Monday, June 29, 2009

and . . . The Winner Is, Huh? What? How many?

Oh dear. The first set of judges narrowed the field to five. The final judge narrowed it to three! This just means we have some very good Opening Lines entries--some excellent writers on board.

So what to do?

I've decided to do a dual-first-prize. That means two people will win this round. And who are the winners?

Kathleen Elizabeth you are ONE:
"I’m not crazy. I promise. I don’t talk to walls, pet my invisible cat named Sugar, dance on tables in the cafeteria, or try to channel John Lennon’s wondering spirit through dollar store crystals"

And Bish Denham you are ONE as well!
"The funeral was yesterday. Afterwards they drove me 324 miles away to a small town in the Hill Country. They’ve put me in one of those temporary shelters until they can find a place for me. There are fourteen kids here. It’s noisy and crowded. I hate it. I haven’t said a word to anyone."

Contact me at cleemckenziebooks AT comcast DOT net and send me your snailmail addresses.

Whew! I am so glad this is decided. I need a vacation. Contests are hard because these darned contestants are so GOOD!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Guest Blogger Lexie: The Importance of Being Patient

I want to thank Lee for giving me this opportunity to guest blog--I get to talk about my two favorites things, my lil sis and reading!

Let me set the scene for you--I'm about twelve years old, I got a younger brother who's 11 and a baby sister who's 3. I'm bored out of my ever loving mind because I have no one at all to discuss books with--not my parents, not my friends, not my brother and not my wait. My sister! We sleep in the same room, I'm in charge of her most days, she follows me around and copies everything I do--why not discuss books with her! Oh wait she can't read.

And that dear readers, is when I began project: Get Alex a Book Partner. I figured since my sister was copying me anyhow it couldn't possibly be that hard to teach her to read right? I mean I learned pretty quick and really Puppies (my nickname for her) was a mini-version of me. Everyone said so. Everyone still says so (as long as they don't see us side by side). And let me tell you--it wasn't that hard. I guess it helped that Puppies loves attention and I showed her that I would give her all the attention she wanted as long as she did what I said.

We started small--Sailor Moon. Since it was a manga (comic) and had pretty pictures and we watched it on TV together, I thought it would be good. This was also before (most) manga publishers kept the Japanese names, so there wasn't any confusing words for her (or me) to figure out. It turned out well. Within about half a year she could read the issues without my help and we moved onto books. Kid's books, but hey I was willing to sacrifice for the long term goal.

Truth is Puppies took to reading like a fish to water. By the time she was five we were able to read Nancy Drew together, Babysitter's club and even Sweet Valley High. She didn't seem bothered by the fact that she was reading way ahead of her kindergarten classmates and I wasn't bothered at all. I was proud...even if it did lead to some embarrassing questions about topics in SVH that were definitely not age appropriate.

So let's flash forward eleven years. Puppies is 16, I'm 25 and you know what? Her vocabulary skills are off the charts, her reading comprehension skills are excellent and she knows things that most kids don't know because she reads. A lot. She's read most of my collection and then some. We share all my books (if she's interested) and go on monthly book buying binges together at the Used Book Store in town. In all these years we've only come across two issues--1) her teachers are continually baffled by her writing skills and have accused her of plagiarizing numerous times (Puppies does not speak like she writes) and 2) she'll understand things her friends have no hope of grasping and that worries her. She is popular, she likes being popular and reading, sadly, is not popular. While she doesn't hide the fact she reads (anymore), she doesn't shove it in her friends' faces, unless its an extremely popular series (Twilight, Gossip Girl, etc).

I wanted to play for the long game and in the end I got what I wanted. We might not agree about things we read, but we have spirited, amusing and fun discussions. Plus since we read most of the same stuff we can crack inside jokes or catch inside jokes and have a riot without needing anyone else.

Now all I got to figure out is how to teach her to return my books to me on time!

Great Guest Blog, Lexie. Thanks for visiting The Write Game.

Visit Lexie at her blog, Poisoned Reality to find out more about her, books she reads and what she has to say about those books.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mandy Hubbard Interview

Mandy Hubbard's Debut Book, PRADA AND PREJUDICE, is out and on the shelves!

Here's a sneak peek at what's in store for you when you open this fab book.

Fifteen year old Callie just wants to impress the popular girls when she buys a pair of Prada heels on her class trip to London. She didn’t plan on tripping, conking her head, and waking up in 1815! Now she’s wearing corsets with her designer pumps, eating bizarre soups, and breaking up engagements. If only the nineteen year old Duke of Harksbury wasn’t so bloody annoying, she might have a little fun in Austen-Era England…

So who is Mandy Hubbard?

Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming—and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel.

I had to know more (I've become a nosy blog-person), so here are a few questions I asked Mandy.

Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

Probably HUNGER GAMES. It's totally different than anything I will ever write! It's much more action oriented, in addition to being straight fantasy.

What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice. :-D

She's one popular girl, isn't she?

After chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

I actually am addicted to Diet Coke. Doritos are excellent as well, but if I eat them while writing, the whole bag will disappear.

Mandy, you've officially entered the Authors' Junk Hall of Fame, along with every other Deb who has made an appearance here. Congratulations!

Thanks for dropping by and thanks for letting us know a little more about the author.

PRADA AND PREJUDICE is available on Amazon. Check it out and when you buy it be ready for a wonderful summer read.

Stop in and see Mandy at her WEBSITE soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dropping By II

I'm in my social mode this month, so I'm visiting other blogs and catching up with what my favorites are doing at the beginning of this summer season.

Shelli, as always, has tons of good information. Check out her visit with Jon Bard. Very worth the time.

Ink Addiction has something cool to see. If you hate spiders scroll to another post, but this pic is one interesting piece of body art.

My friend Mel Higgins always entertains me with her stories and her clever art. Take a peek at this.

Then there's Nisha. Her coffee clatch is the best. Here's a great interview with Sara Hantz on the issue of tackling difficult topics. Nisha also did a great GUEST BLOG at the Ninjas.


Last call for entries in Opening Lines. The judges start reading on June 25th and the WINNER will be announced on June 30th.

The prize this time out is a signed copy of Sliding on the Edge. I've convinced the author that she can afford to do this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dropping By

Today I decided to drop by some of the blogs I enjoy and see what was happening.

I made a quick stop at Michelle McLean's cozy corner and enjoyed her Creative Short entry. Very cute. Loved the surfer dude.

Couldn't miss checking out a bit of fantasy and spookiness at Taschima's place.

Then onto Kelly's for some tunes. Surprise! No tunes today. Instead I wound up on her "muggle family" outing. Great surprise. Great fun.

Bish Denham had some good news on her blog. She just won her second Kreativ Blogger Award and it's well deserved. Bish always has some treats for those who stop by.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June Book Signing

The June 4th book signing was fun and busy.





Thursday, June 18, 2009

Taschima Visits The Write Game

Taschima is a teen reader and reviewer. She said she was interested in GUEST BLOGGING, and so here's what happened.

Me: Here's what fascinates me on your blog:

"You know what I think, I think I was born in the wrong time. You know why? CAUSE TEENAGERS SUCK! they are pretty stupid, I mean not all of them, I LOVE YOU GEEKS AND BOOKWORMS!, but other than us, what the hell is happening with the world? we instead of getting smarter by generation are getting more stupid with every baby that's born - and let me tell you, there's lots of baby's - , Ill get back to you on this topic..."

How about getting back to that topic on my blog? My character, Shawna, would love to know what you write. Here are some questions she might ask--that is after the end of my book, not during because she's not interested in anyone while her story is being told.

Me: If this is the wrong time, what time would you choose to be born in? How come? Hmm good question.

Taschima: I really don't know, I guess this is the best time to be born in, till now, really. Back in the day people were worse. Segregation, racism, homophobia... every one of these things were worse. I just can't stand people who are close-minded, and can't get with the program. We are in the 21st centurie! Get a clue!

Me: What makes a kid smart in your opinion? I mean, is it the way they act or what they say? Maybe it's about who they hang with?

Taschima: Smart by the dictionary means characterized by sharp quick thought; bright, clever, etc. I think you need more, you see when I used smart in that I meant bright, knows things and stuff, but also I meant the people who are more out of the box. People who get it, who don't get scared just because they are facing the unknown. It's got nothing to do with who you hang out with, it's both what you say and how you act really.

Me: How come you read what you do? What makes you pick up a book and then stick with it?

Taschima:I read what I do! lol I review that's what I do, and thus I read. What makes me pick up a book generally it's the cover (I'm ashamed of myself I know) and sometimes the back of the book, the description. What actually makes me stick to it are the characters, and the plot. If the characters are boring there's no way Im reading the book, I need a funny character, thats a given. I need my sarcastic/smart-ass also. About the plot it has to have an original plot that captivates me. Also the book get's extra points in my book it's involved with the supernatural or paranormal hehe.

I really hope I did good hehe ^^

Yep. You did good, Taschima. Thanks for the visit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Catching Up

I'm back and trying to catch up. Sometimes things happen even in writers' lives that take precedence over blogging. Hard to imagine, but true.

So what's happened while I've been away?

Iraq had an "election."

In Cairo, the President has stirred the Christian and the Islamic world with his messages about a new attitude. Both sides are a bit confused now that they are no longer completely sure about where the U.S. stands. That's probably progress.

Penguin colonies are now disappearing. Global Warming? Faulty data?

Ice Cream Parlors are up 20% in their sales. Bad economy=More money in the comfort food sector.

Winona Ryder is an insomniac.

My book is getting some good REVIEWS--REVIEWS. Wait! This should be at the top. Oh, well, next time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guest Blogging

Making an appearance as a guest on a blog is a fabulous way to meet some new people. If you're interested in hooking up with readers on The Write Game, drop by; leave a message; and let's see if we can set a day for YOU to star here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Interview with Sarah Ockler

SARAH OCKLER'S TWENTY BOY SUMMER arrived in 2009 and it's still hot--a perfect book for summer reading.

So what's this  delicious story about? Read on.

While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best girlfriends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first summer romance, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER was Sarah's a debut YA novel that explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Her 2010 release, Fixing Delilah. is a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

Let's find out about this author.

Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six—an adaptation of Steven Spielberg's E.T. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. After several years of wandering between New York City and Denver, she and her husband Alex now live in Upstate New York with lots of books and an ever-expanding collection of sea glass. Twenty Boy Summer is Sarah's first novel. Visit her online.

When she stopped by for a visit I had a chance to know more about Sarah. Here are some of the things we talked about.

I know we are influenced by the books we read, but how about those we read and then say, "Oh, I wish I'd written that one." Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

Jellicoe Road, by Malina Marchetta. It was so complex and multi-layered, and in reading it I think I felt the entire range of human emotion. The characters stayed with me long after I closed the book, and I still think of them even now, wondering what happened after their time in that particular story and what their lives are like now. I would love to write a book that affects and lingers the way Jellicoe Road has with me.

I can't believe it! I just read that book last month and loved it. You've picked one lovely piece of writing, Sarah.

You say you still think about Marchetta's characters and wonder what they're doing now--after the story has ended. Fictional characters that have that kind of effect on a reader are testimony to truly talented writers. Is there another fictional character that resonates so strongly that you wish you could be them?

I think I'd like to be Sophie from Laura Resau's Red Glass. She's so shy and fearful of so many things -- including close relationships. But over the course of her journey in the book, she comes to love and trust and depend on other people. She also faces extremely dangerous and intense circumstances that force her to find her own strength and fight. I really like that aspect of her character. Sometimes, that's what it takes -- a real shake-up, life-changing experience to get us to look within and figure things out.

And all that good stuff aside, Sophie gets to take a road trip through Central America with Angel, a really cute boy who is super intense and mysterious and sweet and yeah, totally in love with her. :-)

Okay, now on to the really important insider information. After chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

Home made guacamole and Smartfood white cheddar popcorn. And coffee, of course! I make it so strong that you almost have to chew it rather than drink it! :-)

Every writer who has appeared on The Write Game is a food junkie! I love it. Thanks for the interview.

Thanks, Lee!

This has been my pleasure,Sarah. Continued good luck on your books.

Visit Sarah at her Author Web Site

Be sure to buy TWENTY BOY SUMMER and FIXING DELILAH at your local Independent Bookstore OR Barnes & Noble


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Opening Lines Contest #3

How about some really cool Young Adult opening lines? Something like:

If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it.
(The Teacher’s Funeral)

The first thing I did was, I stole a body.

I’m sitting here in a dumb graduation gown, which covers a pair of boxer shorts I got from Millikin University’s baseball camp and a T-shirt with a picture of Eric Cartman on it.

Compelling, right? How about yours? How would you start a YA novel, so that a reader had to find out what happened next?

This time since I now have author copies of SLIDING ON THE EDGE, I'd like to offer a signed book to the winner.

We've had some great entries in the past two contests, I'm looking forward to reading the next great batch.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Winner #2

As you can tell this wasn't an easy choice to make. It took all of the judges some time, but in the end DRUM ROLL HERE . . . . . . . . . .

Shelli wins for "Like all my birthday parties, my own funeral is just plain boring."

The final judge wrote: " . . . there is something behind the words that needs to be figured out, and it's compelling enough to grab the reader's attention."