Janet Sumner Johnson
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personalized license plates

Villainous License Plates

Nov

18, 2019 |

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License Plates! I can’t get enough of them. And I know I just yammered on about them a few weeks ago, but I’ve stumbled across two more personalized plates that are just BEGGING to be discussed. Villainous License Plates. (Dun, dun, DUNNN!)

I need to hear your thoughts, because stories are filling my head. What kind of people come up with these??! What kind of people want these to be their introduction to all the strangers they meet on the road? It’s a fascinating thought!

First up we have VILNMKR

In case you aren’t sure what that says, I read that as VILLAIN MAKER. Now, of course, I could be totally wrong. Maybe someone’s last name is Viln. BUT, I’m sticking to my story that it is VILLAIN MAKER.

So what do you think? Parents who worry they’ll mess their kids up? A writer who just loves writing villains? An illustrator who loves drawing villians? Or is it more diabolical than that? Maybe it’s an evil scientist with a plot to take over the world. Maybe this is really the Joker’s car!!! So many fun possibilities!

Next up goes perfectly with that first one: MMWHAHA

So awesome!! Maybe this is the second car of the person up above. Or maybe it belongs to someone who just likes to laugh evilly in the face of other’s struggles. In fact, they like it so much, they paid extra to be able to laugh at all the strangers they pass on the road.

Come to think of it, I found this car parked at my son’s school. Should I be worried? Maybe we have a stereotypical principal at his school living out the evil school principal trope. Or maybe he’s just living it vicariously through his car since he’s a very nice man. (So you have no need to worry, Mr. Principal! I do not suspect your secret identity as a villain AT ALL. Not even a little bit.)

Now I didn’t get to see either of these cars actually driving. They were both parked. So I don’t know if they drive appropriately for such license plates, but I sure hope I run into these cars again!

Now you tell me! What are the stories behind these license plates?

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License Plate Love

Oct

21, 2019 |

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Personalized License Plates

I LOVE talking about personalized license plates. And I haven’t done it for a LONG TIME!! Turns out I’ve been saving some license plate pictures for the moment I finally realized this.

For anyone new to my blog, I love personalized license plates because I’m a people watcher, and personalized plates let you peek into the life of the car owner. It gives us a glimpse of who they are, and tells about a part of their life that is important to them. Half the fun is figuring out what it’s supposed to say. The rest of the fun is in the stories you make up to explain why that’s important to them.

And as a writer, I think it’s a fun way to build characterization. Do you know what your character would choose for personalized plates? If not, play the game!! You might learn something about them!

Without further ado, on to the pictures!

Up first: MONAMIE

 

Perhaps this license plate would confuse some people, but I happen to speak French, so I happen to know that this awesome license plate says Mon Amie! or My friend!

My guess would be that this is a very friendly French speaker, or more likely a French expatriate now living in Utah. But funny thing, I actually got caught taking this picture by the owner of the car! She WAS very friendly, and she was, indeed from France. I did have to explain myself, but she didn’t mind my interest, and was happy to meet a French speaker. 🙂

Up next:  YRUHERE

This license plate cracked me up. I caught this picture while stopped at a light. Why ARE you here??! I was there on my way to a school visit, so a question I would soon be answering for hundreds of kids. As for this car owner, I would guess they have a wry sense of humor and mean to tell people to back off a little, OR (and more likely given the part of the country) they have strong religious beliefs and are asking the GREAT EXISTENTIAL question. Or perhaps it’s both!!

Next on the list: HRLYQUN

We have a Batman fan on our hands here, who apparently has a thing for Harley Quinn. Maybe they have a thing for the Joker. Maybe they identify with her hopeless love and tragic treatment by the man. But I like to think this is meant to be more light-hearted, and they just love the character and comic.

Next: LVTOFLY

This one is a little less clear. LOVE to fly??? or LIVE to fly??? Or perhaps they liked that ambiguity because it’s both. The two do go together pretty well. I am guessing this is a pilot. ✈ It could be a professional career pilot, but I’m going on a limb and saying that they fly more for fun than for a job. Small planes. Maybe owns their own? Or perhaps I’m completely wrong, and they just love to drive fast. 🚥😊

Finally! My own: PBNJ

Yes, yes I did. My husband loved the idea, and encouraged this. Of course, symbols are not allowed, so no ampersand (&), but I think this worked out pretty well. People who know me have no doubt why I did this, and people who don’t know chuckle and comment: “You must really like PB&Js!”
Yes. Yes I do. In fact, I wrote  a whole book about it! 😂

But I must confess, PB&Js really are a huge part of my life, and they have shaped a lot of who I’ve become. Especially as an adult. And though it may be cliché, and though I will have more books published in the future, THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY will always be my first. The one that sent me down the wonderful path of author-dom.

I want to know! What would be your personalized license plate? (7 letters max!)

 

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Fun With License Plates

May

05, 2014 |

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I don’t know what it is, but April is akin to December at our house. Busy with all kinds of fun and crazy activities. I fully plan to tell you about my travels and the awesome writing conference I went to, but not today.

Today I wanted to share a little license plate fun.

First there was the one on the gray infiniti:

See it? In front of that white car? . . .

Okay, I was driving, and just couldn’t get the picture, but this was the license plate:

NB3YOND
 
Awesome, no?
 
And then I saw this other gray car:
 

I don’t know why it struck me as so funny, that the car wasn’t pink. But now I need to know the story!
 
I ask this all the time, but I think the answer can change, so I ask it again: What would your personalized plate say today?


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An Interview with Girlie: Angela Cervantes (+Giveaway!)

Mar

17, 2014 |

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Back in August, one of my super sweet CP’s (Critique Partner’s), Angela Cervantes, published her debut middle-grade novel, Gaby, Lost and Found with Scholastic Press. If you haven’t read it yet, you should! It is a touching story about a girl trying to find her place when her life is flipped up-side down. Here’s the blurb:

Gaby Howard Ramirez loves volunteering at the local animal shelter. She’s in charge of writing adoption advertisements so that the strays who live there can find their forever homes: places where they’ll be cared for and loved, no matter what.

Gaby has been feeling like a bit of a stray herself lately. Her mother has recently been deported to Honduras, and Gaby is stuck living with her inattentive dad. She’s confident that her mom will come home soon so they can adopt Gaby’s favorite shelter cat together. But when the cat’s owners turn up at the shelter, Gaby worries that her plans for the perfect family are about to fall apart.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a crier, but this one had me all choked up. I’m not an animal person, but she had me falling in love with each stray as I read the adoption advertisements. Gaby is a spunky character full of heart, and I’m certain you’ll fall in love with her like I did.
 
I begged asked Angela if she’d be willing to do an interview with Girlie (my 4-year-old daughter), and she obligingly agreed.
 
So this is Girlie, and I’m going to let her take it from here:
 
Girlie: I don’t know who you are. Who are you?

Angela: I’m Angela Cervantes and I’m author of Gaby, Lost and Found, which was published by Scholastic Press. 🙂

Girlie: I like to play Diego Wii with my friends. What do you like to do with your friends?

Angela: I enjoy going for coffee with my friends and playing tennis or baseball with them.

Girlie: I’m trying to make people happy by playing with them and sharing my stuff. How do you make people happy?

Angela: I think sharing things is a great way to make people happy. I’m going to have to do more of that. I also think people really like it when you’re a good, honest friend to them and you remember their birthdays.

Girlie: People can be nice to each other and don’t throw a fit. Is the girl with the cat in the backpack nice and doesn’t throw fits?
 
Angela: The girl on the cover is Gaby and she is super nice. She’s also brave, smart and a serious animal lover. She’d do anything to help a cat or dog if it were in trouble.  I think the only time she throws a fit is when she feels an innocent animal has been poorly treated. I don’t blame her really.

Girlie: I like the kitty on the cover. I don’t have a kitty. Do you?

Angela: I don’t have a kitty either, but I’m glad you like the cat on the cover. That cat is named Feather. In this book, we find out that Feather was named Feather by the folks at the animal shelter because when she was brought into the shelter she was as light as a Feather. She and Gaby become good friends.

Girlie: You look cute in that picture and I like your skirt. Do you choose your own clothes? I do!

Angela: Thank you! I do choose my own clothes. I love picking out cute stuff to wear. I love bright colors like red, purple, pinks and yellows.

Girlie: Did you sign the book? Do we get to keep it?
 
Me: Sorry Girlie, I know you love this book, but we have our own copy. We’re going to give these ones to some people who haven’t read it yet.
 
Angela: I am always happy to sign a book for anyone who wants it. 🙂 It’s one of the nice perks of being an author.

Me: Angela, thanks so much for answering all of Girlie’s questions. She loves your book and keeps sneaking it from my room! But I have a couple of questions for you, too. As you know, I re-joined our critique group shortly after you got the offer from Scholastic, so I missed the whole writing process. How long did it take you to write Gaby, Lost and Found? And would you tell us about your revision process, too?
 
Angela: It took nine months to write Gaby, Lost and Found and another two years of revision. I believe the real magic happens during revision and I enjoy it. For me, it’s not as intense as the writing process. I go into revision knowing I have to chop away stuff. I go into writing never knowing what will happen so I definitely prefer revision. Although it can be painful– especially when you have to take out a character (I had to remove two characters from Gaby, Lost and Found) or remove a favorite scene–but it’s necessary if you’re committed to making the story stronger.
 
Me: Oooh! I love knowing secret stuff like about books, like characters that didn’t make the cut. I may have to hear about these characters at our next meeting. 🙂 Okay, so last question. I kind of have this thing about personalized license plates. So, if Gaby were old enough to drive, what would her personalized license plate be?
 
Angela: Gaby’s license plate would be GRLPWR.

Me: I love it! She definitely lives up to that. 🙂

Angela Cervantes is a poet, storyteller, and animal lover. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul. When Angela is not writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband in Kansas and eating fish tacos every chance she gets. Gaby, Lost and Found is her first middle-grade novel. She is currently at work on her second book.

You can keep up with Angela at her website:

http://angelacervantes.com/

Now for the Giveaway! I have two signed (paperback) copies of Gaby, Lost and Found to give away to two lucky visitors. Just enter in the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway is open through March 31st. Good luck!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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License Plate Interpretation PART 2

Sep

30, 2013 |

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My husband saw this at work and, thoughtful man, took a picture for me:

This one had me curious . . . did someone choose to put this on themselves because it is a nickname from someone they love? Or did a dad do this to his daughter? Or maybe a different option all together . . . like they are a fan of that children’s show . . . This is the song that never ends . . . Gah! What have I done?! Now I’ll be singing it all day. 🙁

What do you think? What is the story?

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License Plate Interpretation

Sep

23, 2013 |

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Last Saturday we were headed off to my son’s soccer game when we came across this license plate:

CANT-B

It was on a white SUV made by GMC. So my question to you is: What can’t be?

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Out of Context

Jun

03, 2013 |

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I was parking my car, when lo and behold, what should I find? You guessed it, a personalized license plate. And this one especially caught my attention because, well, just look:
 

I know, right? So of course, I immediately assumed that this is a kindred spirit, a fellow writer, because that’s MY context.

MG = Middle Grade.

But then I realized . . . ummm . . . I could be wrong. Duh, duh, duh . . . [Those are the 3 notes of impending doom you hear after some nefarious revelation in a movie . . . just trying to create an atmosphere here.]

So first, I wanted to say something pithy about creating context for your characters, etc., etc. But it’s the end of a long weekend, and, well, you can guess what I’d say, right?

About the quarter?

And the chocolate cake?

And that other thing that I don’t even need to mention?

I thought so.

More importantly, I wanted you to fill in the blank for me. What does “MG” really stand for?

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Feeling Lucky

Nov

26, 2012 |

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To state the obvious, I didn’t post last Monday. What with the Thanksgiving frenzy that starts at least a week before the actual day, it just didn’t happen.

We had family coming to celebrate the holiday with us, so that meant it was finally time to shrug off my writer’s mantra (being: Write first, clean later). Yeah, that was a good thing. My floor even got mopped. Laaaaa! (*read that: heavenly choir bursts into song*)

Anyway, they came and we talked, watched movies, played games, made a farce of going outside (with the freezing wind), and ate WAY too much—turkey, stuffing, cheese, gravy, potatoes, pies (and I know some of you are thinking that the cheese doesn’t really fit on that list, but let’s just say you don’t know my husband and his brother!). In short it was wonderful.

And I was feeling all kinds of grateful for everything in my life. Just like the license plate I saw:

MI LUCKY

In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, lately. I do feel lucky. Lucky to have a hard-working husband who loves me. Lucky to have 3 beautiful kids who are still happy to hold my hand and give me hugs. Lucky to have wonderful extended family including in-laws I love. Lucky to have a job I can do from home. Lucky to have writing in my life. Lucky to have an agent. Lucky to have so many friends scattered all over the world (many of whom I’ve never met . . . and uh, yeah, that would be all of you guys!). Lucky.

The thing is, my life is not perfect. In fact, far from it. I have struggles and hardships. Bad things happen to me and to people I love all too often (and uh, read that as understatement). I worry that I make wrong decisions (and I’m not talking the red-shirt/blue-shirt kind). I worry that I don’t do enough for others. I worry that I don’t keep in touch with my friends and family enough. And on and on.

But I still feel lucky.

Because I think “luck” (or perhaps a better word is “blessings”) is there for the finding. Even in the hard stuff. It’s just a matter of looking.

What do you guys think?

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License Plate Revealed & Hacky Sack News

Aug

20, 2012 |

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 So it has come to my attention that very few people got last week’s license plate.

HMR TIM

My heart is saddened.

Dun, dun, dun, dun . . . dun, dun . . . dun, dun. CAN’T TOUCH THIS. Dun, dun, dun, dun . . . dun, dun . . . dun, dun. HAMMER TIME!

If you are not now singing in your head, then I’m afraid you must have missed the epicness that was MC Hammer. All my sympathy. 😉

And just because I love license plates, here’s another challenge for you: SHKITOF

Now, the announcement you would have all been waiting for had you known about it:

The Hacky Sack Club is back with a new (optional) challenge! And this one is even more embarrassing. Like, I’m already blushing, and the thing isn’t even MADE yet.

Amy Sonnichsen (gosh I love her) and I have committed ourselves to the Hacky Sack Club’s

Ethnic Musical Challenge!

Yes, you read that right. We’re taking this thing to new heights of embarrassment. We’ll be posting videos of ourselves doing something
ethnically musical on Monday, August 27th. And no, you really don’t want to miss this.

If you’d like to join us, let one of us know. Then when you post
your video, also let us know so we can let all our followers know (so
everyone can visit your blog and join in the mirth). I know you’re all dying to take part!

Just remember, we’re not laughing AT you, we’re laughing WITH you!

For the record, I’m an NOT doing this because I lost a bet (this time). We
at the Hacky Sack Club simply believe that life is too short to waste
being normal all the time.

We also believe that part of a fun community is breaking down barriers and being silly every once and awhile.

If you have already joined the Hacky Sack Club, you do not need to take part in this activity, but we’d love it if you did. And anyone else who is not already a member, we will still send you a hacky sack in the mail when you join. Yay!

That is all. No stress. No hacky sacking required. Visit our Hacky Sack Walls of Fame Shame (Amy’s and mine) for more details. 

So if you were going to join us, what ethnic music would you feature? 

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Change

Aug

13, 2012 |

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Life has a funny way of interfering with our best laid plans. I was all prepped to come back with gusto until Change showed up on my doorstep and took a sucker punch at my gut. Rather than give up blogging, I’ll only be posting Mondays for the next indefinite time frame or so.

I know. You are all HUGELY disappointed. But to make amends I offer a nostalgic license plate for you.

HMR TIM

Do you get it? Isn’t that just awesome? Gosh I loved the 90’s (*subtle hint*).

And by the way, what are you doing here??? You should be at WriteOnCon!

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