Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Day I Met J.K. Rowling

I try to limit my Harry Potter posts here to once a week (that's hard, believe me) so as not to completely terrify you. If you couldn't guess from the title, this post is extra-special.

It was 2007. In July of that year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released (more about my adventures with that another time). In August of that year, I quit my day job at the time to try and get back to writing, something I'd stopped doing for about a year and a half. I took a children's book writing class and I started writing what would eventually (far, far in the distant future) become my debut book.

Sometime that summer, Scholastic announced that they were running a special 4-part event with J.K. Rowling. Three of those events would be for kids from randomly selected NYC public elementary schools. One event would be for everyone, but winners would also be randomly selected from a lottery. I applied, of course, and got a bunch of my friends to apply as well.

And then I forgot about it. Because, after all, I imagine Scholastic must have gotten tens of thousands of applications (if not more) and the chances of any name being drawn were, let's just say, completely slim.

Sometime in September, my boyfriend, Graig called me. "What are you doing October 19th?" he asked. What a weird question, I thought. But then again, that date sounded awfully familiar to me. October 19th...October 19th.

"Never mind!" he blurted out. "I know what you're doing! You're going to go see J.K. Rowling with me!"

I think I screamed. I might have blacked out. Anyway, let's just say I was excited. Mildly.

The event was wonderful. Jo read a chapter and then answered some terrific fan questions (it was at this event that she outed Dumbledore--AND I WAS THERE! The audience reaction and applause was an extraordinary thing to be a part of; it made me feel lighter than air).

And then, after an all-too-short hour and a half, J.K. was going to sign each and every one of our 2,000 books. They lined us up pretty efficiently and we all waited patiently to reach her table.

Graig asked me if I was going to say anything to her. Once you got up there, you had about 20 seconds before she moved on to the next person. As nervous and terrified as I was (my heart was definitely somewhere in my throat), I knew that I had to.

So when my turn came, I said in a horribly shaky voice, "I just wanted to tell you how inspiring you've been to me as a writer." She looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, "Thank you." Actually, she looked every single person in the eye as they came up to her. All 2,000 of them. And if I felt light and airy before, it was nothing compared to how I felt then. I was practically up and away on a Firebolt.

Here it is. One of my most prized possessions:
If I ever have a horcrux, this will be it.
 And, yup, that is Mary Grandpre's signature on it as well. But that is a post for another week!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Covers I Love: May B.

My fellow debut 2012 author, Caroline Starr Rose, revealed her cover last week and I'm not kidding when I say I've been staring at it all weekend. I asked her if I could post it here since--if you haven't seen it already--I think you should stare at it too.
I would pick that book up in a heartbeat. The illustration (done by C.S. Neal) is gorgeous, but so is the title font. (Click on the cover to make it bigger). I love that white, striped drop shadow on the title. And the way Caroline's name is a little bit faded to look vintage (it doesn't hurt that her name is probably the most perfect author name ever, too). Big kudos to the art director who put this together.

And now that I've gotten your attention, here's a little synopsis of May B.
Mavis Elizabeth Betterly, or May B. as she is known, is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead, “Just until Christmas,” says her Pa. Twelve-year-old May wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by fifteen long, unfamiliar miles.

Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned to the oncoming winter, trapped all alone in a tiny snow-covered sod house without any way to let her family know and no neighbors to turn to. In her solitude, she wavers between relishing her freedom and succumbing to utter despair, while trying to survive in the harshest conditions. Her physical struggle to first withstand and then to escape her prison is matched by tormenting memories of her failures at school. Only a very strong girl will be able to stand up to both and emerge alive and well.
So, right, can't wait to read this.

AND here's the back cover too:

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Title Page!!

This just might be my favorite blog day EVER!

Not only did I announce the amazing and oh-so-worthy winners of my Geek-Off BUT my editor just told me that I can share my title page.

So, are you ready?

ZOMG! I don't know about you, but I LOVE IT. That font makes me teary, it's so lovely. And then there's my name. And the compass rose.

I haven't met the art director who's responsible for this yet but, when I do, I hope she's prepared for hugs.

Geek = WINNER!

The poll is closed and the winner of the first-ever Geek-Off is @nicholasdoyle. Nick's wedding ring has the bat symbol engraved inside of it. Like so:

Nick's story gets even better. Wait for it...his father-in-law made the ring. And his sister-in-law (his wife's sister) did the engraving. And Nick didn't even know about it. Clearly, Nick, you win at life (and at in-laws) and don't need my official Geek-Off crown. However, you won it fair and square (and what are we geeks if not fair and square), so here is your prize, which you will be getting in the mail shortly:

Runner-up was the valiant @debbbers. Debby is a head biologist. She is very, very smart and does very, very smart thing with viruses all day. One day, Debby made up this song:
Whatugonnado with all that virus? All the virus inside your iris? Imma gonna get conjunctivitis!
If I'm not mistaken, I believe said song is set to the tune of the seminal Black Eyed Peas classic, 'My Humps.'

Debby, you deserve something for your unabashed geekiness (and your vast lyrical improvements) so you shall be getting this:

As for me and my Gryffindor crest, I am humbled and delighted to be in third place and in the midst of such fine, fine geekery. Dolls, thrones, office supplies, Kenneth Branagh...I truly feel as if I am amongst my people! Keep up the good work, my fellow geeks. Who knows? There may be another Geek-Off just around the corner!

And for the record--because this story is too good not to share--last night I went to use my boyfriend's computer to Photoshop the proprietary 'Geek' logo you see above. He wasn't home and the monitor was asleep. When I awoke said monitor, I saw that it was on YouTube...on this video to be exact: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlE_bLZj9T0

Yes, that is a narrated video of someone playing an 80s text-based adventure computer game called Conquests of Camelot. I almost gave him the crown right on the spot.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vote for the Geekiest Geek of Them All!

I asked for your geekiest stories and, boy, did you deliver.

So what geekier way to declare the winner of the first-ever Geek-Off than by voting for it in a poll. Because, let's face it, you probably like voting. And pressing buttons.

So here they are, ladies and gentlemen, the Geek-Off candidates:

Who wins the Geek-Off?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Let's Have a Geek-Off!

Friends, the time has come for me to confess...that I am a geek. A nerd. A person who gets embarrassingly excited about odd things.

I know, this is probably shocking. Have a seat. Make yourself a cup of tea. I'll wait.


Okay? All settled?

That's good because I have some more disturbing claims to make. The thing is, I've long had a suspicion that if you read this blog, you just might be a geek too.

Now, now. Don't get all up in arms. I'm not saying you definitely are. I'm just saying there's a good chance you might be.

And if you're still reading, and have accepted yourself as such, how about a little friendly competition, eh? No, not the kind that requires things like running or hand-eye coordination (puh-leeze). The kind that involves showing off our most prized possessions and having a...GEEK-OFF.

I'll begin and, I admit, I'm starting off strong.

There's a (non-working) fireplace in my apartment that came with a pretty little embellished design. Like so:

As we were painting it, my friend Bryan had an idea. Which my boyfriend, Graig, then executed.

Friends, I present to you...the crest of GRYFFINDOR!

Yeah. Uh-huh. That's right.

So...got something geeky to show me? Link to it in the comments below. Bring it...[pausing to use my inhaler]...on!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movies I Love: Pillow Talk

My dad is somewhat of a classic film buff and I grew up watching a lot of old movies (and an inordinate amount of musicals). There are some truly delightful films out there that I think are a bit under the radar for people of my generation. Sure, most everyone has seen or at least knows of The Wizard of Oz, or Gone With the Wind, or Citizen Kane. But have you seen...Pillow Talk?

This 1959 comedy centers on two people who share a party line. What the heck is a party line, you might ask. Apparently, there was a time when there weren't enough telephone numbers to go around and people were forced to share them. In this day and age of multiple personal communication devices, this concept appears horrifying, I know. Surprisingly, Pillow Talk is not a horror movie.

Ghostface is not on the other line.
Here's what happens. You have Jan, an uptight interior designer, sharing a party line with Brad, the consummate ladies man. They've never physically met but they basically want to strangle each other. That is until one day when Brad catches sight of the lovely Jan and disguises himself (and his voice) as gentlemanly Texan, Rex, in order to seduce her. Yes, Rex is the name he actually chooses.

Here are three vital reasons to see this movie (if you haven't already):

3) Brad and Jan? They're played by Rock Hudson and Doris Day. I dare you to find two more attractive people than 1959-era Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

2) The WARDROBE. Anyone who's ever drooled over an outfit in Mad Men has got to see Jan Morrow's closet.

1) The Big Reason: this film's got some of the funniest, wittiest, most layered dialogue I've ever heard. I still find new nuances every time I watch it (and I'm a repeated viewer, believe me). Plus the cheeky sight gags are grade-A fun.

Have you seen this gem? If not, would you consider giving it a go?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Finalists: Vote for the Winner!

Update: The contest is now closed and the winners have been announced! A huge, heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated and voted. Jane Austen action figure loves you from the bottom of her plastic Regency-era heart (and so do I!). And congratulations to the winners (it was a very close race):

Grand prize: @sycamoremeadows: In her day #janeaustenactionfigure was NORTHANGERed & her SENSE of PRIDE damaged when publishing was PREJUDICED as a MANSFIELD

Runner-up: @impossibilly: Browsing her local bookstore, #janeaustenactionfigure found herself in her own section. "Really? Zombies?" she lamented.

#janeaustenactionfigure has had a massively busy week. She met everyone from Dr. Who to Lord Voldemort, kicked some butt, sang some songs, and even came face-to-face with a giant or two.

This is what she looks like after-the-fact:

Jane Austen action figure throws her hands up in the air, as if to say, "What can I say? I remain poised and awesome."
I've adored reading each and every one of your Jane Austen action figure tweets...but now comes the hard part. One of the five finalists below will win a $50 Amazon gift card and be dubbed the #janeaustenactionfigure Questmaster. The runner-up will win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card and will be first in line to take over the Questmaster's duties should the Questmaster be unable to fulfill his or her obligations (namely accepting a $50 gift card).

Who wins...is up to you! Vote now for your favorite #janeaustenactionfigure tweet in the poll below. Voting will be open until Saturday 4/16 at 11:59 PM EST.

Which of these #janeaustenactionfigure tweets is your favorite?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh the Villainy: Dolores Umbridge

In some stories, a good villain is just as important as a good hero. Someone whose guts you can hate, who makes the hero's life as hard as it can possibly be, and whose demise you ultimately root for.

Everyone knows the villain of Harry Potter's story: the Dark Lord himself, Voldemort. And what a terrifying antagonist he is.

But I actually think there's a villain in the series that I hated even more than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. That's right: I'm talking about the power-hungry, hair-bow-wearing, cat-plate-collecting UPPER MANAGEMENT NIGHTMARE, Ms. Dolores Umbridge.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one of my very favorites of the series. I actually love the risk J.K. Rowling took by making Harry a bit unlikeable. He's moody and irascible...but he's also 15 and saddled with a terrible burden. It makes absolute sense.

And then there's Dolores Umbridge. I hated her and her greedy, underhandedly unfair ways. I despised her cruel (and painful) punishments for Harry. When she succeeded Dumbledore as headmaster and her decrees got more and more ridiculous, I think I got physical hives. And I don't think I ever cheered as loudly during a book as when the fabulous Weasley twins gave her her comeuppance (thanks to a box of fireworks and their wicked sense of humor).

In her way, I think Umbridge is a scarier villain than Voldemort. Why? Because she seems so much more real. Voldemort is a dark wizard who is so evil, he doesn't even look human anymore. But Umbridge's flaw is ultimately a very human one: she seeks ambition and power above all else. And, unfortunately, I think we all see and hear of people, some in great power, whose failings are exactly that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest Post: Children's Librarian/Writer Sarah O'Holla's Recommendations For National Poetry Month!

Sarah O'Holla was one of the first people I ever knew to keep a blog. A real blog, which she updated frequently and with care to reflect her love and knowledge of the world of children's and YA literature. Without further ado, here's Sarah!
I don’t want to
because boys
don’t write poetry.

Girls do.
That is the first poem in Sharon Creech’s novel written in verse Love That Dog. Doesn’t it make you want to keep reading? Don’t you feel like you’re not even reading poetry? 

I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to love poetry, but most of the time, I feel like I just don’t get it. That is why I love, love, love novels written in verse. I need a string of poems put together to tell me a really good story, to keep me reading poetry. I need to forget that I’m reading poetry to enjoy it, and that’s exactly what my favorite novels written in verse manage to do.

In honor of national poetry month, and me being a children’s librarian, where we like, LIVE for April, Sarv asked me to guest post on her blog and I was glad to oblige. In the name of poetry lovers out there who don’t really like poetry all the time, this post is for you. 

These are some of my favorite children’s and young adult novels written in verse. Give one a try in honor of National Poetry Month and I have a feeling that you won’t feel the same way about poetry ever again.

1. Love the Dog by Sharon Creech
We follow Jack’s poetry journal and see how his opinion of poetry goes from thinking Robert Frost had a little too much time on his hands to discovering his all time favorite poem.  Don’t forget to check out the sequel too--Hate that Cat!

2. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Two words come to mind when describing this book, “gut wrenching.” Don’t read this book without a box of tissues handy, you’ve been officially warned. Out of the Dust takes place in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the great depression and is told from the point of view of Billie Jo, a fourteen-year-old girl whose mother has just died, and her father caused the accident that led to her death. Yeah, it’s dramatic, and so good, and so beautifully written like only Karen Hesse can do. Go read everything she has ever written--NOW I say!

3. Heaven Looks a Lot like the Mall by Wendy Mass
This book also starts with one of the best first stanzas ever written:
For fifty cents and a Gobstopper
I lifted my shirt for the neighborhood boys.
My older brother Matt caught us
and chased the boys with a
Wiffle bat.
Word got around, and at nine years old
I became the girl
other girls’ moms
Didn’t want them to play with.
I know, right? It involves being in a coma and stuck in the mall. Just go read it.

4.What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
This is one of my all time favorite books ever. Do you remember what it felt like the very first time you fell in love? No? Yes? Well even if you think you do, read this book and it will all come flooding back to you full force. The entire novel gives you goosebumps and butterflies throughout. One of the best YA love stories ever written!

5. And finally, Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff 
...which might just be in my top ten favorite YA novels of all time list (What My Mother Doesn’t Know is on that list too).  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It is the first in a trilogy and I can honestly say I love the entire trilogy, but I think Make Lemonade, the first book, is my favorite.  These books tell the story of two inner city girls, LaVaughn and Jolly, who are trying to live the best lives that they can. It is heartbreaking and hopeful all at once and plain and simple, just a really good story.

Thanks for having me, Sarv! And readers of Sarv’s blog, if you’re interested in more of my thoughts on children’s and YA books, thoughts about being a librarian and writer and just my everyday life, please stop by my blog desirousofeverything.blogspot.com and say hello. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So, apparently, my book deal got announced in Publishers Marketplace yesterday. This is what it said:

Sarvenaz Tash's THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST, about a girl who sets out to make the most accurate map of her hometown that ever existed, and discovers that there is no adventure without danger, pitched as MATILDA meets THE GOONIES, to Stacy Cantor Abrams at Walker Children's, for publication in April 2012, by Marissa Walsh at FinePrint Literary Management (World).

You might be wondering, "what do you mean your deal got announced? Haven't you been pestering us all with Tweets, and blog posts, and Facebook fan pages that you're an author now?"

To which I'll say, "Ooh. Speaking of Facebook fan pages, I have one now! It's at www.facebook.com/sarvenaztash. Won't you like me?"

Then I'll grin sheepishly and answer your real question.

Deals don't get announced in Publishers Marketplace (or Publishers Weekly if it's a high-profile deal), until it's really official. And it's not really official until you and your publishing house have both signed the contract (usually brokered by your agent, if you have one). Working out the details of that contract can take a long time. Which means that I had finished all my revisions and handed in my copyedits before I got my announcement.

Here's the interesting thing, this is not unusual at all. In fact, most of the 2012 debut authors I keep in contact with don't seem to have their contracts finalized.

At first, it made me really nervous to tell people that I was getting a book published without a contract. What if it fell through and I had to say something like, "Ha! Just kidding!" But, within a month of getting my offer, my agent gave me the go-ahead to let people know and, boy, am I glad she did. I'm pretty sure I would have exploded into Sarvenaz confetti if I had to wait 7 months between now and then before I could say anything.The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Authors would have been seriously displeased.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to be all official now! And, I have to admit, I love what my agent wrote for the announcement, too. Matilda meets The Goonies? Not sure I could ask for better references than that!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Twitter Contest: Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

I've reached 250 followers. First of all, yay and thank you!! Now before some twitterbots unfollow me, I present: the giveaway!

I'm running a contest with awesome, book-buying prizes. They are:

- One $50 Amazon gift card
- Two $25 Barnes & Noble gift cards

The rules are simple. Here's how to play

1) Follow me on Twitter and write me a Twit story using #janeaustenactionfigure as a character.
(Make sure to @ me so that I see the story!) Each Twit story can be no longer than one tweet. But you can enter as many stories as you like. (See the end of this post for examples of some of the adventures Jane Austen action figure had on Sunday, from my Twitter feed).

For visual reference, here is the Jane Austen action figure herself:

My favorite story will win the $50 Amazon card. My second favorite story will win the $25 Barnes & Noble card. (If there are enough entries, I may put it to a vote.)

But what about the third Barnes & Noble gift card you ask? Ah! That card will be drawn at random and here's how you can get your name into that virtual hat:
     -    One entry for participating in the contest (even if you enter multiple stories, you only get one entry per Twitter handle).
     -   One entry for every day you tweet about the contest itself (for example, if you tweet once on Monday and once on Wednesday touting the contest, you get two entries). You can either RT my contest tweets or, if you're doing your own tweet, make sure to @ me so that I see it! Update: If you post about the contest on your facebook or blog, you'll get an entry too. Just make sure to let me know that you've done that and provide a link if possible!

The contest will be running from now until Friday, April 15th at 6 PM EST. Good luck and hit me up in the comments section if you have any questions!

And here are #janeaustenactionfigure 's adventures from Sunday:
After surviving the Brontes' h.s. cafeteria debacle , #janeaustenactionfigure is approached at her locker by resident bad boy, JD Salinger.

Meanwhile, #janeaustenactionfigure 's sensitive BFF John Keats watches with jealousy and confusion as Salinger openly flirts with her.

After school #janeaustenactionfigure is on her way home--minding her own business--when she sees an odd pairing: Ernie Hemingway & Eddie Poe.

#janeaustenactionfigure hears Hemingway telling Poe to, paraphrasing here according to Miss Austen's wishes, man up & stop being a wuss.

Poe looks like he might cry, which would totally smear his guyliner. #janeaustenactionfigure knows this would only devastate him further...

..with one line, #janeaustenactionfigure puts Ernie in his place: Why don't you go spend 200 pages trying to catch a fish or something.

It may not seem like a huge putdown, but #janeaustenactionfigure knows what no one else does...

...that big bully Ernie is actually very sensitive about his fishing. Which he equates with his machismo. #janeaustenactionfigure 

After yet another action-packed day at school, #janeaustenactionfigure goes to sleep,wondering if it's possible that Salinger like likes her

What's in a Name?

As you may or may not know, my first name means cypress tree.

Which looks like this:
Up until about three days before I was born, my name was supposed to be Taraneh (which means song). Right around that time, my dad was reading a novel which he then passed on to my mom. Guess what the heroine's name in this novel was? If you said Sarvenaz, you win a blogger gold star.

My sister, who was born 3 1/2 years later, was named after a flower but also given a name that "went" with mine: Golnaz. That's kind of a thing in my culture. For example, my mom and her five brothers and sisters all have names that begin with 'H.'

I was named after a character in a novel and now I write them. Cool story, right? Do I think it's a coincidence? Honestly, yes and no.

I really believe that what we're named impacts us pretty profoundly. It's the sound we hear day in and day out, the sound that's associated with us. And if that sound has other meanings or histories, I think that can become embedded in us, too.

Now, I actually like my name when it's pronounced correctly. I like its meaning. I like the story behind it. And, to be totally fair, my parents had no idea they would be emigrating to America when they chose it for me. But when I was a very shy kid in school, seeing every teacher and classmate struggle with it and, sometimes, put their own confounding spin on it, did I hate it? Yes. I would have given anything to be named Mary, or Jennifer, or Kate or any other lovely and easily pronounceable name.

Or Taraneh. My almost-name which would have been shortened to the perfectly anglicized Tara. And then, would I have been a different person than I am now? I'm sure to an extent that I would be.

Naming characters is is one of my favorite parts of writing. I often think about their backstories, what made their parents name them what they did, and how it may or may not affect who they are. My main character in The Mapmaker and the Ghost is named Goldenrod--an unusual name that plays a significant part in her story.

Do you think your name has affected who you are? If so, how?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Have You Met Miss Jones?

Tomorrow, I'll be co-leading a writing workshop for Girls Write Now, the volunteer program I'm a part of that pairs pro women writers with teen mentees. The workshop is on screenplay adaptation which means I've spent a lot of this past week thinking about them.

As I've mentioned before, it's very rare for me not to come out of a movie and think "the book was better." But there ARE some exceptions to that. One of which is the great and powerful...Bridget Jones's Diary.

I happen to love the book and the movie equally (and a lot). AND the two are very different from each other. So, how can that be?

First of all...the book. Bridget was a groundbreaking character, a really unique voice, and she helped usher in a certain genre of British chick lit for sure. She was also hilarious. That's one of those books that makes me laugh out loud every time.

But if you think about it, the book is literally a diary and almost all of its humor comes from Bridget's internal voice. Not so easy to adapt into a visual medium.

So the screenwriters Andrew Davies (of BBC Pride and Prejudice fame), Richard Curtis (of Love Actually fame) and Helen Fielding (the author herself) had to change some things around to make it work. One of the biggest changes, I think, was in Daniel Cleaver's character. In the adaptation, Daniel is much more of a cad than he comes across as in the book. He's also set up as much more of a rival to Mark Darcy. Making an archetypal character and conflict like that are great for screen adaptations (when they're done well, of course).

And then there's the casting. Could there be any two people more perfect to play Daniel and Mark than Hugh Grant and Colin Firth? I also know that Renee Zellweger's casting was highly controversial (especially for Brits). But I actually think she did an excellent job of conveying Bridget's lovable loopiness. Plus, I think the film uses its soundtrack to excellent effect.

The main thing is the film is just as funny as the book, even if it uses some different jokes and set ups, and it gets across the same tone and themes.

An excellent week's progress, Bridget. Or, er, you know, however long it took Fielding, Curtis and Davies to write that screenplay!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More 'Bad' Movies I Love: The Cutting Edge

This weekend, I unpacked a box of DVDs into my new apartment, and I got a little jolt of happiness when I came across my copy of The Cutting Edge.

That's right: I love The Cutting Edge. The original The Cutting Edge, mind. I'm not sure what's going on with those ABC Family remakes that feature fake Doug Dorseys and Kate Moseleys.

My boyfriend already makes fun of me for this. In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, I'd like to point out that his DVD collection includes Freddy Got Fingered and Troy.

But here's the thing: I think The Cutting Edge is well-written. And to prove my point, I'd like to mention that it's written by the OSCAR-nominated Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Identity, Dolores Claiborne). It's his first movie actually. Secondly, I'm a sucker for chemistry, especially the I-hate-you-so-much-I-love-you-chemistry. And Moira Kelly and D.B. Sweeney have this in spades. Or should I say toe picks.

Speaking of D.B. Sweeney, he also goes on my list of underrated actors I dearly love. Once, on an early date, I scared my boyfriend because he mentioned D.B. and I breathed out something like "OhmygodyouknowwhoDBSweeneyis?!" There may also have been a shriek involved.

It turns out D.B. is also in some baseball movie or other (Okay, okay, I know it's Eight Men Out. You can't date someone who does this for a living and NOT know that, I guess). Hockey and baseball and figure skating?! So athletic.

I'd just like to point out that the early D.B.-discovery date has turned into us being together five years later, Graig. Not saying The Cutting Edge is entirely responsible for that but, you know, just putting that out there.

Doug can read!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My First Giveaway!

It's spring in New York! My book's getting published next year! I'm feeling generous! Exclamation points are fun.

Really, though, I'm about to switch jobs and I want to take all the most fun parts of my old job (which involved social media and competitions) and use it in my author life as an apropos way to bid adieu. And also as a way to give you prizes.

So, here's the deal. I've come up with a fun little contest that I'll be running on Twitter AND I can tell you the prizes:

ONE grand prize winner will win a $50 Amazon gift card
TWO runners-up will each win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card

Everyone who participates will win my undying devotion. Oh, and Twitter hearts. Old job made me VERY good at Twitter hearts, trust me.

And now here's the catch: I'm going to run the contest as soon as I have 250 followers. That is what the Twitter fairy who visited me last night told me to do, and that's what I'm sticking with. As of this blog posting, I'm at 192 followers. What's 58 followers between friends, eh?

So if you'd like to give a little nudge to all your Twitter followers and get me up to 250, the contest will be up that much sooner. Here is where you can find me: www.twitter.com/sarvenaztash

In the meantime, I'm going to go have a talk with the Twitter fairy. We have GOT to discuss that skimpy 140-thread outfit.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Birthday Bash #25: The 80s

In my family, birthdays were a big deal. Since we didn't celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, your birthday was when you got the big presents and the big celebration. My birthday happens to fall exactly one week before Halloween.

This is my setup as to why, for the past five years, I've thrown myself a big, themed bash where I've forced my friends to dress up in all sorts of manners. My first theme, for my 25th birthday, was the 80s.

This is what I wore:
That is my cousin's actual prom dress and that is my actual teen angst pose. I really need to Photoshop some lockers behind me.

This is what some other awesome people wore:

The Decor: Pink & teal crepe paper, tablecloths and utensils; totally tubular movie posters (Pretty in Pink, The Goonies, and Raiders of the Lost Ark to be exact); genuine Garbage Pail Kids cards (thanks, ebay!) hung from the ceiling
The Favors: Ring pops and sealed Garbage Pail Kids wax packs. One of my party-goers was brave enough to try the gum. She has not been heard from since.
The Music: Pretty obvious, no? I had an 11-hour long playlist. There was a lot of this going on:

At one point, we had a noise complaint and the cops were called. When I went out to speak with him in my 80s prom dress he politely asked if we were having a Halloween party and I decided to insist that, no. It was obviously my birthday. To his credit, he tried really hard to contain his laughter as he told us to please turn it down.

Turning 25 was totally rad, you guys. AND it gave me one of my favorite couple shots ever. This:

P.S. That's my friend Jenny in the background who dressed like she was in her 80s.