Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ghosts of Blogs Past

This is so weird. Sometimes, I don't get a single comment on my blog posts (for which I don't blame you, since I know I can be sporadic about posting. But I have been much better this summer, haven't I?). But I STILL get comments on a post from almost ONE YEAR ago. The post (click here to read it) was a little rant about how Chandler's assignment notebooks had gone out of business and where the heck was I going to find a suitable replacement (which, gack, has not happened and I had to make do with a Trapper Keeper version and put in a makeshift address book). Like I said, that post has almost been up for an entire year, and just today I received another comment on it! I figured out a while back that the reason people are finding it is that they do a Google search for "Chandler's," and my post comes up. But I think it's really funny that people are so passionate about the Chandler's that they feel the need to comment.

And now for another Julie's Most Awesome Book Cover:
from a Time Life series on Human Behavior. Not much more to add to this fabulous atrocity.

Don't forget the Get Well Soon Audiobook Contest! Click here to enter!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Get Well Soon Audiobook Contest!

Yeah, it's time for another contest. I was sort of saving it, to spread the contests out, but then I thought, why? I can have another contest soon to win Into the Wild Nerd Yonder buttons (oooooh!), a Get Well Soon paperback contest, and then, soon enough, a full-on Nerd hardcover contest. Calm down, calm down. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Today begins the Get Well Soon audiobook contest! If you love audiobooks (and who doesn't?), or if you love Get Well Soon (I sure hope you do), or if you just love me (um, no pressure, really), then please enter to win one of three, that's right, THREE copies of Get Well Soon on audio. These are finely crafted, Listening Library audio CDs, ladies and germs, all in a shiny, yellow plastic case. Read by the wonderful Mandy Siegfried. Here's the lowdown on Get Well Soon (just in case you don't already know):
Anna Bloom is depressed—so depressed that her parents have committed her to a mental hospital with a bunch of other messed-up teens. Here she meets a roommate with a secret (and a plastic baby), a doctor who focuses way too much on her weight, and a cute, shy boy who just might like her.

But wait! Being trapped in a loony bin isn’t supposed to be about making friends, losing weight, and having a crush, is it?

In her fiction debut, Julie Halpern finds humor in the unlikeliest of places, and presents a character whose voice—and heart—will resonate with all of us who have ever felt just a little bit crazy.

Here's the ol' webpage link to get the full on scoop.

All you have to do to enter is comment on this blog post about anything. Could be about this post, could be about SYTYCD, could be about what you had for dinner last night. I'll draw the three winners in one week (if I remember to do it next Thursday. Otherwise, possibly next Friday. It's kind of like at the end of voting shows, where they say, "The phone lines will be open for at least two hours after the show." What's that about? How do you know when to stop calling then?).

Good luck, loyal listeners!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spawn of Satan

Earwigs. What gives? Why are they still so disgusting and scary to me? Forever, I have been terrified of them. I wrote a series of zine articles about them when I published my zine, cul-de-sac, my favorite being a story from when I worked in a public library in Madison. A woman came up to me and asked for info about earwigs. I told her I was sort of an expert, since I was so afraid of them. She pulled me aside, and in a thick, East Coast accent asked me, "Will they go--" For which I promptly interrupted her and said, "No, they won't go in your ears. That's a myth." To which she said, "No. Will they go in my pubic area?" Hee hee. Anywho, the whole point of that was that there was an earwig in my bed last night. Matt caught it before I could see it, but still. Nightmares all night long.

In other news, I got my hair highlighted today. I have some grays, and I thought highlights would be a nice way of covering them without committing to coloring all of my hair all of the time. It looks nice, but I still see the grays! Why didn't the colorist make it a point to seek out all 27 of the gray hairs and paint them individually? Did I need to pay extra for that or something?

Even though I have never watched John and Kate Plus Eight, I feel icky about their divorce. Even ickier than I feel about her hair.

So how many of my blog readers are going to ALA this year?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Get Well Me?

I am having a hard time. I don't know if it's due to events that are going on today (sorry, I will not talk about what those events are, so I shouldn't even have brought it up. But it's a slight context for this post, anyway), or if it's due to lack of sleep (both natural and baby related), or if it's my joyous chemical makeup that has caused me so much beef in the past. I am in a funk. It's like I'm excited about things (including my amazing daughter), but I feel like I should be more excited. I'm stoked about ALA, but now I am feeling pressure to befriend all sorts of other authors and bloggers in an effort to "fit in." I think that's what I'm doing. I like knowing and meeting people, but part of me just feels like a poseur. That, yes, I am an author and, yes, I am a blogger, but am I really legit enough to hang with others of that persuasion? The only people at ALA I feel truly cozy with are my fellow librarians, probably because a) I've been doing that for over ten years, b) I've been on ALA committees and won ALA awards and have already been to numerous conferences, so, yeah, I'm legit, and c) I'm a really good librarian (this is something I know in my gut). Why am I telling you this? Dunno. How about I lighten the mood with a hilarious book cover from my recently weeded NF collection?
Um, maybe not so hilarious? Don't get me wrong. I'm not making fun of suicide, of course (I totally feel like I need to back that up, even with all of my own depression history), but this book cover is funny. The book was published around the time of my own hospitalization as a teen, and I can't imagine looking to this book for guidance. All I can think of is the photo shoot, and the photographers saying things like, "Look sadder! No! Sadder! Touch the pills! Touch them. And be sure to show off those fabulous leopard print leggings!" Is this in poor taste? I sure hope not. I don't need another thing to feel depressed about.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Julie's Most Awesome Book Covers

I've been hoarding silly book covers for a while now. This is the fourth library I have worked in, and I have seen my share of hilarity. I wish I saved every one because I know there are some doozies that are lost forever in the stacks. I do have several, though, collected in the past few years that I will begin sharing in a new blog segment called Julie's Most Awesome Book Covers (is that a lame segment name? It's late. I'll try to think of something catchier. Or, if you like, suggest one for me). I'm starting with one of the best. It's a YA novel (as most will be) by Neal Shusterman. Neal's books can be pretty scary and suspenseful. The cover of Speeding Bullet, however, appears to be the scariest thing about this book, published in 1991.
Now check out my AWESOME tweak of the cover. I worked hard on this, ladies and gents, painstakingly cutting and coloring the M. And let me tell you, if you want to make me laugh, this is the way to go (click to enlarge):
Every time. It is freakin' hilarious EVERY TIME. I sure hope you agree.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Deliver Me

I am going to respond to two things that people wrote in my comments recently. The first being about my audiobook for Get Well Soon, for which I will soon be having a contest where you can win a copy of your very own! Fancy packaging from Listening Library and everything! But the question was about who's reading it, and the answer is the fabulous Mandy Siegfried. I really like the work she's done in the past with teen girl audios (she even reads Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak!). Hope you do, too! I think Listening Library was going to actually let me try out for the reader, or maybe they were just humoring me, but it was right around the time I got pregnant with Romy, and I didn't want to fly out to LA because I was all sick. Plus, they were probably just humoring me. Maybe not?

The second thing I have to respond to is my cousin Dan's comment about my obsession with the movie Deliverance. This was about ten years ago, and I don't know what I was thinking. How can anyone, particarly a twenty-something (at the time) female have an obsession with such a sick, man-centered horror story? Maybe I was really anti-male at the time. Or maybe my whole obsession was with the inbred banjo player (really, does that make it any better?), but I obviously tried to rid my brain of this memory because I completely forgot about it until my cousin brought it up in this here blog. Thanks, Dan. I may have some banjo playin' nightmares tonight.

In happier, poll-tastic news, I just updated my webpage. So please visit the Into the Wild Nerd Yonder page (where I still have to fix a technical glitch with the cover image) and take a quickie poll. It's fun and easy to do! No inbred banjo players allowed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TV Granny (or is that with an ie?)

I'm sure everybody has already seen this, but it's so funny and timely, what with the TV transition and all. Speaking of, I have crappy cable, but I also have a digital TV (or a new big, crazy TV. Whatever.) and a digital antenna, yet I still can't get the greatest channel on earth, MeTv. Why is someone tormenting me so? Anyway, enjoy the granny (it won't let me embed it, so you have to follow the link):

Friday, June 12, 2009

The ITWNY Contest Winner!

And the winner is...

(Play this clip before you read the winner's name to make it more exciting. I swear I will never NOT laugh at this)

biblauragraphy! Contact me with an email to with all of your addressy details! And to everyone else, thank you so much for entering! I hope to see many of you at ALA this summer, where there will be more galleys. And keep reading the blog because I will soon have another contest up where someone can win an audiobook of my novel, Get Well Soon!

I have used way too many exclamation points in this. Blame the bowl of Frosted Flakes and handful of Zours I just ate.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Galley Contest, Part Doo

I think I was trying to say "deux" in French, but doo is much funnier. To me, anyway. Since my last contest attempt was so lame, I'm making a sequel. And you're all invited! Once again, I am offering you, my loyal blog readers, a chance to win a galley (that's pre-published to you and me, Rusty) of my upcoming YA novel, Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. The story:

It's Jessie's sophomore year of high school. A self-professed "mathlete," she isn't sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved off his mohawk and started dating...the prom Princess!)...

Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way--the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?

If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?

If you'd like to be entered, make a comment about the new book cover, or the weather, or So You Think You Can Dance, or just stop by and say hello. Your name will be entered into a hat that I will draw from at the end of next week. The 12th. This book is for 13 years-old and up, btw. Good luck! May the best nerd win.

Friday, June 05, 2009


As a completely inappropriate follow-up to my Grandma Sylvia post, I now must ask: why do middle schoolers draw pictures of penises in each other's yearbooks? It's so gross to open a kid's book to sign it, and there's a penis! One girl had some boobs in her book. Really? I don't get it. I guess it has always been that way, since I distinctly remember Abe Betancourt, who I didn't even know but who I rode the bus with, signed my 8th grade yearbook: "Have a f%$*in' headbangin' summer. Do bongs." Um, will do, Abe. And then he promptly threw my awesome green pen out the bus window. Nice.

Monday, June 01, 2009


My Grandma Sylvia passed away Saturday night. It was not unexpected, but it's still sort of shocking. She was my last living grandparent, outlasting my Grandma Bess by over ten years. I never knew either of my grandfathers. I was never extremely close to my Grandma Sylvia, and yet we had so many weird things in common. Not exactly in common. No. More like, we had some weird connection. My grandma was a smart woman. Wickedly sharp and funny. I feel like I can parallel so many things that she did in her life with things I found interest in at one time or another. She published her own newspaper; I published a zine (and subsequently met my husband that way). She built her own dollhouses; I have always been afraid, yet drawn to dolls. She sold wigs at a place called The Wigwam; and for a while I was a collector and wearer of wigs, too. And Riverview. For those who don't know, Riverview was an amusement park in Chicago, one that closed down before I was even born. Our local PBS channel filmed a special about it. My parents reminisce about it. And my Grandma Sylvia worked there as a ballyhoo girl, calling patrons in to rides and games. "Three balls for a nickel!" Stuff like that. I have always held a wonder and fascination with carnivals. The weirdest carnival memory I have was when I went on a camp field trip with the one summer camp I hated. I had no friends there, and for some reason we went to a carnival. Small town. Seedy. Walking by myself, I came upon a tent. "Snakewoman," it said. Freaked the CRAP out of me. I was terrified, and yet, I wanted to see her. I chickened out, of course, but I'll always have that combination of wonder and terror about carnivals. When I lived in Australia, I nearly interviewed for a job at Luna Park, until I met the sleazo who would be hiring me. I guess I wasn't a true carnie. But my grandma was. It even says so in her obituary. I come from carnie blood, and I'm quite proud of it. It kind of makes sense.

You, and all of your bizarre, hilarious, dollhoused, wig-covered ways will be missed, Grandma Sylvia. I hope you and Grandma Bess, Grandpa Joe and Grandpa Jack are having fun on all of the rides together, painting the town bright red.