Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Saturday, July 5, 2014

CONTACT by Laurisa White Reyes

My favorite stories are the ones where you can't eat or sleep before you finish them. Contact, by Laurisa White Reyes is one of those!

I was especially taken with the way Laurisa wove her main character, Mara's psychic issue with the very real challenges of being a teen.  

And I love this blurb:
It takes only half a second…… …Like those commercials where a crash test dummy rockets forward at high speed and slams into a wall.


And this:


 About CONTACT:

"A page turner..." - Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of the Missing series

"Intense...exhilarating...!" - K.R. Thompson, author of The Keeper Saga

"...had me glued to the pages." - Carlyle Labuschagne, author of The Broken Destiny

Everyone pop over to Goodreads and give CONTACT some "Want to Read" love. Scroll on down for an interview with the talented Laurisa White Reyes.

Here's the link to grab your copy of CONTACT.

Happy Reading!

1.     Tell us a little about your new book, CONTACT.
CONTACT is a young adult thriller about a girl named Mira who, for reasons unknown to her, uploads other people’s psyches at a single touch. This ability is painful and overwhelming, driving her to isolation and attempted suicide. When her mother ends up in a coma, however, Mira discovers that the coma was no accident, but proving it might get her killed.

2.     What inspired you to write this story?
My first two published novels, THE ROCK OF IVANORE and THE LAST ENCHANTER were fantasy novels for middle grade readers. But over the past couple of years I’ve become an avid fan of young adult fiction and wanted to try writing for that audience. The idea for CONTACT began when my daughter was a teen. She went through a “don’t touch me” phase, so I asked myself the question – what if a girl had a reason to not want to be touched?

3.     Why did you choose to make Mira Hispanic?
There is a lot of talk in the children’s book industry right now about diversity and the lack of characters of color in books for kids. Statistics show that about 50% of American kids are black, Asian, American Indian or Hispanic, and yet out of the 3200 kids books published last year, only 8% of them featured characters of color. My own children are half Hispanic. Their father was born in Guatemala. So I want the characters in my books to be a reflection of them.

4.     Were there any books you’ve read that influenced you as a writer?
Quite a few, actually. I mentioned that I read a lot of young adult books. There were several titles that I particularly loved that gave me the courage to not only write a YA book but also to try my hand at writing suspense, including Megan Miranda’s Fracture, Jill Hathaway’s Slide and Gretchen McNeil’s Possess. But as far as my writing style goes, I probably learned the most about hooking a reader and keeping the pages turning from the master, Dan Brown. I love the way he wrote The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons and I’ve tried to incorporate some of his techniques into my own writing.

5.     What are you writing now, and will you have any books come out in the near future?

I am currently writing book 3 in my fantasy series, THE SEER OF THE GUILDE, which is tentatively scheduled to release in 2015 with Tanglewood Press. But I also have three additional manuscripts that do not have publishers quite yet. I’m working on that. Several people have asked if I will write a sequel to MEMORABLE. Though I hadn’t planned to, I did leave the possibility open if I change my mind down the road.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Filling the Creative Well

My son, Cameron, just graduated from the 
Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts. 
The program boasts alumni such as Zac Efron, Robin Williams, and Kathy Bates to name drop a few.

Oh, look. There's Cameron now as Pericles, in Shakespeare's Pericles Prince of Tyre.



Besides overt parental bragging, I wanted to share with you the concept of the creative well that Cameron learned from one of his amazing acting teachers.

Our creative well is what we draw from when we create art, be it acting, painting, writing...

It is important to acknowledge the well is not a source with an endless supply. Not only that, but you as the artist are the only one who can fill it.

Art isn't created by just those moments when you sit alone in your artistic space. It's born from the marriage of external inspiration and internal creativity. 

As an artist, you must identify what nourishes and keeps your creative well brimming with the raw material necessary for your creative process.

Is is live theatre? Movies? Poetry? Sunsets? Music? The Beach? A hike? The forest?

You must stay connected to the world you are trying to reflect with your art.

For me, it's live theatre. It's the world I'm from and a world I need to stay in touch with to maintain artistic motivation. I just saw a performance by the national touring company of Porgy and Bess. The experience was as close to being in the presence of artistic perfection as I've ever been. 

My well runneth over with inspiration. 

What fills your creative well?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

SNIP, SNIP REVENGE - Drama From a Real Drama Queen

Did you ever want to go to a performing arts high school? 

Well here's your chance. 

Hang out with Tabby, high school drama queen and self-proclaimed future Academy Award winner.

Medeia Sharif's story examines the artistic personality and how being overly-dramatic can skew your sense of justice.


Loved the setting and appreciated Tabby's journey from being self-absorbed to discovering a more mature sense of her priorities.

Congratulations Medeia on your wonderful story.


SNIP, SNIP REVENGE by Medeia Sharif
YA Contemporary, Evernight Teen
Release Date April 25, 2014

Beautiful, confident Tabby Karim has plans for the winter: nab a role in her school’s dramatic production, make the new boy Michael hers, and keep bigoted Heather—with her relentless Ay-rab comments—at bay. When a teacher’s lie and her father’s hastiness rob her of her beautiful hair, her dreams are dashed. The fastest barber in Miami Beach has made her look practically bald. 

With all her pretty hair gone, Tabby doesn’t believe she fits the feminine role she’s auditioning for. Michael is still interested in her, but he’s playing it cool. Heather has taken to bullying her online, which is easier to do with Tabby’s ugly haircut. Tabby spearheads Operation Revenge, which proves satisfying until all of her problems deepen. After messing up, she sets to make things right.

Author Bio
I’m a Kurdish-American author who was born in New York City, and I presently call Miami my home. I received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, I found my niche writing for young people. Today I'm a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, I'm a middle school English teacher. My memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.


Find Medeia

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for ZIP - A - DEE - DOO - DAH

I couldn't resist playing the 
2014 A to Z Challenge 
out on a happy note.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by 
and made all of April "A Wonderful Day."

Here's one of the biggest Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah days in my life 



The day I met Luke Skywalker - Mark Hamill!

"It will be a day long remembered."

He really is THE nicest guy in the galaxy - 
far far away or any other.

CONGRATULATIONS 
to everyone in the A to Z! 
It's been a blast.

See you in the blogosphere.

And - cue the music...


Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Ray Gilbert
Performed by James Baskett
© 1945 Walt Disney Music Company

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin' my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for YODA

Welcome to Yes, This Will Be On the Test.
Waving to visitors, new followers, and fellow A to Z participants. I’m sending virtual hugs to you all for taking a moment to stop by.

I’ll be sharing my “take-aways.” All those snigglets, golden nuggets, and lessons learned from other creative sources.

Scroll down this link to find other wonderful A to Z participants.


You didn't really think I'd get through the whole A to Z without a Star Wars post, did you?

That Yoda it one of a kind, isn't he? Green, wrinkly, wise and aces with a lightsaber. 

He even brings Christmas cheer. 



The best thing about Yoda are his quotes, even though as a teacher and writer, his syntax makes my teeth hurt. 

Here are a few of my faves.

"Do or do not. There is no try."

"Always pass on what you have learned."

"Remember what you have learned, save you it can."

Luke: I can't believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.

TAKE AWAY - When you create a mentor, it's okay if he looks like your cat.

Any other favorite Yoda quotes or moment out there?

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for X-Men

Welcome to Yes, This Will Be On the Test.
Waving to visitors, new followers, and fellow A to Z participants. I’m sending virtual hugs to you all for taking a moment to stop by.

I’ll be sharing my “take-aways.” All those snigglets, golden nuggets, and lessons learned from other creative sources.


Scroll down this link to find other wonderful A to Z participants.

One of the movies I can't wait to see is


I love the premise of the X-Men series. 

People with unique powers and capabilities being given a safe haven where they can celebrate and learn to understand their otherness.

A parallel theme occurs in the wonderful book by Ransom Riggs - 


Where peculiars, children with special powers like levitation or fire conjuring, are nurtured and protected. 
Not ostracized or bullied.

The core message in both stories hits close to home for me. 

As a teacher I spend my days with many children that would be considered "others." 

It's frightening how quickly people define others based on minimal understanding. I see it beginning in elementary school. Body type, intellect, sexuality can all make someone a target for unkindness.

One of my goals as a teacher is to show the merits of embracing and learning from otherness, not condemning it.

I appreciate stories that help spread that sentiment, especially in children's literature.

TAKE AWAY - 
That which is the other may be a treasure.

What are stories with this theme are special to you?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for WIL WHEATON


Welcome to Yes, This Will Be On the Test.
Waving to visitors, new followers, and fellow A to Z participants. I’m sending virtual hugs to you all for taking a moment to stop by.

I’ll be sharing my “take-aways.” All those snigglets, golden nuggets, and lessons learned from other creative sources.




Wil Wheaton's response to a little girl on how to deal with being called a nerd.

On behalf of those of us who grew up hoping to one day be Astroboy's best friend or to travel in the Tardis with The Doctor - I thank you, Wil Wheaton.

TAKE AWAY:
What he said...

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for VON TRAPP

Welcome to Yes, This Will Be On the Test.
Waving to visitors, new followers, and fellow A to Z participants. I’m sending virtual hugs to you all for taking a moment to stop by.

I’ll be sharing my “take-aways.” All those snigglets, golden nuggets, and lessons learned from other creative sources.


Scroll down this link to find other wonderful A to Z participants.



DO-RE-MI -
Yes, that's me, second in line from the right.

Louisa Von Trapp, at your service. My brother, Rick, is next to me as Frederich. 

My freshman year of high school, I was on the road in a touring company of SOUND OF MUSIC that originated at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles Music Center.

We almost went to Broadway, but the sets were too big. Seriously, that's what buzzkilled Broadway for us. The cost of rebuilding or cutting them down prevented us from hitting the Great White Way.

It was a magical time. The company was truly a family. Bob Wright, who played Captain Von Trapp, would help me study for tests at intermission. The nuns taught me how to put on make-up. One of the Nazi's was my Spanish tutor. 

Every night on stage, we went back in time and lived those moments of the story over and over. It never got old. It was one of the richest and most wonderful experiences of my life.



Werner Klemperer, Colonel Klink, from the television show, HOGAN'S HEROES was our Uncle Max. Patricia Morrison from the classic film KISS ME KATE was Elsa, the baroness booted by Maria. 



Constance Towers replaced Sally Ann Howes as Maria after the show left Los Angeles.

When the Music Center show ended its run. A handful of us were cast in SOUND OF MUSIC in Las Vegas at the Union Plaza Hotel, before downtown was a dive.

This is my brother Rick and I rocking our "curtain costumes."

In Vegas they cut the show down to an hour and a half with no intermission. We did two shows a night.

I understudied Liesl Von Trapp (Sixteen Going on Seventeen) and was fortunate enough to play the role for a stretch. My first kiss EVER was onstage during that song. Does it count when you are both wearing lip gloss?

Look who played Rolf - my first kiss: 


William Katt in his pre-hero days. 
A girl could do a lot worse!

It was a very trippy life for a teen. People waiting for your autograph at the stage door. Doing interviews. Performing at events related to the show. All we Von Trapp kids were pros. We did our jobs and followed the rules. School was three hours a day with a studio teacher and we all maintained decent grades.

It's a shame you hear such tragic stories about child actors. I learned about life, responsibility, and nurturing your creative soul that year. 

I WOULD wish it on any kid.

TAKE AWAY: 
Fame, in any size package, can be a learning opportunity if you appreciate its gifts and stay grounded.

Any other child actors out there?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for UNDERPANTS - CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS

Welcome to Yes, This Will Be On the Test.
Waving to visitors, new followers, and fellow A to Z participants. I’m sending virtual hugs to you all for taking a moment to stop by.

I’ll be sharing my “take-aways.” All those snigglets, golden nuggets, and lessons learned from other creative sources.


Scroll down this link to find other wonderful A to Z participants.

I'm wearing my teacher hat today.



It's a bird - 
It's a plane -


It's the series of books that converts 
the most reluctant of readers

It's-


THANK YOU, 
Dave Pilkey

Yes, it's silly.
Yes, the kids snort laugh when they read it.

But - 

THEY READ.

It's a whole series so they KEEP READING.

It's such a rush when a child "clicks" with reading. It may start with Captain Underpants, but it will continue for a lifetime.

TAKE AWAY - 
To break down the barriers of reluctant readers, you have to hit just the right note. Don't dismiss silly.

What's your experience with a book or a series that finally pulled in a reluctant reader?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Mr. TERRIFIC

Welcome to Yes, This Will Be On the Test.
Waving to visitors, new followers, and fellow A to Z participants. I’m sending virtual hugs to you all for taking a moment to stop by.

I’ll be sharing my “take-aways.” All those snigglets, golden nuggets, and lessons learned from other creative sources.
Scroll down this link to find other wonderful A to Z participants.

This is where it all began for me -

A lifelong devotion to being a pop culture nerd.


I was smitten with Stanley Beamish, the Everyman who became a really geeky superhero.


I even wrote a letter to Mattel suggesting they make an action figure of Mr. Terrific. 

I received a very polite letter explaining that a show with a run of 17 episodes didn't warrant merchandising.

I was crushed. My Ken doll had to role play.

TAKE AWAY - Amazing abs and mythic lineage are not mandatory for super heroes.

Who was your first super hero?