Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Guilty Pleasure....DVD Series!

My name is Dona and I am a closeted DVD series addict. What is a DVD series? A season-long series of a television show that I never got to watch during the year. I love to sit and watch ALL the episodes of a show over the course of a long weekend, day and night. It's sick. It really is.

It all began with LOST....a show that made me afraid of ever getting on a plane again...can't wait till it resumes in February!

I loved the direction so much, I decided to check out an episode of some random "spy" show called ALIAS. To this day, it's my favorite show EVER.

Then I moved onto PRISON BREAK. The story of the innocent brothers and the hottie Wentworth Miller addicted me like a drug for 2 weeks.

Then my friend insisted I borrow his HOUSE. The flawed hero did me in...I was hooked for 2 seasons straight and bought season 3.

Then I decided to (finally) watch an episode of BUFFY. And them I proceeded to spend the summer watching the following 5 seasons!

Then of course, I had to check out ANGEL, who I thought really developed a personality for himself on his own in the middle of season 1 now.

Yes, I am a huge fan of the DVD waiting till next week, on-demand and oh so gratifying...anyone else a DVD series addict?


Dona Sarkar-Mishra

Closeset DVD series fan and writer

HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI - January 2008

SHRINK TO FIT - August 2008

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Guilty Secrets...

So maybe this isn't a huge secret, but I'm with Dona about loving animals!

And what better animal to be totally in love with than my own kitty Harper!

And look what the delightful diva is doing since it started raining (aka Fall begins) in Seattle. Whevener I dry out my umbrella by the radiator, the cat lays out like Cleopatra. She thinks it's her own private parasol. Notice the toy mouse in her paw, courtesy of my Dad who brought it for her as a present.

And here she is distracting me (in a loving way) on blog day -- notice the t-shirt I'm wearing!

Harper wants to write a book, too -- but she's having trouble typing, so she's dictating it to me. So far, it's a bunch of meowing about hot boy cats and bitching about mice. (Not the toy ones, she loves those because they're packed in catnip --not that my cat does drugs, I'm just saying...)

Also, she's not big on revisions and never wants to repeat if I miss a word, so sometimes I make stuff up -- mostly stuff I think she'd say about cleaning herself and scratching and stuff about how she wishes she could be a little neater in the litter box.

Of course, sometimes she asks me to read it back to her and I'm in big trouble because as she puts it, "she'd never write that boring crapola."

That's it -- now you know. I love my kitty. I'm not a cat lady -- I don't have twenty-nine of them or anything, but Harper has taught me you can teach a dog-lover new tricks.

Meow and Happy Halloween!! (I'm dressing as a Girl Pirate in the morning and Holly GoLightly at night. Harper refuses to dress up.)


Heather & You Know Who

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

Harper is the spoiled kitty who just might be the next big thing in publishing.

What I'm reading: Goddess Games by Niki Burnham

Monday, October 29, 2007

New York Pizza!

I am kicking off our third and final week of Guilty Secrets, where we're going to talk about anything and everything in our world--cyber or other--that lights our fires!

And for me, it’s the rare opportunity for the truly tasty, almost poetic slice of New York pizza.

I grew up in New York and as a teenager, inhaled pizza on almost a daily basis. But once I moved west, a delicious, drippy slice of New York pizza became a memory. The standard fare in California is a whiter, thicker cheese, a plumper, doughier crust, and often, uncooked veggies (which my NY-reared husband considers the ultimate affront).

As I’ve been known to say, west coast pizza would be perfectly fine if it had another name like tomato/cheese/vegetable bread or something. It’s the “pizza” designation that is the deal-breaker for me.

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had good, true, New York pizza in the past fifteen years, and three of those were last August, when I went back for a visit to old friends, my editor and agent. Each time, it was like a sensory experience for me. And as I stood on Lexington Avenue, munching a warm slice off waxed paper above a plain paper plate, I actually felt my eyes fill with tears in a sort of reach-back to the uncertain teen who’d wolfed so many similar slices. And I decided that if I could momentarily time-travel to tell her about how “our” life would go, she would be proud of me for having fulfilled so many of our dreams. (Cheesy, huh, and pun totally intended...)

So, anyway, yay for New York Pizza and its many wonderful properties!

What I’m Reading: Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko


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

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It Is About the Accent

Okay, so my tweak on Caridad Ferrer's fabulous book title (It's Not About the Accent) is not at all related to ethnic identity struggles. I'm talking about guys with accents, and how they can make any guy suddenly beyond attractive.

It could be a Scottish accent, a la Sean Connery...

Or a Spanish one, like Antonio Banderas...

There's Colin Farrell's Irish brogue...

Australian-born Troy hottie, Eric Bana...

And super-sexy Israeli, Oded Fehr.

Face it, blogsters, there's just something magical about an accent. Who are your favorite foreign-born actors? Bonus points for actors who aren't native English speakers!


OH. MY. GODS. (Dutton) May 2008

Friday, October 26, 2007

My guilty players!

Loves, loves, loves me some hockey! What's not to love? Men in pads going thirty miles an hour with sticks, bashing each other into the boards, slamming to the ice and scoring with only a few seconds left. It's testasterone at it's best!

And my favorite team is the Toronto Maple favorite player...Darcy Tucker. What's not to love? He shoots, he scores...

He fights...

He's a leader and a team player...

And he's sooooooo cute!

What's your favorite sport? Favorite player? Let us know!

And a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge CONGRATS to Stephanie Hale for her new sale!!!

Marley = )

writing as Kate Harmon
May 2008, Puffin Books

Who can resist a man who smells good?

Like the other Buzz Girls, I like a man who will listen to me, who loves animals, and who can make me laugh. I also can't resist a man who smells good.

It started in high school when the boys would drench themselves in Polo, Drakkar, and Obsession. I still turn around and look for some of my past loves if I get a whiff of those three colognes.

I have always been fascinated with the link between memories and certain smells. And don't even get me started on the pheromone discussion. So cool. Yes, I truly am a geek!

Anyway, is there a smell that reminds you (good or bad) of a past love/crush? Do tell!

And in other news, that totally doesn't stink.

24 October, 2007
Children's: Young Adult
Stephanie Hale's SPRING BREAKUP, a third novel in the Aspen Brooks series, about a fabulous teen sleuth who is up to her tiara in trouble trying to solve a mystery involving a missing beauty pageant contestant while dealing with a huge breakup, all while in Sin City for Spring Break, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley Jam, in a nice deal, by Jenny Bent at Trident Media Group.



Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Twisted Sisters, April 1st, 2008.

Spring Breakup, TBA.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Guilty Pleasure is a man who loves....


I have grown up loving animals and have always wanted a pet. Whenever I come across a man who has a pet and is obviously completely obsessed with him/her...well, to see a man telling his kitty he loves them, or playing with their dog in a park, or taking their horse for a run, it just melts my heart. Taking care of an animal shows that a man is capable of truly and unconditionally loving another creature, not to mention the responsiblities and sacrifices in taking care of an animal.

This is one of the reasons my husband I got so much closer after we adopted Ash the bratty tabby into our house. At first, he was terrified of the little furball.

Then he started to get used to having him around.

Now he can't (and won't) sleep unless Ash is on his tummy.

Now the two of them gang-up on Mommy!

Anyone else have a weakness for a man who loves animals?

Dona Sarkar-Mishra

HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI - January 2008


The winner of the Under the Rose book giveaway is...

Kathleen Sullivan

Please e-mail me your contact information at marley @ (no spaces)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Guilty Secrets... Make Me Laugh!

For me, there is nothing better than a funny guy...

A guy who keeps me laughing (with witty comments and jokes, not dumb stuff) is so great to be around.

Seriously, when you're a funny girl, it gets tiresome always entertaining everyone. ;) So a boy who can keep me and my friends rolling is a gem.

I give you exhibit A -- Luke Wilson! Even in his more serious roles, he brings a sense of humor with him. I didn't see that scary movie Vacancy because I didn't want to see him not being funny, though!

Anyway, he and his brother Owen (who is *spectacular* in the Darjeeling Limited -- go see it!) are the epitome of cute to me.

What do you think? Does a sense of humor exponentially increase a guy's attractiveness? Confess!!
Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in 2009 from HarperCollins

Monday, October 22, 2007

Guilty Secrets is Back!

After taking a couple weeks’ break to reintroduce ourselves and talk about the our own Simone Elkeles’ book, How to Ruin a Teenage Vacation, being nominated for a YALSA Top Ten Book award, we’re back to our Guilty Pleasures theme.

This week, our subcategory is Boys. This was something I had to think long and hard about, revisiting different times in my life, trying to zero in on one male trait that makes a guy stand out in my mind.

I realized it was listening.

What stops my clock is when a guy will block out the world to pay full attention to a girl who needs to talk. Who will concentrate on what’s important to her, hear her, and become part of her world.

Even if what she is saying seems trivial to him. Even if he doesn’t have much to contribute on the subject. Because sometimes all a girl needs is to vent...and in doing so, the problem at hand disappears, or she simply feels better.

In any case, listening really does it for me.

And there’s some cyber chocolate (sorry, the real giveaways were last week) to whoever can identify the celebrity whose ear I used. (Hint: I took the picture myself, and there aren’t many celebs I’ve gotten that close to.)

What I’m Reading: How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend, Janette Rallison


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

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Please excuse the late posting!

Sorry to be posting late! We went up to Salem, Mass this weekend to participate in some activities surrounding the Festival of the Dead. Our hotel was so overrun (as you can imagine Salem would be in the month of October) and too many users crashed their free Internet connection. So, my post yesterday was long somewhere in the midst of

I hope everyone's had a chance to VOTE for Simone Elkeles' YA debut novel that is up for the American Library Associations Top Ten Young Adult book. It's one of the best YA's I've read...just zipped right through it. Loved everything about it. There's still time to drop in and vote! I know I did!

We're so proud of Simone here. She's one of the hardest working writers out there. Not only is she kind, caring and supportive to her fellow authors, but she speaks to many schools and is out there getting young people to read! She deserves all the success in the world and I'm happy to call her my friend. We're liquid eyeliner buddies, right Simone?

And for those of you who post a comment today, you'll be eligile to win a copy of Diana Peterfreund's awesome Under the Rose, the second book of the Secret Society Girl series. And just wait until the third book, Rites of Spring (Break) is out next year!

Please leave your comment to enter to win Diana's book. Since I posted late, I'll let you comment here over the next couple of days and we'll announce the winner on Wednesday.

Marley = )

writing as Kate Harmon
May 2008, Puffin Books

Where I Went On My Summer Vacation

In HOW TO RUIN A SUMMER VACATION, Amy Nelson gets dragged to Israel against her will, to spend summer vacation with her extended family. At first, she is certain she's going to hate it. She's miles away from her friends, boyfriend, cell phone, and shopping mall. But by the end of the book, she's having the time of her life. She's learned to appreciate the oh-so-foreign culture--and the people!

Travel is always a bit of a risk. Will you like where you're going? Will it be better than you expect? Worse? Will you have fun? Will you learn something? Will you be bored? Excited? Moved to tears? The thing is, you never know until you go. And you'll almost always be surprised.

That happened to me in a trip just after I finished graduate school. My program sponsored a travel fellowship for a class trip, and our class chose to visit Prague. A friend and I flew out early so we had two glorious weeks. But the truly magical part of the trip was one the way home. Through lucky happenstance, our return flight came with an "overnight" layover in Paris. And by "overnight" I mean 8 hours. Arrive at midnight. Depart at eight in the morning. Not enough time to do much, right? Wrong.

My mom's friend who lives in Paris and her daughter, Laura, met us at the airport. After dropping our luggage at their apartment, the daughter's boyfriend--a professional chauffeur--picks us up in a luxury sedan. For the next two hours he and Laura gave us a whirlwind tour of the city of lights. We flew down the Champs Elysee, past the Louvre and the Ritz-Carlton, the couture shops, the Hotel des Invalides, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, and made it to the Eiffel Tower just in time to see the twinkling light show. Then we topped off the night with champagne at the Buddha Bar--favorite haunt of Madonna and the like.

Could I have planned this? Not on your life. The moral of the story is that you should never write off an experience, because it might turn out to be the most magical one of all.

Now it's your turn to share. Have you ever been surprised (either good or bad) on a vacation? Post your story in the comments and enter to win a copy of Buzz girl book, TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS.


OH. MY. GODS. -- May 2008 from Dutton Children's Books

Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't forget to Vote!

Just in case you have been under a rock this week, here's the link to vote for Teen's Top Ten Young Adult books. Our Buzz Girl, Simone Elkeles's debut novel, How to Ruin A Summer Vacation, is one of the choices. Hop on over, vote, then come back and read my post for a chance to win a copy of Revenge of the Homecoming Queen.

In keeping with the How to Ruin A Summer Vacation theme, I'd love to hear how you or someone else, ruined your summer vacation. Of course I'll need the Cliffs notes version, so practice those query letter skills.

For example, here is the Cliffs notes version of the worst summer vacation I ever had.

Where: Cancun, Mexico

What: Montezuma's Revenge & white shorts

How: ice cubes

Why: fifteen-year-old girl so despondent that she can't reach her first love by phone, and just found out that postcards take a month to reach mainland, drowns her sorrows in Coca-Cola. Our lovesick heroine thinks she is brilliant for drinking pop/soda out of cans eliminating any chance that she can contract that horrible illness she keeps hearing so much about. Very unfortunately for her brilliant white shorts, she forgets that the ice cubes she has been chomping on the whole trip are indeed made out of water. It was bad, people, and the shorts didn't make it out of Mexico.

Okay, so if I haven't totally grossed you out, share your vacation horror story with me and the funniest/or sickest, depending on my mood, will win a copy of Revenge of the Homecoming Queen! And don't forget to VOTE!



Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Teen Week Trivia Time!!!

Today we continue rooting for our very own Simone Elkeles to win the YALSA Teen Top 10!!! If you haven't done so already, please go to:
and vote for Simone and her debut novel, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation!

Today, I am giving away a copy of Simone's second (and my favorite!) book LEAVING PARADISE. The blurb goes a li'l something like this:

Nothing has been the same since Caleb Becker left a party drunk, got behind the wheel, and hit Maggie Armstrong. Even after months of painful physical therapy, Maggie walks with a limp. Her social life is nil and a scholarship to study abroad—her chance to escape everyone and their pitying stares—has been canceled.After a year in juvenile jail, Caleb’s free . . . if freedom means endless nagging from a transition coach and the prying eyes of the entire town. Coming home should feel good, but his family and ex-girlfriend seem like strangers.

Caleb and Maggie are outsiders, pigeon-holed as "criminal" and "freak." It’s a bleak and tortuous journey for Caleb and Maggie, yet they end up finding comfort and strength from a surprising source: each other.

I have to tell you folks, this is one the BEST YAs I've read in years. It's truly one of those stories that just stick to you and you wind up recommending it to everyone you know! So far, I've bought this book for each and every one of my teenage sister's friends. I can totally see this book being made into a movie.

How do you win your own copy you ask?

Answer the 10 Buzz Girl Trivia questions below in the comments section CORRECTLY
(Hint: All the answers can be found in previous blog postings on Books, Boys, Buzz)

1. Which Buzz girl is a mid-westerner and HATED to write as a teenager?
2. Which Buzz girl has aspirations of being a fashion designer when she was younger?
3. Which Buzz girl's first completed novel was 863 pages?
4. Which Buzz girl HATES onions with a passion?
5. Which Buzz girl has a kitten named Harper?
6. Which Buzz girl created a super-hottie named "Austin Bridges the III"
7. Which Buzz Girl's pen name for her first books is "Kate Harmon"?
8. Which Buzz Girl's first "novel" was inspired by Nicholas Sparks?
9. Which Buzz Girl has a "wee" bit of a Mark Wahlberg fetish?
10. Which Buzz Girl is *slightly* obsessed with the young yet awesome star of the Transformers movie?

If you're a regular blog reader, these will be easy...the clock is ticking! I will pick the winners at midnight tonight PST.

Answer the trivia questions above and vote for Simone:

Dona Sarkar-Mishra
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI - January 2008
SHRINK TO FIT - August 2008

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Buzz Girls Celebrate Teen Read Week

If you don’t already know, October 14 - 20, 2007 is Teen Read Week.

Among the celebrations, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), is asking teen readers to vote for up to 3 favorites of 25 nominated titles. Here is the link:
Included in this prestigious list of nominees is our very own Simone Elkeles and her book, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation!

Among other accolades, School Library Journal has listed How to Ruin a Summer Vacation under its Remarkable Reads section, and YA Books Central called it “The best teen comedy/romance of the year!"

The Buzz Girls love How to Ruin a Summer Vacation and are so very proud of Simone!

And to keep up the celebration, I am going to give a copy of my book, Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, to a commenter who either tells me he/she read and loved How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, is going to buy it, or plans to vote for it!

And be sure to pass the YALSA link and information along to the teens in your life.


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

Call Me Tera Lynn Childs

(Because That's My Name)

Until five years ago, if you had asked me what I wanted to be in life, you'd have gotten about a million different answers. Here's what I might have said, in roughly chronological order: teacher, fashion designer, intellectual property lawyer, world-famous architect, environmental biologist, actress, historic preservationist, restoration architect, celebutante, princess (hey, Wills is still single!) and web designer. Of course, all the time when I was harboring these other "dreams" there was writing. Not whole books or anything, but little story ideas and the occasional awful poem. It was never anything I believed could be a real career.

Then, five years ago, all that changed. I was at a kind of standstill in my life. I was living at home, working for my family and temping on the side (let's just say that if I never have to enter another insurance claim into a computer again, I'll be a happy girl). I started reading more and more, found authors that I just fell in love with. Johanna Lindsey. Julia Quinn. Rachel Gibson. Elizabeth Bevarly. Karen Marie Moning. I read them obsessively, and that gave me the hope that I could do that if I wanted. I could write--and sell--a book!

It took a couple of false starts, but by the end of the year I had finished my first manuscript--an historical romance that wound up finaling in the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart contest. But the historical market was in a lull, so I decided to try my hand at chick lit. Two manuscripts and a bunch of contest finals later the chick lit market followed historicals into a lull. Then I got THE idea. The one that would defy all trends, all market lulls. GROWING UP GODLY was born. (And later re-born as OH. MY. GODS.)


If Phoebe Castro can keep her grades up and have another stellar cross-country season, her dream of attending USC with her best friends is only a track scholarship away. She’s made all her plans, so it’s a complete shock when her mom announces she’s marrying a mysterious stranger and moving them half-way around the world – to Greece.

Phoebe’s stuck on a secret island in the Aegean attending the super-exclusive Academy, where her new stepfather is the headmaster and the kids are anything but your average students—they are descendants of the Greek gods, super powers included. hat’s right, Greek gods are no myth! If Phoebe thought high school was hard, she knows this is going to be mortal misery.

Securing that scholarship seems like Phoebe’s only ticket out of Greece, but training and maintaining her grades will be grueling, even without sabotaging step-sister from Hades and a gorgeous guy – what a god! –who just might be her Achilles heel. One thing is for sure – summoning the will to win and find her place among the gods could be Phoebe’s toughest course yet.

What I'm Working On Now

Besides the millions of other ideas roaring through my head, I'm currently writing the sequel to OH. MY. GODS. in which Phoebe continues her adventures on the secret island of Serfopoula. (I wish I could say more, but there would be major spoilers involved!)


OH. MY. GODS. (Dutton) May 2008

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Who am I and what am I doing here?

No, I'm not Admiral James Stockdale who's running for Vice President with Ross Perot (is that too old of a reference?) I'm Marley Gibson and I'm a young adult author.

Here's the "famed" picture everyone saw at RWA in Dallas this year...(sorry, I don't have an official author photo yet.)

I love saying that. "I'm an author." And, come May 2008, I'll be a published authors. A dream come true. Here I am with my first contract/advance.

People ask me when I first started writing and I answer with "I don't remember a time when I wasn't writing." I used to pen stories for my family and would then have an auction after dinner where my mother, brother, father and sister would "bid" on the stories. It was stuff like: "My teddy bear is Donny. He has a green body. His head is brown. The end." As I grew up, I wrote all sorts of stories. When I was fifteen, I started writing my first young adult story. It was about a cheerleader and a basketball player who fell in love. I still have it and it's not half bad.

In college, I took a lot of writing classes and majored in advertising where I did a lot of creative copywriting. All through my career as a marketing events planner, I've written newsletters, client sheets, white papers, advertisements, press releases, direct mail, you name it.

In January 2001, I decided I could no longer prevail in the world that demanded twelve hour days from me and massive travel. I wanted to downsize my career, but I wanted to do something with my writing. And I did. From January to August, I wrote my first completed novel. All 863 pages of! OMG! But it got me writing and I haven't stopped yet. I've written fourteen manuscripts and five partial manuscripts. And I have two books coming out next year!

Here's the first book: SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA?, writing as Kate Harmon.

In the first book, three heroines from very different backgrounds become friends during Sorority Rush at Latimer University. There's Veronica Van Gelderen (please call her Roni), a Boston Brahman who has rebelled against her parents' money and wishes for a Harvard education to strike out on her own at Latimer. Jenna Driscoll seeks to find a close-knit family, just like the one she left in Atlanta, while trying to hide her diabetes from her new friends. Lora-Leigh Sorenstein is a local gal who dreams of going to design school in New York City. However, her father, Latimer's Dean of Students, insists she stay close to home and her mother insists she Rush. Each girl must decide which sorority house is right for her...and why. The excitement of Sorority Rush is seen through each girl's perspective, ending with their emotional decision and ultimate excitement on Bid Day.

SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS, writing as Kate Harmon

The second book, which comes out at the same time as the first, picks up right after Bid Day, when Roni, Jenna and Lora-Leigh are getting used to the college scene and their life as new sorority members. Roni struggles long-distance with her relationship with her hand's off parents, Lora-Leigh tries to win back her mother's trust after disappointing her, and Jenna is reluctant to share her diabetes with her new sisters until she's struck with a seizure and has her sisters to thank for getting her to the hospital. The story follows each girl as they settle into their academic life, attend fraternity swaps, meet cute guys, and bond with their new sorority sisters. The story ends with the girls being initiated into their chosen sorority.

I'm really excited about the books and I hope you will be too when they come out. I had a great time writing them and feel like there's a little piece of me in Roni, Jenna and Lora-Leigh.

As we get closer to the release date, look for advance copy giveaways here on Books, Boys, Buzz!

Marley = )

What I'm currently reading: Simone's LEAVING PARADISE...and you'll have to excuse me because I have got to get back to it!!!! It's phenomenal!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who is Stephanie Hale?

Hmm...well, I'm a woman of many faces. A daughter, sister, friend, author, and most importantly, a wife and mommy.

I have loved to read my whole life but never once considered becoming a writer until about five years ago. I got laid off from a job I'd had for about ten years. One day I was watching Oprah and she had an author, Po Bronson, on the show. He had written a book called, What Should I Do With My Life? A few of the people interviewed for the book were on the show and they had given up six figure jobs to pursue their dreams. They looked SO happy. I drove straight to the mall and bought the book. I'm pretty sure I read the whole thing that night. The book was excellent, and the stories were so inspirational, but when I turned to put the book on my nightstand, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed. I guess I had expected to get to page 100 of the book and it would say, STEPHANIE HALE, YOU WOULD BE VERY HAPPY WORKING AS AN ONION FARMER! Which is totally ridiculous, because as anyone who knows me would tell you, I dispise onions. And I don't even know if there are specific farmers just for onions. I was jealous of the people in the stories. I didn't think that I would ever feel happy about WORK. I tried desperately to think of things I loved. My husband, my son, pizza, Coca-Cola, expensive makeup, but none of these things seemed to translate into a clear career path.

Tired and depressed, I reached over to switch off my bedside lamp only to knock over the ever-present tower of books on my table. Then it hit me.


And that was it. The next day I started writing an adult chick-lit called The Perfect Man, I know, original title, right? It got some requests and some nice rejections. After that, and having a second baby, I started what I thought was a young adult but was probably a middle-grade called Living Doll. It has a cute premise and someday I might be able to revise it. While I was shopping LIVING DOLL around, I started Revenge of the Homecoming Queen.

I knew immediately that this book was different from my first two books. It poured out of me pretty quickly. I was getting some very positive requests on LD and felt I was very close to getting an agent, but not my dream agent.

So I did what any impulsive writer does and started querying my dream agents with the Revenge premise. All of them wanted to see it, including Queen Bee Agent, who I had my heart set on getting to represent me.

Okay, long story short. Queen Bee loved my story but wanted to see it fleshed out more and wanted to see it again if I chose to do this. I took one month and completely revised the book and added 20k. I resent to Queen Bee and waited. Queen Bee loved my additions, signed me, and sold my book very shortly thereafter. YEAH!

Getting a book published has been just as amazing as I always dreamed it would be. It is amazing to love what you do and get paid for it. I just hope that I can keep doing this forever.

My second book, Twisted Sisters, comes out on April 1st. Aspen and her Comfort High peeps go to college in this one. Aspen has another mystery to solve while trying to fit in with her new sorority sisters.

I have lots of ideas for new mysteries for Aspen, as well as new characters, that are just waiting to be written. It sounds so cheesy, but now I know, dreams really do come true. Don't ever give up on your dream!



Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicks, Chapters and Chai....

Yes, my tagline pretty much sums up the Story of Dona pretty well.

Before college, I was your typical shy, Indian-American teenager. I'd spent my child and teenage-hood hiding in my room, buried in my book rather than socializing, playing sports, going to the mall or doing any other "teenage-y" things. I lived my life through books and always had a secret fantasy of maybe, just maybe, writing one one day.

This fantasy began to take shape in college when I was a lowly Computer Science student, sitting in the Engineering Library, staring miserably out the window at the 8 inches of falling snow. I was lonely, newly in love with a handsome guy who happend to be living on the West Coast. I was wracking my brains for what to get him for Christmas. The week before I had gone to the Ann Arbor Borders to see Nicholas Sparks speak on his latest book, A WALK TO REMEMBER. He talked about how it was the story of his sister Jamie and a tribute to how much he missed her.

Hmmm, my young mind got to thinking. He wrote a story as a tribute...I should write a story as a tribute. So that night, I pounded out 20 pages on the story of How Dona Met Manav. It was beautiful, realistic and ..... short.

50 pages total and I was done. My story had a beginning, middle, and an ending. Not happily ever, mind you, but a content ending. I ran to the nearest Kinkos, had it bound attractively and wrapped it up a gift.

My then-boyfriend, now-husband loved it and it still sits on the shelves of our house, bound in blue leather with gold lettering. Fast-forward a year to when I was a lowly Software Engineer in Seattle, Washington, living alone. I had just gotten married (see guy above) and he was in transition to a move to Seattle. I sat alone in my apartment, staring at the 8 inches of falling rain and thinking, "What, oh what will I do to pass the time till he gets here?"

My eyes fell to the Bellevue Community College pamphlet and tada, Intro to Creative Writing was found. I walked out of the first class awestruck. A room-full of writers. Real, honest-to-god writers who were telling me I should bring in a chapter of whatever I was working on.

The problem was I wasn't working on anything at the time, but I could be! I rushed home and pounded out 20 pages of whatever came to mind. OREOS WITH CHAI was born. (Great title--terrible story!) The story of a 21 year old Indian-American girl, fighting the eternal battle between her Eastern culture and Western upbringing, living alone in Seattle, looking for adventure....wonder where that inspiration came from ;)

I dragged those awful chapters to class and got tons of encouragement and requests to bring in more. And that's how the writing career began. Over the next year, I learned that a story needs to have a plot, a conflict and usually, a decently happy ending. I finished OREOS and shopped it around to agents, dreaming of publishing deals and book covers.

Nothing doing. The rejections I got back were kind, "The plot meanders, the characters are weak, but you have potential. Send me your next work." I wrote my next book, DESI DIVAS, the story of 4 friends who battle evil bosses, evil boyfriends...and each other. I sent that out in January 2005 and by February, Sha-Shana Crichton called in the middle of the night offering representation. Woo hoo!

Unfortunately, no editors wanted it. I then re-wrote OREOS WITH CHAI to have a plot and some half-way alive characters, but by then the entire "Chick-lit" genre was dying out. And again, no editors wanted it.

I cried and hollered at the ever-patient husband and he told me, "Why don't you write about something totally different?"

Huh, why not? Why not write something a bit Over the top almost. The kinds of books about ethnic teenagers that I had never had growing up. And HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI was born. The year was 2006 and that's when I re-met Heather Davis and we became critique-partners and fast friends. Since then, my world has turned completely around. I met the Buzz Girls, sold SALSA in December of that year (while sitting in my in-law's living room in Bombay, India---I should really leave the country more often!), and wrote my second YA novel, SHRINK TO FIT. Now I have the best set of friends a girl could wish for, a publishing deal and I wonder every day how I got so lucky.

HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI is the story of a beautiful Cuban-American diva and an average Indian-African realist and how they go from being worst enemies to step-sisters.

SHRINK TO FIT is the story of a powerful young athlete who falls so deeply into the "skin and bones" stereotype of beauty our society worships, she winds up losing everything she's ever cared about in the process.

I am currently working on a trilogy of YA novels, tenatively titled The LAHIRI SISTERS. These books represent the story of the three Jamaican sisters: Azur, Jade and Pearl who manuver the Manhattan prep school labryinth. I'm very excited about this next set of books :)
So that's me in a lot of lines! I live just outside Seattle with my darling husband (the inspiration behind my very *first* book) and our cat, Ashton who takes extremely good care of us. During the day, I work as a Test Lead in the Windows division at Microsoft. I'v kept my secret identity of a struggling novelist hidden for years now, but now it's starting to come out and my two worlds: technical and creative, traditional "good Asian girl" day job and "creative American girl" nightlife are starting to come together.

I can't wait to see what comes next!
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI - January 2008
SHRINK TO FIT - August 2008

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My Heroes Have Always Been... Werewolves

We’re introducing ourselves here at the Buzz Girls’ Blog this week… and if you haven’t met me, I’m Heather Davis, resident Young Adult paranormal author and rabid Heath Ledger fan.

I’d been writing for several years (make that five) when I stumbled into Young Adult fiction by way of my then day job -- substitute teaching in a rural school district. When I realized that after Harry Potter there weren’t too many places for 12 year-old girls to go, I decided to write something for them.

What happened next is one of those magic progressions that led me to three Golden Heart nominations for best YA romance manuscript, landing a hottie NY agent, joining up with the fabulous Buzz Girls, winning the Golden Heart award, and then selling NEVER CRY WEREWOLF, my first-to-be-published paranormal book, to HarperCollins. OMG -- a lot's been going on!

NEVER CRY WEREWOLF, which will debut in April 2009, is the story of Shelby, a reluctant celebutante new to Beverly Hills who gets sent to brat camp, where she meets Austin Bridges the III, the hot son of a British rockstar who’s also a werewolf. When Austin’s anti-wolf serum is confiscated by the clueless camp director, Shelby finds herself torn between helping her crush escape camp to hide his secret and following the rules to save her own hide.

It’s got humor, romance, a hot werewolf hero, and lots of heart. It’s my favorite book I’ve written, and I’m pretty sure it’s my best. Currently, I’m in the second round of revisions for my super editor at Harper – and hoping that it will become a series because I’m so in luv with my characters. And yes, that’s - L-U-V!
It seems a long way off, April. But, I know that my hard work is making the story really come to life. That’s the magic of writing novels -- the not giving up, the immersion in the work, the way things come together in a way you never planned, and the waiting while the wheels of publishing turn.

Wishing you magic, love, and light -- and hot werewolves!


Heather Davis is the author of the aforementioned
HarperCollins April 2009

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who ARE the Buzz Girls?

Recently we’ve become aware of a new influx of readers (like you?) who are just joining us here at the Buzz Girls blog. So we thought we’d reintroduce ourselves--and encourage you to ask questions or add in any little fun facts you’ve learned about us through our blog.

I am Tina Ferraro, a southern California chickadee and author of four contracted Young Adult novels with Delacorte Press.

In Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress (March, 2007), 16 year-old Nicolette is a brave survivor of every girl's teen nightmare--being dumped by her date. Even though it happened last spring, she can't fully get over the fact that the most popular guy in school ditched her when his equally flawless girlfriend popped back into town.To help her cope, her mom has ordered her to compile a list of ten alternative things she can do with a prom dress. Through school stresses, boy dilemmas, and parental problems, her prom dress gives her something beautiful to hold on to.

17 year-old Kate, the heroine of How to Hook a Hottie (to be released on January 8, 2008) is determined to become a millionaire before she’s 20, and sets forth making money by hooking up people in her high school with their secret crushes. The fact that she doesn’t exactly know what she’s doing is only a minor deterrent, as is the fact she’s suddenly looking at her best buddy, Dal, through totally different eyes...

My third book, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, is expected to hit the stands in Spring of 2009. It’s about a high school junior and the crazy-but-just-might-work scheme to get her moved up with all her soccer friends to Varsity, which includes learning everything she can about the art of kissing so she can kiss the socks off the prom king at the Sports Fair Kissing Booth…

The fourth novel is slated for Spring, 2010. With a back-drop of family issues, it features a 17 year-old and her search for the perfect summer fling.

Now, a bit about me:

I have been writing since I was 7. I sold upwards of 100 YA and adult short stories to national magazines before my first contracted book. But YA is my one true love. In fact, since I'm the mother of teens myself, I sometimes wonder:

--If I missed a stage of maturation;
--If I am giving myself the happy teen years now that I had too much attitude to enjoy then; or
--If it is simply more fun to be teenaged when you're not!

So now it’s your turn. Ask questions or tell us something you have learned about me through this blog. (Like my favorite TV show and who I consider the hottest hottie?)

What I’m Reading Now: Bloom by Elizabeth Scott


Tina Ferraro