Thursday, April 21, 2011

Five Tips for the Apocalypse

As a 2012 debut YA author, I belong to the Apocalypsies - a group of YA and MG authors whose books are all coming out in 2012. As part of our bio on the website, we are all listing five things in relation to the Apocalypse such as the five books we'd want with us, five things to do before the End of Days, etc.

I thought I'd share my list with you all here. When you're finished, please stop by the site and check out our bios and upcoming book descriptions!

There are two schools of thought on the End of Days. Some think the whole world’s rotation will go off-kilter and cause mass destruction. Others think a virus will sweep across the land, creating a Zombie Apocalypse. How do you prepare when you don’t know what's coming?

Five Tips to Prepare for Any Apocalyptic Event:
1)      Find a spaceship – A spaceship will get you off Earth no matter what. There are many eccentric people who have looked into this option; find one and start sucking up now!

2)      Start Hoarding – Whichever way it goes, you’ll need food. Skip the rice (no one on Survivor ever fantasizes about rice). Get vats of peanut butter instead. It has lots of protein and can curb that sugar craving – it can probably be used as a glue in an emergency too, though you may want to consult some old MacGyver reruns to verify that.

3)      Take a Wilderness Survival class (or watch the box set of Survivorman) – Even if you have hit Costco, at some point you’ll find yourself in a situation. Survivorman can show you which berries and fungi are poisonous (you don’t want to end up like Foxface in the Hunger Games). Plus, you’ll learn how to drink your own urine. Bonus!

4)      Start Working Out – Not just running and lifting weights. Learn the fine art of shovel-wielding. You never know who you may need to fend off. A good guide for this is the movie Zombieland.

5)      Master the art of Zombie make-up – If you find yourself suddenly posing as a Living Dead Girl, you’ll want to look the part. Suggestion? Consult Rob Zombie. He’s the master!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Music, Writing, and Me

I just added a really cool feature to my blog - a playlist link! Previously I listed out (painstakingly I might add!) all my songs, but thanks to the folks at I can now compile them into one playlist, put the link on my site, and voila! You can not only see them all, but you can PLAY them :)

For those of you who know me, you understand my excitement. For those who don't, let me explain:

Music is a huge part of who I am. It is how I wake up in the morning, how I destress after a long day, how I cope when the kids are especially grumpy, how I work out (CANNOT work out without music!) - but most of all it is how I connect myself to my stories when I am writing. By the time I am sitting down to begin a new novel, I have a completed playlist. I play it prior to writing each day. If I get stuck, I listen to the playlist. If I have things to do and can't get to writing right away, like when I have to actually clean my house or my kids are home, I listen to it to keep my head in my book.

Music connects me to my characters, the setting, the tone. This was especially true while writing BLIND SPOT because my character, Roswell Hart, had a very similar relationship to music. Thus, in the book you will actually see a lot of references to music.

Now is not perfect - I was disappointed to find that a few of my playlist selections (This Is Hell by Elvis Costello; Scars in the Making by Feul; Paradise by Tesla; Mother Maria by Beth Hart and Slash; All Falls Down by Adeliras Way, and Coming Undone by Korn)  were not listed, so I could not include them :(
But still - it is an awesome tool!

So click on the link on the sidebar and check it out - it will bring you to my profile page so just scroll down to the bottom where it says 'Laura Ellen's Blind Spot Playlist' - and take a listen.

Oh, and for those of you who find yourselves saying  "WTF?" when you hear Barry Manilow's Copacabana on there (which obviously does not fit in) I say to you with a twinkle in my eye - "Oh but it does!"
You'll just have to read the book to find out how!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Good News!

I am so excited to announce my pending publication!
Here's my agent, Jill Corcoran's post:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Finding the Magic

I just returned from a truly inspiring vacation in Disney World. It wasn't the first time I'd been - in fact I think it was about the fourth time we had visited the park as a family - and since all three of my children (18, 12, and 9) have long outgrown the "magic" stage where seeing princesses and cartoon characters come to life brings stars to their eyes and a giddiness to their step, I was rather shocked when all three actually requested that the theme park be our vacation destination. I'm really glad we obliged!

Now I have heard many a critic bash Disney for the commercialization of fairy tales, the capitalistic pursuits at the child's expense, etc. etc. (all you need to mention is Jack Zipes in a children's literary criticism course and you'll get an ear full!) - and I get that, I do. Any parent does who has tried to escape the park without purchasing something, from fairy wands to mickey-shaped ice cream bars, they get a hold of that wallet. But despite all that, I have to hand it to Disney. They know how to bring the magic to everyone who visits.

Before we arrived, my 12 year old son was in a bit of a depressed funk. He has been struggling this year with school despite the fact that he is one of the most intelligent kids I know; he'll blow you away with his historical and scientific knowledge and if ever you are lost, you'll want him navigating you. He's like a human compass. But he struggles with getting the work turned in and gets overwhelmed with the amount expected of him sometimes, and he just shuts down rather than push his way through. He's one of the youngest in his class; his classmates are all turning 13, while he only just turned twelve - and he is painfully conscious of his heighth or lack thereof. Rolled all together, you get a kid who rarely smiles. By the end of out first day in the sunshine, not only was he smiling, he was laughing. Disney broke through the glum and found my son again.

My 18 year old too. About to graduate and head to college, she's usually off doing her own thing. It was fun to see her goofing around with her siblings, spinning in the Tea Cups, flying above Neverland, waving at Belle and the Beast, her and her 9 year old sister oohing-and-ahhing at every little girl dressed head to toe in their princess dresses and tiaras.

My husband and I had worried at first when we decided to go because as frequent visitors to Cedar Point, a roller coaster park in Ohio, we knew that the rides at Disney would not compete in thrill-value to those the kids were used to. But they actually had more fun because as my son pointed out, "it's the experience more than the ride." He was right. At Disney, it is about the stories behind each ride; and just like a really good book, the rides let you become a part of that story. You become a part of the magic.

So thank you Disney for helping my family return to those parts of themselves that make them children, for helping them find the magic and the fun, and for reminding me that as I sit down to get back to writing - it is  the experience, the magic, the story that makes a reader love a book. It is what keeps them coming back to it again and again and again no matter how old they are.