Even YA Characters Need a Little Holiday Love

Posted by houndrat on Monday Dec 20, 2010 Under writing, Young Adult

Well, I know I’ve been MIA for a long time, but yes, I’m still alive.  Barely.  At least, that’s how it feels right now, because I’m pretty sure I’ve hacked up all but the deepest layers of my lung cells. Stinking cough. If it weren’t in such poor taste, I’d be tempted to be overheard mumbling TB in public, just to see the horrified reactions.  You know, come to think of it, that might nab me some prime real estate at Starbuck’s….

 But, believe it or not, I’m not actually posting for the first time in eons to talk about The Cough That Tried to Eject My Lungs into the Next Galaxy.  Instead, I want to talk about cheerful stuff.  The holidays are coming up, and everyone is running around, trying to score perfect gifts for that certain someone.  And it made me wonder….what if that certain someone was one of our favorite YA characters?  What would we be purchasing for them?

 After careful consideration, I made up this handy list of what a few YA characters could really use to bring in the New Year.

 Edward:  An economy-sized bottle of shampoo and a membership to the local spray-tanning salon.  Because he’s lucky the glare off his chest during the fountain scene in New Moon didn’t blind Bella for life.

 *If it had been pre-Breaking Dawn, then I would have suggested one of those Bop It toys.  For one, to help him alleviate all that sexual frustration that must have accrued over the past 109 yrs, and for two—just because I think he would look hilarious holding one in his sparklerific hands.  But post-Breaking Dawn?  Probably an indestructible pillow instead.  I mean, all those feathers flying around can’t be sanitary.

Now that's what I call scary.

Bella:  A lifetime’s supply of therapy.  Hey, trust me—remembering a regular episiotomy is bad enough. Remembering an episiotomy performed by your own predatory newborn? So not okay.  And also, a Bedazzler.  So her skin doesn’t out-sparkle her shirt.

Ooooh, shiny!

Jacob:  A year’s supply of t-shirts.  Dude must have fallen on some pretty hard times in New Moon and Eclipse to only to be able to afford pants.  Also, Chuck E Cheese token. You know, for his girlfriend.

Dude, where's my shirt?

Adrian from Vampire Academy:  The patch, a sponsor for AA, and P90X.  I love you, buddy, but seriously, getting off your pampered butt and doing a little exercise once in awhile would work wonders for your spirit-inflicted pity party.

 Katniss: A year-long trip to the spa.  Seriously, can you think of anyone more tightly wound than her?

 Peeta:  A copy of this book below to read while Katniss is deciding between the raw sugar scrub and the glitter pedicure.

Run While You Still Can!

 Zoey Redbird from House of Night:  A link to urban dictionary. Because there comes a point when, after being stalked by giant birdmen, juggling several guys, some of them evil, and finding out your favorite teacher wants to wipe out humanity,  “poopy-face” just no longer cuts it as a curse.

 Gale:  An infinite-repeat recording of old New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, and the Wonder Pets and Dora theme songs.  And a little visit from Krampus.  Because poopy-face actually works for him in the last book. Oh, and LONG LIVE TEAM PEETA!

So there you have it, my YA holiday gift wrap-up!  Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

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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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Twilight versus Buffy–still slaying me after all these years

Posted by houndrat on Sunday Jan 11, 2009 Under Uncategorized

So I’m now halfway into my second season of Buffy (for like, the? bazillionth time).? And not to be rude but, um,? Ms. Meyer?? ? You ain’t got nothing on Whedon in the tragic romance department.? That Joss–his brain must be twisted in an uber-twisty kind of way.? I’m just saying.? I mean, how else do you come up with a storyline where the vampire slayer falls in love with a vampire named Angel?? A vampire, who, due to an ancient gypsy curse, had his soul restored and has been suffering for the past? century until he meets and falls in love with Buffy, the one person who should be his arch-nemesis?? And then,? just because he? experiences a moment of pure happiness (think true love and teenage hormones and you’ll get the picture of how thatoccurs), the curse is broken and he reverts back to his former soulless, evil, torture-loving alter ego, Angeles.? You know, the one who (and I paraphrase) offered an ugly death to everyone he met for over a hundred years–and he did it with a song in his heart.?

So obviously Buffy, being? the slayer and all,? has to try to stop him.? But you know, it’s one thing to break up with your boyfriend, and another? thing entirely to turn him into a big pile of dust by stabbing him through the heart with a sharp pointy stick.? You think that’d be tear-jerking enough, right?? ? Oh no, not for Whedon.? Like some gruesome Big Bad from the Buffysphere, he couldn’t stop until our still-beating hearts were completely ripped from our chests and stomped on a few hundred times.? Because,? at the end of Season Two,? the curse and? Angel’s soul are restored—just moments? before Buffy has to kill him to save the world.? Talk about future emotional baggage.? So, Joss?? You may be genius-like and all, but please, do me a favor–don’t? go writing my future anytime soon.

Seriously, though, for those of you who have never watched Buffy before?? It’s worth a look.? I mean, even beyond the tragediest of tragedies, Whedon has? tons to offer.? The Buffy-banter alone–some of the funniest, hippest dialogue ever produced, bar none–makes this show entirely too addicting.? Yes, the special effects in the first season are unbelievably low-budge, but it just adds to the? campiness of the whole experience.?

? And how can you resist the supporting cast?? Xander, for instance, the nerdy side-kick who says stuff like,? “I laugh in the face of danger.? Then I hide until it does away,”? and “? I don’t know what everyone’s talking about–that outfit doesn’t make you look like a hooker.”? And then there’s always,? “There’s a party in my eye socket, and everyone’s invited.”? (Um, okay, so that last one is sort of a ‘had to be there’ type deal.)

And bitchy, popular Cordelia was always good for a line or two–”What is? your childhood trauma?” comes to mind.? Oh, and “Willow–nice dress.? Glad to know you’ve seen the softer side of Sears.”

I could seriously be writing for a week straight if I tried to include all of the great Buffyisms out there.? But since I think the kiddage would object, I’ll just throw out a few more favorites that pop immediately to mind.? If you’re? a Buffy fanatic, feel free to leave your favs in the comment section.


“Can you vague that up for me a little more?”

“I think I speak for all of us when I say…huh?”

“I may be dead, but I’m still pretty—which is more than I can say for you.”


Spike is always good for some hilarious lines, but one of my personal favorites is when Buffy commands him to sum up what he’s doing in five words or less. ? Spike, counting each word out on his fingers, says, “Out. For. A. Walk….Bitch.”


Or here’s this excerpt from a conversation with Angeles about killing Buffy:

Spike: ? Why don’t you rip her lungs out? ? That’ll leave an impression.

Angeles: ? It lacks poetry.

Spike: ? Doesn’t have to. ? What rhymes with ‘lungs’?


And of course, some of the best ones are totally random. ? For instance:


Vampire Girl: ? Does this sweater make me look fat?

Sunday: ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? No, the fact that you’re fat makes you look fat. ? That sweater just makes you look purple.


Girl: ? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

Buffy: ? Uh, you know, I meant to, and then I just got really busy.


Buffy: ? I seem to be having a slight case of nudity here.

Oz:? ? ? ? But at least you’re not a rat any more. ? Call it an upside.

But, I do have to say, Meyer’s got? Whedon on the endings. Unless you’re into ‘lonely-ever-after’.? ? Because when it comes to? giving us what we want in terms of a romantic conclusion?? ? Well, let me put it into Buffyspeak. Basically, on a scale of one to ten—Whedon sucks.

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Confessions of a Twilight junkie, part 2

Posted by houndrat on Saturday Jan 10, 2009 Under movies, random stuff

Okay, so maybe I? broke down and went to see Twilight for the third time today.? But really, can you blame a girl for needing her weekly dose of vampirey goodness?? It’s so very human of me, after all.? And all that suspense-filled romance serves to stimulate the creative portion of my brain, so in the long run, I’m really only? succumbing to temptation? for the good of my plot synopsis.? Really.? Plus, I figure I’m? simultaneously supporting our flailing economy and ensuring that the producers of Twilight get their butts in gear and get a move on that sequel.? Because even an immortal? would? agree that it? can’t come out soon enough.

See how well I can? rationalize my Twilight fanaticism?? It gets easier with practice, trust me.? The trick is trying to look at? your addiction? obsession harmless little? interest in? bronze-headed vampires? from a positive perspective.? Like, say, me believing that? the purchase of? my third ticket to the movie isn’t? really a waste of time and money, but rather, food for my inner muse.? Delicious, romance-infused food of the Edward and Bella variety.? Unfortunately, my inner muse seems to have a never-ending appetite for this particular story.? Well, that and movie popcorn, at any rate.

Besides, I’m not that far gone.? I mean, it’s not like I’ve entertained notions of kidnapping Stephenie Meyer and holding her hostage until she finishes that partial manuscript she started from Edward’s perspective.? Well, not for any extended periods of time.? And anyway, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind being a prisoner honored guest in our home for awhile.? Um, she does like large brown couch-hogging hound dogs, doesn’t she?

But you’ll be happy to know I’m practicing due diligence on my synopsis for the time being.? At least until my inner muse starts grumbling again.

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Confessions of a Twilight junkie

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Jan 8, 2009 Under movies

Okay, I so should not be writing a blog post right now.? What should I be doing?? Well, writing my plot synopsis for the Harlequin romance I started like a zillion years ago, and just recently got around to editing for submission, for one.? Yes, really–a Harlequin romance.? I know–it may sound far fetched, but I’ve been reading those suckers since grade school.? And now, the only thing that stands between me and a rejection form letter is my plot synopsis, which basically amounts to five pages of double spaced hell.

? ? But actually, I’m writing this post to save me (and my plot synopsis) from myself.? You see, like millions of other females? around the world, I’m an addict of everything Edward and Bella-related, and right now I’m desperately fending off the urge to go and see the Twilight movie for the third time in less than two weeks.? Which would be absolutely fulfilling on an I-need-my-daily-dose-of-tragic-vampire-romance level, but not so much? from an? I-really-need-to-get-my-synopsis-finished-because-it’s-not-going-write-itself? point of view.? ? But the urge is almost too deep to resist.? It’s like a crack addict knowing their next fix is just around the corner–or a vampire knowing the tastiest scent of his existence is free for the taking.? Plus, hello–there’s my own personal brand of heroin involved here–movie popcorn.? In fact, when I put it that way, I wonder if resistance is futile.? Seriously, it’s a good thing that a scenario didn’t arise where I could only obtain the rest of the Twilight saga in exchange for my firstborn, because to be honest, there’s a reasonably good chance my soul would be up for grabs right about now.? Had the scenario involved me throwing in a growling Rottie and a hound dog with a toilet paper eating fetish, well, you can come to your own conclusions.?

? I know some fans of the book hated the movie, but I don’t care.? I mean, do I think the movie is the best ever?? No.? Am I stunned by the astonishing array of special effects?? Hardly.? Do I fail to notice that the screen Bella must have an issue with dust floating into her eyes, since she blinks more than a turn signal at the world’s longest stop light?? Nope.? But honestly, it just doesn’t matter, because whatever the reason, I can’t get enough.? And now that I’ve devoured the books, in record time and on more than one occasion, the only thing left for me to do is soak up the film clips, flaws and all.? Although, to be honest, there are a lot of things to recommend the movie, at least from my perspective.? The chemistry, the score, the scenery, and the emotional intensity?? They’re all there.? So, while there are definitely a few parts I would change, the movie delivers enough of what made the book so compelling to lure this fang-free girl into the darkened theater time and time again.

? ? ? Why am I so into Twilight?? Gee–I’m not really sure.? I mean, just because my favorite series of all time, bar none, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as evidenced by the fact that I own every single season on DVD and know most of the lines by heart) doesn’t mean much.? And I’m sure it’s not relevant that the common thread of my other favorite TV series (Veronica Mars) along with some of my favorite movies—Dangerous Liaisons, Legends of the Fall, Meet Joe Black (okay, maybe some of the latter two had to do with Brad Pitt, but still)—is tragic romance.? ? I guess I’m a glutton for punishment–well, at least other people’s.? As Cordelia would say in the Buffyverse–morbid much?

? So, I think the coast is clear for the time being.? My clock now reads 12:48, and since the movie starts at 12:50, I think I’ve sucessfully fended off another attack of Edward and Bella-mania.? I’m going to have to make due with playing my old Buffy episodes in the background while I finish the darned synopsis.? Besides, there’s always youtube handy to catch a glimpse of my favorite scenes, if the bloodsucker lust becomes too strong (although? I can’t say the clip I found on Jasper and Edward being emo kids really slaked my thirst).?

? ? And, of? course,? there’s always the 3:00 showing.

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