Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Some of My Best Friends are RITA Winners

Okay, maybe the title of this post should be "Some of My Favorite Authors are RITA Winners" but whatever. Semantics.

As Steph and Tina have pointed out, Tina, Rosemary Clement-Moore and I have been nominated in the Best Young Adult of RWA's RITA contest. (And I've been nominated for Best First Book, too, but that's not really relevant at the moment.) Just look at the wonderful company Tina, Rosemary and I are keeping with some of the past RITA winners who also happen to be some of my favorite writers.
  • Karen Marie Moning (2001 Best Paranormal Romance for The Highlander's Touch)
  • Rachel Gibson (2002 Best Contemporary Single Title for True Confessions)
  • Jennifer Crusie (2005 Best Contemporary Single Title for Bet Me)
  • Alesia Holliday (2006 Best Romantic Novella for "The Naked Truth About Guys")
  • Kresley Cole (2007 Best Paranormal Romance for A Hunger Like No Other)
  • Julia Quinn (2007 Best Long Historical Romance for On the Way To the Wedding and 2008 Best Regency Historical Romance for The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever)
  • Caridad Ferrar (2007 Best Contemporary Single Title for Adios To My Old Life)
  • Melissa Marr (2008 Best Young Adult for Wicked Lovely)
  • J.R. Ward (2008 Best Paranormal Romance for Lover Revealed)
I'll be happy no matter who wins, because no matter what another one of my favorite writers is going to be added to that list. =) Yay us, girlfriends!

Your assignment, Buzzers, is to tell me your favorite author/book and what award you would give them if somebody let you totally make up awards. Like I would give E. Lockhart's Fly on the Wall the Best Book That Actually Made Me Want To Read Kafka award. Okay, your turn.


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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Color Me Happy!

Many of you know that I got some fantastic news last week, that my book, How to Hook a Hottie, got a nomination for the 2008 Romance Writer’s of America Best Young Adult Novel.

And that means buying a some serious dress-up wear! Not unlike, well, a prom dress. Which, as it happens, was the topic of my blogs here the past two Mondays.

So while it feels too early to actual shopping for my dress (and I’d like to think I’m going to be ten pounds slimmer come July), it’s never too early to plan.

And first up is thinking colors. I’m definitely bold. No beige for me. I love the red family: red, orange, pink, purple. But lately I’ve taken to wearing green, too. And black is always a winner. Oh, and I LOVE dark brown. And I could be talked into certain shades of blue...

As you see, I’m pretty undecided. So I’m throwing this out to our readers. Help! Look at my hair, my eyes, my complexion. What do you think is “my color?"

And warm congratulations to fellow Buzz Girl, Tera Lynn Childs on her nomination for Oh.My.Gods and Rosemary Clement-Moore for Hell Week! I am so honored and excited to be in their company!


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

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whole lotta buzzing goin on'

One of the first things I did when I realized that I wanted to become a writer was join Romance Writers of America. I have never spent a better seventy-five dollars. I learned how to write a query letter, where to find an agent, and what to expect should I ever get a book published. But the one thing I never expected my membership to include was wonderful friends. I couldn't imagine that I would make friends all over the country that would become such an important part of my life. For this reason, RWA holds a special place in my heart.
(Me & Tera. We had only met about four days before this picture was taken but I felt like I had known her forever!)
For those of you not familiar with RWA, they have a giant conference in a different city every July. The conference is filled with informative workshops and networking opportunities. There is a giant book signing and parties galore! The last night of the conference is a special ceremony. Everyone gets all dolled up(it's sort of like the Oscars for romance writers). There is always a celebrity writer emcee who dazzles the audience with their wit in between the announcements of the Golden Heart and Rita winners. The Golden Heart is the RWA's unpublished members contest. The winners get a lovely necklace as a prize. I was lucky enough to see our own Heather Davis win the GH in 2006! The Rita is for published members and it is really awesome looking gold trophy.
(Here Heather is after her win with fellow YA author Jen Echols)

Every January, either unpublished manuscripts or books are mailed out to RWA members who judge them. Toward the end of March, everyone is holding their breath to receive a phone call saying that they are a Golden Heart or Rita finalist. Aspiring and published authors are burning up the loops the day the calls start going out to see who has been chosen. It's so exciting. Not only do I love seeing who made it in the category that I've entered but also in the category I judged. Rita finalists get these awesome pins to put on their name tags so that all through conference people can ogle them and drool in jealousy!

So why am I explaining all this and why should you really care? Because two of the Buzz Girls are Rita Finalists! You should also know that there were only three finalists chosen in the young adult category. So that means that there is a 66 2/3% that the winner will be a Buzz Girl!!! So, without further ado, I am so happy to announce that Tina Ferraro and Tera Lynn Childs are both finalists!

The adorable Tina Ferraro and her Rita-nominated book, How to Hook a Hottie.

And the gorgeous Tera Lynn Childs and her Rita-nominated book, OH. MY. GODS.

I should also mention that Tera is actually a DOUBLE Rita Finalist because she also finaled in the category for Best First Book. She will have two pins on her name tag and you may actually see people bow down in front of her. I'm totally not kidding!
If you still don't get what all the fuss is about, you obviously haven't read these books. So do yourself a favor and run to the bookstore to get them. And if you are going to be in Washington D.C. for RWA Nationals make sure you cheer super loud for both of these incredibly talented writers. Congrats Tina & Tera. We are so proud of you!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Giddy about Gettysburg!

Sorry I've been a bit AWOL of late...a lot going on in my personal and work life. But I'm getting a mini-break starting today! I'm wheel's up for Gettysburg this afternoon to attend Phenomenology 101 and do a little ghost hunting around an amazing historic area.

I'm going to get the chance to schmooze with about two hundred and fifty attendees and talk up the upcoming release of GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING. I'll even have an awesome cover blow up to put out for the attendees to see.

And, I get to hang out with all of my "paranormal" friends who are coming from all over the country to investigate the battlefield and surrounding areas.

So...I'm hoping to catch some paranormal activity! I'll be sure to report in if I find anything!

Marley = )

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kids Incorporated

Some of you may be too young to remember this show (if you are, please keep it to yourself--you're making me feel old), but back in the 80s this was one of my favorites. It basically featured kids my age (at the time) singing cover versions of top pop hits. Here's the theme song.

Although not quite as star-studded as the Mickey Mouse Club, Kids Incorporated can claim to have launched Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (aka the Ghost Whisperer). Here are a couple of my favorite Kids Inc videos. Enjoy the retro 80s flashback.

This is Stacy (Fergie) singing the Lionel Ritchie hit Say You, Say Me. (No, I don't get the clown either.)

How about the show's yummy Ryan Lambert signing Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer? I love this one.

Rahsaan Patterson covering Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' by Michael Jackson.

And, finally, Martika Marrero signing Patty Smyth's the Warrior. (In my opinion, Martika had the best voice of anyone on the show.)

Wanna see more? Check out tons of their videos on the Kids Incorporated YouTube channel. Now, be honest. What do you think? Cheesy or awesome or a little of both?


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

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prom Dresses, Take Two!

Last week I posted seven hot new prom dress styles, and asked readers to vote.

It turns out we had a tie for favorite prom dress, numbers two and three:

I agree--both great choices!

I picked one commenter to win a signed copy of Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress and that is...

Mrs. V!

(Yay!) Mrs. V., please contact me at admin@tinaferraro.com with contact information so I can get that book in the mail to you!

Thanks to all who voted and entered the contest!

Now, staying with the prom theme, I was thrilled to learn last week to learn that School Library Journal announced a 2009 Prom Fiction List, and guess what book got included?

See for yourself:

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Prom.
Bradley, Alex. 24 Girls in 7 Days.
Cabot, Meg. Princess in Pink.
Carlson, Melody. Payback: A Novel.
Cirrone, Dorian. Prom Kings and Drama Queens
Craft, Elizabeth. Prom Season: Three Novels.
Dean, Zoey. Some Like It Hot: an A-list Novel.
Dower, Laura. Rewind.
Downing, Erin. Prom Crashers.
Ferraro, Tina. Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress: a Novel.
Le Ny, Jeanine. Dream.
Levithan, David. 21 Proms.
Medina, Nico. Fat Hoochie Prom Queen.
Nathan, Sarah. High School Musical 3, Senior Year: A Prom to Remember.
Palmer, Robin. Cindy Ella.
Preble, Laura. Prom Queen Geeks.
Sloan, Brian. A Really Nice Prom Mess.
Strasser, Todd. How I Created My Perfect Prom Date

I haven’t read many of these books, but if you have and enjoyed them, please leave a comment and tell us which ones and why!

***And last but not least, Happy Birthday to Buzz Girl Stephanie Hale***


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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Home Alone

Hello blog-sters!
I, Dona Sarkar, am HOME ALONE for the next two weeks! DH has gone off on a trip, leaving me with an empty house where I can do whatever I want for 2 whole weeks! (Okay, so I'm at home for about 12 hours a day, and sleep for 7 hours, so that's only about 5 hours I can really do much damage!)
Why is this such a big deal? I have NEVER lived alone! Can you imagine that? I lived with my parents, then with roommates, then with my husband. So, this is a rare and strange event for me, one I have been planning for for quite some time.
The day started off with me doing some "fun" cooking...stuff only I like to eat. On a normal basis, I am not the cook in the house because I only know how to make two things: tomato soup and vegetables. Today I decided to make both.
This is NOT a picture of what I made :) but looks yummy anyway
The tomato soup quickly became a curried tomato soup with quinoa and it is Delicious. I, literally, cannot stop eating it. Browsing the web, I found a recipe on http://blog.fatfreevegan.com. While I am not a vegan, nor fat-free, I love some of the foods on there, so I followed that recipe and added quinoa. I'll reiterate, so good!
This actually does look like what I made =)
The second thing I made was roasted vegetables which was about as simple as it sounds. I used a bit of sea-salt, but not much else on the super-fresh vegetables. A perfect side to the tomato soup!

Next on the list was some seriously wild dancing with my cat. He was not amused.

And what is a "girls day" without shopping?

I had a "Pretty Woman" afternoon and some random guy even told me, "You're doing your part to boost the economy!"

I plan to make the most out of every free minute the next two week, but I need ideas: What do you girls do when you're "home alone"?
Dona Sarkar

Friday, March 20, 2009

General Randomness

Happy Friday, Everyone! Last Saturday I had the honor of being invited to speak at Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights, IL. It was their first annual YA Lit Festival and I was on a panel with five other authors. One being our own adorable Simone Elkeles. The other authors were Ann Angel, Adam Seltzer, Claudia Martinez, and Pamela Todd. Simone enthralled the crowd by reading some hilarious fan email. I did a reading from Spring Breakup, which was a first, and was proud of myself that I didn't pass out. The other authors did readings from their books as well and it amazed me that after every single reading I wanted to read their books really bad! It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with so many talented and entertaining authors! I really wish that my library had exposed me to this kind of program when I was growing up. About eighty kids showed up and they were the most respectful bunch I had ever had the pleasure of being around. It was obvious that the high school librarian and the head librarian of Eisenhower were doing a fantastic job of getting these kids interested in books. Here is a shot of me and Simone.

I even had my first male fan come up and tell me he loved Revenge of the Homecoming Queen. I have to admit that I didn't believe him at first. But when he started talking about the characters, I realized he actually did read it! After the program the kids swarmed our table to get autographs and ask questions. They were adorable! So thanks to Peggy and Jennette and all the kids from Norridge High School! And a VERY special thanks to my good friend Karen for helping me with directions and letting me starve her to death the entire day!

In other fun things, Lifetime is getting ready to kick off another four Nora Roberts movies. The first one is Northern Lights starring LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian (yes, please, the dude is HOT!)There are four movies premiering for the next four Saturday nights. Stars from the other movies include Jerry O'Connell, Brittany Murphy, and the licktastic (yay, I made that up)Jason Lewis (Smith from Sex in the City). I'll be TiVoing all of them.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

LOLDogs (aka TLC's Cop Out Post)

It's 2:30am and I'm heading out on a road trip tomorrow afternoon that I still haven't packed for, so I'm taking a cop out on my post and just throwing up loldogs up and hoping you'll laugh so hard you won't notice.




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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Which Prom Dress Would You Wear?

MSN Lifestyle is offering up a collection of what they are calling this season’s hottest prom dresses!

Worn or unworn, they are really something to look at, so I picked seven of the most interesting to feature here:

Number One:

Number Two:

Number Three:

Number Four:

Number Five:

Number Six:

Number Seven:

Given the opportunity and bod to pull it off, I think I'd wear Number One. Or Seven. Well, One or Seven...

Clearly, I can't choose. But if you leave a comment about your favorite dress, you'll be entered to win one of my books. And the winner will get to choose between Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, How to Hook a Hottie, and The ABC's of Kissing Boys!

Now "go shopping" and good luck!


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

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coraline -- the Movie

Happy Sunday!

I'm having a great weekend and hope you guys are too. Last night I got to see the movie Coraline in 3D. Holy crap! Have you seen this movie yet? It's amazing. The film is beautiful and spooky and tells a great story.

Though the book was intended for middle-grade readers, the movie's not for kids, little ones anyway. It's a little intense. I think I may have had weird dreams from it, actually... Anyway, if you're looking for something fun to do, then for the price of a regular movie, go to Coraline in 3D where you'll feel like you've been to a scary circus minus the confetti-wielding clowns.

Neil Gaiman, who wrote the book Coraline, is also the winner of the Newberry Award for his most-recent book for young readers, The Graveyard Book. I picked this up along with a new Buzz Girl release this week -- and my TBR pile is now huge!

So what are you doing this weekend? Reading, going to the movies, preparing for St. Patrick's Day celebrations like me? And, most importantly -- did you see Coraline in 3D yet?


Never Cry Werewolf ~ HarperTeen Sept. '09
The Clearing ~ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Spring '10

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Don't go breakin my heart...

I get my heart broken several times a year. Every fall, I fall in love with a few new television programs only to have some dude at CBS or NBC smash my heart with a sledgehammer by canceling the best new show on TV. It's getting to the point where I'm just too scared to commit. I don't understand the cut-throatness of the TV biz. And I sure don't understand who they are polling to find out what's popular. Here are a few of my favs that I've never quite gotten over.

1)The Class- This show was beyond awesome. It starred Jason Ritter (the late John's son)and featured a group who were all in the same third grade class who reunited. I nearly cried when it got canceled. Thank you, CBS.

2)Out of Practice-This show had seasoned vets like Stockard Channing, Jennifer Tilly, and Henry Winkler. It focused on a family of all doctors and was so hilarious. Apparently I was the only one who thought so. Canceled by CBS.

3)Lipstick Jungle/Cashmere Mafia- I really liked both shows but LJ was my fav and lasted longer. I sometimes wonder if LJ would have stayed on if they wouldn't have both been on at the same time. The only bright spot to this is that hottie Kirby from LJ jumped over to Priviledged. Even though there are rumors that Priviledged might be canceled also. Sigh.
Stephanie, we can still be together. I'm just on the CW now, and disappointingly, I'll be wearing lots more clothes.

One of my new shows last fall was WORST WEEK. I laugh so hard every time I watch this show. While researching this blog post I found out that it may very well be canceled. My viewing habits are truly cursed.
Stephanie, I'll kick a CBS executive for you and tell them it is over with them forever!

Against my better judgment I took TLC's advice to watch CASTLE. Of course, I'm head over heels again. I really hope this relationship isn't just a fling.
Stephanie, meet me every Monday night. We can be together forever.

If you could bring any show back to life, what would it be?

And in very exciting news, congrats go out to our own little bee Tina Ferraro for being named a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for her novel, HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE. Congrats, Tina. We are proud of you!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Theme of the Day is ... Castles

As we speak--er, read?--a group of talented young adult authoresses are spending their days lounging, chatting, and writing in AN IRISH CASTLE! I kid you not. You can read all about Operation Writing Castle (which includes a list of the authors involved) and the details on How To Rent a Castle on Ally Carter's blog. You can even follow their TeamCastle Tweets as they report back live from the emerald isle. Sigh, jealousy. I'm picturing something like this:

(Photo borrowed from the Dunluce Castle website.)

But, alas, there are more big Castle-related doings this week. Namely, the series premiere of ABC's new show, Castle. I knew this show was coming up, but had totally forgotten it until I just happened to tune in to Dancing With the Stars (which I never watch) and then happened to hear them mention Castle starting after the show. Thank goodness!

Castle is about a bestselling mystery author who gets called in by the police department when a pair of murders replicate murders from his book. Soon their on the hunt for a deranged fan ... and maybe more.

What I loved about this show:
  1. Nathan Fillion (of Firefly fame). Heart him. Big time. (see above)
  2. Writer as protagonist. Maybe some of his career-related details are a little unbelievable, but, hey, I'm not a bestselling author (yet!) so what do I know? This also relates to my post about Why I Love Psych, where I proposed that Shawn would make a great writer because he's so observant. Now we get to see a writer be a great detective because he's so observant. Love.
  3. Cameos by James Patterson (mega-bestselling author) and Stephen J Cannell (also a bestselling author and producer of almost every great 80s detective show you can think of) at Castle's weekly poker game.
This is one of those shows that I'm afraid isn't going to make it past one season. But I'm determined to enjoy it while I can!


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

Monday, March 09, 2009

Facebook Scrabble: Confessions of an Addict!

My daughter introduced me to Facebook Scrabble when she was home from college on her winter break. It's an on-line version of the game most of us played growing up. Here's a picture of the board we have:

She and I played a game or two from separate ends of the house, but I very quickly got "the bug" and her very busy social schedule got on my nerves. ("You're going where? For how long? Excuse me, young lady, have you played your next word?")

Clearly, I couldn't rely solely on her as my partner. So I put the word out on Facebook that I was looking...

It's about two months now, and I've played writers, readers, childhood friends, relatives--even a golfing librarian. In one-on-one and group games. And here's the thing, I'm nowhere near burning out. My addiction's getting worse. For the first time I am understanding people's love of golf, which is at once a shared activity and a personal sport, and find myself thinking ahead to the next games even before I've finished the ones I'm in. ("Next time I'm stuck with only U's and I's and a V in a triple word situation...")

In fact, I was driving earlier, and started making words out of license plates!

It's crazy. But it's fun. And eventually, I will get a handle on this addiction. Just not...today.

So tell me, do you have any on-line sites or games that are taking over your life?


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

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Other Way to Spring Break

I hope you've been enjoying the week-long kick off for Steph Hale's newest release Spring Breakup! The Buzz Girls have each been sharing their favorite Spring Break places and memories -- but I've got a slightly different take.
When I was growing up I never went on a traditional Spring Break. My family (and I) just didn't have the funds to travel to cool places on the school vacations, and when I became an adult, I always seemed to be working instead of taking time out...
But I don't think that's unusual. How many times have you been "trapped" in your own town while your friends head out to cool locations? Not to worry, though -- you can create your own Spring Break trip right in your home town.
Most cities and towns have a beach or a local lake - there is usually somewhere to go lay out in the sun and have a picnic. Here is Golden Gardens beach, near Ballard, a stretch of sand on a very cold body of water called the Puget Sound. This is a great place to people watch -- and along with Greenlake -- one of Seattle's fun places to jog or picnic.

Does your town have a museum? Spring Break is a great time to enjoy what the local culture. Most museums have student discounts, even. In Seattle we have a few really cool museums. Here is the main Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and the world famous Hammering Man statue.

Do what the tourists do for a day! Here is the counter with the famous fish throwers at the Pike Place Market. Jostle in with the crowd and get a dose of the kitschy stuff the locals usually ignore. It's fun! And -- there are great, cheap places to eat around the Market.

Do something different! Volunteer for a local charity during your Spring Break week or be an extra in a movie filming in your town. At left is a still from Daredreamer, a little known movie I was an extra in when they filmed at my high school my junior year. They invited the students to help during Spring Break. It was a lot of waiting around and they fed us bad sandwiches, but it was fun!
And the poor movie never really made it... *sigh*
Anyway, I hope I've given you some ideas on how to make your own homemade Spring Break. Hanging out with your friends (if they're around) and having time away from school to do all the cool stuff you normally don't get to do is the best break of all.
Never Cry Werewolf ~ Sept '09 HarperTeen
The Clearing ~ Houghton Miffling Harcourt Spring '10

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spring Break: The Caribbean!

Hello Spring Breakers! Rounding out the last few days of Stephanie Hale's release week of SPRING BREAKUP is me, Dona Sarkar, talking about one of my favorite vacation spots...The Caribbean! I was not lucky enough to go to the Caribbean for Spring Break, but my husband and I have been there for our second (and third!) honeymoons!

There are so many things to do/places to see in the Caribbean, our first trip was via a cruise where we had the opportunity to visit a series of islands: Jamaica, Haiti, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico!

I met some strange creatures in our cruise ship room.

We climbed the Dunns River Falls in Jamaica. The climb was actually challenging as we scuttled over the slippery rocks, but at least we had fun falling!

We went on a fantastic snorkeling trip in Haiti where I saw a sea urchin!

This was my husband's first time snorkeling and he was a little nervous. I held his hand through the whole thing!

This past winter, we spent a good amount of time in Aruba. The gorgeous island is just off the coast of South America...we could see Venezuela from our hotel room! I highly recommend Aruba...perfect azure sea, amazing white sand. Awesome hospitality!
We went on a pirate ship to see an underwater Nazi shipwreck! I also saw a giant scary squid with open tentacles :)

I made a new friend at our hotel...this is Iguana Joe!

Walking around the city of Oranjestand...very beautiful and historical!

Taking a walk along the beach...we spent all day, every day in the ocean just loving the extraordinary ocean!

So that was my "faux" Spring Break...if anyone else wants to know about the Caribbean...just ask!
If you want a great spring break story, check out Stephanie Hale's latest release SPRING BREAKUP!
Dona Sarkar