Catch Up!

Hey everyone,

Well…I’m back in school! In fact, I’ve been a bit distracted lately (mainly by school) which is why I’ve been a lazy blogger. But no longer, friends! Still, why don’t I recap?

So, I had an AMAZING time in Texas. One of the highlights was definitely riding around on the back of my cousin’s vespa. A guy in a Beamer even offered to race us (an offer I immediately accepted) so that was exciting. I also crashed a party at Rice University where the theme was: Don’t Mess with Texas.

They were foolishly giving out squirt guns and badges.

So naturally, my cousin and I were instantly armed combatants. Don’t worry, y’all: I kicked her ass.

Sort of.

Anyhow, one of the other highlights was spending time with my good friend Stephanie. I hadn’t seen her in roughly four years, so you could say this visit was long overdue. She decided I needed an authentic Texas experience.

Which led to this:

And then to this….

Go Rams! Or…longhorns? GO TEXAS FOOTBALL TEAM WHOSE NAME I CAN’T REMEMBER!!!

This is my best impression of sports spirit.

Anyhow, Texas was fantastic but it was a relief to escape the humidity. Portland is gorgeous right now and I definitely appreciated being able to walk outside without feeling like I just entered a sauna.

It really does feel good to be back. I’ll be sure to post pictures of my dorm room soon….once I clean it again.

And just when I thought life couldn’t get better at Lewis & Clark (because I’ve been able to see so many of my amazing, gorgeous, brilliant and talented friends) a special something arrived in the mail….

AWKWARD!!!!!

I have my Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)!!!! They are so insanely beautiful that I couldn’t resist carrying a copy everywhere I went. Part of me felt like if it wasn’t in my hands at all time it would disappear.

BUT I STILL HAVE THEM!

Can you tell that I’m excited?

This leads me to a very exciting announcement: if you live in Portland, have a blog and are willing to pass on AWKWARD after you read it…you can have an ARC!

I know, there should be no strings attached. But I REALLY need help spreading the excitement of AWKWARD into the the blogosphere. And the Twitterverse. And Facebooklandia. So I’ll be sure to announce when AWKWARD hits NetGalley so that everyone can review it.

In the meantime: Portland people! Hit me up!

I have to admit: it’s pretty tough to beat out an ARC for exciting news but I am definitely looking forward to being the proud parent of three fish! Right now they are recovering from a fish disease called ick (I’m not making this up. At first I was tempted to tell the Fish Lady that I suffer from ick too. Primarily when people serve me food that I really don’t want to eat) but soon they’ll live with me!

I’ve set the aquarium up in anticipation.

And that’s about it for now. I should probably start my homework now…you know, since it’s due in 9 hours….

More later!

~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

 

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

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.