Friday, May 30

Utter Randomness

So we’re coming up on the end of “anything goes” week here at the café, and after reading all the great posts about summer movies, happy endings (in books!), and reading (darn you Sara for making me chose between writing and reading—I won’t do it, I tell you!)—I kind of drew a blank.

I mean, sure I could talk about the fact that CRUEL SUMMER was released on Tuesday

and received a 5 star review from TeensReadToo, with reviewer Cana Rensberger saying:

" . . .Teen girls will totally love CRUEL SUMMER by Alyson Noël. The story is told using letters home, the journal her mother gave her, “Colby’s Journal For Desperate Times…,” and her new blog. The range of emotions, devastating lows to breathtaking highs, and the intense feeling that everything affects her is so authentic. The reader will relate to her habit of over-thinking every comment, gesture, or word of an email, and the insecurity she feels around Yannis. I loved this book and totally devoured it. For this reason, I give it five stars!"

Or how the French Version of FLY ME TO THE MOON was recently released!

But that’s better saved for promo week.

So then I thought I could write about the awesome Book Talk I did last week at the Lewis Library and Technology Center

and how they even put together a craft table so readers could make their own journals like the one in SAVING ZOE

but then I remembered how I recently blogged about that on my blog.

Then I though, hey, I know, I’ll confess something juicy like:

How I very recently, Netflixed the season 1 DVD of BUFFY (I know, I know, I’m way past late on this one), and am now so incredibly hooked I’ve filled up my entire netflix “queue” with all seven seasons and ANGEL too.

Or, how I was once mistaken for Mariah Carey while shopping at Armstrong Nursery in Newport Beach. Seriously, this woman walked right up to me and asked if I was her. Even when I said no, she said she and her friends recognized me right away. And when I said no again, it was clear she didn't believe me. And, for the record, I was not wearing a tight spandex minidress, a lame bikini, or a slit up to here gown. Though I did have awfully big blonde hair and large dark sunglasses,which I promptly got rid of (yes, both the hair and the sunglasses).

But then I thought, um- nobody cares about that stuff. Maybe you should just make a list of all the upcoming events you’re looking forward to. Stuff like-

BEA (free books!), ALA (more free books!), RWA (get to meet some of my fellow café peeps!), the June 10 release of Jessica Brody’s THE FIDELITY FILES (READ IT! You will not be disappointed!), my niece and nephews annual surf camp visit (can’t wait til July!), long lazy days at the beach, finishing my WIP so I can actually read some of those free books, eating outside, BBQ’s, leaving the windows open to let the ocean breeze in . . .

But then I thought- Aw heck, I really don't know what to write. So I'll just leave you with this:

Have a good weekend everyone!

So tell me, any upcoming events you’re looking forward to?? Anything random you want to share?


Thursday, May 29

Are You Serious?

On Monday, I took the kids to our annual Memorial Day Movie. We do this every year, and as it's kind of a celebration of the advent of summer, we choose a blockbuster-type movie. This year it was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No, that's not really what I want to talk about today, but it did get me thinking...

As a writer, I am very mindful of the whole suspension of disbelief thing. Even though I write fiction, I'm careful to check facts, weigh plausibility and try to support even the most outlandish ideas. And yet... in the movies, have you ever noticed at times that dazzling special effects or fast pacing can be thrown in as a sort of smoke screen and that plausibility or even logic are completely overlooked? Why is that?

And why is it that Ironman with its completely unreal premise worked so well and IJatKotCS just seemed silly? Is it execution? Is it Robert Downey Junior? : ) What do you think? And why do you think some movie makers don't feel the need to support their plots with logic?

Just curious...

Monday, May 26

Happy endings

So last week I started reading this great young adult book. I mean it was really, really great. Until I got to the end and discovered it finished in totally the wrong place - well for me anyway! You see it had set up this amazing situation but then instead of letting the heroine fight through and resolve it, it just finished pretty much on the note of 'oh, well, that's just the way life is. Deal with it.'

My problem is that I don't read books to find out how life is, I read books to find out how life could be. Of course it was made worse by the fact there was about twenty extra pages at the back of the book (with blank pages, author bio and book excerpts etc) so I didn't even realize I was at the end of the story until I turned the page and discovered it was over.

I hesitate to mention the book's name because the truth is that these things are all subjective and perhaps other people like their endings less predictable and more realistic, but for me I need things to be finished. I like my Is dotted, my Ts crossed and my heroines and heroes living happily ever after while the bad guys get covered in green slime and are ridiculed for the rest of their natural lives. Really, is that too much to ask for?

So what about everyone else. Do you often read books where the end falls below your reader expectations? If so how do you deal?

Promo Week Winner

LIVIANA - please shoot me an email at gerb at lindagerber dot com!

Everyone have a great Memorial Day! (I say this realizing that a lot of you are not in the States, but I wish you a happy day as well.) Party safe!

Saturday, May 24

Reading Rocks!!!!!

So here's the thing..... I was chatting with a friend the other day about choosing between being a writer or a reader...... fairly quickly I decided that it would have to be reader. As much as I love writing..... I could imagine not doing it. But I could NEVER imagine not being able to read again (by read, I'm thinking fiction). How could I go on vacation and not read at least one book a day????

Then I started to think about music, TV, and movies. And again...... as much as I'd HATE to be without my music, TV, or movies.... I'd hate it more if it was books.

How about you? Where does reading figure? Would you choose music, TV, movies or writing (if you're a writer) over reading?

Friday, May 23

Winner of Violet in Private

Thanks to everyone who posted widgets -- yay!

The randomly chosen winner of Violet in Private is... Hope! Head to and email me your address, Hope. If you haven't read Violet by Design yet, I can send you that one instead. Up to you.

Now go enter Gerb's contest, and sign up for Teri's newsletter! It's PROMO week!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, everyone!

Promo Week!

Hi, all! I am stealing a moment on the school's computer on my "break" during a school visit to Bellefontaine schools. It's been a fun day! Want a laugh? Head over to my blog and check out what my son put up for our Freebie Friday. LOL (I was rushing to get to the school for this visit and asked him to please put up the blog post for me.) He's acting as my assistant through this book launch thing and I think he likes the power just a little too much.  : )

So, in keeping with my dear son's idea, to win a copy of DEATH BY BIKINI, tell me who you would have play the main character in your favorite book. Bonus points if you've read DEATH BY BIKINI and can suggest casting for Aphra and Seth. (And if you have already read DEATH BY BIKINI and don't need another copy, I can send you BREAKING DAWN, the Borders Exclusive anthology on the TWILIGHT series.)

Back to presentations! Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!!!

Thursday, May 22

Blantant Self Promotion!

It’s coming. Kind of like a ticking bomb, the date for my debut book release just keeps getting closer and closer.

Big things are afoot. I would promote them, but it’s a secret until the week before my launch party.

But a couple of dates to keep in mind: June 2nd through the 6th is my Class of 2k8 launch party and I will be revealing my book trailer that week. I am so excited!

The next week is my own personal launch party and let me tell you… it is going to be EPIC! So mark down those dates: June 9th-13th . The party will be held at my blog.

If you want to be the one of the first to know what is going on, sign up for my newsletter by sending a blank email to:

And don’t forget to preorder my book!

Friday, May 16

Violet in Private Countdown!

Wanna get this widget for your blog or myspace or facebook or, you know, all those other pages you might have? Just click on the "share" button below. Then comment and tell me that you've posted it (you can post in your profile or as a blog entry or on the sidebar of your blog or anywhere you'd like) and I'll enter you to win one very special ADVANCE COPY of Violet in Private. (Yes, I have it in my hands right now!)

Thanks for spreading the word! I'll choose a winner next Friday, May 23!

PS-If you need a vertical option for your sidebar, here you go!

PPS-Or... horizontal!

Monday, May 12

Survivor girls and TV finales

It's season finale season on TV this month. Last night--Survivor and Brothers & Sisters said goodbye for the season.


Did anyone else watch Survivor this season? The women (woo hoo!) completely killed the boys. Killed 'em. They played the same tricks over and over again and the guys kept falling for it. There were four women in the final four and it was like a girl power celebration. :)

Parvati (who played the most visible, tough, masterful game) won the $1,000,000 while Amanda (who played a quieter, less in your face game) got second. The jury obvious rewarded Parvati for playing the game hard and executing some of the most exciting moves in Survivor history. So, we had the first female Biggest Loser this year and now a female final four? Niiice. :)

And now back on track.

So, yeah, it's almost the end of scripted TV season. But the finales do lead to something summer reality TV! I can't wait for So You Think You Can Dance? on May 22 and The Mole on June 2. I was a huge Mole fan when it was on (what, at least 3-4 years ago?) and am excited that it's back. It's definitely a guilty pleasure show kind of like Big Brother which happens to be coming back in July. A little too soon? Yeah, I think so. Especially since I couldn't find anyone to really root for in the last BB season.

What summer shows are you excited to see? What's your take on last night's Survivor finale?

Sunday, May 11

Happy Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, because hopefully people will be giving me gifts soon and then I'll need to go give my own mom gifts, I hope it's OK if I reprint/adapt a blog The Huffington Post asked me to write last year on the occasion of Mother's Day.


This is a story about women.

I know nothing abut my great-grandmother on my mother’s side. I do know that when she died, my great-grandfather replaced her with a woman known in family lore only as The Witch.

When my grandmother Lucy was sixteen, she was playing jacks with her younger sisters when my great-grandfather showed up one day with a new dress. He told Lucy to put it on, that she was getting married that day. With four daughters and two sons and The Witch to support, he couldn’t very well keep them all at home forever. So off Lucy went in her new dress, in 1907, to be married to a man ten years her senior.

Over the next sixteen years, Lucy became pregnant several times, resulting in four live births, the last of whom was my mother. When my mother was still quite young, Lucy decided it was time to stop cooking all the time. It was time to start joining clubs and traveling. When my mother grew up, they went on many trips together, often to Florida but also on bigger trips, like a cruise to Venezuela.

Unlike with The Witch, there are many family stories about Grandma Lucy. She was big on rituals: graduations, funerals, anywhere people gathered to celebrate or commiserate, Lucy felt a responsibility to show up and be counted. There was a boy from a large family in the neighborhood, Polish immigrants, who was to be the first in his large family to graduate from college. For whatever reason, lack of funds or lack of interest, no one from his family planned to attend. So Lucy took the train from Bridgeport to New York by herself so that when his big moment on stage at Fordham University came, there would be at least one person from back home to cheer his name. In terms of funerals, which she took to attending with a vengeance later in life, she was saddened and shocked one day to read in the papers of the death of her friend Mary Johnson. So of course Lucy went to the funeral. The only problem was, it was the wrong Mary Johnson. This Mary Johnson was black, while Lucy was white, and the packed church of mourners were all black too. I suppose it might have occurred to Lucy, this being the ‘40s, that it might have been simpler to just turn around and leave. But Lucy couldn’t, wouldn’t do that. Someone named Mary Johnson had died! She must pay her respects! Lucy went through the receiving line, hugging and kissing Mary Johnson’s children, telling them all what a great woman their mother had been. Lucy, unsurprisingly, was the hit of the funeral.

Lucy’s daughter Lucille, my mother, would take a different path in life. She would not marry until she was thirty-one, nearly twice as old as Lucy had been when she was married. Lucille was a maverick, the only one of Lucy’s female offspring to attend college, one of the few female pharmacy majors in her class. After receiving her pharmacist’s license, Lucille regularly attended meetings of the Bridgeport Pharmaceutical Association at which she was the only woman among 50-60 men. In 1948 she became the first woman elected to office in a local pharmacy organization in the state of Connecticut.

Lucille was also a big fan of sports, any sports but in particular baseball. Rather than my father, it was Lucille who taught my older brother how to play ball and how to keep score. This meant that I had to learn how to play and keep score too, because there sure wasn’t anyone in the house that wanted to play dolls with me. At 85, Lucille still watches the Yankees every chance she gets, and still keeps score.

I have not had to insist on my right to pursue my own interests nor have I had to become a maverick: Lucy and Lucille paved the way for me. Because of them, I believe it is my natural right to go after my dreams. If I want to be a writer, then that is what I shall be. If I want to be published in several genres, despite popular wisdom that you are not supposed to sell fish in your meat market, then that is what I shall do. Because Lucille never questioned whether she should be in an organization with only men, when I grew up to develop a passion for pool, I never questioned whether it was OK or not for me to compete in predominantly masculine settings. I just loaded my pool cue and went. I also have Lucille to thank for my love of books. I don’t remember a time growing up when there wasn’t a stack of books between the couch and the old-fashioned stereo in the living room. I don’t remember a day when I didn’t see Lucille spend at least part of it lying on the couch with a book propped on her belly or, in the summer, out by the pool. Even in the pool! The women in my family read everywhere.

Which brings me to the next generation, my eight-year-old daughter Jackie, who has inherited our love of reading and will no doubt grow up to write circles around me. I spent 10 married years thinking I’d never be pregnant and then – poof! – along came Jackie. She is everything my line of women would predict she’d be: smart, kind, generous, happy, beautiful. Indeed, Lucille refers to her, and rightfully so, as Joy.

From Lucy Martin Caldana to Lucille Caldana Baratz to Lauren Baratz-Logsted to Jacqueline Logsted, we are one unbroken line of women, improving as many things as we can with each generation.

Tuesday, May 6

Crushes I don't get...

Okay, granted, I'm the kind of gal who's attracted to Steve Buscemi/Dennis Leary types, but I totally get the appeal of some conventional hearthrobs. Most of the time, though, the mainstream hotties leave me cold. Here are a few current ones I will never understand:

Brad Pitt - He's always smirking! Doesn't he look like he thinks way too much of himself?

Zac Efron - Too well-groomed, IMHO. Try getting a little messy, Zac!

Patrick Dempsey - Meh. Too yuppified. Looks like all the guys at my neighborhood gym.

Justin Timberlake - Does anybody else think he still looks twelve years old?

Who do you think is overrated in the appeal department? I'd love to hear!


Monday, May 5

The Bad Boy Curse

Yep, it was a curse growing up crushing on the bad boys. 

Was it the independence that drew me in like a magnet? The loner attitude? The do-what-you-want persona?

Not sure. All I do know is that it was the the ones who acted like they didn't care what people thought of them, the ones who had their own style and attitude, who made my heart beat fast.

Unfortunately, the crushes I had in high school would often land me in trouble, too, breaking curfew, sneaking to parties, smoking (yes, I dropped that like a very bad habit!), and witnessing rumbles. And even though, I learned my lesson again and again, I still write about bad boys in my books.

Some really bad, some not so bad.

Because once you got the Bad Boy curse, it doesn't go away so easily.

I guess that's why I married one...

My husband was the last high school bad boy I dated, with the hot fast car, tattoos at eighteen, and a tough as nails rumbler. I met him in high school, started dating him the summer of graduation, and married him three years later.

I have to admit he grew out of the parties, the fighting, and he doesn't just do what he wants anymore, but he still likes fast rides and the tattoos keep him covered.

I'm glad I found the one bad boy who ended up not being so bad after all. :)

First Celeb Crushes

When I was about seven years old, I had a massive crush on Bo Duke (John Schneider) of the TV show The Dukes of Hazard. I loved his hair, his derriere, and the way he drove the General Lee.

Then, when I got a few years older, I thought Michael Jordan was soooo cool. And cute. And amazing at my favorite sport, basketball. I loved how he handled the ball and how he tended to stick out his tongue when he shot.

A few more years down the road, I started crushing on Antonio Banderas. And I have to admit that I still think Antonio is adorable, especially as Zorro and Puss in Boots (on Shrek).
Looking at these guys, you'd be hard pressed to define my "type." But interestingly enough, many of the qualities I found so tantalizing in them are in my husband. Great hair (when we first met, 15 years ago, but he also makes a darling near-bald guy), nice butt, great singer, amazing athlete, sticks tongue out when concentrating, sexy dad, etc.
I'd love to hear who your earliest celeb crushes were, and if you still have a thing for any of them. Don't be shy!

Sunday, May 4

The Many First Crushes of Teri Brown

We’re talking about first crushes on Teen Fiction Café this week and I’m not sure I qualify… because I had a lot of first crushes. Every time I got a new crush it wiped out the previous ones as if they hadn’t even existed. Here’s a few that stick in my mind: (Remember, I was an early bloomer)

Kindergarten: His name was Glen and I noticed him on the very first day of class, with his hot red raincoat and his yellow lunch box. He had short brown hair and didn’t cry when his mom dropped him off. This was a very short lived crush because after three days, we climbed the monkey bars together, and I realized he smelled really, really bad. Looking back, I don’t think he was completely potty trained. But it was sure intense while it lasted!

First Grade: We moved from rainy Washington to sunny Arizona and Mike blew me away with his amazing blue shorts. (Remember, this was the early seventies when colors were really… colorful.) Unfortunately, he decided that my best friend Elisha was far prettier and he crushed me by saying that she lived in a rich house and I lived in a poor house. (Ah, the insults of early childhood.) I couldn’t help feeling smug after spending the night with Elisha and learning that she lived in a ratty little trailer out in the dessert while I lived in spacious Spanish-style home in town. (Cattiness is learned early)

Third Grade: Back to rainy Washington which is where I met Gerald. Ah, Gerald. I think this is the first time I wasn’t impressed by the color of the boy’s clothing and looked into their face, because Gerald was from that most attractive and rare gene combinations… the brown-eyed blond. My best friend also had a crush on him and we created a song to woo him with. (Okay, I am totally red faced here) Anyone remember that old Charley Rich song, “Hey, Did you Happen to See the Most Beautiful Girl in the World?” Yes, we changed the words and sang it to him in a huge pipe on the playground. I don’t remember exactly what happened with Gerald, but that really wasn’t the point. The point was in sharing these feelings with my best friend. In a way, I’m kind of glad I moved away again. My best friend and I did some really cheesy things together. Once in PE we performed a dance we spent hours creating to the song Love is Blue. God knows what kind of trouble we would have come up with in junior high.

I had many crushes after that, but none stick in my mind like these first three do. And so young! I know from my children’s experiences that crushes can happen quite young. (Nice to know I wasn’t a total freak!) How old were you when you had your first crush?

Friday, May 2

Like A (Rock) Star

My best friend and I have this pact, one we made years ago that we've renewed many times since. Both of us have vowed that in our next lives we're going to come back as rock stars. And no, we're not joking, we're dead serious. We even pinkie swore, which proves just how serious we are. The men in our lives laugh, like we're joking. But we know we aren't. We told them they could come back as hot chicks and be our main squeeze.

And rather than explain why we're so dead set on this, the photos below should pretty much sum it up:

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful, more glorious, more free (more blurry, thanks blogger!)??

There's just something about the swagger, the scarves, the smoke machines, the tour bus, the backstage antics, the hotel room destroying, and, of course, the music that's just so dang intriguing.

I love music, always have. I love my old album covers, love studying liner notes and memorizing the lyrics. love playing certain favored songs over and over again, only to tire of it, move onto something else, then rediscover it a year or so later and start the process all over again. I love the way a three minute song can say so much, tell an entire story, a story that takes me 300 pages to unfold!

I love the way music can both document your life and change your life. And if I was ever going to write a memoir, it'd consist of one very long, chronologically arranged, play list, marking all the major events of my life.

And that's why I want to be a rock star, so I can create those kinds of stories, the ones that change a mood in an instant just be being played.

Well, that and the scarves.

So tell me, who do you want to be in your next life?? (You don't have to believe in these things to play!)

Thursday, May 1

Flight of the Conchords - Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros

This week at TFC it's all about music and since my current obsession, Kiwi band, Flight of the Conchords, have just hit number three on the US Billboard charts, I thought I though we could all share in their musical genius. Hope you enjoy!!