Monday, July 12, 2010

Updates in Progress

Updates are in progress for From Barbies to Words. Crystal and I are in the process of making this blog ours. If you have any suggestions, now would be a great time to offer them up!

In addition, I would love it if you would tell me about the things you've seen on From Barbies to Words that you've enjoyed the most. I want to make this blog something that you can enjoy reading and we can enjoy writing. Let's work together to make that happen!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Working on It....

Hey guys! I'm currently updating and cleaning up the blog for a sort of relaunch. After such a long hiatus, Crystal and I decided that we need to come back big. So, we'll be starting back regularly in May and we're hoping you'll join us on May 1st for the big kick off!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

AWOL & Apology

Wow. It's been over a month since either of us was last on here. There's very good reasons for this, including family tragedy and insanely busy time at college.

However, the semester is almost up, which will afford us more time to spend doing the things we love. So, keep an eye out for future posts from the both of us!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sister Time: AWAY

We will be gone all weekend. We're spending the weekend in a cabin relaxing and writing. Unfortunately, that means no internet, which means no blog posts until Monday. The original plan had been to get several scheduled to keep you occupied, but plans fall through when midterms and papers pile up.

We will resume your regularly scheduled blog on Monday with bigger and better things! (We did just get a new co-owner after all.)

Oh and a trip to the mountains means pictures!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Movie Madness: Thumbelina

Welcome to our Movie Madness series. Each day, we will give you a little bit of information about a movie we've seen and whether or not we recommend it to our readers.

Movie: Thumbelina
Release Date: March 30, 1994
Where did we see it? The first time we saw this film, it was through a video rental at the local video store. We were probably around 5 and 8.

What was liked: I have always loved this show as an animated choice. The film is set in the world of fairies and thumb-sized girls. It is based off of the fairy tale, Thumbelina, by Hans Christian Anderson. In this film, Thumbelina goes on an adventure to find her way home (and to her prince). Along the way, she meets several characters with interesting obsessions and things to sing about. Some of the characters are likeable, while others fall into the category of villians. It is certainly interesting to see who waits around each corner for Thumbelina.

What was not liked: I can't really say that there's anything I don't like about this film. Of course, I first saw it through the eyes of a child, which means I was much less critical than I am now. It is a great example of classic animation with songs to sing to.

Would I recommend it? I would recommend seeing this movie. It'll take you back to the days of childhood. If you know a child, check it out together. I think you'll find it enjoyable.

How did it rate? I would give this movie 5 stars out of 5.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Movie Madness: Dear John

Introducing the first of our Movie Madness series. Each day, we will give you a little bit of information about a movie we've seen and whether or not we recommend it to our readers.

Movie: Dear John
Release Date: February 5, 2010
Where did we see it? We saw this one in theaters for the first time. It is not yet available on DVD.

What was liked: I loved the setting of this film, partially because it was set in my hometown. They managed to get a lot of great shots that beautifully depict the Charleston area. I also liked how real world events (such as 9/11) played a part in the show. There are a few other things I liked as well, but I'm going to save them for another time since this one's still in theaters and I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

What was not liked: I felt that there were a few parts in the film that were lacking in development. John's back story could have been developed more concisely to draw the viewer in. The ending was also very open ended, which surprised me. It was not the ending I was expecting.

Would I recommend it? I would recommend that you see this movie. But, I would caution you on one thing. If you are a lover of Nicholas Sparks' movies, please do not go into this one with your hopes too high. Better to be surprised than to be let down.

How did it rate? I would give this movie 3 stars out of 5. I feel that my opinion may improve on second viewing, but for now, that is all that I feel I can give to this movie.

Exciting News!!

I'll do a more formal post tomorrow, but I wanted to share this bit of exciting news with you now.

From Barbies to Words will be gaining a co-owner! You've heard a lot about her and now you're going to get to hear a lot from her. Please take a moment to help me welcome my lovely sister, Crystal, to co-ownership of this blog!!

I will do a more formal welcome post tomorrow so that you can get the chance to know a little bit more about my younger sister.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Moon Contest

I'm hosting another contest! This one's to celebrate the birthday of Aiden, the February full moon, and another surprise which will be announced tomorrow!

There are many ways to enter, which I will list below, followed by the prize packs you may win from the contest.

You will earn points based on the following:
(+1) for entering the contest using the form
(+3) for being an old follower of this blog
(+2) for being a new follower of this blog
(+1) for every link you post
(+5) for following Two to Write
(+2) for posting my blog button on your site
(+2) for posting the Two to Write button on your site

Additional points (+1 for each) may also be earned for each comment left in any of the following places:
(+1) From Barbies to Words
(+1) Two to Write
(+1) The Journal of Aiden Sinclair
(+1) The Journal of Madison Burbank

(Note from me: I will keep track of the points for the comments. All comments made between February 28th and March 30th will earn you points for this contest.)

Now for the prizes!

The winner will get their choice of the following packs. Second place will get the next pick. It will continue in that pattern.

The Writer's Pack

This pack contains a notebook, folder, post-it notes, black pen, and fun red pen (complete with flower).

The Reader's Pack

This pack contains the book Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast. The book will also come with a bookmark inside.

Aiden's Charleston Wolf Pack

This pack is the one that honors Aiden and our February theme of Around Charleston. This pack comes with a custom-made (by me!) bracelet (which is colorful with a wolf charm) and a wooden palmetto tree.

Additional packs will be added when I reach the following:

This contest will run from February's Full Moon (February 28th) until March's Full Moon (March 30th).

Go ahead! Enter using the FORM!!!

I need the help of my readers!

I've been thinking about featuring a weekly contest post with all of the contests I find around the blogosphere to enter. I don't want to waste the time on this post if no one is interested in it though. That is where I need your help.

Below, you will find a poll. Please take a moment to voice your opinion on this topic. Thanks so much!

Full Moon!

Ever since Crystal and I started writing a novel involving werewolves, I have fallen in love with wolves and full moons. They are interesting topics to research and learn more about. Plus, I can say I'm doing research for our novel when I look up information on wolves or full moons!

Looking up the moon schedule recently, I discovered that today holds a full moon for us. The full moon should occur at 11:38am (EST), the exact time that this post is being made. So, when it grows dark enough, go outside and take a look at the moon.

When looking up information on full moons, I came across information about the names of the full moons. Each month brings a "new" full moon to us. February brings the snow moon.

February's moon is known as the snow moon because this month is historically the most snow-filled month. I believe most of us can say that this is very true in 2010. Places that rarely see snow (such as Charleston) have seen inches of snow. It has been a snowy month, which will end (fittingly enough) with a Full Snow Moon.

Happy end of February! Look for great things coming in March!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Glimpse into My Life

I was sitting here trying to figure out what to write. There's still quite a few posts I want to get made before February ends to honor Aiden and his birthday. It all seems so appropriate with February's theme being Around Charleston and Aiden living in Charleston.

There will be plenty of time for that later. Right now, I'm going to take time to spend with my family. I don't really want to tell the world why, but I definitely feel like I need to spend some time with my family right now.

I will post the about our *birthday* outing later tonight, along with fun pictures. Until then, have a great Saturday!

I also have a very special announcement to make later. Let's just say this - I'm super excited for something (or someone) new that's coming to the blog!

Award Time: The Humane Award

Humane Award
Thanks to Velvet of vvb32 reads

This award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendship through the blog world.

Rule: Nominate 10 bloggers you feel deserve the Humane Award.

I nominate:

Shannon O'Donnell of Book Dreaming


Shelli of Market My Words

Aye.Me of Reversing the Monotony

Kristi Faith of R.A.W. "Random Acts of Writing

Jilly of J.F. Jenkins




I nominated people that regularly reply to my blog posts. Some are from Blogger and others are from Livejournal because my entries display in both locations (though Livejournal doesn't pull in the lovely pictures).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Words from a Writer: Happy Birthday Aiden!

One of the characters in a novel that I am cowriting with Crystal is celebrating his birthday today.

Image from

In order to celebrate his birthday, I thought I would share how his novel came to be. Below is the story of how Crystal and I came up with one of the novels we are working on (re)writing.

The journey to get our first novel written and finished has been a long and interesting one.

Let me begin at the beginning if I can figure out where that is.

Around six years ago when we were both still in high school, we first came up with the idea to co-write a novel together. We both enjoy writing and it seemed like a fun way to share this passion. We set out to write a novel about eight teens who discover they have magical powers. As we started on this novel, the story began to evolve and outgrow itself. It was no longer the simple novel, Enchantment, that it had started out as.

What started out as a single novel about eight teens quickly became a novel about the Ennea - a ruling group of nine who keep the magical world in balance. This group and magic on Earth originated from another world known as Aurum. 1000 years ago, a simple wizard named Wendel, messed up a spell bringing the Ennea on a one-way trip to Earth. Now, the latest Ennea has to figure out a way back to Aurum before it's too late. We continued working on and evolving this story over the course of our years.

With time, we found that our interest in Enchantment dwindled some. What had started out as a simple novel had turned into a much larger project that was going to span more than one book. The 150+ pages we had already were going to have to rewritten and updated. We were still very attached to these characters, but we weren't sure it was the project we wanted for our summerwrite experience.

That's the background to us writing together. Now, here's the story of how Dancing beneath the Moon came to be:

It was all set in motion in April of 2009 when Myrtle Beach caught on fire this past spring. We were supposed to be going to see the band Blue October in concert at the House of Blues. However, with the disaster of the fire, Myrtle Beach was using the House of Blues as a shelter. We received a call the day before the concert (it was going to be on a Friday) that it had been cancelled. Our money was refunded and luckily we were also able to get out of our hotel reservations.

We weren't happy about our weekend plans being ruint so we looked to find an alternative for the weekend. We decided to return to the Georgia Renaissance Festival for a second time. We had already been once this year, but it would give us something to do. We booked the hotel and packed our stuff.

The car trip to Fairburn, GA from our house is about six hours. On I-20, they have been doing construction, so the trip tends to seem even longer. Somewhere along the interstate, we started talking about Summerwrite. I was leaning towards doing it, with hopes that it would turn out better than Nano. Crystal wasn't sure if she wanted to do it or if she had the time to devote to it with her work schedule for the summer. Plus, we weren't sure we were ready to revisit Enchantment just yet.

We started talking about how much we would love to see our names in print one day. We decided that it would probably be in our best interest if we started with something smaller than Enchantment (which looks like it's going to be a series consisting of 9 books). So, we set out to write a single novel. We started tossing ideas around.

I threw out the idea that we had talked about before - the darker side of magic with werewolves, vampires, etc. We had once discussed the possibility of them originating from another world (similar to but different from Enchantment). We set out talking about how this would work. Soon, I had a page of notes about various "dark" magical creatures and key details about them. We decided that they would all be orginated from the combination of demons and humans.

This was great, but how to narrow things down to just one book. We decided to pick one creature and focus on it. This didn't mean that the other creatures wouldn't be in the book. It simply meant that one creature would be our focus. We quickly ruled out vampires. There's too much out there on them right now and we didn't want them to be our focus. Looking at the list, it wasn't long before we leaned towards werewolves.

We both agreed that these werewolves would be humans who turn into wolves (which I adore), not humans who turn into hairy men (which I very much dislike). Next, we set about deciding the basics of it. We decided that it would focus on a boy and girl in high school. One would be a werewolf and the other would be human. Naturally, it would be a love story.

We decided the werewolf should be a boy and the human should be a girl. The story would be told in alternating points of view. One chapter would focus on the werewolf, followed by the next chapter focused on the human. I'm not sure how we decided, but I would be writing the werewolf chapters and Crystal would be responsible for the human chapters.

Next came the issue of names, which is where things start to get freaky. I quickly chose Aiden for the boy, but Crystal was having a hard time with names for the girl. We're driving down the road and she finally says "Which do you like better, Madison or Emmeline?" At the exact same moment that she says this, I see a sign that says "Madison so many miles, Atlanta so many miles." I immediately respond with a giggle and Madison. Then, I have to explain why. We decide her name was meant to be.

We spend the next hour looking around road signs for clues to the rest of their names. Madison is glaring us in the eye from everywhere (there's a town in Georgia named Madison). I settle on Sinclaire for Aiden's name based on a sign for Lake Sinclair. And Crystal finishes Madison's name out to be Madison Faith Burbank after a long discussion and a lot of suggestions.

The story was born - it had characters and a loose plot. We spent the rest of the trip talking about it every minute we got (which was a lot). It began to take shape. We returned home and signed up for Summerwrite. We started writing our novel on May 1st with the kick off to summerwrite. With the nature of writing together, it meant that we couldn't always work on Dancing beneath the Moon when we were writing, so we each picked up various other writing projects to fill our time and help keep the creativity flowing. Among these is the short story "Howling" that I wrote. It contains the back story to Aiden's parents. You can find it over at my writing journal if you're interested in reading it.

There's been several other fun things in the adventure of writing this novel, but since this post has gotten so long, I'm going to stop here. I'll post more in the future regarding the other freaky things that have helped lead to the completion of our first novel! Also, be on the lookout for a synopsis of it. We won't be posting it online (because the plan is to get it published), but we may let some people read it after it's been edited.

Oh, and somewhere along the way, Aiden and Madison outgrew the spanse of one book, so unfortunately, their story will not be just one novel as originally planned. The good thing is that Dancing beneath the Moon can stand alone and is not reliant on it's future novel(s)!

Celebration Contest

In honor of a character's birthday (which is today) and the full moon, I will be hosting a big contest starting Sunday, February 28. Sunday is the full moon, so we will kick off the contest with the full moon. The contest will last a total of 28 days, from one full moon to the next. I just wanted to give you guys a heads up so that you could be on the lookout for my contest post on Sunday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Announcing: Movie Madness

I have decided on the theme for March. In truth, I decided on the theme for March a while ago and have finally decided to reveal it.

The theme for March is...Movie Madness!!

During March, I will be highlighting movies. This means a playlist built around great songs from movies. It means lots of movie reviews, as well as movie suggestions. And certainly not last, it means movie-related book reviews. I will also unveil a movie-related contest and my favorite movie of all time.

I'm really excited about this theme and hope that you will join me in celebrating some of the great movies out there.

Feel free to suggest movies in the comments for me to think about including in March.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winner(s) announced!

The President's Day giveaway ended on Sunday and I'm here to announce the winner!

Drumroll please.

The winner is...Kelsey!

She has won the following:

Thanks to all who participated!

Be on the lookout for a new contest starting this weekend. It's going to be quite the celebration!

The Reading Chair: Review of Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Kayla has always felt a kinship with nature. Adopted as a child, Kayla has no idea that she’s inherited the gene that will turn her into a wolf. She can’t understand why she’s so drawn to distant, aloof Lucas...

As the leader of the Dark Guardians, a pack of werewolves that gather in the national forest, Lucas must watch Kayla until she discovers her destiny as his perfect other half. Just when Kayla finally begins to understand her fate, a new danger that threatens their very existence.

My Review:
Ordinarily, it's the cover or title that draws me to pick a book off the shelf of the bookstore. The cover of Moonlightdid very little for me, as it is not nearly as intriguing as it could be. The title, however, did draw me into this book.

I found Moonlight on a day when we had ventured out to the bookstore to do some research. Crystal and I had recently decided to write a novel about werewolves and we wanted to see what was already out there. We probably spent an hour going up and down the young adult aisle looking for books with titles related to the moon, werewolves, or wolves. We did not find nearly as many as we predicted we would.

Among the few books we did find was Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne. I read the back of the book several times. After each time, I would replace it on the shelf and keep looking for other wolf related books. I kept coming back to this book. I was not planning on buying a book that day, but curiosity eventually won out and I bought it in the name of "research."

I don't regret purchasing this book for an instant. The characters are interesting and the storyline is unique. Hawthorne kept me on the edge of my seat as I read the story. I continuously wanted to know more about Lucas and Kayla's attraction to him. I wanted to know more about the wolves that lingered in the woods.

I could not find a dull moment in this book and read it in less than a day. It was the first book in months to grab my attention. I would have to honestly say that this book got me back into reading on a more regular basis. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the supernatural and young adult literature. As a writer of werewolves, I cannot say enough about this book.

My rating:

5 pawprints! Way to go Rachel Hawthorne!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Words from a Writer: From Barbies to Words

When I came up with the title for this blog, I didn't realize just how true it would ring down the line.

Originally, the blog title was simply supposed to refer to a growth in my relationship with my sister, Crystal. It was supposed to illustrate the way we had gone from playing Barbies together to writing words together. We have always been partners in crime, regardless of what we're doing.

Lately, though, I have found new reasons for the title. I have found that it describes our creativity style perfectly. Allow me to explain for a moment.

When Crystal and I used to play Barbies, we would come across an idea we loved and play it out in every way possible. We would recreate the same storyline over and over again until we'd worn it to perfection.

Now, I'm finding that we do a similar thing with writing. Last summer, we wrote our first novel together. When we settled down and started in on the editing process, we had many long conversations that eventually ended with a big decision. We decided to undertake the task of completely rewriting the story to make it even better. We have started and restarted this second draft several times in an attempt to find the one we're happiest with. Hopefully the rewriting process doesn't last as long as some of our Barbie storylines. If it does, we could be in for years of rewriting the same story...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Around Charleston: Magnolia Plantation

Of all the plantations I have visited, Magnolia Plantation is my least favorite in terms of historical houses. Not because the house isn't gorgeous, but because the house is not as old as some of it's neighbors.

(Click to view better quality)

The plantation does have several wonderful things to offer visitors though. It has a fun topiary maze that challenges individuals of all ages to find their way out. It has a petting zoo, where I had the pleasure of feeding and petting deer. They truly are gentle creatures. It also has an extensive array of gardens that you can walk through. It certainly provides you with extensive exercise.

As with all of the local landmarks I have visited, I would recommend seeing Magnolia Plantation and it's surrounding gardens. If you visit, make sure you say "hi" to the deer for me!

The entire family took the trip out to Magnolia Plantation last month. I captured many great things on camera, in color and in black and white. Below is one of my favorite moments from the trip. It's a screenshot of my parents (who have been married for 28 years and counting) holding hands. It made me smile.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Crafty Corner: Jewelry

I have a midterm tomorrow, which means I should be spending today studying. Instead, I pulled out the beads and charms and wasted away some time making jewelry.

I've been gathering beads and other jewlery odds and ends for a while now. This is the first time that I've actually sat down and made much of anything. It was relaxing and definitely occupied my mind (and time) for a little while.

A picture (or two) of what I made:

This was the first one I made. It's a simple bracelet with a wolf charm and black/clear beads.

This was the simplest of the items I made. All I did was attached a charm onto the end of a keychain. I like the result though.

This is a simple keychain (or zipper pull) with a wolf on the end.

This one is my favorite. It is also the one I spent the most time on. It's an anklet (or bracelet) with two strands of colorful beads connected in the middle by a wolf charm.

Now, I really should go do some studying...

Unveiling of the Blog Button!!

I have (finally) created a blog button for From Barbies to Words. Feel free to use it on your own sites to link back to the blog!

Without further ado, I present you with:

The link for the button:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Giveaway Update!

With one day left in the President's Day Giveaway, I thought I would reveal the surprise prize! Take a look below:

Around Charleston: Middleton Place

Yet another place we visited in the month of January! Middleton Place is a local plantation with acres and acres of land. It was first set up by John Drayton, who was son to the owner of nearby Drayton Hall Plantation. The grounds and gardens of Middleton are absolutely gorgeous. I have provided you with some of my pictures from our day excursion to the plantation. Enjoy!

To learn more about Middleton Place, you can visit them at:

Words from a Writer: Celebrating a Character's Birthday

Next Friday is the birthday of one of our (Crystal and my) characters. His name is Aiden and he's a lead character in the werewolf novel that we are currently in the middle of rewriting.

As this is a character that I'm strongly attached to, I want to do something special to celebrate his birthday. I've thought about it for the past week and I have lots of ideas on how I'm going to celebrate. The best part? You could benefit from the celebration!

Some of the things to look forward to next week:

Around Charleston: The novel that Aiden is from is set in my hometown of Charleston, which is actually quite perfect for this month. Next week, I will be wrapping up my "Around Charleston" posts.

Words from a Writer: Next week, I plan to talk about the similarities I have found between playing Barbies with my sister and writing with my sister. I will also share the story of how this particular novel came to be. It has an interesting story behind it.

Sister Time: Look for an update detailing how we chose to celebrate the birthday of Aiden.

The Reading Chair: Expect a long overdue review! I'll be reviewing a werewolf novel. You'll have to stop back by to find out which one!

Songs of Aiden: Look for a new playlist at the top of the blog to celebrate Aiden! I might even give some reasoning behind a few of the choices.

Contests & Giveaways: On February 26, I will be kicking off a big contest in honor of Aiden's birthday. There will be several prizes with many different ways to enter.

Looks like next week is going to be a busy week around the blog. So, I'm going to head out now and start getting things ready because next week is also a busy week with grad school!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Around Charleston: The Charleston Museum

The above images are taken at the Charleston Museum, which I highly recommend visiting if you are a history buff. The museum had lots of great artifacts with interesting descriptions dating back to the colonial times in Charleston. I had the opportunity to learn about colonists, pirates, plantation owners, slaves, and so much more on my visit to the museum. In addition to their regular collection, they also have a special collection that rotates out periodically. During our trip to the museum, it was a wedding collection. We had the opportunity to see beautiful (and not so pretty) gowns from various time periods.

I have to give high praise to the museum for their Kidstory exhibit. This part of the museum is a hands-on area for kids to learn more about the local area. There is a pretend pirate deck, scaled lighthouse, and playhouse for the kids to enjoy. This room was probably my favorite in the whole museum. I would share pictures from this section, but they did not turn out as well as the others I have shared. I did provide a link, which gives you a good preview of this area.

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day Giveaway

Happy President's Day everyone! I hope you enjoyed it, whether you had the day off or not. For me, I had half the day off. I got the day off from work, but not from my college classes. It was a half-way decent break.

In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I'd grace you with some trivia. I'll keep it short - only five questions. See how many you can answer!

Leave your answers and email in a comment and you'll be entered into a giveaway. I'll keep this open until Sunday, February 21. You'll earn one entry for each correct answer.

1. Who was the first President of the United States?

2. Which president has a stuffed animal named after him?

3. Which president was known as the Swamp Fox?Which president was known as Old Hickory?
(Thanks Liz for pointing this out. I'm still accepting your answers for an entry and giving you an extra entry!)

4. Which president is known for his stovepipe hat and Emancipation Proclamation?

5. Who was president when I was born? (1986)

Good luck and have fun with this!

*You may earn extra entries by posting a link to this giveaway. Include this in your comment.*

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Music Moment: February Playlist

Today I bring you the February playlist. The list contains 28 love songs to celebrate Valentine's Day. Each song is special to me for one reason or another. Some are songs I like, some are songs from favorite movies, while others inspire some of the novels I write with my sister. I'm providing you with the list, but not the explanations this time. Enjoy them for what they are and make your own meanings with them!

This month's songs:
1. "You'll Ask for Me" - Tyler Hilton
2. "Bless the Broken Road" - Rascal Flatts
3. "When the Day Met the Night" - Panic at the Disco!
4. "Carry You Home" - James Blunt
5. "The Weakness in Me" - Joan Armatrading
6. "Can't Fight This Feeling" - REO Speedwagon
7. "Come What May" - Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor
8. "All You Need Is Love" - Beatles
9. "So This is Love" - From Cinderella
10. "Landing in London" - 3 Doors Down
11. "I've Had the Time of my Life" - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warrens
12. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" - Aerosmith
13. "That's How You Know" - Amy Adams
14. "I Will Always Love You" - Dolly Parton
15. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" - The Lion King
16. "I've Got You Babe" - Sonny & Cher
17. "I Want You to Want Me" - Cheap Trick
18. "Time After Time" - Quietdrive
19. "We Belong Together" - Gavin DeGraw
20. "I Honestly Love You" - Olivia Newton-John
21. "Maybe I'm Amazed" - Jem
22. "Amazed" - Lonestar
23. "Don't Take the Girl" - Tim McGraw
24. "Buy Me a Rose" - Kenny Rogers
25. "Puppy Love" - Donny Osmond
26. "Rule the World" - Take That
27. "You've Got a Friend" - McFly
28. "My Never" - Blue October

You can find the playlist at the top of the blog. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions of songs. I couldn't have completed this playlist without you!

The Reading Chair: A Book that's on My List for 2010

I promise, a Valentine's Day post is coming, complete with playlist. But, for now, I wanted to share a little bit about Linger, the sequel to Stiefvater's Shiver. I read Shiver this past summer and enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

And for you curious folks -

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.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Around Charleston: Snow Day!

My hometown, Charleston, SC never sees snow. Every winter we get cold weather and rain, but hardly ever any snow. The few winters that I can recall getting snow, the ground was too warm for it to stick.

Until last night! Last night, we saw 3-4 inches of snowfall that stuck to the ground and was still there this morning. It was our own special snowstorm. I can't describe how excited I was. It was like being a kid again. As my sister put it, we had to get 20+ years of playing in the snow all in in one night.

We had our first snowball fight, learned how to roll snow to make a big snowman, and caught snowflakes on our tongue. It made for a perfect start to the weekend.

And, for your (and my) pleasure - pictures!

Monday, February 8, 2010

In the Midst of it All

The blog posts might be a bit scarce this week. There's some family stuff taking place that has me a bit down. And I prefer not to write blog posts when I'm down because then they come out sounding melodramatic. (I think this one might even be on the verge of that.)

But, I did want to remind you of a few things coming up this month:

1. Around Charleston - The theme for the month is still Around Charleston and you will be getting to see much more of my lovely hometown in the coming weeks. Consider it your free virtual tour.

2. Contest - That's right! The first contest of the new year for the blog. Keep an eye out for a contest post with lots more details. I've got some interesting things to throw your way.

3. February Playlist - Don't forget that you're getting a say in the playlist for February. Visit this post for more details.

That's today's post. I'll keep you up to date as more exciting things come to the blog.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fun & Games: Back in the Day

Friday, I was reminiscing with some friends and we were recalling some of the games we used to play when we were in middle school. We were having a lot of fun thinking up things we used to play. I thought sharing them might bring back some memories for some of you as well. So, here we go. Let's see if we can have some adolescent fun.

First up....MASH. Do you remember this game? You would right MASH at the top of your paper and then fill in a variety of categories to see what your future looked like. If you were a fan of MASH as a kid, then I've got some great news for you. It's now online! Click one of the links below to have some fun:

Next, we have the Origami Fortune Teller. I don't know about you guys but these were all the rage when I was in elementary and middle school. We would spend hours folding paper and making it look attractive. Then, we could entertain each other with bizarre fortunes for a while. Grab your paper and get started making yours!
Directions for making one from paper (with pictures!):
Online (not quite as much fun because you don't get to make the fortunes):

There's two of my favorites from when I was younger. What are some of your favorite games from when you were younger? I'm looking for the games that you could make on your own with just some paper and a pencil.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Around Charleston: Cypress Gardens

Above are lovely shots of the swamp land at Cypress Gardens. It's a lovely place where you can take a glass-bottomed boat tour of the swamp or trek on the nature trail around the swamp. If you're lucky, you might even see an alligator! In addition to the swamps, the gardens also has a reptile house and butterfly house to enjoy. The last time I visited was on a field trip with kindergartners last year, so most of my pictures contained kids (hence the limited supply of good shots).

Interesting tidbit about Cypress Gardens? It has been featured in several movies, including The Patriot, The Notebook, and North and South.

If you would like to learn more about Cypress Gardens, you can do so by visiting

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Playlist

You may have noticed that I have yet to change the playlist from January to February. There is a reason for this.

I have decided to compile a playlist of love songs to celebrate Valentine's Day. 28 love songs in fact, giving you one for each day of the month.

But, I want your input! I'm looking for suggestions. Share with me some of your favorite love songs and they may make it onto the February playlist.

Then, check back on February 13th, when I reveal the complete February playlist - just in time for Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Around Charleston: Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation

The pictures above are from Boone Hall Plantation, which is a local plantation open to the public. You may recognize the house from the movie North & South, which was filmed on the grounds. To find out more about Boone Hall, you may visit their website. Each year, the plantation hosts many events, including Civil War reenactments and oyster roasts. I recommend heading over to the website to find out more about this beautiful landmark.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Question to Ponder: Soul-Searching

Remember that earlier Obsessed post? Have you noticed a trend in some of the posts following it? A bit of a Supernatural theme? Today's is no exception.

In Season 2 of Supernatural, one of the characters sells his soul in order for another character to live. He is given one year to live and his brother brought back from death. In light of this, I have a question for you to ponder (and respond to if you so desire).

Is there anyone in your life that you would sell your soul for?

My answer to this question is a simple one that you could probably guess. I would do the same thing to save my sister. It's a tricky thing because it's a bit of a selfish move, but most of us have someone out there that means that much to us. Who is it for you?

Song of the Day: "Renegade" by Styx
Another song from Supernatural. It seems fitting since today's post dealt with the show as well.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

February Theme: Around Charleston

Can you believe that January is almost over? I know I can't, but it is. The end of the month is fast approaching (as in tomorrow), which means I need to announce my theme for February.

The theme for February is...Around Charleston!

For February, I am going to be taking you on a photo tour around Charleston, SC. Some of the posts will simply be photographs, while others will be more elaborate. For each photo, I will let you know where it was taken and give you a link (if possible) to find out more information about the place.

So...are you ready to see where I'm from?

Song of the Day: "Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie and the Blowfish
One of the members of Hootie have a house in Charleston. They do a lot to support the local schools, so they seemed fitting for the announcement of my Charleston theme.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Words from a Writer: The Perfect Night to Write

Tonight is a full moon, which makes it a perfect night to write. The novel I am currently rewriting with my sister is about werewolves. In our novel, the werewolves phase for three days - the day before the full moon, the day of the full moon, and the day following the full moon. Therefore, full moons are great nights to gain inspiration.

Tonight's full moon is more perfect than usual because the full moon is also known as the Wolf Moon. The Farmer's Almanac ( gives a story of why this is. Most full moons derive their names from Native Americans. The moon of January is named for the howling of hungry wolves outside villages during cold winters.

I don't know about you, but tonight, I'll be writing about wolves...

Song of the Day: "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revivial
Need I explain? This entire post is about the moon...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Movie Mayhem: Your Suggestions

I'm going to be starting a "want to watch" list soon for movies and I'm looking for suggestions. I'm willing to consider old, new, and all those in between.

Share your suggestions with me and I'll look them up to see if I'm interested. Thanks!

Contest Alert!

The winter contest for Two to Write will end on January 31, 2009 at 11:59pm EST. That is less than a week away! Have you entered?

There are many ways to gain extra entries, but you must remember to ENTER yourself by leaving a comment on the contest post. Crystal & I will take care of keeping track of your extra entries if you followed the directions for each.

Remember, the fiction on this site is always free for your enjoyment!

Click the image below to go to the contest:

Or, click the link below: