Hitting the books!

Hey everyone,

I am hard at work on a brand new book project! It’s super exciting, and a little nerve-wracking, and…well, a whole lot of fun! I think this picture kind of says it all…

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See all those books? Yeah, that barely scratches the surface. I’ve got half a dozen books on a variety of subjects sitting at home. I don’t think I studied this hard when I was in college! Which just goes to show that I should’ve stuck to my guns and majored in spies, thieves, and assassins years ago. (P.S. Colleges should totally hand out  B.A. degrees in badassery. I stand by this statement.)

I’d tell you more about the project, but then I’d have to…

*scans Life Magazine’s Most Notorious Crimes in World History* *gulps uncomfortably*

Let’s leave that to your imagination, shall we?

So right now I’m trying to read ALL the books and write ALL the words and do ALL the responsible adult things, like, y’know, wash laundry before I run out of clean clothes. I also have some super exciting news that I will be sharing with all of you soon! (Really soon. As in, maybe tomorrow!)

But there ain’t no mountain (of things on my To Do List) high enough to keep me from gettin’ to yooooouuuu!

If you send me a letter or a postcard, I will totally respond to it. In fact, I got a PO box in Portland specifically for you!

You just need to mail it like this:

Marni Bates

PO Box 86183

Portland, OR 97286

Cool, right?!

On that note, I think I hear some hardened criminals calling my name. It’s time for me to get back to work!

Awkwardly yours,

Marni

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Portland, You’ve Got Marni!

Hey everyone,

I realized that I haven’t shared much about my awesome new home in Portland with you! All you got to see was nostalgic-Thanksgiving-Marni. And she’s not all that much fun. Trust me.

So let me fill you guys in!

My second day in Portland was spent with a whole bunch of my friends in Ikea.

I’m so lucky that they agreed to help me because Ikea has to be the most overwhelming place in the history of overwhelming places! My friends were like, “What kind of a bed are you looking for, Marni?”

To which I brilliantly replied: “Y’know…the kind that holds a mattress? And sheets? I’m quite fond of those!”

They were the ones who instructed me to try out all the mattresses on my stomach…

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Because that’s how I roll. Or, y’know…sleep.

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And they only mocked me a little for taking off my shoes in the store. I thought it was the polite thing to do when testing a mattress!

Somehow we managed to make it out of Ikea in time to make an afternoon showing of the Hunger Games. I thought the movie was absolutely great. Seriously. If you haven’t seen it, you totally should! Although I will admit that during this scene…

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All I could think was, “I’ve been in that elevator! It’s the same hotel I stayed in for the RWA conference in Atlanta! That stupid elevator nearly made me seasick too!”

So that was a little distracting for me.

Anyhow, the next morning I had a battle of my own to wage. Marni vs. The Ikea Bed.

It was a long painful struggle, but I’m proud to say that I put the whole thing together all by myself! And there is only one loose screw in the entire thing! 

Now if you’re thinking, “Marni, that’s not a big deal. All you had to do was follow directions!” well, yes. It is that simple. I just happen to hate following instructions. It’s partly why I’m a terrible cook. I glance at recipes and growl, “You’re not the boss of me!

So for me to successfully decipher the bizarre Ikea instructions was nothing short of miraculous.

Here is what my room looks like now:

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Have I mentioned that I love twinkle lights? Because I do. More than just about anything.

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I was so cold when I first arrived in Portland that I tried to insulate my room by putting a layer of clear plastic on my window. I don’t think it helped keep the heat in, but it’s now a great place to brainstorm ideas!

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This is Monsieur Mustachio! I can tell whether or not my heater is on by glancing at his magnificent facial hair. 

I’m still trying to get a lay of the land. I’m plotting new bus routes and testing out coffee shops. But this place really does feel like home. It helps that my housemates are completely made of awesome–especially the furry one!

This is Hamlet!

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He is a total sweetheart. But he also has some very strong opinions about petting time, so…sdjlhgkergvwgnwwwwrtu

I better appease the prince!

Awkwardly yours,

~Marni

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!

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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.

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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!

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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…

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

Here’s a close up:

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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

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