Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - Ninja Slap

We are so playing this at our next game night.

Correction: The ninjas can play. I'll take the pictures.

Of course, now I'm thinking about all of the different games that reach a whole new level of awesome when ninjas play them. Personally, I'm thinking that a ninja game of Red Rover would be AWESOME.

And when the awesome is in capital letters, you know it's really really awesome.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Query Ninja - The Sparkles in the Woods

Okay. For those of you who haven't seen Query Ninja before, here's how it goes. Some brave soul sends me a query. I Madlib the heck out of it (all changed words will be italicized in case YOU want to give some feedback too). Hopefully it is funny, because queries are hard work, and funny makes everything better. And then we all give that person advice.

The most important rule of Query Ninja is not to talk about Query Ninja. Er... wait. That's not right. The most important rule is to be nice to the submitter. Today's submitter is Mason, Agent of Awesomeness. Be nice to him. Send him sparkles.

Here's his query.

Dear Agent of Sparkliness,

I’m querying you specifically because you are sparkly, and everyone knows that sparkles are awesome.

Getting lost in the woods is always a bad thing, but when there’s a sparkly pack of wereducks hunting you in the service of a sparkly god, you’d better have a witch on your side—unless you’re not sure what side she’s on.

Thirteen-year-old Marilyn Manson, somewhat-spoiled and headstrong, is tired of boring old peace and quiet. But when his father the king elects to join a dangerous and distant war for reasons he can scarcely comprehend, Marilyn finds himself caught in the middle of a hidden power struggle between sparkles and evil that is bigger than the simple strivings of kings and nations.

Oh, and did I mention that he gets lost in the woods?

When he is rescued (or kidnapped) by a strange and dangerous woman who claims to have answers, Marilyn must figure out if he can trust her—and whether he’ll ever be able to escape the woods, avoid the ducks that were once men, and get back home. Marilyn must warn his father about the trap set for him if he hopes to prevent an invasion of all of Hollywood.

But as Marilyn digs deeper, he uncovers secrets entwined within other secrets until he faces a power of evil that has no mercy and no compassion—and it seems as if the High Sparkle, the mythical creator of the universe, is unwilling or unable to do anything to help.

The first in a four-book series, THE SPARKLES IN THE WOODS is an 87,500 word YA fantasy suspense novel that deals with mature sparkly themes such as fate, gender equality, racism, and the disheartening silence of God.
THE SPARKLES IN THE WOODS will appeal to those who wish that Stephen Lawhead, The Trix Rabbit and C.S. Lewis could team up with Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix and Count Chocula.

My marketing platform is unique and sparkly. I am the lead singer of the quickly rising alternative rock band Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle. To market the book I will aggressively piggyback a book tour onto the band’s tour schedule. In other words, I’m not just going to do virtual or blog tours.

The finished manuscript is available upon request. (In the interest of disclosure, the publishers Sparkletown and Sparklehouse have already requested full proposals & partials. In addition I have queried [two] other agents.)

As a very brief biographical note: I was raised in Hell, Michigan, educated in Oompa-Loompaville (Theology and Philosophy) and now currently reside in my house. In addition, my father, Batman, is a prolific author who has been published by Superhouse, Wonder Press, Flash USA, Jokerbury, and many others. THE SPARKLES IN THE WOODS is my first novel.

Best regards,

Mason, Agent of Awesome

Yay, Mason, Agent of Awesome! You have written a query, and you are still sane. That alone is worthy of respect. Woot!

Now, in the past, we've talked about the Church Lady rule, which is to make sure that your query is as special as possible. Today, we're going to talk about the Richard Simmons rule.

Make sure your query is as tight as my heinie.

Think about it this way: Agents get hundreds of queries delivered every week. You need to show them that not only do you have great ideas, but you can deliver them in well-written, Richard's-heinie-esque prose. You can clearly and succinctly communicate what your novel is about. You have a hook that will catch editors' attention.

So how do you do this?

Well, first off, I'd put that book front and center. You start with a statement about why you chose the agent in question. Personally, I'd move that to the end. You're selling your awesome sparkly book. (Sparkle sparkle sparkle!) It is so awesome that you can't wait to tell an agent about it. Look, Jane, look! Look at my book!

Yes, I referenced Dick and Jane. Yes, yes, I am insane.

Yes, I sound like Dr. Seuss on crack.

And then, it's a matter of telling us right away what this book is about. Your first paragraph is mucho witty, but it leads me to believe that this is a book about being stuck in the woods with a maybe-bad witch, some wereducks, and a bunch of sparkles. But later on in the query, it seems like the book is about preventing the invasion and fighting the evil. (Bad evil! No biscuit!) The witch, wereducks, and sparkles are obstacles on the path to accomplishing this goal. Ultimately, I think this is a story about sparkles versus evil, but we don't get that until the end of the third paragraph. Personally, I think that we need to know the central conflict as early as possible, so we can appreciate its awesomeness right away. Anyone else feel otherwise?

I'd also ask yourself whether each story element is essential to your query. You have a lot going on here: witches, wereducks, the High Sparkle, a war, the kidnapping, and the nameless evil. Which of these elements are necessary to tell what your story is about? Maybe they all are, but maybe not. For example, do you need the wereducks? They don't do much in the query; we know that they're hunting Marilyn Manson (and I kinda hope they catch him), but then they disappear. You could potentially use that space to tell us a little more about the nameless evil. Otherwise, you've told us more about the henchmen than the big boss. And it's kind of important for us to understand how big of a threat they're facing.

Don't tease the agent. It's kind of like feeding the animals in the zoo. It's just not good.

Then, I'd go through each sentence with your editor's hat on. Queries are like poetry; every word has to be precise and impeccably chosen because you've got such a small amount of space to capture your reader's attention. So for example, I'd look at your High Sparkle sentence. How is a mythical being going to do something? It's mythical. All it can do is myth around.

I just like to say 'myth.'

Once you've got your book summary down to heinie-tightness, do the same with your background. Ask the tough questions. Do you really need to compare yourself to six authors, or could you cut it down to two impeccably chosen ones? It's interesting that your father is an author, but do you need to list his publishers? Is this the right time to discuss marketing?

That last one is a tough call, but I'm going to argue that it's not. If your platform was a perfect fit for your book, sure. But I'm afraid that I'm just not convinced that fans of your obviously-awesome band will also be YA fantasy readers. Does this mean that the idea should be scrapped? Absolutely not! But if your goal is to get a manuscript request, I think the space would be better used to highlight that manuscript! I'd bring up this idea to your agent after you've signed, and he or she can help you decide what to do with it.

But of course, all of this is my opinion, and I may be full of it. What do the rest of your think? Don't forget to give props to Mason, Agent of Awesome, for being all brave and double-oh-seveney. Seriously, Mason. Thanks for allowing us to discuss the awesomeness that is your query.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Confession, and Some Awesomeness

First off, I have a confession to make. This weekend, I killed Faramir, Elmer Fudd, Billy Crystal, and Josh Hartnett. It was game night on Friday. We have this board game called Marry, Date, Dump. We've talked about the game before; I think I told you that we play a more grown up version, which is marry, spendqualityalonetime, kill. And I had to choose between Aragorn, Legolas and Faramir.

Of course I married Aragorn. I wouldn't want to marry someone with prettier hair than me.

That was only slightly less traumatizing than the round during which I had to choose between Elmer Fudd, the Keebler Elf, and the Mayor of Munchkinland. This became even more traumatizing when my friend The Electric Lovitz started doing famous movie roles as played by the Mayor of Munchkinland. Then he switched to Forrest Gump as the bad guy from Silence of the Lambs.

"It puts the lotion on its skin, Jen-nay."

And we wonder why I turned out the way I did. Seriously, if I can ever figure out that whole YouTube video posting thing, I'm going to talk him into doing that for the cameras. Because it's freaking hilarious.

In the category of Awesomeness, I have something to show you. You may recall that I was incredibly excited for Kiersten's amazing three book deal. I walked around for weeks telling people about it and claiming that I was going to ride her coattails to fame. (She has since notified me that she does not wear coats and maybe I should consider riding her flip flops instead.) Anyway, my ranting has inspired art.

I feel so freaking kewl.

Here it is, courtesy of aMadArtist:

I so want to put this on my wall.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Geeking Out Star Wars Style

Happy Friday. 'Scuse me while I geek out.

I know the last one isn't Star Wars, but it made me laugh so hard.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Most Awesome Question in the World

Just in case you missed it, a little more than a week ago, I put out a general call for questions. I like to answer questions. It makes me feel like I'm on a game show, and I might win something. I like winning things too.

One time, I won a little statue of a skeleton in a chicken costume. And really, it doesn't get much better than that.

Anyway, I received the question to end all questions. The Question of Awesome. I'm inducting ElanaJ into the Semi-Secret Order of the Blog Ninja just by virtue of the sheer awesomeness that is this question. Do I have you intrigued? Here's the question:
Okay. Let's say you were marooned on a desert island. You hike around a little, only to spot Edward and Bella in the top of a tree. After shielding your eyes against the dazzling sheen from his skin in the sunlight, you move on, totally over THAT.

From your position on top of a hill (yes, you climbed it) you spot a colony of zombies. They're all sleeping because it's daytime, but you know they're zombies. They have brains lying by the fire.

You decide to head back to the beach, thinking that the more distance between you and zombieville, the better. You spot Tinky Winky peeking at you from behind a tree. Afraid to even go there you sprint back to the beach, where somehow, they're all waiting for you.

Edward (sans Bella, thank goodness).
The zombie clan leader, somehow protected from the sun with a tin foil blanket.
And Tinky Winky.

You can choose one of them to help you get off the island. Or for life-long companionship. Or whatever.

Who do you choose? And why??

First, let's take a moment to appreciate the sheer awesomeness of this question. Elana, clearly, GETS me. Frankly, I'm thinking that she ought to be my official interviewer, because really, I can answer questions like, "Where do you get your ideas?" and such, but I really excel at choosing between survival via sparkly vampire, zombie in tin foil blanket, and Teletubby. It's just how I roll.

But what about me? Don't I get to be on the island?

Richard! Um, no, the question asks about vampires, zombies, and Teletubbies. You're not in this question.

But I have skills! Look, I can put my leg behind my head.

You're the spokesperson of my blog. Who's going to maintain my blog while I'm marooned? And besides, putting your leg behind your head isn't a survival skill.

It is too a survival skill.

I do not want to know. I'm not going to ask.

Who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to ask. How on earth is putting your leg behind your head a survival skill?

If your leg was possessed, you could put it behind your head for safekeeping. I'm speaking theoretically, of course. That's never happened to me. Never.

Your leg was possessed?

Um, no. What gave you that idea?

Just a hunch.

Okay, we're totally off topic here. If I was marooned on a desert island, I would send a telepathic message to Richard to take care of the Wonder That Is My Blog, and to Batman to tell him to beware his evil possessed leg. And then I would ask Edward to steal the tin foil blanket and kill the Teletubby and the zombies, because the Teletubby would drive me nuts, and the zombie would eventually start to stink.

Besides, Edward sparkles. And everyone knows that sparkles are an essential part of every survival kit.

I can't disagree with that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bring on Those Snexy Tattoos

Tattoos crack me up. My grandfather was a tattooed motorcycle-riding mechanic; his tattoo was done by one of his friends and I never had the heart to tell him that it looked vaguely like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The fact that it had "Mom" underneath it only made it funnier. My uncle is also a tattooed motorcyclist, but he also happens to be 6'8", and at that height, you can have tattoos of Gumby in drag and I won't make fun of you. Probably the sound would evaporate before it reached your ears anyway.

There was a girl in one of my college dance classes that had this really wonky tattoo that you could see when she wore a leotard. On one breast, she had a full moon. On the other? A howling wolf. I never could get over the fact that her breasts howled at each other. I'm sure everyone in that class thought I was certifiable, because I kept cracking up at random moments.

Slayer and I have been playing Guitar Hero together, which is pretty funny because I have the hands of a seven year old. Seriously, I think someone in the body assemblage plant was cutting their PCP with Clorox, because they made me fairly tall and then gave me tiny little hands and feet. So I can't reach all the buttons on Guitar Hero.

Translation: I suck. Big time.

But we decided that I'd make his rock star, and he'd make mine. So on Guitar Hero, I now wear the most painful-looking pair of Daisy Dukes in the known universe. (I've heard that Daisy Dukes are all the fashion on Betelgeuse 5, though, so I can't prove that.) He has a huge tattoo of a zombie hand in the universal rocking out position on his chest, and a pompadour.

I can't be the only person in the world that thinks that sexy. And snarfy.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Zombie-Strewn Road to Publication

Alright. I promised the inspirational road to publication story, and here it is.

I decided that I wanted to be a writer in 1994. (Fer real.) My big problem was that I didn't know what I wanted to write. I started out with poetry. (Fer real.) A few of my poems went out into the big wide world, like "Slumber Party with the Pope" and "Taming the Unicorn," if by "big wide world" you mean Toledo because those first publications were local press sorts of things. I fervently wished that I looked good in a beret, because that is what poets are supposed to wear. (Fer real, and don't you wish I'd stop saying that?)

Something about the shape of my head is not beret-compatible. It's not pretentious enough.

I didn't fit in with the poets. The rest of me wasn't pretentous-shaped either. So I moved on to plays. My play "Why Nubile Young Women Make Fabulous Kidnappers" was produced on a real honest-to-goodness stage. My favorite part was where they dumped all the snacks on the floor about two lines before they had to eat them.


Anyway, that was fun, but it didn't feel right either. I wrote a screenplay. I wrote role playing books on spec. I wrote a NaNo novel that started out as a fantasy satire and ended up as a political satire. I was just happy that I finished the darned thing. And then I wrote a book about a mother who performed an exorcism on her own son.

Yeah, can you say 'dark'?

None of these things fit me, and finally, idiot me sat back and asked myself what I like to read, and what I want to write rather than what I thought I should write if I wanted people to take me seriously. That's when I realized that I don't want people to take me seriously at all, because my favorite books are the ones that make me laugh. And damnit, I like YA, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

This was about a month after my twins were born, and I started my first YA manny then. It took about four months to write; I learned how to feed the girls with my feet so I could type too. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. I joined a critique group that helped me maintain my sleep-deprived sanity. I wrote and obsessed and wrote some more. And when I finished it, it didn't suck. It made one of my critique partners snarf soda all over her keyboard. That compliment alone had me floating for days.

I started to query, and the manuscript requests started to pour in fast. I was convinced that I was hot bleep. And maybe I was, but even hot bleep needs to find the right home. I got a lot of "I love this, but I have too many superhero books," and the usual "I love this, but it's not right for me."

And then, my dream agent requested the manny. Kate represents Maureen Johnson, and I pretty much slept with Devilish underneath my pillow for a while. Devilish convinced me that there might be a market for my brand of supernaturally tinged silly. She requested the full. She offered representation. I cried when I got the email, because I am at heart a big overemotional wuss.

That, and I'd been working toward that call for 14 bleeping years.

When I signed with Kate, I was thrilled. We got a lot of great feedback on that first book and more close calls than I can count. But I had a lot to learn as a writer, and in the meantime I'd started a new manuscript about how a completely rational person could come to the conclusion that zombies exist. Poor Slayer got mercilessly pimped for information about theoretical zombie viruses. There was copious staggering around the Harris household while I tried to envision the fight scenes. I perfected the zombie moan.

No Pain went out on submission. I got an offer almost one year to the day from when I signed with Kate. I left a completely incomprehensible message on Slayer's phone and met him out on the front step. His first words? "I told you so."


But here's the point of this whole overlong saga: Don't give up. Because I'm looking back at those 15 long, neurosis-filled years, and I have to say that they were worth it. Just keep working at your craft. Those stories that you see about overnight offers are very much in the minority; people who work in publishing are so god-awful swamped from what I can see that I wonder that they are still sane. So even when you do get an agent, you may or may not be doing some major waiting. This is not because you suck, or because there is a secret agent and editor coalition in which they take clandestine bets on which author will crack under the pressure first. It's because they're short-staffed and swamped under a manuscript tsunami. If you are just starting out, please bear this in mind. Be kind to agents and editors. They are on your side. They do not work for the zombies.

And really, it's a matter of clarifying what you want. I am not an overnight sensation. But I am a professional writer. Zombie-obsessed. Prone to kookiness. But professional as all get out, and I'm darned proud of it.

Don't worry. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled nonsense tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Really, this is how Austen ought to be. (Obligatory warning: If this was in the theater, it would probably be PG-13. Please don't give the kiddies nightmares about giant octopi.)

Now, you've probably all noticed the trend toward updating classics with supernatural elements. There's the infamous Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Two new deals from Publishers Weekly are Emma and the Vampires and Wuthering Bites. (So awesome.)

There's just one problem with this. Eventually, we will run low on the traditional supernatural creatures. I predict that in about 10 years, we will see Jane Eyre and the Cannibalistic Injury Lawyers. Not to mention the House of Mirthy Richard Simmons Zombies. The saddest part about all of this is that I would probably read both of those books.

Oh, and I'm making Richard Simmons zombies for a giveaway. No, seriously.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zombie Sheep, Halloween Costumes, and My Pimpability

It's time for more answers to your most pressing questions! Because I'm all about performing essential services for my blog readers.

No, I will not mow your lawn. But I will send some zombie sheep your way to eat the grass. Just make sure you're not standing on it at the time, because I am not responsible for what will happen.

By the way, can I just interrupt myself to say that I find this hilarious?

I think it's the brainchild of Carrie Ryan; correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, answers.

Empress Awesome wants to know if she can interview me when my book comes out.

Let me put it to you this way. This is me:

(Let me know if the comic isn't working, will ya? It went all wonky on me this morning. Evidently, comics and pimpability don't mix.)

(Update part deux: For some reason, the bleeping comic won't bleeping work for some people. If you can't see it, I want you to close your eyes and pretend that you see a cartoon of me in all my clashing, yellow-shirted, purple-shorted glory, holding a sign that says, "Pimpable." Because when it comes to interviews, I am.)

As we get closer to my yet-to-be-determined pub date, of course I'll be available for interviews, guest blog posts, stuff like that. Richard will be too. And really, who could resist a guest blog post from Richard Simmons?

(Disclaimer: It's not the real Richard Simmons. Really.)

Barb says that she's planning to be Medusa for Halloween. She's got the rubber snake hairdo all set, but she wants to know what I think Medusa would have worn.

Now, this is my area of expertise. For those of you who weren't around last year, I love Halloween. I ADORE Halloween. I constantly come up with costume ideas like the tooth finja (tooth fairy/ninja extraordinare). I love Halloween so much that I refused to let my first child be born on any other day.

I'm that dedicated.

So I am your go-to person for Halloween dilemmas. And I can answer this with one brain tied behind my back.

Medusa would clearly wear this:

You thought it was going to be sparkly Richard Simmons shorts, didn't you? But no, I am all about keeping you on your toes. And everyone knows that Medusa had a secret watermelon fetish.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - Buffy and the Fanny of Darkness

Math by Carrie:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer = awesome
Buffy plus Whose Line Is It Anyway? = priceless

And the moral of this story is to beware the fanny of darkness. Not to mention the coccyx of darkness, the earlobe of darkness, and the dreaded duodenum of darkness.

This made me think of a Twitter conversation I had the other day. I hang with the kewl Tweeps: Kiersten, Stephanie, and Natalie. And Natalie says something along the lines of, "It's like being at the cool kids' table. Kiersten is the brains. Stephanie is the heart, and Carrie is the funny bone. What am I?"

At first, I said she should be the ninja, because her book Relax, I'm a Ninja is made of awesome. (I've read it, and you haven't. Neiner neiner neiner.) And then Kiersten pointed out that we're all supposed to be body parts. I didn't tell her that I consider ninjas to be a vital part of the human anatomy.

After all, I have a black belt. It just happens to be attached to my husband.

So then, I suggested that she should be the nose hairs, but Kiersten is nice (and brainy [which makes her really popular with all the zombies]) so we ended up making her the elbow, because it is both beautiful and deadly. Yeah, I said elbows are beautiful. Out of all the wacky things I say, are you really going to pick on that? But now, we are lacking in nose hairs. And a coccyx. Earlobes. A duodenum.

So does anyone want to apply for any of these positions? I will take applications and discuss them with the Brains, Heart, and Elbow-Nose-Hair-Ninja.

Something tells me that I'm about to be dubbed the Funny-Bone-Butt-Zombie.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I'm Working On, and More Richard

Okay. I'm slightly calmed down now, mostly due to the fact that my arms hurt. Two straight days of hysterical hand flapping would be enough to make Swarzenegger tired. And I'm talking old school, muscles like giant mutant rutabegas Swarzenegger. So I had to stop.

But mentally? I'm still flapping.

I've had some requests for my road to publication story, which is a stirring saga full of zombie impersonations, a broken foot, and gallons upon gallons of Diet Dr. Pepper. I promise to deliver that soon, but I also owe you all some answers. Because you ask the questions, and then I answer.

I'm kinda unique that way.

Some of the questions seem to be particularly applicable right now, so let me get them out of the way.

RK Charron wants to know what I'm working on right now.

Well. I am insane. And--

You're not insane. You are awesome! You wear sparkly shorts!

Yes, but we're not talking about sparkly--

Leave her alone.

Go away, you unibrowed freak! This is my territory! PBBBT!!

Uh... Batman?

Sorry. Um... Apparently, Batman can take out a million jillion bad guys, but he has a phobia of spit. Or maybe just Richard Simmons spit.

That's because I'm like Chuck Norris. My spit eats through metal. And my shorts are magic.

I'm not going to reply to that.

So now that I totally forgot what I was saying...

Oh yeah! I'm working on two books right now. One is a sequel to No Pain, No Gain. (Mental hand flap!) The other? Demon fighting rollergirls. So now you know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Publishers Marketplace Announcement

Speechlessness has struck. So I'm going to let this speak for itself.

Carrie Harris's NO PAIN, NO BRAIN, in which a science nerd must cure a zombie outbreak in her high school before she and her homecoming date join the ranks of the walking dead, to Wendy Loggia at Delacorte, in a nice deal, by Kate Schafer Testerman at kt literary (World English).

If you want to know more, see Richard Simmons in the previous entry. He can still speak coherently. I'm too busy squeeing and flapping my hands.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Words Cannot Express My Excitement, But Richard Simmons Can

Hello, peeps! It's your favorite Wonder That Is My Blog spokesperson here. Stay tuned for an important announcement.

Thanks, Richard. I know that I already posted a blog today, but I absolutely cannot wait any longer to spill my news. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that I haven't exploded from the pressure already.


Now, you should read that in a high pitched squealy voice while jumping up and down and flapping your hands maniacally like you think that the excitement might have inexplicably given you the ability to fly. Because that's pretty much what I've been doing.

Everybody do the Thriller dance for Carrie. Where's a zombie kickline when you need it?

Aww, thanks Richard. Although I'm not sure that move is in the Thriller dance.

Anyway, No Pain, No Brain is going to be published. But it gets better.

My editor is Wendy Loggia at Delacorte.

EEEEK! Delacorte!?! Wendy Loggia? She's a rock star!

That's right, Richard. She's a HUGE rock star. I am in awe of Wendy. For a while, I couldn't figure out why on earth she'd want to work with ME, but then I figured it out. See, Libba Bray is with Wendy at Delacorte. (Insert inane squealing here.) And Libba has a new book coming out this month called Going Bovine. From all accounts, said book is freaking hilarious, and it's about a kid with the human form of Mad Cow Disease.

Now, according to a lot of people (some of which I paid), I am freaking hilarious. And I managed the national center for research in the human form of Mad Cow Disease. In fact, I presented at the international meeting of experts on the disease. They kept calling me Carrie Fisher.

Your publishing news is so awesome that it makes me want to shoot something.

Thanks, Carrie Fisher. Can I tell you that I've always coveted your hair? Now please, go away before Richard sees you. He gets jealous.

Anyway, it's obvious to me (not to mention Richard Simmons and Carrie Fisher) that I am meant to work with Wendy on a cosmic level. These coincidences are really not coincidental at all. They are the equivalent of blinking neon cosmic signs.

And really, anyone who thinks that zombie football players is funny is my kind of gal.

Yay, zombie football players! Yay, stripey shorts! Yay, Carrie!

Ahem. Anyway, I'd like to take a minute to thank Wendy for taking a chance on me. Richard and I both are really looking forward to working with you, and we hope that you like stripey shorts because that's the basis of the Team Carrie uniform. And I'd like to thank my equally big rock star agent, Kate. I once heard Kate described as having swashbucking optimism. Not only do I love that phrase, but I think it fits her to a tee. I absolutely defy anyone to find a better agent. I cannot thank her enough.

Besides, she likes Aragorn and pretty shoes. I like Aragorn and pretty shoes too (but not Aragorn IN pretty shoes, because that's kind of weird). See? It's another of those cosmic match thingies.

Yep. The excitement has completely unhinged my brain. WOO HOO!


Dr. Pepper, Hats, and of course, Zombies

Okay, this is too funny to pass up. Have you ever wondered what stormtroopers do on their day off? Now you know.

On to more answers. If you haven't figured it out, I'm answering in no particular order. Actually, that's a lie. I'm answering in the order that I think of things that are hopefully at least a little amusing.

Kelly wants to know my beverage of choice. That's so easy that I'm going to answer it in haiku.
Oh, Diet Pepper
Your soothing effervescence
Makes my nose tingle

And now I'm thirsty.

MeganRebekah got a very strange search term on her blog recently, and she wants translation help. The search term is "mimic sentinel what does it mean when they hold hands in the end." Well, Megan, you're asking the right person, because I am a big geek, and I happen to know that Mimic: Sentinel is a movie. As for what it means when they hold hands in the end?

It means that the world is about to be taken over by zombies dressed up like Richard Simmons. Duh. Everyone knows that.

Alan and Aaron decided to double-team me and asked a question about party headgear. If you've ever wondered what kind of hats Slayer and I would wear to a fancy, swimming, surprise party, whatever the bleep that is, now you know.

Friday, September 11, 2009

When I Say Comic, I Mean It Literally

So yesterday you all submitted questions for me to answer. Over the next week-ish, I'll be answering them in a variety of formats. Today's answer comes in the form of a comic strip. Yeah, I could just ANSWER the questions, but that wouldn't be as much fun, would it?

So, today, I bring you the answer to Cate's question. You also have her to thank for this idea; she recently posted a comic strip to her blog, and I thought, hey. I have no artistic talent, but I bet I could find an internetty thing that would fake it for me.

Thus are legends borne.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pity a Poor Blogger; Bring Her Questions

It's question time! You know what this means, people. Ask me anything; I am an expert at many things. These things do not include shoes, ships, sealing wax (and why anyone would want to be an expert at THAT, I don't know), or royalty. But I'm killer when it comes to attracting freaky people, developing unusual costume and party ideas, and anything that could conceivably be found in a role playing game or comic book.

Bring 'em in the comments. Because my brain, it is mush, and I'm not sure what to write about.

I should have just said that in the first place, huh?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Poor Speedo Guy

I went to the gym last night to swim laps and sit in the hot tub. So there I am after the lappage is done, relaxing in the steamy, over-chlorinated goodness, when this guy in a very unnecessary and emotionally scarring speedo comes in. Now, the hot tub is empty except for me and another guy sitting way over on the other side, so there's plenty of space.

And speedo guy sits down right next to me.

He starts making small talk, and I'm kind of hoping that I am not about to hear a pickup line, that maybe instead he's just one of those talkers. You know the kind I'm talking about, right?

And then, he says, "So did you have a nice day at work today?"
Me: I work from home, so yeah. I've got it pretty nice.

Him: Really? What do you do?

Me: I'm a writer. I write novels for teens.

Him: Oh, do they have any romance in them?

Uh oh. He's not a talker.

Me: Yeah. *edging away*

Him: Do they have... SEX?

He says the s-e-x word in such a thunderous, over-emphasized way that I can barely keep from giggling.

Me: They're novels for TEENS, not bodice rippers.

Him: Oh, so you write Nancy Drew stuff.

Note to you kidlit people out there: There are two kinds of YA books. Nancy Drew and borderline erotica. Which do YOU write?

Me: *not about to get into an argument* Something like that.

Him: So do you like to write at night, or during the day?

Me: I like to write at night, but I have three young children, so that's not exactly in the cards for me.

Him: Oh. I thought you were single.

Me: Nope.

Him: *thoughtfully* So what does your husband do?

Now, here's where my imagination got the best of me. Because I could say doctor. I could even truthfully say ninja. But the answer that popped into my head?


I can just imagine the conversation after that. I'd casually observe that my husband particularly enjoys cannibalizing weirdos in speedos. That I should probably get home because he hasn't had his dinner yet. And then inviting speedo guy over for a meal.

I didn't do it. But I should have.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Random Weekend Highlights

It's been an insane couple of days here at La Casa de Harris, and when you realize that we operate at a relatively mid-sized level of insanity on a regular basis, it becomes clear that we're talking major craziness here. A few highlights:

Went to the Renn Faire yesterday. I now have two of the only two year olds in existence who run around yelling, "God save the queen!" Right actually yelled it in her sleep. (Side note: my twins are called Left and Right, based on their initials... it's a handy way to tell who is who in pictures since they're bleeping identical.)

Got hennaed at the Renn Faire. Henna was on ankle. Henna wasn't drying fast enough for tired and hungry children. Which is why you could have found me yesterday, standing in the middle of a busy thoroughfare with one ankle pulled up to my mouth, blowing furiously on it, and hopping up and down to maintain my balance. Someone may or may not have taken a picture. Said someone may or may not have thought I was a really shoddy entertainer at the faire.

God save the queen!

Had Tiny T and another friend over for games and such. At one point, I remember exclaiming, "Jesus saved my butt growth!" The saddest part is that this wasn't a non sequitor at all; it made perfect sense based on the conversation.

It's the Batson's first day or school tomorrow. I ask him, "What do you want to wear?" He says, "A tattoo." Something tells me my child will be popular this year. He'll be the only tattooed nudist in kindergarten, that's for sure.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Things That Make Me Snarf - Mr. Boo Boo

I know this guy. Not the guy making the speech, the heckler with the muttonchops. Now, I'm generally not into the whole political statement thing, and I'm not going there now. It's just that the subsequent mock political ad from Mr. Boo Boo is bleeping hilarious.

Ninja immigrants are a problem we all face. Thank you to Mr. Boo Boo for bringing this important issue to our attention.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Haiku Reviews and a Bonus Song

I've been reading a heckload lately. That is, if a heckload is defined as about five books a week. I dunno... what the heck is a heckload?

Anyway, I'm way behind on the whole reviewing of the books thing, so here are a bunch of things that I've read lately. Any recommendations for me? Because I've got some for you...

Wow. That sounded unintentionally ominous.

The Unnameables, by Ellen Booraem
You are your Use here.
Without one, you are exiled.
I bring on the snarf!

*A brief note on this one, because the haiku doesn't really do it justice. It felt very City of Ember to me, and I adored City of Ember! This one's definitely going tops on my list for tween gifts, and it should be on yours too.

The Poyson Garden, by Karen Harper
The future queen, Bess,
Does a lot of crossdressing
To catch a bad guy

The Prophecy of the Sisters, by Michelle Zink
Twins both bad and good
Meet artifacts, prophecies
And there's a cute boy

*ANOTHER note: Who else has read this and is going crazy for the sequel? I can't wait. May die from suspense.

Dead Is the New Black, by Marlene Perez
A little Buffy,
A little bit mystery,
And a lot of fun.

Thirst No. 1, by Christopher Pike
It's a reissue
Of my junior high true love,
Bookishly speaking

Okay. That's about half of my pending reviews; I'll catch up with the rest later. In the meantime, how's about a song? Because really, any song with the word "Mesopotamish" is tops in my book. And I've seen these guys in concert. They play the vacuum cleaner; how cool is that?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Semi-Secret and Not Very Original Twilight Diary of Carlyle Cullen


If you missed the first two editions of the Semi-Secret and Not Very Original Diaries, you can read Edward Cullen here and Bella Swan here. Looks like I'm going to have to cave and make a new sidebar. Either that or cave and get an actual website where I can link all these things and decorate with pictures of severed feet.

That comment really did make sense, even though you may not realize it. I did write a zombie book, after all.

But in the meantime, please allow me to present...

The Semi-Secret and Not Very Original Twilight Diary
of Carlyle Cullen

Day 1: Meh meh meh mehmehmeh meh meh. (Translation: Was turned into vampire by the Volturi, and they gave me this neat journal as a parting gift. Kewl!)

Day 5: Meh meh meh meh? (Translation: Why is it other vampires sparkle & look sexy, while I look like giant marshmallow with bad toupee?)

Day 8: Meh meh meh mehmeh?!? (Translation: And why do people keep calling me Beaker? What is a Beaker and can I eat it?)

Day 10: Meh meh meh, mehmehmeh meh-meh meh. (Translation: Sick of Italian scene. Swarthy guys w/scary chest hair & medallions making fun of my wig. Going to look for soulmate. Covering wig w/pointy hat.)

Day 156: Meh meh meh meh. (Translation: Soulmate difficult to find. 'Want to see my pointy hat trick?' not v. effective as pickup line.)

Day 15,476: Meh. (Translation: Meh.)

Day 64,397: Meh meh meh meh hawt meh meh. (Translation: Met lovely girl who thinks toupee is hawt. Threw away pointy hat. Turned her into vampire. Is twue wuv.)

Day 64,398: Meh meh MEHMEH! (Translation: She called me Beaker! What the hell is Beaker? Bet he's a vampire and more sparkly than me.)

Day 69,900: Meh meh meh meh meh mehmehmeh. (Translation: Decided to start randomly embracing cute teens to distract from Beakerness. By embrace, mean turn into vampire. Tried plain old embrace and nearly got arrested. Got away when they grabbed toupee by mistake. Now am bald. Maybe will reduce Beakerness.)

Day 73,210: Meh meh meh meh. (Translation: Edward met new girl. Am excited. This one looks less like roast than past girlfriends. Has not called me Beaker once. Think he should marry her.)

Day 73,245: Meh meh meh mehmehmeh. (Translation: Invited E's new girlfriend over in hopes of shaving her head and making new wig. Unfortunately, vampiric hairdressers too intimidating, started big fight at baseball game. The things I go through in quest for good hair.)

Day 73,287: Meh MEH! Meh meh meh meh mehmeh meh-meh meh. (Translation: Have had it w/ Beaker references! Threw away stupid toupee and have decided to wear walrus on head from now on. Told nurses is ancient tribal medicine.)

Day 73,288: Meh meh meh meh meh? (Translation: Why does E's girlfriend keep looking at walrus on head and licking her lips? And why is she wearing that post-it?)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Ode to the Brain

Will you think I'm weird if I say that I understand where zombies are coming from when it comes to the whole obsessed with brains thing?

I mean weirder than you already think I am. If that's possible.

Because I've been there. I've actually worked at a job where losing a brain was a real problem, because they were delivered to the offices in big boxes by the FedEx guy. And at least once a week, I would go down the hallway in search of a particular brain, hoping against hope that it had arrived. People were clamoring to send me their brains.

I've looked at brains under microscopes and seen shelves filled with brains in containers. I can tell you from experience that they do not put them in little glass jars full of green stuff. They put them in utilitarian white plastic, which makes it a lot easier to sneak them into someone's lunch.

I have never done that. But I thought about it really hard.

So the other day, I started thinking (uh oh!) about why zombies have this thing about brains. Because when you think about it, the brain is kind of like the crab leg of the zombie diet. It takes a lot of work to crack that sucker open. It would be so much easier to become obsessed with, say, eyeballs. Or fingers.

But "iiiiiiii-balllllll!" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "braaaaains!" does it? Plus, it sounds kind of pervy.

Besides, brains have all kinds of punny and word-play-ish possibilities. There's the brain in Spain falling mainly on the plain. You can be insane in the brain, or even inbrain in the sane. There's my personal favorite: no pain, no brain. And Slayer's favorite: no brain, no gain. I could do this all day, you know. Really, we owe zombies an immense amount of gratitude for not becoming obsessed with the xyphoid process. Because really, what fun word games can you play with that?

None, I tell you. None.

It just goes to show that if you're going to become a cannibalistic undead creature, you can at least do the world a service by becoming obsessed with something that has comedic potential.

Zombies. Making the world a better place.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zombie Appreciation Week

Did you know that it's Zombie Appreciation Week? I am all about this. Frankly, I think part of the reason that zombies do all that eating of brains stuff is because they aren't appreciated enough.

And we all know what makes zombies feel appreciated, don't we? That's right.

More lolzombies.