Saturday, May 31, 2008

Social Media for book launches

This is making the rounds on the book/publisher blogs:

Okay - so I am actually trying to do all this stuff. Pretty funny when you add it all up. I just hope some of it works.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Haiku Friday - Where are the books?

So tired on this trip
I came a week too early
There's so much to do

Books are still at sea
Supposed to land on Sunday
How long in customs?

Book Expo LA
Is where the booksellers are
Happens this weekend

So I have no books
No booksellers to go visit
I could wait at home!

I know that it will pick up, but I want those puppies in my hands. I want to get past my fears and get in the book stores to smooze em. And I am scheduled into a kindergarten class (165 kids I am told) for a week from Tuesday. Flyers are going out for if you want to buy: please cross your fingers that I will have the books!

I guess this is what they call Just-In-Time.....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introduction to the Illustrator

So I have mentioned "the book" several times now. And I bet you are wondering. Well, first let me just tell you that it is fabulous. And my children are also the cutest in the world. So you should take those statements with the grain of salt they deserve as they are coming from the creator.
But what I can tell you for sure is that my illustrator has been fantastic. I found him on an online portfolio site and we did all the work via email. I have not even spoken to the man One Time. Okay, Just One Time. I have heard his voice, because I listened in to an on-line interview he did for his last book. He has been professional, artistic, and reasonable to all my requests. And he ain't bad looking either.
His name is Mike Litwin and if you want to see more about him, go to his own website here, and you may be able to get more of a sneak preview of "the book."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Operation HMFAAT has Begun

Operation HMFAAT has begun. The following was written yesterday morning while waiting in the Costa Rica airport.

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn to catch the plane. Everything packed and ready to go last night amidst many choruses of “Mom, don’t go” and “Take me with you” and “Why can’t I go too?” I spent extra time in the bedtime reading stage. We read The Velveteen Rabbit, one of my all time favorites. I always get choked up when I read it aloud to them. I think that Bella get’s it, but Gus fell asleep mid-transformation. Then I spent a lot of time snuggling and talking with Bella. I told her I would come in and kiss her before I left, because I know she doesn’t like to be woken.

For weeks I have been looking forward to this trip. To traveling without a posse. To only needing to keep track of one pair of shoes through security. To only worrying about my own bathroom and beverage needs.

Sleep was hard to come last night. I was still in overload of excitement mode. And travel anxiety mode. But this morning when it became real, when the taxi driver was at the front, when I needed to go, I find myself tearing up.

The flight is at 9am, I left the house at 5:30. Everything went smoothly at the airport and I am at the gate by 6:30 am. It is to be a long day. First to Dallas, one hour there, then to Austin, one hour there and then on to San Jose, California. Nothing to do but wait. And contemplate a $7 Burger King Breakfast.

Wordless Wednesday - I miss these faces

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Walter Lewin does Curie

I'm bringing Walter Lewin back. He has many great lectures on the MIT Open Courseware, but this one I'm want to highlight because it shows some knowledge gained by the work of the Curies, particulary Pierre. It is my understanding that this is actually the work he "gave up" to work on radioactivity with Marie. Amazing that these partners in science "discovered" and came to understand so much.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dollars are not Circles

I have recently seen a fantastic commercial. Let me describe.

A woman is standing in line behind an older man at an ATM. The shot is close on her shoulders and face. She is talking while looking at money.

"Coins. Coins are circles. I have two coins." She clinks the coins together.

"What else do I have? Dollars." She takes two dollar bills from her purse and clinks them together. "Dollars are not circles. Dollars are rectangles. I have two Dollars."

About this time, the man at the ATM gives her a funny look. She is starting to look like she is high on drugs or an escaped mental patient. She smiles at him, he goes back to the ATM.

"What can I buy with two dollars?"

At this point the camera widens and we see a little girl who answers her question. I don't remember the answer, cookies maybe. But it suddenly becomes clear that she is entertaining and educating her daughter while participating in daily life. And that is what the commercial is about. Talking with your kids, teaching your kids.

I LOVE this commercial.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Am Fatty McBeachy

Below is a photo of us on vacation at Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica. Lovely trip. Everyone had to get out of the water because a tiny shark was in the bay. We were all quite interested. Everyone except Gus, who had his own ideas. He had no interest in the shark in the water. Or the cute girls. Bars says he was taking a picture of Happy Gus. Likely story.

So I thought about this mathematically.
Backside of Cute Girl + Backside of Cute Girl + Backside of Cute Girl
Backside of middle-aged fat mamma of three

Or symbolically:
3 X BS(cute girl) = ME!

I am getting smaller, but I still need to keep working. Still, I don't think anyone should have to see themselves from this angle.....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Haiku Friday - Roses in Bloom

Haiku Friday

I've been saving this one:

What a good good friend
To notice roses in bloom
and not unmown lawn.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Any Isabellas out there?

The US Social Security Office has just published the baby names for 2007. Apparently they release this information on Mother's Day. Ah. Isabella is a top baby name again for 2007. This was not our intention when we named our daughter in early 2002. This was not my intention when writing the book. But it should work to my advantage. As the #2 name, 18,874 little girls got this name in 2007. That sounds like so many, but in actuality is less than 1% of the births. Looking back since 2000, by my math this means that there are 112,881 Isabellas under 8 years of age running around (or waiting to be old enough to run around.) Some of them have got to like this book.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Sword Fight in MY HOUSE

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

5 X 5 Meme

So I finally got tagged for a MeMe (you say meem I say Me - Me - I do have a toddler after all). I am pretty excited, thanks Jenny. So here we go:

5 Things in my bag:

1. A diaper - boy that sounds like a Mom, however it is actually smashed up for being in there forever and probably the wrong size so it is probably useless. Except in a Diaper Emergency.
2. Wallet with very little in it - only one bank card, one credit card, shopping card and my Costa Rican license. I mean if it gets stolen, why have to replace my California library card? And very little money.
3. Discarded McDonald's happy meal toy that was loved for all of 2 minutes.
4. My Book. Of course. It is like my new baby. No photos of the kids (who needs them, they are with me ALL the time) but I definitely have the book.
5. A Gus the Mouse (from Cinderella) hat that was from last season's School Christmas Show. Gus played, you guessed it, Gus the mouse. Due to technical difficulties, the photos were lost. But he was really cute in it. I am not as cute, but you can see my in the role below. Kinda scary that it fits my head.

Why is it in my purse? I had to rescue it from Willa the Wonderdog who managed to sneak inside, grab it from the floor and escape as I was getting the kids out the door to school.

5 Favorite Things in my Room:

1. ME - when I get a nap.
2. My bed.
3. My favorite pillow.
4. My other favorite pillow (don't mess with me man, I move small sleeping children to ensure I get these two pillows).
5. My cardboard nightstand - no wait I hate that. Okay, I like it because it represents that we aren't sure where we will live for the long haul. Okay I hate that too. But I am enjoying Costa Rica, so I will live with it.

5 Things I Have Always Wanted to Do:

1. Travel to Europe with my husband.
2. Keep control of my kids on a nice family outing, having a lovely, clean, educational, morally invigorating, family centric day few hours with no whining, fighting, throwing up, spilling, or other issues to make me leave my zen-like state of mind.
3. Learn to cut like a real chef.
4. Be able to speak Polish with my Grandmother.
5. Actually have a beautiful family photo. Not just of my immediate family, but everybody. In semi-matching clothes. Okay, a theme, nothing to fancy, I am talking about something like blue jeans and white shirts.

5 Things I Am Currently Into:

1. Eating healthier. I've added a probiotic yogurt a day, oatmeal, granola, salads. And I think I gained weight.
2. Reading - ALWAYS
3. My upcoming trip to California - I am so excited.
4. Photography
5. Learning all I can about building a better blog.

5 People I Want to Tag:

1. Kathryn - when she's back from vacation.
2. Smiling Mom - who is recently re-gorgeousified.
3. Jennifer - because I heart her. Blog.
4. Beth - as one Trekkie to another.
5. Quirky - because we gotta get our Quirk on.

This last one was the hardest part. I need more friends! That means more computer time, which is a bit unlikely. Ah, well. What can you do?

So that's it. How'd I do?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wil Wheaton is just like me

I have mentioned my geekdomness in past posts. But I will now show the extent of that geekiness. I heart Star Trek, the movies, the television shows (okay, never really got into Deep Space Nine). Not only that, I spent some key college time holed up watching Star Trek. One homecoming weekend when we were a little too young to get into the bars with our cool older friends, my roommate and I spent an entire day watching an old school marathon. Ordering in pizza, taking turns to shower and tell each other what was happening (even though we had seen it all before). And I played Star Trek drinking games. Please don't laugh. Okay laugh.

So I thought that it was really cool to see this tidbit pop up on the blogoshpere over at Lifehacker. Wil Wheaton is a self-published author. How cool is this? Wil Wheaton all grown up = cool. Wil Wheaton is an author = cool. Wil Wheaton went the self-publishing route = cool.

Just thought I would share it with all you other trekkie, wanna-be authors out there. If Wil the whiner (okay, I know that was just his character) can do it, so can we!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

History Repeats Itself

A while ago, Bella broke her elbow. She is six. You can read what crazy antics caused this injury. Let me remind you this happened on my birthday.

When I was 8 I broke both bones in my forearm. I was trying to rollerskate down a little dirt hill. With a log at the bottom. That I thought I could jump. That it turned out I couldn't. Let me inform you that I did this on my parents' anniversary.

While it is true that Bella is back to being the two-armed monkey that we all know and love, I just found this old photo to share.

It just proves what my brother said, "She is her mother's daughter." The littlest brother, not the one rocking out the Yoda tee-shirt. Ah, the 70's....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Physics is Fun - No Really

I found this wonderful wonderful wonderful man, his name is Walter Lewin. He is a professor at MIT. A physics professor.
This stuff just shows:
1)Physics Works
2)Physics Can Be Fun

This is the kind of teacher I would want to have, this is the kind of teacher I would want to be.

Friday, May 16, 2008

My kids' personalities - captured in photo

This photo captures Googs and Bells personality perfectly. We are at Manuel Antonio park, listening to a tour guide. At least Bells is seriously listening. And Googs has found other ways to amuse himself.....

That's my boy.....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How to publish a children's book - kids as heros

Yesterday I showed you a few of the heroes in my house. Today I want to talk about kids as heroes.

Writing for kids is similar to writing for adults. This is obvious in the commercial success and popularity with adults of books such as Harry Potter. The big difference is that the hero is a kid.

My first book is a picture book, designed for the 3-8 year-olds. But it is true here and it is true for older kids, the kid has to solve the problem, be the hero, win the day, etc. and usually they have to do it from a point of danger against really bad guys.

Again to examples:

Version one:
There was a girl who lost her kite in a tree. So she went home and told her mom and her mom came and got it and she was happy. The end.

BORING! Terrible writing as well.

Version two:
There was a girl who lost her kite in a tree. So she climbed the tree and got it and she was happy. The end.

Marginally better. Now the kid has the problem, the kid solves the problem. But let's try to make it more exciting. Let's make the problem bigger so when the child solves it there is an element of danger and a greater feeling of success.

Version three:
A girl was flying her kite in the meadow. This was no ordinary meadow, it was right next to the scary house. The house that had the ferocious beast of a dog. The girl had been warned that any children that went into that yard never returned. She clearly remembered that Vivica had tried to sell cookies there last year and had barely escaped with her life. But it was such a beautiful day to fly a kite.

Besides, she thought, this is a beautiful day and a beautiful kite. I know it is meant for my birthday present for my cousin but one short flight can't hurt it. I will just take a short flight and then put it back in Mom's closet. No one will ever know.

"Besides, I am not afraid of a little dog" She said this aloud even though she was all alone.

Everything was going fine until the big wind blew the kite into the tree. The tree that just happened to be in the ferocious beast's yard. "Oh great," she thought, "I don't know which death will be worse, eaten by ferocious dog or throttled by Mom. I guess I better go see if I can get it."

....we just made the problem worse. The girl is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She must pick a course of action. We have heightened the stakes. Now if a kindly neighborly lady pops out, takes care of the dog and helps her retrieve her kite, we have failed. That is a quick fix and will not give the reader (who by now hopefully identifies with the little girl) the satisfaction of completing the hero's journey.

I won't complete the story, but you can see the possibilities to expand this story. Just remember who has to be the hero. For example:
1) Climb tree-almost fall-dress dangles inches from beasts mouth - remembers cookie in pocket - throws cookie to distract dog - gets kite - home safe - (and then, all fine or still in trouble or puts kite back and then is given to her as her present).
2) Dog not around - discovers house abandoned - beginning of a mystery...
3)Dog chained up - girl befriends dog - finds out dog is actually prince/mistreated/etc. - figures out how to break the spell - new friend.

The possibilities are endless. That is the beauty of stories.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Superheroes in my House

Only two - the other girl was still "super sleeping."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to publish a children's book - showing

We talked about writing. We talked about writing a lot. We talked a lot about writing. Now let's talk about showing.

I am not talking about showing other people your writing. Not yet. I am talking about a golden rule of writing.

Show don't tell.

This is a hard one and I struggle to comprehend it all the time. I think the best way to SHOW you what I mean is to TELL you.

Version one:
Last night Sera sat at the table for three hours because she refused to eat her peas. We asked her nicely, we begged her, we promised her treats if she would just eat the peas. She refused. We finally gave up when Daddy fell asleep at the table. Then we gave her a bath to clean her off.

Pretty boring, huh? I told you everything, but I didn't show you what was happening. This is almost an outline. Let's try to show the same story. We will use dialogue and other writer-y tricks.

Version two:
Last night was a really long night. We sat at the table for over three hours.
"Eat your peas," said the kindly mother.
"No, no, no" said the baby girl with a chuckle and a shake of her moppet head.
"Please eat your peas," said the patient father.
"No, no, no" said the baby girl with a chuckle and a shake of her moppet head.
"Do you want a cookie?" asked the mother, attempting to trick a smarter being.
"Cookie?" said the little girl.
"Just eat your peas first," said the mother, thinking she had won.
"No, no, no" said the baby girl with a chuckle and a shake of her moppet head.
Frustrated, the mother looked to the father at the other end of the table.
"Honey, wake up"
"I'll start the bath," the father said, knowing the fight was over.

Okay, still not a very exciting story, but this shows you what is happening, not just tells you. Supposedly you can do the same thing without the dialogue. This is a bit harder for me. But I hope this helps any amateur writers who look to another amateur for guidance. (fools, thought the blogger with a chuckle).

Note: This is a completely fictitious story. We, as parents, would never be foolish enough to try to feed peas to a two-year old.

Fruitcake has been Ruined - Try my banana bread concoction instead

I don't think anyone can argue that the US is the land of excess. Super size is typical and the small size has disappeared or been replaced with children's size (indicating that it is not sufficient for an adult).

Now, don't get me wrong. While I often think "less is more," I am usually right there buying the "family" size popcorn for just two people. But there is something I think that we ruined. Don't laugh.


This treat has become a joke in the US, and I think it is because we applied our "more more more mentality" to it. I may have mentioned that my husband is from the Philippines. I may have mentioned that I am close to his whole family. I may have mentioned that occasionally, I don't understand what they are thinking, but this one really knocked me for a loop. They LOVE fruitcake.

Okay, not the American Overloaded Version. Dried fruits are expensive. Nuts are expensive. Flour, sugar and other bread/cake ingredients, not so much. So the way that they are used to it, the way they like it is much more cake, a little fruit. So at Christmastime I make a ton of it (it's a big family). And I have a rockin' recipe for that.

But that is not what I really want to talk about. I have those dried candied fruits lying around and I found something to do with them.

I put them in my banana bread. I will share two fabulous recipes. One is for Perfect Banana Bread that Doesn't Crumble and one for my own banana bread concoction.

Perfect Banana Bread that Doesn't Crumble
Recipe from my sister-in-law, Lenore, not sure the original source. I have taken some liberties (of course). You should also know that this is a double recipe because that is how I make it, I mean why go to all that trouble for only one loaf.

1)Preheat oven to 350° F

2)Mix together dry Ingredients:
3 cups All-purpose Flour
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

3)Mix together wet ingredients:
4 slightly beaten eggs
2 cups mashed overripe banana gunk
1 ½ - 2 cups sugar
½ cup canola oil

4)Slowly add dry to wet. Put in some kind of cooking pan. I usually use two loaf pans. It will approximately double in size during cooking.

5)Bake for 45 minutes to one hour. This changes based on the pan you used (size and type) and because of the variant moisture content of the eyeballed banana gunk. You need to check it. It is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool and Enjoy

Banana Bread Fruit Cake Concoction
I have italicized the differences

1)Preheat oven to 350° F

2)Mix together dry Ingredients:
2½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cup whole wheat flour

2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

3)Mix together wet ingredients:
4 slightly beaten eggs
2 cups mashed overripe banana gunk
1 ½ - 2 cups sugar
½ cup canola oil

4)Mix in:
½ cup candied fruits

5)Slowly add dry to wet. Put in some kind of cooking pan. I usually use two loaf pans. It will approximately double in size during cooking.

6)Bake for 45 minutes to one hour. This changes based on the pan you used (size and type) and because of the variant moisture content of the eyeballed banana gunk. You need to check it. It is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool and Enjoy. This one is also great toasted with a little butter.

Really, I even like it and I don't do Fruitcake.

So I put this here, my first recipe post for the Mommyfest Potluck

Monday, May 12, 2008

Party like it's 1999 (just to date myself)

Call the babysitter, I'm going out partying again. Not the kind of party where Animal chants "PARTY PARTY PARTY" in the corner. Not a high falutin' tea party that I would actually have to dress nice for. In fact, I don't even need the babysitter or clean clothes because this party is straight from the computer. There is a great blog party going on called Mommyfest. You can come too. Just click below to go see all about it.

So what about me, well just like any good Green Mama (okay, I am not that green but would like to work towards it), I am going to recycle, reuse and reinvent my last introduction and blog description. There are only slight changes, so please forgive me those of you who are already blog buddies.

This place is my take on the current highlights of my life and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Family life
I have a Filipino husband. Born and raised. So occasionally we are not on the same page, but show me a husband and wife who are always in sync and I will know you slipped me some pretty good drugs. I also have three beautiful, intelligent, amusing, charming, wild children (where were those good drugs?)

Living in Costa Rica
Besides that full life, we are transplants from California who are trying out Costa Rica for a little while. That has been interesting. It slips into this blog, but for more detail you can check out my other blog Costa Rica Crazy.

Starting a business, writing a children's book, self-publishing
In the midst of all that, I thought, "hey, what a great time to try and start a business?" So I had this children's book I had been working on for a couple of years and viola. It should will be out in September. So here I also talk about those processes: writing, self-publishing and entrepreneurship. At least I will talk about them as I learn them.

Blogging Stuff
As if that weren't enough, I have decided that I simply must join the blog-world. Hopefully I will get some good advice from folks who have been there/done that. And if not, some new friends to commiserate with. Over time, I hope this blog to be amusing and informative.

But enough about me, tell me about you. I am sure I won't be able to hit all the parties in the area. So, if you stop here and think we could be BFF's, leave a comment and if I don't find you through the party, I will stop by later. I would love to exchange blogrolls with similar type bloggers. Especially the clever, witty, funny ones that make me look boring. That's you, right?

If you are interested in the book, there is a link to the right, just click on the cover to find out more. It has consumed my life for the past year or so. Kind of like my fourth baby. (Wait, forgot to count hubby - make that fifth baby). My understanding is that this has been the easy part. But I know when you force baby pictures on people not interested, it can be so distasteful. So, I didn't want to bore you with the details of that, so that's over there. Right there at the top. See it? The thumbnail with the head of a little girl with some floating hats. And it says the title, "My Name is Not Isabella." Bet you can't guess what it's about. You'll just have to click to see.

See you around the blogosphere and thanks for stopping by......

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Operation Fix My Face

I have a new project. I am finally taking care of an issue that has been bothering me for a long time. My face.

For a while now the area around my cheeks and across my nose has been getting redder, bumpier and the pores are now gianormous. Here I'll show you the difference.

Here is me in high school with beautiful skin:

Here is me now:

Sorry, can't change that Foz Schnoz. I went to a dermatologist and he confirmed that I have Rosacea. Just as I had thought. This gets worse when I exercise, am out in the sun/heat, or eat really spicy food. In fact, it is not that bad in this initial photo. I plan to take a photo a day as I go through the treatment to repair the skin to see if I can see the change.

But here is what the doctor said - treatment will be two cycles of skin rejuvenation, which amounts to 90 days. I have a cream for morning and night, at night I use Retin A, and a sunblock at SPF 100. Also he had me take some medicine to reduce the naturally occurring bacteria on my skin. But here is the funny part. While doing this regime, he would like for me to have the following:

  • two salads per day
  • two fruits per day
  • twelve glasses of water per day

I almost fell of my chair laughing. Twelve glasses? He said "I want you to go to the bathroom every 90 minutes." I have news for you buster, I have had three kids, I need to do that when I only drink two glasses of water a day. So basically to fix my skin, I must also fix everything else. I will give it a try in the name of clear skin and potential weight loss. Stay tuned for a more gorgeous me.

Mother's Day Monkey Barrel Press Style

I understand that it today is Mother's Day. In the United States. However, here in Costa Rica it is celebrated (and boy is Dia de las Madres celebrated here) in August. So my attempts to convince dear husband that I should get two this year fell on deaf ears.

That being said, I want to send out a little Mama Love. I will share the part of the book that is sure to melt the heart of even the meanest Mama:

Happy Mother's Day from Monkey Barrel Press.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How to publish a children's book - writing

I read a lot of blogs. I read blogs about how to get more readers to your blog. I read blogs about how to optimize for search engines. I read blogs about how to cozy up to the blogosphere. I read blogs about how to write a good blog. What I need to spend more time doing is writing. Writing my blog is good writing practice. Writing stories to hone my craft (boy does that sound pretentious) is even more important.

But in my defense, much of what I keep reading about blog content is true about writing stories. I keep reading about the importance of content. Good content. Frequent content. Well researched content. I believe this is all true.

I also believe that the best stories sometimes come in a flash of inspiration. When this happens, get it down on paper. Some of my best idea times are when driving in the car (not optimal for pen and paper, but I have an mp3 player that could record me) and right as I am laying in bed awaiting sweet dreams. I have lost several good ideas because I did not have easy access to pen and paper and was too lazy to get out of bed to get it. My excuse is that small children will steal the pen from the top of my cardboard box night table and draw on the walls. And while that might go with the cardboard boxes nightstands decor, I don't want to clean it. I mean, I can't even find the Magic Eraser here. It is a good excuse, but I pay the price. I have lost some good turn of phrases (turns of phrase?)

So the message today is Write Write Write.....

Friday, May 9, 2008

Going back to Cali

"We've been on the run
Driving in the sun
Looking out for #1
California here we come
Right back where we started from."
Phantom Planet - California

I'm going back to Cali, Cali, Cali. Tickets are purchased. San Jose, Costa Rica to San Jose, California on May 27. Just me. For about two weeks. Lots of work to do, but it is a very exciting time. This will be the first time that I am away from the kids for this extent of time, but I will be uber-busy.

My to do list:

  1. Get hair done (okay, technically not to do with the book, but I need me some color! And I have got to look good to represent myself, right? right!)
  2. Register business at California tax franchise board to be able to collect tax.
  3. Accept shipment of the books (1,000 in my mother-in-laws garage - thanks Mommi).
  4. Get shipping materials set up to be able to ship out book orders.
  5. Stuff envelopes for book reviews, award submissions, registrations, early deliveries, etc.
  6. Visit the post office regularly.
  7. Set up future mailings so my brother-in-law (thanks Jun) can do post office runs if necessary.
  8. Spend some time in the public library (oh do I miss those!) and utilize reference section to determine what magazines to target, etc.
  9. Project Haul My Fat A## Around Town - furthermore referred to as HMFAAT (wow that sounds like I'm Fat - sweet irony). This includes visiting local bookstores trying to book signings for an upcoming September trip when the book will be officially on sale, visit shops and try to make sales, mom's groups, and anything else I can think of.
  10. Set up and do a school visit at a local school, including book sales.
  11. Visit friends
  12. Shop for stuff I can't easily get in Costa Rica (kids socks that they actually like, retractable dog leash, magic erasers, chewable vitamins with fluoride, good ice cube trays, etc.)

Pedal to the floor
"Thinkin' of the roar
Gotta get us to the show
California here we come
Right back where we started from
Here we come!"

Haiku Friday - High School Musical

Haiku Friday

This cotton candy
I have seen both one and two
High School Musical

Music sticky sweet
And irritating at first
Take over house, car

My six year old girl
Overnight has changed herself
Has become a teen

Story somewhat light
Cool girl - smart and scientist
Not bad role model

At least they just kiss
Pretty innocent intro
To that social stuff

And the dancing rocks
Even Gussy Boy rocks out
To the boy sports songs

They really love it
So I will watch again and
Again and again.

So I must confess
My favorite is Ryan
Sharpee's sidekick bro

Somebody please tell
I know they're filming it now -
When does three come out?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Amy's Etsy Store - Geeky Jewelry for Everyone

I may have mentioned that I am was am a science geek. I really can't help it, that Physics degree I suckered them into giving me, ten years in Silicon Valley, programmer husband. But I want you to know I do have some cool friends.

One example is my good friend Amy, I met her in grad school in New York. I was studying that geek stuff and she was this really cool, together, skinny, cute, Kansas girl (did I mention skinny), that was studying OPERA. I mean how cool is that?

Anyway, when I found myself moving to San Jose, who should be homesteading it in San Francisco (see, I told you she was cool). Fast forward bklgyb years and now she is a mom of two, married to a great guy, living in Marin and using her creativity in a totally geeky way (maybe I rubbed off on her?). She makes and sells jewelry. The stuff she makes is beautiful, she uses sterling silver to make it more high end, and it shows. But you gotta go look at her Etsy jewelry site to see the geeky twist. But here is the hint, her site is:

Tell her I sent you.

All three of you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

twitter novels

I read an article the other day about the rising popularity of twitter novels in Japan. What a crazy brilliant idea.

No time to write? Forget NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo. Okay, not really forget, do those too if you can.

But I am amazed at the ingenuity of these ladies (notice, mostly ladies) to write this way. Only have a little commute time free, just plop it down on one 140 character phrase/sentence/etc. to you Twitter account. Just shows that if you want to, you can find a way - even without Magic Erasers.

I think I heart twitter. I need to find a way to spend more time playing with it. Wait, do you think that is allowed in my twelve-step program?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to Publish a Children's Book - Part X Motiviation

I have been talking about publishing a children's book. But this is a little like putting the cart in front of the horse. Let's back up and talk a little about what motivates you and if the self-publishing route is for you. If you really want to go through with this, examine your motivation. Are you a writer or do you just want to be able to say you are a writer? Do you want to be famous? Do you want to be rich? Do you like to read in front of groups of small, adoring children? Can you romance a sale from the parents of those adoring kids?

Unless you are the next Janet Evanovich (14 is out in June!) or Jane O'conner you probably won't be doing the media tour. Maybe, but probably not. And if you get to meet Oprah, put in a good word for me, okay? Rich? I am not sure about that either, free-lance jobs or private businesses are what you make of them. And that is the key to this. It is what you make out of it.

These days, being a writer means being many things. I believe that this is true for those that self-publish or those that get into the traditional route of a big publishing house. Either you are a brilliant writer, an amazing illustrator, a savvy marketer, a fool, or some combination of these elements.

I think that a savvy marketer and a fool will take the chance and outsell a brilliant writer any day of the week. You must be aware of this going in. You must be willing to sell yourself a little if you want some moolah commercial success. You are now a brand, just like the Queen says. She is talking about Mommy Blogs, but it is true for any way that you put yourself out there.

And you have to ask yourself, are you ready for that?

Tuesday Toot - Always Tootalicious - website announced

A while back I joined some web communities to try belong, and let's face it to try and entice more readers to my site. One group I joined was the mommycommunity. They are small but are working at building a community. One thing they do is the Tuesday Toot. In other words, Moms don't always toot their own horns and nobody's handing out trophies or certificates for good Mommy-ing. So you should do it your self. Something that you are proud of, once a week. Not sure if I will be here every week (I used to be a great self-tooter, but that has gone by the wayside in recent years when I could smell like baby vomit for a whole day), but this week I really had something big I wanted to share.

I got my business website up. It is still a work in progress, it doesn't really need to be "all there" for another month. Any suggestions/comments are welcome - I would particularly like your take on the Bananas. If that doesn't get you to go to, nothing will.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My name is Jennifer and I am an internet addict

There has been a lot of talk lately about people watching less TV and less tv can mean more time online.

I must say that this is no surprise to me. Since moving to Costa Rica, it has become much more of a challenge to get my programs. We get all the major networks, in fact they come from a Colorado set of stations. And they have been pretty consisitent, only a few times that there was no signal. BUT.....

1)Here in Costa Rica, we don't do daylight savings, so sometimes my primetime viewing starts at 7 pm, sometimes at 8 pm. Some days I am just not smart enough to remember this too.

2)I REALLY REALLY miss my tivo or dvr recorder. Somehow, not having to think about when to tape, which VCR tape had space, where the space was, how to find the space without discovering who was eliminated from the Amazing Race, or some such thing was liberating. Also, to not worry about the order you watched things - fantastic. And to be able to have the current favorite kids show on speed-dial - priceless (especially when channels like Noggin stopped broadcasting pre-school stuff after 6 pm and suddenly switched to teen angst).

3)So just as I was overcoming these... um challenges, there was that darn writer strike. I don't know enough of the situation to have an opinion, but people I respect and trust were in support of it, so I will sway with them. But, I kind of forgot to care about most of the shows I had previosuly been hooked on.

So, let's check the numbers.

Before all this I Regularly watched:
How I Met Your Mother
Rules of Engagement
Law and Order
Law and Order Criminal Intent
Ugly Betty
Pushing Daisies
Bionic Woman
Amazing Race
American Idol
America's Top Model
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance

Plus I dabbled with the Food Network, HGTV, Comedy Central, Movies, Oprah, Rachael Ray and The View.

That is a lot of tv and I am sure I am forgetting something. This is not including all the time I spent chatting about these shows, reading about these shows, etc. Not all shows are on at the same time, but we can conservatively say that is 20 hours a week.

Want to know what I watch now?
Survivor. (And sometimes I miss it and have to download it).

That is 20 hours/week of my life that I just reclaimed. When I think of it like that, I want to thank those striking writers. I love their work, but I need to work too.

Which leads me to my new computer addiction. I spend a lot of time reading blogs (currently over 2,000 posts are awaiting in my feeder), writing my blogs, setting up my company website, reading my publishing forums, browsing my costa rica forums, checking my blog stats (hello you 10 people out there), going to social media sites, creating marketing collateral for the book. See all that "work" in there. Okay I will say it.

My Name is Jennifer and I am an Internet Addict.

So now that I have confessed my new drug of choice, am I totally off the tv? Well, I do get some highlights from the other shows on things like Prime Time in No Time on Yahoo, so I am not completely out of the trash loop. And I occasionally have glanced at Eli Stone. Also, I will probably watch Chuck, Heroes and Pushing Daisies when they return. Scrubs is about to end for good, so one less to worry about.

It is so hard to kick the tv habit. But I want to know, which is the "gateway drug"? And which is your drug of choice?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Haiku Friday - Lazy Mom Costumes for Career Day

Haiku Friday

Either Lazy Mom
Or with high expectations
kids to career day.

In regular clothes
One in a dress, a lawyer
with hair bun of course.

The boy in night shirt,
a paleontologist
always wears dinos.

Am I a genius
For thinking these last minute?
Or just real lazy?

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