Friday, May 28

Good Cover Karma

So this week's topic is vacations but because my busy schedule rarely allows me to take any, I figure I'm not enough of an expert on the subject matter to write about it. Although I suppose I could just list all the places I dream of going some day and have one big (sigh) fest, but I'll refrain. At least, I'll refrain from involving all of you in that. What I do on my own time is another matter...

Today I got an email from a very dear writer friend who had just received the final cover art for her third book and it was such a beautiful cover, I was suddenly inspired to write about something I like to call "Good Cover Karma." Allow me to explain:

You write a book, you slave away for months, you have this gorgeous picture in your mind of this magical world you've created and all the beautiful, glamorous and mesmerizing people and things in it. You dream about that joyous, fateful day your editor sends you an email with the subject line, "Cover art for [insert book title here]". The day when all your dreams are scheduled to come true. You fantasize about opening that email, downloading that elusive little jpg that holds the very future of your writing career in its pixels, and swooning at the sheer beauty and perfection of what's inside. You'll gush and giggle and marvel for hours about they've managed to so effortlessly grasp everything you've ever wanted for your character and capture it all in one flawless and inspiring collage of color, imagery and swirling fonts.

And then you open it....

And WHOOSH! It all gets sucked right out from under you. Like a carpet being yanked out from beneath your feet. It's absolutely, positively, without a doubt, nothing like you imagined. And you're absolutely positive your career as a writer is over before it even began.


Come on authors, who knows what I'm talking about? Who's had that roller coaster stomach drop sensation upon seeing their cover for the first time?

I do realize, however that this doesn't happen for everyone. And I should note that I actually feel very fortunate that I didn't have this experience with my latest young adult novel, The Karma Club, whose cover I fell in love with at first sight and still swoon a little every time I see it. But I know from experience that this doesn't happen with every book.

There are, however, a lucky few out there who just happen to be born with what I like to call Good Cover Karma. I don't know how they did it, but they did. Every cover on every book is magnificent. And this dear writer friend of mine who sent me her latest masterpiece of a cover, is definitely one of them.

Her name is Joanne Rendell and she writes commercial women's fiction. After seeing her first two covers, I swore there was no way in the world her publisher would be able to top them, but somehow they did. For her third novel, the gracious cover gods have blessed her once again with THE perfect cover. And I'll tell you, she's lucky she's so darn nice, otherwise I'd have to extremely dislike her...out of sheer cover envy alone!

I was so blown away by what she sent me today, I just had to share with everyone. Here are the covers for her first two novels, The Professor's Wives Club and Crossing Washington Square.

Beautiful right? Well, just wait....

Now here is her third cover for her new book out this fall called, Out of the Shadows about a woman who finds out she's an ancestor of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley and in a quest to find the author's long long journals, discovers secrets that help her guide her own life.

Isn't it the most gorgeous thing ever??? That is some cover karma you've got there Joanne! Keep up the good work!

So how about you all? Who do you think has been blessed with Good Cover Karma?

Thursday, May 27

There's No Place Like Home

In my life I have lived in Bermuda, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. I have traveled to most of the Eastern seaboard and California. I've been to the Bahamas, and I've traveled to Italy and France. I've flown over the Swiss Alps and slept outdoors on a mountain in the Sierra Nevadas. But for me . . . travel is always about coming home.

Home is where my heart is. It's where, in the words of George Carlin, my "stuff" is. When I come home from travel, I am physically nearly pining for my own bed.

What I love about travel is the escape from the Activities of Daily Living. As an author, I travel for signings and events, and it's my chance to run away from home--and my four kids, three dogs and cat, and all the laundry--for a couple of days. If I drip toothpaste on the sink in a hotel bathroom, someone ELSE will clean it. They'll also make my bed. It's a decadent life. But I'm always grateful it's just those few days.

After a bit, I find myself longing for sticky kisses from my five-year-old, and the chatter of my other three. I don't miss the mess--I'll be honest. But I miss what home IS. It's a safe place. The place I can be fully ME--whatever that is. It is the place of unconditional love and comfort. It's home.

And like Dorothy . . . sometimes it takes travel to make you realize just how much your heart's desire is often in your own backyard. My characters and themes are often very much that message. There is a scene in Pyramid of Souls that is a complete homage to that very lesson.

How about you? What does home mean to you? Is travel a blessing? Do you long for home when you're away?

Tuesday, May 25

the real, original thing

This week we're talking about vacations and travel, and as luck would have it I just got back from a weekend in San Francisco to visit my sister. Boy, did we pack a lot in! We saw the movie BABIES, we hiked at Bean Hollow, we walked around Pescadero, ate out, and even squeezed in a trip to Trader Joe's (something I have to do every time I'm in TJ's territory, as I am deprived Utahn and do not have access). But the main event was the members-only preview of a special exhibit at the de Young - The Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee D'Orsay.

Here's the little thingiebob about it:
Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay presents nearly 100 magnificent works by the famous masters who called France their home during the mid- to late-19th century and from whose midst arose one of the most original and recognizable of all artistic styles, Impressionism. The exhibition begins with paintings by the great academic artist Bouguereau and the arch-Realist Courbet, and includes American expatriate Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, known to many as “Whistler’s Mother.” Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley are showcased with works dating from the 1860s through 1880s, along with a selection of Degas’ paintings that depict images of the ballet, the racetrack, and life in the Belle Époque.
It's a fantastic exhibit, and as always happens when I see art live and in person that I've only been seeing second-hand all my life, I was profoundly struck and emotional about the difference between seeing a copy of a print---postcard or book-size---and seeing the real, original thing. I remember during my first trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art stumbling upon a room full of Van Gogh's and my tear ducts instantly filling before I even had a chance to think about it. It was crazy. You'd think that with our fancy technology, our ability to make nearly identical copies of almost anything, it wouldn't much matter. But it does. You're looking at the canvas touched by the hands of the creator, labored over and looked at for generations, all over the world. It's pretty cool.

Through the exhibit, I also learned a little about the Paris Salon, and what a battle the impressionists had getting acceptance for their style and vision. Next to several of the most beautiful paintings by people like Cezanne and Manet, the placard noted, "This piece was repeatedly rejected by the Salon." Rejected! Cezanne! Just goes to show ya.

A few of the paintings particularly moved me, including Cezanne's The Bridge at Maincy and Monet's The Magpie. The one I stared at longest, though, was Jules Breton's The Gleaner (above). In person, it's huge. The subject is at least life-sized and her expression and body language are so powerful. Do you have favorite paintings? Have you ever had the chance to see your favorite painting in person?

Friday, May 21

High School Hindsight

Looking back at my school days, there are definitely things I wish I hadn't spent so much time (and effort and emotions) on and other things I wish I had paid more attention to.
For example, boys. My junior high and high school days were filled with obsessing about my crush du jour, and I can honestly say none of them ever returned my affections. Of course it's only natural to have crushes, but I would plan to be particular places at particular times just to get a glimpse of Cute Boy #452. I'd race to my classes hoping to get to sit near my crush. I actually wished upon a star every night for so-and-so to like me back! I have friends who went so far as to join a club just because they guy they liked was in it. (Personally, I would join whichever clubs I found intriguing and then chose one of the boys in that club to be my new crush.) If I could go back and talk to my teenage self, I'd say, "Wendy, take the hint. None of these dudes will ever become your boyfriend, so just concentrate on having fun, and when you're in college, you'll need a personal secretary to keep track of all your dates." (Well, I need to give teenage Wendy something to look forward to so she's not too depressed.)

As far as something I wish I would have spent more time on? Plays and musicals. I love(d) acting and singing but as those of you who play(ed) sports know, being in the school theater productions takes up a LOT of your time and it's hard (maybe even impossible) to do both. Regardless, the times on stage were some of my fondest memories and if I could go back and talk to teenage Wendy, I'd say, "Audition for more plays and musicals. They're a lot of hard work but you'll never forget those experiences."

So, for those of you who've already graduated high school, what is something you wish you hadn't wasted so much time on, and what's something you wish you had done more of? And if you're in high school (or junior high), what do you plan on doing more of (and less of) in the future?

Thursday, May 20


Several months ago I posted a piece here at TFC called "Be True to Your School." It was about my experiences at and love for a school called Unquowa, which I attended from the middle of fourth grade thru my graduation from ninth grade. Since then, I've been asked to give the commencement speech at Unquowa this year on June 8. When I first started there, no one would have guessed that one day I'd be invited back under such circumstances. I am beyond honored. Yesterday, I spent most of the day composing my speech. Don't worry. I'm not going to print the whole thing here because 1) it's long, and 2) why spoil the suspense of the Unquowa grads should they see it online early???

As a result, I have a legitimate excuse for running a shorter-than-usual post here today, one in which I ask you to answer the questions:




Be well. Don't forget to write.

Wednesday, May 19


Hey so speaking of school, I recently heard about a pretty amazing thing called "un-schooling." This is a real thing! Maybe this is something everyone knows about, but it was new to me and I was immediately fascinated. I'm not an expert and it seems to be a contentious topic, so forgive me if I say anything incorrect and/or offensive, but I'm going to share my own thoughts on the unschooling. (I'm obviously not an expert because I call it "the unschooling.")

So if you haven't heard the term before, here's how it was explained to me: I'm sure everyone is familiar with homeschooling, which is basically when parents teach an approved curriculum at home. Unschooling is similar in that you don't go to school and your parents are in charge of your education, but there's no curriculum! The idea is that because children are naturally curious, you should just let them follow their interests and watch them learn whatever they want. OK, you don't just watch them learn, you help. Parents are still very involved in guiding their kids' education, but the kids set the content of the studies. If the kid is interested in dinosaurs, it's all dinosaurs for that month. Then if the kid loves the violin it's all about the violin for a while! Then maybe you combine them and write a song on the violin about dinosaurs! Weird example. But you see the point.

My thoughts about whether or not this is a good thing are immediately conflicted. Because part of me says yes! Children are curious on their own. Everyone is curious on their own. I've learned so much more about things I'm interested in just from reading and caring about them on my own than I ever did in school. I'm the kind of person who, if something is assigned, I instantly rebel and refuse to care. I often was extremely bored in school. But if I come to something on my own I become hugely interested!

Unschooling also addresses one of my main beefs with education -- from kindergarten to college -- which is that there was no context. Ever. You'd jump from learning about triangles to the Civil War to the biology of frogs in the course of a few hours. With no reason! And no context! How can you remember it all? And why should you care? It seemed so random to me. Maybe there is some wisdom at work that creates school curricula, but I could never grasp it. I still can't. My oldest child is only three but I think a lot about what it's going to be like when he goes to school. And because there were so many things I disliked (understatement!) about my own school experience, I'm really interested in other ways of doing things for him.

But on the other hand, isn't letting kids set their own curriculum a bad idea? Won't they just learn about superheroes and videogames? Will they ever choose to learn about something that's difficult yet ultimately good for you to know? If I was unschooled I might lack even the basic math* skills I do possess. I would have a blank look on my face whenever anyone talks about Dickens or Austen or Bronte. Actually that happens now, because even though they were assigned I never read them, but at least I'm basically familiar with what those people wrote. And isn't it a bad thing that our society is becoming so compartmentalized? Wouldn't unschoolers miss out on a big chunk of the life everyone else is living? Isn't it a good thing for a society that we all have things in common, such as hating gym class and school lunch and all the nonsense of public school? School also teaches kids (at least in theory) to work as a group, to get along with all different sorts of kids, and to learn social skills (again, in theory). Those points are probably bigger than the content of what you actually learn and I think some unschooling parents might just want to keep their kids out of school because they distrust society at large and want to shield their kids from that. Is that a good thing?

*Oh, and some of the stuff I've read about homeschooling indicates that "what about math?" is a very common question. I'm not the only one :) The answer given is usually along the lines of "Math is fascinating. Kids only get turned off to it by the boring way school approaches it." (I'm still skeptical. *skeptical face*) But I'm certainly interested. I'm interested in all of it! The website opens with a great quote from Anne Sullivan, of whom I am a particular fan.

I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experience.

I find that very hard to argue with! Yet I'm pretty sure I won't "unschool" my kids, and I'm not sure if I would have benefited from it or if I just think I would have. But it certainly is fascinating to me. And if you want to see some kids who are unschooled, here's the piece that was on Good Morning America. It starts with an annoying commercial and I have an irrational dislike of George Stephanopoulos, although I do like how his name reminds me of George Papadapolis from the TV show "Webster." Anyway, it's fascinating stuff! Thoughts? Unschooling is a good idea? Too good to be true? Worst idea ever? Should I pursue the creation of a song about dinosaurs on the violin?

Tuesday, May 18

Teacher Material?

This week's topic at TFC is schools. Tonight I'm going back to school... sort of. I'm teaching a writing course on character development at a place called StoryStudio in Chicago.

This is the second time I've taught this class so I'm not quite as terrified as I was the first time around... Not quite.

Teaching is a strange situation for me. It's not something I ever considered doing until I was talked into it when I started grad school. My personality is full of so many contradictions when it comes to taking on this kind of role. You see, though I don't mind reading my work to an audience and I acted in a few plays in junior high, naturally I'm a pretty shy person. I'm a ball of nerves before I step on stage or up to the podium or whatever, but then once I get going I'm fine. But when I'm reading or acting, I'm taking on another role. I'm no longer shy Stephanie, I am the character I am pretending to be or the character I'm reading about.

When I lecture or teach, it's a different situation. I'm still Stephanie. For the most part, after I get going I'm fine, but there is still a voice deep inside of me going, you are gonna screw this up. You are a fraud.

I think the thing is that I loved learning so much growing up and I revered so many of my teachers, I just don't think I'm cut out to do a job as amazing as they did.

I'm not as scared about this class tonight because I have done it before and last time the students even gave me a round of applause. Character development is something I pride myself on. I try to fully flesh out and get to know everyone that comes into my story and I have a lot of techniques and ideas to share. So I can do this (sorry this blog is turning into my personal pep talk, lol), but what I'm more concerned about is the semester-long Fiction 1 course at my alma mater, Columbia College Chicago that I am signed up to teach this fall.

I learned to teach at Columbia. As I mentioned I was sort of pushed into it. I'd been tutoring other students, which was scary enough but since it was one-on-one I felt more comfortable with it. Apparently they thought I was good at it so they wanted me to take the teacher training class. This involved me teaching writing to a class of fifth or sixth graders once a week for two semesters. I have to be honest, I did not like that. Some of the kids were absolutely amazing, don't get me wrong. But I spent so much time concerned that I would accidentally swear. And I had to dress up and make sure all of my tattoos were covered--any job where I have to do that generally ends up resented. I know teaching the college kids next fall will be different because I can swear and I can dress like myself and they will be there in the class (presumably) because they want to be. But I'm still terrified. It will be like opening night of a play every week. I'll have major stage fright and those feelings of fraud that I am nowhere near as good as the teachers I had at Columbia.

So why do I put myself through this? Two reasons. One, I love being around other writers. I want to share the knowledge I have gleaned about writing with them because I believe in giving back. And I find my students inspire me. Two, teaching is a good way for a writer to earn a living. It's a little more steady than bartending, so I want to see if it is something I could do. I'm considering fall semester at Columbia to be a trial run (if my class fills, part of me hopes it won't, but mostly I'm hoping it will) to see if I'm cut out for it though I do have a feeling that I'll be better at the occasional workshop like I'm doing with StoryStudio. That might be much more speed. And if I had to pick a field that I admired growing up that I could actually feel comfortable doing it would be librarian. That's something I still seriously consider though I would have to go back to school for that.

What about you, have you ever considered teaching? Or is there another job that you really really admire like I admire teachers, but fear you are not quite cut out for?

Friday, May 14

The Tofu-Eating Spice Girls Fan Also Known as Jessica Brody

Bonjour everyone! So excited to be part of the blog! Sadly, everything Alyson Noel said about me in Monday's post is true...even the part about the Spice Girls. And yes, I did attend their reunion tour last year. And yes, I did know all the lyrics. And yes, I was the oldest person there.

But on a less embarrassing note, I'll gladly challenge Greg to a friendly game of Guitar Hero any day! Bring it!

I would tell you a little bit about my new book, but I always find my book trailers do a much better job. After all, I spend MONTHS producing them! So check out the trailer for The Karma Club below featuring a cameo appearance by Deepak Chopra!

And here's some juicy (well, kinda) details about me:

1) Where would you like to live?

Anywhere that would make a great setting for a book. I'd love to live somewhere for six months, research the book, write it there and then move on. My husband is INSISTING that Hawaii would make the best location for my next one :)

2) What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Red Velvet Cupcakes. They are seriously God's gift to woman...or else God's best played practical joke!

3) Who are your favorite characters in history?

For the longest time I said Anne Boleyn or Marie Antoinette. They both fascinated me. But now, after watching a ridiculous amount of Tudors on Showtime, I started reading more about the fifth wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Howard and she's starting to fascinate me too. She really did end get the short end of the stick. I think more than any of his other wives.

4) The quality you most admire in a man?

The ability to live with a writer...particularly when she's in the middle of Act 2 of her latest book. It's like living with a perpetual tornado warning.

5) Who would you have liked to be?

Stephenie Meyer. Or at least I would have liked to have her bank account.

Thanks everyone for welcoming me with such open arms!

Thursday, May 13

Hey there! (Elizabeth Scott, thrilled to be here!)

Hi everyone--I'm honored to be part of the Teen Fiction Cafe, and want to thank everyone for inviting me to come on board!

I'm doing the Proust questions as well, so here we go...

1. What is your idea of earthly happiness?


2. Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?

The ones who make me *believe* in their story (And you know what, it's true for heroINES too!)

3. Your favorite painter?

Hmmm. I'm pretty fond of Giorgione. Also El Greco. Really, anything that makes me stop and stare, I love. Faberge eggs from Nicolas II's reign. A lot of medieval paintings--the belief! Statues that seem to stare right back at you.

4. Your favorite virtue?

I don't know. I think everyone should try to be a decent human being and I think that pretty much covers all the virtues, doesn't it?

5. Your favorite occupation?

Being paid to read books is my dream job. But I have to say, I'm pretty happy writing books!

Because this is my first ever post, and because I'm curious, who is YOUR favorite painter? I'll pick one comment at random on Saturday, May 15th, and that person will win a copy of my latest book, The Unwritten Rule (Please note you must have a US mailing address, as I can't afford to send books overseas right now!)

Wednesday, May 12

Thanks for Having Me! by Josh Berk.

Saying "thanks for having me" was a running joke among my friends for one summer. I have no idea why, but we'd say it every time we went anywhere and it was consistently hilarious. To us anyway... But indeed, thanks for having me! I mean it this time. It's really flattering and quite fantastico* to be here among so many authors I admire. (*I overuse the word "awesome" so am trying to make "fantastico" the new "awesome.")

And yes, today is my birthday! I know I have a lot of gray hairs, but really I'm only 24, not 34, despite what you've heard (and despite what my birth certificate says).

And now I shall do some questions from the Proust questionnaire so that you may get to know me somewhat. I sort of want to keep his original answers because he mentioned Pliny The Younger a bunch of times and that sounds so cool. "Pliny The Younger." But I don't even know who that is so I'll do it honestly.

Your favorite musician?

Johnny Ramone or maybe Dee Dee Ramone. Probably all the Ramones.

The quality you most admire in a man?

Humor and a fine mustache.

The quality you most admire in a woman?

See above.

Your favorite virtue?

Modesty, because I'm so amazingly great at it.

Your favorite occupation?

When I was a young music writer I got paid in CDs to write about CDs. It had to end, obviously, because you can't eat CDs, but it was a good gig.

Who would you have liked to be?

Pliny the Younger.

Tuesday, May 11

Welcoming...Me! (Greg Logsted)

I’d like to thank everyone for asking me to join TFC (always sounds like Kentucky Fried Chicken to me). It’s truly an honor to be included with so many GREAT writers; my only desire is that I’ll be worthy. Actually that’s not my only desire. I also wouldn’t mind sucking down a few pints of your talent while you’re occupied elsewhere. Remember…you invited me in.

Today might be the perfect day to introduce myself because… it’s my birthday! I’m taking the day off from the day job and I’m just going to do what I want to do. If you want to send me gifts or money I’m okay with that.

Without overstaying my welcome, here are my Proust answers:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Boredom and longing. Sometimes during my day job it feels as if the forces of boredom have overrun the world. The clocks slow down and mock me, the sun stands still in the sky and laughs. I long to be home with my wife and daughter.

May I also add that trying to fit one of those damn form-fitting sheets on a mattress is its own special form of misery? It’s close to impossible. First you get one side on and then the other side pops off, then you get that one on and the other pops off and it goes on and on.

Where would you like to live? On my very own exceedingly beautiful and wealthy Caribbean island where I would be king, loved and respected by all, and worshiped as a god.

Who are your favorite characters in history? John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the 1986 Mets, Santa Claus.

Your favorite musician? Coldplay, Radiohead, Ryan Adams, my iPod. (Yeah, I know that’s not fair but I really love that thing. I love the freedom of having music whenever I want it…ain’t this a great country or what?)

Your favorite occupation? Lazing on a summer’s afternoon.

Who would you have liked to be? Some guy who happened upon a bottle on the beach and when he rubbed the dirt off of it a grateful genie suddenly appeared and offered to grant him a multitude of wishes. Yeah, I wish I were that guy.

And now it's your turn! Feel free to answer one or more of the above questions for a chance to win...! Well, actually, you win nothing. But it is fun to answer the questions, so knock yourselves out.

Monday, May 10

Teen Fiction Cafe Welcomes 4 New Authors!!!

We at the Teen Fiction Cafe are beyond excited to announce that as of this week, we have 4 brand spankin' new contributors! If you are a regular reader (thank you!), you already know this is the place for some of the most exciting, thought-provoking, and heartfelt discussions in the blogosphere. And if you're a new reader, welcome! Don't be shy about jumping into the conversations. Now, without further ado, I'll answer the big question:

Who the heck are the newest TFCers?

Greg Logsted listens to all kinds of music but especially likes Miles Davis. He wants to be a rock star but needs to learn to play the guitar first. He loves pasta, owns a window washing company, and thinks His Excellency Nelson Mandela is one cool dude. Greg's motto is: "Write hard; live free."

YA titles: Alibi Junior High, Something Happened
MG titles: The Sisters 8 series (with his wife, Lauren Baratz-Logsted and their daughter, Jackie)
Greg will be introducing himself and answering some unique questions for us on Tuesday, so don't miss it!

Josh Berk is living proof that if two librarians breed, their offspring shall become librarians as well. But I have a feeling this ex-band dude (yes, he's one up on you, Greg dear) didn't inherit the quiet gene. Actually, this is obvious if you watch any one of his crazy (in a good way) videos. This is one of my faves: Click HERE And speaking of crazy, he's rocked some pretty outrageous hairstyles. According to Kay Cassidy, he deserves an entire museum devoted to his follicular adventures.

YA Title: The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin
Come by on Wednesday to get to know Josh a little better!

Elizabeth Scott While Josh is proof that librarian plus librarian equals librarian, Elizabeth is the progeny of two teachers. She's held a wide variety of titles, from professional CD burner to pantyhose (don't you just *love* that word?) saleslady; but unless my journalistic abilities are lacking, she has never been a teacher (though she was in both her parents' classes growing up). Melissa Walker says that Elizabeth backed her up at her very first public reading in Durham, NC. Melissa read from Violet on the Runway and Elizabeth read from Bloom, her first YA novel.

YA Titles: Grace, The Unwritten Rule, Living Dead Girl, Something Maybe, Perfect You, Bloom, Stealing Heaven, Love You Hate You Miss You, ...
Elizabeth will be sharing some interesting tidbits with us on Thursday. See you then!

Jessica Brody Alyson Noel gives us the scoop about fellow California beauty Jessica: "She's a tofu eating, Spice Girls listening, Twilight loving, Good Karma spreading, all around awesome person!" She is also the founder of Free Book Friday, a professional singer (as well as other very cool things I can't wait to learn more about on our blog) and likes playing Guitar Hero. Hmm, would you put your money on Greg or Jessica?

YA Title: The Karma Club (Check out its book trailer featuring Deepak Chopra HERE.)
Jessica will be wrapping the week up for us!

As you can see, this promises to be an exciting week here at the Teen Fiction Cafe. Come by often to welcome and get to know Greg, Josh, Elizabeth, and Jessica!

Friday, May 7

Good News Friday!

Hello! For Good News Friday, I'd like to share the review Booklist gave Lifted, which comes out June 8.

Poppy isn't happy with her single mother for moving her to Texas and enrolling the decidely secular 16 year-old in a private Baptist high school. Soon, however, she become s fascinated with the two most elite girls in class. Befriended, she ignores (to her later peril) her initial contact at Calvary High, the frumpy Bridgette. Instead, Poppy becomes caught up in whirlwind mall trips; her new friends, despite all their pious attitudes, are shoplifters. Toliver does a good job of making clear the thefts are less about the desire for things such as designer jeans than about the adrenaline rush of getting away with something. She is also sensitive to the school's core values while still making clear the hypocrisy of people who hide behind veneers of holiness. Especially well drawn is Poppy's crush, a quirky, sincere minister's son who--as Poppy's world spins out of control--comforts her with unconditional support: "We all make mistakes. It says so in the Bible, so it must be true." Will appeal to all teens interested in wayward behavior. (Karen Cruze)

And while I have your attention, I'm not saying what, but you'll want to keep stopping by Teen Fiction Cafe because we have some HUGE news to share next week!!!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, May 4

Hey Soul Sister!

(Blog title courtesy of Train)

Recently I met up with a friend for coffee—a person whom I really like and respect and share several things in common with, but for various reasons, only get to see every now and then. A now and then that may only occur once a year or so, but still, I consider this person to be a good friend. And so, in the midst of catching up on all of our news, it wasn’t long before they confessed to a friendship that had recently ended, which prompted me to confess about one of my own.

What struck me the most was how disorienting the experience was for us both. I mean, as two adults it’s obviously not the first time either one of us experienced something like that, since it’s safe to say that anyone who's found their way into adulthood has survived their fair share of friendship break-ups. And yet, somehow I still clung to this idea that once I settled down and became a “grown-up” I’d transition into a never ending stream of dinner parties with a permanent guest list—when, in fact, my experience has been anything but.

Since hitting the road at 19 and living in a variety of places, Mykonos and Manhattan among them, I’ve made and left my fair share of friends. As a flight attendant, it wasn’t uncommon to spend a two-day layover in Venice, Italy with a group of other flight attendants I quickly bonded with, only to arrive back in JFK, head our separate ways, and never see each other again. It was something I became used to. It was part of the job description.

But in real life (as opposed to flight attendant life) it’s not always that simple. In my experience, friendships are way more complicated than that, and I freely admit to feeling relief when certain friendships ended, sadness at some, and complete hair-pulling frustration at others—no two break-ups are alike.

While my friend had no idea why their friendship fizzled, I, on the other hand, knew all too well. And while I know how frustrating it is to not have any answers, as a big believer in the law of attraction, (the rule in which like attracts like), I really do think that sometimes we just stop “clicking” with certain people and there’s not much we can do about it.

Back when I was a far more cynical person (yep, I really was!), I attracted cynical friends. When I changed the way I approached the world and took on a much more positive outlook, those cynical friends faded away, and new, more optimistic ones took their place.

And while that’s not to say that I consider my friendships disposable—nothing could be farther from the truth, as I’m still in touch with a core group of people I’ve known for a very long time—I guess what I’m trying to say is that as much as it may hurt when a friendship goes south—I also think it serves as a pretty good barometer of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we hope to end up.

What about you? Have you ever been surprised by the end of a friendship?

Have a good day everyone!