Spooky Picks for Nerdy Chicks

If you know me, you might know that I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to be scared. I have never seen a horror movie in my life, and I have no plans to change that! I’ve never read a Stephen King novel, and I don’t plan to change that either. I just don’t do scary. Unless…. well, unless the scary something is created by a fellow Nerdy Chick. Then I push myself to read things I might not otherwise read. Out of solidarity, you know.

A recent wave of Spooky Nerdy Chick News (giveaways, deals, new book news, film premiers…) inspired me to share some Spooky Reads (and more) from some fabulous Nerdy Chick authors. I’ve read or am reading all of these books! So I suggest that the next time you want to sit on the edge of your seat, you pick up one of them. And make sure you read to the end, because you’ll have a chance to see a film that is perfect for Halloween right here on the blog.

Young Adult:

fractrFracture by Megan Miranda! Fracture is suspenseful with just the right amount of creepiness. Here’s a brief intro to the novel: “By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.” You can visit Megan’s website to learn more and to read the first two chapters! Also, don’t miss a chance to win a free ARC of Megan’s newest title, The Safest Lies. Click HERE to enter.

ripperRipper by Amy Carol Reeves! I blurbed this book as, “Thrilling, chilling, and beautifully written.” Here’s more about it: Set in London in 1888, Ripper follow’s Arabella Sharp’s eerie account of volunteering at Whitechapel Hospital, helping women and children. “Within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper. Even more horrifying, Abbie starts having strange visions that lead her straight to the Ripper’s next massacres.” Click HERE to read more about Ripper and its sequels.

Middle Grade:

jumbiesThe Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste! I just finished reading this story set in Trinidad and featuring Jumbies, mythical creatures that dwell on that island! And it features a super-brave heroine! Here’s a blurb: Corinne La Mer knows that jumbies aren’t real; they’re just creatures parents make up to frighten their children. But on All Hallows’ Eve, Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden woods. Those shining yellow eyes that follow her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they? 

cabinetCabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet: I’m currently reading this page-turner, which is available for a limited time in ebook form (Kindle and Nook among others) for $1.99! It’s about twelve-year-old Maya who is miserable when she has to move from California to Paris. Not speaking French at a school full of snobby French girls is bad enough, but Maya believes there is something sinister going on in her new city. A purple-eyed man follows Maya and her younger brother, James. Statues seem to have Maya’s face. And an eerie cabinet filled with mysterious colored bottles calls to her. 

Picture Books:

Hampire_jacketHampire by Sudipta Bardhan Quallen! When Hampire creeps around the barnyard at night with red oozing from his fangs he terrifies the other animals, especially Duck. Check out this picture book with not only a kid-pleasing twist, but also the best illustrations of terrified barnyard animals every created. And if you have a little pirate running around your house this Halloween (and even if you don’t), you’ll want to check out Sudipta’s Pirate Princess too!

monstore The Monstore by Tara Lazar! What kid doesn’t dream of having his own monster? The Monstore is the place to go to get one. The only problem is…. certain rule and restrictions apply. So getting his own monster doesn’t work out the way exactly like Zack plans….  Check out this book and Tara’s brand spanking new just-released-this-week book Little Red Gliding Hood!

vampirina_ballerinaVampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace! Vampirina wants to take ballet lessons, but what’s a little vampire to do when she can’t step into sunlight or see herself in the dance studio mirrors? Check out this book as well Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover. Vampirina fans will be happy to know that Ann Marie just announced that a third Vampirina book is in the works!

MORE SPOOKY NEWS:

Nerdy Chick Jocelyn Rish is made of steel. She’s not afraid of facing scary subjects in books or on film. HH&H_poster_Jocelyn has recently joined the MTV news staff (Congrats Jocelyn!) and has written these two articles about these spectacularly spooky subjects: Goosebumps and Zombies! And, High Heels and Hoodoo, the short film she produced with her brother is premiering today! Today is the first time the film is available for the public to watch online. Click HERE for details about the creation of this film and to watch it for free! I saw this  film for the first time at the Beaufort Film Festival and it is clever, entertaining, and spooky! What’s not to like about a graveyard and hoodoo film on Halloween?

Here’s a brief synopsis of the film: A greedy party girl is so determined to get what she wants that she employs the dangerous magic of a Gullah root doctor.

Can’t wait to see this amazing film? Go ahead, you can start watching right now! It’s a full story in about seven minutes, so treat yourself to a movie premier this Halloween!

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Marybeth Cornwell on Cancer

Marybeth CornwellLast spring we had the pleasure of interviewing Marybeth Cornwell, General Merchandise Manager/Senior Vice President Home at Walmart and a cancer survivor. Maybeth has had a fabulous career as an executive and you can read more about that by clicking HERE. She is also a breast cancer survivor and is currently on the Board of Directors of Hope Cancer Resources. As part of her earlier interview, she answered questions for us about her experience with cancer. Her answers were so comprehensive (she even included a reading list) and so wonderful that we decided to save that part of her interview for October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  So thank you Marybeth for joining us again! 

1. In December 2011, you faced a huge personal challenge when you were diagnosed with breast cancer. How did you prepare to battle it?

Well, first I got my hands on everything I could read about the disease.  (I have a “best of / worst of” reading list, included below in this post.)  As a next step, I set up a Caring Bridge site.  That site is pure genius.  Well-meaning friends and family can consume your time with their questions when you should be focused on inhaling/exhaling, researching, and planning.

Then I asked for help.  Walmart’s benefits team has a doctor who did an extensive amount of research using facts (“outcomes”) and helped me find the perfect combination of major cancer center + great surgeon + top plastic surgeon – no easy feat.  I chose Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD for my mastectomies and reconstruction.

I transferred into my current role (from SVP of Home & Apparel for Sam’s Club to SVP Ladieswear for Walmart US) just two weeks after my diagnosis.  Was that an insane time?  Yes, but my team and my boss were incredibly supportive. I am so grateful for my company – I had something besides cancer to focus every day, and extra motivation to get well – we had a lot of work to do for our customers!

2. Now that you are a cancer survivor, has your life changed?

Situations that used to make me nervous or unsure just don’t throw me any more.  I think to myself “Seriously!?  Why are you nervous?  You faced down cancer.” It’s a very useful tool for self-empowerment. I am also much less tolerant of negative people or energy-sucking situations. I say “no” more

3. Good for you! We should all be avoiding those energy-sucking situations. After your experience, what is the most important message you can get out to women about cancer?

  • Get yourself checked, for goodness sake. Screening guidelines are there to protect you.  Just do it.
  • Do not compromise on quality of care. Never feel awkward about needing more information, kindness, respect, returned calls, a second opinion, anything.  Your mission is not to have your caregivers like you; your mission is to save your life.  You must step up and be your own best advocate.

Thank you Marybeth! You’re a hundred percent right about needing to be your own advocate. No one can advocate for you better, and in most cases, no one cares more. Great advice.  

Keep reading for Marybeth’s Cancer Book List. To share the list, you can download it here: Marybeth’s Cancer Book List

 

 

Mb’s Breast Cancer Book List

First, the #1 most important rule of reading about breast cancer:

NO READING AFTER DARK.  

No kidding, no fooling, this is important.

That said, there are several wonderful books depending on what you need…

Reference:

The Breast Book by Dr. Susan Love.  It’s the recognized comprehensive guide to breast cancer.  Super helpful.  An absolute MUST.

Pick-Me-Up:

There are several uplifting (sorry, couldn’t resist) books about breast cancer.  Search “breast cancer humor”.  I especially enjoyed Humor After the Tumor by Patty Gelman

Both of Hoda Kotb’s books (morning talk show anchor, survivor, seriously cool woman)

Hoda:  How I survived War Zones, Bad Hair,Cancer and Kathie Lee

Ten Year Later:  Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives

Practical Advice:

You Can Do This: Surviving Breast Cancer With Losing Your Sanity or Your Style by Elisha Daniels and Kelley Tuthill

Dancing With Fear: Tips and Wisdom from Breast Cancer Survivors Leila Peltosaari, Rina Albala and Bev Parker

Most Creative, Sassy Distraction:

Cancer Vixen, A True Story by Marisa Acocella Marchetto (it’s a cartoon novel – by a NYC survivor.  Much of it was published in Glamour magazine during her journey)

Avoid, run away, do NOT read – they will sucker punch you and the cover makes them look cheerful.  😦

Noon at Nordie’s

Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person – A Memoir in Comics

 

Remember Marybeth’s advice: Don’t read after dark, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

This post is particularly meaningful to the nerdy chicks. In the past year, cancer has touched our lives as well. Our hearts go out to all who are affected by cancer. 

Searching for Silverheels (and fellow Nerdy Chicks)

SilverheelsCoverSCBWIWe feel lucky to offer a guest post today by Jeannie Mobley, college professor, author, and nerdy chick! Check out what Jeannie has to say about her nerdy writing journey and her newest novel. 

When I first saw the Nerdy Chicks banner, defining  a Nerdy Chick as “Smart girl who flaunts brain power and flouts social norms,” I knew I had found my tribe. Because my new novel, Searching for Silverheels, is all about an old woman who does exactly those things, and a young girl who is just learning how. And it’s who I’ve always been–the girl who thought that not-very-girly sciencey stuff was totally cool. Who has been known to go all goosebumpy excited over complex analytical statistics.

But when I was a kid, it wasn’t always so easy to go public with my love of cool nerdiness. I went through all the awkward nerdy phases before I found my tribe:

–the grade school years when I thought wanting to be an archaeologist was the coolest thing ever, and couldn’t understand why other kids rolled their eyes.

–the middle school years, when I discovered already knowing you wanted to be an archaeologist got you branded as a freak of nature and therefore it was best to suppress, or at least hide, such crazy compulsions

–the high school years, when I discovered picking  a college based on the strength of its academic programs was not the norm among my classmates, who preferred to check their Party School ratings in such upstanding journals as Playboy.

So, when, with a PhD and a college professorship under my belt, I set out to write a novel about strong, smart women, I didn’t have to do much research about how to write a smart young girl with big dreams but not enough backbone to stand up for herself. Because, I’m sorry to say, I’ve been there.

Nor did it take much for me to write the cranky-pants older woman who wants to fight for all the nerdy chick girls who need to grow that spine. I’ve been there too–in fact, I’ve got a whole closet full of crankypants even as I write this.

What did take some research, was finding the perfect setting. Which turned out to be 1917, just a few months after the US entered World War I. It was the perfect time, because I knew I wanted to write about a time when women weren’t thought of as strong, but did amazingly strong things. Any war time is good for that, but World War I coincided–or perhaps more accurately–collided, with the women’s suffrage movement.

Harris and Ewing Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (neg. no. LC-H261-8200)

Harris and Ewing Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (neg. no. LC-H261-8200)

This led me to researching both the war and the fight for a constitutional amendment granting women the vote. I didn’t know much about World War I, it seems to be the forgotten war for US history, or at least in my understanding of it. Yet the more I read about the home front in the Great War –the discrimination, the accusations of sedition against those who found fault in American politics, the pressure to conform to patriotic ideals that compromised freedoms–I came to appreciate how true it is that history repeats itself. How much every war, every international conflict, brings out those same issues. How much we need strong women in EVERY generation. And finally, now many unsung strong women there have been in every generation.

So let’s hear it for the Nerdy Chicks! Three cheers for brain power! Three boos for social norms that stop women (or anyone else, for that matter) from being all they can be! And thank heavens for the bold women who stand up for girls, either on the national stage (like the National Women’s Party that suffered harassment and arrest for challenging the president in 1917) or on the local stage, like my character Josie, the women’s suffragist  who takes a powerless girl under her wing and teaches her that she has power within her that she shouldn’t be afraid to use.

Because you do have power inside you, Nerdy Chicks of the world. And it is beautiful, so let it shine!

Thank you Jeannie! And welcome to the Nerdy Chick tribe! 😉  Keep reading to find out more about Jeannie and her novel. 

 

small pond (1)Jeannie Mobley writes middle grade historical fiction. Her newest novel, SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS released September 2, 2014. Kirkus Reviews calls it “an engrossing, plausible story of several unlikely feminist heroines, with a touch of romance and intrigue.”

When not writing or reading fiction, Jeannie is a mother, wife, lover of critters, and an anthropology professor at Front Range Community College, where she teaches a variety of classes on cultures past and present.

 

Searching for Silverheels  by Jeannie Mobley

SilverheelsCoverSCBWIIn her small Colorado town Pearl spends the summers helping her mother run the family café and entertaining tourists with the legend of Silverheels, a beautiful dancer who nursed miners through a smallpox epidemic in 1861 and then mysteriously disappeared. According to lore, the miners loved her so much they named their mountain after her.

Pearl believes the tale is true, but she is mocked by her neighbor, Josie, a suffragette campaigning for women’s right to vote. Josie says that Silverheels was a crook, not a savior, and she challenges Pearl to a bet: prove that Silverheels was the kindhearted angel of legend, or help Josie pass out the suffragist pamphlets that Pearl thinks drive away the tourists. Not to mention driving away handsome George Crawford.

As Pearl looks for the truth, darker forces are at work in her small town. The United States’s entry into World War I casts suspicion on German immigrants, and also on anyone who criticizes the president during wartime—including Josie. How do you choose what’s right when it could cost you everything you have?

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Barbara Walters

Barbara_Walters_512Television journalist Barbara Walters is retiring today. When we hear her name, we may first think of her interviews with “fascinating” celebrities and of her reign at The View. But before that, Barbara played a major role in trailblazing opportunities for woman. In the early 1960s, before the Women’s Movement, it was believed that women wouldn’t be taken seriously reporting “hard news.” Barbara fought that stereotype by first appearing on The Today Show as the regular “Today Girl”, handling light assignments and the weather—the only place for a woman on television news. She says that back then “there was no glass ceiling—it was steel.” Within a year she had become a reporter-at-large—developing, writing, and editing her own reports and interviews. walterstodayAlthough an important contributor at Today, she wasn’t made the first female co-host until 1974. Two years later, at ABC, Barbara became the first female co-anchor of any network evening news (to the open dismay of the male anchor). In 1977, she achieved a joint interview with Egypt’s President, Anwar Al Sadat, and Israel’s Prime Minister, Menachem Begin that started her on the path as a prime interviewer of powerful and controversial world leaders.

Even though Barbara is retiring today, I have a feeling it’s not the last we’ll be seeing of this pushy cookie.

 

Barbara Walters Quotes:

• I was the kind nobody thought could make it. I had a funny Boston accent. I couldn’t pronounce my R’s. I wasn’t a beauty.

If it’s a woman it’s caustic, if it’s a man it’s authoritative. If it’s a woman it’s too pushy, if it’s a man it’s aggressive in the best sense of the word.

• Most of us have trouble juggling. The woman who says she doesn’t is someone whom I admire but have never met.

• I got the reputation of being a good journalist, but also of being a pushy cookie.

• Success can make you go one of two ways. It can make you a prima donna, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out.

• To feel valued, to know, even if only once in a while, that you can do a job well is an absolutely marvelous feeling.

If you’d like to hear from Barbara Walters about her struggles against discrimination  and her true feelings about “Baba Wawa,” go here for interview videos.

 

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: MAKERS.com

makers.com

While researching the modern women’s movement for a novel, I came across a remarkable documentary called MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Using interviews, it told the story of the social revolution by American women who fought for their share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy.

That documentary led me to MAKERS.com, self-described as “a dynamic digital platform showcasing thousands of compelling stories—both known and unknown—from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow.” This ongoing initiative aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.

Yep, video interviews with thousands of Nerdy Chicks!

Founded by Dyllan McGee (her story here) and developed by AOL and PBS, MAKERS.com introduces you to strong, committed women from such categories as: Groundbreakers, Politics, Arts, Science & Tech, etc.

Here’s just a sample of these very Quotable Nerdy Chicks:

Anna Maria Chavez, CEO, Girl Scouts of USA

• Don’t let other people create your persona. Don’t let other people paint the picture of who you represent.

• We need to bring a more diverse thinking around the business table, around the government table, around any table where tough decisions are being made.

Erin Brockovich, environmental activist

• Someone, somewhere, went out on a limb. They created a law. They changed a life. They made a difference.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, first Latina elected to Congress

• Is this a great country or what? To think that a Cuban refuge could come to the United States, not know a word of English…I’m now a member of Congress. I’ll always have that little niche in the history books.

If you were born after 1960, you owe it to yourself to better understand how women’s roles in America evolved from the 1950s to today. Meet the courageous women who stood up and demanded to be heard by clicking here and watch MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Six more documentaries will be released later this year.

A Winter Dream Tree Grows in Jersey

threetrees_blogOur living room Christmas decorations seemed extra twinkly this year with three trees. When I put them away, I missed the sparkle of little lights and the cheeriness of ornaments. The dark spot left by the put-away Christmas trees reminded me that last winter felt especially gloomy, both meteorlogically and emotionally. Normally, the inside warmth of my home during winter feels cozy and creative. But not last year, for some reason. So this year, to fend off any doldrums, I put up a Winter Dream Tree.

Barb's holiday tree and Polly's vision tree

Barb’s holiday tree and Polly’s vision tree

Inspired by artist Barbara Johansen Newman’s yearly holiday tree and artist Polly Law’s vision tree, I cut branches from a dead Japanese Andromeda shrub (I had mourned the loss of its life, so I was thrilled to find it a new life) and arranged them in a pitcher of stones.

visionboard_blog

My visions from 2011

At first I intended the tree to be a Vision Tree. How many of you have made a vision board—a device that sends your intentions out into the Universe to fulfill your desires like a magic genie whose bottle is decorated with ripped-out magazine pages and phrases and Modpodge? My vision board from a few years ago hasn’t kicked in yet—there is no yellow Mini Cooper in my driveway and I still haven’t been to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. But the board still expresses my hopes and passions (are you listening, Universe?!).

Instead of pressuring my tree to be visionary, I decided to decorate it with whatever represented my inner spirit and I scoured the house for personal symbols, a.k.a. tchotchkes (my home is overrun with symbols). The decorating began: artist’s tools of the trade, family, animals, beads and keys (to the future), many clocks (time is ticking), things from Italy, jewelry bling, and a timid touch of Intentions to the Universe (writing and illustration projects). mylady_combo

Now my Winter Dream Tree is twinkling in the living room, brightening up winter’s days and my mood. I call my dog Oliver my happy pill because he constantly cheers me up. After a couple of winter weeks, I can truly say that my tree is working the same way. It probably won’t come down in spring but will just transform to reflect the new season. I’m getting so attached to the tree that it may even need to stick around and share the stage with next year’s Christmas tree.

fulltree_sunday

Anyone tempted to install a tree of your own? If so, I hope it brings you a Happy, Dreamy, Creative, and Visual New Year!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey_Hepburn_black_and_whiteI always wanted to have Audrey Hepburn’s voice with its unique European lilt. Or those distinctive eyebrows. Or that elegant, impeccable style. Alas, the only quality I share with Ms. Hepburn is size 10 feet.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, found herself in front of the camera as a model, and made her first Hollywood movie, Roman Holiday, in 1953. Not only did she get to rollick around Rome with the dreamy Gregory Peck, she earned an Academy Award. She went on to star in such memorable movies as Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, and My Fair Lady.

audrey-hepburn-1992-somalia---Unicef

1992—Audrey in Somalia

But Audrey felt her greatest role was as UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador. Having lived through the German invasion of Holland during World War II, she knew real hunger and suffering. For five years, Ambassador Audrey traveled to over 20 countries witnessing innocent children struggling for survival.  Today the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund continues her work of bringing help and hope to the world’s children.

Audrey Hepburn Quotes:

• For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his hands through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

• People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw anyone out.

• Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands—one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

• The “Third World” is a term I don’t like very much, because we’re all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering.

• Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics. I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a politicization of humanitarian aid, there will be a humanization of politics.

• Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist. I have seen the miracle of water which UNICEF has helped to make a reality.

You can read about Audrey Hepburn here and here.

Or watch this documentary about the iconic Hepburn style.

DDM coverIn case you missed it…

The winner of the DUCK DUCK MOOSE Giveaway was announced already! Click here to see who won.