Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview With Anne Tibbets

Interview day is one of my favorite things about Book Week!
The way I do my interviews, is on FaceBook chat.
I like to interact with the author and play on their answers.
I am in green.
Anne is in black.    
   I was zoned into SHUT UP as soon as I got the email from bostick. 
Is that the normal reaction to it? 
        The reaction is either all for, or all against. In the sense that some reviewers/readers/bloggers did not want to delve into the sad and at times depressing story. I don't blame them. It's not for everyone.
        Well, you can count this blonde all for it. 
Tough and depressing times are out there. 
No since in hiding from it. 
And thanks.

        I know it took you quite a while, 3 years, to finish it. 
Did you ever think that it wouldn't get finished? 
 You're so welcome.
  Up until I held the paperback in my hand, I wasn't sure it would be published. Even after I finished writing it, it sat for another two or three years, collecting cyber dust on my hard drive. It wasn't until my book to film agent asked, "What else do you have?" that I sent it to him, "You know, I have this other book - but it's a departure and I'm not sure I want to publish it." But he loved it and pushed me to do it, and I'm glad he did.

          I felt so connected to Mary. 
I cried when she cried. I'm glad he pushed you to publish, too.
 What is a book to film agent?

         A book to film agent represents your book to television and movie studios. 
 I get mixed emotions when I hear you cried over the book - I'm glad, and I'm really sorry!

          Oh, don't be sorry. I loved the book! 
I know that you added a lot of emotion to SHUT UP for the flow. 
Was your sister really as bitter as Gwen was made to be?

    My real life sister had her moments, but she wasn't nearly as bi-polar as Gwen.
I had to take everything up quite a few notches    

   Of course.
I really liked the way that you had Mary and Paul share the book. 
Seeing things in both eyes made the scene more real. 
Was it planned that way?    
This was the only book I ever wrote without an outline. Because the story was so emotionally driven, I had to take a look at each draft as it came, making changes as they became needed. That's why it took so long. The first five drafts were only Mary. But I realized the only way to see a wider perspective was to have another narrator, and all my attempts to write as Gwen were terrible failures. So I used Paul. I loved the fact he thought so much, and said so little.
I agree. When he called Gwen out, I cheered for him!

        It needed to happen, and nobody else in the family was capable of doing it.

    The scene in the mall, With the boy from Children's Place, did that really happen or was it fiction? [When Mary looked in the window and saw a beautiful girl looking back at her.]    

   This is where it gets dicey. I will admit that I once ran away to the mall to try and get a job and there was a teenage boy who got me some change so I could call home. And I will admit to once seeing myself in (it was an elevator window actually) and not recognizing myself. But they didn't all happen together and at once. If that makes sense.    

     It makes perfect sense. 
Do you feel like your childhood is all just a jumble of memories out of place?    

    Parts of it are, absolutely. Parts feel so vivid it was like they were yesterday. But I had to play with the timeline quite a bit, since Mary has to deal with so many issues in the course of 1 school year.
  That was how I was able to bring her to the brink so quickly. It took me much longer.
I understand. 
I struggled growing up.
 I tried to end it all twice and spent a few months in a hospital.
 I think that is why most of my memories are a jumble.
        Blocking out pain, I guess.
When you are pumped with that much adrenaline and what have you, it's hard to pin down each moment. I'm so sorry to hear. That must have been very rough.
       I can tell you from experience, pinning down each memory and re-living it,
 isn't all it's cracked up to be either.
        I'm no shrink, but my 2 cent advice is acknowledge, plow through, and carry on!

     In SHUT UP, it kinda seems like a big part is missing near the end. 
When Mary's parents finally kick Gwen out, what prompted it? 
What made them realize what Gwen was doing to the family?

    Good question!
There must have been a conversation between the mom and dad that neither Paul or Mary saw. I had always imagined it was them talking about why Mary must have taken off, and them finally realizing what the difference was between Mary before, and Mary after Gwen had left and came back. And not just Mary - what about Paul? Even he got into trouble. So it was my thought that they had to decide between trying to help Gwen (who didn't even want their help), and trying to help the other kids in the family. And since Gwen had ideas of her own, they cut the apron strings in an attempt to salvage what was left of the others. But since neither of the narrators were there to hear this conversation, I tried to put in clues in the dialogue.
          See, I thought that maybe the Burns had talked to them.    

    Maybe they did! They should have!    

I think that Mrs. Burns *knew* what was going on. 
When Mary flinched. I felt her emotion.
Mrs. Burns did know. 
That was why she gasped. She had it all figured out then. 
But a lot of times, just because you "know" something, doesn't mean that you're convicted enough to get your hands dirty, and get into the middle of another family's mess....
 but I don't think it's a far stretch to say that Mrs. Burns had a few choice words for Mary's parents. 
I can totally see that.
Oh, I bet she did. I would.
        I see myself making choices for my family to break the cycle. Do you?
Every day. Every single minute. I started writing this book after I had children of my own. I think it was a way to exorcise my supposed demons, if you will.

                I do wonder what happened when Gwen got to SC, though. 
Was The Creeper there to meet them? 
Did she get help with her emotions? 
Did they stay together?

        That's for the reader to decide. ;)

        As bad as I feel for Mary and Paul and Rose, I feel for Gwen.

        I feel for her too. She was suffering so deeply she couldn't put words to it.

    Thank you, Anne, for taking the time to chat with me today.

                Thank you too!    
  Isn't Anne just *great*?!?!
I really enjoyed talking with Anne, and hope you learned a little about her as well.
Come back tomorrow for my review of Shut Up! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Diary ~ A Page From Mary's Diary

Dear Diary,

Today Gwen reached a new level.  Just when I thought she couldn’t get any worse.  She told me I was a waste of skin.  Then she laughed.

I was so shocked for a minute I just stood there like a dummy.
A waste of skin?

I immediately thought what I would look like without any skin, and then it occurred to me that I’d be dead.  Without skin my innards would fall out and plop onto the floor, and then I’d shrivel up like a mummy.  Just a pile of dried up bones.  Is that what she wants me to be?  A dried up pile of bones?  Does she wish I were dead?  Because that was what it sounded like.

She must really hate me to wish me dead.  I can’t figure out why.  It must be my big ugly mouth she’s always complaining about.  I didn’t realize I was that horrible – I must be, if she’d rather have me dead than to hear me speak.

Then I got to thinking: maybe I’d be doing everyone a favor if I were just a pile of dried up bones.  At least then, they wouldn’t have to complain about the waste of my skin.

Would it help them if I were dead?
It sure seems that way, especially whenever Gwen tells me stuff like this.

I’ve got to go, Rose just came into our room, and Mom is yelling at me because I forgot to clear my dishes after dinner.

There I go again.
Wasting my skin.
Wish I knew how I could change their minds.
See you later, Diary.


 Ugh! I really don't like Gwen right now. 
Do you? 

Tomorrow is interview day!
See you then!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shut Up Teaser

"I used to like to skateboard alone in the side yard, which was this large cement slab with half brick walls on either side.  It was quiet, out of sight from the inside of the house, and perfect for riding a skateboard back and forth a thousand times, and maybe doing a few tricks, or roller blading in circles, depending on your mood.  I liked it there because it got me away from Rose, who I was stuck sharing the same bedroom.  Rose was always following me around and wanting to play baby games, like dolls.  Luckily for me, Rose didn’t like to skateboard.
             Paul did, though.  Some days he would skateboard too.  I thought Paul was pretty cool, so that was always fun.  Then one day, long before the baby, long before the pregnancy, and long before Gwen and The Creep were forbidden from seeing each other, The Creep strolled into the side yard as I was skateboarding. 
He usually just hung all over Gwen.  I couldn’t think what made him want to come to the side yard.  I didn’t think he was there to skateboard.  I saw him coming from the courtyard and quickly sat on the brick wall against the house, sliding the skateboard back and forth as casually as I could with one foot on the concrete.   I didn’t want to ride in front of him; if I fell, the teasing would have been endless.
            “So,” The Creep said, crossing his arms and leaning back on his heels.  “What are you doing?”
            “Skateboarding,” I said, rolling my eyes at him.  Dumb question -- there was a skateboard right in front of me. Duh!
            “All by yourself?” he asked.
            “Yeah.  Sometimes Paul or Ralph come out and do it too.”  I thought maybe if he knew others could show up he’d take a hike.  After staring at him for ten seconds in silence I realized he wasn’t budging.  Drat.
He grinned.  “Is Ralph your boyfriend?” He looked like he was about to laugh.
            I felt my stomach turn sour.  He was making me feel weird again.  He did that a lot.  That’s why I thought he was creepy.  Just then, my foot slipped from the skateboard and it rolled away, banging against the wooden gate a few yards off.  I stood up and got it, feeling The Creep’s eyes on me.  I sat back down quickly, with my back against the house, trying to act like it didn’t bother me.  He strolled over to stand in front of me again.
            “No. Ralph isn’t really my boyfriend,” I said, watching him approach.  I didn’t want to tell him that Ralph had kissed me on the cheek just the week before in the bushes.
            “Do you like him?”
            I kept my eyes on the skateboard and started the back and forth rolling I was doing before, but it wasn’t the same.  It didn’t feel right anymore.   
            “I think he kinda’ likes me.” I was sorry for saying that the second the words came out. I knew The Creep was having fun with me, but couldn’t think how to make him go away.
            The Creep smiled, proudly displaying his newly straightened teeth, but they still had the white scars from wearing braces too long.  “Ralph likes you, eh?”
            I nodded, looking back at the skateboard, but giving up trying to slide it back and forth.  He probably thought I was too ugly for a boy to like, just like Gwen did. 
            I could hear Gwen call me a fat cow and pushed it from my mind, answering, “Yeah.”  I rested my foot on the top of the skateboard.
            “Do you like him?” he asked again.
            “He’s nice.”  I shrugged, blushing.  I didn’t want to talk with The Creep anymore.  Well, ever, really.  Why didn’t he just leave me alone?
            “Have you kissed him?” 
            I laughed too loudly and picked up the skateboard, setting it in my lap, as if adding it between him and me would help.  “No!”
            “Aw, come on!  Pretty girl like you? With blue eyes like that? You’ve kissed a boy before!”
            I felt my face turn hot.  Now I was sure he was making fun of me.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was far from pretty.  Gwen reminded me daily.  My teeth were crooked, my hair was a short mousey brown, and no one could even see my eyes behind my glasses. “I have not!” 
            “Sure you have!  How old are you now, thirteen?”
            I looked at The Creep and rolled my eyes, laughing too loudly again.  “I’m twelve.”
            The Creep took a step forward and leaned in, as if inspecting my face.  “No!  Twelve?  You look at least thirteen.”
            I looked down at the skateboard and rubbed the top with my fingertips, using my other hand to push my bra strap back under my tank top.  I wanted to go back to practicing skateboarding but felt glued to the brick wall.  I shifted slightly, feeling the pockets of my cut offs rub against the brick wall.  I flipped the skateboard over in my lap and ran my fingers across the smooth British flag painted on the bottom.  “I’m only in the sixth grade.”  
            The Creep moved closer.  He stood right in front of me, his hands at his sides.  I bit my thumbnail and looked up at him.  He smiled.  I wanted to back up but had no farther to go.  “When I was in the sixth grade, I don’t remember any of the girls looking like you,” he said.
            I felt my face flush and my stomach churn.  The brick wall was like fly paper, with my rump stuck to it.  I wanted to get out from in front of The Creep, but couldn’t move.  My breath quickened, and my heart pounded in my throat. 
            “Yeah, right,” was all I managed to say.
            “Those are nice shorts you’re wearing,” he said, eyeing my long legs up and down.  His hand moved toward my knee just as Gwen appeared behind him, out of the front courtyard.
She stood at the end of the side yard and rested a hand on her hip.  Gwen’s big brown wavy hair and super long bangs were the exact opposite of her skin tight jeans and tee shirt.  She was like an upside down carrot.  “Mary?” her eyes bore into The Creep’s back. “What are you doing?” Gwen’s usual nasty tone was not lost on me. 
“Nothing!” I answered quickly.
            To my relief, The Creep took a step back and crossed his arms again.  “Mary has a boyfriend,” he said, his voice instantly changing.  He sounded just as irritated as Gwen.
            “I do not!” I protested. The Creep cackled, head leaning back as he laughed.  With long strides he walked to Gwen and slung his arm across her shoulders, turning her back to the front courtyard.
            “Ralph from next door.  Though, I think she has a thing for me.” The Creep led Gwen away.
            “The little slut,” Gwen said.  Then they were gone, back into the house and out of my sight.
            I felt hot tears swell in my eyes.  I did not have a thing for The Creep!  I hated him!  He was a total jerk!
I sat on the brick wall, shaking.  I wanted to punch The Creep.  I wanted to slap Gwen.  I wanted to scream! 
Instead, I got up and flung the skateboard at the wooden gate.  The faded avocado green paint chipped, and the wood dented as the skateboard skidded across the fence and slapped onto the concrete, landing upside down and rocking back and forth as it settled.
            I saw the damage to the fence and burst into tears. 
Now I’m going to get grounded for denting the fence, when all I’d wanted to do in the first place was practice my skateboarding."

Sounds amazing, huh?
Tomorrow will be a diary entry by Mary.
Hope you stop back by!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shut Up Week!!!

Hey blonde stalkers!
I would like to welcome you all to Shut Up Week!

Shut Up

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.

Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.

Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.

Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

Monday ~ Teaser
Tuesday ~ Interview with Anne Tibbets
Wednesday ~ Mary Diary Entry
Thursday ~ My Review
Friday ~ Letter to Gwen / Giveaway

Hope everyone comes by everyday! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Win A Copy Of Young Men Shall See

To finish out book week of Young Men Shall See,
Scott is offering 1 lucky Blonde Stalker a copy of Young Men Shall See.

He even promised to personalize it for you!
[How awesome is he?]

Opened from today until next Friday.
[5/18/2012 - 5/25/2012]
Winner will be contacted by myself and Scott.
Winner will have 24 hours to respond to me, or another winner will be picked.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Epic Review ~ Young Men Shall See ~ Scott Thompson

Monday, I posted the synopsis of Young Men Shall See. 

Young Men Shall See

I had a few people email me telling me how much they wanted to read the book. 
Good news is, tomorrow you will have a chance to win a signed copy!

 My Thoughts ~ 
This review is going to be strange.
You just HAVE to read this book!
Scott has a beautiful way of telling the story of 4 teens during their senior year of high school in 1980's Georgia.

 Gus, Cassady, Ogie and Darwin, best friends since way back when,
are now brothers in the S.S.D.
[Society of Social Deviants, Protectors of the Gethsemane Gardens]

While reading about them dealing with absent parents,
a forbidden relationship,
a rape of one friend and the death of another,
a sleezy lawyer and a dying mother,
I felt myself growing so attached to Gus and the gang.

I started reading Young Men Shall See at 9am
and finished it the same day at 4pm.
I could not put it down!

I don't give these off often, but this book gets
5 star epic review status!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

About Scott Thompson & A Guest Post

About Scott Thompson

Like many people Scott Thompson had a story to tell. His formal training was in business and computers, not writing, but he knew the story had to be told so he wrote Young Men Shall See.

Thompson's stories are influenced by his life in Georgia, where he grew up and currently lives. The South is full of interesting, deep, and often eccentric people that enrich the lives of anyone lucky enough to know the people of the region. It was these people that spurred the author's imagination from a young age.

Scott is married and has two young boys. Scott holds degrees in computer information systems, business administration, and history.
Scott is a winner of the Great American Novel contest, from Tag Publishing, for 2010.

Why We Still Need Southern Literature ~ By Scott Thompson

With the recent deaths of Harry Crews and William Gay some have speculated that Southern Literature is dead.  In April, a highly respected author, Baynard Woods, wrote in that we should “kill off the genre, sacrificing the adjective “Southern” for the sake of what really matters here, which is Literature.”  At first it’s difficult to disagree with Mr. Woods because it seems that we should celebrate good books for the writing and not the genre.  Genres can keep people from reading a book simply because it doesn’t fall into their area of interest.  Some will never read anything labeled as “Southern Literature” just like some will never read anything that is labeled as “Chick Lit” or “Horror” or whatever, and by doing this those people might avoid great books.  So, I understand Mr. Woods’ argument. 
            But even still, we do need Southern Literature.  We need it in the same way African Americans need books that cater to situations only they can truly understand.  I was born and raised in Georgia and I need books that speak to me personally.  Southern Literature is needed because it helps Southerners better understand who we are, and helps us understand and process the emotions of growing up and living in a world that is still healing and evolving.  We will need Southern Literature a hundred years from now to explore where we came from, how we have changed, and what changes are still needed. 
            Good books have the ability to bring to the surface problems we are ignoring or denying.  To Kill a Mockingbird is a book revered by many.  It is a beautiful novel that exposed real problems in society and helped to further change.  Should we now forget this book because much of the change has taken place?  Should be never write another book about Alabama’s past?  No, of course not.  We must continue to explore what was wrong about the South, and what was right, because there was plenty that was right.
            Southern Literature shouldn’t just be about blasting Southerners for our mistakes, but also for highlighting all the things that are right.  Characteristics we may lose if we forget.  I hope Southerners will always regard family highly.  I hope Southerners will always love the land.  I hope Southerners will always be the type of people that will pull their car over and help a person change a tire.  I hope Southerners never forget how to pray, even as religion and faith evolve.  I hope there are always eccentric Southerners that make us smile, and that inspire us all. 
            So, books about the South are needed.  They are needed to remind us of the past, to show us where we still need to change, and to show us what we was good.  There may be a day when “Southern” should be dropped from new books, but I don’t see that any time soon.          

Wow! Thanks, Scott!

I have to say, I agree 100% with the guest post that Scott was awesome enough to write for me. Born and bred in NC, I am a Southern Girl, and proud of it!


There is nothing like the feeling you get when you can sit on your front porch and wave at your neighbors passing by, catching fireflies on a warm Spring night, or walking out your back door to fish on your pond.


Come back tomorrow for my review of Young Men Shall See, 
and on Friday for a chance to win a signed copy of the book for yourself!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Young Men Shall See ~ Scott Thompson ~ Day One

Young Men Shall See

Sometimes peace means silence,
and justice means murder

Life for Gus Ambrose in the small community of River Falls, Georgia, is a constant struggle to seek wild adventure, understand the mystery of love and escape the pervasive boredom of high school. On the surface, River Falls is a peaceful and perfect world — a mix of quaint southern charm, happiness and safety. But the scars of the past have a way of working their way to the surface and slamming headlong into the present, shattering innocence and revealing the worst humanity has to offer.

Set in the 1980s, segregation in America had been legally abolished for a generation, but many still struggled with how black and white fit together and existed — integrated in word, but still segregated by old habits and underlying emotion. Young Men Shall See follows Gus and his friends as they navigate this new world, and learn the hard way that actions have consequences, and real justice can mean going against everything you once believed to be true.

As the friends grapple with the ideas of love and prejudice, they each cling to their sense of right and wrong. But when one of the friends is unexpectedly killed, anger and frustration swell and push the group to take action. In the face of unimaginable corruption by the local authorities, the friends are galvanized into a force capable of rescue, grief, and even murder.

This Southern gothic coming of age story shows the ugly underbelly of evil that exists even in the most tranquil of towns and how events and raw emotion can push each of us past the point of no return.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pretty Crooked Review

Pretty Crooked
By Elisa Lidwig
Published March, 13, 2012