Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wanna be a Novel Girl?

The Novel Girls are looking for a new Saturday blogger! If you're an author whose first book is debuting in the next year, and you want to apply, send us an e-mail at . Let us know a little bit about yourself and your debut book and also why you want to be a Novel Girl.

The Novel Girls

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Wee Bit o' Advice...

For your St. Patrick's Day (er - week!) reading pleasure, I present to you two brief excerpts from WONDROUS STRANGE which are, I think, appropriate for the celebration of all things Irish!
Erin Go Braugh!

“That there isn’t just any garden-variety boucca," Maddox said. "He’s old magic. Powerful. A boucca like that can fly under your Janus radar without so much as breaking a sweat.”

“How can you know for sure?”

“I recognize him. I used to see him coming and going from the Unseelie Court in the days before Auberon shut the Gates. Before your time, Sonn.”

Sonny blinked. “You don’t mean to tell me he’s the original Puck?”

“Dunno...” Maddox mused. “I heard a rumor that the actual Puck has been stuck in the mortal realm for the last hundred years or so – trapped in a jar of honey buried under a rock somewhere in Ireland. Ever since he did something that royally pissed off a leprechaun.”

“Wow.” Sonny whistled low. “I wonder what he did to deserve that...”

“Who knows? Consider it a cautionary tale.” Maddox chuckled. “Leprechauns have their own fair share of ancient power and no discernible sense of humor.”

(this conversation is followed some time later by one between
Sonny and the boucca in question)

“Tell me something.”

“Is that an order?” The boucca glared flatly at him.

“No. Please.” Sonny held up a hand. “I mean – I would like to know. If you would like to tell me. The story I heard about you and the leprechaun...”

“And the honey jar?”

“Yes. Did it happen? Really?”

“Well… the insides of my ears are sticky.” He snorted. “And I occasionally attract the attention of amorous bees. You tell me.”

“How did you get out?”

“May the gods bless progress.” The boucca raised his eyes to the ceiling. “Eight or nine years ago some bully-boyo contractors came along and built a five-star resort and golf-course on the very site. The day they broke ground, they broke my jar!”

Sonny laughed despite himself.

The ancient fae shrugged. “It’s a very nice course – I’m sure the patrons wonder, though, why they lose so very many balls. And the plumbing in the clubhouse tends to be... quirky.”

“Never cross a leprechaun.”


* * *

Enjoy the rest of the Week o' the Irish!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lucky Charms

I’ve been racking my brain, trying to think of one good St. Patrick’s day tidbit to write about, and I finally realized I’ve got nothing. No red hair. No Irish blood. No green rivers here in the desert. And like Lisa said, the only green thing I drink is green tea (which I do drink every day, by the way.) But when I think of St. Paddy’s Day (Thank you, Maureen for the spelling tip!), I think of the luck of the Irish, and one thing I do have experience with is lucky charms. See, I’m sort of obsessed with them.

My oldest lucky charm is not actually a charm but a sweatshirt. I got it on a trip that I took with my parents and sister to Montana back when I was in seventh grade. We were there in the summer, but it was really cold, snowing, and as we were sightseeing we had to buy sweatshirts to keep warm. I got an MSU one, and when the lady handed it to me, she told me that we were visiting the valley of good spirits, and that made the sweatshirt good luck.

Needless to say, I took her very literally. I would go on to wear the sweatshirt (which is not the most attractive sweatshirt ever, I might add), through every single music audition all throughout junior high and high school. And I had a lot of them – I played the clarinet competitively for four years.

And then I took the sweatshirt to college, and I wore it every time I had a big exam. I even wore it as a senior when I took my GRE’s! Though I haven’t worn it in probably about ten years, it’s still hanging in my closet, because it feels like it would only be inviting bad luck to get rid of it.

Another lucky charm I had were these gecko earrings my grandparents bought me once in Hawaii -- apparently, geckos are supposed to bring good luck. I used to wear them (along with the sweatshirt) to all those auditions. Until one day the gecko broke off the earring stud. After that, I put the gecko in the change compartment of my wallet, and I still have it in there.

And speaking of change compartment I also have a Sacajawea Dollar coin in there that my grandfather gave me. When he gave it to me, I was going through a streak of bad luck – my husband and I were moving across the country, and our car had just broken down, leaving us stranded in Pittsburgh of all places, just near my grandparents. After we survived the worst thunderstorm ever and a wild ride with a crazy tow truck driver, my grandfather picked us up and took us out to dinner. On the way into the restaurant, he saw the dollar coin on the sidewalk, and he picked it up and handed it to me. “This will bring you good luck,” he told me. And even though this was ten years ago, I still have it in my wallet.

It’s not that I believe that luck is everything –because I don’t. I did well in clarinet competitions because I practiced; I did well on the GRE’s because I studied A LOT, and though I feel incredibly lucky to be a published author, I also know I worked really, really hard for it. But I also believe that working hard, isn’t always enough, that sometimes you need that little extra something, that little beam of good fortune to get you where you want to go. So I know will always hang on to my good luck charms, and that I’ll also gladly accept new ones!

What about you? What brings you luck?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Top of the mornin' to ya!

Ouch! That’s what I remember most about being a kid on St. Patrick’s Day. Forgetting to wear green was a bad mistake as you ran the risk of getting pinched over and over again all day long. I never really had that problem, though, as redheads tend to have more green in their closets than any other color.

My red hair came from my grandfather, a nice part-Irish man with the nickname, Rusty. Thank heavens that moniker didn’t stick with me. Did you know that red hair usually skips a generation? My sister, Leslie, gave birth to a beautiful little redhead after skipping two generations. Meet my precious niece, Elise. (Incidentally, this picture was taken on the only snow day in 2007, here in Franklin, Tennessee. Too bad she's not wearing green.)

And speaking of redheads, from what my limited research tells me, it’s a myth that we’re becoming extinct. It’s just not true.

Although my days of chugging green beer have turned into sipping green tea, I still love the excitement of St. Paddy’s Day at our local pub. The folks were flowing out onto the street by 5 o'clock yesterday at McCreary’s when I happened to drive past after work. I wore my green yesterday. But I think I was the only one in the office who did! Ahh, where’s the spirit? As for me, I’ll do anything to hone in on the luck of the Irish.

And . . . I think it worked! I found out at the end of the day on St. Patrick's Day that my book, Whistlin' Dixie In A Nor'easter, will be released in audio! Thank you, Blackstone Audio. I look forward to working with you.

Oh, and a shout out to my dear friend, Sarah Berger. Hope you enjoyed your St. Patrick's Day Birthday, you cute young thing!

Hope your St. Patrick’s Day was lucky. I’d love to hear about it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Guinness and Shamrocks and Corned Beef, Oh My!


Ah, St. Patrick's Day. Being Irish and from Chicago, it's been required since birth that I treat St. Paddy's day as a true holiday. So, I was really pumped when I realized that I would be the lucky Novel Girl to post on the actual day.

When I was little, my 100% Irish mom would dress me up in a green sweater, with a turtleneck with shamrocks on underneath, and send me off to school. At night, she'd make a big corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes dinner. Of course, when I got to college, it became more of a holiday involving green beer and shamrock beads to wear around my neck.

And now that I have my own kid, I've already started to brainwash him in favor of the holiday. This past Saturday afternoon, my family and I went out to a local Irish pub and listened to Irish music, watched Irish dancers and, yes, drank Guinness. And let me tell you, there's nothing funnier than seeing a toddler doing his "booty squat dance" to "Drunken Sailor."

But I love it. Love it all.

And this year is especially meaningful to me since this week, possibly on today of all days, my YA with fun Irish folklore and Celtic mythology, will be going out to editors. Can the timing be any funnier? Hopefully some of that luck of the Irish will trickle down to me!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!


*It's St. PADDY's Day, not Patty. Patty is short for Patricia. Paddy is short for Patrick. Just a little random trivia for ya!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Luck of the Irish

I didn't grow up in a household where St. Patrick's day was celebrated. Well, except for the year where we had corned beef and cabbage for dinner, and my mother, hoping to convince my brother to eat, went on and on about how she'd made it special for St. Patrick's Day. I'm not sure if she really did. Likely, the grocery store had a special that week because of St. Patrick's Day, and that's why she made it for dinner. :)

Even so, I loved the idea of St. Patrick's Day. Not that I knew much about it, other than I was supposed to wear green clothes, and that the day was a Irish holiday. But that didn't stop me from joining in at school, with my friends, and later -- at the bars on St. Patrick's Day weekends guzzling green beer. Okay, I've never guzzled beer. I'm pretty much a lightweight with alcohol, green or not, but somehow the idea of "green" beer just seemed to cool to me.

Now, with kids of my own, we don't actually celebrate St. Patrick's Day, either. But I could definitely offer corned beef and cabbage up for dinner one night, and no one would blink an eye. Mostly because my kids happen to love corned beef, so for them, any excuse to have it will work. But that doesn't mean I can't get into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, because I definitely can. I happen to love just about everything Irish, and the thought of visiting Ireland someday gives me chills (in a good way), so I went searching for some cool St. Patrick's Day stuff. Here's what I found:

The Chicago River – dyed green in 2008 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Apparently they do this every year!

A great video on the Trinity Irish Dancers:

And news coverage of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland:

Regardless of how you celebrate St. Paddy's Day -- I hope you have one filled with the Luck of the Irish!