Help a Good Cause & Get Cool Stuff

May 9, 2011

Announcing Brenda Novak’s Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes 2011!

Each year, author Brenda Novak hosts a massive online fundraiser for diabetes research in honor of her young son Thad and everyone who suffers from this fifth deadliest killer. This year’s money will be donated to The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami.

Brenda’s goal is to raise a cool $500,000, topping last year’s record of $303,000. Those are some serious stakes, and serious stakes require serious goodies. Goodies like signed books, concert tickets, jewelry, sports memorabilia, lessons, trips, gift baskets, VIP packages to VIP events, services, dinner with famous people… all of that and more, Brenda’s auction delivers!

This is my first year participating, and I’m excited to offer two items for writers and readers (and people who like to give gifts to writers and readers, which should be everyone, because who doesn’t have a writer or reader on her list?):

1. An in-depth critique by yours truly of the first 50 pages of a YA or MG novel in progress. I might make you laugh, I might make you cry, but I promise I’ll help you make that story shine.

2. An autographed set of Fixing Delilah and Twenty Boy Summer. A great gift for you or your favorite YA readers, libraries, or schools.

You can check out these and other auction items — and learn more about Brenda, Thad, and The Diabetes Research Institute — at Even if you’re not able to bid, you can help spread the word about the auction and this important fundraiser by posting about it on your blog, Facebook, Twitter. You can even go super old school and tell people about it on the phone! ;-)

See you at the auction, now through May 31!

Josh Berk Contracts H1N1; Wife & Jewish Community Concerned, Baffled

November 13, 2009

With paranoia-over-swine-flu-related deaths at an all-time high, the question on everyone’s lips this evening is this:

Is it kosher to make out with pigs?

Josh Berk, author of THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN (Feb 2010) and honorary Pig Frencher in Residence, investigates.

20 Things Bonus Clue: A Lifesaving Discussion

June 26, 2009

I’m blogging today’s 20 Things in 20 Days bonus clue because there’s something important I’d like to discuss with you.

Clue #16 today mentioned Helicopter Pilot — the girls’ favorite band in Twenty Boy Summer — and the band’s drummer, Scotty O. Scotty is my “baby” brother in real life. I say “baby” because although he’s 25 now, I remember when my parents first told us Mom was pregnant (my other brother and I thought all the secrets and funny looks meant that we were getting a swimming pool).

Sarah & ScottyAfter a long wait of 6 months, which is like 20 years in kid-time, the big day arrived, and Mom and Dad brought Scotty home and put him in my arms. I remember that day, too. I held him and decided in an instant that despite earlier predictions, getting a baby brother was way better than getting a swimming pool.

Just like his Twenty Boy Summer cameo implies, Scotty later became a beat-droppin’, foot-stompin’, funk-tastic drummer. But that’s not the only true trait represented in the book — Scott is also a liver transplant recipient. He’s alive today because of one family’s generous decision to donate organs and tissues more than 20 years ago.

Without his liver transplant, Scott would never have drummed for HP. He wouldn’t have a cameo appearance in his sister’s debut novel. He wouldn’t do any of the things he’s done in his teens and twenties because he wouldn’t have seen those years. Without the transplant, Scott would have died before his 5th birthday.

Scott & Sarah in Iowa, 2008

Sarah & Scott, Twenty Boy Summer signing, 2009

My family was fortunate that Scott got a second chance through the gift of life, but not everyone gets a second chance. Today, more than 100,000 people in the United States alone are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, and many of them will die on that waiting list. In fact, over the 20-day course of our 20 Things Scavenger Hunt, 380 people will have died waiting for an organ transplant. I don’t know how big your school or office is, but 380 people was the size of my entire high school graduating class.

So for today’s bonus scavenger hunt activity, I’m asking everyone to learn a little something about donation and discuss it with your family. Whether or not you decide to become a donor when it’s your time to leave this world, it’s important to make an informed choice, and to share your wishes — whatever those wishes are — with your family. For Scotty, for me, and most importantly, for all of those people still waiting for a transplant, please check out some of the resources below and leave a comment here letting us know that you had the donation discussion with your loved ones. 7 points.

Organ & Tissue Donation Resources

P.S. It’s been 25 years. I still think Scotty is better than a swimming pool. :-)

Red Bull Controversy

March 10, 2008

Apparently I fell victim to some PETA propaganda or something back in the day in my eagerness to be a good vegetarian. All this time, I truly believed that the taurine in Red Bull was derived from an animal source (specifically, from some kind of enzyme or hormone found in bull parts). My cousin Tim, who works for Red Bull, corrected me in my last post. I confirmed his assertions by visiting the official Red Bull Web site and, sure enough, Tim’s right! Here’s what Red Bull has to say on the matter:


The taurine in Red Bull® Energy Drink is a purely synthetic substance produced by pharmaceutical companies and is not derived from animals or animal materials. All ingredients for Red Bull® Energy Drink are synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies. This guarantees the highest quality.

“All ingredients for Red Bull® Energy Drink are synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies.” Well, I’m sure we can all rest a little easier now!

*Secretly thinks she’d rather take her chances with the bull stuff*


Doctor’s Orders

March 7, 2008

You long-time readers know how I feel about doctors and hospitals and nee – *agh! squirm squirm squirm I can’t even say it* – dles, but I just had my check-up and you’ll be pleased to know that this time, unlike last year’s visit, no one tried to impale me. Everything was fairly routine, though I did have a rather “Who’s On First” conversation with my doctor…

  • Me: So I’m having trouble sleeping.
  • Doc: What time to you normally go to bed?
  • Me: Um, around five. In the morning.
  • Doc: *clears throat judgmentally; jots note in file*
  • Me: And then I’ve been getting these weird anxiety attacks at night. Heart racing, panic, can’t breath, stuff like that.
  • Doc: Hmmm… how much coffee do you drink?
  • Me: About 6 cups per day.
  • Doc: Okay, well, how late do you have your last cup?
  • Me: *looks for escape hatch* Um, 2. Ish.
  • Doc: Two in the morning?!
  • Me: *looks at toes; shrugs*
  • Doc: *Removes glasses; stares* Okay Sarah, I think you have a pretty good idea about what you need to do here.
  • Me: Cut down on coffee?
  • Doc: Yes. And that last cup needs to happen much earlier.
  • Me: So, midnight, then?
  • Doc: *sighs; annotates ever-increasing file* Okay, let’s get your blood work done. You’re not fasting now, are you?
  • Me: I had a banana for breakfast.
  • Doc: It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, and all you ate today was a banana?
  • Me: *feels all exposed and defenseless in crinkly paper gown* Yeah. But I just woke up, like, an hour ago.
  • Doc: What? What time did you go to bed?
  • Me: Six. Ish.
  • Doc: In the morning?
  • Me: Yeah. I’m having trouble sleeping…
  • Doc: * !!! *

And now we’ve come full circle!

Good news is, doc is excited for my book to come out so she can pick up a copy. Bad news is… yes, yes, I know what I need to do. But loyal readers, I need your expertise! Your mission? Help me create a healthy lifestyle program that will allow me to sleep better, lose weight, lower my cholesterol, and generally feel great. I’m confident you can rise to the challenge, though I do have a few very minor restrictions…

Said program must incorporate and rely heavily upon the following items:

  • Vegetarian bean burritos with extra hot sauce
  • Nachos, ibid.
  • Coffee
  • Djarum Blacks
  • Teddy Grahams

Said program must avoid incorporation of or reference to the following items, phrases, or concepts:

  • Meat (including but not limited to fish oil capsules, Red Bull, and Jell-O)
  • Decaffeinated
  • Exercise (aka working out, including but not limited to Jazzercise and Sweatin’ to the Oldies)
  • Mornings
  • The power of positive thinking
  • Olives (I’m trying, but I’m just not there yet.)

Oh, and this has to happen by August. Otherwise you’ll have this on your conscience: I’ll be the only one on Martha’s Vineyard wearing a big fat beach mumu and bunny slippers.

“No, that’s okay, I don’t want to go in the water. I’m… um… cold? Yeah, that’s it. Cold. Hence the flannel and hot coffee. And also, I’m having trouble sleeping…”

Research Assistants Unite

January 3, 2008
This morning, for the first time in a week, like the sun rising after a long winter storm, the shape of my kneecap began to rise from the formerly amorphous grapefruit that had become my knee (thank you all for your medical advice and health-wise haranguing). Since I could finally hobble down the stairs and into the car with only a minimum of scene-making, Alex enticed me into a public outing by dangling – no, not the Pancake House. Not the Irish pub. Not the smell of fresh air and the warm sun on my face. But – a trip to the book store. With Libba Bray’s recent release of the third and final installment in her Gemma Doyle trilogy and only two punches away from a free book on my Tattered Cover frequent children’s book-buying card, how could I resist?
Fed, read, and coffeed, I returned home to start on my own work in progress, and here’s where I need your help. Several of my minions have already donated graciously of their expertise in various yet seemingly unrelated subjects (thank you, thank you!), but the more I write, the less I know. I mean, yesterday’s Vietnam grandparent meltdown is a good example. So here are a few more questions I need help with. Jump in any time.
  1.  When American soldiers stationed in Vietnam sent letters home, was the postmark Vietnamese, like from Saigon, or was their some military postmark involved? How long did it take to arrive from Vietnam to its destination in the States?
  2. When someone donates bone marrow, where does the needle go? Is it in the hip? How long does it take? 
  3. How do they match you as a marrow donor? Do you have to donate the marrow first, or can they do a blood test ahead of time to determine the match?
  4. If a zombie and a vampire got into a fight, and an alien arrived on the scene, who would the alien side with, who would win, who would leave the most blood, and where would they bury the survivors? (Honey, I’m looking to you…)
Thanks, all. And hey – Happy New Year!

Day 9, Feelin’ Fine

December 31, 2007

Okay, that whole “feelin’ fine” part is kind of a lie. I hobble when I walk, my butt keeps falling asleep, my tailbone is really bored, and the knee in question is alternating between numb from all the ice and throbbing from all the mayhem going on in my bones.

Alas, the writing is still going strong!

 100 Hours, Day 9.png

I’ve got a few “research assistants” on the job, schooling me on the physics of kayaking and Tarot (thank you, Jensiah & OMLFG), I only burned my thigh once from falling asleep with the overheated laptop (kids, don’t try this at home), iTunes seems to be shuffling songs that go exactly with my story and frame of mind, my favorite husband brought home Indian food, and I’m enjoying an endless cup of coffee in one of Rachel’s ceramic creations.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t post the following notification:
Attention knee and surrounding area of general gimp-ness: Enough! Pull yourself together, man. If I have one more sleepless night on your account, I’ll have no choice but to break into that stash of Vicodin I wouldn’t let Alex get rid of and make myself a smoothie. And let me tell you something. If you think writing is fun now… oooooh kids.
Vicodin. Not just for eedybeedybloobleedeblahblahwahhabbahabba, anymore. 


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