Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

The best Christmas book ever, in my opinion, is "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

Just sayin'=)

We had a wonderful Christmas Day and are having a wonderful Christmas season!! I wish you and yours many blessings this season and throughout 2013!!!

My family went for a walk the day after Christmas through a local park-- thus, the pictures. It was very majestic walk and I always love spending time with my family=)

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Joy of Reading

Life can be hard. High school life can be really hard, I'm finding out. Some teachers are nicer than others; some make more sense than others. People float around in bubbles, you could say, not wanting to let anyone in or anyone out. Friendships change. They fade away or strengthen. Everything in this life changes. And that can be a good thing and a bad thing. Actually, I wouldn't keep everything the same even if I could.

But in this ever changing world, books are the only thing that remain the same. And I love that. They can be the most real part of this world. They can be the most sane part of this insane life. Their characters are just as real to me as the air I breathe. I can always visit them in my mind and feel them in my heart. They are the only people who can be guaranteed to never change, to always remain faithful. Some of the most real relationships I've had, I've had with characters. From Anne Shirley to Severus Snape, every single character of every single book I have read has a place in my heart. From Elizabeth Bennet to Minny Jackson, they are all part of me.

My ten-year-old sister is officially hooked on reading. She began reading Harry Potter a few days ago and is enthralled. She has been swept away in the fascinating world of Hogwarts. My mom told me that she's been smiling and crying and laughing. I'm so happy that she is finally enjoying reading! I guess the only that I am disappointed about, though, is that she "HATES" Severus Snape. Ugh, I'll have to work on that. . . .

I'm so happy, though, that she'll meet the characters that never cease to amaze me. And that she is discovering that not all things that take place in your head aren't real. . . .

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” -- J.K. Rowling, via Albus Dumbledore

Sunday, December 9, 2012

If I Stay and Where She Went

Books: If I Stay and Where She Went
Author: Gayle Foreman
Rating: PG14 for language, mature subject matter, and sexual content

These books have left my mind in a total state of awe. WOW. WOW. I have learned so much from the characters, the writing, the plot, and the author. Gayle Foreman is an amazing writer who can vividly portray her characters and their stories. Seriously, the story jumped off the page.

What I Liked
The first book (If I Stay) was incredibly touching. It is the story of Mia, a typical teenager with a love for music, who is in a horrific car accident with her family. While in the hospital, she reflects on her life; past, present, and future. The characters became so real to me. From the first sentence, I was placed under a spell and practically lived in Mia's world for a few hours.

I had high expectations for book 2, Where She Went, that were not completely met. The story is good, but it lacked a certain "real" factor that the first book had. Where She Went is about her life after the hospital, told from her boyfriend's point of view. This book was still a good read and I liked it for many of the reasons I liked the first (good plot, good dialogue, and I got to revisit all of the characters).

Both of these books portray the message that life is beautiful. Life is fleeting, life is short. We don't know when it will end. One of my favorite songs ("One Life to Love" by 33 Miles) has a line that says that you only have "one chance to find out the one thing that you don't want to miss." That was what this book practically screamed. Value your life and don't be anxious about the future. Just live in the present and value the people who are in your life now.

What I Didn't Like
I don't have a major problem with swearing in books. I don't do it, I don't condone doing it, but sometimes a swear word just fits in a book. Take The Help, for example. The language fit with The Help. It fit with the certain characters and that time era. And none of the words were extremely bad, crude, or offensive.

That was not the case with these books.

Swear words and crude language were practically dripping off of the pages. Swearing happens, I know that. But this book could have been so much better if some of the language had been left out, because it just didn't fit in most of it.

Though the swearing was disappointing, the thing that disheartened me the most was the sexual content. There was nothing explicitly pornagraphic about these books, but many relationships of a sexual nature are described. For example, in the second book, a male character remembers of the one night "flings" that he has previously been experienced. He talks about never wanting to see that person again after the night was over and just wanting to move on. This is not only wrong, but also degrading to women. Certain women are portrayed as no more than mere accessories to a partying lifestyle.

In an attempt to be real, these books were fake. I've heard the argument about how sex is a part of life and books are about life. I understand that there are going to be pregnant characters and total womanizers in some books. Another of my problems with that is that there are no consequences to these actions. In most YA books, pregnancy is usually not an outcome. There is rarely an emotional consequence either.

In Sum
As Young Adult writers, we have mostly teens reading our books. Being a teen, I speak from the perspective of both a writer and a reader. When teens read what we have written, we become responsible in some way for their thoughts and actions. By placing a lot of sexual content in our books, we are condoning sexual relationships before marriage. We need to tell teens (and adults) that there are so many reasons to wait for the man that God has planned for you! If a sexual relationship is absolutely necessary to the story, then my challenge to you is to show it in a real light. Show the consequences.

And remember, as authors in general, we are responsible for people who have read our books. We also need to remember because of that, we will be tempted to put less-than-moral things in our books. We need to remain steadfast to our morals and our beliefs.

Thank you for reading=)

It. Is. Finished.

. . .no, not my book, unfortunately, but that mad 30 day adventure known to Wrimos as NaNoWriMo. Though I did not finish my novel, I got a lot done and was finally able to find time to write again.

I know it may not seem like that to you, dear reader, but I'm really trying to blog more! I have just been so lost in the world of my novel lately. I'm finally emerging from my November adventure, though, and coming back to the real world.

Yesterday, my four-year-old cousin wished me a happy Thanksgiving. We all laughed and told him that he was a bit late. However, I never wished my readers a happy Thanksgiving nor told you all how extremely grateful I am for you! There have been many times that I have felt like giving up writing this year because of comments that have been made or trying to unsuccessfully balance school and writing. But when I see my wonderful ten followers, I am encouraged. I am inspired by all of you and the wonderful people you are.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beach Night

Sunday night, my dad took my siblings and I to the beach around sunset. It was so beautiful-- God truly gave us a beautiful earth. . . and me, a beautiful family.
AND. . . NaNoWriMo update! It is going really well, I think! I'm really liking my story (excerpts soon!). I am behind though, so please say a prayer for me!
Good luck and blessings to my wonderful fellow writers as we reach our mid-mark for the month!

Friday, November 2, 2012


November 1st, 2012. (As of yesterday, when this was written=))

Wow. It's seriously November. 366 days (leap year!) have passed since the last November. Where has the time gone?!

With November comes All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, End of 1st Quarter, Veterns' Day, Thanksgiving (along with my annual trip to Columbus, Ohio), as well as. . .*drum roll please*. . .NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH!!!!

Wow. WOW. It's already November. It's already time to write 50,000 words. It's already November 1st and I'm already freaking out . . . yay . . . it's going to be a looooong month. . .

But, honestly, I'm extremely excited=) I have ideas for my novel flooding my brain and I just can't write fast enough! I wasn't sure that I'd have time this year to do Nano, with school and all, but how could I not?! The opportunity to finish another draft of my novel isn't something I can easily pass up.

For those of you who are doing Nano, my young writers username is schluetera656 and my regular website username is sisofsix.

Good luck to my fellow writers during this crazy month! I'll try to post updates once a week, but we'll see how that goes=)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dementor Girls

Many of you may know that I am a freshman in high school at an all girl's Catholic school. It has been quite the leap-- going from being homeschooled for six years to a school with 300 girls. Not large, I know, but slightly overwhelming coming from a class of six kids.

A few weeks ago, we had an all school Mass. "All school" includes our brother school from down the street.

Yep. Today we got to see real live boys. Short ones, tall ones, fat ones, muscular ones, blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes. 350+ boys. SO exciting. Like, oh my goodness, this one guy like totally glanced at me, so he's definitely going to be like totally asking me to prom.


Ok, so of course everyone has on their mascara and liner and shadow. I was completely blinded by the pinks and purples and greens. Hair usually worn in a messy bun or pony tale was worn straight down the back or in ringlet curls. I sort of missed the memo, so that must have been why I didn't get a date.

The whole bus ride there, all I could hear was, "Oh, my gosh, I get to see Andy!" and "I wonder if I'll see that hot guy who rides my bus. . ." and "Ugh, I so don't want to see Jack again." I wanted to scream, "How about thinking about the most amazing guy ever who you are going to recieve into your heart and soul?!" Not that I have a problem with guys (that's not completely true. . .I have rather large problems with certain guys), but c'mon.

The first thing that came to my mind to describe these girls were dementors. If you've read Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, you know that dementors feed off of human emotions. You would have thought these girls were human dementors feeding off the presence of boys. The very presence of the opposite gender caused backs to straighten, eyes to widen, and smiles to be glued upon faces.

           Seriously, though. It's sad to me how teens can change personalities and appearence at the first whisper of "boy." If I ever get married, I want to marry a man who will love me for who I am. I know everybody says this, but how much do people truly believe it?

            It was all rather sickening to me, but then again, I have a whole new scene for my book. . .if only I ever have time to write it.

             Ah. Girl Dementors. What an interesting concept. . . but so true.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm really not dead!

       Ok, so, whenever I'd hear the phrase "surving high school," I'd always think people were joking.

       The last four weeks have taught me that that is so not a joke.

        I owe you, dear readers, an apology. It has been weeks since I last blogged and I assure you, I haven't forgotten. It has just been ever so crazy-- trying to finish homework, sort out drama with both girls and teachers, finding time to just be with my family, and then writing my novel, and reading, and add trying to blog and I'm dead tired. However, I feel like I'm settling into the rhythm of things a little more, and I'm really excited about some blog posts I've been working on.

        Within the next week or two:
  1. Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Where I Went, and how it inspired me.
  2. How dementors and high school girls are alike. . .and how chocolate can fix the way both make you feel.
  3. Pre-NaNoWriMo doubts.
  4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
  5. Music, and how it influnces my writing. . .plus, a new project I'm working on.

        . . .AND I have a three day weekend! Woohoo! Haha, I'm expirencing something I never got as a homeschoolee-- teacher inservices=)

        But, just so you all know, I am not dead, I'm very much alive and writing! High school hasn't killed me. . .yet. . .=)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tagged, I'm It!

Faith Hough tagged me for the Eleven Questions game! I am supposed to write eleven random things about myself, then answer eleven questions that  she posted on her blog. Finally, I'm going to post my tagee and my questions for him or her! 
On your mark. . .get set. . .go!

Eleven Extremely Random Things About Anne Marie Schlueter!

1.)  I was homeschooled for six years.

2.) I have a card making/scrapbooking obsession.

3.) My favorite Bath and Body Works scent is "Be Enchanted."

4.) When I was two or three, my cousin attempted to carry me down the stairs while wearing a long evening dress-up gown and high heels. . . I ended up in the emergency room that night with  concussion.

5.) My favorite Disney princess movie is Tangled. Flynn Rider!

6.) I work at a purple desk with a doll house shelf sitting on top of it, containing books and notebooks.

7.) I do not like Justin Bieber. At all
 . . . well, apparently, he's very pro-life, so I suppose I admire that about him.

8.) For those of you who have read The Help, my favorite chapter is "The Benefit."

9.) My favorite Harry Potter book is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

10.) I watch BBC's Pride and Prejudice every St. Valentine's Day.

11.) I really enjoy photography.

Faith's questions for me. . . 

1) What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Oh, so very tough. Probably my dad’s homemade vanilla. I also adore cookies n’ creme, being the Oreo fan that I am.

2) What book do you wish you were a character in?
Definitely Harry Potter.

3) White, dark, or milk chocolate?
Up until recently, it was a toss up between dark and milk, but now I will typically only eat
milk chocolate.

4) Would you rather be a coal miner or a skyscraper window washer?
I would probably be a window washer. I think I am kind of claustrophobic.

5) If you were an American in the late 1700’s, which side would you have taken in the Revolution?
I don’t always like change. I like to think I am ready for it, but I’m usually not. I bet I would I have started out a Loyalist, but then toward the beginning-middle became a Patriot.

6) What writing tool would it be hard for you to live without?
Hmmmm. . . .now, probably my music. And I hate that, because I used to be able to
write without music, but now I usually can’t write without it. I think it may be because it helps me concentrate when the noises of my family reach my ears.

7) What song best describes you or the way you see the world?
Probably “Keep Your Eyes Open” by Needtobreathe. Currently. It switches often.

8) What’s your favorite first sentence from a book?
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities)
It’s old, it’s overused, but I so wish I had come up with it.

9) If you could get on a plane for a month long vacation tomorrow, where would you go? London, England. Or pretty much anywhere in England. Ever since 7th grade when I did a research paper on Princess Diana, I have been fascinated by their culture and government.

10) Do you outline your stories?
Sometimes. Usually, I start my story, write a page or so, then outline.

11) Would you rather live in a palace by the sea or a cottage in the woods 
Definitely a palace by the sea. Even though I really do not like going to the beach, I would love to live by my own private water source. Oh, the inspirations for writing. . . 

And I tag Clare Marie! (Please don't feel like you have to play)
My questions for you. . . .

1.) Bach or Beethoven?
2.) What was the first thing you've ever written? Or something you wrote when you were young?
3.) Roses or Violets?
4.) Young Adult books or Adult?
5.) Who is your favorite bad guy?
6.) Where do you typically write?
7.) MP3 player, iPod, or just internet music?
8.) Black or blue pen?
9.) Google Docs or Microsoft Word?
10.) Which season do you find the most inspirtional for writing?
11.) What is the most common word in your vocabulary? 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ugh. Characters.

        My characters are hopelessly frustrating.

        I started my YA novel in November of 2011, which is probably the thousandth novel I’vestarted, but the only one I’ve finished a draft for. A pretty sweet victory in itself, but I didn’t havetime to celebrate. I was too busy trying to figure out my characters.

        If you think high school is dramatic, try writing a novel.

        My characters would simply not follow their outline. My main character, Kayleigh, wouldwander off and make new friends I had never even planned she meet. How dare she?! Andthen, she would just randomly go fall in love with some guy who definitely wasn’t anything likeher planned love interest.

         For example: In chapter three-ish, Kayleigh is supposed to have an uneventful flight toHawaii, where she will begin another spy mission. Supposed to. Yeah, that’s totally not whathappened. Kayleigh decided to switch seats right before the plane left and sat next to anincredibly good looking guy around her age. She found out his name was Ray, and he was alsotraveling to Honolulu. Oh, well, then guess what she did? She got his phone number.


         Kayleigh did come crying to me a few weeks ago, begging me to take Ray out of thenovel. It turns out he was a total jerk and she found her relationship with him as pointless. (Iwish I could do that. “Hey, God, my relationship with him was totally pointless, can you make itlike I never met him?” Of course, a relationship could never be totally pointless, but its a coolidea.) I contemplated letting her live with her decision, but then said, “Good, finally. Now youcan realize what an amazing guy your real love interest is.”

         And then I realized her “real love interest” was also “unplanned.” He’s a guy who ismisunderstood and misunderstands, working for “the enemy.” When I began writing the story,they weren’t even supposed to end up together. And I had absolutely no idea how I was goingto get them together. But, hey, love seems to flourish when it’s most unwanted (that’s the wholeplot theme in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium-- check it out!). I mean, really-- Romeo and Juliet, Katnissand Peeta, etc. True examples of unlikely happily-ever-afters that happened.

       But yet, when a new love interest pops up on my page that is totally unplanned, I freakout. Even though it is the theme of my novel-- falling for danger. Wanting something dangerous,adventurous, not normal. After almost a year of writing, you’d think I would get the theme.

       I can be really thick sometimes.

       But I think I finally get the picture. Once you start writing, your characters will take you tonew circumstances that you could have never imagined on your own. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Help Yourself to The Help!

Book: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Rating: PG14 for heavy content, brief violence, language, and some sexual content.

I read an “oh-so-true” blog post a few weeks ago by the brilliant Faith Hough ( about how there are three kinds of books: the bad ones, the good ones, and the great ones. She wrote that the good ones make up most of what we read, but when we read the great ones, they make us writers just want to move away from our computers and notebooks because we feel we will never write anything that good.

My thoughts exactly when I read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.

    If I was asked to describe my feelings for The Help in one word, it would be “Wow.” Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW. Yes, it’s that good. In fact, so good that Harry Potter has been officially bumped down to number two on my best books ever list. I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book.

    The thing about The Help is that it makes you want to get lost in its world-- even though it's world is a very dangerous place. The Help takes place in the early-mid 60’s in the anti-black town of Jackson, Mississippi. The story alternates between three narrators; the sweet Aibileen Clark, who’s raised sixteen white children; the sassy Minny Jackson, who’s known for her cooking and mouth, a dangerous combination for a black maid in Jackson, and ambitious writer Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of books where the narrator changes with each chapter; Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song or some of Rick Riordan’s books were impossible for me to get through. But I think the changing narrators is what made my experience with The Help so enjoyable.

           The story begins with Aibileen’s narration. Aibileen’s son was recently killed and she talks about not feeling so accepting of white people any more. Aibileen is such a real character with such real struggles and strengths. She is definitely a mother hen type of women, and I guess she’d have to be, after raising sixteen kids. She’s on her seventeenth; another white child of a racist mother.

            Actually, mostly everyone in Jackson is racist. Even, I noted, the black people are racist.

As I read through Minny’s chapters, I noticed how she so fiercely believed in small things, like not being anything but civil (and sometimes less than that) to white women, but believed in equal treatment. For me, this was kind of ironic, but in no means a negative point in the story. Minny, who is definitely one of my all-time favorite characters, is very ignorant at some points in the novel, but I saw how she was hurting, and that drew her to me. The same thing goes with Aibileen-- she had been hurt so deeply by the world. And I just wanted to get on my phone and call her and have a five hour conversation with her. Goodness, I love that woman.
Oh, and Skeeter. She’s trying so hard to make it in a male-dominated writing world, but her mother keeps getting in her way. Skeeter has graduated from college and moved back in with her parents, and the only thing her mom cares about is Skeeter getting married. My heart ached for Skeeter as she and her mother fought. As she struggled to write something meaningful, something she could publish. As she wished for love in the hateful town of Jackson.

These three completely different women. All from different backgrounds, shaped from different circumstances. All united with one goal. (Which I'm not going to tell you, because you NEED to read this book and see for yourself!)

Everything about this book was sheer wonderfulness. I have gone back to read it so many times with a notebook, pen, and highlighter in hand. Kathryn Stockett’s imagery is amazing, her dialogue, superb, and, of course, her characters-- well, I just want to take all my favorite people in that novel out to lunch, for goodness’ sakes!! Unfortunately, of course, The Help is purely fictional. Dang. But you know you’ve written a good book, I think, when your fans tell you that your characters are their best friends. I hope one day I shall be so blest to write a book like The Help.

Favorite Line: “Babies like fat. Like to bury they face up in you armpit and go to sleep. They like big fat legs too. This I know.” -- Aibileen, page 2

(Just one-- I wish I could post the whole book, but, alas, I have my own novel to work on.)

ALSO-- the movie! The Help movie is not nearly as good as the book-- what is?-- but definitely worth seeing once you finish the book!

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's ok to be Divergent

Book: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Rating: PG13 for heavy content, violence, brief mild language, and a mild romance.

The perfect person is either honest, selfless, brave, peaceful, or smart. Never more than one of the virtues, or you risk being different.
Or divergent. And you really can’t afford that to happen.
Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, takes place in dystopian Chicago, where the human race has divided itself into five factions-- Candor, the honest; Abnegation, the selfless; Dauntless, the brave; Amity, the peaceful, and Erudite, the intelligent. On a certain day of the year, all sixteen-year-olds must take the “aptitude test” to determine which faction they will spend the rest of their lives in. They decide which virtue they wish to strive for, for rest of their days.
Not a big decision or anything.
Only one outcome is possible from the aptitude test. Only one faction. Yet, people have been known to get two.
They are known as the Divergent.
They are extremely dangerous people. They are different from normal. They must all be killed; or used for scientific testing.
The novel begins with Beatrice Prior’s aptitude test day. Beatrice has lived a quiet life in Abnegation with her parents and brother, but yet, she feels like she doesn’t fit in. Not like Caleb, her brother, seems to. She wants to leave, but leaving her family would be the ultimate act of selfishness . . . but maybe she isn’t truly selfless.
First of all, I couldn’t even imagine having to choose one of these factions. Am I selfless? I’d like to think so, at times. But I don’t think I could spend my days wearing the gray pajamas that classify the Abnegation. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I seriously couldn’t. And they are also not allowed to have mirrors. It sounds vain, I know, but how would I do my hair?! Actually, it would probably be good for me. Am I brave? I’d like to think I am, in small circumstances, like in relationships. And food. I’m always brave when trying new foods. But if I see a spider, well, let’s just say there’s not a whole lot of bravery going on there; it’s more like “DAD!” Am I honest? It really depends. Am I peaceful? At times, I think. But of course, I also do love to pick fights with my brother. Am I smart? Well, if you look at my report card, I got all A’s. But is smartness really measured in the school room?
I think I would probably be Divergent, which is incredibly fortunate and unfortunate in itself. I would be labeled as part of a “species” that needs to wiped off the face of the earth. Harsh. The upside, then, of course, would be the fact that I possess more than one of the virtues. The theme of the novel seems to be “can you possess only one virtue?” One character (who happens to my favorite, but I can’t tell you who for risk of a spoiler) asks the question “Can a person be brave without being selfless?”
Veronica Roth is truly a brilliant writer. The themes she incorporates into her novel are so deep and profound. Her characters and their dialogue are amazing. I made so many friends and enemies while reading this book. Oh, and the emotions. Divergent has so many emotions wrapped up in its 487 pages. I found myself whispering words of encouragement to Beatrice, crying alongside her, laughing, and shivering. I felt every single emotion Beatrice was feeling.
Divergent is the first novel in the series-- the second novel being Insurgent. But that’s another review for another time. Divergent was such an amazing read-- it was literally haunting. I went back and read it three more times! Read it, especially if you are a writer. Divergent is a wonderful “role model novel” for dialogue, description, and character development. Enter the world of Veronica Roth’s Divergent . . . you’ll never look at honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, or intelligence the same way.
Hunger Games fans, this might be the next novel you're looking for!