It’s that season again, and guess what? I have prom on the brain.

I love looking at prom dresses. I can’t help it; it’s a sickness. A time-gobbling, taffeta-ogling sickness.

In fact, some of you might remember one of my prom-related tweets from last week:

(In case you’re wondering:  tweeps voted almost unanimously for the cute-yet-short prom dress. Awesome undies, for the win!)

Then I asked this question:

Which made me wonder…if I could do senior prom all over again, would I change my dress?

Maybe.  See, for my senior prom, I went all out, and chose something very ball-gown-esque.  And while I really liked it, I kind of wish I’d chosen something a little more daring. Not slits and cutouts and oh-my-god, will-or-won’t-her-boobs-stay-covered? daring, but, you know, more…visually interesting. I mean, you can only get away with those crazy dresses for so long.

Below is a photo from my senior prom, in what I dubbed my “Grecian Virgin look.” Yes, that is baby’s breath in my hair, and those are elbow length white satin gloves. Don’t judge:

My hair. MY HAIR!

And here’s a better view of THE GLOVES:

And still...MY HAIR!!

If I had a dress do-over?  I’d like to think I’d chose something like one of these:

Betsey Johnson = AWESOMESAUCE

More Betsey!


Or, if I just HAD to have that floor length gown, this (and look, you could even sneak an EXTRA prom date in under your skirt!):

Also, this dress really has nothing to do with anything, but OMG, isn’t it gorgeous?

So, what about you? Did you love your prom dress, or would you chose a dress do-over?  Or, if you’re just getting ready for prom now—how do you feel about your dress?


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And the (very, very belated) winner (one day I promise to do these things on time) of the Where She Went ARC (but maybe it just makes you savor the anticipation even more) by Gayle Forman (or probably you find it utterly annoying. I’ll shut up now) is…..


Yay!  Please email me at houndrat at yahoo dot com to claim your ARC, WOOT!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Now for a quick announcement!  Do you see that Goodreads button on the right?  Do you?  That actually LEADS TO MY BOOK!  Yes, I realize it’s still titled Book One, but still—IT’S MY BOOK! SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!

I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see my name next to that poor, empty rectangle featuring that poor non-title.  Even the tiniest thing makes my book deal feel a little more real, you know?  Some day, I might actually be 100% convinced that’s it’s going to happen.

Anyway, I planned to follow up that announcement by blogging about Important Things. Except, the only Important Things I can think about at the moment are asiago bagels and where I can find a sparkle cowboy hat for Kirsten Hubbard’s book release this weekend.  (if you know, please tell me…I’m flailing here. FLAILING.)  But it’s kind of hard to carry an entire blog post with those topics.  Okay, that’s a lie. I could totally carry an entire blog post about those topics…it just wouldn’t be one you’d want to read.

So instead, I decided to embrace the easy path and give away another ARC instead. YAY!

This one is Chime by Franny Billingsley, which earned a starred review from Booklist. If you enjoy dark fantasy, this is your kind of book!  Here’s the blurb:

Before Briony’s stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family’s hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it’s become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He’s as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she’s extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn’t know.

And here’s the cover, which I totally love:

To win, follow me on Twitter, and leave a comment telling me which power you would want the most if you were a witch.  Personally, I’m kind of a fan of the classic turning someone into a newt.  Or maybe a banana slug.  Seriously, how entertaining would that be? Well, as long as you could change them back.

I Need This Sign.

Contest ends this Friday at noon, PST and I will TRY MY BEST to notify the winner that same day.  Feel free to poke me in the comments if I forget!  GOOD LUCK!


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Read this book.

Okay, so I’m one week late with the next ARC Giveaway. In Debra-time, that’s impressively close to the target date, so we’ll roll with it.

I’m typing this up at the total last minute while my 3-yr-old pretends I’m a jungle gym, so please excuse me for brevity. Or mistakes. Or when you see OUCH! pop up in random spots.

Where She Went is Gayle Forman’s eagerly awaited follow-up to If I Stay, and I have to say, I think I loved it even more than the first one.  This book is from Adam’s perspective, and Adam is broken. And there’s nothing I like better than a broken male character.

Wow, that makes me sound like a crazy, warped man-hater. When really I’m just warped.

Anyway, it’s written in the author’s powerful prose, and like her first one, alternates between real time and flashbacks, with just a touch of magical realism.  Plus, it’s full of angry break-up songs, which made me think of Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill album, and that’s always a good thing.

Angst angst angst

Okay, now I just need a contest.  How about…in the comments, tell me you at least went and READ Maureen Johnson’s The Last Little Shelterbox fundraising post about helping disaster victims in New Zealand.  I won’t ask if you donated or not but if you do, well, know that you are awesome and entitled to be addressed as Mr. or Ms. Awesomesauce for the remainder of the week.

Contest will close Tuesday at noon, PST.

And because it amuses me, here are a few keyword searches that led people to my blog recently:

“BREAST RASH PHOTOS”—Because nothing says Quality Writer’s Blog like a few solid posts on breast rash.  Hmmmm.

“BRI SUE FIRST NAKED”—Obviously someone with ADD who got distracted from legal matters by more pressing needs

“BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER FUR COAT”—Anytime I get a Buffy search, I’m stoked. Even if I’m now picturing a black fur coat with a massive picture of Buffy wielding a giant stake painted on it. In blood. Remeber that warped part?

“MY ASS BEAUTY”—For those in search of total body sparkle.

“PENIS”—Nice. Simple. I like it.

“ SAHM PICTURE OF A NASTY HOUSE”—Finally, a legit reason to come to my blog!

Anyway, GO!  COMMENT!  WIN!  And…try not to search “my ass beauty.”  Please.

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I have a special announcement to make. For the first time, ever, in my entire life, I’m writing a novel based on an outline.

That’s right. An outline. Something that implies organization. Pre-planning. Vision. Or perhaps more terrifyingly, something that DOES not imply pantsing my entire way through three-hundred plus pages.

No, I don’t have a fever. (Unless you’re talking about Bieber Fever, and that was totally forced upon me by Stephanie Kuehn and her Write Night avatars of death. You might be happy to know that I’ve posted so much in my private writing forum—like the kind I talk about here—that I’ve bypassed the Mr. Never Say Never avi in favor of that dude who asked his date if she likes daggers.)

Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh, right: outlines. So, I’m working from an outline. And I’m super excited. I’m super excited, until I sit down at the computer, poise my fingers over the keyboard, and realize…holy crap, I’M WRITING FROM AN OUTLINE.  That means writing my scenes in order. Or at least, I’m telling myself it does. I mean, it’s probably sacrilegious to write out of order when you have the map to your entire book right there, flashing you with those big, professional-looking chapter headings.

But I can do this. I can write my scenes in order. So, I sit down at my computer again, poise my fingers over the keyboard, and realize…holy crap, I’M WRITING ABOUT A REAL PLACE THIS TIME, not a fictional town that exists only in my brain. A fictional town where any detail I provided was exactly correct because I got to make that junk up as I went.

In fact, the very first scene takes place in a real establishment, which takes place in a real city. Cool…all except the part where I’ve never been to this particular establishment before. This could present a slight problem. What if I say the wallpaper is purple with orange Ho-Hos, when really it’s pink with lime green Twinkies?  The last thing I want to do is anger the locals because I jacked up their wallpaper in my book (though, if Neon Hostess is the wallpaper of choice there, I really think they need to direct their energy elsewhere).

How do all you writers who write about real places do it?  Do you own private Jets?  Possess super spy skills?  Have lots and lots of friends with cameras?

I will figure this out. Eventually. In the meantime, I have the oddest craving for brightly colored snack foods. Sno balls, anyone?


And also–I posted this on facebook the other day, but it makes me smile, so I’m posting it here, too.  I often type while on the bed, and this is what Fergie and Skye do next to me:

Snuggle Buddies

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