Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WTF Wednesday - Now with Ninjas

I need to make friends with more dancers. Because this morning, I thought, man, it would be so COOL to do a Ninja Thriller Flashmob. Everyone put on ninja outfits and cowls, show up at some random place, do the Thriller dance, and then disappear. Poof!

Because everyone knows ninjas love Thriller. About as much as they love lawn flamingos.

And then we could do videos like this:

Only I'd do it with ninjas. Because everything is better with ninjas. Like Froot Loops. Roller coasters. Tornadoes. EVERYTHING.

Of course, this opinion might have something to do with the fact that I'm married to a ninja. There's nothing like seeing your husband bat shuriken out of the air with his hands.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things That Make Me Snarf - Friggin Twilight

Remember how I was talking the other day about things that go well together? Well, Jersey Shore and Twilight are REALLY high on that list!

Fair warning that this IS Jersey Shore, so there's language. And pervy stuff. But it's funny pervy stuff.

Monday, June 28, 2010

BAD TASTE IN BOYS release date!

Ladies and gents, I have a very important announcement. And as we all know, important announcements on my blog mean one thing and one thing only: Richard Simmons.

He IS my official spokesperson, you know. So, without further ado, let me turn it over to him!

Hi! Hello, people! Do you like my shorts?

Um. Sure. Your shorts are nice. But I don't think they want to talk about your shorts. I think they want to hear the announcement.

Oh, right! I'm supposed to remind you all to eat your vegetables. And clean your eyeballs out with Windex.

NOT THAT ANNOUNCEMENT! The one about BAD TASTE IN BOYS being released on July 12, 2011! The one where they're supposed to mark their calendars because my book will be out in the wild!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Did you hear that? Call your mom! Tell your friends! Notify the media! Someone call the president! BAD TASTE IN BOYS will be released next July!

Ahem. Thus endeth the official announcement.

I'm beginning to think I need a new official spokesperson.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Writing Tips from Loonyland - Setting

So yesterday, I briefly mentioned how I outline all my settings in my Quest to Decrease the Suck (which is now the official title for my writing process). And Valerie asked how I did that.

Valerie will soon regret this question.

Here's the thing. My settings always suck extra hard. Because really, how can I be worried about the contents of the room when there are cute boys for my MC to kiss? And pesky younger brothers with pseudo swords and a hero complex? And ZOMBIES?!?

But once I got the MC, and the cute boy, and the pesky younger brother, and the ZOMBIES to all behave the way I want them to, I eventually realized (with the help of my editor) that maybe five scenes set in the car isn't exactly the best choice. I've found the driving thing to be one of the biggest problems with writing a thriller type book in which all the action happens in a couple of days. The characters are rushing around to get the zombies/mutant grasshoppers/rampaging politicians, and there's usually a lot of driving. And they need to talk, so why not let them talk in the car? Easy, right? Unfortunately, when the answer is easy, that usually means it's not the best answer. So I start outlining.

I use Excel for this, because I like being able to move scenes around, sort them, and so on. So each scene gets a line. And then I fill in the following info:

ACTION: What happens in the scene? Do I have a nice balance of high and lo action scenes? Do they progress naturally and build to a climax?

CHAPTER: Makes it easier to navigate the manuscript.

NUMBER OF PAGES: If my character is hanging around in the lab for 20 pages straight (and I'm ashamed to admit that she did in an earlier draft), I want to know about it.

DAY: Again, because the calendar of events is so important in my books, I keep track of the days. The book starts on day 1 and then after my MC goes to sleep, I call it Day 2 because I'm creative like that. This also helps me to manage time of day. It can't be morning if I've had six lengthy scenes already that day.

SETTING: Again, I'm looking for variety. If I see a lot of school scenes, I start brainstorming for more interesting locations. Zombies at school are fun, but what about zombies at a carnival? Or at a beach? Too bad my book wasn't set in the summertime, because I totally would have used these.

MAJOR CHARACTERS: To make sure my major characters don't disappear for a hundred pages and then reappear after my readers have forgotten who they are (or conversely, overstayed their welcome), I list them off and keep track of who is in which scene.

PHONE CALL/TEXT: Again, this is another issue in short time frame books. Yes, your characters need to stay in touch when they are separated and fighting the zombie hordes (or those pesky politicians). No, we don't need to see them dial every time.

CAR: I already mentioned this short time frame issue, but I'll say it again. Yes, they may need to drive a lot of places. But using them as filler scenes slows down the pace of your book. And especially as you're building to the climax, you don't want to do that.

Once the outline is done, I start looking for weak points. I count the number of scenes in school and see if I have too many. I look at the 20 pages of lab talkery and try to move or condense or (gulp) delete. And so on. I try my best to keep showing my readers something new instead of circling back on myself (again, guilty of that!).

So that's how I deal with settings and pacing and such. How do you do it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Writing Advice

People have started to ask me for writing advice. The whole concept makes me laugh, because really, what the bleep do I know? I write what feels good at the time, and then I let it sit, and then I reread it and realize what utter crap it is, not that this is a bad thing, because that's the point of first drafts! They suck. Unless you happen to me one of those mutants like Tom Robbins who writes the whole book front to back without editing a single blinking thing and still manages to be brilliant.

I don't have anything against mutants in general, but one-draft-mutants? Hate 'em.

Anyway, then I rewrite the whole thing, and then I read it again and discover that it's marginally less sucky than it used to be. And I repeat until the suck is bearable, with a few stops along the way to research bits that need researching and outline all the settings because that's always my weakest point in earlier drafts.

That's my writing process. Not all that impressive, is it?

But people still ask me. And there's a part of me that wants to say something like, "Your book needs vampires if it's going to succeed. I mean, sure, you've got a nice book about a girl's relationship with her dying mother, but it would be much better if there was a vampire in it. Or maybe ALL the characters are vampires! Yeah, that would totally sell."

I never say it, but I really want to.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lolzombie of the Day - The Wizard of Oz

Lolzombies and movie musicals. Does anything go better together? I mean, sure. There's chocolate and peanut butter. And chicken and telephones. But other than that...


Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bad Carrie! No Biscuit!

I found a bunch of my old high school stuff the other day: letters and theater programs and random photos that never made it into albums. (Which is most of them, sadly enough.) And I realized something disconcerting.

Teenage Carrie was a real perv.

"I've hit the jackpot!" I thought. "Things I can use on my blog! Things I can use in my books! Things I can send to old high school friends, and then we can laugh and have Hallmark movie moments."

No Hallmark movie moments here, I'm afraid. Because teenage Carrie's jokes all revolved around swear words, sex jokes, and other inappropriate things. When I graduated from high school, one of my friends drew a little cartoon kickline of our big group of friends, each of us characterized by one or two particular features. Her cartoon was short and had little music notes floating out of her mouth...or maybe her ear. I can't quite tell. Another of our friends had a pile of smut books at her feet.

Me? I had big blue eyes, mutant eyelashes, and long hair. All the better to entice the guys and make pervy comments about it later, I guess.

Anyway, this kickline had lots of our favorite sayings on it. 95% of which cannot be posted on this blog. So pretend I said something funny about my high school career here.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Things That Make Me Snarf - The Census

Sorry for the delay today, peeps. But here's something that will make you laugh. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an embeddable version, so you will have to click the link. Go! Now! You need to watch Christopher Walken screw around with the census people!

I'll wait.

I'm waiting...

Friday, June 18, 2010


I feel like I'm doing a lot of bragging lately, and hopefully it's not coming off that way. One of my favorite things about reading author blogs is getting a little peek behind the scenes at the stuff that's...uh...behind the scenes.

Wow, that's deep.

Anyway, in an effort to give YOU a peek behind the scenes, let me tell you a little about what's going on behind THE SCENES. (I figure if I write it in all caps, it might seem a little less redundant.) Right now, we're talking about exciting stuff like covers and blurbs and photos. And I have something I'm allowed to share! Finally! Sharables! Not BEHIND DA SCENES!

See what I did there? I did even MORE caps and used DA instead of THE. Talk about changing it up!

So. If you've been wondering something along the lines of, "Yeah, the blog is kinda funny, but what the heck is the book about?" Guess what? I have the OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION. Oh. Fish. All. And here it is:

Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Super-smartie Kate Grable gets to play doctor, helping out her high school football team. Not only will the experience look good on her college apps, she gets to be thisclose to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except . . . the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating . . . zombies.

Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend . . . not even Kate . . .

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

I'd be uber happy if you'd read it when it comes out! You can even add it to your Goodreads to-read list right here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Author Pictures!

They're finally here! My author photos! I'm so excited! I'm overdosing on exclamation points! Quick! Quick! Someone form a support group!


Obviously, I'm excited about these. The whole process was tremendous fun, thanks in no small part to my photographer, Alessandra Noelting. And I learned a lot about myself. For example, whenever someone tells me, "Now give me a serious look," I immediately start laughing.

I'm such a goob.

So, without further ado, I give you the Wonder That Is My Author Photo!

You'd read my book, wouldn't you? Because I have interesting hair, and people with interesting hair are ALWAYS good writers.

I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. But the real pictures are here; I swear!

Look! It's me! And I'm HOT!!! Photoshop is my friend.

Gimme a serious look. SERIOUS, you idiot.

You'll have to excuse me. I have to go work on my serious face.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WTF Wednesday - Now with Pigtails!

Do you have a favorite pen? Because I need pen recommendations. Yes, it's a year until I'll have to start signing books, but I'm one of those left-handed types that smears ALL OVER her writing and ends up with the letter A tattooed on the side of her hand in ink and virtually none of it on the page. And I'm kind of picky on the pen front. I figure it'll take a while to find a pen that says one pen to rule them all, one pen to bind them, one pen to bring them all to the bookstore and convince them to buy BAD TASTE IN BOYS in elvish.

If you have a hookup for that kind of pen, we need to talk.

Today, my son has a tryout for soccer, or he will if he stops having a temper tantrum (le sigh). I am officially a soccer mom. Unfortunately, I don't do so well with stereotypes. I'm so tempted to wear my zombie platforms to tryouts. And maybe pigtails. I happen to like pigtails.

And we wonder why my kid throws temper tantrums. (For the record, it has everything to do with not wanting to eat his breakfast and nothing at all to do with my proclivity for pigtails.)

Speaking of pictures, here's a sneak preview of the awesomeness to come from my photographer.

Help! Help! My hand is trying to eat my foot!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Things That Make Me Snarf - Weapon of Choice

You might think from the title of this blog that I finally quit with the Christopher Walken stuff. But you would be wrong.

This is the best music video ever. Okay, maybe it's tied with that A-Ha video where the singer breaks out of the comic, but still. AWESOME.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things That Maketh Me Happy

I cannot stop laughing at the lolthulhu. Almost as good as lolzombies.

If you want to know what zombie-Lincoln and ninja-vampires look like, check out this supernatural creature multiplication table. I'd like to have this as a poster on my wall.

Speaking of posters I want on my wall, have you seen this very useful poster that helps you determine if your book is publishable or not? (Hint: If it has a dinosaur in it, it probably is.)

Have you visited Shelli's blog yet? Shelli is such an awesome person, and she's been giving me such great marketing ideas that I'm officially naming her to the Semi Secret Society of the Blog Ninja. Even if you don't have a book deal yet, thou shouldst go and readeth her! I have proclaimed it!

Srsly. PROCLAIMED, people.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feelin' Real

As you probably already know, I had my author photos taken earlier this week. It was quite surreal to be stomping around the university quad on wet grass in four inch zombie stomper heels, with people looking at me funny while I made my hands into shadow claws and my photographer took pictures of my feet. She took pictures of the rest of me too, but those feet pictures will undoubtedly be my favorite.

Anyway, between that, and my cover... my cover! I cannot wait to show you my cover! It's so creepy cool! Not at all what I imagined but in many ways better. I defy you not to make an oooh! sound when you see it. And yes, I have actually walked past the screen and pretended it was a book and I wanted to buy it. I admit it!

And then there's the website, which is so freaking awesome that I'd like to jump in and live in it. You'll be able to see that soon too.

So anyway, between all these things I have seen but can only taunt you with, this whole publishing thing is starting to feel real. I always imagined it wouldn't until I held an actual ARC in my hands, but I'm finding that all the cells in my body no longer wince simultaneously when I call myself an author in public.

When did it start feeling real for you? Or if it hasn't yet, when do you think you'll know you made it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lolzombie of the Day - Saturday Night Fever

Yep. I'm still making lolzombies out of musicals. Yep. I'm still certifiably insane. But really, what goes better together than John Travolta and the undead?

You can't think of anything, can you?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Photo Suggestions

My author photo is today, so I've been thinking about this a lot. And here are some more words of wisdom about how to make your author photo-or any photo-totally awesomesauce.

An interesting hairstyle draws attention to your face.It also frightens away random sea creatures.

The only people who look good naked and lying in flowers are BABIES. Don't do this.

When all else fails, do something random. Why rest your elbow on a stack of books when you could recline in a bathtub full of Cheetos?

You can never go wrong with a Twilight rip-off.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Things That Make Me Snarf - Christopher Walken Singing Lady Gaga

I'm on a Walken kick lately. This video is so funny that I cried.

How're you? Besides having a renewed faith in the world after watching that awesomeness, of course.

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Contest Winners

You people are funny. I think you should title all my books from here on out. Because I suck at titles.

Anyway, the one drawback, as always, to your mad skilz is that it makes it really hard for me to choose a winner. But I've done it. Whee! As you may recall, this month we get two winners because I skipped May by mistake. So first, my favorite imaginary sequel title:


I can hear the clucking of the Unconsecrated already...

And then there's the random drawing. The gods of have smiled upon:

Myrna Foster!

And really, Dwarf Demented sounds like something I'd like to read. I'm just sayin'.

So, ladies, you've won an hour of my time! Let's talk via email and find out what I can do for you. And thanks to everyone for entering. I laughed out loud at your entries more than once.

Friday, June 4, 2010

5 Wishes

Universe, I don't want much out of life. Just five little things:
  1. I admit that I have a lot of fun putting on my facial glop and then peeling it off like one of those aliens from V. And yes, I make crazy alien noises when I do it, and yes, my kids scream, "Mommy's weird!" That does NOT mean that I would like to have my face peeling off from sunburn for my author photos next week.
  2. Good news is awesome! I love good news! However, if you're going to give me random happy things and not let me show them to anyone, I start going all wonky in the head. I need more patience, or even better, I'll just take carte blanche to say whatever I want.
  3. Can you make me rich so I can hire a lackey to blow into my laptop? It's the only way to keep it from overheating. (Yes, I realize if I was rich I could just buy a new laptop, but I'd rather have a lackey laptop blower. Wouldn't you?)
  4. It would be even kewler if Richard Simmons were my laptop blower. I'm just sayin.
  5. Oh, and if I could have a few more entries for the sequel title contest, it would make me happy, because I like giving stuff to people.

What would you wish for?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Forthcoming Titles

I've been thinking a lot about titles lately, for one simple reason. I suck at them.

(You, however, do NOT suck at them! Your entries to the pretend sequel title contest are hilarious! If thou hasn't entered, get thee hence and do it! I'm giving away two prizes: one for the funniest and one that's completely random. Yowza.)

Anyway, I realized that I have a title generator right at my fingertips, one that focuses on areas of my expertise. From here on out, I'm naming my books based on Google searches that lead people to my blog. Here are some of my forthcoming titles:

  • The Katie Couric Clone and the Superpower Generator
  • Words to Express Excitement...and Zombies
  • Sweating to the Zombies
  • Carrie Harris and the Award Thank You Speech

Wouldn't you read those? And what does your website stat counter say you should name YOUR next book?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Year of Give Backery - June Contest!

Hello! Nice to see you! Well, not "see" you exactly, because that would imply that I'd hacked your computer and was watching you through your webcam. And that would be creepy, right? Unless I was a sparkly vampire and you were a klutzy teenager with a latent deathwish, in which case it would be KEWL.

Anyway. For all you new people (Hi again! I was kidding about the webcam thing, 'kay?), I'd like to tell you about the Year of Give Backery. See, last year was very good for me. Sold first book, blazingly happy in general...essentially I've become one of those really annoying happy people. Sometimes I have to resist the urge to punch myself.

But in an effort to spread the love, I started running a contest each month. Yay contest! I kinda missed May, so this month I'll be giving out TWO prezzies. Whee!

What do you need to do? Simplemente. We're making up pretend sequel titles, and the sillier the better. For example, there's the little-known sequel to THIRTEEN REASONS WHY: Another Tearjerker That Will Destroy the Rainforests but Raise Kleenex Stock. Tell me the book you're sequeling and the sequel title. Leave it in the comments. Go you!

The contest will close Sunday, June 6th at noon EST, and I'll post the winners on Monday. I'll give one prize away to the person who makes me laugh the hardest. The other prize will be TOTALLY RANDOM. Feel free to enter as many titles as you want.

So what's the prize? I'm giving away an hour of my time to each lucky winner. In an hour, I can do a lot of different things, like:
  • Critique 10 pages of your WIP.
  • Go through two rounds of revisions on a query letter.
  • Brainstorm with you on a new project.
  • Talk to you about having a writing career.
  • Send you 50 weird YouTube videos.
  • Discuss zombocalypse survival methods.
  • SOMETHING ELSE OF YOUR CHOOSING (subject to approval, of course, because I don't feel like getting arrested).

Have I forgotten anything rulesy? Let me know. Otherwise, get cracking with those little-known sequels!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Things That Make Me Snarf - Cooking with Christopher Walken

You should read this next paragraph in a quasi-musical singsong. I say "quasi" because I REALLY can't sing (and you know this firsthand if you've seen my music video).

I'm sunburnt. Sunburnt. So freaking sunburnt. And I am an idiot because my author pics are soon.

You'll have to excuse me. I have to go contort into impossible shapes trying to get aloe onto the middle of my back. Someone needs to invent a middle-of-the-back aloe squirter. Get on that, will you?

In the meantime, please enjoy this impression of Christopher Walken cooking chicken. As with all good Christopher Walken impressions, this one has a little bad language in it.