Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Need2Read 3/29/11

Okay, so it's not the 29th anymore.  But it's close!  I've heard a rumor that book two came out in Italy yesterday (I'm a little out of the loop) -- Italian readers, is that so?  At any rate, here is the cover art for Alera in Italy (LOVE it!):



Now on to Need2Read...

Need2Read is a weekly meme hosted by Offkey wherein you post a list of one or more books you absolutely NEED to read. Post your list on your blog and leave a comment here so that I and other readers can find it -- or just share your Need2Reads in the comments!

1. Purple Daze by Sherry Shahan


When you hear historical fiction, you think Tudor England or Little Women (at least I do).  Purple Daze takes place in the sixties.  Plus I love this book's concept, six girls telling their stories through journal entries, poems, etc.  Sounds amazing.

2. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut


Probably because this book has "slaughterhouse" in the title, I grew up thinking this was some gritty, horribly gruesome story about the Holocaust.  I literally just found out it isn't.  (At first I was really confused about the review on the cover that calls it hilarious....)  Now I have to read it.

3. The Adults by Alison Espach


Reader rec!  This book sounds really interesting.  Check out author site: http://www.alisonespach.com/.

4. The Bonemender by Holly Bennet


Another reader recommendation (I didn't realize how many of them made the list this week -- thanks a bunch guys!!).  First book in an acclaimed fantasy series, one which I MUST read.

5. The Fiddler's Gun by A. S. Peterson


*Reader rec!* Okay, I love this cover in a kind of silly extreme way.  It's so pretty and grungy and awesome!  Add historical fiction, pirates, an orphanage, a fiddler named Bart, and someone called Sister Hilde, and this book cannot go wrong.

That's the list for this week - please leave your Need2Reads in the comments, along with any book recommendations you may have for me!  I love knowing what you guys are reading.

I will be back soon with my "Where-It's-At" list.  (I'm falling behind this week!)

Rock on,

Cayla

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Celebrity Saturday: Meet Joe Schermann

He's a composer, a singer and vocal coach, an actor, a poet - there's practically nothing this guy can't do, and I've seen it with my own eyes.  He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Viterbo University, and knows the life of the starving (but soon to be filthy rich) artist intimately.  He's come to talk to us about himself, but in particular his writing - and this interview illuminates that whether it be music, lyrics or novels, the same rules of the game apply.  Everyone... meet Joe Schermann!



Cayla: Welcome Joe! You are an artist extraordinaire. You sing, you act, you compose music – what would you say is your favorite art form, if you had to choose one?

Joe: Writing musical theatre tunes has to be the most personally rewarding of my trades once the work comes to fruition. To create something and hand it off to another actor or actors and allow them to interpret it and shape it in their own way and then see what comes of it is just unendingly thrilling to me. And I really love musical theatre so much, it’s such a lovely and unique way of telling a story that I believe has the most potential for really touching an audience.

Cayla: Were you one of those crazy child prodigies like Mozart, where someone put a piano in front of you and symphonies just started flowing out?

Joe: Yes and no. I picked up piano very easily as a child… this was both good and bad. While it was great for me as a kid to find something I was naturally good at (at that point in my life all I’d ever tried in terms of recreational activities were some sports and I was beyond terrible at all of them) it also made me not want to work as hard at it, and when it came time to really get serious about my work as a pianist, I just wasn’t ready to take on the work I needed to take on in order to succeed. So, I stopped taking lessons before I hit high school. It wasn’t until I started working as an accompanist in college that I started to really get serious about playing piano well again.



As far as song-writing goes, that depends on whom you ask. I have friends and family who are no slouches when it comes to music (including my mother, a band director in her last year of teaching) that swear by the stuff I was writing when I got started in high school. I personally look at my first batch of songs, and my first show for that matter, and I cringe. To myself the marks of inexperience are obvious. Having said that, I’m not at all ashamed of my early work, and I’m downright proud of just how productive I was at an early age. I wrote about 50 songs between February of my junior year of high school and my graduation the next year. I still play about three of those songs regularly, and I would file most of the other 47 under “terrible.” But I think it’s very important for any writer or artist, when they first get started, to allow themselves to stop thinking so hard about what they’re doing and just be terrible. Just write as much as you can and don’t worry about how much of it is actually any good. I think of it as working out a particular muscle, the more one does it, the more one develops that muscle and the stronger that muscle gets. It’s the same with writing, the more you do it, the more you develop your instincts and skills as a writer. I also feel that this is why it’s important to start writing as young as possible, because the older you get the more self-conscious you get, and the less willing you are to just throw caution to the wind and allow yourself to develop.

So, in short, yes and no to the above question. :)

Cayla: You’re from Minnesota, studied Musical Theatre at Viterbo University in Wisconsin, and are now living in New York – how did you make the transition from Midwestern boy to fast-talking east coaster? Was the adjustment difficult?

Joe: My first job out of college was a production of Les Miserables in New Bedford, MA, which I got from auditioning at the New England Theatre Conference that year. I was in the male ensemble, and was sharing housing with the other seven non-union actors in the production who weren’t locals. The eight of us all became fast friends. Most of these folks were either from New York or were planning on moving there very shortly. So, I simply decided to follow suit, since I knew I wanted to be in NYC in the long run anyway.



As for the transition, it was incredibly difficult, but I did not make my move in a very intelligent or reasonable fashion. I approached the move more as an adventure, a chance to test my mettle. Whereas most people move to the city with thousands of dollars in savings, a solid place to live and a day-job awaiting them, I moved with enough money for maybe a month’s rent, a month-long sublet and no job. The first few months were very scary; it looked like it was going to be a pretty short-lived adventure as I was barely surviving off the occasional odd accompaniment/vocal coaching job and favors from friends and family. Then a few months into it, I got a day-job at a restaurant AND a music directing gig upstate within a week. Since then life’s been significantly more steady both in terms of theatre work and day-job income, though I’ve mixed things up a bit by quitting the restaurant business last month in order to devote all of my time to my artistic pursuits.

Cayla: Tell us about the Gary King project you’re currently headlining, “How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song?”. How did this production get started, and how has it progressed?

Joe: It started with a disgustingly talented young man named Mark DiConzo, who I met and worked with on the above-mentioned production of Les Miz (and whom you can see in the film, he’s the handsome bald fellow in the trailers). Mr. DiConzo had worked with Gary King on one of his earlier projects, the indie drama “New York Lately.” Not too long after I had settled into New York, Mark pointed Mr. King in the direction of my YouTube page, which prompted Gary to call a meeting between all three of us. It was at this meeting that Gary proposed to me the idea of an indie musical drama, which he would write and direct and I would write the music and lyrics for as well as star in. The unique title came from a song which I had finished writing shortly before said meeting, which has since been tweaked and will be featured in the film. At first we figured we’d change the name of the protagonist and therefore the title, but soon decided that the current title just had the right ring to it, and since the main character is loosely based on yours truly anyway, it just made sense to keep it as it was.



Cayla: Of the songs you’ve composed for “How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song?” which is your favorite and why?

Joe: God, I’m very proud of all of these songs, and they’re all very different from each other and difficult to compare because we primarily assigned different styles of music to different characters. Musically I’d have to say my favorite is the title song, I think that might be one of the best melodies I’ve ever written, and the composition itself is very complex while catchy. Lyrically, there’s a tune called “I Hate Summer” where the rhyme pattern for each verse is A, A, A, A, A, A, B, B, A. That took some time and thought.

Cayla: What can people do to help raise funds for the post-production of this unique project?

Joe: So glad you asked that. They can visit our Kickstarter page and make a pledge towards our project. Kickstarter.com is a fantastic website that allows independent projects to raise funds by setting up a pledge drive with a set monetary goal that has to be met within a set period of time. The downside is that if your project doesn’t reach the goal in pledges, then your project won’t get any funding. The upside is, depending on how much you pledge, you can get some fabulous and creative prizes in exchange for your donation. The one that’s affected yours truly the most is the prize in which you get to request a song for myself and/or someone else in the cast to sing and post a video of said performance online. We’ve also recently made it so that ANYONE who pledges any amount of money will be allowed to choose one word for a song lyric that I will have to write and perform with members of the cast. It’s really important that we reach our final goal here, because this is the money we’re going to need to hire a full, live orchestra to perform the score and orchestrations to the songs, which are being arranged by the great Kenneth Lampl. Here’s the link, I’d love for everyone to check it out: How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song Kickstarter.

Cayla: All writers hate this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway. What inspires you?

Joe: It’s a perfectly legitimate question. It comes from multiple sources, some more prominent than others, and it depends on the project. First of all, fast-approaching deadlines are probably the most effective form of inspiration, and I only say that with some jest. I think the one thing that holds true with any lyric I write is that it was brought on by something that got stuck in my mind or heart that I just needed to get out of myself and onto a page. It’s really a form of venting more than anything else. My story songs are usually based off something I encountered or read about or saw on the news that shook me to my core. Love songs have pretty much come from the same muse for some time now, but in respect to that individual I shouldn’t go into greater detail on that subject. Listening to other artists do great work often gets me going, so I’ll usually end up writing after listening to any Bruce Springsteen album or watching a Stephen Sondheim musical. If I’m writing music for someone else’s lyric, which I’ve been doing much more frequently in the last month or so, it’s a much more technical, systematic process. I start with melody, because that should always be what drives a song if you want to make it memorable and natural sounding, then the accompaniment tends to just sort of find itself on its own.



Cayla: I ask this of all guests because so many of the readers of this blog are wonderfully book-crazy. Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite books/authors with us?

Joe: Absolutely. Hugo’s Les Miserables has always been one of my favorites, one of the best parts about doing the show a few years ago was it gave me a reason to tackle that 1,500 page beast again. Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is something that I feel everyone should read. It’s an autobiographical account of a woman who grew up in Iran when the Shah was overthrown and the religious fundamentalists took control. Art Spiegelman’s Maus is right up there, and is probably one of the most important graphic novels ever published.

Cayla: Last week for Celebrity Saturday, I did an interview with David Andino, whom you know. How would you describe him in five words or less?


Joe and David during the college days.

Joe: “Unfairly gifted, sexy Puerto Rican.”

Cayla: Is there anything you’d like to add about yourself, your experiences, or a topic I totally missed?

Joe: You were pretty thorough. I just want to quickly acknowledge my awesome P.R. team of Mark DiConzo who designed and built my website and Andrew Williams who does my poster and cover work, as well as the photographers who took many of the above photographs, Travis Nunes who did my most recent headshots, Dan Quinn and Ian Hanson. I’d like to remind everyone once again to check out the film’s Kickstarter page and strongly consider making a pledge.

All I’d like to add is that I really appreciate you having me as your guest this week. And if you ever see David Andino, kick him in the shin for me, because he is so friggin’ talented that it just upsets me sometimes (unless of course he’s singing my songs or directing my shows, in which case, I have no complaints).

Thank you so much to Joe for being here this week!  Check him out at the following sites:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Joe Schermann Official Website

To learn more about 'How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song' check out:

JoeSchermannSong.com

And a little bonus...

David and Joe perform "A Miracle Would Happen"

Thanks to all!

Cayla

Thursday, March 24, 2011

HarlequinTEEN and April 1st Reveal!!

I've blogged about this a little here and a little there, but I want to confirm that the release date for HarlequinTEEN's (amazing) edition of Legacy is June 28th, 2011.

As we approach that release date, there's going to be a ton of fun and interesting info coming out about this edition.  I'll be doing more interviews, reviews will be popping up, final cover art will be revealed, and I will at some point be doing a giveaway of a few signed copies of the book (more details to come).

The start of this exciting leg of the journey will be April 1st, 2011.  Keep an eye out here at Offkey for updates, and make sure you follow these pages where bonus material may be available:

Cayla Kluver on Facebook
Cayla Kluver on Twitter
HarlequinTEEN on Facebook
HarlequinTEEN on Twitter

If you are a blogger, journalist, reviewer, etc. and are interested in doing an interview with me and/or receiving a review copy of the book, please send an email to Publicity[at]CaylaKluver.com and you will be directed to the appropriate source.

Thank you all so much - I'll be in touch!

Looking forward to April 1st,

Cayla

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday... Gotta Love Where-It's-At

Alrighty, so first off, on April 1st, "where it's at" will be right here on Offkey because there's a humongously awesome reveal coming.  Stay tuned, and make sure you check back on the 1st (it's not an April Fools prank, I promise! ...Or is it?  Just kidding, really, it isn't.  S'gonna be faaabulous).

On Saturday there's another great Celebrity interview coming up with the one and only Mr. Joseph Schermann - check him out on Facebook in advance!  If you didn't read last week's interview with David Andino, you can get it here.

Now, on to "Where-It's-At", which is what I'm supposed to be doing today...

Quite a controversy developing regarding the Wicked Pretty Things anthology, with a very important message from The Hollow Trilogy author Jessica Verday.

Oasis for YA has hit 300 followers and as a thank-you they're offering the chance for you to win a query letter or first chapter critique from all five of the lovely hosts.  Enter by April 1st!

Yesterday I included Nevermore by Kelly Creagh in my Need2Read list, and lo and behold, the glorious Story Siren is hosting a giveaway of the book in question!  Go and enter (the Siren does a TON of giveaways guys... you should hang out at her place).

This list cracked me up... and also sounded quite familiar....

Write Anything is looking for guest posters and two new regular columnists.  If you write, CHECK THIS OUT.

whatchYAreading, known for their book reviews that don't just summarize but discuss books they've enjoyed, has started a podcast.  I am way excited for this.

So that's the news for this week I think... remember to stop back on April 1st, and vote on the poll to your right (if you're on site, that is) about what you think the big reveal will be!

Thanks for reading,

Cayla

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Need2Read 3/22/11

Need2Read is a weekly meme hosted by Offkey wherein you post a list of one or more books you absolutely NEED to read. Post your list on your blog, leave a comment here, and get a comment in return. Or just share your Need2Reads here!


1. Choker by Elizabeth Woods


I've heard this book has one hell of a twist in it.  Like, the synopsis is misleading in that it can't give anything away.  I LOVE books like that.  I've also heard it's terrifying.  I'm a sucker for anything and everything scary.

2. Entwined by Heather Dixon


The synopsis of this one left me dying to know who/what The Keeper is.  That's enough to land it on my Need2Read list.

3. London Deep by Robin Price & Paul McGrory


I heard about this book thanks to YA Highway (check out their synopsis/review).  I'm not a big reader of graphic novels, so I'm really feeling like I should give them more of a shot.  This sounds like a great dystopian story.

4. The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis


Who doesn't love epic historical fiction?  I have to read this one, especially since I just found out that Showtime has a new show, "The Borgias".

5. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh


Anyone read this one?  With all the Poe references, I couldn't resist putting it on the list.

And there are my Need2Reads for this week!  What are yours?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Criminal Minds: AWESOME Behavior

Okay, I am back!  And I just want to say this:

Hot British Sniper
Regular readers of this blog know who that is.  That is Hot British Sniper (aka Mick Rawson played by Matt Ryan) from Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.  Now I'm a person who has exceptional faith in the Criminal Minds machine.  I am an uber-fan.  But I can easily admit that Suspect Behavior had a little trouble finding its footing right off the bat.

As of their latest episode, which I didn't get to watch until yesterday, I feel like they totally have it down.  The flow was there, great character relationships are developing, they've figured out definitively that Forrest Whitaker and Hot British Sniper are their strongest characters (although all the actors are fantastic), and I think they're ready to roll.

Revelation:  I obsess over television show relationships.  Actually, just relationships in general.  I'm particularly fascinated by father-son dynamics I think because I don't have any brothers and I lack faith in father figures (this is getting introspective and psychological - I have tons of male friends whom I love to bits so don't take that statement as the cold and depressing reveal it sounds like).

Anyway, all this rambling is going somewhere - I'm going to rave about the relationship CM is building between Mick (Hot British Sniper) and Cooper (Forrest Whitaker).


First off, we know that the two met while Mick was on some sort of British special ops mission, and that they went through something pretty traumatic together.  Through the dialogue and the finesse of the actors we get the sense that they are very close -- but the fact isn't forced on us, which I LOVE.  I.E., Mick lives the life of an escapist bachelor outside of his job, and he himself says, "Coop can always tell when I've had a rough night."  In the same scene, Cooper goes on to say, "Rough night, Mick?"

When Mick is really tense and angry at the end of the episode "One Shot Kill", Cooper knows it without Mick having said a word, and challenges him to a marshal arts fight, which Mick initially refuses.  Cooper cajoles him into it (makes him angry enough that he attacks), and it's exactly what Mick needs to blow off that steam and yell a little bit.

At the end of "Here is the Fire" Mick and Cooper have a talk about their military past together.  Mick reveals that it's not his job with the FBI that keeps him from sleeping at night, it's memories of being in the war.  "The harder I try to forget, the more clearly I remember," he says.  It's a really interesting bonding moment -- or rather, its an interesting moment for the viewers to see the bond that already exists.

And that's what I love about what the Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior crew and actors are doing -- it really is like we've stepped into a pre-existing relationship, and little by little we get to understand it.  Cooper and Mick are portrayed as equals in terms of skill and dedication, but there is a true father-son dynamic developing between them.  Cooper is older and calmer, more introspective and intuitive; Mick is a bit hot-headed and wants to act.  The characters play so well off of each other.  I hope hope hope the writers keep this going.

Bravo I say.



Anyway, that concludes my latest fanfare/parade about Suspect Behavior.  I am much the excited for the next episode!

Cayla

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Celebrity Saturday: Meet David Andino

He's been a friend of mine since I met him after his performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and he agreed to play King Adrik in a promo video for the self-published edition of Legacy.  Sometimes he goes by David, sometimes by D, sometimes by Dino, and sometimes he prefers to be called Ezio (when we're playing Assassin's Creed).  But he's always a bursting bubble of personality --  you will never meet someone more fun and fantastic than David Andino.  And so everyone... meet David!



Cayla: Welcome, Dino! You are an actor. How frequently do you get asked what restaurant you work in?

David: I've actually never been asked that, oddly. However, I have asked several actors that question... while they were working... in a restaurant.

Cayla: Have you always loved acting?

David: I have. But not always theatre... my first love of acting was from film... Grease and Die Hard. Awesome films.


David as Martin in "The Professionals"

Cayla: What initially drew you to the profession?

David: I realized I could goof off in front of a bunch of people and not get detention for it.

Cayla: You have a fabulous singing voice as well. What kind of training have you had?

David: Why, thanks. My training up through high school was Stevie Wonder, The Lion King soundtrack, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. When I got to college they forced me into voice lessons...but I still studied my way at home. Ha.



Cayla: Do you ever get nervous before performances?

David: I don't. I usually get nervous leading up to performance day...but when that day comes, I usually just ride the cool wave... of cool.

Cayla: You were recently in New York for "The Dude Hates Cancer". Could you tell us a little about what that entailed, and what the experience was like?

David: It was amazing. I was asked to perform a bunch of songs in front of a bunch of people I didn't know. When that opportunity comes, its refreshing because its like you're starting over again. It's exhilarating. It was my first ever performance in NY and it was a blast. I plan to move out there soon!

Cayla: What was your favorite show to be a part of, and why?

David: My favorite would have to be Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead because I was cast opposite my buddy Harry. And we have been working together for years...its like all our hard work led to this show. I'll never forget that. Harry, Luh you dawg.



Cayla: Is it true that your family once deep-fried a turkey?

David: They've done it twice. No fires. Kinda.

Cayla: Since most visitors to this blog are readers, what are some of your favorite books?

David: True Grit, Green Eggs and Ham, and anything Crichton.

Cayla: Your favorite theatre shows?

David: Pillowman. Glengarry Glen Ross. Ragtime. Les Miserables. Urinetown.

Cayla: Can you clue us into what you're working on right now?

David: I'm currently doing Rent in Las Vegas at Green Valley Ranch. We play Wednesdays at 8:00 pm in Ovation! I play Collins. Yes... I kiss a dude.

Cayla: Is there anything you'd like to add as a finishing touch?

David: Raul sucks peace. (Anyone who knows me will get that.)

You can find and follow David on the following sites:

YouTube
Filmaka
IMDB

Make sure you check out those links, and if you're anywhere in the vicinity of Vegas... stop in and see David as Collins in Rent!



Thank you so much to David for being here today -- peace out, y'all!

<3 Cayla

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where It's At This Week

Well, it's a sad day today - my Grandpa Bert died this morning.  He was a silent, stoic, intelligent, hilarious, wonderful, good man.  That last bit especially can't be said about a lot of people, but he was a good man and he lived a very long life.  He's with my grandma again now, and though I'll miss him a ton, I know he's happy with her.  If you would, just send your thoughts and prayers his way.  :)  Thank you.

It's Wednesday, so I want to share some of my favorite links and articles of the last week with you.

Where It's At:

Yet again, Women on Writing tackles a common writer-ly issue with amazing logic -- how to confront and rid yourself of writer's block.  Or in other words, cut the hocus pocus.

A great letter over at Dear Teen Me.  The highlight for me is when Dunkle points out: "Teens are the last minority against which members of our society can utter the cruel comments it formerly lavished on women and members of other races..."

Another "kick the author in the butt" post.  Quit blaming your characters for not writing themselves!  As my older sister Cara would say, this is the baseball bat of tough love.

We're all thinking about it.  Here are some great options.

Taking Agatha Christie's advice ("The best time to plan a novel is when you're doing the dishes.") and exploring it until you can't ignore it.

Last, but definitely not least, this Dear Teen Me letter is all about what a "friend" really is.  Read it and think about the people you've surrounded yourself with, as well as the kind of friend you are to the people around you.  Wonderful food for thought/reality check.

I've got a ton more articles in my list that I could share, but I'm going to save them for next week.  Back soon!

Love,

Cayla

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Need2Read 3/15/11

Need2Read is a weekly meme hosted by Offkey wherein you post a list of one or more books you absolutely NEED to read.  Post your list on your blog, leave a comment here, and get a comment in return.  Or just share your Need2Reads here!

This week's Need2Read list...

1. Scars by Cheryl Rainfield


This book has been the subject of some controversy as I understand it -- that makes me all the more eager to read it, and all the more confident that it tackles a difficult topic with the utmost realism and no holds barred.

2. Sunshine by Robin McKinley


I have not read anything by Robin McKinley, which, as I'm thinking about it now, is really weird.  I don't know much about this book, but the YA Bibliophile says it's fabulous, and it's the only book of McKinley's she's ever picked out of the horror section.  Praise has been heaped on it, that cover is beyond awesome, and who doesn't love vampires?  Especially if they're scary.  Anyone familiar with this book and have an opinion?

3. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander


Seen that Disney movie that has no business being a kid's movie, The Black Cauldron?  Well, I shouldn't say it has no business being a kid's movie -- as a kid I loved it.  But it is pretty much terrifying.  This is the first book in that series.  And I'm actually fudging a little by putting this on my Need2Read list -- a copy (with this cover!) is on the shelf next to me. :)

4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu


This is kind of an obvious one.  I write so much about kingdoms at war that it's about time I got my hands on The Art of War.  Even Glee references this book.

5. The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo


Okay, I'm not going to lie:  this book has me completely intrigued and confused.  It's in the "true crime" section at my local Borders, which  makes sense because it deals with true crimes, but from what I can tell it's set up like a fiction novel.  If you have read this book, please enlighten me!  I'm going to buy it no matter what because, like I said, it sounds super intriguing, but it's going to drive me insane if I purchase it without knowing what genre it actually is.

And that's my Need2Read list for this week!  All pretty dark stuff, I just realized.  Glimpse into the mind of Cayla:  the darker the better.  I never, and I repeat never, read light fiction.  If it's happy or funny, I avoid it like the plague.  I have a feeling I'm missing out on some fabulous books because of it, so I should really challenge myself it that department.  Next week's Need2Read! ;)

Oh, by the way, the series Memorias de Idhún by Laura Gallego was recommended to me as well, and I would love to check it out and bumble through it -- but being that I don't speak Spanish very well, um... which book is the first one? :P

Thanks!

Cayla

P.S. Mark April 1st on your calendar.  Big fun coming up....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Self-Help or No-Help? Share Your Opinion.

First off, that last post (the Celebrity Saturday interview with Anna Johnson) was my 100th post on this blog.  Huzzah!

So here are my musings for the day, infused with a lot of questions for you guys.

Self-help books.  I've never actually read one, but they seem alright.  They seem important in a society where (this is going to sound incredibly glum) most people probably aren't happy with their lives.  They're about building confidence, right?  Learning who you are?  Learning to accept that person?



Obviously there are self-help books out there that ask to be made fun of, just as there are "mock-me" books in every genre.  But it seems like most people I talk to have a really cyncial, condescending view of these presumably positive books.  It could just be my circle of friends (we do tend to be a bit cynical), or it could be more widespread than I realize.

Earlier I wrote about how detective fiction has kind of a bad rap amongst literary devotees (though it hasn't hurt the genre sales!).  Now I'm wondering about self-help books.  Why do so many people seem to scoff at them?  Are there self-help books that send unhelpful messages?  Has a self-help book benefitted you or someone you know?  Have you read any, and if so, what are your favorites and least favorites, and why?

I'm thinking I have to investigate this myself by buying something from this genre -- thoughts and suggestions from all sides of the table are much appreciated.

Be excellent to each other (and look that up if you don't know what it's from),

Cayla

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Celebrity Saturday: Meet Anna Johnson

She's a Wisconsin girl who's broken from the beaten path to pursue her dreams.  Anna Johnson is the talented, beautiful musician behind "Ready to Go" and "Roller Coaster Love".  Emulating Alison Krauss and Norah Jones, with the smile and appeal of Sara Bareilles, she embodies ambition, humility, and the love of family (she plays with her sister, Julia).  Everyone, meet Anna!



Cayla: Welcome Anna!  Tell us a little about your debut CD, Ready to Go.

Anna: I don't know where to begin! I moved to TN in September 2009 with only one plan: record an album. When I got here I didn't know a single person but Billy Smiley (producer), who actually doesn't live in TN, but comes to town when he has work. Between October '09 and April '10 I spent weeks here and there recording songs and preparing for the release. The album itself is a compilation of songs about life and love - as usual. I write from my heart, and every song on the record is a part of me in some way or another; "Damaged and Bruised" came straight out of a long and difficult heartbreak, and "M.U.S.I.C." is a song I wrote about Julia and me when I was here in TN without her. I'm so proud of the album because it turned out exactly as I'd hoped - if not better! I was involved every step of the way and learned more than I could have imagined. It's a part of me, really, and I can't wait for it to really break out and be heard!

Cayla: Has music always been an important part of your life?

Anna: Music has always been important to me even though it wasn't until college that I really decided to pursue it as a career. When I was a little girl I thought my daddy was famous. He and his uncle and brother write and sing together in a group called The Blessings Gospel Trio. They perform at churches and events all over the Midwest, and I used to sing along, help sell CDs and even get on stage every once in awhile. I was surrounded by music and it helped shape and form me into the musician I am now. I took piano lessons for several years, grew up listening to Julia's classical violin training, heard daddy strum away at the guitar and mama play beautiful songs on the upright piano in our living room. I danced around while Grandma played kids' songs and hymns on her piano or on Grandpa's old record player, and I remember noodling around with various instruments whenever I could. I have so many beautiful memories revolving around music, so I'll say it again: music has always been important to me.

Cayla: When did you start playing, and when did covers turn into your own original music?

Anna: Funny you should phrase the question that way :). After learning 4 chords when I was 16, I wrote my very first song, "Forever and Always". It was only after that that I began playing others!

Cayla: You're a fantastic guitar player - did you teach yourself to play?

Anna: You are very kind. I did teach myself to play, but with the help of various friends along the way. I learn best by watching others and jamming with them, so I owe a lot of ideas and creative sparks to people gracious enough to spend time playing with me! My father taught me a great deal, as well. I actually learned to play on his old guitar and he encouraged me along the way. He'd come home and show me tricks and chords, progressions and finger-picking patterns. He actually taught me the chord progression for "Sweet Whispers" - a song from "Roller Coaster Love". He deserves the most recognition for my playing . . .

Julia and Anna Johnson


Cayla: What part of being a musician do you enjoy more - the solitude of working on your music or being on stage?

Anna: Being on stage is nothing but joy! All my worries disappear when I'm speaking with an audience and sharing my songs with them. The writing, rehearsing, preparing and pouring myself out is part of the process, but when my hard work is shared and enjoyed I remember why I love doing what I do.

It's about the people and the way they take and react to the music I'm giving. What a reward it is to know I'm doing something that touches others . . .

Cayla: What is the weirdest experience you've had as a result of pursuing your music?

Anna: Oh my goodness. Could it be the time my guitar case flew out of the back of a friend's station wagon? Or the time I lost my voice on the way to a show because I was singing too loudly with the windows down? Perhaps it was when I showed up at the wrong venue entirely or all the times I dropped my guitar pick in the middle of a song? Maybe the weirdest experience of all was writing the verses to "Falling" during my 30-minute break at Starbucks or playing phone tag with Amy Grant for a few weeks. It could have been when I came home to WI and people I'd never met before recognized me. Or maybe when I had my first request for a signed photograph. You know . . . I've had a lot of very strange experiences, and there's no way to deem one of them "weirdest". Seems like every day is an adventure and every week turns into a tornado of mishaps and successes. My life. Is nuts.

Cayla: I understand you at one time won a prestigious scholarship based on your song, "Flowers on Monday". You ultimately decided to travel and play for audiences instead - was that a difficult decision for you to make or did you know what road you needed to take?

Anna: Big question :).

After two years studying art at two different colleges and being completely displaced and distracted, it was time I made the decision to stick with something. Though I was hesitant, music became that magical something and it changed my life. Since I live in Nashville now, this part of the story is ironic. Ready? See, my parents encouraged me to go to school for music, and I was given two main options: McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN or Belmont University in Nashville, TN. I remember shutting down Belmont in a split second because, "There's no way I'm moving that far away! Nashville? Yeah right! I'm not good enough, first of all, and second, it's just too far away! Are you CRAZY?"

My reaction was something like that . . .
And it's pretty funny now.

Anyway, McNally was my safety-net-choice, but it turned out to be the perfect bridge between where I was then and where I am today. I applied for the school, was accepted, and was encouraged by one of the admissions reps to apply for scholarships as well. Since a Bachelor's in Music in Songwriting and Composition (so official, right?) was my major of choice, the songwriting scholarship was my best option. I had no expectations, and in fact didn't really believe it was worth the time and energy to fill out the application, but I did it anyway. What could I lose? I sent a burned copy of the then recently-recorded version of "Flowers On Monday" and a lyric sheet and I checked it off my list. A few weeks later I received notice that I was one of TWO finalists for the scholarship. Whoa. Seriously? I was shocked! I told a few people who told people who told more people and ultimately everyone seemed to know about it. No pressure, right? HA! I spent the summer of 2008 waiting to hear the results of the scholarship as the school had passed the two of us on to the rock band Queen, who had the ultimate say. They were, after all, the ones paying for the selected student to attend school for the next four years.

Ultimately, in June of 2008 I found out I won the scholarship and it was the validation I needed. I finally believed music wasn't just a hobby; it was my calling. It IS my calling.

Now to the second part of your question . . .

I'm wordy. Sorry.

:)

After studying at McNally Smith from 2008-2009, a producer from Nashville contacted me to say he saw potential in my singing and songwriting abilities. Now, I was content where I was and was NOT about to leave. I thought the guy was creepy and though I was flattered, I wasn't entertaining the thought of Nashville. Again, I was hesitant.

(Do I need a shotgun blast in my ear to get me to believe music is it? Good grief, Anna.)

I ignored the producer for quite some time, but my parents had their "parent-ly" feelings again and encouraged me to see what he had in mind. When the school year was through and I was home for the summer, I (rolled my eyes and) called him to find out he was going to be in Nashville the following week for some work. Turns out my family was about to go on a vacation out west, so we re-routed and met with him in toasty hot Tennessee. Nerrrrrr-vous. Indeed. Yep.

We met Billy Smiley one afternoon in July at his little cottage studio on Franklin Road in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville. He was whacky and fun and the studio was nothing like I'd expected. It was creaky and small and the kitchen was stocked with sweets and junk foods. There were coffee mugs all over the place and the laundry machines were stacked beside the fridge. The bathroom floor seemed slanty and what looked like carpeted mattresses were standing up along the walls to block the road noise. I was intrigued.

My family spent the day with him and I went back the next day to chat one-on-one and get a feel for him. Being the nut I am, I ended up pouring my heart out, sharing songs, crying a little bit, asking questions, and realizing I was supposed to be in Nashville after all.

During that trip I made up my mind and changed it. Made it again. Changed it again. I cried every night as I looked up potential housing arrangements and studied the town. My family went home and it was time to come to a conclusion.

I chose Tennessee.

Now, the scholarship was HUGE. Okay. HUGE. I had this gut-wrenching feeling I was meant to be in TN, so I decided to go, but I held on to the scholarship and the school by switching things around and being a distant-ed kid. The school helped me make a schedule that would fit my new lifestyle, which included a made-up internship at Billy's studio. I kept track of all my sessions and meetings, outings, tours, writers' round and live music experiences. I blogged about it and did what I could to learn and grow via immersion into the industry itself. It was fabulous.

Christmas came around, however, and the courses I would need to finish my B.M. couldn't be done online. It was stay in TN and lose the scholarship OR move back to MN for the next couple of years. Oh boy.

Here's how I saw it in the end (though it was a difficult decision to make):

I get Kohls coupons in the mail. Sometimes they're as much as 30% off! I get really excited and go to Kohls to use that fabulous coupon however I can. Oh man, do I use it. Ohhhh. Man.

But wait.

Did I need anything from Kohls?

Did I really HAVE to use that coupon?

Hmmm.

The scholarship was wonderful. Life-changing. Validating. Reassuring. Encouraging. A blessing beyond belief.

But I didn't need it to do what I was called to do.

Living and learning in Nashville, and using my abilities hands-on, was exactly what I needed to do.

It's what I'm still doing.

It's what I'll keep doing.

I may not be in Nashville much longer, but I might be here for 10 years.

Seems any plans I've made on my own in the past few years have been completely blown out of the water by those said "shotgun blasts in my ear".

I'm ready for anything and I'm not going to be so dense.

Good grief, me.

Music is what I'm made for and though I don't know in what ways, to what capacity, or even where, I'm sure music is it.

Music. Is. It.

Life is full of difficult choices, but for now I'm confident I am where I'm supposed to be.

Cayla: Which of your songs is your favorite and why?

Anna: Oh my! What a question! "Always" is my all-time favorite song to sing live because it's passionate; "Someday" is fun to listen to because I recall the summer months and exciting days in the studio, and I always favor my most recent song while it's fresh.

Right now, like RIGHT NOW, my favorite song is "Getting Over You".

It's on the upcoming EP/album. Haven't decided which it's going to be. 7 songs or more? We will see, my friends. We. Will. See.

Cayla: Because there are a lot of readers who visit my blog, I'm going to veer off topic a bit and ask, what kinds of books do you enjoy?

Anna: I really enjoy biographies and autobiographies. History stories. War novels. Old-fashioned, tender-hearted love stories. Books that pull on my heart. "Anne of Green Gables" is my all-time favorite movie, and anything remotely in that realm is faaaaabulous.


Attend Anna's EP Release concert on April 30th; details below!

Cayla: Just for fun... what is the strangest compliment you've ever received?

Anna: Music-related or non? Hmmm.

A man once told me I look like a young female version of Val Kilmer. He said I could be his cousin. His much younger cousin, mind you. I think he was trying to compliment me . . .

I wasn't pleased.

I'm often told I look Russian, too, but can't pinpoint what that means.

Cayla: Is there anything else you'd like to add as we wrap things up?

Anna: I want to invite all of you to Chippewa Falls Senior High School (735 Terrill Street in Chippewa Falls, WI) on Saturday, April 30th for a really exciting show at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $10 and I will be announcing all of the show details online in just a few days.

My Nashville band is coming and it includes my sister on vocals and violin, Travis on the mandolin and a second fiddle, Jason on the bass guitar, Chris on drums and percussion, David on the nylon string guitar, and me on vocals and guitar.

There MIGHT be special guests and there will MOST DEFINITELY be new songs and stories.

If you were a part of last year's CD release concert, expect a MUCH better show this time.

Longer set (2 hours with a short break), more chatting, an EP release and a limited number of FREE copies, a cool vibe, great stage lighting, and more.
Please come be a part of it! It's going to be HUGE.


To find out more about Anna and check out her music, visit her on the following sites:

MySpace
Facebook
Twitter
ReverbNation
Anna Johnson Music
YouTube

Anna's sister Julia, who is an integral part of "Anna Johnson Music" can be found here:

Twitter
Julia Johnson Music

Of Julia, Anna would like to add:

"I'll reference her most of the time since she lives here in TN with me. You know, I didn't say much about her, but there are STORIES upon STORIES about the two of us. We'll save that for a second interview ;)."

Thank you so much to Anna for visiting Offkey!  I would just like to say that I personally am a humongous fan of Anna's music, and I think you all will love it too.  Keep in mind her big show coming up on April 30th!  Comment away....

<3 Cayla

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why "Glee" Rocks My Socks

I own the first season of Glee on DVD and watch every new episode as it comes out, because the show is colorful and musical and fun.  At least, that's all I chalked it up to.



A friend of mine who wasn't acquainted with the show was over at my house the other day, so I popped in an episode, and my friend brought something to my attention that I'd overlooked.

Particularly in reference to the characters of Kurt and Mercedes, she said, "Why are they so stereotypical?"

Mercedes and Kurt
Don't misunderstand, she loved the show, but in that first episode, there really does seem to be an overabundance of stereotypes, UNTIL (and this is why Glee is awesome) the puppetmasters of the show totally do a 180 on you, point their collective finger, and say, "You were seeing these people as stereotypes, weren't you?"

I know it's something that every author, TV show, and movie tries to do -- take what's cemented in people's minds and give it a twist.  But Glee does more than that.  They introduce every character as exactly what you would expect them to be in the recesses of your mind (which you try to pretend don't exist).  And then they strip it all back and show you that people are people no matter what shape, size, creed or color they come in.  It makes me think of Natasha Bedingfield's song Strip Me:


"If you strip me, strip it all away, what would you find?"

Finn is a stupid football jock who helps throw Kurt in the dumpster until the writers show you that, not only does he love music, but he is possibly the most caring human being on the series.

Rachel is the over-confident, ego-centric, let's face it, really annoying kid with delusions of grandeur who we all hated in high school.  But the writers proceed to show us that Rachel is insecure, terrified of failure -- not in terms of her future (she doesn't worry about that), but in terms of having friends and relationships and being a decent person.  She tries too hard, but I personally love her because she tries.

Kurt is gay, and the writers let you run rampant with all the associated stereotypes until it turns out Kurt is the only one able to bring success and morale to the football team (didn't see that coming, huh?).  Throughout the show, he struggles, he cries, he kicks some serious ass, and he cultivates one of the most inspiring father-son relationships I've probably ever seen.  He is one heck of a strong person.

Mercedes is another character who starts out the victim of a stereotype based on her race and culture, but she turns out to be one of the most talented, sweetest, warmest people on the show.  She is open and honest and classy.

Artie is a rockstar in a wheelchair.  'Nuff said.

Quinn comes out the gate as "The Cheerleader" (you know what I mean).  But as she develops, we see that she's just as terrified as Rachel is, and yearns for her parents' approval and a place where she doesn't have to be perfect all the time.

Goodness, that's what I want.  So go Glee.  Keep flipping people's opinions on their heads.  And I'll keep watching because that's what you do.  And because you're colorful and musical and fun, of course.



Random Cayla rant (not really a rant this time... shpeel?) over.

Cayla out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Avon Calling!

You've all watched that scene in Edward Scissorhands where Dianne Wiest comes to the door of that huge abandoned mansion and says, "Avon calling!"

If you haven't, you're seriously missing out on one of the most repeated (at least in my family) lines in movie history.

Cara, who will sell you Avon.
 Anyway, the point is, my big sister Cara is a huge proponent of Avon (being that she sells it).  So here's the deal: go to www.youravon.com/ckluver to check out Avon supplies and buy your makeup, hair products, deodorant (for 89 cents!), face wash (which has been proven to work just as well as Proactiv and costs half the price - note, I'm not a sales representative and I don't have the actual numbers but there is a HUGE price reduction).

Avon is able to sell their quality products for such reduced prices because they have no physical stores to maintain -- everything goes straight from their warehouses to your hands through direct delivery.  In addition, Avon supports women's charities and awareness groups for violence against women (more info on-site), and has been serving women's needs for 100 years (should I have gone into marketing or what?).

For more information on what Avon can do for you, visit www.youravon.com/ckluver, and feel free to email Cara with your questions at cbkluver[at]gmail.com.  She also does in-person meetings to discuss what products will work best for you.

Basically, if you want to support the arts and make sure my sister doesn't starve, please -- buy Avon.

All the best,

<3 Cayla

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday is Where-It's-At

I'm thinking of implementing more of a schedule for my blog (hence the "____ day of week" posts recently).  It may or may not last, but if you've been wondering what the heck I'm doing, that's the deal. ;)  (Don't worry, I still fully plan to go on random Cayla rants.)

These days I'm frequenting quite a few blogs and websites, and I want to share some of my favorite articles with you.

"Where-It's-At":
  • Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

As I posted on Twitter, this article really made me think.  How accomodating is the literary world to those with disabilities?
  • Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (again - SBTB for the win!)

If this isn't awesome, I don't know what is:  "As usual, if you use SBTBARE at checkout, you will get a 50% eBook Bucks Rebate at AllRomance.com, the official sponsor of the Sizzling Book Club."
Cheryl Rainfield, author of Scars, hosts this wonderful website where you are encouraged to share your struggles and/or stories of abuse.  I know that this website will become a safe haven for people dealing with difficult situations.
  • YA Highway

YA Highway is hosting a giveaway of Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard.  The entry deadline is March 19th, so get over there!!!
  • Write Anything

Lastly, for you writers out there - read this article, and don't be afraid of your vocabulary!

I almost constantly link to sites and articles I'm enjoying through my Twitter account (@CaylaKL - still trying to combat the impersonator debacle!) so if you like these posts, you may want to become a follower.  There's another post coming up soon, either later today or tomorrow, about Avon of all things, so check back!

Thanks for reading,

Cayla

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Need2Read Tuesday 3/8/11

Well all, first things first... the Twitter imposter disaster is over!  Twitter was wonderfully kind enough to step up and take care of the problem with such efficiency that I want to send them a humongous <3.

Still feel free to spread the word if you know anyone who has been confused by the matter!

Now, on to Need2Read.


Need2Read is a weekly meme hosted by Offkey wherein you post a list of one or more books you absolutely NEED to read.

Without further ado, here is my newest list of books I Need2Read:

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


I've heard this book starts a little slowly, but the story is absolutely fabulous.  I haven't seen the movie and I'm thinking I should read the book first.  Opinions?  Have you read the book/seen the film version?

2. I Am J by Cris Beam


Synopsis: J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was: a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a "real boy" and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible - from his family, from his friends...from the world. But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he's done hiding - it's time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.  An inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path - readers will recognize a part of themselves in J's struggle to love his true self.

I'm ecstatic about this book because I love literature that challenges its reader.

3. Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones


Synopsis: In her critically acclaimed debut, Tayari Jones explores the tragedy of the Atlanta Child Murders through the eyes of three unforgettable children.

I've never read anything by Tayari Jones before, but she has some of the best quotes on writing I've ever heard/read.  Plus, with regard to this story about the Atlanta Child Murders, two of the victims were Jones' nine and ten year old classmates.  I bet the perspective in this novel is just haunting.

4. After by Amy Efaw


This book is about a mature, straight-A girl who gets pregnant then tries to dispose of her baby in a dumpster and ends up in Juvenile Detention for attempted murder.  This sounds like a deep, harrowing, important story.  On a side note, I love the cover, with the reflection.  Perfect for illustrating the title.

So those are my Need2Reads -- what are yours?

Cayla

P.S. Thanks to the wonderful YA Bibliophile, I now have copies of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.  A million hugs to YAB!!!  You can follow her on her blog and on Twitter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

URGENT: Twitter Impersonator

Well all, I discovered something very disturbing this morning.  There is a person on Twitter, using the username @CaylaKluver, who is impersonating me.  This person has cultivated 1300 followers and I wasn't even aware that it was happening.

To follow ME on Twitter, plug in the username @CaylaKL.

There are a number of things I'd like to say about this issue, but I'm going to try to keep it short and sweet.  First, I feel violated and abused.  Thankfully pretending to be me on Twitter has not allowed this person access to my personal life, but the idea that someone had the gall to use my name, my face, and my accomplishments to benefit him or herself is abhorrent and disgusting.

Second, I would like to apologize to my fans, especially the 1300 people who are currently following the fake Cayla Kluver.  Whoever this person is has been responding to you, giving you updates, and misleading you.  I adore every single one of my fans.  I have the utmost respect for you, and I am monumentally grateful for your support.  This person has taken advantage of you, and abused and violated your trust.

I have contacted Twitter about this problem.  My publisher is looking at potential action to take.  My agent is furious, and all of us are trying to spread the word and shut this account down.

What you can do to help:

   1) If you are following @CaylaKluver, un-follow this user immediately and instead follow me at @CaylaKL.

   2) Report the user @CaylaKluver for spam and inappropriate conduct to protect other users and encourage Twitter to examine this account.

   3) If you know anyone who is following @CaylaKluver, inform them about this scam at once, and direct them to the @CaylaKL Twitter page.

   4) Tweet about this, and re-tweet.  Share anywhere and everywhere.

Thank you so much for your support, and hopefully together we can fix this situation.

Love and apologies,

Cayla

Guest Post at The Hate-Mongering Tart

Check out my guest post at E. Kristin Anderson's blog "The Hate-Mongering Tart":

Writing "That Woman" by Cayla Kluver

The post is in honor of International Women's Week -- tweet, comment, share, and become a follower of E. Kristin Anderson's blog!

<3

Cayla

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celebrity Saturday: Meet Andrea

She is a good friend of mine, who sometimes hijacks my Facebook fan page (don't worry, she always says when its her!).  She started the page a couple of years back, encouraged me to get on Twitter, and has always been supportive of my writing.  She runs her own interview blog called "Grammar Keels."  I'm happy to introduce you all -- everyone, meet Andrea!



Cayla:  Hi Andrea!  Why don't you tell readers a little about yourself?

Andrea:  Well Cayla, I am a cosmetology student at The Salon Professional Academy in Ames, Iowa.  Where I will also be taking aesthetics and massage therapy.  I absolutely LOVE cats.  They are my greatest weakness.  If you have a cat you win me over automatically.  I have a very odd personality per se.  Depending on who I am with my personality is different.  Say, one group of friends my dirty minded personality shows, but with another, a sweet more conservative personality shows.  I also have a few nicknames:  Bob, Andi, Jack (also spelled Jagk), and now, thanks to Cayla, Tink.

Cayla:  What would you say you are most passionate about?

Andrea:  I am very passionate about music. It is the one thing that I have to be around constantly in order to be kept sane. Unless it is mainstream radio where you hear the same Ke$ha and Rhianna song 5 times in one hour. I dislike repetitive. I love going to shows and seeing a band perform live. There is just something about feeling the vibrations of the sound waves and the adrenaline rush that you and everyone around you has that feels so darn amazing!

Cayla:  What's the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Andrea:  I'm going to say my friends. The people I surround myself with made me who I am today. They formed the crazy, spunky, stubborn, sweet, compassionate girl that I am today.

Cayla:  What's the worst thing?

Andrea:  I would have to say my near death experience back in December. I had just left school and pulled out from a stop sign thinking it was clear to go. The next thing I knew there was another car in the drivers side of mine. The way my car turned out I am lucky to have walked away from that accident, let alone made it out alive. The sound of metal crunching on metal and glass shattering still rings in my ears.

Cayla:  Do you like string beans?

Andrea:  Yes in fact I do! Fresh picked ones are the best.

Cayla:  Since most of the people who come to my website are book-lovers, who are some of your favorite writers?

Andrea:  Some of my favorite writers would probably be: Melissa de la Cruz, Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key is excellent by the way. It was the first book I read by her), JK Rowling, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein, Cayla Kluver (of course), Robin Jones Gunn, and Michael Cole.

Cayla:  On your interview blog, you say you have friends in "highly low" places. You've interviewed me; what kinds of other people do you plan to interview?

Andrea:  Well Cayla, the "Have friends in highly low places" is from a song "Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone)" by Forever The Sickest Kids. Which actually goes "I've got friends in highly low places" I had that song stuck in my head while I was filling out the info section. I do plan on interviewing smaller bands, I have a few friends that are in bands that are willing to participate, authors, and whoever you throw at me. I really do appreciate the help! Especially the editing! My grammar and punctuation has never been the best.

Cayla:  What inspired you to start your interview blog?

Andrea:  Since August when a band I listen to, Hey Monday, released their EP(extended play for those who don't know) 'Beneath It All' I kind of wanted to write CD reviews. The more I sat on it the more I just didn't want to do the CD reviews. I then decided that interviews would be much better for me since I am a more Q&A sort of person. I love to ask questions! It's like I'm a very curious 5 year old.

Cayla:  We're friends - the first time I remember seeing you, you came into Mr. L's classroom and argued with him about a hall pass. Do you remember the first time you saw/encountered me?

Andrea:  I feel like I vaguely remember this situation. I did argue with Mr. L quite a bit. I was a student who liked to butt heads with teachers. Though I would say my first memory of you was when you were in a play but I don't quite remember what play. I feel like it was one where there was a dead body and Monte Carlo. I could be very wrong. I also remember seeing you walking through the wall just mesmerized by how pretty you are. It was like you were a complete mystery as well. My gosh I just sounded like a love struck teenage boy.

Cayla:  Is there anything else you'd like to say to the awesome beyond awesome readers of this blog?

Andrea:  "Well behaved women rarely make history." -Marilyn Monroe This woman inspires me!

Also, good choice in books everyone! Cayla is a great author and friend!

If you guys have any more questions for me, feel free to go to my blog "Grammar Keels" and click on the "Ask Me Anything" tab on the right side!

Thank you so much to Andrea for doing this interview - make sure you check out her blog!

Cayla