Friday, July 29, 2011

The perils of the Google Image search and reasons the government will be coming to take me away.

Writers, beware.

Our chosen profession / hobby / compulsion brings us to many, many places on internet search engines we thought we'd never go.

And because of this, at least once a month, one of two things happens:
Search at your own risk. Seriously.

(1) I gag and nearly get sick at my computer because of a gross picture.

(2) I'm convinced that some government agency is going to come knocking on my door to take me away.

On extra special months when I'm being really productive, both of those things happen.

I've been writing seriously since 2008, and in the past three years, for various reasons, I've found myself Googling (and, God forbid, Google Image searching) things like...
  • FBI and CIA protocol
  • various types of weaponry, including photos and usage
  • lyme disease and many other diseases
  • effects of various drugs and what certain pills look like
  • electrical burns and being electrified
  • INTERPOL and the ability to arrest a criminal out-of-country
  • the strength of tasers, and how it feels to be tased
  • counterfeit money, and how to tell the difference
  • drug and alcohol tolerance levels
  • political scandals and blackmailing political leaders
  • finding people in witness protection
  • kinds of fractures
  • hit and run accidents, damage to vehicles from hitting pedestrians
  • cult mentality, cult leaders
  • types of torture, with details

Nope, that doesn't look suspicious or illegal AT ALL. And it's pretty clear which of those medical-related things had me gagging.

I'm convinced that all those government programs that weed through data to find terrorists and whatnot literally have a special filter for people like me.

It disregards all people whose computers have those kinds of strange and incriminating searches PLUS has an internet history of writing-related topics.

There must be some sort of folder we get put into: NOT DANGEROUS, JUST A WRITER.

What's the craziest thing you've searched for? Anything you regret doing an image search for? Let us learn from your mistakes!

(For example ... do NOT search for skin diseases or electrical burns unless you have a strong and empty stomach. And sometimes, even researching non-skin diseases brings up skin disease pictures.)

PS - This post was inspired by this Gchat conversation between Frankie and I while Frankie was researching a new idea:
i just googled burned face
i might throw up

omg i did that before for a book
also googled other skin ailments
bad news bears


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Photos from the Hunger Games movie set!

Gotta love Entertainment Weekly and all the Hunger Games movie coverage! In addition to the new (but underwhelming) Gale & Peeta cover that was revealed this week, they just posted a brief slideshow of (awesome) images from the set!!!

Check out the photo gallery here!

Sneak peek via screenshot of one of the photos of the slideshow.....

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FOREVER signing -- Maggie and Tessa and (Blue)Loki, oh my!

When the FNC heard that Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton were coming to the Philly area as a stop on Maggie's epic road trip summer tour for FOREVER, we knew we had to make a date with two of our fave YA author friends! (Ok, to be fair, only Frankie had met Tessa before, but we were pretty darn confident we'd all love her -- and we were right! She's awesome!)

The signing (at the excellent indie Children's Book World in nearby Haverford) was a blast (with an awesome lunch spread, thanks to the CBW staffers), and we met Blue Loki!

I was telling Maggie at the signing that the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy is my first completely signed book series that I own -- so much fun to see the finished set on my bookshelves!

The FNC + (2/3) Merry Sisters of Fate = awesome!
Sara, Maggie, Janine, Tessa, me, Frankie
(And what's a photo without rabbit ears?)
Maggie's Camaro, the unmistakable (Blue)Loki!
And after a yummy Mexican dinner that night...

Frankie love!!

I think this may be the first photo I've taken with Maggie where she's not making a silly face!

Sitting in the coolest car I'll probably ever sit in
... and imitating Maggie's author photo pose.
(And those are my work clothes. I'm not normally so fancy.)
Ok, I got the pose down, but I need to work on the mischievous grin. Next time!
For Tessa's recap of the Philly event check out her blog post HERE!

Have any of you gone to one of Maggie's summer tour signings for FOREVER or This is Teen? And out of curiosity, what full series do you have signed on your bookshelves?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hunger Games official motion-tastic movie poster and (unofficial) short films!!!!

Can you just die of the awesome?!!!!
Movie website (for poster and countdown widget)

(Don't watch these videos if you haven't read the books, as they contain spoilers!)
From Mainstay Productions, the people who brought you this awesome Hunger Games Katniss and Rue short film...

... comes another -- the Second Quarter Quell!

Share the awesome!

The answers to the ultimate YA quiz, and the winner of SHATTER ME, BLOODLINES, and FOREVER!

After an epic amount of entry tallying and a hot date with a List Randomizer, we have the winner of the YA Knowledge Quiz giveaway!

But first!


1. In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Sam was infected with what disease to 'cure' him of turning into a wolf?
Correct Answer: MENINGITIS

2. What Judy Blume novel is famous for its controversial inclusion of sex? 
Correct Answer: FOREVER

3. "Hate Spinnerbait" comes from what classic Sarah Dessen novel?  
Correct Answer: THIS LULLABY
* Also accepted: JUST LISTEN

4. In Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, what are the five kinds of magic a moroi can wield?    

5. What is the name of the god-like garden gnome in Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE?   
Correct Answer: BALDER

6. How can you tell if someone has a Grace in Kristin Cashore's GRACELING?    

7. How does Foxface die in Suzanne Collins' THE HUNGER GAMES? 

8. The insult "sitzpinkler" comes from what John Green novel?    

9. What does the red pill do in Ally Condie's MATCHED?  
Correct Answer: ERASE MEMORY

10. What is the cause of destruction in Susan Beth Pfeffer's LIFE AS WE KNEW IT?    

11. What instrument does Mia play in Gayle Forman's IF I STAY?    
Correct Answer: CELLO

12. Who is the Summer King in Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY?    
Correct Answer: KEENAN

13. What tough issue is tackled in Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK?    
Correct Answer: RAPE
* Also accepted: DEPRESSION

14. What is the name of Mia's cat in Meg Cabot's THE PRINCESS DIARIES?    
Correct Answer: FAT LOUIE

15. What is Anna's dream job in Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS?




 15 Questions Correct of 15
8 entrants
 You were thrown in the arena of YA fiction and came out the winner.

 11-14 Questions Correct of 15
38 entrants
You rule the school at St. Vlad's and get your very own dhampir Guardian.

6-10 Questions Correct of 15
20 entrants
You have a special ability ... but you're the pawn of the king.

0-5 Questions Correct of 15
10 entrants
You're a mighty Norse god ... cursed to appear as a garden gnome. 
But you still rock.


by Tahereh Mafi

by Richelle Mead

by Maggie Stiefvater


And our winner is...


(Who answered 13 out of 15 questions correctly! Awesome!)

Congrats, Kallie!

Thanks to all who entered! We had a blast, and we hope you did, too!

So ... what's your YA expertise status? Share it in the comments!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Release Day

It's the day we have all been dreading: the end of life as we know it. It really is over now.

Anyone else feeling like this?

Happy Harry Potter Release Day, friends!

*Comic strip found on

That feeling you get when you FINALLY finish the end of a bottle of moisturizer.

I'm a fan of moisturizer. I use it daily, so I buy the big, big bottles that inevitably have a pump top. The pump top is totally convenient, until a few months later when the moisturizer stops coming out.

My moisturizer of choice -- and the darn pump!
"Oh great," you might think, "it's done!"

Except that it's not. There's at least another two weeks' worth of moisturizer in the bottom of that big bottle, but it's not enough for the pump to get at.

So what do I do?

Turn the bottle over (leaning it precariously against other toiletries) and let gravity do its thing. The next time I need it, I have to unscrew the top and thwap thwap thwap the opening down onto my hand to get the lotion out.

I repeat this step DAY AFTER DAY FOR ETERNAL DAYS, as this bottle has become the Unending Bottle of Moisturizer. Just when I think it's finished, I thwap thwap thwap another giant blob of perfectly good lotion.

I consider just throwing the remainder of the bottle in the trash. But that would be WASTING IT, my mother's voice admonishes me in my mind. No one would know! I think to myself. My hand grips the bottle, hovering over the waiting trash can. But I can't.

Thwap thwap thwap.

But just when I'm ready to give up, just when I've convinced yourself that there will never be an end to this torment,  I thwap thwap thwap and ... nothing.

Hallelujah, it's finally done.

I feel like my life has been that bottle of moisturizer lately. A couple months before the wedding, I officially hit the "pause" button working on my novel. I thought that, after returning from the honeymoon, I'd get to sit down and begin writing again.

Then I spent a week doing laundry and cleaning up the piles of wedding stuff that had accumulated in my house.

Thwap thwap thwap.

Then I had a copyediting job for five days.

Thwap thwap thwap.

Then I wrote out seventy-ish thank you cards in a week-long marathon.

Thwap thwap thwap.

And of course, I made plans with some of the people I'd been neglecting for three months when wedding took over my life.

Thwap thwap thwap.

And then ... there was nothing left stopping me. And I got that finally-finished-the-moisturizer-bottle feeling, except times a million.

Hello, pretty novel. 

I'm back.

What gives you that finally-finished-the-moisturizer bottle feeling? And how many of you also insist on finishing every last drop of moisturizer / toothpaste / shampoo / condiment, like me? Leave it in the comments!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The wedding: In pictures!

I got married on June 18th, so I wanted to post some pictures for you guys!

The Reception!

(For a slideshow of the professional photos from our ridiculously talented photographer, click HERE.)

Our first dance.


Twirling our flower girl.

The FNC!

FNC Bowling!
There were a couple hours between my ceremony and reception,
so Frankie, Sara, and Janine went bowling!

With Janine and Sara's lovely husbands after the ceremony.
And then it was bowling time!
Those shoes totally match their dresses!

The honeymoon!

We spent 8 days in the Bahamas at Sandals -- total relaxation!

Our song, Everlong (acoustic) by the Foo Fighters

Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

News Flash and Mini-Mini Review

Despite threatening weather, NASA's 135th and final shuttle launch took place at 11:26 am on Friday.

That's right.

Atlantis's lift-off marked the end of the shuttle program.

It's kind-of exciting and kind-of sad. I mean, it's time for space scientists and engineers to move on and develop better, more efficient means of space travel, and that's a good thing. But it's also the end of an chapter in space exploration, and change is often bittersweet. After this flight, until new means are developed, US astronauts will hitch rides to the space station on Russian capsules.*

I was at work on Friday, so I didn't get to view the launch, but over the years, I've watched many on TV. I still find them thrilling, moving even. The thought of astronauts, people, fellow human beings, boarding a shuttle and, by means of a controlled explosion, departing from our planet to explore beyond makes the hair on my arms stand up and chokes me up a little.

As we wished the crew of Atlantis "godspeed" on Friday, my mind wandered from real life to fiction and Beth Revis's Across the Universe, whose characters make an epic journey through time and space aboard the spaceship Godspeed. (How's that for an awkward and forced transition? But it really did make me think of the book.)

Across the Universe is a quick read with an intriguing concept, a good mystery, and a little romance too. It raises thought-provoking ethical questions, but manages to maintain a lightness at the same time. It'd make a great beach or poolside read for you this summer! Check it out.

As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I learned how much math was involved, and I revised those plans. I'd still love to go, though. To experience weightlessness. To be surrounded by starry brilliance. To stand on the moon and watch the earth rise.

Edgar Mitchell walked on the moon in 1971. His description of the experience has captured my imagination since I first came across it 10 years ago.

"Suddenly from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home."

So...Did you watch the launch? What thrills you about space travel? Have you read Across the Universe?

*How ironic is that! And how far have we (Russia and USA) come since the space race of the 1950s that we can now work together!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Edward Cullen and Jacob Black Review Maggie Stiefvater's FOREVER!

It's no secret the FNC are huge Maggie Stiefvater fans.  But when Frankie and I sat down to co-review FOREVER, we realized we just...couldn't.  Not coherently, anyway.  And who wants to read a post filled with "OMG I LOVED IT!  OMG WITH THE WOLVES!  OMG THE KISSING!  AND OMG THE WOLVES!  AND OMG THAT OTHER PART WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT! (because our reviews are spoiler free!)" AND OMG I LOVED IT!  AND THE KISSING OMG!  AND THAT ENDING! O.M.G."

So, we decided to call in some back-up.

Jacob Black!  Edward Cullen!

Frankie and Sara: Take it away, boys!

Jacob: First of all, Grace is a werewolf in this book. And she's cool about it, unlike some other she-wolves I know. Which makes her AWESOME.

Edward: Perhaps we should start by discussing the literary merits of Stiefvater's lyrical style.  I have seven PhDs in English.  I know these things.

Jacob: You have seven PhDs in STUPID.  I don't care about style. I care that I liked this story! Also, werewolves are awesome.  And I loved seeing Grace's character as a girl.  And a wolf.  It upped the tension between her and Sam so much.

Edward: Did you know that Cole was a perfect foil for Sam, and that Stiefvater used such literary techniques as simile and metaphor to draw out the emotional core of all four narrators?

Jacob: Can you shut up with this literary mumbo-jumbo and just talk about what you liked? This is a review, not a thesis!

Edward: Fine.  I liked the romance and deep love between Grace and Sam.  Sam is a gentlemen.  Unlike that rake, Cole St. Clair, who needs to learn propriety.  And wear clothes more often.

Jacob: Wolves don't need clothes!

Edward: I will choose to ignore that last comment. Moving forward. I found myself so enthralled with the narrative that I was vexed to come to its conclusion.

Jacob: It was so intense!  It was BAM!  And then SLAM!  And POW!  And BANG!

Edward: Listen, dog.  No one will take this review seriously if you use terms like that!

Jacob: !

Edward: This book had great agency.  I found myself turning pages at an alarmingly-fast rate.  My only critique of Ms. Stiefvater is the glaring absence of vampires in her novel.  It was a good novel, but with could have been great.

Jacob: WTF?!  This novel is AWESOME, and vampires suck, dude.

Edward: How dare you!  I can sparkle!

Jacob: But can you do...THIS!?

Edward: I don't feel the need to prove my skills with you, Jacob. In conclusion, I found the novel to be one of emotional intensity and lyrical beauty.  It was a breathtaking race to the climax that I didn't want to see end.

Jacob: Okay, man.  I guess we can agree on this one thing.  FOREVER rocked!

Edward: agree with me?

Jacob: Ohh yeah...

Bella: WTF!?

You guys stole my copy of Forever!

Frankie and Sara: Ok guys, that's a wrap. FOREVER comes out July 12th!  Find it wherever books are sold!  And buy it!  Or maybe win an ARC from us! (Or Edward might try to kiss YOU, too.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Books of Wonder Signing Recap

Guess what you guys? I went to another book signing!

Tuesday night I went to NYC to Books of Wonder to see the lovely Lisa Desrochers, Courtney Allison Moulton and Leah Clifford.

Some of the usual suspects were there--book bloggers and writers I've come to love through many NYC hang outs, and all in all it was a great night--one that may or may not have included me doing an interpretative dance of The Duff for Kody Keplinger....or me becoming a character in a book series that involved stick figures and hungry vegans...


Anyway here are pictures!

Lisa talks about Original Sin which came out that night (7/5/11)

Courtney, Leah and Lisa

Courtney, Leah talking about A Touch Mortal, Lisa

Courtney with Angelfire

Me with Kody (and this time I look dressed!)

Philly book blogger Jenna, getting her books signed.

Rachael! The Book Muncher!

After the signing with Lisa Desrochers

Courtney Allison Moulton (who also has three names like me), ME, Leah Clifford

Hope you enjoyed!
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