Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Interview with Issa Mazumder...and a special guest

I asked Issa Mazumder (star of HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI) to meet me for a quick cup of coffee. She asked to meet at the local mall where she was studying at the Waldenbooks. Issa arrives 5 minutes before the meeting is supposed to start wearing a red kilt and a black turtleneck with tall black boots....

DS: Hey Issa, love your outfit!

Issa: Thanks D! How're you doing? What are you writing now?

DS: I'm good! And well, I'm starting work on this story of three sisters named Tanzanite, Jade and Pearl. One of them has a BIG secret that completely tears them....

"Uh, HELLO! Did you think you were going to ditch me?" We are interrupted by a slim, brunette wearing a purple pleather jumpsuit who dramatically throws open the door to the coffee shop and shoves her way into our booth. We are immediately engulfed in a perfume of Clinique Happy and cinnamon gum.

Issa: I thought you were going to Express, Cat.

Cat: As if. And let you get the interview to yourself? How stupid do you think I am? Do you know what exposure like this could do for my career?

Issa: What career?

DS: Hi Cat, long time.

Cat: Uh, yeah. Whatever. So, why are you interviewing HER and not me? What's that about?

DS: Well, the readers want an interview with the heroine, so...

Cat: I'm a heroine!

Issa: Can I break in here? Actually, I'm the heroine. YOU are the ANTI-heroine. The antagonist. Get it? Let's try to be accurate.

Cat: Whatever. Everyone said they LOVED Cat Morena. No one cares about Little Miss Accuracy over here.

DS: Now, now, girls. I thought you guys were trying to get along.

Issa: Well for the most part....

Cat: Yeah, that was a lie. We needed to get my dad off my case. He let me have my car back and everything. So, whatever.

DS: So, let's get back to the interview. Issa, last time we saw you you were having some feelings toward your best friend Ishaan...

Issa: Um...

Cat: He's so hot.

Issa: Shut up. He's dating Gigi.

Cat: Like THAT'S gonna last.

Issa: Well, they have been fighting some lately...

Cat: That's all that imbecilic redhead talks about. Ishaan doesn't love me, Ishaan doesn't understand me. I mean, really. Who would?

Issa: Will you just shut up for two seconds? Look, isn't that a sale?

Cat : As if I'd be caught DEAD inside Forever 21. They do like child labor and stuff.

Issa: My step-sister, the Angelina Jolie of the mall, ladies and gentleman.

Cat : Anyway, so Issa has a thing for Ishaan. Ishaan obviously has a thing for her, but neither of them are going to say anything.
DS: That true, Issa? He like you?
Issa : Not like he's said anything...but...
Cat: Maybe I should start dating him.

Issa: Don't you dare!

Cat: Uh-huh. You have until the end of the day....or I'm going to ask him to Sadie Hawkins....

Issa: I hate you.

Cat: Whatever.

DS: Well, I have to get going. Very nice seeing you ladies again!

Cat: Hey, book lady, I want a sequel. With ME at the star this time, okay?

DS: Uh, I'll see what I can do.


Dona Sarkar-Mishra


Interviewing my Heroine: Shelby Locke

Continuing the Buzz Girls Interviewing Your Heroine Week, I met my protagonist Shelby Locke for a quick chat at an indie coffee shop around the corner. She arrived late, was casually dressed in an Ambercrombie sweatshirt and Levi's, and sipped a double-grande mocha with extra whip while we caught up.

Heather: Shelby, you’re the star of Never Cry Werewolf. For our readers, what *is* the story on that, since the book won’t be out until April of next year?

Shelby: Yeah, that would be a good place to start, huh? So, basically, my dad invented this super drug that replaced Botox and made millions. Things were okay until this chick Priscilla started sniffing around Dad, and then all of a sudden she’s my stepmom and we’re living in Beverly Freaking Hills. It sucked moving from Milwaukee where all my friends were. It was kinda hard to adjust, and well, I did make some questionable choices with boys, not ‘cause I was trying to be a bad kid or anything – I was just trying to help them out, but it didn’t always turn out right.

Heather: And so Priscilla got you sent to Brat Camp…

Shelby: Well, actually, I got myself sent to Brat Camp. That’s where I met Austin – he ended up being a werewolf who had his anti-change medication confiscated, and the fun began. Well, actually it wasn’t all fun -- it’s a little unnerving when you like a guy who eats that much raw meat and chases after prey. And there was this whole part where we were stuck in the woods over night. Yeesh. Did I mention I was wearing a red hoodie? And my kind of boyfriend had turned into this massive wolf? Totally fairy tale gone wrong.

Heather: So what message would you like readers to take away from your story?

Shelby: That you should be who you *know* you are inside, not who people tell you you are. Does that make sense? I mean, my dad always told me I was super irresponsible and not trustworthy, but that was total bull. I learned out in the woods with Austin that people can count on me – and I can count on myself.

Heather: Are you done with Brat Camps now?

Shelby: Well… Does boarding school count? Priscilla and Dad still think I need an attitude adjustment, so I’ve been chilling out in Switzerland. There’s lots of snow here. And cheese. But at least there’s no Priscilla, right?

Heather: And no Austin, either though…

Shelby: Well, hopefully that will change, um, Miss Authoress. Hint, Hint!

Heather: You’re so subtle.

Shelby: It’s a gift.

Heather: Okay, so to wrap up – what’s one surprise readers can expect in Never Cry Werewolf?

Shelby: Most people don't know that werewolves have a strict code of ethics – unlike the bloodsuckers of the world.

Heather: Cool. Thanks!

That's it -- more on Austin next week!



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

Monday, January 28, 2008

Talking to Myself...Well, Not Really...

The Buzz Girls are going to do an interview series these next few weeks, starting with interviewing one of our heroines, then one of our heroes, then each other!

Which brings me to the very odd, but I-imagine-this-will-be-fun task of sitting down with 17 year-old Kate DelVecchio, who is the main character of my recent release, How to Hook a Hottie.

Tina: Um, okay, hey there, Kate.

Kate: Tina...

Tina: You and I have spent a lot of time together--going back to early fall of 2005 when I first dreamed you up, and ending with galleys in the late spring of 2007. What would you say your best and worst experiences were, working with me?

Kate: Best? Well, I suppose I appreciate you letting people know that I’m actually an emotional person, even though I try not to let my feelings show.

Tina: We like to call that “still waters run deep.”

Kate: Whatever. And now worst? The Brandon thing. And how much fun you had laughing at me while you made me go on that date with him, and then that whole [author deleted this story spoiler] thing, which pretty much sucked, too. Thanks.

Tina: Don't mention it. Now me. What I liked best about working with you was your confidence. I fed off of it. Because believe me, I wasn’t sure I could pull off the whole Hook a Hottie concept--or the book at all. Worst? Well, you could stand to loosen up a little, Kate, and take time to smell the roses. Everything doesn’t have to be full-speed-ahead, you know.

Kate: See, that’s why I’m going to be a millionaire before I’m 20--and you aren’t.

Tina: Well, the fact I’m already over 20--

: We like to call that “over the hill.”

Tina: I think we're done here.

Kate: You know I love you.

Tina: I love you, too, kiddo. Maybe I'll have to write a sequel so we can hang out some more.

* * * * * *

Okay, that's the heroine interview. We'll see which of my hotties puts his butt in the hot seat next Monday!


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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz

As I'm sure all BuzzBlog readers are aware, there are many glama-beautiful lady authoresses in the world of YA publishing. [see: BuzzBlog, Girls Of] But what about the boys? Are the male authors of teen fiction worth a look along with a read? I am hear to tell you, "Yes!"

I've prepared, for your viewing pleasure, a list of my top five Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz. (And before any of the subsequently mentioned AuthorBoyz happen upon this blog--please, please, please--and take offense with the term "Geeky," I offer a relevant quote from the Prince of Geek, Wil Wheaton: When we were younger, it was cruel and hurtful to call someone a geek. These days, though, it's a badge of honor.)

1. John Green -- Genius and Printz Award-winning author of Looking For Alaska and An Abundance Of Katherines. He also writes a hilarious blog (occasionally) and spent the whole of 2007 communicating with his brother Hank via the Brotherhood 2.0 video blog (you can find the videos on YouTube or at nerdfighters.ning.com). Also must mention that JG is a fellow Duttonite. Duttonian? Duttoner?

2. Christopher Paolini -- Child prodigy author of the Inheritance cycle--aka ERAGON, ELDEST, and (coming September 2008) BRISINGR. Seriously, child prodigy. He wrote the first draft of insanely bestselling and major motion picture Eragon when he was fifteen. Yes, FIFTEEN!

3. David Levithan -- Maybe most famously known for co-authoring Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List with author goddess Rachel Cohn, he's also the solo author of Boy Meets Boy, How They Met, and Are We There Yet? DL is slated to co-author a book with JG titled Will Grayson, Will Grayson about two boys named--you guessed it--Will Grayson. This one's for Dutton, which makes him another Duttonista.

4. Scott Westerfeld -- Author of the phenomenally popular, dystopian trilogy, Uglies, consisting of Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras. (Yes, I know that's four books, but it's still called a trilogy. I guess when you're a #1 NY Times bestseller, you can rewrite the rules of math.) He gets bonus points for having been born in my adopted home state of Texas!

5. Markus Zusak -- Oh, I've definitely saved the best for last. (Not on the scale of literary talent or writing ability, but just look at that picture.) MZ is the Printz Award-winning author of The Book Thief and I Am The Messenger. He also surfs, plays soccer, and is Australian, which you know means he has a swoon-worthy accent to go with that smile.

So there you have my top five Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz. What do you think? Have you read any of their amazing books? Do you have any Geeky Cute AuthorBoy crushes of your own?

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

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel compelled to point out that: John Green, Scott Westerfeld, and Markus Zusak are married and David Levithan is gay, making Christopher Paolini the only AuthorBoy (to my knowledge) available for legitimate stalking. Delusional fantasy remains a viable option with the others.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Apropos of nothing...

Happy Saturday!! What a fantastic week it's been for Dona and the release of her book, HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI. It's sitting next to my bed in my to be read stack -- for when I'm done with the eight Rita entry books I have to read. Yikes!!

So, I don't really have a topic to post on, so I thought I'd just talk about a few of my favorite things...

One of the best things about being a writer and having so many writer friends is getting to whoop it up when they sell their first book. My buddy, Maria Geraci, sold her book, THE CHURCH OF BUNCO, on Thursday to Berkeley Sensations. Whooooohooooo for Maria. This is totally an example of getting the book to the right editor who'll love it.

My friend, bestselling author, Gena Showalter, and her best friend, Jill Monroe, did a hilarious author interiew spoof on YouTube. You'll laugh until you cry!

I have a new favorite movie! While I'm watching one of my favorites now, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (mmmmm...Paul Walker!), I have to say that RATATOUILLE is the best movie I've seen in a long, long time. What a beautiful movie! And I'm just in love with Remy. Hmmm...Paul Walker or Remy...it's a tough decision. LOL!!

And it's Saturday. Is there any better day of the week than Saturday? You get to sleep in, laze about, not commute, and do whatever you want.

So, what are some of your favorite things?

Marley = )

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

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Salsa Book Launch: More pics & a summary

A book launch party is usually the "coming out" party for an author's most recent novel. This is when the author introduces the book to his/her closest friends and literary community. For me, on January 19th, my book launch was all this and so much more. The night which started off as a simple book launch quickly turned into a family reunion, an exercise in gratitude and a general soul-cleansing session.

I'll start at the very beginning....

Friday evening: My parents, husband and I are sitting in my living room, chatting and hanging out. I hadn't seen them in a few months and was loving the catching up over giant mugs of chai and wafer thin cookies. Suddently, the phone rings. My mom's sister, the one that lives in India. She asks how we're doing...and when we're going to open the front door! Turns out she flew to the U.S. just to surprise me on my special day! Overjoyed, we start jumping around (my mom furious to be left out of the surprise--but only for a few minutes) and are super-excited.

Friday night: Much hilarity and fun ensues as my aunt gets settled in our house and everyone talks non-stop for an hour. Eventually, my sister Bonnie and I get thrown out to go make the signs for the window displays and pick up last minute party supplies. I pout because I do NOT want to leave my family. My college best friends arrive from California to help out around 10 pm. We stay up WAY too late and wonder who in the world this party is going to happen since raffle baskets need to be made, food needs to be bought and the store still needs to be decorated.

Sitting in my California friends' hotel room instead of working

Saturday morning: I wake-up early after having a terrible nightmare that all my books have turned into postcards. Panicked, I check my stack of books -- no postcards to be seen. Whew! My sister, California friends and relatives get to work making the raffle baskets + window decor and my mom and I head out to get all the food.

Saturday afternoon: Soaking wet (due to the heavy Seattle rain) I manage to get my nails done and check out the bookstore -- beautiful! My relatives have done an amazing job getting the place ready.

Saturday evening: Everyone gets ready--fast! Women get into their respective saris...flat-irons travel at the speed of light, jewlery is practically threwn on.

Saturday night : I arrive at the bookstore at 6 pm sharp and the first thing I see is this:

WOW! Is that mine?!

I check out the food station. (Yummy! Capri-sun juice boxes and mango salsa!) and meet the tarot reader & acoustic band. Both very cool.

A steady stream of people start to arrive and I greet guests at the door for a while before handing the job over to my greeters.

Nabib, my sister Bonnie and Krish

I see my entire Seattle critique group who I have been critiquing with for over 5 years, the Tiaras (Christina Arbini, Kelli Estes, Shannon McKelden, Erin Eisenberg, and Serena Robar) and tons of friends from work. Then comes the gorgeous and fantastic Heather Davis, lucky charm extraordinaire. There are around 100 people milling around and I am having a blast!

It's time: Mary, the owner of the bookstore informs me it's time for the reading. (Yikes!) I try to escape, but my mom and her sisters won't have it.

Stonewall Sarkars

I stand up and give a little thank you speech. I talk about how I started writing and met my critique group. I talk about my first writers conference and my first rejection. I talk about how I got THE CALL and how I felt the day I saw my book in print. I read the dedication: To my mother for always having a book on her nightstand and my husband, for always making sure I have the same.

And then, I cry. A lot.

I read two passages (when we first meet Cat Morena and when Issa first starts to be a 'bad girl'). I then sign books for about an hour and manage to hug all my amazing friends who've come to see me.

When all the guests leave, I get my tarot read.

The tarot reader tells me that I should pursue the historical story I'm writing...spooky fact: I didn't tell her I was writing anything historical. She told me I would dream about my heroine...I might be related to her. Wow.

I spoke with the booksellers and they said around 200 people came into the store and they sold at least that many book...so good turn out.

Thank you my wonderful friends who came out to help me celebrate, hands down, the best day of my life. I never knew how many people I have to be grateful for until I saw them all cheering for me :)


Dona Sarkar-Mishra

Happy author, Grateful friend

HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI -- out now!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Book Launch: How to Salsa in a Sari

OMG!! Buzz Girl Dona Sarkar's book launch for How to Salsa in a Sari was great.

It was held on Saturday at a charming indie bookstore called Parkplace Books over on Seattle's Eastside.

Dona had a great turnout for the launch. Co-workers, family, friends, and a remarkable number of teens!

To start, she made a lovely speech thanking everyone who'd helped her along the way -- and then she read two passages from Salsa. Appropriately, she had a snack table full of chips and different salsas along with the usual cocktail food. Also, there was a tarot reader (long line!) and a cute little acoustic band playing tunes. There were a lot of women in, you guessed it, Saris. And check out Dona! Doesn't she look gorgeous in hers?!

Here I am getting my signed copy of the book! I am so proud of Dona. She's a great critique partner and friend. And her book rocks!
There were lots of people there for the signing. Here's a smattering of the line, including the lovely Tiara Girls, a group of writing friends from the Eastside.

Congratulations, Dona! I couldn't be happier for you and Salsa.



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


Goodbye to Heath Ledger

Sad, sad news. Heath Ledger has died at age 28. He was my dream boy.
Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in 2009 from HarperCollins

Monday, January 21, 2008

Romance Writer Fired for Writing on the Job!

A few weeks ago, the press ran a story about a woman in Des Moines who was fired for writing a romance novel on the job. This story grabbed my attention because believe me...it could have been me. At just about any point over an eight year period.

Years ago, to support myself “until the writing took off,” I took a job as a technical manuscript typist at a university. I was upfront about my career goals, and pleased to find the professors admired my ambition, even going as far as telling me I could use the word processor “after hours” for my writing.

Well, the “after hours” thing got a little blurry--whenever possible, I would steal a few minutes there at work. In fact, at one point, some graduate students admitted to going through my trash to read my drafts!

Here’s a picture of me from the early years. Check out what’s on my desk: novels from the university library.

In my seventh year, at which point I was a Staff Services Officer with my own office, the departmental head appeared in my doorway to tell me I’d been nominated for a Special Performance Award. I had to stand in front of the computer screen so he didn’t see the YA novel I was writing. Two months later, he appeared again to award me with a certificate and a check, and yep, caught me working on my book! I felt guilty, of course, but concluded I must be a pretty good multi-tasker to win that award while writing so many short stories and books on the job, so believe me, I cashed the check.

Anyway, it’s too bad that the Des Moines woman didn’t have the kind of look-the-other-way support that I did.

So now I am turning to you: have you ever attempted writing or homework or personal ventures at work? And how did that go?

What I'm Reading: Plum Lucky, Janet Evanovich


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

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How To ... Flesh Out Your Characters

On Friday, Steph gave us some great tips for naming characters. Today, I'm going to share some of my tips for turning your cardboard cutout into a fully developed character.

Even with the coolest name in history (like Aspen Brooks or Nicolette Antonavich) your character is not going to be able to carry the weight of your book unless you know more about them than height, weight, eye and hair color. You have to understand what makes them tick, how they will respond to the situations you present them with in the course of the book, whether they like Diet Coke or Pineapple Fanta (My protagonist, Phoebe Castro, likes Fanta, by the way).

So what if your character doesn't appear to you in a dream as a fully realized, three-dimensional person who tells you everything you need to know about her? Well, there are a few shortcuts I've picked up along the way to help me move from characteristic to character.

1. Archetypes. When I'm first developing a character, one of my first stops is The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders. This book categorizes male and female characters into eight archetypes each, giving a personality profile for each. And the best part is, once you've figured out who your two main characters are (like Phoebe is a Spunky Kid and Griffin is a Bad Boy) then you can flip to the back to get a rundown of how they react together. Instant conflict and resolution!

2. Zodiac. I use this method less often (usually when the archetypes don't quite nail it for me) but it can give you lots of good stuff, from likes and dislikcopes to favorite colors and foods to where your character holds stress. (I'm a Virgo, so my stress shows up in my stomach. If I ever write a Virgo character, I'll probably use that.) There are tons of great websites where you can get zodiac profiles, but I love The Book of the Zodiac. It goes into great detail about each sign, differences between males and females, work and home life, what their relationships are like. (Plus, it's really colorful!)

3. Collage. I do this for every book. Because I'm a visual learner, I find it invaluable to have a pictorial compilation of my characters. Lots of writers do collages, but here's my method. You'll need some printer paper, scissors, a glue stick, and some magazines.
  • Step One: Flip through as many magazines as possible. I like TeenVogue, CosmoGirl, InStyle, and Lucky the best. I tear out anything that reminds me of any of the characters in this book. I do collages for all of the main characters and most of the secondary ones, so as I tear stuff out I divide into piles by character. The more I have to choose from the better. At a minimum I need something that will make a good background, a headshot or two of and actor or model who looks like the character, and some clothing and accessories they would own.

  • Step Two: Build the collage. Start by gluing down a background image that fills up most of the page (this way you won't end up with whitespace left over at the end). Then select a few of the headshot and clothing images, trim them to just the desired element, and arrange them over the background. I always lay these out before I glue so I make sure they all fit. Then snip out the small pictures and accessories and stick them wherever they fit.

  • Step Three: Finalize the collage with words. This usually requires flipping back through the magazines looking for two things. 1) Words that resonate with your characters. 2) Ransom-note-type letters that you can cut out and use to form your character's name. Sometimes I even outline the letters of the name in a silver Sharpie to make it stand out more.

Ta da! You have created a collage (or two or ten) that will give a visual reference for your characters development.

Okay, those are all my secrets. Do you have any special tips or methods you use to give your character depth and substance?

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

Friday, January 18, 2008

How to Name Your Characters.....

Would Brad Pitt still be so hot if his name was Eugene? Or what if Betty's name was Veronica, would we still think she was ugly? I don't think so. That's why choosing the perfect name for your character is SO important.

I stress and fret over names until I get one that just "feels" right. I'm very big on giving names that are out of the ordinary because I want my characters to stand out. Here are some of the places I go for help when I get stuck looking for the perfect name.

The Social Security database: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

This database gives you a breakdown of the most popular names clear back to 1880. You can even break it down by the most popular names by state or specific year. It is a wonderful resource.

Baby name books: These are especially nice if you want your characters name to have a specific meaning. These also list some of the more modern and unique names.

If all else fails, get out your atlas. I'm big on city names for some reason. You can find some gems in every state.

And if you are too lazy to move from your computer, you can always Google 'baby names' and find about about a million websites to help you out. Good luck!

When I was little I always used to wish my name was Crystal. These days I think I would lean toward Ireland. What would you rename yourself?

What I'm reading....AGNES AND THE HITMAN by Jenny Crusie & Bob Mayer




Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And the winner is...

Pay no attention to me sliding in here...oh wait, DO pay attention because I'm here to announce the winner of my HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE giveaway from Saturday. As chosen at random by my hubby...


Who said the best way to keep your hooked hottie is to "keep laughing. A sense of humor will get you through SO... much!"

CONGRATS to Emily!! Please e-mail me at marley_gibson @ yahoo.com (no spaces) with your snail mail addy and I'll get the book sent off to you.

Monday, January 14, 2008

30 Days to Getting Over the Dork You Used to Call Your Boyfriend

We’ve done two weeks of HOW TO topics, first talking about Dona’s January release, How to Salsa in a Sari, and then mine, How to Hook a Hottie. We’re going to finish up a third week talking about some favorite HOW TO books and writing thoughts.

Last summer, while visiting my editor at Random House, she gave me an Advanced Reader Copy of a book she edited, 30 Days to Getting over the Dork You Used to Call Your Boyfriend: A Heartbreak Handbook by Clea Hantman. Here’s the synopsis:

BEING DUMPED HURTS. But you know what? It happens to everyone. Even Gwyneth, even Cameron, even Madonna have been on the losing end of love. The part you might not believe is that no matter how brutally your heart’s been broken, those wounds will heal. But the longer you dwell on the dork, the longer your heart will remain cracked. Enter 30 Days to Getting Over the Dork You Used to Call Your Boyfriend. One day at a time, 30 days in a row. At the end, you’ll find you have the power to yank that dagger out of your chest, stand tall, walk proud, and move on. And along the way, you may just discover something marvelous and surprising about yourself.

It took a few months for this book to make it to the top of my To Be Read pile, but when it did--wow. I was impressed with its originality, practicality, effectiveness and playful, supportive tone.

My favorite idea was writing the dork’s name on a post-it, putting it on the bottom of your shoe, and then dancing...

While I hope none of our readers are ever in a position to need a book about recovering from a bad break-up, odds are some of you might. I highly recommend you turn to this book for enpowerment to getting yourself back on the road to recovery. (And no, I'm NOT just kissing up to my editor. haha)

What I'm Reading: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen


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

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How To ... Get Closer To Your Crush

Admit it. There's a boy you've pining over for weeks (or months or years). You've loved him from afar. Watched him laugh with his friends, pick the olives off his pizza, and--to your utter horror and heartbreak--indulge in some serious PDA with his queen of the Barbie clones girlfriend.

But the world just shifted. The inseparable couple is now officially, unequivocally, irreversibly over. The chance you've been waiting for has finally arrived. Now you just have to figure out how to capitalize on the opportunity.

Here are five ways you might get closer to your crush:

1. Join A Team. Is your crush a hardcore jock? Then what better way to show up on his radar than to show up for practice? Run track or swim on a summer team, where boys and girls practice together. Join the basketball team or take up tennis--even if the boys and girls teams practice separately, they often share buses for out-of-town games, sit together at assemblies, and scrimmage against each other for extra practice.

2. Make Some Music. Maybe your crush is the musical type. If he marches with the school band, only a few clarinet lessons keep you from marching at his side. If he's more the garage band type, find out when his next gig is and plant yourself in the crowd--be sure to compliment his performance afterwards.

3. Join A Club. Is your crush more the straight As and extra-curriculars type? The next time his Science Club has a meeting, be there--lab coat not required. (Plus, it will look good on your college applications!)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this announcement:
  • The winner of Dona's How To basket contest is ... ElaineRene07!
And now, back to the blog.

4. Be A Loyal Customer. Does your crush have a day job? Maybe he delivers pizza on the weekends or works the rental counter at the local video store. Well, a girl has to eat and be entertained, right? Just make sure you don't get in the way of him actually doing his job--he'd probably like to keep it.

5. Ask For Help. If there's one thing all guys like--all people, actually--it's praise for something they're good at. So, if your crush has a particular talent that you don't, why not ask him for help. See if he's available for English tutoring. Or can teach you how to draw those cool graffiti letters he's always sketching--be sure to have a reason, like you want to make really cool posters for your class treasurer campaign.

What do all of the above have in common? They are all ways to show that you and your crush have mutual interests. That's a signal that, once he's finally taken notice, you'll actually have things to talk about beyond how much you've been crushing on him.

There's one last important thing to keep in mind while on your crush quest: You are not a stalker. Approaching any of the above activities with the intention of just getting a chance to gaze longingly at your crush from a closer distance is going to get your nowhere. You have to take the opportunity and make something of it. Keep this valuable axiom in mind:

We almost never regret the things we do, but we often regret the things we didn't do.

In other words, if you take that first step to go after your crush, the worst that can happen is he says, "No." But if you don't, you will never know what might have been.

Time to put this lesson into action. Which one of these ways can you use to get closer to your crush?

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008
Pre-order from Amazon now (and save 32%!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to keep that hooked hottie

What a great week we've had here with the launch of Tina's new book, HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE! If you haven't run out to get your own copy, keep reading as I'm doing a giveaway today.

We've had a lot of great advice on hooking your own hottie, so I thought I'd help wrap up with some tips on keeping that hooked hottie.

1. Keep in Touch: What's better than walking down the hallway at school hand in hand or with your arms around each other? Keeping in touch with your hottie churns up feel-good hormones and keeps the affection alive and kickin'.

2. Keep Talking: Don't monopolize every conversation. Sharing what's on your mind is the best way to keep the relationship going. Let him tell you what he's thinking.

3. Keep it Real: Neither you nor your hottie are perfect in every way, although we'd like to think so. (LOL!) Don't look at his flaws or quirks or things that might annoy. Realize it's those things that make him real...human.

4. Keep Who You Are: While you've got that hottie hooked, don't forget your friends. They're just as important as he is. Make sure you still have lunch and shopping outings with your friends and don't completely abandon them just to spend time with him. It'll make your time with him all that much better.

5. Keep Being a Good Date: Don't get in the dinner and movie rut. Keep dates fresh. Plan secret things for you and your hottie. Try an extreme sport. Take in a museum. Go to a hockey game. Think of fun and creative things you can do together that keeps the relationship fresh and alive.

So, for today's giveaway of Tina Ferraro's HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE, post your advice on how to keep your hooked hottie. Winner will be announced on Wednesday!

Marley = )

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

What I'm reading: Well, what else? HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where to hook a hottie....

Congrats to Tina on her release! I can hardly wait until Amazon delivers my copy!

Okay, so if you've been reading our blog all week (which I know you have!) then you already know how to hook a hottie, how to act once you've hooked him, and how to keep him. Now you just need to know WHERE to hook him.

If your school/work is seriously lacking in the hottie department here are some ideas on where to meet a hottie.

1) Sporting Events- These places are overrun with single guys, just stay away from the ones with face paint. Even if you don't know a touchdown from a home run, just brush up on your game a bit, and I bet you'll find a guy willing to teach you the basics.

2)The gym- With all the twenty-hour gyms these days, you are bound to meet somebody with potential. But if a guy asks you to spot him, move on!

3)Bookstores- I constantly see single guys having coffee and enjoying a good book when I go to Barnes & Nobles. If you see one that looks interesting, find out what he's reading, run and find it on the shelf and read the back cover, then try to initiate a conversation. If he asks you how it ends, tell him you haven't finished yet.

4)Grocery stores- I know this one is kind of lame but I've seen some hotties shopping for bologna. Before you make your move just be sure to check out his cart. If he's got any feminine products in it, you better move on!

5) WEDDINGS!- This one is my favorite because it is where I met my hottie. Believe me, I know that there is nothing more depressing than going to a wedding when you are single. You don't want to be surrounded by all that lovie dovie crap when you feel like no one will ever love you. The day I met my husband I was supposed to attend a friends wedding. I couldn't find a thing to wear. My mom took me shopping but it was useless. I was in a funk. I said I wasn't going. My mom said something to me that I will never forget. She said, "You better go, because you might meet your Prince Charming." I shrugged it off but realized that my friend would be pretty upset if I didn't show. So I went. My husband was an usher and seated me. I remember very clearly thinking that I bet he was a good husband. I don't know what made me think that or why I assumed he was married. Anyhoo, we danced the night away(after I made sure he was single), and haven't been apart since that night.

Hotties are everywhere, you just have to be open to finding them! Good luck!

What I'm reading...How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro...if Amazon ever delivers it!



Revenge of the Homecoming Queen, OUT NOW!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How To Hook....and Keep!

Yay for Tina! My copy of HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE arrived Monday and I can't wait to dive into it! For those who don't know, Tina's first book, TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS was an adorable teen-lit and one I still recommend to every teen I meet!

Today I am doing another fun giveaway: A "How To" basket. In it you will receive a copy of HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE as well as copy of my debut novel HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI. That's right! Two giveaways in one!

All you need to do to win is leave a comment!

This is "Hottie" week on the Buzz Girls Blog and I'm talking about "What next?" So you have Mr. Hottie....now what? How to keep him interested?

  1. Have a LIFE! Please continue to do all the awesome things you used to do when he fell for you. I guarantee you he liked you because you had tons of interests, friends, talents, etc. Did you used to go salsa-dancing with your friends once a week? Keep on doing that! If he wants, he can join you..if not, so what? It's important for you to continue to be that same person...plus, it gives you plenty of new things to talk about!

  2. Don't give in all the time. Do you agree to the restaurant he want, or the movie he's been dying to see? Don't! Every other time, YOU decide beforehand where you want to eat, who you want to hang out with, which movie you want to see. Super-decisive = super-sexy!

  3. Dress up for him! Yes, after you've been together for a while, you don't need to blow out your hair every day, or do makeup everyday...but every once in a while, go all out! Do the hair, makeup, jewelry, nice outfit thing tell him, "Baby, you're coming with me!" and take him out for a fun night on the town.

  4. Keep the surprises coming! Get dramatic highlights, buy those skinny jeans you've been eyeing, take a cooking class! Don't become super-predictable....always keep him guessing...and I guarantee, he will never become un-hooked!


Dona Sarkar-Mishra


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

How to Hook a Hottie of Your Own...

First of all CONGRATULATIONS, Tina! As you Buzz Blog readers know, it's release day for How to Hook a Hottie.
It's Tina's day to shine, so I'll just pass on a few tips for hooking a hottie of your very own, with the adorable James McAvoy looking on.
1) Be yourself. This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of girls/women don't follow or believe this axiom. Really, though -- a guy worth being with likes you for being you. Don't lose yourself just to get (or keep) a guy.
2) Put yourself out there. Lots of cute guys are way more bashful than you. Why not start up a conversation and see what happens?
3) Listen to your heart & your gut. Your best indicator of whether or not you even want to hook this hottie is how you feel when you're around him. How you feel about yourself -- and how you feel about him, that is.
So those are the top three tips from my list -- I'm sure the other Buzz Girls have even better ones to share this week.
Congrats again to Tina!!!
Love & Light,
Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in April 2009 from HarperCollins

We Have a Winner!

Through random selection, the winner of an autographed copy of HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE is...

Sandi, who wrote that she'd like to hook Orlando Bloom.

Sandi, congratulations, and would you please contact me at tina@tinaferraro.com with an address so I can mail the book to you?

Thanks to all who entered!


Monday, January 07, 2008


How to Hook a Hottie comes out tomorrow, and in honor of its release, we Buzz Girls are doing a week on hooking hotties! You may see hooking tips, stories about hottie celebs, and personal stories. So stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from the book’s blurb:

Kate DelVecchio plans to be a millionaire before she's 20. When she agrees to go to a sports banquet with a hotshot baseball player, she stumbles upon a possible cash cow. The rest of the school is amazed that the no-nonsense Kate could hook such a hottie, and one by one approach her for help hooking their own. She doesn't know anything about getting guys, but for $100.00 a pop, she's more than willing to try, including inventing a 6-step-plan on How to Hook a Hottie. And how could that possibly backfire?

So....do you want to win an autographed copy of How to Hook a Hottie? If so, simply tell me in the comments section the name of a celebrity hottie you wish you could hook. It’s okay if he/she is technically unavailable...this is, after all, about fiction! I’ll draw the winner at random, so there is no bias toward any of my personal favorites. (And besides, Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon are mine. Haha.)

Hope you’ll play!

What I'm Reading: How to Salsa in a Sari by Dona Sarkar


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

Sunday, January 06, 2008

How to Reproduce a Masterpiece

As virtually any author can tell you, the path to publication is treacherous, disheartening, and very, very long. (If it wasn't, then, as Bill Cosby says about parents with only one child, then it doesn't really count.) Anyway, my point is that in the years it took me to become a published author, I nearly committed myself to several alternative and more secure careers. I became a teacher--that lasted one agonizing year. I almost became a college prof--but couldn't bring myself to get the required PhD.

My most exciting almost-career-plan was becoming a scenic artist. For those unfamiliar with theatre, that's the person who paints all the fantastical backdrops and floors and who creates giant styrofoam sculptures, crests, and other massive works of art for the stage. I took a scene painting class (from my dad, no less), reigned as scenic artist over two large productions, and then--thankfully--returned my attention to writing. But I did come away with a new understanding of painting, because painting for the theatre is unique in two ways: 1) the scale is very, very big, and 2) it has to happen very, very quickly. There is no time for dawdling, doodling, and perfecting in scenic arts. You have to get the painting done and dry so that the next part of the set can be built. Often, you have to recreate in an afternoon a masterpiece of art that took months to paint. Here's how to do it fast and foolproof.

Supplies List
  • From an office supply store:
    • 8.5"x11" foam core (you'll probably have to buy a big sheet and cut it down to size)
    • 8.5"x11" acetate (like for an overhead projector)
    • Sharpie (fine point)
    • ruler
    • string/tape measure
  • From an art or crafts store:
    • canvas (ready to paint with a layer of white paint/gesso--bigger is better and easier)
    • drawing pencil/charcoal
    • acrylic paint (at least black, white, red, blue, and yellow ... more colors in your painting's palette if you don't feel comfortable color mixing)
    • paint brushes of various (1/2" or larger) sizes
1. Select your masterpiece. There's a great selection at art.com, searchable by artist, genre, or subject matter. Pick an artist you love or a painting that speaks to you. I'm a freak for all things Art Deco, so my pick is "Portrait of Ira" by Tamara de Lempicka.

2. Prepare the canvas. Using the string/tape measure and the pencil/charcoal, divide your canvas into squares six across and however many will fit vertically.

3. Prepare your artist's elevation. Print out a color copy of your art. Tape the art to a piece of foam core (the stuff used to make science fair displays). Over the art, tape a sheet of acetate (like a sheet for an overhead projector). Using the ruler and the Sharpie, divide your art into squares six across and however many will fit vertically. You can only paint as many square as you have on your canvas, so you might have to crop the artwork some to fit. (This is the actual elevation I used to recreate the Lempicka.)

4. Sketch your art. This is the easy part. All you have to do is look at the top left square (call it A1) on your elevation and then sketch the shape outlines into the corresponding square on your canvas. Repeat for the remaining squares. You never have to worry about too much detail because you're only sketching a small portion at a time. When you're done, be sure to step back an check that all the lines flow across squares properly.

5. Paint. The best thing about the elevation you prepares is that you can mix color right on your artwork, comparing your paint with the original color directly. Then you can wipe it off the acetate when you're ready for the next color. Always start with the background and then work your way forward. Concentrate on getting the basic shapes and the "feel" of the art more than making an exact duplicate. You can always come back and fix details later (acrylic is forgiving that way). Most important of all: work quickly. It give your brain less time to edit--like writing a $h!tty first draft.

6. Admire your masterpiece. [I wish I had in-progress photos to show, but this painting was the final exam in my scene painting class. I had to recreate this Lempicka in 4 hours! Not much time for snapping photos.]

If any of this is confusing, please let me know. And if anyone gets inspired to recreate a masterpiece of their own, I'd love to see a pic of the final result!

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008
Pre-order from Amazon now (and save 32%!)