Carrie Harris | Young Adult Author

Friday, April 29, 2011

Google Fu Wha?

Some of you might remember my quest to become the world's foremost expert on Batman eyebrows. Yes, it was totally random in that I mentioned it once and then all of a sudden started getting all of these people coming to my site to look for more info. But at least it's something that sounds very Carrie--random, nonsensical, and involving people dressed like giant bats.

But lately, I've been getting lots of hits from people looking for three things that are NOT Carrie at all: Katie Couric in a bathing suit, gang hand signs, and bacon cupcakes. Well, maybe the last one fits my personality; I AM thinking about throwing another bacon party to celebrate my book debut, since it looks like my live event isn't going to happen. :(

I'm seriously wondering at the powers of Google-Fu. Are there no websites dedicated to Katie Couric's bathing suit beauty? Are all the gang bangers out banging and not blogging?

Oh. Wait a minute. Maybe they are.

Maybe the key to blogging success is to become an "expert" on a whole list of random things that no one else would think to blog about. So next week, you can expect an entire series on why American Idol always picks contestants that look like Muppets.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bookanistas: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Happy Bookanista Thursday! Haven't heard of the Bookanistas before? We talk about books that give us warm fuzzies. Or make us scream out loud. Or make us reach for the Kleenex box. You get the picture.

Today, I'm talking about DIVERGENT by my fellow Bookanista, Veronica Roth. If you've been living in a paper bag and haven't heard about this yet, here are the deets from Goodreads:

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Totally intriguing, right?

So here's the thing about DIVERGENT. I love a good action story, and this book delivers. There are fights. Dangerous stunts. Honestly chilling baddies. People leaping off trains. People getting attacked by birds.

Yeah, birds.

All that action makes for a fast-paced, hugely exciting ride. I loved the ups and downs of Tris' adventure, and I honestly couldn't put the book down mid-read. I can see why this got optioned for film, because Veronica has a very cinematic eye. And it's all set against this fascinating backdrop of a world. I'll be honest--some things about the world didn't seem plausible to me at all. I don't see how we'd ever get there as a society, although that's just my opinion and feel free to disagree. But for me, that added an additional element of interest. Could a society like this work? Why don't I think it could happen? What does that say about me?

If the mark of a good dystopian is that it makes you think about the world differently, then DIVERGENT did it for me. But it didn't beat me over the head with it, and I appreciate that.

DIVERGENT will go on my bookshelf for pulse-pounding adventures, and I'll be recommending it to all my friends. And I'll never look at birds the same way.

Okay, maybe I was exaggerating a little on that last bit. But you should still read it. :)

Don’t forget to stop by Myra McEntire’s blog for more awesome info on our first Bookanistas Give Back project

And, as for the rest of the Bookanistas…

Elana Johnson thrills over The Third

Christine Fonseca takes a shine to Demonglass

Shelli Johannes-Wells scribes about The Story Board

Shana Silver is rapturous about Moonglass

Rosemary Clement-Moore adores Enclave

Stasia Ward Kehoe has Perfect cover love

Veronica Rossi enthuses over Enclave

Megan Miranda travels the pages of Blood Red Road

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In Defense of Blogging

At a writer's conference I went to recently, the author panel was pretty down on the whole social media thing. They didn't see any value in it; it was a timesuck. The blogosphere is cluttered, and you only reach a limited number of people. Have a static website, they said. Social networking isn't worth the effort.

I disagree. And I may have said so at the conference, although I did so with all due respect. I know blogging isn't for everyone, and if it's not for you, don't do it! It's been said a million times that if you're going to blog/tweet/skywrite with the intent of SELLING BOOKS, then it's going to be a miserable failure. I think that's pretty obvious--who wants to hear ME ME ME all the time? But I think there's a lot to be gained from a blog and a twitter account and facebook and all that malarkey.

The first and biggest reason for me is that blogging is FUN. It reminds me of the reasons I got into writing in the first place. I can write whatever I want, whenever I want. (Within reason, of course. I would NOT advise using the blog to talk smack, unless it's funny pseudo smack in which case please leave the blog address in the comments because I want to visit.) There are no deadlines except the ones that are self-imposed. It's totally self-directed, and I like having that creative outlet.

It also keeps me writing every day, and I think that's pretty handy. Especially on days when I'm running errands and have no writing time, it's nice to have that half hour to sit down and write. I find that the words come easier if I do a little bit every day, and then I make the most of every minute.

So there's definitely a personal benefit, but is there anything else? With all the millions of marketing activities that a writer can do, why spend time blogging? Especially if you're only going to reach a limited number of book bloggers.

Maybe blogging IS insular. I certainly know a lot of people who aren't blog readers and don't intend to start any time soon. But I don't think you can say that a blog's influence is limited to the kidlit blogosphere. Book bloggers don't spend every waking minute on blogs. They go to school or to work. They hang out with friends. They go to the mall and walk through the bookstore, assuming that they're lucky enough to still have a bleeping bookstore in their mall. And during all those things, they talk. They recommend books they've heard about, retell funny anecdotes, and name drop authors. I've certainly done that.

So that blog might only get 200 hits in a day. But there's no way to know how many people talk about it or recommend the book to friends later or request it at the library. In a way, you are reaching people who have never touched a book blog. How many? Who knows?

So yeah, the book blogging community might be small, but the community of people who go to book signings is pretty small too. I look at it like a giant game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The connections don't stop at the first degree. And I think you've got to look at blogging like that.

What about you? What do you think of blogging? If you do it, why? If not, why not?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Ask a Scorpion

Apparently, I'll have to stop blogging soon, because Scorpion is going to behead me.



GET OVER HERE!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The BTIB Dream Film Cast

Today, I hope you'll come visit me over at So Many Books, So Little Time, where I talk about my dream film cast for my book and show you photos of chicken suits. And I'm going to take this opportunity to run some errands and POSSIBLY hang up those pictures that I bought about two months ago.

How embarrassing.

I'm talking about the pictures, not the chicken suit.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sleeping Beauty, Harris Style

Sometimes I wonder if I'm warping my children. First, a little brief background for you newbies--I have 4-year-old identical twins. Their initials are L and R, and I call them Left and Right because that's how we know which is which in early pictures of them. Coincidentally, our son's name starts with C, and he goes in the center, but we can usually tell which one is him, because we're smart like that.

Anyway. Last night, Right was playing with a Sleeping Beauty doll, and I got out a grasshopper finger puppet and waved it around saying, "I'm hungry! I'm hungry! I need a princess to eat!"

And she replies in her high-pitched mock princess voice, "Noooo! Noooo! Don't eat me! I'm so beautiful!"

Ahem. Sorry, kid. That doesn't fly in the Harris household. I calmly explained to her that brains will get you out of any situation, including attack by giant grasshopper, better than beauty will any time. And then we came up with a plot to distract the giant grasshopper by feeding it lots of lettuce. It was all going great until she decided to have Sleeping Beauty chop its head off.

Walt Disney might not have gone for that, but I'm kinda proud.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bookanistas: SHIFT by Jeri Smith-Ready

Welcome to Bookanista Thursday! For those of you not familiar with the Bookanistas, we're kind of like kidlit cheerleaders, because we shout out about books we love. But...uh...minus the uniforms and mean girl stereotypes.

This week, I've got to tell you about Jeri Smith-Ready's SHIFT. Jeri is a member of the Class of 2k10, and I was so lucky to be matched with her as my mentor. Did you know that the 2k classes get mentors? We do. It's so nice to be able to send my silly publishing questions to her and get an answer back, along with instructions for deep breathing exercises.

Anyway. SHIFT is the second book in a series. SHADE was out last year and is now available in paperback. You'll want to read that one before you tackle the second. And here are the deets on SHIFT, which will officially hit the shelves on May 3rd. Not too long to wait, peepul.

Ye official blurb o Goodreads:
Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.

Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.

As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.

And it's gorgeous, isn't it?

So here's the thing that gets me about these books--they're paranormal ghosty books, right? So we expect lots of action, mystery, and danger. But one of my big pet peeves is when the characters in books like this seem to have no lives whatsoever. I'm left with the impression that they pretty much just floated through life without engaging in ANYTHING aside from maybe an occasional party. Their life doesn't start until they meet the sparkly mutant wombat/were-yeti/frankenthulhu/whatever. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief when reading a paranormal, of course, but I want to feel like the contents of the book COULD happen. I want them to feel real even if I know they aren't.

That's one of the things that I loved the most about SHIFT (and its predecessor). Yes, it's got hot guys with cute accents, and a cool concept, and all kinds of ghostly intrigue. But for me, the big thing was that Aura felt like she had a life. She's got friends, and a job, and family, and she's interested in astronomy. She's not an empty vessel waiting to be filled by a sparkly paranormal boy of awesomeness. She has a LIFE, and sure, that life gets turned upside down and shaken, but it's still there.

I'd like to be friends with Aura, plain and simple. Have you read this? I'd love to hear if you feel the same.

And check out these other great Bookanista recommendations, while you're at it. My to-read list is going to explode at this rate.

Elana Johnson visits Dark and Hollow Places

LiLa Roecker gets silly over Spoiled

Christine Fonseca has a passion for Possession – with giveaway

Shannon Messenger marvels at Moonglass – with giveaway

Jamie Harrington adores Invincible Summer

Shelli Johannes-Wells is in the grip of Possession

Scott Tracey bathes in Blood Magic

Carolina Valdez Miller interviews Invicible Summer author Hannah Moskowitz

Jessi Kirby praises Playing Hurt

Bethany Wiggins delves into Divergent

Shana Silver presents a Guestanista gushing over Between Here and Forever

Rosemary Clement-Moore applauds Abandon

Sarah Frances Hardy enjoys Me Jane

Matt Blackstone loves Like Mandarin

Corrine Jackson delights in The Duff

Stasia Ward Kehoe discusses Displacement

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Flight of the Conchords

This should be the soundtrack to one of my books.

Oh, and it has an f-bomb in it, for you children-possessing people.

Although if you're POSSESSING children, we have greater problems than an f-bomb.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GODDESS TEST winner and MOAR prize awesomeness

So. First off, MEGAGIANTHUGE congrats to Aimee Carter on the official release of THE GODDESS TEST today! The book, it is awesome. Everyone should read it. And banana83854will have an easy time doing that, because random.org picked her number! (104, in case you're looking for a lucky lottery pick.)

Congrats, banana83854!

And thanks to everyone who entered and tweeted! Hopefully I'll have more stuff for you to win soon!

But in the meantime, I'd like to help one of you win some awesome prizes from the Class of 2k11. This month, they're giving out a copy of Amy Holder's awesome LIPSTICK LAWS (read my recommendation and check out a picture of me with a pair of Kleenex boxes stuck in my shirt here) and a marked up ARC of the ridiculously awesome Amy Dominy's Oy MG. Not only is this ARC signed, but it also has notes in it from Amy, giving you a little extra info that never made it into the book. I haven't yet talked about this book here, but trust me--it's fabulous. I read it in an afternoon and couldn't put it down.

Now, there are a lot of ways to win, and you can check out the 2k11 website if you'd like to learn more about them. But if you don't have the time to do that, you should definitely have time for this:

Make a title mashup using one or more of the following titles:
Tara Hudson - Hereafter
Carrie Harris - Bad Taste in Boys
Tess Hilmo - With a Name Like Love
Bettina Restrepo - Illegal
Trinity Faegen - The Mephisto Covenant

For example, you could mash my title with Dracula and Going Bovine and come up with BAD TASTE IN BOVINE DRACULAS. Then write a sentence or two telling us what the book's about: "Julie expects her summer on her grandparent's farm to be really boring. But there's something about the cattle that draws her--especially the sparkly one that plaintively moos outside her window at night. Is it true love, or is Bull just out for her blood?"

Post it in the comments, or email it to me direct. I'll enter you in the contest, which runs through May 4th. Winners of both of the books will be selected randomly and announced on the Class of 2k11 blog on the 11th, and I'll email you direct if you win. We're also entering everyone into a big end-of-the-year drawing for the most creative entry of the year--so you could win LOTS of books and assorted fun stuff.

Let me know if you have questions, and good luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

ANGRY CARRIE

I. Am. Angry.

I mean, COME ON, MICHIGAN. Snow?!? Why do you tease me like this? I just begin to think that it's safe to garden and go outside, and that makes me HAPPY because I'm really a summer person. I can walk around without shoes and people don't look at me funny, unlike the times that I go out to get something from the car without shoes and it's snowing, and then people think I'm nuts. I love shoes; I just don't like wearing them.

And HELLO, DIGRESSION.

Anyway. When I woke up this morning and saw actual accumulation on the ground, I felt something like this:

YO, SNOW! I'm gonna mess you up!


And that made me think...I'm kind of over emoticons. I mean, they've been overdone, right? So from now on, I think I'm going to use FaceInHole in place of emoticons. So if you see the Rambo in one of my emails, you'll know I'm angry.

If you see this one, you'll know that I'm horrified. And possibly put blueberry jello into my bath water by mistake.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


And if you see this, you'll know I've been abducted by aliens and replaced by a clever clone.

Oh, Edward. You're so sexy!


Or a not-so-clever clone, as the case may be.

In other news, competition is FIERCE for the signed copy of Aimee Carter's THE GODDESS TEST. I draw a winner tomorrow morning, go here and comment to enter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Amusements

I feel like it's become all business all the time here, and I'm sorry for that! Schedules are getting tight here at Chez Harris--what with edits on books two and three, and trying to pick the next project, and the fact that BAD TASTE IN BOYS hits the shelves in less than three months!?!?!? It felt so far away for all this time, and now it feels way too close.

So I've been trying to chill, and here are some of my latest amusements:

Got any amusing links to share? I'd love to see them.

And in the meantime, don't forget to comment on my last post to win a signed copy of Aimee Carter's forthcoming THE GODDESS TEST. Which is quite clearly made of awesome.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bookanistas: The Goddess Test with a GIVEAWAY!

Appyhay Ookanistabay Ursdaythay!

I am a firm believer that Pig Latin is underused. I'm on a mission to reinvigorate it as a language. But in the meantime, I'm so happy to present my Bookanistas recommendation for the week--THE GODDESS TEST by my friend Aimee Carter! Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt like you've known them for ages? I met Aimee a couple of weeks ago for coffee (and what a comedy of errors THAT was), and it was exactly like that.

Here are the deets, courtesy of Le Goodreads:

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.


As with any book written by someone you know, there's the oh crap moment when you get a copy. Will you hate it? And if so, how're you going to handle that? So I had all my fingers crossed when I opened it up. (I should note that this made holding the book very difficult, but I'm dedicated to my work. DEDICATED, I tell you.) I intended to read a couple of pages, just to get a feel for it, before I went to bed.

I went to bed VERY late that night.

I couldn't put it down. I'm a mythology buff--if it's vaguely related to mythology, I'm interested. I'm not one of those people who memorizes myths, but I do have a favorite Titan (Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses). And one of the things that often bothers me about mythology based books is that they're so busy putting in references to the original myth that they FORGET THAT THEY NEED A GOOD STORY.

Not so with THE GODDESS TEST. It's a good bleeping story, one that's inspired by the Persephone myth but takes it into new, uncharted territory. It's the kind of book that can be enjoyed by myth-buffs as well as people who run shrieking in the opposite direction at the mention of Athena. But if you ARE a myth person, you'll find yourself guessing at the turn of every page--Was this a test? Is that person one of the gods?

I'll admit it. I guessed, and I wasn't entirely right. And I LOVE THAT.

At the end of the day, what you end up with is a great story with some mythology flavor, one that turns the mean girl stereotype on its ear, one that shows a close relationship between teen and mother (and heaven forbid THAT would ever happen). It's a story in which the gods are believably godlike and slightly incomprehensible. In short, I loved it. If you want my copy, you will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.

But you don't need to do that, because I'm giving away a signed copy. Comment below to win, and feel free to tweet or blog for an extra entry each. I'll draw the winner next Tuesday, which I believe is the official release date! Trust me, you want a copy of this book!

And in the meantime, checketh out the rest of the Bookanista recommendations for this week!

LiLa Roecker adores Alice-Miranda at School

Christine Fonseca caws about Scrawl

Shannon Messenger gets passionate about Possession

Shelli Johannes-Wells takes a shine to Shimmer

Scott Tracey raves about Red Glove

Jessi Kirby feels The Pull of Gravity

Shana Silver delights in The Day Before

Corrine Jackson swoons for Starcrossed

Stasia Ward Kehoe is outspoken about Addie on the Inside

Sarah Frances Hardy celebrates The Best Birthday Party Ever

Kirsten Hubbard fawns over Family - with giveaway

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Problem with Book Ratings

Maybe this has happened to you. Let's say you're on Amazon. You're looking at two books, and you CANNOT DECIDE which one to buy. You are miserable; you're losing sleep. You can't eat. All your fingernails are gone. I might be exaggerating slightly for comedic effect. But the upshot is, you've got to make this choice, and you've read good reviews for both. Finally, you turn to the star rating. One book has 4.25 stars. The other has 3.9. DONE. You buy the one that is better.

If you're a writer, maybe this has happened to you. You watch your book go up on Amazon, Goodreads, and every other site with a rating and review system. You cross all your crossables and hope it'll be okay. The reviews start to come in. They're sometimes ecstatic and sometimes NOT ecstatic, and that's okay too. A very small number are completely impossible, like the ratings that come before the ARCs are released, when you know for a fact who has read it and who hasn't.

Slowly, your rating starts to drop. When you think about it, you realize it's only to be expected. Your early readers were handpicked by you or by your publisher. They might even know you. They will be, for a variety of reasons, disposed to like this book. And their enthusiasm attracts people. Yay enthusiasm! But then you throw in a couple of one star reviews from people before the ARCs even come out, and then another two starrer from someone who gets most of the facts wrong and might have read a completely different book with your book jacket on it by mistake. The book's rating tanks.

Now you're panicked. People might not buy your book because of this rating! AUGH!

My advice? Chill out.

I think it's pretty obvious that I am a huge fan of book blogging. I do more interviews and things than are probably good for me, but that's because I can't fathom saying no to someone who's interested in spreading the word about my book. That's not a dig against people who don't do interviews and guest posts--I just happen to enjoy talking about myself and not everyone is crazy like that. And I'm down with star ratings on those book blogs. It's obvious when a heckload of work goes into determining how to fairly rate a book, and I find that crazy impressive.

I don't usually comment on the blogs themselves, because that seems very suck-uppery, but THANK YOU, BOOK BLOGGERS. I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT, BUT I'M GLAD YOU DO.

So my rating complaints aren't a dig at book bloggers, because quite frankly, I think I'm more of a fan of you than you are of me! My issue is with sites in which these ratings are compiled. The two that I have the most experience with are Amazon and Goodreads, so I'm going to mention them specifically, but that doesn't mean they're the only places that have these issues.

Here's my problem--A good average needs a lot of things. First, you've got to have a clear understanding of what each rating means, and everyone has to rate things the same way. But the unfortunate reality is that to me, a 5 might mean I liked it and would read it again. But another blogger might give out 5s only to life-changing books, maybe once or twice a year. So if you average our scores together, what does that tell you about how much we liked the book? Not a whole lot. If it's a book that we both enjoyed, I might give it a 5, and the other blogger might give it a 3, but we're trying to communicate the same information--I enjoyed this. It wasn't necessarily one of my favorite books ever, but I liked it. You can see how this could get really complicated when you factor in thousands of reviewers, even if you assume that they're all following the rules by reading the book. And a small percentage aren't.

So ultimately, there's no way to say what that average rating really MEANS. What happens if my book is rated by a lot of people who give out 5s, and one of my friends' books is rated by a bunch of reviewers who don't give them out very often? Now mine looks better, but if we traded reviewers, would the picture change? There's no way to know.

For me, that's the most difficult part of sites like Goodreads. I think there are a lot of great reviewers on there. I've discovered a lot of great books based on recommendations from reviewers I trust. But when you take a bunch of numbers based on different criteria and create an average, it doesn't tell you much that's useful. And that's not even going into issues like sampling--where the people most likely to comment are the ones who REALLY LOVED or REALLY HATED something, and not everyone who read the book. Or maybe there's a book about yeti goatherders, and a society of yeti goatherders read it, and they loved it. Yes, it gets 5 stars among the yeti goatherder population, but does that mean non-yeti goatherders will get all the inside jokes? Not necessarily.

Does this mean that I think places like Goodreads are useless? Heck no! I'm all for places where people can talk about books. But I think a lot of people get hung up on those stars--Why did she give me three stars but only said good things about my book? or Why is my rating taking a long, slow nosedive? I'LL NEVER SELL ANOTHER BOOK AGAIN! And what I say is that you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and realize that those numbers mean different things to different people. And the next time you're interested in learning more about the book, look past that average, because ultimately, it's influenced by so much more than the quality of the writing.

That's what I think, anyway. What's your take on it?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Richard Simmons on Air New Zealand

I would like to go to New Zealand for many reasons. One of which is the following in-flight safety briefing by Richard Simmons.



I think the only thing better than this would be a live Sweating to the Oldies class ON THE PLANE. But then again, I'm also known to be certifiably insane.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In Which I Go To the Library and Talk About Naked Bits

Good morning, shambling hordes! (Or maybe that's just how we are at my house when we get woken up before we want to be.) My mini vacay was so nice. We went to visit my husband's family farm and got to ride on this crazy off-road thing that goes over huge piles of rocks, downed trees, and swamps. My son played lots of soccer, although I missed a couple of games because I was talking at the library.

And holy crapsticks--that was seriously fun. It was the first over 80s day we've had, and I seriously worried that no one would show up. (Mental note--must invent weather controlling machine for events.) But a small group of die-hards came, and the library set out displays of dead flowers, since I was talking about the UNdead, and they made cake pops with monster faces on them. I wanted to move in and never leave.

So we sat there for about an hour, and I talked about writing, and I found myself telling this anecdote and realizing about halfway through that it really is PG-13 and maybe I shouldn't have told it, but it was too late by then. But I think it really says something important.

See, I'm not so keen on books where they describe a character down to their eyelashes. When I meet someone, I don't think to myself, "She has shoulder length brown hair in need of a cut, deep blue eyes with a deeper ring around them, average height, with a little chip in her front tooth..." and so on. I usually remember one or two things that stand out to me, and the rest of the details fall into the background. Am I the only person who does this? Because that's how I tend to describe my characters--I pick a few details that make them stand out and let people fill in the rest.

Unfortunately, this approach can sometimes backfire, in real life anyway. For example, I went to this party a while back. Now, this was a theater party, and that meant there were theater people there. (Astounding logic, eh?) And I hadn't met most of them before. But my best friend Monster wanted to go, so we did. And we're standing outside by the bonfire, chatting, when the door opened and all the partygoers came outside.

Naked.

I didn't know where to look. (Although I definitely knew where I DIDN'T want to look.) They swarmed all over the backyard, climbing trees and fences and doing little dances on the grass. After about 10 minutes, they got cold and splintered and went back inside.

We left the party shortly thereafter because we couldn't stop giggling every time we looked at the trees. And later, I'd meet some of those people, and I'd introduce myself, and they'd look at me funny. "We've already met," they'd say. "At the party."

This is where my approach backfired. Because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't avoid noticing the naked bits. It's hard to do when people are climbing trees and dancing around and being generally crazy. And you remember what I said about remembering one or two defining physical characteristics about a person, right? Well, once those physical characteristics are covered up by clothes, it becomes really hard to remember people. And I've learned that it's not a good idea to say, "Hey, could you drop your pants?" And then, "Oh! I remember you!" And then giggling.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yay!

Hugeola congrats to Jessica from ireadtorelax for winning the signed copy of Amy Holder's THE LIPSTICK LAWS! And in other news, I'll be taking the next couple of days off to do spring breaky things with my kids. Like stare out the windows and wish it looked REMOTELY like spring.

Life in Michigan. It's wacky.

I'll probably talk to you next week--or if you happen to be IN Michigan (I'm so sorry), come and see me at the Manchester Library on Sunday! Deets are here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Want To See Me?

Are you getting sick of all these announcements and things? Let me know--I can post them on my site instead of here if it's getting to be too much.

Attention Michiganders, Toledoans, and crazy people who like to drive long distances! I'll be appearing at the Manchester District Library next Sunday, April 10th from 2 to 3. And there will be cookies. If you're a blog reader, make sure to come up and introduce yourself so that I can squeal over you appropriately. Check out the fancy dancy press release I wrote:

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE HITS MANCHESTER DISTRICT LIBRARY

Zombies are everywhere—lurching into hit movies, populating bestselling books, and invading schools across the country through the popular game Zombie Tag. Debut Saline author Carrie Harris will bring zombie fever to the Manchester District Library on April 10, 2011 from 2 to 3 PM, with a reception to follow.

In this program, Carrie will discuss survival strategies for the zombocalypse, explain the science of the undead, and give attendees an inside look at recent and upcoming zombie book releases with a focus on literature for teens.

Carrie is an expert on all things brain-related; she used to work at a lab in which human brains really did sit in jars on the counters. It only seemed natural for her to write a zombie book—BAD TASTE IN BOYS, which will hit the shelves in July from the Random House teen imprint, Delacorte Press. A sequel will be published in 2012, with a third book to follow the next year. She is also the president of the Class of 2k11, a group of debut authors for middle grade and teen readers.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Prizetasticness

So. I wanted to remind you that you can win a signed copy of the LIPSTICK LAWS and see what happens when I stuff two boxes of Kleenex in my shirt. This one's super easy to enter--just comment!

Now, I have something ELSE new and exciting for you. First of all, I'd like to tell you that you are now four degrees of separation from Robert Pattinson. (And Paris Hilton, but that's a story for a different day.) See, you know me. Myra McEntire is one of my fellow Bookanistas. She knows Charlie Bewley, who is one of the actors in the Twilight saga. And obviously, he knows RPattz.

You're welcome.

So Charlie's doing this thing in which you can donate to the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and win a private advance screening of Breaking Dawn, which I quite plainly WANT TO WIN. But instead, the Bookanistas are trying to help spread the word by adding a little extra awesome to sweeten the pot. I, for example, am donating a 50 page critique. Here's all the officialness:

Charitable donations are a very personal thing. There are so many ways our hard earned money can help others, and lately our world seems to be breaking into pieces around us. Needs are many and great. The Bookanistas want to give back, so in the coming months, we're going to be looking for ways to pour into communities, both bookish and worldwide.

For the month of April, we've chose to spotlight Run For Your Life, an event that's raising money for a cancer hospital, largely because the framework is already set up (we'd like to keep it simple our first time out), and also because of personal connections to the cause. Most everyone has lost a loved one to cancer or knows someone who has.

To encourage you to donate, we're going to give away some sweet prizes! Here's how it will work:

1. Go to the Run For Your Life page.

2. Make a donation. $5 is suggested, but lower or higher is fine. (Also know that for every dollar you donate, you'll be entered to win a private, advance screening for twenty people for Breaking Dawn. The Bookanistas have NOTHING to do with that part - that's all Charlie Bewley and Summit Entertainment.)

3. Go to Myra's blog and fill out the entry form, because it hates me. We're trusting you to be honest about giving, and about the amount you give. Don't be a mamby pamby. Keep up our faith in mankind.

4. The Bookanistas will be giving away a selection of prizes (see list below). You will be entered one time for each dollar you donate ($5 = 5 entries). If you wish to be entered to win a specific prize, let us know in the designated section of the entry form.

5. We're following the guidelines set forth by Run for Your Life, which means this particular event will only be open to those in North America. Entries will be closed on April 30th, and we will contact randomly selected winners shortly thereafter.

6. Spread the word. Tweet, post the Run For Your Life logo (above) with a link to Charlie's site on your blog, or Facebook about the event, and receive an entry (one entry TOTAL for doing all or one of these things). Place a link/links in the place provided on the entry form.

HERE'S THE LIST OF BOOKANISTA PRIZES (this list WILL be added to, so check back):

From Carrie Harris: A 50 page manuscript critique

From Shannon Messenger: A signed copy of WHITE CAT and a signed copy of RED GLOVE by Holly Black

From Jessi Kirby: A signed copy of MOONGLASS

From Gretchen McNeil: A swag pack of POSSESS goodies and a query critique

From Corrine Jackson: A 50 page manuscript critique

From Stasia Kehoe: A signed copy of AUDITION

From Shana Silver: A query and first chapter critique

From Lisa and Laura Roecker: A signed copy of LIAR SOCIETY and bookmarks

From Shelli Johannes Wells: A box of ten mystery advance reader copies

From Elana Johnson: A Dystopian Trifecta of Awesome - a signed copy of DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES by Carrie Ryan, a signed copy of MATCHED by Ally Condie, and a signed ARC of Elana's own POSSESSION

From Christine Fonseca: Signed copies of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS and 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS

From Myra McEntire: A signed copy of DEMONGLASS by Rachel Hawkins, a signed copy of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis, a signed copy of TORMENT by Lauren Kate, and a signed and annotated advance reader copy of HOURGLASS.
 


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