G’day and Goodbye

Steve Erwin.
Gonna miss that guy. I didn't really get into all the crocodile wrestling he did, but I loved to listen to him talk.

The croc hunter didn't do anything half way, you know? He was crazy-passionate about his interests: family, animals, and the environment. Wouldn't he have been a cool guy to know? How awesome would it be to have a friend that's so pumped up, so positive. And calls you “mate” (like he means it!).

Steve lived it to the fullest. What's something you're full-on passionate about? School? God? Music? Video games? Discovering the true chemical composition of tofu?

My current passion is writing. Okay, and watching The Soup on E! Yup, I've become a wee bit addicted. But both are making an impact. My first YA book In Between will be out this spring. And as for The Soup, well…um, I can name the major players on Flavor of Love.

That last one's hard to top, I know.
What are you really into right now?
(And those of you whose sole mission has been waiting for the appearance of Suri Cruise– find a new hobby. The search is over.)

5

PLUTO FOREVER!!!!

Did you know Pluto is no longer a planet? That's right. It got its planetary membership card taken away. I personally feel that this is just a travesty. And I can't even imagine how Pluto feels. To think ALL this time that you're a planet. But you're not. You've been living a lie. You KNOW Pluto is having some identity issues right now.

A friend of mine posed the question, “If Pluto is out, what's next?”

I have a few suggestions.

Skinny Jeans. Girls, whose idea was this? They are a blast from the eighties, and they need to stay there. Like frosty blue eye shadow. If we all agree not to buy them, then they'll go away. Forever. LONG LIVE FLARES!!!! Aw, come on. You can hide a lot of leg in flares. Um, not so much in those skinny jeans.

Vegetables. The loss of Pluto as a planet saddens me. Makes me question everything. Like maybe next week we'll find out that vegetables aren't really a necessary food group. Dogs eat everything. But even they don't touch vegetables. I think there's a lesson to be learned there. And if we get to vote on what takes the place of veggies on the food pyramid, I'm putting all my support behind breakfast cereal. Let's see some Fruity Pebbles on that food pyramid! Who wouldn't enjoy a food group that usually comes with prizes?

The Two Day Weekend. I would be ecstatic if I turned on the news tonight and Tom Brokaw said, “Er, um…so sorry, but there seems to have been a mistake. The weekend was never supposed to have been two days. Seems we miscounted, and you're actually supposed to have Friday off too.” Not only would I not be mad at the person who made the grievous error (He's probably dead anyway. Worked himself to death, you know), but I would buy him birthday presents for life. Let's take back Friday so we can watch General Hospital! Um, no–I mean so we can make a difference!

So I mourn the loss of Pluto. He was a good planet. He never did anyone any harm. Just up there in the sky. Doing planetary things. Like rotating around something, I guess.

How about you? What would you like to see abolished?

8

School Schmool


Ah, the first week of school.

This was always such a stressful time when I was a teenager. I would fret over what to wear (Is this too fall? Does it look too new? Will someone else be wearing it–and look better in it?). I would agonize over whether to take my lunch or not. (My friends and I would literally decide this before day one. Group vote.)

And of course, I would hope against hope that some new boy would roll into my small town and enroll. He would catch sight of me and say, “Wow. They don't make girls like you where I come from. You are exactly what I want. If you don't agree to become my girlfriend, I will go insane and do something crazy. Like quit as captain of the football team or let my 4.0 drop to a 3.9.”

Um, yeah, that boy never showed up. Sigh.

Have a great week back at school. Be yourself (even if two other girls are wearing your outfit), just eat something for lunch (don't pull a Nicole Richie), and keep your eye out for any new faces. Not just those of the opposite sex. Take a step out there and invite some new kids to sit with you at lunch. Help them out in class. Outrageous kindness is so attractive. It might even catch the attention of that new hottie sitting next to you in Algebra…

Elephants Can Be Quite Lovely

Happy Monday! After this week it is Thanksgiving vacation! Woooo! So looking forward to a week off. And eating. And shopping. And eating some more.

Congratulations to the winners of I'm SO Sure: Carrie Turansky and Colene. Ladies, just send me your mailing addys to jen at jennybjones dot com. Before I tell you about this week's contest, I must dish about a book you are going to want to read.

I read a fabulous book this weekend. So good I want to take a break from pushing my own book and tell you about it. Not that it needs help.

magician's elephant

I'm pretty sure I first heard about the book's fabulousness from author and expert blogger Natalie Lloyd. Not only does she have awesome things to say in her blog, but she often has great book recommendations. When Natalie talks books, I listen. And I finally picked up The Magician's Elephant. Oh, my gosh. I loooooved it. It's a quick read. It has pictures (always a selling point for me). And it is the most beautifully crafted tale ever. It's fairy tale like.  It's magical. It's hope-filled. It's about this boy whose parents are dead. And he lives with an old man who is not so kind and quite crazy. His mother died giving birth to his sister, and the old man told him his sister died as well. Yet the boy cannot leave it alone. He believes, he hopes, that his sister is alive. So he takes a great risk and goes to see a fortune teller. This fortune teller tells Peter to find his sister, he must follow the elephant. The elephant? What kind of craziness is that? Peter is thoroughly discouraged at the woman's cheap answer. . . until an elephant makes a rather starling appearance. And it doesn't just affect Peter's life. It affects the lives of a handful of people–lives that have been tied together with invisible string.

There are all kinds of random threads and characters in this book. And initially when you find a stray plot piece, you think “that's random and pointless.” But then…then you realize there is no character, no word, no detail wasted in this story. Everything is related in the most brilliant, sigh-inspiring way. This book was like a cozy bedtime story. Would be great read aloud. Would be great read in increments. It's considered juvenile lit, but I would recommend it for any age.  Here is a favorite line:

Looking out over the city, Peter decided that it was a terrible and complicated thing to hope, and that it might be easier, instead, to despair.

And isn't that the truth. Hoping is complicated, difficult business. The book is filled with themes of faith in the unseen, miracles, and about not wasting a single day. I loved it, loved it, loved it. Now I must go find Kate DiCamillo's Edward Tulane.

I'll be giving away a copy a little closer to Christmas, so stay tuned. It's a perfect gift type of book.

In the meantime, let's give away another copy of I'm So Sure. To spice up the haul, I'm adding a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card AND a mention in my acknowledgments if I use your answer. So book, gift card, and name droppage! Woo!  Here is the question for the week: If you could name a fake football team, what would it be called?

Let me give you a little background. In the book I'm writing (go NaNoWriMo! I'm not last!), I have a HDLI (hot dude love interest) who is a former professional football player. (Or some manly sport. I'm thinking football. Let's go with that for now.) Anyway, I don't want to put him on a real team. I need him to be from an imaginary team. And I need some help in coming up with this name. It's a lot harder than you might think.

So in order to get in the running for a copy of I'm So Sure And that 25 dollar gift card to Barnes and Noble AND a shout out in this future release, I need you to leave a suggestion for the team name. Or two. Or three. I will enter your name TWICE for every legit suggestion (manly sounding teams) and once for ones that make me laugh (like one I found on a fantasy football site–Roast Beef Curtains). One will actually be of use to me and one will make me laugh. Because sports–not a fun topic for me. And CHALLENGE yourself not to cheat too much and look up all those fantasy football sites and steal their names. Names like:

Moats n' Hoes (what? what the heck does that even mean? Don't you hate it when something strikes you as funny, but you have no idea what exactly you're laughing at?)
Tylenol Cold and Coughlin
Farve Dollar Footlong (love that one)
Flacco Seagulls
WD-Forte
I Dream of Mangini
Kibbles and Vick
I'm Brinnging Hasselbeck
My My Myyyy Bironas
Henne Nut Cheerios

Good stuff. None of it useful to me. I need something legit sounding like the Broncos, the Bears, the Cowboys. And those teams won't return my calls about letting me buy those names off of them. I mean, aren't they tired of them? Time for new ones!  But until they call. . .I must come up with my own. Can't wait to see your suggestions! You have until Friday at midnight to leave your comments. Winner announced next Monday.

Have a great week. I am on Thanksgiving vakay countdown. Buh-ring it.

See you Wednesday unless another snot plague takes over my body.

JEN
P.S. No, you can't suggest Snot Plague as a team name.

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