Grandma is on the mend!

Hey everyone!

My grandma is going to be just fine.

*Huge sigh of relief*

Yesterday was spent sitting in the hospital cafeteria waiting to hear how she was doing. Oh yeah, and being barraged by my loving relatives. The phone lines were pretty quiet when we showed up at 4am but that was the lull before the storm. So I stared blearily at the double doors (without coffee), waiting for the doctor to appear. And I kept assuring everyone that yes, I’ll let you know just as soon as I hear something!

So we all just waited . . .  and waited . . . oh, and did I mention that we waited?

But she came through the surgery like a champ and is now recovering nicely.

She rested well into the afternoon and now she’s up and checking her email. Which leaves me on guard duty. I’ve been given the difficult task of trying to run interference between my grandma and her friends.

Let me explain: the most overwhelming eighty year olds on earth are her pals from the Los Angeles Bicycle Group. She needs some more time to heal before she’s ready for the full onslaught of concern. So we’ve been talking to an anxious Marge every few hours.

It’s sweet, really.

Anyhow, I need to go make sure my grandma rests. Thanks for all the kind messages of concern over the past few days! My entire family really appreciates all the support!



Friday the 13th Better Not Mess With Me!

Hey everyone,

Lately, I’ve been pretty quiet on the Internet (well, for me) because three days ago my Grandma had a mini-stroke. This happened a day after my cousin was caught in a Houston flash flood and escaped from her car by climbing out the window.

According to my cousin, the water had receded a foot before she took this picture. That was after she helped rescue someone else from their car and then helped a third stranger push his car three blocks to safety. In heels.

On the plus side, I think this counts as superhero training. In the downside, her car was totaled.

Yeah, so that sucked.

Although I think she’s mainly annoyed that she ruined her favorite pair of heels. My cousin is kind of a nut that way.

But back to the point.

So I was feeling very grateful that my cousin hadn’t fallen down a manhole (which sounds funny, but really isn’t. I’m so glad she made it out okay) when my grandma called from Palm Springs saying that she had a mini-stroke at 2am. of course, my grandma also decided she could go back to sleep and call us in the morning.

She’s that kind of 83 year old woman.

So my brother instantly drove out to Palm Springs so that she could be treated by her doctors in LA while I sat uselessly around the house. Occasionally I cleaned. Mostly I berated myself for my lack of driving skills.

Then two days ago we got the results back from the doctor and instead of showing one mini-stroke like she expected, it showed two of them. The doctor then pointed out that her carotid artery was over 80% clogged and that she needed immediate surgery.

Did I mention that the power (and the Internet) went off that day? Because that happened too. So we were quite literally in the dark while we tried to figure out how quickly we could schedule my grandma’s surgery.

Thank goodness my aunt flew out to LA immediately. I am so incredibly glad that she’s taking charge of the situation. She’s absolutely brilliant in times of crisis.

So this morning at 4:45am the three of us left for the hospital and now my grandma is officially in surgery.

Since I wasn’t able to sleep until 2am, I’m more than a little tired. But the coffee is helping and I think we only have another two hours of waiting to go.

But Friday the 13th better not try to mess with my family. Not today.

My grandma having a great time in Africa a few weeks ago.

Think good thoughts everyone!


How Marni Met Ellen (DeGeneres)!!!

Hey everyone!

Yesterday, my toughest 2012 resolution came true!

I met Ellen DeGeneres!!!!!!

Okay, deep breath. Here’s how it happened:

My lovely (and incredibly talented) friend Nina Berry works at Warner Brothers by day and writes novels by night. I know, she’s pretty much a superhero.

I wanted to find out whether Nina’s as awesome in person as she is on Twitter (Answer: heck yes! You can follow her at @NinaBerry) so we agreed to meet at the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank.

Four buses and a metro ride later, I was clutching my special pass and trying to pretend that I wasn’t an Oregonian gaping at Hollywood in all it’s splendor. I understand that most people wouldn’t describe Burbank, LA as awe-inspiring but . . . that’s how I saw it.

Everyone was super nice too! I showed up to my lunch date crazy early (because I was paranoid that I’d get lost and end up in Compton or something) so I wandered around and met lots of interesting people. I peeked at the gutted remains of the Chuck set . . . and then I chatted with the crew on the set of Are You There, Chelsea who are all excited about their premier. Best of luck, guys! Hope it gets picked up!

I even ran into someone from my hometown Ashland, Oregon! He graduated from my high school two years before me! So completely random.

And at one point I was mistaken for a movie star. That made me feel pretty darn good.

But let’s fast forward a bit to the good parts, shall we?

I met up with Nina at the commissary for lunch and we proceeded to discuss YA fiction and writing and Buffy and about a billion other things. We shared writing pet peeves and had an absolutely wonderful time. Talking to Nina had me wanting to start hunting for an apartment here. So . . . yes, I do think a move is in my future.

Once I finish up with my degree.

But Nina had to get back to work, so I bid her a fond goodbye and continued my wandering.

Which is when it happened.

Okay, so I knew I was “wandering” in the direction of the set of The Ellen Show. But I didn’t really expect to see her. And I figured that even if I did catch a glimpse, I wouldn’t want to interrupt because she’s a very busy woman who probably has to deal with hyperventilating fans every single day.

So I was just going to go over there and chat with her security guard. Honest.

Fun fact: the security guards at Warner Brothers are really nice. I’m sure they are also highly effective at their job. But being on security didn’t prevent them from being friendly and I appreciated that.

Anyhow, I was chatting with someone about California weather when I looked over and . . .  there was Ellen DeGeneres.

And I mean right there. We’re talking about a distance of a few feet and she appeared to be waiting for someone.

That someone was definitely not me.

But I wasn’t about to walk away from this kind of opening. I was too close to my unattainable goal to chicken out. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this precise moment for . . . oh I dunno, YEARS!

Yes, I know that makes me the most ridiculous geek.

But whatever.

So I walk over with this ridiculous grin on my face. The one I get when I’m so incredibly excited about something my Italian genes make a surprise appearance and I find myself with flailing arms that refuse to settle.

I have a feeling it looked something like this:

So with that euphoric/disbelieving grin plastered on my face, my feet carried me over to her and my brain . . . stalled.

Gone were all the polished pre-prepared speeches I imagined delivering ever since I wrote Awkward. Instead she got this:

Me: Hi! I’m a big fan. I wrote you into my novel. Um, HI!

Ellen: Hi.

Me: I think you’re amazing. And, wow . . . I thought I’d play it cool. I’m not playing it cool.

(Hands start shaking uncontrollably.)

And then Ellen laughed in a really nice way. There wasn’t even a trace of Oh-God-here-it-goes-again. Just a friendly sound that made my hands shake even more because I just made Ellen DeGeneres laugh!

I swear, I was even thinking in italics.

And then I told her a little bit about Awkward but it was a little hard to talk given that I was trembling and all I could think was: Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen DeGeneres.

So I sort of made it sound like she had actually interviewed my fictional main character. Which obviously, she didn’t. Anyhow once we got that cleared up, I mentioned I started a campaign to get on her show. And then she explained that she has only had one other writer on her show before (Jonathan Safran Foer) and that unless Awkward becomes a huge hit, it wasn’t likely I’d make it on the show.

Which just means that everyone should go out and buy a copy of Awkward!

And I nodded because at that point, I didn’t really much care whether I made it on the show or not. I had just told a woman that I greatly admire that she inspired part of my novel. Best of all, she was every bit as nice as I had always hoped she would be. So I thanked her and then asked for a photo.

Then I looked like a complete dork when I whipped out my laptop so I could take it on Photo Booth.

Marni Bates with Ellen DeGeneres. Still can’t believe it actually happened.

Then she had to go back to work so we said goodbye and I proceeded to call every member of my family.

And I snapped just a few more photos for all of you to enjoy:

I’m on Ellen!

And that’s my grand Ellen adventure!

If you want to relive the Get Marni On Ellen Campaign, here’s the music video I made:

And if you haven’t seen the Awkward Book Trailer I made, you should really check it out here!

I should probably get back to my writing now!


2012 Resolutions, Awkward, and Ellen DeGeneres!

Hey everyone!

So, I didn’t technically do anything to ring in 2012. No crazy parties. No funny hats. Heck, I didn’t even stay up until midnight. I crashed at 5pm because my jetlag coming back from Africa absolutely flattened me.

But 2012 may very well go down as the best year in Marni History.

For a few reasons, actually. 2012 is the year I will graduate from college. It’s the year that I will make all sorts of big exciting decisions (like where I want to live and what I want to do professionally). It’s also going to be the year I finally learn how to drive!

Unless I can convince someone to drive me around in one of these...

Unless I can convince someone to drive me around in one of these, of course!

But I’m sure when I look back at 2012, the first thing to come to mind will always be that on January 1st, my debut YA novel AWKWARD was released!!!!


See, that’s the best way to kick off a year.

It doesn’t feel real. I know that my book is in stores…sitting on shelves in Barnes & Noble just waiting to be purchased…and yet, every time I read a review it comes as a shock that someone else has read it. That Mackenzie, Logan, Jane, Corey, Chelsea and the rest of the gang no longer belong exclusively to me. And I’m thrilled because I’ve wanted to share them for quite awhile now.

So to celebrate the release of Awkward, I created a book trailer!

Feel free to comment and share it with others! The more the merrier!

Creating this video was one of my 2012 resolutions and I’m incredibly pleased that I can cross one thing off the list. Here’s the rest of my goals:

Resolution 1: Get on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

That’s right. I haven’t given up. Sure, I hoped that Ellen would see my YouTube video and call me up right away.
But it’s okay. I understand. She’s an incredibly busy woman. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up the dream. If I had allowed rejection to faze me, I wouldn’t have a four book deal now. In fact, I wouldn’t have even bothered writing Awkward. What’s the point if I was destined for rejection?
Well, now it’s out in stores.
So Ellen DeGeneres: I will be on your show in 2012.
I hope.
Call me.
Resolution 2: Finish college.
I think that one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m definitely looking forward to having that ridiculously expensive piece of paper clutched in my fist. You know, the one that says I’ve got a degree in English. Which should really help me become an author! Wait a second…
Resolution 3: Learn to drive.
But I already mentioned that. Moving on!
Resolution 4: Be more health conscious.
This also seems pretty self-explanatory. Eating better…working out…all that stuff I keep meaning to do, but don’t.
Resolution 5: Write three novels.
A lofty goal, I know. But I have a new idea for a series that I’m super excited about writing. I can’t reveal anything yet, but I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on my progress.

Resolution 6: Be happy.

I feel quite confident that this resolution isn’t going to be hard for me to maintain. Even without the release of Awkward, I’d be happy because my life includes so many wonderful people who inspire me every single day.

So I wish you all a very happy 2012!