Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BTIB Winner

Thanks to everybody for the kind words about the trailer, although I can't really take credit for the awesomeness. It's even better than I imagined in my head--I'm so lucky to be working with a bunch of mind-readers. :)

Stay tuned this week for some launch related info too!

But in the meantime, congrats are due to jpetroroy, who contributes to one of my favorite blogs EVAR, Stacked. Jen, you won a signed copy of BAD TASTE IN BOYS! Dropeth me your mailing address, and I'll send you the book as soon as it shows up.

But never fear, intrepid helpers. There is LOTS MORE TO WIN, coming soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


So. Know how I've been taunting you for a long, long time about the SEKRIT THINGS OF AWESOMENESS going on behind the scenes? I can finally show you one of them, and the rest aren't far behind!

Without further ado, let me present the BAD TASTE IN BOYS Trailer of Epic Epicness, with huge thanks to director Valerie Kemp, the crazy friends and theater students who acted in it, and book bloggers Shanyn and Tirzah who are extras extraordinaire. You have no idea how cool it was to watch my characters come to life and wield swords made out of PVC.

I'll shut up now and let you watch it.

And to celebrate this momentous, PVC-filled occasion, I'm giving you a chance to win a signed finished copy of BTIB (when the books arrive on my doorstep, that is)! Leave a comment on this post to be entered. Tweet, blog, facebook, or skywrite about the trailer for an extra entry each. Please list all your entries in the comments, because I can't even remember what day it is let alone keep track of these things on my own. I'm going to enjoy the long weekend (it's my wedding anniversary on top of the rest of the awesome) and will pick a winner on Tuesday morning.

And if that's not enough excitement for you, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are recommending (and in some cases, giving away) this week!

Elana Johnson sings praises for SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD

Shannon Messenger is wild about WILDFIRE + an ARC giveaway

Carolina Valdez Miller adores A NORTHERN LIGHT

Lisa and Laura Roecker dotes over DIVERGENT

Megan Miranda thinks MOONGLASS is marvelous

Jessi Kirby praises POSSESSION

Sarah Frances Hardy delves into DIVERGENT

Stasia Ward Kehoe delights in BITTER MELON

Christine Fonseca relishes in the RED GLOVE


Things are chaos in the Harris house. I'm sitting here with a plastic hand, a roll of tape, a big package of leather, and a to-do list the size of Kansas. This kind of thing always seems to happen during the summer, and I plan for it but then am surprised when it actually happens. Apparently, I am a card-carrying member of idiot-ville.

But things are still happening behind the scenes, which saves me from the need to feel guilty over it. In fact, one of those things will happen TOMORROW! You should come back and see it!

But in the meantime, I'd love to hear from any of my fellow overwhelmed-by-summer people. We could form a support group or something.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Predator, the Musical

This video is admittedly a little gory, as you might expect considering that it's based on freaking PREDATOR. But in honor of Ahnold's tabloid reign, I'd like to show you this. And I guarantee that it'll be stuck in your head for DAYS.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to fling sparkles at Karen for emailing me this. Karen, you are teh awesome.

And...remember how I was telling you that you need to read PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE? It's on the shelves today! Happy book birthday, Jen!

Storks and Booties - But Not Babies

I have a disturbing tendency towards embarrassing typos. I'm not sure if this is a sign that my subconscious is really, REALLY crazy or just bad luck, or maybe a byproduct of the fact that I don't type with my fingers on the right keys. (I'm such a rebel.) But it happens all too often. The other day, I was thinking that I could write adult books--all I'd have to do is type one of my YA books and let the pervy typos stand.

That would be much easier for me than writing a sex scene. I've tried them. And after I've written them, I read them out loud and giggle uncontrollably, because they're always unintentionally funny.

My two favorite typos aren't mine. Have I talked about this here before? I once critiqued a manuscript in which the heroine spent most of her time crying and waiting to be saved, and the hero would go out and be brave, and then come back and soothe her and then take her to bed. (And you can imagine my comments on THAT.) Anyway, he kept stroking her hair to soothe her. Only the author kept typing it "storking."

Apparently, it is very soothing to have birds flung at one's head. You should try this the next time one of your nearest and dearest is having a bad day.

And then, my former boss used to always leave an S off the end of "assess." So instead of assessing the situation, she'd go all bootylicious on it.

Apparently, storks and booties crack me up. Just so long as they aren't attached to another baby, because as much as I love them, I have nowhere to put one. We'd have to take out the dining room table and put a crib in there.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Weird Zombie Science

Have you seen this yet? The CDC, in an effort to get people to think about emergency preparedness, put out some guidelines on how to survive a zombie apocalypse.


I don't think it's a big secret that I'm a bit of a science geek. My first two books are as scientifically accurate as they can be considering that they deal with zombies and werewolves, respectively. But I think the paranormal can be a really interesting way to look at everyday science. For example...
  • Epidemiologists study how diseases spread through a population and attempt to identify new disease outbreaks early, before they spread too far to be easily contained. Check out this paper that attempts to calculate the mathematical spread of a zombie infection--published in a bonafide science journal.
  • And zombification might not be quite as ridiculous as you think--there's a type of fungi first reported this March that turns ants into ZOMBIE ANTS. I particularly enjoy how the scientist in this story says there could be thousands of zombie fungi out there. LET'S GO LOOK FOR THEM! GET THE CHAINSAWS!
  • And that's on top of the already known Toxoplasmosa gondii, which reproduces in cat intestines. So when it gets into a rat, it makes the rat run TOWARD the cat and get eaten, just so it can reproduce. This blog has a great description of exactly what happens.

Am I the only person who finds this stuff ridiculously interesting?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bookanistas: POSSESSION by Elana Johnson

Happy Bookanista Thursday! If you've been abducted by aliens, just came back, and don't know what the Bookanistas are, we're a group of authors that recommend great kidlit books. On Thursdays. And coincidentally, it's Thursday!

It's like the universe is aligning or something.

Today, I'm recommending Elana Johnson's upcoming book, POSSESSION. And here's a Goodreadish summary for you:

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

POSSESSION is a fast paced dystopian read. I read this while I was cooking dinner, with the book propped open in the kitchen. Elana owes my family an apology, because she made me burn their food. (Okay, okay, so maybe that was my fault.)

One of the things that I really liked about this book is that it treated mind control as the complex subject that it is. There are many different levels and types of mind control in this book, which I would happily discuss in detail except that then I'd have to hit myself with a blunt object for spoiling it for you. I really liked that--I think a lot of books oversimplify things when it comes to mind control. So that made for a really fascinating world, and then you pop all the adventure on the top of it?

It is the sauce of awesome.

If you love a fast paced, high tension book, POSSESSION needs to be on your to-read list. Same thing if you're a big geek like me and think mind control is freaking fascinating.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to this week!

Elana Johnson marvels at Moonglass

Christine Fonseca raves about It’s Raining Cupcakes

Shelli Johannes-Wells chats with Pure and The Summer of Firsts & Lasts author Terra McEvaoy

LiLa Roecker has a passion for Possession

Beth Revis admires the audiobook of Anansi Boys

Carolina Valdez Miller is giddy over Moonglass – with giveaway

Megan Miranda swoons over Strings Attached

Shana Silver delves into Divergent

Sarah Frances Hardy gabs about Gossip from the Girls Room

Matt Blackstone is tantalized by Bad Taste in Boys

Stasia Ward Kehoe glories in a guestanista review of The Rendering

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


People constantly ask me if I write books longhand, and then I giggle maniacally at them. No, my handwriting's not as bad as Slayer's--one of his teachers actually told him to either improve it or become a doctor. He'll say that he took the easy way out and went into medicine. I'm not THAT bad. But I'm VERY left-handed. Like, the kind of left-hander who drags her hand across everything she's written and ends up with a smeary mess on the paper and the imprint of the letter "E" on the side of her pinkie. I've tried everything. I flip spiral notebooks upside down to write without impaling my hand. I used to have a huge pen collection as a part of my quest to find one that wouldn't smear. I tried to learn different ways to hold the pen and avoid the drag, but it only made my handwriting worse.

So this whole typing thing is good for me, and I'm pretty good at it. I don't type the way you're supposed to--my left hand covers about two-thirds of the keyboard instead of half. But I can go pretty fast once I've started, and I can continue to type a sentence I've already got in my head and have a conversation with you as long as you don't say anything too shocking. The only time I write longhand is when I'm on family vacation, although I hear that our little wilderness resort might be getting Wifi.

In general, I'm pretty cool with technology, except for this morning, when I keep getting bumped off the net about every ten minutes for no apparent reason, and neither of my newly-updated browsers is working right, and it takes five minutes to open up Excel. Clearly, the Frumious Bandersnatch (my laptop) has gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. It's extra frumious today.

So if you need me, I'll be at the home store, buying some stone tablets and a chisel. Because I think I might need it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - National Cow Week

Last week, I got an email from the hilarious Mercy, inviting me to participate in National Cow Week, because bovines need love too. I think the idea of National Cow Week is hilarious. I propose that we follow this up with National Sparkly Supernatural Boy Week, and maybe after that, National Spoon Week. We're all about celebrating the IMPORTANT things.

I've tried and tried to come up with a cow-related story, but the best I've got is that when we used to go on road trips, my dad would see a herd of cattle and yell, "LOOK! Four legged chickens!" And then he'd laugh uproariously.

Oh, and I've been cow tipping, which was a lot less fun than the name would have you believe.

Anyway, since my cow related tales aren't the best, I give you THIS:

Happy Cow Week!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Names and More Names

I've been thinking a lot about names lately. Partly because I'm starting to lay the groundwork for another book, and a big part of that is picking out the names. I always look for a mixture of common and uncommon names, because I can't decide which is worse--when all the characters have boring, generic names like Jane and John, or when everyone has soap opera names like Magnolia and Jock.

Please note that I don't have anything against the names Magnolia and Jock, if you happen to be named one of those things. Or Jane and John, for that matter. I'm talking about the balance of names as a whole. If you look at, say, a classroom, you'll usually find a nice mix. You've seen some of those names a million times. Some are familiar but not hugely popular--as a Carrie I usually fell into that category. I also fell into the category has-heard-every-prom-joke-known-to-man because of that pesky Stephen King book, but that's another story. And then, you'll see a couple of names that make you tilt your head like a confused dog and say, "What is THAT?!? Who names their kid THAT?"

I think books should be the same way. I think that for every Mrs. Swan your main character has for chemistry, she should also have a Mrs. Mihalovic for bio. And just with those names, I get a picture of the teacher in my head. Mrs. Swan is pretty chill, and she likes to be called Swannie because it's better than all the inevitable Twilight references. Mrs. Mihalovic is the sort of person who likes to give pop quizzes and refers to all of her students as "Miss" and "Mr."

And yes, those are two of the teachers in BTIB.

So I'm off to spend a little time with the baby name book, and then when people see it and get all excited, I get to tell them, "NO. I AM NOT HAVING ANOTHER BABY, SO DON'T ASK AGAIN." But what about you? How do you name your characters? What are your favorite names? Be forewarned...I'm naming. So please let me know if it's sacred and I can't use it for a bad guy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bookanistas: BLOOD RED ROAD

It's Bookanista Thursday, baby! BOOYA!

That would have sounded a lot better if there was a day that began with the letter B. I hereby vote that we change the name to Bursday.

Anyway. If you're not familiar with the Bookanistas, we're a group of authors who recommend books on Thursdays. And this week, we've got a little something special to celebrate! Fellow Bookanista Veronica Roth's debut, DIVERGENT, hit the NYT bestseller list! WOO TO THE HOO!!!

Today, I'll be featuring BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young. And God said, "Let their be a book description," and lo, Goodreads obliged:

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

I think we've all seen claims like this one. It's the MOST EPIC STORY EVER! Or the MOST LOVINGEST LOVE STORY EVER. Or the MOST ADVENTUREY ADVENTURE EVER. And normally, I'm all, "Yeah, right. You are exaggerating, and we both know it." But after reading BLOOD RED ROAD, I have to admit...I kinda agree with them.

Saba's voice is unlike anything I've ever read. So different, in fact, that I'm struggling with how to do it justice. It took me a few pages to fall into it, that voice, and then I couldn't get her out of my head. She's brave and heart-breaking and flawed and determined. That alone would have been enough to win me over, but Young takes this amazing character and plops her into an epic adventure, which is arguably THE MOST EPICALLY EPIC ADVENTURE EVER!

Suffice to say, I don't think I can gush about this book enough. You MUST read it.It hits the shelves on June 7th.

After you've added this to your to-read list, check out what the other Bookanistas are doing!

Elana Johnson turns you on to Divergent
LiLa Roecker is ensnared by Tighter
Christine Fonseca gets giddy about Moonglass – with giveaway
Shannon Messenger is mesmerized by Imaginary Girls – with giveaway
Kirsten Hubbard has double the love for Rival and Moonglass
Carolina Valdez Miller vaunts Divergent – with giveaway
Megan Miranda devours Bad Taste in Boys
Bethany Wiggins and Shana Silver share their passion for Possession
Gretchen McNeil rocks out with The Anti-Prom
Stasia Ward Kehoe shines a spotlight on Dramarama
Myra McEntire announces the Bookanistas Give Back Run For Your Life contest winners!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

2 Months and Counting

I can't believe it. Tomorrow, it'll be exactly two months until BAD TASTE IN BOYS is on the shelves. And I am not ready. I also have a jungle growing in my yard (which is very different from a jungle groin in my yard--and that's honestly what I typed the first time). I've got folded laundry occupying the entire floor of my living room. I have the most awesome zombie wallet in the world, which was one of my Mother's Day gifts, and I haven't put anything in it yet.

Doesn't the world know it's supposed to stop and let me celebrate?!?!

So over the next couple of days, I'll be visiting every wishing well and mall fountain in the area and wishing for a brief time stoppage. If any of you are as behind as I am, feel free to do the same. We can hang out while everyone else is frozen. I'll bring a sharpie so we can draw mustaches on the people we don't like.

Oh! Before I forget! Yesterday was a very exciting day in Carrieauctionland. You can bid on a 50 page critique and a signed copy of BTIB over at Help Write Now, or a signed BTIB over at All4Alabama. Both auctions benefit victims of the floods--please stop by and bid on something, even if it isn't mine.

Although I might draw a mustache on you...


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sometimes, life gets in the way

Sorry for the late blog today! I've been running around like a crazy person--actually, not true. Due to the fact that I got my foot stuck in a door, I'm lurching around like a ZOMBIFIED crazy person. Which seems aptly fitting, if you ask me.


I will hopefully have news on a live launch event soon. And a virtual one. And other things. And I might have a working car too. Helsing (my van) is fine, but the Slayermobile is in the shop.

More tomorrow, hopefully more coherent than today.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Zombie Play

A few weeks ago, my son came home with a zombie play, conveniently titled THE ZOBIE PLAY. I'm in love with this play. I wanted to produce it on Broadway, but I had to settle for comic book format.

My favorite part is when Zombie Hulk threatens to DE SHTROY them.

I also think this should be made into a movie.

Oh, and I think this comic book maker thingy is DANGEROUS.

Further updates as events warrant.

Which is a quote from Calvin and Hobbes, in case you didn't notice.

I'll shut up now.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekend Plans

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I was giving away a copy of THE LIPSTICK LAWS (and stuffing my bra)? Well, if you didn't win, pop over to the Class of 2k11 blog and comment there before noon EST to win a copy.

Otherwise, there's not a whole lot going on here. Soccer, mostly. We have some major soccerness going on here. And as you might imagine, I don't exactly fit in with the other soccer moms. Don't get me wrong; they're all very nice people. But they all hang out together and talk about dinner parties and sports, and I sit off in my corner, crocheting zombie football players and reading books meant for teenagers. I'm pretty sure they still don't know what to make of that.

Not complaining, though! I LIKE crocheting monsters and reading kids books.

Anyway, this Mother's Day, I will be on the soccer field at 7:30 in the morning instead of having breakfast in bed. What're you doing this weekend?

And Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies! Hope your weekend is full of crocheted monsters and kids books, or whatever it is that makes you happy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Welcome to Bookanista Thursday! We recommend books. They go on your already burgeoning to-read lists. You thank us. Your spouses don't.

Hey, am I right or am I right?

Today, I'm featuring a book that you'll want to get once it arrives on stores on or around May 24th: PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE by Jen Violi. Here's the Goodreadish blurb:

In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place: a coffin.

Since her father’s death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living: her friendships are empty, she’s clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left. That is until she’s standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers’ Funeral Home. At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death. That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.

This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible. She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn’t dreamed of trying before. By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn’t know she had in her. And she finally understands that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting someone you love.

Jen Violi’s heartfelt and funny debut novel is a story of transformation—how one girl learns to grieve and say goodbye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be exceptional...at loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death.

The minute I saw the title, I knew I had to read this book. I managed a pathology department lab for over five years. I've observed autopsies and worked hand-in-hand with funeral directors, some of whom were smart and kind and funny and others that made crazy demands involving helicopters and taking showers in industrial bleach.

One of the funniest things about working in that environment is that it's one of the most morbid but life-affirming places to be. Every time you turn around, people are making VERY non-PC jokes about cadavers, because that's what you've got to do to stay sane when you're working around death all the time. And in the process, that whole death thing ceases to be so scary and becomes something that can be okay if you want it to.

So with that kind of experience, you can imagine how I approached this book. Would it capture that strange combo of completely inappropriate joking mixed with profound moments that stick with you for years afterward?

It did.

Unlike most death books, this isn't so much of a tear jerker, and I liked that. It mixes the obligatory heavy moments with situations that made me snarf things out my nose even though I knew I shouldn't be. It doesn't make light of death exactly. But in dealing with all the minutiae (what kind of casket? what color foundation?), death becomes something that's possible to come to terms with. It's a completely different approach for a YA book about death--and I LOVE that. Sometimes the death books blend together in my mind. But this one will always stand out in my mind as a quirky read of funereal awesomeness.

It's supposed to be on shelves at the end of May. If you read, I'd love to hear what you think!

While you're at it; check out what the other Bookanistas are up to. Both MOONGLASS and DIVERGENT are on the shelves this week, so huge congrats to Jessi and Veronica!

Shelli Johannes-Wells gives us THE ROYAL TREATMENT

Elana Johnson hosts a blog tour stop for 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS with a giveaway

Shannon Messenger adores THE DAY BEFORE plus a giveaway

Carolina Valdez Miller is passionate about POSSESSION and gives away an ARC

Beth Revis shares some SOLSTICE cover love

Lisa and Laura Roecker and Stasia Ward Kehoe marvel over MOONGLASS

Megan Miranda and Veronica Rossi delve into DIVERGENT

Shana Silver shows her desire for DEMONGLASS

Sarah Frances Hardy wants to be just LIKE MANDARIN

Christine Fonseca is in love with DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES with a giveaway


Have you ever had a conversation and then thought, "Now, THAT should be in a book"?

Last night, Slayer asked what I'd been up to during the day, and I said, "I did some blog interviews. Got to talk about you some too, and how sexy it is when you hit shuriken out of thin air."

"You've seen that?" he asked.

I wonder if he thought he was invisible too.

"Yep. Not this black belt test, but the last one."

"Oh." He shrugged. "Well, I don't understand what's so impressive. I mean, it's just hitting things out of the air...BIG POINTY THINGS OF DEATH."

I'd like to write a book named BIG POINTY THINGS OF DEATH. Any ideas on what it could be about? Other than an invisible guy who can hit things out of the air, of course.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Things That Make Me Snarf - Sexy Car Wash

I laughed so hard that I nearly DIED.

I'm also fully prepared for you to hate me for this. BRING IT.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

My daughters are four, so they are full of excuses (and stories about zombie seahorses, which they told to my friend Kelly as we were ramping up for the most awesome library Skype visit EVAR). And last night, I was telling my husband about this annoying situation, the details of which aren't particularly important. Someone was supposed to do something, and they didn't, and they are full of excuses. And before you start wondering if it's you, IT ISN'T. :)

So he says, "What kind of excuses? The kind the girls use when they don't want to go to bed?" And I thought, THAT'S BRILLIANT! I now have an excuse for all occasions!

I'm sorry, morgage people. I would have paid you, but I'M NOT TIRED!!!!

I'm sorry, officer. I know I was speeding, but I NEEDED THE MUSIC ON!!!!

I'm sorry, editor. I know I owed you a book today, but SHE WON'T GET OUT OF MY BED!!!!

I'm sorry, American Idol. I know it upset you when I said all your contestants look like Muppets, but I NEED PANTS!!!!

That's right. One of my daughters woke up and refused to go back to sleep one night because she wanted pants. It's funny now. At 2 AM, my sense of humor is somewhat impaired.

What's the worst excuse you've ever heard?