Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone and have a happy New Year! Here's a funny Song my family and I love to play during the holidays! Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Motivational Monday!

Hey there, everyone! Here's a little something to give you some motivation.  Let it inspire you to keep going, or give the kick in the pants you need!

Let us not forget the fallen soldiers and their families. Always remember their sacrifice!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hello! Today I wanted to share some fantastic news from my school.  Our YWP (Young Writers Program) have published their first novels, written during NANOWRIMO! The kids were so excited to see their names and publishing seals on those books today.  Below is the news clipping from our school district website (http://www.scuc.txed.net/news.cfm?story=1362&school=0). Join me in giving a Writing Community cheer to these young novelists!

Sippel Young Writers’ League members publish their first novel

This year, John A. Sippel Elementary School Young Writers’ League participated in the National Novel Writing Month Challenge (or NANOWRIMO). This competition challenges each young writer to pledge the month of November to pen a novel in 30 days. Yes, you read that right…30 days! Each writer gets to choose their own, workable word count goal from 1000-50,000 words. If the student completes their word count goal, they are validated as winners and receive a prize package including seeing their novel published.
Led by Fourth Grade Teachers, Melissa Dean and Sarah Reed, Sippel Stallions pledged to write a combined total of 167,500 words in 30 days. By beginning with the end in mind, being proactive, and synergizing their efforts, The Sippel YWP made this November’s NANOWRIMO writing challenge a huge success. Forty students surpassed their word count goals, and by month’s end, had written 202,763 words. That means that 40 Sippel Stallions will have their novels published.
Greatly supported by Sippel Elementary Principal, Mrs. Kelley Mosley, students were given Workday Tuesdays afterschool to collaborate with teachers and other writers on ideas and plot points. Weekly Updates on the team’s word count goals were announced on the PA system and a team bulletin board in the Fourth Grade Hall displayed their progress. Everyone from Administration, faculty, and parents cheered on these young novelists all the way across the goal line. Students even received weekly pep talk emails from some very famous authors like Christopher Paolini (Eragon series) and Aly Condie (The Matched series).
This program could not have been as successful without the encouragement and financial support of the SCUC Education Foundation who awarded the Sippel Young Writers’ League a 2010 Innovative Teaching Grant for $5,000 to purchase iPad 2s and iPod Shuffles. This technology has helped so many students to realize their dream of being published novelists.
The Sippel Young Writers’ League has completed the publishing process. Students will receive five paperback copies or one hardback copy of their novel. They will celebrate with an Author’s Day for the community during the last week of school.
Posted: May 22, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012



Thank You, Elana Johnson, for writing a character with a "Z" name, and quite a good character! 

Zenn is Vi's perfect match, and the Thinkers have chosen him to be Vi's mate. He comes across as a poster boy for The Goodies, or conformity in their brain-washed world, but for me he has an understated strength about him.  He wants to be with Vi and love her, but she's always in trouble.  He believes in her.  He's quiet and content.  He reminds me a lot of Peeta Mellark whose shares that charismatic quality.

And, this is it for me for the 2012 A-Z Challenge! I hope you enjoyed the posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.  I also hope that I motivated you to pick up some of these novels in the future to  learn more about these MEMORABLE YA CHARACTERS!

Peace out!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Y, OH Y!!

Alas, after a month of searching, I couldn't find any characters with a "Y" name. I have decided that this must be remedied immediately. So, I am going to use this post to share some fantastic "Y" names so my writer friends might possible use them in the future.  So, are you ready?



And the best YA name for a character that begins with "Y": *drumrolls*


After I wrote this post, my students informed me that they knew of a character with a "Y" name.  I said, "Really?", and they said that I had read them the book.  I was gobsmacked.  I couldn't remember to save my life, so I asked them which book. And they were right, in the book, Hank Zipzer #6: HOLY ENCHILADA by Henry Winkler (Yes, the FONZ), there was a character by the name of Yoshi Morimoto.  So, I stand corrected. Thanks kids!



Here's another sneak peak of one of my characters who just so happen to have an "X" name, Xavier Dunning.

Xavier can be described with one word, devious. He's the antagonist in my novel, SOLSTICE, and quite a good one.  I remember writing the climax and finale and having to leave my computer every few minutes because I despised him so much.  I even went so far as to tell my husband that if this novel ever made it to the big screen, I wouldn't want to meet the actor playing him.  He's that deplorable.

But, that's what makes him memorable in the end.  Xavier has no boundaries and definitely no mercy.  He will hunt, torture, and won't think twice about it.  Having to delve into his psyche was sickening, but he exemplifies what villains are supposed to be with lots of twists. 

He's described in the novel as tall and gorgeous with a wrongness mixed with his smile. His eyes are little crazed, and he has a heavily accented voice.



I really couldn't wait for my "W" post because I knew immediately upon choosing this theme that I wanted to write a post on Wesley Rush, one of my all-time favorite YA characters.  He is a truly memorable character from Kody Keplinger's THE DUFF.

Wesley starts out the novel with what can only be described as deplorable manners.  Kody describes him as the ultimate man-slut and slimy.  So, what's there to like?  I wondered myself, but as soon as he comes onto the page, he's electrifying.  I seriously thought, there is no way he can be this despicable.  I played right into Kody's hands. 

Wesley turns out to be so much more.  He's affectionate, sincere, kind, and chivalrous. By novel's end, the reader is screaming at Bianca to look again at this boy and see below the surface. 

I read this novel in one sitting.  I could not put it down, and I rooted for both Bianca and Wesley! It was thrilling and real-life.  I loved the book and I loved Wesley Rush!

Some of Wesley's best lines:

“Spanish, huh?" he said, glancing down at the scattered papers as he grabbed them. "Can you say anything interesting?"
"El tono de tu voz hace que queria estrangularme." I stood up and waited for him to hand over my papers.
"That sounds sexy," he said, getting to his feet and handing me the stack of Spanish work he'd swept together. "What's it mean?"
"The sound of your voice makes me want to strangle myself."
Kody Keplinger, The Duff

“Your sense of humor needs some work, then," Wesley suggested. "Most girls find my jokes charming."
"Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.”
Kody Keplinger, The Duff
I think about you much more than any self-respecting man would like to admit, and I'm insanely jealous of Tucker - something I never thought I'd say. Moving on after you is impossible. No other girl can keep me on my toes the way you can. No one else makes me WANT to embarrass myself by writing sappy letters like this one.
Only you.

Kody Keplinger, The Duff



I wanted to take some time today to celebrate a supporting character in one of my favorite series.  She's one of the unsung heroes of Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush novels.  Yes, Nora and Patch are fantastic, but while I have every one's attention, I want to shine the light on the sidekick of the book.

Vee Sky is Nora's gal pal, and as she puts it her "un-twin," with her green eyes, murky blond hair, and her womanly figure. Besides their physical differences, Vee is far more interested in boys, and isn't afraid to get into a little trouble. I'm sorry, I meant a gigantic amount of trouble. 

And she usually gets Nora mixed up in the chaos.  This is what I love about Vee.  She's the one that Nora should trust, but if I were Nora, I'd have to look at her track record.  She's hilarious, unpredictable, loud, and totally lovable. 

Nora can't resist her and neither can I! Here are some of Vee's best lines:

"Put the damn measuring tape away" Vee ordered."I already know my size. I don't need reminding."
-Vee [to Sales Assistant] (Hush Hush)

"The verdict? My doctor is a lard-arse. Closely resembles an Oompa-Loompa."
-Vee [to Nora] (Hush Hush)

"Don't make me regret allowing you to you to choose your own partners",Coach told us."Don't make me regret coming to school today"said Vee sweetly.
- Coach And Vee (Hush Hush)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012



I couldn't find any characters that began with the letter U, so I decided to tell you a little about one of my characters from my novel, SOLSTICE.  He's name is Uriah St. Claire.

(excerpt from my novel: SOLSTICE, pg. 102)

Uriah had the most striking appearance of them all.  He looked like all his pigmentation was extracted at birth; his skin was pale, his hair startlingly white. The dark clothes he wore only highlighted how devoid of color he actually was compared to everyone else. His blue eyes were the only thing that seemed to emit color, and I silently wondered if he was an albino. 

Uriah is one of the most fascinating characters I've ever written.  He's sensitive, quiet, but when he speaks, he always says something of significance. Basically, we doesn't speak unless he has something really important to say.  However, his actions are what really drive him as a character.  Through the scenes, the reader gets a sense that he's lived for a long time, but he's so young.  He has depth and conviction.  His eyes have seen so much devastation, but yet his heart is so good. 
Uriah has a very unique gift, but I can't tell you about it yet.  Stay tuned to learn more about this truly remarkable character.

For those who've followed me for a while, you might have noticed that Leo and Uriah have the same last name.  That's because they are brothers.