Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Party On, Wayne!

Isn’t this wild??? You guys are the BEST! I’ve got a ton of stuff going on today, so let’s get right to it!


The Winner of the Moonstruck Chocolate is: Keri Mikulski! (Blogger)

The Winner of Elizabeth Scott’s Stealing Heaven is: Martha Alderson! (Blogger)

The Winner of Robin Wasserman’s Hacking Harvard is: Jodi! (My Space)

Congratulations! I will be getting in touch with you soon to get your information!

Next, we have the week’s second big SURPRISE!

The most fabulous, amazing Ellen Hopkins is interviewing ME!

Hey Teri! Ellen Hopkins here. If your readers don’t know who I am . . . HMPH! Why not? Just kidding. If they don’t know my work, I write novels-in-verse. The four I have now are Crank and it sequel, Glass; Impulse; and Burned. Oh, and my new novel, Identical, will be on bookshelves in August. But hey, I’m here to talk about you, and since I’m not interviewing you for a magazine article, I thought I’d ask questions a Publishers Weekly reporter might not ask. Answer if you dare!

Ellen: My readers often want to know what high school was like for me. I was the “artsy, creative” type. How about you? Did you fit into any of these cliques?
Hippie/Earth Mother
Artsy (Theater/Choir/Band/Creative writing)

Teri: Wow. I just now realized that I didn’t really fit into any of those groups. Talk about a fish out of water! I was smart enough to be a brainiac (except for math) but lacked the self discipline. I was artsy in a way because I wrote a lot, but lacked the sense of style that the artsy crowd requires. I would have been a good hippie, but lacked the commitment. Is there a horse lover/smart/rebellious/ party girl kind of type? No? (Shaking head sadly.) I knew I was a misfit.

Ellen: What about body image? Did you love how you fit in your skin?

Teri: I was 5’8 in sixth grade and one of the tallest kids in junior high, how do you think I felt in my skin? LOL! I’ll never forget those stupid clog my mom let me buy… I wore them once and realized I was taller than most of the teachers! It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that the guys caught up to me and by then the damage had been done.

Ellen: How about now?

Teri: It took a long time, but I am now so comfortable in my skin it’s scary. I am losing weight, but it isn’t because I feel bad about myself, but because I want to be as healthy as I can. I love feeling strong.

What was your worst habit? Do you still have it?

Teri: Smoking was my worst habit. No, I don’t have the habit, but I realize I will always be a nicotine addict and have to avoid it like the plague. There’s no such thing as just one for me! HA!

Ellen: Tell us about the first time you fell in love. Was it amazing?

Teri: I was in kindergarten. He was beautiful. But unfortunately, once I got close to him, I realized that he smelled. Looking back, I don’t think he was completely potty trained.

Ellen: So, like, when did you decide you wanted to be a writer, and not just for fun?

Teri: I think I was always a writer, I just didn’t have the drive and determination to withstand the work, the rejections and the bad reviews. And then suddenly I did. I became a writing maniac. I wrote nonfiction for years, and just dabbled in fiction, and then I just decided to go for it. To my surprise, I snagged one of the best agents in the business and after a long, drawn out process, someone actually bought my book!

Ellen: IS writing fun for you?

Teri: Sometimes it’s an absolute blast. Other times it’s like pulling freaking teeth.

Ellen: When you decided you wanted to be a writer, what did your family and friends say?

Teri: I think they just laughed. (Who’s laughing now, people?) Ahem.

Ellen: Tell us about Read My Lips. Where did the idea come from?

Teri: My Mother in law. After her grandchild was born deaf, she became an advocate for deaf children everywhere. Some people are just born to make a difference. I wanted to be like her in that way.

Ellen: Is your protagonist really “you”? How much like you is she?

Teri: We actually have quite a bit in common—she and I both had issues with school, though for different reasons and I definitely wanted to fly under the radar at school.

Ellen: So, are you, like, mega-rich now?

Teri: No, my teenage daughter wants all of you to buy a copy of Read My Lips because she really, really, really wants to go to Cabo on vacation.

Ellen: What words of advice would you give aspiring young writers?

Teri: Write. Then write some more. There are no shortcuts to publication and there is very little about the process that you can control when you are just beginning. The only thing you can do is to get better at writing.

Ellen: Hey, this was fun. Maybe I should go back to freelancing and give up writing novels . . . Nah! Don’t think so. I totally love what I do. And I know Teri does, too.

You got that right, Ellen. I love what I do!

Now for our guest authors! First up is the utterly talented and amazing Niki Burnham author of Spin Control, Scary Beautiful and Goddess Games.

Welcome Niki!

I am a huge believer in the concept of gifts-to-self. Had a bad day? Gift yourself with a copy of Lucky so you can ogle high-end clothing. Aced an exam or a nailed a tough report for work? Hello, manicure. This week is my birthday, so naturally I'm gifting myself with a copy of Teri's Read My Lips. (Good timing on that book release, Teri!) Buying myself inexpensive treats now and then helps me maintain an upbeat attitude.

When Teri asked me to blog about "being a fish out of water," my first thought was, "What? Blog about a time when I felt ostracized? Blog about feeling BAD?" But the thing is, as an Army brat who grew up moving every 2 – 3 years, I've always been a fish out of water. I attended eight different schools between kindergarten and my high school graduation. It sounds awful, but it really wasn't.

What I learned is that when you catch yourself in these fish-out-of-water situations—say you're the non-sporty girl at a football game, or the one person on your class trip to Mexico who didn't pay attention during Spanish class—you can choose how you feel about the situation. The key to making yourself comfortable is to look for the little gifts you can give yourself. In a country where you don't speak the language? Buy yourself a guidebook with simple phrases (okay, and maybe a few dirty ones. Rick Steves' pocket-sized language books always include a few choice words!) Ask someone with a friendly face why the ref called something the way they did during a game, and you'll both make a friend (hopefully) and learn a little about the game.

Of course, you can always grab yourself a copy of Teri's new book as a self-gift.

Reading about a character in your own situation will remind you that—no matter how out-of-whack you feel with the rest of the world—you're not the first person to feel this way!

Thanks Niki! The nice thing about moving all the time is that you get to see a lot of things other people never have the chance to! Can you tell I moved a lot when I was a kid?

Now it’s time for some serious fan girl gushing, because next up is the awesome, fabulous, amazing, Melissa De La Cruz!

First off, thanks Teri for inviting me to such a FUN party with all these famous people! Those are the kinds of parties I love best, of course, and in my book, author-celebs are even better! Congrats on your debut and all the best with your new book!

My whole life has been a fish-out-water story. I was twelve when we moved to the United States from the Philippines. While I was a huge fan and expert on American pop culture--my favorite shows were The A-Team, Knight Rider and Family Ties, and my friends and I re-enacted scenes from "Return of the Jedi" the summer before my family moved, (I always got to play the Emperor because I liked to hiss "Rebel Ssssscum!") actually being in America was a total culture shock.

For the first couple of months I felt like I was on a movie set. Every boy was a cute as Michael J. Fox and every girl was as pretty as Justine Bateman, so I was intimidated by everybody. Even though I spoke English fluently, and lost whatever trace of an accent I had pretty early, I still pronounce some words incorrectly--just watch me order lobster bisque at a restaurant and you'll see what I mean.

When we moved here, I had no idea what a "booth" was, and when waiters asked if I wanted a "soup or salad", I would just nod, thinking I had ordered the "super salad". I was shocked that at school, no one stood up when the teachers walked in, and that my friends routinely criticized their parents. I'm pretty sure I gasped the first time I heard someone describe their mother as a "bitch".

Americans to me seemed very rowdy, loud, cheerful, friendly, casual and fascinating. Of course I wanted to be just like them. These days I drive barefoot, am known to laugh too loudly at formal restaurants, and use way-too-colorful language on a daily basis like the New Yorker I grew up to become.

But even if I believed I'd finally shed my immigrant awkwardness, the first year my husband and I rented a summer house in the Hamptons brought me back to 1985 again. We arrived via Jitney and as everyone got off the bus toting their weekend gear in crisp LL Bean bags, I pulled along my black wheelie suitcase that went kerplunk kerplunk kerplunk over the cobblestoned streets, once again trumpeting my fish-out-water status.

But that's okay. I've learned how to breathe through my gills.

Thanks Melissa!
Remember, if you haven't picked up a copy of READ MY LIPS yet, you can find it
here on, or in your local bookstore. And if you just stumbled across my blog and are wondering what the fuss is all about, read an excerpt of my brand new YA novel, READ MY LIPS, here.

Thanks everyone! Hope you enjoyed the party! Come back tomorrow for more prizes, surprises and author guests!


Lenore said...

I hope your daughter gets to go to Cabo!

Alea said...

What great stuff today! i'm totally a big believer in giving myself little gifts! Probably too much so!

Julia said...

I find it so interesting when people talk about cliques, my school is too small to have any, we only have fourty people in the freshman class.

Jessica Burkhart said...

Yeah, Teri, who's laughing now! (Love that line, LOL).

The Book Muncher said...

i agree with alea :D i love giving myself stuff all the time!

Gerb said...

Teri, this is The. Best. Launch Party. Ever.

I'll actually be in Cabo this weekend, BTW... I'll send your daughter pictures. hehe

Super mega congrats on your releasee!!!

Joanne Levy said...

I'll do my part to help get your daughter to Cabo.

Happy launch!!!

Tasha said...

Loved the interview Ellen did with you...very cool!

Loved Niki and Melissa's posts today too!!

Don't we all wish we could go to Cabo?!?

Kirsten said...

Hey Teri! Congratulations on the launch!! I can't wait to get my copy (which Amazon ASSURES me is on the way!). Love the cool party music on the blog, too!

I am absolutely a believer in self-gifting. The whole idea is fabulous. As for cliques, I went to a really weird high school that didn't have a lot of the cliques I read about in books. It's a small public high school, but a magnet school for college prep. Everyone was pretty smart, so there weren't really "brainy" cliques. There was no football team -- none of the sports were that great. So while there were definitely little clumps of kids that hung out together, the lines weren't that strict.

I guess I was one of the "nice" kids. How boring is that? :-)

Lexi said...

Great interview, Teri & Ellen, and Teri, I hope the Cabo trip happens too.

Niki, what great advice about gifts to self AND about choosing your attitude toward a situation.

OMG, Melissa! You mean someone other than me admits to being an A-Team fan? How great!

Nicole said...

Great interviews and info. I hope your sales are thru the roof. If I were in the states, I would order one!

avni said...

i love giving myself gifts! I hide them around my room and when I find them, it's a burst of happiness in my day!

Michelle London said...

Loved the reverse interview, Teri! And I was a HUGE Family Ties fan -- in fact, my now 25-year-old daughter is named Mallory!

Jody Feldman said...

Guess which ARC I just got in the mail yesterday. But don't worry ... tell your daughter I'm buying a copy anyway.

And you throw the bestest parties!

Khyrinthia said...

Great posts and interview. I loved them.

And I hope you get that trip to Cabo. I'll be buying my copy soon...

Astrid: said...'re first love sounds like a winner lol :P
Loved the interview!!!

Kelsey said...

Cabo....that sounds nice, I'll be sureto get a copy.

Nice interview Ellen.

Niki, I was a army--brat too, and even though my dad's retired I'm still moving every few years.

That was hilarious Melissa.

Great posts!

Kelly said...

Too cool, too cool. Loved today's interview. =D


Carol said...

Teri, congratulations on your success. You are an inspiration to those of us that are trying to get published.

Carol Preflatish

Elaine Weatherfield said...

I'm in the brainiac group. Though it was funny because they didn't acknowledge my smartness until I won an award.

If you give me a book, I'll buy your book!

Book~Adorer said...

Love Melissa De La Cruz, i've never read anything by Niki so i'm definitely gonna have to look some of her books up.

Melissa Walker said...

Great posts--Love Mel DLC, and had the chance to work with her on a funny Marie Claire story years ago...

Can't wait to check out Niki's books too!

And, great interview, Teri. I loved hearing where your inspiration came from.

Elainareads said...

Great party today!! I loved the interview. The guest authors were great too. Melissa de la Cruz is one of my favorite authors.


Liviania said...

My Borders has an entire shelf devoted to Ellen's books.

I love these "fish out of water" stories. They're . . . comforting. (And well written. ^_~)

Bina said...

Wow, people have such great stories.

I never actually belonged to a crowd either. My and my BFF Beth didn't care though because we had each other and I swear we had more fun being "us" than anyone else could have had!

Wow. Cabo, huh? I sure hope she gets to go, and if I buy...let's say 20 books for friends and family, can I go, too??? LOL

tetewa said...

I can totally relate to Nicki when it comes to moving when your younger. We moved 14 different times until I was in the 5th grade when my parents finally bought a house and we settled. I used to hate starting a new school, and being the new girl. Just when I started making friends we would move again. I'm enjoying the party!

keri mikulski :) said...

Yay! I love chocolate! Thanks, Teri. :)

Ellen and Teri - Great interview.. :) Love the kindergarten first love story! ;)

And Niki - I'm going to buy myself something small right now. :) Loved your post.

keri mikulski :) said...

Melissa - Great stuff.. :) (sorry for some reason, this didn't show in my earlier comment)

jennifer rummel said...

SO funny. Love Melissa de la Cruz's tale. I think a lot of people feel like a fish out of water most days. i'm having that day today...

Meredith said...

Great stories. This is one fun launch party!

Sara Hantz said...

Love your interview!!! your daugher is funny.

Breanna said...

Great posts today! I loved Ellen Hopkins interviewing you, that was great!

This launch party is the greatest.


-Breanna said...

Great stories again today! I love coming on to see what everyone has written.

Hillary said...

Wow, this was awesome today! And it's totally awesome that I won that book. My power has been out for the past day b/c a tree branch fell on a wire during a storm yesterday and I was just able to get online a few minutes ago. Not fun, but what is fun a new book! Thanks!

Oh, and I LOVED the post today. Very funny! You guys ROCK!

Emily Marshall said...

This was kind of fun to see you interviewed on your blog :)

Barrie said...

Very fun day! And I love how Ellen interviewed you, Teri! Sorry about the lack of potty training and that first boyfriend. :)

Lynn said...

We only had 63 graduate but we had the groups. I think there needs to be another one, Band kids. We were a tight group and at our 20 reunion, we were the only ones having fun.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Teri: Nice interview! Loved the questions Ellen asked. My first and only boyfriend was when i was like...six! LOL

Niki and Melissa: Great posts as well. It's nice to hear about other people's "fish out of water" stories. I often feel awkward.


Lindsay said...

I like this launch party.

Emily V said...

lol "Looking back, I don’t think he was completely potty trained." :)


Anonymous said...

Awesome interview!! and i hope you get that trip to cabo!

Grace L

Darylove said...

I loved the interview. And I absolutely loved hearing from Melissa, her being one of my absolute favourite authors and Blue Bloods being my favoutire vampire novel. I absolutely love this party.

Little Willow said...

Congrats on being interviewed by Ellen Hopkins!

mithah said...

I've seen a lot of advice for aspiring authors, and I love that it always comes back to one simple fact: "Write. And enjoy it." Isn't that what it's all about? :)

Daniel said...

Party on, indeed!