Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Happy Halloween and Stuff!
Halloween is a holiday that many Christians do not take part in. Some say it promotes evil and darkness.

In my family, we think it promotes candy.

But it's not like we'd ever let our young family members wear ghoulish costumes. No, if we did participate in Halloween, we'd dress them up in cute, positive outfits that reflect light! And joy!

Oops. Okay, so this one slid by us. This is my uber spooky newphew, Hardy. But how can you say no to that face, right? That is a face you want to give candy to.

But it's not like we'd let my two year old niece wear anything creepy. Maybe an angel costume or a princess?

WHAT? She's adorable. Okay, she's a witch, but did you check out the tights? You cannot pass those up. And the princess costumes did not have cute, stripey tights and accessories. Stripey tights + cute pointy hat= more candy for her aunt!

So In Between is on a poster for Arkansas Year of the Book! The nice people in Little Rock sent me a copy of it.

Here's a closer shot, where you can see Katie Parker hanging out with dignitaries, such as LBJ (kids, that's a former P-R-E-S-I-D-E-N-T).

She's also on the poster with a guy who wrote a book who wants to be president.

But this one is especially cool, because In Between shares poster-space with a book about the Little Rock Nine, by LR9er, Elizabeth Jacoway. \

I haven't read Elizabeth's book, but if you haven't read the book Warriors Don't Cry, by Melba Patillo Beals, a true account of the integration of Central in Little Rock, you so need to. I'm all about me some fluff reading, and this isn't it, and I still loved the book.

So thank you state of Arkansas for putting my Katie Parker, LBJ, and Mike Huckabee on the same poster. It's an honor to share space on paper products with you.

Hope your Halloween or alternative holiday of positivity was great. Today we had some students dress up, including two ninth graders in the inflatable sumo wrestler suits. I saw one go into the bathroom, and I thought...I don't even want to know.

  posted at 8:17 PM  

Monday, October 29, 2007
A Note From Me...

I should so be editing right now. So behind.
But I just got back from a full night of parent-teacher conferences, and more work is the last thing I feel like doing. Vegging out in front of the TV and watching some E! or Conan sounds so much better. (but I will edit anyway...)

It's been fun to read the reviews coming in on On the Loose. You can read the latest one here.

Funny that Jamie, the kind reviewer, mentions having a nightmare about her high school PE teacher. PE was a humbling experience for me in junior high (Or was it middle school? It's all a tragic blur). I've always been about justice and "fair." So in middle school we had to do basketball ALL YEAR in PE. I HATED basketball. I STUNK at basketball. And it wasn't fair that we did it just so the "pee-wee" team could practice. So I wrote a note to the two teachers. (who were actually seniors covering the class, which was totally illegal, and it's a good thing I didn't know that or else I would've called in the big guns like Jesse Jackson or our governor, a dude named Bill Clinton.) So anyway, I wrote this angst-ridden note listing all the reasons my Constitutional rights as a receiver of public education were being abused. But I wrote it on paper from my BFF's mom's office. My BFF's mom worked for a proctologist. It was not one of my finer moments. It's hard to take a girl seriously when she's giving you what-for on a piece of paper from the butt doctor. They're right, presentation is everything.

Anyway, I'm going back to editing. And if you've read On the Loose, I would love for you to stop by, Amazon, or and write a review (good, bad, or ugly...I can take it.) Though I might write you back...on paper from the proctologist.

  posted at 8:07 PM  

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friends, neighbors, and random people I've never met...
We are gathered here today to say goodbye to an old, dear, dear friend.
Black Dishwasher Number One.

Black Dishwasher Number One, or BDNO, to those who knew him best, was an overworked soul. He tried in all things, even when he didn't feel like it. I have learned many things from knowing BDNO. Things such as eating off a plate with a little bit of caked on food that has been through the heat cycle, but still didn't come off, is not going to kill you. That after many, many visits with the doctor, sometimes you just have to give it up and rest. As in eternal rest. And that if you have dishes that could not survive BDNO's weak wrath, then they were not worth having in the first place.

It was good while it lasted, Black Dishwasher Number One, and I appreciate your hard work, your valiant heart, and your love for liquid over powder detergent. We had some good years together, but alas, it was time for both of us to move on. Me, to Black Dishwasher Number Two, and you to...I dunno, some heap that's probably breaking an OSHA code or two at Lowe's.

Remember me fondly, as I will you...while I'm eating off of dishes that are 100 percent clean and sanitary.

Onto another in a HEAP-O-CUTENESS!!! Check out my totally cute niece at her second birthday.
She didn't really say much at her party. She's very quiet, reserved, and dignified (we are so alike in that way). But we all heard at least three words: Care Bear movie! She is so into the Care Bears. Those computer generated charlatans. Those aren't the REAL Care Bears. The real ones were cartoons. Seeing classics such as Scooby Doo and others in CGI form is just a real travesty and further proof of the deterioration of our great nation. But is anyone giving this any attention? No. Obama? Nope. Mrs. Clinton? Nope. Giuliani? Negatory. So listen up, America, when you go to the ballots, please remember there are other things at stake than the price of oil, plunging real estate losses, and war. It's time to recapture what made our great nation what it was--quality, faded looking, poorly written cartoons. I don't know if there is anything about it in the Constitution, but if it's not covered there, I think it might be in the Declaration of Independence or one of those old treaty thingies. Bring back American values--bring back real cartoons.

Thank you and God bless America!

  posted at 1:14 PM  

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Stress Is A Six Letter Word
So I'm stressed. I have a lot going on and nothing getting done. Plus all my neighbors are outdoing me on the Halloween decor. Maybe cuz I have nothing up. But I think the cobwebs and dead plants near my porch add a nice touch.

What do you do when you're stressed? This week I've been aware that I have a few habits during these anxious hours, days, or months not belonging to summer break.

1. I make poor clothing choices. When you're mulling over bigger things like a cure for curly hair or the answer to world peace, you don't want to be bothered with coordinating outfits! This week it's been khakis every day. And some ugly shirt. Ugly matches everything.

2. My hair goes up. I don't know why, but I get to school, and it's down for about ten minutes before I grab a ponytail holder or clip and whip it on top of my head. It's like it's very existence annoys me. "Get out of my sight!" Maybe it helps with the whole schoolmarm thing anyway. I just need some black, orthopedic shoes to go with it.

3. Speaking of orthopedic shoes, I don't wear them, but when I'm Senorita Stressball, I do like comfortable shoes. Why can't we wear slippers to work? What's the harm, really? Nothing says, "I'm productive!" like overstuffed, furry, two-times-my foot-size house shoes.

4. I eat. For lunch today I had a chicken salad sandwich from Arby's (love those things!), popcorn, and disgusting candy corn. There is some nutritional value though. The chicken had grapes and apples in it (along with a piece of fuzz--that didn't belong to me), and candy CORN. Sugar shaped in the form of corn SCREAMS healthy, don't you agree?

5. I try to smile. And I usually fail, but this new commercial by MasterCard pulls the cheeks up every time.

6. I waste time. Why make a list of to-do items? Sure, it might lighten your mental load, but is it fun? No. Thanks to my good friend Erin, I know THIS is fun.

This too shall pass. But in the meantime, I must get to item number seven.

7. I take naps.

  posted at 2:54 PM  

Monday, October 22, 2007
Rainy Days and Mondays Always Make Me Blog
So last week I colored my hair. And due to reasons that would totally bore you, I can no longer use salon or drug store type of hair color. (It's tragic really.) So now if I want my hair colored, I have to use henna. Henna is what gives people those fake, red looking tattoos. And if you don't want your hair the color of a fake, red tattoo, the color of a pumpkin or GREEN, you have to add some other "natural" stuff to it. I finally worked up my nerve to play chemist and mix my ingredients.
Here's what the henna looks like. A nice poop brown.

And then you mix some other stuff with it so it doesn't turn orange or fire engine red, and here's what that looked like.

Green. Very, very green. And I put it on my hair anyway!
And then it didn't help that when you mixed it with water, per the instructions, it smelled like...I dunno. Like a landfill of rotten, cooked spinach. I seriously started heaving and gagging, with tears pouring out of my eyes. It was THAT bad.
So naturally I stuck a cotton ball up each nostril.
I almost took a picture of that, but I do have some dignity.

Anyway I had to sit there with cotton products up my schnoz for over an hour. It was disgusting. But I'm happy to report it actually worked. And I didn't even suck the cotton balls up my nasal passages. All in all, a successful evening. Because if I'd had to go to the ER for something stuck up my nose, I'm not sure how I would've explained that. And by the way, I appreciate all the new people who have stopped by the blog. Please do not let this little gross interlude dissuade you from returning.

So now you know what's I'm putting on my hair.
Here's what I just finished reading:

It's so good. I highly recommend it. It takes a lot for a book to make me LOL, but this book totally made me LOL, and I guarantee it will have you LOLing all over the place as well. It's chock-full of LOLs.

And here's what I'm now reading:

Here's what I'm listening to in the car:

This helps me take my attention off of the mind-numbing traffic in my area. It stops me from rolling down my window and screaming bad things to people who don't drive correctly and like to use their brakes too much.

Here's what I'm looking forward to listening to:

People tell me we look like twins. So alike. Of course these are people who also stick cotton balls up their nose. And not because they're coloring their hair.

Here's what I'm listening to when I run:

Well, that's enough about me. I'm boring myself.
Back to writing and my rainy Monday.

  posted at 2:39 PM  

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Ninth Graders Say the Darndest Things
So I ask my students a "question of the day." On Monday they might have to tell me their favorite TV show, Tuesday their least favorite band, etc. When you ask teenagers for their opinion, you better be ready for...well, their opinion.

Here are some recent quotes.

Me: "What animal would you want to be?"
Ninth Grader: "A dolphin."
Me: "Why?"
Ninth Grader: "Because they’ve got good mating calls."

Me: "What animal would you want to be?"
Ninth Grader: "Ninja Butterfly."

Me: "What did you do this weekend?"
Ninth Grader Number One (said in his best Napoleon Dynamite voice): "I pretty much just beat up the neighborhood gangsters."
Ninth Grader Number Two: "I killed some zombies."

And I don't remember what the question was, but I did write down the student's answer. "It’s crap. I mean it is cow patty poop." Somehow it doesn't really matter what the question was. Your challenge is to somehow work that phrase into a conversation within the next 24 hours. And if you put extra emphasis on "patty poop" and spit ensues--extra points.

Also a bit of news that I've been sitting on for a while. I recently got the opportunity to sign with Thomas Nelson publishing. I'll write a three book YA series (which I should be working on right now), then tackle some chick-lit. Should be interesting. Nelson is jumping into the YA waters with everything they've got, so I'm really excited to be a part of that and see what happens. I will miss Katie Parker and Maxine though. I don't hardly know how to write a book without them (as evident by my sad lack of pages...). But I've already got a new character in book one that is a Maxine reincarnate. Why he's as feisty as a...Ninja Butterfly.

Finally, thanks to my good buddy Kelsey for reminding me of a favorite Will Ferrell clip. It's already brightening my weekend.

  posted at 10:05 PM  

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Q and A
I’ve received a few common questions lately, so I thought I would address some of those.

1. How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Well, the bad characters get the names of students and possibly distant family members who gave me grief or bad Christmas presents. Characters I like are sometimes named after friends, family I like, and names I get from peeking into Cabbage Patch boxes at Wal-Mart.

2. Do you listen to music when you write, and if so what kind?
Sure I do. It’s so inspirational for putting you right into the heart of a scene. And since I have some romantic elements in most of my books, that of course means I listen to a lot of…polka. For special moments I even break out the kazoo. (side note: I once worked in a school where the faculty were given NOSE kazoos. No kidding. I still have that thing, but have yet to perfect it.) There is nothing like a good chicken dance to get the creative juices flowing. I also listen to Phantom of the Opera a lot and imagine my characters in half-masks and capes. Just really elevates the plot of any story. My editors always edit those parts out.

3. Where do you find the time to teach full time AND write?
In a word: elves.

And along those lines, I’d like to offer a few time-saving tips for the rest of you. These have sure helped me.
a. Wear the same outfit every day. People will stare, but they will not comment for fear of rudeness. Or fear of getting too close.
b. Become friends with your messy house. A dusty coffee table isn’t a problem. It’s a great place for tic-tac-toe at dinner parties.
c. Send pets out to find their own food. Remember, mine’s into snakes. And he finds them. Often.
d. Forget setting aside time for running or lifting weights. Your exercise? Emailing. It’s got to burn at least some calories. Like three.
e. Press your nose to your neighbor’s dining room window and look pitiful. Instant invitation to dinner. It makes them feel included in your career. (And Mrs. Rumpskie, I like a little more ketchup on my meatloaf, by the way. See you Thursday.)

4. Do you participate in Halloween?
Um, does a dog have whiskers? Let me preface this by saying as a short girl, I took full advantage and went trick-or-treating until my senior year of high school. You could argue that the holiday is about evil and darkness. And if that’s what you want to call bags of chocolate and Smarties, then go ahead. Come on, Halloween is a chance to dress up. Without people thinking you’re weird. That opportunity only comes along once a year, so I’m personally not going to let it go.

  posted at 7:00 PM  

Thursday, October 11, 2007
A Few YouTube Clips For the Weekend
This chipmunk should enroll in Julliard.

You only need about the first 50 seconds or so of this one. Watch the dude on the left. Clearly he trained with the chipmunk.

I don't know about you, but this answered a lot of questions for me.

You know underneath it all, Weird Al really is a good musician. I love the "Drop It Like It's Hot" segment.

  posted at 8:37 PM  

Tuesday, October 09, 2007
In A Creative Slump
Here’s a little poem I made up.

Stuff To Do Blues (A poem that does not rhyme, but is no less artistic)

Supposed to be writing a book
But I’m not
Cause I’m lazy
I’m lazy, lazy, lazy.
Oprah should do a show on lazy.
Instead of how to puree butternut squash.
Facebook is evil.
Got me tangled in its snare.
“Check me out every two seconds,” it says.

I try to ignore its siren’s song.
But can’t.
Oprah should do a show on Facebook addicts.
Instead of Dr. Oz and his squishy visual aids.
Pamela Anderson got married again.
Brit passed a drug test.
Linds is out of rehab.
And I’m still lazy.
I need a Twinkie.

So as mentioned I’m (you can stop applauding now. Thank you. Yes, I know, it was profound)…so as I mentioned I’m having my website totally revamped. I’m really excited about it. To quote Disney’s Hercules, “It’s gonna be big!” We’re tossing around the idea of using some photos. I had my mom dig up some old pics. Thought I’d share.

First of all, when we went to take new photos for the webpage, Mr. Armas, Photographer-Web Designer-Extraordinaire, quickly learned I was mentally retarded when it came to posing commands. “Okay, look happy!” “Look excited!” “Now put your hand on the fence and turn your head…” It’s all Greek to me. Here’s what I actually hear, “Put your entire hand in your ear. Now pull your leg over your head with the other hand. And hop on the remaining leg. Now smile. And tilt your chin 147 degrees. And then look out into the horizon exactly six kilometers.” It’s all IMPOSSIBLE!!! I just don’t get it. Anyway, my lack of creativity or knack for posing was obviously fostered at an early age. I offer exhibit A:

Mom, “Okay, kids, do something spectacular. Pose for the camera—something fun and really inventive.”
Me. “I know! I know! Here are two flower containers. Why don’t we hold them!”

And then here’s an old picture of my brother and me again. I think I was a little genius, if you want to know the truth.

At age one I could do a dead-on impression of someone with brain worms. Somebody should’ve called Harvard and had me pre-registered. You don’t see that kind of talent every day. Some kids could talk at this age. Me? I could make faces that would scare the neighbors. I still use these tactics on my students...

  posted at 8:58 PM  

Sunday, October 07, 2007
Happy Columbus Day!
Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. Also hope it was restful because we have a big day of celebrating to do. It is Columbus Day. Here are the reasons I am grateful for Christopher Columbus:

A. The date of your voyage is the only historical date I’ve ever been able to remember. Whenever I’m feeling blue about the fact that I can’t recall the end of the Civil War or when the Magna Carta was signed, I just recite, “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”

B. You were into trading. I believe this might have led to what we Americans now call eBay. And for that, I thank you kind sir.

C. You, like most men, do not understand the finer points of gifting. Did you know when Columbus returned from discovering San Salvador he gave the Queen gold and masks and pearls and parrots? Pearls and parrots? I can hear the queen: “I only want the gifts that won’t poop on my shoulder.”

Yes, so find your own little way to celebrate the man, the myth, the parrot giver, Christopher Columbus.

Speaking of boys of discovery, here’s what Mr. Kitty (the one previously on anti-depressants) found in my house throughout the summer. A tiny snake.

Look how proud he is. He's like, "You want somma this?"

This particular snake was found in my bedroom a few weeks ago. Kinda creeped me out. Rock snakes they are apparently called. I’ve gotten used to them (until this one slithered into my boudoir). They are about the size of a skinny worm and are supposed to be harmless (and if you know differently, just keep it to yourself). I have had about 20+ of them in my house over the last three years. Not sure how they get in, but they never make it back out. And it’s reasons like this that Psycho Kitty gets to stay around a little longer.

This was posted on a writer’s loop with the note, “Isn’t this cool?”
No. It’s not. It scares the crap out of me. Do you see how often people are getting cancer? Do you see how often people are dying? Do you see how the seconds are just flying by? How could you think this was cool? SOMEBODY STOP IT!!!!! I don’t want to see the numbers for Tropical Cluster Diseases. I could be one of them! What if these snakes are carriers? And the Earth’s temperature? What if it’s too high? Is there an alarm somewhere that will alert us to this? And I don’t know what Dengue is, but I don’t want to get it! And look at the bottom—“Created by Poodwaddle.” You put up scary, terrifying, factual statistics and expect us to take you seriously with a company name like Poodwaddle? It sounds like a disease affecting small terriers.

I wonder if they included Psycho Kitty when counting Psychiatric Diseases.
Have a great week. I hope it’s leprosy-free. May none of us make the World Clock boards.

  posted at 6:36 PM  

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I Think, Therefore, I Am.

Congrats to "Deborah," who won a copy of On the Loose just by leaving a comment on my blog last week. When Oprah and Steven Spielberg come calling, Deborah, that thing will be your meal ticket when you sell it on eBay.

Just kidding.

Anyway, so as I mentioned days and days ago, I went to Dallas for a conference. I was so good and kept my snarkiness to myself (not that there was anything about the actual conference worth snarkiness), but I made a list to share. Here are some random thoughts (imagine that).

1. What's up with feather pillows? Who decided this was an item of luxury? I don't want old wads of feathers under my head. I don't want to look at my pillow and think, "A bird had to be violated for this?"

2. When I said I masterfully packed my suitcase to the weight of 49.5 pounds, I didn't mention I had to stuff my bra with a notebook, a pair of flip flops, and a blow dryer. The important thing is my Samsonite came in under the limit!

3. What day is it?

4. Meetings would be better if we all had bean bags.

5. Would the speaker be offended if I lay down?

6. Why isn't schlumping socially acceptable posture?

7. (In the airport) I wonder if that man has noticed he has the same headband on as that eight year old girl over there. How precious.

8. They could hang meat in these meetings rooms. What are they trying to do, torture the Floridians? They'd make a killing selling Columbia jackets.

9. Kinda sleepy. Wonder if the woman next to me would mind if I lounged on her shoulder.

10. Sometimes some of the people who board first class surprise me. You're first class? How did you get to be first class? I at least bathed today, and I'm stuck in the back next to the mid-air porta-potty. .

11. What day is it?

Now that I've shared everything that was bottled up in my head during conference week, I must go back to work. I'm starting a new book for a new series. Here's a sneak peek: a glamorous NY teen, Oklahoma, professional wrestling, spandex, dumpster diving. What? It sounds like your life, too?

Have a good week.

  posted at 6:23 PM  

Monday, October 01, 2007
And Stuff
Okay, I need a few days to process my feelings on Brit losing custody. I probably need to go to a quiet place, drink chamomile, and write some poetry. I will turn my feelings into art. Brit and I will get through this.

Congrats to EDGE, who won a free copy of Camy Tang's book Sushi for One? (And Edge, email me: jen at for details.)

Thanks to my good friend Heather for referring me to this YouTube jewel. And before I get comments from friends, NO, this is NOT how I talk with my retainer, I don't care what you say. A retainer got this kid nearly 360,000 hits, so obviously they are cool. Your SNL parodies of me and my beloved retainer...well, now I know it was just the jealousy talking. You were jealous of my orthodontia coolness, and that was the only way you could express it. I forgive you.

Hey, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You know what I'm going to remind you to do, right? It should be on every woman's to-do list.
That's right, go buy On the Loose. It also deals with breast cancer, from a teen's perspective. And check out this fun review of the book (Beware: spoiler within though) at

Must go watch some Entertainment Tonight.
I'll keep you posted.

  posted at 8:38 PM  

About Me

Jenny B. Jones

Arkansas, US

I am a teacher in one of the largest high schools in the state. I'm also a writer of Young Adult novels and am currently working on a brand new series. Book three in the Katie Parker Production series, The Big Picture, will hit shelves in April 2008. Stay tuned!

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