Monday, July 29, 2013

I Could Spot Cricket In A Crowded Room: How Stephanie Perkins Nails Characterization

I am a sucker for a book with good characterization. When I'm reading, I want to be able to visualize the characters, to imagine what they look like and how they carry themselves. Not every author can pull this off. Many times when I'm reading a book, I can't get a good visual of the character or the author doesn't do enough to help me really know the character.

Other times, authors do an amazing job of developing their characters so that I feel like I actually know them. In Young Adult literature, John Green and Stephanie Perkins are experts at this. Today, I want to focus on Stephanie Perkins.

In her novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Perkins marvelously develops her characters. This is evident in both, Lola and Cricket. I'd like to focus on Cricket.

Cricket Bell is Lola's neighbor and through Perkins' excellent descriptions, we learn that he is tall and lanky and also that his hair is tall. His hair is floppy, but also stands up, like a mad scientist. Cricket is particular about his pants. He wears slim-fitting, pin stripped pants and vintage shirts. Sometimes his pants are purposefully short to show off interesting socks. He wears rubber bands on his wrist. Cricket writes messages on his had, such as Carpe Diem or eggs to remember to buy eggs.

All of these characteristics help the reader really know and connect with Cricket. If I walked into a crowded room, I would easily be able to spot Cricket Bell.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book Signing at Barnes and Noble

Last Saturday, I had a book signing at Barnes and Noble. I was signing with Nichole Giles, author of Descendant. It went really well. I had friends from work and church come. There were also young readers that came out to buy books. I even talked to a few young people who want to be writers themselves. 

In the past, all of my book signings have been solo. It was so nice to sign with Nichole there to sign with. I think I enjoy joint signings so much more. I hope to have more joint signings in the future. 

It was such a great day. Thanks to all the people that came out to buy books. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fiction Fest

In anticipation of my book's release, my publisher has posted a sneak peek. Click on the link below to Cedar Fort's Fiction Fest to read an excerpt. Release day is May 14!

Monday, April 29, 2013

I will be doing a blog tour for my upcoming book, The Huaca. Click here to see which blogs will be participating. Also, let me know if you are interested in participating in my blog tour.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I love Barnes And Noble. My husband and I took two of our kids there last weekend to buy Legos and books. I was so happy to see that the promotional poster is up for the book signing that Nichole Giles and I will be doing on May 18th. 

Here is the information about our signing: 
Author Signing
Join us as we welcome authors Marcia Mickelson and Nichole Giles. Ms. Mickelson will be debuting her new book, a haunting mystery titled The Huaca. Ms. Giles will also be signing copies of her new book, a teen paranormal titled Descendant.
Saturday May 18, 2013 1:30 PM to 3:30

Corpus Christi
5129 Blanche D Moore Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78411, 361-992-1339

There is also a sign on the outside. So exciting.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Blog Post by Wendy Knight

Welcome, Wendy Knight, author of Feudlings. She is guest blogging on my blog today. 

No fail cures for writers block (AKA: Cures for writers block that worked for me and may or may not work for you)

No fail cures for writers block (AKA: Cures for writers block that worked for me and may or may not work for you)

Thank you so much Marcia, for hosting me! I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve received from awesome friends and family!

So I was trying to come up with an awesome blog post, and my brain wasn’t cooperating. I thought, “This is totally writers block.” It wasn’t, it was just me being lazy, but it did give me something to write about! Some people say writers block doesn’t exist. Some say it does exist, but you can make it go away by writing through it. Personally, I think it does exist and it is your brain’s way of saying you need to recharge. So here’s some of my tips!

Sleep! I know a lot of writers really struggle with finding time to write, so they cut back on sleep because     it’s the only free time they get! I’m uber-guilty of this. But your brain realizes it needs the sleep, and it will lock down until it gets it. Sometimes, just a good night (or few good nights) rest will do wonders, and you’ll wake up with a sudden idea of where your story is going to go and an overwhelming urge to write. I  
love it when that happens.

Drive! This is my no-fail method. I drive, or, if it’s a big problem, I go on a road trip. I turn my music up super-loud and I drive and daydream and let my mind just bounce around my story. I always come back  ready to write, with new ideas. Although now that I’m reading this, I realize it might sound like I shouldn’t be allowed behind the steering wheel…

Garden! Or Dishes! Or basically any task that keeps your hands busy but lets your mind roam. I can’t very well sit and stare and do nothing while I think (well I could, but I’d look like very strange), but when I’m doing the dishes or gardening or dusting or, heaven forbid, cleaning bathrooms, I can let my mind wander, and letting it be free to think what it wants really helps me work through the problems and lets my brain recharge. AND I’m killing two birds with one stone! Wahoo for multi-tasking!

Nothing makes a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl, and in her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying to figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a fate with a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.

When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not falling in love. Until Ari does realize it, and she almost dies – by Shane’s hand.

A little bit about Wendy: 
Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.

You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

An excerpt from Feudlings
“Shane, I’m tougher than I look. I can handle it,” she said, although she wasn’t sure she wanted to know any more about his magic than she already did. It could get him in trouble. But she couldn’t just leave it alone. Part of her wanted to know. Maybe the monster-killer part of her.
She squashed that thought.

Shane stopped, studied her. Under his intense blue gaze her heart started to pound and she thought giddily that her favorite color just happened to be the exact color of his eyes. What were the odds? “I’m serious, Ari. There’s this war going on, and knowing anything about it could get you killed.”
“Killed?” Ari tried to look dubious.

Shane glanced around and grabbed her hand, pulling her with him out the front doors. The air was crisp and cool; Ari could see traces of her breath. If Shane was aware that half the student population was watching them speed-walk into the woods, he didn’t show it, and after a final glance back Ari ignored them too.

When the school was out of sight, she stopped and pulled her hand away. “Okay Shane. Spill,” she commanded. She crossed her arms over her chest and tried to look cold. Normals would be cold right now, but because of the flames flowing through their blood, neither she nor Shane could feel it.

Shane sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Where to start? Even the short version is long. We’re sorcerers, and there are two sides to this war… of course, because that’s what makes a war, right?” he rambled. Ari raised an eyebrow at him as she tried to shiver. “I’m a Carules. I have magic that stems from these blue flames that, well, they’re in my blood. Hunter, too. And all other Carules. The other side is Edren, and their magic comes from red flames. Basically, we spend all our time trying to kill each other. It’s a lot of fun,” he said with a bitter frown at the ground.

“So you hide your magic because if an Edren found you...”

“They’d kill me. Or try to, anyway,” Shane finished for her.

Ari flinched at his words, and she knew right then that if she had seen him on that battle field in Adlington, she wouldn’t have been able to kill him. Her eyes widened in shock, her mouth opened into a silent “Oh”, and her heart started to pound. This was a very, very dangerous revelation she’d just made to herself.
She had a weakness. And it was Shane.
Twitter: @wjk8099

Clink on one of these links to buy Feudlings

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Things That Make Me Want to Write

This makes me want to write:  

Every time I see something amazing that someone has created, it makes me want to write. Gustav Klimt's The Kiss is my favorite painting. I find it so inspiring, and since I am not artistic at all, the only thing I can create is a story, so I write.

This makes me want to write:  

Every time I read an amazing book or watch an incredible movie, I want to write. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book and movie of all time. Every time I think about this amazing story, it makes me want to create something, and so I write. 

This makes me want to write:

I love the Broadway play, Aida. It's a beautiful and tragic love story. The music is phenomenal. Listening to the music or thinking about the story inspire me and make me want to create something too. So, I write.

This makes me want to write:    

When I hear a great song, it makes me want to write. I do not write songs, and I cannot sing at all. But, when I hear poetic lyrics like Lisa Loeb's, it makes me want to create something too. 

"and i've learned how to dance from a vincent van gogh,
and the nights were wrapped in a white sheet,
and now no one even says hello,
'cause i couldn't stand on my two feet.
i fell down,
i fell down.

now the peace you will find, in your own you have found,
the lights of the city are the stars on the ground.
"i may not be a quaalude living in a speed zone,"
but i could be restful, i could be someone's home,
if i fell down,
and i fell down, down.

now all the stars have fallen."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cover Reveal: Descendant by Nichole Giles

Presenting... the cover for Descendant by Nichole Giles:

Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.

Blessed—or cursed—with Sight and Healing, Abby lives a unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he’s a missing piece of her own soul.

Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she’s not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it’s not just Abby’s life at stake.

Nichole is my author friend who recently moved to a town near where I live. I'm excited for her cover and her May release. We both have YA books that will be released in May. I haven't read Descendant yet, but I have it on my 'to read' list on Goodreads, and I suggest you add it to yours!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Extreme Shyness

I am extremely shy. I have always been. In, high school during a trigonometry class, I was stung by a bee, but instead of saying anything to anyone or going to the nurse, I suffered in silence and took care of it at home. I hate asking people for anything.

I used to teach Kindergarten and was amazed at the total lack of shyness of one of my students once. Even as an adult, I hate to ask people for anything. At my previous school, something was needed in one of the restrooms in my class, and I didn't want to ask the custodian for it. I just figured he would see that it was needed when he cleaned the bathroom after school. As I was walking the students to another part of the school, my sweet student went right up to the custodian, said 'excuse me,' and went right on to tell him exactly what was needed and could he please take care of it. I was amazed at her courage and how easily she was able to ask for what was needed. I instantly wished for just a bit of her spunk. I know she will go far if she continues to speak out so easily.

You would think that being an author would be a perfect fit for someone like me who is afraid to talk to people. Yeah, I thought that too. Writing is a solitary activity--just you and the laptop. It is that way a little. However, once the book is published, that all changes, and it is time to talk to people. This is where it gets a bit challenging for me. Authors have speaking engagements, writing conferences, book signings, and are supposed to market their books to people. This has been challenging for me, but it has been good for me too. Marketing my books has forced me to come out from behind my laptop and talk to people. And, that is a good thing. I want to more easily talk to people.

For some reason, I find it more easily to talk to kids. I teach third grade, and that is a perfect age. I can talk to third graders all day with no problem. There is so much to talk about! But, once you turn twelve, well I'm just scared of you. I don't know exactly where this stems from, but I hope to overcome it because really, there are many awesome people out there to talk to.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prada In the Middle of Nowhere

Last month, while traveling from New Mexico back to Texas, we came upon this sculpture on the side of the road in practically in the middle of nowhere. It looks like a store-front and is designed to look like a Prada store. The front door is the size of an actual door, but it doesn't open. It is considered a work of art. It was an interesting sculpture that definitely called for pulling over to check out more closely.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Because I love Venn Diagrams and because I'm a bit weird

So, I love Venn Diagrams, and I wanted to create one. I find it funny that I have a few things in common with author, Stephenie Meyer. I'm not trying to compare my books to hers or anything, I just find it very interesting that we have a few personal things in common. I mean what are the chances that we were born in the exact same month and year, married in the exact same year, both graduated from BYU, and both have 3 sons? I sure wish that the 100 million books part was one we had in common as well. Ha, ha!

The Kindness Project

I'm a third grade teacher, I'm a mom, and I really don't like it when kids are mean to each other. Unfortunately, it happens every day in schools and sadly, it is reflected so much in our popular culture. The Disney Channel is filled with television shows in which kids are really mean to each other. They call each other names, pull pranks, and hurt each other. Being mean is acceptable, and in many cases, the norm.

I have realized that as a teacher, I can play a small part in how meanness and kindness are reflected in my classroom. The day after Christmas break, I decided to start something new in my classroom. I called it the "Kindness Project." I wrote the statement: "Kindness begins with me" on the board and explained that we can choose to be kind to others and hope that in return that kindness will be shown to us.

I gave all of my students new name tags for their desks, and told them that for each act of kindness, I would draw a small, red heart with my Sharpie. Instantly, the kids began looking for opportunities to show kindness to their classmates. When a student drops their school box, book, etc, kids jump from their chairs to help the student pick up the items. When someone falls, instead of laughing as would sometimes happen, students jump up to help and ask if they are okay.
My students are constantly telling me the nice things they have done and are asking for their red Sharpie hearts. It is so much so, that sometimes I don't have the time to give them all of their hearts. I find the time though. I know that the kids are doing the acts of kindness in hopes of a small reward-the red heart drawn on their name tag. Really, it's not a huge reward, it's not much of anything, but to them it's something. It symbolizes that they found an opportunity to be kind that day. And although I do believe that being kind is its own reward and that I'm bribing them to be kind, I do think that they are building the habit of finding opportunities to be kind. Right now, it feels good to get that little heart. My hope is that for the next few months that I have them, that they will continue to look for opportunities to be kind and as a result, have built quite a habit that will be long-lasting and a natural part of their lives. Perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part, but it is my small way of doing what I can to instill the basic value of kindness.

Tomorrow, I will be giving my students these little notebooks I made. I'm going to ask them to write down something kind they did for someone or something kind someone did for them. I'm hoping they will write in their journal at least once a week. Of course, I am hoping they will keep these little journals well past the third grade and continue to look for opportunities to be kind to each other.

School is for learning, and it's my job as their teacher to teach what third grade requires. Yet, I have such a huge opportunity to encourage kindness toward their classmates and others around them. There is so much meanness in the world, and children should not have to deal with it at school. It is my hope that they will not have to deal with it in my classroom.