It’s a Party at the RWA!!!

Hey everyone,

Okay, so after last year the bar was set pretty darn high for the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta. I was actually a little nervous that it wouldn’t be quite as magical as my first time.

BUT THIS YEAR WAS EVEN BETTER!

Where to begin?

Well, I was able to meet a few pretty cool people…

Nora Roberts.

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

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Kieran Kramer

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Cherry Adair and I even joked around before the Literacy signing!

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Speaking of the Literacy signing…I got to hang out a little with Shea Berkley before things started to get crazy!

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What can I say? We’re pretty classy ladies.

I loved every second of the literacy signing, especially when some of my AMAZINGLY AWESOME fans showed up to my table! I can’t tell you ladies how much that meant to me. Seriously. It was so wonderful getting to meet you!

(Pictures unavailable. I was too busy geeking out)

And then…well, then I really lost my mind.

Because I got to meet Ally Carter!

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I am a huge Ally Carter fan. Huge. I love everything about the Heist Society series, so meeting her in real life was…unspeakably awesome. And I mean that literally. I think all I managed to say was, “I love your books!”

I’m thrilled to confirm that she is every bit as awesome in real life as I imagined.

Here’s the funny part: all of this excitement happened before my 50 Shades of YA panel. That’s when the awesome kicked up to a whole new level!

Jennifer Estep, Erica O’Rourke, Nina Berry, Alicia Condon (our editor) and I had so much fun discussing the limitations imposed upon YA authors when discussing taboo subjects like sex, drugs, and rock and roll alcohol. They were absolutely brilliant and it was a pleasure and a privilege just to sit next to them.

But I must admit, I didn’t have high expectations for attendance at our panel. It was at 8:30 AM!

In my experience, authors don’t tend to do well with morning hours. We avoid them. At all costs.

So I sort of assumed that there would be a handful of bleary-eyed writers chugging down coffee while they half-heartedly listened. And trust me, I would have been thrilled with that.

It was a full room.

Totally packed.

And afterwards, Katie McGarry and Kady Cross introduced themselves to me. Because they were excited to meet me! Which still strikes me as hilarious because…have you met them? They are made of AWESOME!

So I’m trying to play it cool and not just blurt out, “I think we should become best friends FOREVER!” when they glanced over my shoulder and whispered, “Did you know that Jay Asher was here?!”

Yep.

Jay Asher, New York Times Bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, attended the 50 Shades of YA panel.

*Insert geek out here*

It gets crazier. He saved a seat for me at his table so that we could chat before Kathy Maxwell brought the house down with her luncheon speech.

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Just in case you were wondering, Jay Asher is a ridiculously nice person with a great sense of humor. Oh, and he can dance.

Time sort of moves funny at a writers conference. I tried to enjoy every second to the fullest, which means that I slept little and lost my voice by the time I left the conference. But some of the highlights include:

I had dinner with Tessa Dare, drinks with Julie James, Tracy Deebs, Emily McKay, (and some other lovely people whose names are evading me right now) and a slumber party with the fantastic Hannah Jayne.

And then I partied with most of these people after the RITA awards!

Here I am with a whole bunch of awesome YA-ers! (Back row, l-to-r) Bria QuinlanHolly BodgerAmy DeLuca, Jay Asher, Darcy Woods, Me, Cecily White, (Front row, l-to-r) Jennifer McGowan, Kim MacCarron, and Shea Berkley.

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It was a great night. I mean, you might think authors are a pretty staid bunch…but that goes right out the window as soon as the music starts playing. And okay, so maybe there were a few line-dances. But that just made me feel like I was in What A Girl Wants (Remember that movie? Back in the good ol’ days when Amanda Bynes seemed like she had it all together) and this was just the big group dance number!

And I definitely had a few pinch me, I must be dreaming moments with my friends.

Unfortunately, three hours later I was suffering from either an allergic reaction or a bizarre case of food poisoning. I’m not kidding. The lovely Cecily White and a romance-writing stranger found me shaking and vomiting in the handicap stall in the hotel bathroom. This is so not the kind of information you really needed to know about my RWA experience, but I’m mentioning it because I think it shows the extreme kindness of the writing community. One thing I picked up on quickly was that every woman there was ready and willing to extend a helping hand.

Even if that meant spending their last night at the conference tracking down Sprite and saltine crackers for me.

I feel like the media often portrays women as back-stabbing, passive-aggressive monsters who will do anything to eliminate their competition. That could not be further from my experience at this conference. I’ve never felt more supported, both creatively and personally.

These woman accepted me for me. Even if that included quoting One Direction songs at random intervals, much to Tracy Deeb’s chagrin.

I need to thank my lovely roommates Andrea, PJ, and Lisa for making the conference such a great experience. And to all the authors it may seem like I’ve forgotten; trust me, I haven’t. I love you ladies!

The next morning I boarded my flight to Ashland, Oregon. It was only a quick trip, but I was able to see my family–and meet the most important man in my life!

Smiley Riley with Auntie Marni!

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I can’t wait to make up stories with him!

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And then I caught a flight back to LA for the Teen Author Reading Night where I met Eve Silver, Jessi Kirby, EJ Altbacker, Francesca Lia Block, and Cecil Castellucci!

It was a fantastic evening that deserves it’s own blog post. But I seriously need to get back to my writing. See, I have these characters making out on a couch and–

I’ve already said too much!

More later!

~Marni

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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

April Fools! AKA Marni is a Pranking NINJA! Maybe…

Hey everyone,

I’m usually the one who forgets about April Fools day. And I also usually don’t realize I’ve been pranked until about a year after the fact.

Not kidding.

Freshman year, my college roommate convinced me she had a boyfriend. And I didn’t figure out that “Ben” didn’t exist until the summer of my Sophomore year. She even staged a fake “breakup” near the end of the school year.

And like a chump, I believed her.

So this year, I wanted to be the prankster instead of the prankee.

And initially I was quite pleased with my success.

I started off with a VERY difficult act. I confessed on Twitter that after doing some deep soul-searching, I was ready to admit that Luc is hotter than Colin in Erica O’Rourke’s addictive series. (Torn and Tangled have both been released. You should buy them. So freaking good.)

Now for those of you who DON’T follow me on Twitter (Why? How can you pass up my pithy tweets? Okay…my not-so-pithy tweets?) this might not seem like a big deal.

Two fictional guys. Who cares?

Um…a lot of people. And we’re writers which means we spend a large portion of our time obsessing over people who aren’t real. So…things can get a little heated in the Twitterverse.

As in, we have a bet going. And when I am proved right, my dear misguided friend Jenn Rush will have to create a video apologizing for picking Puke…I mean “Luc” over Colin.

Yes, this really is how I spend the majority of my free time.

Anyhow, so I went on Twitter today and I pretended to have switched sides. That I had realized the error in my ways *gag* and was now fully invested in Team Luc.

I tricked a few people. Here are some of my favorite tweets.

@MarniBates Does this mean you are crossing over to the Luc team??? 

@MarniBates yay!! You made the right choice. @jenn_rush & I welcome you! Things are hot & sparky with Luc

And from my fellow Team Colin-mate…

MARNI! SERIOUSLY?! *sad puppy eyes*

Alas, some people were not fooled!

Jenn Rush realized I would NEVER switch teams. And the author who started this mess, couldn’t resist joining in!

Ha! I was reading my @ replies, saw this, and told Boyo, “marni is messing w/them.”

D’awww…they know me so well!

This just inspired me to plan a bigger prank. Something MAJOR. And after a lot of consideration (And a little too much coffee) I realized it should be someone who was obligated to love me no matter what. Someone who wouldn’t hold a little practical joke against me.

Someone other than my mom.

So obviously, I had to get my agent Laurie McLean!

(Love you, Laurie!)

Now this was dangerous for a few reasons. Not least of which is that she sends my paychecks.

Although knowing that we are going to be sharing a room at the Romance Writers of America conference scared me ever more.

I have a feeling that Laurie is well-versed in revenge.

EEEP!

Still, I consulted with evil genius/agent-in-training Pam van Hylckama and we created a plan.

A REALLY good one.

That has serious potential to become a REALLY bad one.

I sent Pam a fake email saying that a movie studio wanted me under contract and that I wouldn’t be able to write any more novels for TWO YEARS!

Then Pam emailed it to Laurie and suggested the she call me…right away.

So here I am…waiting for the call.

And while I initially thought that being the pranker was better than being the prankee, I’ve discovered some distinct disadvantages. All this waiting around is stressful!

Because I keep running through bad possibilities. Like Laurie could call up my film agent and demand to know what the hell is going on.

That would be bad.

Oh crud. That would be terrible!

*Marni panics*

Okay! I can’t take it anymore.

April Fools Day has defeated me. This year…

~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