April Fools! AKA Marni is a Pranking NINJA! Maybe…

Hey everyone,

I’m usually the one who forgets about April Fools day. And I also usually don’t realize I’ve been pranked until about a year after the fact.

Not kidding.

Freshman year, my college roommate convinced me she had a boyfriend. And I didn’t figure out that “Ben” didn’t exist until the summer of my Sophomore year. She even staged a fake “breakup” near the end of the school year.

And like a chump, I believed her.

So this year, I wanted to be the prankster instead of the prankee.

And initially I was quite pleased with my success.

I started off with a VERY difficult act. I confessed on Twitter that after doing some deep soul-searching, I was ready to admit that Luc is hotter than Colin in Erica O’Rourke’s addictive series. (Torn and Tangled have both been released. You should buy them. So freaking good.)

Now for those of you who DON’T follow me on Twitter (Why? How can you pass up my pithy tweets? Okay…my not-so-pithy tweets?) this might not seem like a big deal.

Two fictional guys. Who cares?

Um…a lot of people. And we’re writers which means we spend a large portion of our time obsessing over people who aren’t real. So…things can get a little heated in the Twitterverse.

As in, we have a bet going. And when I am proved right, my dear misguided friend Jenn Rush will have to create a video apologizing for picking Puke…I mean “Luc” over Colin.

Yes, this really is how I spend the majority of my free time.

Anyhow, so I went on Twitter today and I pretended to have switched sides. That I had realized the error in my ways *gag* and was now fully invested in Team Luc.

I tricked a few people. Here are some of my favorite tweets.

@MarniBates Does this mean you are crossing over to the Luc team??? 

@MarniBates yay!! You made the right choice. @jenn_rush & I welcome you! Things are hot & sparky with Luc

And from my fellow Team Colin-mate…

MARNI! SERIOUSLY?! *sad puppy eyes*

Alas, some people were not fooled!

Jenn Rush realized I would NEVER switch teams. And the author who started this mess, couldn’t resist joining in!

Ha! I was reading my @ replies, saw this, and told Boyo, “marni is messing w/them.”

D’awww…they know me so well!

This just inspired me to plan a bigger prank. Something MAJOR. And after a lot of consideration (And a little too much coffee) I realized it should be someone who was obligated to love me no matter what. Someone who wouldn’t hold a little practical joke against me.

Someone other than my mom.

So obviously, I had to get my agent Laurie McLean!

(Love you, Laurie!)

Now this was dangerous for a few reasons. Not least of which is that she sends my paychecks.

Although knowing that we are going to be sharing a room at the Romance Writers of America conference scared me ever more.

I have a feeling that Laurie is well-versed in revenge.

EEEP!

Still, I consulted with evil genius/agent-in-training Pam van Hylckama and we created a plan.

A REALLY good one.

That has serious potential to become a REALLY bad one.

I sent Pam a fake email saying that a movie studio wanted me under contract and that I wouldn’t be able to write any more novels for TWO YEARS!

Then Pam emailed it to Laurie and suggested the she call me…right away.

So here I am…waiting for the call.

And while I initially thought that being the pranker was better than being the prankee, I’ve discovered some distinct disadvantages. All this waiting around is stressful!

Because I keep running through bad possibilities. Like Laurie could call up my film agent and demand to know what the hell is going on.

That would be bad.

Oh crud. That would be terrible!

*Marni panics*

Okay! I can’t take it anymore.

April Fools Day has defeated me. This year…

~Marni

Willamette Writers Conference 2011

Hey everyone!

Okay, I’ve been anticipating the Willamette Writers Conference for a long time now. I used it as a reference point on the horizon when I was struggling with homesickness in Australia. I could flip open my agenda and point to the first week of August and know that I would find people there who would understood me.

There’s something about being surrounded by other people who also see people who don’t exist that I find…comforting.

Which might sound funny since The Sixth Sense scared the hell out of me.

Haley Joel Osment and I both must like pens way more than pencils.

I was so excited to go this year that…well, my enormous grin never faded.

I’m surprised TSA wasn’t afraid I would spontaneously combust.

And when I got there I was allowed to hang out in the VIP room with all the agents! Unfortunately I didn’t snap any pictures of it (I was trying to play it cool) but it looked classy to me. Well, definitely by college standards. No PBR here.

It was all fancy french cheese and crackers.

I can actually report back every single dish on that table because I was that determined to absorb every detail. Which sadly includes the baby corn, olives, and spinach and polenta squares.

But I’m guessing you guys don’t care about any of that.

So here’s something you might like to know: the WWC attracted some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Seriously. I could not have asked to spend my time with a nicer, more interesting group of agents, managers, producers, oh, and writers!

So typically I was already in the wee small hours of the morning before I called it a night.

And that’s why I drank copious amounts of coffee throughout my panels.

I had so much fun! I love giving advice to other writers. And I love talking about YA fiction. Nothing else I’d rather do.

Now this is where you probably want to hear the details…but I’m too tired to go into it. I thought I had the energy when I started blogging. All of it drained out of me though. There are just too many of them for me to even know where to begin.

However, I am thrilled to announce that one of my very good friends now has an agent. Way to go Katherine! It really can/does happen, people!

Anyhow, the conference has made me seriously consider making some huge changes, like moving to LA and trying to break into TV.

On the one hand: terrifying.

On the other hand: thrilling.

I guess we’ll all have to just wait to see what happens. In the meantime, I need to get back to work on my books for KensingtonTeen, fly to Houston and finish college.

But right now I need more sleep!

~Marni

 

I’m Going to AFRICA!

Hey everyone!

It’s official! I’m going to be leaving for Africa on December 13th!

Specifically, I’ll be going on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. I have no idea what to expect. I’ve travelled to some pretty amazing places but I think this will be the winner as far as off the beaten path trips go. I can’t wait.

But that’s what I have to do this week:

Wait.

The wedding isn’t until Saturday but I have a family dinner tonight and the bachelorette party tomorrow. Oh, and apparently there is something happening Sunday night too (although I’m not sure if my presence is required). Then I have three days of babysitting before I fly to Portland!

Most of which will be spent glancing from my laptop screen to my empty suitcase and groaning.

So originally I had planned on being finished with my rough draft of FAUXMANCE before the conference. That way I could sit on panels with Laurie McLean and Grace Ledding and say really cool things like, “oh, yeah, this latest novel came together for me in about three months. No big deal.”

But…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Unless, of course, the whole novel suddenly explodes out of my fingertips and I spend the flight to Portland banging away at my computer watching my page numbers spiral from 170 to 200 to 250 and then, at last, oh yes! 265!

That’s the dream, right?

Still it’s not like I can get kicked off the panel for being unable to meet my own absurd deadlines. No one is going to escort me out, right?

Security Guard: Ahem, Miss? You’re not allowed in here. We read on Twitter that you’ve been watching Burn Notice and White Collar at your grandma’s house instead of writing. And that can of Pringles you’ve been eating did not fuel any amazing scenes the way you claimed it would.

Me: Uh, I’m sorry. I’ll get back to work, officer?

Security Guard: Don’t try that on me! I deal with your kind all the time!

Me: Um…Oregonians?

Security Guard: You procrastinators are all the same! You make great promises and then what happens? NOTHING! It’s all: hey, man, sure I’ll file the paperwork after we interrogate the suspect. But then nobody does! So now payroll is breathing down me neck and you want to know whose fault it is? Procrastinators who muck everything up!

Me: (backs away slowly) I’m sorry! I’ll get back to writing! I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.

Security Guard: Oh, yeah? Well, it’s TOO LATE NOW!

Me:

Actually…I think I’m done with this blog post. Once I create a security guard who enjoys yelling at me that’s generally my cue to get back to work.

Plus, I don’t think I’ve finished off the Pringles. Yet.

More later!

~Marni

Mental Head Slap!

Hey everyone!

So I’ve been working long hours on my upcoming novel FAUXMANCE to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. Except hitting up garage sales. And dog sitting. Still, I’ve been glaring at the kitchen calendar and trying to figure out how many pages I need to write/edit each day to have the book finished by mid-August.

Answer: 12 pages. Every. Single. Day.

Let me put this in college student terms: an essay and a half a day.

So you can see why I thought it might be a good idea to confirm with my rock star editor when the manuscript was officially due. Just in case, I had made some kind of mistake. And boy, had I gotten it wrong.

The novel I’ve been freaking out about? Yeah, it’s not due until DECEMBER!

*Insert celebratory dancing here*

But since I’m a neurotic freak who obsessively sets her own deadlines, I’m going to try to stick to August. Although, I certainly feel better knowing that the extra time is available.

So how did I celebrate?

Well, I caffeinated up and started writing.

Only one glitch…I over-caffeinated. As in, my right eye is twitching, my heart is pounding extra fast and I’m fighting the urge to burst into raucous laughter and then bawl my eyes out. All because I went from my standard tall drink from Starbucks to a grande today.

Never. Again.

The last time I felt this exhausted, it was because I had pulled an all-nighter reading romance novels. When my mom came into my room to tell me Something Important (not that I can remember it now) I could have sworn that she was speaking in another language. Which isn’t very good since English is her only language. I think I should go to sleep now.

Or maybe read Ally Carter’s The Heist Society until I crash.

I’m only 60 pages into it and it’s already one of my favorite reads of the summer. And the sequel is out! I love waiting to start a series when multiple novels are already in circulation. Then I’ll hole up and do full on marathons!

I’m tempted to do a Heist Marathon: I’ll read Heist Society and then watch White Collar.

I’m so hooked on this show. In fact, it’s the reason I keep trying to case museums and find out what’s hot on the black market.

Maybe, I’ll throw in a bit of Leverage too!

Leverage is totally Oceans Eleven meets Robin Hood.

Then I’ll sandwich it with Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter.

I can do that, right? Now that I know my official deadline is in December, it’s okay!

I can already picture my mom reading this and shaking her head in dismay. And since I’m actually on a roll with my writing right now, I’m not sure it’s the time to indulge in my So Great it’s Criminal marathon.

But I highly recommend that other people do it and then rub my nose in how wonderful it was so that I’ll write even faster!

I’m guessing my logic is faulty somewhere in that convoluted mess but the caffeine is telling me that I don’t actually care.

Yeah, it’s definitely time to crash now!

Goodnight, everyone!

More later,

Marni

Christmas in July

Hey everyone!

So…I know tis not the season yet. In fact, the only people who seem to have been infected with holiday cheer are the people selling Christmas ornaments and twinkle lights at garage sales. If I had a penny for every time I saw an ugly candy cane pin or Santa Claus necklace…I could buy a grande drink at Starbucks with the earnings.

So wonderfully tacky.

And yet even though we’re in the month of fireworks when Old Navy insists that I need a new wardrobe for upcoming camping trips…I’m secretly in December.

You see, I’m working on a holiday themed novel so I need to get into the feeling of the holidays. Which ought to include carols except…most of them annoy me. Maybe because I’ve gone on too many trips over the holidays where reggae versions of Here Comes Santa Claus played on an endless loop. Let me assure you it did not put me in a jolly mood.

The exact opposite of jolly, to tell the truth. I began contemplating the many ways I could destroy the plastic Welcome Santa that belted out holiday tunes at anyone unfortunate enough to go near the damn thing.

Nevertheless here I am, in July, fa la la la-ing as I edit away. I have found that singing usually helps curb my impulse to bury my head in a blanket and screech, “OH MY GOD, THEY’RE GOING TO FIND OUT I’M A TALENTLESS HACK AFTER ALL!”

It’s really a shame I don’t have any musical ability. I’m trying to belt out All I Want for Christmas is You when my mom isn’t around to hear it. The only concern is that I may inadvertently upset neighbors into filing a noise complaint.

Considering that sort of happened at school once…I feel the concern isn’t entirely unjustified.

I’m actually enjoying my Christmas experience. Which is kind of funny because as a Jew I usually have a hard time getting into the spirit of things. When I was at my friend Gwyn’s house I always had a blast decorating the tree and admiring our handiwork. But at school…I felt left out. To be fair, there aren’t that many good Channukah songs out there.

Which is why the first time I saw Candlelight by The Maccabeats I may have teared up. Just a little.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSJCSR4MuhU]

But for some reason Christmas in July is really nice. Maybe because I’m choosing to listen to the music instead of being bombarded by Christmas everywhere I go.

So if I appear even more oblivious than usual, it might have something to do with the fact that I’m pretending it’s December.

Although there are a few other reasons I’m excited about December.

Reason #1: I will have graduated from Lewis & Clark College.

Reason #2: I might be spending the holidays in Kenya/Tanzania.

Reason #3: AWKWARD will be closer to its release date!

Clearly, lots of excitement in December. But I’m looking forward to a wedding that’s only a few weeks away now! Especially since I can certify that the dress will be 100% sequin-free. Sadly, the same can not be said of my mom’s rugs. And the first week in August I’m flying to Portland for the Willamette Writers Conference where I’ll be on a panel with Laurie McLean and Grace Ledding.

That’s going to be even better than Christmas in my opinion!

So I’ve got lots to look forward to…just as soon as I finish writing this freaking book.

Sigh. So true.

That’s all for now, folks!

~Marni

The More Things Change…

Hey everyone!

I distinctly remember where I was at this time last year: editing and writing like a fiend. I was also majorly freaking out. See, I was about to attend the Willamette Writers’ Conference and my manuscript wasn’t finished and something appeared to be wrong with my nose since the frigging thing wouldn’t stop running and I had to keep telling people that I had no back up plan if this whole “writing thing” didn’t work out!

Every now and then I would consider my chances of finding employment at the local frozen yogurt place.

Skim to none.

And here I am one year later. I’ve got a rock star agent, a four book deal with Kensington Teen and people don’t ask about my back up plan anymore. I’ve traveled to Thailand, Cambodia and Australia. I’ve even discovered the wonders of allergy medication!

But in the summer it feels like my life has stayed the same.

Which I actually find quite comforting. I’m still spending it pounding away on my latest manuscript. I still babysit for the same family.

The kids still make fun of me.

I even dogsit for the same pooch!

Norm an’ Bates!

So much has changed for me and yet it’s only when I start rattling them off that I find myself nodding and thinking, oh yeah, I didn’t just imagine that. It really happened. To me. Wow!

You might remember in my last blog I mentioned that I was anxiously waiting to hear something? Well, I’ve heard.

I’m going to keep things nice and vague so that I won’t get in trouble.

Basically there was a big opportunity I was hoping to get, but it’s not going to work out right now.

The funny thing is that I’m not even upset. At all. Technically, what I got was the nicest sorry-we-can’t-do-it-right-now/rejection a girl could ever hope to receive. I had sort of expected that getting turned down would put me in a week-long funk that might involve copious amounts of raw cookie dough.

Instead, I’m actually enjoying that right now that project is one big question mark filled with possibilities. And some of those very real possibilities are the stuff that Marni fantasies are made of. Best of all, I have a sneaking suspicion that next summer (while slaving over yet another manuscript) I will ponder all that has happened since this blog post and shake my head in disbelief.

As my agent Laurie McLean put it: onward and upward!

~Marni

SPARKLES!

Hey everyone,

Okay, so you probably know about MarniBates.com by now since you’re reading this post here…whatever. I’m still excited about it. In fact, I was so excited to see who would be the first friend to comment on my website that I stared at my Facebook screen for hours.

And it took people forever to notice.

(Laura F. You were the first non-relative! You get *FIFTY Marni Points!)

Or maybe it only felt that way. I’m lacking in the patience department. Don’t believe me? There is a Very Important Meeting that a Very Important Person is having about me tomorrow and I roughly calculated the number of minutes until I was likely to hear about how it went.

1,680 minutes was my conservative estimate.

I’m sure my super agent Laurie McLean really appreciated that I did the math for her. And then excitedly tweeted her with my calculation. To be fair, I have yet to tweet a revised countdown. I see this as a step in the right direction.

Anyhow, as soon as I have clearance to share about this meeting, I’ll be sure to blab blog all about it here.

So keep checking in.

In other news…I went shopping for Formal Attire. Since I’m going to be a panelist at the Willamette Writers’ Conference from August 4th to the 7th, I have to look classy. Impressive. Mature. Or at least, you know, not fourteen. People tell me all the time that someday I’ll be glad that people think I’m a solid seven years younger than I am, based solely on the cheerful plumpness of my face.

But how should someone even respond to that? “That’s nice of you, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to look like a wrinkled old crone. Maybe I’ll have better luck in my next lifetime?”

Shrug.

Anyhow, I spent this 4th of July putting money back into the American economy. Which earns me *FIFTY Patriotic Points! Or it would if that factored into my decision at all. But it didn’t. My aunt’s discount coupon was about to expire. That earns me *FIFTY Thrifty Points!

I’m having too much fun with my points system.

So back to real news…I sort of messed up my mom’s home computer when I tried to link my laptop to the printer. This story does have a happy ending though. You see, after I spent hours trying to fix the bloody thing, I called in a computer repair guy. He was so impressive! He was working on three computers at once and he was able to work printer magic too! I half expected him to turn to me and say:

“000000100001100110000001000011110011”

Alas, he did not.

But because of his ability to communicate with machines due to his own robotics fix things, I printed out pictures of celebrities I can easily picture playing my characters if it were a movie. I’m going to do a storyboard/collage so that I can visualize it in a whole new way! I’ve also been editing the book (Even though it’s not complete yet, there is a method to my madness!) and I’m getting a really good feel for my characters.

Between the website, the collage, the editing, the family in town, and the babysitting…I’ve been pretty busy lately.

But I’ve made room for one last thing: SEQUINS!

My close family friend is marrying my cousin’s half-brother (we set them up!) and my aunt is making her wedding gown. The material is just stunning. There is only one problem: it looks like a sparkle factory blew up and this beautiful off-white lace wasn’t able to flee quickly enough.

So I have been pulling out sequins. Lots and lots of sequins.

But when she walks down the aisle in her gorgeous, one of a kind, non-sequin dress, it will all be worth it. Plus I had no idea what to get her for a wedding present since she refuses to do a gift registry.

Now you’re all caught up on the recent SEQUINS of events.

(Gotta love a good pun. Or a really bad one!)

More later,

Marni

*Marni Points earn exclusive bragging right but are otherwise meaningless :)

*Patriotic Points are best handled with extreme caution.

*Thrifty Points earn more bragging rights. And visits to used clothing stores.