Blurber THANK YOU Giveaway

HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH comes out two months from Today!!!!

Excuse me while I do a dance of impatient glee! While you’re waiting for me to calm down, check out the amazing blurbs HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH received!

“Ambitious and original, HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH captured my attention before I even turned the first page. It’s a thriller in every sense of the word, and I can’t wait to see what Schmidt has up her sleeve next.” –  Michelle Hodkin, New York Times bestselling author of the Mara Dyer trilogy

“The tightly coiled suspense and superb romance had me holding my breath!” –  Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Look Back and the Lux series

“This book swept me off my feet! Deadly family secrets, tense situations, surprising truths, and captivating romance kept me in suspense from “Once upon a time” to “ever after”. HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH is a gripping modern thriller for readers who still love fairy tales and people who think they’ve outgrown them. This is an offer you can’t refuse!” –  E. C. Myers, author of The Silence of Six and Fair Coin

“Heartfelt and haunting. Penny is a heroine to root for, a princess who creates her own ever-after.” –  Jessica Spotswood, author of the Cahill Witch Chronicles

I’m SO grateful to these fabulous authors — I admire their writing, AND I admire them as people. I’m feeling super lucky to have their praise on my book cover.  As a show of that gratitude, and because I want ALL readers to experience their brilliance, I’m giving away a book by each author + four Hold Me Like a Breath ARCs.

 

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Good Luck!!!

YAmazing Race – No Sneakers Required

Thanks for racing, but this YAmazing race has ended…

Hello! Thanks for making it to the Send Me a Sign pit-stop on the YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes! Since I’m not the first stop on team Toilet Papering The Yard, you probably know the drill by now — This is a blog hop featuring a zillionty debut authors. We’re giving away prize packs stuffed with books, gift certificates, and all sorts of swag.

If you’ve stumbled on this post and are feeling a little lost — skedaddle over to the Apocalypsie Website where you’ll find some helpful directions and links to the beginning.

Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt 

Mia Moore has spent her entire life looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. A sign that the summer before senior year will be the best one ever.

But when Mia is diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, the only sign she wants to see is that she will survive cancer. That she will get through a summer of intensive chemo and be able to go back to being the girl she’s always been—top student, part of the A-list crowd, and dating Ryan, the hottest guy at school.

And until she’s better—meaning no throwing up, no hospital stays, and definitely no wig—Mia doesn’t want anyone to know she has cancer. She doesn’t want her friends’ pity. And she certainly doesn’t want to start feeling something more than friendship for the one person who does know what she’s going through, her best friend Gyver. But the sicker Mia gets, the more she realizes that not even the clearest signs offer perfect answers, and in order to find out what happens in her life, she will have to find the courage to live it.

Want a copy of your very own? (The correct answer is YES!)

Send Me a Sign is available NOW at: IndieBound * Doylestown Bookshop (signed copies!) * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Chapters/ !ndigo * Book Depository

Done? 
I know your brain is packed full from all the YAmazing/MGnificent Toilet Papering bookstops you visited before mine — but I hope you paid attention to the summary above, because you’ll need to know something about Send Me a Sign to answer the quiz and enter to win the prize packs. *hint*ItRhymesWithChia*hint*

Wait! 
Want more chances to win stuff? Since you’re here and everything, I might as well offer you an incentive to stay… or at least come back and visit.

Complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win the Ultimate Send Me A Sign Swag Pack: Magic 8 Ball, iTunes giftcard, custom bracelet, and other fun surprises.

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Sayonara

As much as I hate for you to leave *sniffle* there’s more YAmazingness in store for you. Click HERE to go visit Susanne Winnacker on the next stop on the Toilet Papering the Yard tour.

Meet Churchill.
Here’s his brother, Winston.
The pictures above represent approximately 0.5% of my photo collection of Schmidtlets with Winston and Churchill. They are Attached.
Naptime isn’t naptime without Churchill tucked under the chin. And tummy time doesn’t work well unless Winston is within reach.
W & C are exposes to much loving and drooling, so last night unbeknownst to me, St.Matt decided to throw them in with the baby laundry.
This morning I went on the Great Churchill Hunt – called St.Matt – and eventually located both of them In The Dryer.
Winston is fine.
Churchill is crispy.
He must’ve gotten stuck to the vent, because he is definitely dryer-fried.
I took this pretty calmly – much calmer than overdue-for-his-nap Brad. I figured I could order a replacement and have it in a few days. Naptime until then might be a little rough, but it was a short term problem.
I even thought I’d be SMART and order a Back-up Winston and Back-up Churchill.
BUT.
Churchill has been discontinued.
I can order as many Winstons as I want.
BUT.
Churchill – crunchy, need-a-replacement Churchill – is discontinued.
And I can’t even find another one on Ebay.  I thought you could find ANYTHING on Ebay.
A much-chagrined St.Matt called Pottery Barn Kids customer service.  I bet he was calm and steady. The e-mail I sent them included lots of !!!!’s and HELP! and the line: Please save my naptime.
BUT.
Even as I have this Mommy Crisis, I also have perspective.
It’s a toy. He’s 4 months old. This is more upsetting for ME than it is for HIM.
I know this moment is heightened by having sent my finished manuscript to Agent Extrordinaire, Joe Monti, this morning. Because everything seems more panicked after pressing *send*.
I know that even if Crispy-Churchill can’t be salvaged. Even if Pottery Barn Kids can’t hunt down a leftover Green Frog Thumbie, and even if one never appears on Ebay, Brad will be fine and I haven’t failed as a mother.
Even if it feels like it every time his lip quivers.

 


You’ll let me know if you come across a Churchill, right?

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4) When things go wrong on the river, they go wrong fast and they go really wrong.

4) When things go wrong on the river, they go wrong fast and they go really wrong.

This is an unedited excerpt from a hasty entry in my waterproof notepads on day 2 – it’s a ‘lil bit melodramatic, but it a scary moment:

Fearless? Not so much. Shaking. Quite a bit. This isn’t Disney World. This ride isn’t automated or carefully controlled like Epcot’s Maelstrom. And unlike scary movies, you can’t shut my eyes when things get tough or frightening. You need to face the fears: eyes open, danger ready.

Because when things go wrong on the river, they go wrong fast and they go seriously wrong.

Today we did Hell’s Half Mile rapids – these were the ones discussed around the campfire last night and over breakfast this morning. We only had 90 minutes of rafting time today, but these would be intense. I’d been warned.

But before we got to ½ Mile, in the smaller rapids just before – Triplet – things went wrong. Fast and Serious.
A boat flipped.

The passengers were okay and Capt. D eddied out, then went back on foot to assist with the recovery.

J-bean, Matt and I had a moment’s quiet panic, before we were sent back into the main channel in case a swimmer – or as happened, the upside down boat – needed to be caught.
It couldn’t have been long, but it was a blur of in and out our raft, catching the overturned rafted as it floated pasted, tying, untying, heaving people back in the boat and screamed commands. Fast and serious.

J-bean told me to tie us off – once we’d secured the overturned raft. I climbed to the side and asked, “Now?”

Her hollered response of “No!” sounded like an echo to me so I splashed overboard and proceeded to break the first rules I’d been taught: Never position yourself against a rock. Never try and stand up in the current. *

My out-of-the-moment commentary: At the time when I wrote this, I was trembling so hard my cursive was barely legible, but I think it was also the most FEARLESS moment of the trip. Because I scrawled this down after Hell’s Half Mile rapids.

And after Triplet and the flip, when we got out of the boats to scout the trickier rapids, I didn’t want to get back in. I wanted to sit and drip on a safe, dry, flat surface. I didn’t want to hear about a rock named Lucifer or passages that needed to be avoided. I wanted to stop trembling and re-learn how to work my lungs.
But when Capt D said, “Let’s go.” I did. FEARLESS

*I was lucky. I ended up with teensy scrapes and some rather large bruises. It could’ve been so much worse and I’ve learned my lesson. We used “Red light” and “Green light” instead of No/Now for the rest of the trip.

Austen & Testosterone

Remember the bit on Sesame Street that started with the song: “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong?” And then they’d put up pictures of an umbrella, raindrops, rubber boots, and a pink flamingo lawn ornament and ask the audience to choose the misfit object.

If you mastered that tricky question, you’re ready to move on to this more challenging one: which of these things doesn’t belong: Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Pemberley, the undead?

*Trick question*

Ha! I fooled you. They all belong. At least they do in the new novel co-authored by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. Did you know that Miss Austen was still writing or that she’s developed an interest in the horror genre? I didn’t either. And for those of you who don’t have an interest in reading the novel (or having it read to you by the new Kindle), don’t worry – there’s a movie coming out as well. You can see Lizzy and Darcy battle the undead on the big screen soon enough.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies
Book: http://tinyurl.com/7r6t9q
Movie: http://tinyurl.com/aw34zh

While we’re at it, why not throw in some aliens? Who hasn’t read P&P and thought: Pemberly’s a great house and all, but it’s really lacking a few UFO’s and extraterrestrial threats? Fret no longer, Pride & Predator will be here soon enough.

Pride & Predator: http://tinyurl.com/d2j9r6

There’s a very clear reason for these mash-ups: men love Austen. Obviously. But they’ve been scared to reveal how much they pine for a good ball or worry about an entail or dowry. They worry that crying with Jane over Bingley won’t appear macho. Simple solution: add some testosterone in the form of zombies and aliens. Now they have the perfect excuse for standing and cheering when Lizzy and Darcy admit their mutual admiration: “What? Did you see that? They totally just destroyed that zombie.”

While they’re mutilating Pride & Prejudice, they might as well show Austen’s other books some machismo.

My suggestions:
Sense & Sensibility & Samurais
Northanger Androids
Emma: Attack of the Matchmaking Clones
Persuasion and Poltergeists
Documentary: The Impact of Global Warming on the Park at Mansfield

So what do I think? I re-read my Austen anthology cover to cover at least once a year, she was the topic of my undergrad thesis and when the Masterpiece Theater did their Sunday’s with Austen series last year, I promptly blocked off the next eight Sundays on my calendar.

… but, if the zombie or aliens would eat Kitty, then I wouldn’t mind so much. She seriously drives me nuts!

 

Top ten things I <3 <3 <3

Valentine’s day, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… but I’m stopping at 10, because then I need to get back to reading over my feedback group’s comments on FLASH.

In honor of <3 day, I decided to compose a list of the top ten things I love – at this moment – if you ask me tomorrow, you might get a few differences (especially if #1 has attempted to wash the basement floor with undiluted Mr. Clean again).

#1 – Husband! Today I received pink tulips (my favorite) and a card addressed to ‘his Sweet Catastrophe,’ which is a throwback reference to the song ‘Hurricane’ by Something Corporate, and an oddly appropriate nickname for his disaster-prone wife. Also, was brought to the local Indie bookstore and told to pick out ‘what I wanted.’ A shockingly dangerous statement to make. If I really purchased ‘what I wanted,’ we’d be living off tuna and Ramen for the next year. I did, however, buy Heather’ Brewer’s Ninth Grade Slays, Sara Zarr’s Sweetheart, and ordered A.S. King’s Dust of 100 Dogs, since it wasn’t in stock.

#2 – the Puggles. Biscotti is velociraptor-smart, but also fiercely loyal and snuggly. Bruschi *sigh* we have no memory of dropping him on his furry noggin as a puppy, but he’s definitely a remedial dog. That being said, he’s freakin’ adorable and the happiest thing with four legs and a tail. And his Elvis-lip underbite is enough to make me forgive when he steps in and knocks over his water bowl while drinking – again.

# 3- Family. They’re amazing – enough said.

# 4 – Friends. Ditto.

#5 – Writing. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that writing is as essential as oxygen, sleep & caffeine. (Although, I often forgo sleep in order to have time to write).

#6 – Reading. My parents cheered when I learned to read at four – mostly because it was the only way to get me to sit still for more than three minutes – but by the time I was four and a half, they were begging me to put down the books and engage in the real world. They’re still begging. Sorry!

#7 – Foamed milk. I order my cappuccinos ‘extra dry,’ but really, that’s just to camouflage my weirdness. I’d rather just have a cup of warm, foamed milk – the coffee is completely optional. The caffeine at the bottom is a perk, however.

#8 – Running. When my ankle cooperates. It’s totally Jay Asher’s fault that I ended up back in PT for five months. If 13 Reasons Why on audiobook wasn’t so ridiculously amazing, I wouldn’t have upped my mileage from 4 to 6 within a week and ended up injured. (But the book was so good that it was almost worth it).

#9 – Kayaking. Preferably with #1 and #2. (#2 have the most-ridiculous-but-adorable life jackets with handles on top for when they inevitably fall overboard).

#10 – Twitter. Probably not really in my top 10, but I’m not letting myself sign on right now I work on FLASH edits, and I’m totally going through withdrawal. If you want to follow me there – I’ll be back soon, promise – my name is (creatively enough) TiffanySchmidt.

What are your top 10?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If my teacher passes out, can we go home early?

Disclaimer:  I love my class.  I really do.  I am lucky to be the teacher of 26 of the most respectful, intelligent, curious, and creative 6th graders who have ever lived.  I wouldn’t trade them for anyone.  (Well, maybe for last year’s class of angels-disguised-as-students, but no one else).

Having said that, these creative young minds do very creative things with the English language.  Some of them are hilarious, like this line from a student’s narrative about the day his dog fell in the pool:

 “We quickly learned that Mocha was no Michael Phelps.”

Others, however, are not purposely funny, but hilarious all the same.

About the Great Depression:  “This was first America’s crisis, but soon became a nationwide problem.” (I think we need to review our geography…)  

About Teddy Roosevelt:  “After McKinley died, Teddy Roosevelt had to be president right away.  He was on a hiking trip with his family, so I’m not sure why they made him do it right away.”  (Seriously, couldn’t the American public at least wait until he finished his vacation?)

About Eco-friendly energy sources:  “Savannah Desert uses solar panels to cook her dinner.”  (Is she a good cook?  I’ll be right over!)

About Global Warming:  “You may be asking yourself, what are fossil fuels.  I’m pretty sure they’re dead animals that are burned as fuel.”  (Next time, wait until you’re really sure.  We are not scooping up road kill and burning it.)

About Diverticulitis: “Imagine your lower intestine breaking open and spilling toxic waste into the body.”  (No!  NO!  I do not want to imagine that. Take it back!)
 

In other disturbing-image news, the PowerPoint presentations that went along with these papers had me screaming:

Holy guacamole!  Where are the school’s image filters and firewalls?!

While the student who was researching Michael Phelps’s Olympic accomplishments (this was pre-scandal) couldn’t get any images, because his Olympic uniform is apparently “indecent apparel,” others were able to get much more disturbing photos.

The student whose topic was “How could the assassination of JFK have been prevented?” was able to get full-color autopsy photos.  (Side note: Whether in or out of school, why should these ever be available?) 

I’m sitting in that presentation, doing my smiley-encouraging-I’m-listening-you’re-doing-so-great nod when – WHAM-O  – slide change and I’m looking at something so gory that I may have screamed just a little.

*needs to take a typing break to compose self*

So, the autopsy photo comes up and my head immediately goes between my knees and I’m hyperventilating.  Boy, this kid was a champ (or oblivious, one or the other) because even though his teacher’s about to pass out, he kept right on presenting.  Picking up the e-marker and drawing all over who knows what (I was busy memorizing the stains on the industrial carpeting and trying not to vomit and add to them).  Kinda remember hearing: “I’m going to trace the path the bullet followed.  This used to be his temple…”  but then I blacked out a little bit.  This made assessing his conclusion a bit challenging. 

I love my class.  I really do.  Even if they make me queasy and dizzy. 

Today’s grade report
Students’ effort : A
Students’ unintentional humor quotient: A
School’s firewalls : F

 

 

 

 

Supremely green and jealous

I had planned to blog about all the wonderful and creative ways that my students interpreted the English language during today’s 8-hour presentation-fest (Anyone else for a gin and ‘photovol-tonic’? That’s apparently what fuels solar-powered cars while they’re saving the ‘o-zone’ – not to be confused with the x-zone, or y-zone). But in my post-presentation queasiness (more tomorrow), I left all of my notes in the classroom. So you’ll have to wait.

Besides, now that I’m no longer green as a result of some very graphic presentation content (another teaser – but you still have to wait until tomorrow), I’m even greener with envy.

Have you seen Maureen Johnson’s or Ally Carter’s blogs about what they’re doing this summer? (No? Well, no excuses! They’re available here: http://maureenjohnson.blogspot.com and here: http://www.allycarter.com/blog.html ) I’ll wait here patiently until you’re done.

Finished? Aren’t you feeling a little green too? This is even worse than when I read Ralph Fletcher’s account of his month at Yaddo. I want a Yaddo. I want an Irish Castle. I want rock star writer friends to go on retreaty, Irish vacations with!

Hmmm, I’m sounding a little whiney here.  How to redeem myself?  

Thinking . . .  thinking. . .

Today I helped a first grader with a bloody nose who was adorable, tearful, and lost on her way to the nurse!  There, have I restored my saintly teacher-writer persona?

( I still want an Irish castle . . . )

I guess my local coffee shop is a good plan B.
Maybe if I’m really nice, they’ll make me an Irish coffee while I sit there and write.  About castles. J

Class trip to Coraline

Yesterday I had a couple of firsts. It was my first time watching a movie from the very back row of the theater. It was also my first time watching a movie with a dozen 6th graders. Apparently, the movie theater is just like the bus: the last row is clearly the coolest.

I, apparently, also have a bit of a coolness factor (who knew?!) because while the parents were ordered to sit elsewhere, there was a bit of a fuss about who would get to sit next to me. And since both sides and the two seats in front of me were quickly commandeered, my poor husband had to sit three seats down with other the boys.

My class read Coraline together this fall, and I had offered to see the movie with them yesterday. Twelve current and former students, a handful of parents, and a few younger siblings showed up. “We’ll discuss the differences between the book and movie in class on Monday,” I said.

In sixth grade speak that roughly translates to: “We’ll discuss the differences and anything else that comes to mind, during the movie.” And they did.

A recap:

  • We missed our favorite scene: when Coraline calls the policeman
  • We love that the Jones are gardening writers who hate dirt
  • We wished the ending had been kept the same
  • We’re glad they didn’t include the part about the Other Father in the basement – it would have been too scary.
  • We’re not quite sold on Wybie. Coraline doesn’t need a sidekick.
  • That doll is as creepy as the buttons
  • That is not what we expected Miss Forcible to look like -yikes!
  • The cat’s voice was not as we pictured – he should sound snobbier
  • Mrs. Schmidt does a better job of singing the ‘twitchy, witchy song’ (although, I believe this comment was meant mockingly – hurumph!)

Their consensus: it was scary, but the book was scarier. Still…

The poor first grade sibling of one of my kiddos was scared straight out of her teensy, pink Ugg boots (or maybe they were just adhered to the spilt-soda-sticky floor), and had to be carried out of the theater by one of the moms.

The student to my right kept up a steady refrain of: “I’m so glad this isn’t 3-D,” “Imagine that in 3-D” and “OMG, I couldn’t handle this in 3-D.”

Another female student whispered down the row toward me: “Mrs. Schmidt, how are the boys? Are they scared too?”

I peeked down the row. They were sitting in a clump: leaned forward, chins in tense hands, eyes wide. Clearly terrified. (Disclaimer: husband was fine). I turned back to my questioner and saved their pre-teen egos: “They’re fine. Very brave.”

Three minutes later I reached over the seatbacks and squeezed the shoulders of the two students sitting in front of me – making them jump and squeal. Good times!

In the lobby (after we took our class photo) they recapped and decided that the movie was great, but the book was greater. Then again, when isn’t this the case?

On the way out the door I caught a wisp their conversation: “Man, I’ve got to get started on The Graveyard Book. I need to finish it before they make it into a movie. Do you think Mrs. Schmidt’ll come to that, too?”

Lessons learned: Back row = cool. Mrs. Schmidt = cool. Movies = less cool than books.

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