Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I write ridiculous books full of zombies and vomit and superfluous hair. I'm okay with that. We need all kinds of books--the vomit-filled superfluous hair kind of books, books that make us cry, and books that make us look at the world differently. We need the kind of books that make us angry and books we reach for when we're sick on the couch and need something comforting. For anyone to restrict our access to any of those books is WRONG. For anyone to restrict our right to think and choose for ourselves is WRONG.
I stand up against censorship. Even if I'm wearing sparkly Richard Simmons shorts when I do it. Which is my right, even if it's oh-so-wrong.
See what I mean?
Friday, December 2, 2011
But today, I'd like to talk about a handful of books with dancing in them. Because I danced way back in the day. And because I just got back in touch with an old friend whose daughter is now a competitive dancer. And because I CAN.
In this verse novel, Sara leaves her home to study ballet in a new city, living with a host family and trying desperately to make up for the fact that she's undoubtedly behind everyone else her age, skill-wise. When an older choreographer starts taking an interest in her, she throws herself into the relationship in a desperate attempt to feel content. It doesn't work.
I think the verse form really works for this book, because it really captures what it's like to dance--both the highs and lows. I think it particularly works in those moments where Sara loses herself in the dance. I felt like Kehoe really captured the movement in words, so much so that I really REALLY wanted to dig out my old dance shoes and lace them up.
This intimate look at the inner struggles of a dancer would absolutely appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, even if they're not into dancing themselves. Because at the end of the day, it's the story of a girl who is living her dream...and realizing that maybe the reality doesn't quite measure up to her expectations.
BUNHEADS is another ballet book, but instead of student dancers, Flack takes us right into the world of professional ballet. Hannah's only 19, but she's living in NYC and dancing in the corps of the Manhattan Ballet. This is a fascinating slice of life tale that doesn't involve a single alien, sparkly vampire, or shirtless werewolf but nonetheless feels like we've been transported into a different world altogether.
Flack's experience really shines through on these pages. We see Hannah go through her days, prepping pointe shoes in the dressing room while chatting with her friends, going to the obligatory fundraising events, and occasionally wondering how the "normal" people live. She realizes that her world is limited to the ballet and to ballet people, and she's not sure how she feels about that. Especially when she meets a cute musician...
If you're into dance books or movies, you know all the stereotypes. I felt like this title took a balanced approach to them, which was nice. Yes, there's a weight subplot, but it's not all-consuming. Hannah's worried about her weight gain and what it will mean for her future as a dancer, but she realizes on her own that maybe there's a healthier way to approach the problem. I liked that the book didn't totally disregard those stereotypes but still made an effort to tell a different story.
If you're interested in reading a dance book but have a strange aversion to tutus, STRINGS ATTACHED is the story of an aspiring Broadway dancer in the 1950s. Kit Corrigan has left home in an effort to make it big, but things are a lot harder than she expected. When her maybe-kinda-ex-boyfriend's dad offers a little help, it seems harmless to accept it, right? And if he's curious about his son, that's normal. And if he asks her to do errands every once in a while...
Maybe it's not as normal as she'd like to think. Maybe all those mob rumors are true after all.
I loved the glimpses of backstage 1950s Broadway, and I thought this book was at its best during those sections. There's a lot going on here, with the muddled romance, the mob ties, and Kit's struggles to survive. But die hard Broadway fans and history buffs would probably love this read.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
So. I'm alive. And so much is going on that I'm reduced to making one of my infamous bulleted lists. (They're infamous in my head, anyway.)
- It's official; there will be a paperback version of BAD TASTE IN BOYS!!! So if you're one of those paperback people, or one of those overcrowded bookshelf people, or one of those tight on finances people, or one of those collect every edition of books with puking in them people, you should get one! It'll ship on June 12, 2012, but it's available for pre-order now. It'll be like a Christmas gift to yourself, only in June.
- Do you read Amber's blog? She emailed me about bacon-covered Hasselhoff. I think that is the most awesome idea ever.
- Mark your calendars, because I'm going to be at ConFusion in Troy (Michigan Troy, not Aegean Troy) next month! And I will be wearing the zombie shoes. Or the werewolf shoes. Or maybe one of each.
- I am working on a sekrit project of awesomeness that involves the lovely Aimee Carter turning herself into a talking Abraham Lincoln. I get the giggles just thinking about that. Almost as much as I giggled when she took me to Breaking Dawn last week.
- Here. Have THIS. Because it is awesome and so are you. Bloop. Boop. Boop.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Of course, the minute I write that, I start thinking of nonsense words to put in there. Like, it was the monkiest of monkeys. Or the boingiest of boings. I'm not sure what you'd have to do to declare your weekend the boingiest of boings, but I suspect it would be inappropriate.
Anyway. We got a babysitter, so Slayer took me out for one last birthday celebration. And we went to a restaurant that serves bacon wrapped hot dogs AND an ice cream sundae with chocolate covered bacon in it. I would have taken a picture of it, but we shared them, so as soon as it hit the table, we were all dueling spoons and yummy noises.
And then, as if the bacon birthday wasn't enough, we made it the bacon and Bobcat birthday. That's right. We went to see Bobcat Goldthwait. And I have never laughed so hard in my life. Here is pictoral evidence:
Here, he's doing an impression of a dead Muppet. Which is snarftacular. And that's why it's so blurry that it could BE a dead Muppet, and no one would know the difference.
Here. Have some Bobcat, with a little extra Robin Williams on the side. This one's PG-13 because it's on tv, but be forewarned that most of the stuff out there is hilariously fowl. Unsurprisingly, he has a potty mouth.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
And you should mark your calendars for January 20-22! I'll be doing ConFusion, Michigan's sci-fi and fantasy con. Trust me; the talk behind the scenes is TRES COOL.
Here! Have some Whose Line! Some PG-13 rated Whose Line, for all you parents and people who work in offices where they don't let you have fun.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
- Ate bacon.
- Got a pair of rain boots shaped like cowboy boots, which I am currently wearing...with my pajamas.
- Read a couple hundred birthday messages on my facebook and tried to figure out if I honestly know that many people. Results were inconclusive; I ran out of fingers and toes.
- Got a new iPod. The first song played on it was Thriller. Naturally.
- Cried when I read my cards, because my husband either picks out the pervy cards or the tearjerker cards. ATTENTION, EVERYONE. 2011 IS NOT A PERVY YEAR.
- Got massaged. One of my friends is the best massage therapist in the entire universe. I think she has cyborg hands, and cyborg hands are good. If you're ever in the Toledo area, I will refer you to her so you can see what I mean.
- Read some awesome books. Like YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE, which is a noir mystery, heavy on the noir. It's the kind of book where you spend half of your time reading with a WTF expression on your face, and the other half squealing in amused excitement. Or maybe that's just me. The book's about the search for Wesley's killer, but it's also this scathing commentary on high school cliques. And there are Chaucer jokes and people weightlifting with meat. If you like lots of character development and deep, introspective dialogue, this one probably isn't for you. But if you like high paced, ridiculous, stylish crazeballs? (And yeah, that sentence doesn't exactly make sense, but it's still amusing...which is probably the best illustration of what it's like to read this book.) You'll love it.
- Did I mention the bacon? No holiday is complete without bacon. I think we should throw a holiday bacon party.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Maybe you should just imagine me hyperventilating as I welcome you to this week's book recommendation for both the Cybils and the Bookanistas--DEADLY by Julie Chibbaro.
Bring on the book deets, courtesy of Goodreads:
A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York. Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?
If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.
With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery?
Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.
Confession time--any book in which the science geek saves the day makes me feel cool by association. I'm a total science geek, and I NEED THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL COOL. PLEASE WRITE MORE BOOKS IN WHICH THE SCIENCE GEEK SAVES THE DAY.
But seriously, I seek out what I call "sciencey fiction," not the fantastic kind with spaceships and time travel, but books that are fictional but still full of medical mysteries and biochemistry and epidemiology so I can get my science fix without going back to school for a PhD. And this book is one of my favorites. The science is spot-on with the exception of a few liberties explained in the afterword, but don't worry because I honestly believe you don't need to be a member of the geek squad in order to appreciate it. Underneath the medical mystery is a darned good story.
Prudence is the kind of girl that I think we're all familiar with--she's spunky and smart and doesn't understand for a minute why she's doomed to a life of typing when she has a BRAIN, darn it. But I liked that Julie Chibbaro resisted the urge to make her a huge mouthpiece for feminist rights; instead, Pru says, "I want to do this, so why can't I?" and then proceeds to put her money where her mouth is instead of just ranting about it. I think that's a better story choice that keeps the action moving and gets us right into the meat of the story (and it's DISEASED meat). But the whole time, we're gently reminded that she's a girl, and she's breaking into what is predominantly a male profession, which is at turns scary and maddening and proud-making.
Typhoid Mary is not at all what you'd expect, and there are a lot of ethical issues brought up in regards to her treatment that are just plain fascinating. AAAAAAAH. I'm going to shut up on that account, but someone read it quick so we can talk about that. Please?
In short, I loved DEADLY, and it is totally worth checking out.
While you're at it, why not stop by the Cybils to see what the featured judges think of their recent reads? And then check out what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to!
Elana Johnson REVEALS something awesome!!!
LiLa Roecker announces a winner - plus a Past Midnight series giveaway
Christine Fonseca reveals books she cannot wait to read
Beth Revis interviews My Very UnFairytale Life author Anna Staniszewski
Shannon Whitney Messenger interviews Skyship Academy-Pearl Wars author Nick James & agent Jennifer Rofe – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby twirls for Audition
Shana Silver burns for Circle of FireStasia Ward Kehoe travels to The Day Before
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
- Obviously, the most important thing is the bacon! Here are some of my favorite bacon related staples (mmmm....bacon staples....):
- Cream cheese and bacon dip
- Bacon wrapped water chestnuts
- German potato salad
- Bacon cornbread
- Maple and bacon cupcakes
- Chocolate covered bacon...with sprinkles, of course
- Under no circumstances should you try (unless there is someone you secretly hate at said party):
- Bacon jellybeans
- Bacon soda (shudder)
- Bacon vodka
- Bacon gum
- I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's worth it to have something non-bacon on the table. We served raw vegetables with the bacon dip, but I noticed some people eating them plain to give their cholesterol a break.
- You CAN decorate with bacon. I've heard of people buying bacon dolls and cardboard standups and things, but I made a centerpiece of bacon roses. There are a lot of bacon rose tutorials out there, some of which require the use of a drill!?! It's against my religion to drill with bacon. I just wrapped mine in a vaguely rose-shaped spiral, secured with toothpicks, and baked. Then I stuck them onto some wooden skewers and made leaves out of pipe cleaners.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
You HAVE gotten in your nominations for the Cybils, right? Saturday is the last day to get them in. RUN FORTH AND NOMINATE, PEOPLE!
And in the spirit of multitaskery, I am recommending a book that COINCIDENTALLY is a Cybils nominee. HOW DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN? Fate? Luck? Massive laziness? It's your call.
Today's book is DON'T STOP NOW by Julie Halpern.
On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.
Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?
This book has a road trip, cheese shirts, romantic tension, more cheese shirts, hotel rooms decorated like space stations, witty banter, and did I mention the cheese shirts? Unfortunately, the thing I liked the most about the book is the ending, and I refuse to be one of those spoilery types who spills it all. But I will say that the ending is not neat. It's not tidy. It's not romanticized. And I really respected the decision to write it that way.
Ultimately, this book was less about the search for Penny (which struck me as an excuse more than a mission) and more about Lil's desire to stop time before she goes to college and possibly loses Josh forever.
Dum dum DUUUUM.
Have you read this one? I'd love to hear about it. And while you're at it, check out the rest of the Bookanista awesome:
Elana Johnson offers a preview of upcoming awesome!
LiLa Roecker dances for Audition
Christine Fonseca is wowed by Witch Eyes
Beth Revis features a guest post by Darkfall author Janice Hardy
Carolina Valdez Miller steps up to Audition – with giveaway
Shana Silver contemplates The Future of Us
Corrine Jackson celebrates the success of Epic FailShelli Johannes-Wells is psyched for some swell book launches!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
How am I supposed to choose my surprising mortal enemy (complete with bragging rights and free signed book)? YOU PEOPLE ARE FUNNY. You gave me epidemiology and statistics humor (did you know that I was a statistician working in public health before I became a full time writer?). You flung Richard Simmons's workout shorts at me. You filled my house with popcorn (unintentional Real Genius reference?). You prank called me. You signed me up for Fabio fan clubs. You wore kilts (and really, anything that involves kilts is a total bonus). You called me Puddles. You sicced roadkill zombie minions on me. You burnt my books and house down.
Uh. I hope you don't intend to ACT on these things, people. Have I mentioned lately that I know ninjas? LOTS OF NINJAS. *shifty eyes*
Anyway, I know I was supposed to choose my mortal enemy yesterday, but I kept reading the entries and giggling maniacally and reminding myself that it was NOT FAIR to choose the winner via eenie meanie meinie moe. I went to bed last night dreaming about your entries. Which was amusing, to say the least.
I'd love to be able to award a book to all of you, but it's just not going to happen. So I'm going to give this one to a longtime reader who clearly knows my sense of humor. As my surprising mortal enemy, she'll be leaping out of the rafters with a sharpened popsicle stick, or flinging Richard Simmons's shorts at me, or tossing dinner at my noggin. And then when I'm not paying attention, she'll dork up my blog. (And them are FIGHTIN' WORDS.)
Tere Kirkland, you'd better look out. I don't intend to just sit back and let you surprising mortal enemize me.
And if you didn't win this month, never fear! I'll be giving more things away in the upcoming months, and there are two opportunities to win open right now! Check out the Class of 2k11 giveaway and Patricia's Particularity blog hop!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
But I'm also all about the books right now, because I was lucky enough to be selected as a first round judge for the YA panel on the CYBILS! It's the only award (that I know of) where book bloggers can directly nominate titles and be a part of the process. And I'm serving on a hecka awesome panel full of speed-readers that I suspect might be cyborgs. (Attention fellow panel members--this is a compliment.)
Anyway, don't forget to nominate your favorite titles of the year for the Cybils! And then laugh maniacally at those of us who are crazy enough to try and read them all in the space of a couple of months.
If that's not enough excitement, I've also learned that BAD TASTE IN BOYS has been nominated for the ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list! Mystery-person-who-nominated-my-book, thank you so much! I'm making the EEEEEE sound again.
Get used to it. ;)
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Anyway. There are developments behind the scenes, people. And one of those developments emailed me the other day to ask if I had any surprising mortal enemies. I was very embarrassed to confess that I don't! I NEED SURPRISING MORTAL ENEMIES. I am now taking applications in the comments. Wouldn't you like to be able to say, "Yeah, I'm the surprising mortal enemy of a crazed YA writer"?
I know I would. I wonder if I could be my OWN surprising mortal enemy...
Ack! Blogger posted this early. Which might have something to do with the fact that I pushed the button telling it to post instead of saving the draft, but let's blame it on Blogger anyway.
So. I will select one surprising mortal enemy from the comments, who gets bragging rights AND a signed copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS. Make me laugh and it could be you. I'll choose the winner on October 5th, shortly before I leave for a REAL WRITING RETREAT. Which is awesome.
Friday, September 23, 2011
I got an email from a friend that said some things, and then right at the end (and totally unrelated, I might add), he said, "I reserve the right to make a bacon hat."
This struck me as a genius statement. So I tweeted.
People read my tweet, which still astounds me. And then Lish McBride, who wrote one of the funniest books in existence--HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER--sent me a video of a guy who wears a bacon dress and puts bacon down his pants, because she GETS ME.
So then we started ranting about trouser bacon, and how I wanted a shirt that says, "You should never eat trouser bacon," and then Laini Taylor, who I WILL MEET LIVE AND IN PERSON NEXT WEEK, jumps into the conversation, and at the end of the day, I think we might have pitched my agent with an anthology of stories...all about trouser bacon. Which I, personally, would buy.
Wouldn't you? I would very much like to see what Laini and Lish would do in the trouser bacon genre.
Monday, September 19, 2011
And I'm not kidding about that Jedi thing, either. I pity the bully that tries to pick on my kid. I REALLY pity the one that tries to pick on his sisters.
Things like that always seem to happen to our group. One year, one of the guys from the ninja dojo got picked to go up on stage with the belly dancers. The kicker is that he dated a belly dancer at one point, and he really went to town with the hip swivels. So of course we threw cash at him. I may have hit him between the eyes with a quarter, but I'll never admit it in public.
And if you'll reread that sentence, you'll notice that I really didn't admit it. I admitted the POSSIBILITY, that's all.
The other awesome thing that happened at the Faire is that we started talking HALLOWEEN. I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I forced my kid to be born three days in advance just so it could be on Halloween. (Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration. But I would have done it if I could have.) And this year, I really want to be the Kelda from Terry Prachett's Tiffany Aching books. And then have a bunch of the guys be Nac Mac Feegle, so I could fold my arms and tap my feet and have them yell, "WAILY WAILY WAILY!"
We practiced this at the Faire, and it was fun. I suggest you recruit someone to do the wailing and try it yourself.
I'm thinking this Halloween is going to be EPIC. Even epicker than the time I dressed up as the slasher film cheerleader and a little old couple took one look at me and drove off the road.
Have you started thinking Halloween yet?
Oh, and my agent will probably be very pleased to know that I think I've settled on a plot for my fifth book, and it will be set at a Renn Faire. Of course, I have to finish book FOUR before I can get that far.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
So this week, I'm working on a shorter piece that I'm hoping to show you before November 2012, because that's a hecka long time for both of us to wait. Although this may be somewhat more difficult because Slayer just gave me a copy of HAMMERED by Kevin Hearne, and those books are the awesome on top of the cake. And it's not the kind of awesome that dyes your tongue blue and tastes vaguely like the inside of a congealed Twinkie. The series is awesome, and you should read it.
And then you should read READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline, who actually HAS A DELOREAN. It doesn't get much cooler than that. And it's a dystopian, gametastic, crazeballs, 80's reference-laden book of total awesomeness. It's instantly rocketed up into my favorite books of all time.
What have you been reading?
Friday, September 9, 2011
After the panel, I'll be signing books. AND...if you come to the event, let me know that you read my blog, and I will answer one insider info question about upcoming Grable books. (Although I retain veto power because I know one of you smartypants will ask to know the entire plot of the next book in detail. And then I will laugh.) Normally, I refuse to answer these things, so you will KNOW THINGS. And you will be able to TAUNT PEOPLE WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE.
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
- Learn how to crochet the Exorcist playset. Because the power of yarn DOES compel me.
- Researching what happens when you lock someone in a porta potty and tip it over, otherwise known as STARTING BOOK FOUR.
- Going to a roller derby practice and trying desperately to resist the urge to try out.
- Designing a time machine so that I don't have to do the second half of number 3.
- Selling the time machine on the black market so I don't have to do ANYTHING.
- Sleep a little, because let's be realistic here. It's gonna happen.
What are you up to these days?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
For years, Slayer and I have dreamt about the features in our dream house. He wants a man cave--a room he can fill with leather furniture and cigar boxes and a big tv, probably with lots of antlers and weaponry on the wall. Or weaponry made out of antlers. So he gets that.
And I get chttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giflosets. And an office. With lots and lots and LOTS of bookshelves. But I'd also like these things:
Viva la revolucion! Nothing says "Down with the man (especially if he is holding a cheeseburger) like Che Hoff! This poster belongs on my walls.
And it'll hang next to this handy reference poster that tells you the correct terminology for supernatural collectives. They had me at "A solace of Baba Yagas."
When you come over, you'll have to look under my desk at my sugar skull floor mat. SERIOUSLY, WHO COMES UP WITH THIS STUFF, AND CAN I INVITE THEM OVER FOR DINNER?!?
Of course, at this rate, we're going to need to move into a hotel so I have enough room to put all this stuff. You'd stay at my hotel, right?
Monday, August 22, 2011
You think I'm kidding, but I'm totally not.
Anyway, while I go play with butter, you might want to take a look at the deleted BTIB scene over at Loving Books. There is Jonah in it. And there's a giveaway too.
Now...let there be butter.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Today, I'm featuring STUPID FAST by Geoff Herbach. This one is already out, so you don't need to curse my name for recommending something you can't get your hands on yet.
About STUPID FAST:
Fifteen-year-old Felton Reinstein has always been on the smallish side, but in his sophomore year he starts growing...and growing.
During gym one day he smokes the football jocks in a 600-yard race. Felton has never been interested in sports, but there's no doubt-he is "stupid fast." As he juggles his newfound athletic prowess, his mom's sudden depression, an annoying little brother, and his first love, he discovers a shocking secret about his past which explains why he's turning out the way he is.
Guys, this is one of the best books I've read this year.
It's probably no surprise to anyone that I'm not the hugest sports fan, unless the sport in question is roller derby or it's being played by zombies. But after reading and loving Keri Mikulski's Pretty Tough books, I thought I'd give this one a try.
And holy frijoles, was it worth every minute.
Felton sounds like a REAL GUY, which is probably a good thing, since I'm assuming that Geoff is a REAL GUY too. I feel like there are plenty of options to read about guys who are descended from (insert deity here), or guys who are (insert paranormal creature here), or guys who are (insert variety of smartassery here). But STUPID FAST stood out to me because Felton can't be easily pigeonholed. He wanted to be funny but feared that he wasn't. He was completely perplexed by how his life was spiraling out of control; he wanted things to change but couldn't find a way to make it happen. All he can do, the only thing he can control, is running. And after his mega growth spurt, he does it stupid fast.
Felton Reinstein made me cry and snort things out my nose, but not simultaneously. It was so good that after I was done reading, I gave it to my husband. He devoured it too.
So even if you're not a fan of boy books, or sports books, or books with numbers on the cover...WHATEVER. Give this one a try. If you don't like it, I'll eat my shoe.
And now...WE INTERRUPT THIS BOOKANISTA BROADCAST to celebrate WRITE ON CON! For some fun writer insights and pep talks, click along to…
Christine Fonseca, Beth Revis, Jessi Kirby and Stasia Ward Kehoe!
And, we know you MUST have your Thursday Bookanista reviews so here you go!
Veronica Rossi loves Legend
Shana Silver serves up a Maureen Johnson double feature of The Last Little Blue Envelope & The Name of the Star
Scott Tracey is awed by Anna Dressed in Blood
Bethany Wiggins howls over How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend
Gretchen McNeil is spellbound by Witch Eyes
Carolina Valdez Miller and Shelli Johannes-Wells are passionate about Possess
Matt Blackstone blogs From Bedside
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In all honesty, I'm getting a little burnt out. I will absolutely continue to blog, because I love it and I love YOU, but it's probably not going to be every day. But never fear, because I will be using the time to do OTHER things that you will hopefully enjoy.
I will be tweeting, probably more than is good for me.
I will be responding to your comments. I was drowning there for a while, and I didn't comment back to you, which is really suckish. I'm sorry!!! One of the reasons I got into this was so I could talk with you, not at you, and some of my closest friends are from blogville. I hope that with fewer posts to cover, we'll actually be able to talk again.
I will be vlogging. I have a sekrit vlog project in the planning stages right now, and I hope to be able to tell you more soon.
And I will be writing some extras. I got a lot of messages with sad faces in them when I announced that BAD HAIR DAY won't be out until November. (Although this means you can buy it for people AND WRAP IT, which is awesome.) It IS a long time to wait, so I'll be writing some new shorts and posting some deleted scenes and things. My goal is to get you something new each month--we'll see if I make it.
So please don't panic if you stop by and see that I haven't posted that day. I have NOT been devoured by zombies. Or if I have, it's been in the name of vlogging, and that's okay.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that I'm not the world's biggest bluegrass fan. But I could sit through HOURS of this.
These are the coolest (if slightly gory) zombie bowling balls I've ever seen. And yes, they are the ONLY zombie bowling balls I've ever seen.
At my house, though, we have zombie bowling PINS. They are the bomb. You won't get that joke unless you click the link. And then you will groan.
BTW, if you're anywhere near SE Michigan, you should stop and see me at the Kerrytown Bookfest in Ann Arbor on September 11th. I'll be on a science fiction panel with Jim FREAKING Hines (his new name), Steven CRAZY PROLIFIC Piziks, and David Erik AWESOME SQUID SOCK CTHULHU MAKER Nelson. If you show up, I will give YOU a random capital letter nickname too.
Why? WHY NOT.
Monday, August 15, 2011
We saw a violin playing werewolf.
I stopped my maniacal giggling long enough to get pictoral proof.
On Saturday, I worked on my books. Which means I read out loud to myself a lot and did some research.
I should probably note that the exorcism book is left over from a book I wrote a long time ago and not a sekrit hint at what I'm working on now. Although it makes me think of POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil. You HAVE ordered it, right? Get POSSESSed, people! Vade retro satana! *shakes possess pompoms* *wonders what possess pompoms would look like* *wants some*
And yesterday, we took the kids to the circus, which reminded me about that circus related book idea I have, and THAT'S THE LAST THING I NEED. The book idea fairies need to stay the heck out of my room! You hear that, you BIFs?!?!
What did you do this weekend?
Friday, August 12, 2011
I say that I'd like to get a personal assistant to help clean my house and organize my projects and respond to fan mail and things. Yesterday, I tried to recruit one of my twitter followers to follow me around in a ninja costume with a boom box and play the soundtrack to my life. He said it was fine so long as I called him Dobler. Dobler hasn't arrived. I'm disappointed.
It really amuses me that I spent all of college trying to get stalkers to stop following me, and now I spend all my time trying to get people to follow me online. I wish I had the phone numbers of those stalkers.
I really want to plant a zombie in the garden. I wouldn't have to weed it. And I'm really behind on my weeding, because Dobler isn't here to play a weeding song.
Now I'm brainstorming weeding songs.
I'm very close to finishing line edits on BAD HAIR DAY and the last round of before-the-agent edits on book number 3. So of course, last night, I dreamt about one of my other shelved projects. My subconscious has it out for me.
I miss the used bookstore where I used to live. Half Price Books, come to Michigan. Please. Or I will have to buy another bookcase.
What's up with you?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Today, I'm OH-SO-STRONGLY recommending POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil. Here's what it's about:
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.
So when I was in junior high and early in high school, I was so addicted to Christopher Pike that I read the covers off them. Literally. I read Lois Duncan and VC Andrews--anything that gave me goosebumps. Eventually, I moved on, but I can still give you a page-by-page rundown of Last Act. Poor Melanie.
POSSESS reminds me of everything I loved about those books. It's genuinely chilling without being gross-out or taking me into I'll-never-sleep-again territory. It's fast paced and un-put-downable. It has a heroine that I'd like to befriend and a hot guy to drool over. There are scenes that made me gnash my teeth over, because they are just That Good. At least they were clean teeth. I brushed them while holding the book because I couldn't bear to put it down.
I know. I'm gushing, and I don't usually gush.
As a big horror aficionado, I was really curious to see how this book would handle the process of exorcism. I've read a lot about it, which probably won't surprise you. The process here is very simplified, which initially had me a little worried, but I felt like this was absolutely the right choice for the story. It keeps things fast paced and avoids a lot of pesky religious questions. In short, regardless of what your exorcism-related beliefs are, you should still be able to appreciate this as a good story.
Frankly, my only complaint about this book is that it's the first one I read while on vacation, and then it was downhill from there. Nothing else stacked up to it.
Check out what the other Bookanistas are recommending this week!
Elana Johnson sings out for Chime
LiLa Roecker thinks Epic Fail is a great success - with giveaway
Matt Blackstone feels The Pull of Gravity
Scott Tracey is entranced by Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Carolina Valdez Miller marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
What're you reading now?
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Take a moment to check out the rest of the auditions too! There are some awesome videos up there. But make sure to wear your Carrie the Pseudo Rebel campaign pins. And the hat. And the chaps.
Frankly, I think that if more politicians gave out promotional chaps, the world would be a better place.
I should also note that I'd appreciate it if you wore, you know, CLOTHES. (This message is meant for a specific person, and you know who you are.)
Anyway, without further ado...
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I think that the Hoff should have played Gandalf.
And honestly? The only thing that would have made the original Star Wars trilogy was if the Hoff had played Yoda.
I think the Twilight films would have been 100x better if Edward and Jacob had been fighting over...well...
What about you? What film roles are YOU eager to see the Hoff take over?
Monday, August 8, 2011
The good news about this is that now I have firsthand experience of the zombie lurch-and-moan. Which means that I can write off my trip as research, right?
So I'm going to get caught up here today. But let me leave you with a hilarious AxeCop comic that includes a picture of the Halloween costume I want to wear this year. And yes, I'm honestly starting to think about that even though it's only August.
Go! See a man with an axe dress up and break into a chicken store. You know you want to.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
How else do you explain the Key School Obezags? It's an anagram. Of "gazebo." Which is awesome. I think someone at their school was a fan of the Dread Gazebo. As a gamer geek, I make at least one gazebo joke a week to meet my quota.
Then there are teams like beg to be pervertized. Like any team named the Trojans, or the Cobden Appleknockers, or the Butte Pirates. (Really? REALLY?!?) I'll refrain from commenting on them, but you can pretty much imagine what I'm thinking if you try hard enough.
And then there are the names full of WTFuttery. Like the Mt. Clemens Battling Bathers and the Watersmeet Nimrods.
I think there should be more teams with monster names. There are a few centaur teams out there, because apparently man-horses inspire major fear in the hearts of opponents. Wyverns are pretty common too. But where are the MERPIRES? That would be scary. Or the Sparkly Vampires? Which would be...uh...sparkly.
My high school mascot? The bees. I wish they were sparkly or vampiric, but they weren't.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
If you haven't paid for your items or contacted me to make arrangements, I will be assigning them to the next available winner tomorrow, which is a few days later than I said I'd do it. Please do contact me if you have questions!
And now, a sneak peek! I spent a large part of the day yesterday watching a documentary called Fantastic Flesh about special effects makeup. And now I'm reading this. Both are research for a new book, and it's probably the most fun I've had doing research EVER. Because let's face it; I already know enough about zombies and werewolves to fill an encyclopedia. I did my research anyway, but I spent most of my time going, "Yep. Yep. I know. Isn't that hilarious?"
What are the most interesting things you've ever had to research, for books or otherwise?
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I don't normally swear on this blog, but that's how crazy I went.
Because the reality is that if every one of those people had bought a copy, or even gone on their library website and requested the book instead of doing the exact same thing on an illegal sharing site? If they'd done that, IT WOULD HAVE MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO ME. And not just in terms of my ability to stay relatively sane, but also in terms of my career. I'd explain this, but the lovely and hilarious Saundra Mitchell already has, and she's smarter than me. Seriously, it's worth a read, and I'll be here when you get back.
Book pirating is a real problem. And I've been thinking a lot about this whole issue and what to do about it. Beyond the obvious, which is SICCING RANDOM HOUSE on them and composing emails to them in my head that start with "AAAAAAAAAWHYDIDYOUDOTHAT?!?!" I've been doing both of those things, and they have an immediate effect, I guess, in that they make me feel marginally better and RH is now on their trail to hopefully make them take it down. But somehow that feels insufficient. I needed something bigger to get the attention of those pirates.
I needed ninjas.
Everyone knows that pirates and ninjas don't get along. When ninjas are involved, I think it's a given that pirates pay attention. And I think that many book pirates honestly don't understand that their actions are seriously contributing to the fact that their favorite series doesn't have an ending...because the publishing house chose not to pick up the next book due to low sales. I think they're so busy stomping around with their peglegs and illegal downloads that they don't REALIZE that they're not just sticking it to the man, but they're also sticking it to authors...who can't afford to be authors any more.
Now, I'm not in that situation at this point. I'm very lucky to have two more books coming out in the next two years, and I'm working my butt off to insure that they're followed by more of the same! But that doesn't change the fact that it PISSETH ME OFF AND MAKETH ME SPEAK IN A PSEUDO ACCENT.
I know that to a certain extent, I'm preaching to the chorus. I know a lot of you, and you wouldn't dream of pirating a book. Most of the people who need to hear this aren't on book blogs, so we're all stuck dealing with it, right?
Maybe so, but there's still an opportunity to make a difference. Be a book ninja. Nodding in agreement when reading blog posts like this is GREAT, and I'm glad if you're doing that. (Heck, I'm just happy that you're spending a few minutes with me in the first place.) But there are plenty of easy things you can do to help make sure your favorite authors can still write. Help spread the word about library programs that allow you to download FREE BUT LEGAL ebooks for people who are desperate to read but just can't scrape up the cash. If you're in school, write about these things for a report or the school newspaper. If you know someone who has downloaded books, take a minute to point them towards Saundra's post so they understand that it really DOES make a difference. Speak out against book piracy. You can even wear a ninja cowl when you do it if it makes you feel cooler. It does for me.
Be a book ninja.
Monday, August 1, 2011
1. I've already told you that Night of the Giving Dead raised over $7000 in books for the kids of Mott Children's Hospital, and I'm still waiting for a few donations to float in. But hearing that isn't the same as SEEING it. About a third of the books are currently occupying my living room. They look like THIS:
You can't quite tell from this picture, but these towers are as tall as I am. I would have taken a picture with said towers, but they fell over shortly after we took this picture. Which was slightly less awesome, but I guess you can't have everything.
2. I HAZ DATES! Official book releasey dates! First, there's the BAD TASTE IN BOYS paperback, which is really good if you like your books to be soft and cuddly, or if you intend to learn to juggle with them, or if you want to have a complete collection of sugar lips and put them on the shelves so they can make out with each other. (I haven't done that...much.) You can get your paperback version on June 12th of next year! And I'm putting the finishing touches on the next Kate Grable adventure, BAD HAIR DAY, which officially hits the shelves just in time for Christmas--November 13th, 2012!
3. I am not a runner, but if you put zombies on the course and heart-pounding obstacles all around it, I just might turn into one. This is one of the coolest zombie-themed events I've ever seen. And trust me, I've seen a lot.
4. We now have this in our family room. My kids will be fully prepared for the zombie apocalypse. And based on my score, I will be fully prepared to offer constructive criticism and stay the heck out of the way because they can outshoot me. Maybe I'll stick to melee weapons.
5. THIS IS AWESOME. Nerd rapping is always awesome. DFTBA, people.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The winner of the Kindle is Daphne!
The winner of the 6 month mentorship is Savannah!
Congratulations and zombie hugs to you both!
And that's that. I'd love any feedback you've got, either here in the comments or by email. What did you think? Should I do another of these next year to celebrate BAD HAIR DAY?
I'll be back on Monday with our regularly scheduled nonsense. I need today and tomorrow to get caught up on processing all these prizes!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
What do you need to do? Just fill out this form! You don't have to have participated in the auction to enter. And while the auction items are closed, there are still a lot of ways to get extra entries and make a difference for the kids of Mott hospital, like tweeting/FBing/blogging about what I've been up to, or making a $10 (or more) donation to the Giving Library, or buying a copy of Bad Taste in Boys! As a thank you, you can also sign up for some free swag from some SUPA AMAZING authors when you register for the grand prize.
Get your entries in by midnight EST to be included in the drawing! I'll announce the winners in tomorrow's blog post and on twitter.
And after the grand prize is drawn? I'LL TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE FOR A CHANGE!?!?!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I don't have final numbers yet, but I think we're hovering around the $7000 mark for Night of the Giving Dead. Think of how many books that means for kids who really need them. HAPPYHAPPYHAPPYHAPPY.
There are still a few items left for today, including some great signed books and an ARC pack that I REALLY want. I also got some notes from people yesterday who REALLY wanted critiques but got outbid at the last minute. So as a thank you from me, I'm offering BONUS CRITIQUES. There are three of them closing throughout the day today, and since they're only open for one day, they should be affordable. I hope you'll bid on them.
And don't forget to fill out the grand prize form! I'll be drawing winners of the Kindle and mentorship tomorrow!
As a parting shot...this is what it's like to see me speak live. You can do that at the Kerrytown Bookfest here in Ann Arbor in September. More deets later!
Monday, July 25, 2011
I'm also giving away a 100 page critique to someone who bids today. Entries will be calculated based on the dollar amount of each valid, unretracted bid. So if you bid $20, you get 20 entries. If you bid $100, you get 100 freaking entries! This critique is FREE and doesn't require you to win anything! All you need to do is place a bid to be entered. I'll be drawing the winner around 4:30 EST today, so get those bids rolling! Remember, every dollar goes to sick kids who need a good book to distract them!
To help motivate you, here is a picture of my head on David Hasselhoff's body.
BID! BID LIKE THE WIND!
Friday, July 22, 2011
And now, a quick reminder that many Night of the Giving items start closing on MONDAY, at times throughout the day. The newer items have an extra day for bidding to even things out a little. And don't forget to fill out the grand prize entry form--you won't be entered to win the Kindle or six month writing mentorship without it!http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
How about some featured items to carry us through the weekend?
- A three chapter critique plus a follow up phone call from my agent, Kate Schafer Testerman. (And really? I'm jealous of anyone who gets to talk to her. She's THAT nice.)
- A September release ARC pack--ENTHRALLED and THE SHATTERING. (Get your hands on two great upcoming releases well before the rest of the world!)
- A signed copy of BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. by Medeia Sharif. (This is a new listing, great deal, and a must read!)
- A signed copy of THE FAERIE RING by Kiki Hamilton and a 25 page critique. (Kiki is one of my crit partners, and she is AWESOME.)
- A signed, annotated copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS. (You'll get inside info on edits, backstory, and a few sneak tidbits about the next Kate Grable adventure, BAD HAIR DAY.)
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I totally see the resemblance, don't you?
Night of the Giving Dead has started hopping, because we're getting into the home stretch on some of these items--but there are still some mucho fabbo steals out there. Take a look at these:
- A signed copy of MOONGLASS by Jessi Kirby. (A perfect choice for a contemporary YA fan--I loved this book!)
- A critique of 10 pages of a MG or verse novel or a full PB from author Caroline Starr Rose. (And she's not only adorable and kind--she's also TALENTED.)
- Name a character in Barrie Summy's next middle grade book. (Imagine how cool your tween will be if he/she is the inspiration for a BOOK. Very ridiculously cool, of course.)
- A copy of HOKEY POKEY signed by author Lisa Wheeler. (This is one of the most adorable picture books EVAR.)
- A 30 minute phone call with agent Michelle Wolfson. (A REAL LIVE AGENT! ON THE PHONE! WITH YOU!)
- An original 9" by 12" watercolor by K. Marie Criddle. (SHE DRAWS ZOMBIES. Also other things that are awesome.)
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Let me get back to you on that.
And here are some featured items from Night of the Giving Dead! Not only are they awesome, but every dollar you bid goes straight to the hospital to put great books in the hands of sick kids. Which is the LEAST they deserve.
- A signed ARC of WOLFSBANE by Andrea Cremer! (AAAAAAAH! Ren reduces me to total incoherence!)
- A signed copy of MEMENTO NORA by Angie Smibert and a 10 page or query and synopsis critique! (MEMENTO NORA is stylish and creepy and just plain awesome. So is Angie...well, she's not creepy but you get the picture.)
- A custom book trailer from Megan Bostic! (I've tried playing around with video, and MAN IS IT HARD. But it really gets the word out about your book. Let Megan work her magic with yours--you won't be sorry!)
- A signed copy of Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: THE BASILISK'S LAIR by R.L. Lafevers! (Adventure! Snakes! Basilisks! It's like mini Indiana Jones, and it is AWESOME.)
- A signehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifd copy of THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney and an ARC of THE RIVALS! (These books are ZOMGHOLYCRAPSTICKSGOOD! And THE RIVALS isn't out until next year, so you will get to read it VERY early and taunt people with your awesomeness.)
- A blog design package courtesy of Parajunkie! (Looking to prettify your blog? Parajunkie does some FABULOUS work, and right now, this item is a huge STEAL.)
- A signed copy of DOGSLED DREAMS by Terry Lynn Johnson! (Another fabulous middle grade adventure that will keep some lucky kid glued to the pages.)
Bidding's starting to get competitive! Don't get left behind on the awesome!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Today's musical inspired lolzombie is from Flashdance. Because nothing says awesome like a zombie in 80s dancewear dumping a bucket of water on its head.
I'm so pleased to report that Night of the Giving Dead is going strong! I've gotten a few more donations that I plan to put up today--make sure to stop by to bid on these awesome deals. You will want them. Heck, *I* want them!
Need some ideas on what to bid on? Here are some great deals!
- A signed animal picture book pack by the awesomely adorable Lisa Wheeler! (I like to keep a few signed picture books on hand for baby showers. Because I am lazy.)
- A signed copy of SPARROW ROAD by Sheila O'Connor! (Maybe I should keep signed copies of middle grade books too. This one is beautiful and intriguing and oh-so-lovely!)http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
- Signed copies of IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman. (Guys. It's GAYLE FREAKING FORMAN! AAAAAAAAH!)
- A signed, annotated copy of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins! (You realize what this means, right? INSIDE ETIENNE INFO!!!! DOUBLE AAAAAAAAAAH!>
- A critique by Curtis Brown agent of awesome, Sarah La Polla! (Depending on how much the final bid is, she'll do MORE pages!)
Monday, July 18, 2011
Now. Hopefully by now, you've heard of Night of the Giving Dead. And today, I'd like to point something out. Usually, critiques go for upwards of 500 buckaroonies. But because I put a slew of them up at once, these have been flying under the radar. They're a STEAL, peeps. Why not place a bid and get in on the action???
- A signed copy of OyMG, an OyMG t-shirt, and a three chapter AND synopsis from the delightful Amy Dominy. (And synopses are always so fricking HARD! Amy's got a great feel for pacing and character; she'll help you out.)
- A 50 page manuscript critique by multitalented author Robin LaFevers. (Robin AWES me. She's pubbed in MG; her YA comes out soon, and I suspect she could write cereal boxes and make them interesting. Whatever you've got, she can help you with it.)
- A critique of 10 pages of a MG or YA or a full PB from the awe-inspiring Cynthea Liu. (This is the kind of thing that's perfect to get your first pages sparkling, even if your project isn't finished! And Cynthea writes such TERRIFIC books that you will be in TERRIFICKER hands.)
- A full manuscript critique plus a 30 minute follow up phone call by agent of awesomeness Suzie Townsend. (Just reading this makes me squealy. This could be just what you need to whip that manny into shape before subbing! And don't get me started on what a steal this is right now.)
- A full manuscript critique from me. (I cannot promise not to crack any jokes during the execution of said critique. But I promise to make it worth your while.)
Quick! Quick! Get cracking before someone else snaps these things up!