ARC Giveaway of Paper Valentine!

**Giveaway is now closed** Thanks to everyone who entered! See below for the winner!

I'm giving away an ARC of Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff. Below is my mini review, and the details on how to win it and a little chocolate, because hey, it's Valentines week!

No spoilers here! I'm not giving a synopsis of this YA mystery/thriller, I don't review that way. I just like to tell you how much I enjoyed the story. If I didn't enjoy it then I wouldn't give this mini review.

I was overjoyed to pick this ARC up at ALA Midwinter last month! I was already a fan of Brenna's after reading The Replacement a couple of years ago so I knew I couldn't go wrong, and this book did not disappoint me!

Why did I like this story? Come on, it's dark and there are ghosts and blood and some of my other favorite elements, all mixed together! I admit, the beginning didn't quite hook me the way The Replacement did, but I have do have an aversion to summer heat so this might be why. But all it takes is for one ghost to appear and I'm hooked! The tension grows throughout the story, and especially after protagonist Hannah's unlikely love interest enters the picture. Which all means, I couldn't put this down! Because the other things I love in a book are creepy and possibly-forbidden love. Love them! The end has a little twist that I didn't see coming. I mean it--I couldn't put this down--I read it in 1.5 days, and stayed up late on a school night to finish it!

Here's How You Win (There are two ways to win!):

1. Follow me on Twitter! @Shannywriter. Reply to me with the words "ARC Giveaway". If you're already following me, do the same reply.

2. Or, follow this blog (and leave a comment below so I know you are interested in the giveaway). And if you already follow this blog, leave a comment below.

PS: If you do both things, that's two chances to win!

The giveaway ends at 2:14pm (PST) on February 14, 2013. And sorry, you have to live in the United States because I'm a poor teacher and I can't afford international shipping!

Update: The winner of this giveaway is: ANNASTAN! Congratulations, Anna! Please email your address (or PM me on Verla Kay) so I can send this to you! ShannyMB(at)msn(dot)com

Treadmill Desk

I've had my treadmill almost a year and have been waiting for hubby to build me a desk thingy to go over it or on top or whatever, so I can write. And, yay, he finally did it! It's a little rough in spots but it works great! Everything he used he found in the garage, including an old closet rod!

And here is another view:

Healthier writing life for me! :)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

I Have an Agent!

Just a quick little post say say that I'm thrilled to announce that I finally have a literary agent!

The decision was hard only because it's no fun to reject people, and I had four offers of representation from amazing agents, who took the time to read my story and tell me why they loved it. Today I signed with Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary!

If you want to read the longer version of my journey to getting an agent, go to my other site.

ALA Midwinter Seattle

>DecJan2013 118
This is my daughter with cardboard Amelia Bedelia

Wow. I've never been to one of these before, and thought I should probably take ONE of my kids (one because for two of us it cost $70 to get in--totally worth it though). So I took my daughter, and did bring back many books for my son as well.

Here she is with all of her ARCs


And here is what I brought home.

DecJan2013 120

So many books, and no time! I feel the need to share these so maybe I'll do some blog-following contests or something. I'll have to figure that one out soon! :)

What a fun day!

Time Wasting

For my day job (kindergarten teacher) I'm reading a book on teaching writing by Katie Wood Ray.  Katie mentions how satisfying it is for writers to do mundane tasks like dishes, and laundry, and picking up dog poop. (Uh, I make my kids do that). Anyway, she pointed out the fact that these tasks are there, visible and tangible and you know when you're finished. You can see the end. You fold the laundry, put it away, and check that off the to-do list. It's done. Unlike writing. I'm so glad to read in print that there is a reason I get up to take care of the dust bunny staring at me from the corner, or that urgent need to run to the store this minute because we have no milk. So much easier than facing a new, blank document or working on a novel outline, or on who I need to send the next query letter to!

So what on your to-do list takes you away from your writing? What's your favorite? Mine lately is wiping off the kitchen counter, and vacuuming.

Candy and the Beach

Ever since I read Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, I've been craving the candied lemons described in the story. Ok so you can't get them at Target or my usual shopping spots, so when we found them here in Long Beach yesterday, imagine my excitement!

The guy behind the candy shop counter probably thought I was weird, getting all excited about fake fruit candy, and I'm sure he was annoyed when I made him pick out only the lemon and lime and orange slices, because I didn't want watermelon or raspberry. Oh well.

We rode our bikes for miles to get to this picture (of my kids), which is right around the corner from the candy shop. I took off riding on nearly flat tires, not knowing it was the bike that was slow and not the rider who hadn't ridden her bike since last summer. But the sore butt and legs and kids yelling at mom to hurry up was all worth those little candied fruits!

Holy Thursday, Titanic, and Hunger Games

1. Lent is over, it's Holy Thursday and I meant to post more often. You know since I gave up TV I should've had more time, right? But I did get more revising done and that's always good. Plus I had report cards and conferences in there too. But honestly my Lent cheating guilt kept me from posting. Jesus suffered and starved so I couldn't come on here and post how the stress of 22 kindergartners forced me into Starbucks a few times in those 40 days, could I?

2. I've seen Hunger Games twice now, so obviously I love it. I never see movies twice in the theater because who can afford it? But we have an old, cheap theater nearby, complete with a stage, velvet curtains, and Christmas trees that adorn each side of the stage year-round. The owner smokes in the box office but the tickets and popcorn are cheap! Since it's spring break I may have to take the kids to it again. I'm thrilled they stayed true to the book, but of course I always want more. But then they can't do a five hour movie, can they? Darn.

3. Speaking of seeing movies more than once in the theater, I did take my daughter and her friend to see Titanic last night. Back when it came out in 1997, before I had kids and was about 50 pounds lighter, my sister and I saw it twice in the theater. And since then I've watched it about 100 times on TV. I'm not sure why they re-released it in 3D. I'm not a fan of 3D movies. Number one I hate putting glasses on over my glasses and number two I have to take Dramamine so I don't get sick. Dramamine makes me sleepy. Titanic is a 3 hour movie. Still loved it but so glad when the credits rolled.

4. The highlight of my life is coming soon: The SCBWI Western Washington Conference! Yes I'm excited about what I'll learn and the online friends I'll get to see. But what I am most excited about (and always am) is the two days away from home and family and only having to clothe and feed and care for MYSELF! Is that horrible? Well really if it is I don't care.


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent and I'm going big with my give-ups this year, even posting them to keep me honest.

I'm giving up sugar/sweets. This is so hard. I'm also giving up TV (except a little news) which pains me since The Voice, The Amazing Race, and Celebrity Apprentice all just started, not to mention Smash, which I love, even though it's on too late for me. No night time TV will keep me on track with revisions. Unless I read instead.

I just finished my last latte, as I'm giving up lattes. I bought a Keurig for my birthday last September as an attempt to kick the latte habit but I haven't been able to so far. Maybe I can do it for Jesus.

Also, the family doesn't know it, but we're all giving up restaurants, fast food, and school lunches. Mom must cook more. Imagine the money we'll save, even though we only go out a few times a month. It adds up.

I can do this, it's only 40 days, right?

Random Stuff and Stuff I Love

1. Can you verbally describe the story you're writing? I am horrible at this. Though I've been told I have a pretty good logline for my current story, if someone asks for elaboration, I'm in trouble. This week I realized I'm equally horrible at describing the books I read, the TV shows I love, and the movies I see. Definitely something to work on.

2. While I'm sticking faithfully to my New Year's resolution to write daily, my health goals haven't been so easy. Is anyone doing Weight Watchers? I'm doing it on my own with the Points so I'll probably update progess here. Maybe it will work better that way.

3. If you are gluten-free, I just tried Udi's Gluten Free Pizza Crust for the first time, and all I can say is FINALLY! Someone finally got store-bought, GF pizza crust right. Thank you, Udi's! (Hey I know it's pizza but I'm within my Points, so there.)

4. Another thing I love is Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races. Read it. I won't describe it because I'll fail. The Scorpio Races