Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour: March 27th, 2010 8:30pm LOCAL

Hi all,

Today is the day we observe Earth Hour. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would say I'm about a 7 in environmental awareness.
I would like to be more aware and conscious of the decisions I make that directly affect the environment. Hence its the perfect time to do this: observe Earth Hour. I did last year, I shall do it again this year.

What, you may ask, is Earth Hour?

Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change
(From Wikipedia)


On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people around the world will come together to call for action on climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight, protecting our future and that of future generations.


Since its inception three years ago, Earth Hour’s non-partisan approach has captured the world’s imagination and became a global phenomenon. Nearly one billion people turned out for Earth Hour 2009 – involving 4,100 cities in 87 countries on seven continents.

Last year, 80 million Americans and 318 U.S. cities officially voted for action with their light switch, joining iconic landmarks from around the world that went dark for Earth Hour, including:

  • Empire State Building
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Broadway Theater Marquees
  • Las Vegas Strip
  • United Nations Headquarters
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Seattle’s Space Needle
  • Church of Latter-Day Saints Temple
  • Gateway Arch in St. Louis
  • Great Pyramids of Giza
  • Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens
  • Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro
  • St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
  • Big Ben and Houses of Parliament in London
  • Elysee Palace and Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • Beijing’s Birds Nest and Water Cube
  • Symphony of Lights in Hong Kong
  • Sydney’s Opera House


On Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. local time, Earth Hour will once again cascade around the globe, from New Zealand to Hawaii.


Join the website and register to help make your state and official Earth Hour State. Its high time we all started taking our futures a bit more seriously.

I shall be observing Earth Hour. Will you?

Follow my Earth Hour tweets @AlleyofBooks

Until next time,

Monday, March 15, 2010

NYC Teen Author Festival

Hey ya'll
(Forgive my blatant attempt at trying to be Southern, which I know is ridiculous, but still bear with me).

So, ya'll know how I started the blog. I met Khy and I got tangled up with some wonderful authors and ta-da! Alley of Books was born.

Well, the way I see it, I have to pay homage to them and recognize the importance of the Festival.

Well, its back. And its BIGGER!!

Tonight we have:
Monday, 3/15 (NYPL, Tompkins Square Branch, 331 East 10th Street, 6pm):
First Draft to Final Draft – Talking About the Writing Process featuring:

Gayle Forman
Daphne Grab
Carolyn Mackler
Sarah Mlynowski
Blake Nelson
Marie Rutkoski
Eliot Schrefer
Natalie Standiford

Now, you know how much I love Gayle. And Sarah, Carolyn and Natalie are just fantastic! And I'm just as excited to see the others!

So, if you're not doing anything tonight, just come on over to the Tompkins Square Branch, of the NYPL to enjoy with us!

Until next time,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guest Post: Amy Brecount White


And thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to host you on my blog today, on your bithday- a very special day!


Everyday Flower Magic

Earlier this year I started a weekly interview post on my blog and one of the questions I ask every guest is, “What book would you like to live inside?” Surprisingly, almost everyone has answered Harry Potter. I agree that living at Hogwarts would be phenomenal. However, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the whole idea of magic in our lives.
What is magic? There’s the Harry Potter/ Gandalf wizarding kind, but I’d also like to make the case for a subtler kind of magic that’s sometimes easy to miss. The kind of accessible, everyday magic I find in flowers. And laughter.
When I was first writing Forget-Her-Nots, lots of people – critique partners and editors I met at conferences - wanted me to make it an all-out, whizz-bang fantasy novel. They wanted flower witches and warlocks and the grand, showy kind of spells. I resisted, because I wanted my novel to have more of a connection to the rhythm of ordinary lives. I want anyone who reads my novel to wonder: is the magic of flowers possible in my own life?
My answer is definitely! It’s a statistically proven fact that receiving a gift of flowers can make you smile and brighten your life for several days. Spending time outdoors with trees and flowers has repeatedly been shown to be healthy for us. As I said in my guest post for the Book Butterfly, science is finally catching up with our intuition that we need the magic of flowers in our lives. ( .)
In fact, doesn’t it seem kind of magic that more beauty and sweet scents in our lives can make us happier? And now that spring is here, plant a tiny flower seed in warming soil and watch it transform itself out of sun, water, and earth. Just try to tell me there’s not a kind of magic in that!
A few days ago, I heard the Dalai Lama laugh in a radio interview. His laughter was infectious, like sweet like bells ringing through me. His personality and his joy rode the radio waves out into the universe. I couldn’t help smiling. Flowers and laughter are the most magical things I know.
If there is such a thing as everyday magic, perhaps that’s what novels described as “magic realism” are getting at. There is a magic in our everyday lives, whether we choose to see it or not. Sometimes you have to be looking for something to be able to see it. Lots of readers have told me that they see flowers differently after reading my novel. They are more attuned to the transformative possibilities of blooms. Yay!
So what’s magical in your life today?


Thank you so much, once again Amy!

Dear followers, like they say in FHN, "Every flower has a secret"; Today I offer to you Lily of the Valley.

I hope happiness returns to you all. After this dreadful weather we've had so far I think we could all use a breath of fresh air!

(Personally, its one of my favorite flowers!)

Until next time,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Oscars and Avatar!

Every year I wait for the Oscars with baited breath. The Academy Awards are the like a seal of excellence. A seal that has been decided by industry professionals; not the audience who could be influenced by a number of various things.
This year, however, the excitement had dimmed. Just a tiny bit though. I was still gung-ho about some of my favorite movies winning and achieving that seal of excellence. Then I realized that Avatar was nominated. It was nominated for:


Lightstorm Entertainment Production (20th Century Fox)

  • Art direction
  • Cinematography
  • Directing
  • Film editing
  • Original score
  • Best picture
  • Sound editing
  • Sound mixing
  • Visual effects
Of which, so far, by 11:04 pm it has won:

Best Art Direction
WINNER: Avatar
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Best Cinematography
WINNER: Avatar
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

Its 11:41 pm now and Avatar has not won any more awards. And we have the last big two left. Best Directing and Best Picture.

Well the Best Directing was just announced and it went to Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker.
WINNER: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Lee Daniels, Precious
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds


The Hurt Locker won the Oscar for the Best Picture!

Congratulations to Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win the Best Directing Oscar. And The Hurt Locker for winning the Best Picture.

Honestly, I am very glad that Avatar did not win. The reason, you may ask? I liked Avatar. As a 3D movie that I spent a good deal of money on. Yes, it was good. GRAPHICALLY.

The plot line? Filled with holes. Stretched out and very very predictable. Here is one review of Avatar that I thought was spot on.

We normally don’t do movie reviews but this movie was just asking for it. Made on a God-knows-how-many-million-dollars budget, conceptually conceived in an age when Sunny Deol was considered an awesome actor and having used technology that transforms 6 foot men into 10 foot tall smurfs, Avatar has been pretty much the talk of the town, as far as movies go.

The story, which isn’t much to write home about anyways, follows a paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully, who is mentally linked to the avatar of his deceased twin brother. This avatar is a hybrid cross between a human and a Na’vi, the resident sentient race of Pandora. The program is an initiative to convince the Na’vi to relinquish their land so that humans can mine Pandora for Unobtanium.

What follows is a clichéd tale where Sully assimilates the Na’vi culture and gradually becomes one of them – an angle better visited in The Last Samurai. The romance angle between what’s-her-name and Sully is also half baked and there are almost no tender moments that would indicate any amour, unless you consider hissing like a cat and smiling devilishly as remotely affectionate. And I thank my stars I live in a world where I do not have to go through some crazy testosterone-driven ritual to prove my coming-of-age. Rife chauvinism, the alpha-male dominance and ‘White Man’s Greed’ are some of the other clichés that are peppered generously throughout the movie. Yawn.

I could not help but marvel at James Cameron’s legerdemain. Like a practiced magician, he has diverted attention to something spectacular and gotten away with a substandard backbone. Twice. As with Titanic, where the sinking of the ship was almost incidental, here too the story is, to use my favourite slang word, lame. And twice he’s laughed his way to the bank. The visuals are awesome. No other word for it. The colours are rich, the scenery delightful and the Hanging Mountains took my breath away. Sadly once you leave the theatre, no character really stays behind with you a la Yoda or Darth Vader from Star Wars or Aragorn from LOTR or Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean. And there’s talk about a sequel.
. For a movie that takes itself too seriously and was fortuitously released about the same time as the Copenhagen Climate conference 2009 , it fails to do justice to the ecological concerns that it attempts to raise.

Thankfully for Cameron, his ‘shock-and-awe’ tactic, to bombard the viewer with stunning graphics and pray he doesn’t pick out the limp storyline has worked. I give it a 2 on 5 and those points are solely for the visuals. Watch the movie but do not take it too seriously.

And the next person to say ‘A-va-taar’ gets it from me.

Hate mail can be directed to Cheers
Here is the original post.

When I read this review I thought to myself, "Finally! Someone who understand and can put down into words EFFECTIVELY what I wanted to say about the movie".

What do you think? Are you an Avatar lover? Or an Avatar hater? Or you kinda liked the movie? But didn't love it?
Let me know!

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cover Art Revealed!

Little, Brown announced a while ago that they would be unveiling Prophecy of the Sisters Paperback (July 2010) cover along with the release of the cover for Guardian of the Gate, the next book in the series, out August 2010!

To celebrate that I'm giving away Guardian of the Gate TEMPORARY Tattoos away!

Tell me what you think about the covers for a chance to win!

Prophecy of the Sisters
(Paperback - July 2010)

Prophecy of the Sisters PB

Guardian of the Gate
(August 2010)

Guardian of the Gate

Fill out the form here to win the tattoos!

Please stop by Michelle Zink's Ning and let her know what you think as well!

(Contest is open to USA residents only!)

Until next time,