Friday, August 31, 2007


Last week I talked about my upcoming Mesa, Arizona booksigning with Janette Rallison. Here’s the follow-up, complete with a few pictures.

Janette lives in the Phoenix area, and I had the pleasure of meeting many of the people in her life. She joked it was like attending her own funeral-- to which I must add that if her funeral ends up being as much fun as this signing, it’s well-worth it to outlive her and attend! :) In addition, we got to meet some teens, teachers, librarians, writers, industry professionals and random shoppers, all who were warm and fun and contributed to a lovely evening.

When the event was over, exhausted and elated, Janette and I clowned around in front of the two-sided sign that the marvelous events manager, Donna Power, had provided for us. Here we are, posing with the side that bore my name:

And now, speaking of good times, have you been over to Stephanie Hale’s MySpace site ( to cast your vote on who should win the Dooney and Bourke bag? If not, walk, don’t run!


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie, January, 2008
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Some Long Overdue "Revenge"

Steph Hale is a good friend and a fellow Buzz-girl, so I was prepared to be biased when I plunked down one Saturday afternoon at my favorite coffee shop TerraBite with a copy of REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN. I'd heard good things about the book and I love all of Steph's blog posts, so I knew the book, if nothing else, would be a fun read.

What I was not prepared for was the tantalizing mystery that captured my attention, had me on the edge of my seat and made me laugh out loud (earning questionable looks from my fellow coffee shop patrons).

I love this's definitely NOT your typical, fluffy high school romance or coming-of-age novel. It's smart, mature and incredible realistic. The characters came alive and reminded me very much of people I've known in my day. While I loved the progressive love story of the nerdy-turned-hottie Rand and Aspen (love her!), my favorite thing about the story was Jonny's love story and how Aspen deals with her best friend's *unconventional* romance.

The mystery is the icing on the cake and I loved that our heroine...turns out to be the school heroine at the end!!!!

SOOOO great! I now cannot wait to see what Aspen does in college in TWISTED SISTERS.
So, thank you to you Steph Hale...for giving me one of the most unconventional and suspenseful teen-reads I've had this year!
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI - January 2008
SHRINK TO FIT - August 2008

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Postcard from NYC

I know it’s not exactly “What I Did on my Summer Vacation” week at the Buzz Blog, but the other bees have agreed to let me squeal (I mean share!) about my amazing time in NYC.

First of all, it’s totally part of the writer’s dream to travel to New York, the center of the publishing world, so when an opportunity through my day job opened to travel there, I was like, “Yeah, I guess I could go...” But inside I was all, “HOLY CRAP! I’m going to NY!”

So after a work week and a half doing things for the office job, I had a morning appointment to see my editor at HarperCollins. The Children’s department is housed in an average skyscraper on Sixth Ave/Avenue of the Americas. I had to show ID so I could get a visitor's pass from the guards. Apparently they couldn’t just take my word that I was Heather Davis, YA author in the flesh. So, good on you, security, you’re keeping my editor goddess safe.

My editor goddess is lovely and her office is filled with plants. It's so cool to be able to picture her working there now. And... since you're wondering... my revision was on her desk! I couldn’t quite make out the top page’s notes... so I’m still waiting but not for too much longer. The meeting was great, and I left there with free books! It was like Christmas in August.

After that and a sandwich at this yummy gourmet to go place, I went to the Museum of Modern Art! Guys -- I got to see The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh in person. *sigh* It was amazing to find myself in front of that painting...

That deserves a pause. Freaking Vincent Van Gogh. He rocks.

So, okay – I’m back. Next I checked into the Algonquin Hotel. Work had me at a yucky place that was tiny, dark, and sketchy in general.

The Algonquin was a freaking dream! I was actually staying in the place where one of the world’s wittiest women – Dorothy Parker – and her homies hung out back in the twenties and thirties.

That ambiance and the beautiful hotel room made me feel like, “Wow, I am a writer in NYC!”

Also, the staff there was so nice! They even have laptops you can borrow for free if you need to check your email. That and Ipod docks are just a few of the cool modern touches in an historic hotel... Tres cool.

Oh, here's a picture of Matilda, the Algonquin's cat who lives in the lobby. She has a really fluffy cat bed, but prefers the luggage cart. She was adorable and very friendly.

After a nap (‘cause just like Matilda all that excitement wore me out) I met my new friend writer/photographer Julie B. who took me to the East Village for dinner at a groovy sushi place. I loved the Village – it was very Seattle-ish in some ways. Cool people, casual vibe, a lot of fun.

Oh, I should mention here this was Stephen’s (aka Boy Wonder Agent) birthday weekend so he was away, but I did get to meet him for dinner earlier in the week. I toured the agency which was down near the Flower district and we ate dinner at a cute diner called the Mayrose. We both ordered old people food – him meatloaf, me turkey and mashed potatoes. I was like, “We’re eating the sunset special, grandpa!” It was just what I needed though after a week of restaurant food. Anyway, you all know I heart Stephen. It was so good to see him again.

Okay so back to Saturday -- after brunch on the Upper East Side, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – my friend sent me in the wrong direction, but I eventually found the Museum – the setting of one of my favorite books – From the Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler.

That was so cool, guys! There were the fountains from which the kids in the book fished their lunch money (and where they bathed!) There was the massive Egyptian collection and the temple of Dendur – and the endless rooms of paintings and furniture. Gorgeous.

I lunched on the roof of the museum, and then wandered through Central Park. Here's a picture of the lake -- they were doing some restoration work on the other end of it. There were so many beautiful spots and people doing interesting things, I could have stayed there all day long.

After another nap... I had dinner at a great little place called Riposo 46 – where I made strangers share my flatbread pizza-thing which was gargantuan.

Then, I went to the Eugene O’Neil Theater and saw Spring Awakening – the 2007 Tony Award winner for best musical. It was great. If you can imagine teenage angst in 1890’s Germany set to rock anthems – you get the idea of Spring Awakening.

At intermission, I bought the CD. It was that good. It does have some R rated themes for sure, and I felt a little bad for the 15 year old boy sitting next to me who was there with his mom. Somehow I expected them to discuss what they’d just witnessed, but alas... I guess that conversation was for the taxi ride home.

Afterwards, I capped the night off with a piece of warm chocolate cake and a glass of champagne (NOTE: THE BUZZ GIRLS DO NOT CONDONE UNDERAGE DRINKING!) at world-famous Sardi’s.

There I was, all by myself at a table facing the dining room, the walls covered by all those colorful caricatures of stars – but somehow it was okay. I always dreamed I would go to NYC someday... I used to think it would be as part of a couple or something, but I learned on this trip that I could do that for myself.

I could be there in the city on my own. Not lonely – just on my own. And as a professional writer!

I guess that’s part of growing up – when you do the things you want to do for yourself. Yeah, it’s great when you have someone to share the experience, but being able to create a reality out of a dream and not having to rely on someone else to do it for you is pretty freaking cool.
So, to recap...

I spent way too much money at H & M. (The best chain clothes store in the world!)

I did not take enough pictures.

I didn't sleep enough.

But... I heart NY.

Can't wait to go back...


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

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen Contest

How would you like to help a lucky girl win a Dooney & Bourke purse or one of several other cool prizes? Come to my Myspace page and vote for your favorite photo! Thanks! The purse isn't in the picture because the winner is going to help me pick it.



Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!!!

Twisted Sisters coming April 1st, 2008

Monday, August 20, 2007

Arizona, Anyone?

If you’re anywhere near Mesa, Arizona this Friday night, August 24, come hang with me!

From 6:00 to 8:00, I’ll be signing TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS at the Barnes & Noble (Val Vista Drive just south of US 60; official address: 1758 S. Val Vista Drive, Mesa), along with the super-talented Janette Rallison, author of HOW TO TAKE THE EX OUT OF EX-BOYFRIEND and IT'S A MALL, MALL WORLD. And we’ll be giving away free stuff like bookmarks and Buzz Girl lanyards!

Hope to see some of you!


First Dreams: Trying to Fly High

I’ve always wanted to make a living as a writer, but reasonably understood I had to find a way to support myself at least at first. No career appealed more than the glamour and excitement of becoming a flight attendant…

So, as a high school senior, I applied to a flight attendant school. Someone from the school called to set up an appointment for their counselor to interview me in my home. I’ll admit I was a nervous wreck when the day came, and it didn’t help that my parents and I sat and sat and sat, until I realized--like the jerk I’d go on to write in TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS--that the interviewer had stood me up! With my confidence shaky and the fact there was never any follow-up whatsoever from the school, I dropped the whole thing and enrolled in college.

But some years later, while otherwise employed, I saw that a top international airline was hiring flight attendants. On a whim, I wrote for an application, and to my delight, made the first cut and got called in for an interview.

There were at least 15 applicants in the room. The interviewer would state a question, and one at a time, we’d stand and respond. This was rather intimidating since it was easy to see who was good and who wasn’t. In fact, some of the candidates had been interviewing with all the airlines and had real polish. Still, I felt like I held my own with the first couple of questions, but totally bombed out on the third because by the time they got to my end of the table, all the good answers had been given. So I was like, “Yeah, what they said.” (Ugh!)

Then came the written test. I figured I had to be smart and fast to make up for my blunder. The test was a breeze, and indeed, I was the first to turn my test back over. But later, when recounting this to a friend whose sister WAS a flight attendant for that airline, she grimaced. She said that this airline tended to disqualify applicants who finished the test too quickly because they thought it a warning that that person would get bored and quit too soon after training. I have no idea if this is true. And my guess is I was "out" before we started the test. But I didn't hear from them again.

In any case, I always enjoy chatting with the attendants on flights, who clearly work very hard. In fact, on a recent flight, I heard one tell another during drink clean-up, “When people ask what I do for a living, I say I’m in waste management.” They both laughed, and quietly, I did, too, thinking we all have beefs with our careers--but hey, at least they got the second call-back!

Don’t get me wrong…I wouldn’t trade my my writing career for anything…and who knows, maybe some day I’ll get to live out my flight attendant fantasy inside the pages of a book!

What I'm Reading: The Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring, 2008
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First Heartbreak

Warning: This seemed very traumatic at the time... but keep in mind I was only sixteen.

My junior year of high school, I was in Art 3. It was one of those strange classes that had a complete mix of different types of students in there--some jocks, some geeks, some stoners, some just plain old normal kids (me). There was also a boy named Jason. He was blonde and blue-eyed (Note: This might be one reason I'm not a fan of blonde heroes.) and was relatively new to my school. My crush was so, omigod, obvious. Somehow I managed to get to the point where I could be semi-chatty with him if we passed in the hall.

I also had one very good friend in the class, and she and I would sit and chat about boys and Jason and classes and Jason and, oh, everything and Jason. (All while not letting Jason know we were talking about him.)

Well, my very good friend was oh-so-very-sophisticated because she was engaged and therefor a certified expert on boys. She finally convinced me that I should ask him out! We spent weeks planning exactly how I would do the deed.

"Just act cool," she would say. "Like it's no big deal."

"Uh-huh," I said, my stomach going into convulsions even thinking about it.

"When you talk to him in the hall, just say, 'Hey. So, you wanna go see a movie this weekend?' No big deal."

Sure. No big deal for her. She was engaged! Anyway, eventually out of desperation and the desire to get her off my back, I did it. Jason stopped to chat with me in the hall and I even managed to ask my oh-so-casual question without heaving on his shoes.

"No," he said. "I can't."

My heart plummeted. "Oh," I said brilliantly. And, in an act that would be dissected in detail later, asked, "Why not?"

Because he was grounded... or so he said. But let me tell you, you have not felt shame until you have a very good friend squeal, "You did not ask him 'why not'!" Apparently, that is even worse than getting rejected... which, of course, felt pretty rotten at the time. Apparently, I was just supposed to blithely accept in a "whatever" kinda way. Apparently, I will never be that cool.


Dutton Children's Books, May 2008

Friday, August 17, 2007

You never forget your first true love.

At the end of my freshman year of high school I decided to join Student Council. One of my friends took an interest in a junior, named Todd, who also joined Student Council. My friend was not a joiner so she was not in Student Council. Anybody see where this is going?

I tried not to like him. I really, really did. But he was impossible to ignore. Then he started showing up at my house every morning to pick me up for school. He was relentless. I was a loyal friend. I rejected every date he suggested, refused his rides to school, etc. I wouldn't even sniff him, no matter how good his Drakkar smelled.

One night a bunch of friends (including the one who liked Todd), and some guys (including Todd) got together. I don't remember what we did but at one point I went up to my friends bedroom. It was kind of like in the attic with really low ceilings. I think I was getting lip-gloss or something. Todd followed me. I remember turning around and there he was, like millimeters away from me, with his head bent toward me. I nearly crumpled to the floor. I was completely drunk on Drakkar, his eyes, and his perfect lips that were closing in on mine. I knew that it would be the kiss to end all kisses. I was so glad I had run up to reapply my lip-gloss. He came closer, and just as I was about to close my eyes, he kissed me on the cheek. HUH????
He said, "This is the way you want it, right?" I just nodded like an idiot. I watched him pull away in his beast of a 1978 Thunderbird and felt sick. I wanted him. Bad. But I wanted to be a good friend too.

Luckily, my friend knew exactly what was going on. She realized that Todd didn't like her that way and she encouraged me to go for it. I know, how lucky am I to have her? We are still the best of friends!

Since we didn't have cell phones, Myspace, or really anything cool back then I think I actually had to call him on a landline. He came and got me and we went driving around. That ugly car he drove ended up being a total pimp mobile because the windows were practically black they were tinted so dark. Our first kiss was in my driveway. I still remember that The Flame by Cheap Trick was playing. It was perfect.

Todd and I were together for a long time. Like two and a half years. We were wonderful together and horrible together. We took turns breaking each others hearts until the final time. I took him to my junior prom because the guy I really wanted to go with (who I will refer to as, the biggest mistake I ever made) was going with someone else. The deal was that after prom I would dump Todd and TBMIEM and I would be together forever. Todd was onto me and came to my house two weeks before prom saying that he wasn't going to go if I was just going to break up with him. I did what any seventeen-year-old girl would do when faced with the prospect of no date for prom, I lied my butt off. I dumped him the minute he dropped me off the morning after prom. Sorry, Todd.

Anyway, as I got older, I realized how lucky I was that Todd was my first real boyfriend. I was so naive and in love. For just a boy, he was pretty careful with my heart. I also realized that even though he may have caused me some pain back then, it wasn't about me, and it didn't mean that he didn't love me. Because for a while I know that he did.

What I'm reading now....You had me at Halo by Amanda Ashby

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My first love story isn't that intersting, so I'll talk about a mish-mash of firsts today...

First love: Still living it now. I met my husband when I was 20 and am still as madly in love with him now as I was when we met. This is us at Niagara Falls in January.

First heartbreak: It was so long ago and so trivial that I can't believe what a big deal I made out of it at the time. It's funny how that saying that, "If it won't matter in 5 years, don't obsess over it" makes so much sense now that we're older =)

First favorite book: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was 7, newly arrived in the U.S. from India and got this book from Christmas in my first stocking. I must have read it at least 40 times that firwst year. I was fascinated by pork sausage, homemade cheese, and stick candy just like our heroine.

First Favorite Movie: The Little Mermaid. I was 9 and remember thinking in the theatre, "So this is what magic really is." I loved (and still love) that movie. The heroine, the songs, and the incredibly debonair Prince Eric set my expectations of what I wanted my prince to be.

Close, hmm?

So that's all the interesting stuff from me up, more BBG Firsts!
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI - January 2008
SHRINK TO FIT - August 2008

Monday, August 13, 2007

It’s Monday!

We’ve done another switcheroo on posting days, and I’m going to be the Monday kick-off Buzz Girl.

(Special thanks to Garfield for showing us his enthusiasm for Mondays. I must say, however, I like them a bit more!)

In continuing our theme of “Firsts”, this week we’ll be discussing “First Loves or First Heartbreaks”. This really sent my mind reeling because the simple truth is, I can’t pinpoint my first in either case.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I took my across-the-classroom crushes to heart. So I could arguably say my first love and first heartbreak happened as early as 4th grade, when I couldn’t get the totally cute boy with the too short pants and playground dirt on his cheek to give me the time of day. Because the love felt real; and so did the rejection.

I look back on my early romances (good and bad; real and imaginary) as learning tools, fodder for the marriage that I want to last forever, and for characterization and plots for my writing. And so far, so good!

I’m curious to see what the other Buzz Girls talk about this week…if there is a special boy in their pasts, or a collection that fly through their memories like, well, buzzing bees.

And I’d love to hear the same from our readers! Do tell: one first major love, or many minor?

What I’m Reading: Lean, Mean Thirteen, Janet Evanovich


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring, 2008
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Writing, From the Beginning

I probably shouldn't admit this, but my very first attempt at writing a book was when I was probably in sixth grade. It was a paranormal action-adventure, you might say, about a little boy's toy soldiers who came to life at night and carried out missions like getting crackers and cheese from the kitchen. Um, it was never really more than a few pages... and will stay that way. (Yes, I know I'm not: a) a little boy, b) an action-adventure author, and c) a fan of cheese and crackers... okay, maybe I am a fan of cheese and crackers.)

My first attempt at as a grown-up author was a Western/Colonial historical called A DAUGHTER'S PROMISE, about an Texas-raised heroine whose father sends her back to Boston to live with her godfather when he dies. The godfather just happened to have a son her age and, well, needless to say there was a romance brewing. I think I wrote about fifty pages of that one. It was all very complex and emotional and heart-wrenching. (Note to future readers: my books are not emotional and heart-wrenching reads.)

Next was a contemporary romance set in the Miami Beach club scene, titled, um, CLUB SCENE. This was my first real attempt at a whole book and--although I got bored halfway through and switched to the book that I would eventually finish--taught me the most about how to write effectively, how to compose and construct a story, and how to actually make myself sit down and write. Plus, my hero was based on Paul Walker and, well, we all know how I feel about Paul Walker. Um... yum!

I think the most important thing to keep in mind about all these "first tries" is that each taught us something about writing--yes, even the ones we never finished--and without all those baby steps, we wouldn't be the authors we are today.


Dutton Children's Books
May 2008

Saturday, August 11, 2007


You'll have to forgive my late post...I went to see Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/Love in concert last night and wow...what a show! He has definitely brought sexy back!


My very, very, very first book that I wrote was when I was fifteen years old and my best friend had her first official boyfriend. Since I didn't have a boyfriend of my own, I lived vicariously through her. He was two years older than us (a senior) and a basketball player. We were cheerleaders and it was the heart of baseball season. Their first kiss was shared when they were standing by the basketball bus after an away game and he "bet" her that she couldn't see inside the bus like he could, flat of his feet. Of course, she couldn't, so he lifted her up so she could see in. As he slid her back to the ground, he kissed her.

Wow. That was just something that belonged in a novel, eh?

At the time, I was obsessed with the First Love by Silhouette books that came out four a month. So, I thought I would write my own First Love book starring my friend and her boyfriend, totally taking from their bus viewing kiss. I wrote about 100 pages of the story. Mostly dialogue. But there are hints of greatness, I must say. Well, at least hints that I'd someday be able to write something more substantial.

My mother kept the story in my "things" at their house and I found it in a box not too long ago. My format is really professional, it's free of typos, and the kiss is very heartwarming. I was really impressed at how on target I was as fifteen.

Which brings me to the innocence of writing. Back then, I didn't know the "rules" or things like goal, motivation, conflict, or head-hopping or things like that. I just wrote. Wrote for the fun of it. Because I had a story to tell. For those of you who want to write, I encourage you to write with naivete and joy and innocence.

Marley = )

Coming in May 2008

What I'm reading right now: Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

Friday, August 10, 2007

I can be kind of bossy sometimes....

I wasn't one of those girls who kept a journal or a diary. I wanted to, but I was petrified that someone would find it and read my innermost thoughts. You know, because everybody really cares that Funshine bear was my favorite and that I always felt terrible about throwing away Patrick Shelton's Scruffy book. I didn't feel sorry for Patrick, I was just sick that a brand new book got thrown away. Since this post isn't about him you'll have to just take my word that he totally deserved to lose that book.

Up until this past week, I thought the first book I wrote was called, The Perfect Man. I know, totally originally title, right? It was a chick lit I wrote about four years ago that was pretty much autobiographical. Like Dona, it garnered a full request from Red Dress Ink. They liked it but didn't think the main character would really react the way she did in certain situations. Which made me feel kind of weird since the situations were all pretty much from my life and the reactions were mine. ECK! Eventually, I cut my loses and moved on to my first YA novel.

But something triggered a memory this week. TPM wasn't my first book after all. Suddenly I remembered sitting on my grandparents back porch making my own books. I don't remember any of the stories but I do remember painstakingly cutting, coloring, and stapling them together. The more I thought about it, the more I remembered. One day a neighbor boy was making books with me and he excitedly showed me his book. I flipped through it, all two pages, and pretty much declared him an idiot.
"A book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This doesn't have a middle so it's not a book."
I'm pretty sure I was making books by myself the rest of the summer. And while I'm not exactly proud of myself for scaring off the neighbor boy, I'm glad to know that somewhere instead of me, I've always known how to make a book!

What I'm reading...Beauty Shop for Rent by Laura Bowers

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I decided I had to be a writer as a profession when I walked into a Creative Writing class at my local community college and met people who just "jived" with me. Each person who volunteered took turns reading a chapter of their work out loud and everyone else listened and critiqued. During the class itself, I came up with a *great* story idea. I was shy, but the people in that class encouraged me to write down the idea at least. The next class, I breathlessly read the chapter out loud and was encouraged when I heard people laughing out loud.

And OREOS WITH CHAI was born.

Unfortunately it was crap. The story was about 22 year old "Maya" who moves to Seattle and falls in love with a boy named "Ajay" and they fight in chapter 3, then make up in chapter 4 and they have a great time amd live happily ever after by chapter 6.

That's it. No conflict, no goal, no motivation, no nothing. Red Dress Ink did request a full based on how hot the ethnic market was at the time (and hoping it would get better after 50 pages!) but that book did not deserve to get published. It deserved exactly what it got, a slow death and a complete re-write.

Three years later, I re-wrote that book. Same title, same characters. Completely different story. It didn't sell, but I still love that book.

Maybe someday... =)

Monday, August 06, 2007

The First Time I Typed "Chapter One"

I had never planned to talk about this, thought my first book attempt should fade into oblivion with mood rings and the Bay City Rollers. But since it’s our Buzz Girls theme this week…well, here goes!

I was a senior in high school, and convinced I’d hit the jackpot in super-cool storyline and title ideas. I was thinking the big time:

Because I mean, who wouldn't want to read a totally depressing romance novel about a girl who not only doesn’t get the hero, but kills herself on the fated anniversary of their first date? Especially a book whose title that not only guarantees a miserable read, but gives away the ending:


(My husband, upon hearing this recollection, said, “You’re making this up, right?”)

Not only did I attempt to write this book, but I actually told people about it and was, quite frankly, disappointed in their lack of enthusiasm. However, to be fair, my mother patiently listened to my woes of the writing process, and gave me encouragement to keep at it. Even though the meet between the hero and heroine was so lackluster that I went back and edited it so that the heroine would recognize this fact--in other words, brilliant writer that I was, I meant this scene to be boring, people, okay?

This book crashed-and-burned, I am pleased to say. And disappeared when we moved a couple years later. I can say with full confidence that you’ll never find that title and my name together any place but here. But if somehow, out of the trash or the ashes, it reappears…well, I’ll either feature it on my website as a lark, or deny any knowledge of it.

Anyone care to weigh in on early artistic projects that still haunt them today?


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, out now
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring, 2008
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My First Job: Babysitting

I was in 7th grade, and I’d been eagerly anticipating for this for a couple years: my first babysitting job. I thought it would be great fun to be the one in charge (for once), to stay out and up late, and have no restrictions on my TV watching. All that, and I’d get paid, too. Woo-hoo!

I imagined myself with taking on regular clients, the cash rolling in…which would continue until I segued into dating, and then, whoa--what a chaotic (read: totally fun) life I’d lead! Just like the teen books I’d been reading.

Then the big night came. It was a friend-of-a-friend referral, and I walked to the house. I knocked, the mother came to the door, and took one look at me and panicked. “How old are you?” She made no bones about not being happy to leave a 12 year old (who looked 10) with her baby. She put the little guy to bed and told me not to go near him, then added I couldn’t watch TV or use the phone, in case I woke him.

They left for the night, then returned less than two hours later--the woman taking the stairs two at a time make sure her son was still breathing…

I walked home with two dollars in my pocket, depressed. And I remember thinking, “Wow, will dating be this bad, too?” (Answer: yes AND no…depended on the guy…but very few of them went into a full panic when they met me at the door.)

Any other babysitters or former babysitters out there?

What I'm Reading: HONK IF YOU HATE ME, Deborah Halverson


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring, 2008
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009

Friday, August 03, 2007

My first job...

As soon as I turned sixteen, I was eager to get my own cash rolling in. I was tired of swiping money from my mom's purse (in my defense, my brother usually got there first. I would just come behind and take what he left, then he'd get blamed for taking it all. You've gotta admit, the plan was genius). My stepdad put in the good word for me at the hardware store he frequented.

So a couple of weeks later, yours truly was outfitted in the most hideous smock (yes, people, I said smock) making $3.35 an hour as a cashier at True Value hardware. I got hired on with a vivacious redhead who was in her twenty's. I had never met somebody with so much personality. The guy training us was so infatuated with her that he tripped over a display of chewing gum one day. He was sprawled out in the middle of a million packs of chewing gum, blushing like crazy. Kim, the redhead, definitely helped my transition into the working world.

My first day officially on the job went well. I counted back change perfectly, greeted people with a smile, all while making sure that I rang up the correct sale prices for them. At the end of the night we had to count down our drawers to account for money we took in all day. Like a total idiot, I busted open all the extra wrapped change. I think it took me like an hour to count my drawer down.

In addition to waiting on customers we had to answer the phones and determine what department to transfer the phone call to. No problem, except that you had to use the intercom to tell the department that they had a call. I didn't want to use the intercom. I knew I'd sound like a huge dork so I pretty much bribed Kim or whoever else I was working with to do it. Enter Shari. Shari is a middle-aged woman who works in Housewares (still does to this day) who has the most twisted sense of humor known to man. Unbeknownest to me, she was plotting my intercom hazing.

It was a busy Saturday with all three registers going like crazy. I was on the third which was over by itself. I always made it a point not to answer the phone when I was there because then I knew I'd have to use the intercom, which I totally wasn't going to do. The phone was ringing off the hook and the other two girls weren't making a move for it. I started to get nervous because as much as I hated using the intercom, I also hated not fulfilling a job description. I caved and answered it. It was a woman who was frantic that she needed to reach her husband (this was WAY before cell phones, people). She wanted me to page him to the front of the store to take the phone call. I thought, great, not only do I have to use the intercom, now I have to tell this guy to come to the front of the store. She insisted that I keep paging him until he came because she just knew he was there. His name was Mike Hunt.

So here I am trying to ring people up, take money, pack their purchases, smile, and now try to figure out how to not sound like a dork on the intercom. I steeled my nerves, punched the intercom button, and announced, "Mike Hunt could you come to the front of the store please. Mike Hunt to the front of the store." Several people started chuckling and I knew I must have sounded like a total geek. I kept ringing people up but Mike never showed. I got back on the phone with the woman and told her that her husband wasn't here. She insisted that I try again. So I repeated my announcement only faster this time so hopefully it wouldn't sound so bad. People were nearly doubled over in the aisles laughing. That's when I realized what my announcement really sounded like. I could hear Shari howling all the way over from housewares. I wanted to die but I couldn't because I still had customers to check out.

After my "initiation" work actually started to be a lot of fun. There were a lot of high schoolers that worked there so you always had the work crushes. People liked to sneak off to the warehouse to make out. Someone was always hijacking the intercom to fart over it or something equally hilarious.

I think the worst part of my job was all the dirty old men that would come up to the counter holding a screw and say, "Wanna screw?" It's weird because they stopped doing it after I went off on one guy telling him he was old enough to be my grandpa and that I could have him arrested. When I think about it I was a bit more outspoken back then. One night I was checking a lady out and one of her items didn't have a tag so an employee went back to check it for me. In the meantime she made the serious mistake of trying to make conversation with me. It went a little something like this.
Her: So, when are you due?
Me: Due for what (confused)?
Her: Your baby. When is your baby due?
Me: Shrieks and yanks up smock to show not quite flat, but definitely not pregnant belly while yelling. I'm only sixteen, I can't believe you thought I was pregnant. Oh my god, that's the most horrible thing anyone has ever said to me.
I'm pretty sure she left while I was still ranting. What can I say, I was all about the drama back then.

All in all, it was a fun job. I started to take on too much responsible by doing the books on the weekends, so I missed out on a lot of extracurricular activities but I learned a lot too. I worked at True Value for several years, even after I left for college I'd come back and work on breaks. They were always happy to see me, and after all these years, Shari is still hazing the newbies!

What I'm reading...I was a really good mom before I had kids by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Tale of TWO First Jobs

My first and second jobs were so different (from each other) that they're both worth mentioning in this post. When I was 16, I had an epiphany that I was not independent. That I relied on my parents & their income. Huh. Go fig. You're SIXTEEN doofus, of course you're not independent!

My semi-traditonal Indian parents were like, "Huh? After school job? Why? What do you need to buy that's more expensive than your education?"

I begged and pleaded and threw a fit and they finally relented. And I started working at Bean & Bagel. Note to everyone: when the "hiring manager" Dino called me and told me they'd accepted my application, I cried tears of joy as if I'd just won the Pulitzer. The same tears I cried when I got my first "real" job offer on the West Coast. Yes, I like drama.

I worked for about 2 months at that Bean & Bagel and after many weekends of sore feet, a total distaste for coffee and way too many orders of "blueberry bagels with lox" early in the morning I QUIT.

My stint that prompted me to study really really hard and swear never to work in food-service again. I was going to study hard and show them all. I was going to be rich and never have to pour coffee again. I was going a corporate-youknowwhat.

This lead to my next job.

I did IT Tech support at the Engineering company my mom works for Jervis B. Webb the summer before college. I spent my summer in the basement with the other IT folks supporting all the employees of the company's tech issues. I upgraded Windows and Office and taught people to use Outlook calender sharing and debugged hung machines.

I swore and cursed at Microsoft and demanded WHAT kind of company would make such unstable software and hadn't anyone tested this before they shipped it?

Who wanted to be a part of corporate American anyway? I told my parents I wanted NOTHING to do with computers and I was going to be a starving writer and not "conform to their Indian ways".

But then I realized I liked white chocolate mochas and pretty shoes and vacations and shopping with Forever 21 with my girlfriends. I needed money to do all those things. So, corporate America it was...for a little while anyway. I was NOT going to sell out to the man!

So I went to college, studied Computer Science, graduated college, married a techie, and moved to Seattle and eventually started working at Microsoft.

And not just Microsoft.


That's right. And last year when Vista shipped, it was one of the proudest days of my life. And seeing the sales numbers (60 milion copies licenses people---that is a LOT of Vista!)

And right now doing time-sharing between being an author and being a Windows engineer, I am so lucky to not have one, but TWO, jobs that I absolutely adore.

The lesson learned? You really can have it both ways.

Ah, life :)
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI -- January 2008 from Harlequin's Kimani Tru