Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lots of ice and a little bit of fire....

Are you a fan girl of a certain author? I totally am. I get almost giddy when I spy a new Kate Brian/Kieran Scott/Emma Harrison book on the racks. For those of you who live in a cave and only read this blog, these books are all written by one woman. I know, right? She's like Meg prolific. Even worse, she's kind of gorgeous. She's one of those chicks who looks good in sweats and a ponytail going grocery shopping. But wait, don't start hating on her quite yet. Why not you ask?

Um, because she kind of rocks. All of her stories pull me in and never let go until the last page. I've read most of KKE's (her new nickname, courtesy of me) books but the one I just finished was, by far, my favorite. It's called THE BEST GIRL by Emma Harrison.
The Best Girl is the story of Farrah Jane Morris. She is forced to attend her brothers wedding at an elite resort in Colorado. Her brother is marrying a pretentious rich girl, who turns out to be not-so-pretentious after all. For two whole weeks Farrah/Jane has to fly under her mother's radar (who is constantly trying to turn her into someone she isn't), keep up the act of being a nanny so the boy she's crushing on doesn't think she is a pampered snob, try to find her femininity, and deal with the fact that she even though she's adding a new member to her family she still feels like she is losing her brother.

I picked this book to blog about because the ski resort locale was like another character. In some scenes the wintry wonderland is depicted so well I thought I might be able to see my breath. And if you need a bit of fire to go along with your ice, the scenes with Hot Connor don't disappoint. It makes me wish I had actually visited a ski resort when I lived in Colorado. :)

This book was almost personal to me though. Farrah and her brother are best friends and she has to deal with the fact that this might not always be since he is growing up and moving on to start his own family. I remember crying my eyes out at the little brother's wedding, partly because he was moving two thousand miles away, but also because I knew that to some degree, things would never be the same between us again. KKE (who? See above. Come on people, stay with me) nails these emotions. There was a scene that was so well written that I got choked up.

So if you are looking for a little bit of fire and ice, pick up Emma's book and enjoy!

What I'm reading now....The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews (why do people do that to their kids?)

xo,
Steph
Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!
Twisted Sisters, coming April Fool's Day!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fire & Ice

We’re kicking off a new rotation called “Fire & Ice,” focusing on topics relating to hot and cold. It’ll be fun to see what we all come up with!

We’re opening with Books, and the obvious connection in my mind is the fact that I intentionally set How to Hook a Hottie in the ice and snowstorms of Spokane, Washington in January to offset the fact that Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress took place during a southern California Indian summer month.

So what steps did I take to assure the different seasonal feels?

Weather: Whereas I did not mention weather in Prom Dress (assume warm and sunny unless otherwise noted), I made a point of using snow, rain, sleet to Hottie to enhance scene mood.

Body language: I did a lot of group huddles for warmth in Hottie, where as in Prom Dress, the kids tended to sit or stand in normal body ranges.



Clothing: the teens in Prom Dress pretty much dressed like the ones I see at my local California high schools: shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, sneakers. For Hottie, I exchanged numerous e-mails with a 17 year-old girl in a cold climate about winter fashion: coats, scarves, boots until I felt I could get it right.

Dialogue: Although I could have mentioned the heat in PROM DRESS, I believe I assumed it was a given between characters. But the storms were a source of conversation and concern in HOTTIE. I also used puffed of condensed air for important lines.


Driving: I frequently discussed road conditions and upcoming storms in Hottie, whereas in the southern California, all I talked about was traffic!

So...that about does it. I’d love to hear any fire and ice weather-related tips you’ve used in your writing or seen in books you’ve read.

Tina

Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Spring 2008 Children’s Book Sense Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009
www.tinaferraro.com

Sunday, February 24, 2008

There's Something In The Water


I've wanted to visit Australia since, like, forever. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to go down under to meet the kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. They have the spectacular natural phenomena of the Great Barrier Reef (the picture above is of an adorably heart-shaped barrier island), Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), and the wild and deadly Outback. Populated by surfers, crocodile hunters, Crocodile Dundee, and the descendants of the exiled criminals of Georgian England, it just has to be a supercool place. (Okay, maybe Crocodile Dundee doesn't support my argument.) Everything about the continent/country seems exotic.

These days, however, I have another reason for my fascination with Oz: the young adult literary connection. There is a wealth of talent springing from that quadrant of the Southern Hemisphere of late. Here's a limited and selective list of Aussie Authors.

1. Markus Zusak -- I detailed his talents (and his cuteness) in my Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz post last month, but he definitely deserves slot #1 on this list. The Book Thief author is a two-time Printz Award Honor winner, a Sydney native and an avid surfer.


2. Garth Nix -- This Melbourne-born bestselling author has penned more than twenty novels, most notably the Old Kingdom, Keys to the Kingdom, and Seventh Tower fantasy series for teens. He has millions of books in print.


3. Justine Larbalastier -- Justine is the award-winning author of the Magic or Madness trilogy and the awesome-sounding-upcoming How To Ditch Your Fairy (Bloomsbury, September 2008), keeper of an enthralling blog, and (quite notably, but not most importantly) the wife of superstar author Scott Westerfeld (also see Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz post). She hails from Sydney, and now spends much time in NYC with the previously mentioned superstar author husband.


4. Jaclyn Moriarty -- I've save the best (in my completely biased opinion) for last. I am in awe of her amazing talent. You can read a few entries in her too-infrequently-updated blog (I recommend the Letters to Charlie) to get a delicious taste of her style. Then you can go buy the Year of Secret Assignments and the Murder of Bindy Mackenzie to get the full flavor. She is a genius. I can but hope to aspire to her talent. (Though I do wish she would get a proper website or MySpace so I could obsessively emulate her in every way.)

There are, of course, dozens (or perhaps dozens of dozens) other fantastic authors born of or residing in Australia. My agency sister, Amanda Ashby, comes to mind (she lives in New Zealand now, but was born in Oz), as well as Printz award nominee Judith Clarke. And England-born author Sara Hantz almost qualifies (she lives in New Zealand which I'm sure is a completely separate country, but from the other side of the globe it seems pretty darn close). These are all my exhausted mind can come up with this week. Who have I missed? Or is there another country with oodles of literary talent streaming into bookstores?

Hugs,
TLC
OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008
teralynnchilds.com

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Curious for George

Happy Saturday from snowy, snowy Boston. Hope where you are is a lot warmer!

I woke up (late this morning -- loves my sleeping in time on Saturday!) and decided I needed to do a little dusting. I worked my way over to my secretary that I inherited from my grandparents. Here, I keep all of my "old" and "valuable" books - like a 1964 printing of GONE WITH THE WIND and some of my books from my childhood.



Today, I was particularly drawn to a couple of books on the end: CURIOUS GEORGE GOES TO THE HOSPITAL and CURIOUS GEORGE LEARNS THE ALPHABET. These came out the year I was born and I remember reading them so much that the covers came loose.



I turned to the front of the book to see who the publisher was (like any curious author) and irony of irony....it hit me...George's publisher is also my publisher... Houghton Mifflin Company here in Boston. Coincidence? I think not! Amazing that books...and a character who meant so much in my childhood are produced, even today, by the very publisher who bought my GHOST HUNTRESS series.

Isn't he just the cutest?



Do you have a favorite childhood book that has stayed with you? What is it?

Hugs,
Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (May 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (May 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Begins May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Something my inner child has never quite gotten over...

Here in central Illinois, the temperatures have been hovering around twenty degrees for the last several days. As if that weren't bad enough, my four-year-old hasn't had preschool almost all week. This means that I have gotten no work done in my attempt to entertain three and four-year-old boys all week (they are truly play deficient, and I say that in the most loving way).


I'm a fun mom. I cut their sandwiches into hearts and animals. I make them slushies with new-fallen snow. I build tents and talk about dinosaurs and endlessly ram trucks into things. But this past week the little girl still buried deep inside me wants to cry out, "Where are your dolls? And tea sets? And costume jewelry? And can somebody please tell me what happened to Barbie? "


There are no Barbie's here. No Ken's either. Just trucks, trains, stick horses that are used as battering rams most of the time, and lots of tiny, tiny soldiers that hurt like a beyotch when you step on them. It got me thinking about some of my most favorite toys. I had tons of Barbies, every Strawberry Shortcake Doll & friends, Smurfs, Care Bears, and Hello Kitty. I had no shortage of toys and was never denied anything (the upside of divorce). Then something really bad happened....


The year was 1983. The object of my affection was bald, male, and had a tattoo on his left buttock. No, I wasn't into biker dudes yet, I wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid. I knew, without a doubt, that Santa(the jig was up about Santa, but I was still afraid to completely renounce my belief) would leave one under the tree for me. I was spending Christmas with my dad in Idaho that year. I sniffed around the tree and couldn't seem to find a present shaped like a CPK. I didn't sweat it. I knew my dad was sneaky and that he would take it out of the box and disguise it.

Christmas Eve came and my stepmom's family had a tradition of opening all their gifts that day. So I ripped into sweaters, gloves, socks, etc. My dad handed me my final present and I knew this was the one that held my CPK. The box was decorated like a crate and had print on it about live animals being inside. I knew he was just trying to throw me off. I reached into the box and pulled out a huge stuffed seal. It was adorable but I was devastated. I buried my face into it, letting a few tears escape. My dad had already told me that he couldn't get a CPK because he just couldn't find them. People were getting into fist fights over them that year. I'm not sure why I didn't believe him but I was sure he'd pull it off.


I went to bed, sobbing into my seal, still a tiny bit hopeful that Dad was just waiting for Christmas day to present my "real" gift. I know, I was kind of slow for ten, huh? All Christmas Day I was positive my dad was going to pop up with another gift. Even up until bedtime. But he didn't. And I have to say that a part of me has never gotten over it. I know that sounds kind of crazy, especially considering that he got me two the next year. But by then it just wasn't that big of a deal (especially considering I came down with chicken pox on Christmas Eve).


Looking back I don't think I was mourning the doll as much as I was mourning the fact that my parents wouldn't always be able to make my every dream come true. I wasn't always going to get everything I wanted. Ouch. But it was a good lesson because it made me realize that I'm the one responsible for making all my dreams come true. I'm happy to say that I haven't let myself down yet!


Do you have a favorite toy from your childhood? Were you ever the victim of ESS (Empty Stocking Syndrome) that's a fancy name I just thought up for not getting what you wanted for Christmas?


xo,

Steph

http://www.stephaniehale.com/

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Twisted Sisters, coming very soon, April Fool's Day 2008!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Year of the (Earth) Rat Begins!

On my recent trip to NYC, I had the good fortune to visit Chinatown on the actual day of Chinese New Year!

Here are the kids on Mott street running in the flurry of confetti shot from these giand hand-held poppers.



After eating the best Dim Sum of my life, I wandered the streets and ended up at Chatham Square, where they were getting ready to set off fireworks.




Here are the strings of firecrackers that went off for twenty minutes following the fireworks launched overhead.















And of course, there were dragon parades all through the neighborhood. It's not one big parade, a cop told me, just about twelve small ones over a period of hours.

Each dragon was followed by a band of drummers. It was loud, and really, really cool.






So this year is the year of the rat -- and the element of earth. If you want to read more about the new beginnings associated with year of the rat, go to http://www.chinese.astrology.com/ to check out the predictions, and to see what your Chinese zodiac sign is.

I was born in the year of the dog -- and the element of metal. I'm a steel Chihuahua, I guess. :) But it's really kind of cool to check out what your sign (and that of your friend/spouse/fave hottie) is.

What sign are you? Do you believe in this stuff, anyway?

Hugs,

Heather

Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in April 2009 from HarperCollins

Monday, February 18, 2008

Who Would You Rather Be?

It’s one of our “free weeks” here at the Buzz Girls Blog, and following seven rich and lengthier-than-usual interview posts (which were great fun, so if you haven’t checked them out yet, do scroll down), I thought I’d offer up something short and sweet today.

Recently, I saw a poll that asked which I’d rather be:

--the most beautiful person in the world
--the richest person in the world
--the smartest person in the world.

And while most beautiful was definitely not my gut reaction, I realized I’d rather not be the richest (nothing left to shoot for) or smartest (I’d think it’d be frustrating and lonely). So I went with most beautiful by default. In fact, when I checked the votes on that website, the majority agreed with me.

So now I turn it to you: most beautiful, richest or smartest? What say you...and why?

Tina

Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009
www.tinaferraro.com

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Just Who Is Tina Ferraro?

As resident Sunday BuzzGirl, I got the mega-honor of interviewing Monday Blog Mom Tina Ferraro. Tina is the incredibly talented author of Top Ten Uses For An Unworn Prom Dress (which gets the BuzzBlog longest title award) and the just released How To Hook A Hottie. If you haven't read these two, then get to a bookstore or click over to Amazon and put them in your TBR pile. You won't regret it.


The official author headshot, aka Nutmeg Cabot.


TLC: Mark Wahlberg knocks on your door. Why is he there and what do you do?

Tina: He’s there because someone-knew-someone-who-knew-someone, etc., and the Buzz Girls sent him as a birthday surprise. He hands me a rose, kisses my cheek, and then saunters off while I scream for my kids to bear witness to what just happened, to assure me that I haven’t lost my mind.

TLC: You would just let him go? I'm disappointed. Then again, you're the girl who passed up a chance to meet him... I shouldn't be surprised. What is the worst thing about being a writer? The best?

Tina: The worst is when I get my first revision package from my editor, and I am in a cold sweat that the book has completely disappointed her. (So far, my fears have not come to fruition, thank God.)

The best is...well, every day when I wake up and get to “go to work” in my family room, wearing a sweatsuit and dorky glasses.


TLC: I think we need to see a picture of those dorky glasses. How has being a short story writer helped/hindered you as a novelist?

Tina: I am a self-learner, so writing short stories was my classroom to teach myself about story structure and follow-through.

TLC: Describe your typical day. (Or, if there is no such thing, you dream day.)

Tina: Typical starts at 5:45, get the family up and out. I write, go out to the supermarket or errands, write some more, pick up a kid or two, usually read or write, make dinner, take an evening walk with my husband, do some writing or reading, asleep by 10:00. Not a very exciting life, but I like it!

TLC: Yes, but you get to do plenty of exciting things. As a native East coaster and an adopted West coaster, which suits you more?

Tina: I think I’ve found a comfortable blend of both at this point, and don’t have a preference for either coast or lifestyle.

TLC: Sounds like me. How do you get from idea to The End?

Tina: Nervously, worried that the story won’t hold up, and constantly going back and strengthening the plot points.

TLC: Well, if Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress and How To Hook a Hottie are any indication, you can stop worrying. If you could write anything in the world and know it would sell (market trends and demands aside) what would you write?

Tina: But the question is: would it be good and sell well?? Um, I’ve long had a time travel idea about a family driving cross-country. Suffice to say, the family would have teens, but it would probably be marketed as adult fiction.

TLC: Intriguing. I'm picturing Back To the Future in a station wagon. Where do you see yourself and your career in five years? In twenty-five?

Tina: Rich and famous and still alive. No, really, I don’t plan that far ahead. I just live inside whatever book I’m presently writing and hope there are more in me.

Tina signing copies of Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress at the RWA Literacy Autographing in Dallas last year. Note: The RITA flag on the table belongs to Caridad Ferrar, but Tina is predicted to have her own flag this year.

TLC: If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?

Tina: I wanted to be a flight attendant, but they wouldn’t take me! Actually, I’m a natural organizer, so probably running conferences or a bustling office, like I’ve done in the past.

TLC: As terrific of a flight attendant as you would have been, I think we're all glad that wasn't your destined career path. Name one thing you don’t like that most people love.

Tina: Cheesecake.

TLC: Really? And you're from New York? Name one thing you love that most people don’t like.

Tina: Eating orange rinds.

TLC: Um, ew. Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

Tina: Disneyland, although I’ve never been to Disney World, so I have nothing to back this answer up.

TLC: Which three writers or works most influenced your writing?

Tina: Stephen King, Sue Grafton, Harlan Coben

Tina with fellow BuzzGirl Stephanie Hale, both glitzed out at the dessert reception following the 2007 RWA RITA awards ceremony.

TLC: Finish this sentence: Never under any circumstance...

Tina: Believe anything I tell you about someone I only very casually know. Especially if it’s someone whose path I cross on a regular basis, like another parent at school or a checker at the supermarket. Because I have this habit of embellishing their characteristics based on a sentence or action, and a week or a month later, I forget that I made it up and pass it off as truth.

“No, really,” I say, “she’s putting her house on the market. I know because I saw her reading the real estate section.” Once. When the kids were late getting out of school. And she’d finished the rest of the paper. And I was bored, too. And noticing her, and wondering about her... “Okay, maybe she’s not. And uh, maybe don’t mention this conversation to anyone, either.”


TLC: [Mental Note: Never trust anything Tina says about other people.] What one question do you wish someone would ask you? (And answer that question.)

Tina:
Q: How do you stay so young looking?
A: By having such gracious friends as you!


TLC: Aw, how sweet. Thanks for answering all these bizarro questions! That wraps up my interview of Tina and the BuzzBlog interview series.

Tina Ferraro is the author of Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress and How To Hook a Hottie, both from Delacorte. Her third novel, The ABC's of Kissing, will be out in 2009.

Hugs,
TLC
OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008
teralynnchilds.com

Friday, February 15, 2008

I give you debut author - Tera Lynn Childs!

I'm thrilled to have the chance to interview our very own Tera Lynn Childs or TLC as she's affectionaly known as.



Tera's debut novel OH. MY. GODS. comes out in May of this year and we're just all so proud of her and happy for the release. Pull up and chair and learn a little bit more about TLC.

MARLEY: Hey TLC! Thanks so much for your time! Let's just dive head first into the interview with a good ol' stand by question. What's the first thing you remember writing? How old were you?

TLC: When I was in elementary school, like third or fourth grade, I started a “book” about a little boy whose toy soldiers came to life at night. They carried out missions like retrieving juice and crackers from the kitchen. I still have it, hidden away somewhere.



MARLEY: Oooo...how fun it would be to find that and post here or on your website. Maybe the Buzz Girls will do a feature like that one day. = ) Okay...so tell our readers what your writing habit is...how often, where, when?

TLC: Not often enough (unless I’m on deadline, then I write every day). Almost always at Starbucks, for the following reasons: 1) no internet (unless I want to pay--which I don’t), 2) no distractions (i.e. the aforementioned internet, television, dirty dishes, laundry, etc.), 3) comfy chairs, and 4) the deliciousness that is a caramel Frappuccino. I’m most productive, writing-wise, in late morning/early afternoon.



MARLEY: See, I'm not a coffee person, so going to Starbucks just makes me come out of there smelling like the beand. LOL! They do have the comfy chairs and free internet, which is definitely a bonus. So, can you tell us how you came up with the initial idea for OH. MY. GODS.?

TLC: It all started with the original title, GROWING UP GODLY, which sounded like the title of an inspirational book. I knew I could never write that, so I had to come up with some other concept to fit the title. Eureka! The Greek gods. The premise just fell into place after that.



MARLEY: And luck for that is did. What person or person(s) has/have helped you the most in your writing career?

TLC: Ugh, that’s a tough one. There’s my writing mentor, Shane Bolks, who gave me loads of encouragement and stellar advice on how to approach this business as a career. There’s my critique partner, Sharie Kohler, who is an amazing writer and always helps me fix my plot holes. And, of course, my agent, who keeps me sane, on track, and looking to the future.


[TLC with fellow West Houston RWA members Shane Bolks (aka Shana Galen), Sharie Kohler (aka Sophie Jordan), and Sharon Forret.]

MARLEY: Agents are great that way, don'tcha think? What's your most memorable teenage experience? Why?

TLC: Another toughie.

MARLEY: I'm no Tyra Banks...this is hardball, baby!

TLC: I think I would have my mot memorable teenage experience was starting college. I was only seventeen when I left Missouri to start school in New York City. At the time it seemed like a totally normal and common thing to do, but looking back, I think it was pretty gutsy. I’m proud of that.



MARLEY: You certainly should be! You've lived in several places, how has that helped you as a writer?

TLC: Having lived in every time zone, at a variety of latitudes and altitudes, and in one foreign country has helped me in the way that any variation of experience helps a writer. Every new person you meet and new place you visit broadens your mind. Even if you never use that experience directly, it comes across in your writing as a greater sense of understanding and of perspective.

MARLEY: That's so true. Now, in addition to being a talented writer, you're also a master with web-design (case in point our lovely Books, Boys, Buzz blog.) How do you channel all of your creative energies?

TLC: Web and graphic design is my guilty pleasure. It’s how I procrastinate. It uses such a different type of thinking, much more logical and technical, that it give my writing brain a break.

MARLEY: It's great that you can "take a break" by continuing to do creative things. Tell me, what made you want to write young adult stories?

TLC: I never consciously thought, "Hey, I’d like to write for teens." The story of OH. MY. GODS. came to me, and it fit into a teen world. But the more I learn about the teen market, the more I love it and the more I realize that I’m perfectly happy here.

MARLEY: I'm sure your readers will be happy to hear that. Do you have any advice for young writers?

TLC: Besides the standard, "Read and write," I would have to say, "Observe." Becoming an observer of people, places, and situations is the quickest path to writing believable fiction. Notice things, like how cafeterias always smell like over-cooked tuna casserole, how your science teacher takes three deep breaths when she’s really frustrated, or how your best friend sits up a little straighter when her crush walks by. Those are the kind of details that lend realism to your writing.



MARLEY: Such great advice. (And you're right about caf smelling like tuna noodle casserole!) Okay, a very, very serious question...who's your favorite Buzz Girl? Hahaha...just kidding! I'd never make you answer that (me, me, me!! ) question...that's just not fair. (hee hee) Okay, seriously...this is...what's your favorite teen movie and why? And how many times have you seen it?

TLC: DRIVE ME CRAZY starring Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier. Omigod, I looove this movie. It has all the best teen romantic comedy elements: a former best boy friend, next door neighbor, makeover-the-outcast-boy-into-the-coolest-guy-in-school plot, revenge, and some really smart views on the nature of high school social politics. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

MARLEY: I've never seen that! I totally have to add that to my Netflix list. All right, some fun questions for you...what's the best ice cream you've ever had in your life...flavor and brand. (Calories and fat grams don't count!)

TLC: Ben and Jerry’s White Russian!!! But it’s been discontinued and no attempts at resurrection have been successful. If anyone has connections...

MARLEY: Mmm...sounds decadent. Are you a cat or dog person?

TLC: (with little hesitation) Dog!

MARLEY: TiVo or DVR? OnDemand or Netflix?

TLC: DVR and Netflix!

MARLEY: Channing Tatum or Wentworth Miller?

TLC: Wentworth Miller!



MARLEY: Okay, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on that one. Last question...if you were stranded on a desert island with only three books and three music CDs (okay, and a player with an endless supply of batteries...it is a deserted island after all), what would they be and why?

TLC: Well, for books - 1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen -- #1 favorite of all time; 2) A survival manual -- so I don’t: a) starve, b) get eaten, or c) accidentally lick one of those hallucinogenic toads (not that I go around licking toads regularly); 3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- I would hate to leave it unfinished. As for CDs - 1) Come Away With Me from Norah Jones -- I can listen to her over and over and over; 2) A compilation of 80s one-hit wonders -- nothing picks me up like good 80s music; 3) Queen: Greatest Hits -- their songs would motivate me while I’m building a raft.

MARLEY: Wow! What a list! Sounds awesome. Well, thanks for chatting with me, Tera. I hope the readers get a better sense of who you are as a person and a writer. Remember to pick up Tera's book in May 2008!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (May 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (May 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS SERIES (May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)






I'm here with Marley Gibson a/k/a Kate Harmon, author of the Sorority 101 Series, who has not one, but TWO, debut novels dropping on May 1st, 2008!




I know this isn't your most recent pic, Marley, but I'm loving the pearls & it looked very sorority headshot, so I went with it. Okay, on to the interview because your soon-to-be fans want to know more about YOU, the fabulous author of the Sorority 101 Series.

1) Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I think it's more the case that I always HAVE been a writer. From the first time I put the Crayolas to paper, I was always coming up with stories. In kindergarten, I wrote a lot of "short stories" (and by short, I mean like...3 pages, illustrated) and made them into little booklets for my parents. I've just always veered to the written word. Much preferred tests that let you write a novel instead of multiple choice.

2) Coke or Pepsi?

Oh, honey...neither. Diet Coke all the way. By the gallon full. Just put a slow-drip IV of it in my arm. = )

3) What was the best piece of writing advice you ever got and who was it from?

Back in 2001 when I got "serious" about wanting to be a writer, I sent a message -- via her website -- to author Barbara Delinsky. She was nice enough to write back and tell me that if I wanted to be a writer then I needed to not just talk about it, but DO IT. Just do it. Seems simple, but it really charged me up and got me writing.

4) What is your favorite food?
Wow...now see, you're asking this question of a Foodie, so I don't know if there's just one food above all. I'm a closet gourmet chef and I love taking a fatty recipe and lightening it so you don't feel so guilty eating it. I'd have to say fried chicken is like an intoxicating drug to me...so having found a way to lighten it up and "oven fry" it so that it tastes just like the real thing...yeah...that was a coup.




5) Do you still want to write adult fiction someday or are you addicted to YA?

I have eight (8) adult novels that I wrote and never sold and I have tons of ideas for other stories. Maybe one day I'll see what I can do with that, but right now, I'm so in love with the YA voice and all you can do with writing younger characters, I think I'll be addicted to that for a while.

6) What teen celeb do you totally crush on?

Channing Tatum is just too hot for his own good. I've seen SHE'S THE MAN so many times, it's not even funny and he gets cuter each time I watch it. Why are there not more Channing Tatum movies?!?!


7) If you got a million dollar contract, would you quit your day job?

Ummm...duh!! Although, I'd probably work part time just because I love my job and the people I work with, as well as the company. Maybe I'd bank the mil for a couple of years, so I could have an early retirement to say, Antigua. LOL!

8) What is your all time favorite book?

Probably sounds cliched, but GONE WITH THE WIND. It's got everything...war, famine, peace, challenges, romance, unrequited love, family, turmoil, conflict, rebirth, salvation, heartbreak, freedom, triumph, wow...could just go on and on! And who's a better hero than Rhett?

9) How many times a day do you Google yourself?

You know, I can honestly say I don't do this --- yet. I have Google alerts set up with my book titles, my name, my maiden name, all sorts of stuff to alert me, but I'm not a known self-Googler...yet.

10) Have you ever played Guitar Hero?

I haven't yet, although I'm completely DYING to try it! I played piano, violin, trumpet, etc. in high school and am very musically inclined. I think it would be wicked cool to take a crack at Guitar Hero. Who wants to invite me over?

11) In a perfect world, where do you see your writing career in ten years? 10 years?


Well...I hope my sorority books are a big hit and in their 20th printing and that I'm still writing my GHOST HUNTRESS series books, as well as other series. I'm making enough money that I can live anywhere in the world that I want. I think maybe three months in the south of France, six months in my loft condo in downtown Toronto, and the other three months either traveling or somewhere warm. Oh yeah...and I'll invest some of my royalties in a vineyard in Napa that will be named after my series. LOL!! Seriously, though...I just hope to be able to continue writing and crafting stories and characters that readers will love and want more from.

To sum up, Marley Gibson is a fried chicken eating, Diet Coke drinking, Channing Tatum loving, soon-to-be-best-selling author! Oh, and that's not her in the pic playing Guitar Hero b/c she's still waiting on her invite! :) Thanks for the fun interview, Marley, and best of luck on your releases!

Stephanie
http://www.stephaniehale.com/

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Stunning Siren Simone

Today I get to interview one of the FUNNIEST women I have ever met. After having a five minute conversation with her, you will be rolling on the floor laughing. Last summer at the RWA conference, Simone co-participated in a "Writing for YA market" workshop that had the audience in hoots!

Don't get me wrong, this lady isn't just laughs....her specialty is edgy, realistic teen-fiction such as LEAVING PARADISE (if you haven't read this book, get yourself to a bookstore NOW!)

And now, without further adieu, Simone Elkeles!


Simone! So good to talk to you again...cannot wait to see what you've been working on lately. Speaking of this, I have been curious about this for so long....how did you start writing? I know you have two kids, a husband and you used to manage your dad's factories. Where did you get the time?

I only started writing after I sold the family business. I was a bored stay-at-home new mom, who spent a lot of time taking my toddler to the library just to get out of the house. I picked up a book at the library (I was NOT a big reader, to say the least) and for the first time fell in love with reading. I gobbled them up like white chocolate chips (my favorite) and read, like, one book a day. You’d be surprised how you can play Candyland and read at the same time. I was bored at home, and it seriously just hit me…I was going to try and write a book. I’d never taken a creative writing class in my life, but I had an idea in my head and I wanted to get it out on paper (or computer). So I just started writing during my toddler’s naps.

You know how much I love reading your stuff. Are the HOW TO books "your" story? Sorry for being overly nosy, but the people want to know!

Ha! Good question. I have to say that everywhere my character Amy goes, I’ve been. No, I’ve never stepped in a snake…but I sure did see one there. And Mutt is a real puppy in Israel (without the name Mutt). He is dirty, and mangy, and so loveable you want to hug him forever (with rubber gloves on, because he’s so dirty…he’s a sheepherding dog). I DO have a lot of thoughts that Amy does (I get grossed out when people spit out their olive pits on the plate in front of me…yuck!). When people say she’s bratty, I kinda take it personally. Amy IS me…although my husband is no Avi (don’t tell him that) and I didn’t kiss a guy when I was dating another guy…wait…memory coming back….there might have been this one time….this is why I am DEFINITELY NOT going on that show Moment of Truth.

You have two kids and we know how tough being a working mom can be. How do your kids influence your writing? Do you allow them to read your grittier stuff?

Ha! How do my kids influence my writing? Well, I have to say that it’s hard being a mom and writing full time. Why don’t kids understand the word DEADLINE? Sometimes I get the feeling of someone reading my computer over my shoulder as I write. When I hear, “Mommy, I see a bad word on the screen,” it’s hard for me. I try never to write when the kids are home…unless it’s at night after they’re asleep. But those little buggers sometimes don’t want to go to sleep and “Mommy has to work.” My son is too young to read my books. My daughter can read How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, but that’s it for now. I tell my friends that she glosses over the words or concepts she doesn’t understand. I told my friend that my daughter doesn’t know what “sperm donor” means…my friend said that I was a naïve idiot. Hmmm…she might have a point there, but I’m not going to discuss it. Yet. I think I’d like to stay a naïve idiot a little longer.

You sound absolutely swamped! Okay, imagine for a minute that I am Aladdin's genie. If you could take a month off of all your regular responsibilites, what would you spend that month doing?

Oh, my lordy lord lord, the possibilities are endless. I’d probably read and knit and work out and take care of myself for once. I’d feel guilty, though.

If you're going to feel guilty no month off for you! (Just kidding, the only place I have that kind of power is in my fictional mind!) You have accomplished so many things that people dream of. What would you say has been the greatest moment of your life...the moment you'll always remember?

Seriously, I can’t say there has been one moment. There’s been many little moments: getting married, having kids, selling a book, getting my Master’s degree…so many little joys in my life make it all great. I’m just happy to be alive and living my dream…a family, a career I love…it’s all good.

I'm not just saying it, you are one of the funniest people I've ever met.....how did you get so funny? Is it a natural thing, or do you work at it?

Thanks, Dona, that’s such a compliment! Ever since I was a kid I remember loving to laugh. But when I realized I can make other people laugh…oh, that was a bigger rush. I remember making people laugh, and making a complete fool out of myself to do it. I feel happier when I can make someone laugh. Some people are so self-conscious…I’m the anti-self conscious. If I can say something outrageous or do something outrageous just to make someone laugh, I’ll do it. I also try and take life not too seriously. It’s come to the point that I can’t hold myself back from saying something funny…it is natural for me.

And are we ever glad of that! Okay, I must know....what are you writing next? I hope it's edgy!

So nice of you to ask! I can finally announce that I have a brand new book coming out in early 2009! I am super-excited. It’s a Romeo and Juliet story about a gang member who wants to change his life for the girl on the right side of the tracks, but the consequences of leaving the gang are more than he bargained for. I can’t wait for my fans to finally be able to read this book…I’ve been working on it for five years. I don’t have a title yet, although the old title was Zero Tolerance.

Simone, we Buzz Girls are SOOO proud of your new book deal and we cannot wait for it to hit the shelves. Thanks so much for talking to us today!

-----------------------------
Simone Elkeles is the author of HOW TO RUIN MY SUMMER VACATION, HOW TO RUIN MY TEENAGE LIFE and (my favorite!) LEAVING PARADISE -- all out now!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome Dona Sarkar!

It's my distinct pleasure to get to interview my lovely and talented Buzz Girl critique partner, Dona Sarkar-Mishra!

I've known Dona for several years and we sort of began our journey as contracted authors together, after critiquing each other's first sale books. Dona recently sat down to answer some questions about her career and writing methods...

Dona, you are the author of How to Salsa in a Sari -- what drew you to writing a story about cultures clashing, and then intertwining?

It's so much a part of who I am. I'm Indian, was raised in inner-city Detroit where the kids were predominantly black, then moved to Novi, which was predominantly white. I've spent most of my life not fitting in and instead of trying to be something I'm not, I've sat back and observed the life around me. The idea for SALSA came to me when I was watching an obviously blended family fight in Sears.

Are you more like your character Issa or Cat?

A little of both actually! I think I have Issa's desire to succeed and be indepdent but unlike Issa, I don't let people step on me or intimidate me. I can be a total brat like Cat if I'm in the mood (thankfully this doesn't happen too much!) but I wouldn't say I'm spoiled. (My husband would disagree!)


What was it like to get the "call" that you'd sold your book?

Wild and unbelievable! Only my immediate family knew (because of my hysterical screaming!) I didn't believe it for days and only told people about a month after it happened. Only after I signed the contract did I actually pick up the phone and tell friends.

Will there be a sequel to Salsa?

I want there to be! I am tossing around ideas for it and it is tenatively called THE MANGO TANGO SUMMER. In it, Diego is fed up with the girls and sends them to NYC for the summer to do internships while he and Alisa go on their worldwide honeymoon.

What is your next project for Kimani?

SHRINK TO FIT is the story of a beautiful, strong athlete who develops an eating disorder while trying to fit into the "perfect girl" mold for her crush. It's grittier and more serious than SALSA but a very realistic issue with teens today.

When did you first know you were going to be a writer?

I've wanted to be one forever, I was always scribbling stories in my journals and coming up with stories in the shower....but when I took my first writing class at the community college, I knew this was something I wanted to do for a career.

You have a very supportive spouse. What did he say when you first told him you were writing your first novel?

Manav was overjoyed and demanded I write for 3 hours a day to ensure him an early retirement! He always says I'm happiest when I'm writing (even though that's usually when I'm walking around aimlessly talking to myself!) He also loves all my writing friends and thinks we're a bunch of "real-life characters" when we get together! He's really happy I have a creative outet away from my "practical" job.


How do you stay in touch with your "teenage" self to write YA?

Haha, it doesn't take much! I like to read YA novels and watch YAesque shows like Gossip Girls, Smallville and One Tree Hill. Also, I love to watch teens at the mall (not in a creepy way)


What do you wish you could write, but don't?

I LOVE reading mystery novels and wish I could write one....but I know I can't. If I tried, the villain in my novel would be rubbing his hands together villainiously while stroking a Persian cat :)

Who is your celebrity crush?

Enrique Iglesias! Haha, he was my high HS crush. but recently, there's no one special that's caught my eye. Except Wentworth Miller. And Naveen Andrews. But that's it. Also Josh Holloway. Ok, that's really it. :)

What did you learn from the publishing experience on Salsa?

That you have to take your career into your own hands. No one is going to tell you to do the revisions on your book, or ask for your opinion on your cover, nor is anyone going to market the book for you. You have to be in control of your own book and career.

What advice do you have for teens who'd like to write?

I would say just do it! Take a writing class, join a critique group, read some writing books. Just start writing the book and you'll learn just by doing. And don't be discouraged if your first book doesn't turn out the way you expected. It's an art best perfected by repetition.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Paris is my favorite city in the world so I'll always pick that. I am dying to see Italy and after our recent Caribbean trip, I would say Trinidad and Tobaggo for the rich culture.

What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you write at home or a cafe?

I only write on weekends nowadays and the only way I can get anything done is to lock myself in my favorite coffee shop for 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday and churn out the pages. Typically, I can do around 20 pages a day :)


You have a very tough day job at Microsoft -- how does that impact your writing?

The only thing it means is that I can't write on weekdays--which is ok with me. I work around 12 hour days at Microsoft so I can't do anything at the end of the day other than fall into the couch with my husband. I actually appreciate the long hours and stress because it makes me appreciate every single drop of writing time I can get.

Thanks for the insight, Dona! Best of luck with everything you've got going on.


hugs,

Heather


Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in April 2009 from HarperCollins

Dona Sarkar is the author of
How to Salsa in a Sari
in bookstores NOW from Kimani Tru!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome, Heather Davis!

I am kicking off our Buzz Girl Interview Week by interviewing Heather Davis!

I had “heard” about her long before I had the pleasure of meeting her. She was a maverick in the world of young adult writing, finaling not once, but three times in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious contest for unpublished books, the Golden Heart, and taking the trophy home for Do You Really Want to Haunt Me?

So when the Buzz Girls asked me to join them about a year and a half ago, I was delighted on a number of levels, including the chance to get to know her.


(Heather and I are seen here, "feeding" Marley Gibson at RWA National, 2007.)

Tina: Hi, Heather. We Buzz Girls are super-excited about the release of your first book, Never Cry Werewolf, by HarperCollins in April of 2009. Can you tell us a little about it?

Heather: With all due respect to the great Jane Austen, I like to describe it as Pride and Prejudice at a brat camp – and Mr. Darcy is a werewolf.

Tina: Sounds terrific! Teen werewolf--how did that idea come to you?

Heather: I had just completed a ghost communicator book and the very next month, the Ghost Whisperer series came on TV. I felt a little behind the wave. I’ve always loved the duality of werewolves and heck, they are alive rather than the undead which is so much hotter in my opinion. So I went for it and wrote the furry hero of my teenage dreams.

Tina: I know you are with super-hottie agent, Stephen Barbara (and I mean that as far as sales and looks.) How did you and Stephen meet, and how long have you been working together?

Heather: I had banged on quite a few doors with various projects (about eight manuscripts and six years in the submission trenches), but it was love at first query with Stephen. He was out there in cyberspace seeking YA and I shot him an email on a Friday – I sent him my book on Monday, and on Wednesday we decided it was a match made in literary Heaven. Let me tell you, it NEVER happens like that. But something in the tone of his emails told me this is different… this is the ONE. I love him to pieces. He’s wonderful and we have so much fun together.


(Shown here: Dona Sarkar, Stephen Barbara, Heather Davis at RWA National in Dallas, 2007)

Tina: You and Buzz Girl/Kimani author Dona Sarkar are wonderful friends and critique partners. Where were you when you found out she’d made her first sale?

Heather: First let me say, Dona is amazing. She’s such a wonderful friend. I was at my day job office when I had the email she’d sold. I couldn’t wait to call her to celebrate. I was and am so proud of her.

Tina
: I am, too! On a lighter note, you know I have a year-old kitty named after the bad boy in my first published book. Tell us about your cat and how he got his name.

Heather: Harper is a princess kitty rescued from the local pound. I think she is Siamese and maybe a little Himalayan. She is fluffy perfection, whatever the combo. I named her after the author Harper Lee. She is very jealous of my keyboard and will sit on my lap while I work, trying to distract me.

Tina: She's a keeper! Now here’s some fast and hopefully fun questions. You can have only one type of dessert for the rest of your life. What is it?

Heather: I pick chocolate anything. Or maybe pancakes with strawberries if they count as dessert.

Tina: They do, in my book. Black leather or brown suede?

Heather: Distressed black leather, please.

Tina: Car windows open or a/c on?

Heather: I pick windows open for the fresh air!! I hate a stuffy anything.

Tina: I’m with you! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to hang with us! And again, can't wait for the release of Never Cry Werewolf.

Tina
Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
www.tinaferraro.com

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Introducing ... Griffin

After interviewing Phoebe via IM chat, I decided it was worth the international charges to actually call Griffin (aka the dark brooding bad boy maybe-hero of OH. MY. GODS.). Besides, he's not the most talkative guy so I figured it wouldn't be a multi-hour conversation. [Here's the pic of Tom Welling from my dream cast list.]


TLC: Hi Griffin! How's it going?

Griffin: Fine.

TLC: [waiting for more] Um, okay. So why don't you tell the readers a little more about yourself. They're here to learn about you, after all.

Griffin: Like what?

TLC: Like... anything. We already know you're a descendant of Ares and H--

Griffin: Hey, privileged info. Don't spread that around.

TLC: Oh, I forgot. But you know everybody's going to find out as soon as they read the book, right?

Griffin: [probably clenching his jaw] Yeah. I know.

TLC: Alright. For now we'll stick to the common knowledge. So what's it like being a descendant of Ares? He's the god of war. Does that mean you like to fight a lot?

Griffin: No. It's not that simple.

TLC: Sometimes you do have a bit of a temper...

Griffin: Who doesn't? But war isn't his only area of expertise. Ares is also the patron god of athletics.

TLC: Which brings up something you and Phoebe have in common: running. You guys are getting off to a bit of a rough start, but admit it. You kinda like her.

Griffin: I don't know what you're talking about.

TLC: Your Aunt Lili adores her.

Griffin: [silence]

TLC: Just wait until your running date--

Griffin: It's not a date.

TLC: --tomorrow. I've got a few surprises up my sleeve.

Griffin: Great. Look, I need to go. I promised Aunt Lili I'd help her decorate some cupcakes for bake sale.

TLC: [snicker]

Griffin: What?

TLC: Nothing. That's cute.

Griffin: Later. [click]

Well, that is apparently the end of my interview with Griffin. Get his full story in OH. MY. GODS., coming in May from Dutton Children’s Books. The as-yet-untitled (and un-revised) sequel is slated for Spring ’09. (I haven't told Griffin about that yet. He can sweat it for a while.)

Hugs,
TLC

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008
teralynnchilds.com

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Interviewing the guys from SORORITY 101

Happy Saturday to everyone! It's a cold winter day here, but I have some warm (good looking) faces: the guys from SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS. Since the books aren't out yet and we don't want to give too much away, we'll see what the guys are up to and what you have to look forward to... We've got DeShawn Pritchard, David "Tiger" Harrison, and Lance McManus.

ME: Hey guys! Thanks for joining me today!

LANCE: Hey.

DESHAWN: What up?

TIGER: Thanks for having us.

ME: Introduce yourself and tell our readers something about you.

DESHAWN: I'm a sophomore at Latimer and I'm a running back for the Red Raiders. I'm majoring in architecture and I have a couple of classes with Lora-Leigh Sorenstein. She's pretty cool, but I have to stay focused on football and don't really have time for girls, even if they are cute.

LANCE: I'm on the Latimer swim team and spend most of my time between class and the natatorium. Roni Van Gelderen and I have had some interesting races in the pool. She's an amazing swimmer.

TIGER: David here. I'm on the Latimer golf team, so my fraternity brothers call me Tiger. I'm a sophomore in Phi Omicron Chi. I met Jenna on her first day of class. What a cutie she is! She's a lot of fun and I can't wait to hang more with her.

ME: Now...all three of you make your appearance in ZETA OR OMEGA?, but the book's really about the girls mostly. How do you feel taking a back seat to the ladies?

LANCE: Well, we're in THE NEW SISTERS a lot and readers really get to know us.

DESHAWN: (shrugs) I'm focused on football, like I said. Winning the game and getting seen by pro scout. That's what matters.

TIGER: I have a bigger role in ZETA OR OMEGA? so, you know, whatever. It's just great to be around such fun girls and help tell their stories.

ME: DeShawn, Lora-Leigh tells me that you also have a real talent in art. Can you tell us about that?

DESHAWN: (shrugs again) It is what it is, you know? You need to know how to draw if you're an architect, so it blends together. If I get in the NFL, I can't live off that forever. I just want to be able to make some good money and take care of my family since they've taken care of me.

ME: That's really great. Tiger, are you going to do anything with golf in the future?

TIGER: Not sure. Right now, I just like hanging with the guys and doing stuff at the frat house. I figure I've got the rest of this year to sort of figure out where I'm going.

ME: And Lance, what's your major?

LANCE: I'm studying Criminal Justice right now and I love my Geography class, as well. I'm with Tiger over here, college is great and I'm just trying to enjoy the exeperience and meeting so many new people.

ME: Thanks guys! One last question: who'd play you in a movie?

DESHAWN: (laughs and smiles) My man, Tyrese.



LANCE: Roni makes a reference to me being Clark Kent-ish, so I guess Brandon Routh.



TIGER: I've been told that I look like that guy on THE O.C. You know, Ryan Atwood.

ME: Benjamin McKenzie?

TIGER: Yeah, that's him.



ME: I agree with all three. Okay, guys! Thanks for your time. I hope our readers will look forward to reading more about you in the sorority books, available May 1, 2008. Thanks!

Marley = )
SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (May 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (May 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Begins May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Interview with Rand Bachrach aka Aspen's B/F

Shia. Sigh. Let's all take a moment to appreciate the author's "dream" actor to play the part of Rand Bachrach. **Note to Shia's agent: The movie rights to my novel, Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, are shockingly, still available. Discuss with Shia and get back to my agent with an offer.** Okay, moving on.



I'm on location in Las Vegas(the site of my third book, Spring Break-up), at the Pirate's Cove hotel, just getting ready to pull out a chair to sit down when an arm reaches around me and pulls it out for me. I glance up, not surprised at all, to see Rand Bachrach grinning back at me. I delicately take a seat. Rand scoots me up then rushes around to the other side to take a seat across from me. I can't help but notice that spring break really agrees with him. He looks adorable in camo cargo shorts and a black T-shirt, which bears a skull and crossbones wearing a bandana, that says, You had me at Yo Ho.




Me: Nice shirt, Rand.




Rand: Aspen bought it for me.




Me: Yeah, I know.




Rand: Oh, that's right. So how are you, Stephanie?




Me: Um, I'm fine, thanks. It's always nice spending time with you, Rand. I think you are one of the last true gentlemen. Please don't share this with Aspen but I get tons more fan mail about you then I do her. You have fan girls all over that fall asleep at night dreaming about meeting a guy like you.




Rand: (seriously blushing and nervously swiping his curls behind his ears) Oh, wow, that's so flattering. I don't think I'm anything too special though.




Me: Sigh, and you're modest. Aspen seems to think that you are pretty special.




Rand: I guess I have you to thank for that. Seriously. I want to thank you. My family owns the largest chocolate factory in the world you know. I don't want to brag but we are kind of hooked up. So if there is anything you need, just let me know.




Me: Aspen told you the title of the third book, didn't she?




Rand: She might have mentioned a little something over our romantic dinner at the Wynn last night. And I know celebrity breakups really sell...but if you could just reconsider.




Me: You guys are so not celebrities. You don't even have a nickname. Whatever. Let's get back on track and focus on your sequel, Twisted Sisters. Is it safe to say that I gave you some obstacles to overcome your first semester of college?




Rand: Yeah, being a Nu (author note: Rand was handpicked to join the Nu's, the most prestigious frat on campus) got me into a few spots. The guys are great though. They respect that I'm going to stand up for myself and not get into any situations that I'm not comfortable with. I got kind of freaked when Aspen started spending so much time on her new mystery and kind of acted out.




Me: Acted out, huh? That's really introspective. I don't suppose you being insanely threatened by your roommate played a part at all, did it?




Rand: (Bangs a fist on the table sending my spoon flying) I could wipe the floor with that guy if you would just make me a teensy bit bad a$$ sometimes.




Me: Whoa, touched a nerve there. I'll take that under advisement for the third novel, Rand.




Rand: I'm sorry about that, but you know how bad that guy burns me.




Me: But I'm sure that you know that I have to give the characters in your world, goals, motivations, and conflicts.




Rand: I have a great story idea. How about Aspen and I go away to a deserted tropical island?




Me: Yeah, I'm feeling that. And how about the island is inhabited by a cannabalistic tribe that you guys are constantly outrunning, and you and Aspen battle killer jellyfish, and try to subsist on coconuts for months at a time. Hold on, let me get a pen.




Rand: Why can't we just be together without all the drama?




Me: (Laughing hysterically) Aspen and no drama? (Nearly falls out of chair laughing so hard)It could be worse. I could have put you up in the Monte Carlo.




Rand: That's not even funny. Aren't you at all worried about Lance Burton's future? Not to be rude, but are we done here?




Me: (Wipes tears of laughter and composes self) Ah, yes. Thank you so much for meeting me and I hope you like what I have planned for your future with Aspen.




Rand: (eyes light up) Just that you used the word future and Aspen is enough for me. (Rand gets up from the table, takes my hand and kisses the top, then practically skips out of the coffeeshop leaving a ton of wagging tongues behind him)




If you want to read more about Rand, and his future with Aspen, I hope you'll pick up Twisted Sisters on April 1st! :)




xo,


Steph




Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!



Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Interviewing Ishaan....

I am so desperate to get my hands on (figuratively of course! ) Ishaan Banerjee, the closest thing to a hero my latest book HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI has, that I am willing to go where I have never gone before...the New Joliet High School varsity men's soccer practice.



Eek.



I immediately spot Ishaan straddling a bench, listening to his Zune and staring off into the distance. I also immediately realize he is even better looking than I imagined. He has a striking resemblance to Mohinder from HEROES.






(Dona approaches warily.)


DS: Uh, hi. Ishaan.


IB: Hey. Hi. Heard you were in town. What's going on? Have a seat.


DS (sits hesitantly...doesn't want to beamed in the head by a soccer ball): So, what's going on today? Are you guys getting ready for some big game?



IB: Yes, we're playing Hartford on Saturday....we're pretty psyched about it though. We beat them, we're headed to state.



DS (nods like she understands any of that): Wow, that's great. So, how's school this year? Senior year, right? Ready for college?



IB: My parents are making me crazy.



DS: They're Indian. It's kind of their job.



IB: Yeah, well. They could give me a break once in a while....it's always Ishaan, you must become a doctor. Next day, Ishaan, you must become an engineer. Next day, Ishaan, you must find the cure for cancer while developing the next version of the space shuttle....



DS: They can't be that bad.



IB: (gives me a look)



DS: Yeah, I have Indian parents too....they actually can be like that. So, how's everything else. Friends?


IB (raises one eyebrow): Anyone specific you have on your mind?


DS: I was going to ask about your friend Issa.


(Ishaan narrows his eyes in my direction. )


IB:What about her?


DS: Now that she's not dating...


IB: The new guy?


DS: Rake. Yeah.


IB: Or the old guy.


DS: Adam. Also, yeah.


IB: Do I want to date her. Is that what you're going to ask?


DS: Uh, yeah. (taken aback at how direct and forthcoming this 17 year old is. He meets my eyes squarely)


IB: Yeah, what?


DS: Do you want to date her?


IB: I don't know. Do I?


DS: Um...well, I don't know--


IB: Come on, Ms. Big-shot author. Tell me. Do I want to date her?


DS: Hey! Why are you harrasing me?


(Ishaan looks away)


IB: Sorry.


DS: Girl troubles? (I supply helpfully)


(Ishaan eyes me suspiciously.)


IB: Who told you?


DS: Uh, no one?


IB: Issa?


DS: No.


IB: Gigi?


DS: No


IB: You just happened to figure it out?


DS: Well, I am your creator and all--


IB: You're worse than my mom.


(Teenage boys! I swear!!!!)

So I got no info from Ishaan, but hoped you all enjoyed a little peek into the world of HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI
-------------------------------------
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
http://donasarkarmishra.com/
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI -- out now!



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Hero: Austin Bridges III

It was super nice of Austin to grant me a brief interview in NYC, a stop off on his dad's world tour.

Austin met me at the Apple Jack diner on Broadway and W. 55th and without even glancing at the menu the waiter extended, ordered a very rare steak. With his messy hair, faded leather jacket, jeans and a green scarf to set off his dark eyes, Austin had the look of a young Hollywood actor bent on living the Bohemian lifestyle. I selected a slice of cheesecake from the revolving glass dessert case, slid into the booth with Austin and then turned on the tape recorder.

Heather: First of all, Austin - I apologize for not posting a picture of you. I've got Ryan Adams, so I'll put him up as representative rockstar cutie.

Austin: Yes, but I'm not a rockstar.

Heather: I know, but your dad is -- and I LOVE Ryan Adams.

Austin: Yes, you've been mentioning him repeatedly since we got here. Shall we get to it, then?

Heather: Yeah, sorry. It was such a good concert last weekend. Okay, so maybe you want to give me the rundown on Never Cry Werewolf?

Austin: Boy meets girl. Boy is werewolf.

Heather: Uh... yeah, thanks.

Austin: Kidding, only kidding. I was sent to Camp Crescent by my father's idiot new road manager while Dad was on safari with the band. I thought it would be bearable (since I didn't know it was apparently a Brat Camp) but then, the counselor found my anti-change serum. Without that, I turn furry.

Heather: Right. Do you want to talk about that?

Austin: It's a part of who I am, who my family is, but it's not my lifestyle. My father enjoys it -- I don't. That's all I'll say.

Heather: And at camp you met Shelby...

Austin: Ah, yes. Shelby is amazing. She was the one person I felt I could trust. I miss her so much.

Heather: Yeah, she's doing the boarding school thing right now.

Austin: I know. I've kept watch.

Heather: Ooh, she'll be glad to hear that.

Austin: Well, she'll be finding out I've been guarding her well-being in the sequel. I'm certain we'll be together again.

Heather: Okay, you don't have to give me *the look* Austin! I'm writing it, already.

The steak arrived and Austin dug in. I took a bite of cheesecake and pondered the future of girl and werewolf. Above my head, the autographed image of actor Lon Chaney, Jr. smiled down at us, seeming to approve of my werewolf hero and the bloody steak.

That's it from the Big Apple...

Hugs!!


Heather

Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in April 2009 from HarperCollins

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tina Ferraro, Roving Reporter...

I’m standing in a crowded school hallway in eastern Washington state today to interview Jason “Dal” Dalrymple from How to Hook a Hottie.

People pass in groups, many nodding his way. Dal isn’t the most popular guy in the school or necessarily the easiest to talk to, but he’s a hot looking senior, and he’s partners with Kate DelVecchio in a “hottie hooking” business that has gotten them quite a lot of attention.


Tina: Thanks for meeting with me, and I’ll be quick. I know you’ve got Econ in a few minutes.

Dal: No worries. I can be a minute or two late.

Tina: You're not “Kate the Overachiever" who always has to be on time and prepared?

Dal: (small smile)

Tina: Who would you say you are? “Dal the...”

Dal: (flicks some hair from his eyes) I'm supposed to answer that?

Tina: Well, yeah, that’s what we’re doing here, an interview. On the Internet, I might add, in hopes people find you interesting and want to read more about you.

Dal: Yeah...I don't know.

Tina: Okay...that time you and Kate hugged out on the quad, it started out all warm and friendly, but then you pulled her close and wouldn’t let her go...what was really going on there?

Dal: (shakes head)

Tina: It'll be our secret.

Dal: You said it’s going on the Internet.

Tina: Yeah, well, so maybe a million people will read it. But not Kate. I won't tell her about it, and she'll never be the wiser. 'Fess up.

Dal: The bell’s about to ring.

Tina: You said you didn’t care if you were late for class.

Dal: Nice talking to you.

I sigh and tuck my notebook into my purse as he saunters off. Wanting to call him back, to remind him that he's a romance novel hero, thank you very much, and therefore basically required to give me pithy banter. But remembering that just as in real life, attractive guys come in all shapes and forms, including strong, silent types. Which obviously I like since I created him--and married one.

Tina

Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009
www.tinaferraro.com

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Introducing ... Phoebe

My interview with Phoebe (aka the cross-country-running superstar heroine of OH. MY. GODS.) was a logistical nightmare since, you know, she lives in Greece. We finally decided to do the interview in IM chat since neither of us has webcams and I was not about to foot the bill for an international call. [Here's the pic of Amanda Bynes from my dream cast list.]


TLC: Hey Phoebes! It’s been a few since I wrote your sequel. How’ve you been?

LostPhoebe: I thought we weren’t allowed to talk about that. It doesn’t even have a title yet. Besides, don’t you have a revision letter waiting on your desk?

TLC: You’re right. Forget I mentioned it. What have you been up to?

LostPhoebe: Well, today was my first day at The Academy. And, as I guess you already know, it was pretty awful. Serfopoula sucks.

TLC: A lot of people would take your place on a freakin' Greek island in a heartbeat. Besides, think about it. What kind of story would you have if you’d stayed in L.A. and graduated from Pacific Park with Nola and Cesca?

LostPhoebe: Like you had no other choice. You just had to uproot me from the school I’d attended since Kindergarten--away from my two life-long best friends--to move halfway around the world and attend a secret school founded by Plato that just happens to be populated by descendants of the gods? You’re creative. I bet you could of come up with something closer to home.

TLC: Maybe. But it wouldn’t have been as much fun. I promise, someday you’ll be glad I did. Tell me more about your day.

LostPhoebe: As the only nothos (normal person) in school, most of the kids just look at me like I’m a circus freak. Except for Nicole and Troy. They’re super cool.

TLC: Yeah, I like them, too. Nicole’s a kick-butt girl and I like any guy who could double as Chad Michael Murray.

LostPhoebe: [rolls eyes] Meeting them almost makes up for having to deal with the wicked queen of the cheerleaders and the evil stepsister.

TLC: Come on. Adara and Stella aren’t that bad.

LostPhoebe: [not dignifying that with a response]

TLC: Well, what about Griffin? You like him, right?

LostPhoebe: I’m not sure. When we met on the beach this morning I thought he was a kindred spirit. I mean, how bad can a guy be who does long-distance beach runs before dawn? But then at cross-country tryouts he [---spoiler deleted by author---]. So I’m not sure what to make of him.

TLC: But he’s so yummy!

LostPhoebe: You’re the author. You tell me if he’s a good guy or not.

TLC: Um, that would be a spoiler.

LostPhoebe: That’s what I thought. Hey, I’d better go. I still have twenty pages of Animal Farm left to read and the stepdad told me my lit prof gives reading quizzes.

TLC: Okay. And Phoebes?

LostPhoebe: Yeah?

TLC: I can’t tell you much at this point, but things are going to get better. I promise.

LostPhoebe: Am I going to make the cross-country team?

TLC: ‘Night Phoebe.

LostPhoebe: Copout. You’d better make my life easier in the seq--

Oops, my connection dropped out. Darn wireless internet. Well, that does it for my interview with Phoebe. Find out the answers to all of your (and Phoebe’s) questions in OH. MY. GODS., coming in May from Dutton Children’s Books. The as-yet-untitled (and un-revised) sequel is slated for Spring ’09.

Hugs,
TLC

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008
teralynnchilds.com

Saturday, February 02, 2008

An interview with the Sorority 101 girls

Happy Saturday everyone! Here I am, sitting with my three heroines from the SORORITY 101 series: Veronica "Roni" Van Gelderen, Lora-Leigh Sorenstein, and Jenna Driscoll. Since their story won't be out until May 1st, I'll have to keep the questions generic as to not give away too much information.

ME: Hey girls!

IN UNISON: Hey!

ME: So, are you guys getting excited about the upcoming release of SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS?

RONI: I'm wicked excited!

JENNA: I can't wait for my family to read it.

LORA-LEIGH: Why do you northerns say "you guys" instead of "y'all?"

ME: Come on, Lora-Leigh...you know I've lived in both the north and the south. I just say what comes natural to me.

RONI: I say "you guys."

LORA-LEIGH: I know, and it drives me bat-$hit crazy.

JENNA: Y'aaaaaaaaalllllll...

ME: Okay, okay...this is getting us nowhere. So, what's your favorite part of college so far?

RONI: I love being on my own and striking out in the world, making new friends and fitting into such a great college community.

LORA-LEIGH: (rolls her eyes) Well, some people actually got to move away from home. How would you like it if your father was the dean of frickin' students and you had to go to school locally 'cause it was paid for?

JENNA: Some of us are on scholarship, you know, so anything that's paid for is great!

ME: As you can see, we have three very different, strong personalities at work here. Good thing they're all such good friends. But seriously...how's college working out for you?

JENNA: I'll admit that it's been some getting used to. The campus is so big and there are so many people from all over the place. There's a guy in my history class from Madagascar. How cool is that?

RONI: I love dorm life! I mean, I have a single room because my parents are such snobby aristocrats and didn't want me living with anyone else, but my room is sort of hang-out central for all of us. Especially when we were going through sorority recruitment. Lora-Leigh, Jenna, and I would go to my room and hang out and talk about the parties afterwards.

LORA-LEIGH: My roommate is a Goth girl who painted her half solid black. And she smokes Fisher sweet cigars. Bleck!

ME: Well, that's interesting! So, how did you girls -- see, I didn't say you guys -- initially meet?

JENNA: We were in the same Rush Group - number 7! Whooohooo!

RONI: I think we were destined to meet and be friends. Jenna and I hit it off immediately. Lora-Leigh and I had some...difficulties.

LORA-LEIGH: It's only 'cause I thought you were just like all the other snobby rich girls at school who'd look down at me 'cause I design my own clothes, wear a ton of earrings and have less-than-perfect salon hair.

RONI: (tackle-hugs Lora-Leigh) But that's why I like you, silly!

JENNA: (joins the hug) Y'all! Don't leave me out!

ME: Okay...lots of love in the room here, folks! Well, it's lunch time, so I won't keep you girls any longer. One final question: what would you like to say to your readers who'll be learning all about you on May 1st?

JENNA: Oh man! I just hope they love our story as much as we do! It's all about friendship and fitting in and finding your place. Oh, and cute boys! There are massively cute boys!

RONI: Yes, there are. What would college be like without a potpourri of fine guys?

LORA-LEIGH: Yeah, what they said...although, I'm not nearly as boy-crazy as Jenna is, there are some mighty fine athletes in my classes. But yeah, I'm glad I went through the whole sorority recruitment thing. I never would have met these two knuckleheads. (Lora-Leigh hip-checks Roni into Jenna)

ME: All right, ladies! Thanks for stopping in! Can't wait until the books come out in three months!

JENNA: Woot!

RONI: Wait'll my mother reads it!

LORA-LEIGH: Mine has an advanced copy.

RONI: How is that possible?! Marley!

ME: Okay, okay...I'll send you all advanced copies. Thanks again! And to the readers, please remember to pick up Roni, Lora-Leigh, and Jenna's stories on May 1st when both ZETA OR OMEGA? and THE NEW SISTERS hit the book stores!



Hugs!
Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (May 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (May 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Begins May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)