Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guest blogger: Leslie DuBois!

I'm at the RWA National Conference today, so author Leslie DuBois is stepping in. Thanks, Leslie!


Mean Girls Meets Center Stage

Two of my favorite things in the world are dancing and teeny bopper movies. I’ve been dancing since I was a kid and even taught dance for a six years. And name a movie starring teens since the 1980s and I’ve probably seen it…a dozen times. So put them together and I am one happy tapper (get it? Tapper instead of camper! Ain’t I clever?) Anyway, so that’s kind of why I decided to write my latest novel The Queen Bee of Bridgeton. It’s like Mean Girls meets Center Stage.

Side note: If you haven’t seen either of those movies go add them to your Netflix queue immediately. I’ll wait.

Okay, great, you’re back.

Those are two of my all time favorite teen movies. I love the comedic cruelty of Mean Girls and the awesomely inspirational dancing of Center Stage.

But one thing sets The Queen Bee of Bridgeton apart. See, the heart of this novel is in the ghetto. Growing up in a poor black neighborhood, ballet was not high on the priority list of most of my associates. But for me, it was something I couldn’t live without. We couldn’t afford the tuition to the local dance school so my mother cleaned the studio in exchange for free lessons for me.

This is where the inspiration for my main character Sonya came from. Like me, she was determined not to let anything come between her and her dream of dancing. Mix in some antics from my own version of Regina George, add a dash of brilliant choreography, and throw in a cow (yes, a cow) for some comic relief and voila, you’ve got The Queen Bee of Bridgeton.

Right now the eBook version of The Queen Bee of Bridgeton is on sale for 99 cents, but only until the end of June. You can win a copy of the eBook (as well as Amanda's eBook) along with a FREE KINDLE through the Kindle INDIEpendence giveaway which is ending soon. (See ticker in lefthand sidebar.)

Thanks for having me, Fictionistas! I hope you enjoy my book!

Leslie DuBois is the pen name of author Sybil Nelson. As Leslie, she has written The Queen Bee of Bridgeton, Guardian of Eden, and Ain’t No Sunshine which currently has over 33,000 downloads. As Sybil, she is about to publish the third book in the award winning Priscilla the Great series.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

No, not Christmas. It's conference season! Around here, the rest of the year is known as cake eating season, because there's been no cake eating these last few months. Lots of working out and eating right (mostly) in anticipation of fitting into conference clothes.

Today is my RWA Nationals shopping day. I'll be headed out for a little retail therapy with one of my author bffs, who will also be looking for a few good buys. It's a fun way to prepare for the week ahead. Really, it's just a great excuse to shop and spend the day with a friend.

I know some women don't like shopping (I think they have medication for that now), but I love it. I excel at shopping the way some people do math. If shopping were an Olympic sport, I'd be the Michael Phelps of shopping. It's in my genes. If you could see my mother shop, you'd understand.

So, I'm off to peruse the stores and see what fabulous things need me to bring them home. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

YA anthology: The First Time

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it! I'm going to be editing (and participating in) a YA short story ebook anthology called The First Time. NYT Bestselling author Jessica Verday is publishing it. Isn't the cover stunning? And look at that lineup of authors!

The book will come out in October, so stay tuned! Thanks for letting me gush!!

Monday, June 20, 2011


While I was on a mini-vacay this weekend, my dear friend Maria was hacked. And not just the "I'm gonna send out Viagra Spam" kinda hacked. No. She was maliciously violated. And it was really uncool because if there is anyone in this world who doesn't deserve to be the target of such a spiteful act, it's Maria.

So, let me use this awful, awful event to remind you all. Change your damn passwords. Make them safe. The longer, the better (10+ in length = 10+ in strength). Include numbers, letters, symbols...and be smart about it. Don't do like I used to do and make it your puppy's name or your kid's name. Or worse yet, abc123.

And just in case you think you have a decent password but wanna verify it? Make sure it didn't make the list of 500 worst passwords of all time...

This has been a public service announcement. The more you know...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let's be done victim blaming, okay?

Anyone who has been around my internet neighborhood knows that I don't often discuss politics, religion, or really anything serious online. I am passionate about our world and making it better, however. And to do so, I think sometimes we need to challenge the status quo and say "Yo, that way of thinking is broken."

I found this poster at The Gloss and I believe in the message. I'm tired of people thinking it's okay to blame the victim. If your car is stolen, nobody thinks it's your own fault for not driving a piece of crap that nobody wanted. We blame the jerk that stole the car for the crime, right?

So why do so many women still carry the weight of judgment when they are the victims of crime? Why are there still so many self-defense classes and so few real-men-don't-rape-women classes?

  Rape shouldn't be a consequence of your fashion choice that evening.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Broadway!

As you may have guessed from my book cover, I'm very into dance. I've been dancing pretty much my whole life. In fact, the 30th anniversary of my very first dance recital is this weekend!

Growing up in NJ, we used to go to shows on Broadway often. Eventually I started seeing my old friends from the dance studios in the shows, but not until I was a teenager (well, just for one show...Rick Faugno, who was my tap nemesis, played Will Rogers, Jr. in The Will Rogers Follies) and then in my 20s. Now that we're all in our 30s, I'm not certain if any of my old buddies are still on Broadway. Most have moved on to owning dance studios, or dancing at Disney World, or in Vegas, or TV work.

But even so, Broadway is still a thrill for me. So when I looked at my RWA National Conference schedule and realized I had a hole one of the nights, you better believe the very first thing I did was check the listings to see which show I might be interested in seeing.

Every year around this time, I get an itch to go to NYC. You see, the Tony Awards were just this past Sunday, and as always, they managed to remind me of the glitz and glamour of my favorite street in the Big Apple. The performances were wonderful!

If you didn't see the awards show, then you missed out on some fantastic singing and dancing, including host Neil Patrick Harris'...wait for it...LEGENDARY rap recap.

THE hot ticket on Broadway this year is The Book of Mormon, a hilarious and irreverent (yet surprisingly touching) musical from the creators of the trash-talking cartoon, South Park. I've heard it's fantastic, but what do you expect from the guys who wrote the song "Blame Canada"? If you didn't already snag yourself some tickets weeks ago, don't expect to go while you're in town for RWA.

It's been a challenge to score tickets ever since it premiered in February, but now that the show has won NINE Tony Awards, landing a seat is even more daunting. Many performances are sold out weeks or even months in advance, and the day after the Tony Awards, the producers hiked the price of tickets by an extra $13, bringing the top non-premium ticket price to $155 (although during a holiday weekend, you can tack on an extra $20.) If you want to take your chances with scalpers, expect to pay nearly $500 per seat. Each day, a ticket lottery is held outside the Eugene O'Neill Theatre for a limited number of full-price same-day seats, with the lottery drawings hundreds of people ecery day.

So yeah, RWA-goers, The Book of Mormon just ain't gonna happen. But there are still plenty of other fabulous shows. And if you're patient and flexible, you can get your Broadway fix on for 25-50% off!

How? I'm glad you asked. Check out the Theatre Development Fund's famous TKTS booths, famously known as "The Half Price Ticket Booth." You may even be able to see the original TKTS out your window from the Marriott Marquis, in the middle of Times Square. This location is very convenient to the conference, but the lines are crazy. You might be better off venturing down to the South Street Seaport location, where the lines are about 1/10 as long.

Does TKTS have tickets for every show? No. It's hit and miss, to be honest. You never know what shows they'll have from day to day. So it helps to have a list in mind ahead of time, so you can easily choose a replacement if your #1 choice isn't available.

Here's a listing of the shows that appeared on the boards at the TKTS booths last week:

Just because something was there last week, doesn't mean it will be available two weeks from now, during RWA, particularly if the show happened to win some Tony Awards a couple of nights ago. But it's a start.

So go forth and patronize the arts!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Special Guest: Gemma Halliday!

Today we have a special guest post from Gemma Halliday, and she has a contest for our readers!

Take it away, Gemma!


Thanks so much to the lovely Fictionistas for hosting me today! Not only are they all fantastic ladies, but I’m also bordering on mega-fan of their books.

My Hollywood Confessions Blog Tour is in full swing, so please check out my website for more tour stops, as I’ll be giving away cool prizes (including gift cards, free books, cameo appearances, and Hollywood Headlines collectibles) at each stop!

Hollywood Confessions explores the sensational world of Hollywood through the eyes of tabloid reporter, Allie Quick. Allie has high aspirations - much higher than reporting on the latest celebrity gossip for the L.A. Informer, Hollywood's most notorious tabloid. But if she's going to join the ranks of the real reporters, she's going to need a headline worthy story under her belt. Luckily, she gets just that when the producer of the trashiest reality shows on TV winds up murdered, and Allie convinces her editor, Felix Dunn, that this story has her name written all over it. Between an aging dance-off judge, a family with sextuplets and triplets, and the star of a little person dating show, Allie has no shortage of reality stars to question. But when she finds herself falling for her prime suspect, Allie's relationship with her editor is suddenly on the rocks, and her life is in danger. This is one deadline Allie can't afford to miss!

One of my favorite things about writing this book was coming up with the fake reality shows that the victim, Chester Barker, had created. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie myself. And with so many great slash trashy reality shows to choose from lately, it was hard creating unique ones of my own. Here’s what I came up with:

Little Love
A reality dating show where one eligible bachelor is put into a house with twenty hot, young single girls. Every week the girls tried to out-flirt each other on group dates to earn a rose at the end of the hour-long show. The last one left standing at the end of the season gets a proposal from the bachelor. The twist? All the contestants on the show are little people. Including the ‘Little Bachelor”, who happens to have serious anger issues and ends up taking out a couple cameramen during the course of the season.
(Cleary this was my homage to The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Little People Big World, The Little Couple, and maybe a smidge of explosive Jersey Shore tempers. )

Don & Deb’s Diva Dozen
Don and Deb Davenport are the parents of 12 little girls: two sets of triplets (ages six and ten) and a set of sextuplets (four-year-olds), and all of them compete in the Tiny Tot beauty pageants. In their fourth season, the ratings hit a high when Don was photographed with a string of young co-eds at trendy Hollywood nightclubs. Don and Deb announced a trial separation for Fall sweeps, Deb taking the sextuplets and doing the Southern Glitz pageant circuit, while Don took the triplets to the West Coast Sunshine pageants. But, thankfully, by May sweeps, the couple announced they were going to give marriage a try again, and the season culminated in an hour-long Don & Deb’s Reunion show where the couple took all twelve children to Vegas for a long weekend, renewing their vows at the MGM Grand.
(Take a dose of Jon & Kate, Quints by Surprise, and 19 Kids & Counting… or are they at 20 now? 21?... throw in some Toddlers & Tiaras, and just a *slight* hint of Octomom, and voila! Reality gold.)

Stayin’ Alive
Currently in its ninth season, this is the granddaddy of all reality shows, pitting fifteen strangers against each other to fight for the title of Last Survivor Alive. Each season contestants are dropped in the middle of nowhere, the only location requirements being a beach (where the female contestants can wear their teeny tiny bikinis), torrential rains (that wet said bikinis suggestively), and lots of big, hungry mosquitoes (just for kicks). All fifteen contestants have to brave both the elements and each other, fighting it out in reward and immunity challenges. Anyone not winning immunity is forced to go to the tribal staging area, where someone is sent home each week. However, they aren’t voted out on their survival skills. Instead, the contestants participate in a dance-off, where a panel of judges vote out the contestant with the worst ballroom skills.
(Survivor vs. Dancing with the Stars vs. American Idol – the ultimate competition show!)

So, what are you fav reality shows? Any great combos you’d love to see? Leave your answer in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win a prize! Since Hollywood Confessions is the 3rd book in the Hollywood Headlines series, I’m offering a FREE autographed copy of the 1st book in the series (Hollywood Scandals) in print format. I’ll pull a post at random tomorrow and announce the winner here.

Happy reading!

~Gemma Halliday

available now in:
Paperback Print

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Power of Small Failures

It might seem like the ability to fail in a small way is in no way connected to success, but it is. Here's how:

Have you ever been on a diet, slipped up and decided the day was shot, you'd restart tomorrow and then proceeded to eat everything you weren't supposed to that day?

Have you ever fiddled away most of a day doing everything but writing, then decided the day was basically over so no point in sitting down to the keyboard now?

Those are big failures. They take you in the opposition direction of your goal.

Learning to fail small means eating a candy bar for lunch, but then having a healthy dinner anyway.

Learning to fail small means fiddling the day away, but finding a half hour in the evening to sit down and write 100 words.

So next time something doesn't go exactly as planned, ask yourself if you're going to be a big failure or a small one. Personally, I think small failures are big successes.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

New Facebook Page--yeehaw!

Did you know The Fictionistas has a brand-new Facebook page? AND that it's the most fun you can buy? AND...uh, that we're uber-foxy?!? That's right--check us out HERE.

Every time you like our page, an angel gets its wings. A romance heroine gets her happily-ever-after. A fat kid gets cake.

Come on, be a hero.

Also, while you're being so awesome, check out our individual Facebook pages. Here's the list:

--Kristen Painter

--Gwen Hayes

--Mel Francis

--Rhonda Stapleton

--Amanda Brice

Now, go forth and enjoy, my preciousssss!

Monday, June 06, 2011

where did time fly

My oldest son will be a senior in High School this year.

I swear, it was just yesterday that he was my treefrog. His bottom was barely big enough to fit into my palm!

Now we're gonna have to do senior pics, senior prom, senior trip, worry about colleges... Ugh. So please indulge me a moment while I take a trip down memory lane. Because I'm not quite ready for my treefrog to be all growed up.

Friday, June 03, 2011

NYC Adventure. Where do I start?

 Picture licensed under the
 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic l
At the end of June, I'll be traveling to New York, New York for the first time in my life. I'm so excited--but when my friend asked me what I wanted to do--my answer was, "Everything."

Of course, I won't have time to do everything. I'm meeting with my editor and touring the Penguin offices. And Ill be meeting my agent in person for the first time. Oh, and I'm there for a conference, so I'll probably have to attend it once in awhile, too. The hotel is in Times Square, so I'll get to see that every time I step out. But what should I do with my free time, people?

If you've been to or live in the city, what are the things you always want to share or revisit? Or, how about this--let's say you and I just met up in the lobby and have four hours for an adventure in NYC. Tell me what we do.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Contests and more contests!

Once again, the long holiday weekend throws me off. I thought for sure today was Wednesday. But, uh, apparently it's Thursday. How did that happen?

Anyway, as a result, I missed my blogging day yesterday. Mea culpa. But in my defense, none of the 'Nistas sent me a "hey, Amanda, are you blogging today?" email once I never put anything up. But really, it's all on me. My bad.

It's been a good week. I started it off by taking the toddler to a brand-new spray park on Monday. That was super fun. I loved seeing her playing in the jets of water.

Then on Tuesday I woke up to an amazing review of Codename: Dancer! Kelli from the I'd So Rather Be Reading blog called my book "a perfect example of YA done right." DUDE. You can't get much higher praise than that! You can read the full review here:

Now for the contests part of this post. Yay for free things!

Dance Spirit Magazine is featuring Codename on their website this month! They're giving away 4 copies of the book, autographed by me!

Are you a teen who desperately wants a Kindle? Or are you a parent whose kid keeps "borrowing" yours so often that you think you'll need to send out a search party?

Want to win a FREE Kindle, preloaded with 17 of the hottest indie YA and MG titles? Then look no further, because July 4 is Kindle INDIEpendence Day!

All you have to do is sign up here:

You can win additional entries for a variety of tasks, such as reading/reviewing any of the books involved in the promotion, tweeting that review, talking about a book on FB, Twitter, etc (even just a simple "I love the cover of this book!" will get you an entry), blogging, and "liking" the event on Facebook. You can find the full list of ways to earn entries here:

There's no limit to the number of times you can enter, so start sending those Tweets! The deadline is July 3!!!!