Over at Write Hope, there’s an auction going on, featuring all things Kidlit.  Proceeds go to Save the Children for disaster relief in Japan.

The four wonderful ladies putting this on are all writers: Rachael Harrie, Amanda Milner, Luna and Marieke.

There are tons of writing related goodies up for grabs, including ARCS, signed books, critiques, phone chats with agents, etc.  My lovely agent Taylor Martindale and I donated a package that went up for bids today–a full manuscript and query critique by me, and a full manuscript read by her.  And tomorrow, I’m donating an ARC of the amazing IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Sum, who has graciously volunteered to sign it!

Buying an auction item is the ultimate win/win–you get something great, and your money goes to a good cause!  So, please, stop by Write Hope,  bid on one of the auction items, and avoid a pesky case of buyer’s remorse–so you don’t end up like this  guy:

Baby Got Crab.

 

 

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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…..

ALEEZA!

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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Two for Tuesday, er, Wednesday: Double Rainbows

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Aug 18, 2010 Under random stuff, Uncategorized, writing

Okay, so when I put up my post about SCBWI yesterday, I somehow forgot the most crucial thing.  It was there, in LA, among all those writerly types, that I first learned about Double. Rainbow. (All. The. Way. Across. The. Sky.)

I know, right?  This is life-altering stuff.  I also couldn’t find the two key photos of me and one of my roomies yesterday, but it worked out perfectly. In true *Two for Tuesday style, here are Stephanie Kuehn’s and my two attempts to make a Double Rainbow of our very own:

Wait, are we trying to fly away?

 

Hmmmm......

Hey, I never said they were GOOD attempts. 

And how would any Double Rainbow Two for Tuesday be complete without both the

A) Double Rainbow Guy:

B) **The Double Rainbow Song:

*Yes, I wrote this whole post before realizing it was, in fact, Wednesday. So it’s technically a Two for Wednesday instead. Sue me.

**Houndrat is not responsible for any ear worms that may result. 

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Flashback Friday: Movies that Defined Us as Young Adults

Posted by houndrat on Friday Apr 23, 2010 Under movies, writing, Young Adult

Wow, I can actually sum this one up in two words: John Hughes. Done, see you next week!

Okay, okay, so maybe I could write a little more. Like how Mr. Hughes captured all the angst, excitement, fear and fun of high school and being a teen—meshed the outlandish with the real. But since I’m feeling lazy, I think I’ll just throw some of my favorite quotes at you instead.

Sixteen Candles:

Oh Sexy American Girlfriend!

Oh Sexy American Girlfriend!

No more yankee my wankee—the Donger need FOOD!

Grandma: Fred, she’s gotten her boobies! Oh, and they’re so perky!

I mean, would high school have been the same without Long Duk Dong? I think not. (Amusing fact: every single one of my friends was convinced Jake Ryan was a double for this swimmer at our school, Mark Vahradian, who now works in the film industry. Mark, if you’re out there–hi!)

The Breakfast Club:

Beeennnnddderrrrr.....!!!!!!

Beeennnnddderrrrr.....!!!!!!

Vernon: What if your family…what if your home…what if your dope was on fire?
Bender: Impossible, sir. It’s in Johnson’s underwear.

Bender: Come on, Sporto, level with me. Did you slip her the hot beef injection?

Bender: Screws just fall out all the time—the world is an imperfect place.

Bender: Why does Andrew get to get up? If he gets up, we’ll all get up! It will be ANARCHY!

(Yeah, so I totally had a thing for Bender/Judd Nelson when I was a teen. I think it was the glove.)

Pretty in Pink:

Look, you can wear a heinous prom dress and still get all the guys!

Look, you can wear a heinous prom dress and still get all the guys!

Duckie: May I admire you again today?

Duckie: What’s this? We don’t have a candy machine in the boys’ room!

Stefan: That girl was, is, and always will be, nada.

(It must be noted that Pretty in Pink had one of the best soundtracks EVAH! Love New Order…especially Shellshock, and then Elegia playing before the big locker confrontation scene–awesome!. Also, I had a teensy little infatuation with James Spader. Does Less Than Zero count as a teen movie? ‘Cuz I loved that one, too–Spader made a perfect douchebag. I bet here’s a movie he starred in during the 80’s that you never watched, though:

Wow, this is a bad title....

Wow, this is a bad title....

Plus, apparently I wasn’t the only one with a Spader obsession:

Although it’s not a John Hughes film, and a little past my teen years, I have to give a shout-out to Ten Thing I Hate About You, anyway. It’s one of my most fave teen movies ever (RIP, Heath Ledger)

I miss her table dancing...

I miss her table dancing...

Patrick: It’s not every day you find a girl who’ll flash someone to get you out of detention.

Kat: I still maintain that he kicked himself in the balls.

Teacher: Now. I know Shakespeare’s a dead white guy, but he knows his shit, so we can overlook that.

Mr. Stratford: And I’ll get to sleep at night. The deep slumber of a father whose daughters aren’t out being impregnated.

Mr. Stratford: This morning I delivered a set of twins to a 15 year old girl. You know what she said to me?
Bianca: I’m a crack whore who should have made her sleazy boyfriend wear a condom?
Mr. Stratford: No. She said “I should have listened to my father.”
Bianca: She did not.
Mr. Stratford: No, but she would have if she wasn’t so doped up.

Again, not a John Hughes flick, but probably one of my favorite all-time lines (and if you know me, you’ve heard me quote this and perform some random stunt to go with it, way, way too many times) is from Real Genius:

Val Kilmer: You may be smarter than me, but can you do this?

There’s so many more: Dirty Dancing (No one puts Baby in the corner!), The Lost Boys (back when vampires were still SCARY!), Top Gun (I feel the need, the need for speed!), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (my swimmer friends and I actually serenaded the employees at Disneyland with our stunning rendition of Twist and Shout), Clueless (Do you prefer fashion victim or ensembly challenged?), 9 and 1/2 Weeks (wait–you’re saying that WASN’T a teen movie?), too many to name. In fact, I think I feel the need for a teen movie marathon coming on…..

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Okay, so I’m the first to admit it—I *enjoyed* the Twilight series. I did. In fact, I sucked those babies down faster than a shop vac sucks down your kid’s favorite toy (Seriously, have you used one of those things before? I thought it was going to take my arm). And, if I had a teenage daughter, I would totally let her read them. But, only after she read a letter first. One that went something like this.

Dear Daughter:

I have every faith that I raised you to be a strong, independent thinker with a sensible head on your shoulders. But sometimes, reading about sparkly, bronze-haired vamps named Edward Cullen can screw with the best of us. They tend to melt our brains into a smooshy, non-think-y type substance, and sadly, smooshy brains and teenagers don’t mix. Really, there are many lessons to be learned from these novels, if we just approach them the right way. So before you embark on this momentous journey known as Sparkly Vamps are Da Bomb aka Twilight, I’ve made you a little list of things to consider when dealing with boys. We’ll call it How Not to Pull a Bella Swan.

I know he wants to eat me, but oohhh...shiny!

I know he wants to eat me, but oohhh...shiny!

1) Under no circumstances can a dude “sleep over” in your room—I don’t care if he’s 15 or 150. Besides, old guys have to get up to pee a lot—not conducive to quality snoozing.

2) If a guy tells you he’s spied on you repeatedly while you sleep, you MUST. TELL. ME. AT. ONCE. And we WILL. CALL. THE. COPS. Sleep spying = bad, and they’ve got laws against that kind of pervy-ness. P.S. Don’t let the guy off the hook if he claims to be a vampire. Please. That’s actually extra bad, bc then he’s probably wondering if you’ll go best with a Sam Adams or a nice Chianti.

3) It’s okay to be depressed following a breakup, but do not, under any circumstances, collapse in the woods, curl into the fetal position, and wait for hypothermia and/or rabid squirrels to tear into your wilted body. Also, acting like you’re the sole survivor of a nuclear attack for 6 months? Not gonna fly. Seriously, kid, didn’t I raise you to know you don’t need a dude to be happy? You’re killing me.

4) If you crash your motorcycle—or any other motorized vehicle that can kill you in a heartbeat—just to get in touch with your ex’s voice, I’m taking you on a little trip to a padded cell. Just sayin’.

5) If a guy tells you yours is the only mind he can’t read, tell him, OMG! You can read everyone else’s mind, too, but not his! That’ll teach him to use such a pathetic pick-up line. I mean, seriously, what happened to the classics, like “those pants would look great on my floor?”

6) Avoid guys who never ever eat like the plague. They’re probably crackheads, and at the very least, they’ll make you feel weird on dinner dates.

7) If a guy sparkles in the sunlight, it probably means he’s wearing body glitter. Watch closely to make sure he’s not checking out other dudes. And, not that I’m dying for you to jump into the sack in high school, but combine the glitter with a complete lack of interest in getting past first base, and seriously—there’s a 95.89435% chance he’s toting a big ol’ torch for Zac Efron.

Mr. Sparkles-A-Lot

Mr. Sparkles-A-Lot

8) There is never, under any circumstances, a time when it’s okay to go out-of-state without my knowledge. Ever. I will ground you until your liver is too old to process alcohol and your uterus too old to process children.

9) If a guy tells you you’re his brand of heroin, he’s either a) a heroin addict b) a nutter c) both. Run. Very fast.

10) For God’s sake, don’t go to prom planning on asking your date to kill you. I’ll have to lock you in your room until summer break starts—once the anti-psychotics have a chance to kick in. Besides, I paid a fortune for that prom dress, kid. If you bloody it all up, I’ll be tempted to kill you myself.

11) And a bonus one in case you watch the movie. Don’t blink all the time. People will think you’re trying to keep those crusty eye snots from gluing your eyelashes together.

So, see?? With a little creativity, anything can be a teaching experience. Feel free to leave any additions to my letter in the comments! Oh, and just because I’m beyond random:

Hound dog, you're my brand of heroin

Hound dog, you're my brand of heroin

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Two for Tuesday (blame it on Kate)

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Mar 23, 2010 Under random stuff, writing

Kate Hart started this meme last week called Two for Tuesday. Basically you post two of anything, and just have to relate them together somehow.Lucky for you, I’ve been on an 80′s kick lately <insert evil cackle>. So, the first thing I’m posting is this:

Admit it–you’re totally dancing right now. And seriously–I wonder if that Lord of the Rings director got some of his ideas here. Um…

Anyway, although all of the singer’s dance moves are pretty impressive (cough), my favorite is that karate chop move in the middle. Which made me think of this:

Yes, that’s really Elisabeth Shue.

If it were a Three for Tuesday, I’d post the trailer for the brand new Karate Kid movie, coming out this summer with Jackie Chan as Mr. Miyagi.

What do you mean, am I going to see it? Do you even have to ask?

Hey, and you got off easy. I was tempted to find a video of dancing condoms as my second item.

?

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Why will I Zooma Zoom Zoom, but Not Ask My Tootsee to Roll?

Posted by houndrat on Friday Mar 19, 2010 Under music, random stuff

Okay, so here’s my profound thought of the day. Get ready–it’s pretty earth-shattering.? Why is it that songs like THIS drive me nuts:

?
While THIS song is one I love every time I hear it:

?
Anyone?? Cuz I’m really drawing a blank. I mean, both are dance songs, both totally about bootay shakin’, but the Tootsee Roll one make me roll my eyes, and Rumpshaker makes me, well, shake my rump. Even if the main chorus is “All I wanna do is zooma zoom zoom and boom boom.” Or maybe because of it. I honestly don’t know.

And for my next deep blog post, I’ll ponder the differences between Whatchamacallits and Krunch bars. It’s a serious life I lead, folks.

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Okay, so I was named in this Thanksgiving meme by Amy Bai over at PurplePatch, about the 10 Things I Am Thankful For. Yeah, yeah, I realize I’m a wee bit late, but just go with it, okay? We’ll pretend it’s still timely. Anyway, every even numbered item has to be related to writing, and the rest can be about other stuff. Like mounted heads.

And we’re off!

1. I’m thankful this is my blog and nobody can give me smack for not doing this meme on time. My blog, my timeline. Yay!

2. I’m thankful for the awesome 10 inch laptop hubs bought me for X-Mas last year. It’s super light, which is a must, since I cart around about a billion pounds of paper in the same bag, and oh-so-cute. Although, its cuteness factor actually gets in the way of writing sometimes—people often interrupt me mid-thought to ask me ridiculous questions. Like, “Does that really work?” (um, no—this is just my new mime routine) or “Wow—can you SEE that screen?” (of course not—computers with actual visuals are passé). Maybe I need to knit a disguise for it—like, a little computer sweater. That way, they’ll think I’m nuts and leave me alone.

3. I’m thankful my house hasn’t burned down, flooded, or otherwise imploded while hubs has been on kid duty lately. If you’re familiar with my family life, you’ll understand.

4. I’m thankful for my amazing writing peeps on AW—both my Purgies and my OPWFTers. There’s no way I could undergo this crazy writing process without you—at least, not and preserve my sanity. No, the latter part of my statement is not up for debate. Oh, and I’m especially thankful for freaky Krampus Kringle making an appearance in the forums last night—because it means somebody’s sense of humor is more warped than mine.

5. I’m thankful for my wonderful family—the kidlets, the hubs, and yes, even the doggage–although there are times I think the small demented Rottie might look good mounted over my fireplace. In fact, there are times when I think hubs and the kids might look good there, too. But that’s only like 5% of the time—okay, 6%. Which means I don’t think about how peaceful the house would be if they were stuffed and mounted like, 94% of the time—and I consider that a major victory. And no–my sanity, still not up for discussion.

6. I’m thankful for Boudin, the place where I go to write and terrorize the staff. Their caffeinated iced-tea has saved me from permanently imprinting my keyboard on my forehead on many occasions. I’m especially thankful for the baker there, who gives me free chocolate chip cookies.

7. I’m thankful for chocolate, without which the baker could not give me free cookies. We wouldn’t want to put a damper on her altruism. Or my expanding tushy.

8. I’m thankful for my laser printer, cranky and decrepit as it is. Even if the blasted thing does decide to take unscheduled breaks halfway through printing my manuscript—only to start over from the beginning.

9. I’m thankful for my AWESOME husband, who is more supportive of my writing than I could ever hope for. Also, I’m convinced there’s no other father alive who spends this much time with his kids and enjoys it so much. No, you may not have him—go find your own.

10. I’m thankful for all of the wonderful YA writers, agents, editors—everyone in the industry who makes those YA books come to life. Without you, there’d be no wonderful stories to read—and no dreams of publishing my own one day.

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Ridgebacks and noses don’t mix

Posted by houndrat on Tuesday Feb 10, 2009 Under Buffy the Vampire Slayer, dogs, Ridgebacks

Buffy quote of the day:

Evil Swimming Coach–Boy, when they started handing out school spirit, you never even got in line, did you?

Buffy–No, I was in line for ‘shred of sanity’.

In non-Buffy related news, I’m making pretty good progress on the manuscript.? Well, all except for the part where, in? her frantic? attempt to? purge the? two minuscule raindrops from her coat (because she might have melted otherwise), Skye proceeded to burrow the comforter? right into the back of my laptop.? Which would have been fine, had I not been peering closely at the screen at that exact moment, looking for a file.? The end result?? Said laptop crashed down and nearly severed my nose from my head.? ? There was blood and everything.? I’m okay today, but my nose seriously is still a little crooked.? And painful.? And I have to laugh at the irony.? Skye is, like, the only halfway well-mannered Ridgeback I own.? If she ends up being the one to have broken my nose, which survived? countless alteration attempts from Seger, Sunni, Fergie, et al., it’s going to be pretty darn funny.? All except the part where I look like I went two rounds with Mike Tyson, that is.? I guess on the plus side, my ears are intact.

?

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