Tuesday, May 31, 2011


My blog post title is truly the most clever thing I've ever written.  Or not.  But I made myself laugh.  Don't judge.  The point of the title is because my husband (brilliant children's book author and illustrator, Matthew Cordell) and I were discussing peopleofwalmart.com (if you don't know, this is a site of photos taken of, yes, people at Wal-Mart.  They are sad and disturbing and funny and grotesque and YOU CANNOT LOOK AWAY).  Matt seems to believe that this site, while it perhaps started out as truth, has turned fiction.  He does not believe it possible that a man would go to Wal-Mart wearing only a thong bikini.  Or a woman with so much backfat that she has veritable boobs on her back would wear such a shirt to expose the boobs.  This is quite possibly the best conversation Matt and I have had in a long time.  I love that he is a skeptic (Matt also has a good friend who is king of the skeptics; he does not believe in dinosaurs.  I also love that guy).  It seems like a hilarious thing to be skeptical about, like, so benign compared to all of the horrible political traumas that one might doubt.  I see his point.  While I am hesitant to wear any shirt that might require a strapless bra, some of these people obviously did not put much thought into the matter of breast gravity.  Sometimes I wish I were that carefree.  Or oblivious.  It probably beats wondering whether or not I can wear a new shirt because I have no idea how to wear it without exposing my- gasp!- bra strap!  What would Buffy think?  And what do you guys think?  Are the pictures all real?  Or are they, and we, being set up?

Totally unrelated: I have a bunch of interviews and blog posts and visits coming up in honor of the release (ONE WEEK AWAY!!!) of Don't Stop Now.  Today is an interview AND contest with the lovely Kayla Olson at Owl and Sparrow.  Stop over and read about my new book, my writing process, thoughts on karaoke (my thoughts have something to do with Fred Armisen), and enter to win a copy of the book!  Which will probably not be sold at Wal-Mart.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Word

I hate being asked to describe anything in one word.  At the Rochester Teen Book Festival, when all of the authors were on stage together, we were asked a couple times to answer in just one word.  And of course I was last, and someone else already always took my word. 

This video of members of the Harry Potter cast answering how they would sum up their experience with Harry Potter in one word is so super sweet and proves that answering things in one word is unnecessarily stressful and does not define anything as well as you would like it to.  Especially for my boy, Rupert.  He came through in the end, unlike some of the other answerers (um, "good?"  Really?  How many people would kill to be in your shoes???).  Here's the video:

And this is more than one word, but here's an article with me and three other YA authors in today's Chicago Tribune.  It's funny how a thirty minute interview can turn into a tiny paragraph.  Can you tell I cleaned my house in the picture?  No.  Does my tablecloth make it look like I'm in a Mexican restaurant?  Possibly.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Next Time on Fifteen...

I have been at a loss the last few days about what to write on my blog.  The weather?  Who wants to hear about that?  Besides, I don't mind the rain so much.  I certainly have no right to mind it when all of those tornadoes are destroying towns willy nilly.  So scary.

Maybe I'm running low on brain power because I've been answering tons of blogger interviews and questionnaires for my June blog tour.  Maybe I'm panicking a little because I'm still waiting on the Get Well Soon sequel to be in my hands so I can start the big first revision.  Maybe I'm starting to get nervous about the impending release of Don't Stop Now and all of the events that are coming up to go along with it (see sidebar in my blog).  The first event is next weekend!  Not this coming weekend, but the following one.  That's next weekend, right?  Those kinds of things always trip me up.  I hope we'll have a big showing for our panel at Printers Row in Chicago.  Sunday, June 5 at 2:15.  "Worlds Beyond Imagination, with JULIE HALPERN, JAMES KLISE and DEBRA MOFFITT, moderated by Carolyn Alessio."  Jim Klise and I were both wondering what exactly that panel title means and how the two of us fit into it.  I hope someone tells me before the event.  Maybe they want me to tell the audience about my dreams.  We all know how interesting that can be.  Or not.

Can I just say I have no interest in the Green Lantern movie?  That has nothing to do with anything, but I just saw an ad for it.  I don't really find Ryan Reynolds charming.  I think it's because he didn't marry Alanis Morrisette, who I really don't have much of a connection to but find interesting, and then he married Scarlett Johansson, who I do not find interesting.  But it's also because I still remember him from that godawful Canadian tween soap, Fifteen.

See?  I really am at a loss here.  Anyone have anything they want me to blog about?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ready for my closeup?

The Chicago Tribune is doing a story on a few YA authors who will appear at the Printers Row Lit Fest in a few weeks (including moi), and I was asked by a photographer when he can take pictures of me for the article.  I suggested they just use my "author picture" (the nice one Matt took of me in our backyard), but the photographer said they wanted new ones.  Or something.  He said he could come to my house, or we could go somewhere that had some significance to my books.  I couldn't think of anywhere, and out of convenience I said he could come to my house.  Which feels weird.  The last time I was photographed for the Trib was when Get Well Soon just came out.  The photographer came to my work, a school library, and they photographed me between the book stacks.  I can't find the picture anywhere now, and even the time I posted it on this blog has disappeared.  It is a rather funny picture because I am peaking out behind some books, and I have a semi-ridiculous look on my face.  I also had a sinus infection and went home sick the moment after the picture was taken.

Now I'm trying to figure out where we'll take the picture in my house.  I don't have an office, or even a desk, really.  I do have a lot of toys scattered around the house and a cat who is constipated and may poo at any moment on our basement floor.  I'm not smelling photo-op (although I am smelling something else).  I will be happy when it's over tomorrow, and I don't have to worry about my house being clean or my cat pooping.  I'll let you know how it goes.  The picture, not the poop.  Unless you ask.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Here!!!

I don't normally blog twice in one day, but I just received the final, hardcover copy of Don't Stop Now, my new novel out June 7.  And it is gorgeous!!!  I didn't realize how long it's been since I got a new hardcover book.  The paperbacks are lovely, but the hardcover, first time out books are gems.  This one is beyond my expectations.  Here are some pics:
The cover!  Yes, that is a tiny toilet behind the book.

The back cover!  With love!

My super sweet bio!  And I think Rich Deas put that car in just for me.  Because it's funny.

Why is this sideways?  I turned the other pictures the right way.  Blogger!  Anyway, this is the Feiwel and Friends logo as a stop sign just for my book!
Rich Deas: You truly are a cover GOD.  I sure hope the world doesn't end tomorrow, so everyone out there can see the book in the flesh.  The book flesh.

TBF Part V: The Final Part

Today is the final TBF post.  Have people been enjoying these?  Have people been reading these?  Only one person has commented!  Do you know how losery that makes me feel?  Oy.

I forgot to discuss lunch in yesterday's post.  That part of the day was, if I really look at it from outside my body, a rather surreal experience.  Here I was, at a table alone in a room with Carl Deuker and Ellen Hopkins and Rachel Hawkins (who was my alphabetical buddy) and Melissa Kantor and Garret Freymann-Weyr and Mark Crilley and Eric Luper and Patrick Jones and Elizabeth Scott and Melissa de la Cruz.  And we all talked with each other!  It was so fun and so great to hear about others' experiences in the publishing world, successes and difficulties.  Oh, and they had a bouncer downstairs so no one interrupted our lunch. 

After the lunch and the afternoon panels came the autographing.  I was afraid that I would be sitting alone, and everyone would be waiting in the lines for the huge authors.  And while I never had a mega line, people really bought my books and wanted autographs on other things, like the buttons of my face (loved those!) and their t-shirts and postcards.  It was super fun.  During the lulls, Rachel Hawkins and I danced at the table to the music provided by the DJ and pretended we were prom dates.

Here's a picture of me at my table with awesome librarian, Stacey Jones.  She saved my book, Get Well Soon, from a parent challenge!

When it was time to leave, I rushed to catch the first ride out in our cool bus.  It was a long day, and I was ready for a shower (it was very muggy.  I'm surprised my hair didn't get bigger than it did.).  People were gabby on the bus ride, but I was so sleepy.  It was nice to just listen and enjoy the breeze.

That night, all of the authors and TBF staff had dinner back at our hotel.  There was some interesting supernatural conversation at my table, which included Shannon Delaney and Shari Maurer.  After dinner, many of the authors gathered in the lobby for drinks.  I don't know if I've mentioned that I don't drink, but as a fully grown adult, it doesn't bother me to be around semi-drunks (I can't stand stupid drunks or violent drunks, but lounging author drunks are okay).  I was, however, crazy tired.  The night before I woke up at 2:00 and couldn't fall back asleep.  That combined with mommy duty and a huge day of speaking and signing and smiling made me a little odd.  At one point I started crying (not sobbing, just tearing up) on a couch with Jon Skovron and Ally Carter, just because I was so tired.  We talked a bunch about ways of relaxing.  Thankfully, something clicked, and I slept very well that night.

The following day was a loooooong one.  Our flight wasn't leaving out of Buffalo until 6:30 p.m. (or so we thought), so the plan was to visit the Jell-O Gallery in LeRoy (the birthplace of Jell-O!) on the way.  It was pouring rain, but we managed to find the town, have lunch in a cute old train depot restaurant (complete with upside-down moving train on the ceiling) and visit the museum.  Our very enthusiastic guide went on and on about how Jell-O is NOT made from horse hooves but from some disgusting chicken part that she had to describe in great detail.  I nearly threw up and was thisclose to telling her we're vegetarians.  After the intro, we were free to walk around the small museum and enjoy the history of Jell-O.  And Bill Cosby's face.
I don't know why I'm wearing my hood.

Our plane ended up being delayed three hours, which gave us loads of time to kill and fill at the Buffalo Airport.  Note to self: don't fly on Sunday nights, when everything in the airport closes way too early.  We did have some delicious subs at Which Wich.  Pretty good for airport food!

It's wacky to think that in a little over a month, the family will be back in the air to fly to New Orleans for ALA.  That trip is two nights longer than our TBF trip, which probably means I'll be completely delirious at the YA Author Coffee Klatch on the second to last day of our trip.  Hope to see some of you there.  I'll try not to cry.

Thank you to everyone at the Great Rochester Teen Book Festival!  I truly hope you'll invite me back.  And soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Before I write about the TBF again, I would like to note that on the news this morning was a story about the mental hospital in which I based Get Well Soon.  It is understaffed, and as a result there have been a number of sexual assaults.  As if those teens don't have enough to contend with.  Damn.

In much cheerier news, on to the big event itself: The Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival. When I walked out of the hotel elevator, the lobby was packed with authors awaiting our transportation to the Fest.  And it was a very cool ride (picture taken from a Facebook page):

The driver had the 1949 bus refurbished.  It was so fun to ride in, and he kept us awake by yanking on the loud horn.  Walking aboard the bus, it was a little daunting trying to figure out where I should sit.  There weren't very many open seats by themselves, but I didn't really want to sit by myself.  I ended up sitting next to Jon Skovron, who I had previously only met as a Facebook "friend."  We had a lovely chat about our kids, and the anticipation for the event built as we drove closer.  When we finally arrived at Nazareth College, where the event was held, a marching band awaited us.  Tons of teens cheered as we exited the bus and reached the red carpet.  Again, a photo stolen from Facebook:

Don't I look all happy?

After that, the authors met at tables in a cafeteria with their teen and librarian handlers.  We could identify them amongst the mass of people because they had buttons on with our faces!  I loved the Julie Halpern's Face buttons.  My handlers were awesome, and it was great fun talking with them throughout the day.  Happily, a few of them friended me on Facebook already (this blog post is full of fb references, no?).  My panel-mates, Garret Freymann-Weyr and Melissa Kantor, were fantastic.  It was so much fun spending the day together, and I would be on another panel with the two of them in a heartbeat.  It felt like a great bonding experience, to have to speak to people together.  Awesomesauce.

Here is a poster of my face from the wall in the gym.  Every author had one (of their faces, not of mine):

There were many other facets to the day, like the opening ceremony where all of the authors were introduced to the Fest in the gym, and we all had to answer questions in front of everyone.  I was in the second row of risers, and I'm pretty sure no one could see me due to my lack of height.  My answers didn't feel very clever, since by the time they got to me someone else usually said what I wanted to say.  However, each author received a sealed envelope that we were not allowed to open until the very end.  The envelopes contained a special question.  Mine was: Would you rather... spend a day with any book character or spend a day with any author?  Which character or author?  I was the last author to go, and my answer was, "No contest.  I would spend a very long day with Mr. Ronald Weasley."  Ha!  That was funny.  I hope.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the autographing and the final dinner and drinks event.  And also some pictures from the Jell-O Gallery.  I'm scattered in this post because my cat is not eating, and I'm all nervous about it.  Come on, Tobin, eat!  To the vet it is.  Sigh.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Notice how my titles for the Rochester Teen Book Festival posts keep getting shorter?  No?  Well, they do.  I am actually writing this post one minute after I posted yesterday's post because I am trying to get an A in uses time wisely.  I don't know who is grading me, though.

On to Friday, when everyone was a little too tired from our first night of hotel sleep.  After a decent buffet breakfast (where I accidentally scratched Romy on the cheek with a spoon whilst trying to catch her when she tripped, giving her a puffy red mark on her face for the rest of the vacation), we headed to one of the most amazing museums I've ever been to: The Strong Museum of Play.  I am certain I would have loved this museum even if I did not have a kid, but the fact that she had so much fun and even after three and a half hours pretty much refused to leave made it very special.  They had an actual Sesame Street, and you could sit in a taxi with Cookie Monster and Elmo and pretend to sell tacos at a bodega and a full grocery store and an old room with old toys that kids ate up.  Here's me having tea:

Upstairs is the National Toy Hall of Fame, as well as a kickass collection of old video games that you can play for one token.  And get this: one dollar = six tokens!!!  I wowed [no one but myself] on Centipede, which was always my game (children of the 80s each had a game, you see).  Check it out:

See those THREE JULs?  All me, baby.  I don't have a middle name, so as a kid whenever I placed on the board, I used JUL.  I am seriously thinking of calling the museum and asking if the letters are still there.  Yeah, I may need to do that today.  [Author note: I did call them, but no one answered.]

After the three of us took a nap in the (parked) rental car, it was time for dinner with the entire TBF crew at Artisanworks, a funky building filled with funky things and funky people.  Or maybe that was just me because I switched deodorants (bum dum bum!).  It was dark, and the tables were a little tight, so I didn't meet many authors that night (although I got in a hello in the hotel lobby to one of my panel-mates, Melissa Kantor, chatted with old author bud, Elizabeth Scott, and Matt and I had a delightful chat with Charles Benoit and his wife after dinner), but everyone who wanted to went on an amazing tour of the premises.  It was fun and pretty stress-free for those of us wondering if we'd have to be showy in front of a bunch of people we didn't know.  Everyone from the TBF was so warm and welcoming, and they even provided a bag of things for Romy to play with at the table.  An absolutely lovely evening.  Tomorrow-- the Festival!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rochester TBF Part II

I'm up early today, 6 a.m., thanks to a solid night of Lunesta sleep.  I'm almost out of my sample supply, so I guess I'll have to call the doctor and beg for a prescription.  I only take it after it's been days and weeks of no good sleep.  I'd hate to form a habit to anything (not including my candy addiction, of course).  As promised, here is more of my TBF recap.  Today will include pictures, although not of authors.  Sorry again for that.  Maybe someone will email me pictures they took, and I can include them.

I think I will tell the tale in chronological order, so here is my first day of the trip.  We flew into Buffalo, since it was so much cheaper than Rochester.  I was amused that the Buffalo airport had so many buffalo statuettes and stuffed animals, since I am from a town called Buffalo Grove.  Did you know Buffalo never once had an actual buffalo roaming its lands?  You do now!  On to North Tonowanda for the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum,
a delightful little place where you can ride wooden horses over one hundred years old.  They also have an exhibit of these:

Definitely worth the stop.  Our lunch was at a seaside shanty (maybe it wasn't a shanty, but I can embellish) called Mississippi Mudds, where we dined on veggie burgers and stinky chicken nuggets.  I tried frozen custard for the first time, which is funny because it's actually a big Wisconsin thing, too.  It was gross.  Why must everyone mess with the perfection that is ice cream?

An hour and a half later we were in Rochester at our TBF-provided hotel.  Just down the road we found this:

WTF, right?  This picture doesn't do its creepiness justice.  The building was never open the multiple times we went back, but through careful hounding of all locals, apparently it is indeed an actually haunted building.  They do it up all scary for Halloween, and a waitress claimed Ghost Hunters the show filmed there.  No, not my boys at Ghost Adventures, but still.  The waitress also said her sister used to nanny for the owners, and they were weird.  She was a shitty storyteller, this waitress, and not a very good waitress, either.  15%, not 20%.

I don't think people like to read super long blog posts, so I'll stop for today.  Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the Strong Museum of Play and our big dinner with all of the authors and wranglers of the TBF.  Thursday, it's Fest day.  And then maybe that's the last of the TBF posts.  Or I'll do one more and tell you about how I was so overtired on a couch next to Jon Skovron and Ally Carter that I started tearing up for a minute of deliriousness.  Good times.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rochester Teen Book Festival Recap Part 1

My goal for this week is to blog about all of the awesomess that was my weekend at the TBF.  However, sometimes when I make those promises, it's because I'm writing hilarious blog posts in my head.  And then when it comes down to remembering things in an interesting or funny way, it doesn't happen.  So we'll see.  Plus, I'm crazy tired from our flight being delayed three hours (was that all?) and not getting in last night until 11:30, all the while entertaining a two and a half year old who did not sleep until the car ride home from the airport. Funny thing about that two year old: I think most of the authors at TBF will remember her more than me.  That's okay.  When I see them in the future, I can be all, "Remember me?  I'm the one with the cute daughter who everyone loved?"  And they'll be like, "When's her next book coming out?"

I want to include tons of pictures, which I have, except that the pictures I have are mostly of my family at museums that had nothing to do with the Fest.  I was sort of embarrassed to bring out my huge camera and take pictures of the other authors.  I feel like I should invest in a smaller camera just for things like this, where it feels uncool to be so touristy. 

This post is far too scatterbrained because I have been writing it at random intervals throughout the day.  I was SO tired, and Romy was SO tired, and then I tried to take a nap except my heartburn and reflux woke me up five times!  I am such an old lady!  I promise that the rest of the Fest posts this week will be more coherent.  And there will be pictures.  Anticipate an exciting one of my name on the screen of a Centipede game.  Can you handle the wait?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I wanted to do something exciting for my 666th post (why?  Because I think faux Satanism is kind of funny.  Perhaps it was the time I spent in a mental hospital with a bunch of Satanic teens that has made me Satanically jaded), but I have a plane to catch in a few hours to Rochester, NY for the Rochester Teen Book Festival.  I'm bringing the family and added an extra day to the trip, so you can be sure there will be Carrousel (that's how the website spells it) and Jell-O Museums galore.  I hope to see some of you at the fest, which is promising to be a smorgasbord of awesome authors.  Time to go to the bathroom for the 800th time. So is my stomach on a day of flying.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


As a librarian, I don't get quite as many return visitors as a classroom teacher does.  But what I do get is watching my very specific kids, who started out unique and quirky in middle school, turn into amazingly cool individuals as they grow up.  This afternoon I'm being interviewed by an old student for her Senior Project, which happens to be all about zines.  For those who don't know what zines are, they are independently produced magazines about whatever you want.  I published one ten years ago (seven issues worth) with my friend Liz called "cul-de-sac," all about growing up in the Chicago suburbs, and my novel Get Well Soon began as a zine.  If you ever see me talk about writing, I will say something about how writing zines and getting feedback from readers inspired me to try writing novels.  It's also how I met my husband (read that story here), and I have used it in classrooms (read how to do so here) which is how my student (the interviewer) discovered them in the first place.  Oh, the circle of life.

Monday, May 09, 2011

The Countdown Begins!

We are less than one month away from the release of my new novel, Don't Stop Now!  Huzzah!  It really feels like it's coming.  Sometimes, a book release sneaks up on you, and you walk into a book store and the book isn't even there and you feel like a big loser.  But this time, I've got a jump on things.  You see, when I head to Rochester, New York at the end of this week for the Rochester Teen Book Festival those at the festival will have the opportunity to buy Don't Stop Now nearly a month before its official release date.  How cool is that?  It would be very Julie if no one bought the book.  No, Julie, don't think that way!  The countdown is beginning, remember? 

I'm approaching this book release in full on author mode.  I had lunch this past weekend with a couple Chicago YA author friends, Claire Zulkey and James Klise, and that got me pumped.  This week at the TBF I will hobnob with some incredible YA authors.  I would cut and paste the names, but the pasting is looking too funky.  Click on the TBF link to see the star-studded list.  After that, I'll be doing a blog tour in June, the Chicago Printers Row Lit Fest, a release party at The Book Stall, ALA, Anderson's YA event in the fall, and NCTE.  Yowza!  That's a lot of stuff for me.  It will be really interesting to see what the outcome is.  Will more people buy the book?  Like the book?  Know who I am?  Will life feel different?  If it goes amazingly, will it inspire me more as an author?  If I feel like a tool along the way, will it discourage me?  Only time will tell, but one thing's for sure: I am gathering a nice little wardrobe for the events.  If anything, at least I'll look good.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Dice and Danzig and Rupert, Oh My!

I had a weird dream where I was at an American Library Association conference, and all of the librarians were in formal wear and were SUPER mean to me.  There was a lot of snubbing and swearing involved.  What's that about?  Is it because I quit my librarian job (for now, while I'm home with my daughter)?  I'm still a librarian, yo!

Here are some things I enjoyed online this week:

Thanks to blog reader Jenny for sharing this with me:

The funny part about it is you don't really roll D6s very often in D&D, unless that's how much damage your weapon does.  Still, most excellent.

This What's That in Danzigs? converter had me laughing for way too long.  Glenn Danzig has made me laugh since high school.  He's also made me a little scared.

Lastly, check out this adorable Rupert Grint milk ad picture.  Aw, sweet Rupert.  Do you think he really likes to drink milk?  I think he might.  Thanks to rupert-grint.us for the image (it's all over the Rupe sites).

Today I'm having lunch with a couple author friends, and Betty White will be signing her book at a nearby bookstore.  I wonder how looooong the line will be.  I kind of want to meet her.  I mean, I really want to meet her, but possibly not in this context.  We shall see.  Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sonic Blaster

Somehow my brain has turned the Sonic Blast into the most delicious of all ice cream delights.  If you don't know what a Sonic Blast is, it is essentially a Dairy Queen Blizzard (those came first, I believe), but at the drive-in restaurant, Sonic.  And if you don't know what a Blizzard is (I weep for you), it is basically a bunch of soft serve ice cream with candy bits mixed in.  I have only once been to a Sonic, when Matt and I visited South Carolina for Christmas, and Romy was asleep in the car.  We pulled up to the old fashioned, electronic (oxymoron?) order thingy, and I ordered a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blast.  And ever since then (so, since December), I get cravings for it.  Sonic's menu says they use REAL ice cream.  Maybe that was the draw.  Or maybe it was the size and quantity of the chunks of candy.  Whatever it was, I still think about it.  And I keep buying different frozen treats to satisfy the lost craving (you see, the nearest Sonic is an hour away).  So far nothing has worked: a Blizzard, a Twister at a local ice cream establishment, some concoction with frozen yogurt that should not have been attempted, and yesterday, the saddest of all, was a Steak and Shake shake.  How could that have failed?  It was real ice cream, too!  I tragically learned that a shake is much too runny for what I was looking for (what's the deal, Steak n Shake?  Your shakes have all been runny lately.  Bluck.).  I guess it's time to take the trek to the real deal, the Sonic.  But what if that disappoints, too?  Is it worth ruining the dream of the perfect ice cream experience?  This brave explorer is willing to risk finding out.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Today is feeling rather random in my brain (and so cloudy and cold and tired), that I will blog some randomness as well.

First off is this insane contest that blogger Natalie Whipple is holding over at Between Fact and Fiction.  She is actually giving away writing critiques (that's what "crit" is short for, right?) if you pre-order MY book!  Can you believe it?  How awesome is she?  I sooooo did not put her up to that at all.  Really so sweet.  And also quite sweet of her to read other people's writing.  I am horrible when others ask me to read their stuff.  My brain shuts down or something.  Or something.  That was rather brain-shutting-down-esque, wasn't it?

Next off, my boy Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures (um, he is so not my boy.  I mean, I watch his show and enjoy his antics very much, but I don't think that makes him my boy.  Did you know some people actually get Ghost Adventures tattoos?) wrote a book.  It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.  And, like, in the top 200 on Amazon.  I wonder what I have to do to get that high on Amazon.  Maybe I can pretend my house is haunted and make a TV show about it.  Not that he pretends.  But I would have to, since my house isn't haunted.  Except by ants, mice, and a groundhog.
This is the groundhog.  That is a plastic owl in the foreground, if you were wondering.

In a little over a week, I will be in Rochester for the Rochester Teen Book Festival.  I am stoked, but with this weird weather, it is making it very hard to pre-plan my wardrobe.  Which makes me sound fancy and extravagant, but really means I want to choose weather-appropriate clothes that are super cute, flattering, and a tiny bit comfortable. 

Lastly, I have a post over at Tor.com about character creation in gaming and writing.  Check it out!  Please!  I'm here all night, ladies and germs.

Monday, May 02, 2011

PW Don't Stop Now Review!

Finally a review!  I say finally because after one writes a book and revises a book and a galley comes out, there can be waiting.  And there has been.  I have heard very little about my forthcoming novel, Don't Stop Now, so I'm thrilled to receive this awesome review from Publishers Weekly:

Halpern delivers a summer road-trip novel with dark undertones, suggestive of a John Hughes film in its humor, pathos, and keen eye for the teenage mindset. Lil, a recent high school graduate who breezed through her senior year, has just heard from her sort-of friend Penny, who has faked her own kidnapping. Pretending (to herself and others) that she doesn't know why Penny took off, Lil persuades her best friend Josh to drive to Portland, Ore., to find Penny. Armed with cheesy Wisconsin-themed T-shirts and a sense of adventure, Lil and Josh travel west, visiting strange roadside attractions and staying in even stranger hotels, while Lil wrestles with her longtime, unrequited love for Josh. There isn't much sense of mystery to the trip--painful passages from Penny's viewpoint make clear the reasons behind her departure, and they find her too easily--but Lil's strong narrative voice and banter-filled relationship with Josh are immediate draws. As she did in Get Well Soon and Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, Halpern demonstrates her skill in creating outsidery everyteens trying to make sense of their lives. Ages 13–up. (June) 

I almost puked (in a good way) when they put my name in the same sentence as my film idol, John Hughes (especially meaningful for a Chicagoland native like myself).  I also like how they referred to my skill at creating "outsidery everyteens" (and how they made up words).  Well put!  I am really happy with this review.  Happy Monday!