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!

tumblr_mrhur0SeAM1sdx9uzo1_250

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.

andy

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!

E79Ea-3V16XPJTYWgEI0oihDwbo3EnfUXPKc3E3fwS4

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…

IMG_9331

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:

giphy

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.

IMG_9345

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.

IMG_9370

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

Here’s a close up:

1393796_10152363901889196_645198829_n

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

Advertisements

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…

tumblr_mtnksoU4jp1syeot2o1_500

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.

23ma42w.jpg

(You’re welcome, Tracy Deebs!)

Because when we all get together…well…

tumblr_ma4ssebvYF1qca7eso1_500

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!

1459864_648583411852809_1502872573_n

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

1450764_10200448470008692_2106422751_n

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.

tumblr_mvhsz66zVG1risnpzo1_500

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.

BYKZqYkCEAAKBR-.jpg-large

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.

tumblr_inline_mu88f1MK8G1qawofo

RELEASING THE CRACKEN! Whoops, I mean…The Chelsea.

Hey everyone,

I hated Chelsea Halloway when I was writing AWKWARD.

Hated. Her. Guts.

She was this perfect blue-eyed beauty who could get anything she wanted with a toss of her hair. The kind of girl who effortlessly flirts with boys instead of stuttering, “H-h-hey! So…that thing was pretty cool, right? No? Um…c-c-catch ya later!”

Basically, she was the anti-Marni.

And I wanted to dismiss her as the mean girl.

Except I couldn’t do that because Logan had dated her. And there was no way Logan would have been sucked in purely by a beautiful face. There had to be more to Chelsea than I initially wanted to see.

More than Mackenzie wanted to see, too.

That thought nagged at me the whole time I wrote INVISIBLE. For some reason, Mackenzie brought out the worst in Chelsea.

But that didn’t mean Jane couldn’t see a different side of her.

By the time I finished INVISIBLE there was no doubt in my mind: I had to tell Chelsea’s side of the story.

And yes, I stared outside at the snow in Oregon while I listened to Chelsea’s rants…

Image

I also collaged like a crazy person.

Image

Here’s the truth: I became a crazy person.

Image

Nobody sane has hair like this. Nobody.

I doodled potential plot points…

Image

I created a playlist for Chelsea…

OvdcDQLBQWQOOyrqwWKP85YEbWqfjzgEy2EtKdhxZsI

And I ate this celebratory sushi three months later when I finished my first draft!

Image

I swooned over the cover KTeen created for NOTABLE. In fact, I ran around L.A. snapping photos with the coverflats they sent me!

Image

It’s just so pretty!

My neighbors weren’t thrilled about the way I beautified some signage.

ZV2QF6jFPDlQ-ad4unl8MQ5CaG7CjhqOrrYXRN7sVok

But I couldn’t be stopped!

JV78Su_gpZqsLqSEWAhti24X4T9wU9XIgaDekxPqA3M

Avn37nQIgF3SNEmZLZOxRp_ffsq_C59GI-an7nkHOzw

72PpJIHtpLyAQTvHH5NE0iB8Q4f2TniAnjrmJ54E4_Y

Chelsea insisted that she deserved a star of her own…

cY43h1RvjEcYNpm8OC1X7DpqkjEV6nnEEApJ970JpXY

I even roped Laurie Halse Anderson into geeking out with me!

JAgwZZn9ssqH9fSCeA_iiM-ouQC0RglrIewsRC3RslY

Fun fact: Laurie Halse Anderson is the coolest person in the world. She also gives fantastic advice. I would be perfectly happy letting her make all my life decisions. All of them.

pPGLIrFYuvNz1bg7KiTrwnvvanjyLTOTAZpjxkmyx_4

If you had told me when I was writing AWKWARD that Chelsea would steal my heart…I’d have burst out laughing.

But that’s exactly what she did.

The two of us just…clicked. The anti-Marni somehow became my imaginary best friend.

And now she is officially sitting on bookstore shelves!

(Psst! You can buy it from Amazon here!)

You would think that at some point the whole publishing part of this process would become normal. But the truth is that I’m living out my wildest dream. (Okay, the wildest dream that doesn’t include an English manor of some kind. What can I say? I really loved Pride & Prejudice.) Most of the time this job feels like something I hallucinated after pulling an all-nighter with my AP U.S. history textbook.

Frankly, I still can’t believe I got away with some of the things I did to Chelsea.

*Cackles wickedly*

And since I am in Vegas, I had no trouble taking some ridiculous photos for you guys!

notable venice

Chelsea wanted to check out The Venetian hotel with me. And then she complained bitterly that I had sent her to Cambodia instead of Venice…or Vegas.

notable gasp

But I ignored her complaining and decided to practice my spycraft instead…

GYKYc0U1jR9GcjukRG8MAsrZZ9c0ppL_VycGQ3sTO3g

 

Let’s just say that didn’t go quite the way I planned.

L7xUPkiymMGlGr0-v1a7QKGdelNY6ejz0ZPA5vLueM8

 

Those are real sharks!

Chelsea and I were informed we had the right to remain silent. But let’s just say that this happened…

GCCa6h3nO8zftDHPt12rQM_IG8odcMM58t9LWmt5Ta0

 

And then this happened…

TwCBSIhPXyDkmsxfEF5zv6_bzpYfBkOKEM-mIwKRHv8

I’m kidding, of course!

Even when Chelsea suggests Questionable Life Decisions…this is the craziest I get!

1385189_10152315345379196_1192111878_n

 

Marni wasn’t here.

935977_10152315346814196_1057450840_n

Okay, so maybe there was a little power-tripping.

But in all seriousness, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who made this book possible. And that absolutely includes all of my amazing readers!

Your tweets/emails/book trailers/Facebook messages/hugs/fanart/book purchases…they mean the world to me.

And just in case you were wondering…

qsFP20EbrjPI5hCxSPJjIWycD49SeYC-z8nM0ZUXBto

 

Love,

Marni

 

The Awkward Adventurer… (Part 1)

Hey everyone,

I’ve learned something important about myself: I suck at blogging when I travel.

Seriously. I’m the worst at it. Every now and then I think, “I should share these adventures with the world!” and then I come up with a reason to put it off.

Which means that now you get the highlight reel from my trip across America!

Where to begin….

LOS ANGELES:

I was too excited to sleep the night before the trip, so I felt like a zombie by the time the shuttle picked me up. And then I met a real zombie!

mNorl-JZsIZi6w3osYCrBZYQoqKdEMlGp_RmjZKpeao

Okay, I met an actor who plays a zombie on The Walking Dead. That’s pretty much the same thing, right?

Vincent M. Ward now has a copy of NOTABLE. Chelsea probably doesn’t watch The Walking Dead, but Jane is totally geeking out over this.

Still, I couldn’t wait to trade L.A. in for New Orleans. After weeks of stressing over a new writing project, a change of scenery needed to happen.

There were crazy eyes, my friends. And those crazy eyes were attached to my face. It’s never a good thing when you look into the mirror and say, “Why hello! Don’t you look like a serial killer today!”

So the timing for this adventure couldn’t have been better.

Especially since I stayed in a mansion with two awesome writing buddies: Cecily White and Noelle Pierce.

Yep. A mansion.

Cecily contends that I’m exaggerating about her childhood home.

I think that if water comes from a swan, it’s officially a mansion.

2013-09-06 23.38.01

Right?!

Plus, they have a special scoop for ice cubes. I seriously doubt that even Ice Cube lives in such luxury. These are the kinds of details that I notice after two weeks of self-imposed solitary confinement.

2013-09-06 23.39.30

Luckily, Cecily’s mom seemed to get a kick out of just how much I loved her home. (Especially my bedroom, which included a little step stool so I could reach the four poster bed. So cute!)

I’m not allowed to tell you about everything that happened in New Orleans. The three of us  pretty much swore a blood oath. But I can tell you that we spent most of our time discussing characters and plots and writing deadlines.

Oh, and I went from this

rsz_364
To this:
363

I have always wanted to play with the color of my hair. Always. But even though I have no trouble grabbing a pair of scissors and snipping away at 3am, I could never bring myself to alter the shade. So coloring it red was my way of shaking things up!

The next few days are now a blur of awesome.

I had a MacGyver moment that involved rigging up my computer charger at the coffee shop with the help of my shoe.

2013-09-07 14.34.58

I went to an incredible restaurant called Muriel’s with the girls. There were all these creepy old photos and paintings on the walls and I couldn’t shake the feeling that at any minute they might decide to start haunting me.

2013-09-07 22.55.26

Note the super creepy painting behind me…

Here are some other cool photos…that could use much better lighting.

2013-09-10_1378835082

Andrew Jackson: Vampire Hunter.

2013-10-12_1381577025

Creepy pictures. Such a creepy pictures!

We sang karaoke at a club on Bourbon St. called The Cat’s Meow. And yes, Noelle filmed our rendition of Call Me Maybe. Have I mentioned that Noelle is a wonderful, beautiful person who would never stoop to blackmailing me?

I’ve truly missed both of them ever since I left New Orleans.

Our last big group activity was a visit to Cecily’s old high school. The girls we spoke with were absolutely wonderful. They asked fantastic questions and lingered to chat with us after the official lecture part was over. So we definitely ended on a high note!

WASHINGTON D.C.

I’m so glad I visited my older sister! She shares an adorable apartment with her roommate and the two of them took me to a wonderful Yom Kippur service.

Just for the record: “wonderful” and “service” are not two words that I usually put together.

But the Rabbi discussed the Jewish holiday of repenting misdeeds in a way that was current, political, and non-partisan. I was impressed.

Still, I spent the majority of my time in D.C. acting like a tourist. I woke up early so that I could enjoy an entire day at The Newseum and I still nearly went back for more! The FBI exhibit was super cool…

2013-09-12_1379027403

Don’t shoot, G-Men!

2013-09-13_1379108031

So…that’s intense!

And I loved this section of the Berlin Wall!

2013-09-12_1379026933 2013-09-12_1379027138

Not that Chelsea needs any encouragement to act up!

The next day I went to the International Spy Museum!

2013-09-12 15.58.14

Even the bathroom signs were made of awesome!

I totally geeked out. And I did my very best to memorize as much information from the exhibits as possible. I’m sure some of it will come in handy!

That’s all I’m going to say for now…

In other news…I took Chelsea to see a whole bunch of national monuments.

2013-09-15_1379218734

I snuggled up to FDR.

2013-09-13_1379101574
I joked around with Lincoln.
2013-09-13 16.11.40
I practiced my powerful pose of authority with MLK.
And I met an incredible ballerina who agreed to pose with Notable!
 2013-09-13_1379101320
This photo always makes me smile!
Here are some more…
 2013-09-13 15.33.40
2013-09-13 15.34.25
2013-09-13 15.34.28
I totally got into my role of photographer.
But perhaps the best part of my trip to D.C. was actually my ride to the airport. That’s because I was able to catch up with a good friend from high school. Danielle and I laughed and joked all the way to Dulles International and I boarded my flight to Boston with a very happy heart.
But you will have to stay tuned to hear about those adventures!
More later,
Marni