Monthly Archives: February 2012

Things I love: Technology

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My first (and probably only) Vlog. It’s informative, if not so pretty. Be kind! heh (and gah! Sorry it’s so long. Who knew I was so wordy?)

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Things I love: Books that make me laugh

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If you read a lot of YA, you’ll notice that humor seems to be greatly lacking in books today. So many are all about teen angst and drama and blah blah blah.  I’m guilty of writing it myself (because let’s be honest, what teen life isn’t full of angst and drama?) but I love a book that makes me laugh out loud.

Two that immediately come to mind are by author Libba BrayGoing Bovine, while definitely having its serious and sad side, it also has plenty of laughs as you go on a journey that involves a crazy angel and a dwarf/yard gnome. The other, Beauty Queens, is about a plane full of pageant girls that crash lands on a tropical island. Think Survivor meets America’s Next Top Model. So.Funny.  It has all these great little footnotes and pageant rules thrown in.

If you read the blog this past Tuesday, you’ll find my review for Lynn Messina’s The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies. Now you might not think of zombie stories as being funny, but that one most definitely is. I love the style of writing that has chapters of the guide worked into the bigger picture of the story. If you’re a zombie fan and want a good laugh, definitely check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

A couple others that had me laughing that you should look into? John Green  and David Levithan‘s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which is another with a serious side, but definitely contains its humorous parts and one of my all time favorite books ever, Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Don’t just watch the movie folks. As usual, the book is *SO* much better.

Lastly I’m going to give myself a little plug (hey, it’s *MY* blog! I can do that!…can’t I?). As some of you know, I’m working on edits for an upcoming novel called Tears of a Clown. While I’ve always thought of myself as being kind of funny…in a dry wit/sarcastic kind of way, it’s never really translated into my writing until recently. Editing it in public always gets me some weird looks because I can’t help but laugh at my own writing. Hopefully when it comes out, you guys will find it equally amusing!

What book gives you the giggles? Do you write humor too? Share!

 

Book Review: The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies

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Title: The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies
Author: Lynn Messina
Genre: Adult paranormal/Chick Lit

Amazon Synopsis:

Hattie Cross knows what you’re thinking: Zombie sex? Ewwwww. But she also knows that since a virus turned 99.9999 percent of human males into zombies, it’s statistically impossible to meet—let alone date—the remaining 0.00001 percent. So she writes “The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies” to help her fellow single women navigate the zombie-relationship waters.

Her practical how-to impresses the CEO of the largest drug company in the world, and before she knows it, Hattie, a reporter for a downmarket tabloid that specializes in conspiracy theories, is sitting down with the woman who single-handedly invented the zombie-behavioral-modification market. Granted access to the inner sanctum of zombaceuticals, she meets an actual, living, breathing M-A-N.

Now Hattie, the consummate professional, is acting like a single girl at the end of the twentieth century: self-conscious, klutzy and unable to form a coherent sentence without babbling. Worst of all, the human male appears to have impaired her ability to think clearly. Because all of a sudden she’s convinced a conspiracy is afoot at the drug company and it seems to go all the way to the top!

Personal Reaction:

What a fun book! I love how chapters of the Guide were mixed into the story itself. There are a lot of zombie books out there right now and this is a nice humorous twist on our favorite brain eating, foot dragging, reanimated humans.

Know why you should pick up this book (besides the interesting plot, the humor and the good writing)? You should pick it up for the zombie sex. Yes, I said sex. S-E-X. With zombies. Zombies who are missing limbs. Zombies who might loose a finger during fornication. Zombies on….Viagra! Come on now. Comedy gold! You know you want to read about it!

Questions:

Q) Is The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies the first novel you’ve written?

Ha! The Girls’ Guide is, like, the 17th novel I’ve written. It’s the sixth I’ve published.

Q) Was there a lot of research involved in getting this work completed or was it off the cuff, pantser style?
Total off the cuff. Every so often I’d google zombie stuff but for the most part I just made it up as I went along.

Q) I *LOVE* that the website referred to in the book, http://zombiedating.wordpress.com/the-girls-guide-to-dating-zombies/ , is a real thing and it’s chock full of info. What prompted you to make the site to go along with the book?
That was complete dumb luck. In the original MS, I referred several times to GirlsGuideToDatingZombies.com. Then, just as I was about to send the manuscript to the formatter, I changed it to the blog I’d started for the book. I had NO IDEA that it would link up electronically. When I clicked on it in the Kindle app and it went straight to the website, I was blown away. You should try clicking on the Potatoworks link. It takes you to a reading guide with tongue-in-cheek questions.

Q) Tell us the truth, was it liberating in any way to write a story where women hold all the worldly power?
Too liberating. I went off on a lot of tangent about how great things were, which I cut because, well, they were tangents.

Q) Would you be like your heroine, Hattie, and date zombies and make the best out the situation, were it to come to that?
Nope. Pretty sure I wouldn’t. But then, I’m no heroine.

Q) Are you a zombie lover? Fan of other books and movies? Which ones?
I’m not a zombie lover. I don’t like tense, scary or gross. (I couldn’t make it past the first episode of Walking Dead.) But I love funny and absurd, like Shaun of the Dead.
(Ed. Note: LOOOOOVE Shaun of the Dead! Walking Dead too, but I can totally see the difference between the two and why you wouldn’t be into the one)

Q) Big question: Which is better, the fast or the slow zombie? (Ed. Note: Meh fast zombies!)
I think anything that lumbers is terrifying.
(Ed. Note: I so agree!)

Q) Ever participated in a Zombie walk (Ed. Note: If not, let me tell you, they are chock full of fun and you should definitely give it a try if you can!)
I’ve never zombie-walked. Like I said, I find anything that lumbers terrifying = )
(Ed. Note: a fun way to get over your fear when you get to be one though! You ever find yourself in Jersey around Halloween, you call me. I’ll zombie you up & we’ll walk!)

Q) What can we expect next from you?
Wow. Where to start? My agent is still shopping around a middle-grade book about robots that I wrote a couple of years ago and she’s talking to an epublisher about a novel I wrote about my never-ending movie option. (Going on year nine.) I have a plot in mind based on a Victorian novel I recently read. And then there’s the possibility of a sequel to Girls’ Guide. It hadn’t occured to me but several people have asked about one now.

Q) Where can fans connect with you and purchase The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies?
They can connect with me on my blog, zombiedating.wordpress.com or my website, lynnmessina.com. I’m on goodreads, twitter, facebook. They can get the book at Amazon or BN.

Q) Lastly, just for fun, if The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies was turned into a smash Broadway musical, what would be big number be called?
That is the best question ever: Zombie-rama-roo.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

Get The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies on Amazon or Barnes & Noble – you know you want to!

And please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

Be sure to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies : ENTER HERE.

Check out this amazing book trailer!

Lynn Messina is the author of six novels, including Little Vampire Women andFashionistas, which has been translated into 15 languages and is in development as a feature film. She attended Washington University in St. Louis where she studied English Literature. Her writing has also appeared in Self and Modern Bride, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her husband and sons. Connect with Lynn on her website,blog,Twitter or GoodReads.
Join us for a live twitterview with the author on Saturday, March 10th at 4 PM EST. Search #emlyn on Twitter, and bring your questions for this lively chat.

Things I love: Series & Companion Novels

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I’m the kind of girl who hates for a good story to end and nothing makes me more excited to come to the end of a book I have loved only to see there will be another in the series. So *EXCITED* I tell you!

A series is amazing because, for me, it means there’s great growth with the characters. You get to learn more about them and their past and sometimes their future! There’s the opportunity to expand on lesser characters or even bring in someone new to spice things up. That’s not something you always have the chance to do in one book.

To have more than one book allows the author to write these great spinning tales that can be intricate with twists and turns and surprises. I also like that most of them stick to trilogies. While I don’t mind more books (Hey, if it’s good, it’s good! I want it to go on!) I sometimes worry the authors are trying to stretch things out with pointless filler just to keep the series going.  I don’t find that happens very often, but I have seen it on occasion. As much as I love the True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse books, I fear they may be headed that way. I loved the stories lines (definitely a guilty pleasure for me) but now I’m just not sure where it’s going to go and still stay fresh, know what I mean? I hope I’m wrong. Another problem when a series is too long is that something could happen to the author.  When I say this, the Wheel of Time series immediately comes to mind. Robert Jordan died after writing eleven books of the series, leaving it unfinished. Thankfully it has been picked up and continued by another author, but that doesn’t always happen, just look at Stieg Larsson for example. We got a trilogy out of him, but he did have more books planned. Shame we won’t ever see them. These kinds of things could keep people from even picking up the first book for fear of getting involved and then never knowing what happens.

Companion novels are a love of mine as well.  A companion novel is a book that may focus on a lesser character from a previous book or they may all take place in the same town (where the town itself is a character).  Some great examples of companion novels are Anna and the French Kiss  and its companion Lola and the Boy Next Door.  While Lola focuses mainly on..well Lola, Anna and Etienne come back from the French Kiss to play a role, which I love.  My other favorite companion novels? Maggie Stiefvater‘s Lament and Ballad.  One book focuses on Dierdre (Dee) while the other focuses on her best friend James. I love the switch in perspective and I believe there’s even a third book in the series which will kind of take it out of the companion novel category for me, but I’m so excited to have another book that that doesn’t matter to me!

My present to you guys today, is a list of some of my favorite series for you to check out:

A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones): George RR Martin

The Uglies : Scott Westerfeld

The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins

Gregor the Overlander : Suzanne Collins

Harry Potter : JK Rowlings

The October Daye Series: Seanan McGuire

The Maze Runner series: James Dashner

The Studies and the Glass series : Maria V Snyder (The two end up overlapping, which I loved!)

The Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy: Guy Gavril Kay

The Wicked Lovely Series: Melissa Marr (this series is a bit different in that the odd numbered books are the main story where as the even numbered books are companion novels!)

I could keep going and going, but hopefully some of these will catch your eye and you’ll get hooked and want to read more series as well.  The perk of most of the ones I’ve posted above is that they are finished series so you won’t have to wait for another book to come out! That always drives me crazy.  Enjoy and please feel free to share some of your favorite series or companion novels!

Things I love: YA novels!

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NEW:  CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER Krysykat !

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! I LOVED SEEING EVERYONE’S ANSWERS!

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I write young adult novels, but they’re also the majority of the books I read. Maybe you’re wondering why a uhh thirty something year old woman is almost exclusively reading books “aimed” at teens. I’ll tell you why.  They are good stories dammit.  Many of them discuss issues and positions I was in as a teen; first love, peer pressure, trying to find myself, etc. I can relate to so many of the things these characters go through and it reminds me of the somewhat simpler times of being young.

Also, contrary to popular belief, young adult fiction is not all fluff and dumbed down stories.  Many deal with hard hitting topics like drugs and rape and depression. They can turn readers onto other authors such as Shakespeare and Camus.  They give teens an escape from their problems and maybe someone , real or not, to look up to if that character has gone through some of the same issues they are experiencing in life.

Are some of the stories silly and fluff filled? Surely, but you can find adult  novels that do the same thing. I think hooking a young reader is the best thing an author can do. If someone told me my books got them interested in reading, I’d be over the moon.

Since we’re discussing the love of YA, now would be a good time to mention I’m taking part in the I Heart YA Giveaway Hop! That means I get to give someone a free YA e-book! YAY free book!! It’s better than a box of chocolate and flowers that will die.

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I’m giving away an amazing YA book by my writing partner and friend Patricia Lynne. Her book, Being Human is a great twist on a vampire story. It’s about family, bonds and learning what it takes to be human. I love that it spans several years, but not an insane amount of time. This vampire isn’t hundreds of years old. The story is touching, entertaining and an overall good read. It gives you that paranormal fix you need but without shoving the same ole story in front of your face. I *heart* it and I’m excited to be able to offer it to you guys!

There are plenty of ways to enter, but the only one you HAVE to do, is answer the first question below.  Best of luck and be sure to click the above I Heart YA Giveaway Hop button to see who else is participating and how you can find books from them as well!

Please leave your responses and if you liked & followed in the comments below. Thanks and good luck!

1) If you could play any character (male/female, human or not) in the movie version of a YA book, who would you choose and why?

2) Like my Facebook page: MB Mulhall

3) Follow me on Twitter: @queenbeetf

4) Follow the blog