Wednesday, May 23, 2012


 Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy is here!

I'm reading Closed Hearts right now, and it's as as suspenseful as Open Minds,
one of my favorite books. You can read my review of Open Minds here. 

Announcing the release of Closed Hearts, the sequel to Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn.
Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.

Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers. Now available! $2.99 Ebook at Amazon (and Amazon UK) and Barnes and Noble Request a Kindlegraph Paper copies available at Amazon or get signed copies from the author
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds,  Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunesSusan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead

CLICK HERE to join the Virtual Party for Closed Hearts
(including bonus content for the Mindjack Trilogy and writerly guest posts) 
ENTER TO WIN prizes below
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations on the release of book two of the Mindjack series, Sue! You're the perfect role model for self-publishers as far as writing stellar books, planning awesome launches and blog tours, and adding the perfect blend of marketing. Open Minds is a YA bestseller, and I know Closed Hearts is bound to become one, too. 

So hop over to the Virtual Party and get to know Sue if you don't already. She's always willing to answer questions and share valuable tips and advice with us. Her journey is inspiring and heartwarming.

I'll leave you with these questions: What would you do if certain people had the ability to jack into your mind and control you? Would you want them all locked away, even if they didn't break any laws or harm anyone? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Skeleton Walks Pet Brain - Promoting Literacy

I finally made the YouTube video I've been dying to work on for rmonths. Maybe it's best that I didn't get around to making it until now because I just discovered some special effects for iMovie, and they sure came in handy for this clip. I think the fast forward effect worked well. See what you think!

It's only 42 seconds long and I hope you'll get a kick out of it. 
I tried to add child appeal to the important message of promoting literacy for kids: 
"Funny Bones says...
Exercise your brain...
Read to Succeed." 
It has a snazzy little tune (from iMovie) and a cameo shot of Curse at Zala Manor,
 first book in the Monster Moon series. I never did make a book trailer for it, so this will have to do!

For those who can't view the video, here are some still photos mixed in with the clips:

One thing I've learned about vlogs and YouTube videos is that the shorter they are, the better, although if it's a tutorial, viewers will watch a longer clip.

As I explained in my earlier post with the Dancing X-Ray Skeleton video, I turned my daughter's room into a studio when she moved out. Then I had to hurry and shoot the videos before we downsized and move into an apartment. 

Here are some pics of the room decorated with props I have for book signings and school visits:

I used cloth tablecloths, plus plastic throwaway tablecloths from the dollar store. Right before Halloween you can find lots of spooky good deals. My Monster Moon co-authors and I have collected props to use at author events. They sure came in handy for setting up my makeshift studio!

My son moved out and got married, but he left a lot of stuff in his old closet, like a blinking crystal ball and these stacked skulls that light up. They're kind of scary looking for little kids, so I added eyeglasses, some weird eyeballs, a clown nose, a pirate patch, a corn cob pipe, and a beaded Egyptian-type head-dress to make it funny. Or not?

The ghost scene is from the dollar store, as was the skull tote bag hanging on the left.
The bird cage has a dollar-store crow inside it, but you can't see it well in the picture.

This is Brain on a leash. When my co-authors and I do school visits,
we like to take it along and tell kids Brain likes to sniff out good story ideas.
I made my Brain out of papier-mâché. Unfortunately, the shape isn't quite symmetrical.
I think I need to fix my Brain!

The stuffed dummy is wearing my werewolf mask (Wild Hairy). That Frankenstein climbing through the wall is another prop from the dollar store, as is the spider web background and the caution tape that reads "Beware. Enter if you Dare!" 

A fringed purple throw blanket hanging at a slant looks kind of cool, huh? That psychedelic poster is from a party we threw for my husband's 40th birthday, almost 20 years ago. I'm glad I saved it because it sure came in handy for this funky setting!

Good thing I shot plenty of videos before I had to tear down my studio to move. I have lots of clips of Funny Bones telling jokes for kids. Now I just need some time to work on editing them. Gotta get them loaded on YouTube well before October rolls around.

This past year I've discovered how much fun it is to make videos. It's another wonderful creative outlet for me. To view my other video creations, you can see them on my YouTube page.

What creative outlets do you enjoy? Do you find that you have many, or do you like to focus on one?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Absent Minded Moments - Parenting Plights & Delights

Let's face it, parenting requires a lot of energy. Mothers pour their hearts and souls into their children's lives. Fatigue causes many absent minded goof-ups.

Here are some of the answers I received when I asked moms I know to finish this sentence: You know you're overtired and need a break when:

You buy a week's worth of groceries, load them in the trunk, hop into the passenger seat, and wait for your husband to get in and drive when you suddenly realize you're by yourself. 

You turn down an aisle in the supermarket and go to reach for a turn signal on your shopping cart.

You get upset with your child for doing something you disapprove of, but they tell you that you gave them permission. You then recall giving them permission and wonder why you did. 

You're about to cook a meal and open a package of food. You throw the food item in the trash and put the wrapper on the counter. After a lengthy search for the food item, you realize what you did, but have no recollection of throwing the food away. 

You put diaper ointment on your toothbrush. 

You spray hairspray under your armpits. 

You tell the friend you're talking to on the phone, "Hang on a minute," and go to do something. Then you forget all about the friend you left hanging on the phone. 

You put the dry cereal in the refrigerator and the milk in the cupboard.

Here's an incident from years ago when cell phones were much bigger: You grab your cell as you're rushing to the school office. Once there, you set your cell on the counter, waiting for the secretary to help you. She looks at you with a puzzled expression and asks why you brought your remote control.

You're in a hurry and drive through a fast food restaurant to get a quick dinner for the family. You pay for the order and get halfway home when you realize you drove off without the food. 

You pay the cashier at the gas station for $25 of gas on pump #3. As you're driving down the freeway a couple miles down the road, you realize you forgot to pump the gas.

You have a hectic day running many errands. When you get home, you put your feet up to sit back and relax. You're horrified when you look down and notice that you're wearing two different shoes.

People ask how old your baby is. You answer,  "He's a seven-month-year-old. You realize you misspoke and added the word "year," but you still say it every time someone asks.

Your lips are chapped. You grab a tube of chapstick off the kitchen counter and apply it to your lips as your husband stands there gawking at you in disbelief. Then you notice that you used your six-year-old's glue stick, not chapstick.

So, moms, when you find yourself doing silly things, rest assured that you're not alone. I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing Mother's Day.

Here's my mom with Punkin, 
one of her six great-grandchildren. 
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! 
We love you! XOXO

Have you done any nutty things, due to fatigue? Or do you have a special memory of your mother that you'd like share? I love to hear your comments!

 If you have a parenting or grandparenting story 
relating to any topic, I'd love to hear form you. 

If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this series. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blogoversary - First Post Revisited - A Call For Help!

One year ago I tried my hand at blogging.
I sent out a call for tips on blogging etiquette.

Setting up my blog was a killer. I couldn't figure out why the text wouldn't show up. Turned out I had white font on a white background! I've learned tons about blogging since then and still have much to learn. 

Lots of good advice poured in from the bloggiverse, as 
Wen Baragrey calls it. I've made some life-long friends online. When I first started out, I decided I'd keep on blogging only if it was fun. It turned out to be more than fun. I love learning about my blogger buddies, about places, interesting people, good books, movies, and more. It's a gas and I'm having a blast. 

However, I miss reading many of the blogs I used to follow consistently. You see, everything changed in the past six months. We had to move, downsize, and I now babysit my 8-month-old grandbaby nine hours a day. He's the best medicine in the world, makes me smile and laugh all the time, and he comes first before blogging, tweeting, MyFace SpaceBook Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, or making Youtube videos. Oh, and then there's writing books, too! Oh my.

Punkin always puts a smile on my face.
He's wearing his football helmet. JK!
It's nothing serious. I'll write a post about it soon.

So, dear friends, I haven't neglected your sites intentionally. I'm pressed for time and some days am completely drained. Please know that I miss keeping up with you. I'm committed to visiting the blogs of my commenters first, and if I can visit other blogs after that, it's the icing on the cake.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who take the time to read my posts and leave a comment. You don't know how much it brightens my days!

Okay, enough rambling. Let's get on with revisiting my very first post. Below the post are some comments and links I received that you might find helpful. So, here's my first attempt at blogging:

Help! Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone – Can You Share Some Blogging Etiquette?
How silly is this, writing my very first blog post and I don’t have a single follower?
I might as well be writing to a black hole in cyberspace or talkin’ to an invisible wall. I’ve been following 
a few blogs to see what it’s all about. A bit overwhelming, to say the least.

There are millions of you out there. I’m but a tiny speck, smaller than the itsy bitsy spider on your local  
web. It reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Zeuss books, “Horton Hears a Who.” Hello, hello, is anyone 
there? Can you hear me?
I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective, and one should keep in mind, after all, that a blogger’s a blogger no matter how small!

Anyhoo, if you’re there, anyone, anywhere in the 
worldwide blogosphere, before getting my feet 
wet, I need help from you. The last thing I want 
to do is to start off on the wrong foot, step on your 
web toes, and be written off as a cyberspace case 
who's throwing a party, but nobuddy comes. So, 
do you have any tips for good etiquette in 


Here are some of the comments I received and some links you might want to visit:

Heather Kelly said...LynNerd--Thanks for stopping by my blog, and congrats on your first blog post. I hope you find the blogging community to be a supportive and kind one--I certainly have. As far as etiquette goes--I think the saying do unto others works pretty well. Although Elana Johnson has some straightforward advice on blog building here:
I'm glad you're here!
Susan Kaye Quinn said...Welcome to the fun-land! Blogging is great, but you have to find your groove with it. The only way to do that is to wade in and start - which you're doing! So, go you!
I might have to do a post on blogging etiquette, but Lisa Gail Green just did one and it's awesome. Best of luck to you!

(The next day, Susan left another comment with a link to an awesome post she wrote titled "How to Blog for the Long Haul.")

Susan Kaye Quinn said...Hey, I blogged about you today! :)

Margo Berendsen said...Oh come on join the adventure! Get your feet wet! Lisa Gail Green posted an awesome blogging etiquette post today at

I also HIGHLY recommend the Online Persona Workshop at

Gene Pool Diva said...Etiquette, was I suppose to have etiquette?
Sigh. Slinking back to my blog now. Thanks goodness I have an alias. :)


Those are a few of the great comments I received. If you want to read all of them, here's the link to my first post.

One more thing, I was fortunate to hear about social media geru Kristen Lamb's Blog soon after I started blogging. If you want to get the real skinny on social media and marketing specifically geared for writers, visit her site. It's full of invaluable info.
She's the author of  We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer .   "Both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz." She states her methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. "Build a platform and still have time left to write great books."
I've read both and her common sense methods are right on target, in my opinion.  What I love about Kristen is that she's funny as heck. How many nonfiction books make you laugh out loud, plus teach in easy, no-nonsense language?
She started the Twitter hashtag #MyWANA. WANA stands for We Are Not Alone. Here's her post about it, Join the Love Revolution #MyWANA 

And now there's a WANA site similar to FB! I love it! Join us.

I took her blogging class in October and it's well worth $40 for a two-month online class. The next class will start in June. 

I hope this post has been helpful. If you have any advice on blogging for newbies or a link you'd like to share, please leave it in the comments.  
Happy Blogging!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bad Dreams - Parenting Plights & Delights

Dreams are hard for young children to understand. Experts tell us that children under five years old can't tell the difference between reality and dreams or nightmares.

Years ago my Aunt Clare shared a humorous dream that my cousin Nikki had when she was about three years old:

"She awoke in the middle of the night, crying. I rushed to her room. She'd had a bad dream. I inquired what the dream was about, and she replied that Jeff's (her 5-year-old brother) cowboy boots were chasing her--minus Jeff in them. I had to chuckle when I pictured it in my mind." 

A spread from an altered art book I made with photos 
of Jeff and Nikki when they were little on the page on the right,
Aunt Clare in wading pool with the kids, bottom left.

My sister Cindy told me about one night when her daughter Ballerina was two years old and was "crying and freaking out." Cindy rushed into Ballerina's bedroom and found her kicking and trying to push at something as she yelled, "Get them off! Get them off!" 

Cindy didn't see anything. "Get what off?" 

"Joker (nickname) put lizards all in my bed," Ballerina said, now sobbing. 

Cindy laughed and told her, "Joker didn't put lizards in your bed." 

"Yes, he did," Ballerina said. Cindy tried to explain that it was only a dream, but Ballerina couldn't be convinced that there wasn't anything in her bed. 

"So, I ended up sleeping with Ballerina and the lizards the rest of the night," Cindy said. 

Ballerina and her older brothers, 
Soldier and Joker (nicknames)

Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you'd like to share? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

(A version of these stories appeared in the Highland Community News in July 1999)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Altered Art Photo Boxes - Homemade Gifts

In December I shared an altered art photo box that makes a nice homemade gift. If you missed it, you can read about it here.

Today I'd like to feature two more boxes, which can also be used to store CDs, DVDs, love letters, or personal treasures. I started with file boxes I bought at a craft store.

I used a page from a calendar with photos of Tuscany and tore the picture into three sections, with the middle section being the widest, which I glued to the lid of the box. The other two sections are on the sides. Calendars usually have a page displaying all the photos in smaller sizes on the back. I used the miniature of the large photo for the front of the box (lower left-hand corner in above picture).

A view of the top of the box. 

In addition to the calendar photo, I used torn pieces of scrapbook paper and embellishments from the craft store, such as leaves, flowers, rhinestones, pearls, ribbon, raffia. 

Side view.

Back of photo box. I love the torn paper look. 

Here's another photo box:

Wood letters from the craft store were used for the names. Using the nonbrush end of a small paint brush, I dipped it into black paint and dabbed it on the letters to make black dots. The smaller dots were made by dipping the tip of a pencil into white paint and placing them in between the black dots.

Dots of gold glitter glue enhance the right edge.

The miniature of the larger photo is glued to the inside of the lid.

Side view.

Back of box. No, that's not a vintage post card glued on there.
It's scrapbook paper, but an authentic post card would be even cooler!

I apologize for the poor quality of some of these photos. 
I know nothing about photography, plus my camera was on the blink.

Here are all three photo boxes. Each was decorated with a different page 
from the same Tuscany calendar purchased at a dollar store.

You can pick any theme you want and make one of these for yourself - for sewing supplies, craft supplies, anything. Or make them as gifts for any occasion. For a wedding, you can make it elegant and add lots of pearls or rhinestones and scraps of rich fabric. 

A baby theme would be fun for a baby shower gift. Fill the box with baby shampoo, lotion, pacifiers, thermometer, spoons, diaper wipes, bibs, wash cloths, any small baby accessories. You could glue a pacifier with thin ribbon bows, along with a tiny board book or miniature teddy bear or even a cute baby brush to the top of the box.

If you know what the nursery theme is, you can go with that. Jungle animals are popular now. One mom I know decorated her daughter's nursery in a lady bug theme. A lady bug altered art box would be an adorable accent for the nursery and serve to store miscellaneous baby items such as Q-tips, Desitin, and extra packages of pacifiers.

For Mother's Day, choose a theme based on something your mom loves or collects: flowers, roosters, teacups, gardening stuff. Empty seed packages would make cool embellishments.

For Father's Day, go with a golf theme if Dad loves to golf. Or deck it out with a banner or logo of his favorite sports team. 

A book worm or writer would love a box with a book theme. Old books are cheap at thrift stores. The pages or even spines would go perfect with book marks. Floral wire can be bent into the shape of a pair of glasses for an added touch. 

Need a gift for a musician? A music theme would be tons of fun. Sheet music can be used instead of scrapbook paper. Add photos of the recipient playing at a music recital. Guitar picks, a copy of the cover of the person's favorite CD, or even drum sticks would make neat embellishments. 

These are just ideas I'm throwing out there. You can do whatever you want. Use whatever materials you'd like. I prefer to use things I have around the house to save money. Craft store embellishments can be costly if you're on a budget. 

Don't be afraid to try new things. Have fun creating your own unique art. I hope these ideas helped. 

Do you have any other ideas for themes? What would be the perfect theme if someone wanted to make one of these for you? Would you use it for photos, CD's, DVDs, or something else?