Friday, January 28, 2011

Show me your... bookshelves? (Week 3)

Today I am bringing you the bookshelves of Momo from Books Over Boys! Here's what Momo has to say about herself, and her shelves.

I'm a new blogger blogging from Books Over Boys. I've always been a reader and now I enjoy sharing my love for books via my blog! My bookshelf. I try not to organize it a certain way, but I can't help myself. On the very top shelf, I have a few classics that was required of me to read for school, a few tv series, and a couple of movies. The majority of my second shelf consists of my chicklit books, plus my Sookie Stackhouse novels, and a few others. My third and fourth shelf *smiles* are like my most prized possessions in my whole room. They contain all of most favorite books! :) The fifth, and bottom shelf contains my books back from fifth grade! Plus, some of the newer books that I've received! I love my bookshelf! On my worst days, I could just stare at it for hours and get lost in just staring at them. It's like staring at all of the characters and their worlds. When I leave my room, I always better! *__*


And now, let's take a look at her bookshelves!

Shelves one and two



Shelves three and four



Bottom shelf


Whole bookcase


Thank you so much, Momo, for sharing your shelves with me! If you'd like your bookshelves featured on my blog, send me an email to StephanieNPellegrin@gmail.com! Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bucket List

So far 2011 has been a fantastic year for checking off things that are on my Bucket List. One of these days I'll actually sit down and write a blog post detailing everything in my Bucket List so I can keep up with it better.

I've always loved American Girl dolls, particularly Samantha. I was never able to get one as a child (my cousin has three and I was extremely jealous), and I swore that I was going to buy one for myself on day. Well little did I know that the American Girl company started retiring dolls a few years ago and guess who was the first to go? Samantha, of course. When I found out I was beyond heartbroken. Well, a dear friend got me one for Christmas. I nearly cried when I opened the box.




Beauty and the Beast is hands down my favorite Disney movie. My mom wanted to wait until I was older before taking me to the movies for my first time. She wanted me to be able to remember and cherish it. Beauty and the Beast was the first movie I saw, and I fell in love with it. Belle looked like me, dark hair and dark eyes. And she loved to read! Fabulous! I know I'm strange, but I still have a thing for dressing up and costumes. I have been looking into getting Belle's blue town dress made for myself for years, but it always seemed so expensive. Well now I finally own one. I have no idea where I'll wear it to, and I don't care. I do hope we're able to go back to Disney World one day and I'll wear it when we go to Magic Kingdom.




I had to read Number the Stars in my 5th grade reading class. It's one of the first "grown up" books I remember reading. I've hung on to my battered copy for years, and give it a re-read about once a year or so. When I found out that Number the Stars author Lois Lowry was coming to Houston for a book festival, I was shocked. I never thought I'd actually get to meet her, and to have her sign my 5th grade copy seemed like a dream.





Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The future, it's an uncertain one


Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about the future, namely how uncertain it is, at least through my eyes. I turned 25 at the end of last year, and it's been a bit hard for me. Knowing that 25 years of my life are gone and I can never get them back is a little depressing. I feel like all through high school you know what you're supposed to do, you have your to-do list and you check everything off, one by one. Graduate high school, pick a major, choose a college, graduate again, marry someone, etc. I'm at the point in my life now where I have most, if not all, of these things checked off. So what do I do now? Where do I go from here?

I think we as a society make kids pick their majors too soon, I know I was rushed into picking mine. When you're 18 you have no idea what you want to do with your life (most of us don't anyway), and people change so much during their latter teens and twenties. I had always said I wanted to major in English, maybe teach for a while, and eventually I wanted to become a librarian. When I told people what I wanted to do, I was laughed at. No, not to my face, but I was mocked. "Wait... you want to major in English? And teach? Kids these days are horrible, why do you want to work with them five days a week? Do you know how much money teachers make?" Needless to say, I picked a more "glamorous" major that made more money and tried not to let it bother me too much. By the time I finished my Associate's degree I knew I had made a poor decision, but nothing could be done. Husband and I were getting married and moving away. I decided to go back to school "one day." One day has turned into three years later and school still hasn't happened. Part of it is due to my laziness (and I'm scared to death) and part of it is because school is so expensive, and we're still paying off Husband's school loans. Yes, I am still writing and will continue to write. But there is a very slim chance that writing will work out as a career for me, few people are lucky enough to have that opportunity. I need to know that I have a backup plan.

Over the past few weeks I've been thinking about it a lot and decided this fall I was going to take some classes at the local community college, and hopefully "one day" be able to afford to finish my Bachelor's degree in English. I was almost excited about it. Then I wake up to this article from the Austin Statesman, "AISD School board OKs plan that may cost 485 jobs." Nearly 500 people are probably going to lose their jobs this year. So even after I spend the next 4+ years of my life finally getting the degree I've wanted all along, it's still going to be hard, if not impossible, to be able to do what I want to do.

I'm so frustrated, but mainly upset. Upset with the economy for being so unstable. Upset at people that talked me out of my dream. Upset with myself that I listened.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Show me your.... bookshelves? (Week 2)

This week I'm featuring my dear friend Tina's bookshelves. I have known Tina for years and she's been an amazing friend to me. :)

Tina is, like me, a nerd. (And I say that because I love you!) She loves Star Wars and is a big fan of manga. Is it just me or do her bookshelves look like a bookstore or a library?





Here's what Tina has to say about her bookshelves:
Mt first shelf has all Star Wars novels on the left side. They are arranged in chronological order. The left shelf is manga (Japanese comic books), Disney Fairies books, and Harry Potter. Top shelf manga: Fullmetal Alchemist. Middle shelf manga: Fruits Basket, Inubaka. Bottom shelf manga: Naruto

My second shelf photo is a mis-mash of books. Top shelf: mystery books, Dune novels; a signed copy of a Band of Brothers book that Frank got at a WWII show. Middle shelf: a complete mix-and-match Bottom shelf: mostly sports related, with some other special interests thrown in (Star Trek, school yearbooks, dog related books).

Tina also has a 3 year old daughter (wow she's almost 4 now!) named Paige who also loves to read, here are Paige's bookshelves.




Thank you for letting me feature your bookshelves this week, Tina! Do you want your bookshelves featured? Email me your pictures and a brief description about your bookshelves at StephanieNPellegrin.com.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Austin Children's Shelter- an update


So after my blog post last week, Jen and I took to the streets (AKA-Twitter) asking our blogger friends if they could help us get more books to donate to the Austin Children's Shelter. We even branched out a little farther and started asking authors. The response has been overwhelming! Over 15 authors and bloggers have pledged to donate books. Amazing! It's been less than a week and so far we already have 107 books. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN. That's 107 books that are in the hands of teens that need them the most, and it's all because of you. Our original hope was to get at least 100 books. Seeing as we met that goal so quickly, I'm thinking now maybe we can get to 300 books. I almost feel sorry for the people at the shelter, I don't think they really expected us to fulfill our promise of bringing more books. Let it be known that Jen and I don't do anything halfway! Maybe we should work on getting bookshelves donated next. ;)

We received a lovely email from Janis, the shelter's community relations director, saying the kids are already enjoying the books we dropped off last week. She caught a 16 year old boy staring at the shelves of new books He asked if she'd help him pick out a book he might like. If that doesn't bring tears to the eyes of a bibliophile I don't know what will.

If you haven't pledged to donate yet and would still like to, it's not too late! Email me at StephanieNPellegrin@gmail.com. If you don't have books but still wish to donate, you're more than welcome to order books online and have them sent to my house, or you can even mail me a giftcard to a book store, whatever works for you. Want to give something other than books? Click here to view the shelter's wishlist.

I feel like Jen and I will be saying thank you for the rest of our lives, but seriously, THANK YOU. The kindness of the YALit community has been astronomical, we'll never be able to say thank you enough.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Last Sacrifice bookplate winners!



Wow thank you to everyone who entered! The turnout for this contest was a bit overwhelming. I had over 200 entries. I'm usually lucky to get over 30 in a normal contest, so to have 200 people enter is crazy. Don't worry, I won't make you wait any longer. Random.org picked the numbers 67, 58, 131, 196, and 46 for me. The people with those numbers are...

67- Susan Dorta
58- Lucia Hua
131- Heather McCorkle
196- Jayne Watkins
46- Alyssa Stacy


Congratulations to Susan, Lucia, Heather, Jayne, and Alyssa! I have emailed all of you requesting your mailing addresses and you now have 72 hours to respond. If I don't get a response within the 72 hours I will have to pick another winner to give your prize pack to, so be sure to email me back!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Show me your.... bookshelves?

You all know I'm obsessed with the written word. I love everything there is to love about books, including bookshelves. I'm always very interested in seeing other people's bookshelves, so I thought I'd make it a feature on my blog. Every week I'll be posting pictures of someone's bookshelves! Want your bookshelves to be featured? Email me at StephanieNPellegrin@gmail.com and we'll talk! I'm hoping I have enough interest in doing this that I can keep it going for a while and I don't have to beg for pictures.

I thought it would be nice to start off with my own bookshelves. I had a library in our old apartment and I'm still in the process of setting one up in our new one. So far our spare room has been a, "Oh I have no idea where to put this so I'll stick it in here" kind of room. I wrote a previous blog post with pictures of that room and you can look at them here.

Here are my bookshelves now. I recently took a whole day and put everything in alphabetical order. I thought it was going to be an easy, quick, simple task. Boy I couldn't have been more wrong. Now that it's finished, I'm glad I took the time to do it.











I hope you enjoyed the small tour of my home library. I can't wait to get the room turned back into my library/office. We're getting rid of the couch that you see in the pictures and it'll hopefully be replaced with a writing desk I can put under a window that's on that wall. I'll update pictures as things progress!

And seriously, I need you to email me! Don't make me come begging everyone for pictures of their bookshelves, because I will do that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Donating to the Austin Children's Shelter

Remember my post a few months back about the Texas Book Blogger get together? (Click here if you haven't read it.) Long story short, we all got together and swapped books. The books that were left over were going to be donated some organization in Texas, we hadn't decided yet.

Well I'm proud to say that today Jen and I took four sacks of books (over 60 books!) and donated them to the Austin Children's Shelter. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the Austin Children's Shelter, but what I saw when I arrived was not the picture in my head. The buildings were beautiful and brand new. They currently house over 50 kids who were either homeless, taken away from their parents, or have no one else to care for them. Janis, the Community Relations Director, gave us a quick tour and both Jen and myself were amazed.

We were also glad that the kids already have a library! They were severely lacking in the young adult section, though so I'm so glad were were able to help them out a bit.


The YA section, after Jen and I shelved all our books


I write to you to ask you all now for help. While we made a good donation today, they are still desperate for more YA books, particularly more current books. (Janis said they've read Harry Potter a lot and are dying for more Twilight-ish type books.) If you have books that you're willing to donate, please email me at StephanieNPellegrin@gmail.com. You can either mail them to me or if you live in Austin I can come pick them up. Most of the kids that live at the Austin Children's Shelter are aged 14-20 and are dying to read. They desperately need something to take them away from the life they're currently living, even if for just a while. They need to remember to dream again, and have hope again. I hope you can help me in making that possible.

If you have books you want to donate but don't want to send them to me, I urge you to find an organization in your area that can put them to good use. All children should have the opportunity to read a good book.

Update: Jen and I took to Twitter and donations are now pouring in! I didn't expect this to viral as fast as it did. We now have donations promised from over 10 authors and about 10 bloggers. THIS IS AMAZING and we can't thank you enough. Keep 'em coming!! :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Across The Universe Day!




So today is 1.11.11. You all know what that means, right? Today is the official release day for Across the Universe by Beth Revis! The official website for the book launched today and has a really cool detailed interactive photo of the ship, Godspeed. Also be sure to click the "downloads" button at the very top of the page to get some really cool desktop backgrounds. At 11:11 AM (eastern time) there will be an 111 page excerpt up for you to read! But read fast, it's only up for 12 hours, so it will be taken down at 11:11PM (eastern time).

For those of you who haven't heard of this book yet, here is some info for you:



Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.





I also have an exclusive author video that Penguin Teen sent to a few bloggers to share with you!



To find out more about Across the Universe, check out Beth's website, Twitter, blog, and Facebook. Also check out Penguin Teen's website, Twitter, Facebook, and the official ATU Facebook page.

If you haven't picked up ATU yet, do so! You can go to any bookstore and pick up your copy today, or order your copy from Indie Bound or Amazon.

Also a quick thanks to my friend Jeremy at Novel Thoughts for letting me use the lovely header graphic he made for his ATU post.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Signed LAST SACRIFICE bookplate giveaway!

The past few days have been kind of blah for me. I haven't left the house since Tuesday and it shows. Our pantry was bare and our milk long expired. I decided a little sun wouldn't hurt me and went to the grocery store to pick up some essentials.

I was minding my own business when I turned the corner and found myself headed straight for the small book section my grocery store has, which isn't uncommon for me. What is uncommon was that there was a huge Vampire Academy display on a table. I grinned, excited that a series I love so much has made it big enough that grocery store chains are carrying it. I inch closer to the table when something catches my eye: SWAG. I quickly grab a Vampire Academy bracelet and pin when something else catches my eye: SIGNED BOOKPLATES. I thought they were the laser signed ones, but upon closer inspection they were all a bit different. Not much, but I could tell someone hand-signed them. I took to Twitter asking if anyone else had seen them and Richelle confirmed that they were indeed signed by her! Squee!

Don't worry, dear readers, of course I picked up some things for you because I love you so. I'll be giving away five prize packs this time! Each will include a signed bookplate, bracelet, and pin.




Rules:
*This contest is international! Yay!
*Contest will run from today through Friday January 14th.
*Winners will be chosen using Random.org
*I will email you if you win! Please respond within 72 hours or I'll have to give your prize pack to someone else.
*One entry per person, please and thank you.
*Sadly, I'm not responsible if your package is lost or stolen in transit. :(
*You do NOT have to follow my blog or Twitter account (though I'd like you to).
*Fill out the FORM BELOW to enter!


Contest is now closed! Thanks to all who entered!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Head, Meet Desk


This has been a busy week for me. So far pretty much every day has been as follows:
Write
Write
Drink a caffeinated beverage
Write
Read
Write some more
Remember I never ate
Remember I never showered
Remember I never did laundry
Write
Read
Sleep

I think my right eyeball is going to pop out of my head soon. It's been bloodshot for a few days and is getting worse, and starting to hurt a bit. I really need to look into doing something about eye strain, I guess.

Obviously the "write more" and "read more" part of my 2011 to-do list is going well, as well as the "don't clean" part of my don't-do list. I finished reading my 3rd book for the week yesterday and am this close to passing the 20K mark on my WIP. I'm nearly a third of the way finished with this first draft and to say I'm exhausted is an understatement. I don't write linearly (though I wish I did), I write the "important" scenes as they come to me. I need to add more details and back story and kissing scenes with cute boys. I'm also freaking out a bit because I'm realizing that at some point all these random scenes need to come together and form a cohesive story. Gulp. To add more stress in my life, I've given myself a deadline of March to have this first draft done, with time to rewrite and edit through the summer. Double gulp.

This is the first thing I've ever written that I haven't meticulously outlined on paper. I mean, I know the beginning, middle, and end, but I don't know the stuff that happens in between. I didn't think I'd like doing it this way, but it's been very refreshing, actually. I didn't realize how much I missed sitting down and writing and not having to trash scenes because "they don't fit in the outline." It's been quite freeing.

I'm also beginning to experience the first tiny inklings of self doubt with this WIP. I feel like my little contemporary doesn't stand a chance of making it in a market flooded with paranormal. I've had so many people tell me, "Don't worry about the trends, write what you know and love." and I've done just that. I listened to advice, and my gut, and am writing what I want to write. I just hope I'm not making a big mistake in doing so. *headdesk*

So... that's been my week this week. I should probably go shower now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Goals


I'm not really a big resolution maker. I feel like I should be making goals to better myself all the time, not on one certain day of the year. With the new year starting it does have me thinking about the future and things I want to accomplish as well as the past and things I haven't managed to accomplish. I've made myself a To Do and Don't Do list that I'm hoping to follow throughout the year.

To Do List:

Write more
Over the past few months I have been writing more than ever, but still not as much as I need to be. My goal for myself is to write at least 5K a week, which should be very easy and doable. I'd love to have my contemporary finished, and maybe edited, by summer.

Read more
in 2009 I vowed I was going to read 100 books. I only made it to 92, but I was still proud. In 2010 I only read 42 books. I would love to read a book a week, at least.

Blog more

I love to write, so blogging is like another creative outlet for me. My friends and family read it, and it's something I can look back on years to come and "remember when." Maybe my kids will read it and see how cool their mom was. Ha.

Cook more
I enjoy cooking, but I don't do it as often as I should. I always use the excuses that our kitchen is small and groceries are expensive, etc. Husband and I eat out way too much.

Go outside more
I've noticed recently on days that I stay home and write all day that by the end of the day I'm very blue. I try to be excited because it's been a good day or whatever, but I still find myself depressed. I think it's because I stay inside for too long. I need to remember to get out more, even if it's just reading a book or writing on our porch.

Visit my family more

This one is tricky. My family lives 10 hours away and it's hard for me to get there. But with a new nephew that's growing up so quickly I need to make more trips home, no matter how expensive flying is.


Don't Do List:


Don't write junk
Sometimes I find myself writing words that I know are utter bunk just so that I'll get through for the day and I think, "Oh I'll edit that better later." I need to stop doing this and start getting serious.

Don't tweet so much
I love Twitter so, so much. However, it distracts me big time. I find myself checking every few minutes to see if someone is talking to me or asks me a question. I need to learn that I don't have to be available online to people 24/7. I need to finish what I'm working on first, and play later.

Don't live in the past

I have a tendency to say, "Well if I had done this then, then I'd be finished by now." You can't change the past anymore. Start those things you've been putting off now.

Don't clean

Yep, cleaning is on the "don't" list. I had someone tell me a while back, "A writer with a clean house isn't writing." and it's so true. I used to tell myself, "Ok, I'm going to do *insert housework chore here* and then I'll get started on writing." Wrong. I need to think of it oppositely of how I have been: "I don't need to clean because I have so much writing to do", not "I don't need to write because I have so much cleaning to do." This is hard because it's difficult for me to keep my mind on my work knowing that the house is a mess or laundry is piled to the heavens. Husband just may have to understand that every once in a while, he'll have to wear dirty pants to work. *gasp*

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Giveaway Winners!




And the winners of my Epic New Year's Giveaway are...

Swag goes to Amber!
Books go to Kristin!

Congratulations, ladies! I've sent you both an email and you now have 48 hours to respond with your mailing address before I have to pick another winner.

Thank you all so much for entering my contest! I'll try and have another giveaway soon. Happy New Year, everyone! :)