That is all ...

Seriously, just wanted to share my Mockingjay release story.  I was in bed reading on my Nook eReader, and had just finished up the latest Artemis Fowl book (more on that later this week).  This was around 11 PM (CST).  I say to myself, "Self, I bet Mockingjay is already available for download as it's after 12 AM EST."  I hop over to the bookstore on my Nook, and it says it's available for Pre-Order.

RATS!  Oh well, I reason, I'll just pre-order so I'll have it first thing tomorrow AM.  I make the purchase, and can't resist opening it on my Nook, just to see if by chance the book had actually been pushed down to my device due to the time difference.  There it was, in all of it's digital glory!!!!

I nearly woke my wife with my giddy school girlesque laughter (Katniss would not approve ...).  I spent the next couple of hours reading.  So, FYI to all of you digital book downloaders, most of the books are probably going to be available at 12 AM EST.

Had I had a single coconspirator, I would have gladly went to a 'live' event, but it still felt kind of special, because I'd gotten the book a tad early.

At any rate, I'm off to read the rest!  Do any of you have Mockingjay stories?


Just wanted to share that one of my writing cohorts/critique partners interviewed me for her blog.  It was a ton of fun to do, and she really asked some wonderful questions.  (You rock, Peggy!)

Peggy and I are partners in the Weekly Chapter Challenge group on the Writer's Digest site.

You can read the interview HERE.

Crazy Family Stories

It is with bittersweet emotion that I tell all of you that I'm going to be absent from the blog festivities for a while.  I'm attending a family reunion out of state this weekend and leave today.  Consequently, this will be my last update until most likely early next week.

I say it is bittersweet, because I'm going to be having a great time with my family.  These people are seriously funny/insane/awesome to be around ... more on that in a sec.  However, I'm very sad to lose contact with my blog friends, even if only for a few days.  I've grown quite fond of everyone, and all of the stories I'm allowed to read and share.  So until then, take care, and know that my heart will go on ...

I know you were humming along, but that's cool ...

O.K., now that we've gotten the tears out of the way, let's talk about something fun, shall we?  Heading to a family reunion is usually a reflective affair, full of memories and colorful anecdotes about current and past relatives.  Well to me, the best anecdotes are the crazy ones involving Uncle Mort and the time he lit his boxers on fire trying to light his gas around the campfire, or when Gran had a little too much "punch" and decided she would do the Macarena while wearing that truck stop 'authentic' Native American Headdress you bought her.  (ONLY AN EXAMPLE ... I have no Uncle Mort, but MAN that would have been awesome!  My Gran never had a drop of "punch" in her life, to my knowledge.)

I know for me, as a writer, I draw a ton of inspiration from my family.  I loved my grandparents, and miss them, so for me it seems I always end up putting a grandparent in my stories.  They aren't identical to my own, but they definitely share some of the same qualities.  So this weekend will be a special treat, because I know that I'll be hearing and telling some of my favorite family stories.  Here are a couple of my all-time favorites:

(THESE ARE ALL TRUE, BTW.  Names withheld to protect the innocent.  I have a big family.)

Like the time my grandfather had all of the grandchildren piled into his giant gold Lincoln (pre-seatbelt law era) in the McDonald's drive-through (back when going to McDonald's was a big treat) and the lady driving the car in front of us took forever to order.  Then, when she pulled up to the window to get her items, she began to dig through every sack and hand out food to her passengers, blocking the entire drive-through in the process.  I distinctly remember grandpa tooting his horn at her, and the lady just turned and gave him a look and went right on doing her thing.  That's when my grandfather put the Lincoln in drive proceeded to push her vehicle from behind until she was out of the way.  Needless to say, she got the hint.  I'm sure we (the children) were driving grandpa nuts, so I think he gets a pass on his momentary road (drive-through?) rage.

Then there was the time when we were young that my grandfather, uncle, and dad took us fishing.  It was extraordinarily hot, and unfortunately by the end of the day there was only beer left to drink.  My dad wouldn't let us drink any of it, but my cousin was whining so much that my uncle told him he could have a 'sip' of his beer to tide him over.  Well, men being men, they got distracted packing up our gear and my cousin ended up downing the entire beer (they were the big tall cans).   He was probably 10 at the time.  When we got back to the house, my cousin couldn't walk in a straight line, and smelled like hot beer.  The funniest part was when we got inside the house, my aunt looked at my cousin and said something like, "Uncle, he's acting funny.  I think he got too hot out there."  (In retrospect, I'm sure the ladies had warned them not to have us out in the heat for too long.)  When she pulled my cousin close to inspect him, undoubtedly using her motherly x-ray powers, she smelled the beer.  "He's drunk!" she yelled and proceeded to climb every fishing man in the room like a tree for the next couple of hours.

I've got so many more ...  Which brings me to the point:  Do you have crazy family stories?  (That you can share without being disowned.)  Or do you have characters in your stories inspired by relatives?

I'll be back soon, and I'll be attending WriteOnCon (starting next Tuesday!).  I plan on posting highlights of the conference on my blog every day, so don't worry about missing anything.

Until then, cheers!