25 August 2013


I just spent a week in Florida for my honeymoon.

How we managed to pick the hottest, most humid week in seven years I’m not sure—just lucky, I guess.

Anyhow, we had a great time.

Disney World is made of imagination, adventure and wonder.  It feels magical (as it is supposed to) and even after hours in lines, kids are ready for more.  The adults, not so much sometimes.  The people working there do everything they can to make sure you are having the best time possible.

Let me focus on just one ride.  Star Tours.

Okay, yes, I’m a huge Star Wars geek, and my husband is a fan. They’ve recently redone the Star Tours ride, adding a 3-D aspect as well as having 54 different combinations of scenes that you could go through.

We went on it five times and didn’t even see half of the options for the combinations.

It was so much fun! My little geek heart soared, and if we’d had more time I would have gone another five times.

Another spot that made me giddy was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  All I can say is awesome.  To see a place I’ve read about for years and years pretty much come alive was quite the experience. And to be surrounded by people who are talking about the shops, the jokes, the candy, the butter beer and the way to get into Dumbledor’s office (half of them in British accents) was a once in a lifetime experience.

So those were my geek out moments. I loved every minute of it.

However, on our last day we went to the Kennedy Space Center.  My husband is a huge science/math/space geek, and this was his one request for the trip.  I’d been there before, when I was about 12 years old, but didn’t remember much.

A few years ago they retired the Space Shuttle program.  In one of the buildings we learned about the last flight to upgrade the Hubble Telescope.  They talked a bunch about the program, the engineering and all of the missions. It was great.  The screen the movie had been playing on went black, then translucent, and right behind it they had the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

I walked into the same room as a Space Shuttle that had been off of the earth 33 times.

I started to cry.  It was overwhelming to think about all of the time, effort, engineering and money that had gotten us to this point.  The sheer though process of making a shuttle that could be reused was innovative and completely new.  There are more than 24,000 separate and unique (and numbered) tiles on the Atlantis that keep it from exploding when it comes back into the atmosphere. And the people at NASA did it along with help from companies all over the country, maybe even the world.

This was real. Not like Space Mountain (which I love), but real life ingenuity and tenacity.

My writer’s mind paused and asked, “So if this is the reaction you get from something real, why do you love stories so much? Why do they matter?”

I got stunk on the reason, and I still don’t have a great answer to the question. I’m thinking about it.

But I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject. Please leave a comment below. I'm seriously curious.

06 August 2013

Up in the Air

Hey everyone,

Today we have a guest post by the lovely and talented Ann Marie Meyers, author of the new Middle Grade book Up in the Air.

Please be nice to her!

<>  If you could eat anything for breakfast, what would it be?
AMM: Fruit cake and strawberry ice cream.

<>  Do you prefer leather or cloth seats in cars? Why?
AMM: Cloth is definitely much softer and more comfortable.

<>  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Who would you take with you?

AMM:  I’d love go to Australia and take my daughter and husband with me. I’ve heard so much about the outback that I can’t wait to finally get there.

<>  What is the most interesting job you've ever had to this point?

AMM: I was a sales representative for the Trinidad and Tobago Tourist Board. I loved traveling and meeting so many interesting people.

<>  Tell us about a strange writing habit that you have.

AMM:  When I get stuck on how to write a scene, I’ll type in what I want to achieve, the tone I want to have and the mood I want to capture, then move on to something else. I’ll let my subconscious work on the problem and revisit my notes every once in a while until I’m satisfied with the outcome.

<>  What is your favorite quote/saying about writing? What does it mean to you?

AMM: “Writing is magic for those willing to follow their imagination to a region where anything is possible” by William Kotzwinkle (ET).

            To me, it means that our limitations are self-imposed, and that everything is possible once we let ourselves believe it. So too with writing. Whenever I get ‘stuck’ I know that it is only a question of time before I figure out the ‘solution’. I just let my imagination roam free.

<>  What scene of this novel proved to be the most difficult for you to write?

The hardest scene was Melody’s initial arrival into Chimeroan. I just couldn’t get it right. Either it was too fantastical or too concrete. It was only months before I finally submitted the manuscript to Jolly Fish Press, that I finally figured out what wasn’t working and fixed it.

<>  What scene turned out exactly as you imagined it?

AMM: The very last scene of the book (not the epilogue, which was added later).

<>  What aspect of your life has most influenced your writing?

AMM:  I guess I’ll have to say it’s the hundreds of fantasy and sci-fi books I read in my teens. I absolutely love the genre, and am drawn to some element of fantasy in most everything I write.  

¨      Why should people read your book? What does it have to offer them?  (This is the part where you brag it up!)

AMM: What child has never dreamed of flying, even if as a mere passing fancy? Who doesn’t wish that their dreams could come true; for life to be happy and go exactly the way they want?

Up In The Air will fill you with hope and remind you of the dreams you once had when life was filled with possibility. It’s a story about holding on to the things you truly want and never letting go. Up In The Air will take readers on an adventure to a magical land called Chimeroan, where a person’s dreams (deepest desires) come true. And yet… what is it that prevents us from pursuing our dreams?

Readers will follow the journey of the protagonist, Melody, whose dream is to fly away and be free. Yet when Melody gets the wings of her dreams, she realizes that this does not solve anything. Readers will stick with Melody as she encounters situations that help her face her fears and confront the reality of the accident that paralyzed her father and left her unscarred. They will rejoice in her newfound freedom, the one within, from which everything stems.  

<>  If you could write a spin-off novel about a side character, who would you choose?

AMM: I would choose Andrew, Melody’s friend from school, so we could see Chimeroan from another perspective.

<>  Tell us why you love this story.

AMM: I love Melody as a character. I admire her gumption, her desire to be tough and not let anyone hurt her. Yet, I also love her vulnerability, which is revealed during her stay on Chimeroan. Her fears resonate with me very strongly, especially since these very fears are what she needs to face in order for her to live her dream. And in the end, I rejoice with her newfound freedom.

I am enchanted by Melody’s journey. She has wings. She can soar with the birds. The freedom! The absolute joy of this!  Yet, this outward tangible joy does not bring her the peace she seeks. She needs to go within. Her journey reminds me of my own, those moments when I need to go within to find peace.

Also, the world of Chimeroan itself enchants me. Chimeroan not only has the ability to make everyone’s dreams (their deepest desire, not merely a whimsical fancy) come true, but has a way of revealing exactly what holds a person back from achieving what they truly want; and in doing so frees the person.

Check out Up in the Air today!

And stalk Ann Marie in these locations:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnnMarieMeyersauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnMarie_Meyers
Website: http://www.annmarie-meyers.com/