Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview with NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Brenna Yovanoff!

The FNC is truly feeling the love lately.  We've had so many awesome authors stop by (with more to come!) and today is no exception.  Today we welcome Brenna Yovanoff, whose debut novel, THE REPLACEMENT, came out just over a week ago and debuted at #10 on the NYT Bestseller list!!  We were lucky enough to have an ARC of this book, so we've all been drooling over it for awhile, and we're so glad it's finally out so you can all join us in a big drool fest!

Below, read on to find out more about Brenna, including her other project, Merry Sisters of Fate (a critique group after our own hearts!), what she's up to next, and who she would fangirl squee over!

1) You're part of the Merry Sisters of Fate, along with Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton.  The three of you run a really interesting blog  where you take turns posting your original short fiction as well as some round table with the three of you, and other interesting and fun things.  How does keeping up with Merry Sisters of Fate and short fiction help you in your novel writing?  Is there any short fiction you've written for the blog that you've considered expanding?

Merry Sisters of Fate has had a big influence on my writing style and has really helped me grow and improve.  We've been keeping the blog for more than two years now, and it's taught me so much about efficiency, and about making stories and characters exciting.  There are definitely more than a handful of shorts that I'd consider expanding.  Right now, they have to compete with a bunch of definitely-full-length ideas, but one day, I intend to get to some of them!

2) Alright, Merry Sisters of Fate question part two.  As well as being your blog buddies, Tessa and Maggie are also your critique partners.  What does that relationship look like?  How did you all find each other?  What's the best and worst parts about doing the long-distance thing?

Well, since you asked . . . our relationship actually looks pretty childish most of the time. We do a lot of giggling and squealing and making inappropriate jokes and making fun of each other, and just all-round not conducting ourselves with dignity.   However, we love each others' writing and take our work as a critique group very seriously.  We're here to help each other write better books, which is definitely not the same as "help each other write the book that we would write."  At this point, we're all really familiar with each others' styles and voices and have gotten good at pinpointing problems and bouncing around solutions.

We met when Maggie put out a call on her blog for critique partners and basically, we've just been laughing and squealing and making fun ever since. The best part of the long distance thing is group chat.  The worst is that we don't get to see each other that often.  However, when we do see each other, we never get *anything* done, so . . .

3) You mention on your blog that you're working on book 2.  You've also mentioned that it's about "demons and moral ambiguity and kissing."  Does your new novel have any connection to The Replacement?  And can you tell us any more about it?

Even though the new book is entirely separate from The Replacement, the world definitely has some similarly strange stuff going on.  Basically, if the creatures in The Replacement are the small-time crooks, these ones are the mob.  This book tackles some of the same themes of family and humanity, but from a very different angle.  The main character, Daphne, is sweeter and more proactive than Mackie, while at the same time, much less human.  Also, yes, kissing.

4) The world of Mayhem feels so creepy and fully imagined, like looking at our world but through one of those scary carnival mirrors.  What was your inspiration?

It actually took me a while to figure out what Mayhem was like.  I knew that the characters were very old, but still capable of adapting—they just did it really slowly.   Finally, I realized one day that to really understand them, I needed to give them a kind of Victorian sensibility, because there's definitely some class warfare and some repression happening, and their science is still all tangled up with mysticism, even though they probably wouldn't admit it.  A lot of the stranger details of the world are either drawn loosely from folklore, or are just things that scare me (for instance, water you can't see the bottom of).

5) Do your characters talk to you?  Or refuse to do things that you've planned for months that they would do?  What do you do when your characters are at their most unruly?

When my characters are resistant to what's happening, it's almost always because I'm not quite getting it.  If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't, so I've learned to take a step back and try to look at the character, the situation, and what I want to say.  One of the things that works best for me is to write out an interview asking the character what they want to do and why.  The first page or so is usually just them evading, but somewhere around the second page, I almost always figure out where I got derailed.

6) What are your most favorite and most hated words?  Why?

One of my absolute favorite words is "incandescent."  It just has such a nice ring to it, and is fun to say.  I hate the word "chuckle."  I don't know why, but it drives me nuts.  I never say it, I never write it. 

7) Fill in the blank: If I saw __________ I would totally fangirl squee because...?

Neil Gaiman, because he is *so* cool, and I really, really like American Gods.

8) Finally--The Replacement is your debut novel.  A lot of writers talk about their novels being their babies.  Yours is about to grow up and go out into the world!  What parenting advice will you give to it?

Hmmm, that's a good question.  I think I would tell it to conduct itself with confidence and compassion.  It is what it is, and even though not everyone is going to like it, it's still going to be exactly what some people are looking for, so just work on being there for them and don't worry too much about being all things to all people.

Thank you so much Brenna for stopping by!  We've fallen in love with Mackie and your wonderfully creepy world, and we can't wait to see what else you have in store!  And if you haven't already, either hop online or head over to your favorite bookstore and pick up The Replacement!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Replacement: Co-Review Roll Call!

Today we are featuring one of the most creep-tastic books out this fall: Brenna Yovanoff's THE REPLACEMENT!  Seriously, this book is beautifully written, has a beautiful cover, and will possibly give you nightmares/make you want to date outside your species.  Read below to find out how it turned Frankie and I into drooling Brenna fangirls!

But first, maybe read the Goodreads summary (if you've been bad and haven't read the book already!)

And then mark your calenders, because tomorrow we'll be interviewing Brenna about moral ambiguity, raising books to be responsible adults, and kissing. ;)

But, without further ado, the co-review!
 Sara:  So.  Everyone has certain deal breakers in YA.  And I've always said one of mine was faeries.  And apparently, The Replacement is a faerie book.  But I loved it, so obviously Brenna is doing something really, really right, to make me a convert.

Frankie:  It's like a fairy book dragged through the graveyard on Halloween with a dose of cinammon and spice

Sara:  And, like, arsenic.

Frankie:  With some mud!

Sara: Actually, when I first started reading, I thought this was going to be some sort of twist on vampires.  Mackie's allergy to iron and sensitivity to blood was really interesting.

Frankie:  I'd read about Changelings before so I kind of knew what was coming and I was CREEPED out!  I read this back in the summer when it was 1,000 degrees and chapter one--one of the most perfect chapter ones ever--gave me goosebumps!

Sara:  The cover ALONE gave me goosebumps.

Frankie:  Ok, let's dissect our hero, Mackie (with non-iron based equipment)

Sara:  I'm getting out my plastic knife.  Mackie is kind of emo.  But also sort of courageous at the same time.

Frankie:  Mackie was a little emo, but dude, if I had to use a plastic spork all the time, I'd be emo too.

Sara:  Haha.  It's true.  Brenna did a really good job of creating internal and external conflict and consequences for Mackie.

Frankie:  Well a lot of the story was Mackie finding his courage.

Sara:  He's trying to fit in at high school, which EVERYONE is trying to do, and then there's that whole slag heap thing.  I like that Mackie's courage was linked to love, but not only romantic love.

Frankie:  I LOVED how courageous he became.  Not to mention when the faeries from down under start showing up at parties--really makes it hard to have a social life.

Sara:  True.  This book was, in one way, entirely a love story, but not a romantic love story.  It was about loving and protecting family, and family history, and faith, and friendship too.

Frankie:  Oh yes! That's a great way to put it

Sara:  It was way deep. I love that Mackie learns to be courageous through the women in his life.  And Emma, his older sister especially, was awesome.  She was so freaking bad-ass that I think it brought out the badassery in Mackie a little bit.

Frankie:  Emma was exceptionally awesome, though what she did was beyond brave and amazing--to have seen what she saw as a little girl, to know what she knew and to still love Mackie with all her heart and protect him--WIN! I don't know how she did it. I wish she was my big sister.

Sara:  And I loved that, even in his most emo state, that Mackie knew that about Emma, and returned that love so fully.  I'm pretty sure Mackie and Emma could conquer the world together.

Frankie:  Can we talk about Mackie's love interest,Tate? Because I LOVE Tate!

Sara:  Yes.

Frankie:  Tate kicked butt!

Sara:  Dude.  Tate was awesome.  But kind of broken, too.  I have a thing for broken people.  And her and Mackie didn't fit perfectly together, which I loved.  It wasn't instant-soulmate-love.

Frankie:  But she had this amazing strength the entire time--she knew what she felt, and knew what she'd seen  as far as Changelings go and she stuck to her guns--even when the rest of the town wanted to be in denial.

Sara:  So much so that even Mackie thought she was a little crazy at first.

Frankie:  Which was so ironic--because HE was the very thing she was claiming existed! 

Sara:  Note to teenage self: Find inner truth, save girlfriend's family.

Frankie:  Stay away from blood drives! (Mackie's allergic)

Sara:  And tongue rings!  Dude, I LOVED the whole tongue ring thing.

Frankie:  Oh yah THAT was cool! I was so glad when he finally stopped crushing on whats-her-name-snotface who didn't deserve his love!

Sara:  It was just...god.  I knew girls who had tongue rings in high school.
And some of them were seriously poisonous.  And then the tongue ring was ACTUALLY poison!  Genius!

Frankie:  LOL

Sara:  Can we talk about Mayhem now, the underground world?  Because you know I love a well-built world.  And Mayhem is like, off the charts creepy. Mayhem is like what you imagine is hiding under your bed when you're a kid. But in an awesome way.  Mayhem reminded me of one of those carnival mirrors.  The kind that distorts everything.

Frankie:  Yes! And the characters were like an extension of the world. One of the scenes that really sticks with me is when Mackie can't leave without a kiss and he has to kiss one of those dead decaying girls....and it's so repulsive, but he does it and he lingers and the girl says "that was nice" because it was probably the only real touch she ever had.  There was such a sadness to the place too!  Almost a haunting beauty that sat on top of the creep factor

Sara:  I really felt for the people/creatures of Mayhem.  Which is I think what really brought this book from really good to amazing for me-- that Brenna really hands the readers a big bag of WTF.  And then makes us love it.  And I'm totally down with that.

Frankie:  Me too! I seriously cannot wait to read more from her!

Sara:  Because also, her language is gorgeous.  Her writing sings off the page.  And I know that sounds totally dorky, but it's true.

Frankie:  Well that's how good The Replacement is---it's morphed us into drooling dorks.  Brenna! You're awesome. *drool*

Sara:  Haha.  Classy.

Frankie:  I know--I went to charm school:)

Sara:  Alright, to recap. The Replacement is:  finish the sentence.

Frankie:  The best way to get the chills when your nights are hot!

Sara:  The Replacement: The creepiest loveliest love horror story out there! Anything else you want to add?

Frankie: Read with the lights on!  And lock your windows!

Sara:  And check under your bed and in your closet first!  And maybe, like, buy a suit made of iron.  Unless you want to be BFF with Mackie.  Then forget the suit of iron.

Frankie:  But if you resort to hanging scissors over your bed (you'll see why when you read) and they fall on you, the FNC cannot be held responsible.  Also, go read it.  Because The Replacement is AWESOME!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vampire Diaries: Episode 2.3 Bad Moon Rising

Opening Credits: Salvatore Mansion

Alaric, ALAric, AlaRIC: Well hello there season 2! It’s been a few episodes but I’m finally considered a relevant side character again. Woot!

Damon: What do you know about Isobel’s research on vampires and folklore in Mystic Falls? Particularly, did you ever hear her say, “I think the Lockwoods are werewolves?”

Alaric: Well, I never heard her utter those exact words…

Elena: Yah, but we think the Lockwoods are werewolves. So are they? Do you know?


Stefan: Well we think it is highly probable and highly possible that the Lockwoods are werewolves, or might be werewolves, or are probably werewolves, or may be something that is like a werewolf, or maybe not referred to as a werewolf but is essentially a werewolf.

Alaric: Well…probably considering the heavy moon foreshadowing and the way the camera keeps switching off of us to Mason and Tyler Lockwood acting shady and like they are werewolves, I’d say yes, yes they are.

Damon: Nah! They’re not…

Elena: You are such an idiot!

Alaric: So roadtrip?

Elena: I’ll bring the sandwiches. Let’s go to Duke!

Lockwood Mansion/Estate/Land/Plantation/Half of Mystic Falls:

Tyler: Wow! I never even knew we had this torture dungeon. What are all the chains for? Dude, claw marks! *pulls out camera phone* This is SO going on youtube.

Caroline’s House:

Matt: *knock knock* Caroline! Open up!

Caroline: *burns hand in sunlight* CrapCrapCrap

Matt: *calls Caroline’s cellphone*

Caroline: *ignores call*

Matt: *leaves Caroline’s*

Caroline: *wall slump* I hate the sun! *glances in camera's reflection* Although I must say this lighting is excellent for my complexion. And Make Up and Hair, you’ve really come a long way since painting blood all over my chin last week. Kisses! Love ya!

La Casa De Elena:

Elena is in her room packing for her road trip with Damon and Alaric to Duke. It’s important to pack at least three changes of clothing, an extra pair of underwear and a month’s worth of shampoo because this trip will take less than a day.

Elena: Maybe I shouldn’t go away while Caroline is so unstable.

Stefan: Aw, that’s so nice of you to remember Caroline’s having a more difficult time than you are. But Elena, if I ever saw you do anything that wasn’t at least 99% selfish, I’d die of shock.

Elena: No! No dying! Caroline can fend for herself!



Meanwhile downstairs…

Aunt Jenna: WOOT! I’m in this episode and my make up looks fantastic.

Alaric: I’m in this scene to re-establish the awkward state of our romantic relationship.

Aunt Jenna: Oh phew. I was worried I might have a decent storyline this season.

Alaric: *beams* Where’s Jeremy?

Aunt Jenna: How should I know? What do I look like his Guardian?

Elena: He’s not in this episode.

Outside, Elena and Stefan have a totally crazy make out session right in front of Damon.

Elena: My intense kisses for Stefan are total proof that I love him and I don’t love you.

Stefan: My intense kisses for Elena are total proof of NANANABOOBOO! Vampire Champ!

Damon: You are both 12!

The Lockwood’s Incredibly Epic Sprawl of Land:

Tyler: Hey Mom, can I have a history lesson about the creepy chain dungeon underground that I never once before have seen even though its totally not hidden and I’ve lived here my entire life.

Mrs. Lockwood: Sweetheart, if they didn’t teach you about slaves in the South when you were in middle school, I can’t help you now.

Tyler: So it’s not to hold down Lockwood men when they turn into werewolves?

Mrs. Lockwood:…

The Only Restaurant In Mystic Falls!!!!!!!

I missed this location! So glad to see it’s back!

Stefan: Bonnie, you have to make Caroline a magic day ring. She’s going to go nuts if she can’t pretend to tan during the day and then she’ll really kill some people.

Bonnie: I’m not helping her! That bi-atch killed my almost boyfriend last episode.

Stefan: Bonnie! You know that there’s no romance in your plotline. Come on!

Bonnie: Fine!

Epic Road Trip to Duke aka the plot point that gives hope to Team Dalena!

Damon: Elena, you don’t like really hate me, do you?

Alaric: Dude, you killed her brother.

Damon: I not-killed him.

Elena: But you meant to kill-kill him.

Damon: No I meant to not-kill him.

Elena: You did not. You didn’t know he was wearing a magic ring. You did mean to kill-kill him.

Damon: Lies!

La Casa De Caroline aka It's Always Sunny in Mystic Falls

Caroline: This is the fugliest ring I’ve ever seen and you want me to wear it for the rest of my immortal life?

Bonnie: Do you want to be in scenes with decent lighting for the rest of the season or not?

Caroline: FINE! But just so you know it matches NONE of my earrings.

Bonnie: *glares*

Stefan: Caroline…


Bonnie: *witches the ring into a magic ring* Done!

Caroline: Are you serious? That’s it? Are you sure you did the spell? Because you’ve lied about spells before and I want to make sure this worked because if you’re lying to me I will so befriend another witch and—

Bonnie: *opens the window*




Caroline: Oh. It worked. Did you know it had worked?

Bonnie: I was pretty sure.

Caroline: Pretty sure?!?!?!? Bonnie! WTF! *glances at camera reflection* Oh I look good. Never mind. Magic ring, you are my FAVORITE.

Duke University

Alaric: I’m here to collect Isobel’s things.

Grad Student: K! Here’s her office. BRB…

Damon: Uh-oh! We should go...

And then the grad student returns holding one of those old fashioned wooden crossbows that Alaric loved shooting with in the first season and she aims for Elena but Damon vampirizes himself across the room and takes the hit.


Then Damon throws the Grad Student against the wall and somehow she ends up in another portion of the office with Alaric.

Elena: Hold still while I take this bow out of your back.

Damon: OW! OW I say! And did I say Ow! Because OW! Having an arrow in your back SUCKS!

Elena: You are such a baby. *pulls out the arrow*


Elena: Also don’t kill the grad student or I’ll hate you forever

Damon: You already hate me forever

Elena: Yah, but…I…well…I… I’ll double hate you forever.

Damon: *Rolls eyebrows*

Meanwhile the Grad Student is having an all-out freak-out session. I saw Katherine! Katherine’s a vampire! Damon Salvatore died! Vampires are bad! I’ve seen Twilight! Please don’t kill me.

Mystic Falls Woods: Be VERY Quiet! We’re Hunting Wabbits.

Caroline: Are you serious? I haven’t seen the sun in days. My make up is perfect and this lighting is awesome. I’ve been doing the math and I’ve somehow managed to get equal screen time with Elena in this episode and you want to screw it all up and have me EAT BUNNIES?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Stefan: You’re so adorable as a vampire.

Team Stefaline: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stefan: Here’s the thing, according to Twilight mythology, which apparently we’re now borrowing though I never once remembered L.J. Smith saying anything about this, we take our strongest personality traits into immortal life and they become amplified. I cared very deeply for people when I was alive, so now I have super compassion, freaky blond hair, and I’m a medical doctor who saves lives.

Carlisle Cullen: Excuse me?!?!?!?

Edward: STOP STEALING OUR LINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caroline: CRAP! So I’m an insecure neurotic control freak on crack?

Rosalie: Back off, sister! That’s my life!

Caroline: Move it, bi-atch. I’m going bunny hunting!

Stefan: Wheeee!

Team Stefaline: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Duke University

Grad Student: In this box is everything Isobel found out about her descendant Katherine.

Elena: Dusty. Oh and here’s some Anti-Damon so he doesn’t kill you.

Grad Student: Does Anti-Damon really work?

Damon: No!

Grad Student: Can he hear us?

Frankie: Excuse me, I thought you were smart! You’re a grad student at freaking Duke University who researches vampires and you’re telling me you don’t know they have enhanced hearing!?!?! Bitch please!

Grad Student: Oh…well, can he read my mind?

Edward Cullen: *growls*

Damon: Well, I’m sure you’ve thought about me naked. *wink*

Heath Ledger: STOP stealing my lines!

Elena: FML

Lockwood Mansion/Estate/Retreat/Town/Farm Swimming Party

Tyler: Girls have asses and asses are hot. Therefore girls are hot. OMG, I understand geometry.

Uncle Mason: Yo, Tyler, everyone needs to be off of our property before the full moon comes out.

Tyler: Why?

Uncle Mason: Because I’m going to turn into a werewolf and everyone’s going to die.

Tyler: K.

Uncle Mason then drives away in his big bad truck and GLARES, wolfishly at Stefaline.

Stefan: Dude, did Mason Lockwood just Billy Black us?

Caroline: Yup

Billy Black: If you cold-ones loving hooligans start stealing MY lines, there will be HELL to pay!

Mason: Chill out, Billy and hold onto your wheelchair. *VROOM*

Also STEFALINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *swoon*

Some Girl Named Amy: Hey Matt, I was hired as an extra so I could hit on you.

Matt: Sweet.

Caroline: *compels Amy to go after Not-Matt*

Matt: Caroline, what’s you’re deal? You ignored me all day and now you’re jealous? I thought we were over the drama but you’re acting super jealous now.

Caroline: It’s my vampire power. *pouts*

Duke University

Damon: Too bad you hate me Elena, because I know something you don’t know.

Elena: Oh really, and what’s that?

Damon: That I am not left handed! Also, I have the info on Katherine you want but you have to promise to be my friend again.
Elena: No!

Grad Student: Here’s some Aztec book with indigenous pictures because all werewolf legends come from South America. Also being a vampire is obviously awesome and being a werewolf is a curse. P.S. They bite and kill you dead, especially if you’re a cold one vampire.

Lockwoods Werewolf Dungeon

Uncle Mason locks himself up in chains. Also, he is shirtless. NICE!

Then the moon rises and people start leaving the Lockwood’s massive property, except for Caroline, Stefan and Matt. Of course!

Stefan: *cell phone ring* Elena? My Lovely Love! I love you.

Elena: Mason is a werewolf and if he bites you, you die!

In the Woods:

Caroline: Matt, are you mad at me?

Matt: As long as you stop acting jealous and crap because I told you I loved you last episode so that should be enough.

Caroline: You’re right. Let’s make out.

Stefan: OMG! WHERE is Caroline?

Werewolf Dungeon:

Mason is running late. WHY is he running late? He’s a grown werewolf, he knows the schedule of the moon. There’s a lot of writhing and moaning and moving and some weird concoction he drinks that looks suspiciously like something Snape once brewed for Lupin and then Tyler is there bringing Amy INTO the dungeon because he's an idiot!

TYLER! You fail at life!!!!

Mason then escapes to his truck and tries to chain himself to a tree, because that’ll work and then the moon is too strong and he’s screaming in pain and he’s going to SHIFT! He’s going to totally shift and then…

Mason crawls in the van.

The werewolf shifting graphics: Have been cut for budget purposes. Please enjoy the view of the truck.


Duke University

Elena: Hey Grad Student tell me about doppelgangers?

Grad Student: They torture the ones that they look like.

Elena: FML

Damon: I know something you don’t know.

Elena: If you want to be my friend then tell me.

Damon: Maybe...

Over the Lockwood Wolf Dungeon

Tyler and Amy KISS!

Amy: Oh wait a second. I don’t like you. My head feels so strange. I like Matt. But you’re not-Matt.

Tyler: >:(

Amy: Bye!


Stefan: WHAT was that?

Frankie: I think it’s a wolf Stefan.

Stefan: It’s coming from the van!

Frankie: Yah! So DON’T GO NEAR THE VAN!!!

Stefan: Goes Near The Van

MasonWolf: Jumps through the van and over Stefan.

Stefan: The wolf is out of the van.

Duke University

So the research day is over, Duke University is surprisingly quiet and empty—aren’t you kids studying? And then the Grad Student tries to pick Alaric up, down, left and right. But he isn't having it. She should talk to Aunt Jenna—the boy is dense.

Then Damon helps Elena into the car and gives her a Katherine book with Katherine’s real name Petrova on it.
Damon: Please tell me I haven’t lost you forever, because I love you and I’m sorry and, can we be friends again?

Damon’s Eyebrows: Wiggle, waggle, swerve, rise, fall, shake.

OMG, his eyebrows deserve an oscar!

Lockwolf Woods:

Caroline: I love kissing Matt! It makes me so….horny. No. Hungry. Wait no, I’m horny! AH! I’m hungry! *tree shove*

The Tree: Don’t shove your man into me! *cut*

Matt: OW!

Caroline: What?

Matt: Papercut!

And then Caroline goes Vamp face and vampirizes Matt’s wrist and then his neck!

Stefan: Caroline! Nooooooooooooooooo

Caroline: Mine! Mine! Mine! Mi—ooooh crap!

Stefan: Matt, stay on the ground and play dead.

Matt: K!

Stefan: Caroline, let’s run and get the werewolf to chase us and lead it away from Matt.


Tyler: Hey guys, what are you doing here?

Masonwolf leaps through the trees and jumps on Caroline.

Caroline: EEEEEEEWWWWWWWW! Wolf slobber!

Stefan: Here wolfy wolfy wolfy.

And Masonwolf runs away. He doesn’t seem so dangerous.

Then Caroline totally compels Matt to think he was bitten by a wolf---right… like Vickie was in season 1. Matt, you’re deductive skills are seriously lacking.

Caroline: I can’t believe I hurt Matt. I suck. I should leave him forever.

Stefan: Maybe. I should have left Elena. But I saw what happens to girls when their vampires break up with them in that movie and it was NOT pretty.


Tyler: Finds Mason’s shorts in his truck.

Mason: Is Naked. And Covered in Dirt!

Mason: Can you hand me my shorts?

Tyler: Dude! OMG! You’re…

Mason: I know. I’m a wolf.

Tyler: No man, you’re hung!

The Only Restaurant in Mystic Falls

Amy: Oh Matt! I can’t believe your vampire-girlfriend bit you that a wolf attacked you like that?

Caroline: Seriously? SERIOUSLY? SER-I-OUSLY??????

Amy: GG

Matt: That’s it, we are breaking up!

Caroline: *pouts* Oh hey! Camera! *Checks script* I got more screen time than Elena! It's a miracle!Yaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!

La Casa De Elena:

Alaric: Aunt Jenna! *KISS*

Aunt Jenna: YAY!

On the Porch:

Damon: Road trips rule!

Elena: Not when you’re involved. I hate you. Unless you tell me the truth. Did you know Jeremy was wearing a magic ring?

Damon: No.

Elena: Ok thanks. FYI I hate you!

Damon: Then what was the point of today?

Elena: To give false hope to Team Dalena.

Damon: *pouts*

Team Dalena: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caroline’s Room: It’s Always Sunny In Mystic Falls

Caroline: *wakes up and rubs eyes* Elena? Get out of my room! You just upped your screen time!

Katherine: Not. Elena.

Caroline: Crap!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Interview with Andrea Cremer!

Today at the FNC we have a very special guest--Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade!  Nightshade is her debut novel, coming out from Philomel in just a few short weeks.  I have so many awesome things to say about it (like in our co-review!) but seriously, y'all better be grateful this is a series, because there is just too much epicness to fit into one book!

Andrea was sweet enough to stop by and answer some questions for us, about really important things in life, like lolcatz, writing rituals, and being awesome!

First though, if you haven't already, you should check out our co-review of Nightshade.  If for no other reason than to a) oogle the cover one more time, and b) be jealous over Andrea's awesome hair.

And now, onto the interview!!

1. Describe the plot of your novel using lolcatz speak.

Oh noez! Iz Calla bitin the hawt boyz again?

2. NIGHTSHADE is your debut novel.  A lot of writers talk about their novels being their babies.  Yours is about to grow up and go out into the world!  What parenting advice will you give to it?

Stay true to who you are. Ignore mean people. Be honest. Be grateful. Share the love.

3. You have a wonderful knack for creating lovable, interesting characters with very few words.  But of course, Calla is my favorite.  When did you know Calla's story would be more than one book?

Thank you!! Calla was the inspiration for the series, so I’m thrilled she’s your favorite. I tend to write from characters and Calla was floating around in my head for a week or two before I started putting her story onto the page. I knew she was a girl who was also a wolf. I knew she was strong, but also in serious trouble. I couldn't figure out how someone so powerful could be in that sort of a fix. That's where Nightshade's world emerged it was all about building a history and society that explained Calla's predicament. That predicament is a rather epic journey that I knew from the start would take the form of a trilogy. Prevailing wisdom says you’re not supposed to go looking for an agent as a debut author with a series, but fortunately for me my agent and publishers both wanted multiple books from the get go!

4. What's your favorite murdered darling from the book?  The one character, scene, plot, or even line that you really wanted to keep, but ultimately had to cut?

Revising is actually something I enjoy, it’s like taking a work in progress and making it something truly beautiful. In Nightshade I can’t think of anything I cut that I wished had remained. In Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2), one of my characters had a habit of drinking coffee with eggnog that grossed everyone else out, especially Calla. I ended up cutting that part of the story but I loved that quirk and I miss it J

5. It's pretty clear over here at the FNC that two our big guilty pleasures are Disney and teen movies.  What's your guilty pleasure?  What's the TV show or movie you can't live without?

My guilty pleasure is Project Runway. The TV shows I can’t live without are Buffy, Supernatural, and Mad Men. Movies: Ghostbusters, Aliens, and Last of the Mohicans.

Pug Pillow!  Cutest pillow EVAH!
6. What's your workspace look like?  Do you have any rituals or superstitions you follow when you write?

I don’t have a workspace so much as a couch. I also have a writing secret weapon – pug pillow! I don’t have rituals or superstitions. I just need lots of coffee.

7. Everyone has days when they wake up feeling crappy.  But, even better are the days when you wake up, look in the mirror and say, "I'm awesome!"  When's the last day you were awesome, and why?

Yesterday I was awesome because I got to announce the amazing campaign Penguin has launched for the lead-up to Nightshade’s release. One of the trilogy’s characters, Shay, is stepping into the real world for the next six weeks. You can meet him on Facebook and at his blog.  It’s innovative and so much fun!


Thanks for stopping by, Andrea!  We're pretty sure EVERYTHING you do is innovative and so much fun!  But seriously, I've been keeping tabs on Shay, and it's pretty awesome what's going on over there.  Definitely check it out, and put Nightshade's release date on your calendar! (And then block off the next three days because once you start, you won't want to do anything but read it.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer: Co-Review Style!

Sometimes, we love a book so much we just can't stop gushing about it.  And when that happens, a co-review is born!

Below, Frankie and I fangirl squee all over Nightshade.  But before you scroll down, here are some things you need to know.

First, check out the Goodreads page for Nightshade, and read the plot summary.

Second, mark your calendars for tomorrow, when we will be interviewing the lovely author of NIGHTSHADE, Andrea Cremer!! (heartheartheart.)

Third, please inform us immediately if you know a non-stalkery way we can befriend said author.  Because she seems so awesome, we totally would go get coffee with her.

But without further ado, our co-review: 
Sara: I admit it, I was kind of dubious when I first picked up my ARC of Nightshade.  The caption says, "She can control her pack, but not her heart," and I wasn't quite sure what I was in for.  
Frankie:  I was a little unsure too--I wasn't in the mood for more werewolves.  BUT...
Sara:  This isn't really a book about werewolves.  I mean, wolf-shape-shifting is a part of it, obviously, but this book is way more complex.  Lots of layers.  Like an onion!  Except way tastier than an onion.
Frankie: Like Shrek!  But WAY more awesome
 Sara:  And with werewolves!
 Frankie:  And hot boys!
 Sara:  Can we talk about the boys? Ren first.
 Frankie:  Ren: Hot, sexy, smoldering.  He's the supreme Alpha male.
 Sara:  Dangerous, but loyal.
 Frankie:  Yes, and deep down inside, you know he's just a big softie.  Like a cuddly wolf.  Not a vicious one.
 Sara:  He just needs big wolfie hug.
 Frankie:  I'd hug him!  He needs a hug, he has a lot of pressure on him!
 Sara:  And then there's Shay.  I was sold on Shay the minute he walked on the page.  He's totally my kind of guy.  A mixture of boy-next-door and mysterious new guy.
 Frankie:  You know...I love Shay, but I was kind of more a Ren fan.
 Sara:  I really don't think I can choose.  And I think that's part of the key of the book.
 Frankie:  That's why Andrea rocks!
 Sara:  She made her characters feel real. They're all too complex to either be Team Shay or Team Ren, Team Nightshade or Team Wolfsbane.
 Frankie:  So real!  And so hard to choose between.  Not to mention the supporting characters!
Sara: I LOVE Ansel.  Maybe I'm team Ansel.
Frankie:  Me too!  He was so adorable!  Or Team Mason and Neville.
Sara:  The fact that Andrea thought out so many details of EVERY character, and made them diverse without being like, "And here's the token character for this, and the token character for that..."  It was so refreshing, and awesome.  It took the book to a new level, I think.
 Frankie:  It did and that added TENSION to every single page.  There were seriously consequences for EVERYONE, not just Calla.
Sara:  Omg, the tension!  This is a page-turner.  And I wasn't just turning the pages for Calla and Ren and Shay, but for ALL the characters.
 Frankie:  Sometimes with kind of skip through some get to other (cough) parts.
 Sara:  Haha.  Truth.  But not with Nightshade.
 Frankie:  But not in Nightshade!  Almost jinx!
 Sara:  Owe me a coke!
 Frankie:  Every character counted, every scene mattered.
 Sara:  Also, this is one of the first books I've read in a long time that I haven't finished and gone, "It was good, but could've been about 75 pages shorter."  I think Andrea earned every single page.  Her writing is fantastic.
 Frankie:  I'd say could have been 75 pages longer!  And this is slightly spoilery--but it ends on a cliffhanger.  I was dying! Andrea! How could you do this to meeeeeeeeee!?!?!?
 Sara:  Can we mention the cover art too?  It's gorgeous.
 Frankie:  SO gorgeous and different from a lot that's out there.  I love the purple and pink and...sigh...too pretty.
 Sara:  Oh, oh, can we talk about the world-building too?  One of my deal breakers is sloppy world building.
 Frankie:  Andrea knows how to build a world.  This was solid.  1,000s of years solid.
 Sara:  Even though there was a lot thrown at me, it made sense and I totally trusted her.  And the world is EPIC.  Which is AWESOME.
 Frankie:  Yes. I did struggle a tiny bit at the beginning, there were a lot of races mentioned, but I appreciate now how things were slowly revealed.  The world is SO EPIC.  Oh man, talking about this right now makes me want to reread ASAP!
Sara:  But epic in that way I think it might actually exist.  And by think, I mean wish I could live there.  And like, maybe date Ren...or Shay...or Ansel...
 Frankie:  I'd live there if I could turn magically into a wolf and date Ren... and Shay.  And hang with Calla.
 Sara:  And Bryn.
 Frankie:  Oh Bryn!  Be my friend too!
 Sara:  In conclusion.  Tell me why you loved Nightshade in 140 characters or less.
 Frankie:  Super sexy smoldering tale of a young woman discovering her strength.
 Sara:  Alright, my turn.  WOLVES ARE AWESOME.
 Frankie:  Hahaha!  You win!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eternally Awesome Vladimir Tod Giveaway: WINNERS!

 First off, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who entered this contest!  We had 120 people enter, with a toal of 411 entries!  That means so many of you tweeted, facebooked, sidebarred, followed, shouted from the rooftops and told all your friends.  Of course the FNC thanks you for your support, but we also thank you for supporting such a great book series!

Also, happy book birthday to Heather Brewer and Vladimir Tod!  I think sometimes, as adult lovers of YA, it's easy to forget just how kids/young people love these books too.  And one of the most wonderful things about Vlad Tod, I think, is how many teeangers it speaks to.  For the past three weeks, my twitter feed has been overrun by Heather re-tweeting peoples' messages about how excited they are for 12th Grade Kills--and you know what?  Almost ALL the tweets are from teeangers.  Which means instead of texting or playing video games, they're READING.  Which is awesome.

But, onto the contest.  Let me just remind you what's up for grabs this time!

TWO lucky winners will be receiving a Vladimir Tod tote bag, Vlad Tod keychain, Vampire Academy lipbalm, a copy of Dick and Jane and Vampires, and a copy of Eighth Grade Bites.

ONE lucky winner will get all of the above, plus a signed copy of Eighth Grade Bites.

ONE lucky winner will get the tote bag and all its goodies, and a signed Vlad Tod poster.

ONE ultra-lucky winner will get the tote bag, all the goodies, an (unsigned) poster, and signed copies of 8th Grade Bites and 12th Grade Kills!


Without further ado...

I give you...

the winners!!


Winner of the Vlad Tod Totes and Goodies:

Marie D
Nauane Karoline
Winner of the Vlad Tod Tote, Goodies, and Signed Poster:

Winner of the Vlad Tod Tote, Goodies, and Signed Eighth Grade Bites:

Elizabeth Briggs
Winner of Vlad Tod Tod, Goodies, Poster, Signed Eigth Grade Bites AND Signed Twelfth Grade Kills:

Yelania (The Itzel Library)

THANK YOU! again to everyone who entered, and CONGRATS! to our winners!  I will be emailing you shortly!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vladimir Tod Countdown! Support Books!

In just under twelve hours (for us East Coasters), the conclusion to Heather Brewer's Vladimir Tod series comes out.  Which means there's only a little over twenty-four hours left in our Eternally Awesome Vladimir Tod Giveaway!  If you haven't had a chance to enter yet, just click the link and go.  It only takes a few moments!

Also, Frankie posted yesterday about speaking loudly about what is happening to Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK.  The support that I've seen from the Twitter/Blog world has been overwhelming and a reminder of how lovely this community is, and how important it is to use your voice!

I've been lucky that I've never gone through or experienced many of the traumas and self-traumas that occur to so many young people as they go through middle and high school.  But I have been the friend of those going through it, and been the person to hold their hand, and been the person to attend the funeral.  That's why it's so important for books like SPEAK to remain on the shelves and easily accessible to the young adult community.  That way even if it doesn't affect you personally, you can still have the knowledge and the power of what it looks like to come out of the situation and be stronger for it.

I just want to remind people that as we are SPEAKing out, to also do so for Sarah Ockler's TWENTY BOY SUMMER, which is also on the chopping block, as well as Slaughterhouse Five.

And while you're at it, read a few other books that have been banned, like:

--And Tango Makes Three
--Annie On My Mind
--Harry Potter
--The Giver

I picked these four books because all have had an impact on me, either as a child or an adult.  And in the case of And Tango Makes Three, a picture book, I've seen it have an impact on the children I've taught.

And when you're done reading a book, pass it on a friend.  Or donate it to the library.  The best thing you can with knowledge is spread it around!

(Btw, did you know that Laurie is about to go on a book tour for her new book, FORGE, the sequel to CHAINS?  So be sure to check out her tour information and see if she's coming to an area near you, and then you can support her and her books in person as well!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

#SPEAKloudly + Giveaway (X posted)

Hey Guys, This is cross posted from my personal blog Frankie Writes. I posted here as well to continue spreading the word--but if you'd like to enter the giveaway please comment at Frankie Writes.

Wow. I've just read so many posts about the latest book banner and his attack on Laurie Halse Anderson's brilliant, amazing and should-be-required-reading SPEAK!

I don't think there is anymore I can say at this point that hasn't been said if you're reading through the blogosphere. I am completely against book banning--I personally do not believe that anyone has the right to decide what someone can and can't read. At all!

Book bannings happen unfortunately all the time.

But this latest attack is beyond disgusting. To actually refer to the rape in SPEAK as soft porn is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard.

If you need some catch up, here is the link to Laurie Halse Anderson's blog and response.

CJ Redwine also wrote a heartbreakingly beautiful post on why this book is so important to her.

We have to SPEAK up about SPEAK!!! I didn't go through the same horrors Melinda did, but I did suffer from depression in middle school. I never publicly admitted this before, but... for a period of time, I was a cutter. I cut because I was in pain, because I felt alone and because I didn't think anyone cared.

Having a book like SPEAK could have been tremendously helpful to me, because the message in there goes beyond speaking out against rape--this book is for anyone who has ever felt alone, anyone who has ever been depressed, anyone who has ever been assaulted, or any other horror and felt that they had no voice. If someone is lucky enough to never go through any of what I mentioned than at the very least they should be aware that you never know what another person is really going through. One of the most heart breaking moments for me in SPEAK is when Melinda is harassed by another student for breaking up the party--if the student had any idea what Melinda was going through I'm sure she would have reacted differently. This is a book for everyone.

Taking away SPEAK is one of the worst offenses I can think of. And the kind of ignorance spouted by the banner needs to have some light shed on it.

So what can we do?

Laurie has suggested ways to speak out on her blog and there's also a campaign on twitter to get SPEAK back on the New York Times Best Seller list--a place that this book really ought to live in forever.

I'm so proud of the way the YA community is banding together. I've never been so proud to be a part of this community. So here's what I want to do to help.

I feel SO passionately about this issue, about this book and about having SPEAK reach more readers that I am purchasing 10 copies of SPEAK.

And I'm giving them away. (Head over to Frankie Writes for the giveaway)

If you've never read SPEAK, comment below. Or even if you already own a copy-- if you know someone who hasn't read SPEAK and might benefit from it then comment, if your library doesn't currently carry SPEAK, comment below, if you'd like to give it a to a teacher, or a counselor or anyone who might get it into the right hands, comment below. If I get 10 comments, I'll give a copy to each commenter, if I get more, I'll draw randomly. Whatever happens, I'm determined to get those books into readers' hands.

There are no rules for this giveaway. But there's one thing you should do. Comment below and ALSO if you are on twitter and/or facebook you can add the SPEAK LOUDLY twibbon to your picture by clicking HERE! I have the twibbon on both profiles.

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