Friday, August 31, 2012

This Isn't Photoshopped!

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one.
~ Albert Einstein

What's going on with the spoon dangling from that bracelet? 

No, it's not a charm gone wild. No, it's not a magic trick. No, it's not Photoshopped. 

This is my aunt's bracelet. A group of us went out to breakfast. She lifted her arm and felt something heavy on her wrist. She couldn't believe a spoon was sticking to her bracelet. She removed it, but the next time she lifted her arm, it happened again! How could that be?

Simple: Her bracelet comes apart in two separate equal-sized pieces. Each piece has magnets built into them to hold the bracelet together around her wrist. The magnet attracted the silverware on the table.

I wonder what she'd pick up wearing that bracelet in a jewelry shop? Imagine her walking out with a pricey metallic piece and not realizing it. She could end up in prison!

Magnetism is one of the Six Fundamental Forces of the universe, 
with the other five being Gravity, Duct Tape, Whining, Remote Control, 
and the Force That Pulls Dogs Toward the Groins of Strangers.
~ Dave Barry

Can you think of any other strange scenarios that could happen with a bracelet like that? C'mon now, stretch your imagination and have some fun!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mean Cats Ban C. Lee McKenzie's Children's Book


Author still under siege by FFF. Second Howl-In Threatened.

Interviewer L. Nerd: Today C. Lee McKenzie has gone to the public with a plea for support in the ongoing (Federation of Feline Familiars) FFF v. C. Lee McKenzie case, now in negotiation. She is trying to avoid a lengthy and costly trial, but the FFF continue to hold firm in their demands. They refuse to back down on their insistence for a rewrite of Alligators Overhead in which they replace the current witch familiars, the Ornofree alligators.

The Book at the Center of the Controversary 

Interviewer L. Nerd: So, Ms. McKenzie, can you summarize what has happened so far?

C. Lee: The FFF has held one Howl-In to protest what they refer to as a threat to future generations. They say my book opens the door to other species who might want the job as witch familiars. The alligators are firm in opposing the cats. They’re prepared to go to court. I’m very concerned that this dispute might even result in hostilities. After all, these alligators know how to declare war. I’d appreciate your readers’ support: letters to the editor of their local newspapers, letters to the FFF whatever. The FFF is already organizing another of those dreadful Howl-Ins!

Interviewer L. Nerd: When did you first suspect you might be in for trouble?

C. Lee: I was blindsided by the FFF’s attack just before my book came out. I thought they’d find my story was an interesting twist on the traditional “cat needs witch,” “witch needs cat” theme. They have centuries of being familiars on the international scene. Hadleyville is one very small point on the map.

Interviewer L. Nerd: They’re demanding a rewrite or what?

C. Lee: Banning my book! And believe me they have a huge political machine behind them.

Interviewer L. Nerd: This dispute has been going for a few weeks. Has there been no move toward a settlement?

C. Lee: Almost none. The FFF had a major conference that demanded we recess until their chief negotiators returned. Al Wisecat and the one they call Champion of the Under Cat are taking the lead on these negotiations, and evidently they both had major presentations at this conference--one paper was Breakthrough on Hair Ball Elixirs, another on The Catnip Conspiracy Theory.

Interviewer L. Nerd: They sound like significant players in the FFF. I read you made an offer to donate a case of dolphin safe tuna to the conference and that it was being considered as a step toward easing the tensions.

C. Lee: I donated several cases, and the Malamutes, who responded to my request for help, donated some ball toys and finally two scratching posts. Unfortunately, the alligators ate them.

Interviewer L. Nerd: So what are your plans when negotiations resume?

C. Lee: I’ll return to the table with these offers: I’ll dedicate my next book to the FFF and donate 10% of any proceeds the first year the book is out. I’ll sign an agreement to never write another book in which cats lose their traditional roles to another species. I’ll replace the cat toys and the scratching post eaten by the alligators. I have received some information that leads me to believe there’s a small break in the FFF ranks. This might mean things will go in my favor. I’m not sure.

Interviewer L. Nerd: Can you reveal what this break is about?

C. Lee: This is a picture that came into my possession showing that tuna might be the pivotal negotiating point. Obviously, some members are interested in taking this part of my offer. 

Then there was a dispute following the last round of talks. Some wanted to take my offer.

Interviewer L. Nerd: So there you have it. The latest news on FFF v. C. Lee McKenzie. She’s stated she will report the results of this dispute on her blog within the next few days.
Awesome book trailer!

"Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren't your average neighbors . . . not unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. Pete Riley may only be eleven, but he's already up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time the town's bad boy, Pete, didn't cause it. This time the trouble arrived when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion materialized next door with someone inside, someone who came to seek him out. Then the Ornofree alligators declare war to try to save their swamp from being bulldozed for a shopping mall, and Pete discovers he's living among a coven of "sadly-out-of practice" witches. When one of their ancient "magick" spells goes wrong and all the witches vanish, including his guardian aunt, Pete's left to face the perils of the Ornofree Swamp War alone. He soon discovers that he just might have inherited the family talent for witchcraft, and, although he doesn't know one thing about the practice of spell casting, he's the only one left in Hadleyville to do it. It's up to him work some dangerous "magick," restore his aunt and bring back all the other witches. He might stand a chance of succeeding if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even the two of them may not succeed."






C. Lee McKenzie

I'm in the middle of reading Alligators Overhead right now. I can't wait to see how Pete Riley gets out of the mess he's in! C. Lee McKenzie's books never disappoint. This is a fun, entertaining middle grade read. Parents who read aloud to their kids will enjoy this book, too.

Do you have any advice for C. Lee McKenzie on how to fight back against the mean cats? Do you think this issue can be resolved?


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yikes! Will I Get My Book Launched?

Hello Friends! Some of you know I'm planning to launch my chapter book, CURSE OF THE DOUBLE DIGITS (for ages 7 to 10), on October 10th. That happens to be the birthday of my main character, Becky. She's turning double digits on the tenth day of the tenth month and expects it to be magical, but of course that's not the case...

Being the tech idiot that I am, I'm having a hard time getting the paperback version ready to publish through CreateSpace. Can't afford to pay someone. :( Besides, I need to learn all this stuff.

See, I started this book ten years ago. (It spent years in a drawer off and on.) Back then it didn't cause problems to indent a new paragraph by hitting the tab. But now it wreaks havoc in Word, and parts of the manuscript that were indented that way have to be deleted and fixed. Took an entire day to figure this out, thanks to the help of some wonderful writer peeps. There are other glitches, too, but who wants to hear about those? Not me!

Even if I wasn't having problems with the margins and paragraphing, getting the text justified without large gaps between words requires revising sentences so they fit better. It's way more time consuming than I expected. Those are just a few issues, not to mention dealing with widows and orphans. Scream!

I expected to run into problems adding the illustrations, but as it turns out, it's working fine! Woo hoo! It's so nice when things go smoothly, isn't it?

Still need to get the cover done. The cover illustration is ready. Now I'm waiting for the cover designer to work her magic. She's backlogged for six weeks, but she threw together a temporary cover so I can add it to the CreateSpace template and order the first book proof and check it over.

Not bad for a temporary cover thrown together in a few minutes! 
I sent her the cover illustration (by Alanna Heck) and she took it from there.
I'm excited to see what she'll do for the final cover. I like how she added "10"
behind the title. Just need to add the illustrator's name and delete "The" in the title.

I'm not one of those people who waits till the last minute to get things done, but moving and babysitting full time set me back. Ah, life and those darn monkey wrenches! Sheesh! Plans never turn out the way we plan, do they?

Once the paperback version is set to go, I need to get the eBook version ready. That means revising all the sentences to match the changes I made in the paperback version. Very time consuming. And very tricky to accomplish during the week when I'm babysitting. While Punkin naps, I need to work fast.

So I won't be blogging much until I get a handle on things. Right now I'm overwhelmed and trying to keep the meltdowns to a minimum. This writing process is a wild ride, that's for sure.

I'll be back as soon as possible. I have lots of cool posts planned. And I will catch up with all of you then. I hope your summer is sizzling with fun and sun and good times.

Hope to see you soon!