Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who Needs Neverland?

Hello! I hope everyone had a pirate-abduction-free week!

If you have been abducted by pirates, you should write a book, assuming you survived your ordeal.

This week, after I successfully spread jam on my pants, I realized just how amazing it is that the world at large lets me wander through life unsupervised.

Why might I say this? Let me provide you with a few simple reasons:

I Want to Do This, Another Reason Not to Leave me Alone
1. I still eat olives off of the ends of my fingers. I also use Bugles to create dinosaur like claws, and have, in a business meeting made velociraptor noises at a coworker while threatening them with my starchy appendages.
2. There are days (particularly writing days) where I may spend my waking hours wearing Batman boxers and a Captain America t-shirt.

3.  I color. A lot. I am also a little picky about my coloring utensils. (Don't you dare give me crayons! It's all about the colored pencils.)

4. I injure myself in stupid, "Holy turd-muffins did that really just happen!?" ways. In the last week alone I have slipped on the ice and fallen into a bush, dropped a toaster on my head and am currently sporting a rather daring looking burn from when I attempted to make tea and forgot that steam is hot. Seriously, just wrap me in bubble wrap already.

5. Unless rather highly caffeinated, I lack the amount of focus to be an effective adult. This inner-dialogue happens often:

This is Basically My Life, Though, I Do Have Less Fur
"I should write. Hey, look, Facebook! I should really write. Ooooooo a new article about <insert nerdy topic such as "15 Ways the Myers Briggs can be used in tandem with the 16PF for determining job success"\>! No, really I should write. I wonder what so-and-so is up to? I really should write. Why is it 10 pm already!?"

When the entire world is one big, shiny, disco-esque ball of distractions, one needs to have the ability to resolutely focus on the task at hand. Sadly, I have yet to find any such form of resolution.

6. I sometimes feel upset with people that I've had conflicts in my dreams with. It sometimes takes me a while after waking up to not feel a sense of angst towards them. I realize this is completely irrational, yet, when I see them I can't help thinking something like, "How DARE  you throw that trout at my head! You're just lucky I had a tennis racket to defend myself with or I'd be really miffed!"

7. It is nearly impossible for me to clean my apartment without the aid of either Disney music or Broadway show tunes, which, of course, I must sing along to. I cannot imagine the confusion my neighbors must feel on a weekly basis hearing a tenor belt out "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. You're welcome neighbors.

8. I don't always express emotions that are totally compatible with one another. Rather like the mismatched character in a buddy-cop comedy film, what I am feeling very rarely makes sense in tandem.

Ask me the question, "How are you doing today?" at your own risk. The answer may very well end up being something like, "Oh just dandy, except for that little part of me that wants to drop-kick my work computer from the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but otherwise just peachy!"

9. When bored, I develop survival plans for either a zombie apocalypse or for if the movie Jurassic Park were to become a reality. I have an egress and safety plan for nearly every social work agency in Spokane now thanks to meetings that I had to pretend to be fascinated with.

10. There have been days when I have been literally steps from leaving my apartment and thought, "I think something is missing," only to look down and discover that I have forgotten a vital piece of clothing. Last week, I nearly left without wearing a shirt under my vest. I once attempted to trundle off to the gym at o-dark-early without my customary basketball shorts.  I have also gone to the restroom mid-day only to discover that I have somehow managed to put my underwear on inside out.

It's incredible, really, that I'm allowed in public without a posse of people following me to make sure I don't accidentally release Godzilla on the city.What are some reasons that you may not be safe to be let among the populace at large?

Remember the contest to win a free t-shirt will be going until the end of this month! Entering is extremely easy, just vote for "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" to win The People's Choice Award! Then let me know that you've done so either in the comments below or on my Facebook page!

Feel free to follow my daily frivolity on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Some Adventure From The Land Down Under

Well hello all you lovely people! I hope everyone had a relatively easy and tweeker free week. 

I actually was informed by a tweeker this week that I have a hidden talent. Apparently, I am the only one who can tell the gnomes to go away. I really want to add "Gnome Whisperer" to my resume now. 

The contest to win an awesome free t-shirt is still going! It's easier to enter than tripping into a ditch the size of Lake Victoria! All you have to do is go vote for "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" to win a Peoples' Choice Award and then let me know you've done so in the comments below or on my Facebook page. 

Well this week I have the pleasure of interviewing Katrina Cope, author of "Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain." It only took some minor persuasion to get her to answer my questions, nothing more than a flamethrower, I promise. 
Now I want a bird companion!
Part science fiction, part spy novel, Katrina Cope's "Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain" has the feel of a "Spy Kids" movie. Centered around a futuristic school where street kids are given a second chance, Cope creates an interesting invented environment for readers' minds to explore.

The book is an easy read and great for kids around the same age as her characters (10 to 13 years old). The plot is interesting, full of little twists and turns for the characters. Also, the inventions that the author describes in her book are sure to keep a reader's imagination engaged.

The thing that I most appreciated about this book, having worked with street kids for years as my day to day occupation, is that Cope does an excellent job of pointing out that even the most unlikely kids can be heroes. It is refreshing to see an author who sees value in a population that I have spent countless hours attempting to prove has potential to society at large.

The only critique I have for the book is in places the dialogue feels a little less like it matches the age of the characters, but then again, this could be a difference in English dialect (I am one of those rough speaking Americans, after all). Overall this would be a fun read for any youngsters and any adults who want a little adventure. 

Of course, I'm sure you'd all love to hear what the author herself thinks, and so without further ado an interview with Katrina Cope.

 1. What got you interested in writing? 

I have always been creative. I grew up in a fairly rural area and had plenty of spare time to dream, imagine and read. I started writing poems, songs (both for my own enjoyment) and long letters to pen pals overseas. Yes, I am that old (no emails). I loved creative writing at school. But I would have to say that the first real realization that I wanted to write books was when I had my first child and I knew I wanted to really start a middle grade/young adult book. 

When my first child was nearly one, 9/11 happened. I would have to say that was what triggered the anti-terrorism direction of the book, in a child friendly manner. For those who haven’t read the book, it is far from doom and gloom with only touching on any mention of terrorism.

 2. It is obvious in this book that you have a love of Tae Kwon Do, how long have you been involved with the sport? 

I have been doing Tae Kwon Do for 8 years now. I have achieved my 2nd Dan in this time & hopefully reaching my 3rd within the next couple of years. My interest did start earlier though, when my first child started a kiddy version at the age of three.

 3. Why did you choose street kids as your heroes? 

I wanted to use the street kids as unlikely hero because people are left homeless for many different reasons. It doesn’t make them dumb or useless, just unfortunate. It would also be nice to see many street kids taken off the street and given a chance like this. 

4. Is there any significance behind your main character, Jayden's, name? 

No. It was a common name used for some boys at my kid’s school at the time of writing. I wasn’t after the unusual but something that the preteens/early teens could relate to more. 

5. Do you plan on turning this book into a series? If so, will it follow the same characters, or just be centered in the same setting? 

The book is part of a series. It will be following the main characters then everyone will get to know them better. Book two is currently being written and hopefully out in the first half of this year. 

6. If you had to choose one literary character to go skiing with, who would you go with? 

Tricky question. I have never been skiing, so it would have to be someone who likes to watch people face plant trees. 

One of Australia's Finest Exports
7. If you had to choose and actor to play Avando, the head of the mysterious high-tech school in your book, who would you choose?

 My husband has told me that Geoffrey Rush or Hugh Jackman would play the roll superbly. Both are great actors and would play the caring and sophisticated roll very well, although Hugh would have to be aged a couple of decades. Being Australian we are not at all bias by loving our Aussie actors. No, not at all! 

8. If you had to choose between being stuck in a room listening to nothing but Miley Cyrus albums on fast-forward or fighting off a mountain lion armed with nothing but your wits and a bag of marshmallows, which would you choose?

Ummm! I’m not really a twerker so I would have to go with the mountain lion and if it is not a friendly one that likes marshmallows, maybe, just maybe I could put my Tae Kwon Do skills into play.

For those interested in Katrina's work, her book can be found on Amazon

As always, feel free to find me (without having to stalk me in the bushes with binoculars) on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter!

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Treasure Hunt for the Mind

Hello all! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a thousand bulldog puppies in hamster balls running about to the sounds of The 1812 Overture!

The contest for a free t-shirt is still going on! It's super easy to enter, just go vote for "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" for a People's Choice Award and then let me know that you did so on my Facebook page! I will announce a winner at the end of January!

I have a confession to make, I am a bookstore junky. Specifically an independent bookstore junky.

There's just something about wandering through the stacks and shelves of books for a few hours that feels like an adventure all its own. The quirkier the bookstore, the more I love it. Even the used bookstores where nothing is organized make me smile, after all, who knows what treasures can be found sitting between a 1950's guide to homemaking and old editions of "Sports Illustrated" magazines.

I have happily lost entire days immersed in countless mysteries, science fiction adventures and philosophical queries.

One of my favorite little book nooks is a small shop in downtown Spokane called Monkeyboy Books. On my last visit, I asked owner Marina Drake, who possibly has the best name outside of a novel herself, if she would be willing to give the bookstore owner's side of the story.

Marina was kind enough to answer my questions (which, if you've read any of my previous interviews with authors, you know how brave she was being). But answer she did:

It's Harder to Find This Kind of Bliss in Barnes and Noble
How long has Monkeyboy Books been in business? 

4 years (I've owned the business for only a year).

What made you want to own a bookshop? 

It was a life long dream to be able to have my children grow in such a wonderful environment.

What is your favorite part about being in the business of books?
Meeting new and passionate people, and being able to physically hand them the book they were looking for, sometimes for years. Feeling the happiness that people experience by just being among old books.

Is there any particular type of book that your shop specializes in? 
We carry about every genre and type but rare and out-of-print is our specialty. Of course all are used!
 All Autographed Works

In an age of chain stores and e-books, why do you feel independent book shops are important?
It gives a unique, sensual experience that chain stores and, of course e-books, are not able to provide.

Do you have any special events planned at your bookshop in the near future?  

Nothing set in stone right now but possible conversation/reading circles and private French classes (classes will be at the Interplayers' to start with).

If you could have tea with any literary character, which one would you choose and why?

Love this question! But do I have really have to choose one?

OK! No sci-fi character because books don't exist any longer then...Elementary my Dear Watson : Mr Holmes, for his genius, acute sense of observation and cynical tendencies (sounds terrible, I know, but can't help it: I'm French you know)

No! Tintin 'cause I love traveling and adventures and London in the late 1800, ugh! Oh but he certainly wouldn't take the time to sit for tea!

So, Jeeves, on his free time and in a nice and classy place. Oh dear! That is hard!

If you're ever in Spokane I would highly suggest wandering into Monkeyboy Books for a look around. I have found countless treasures there. I also just want to say, support your local small bookshops, they are an amazing gift to their surrounding communities.

As always, feel free to follow my exploits on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads and don't forget to vote!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Brand New Year, Brand New Contest

Hello everyone! I hope that your New Years was more fabulous than the thought of a rendition of "Lion King" reenacted by puppets made from vegetables!

I also sincerely hope your New Years celebration was more like this:

And not so much like this:

Well, exciting news, "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" has been nominated for The Peoples' Choice Award through Acclaimed Books!

As the title would denote, it is an award that is given to the book that can get the most amount of votes of those nominated for that month.

In honor of the new year and this nomination (and yes, a little shameless bribery as well), I have decided to drum up a little contest. All you have to do is click on the link and vote for my book before the end of January and then mention that you did so on the post pinned to the top of my Facebook Page.

Really, that's all you have to do to enter! What are you entering yourself to win? A "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" shirt!

The shirt is a super comfy cotton blend, great for just about any occasion (I'm sure no one would be upset if you wore this to a wedding) and is guaranteed to make you feel just a tad more heroic and awesome instantaneously upon donning it! (Which is what I'm guessing happened to me in this photo.)

Disclaimer: This contest is for the shirt. Hat, glasses, implied pants and author not included.

So vote, then tell me you've done so and enter to win an awesome shirt!

As always you can follow my madcap exploits on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!