Marni Advice Monday: Humble-bragging and Jealousy

Hey everyone!

People seem to like it when I give advice. And well…I’ve never exactly suffered from a shortage of opinions. Just ask my (long-suffering) family members.

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Elementary School Marni considers what advice to give…

So feel free to ask questions! About writing. About life. About anything you want to discuss.

Today I thought I’d tackle professional jealousy.

This topic has been on my mind a lot recently. See, this post about writers on social media started making the rounds on my Facebook feed. I read it, laughed, then stared a bit guiltily at the keyboard.

Because I’ve definitely humble-bragged about meeting my favorite authors before!

In fact, I’ve not-so-humble bragged about meeting people!

Case in point:

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Marni plus Laurie Halse Anderson.

Oh and…

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Marni plus Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

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Marni plus Nora Roberts.

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Marni plus Ally Carter.

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Marni plus Jay Asher.

And my personal favorite…

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Marni plus Ellen DeGeneres!

Are you getting the picture? I’ve posted ALL of these online. Why?

Because. I. Totally. Geeked. Out.

And, yes, because it feels really good to look all smart and professional and…fancy online. These pictures were taken during some of the most wonderful moments of my life. But they are snapshots in time. They don’t tell the real story.

The real story is never as glamorous. The real story is that after a night of dancing with authors at the RWA in Atlanta, I spent the next six hours vomiting in a toilet. My friends think it must have been an allergic reaction to my TWO SIPS of Long Island Iced Tea.

I kid you not. Two sips.

Did I share that with the world? Um, no. I didn’t.

I conveniently left that part out.

So should I feel guilty about my not-so-humble bragging? Am one of those authors that people want to punch in the face(book)?!

Here’s what my friend and fellow KTeen author, Brigid Kemmerer, has to say:

I hate articles that seem to imply that we should shut up about our successes because we might make other people feel bad. It’s ridiculous. There’s no need to police social media to protect anyone’s feelings. Yes, non-stop promotion gets tiresomeBut so does non-stop complaining or non-stop anything.

If people are allowing social media to make them feel inferior, then they need to step away from the computer and get back in the real world. What people post on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram is such a narrow slice of their world — and it’s only what they WANT you to see. Further, if someone IS offended or overwhelmed by what one person is posting, then they can block that person or hide them from their feed. There are a few people I’ve unfollowed on Twitter because all they tweet are promo feeds for themselves and others. That’s IT. Who wants to read a non-stop stream of that? I like social media for one reason: the social aspect.

That’s when it kind of hit me. It’s not the bragging that bothers most people. I mean, yes, sometimes it can be grating, but that’s not at the heart of this issue. I suspect that the real problem is that the publishing world is a really murky place. To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to look at a book deal and say, “Oh okay. This is standard.”

I have a friend whose debut YA advance was 5x more than mine. Another friend was paid 40x less. It was only after a three-hour long conversation that any of us were brave enough to broach the subject of advances, even though we all depend on them to keep the bills paid.

It’s impossible to know if I should commit to using Instagram/Tumblr/Goodreads, etc., or even if these social media platforms translate into book sales! Do blog tours actually help reach new readers? Or would that time be better spent, y’know…writing?

These are all unavoidable questions for everyone within the industry and the fact that NOBODY appears to have the answers makes it even harder to reach any satisfying kind of conclusion. In the wake of all that uncertainty, we all seem to scrutinize each other’s Facebook feeds to see if we’ve been left in the dust.

This is where the real professional jealousy kicks in.

So how do we fight it?

I think Brigid’s advice is spot on. Step away from the laptop. Stop comparing yourself to others. Do not check out someone’s Wikipedia page to determine if they were younger than you when they got their first book published. Guess what? It’s not a competition!

But let’s say that isn’t working for you. Let’s say you’re feeling jealous and petty and irrational, oh, and annoyed because even though you know you’re being irrational you can’t seem to logic your way out of the situation.

Maybe…give yourself a little room to be bad?

Not terrible. It’s not like you’re going to say and/or do anything mean. Are we clear? That’s not going to happen, because you are not a bully.

But sometimes it feels really good to read terrible reviews of famous books. When I was in high school, I was obsessed with a book of quotations called, Writers on Writing. My favorite section was the one where all these iconic authors trash-talked each other. There was something oddly liberating about watching them trip over the pedestal my English teachers had reserved for them. The Germans have a word for this: Schadenfreude. It means, “happiness at the misfortune of others.” I like to look at it a slightly different way though…

Sometimes it’s good to remind yourself that you’re not the only flawed person around.

So that’s my Marni Advice for the week!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

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Living in the City of Angels!

Hey everyone!

I moved to Los Angeles!

And even though I’m approaching my two week anniversary in my new place, it still doesn’t feel real. Everything came together so perfectly for me.

Here’s what happened:

It all started with my signing event in Pasadena with YA superstars Brigid Kemmerer and Nina Berry!

Brigid is on the left, Nina is on the right, and I’m in the middle of an awesome YA sandwich.

We had a wonderful time at Vroman’s bookstore! But I have to admit, I definitely geeked out when my best friend since preschool and her older brother showed up!

Gwyn has seen it all, including a rather embarrassing rattail/mullet hair disaster. I still can’t believe my mom wanted me to have that haircut.

Even as a clown, Gwyn is cooler than me. It’s just not fair, I tell you!

So having her at my book signing really meant a lot. And after the books were signed and cupcakes were consumed (Mmm…cupcakes!) I had an absolutely brilliant idea!

I was taking Gwyn to the RITAs.

For those of you who don’t obsess over the Romance Writers of America conference, let me explain.

The RITAs is like the Emmys. The Golden Globes. The Oscars.

EXCEPT EVEN BETTER!

Everyone dresses up in sparkly gowns and…it’s magical.

Just…trust me on this.

I teared up at the event. Not even kidding. It’s a very good thing that Gwyn was there to hold my hand through the whole thing, because I was so nervous during the award part.

I’m not sure I could handle the excitement if I was ever nominated. Honestly, I would rather have a RITA than a Pulitzer.

Anyhow, Gwyn took me to her apartment so that she could get dressed up for the event. And as I was admiring her super pretty bedroom and her view, she mentioned that she was moving into her boyfriend’s place. Which meant that if I wanted to rent the apartment, that could be easily arranged.

!!!!!!!!!!!

A week later she picked me up from my dad’s place and I moved in.

She pulled up in a limo! Okay, I’m lying. This is from our high school graduation party. 

Gwyn also laughed pretty hard when she discovered that my romance novels outnumbered my clothes.

By a lot.

So now I have a new home in the Hollywood Hills.

There have been a few changes. I had to buy prescription sunglasses, which I never thought I would need back with I lived in Portland. And yesterday my route home from the coffee shop was blocked off by the police. Apparently a suspicious package needed to be checked out by the bomb squad.

I’m loving it though.

Even the domestic stuff. I have a kitchen that I actually use.

Turns out, I’m not a culinary failure. I totally made a couscous-bean-snap pea-barley stew thingie. And it was delicious!

This is what independence tastes like to me! 

Anyhow, I should probably get back to work. I have some editing left to do on Invisible before I can return to work on Chelsea’s story!

Before I go, I’ve got one more thing to share…

My short story for the Magical Mayhem anthology is now complete…and the book can be purchased on October 1!!!!

The last time I wrote anything magical, I looked like this:

Uh oh, Elementary School Marni thinks my blogging time it up!

I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of it!

Sincerely,

Marni

Hotties of Literature!!!!!

Hey everyone!

Okay, so a bunch of authors have agreed to blog about one of our favorite topics today: hot guys!

Gah! It's just so much cuteness!

Gah! It’s just so much cuteness!

Where was I? Oh, right. Hot guys.

So I spend a lot of my time thinking about what makes a guy attractive. It’s one of the things I love most about my job. And while I know some people may scoff and start muttering to themselves something along the lines of this girl needs to get a life, just hear me out.

I think what we read does affect the way we live. Which isn’t to say that after reading Harry Potter you should try to play quidditich.

Still laughing!

But I do think that books (and movies) send strong messages to their readership about how men and women should behave. So when I write my novels I definitely spend a lot of time trying to find the line between confidence (hot) and arrogance (erm, no).

It’s surprisingly hard!

I think most people agree that Edward Cullen overdoes it with Bella by being on the creepy side of protective. But wanting to make sure that your friends, you know, live to see the ending?

Super attractive!

So when I first started writing I had this small epiphany. I like my guys the way I like my girls: witty, snarky, flawed, and willing to fight for what they believe in.

And yeah, that means I like my guys to have some personal damage. That’s what makes them feel real to me. It’s also what makes me fall in love with them. If Logan Beckett wasn’t so touchy about needing a tutor, I wouldn’t have been able to finish writing Awkward. I would’ve stared at the screen and yelled “Stop being so freaking perfect all the time!”

Because perfection is boring.

But you’re here for the pictures of hot guys, right? So let’s begin!

Zach Gilford.

Um, swoon! I think it’s the grin. It’s part confident and part sweet and full on adorable! Small confession: Zach Gilford is the reason I watched Friday Night Lights. Larger confession: I didn’t exactly watch Friday Night Lights. I skipped the football stuff so I could get to the good parts. You know, like every scene with Zach Gilford sans football uniform.

Although I soon learned that watching only the high school drama parts of Friday Night Lights earns a girl absolutely no cool points with the members of her college football team.

Sigh.

Still…while Zach has just the right amount of adorable, I think he’s too old to play Logan. The guy was pushing believability as a high school student even back with Friday Night Lights was on the air.

So let’s check out a different FNL hottie:

Matt Lauria.

If you’re wondering why I seem oddly fixated with the guys from this show, I’d like to point out that that they managed to get the largest collection of hot unknown actors to join the cast.

Like Grey Damon.

I’m a little afraid to post a picture of him here since YA rockstar Brigid Kemmerer has told me (repeatedly) that he belongs to her. She may have told me to stop ogling her protagonist without permission. Although, I think her exact words were: MINE, MARNI. MINE MINE MINE.

But…can’t look away! So. Much. Hotness.

*Fans self*

Damn. The good ones always go quickly. Which is why I’m staking my claim right now on…

Logan Lerman!

For the record: the name thing is a total coincidence. I did not have him in mind when I wrote Awkward. He’s ridiculously perfect for the role though. The sexy smirk? Check. The effortless hot factor?

Um, yeah. I think he has that too!

I didn’t stumble across Logan Lerman until I was writing Decked with Holly (my holiday sequel spin-off which will be released this September!) and that’s when I fell under his spell.

Here’s the embarrassing part.

I made a collage. To be fair, it’s not all devoted to Logan Lerman. I used it to plot out the novel and…it looks like I’m a stalker.

(Hey Logan. Um, just in case you’re reading this…I swear, I’m not a deranged fan. Really.)  

I took this picture a year ago and as you can see not a lot has changed.

Yeah…it’s still pretty embarrassing. But the collage totally helped! Decked with Holly is the funniest of my novels and since I’m still swooning over Nick Wyatt, I must have done something right. For those of you who read the teaser at the end of Awkward, I pictured Emma Roberts playing Holly and Molly Quinn as Jen.

Although I’m always interested in hearing who you would cast in those roles!

I don’t want to spoil anything for future readers so I’m going to attempt casting three of my favorite YA hotties:

1. Rob Wilkins from Meg Cabot’s 1-800-WHERE-R-U series.

(A young Ian Somerhalder!)

Why is he hot? Well, there’s the dark mussed hair, the piercing blue eyes, the confidence, oh, and the motorcycle! He’s a good guy who is willing to break into a government compound to bust out the girl he met in detention. Rob might not be good when it comes to actually discussing his feelings, but he’s always solid in a crisis.

2. Ash from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.

Okay, so this is kind of cheating because I know Julie so I’m 95% sure she would cast…

Ben Barnes! (I’m guessing she likes his hair longer, but I think it’s sexier this way.

So what makes Ash sexy? Correction: what makes Ash so sexy that he distracted me from the wildlife in Africa?

For starters, he’s a prince among faeries. He’s got a sly smile, a quick wit, and he’s a crazy good kisser.

Or so I’ve read.

He’s also noble and sweet, with a sensitive streak that I find utterly charming.

Which brings us to our final hottie!

3. Colin from Torn and Tangled by Erica O’Rourke.

Matthew Goode.

Not sure if Erica will agree with me about the casting (I’ll be sure to post her response) but here’s why I think Matthew Goode captures Colin’s off-the-charts sexiness.

He’s got that skeptical look, which makes you rethink decisions…but he’s also going to back you no matter what happens.

Colin has made some decisions in the past that are making his life very difficult in the present. And the fact that he’s hired to bodyguard a girl seeking vengeance for the death or her best friend isn’t going to help matters. But he does what he thinks is right and that’s why I’m completely in love with him.

Plus he’s ridiculously sexy.

(Side note: Jenn Rush (author of Altered and Bot Wars) believes that Colin is destined for disappointment. She thinks Luc will get the girl in the end…but she couldn’t be more wrong. I think. Poor Erica will have to listen to a lot of grumbling no matter what happens!)

Anyhow, that’s all the sexiness I can handle right now!

I hope you join the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #HottiesofLit today! Or if you don’t feel comfortable with Twitter, maybe you can leave a picture of a hot guy here for me? I’ve got a novel to write and I can always use some hot male inspiration!

~Marni

P.S. Don’t forget to check out these blogs for more hotness!

Jenn Rush’s Blog

Brigid Kemmerer’s Blog

Julie Kagawa’s Blog

 

My First Blog Tour!!!! And serious amounts of hotness…

Hey everyone,

So, I’m officially participating in a blog tour for Awkward!

Yeah, I’m only a little excited about it…

Blog tours are super awesome. Here’s how it works: I get emailed roughly ten pages of questions. Then I spend the next three weeks obsessing over my answers.

I’d like to send a big shout-out to my friend Laura who helped me through one particularly rough set of questions intended for Logan Beckett to answer.

If it weren’t for her, I might still be staring at my laptop screen muttering “Whales or Bears? Whales are really big and cool. But so are bears! I don’t know! THEY’RE BOTH AWESOME!”

Yes, this an example of an honest-to-goodness work-related freak out.

Which is yet another reason for me to love my job.

Anyhow: I’m going to update my blog here with links so that you can check out my blog tour and join in the fun!

You can read my tips for surviving high school (and college) here:

Marni’s Advice!

I discuss some of my experiences in high school here:

High School Flashbacks!

And you can read a wonderful review of Awkward (and score a chance to win a copy!) here:

Fun times ahead!

And for those of you who enjoy geeking out over hot (potentially shirtless) boys: I hope you’ll drop by my group twitter event on March 15th. A bunch of amazing YA writers (including my friends Brigid Kemmerer and Jenn Rush) are getting together to share pics of some of their favorite hotties.

I predict there will be a lot of this:

And this:

And if you’re thinking um, why aren’t they reading? Don’t you know that there is nothing more attractive than that?!

All over it.

Four words: Hot. Guys. Reading. Books.

Here’s the link: Hot Guys Reading Books!

Oh, and for all you Ryan Gosling fans out there . . . this always makes me smile.

Ryan Gosling Reads Young Adult!

Anyhow, March 15th is going to be a ridiculous amount of fun. I’m hoping it will also inspire YOU to share who you would cast to play the characters in Awkward! So drop me a comment here or send them to me via Twitter!

And if you are feeling extra awesome: you can always send me fan art!

Isn’t this adorable! All pics will completely make my week. This particular masterpiece is brought to you courtesy of My Cute Bookshelf! You can check out the review that had me glowing for over a month here!

So many reasons to be feeling giddy!

Now I better get back to work. Chelsea is yelling at me . . .

~Marni

P.S. This blog tour wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for Shanyn Day and Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg! Thank you so much ladies! I really appreciate it!