31 May, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (39)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, a fun weekly meme based on finding new books for that TBR pile--even if it doesn't really need expanding. (Guilty as charged, here.)

As usual, here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week, my teaser is from Chime by Franny Billingsley. I picked this up a.) because I like the cover b.) because there aren't many main characters out there who believe they "ought to be hanged" and c.) because there's a rave review by Nancy Werlin on the back.

(I love the brown and black. I'm not so fond of the way they presented the face, but I can definitely picture the main character as looking like that.)
I was young, I was dressed in white, I was an underdone sugar cookie next to Leanne's shot-silk taffeta, glinting blue and green, except that there were fewer glints than there might have been, which was because there wasn't as much taffeta as there might have been, which was because Leanne wore her skirts right up to her ankles, quite exposing her enormous feet.
   "But I found myself stuck on the sculpture," said Eldric, and for a moment I picture him impaled on a monument, until I realized he was still playing at Metaphor.
-p. 179

(Yes, there are lots of long sentences. And I love long sentences. And I have to say, I quite enjoy Briony's voice; it's very distinctive, and full of dry humor.)


Have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

-----The Golden Eagle

30 May, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

A little history:

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, was made official on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan. It was first observed 30 May that same year--flowers were placed on the graves of over 20,000 Union and Confederation soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, and there were events in 27 other states.

The first state to recognize the holiday was New York in 1873; in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, NY as the birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1971 Congress made it a national holiday that would always land on the last Monday in May, although there have been efforts (notably by Senator Inouye who introduced a bill in 1999) to change it back to 30 May.




So, have a great Memorial Day! And don't forget to remember why this holiday began: to honor those who died in service.

-----The Golden Eagle

29 May, 2011

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Authors: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Romance/Action/Mashup/Adult/Classic
Page Count: 317 (paperback)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4.8 out of 5. It fits the book quite well, and I just love the fact that it takes time (even if it's just a fraction of a second) to notice that there's something wrong with the picture.

Back cover:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." 
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has falle upon the quiet English village of Meryton--and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers--and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefieled. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.

My expectations: I expected it to be a bit violent, but otherwise funny; I read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters before this, and enjoyed it.

I have to say I like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies a lot more than I do Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

About the book: Now, I don't know if you think this is sacrilege or stupidity (or both) but I just look at it as fun. I am not a huge fan of Jane Austen; the fact she was a woman, did not marry, and wrote books is impressive for her times, but I still don't particularly like her novels. So, I just had to pick up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to see what they turned the original book into.

I, for one, thought it was quite amusing. There are humorous changes, (for example, the way they substituted references to weaponry and fighting off zombies instead of finding husbands), the characters are great, (I didn't like Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. Darcy much in Pride and Prejudice, but loved them in this version), and while the zombie violence did get a bit gruesome at points, it's not terrible, and the way they integrated it with high-society was funny.

Writing: The writing follows Austen's original work all except for action scene and context. Also, some things that happen in the original story are changed so that, instead, they are caused by attacks, fights, duels, zombies, etc. That's all Grahame-Smith's work--the whole idea of the book is based on the twists and turns he made within the original story.

  • Plot:
Things turn out the way they do in Pride and Prejudice, except the causes can often be traced to zombies, often in a humorous way.

  • Characters:
As I mentioned, I like Elizabeth much better in this book. She's stronger, determined, and has much more spunk than the Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice.

Mr. Darcy said many of the same things that he said in the original at the start, with few changes but that turned itself around further along in the book; again, I enjoyed his character a lot in this version.

Other characters were pretty much the same: humorously altered to fit the theme.

  • Setting/Elements:
The culture is different. One important thing I thought stuck out was the fact more power is given to women in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies--for example, Elizabeth has been trained at the Chinese martial arts temple of Shaolin and is in service to the King of England, and her sisters have been trained to fight; I loved the fact they could stand on their own and didn't pay so much attention to social restraints. Instead of sitting by, what they're supposed to be doing is, actually, slaying zombies and defending the English people. Go, Bennets!

Other: Violence, references.

IF they every get the movie off the ground, you can bet I'll probably be checking it out.

Do I recommend this book? Yes--provided you don't mind zombies, or the fact they changed so much of a classic, Jane Austen book.

-----The Golden Eagle

28 May, 2011

I Caught A Toad (+ 2 Awards)

I did. With my bare hands and all that jazz.

Okay, first I put a flower pot over it, got my mom to show her, and then I picked it up and put it in the impromptu pond that formed in the neighbor's backyard because of all the pouring, drenching, incessant rain we've been having.

No, I don't have pics to prove it.

But I can show you want kind of toad it was:

Very toad-like, no? Warts and all.


Anyway. Just a bit of odd stuff I wanted to post.

Now for the stuff you really want to know.

I was awarded by Canyon Girl at Desert Canyon Living:

Thank you so much, Canyon Girl!

. . . and I was also awarded either the Versatile Blogger Award or the Blog On Fire Award by Trisha at W O R D + S T U F F, and since I've never seen the latter before, I chose that one:

Thanks, Trisha! :)

And I award this one to:

Sarah at Glissades and Gabble (for cool posts--and an awesome title. I love dancing!)
Amanda the Aspiring at Truth, Justice, And Other Stuff (for excellent writing posts)
L. G. Smith at Bards and Prophets (for posts on everything including faint-worthy bookstores. I want to go to Buenos Aires. Like, immediately)
M Pax at Wistful Nebulae (for fascinating science information)
Karla at The Writing Pad (for great writing/life posts. And I adore the title of her blog, for some reason. Don't know exactly why.)
Jai Joshi at Jai Joshi's Tulsi Tree (for awesome vlog posts on the Mahabharat--I can say it right! I think--and her book)

I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to award 15 or something like that (isn't that usually the case?) but I'm just going to leave it here, okay? Good.


Also, I wanted to thank all of those who did for commenting on my last post! I didn't expect to get 41 people to come by and respond--with pretty long responses, too! Awesome. I guess liking/not liking main characters in the books people read is more important than I had assumed.


Hope you're all have a great Memorial Day Weekend! If you live in the USA. If you don't, I hope you're having a great non-holiday weekend!

-----The Golden Eagle

26 May, 2011

Do You Have To Like The Main Character To Enjoy A Book?

I've come across novels where I really didn't like the main character, or just felt indifferent toward her/him--but whose plot and setting I enjoyed.

(SOURCE. Do ignore the URL. It's safe. :P)

For example, The Cup of the World by John Dickinson. The main character, Phaedra of Trant, did some things that were naive (and a bit stupid), which just seemed to attest again and again that she was a very strange person. But I read the other two books in the trilogy and liked them as well, for the world the story was set it was amazing (full of its twists and turns and personality, if a world can have personality) and the plot was so complex. The other two books also had characters I didn't like--however, I still felt like that The Widow and the King and The Fatal Child, were definitely worth the read for the other aspects to them.

I felt the same way about books such as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the first book in The Genius Wars series by Catherine Jinks, and others. I just didn't like the characters, but I did like the plot and setting of the books. A lot, enough to give them at least a 4-star rating (for those of you who haven't read my book reviews, I go to within a tenth of a decimal point) even if they weren't particular favorites.

Which brings up the question:

How much do you have to like the main character(s) to enjoy a book? How much can you stand from a character before it really affects your opinion of a story? Can you think of any examples where you would have liked a book more if the main character(s) had been more appealing to you?

-----The Golden Eagle

24 May, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (38)

Teaser Tuesday is here again! This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

  • Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page

  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • This week my teaser is from Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov.


    (This isn't actually the cover to the library's copy that I'm reading. But it's more interesting.)

    Seldon said finally, "I fail to see why the two should be mutually exclusive."
       "So do I, Hari, but where's the value of psychohistory if it shows us only what we would see anyway? This is showing us something we wouldn't see. What it doesn't show us is, first, which alternative is better, and second, what to do to make the better come to pass and depress the possibility of the worse."

    -p. 114

    ***I will do my best to get around to blogs today, but the browser I usually use is acting up (it won't open and processes are still running even after I close it) and Internet Explorer is horrible.***

    Anyway. If you have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading, feel free to leave them in the comments!

    -----The Golden Eagle
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    22 May, 2011

    Book Review: The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

    ***I haven't posted a book review in weeks. Over a month, really. I will start posting reviews more consistently!***

    Title: The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
    Author: Josh Berk
    Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
    Genre: Contemporary Fiction/YA/Mystery
    Page Count: 248
    Rating: 4.2 out of 5
    Cover Rating: 3.9 out of 5. I like the way there are all three major characters on the front cover, and the way they're centered on the front. It could have been a bit more dynamic--a little less blue, maybe? A little something more in the background?--but it's a good cover.

    Inside flap:
    It was a dark, gloomy class field trip.
    Because it was in a coal mine.
       Somewhere the star quarterback swore as he tumbled to the bottom of a mine shaft. Probably. Will Halpin could only guess about cursing. Because he's deaf, y'see? But here's the thing about murder: even if it's silent, it's still deadly.
       Being hefty, deaf, and the new guy in school isn't an easy ticket to popularity. At Carbon High, Will is put in the corner of every class. True, it's to help him read lips. And true, most treat him like a houseplant. But Will doesn't intend to stay stuck in any corner. And houseplants are privy to a lot of dirt.
       So when he teams up with the least popular guy to figure out what happened in that mine, Will discovers that the suspects are many and not so usual Was it the too-sexy-for-calculus math teacher? The crackpot bus driver? That scuzzy guy who talks to his fingers?
       Will and his side-geek are hardly Hardy Boys. But I wouldn't bet against them.
       Think Will can make it out of that corner?

    My expectations: High. This was on the humor shelf of the library, and I love humor books. Plus, how could you go wrong with that kind of title?

    I can happily say I wasn't disappointed.

    About the book: This is the only book I can remember where the main character is deaf. I get the feeling I've read books with a deaf MC, but I can't recall them right now. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin was intriguing just for that bit--besides personality/emotional weaknesses, relatively few characters seem to have serious physical disabilities. An added bonus was that the main character in this story, Will Halpin, had a great sense of humor and his snarky comments are sprinkled throughout the book.

    The writing style was pretty much to the point, slightly dry at times (and by dry I mean humorous/sarcastic), and Josh Berk did a great job, I thought, of presenting what it might be like to be a teenager trying to make the change from a special school for deaf students to regular high school.

    • Plot:
    I loved the fact it was based on a murder, but humorous. It isn't completely a mystery story, though, since it's not quite as driven by that as a regular whodunit, but it kept the plot moving nicely. Plenty of twists here and there, and the ending is great.

    • Characters:
    Will Halpin is funny, smart, and unique; in addition to being deaf, he's overweight, which isn't something that a lot of YA books put into the picture. His sense of humor really keeps the tone of the book lighter than it would be with more somber characters, and I had to laugh at some of his remarks.

    Devon Smiley was geeky, a bit weird, serious, and also rather funny. With a fascination and love of Hardy Boys, and an attraction toward danger--despite being the son of a police officer--he's a great companion to Will. Will doesn't want to have anything to do with him at first, and their friendship, with the usual bit of snark, forms over time.

    Ebony. Despite being the ex-girlfriend of Will, they manage to get along when the circumstances require; and she becomes friends with Devon, too. She had strong beliefs when it came to the deaf community, and what it means to be deaf, and it was interesting to read about them in contrast to Will's trying to integrate himself into a "normal" school.

    • Setting/Elements:
    I was intrigued by the history in the story, about the coal mines and the people who had shaped the town's past. The fact he had the same name as someone (also deaf) who was reported to have died in the same mines he visited on his field trip was an interesting turn.

    Other: Language, references, description, some violence.

    Do I recommend this book? Yes!

    -----The Golden Eagle

    19 May, 2011

    I've Been Tagged No Less Than Twice

    Tags seem to be making the rounds these days. I've been tagged by Misha at My First Book and RaShelle at A No. 2 Pencil, Stat!

    I just love filling these out. :)

    This tag comes from Misha:

    If you could go back in time and relive a moment, what would it be?

    I have no idea.

    If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

    See above. Oh, wait--there is that one time . . .

    What Movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?

    I can give you literary examples, but I don't watch enough TV/movies to have found someone a lot like me in personality. (Got any suggestions, readers?)

    If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

    Donald Trump.

    Well, okay, he's not the worst person in the world. He's just obnoxious. So if not him, then someone guilty of crimes against humanity.

    Name one habit that you want to change in yourself.

    I'll often sit in positions that make my legs fall asleep, which consequently makes them ache and scream at me when I move. Got to stop doing that.

    Describe yourself in one word.


    Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.


    (In the best sense, of course.)

    Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.

    Because I like posting about stuff and reading what other people have to say.

    Name at least three people to send this meme to. And inform them.

    Ack, I'm horrible at this sort of thing, but okay . . .

    Emily Rose
    Hannah Kincade
    The Words Crafter

    This tag comes from RaShelle:

    Do you think you're hot?

    Not especially.

    Upload a picture or wallpaper that you're using at the moment.

    This is my desktop background--which I change often because I get bored with having one image there for too long.

    When was the last time you ate chicken meat?

    The day before yesterday. I can see the positive side to vegetarianism, but seeing as I'm allergic to milk (I can still eat dairy products like cheese and yogurt) I have to get my protein from somewhere . . . and I like meat. To an extent. Slimy, germy, raw meat is disgusting any way you look at it. (Can you believe my browser is telling me "germy" isn't a word?)

    The song(s) you listened to recently.

    I don't listen to songs. Well, not often, anyway.

    What were you thinking as you were doing this?

    That it's very dark and gloomy outside. It's raining--again. There hasn't been a full day of sun in a while--again. But while the river's high, it's nothing like what's happening in the South/Midwest.

    Do you have nicknames? What are they?

    With regards to my real name, no, not really. People don't call me anything except my full name. But Blogger is a different story--I get called by all sorts of variations on The Golden Eagle. Golden. Eagle. TGE. GE. G'Eagle. Eags.

    I rather like it.

    Tag 8 blogger friends . . .

    I guess I really have to put together a list this time, don't I? Since the questions relate to them . . .

    Alleged Author
    Clarissa Draper
    Simon Kewin
    Ali Cross
    Michael Di Gesu

    Who's listed as No. 1?

    Alleged Author. Because of the cool posts, wonderful comments, and I just love her profile picture.

    Say something about No. 5

    I really enjoy reading Talei's posts!

    How did you get to know No. 3?

    I believe I found him through some sort of blogfest--I've forgotten by now. Anyway, Simon has a great SF/F blog, and he just keeps getting published! :)

    How about No. 4.

    I found her before the Crusades, and I love her blog, which also has a great title: WORD + STUFF.

    Leave a message for No. 6.

    Ninjas rock. Therefore, Ali's ninja-themed writing challenges are awesome.

    Leave a lovey dovey message for No. 2.

    Please tell me why writing a lovey dovey message will help anything. Because Clarissa's just a great blogger!

    Do No.7 and No. 8 have any similarities?

    They both write excellent flash fiction stories. Also, their names start with "M".

    Not that that fact is particularly important.


    If you want to do either or both of these tags, and I didn't mention you, feel free to snag them! I won't mind. Just be sure to tell me so I know to swing by and read your answers!

    -----The Golden Eagle

    17 May, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday (37)

    Hello, everyone! Teaser Tuesday has rolled around again, so here we go:

    This weekly meme is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

    Rules for participating:

    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    This week, my teaser is from Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Two of my favorite authors+one book=awesome.

    He didn't say "That's weird." He wouldn't have said "That's weird" if a flock of sheep had cycled passed playing violins. It wasn't the sort of the thing a responsible engineer said.
    -p. 137


    Do you have a teaser, or thoughts on the book you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

    Also, would you say "That's weird" if a flock of sheep cycled by playing violins?

    Just couldn't resist. ;)

    -----The Golden Eagle

    16 May, 2011

    I Found A Good Name For My Character. I Googled It. I Found Out It's A High Blood Pressure Drug.

    Teveten, also known as Eprosartan, "is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure", according to PubMed Health.

    What are the chances I came up with it for my main character?

    You see, I was looking at surnames that start with "T" on Most Common Surnames in the United States (excellent site for character names with all sorts of ways to search for just the right one. Seriously, go check it out!) and found "Tveten". I liked it. And since I thought it would be easier to read/pronounce with another "e", I changed it to Teveten.

    And, just on the slim chance it might already be a name, I looked it up.

    Discovered it's a drug.


    Back to the drawing board.


    Has this sort of thing ever happened to you?

    -----The Golden Eagle

    14 May, 2011

    The Red Angel's Inanimation Blogfest

    I was thinking yesterday "Oh, right! I signed up for the Inanimation Blogfest back in April. When was it? The 14th! That's only . . . um, tomorrow. Tomorrow?!"

    Information about this blogfest:
    The idea is to write an entry of NO MORE THAN 1000 words that somehow incorporates the personification of inanimate objects. It can be a poem, a short short, a letter (perhaps to your favorite childhood toy?), a fairytale, a scene from a dream, or even a song--anything you want! It can be something you've written in the past or it could be totally brand new...it's all up to you!

    Sounds like fun, right?

    My entry:

    Tap, tap, tap.
       Tap, tap . . .
       I listen.
       Tap . . .
       . . . smack.
       The human moves away.
       I hum to myself.
       I turn into dancing lights.
       Thump, thump, thump.
       Tap, tap, tap.
       Pound, pound, pound.
       Human's angry now.
       I change.
       Flash and blink.
       Tap, tap . . .
       I watch.
       I remember.
       I send a message.
       I start to chitter more.
       Hum louder.
       Ouch, that hurt.
       Ta . . . tap.
       Frantic talk.
       I flash about some more.
       I'm closed.

    "The Daily Life of A Computer"


    What do you think?

    And, if you're participating in this blogfest, do mention it so I can find your entry!

    -----The Golden Eagle

    13 May, 2011


    Since (they say) 30 hours of posts were taken down along with comments, my last post disappeared--and it hasn't reappeared. So I'm re-posting.

    (This is a time when signing up for email notification has been a huge save; I really didn't want to have to rewrite all those links!)


    You know, I never expected to reach that number . . . at least, I never expected to reach it this fast! It was only on March 25th that I was celebrating 500.

    You bloggers are wonderful!

    And, as usual, a list of the most recent hundred followers:

    Jo Schaffer
    Goncalo Ferreira
    Stacy Henrie
    Marsha A. Moore
    Armindo Tavares
    Ismael Gimenez Molla
    Lee Libro
    Sylvia Ney
    Matt Conlon
    Sarah McCabe
    Valerie Ipson
    Siv Maria
    Pearson Report
    Jeanne Kraus
    Tomara Armstrong
    Josh Hoyt
    Nate Wilson
    Ju Dimello
    Jack Edwards Poetry
    TS Hendrik
    Adam King
    Elise VanCise
    Kelly M. Olsen
    Melissa Bradley
    Melissa Kline
    Donna K. Weaver
    Heather Henry
    Jaydee Morgan
    Marina Vodyanova
    Cricket McRae
    Theres Just Life
    Duncan D. Horne
    Suzy Turner
    Kathryn Packer Roberts
    Empty Nest Insider
    Beverly Diehl
    Prometeu Alchimistul
    Bethy B
    Crystal Cheverie
    Donna Hosie
    Ryan Sullivan
    Anthony Stemke
    Sihirli Yazilar
    Kathy-Oak Lawn Lady
    Vaish Vijay
    Mary Aalgaard
    Catherine Johnson
    K. C. Woolf
    Laurie Peel
    Michelle Teacress
    Eric W. Trant
    Anne K. Albert
    Canyon Girl
    Kathryn Jankowski
    Stephanie Skeem
    Kayeleen Hamblin
    Tracy Edward Wymer
    B.E. Sanderson
    Loren Chase
    Joshua J. Perkey

    ***If I don't have your link, spelled your name wrong, linked to the wrong site, or missed you, please mention it in the comments so I can fix it!***

    And to view links to everyone else, go HERE.

    -----The Golden Eagle 

    10 May, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday (36)

    Teaser Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, which anyone can participate in.


    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    It was hard to decide whether I should share a teaser from Tiger's Curse (which has one of the most gorgeous covers ever, but I finished it yesterday) or Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson (which I am in the process of reading). I decided on Variable Star, so here we go:

    "In a restaurant that never closes, in a ship with three shifts, it's always brunchtime. Or dinnertime. Or midnight snacktime, or tea. You need serious food that doesn't challenge digestion; ergo, brunch."
    -p. 99


    Got any teasers from, or thoughts on, the novel you're reading? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

    -----The Golden Eagle

    08 May, 2011

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

    Don't forget to do something special for a mom. :)

    -----The Golden Eagle

    06 May, 2011

    Blog Tour Stop: Guest Post by Christine Fonseca!

    First, let's have a round of applause for Christine Fonseca and her second book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids! CONGRATULATIONS, Christine!

    When I heard she wanted people to host her during a blog tour, I volunteered my blog: therefore, today I have a guest post on what she took away from writing her recently released 101 Success Secrets:


    Five Lessons Learned From the Journey

    I love it when I get to stop by different blogs for tours! Today, I want to thank Golden Eagle hosting this leg of the tour. My topic for today – my big take-aways from writing this book.

    101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids started off with a different title, one that did NOT include literally 101 tips. In that version of the book, my audience was school age kids (grades 3-12). In the process of selling the book, the age range narrowed to middle childhood (grades 3-7), the title changed (it was undetermined at the point of sale) and the format was different. Over the next few months, a title was determined and poof – I had to also include 101 success secrets.

    The process wasn’t much different than most writers experience. And it taught me a few things:

    1.      Flexibility: The books we see on the self are seldom the same as the original stories. Sometimes the titles are different. Or the covers lend a different feel to the book. Or the endings have changed. Or maybe even the intended audience.
       The key to surviving the process – flexibility. Don’t become so married to your original ideas for the project that you are unwilling to consider something new. I can honestly say that both of my books, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students and 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids, are better BECAUSE of the editor-suggested changes.

    2.      Be Willing to Start Over: With the title change for 101 Success Secrets, and the addition of the actual secrets, the format for the book drastically changed. With nonfiction, the book is not completely written at the time of purchase. I had three chapters done as part of the proposal, but that was it. Everything else was one big outline. The format changes meant much of the previous material needed to change.
       At first I thought this would be easy – just a matter of adding tips here and there. Boy was I wrong. I spent months trying to make the changes work, formatting and reformatting my existing work.

       Nothing I attempted was right.

       And finally I accepted what I already knew inside – I had to start over.
       Reluctantly, I opened a blank document and started over. You know what? It worked. I pounded out the book in a couple of weeks, editing and turned in the manuscript ahead of schedule and within a month of opening that blank document. My lesson in this - sometimes, you just have to be willing to start over!

    3.      Some Things are Just Out of Your Control: I’m convinced that this business is one part talent and three parts timing/luck. So many people make decisions about your work based on things you don’t know. Things like if a book will get picked up, when to release, marketing plans, etc – many of these are based not only on the quality of the work you produced, but on things unknown to you, the author. Of course, if you self-publish this is not completely true. But for most of us – yep, there is a TON of things not in your control on this journey.
       So, what can you do? Let go of that stuff. Focus your efforts on the things you can control, including the quality of your work, how well you collaborate with your publishing team, how you market yourself and your product. Beyond that…Let. It. Go!

    4.      Perspective: It is very easy to lose yourself in the land of comparisons, believing that you should earn a certain amount on your books, receive a certain advance or print run, land a particular agent, etc. The list of potential comparisons is endless – and none of them mean anything. Growing in this business developing a healthy perspective that does NOT constantly live in the land of comparing. Instead, focus on yourself and developing your talents as a writer. If you are published, don’t compare your sales to others – instead, focus on connecting with readers in your niche and bringing them value in content (both in terms of books and supplemental content). If you are a newbie, don’t stress over who signed with whom – instead, focus on honing your craft and developing your own unique career.
       This doesn’t mean don’t learn from others. But it does mean don’t compare.

    5.      When in Doubt, Write: As I already said, there is a lot of stuff outside of your control in this business. And with that, there is also a lot of waiting time. I don’t know about you, but wait time usually ends in angst for me. So, instead of angsting, comparing and otherwise freaking out, get to your next project. Writing something – anything – and focus your creative energies on that. You won’t regret it, trust me!

    Overall, this has been an amazing journey. Writing both books, seeing them on the shelves and marketing them have taught me more than I thought possible. I only hope all of this results in a career I can be proud.

    For more information about my books, check out my blog or website.



    School psychologist by day, YA and nonfiction author by night, Christine Fonseca believes that writing is a great way to explore humanity. Her books include EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS (2010) and 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS (2011). In addition to books about giftedness, Christine writes contemporary and fantasy fiction for teens. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing around on Facebook and Twitter. Catch her daily thoughts about writing and life on her blog.

    List of links to Christine Fonseca:

    Visit her Website
    Read her Blog
    Find her on Facebook
    Stop by Twitter
    Order the book.
    Order the e-reader version.
    Read the first chapter here.


    Readers, what do you think? Would you agree with the points made? Disagree? Would you add anything to what she said?

    -----The Golden Eagle
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    05 May, 2011

    Award Time!

    During the A-Z Challenge I was awarded a grand total of seven times! So, obviously, I had to get around to writing an award post.


    Jenny Pearson at Pearson Report (a cool blog on all different subjects, and who I met through the A-Z Challenge) awarded me the Classy Blogger Award, which was made by her:

    Thank you so much, Jenny!

    The Stylish Blogger Award was awarded to me by Josh Hoyt at The Blog That Helps You Diagnose Your Characters (a fascinating blog all about the things that make people tick--and has some great information on making character realistic) and by Ladydragonfly at The World of Julie B. (a fellow A-Z Challenger who has a blog on crafts, writing, and other subjects, and who posts great pictures along with them):

    . . . and this one comes with rules:

    1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
    2. Share 7 things about yourself.
    3. Award 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award.
    4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

    I'll get to those in a moment. A big thank you to Josh and Julie!

    I was also awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by Reece Hanzon at the blog of the same name (an awesome SF/writing blog) and Melody Jackson at The Tales of Sirius the Dragon (another great blog):

    . . . which comes with yet more rules! (Not that I'm complaining, of course.)

    1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
    2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the award along to 15 new-found blogging buddies.
    4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

    Many thanks for the award, Reece and Melody!

    And then there's the I Survived the A-Z Blogging Challenge Award from Elizabeth Mueller, which I just have to smile at every time I see (I mean, c'mon. A zebra! That looks like it's cracking up! It's inevitable):

    (This one is free to take for all Challenge participants.)

    Thank you, Elizabeth!

    And finally, Tiger's Delightful Blogger Award from Tiger85 at Tiger on My Bookshelf:

    It's such a beautiful picture. Thank you, Tiger85!

    And, of course, there is an addenda:

    1. Link back to Tiger85
    2. Share your favorite thing about blogging
    3. Choose at least 3 friends to give this award to


    Now, I suppose I owe you all some facts, don't I? Because I got the Stylish and Versatile Blogger Award four times, and 4x7=28.

    Um, let's just stick with 7, okay?

    1. I love the fact the sun is shining right now (because there was flash flooding and weeks of rain before now).
    2. I wish I wasn't having eye problems (last evening, it was watering like crazy and for the most of the night and morning it hurt. I think it's allergies, although I've never had an allergy reaction like this before).
    3. I need to figure out who the heck my characters are supposed to be (as I said to my mom: they're having an identity crisis right now.).
    4. I feel weird starting all these sentences with the word "I" (I don't--there I go again--often talk about myself).
    5. I hope the royal wedding works out (after all, some of the other marriages ended rather tragically; I also hope I don't hear about them ever again because that will mean they're not involved in some public drama).
    6. I love the Vivaldi bassoon concertos playing in the living room right now (they fit my mood perfectly--mostly cheerful, brisk tempo).
    7. I am trying to come up with interesting posts now that the A-Z Challenge is over, but the regular schedule now feels strange (I mean, not having to get up every morning and work on a post for hours? Shocker).

    To follow the rules of the Delightful Blogger Award:

    I already linked to Tiger85, so my favorite thing about blogging? Hmmm . . . for me, that would be the posts.

    You're probably thinking "It's not the people?!" but it's through the posts that we get to know people. And I blog not just to get connected (although that's a huge factor). Posts are one of my main sources of information, on various sorts of subjects from people's lives (writing or otherwise--most of you run personal blogs) to the news to other random-ish topics. I also love writing posts and putting my own word in to a discussion on something.

    So yeah. The posts are my favorite part of blogging. :)

    Now, I guess I'm supposed to pass these awards on now, aren't I? I hope you won't mind it if I postpone awarding others and do it some other day in a second post. Perhaps I'll do it on a rainy day when I don't have any inspiration; at the moment, I've got to finish catching up on Reflections posts, and regular posts on blogs I've sorely neglected throughout April.


    So, how's life at your end? Anything happen lately, writing-wise, life-wise, other-wise?

    -----The Golden Eagle