"A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe." — Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top Ten List with C. Lee McKenzie + Giveaway

I would like to welcome C. Lee McKenzie, author of The Princess of Las Pulgas, who is here to tell us the top ten craziest things she's ever done!


  1. My absolutely craziest and dumbest thing I ever did was to take a kayak out on the Colorado when it was running low--lots of sleepers in that river.(A sleeper is a boulder just under the surface of the water and not easy to spot.) I wrapped that kayak around one of those lovely boulders and had to portage my kayak across a mosquito infested two miles. Learned a big lesson that day.
  2. I bought a mountain cabin and then rebuilt it--well, my husband and I did. It was crazy enough to make my grandmother cry when she saw where I planned to live.
  3. I wrote a book. That was kind of crazy because I had no idea what I was doing. I only knew I wanted to tell a story, so I did.
  4. I took a walk alone in Beijing and got lost. I thought I’d covered myself by remembering the name of the hotel. Very big mistake. It turned out there were several hotels in the city by the same name. I think being lost among 15, 000,000 people, none of whom I could find who spoke English, was kind of wacko.
  5. I went up in a WWI bi-plane with a pilot who thought doing lazy-eights and barrel rolls wouldn’t upset my stomach. Wrong!
  6. I rode a Scottish Highland cow. Euuu! Talk about crazy. It took several baths to undo that.
  7. I dyed my hair red. Big crazy mistake.
  8. I entered a marathon without training. Doctor bills for hamstring repair!
  9. I ran away from home when I was ten.
  10. I ordered Goat Tripe for dinner in Istanbul's Bazar. It was a dare. I took it. I still can’t look a goat in the eye.
I never ran away from home at ten and I'm not sure if I would do it even now, though I do kind of want to go to Beijing, minus the getting lost part!

-Visit C. Lee McKenzie's website to know more about her!


After her father's slow death from cancer, Carlie thought things couldn't get worse. But now, she is forced to confront the fact that her family in dire financial straits. To stay afloat, her mom has had to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move Carlie and her younger brother Keith to the other side of the tracks to dreaded Las Pulgas, or "the fleas" in Spanish. They must now attend a tough urban high school instead of their former elite school, and on Carlie's first day of school, she runs afoul of edgy K.T., the Latina tattoo girl who's always ready for a fight, even on crutches. Carlie fends off the attention of Latino and African American teen boys, and one, a handsome seventeen-year-old named Juan, nicknames her Princess when he detects her aloof attitude towards her new classmates. What they don't know is that Carlie isn't really aloof; she's just in mourning for her father and almost everything else that mattered to her. Mr. Smith, the revered English teacher who engages all his students, suggests she'll like her new classmates if she just gives them a chance; he cajoles her into taking over the role of Desdemona in the junior class production of Othello, opposite Juan, after K.T. gets sidelined. Keith, who becomes angrier and more sullen by the day, spray paints insults all over the gym as he acts out his anger over the family's situation and reduced circumstances. Even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith on a search into the orchard next to their seedy garden apartment complex. They're met by a cowboy toting a rifle who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day -- when he's returned her cat -- she begins to realize that nothing is what it seems in Las Pulgas.

The Details

-There will be 1 lucky winner.
-US only. Sorry to all my international followers!
-You don't have to be a follower though it is always appreciated!
-Deadline is midnight January 20th Pacific time. There's a clock on the left side.
-Winner will be announced on the 21st and will have 48 hours to respond to my email.

All you have to do is fill out the form by clicking on the link or the one below!!

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