Sunday, August 30, 2009

Neverending Commute Episode 2

Here's the second episode of my podcast, The Neverending Commute. I broke this one up into two parts, each about fifteen minutes, so that it's much more digestible. This episode I talk about all of the TV shows I'm watching these days, plus some other things I forget because I recorded it during my Friday commute home, and it's already Sunday. The brain leaks. Hope you like it!

Part 1

Part 2

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Neverending Commute Podcast--MP3

I realize now that I didn't post my first podcast as an MP3, so here is the new link to the MP3 version. Tomorrow I'll be posting the second episode, which I broke down into two more bite-sized episodes (the first is 44 minutes long, just so you know. I don't call it the Neverending Commute for nothing).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Proust Questionnaire Thursday! Today's Special Guest: Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is a fellow Feiwel and Friends family member. He writes a book pretty much every time he poops (um, I guess that would mean he poops kind of infrequently, but I mean he writes A LOT). His first novel, Ghost Medicine, was named a BBYA of 2009, and his second novel, the intense in the path of falling objects, arrives in bookstores on 9/9/09. He also likes to discuss boys and books. A LOT. My daughter warmed up to him immediately, so he is most definitely a decent guy. Look for a million other novels by him in the next year or two. And check out his website and blog at

The following questions are based on James Lipton's questions from Inside the Actors Studio, which, in turn, are based on the Proust Questionnaire. One of the questions is about swearing, so please excuse our French.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present-- Andrew Smith

1. What is your favorite word?


2. What is your least favorite word?

Scrotum. If I had my way, the word would be eradicated from every English lexicon and replaced with "ballsack."

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Travel. Going places I've never been. Especially places where I don't speak the language.

4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Apostrophe misuse.

5. What sound or noise do you love?

Letting go of the mouth on a filled balloon.

6. What sound or noise do you hate?

When the pilot of the airplane I'm on says, "Holy shit! I fucked up!"

7. What is your favorite curse word?

I can't begin to tell you just how much I love the word "douchebag" Well, "fucking douchebag," actually. But neither one of those answers is actually a word, according to my spellcheck. Spellcheck isn't a word, for that matter, either. Douchebag spellcheck.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

The guy who runs the body scanner machine at the airport.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

Undersea welder.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

You again? I'm going to give you one more try to get it right.

PS -- If anyone else picked "douchebag" for #7, then I'll be pissed. It is MY favorite word.

Next Thursday's author: Yvonne Prinz!

My First Podcast!!!

If this worked, I present to you my very first podcast. It's called "The Neverending Commute" and will be recorded most weekdays as I drive home from work (hence the title). In it, I spew about pop culture and heaps of random things, much like my blog. I am trying to figure out the nicest way to post it, and I am really hoping to figure out how to get it up on itunes so people can subscribe and put it on their iPods and whatnot (help?). If you listen, please drop me a line as a comment here or at my email It is long, I know, as is my commute. Perhaps some of you want to listen on your long commutes? Will anyone listen??? Curiouser and Curiouser. Here it is!!!


I am now back at work and crying every day about missing Romy. I am also panicking a bit about when I am going to be able to type up the new book. Weekends? That could take many a weekend. And only during Romy's nap time, of course.

As for the blogging, I am going to experiment in the next week or so with a podcast. I figure, I have this severely long drive to and from work, so why not make the best of it? I ordered a digital voice recorder, so that I can attempt to podcast while I drive home. I also ordered a little lapel mic, so I will be hands-free and whatnot. The podcast will be about whatever I like, but I think I will have some featured segments. I have a feeling no one will listen to it, but it'll be like when I was a kid and my friends and I used to make tapes just for the hell of it. That was soooo fun. So maybe this will be, too.

Time to go to work. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That was Painful

So I'm done posting polls about how many people read my blog. I think I'd rather pretend I have hundreds of readers, laughing out loud at my hijinks.

I'm back at work full time, so blogging will be more irregular. Stick around for my YA Author Proust Questionnaires (this week with Andrew Smith), and look for upcoming podcasts, tentatively titled "My Never-ending Drive Home." Maybe some of you will choose to listen to them on your never-ending drives home. If I can figure out how to create a podcast.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Julie and Julie and Julia

I saw Julie and Julia today. Cute. Meryl Streep was fabulous, as always. I could have watched her for the entire movie, frankly. Amy Adams's hair was very distracting, and her diction felt like she was someone from another country trying to speak with an American accent. Very strange. I wish I could say that the movie inspired me to cook, but, alas, I still have no interest. My husband, however, seemed to find a spark, so I'm hoping that will continue.

The movie also got me thinking about blogs and how Julie's blog had so many followers. Sigh. Not that I feel like my blogging is worth a million hits, but very few blogs out there are great literature. So why do we choose to read certain blogs? Why do some get noticed and not others? The only blogs I read religiously are the ones belonging to a few of my close friends (about, say, their adoption process of a Korean baby or about moving to a new state and trying to adjust), Harry Potter ones (yes, that is dorky. I'll admit it. But HP helped me through some seriously rough patches, so I still keep him around as a sort of security blanket), and Go Fug Yourself (I think these girls are hysterical). So I'm going to throw a poll atcha that I did a loooong time ago (Did you know I've been blogging for over three years?). I'm hoping the stats have increased somewhat from the piddly 13 responses I received the last time I posted it back in 2006. If not, well, maybe I should be doing something more productive with my time?

How often do you check my blog?
Every day
two to three times a week
once a week
once a month
this is my first time
Free polls from

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Proust Questionnaire Thursday! Today's Special Guest: Tamora Pierce!

Tamora Pierce is the goddess of young adult fantasy literature. I have spent countless hours with her characters in Tortall, and once had a student who used her books as security blankets, checking several out per day just to carry around the school. Tamora is currently working on MASTIFF, the end of the Beka Cooper trilogy, and on a collection of short stories for Random House. And she has her own Cafepress store! You can visit Tamora on the web at

The following questions are based on James Lipton's questions from Inside the Actors Studio, which, in turn, are based on the Proust Questionnaire. One of the questions is about swearing, so as Tamora("aka the Pottymouth of Full Cast Audio") says-- Brace yourself!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present-- Tamora Pierce!

1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Nature and music

4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Loud-mouthed bullies and drunks.

5. What sound or noise do you love?
The wind in the trees or a cat's purr.

6. What sound or noise do you hate?
Voices raised in fury.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Stoop labor.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Ya done good, kid."

Next Thursday's author: Andrew Smith!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Welcome to the Jungle

Right now I'm sort of in jungle mode, since Romy is rolling around on her jungle-themed play mat, and I just figured out how to make myself an author page on Amazon (um, that's in a jungle, right? Or not? I meant the Amazon River, not like the online seller is located in the jungle.). Hence the title of this post. Really, I'm just testing this out, so this will be my first blog post that also goes straight to Amazon. Hmm. I should probably spice it up, but I'm not in a spicy mood.

I have started typing up the new novel. I really like it. Like, with my last one (INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER! Coming September 29!) I had so much trouble getting started, and I kept going back to the beginning over and over again. But the new one, which I shall call DON'T STOP NOW for now until my editor tells me different, has a great opening. In Julie world. Not, like, BANG! POW! ZIP! or anything. But the characters are tight, and it's funny. I'm kind of stoked.

I'll keep this short and sweet. Hello Amazon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gonna Fly Now

I am so stoked. I finished the first draft of my third YA novel this morning! And I really like it! Well, as of now I do. I will see when I go back and type it up. You see, I hand write all of my novels, so the stankiest of all steps becomes typing it into the computer. Last time I considered paying someone else to do it, but it ends up being my largest revision, so I might as well just do it, hate it, and then feel really good. It truly is my least favorite part of the whole writing process. The first part, actually writing the book, is fun in a reading the book kind of way. But typing it up is painstaking, and means sitting in front of a computer forever, making my carpal tunnel scream at me and sometimes, sadly, boring the crap out of myself. It also reminds me of all of the times I said, "I'll just fix that later." For instance, the main character started off as straight edge, but then I decide to take that out because I don't know a whole lot about being straight edge and it wasn't all that interesting to the story. I may be a bit rambly today because I'm so excited, as well as overwhelmed by the new prospect of the typing step. Sorry!

In other news, I have decided to change the day of my YA Author Proust Questionnaire to Thursdays, since people don't seem to be as on top of their blog reading on Fridays. I want the authors to get as much blog viewage as possible before I move on to other things. Remember, this Thursday= Tamora Pierce! So cool!

I am now going to enjoy my last free week before I go back to work :(

Friday, August 14, 2009

Want a free copy of Get Well Soon?

I'm giving away FREE copies of the paperback edition of Get Well Soon to the first 15 bloggers who contact me. All you have to do is send an email with your name, address, and blog URL to Then I'll send you a copy of the book, as long as you promise to review the book on your blog. When the review is up, email me a link. Simple, no?

And check out the new, black version of the cover on paperback edition:

Dark and brooding! Just like me! I kid. Look for it at a bookstore near you.

Proust Questionnaire Friday! Today's Special Guest: Barry Lyga!

A fellow comic lover, Barry Lyga is the fabulous author of YA faves The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Boy Toy, Hero-Type, and the upcoming Astonishing Adventures sequel, Goth Girl Rising. And he was was responsible for spearheading and developing Free Comic Book Day! Who knew? (Uh, those of you who read his online bio, probably). You can visit Barry on the web at

The following questions are based on James Lipton's questions from Inside the Actors Studio, which, in turn, are based on the Proust Questionnaire. One of the questions is about swearing, so please excuse our French.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present-- Barry Lyga!

1. What is your favorite word? Coruscate
2. What is your least favorite word? No
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Hidden connections between elements, ideas, people
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Predictability
5. What sound or noise do you love? Rain on the roof
6. What sound or noise do you hate? A baby crying
7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Videogame designer/programmer
9. What profession would you not like to do? Anything that involves the words "cubicle" or "manager" or "necktie"
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Dude, don't worry about that agnostic stuff -- we're good."

Next week's author: Tamora Pierce!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Now is a time of day when I feel like I should be doing a lot of things, and here I am on the internet. So I am trying to be on the internet and productive at the same time. See, the internet can suck time, as everyone knows, but it also is really part of my job. How else could I blog, connect with other authors and readers, and email long lost friends and relatives? But there is so much more I should be doing. The problem is, Romy is sleeping. Her naps are random of length and time. I could sit down and write some more of my new novel (I wrote ten pages early this morning), but if she wakes up, then I'll be interrupted (excuse). I could exercise, but I have not full digested my morning snack (excuse). I could shower, but that might wake her up (excuse). This is how my brain works in guilting myself so badly that I am filled with self-hatred by the end of it. Does anyone else's brain work this way? I'm torturing myself right now. Going mental. And the problem is I have no idea what would make me feel most fulfilled in this short span of time, so I'll just beat myself up until Romy cries. Wait-- is that a peep on the baby monitor? Yes it is! I am spared my self-beating once again. Gotta go snuggle my baby!

Great link: Molly Ringwald writes about John Hughes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The End is Nigh

Oh, man, am I worried about the end of summer. Less than two weeks, and I'm back at work. No more sleeping in (ha! as if), no more daytime snuggles with Romy, no more time to write my new novel. So I've been trying to squeeze every lat bit out of the day by waking up extra early to write. I kind of like it, since I'm the only one awake and I can get into my creative zone. But Romy has decided that she would like to be in my creative zone. Which does not work when I'm trying to write a scene with two teens making out, and a baby is crying in the background. Nothing to ruin the sexy mood more than a baby crying. Remember that, kids, when you aren't being careful.

Time is running out. I think I'm only about half-way through my book, and I only have 12 days (if I use weekends, too) to finish it. Can it be done? Yes. Will it? Can't say. But all it's doing for the end of my vacation is making it the least relaxation situation possible. How did I let this happen? Do I even know how to be relaxed? If I weren't writing a book, wouldn't I be doing something else to stress myself out? Maybe that's just the way I am. No need to get uptight about it. Just don't blame me when you read my next book and the characters hear a baby crying, when there's no baby nearby.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Rupe Report

So I was being naughty and not writing as I should have been (But my new novel has lots of stuff that I need to double-check online! It's not my fault!), and I did the ol' put your name in quotes and search it thing. Actually, I searched "Into the Wild Nerd Yonder," which seems to be popping up more and more each day (release date: September 29!). I found a couple great tidbits, the first being a lovely review at What All the Cool Kids are Reading. This one was particularly fab in that she said I might just be this generation's Judy Blume. Say wha?! Thank you for that.

The next item I found is ca-razy. Many of you may know that I am somewhat of a Rupert Grint fan (stalker, perhaps? Only in the online sense, of course.), and the main character in INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER has some Rupert pictures hanging on her bedroom wall. This fact made its way into the Green Been Teen Queen's review of NERD, which, in turn, must have shown up when the good folks at did their very own "Rupert Grint" google search (I'm just guessing) because they mentioned NERD on their blog! I'm now planning on sending them a book once it comes out because maybe the rabid Rupert fan base will be big supporters of NERD. And maybe Rupter Grint will notice and give me a call and we'll have a nice meal and a chat. Why not?

We finally have some real summer weather in Chicago-- hot and humid-- and my hair looks like it has gone into shock. HUGE and very curly. That's what ponytails are for, I guess. I wonder what Rupert would think.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Proust Questionnaire Friday! Today's Special Guest: Ellen Wittlinger!

I blogged yesterday and said that there were less than two days until our first author questionnaire, which was technically true, but completely off. I think I thought it was Wednesday when I wrote that, but goodie for you because it's already Friday! First, though, I would like to congratulate the winner of the Get Well Soon audiobok contest, janetfaye! Happy listening, janetfaye!

Now, on to the questions.

Ellen Wittlinger is by far one of favorite YA authors. Her stories and characters stay with me long after I finish her books, which says a lot since I tend to expel book memories like gas (excuse me). Her newest book is Love & Lies: Marisol's Story which is a follow-up to Hard Love, a Printz Honor and Lambda Award winner. You can visit Ellen on the web at

The following questions are based on James Lipton's questions from Inside the Actors Studio, which, in turn, are based on the Proust Questionnaire. One of the questions is about swearing, so please excuse our French.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present-- Ellen Wittlinger!

1. What is your favorite word? puppy
2. What is your least favorite word? should
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? art of all kinds
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? high humidity
5. What sound or noise do you love? my children singing
6. What sound or noise do you hate? sirens
7. What is your favorite curse word? Shit!
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? photographer or actor
9. What profession would you not like to do? minister
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "I saw you on Oprah!"

Next week's author: Barry Lyga!
(I'm going boy girl, see?)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Stuck stuck stuck!

For the past two days I have been stuck on my new novel. I think part of it is that I have been writing at my computer, or at least in front of it. Some of you may know that I hand write my books, then type them up, so I don't really need to be at a computer while I'm writing. And today has shown me that being at a computer does more damage than good. I can't stop checking emails and facebooks and searching for crap (like a new pair of Vans I plan on buying for the beginning of the school year). I was using the excuse (to myself, since no one is asking me) that I needed to look at the website images of this place I was writing about today(a very bizarre hotel), but that took a lot away from my writing. Couldn't help myself.

So, for all of those writers out there who write directly onto a computer, I ask

And now, for something most excellent, two new online reviews for Into the Wild Nerd Yonder:

Green Bean Teen Queen

Persnickety Snark

Thanks to the two lovely bloggers!

Less than two days until our very first YA Author Proust Questionnaire with Ellen Wittlinger! And don't forget about the Get Well Soon audiobook contest. Time for me to shut the computer down. I think I can I think I can...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Much Awesomeness

I woke up early today to work on my new novel, and the characters were visiting the most awesome House on the Rock, one of my favorite spots in the glorious state of Wisconsin. It started the day off right (even with that moth floating around in my water glass), and here are

First review of Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is in! From Kirkus magazine:
Fifteen-year-old Jessie develops the self-confidence to dump her selfish friends and ventures into unfamiliar territory to find new ones in this often hilarious, quirky work of contemporary realism. When her two best friends turn poseur-punk to impress her brother’s friend Van, Jessie is left wondering where she, a math star, audiobook addict and accomplished seamstress, fits in. As their rift deepens, Jessie discovers that a group of Dungeons & Dragons–playing peers are not as socially inept as she once might have thought and loses herself in a crush on a sweet, if fashion-challenged, guy at school. The overarching message about being oneself and growing apart from friends is familiar teen-novel territory, and there is never any real doubt as to the end of Jessie’s journey. However, her narrative voice is unusually honest, and the at times bawdy dialogue is realistic and bitingly funny: “Those two chodes deserve each other. I hope the STDs flow.” Readers will both identify with and like Jessie and will cheer her conversion from meek to outspoken. (Fiction. 14 & up)

I think that's quite an excellent review. Nice! Although I will say I was embarrassed by the crass lines she included. Where do I come up with that?

Next bit of awesomeness is a Julie's Most Awesome Book Cover! Definitely in my all time top three:

This book is about a quail-- named Robert! Who names a quail Robert? That's like naming a dog Jennifer. And I can just hear the person saying, "Oh, that quail, Robert. What will he think of next?"

Last bits of awesomeness:
Don't forget to enter the Get Well Soon Audiobook Contest again! And stay tuned for much author awesomeness on Fridays with the YA Author Proust Questionnaire Special! (Stupid name? No one's helping me out, here.) This Friday-- Ellen Wittlinger!

And I promise to hold off on using the word awesome again for a while.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Get Well Soon Audiobook Review and Contest!

I know what you're thinking: how can Julie keep giving away audiobooks? Well, as a once member of the YALSA Selected Audiobooks Committee (now the Amazing Audiobooks for YA), my basement is already filled with audiobooks. So I certainly don't need a large supply of audiobooks with my own name on them. I just found this review online of the Get Well Soon audiobook from the April 1 issue of Booklist:

Because of panic attacks, depression, and school truancy, Anna Bloom is sent to a Chicago mental-health facility, where she writes letters to a friend about her three-week hospital stint. Halpern’s lingo and amusing take on teens dubbed “crazy” and Siegfried’s delivery are spot-on-teen, evoking sarcasm, cynicism, anger, and fear. Siegfried presents believable characters not only for first-person Anna but for the minor characters, who receive distinct personalities. Saccharin tones depicting therapists echo stereotypes and totally capture the protagonist’s perception of the hospital staff. The story paints a realistic picture of a depressed teen who is just a regular kid trying to grapple with issues of making friends, losing weight, and having a crush on a cute boy. With ample doses of profanity, this may be more high-school than junior-high fare. The audio fits the bill for listeners who like teen chick lit with substance and humor. — Patricia Austin

What a great review! In celebration, I'm having a contest to win a copy of this well-reviewed audiobook. All you have to do is post a comment with either the name of your favorite audiobook or the name of your favorite audiobook reader. I'll pick a name at random this Friday, when I'll also be posting my first special YA author guest's Proust Questionnaire (I really need to think of a catchier name for this Friday feature thing).

My answer to the audiobook question? It's between Fat Kid Rules the World, written by K.L. Going and read by Matthew Lillard, and Fair Weather, written by Richard Peck and read by Estelle Parsons.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

YA Authors Comin' Atcha!

So I am super excited about the response I have so far about my YA Author Proust questions. In the upcoming weeks, look for answers from Tamora Pierce, Ellen Wittlinger, Andrew Smith, Barry Lyga, Brian James, Billy Bones, Yvonne Prinz, possibly Frank Portman (he told me to remind him) and many more! Is this cool, or what? I am now semi-embarrassed by my answers, but since it is my blog I suppose I can tweak it. I'm so excited that I sort of want to start posting the answers RIGHT NOW. But I'll hold off until Friday. If I get a huge response from authors in the future, maybe I'll post their answers more often.

I'm just getting over a summer cold (not too bad, although I'm a big baby when I'm sick, so no illness is too small), and Romy is on the verge. I'm afraid I am going to have to use one of those bulb syringes to suck out her boogers. I don't think I'll be very good at it. Well, practice makes perfect. Wish me luck.