GRADUATION!

Hey everyone,

I’m done with college.

Finito! Terminado! Finished!

I have to say, it’s a really great feeling. No more homework. No more pretending to be paying attention in my boring SOU class, while I secretly read romance novels.

Or not so secretly, actually. I’m pretty sure the teacher knew something was up when I started grinning. Probably because I was not smiling as he blithely wasted my time ranting about Obama’s first girlfriend.

Yeah. Never again!

Although, it is kind of scary because now I don’t have schoolwork to use as an excuse for procrastinating on my work. Like editing Invisible. Not that I would ever do that. *Blinks innocently*

My actual college graduation ceremony happened a few months ago. And I wrote a whole long blog post on it and then delayed actually sharing it because I wanted to include photos.

Then I saw the ones my family took of my very special day.

Complete and total failure.

First of all, they snapped all of five photos. And nobody noticed that my hair was absolutely ridiculous!

Don’t believe me. Here’s the proof:

I look like Count Dracula.

And nobody said anything!

Here I am with my lovely aunt! You can tell that Count Marnula is speculating about when she’ll be able to drink her blood.

And smiling at the thought.

Actually, that day I was feeling more zombie-like than vampiric. I came down with an awful flu the night before my graduation. I was able to keep it at bay until after the ceremony, but not by much.

Thankfully, my amazing friend Diana W. Rosengard drove me back to the hotel, where my aunt was waiting. She wisely let me nap before taking me out to dinner in the hotel. Honestly, I didn’t have the strength to move any further than that.

But even with the shivers and the sore throat, it was a magical day. And it was really great hanging out with all of my friends for the brief amount of time I was, you know, fully functional.

Still, it was kinda hard to feel graduated when I knew I had my SOU midterms waiting for me in Ashland.

But now all of that is over! Well, everything but the paperwork. I need to transfer my SOU classes to Lewis & Clark, but…c’mon, that doesn’t really count.

So what have I been doing with my time?

Well, my mom just bought a quilt store in Ashland! It’s called Sew Creative and in my unbiased opinion, it’s going to be spectacular.

That said, right now it’s in the work in progress stage. Which means I’m going to be spending this week sanding shelves, painting fixtures, cutting fat quarters, and doing anything else she needs.

I like to think this will earn me tons of daughter points, which I plan on cashing in very soon.

Specifically, July 19th when my mom is driving me very early to the airport.

Where am I headed?

LOS ANGELES!

Why?

Because I’m going to the ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA CONFERENCE!

More on this soon–I must return to my sanding.

Sincerely,

Marni

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!!!!

HOORAY!!!!!

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!

Love,

Marni

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

 

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