Sunday, February 28, 2010

Really Bad, Terrible, No Good Days

Let's say you had a really bad day. In general, nothing went right. Maybe one of your kids wrote all over walls your husband painted three days ago as well as the toy chest you hand-painted for your son's 1st birthday and hoped would become an heirloom. Maybe the toilet flooded and it was full of, well, stuff, but no one told you for a good two days. Perhaps the ice maker and the dishwasher broke within a few hours of each other, and the dogs got into the basement and dragged your favorite hard cover books -- the ones you set out in the guest room -- into the snowy backyard, ripping them to shreds. When you're cleaning up the ripped pages, a skunk gets hit by a car right in front of your house and the stench wafts right into your face. And, just for kicks, how about your credit card number was stolen and some creep is charging iTunes and international Skype calls left and right?

So what do you do? Well, many folks would head for the local bar, hoping they'd give you a tab even though your credit card had to be cancelled. Or kick a wall, preferably the one that's now a scribble-mural. Or soak in a hot bathtub, preferably NOT the one beside the flooded toilet. Maybe you'd do some housework, like hand washing all those dishes. Or go for a long stroll, hoping another skunk isn't hit. Or curl up with a good book, provided the dogs didn't get to it first.

What do YOU do when you have a really bad day? Is there something that helps you relax or get happy? Is there someone you call to talk about it? Tell me about it!!!

P.S. All of those things have happened to me recently but not all in one day. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ohhhh Canada!

I am lucky enough to live within 2 hours of Vancouver BC the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics! Today I am road-tripping up there to checck out all the action! I will have pictures to post for next week's blog, same time, same place!

If you haven't already, please mosey on over to Tera Lynn Child's Blog and enter her Olympics contest to win many many Buzz Girls books!

Have a great weekend!

--Dona Sarkar

Friday, February 26, 2010

Did you brown bag it?

This probably isn't the most exciting post I'll ever write but it's a topic that comes up daily in the Hale household. When I was in school I would mostly eat hot lunch with the exception of the days when they were serving something disgusting like Johnny Rib (our school's knockoff McRib, which makes me gag just looking at it). But my son absolutely refuses to partake in hot lunch EVER! It makes me crazy! How can he not slobber over those delicious pizza squares they serve? I just feel bad because there are only so many ways you can fix PB & J. I try to mix it up so I'm not packing him the same thing everyday and I always include a cute picture of an animal everyday and a little treat as a surprise. His favorite is when I flattened a piece of bread and spread peanut butter and jelly on it then roll it up and cut it into pieces so it looks like sushi. Then I toss some chop sticks in his lunch box. I have to admit it is pretty cute.

When I was in school the lunch trays were made of hard plastic. There were a variety of colors. I remember we used to hold our breath until we saw what color tray our crush was carrying. Because everybody knew that if you and your crush were carrying the same color tray you were totally going to be together forever. These days they serve on styrofoam (don't ask me why they are going backwards greenwise!) so I can't even use that one. Not that I want my first grader to have a crush yet anyway!
(This was my favorite lunchbox!)

Did you eat hot lunch at school or did you brown bag it? And what was your favorite hot lunch?



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sniffle, Sniffle

Ugh! Sick. It’s nearly the weekend and I’m not quite done with a nosey little cold that showed up Monday afternoon. I hate being sick. I hate missing work. I hate being out of my daily routine. I hate the endless soup and crackers and tea with lemon. I haven’t had coffee in three days! Help!

I’m planning to be better by tomorrow night. I’ve got tickets to see Galactic, this awesome band from New Orleans that blends hip-hop, jazz, rock, and funk. I’ve also got a short trip out of town planned for Saturday and Sunday. Does the cold not get that?

The only good thing to come from this cold is that I took a day off to sleep and I was able to work on my TBR pile. That was a treat. I have so many good books in my queue.

Ok, guys – seriously - what is your favorite way to get rid of a cold? I’d love to hear your best suggestions for knocking the stuffing out of a nasty bug. I've done the tea, Emergen-C and all that stuff -- what works for you?

Hugs from a distance,

Heather, the Sniffly…

The Clearing – April 2010 HMH

Never Cry Werewolf – Sept 2009 HarperTeen

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Update from the Road, News, and Olympic Moment

Like Tera's post, I am on the move these days. I did a paranormal conference in Indiana this past weekend at this old, old art deco theatre where we had a TON of paranormal activity and then we turned the RV east back to Boston. We did a stop in Gettysburg and are back on the road today headed home. It's been a long, productive roadtrip and there's been a lot of plotting along the way, as well.

While I've been traveling, I got some incredibly awesome news from my agent. Check it out!

International rights: Children's Russian rights to Marley Gibson's THE GHOST HUNTRESS: The Awakening, The Guidance, and The Reason series, to AST, by Whitney Lee of The Fielding Agency on behalf of Elaine Spencer at The Knight Agency.

How cool is that? Ghost Huntress is coming out in Russian! As a child of the Cold War, I find this amazing...and fantastic. It won't be out for a year, but I'm dying to see how the cover is going to look and see my words in another language.

Finally, I wanted to send my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Canadian women's ice skater, Joannie Rochette, who lost her mother two days ago and went ahead and skated last night to a personal best. It's stories like hers that truly represent the true Olympic spirit and the dedication and passion of these athletes.

Hugs to everyone!
Marley = )

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winding Down and Heading Out

February has been kind of the Month of Crazy. I've been hosting my second semi-annual Contest of Olympic Proportion over on my personal blog (aka 17 days of great giveaways from fabulous authors--be sure to check out this Saturday's contest and you're sure to see some familiar books up for grabs).

I've also been getting ready for an adventurous trip. And when I say "adventurous" I mean a seven week trek that will take me from east coast to west coast, from Quebec, Canada, to Houston, Texas, and a few places in between. I'll be meeting with my editor and colleagues in New York, making a professional appearance at the Texas Library Association conference, and playing it casual as a tourist in climates ranging from freezing winter to potentially tropical spring.

The hardest part so far has been the planning. Since I won't be in any one location more than five days, that's a lot of hotel and transportation reservations. And because I'll be changing lodgings every few days I'm trying to keep my packing down. Way down. We're talking a purse/tote bag and a carry-on suitcase.

We'll see on Monday (my departure date) how well I succeed.


Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp (out now!)
Forgive My Fins (Katherine Tegen Books, June 2010)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Meeting Shannon Hale!

Last June, we Buzz Girls interviewed some of our favorite authors, and our readers may remember that I enjoyed chatting with Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author, Shannon Hale.

This past weekend, Shannon dropped by to meet fans and sign books at Once Upon a Time in Montrose, California:.

I got there early, introduced myself and bought a copy of the very funny Austenland, which she signed in a way that literally made me laugh out loud (since I’ve already read the book and got “the joke”) and we chatted a little about the industry and our mutual friend, the lovely Buzz Girl, Wendy Toliver.

And since I now own two copies of Austenland, I thought I’d offer up my original hardcover copy (only slightly used--read once) to any interested reader. All you have to do to be entered in this contest is to tell us a favorite author who you’d like to meet! The winner will be chosen by my handy-dandy random number generator and announced next Monday on my blog.

Good luck!


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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Giveaway Winners!!!

Thank you to everyone who commented on our blog posts last week. If you see your name below please send your name and address to the email address listed.

GABY*** You won a copy of Tina Ferraro's The ABC's of Kissing Boys. Please contact Tina at

MG(Loud words & sound)**You won a copy of OH.MY.GODS and Goddess Bootcamp by Tera Lynn Childs. Please contact her at

STEPH***You won a copy of Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey. Please contact Heather at

LLEHN***You won a bracelet from Chic Style. Please contact Wendy at

MARISKA****You won a copy of Spring Breakup. Please contact Stephanie at

Stay tuned for more winners!!!

Valentine's Week Wrap-Up

This past week has been a blast, celebrating love and all that's chocolatey, pink and/or red. Thanks to all who participated in the daily prize give-aways. Buzz Girl Stephanie is going to announce all the winners in just a little while, so stay tuned!

I hope you all had lovely Valentine's Days!
For those of you who read my post last Sunday, I mentioned that my 4th grade son had put a note in his crush's desk several days before the Valentine's Day party so he could have "first dibs on her." Here's the update I promised: She went on a vacation so she wasn't at school until the following Tuesday. Well, my son thought it would be stupid to ask her to be his Valentine after V-day so he took the note out of her desk and she never, ever saw it. He's already planning on asking her again next year, though. So I guess we'll all have to wait for next year to see what happens.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, my darling husband took me to dinner at my favorite restaurant in Park City, Utah. It's called Wahso and it's a-mazing! He also took me shopping (yes!) at the Park City Outlet Mall, and I scored some fun Lucky Brand t-shirts featuring cats (Tina, I thought of you!) and a cheery sundress for our upcoming trip to Maui. And when we got home that night, my sweet boys gave me these tulips. I can't believe how great they look a whole week later!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Love on Ice!


As one half of a couple who works with her spouse (my husband and I are on the *same* team at Microsoft, working in the same building!), I am always impressed by real-life couples who work together. Manav and I met at Intel in 2001 where we were both software at first sight! Here we are above celebrating our 7th wedding giving away one of Manav's closest friends in marriage!

There are some great pros to working together and *playing* together such as the other person always gets what you’re going through, you can exchange tips on what works and what to avoid, and you always have someone around who’s got your back!

The cons? Work is never over! If the couple allows it to happen, their “work” takes over their life! Manav and I have a rule where we don’t talk about work at home. If we need to talk about work, we schedule time with each other at the office.

Here are some other couples (more famous than us!) who work together.


The now-infamous Shen and Zhao—figure skating gold medal couple! I love how these two gel on and off the ice. As she said, “We’ve been together for 18 years, we know exactly what to expect!) And did they ever prove it by giving a breathtaking performance last week!


Another couple who works together in theory are up-and-coming skaters Amanda Evora and Jeremy Barrett…much more complicated because these two compete with each other. They are not partners on the ice…only off! I found both to be very talented competitors in the sport this past week as well!


The latest couple to confess their love off the ice are the silver medal winners Pang and Tong. This couple is so beautiful and graceful on the ice...I thought their free skate was just incredible and definitely medal-worthy!

Who are your favorite couples who work together? Have you ever gotten together with someone you work with?

Have a fantastic weekend!

--Dona Sarkar

Homemade or Store Bought?

Happy late Valentine's Day Everyone! I'm always amazed at all the different ways people can come up with to say 'I Love You'. A friend of mine gets a dozen red roses every year. That's all she wants. But if those flowers aren't there, it gets very ugly. Although I think that roses are beautiful and I used to love getting those deliveries when I worked in an office full of women, now I just kind of think they die too easy and are a waste of money.
Some women love chocolate. I'm not one of those "have to have chocolate right now or somebody is going to get hurt" kinda chicks.
I bet you are dying to know what I got this year, huh? Instead of torturing my husband into trying to find something I would like, I just picked out my own gift. This year I treated myself to some expensive makeup. That I ended up being allergic to. My face itched for three days. Awesome.

Maybe I'm getting old and sentimental but my favorite valentine's are the sticky, crooked hearts my boys cut out for me and the simple everyday gestures that my husband does all year long (like putting a glass in the freezer for my milk, putting toothpaste on my toothbrush, and cleaning out my filthy car) that mean more than flowers, chocolate, or makeup.

What was the best thing/gesture you ever got for Valentine's Day? I'll pick my favorite and the winner will get a copy of Spring Breakup.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Love in the Pages...

Love, love, love. We’re celebrating all things love related, so how can I not mention my love of books!

I love how books bring people together. I love how wonderful it is to meet readers. I love talking about stories and characters and enjoying the “community” of the book together. Stephen King says (and here I’m paraphrasing) that books require that you enter the author’s world and that together, you imagine. The author imagines and captures her world on the page. The reader absorbs the world and imagines it in her mind. Together, you build the story. Isn’t that cool and so true?

Your reading of a book is unique. It’s intimate and special and all your own. And yet – all readers of a book have shared something together. It’s unlike anything else in the world. So there you go. My love affair with books revealed.

Well, I have to say, this has been an extremely lucky month for a booklover like me. Last week I got to meet Carrie Jones, the amazing author of Need, Captivate and other great books, and vampire-book author Alyxandra Harvey, together on their signing tour across the US.

I found Carrie extremely humble, super sweet, and hilarious. She’s a friend of a friend, so along with a few other YA authors, we chatted and laughed over turkey and chili-veggie burgers at a local joint. I always love hearing how everyone approaches writing their books – and it’s just amazing to me how different everyone’s process can be. Here’s a pic of Carrie, along with Liz Gallagher and Alyxandra, showing off their books at B & N.

To top off an already great week, this last Saturday, Liz and I got to meet Buzz Girl Dona Sarkar for a delicious brunch before heading to our signing at Mockingbird Books. Look how cute these two talented ladies are! Liz was decked out in pink in honor of the day - and Dona is, well, Dona is always decked out no matter where she goes.

They have an annual event at Mockingbird Books, and in other indie bookstores, called Kids *Heart* Books – a day of signings and readings all for young readers. The store owner, Sue, and her fabulous staff made it a super great event. And I left with a bag of homemade chocolate madeleines as a thank you! That’s a win-win, if I’ve ever tasted one.

So now for today's giveaway:

To win a freshly signed copy of Alyxandra Harvey’s new twist on a vampire YA novel, Hearts At Stake, tell me in the comments what you love most about books or reading.

I’ll randomly pick a winner at the end of the week, and Buzz Girl Wendy Toliver will announce the winner on Sunday! Feel free to pass on a link to our blog and tell your friends to comment to win. Remember you can comment on any of the posts this week up until the winners are revealed.

Much love to all you Buzz Blog readers and booklovers everywhere!


The Clearing – April 2010 HMH
Never Cry Werewolf – Sept 2009 HarperTeen

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Love Ghost

I had to share this awesome news article as it fits so well with our theme:

Amfissa, Greece
- Legends of ghosts and love are very common in central Greece and nowhere is this more evident than in the remote mountainous town of Amfissa where residents recall a tragic tale as part of carnival celebrations. The traditional carnival festivities have already been going on for days in the run-up for the "Night of the Ghosts" and a carnival celebration on Sunday, where thousands of tourists will join locals in dancing and partying.

Highly superstitious in nature, the people of Amfissa pay homage to their ghosts during carnival time, believing that the ghosts are souls of the people or animals who have been killed and wander around the area.

The most popular legend is the love story behind the "Ghost of Harmaina" which this year falls on Valentine's Day. "Thousands attend the ritual event every year but this year the celebrations are important because it coincides with Valentine's Day," says Carnival Director Voula Daskalopoulou. "This is a tragic love story and we all pay homage to this spirit by parading through the town beating drums."

According to townspeople, years ago Konstantis, a young tanner, had fallen in love with the young beautiful Lenio and had asked her to marry him. In preparation for the wedding, the young man had travelled from town to town, selling his goods so that he could return with a ring for his beloved. Upon reaching the town, he was confronted by the tragic news of Lenio's sudden death after she was struck by lightning near the Spring of Harmaina. Not being able to deal with the loss, he committed suicide by jumping off the walls of the town's castle, so the legend goes.

Today villagers believe that Konstantis became the Ghost of Harmaina, a monster-like figure that guards the Spring of Harmaina where the tanners work night and day.

"Dozens of people swear that they have seen or heard the ghost and that it would wander across the streets, moaning and rattling its chains," said carnival participant, Dimos Dimou, who is dressed as a tanner. "Every year the entire town wearing costimes follows the course of the legendary ghost in the name of love," says Dimou.

Who knew Valentine's and ghost could blend together, eh? LOL! In honor of the Greek's celebration and Valentine's week, I'm giving away a copy of GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING. Kendall and her friends meet a lot of spirits in their investigations...none with such a storied history like this...yet. Leave a comment in the comment trail about what you would do in the name of love to be eligible to win.

Marley = )

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love Deity Smackdown

In Greek mythology, there are two dieties of love: the goddess Aphrodite and the god Eros. On Valentine's Day, every greeting card and cutsie stuffed doll pays homage to Cupid (aka the Roman incarnation of Eros) but where is Aphrodite? There are no beautiful, long-haired goddesses in sight. Just short, pudgy, arrow-flinging babies.

My question (for a chance to win a copy of Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp) is:
Who would you rather have in charge of your love life?

Option A: The breathtaking goddess, Aphrodite, who embodies everything about beauty and romantic love. Flowers and candlelit dinners an quality time with your other half.

Option B: The diminutive and immature god, Eros, who represents the physical side love and who makes people fall in love by shooting them with magical arrows.

That's an easy choice for me. I'd far rather get bonked on the head with a golden apple by Aphrodite, than shot with a love arrow by Eros.

Choose and defend your love deity in comments and you could win signed copies of Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp.


Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp (out now)
Forgive My Fins (coming June 1, 2010)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Steam Kiss!

We are celebrating Valentine’s Day all week here at the Buzz Girls Blog, talking about romance-y things and doing daily giveaways! So be sure to check in all week and enter to win the cool things.

Today, I am going to be talking about something from my 2009 release, The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, and giving away a signed copy to one commenter.

The premise of the book is that 16 year-old Parker is taking “kissing lessons” from 15 year-old Tristan so that she will be prepared to do her best at the sports fair kissing booth later that month. Among the kisses that he is teaching her is one called The Steam Kiss, which I read about on-line and thought sounded like a lot of fun.

One partner sips some piping hot water while the other drinks some icy cold.
They quickly kiss, then pull back and check the air between them for steam.

Now, I had every intention of trying it out with my husband to see exactly how it worked, but time got away from me. Suddenly, I was writing that scene, he was at work...I was stuck. Then I realized the thing to do was to have the kissing experiment rushed and therefore inconclusively fail. So it wasn’t a true answer, just something they swear they’re going to “get back to.”

To this day, I haven’t tried it and don’t know if it works or not.

So here’s the “rules” for entering my contest. Either try The Steam Kiss and give us your report in our comments--or simply write down your best guess of whether or not it will work. It's that easy.

Good luck, and check Wendy Toliver’s blog on Sunday for the name of the randomly chosen winner!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Maybe it's because I have kids or maybe I'm just nostalgic, but on Valentine's Day I love going back in time to my grade school days. There was something so titillating about the classroom parties. The oversized envelopes or shoeboxes coated in glitter, candies, construction paper hearts, and doilies sat on each of our desks, empty yet hopeful.
Then, when the teacher gave word, we'd dig into our backpacks to get the valentines that we'd prepared for our classmates--usually store-bought, but always specifically selected for each kid based on how much we liked him/her--and distribute them while trying to keep an eye on how things were going for our own envelope/shoebox. At some point, we might slip into another classroom to hand a few out to our best friends, who, of course, were never lucky enough to be in our class. Some kids gave stickers, others gave entire boxes of conversation hearts. But at least here in the U.S. (I say that because my friend from South Africa says that they only give valentines to people they love), we gave valentines to all the kids in our class. I remember wanting to hurry through all the crafts and cookie-decorating stations that the parents set up and dig through my stack of valentines to see what a certain-special-someone gave me.

My earliest memory of getting something different (better) from that certain-special-someone is 4th grade. He gave me a chocolate-covered marshmallow heart, hand-delievered by his buddy. Of course, I chickened out and didn't give him the better-than-normal valentine I'd brought just in case, but that was the best Valentine's Day of my 9 year-old life.
The Buzz Girls want to make your day special, too! This whole week we'll be doing giveaways, so you'll want to check back every day and then again next Sunday when I'll announce all the winners. The prize I'm offering is a really cute bracelet I found in our local boutique, Chic Style. Perfect for yourself, or if you're a guy, that special girl in your life. All you need to do is share your earliest memory of a special V-day and I'll have my resident expert, my 9 year-old Romeo, who left a note in his crush's desk three days ago so he'd get first dibs on being her valentine, choose his favorite. (I'll have to get back with you on what she said because sadly, she's on vacation and hasn't seen the note yet.) Good luck, and Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Go USA!!

Tonight is the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Tell you something you don't know, right? I'm excited to see the lighting of the torches and I'm hoping that all the snow they trucked in doesn't melt. But if all the athletes are as hot as these guys it might. I picked a few cuties to get you excited about the games.
First, twenty-four-year-old figure skater Jeremy Abbott. He's so adorable and I can't wait to watch him perform.
Next up is skier Kris Freeman. Not only is he a member of the US Ski Team but he is also living with Type I diabetes and still completing at a world level. I can't wait to watch this inspirational athlete hopefully take a gold!The next hottie is Dustin Brown. Dustin is the captain of the LA Kings hockey team. This is his first time competing in the Olympics. This is one pretty face I hope doesn't get smashed up!

I'm sure there are plenty more hotties that I missed so be sure to tune in to the Olympic Games!



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Home Sweet RV!

Sorry for the late post...been on the move all day. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to show you my new baby...


Check out the inside...

We took ownership yesterday and it's surreal...let me tell you. Can't wait to get writing here!

Here I am on the phone with my mom with my friend, Ingram the Bama bear. Oh...did I mention the colors of the RV are crimson and white? Totally by accident. LOL!

So, what do you think? Would you like to live out of an RV? It's certainly going to be an adventure!

Marley = )

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Nice Cuppa...

I am, by most accounts, a coffee drinker. But I've always had a weakness for a nice cup of tea (or cuppa, as I see written in British books). To the extent that among my favorite aspects of traveling through Europe and Australia has been to sample the local teas, and bring tins and packages home for family and friends.

About five years ago, a new friend introduced me to the idea of High Tea, complete with yummy little sandwiches and desserts stacked on trays, and--the best part for me--scones with slotted cream and jam.

It turns out there are several tea shops in the Pasadena area, and now each Christmas we make a point of a holiday lunch to sample the wares and catch up.

With the weather turning cool and often wet here on the west coast, I'm turning to a nice cuppa more and more these days. The tea I'm drinking is a lovely Pickwick breakfast tea sent to me as a gift by Australian young adult writer, Vanessa Barneveld (shown as a 2009 Golden Heart finalist).

Vanessa knows I have a weakness for Pickwick teas, although I've only been able to find them in her native country!

But the thing is, I'm running out of that tea...and I'd love suggestions for some of your favorite teas, that I could either find at a Pasadena tea shop or even Trader Joes or a supermarket! What kind of tea do you enjoy?


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

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Time!

As many of you know, today is the Super Bowl, when America (as well as many other countries) comes together to watch two of the season's best NFL teams battle for the coveted title and prestige of Super Bowl champion. Halftime is put in the hands of The Who, and I'm praying they don't have any wardrobe malfunctions! For those of us without the right connections or who opt not to pay $1000+ for tickets (I checked!) we get to watch the game from our living rooms, neighborhood sports bars, or friends' homes and see a plethora of TV commercials.

Whether you're giving your full attention to The Big Game or despise football, it's hard to ignore the commercials that air during it. At a reported $2.8 million for a 30 second spot, there's no doubt that the advertisers want to make the most of their money. (I used to work for an ad agency and it was a huge deal when our biggest client decided to jump on the Super Bowl commercial boat.) These ads not only reach a HUGE audience at once (95 million? Whoa!); it's one of the most diverse audiences ever--with all ages, both sexes, and a variety of occupations from housewives to doctors to teachers to celebs. Plus, let's face it, lots of us don't even watch commercials nowadays thanks to Tivo and DVR technology, but since we love to watch the Super Bowl live and the ads are almost always entertaining, we make an exception today and happily sit through the commercials. Another pro of advertising during the Super Bowl is the ads get play-time before and after the Super Bowl airing, either on TV or on the internet, and the best ones show up on all sorts of lists, whether in magazines, newspapers (like The USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter) on the local news, or on nationally syndicated shows for added punch.
Pop Secret, GoDaddy, Dodge, Doritos, movies Ironman 2 and The Last Airbender, Anheuser-Busch, and Mars Candies are among those we'll be seeing again this year, while we won't be seeing Pepsi, FedEx, GM, or Ford.
Many of these ads push the envelope, but some have to be reworked or are turned down. Here is the ad by KGB that was banned this year because it didn't adhere to CBS's standards. There were some others that were turned away or modified because of controversial content or questionable language.
My favorite ads are usually the really funny ones, like the ones for beer, but I also like the ones for new cars and ones made by everyday people (instead of professional advertising agencies), like Doritos. What are your favorites, and why?

Friday, February 05, 2010

I was in Barnes & Noble last week digging through the bargain books when I found an absolute gem for $4.98. I still feel guilty that I didn't have to pay the full price for the amount of entertainment I got out of this book. Seriously people, you can't even buy a popcorn at the movies for that! I have to admit that I tend to gravitate toward funny books. For the most part, I steer clear of "issue" books and anything with a dead parent. If I want to be depressed, I'll just watch the news.

I immediately sent an email to the author thanking her for the laughs. We authors love to hear from our fans, you know. The Buzz Girls have talked a lot about who we dream would play the characters in our own books if they were made into movies. I loved this book so much that I started dreaming about who would play the parts if it came to life. When I decided to write the blog on this book, I Googled it. I was thrilled to find that apparently the movie is going to be made. It already has Leslie Bibb (Iron Man, Law-Abiding Citizen, Confessions of a Shopaholic) attached. Leslie will make an amazing Zadie.
BTW, the book I'm talking about is The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz. It isn't exactly PG-13 so some of our younger readers should wait a few years to pick it up. If you've seen The Hangover and loved it, you'll enjoy this book.

Karen is also a screenwriter and has co-written Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth, She's the Man and several other of my favorite films. She is also gorgeous enough to be a leading lady herself. I know, right?

Have you ever fallen so in love with a book that you just couldn't wait for it to be made into a movie? Tell me the book and who you would cast.

Happy Weekend everyone!



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Newberry Winner Speaks!

One of the best things about loving books is that you have friends who also love to read. I’m always getting cool suggestions for what to read next from them. This week, my author friend Liz Gallagher, insisted I head on down to University Village Barnes and Noble to hear Rebecca Stead, who just won the Newberry for her book When You Reach Me. I can’t wait to read this book! It's set in NYC in 1978 - in Rebecca's childhood neighborhood. It has time travel and the $25,000 Pyramid. Apparently, Rebecca's mom really was a contestant on that show in the 1970's.

Rebecca is a former public defender, who spent years working on her first novel, First Light, with her editor Wendy Lamb. I mean years! And then this second book also went through several years of revisions and versions, each given to different people to read because the book has a bit of mystery and both editor and author wanted to see how a new reader would solve it.

There was a packed house for Rebecca’s reading and Q & A. So many of the audience members were young kids since this is a middle grade novel. They posed terrific questions. Rebecca, when asked why she enjoys writing for young audiences said, “because they pay attention and they are so smart.” I have to agree wholeheartedly

Have you read When you Reach Me? What did you think about this much lauded Newberry winner?


The Clearing – HMH April 2010
Never Cry Werewolf – Harperteen Sept. 2009

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

School Visit, New Photo, and Help for Haiti

I have been a buzy bee, let me tell you what. I have spoken at several high schools and libraries and have been having an awesome time. I went back to the "homeland" of Pike County, Alabama, and spoke at six different schools.

I was in front of three hundred people at Goshen High School...where I dribbled water down the front of me...LOL...


I was mobbed at Goshen Elementary School where the kids wanted my autograph...


I also reunited with my high school cheerleader partner, Laura Ross Hixon, who is a teacher...


I went to my alma mater, Pike Liberal Arts School and saw my favorite English and writing teacher, Mrs. Hixon...


I even scored 100% on the Scholastic advanced reading test on GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING...phew! Wouldn't have been able to live that down...



And I spoke to a full house at the Monroe County Public Library in Key West thanks to their awesome librarian, Nancy Howanitz...



Finally, I did a full day at Carroll High School in Ozark, Alabama, thanks to their assistant principal and my former baton teacher growing up, Juli Botts Parrish...



During all of this, my sweetie, who is also a professional photgrapher, took my new author picture. It's done in infrared. I love how cool my eyes look!


And, to round out my post today, I wanted to add the link to my designer shoe auction on eBay. The proceeds of the auction will go to The Salvation Army for their relief efforts for the people in Haiti. Even if you don't fit the shoe size, please pass the URL around to your friends.

Marley = )