Friday, July 31, 2009

Blushes, Gushes, and GRRs (July Edition)


Someone I barely knew walked in on me in the bathroom: skirt hiked, undies around my ankles. Okay, that alone is embarrassing. But then she didn't leave! So I stood up, skirt falling, not knowing what to do with the underwear. And she kept standing there talking to me. So I kicked the underwear away and talked really, really fast!


I visited Debbie's amazing book club--everyone was so friendly, funny, and charming. Debbie created a list of questions related to My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters like "Do you have a crazy ticket/car wrecking story?" and "Do you have any kooky boyfriend stories?" We laughed a lot! But the best part? Our treat was a beautiful little wedding cake with wobbly columns and everything. So adorable! The entire evening was so fun. A big gushing thank you goes to Debbie and her wonderful friends!


My garage door wouldn't open--on the night I had a class to teach at the Salt Lake Community Writing Center. I tried to lift it myself. It wouldn't budge. I climbed on a ladder and messed with the chain, only to get greasy, black fingers. I banged on it. I screamed at it. And then I called the garage fix-it guy and begged...begged him to come fix my door. He told me no. But then he sensed my true desperation. He came and fixed the door within minutes. Phew! Or should I say Phew$$$. Goodbye cute catalog sweater dress. Hello new garage door springs--at least you come in fashionable silver and black.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

In My Mailbox:

Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore by Rachel Brownell
A memoir about Rachael's struggle with parenthood and alcohol.

Why I'm excited:
Rachel and I went to college together & I'm impressed by her honesty, insight, and reflection in this compelling story. I planned to give it to my psychologist mom, but I couldn't help but read it first.


Paris Pan Takes The Dare by Cynthea Liu
Spunky 12-year-old Paris moves to a new town (again), attempts to make the right kind of friends, and deals with her quirky family, all while trying to figure out if her house is in a haunted forest.

Why I'm excited:
I read this book in ARC form and LOVED it (so cute, so funny, so charming). So now I can't wait for my fourth grade daughter to read it (it's just the kind of book she adores as well). Cynthea will be a guest blogger here within the next week or so. If you'd like to read her first guest post, click here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guest Nose Megan Frazer

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Megan Frazer, author of Secrets of Truth & Beauty. I'm reading it this weekend--and it's so good!  Megan shared one of her beauty disasters with me:

In college I studied abroad in Ireland. I went through a few radical changes in my appearance while I was there. First, I cut my hair from shoulder length to much shorter. And second I got my nose pierced.

Here's a little Do/Don't for nose piercing:
DO go to someone who knows what she's doing.
DON'T get it done with one of those guns they use to do ears.

It hurt like you cannot believe. It probably took hours for my eye to stop tearing. You have to turn the stud just like you do with an earring and man did that bring the pain right back. I don't even want to think about when I changed the ring the first time.

The worst part of it all: I got back home and went to my summer job in retail, and they had a no face piercing policy. Just as it was starting to heal, I had to pull it out.

About Secrets of Truth & Beauty

Secrets of Truth & Beauty -- When Dara Cohen was little, she was crowned Little Miss Maine. That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives. Buy your own copy here!

About Megan Frazer

Megan Frazer studied English literature and creative writing at Columbia University. She lives with her husband and baby in Maine, where she is a high school librarian. She loves cheese and cooking, and both of these make their way into Secrets of Truth & Beauty. She was not, however, ever in a beauty pageant. Visit Megan's website:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

I love seeing what everyone is reading, so I've joined The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for this weekly feature. Though it might be more accurately called What's In My To-Read Stack.

Actually In my mailbox:

The Ring by Bobbie Pyron (Westside Books, September 28, 2009)
A troubled girl learns to believe in herself through the sport of boxing.

Why I'm excited:
Three years ago, Bobbie brought The Ring manuscript to a writing workshop I attended. And I brought my Jungle Crossing manuscript. Neither of us seemed to particularly "wow" the guest editor. But now both books are going to be published--on the same day!

Bought Books:

Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer (Hyperion)
About a child beauty queen who's not so beauty pagentish at seventeen. Plus the cover copy promises romance, friendship, revelations, and another beauty pagent.

Why I'm excited:
I really enjoy books about body issues/beauty issues and I've been looking forward to this one. Plus, she's one of my 2009 Debutante friends.

The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance (Simon Pulse)
A self-proclaimed geek girl makes the varsity cheerleading squad.

Why I'm excited:
The title is fabulous. I'm also always curious about collaborative writing efforts (I've never tried it). And then there's that 2009 Debutante thing.

The Library:

I thought I'd returned all my library books last week. But I found a stray Sisters Grimm book in my daughter's room. I will owe fines. Again. Sigh.

Okay, I've got some reading to do!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ouch! Copy Edits

For the past week I've been working on copy edits for Swoon At Your Own Risk, my young adult novel that comes out April 5, 2010.

The copy edit stage (which comes after story revisions are complete) always makes me wince with ignorance. I almost always discover that I've been spelling something wrong for my entire life. This time I misspelled "lightning" as in a big storm (I wrote "lightening" as in what happens to blond hair in the sun). 

I also discovered that I really don't understand the concept of hyphenation (apparently things change when adjectives get involved). And of course I had many stray commas floating around the story--like confetti!

And then there were all the consistency problems. Stuff I said on page 37 didn't jibe with stuff I said on page 88. Plenty of other stuff didn't make sense either. So I rewrote, clarified, and cringed.

But I really, truly love copy editors. They're like the friend you can always count on to tell you the brutal truth. I wish I could take my copy editor with me when I go shopping for jeans! 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Guest Nose: Cyn Balog

In Fairy Tale, Morgan has a large nose but she doesn't obsess about it. She's the ME I wish I'd been. Starting when I was 11, I was extremely self-conscious because of my own nose. I was made fun of it so much that even by the age of 11 I knew I wanted to have a nose job. I used to do all sorts of shading tricks with cosmetics but they'd just make my nose look dirty. I'd wear my hair down like cousin IT. Any picture of me that shows me in profile has my hand over my nose. My nose just didn't fit my face. Maybe I would have "grown into" my nose, but I will never know because I got a nose job when I was 15. Though I still think it was the best decision I ever made because it gave me the confidence I lacked, sometimes I wonder if my "real" nose would look better on the ME I am now. I guess I never will know.

About Fairy Tale
Morgan Sparks and Cam Browne are a match made in heaven. They've been best friends since birth, they tell each other everything, and oh yeah- they're totally hot for each other. But a week before their joint Sweet Sixteen bash, everything changes. Cam's awkward cousin Pip comes to stay, and Morgan is stunned when her formerly perfect boyfriend seems to be drifting away. When Morgan demands answers, she's shocked to discover the source of Cam's distance isn't another girl- it's another world. Pip claims that Cam is a fairy. No, seriously. A fairy. And now his people want Cam to return to their world and take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Determined to keep Cam with her, Morgan plots to fool the fairies. But as Cam continues to change, she has to decide once and for all if he really is her destiny, and if their "perfect" love can weather an uncertain future. Buy your own copy here!

About Cyn Balog
Cyn Balog is a normal, everyday Jersey Girl who always believed magical things can happen to us when we least expect them. She's also the Race & Event Manager for several national fitness magazines. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and young daughter. Both are 100% human, or so she thinks. Fairy Tale is her first novel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

NYC Prep--So What?

Over the weekend I read about how this new reality TV show, NYC Prep, was causing lots of controversy and angst among the private school folks in New York. Yes!!! It sounded like fantastic treadmill television (and I am kind of missing all that over-the-top Gossip Girls drama).

Let's just say I didn't get a really heart-revving workout. I watched kids shop for expensive shoes. I watched kids shop for expensive clothes. I watched a girl order a salad at an expensive restaurant. Even the one guy's therapy session was dull, dull, dull. The most interesting part of the entire show was watching a girl pick at her mud mask while talking on the phone in a jacuzzi filled with lemon halves (she looked ridiculous).

The "regular" teens I know are much more interesting (and interested), witty, and pull together super cute outfits--with stuff they bought on sale at the mall.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Win 12 books from the Class of 2k9!!!!
Just click here, make a comment, and you just might win.

Good luck!