Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Trailer

I have been looking forward to this: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, part one coming in November, part two July 2011. And here's the trailer...

<a href="" target="_new" title="'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' Trailer">Video: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' Trailer</a>

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's In A Name - part 2

A few days ago I did a blog post titled, "What's In A Name". And in today's follow-up we're going to have a little fun. Over the years, I've collected a list of some of the more unique names I've come across. These are REAL names of real people, not character names. Which is your favorite?

Susan Rash
Merry Christmas (yep, that's a girl's name!)
Iwona Wadolowski
Darling Polo
Beata Bak
Summer Rain Fall
Romaine Colter
Tracy Hatem
Irish Marie Meneses
Elcie Bessie
Maria Quirk Nonas
Christine Mugazero
Lovegem Dizon
Zenab Sirleaf
Promise Sills
Flor Done
Peggy Goble
Celsius Mutalac
Dimple Patel
Emmanuela Fertile
Januari Brown
Shawn Quick
Waraporn Schmidt
Carol Lark
Reginald Go
Farhat Kaan
Stephanie Blender
Maria Short
Marie Icart
Michael Eatman
Chioma Odor
Honesty Nagel
Tootsie Janda
Swanzybella Pimpong
Dimple Chatur
Frais Husbands
Amanda Bee
Gina Compas
Fatney Angervil
Joy Dampman
Jason Pork
Thong Van Le
Stephanie Pressure
Stella Trueblood

And here's a mother/daughter pairing: mom-Shimba Jones, daughter-Shumba Jones
And a family grouping: Earth Mary Venus (daughter), Jupiter Venus (mom), Apollo Miralles (cousin)

So just remember, naming your character is just like naming a child...make sure you choose something memorable and fitting, but also something that you can live with for the rest of your book's life.

(Special thanks to everyone whose name is listed above.)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Writing Board

I have a giant cork board stationed next to my desk. It's my writing board, where I pin-up notes for projects I'm working on. The whole left side of the board, right now,  is devoted to my YA manuscript that I'm revising, The Hidden Force. I've got small pages lined up with quick reviews of each chapter to check story flow and ensure all loose ends are tied up. I also have important question lined-up on top:

What makes this story unique?
Why would someone pay to read this story?
Is the setting like another character in the story?
I keep these questions in mind while I'm revising. This weekend I read an article entitled, Building Tension to Heighten the Stakes by Jessica Page Morrell in the July/August 2010 issue of Writer's Digest, and I picked up another tidbit that is going on the board, "Change equals torment. Torment your characters and tension must result." I like that one....worthy of pinning to the board.

On the right side of the board, I have notes on several other projects: children's stories, poems, a YA post apocalyptic/dystopian novel, character ideas, etc . Sometimes it gets a bit crowded on the right side because the ideas flow quicker than the developement of these projects. But that's the beauty of the board, it keeps it all visible and I can add to it as the ideas come, so when I'm ready for a project I'm not starting from zero.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Last Night's Poetry Reading

What a thrill to read my work to an audience last night. I was nervous, oh yes I was. It's never easy to read  in front of other people, on a mic. But my acting background certainly came in handy.

A successful poem reading is not just reading the words on the page, but also living it in front of the audience, performing it. It doesn't have to be super dramatic, in fact too dramatic can take away the heart of the poem. But reading slowly, pausing on important elements, changing voice intonations - all important elements.

Reading a poem is instant gratification. I watched the audience reaction as I read, hanging on the words of each line, being led to the end of the poem. I was taking them on a journey and they were there for the ride. Wow-what a rush! And the applause at the end was pure fluff for my ego (it's still in check I assure you).

I walked away from the bookstore last night on cloud nine. I can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Open Mic Poetry Night tonight 7pm

For anyone in the area, I'll be at the Open Mic Poetry Night 7pm tonight B&N at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack (187 Riverside Square, Hackensack, NJ 07601, 201-488-8037). Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Author Interview - K Patrick Malone

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - K. Patrick Malone

What was the inspiration for your new book, An Unfinished House?
An Unfinished HouseHonestly, Captain Morgan was my inspiration. It sparked a very intense relationship of the kind I'd never had before. Two heterosexual men finding themselves abandoned by their women, then finding that caring for each other in hard times wasn’t all that different, think Bro-mance.

Most of your books question the paths that your characters have taken in their lives and explore alternate paths. Have you pondered that for yourself?
I think it’s less of a question of pondering my paths but having them happen to me. If anyone had asked me ten years ago if I could have written An Unfinished House, I would have never believed it. . . until it happened.

How much do you plan your novels before you start writing? Do you know how they will end before you begin to write?
Oddly enough, I never plan any of my novels, not an outline in sight. I just sit down, close my eyes and let my fingers run wild on the keyboard. The rest of the world stops for me. The house doesn’t get cleaned. The chores don’t get done and very often I forget to eat or shower for days. Then once it’s done, in about four to six weeks, I collapse in a heap amass a huge mountain of used Kleenex.
Inside A Haunted Mind
What is your writing schedule - do you write every day?
I write very late at night, from ten pm until the sun comes up, alone in my big creepy 100 year old house. I have no schedule, per se, but I do write in a frenzy of non stop writing for hours at a time during those four to six weeks.

How closely do you follow book reviews & critiques for your books?
I follow them closely. It goes to the nature of art. Is it art if it does not communicate anything to the reader? Luckily, for me, it has and I’ve gotten 19 awards from various literary organizations for my four books. I think when they read my books, they cry when I do.

Do you have any children?
Once of the greatest regrets in my life is that I didn’t have any natural children but have found something so special in that, and as my books portray (and I hope it reaches the readers) A man can love children that are not his own as much as if they were. My boys are da bomb and I couldn’t love them more if they were my own. A good lesson there for those who favor biology over fostering or adoption, and so I hope my books encourage readers to open there hearts to parentless children. There was a TV commercial here recently that said it all about adopting young teens where the kid says. “People only want small babies because they’re all cute and cuddly but they forget that teenagers need a family too.” Broke my heart because I know that feeling all too well.

What made you choose writing over practicing law as a career? How has your legal experience shaped how you write?
Practicing law is essentially cleaning up other people’s messes, like a highly trained and skilled janitor. They go out and act like fools then run to the lawyer crying, “Help me! Help me!” I got sick of being their clean up woman. A telling anecdote; client comes to me after he’s gotten himself all jammed up for hitting his wife. I get him probation, a permanent restraining order and a small fine as a first offender. He yells at me. “Hey, you were supposed to get me off!” My response. “I didn’t hit your wife, buddy. You did. Maybe next time you should keep you’re hands to yourself.” The moral here: the ass was blaming me for not allowing him to hit his wife again. Gotta love it, don’tcha?
The Digger's Rest
What books are you reading right now?
A big kid in a man’s body, I’m reading John. H. Manhold’s El Tigre, The Elymais Coin and Lobo. Boy’s adventure stories (Westerns) written for grown men who want to remember what it was like to be a boy again.

If you had a young writing protégé, what one piece of advice would you offer?
Don’t be afraid to reveal your heart. If it touches someone else’s heart ( and/or mind) then you have achieved the best of what it means to be human.

Do you have another novel in the works?
I’ve just completed my 4th novel, The House at Miller’s Court, due out in the fall and already having received an Honorable Mention from the New York Book Festival (in the general fiction category) while still in manuscript form. The achievement for me there is that horror and my haunted tales, so rarely taken seriously in literary circles, stands up well among the largest group of writers, general fiction.

K. Patrick Malone is the author of Inside A Haunted Mind, The Digger’s Rest, An Unfinished House and the forthcoming, The House at Miller’s Court. He graduated Monmouth University with a B.A. in Psychology before attaining a J.D. from Capital University Law School. After years of practicing law and apartment life in New York City, he returned to a small farm cottage near the Jersey shore to tend his English style garden and write his first book, A Haunted Mind. For more information about K Patrick Malone and his books, you can visit his publisher's website at: A-Argus Books.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Bookstore Trip

Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2)
I went for a B&N trip yesterday at lunch and picked up Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (the follow-up to Uglies). I started reading it right away - It was nice to get back to the series after a few week's hiatus. It  has picked up right where the first story left off, and I'm already really into it. I can't wait to see how this one turns out.
Goosebumps: How I Learned To Fly
And of course I had to pick up a new Goosebumps book for my son. This time I found one that is a bit of a departure from the scary themes that are usually in the books. This one has a story that is so pertinent for my son that I could tell he was instantly drawn to it: "How I Learned to Fly" by R.L. Stine. We started reading it while waiting for a dr. appointment last night and my son was already begging me to read more. At bedtime, he gave me the puppy dog face to try to convince me to just read "one more chapter, pleeeaaaase." I love that this series gets him so excited! How could I say no to that!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's In A Name?

I don't think character names can make or break a book, but I do think they are important. If the names are not just right then it can create doubt as to the authenticity of the story. When I read Thirteen Days To Midnight by Patrick Carman, the character Ophelia was nicknamed "Oh". It just got confusing for me whenever Oh came up and it wasn't part of dialogue. Sure I got used to it, but in the beginning it was a bit jarring.

I stumbled across this article called Name That Character! that gives some great tips on the subject. And here's an interesting piece 16 Great Characters With Numbers for Names. And finally here's a list of 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since was fun to just go down the list and look at the names listed.

So, do you spend a lot of time on naming your characters? What is your approach?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quote of the Week - Maltbie Davenport Babcock

We all have the greatness within us to be successful, whether it be writing, parenting, or even just living. I leave you on this Friday with a great quote that sums it up best:

"One of the commonest mistakes and one of the costliest is thinking that success is due to some genius, some magic - something or other which we do not possess. Success is generally due to holding on, and failure to letting go. You decide to learn a language, study music, take a course of reading, train yourself physically. Will it be success or failure? It depends upon how much pluck and perseverance that word "decide" contains. The decision that nothing can overrule, the grip that nothing can detach will bring success. Remember the Chinese proverb, "With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes satin." - Maltbie Davenport Babcock

Thursday, June 17, 2010

E2BU - Enhanced Ebooks Today free webinar

If you're interested in keeping up with trends in the e-book arena, this webinar may be for you. E2BU (Enhanced E-Book University) is holding a FREE webinar entitled, Enhanced Ebooks Today. Here's a blurb about the event:

Everybody is talking about enhanced ebooks, but nobody seems to know exactly what they are. This session kicks off E2BU with a critical look at the current enhanced ebook marketplace and a discussion of when, why, and how to enhance digital book content.
The webinar is being held Tuesday, June 29, 2010 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT and registration is required for the event.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stop The Insanity - Consider Change

This week's focus is: change. Albert Einstein had it right, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." A lot of companies go under because they don't adapt, they don't change based on the needs of the economy, their industry, the workforce, etc. Writers should take heed too. If you've been doing the same thing over and over again and you're not getting results, then maybe you need to take a step back and reevaluate. It may not be the WHAT but the HOW.

Case in point, on a small scale: I've been reworking chapter 3 for three days and still it didn't feel exactly right. I was getting frustrated and didn't know what to do about it. And then I took a step back, reread it from the beginning and decided to change how I was approaching it. I cut the first 5 paragraphs and started in the middle of the action instead of the lead-up, and voila it finally feels right.

No more insanity. If you're not getting the results, try a different approach. And maybe, just maybe it will be the magic ingredient to success.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In Need of Some Inspiration - Read This...

I love reading about other authors' journeys through their quest to publication. And last week, Beth Revis posted a series of posts that outlined her journey. There were times when she wanted to give up, when she questioned her talent. But she didn't quit. Her perseverance paid off - she recently signed with agent Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House, and her debut novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, will be published by Razorbill/Penguin in Spring 2011 (in a three book deal!)

So, if you're in need of some inspiration, I recommend reading through the five posts from Beth I have linked below. I promise, it will be worth it.
1: Years Ago, A History
2: Years Ago, Still the Past
3: Last Year, and the Year Before
4: Last Month
5: The End and the Beginning

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Camping Countdown Starts

I am super psyched because there's less than one month before our annual family camping trip. This is my one vacation away from everything and I look forward to it every year. I love waking up to the sounds of nature, watching the ducks traipse through the campsite looking for scraps, and getting the coffee ready over the coleman stove. At night, we scour the land for wood for the fire, throw on some hamburgers and hot dogs, and then roast marshmallows and make smores.

This year we're renting a small RV instead of sleeping in a tent since the past two years it has rained on our trips. Hopefully the rain will stay away this year. But either way, we're ready! These precious few days are a great opportunity to live without the t.v. and internet, and instead to pull out the board games and go for hikes. The family time is quality time. And, since I'm the first one up, I get some great writing done in the mornings too. I'll bring a hard copy of my manuscript and chisel away at the revisions that I still have pending.

So now I count the days...26 days until camping.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

There was a lot of buzz about this book by Scott Westerfeld, but I never felt inclined to pick it up because the title threw me off. My first impression was that this book was going to be filled with bratty teens judging each other solely on how they looked. Seemed pretty superficial to me, and not really up my alley as far as the type of book I would like. That is until my sister-in-law, and my brother, AND their daughter all read the book and loved it. At that point I knew if all three of them liked it, then I had to at least give it a try. And now, I'm so glad I did.

It took a few pages for me to get into the simple labeling of things like "uglies", "pretties", "littlies", "spagbol", but the story drew me in quickly and before I knew it I was on an adventure that I didn't want to end.

Wikipedia gives a great story synopsis. And I was excited to learn that there is a movie scheduled to release in 2011. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to pick up the second book in the series.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Revising - Resetting the Goal Yet Again

I was supposed to be done with my revisions already...40 days...39,550 words...manuscript complete - remember when I said that; here's the post? Well my plan hasn't proven to be as simple as the mathematical formula I had devised. And I'm looking back over the last 40 days to try to understand why?
  1. Did I do the work? Yes, I revised every day except 4 days in the whole 40 day period. Not bad, for sticking to a schedule.
  2. Did I revise 1,000 words per day? Yes, and some days a bit more.
So why hasn't it worked out mathematically correct?
  1. I didn't just revise once and move on. Instead, I took my time with every paragraph, every sentence, and every word. I worked the text until it felt right, which meant revising the same section one, two, three, even four days in a row.
  2. I went back and started revising from the beginning of the story. So instead of only having to revise 39,550, I was actually revising 54,000 words.
  3. I've deleted a lot of text, and added text too. When I deleted words I counted it as part of my revision count because I had to read it, understand it, and then decide if it was needed or not.
So how do I feel? Even though I'm not where I wanted to be at this point, I actually feel GREAT about what I've done. When I read the sections I've revised, I get excited reading my work. I can feel the characters and the depth they bring to the story.

So, I know that I've taken just the right amount of time to get it done right. And I'm on a roll. I plan on continuing my revision schedule, and shoot for revising 1,000 words per day. And if I accomplish the same amount that I've accomplished thus far, then I will be 3/4 done with this revision in a month and a half. By the beginning of fall, I'll be done.

So here I go, excited and focused with a goal in hand. I'll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Barnes & Noble Reading-June 24th

I just confirmed that I'll be participating in the open mic poetry night on Thursday, June 24 @ 7pm at the Barnes & Noble in the Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, NJ.

I hope to see some of  you there either as participants or as spectators.

The event is RSVP only. If you're interested in participating you can email your interest to or call 201-488-8037.

Monday, June 07, 2010

SUPER SUMMER CONTEST - 2010 - And The Winner is....

The contest is officially over and we have a winner. The winner is Samantha! Congratulations! Your prize package includes:
A Signed copy of the following books...The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch, From Where The Rivers Come by Terin Tashi Miller, and An Unfinished House by K Patrick Malone. In addition, you'll also be receiving a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card and a $10 Starbucks Gift Card.
Samantha, send me an email to: with your address so I can send your prizes.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Friday, June 04, 2010

What Voice Qualities Would Make Your Skin Crawl?

Question of the day:
If you were out somewhere and suddenly heard a voice close to you, but couldn't see the person, and the voice alone made your skin crawl - what qualities would that voice have? How would you describe it?

 A couple character examples to illustrate my point:
  • Hannibal Lecture when he says, "Hello Clarice" from the movie Silence of the Lambs
  • The clown from Stephen King's "It"
I would love to hear everyone's take on this, because the feedback will help me with an important beat in the revision I'm working on. Thanks!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

NY Book Festival Winners Announced...

...and my children's story, "Petunia Wiggles, Giggles & Hops" was a finalist in the 2010 New York Book Festival for unpublished stories. Whoop! Whoop!

There's a party scheduled with cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and readings by the winners at the Cornelia Street Cafe, a mecca for spoken word performances, poetry, music and author readings for over 30 years.

And then there's an awards reception on held on June 11, 2010 in New York at the Algonquin Hotel, the one-time home to the renowned Algonquin Round Table.

I’m excited - two great celebratory events to meet and mingle with fellow authors and publishers. Congratulations to all the authors who made the list!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Quick recap...

The Super Summer Contest 2010 runs until Sunday June 6th (midnight). If you want to be the lucky winner of signed copies of The One That I Want, From Where The Rivers Come, and An Unfinished House, plus a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card AND a $10 Starbucks gift card, then you need to enter soon. It's easy and FREE! To enter, add a comment to the original contest post (here).

Also, I've posted interviews with two of the authors with books in the contest: Terin Tashi Miller, and Allison Winn Scotch. Watch the blog for the posting of my interview with K. Patrick Malone coming soon.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Allison Winn Scotch

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Allison Winn Scotch

What was the inspiration for your new book, The One That I Want?
I wanted to take the themes I explored in my last book, Time of My Life, and flip everything on its head, while still delving into the concept of how we – and my characters – can create more fulfilling, fleshed-out lives. So it was this whole concept of, “What happens when you think you have a perfect life, and it totally gets shattered to pieces?” In this day and age, not an entirely uncommon – unfortunately – scenario.

How has becoming a New York Times bestselling author changed your career? Is there more pressure to create the next best seller?
Yes. There is no doubt that I feel a lot more pressure with this – and my follow-up – books. I felt it immensely while working on this one. But that said, this isn’t something that I’d ever think to complain about. It’s sort of an embarrassment of riches, to be honest, and if my biggest problem in the world is that I now feel the pressure to match the success of my previous book, well, then, I guess I don’t have too many problems! In terms of how it’s changed my career, I guess it’s just escalating things, put my name out there in a bigger scope, which ultimately means that I can build upon the last book and reach more readers. That’s really what it’s about: not having the NY Times moniker, but connecting and resonating with readers. So that aspect is, of course, really gratifying.

The One That I Want: A NovelMost of your books question the paths that your characters have taken in their lives and explore alternate paths. Have you pondered that for yourself?
Yes and no. I do feel like I do pretty consistent temperature checks with myself, along the lines of, “Okay, are you satisfied with XYZ and if not, what can you do to increase your satisfaction,” and part of that is undoubtedly considering the road not taken. But I don’t really have any lingering “what ifs,” in my life. Sure, I might think about them from time to time, but I really am the type of person who takes her current reality and tries to improve upon it. I think this is definitely one of the underlying themes in my books: if you’re not living the life you want, then what?

How much do you plan your novels before you start writing? Do you know how they will end before you begin to write?
No, I never have any idea how things will end, so I’d say that I plan very little. I’m a “pantser,” which means that I write by the seat of my pants and essentially let my characters lead the way and lead the plot. Sure, do I have a very vague idea of what I’d LIKE to happen? Yes. But mostly, I write from their perspective, throwing obstacles in their way to make things interesting, and let the ending find its way organically.

What is your writing schedule - do you write every day?
It all depends on where I am in a manuscript. When I’m writing the initial draft, yes, I write every day. I’ve found that for me, writing is kind of akin to going to the gym: I need to get into a pattern/schedule or else it’s really easy for me to slide of it…for weeks. So I sit down every day (excluding weekends) and require that I hit a certain word count, usually somewhere between 1-2k, depending on where I am in the book and the momentum that I have. Sometimes this takes me an hour, sometimes it takes me more. But once I hit that goal for the day, I give myself permission to log off. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t spend the rest of the day thinking about what I’m going to write next: I do. Only that the actual typing part can be shuttered.

Time of My Life: A NovelCan you describe how you found your agent, Elisabeth Weed from Weed Literary?
Sure: I found her like most other writers do – via blind query. I did a lot of research as to who might be a good fit, then fired off rounds of emails. She was immediately responsive, and I accepted her offer, despite having a few others, within, I think, about a week of sending that initial note.

How closely do you follow book reviews & critiques for your books?
I’d say I follow them closely upon the initial release, and with every passing month, follow them less and less. There’s something daunting about ushering a new book out into the world, kind of akin to a newborn, but eventually, you realize that it’s all going to be okay, and you let go. And then you write another one, and your energies and concerns transfer over to the new project anyway.

I understand you have two children, about the same age as my son. How aware are your kids of what you do? How do juggle responsibilities of being a mother, wife, and writer?
My kids pretty fully understand what it is I do: they’ve seen my books, they’ve come to a signing, and I’ve gone into my son’s school and done a little chat (as much as one can do so with 4 and 5 year olds) about what it means to be an author. They seem to get a kick out of it and practice writing their own books as well, which kind of delights me.  I juggle everything by having a great babysitter, being really well-organized and being entirely, 100% okay with saying no to things. I do feel pulled in A LOT of different directions – like any working mom does – and I don’t deny that I’m pretty tired a lot of the time too, so if I’m just not up for something: reading a to-be-blurbed book, attending an event, speaking somewhere, whatever, I just say no. There’s a lot of power in drawing lines in the sand and honoring those boundaries.

The Department of Lost & FoundWhat made you choose writing over acting as a career? How has your acting experience shaped how you write?
I don’t even know if I chose writing as much as it chose me. (Not to sound like a character from Lost.) But what I mean by that is that I almost fell into this career – with all roads pointing toward it but not with me, at least initially, seeking it out, and in that sense, I’m incredibly lucky and blessed. I definitely think that acting and writing are similar entities, and to that end, when I’m writing a character, I envision him or her much in the same way I would a character on stage or whatnot: you try to delve in and get under his or her skin to really bring her to life.

What books are you reading right now?
I’m halfway through Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart and really enjoying it a lot.

If you had a young writing protégé, what one piece of advice would you offer?
I always say that aspiring authors need to listen to criticism and take their egos out of the equation. Too many folks – myself including – think that their early/first work is untouchable, when, in fact, it’s far from it. The only way to improve is to figure out where your weaknesses are, and in order to do that, you need to be open to constructive advice. I can sincerely say that if I hadn’t taken criticism early in my career, I never would have been published. Sometimes, you think you know what you’re doing when, if fact, you have no idea.

Do you have another novel in the works?
I’m just wrapping up my draft of my 2011 book, The Memory of Us, which is about a woman who survives a plane crash but loses her memory in the process and has to piece her life back together with the stories told to her from folks around her. I’m really enjoying it and think it’s a nice companion piece to Time and The One. Sort of a middle ground, in terms of tone and feel.

Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found. Prior to her fiction, she was a frequent contributor to numerous magazines and websites including Cooking Light, Family Circle, Fitness, Glamour, and Redbook, and now focuses on celebrity profiles for a variety of magazines. She lives in New York with her family. Allison's new book, The One That I Want, is releasing today June 1, 2010. For those of you in the New York area, she will be doing a reading/book signing tonight 6/1/10 at 7:00pm at the Borders (10 Columbus Circle). For more about her and her books, go to or follow her on Twitter at @aswinn.