"What we do in this life, echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator
"Our creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, February 26, 2010

From giant snails to vampires

Look what my brother found in his yard the other day:

I follow a newspaper from Rosario on facebook, and I saw this video of a giant snail. I clicked on it, and I knew a recognized the man's voice from somewhere... and my brother had just sent me a picture of a snail he had found...
Yes, sllllllloooooooowwwww reflexes. By Thursday I'm even more of a zombie than usual. It finally clicked on me that the person on the other side of the camera was indeed my brother!
So today I called him to check on the "little" slug. Our conversation drifted from the snail, to our kids, and before we knew it, one of our favorite topics: vampires.
Oh yes! Our obsession started way before Twilight was even dreamed of. And get this! He didn't even know what Twilight is! I could not believe him! The thing is we always liked the older, more obscure version of vampires. In fact, I confessed to him I'm still haunted by a scene in a vampire movie (the name of which I can't recall), and he knew exactly which one I was talking about.
He also told me of an experience he had. One night he was riding his motorcycle home, very late, through a part of town that is pitch black at night. He got chills all of a sudden, and started imagining that a vampire flew to the motorcycle's backseat. My brother said he sped those last few blocks home. And we laughed and laughed because we could imagine exactly what the other feels when we're scared! We're very mature thirty somethings.
He then said, "I have a theory of fear, which I actually heard on the movie Apocalypto ('cause we like happy, inspiring movies like that Mel Gibson one). Fear is infectious. Once you feel that visceral fear for the first time, you're doomed. You'll feel it again." Then he added in a very annoyed voice, "That's why our kids are so impossible to control. They're not scared of anything! Mom had to only look at us, and we'd freeze like she had sent a freezing ray with her eyes. Our kids don't watch horror movies and the only thing they're scared of are insects, or a giant snail..."
I could not agree with him more.
What do you think? 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There's snow in the moon

That's what my 5 year-old son said today when we were playing outside, in February, on the grass. He looked up to the sky, and there right by our favorite mountain he saw the moon. He had never realized the moon could come out in the daytime too.
I guess that's how life is too. You experience the beautiful radiance of the sunshine on a cold winter day, but sometimes you see the moon peeking at you, like a reminder of night. These last few weeks I have been blessed more than I can express. Or maybe it's not really that I'm receiving more blessings, but that I notice them more because of the sadness that I see around me.
On a Saturday afternoon I was watching my kids play in the exuberant way happy children do. I made the mistake of checking Facebook on my phone, and I found out a dear friend's son died while serving an LDS mission in Romania.
How can feelings fluctuate in a heartbeat and reveal the beauty and wonder of life that were buried underneath petty things like stressing out about a clean house, not being able to sleep in, or the neighbor's barking dog?
I look at my children now, and I think of that wonderful young man, who is so loved by all who knew him. My heart clenches when I notice how hard my kids try please me, how they compete to make me smile, how tender their voices sound when they say they love me.
On Valentine's day I had the blessing of seeing a friend of mine whom I've known for years. She is going through a very hard time in her life--single mother after a painful divorce. That reminder of night made my day brighter. But I'm sad that sometimes I have to see others suffer to make me aware of the frailty of life, of how a sunny day can be turned into a blizzard.
On parent-teacher conference my son's teacher showed me the poem my Gorgeous Boy wrote. The assignment was "The Five Senses of Love," and though I don't remember the whole thing (mostly because I was trying not to cry in front of the teacher), there are three lines that are imprinted on my mind:
Love smells like blueberry muffins fresh out of the oven.
Love looks like a clean house when I come home from school.
Love smells like the honey in hand lotion.
While I was reading it, I thought, "Wait a second. I make blueberry muffins every week, and... and...my hand lotion is honey scented, and...yeah, the clean house obsession."
I'm moved beyond words that my son can feel my love for him in the things I do for him. That was the best Valentine's Day present I have ever received. Though, Jeff, you can still write that letter I've asked you for a thousand times. You know, a la Jane Austen hero's.

So friends who still visit my blog, now you know why I haven't posted at all. It's been a time of reflection here at my house. A time for counting blessings and for praying. And seeing the beauty of moonlight in the night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Elana Johnson, Author: Pay It Forward Query Critique Contest

Elana Johnson, Author: Pay It Forward Query Critique Contest

I know, I know. I seem to only blog about other blogs' contests and such, but I promise I've been blogging in my mind about tons of things, like:
1. What Gladiator and The Prince of Egypt have in common.
2. Mr Darcy.
3. Tuck Everlasting and the meaning of life. And dealing with death.
4. The Olympic Games!
5. Re-incarnation or living through your kids.
6. Being grateful...
7. A million other random things.

Maybe one day I'll inflict these topics upon you. For now, I'll post about all these wonderful contests because I want to win something! and because I'm too busy working on my revisions. I'm moving at super slow speed, but so far I'm still in love with this story.
Check out Elana's contest; she's giving out wonderful prizes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Win Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I think I'm going to pass out of excitement and impatience!

On Our Minds @ Scholastic: Hunger Games Book 3 Cover Revealed!


Isn't this a beautiful cover? It's not April's Fools yet, is it? I keep thinking someone will jump from behind me and yell, "GOTCHA!"
What a wonderful series Suzanne Collins has written, and even though I must confess I'm very scared for Gale, Peeta and Katniss (in that order), I can't wait to know what happens next.
Thanks to the Story Siren for the heads up.
What do you guys think of the new cover?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Make Me a Story: Show Your Love for the Storymakers Contest

Make Me a Story: Show Your Love for the Storymakers Contest

Another contest going on. This one is on the Storymakers Blog in preparation for the conference in April.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Neverending Page Turner: Query Contest

Neverending Page Turner: Query Contest

There is an awesome contest going on at Kathleen Ortiz's blog. Take a look and enter!