Thursday, May 23, 2013

Geeks, Girls, and Me

You’ve probably heard of GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES by the great Mike Jung. In case you haven't, the story is about Vincent Wu (he's one of the so called geeks) who has a crush on Polly Wincot Lee (she's the girl, obviously). Vincent, along with a couple of his friends, is a major fan of the local superhero, Captain Stupendous. And that is where the secret identities come in. This isn’t your average superhero story. Yes there’s action. And Mayhem. And life threatening robots. And warring fan clubs. But you will be surprised! So is Vincent. This action packed middle-grade superhero story has great twists, meaningful moments, and just plain fun.

You know what else there is? Me!

Illustrated by Mike Maihack!

Ha! No, I have never actually ever lived in a city where I get text messages so I can run out and watch the local superhero fight the evil villain. It would be pretty exciting though. I know I’d get sick if I was flown through the air at warp speed while being rescued, and probably even while being secretly transported in a garden shed.

So where am I? Page 33, that’s where. And a few other pages later on. You see, Mike used my name in his book! How cool is that? (Yes, I know! It’s extremely cool!) Who am I? Mrs. Burnell, the nice smelling teacher who whips out her freakishly emotionless robot voice to get the kids in class under control when they get riled up.

No, of course, that's not really me. That's the magic of Mike's magnificent writing. What I have done is tuck the essence Mrs. Burnell's voice away in my brain for those times when I need kids to settle down. I have also bought some perfume. You see, Mike Jung may be able to tell the future. I started doing some subbing at school not long after GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES came out. Yes, Mike is one multi-talented man. He writes books... he plays the ukulele... he tells the future!

Why did Mike choose my last name to use in his book? I don’t know. Back in the old days before Mike was too famous and before I was so busy that I run around with garlic, beekeeping equipment, an extra change of clothes, my notebooks, my computer, a full on kitchen, and soccer balls in my truck just so I can keep up with life at any given moment, we used to play around on Twitter. Mike was the ruler of #mikesempire. He granted me a super powered sleigh with a hot chocolate maker and made me the roller skating queen. It was a glorious time in the empire when I spent my days rolling through the streets as fast as I could, and my nights sipping divine hot drinks.

So yeah, Mike knows my name. I’m not sure that it’s really an unusual last name, but I’ve certainly never read it in a book before. Or really heard it much of anywhere besides in my family until Burnell Taylor sang on American Idol. (Didn’t ever hear it as a first name until then either. I like it!)

And now, whenever I’m in the library and have a middle grade reader’s ear, I tell them about Mike’s book. (Okay, yes, I have done this to teens and adults too.)  I’d do this whether Mike had used my name for a character or not. But it’s fun to show them page 33 too. Yes, they think it’s stupendous.

GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES is published by ArthurA. Levine books. Read it! Or give it to a young reader. It's fast pace and humor is sure to appeal. Want to know more? You can read tons of great reviews about the book on Goodreads.

You can find Mike Jung on his little bloggy wog:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Phoenix, Great Northern Garlic, and Sub It Club aka My Life

So yeah, I've been a little bit busy lately. Let's see...what have I been up to?

The Phoenix Cafe & Gallery where we lived and served up some great breakfast.  Just thinking about it makes me want Eggs Benedict.
Well, first of all we moved out of the Inn we were care-taking and back to our house on the mountain. The Inn was fun. Who wouldn't want to live right outside of a ghost town? The kids loved riding their bikes down to Old Molson to play. The first winter we were there we ran a restaurant out of the house. We had music nights and lots of parties. Can't really beat that, or can you?

It is a beautiful house built from 80% reclaimed materials, and designed by the fabulous artist Dan Hulphers. It's for sale if you're looking to run an inn! 
We decided that having a restaurant in our house wasn't much fun for the kids so the next winter my husband and I worked at the local ski hill. On Thursdays schools brought kids up on field trips. My husband taught the snowboarders, I taught skiiers. On weekends we gave some lessons too but mostly we skied with our kids. There's nothing better for a kid than skiing all weekend, every weekend. If there is, we need to try that next. ;)

Yes, I tried snowboarding too. But I'm much better at skiing.
But, life can't be fun and games all the time I suppose. My husband and I have also been working on our farming business. Working for yourself and getting to be outside all day is pretty darn nice in my book, but it is also a lot of work, of course. We've been planting and planning daily. Over the winter we built our Great Northern Garlic website and are looking forward to our first year selling organic seed garlic! You can check out our gardening capers at Great Northern Garlic on Facebook and at @OkanoganOrganics on Twitter. Oh yeah, and I've been trying in earnest, finally, to figure out Pinterest.
We got some goslings. I refer to them as The Ryans.                                

Lambing season has come and gone already!
And of course, I keep up with Sub It Club every day. It's been really great keeping up with other writers who are working towards publication. SCBWI France RA and my partner in subbing, Dana Carey motivates us to set goals every month, and the Facebook chat is always open for questions and encouragement. Making goals and "saying them out loud" has certainly kept me on task as I work to get my work out there!

Some of the beautiful Sub It Club artwork created by Dana Carey.
So...have I been writing? The answer is... yes! I keep a notebook in my pocket. Every day I write down ideas for all sorts of things. As you can see I run a lot of social media pages now and I like to keep those going. I've been working on some farm & garden articles. (Imagine that!) I'm still working on my picture books and am so close to having my chapter reader done, if I could just have enough brain power to do it when I finally get to open the file.

Fun on the farm!
Yeah, it's been a lot lately. (Did I mention that I'm coaching soccer?) But things are going to slow down a bit soon. Summer is coming! I looked at my calendar today and there is actually nothing scheduled on it after this week! I know there will be a lot of farming but it's fun being out there with the family. Work and play really mixes when you're outside. There will be lots of sun, lots of food, and there are lakes on the way to and from the farm in the valley to our house in the mountains. I'm sure we'll be taking lots of dips!
Bet you we'll be running in to some more of these guys soon.

Okay, that's enough about me. I know, it's my blog, but if you have any questions you'll have to ask. I've got to get back to doing monster list posts and interviews and that sort of good stuff. Here's to living a full life! You all have fun out there!