Thursday, October 29

Note passing and other trials of youth

So I was chatting with my neighbor the other day about her son getting caught passing notes in class. And while we were talking, I mentioned that I used to be a champion note passer in class. Mostly in junior high, but some in high school as well. I'm not proud of this, mind you, but it was a moment of nostalgia that brought back memories.

I had a laugh thinking about the one time I got caught--I mean, really caught--passing notes in class. The sad part is that I wasn't even passing it yet! I was just sitting at my desk writing the darn thing.

Our junior high had this open air classroom section that looked like this:

Okay, so see where my math class was? All of those yellow hearts represent my lovely fellow classmates of 7th grade advanced math. The pink heart represents one Kay Cassidy, student of 7th grade advanced math/lover of all things note-related.

So I'm sitting there writing a note and all of the sudden, the social studies teacher comes around the end of the divider to make a joke to our math teacher and (with the stealth of a child going for the cookie jar ten minutes before dinner) snatches the note off my desk and holds it above her head like a prize.

So. Busted.

She then proceeded to read said note to the entire class. Thankfully, it was NOT about my crush du jour. Instead, and far worse in ways I didn't understand until later, it was about how horrifically boring said math teacher was. Which I felt TERRIBLE about because he was really a sweet guy. But, you know, 7th grade advanced math. Not exactly mesmerizing stuff.

As you might guess, I got teased about that for the rest of the year, mostly by my teacher (who I also realized later had an excellent sense of humor). He would stop class periodically throughout the year and ask "I'm not boring you, am I, Kay?" when I was totally paying attention, thankyouverymuch.

Fortunately, my teacher and I actually got along great so it was more like good-natured ribbing. I had him for 8th grade advanced math and then for typing in 9th grade, so he never got rid of me until high school.

By the way, there's a tidbit in my debut novel, The Cinderella Society (sorry for the plug, but it's where this comes from), that I think is fitting to mention here. In the book, the Cindys (the members of The Cinderella Society) have a great strategy to help put stressful or embarrassing situations into perspective. It's called The Rule of 5s.

Here's how it works:

Whenever something really stressful or embarrassing happens, stop and take five slow, deep breaths.

1... 2... 3... 4... 5.

(You feel better already, right?)

Then, stop and ask yourself the Five questions.

1) Will this matter in five hours?

2) Will this matter in five months?

3) Will this matter in five years?

This technique is actually based on a newspaper column from the mid-80s that my mom gave the drama queen that was teenaged me. You'd be surprised how effective it can be to put things in perspective. Even things that seem horrific and mortifying often don't pass the five-month test. And things like someone cutting you off in traffic? Those don't even pass the five-hour test.

It's all about perspective. :-)

So next time you're stressed or angry or mortified, give the Cindys' Rule of 5s a spin. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me. Let me know what you think!

~ Kay

Wednesday, October 28

Embarassing Tales

This week we're talking about embarrassing things that have happened, so I thought I'd write about something that's happened to me several times (more than several, actually).

For some reason, known only to the ether police, sometimes when I send an email to someone another address gets added, or an extra attachment gets added. I know it sounds strange, but it happens. Here are some of the results of this:

When sending an attachment to my boss, a job application (for a job he didn't know I was going for, especially as I hadn't been there long) went with it!!! When I found out I emailed saying please don't open the other attachment it was sent by mistake........... he didn't mention it, so I still don't know if he opened it or not (hmmmm..... I know what I'd have done).

Another time, I was emailing a friend about the various places she could try to find a guy (you know real girly stuff) and accidentally it got sent to my brother too (who I wanted her to meet :))

Another time, before I announced to my family that I was writing, an email to a crit partner also went to my aunt in the UK.

What the..... It's seriously weird.

And there was also the time when I meant to forward an email from a student to another member of staff (and I was moaning about this student because I thought she was being unreasonable) and I hit reply instead of forward..... I have lots more of these....

What about you..... have you ever sent anything accidentally, and what happened?

Friday, October 23

Zombie Queen of Newbury High book trailer

Okay, so this isn't really good news, but since I'm a sharer I thought I'd let you all have a peek at the book trailer for Zombie Queen of Newbury High!!!

Obviously, no expense was spared in the making of this trailer and though my children weren't exactly paid for their time, I did let them keep the plasticine afterwards, which I think was very kind of me!

Anyway, in order to celebrate my new, fancy book trailer, I'm running a competition. To enter all people have to do is either post a copy of the trailer on their blog, link to it or even post a tweet. Then, once they've done that they just need to send me an email to:

amanda at amandaashby dot com (no spaces)

to let me know what they've done and I'll put them in the draw to win my Very Last Zombie Survival Kit.

Yup, that's right. This is the last one I have and since we all know that it's only a matter of time before zombies take over the world, I think we can all agree that having a zombie survival kit will be pretty darn useful!!!!

More GNF!!!

Hey Everyone,

It's Good News Friday here at The Cafe, so I thought I'd share mine:

I just learned that SHADOWLAND, book 3 in THE IMMORTALS series, received 4.5 stars (out of 4.5!) from RT magazine and was chosen as a Top Pick!

Here's what they said:

“Noel’s novel is absolutely amazing! Fans of her Immortals series will not be disappointed—Ever and Damen’s love is challenged like never before, and the story ends with a big, satisfying twist that will have readers begging for more. This long awaited installment is incredible.” --4.5 Stars- Top Pick! RT magazine

Also, the SHADOWLAND trailer is not ready for viewing, just click HERE to see it!

And, regarding the Readergirlz chat Melissa posted below--I took part on Monday and it was a blast!! I urge you to stop by if you get the chance!

What about YOU??? Any good new you want to share?!

Have a good weekend everyone!


Good News Friday: Teen Read Week Tributes!

Over at readergirlz, authors are posting tributes to YALSA's Teen Read Week every 15 minutes today! And yes, many of the Teen Fiction Cafe authors are at the party.

Tonight: A Live! Chat at 9pm EST/6pm PST with Dia Calhoun and Sylvia Engdahl, pioneer sci-fi author!

Just a heads up! Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy Teen Read Week!

Thursday, October 22

Book Boyfriends

I'm a romantic. I love falling in love. Which is why I love book boyfriends. They give you the rush of falling in love without the sticky commitment thing. They aren't pushy about your relationship with them. They'll sit patiently on your nightstand or in your purse until you're ready to hang out with them again and then they'll whisper promises and secrets with every turn of the page.

Book boyfriends don't have to be perfect - in fact, it's always more interesting if they aren't. And you don't have to be perfect for them. Book boyfriends don't care if you meet up with them dressed to the nines - or wearing sweats with your hair all pulled up and no makeup. It doesn't bother them if you sneak in five minutes here and ten minutes there. And when you're done with them, book boyfriends don't mind being passed along to your friends so they can fall in love with them, too.

Some of the book boyfriends I still think about include Darcy (of course!) from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Jamie, from Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series, Owen, from Sarah Dessen's JUST LISTEN and Jesse, the hot Spanish ghost in Meg Cabot's MEDIATOR series. How about you? Who are some of your most memorable book boyfriends? What makes them so?

Wednesday, October 21

Love The One You're With-?

So this week at the café we’re talking about friends and/or boyfriends—which often times, or at least in my case anyway, becomes the same thing.

I can honestly say, that while the bulk of my romantic relationships didn’t end up going the distance, nearly all of them resulted in some really nice friendships (please note, I wrote nearly—there are definite exceptions to this!).

And yet not one of those relationships started as a friendship. They pretty much followed my usual course of initial spark to burning flame to complete and total burn-out to a friendship that while nice, had no lingering smolder or sizzle (or at least not on my part anyway). Which is funny because I’ve written quite a few books where the couple in question start out as either friends or disliking each other entirely, and even though I love the idea of not realizing that the love you’ve been searching for has been right there in front of you all along, it’s never, not once, happened to me.

Which leads me to wonder—has it happened to you? Or is this just the stuff of books and movies?

Sing it out in the comments!

Thursday, October 15

In the News: Is Crime Linked to Candy Consumption?

My friend Anne wrote about this Time magazine article that links candy consumption to crime, which is a funny/disturbing concept. Basically it has to do with impulse control (if you don't have much of it, you'll eat candy when you're a kid and maybe commit crimes in adulthood--there's a better explanation in Time). There's a lot to think about there, but here's how my train of thought went:

Eating candy --> committing crimes --> living in candy jails --> behind candy cane bars --> sleeping on marshmallow pillows --> wearing licorice stripes.

That's right: I started thinking about candy. Which made me think about how author Elizabeth Scott is asking people what their least favorite Halloween candy is this week (for a great contest--go enter)... and lots of people are saying Candy Corn. But I love candy corn! Those people are nuts.

What do you guys think? Favorite Halloween candy? I'm for candy corn! Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 13

in the news: how smart is your city

At the Daily Beast this week, there is a sorta scientific and sorta not ranking of the country's smartest and dumbest cities. Here's how they did it. Now, if you are a reader of my blog over at, you know I am a transplant from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, and my husband and I are starting to look for a way to go back. Since SF is so freaking expensive, we are open to other cities. The intellectual environment is important! So maybe this list could help us decide where we'd consider living. Here are how our current and past dwellings ranked, along with the rankings of the cities we've been talking about moving to:

San Francisco Bay Area (the homeland) = #2! See? My love for SF is not just about the mild climate, the ocean, and dim sum. And here I would like to point out that the Raleigh-Durham area is #1. Guess who is from Raleigh? My mother and her whole family. Booyah!

Salt Lake City (the current residence) = #14. Not bad at all. It is only one city away from New York (#13). High scores in book sales pushed us over the edge, apparently. There are a lot of great writers here, you know, and we love to buy books.

Denver = #5. I've always liked Denver, and now that I know how smart it is I like it even more. Drawback: still too far from the ocean. Drawback #2: Broncos fans.

Seattle/Tacoma = #7 in a tie with D.C. Who wouldn't want to live in Seattle? I know the rain is a killer, but it is gorgeous and full of walkable, livable neighborhoods.

Portland, OR = #9. I fell in love with this place when there for the KidlitBloggerCon or whatever it was called last year. It's progressive, beautiful, and has great public transport. And now I know it also has a really big brain.

That's it! We haven't really considered moving east or south, but if we did maybe we'd go for #1 Raleigh or #12 Austin. Everywhere else in the top 15 is too cold!

Thursday, October 8

TV Head

I know some readers and writers who disdain TV as an inferior form of entertainment. They say, rather snootily, "I don't watch TV," as though this puts them in the same socio-cultural stratosphere as Michelangelo or the guy who first performed open-heart surgery.

Me, I'm a TV head. Does that make me a moron? I don't know. I may be a moron, but not because I watch TV. In fact, I read more books than anyone I know and write three to four books a year. (OK, now I'm starting to sound like a socio-cultural status snoot. Sorry about that.) My point is that it doesn't have to be either/or. You can be a person like me who spends most of her hours staring at words that either I or other people have produced and still enjoy kicking back with a good show.

So what do I like to watch these days?

As aired on TV:

So You Think You Can Dance
Mad Men

Currently in progress on DVD:

Battlestar Galactica
I Love Lucy
I Dream of Jeannie
Leave it to Beaver
The Addams Family
Doc Martin

Daytime TV:

Morning Joe (for politics fix while exercising)
The View (while answering email)
General Hospital (because I have to)

Late-night TV:

Jon Stewart
Stephen Colbert
David Letterman

Honestly, it's amazing I get any writing or reading done at all! But yes, I really do write three to four books a year and read upwards of 250 books a year. Oh, and somewhere in there I even manage to do a few other things!

So how about you?


I'd like to stick around but I've got to get back to Morning Joe.

Be well. Don't forget to write.