Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Friday... I'm in LOVE!!!

With men who can cook!








Who is your favorite chef--Rocco, Jamie, Emeril, or ???

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Morning Book Club

I'm currently reading The Candy Darlings by Christine Walde:

Why I bought it: "Darkly lyrical, sensual, suspenseful, and disturbing, The CandyDarlings is a celebration of friendship, story, and the power of each to help you define yourself--or simply survive." I'm pretty much a sucker for books with a sucker on their cover--plus "darkly lyrical" and "disturbing" are adjectives that almost always grab me. I do like me some disturbing...

A few books that are coming my way:

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

Why I bought it: "Any "whingers" out there won't feel comfortable in Mitchell's new novel of burgeoning and cruel adolescent boys in the rural but hardly pastoral England village of Black Swan Green."(PW) I'm not a whinger and enjoy any book in which whingers won't feel comfortable. Also, statements like "skillfully drawn", "subtly interwoven", and "challenge readers' complacency" give me a the warm fuzzies.

Next we have two picks that Little Willow turned me on to...

Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn

Why I bought it: "When Beckett is transplanted to an upscale school in Manhattan after the death of her mother, she is not surprised to be snubbed by the in-crowd. What does surprise her, and her loving father, is that when she looks out her apartment window one night, the three most popular girls in school are dead on the asphalt below, their blue jeans seeping blood." (Amazon) Um... SOLD!!! but there was more things to make me all giddy..."a brilliant and sinister vision of a schoolgirl's loss of innocence. As for the virgin suicides, the bats, the bloody bundles in the freezer, the reader comes to realize, with Beckett, that it doesn't matter what is real, only what is true." (Amazon) Sounds like a mindfreak novel... what is real? What is true? I'll probably never know the answers to these questions and I think that is pretty cool. Sounds dark and gothic and distrbing (!!!) and if I'm really lucky maybe even some subtle sarcastic remarks about cruelness of society and the like...

Swollen by Melissa Lion:

Why I bought this book: "This dense and thought-provoking book is a richly rewarding read. It delves so deeply into character that one feels as if layers are being peeled away to reveal more facets of Samantha's emotional life. An achingly beautiful story that shows one young woman's growing strength as she realizes that she deserves better." (SLJ) It promises to be a psychologically complex novel, a big plus! And its clearly a character-driven story, which is as you may have noticed I trend toward.

and finally... just in case you didn't believe me when I said I loved me some disturbing:

Perv: A Love Story by Jerry Stahl

What is everyone else reading? And why did you buy it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cats Against liTTeracy

Sometimes I think my cats don't want me to have a successful writing career....

video

Monday, February 25, 2008

Blurbs, Judy Blume, and Oral Humiliation


I'm at a stage with my novel where I need to obtain cover quotes--you know basically asking people who write much better than I and who are far busier than I to read my book and tell people how great it is. It is all very very awkward. So I'm only asking a select few whose books are very similar to mine and that I've read and admired, and yadda yadda. Because otherwise it just feels wrong. I'm pretty sure that 99% of said select few are going to be too busy and I understand that. But I thought I should at least ask because I would be thrilled and squeal and jump around if any one of them were to say anything remotely nice about my story or my characters or anything.

Plus there have been a few (okay at least one, maybe no one else) older folks asking questions like the following:

Is this what high school's really like now? Who is the audience for this book? Is it of value? How would we go about hand-selling something like this? Should we even carry it?

And so I want to be sure these booksellers have some sort of reference to other authors/books that have been successful with older, edgier reads.

There's also one author who I'm sort of reaching for the stars with--Judy Blume. Yes, okay, I realize it is a long shot. She probably gets a thousand and one requests a day. But hear me out--maybe everyone thinks that. Maybe, just maybe, she's the pretty girl who never gets asked out. Yeah, doubtful....I mean most all YA authors, women at least, have grown up on Judy Blume.

I didn't. I mean I tried to. But instead of having a wonderful eye opening, enlightening experience that most every other female in America has--I had the most humiliating moment of my young life. (Which is just so-freaking Judy Blume, it's ridiculous!)

See, in fifth grade we had a book of your choice oral book report assignment. So I pick up a Judy Blume book because I was told they were great and that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Now, mind you I was not told that she writes for older girls and to be careful of the book you pick, because, you know, you'll have to get up and talk about it in front of your class and your teacher and stuff. (That might have been a nice thing to say, don't you think?) Well, I must have picked up Forever. Not sure, it is all a blur. Yes I read the book, the whole book, twice probably, but the whole time I was reading it I was thinking of getting up in front of the class (something I'd still be terrified to do) and telling them about this book.

And then the day came. It was too late to pick another book. I'm a slow reader after all. So I sucked it up.

My little fifth grade self got up at that podium and started to sweat. How was I going to explain the book without talking about IT? I'd have to just explain about other things--other aspects of the book--it could be done. No, no--They'll KNOW. They'll know what this book is about. If I don't tell them, they'll know I'm not telling the truth. No, no...they're eleven, they don't know anything! And after reading this book, I know EVERYTHING. It's okay.

I opened my mouth and my oral report went something like this :

So this book is about this girl...sex, sex, they had sex!!!! SEX!!! They HAD sex! The End.

I'm not even kidding. I know, I know. You're asking--where were the parents? Well, I'm not sure--I read The Godfather in eighth grade and they didn't say anything about that either...

Anyway, I got over my embarrassment and I stopped blaming Judy Blume for my temporary bout of Tourette syndrome, and Mario Puzo for my inability to sleep through the night, and went on to eventually read Summer Sisters. I was in my twenties, so I was well prepared for everything inside it. And OMG--so freaking wonderful. I had a friend just like Caitlin. Yes, everyone says that. But I did! Everything about the book was so reminiscent of those summer days when for three months you played at independence and adulthood only to have September coming screaming back to you with all of its restrictions, even ones on friendship. It is truly one of my all time favorite books.


For better advice on giving an oral book report:
http://encarta.msn.com/sidebar_701544134/Book_Report_Oral_Presentation.html

Friday, February 22, 2008

Zombie Takes Manhattan

Well I'm a little upset that my entry didn't make the Zombie Idol finals... personally I don't understand how a zombie take on Gossip Girl couldn't be a fave... ?!?!


Perhaps my celebrity judge was having a liquid lunch or something (Just kidding Meg Cabot, John Green, Justine Larbalestier, or E. Lockhart). But here it is--"Zombie Takes Manhattan" From Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar:


Hey Upper Eastsiders !

SIGHTINGS

B with her mother, arguing in a taxi in front of Takashimaya. N enjoying a joint on the steps of the Met. C buying new school shoes at Barneys. And a familiar, tall, eerily beautiful blond girl shambling from a New Haven line train in Grand Central Station. Approximate age, undead. Could it be? S is a zombie?!

Yes, S is back from boarding school. Her hair is matted, paler. Her vacant eyes have that deep lifelessness of the nearly departed. She is wearing the same old fabulous clothes, now in rags from fending off New England zombie hunters. This morning S’s moans for braiiinnnns echoed off the steps of the Met, where we will no longer be able to enjoy a quick smoke and a cappuccino with out seeing her slowly shamble toward us from her parents’ apartment across the street. She has picked up the habit of biting off the knuckles of her friends, which makes us wonder about her even more, and while we are all dying to ask her why she got kicked out of boarding school, we won’t, because we’d really rather she had stayed away. But S is definitely here.

Just to be safe, we should all synchronize our watches and grab up our torches. If we aren’t careful, S is going to infect our teachers, wear the dress we couldn’t fit into and then get it dirty and tattered, eat our brains, eat them in our parents beds, spill our entrails on our rugs, steal our brothers’ and our boyfriends and turn them into an army of walking dead, and basically ruin our lives and piss us all off in a major way.

I’ll be watching closely. I’ll be watching all of us. It’s going to be a wild and wicked year. I can smell it. braiiinnnns…

XOXO,

Gossip Girl

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Taboo


Recently I got Direct TV and have been expanding my tv viewing... this has been both a rewarding and frightening experience. For instance--I love Dog Whisperer (have a tiny crush on Caesar Milan) and Degrassi Next Generation, and In Treatment on HBO is really cool. So many great shows... but then there is one... Taboo... that I keep clicking on.

From a writer and hobby psychologist's standpoint this show is fascinating beyond belief. And yet every time I watch it, I find myself throwing up a little in my mouth, and NOT figuratively.

The first time I saw it, I didn't know what it was. I was at RWA in Dallas in the hotel room and my roomies Terri and Rinda came back and Rinda started in about something crappy that was going on and I was like-- um, yeah, but it's not like you had to eat cow ass.

Yes. You heard me right, cow ass. Somewhere in the world people have to eat cow ass. No, not like steak, like... well let's just say be glad you don't live there.

So far I have watched epsiodes where men thread giant vines down their throats and if they don't die they get to be popular or something, a man who had giant fish hooks stuck into in his back that he swung from, and last night it was people who thought they were Vampires.

Now, I thought I could enjoy the vampire one, but really it grossed me out. And yet, it was also funny--this one couple was acting all sexy and stuff, he was psyching himself out to cut her and drink her blood, and she was just sitting there like, whatever... and he had the candles and the Dave Navarro hair and was like "are you ready?" And she was all , "Sure, whatever, yawn"

Anyway--total freak shows, every episode.

Speaking of freak shows... Big Brother--OMG what craziness this week. That Jen girl needs to be shot with the clue gun.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don't you want me, baby?


SAVE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!

Write your letter to:

Ben Silvermanc/o NBC Studios
3000 W. Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA. 91523

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Best Contest EVER!

And so does Maureen Johnson! Check out her contest--ZOMBIE IDOL! It has thankfully been extended so there is still time to enter! And those who know my, know I have a thing for Zombies... it's not quite as big as my thing for Mummies, but it is up there.

In other interesting and important news--Are the most magical moments from some of our favorite stories actually possible? Check this out to find out: The Science of Fairy Tales

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hey Punk...




Rod - Hey Jack, what's happenin'?

Joe - Oh, I don't know.

Rod - Well, rumor around town says you think you might be heading down to the shore....


Let me start off by saying, I'm so glad to see that "Lists" is in the lead for favorite YA cliché. Lists play a big role in both Undone and in my next book (SuperSecretTitle). So it's good to know they are still enjoyed by at least 4 people.

A slightly adjacent topic to lists—Play Lists. A lot of YA authors have included lists of music that in some way shape or form corresponded to their book. I think this pretty much a YA-thing, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

Anyhoo… I was chatting with fellow July ‘08 debut author Stephanie Kuehnert (I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone, MTV July ‘08) about play lists and I was telling her how when I was writing Undone (Walker Books, July ‘08) I’d come across songs that fit with my book and how they really helped me tap into the characters. Music always reminds me of what it felt like to be a teenager—because back then it seemed like music really could capture everything you couldn't explain or say. Which unfortunately led to some very bad mix tapes... but I digress...

Check out my play list for Undone here. (Update: I added it to the blog!)

Click here to listen to the rockin’ play list for I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone

Back in my teen days, I had a friend who hooked me up with some great punk bands. There were many days when you could hear us screaming out from her convertible, “…BITCHIN’ CAMERO! BITCHIN’ CAMERO! I ran over my neighbor…” (full lyrics here and while we're paused, let me take moment to apologize to my former neighbors). Some of our favorite punk bands were The Dead Kennedys (Classic Punk), The Dead Milkmen (Satirical Punk), Violent Femmes (Folk-Punk or Quirky Rock—you be the judge), and Echo and the Bunnymen (Post Punk).

Hmmm, death and violence... no wonder my mother was so nervous. LOL.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's Friday...I'm in LOVE!


With Harry Potter, Prince Harry, and the Original Dirty Harry...




Which one is your favorite Dirty Harry???

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rock the Vote!

In honor of Super Tuesday voting, I've added a poll to my blog--please go and vote for your favorite YA Cliche. Check out the full article here. Or comment on ones not mentioned!

Might help if you could read the choices, eh?

A. Read Headed Friend
B. Evil Cheerleader Cliques
C. Misunderstood Wicked Stepmother
D. Dead Mother
E. Unsympathetic Meat-Eating Parents
F. Lists

I voted for Evil Cheerleader Cliques :-P

It's Live!!

My website is finally up and running! Go check it out:

http://www.brooketaylorbooks.com/

And if you want to be super cool--you can set you blog link for me to :

http://www.brooketaylorbooks.com/blogset.html



And OT: do you think places that have free WiFi should have a dress code? I went into Panera today and a man was sitting in the corner in his robe and slippers. This is not the home office, people!

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's Friday...I'm in Love

In honor of the return of LOST...


Doesn't he look a little brad pitt here?
And just what every author-girl loves to see--he's an avid reader!