Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Question: What do you call someone who's amazingly cool, totally pretty, super smart, and has just penned an amazing new series???
Answer: Melissa Walker.
That's right, Ms. Walker, author of the uber-awesome Violet series, has agreed to stop by for a chat about her latest installment: VIOLET IN PRIVATE.
But first, here's the inside scoop about the books:
Is there life off the runway? VIOLET IN PRIVATE (Berkley Jam Trade Paperback; August 5, 2008; $9.99) is the third novel in the series by former magazine editor Melissa Walker about Violet— the wallflower who blooms into an international modeling star—until she realizes there may be more to life than the runway…
Everyone knows her as Violet Greenfield, the supposedly cultured and worldly nineteen-year-old with sky-high confidence because she’s done fashion weeks internationally. But the truth is, modeling has done little for Violet’s self-esteem. And now that she’s finally headed to college, she’s terrified that she’ll turn back into that girl who blended into the walls all throughout high school…
Violet’s friends in fashion are only a two-hour train ride away in New York City, and they all think she’s crazy to stop modeling. But her best friend Roger hopes she’ll go back to being the girl next door. Of course, things have been weird between them ever since they kissed—and now he’s got a girlfriend. So the question is: if she’s not “Violet on the Runway” anymore, who exactly is she?
Melissa Walker has created a character that teens as well as adults can embrace and relate to. Readers have followed Violet through her highest highs and lowest lows in the modeling industry, and are eager to see how she fares as a regular teenager in college. This wonderful series is a fresh take on the real voice of one girl in the designer spotlight.
And now, the same five questions I always ask:
Every story has a backstory, what's the backstory for your book? Wow--hit me with three hard ones in a row, Alyson! Man! Just kidding--I love these. Maybe Paris in the 1920s, when jazz was booming and Americans were over there being generally bohemian and finding a place for freer expression and racial acceptance, etc. Somewhere like that, with lots of positive energy.
I told you she was awesome! And don't forget to stop by the Violet contest she's hosting until Sept 1 right HERE!!!
Praise for the VIOLET series:
“Part Cinderella, part girl next door, VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY is a story for any girl who ever wondered what it would be like to have her wildest dream come true.” --New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen
“Violet is a hero for all of us wallflowers out there. A fun, fashion-filled, fast-paced read!” --Carolyn Mackler, award-winning author of Guyaholic
“On the runway or off, Violet shines.” --Ally Carter, bestselling author of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
“Violet is wonderfully witty and sweetly sensitive. She’s not your typical top model; she’s more like your best friend—only prettier.” --Kirsten Kemp, author of Breakfast at Bloomingdale’s
"Violet on the Runway is a novel about fashion, but it's also a sensitive portrait of adolescence--simultaneously funny and painful. Walker excels at characterizing those moments that we've all experienced, from bumbling in front of the cute boy to being misunderstood by ones parents." --NYLON Magazine
"This novel is a perfect read for teens who want to see what lies beneath the glossy veneer of what seems to be a picture-perfect life." --Family Circle
"Teens will love this fun fashion read." --OK! Magazine
"Take a peek into a model's life with this hip novel!" --Teen Magazine
"I couldn't put it down! You're kind of rooting for her to make it big, and kind of rooting for her to just go home before the biz ruins her." --Glamour
"Funny, engaging, and eye-opening, Violet on the Runway is an addictive read full of all the juicy insights about the fashion industry one could hope for, as well as meaningful layers and observations about the importance of knowing one's self." --Venus Zine
As a former editor at ELLEgirl and Seventeen magazines, Melissa Walker knows first-hand the ins and outs of the fashion world. She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at melissacwalker.com, or at myspace.com/melissacwalker.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Add this to the "Things I'm Not Embarrassed to Admit I'm Excited About File" --
90201, that hit1990's show that cleared the way for The O.C. and all of it's imitators returns this season with a whole new cast of updated, modern-day high schoolers, born in the same year 90210 first aired. And even though the characters are familiar with the rebel, the teen princess, the dork, and, of course, the brother-sister combo who’ve just moved to Beverly Hill, the difference is this show promises to be gritter-- Less Peach Pit After Dark fun, more Dark Night of the Soul-- with promised appearances of original cast members Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, and more!
Now, I admit, I didn't really get into this show until I was living in Mykonos, Greece and pretty much starving for any American TV I could get. So when old reruns of 90210 were aired, I was hooked! And I credit the show's being subtitled for teaching me how to read Greek! Nothing like simultaneously watching and reading the Brenda, Dylan, Kelly love triangle unfold. . .
Oh, and I couldn't resist posting this e-mail I just now received:
Hey We have hijacked your baby but you must pay once to us $50 000. The details we will send later...
We has attached photo of your fume
Um, first of all, I don't have a baby. Not to mention I have no idea what a fume is . . .Do they seriously think this will work???
Anyway, have a good day everyone!
Friday, August 22, 2008
It's anything goes week over at the Teen Fiction Cafe, and on this laziest of August days I've decided to blog about, Barbie, record breaking catfish, Easy-Bake ovens, and favorite ways to waste time and ensure nothing gets done!
To see how that all fits together, (and I assure you, it does!) just click HERE!
Have a good weekend everyone!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Have a good weekend everyone!!
Monday, August 18, 2008
I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie when I took part in her (along with the awesome Alexa Young) brainchild event--
ROCK 'N' READ, and let me tell you that Stephanie is the uber cool girl I always wanted to be.
She's the kind of girl I channel when I play ROCK BAND on my wii!
And as if it weren't enough to be amazingly cool-- she just had to go write an incredible debut novel that's getting a ton of well-deserved notice.
Blurb from Irvine Welsh of Trainspotting fame? Check.
Great reviews from Booklist, Elle magazine, etc? But of course!
Anyway, Stephanie was kind enough to stop by and answer some questions- but first- here's a sneak peek at the book:
A raw, edgy, emotional novel about growing up punk and living to tell.The Clash. Social Distortion. Dead Kennedys. Patti Smith. The Ramones. Punk rock is in Emily Black's blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back. Now Emily's all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn't it lead her right back to Emily?
"...an empowering new twist on a girl's coming of age..." - Los Angeles Times
"...irresistible..." and "...acidly incisive and full-out entertaining..." - Booklist
"Debut author Kuehnert keeps the story raw and gritty... the intensity of the characters' emotions and experiences will beguile many teen readers." - Publisher's Weekly "...a rich, muscular story..." - Bust Magazine
"I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is a manifesto for defiant high school girls, as well as a refresher course for the goddesses they turn into." - Venus Zine
"Emily's coming-of-age story in I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is allusive, real, and honest. Even I, the most non-rock oriented teen in existence, found it overwhelmingly easy to connect with and relate to Emily. It makes no difference if you're a punk-rock chick or a glam princess, I would recommend this book to any ELLE girl." - Elle Girl
"This book could be any real band's Behind the Music, but Kuehnert creates some realistic characters that drag you down past reading it on the shitter. Congrats, Steph, you got me to read a whole fucking book for once. Solid writing, Ms. Lady." - Racket Magazine
"A wonderfully written and evocative story of a mother and daughter parted by circumstance and joined by music. I heartily recommend it." - Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting
"Some books play at trying to be "edgy"; some books try to hit the right notes; but Kuehnert's prose doesn't notice labels. It just is--which is the purest kinda edge. Teeth. Punk. Combat boots. Attitude. Feminism. Family. Girls with guitars. Relationships that jack you up. Sharp things of the not-good kind. Friendships. Love... It's all here; it's all pure and real. I loved it."- Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange
"Kuehnert's love of music is apparent on every page in this powerful and moving story. Her fresh voice makes this novel stand out in the genre, and she writes as authentically about coming of age as she does punk rock. She's titled the book after a great song by Sleater-Kinney, and both that band, and the iconic Joey Ramone, would be proud of this effort." Charles R. Cross, New York Times bestselling author of Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain
"I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is intense, raw and real; a powerful and heartbreaking weave of Emily Black's public dream of making music and the intensely private one of finding her elusive, missing mother. Emily, a gutsy, passionate and vulnerable girl, knows exactly what she wants and strides straight into the gritty darkness after it, risking all and pulling no punches but leaving us with the perfect ending to a fierce and wild ride." - Laura Wiess, author of Leftovers and Such a Pretty Girl
"Stephanie Kuehnert has written a sucker-punch of a novel, raw and surprising and visceral, and like the best novelists who write about music, she'll convince you that a soul can indeed be saved by rock and roll."- John McNally, author of America's Report Card and The Book of Ralph
"Stephanie Kuehnert writes with dramatic flare and all the right beats, as she spins a story with punk rock lyrics, big dreams, and one girl not afraid to reach out to her lost mother through music, while enduring intense journeys in between. A debut like an unforgettable song, you'll want to read I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone again and again." - Kelly Parra, author of Graffiti Girl
And now, the questions:
Every story has a backstory, what's the backstory for your book?
In high school, I was a big punk rocker and was particularly into female bands like Hole, L7, Babes in Toyland, and Sleater Kinney. Towards the end of high school, I got really jaded by the punk rock scene and went goth. Black hair, white face makeup, black lipstick, lots of listening to the Cure... When I came out of that phase, what had been "alternative rock radio," which had been really female friendly when I was a teen with more female artists like the ones I mentioned and more popular ones like No Doubt and Alanis Morrisette and also really woman-positive male artists like Nirvana, all of this had given way to this macho icky Limp Bikzet thing. There'd been this whole backlash and it felt like all the progress we made in the early 90s had been wiped out. The band that really revived my interest in punk rock, was a band called the Distillers with an incredible front woman named Brody Dalle. They weren't a very mainstream band, but I had all these fantasies about what if a slightly more radio-friendly Distillers ruled the airwaves and this icky macho thing never happened. So I created Emily Black, the main character in I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE (which is named after a Sleater-Kinney song by the way) and to make her more complex and interesting, so the book isn't just a Behind The Music for a fake band, I gave her a complicated, absentee mother, Louisa.
What's your work environment like? Any rituals, totems, or must haves?
My office looks a lot like my bedroom as a teenager, decorated with band posters and stickers and postcards and photos of my friends and other weird little knick-knacks. It's kind of cluttered, but the clutter is organized. That is the kind of environment I need. My rituals vary depending on what I'm working on. When I was revising IWBYJR, I listened to the song "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" to get pumped. And I do have one little totem type thing taped above my computer. As inspiration, my friend Eryn sent me a guitar pick she found that says "Girls Rock Harder" when I was revising IWBYJR. The note she sent with it was so sweet, too. Looking up at it helps me when I'm feeling stuck.
If you could live inside any book-- which would it be?
The Weetzie Bat books by Francesca Lia Block. Weetzie doesn't have a girl best friend. I would love to be her girl best friend and Witch Baby's godmother.
What book rocked your world growing up?
Erm, not to be repetitive, but the Weetzie Bat books for when I was a teen. When I was in grade school, I was obsessed with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Those books are why I became a writer. I wanted to tell stories like Laura. But my world wasn't nearly as interesting as hers, so my stories are fictional.
If you could visit any time, place, or person- what, where, or who would it be?
Kurt Cobain's music really changed my life when I was 13 and shaped my teen years, shaped my creativity, shaped who I am today, so I would really have loved to meet him. Or even just to see him live. My parents didn't allow me to go to what ended up being Nirvana's last concert in Chicago because I was 14 and they thought I was going to too many concerts and it was expensive and I needed to focus on my school work and blah blah blah. They said you can see him next time. There was no next time. So yes, I would like to go back to October 23, 1993 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and see that show and if at all possible meet Kurt Cobain. Of course I'd also like to be in New York City when the Ramones were getting started and be partof the whole CBGBs scene and see the Clash in London in their heyday and the Germs and Social Distortion in late 70s/early 80s LA, and Minor Threat when they first formed and The Replacements in their early days and basically all the places where Louisa goes in IWBYJR. I have her following the music and witnessing all that I wished I could have witnessed!
Stephanie Kuehnert works at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing, but is a writer through and through. She has published short stories, interviews, and essays in Hair Trigger and No Touching magazines, as well as for websites such as inkstains.org, freshyarn.com, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She was recently named to the Lit 50, the list of Chicago's hottest writers by NewCity, the renowned list also includes Studs Terkel, Elizabeth Berg, Scott Turrow, Aleksandar Hemon, and Audrey Niffenegger. Stephanie received her Bachelor’s in Fiction Writing at Columbia College in Chicago, and went on to earn her master’s degree there in 2006. She was awarded Third Place in Traditional Fiction by the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association for “Fairytale”, an excerpt from her novel I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. Stephanie currently lives in Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, with her boyfriend and three cats. Stephanie’s heart and soul will always reside in Chicago, and her up-and-coming work Ballads of Suburbia has been divinely inspired by the Windy City.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Straight out of the "I'm Open Minded But I'm Not Sure About This" files, I just read this article on the NPR website about a salon in Alexandria, VA that's offering a $45.00 "fish pedicure."
The entire article can be found HERE. But for those of you with click aversion, suffice it to say that for $45.00 you can dip your paws into a bowl filled with flesh eating fish who will suck away all that nasty dry skin.
Apparently, the fish (known as Garru Rufa), originate from hot springs in Turkey where they've developed an appetite for--human flesh.
And according to the salon owners, the pedicures are all the rage, allowing for "beautiful and smooth" feet.
But despite the accolades and promise of callous free toes, I'm still not sure I'm willing to try it. I mean, other than the obvious ick factor that would be really hard to overcome, I happen to be extremely ticklish and I'm afraid this just might send me into spasms!
How about you? How far would you go for smooth soles???
Friday, August 15, 2008
My friend, fellow Teen Fiction Cafe proprietress, and amazingly talented author Kelly Parra is celebrating the September release of her latest book, INVISIBLE TOUCH, by running a month long contest that's so cool, I wish I'd thought of it!
She's gathered tons of YA authors (including yours truly), to blog about a secret (either our own, or one of our characters),then giving away a signed book to a random commenter!
The party starts on Sept. 1- so make sure to mark your calendars! But until then, here's a little taste, to see what you're in for . . .
Okay you creative types-- yes, I'm speaking to YOU!
The smart, talented, and very funny, Blake Snyder has a really cool contest over at his blog called "spinoff" -- just click HERE to read the rules and enter!
Have a good weekend everyone!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
I was so thrilled when I recently learned I'd been accepted into the ultra-cool and super supportive Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit, and then when I learned that the first author I'd 'tour' would be Megan Kelley Hall--well, I went from thrilled to totally psyched!
Megan's debut novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, not only has a beautiful cover and intriguing plot, but every since I first laid eyes on it, I knew I had to buy it, own it, read it!
But even though I could gush on and on forever, why don't I just let Ms. Hall tell you a little bit about it instead, as she was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions . . .
Megan Kelley Hall’s debut novel, SISTERS OF MISERYgothic novel complete with witchcraft and runic mythology. It tells the story of Maddie Crane and her quest to unravel the mystery surrounding her cousin Cordelia’s disappearance. is a modern-dayHawthorne, Massachusetts, a seaside town borne in the shadow of the witchcraft trials, has not changed much throughout the years, and persecution and ostracism are still an active way of life within this cloistered community. So, when Cordelia LeClaire and her quirky, free-spirited mother, Rebecca arrive, the community’s brief curiosity over the newcomers, quickly turns to disdain and jealously.
It is no surprise that The Sisters of Misery—a secret clique of the most popular, powerful girls in school, with the vindictive Kate Endicott at its helm —trick Maddie and her cousin into spending Halloween night on Misery Island. But when Cordelia disappears, questions arise as to what happened. The town would like to believe that Cordelia, always impulsive, simply ran away. But Maddie knows that more is at stake and others have something to hide. Now Maddie must choose between the allure and power of the Sisters of Misery and her loyalty to her beloved cousin.
Hey Megan, thanks for stopping by! My first question is about the backstory, and since every story has one, what's yours?
Here’s my elevator pitch for SISTERS OF MISERY: A Modern Day Witch Hunt is Ignited When “Mean Girls” Meets “Practical Magic”. What happens when a hazing prank goes terribly wrong and a young teenage girl goes missing? The debut suspense novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, brings us inside a small, seaside town near Salem, where Maddie Crane, the teen protagonist investigating her eccentric cousin’s disappearance, ignites the wrath of the Sisters of Misery – a powerful high school clique, whose activities mirror the witch hunts of the seventeenth century.
Completely crazy and haphazard. My office is piled high with magazines, clutter, papers, folders, toys, books, mail, and all the spillover from the other parts of the house. I look at Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazines and drool over the clean, uncluttered work spaces. My workspace is in a perpetual state of confusion and chaos. The only rituals that I have would be that I have to play at least one game of Jewel Quest or Cake Mania or
If you could live inside any book-- which would it be?
I don’t know if there is one particular book I’d like to live in, but I’d love to exist in the same realm as Oscar Wilde, because I will never tire of reading his witty quotes. I’d love to hear his thoughts on the scandals of today.
What book rocked your world growing up?
One of my absolute favorite books was The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I’d love to be able to go back and read it again for the first time.
If you could visit any time, place, or person- what, where, or who would it be?
SISTERS OF MISERY by Megan Kelley Hall
Trade Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Kensington (July 29, 2008)
Praise for SISTERS OF MISERY
“Megan Kelley Hall hits one over the fence with her debut novel — a true Gothic that skillfully combines the dangerous mischief of a modern clique with the bad girls whose prank-gone-mad ignited the Salem witch trials. The shivery story of Maddie and her mysterious, doomed cousin, Cordelia — both prey to the angel-faced vixens who party on the aptly named Misery Island — shows boldly that ancient and modern peer pressure are the same demon in new clothes. That demon wants Cordelia, and only Maddie can save her…unless evil catches her first.”–Jacquelyn Mitchard, Oprah Book Club and New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean and The Midnight Twins
“Original, insightful, and scary. Megan Kelley Hall writes with an intense, frightening grace that will have you turning pages long into the night. She has immediately established herself as a first novelist to be reckoned with in the future.” –Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of The First Patient and Extreme Measures
“An exciting, dangerous, and mysterious world! Megan Kelley Hall has crafted a story that’ll keep you guessing until the last page.”–Rachelle Mead, author, Vampire Academy series
“A dazzling and dishy portrait of magic, mystery, and coming of age. Readers will eat this up and come begging for more.”–Laurie Stolarz, author of the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series
“One of the very best things in life is discovering an author you want to read more of. Sisters of Misery makes me want to read a whole lot more of Megan Kelley Hall.”–Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Impulse
Megan Kelley Hall, who lives north of Boston with her husband, Edward, and five-year-old daughter Piper, started a literary publicity company, Kelley and Hall, in 2005 with her sister, Jocelyn Kelley, and mother, Gloria Kelley. Her freelance magazine work has been published in Glamour, Elle, American Baby, Working Mother, New England Bride, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald MetroSports, Parents and Kids, and many other magazines. She studied creative writing at Skidmore College under the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Steven Millhauser. Her work can also be seen in the former CNN anchor Daryn Kagan’s anthology entitled, What’s Possible! (Meredith Books, May 2008.) The second in the series, THE LOST SISTER, will be published by Kensington in August 2009.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Want to win a signed copy of CRUEL SUMMER??
Friday, August 08, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Just back from the RWA conference in San Fran where I met lots of amazing new people, got inspired by some awesome workshops (if you ever get a chance to see Blake Snyder speak--don't even hesitate, just go!), and was thrilled to attend the Oklahoma chapter's reception where SAVING ZOE won the National Reader's Choice Award in the Young Adult category!!!!!!
As most of you probably know by now, that book was born out of a time of great personal grief, and I'm so incredibly grateful to all of the readers who've supported it!
But now, it's time to unpack . . .
Have a good day everyone!