Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Snarky Question-Maker gives an Introduction to my Blog

Hey y'all. How goes it?

I thought since we have a few new visitors (Hi! new people!) today could be an introduction post. So I've awakened that sleeping giant, the great Question-Maker (who lives in the void between rainbows and shooting stars) to interview me.

Question-Maker: yawn, stretch, crick. "Hey, every- whoa. A lotta new faces around here. What happened?"

me: "Well, dear Question-Maker-"

QM: "That's Mr. Question-Maker to you."

me: "But we've known each other for years! We should be on a first name basis. What do you call me?"

QM: "A nickname I only use on special occasions."

me: "What occasions?"

QM: "Right after you've left a room." snort
me: "..."

QM: "..."

me: "Okay, so we have some new faces I think because of the EVERNEATH cover reveal, and I think because of the ARC."

QM: "What's an ARC?"

me: "An Advanced Reader Copy of my book. I got them last week. Wanna see a pic?
The cover makes my hand look even uglier.
I love it so much."

QM: "You know the rule about loving your ARC?"

me: "No."

QM: "You can love your ARC, just don't love your ARC."

me: "I would never-"

QM: "That means no petting."

me: "Dang!"

QM: "So, for the new people around here (and I really don't know why they would want to spend time here)-"

me: "Stop with the asides!"

QM: "Sorry, that was supposed to be an internal aside. So, for the new people - and welcome, you smart people - tell us a little about your blog."

me: "Okay. I blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I blog about writing and books, but even more I blog about random stuff."

QM: "Like that time you got stuck in a bathroom on Venice Beach?" snicker snicker

me: "... and I blog about other things too."
QM: "Like that time you shouted 'belly boobs!' to an elevator full of strangers?"

me: "That was not my fault! ... It was the fault of the shirt I was wearing."

QM: "I think those are great examples about what you can expect on the blog."
me: "I also blog about this guy a lot:"
Rafa Nadal, celebrating right after he heard he would be featured on my blog.
"He's playing in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon today."

QM: "What's Wimbledon?"

me: "It's only like the most important tennis tournament in the world."

QM: "What's tennis?"

me: "Seriously, do you even read my blog?"

QM: "I thought you already knew the answer to that question."

me: "And... that's it for the Question Maker! Thank you for your help."

QM: "I'm not done yet-"

me: "Thanks so much for stopping by!"

QM: "But I still have more-"

me: "Have I described Rafa's hip dents to you lately?"
They are defined, and pointy.

QM: "You're right. Look at the time. See y'all next time!"

Okay, so that was the Question Maker! If you would like to run a question through the Question-Maker, and have me answer it, you can leave it in the comments.

And if you're new here, take a moment. Introduce yourself. We're very nice around here, and we only bite on special occasions. Like Tuesdays.

I'll even give you a question form you can use:
1. Name
2. A little bit about yourself
3. How would you describe Rafa's hip dents?

Monday, June 27, 2011

How my Blog Dressed to Match my Cover, and Some Other Covers I Love.

Hey y'all!

Do you notice anything different around here?

No, I haven't lost weight. But thank you.

It's my blog! After the big Cover Reveal last Friday, I received a lot of suggestions that I should dress to match my book:


Since there's no way I could rock that dress, or even squeeze into that dress, I decided to dress up my blog to match. What do you think?

Also, I have to give a big shout out to the world wide web for all of their support over the cover. And let me tell you, that cover took a lot of work. First, I had to find the girl. Then, I had to shop at JC Penny for the dress. Then - this was the hardest part - I had to search the world for some smoke/cloud/fog action...
Okay, I had nothing to do with the cover. Huge thanks for the cover team at HarperCollins. Did you know there are graphic design guys that specialize in smoke?

Anyway, since I've sort of been cover-obsessed this past week, I'd love to share with you some of my favorite covers of recent and upcoming books:

First up, IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma:
I think Nova should totally dress to match.
It's so darn lovely. And mysterious.

Next up, and keeping with the water theme, THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin. 
Some guys are hot enough that you wouldn't mind being pulled under with them.
Seriously, I don't know what it is about underwater shots, but they are so awesome!

And, now, we have an upcoming book, INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows:
Um... you have something on your face... near your eyes...
I think this cover is so different than anything I've seen lately! I love the colors, and I have to know why her eyes have wings!!

And, in keeping with the "winged creatures on the face" theme, here is another one I love, LUMINOUS, by Dawn Metcalf:
It says something good about a person when butterflies love her.
Oh, man. So so pretty!

This is why I love hardcover books so much. They are works of art! So, what are some covers you love? 

Also, a reminder that if you'd like a chance to win an arc of EVERNEATH, stop by CranberryFries and Windy's blogs. All you have to do is assemble the right phrase to tweet. It's sort of like a treasure hunt, and who doesn't love a treasure hunt?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy EVERNEATH Cover Reveal Day!

Hey y'all! 


Happy Friday! Or as I like to call it, Happy EVERNEATH Cover Reveal Day! (Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday Mom. It really is her birthday.)


Anywho, there are some awesome things going on today, but on other blogs. So today, we have linky soup. 


First off is the official cover release at the Pageturners blog. So, if you want to see my cover, and possibly leave a comment as to how beautiful you think it is, but only if you do think it's beautiful, click here.


Your Chance to Win an ARC of EVERNEATH!


And, would you like to have a chance to win an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy, available now!) of EVERNEATH? 


Then head over to Debbie CranberryFries' blog at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time (You know, the other one in the middle!) for some exclusivey Everneath stuff and directions on how to enter the contest! 


I believe the entries involve tweeting something. So Debbie's blog will have the first half of the tweet, and then Windy (Like the Weather)'s blog will have the second half. 


Then all you need to do is figure out the function of X using a Pythagorean theorem, and voila!


Kidding. All you need to do is tweet on the Tweeter!


So, head on out. And thank you for joining me in this crazy journey. Today is another one of those milestones, and thanks for celebrating with me!


I love everyone. Especially you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Info on my First ARC giveaway, and the Plan to Reveal the Cover of Everneath

Sorry so late, y'all. Blogger was a beast this morning.

So, I got something awesome in the mail yesterday. That sentence reminds me of Cold Comfort Farm, where the matriarch repeats over and over, "I saw something nasty in the woodshed," but we never find out what exactly she saw.

Well, that is not going to happen here. I can't divulge certain things, but I will give you some hints.

Hint #1:
It's rectangular

Hint #2:
As Hamlet would say, it is filled with "Words, words... words."

Hint #3:
It's something I wrote.

Hint #4:
It's a book.

Okay, maybe I'm being a little obvious. But I'm used to playing Hangman with Kid C, and I'm finding my hints are not cutting it.
Poor man on the rope didn't stand a chance.

Maybe you have already guessed, but if you haven't, here is one final clue:

Hint #5: It starts with an E and ends with a VERNEATH.

Give up? Okay, it's my ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of EVERNEATH! I can't show you the actual book yet, because the awesome Pageturners Blog is hosting a BIG REVEAL on Friday of the final cover, which I haven't even seen yet.

But I can show you the breadth of my work. And by breadth, I mean width.
Maybe an inch and a half? Two?

And I can show you what it's like to flip through the pages:
video

As I said, the Pageturners Blog is revealing the cover on Friday. And that's not all! Would you like to know how you can win a signed ARC, among other EVERNEATH goodies? 
Windy (Like the Weather) and Debbie (CranberryFries) are hosting exclusive interviews with me on Friday as well, and between their two blogs, you will be able to find out how to enter to win the ARC! 

So... plan on Friday. Stop by Pageturners and let me know what you think of the cover, and then pop on over to Windy and Debbie to enter the contest. 

It's my first ARC giveaway! Woo Hoo!

Any theories on what the cover will look like?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why I let out a Blood-Curdling Scream Saturday Morning. Did you hear it?

So, Saturday morning, I wake up. 

Sam comes in my room and is all, "We can't find Kid C's iTouch. Can you help me?"

He looks at me, I look at him, as we do most mornings. 

me: "Sure, honey."

I go downstairs and start looking while Sam looks upstairs. After a few minutes, he calls down to me. I stand at the bottom of the stairs, he is at the top, and he tells me he found the iTouch. All the while, he is looking at me.

I come back upstairs, and go to the sink to brush my teeth. As I'm putting toothpaste on my toothbrush, Sam appears behind me. I turn around, and naturally, we look at each other. He says, "I'm off to work. See ya later."

I'm all, "Okay! See ya soon!"

He leaves and I turn back around to start brushing my teeth. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And I scream.

On top of my head, nestled in my hair, is a giant brown spider. 
Hi Brodi! I love your hair.
So, the spider and I calmly have a conversation about my split ends, and he insists I shouldn't have been able to see him because he was deeply entrenched in my dark roots. 

Just kidding. There was no conversation. Unless you count my screaming and running outside, yelling for Sam. 

Me: "Sam! There's a spider on my head!"

He takes one look, and I see it on his face that he has indeed seen the spider. 

me: "Get it out! Get it out!"

Summoning up a buttload of courage, he digs his fingers under the spider, and flings it across the porch, along with only a few strands of my hair. 

Two things bother me about this whole situation:

First - no surprise - there was a spider in my hair. Not a small spider. A giant brown spider. This has resulted in more than one dream about spider eggs being laid on my scalp. For the rest of the day, about every five minutes, I would involuntarily scream and scrape my fingers through my hair.

Second, Sam talked to me three times. Three times! Face to face. And he didn't see the spider. 

Whereas, when I glanced in the mirror, it was the first thing I saw. I don't have a picture of me with the spider on my head, but I had to look something like this:
Sam was all, "Nice hair. So I have to go to work now. See ya."
And he didn't notice. 

I'm trying to rein in my anger, but when you have a spider on your head all morning, all you can think about is that there has to be someone to blame. 

And I blame Sam.

How about y'all? Anyone ever had a spider on their head? 

I can tell you this much: I'll never be the same again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What do a door in L.A.'s Griffith Observatory and the Publishing Industry have in common?

Just when you think you've found a way in... you get this:

This picture is not a picture.
It's okay, though. That door was subjective. We queried another entrance and it turned out to be an actual entrance.

On the other hand, once you're "in" the publishing industry, you might run into this:
The restroom of doom in Venice Beach
I got locked in here. And the rest of my party had already started down the boardwalk. And trust me when I say the last place you want to be randomly pounding on a door, screaming like a crackhead, from inside the toilet, is Venice Beach. 

In the end, a nice man, with dreadlocks coming out of his armpits and an odor that had me writing home to mom, helped me out of my predicament.

He then proceeded to try to sell me his CD of reggae music. Which I of course bought. After I explained to him that he was white. I will buy anything from a stranger who breaks me out of the john.

That's my mission statement.

I have one more day of the WIFYR conference. I plan to have a wrap-up of all the awesome nuggets of wisdom for next week. 

So, what's everyone up to? Anyone else get trapped in a bathroom in Venice Beach? Or worse, anyone else querying right now? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad... May Your Chemo be Strong and your Hands Blister-Free

Today is my dad's birthday, and boy am I happy he's here.


It's his third birthday since being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer the first time, and the fact that he's still here and going strong is a miracle.


The other day, at a soccer field on the top of the Laguna Hills, my nephews were looking for a goalie.


Boldly, my dad volunteered. He is literally half the man he used to be, and he made the large soccer net look even bigger.


No, that's not a pole in the center. That's my dad.

My sister warned the boys - one 12 and one 10 years old - to take it easy on my dad. But it's hard to rein it in when you're a young kid and your whole life has been soccer.

My younger nephew, Josh, started slow, but as Grandpa blocked shot after shot, he increased the power. Finally, he wound up and sent a zinger that he was sure would go in.

My dad reflected it. 

Josh stared at him, mouth agape. Then, with a hand on his hip, he said, "Grandpa, are you sure you have cancer?"

Last Saturday night, my dad's pediatric practice - which he started from the ground up -held a retirement party for my dad. We were a little worried the scene would turn emotional. Thankfully, my dad placated our fears by donning a superman t-shirt and a visor complete with a full head of gray hair sticking out.

He bought the ensemble at Venice Beach.
My dad at his retirement party. Never was known for his fashion sense.
He said Pediatricians don't retire. They simply morph into their superhero alter-egos permanently. 


Recently I watched him conquer a full week with six grandkids, neverending games of beach smash ball and topsy-turvy rides at Disneyland. Knowing how the chemo ravages both his innards and outards with equal ferocity, I couldn't help but think he's already a superhero. 


Happy Birthday Dad. Here's to many more. 





Monday, June 13, 2011

My California Adventure: including Kid B's pigeon impersonation and the scariest gang at Muscle Beach

Hey y'all! I'm back. Sorry for the blog silence on Friday. We decided to make the drive from Dana Point, CA to Salt Lake City in one day, and it was 11 hours in the car. 700 miles.


Yep, that's kid C watching a movie on the computer and Kid B watching the car's dvd. Because apparently the earth would stop rotating if the two of them actually agreed on a movie. What do people do with three kids?

Anywho, it's time for a...

RUNDOWN OF THE TRIP! (Dun Dun DUN) *cue timpani drums*

Grab your snacks now, because this is gonna be long.

We... played at the beach.
Kid C running for his life
 
Kid C thought the "Watch out for rocks" sign at the beach really said, "See how many secret places on your person in which you can hide sand!" He's still sneezing the stuff.
Kid B preferred one degree of separation between him and the water. He would put a sand dolphin on the beach, and then patiently wait for the water to wash it away.
Kid B: Daring the water to get any closer. Just cross this line.
Every once in a while, the water took the challenge.
video

My nephews Josh and 4-year-old Asher played smashball. It only took them two hour to smash their record. Which was one in a row.
Why is the ball so tiny?!
We also invaded the famed Muscle Beach at Venice Beach. The reason why the gym is empty in the pic is because this pack of hoodlums threw down the gauntlet and the girlie men ran away. Actually we just told them there was a sale on "Juice" down the block. We meant orange juice.
the gang, imposing their lack of muscles, and flexing the fleshy part of their elbows.
We also fed the birds. Because everyone knows the pigeon population is endangered.
Kid B does his pigeon impersonation. He made a buck-25 in change from passers-by who thought he was a pigeon, but then were delighted to discover he was a boy.

Here he is, about to take off.
Venice beach also had the nerve to charge 20 bucks for these Luigi and Yoshi backpacks. Good thing we're not suckers.
These so-called "backpacks" fit all of two quarters inside. Which we had to give the woman selling the backpacks. For "insurance".
Next up was the happiest place on earth: The Lines at Disneyland!

We made the kids wear matching shirts. Because we didn't want to look like tourists.

Kid B and Asher: Thinking to themselves: "Does everyone realize the street behind us is fake? Seriously, adults. It's a wall. A painted wall. Did we pay money for this?"
At one point, we told Kid B he was in charge of crowd control. He actually believes he's leading these people.
Follow me, my people. I shall lead you to the promised land: the Fastpass lane.
Speaking of Fastpasses, I rocked them. Seriously. Check out this stack.
If my writing career ever falls through, I'm going to become a freelance Disneyland guide.
How do I get so many passes at once? It's all in the wrist.

I know it's called Splash Mountain, but why do we have to get so wet?
Check out Kid B's expression. It's like he's too terrified to scream.
I was soaked after this ride, and all I could think about was how many places that water had been. And how many people it had touched before me.

Okay, this post is getting too long. I'll leave you with this hangman board from our game with Kid C. The clues we gave were:

1. Villain
2. Star Wars
3. The villain from Star Wars.


Kid C never got it. Anyone out there have any guesses?

This week I'm going to the world's best writing conference WIFYR. Pronounced Why-Fer. Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NYC Part #2: Where Emily looks crazy on a subway, and Bree runs off with a banana

Hey y'all.


Today, we're heading to Venice Beach. I've never been there, but I hear it's where Muscle Beach is. This is very exciting.


But on to the rundown of my New York trip!


We conquered Broadway, with viewings of Jersey Boys and Wicked.


Emily Wing Smith, Bree Despain and me.


We ate lots of awesome food.
Here we are at Katz's Delicatessen, home of that famous scene from When Harry Met Sally. You know... the one where Sally does the... thing... and that woman says, "I'll have what she's having." Which was a pastrami sandwich. 


Our hotel was near Times Square, so we were there a lot. Below, you can see we asked Stevie Wonder to take our picture. 


iPhone cameras are hard to work.


Bree and I went to the Harry Potter exhibit. We must've gone at a slow time, because we were the only ones in line. I think they were expecting more people to come, because we had to stand in line a long time waiting for them to let us in to the exhibit.
Here's Bree, standing in line. That's how she looks when she's waiting. She struck that pose the entire time.
But no one else came. So they finally let the two of us into this large room with a stage. On the stage was a guy with a fake British accent, standing next to a chair with a hat. The guy and his accent were all, "Who in the audience would like to be sorted by the sorting hat?"


Bree and I looked at each other. We were the only ones in the "audience".


Guy: "Any volunteers?"


us: "..."


Because, when you only have two people, do they really need to be sorted?


Eventually we both took our turns with the sorting hat. We ended up in Gryffindor. We must've been stout of heart.


Emily Wing Smith did a fantastic job at her reading. 


She had to practice on the Subway ride to make sure it timed out right. 
Here's Emily reading out loud. Just for fun, Bree and I took turns acting like she was crazy, and then slowly moving away. 
In between the readings, David Levithan would stand up and read from an educational sex magazine.
David Levithan, describing how boys and girls have different parts. 
That is not a joke. He really did read from the sex magazine.. Somehow, it fit the evening events, but now that I'm telling about it, I can't make it make sense.


I also got to meet with my awesome editor Kristin Daly Rens, as well as Emily from HarperCollins marketing and Allison from publicity. I presented them with a "Mormon Cookbook", and said, in a solemn voice and a bowed head, "This is a gift from my people."


I shouldn't have said it so formally, because they began to gingerly leaf through the pages of casseroles and jello, taking care not to bend the spine, and promising to do right by these hallowed recipes. 


I quickly clarified that I don't actually cook, and that despite what they've heard, these casserole recipes are not actually scripture, so they can feel free to abuse the book without offending anyone.


The rest of my pictures feature only Bree and Emily, because I'd often take out my camera and give a quick, "Smile, girls."


The result is what looks like a series of engagement pictures for them. 


Here's the happy couple, after the official announcement, celebrating at John's Pizzeria.




Each of us - a half - incomplete
together we are as one…
in this there shall be joy.

Look how daintily they ingest their BBQ from Will's Barbecue...




Each hour, each day, each year
We grow as two, yet as one,
We grow apart, yet together
Forming an eternal love



Here they are, under the famous Katz's Delicatessen sign. The world is their oyster!
Love turns
one person into two
and two into one
But, at times, even though they were smiling on the outside, I sensed a restlessness developing...
The most joyous of occasions
Is the union of man and woman
In celebration of life…
Eventually, it came to a boiling point, when I clandestinely snapped this picture of Bree with another man (Robbie, Boy With Books) and... a giant banana.


Three hearts
that beat
as one…

It's okay, though. Emily found someone else too:
Strangely, the "I Feel Lucky" button on Picasa wasn't so lucky this time.
And of course, in the end, the cow ran away with the spoon.

Okay, I just went to Google "Cow ran away with the spoon" to get a picture of the cow and the spoon together, but it turns out it was the dish who ran away with the spoon. 

What the what? Am I the only one who always remembered it as the Cow running away with the spoon? I'm a little disappointed. Here I thought the poem was being all progressive with a mammalian-flatware relationship. Now it turns out the spoon ended up with a plate. This is a little too normal for me. 

So I jotted down the version of the poem as I remember it, and here it is:

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat ate the fiddle
the cow jumped over the moon
Little Bo Peep lost her sheep,
And the cow ran away with the spoon.

I know now that there are many things wrong with my version, not the least of which is that Little Bo Peep doesn't belong there with her sheep, and any cow who jumped over the moon would be way too tired to run away with a spoon. 

And yes, the cat eats the fiddle in my version, but I ask you, how is that so much weirder than a cat who plays the fiddle?

Ohmyheck. Have I really spent this entire blog discussing Hey Diddle Diddle? What is my problem? 

So much for progress. This blog is so long! Take a few days, digest the entire thing, and then let me know what you think. 


Did anyone else have the cow and the spoon together?

Monday, June 6, 2011

NYC Part #1, a.k.a. Why we asked the Front Desk if we could Smell a Hotel Room

By the time you read this, I'll be in Disneyland. Next to a kid. Who will probably be puking his guts out. 


But before I regale you with tales from SoCal, I have to catch you up with tales of the Garden of the NorEast. Is that how the people "in the know" refer to New York City? Or did that homeless guy on the corner of 41st and 6th Ave steer me wrong? He also sold me tickets to the hottest, newest Broadway show called How To Succeed at the Book of Mormon Without Really Trying... Wickedly.


We couldn't ever find the theater. I think we were had.


Our first night there, we met up with a lovely bunch of bloggers, left over from BEA. (Book Expo America).   
Book Bloggers: Stacey (Pageturners) , Emily (Em's Reading Room), Emily Wing Smith (author), me, Lynsey, Pixie (Pageturners), Bree Despain (author) and Waste Paper Prose's Sara. 
This was also our first attempt to find the Perfect Cupcake. We attempted this feat several times. A day. It was a challenge. But our muffin-tops were up to the task!
This was my plate.
New York was hot. And not "hawt", but hot and muggy. And boy does New York get muggy, which is okay because when I sweat, I look like this:
It's weird too, because I started out in jeans and a t-shirt.


Our hotel room had a slight mildew smell to it, so we called down to the desk to see if we could get another room.


Desk guy: "We do have an extra room. On the 30th floor. Do you want it?"


me (after deliberating with Bree and Emily for a few minutes): "Can we smell it before we commit?"


This seemed to be a reasonable request.


A guy named Juan escorts us to the 30th floor, so we can run a test smell. But when we get to the door, it only opens an inch before the security bar inside the room catches. 


Juan knocks softly. "Danielle? We are coming in..." he whispers.


The three of us exchange glances. 


Juan waits for a moment, then unlocks the door again. This time, it opens all the way. He ushers us in, and then rushes in to smooth out a few wrinkles in one of the beds. 


The door to the bathroom is slightly ajar. 


Juan: "So, how does it smell?"


We're all looking at each other like, "Silly Juan. Who cares how it smells? What we all want to know is, who is Danielle, and why is she hiding somewhere in the room?"


Juan notices a few items on the welcome desk askew and wordlessly rearranges them. 


Juan: "What do you think? You want to trade?"


But we are at a loss for words. Namely because:


1. A mysterious woman named Danielle is still hiding out somewhere in the room. Under the bed? In the bathtub? Who knows?


2. Juan has a thick accent. He may have said Daniel. A random man hiding out in the room sounds even worse.


3. What is Danielle doing in there? Why are the sheets rustled? Is this a party room, for "friends" of the employees?


Juan: "Yes or no?"


We all just sort of shook our heads. "No. Um... thanks for letting us smell." I have to say, the ride back down in the elevator, alone with Juan, was a little awkward.


Surprisingly, "smelling a room" was not our strangest request. We also asked for a needle, some rubbing alcohol, and something that could be used to puncture skin. We asked for these on three separate occasions to aid in the extraction of an infected taste bud, a bulging foot blister, and a ripe lip zit. 


I know what you're thinking: "An infected taste bud, a foot blister, and a lip zit? Why wasn't I invited?"


I know what else you're thinking: "She goes to New York City, and all she can blog about is how she got to smell a room?"


I wanna know what you think. Who was the woman? Was it the make out room? You might be tempted to say she was cleaning the room, but then why was it locked? And why did she hide?


I promise I'll have more stories and pictures later. But I have to run to Disneyland. *Dons cape* *Jumps out window*