Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Only three more wake-ups until Friday, when I fly to NYC to attend the SCBWI Conference! The best part about this trip is I will be attending with my amazing and talented beta gals...
Marie Devers
Megan Rebekah
Natalie Bahm

This won't be my first time to NY, or a writing conference, but it will be my first time at an SCBWI event, and I'm super excited. I'm not thrilled about the cold weather, but I am looking forward to all the writing and book biz chat.

Will anyone else out there be attending? I'd love to meet more of my blogging world friends in person. Look for me. I'll be "the girl in the hat," and I will most likely have one or more of these smiling faces with me.
Woo hoo! Look out NYC, here we come!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


In honor of me approaching the 200 supporters (aka followers) mark, I thought my blog deserved a face lift. Look around and let me know what you think.

Where the focus used to be only on The Kindrily, it is now time that my kindrily folks share the spotlight. Mermaids and various sea creatures have taken over my life, so they deserve some representation.

A huge thanks to my dear friend Steve for turning my vision for a new header into reality. He did an incredible job.

And thank you to all my blogging friends that take the time to read and comment on my posts. I appreciate each and every one of you!

*Secret scoop: Once I hit 200 supporters I will be having a book giveaway to share the storytelling love.*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Over the last two weeks I've received a few cupcakes. Okay, so it's really a blog award focusing on happiness, but I'm a sweetaholic so I focused on the cake and icing part of it.

Three wonderful bloggers gave me this award which means they either genuinely like my blog, OR they know about my passion for sweets. Either way, thank you very much to...

Hayley at The Writer's Hollow
Courtney aka Southern Princess
DL at Cruising Altitude

All three of these bloggers are definitely worth checking out and following if you aren't doing so already.

Now, my list of ten things that make me happy (in no particular order)...
1.) DESSERT- Duh. Isn't this why I received this award? Chocolate, brownies, ice cream, cake, pie, candies, whatever. Bring on the sugar rush.
2.) MY FAMILY- I mean it. My mom is truly my best friend. I will always be daddy's little girl. And the rest of my blood folk are wonderful too. Brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, they all get a big shout out with love.
3.) MY DOGS- I suppose technically they are included with my family. BUT they get their own mention because their tails wagging with happiness makes me happy.
4.) MY FRIENDS- Some of my friends I do consider family. Even the ones that live hundreds of miles away. They make my heart and soul happy.
5.) DISNEY WORLD- Or Disneyland. I'm not picky. I grew up all-things-Disney. You might think you understand what that means, but trust me, you have no idea. My parents were addicts, and they bred and raised two more addicts (my brother and I.) Luckily I live close and visit DW even more frequently than when I was a child.
6.) TRAVELING- Anywhere. Road trips, plane rides, cruises; just get me moving, taking in scenery, or learning or exploring a new place and I'm a happy gal.
7.) DANCING- Whether it was jumping around my room to Kid's Incorporated as a child, all the lessons I've taken over the years, or the studio in Clearwater where I learned from So You Think You Can Dance choreographers last year, I love to dance.
8.) RAVENS FOOTBALL- When they lose (like Sat night) I am not happy, but the rest of the time cheering my boys on and rocking my Ravens gear brings me a purple rain of joy.
9.) ADRENALINE RUSHES- Thrill rides at amusement parks, skydiving, swimming with wild dolphins and sea turtles in Hawaii, etc. I love that jolt of excitement that reminds me how amazing life can be.
10.) WRITING AND READING- To me, they go hand in hand. At one point in my life I wrote more than I read. Then I reversed it. Now, I know doing both every day gives me the best of one multifaceted world. The world of storytelling. A timeless, fantastic, limitless world that I am grateful and HAPPY to be tiny part of.

I'm going to borrow DL's idea and only pass this award onto one person. He mentioned when you start sending it to a bunch of people it tends to feel like chain mail and I agree. So, in a tag team effort to break the pass-along-to-ten-people rule, I choose, as my one and only recipient...

Melissa at Sugar Coat It
Her blog title alone makes her worth of this award. But, she is also from Australia. (For those of you who don't know, I'm a bit obsessed with Australians and British folk. I'd love to live in both places at some point in my life. If for no other reason than to listen to their wonderful accents all day every day.)
Melissa is also funny, refreshing, and really humble because she's shocked and genuinely grateful when she sees a new follower. She'd make a great character in one of my novels.
So, go check out Melissa. Then watch how cute she gets when she sees all the unexpected attention. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I am no techie guru. Luckily, I have a dear friend who helps me with this wide world of web wonder (thanks Steve!) Today I'd like to share a simple and useful tip: make it easy for people to get to your blog. Use a link.

A couple fellow bloggers have emailed me and asked how I put the link under my comments. The one that a reader can click on and be whisked away, easy-peasy, to my blog. I figured if a couple of you are wondering, maybe more of you would like this knowledge. Me being the considerate gal that I am, I will happily share it with all of you.

Here's the beauty in sharing this tip. Many might start using it. They will leave comments with a handy-dandy link included. Others will read these comments, click on their link, and be taken directly to their blog. Without having to visit their profile page, scroll through to find their blog title, sort out which one they really use--because many of you have multiple blogs, and THEN click on the link to be taken there.

Let's face it, most of us are writers and we are very busy. Family, friends, jobs, cleaning, cooking, and whatever else life throws at us. ANY time savers are a great help. Especially when it's already mission impossible to follow and comment on all the blog posts. This is a simple habit to get into, but this one habit will make it easier for others to connect with you. And isn't that what we all love about blogging? Connecting with each other?

Here's what I do. I keep my code in a Word doc on my desktop. When I'm ready to read and comment on blogs I do a simple CTRL C (copy) and keep my link code armed and ready. I read posts. When I want to comment, I type in what I have to say then hit CTRL V (paste) at the end of it. Voila! Easy. Peasy.

Somewhere in my past couple weeks of using this system, I have racked up many more "Supporters." (I don't like the term Followers. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.) That must mean some of you have clicked on my link. I bet you clicked on it because it was easy. Right there where you could find it without even trying.

Many times I've received a comment from a new person who I want to go check out. I would LOVE if everyone had a link to their blog with their comment, but sadly, I rarely see one. I have to hunt them down the long and painful way. Let's all stop making it so hard to meet each other. Use a link.

Here's how easy it is. Open a blank Word doc (or notepad or Works or whatever)

Copy and paste the text below.
a href="http://karenamandahooper.blogspot.com">My Blog

Now, add a < at the beginning. Directly before the first a.
Next, add a > at the end. Directly after the a at the end.

Since you don't want to direct everyone to MY blog (though you can if you really want to) we need to make this custom fit for you.

Remove http://karenamandahooper.blogspot.com
Make sure to leave the set of quotation marks.

Inside of those quotation marks put YOUR blog address.
If you want it to always go to your main page just use the general address. You can also paste a detailed address in that space if you want your link to direct others to one specific post. Just open the post you want to link to then copy and paste from the address bar. You'll see the detailed web address.

Now the fun part. See where it says >My Blog<

That is where you get to write whatever you want your link to say. You can use "My Blog". Or "Click here to enter my world" or whatever you choose. Go crazy. The possibilities are endless.

Just remove My Blog from the code, but make sure to leave the symbols (see I don't even know their official name) and type in whatever you want your link to say.

In this case, the above code will appear like this: My Blog

Ta-da! You are done. Now save the doc with your personalized code to your desktop so its handy and easy to get to. Remember to paste it at the end of each comment you leave. It will make it so much easier for people to find you and get to your blog.

Hope that made sense. I'm not an experienced How To kind of person. If you have a problem, or question, leave a comment and I will answer.

**Update: A few of you have had tiny issues and it's always something simple, so I'm going to use Natalie's altered code as an example. Here is what your final code should look like. (BUT REMOVE THE SPACES BETWEEN SYMBOLS--I have to insert them or it would show up as a link) Make sure all quote marks, symbols, brackets, etc are still in tact.

< href="http://nataliebahm.blogspot.com">Check Out My Awesome Blog!< / a >

Final result:
Check Out My Awesome Blog!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I finished reading THE HUNGER GAMES at 3am this morning. If I had a Kindle I would have bought CATCHING FIRE and would probably still been reading. If.
Oh, if only if.

Instead, I will happily visit Borders later today, order a hazelnut coffee and walk the aisles reading the first paragraphs of at least 50 books before purchasing CATCHING FIRE. Then I will rush home and most likely read it from cover to cover.

When I closed HG, I sighed and Jack Nicholson came to mind.
I know, I know. What does Jack have to do with Suzanne Collins, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Cinna, or anyone else associated with the story? Nada. But have you seen AS GOOD AS IT GETS with him and Helen Hunt? She tells him she wants him to compliment her and his reply is, "You make me want to be a better man."(always loved that line)

Well, Suzanne Collins, you make me want to be a better storyteller. And writer. But those two go hand in hand in my opinion. May the writing gods grant me with half of her talent for creating a drama filled page turner that flows as smooth as dark hot chocolate, warming readers' souls and leaving them drooling for more.
Right on, Suzanne. Write on.

I had to post the author's photo instead of a shot of the book cover. You've all seen the cover. Let's face it, I'm way behind on the HG/CF fan train. But I still wanted to give credit to the woman behind the kick-butt (literally) story. Plus, look how cute she is with a rat in Central Park. How can you not love her?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

No Kiss Blogfest

This scene is from my current WIP. It's the first draft. It hasn't been edited, or beta read, and one day it will be MUCH better. For now though, it will have to do because it's the only almost-kissing scene I have and I have no time to improve it. So fair warning, I'm posting this in all of its imperfect glory.

(Oh, and no, the scene doesn't take place underwater like the picture. It was just a great pic that I really wanted to use.


Maybe I could use what I learned to work in my favor. “You are a Guardian. You have to grant me a wish.”

The side of his mouth lifted in one of his cocky I-know-more-than-you grins. “We grant wishes to humans. You are no longer human.”

Figures. The rules always seemed to work against me. “Don’t you want to know what I would wish for?”

“I’m fairly certain I know.”

“Oh yeah? What would I wish for?”

“To not be a mermaid.”

“No.” My heart felt like it swelled to fill my entire chest. I could do this. I could say it. What’s the worst that could happen? I struggled to say the words louder than a whisper. “I’d wish for you to kiss me.”

His eyes met mine and I fought to breathe steadily. Neither one of us moved. Deep wrinkles appeared at the corner of his eyes. The ones that meant he was thinking hard. Then he looked away and stared at the floor.

I’m such an idiot. What was I thinking saying that to him? Treygan—who had never dated anyone and didn't believe in romance. I huffed out loud and forced a smile. “I was only—” Crap. I couldn’t say the word kidding out loud. “I didn’t really mean—” Nope, that would be a lie too. “This is so embarrassing,” I moaned, covering my face with my hands.

I never heard his footsteps—probably because my heart was beating too loudly. His hand touching mine startled me into looking up. There he was, only a couple inches between us, staring at me with those hypnotic cobalt blue eyes. He placed my hand against his chest then raised his fingers to my cheek and ran his thumb along my lips. Glorious pins and needles pricked and teased the deepest parts of me.

“You are such a mystery to me,” he whispered.

I exhaled shakily. “I don’t mean to be. I’ve never felt like this. Is this a mer thing or…is it because you’re you?”

His eyes darted around as he studied my face. Then he was back, staring at me so intensely I felt like I’d die if he didn’t kiss me. “I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be fair to either of us to wander down a dead-end road.”

He started to pull his hand away but I held it against my face, pressing my lips against his palm. “I don’t care how it ends. I only care about right now. Please, Treygan, kiss me.”

He rested his forehead on mine and we pressed against each other. Me fighting to lift my lips to meet his, and him pushing his mouth further away even as I felt his warm breath against my chin.

“Yara, I care about how it ends. I refuse to break your heart.”

“My heart can handle it.” It felt like a lie. The thought of not spending forever with Treygan was too painful to imagine, but I said it out loud so it must be true. My heart could handle it. My soul, on the other hand, might not.

He pulled away and turned his back to me, running his hands through his blue hair.

My legs shook, fighting to keep me from collapsing to the floor. He refused me. I begged him to kiss me—twice—and he said no. How much more pitiful could I look?

“You may think you want this, Yara, but you don’t. I’m protecting you.”

“Get out.”

He turned and looked at me. “What?”

I clenched my teeth together to fight back my tears. “I said get out.”

His confused expression turned to concern or hurt, I couldn’t be sure of which, but it didn’t matter. He stepped towards me and I took two steps back. “Yara, I didn’t mean—”

“Get out! The longer you stand there the more pathetic I feel. Just leave me alone and pretend this never happened.” I was running towards my room before the last words were out of my mouth. After I slammed the door I leaned against it and slid to the floor, letting the built up tears fall where they may.

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