Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Marley's Launch Week!

It's another Launch Week on the Buzz Girls' Blog -- this time out we're celebrating Marley's Puffin debut writing as Kate Harmon. (See below for a great story on how Marley found writing!)


The launch of Marley's sorority sisters series got the Bees talking about sororities and campus groups in general, so this week we'll answer the question:

Which HS or college group were you in?

This one is a toughie for me, because I was one of those rare hybrids... I wanted so badly to get a scholarship that I did many different activities to make myself "well-rounded." This put me in all kinds of social circles, including, but not limited to:

Art Peeps (actually got an art scholarship for partial college tuition)
Drama Kids (big part Syme, the dictionary writer, in Orwell's 1984)
Swimming & Diving Team (jr. year -- and I lettered in diving!)
Student Government (sr. class senator)
Knowledge Bowl (token hot girl/Shakespeare expert on team of boy chess club members.)
Honor Society (was VP, which worked to advantage when my chemistry grade nearly put my gpa in jeopardy... the chem teacher was our adviser!)

And I think there were more things, but you'd have to dig out my yearbook... which my sister does when she has dinner parties so everyone can see my awesome HS hair. Anyway, I did a ton of stuff, which meant I knew a lot of different types of people.

When I went away to college, I majored in film, so I spent a lot of time in the Comm building editing documetaries and crying over cruel, tortured artist boys. Also, I worked off campus three years out of four to pay expenses at school. My college didn't have the Greek system or football or anything -- but we did have an Ultimate Frisbee team. :)

Anyway, I can't wait to hear about everyone else and where they fit in to the HS and college picture. Do any of you have a favorite memory from your sorority?



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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Book Launch Week! How it all started...

Happy Monday and welcome to another Buzz Girl book launch week! OMG...and this time, it's me! LOL!!

Can I just tell you that I've been waiting for this moment nearly all of my life, I think? At least since I sold on March 17, 2006. It's been a long wait, but I'm super-psyched to say that my first two books, and the first two of the SORORITY 101 series from Puffin Speak Books launches THIS THURSDAY, May 1st!!!

More on that later...

I've had a lot of people asking me lately about how I got started...when did I know I wanted to write...and how did I know what genre to write? It's a real easy answer: I think I was born to write.

When I was five or six years old, I used to write "stories" (okay, they were like three sentences long) and would "illustrate" them and then I would hold auctions for my family to see who would buy the stories. Little did I know that this is very much like the publishing industry is for real. Seriously! But, I wrote all the time. And then, when I was about fifteen, I fell in love with the First Love by Silhouette books that came out each month.

I loved these books. They were about teenagers finding their first love and they totally spoke to me. So much, that I wrote one of my own. Yes. The first "full" manuscript I wrote was entitled CHEER FOR LOVE and it was loosely based on my best friend and her boyfriend. It's a total of 58 pages and there's not a whole heck of a lot of tension or conflict...but it's not the worst thing ever written. I still have it. In a box. A very dusty box.

I typed it on my brother's Royal typewriter, so there are a lot of mistakes and a lot of X'd out words. But, for the most part, the grammar's not bad, the format is good (with the exception of it being single-spaced), and the POV is clear. Well...as embarrassing as it may be, why don't you take a look?


The sun snuck into Melissa Lewis’s room as she was awakening from a sound sleep. She squinted, and began to come to the reality that Christmas vacation had actually started. She glanced over at the clock that read 9:43. Stepping out from the warm covers, Melissa quickly jerked her cover-up over her University of Alabama night shirt. Her blond hair was cut in laers around her slim face. Her green eyes, big and beautiful, were her best feature, not to mention her dazzeling smile, which you never saw her without.

Slipping out into the carpet-covered hall, she felt a draft of cold Decelber morning approaching her.

“Is that you sweetheart?” the voice of Sue Lewis said to her daughter. Sue was a medium-sized woman with short ultra blonde hair.

“Yes, Momma. It sure is cold for the south!”

“Your father is going to build a fire as soon as he gets some wood,” her mother announced.

“Good.” Melissa though all of a sudden about the day that was ahead of her. “Momma, you know that we have a basketball tournament tonight in AAllensville. We’ve got to be at the school to catch the bus at 5:30.”

“Oh, really. How do you plan to get up there? Your father and I have been invited to a party at the Ferguson’s house tonight and we can’t be late,” Mrs. Lewis said with concern.
“Don’t worry Momma, Jessica got her license the other day and her mother is letting her take her car up to the school and park it until we get back.”

“Jessie got her license?” The voice of John Lewis interrupted. “Well I’m oroud of her!” John Lewis, a sturdy man in his early 40’s, carried in wood that would soon have the house warming up.

The buzzing of the telephone interrupted Melissa’s thoughts. She reached over the counter and snatched the phone off the wall.

“Hiya!” The voice was that of Jessica Kellee. She and Melissa had been friends ever since kindergarten.

“Hi yourself, what happening?” Melissa inquired.

“Well, I was just making sure that we are wearing the red, white, and blue sweater outfit tonight.” Jessica, Melissa, and their other best friend, Leigh Henderson, wer all cheerleaders at Homewood High School, and tonight was their first basketball game. “I wasn’t sure it it was that one or the all red one,” Jessica continues.

“It is the sweater,” Melissa said, very sure of herself.

“Okay,” Jessica said. “I’ll see ya then.”

Melissa hung the phone on the wall to rest once again. She walked back to her room and turned on the radio. She got her uniform out and laid it out on the bed. She really admired the sharp looking Patriot uniform that she and the other 7 girls that won the title of cheerleader had picked out. It was a V-neck short sleeved knit sweater with a red skirt that had pleats of white and blue. On the right side of the uniform, the initials “HHS” were printed clearly.

Melissa traveled down the hall to the bathroom. She once again picked up the brush and stroked it through her shoulder length hair. Leaning over the sink, she splashed the refreshingly cold water on her face. She towel dried her face and dabbed on some mascara on her black lashes.

After she got dress and had put her shoes on, she leaned back on the couch and stared at the television. There, she saw an advertisement for a men’s colone. The man in the ad was very nice looking. Melissa found herself thinking of all the handsome basketball players that would be riding the bus. There was James Finnigan, a junior, and Richard Simpson, also a junior. Melissa had gone to the movies with him a couple of times. But the best-looking of all had to be, without a doubt, Robbie Barrington, a senior, and also the “star” player of the whole Patriot team. Melissa had admired him from afar since she started Homewood as a freshman. Now as a sophomore and also a Varsity cheerleader, maybe he would notice her. She decided to herself, “This is the year that I’m going to have a boyfriend!”

Okay...aside from the really bad sexual innuendos about Mr. Lewis and the wood, it's not half bad, eh? I was fifteen...you've got to cut me some slack. LOL! But what I find really cool about this is the first thing I wrote seriously was a young adult book. I spent five years writing chick lit and romance manuscripts (which I loved doing), when I should have been writing young adult.

Around March 2005, a fellow writer friend, Liz Maverick, said to me, "Why don't you try writing a YA book?" I listened to her and not only wrote one, but two. And one of them landed me my fabulous literary agent. Because of her great reputation in the industry, the editors from Puffin Speak Books approached her to see if she had an author who could write a proposal for a sorority series for them. They really wanted a positive take on sororities and sisterhood. My agent knew I had it in me. And on March 17, 2006, we sold my proposal to the SORORITY 101 series.

And those books will be available on May 1st! Only three more days! This week!!!!! I never thought it would get here. But I'm totally jazzed!

BOTH of my books will be available on May 1st: SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS, both under the name Kate Harmon. I can tell you, without a doubt, that they're both a LOT better than CHEER FOR LOVE. = )

I hope you'll pick up the books and enjoy reading them! I'd love to hear what you think. And, if you would be so kind, I would be ever so appreciative if you leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

This has been quite a journey to this point and I couldn't have done it without the support of so many amazing people...especially the fantastic Buzz Girls!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Out May 1, 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Out May 1, 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Begins May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Special Guest Buzz... Mr. Romance Runner-Up Jimi Gaskin!

Confession Time: At first sight, I figured Mr. Romance contestant Jimi Gaskin would be one of those totally-full-of-himself hotties. I mean, tall, well-built guys with a beautiful face and gorgeous eyes are only softies at heart in the romantic world of fiction, right? Wrong!

When Steph and I accosted--er, approached him after the Vampire Ball at last week's Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, he was totally sweet. After posing for several pics with us, I asked for his email addy so we could let him know when they went up on the blog. And he totally gave it to me!!! Then, my critique partner Sharie Kohler suggested we have Jimi as a guest on the blog. And he totally agreed!!! As soon as I got home from the conference, I emailed him my questions. And he totally answered--even though he should be on a mega ego trip after taking runner-up in the Mr. Romance contest at the convention and WINNING the online competition!!!

Suffice it to say, he's currently on my list of favorite people. After reading this swoon-worthy interview, I bet he'll be on yours, too.

Jimi with Steph on the dance floor of the Vampire Ball

TLC: How did you get nominated for the Mr. Romance competition?

Jimi: My sister asked me if I wanted to be 1 of 10 guys surrounded by 2,000 women, Jo Carol would sponsor me. I said yes before she could finish.

TLC: A huge thank you to your sis! Congratulations on winning second place at the convention and taking first in the online contest! Had you ever considered a career in modeling or specifically as a cover model?

Jimi: Never. I always liked having scars, and that doesn't go so well with modeling. If I was a car, I would be a Land Rover. They're classy, elite, and can go anywhere, but ultimately look better when they're scratched and dinged up.

TLC: I'll bet there's a good story to go with every scar. This was your first Romantic Times convention, right? (Mine too!) What did you think?

Jimi: I went into RT believing it was going to be total chaos. But once I was there, I had an incredible time. Every single person I met was so passionate and nice, that you couldn't help but enjoy yourself.

TLC: Agreed--barring the occasional life-before-the-eyes moment. Steph and I got trapped in an elevator for an hour with a crazy bellman. What was the craziest/scariest/nastiest thing that happened to you at the convention?

Jimi: Craziest--Being randomly marched into "Wet and Wild" and having to answer any intimate questions that arose from a hundred women. I still wake up in the middle of the night shivering.

TLC: Therapy might cure that.

Jimi: Scariest--Being trapped in an elevator for an hour with some crazy women who thought I was a bellman.

TLC: We didn't know it was you, swear! If we did, we'd have sent away the Otis repairman!

Jimi: Nastiest--The food at the convention. Good thing I was on a diet.

TLC: Yeah, convention food always leaves something to be desired. Truth time. Dish on your fellow Mr. Romance contestants. Who was your best bud? Who was a total diva?

Jimi: This is tough. I went in expected it to be like a women's beauty pageant, where everyone was cutthroat. But, nothing could be further from the truth. We actually helped out each other throughout the whole competition, fixing each others outfits and what not.

TLC: (picturing scenes from Miss Congeniality, with less lip gloss)

Jimi: Every contestant at the Mr. Romance competition brought something valuable and unique to the table. Honestly, the whole competition was anybody's game.

TLC: Brilliantly diplomatic answer. (But I think we all know the truth! Haha.) All the girls will want to know ... are you taken?

Jimi: Unfortunately, no. It's tough to find a girl who loves the water or likes traveling as much as I do. I probably spend about 6 hours a day in water, whether its from surfing, diving, or sailing. And when I say traveling, I don’t mean going to another country just to stay in a 5 star hotel. I mean, actually traveling and getting to know the culture of another country. Staying with a host family and only eating what that unique culture eats. Traveling for me is not just about going to a different location and looking at buildings, it's about becoming a different person by experiencing new experiences.

TLC: After that answer, you're going to get plenty of volunteers! (nominates self) Since you're Mr. Cyber Romance, do you have any thoughts on cyber-dating? Ever tried it?

Jimi: Having a relationship is all about trust and finding a connection with another person. I believe it is possible to trust and make a connection without seeing the other person or even hearing what the other person sounds like. Just ask my vision and hearing impaired friends, they date all the time. Having said that, cyber-dating does make it tough to trust what the guy on the other end's real intentions are, and that can be dangerous.

TLC: Or if it even IS a guy! There is danger in anonymity.

Jimi: Have I ever cyber-dated? No, but I'm definitely open to the idea. Cyber-dating allows me to share my creative side easier with someone else. Like being able to share photos, favorite songs, and other kind of media in an instant.

TLC: BuzzReaders will be relieve to hear that, considering your current locale. You're from Hawaii, one of the most romantic places in the country. What do you love most about living on the Big Island? And (because my blog sister Tina will want to know) have you visited any of the LOST filming sites?

Jimi: What I love most about the Big Island are the daily tropical warm showers, diving in crystal clear water, swimming with wild dolphins, listening to the whales sing as I spearfish, being able to watch lava flow into the ocean, gazing up at the Milky Way under the clearest skies in the world. I love the freedom, the islands give you.

TLC: Sounds dreamy! The Milky Way bit did it for me--I'm an armchair astronomer! (Note to self: plan trip to Hawaii)

Jimi: Have I ever visited any of the LOST filming sites? I have been to a couple of the places that have been used in LOST and I have actually met a couple of the LOST actors. Hawaii is made up of islands in the middle of the biggest ocean. Eventually, you will see and run into everything and everyone. :)

TLC: (Note to Tina: no you may not stalk Jimi) What is your definition of romance?

Jimi: Romance is passion, love, wonder, exhilaration... it can be epic, blazing, even dangerous, but yet, is so often sweet, fumbling, and pure. For me though, more than anything else, romance consists of those little details--the way she twirls the ends of her hair with her fingers, or the way she smiles when she is asleep--the simple gestures that strike you still with the realization that the world would not be worth anything if she were not in it.

TLC: Let the swooning begin! Have you ever read a romance novel? If so, which ones? If not, now that you've met so many romance authors, will you?

Jimi: I have to be honest, reading romance was the last thing on my list of "things to read." But, after meeting all these writers who are so passionate about writing romance, has motivated me to. Currently, I'm half way through with "The Scorpion and the Seducer," by Bonnie Vanek. :) After, I plan on reading a vampire romance by J.R. Ward, and then....

Jimi, Steph, Luke Walsh, and yours truly at the Vampire Ball

Show of hands, who's ready to swoon? (raises hand) Seriously ladies, Jimi's the real deal. Sweet, romantic, gorgeous! Is it any wonder he placed so well in the Mr. Romance contests? And he's agreed to bring his romantic self over here and respond to comments! Get your questions in early.

Thank you, Jimi, for trusting strangers with your email address and for following through with this awesome interview. Maybe we'll see you next year in Orlando.

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available like NOW!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Buzz...a day in the life of polar bears

If you're a regular reader of Books, Boys, Buzz, you'll know that I have a massive soft spot, not only for little animals, but polar bears. They're probably my totem animal, I don't know. But I just adore them.

You might remember last year when I introduced Knut to the readers. Knut was rejected by his mother in December of 2006 and had to be hand-fed by a keeper at the Berlin Zoo. He was a major sensation and a great spokesbear for the fight against global warming. The Berlin Zoo made a ton of money off of him that has gone back into his habitat, hiring more scientists and staff to care for the animals, and educating the public about the dangers to the majestic polar bears when our planet is slowing weeping for help.

Here is Knut as a little fellow...

And here he is on his first birthday in December 2007...

This is him getting a gander at a new book about his journey...

And he's still a star... click here to see a video of him playing to the crowd.

Well, make a little room, Knut, because there are even more polar bear cub celebrities out there.

My favorite that I've been watching is the precious little girl, Flocke, which is German for "snowflake." Sadly, Flocke's mom, Vera didn't really know what to do with her little baby. (It's thought that she may have possibly eaten her other cub.) She brought Flocke out of her cave wicked early and showed signs of not being able to handle her upbringing. So, the Nuremberg Zoo stepped in and removed Flocke from her mother. She's been hand-fed and brought up by a staff of keepers.

Just recently, the little darling made her debut to the German press. Don't you just want to put her in your pocket and take her home with you?

But wait...Flocke's not the only cele-bear-ty these days. There's also Stuttgart's newest arrival, Wilbaer. The good news about Wilbear, is that his mother, Corinna, is taking wonderful care of him and watching out after the furry little tyke. He, too, recently made his debut to the press and the zoo, in turn, is profiting from his popularity.

Here they are meeting the press...

Who is proud of their little boy?!...

And finally, more stars in Europe are the twin boy polar bear cubs at the Vienna Zoo. Their mother brought them from their cave not long ago and the two of them have been frollicking, playing, and entertaining the Vienna crowd ever since.

Aren't they adorable?...

Olinka's such a good mom!...

A day in the life for these amazing animals in captivity is filled with running and playing, getting bathed and rubbed by either the keeper or their mother. They also learn to swim at a very early age and they just love the water. The cubs are fed formula to mimic what they'd get from their mother, but they also get a good amount of fresh (not live) fish. These little bundles have amazing, realistic habitats that allow them to live their lives as "normal" as possible.

Many people might not approve of the man-raising of these animals, but to me, it means the world to me that there are people who will spend their time and career to try and save the species from extinction. And they're so adorable.

Have you ever seen a polar bear in the zoo? What was it like? And who's the cutest of all the cele-bear-ties? Me...I'm still partial to my little Knut, even though our little baby's all growds up. (And what movie is THAT from? LOL!)

REMINDER: The first two books in the SORORITY 101 series will be out in FIVE DAYS!!!!! As you know, I'm writing these books under the name "Kate Harmon." I hope everyone will get a copy of each of them!!!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (May 1, 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (May 1, 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS SERIES (May 1, 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Buzz from RT

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Buzz Girl, Tera Lynn Childs, in Pittsburgh for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. We were both RT virgins (their term, not ours!) so we didn't really know what to expect.

After being bombarded with news about flight delays the week before, I was a bit nervous that I might get stuck somewhere obscure and never actually make it to RT. I was pleasantly surprised when my flights were all on time and arrived within five minutes of Tera's. Our baggage arrived at neighboring carousels, and within minutes, along with Sharie Kohler (Marked by Moonlight), and Kerrilyn Sparks(The Undead Next Door), we were cruising along the PA freeway to our hotel. It was almost too good to be true. Ah, life was good.

We arrived at the Pittsburgh Hilton in good spirits. We were immediately informed that the room with double beds we had requested was not available. We would have to share a king. Tera and I had shared a bed last year in Dallas, so this was no biggie, except for the fact that people were going to start talking. We dumped our stuff in our room and headed back downstairs to mingle.

Luckily, the hotel wasn't jam-packed yet, so it was just me, Tera, and Tim the ADHD bellman and his huge cart on the elevator. I'm a bit claustraphobic so I usually try and put myself in a Zen like state or just talk like crazy to distract myself. When the elevator dropped half a floor, I knew I was in trouble. When Tim started yelling and banging on the doors, I knew this elevator ride was going to end badly. Long story short, we spent an hour of our lives on an elevator with someone direly in need of Ritalin. Here we are trying to make the best of it. We did get a discounted room rate out of it.
This exhausting convention detour put a bit of a crimp in our night. We ended up at dinner at The Pub but were too tired for the Ellora's Cave party. It pains me when I think of all the hard bodies in nothing but white pants and black suspenders that I missed out on seeing. But not to worry because the rest of the convention was a blur of muscle shirts and tight jeans.
We spent Thursday chatting with fans, booksellers, librarians, and the coolest reviewer ever, Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, at Club RT. Tera gave out tons of her cute little buttons promoting OH. MY. GODS. We were then treated to a Mexican lunch and a fancy little skit with a real-life hanging. It was sort of scary. Even scarier, two thousand women eating a Mexican dinner and two bathrooms. I'm not making this stuff up, people.

Thursday afternoon, Tera and I, along with Mari Mancusi, Liz Maverick, Paula Chase, Shelly Adina, and Melissa Marr, dazzled the conventioneers at our two YA panels. Okay, I don't know if we dazzled them, but nobody left, which is always a good sign. We celebrated at a restaurant near the hotel called Palomino, where I had a delectable drink called a Vanilla Sky and a wood-fired pizza. YUM.

Thursday night was the Faerie Ball. Getting a seat at a table turned into a contact sport. We finally found one and spent the night admiring all the hard work that went into transforming the ballroom into an underwater wonderland. We had on more glitter than should be legal. Isn't my seaweed boa adorable?

Friday morning started off with the Stud Muffin mixer. How can the day not go well when muffins and studs are involved? Even though we had been there for two days, I still felt like a rubbernecker every time a Mr. Romance Contestant walked by. We spent the morning in workshops and the afternoon at another luncheon. This luncheon was particularly exciting, not just because of the awesome chocolate cake they served, but because our friend, Helen Scott Taylor, won the American Title Competition by Dorchester. Her book, The Magic Knot, will be out in February 2009. Here is a picture of me, Tera, Helen, and her gorgeous daughter, Katherine. No, we don't normally wear blood and black lipstick, but this was for the Vampire Ball.
We broke out the white powder, black lipstick, and tons of black eyeliner for the Vampire Ball. Tera, Sharon Kohler, and I, shared a table with Charlotte Featherstone, Kristina Cook, and some other nice women and had a great time. The decorated ballroom was truly undead. The band was great and we even did some dancing. We got a little bolder and snapped some pictures. Here we are with thriller writer, Barry Eisler (Requiem for an Assassin), who I'm pretty sure was the only man at RT who wasn't wearing a muscle tee at some point. And just in case you are like my husband and wondering if Barry gave me a hickey, rest assured, those are just my vampire bites. Barry was a perfect gentleman. Well, except that crap he pulled ditching us in line and getting VIP seating. But we forgave him and promised him that he wouldn't have nearly as much competition at RWA.
Here are some gratuitous man candy shots.

Sharie Kohler, me, John something, and Tera. John was voted Most Roided Out Guy. Ha, just kidding, John. Please don't squash me like a bug.
I'm embarrassed to admit how long we chased this guy. He didn't do it for me but he seemed really nice. His name is Chris Winters and he won the Mr. Romance competition. Yeah, Chris.

The guy that stood out from the beginning for me was James Gaskin. See below where I'm blushing like a stupid fan girl and he is baring his fangs a bit. Be still my heart. It was more than just looks though. James had a shyness about him that was so endearing to me. He is the guy every girl wants to end up with. The smart ones anyway. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who thought so because he ended up taking 2nd place but he took 1st place in the online voting. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't get my vote in on time. Sorry, James.

Here Tera and I are with another Mr. Romance contestant, Luke Walsh. Luke was extremely energetic. The dude in the mask is my fav, James, who ducked in the picture at the last minute and nearly made me faint.
Saturday was the giant booksigning, and even though I had to sit next to Kim Harrison and feel like a giant loser, it went off without a hitch. Almost. At exactly two o'clock, when the booksigning was ending, the power went off. And apparently there were no emergency generators. Luckily, almost everyone had a cell phone that they could pop open to illuminate their way out. But I got to meet Mark Henry (Happy Hour of the Damned) and Lois Greman (too many to name) whose son is a total hottie.

All in all, it was a great conference. I would love to go to Orlando next year, as long as we aren't staying at the Hilton!



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Old Folks Buzz!

It's "Day in the Life" Buzz this week --

And my contibution is that I saw a great movie this weekend. It featured elderly people making the most of every day.

It's called Young At Heart.

It follows the Young At Heart Chorus, a group with an average age of 80 years old. They perform concerts all over the world, but it's not Perry Como and Frank Sinatra songs -- they sing PUNK, ROCK, FUNK, and POP!

It was really beautiful watching them tackle modern music with gusto, and bravely sing songs by Sonic Youth, The Clash, and Coldplay. I think some of their vids are on YouTube, so you should check it out --or better yet see the movie!

It's amazing what you can do when you challenge your fears.



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

Monday, April 21, 2008

Who’ll Be First?

This is our final week of A Day in the Life, and we’re focusing on buzz, or anything in our pop culture. Keeping our theme in mind, here are photos from three popular movies:

American Graffiti

The Wizard of Oz

Groundhog Day

Who'll be the first to tell us their common thread, why I’ve chosen them for this blog?

Then...who can jump in with other theme-appropriate movie titles?


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, National Reader’s Choice Award

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Day in the Life: Boys in Books

Okay...I'll admit that I've been sitting here since about Wednesday trying to figure out what I was going to post today. I'm not a mom, so I know nothing about a day in the life of teenage boys (although, my friend Mel sent me an awesome e-mail about the many variations of farting that her teenage boys go through over the course of the day), I thought I would simply post about my favorite fictional boys and what they go through in a day.

First book I've got to start with is TWILIGHT.

Stephanie Meyer does a great job painting Edward Cullen in such a vivid way that you feel everything he's going through on a daily basis. Because of him being a vampire, he has to live in cloudy environment to help shade the sun from him. He also has to hide his vampiric ways from his classmates and the townspeople. Edward is such a beautiful, tortured soul. But he loves Bella without pause.

Next, I have to say how much I love the boys in Jenn Echols' THE BOYS NEXT DOOR.

Lori has been crushing on Sean for forever, but his little brother, Adam, is the true boy for her. A day in the life for them is hanging out at the lake water boarding. Jenn does such an amazing job writing the emotions the Lori is struggling with thinking she's getting the guy of her dreams while being swept away by the guy she's always dreamed about. Jenn Echols can write a kissing scene...let me tell you what!

And finally, our own Simone Elkeles' LEAVING PARADISE.

Caleb is a hero among heros. Most of all, he's deeply flawed...but that's what makes you love him so much. See, Caleb served time for a car accident that left Maggie crippled. When Caleb comes back to town, it's torture for Maggie...until the two of them find each other. A day in the life consists of trying to catch up on his life that he's missed, as well as being over-protective of Maggie, due to her injury. It's a beautiful love story and Caleb leaps off the page as 3D hero.

So, who are your favorite boy heroes? Let us know!

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)

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Man-umental Day

We’re continuing our "A Day in the Life" rotation, moving into our boys theme.

As I pondered this topic, I thought of a male-driven monumental day on the second season of TV show, LOST. It opened with posing a problem, struggled with its ramifications, then closed with resolution. But warning: SPOILER. I discuss the entire day, so if you’re presently watching episodes before Season Two, Episode Four, you’ll want to stop reading now...

Still here? Okay!

Entitled “Everyone Hates Hurley,” it was the day that Hugo “Hurley” Reyes had to come to terms with his newly assigned job, being in charge of the food that had been discovered in the hatch.

His day starts with a dream: he’s in the food pantry, eating with abandon, when the Korean-speaking Jin tells him, in English, that everything’s going to change.

Hurley wakes to the reality and enormity of his newly assigned job--to inventory the food and figure out how to make it last. Until then, nobody is to get anything.

Hurley enlists Rose's help and confides in her that his biggest worry is that as keeper of the food, he'll turn into the most hated man on the island. So he keeps the contents of the hatch a secret, even from his most trusted friend, Charlie.

Mid-day, he flashes back to right after he won the lottery, and how he kept that news from his best friend, fearing everything would change.

As the day goes on, the pressure builds in Hurley.

In another flashback, he remembers how hurt his best friend was when he found out about the lottery win that Hurley had kept from him.

By evening, Hurley decides to use the dynamite in their possession to blow up the hatch and thereby, solve all of his problems.

But Rose interrupts him, so Hurley comes up with an alternative solution. He realizes there's plenty of food to last for a while, so why not be generous and hand some of it out now, just as he did with his lottery winnings?

We close on the survivors feasting like they never have before.

It’s not just "A Day in the Life" for Hurley, but a monumental one, as he has he faced down some of the demons he brought with him to the island, and problem-solved in a way that makes everyone happy. And it doesn’t get much better than that!

Anyone else ever have a monumental day?

What I’m Reading Now: Twisted Sisters by the fabulously talented Stephanie Hale!


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Day In My Writing Life

You know those people who diligently adhere to an implacable schedule? Who get up at the same time every day, do their jobs or others tasks in an efficient order of events, eat at regular times, and go to bed in time to do the same thing the next day? I am so not like that.

Oh, I fantasize about being like that. I make plans and lists and detailed schedules. But then something invariably throws me off--staying up until 2:00am searching for cheap flights to Buenos Aires, an email that takes forty minutes to compose, a blog post I forgot to write ahead of time....

In my writing schedule, there is only one consistent and constant thing:


(Okay, not necessarily at Starbucks, it can be a Panera or an independent coffee shop or anywhere with caffeinated beverages and comfy chairs. But it's usually a Starbucks, because there's one next door.)

Here's how a day in my writing life goes:

1. Walk inside. Scope out my comfy chair. (I'm very picky about this, and of the four comfy chairs at my Starbucks, only two are suitable.) If someone is in my comfy chair when I arrive, then I set my stuff at a nearby seat so I can pounce as soon as it's available.

2. Order my first drink of the day. What I get depends on my mood and the day. If I'm feeling blah, I'll get a frappuccino. If I'm feeling budget- and calorie-conscious, I'll get an iced coffee with toffee nut flavor. If it's cold, I'll get a soy chai latte.

3. Sit down (hopefully in comfy chair) and pull out all my stuff. When I'm writing something new, this includes any or all of the following: alphasmart (indestructible word processor), sprial-bound, pencil case, post-its, index cards, iPod shuffle, academic year planner/calendar. When I'm revising, my kit is the same except I bring my laptop instead of my alphasmart.

4. Put on headphones. This is a necessity whether I'm listening to music or not--it discourages people from talking to me (interrupting my work) and, if they're brazen enough to talk anyway, I can pretend like I don't hear them. (I know, I'm awful, but my concentration is very fragile. I protect it vehemently.)

5. Spend far too long looking at my calendar, making notes and lists of what I need to do when. (This is pure procrastination!) If I got stuck in a scene last time or if I'm not sure how to begin today, I'll spend a little time with my spiral-bound, brainstorming and trying to figure out what's working. (This is only slightly procrastination.)

6. Finally put aside the calendar and the spiral-bound and get to work. I'll spend anywhere from two to six hours writing--any longer and my brain begins to melt. This usually involves at least one more beverage, at least one trip to the ladies (leaving everything but my purse and alphasmart/laptop to stake my claim on the comfy chair). This also usually involves a lot of day-dreaming, staring out the front window, and making notes about interesting people.

(The staff at my Starbucks is convinced that I'm writing about them, but they're fairly normal. Nothing compared to some of the customers!)

7. When my brain/bladder/sleeping backside has finally had enough, I pack it up and head home.

So there you have it. My typical writing day. And, if nothing sets my schedule into a tailspin, I'll start over with the same thing the next.

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available May 1st!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A day in the life...and a contest winner!

It was a daunting task reading the over fifty (whoohoo!!) responses on the TWISTED SISTERS + SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? contest. Your answers were so awesome that there was no way on this planet that I'd be able to choose one winner to get both books. So, I printed out all of the comments, gave them to my friend and co-worker, Rebecca, and asked her to read them. I asked her to pick out which comment moved her the most and answered the question the best. She's not a writer...just a fan of books, so she was totally impartial. Read more to find out who won!

So, a day in the life of moi, eh? I have to say that since my book(s) release date is creeping up (May 1st, baby!), life has been a bit crazier than ever. It seems that there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done...and get enough sleep to make it through the next day!

5:55 a.m. - my human alarm clock (my hubby, Mike) makes the first attempt to wake me. He's a morning person and always cheery and upbeat and giving me the weather report for the day -- which I never remember because I'm only semi-conscious.

6:00 a.m. - Mike sticks his head back in to ask if I'm getting up. I mumble out some nay incoherent response, but assure him I'm getting up.

6:05 a.m. - Mike returns to announce that he's getting in the shower. When I hear the water in the other room, I turn on the alarm clock, set for 6:13 a.m. If I can just sleep for 8 more minutes...I'll be fine.

6:14-6:15 a.m. - The clock radio/CD player has been going for about two minutes. I need to get my lazy arse out of bed and get in the shower. Shower time's the best time to think about writing. I've threatened to turn the walls of my bath into a water-proof white board where I can plot out my ideas and write them down so I won't forget them.

7:10 - 7:55 a.m. - Commuting. If I'm not trying to stay awake, we'll talk about news stories, TV shows, sports, etc. Recently, we've been talking about the book launch party coming up on May 2nd. Or, we've been bantering ideas about for the plot of GHOST HUNTRESS: THE GUIDANCE, which is the second book in my series.

8:00 a.m. - Noon - Hard at work at the day job. I work for an $800+ billion dollar financial company in Boston and I support two executive vice presidents, three vice presidents, two managers, and 50 sales people. I love my job. Everyone's wonderful and I'm kept busy planning meetings, events, travel, doing expenses, sales reports, and being a mother hen to everyone.

Lunchtime - I usually have lunch with my buddy Rebecca -- mentioned above -- but when I'm in the blood fever of writing, I'll bring in my Alphasmart and go sit in the cafe or go down the street to Au Bon Pain to sit with my headphones on (House/Dance/Techno music) and write as much as I can during my lunch hour. I'm also across the street from my publisher, so it's easy to visit my editor or get my revisions or what have you from her. Very convenient!

1:00 - 5:00 p.m. - More work! I love to be busy because the day just flies by. Lots to do...invoices, schedules, order supplies, reports, and PowerPoint presentations. Although...yesterday during this time period, the advanced copies of SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS arrived!!! Whooooooohooooooooo!!! Everyone on the sales desk was excited to see it. Mainly because I used so many of their names (as requested) in the book. They all wanted to see their names in print. They're so funny!

5:00 - 6:00 p.m. - Commute home with Mike, which usually consists of a wrap up of our days, as well as sharing new ideas and brainstorming my stories with him. He's a great brainstormer and listener.

6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Again, when I'm writing or revising, this is the time I like to downshift from the day job and read over what I wrote during lunch. I'll tweak and add and correct errors, but mainly, I'm just reading it to get back into the groove. I've found that if I can write 1,000 - 1,500 words per day when I have a book due, then I'm doing well. I just got my revisions for GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING, so I'll be working on those next week.

8:00 p.m. - on... I like to cook a nice dinner, or order something in if we're too tired, too busy, or working on things. We like to watch TV and chill out and then go to bed early to start all over again. A lot of people think I'm insane to have a day job and write, but as long as I can balance both, it really enriches my life and fills the day. Besides...I work with great people who make me laugh every day and I would miss that if I stayed home and wrote all day.

Now...without any further delay...the winner of the double-book giveaway of the fabuloso Stephanie Hale's TWISTED SISTERS and my first book SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA, as picked by my unbiased co-worker, Rebecca...


And the crowd goes wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiild!!! Whooooohooooo!!!!! Congratulations! Please e-mail me offline at marley @ webstuffdesign.com (no spaces) to give me your snail mail address.

And one more contest...which I'll announce the winner on Saturday, April 19th - so that gives you plenty of time to post comments. If we can reach fifty (50) comments again, I'll be giving away a copy of ZETA OR OMEGA? and THE NEW SISTERS to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment in the trail about your experience with sisterhood, whether it be in a sorority, in a school club, with your best girlfriends, or your real-life sister.

Thanks and hugs!
Marley = )
SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (May 2008, Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (May 2008, Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS SERIES (May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Day in the Life...

A day in the life of this debut author...

6:30 a.m. Harper, my trusty alarm cat, yowls in my ear, signaling that the iphone has gone off three times in the last half hour and I really need to get up. Must get coffee. Make my own espresso with lots of milk foam and cinnamon.

10 am. Working hard at day job, writing lots of marketing copy for our company’s fabulous products. I’m dreaming of werewolves, but the time for writing my own stuff is later. Sometime in the next hour, I take a little break and read the NY Times while I eat snacks.

1:30 pm. Eat my brought-from-home lunch (trying to cut down on all the takeout sushi!) and then read a chapter of writing craft book on the company’s comfy couch. This week it’s The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. You can learn a lot from reading and rereading texts – but it’s tempting to get bogged down in research. So I limit myself to this little window of time.

5:15 pm. Yay! Done with job number one – so now I sit at my fave local coffee shop and drink an iced (light chocolate) decaf mocha or have a decaf cappuccino (have to sleep later.) I avoid the pastries after last fall’s croissant-kerfluffle which added a few pounds during my next-to-last round of revisions on Werewolf. On purpose, I don’t ask for the café’s wireless password, which could be even more dangerous...

5:25 I power up my laptop, and get back into the chapter I was working on before. Currently it’s the beginning of my werewolf sequel. I follow my outline pretty closely and then sketch in the next session’s scenes before I shut down for the night. Lots of things to do at home when I get there...

And -- Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Except for the days I go to the gym, or do laundry, or have an appointment with a friend this is pretty much my average day. Regular writing time is super important.

The good thing about this schedule is that I save my writing time for dessert. I look forward to it, and I know my brain is working on whatever scenes I have coming up. I also do a double session on Saturday and/or Sunday depending on deadlines.

Anyway... this Saturday I did my first professional photo shoot? Which pic do you like?



Heather Davis is the author of
Never Cry Werewolf
Coming in APRIL 2009 (365 days!) from HarperCollins

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Day in the Life!

We’re kicking off a new theme, “A Day in the Life,” with this week's focus on books and writing. Since I had a wonderful booksigning at my local middle school last week, that’s the day I am going to highlight.

My kids are no longer middle school age, but I was flattered to be asked back by the librarian to sign for their Open House Book Fair. I prepared for it in my usual way: a nail appointment (hey, people are going to be looking at my hands), a hair appointment (‘cause I simply don’t Do the ‘Do like professionals), and then, pacing.

I did laundry. I made soup. I made those phone calls that you put off--dentist appointments, Jury Duty rescheduling--and then called some people that I DID want to talk to, so they could reassure me that I shouldn’t be nervous.

6:00 came and my 15 year-old son and I hopped in the car. He’d agreed to accompany me for what I considered moral support and what he considered a chance to see some teachers and younger friends again.

He walked me up to the library and took some pictures, then I gave him permission to flee...

Over the next few hours, I met up with countless old friends and their kids, and met lots of new people of all ages. And a special shout-out to the 8th grade English teacher who offered her students extra credit for buying How to Hook a Hottie, telling the boys, in particular, that they should read it to learn how girls view romance! Woo-hoo for progressive thinking and local author support!

By the end of the evening, I’d sold a slew of books, and signed the remaining stock. I found my son hanging out with three friends from his grade who’d come to join in the return-to-middle-school fun. We all left tired, and happy.

The next day, I got a phone call from the librarian saying they’d completely sold out of How to Hook a Hottie and had a wait-list. So I brought her the copies I had on hand, with the promise of giving the library a percentage of whatever sold. I have yet to go back and do the math, so in effect, that Day in the Life rolls on...

Anyone else have a notable Day in the Life recently?

What I’m Reading: Can’t tell because I’m judging books for a romance writing contest and need to remain anonymous!


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence

Sunday, April 06, 2008

TLC, Circa 1994 *

In honor of Steph Hale's second release, I'm rounding out this edition of high school week, officially known as "Favorite Group You Were In" week. And if you haven't, after being pestered about this for a week, picked up your copy of TWISTED SISTERS yet, then GO TO THE BOOKSTORE or ORDER ONE RIGHT NOW! Okay, I'm done shouting. On with the post.

Fourteen years ago (omigods, has it been that long) I was a Chief. For the uninitiated, that's a student at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri (aka the alma mater of Brad Pitt and Lucas Grabeel--no, I didn't know them ... jeeez, I'm not that old or that young!).

At KHS, I was a middle-grounder. A little bit of everything. I was in the honors and AP classes, but I never took them toooooo seriously and as long as I got a B-average I was happy (something I have in common with Phoebe from OH. MY. GODS.). I was in Science Club my senior year, but only because I needed an academic extra-curricular for my college applications. I think I missed at least half of the club meetings. (Shhh, don't tell anyone.) I was in Art three out of four years (it wasn't four out of four because Art IV conflicted with another class).

Mainly, I was in sports. I wasn't a total jock--my best friend was a band geek and no one else in our circle was on anything more strenuous than the golf team. I played basketball my freshman year--oh the horror! Girls basketball players are the worst. I think I still have injuries! I know I still have nightmares. But of all the groups I was in, I think it was the tennis and swimming teams that were my favorites.

I was on varsity tennis all four years and varsity swimming for three (I missed out junior year to be on my dad's AAU basketball team). Unlike basketball, which is a team sport and encourages those cliquish friendships we authors so like to write about, tennis and swimming are individual sports. This means that the individuals on those teams came from a broad spectrum of the student population. There were cool girls and stoner girls and geek girls and jock girls and girly girls and loner girls and a homecoming queen. You could find just about every type of girl on one of those teams in a given season. And for the duration of the season, we were all friends. (I know, I know, that sounds like the end of Mean Girls or something, but it's true!)

So, that's a rundown of my high school involvement (which may be kinda similar to Steph's and the polar opposite of Tina's). What about you? Were you on a favorite sports team? Or an academic team, like Academic Decathlon or Robotics? Dish please.

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available May 1st!

* You might have noticed that there aren't actually any photos of me from my time as a Chief. I assure you, this is because I'm too lazy to dig out and scan the yearbooks, not because of any horrifically embarrassing hairstyles. Honestly.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Missing book, a contest, and a little ghost hunting

Okay...I'm annoyed 'cause I pre-ordered Stephanie's TWISTED SISTERS about two months ago and it was supposed to be here this week. Yo, Amazon...what up, dawgs? How am I supposed to stay up-to-date on the hot books when my vendor of choice won't deliver it on time?

Because of this, I scooted to the Borders down the street and bought a copy. Yeah!! But then, that leaves me with two copies of the book eventually. So...you know what? I'm going to do a giveaway! Yep...that's right. You can enter to win another copy of Steph's book, TWISTED SISTERS.

Just leave a comment in the trail here telling us what it is you love so much about reading a new book. You'll be entered to win!

And...if our readers can get the comments up over fifty (50), then I'll throw in an advanced copy of SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? to the lucky winner. (Remember...the SORORITY 101 books come out in 26 days!!!!!)

Let us hear from you! Oh...and P.S. If you'd like to read about my ghost hunting investigation at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, please visit my MySpace page and read my latest blog. I even have photos up of the celebrity paranormal investigators I met.

Marley = )
writing as Kate Harmon

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

Friday, April 04, 2008

Have You Bought Your Copy of Twisted Sisters Yet?

I've got mine, and can't wait to crack it open!

In celebration of the release of Stephanie Hale’s book, Twisted Sisters, this week we are discussing our favorite groups from high school.

The bloggers and commeters have regaled us with tales from band, sports, student council, Future Homemakers of America, musical theater, dance, National Honor Society, newspaper, Key Club, chorus...

All of sound like fun and memorable times--but none of which I had. My high school didn’t have Homecoming Dances or food drives or spirit days. We certainly DID have musicals and sports and some after-school clubs, but for one reason or another, none of them appealed to me.

So what did I do in high school? Hung out with my friends. People-watched. Stared at cute guys. Daydreamed. Passed notes. Wrote stories. Created board games. Ate warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies from the cafeteria oven (see Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, page 61, and no coincidence that the caf ladies have the same names as my high school BFFs), and made a half-hearted attempt at getting good grades.

Am I particularly proud of my high school accomplishments? Of course not. But do I rewrite history and pretend to be something I am not? No way. I figure I represent the faction of high school students who don’t find themselves until later in life. And then worked their butts off to make their dreams come true. Because by that point, we are SO DONE sitting on the sidelines...get outta our way!

Anyone else spend their high school years smelling the roses, or look back and wished they'd done more?


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie - Book Sense Top Teen Pick
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress - Finalist, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence