Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wishing You...

A wonderful and safe holiday, filled with friends, family and good food!

And a good night’s sleep to all of you who are going to fill up those empty school hallways tomorrow!


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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What's your favorite shade?

I do strange things when I'm trying to avoid working. Like Googling OPI nail polish just to read the new names of their nail polishes. I know, right? But I found this one and it made me think of the Bees. It's called NO BEES PLEASE. Catchy, right?

So it got me wondering if I could find some nail polish names that reminded me of my books(REVENGE OF THE HOMECOMING QUEEN, TWISTED SISTERS). I found quite a few.






Then I stumbled onto a few that reminded me of Tera's book:(OH. MY. GODS.)





I kept seeing all these Chicago ones and thought of Simone and her books: (HOW TO RUIN..LEAVING PARADISE, PERFECT CHEMISTRY)







These reminded me of Marley's books:(ZETA OR OMEGA? THE NEW SISTERS)




I couldn't forget Tina's books:(TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS)









It was harder with Heather's(NEVER CRY WEREWOLF) since I haven't read the book or seen a cover yet but I gave it a shot:



Okay, so now you know what I do to avoid work. Are you a sucker for these nail polish names like I am? And what is your favorite way to procrastinate?



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gone to the Beach...

Ahhh...vacation. What can I say? It's the end of summer, which calls for one more fling with the sun and surf. One more chance to get my skin golden brown and delicious to get me through the pasty-white New England winter. Fortunately, Tropical Storm Fay decided not to mess with my vacay too much and I have been happily floating in the pool, enjoying the sun, reading good books, and (hopefully) writing one. Couldn't ask for a better time.

And while I was in Daphne, Alabama, visiting the parentals, I stopped in at the local Barnes & Noble to sign stock of my books SORORITY 101: ZETA OR OMEGA? and SORORITY 101: THE NEW SISTERS. I was thrilled when then manager said he'd display them at the featured to a triva book about my Crimson Tide that he said is "flying" off the shelf.

While I was there, I checked out some of my friend's books!

Here's Tera Lynn's book...

And BOTH of Stephanie's books...

But my favorite view of all...the view from my beach house. Ahhhh...does it get any better than this?

What are you going to do to celebrate (mourn?) the end of summer? Let us know!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available Now! Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available Now! Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Coming May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Inquiring Bees Want To Know

Prompted by some of the answers I received in my Contest of Olympic Proportions over the past couple of weeks, I've been wondering about who our blog readers really are. (We assume there are a bunch of you out there, since we're getting tons of hits, but you don't speak up a lot.)

So, in a completely clever and wonderfully purple way, I'd like to find out a little more about Y-O-U! It's easy. Just check out the poll below. Select the answer that best describes why you're at the Buzz Blog. Then click VOTE.

And if you feel inclined to say a little more about yourself by way of introductions, well, then, that's what comments are for, right? (By the way, I think I totally overused commas in that last sentence.)


OH. MY. GODS. (available now!)
GODDESS BOOT CAMP (coming June 2009)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Top Ten Things NOT To Do In College

It’s fall semester, and some of our readers are moving on from high school to college. What better time to toss out some advice collected over the years to help smooth the transitions?


--Get in the habit of skipping assignments or classes, thinking you’ll make up for it later. You’ll be just as busy “later,” and have to work harder to catch up.

--Party too hearty. Among other things, remember almost every cell phone these days has a camera, so there’s more than just word-of-mouth to spread word of your antics.

--Skip “stupid sounding” get-to-know-you events like game nights and broom hockey. Sometimes the “stupid” stuff is the most fun.

--Forget that the Freshman Fifteen (the slang for frequent freshman weight gain) can sometimes turn into the Freshman Forty. If you want to stay in the clothes you brought to school, try to think Big Picture when making meal selections. Cheeseburgers and milkshakes are great--just not every day.

--Overlook laundry. That shirt that you found under your bed with dust bunnies and the mocha latte stains? Really shouldn’t be worn again, even if it does match your favorite skirt.

--Neglect your parents. You really do make their day when you call!

--Date the boy in the dorm room next to you...after you break up, you'll have to see him constantly for the rest of the school year, and who likes a run-in with her ex?

--Let your “back home boyfriend” visit to the exclusion of making new friends. This is your life now--embrace it!

--Loan money to classmates, friends, roomates. Nothing spoils a friendship faster than money owed.

--Walk alone at night. Most campuses have escort services that will pick you up at the library and drive you to your dorm. Be smart and alert, even on the safest of campuses.

Please, weigh in. There are way more than 10 “don’ts” and I’d love to hear yours!


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

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Book Launches -- Up, Up, and Away!

We wrap up this educational week on the Buzz Blog with the “Building Buzz in YA” workshop’s section on Book Launches. Next week we'll be back to our usual melange of fun, mayhem, and, ahem... boys.
To launch my post on launching your book -- above is a picture of our own Buzz Girl Dona Sarkar signing copies of How to Salsa in a Sari at her launch back in January! Isn't she looking gorgeous as always and hey -- notice the sari?

So, I’m planning my debut novel's launch for this April, so this is a pretty timely topic for me. So far, the tips I’ve gathered are:

Start Early – You need time to get the word out, so plan ahead. Make sure you have a good website/web presence (Myspace, Facebook) so you can publicize the event. Speak with your publisher’s publicity department to see what role they will have (if any) in setting up the event. Some publicists will want to arrange the kick-off signing with the bookstore for you, while others will leave you to organize it all yourself. Also, venues for an after-party or reception (if not at the bookstore) will book months in advance, so line that up early.

Pick a Theme -- What is your book about? In my case, it’s a werewolf book where the hero is the son of a rockstar, so my plan is to partner with a local all-ages music foundation and hire bands/do some kind of a benefit for them in conjunction with the book. That also will put me on their publicity calendar – so it may draw more attendees than if I went it alone.
Use the characters , title, or setting of your book to think of a way to tie it in to the event. At Dona Sarkar’s launch party for How to Salsa in a Sari – she had yummy salsas and chips – along with a fortune teller and acoustic band. Tina Ferraro had girls in prom dresses handing out cupcakes at her launch for Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress. Marley Gibson plans to have a ghost hunt for her Ghost Huntress series launch. See? Find the connection and make a big, unforgettable splash.
The other Bees -- Simone, Tera, and Steph have all done fantastic launches as well, so maybe they will post some deets in the comments? (hint, hint.)

Invite – You should invite everyone you know (obviously) but don’t forget associations to which you belong, alumni groups, co-workers, neighbors, teachers, schools you’ve visited as an author, etc. Make postcards with the info on it and keep them in your purse. You may meet someone randomly who would come to the launch and buy books for their daughter, niece, or themselves!

So that’s what I’ve learned so far. I’m sure the other Buzz Girls have a ton to add on this topic. And remember – if you have a question, please post it in comments and we will respond.
Also, I would love to have you post about a cool book launch you went to! What did they do that really made it fun??


Heather Davis is the author of Never Cry Werewolf.
*Launching* in April from Harperteen.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Another topic of the now-infamous Buzz-Girl-A-Thon at Nationals was Blogs! After all, that is how the Buzz Girls all got together! Heather Davis and I decided that neither of us were going to be able to blog every day, so we decided to ask every YA author we knew if they wanted to do a joint blog. Enter Simone, Marley, TLC, Steph and Tina, and the Buzz Girls were born!

We decided that we would be in rotation: Week 1 focusing on Books, Week 2 focusing on Boys, Week 3 focusing on Buzz in the industry, entertainment, whatever!

Out blog posts have been serious (Simone's on her father, Marley's on animals, mine on eating disorders), funny (Simone's on sagging, Tina's on her basketball challenge, Tera's on well, anything), teen-related (sex in teen novels, what we're reading now). and informative (this week!)

Some topics that really get a lot of comments:
  • Any contest
  • Any post asking people to weigh on on controversial topics like sex, Twilight, teens in the entertainment biz, etc
  • Any post asking people to vote on author pictures.

I love blogging with the Buzz Girls. Not only do we learn so much about each other, we also have a fun, unpredictable blog that has a vibrant personality of its own!

What are some blogs you read regularly?


Dona Sarkar-Mishra



both out now!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wanna be my friend?

I know, I know. You just want to write for teens, not become one again, right? Yeah, not gonna happen. You have to hang out where the teens are. And lucky for you, you can do that right from the comfort of your own house.

There are tons of social networking sites. MySpace, Goodreads, Jacketflap, Twitter, Shelfari, Facebook, Friendster. I could go on and on. They all offer unique ways of connecting with readers. For the purpose of this workshop/blog, I am going to focus on MySpace. MySpace is a goldmine of potential fans of your work if you just know how to find them. Here are some tips to get you started.

Your MySpace is L-A-M-E a/k/a Tips on creating teen-friendly pages

While the Buzz Girls can all appreciate your Burt Reynolds wallpaper and your choice of ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ for the song on your page, teens are going to think you are lame with a capital L. You have to treat your page exactly like you do your teen novels. Pick songs, backgrounds, and icons that teens will appreciate. You can still express yourself and your individuality just do it in a more teen-friendly way so that you can attract more friends. Save Burt and Duran Duran for your personal page, because your family and friends already know and appreciate how lame you are.

My favorite place to find cool layouts: There are hundreds more just type MySpace layouts into any search engine and it will give you tons to choose from.

Phishing- Tips for keeping yourself from becoming bait.

Take the time to go to every single person’s page who sends you a friend request. Make sure it isn’t some generic page set up to send you spam comments a hundred times a day!

Copy all of the code from your page into a Word document in case someone messes with your page.

Check on your page daily to make sure everything is okay.

Ever click on a link sent in a message, especially from someone you don’t know.

Just friend everybody, no matter how tempting as it is to click APPROVE when someone sends you a friend request. Remember that you are going to be reaching out to teens. You wouldn’t want them hooking up with some freak they found off your page.

Six degrees of Meg Cabot- How to get the friends you want!

I love friending other authors as much as anyone else, but that isn’t who the target audience for your book is going to be. You want to reach teens that are going to be interested in YOUR book. It doesn't really make sense to have twenty-thousand friends if none of them read teen fiction. Here are some tips on how to find them:

Most social networking sites, especially MySpace, have several teen lit groups. Join these groups and post bulletins, comment on posts, and friend the other members.

Say your book is about vampires. Type vampires in the search field and see what pops up. Probably a lot of people who have interest in vampires and could potentially become readers of your books. You have the potential to reach thousands of readers you just have to use your imagination.

Visit the pages of authors that write similarly to you. Friend the kids who take the time to comment because those are usually the die-hard readers looking for new books all the time.

Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? All about MySpace etiquette.

So, you’ve finally got a cool page and some teens have actually friended you and said they would buy your book. That’s it, right? WRONG! Some of these teens are actually going to want to be your friend and talk to you on a regular basis. They will be your biggest cheerleaders so don’t ignore them.

Always send a thank-you when someone adds you or requests you to add them. Try to comment about something on their page so it doesn’t seem generic.

It’s hard to keep up with birthdays but I think it is really special when you can do it.

Don’t send those generic comments that go to everybody just trying to pimp your book. They are totally lame and will get you de-friended in a heartbeat.

Don’t overload your friends with constant bulletins.

You can also find booksellers, librarians, and reviewers at MySpace. While social networking sites are definitely a time commitment, they are fun and super-beneficial to growing your career. I hope these tips are helpful and get you on your way.



ps- Friend me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Building Buzz in YA...Networking!

A lot of my friends call me the Queen of Networking and make jokes about how the Six Degrees of Separation to Marley Gibson. Well, Kevin Bacon I'm not, but over the years, I have put myself out there over the years getting to know people, talking about my writing, and promoting my upcoming books.

So, what is networking? And what does it mean to “market” oneself? Well, let’s look at some definitions:

Networking: To interact or engage in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support.

Marketing: Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives.

Everything we do in our writing career is the equivalent of marketing and networking. And to get published, you have to offer the business (the publishing world) your product (your manuscripts). You can never get bought if you don’t complete manuscripts and send them out into the world for judgment, rejection or acceptance. Your manuscripts are what you have to offer and what you bring to the market. We all have something unique in our writing and who we are.

When we look at our writing life, we should look at ourselves – Susie Writer – as a company. And that company is offering as a product: Manuscripts by Susie Writer. And your target audience for your product is agents and editors . Or, if you’re already published, your target audience is obviously your readers and booksellers. If you can think in these terms, then you’ll see that everything you do as a writer, every story you craft, every conference you attend, every contest you’s all part of your company’s marketing plan.

Here are some ways to network you, your books, and reach that teen audience you desire:

  1. Conferences: if you can afford it, attend as many conferences as you can. First of all, it’s good experience to get out and amongst other writers who share your goals and desires and understand your dreams. Also, at conferences, you have the opportunity to meet agents and editors in an environment specific to pitching, sharing ideas and getting requests. It’s also good to get your name and face out there. See and be seen. Meet your fellow writers and put names to faces. Depending on what you write, there are also conferences like Book Expo America, DragonCon, ComicCon, etc., where you can drill down to a more targeted audience to tell them about your book.
  2. RWA Meetings: in this industry, getting involved in Romance Writers of America is a beneficial thing all the way around. Go to meetings, mingle, meet people, sit with new friends like we’ve done today. Go to other chapter meetings for fun. Your circle of friends and colleagues will grow and you’ll continue to get your name out there. And because you're writing YA books, these contacts you meet are likely to have young children who could act as readers for you or help spread the word like an advance team about your upcoming books.
  3. Entering Contests: if you’ve polished and shined your manuscript and think it’s got a chance of finaling, why not toss your manuscript into a contest? If you final, you get your name and your manuscript title and genre on loops galore, in the RWR and most times, on the chapter website. People starts seeing your name and the titles of your work and will soon be looking for them on the shelves. More and more RWA chapters are having YA categories and are recognizing the growth in the genre. If you don't enter, offer to judge and help other writers out with their craft.
  4. Website: no matter what stage you are “at” in your writing career, I highly recommend a web presence of some sort. Yesterday's post addresses this more thoroughly. A live journal, a blog or a simple website. Purchasing domain names is cheap through and server space per year runs about $30-50 depending on the provider. Also, once you’re published, you’re going to want a website, so why wait? Published authors should use their website as the best, most effective marketing tool they possibly can. Host contests, message boards, giveaways, post news on where you’re speaking, when you’re book’s coming out, what’s coming up. That is your marketing space that you pay for and you should make the most of it. Create a writer’s blog (they’re free) if you’d like, but make sure the information is fresh, interesting and keeps people coming back. Before you know it, you’ll have built a fan base. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a web designer (or be lucky enough to be married to one, like me!), but you can find templates and free software on the web to help you get started. You can even team up with fabulous other writers to blog together. Hmmm...wouldn't that be a great idea? LOL!!
  5. E-mail Loops and Message Boards: Now, while loops can suck you into the frenetic lives of others with “disease of the week” or “my husband doesn’t understand me” or what not, you can make loops work for you. Don’t get sucked into the politics or bitchiness that loops sometimes spawn. Instead, use your time on the loops to network, get your name out there, be helpful to others, show your knowledge of a particular subject. And always, sign your name. If you have a blog or web address, include it. Some lists have upwards towards 800+ people or more...this is an excellent opportunity to get traffic to your site and introducing yourself “cyberly” to others. Again...these women you meet online can talk up your books to their kids and their friends' kids. Also, get your name out on MySpace and Facebook where teens hang out and visit. You'll be amazed at the response you'll get from your audience that way.
  6. Become an “expert” in something: you might think this is easier said than done, but think about it...everyone in this room is an expert on something. It may be DNA research or behind the scenes at a television news station, but it may also be surviving cancer, mastering calligraphy, how to bake a kick ass birthday cake or the nitty, gritty details of gardening. Everyone’s got a platform they can stand on and give help out on. Make a list of the things you know about or do well and drop that information into conversations, share at meetings or volunteer through e-mail or loops. You never know who you’ll be helping, whose book you might appear in the acknowledgments for and then how that can return to you. I think of Simone and how she speaks to school groups all the time (we'll have to get her to blog about that one day) -- she puts herself out there and gets her name in front of her audience.
  7. Write articles: once you find that thing you’re best at, write an article about it. Did you have a particular light bulb go off in your head about creating the perfect hero...write about it. Do you have knowledge of starting your own website...write about it. RWR is always looking for submissions, as are many – all I dare say – of the RWA chapter newsletters. Whenever you write an article for an RWA newsletter, chances are pretty high that the editor will post your story to EditorLink to be picked up by other chapters. Get your name out there by writing something you know that will help or interest others. Don't just submit to the RWA. Find teen publications that might be looking for short stories or advice on something or contributions. This would be a great way to reach out to teens through their own channels.
  8. Be professional: just as you would in a “real” job, take things seriously. Be the best person you can be. Don’t backstab or snark behind people’s backs. Or, if you absolutely have to do it, do what Niki Burnham says and “keep it in the vault.” Always be professional in every sense of the word. Present yourself professionally. Dress well. Groom. Take care in your appearance when you’re out and about meeting people. It’s said that people take six seconds to make a decision about you upon a first meet/first impression. Now, that’s definitely wrong, but it’s how things work. So, always make sure you’re putting your best foot person and on e-mails and loops and blogs.
  9. Relationships: form trusting, giving relationships with your writer friends. Help your critique partners, nurture a new writer, support a friend who’s battling the demons of self doubt, help promote other writers with reviews and book recommendations on Amazon or B&N (nice ones!), congratulate people off list on accomplishments to start forming new friendships, hell, even pitch your critique partner’s book to an editor and help her get a six-figure happened?
  10. Follow up: After meeting editors, agents, new writer friends, finaling in a contest, do good follow up. Send e-mails letting people know it was nice meeting them. Send thank you letters to judges in contests. Send hand written notes to editors and agents you meet at conferences. It goes a long way to setting you apart from the pack, showing you were “raised right” and that you have manners. Chances are, they’ll remember your name again in the future. Good follow-up is key to making the networking opportunities work best for you. If your teenage fans take the time to write you a letter or send you an e-mail, don't let it go unanswered. Let them know you appreciate their support! Never take great feedback from anyone for granted.
  11. Be Yourself: above and beyond every thing...remember to be are a unique and wonderful individual and if you put yourself out there, people will want to get to know you, support you, help you, cheer for you. Remember...karma does come back to you. Just be the best person you can possibly be and you’ll be rewarded.

I hope this information is useful and helpful to you. As always, please feel free to ask any questions and we'll be happy to answer (the best we can) and help out.

Thanks for reading today!

Marley = )

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Building Buzz in YA: Websites

Okay, I'm stepping up to talk about websites for young adults (or the young at heart).

Okay, not really... but they count.
How to turn your standard, basic pages into something teen-worthy. (The links go to examples on my own website.)
  • Write a bio that people want to read. Make it fun and consistent with your voice.
  • Value added book pages that give the readers a behind-the-scenes view.
Pages for professionals that might be interested in deeper information about your books.
It’s all in good fun. Teens want fun content they can use on your page and off.

You can have more than just your author page. Look for possible bonus websites in your book.
  • Characters -- Your characters are people, too. (Sort of.) They can have pages just like real teens.
    • Blogs -- Have a character keep a blog that corresponds with the action of the story.
    • MySpace -- Get them a MySpace page where fans can friend their favorite characters.
  • Schools -- Blur the division between reality and fiction. Give the school in your book a real website. (Bonus Fun: If it's a private school, include an application that fans can fill out and send in to your mail box.)
  • Miscellaneous
    • Countries -- Did you create a fictional country in your book? (Like Meg Cabot's Genovia.) Make an official country website.
    • Myths -- If you incorporate myth in your story, why not give those ancient deities an online presence. (Think Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter website and forum.)

Websites for a teen audience benefit a lot from lateral thinking. Don't just do what every other author does. Look for ways to make the world of your books come to life in the virtual world.

Remember, we're taking questions this week. Now is the time to ask everything you ever wanted to know about marketing your YA book!


OH. MY. GODS. "an effervescent, fast-paced read" -- Publishers Weekly
GODDESS BOOT CAMP (coming May 2009)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Building Buzz in YA

I was sorry to miss my part in the Buzz Girls’ Workshop at the Romance Writers of America in San Francisco, Building Buzz in YA. But seeing as how we are doing a round-up of those talks this week here on the blog (and a call for questions), I thought I’d chat a little about the section I was going to do: the Teen Audience.

I have three kids, between the ages of 15 and 20. But I was writing for the Young Adult market well before my kids were teens--in fact, I sold about 20 YA short stories between my own teen years and selling my first YA novel.

I believe it’s all about the ability to tap into your inner teen. Which, in addition to being a rule-setting, responsible parent, I can definitely do. Case in point:

Recently, a group of teens gathered in our front yard, some on the driveway basketball court, some on the sidelines. I went outside to join the action on the court. You see, thanks to many hours of shooting baskets with my brother when we were in high school, I am actually somewhat skilled at short-range shots.

So...we got into a game of HORSE, and I had more fun than a grown-up should be allowed. I actually won! Which I followed up with some super-embarrassing strutting, and joked that I was going to post specifics (names, scores) on my MySpace. (No one laughed but me.)

One of the bystanders, not exactly accustomed to me, asked my daughter, “What is your 7th grade?” And my daughter responded, with full seriousness, “We calculate her at about 9th. You see, her characters are mostly 11th and 12th, but you know how readers like to read up.” Which I am sure only confused the girl more!

When I heard about this later, I laughed out loud. And realized that yeah, on the basketball court, I had done some mental time-traveling to my teen years...made so easy for me because of all the hours I spend writing YA.

So if there is anything I’d like to share about the Teen Audience, it is this: in order to connect with the reader, you have to sound legitimate. And in order to sound legitimate, well, you have to feel it. It’s not about hanging with teens (although of course, it helps) as much as the ability to relate, to remember, and to report.

Embarrassing yourself is optional.

Any questions?


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, August 16, 2008


We’re thrilled to be celebrating Dona Sakar’s second release this week, SHRINK TO FIT .

The story of a teen who decides to lose weight to fit into her mother’s glittery world of modeling, this bold new book deals with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia--something Dona says she had to research to fully comprehend and portray.

I don’t have much personal experience with eating disorders, either, but I will never forget a conversation I had around a swimming pool years ago, when I offered a friend-of-a-friend some snacks. She had an easy laugh and was in the entertainment business, and so when she waved her hand and said, quite flippantly, that she only ate orange food, I cracked up. I remember thinking how creative that response was (maybe she wrote comedy?), and how limited it would be if in fact true. I mean, oranges, carrots, maybe peaches and cheddar cheese...

Some years later, I learned that teen actress Susan Dey had had a problem like that for real.

At points during the filming of The Partridge Family, she apparently ate only carrots--and members of the cast have gone on record saying her skin turned orange from all the beta carotene.

Which brought me back to the girl by the pool, and the wonder if her comment WAS a joke. And since she said it to me--practically a stranger--maybe she said it to others. Not for a laugh, but for help? And if so, I hope that someone with more knowledge or experience with eating disorders took her seriously, and her problems to heart, and gave her the attention and direction she needed.

Our society has a much clearer grasp today on eating disorders--their manifestations, and how all-encompassing they can be to those suffering. I applaud Dona for tackling these important issues in SHRINK TO FIT, and encourage everyone to buy a copy.


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

Friday, August 15, 2008

Through thick or thin....

The main character in Dona Sarkar's new novel Shrink to Fit(OUT NOW!!!), Leah Mandeville, thinks her life would be perfect if she could just lose some weight. Who hasn't felt this way at one point in their life? I know I have.

Come on, admit it. You know you've fantasized about breezing down the hallway of your old school and dazzling your old crush. You would toss your hair back, shake what your mama gave you and leave him/her drooling. And while none of us fantasize about gaining weight and not feeling so great about ourselves any more, sometimes it just happens.

To make matters worse, people seem to be able to say anything they want to people who are overweight. It seems to be the only acceptable form of prejudice these days. As if overweight people don't have mirrors or something. And as anyone who has ever been on a diet can tell you, losing weight is one of the hardest things in the world to do.

I have known people that are a size 4 and have cholesterol in the 200's. I have also known people that are a size 14 that can run circles around the size 4. So even though people can easily judge you based on your size, they don't know what is inside you.

The most important thing is being healthy and feeling good about yourself. And that is going to shine through no matter what size you wear.

Do you have a certain pair of jeans, a sweater, or something else that just makes you feel good about yourself when you put it on? Do tell!



The Winner of Monday's giveaway is....

C.R. EVERS!!!!

Congrats Christy!!

Please contact me at with your mailing info so I can send you the book!

Thanks for playing!
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
out now!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ladies and Gentleman...Dona Sarkar!

The crowd goes WILD for Dona Sarkar!

And why not? Her second novel, SHRINK TO FIT is out and available for purchase. We're so proud of our Buzz Girl, Dona, and all of her accomplishments.

I met Dona in 2004 at the RWA Conference in Dallas, Texas. She won me over with her enthusiasm and dedication to her writing. I was tickled pink when she sold her first book, HOW TO SALSA IN A SARI.

Here she is with fellow Buzz Girl, Heather Davis, during our Buzz in YA panel at Nationals in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago:

And a writer's gotta eat, you know! Here's Heather, Dona, and Tera Lynn at our lunch at The Thai King. (Has anyone blogged out the robbery we witnessed? let me tell you, Buzz Girls are something to be reckoned with when apprehending a suspect! LOL!!)

Dona stopped my table at the Literacy Signing to visit:

Doesn't Dona look stunning in her electric blue cocktail dress during the Ritas?

Why would anyone even attempt to stand next to Dona in a picture? LOL!

All this is to say that I'm proud to call Dona a friend and I'm so thrilled about her new book, SHRINK TO FIT. I hope everyone goes out and gets it as it's a really strong story that will resonate with teens.

And to spice things up, I'm going to give away a copy of Dona's book to one lucky winner! Just post a comment in the message trail about what you love about teen books. Feel free to enter as many times as you'd like. Winner will be announced next week.

Congrats, Dona!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available Now! Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available Now! Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Coming May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Shrinky Dinks

I'm sure this isn't the most appropriate discussion to follow Dona's wonderful post on eating disorder and how they relate to her new novel, SHRINK TO FIT. (Congratulations, Dona!) But when I started thinking about the title my mind immediately went to a childhood standby: Shrinky Dinks.

You know, those cool little sheets of plastic where you could trace line drawings of your favorite cartoon characters that you could color in and then bake into ... well, smaller, colored in drawings of your favorite cartoon characters. If you need a more visual reminder, here goes.

But, apparently, the post-80s generation has taken Shrinky Dinks to a whole new level. Here are some awesome Shrinky Dinks designs I found online:

Some very cool bracelets that would cost a fortune at Anthropologie.

Funky cool earrings. You could make a pair to go with every outfit.

These are way better looking that plain old sewing pins.

There's even a Shrinky Dinks website. Ah... takes me right back to my youth. What 80s (or 90s or 70s or whatever) memorabilia takes you back?


OH. MY. GODS. (available now!)
GODDESS BOOT CAMP (coming May 2009)

Monday, August 11, 2008


Hello lovely readers!

Here it is, the launch week for my second novel from Kimani Tru called SHRINK TO FIT! A few of you would have received copies from me over the past few weeks and I look forward to what you think about the book!

SHRINK TO FIT is the story of Leah Mandeville, a beautiful African-American athlete who is convinced she needs to slim down to fit into her mother's glittering world of well as to catch the attention of the boy next door.

When a tragedy strikes Leah's disillusioned world, will she realize that she's taking her weight loss plan too far? Or will her desire to shrink to fit lead to a tragedy of her own?

This story was very interesting for me to write, not just because of the subject matter (anorexia and bulimia) but also because I have never had an eating disorder. All the research for SHRINK TO FIT came from the University of Washington Medical Center and from real people who I've known to have these disorders.

Did you know:

  • Eating disorders are not due to a failure of will or behavior; rather, they are real, treatable medical illnesses in which certain maladaptive patterns of eating take on a life of their own.

  • Eating disorders frequently co-occur with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders.

  • People who suffer from eating disorders can experience a wide range of physical health complications, including serious heart conditions and kidney failure which may lead to death.

Did you know there are entire sites devoted to "Ana" the pro-anorexia movement. These teenagers treat anorexia as a friend who they nickname "Ana" and devote blogs and forums to encourage keeping Ana alive. They discuss ways to keep their calorie count to under 250/day and discuss "Thinspirations", girls like Posh Spice, Lindsey Lohan and Mary Kate Olsen who glamorize "skinny-chic" in the media.

The images are way too disturbing to post on this blog, but if you're interested just type, "Thinspiration" into your search engine of choice.

I was scared as hell when I read all this and that's how I got the inspiration to write SHRINK TO FIT. As for the African-American twist? Eating disorders have long been known to be a "white girl's disease."


With thin "ethnic" celebrities like Rhianna, Eva Longoria Parker and Aishwarya Rai being touted as having "perfect bodies", girls from all over the world are experiencing the same insecurities as the traditional cheerleader types we associate with eating disorders.

To win a signed copy of SHRINK TO FIT, please leave a comment in the comments section.
Dona Sarkar-Mishra
SHRINK TO FIT - also out now!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

TLC's SF Recap

Since I actually left the conference hotel this time (before, during, and after the conference) I'm going to share some of my favorite pics from my days in the Bay Area. Enjoy.

My CP Sharie Kohler (aka Sophie Jordan) and me on our first day out.

Our first Cable Car ride ... where the passengers had to get out and push (yes push) the car back on track. Why? Because we had no brakes. Details.

The statue of someone famous at the base of Coit Tower.

A very cool starfish at the Bay Aquarium (which was way awesome because you go through two tunnels where leopard sharks, schools of tiny silver fish, and other scary things swim right over you).

My parents and me on the boat to cruise the Bay. It was free-ee-eezing!

The cruise actually went under the Golden Gate Bridge. Not that we could see the bridge, thanks to all the fog.

My parents and I drove down the coast hunting for a swimable beach (impossible) and tidepools (success!). This trip sadly ended with me getting attacked by waves twice, leaving me with wet pants and soaked sneakers.

We also did the obligatory night in Chinatown. This was somehow more awesome than usual, though, considering the Beijing Olympics were set to open within days.

All in all I had an awesome time in San Francisco. And I can't wait to get out of the hotel again--what are conferences for if not sightseeing?


OH. MY. GODS. (available now!)
GODDESS BOOT CAMP (coming May 2009)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pics, pics, pics...and your opinion!

It was soooooo wonderful hanging out with my fellow Buzz Girls at the RWA National Conference in San Francisco. We certainly missed having Tina and Stephanie with us, but you were there in spirit. Thanks to everyone who came to our panel discussion. We will get to that Q&A we promised.

Here are a few more pictures from the conference:

The Buzz Girls with fellow YA writers, Sara Hantz and Wendy Toliver:

My first RWA Book Signing!

With my "neighbor," New York Times bestseller, Rachel Gibson:

At the Chick Lit Party with my lovely critique partner, Wendy Toliver

More from the Chick Lit Party with Aussies Kandy Shepherd and Carla Molina

My "Gossip Girls" panel with the fabulous Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency:

At The Knight Agency party with my amazing agent, Deidre Knight, and my mentor and fellow TKA sistah, Jessica Andersen:

With my darling Kristen Painter at the TKA party:

And my darling Louisa Edwards White:

At the Ritas with the gorgeous Amazon, Kristen (check out my bling!)

And with my BFF Kwana Jackson:

Nadine Dejani, looking fashionable, as always:

Here I am with the amazing Victoria Dahl, historical author:

Cindy Gerard welcomed me to the RWA signing table with open arms

Also, I had my author picture photography session with Faith Dugan in Newport, Rhode Island. She's a total doll and does amazing work. I'm posting a few here and would love your opinion on which photo I should use for my GHOST HUNTRESS book covers, as well as for my website. I appreciate your weighing in!

Image #1:

Image #2:

Image #3:

Image #4:

Image #5:

Image #6:

(If you're wondering why I have a video camera, we use it in our ghost investigations.)

Image #7:

Image #8:

Please weigh in with your vote in the comments section. Most appreciate!

Marley = )

SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available Now! Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available Now! Puffin Books)
GHOST HUNTRESS Series (Coming May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)