The Craziest Thing (By Far) I’ve Ever Done…

Hey everyone!

So the craziest part of being an (almost) adult is probably doing the things you always said you were going to do, but never thought would actually happen. Or if you did think they would happen, you always pictured a much more mature version of yourself doing them.

Not, y’know…you.

Case in point: Traveling the world with a single backpack.

For two months.

Alone.

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Did I mention that I was doing this alone? Because yeah. Alone. It’ll be me, my laptop (Amelia Airheart), and my loaner backpack (Victor Hugo).

Yes, I name inanimate objects. If I ever find myself stuck on an island like Tom Hanks in Castaway, I will have have a billion Wilsons to keep me company.

So here is the game plan:

May 31st–Fly out of Portland, Oregon.

June 2nd–HOORAY! LAND IN BUDAPEST!

June 4-7–BOOK WEEK IN BUDAPEST! (Meet fans! Geek out like whoa!)

June 8-10–Stay in Budapest, but take some fun day trips.

June 9–Day trip to Győr. (Hopefully do a signing/meet fans!)

June 10–Day trip to either Tatabánya or Gödöllő. (Feel free to tell me which one I should pick in the comments section!)

June 11–Train to Debrecen. (Hopefully do a signing/meet fans!)

June 13–Bus to Oradea. (A signing is in the process of being booked! Huzzah! Can’t wait to meet my fans!)

June 14–Train to Cluj-Naopka. (Do a signing? Meet fans? Convince my fans to check out Hoia Bacu forest with me so that I’m not abducted by aliens?)

June 17–Train to Sighişoara! Visit the foritified churches with my fans? See Vlad the Impaler’s birthplace. 

June 19–Train to Brasov. (Do a signing? Meet fans? Visit Bran castle! Hike the Seven Ladders Canyon with fans who won’t let me quit after four ladders…)

June 22–Train to Sinaia. Visit Peles castle and Sinaia Monastery!

June 24–Bus to Bucharest! (Another signing, perhaps? Meet more fans?)

June 28–Fly to Istanbul. (I’m so excited to stay with an awesome Hungarian blogger!)

July 3– Um…

I.

Have.

No.

Clue.

(Hang out on a Greek island, maybe? Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!)

July 16–Fly from Athens to Rome!

July 20–Fly from Rome to New York City!

July 22–HELLO ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA CONFERENCE!

July 26–Fly from New York City to Portland, Oregon.

Sleep for an eternity.

That’s the plan, guys. That’s all I’ve got right now. I might even show up in Budapest with a bunch of it still unplanned.

Now I have been thinking of trying something that could be crazy or incredibly cool!

See, throughout this trip process, I’ve pretty much let my fans pick my destinations. The original plan was to visit Croatia, not Romania! So what if we took it a few steps further…

If a fan wants to meet up with me for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sightseeing, etc….I’m game. I will post every step of my journey and leave the rest up to them. But they should consider this an open invitation to hang out. I hope by posting everything on my Facebook author page right here, I’ll be able to interact with my fans in a very real, meaningful way.

Obviously, I’m going to use my best judgment with this. If I ever start feeling uncomfortable or unsafe, I’ll have to cut the experiment short, or at the very least, restructure it with more ground rules. But I’m willing to give it a chance!

I think the trip will be even more awesome if my readers go on mini-adventures with me!

I can hardly wait to see everyone!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

P.S. No readings/signings/school visits have been booked yet for Romania. So if my fans would like to contact libraries/bookstores/schools about setting up an event, that would be great!

Szia mindenki!

Tehát a legőrültebb része, hogy egy (majdnem) felnőtt Valószínűleg csinál a dolog, amit mindig azt mondta, hogy ezt fogja csinálni, de soha nem gondoltam volna ténylegesen meg is történik. Vagy ha nem hiszem, hogy meg fog történni, hogy mindig a képen egy sokkal érettebb változata magad csinál velük.

Nem, tudod … te.

Példa erre: Utazás a világ egyetlen hátizsák.

A két hónap. Egyedül.

Mondtam már, hogy én ezt egyedül? Mert igen. Egyedül. Ez lesz velem, én laptop (Amelia Airheart), és az én loaner hátizsák (Victor Hugo).

Igen, nevezze élettelen tárgyak. Ha valaha találom magam megragadt egy szigeten, mint Tom Hanks a Castaway én lesz egy milliárd Wilson, hogy engem cég.

Tehát itt van a játék tervet:

Május 31. – kirepülnek a Portland, Oregon.

Június 2 – Hurrá! LAND Budapesten!

Június 04-07 – KÖNYV héten Budapesten! (Meet rajongók! Geek ki, mint a hé!)

Június 08-10 -, akik Budapesten, de némi szórakoztató kirándulások.

Június 9. – Day kirándulás Győr. (Remélhetőleg nem egy aláírási / megfeleljen rajongók!)

Június 10 – Napos kirándulás vagy Tatabánya vagy Gödöllő. (Nyugodtan mondja meg, melyik kéne felvenni a hozzászólások részben!)

Június 11. – A vonat Debrecenbe. (Remélhetőleg nem egy aláírási / megfeleljen rajongók!)

Június 13. – Bus Nagyváradra. (A aláírása folyamatban van a elkönyvelik! Huzzah! Alig várom, hogy megfeleljen a rajongók!)

Június 14 – Vonat Cluj-Naopka. (Van egy aláírási? Találkozz rajongók? Meggyőzni a rajongók, hogy nézd meg Hoia Bacu erdő velem, hogy nem vagyok elrabolták az idegenek?)

Június 17 – Vonat Segesvár! Látogasson el a foritified egyházak a rajongókkal? Lásd Drakulát szülőháza.

Június 19 – Vonat Brasov. (Van egy aláírási? Találkozz rajongók? Látogatás Bran kastélyt! Kirándulás a hét létrák Canyon rajongók, akik nem engedik, hogy kilép, miután négy létrák …)

Június 22 – Vonat Sinaia. Látogassa Peles kastély és a Sinaia-kolostor!

Június 24. – Bus Bukarestbe! (Egy másik aláíró, talán? Találkozz több rajongó?)

Június 28. – Fly Isztambulba. (Olyan izgatott vagyok, hogy maradjon egy fantasztikus magyar blogger!)

Július 3– Um …

I.

Van.

Nem.

Nyom.

(Tarts ki egy görög szigeten, talán? Nyugodtan hagyja javaslataikat a magyarázat!)

Július 16. – Repüljön Athén Rómába!

Július 20. – Fly Rómából New York City!

Július 22 – HELLO Romance Writers of America KONFERENCIA!

Július 26. – Repüljön New York City to Portland, Oregon.

Aludni egy örökkévalóság.

Ez a terv, srácok. Ez minden, amim van most. Talán még megjelenni Budapesten, egy csomó még mindig nem tervezett.

Most már gondoltam próbál valami, hogy lehet őrült, vagy hihetetlenül jó!

Lásd, ez alatt a kirándulás folyamat, amit nagyjából hagyja a rajongóim vegye a célpontok. Az eredeti terv az volt, hogy látogassa meg Horvátországban, Romániában nem! Tehát mi lenne, ha elvitte néhány lépést …

Ha egy rajongó szeretne találkozni velem a reggeli, ebéd, vacsora, városnézés, stb …. Én játékot. Én is hozzászólok minden lépését az utam, és a többit hagyja az ő dolguk. De érdemes ezt a nyílt felhívás lógni. Remélem, a kiküldetés mindent az én Facebook szerző oldalhoz itt leszek képes kapcsolatba lépni a rajongók nagyon is valós, értelmes módon.

Nyilvánvaló, hogy fogom használni a legjobb belátása ezzel. Ha én valaha is indul érzés kellemetlen vagy veszélyes, nekem kell vágni a kísérletet, vagy legalábbis, átszervezését, több alapszabályokat. De nem vagyok hajlandó adni neki egy esélyt!

Azt hiszem, az utazás lesz még fantasztikusabb, ha olvasóim menni mini-kalandok velem!

Már alig várom, hogy mindenki!

Ügyetlenül tiéd,

Marni

P.S. Nem Olvasás / dedikálások / iskolai látogatások került lefoglalásra még a Romániában. Tehát, ha a rajongóim Szeretném felvenni a kapcsolatot a könyvtárak / könyvesboltok / iskolák beállításával kapcsolatos esemény, az nagyon jó lenne!

Marni on the Move!!!

Hey everyone!

I have some news. Big news. Enormous oh-my-god-what-am-I-getting-myself-into-right-now news!

I’m heading off to Europe on June 1st!

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Specifically, I’m going to a book festival in Budapest, Hungary (!!!) where I will get to meet my incredible Hungarian fans (!!!) and totally geek out over all the awesomeness (!!!). I’m still working out the details–and will be for the next few months–but I’m already trembling with excitement.

Okay, and some of that shaking is nervous energy. Because I’m not just going to Budapest. I’m going to be–wait for it–backpacking through Romania, flying to Istanbul, and then adventuring to Greece.

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And then I will spend five days in Rome before flying to New York City.

Why am I not flying directly back to Portland? Funny, you should ask…I’m going to be in NYC for the Romance Writers of America Conference from July 22-25th, 2015.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about taking such a huge international trip all by myself. I mean, I have trouble using the cork-opener thingies. My upper body strength? Zip. Nada. Nonexistent. But soon, I’ll be carting around everything on my back and trust me, that’s scary!

But I also think I’m ready to scare myself. To challenge myself. To see what I’m capable of with only a backpack and a whole lot of enthusiasm.

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Enthusiasm has never been a problem for me…

I would also like to give an enormous thank you to my Hungarian publisher for flying me out to Budapest. This trip wouldn’t be possible without them. I’d still be staring wistfully at pictures of Hungary in Portland instead of gleefully cataloging everything in my closet and evaluating the travel worthiness of each item. I’m an incredibly lucky girl.

If I had told High School Marni that one day she would be traveling to Budapest to meet her fans…she wouldn’t have believed me. It feels too good to be true. This trip is composed entirely out of my wildest dreams.

I can’t wait to share this adventure with you!

All my love,

Marni

Stacey Jay, Veronica Mars, and The Kickstarter Controversy

Hey everyone,

Okay, I’m not going to lie. I’m upset. In fact, I’m shaking with the force of my feels. So please brace yourself, because this might be a bumpy ride.

Where to begin?

Right. Stacey Jay.

For those of you who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of meeting Stacey Jay, she’s a tremendous YA author whose talent is equaled only by her kindness. I met her at the Las Vegas Book Festival. I entered a room (where I knew almost nobody) wearing a giant poofy, sparkly prom dress and Stacey immediately made me feel welcome. That’s the kind of person she is.

Proof

You can read about that conference right here!

Unfortunately, Stacey’s book sales haven’t been strong enough for her publishing house to keep her on as an author. And at the end of the day, if a publisher feels like they will make more money investing in someone else’s book, that’s what they will do.

But Stacey’s heart was still with the characters of her most recent YA book, Princess of Thorns. Her readers wanted her to write a sequel. She wanted to write a sequel. Her publishing house wasn’t interested in publishing it.

Now here is where things start to get complicated.

Stacey created a Kickstarter for the project. Her plan was to have fans pay ten dollars for the book, and if they chose to donate more they would receive specific prizes. If enough people funded it, then she would be able to afford to focus all of her attention on writing this book for them.

This project was created specifically for her fans, but nobody was under any kind of obligation to support the Kickstarter.

Here is where things got twisted. Stacey openly shared that she would be spending a large portion of the money she would receive from the Kickstarter on her living expenses while she wrote the book. And some people didn’t think that was right. That meant that she was asking her fans to support her lifestyle, right?

Wrong.

If they wanted this book within the next seven months, well, then this was the only way they would be able to get it. Because the alternative for Stacey was to get a day job to pay the bills. And trust me, you have a whole lot less time for writing when you have another job competing for your time and energy.

Again, I would like to emphasize that at no point was anyone forced to give her money.

What fascinates me is that some people claim that this is not what Kickstarter was created for, that she shouldn’t be profiting from her fans before a book is even written.

To which I say, really?

I mean, Zac Brown raised over $55,000 to make himself a sandwich. Kickstarter can be pretty much whatever you make out of it.

But here is a better Kickstarter comparison.

The Veronica Mars Movie.

It’s a remarkably similar situation, actually. You have a writer (Rob Thomas) who desperately wanted to share his story. Thousands of fans were dying to see it. But the fact that nobody in Hollywood thought it would be monetarily worthwhile made it necessary to take the project to the people. A good chunk of the money that was raised went to equipment and sound and lighting and all those other cool movie things that I don’t completely understand, but have to be there in order to have a quality finished project.

Want to know where some of the money went?

To paying the actors. To paying the writers.

Yes, I’m sure Kristen Bell probably did something awesome with the money she was paid. She probably donated it to some worthy cause, perhaps she even donated it back into funding the Kickstarter. I don’t know. I’m not her accountant. And frankly, it’s none of my business.

But she was paid.

You know why? Because regardless of her net worth, she’s part of the Screen Actors Guild and that means it would be illegal to pay her nothing.

You know who else was paid?

Rob Thomas. He’s part of the Writers Guild of America. Again, it would have been illegal for him not to receive money for his work.

Now here’s what I find fascinating. Rob Thomas made it clear that without the support of fans, this movie would never be made. Nobody accused him of holding the movie hostage. He promised to deliver a product for the fans that did not yet exist. Nobody doubted that he would be true to his word. He constantly mentioned that this project was taking time that would otherwise be spent on other projects and that it was a strain on his family to have him so immersed in the world of Veronica Mars. Nobody accused him of using his home life to manipulate his fans.

So I have to wonder: Why the outrage over what Stacey Jay did when the Veronica Mars Kickstarter was roundly praised and received nothing but love from the YA community?

Stacey made it very clear on the Kickstarter that she was asking for the lowest amount possible for her to concentrate solely on this project. The amount she was hoping to raise would have been over a 60% decrease from the original amount her publisher gave her. Both Rob Thomas and Stacey Jay were willing to ask for the bare minimum of money they needed in order to give the fans what they wanted.

Perhaps the problem is that Stacey had the audacity to be upfront about the fact that she’d be using some of this money to pay her rent? Rob Thomas didn’t disclose that information. I’m willing to bet you almost anything that that is exactly where it went though. To food. To rent. To coffee. To all the mundane things that everyone needs to pay.

Here’s the difference: Stacey didn’t have the protection of a guild that said, you must pay her. She must make some money from her work. You cannot expect her to give you this book for free.

Rob Thomas was seen as generous for taking the lowest possible salary for himself, but Stacey was perceived as needy and greedy for doing the exact same thing.

Basically, Stacey was asking fans to preorder the book so that she wouldn’t have to worry about paying her bills while she wrote it for them. Some people have been comparing it to an advance, but I think they’ve misunderstood how advances work. When a publisher pays you an advance, it is the money you theoretically live on while you finish writing/editing/waiting for the book to come out. I say ‘theoretically’ because, trust me, those advances rarely last long.

The author never returns the money from an advance. The author waits until the publisher earns back that money in the form of book sales, before they will see a penny in royalties. But that initial money always belongs to the author.

Which is why this doesn’t make sense to me:

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The donators are not business partners. They were never intended to be business partners; furthermore, I don’t think being a business partner has ever been a Kickstarter expectation. They were paying for a book that they would have received. Again, the Veronica Mars fans were paying for the salaries of actors in a movie that did not yet exist. Nobody expected Rob Thomas and Co. to pay back the Kickstarter fans when the movie arrived in their inbox. Nor did they expect to receive a percentage of the money the film ended up grossing.

If Stacey had paid her fans back for the Kickstarter after she’d written the book, they would have been getting it for free. And she’d have been super broke. And…huh?!

This is where a number of authors became offended at the expectation that they were supposed to work for free.

I think that that discussion has been covered pretty thoroughly. The gist of it being that art should be valued, because authors and artists also need to pay their rent. I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that.

So I’m going to jump ahead to the parts of the Stacey Jay Kickstarter conversation that are a bit more controversial.

1. Why should anyone be expected to fund Stacey Jay’s career by donating to the Kickstarter?

Answer: Nobody is expected to fund Stacey Jay’s career by donating. Just as nobody was expected to fund Rob Thomas’ career by donating to The Veronica Mars Movie. It is one project. One project doesn’t make a career, guys. And you could choose not to participate if you weren’t interested in that specific book.

2. What makes Stacey Jay so special that we should be paying her to write?

Answer: Well, if you want to read her book, then she is going to be part of the process. Furthermore, you’re not paying her to write. You are paying for the end product. I was not paying Rob Thomas to just write. I expected to have a movie sent to me.

3. Art shouldn’t be a privilege. If we are paying Stacey to write then she is receiving a special privilege.

Answer: Creating art absolutely involves privilege. Virginia Woolf nailed it when she said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” That’s the brutal truth. If you don’t have money, you will be spending all of those writing hours looking for steady employment.

But I’d like to address this notion that Stacey is receiving a special privilege. Here’s the thing, if you want her book? You should be paying her to write it. Nobody else in the whole freaking world will be able to deliver that specific experience to you. That’s part of what makes writing so magical.

4. It was an asshole move of Stacey’s to stop the Kickstarter.

Answer: I find this incredibly upsetting. First of all, this began as a passion project intended specifically to please her fans. When people began to insinuate that it was greedy/selfish, etc. she decided to withdraw from social media.

I totally support this decision.

You want to know why?

She did what was best for her own emotional health. In an industry where the statistics for mental health are incredibly grim, it should always be respected when someone says, I need to take care of myself.

Writers are twice as likely to commit suicide. They are more likely to suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, and to have anxiety issues. I don’t know if Stacey specifically deals with these–again, none of my freaking business–but criticizing someone for needing to protect their own mental/emotional/physical health, that’s not okay, guys.

5. I’ve had two broken arms, three jobs, and a bad case of gout and I found time for my hobbies. There’s no reason she couldn’t do it, too!

Answer: First of all, writing is not a hobby for Stacey. It’s a profession. A poorly paying one, sure, but it’s still a profession.

Secondly, congratulations! I know that sounds sarcastic, but I genuinely mean it. I am thrilled that despite many obstacles and hardships, you’ve been able to dedicate time to your life passions. That is truly a wonderful accomplishment.

That said, please do not expect me to meet your high standards of accomplishment. That’s like turning to someone suffering from depression and saying, “I’m happy all the time and I just got a speeding ticket! You should be way happier. I don’t think you are trying hard enough to be happy. So clearly it’s your own damn fault that you’re depressed.”

6. Nobody was bullying her! I didn’t see anyone bullying her! Why can’t I state my opinion without people getting mad at me? You’re trying to take away my freedom of speech!

Answer: I also didn’t see her email inbox. There’s a lot neither of us have seen. We don’t know what kind of messages she received.

What I did see was a bunch of people saying that they didn’t approve of what she was trying to do for her fans. And you know what? They do have the right to free speech. They exercised that right with Twitter, Facebook, and a myriad of blog posts.

They just shouldn’t expect everyone to be happy with the opinion they are expressing. I know this blog post will upset people. And I’m sincerely sorry about that. I hate hurting people.

Hate. It.

But in this case, I think the issue is too important for me to stay silent. So I am accepting that some people will disapprove of the way I’m handling myself. I sincerely hope we will agree on other issues. Maybe we can bond over Veronica Mars later? Or, uh…unicorns?

I just have to get this last part out first.

This Kickstarter was created for Stacey Jay’s fans. Just as The Veronica Mars Movie was made for the Marshmallows. Nobody was obligated to participate. Nobody was expected to donate. You were more than welcome to join in the fun! But if you just want to critique it from the sidelines…you should expect some resistance.

I think the internet can make it very easy for us to hate on things that just aren’t intended for us. And that in turn can have a dampening effect on other people’s joy, even when that was never the intention behind it. In this case, that means that none of us will be able to read a seriously kickass sequel that only one author was capable of writing for us.

And that, my friends, is why this whole debacle is so freaking sad.

Much love,

Marni

Goodbye and Good Riddance to 2014!

Hey everyone,

Let’s be honest, shall we? 2014 straight-up sucked. Sure, there were plenty of good moments, too. But nearly everyone I know had a rocky year. If 2014 was a person, it’d be the cute guy you see at a party and think, “Oh yeah, I am definitely interested in you!” and then you hear him say something offensive and you try to run away, but it’s a small, crowded space, so you just stand there thinking, “Nope! Nope! Nope! I want to leave!

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But looking back, I have to admit, 2014 involved a whole lot of change for me.

I was definitely struggling at the beginning of the year. I’d just moved from L.A. to Portland and my body didn’t adjust to the cold right away. There were some awesome victories–I bought and assembled my first bed!

Sure, that process started out like this…

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But I eventually turned my bedroom into this2014-01-05_1388911350

Twinkle lights!

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Even more twinkle lights!

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ALL THE TWINKLE LIGHTS!

2014 also began with the worst writing dry spell I’ve experienced since…middle school, I think? There were a few weeks when I considered 300 words a day a huge success. Huge. 

I lost sleep over one of my projects. The final confrontation scene creeped me out so badly, I was too scared to sleep. Of course the next day a repair guy showed up at the house and my eyes were bloodshot, my hands shaking from a potent combination of sleep-deprivation and adrenaline, and my housemates were all, “Ignore her. She’s afraid of her own characters right now. It happens all the time.” The repair guy was surprisingly cool about it though. He just wanted to have a long chat about writing and the publishing industry as a whole instead of, y’know…fixing things.

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When I did finally pull myself out of my slump, I started writing with a single-minded purpose that blocked out almost everything else. And somehow, I managed to write three full-length YA manuscripts and a proposal for another project this year. Don’t get me wrong, two of these manuscripts still require serious editing, but I’m rather proud of that accomplishment.

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New personal record happy dance!

I wrote two of these manuscripts while rejections from publishing houses trickled in. That alone is a source of pride. It’s hard to stay in a creative headspace when you are on submission. Really hard, actually.

And for the past three months, I’ve also had a day job.

I’ve been reluctant to mention this publicly, because people can act weird when you tell them that writing isn’t the only way you pay the bills. Mostly they imply that writing must no longer count as a career, simply a hobby. Or worse, they act as if seeking out something else means that you’ve failed as an author.

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I didn’t want to have to deal with any of that nonsense, so I kept the news to myself.

But not mentioning my day job feels dishonest, especially because I really enjoy what I’ve been doing. I love spending time with my coworkers. I love having a job where you clock out and your work there is done. I love having regular paychecks. I love walking over to the bank and personally handing over the check, but I’d be lying if I said it was an easy adjustment. The learning curve was steep. The pace was demanding. Gone were the days when I could wake up whenever I wanted. Hello alarm clock!

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As strange as this might sound, I’m kind of glad 2014 was hard.

It needed to be hard. I wanted to know if I could finish working at a normal job, pull up a chair, crack open my laptop, and write until exhaustion tugged on my sleeves.

And then write a paragraph more.

The knowledge that I can receive a rejection in the morning, return from work in the evening, and still create until late into the night? Priceless. And when I felt like I was floundering the most, I had amazing friends and family members who were there for me. I had the world’s sweetest, most incredible fans telling me how much they enjoy my work. There was still Thai food and laughter and excitement and adventure. 2014 and I did have some very good times together.

 

But mostly, I feel stronger, more resilient, and ready to begin this year on a completely different note.

2015, you look super cute. Please don’t let me down.

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Awkwardly yours,

Marni

Hungarians and my Visibility Vest for Losers!!!

Hey everyone!

I have some seriously awesome news!

Decked with Holly is going into a second printing in Hungary!

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And yeah, I did this when I found out the good news.

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That isn’t all! My Hungarian publisher just showed me the cover art for Invisible because *drumroll please* they will be releasing it in October!

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VISIBILITY VEST FOR LOSERS!!!!

That is really the translation for the title. And you know what? I LOVE IT! I love absolutely everything about it!

And I give most of the credit to my Hungarian fans for making this happen. (Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think I could possibly love my Hungarian publisher more than I already do. I’m so grateful for all the hard work they have put into this!) At the end of the day, my Hungarian readers proved to the publisher that they really wanted to read Jane’s story. They told their friends about my books who told their friends about my books…

They are the reason Awkward and Decked with Holly are both in second printings!

Which is incredibly exciting because it makes it even more likely that Notable will be translated next!

I know. I know. I’m getting ahead of myself. But can’t you picture Chelsea maneuvering her way onto bookshelves in Hungary like this….?

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And then she could shake off the haters like this….

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No? Too geeky? Fair enough. Maybe Chelsea is just imitating Mackenzie…

My point is that your purchases can make a world of difference! Oh, and did I mention that most of my books are on sale right now? Because they are $2.99 on Amazon right now…

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You might want to bunny-hop over there and buy them now…

Last but certainly not least: I did an interview with Bitch Magazine recently! I sat in front of a fancy microphone and discussed writing and everything. You can catch my interview (Oh yeah, and listen to P.C. and Kristin Cast and Malinda Lo, which is just…they are so awesome! *mind explodes*) right here!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

Losing Sleep

Hey everyone!

I don’t remember the last time I slept through the night. Now this could be because, y’know, I’m not thinking all that clearly right now. Still, I suspect it was…last week? The week before that?

My incredibly patient housemates could probably tell me. They’ve grown accustomed to seeing me emerge from my bedroom around 8pm with a serious case of bed-head and a chipper, “Good morning!”

So why am I not sleeping?

Well…I don’t really know. It’s not like I’ve decided to boycott one of my very favorite things.

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Trust me, I would really like to be able to keep normal people hours. It’s just that every time I close my eyes at night, anxiety washes over me. I start thrashing around in bed, overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, all the goals I haven’t met, all the people I totally meant to email.

After an hour or two of this, I decide I might as well try to get some writing done. Because no matter how crappy my words are at 3am, it has to make me feel better than this. 

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I briefly debate trying to email my fans but realize that I’m not entirely coherent and it’s entirely possible that my grammar will be so bad that all my friends will send this Weird Al song to me!

This song is so great!

So instead of emailing/tweeting my lovely fans, I hide out at Starbucks. I write as my skin grows increasingly clammy and my heart feels like it is pounding in my throat. That’s when I force myself to pack up my things and go home. I’ve covered my window with a thick blanket, but the sun still insists on pestering me.

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At this point, I pretty much pass out. It’s around 9pm when I wake up…just in time to spend another sleepless night attempting to decorate my dresser.

Rinse. Rise. Repeat.

I’m not entirely sure how to break the cycle, although I will be going to a pharmacy today. Sleep aids have always been my very last resort. Unfortunately, I’m there. I walked to Starbucks with two different shoes on my feet. I’m scared that if I try to cook the results will look like this…

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Anyhow, if you are waiting for a response from me, please be patient. It’s not that I don’t care. I just need to get some sleep first!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

Writing Process Blog Hop!

Hey everyone!

So the ridiculously awesome Clara Kensie and Stacey Kade invited me to join this writing blog hop! You can read their posts right here (Clara and Stacey) because, well…yeah, I’m not kidding about the awesome.

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This is my expression when I see them at a conference.

Okay, it’s question time!

1. What am I working on right now?

I’m writing the second book in a series that has only just gone on submission. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about it. So please forgive my vagueness. I can tell you that my heroine Emmy Danvers gets into a boatload of danger that involves contract killers, an elite prep school, and a boy with more than a few secrets of his own. Oh, and I absolutely love writing it! I’ve wanted to write this story for the past four years, so it’s a huge relief to finally put it on the page.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

Oh. I’m not quite sure how to answer this.

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I write humorous contemporary YA. If you’re thinking, “That doesn’t answer the question, Marni. A whole lot of other people write that too,” than I obviously need to distract you. Penguins are adorable. They are the fanciest and I love them.

There is also a penguin named Nils Olav who was knighted in Norway. Making him (by far) the cutest knight in all of history. It’s not even a competition.

Now you know what I bring to the table: penguins and non sequiturs. But mostly penguins.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love it. Pure and simple. I could not talk myself into writing 70,000 words (or more!) on a topic unless I was absolutely, positively, and undeniably hooked! I write the book that I most want to read at that particular moment. I think I continue on through the holy-crap-writing-so-freaking-hard times because I genuinely care about my characters and I can’t leave their stories untold without being plagued by guilt.

That’s also why I feel incredibly lucky that Kensington Teen gave me the opportunity to say goodbye to my Smith High School characters with AWKWARDLY EVER AFTER. It would have been a whole lot harder for me to move on without that closure.

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4. How does my writing process work?

Well, it usually starts out something like this:

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It starts with a question that I find interesting. Like, what would you do if you became an overnight internet sensation? Or what if someone asked you to fake a very public relationship?

Then I write the beginning and I feel great! Everything is new and shiny and sparkly!

Until it’s really not.

That’s when I pull out my journal and start doodling. (Don’t look at the doodles if you can’t handle spoilers!)

Here is what I made for AWKWARDLY EVER AFTER:

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I’ve noticed that often just doodling names or general topics can unlock the next section of plot for me.

Sometimes my doodles involve photos of famous people, like this one for DECKED WITH HOLLY.

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My doodle for my current work in progress looks like this…

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Intentionally blurred because it reveals plot for Book Two. And because it is my Secret Project of Secret.

Creating these doodles has become an integral part of my process, but there really is no magic short-cut to writing a novel. I have to sit down, take a deep breath (and an even bigger sip of coffee), and keep writing until I reach the end. And when I get to the editing stage, I ask my barista for a triple shot. ;)

And yes, I create impossible word count schedules for myself. I bribe myself with the promise of Thai food. Sometimes I take three or four days off and do nothing but listen to audiobooks. If you see me doing book promotion, it’s a fairly safe bet that the words aren’t flowing too smoothly.

The whole process can be maddening at times, but I still wake up every day feeling incredibly grateful that I get to do it!

The blog hop continues with Celeste EastonLydia Kang, and Kim Meyer! So there’s a whole lot more awesomeness to be read!

And on that note…

*slinks back to the writing cave*

Awkwardly yours,

Marni