What are ten things you enjoy?
This question makes me think of the song “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music. Here are my answers:
1. Reading - I love to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Some of my favorites are historical romances, autobiographies and middle grade children’s chapter books like my Sophie Washington book series. Historical romances attract me because they take me to different times and places and also have the romantic aspects. Usually the heroines get to wear beautiful clothes, or in the Cinderella tropes, get great makeovers, and they generally don’t have to do too much work. Autobiographies inspire or touch me in some way. Good kids’ books help me to see what’s popular in my genre and hone my craft, while also being entertaining.
2. Traveling – I have a real travel bug and like seeing different places, new things and novel ways of living. This past year my family and I took a road trip out West from Texas, something that I had avoided like the plague, and finally gave in to (I don’t like roughing it and didn’t want to sit in the car for hours with my kids). I had the time of my life! I found that states that I never gave much thought to seeing like Idaho and South Dakota are breathtakingly beautiful.
3. Snuggling with my husband and kids on the couch – This is right up there with curling up to read a good book. Playing board games, eating good meals or watching funny movies with my crew are fun too, but I find that togetherness and just being, with my peeps, makes me feel great.
4. Chocolate – Something about enjoying a good piece of chocolate, or a chocolate covered strawberry, or a piece of chocolate cheesecake, is like a little slice of heaven to me, pardon the pun.
5. Nature – Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…being able to see and experience all the wonderful things God has created makes life worth living.
6. Exercise – This may go along with my love of nature because I crave getting outside and moving. Riding my bike, walking, jogging, and swimming are favorites. I used to be an avid tennis player, and I was on the tennis team in high school, but I tore ligaments in both my knees a few years ago so I had to give it up. I may have my book character Sophie Washington join the tennis team at her school in a future book.
7. Musicals – My sons run out of the room screaming whenever I have a musical on, and ask me to “stop please stop” when I sing songs from them, but for some reason I love movie musicals. My daughter likes them too and I spent hours singing “Get’cha Head in the Game,” right along with her when she went through a High School Musical phase.
8. Cooking and Eating- I like a nice home cooked meal and found once I moved away from my parent’s house that I’d have to learn to cook to eat one. My husband is a pretty good cook too and makes a mean Texas brisket, but I do most of the cooking in our family. It is comforting to put a delicious meal together, especially now that my kids are old enough to do the dishes!
9. Learning about God – I’m a spiritual person and like to read my Bible, pray and worship at my church. This keeps me balanced, centered and very happy.
10. Writing – This is last, but certainly not least, and my reason for being on this blog! Expressing myself through words for others to enjoy is one of my favorite things to do.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Sophie Washington: The Snitch
by Tonya Duncan Ellis
GENRE: Children's (Middle Grade)
That’s what 10-year-old Sophie Washington thinks until she runs into Lanie Mitchell, a new girl at school. Lanie pushes Sophie and her friends around at their lockers, and even takes their lunch money. If they tell, they are scared the other kids in their class will call them snitches, and won’t be their friends. And when you’re in the fifth grade, nothing seems worse than that.
Excitement at home keeps Sophie’s mind off the trouble with Lanie. She takes a fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico with her parents and little brother, Cole, and discovers a mysterious creature in the attic above her room. For a while, Sophie is able to keep her parents from knowing what is going on at school. But Lanie’s bullying goes too far, and a classmate gets seriously hurt. Sophie needs to make a decision. Should she stand up to the bully, or become a snitch?
I’ve got a secret. Want to hear it?
Secrets are usually nice. Like when my dad surprised me with a new goldfish last year. Or the time Grandma Washington unexpectedly visited us in Houston from her house in Corpus Christi.
I used to love secrets. But this one’s not so great.
No one knows it, except my best friend Chloe. It’s her secret, too. We don’t talk about it, ‘cause if we do people won’t like us. And in the fifth grade being liked is as important as having a fun birthday party, or staying up as late as possible, or…Christmas.
For now, I’m not telling. Chloe’s not either.
“Hey Sophie, wait up!” Chloe yells as I make my way down the hall to our first period math class. “How was your weekend?”
“The same old, same old,” I reply, hoisting my math book and binder up in my arms. “Cole whined about having nothing to do, so Mom and Dad took us to the zoo and then out for ice cream. On Sunday I caught up on all my homework after church.”
Cole is my seven-year-old brother. My mom thinks he’s an angel, but I think he was sent here to drive me crazy. Just this morning at breakfast, for example, he pulled my ponytail while she wasn’t looking, and then started crying loudly after I whacked him with an empty Cheerios box. Of course, I’m the one who got in trouble. My dad is nicer to Cole than he deserves, but I think he’s figured out his game a little bit better than Mom.
“Nothing much exciting happened at our house, either,” says Chloe, “but I did get this cute new purse.” Chloe is what you’d call a Fashionista. I admire the pretty, powder blue bag and notice the red, glittery, slide-on shoes she wears on her feet. She always manages to make our boring, private school uniforms look stylish.
“That’s nice,” I say.
As we near the classroom I see someone in the shadows and my heart starts to beat fast.
“Just great,” I mutter.
Lanie Mitchell, the class bully, heads our way from the opposite direction.
She sees us, grins, and blocks our path. Most of our classmates are 10, like me, but Lanie is already 12 years old. She’s the second tallest girl in 5B, behind Chloe, and a little bit on the chubby side.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tonya Ellis remembers hiding in the restroom from a few bullies during her elementary school days. She encourages kids to speak out if they are being mistreated. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist, written for newspapers and magazines and won awards for her books. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys reading, biking with her husband and two sons and daughter, and travelling to interesting places. SOPHIE WASHINGTON: The Snitch is the second book in a series about Sophie and her friends.
Amazon Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/ycxjqwwe
Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway