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August 2008
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October 2008

Quick Stuff

Quick tidbits:

The  movie of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist opens on Friday Oct 3. I am so excited! It's from the awesome novel by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, and it stars Michael Cera.  

The YA for Obama ning is fun-city. I uploaded a highly highly amusing video

Also, on the subject of politics and Christianity  -- since I know many Christians are torn about the Republican platform's pro-life stance versus other things Obama's platform has to offer -- here are a couple interesting and entertaining pieces by friends of mine on the subject.  All three are YA novelists. All three are practicing Christians, which just in case you're wondering, I myself am not. I am agnostic.
First, on her blog, Lauren Myracle gives us a free and never-before seen TTYL convo. The girls are back!  (Her new book is BLISS by the way and it's getting starred reviews and stuff. I am scared to read it. Apparently it is dead scary.)

Last: I am reading Green's Paper Towns. Nya  nya nya nya nya!  It is so good. (It is not scary. At least, not YET). It comes out mid-October. 

YA for Obama

Hey you teenage and otherwise young-type people,

there's an election coming up. 
And the fabulous and hilarious Maureen Johnson  -- author of Suite Scarlett, Devilish, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, etc. -- has created a NING (don't ask me what a ning is, I am too old to fully understand, but it's like a community where you can post blogs and videos and make friends and stuff) called YA FOR OBAMA

It launches TODAY. It's all about voting, being political, talking about change, talking about the future, and hanging out with people who write books for teenagers. I am on there. So are these guys: Scott Westerfeld, John Green, Megan McCafferty, Robin Wasserman, Melissa Walker, Melissa de la Cruz, Annette Curtis Clause, Sara Zarr, Sarah Dessen, Susan Juby, Adrienne Vrettos, Coe Booth, Ellen Wittlinger, Natalie Standiford, Gabrielle Zevin, Jeanne du Prau, LIsa Yee, Bennett Madison, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Edward Bloor .... (I got tired of typing here. But there are more)

And in case that list doesn't get you excited, those guys are the authors of these books (among others): The Uglies series, Looking for Alaska, The Jessica Darling books, Skinned, Violet on the Runway, The Blue Bloods books, Blood & Chocolate, Story of a Girl, Just Listen and The Truth about Forever, The Alice books,Skin,  Tyrell, Hard Love, The Dating Game books and the Elle Woods books, Elsewhere, the Embers series, Millicent MIn: Girl Genius, the Lulu Dark books, Ten Things to Do Before I Die,  Tangerine... (I got tired again. But more more more)

Why is it important? You guys are the future. Even if you can't vote this year, you will be shaping the world in no time -- in fact, you are already. Let's make it count. 

Why is it fun? All those authors (and more!  There are more!) are posting blogs and links and videos and cartoons and other fun things to get you thinking about the election and what it means to you. Yes, all of us have made our decisions and we're voting for Obama. But undecided or even opposition-minded people are welcome --  because it's always worth opening up channels of communication! 

So please come check it out. Join the ning. Make friends. Read some stuff. 

View my page on YA for Obama

Funniest Novels Ever: here come the ladies

The fantastic Jennifer Weiner points out that the NY Times brainstorms the funniest novels ever and none are by women. Then she recommends some she'd like to add to the list. Good post.  (The Times article acknowledges this lack, by the way, and has some great books on it. Also many many in the comments.)

The article also admits that it fudges the question of whether we are talking about funniest novel, or Great Comic Novel with capital letters, meaning it's not just a hilarious book, but a great novel of depth and blah blah. 

Who you got? Weiner asks.
So I am answering!  Not worrying about Great Comic Novel so much as just laughs per page.

If we're including children's and YA, I would second JW's recommendation of Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park, and add in that specifically, Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in her Pocket has lived a long life in my household. I can make everyone crack up just by saying "When ponies attack!"  and "Roosters will peck your head down to a nub!" 

Also, Clementine, by Sarah Pennypacker. Makes me laugh so, so hard. 

In YA, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. This book starts with a giant marinated olive costume, and only gets more amusing from there. Laugh-aloud funny throughout. 

For adult books: Jane Austen, one of the funniest writers ever born.  I suppose I think Emma the funniest, but Pride and Prejudice is extremely amusing, too. Hers are deeply, deeply hilarious books. 

I would also nominate Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, by Anita Loos. Unbelievable. 
And Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. 

What else ya got? Comments open. 

A guest-blogger! Melissa Walker

Melissa Walker is on the GCC with me and I read her blog to find out about makeup and fashion and TV stuff that I've missed.  

Fiberwig!a little scary, but still a good thing to know about. 

Melissa is  the author of Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design, and Violet in Private -- all smart books about what it's like to be a teen model. She has a complete insider view of the fashion industry, so the books are packed with details.  

Anyway, Melissa had this cool idea to guest-blog about the cover of one of her books, and since people often ask me about cover design, I thought it would be a cool idea. 

Here's Melissa!

I'm excited to be guest blogging at the ...[compliments that E. cut out due to modesty]...  E. Lockhart's place today! I've started a Cover Stories series on my blog where authors tell the behind-the-scenes stories of their covers, and today I'm going to share one of mine:


A while ago, when I first saw the cover for Violet by Design, I blogged about how the original cover (top left) had a more, um, exposed look, and how I asked for a skirt to cover Violet a bit more. But the story I didn't tell is that I originally wanted Violet to be wearing a couture gown on the cover of Violet by Design. I just love fancy, fancy gowns. But the sales team thought a bikini on the beach would better. 

I fought that a bit--Violet's not really an exhibitionist--and besides, in this book she'd be traveling around South America and Europe. So we ended up with a cobblestone street and a casual outfit, and everyone was happy. Still, I wanted to share some of the inspiration photos that I sent as suggestions for the fancy couture Violet cover that never came to pass (I know some are a little out there, but that's what's fun about fashion). 

What do you think--is casual better? Come comment on my blog and let me know. (Also, which one's your favorite?)


PS-Stay tuned for the cover story of my latest release Violet in Private, out this month!

Grassroots fundraising

My fabulous photographer friend Heather Weston is raising money for the Obama campaign. (She took the hotsy totsy How to Be Bad photo of me, Sarah and Lauren, below). I realized that I was going around saying "I support Obama" but I actually had not done anything to, um, support. So I donated.

(This is true in other contexts. I can say to my friend whose parent died, you have my support, but isn't it better if I actually write a card, or make a casserole, or take her kids for an afternoon?  Action.)

Anyway, Heather's modest goalES&Lcar3window is $1000, so it won't be hard to hit it -- and if you're voting Democratic, maybe you want to kick a little in?! 

Stephanie Kuehnert

IWBYJR COVERsmall Booklist called Stephanie Kuehnert's first novel, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, "...acidly incisive and full-out entertaining..."

Stephanie is on the GCC with me, which -- if you're new to this blog --  is like a collective where different YA writers do virtual book tours and visit each others blogs. Her book is about a girl whose punk-rock mom abandoned her when she was just a baby. Now Emily's on a quest to follow her mother's musical pathways and transforms herself into "punk royalty." Stephanie told me she wrote the book because she "wanted a woman to save rock and roll." 

I love that idea!

Now hey. I know some of you don't know who Joey Ramone was. He was a counter-cultural icon who fronted the band The Ramones for two decades and died an early death of cancer.  There are NO PICTURES OF HIM WITHOUT SUNGLASSES ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET. This is my favorite picture I did find:

 Anyway, you can tell by Stephanie's answer to the Disreputable History-related questions, below, that she is a sneaky woman, a Riot Grrl, a zine-writer and implicated in "drive-by fruitings" and other wild activities -- which really makes me want to read her book. 

Read her blog, here!

Or friend her on myspace

Tell Me Your Disreputable History, Stephanie Kuehnert:

1. Tell me the sneakiest thing you ever did.

Oh man, I was a pretty sneaky troublemaker in high school. I got away with a lot of stuff because I got straight A's. There was a lot of shoplifting until my friend got caught with a pocketful of lighters at Walgreens. I snuck around smoking cigarettes for over 3 years, telling my parents it was my friends' smoke they smelled on me. I snuck into my boyfriend's house (and got caught and driven home by his dad). My friend and I snuck out of her house and spent the night at her boyfriend's house (and didn't get caught). We stole cigarettes from her parents and booze from mine. I ditched school all the time and didn't go to detention and finally had to serve a Saturday detention like Breakfast Club-style and convinced my mom it was all a mistake... It's hard to put my finger on one sneaky thing, but I think I'm gonna go with the summer I turned 16 when my trusting parents agreed to let me and my best friend stay at the house and dog-sit while they went away for a few days. Of course the rule was no parties and of course we broke that rule and didn't just have a party, but had a band play in the living room. I can't believe we got away with it without a noise complaint. I think someone scuffed the wall and my dad noticed that, but I made something up to cover for it. I was not a good role model back then, so don't follow my example, kids!

2. Tell me the sneakiest thing that happens in your new book.

It's not all that sneaky because they are kind of drunk when they do it, so it's not as stealthy as it should be. But Emily and her best friend Regan sneak in to Regan's crush Tom's bedroom window to invite him to join their band. It's one of my favorite scenes in the book.

3. Are you a prankster? Tell me a story.

I was only ever a prankster by association. I dated these two guys at the beginning of my sophomore year, we'll call them Keith and Alan (who were besties and of course me dating one and then dating the other was a little awkward, but that's what high school is all about) and they were the biggest pranksters. They used to do "Drive-by Fruitings" where they would get rotten fruit from a grocery store dumpster and drive around throwing it at other cars. I was a passenger for this. They'd go "lawn ornament shopping" where we'd jump out, steal lawn ornaments and then ditch them on some other lawn. We especially did this with the Christmas decorations. Oh and for some reason around here it is really popular to light up your sidewalk with candles in paper bags at Christmas time, which seems really unsafe in general, but if there are bored teenagers about. We piled those on top of one kid's car (carefully so no real damage was done because he was a sort-of a friend, a bit of a frienemy at the time) and we piled an entire block's worth on one lawn, which caused a bit of a bonfire, but it was on top of snow, so again, no real damage.

The one really bad prank I was witness of to and let occur in my living room was when Alan and Keith decided it would be funny if Keith called Alan's mom and told her Keith was dead.  Yeah, I know, not funny at all really. And Alan couldn't really follow through with it. He called pretending to be a doctor and did the whole I'm sorry your son is dead thing and when she immediately freaked out (she was kinda crazy), he went "Oh no, I mean, he has a broken leg. I mean.... Just kidding!" and hung up. Well, though it was the early days of Caller ID, Alan's mom had it at work and she called back screaming repeatedly. Keith or Alan would answer and just hang up. But after the sixth time my mom picked up. She was not pleased. Not at all. She came downstairs and screamed at us all and made Alan call his mom back. He appeased her with, "Mama, I bring you home some peanut butter and some milk," which my best friend and I still laugh at to this day. Peanut butter and milk? What?

4. Were you in any clubs or societies in high school? Did any of those club activities make it into your novels?

No, I wasn't. I was too busy running around with troublemakers. My first year of college, the girls on my hall were kind of like a club.... A club of pranksters. We purposely caused controversy at our overly politically correct school by putting up a porn wall in our common room just to be offensive. We also moved all the furniture in the boy's all upstairs into their showers. And we set a chair on fire and threw it off the fire escape. We stole toasters and silverware from other halls and hid them in the ceiling tiles of ours and then brought them back weeks later. Yes, the Randall Girls we were trouble.

5. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why, or why not?

Yes. I was raised by a feminist mother and got heavily involved with the Riot Grrrl scene when I was in high school, which was my generation's wave of feminism. I wrote a 'zine called Kill Supermodels, which focused on things such as the unhealthy body image that the early 90s "heroin chic" supermodels caused in girls. I petitioned my high school to start a Women's History class since female roles in history were so overlooked (and they did start the class... the year after I graduated). And I work hard to support my fellow woman artist now by featuring an amazing female writer, musician, artist, filmmaker, etc on my blog every Wednesday for Women Who Rock Wednesdays.

6. How does your answer to question 5 show up in your new book?

I actually wrote my book in response to the macho backlash I saw in music in the late 90s and early 00s when bands like Limp Bizket got big. I wanted a woman to save rock 'n' roll so I created her, my character Emily Black. It's not a preachy book or overtly political because I don't like to write stories to "get a message across" or anything like that. But the book does bring to light the double standards women and girls face in life and particularly in the music industry and I do hope it shows the world the women can rock just as hard as the boys.

7. The club in my book is called The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. If you were to found a secret society, what would it be called, and what would its mission be?

It would be the Order of the Marmoset. Why? Because my best friend is going to have a boat called the Marmoset someday and we are going to be modern day pirates. She's actually taking sailing lessons as we speak. Once she's got that down, I'm hoping she draft me as her first mate and the Order of the Marmoset will officially begin. We'd be like the Robin Hood of pirates. Steal from the rich to give the poor, bring justice, that kind of thing.