Marni’s Thanksgiving Update

Hey everyone,

Thanksgiving and I haven’t always gotten along.

That’s because it was the last day I spent with my grandpa. It was the last time I hugged him. The last time he said my name. The last time I told him that I loved him.

I could have visited him in the hospital, but I didn’t want to see him that way. I wanted to preserve my perfect goodbye.

But for the past six years, Thanksgiving has felt like a game of emotional roulette that I keep losing. Not having him there…it kinda rips me apart. Even when I’m with my family, the ache lingers.

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I love this photo of my grandma and grandpa together.

I still miss him. But I think if there is one thing worse than his absence…it’s knowing that I’ve disappointed him. If he were alive right now, he’d be pulling me aside for one of his well-intended lectures. And while I don’t doubt for a second that his love for me was unconditional, I think he’d see me as the biggest dunderhogan of the bunch.

He’d be right about that, too.

This year has been full of major life decisions and I’d give just about anything for one of his hugs. To curl my feet up on the couch and listen to him tell me about Esmerelda the Mouse and Mary-Belle the Beauty Queen Cow. To giggle helplessly at Laurel and Hardy with him. To have him totally freak me out with his shark impression in the swimming pool.

I know that I have a whole lot to be thankful for in my life. I have an incredible family, phenomenal friends, and the best job in the world–writing novels for you! But Thanksgiving is still hard for me.

So what I’m most grateful for is the feeling that my grandpa would be proud of the way I’m facing down my fears.

But right now he’d be telling me to clean my room and get back to work.

I think I’ll take his advice.

Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season!

~Marni

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Marni’s Pirates & Plagiarists Playlist

Hey everyone,

So a whole bunch of my writer friends are dealing with online piracy right now.

Actually, that’s misleading. ALL of my author friends are dealing with it. All of the time.

And yes, I’m reporting stolen copies of my books too.

I could rant about how shitty it is to have your hard work stolen. And I could point out that authors do not rake in the kind of money you might imagine that we do. Seriously. If we are lucky enough to get an advance on royalties from our publisher (this is by no means a given!) that money is instantly earmarked for paying the bills. Many authors won’t see a single penny of royalty money even a year after the release date.

Which means that if you want an author to keep writing you should seriously consider, y’know…buying their books.

Just a thought.

But I’m going to try to let my Pirates & Plagiarists Playlist do the speaking for me.

*These songs include swearing. So if that offends you, I’d suggest skipping them!

1. *Sweet As Whole ~ Sara Bareilles

Let’s be real. That’s what we’re thinking.

2. *I Hate Everyone ~ Go Set Go

Self-explanatory.

3. Don’t Ask Me ~ OK Go

Especially if you are directly confronting someone who has stolen your work. I tend to avoid doing that. I just…don’t even want to go near it.

4. My Rights Versus Yours ~ The New Pornographers.

Yep. I’m getting punny.

5. *Sh*t Song ~ Kate Nash

I listen to this on repeat when I’m really mad.

6. Mean ~ Taylor Swift

The title says it all.

7. Brave ~ Sara Bareilles

Let the words fall out…

8. Do My Thing ~ Estelle

*dances happily*

9. Strip Me ~ Natasha Bedingfield

I love this song. I think it’s a great reminder that no pirate or plagiarist can ever steal our voice. They can only temporarily hijack our words.

And finally…

10. Keep Your Head Up ~ Andy Grammer

At the end of the day, this is still the best job in the whole freaking world. So we’ve got that going for us!

Feel free to suggest other songs! I’m always interested in listening to new music!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

Moving on. Moving up. Moving…OUCH!

Hey everyone,

So something pretty awesome happened yesterday.

I turned in my edits for the last book in my Smith High series!

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I looked something like this when I sent it back to my editor, Alicia Condon.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m allowed to share about the final book. I’ve seen the cover and let’s just say I got all mushy in the Dulles airport. And then I impressed a whole bunch of travelers with my happy dance.

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Hmm…maybe “impressed” isn’t the right word. 

So here is what I can tell you!

1. It’s called Awkwardly Ever After.

2. It’s prom time at Smith High School. So, of course, Mackenzie and (name redacted) are shocked when (name redacted) insists on (REDACTED!)…

3. It answers a whole bunch of questions that you’ve had since Awkward.

And I can tell you that it was an absolute pleasure to write.

It’s also rather strange for me to…move on.

I mean, these characters have been with me for over four years. We’ve chatted on four different continents, travelled to seven countries, and visited countless cities together. They’ve seen me through the good, the bad, and the “meh” times.

We’ve pulled all-nighters together. Confided our secrets to each other. Exchanged tons of advice.

And yes, I know that Mackenzie, Logan, Jane, Scott, Chelsea, Houston, Nick, Holly, Corey, Tim, Melanie, Isobel, Sam, Dylan, Miles, Spencer, Ben, Liz, Amy, Lisa Anne, Chris, Alex, and let’s not forget Fake and Bake, aren’t strictly speaking real.

But they are very real to me.

So writing Awkwardly Ever After felt like I was hugging my friends goodbye.

In a good way.

It’s kind of hard to explain. I guess, it’s like heading to college. You know you’ll miss all your high school friends, but there are going to be tons of new adventures ahead! Really freaking awesome ones!

And I’m completely psyched for the next stage of my journey to begin!

Speaking of which…

I’m moving to Portland, Oregon!

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I’ve booked my flight and everything! I will officially be sharing an adorable house with two amazing housemates on November 23rd!

So right now I’m packing up my apartment in Los Angeles and pretending to be an adult. Pro tip: It’s cheapest to ship boxes of books media rate through the post office. Turns out, there is a whole lot I have yet to learn about adulthood.

Luckily, I have friends in Portland who are willing to brave Ikea with me!

And teach me how to drive a car.

And take last minute road trips with me…

It’s going to be fun.

In the wake of all that change, you might think I’d want to avoid making, y’know, permanent life decisions.

But right after I clicked “Send” on Awkwardly Ever After, I went to a tattoo parlor with my friends…

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Fun fact: I was terrified.

I’ve wanted a small tattoo on my foot for years. During my semester abroad in Australia, I penned it with a sharpie every time a lecture failed to capture my interest.

But I’m a total wimp when it comes to pain, so I never thought I’d ever actually do it!

I thought any tattoo expedition would quickly turn into this:

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Everyone was incredibly patient with me. The tattoo artist said that it wouldn’t take long and that it wouldn’t hurt much.

I didn’t believe him.

The worst pain I’ve ever experienced was a bout of seasickness in Australia that lasted for hours. And I’d been deadly serious when I’d asked for somebody–ANYBODY–to shoot me with a tranquilizer gun.

So I was bracing myself for the possibility that I’d spend the rest of my life with a small black “A” on my foot, when the tattoo artist finally began.

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I burst out laughing.

It barely hurt.

Seriously. I think I might have gritted my teeth once. That’s it. At times, it almost felt good. Although that might have something to do with all the adrenaline pumping through my system.

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Oh my god. I can’t believe I did it! I DID IT!!!

Here’s a close up:

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I looked at hundreds of different fonts before I decided to use my own handwriting. I think it adds a personal touch. And I absolutely love it!

On that note…it’s time to put my Awkward foot forward and become acquainted with my newest batch of fictional besties.

I think you guys are going to love them!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

The Truth About The Las Vegas Book Fest… (Bum. Bum. BUUUUUUMMM!)

Hey everyone,

Being an author can be pretty lonely. We spend most of our time staring at our laptop screens, trying to listen to the little voices in our heads. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, the voices aren’t there and we stare aimlessly at the wall before trying to eat the entire contents of our fridge.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Regardless, I think the solitary nature of the job is part of what makes our conferences so much fun.

Sure, we might occasionally wonder this…

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And we definitely think this…tumblr_inline_mu982h5YZy1rhignx

But that’s okay!

In fact, I think that’s a huge part of the fun! When I am surrounded by other writers I don’t worry quite as much about saying the right thing. I can debate the virtue of maiming versus killing teenagers without clarifying after every sentence that it’s for a novel. We trade embarrassing stories and bust a move to, well…Bust A Move by Young MC.

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(You’re welcome, Tracy Deebs!)

Because when we all get together…well…

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I have so many highlights from the Vegas Valley Book Festival. One of which was getting Vivi Barnes to say, “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.”

Priceless.

I loved wearing a sparkly dress to our prom!

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Here I am with Veronica Wolff and Stacey Kade! (Pssst….you should totally buy their books!)

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Stacey Jay is hugging the floofy part of my dress! Oh, and she is ridiculously good at dancing. Just in case you were wondering.

And that’s not all…

I had a blast speaking on the Choosing the Real Me panel with a whole bunch of crazy talented people. (Lisa Burstein, Ann Stampler, Varian Johnson, Nicole McInnes, Carrie Mesrobian, Daria Snadowsky, and the delightfully wicked Kasie West.)

I’m going to use the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” excuse here. Let’s just say that as we were leaving the stage, Carrie called me the Ron Weasley of the panel.

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It went something like that.

Part of me is tempted to end the post here with a quick thank you to Crystal Perkins for putting all of this amazingness together. Because truthfully, I don’t know how to describe the overwhelming amount of heart I see in these authors. But I’m going to try.

When Katie McGarry spoke about foster kids aging out of the system, you could feel it. You could see both her frustration and her steely determination to write those stories. To stand on their behalf.

I want you guys to be able to see it for yourselves though. So you should check out Dear Teen Me and read the advice that these authors want to give their teenage selves.

I should warn you: I felt emotionally sucker-punched by what my friends have gone through. I am awed by their strength and their kindness. And by the passion that goes into their work.

I’m going to link Lisa Burstein’s post here with a trigger warning for rape.

You should read what she has to say. Because it’s amazing.

So here are the spectacular authors I met at the Las Vegas Book Festival.

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You know how people say that it gets better after high school? I think everyone in this photo can personally vouch for that!

And now I should get back to writing…

Happy Reading,

Marni

P.S. I am obligated to remind you that NOTABLE is now out in stores and that you should totally buy it. And then you should give copies to all your friends. Maybe post some glowing reviews online…

Or not.

Whatever.

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