Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It’s a chance to showcase the book we can’t wait to get our hands on!
This week, I’m eagerly anticipating the release of Heidi R. Kling’s debut young adult novel, Sea.
Here’s the description from Amazon:
Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder — something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn’t do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.
But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.”
This sounds like a great read in a part of the world I’ve never been. It will be fun to immerse myself in that colorful locale through this story.

 

Luckily for me, Sea will be released June 10.
It’s available from Amazon here.

What about you? What are you waiting on this week?

 

Now They Call It The Cadillac Ranch

On our way to New Mexico, Mom and I stopped at the Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo, Texas.
I had heard about this place my whole life.
I don’t know what I was expecting — maybe some neon signs pointing the way or something? — but it wasn’t this.
The place wasn’t even marked. We would have missed it if we hadn’t been looking for it.
But it was still really cool.
These cars are just stuck in the ground out in a field on the side of the Interstate.
They’re covered in graffiti.
Empty spray cans litter the ground from where people have left their mark.
We found one that was half-full, though, so we could leave ours.
Nanna and Reenie were here. Word.
Here’s Nanna.
And Reenie.
Hey, we were in our traveling clothes…
(I *love* my comfy Aggie flip-flops!)
There was graffiti on *everything*…
The sign at the entrance…
The gate going in…
Well, everything on *that* side of the fence…
It was super-fun!
Speaking of Cadillacs…
This lovely gem (complete with mannequins) was parked outside a random house on the Interstate.
Of course, we had to stop to take photos.
But then we hit the road again!
Thanks for looking!
A Texas gal all the way, I just couldn’t miss the chance to see the Cadillac Ranch on my trip to New Mexico!

Review: Hex Hall

I picked up Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins on Friday afternoon before Memorial Day.
I finished it the next day.
This is one of those books that sucks you in and doesn’t spit you out until you’re through.
Or maybe, that’s just me.
Rachel Hawkins’ debut young adult novel is about a young witch named Sophie Mercer who is “sentenced” to attend school at Hecate Hall after an accident involving a love spell, a nerd and the most popular guy in school goes wrong at her school prom.
Soon, Sophie learns that there’s much more to life among the Prodigium (witches, warlocks, faeries, shape-shifters, and the occasional vampire) than she’s bargained for.
It is so easy to relate to Sophie. I found myself laughing at her sarcasm and rooting for her when she comes up against the leading witches at the school (think Regina George and the Plastics from Mean Girls).
The book flows extremely well and I found myself reading slowly the last few pages just so the adventure wouldn’t be over.
Rachel Hawkins’ open and honest writing really make this a great story. I felt as if I, too, was walking down the halls of Hecate Hall, hoping to get a look at the brutally handsome Archer Cross.
This is a quick read you definitely don’t want to miss!
It’s book #2 in my 2010 Debut Author Challenge.
Hex Hall is available from Amazon here.

Limelight Blueberry Muffins

These blueberry muffins have just a *hint* of lime. 
They taste fresh and sweet — the perfect summer breakfast.
Limelight Blueberry Muffins
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp grated lime rind
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 6 oz container plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center of the mixture.
Combine sour cream, canola oil, lime rind, lime juice, vanilla extract, egg whites, egg and yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.
Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moist.
Spoon the batter evenly into muffin cups.
Sprinkle fresh blueberries onto the top of the batter. 
I pushed some the blueberries down into the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center.
 
Cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy!

Post It Note Tuesday

Well, I’m in New Mexico visiting my sister, so I thought I’d bring you a very special Post It Note Tuesday, road-trip style!
Don’t forget to check out Supah Mommy’s blog to see what everyone else has to say, Post It Note style!
Happy Tuesday!

We Made It!

Well, we rolled in to Los Alamos, NM at about 8:30 p.m. last night.
We drove all day and made it before the sun went down.
It was so surreal to see sunlight after 8 p.m. Things just don’t happen like that in Tejas.
The trip flew by so quickly — I attribute it to the audio book we listed to: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. One of my all-time favorite books. My mom had never read it, so we were both entralled.
As we approached Los Alamos, we noticed the sky had turned a dark color.
On one side of the car, the sky was dark and foreboding.
On the other, it looked like this:
 Can you see the rainbow just barely peeking out at the bottom right?
That wall of smoke is from nearby wildfires that are raging in the mountains.
Yeah. They’re 0 percent contained.
But, they’re heading the other way, or so I’m told.
 Isn’t the smoke scary?
But the rainbow brightens it up a bit.
So pretty.
Check back throughout the week for details of our fun adventures while here.
Happy Monday!

Cac-a-lating a Winner

In high school, I was kind of a nerd.
One of my nerdier activities was the C-Team.
No, not like the ugly step-sister of the A-Team (that would be scary).
We were the Computer Team, coached by Mista Williams in Computer Science and Computer Applications U.I.L.
I was on the Apps team.
And the peeps in that pic above were my co-horts. That’s us having our congratulatory dinner.
We were good.
Can you tell which one is me? Betcha can’t…
There I am!
Essentially, I competed against other students in my knowledge of how to use Microsoft Excel and Word. We had a test where we had to cac-a-late (as Mista Williams would always say) some data and formulas, then do a Mail Merge with that data into a Word document, that we’d have to type.
The test was timed.
It was a lot of fun, and I was actually good at it.
So, when I recently decided to host my *signed* book giveaway, I knew my computer skillz would be put to the test.
I thought I’d show you all how I came to determine the winner in the contest.
Remember that form you all filled out?
Google Docs compiled it into a super-awesome spreadsheet for me.
I’d show it to you, but I’d have to kill you.
I took the number of entries for each person, and listed them out. Each person’s name was listed once for each entry he or she received:
But that list had every person’s entries in sequential order.
I didn’t think that was random enough.
So, I mixed it up:
This was totally random. I used the Random Between function in excel to add a random number next to each name. Then, I sorted the names by that number. And deleted the numbers to make it look good.
In all, there were 172 entries.
Then, I used Random.org to generate a random number:
And looked at the list to see the name:
Taaaa Daaa!
Congratulations, Lindsay!
Maybe it was a bit more complicated than it needed to be, but I wanted to be totally fair.
Thanks to everyone for entering the giveaway!
It was awesome and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Photo Walk Portfolio

I wanted to share some of my work from last weekend at the I *Heart* Faces Photo Walk.
Isn’t that shot of the three girls really fun?
I love the “in the moment” looks on their faces.
This lovely family let us use their three girls as a models for our photos.
Aren’t they adorable?
I love her outfit. So stylish.
She was so fun and full of life!
I love her green dress.
And her cowboy hat. So cute.
This shot made me feel like a super-chic photographer.
You know, with models and stuff.
Doesn’t she look like she’s contemplating something really profound?
And here she looks like she’s waiting on something to happen.
Do you want to see what the other (more awesome) photographers shot?
You can visit the I *Heart* Faces Flickr group here.
Thanks for looking!

We Have a Winner!

First, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered my *Signed* Dead in the Family giveaway.
You rock!
This was a fun contest and I’m excited to share the book with the winner.
Can you tell I’m stalling?
It’s a good one, promise.
Ok, ok…. the winner is….
**throws confetti**
Congratulations!
I’ve sent you an e-mail asking for your address. If I don’t get a response within 48 hours, I’ll choose a new winner.
If you want to see how I determined the winner from all the entries, check out the What I’m Geeking section of the blog.
Again, thanks to everyone who entered.
Happy Monday!


Halloween Projects