So I saw this article on important women of politics discussing their love of Nancy Drew. I think Sonia Sotomayor started the discussion, and it really got me thinking. You see, my mom used to own a volume of hardback Nancy Drew books that looked older than she was. And I never read them. I grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I wanted shiny pink covers like The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High to go with my permed hair and stretch pants.
In fact, I don’t really remember any girls in my class reading Nancy Drew. But man, did we own those Babysitter books. I’m not really sure what happened to my mom’s set. Most likely, she gave them away. She gave away a lot of our books to coworkers who had younger kids, which was nice and all. But now as an adult, I really wish we still had those Nancy Drews so that, at the very least, I could see what everyone is talking about.
But alas, they’re sitting in someone else’s attic right now. Thanks, Mom! (Though in all fairness to her, she didn’t know I’d grow up to write young adults books. She saved my Barbies.)
But, sadly, off with the Nancy Drew set also went my Christopher Pike books.
I loved Christopher Pike. Like, seriously loved him. I wanted to eat his pages. Chain Letter, Remember Me, Fall Into Darkness, Sati, were just a few of my favorites. And now that my WIP is dipping into the YA mystery genre, I really wish I still had those books.
Now I know what you thinking. Go online and buy them.
And I could.
They’re available, some for less than $1 used. But most have these new Hollywood covers with teen actors who must have starred in TV movies based on the novels. Like, did you know that Fall Into Darkness was made into a movie? It starred Tatyana Ali (from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Jonathan Brandis (who I just read died a few years back. So sad. I had no idea.).
But my point is, they’re not the covers I remember. If I really want the sensory experience of reconnecting with these books, I want the cover with Ann’s necklace on the rock. Not the cover with Jonathan and Tatiana.
Same with Twilight. As much as I love Kristen and Rob, why would anyone want this mass market cover over the iconic image of the hands holding the apple? Maybe it’s just me. But putting real actors on the cover takes some of the mystery out of the book. You can’t read it now without thinking of them. What do you think?
And now in belated, loving memory of Jonathan Brandis, who may have been one of my first teen crushes after he starred in Ladybugs with Rodney Dangerfield, here’s a clip of Fall Into Darkness.
POP CULTURE RANT: 16 and Pregnant
Am I the only one who hasn’t seen this show? I feel like the entire YA community is talking about MTV’s latest reality show featuring, presumably, teenagers who are pregnant and deciding what to do next. So I’ve succumbed to peer pressure. I just set the DVR to record three episodes. And because MTV runs this program at least 20 times a day, all these episodes will be recorded within the next 48 hours. I’ll let you know my thoughts afterwards—including my thoughts on Dr. Drew’s post-labor show with teenagers on the trials of breast-feeding.
Pedro Martinez has become a Philadelphia Phillie. Now, you may not think this is significant. But that’s because you don’t realize that Pedro and I have a long-standing history. When I lived in Boston, Pedro pitched for the Red Sox. I watched him in his prime, playing alongside Nomar (ah, Nomahh) and a team that has an uncanny way of making baseball fans out of anyone. Really, spend four years living within walking distance of the Green Monster and believe me you will leave that town wearing a Red Sox hat. (There’s one in my closet. It’s pink.)
Then, I moved to New York. And what happened? Pedro followed me. Started playing for the NY Mets. It was a love-hate relationship since the Mets and the Phillies are both in the National League East division. And while I’m not a huge baseball fan, I am a huge Philadelphia fan. So once again, we were star-crossed lovers, until…
At first, I was like, “Pedro, no. We can’t go on like this. I’m married.” But how I could ignore his devotion? I mean, to follow me to three different cities! And he’s an injured old-timer now looking for a comeback. You can’t get more Philadelphia (and Rocky) than that! It has to be a sign! We’re meant to be together!
Okay, I’m kidding.
Though the timing of the moves is very coincidental. And it brings me to my next point. While I may not be a baseball nut, I am a crazy football fan. The hubby and I already have tickets for a game this season. (Got them during the five-minute window Eagles tickets were available to the general public. I swear it’s harder to get seats at The Linc for an Eagles game than a Madonna concert. But I digress…)
I’m Eagles fan who owns not one, but two jerseys; a fan who has sat out in the freezing cold to watch a playoff game (4th and 26, baby!); and a general fan of naming my characters after people I like. So some of you might notice that when my WIP comes out at some point in the distant future (fingers crossed!), a few of my characters will have last names that might sound a tad familiar to you sports fans. Ahem, Detective Dawkins—that’s all I’m saying.
And this brings me to my final thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who participated in my contest last week and who posted my YouTube video around cyberspace. I’m happy to report that Ivy League Sister has personally contacted a Colbert producer! This means that the little inside joke I inserted into my novels years ago, a joke I never really intended to bring to light, has now exceeded my wildest expectations and made its way (almost) to the source.
I still can’t believe it, and I think it’s very cool. So thank you all! Maybe this time next year, I’ll be asking you to decode every name in my book that’s tied to a professional athlete. Now that would be a cool contest.
POP CULTURE RANT: So You Think You Can Dance
How much did you love that Breast Cancer routine? Wow. Really. And “This Woman’s Work” is one of my favorite songs ever. So this leads me to come out and just take sides here—Melissa and Ade are my favorite dancers this season. Melissa, because she’s a naughty ballerina in my age bracket—so I love that a woman who can be considered too “old” for this profession is dancing circles around people. And Ade, because I seriously think he could lift Hulk Hogan over his head and make it look effortless. And when he jumps, it's like he sprang off a trampoline. It’s sick. Really, the two of them rock. Love this show.
Bumping My Way Just A Little Closer to Stephen Colbert
So my “Campaign to Get on the Colbert Report” is still in full swing and it’s even taken a few giant leaps forward. I haven’t planted my flag (or books) in the studio yet, but I did find out that I’m only two degrees of separation from a Colbert Producer! That’s like a friend-of-a-friend connection, folks. Doesn’t get much better than that.
So here’s the deal. After I sent out my monthly e-newsletter last week (Not receiving it? Sign up for it here), my sister calls me. You see, the whole email was devoted to my efforts to get on the Colbert Report so I could introduce the famous faux-news comedian to “Madam Colbert,” the character I named after him.
Anyway, my sister calls and here’s a rough breakdown of the conversation:
(Background info: my sister graduated from college with my husband’s brother. That’s how my husband and I met. So the ‘CEO brother-in-law’ mentioned below is actually my husband’s brother, not my sister’s husband. Just an FYI.) IVY LEAGUE SISTER: Hey, so I saw your video. ME: You like it? IVY LEAGUE SISTER: Well, I didn’t really get all the jokes. I don’t watch Colbert. It’s on too late. But it looked funny. ME: Thanks. You should really get DVR. IVY LEAGUE SISTER: Anyway, I was reading my alumni magazine from *fancy ivy league university* last month, and I remember an article about a producer at the Colbert Report being an alum. ME: You read your alumni magazine? IVY LEAGUE SISTER: Yeah. But listen, she graduated my year. She’s a ’94 alum. ME: Shut. Up. IVY LEAGUE SISTER: Yeah. And I think she was in *CEO Brother-in-Law’s* college. ME: Double, shut up. What’s her name? IVY LEAGUE SISTER:*insert name* ME: Wait, I bet *CEO Brother-in-Law* does know her! He knows everyone! IVY LEAGUE SISTER: I know!
(Side notes: I’m omitting the producer’s name because I think it might be rude to post about her given that I don’t actually know her. And Fancy Ivy League University is broken down into separate colleges that have nothing to do with majors. It’s like being in the same dorm or something.)
So it turns out that my CEO Brother-in-Law does remember this comedian/producer. And we are currently in the hunt for her direct email address. I will keep you all posted.
Also, don’t forget to enter the THE MADAM COLBERT MEETS STEPHEN COLBERT CONTEST for a chance to win: a signed copy of Amigas and School Scandals; signed copy of Adios to All The Drama; and an exclusive Amor and Summer Secrets Bookmark.
All you have to do is post a link to my Colbert YouTube video, and send me the link via comments or email. But there are many more ways to enter. For all the details, read last week’s blog.
And for those who missed it, here’s a repeat of my Madam Colbert Video:
Also do not miss out on another cool contest being run by the awesome young adult author Stephanie Kuehnert. She's hosting a cyber launch party for her new book, Ballads of Suburbia, which debuted last week. It has one of the coolest covers ever, plus it's about teenagers growing up in the '90s. So I know I'll relate to it and so will many of you. Oh, to see all of those grunge band references--I can't wait! So check it out!
POP CULTURE RANT: True Blood
While I may have DVR, I do not have premium cable. So I just finished watching the DVDs of the first season of True Blood. Wow, it’s um…a little graphic. I mean, you expect blood and gore in a vampire series, but this show has more naked sex scenes than Sex In The City. And that’s saying something. Plus, I just realized that that one girl, Amy, who gets down and dirty (and very naked) with Jason, is actually the actress that played the goth/artsy friend Janice in Mean Girls! She’s come a long way, hasn’t she? This chick could now put a Victoria’s Secret model to shame with that body. Go her!
Okay, a couple of weeks ago I told all of you about I how named one of the characters in my Amor and Summer Secrets series after Stephen Colbert. You know, the comedian on Comedy Central who has helped elevate spoofing the news into an art form. Well, I’m thrilled to report that Phase II of my “Campaign to Get on the Colbert Report” is now in full swing.
It took a lot of editing, camera work (filmed by my talented cinematographer husband, Jordan), re-shoots, and script work, but I’ve finally come up with a video that I think will explain exactly how big of a Colbert fan I am and why I think he needs to hear about my young adult character, “Madam Colbert.”
Fair warning, if you’ve never seen the show, some of the jokes might fly a tad over your head. The video is really geared toward the Colbert fan. But even if you’re only mildly curious, take a look. It’s kinda funny—at least I hope so. And when else do you get to see a YA author poke such fun at herself?
So without further ado, here it is… The Worldwide Broadcast Premier of: MY MADAM COLBERT VIDEO!Drum roll please……
There you have it, folks! All the reasons why I think Stephen Colbert needs to “Better Know” my young adult series. Come on, wouldn’t you love to see Madam Colbert join the ranks of Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, the mascot of the Saginaw Spirit minor league hockey team, as a classic Colbert namesake?
I know I would, which is why I’m launching a free book giveaway to help bring my character to the attention of “Papa Bear” Stephen Colbert! So get your links ready for:
THE MADAM COLBERT MEETS STEPHEN COLBERT CONTEST!
A signed copy of Amigas and School Scandals
A signed copy of Adios to All The Drama
An exclusive Amor and Summer Secrets Bookmark
All you need to do is post a link to my YouTube video somewhere on your blog, website, or MySpace page and send me the link (either via my blog comments or the Contact Me form on my website).
Number of Eligible Contest Entries To Win:
--Posting the YouTube link enters you ONCE.
--Embedding the YouTube video enters you THREE TIMES.
--Forwarding the link to someone who works at Comedy Central (forwarded email verification needs to be sent to me) enters you SIX TIMES.
--Forwarding the link directly to someone who works at the Daily Show or the Colbert Report (forwarded email verification needs to be sent to me) enters you TEN TIMES. (Plus, if anyone does that, I’ll probably throw in a few extra prizes. Heck, a bunch of extra prizes…).
I will announce the winner next Friday, July 24th by 5pm EST. So get the links clicking and send them over. I want to bomb the Internet with this video, so spread the word! And thanks everyone for watching!
POP CULTURE RANT: General Hospital Okay, I’m just gonna say it. I loved Karaoke night. When Robin and Patrick sang the Dirty Dancing song, I nearly fell off the elliptical machine. You know how embarrassing it is to laugh at the gym while wearing headphones? No one can hear what I’m laughing at. And to make it worse, when they look at the little TV on my machine and see a soap opera airing, they stare at me like I’m special. But I don’t care. It was worth it. I just wish they had Kelly Monaco sing in her Bo Peep outfit a la Vegas.
So it’s Friday, and it’s sunny, and it doesn’t exactly feel like a day for a serious blog entry. Lots of other bloggers post Friday Funnies and whatnot, and while I’ve never been one to follow the day-of-the-week blog rules, I do feel a need to keep it lighter. It’s summer! It’s beachy! It’s the start of Happy Hour! Stop bringing us down with Iran protest announcements.
So instead, I’ve decided to give you the second installment of:
MY HAIKU REVIEWS 1. “Audrey, Wait!” by Robin Benway
Boy meets Girl meets Song
Think "Jenny, 8675…"
Only Audrey’s cool
2. “Artichoke’s Heart” by Suzanne Supplee
Fat girl is lonely
Kinda sad for a beach read
Makes you love the gym
3. “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman
YA trauma porn
Picture “Ghost” meets “Lovely Bones”
Really makes you think 4. “The Hangover” movie in theaters now
Must quote all the lines
Better than Wedding Crashers
Bradley Cooper, yum 5. Sarah Palin Resignation
Was that in English?
Quitter, chicken, bock ba-bock
Gee, how Mavericky
And for those of you who might have missed Sarah Palin’s thought provoking, Martin Luther King, Jr.-esque resignation speech (please note tongue inserted in cheek), here’s a clip of the “highlights.”
POP CULTURE RANT: Daily Show & Colbert Report
They’re on vacation! They’re on vacation and Sarah Palin quits! Mid-term! And she gives a belligerent speech about basketball point guards and dead fish! Come on, guys. It’s in emergencies like these that Americans expect our leaders to be called back from Camp David to give us guidance. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert: we need you to make fun of this! The world just doesn’t seem right without it. Can I get a “Hell, ya!” This brings me to my final note, folks. For those of you who have been waiting for Part II of “My Campaign to Get on the Colbert Report,” stay tuned to the blog next week. We’ll have an update. And it’s funny.
What better way to spend your time at the beach than immersed in the world of Manhattan drama and glamor? So come on Gossip Girl fans, if you like Chuck and Blair, why not learn a little about Casey and Drew, the stars of GCC member Jennifer Banash’s The Elite series? The final book in this young adult trilogy, SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, debuts this week through Penguin’s Berkley Trade imprint.
As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:
She's climbing the social ladder, to the dismay of her neighbor and rival, Madison Macallister. And Casey could end up as popular as Madison now that the two are set to star in their own reality show, 'De-Luxe.' But reality TV can be so unreal.
Madison loves the attention, but having every bit of her life caught on tape is often less than glamorous. Yet fame comes at a price - and she's willing to pay. Meanwhile, now that Casey and her almost-boyfriend Drew Van Allen are currently more off than on, she's beginning to wonder if everything in her life is just an illusion-and how much longer the illusion can last.
Here’s what Jennifer had to say:
Q: In AMOR AND SUMMER SECRETS, Mariana discovers a hidden family secret. Are you a good secret keeper?
Jennifer: I used to be terrible at it! (See this story) Because of major lessons I learned about being a gossip in high school, I'm now a really, really good secret keeper.
Q: What is the favorite place you ever traveled to, and what was the coolest thing you saw/did there?
Jennifer: Paris. I went every summer when I was in graduate school, and spent 2 or 3 months there just walking around, sitting at sidewalk cafe, drinking wine, and, of course, shopping. I wrote In Too Deep, and my novel Hollywoodland there, and it's always been a magical place for me to write.
Ah, scribbling away at a cafe in Paris...is there anything more writerly?
Q: I often tell the story of how a psychic once predicted that I would go on to write children’s books. Have you ever visited a psychic?
Jennifer: I've had my tarot cards read, but that's about it. When I was in college, my roommate went to a psychic who told her that she had a curse on her, and that she'd need $1,000 to remove it. My roommate was so freaked and naive that she actually paid it!
Q: My character Mariana spends her summer in Puerto Rico connecting with her father’s heritage. Have you ever researched your family tree?
Jennifer: I never really knew my biological father, and he disappeared when I was 2 years old. I've searched for him on and off over the years, at various points in my life, but have never really turned up much.
Q: Where were you when you found out that your book was going to be published?
Jennifer: I was sitting at my kitchen table! So exciting and glamorous, I know. Afterward I was excited, but it also felt completely unreal at the same time. I think I had a really big glass of wine, and basically walked around in a daze for the rest of the day.
Thank you, Jennifer! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!
Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s debut young adult novel, Amor and Summer Secrets, is the first in a three-book series published by Kensington Publishing in 2008 and 2009. In addition to writing, Diana is a pop-culture junkie: everything from primetime to soaps, ew.com to The Soup, The Hangover to Slumdog, and Gossip Girl to Jane Austen. She’s loves it all and loves to rant. Enjoy!