour.

Tell me if these directions wouldn't worry you: LIBERALLY lay down newspaper so as to cause no damage to the floor. Do not come in contact with eyes, skin, clothes or other mucus membranes (!?). Rinse cap immediately and drain excess water. Replace cap PROMPTLY.
Yeah, I had those yellow gloves on faster than you could say "toxic waste in a can."

Thoroughly dorkified, I set to work scrubbing. Warm water washing over rubber gloves is a very cool feeling, but that poor rag turned color that I don't think are quite natural. I don't think he can be saved. Poor thing. But because of his sacrifice, the oven is now squeaky clean. Like, literally. I squeaked it to be sure.

Last night also proved to be fruitful for my Writer-Girl skills. I got a ton of character shadowing done. For example, I now know what it feels like to breathe with no air. That was an experience. I sprayed the oven cleaner (following the directions to the letter, mind you), but nowhere did it say "don't breathe in before, during, or after spraying." I probably should have taken the hint when it said HEAVY DUTY on the label though. There was literally no oxygen in the air. It smelled fantastic ("fresh" scent!), but it was the only smell in the air. It felt like it sucked air from my lungs. You cough a lot when you can't breathe. And I scooted back on my butt faster than all get out. So, fantastic research for a sci-fi or other place with little to no air. Like a mine. Oooh, a mine, now that's a cool idea. *rummaging for scratch paper*

Who would've thunk you could learn so much from daily chores? So that was my adventure in cleaning. Oh, and it also rained today. So pretty on the metro over the Potomac. It's going to be so sad when I have to leave. I've really come to love DC.

P.S Photos are coming tomorrow. My blankety blank blank internet isn't working. I'm in a internet cafe right now. Internet cafe = no photos.

P.P.S My hands still smell like rubber. :)

Big Contest, I mean BIG.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Turn of a Friendly Card, Part 2 by Alan Parsons Project

Now here it is, front and center: my first contest ever. And it’s big. And I mean BIG. And it is so easy. I tried to think of every possible way you could win. The prize? Simply any book you want in the entire world. No joke. One book, under $50, no questions asked. It doesn’t even have to be in print. Yes, I have my diabolical ways. It’s all a part of being Writer-Girl (though if it is out of print, an ISBN number helps immensely). If I were to win – definitely Diana Wynn Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, first edition, hardcover (I’m a sucker for hardcovers). Or The Arrival by Shaun Tan. But I can’t win, lucky you. So, comment away, there are about a million ways you can get “points” – entries with your name on it. It’s all in your court. Let’s get this party started! Contest closes Saturday May 2nd, on the digital turn of midnight.

3 points: become a follower (and you can see yourself over on that side bar. So cute)
1 point: Commenting, even saying “yo.” (note: “yo” comment only works once. Of course, this would be a perfect time to tell which book you want me to send you)
1 point: Commenting with email address and/blog address: (2 potential points).
1 point: Giving favorite blogs/websites. You have to say why.
3 points: Mentioning this on your blog: (an extra point if you tell everyone to add it too. 4 potential points).
2 points: Comment and say what superhero you are (because you are whether you see it or not).
Uh… (trying to think of more ways you can rack up points)…
1 point: Adding me in Google Reader or similar RSS feeder
2 points: Telling me what else I can give you points for.
10 points for whoever can get me mentioned on Nathan Bransford’s blog ;) (If you can do that, I’ll buy you a book outright). ^_^

To those twelve subscribers who followed my previous version of this blog: 2 extra points to you. Thanks for sticking around from the beginning. I know who most of you are, but you have to comment to get the point! And those lurkers I don’t know had better come forward. I’m looking at you, wherever you are.

My Secret Identity - Revealed!

Current Theme Song (aka what’s playing on my ipod right now): Escape by Hoobastank.

Hello everyone! Some of you are new, some of you are old friends. Welcome everyone. So this is something that has been in the pipeline for quite a while. I had just kind of outgrown my old blog. This fits me much better. Like a warm fuzzy glove. So why the title, you may ask? Because this is the story of my adventures of being Writer-Girl. It’s full of action, adventure, intrigue, romance (okay, not yet. But I will let you know when it happens!). So, basically, it’s got it all. Because I firmly believe everyone is living a great story all their own. So - same blog, same great flavor, only better. Just a new address and a bit more focused (ie: cooler). I’m still going to do Feature Fun Friday, never fear. A lot of people really liked it. Heck, I do too.

So what is a superhero without an introduction? Here’s all the basics you could need about Writer-Girl *cues supercool music*

Secret Power: photography, writing, creating worlds all my own that I want to share. I also make a mean roasted chicken sandwich.

Secret loves: anime/manga/graphic novels, Jack Skellington, music, geocaching (aka treasure hunting), ice cream.

Weapon of choice: typewriter, laptop, notebook – in that order. Then comes the camera.

Superhero weakness: books. Could it be anything else?

Undercover disguise: currently as a Smithsonian intern.

Alias: Heather A. Zundel – ordinary girl extraordinaire.

How I plan to save the world: one story at a time.

Everyone has a story. Here’s mine.