Wednesday, September 30, 2009

REVISION MOUTH

Revisions are rotting my brain. No joke. My capacity for human speech has been compromised. Not the kind on paper…clearly. But just try to carry on a conversation with me right now. It’s not pretty. I can barely form full sentences, and if I do they come out sounding like a garbled mess. I stutter and stammer. I have word salad.

My family laughs. They’ve even named it: Revision Mouth.

In fact, I do blame revisions. They’ve hijacked whatever part of my brain is responsible for verbal communication, focusing all of my energy on the written word instead.

So, if you happen to see me in the grocery store and I say something like: “Whkshldfkdshf,” don’t take offense. In all likelihood I’ve just complimented you. Not my fault it wasn’t coherent, it was the Revision Mouth speaking.

Just pretend you didn’t notice, and, like the penguins say, smile and wave. Just smile and wave…

By the way, those jeans really do look good on you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

MY INVENTED LIFE: The Lauren Bjorkman Interview!

Aside from the fact that Lauren Bjorkman’s MY INVENTED LIFE is just out TODAY (*confetti and streamers all around*), it’s also the kind of book I love. The kind that comes with a dash of controversy! (I’m sure you can figure out which part has *some people* up in arms).

Me? MY INVENTED LIFE just moved to the top of my TBR pile!!!

Roz and Eva are sisters, close friends, and fierce rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly a few obstacles stand between her and her dreams. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Enquiring minds need to know.

Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.

My Invented Life is set in a small California high school during rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy.


On top of her debut release, Lauren Bjorkman also hosts a teen advice column called ASK MY SISTER, based on (you guessed it!) Roz and Eva from MY INVENTED LIFE. How clever is that???

To celebrate, Lauren has stopped by to answer a few questions:

1) Would you rather be the Bestselling Rockstar Author or an Acclaimed Literary Award Winner?

Can I be both? No? OK, if I must choose, I'll be literary. Fame and fortune have a few down sides (I hate it when my dinner out is interrupted by adoring fans demanding my autograph). Well, and literary books inspired me to write in the first place.

2) Make people laugh, cry, or hide under the covers?

I love books that make me cry, but when I started writing my own books, and they came out funny, I went with it.

3) Retire early or just keep writing from your beach house(s)?

Keep writing. One beach house will suffice.

4) FaceBook or MySpace?

FB all the way. MySpace is fun, but the flash shuts down my wifi.

5) After a period, one space or two?

LOL! I used to use two, but switched over to one about four years ago.

And your bonus question: What ONE WORD of advice would give to any aspiring writer:

Dig.

Thanks for having me, Kimberly!

For more about Lauren or her books, check out her website at http://www.laurenbjorkman.com/. For advice from Roz or Eva, send letters to lauren@laurenbjorkman.com!

Congrats Lauren! And HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Only Three More Days in the Big SUMMERLAND Contest!!!

Summer might officially be over, but summer reads are still HOT! In case you haven't already heard, the big SUMMERLAND Contest prize pack is still up for grabs.
Check it out before it's too late!!!

Summerland Books

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Serious Health Warning: MALE PATTERN BLINDNESS!

So something’s been happening around my house lately. Or rather, to my son.

I mean, I knew he was a boy. The doctor told me so on the day he was born. And I was thrilled. Ecstatic. A boy! My boy. And, boy, how this boy would be different. A sensitive, sweet boy. The kind who would listen to what women had to say, who would talk…actually *talk* when asked questions, engaging in, get this, conversation. He wouldn’t respond to questions with just one-word answers or, worse, grunts.

And he was. For years, my little angel told me precious things, like that he wanted to marry me and live with me forever. Okay, maybe not for years, maybe just when he was four, but it was still the sweetest thing ever. And when he hugged, it was different than when the girls did it. His hugs were softer, cuddlier. He melted into me. I wanted to eat him up.

And then it started, a few years ago…the change.

At first it was just the no-more-hand-holding in public. Okay, fine, he doesn’t want to be a sissy, I could live with that. I kept my own hands stuffed carefully inside my pockets, lest I forget the rule.

Then it was the transition into the one-word conversation.

Me: “How was your day?”
Him: “Fine.”
Me: “What’d you do?”
Him: “Nothin’.”
Me: “Really? Nothing?”
And, usually, I could coax him back into the world of multi-word dialogue.

But lately, it’s other things, too. Man things.

I honestly believed that this most recent affliction was restricted only to my husband, but as I’ve asked around, it seems that it’s more of a male species sort of thing.

MALE PATTERN BLINDNESS.

So how can you spot the warning signs of Male Pattern Blindness? Well, the answer is simple, conversations between you and the male in question will go a little something like this:

Potentially infected male: “Have you seen my [insert any item here: remote control/car keys/Coca Cola]?”

You: “Where have you looked?”

Him: “Everywhere.” (Note the one-word response)

You: “Did you look in the [insert most obvious location here: couch/pockets/fridge]?”

Him: “Uh-huh.” (This is very nearly a grunt)

You: *sigh* “Fine. Let me look.” You check and find said item in the *exact* location you just discussed. Sitting in plain sight. Or in the case of the remote, possibly wedged slightly between two cushions, which as you can imagine *would* be somewhat confusing.

Ladies, I’m begging you, this is serious! This is neither a joke nor a drill. We need to act quickly before our sons and brothers are poisoned by whatever is ailing or husbands and fathers.

I’m worried that I might already be too late for my sweet little boy, that hormones have already clouded his vision so badly that he can no longer see that bright red can of Coke staring at him from the shelf on the fridge.

Let’s not let it happen to your sons too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GIVE UP THE GHOST: Megan Crewe Interview

I love me a good ghost story, real or made up. In fact, I’ve lost sleep over some freaky tales that friends have relayed or late-night viewings of Ghost Hunters. Yeah, I’m that person...

So you can see why GIVE UP THE GHOST, Megan Crewe’s debut novel, piques my interest.

In a recent review, Teens Read Too says of GIVE UP THE GHOST:

“If there's one sentence that could sum up Cass McKenna's life, it would probably be that infamous line from the movie The Sixth Sense: ‘I see dead people.’”

Okay, yeah, I LOVE that line! Gets me every time.

Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers *her* secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...

Today, we welcome awesome 2009 Deb Megan Crewe, author of GIVE UP THE GHOST, to answer a few familiar questions.

Here we go:

1) Megan, would you rather be the Bestselling Rockstar Author or an Acclaimed Literary Award Winner?

Hard one! I think I'd have to go with Bestselling Rockstar Author just because ultimately it's more important to me that readers enjoy my book than critics.

2) Make people laugh, cry, or hide under the covers?

Cry, but laughter would be great, too. I'm not generally trying to scare people. :)

3) Retire early or just keep writing from your beach house(s)?

I am going to be writing as long as I'm able. From a beach house sounds nice!

4) FaceBook or MySpace?

I don't love either, but I find Facebook easier to follow.

5) After a period, one space or two?

Two! It's how I was taught, and habits are hard to break.

And your bonus question: What ONE WORD of advice would give to any aspiring writer?

Persevere. (Great answer!)

To find out more about Megan and her books, check out her website at www.megancrewe.com. And to order GIVE UP THE GHOST (and you totally should), click here!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Practically Virginal...

Okay, so that felt a little weird.

Maybe “virginal” was the wrong word. Maybe I should have said “chaste”, “pure as the driven snow”, or even tried for “angelic.”

Nope, still not working.

So, check it out: THIS. IS. HILARIOUS!

Click on the Ratings Code below and you can find out what your blog is rated. As you can see, I got a “G” rating. Like I said, virginal. *cue halo and angel harps*

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


How did I get that rating? Apparently my blog contains the word “hell” one time and “dead” twice. I seem to be incapable of using profanity. Saintly? Who me???

Don’t look at me like that…it’s totally true! *polishes shiny new halo* Who am I to argue with the rating system?

I’m going to ignore the fact that I used the term “naughty spanking” in this post. Or that I posted about how much I love the swears in this one.

Now, here’s the deal....it's your turn. I want to hear what you’re rated.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vania Is A Genius!!!

This is it! After months of hiring models, shooting original stills, storyboarding, editing, and everything else that goes into a first-class book trailer, Vania from Reverie Book Reviews has finally finished her masterpiece.

Without further ado, I give you the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES book trailer:


AS YOU WISH: The Jackson Pearce Interview

Jackson Pearce is hilarious. Seriously…I’m not just saying that. If you haven’t already seen one of Jackson’s video reviews floating around the web, you have to check them out. They are clever and off-the-wall and nothing that you’d expect in a book review. In this one for The Forest of Hands and Teeth she even does the Thriller dance. Who does that?

Jackson Pearce does!

(Oh yeah, and cute as a button, isn’t she???)

And, even better, her debut novel AS YOU WISH is getting amazing reviews of its own.

Seven months ago, Viola's boyfriend told her he was gay—moments before she was going to lose her virginity to him. Heartbroken, Viola has resigned herself to near invisibility, until she inadvertently summons a young jinn out of his world, Caliban, and into her own. Here he will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to get back to Caliban, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid her wishes will be manipulated into curses. Jinn knows that should she wait too long, the Ifrit, guardians of earthbound jinn, will press her to wish by hurting those around her.As they spend time together, Jinn can't deny that he's slowly falling in love with Viola, blurring the lines between master and servant. It's only after Viola makes her first wish—for a popular boy to love her—that she realizes the feelings are mutual.

With every wish Jinn's time with her diminishes, but the longer she waits to wish the greater danger she's in from the Ifrit. Together, Viola, Jinn, and Viola's ex-boyfriend try to outwit the Ifrit while dealing with their own romantic complexities and the alcohol-laced high school social scene.

But, wait! There’s more??? That’s right, it’s the Jackson Pearce Interview:

1) Okay, Jackson, would you rather be the Bestselling Rockstar Author or an Acclaimed Literary Award Winner?

I'm kinda ashamed to say, Bestselling Rockstar. Because it fulfills my woes over not being an ACTUAL rockstar. Also, I'm not very literary anyhow.

2) Make people laugh, cry, or hide under the covers?

Laugh, any day. Then cry. Then I steal their covers.

3) Retire early or just keep writing from your beach house(s)?

Just keep writing from my beach houses while the manservant makes martinis.

4) FaceBook or MySpace?

Facebook. Myspace has too many flashy ads. It makes me feel nauseous.

5) After a period, one space or two?

ONE. ONE people, ONE.

And your bonus question: What ONE WORD of advice would give to any aspiring writer?

Try

Besides her fabulous debut and video hilarity, Jackson also has a series of books coming out, starting in June 2010, with SISTERS RED, a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, but with butt-kicking sisters and romance! For more about Jackson (and her amazing books!), check out her website at www.jacksonpearce.com!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I GOT A GOLD STAR!

Okay so maybe I didn't get a gold star, but THE BODY FINDER did...the Gold Star Award from Teens Read Too!

My favorite line from the review:

"I want to, as I used to say when I was seven, marry this book."

You can read the rest of the review here, but I just had to share (Kindergarten style)!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Not-So-Usual Debs' Interview: SYDNEY SALTER

Like the title states, this is not your typical Debs’ Interview. Yes, Sydney Salter is a Deb. But we met her before, back in April when her novel MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS debuted. Which means that JUNGLE CROSSING is *not* Sydney’s debut novel. So, in light of her second release, we’re doing a second interview, with a second set of questions. *cue confetti* That’s right, folks, buckle up, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. No, seriously, it’s just new questions…

Sydney’s latest book JUNGLE CROSSING is the reason we’re here:

Thirteen-year-old Kat can think of dozens of good reasons not to go on a boring family vacation to hot, grungy Mexico. Number one: missing her friend Fiona's minicamp. If she's not there, she'll begin eighth grade as a social reject. And it looks like she's the odd girl out on vacation, too. When Kat's parents arrange for her and her younger sister, Barb, to go on a teen adventure tour, Barb makes more friends than she does. The only person who will talk to Kat is Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). Each day as they travel to different Mayan ruins, Nando tells Kat and Barb another installment in the original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lives is as full of rivalry, betrayal, jealousy, and sacrifice as Kat's world at school. And as she makes new friends and discovers new treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to wonder: Is she willing to keep sacrificing herself in exchange for popularity?

Ready, set, INTERVIEW:

1) So, Sydney, your second book, JUNGLE CROSSING, is geared toward a slightly younger audience, how has that changed how you’ve gone about preparing for your launch?

I'm planning to target teachers and librarians this time around--especially with the Mayan theme in the novel. I'm also working on a school presentation aimed at upper elementary school age children. Plus, I ordered scads of those cute little bobble head turtles for giveaways and drawings (kids love them--okay, so do I!).

2) Other than the age range, how much different is this book from your first book?

Jungle Crossing is a hybrid contemporary/historical coming of age story with two main characters, 13-year-old Kat and an ancient Mayan teenager. The ancient story has a lot of action and adventure. My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters is a humorous contemporary YA so, yeah, they're pretty different.

3) What made you decide to write for a younger audience?

Jungle Crossing is actually the first novel I ever wrote, but my fourth manuscript (My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters) sold first. I've always enjoyed writing and reading in both genres.

4) Have you found it harder or easier to connect with middle-graders online? How has that affected your marketing strategies?

Marketing is quite different because middle-grade readers mainly go online to play games--not read blogs. And they're not even allowed on social networking sites. In some ways, I'm starting from scratch when it comes to marketing!

5) After going through your debut with MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS, what has been the biggest difference in preparing to launch your second book? What things are you doing exactly the same this time around?

I'm not as stressed since the process is more familiar. And I've decided NOT to worry about the things I cannot control--like reviews. I'm going to schedule several book signings again and I'm kind of excited that I don't have to worry about "questionable content" this time around. Anyone can read Jungle Crossing!

I’d like to thank Sydney for stopping by; I’m fascinated by the whole second-book-process compared to the first, so I appreciate her sharing. Plus, I got to meet Sydney in LA and she was lovely and funny and awesome!!!

If you want to find out more about Sydney (and her books), check out her website at http://www.sydneysalter.com/!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

JUST A COUPLA QUICKIES...

First off, I’m still in STAGE FOUR of revisions, which means that somehow I’m surviving off of Hot Tamales (the candies not the spicy Mexican food) and no sleep. Showers and hot meals are overrated anyway.

Second of all, there’s a new interview just posted by Michelle over at Windowpane Memoirs. Yes, an interview of me. (You can never have too much me!)

Next, The First Novels Club posted a Co-Review of THE BODY FINDER. Donna and Frankie are funny funny ladies (and they totally liked my book!), so you should definitely check it out!!! ;)

And…tomorrow is the last day to enter for your chance to win an ARC of THE BODY FINDER over at The Book Blogger, so if you haven’t already, get you’re a** in gear!

That’s about it. I probably need to run to the store at some point to restock on food (at least of the microwavable variety so the kids can have something besides licorice and saltines for dinner). And I should probably brush my teeth before they turn perma-red from the dye in the candy. Plus, candy for breakfast, who does that? Oh yeah, I do…

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

HATE LIST Author: Meet Jennifer Brown!!!

The Niceties: Peeps meet Jennifer Brown. Jennifer Brown, meet my peeps.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Jennifer’s debut novel HATE LIST is a book I’ve been dying to tell you about (honestly, no pun intended)! As part of the Debs (and Tenners too), I’ve had the chance to read more than my share of extraordinary debut novels, the only limitation is that I have to wait my turn in line. Okay, so maybe patience is not one of my virtues. Fine, it’s definitely not one of them. And since I wasn’t fast enough signing up for HATE LIST that means I can either wait months for my turn to read it for free…or I buy it from Amazon. NOW. Let me just say: “Hello two-day shipping!”

Why the rush? Check it out:

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saves the life of a classmate, but is implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things they hated. The list her boyfriend used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

And the reviews are coming in all over, and everyone seems to agree…Jennifer’s book is being hailed as brilliant. Even Kirkus (KIRKUS!) says: “this debut is one to top the charts.”

Seriously, just take a few moments to watch this (come on, it’s less than a minute and a half of your time, what can it hurt?). If this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.



See? Doesn’t it look haunting and horrifying and genius? This one moves right to the top of my to-be-read pile.

So, now to the interview portion of our program. You guys know the drill, so I won’t waste time explaining.

Jennifer, here we go:

1) Would you rather be the Bestselling Rockstar Author or an Acclaimed Literary Award Winner?

I guess I'd choose... Bestselling Rockstar Acclaimed Literary Award Winning Author... With a Winning Smile.

2) Make people laugh, cry, or hide under the covers?

Depends on what I'm writing. I hate it when people laugh at my serious fiction and cry at my humor, though. That's a bad day.

3) Retire early or just keep writing from your beach house(s)?

Never retire. Never!

4) FaceBook or MySpace?

Facebook, with tons of flair and other cyber-stuff.

5) After a period, one space or two?

Oh, no! It took me years to get that second space out of there. Please don't make me put it back!

And your bonus question: What ONE WORD of advice would give to any aspiring writer?

Write.

To find out more about Jennifer Brown (believe it or not, she’s a humor columnist for The Kansas City Star), check out her website at http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/!

And. Buy. This. Book!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kate Messner: THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z

2009 Deb Kate Messner’s new new novel, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z gives dysfunctional family a whole new meaning…see what I mean?

Gianna Zales has a lot on her plate this fall – a father who drives her to school in the family hearse, a mother who’s turned into the junk food police, a little brother who thinks he’s a member of the paparazzi, and a grandmother who leaves false teeth in the refrigerator. Worst of all, she’s left her 7th grade leaf collection to do at the last minute. It’s a monster project, and Gianna will miss cross-country sectionals if she doesn’t meet the deadline. She’ll need the help of her geeky friend, Zig, and some brilliant ideas of her own to pull it off.

Does that not sound adorable???

Kate dropped by to answer a few questions about superstardom, social networking, and to give some advice to would-be-authors:

Okay...and, we’re off:

1) Would you rather be the Bestselling Rockstar Author or an Acclaimed Literary Award Winner?

Am I allowed to say neither one? I'd love for my books to make a difference to kids who need those particular stories. As a teacher, I work with kids every day, and I know how the right book at the right time can make all the difference in their lives as readers. I'm more about the readers than the lists or awards committees (though those are nice, too!).

2) Make people laugh, cry, or hide under the covers?

Laugh and cry. Several people have told me THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z made them do both, and that's the highest praise I can imagine.

3) Retire early or just keep writing from your beach house(s)?

Oh keep writing. And I'm going to keep teaching, too. Both these careers are a part of who I am.

4) FaceBook or MySpace?

Facebook. And Twitter. I'm KateMessner in both of those places, and I'm happy to have teacher/reader/librarian friends!

5) After a period, one space or two?

Two. It's a hard habit to break.

And your bonus question: What ONE WORD of advice would give to any aspiring writer?

WRITE. (Dreaming is important, too, but if you don't sit down and commit to writing, then all the dreaming in the world isn't going to get your book written.)

All right, that last one was WAY more than one word, but that’s what you get when you ask a *writer* a question! Plus, I’ll let it slide, cuz her answer was great!

To find out more about Kate, and her books, check out her website at http://www.katemessner.com/! (without the exclamation mark, of course)