Analog and the French Kiss — Excerpt!

Ha ha ha! Today I was inspired by agency sis Carrie Harris. She recently posted an excerpt of her zombie novel Bad Taste in Boys (coming in 2011!), but before posting it, she ran it through Babel Fish several times. The result? Meat-attachment awesomeness.

Babel Fish is a free language translation software. It's also the reason why REAL translators will never lose their jobs.

So . . . at long, long last . . . I'm sharing my first excerpt of Anna and the French Kiss! Here's a selection from page forty-two, simply because forty-two is my favorite number.* You're lucky it happened to be a KISSING PAGE. I translated it twice—once into Japanese and then back into English.


And next and finally, meant that he lets escape me. And next and finally, the he is kissed to me under the entryway visor which groans. And next I away.

"Analog? It is all right?" someone asks.

All table has scrutinized me.

Do the scream of t. Do the scream of t. Do the scream of t.

"Um. The place where there is a bathroom?" The bathroom is explanation of my taste for all states. If you express that no one furthermore asks.

"As for washroom hall." It is under. St. Clair does which it is worried. You see, you ask the challenge of t. He which perhaps is feared. As for the story concerning the sucking/absorbing prisoner characteristic of the tampon or the P word which is feared is expressed.

And now you know ALL OF MY SECRETS. Hee hee.

Back to work for me! Last night I cut 19,000 words from Lola and the Boy Next Door. Now I have to put 19,000 new words in their place. In, like, a week.


*For the record—because I like saying "for the record"—42 is NOT my favorite number because of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy nor because of Coldplay. These are just happy coincidences.***

**No, really, it is.

***The rules of my blog state that since I mentioned Coldplay, now I'm allowed to post a picture of Chris Martin. I love the rules! Here's a tiny picture since we're in the tiny footnotes. I'm picking one where he looks disturbed, because he just learned that I have to replace 19,000 words in one week (while simultaneously proofreading Anna). But don't worry. Right after he makes this face, he gets this really happy expression when he realizes he can go make a sandwich for me, which will help keep up my energy. Chris knows that I like sandwiches. They taste good.


Gobs and Gobs of Happy Stuff

Hurrah! I've been given the okay to share some of my mysterious GOOD NEWS.

I'm not even sure where to begin. Everything happened quickly and all at once! So I'll just jump right in.

First . . .


I received my first foreign sale. Thank you, Germany! I am thrilled — THRILLED — that Anna will be on your shelves! It has been many years since I've been to Germany (apart from that fifteen minutes I spent running through Frankfurt's airport in January), but suddenly I have a very strong hankering to return. Ich bin glücklick!

[I hope that means "I'm happy." My German is sadly worse than my French. It is a good thing, indeed, that authors do not translate their own novels.]

Second . . .


Blurbs are those wonderful little quotes that go on book covers, where Very Important People tell you to Read This Book.

Blurbs are extremely exciting for new authors. Here are mine:

"Very sly. Very funny. Very romantic. You should date this book."
— Maureen Johnson

"Imagine a mug of rich, thick hot chocolate. Now add a swirl of sweet whipped cream. Yummy? Oui. Well, Anna and the French Kiss is richer, sweeter, and—yes—even hotter. You're in for a very special treat.”
— Lauren Myracle

Aren't those ADORABLE??

My head is spinning. I'm not even sure what to say here, you guys. I mean, blurbs are incredible, no question. It means someone liked your book! Enough to put THEIR NAME on it! And Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle are both New York Times bestselling authors. So that'll look awesome on my cover, right?

But here's the thing.

Maureen and Lauren aren't just anyone. I've loved their work for years. I buy their novels in hardcover. I read them multiple times and mark my favorite passages. When I was a librarian, I relentlessly faced-out copies of Maureen's Girl at Sea and Suite Scarlett and Lauren's Winnie Years series. I shoved their books into the hands of library patrons on a regular basis. And when their books were challenged or banned (The Bermudez Triangle and TTYL), I made sure those books were sitting on our shelves. I dreamed of one day being able to write like them.

And now they have read my book. And they liked it.

And it feels like nothing short of a miracle.

Third . . .

I saw what my ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) will look like — inside AND out! And it's beautiful. The designers did a spectacular job, above and beyond my expectations. I can't wait to show you!

Fourth . . .

I have film representation!

If you aren't in the book industry, I want to make it clear that MANY authors have film representation and ALMOST ALL OF THEM see nothing come of it. But I've heard only wonderful things about my agent, and I am over-the-moon to find my toe unexpectedly in this door!

So . . .

HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to my agent Kate Schafer Testerman, my German sub-agent, my film agent, my editor, my book designer, Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson, and everyone else who made this a mind-boggling week!

But . . .

The best part? My favorite piece of good news isn't even my own. A very dear friend had an EVEN BETTER week. But because it's not *my* news, it isn't mine to share. You shall have to wait!


"When It Rains, It Pours" — Morton Salt*

So I met these guys last weekend. Was this the moment the universe shifted? Perhaps.

A strange, extraordinary thing has happened to me this week.


In bounty.

It's odd how one can go for months without it, positively ache for something new to cling to — Anything! Any shred will do! — and . . . nothing. And then, in a space of three days, receive an astounding, jaw-dropping, overwhelming deluge.

And I'm not just talking about good things happening to me (though there have been several amazing things, including one of the top five phone calls of all time, courtesy of Daisy Whitney — in which she said EVERYTHING I have EVER wanted someone to say about Anna; I swear, she had the crib sheet that I keep glued to my heart), but I'm talking about good things in abundance happening to many people in my life.

What is WITH this week?

I have no idea, but I am grateful for it! I'm ecstatic to the point of bursting.

I've been writing, writing, writing Lola and the Boy Next Door, so I've been unable to reply to all of the comments in my last post about beauty, but if you haven't checked them out — or left your own comment — you should! There are truly marvelous things in there. Thank you, everyone.

And there doesn't seem to be much of a point to this (unusually short) post, and I realize it's lame of me to talk about GOOD THINGS and not to get specific, but . . . I guess I just wanted to say that I hope you are having a good week, too.

*Morton Salt should be the hero's name in some Great American Novel. Seriously. Wouldn't that be perfect?

ALSO: I know I've promised a giveaway, and it will BE HERE SOON. Though now it'll be disappointing — especially when you see how long I've been sitting on it! — but sooner is better than never. I suppose. Arrrrghh. Embarrassing.


"Pretty things, so what if I like pretty things?" — Rufus Wainwright

I'm thinking about beauty today.

I just painted my nails dark blue ("Opening Night" — Don't you love nail polish colors?) while listening to the new Rufus Wainwright album. It's called All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, and it's his sixth studio album. This one is stripped to just his voice and piano, nine new songs and three adaptations of Shakespeare's sonnets — 10, 20, and 43.

And it's beautiful.

There are only two musicians whom I have fallen in deeply, passionately in love with on a first listen. Rufus is one of them. I'm always nervous to talk about music here, because music lovers tend to have STRONG OPINIONS on what is good and bad. (I am guilty of this myself, but I'm working on it!) Which is silly, right? Who is to say what one person likes — or loves — is wrong?

Anyway. Even though music is tricky ground, this afternoon made it hard for me to resist talking about Rufus again.

I believe in the power of music to change how we think and act. I use it on a regular basis to influence my work. When I've decided on the tone of the scene I'm writing, I seek out music that reflects that tone, and I listen to those songs for hours, days, weeks on end. This process has taught me that music has the ability to change me. Actually change me. It can make me melancholy or wistful or furious or hopelessly in love. And the best thing about this is that the right music — and "the right music" is different for everyone — contains the power to heal us.

Rufus is one of those musicians whose voice, for whatever unknown mysterious sublimely magical reason, has the power to heal me. I feel it physically enter underneath my skin. It does something to me.

Do you know what I'm talking about? Has this ever happened to you? Where the music is no longer an external experience, but a startlingly internal one?

Rufus is also the only musician who has ever moved me to tears in concert. His lyrics are brilliant and heartbreaking and witty, his voice is classically trained, and — if you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the photographs! — you'll have noticed that he's physically beautiful. There's really no one quite like him.

As I was listening to his new album, it struck me that Rufus possesses the kind of beautiful nature that Oscar Wilde would have worshiped.

If you're curious what the song was that made me instantly fall in love with him — love at first listen? — it was "Oh What A World" from Want One. I'm hesitant to post the following video, because it's a live recording that shows him at his campiest (and only gets campier as it goes along!) . . . which could be distracting if it's your first taste. But I truly love this song, and I truly love him. I hope some of you might, too.

If not, please follow the basic rules of politeness. Don't tell me! Ha!

[Warning: When the video switches to him on the streets of San Francisco at the end, a naughty joke is about to occur. So if you're easily offended — or have a young child at your feet — turn it off! But the joke, by the way, is funny.]

And here's a video of what is — on most days — my favorite of his songs, "The Art Teacher." This is classic Rufus, lyrics and voice-wise. (Oh, the heartache.) And this is a much more typical performance!

In other beautiful news, I've just discovered that one of my favorite authors, Francesca Lia Block, has a blog. And it's filled with gorgeous, magical things, just like her novels.

She also linked to a blog called The Unicorn Diaries, which I also find quite lovely.

And whenever I think of beautiful things online, I think of my internet friend (hopefully, some day, real-life friend!) Lilie Green's website. Lilie travels the world, creates romantic jewelry, and has excellent taste in literature.


"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." — Anne Frank

"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music — the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself." — Henry Miller

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness." — John Keats

"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart." — Kahlil Gibran

"What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful." — Scott Westerfeld

"Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all." — William Somerset Maugham

"What do I care if you are good? Be beautiful! And be sad!" — Charles Baudelaire

When I visited Baudelaire's memorial, someone had left their own sad poem.

That last one = not the best advice, but I must admit, I love it anyway. Ha ha!

So please tell me in the comments: What is beautiful in your life right now? And what music do you find beautiful? No judging!


Ramble, Ramble, Ramble-dee-doo

My cat in a box. Nothing to do with anything.

I have a bigly huge list of things I want to blog about, but . . . oy. Looking at the list — and its bigly hugeness* — makes me not want to blog about ANY of them, even though they're all awesome.

C'est la vie.


• I updated my website. Nothing major, but if you're interested in how to pronounce Étienne St. Clair, there's an answer in my F.A.Q. Also, I've avoided the how-to-get-an-agent question on my blog, because I got mine nontraditionally. I don't feel like my advice is particularly helpful. But I finally kinda sorta answer the question. (Also in my F.A.Q.) And I updated the On Writing page. It still doesn't have my advice but, for now, there is a tiny handful of BRILLIANT links. Check them out for inspiration!

• Thanks for your fantastic comments about my plot (and Étienne) last week! Happy, happy me. To answer a question that keeps coming up, stacythompsonschuck asked:

When will ARC's be available and how can I get one?

I'm sorry. I have no idea. As soon as I know, I'll post the information. Thank you for asking!

• My husband Jarrod is the best. I don't think I've mentioned it here in a while, so it just needed to be said.

• Those new cheeseburger flavored Doritos actually taste like cheeseburgers. At first I thought this was cool. Now that the novelty has worn off, I've realized it's gross. Also, the product's full name is: Doritos Late Night: All Nighter Cheeseburger. Late night? All nighter? Is this necessary?

I have a headache, Doritos. I BLAME YOU.

• I'd planned a giveaway this week, but a bunch o' people beat me to it. Check out that link for a giant list of recommended reads and most of those links will lead you to people giving away copies of them. Good luck! I'll save my giveaway for next week.

• Cute boys are cute. (Obligatory link to 1:24 minutes of a cute boy being cute. Nothing happens, but sexy nerd glasses are involved. Score!)

• I met Weronika Janczuk! If you're active in the writing/blogging/tweeting world, there's a good chance you already know her. If you don't, allow me to explain: Weronika has written a novel every year since the sixth grade. She interned at Flux. She reads for two different literary agents and will soon become an agent in her own right. She's currently revising a new novel that she hopes to sell later this year.

And she's about to graduate high school.

Weronika is AMAZING. We had a wonderful afternoon coffee during which I learned that not only does she have this incredible (obvious) drive, but that she's also super cool and super nice. Regular blog readers know that nice goes a long way with me! I want to be like her when I grow up.

• I'm worried I'm becoming vain. Because I'm looking at that picture up there and thinking, "Who killed my hair?" "I need to find a lipstick that doesn't fade" and "Seriously, WHY IS MY HAIR SO FLAT?"

• I will be really, really happy when I'm done with this draft of Lola and the Boy Next Door. Really. Really. Happy. And that's all I'm saying about that.

*EDITED TO ADD: Did I steal "bigly huge" from Will Grayson, Will Grayson? (Great book, by the way.) Or from somewhere else, maybe? It sounds familiar.