Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bookanistas: The Lipstick Laws with a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Bookanista Thursday! If I was the Hulk, I would describe the Bookanistas as follows: "Me read book! Me like! Me tell you. Me eat book later and get indigestion." Or something like that. Anyway, there's a whole group of us who like to gush about our recent reads, and we are going to be giving a LOT of things away throughout the month, so please scroll down and read all about it. Today, my featured book is THE LIPSTICK LAWS, by my cosmic twin and Class of 2k11 buddy Amy Holder. And now I shall bring the deets!

At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?

This is the kind of book I would have loved back in junior high, because I was totally an April. I think she's the kind of protagonist we can all relate to on some level--she feels awkward and unsure of who she wants to be; she wants to make friends but fears sticking her neck out and getting blasted for it. Who hasn't gone through those feelings? Who wouldn't want someone to show them the ropes, whether they're in high school, at a new job, or taking their first steps into debut authordom?

Unfortunately for April, her rope-shower turns out to be an opinionated, hilariously misinformed snob who likes to play Rank-a-Skank at lunch. Britney is at turns nasty and laughable, so how harmful can she really be? Awfully harmful, as it turns out. And watching April grow a backbone and give Britney a taste of her own medicine was a heckload of fun.

The Lipstick Laws officially releases next Monday, and in honor of that momentous occasion, I'd like to give you two things.

First, a little advice. One of April's deepest kept secrets is that she's a bra stuffer. Coincidentally, I may have engaged in some bra stuffery back in the day, most of which was brought on by the time I walked into the kitchen at my grandma's only to find the entire family discussing the relative chest size of my cousin and I. Let's just say that they all agreed I was a distant second in terms of cup size. I was so humiliated that I tried stuffing. It turned out something like this:

I highly recommend removing the kleenex from the box before stuffing your bra.

If that hasn't burnt out your retinas, I'd also like to give you the opportunity to win a signed copy of THE LIPSTICK LAWS! All you need to do is leave a comment to win. Simple, right? I'll choose a winner next Tuesday.

While we're talking about winning things, come back tomorrow for more prizes, and I also suggest stopping over at Jessi Kirby's blog. She's giving away lots of things in celebration of her upcoming release, MOONGLASS.

And here's the rest of the Bookanista love for the week:
Elana Johnson is mesmerized by Memento Nora
Christine Fonseca gives a Guestanista video review of 11 Birthdays
Jamie Harrington is giddy for Texas Gothic
Beth Revis features Between Shades of Gray all week--with giveaway!
Megan Miranda gushes over Blood Magic
Myra McEntire introduces "Bookanistas Give Back" - with prizes!
Jessi Kirby wants to be Like Mandarin
Bethany Wiggins Praises the Princess of the Midnight Ball
Gretchen McNeil sings about Spoiled
Rosemary Clement-Moore is ensnared by The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Sarah Frances Hardy delights in Divergent
Veronica Rossi marvels at Moonglass
Stasia Ward Kehoe raves about Rival

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Ask Axe Cop

So you know how little kids tell stories with completely inexplicable elements, impossible characters, and a bunch of random plot points in between. Well, there's this genius comic book artist who decided to illustrate his little brother's stories. And Axe Cop was born. This week's Thing That Makes Me Snarf is about Axe Cop fighting mermaids with mean faces.

That's right. Not regular mermaids. MEAN FACED ones.

You must see it.

Speaking of other things that amuse me, you should come back tomorrow for my advice on bra stuffing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Remembering Why I Do This

Yesterday, I had one of those moments that reminds me why I do this. See, lately I've been sucked into this vortex of all the things I'm supposed to be doing pre-launch. If you're a writer of the aspiring or debut sort, you've heard all these things a million times. You need a social networking presence; it's a good idea to do a launch event; make the most out of your advance copies with an ARC tour; do a book trailer; be available. The list goes on and on. Not that I'm complaining, HECK NO! By and large, I enjoy these things; it's just that they keep coming so fast and furious that I've been rushing through them trying desperately to get through my to-do list for the day. And then the next day, I do it all over again.

But yesterday broke the mold. Yesterday, I did an author visit in my son's first grade class. There was no pressure--these kids are too young to buy my book, so I threw all that advice out the freaking window. They were excited to see me. I talked to them about the process of writing a book. They took great delight in listing off things that were stinky in a brainstorming exercise. Their eyes nearly popped out of their heads when I took out the prop sword, and it got even better when I duct taped myself to the chair.

I had as much fun as they did, and they got so excited when I handed out bookmarks at the end that it made me remember why I do this in the first place--because it's FUN. Because I don't believe in magic, but I do believe in books, and in a way they're the same thing. I'm so glad I did it. I'm also glad I taped myself to the chair, although I have to admit that I hadn't planned it in advance and got halfway through and thought, "Man, I hope this isn't a really BAD idea."

Obviously, I got out. And I had one heck of a good time too.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Love Song to Movies in Which Things Blow Up

Slayer and I sent the kids to Grandma and Grandpa's this weekend and watched a movie. (We also may or may not have drank margaritas, but I'm not saying for sure.) We watched RED, which is that caper film about retired CIA agents starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman. It had lots of explosions and snappy dialogue. In short, I loved it.

Over the weekend, one of my friends was complaining about having to watch "guy movies" all the time, but I'd be perfectly happy doing that. If it's a caper film, I'm there. If it's a movie in which monosyllabic action stars blow things up and then walk away in slo-mo (thereby proving that they are COOL), I'm there. If it's based on a video game, has no real plot to speak of, but looks cool, I am sadly still there. I think it's all about your expectations. I don't go into those movies thinking, "Yeah, I'm going to see some deep plot development and a profound story that will change the way I see the world." HECK TO THE NO! I go in thinking this is going to look COOL. I'm hoping the special effects team will blow me away. I'm hoping the stunt crew's going to rock the casbah.

Frankly, after the super sekrit thing I did a couple of weekends ago (which should be unveiled VERY SOON), I've decided that my other dream job would be in special effects. Speaking of that, have any of you been watching Face Off? It's one of those reality competition shows (I know, I know) for special fx guys. SO. BLEEPING. AWESOME.

Anyway. If you come to my house for movie night, you can fully expect to see monsters and explosions, or both. How about you?

Friday, March 25, 2011

My New Style of Slang

I think I'd like to start a new style of slang. But instead of Valley Girl, we'd be...uh...I dunno. Let me get to the name later. I just think it would be funny to stand in the line at the store and hear the person in front of me go:

"Holy crapsticks, that outfit is totally FRABJOUS! You totes look like merpire bait, and that blowtard is going to be so sorry he dumped you. You put the sauce in awesomesauce, which I should point out is TOTALLY ONE WORD, AND HOW COULD ANYONE THINK IT IS MORE THAN ONE? Sorry. I didn't mean to shout; I guess my caps lock got stuck again."

Girl, you're speaking my language. I totes know what you mean. That blowtard should suck it.

But I'm still at a loss for what to call it. Help?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bookanistas: Mesmerized by Memento Nora - with Giveaway!

Happy Bookanista Thursday! In case you haven't heard of us, I've written a limerick to tell you what we do:

Once there were writers online,
Who read books that were so very fine,
So they gabbed and they jawed
And were so very awed
That they recommended them to everybody and did something else that rhymes with fine.

You would probably be surprised to learn that when I began writing, I started with poetry.

Anyway. Today's book is Memento Nora by fellow Class of 2k11er and all around cool person Angie Smibert. I knew we were kindred souls when I learned that she's into Ninja Warrior and Face Off, which are two of the coolest shows on television EVER. Here's a little about the book:

Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.

Awesome, right?

Now in honor of Memento Nora's release, Angie is giving away a super cool prize pack, which includes a signed copy of the book, tattoos, stickers, bookmarks, "forgetting pills" aka Jelly Bellies, and a totally glossy bracelet. To enter, comment on this post, Angie's blog, and her other blog tour stops, which you can get to via Angie's blog. Every comment gets you an entry, which is crazy cool.

And in honor of this frabjous occasion, I'm going to tell you a story I never want to forget--

I call my best friend Monster, which is strangely fitting considering that I'm obsessed with them. But don't YOU call her that, because she'll only put up with it from a few people--like me. Her husband (who goes by the best nickname ever--The Electric Lovitz). Her family. Anyway, in the years before children, we used to travel together.

Know how some people just mesh when it comes to traveling? We do. Monster and I like to do the same things, but we're also not afraid to spend an afternoon apart. And she's just as crazy as I am.

So you won't be surprised to know that our Puerta Vallarta trip was full of some of the silliest things. We took our Spice Girl barbies to the pool with us and set them out on lounge chairs. We held a diving competition and threw them into the water. I still maintain to this day that Posh totally PWNED Baby.

But the memory that sticks out to me the most was the night we went to the salsa club. We were watching the dancers when two guys asked us if we wanted to try it, and we explained that we'd be happy to dance but weren't interested in anything else. In other words, if you're looking for easy American girls, we aren't it, guys.

They seemed fine with that.

So we salsaed. It was fun to try, although a lot more difficult than it looks. And after a few songs, I noticed that my partner was getting closer...and closer...and closer...and then he started licking his lips in a way that I assume was supposed to look sexy but only made me want to offer him a tube of Chapstick.

Uh oh. Time to go. I looked over at Monster, who was pretty much in the same predicament, and it was one of those wordless moments of communication--it was time to go. We started making excuses. Wow, we were tired, and we had things to do tomorrow, and my foot hurt, and WE WERE LEAVING.

They offered us a ride.

Now, we are not stupid people. There was no way we were getting into that car, no way AT ALL. Now our polite refusals turned into a flat out NO, and we linked hands and left. The only way anyone was going to separate us was with a crowbar.

We walked back to our hotel, which wasn't far down a very crowded road and literally had a guy with a machine gun stationed outside the door. We were safe, so now we could laugh about it. The hotel was in sight. And we wouldn't be going back to that salsa club. NO FREAKING WAY.

A car sped to a stop next to us, and out came the guys. Now I was freaked. They'd actually gotten their car and followed us. WTF?!? We walked around the car; they begged us to let them come in to our hotel room.

"No way!" we said. "Leave us alone."

"But...but..." said one of the guys. "You must let us in! I have to POOP!!!!"

When we started laughing hysterically, they left. To this day, I wonder if they used that line on anyone else who said, "Oh, I love guys who poop. Come on in."

It was scary, yes, but I didn't feel scared. I felt like Monster and I were in this together, and we'd get out together. I felt like we could deal with anything, as long as we were together. Even pooping stalker boys.

It's a memory I never want to forget, even if it was frightening. No way would I ever give it up, although I think the concept of it, and Memento Nora itself, is tremendously fascinating.

So don't forget to check out Memento Nora, and while you're at it, here are some more great Bookanista recommendations!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Those Weeks When You Don't Write Much

This is one of those weird weeks where I'm not writing a whole lot (waiting for feedback from crit partner on book 3 and from editor on BAD HAIR DAY). I get this funny feeling on weeks like this, like everyone around me has been replaced by clever clones overnight and I just haven't picked up on it yet.

I'm not entirely sure why that is. For some strange reason, writing about a fantasy world makes me fit better into the real world, and how the heck does that work? Maybe it's just that I work well with schedules, because otherwise my short attention span takes over and I'm all, "I think I'll work on--OOOH! POPCORN! I LIKE--I think the word "squamous" is really underused. I think I'll make an effort to use it--Wait! Wait a minute! I've come up with the best book idea! Zombiethulhu Takes Over the World!"

Honestly, I'm not an idiot. It's just that my brain exists in a constant state of elevated caffeination, and it runs at a higher rate of speed than is probably safe.

But the schedule helps. Because I know in the morning, I take care of correspondence. I blog, if I haven't pre-written one. I clean up the house, do a load of laundry, and piffle around in a vain attempt to make it look like three kids don't live here. I play with the twins, take them to school or dance or whatever we're doing that day. And then in the afternoon, I write. I like having that structure; by the time I sit down at the computer, I'm ready to tackle some pages. I rarely sit there without a clue what to write because I've been ramping up to it all day. And without that, I NEEDLESSLY RAMP.

No more needless ramping. Needless ramping makes me feel funny.

And that's a sentence I never thought I'd write.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Rock Paper Scissors Bloopers

This is a long video, but it's worth watching just to see the end, where I learned that I'm not the only person in the world who has trouble remembering the rules to Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

Also, don't forget to visit Write Hope, where you can bid on lots of things to benefit the Japan Children in Emergency Relief Fund, including a (possibly early) copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS and a critique from moi.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Do you want a copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS?

Do you want a crazy person (ie, ME) to critique 20 pages of your work?

Do you want to help the brave but tsunamified people of Japan in the process?

If the answer to these things is yes, then check out today's auction at Write Hope. I'm giving away a copy of BTIB--and there's a very good chance that you'll get it before it hits the shelves! (Please note that this depends on when the early copies show up, though, so I'm not promising anything.) And you also get my feedback on 20 pages of your WIP, which means that I'll put all the stuff I learned from my fabulous editor to work for YOU.

In other news, I'm beginning to think that I should write radio commericials or something.

But anyway, I hope you'll check it out! The auction is HERE, but please note that the link won't be live until 11 AM EST, and it'll stay open for 72 hours.

Good luckness!

Friday, March 18, 2011

In Which I Need Help With Monster Food

I am disappointed.

One of my friends sent me a picture of this:

Mummies in a Blanket--How awesome is THAT?!?

I thought, "Now THIS is a culinary style I can get behind! Foodstuffs shaped like monsters! I'll make vampire pancakes! Frankensteinian vegetable crudite plates! MERPIRE FISH AND CHIPS!!!!

And I googled.

I found nothing. Has my google-fu failed me, or are there no monster foodstuffs out there other than cake?!? My faith in the world is compromised. Please tell me that you know of something that will make me smile again.

Oh wait. This weekend, I get to chase a zombie through the halls of a school with a sword. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm happy again, but I'd still love to hear about any monster foodstuffs you might know about.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bookanistas: Playing Some HEAD GAMES

Happy Bookanista Thursday! I've read so many great books lately that it will take us MONTHS to get caught up. I guess that's what happens when you finish a draft of a book. You finally get kinda caught up on your reading list. I think I should finish books more often.

Anyway. Bookanistas. Don't know about us? We're authors who recommend books once a week--you guessed it--ON THURSDAYS. Read anything fabulous lately? I wants to know about it.

This week, I'm giving a little love to HEAD GAMES by my friend (even though she spells her name wrong), Keri Mikulski. Here's the dealio:

Taylor Thomas is a total all-star on the court. Off-court, not so much. She may be model-tall, gorgeous and quite a catch, but try telling her that. With a showcase game and playoffs fast approaching, Taylor’s basketball career is totally on the line. She doesn’t know which way to turn first when her BFF ropes her into a fashion show and she finds herself torn between Zach, the super-tall, super-off limits basketball star and Matt, the super-sweet guy from her English class. Can Taylor stop her head from spinning long enough to strike a pose, land the boy of her dreams, and win the game?

Confession time. I am not sporty. If it has a team and a point system and does not involve little pieces that you move around on a board, I automatically suck at it. So I don't usually read sports books. Gimme something with a marching band in it, or theater geeks. Those sports people are in a different world than me.

Yeah, I can be an idiot sometimes.

So when MY FRIEND asked me to read her sporty book, I said, "Of course!" and was secretly frightened. Sure, I realize that I don't have to be a serial killer to read about serial killers, but somehow this felt like a genre I was going to have a tough time liking. I was wrong.

Not only is Taylor a normal girl with normal problems who happened to play basketball, but I enjoyed getting a peek into a world that I know so little about. Sure, I had to look up "full court press," but even without knowing the meaning of the phrase, I understood the tension and the pressure to succeed. Taylor learns to deal with that during the course of the book, although we sometimes want to smack her along the way.

I read a lot of books about monsters gone amok and things like that. For a change, it was nice to read about some people I could have known in high school. I enjoyed the glimpse into the locker room, and I'll be coming back for more!

WHEW. What a relief.

Have you read this? I'd love to hear what you think.

And check out these other great Bookanista recommendations:

I Would Have Given Anything - A LIKE MANDARIN Celebration

Bookanista, Delacortette, and all around cool person Kirsten Hubbard is currently throwing a little celebration for the release of her book LIKE MANDARIN. Have you read it? Did you love it? My copy's winging its way here, which means I'm obsessively checking mail almost as often as I obsessively check email.

Hey, it's a writer thing.

I've been so fascinated by this event, because she's having people post about their idols--the people they would have given anything to be like back in the day. And my first reaction was, "Well, *I* didn't want to be like anyone."


But when I thought about it, it wasn't that I didn't idolize anyone. More like I idolized EVERYONE. I wanted my friend Emily's dinnertime family conversation, where they played word games and laughed so hard that food went flying. I wanted Kim's talent for sewing and making things. I wanted Becky's confidence, because no way would I have approached ANY of the silver trumpet players, because they were in a totally different world than I was. I wanted my cousin Meggan's talent for getting along with everyone.

In short, I was full of want.

I didn't let that want go until I went away to college. I remember quite deliberately setting out to reinvent myself. I morphed from straight A geek who never even thought about throwing a party despite the fact that she was alone in the house for months on end to the girl who skipped classes and slept all day. It took some time to figure out who I really wanted to be. I still can't sew, and I don't know any silver trumpet players. But I can make a mean bouquet out of bacon. I'm the only person I know with a collection of zombie penguins. And I'm a good person to call when you need some wisecracks to cheer you up.

Way back in the day, I would have given anything to be ANYBODY BUT ME. But now? I'm happy with who I am, although I really would get a kick out of spending a day in the Hoff's shoes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Death Star Orientation

This week's thing that makes me snarf is a tres funny video about the Death Star. Unfortunately, they won't let me embed it. So clicketh the link. Just please be forewarned, people with children; if you scroll down through the comments, some of them are FOUL.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How Critiques Are Like America's Next Top Model

This weekend, I finally got to meet my crit partner Natalie Whipple and uber awesome ktliterary sis Sara Raasch. We had lunch, by which I mean that we took up a table for a very long time, ate ice cream and watched Natalie take a lot of pictures of a bathtub.

Not kidding.

Anyway. During our convo, we talked about a lot of things. And somehow we ended up talking about critique comments and how it would be much worse if people said those things on America's Next Top Model.

"It's a little draggy in the middle."

"This part really sags."

"I feel like this is really superficial."

"There's too much ooze in this! It grosses me out!"

Yeah, my current WIP has a lot of ooze in it. A LOT.

Anyway, what bits of feedback have you gotten on your manuscripts that would make frawesome comments on ANTM?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Feedback: BAD HAIR DAY

So I know I've mentioned about a million times that I have a sequel coming out in 2012--BAD HAIR DAY. I had a lot of fun with this book. It's a new Kate Grable story, but it's totally separate from BTIB. It's got werewolves and nanotech and blueberry flavored astronauts and killer coconuts. Good times.

It's about time for me to start diving into edits, which means you'll probably be hearing more about it over the next few months. But in the meantime, you can get a short sneak peek over at the blog of my friend and fellow Class of 2k11-er Gae Polisner! Gae's got the first few paragraphs of BAD HAIR DAY up for feedback. Did they grab you? I need to know!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bookanistas: Drinking in BLOODTHIRSTY

Happy Bookanista Thursday! The short version—we’re debut authors recommending good books. Because our to-read lists can NEVER be long enough.

Today, I’d like to talk about BLOODTHIRSTY by debut author Flynn Meaney. Here’s ye olde blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:

Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls. Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before--he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part. With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it's surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected. This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin--can get the girl.

This one will appeal to people who like silly humor, ridiculous (and sometimes totally unreal) situations, and lots of references to pop culture. In other words, I loved it. I don’t mind suspending my disbelief if it’s in the name of a good satire, and this one’s good. I laughed out loud quite a few times and really ticked off the people in the Borders cafĂ©. I’m sorry, Borders people. Let’s just be happy we still have a Borders, eh?

This book is less about vampires and more about the vampire phenomenon and why the heck it’s so appealing. At the beginning Finbar’s not even remotely cool. He’s the kind of guy who goes a step beyond lame—he doesn’t just play solitaire at a party; he watches somebody else play solitaire. But through this increasingly ludicrous pretend-to-be-a-vampire plan, he morphs into the kind of guy who says “cock” in a discussion of “To His Coy Mistress” in English class and gets cool points for it.

I also really happen to like that poem.

So. If you think the idea of a pretend vampire getting chased by a herd of Jacobs at a gaming convention is freaking hilarious, this is the book for you. Hope you’ll check it out, and if you do, let me know what you thought!

And while you're at it, check out the other books we're celebrating this week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So Close, Yet...

I'm right in the middle of the big push to finish my WIP. I'd hoped to finish it last night, but there was just too much left to do and too much going on. But today! Today is the day! Hip hip hooray! I get to kill someone today!

(That's in the collection of Dr. Seuss poems for highly distracted authors. Have you read that one? I assume not, since I just made it up, but I thought I'd ask.)

Anyway, I apologize for keeping this short, but I'm so distracted that I can't even carry on a decent conversation. I'm literally right in the middle of the last big scene, and my mind is full of details about the layout of the room, and that continuity error I have to fix where the room suddenly changed shape, and now where am I going to put the door, and if I move it, how many demons will they see when they come through the door, and does this book have too much ooze in it? I may need to cut down on the ooze factor, although I did start varying the colors of the ooze because they do say that variety is the spice of life, and I assume it's the spice of ooze too.

In short, I'm distracted. Totally. So I hope it's cool that I keep today's entry short. I have some ooze to deal with.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Ninja Fail

This made me laugh so hard.

I suppose I ought to state for posterity that this is not my husband. Or anyone else I know. At least I'm PRETTY sure it isn't...

Monday, March 7, 2011

My New Sword

Happy Monday, shambling hordes!

This weekend, I solidified my geek cred by making a sword out of PVC. These pseudo swords are a huge component of BAD TASTE IN BOYS. I used to hang out with a group of guys that developed this huge, complicated game using these swords. I never entirely understood this game. As far as I could tell, it involved running around an abandoned apple orchard and whacking the crap out of each other, but the winner of said altercation often seemed to be the one who got hit the most.

Call me strange, but doesn't that seem backwards?

Anyway, I am working on one of those super sekrit projects that I keep hinting about, and I'm happy to tell you that I'm close to actually being able to unveil one! And part of said super sekrit project? Make sword from PVC, duct tape, and pipe insulation. And I thought I couldn't get geekier.

Wanna see what it looks like?

I am Optimus Prime, and this is my BOOMSTICK.

Yes, I made a Transformers reference and an Evil Dead reference in the same sentence. Man, I am racking up the geek points today. Pretty soon, I'll be able to buy the Millenium Falcon.

So what did you do this weekend?

Friday, March 4, 2011

BTIB Reviews, My 600th Post, and Holy Crapsticks

Today's my 600th post on this blog. Holy crapsticks, that's hard to believe.

I'm also celebrating another first here this week. Two bloggers have reviewed BAD TASTE IN BOYS! Of course I'm happy that they liked it, but even if they hadn't, I've talked to both of them on Twitter and they are uber freaking awesome people. So. If you're interested in learning a little more about BTIB AND reading some great reviews of other books, I hope you'll check out the following!

DJ's Life in Fiction

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bookanistas: Buzzing About BLESSED

Happy Bookanista Thursday! It's been a couple of weeks since I've done one of these, and it's entirely possible that you might have contracted amnesia during that time (or you're new here, in which case, HI! I THINK YOU'RE NICE!). So for those of you who might need a quick update on this whole Bookanista thing, here goes. We're a group of authors who post about books we love every Thursday. Sometimes we give things away. Often, we fling sparkles at each other.

Simple, eh?

So my feature for today is a book I devoured on the plane back from Hawaii despite the fact that I was oh so freaking tired--BLESSED by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Here's the blurbity-blurb blurb:

Quincie P. Morris, teen restaurateuse and neophyte vampire, is in the fight of her life -- or undeath. Even as she adjusts to her new appetites, she must clear her best friend and true love, the hybrid werewolf Kieren, of murder charges; thwart the apocalyptic ambitions of Bradley Sanguini, the seductive vampire-chef who "blessed" her; and keep her dead parents’ restaurant up and running. She hires a more homespun chef and adds the preternaturally beautiful Zachary to her wait staff. But with hundreds of new vampires on the rise and Bradley off assuming the powers of Dracula Prime, Zachary soon reveals his true nature -- and a flaming sword -- and they hit the road to staunch the bloodshed before it’s too late. Even if they save the world, will there be time left to salvage Quincie’s soul?

In a word: frawesome.

Five things I loved about it:
  1. This is one of those sequels where it definitely helps to have read the first two books (TANTALIZE and ETERNAL), but it isn't absolutely necessary. It picks up where TANTALIZE left off, but the threads are explained so well that I'd classify it as a good BOOK instead of a good SEQUEL. I'd argue that those are two different things.
  2. All the Dracula references! I've seen a lot of attempts to modernize Dracula, and for me, this is one of the few that worked. I wish I was a teacher, so I could teach this with Dracula. While we're wishing for things, I'd really like a glow-in-the-dark werewolf too, because how cool is THAT.
  3. The instrument of destruction in this book is chilled baby squirrels. I laughed every time that came up, because talk about unexpected! How many other books do you know of where the bad guy says, "I will take over the world! WITH CHILLED BABY SQUIRRELS!!!!!" I rest my case.
  4. I've heard some people complain that there isn't as much romance in this book as there is in the others, and if you're looking for a lot of swooning, I agree that it's better to pick something else up. But I liked that we got a chance to see Quincie in action while her studly werewolf (but not glow-in-the-dark) boyfriend was elsewhere. I'd classify this as a lot of action with a little romance, and that balance was perfect for me.
  5. I would like to work at Sanguinis. I know the vampire-restaurant-really-run-by-a-vampire has been done before, but this was campy and over the top and just plain fun. Seriously, I'd work there. The menus made me salivate, but then again, I'm one of those adventurous eater types.

Have you read this one? I'd love to hear what you thought!

And if you're looking for more great books to read, check out the other Bookanistas!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Frustrated Skateboarder Fail

I've been researching skateboard tricks for my latest book, and I came across this. The moral? Don't take your frustration out on inanimate objects.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Birthday Bacon Parties

I remember a couple of years ago, watching all the YA authors talk to each other on their blogs and Facebooks and feeling a little like the new kid in school. The other kids don't gang up and pelt you with pickles or anything, but you're still left feeling a little scared to go up to someone and say, "Hey. I've got Mrs. Frankenstein for science, and I hear she's pretty crazy."

But you do it, because most of the experts tell you it's necessary (except for the ones who tell you it isn't, and how confusing is THAT?). And you realize that a) Mrs. Frankenstein really IS crazy--she's got a monster in her closet, and b) those kids (or YA authors) aren't so exclusive after all. They're happy to talk to you. You begin to laugh at Old You for getting so neurotic over it in the first place, because yes, the big authors ARE busy, and maybe they take a long time before they say something back because they're trying desperately to build a time machine and get CAUGHT UP FOR ONCE. But they're nice.

And you realize that this is one of the BEST PARTS about working in kidlit these days--people don't have their heads shoved up their hind parts. There's always a noteable exception, of course, but by and large, the people who I've met in this business have been the kind of people I'd gladly invite to dinner parties, except I don't throw them. But the next time I throw a bacon party, y'all are on the invite list.

And today, I'm throwing virtual bacon parties for some of the nicest people I know in kidlitdom! Today's book birthdays include:

Kim Harrington's CLARITY, the subject of much cover envy on my part!

Rachel Hawkins' DEMONGLASS, the source of my desire to run around maniacally and shout, "AMAZEBALLS!"

Lisa and Laura Roecker's THE LIAR SOCIETY, the source of my sudden, inescapable desire to dye my hair pink!

Huge happy book birthdays to them! Are you planning to read any of these? Because you SHOULD.

OH, and that's not all. I'm currently drooling over uber-nice Stasia Kehoe's COVER OF GORGEOUSNESS, which was just released. Is this or is this not SCORCHING HOT?