Saturday, December 30, 2006


Warning: Unabashed fangirl moment ahead!

One of the highlights of my holiday was seeing Dreamgirls on Christmas Day. If you remember Jennifer Hudson -- from American Idol -- she is playing the pivotal role of Effie White in the movie musical.

OMG. She rocked! And this after Simon Cowell, when learning she was being considered for the part, said, "She's not up to it." Uh, soooooo wrong!

During her song, "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" I actually started to cry. It was so perfect -- you have to leave, but you love someone so much you want to stay, but you can't make them love you -- no matter what you do. And you know it.

She so embodied that feeling and that song. She also has the vocal range to hit and carry every note. At one point she's in this pool of light, her and the music and it's captivating! You can feel it down into your bones, people. This girl is going to be a HUGE star. I guess she already has a Golden Globe nomination. I so hope she wins!

Actually, despite what they say about the reserved attitude of the Pacific Northwest, people were clapping and cheering after every one of Jennifer's numbers. There was, it should be noted, a smattering of applause after Beyonce's "Listen". But, just a smattering. We all knew who the star was.

Obviously, I loved this movie. It's all about following your dream, being flexible to grow with your dream, and realizing when you must walk away. And it goes to show -- for all of you A.I. nay-sayers -- that a TV talent reality show can actually feature some true stars in the making.

Has anyone else seen Dreamgirls yet? And... is anyone else looking forward to American Idol....??

Heather Davis
coming in 2008 from HarperCollins

Friday, December 29, 2006

Was Santa good to you this year?

This is kind of a lazy post because I am sick today. Sorry. But I thought it would be kind of fun to hear what everybody got for Christmas. Here's my list:

1) 2 Target giftcards(which I already used) to buy: The Devil Wears Prada DVD, a ridiculously expensive but adorable notebook, the 3rd book in Kate Brian's Private series (which I am addicted to), some new eyeshadow, Candyland (for my son)

2) some money-always good, already gone

3)a black long-sleeved Lands End shirt (my mom really gets crazy with original ideas at Christmas, ha)

4) some of those really soft slipper sock thingies- in pink- love those

5)a snowglobe with cardinals & Christmas theme

6)Christmas themed tealight candle holder

7)It's a Wonderful Life DVD

8)Some bath & body stuff

I think that's about it. My husband and I don't buy for each other because it would be a total disaster. We just kind of have an open policy during the year to buy what we want within reason. He, of course, has a little more reason than I do.

So what did everybody else get?????



All that matters is what's long as your outside is wearing the tiara.REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, coming from Berkley Jam in July 2007

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hump Day Hottie #15

I know that it's a few days after Christmas, but I couldn't resist. Maybe Santa will slip this under my tree next year? A girl can dream.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rascal's First Christmas

Christmas had an added bonus for my family this year: we got to celebrate it with our 5 month old kitten, Rascal. Named after the guy who dumped my heroine in TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS, he is arguably the world’s most spoiled kitten. And has definitely caught the holiday spirit.

First born in the litter of a Balinese stray, our frisky kitty has been blazing trails every since. He routinely springs surprise attacks on us, and defends the yard from cats twice his size. Last week he managed to close the bathroom door behind himself, and open a drawer which blocked his exit and our entrance. Before that, he darted into the street and bounced off the wheel of a passing car (which was really scary, and resulted in an overnight at the vet). And let’s not forget the time he ate a bumble bee and his face swelled up.

Rascal is clearly living his nine lives to the fullest, and this Christmas kept us grinning by ripping wrapping paper, diving into Christmas bags, and trying out empty boxes.

Do you have a special pet? And maybe any holidays where they’ve given you and your family a lift, too?

Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick fly-by post to any of you readers checking in today...wishing you the merriest Christmas today and peace, success and happiness to you throughout the year!

Thanks for hanging with us here at Books, Boys and Buzz.

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books

Friday, December 22, 2006

New Beginnings

As I was staring up at my ob's ceiling this morning getting my yearly "woman" thing done, I realized that it's that time of year to do something else I hate. Make my New Year's Resolutions. I usually fail horribly at my resolutions and that's why I hate them.

Last year I printed off something fancy and stuck it on the refrigerator thinking if I had to stare at it every day I'd accomplish my goals. SO wrong.

The following are my 2006 Resolutions & next to them I put how it all worked out.

1)Lose 50 pounds~ I was doing really good this summer & had lost 25, then something happened (like I started shoving food into my mouth uncontrollably), and I gained it all back. I'm pretty sure I'm exactly, to the ounce, what I weighed when I typed my resolutions last year. We'll mark this one down as a failure.

2)Get an agent~ OMG, I SO rocked on this one. Not only did I get an agent, but I sold my first two books. Yeah, me!

3)Spend less money~ Yeah, I totally blew this one.

4)Mind my own business (this was kind of family related)~ I think I did better on this one, but I could still use some work.

5)Potty-train my youngest by his 2nd birthday. He turned 2 last Friday and he would still rather pee on the floor.~ I don't really see this as a failure completely because I'm pretty sure he does it on purpose. Trust me, you'd just have to know him.

Okay, so I failed miserably on two, rocked on one, so-so on one, and lastly, I just refuse to hold myself accountable to a 2 year old's bladder.

So I thought if I published my resolutions on the Buzz Girl blog, with who knows how many people holding me accountable, maybe I'll accomplish every single one this year. Or maybe I'll just be really embarrassed! So here goes.

Stephanie Hale's 2007 Resolutions

1)Lose 50 pounds.
2)Write two more books.
3)Sell one more book.
4)Spend less money
5)Demand more time for my writing
6)Get that potty training thing down
7)Promote my upcoming book to the best of my ability
8)Clean my house more

I know that you are probably all thinking that some of this I can just lie about. But I am not that kind of girl. So do I have any brave volunteers who would care to humiliate themselves with me?

All that matters is what's long as your outside is wearing the tiara.REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, coming from Berkley Jam in July 2007

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hump Day Hotties #12-14

I made it through the wilderness... I finally made it thou-ou-hough. Okay, enough Madonna from me for now (although I'm always ready for an impromptu karyoke session). Anyway, after a brief hiatus I'm back on the Buzz, and back with the Hump Day Hotties.

For my first post (and in an attempt to make up for missing two weeks) I'm giving you a look at three hotties from the UK, brought to us here in the US on BBC America. Hottie #12 is Paul Hayes. Now, I don't usually go for the blondie types (notable exeptions being, of course, Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, and Paul Walker) but Paul is such a cutie... and he's smart, too. You can catch Paul on Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt where he shares his expertise as an antiques dealer. He could talk me into buying a Louis XVI buffet table any day.

The second Brit, Hottie #13, is Ben Miles. Ben is one of the three male stars on the hilarious comedy Coupling. Now, some of you may remember the disastrous American version from a few years back and let me tell you, it had nothing on the original. Ben's character, Patrick, is pretty much a chauvinist sleaze, but he's fun to watch anyway. And, if I can give you a tiny spoiler about his character in the later seasons, he does finally wind up in a monogamous relationship--and, sigh, with the girl who's had a crush on him for ages. Yay, Patrick.

Now I've saved the best for last. This boy is tops on my ultimate hottie list (not at the very top, of course, but in the top ten). Hottie #14, Lloyd Owen, is best known as Paul on Monarch of the Glen, but I first saw him on Coupling where he played a reformed bad boy biker who had taken a vow of chastity until marriage. From the very first time I saw his rugged handsome face--you know how I love those forehead wrinkles!--I was hooked. And the best (and worst) part about him is he's a serious actor. Best, because that means he's a devoted artist who doesn't compromise his principles for fame and riches. Worst, because that means the he stars more in stage productions that I can't see than film or TV that I can. So, for now, I have to satisfy myself with the reruns of Coupling and Monarch of the Glen and the few (very few) pics I can find online. Enjoy, you know I will.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cheerleaders: Are They Finally Getting Respect as Athletes?

American Cheerleader magazine has a book review page, and I was thrilled to find TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS in the December issue as one of their six recommended “fun reads”! I love the idea of cheerleaders all over the country reading about my characters, and hope to hear from many of them through my website.

American Cheerleader is a colorful and informative magazine, and it got me thinking about cheerleaders, past and present. In my day, cheerleaders were often dismissed as pretty girls who wanted to date football players. But today, cheerleading is regarded as a demanding sport. In fact, a high school senior recently told me at his school, the cheerleaders sustain as many sports-related injuries than the football players.

A sit-down with one of my favorite movies, “Bring It On,” drives home the blood, sweat and tears--and sometimes the guts--required in cheerleading.

And a look at the following list of ex-cheerleaders shows it takes a special kind of person to fill those shoes:

Paula Abdul
Halle Berry
Katie Couric
Teri Hatcher
Mandy Moore
Alicia Silverstone
Vanna White


Jennifer Lynn Barnes,
Delacorte author of GOLDEN and TATTOO.

Still, the fact that cheerleaders tend to be young, attractive and wear cute little outfits keeps them--to some people--in Eye Candyland.

What do you think? With society’s increasing awareness and admiration of athletes, are cheerleaders are finally getting their due as hard-working competitors?

Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008

Monday, December 18, 2006

In the spirit of the holidays...

Is it just me, or did 2006 fly by in the blink of an eye? Here we are with only a couple weeks left in the year, so let me say Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all of you reading Books, Boys and Buzz! For a little fun, I was tagged through e-mail by a non-blogging friend and I thought this would be fun to toss up here.

A holiday meme...

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, definitely. Egg Nog, whether it’s spiked or not just does not do it for me. Hot chocolate conjures up thoughts of ski lodges with roaring fires, people cuddled under blankets and frosty nights.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? They’d always been wrapped...unless there’s some sort of paper shortage at the North Pole.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Depends on the tree, I would say. My parents always have the colored lights, but I see trees that are simply the white ones and they look just as pretty. If you have a lot of colorful ornaments, I’d say run with the colored lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Haven’t in a long time. Can you even buy mistletoe?

5. When do you put your decorations up? I have to admit, we haven’t in a few years. It’s because most of our ornaments are pet-related and since our beloved Puddy Tat crossed the rainbow bridge, I just don’t have the heart to put the kitty ornaments out. Growing up, we’d put the tree up on my sister’s b-day (December 9th) and always keep it up for my b-day (December 28th) as well.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I’m a sucker for green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and those fried Durkee onions on top. Mmm, mmm, mmm...

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: We had just moved to Alabama from Massachusetts and I was not confident that Santa Claus would be able to find me. We moved into a house that my grandfather owned and used to have his business in. He had put the word “Marley” (his last name) on the chimney to indicate the business. Well, when we moved in, my parents told me the lettering was there so Santa would know where I lived. And yes, he found me, because Christmas morning, there were boot prints in the fireplace. (Came to find out years later that my brother had put on Dad’s boots to make the prints.)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My cousin Ben told me in third grade, “You go sleep with your parents on Christmas Eve and see if they don’t get up in the middle of the night.” I was horrified. Cried for days.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No...I just stare at them and impatiently try to figure out what they are.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I learned this growing up. You put the lights on first, then the garland and then you fill in with the ornaments. Angel/star on top is always the last as a crowning touch.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Well, 13 years of New England Nor’easters and I think I’m through visiting with the snow.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes. Have a great pair of Bauer hockey skates. No toe pick for this girl! A couple of years ago I took lessons, skated a lot, could skate backwards and even do a spin. Skated on our cruise last month – so cool to have an ice rink on the ship! – and didn’t do too poorly on the healed broken foot.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My green neon skateboard was a favorite. I’d asked for one, but was sure I wouldn’t get it. I’d opened all my presents and I didn’t have it and then my father told me I’d missed something behind the tree (it was in the corner of the room) and there was George. Yes, I named it.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? It used to be how everyone was so happy, pleasant and friend, but our society seems to have lost that holiday spirit, at least when it comes to peace, love, tolerance and joy. I wish we could get back to that.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Cheesecake in any shape, format or flavor – except don’t put death nuts in the crust or on top!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I always have to watch Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. They’re the best...ever. I love the songs, the claymation, the story, the moral, the good feelings..everything. True, true, classics. Oh yeah, and I have to watch Bing and Fred in Holiday Inn. I can practically recite the entire movie.

17. What tops your tree? A star.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I’m a pretty strong giver and like to give people special little things to help them remember me. I’ve always enjoyed making other people smile and giving them something memorable. I certainly appreciate receiving gifts, too. (Reminder...there are ten shopping days until my birthday. LOL!!)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? many to choose from. I was in choir growing up and we religiously (no pun intended) went caroling and always put on big Christmas pageants/presentations. I absolutely love The Hallelujah Chorus and Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella and O Little Town of Bethlehem. The harmonies on those are just magical.

20. Candy Canes? What about them? They’re awesome! They’re a total necessity to the season.

I tag all our blog readers to answer in the comments section. We'll have one big holiday party's that?

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books

Saturday, December 16, 2006

New Friends, New Old Traditions

Hey Guys,

One of the great things about moving to the big city is making new friends and starting new traditions. So, tonight, I'm going to my first Hannukah party! How cool is that?

I helped my friend Jen shop for ingredients for latkes today, and soon I'll be going over to help her prepare her apartment for the shindig. She asked me to bring some blue ribbon to help decorate her place -- and I'm bringing an extra string of white lights to put up somewhere. It's going to be really fun. Jen's family is back East, so I know she's excited to share her Hannukah traditions with her West Coast friends.

The cool thing is, she's coming to my sister's place on Christmas Eve. So, we're really sharing each other's holidays. I know it's totally like on the show The O.C. -- but I guess I'm celebrating the season of Christmukah. :)

Sadly, there will be no single boys at this party. I guess that will help me focus on the important things, and I won't be holding back when it comes to snarfing down the latkes. :)

Happy start of Hannukah to everyone who celebrates it! And, for those of you in the rush and hustle getting ready for Christmas, keep calm and try to enjoy yourself. Read a book, have a glass of egg nog, eat a latke and relax.

So, has anyone else shared family traditions with a friend, or created their own?

Love and Light,


Heather Davis is the author of
Coming from HarperCollins in 2008

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smell ya later...

Have you ever been transported back into a memory just by catching a whiff of a passing scent? Isn't that just the most surreal thing ever?

I was doing some frivalous holiday spending at a candle party the other night and when I unscrewed one of the lids and took a big whiff, it immediately transported me back into the basement of my grandparents house. They used to collect walnuts off the trees and leave them in the basement to dry before cracking the green stuff off to get to the nut. Something about this holiday scented candle reached right into my memory banks and pulled out this particular memory that I didn't even know I had anymore.

I think this happens to me more around the holidays. The smell of a cooking turkey always makes me feel warm and safe and reminds me of my childhood.

Isn't it strange how certain scents are tied to people? If I catch a whiff of the men's cologne Obsession, I whirl around expecting to see my high school boyfriend behind me. As if he's going to be wearing the same cologne after fifteen years!

They say that our sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than any of our other senses. I believe it. It really makes you feel sorry for dogs, no wonder they spend their entire lives begging! So tell me some of your favorite smells and why!



All that matters is what's long as your outside is wearing the tiara.REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, coming from Berkley Jam in July 2007

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trailblazers: Ivanka Trump

In my Spring ’08 release, HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE, heroine Kate is determined to be a self-made millionaire before she’s 20. She’s got all kinds of ideas and schemes which may or may not work--but in any case, I’ve enjoyed reading up and getting in the mindset of powerful young women.

And so accordingly, I present the first in an occasional series of blogs called “Trailblazers,” featuring young women who are going places--fast. And I start with the impressive Ivanka Trump.

I’ve watched most episodes of “The Apprentice,” but when Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, made her first appearance on the show, I was annoyed by what seemed like nepotism.

Until she opened her mouth. To my surprise, she came out with smart and intuitive comments, presented in a friendly, yet professional tone. By the second or third show, I found myself tracking her, wondering if what she’d zero in on or say next. And since hearing that she’s replaced Carolyn on the next season, you can bet I’m going to tune into every episode.

This much I knew about her: she had been a teen model, she graduated from Wharton School of Business like her dad, and is a VP of her dad’s conglomerate. This I recently found out: she was a teen model because her parents did not give her a spending allowance, forcing her to take the initiative to make her own money. (Great move, Donald and Ivana!) And she’s not 29 or 30 years old like I thought--but at 23. Wow.

Moreover, I realized that her peers are likely the uber-rich, spoiled celebuties types. Ivanka could have just as easily gone that route, but instead chose to make the most of her brain, her position, herself.

I look forward to watching her and applauding her successes.

Any thoughts about Ivanka or any other priviledged young women you see making the most of their lives?

Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008

Monday, December 11, 2006

Football...the ultimate eye-candy

Why is it most females don't like football?

I mean, it's got everything: excitement, suspense, fast-paced action, surprises and, oh guys in tight pants fighting over the ball.

It's a sports for women, people. Guys just sit around in their lounge chairs with their beer, pretzels and foam #1 fingers watching the game and thinking, "I could do that" or "If you paid me what he makes, I'd do it, too." They don't get it. Football is for women.

But still, chicks don't dig the football...especially the older they get. They call themselves "football widows" and complain that the guys come over and stay for three, four hours. Instead of fighting it, join in! Learn the game, understand the plays...drool over the hot guys as they run down the field.

Case in point, I live in Boston, but I'm a huge Miami Dolphins fan. They played the New England Patriots today and so I watched the game. Why wouldn't I? While most women in the Boston area swoon over the pretty-boy Tom Brady, I'd much rather use my saliva to drool over the Miami Dolphin's star defensive end, Jason Taylor.

Okay...that's him in his tight uniform and you have to see him in action. He lines up every play, digging his cleats into the dirt, focusing on the quarterback. Get him, get him, get him is all he thinks. This 6'6" guy eats quarterbacks for breakfast.

Today was no different when he had Tom Brady on the ground, on top of him, so often that they two must be dating now.

Oh yeah, and the Dolphins won! Whoohoo!! 21-0!

But to really get the jist of the gorgeousness of this man, you have to see him in street clothes...

See what I mean?

He cleans up real nice, eh?

So, you see why I've been watching NFL since I was a little kid. I used to write letters to the cute players (and tell them how cute they were) and ask for their autographs. I've got quite a collection. And let me tell you...the players just get better and better and cuter and cuter.

It's not just football, though...hotties abound in every sport: basketball, college football, hockey, baseball, golf...well, I don't know about golf 'cause I don't watch it, but I'm sure someone finds those club swingers cute.

Think of how much more fun girls can have with their boyfriends, husbands or significant others if they take the time to learn and understand the game and then just sit back and enjoy watching the eye candy. Men and women might get along a lot better if they come to the common ground of watching sports together. It's a whole relationship theory that Dr. Phil and all the other "how to" people never explored.

So, do you watch sports with your significant other? If so, what sports do you watch? Who's your favorite hottie? (I'll fight you to the death for Jason Taylor!) What do you think of my theory?

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008
Puffin Books

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Boys... and Definitions

First of all, it's Saturday! Can I get a woo-hoo?

As the new Saturday Buzz Girl... I've decided to concentrate on a very weekend subject... ahem... Boys.

So, here's the question I'm throwing out this week...

How do you know when it's time to do the dreaded DTR (Defining The Relationship) talk?

You go from going on a date, to "seeing" each other, to "dating" right? So when does he like, become your boyfriend? This has always puzzled me and maybe because I'm a dictionary fan, I always try to find a definition of what we *are*.

But the not-so-simple act of having the DTR can be disastrous. What if he thinks you are just seeing each other? What if he has no time for a girlfriend but wants to "date" you? Does this mean you should also date other people? Does this mean there is no future? Does this mean maybe you shouldn't like him so much because you're going to get your heart handed back to you via text message?

If you start the DTR talk, there is no turning back. You can't suck the words back into your mouth and pretend you were mumbling to yourself about whether or not to watch Family Guy. To attempt the DTR is to go the distance and quite possibly get yourself stomped.

But not to do the DTR talk? Also disastrous. What if you are thinking one thing about your dating status, and he is totally on another page?

Example: You think you're his girlfriend, then you see him having coffee with a pretty girl. He thinks you're "casually dating" so when you go a little bananas he doesn't get it...

See what I mean?

So, that is the question... when should you have the dreaded DTR?

Heather Davis
Coming in 2008 from HarperCollins

Thursday, December 07, 2006

There's no place like home

I was never really a big fan of the movie, THE WIZARD OF OZ, but after the last week I was really feeling Dorothy's famous quote.

Last Thursday night we were hit with a giant icestorm. When I posted last Friday morning I didn't realize the gravity of the situation. But when the National Guard knocks on your door you realize pretty quickly that your blog post isn't really that important.

We knew that we were going to be getting some snow, just a couple of inches, and the newscasters were making such a HUGE deal out of it. I figured that it was just because it had been in the seventies at the beginning of the week and this was our first snow. And to be honest they've been wrong so many times in the past I don't really pay much attention to them anymore. My family had plans to travel to Rockford, which is about four hours away, on Saturday, so I, being the lazy housewife that I am, figured I would put off doing laundry until Friday. Ditto with the dishes.

Thursday night comes and to be honest with two toddlers running around I didn't even look outside. I went about my business getting everyone cozy in their jammies and had just sat down in my recliner with my laptop to get some work down. Wrong. The power went off before my tush hit the leather. My three year old came screaming out of his room and we scurried around seeking flashlights. We found several. Batteries were another story. Luckily, I had some candles. Then we started hearing the cracking. I couldn't figure out what it was at first. Then I went to our front window and watched a giant tree branch come crashing down on our neighbor's car. I don't like him so I laughed. But then they all started coming down. I bundled the kids up and closed off the house, gathering everyone in the living room.

My mom called and wanted to rent a hotel room. I figured that we would just plunk down $120 and then their power would go out and we would be screwed. So for the first night we stayed put. I figured the power would surely be back on tomorrow. I was SO wrong.

When my husband came home later that night he said that he could barely get into our village. So many trees and wires had fallen that half the streets were blocked off. He said that things were even worse in town. This was the moment when I started getting a little worried. In preparation of our trip I had been trying to use up all of the groceries. We were running low on everything. I had no clean underwear. The dishes were starting to smell. Needless to say, I couldn't have been more unprepared for this natural disaster.

By the next afternoon it was only 55 degrees in our house and I knew the kids couldn't stay here any longer, even though they were running around with no socks on insisting they weren't cold while I was wearing my husband's long underwear and like twenty blankets. We piled in my jeep and headed to my mom's house.

Don't get me wrong. I love my mommy. But most of the time we are the human equivalent of oil and water. We just don't mix. And if someone would have told me a week ago that I would be spending five whole days living with her, I would have smacked them across the face. I mean let's face it people, we move out for a reason.

But they had a generator, which means heat and TV, no Internet, but I guess a girl can't be too picky. So it was me, hubby, our 2 hopped up on sugar offspring, my mom, and step-dad. I know that some of you are probably thinking that this whole scenario sounds great. Break out the books and boardgames, right? Yeah, I wish. Please remember that I have a one year old and a three year old and limited diapers and groceries. It was like Infant Survivor.

But honestly, it wasn't that bad. There was absolutely no hair pulling, screaming, or other bad behavior, and the kids were good too. :) I am just thankful that I had family I could go to because those previously mentioned hotel rooms were completely booked for miles. Our village and the closest town have a population of about 80,000 and at one time, 65,000 were without power.

So, the moral to my story is that I will try my best to always be prepared. And I hope you will be too. What natural disasters have you lived through?



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let's Play "Cast the Characters"!

The Buzz Girls have had done a little calendar switcheroo, and from here on, I (Tina) am your Tuesday Girl.

And the timing is great because I’ve got something I want to talk about today, and something I hope you of the media-saavy persuasion can help me with...

Here’s the sitch: I had a pretty surreal moment recently, sitting across from two industry film producers, having them ask me which teen actors I “saw” for my characters in TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS.

My mind raced back to how I wrote them:

Heroine Nicolette
5’2, with thick, curly blonde hair, spunky, athletic, and way cuter than she realizes.

Hero Jared
6’0, dark, wavy hair, lean, quiet, and a to-die-for grin.

Ex-prom date Rascal
5’10, buffed and blond, and while hot, a good part of his attractiveness comes from his swagger.

I was blank for answers because the actors who fit them in my head have gone onto adult roles. For instance, Reese Witherspoon or Kristen Dunst could have played Nicolette, Jesse “Bring It On” Bradford was Jared, and Chris Klein from “American Pie” would have done Rascal justice. So I pretty much just shrugged.

Since then, the producers and I have signed an agreement for them to “shop” the project to studios. (Yea!) They have wonderful ideas for how best to move the Prom Dress gang to the screen, and if all goes as we hope, some day we’ll be casting for real!

So...I’m looking for a “few good guys and girls” who are teens today. I’d love to hear any ideas of whose HOT in the teen market, and who you think might be a good fit for my characters?!?

Thanks in advance!


Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008

Monday, December 04, 2006

The pros and cons of after-school jobs...

You know, I'm just having to look away from the antics of Britney (and her new gal pals, Paris and Lindsey) and the many, many links and Spams related to her "flashing." That's some buzz I'd rather not talk about. Maybe they need after-school jobs to keep them from making trouble and off the tabloid covers.

My niece, Stephanie, has a love/hate relationship with her after-school job. She started last year at Publix grocery store as a bagger, but has since worked her way up to the check-out counter. She follows the footsteps of her older sister (by four years) who also started as a bagger, then checker before moving into "the back office" where they handle the accounting.

Stephanie says her job "sucks raw eggs," not that she's ever sucked raw eggs. I mean, who'd want to? But there's also a plus side to things on the job...Cute guys!

Yep, that's right. There are apparently two baggers and a shelf-stocker (don't know the formal name for that job) that are "brutally hot" and Steph gets to flirt with them mercilessly from her perch behind the scanner. Before work, she takes extra time to flat-iron her hair, get her mascara just right and always wears those cute jeans that make her booty look ever-so JLo-esque.

The only problem is while flirting, she still has to deal with the not-so-friendly customers who demand certain change, have excuses when their credit cards don't work, want their groceries bagged a particular way and generally have no time to even thank Steph for checking them out.

Oh yeah, and the green Publix apron is so not from the pages of Vogue or Marie Claire.

Course, Steph's got it easy compared to her friends. One guy works at his dad's farm cleaning pig pens (like...ewww...) and one of her girl friends answers phones at her mother's insurance office in the afternoon (zzzzzzz...) and another chica works at a convenience store where all the dirty old men come in, stare at her boobage area and buy Florida lotto tickets.

Yep...Steph's got it made with the cute baggers. Over the last year she saved up enough money for a downpayment on a tight new whip - a maroon Chevy Cavalier that she's totally styling in.

For that, she'll don the Publix apron and put up with snotty customers.

What's been your after-school work experience? Did you love it or hate it? Any love interests form there? Let us hear your stories!

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Idiot Girl Fever

It was at this time last year that people started worrying about me. The long delays in my responses, the unfocused eyes, the inappropriate bursts of laughter.

Yep, pretty out-of-character for me--even for the holiday season. But alas, it wasn’t spiked eggnog or holiday blues or anything worrisome. It was simply my worst case ever of Idiot Girl Fever. For Santa Amazon had brought me Laurie Notaro’s An Idiot Girl's Christmas as an early gift.

The Miami Herald has said that Laurie Notaro “may be the funniest writer in the solar system”. And if you go in for offbeat, self-deprecating humor, you might just agree. A former newspaper columnist who chronicled her dysfunctional adventures, Laurie got her columns published into a series of books, all bearing the name, Idiot Girl. She’s gone on to add new adventures, as well, and next spring, has her first fiction book coming out.

In An Idiot Girl’s Christmas, she puts her irreverent spin on the holidays. In the chapter called, “What I Really Want for Christmas”, she creates a tongue-in-cheek want list to offset another disappointing Christmas where she gets only bargain basement or re-used gifts from her family.

And her Christmas Eve journey to a Super KMart is not to be missed, where she deals with everything from the excesses of the holiday season to feminine hygiene protection to rude jerks.

Next time you’re in a bookstore, look up Laurie Notaro’s books. See if she grabs you. Although if she does, my apologies ahead of time. Symptoms of Idiot Girl Fever may include: goony smiles, laughing hysterically in public places, and chasing people around, reading passages aloud.

Worst yet, while Idiot Girl Fever does eventually subside, it’ll leave its mark forever, rendering you, too, an Idiot Girl.

Join the club! Or maybe you already have???


Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day

This is going to be an extremely lazy post, but I am buried in my house, bundled up like an Eskimo. We had a big ice storm come through which snapped trees and power lines and we've been without power since about 8pm last night. I'm pretty certain that we won't have it again until at least tomorrow. It's like 55 degrees in here. Girl Friday SO doesn't do cold! You can bet your warm little tushies that this is the only time I will ever be thankful for dial-up!!
Okay, so today I am just giving a shout-out to one of my fav book sites.

Starting today they are giving away free books every day in the month of December. There are several prizes each day and all you have to do is answer a simple holiday question. Click on the ornament to get to the drawings.
This site is the best for reviews and ya book info. So get over there and win yourself some free books. And have a hot cup of cocoa with tons of marshmallows for me.

One word of warning about the drawing: Jen, the uber-fabulous owner of the website only lives about 45 minutes away from me so she may be experiencing loss of power also. So if for some reason the contest isn't working today make sure you check back. And don't forget to check back next Friday to see if I made it through several hours with my kids and no access to PBS Sprout.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Crush... Heroes & Hiro

So, can I just tell you my new crush is Hiro on the amazing show Heroes?

If you haven't yet seen this Monday night show... you have to check it out. Basically the show follows the individual threads of different people who are the next step in evolution -- they all have cool powers. Of course, there is an X-Files type shadowy government group following them and a guy out to steal all their powers. Very, very cool and smart show.

Hiro is this adorable Japanese guy who can stop and manipulate time. In fact, in a recent episode, he tried to save a girl he loved by going back in time to prevent her from a tragedy. Super romantic, that Hiro.

I guess what I love so much about the show is that they have created such interesting characters. It's not that hard to understand the show if you just watch a random episode -- my mom did this and then phoned me with endless questions -- but you can also download a show from the NBC website.

Anyway, I have a new criterion for dates -- they have to like Heroes. I'm not saying they have to be a hero -- but they should understand if I say I've got to get home to watch the show. Does that sound as uber-geeky as I think it does? Wait, don't answer that, people.

So, is anyone else hooked on Heroes?

Heather Davis is the author of ...
Never Cry Werewolf
HarperCollins 2008

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Wedding Day

Today I'd like to derail off of writing and talk about weddings. In exactly three days, I am off to India for 3 weeks to attend our friends' wedding ceremony and my brother-in-law's engagement.

Some girls grow up dreaming of their wedding day their whole life. They plan out every single little detail from the dress, the flowers, to the music, to even the groom.

I was not such a little girl. I never wanted to get married. I always thought the concept of being a "wife" was so archaic and wrong. "Mrs. Something" UGH!

Of course I changed my mind when I fell in love with my best friend. After signing a fair amount of pacts and making a ton of promises, we bit the bullet and just went for it.

If you've ever seen Monsoon Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham or Bride and Prejudice, you know how crazy our weddings can be, but also how important they are to our culture. They are occaisons that bring entire families together to celebrate a happy moment.

I've posted a few pics of my wedding 4 years ago. The top left set is of the before. The one in the middle is the during. The one at the bottom is of M and I together after the ceremony. Since I'll be out of country for a while (the ENTIRE month of December), I'll see you all in January.

For more details on my crazy trip out of Seattle, hop on over to: Dona Avoiding Real Work.

Have an excellent New Year everyone!

Better Than The Book?

Holiday weekends are often big movie release weekends, and I’ll bet a bunch of you went to the theater. (Especially Buzz Girl Movie Buff Heather?)

What I’m wondering is if any of you walked out and turned to a companion and said, “Wow, that film was even better than the book!”

I’m guessing that answer is no. Not all films start out as books, of course. And it’s the general consensus that with ones that do, most lose something in the translation. Rather like the low-fat version of a fried food or dessert.

However, given my penchant for Jell-O Fat Free Chocolate Pudding, I have seen some films I actually thought improved on the book. And while I can’t join the buzz on any of this season’s hottest releases, I can share these examples...

The First Wives Club. A witty screenplay, ’60s music, and what I heard was numerous ad-libs from Bette Midler brought added sparkle to an already terrific concept.

The Perfect Storm. While I enjoyed elements of the book, the film wins raves from me for its suspenseful pacing, and poignant focus on the characters’ struggles and dreams. (And okay, going back to last week’s post, it also gets a high-five for featuring George Clooney).

Bridget Jones’ Diary
. I loved the book, and worried how I’d react to the film. But I found the storyline in the screen version tighter, the dialogue sharper, plus Colin Firth and Hugh Grant breathed sexy life into her leading men, earning a Bravo from me.

The Bridges of Madison County
. In Clint Eastwood’s hands, the central characters had a dimension and humanness that allowed me to understand the depth of their struggle in a way I didn’t grasp from the book. I’ve cried every time I’ve watched it.

So, how about you? Are there any movies--old or new--you thought took a book’s premise to a higher dimension?


Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Home for the Holidays...

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day with your friends and families. So much to be thankful for that we take for granted each on the table, clothes on our back, roof over our head. Things that not everyone in the world enjoys. Things we should appreciate every day...not just one day a year.

I love turkey. I mean, love it. I eat it almost every day. Turkey sandwiches don't stand a chance around me. So, when it comes to Thanksgiving, I've always been a bit of a contrarian, breaking away from the standard turkey and fixin's. We've had stuffed sole, saddle of monkfish, stuffed pork loin, you name it. But this year, I wanted to do the traditional stuff. I wanted a full day nosh that started with bagels and mimosas in the morning, corn chowder in the afternoon and a feast around 9:00 p.m. (and yes...we ate that late!) of roasted turkey breast, homemade southern dressing, Brussel sprouts with bacon and cranberry chutney.

Here's the feast...and yes, the food's on the floor. We eat on the coffee table, so I spread it out so we could admire it.

The dressing is my mother's recipe. The secret is getting the edges nice and crispy while leaving the inside a wee bit gooey. No stuffing inside the cavity for me (we only had a turkey breast), so I make it on the side. I added my own touch -- a can of mushrooms -- this year, but otherwise, the recipe is Lizanne's if you're interested in trying it:

1 bag Pepperidge Farms Herb Stuffing
1 bag Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing
3 cans of chicken stock
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
3 eggs
1 cup celery
1 cup onion
1 can of mushrooms (optional)
4 tablespoons butter/margarine
A very large mixing bowl
A large casserole dish

Chop the celery and onions and then saute in the butter/margarine until they're wilted. Then, addd everything together and stir well. It should resemble a very firm pancake batter. Spread in a greased casserole dish and then bake at 325 for an hour and a half. You may want to cover with tin foil towards the end to avoid burning the top.

The other thing I'm most proud of is my cranberry chutney. No canned cranberry here, but instead, a very flavorful, aromatic blend of fruits that fills the house and just smells like the holidays. You should try it for your next holiday meal:

1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Serve with turkey, chicken, roast pork, or ham.

Here it is while it's cooking...

And here's what it looks like when it's done:

You can serve the chutney hot or cold. Watch the wine pairing, however, because the high acidity in the chutney will make wine taste funny. The best wine to pair it with is a Gerwurztraminer(pronounced gah-wurtz-trah-miner.)

Well, there's your culinary lessons for the day! LOL!! I'm so grateful to have friends like you to share my love of cooking with. I'm thankful for the Buzz Girls and how special this blog is. I'm thankful for a great day job, nice co-workers, a wonderful husband who supports me in all I do, the world's best literary agent whom I can't say enough about and my editor and publisher who made my dreams come true!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books

Friday, November 24, 2006

What do you covet?

Crush of the week: Designer Purses

Since today is the biggest shopping day of the year I felt it was appropriate to blog about something completely materialistic.

As I have gotten older, I have developed a love of designer purses. This is not a good thing. I long for the days when I was satisfied with my $40 Espirit purses. sigh. Here's my current crush.

This is the Coach Holiday Patchwork Shoulder Tote. It retails for $398.

My head realizes that this is an insane amount of money to spend on a purse that one of my kids will puke on within a week, but my heart reaches out to stroke the suede and leather patches each time I enter a certain department store.

Designer purses, why do I covet thee so? Don't you realize that I could use the money much more wisely? Why do you have to tempt me with your dogleash closure, multi-function pockets, and inside zip pockets. Why do you sparkle under your glass case and call to me even though you know I purposely didn't bring my credit card to the store with me? Do you have no shame? Don't you even care if I have a nest egg when I get old, or would you rather me be wearing you on my shoulder while I eat cat food?

Okay, I feel better. Please tell me what guilty pleasure you covet, and I swear if anybody says world peace I'm going to scream. It must be purely materialistic! :)



All that matters is what's long as your outside is wearing the tiara.REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, coming from Berkley Jam in July 2007

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hump Day Hottie #11

Maybe it's the jetlag speaking--six hours on a plane can change a person. Maybe it's the holiday excitement--all that basting and baking and braising and tryptophan. Maybe it's the cool desert air--we're talking major climate change between freezing Boston and moderate Vegas. Maybe it's all of the above... but whatever the cause, I present to you HDH #11: Tom. The true star of Turkey Day.

(If you feel the need to banish me from Hottie-ville, I'll understand.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who do you want to meet today?

Today my writing pal Christina and I met at our local cine to check out STRANGER THAN FICTION. It was a cute story of a writer whose main character is alive in the real world. A moment that really spoke to me was then the main character (HAROLD CRICK) and the writer (KAREN EIFFEL) met face to face for the first time.

Karen dropped to her knees and stared at Harold. "Your face! Your hands! Your shoes!" Her expression was of a proud mother. A flabbergasted and scared one, but of a mother who had birthed a character and was seeing it for the first time.

That got me thinking...what would I do if I ever met one of my characters. In my current WIP, Zara Taylor is totally kick-ass, bad-ass and has no shame. If I ever met met, I would make her buy me a drink and figure out some of her secrets. She would try to get me to down a Singapore Sling (brandy, gin and powdered sugar, her drink of choice) but I would protest and settle for my usual Mai Tai.

I would ask her about how she managed to live on her own from the age of 16, be competent in the fields of car mechanic, bartender, and cigar connoseur, and most importnatly, how she managed to extort a 2007 electric blue Dodge Viper from a married man ;)

So....if you guys could meet any of your characters...or characters in other books you love, who would you meet?

Dona Sarkar-Mishra
-------'----,----@ @----,-----'-------
Chapters & Chai - Read all about it

Still Crazy (Uh, Make That Hot) After All These Years

People Magazine came out with its Sexiest Man Alive for 2006 this week, and for the second time, chose George Clooney.

They'll only get raves from me. I've watched OCEAN'S 11 so many times I've got the lines memorized. And I admit I saw SOLARIS on the big screen simply because of all the hoopla about his backside!

In any case, those movies were a few years ago, and our boy George is well into his forties now, and gracing People's cover with unabashedly gray hair. It made me think about him and some of his forty-something colleagues who have been in the public eye for years, and what they looked like "then" as opposed to "now"...

"Brad to the Bone" Pitt

"Gorgeous George" Clooney

Patrick "Dr. McDreamy" Dempsey

Antonio "He'll Always Be Zorro to Me" Bandaras

Are they as good-looking as ever? Maybe better? Can you think of some other mah-ve-lous looking forty-something men who we have watched mature?


Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, March, 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring, 2008

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My "book tour" of Europe...

Well, I'm back in action after ten glorious days on the Mediterranean visiting Spain, the South of France and Italy. Strange to be back on the Eastern Time Zone and even stranger to be back at work. I get sleepy and hungry at the oddest times.

While looking at 3,000 years of history, I couldn't help but venture my eyes around to see what people were reading and where they were getting their books. I think the most fascinating book display was in Barcelona. In the train station, no less. Check it out...

A vending machine. Cool, eh? The translation is something like all your books are in this point. The machine had several classics in there, nothing modern.

Then, in Cannes, I found this interesting little book store...

Mainly "how to" books and classics, no YA or romance books. But it was Cannes. LOL!

In Nice, however, on a market street, I found the following boxes of books for one euro each:

In Florence, I ran upon this used book store. Looked like they had some older British chick lit books in the stacks.

And finally, in Rome, where I was headed down into the Metro, I saw this vendor who had a stack of Harlequins and Silhouettes displayed like post cards. Pretty cool...

And last, but not least, the famed book stands in Paris (where we had a layover due to a missed connection -- boo hoo, a free night in Paris) over by Notre Dame on the Seine. It's lined with book stands and vendors selling art and books and music.

That concludes my book tour of Europe. Now, next time I go on tour in Europe, I hope it's with my sorority series! = )

When you've traveled to other places, have you noticed books, how they're displayed, what they cost and what people are reading? Share your book tour, too.

Marley = )
Sorority Rush Begins - Spring 2008!
Puffin Books