HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE BOOK PROMOTION PROCESS…

I couldn’t resist.

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This might be the hardest part of my job! So help an author out? Tell your friends that they should read Awkward (available on Amazon for a limited time at the low price of $2.99) and preorder Invisible!

You can purchase it right here!

Sincerely,

Marni

How Did I Get Here?

Hey everyone,

I still can’t believe this is my life.

That’s not a joke or an exaggeration. It stuns me nearly every single day that I get to live out my wildest fantasy–one I was too afraid to even name for most of high school. And every day brings something ridiculously wonderful into my life. A message on my Facebook author page from someone who enjoyed reading Awkward and can’t wait to buy Invisible. A tweet from an author whose work I admire. An email from my fantastic Hungarian publisher. Maybe it will be as simple as reading a line in my new work in progress which cracks me up.

I still find myself trying to understand how I could have gotten here.

My older brother recently reminded me that when I was in elementary school he predicted that I’d be a trash collector. He told me that waste disposal was the logical occupation for someone with dog-poop brown eyes and a lack of common sense. “Hey someone has to do it,” he reasoned. “And that someone is definitely going to be you.”

I remember being terrified that he’d be right.

And now here I am proudly holding this!

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My Hungarian publisher renamed Awkward: Help, I’ve become a YouTube Star!

I love it so much!

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My best imitation of the Mackenzie yell.

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Signed and everything! It doesn’t get any more official!

If you’re curious about my experience with my Hungarian publisher, you should definitely check out the video I made about it!

It doesn’t feel real to me.

My third novel (Invisible) will be released in just under two weeks.

There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to capture how I feel about that.

And I know that there is someone very important I need to thank for all of this: you! 

Yep.

You.

You are the reason I’m not hauling trash off to landfills right now. You are the reason I will be leading a panel at the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta. You are the reason I will be celebrating my 24th birthday in Las Vegas with a whole bunch of sensational YA authors!

Maybe that’s the hardest part for me to believe. Somehow I found a group of people–intelligent, passionate, unashamedly geeky people–who have supported me throughout this process. Who believe in me even when I don’t.

Remember that scene in The Sound of Music where Maria turns to Captain von Trapp and sings, “For here you are, standing there, loving me–whether or not you should. So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good”?

You guys make me feel like Julie Freaking Andrews.

I think vlog Marni might say it best, so I’ll let her take it from here!

All my love,

Marni

 

 

Almost Too Much Awesomeness for One Blog Post!!

Hey everyone!

Okay, it’s been awhile since my last post. I have some very exciting news that I’m not allowed to share right now though. So I thought if I put myself on blogging lockdown that would make my secret keeping easier.

It totally didn’t.

And now I have all of these things to tell you!

Where to start? Perhaps with the Romance Writers of America who recognized the absolute brilliance of my friend Erica O’Rourke’s book, Bound?

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Erica is one of those authors that makes you curl up into a little ball and say, “I cannot handle the awesome. I. Cannot. Handle. The. Awesome.

At least that was my reaction while I read her books.

So I could not be more thrilled for her (or more excited to meet her in real life at the RWA conference in Atlanta! We will be speaking on a panel with the spectacular Jennifer Estep, the incomparable Nina Berry, and our editor-of-awesome Alicia Condon!) and all the other nominees!

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I look forward to meeting you all in Atlanta!

AND THEN…

I received this COMPLETELY AWESOME package from KTeen!

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Advanced Reader Copies of INVISIBLE (Jane’s book)!!!

I’m going to set up giveaways and post some sneak peeks soon! So keep checking in!

AND THEN…

I got another package from KTeen with the coverflats of NOTABLE (Chelsea’s book)!!!

But if I posted those right now that might be too much awesome. I don’t want to send you into awesome overload all at once.

*Grins*

Except now I feel guilty for leading you on so….

HERE IS THE HUNGARIAN BOOK TRAILER FOR AWKWARD!!!

That’s right. The Hungarians made a book trailer! Which means that if you don’t actually speak Hungarian, you’re not going to be able to understand, y’know, what she’s saying…

But I happen to think the CPR scene speaks for itself! I am beyond thrilled with it!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

I am starting a vlog!

This is a brand new venture for me so you should definitely expect there to be a learning curve. But I decided that this would be an exciting way for me to interact with all of you in a way that goes beyond words. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be speaking in my YouTube videos. I won’t just like, stare creepily at the screen or anything.

Not often, at any rate.

So I hope you enjoy my vlog! I also really hope you leave me a question or a comment. Remember: I’m doing this for YOU! Questions about writing, editing, college, high school, life…all of it is totally fair game!

Marni’s Vlog!

Or for the direct link to YouTube: 

And on that note…it’s time for me to get back to writing!

Love,

Marni

The Waiting Game

Hey everyone!

So right now it sort of feels like my life is in limbo.

See, while my fabulous editor is reading Notable I have been doing . . . approximately nothing. Okay, that’s not quite true. I have read a whole bunch of romance novels recently. I sort of went on a Susan Elizabeth Phillips binge. For those of you unfamiliar with her books, she specializes in contemporary romances that have you laughing one moment and crying the next.

And yes, I cried over each and every one of her books I read. Again.

She even got me all teary-eyed over a football-playing hero named Bobby Tom Denton. Seriously. Good ol’ Bobby Tom had me bawling.

And before you suggest that maybe I have a hormone imbalance or something, you should know that my friend Lisa Lin from over at Teatime Romance had the exact same reaction!

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Bobby Tom’s book. Although my favorite one is still This Heart of Mine.

Now if you’re thinking, “Okay, Marni, so you read a bunch of books. What else have you accomplished?” the answer is . . . not a whole lot.

Mostly I’ve been obsessing about the Romance Writer’s of America award (knowns as the RITAs) which will be announced on March 26th.

13 days from now.

Roughly 312 hours from now.

Not that I’m anxiously awaiting the announcement or anything. I have hardly given it a thought! I mean, it’s only the award I’ve been dreaming about since I was fifteen. So…whatever! No big deal.

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Okay, the scary lady is right. I’m totally lying.

It’s a really big deal. And even though I honestly don’t think I’m going to be nominated (I know some of the authors who submitted their work. This isn’t false modesty here. Some fricking amazing books have been entered!) the wait is still totally getting to me.

I know it’s not cool to admit. I probably should be playing off the whole thing or keeping my big mouth shut. But I can’t seem to manage it this time.

Maybe that’s because I also have some book news that I’m not allowed to announce yet. And the combined stress of the waiting and the silence is driving me up the freaking wall.

Although in my case that just means my sleep cycle is all out of whack and I have been hitting the girl scout cookies harder than I should be right now. I also had a dream that I was Jennifer Lawrence and I went ice skating. Not sure if that has anything to do with it, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

So if any of you are also stressing out over the RITAs or anything else you’ve got going on, I would love to hear about it! If any of you have any waiting-related advice, I’m totally game for that too!

And now I should really—zzzzzzz

~Marni

I Didn’t See THAT Coming!

Hey everyone!

Okay, so recently I was asked if anything surprised me about life as a writer. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I did start my career with some major misconceptions.

I remember thinking that authors must love it when reviewers bring up really insightful critiques of their work. That they would prefer a well-thought out 3.5 star review to an inaccurate 5 star one.

We don’t. We just want you to love us whole-heartedly.

Are we ridiculous for wanting unconditional praise? Yes. Absolutely.

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But this is totally how we behave whenever we read the zinger in an otherwise awesome review.

I also thought that being published would in some way reduce my writing-related freakouts…and it hasn’t. When my characters are giving me trouble and I know I have to edit out all my Navy SEALs but I don’t want to lose them, it still feels something like this:

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Okay, I’m not that bad. Usually.

There are also a number of lifestyle things I didn’t expect to change for me. For starters this looks like a perfectly reasonable purchase to me now.

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I hear you, Mindy. I would so be all over that.

And this is something I would definitely say to my bestie while I complain about going to the post office…

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Then she would totally look at me in disgust and say:

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It’s good to have people who keep you grounded.

I also never expected to be this tied into social media.

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An overreaction or…a perfectly reasonable response? You decide. I can’t.

Last but certainly not least, I thought the process of being published would generally make me cooler/less awkward. But as you can see…

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Although for me it will always be pictures of ducklings and baby tigers. I just turn to mush.

I hope this post doesn’t sound negative because there are also so many wonderful things I never saw coming! Y’know, like having Disney interested in turning my debut novel into a made-for-TV movie. And because I have such amazing readers…I am getting a P.O. box so that I can sign anything you want me to (within reason, people!).

Just as soon as I get dressed…

Now some of you have requested that I send you some book-related swag, but I don’t have any. Seriously. I don’t have bookmarks or stickers or anything remotely cool that I think you would want. The closest I come is about a hundred or so coverflats of the Magical Mayhem Anthology:

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So if anyone wants me to sign that and send it to them, I can do it! Otherwise, I’m a little stuck in terms of how to increase my levels of swag. If I bought white labels and signed them would you guys like that? I could even try to buy sparkly stickers to give it a little something extra if you want! Maybe some unicorns…

Or not!

If any of you have suggestions for swag, I’d love to hear your ideas!

Hopefully, that way it will feel something like this…

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…without breaking my budget.

But my original point (I swear, I did have one) is that I had a lot of misconceptions about the writing world when I started out. And I think my most off-base notion was that for some people this is easy. They make it look so effortless! They juggle author obligations with full-time jobs/part-time jobs/diaper changes/child-care/political and social activism, and so much more. Here is the kicker: they do all of it really well.

It is both awe-inspiring and intimidating.

Especially since most days I feel like I really accomplished something if I blog.

The truth is that those authors are sweating through their stories just like we are, even if it sometimes feels like they do this:

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…while we do this:

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Now I’m off to the post office!

For real this time…

~Marni

My AWKWARD Pubversary is Here!!!!! Oh, and Happy New Year!

Hey everyone,

So here’s a fun author fact: a book’s official release date is often referred to as “pub day.”

This is not because authors tend to go straight to the nearest bar and order way too many cocktails while they brace themselves for reviews. Although I admit that idea has some merit. But most of us wake up on pub day and sprint to the nearest Barnes & Noble so we can find our books on the shelf.

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“Hellooo!!!!!”

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(My pub day for DECKED WITH HOLLY. No drinking was involved in the making of these photos.) 

But to the best of my knowledge there isn’t an industry term for the one year anniversary of  a book.

Until now!

Because tomorrow marks my AWKWARD pubversary!!!

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That’s right: exactly one year ago I was a college student freaking out over her debut novel.   One year ago maybe five people (excluding my relatives) had read AWKWARD. 

One year ago I feared my debut would look a lot like this:

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Or this…

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Honestly, I think if you’re not afraid of getting this response there might be something wrong with you.

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(Nervous author in the Serengeti. My resolution was to avoid being eaten by a lion.)

And now that I look back over everything that has happened this year…I’m kind of speechless.

Here are just some of the highlights:

AWKWARD was published!

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I laughed really hard when I saw this in my own hometown.

I met Ellen DeGeneres!

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My mom opened a fabulous quilt store in Ashland, Oregon called Sew Creative. And she drafted asked me to be a bobbin in the 4th of July parade for her.

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I created some pretty awesome art projects at Southern Oregon University.

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“Now who could have done that, I wonder?”

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I was going for a Statue of Liberty meets Starbucks meets heavily-caffeinated Marni look. I think it worked…

I failed to get my driver’s license…

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“I swear, I wasn’t driving over the speed limit!”

I graduated from Lewis & Clark college!

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Certified college graduate and everything!

I went to the Romance Writers of America conference!

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Jackpot!

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I also got to hang out with all of these incredibly talented authors!

My short story EPIC REVENGE was published in the Magical Mayhem anthology!

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I found out that Disney wants to option AWKWARD as a made-for-TV movie!

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DECKED WITH HOLLY was published and I seriously improved at making book trailers!

AWKWARD is going to be translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Hungarian!

(I don’t have a picture for this, but I am super excited)

And I finished writing my first draft of Chelsea’s book, NOTABLE! I’m almost finished with my first round of editing too. So that feels pretty darn great.

Honestly, this has been the most amazing year for me. And the best part has definitely been you! The love and support I have received is just…incredible.

So thank you for the best pubversary a writer could ever wish to receive!

As a sort of pubversary present you can win a copy of DECKED WITH HOLLY from the lovely Kathy at her blog I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Giveaway here!

She also asks me some fabulous interview questions that I hope you will all enjoy!

And don’t forget to check out all the other stops in my DECKED WITH HOLLY blog tour for even more chances to win!

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Tour Schedule
Week One:
Dec. 31, 2012 – Kathy @ I Am A Reader Not A Writer – Author Interview
Jan. 1, 2013 – Karielle @ Books a la Mode – Guest Post – Author Top Ten
Jan. 2, 2013 – Krystal @ Live to Read – Review
Jan. 3, 2013 – Aeicha @ Word Spelunking – Guest Post
Jan. 4, 2013 – JennRenee @ JennRenee Read – Review
Week Two:
Jan. 7, 2013 – Tara @ Hobbitsies – Guest Post
Jan. 8, 2013 – Kailia @ Reading the Best of the Best – Review
Jan. 9, 2013 – Hannah @ The Girl in a Cafe – Author Interview
Jan. 10, 2013 – Emilie @ Emilie’s Book World – Review
Jan. 11, 2013 – Rachel @ Parajunkee – Guest Post
And on that note, I hope everyone has an extraordinarily awesome New Years!
Much love,
Marni

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve Got Something Special for YOU!

Hey everyone!

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This year I spent mine at home, getting thoroughly stuffed on turkey, and playing board games with my family.

Oh, and I watched this clip from the West Wing. Because it’s just not Thanksgiving for me without President Bartlet.

And yes, I also considered all the things in my life that I’m grateful for–including elastic waistbands for post pumpkin-pie time.

I’m incredibly blessed with amazing friends and family. My fridge is always stocked with food, unless I’ve gone on a late night rampage and consumed everything in sight. And I have the world’s best roommate who kindly overlooks my less endearing quirks and makes sure that creepy old men don’t try to get fresh with me.

It’s greatly appreciated.

 

She also generously overlooks when my post workout dance breaks turn into this… *Snickers*

To be honest, I feel grateful every single day that this is my life. I mean, I get to write novels for a living. I get to fall in love with fictional characters and then share them with other people! I get to spend hours doodling in journals and that technically counts as work!

 

This is how I feel inside almost every day.

So I’d like to give a big thank you for everyone who made this dream job possible!

I’m especially grateful for my super-agent Laurie McLean and her colleague Pam van Hylckama Vlieg.

They are just…the best.

And I’m grateful for romance writers, for crime-fighters, for readers, for tweeters, for librarians and…antiquarians.

This is how I feel whenever someone “likes” my books on Amazon.

And in the spirit of giving, I am sharing my homemade book trailer for Decked with Holly, my spin-off holiday sequel to Awkward. Now we can finally start getting excited for the holiday season!

I hope everyone likes it!

Happy Reading!

~Marni

Secret Travel Plans and Upcoming Events Revealed!

Hey everyone,

I’m back in Oregon for Thanksgiving!

*Happy dances*

Normally, I like to keep everyone apprised of my travel plans before I hop on airplanes, but not this time.

Why you ask?

Because I’m here as a Thanksgiving/birthday surprise for my mom.

Although, apparently what she really wants for her birthday is a new trash can. I’m not kidding. And when I pointed out that the last time I checked never is the right year for a birthday trash can, she insisted that she doesn’t want just any old garbage bearing receptacle.

Oh no, she wants an enormous green one that’s up to Ashland code with a lid that actually closes properly.

“Sounds like rubbish to me!”

Still, when I jumped out from behind a white pillar to surprise her at the airport, her expression was priceless. I was pretty amazed myself…that my family managed to keep it a secret.

I may be the only blogger in the family but none of us are particularly good at keeping secrets.

Which is why I will reveal all my plans right now:

I’m going to be in Ashland until November 26th and then my aunt and I will be driving up to Portland. This is the point where an accurate Magic 8 Ball would insist that I should try again later because it cannot predict now.

One of the best parts of my job is the travel flexibility. I can pretty much work wherever I can get a steady supply of coffee and Internet access. So I’m not sure when exactly I will be returning to LA.

To be honest, part of the reason my travel plans are so open right now is because I’ve got a serious case of tunnel vision going on.

I have a week to turn in the (hopefully) last round of edits for Invisible.

“Damn you, evil paragraph! Why must you ruin everything? WHY?!” 

And the only other thing my mom requested for her birthday–besides the trashcan–was a copy of Notable. I thought that I might be able to appease her by printing out the 2/3rds of it which I’ve edited but…she’s finished it already.

And now she keeps not-so subtly dropping hints that she wants to read more.

Today as we walked together to her fabulous quilt store, Sew Creative, she sighed and said, “This weather is great for quilting. Or reading.”

When I merely nodded, her smile widened devilishly.

“Hint hint.”

Yeah…so no pressure there.

I also have a short story for an anthology that needs to be edited (More on that later! I’m so excited for it!) and I’m organizing two panel proposals for the Romance Writers of America conference this year.

And I have a super exciting Decked with Holly project that I’m hoping to reveal on Thanksgiving!

So stay tuned for that explosion of awesomeness.

It’s times like this when I laugh really hard when my siblings suggest that I get a real job.

Okay, so maybe I respond more like this:

But if everything goes according to plan, most of the pressure should be off in a week or two.

And in the meantime, I get to enjoy a family Thanksgiving in my hometown. I get to go for walks and see trees with actual leaves that are actually changing color. I’ve also found time to snuggle with our dog Rascal and to read romance novels in the hot tub.

So despite the time crunch, I’m enjoying the holiday season to the fullest!

Now I better get back to work.

Happy reading, everyone!

~Marni

I need to learn “AWKWARD” in Portuguese (and other big news)!!!

Hey everyone!

Yesterday I woke up to a stunningly awesome email sitting in my inbox from my awesome KTeen editor, Alicia Condon.

Here was the subject line:

3 Brazilian Rights Sale – Marni Bates

Now, maybe I’ve been reading too many romance novels lately, because I completely misinterpreted what this meant.

At first I thought maybe Kensington sold some books about Brazilian billionaires for another author and wanted to let me know about it.

And then I thought that since they included my name, maybe they wanted to hire me to write books about Brazilian billionaires! (All Brazilians are super wealthy in romance novels. And they wear very, very expensive ties that become disheveled after they rake their hands through their thick, dark hair.)

And yes, I would have a whole lot of fun writing three steamy books about very rich Brazilian men! Except, it’s not exactly what I had in mind for my next project…

Anyhow, I rubbed my eyes and decided that maybe instead of obsessing over the subject line I should do something bold like, oh, I dunno, read the email.

Which is how I found out that Awkward, Decked with Holly, and Invisible are all going to be translated into Portuguese!!!!

I am absolutely thrilled to be translated. It almost makes me want to learn Portuguese. The only thing stopping me is the fact that I’m terrible at learning other languages.

Trust me, the last thing Brazilians want is for me to mangle their beautiful language.

I want to give Brazil a big hug too.

But with some help from Google translate, I’d like to say:

Obrigado por ler meus livros, Brasil!

That’s not all either!

Because today I got another email…

Awkward is going to be translated into Spanish!!!!

Gracias por leer mis libros, España!!!!

I seriously can’t express how excited I am about all of this. So I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone involved in making this happen.

Feliz Leitura!

¡Feliz lectura!

Happy Reading!

~Marni

Two Weeks of Awesome!!!

Okay, so I know my birthday is kinda old news now, but I have lots of fun pictures to share! So here’s what happened:

*Opening scene*

Marni wakes up to Birthday Banquet of AWESOME!

 

Anytime I can light my breakfast on fire, I’m pretty darn happy.

Then I spoke to family members and friends and felt very loved. Thanks everyone for all the well-wishes!

And then Gwyn and I went to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena where we proceeded to crack each other up for hours.

I pretended that was Chelsea Halloway. This is the closest I managed.

 

Yeah…something tells me Chelsea would be rolling her eyes.

We thought this guy had the most flair:

 

“Does this armor make me look fat?”

This guy had the most anger management issues:

“How could you not say, SPOILER ALERT!?”

This guy was the swooniest:

Um, hellooo Mr. Darcy!

Then we created this brilliant still-life piece entitled, The Gambling Lobster.

 

But I think the highlight had to be when we saw a statue and simultaneously burst out laughing because he was totally doing Psy’s Gangnam Style dance.

For anyone unfamiliar with this reference (*cough* Mom) you can watch the music video here: 

For everyone else…enjoy!

 

We even got the security guard to start singing with us.

Then I had a birthday cocktail after reminding Gwyn’s older brother again that 23 is past the legal drinking age.

 

One sushi dinner later, and Gwyn and I were watching Pitch Perfect in a practically empty theater.

Definitely the right note to end the day on.

But the best part about living with a best friend and loving your job is that every day kind of feels like it could be a birthday.

 

And I definitely got my birthday wish when the election results came in. *Releases huge sigh of relief*

Oh, and I got to see an advanced showing of the last Twilight movie when I went to The Ellen DeGeneres show.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it into the studio audience. But I’ll get another chance for that in March. I can hardly wait!

And today I got some AMAZINGLY AWESOME news that I can’t wait to share with everyone! But I don’t think I’m allowed to share it quite yet. Since I have a hard time keeping secrets to myself, Gwyn and her older brother Owen made me keep editing while they read some pretty darn good books…

This one might by my favorite picture of them all:

It was a lovely, lazy afternoon… until they decided to drag me up a fricking mountain.

Gwyn just shook her head in disbelief and said, “you wanted to go!”

And since she is cooking my dinner, I plan to smile and nod…while I whimper in pain.

Still, the view of LA at sunset is completely worth the blisters. A great time was had by all.

 

I hope you enjoyed all the photos! Keep checking in for that AMAZINGLY AWESOME news I’ve promised to share!

Happy Reading!

~Marni