Monday, August 31, 2009

Interview + Contest with Alyson Noel

Interview with: Alyson Noel
By: Lauren


1. I absolutely love your covers for the Immortal series. They really stand out and that's always a good thing for an author. Did you have any say when it came to them? What was your first reaction when you saw Evermore and Blue Moon?


I love the covers too—the St. Martin’s art department does an amazing job. The first time I saw them, I was just gobsmacked—in a good way! And while I’m always asked for my input, I usually just end up mumbling stuff about significant items or symbols found in the story, colors I like, the mood they might want to invoke, and then the artists translate that gibberish and come up with something wonderful every time! I recently got a sneak peek at the SHADOWLAND cover and I have to say it’s my favorite one yet! I can’t wait til I get the okay to share it!


2. Congratulations on being a New York Times Best selling author. That's so amazing! How did you hear the news and how did you celebrate? Was this always a dream for you or just an awesome plus or both?


Oh, it was always a dream—though kind of a distant one—like traveling the world, or climbing Everest. I was mostly just focused on writing the books.
A few days after EVERMORE’s release, we knew it was a possibility since sales were good and it had already gone back to press a few times, and even though I was on pins and needles the whole time, when my editor called with the good news, I was actually in the dentist chair with a mouth full of instruments, but I took the call anyway and much shouting and squeeing ensued while my hygienist stood patiently by. On that same day I learned it had made the USA Today list as well, and that the dramatic rights had been optioned by Spring Creek Productions, and on the way home, I just broke down and cried, remembering the whole entire journey: a rough childhood/adolescence, all the rejections, snubs, and naysayers I’d faced along the way, and I could hardly believe it amounted to this!


When BLUE MOON debuted at #1 on the New York Times list and #14 on the USA Today list, I was working out with my iPod blasting so loud I missed the initial call—but quickly caught up as soon as I was done and wasted no time in popping the champagne!


3. If you had to cast your own movie version of your series, who would you want to play Ever? Speaking of films, any word on it actually becoming a movie? If it did, how would you feel about that?


Well, since the rights to the series have been optioned, I think it would be so cool to see something actually happen with it. And while I’m a really visual writer, often feeling like I’m just transcribing the movies I see in my head, I’m surprisingly bad at casting my characters with real live actors—though my readers have come up with some great suggestions like Ben Barnes for Damen, and I have to say, that’s really close to how I envisioned him!


4. Book bloggers are becoming bigger and bigger with new ones cropping up all the time. What are your thoughts about this new way of promoting and do you think it helps a lot or is more of a fun way to spread the word a bit more?


I think it’s great—truly phenomenal really, the way an entire online community has been formed by people excited about books. And since promotional dollars are always so tight for both authors and publishers, anything that gets the conversation going and the word spreading is always a good thing!


5. Who would be at your ideal party (dead or alive)?

Oh, I love this question! Let’s see, off the top of my head I’d invite:


Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Vincent Van Gogh, and Picasso—so we could talk art; George Harrison, Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, and Bono—so we could talk music and spiritual/mystical stuff; The Bronte sisters, JD Salinger, Nick Hornby, Truman Capote, Judy Blume, and David Sedaris—so we could talk books; Sasha & Malia—because they’re adorable and would add that extra edge of cool; Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Alan Ball (so I could get the inside scoop on True Blood), Johnny Depp (because I’m allowed a little eye candy, right?), Richard Branson, and Albert Einstein—so we could really mix it up; and, of course, my friends and family since they’re always great to have around!

Giveaway-

Enter: Leave a comment about who you would invite to a party (dead or alive)?

Open To: International!!!

Prize: Signed copy of Evermore

Ends: September 11th

EXTRA-

+1 follower (leave a new comment or it might not count)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia Review + Giveaway


Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Review by: Lauren

Summary: Kara hasn't been back to Oak Park since the end of junior year, when a heroin overdose nearly killed her and sirens heralded her exit. Four years later, she returns to face the music. Her life changed forever back in high school: her family disintegrated, she ran around with a whole new crowd of friends, she partied a little too hard, and she fell in love with gorgeous bad-boy Adrian, who left her to die that day in Scoville Park....

Amid the music, the booze, the drugs, and the drama, her friends filled a notebook with heartbreakingly honest confessions of the moments that defined and shattered their young lives. Now, finally, Kara is ready to write her own.

Review: I meant to post this review a long time ago, and if you know me, you know that I've already been finished for even longer. I do apologize. However, I'm here now and I have to say, in my opinion, this book is amazing.

I loved that you saw a side to all the main character's through Kara's interaction with them as well as their own Ballad, since that allows them a chance to voice how they view their world. These ballads are strategically placed throughout the novel, giving it a new quality to most coming-of-age books.

And it is a coming-of-age story. I could relate to various people in parts of their lives and I could see my friends and people I know inside them too. It made the book interesting and relatable. I think most people could connect to something or someone in this novel, whether you are a teen now or much older. It doesn't matter.

When it came to the setting, I didn't grow up in Chicago during the 90's but Kuehnert made it seem like I could have. I pictured the places, lived in the character's moments. It was a very enjoyable read. That's not to say that there aren't parts where you want to cry or parts where you want to scream, but in the end, I'm glad I read the book. I loved it and I think a lot of people would so give it a shot.

One of my all-time favorite books is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (an MTV books release too) and now that I've read Ballads of Suburbia, I'm adding it to the top of my list with Perks. They are both about growing up and learning about life. I loved Stephanie's first book, but Ballads bypasses that by a ton, in my opinion.

Read it. You'll love it, or at least think about it.

Small Giveaways-


I have a few giveaways coming up that I feel, in some way, make me think of the book. And if it doesn't, enter anyway!!

HUGE GIVEAWAY-

I'm sorry I haven't been updating people. This might be extended but I don't know...so if you bought the book, send a pic to my email (lauren51990 AT aol DOT com) or a picture of the receipt if you still have it or buy it now. This contest was meant to end on August 31, but again, if we can extend...we might. If not, BUY AND ENTER NOW! Hardly anyone did, and I apologize (again) for not updating people more but please support. Remember: The More People that Enter, the More People that WIN:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Undiscovered Gyrl Review Part 2 + Win!


Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett
Review (Part Two) by Lauren

Summary: Beautiful, wild, funny, and lost, Katie Kampenfelt is taking a year off before college to find her passion. Ambitious in her own way, Katie intends to do more than just smoke weed with her boyfriend, Rory, and work at the bookstore. She plans to seduce Dan, a thirty-two-year-old film professor.

Katie chronicles her adventures in an anonymous blog, telling strangers her innermost desires, shames, and thrills. But when Dan stops taking her calls, when her alcoholic father suffers a terrible fall, and when she finds herself drawn into a dangerous new relationship, Katie’s fearless narrative begins to crack, and dark pieces of her past emerge.

Review Part Two: In the first part of the review, I told you all that I was enjoying the book and that didn't change as I continued the second half. I have now read it all and I found it to be a very intriguing novel. The end is a bit interesting...I can't say much, or else I might ruin the story, but it had me sitting there going "wait, that's it? what's happening?" This book is definitely about the idea of truth and fiction...if you're online, how do you know it's true? One person could be anyone. You just don't know.

Now, I wasn't a huge fan of the ending right away but I do think it goes along with the story fairly well. I will admit that I want to know more though. However, beyond that, I do recommend this. For the whole story and for the end. It should make you think about love (is there a happily-ever-after?), life (what makes you alive? how do you know you're living?) and so much more.
I'm really glad I was able to read this one. I only wish it was longer!!

Giveaway Part Two:

Remember, we are giving away 2 books so if you commented on Review Part One, you get entered for that copy...but if you comment here, you get entered for THIS copy. You can comment on both and be entered twice of course.

To Enter: What are your thoughts on personal blogs? I don't mean entertainment or book blogs, but the ones about people's lives.

Open To: U.S. and Canada

Ends: August 31 so HURRY!

Extra: LEAVE A NEW COMMENT for each entry.

+1 if you follow

+1 if you post somewhere else

Interview + Giveaway with Carol Snow

Interview with Carol Snow
By: Lauren
Website: http://www.carolsnow.com/

1. Both of your young adult novels (Switch and Snap) deal with some kind of paranormal element. Did you set out to write in this genre or did the ideas simply arrive this way? And you have switching bodies and ghostly images...what would you like to tackle next in the paranormal/fantasy world?

The first teen novel I attempted didn’t deal with the paranormal at all – it was more like a watered-down version of my adult books, which are basically romantic comedies. Then I had the idea for Switch and discovered how much fun it could be to make up my own rules of the universe. When I started playing around with ideas for a second teen book, I knew I wanted to go paranormal again, both to appeal to Switch readers and because I enjoyed stretching my imagination. As for what comes next: right now I’m playing with some ideas for a ghost love story.

2. What about Snap was the hardest to write? What about the easiest?

I had a terrible time deciding what, exactly, Madison Sabatini was doing in Sandyland. In my first take, her father was involved with some criminals who burned down their house, so they ran away in the middle of the night and changed their identities, and – oh, it was awful. The easiest part was writing the dialogue between Madison and her friends. In general, dialogue comes pretty easily to me.

3. Do you find writing for teens is a lot different than writing for adults? Do you find you have a preference?

For the most part, writing is writing. I come up a premise and characters, and then, page by page, I build a narrative. I don’t really have a preference between adult and teen books; I enjoy writing both because it keeps me from getting in a rut.

4. Reviews are great for authors when they are positive, but what are your thoughts on negative ones? Do you feel they hinder a book's sales? Where (site, magazine, newspaper) was one of the best places you've been reviewed?

I value negative reviews as much as positive ones because they give me the opportunity to learn and grow. Ha! Kidding! Like most – okay, all – authors, I hate negative reviews and have been known to say some very bad words at my computer screen. However, I have long since accepted that not everyone will like my work, and bad reviews come with the territory. Anyone who can’t accept that shouldn’t be a writer. (And anyone who becomes a writer should know enough to avoid double negatives.) With that said, if I hear the same criticism from multiple reviewers, I do try to learn from it. I don’t know how much harm bad reviews do. What I really fear are no reviews! So many books disappear from the stores before anyone’s even heard about them. With four books currently in stores, I’m fortunate to have had a lot of people say nice things about my work. Probably the biggest honor was having the American Library Association choose Switch as one of their “Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.”

5. Who would be at your ideal party (dead or alive)?

My grandparents -- three of the four died far too young, and I wish I could have gotten to know them. Besides, what’s a party without a few ghosts around to liven things up?


Giveaway-

Prize: Signed ARC of Snap

Open To: U.S. and Canada

How to Enter: Comment on something related to the interview above

Ends: Friday, September 11

Extra- LEAVE A NEW COMMENT FOR EACH!

+1 be a follower

+1 post about it

+2 post my August Party button on your site

Royal Pains Finale + Hilarious Rap!



Royal Pains is finishing up its first season tonight at 10/9c on USA. I'm quite excited for this episode as it looks really interesting. I'm just sad that it will be ending and we now have to wait for more. At any rate, please watch the show tonight. You know you want too.

Finale Description:

Hank treats a woman suffering from hallucinations, Divya and Raj fret over their engagement party, and Jill's feelings for Hank come in question. Catch the Royal Pains season finale "Wonderland," Thursday, August 27 at 10/9C.


Hilarious Video: Rap Wrap by Two Live Jew & The RP Crew:


Alicia Says: Richelle Mead and Lili St. Crow Signing?

Anyone here live in the Bay Area?? Richelle Mead and Lili St. Crow will be at the Palo Alto Books Inc. tomorrow night at 7. Anyone going? I'll be there. If you are going, email me at moviefanatic1911@yahoo.com or send me a tweet @leasha_91. I would love to meet up. But if you are shy and don't want to say anything, I'll be at the bookstore around 6:20 in light blue skinny jeans and a black jacket with gray bunnies. You can't miss the jacket. Trust me!

-Alicia


Edit Lauren: She said tomorrow night, but it could actually mean tonight so just check that out!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review: Bang Bang, You're Dead by Narinder Dhami


Bang Bang You're Dead by Narinder Dhami
Review by Lauren
Also reviewed for: http://www.teensreadtoo.com/

Summary:

Mia and her twin brother have had a hard life growing up. Their sick mom only got better when their grandfather showed up and made her, but when he passes away, it gets bad again. Mia is meek and silent, trying to appease everyone without really doing anything. Jamie, on the other hand, is growing more and more angry and wants his mom to sit up and take notice. He's mad that Mia doesn't understand and wants to show her that she can't always rely on him...after all, what if one day he isn't there anymore?

That's why when news hits that a gunman is in the school, Mia doesn't leave like the rest of her class. She starts to wondering: is that what Jamie was planning? Is this his way to show their mom that she needs to get better?

Review:

I love to read books that deal with school shootings because they are all different in how they approach the topic. This is the main reason why I wanted to read Bang Bang You're Dead. The book is told in a back and forth pattern for most of the novel, with the present chapters showing Mia going through the school looking for the shooter who may or may not be her brother, Jamie. As for the other chapters, they are Mia's recollections of times that Jamie showed his anger and destructive behavior...which, all added up, give a lot of support to the idea that it really might be Jamie with the gun.

I really enjoyed the chapters that showed the past because it allowed us a look into the things we weren't privy too when first starting the book. It gives us all an idea of who Mia and Jamie are and why they would want to cause a scene. It all basically leads to their mother, who is mentally ill but won't get the help she needs. Instead she sways between depressing can't-get-out-of-bed days and manic let's-shop-for-things-we-can't-afford days.

This is a really fast book and I definitely enjoyed reading it. I should warn that some of the present chapters get a bit tedious as you really just want Mia to figure out who the shooter is and what's happening or will happen after this. Once the moment arrives though it's all worth it. Believe me, this is one book that is sure to be a hit with a lot of people because it's not easy to figure out. You think you know what's going on, but in the end, do you really understand?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Guest Blog with Amber Kizer + Giveaway Update

Guest blog posting by Amber Kizer

I’m a reader first and foremost. I love books, so I thought I’d share my favorites of the moment. One of the best things about YA right now is that the quality of the content in the books rivals anything in the “adult” section—so these are also my recommendations for parents, grandparents, teachers and other “over eighteens” that might want to check out the section but don’t know where to start.

I read 20+ books concurrently. I read pages and then switch books like some people channel surf. There comes a point where I absolutely have to finish a book, but I read everything and anything. Okay, I’m lying. I don’t read computer programming or math theory. I’d rather run streak a crowded football stadium than try to untangle either of those! But, I’m huge reader of nonfiction as well—I never know where an idea might germinate from so I keep my mind open to anything that might strike my fancy. I find some of my best books in airport bookstores—I don’t know if it’s the selection or because I’m just in a survival gut mode and make unusual picks based on sleep deprivation or too much caffeine. Don’t know, don’t care, will keep buying books when traveling!

My monthly newsletter always has my current favorites plus bits of my opinions—readers can sign up for that on http://www.amberkizer.com/ if they want to follow my recommendations. Here are my top ten favorites of the moment—liable to change at any time!

Daniel Waters Generation Dead, I love the subtext in this book. It’s a very entertaining zombie, or shall I say “Living Impaired,” story, but it also has great discussion points for racism, homophobia, gender discrimination. The second one is out and I can’t wait to read my way down to it! Elizabeth Scott’s LIVING DEAD GIRL, was creeptastic. So beautifully written and so horrible at the same time. I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a feel good book by any stretch of the imagination, but the ending is completely satisfying and I think will speak to teens in a way that other books might not. Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. This is the book I tell any adult who works with kids or who wants to write YA to read. I think as we get older (speaking from a ripe age of 31 here!) we get enough experience under our belts that little things don’t seem so big anymore. I think it’s easy to lose the understanding of the magnification everything takes on as a teen. This book brings it right back front and center. Plus it’s a great book for teens, again definitely could start a few family conversations that might be hard to have otherwise.

The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry is a story that can be read as is, but is so much more if you’re familiar with classic children’s books—orphans, nannies, adventures, etc. Very funny in a subtle way but it totally works if you don’t know anything, like if you’re a nine year old and haven’t read any of those other classics. Laura Resau What the Moon Saw, beautiful writing but also a lovely story about culture clash and immigration. Wonderful word choices and imagery. Jenny Downham Before I die, I have always loved death books—that genre I’m fairly certain Lurlene McDaniel invented of kids getting cancer or working in hospitals with other kids. They take on taboo subjects and help kids deal. I always know I’m going to cry, but feel satisfied when I pick up one of Lurlene’s books. This debut novel by Jenny Downham felt similar to me, but also had a strength and purpose I appreciate.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox Mary Pearson is realistic science fiction. You don’t have to be a fan at all of the genre to like this book. It’s a wonderful, unfolding story about coming of age and learning about family secrets. The end is priceless. On of my all time most cherished books is THE STAND by Stephen King. I’m a sucker for dystopian and survivalist type stories which is probably why I love Life as we knew it and The Dead and the Gone by Susan Pheffer.

WHAT IT IS by Lynda Barry is an incredible visual feast. I can’t explain the book, but anyone interested in story, art, writing, journaling or edgy, uncategorizable work should find this book.

I became fascinated by the Holocaust when I was in middle school. I ended up winning awards for state projects and poetry so I’ve read a lot of books about the time period—both fiction and non. Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli is masterful. The voice, the characters, the story—are amazing. A must read. Which makes me think of THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, again fabulous story told by death which could be really hard to pull off, but somehow works in a way that is utterly artistic and entertaining.

Impossible Nancy Werlin’s , is a great modern day fairytale slash riddle slash realistic fiction about finding your identity and strength. And lastly, I’m not usually impressed with short stories—probably having to read too many bad ones in high school. But I love Black Juice by Aussie Margo Lanagan. Fantastic!

Okay, okay, so that’s more than ten and that’s not even adult titles or nonfiction…I also feel like I should point out that I’ve only met one author on this list—so if they’re here it’s because I really love their work and not because we’re BFFs, or I get a kickback or anything! Happy reading! Amber


Giveaway Update-

To win Meridian and One Butt Cheek at a Time look in the left hand sidebar under Contests, but leaving a note here will get you one extra entry.

Also, this is now open WORLDWIDE so enter away!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wanna Win $200 in Jewelry?

<Earringsjewelry promise ringsringsrings

Do I have your attention yet? This is an ongoing contest. I believe all you should have to do is click one of the above buttons. However, here is the link:
http://www.jewelryartdesigns.com/jewelry-jad.asp?p=Win-Jewelry

This is an ongoing contest, with a new winner each month so make your way over and enter enter enter! $200 in jewelry!!! Why would you EVER say no?!

Are You Haunted?!

R U H Squared? Are You Haunted By the Hollow?




Well, you should be. http://www.jessicaverday.com/#splash

Click the link. Listen to the music. Find out about it. You know you want too...

September 1, 2009

Amber Kizer Interview + Giveaway



I have an interview and guest post for you from Amber Kizer, the author of Meridian. I'm sorry for the delay in getting these posted, but again, my computer was a bit messed up and I have a lot that needs to go up these days. You get extra entries for commenting on the guest post but more details on the giveaway below the interview.

Interview with Amber Kizer
by: Lauren

•Have you always been interested in writing a novel like Meridian, with a mix of paranormal/fantasy elements? When or how did the idea first come to you (if you remember!)?

As a reader I've always loved books that use our reality but are tweaked-whether by magic or because there are more levels to life than what most people experience. But, I didn't set out to write a paranormal story and fit all the bits around that. This book is very close to my heart--the idea came from sitting vigil as my grandparents died (about 18 months apart). They both had very different dying experiences, though in both cases, as a family, we chose to work with a wonderful hospice organization (St. Vincent's Inpatient Hospice Care, in Indianapolis, IN).
With everything in life, I like to know as much as possible so I read and did a bunch of research on dying, the physical process itself, the psychological process, and people's near-death experiences.

For this story, I wanted to explore the idea that the "light" people talk about as they die is an actual person and what that might mean. For the story, Meridian looks like just a girl, until a soul is dying and then she becomes the bright light, the window they can take to the afterlife, the next step.

What if everyday of a person's life was that of being a window to beyond? I wanted to give a face to death that wasn't the Reaper's, wasn't something out of nightmares. And saying "God" is there in death doesn't say much--what does that mean really? How does that look?

And from a science aspect we're all energy. Where does that energy go? And isn't a soul of any animal or plant worthy energy? How does that look? How does that fit with the major religions and cultural norms?

And I also wanted to explore some organized religion as fear based--the idea that people hide behind religion because they're afraid or upset or angry. How does that twist what can be profound and comforting in faith? The mob mentality is so easy to manipulate if you're good at it--I wanted a character (Perimo) who was good at it and used it.

Of course readers don't have to know any of that-but that's where I came up with the question I tried to answer in this book!


•I love the names of characters, especially if they are unique. Where did Meridian come from and does it mean anything in particular?

Character names are very important to me and usually that's one of the first things I know about a story-who is in it and what are they called? I knew Meridian's name from the very beginning, but it wasn't until we got to know each other (sounds strange to non-writers I know!) that I realized her name has all sorts of levels to it. Meridian can mean a midpoint like midday. It can also be the center of an object. It's used when talking about the longitude of Earth. In Chinese medicine Meridians are the energy pathways used in acupuncture. So it can have many connotations-what the reader should take from that is that our Meridian is caught-she lives-in the middle of life and death.

Actually all the characters in this book have names that "mean" something to me as the writer and might resonate with readers who like to dissect deeper levels in a story.

Tens, the male lead, is a Protector and as such knows things about Meridian that he doesn't really know how he knows. His full name is Tenskawtawa and comes from a Shawnee religious and political leader from the 18th century. He was Tecumseh's brother and he was also known as "The Prophet". With our Tens's backstory, and gifts, I knew it was the perfect choice and it felt right.

Also to find Fenestra and Aternocti, I played with all sorts of different languages and took inspiration from Latin primarily. I wanted names that could be pronounced even without knowing the meaning but here's my definition of both:

Fenestra is a human with Angel DNA that is triggered if they are born at midnight on December 21st. Fenestras are "Windows to the Afterlife"-they literally become windows for dying souls to get to the good place (call it Heaven or Enlightenment or Nirvana).

Aternocti are "Dark Nights," also human with Angel DNA of a different nature. As they are corrupted they lose their humanness, but Aternocti thrive on disaster, fear, destruction, and cruelty. They shepherd souls to a bad place (call it Hell or ignorance or the Underworld).


•On the cover, there is a design of skulls in the back that seems to lead into a door. I was wondering if this has any meaning for the book or was simply added by the illustrator? And if it does have a meaning, anything you can share?

Isn't that the coolest cover? And the metallic additions they've added make it glow in the sunlight. I'm so impressed by the designer's vision and the artist's interpretation. And if you take a look at the cover, the girl is a painting. She's not a real girl, she's the artist's idea what Meridian looks like based on my description in the book.

Meridian is a Fenestra-a Window to the afterlife---so the door behind her is a window like what she becomes for the dying. The skulls are a hint that where there is a good, there is also evil. Everything on this cover is found in the book-even red roses--I'm very lucky-readers know what they're getting when they pick it up!

•You love to bake, which is amazing. I really wish I could but I wouldn't exactly trust me in the kitchen. If you could make any kind of cake (the dream design if you will) what would that be? Also, would you ever want to see your book cover on a cake (or have you already)?

Thanks! Yeah, I really find baking a cake is a great way to work on a book-just like gardening or quilting which I do as well-while I've got a story stewing in my brain.

Honestly, I think everyone can bake if they can follow directions-if you can follow the instructions for hooking up a new appliance or computer you can do the steps in a recipe. Really. It's chemistry which seems like magic and of course there are levels of difficulty, but anyone who likes to eat food should know how to prepare it!

I have to say I'm totally hooked on TLC's Cake Boss-Buddy is amazing with cake and fondant. I wish I could intern in his bakery (okay I'll be honest, I wish I could shop in his bakery!) and learn from his expertise. I love getting a request and then trying to translate that into cake-like a Goldfinch or a Bat from the book Bat's in the Library. But the wedding cakes that are modern and goofy are my favorites to play with. Of course, there's more pressure there to come out with a good cake when it's for a wedding! Everybody should play with luster dust and lemon extract-painting the most amazing, beautiful designs on cookies is just so fun and the colors are incredible (and edible!).

A dream design? I guess it would be more like working with a cake artist who I really respect and learning from them-like Buddy on Cake Boss, or Colette Peters who has fabulous cake books (her recipes turn out just like they say they will) CAKES TO DREAM ON is my favorite and a great place to start. I know enough about cakes to be dangerous, but taking it to the next level would be fantastic!

They've come along way with putting art on cakes and it's actually really simple to order a book cover on a sheet cake-they "print" them with edible food colors. But what I'd really love is to have a Food Network Challenge with four of the best cake artists interpreting MERIDIAN in cake! That would be awesome! I'm so in to judge that competition!

•Since August is the month I celebrate my 2-year blogging anniversary, I want to know: what is something you've done for at least two years? Do you still do it, and why or why not?

Two things come to mind that relate to the book. The first is that every year since I was little we go to a tiny town in Indiana where my grandmother's family is all buried (and now my grandparents) for Memorial Weekend. I just don't feel like it's Memorial Day if I'm not in a cemetery during that weekend. I love being in cemeteries-they seem to whisper if you listen closely enough. We clean the graves, and plant a ton of bright flowers (my grandmother always planted her favorite pink geraniums, but since the torch has moved on now we shake it up with Gerbera Daisies, petunias, marigolds-anything cheerful and joyous). It's a way to pay respects but also gather as a family and celebrate the love we feel for people we know, or generations passed we didn't know, but who have always been there in stories or photographs or in a certain smile or way of standing. Death just isn't scary, it's just part of life for us-which doesn't make the grief any less to say goodbye, but there's comfort in the rituals.

The second thing, since this is your celebration and happens in August: is every year since I can remember we've taken blankets (and up here in the pacific NW hot chocolate) outside to a big field and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower. It's fantastic and you don't have to know anything about the constellations or need a telescope. All you have to do is lean back (pillows are good or the neck protests the next day!) and watch the sky. Some years are better than others but we always see 10 or more blazing meteors in about an hour. Some years it's ten in a couple of minutes. Everyone in the US should be able to see them, the show starts August 12th at something like 3AM, but honestly for several days on either side you can see them. It's awe-inspiring and great perspective to take in a natural fireworks show! Since MERIDIAN is released on August 11th, that's how we're going to celebrate!


Giveaway-

Open To: INTERNATIONAL!!!

To Enter: Leave a comment about the book, Amber, or the above interview.

Ends: August 31

Prize: A Copy of Meridian and One Butt Cheek at a Time

Extra-

+1 follow the blog

+1 leave a comment on the Guest Post with Amber
http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2009/08/guest-blog-with-amber-kizer-giveaway.html

+2 if you have my button on your blog (the party button, in the top left hand sidebar)

LEAVE A NEW COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY OR I MIGHT MISS IT!

Friday, August 21, 2009

OMG!! Pretty Sweet Contest, Post It!

Yeah, this is amazing. You can win money (10,000 bucks I think) and a huge prize pack which is so awesome. I had to enter this. So click the widget and post away on your blog. Do it. Do it. You know you want too...feel free to leave a comment if you do.

Post Grad Prize Pack Giveaway



Hey Everyone, I'm happy to announce a giveaway in honor of the film Post Grad starring Alexix Bledel (Gilmore Girls, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). I'm super stoked to see the film so hopefully you all are as well. I'm also really jealous of whoever wins these prizes. Post Grad is out TODAY!

Prize:

1 Grand Prize Winner will recieve 1 Soundtrack, 1 mini poster signed by Alexis Bledel, 1 copy of the Post Grad book and 1 Post Grad lip gloss.


2 WINNERS will also recieve a copy of the Post-Grad Soundtrack


Open Too: U.S. Only

Ends: August 28th

To Enter: Why do you want to see this film?

Extra: If you follow the blog!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'll Be Reviewing This Lovely Piece...


See the above photo? I'll be reviewing that item in the near future. I want to thank Accent Furniture Direct for giving me the chance to do this. I think it'll look great in my living room and the picture is just beautiful!

If you want some new Kitchen Furniture, this is the place for you!

They have amazing things there. Some are more expensive but they aren't all, so definitely give it a look or pass this along to anyone who is moving into a new home or redecorating.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BIG Update + Dorian Gray's Awesome Trailer


Hi Everyone...

I know that I haven't posted much lately and the August 2-Year party has fallen behind. I DO have things saved and planned. My computer was messed up and the stuff I saved was on my computer...but I should be able to start posting some of that tomorrow. HOWEVER, this means that there might be a lot of posts on the blog all around the same time. Please look over the whole site and not just one post so you don't miss a fun interview, a GREAT contest, or something else. It would really mean a lot and I'm sure the authors and everyone feel the same since they are helping me with this...sorry to them as well if they're wondering why I haven't posted something yet!

Next month is all about Babies, Kids, Parents so keep following for that too if you know someone who is pregnant, just had a kid, know some parents in general, are a parent, know some little kids, etc. etc. You might find something for yourself or someone you know and the holidays will come before you know it so get some good ideas now!


I think that's about it on the update front. I want to leave you with a movie trailer now. I LOVED the book The Picture of Dorian Gray and they re-did the film, out September 9, 2009 apparently. I really like Ben Barnes (can we say cute?) and Colin Firth is a favorite actor of mine(just so adorable, great acting!) so I'm stoked. Three cheers for Oscar Wilde shall we??

Kelly Clarkson: LIVE Show Review



I saw Kelly Clarkson LIVE in Indiana this past Friday for their annual state fair. To see some cool photos from the show and read my whole review, please head over to this link:


http://www.eventchaser.com/2009/08/kelly-clarkson-at-indiana-state-fairgrounds-in-indianapolis-indiana/


Thanks again to Razor Gator for sending me the tickets so that I could go to this show and share my thoughts about everything. Basically, see her live if you can. It was a ton of fun.

I don't mind comments on this post, but pleaseeeee leave your thoughts over on the Event Chaser site so they know who all read the review and what they thought.

Ouchies Review!


Ouchies Review
by: Lauren
As you can see (hopefully) from the picture above, Ouchies are bandages with some cool designs. The picture shows off the girl's set but they also have some for boys as well as some where you can draw your own design. I tried these out for awhile and I have to say that my verdict is positive. I really enjoyed these! I was sent the boy's and girl's sets, and so far have only used the girl's, but that doesn't make any difference beyond the design's that you recieve.

In my everyday life, I'm always needing a band aid for one thing or another...mostly for my fingers as my nails bleed a lot. Basically, this means that I know my band aids and I love these way more than the kind you buy in the store. For some people, the design might make them more fun and age-appropriate (these are great especially for preteens and up) but when it comes to the actual use...it's still great.

Let me explain-

The band aid lasts at least one day with no trouble, including taking a shower and washing your hands.

One thing I hate about regular band aids is that they always want to fall off right away and these don't do that. They are comfortable while staying on tight enough.

The edges do start to "fray" if you will after some time, but it's not that big of a deal and all band aids do this. My main concern was the falling off, and like I said, it doesn't do that at all!

My mom even tried these out and give them her approval as she agreed that they stay on nicely and it's much easier to go about your day if you aren't worried about a band aid falling off or getting in your way.

Taking them off is super easy as well. I didn't have any problems with it hurting your skin, but I can't say that will be the case for everyone. I do think it comes off a little easier than most band aids though.

These are great for anyone who are tired of the store-bought band aids, looking for a fun new design for themselves or a kid they know, or simply want to try them out. I think if you know someone who maybe goes to the doctor's a lot for shots or IVs this would be great as they are fun looking and might add a little smile. It would especially be great to have the "design your own band aid" so they can prepare for the visit beforehand and it might go a bit smoother aftwards.

And finally, I LOVE the box they come in. You can see the girl's container in the picture at the top, but they boy's is similar...just with a blue color to it. I love these because they are a metal tin that shuts easily instead of a box. This is great to throw in a purse or bag if you are going out and you won't have to worry about losing any or smashing the box it comes in. I figure once the box is empty you can always keep it for fun as well...maybe put some paperclips in there, or wrapped candy, use it for a craft! Whatever!

What do you think though? Do they seem like something you'd want to try out?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Guest Post + Contest: Dear President Obama

I’m so happy to be positing a message here on Shooting Stars Mag. Any opportunity to hang with “a group of people who write about the things we love” is an opportunity worth grabbing, in my book.And speaking of my book (how was that for a segue?!), I wanted to tell you about my new book, Dear President Obama: Letters of Hope from Children Across America (Beckham). Conceived, compiled and released in just four months, the book was the brainchild of my friend and co-author, writer-educator David Tabatsky.

On the morning after the November 2008 presidential election, David showed me a copy of an exquisite, hand-written letter his 12-year-old daughter, Stella, had written to the president-elect the evening before. "I am so honored to be alive to witness the history you have made," Stella's letter began. "Our country needs you."David and I got to talking. "Wouldn't it be interesting," he suggested, "to collect letters like this from children all across the country? Don't you think that there are hundreds of thousands -- maybe even millions -- of kids who feel the same way?"


We began testing the waters, emailing friends and relatives, asking if their children had something they wanted to say to America's 44th president. The responses were great, and the letters and drawings began rolling in. What we hadn't counted on, however, was that these same friends then forwarded our email to their friends -- and within four weeks, David and I were in possession of more than 1000 letters and drawings!


In the end, our project was suddenly being driven by the same infectious enthusiasm that drove the Obama campaign itself. The final book includes 200 of those submissions, created by kids from 29 states and every region of the country -- from the 7th grader in a Manhattan private school, to a schoolhouse of kids in the poorest community in Lincoln, Nebraska.


We sure hope you’ll stop by our web site -- http://www.obamakids.us/ -- take a look around, and pick up a copy of Dear President Obama. As legendary TV journalist Linda Ellerbee writes in her beautiful foreword to the book, “Kids really get it. They believe they can change their world…Reading these letters to President Obama, I consider what wonders we may see if the kids of today can hang onto this hope, this wanting to do the right thing; if they can come together to make change for the good, and never, ever stop caring about their country, its citizens and our beautiful, spectacular, inspiring, all-American differences. Pay attention to their letters. They are the future speaking to us."


-- Bruce KlugerCo-author, Dear President Obama, Letters of Hope From Children Across America


Giveaway-

Prize: One Copy of the Book

Open To: U.S. Only

Ends: August 31

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post...I'd love to know what you would want the president to know if you could write him a letter...but it's not something you have to do to be entered!

Extra-

+1 if you follow or already do (leave a NEW COMMENT!!)

+1 if you post about this somewhere else (leave a NEW COMMENT!!)

I'm going to try and have a review up by the end of August and leaving a comment on the review will count as entry too!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(Blog Tour Review) Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman

Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman
Review by: Lauren
Website: http://www.writinghannah.com/

Summary:

When everything sucks,
change everything . . .

And that's exactly what Hannah Friedman set out to do in an ambitious attempt to bust out of a life of obscurity and absurdity and into an alternate world of glamour, wealth, and popularity.
Being dubbed 'That Monkey Girl' by middle school bullies and being pulled out of sixth grade to live on a tour bus with her agoraphobic mother, her smelly little brother, and her father's hippie band mates convinces Hannah that she is destined for a life of freakdom.

But when she enters one of the country's most prestigious boarding schools on scholarship, Hannah transforms herself into everything she is not: cool. By senior year, she has a perfect millionaire boyfriend, a perfect GPA, a perfect designer wardrobe, and is part of the most popular clique in school, but somehow everything begins to suck far worse than when she first started. Her newfound costly drug habit, eating disorder, identity crisis, and Queen-Bee attitude lead to the unraveling of Hannah's very unusual life.

Putting her life back together will take more than a few clicks of her heels, or the perfect fit of a glass slipper, in this not-so-fairy tale of going from rock bottom to head of the class and back again.


My Review:

This book is definitely a fast read. I found myself pretty much hooked from the first page, laughing along with this true story of a girl raised in a house with a more popular monkey. That's just the beginning though...life is quite a crazy ride for Hannah as she leaves the tour bus, changes schools, and begins high school. I know my own experiences in high school weren't always so great, but I was definitely lucky enough to have the few close friends that I did and I made it through. Hannah makes it through too, of course, as she's now written this interesting, amusing, heartbreaking, and lovely tale of a girl simply trying to find who she really is...but the road there isn't quite as kind to her.

She becomes popular, but that's not always the best way to raise your self-esteem and she finds herself worrying way too much about food, weight, and the perfect outfit. And when love shines down on her in the form of a boyfriend...well, that doesn't always turn out like a fairy tale either. After all, this is real life we're talking about.

Hannah might have a monkey in her house and a singing dad, but beyond that, she's still a regular girl and I think this book will be relatable and interesting for a lot of people out there...especially if you are a girl going through your teen years now or can vividly remember those days. After all, what's better than comparing yourself to others? Sharing your life, the good and bad, with others...because as cliche as it might sound, nobody is truly alone in their experiences.

I'm very glad I got a chance to read this book and I would recommend it.

Review for: TLC Blog Tour

Alicia Reviews: Prophecy of the Sisters

Title: Prophecy of the Sisters
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Age Group: YA
Pages: 343
Review by: Alicia

Summary:

An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-One good...One evil...Who will prevail?Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets. Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.They just know they can't trust each other.

Review:

Holy Crap! This book was beyond amazing! The characters, the plot, the setting, everything was excellent! I could honestly just gush and gush about this book, but I won’t because I doubt anyone wants to only hear me gush.

My favorite character, hands down was Henry, Lia and Alice’s little brother. I just totally adored him. And because he was my favorite, I wanted more of him. The way he acted and talked was great. My brother should act like him! Henry was very mature and even though Lia couldn’t always see it, he was always watching out for her. Almost everything he did was for her. Even though Henry was confined to his wheelchair, he still helped in any way he could. This is slightly spoilery, but I absolutely hated what happened to him. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

James was another one of my literary boy crushes. What is it with most boys in YA being absolutely amazing, but the real ones usually suck? Hate that. Anyways, even though James wasn’t in the book that much—and I wished he was in more—I totally understood why he wasn’t in there a lot more.

I loved the relationship between Lia and Alice. Almost every book has twins as either being best friends or polar opposites, but this was something totally knew. From the beginning, before they were even born, their fate was written and they were meant to never get along. I loved that they had to fight each other.

All of the twists and turns in here were sooo good. This was one of those books where I’d think I had it figured out, but I would be wrong. There were only a few things that I saw coming, but I didn’t mind. I actually found a lot of the stuff surprising. All of the riddles from the prophecy were great. I kept trying to figure them out, but I couldn’t. Also, this book started out great. I was hooked from the first page!

The only two things I didn’t like were very minor. I would have liked to know more about their mother’s past—actually more about the generations of sisters before them, but I assume that’ll happen in the next 2 books—and I found it a bit weird that there were people who knew about the prophecy and everything. And that those people would help them. But other than that, totally adored the book.

Cover: I really liked this cover. It was eerie like the book. Also, I loved the designs in the book.

Overall: 5/5

WAT-AAH! Review + Take the Challenge

Wat-AHH!
Website (which is awesome, have the sound on) http://www.drinkwataah.com/



I took the Wat-ahh challenge...well, as best as I could. The main idea is to see if your kids or kids in general will pick Wat-ahh over their normal drinks such as kool-aid or even soda, which is obviously much worse for you and your health!


I took the challenge at my house (without the kids part) but I also gave some of the bottles to some younger kids I know. These girls were both under the age of 10 and they normally don't mind drinking water (so that's a help...) but they LOVED these. Instead of putting them away in the refrigerator right after they got them, they carried it around while they played and went around screaming "wat-ahh" as it is quite a fun word to say. All the bottles have a different name as well from body to brain and so on. This definitely amused them as they "fought" over who had the better bottle. I'd say it was a hit!


As for my house, I enjoyed the bottles and my mom did too. It might have a kid-friendly design but it made me smile when I went to pick it out and drink some. My mom wanted to mention that she loves the shape of the bottles. Other water bottles have ridges and this one was smooth all around so it fits MUCH better in your hands...I do agree, so that's definitely a plus! Again, it's a hit.


If you want to see more "witnesses" to this challenge, go here:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giveaway for You to Check Out!

25 Palm Leaf Plate SetsThree shapes of Palm Leaf Plates
10 Shapes & Sizes

I just wanted to spread the word about this contest if anyone was interested. Just click the button and head on over. Let me know if you have any questions or trouble. Thanks!

Official Event Chaser!


I am now an official Event Chaser. I'm hoping to go to my first event (Kelly Clarkson) and report back with an awesome, detailed review with cool pictures this weekend if all works out.

If you look in my right hand sidebar you should see my badge in honor of this...it's been up for awhile but I have yet to go to an event.

Here are some links we want to share:

concert tickets

Kelly Clarkson tickets

Monday, August 10, 2009

Alicia Says: Tenner + Blogger Lunch

Lunch with the Tenners and Bloggers (and 2 surprise guests)!

So this past Friday (8/7/09) I had an amazing lunch with some totally awesome people. I have to tell you now that every single person who had lunch with me was really cute and sweet and nice. The lunch was probably one of the best days of my life! J Wish you all could have come!

Here’s a list of everyone that went!

Bloggers!!!
Meee
Vania http://reveriemedia.blogspot.com/
Khy http://freneticreader.blogspot.com/
Catt http://www.thedreamereader.blogspot.com/

Authors!!!!
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder, March 2010)
Bree Despain (The Dark Divine, December 2009)
Lindsey Leavitt (Princess for Hire, March 2010)
Denise Jaden (Losing Faith, Fall 2010)
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures, December 2009)
Margaret Peterson (Beautiful Creatures, December 2009)
Christy Raedeke (The Last Daykeeper, May 2010)
Suzanne Young (The Naughty List, February 2010)
Jennifer Cervantes (Tortilla Sun, Spring 2010)
--and these were the surprises—
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
Holly Black (The Modern Faerie Trilogy, The Spiderwick Chronicles and more)

There was also my mom, Khy’s mom and sister and Jennifer’s 2 daughters.

So the day started with me arriving at the hotel about 40 minutes early. Don’t ask why I was that early because I have no idea. After waiting around for 10 minutes I saw Catt and her mom. We talked for awhile and looked around for everyone. Finally, at a little past 12:30 Kimberly showed up and gave us hugs. After that, basically everyone showed up including Lisa Schroeder who wanted to say hi to us. And this is a bit embarrassing, but I was pretty star-struck from seeing her that I barely talked! Which totally sucked because I love her books. In fact, I think I may have acted like I didn’t know which books she wrote. Sorry Lisa! Lisa left after that and all of the authors headed over to The Pink Taco while me and Catt got our moms. Luckily Kimberly and Jennifer waited for us. We ended up getting a bit lost once we hit the mall since we didn’t know where the restaurant was. Suzanne led us the wrong way! And we ended up in the food court, but we did find the restaurant. Once we got there we had to wait outside for awhile and who walked past us? Magic Johnson. That’s right, MAGIC FREAING JOHNSON! Everyone was star-struck and amazed to see him. Khy had a present for all the authors. She and her mom made little gift bags for them! They were really cute and all of the authors were really happy that they got them. Lunch was good and us bloggers actually got a few things too! I sat in-between my mom and Catt and across from me was Jennifer, Lindsey and Christy. We talked about a lot of different things and took tons of pictures. About halfway through Holly, Kami and Margie had to leave because they had to attend one of the lectures, but everyone else stayed. And that was lunch.

Some random facts:
Jennifer had the cutest daughters EVER!! They were totally adorable and sweet and everything. Seriously. Wish I had a picture to show you.
Suzanne is really peppy and happy.
Kimberly and Bree were beyond sweet.
Jennifer gave me some good advice.
Lindsey was really cute and recommended a book to me.
Denise was super sweet.
Christy was super nice.
Jay was waaay cool.
Margie was my squealing partner and boy did we squeal.
Kami has the best voice.
Holly was…also waaay cool.
Catt made an awesome shirt with all of their books.
Khy and Vania were amazing.
I spaced and didn’t bring anything for them to autograph—my bad.
Jay is working on a new book but no details.
Every single one of them gave me a hug!
And took a picture with me!
When I saw Suzanne I ran to her, gave her a hug and told her I loved her hair.
Jay signed my book!!!!
I asked Holly for a hug.
Also told Holly I loved her a million times.
Actually I told all of them I loved them.
They were all the best people ever!!!

Also here are some of the goodies they gave us. We were honestly not expecting to get anything, but some of the authors surprised us with things. Kimberly gave us an ARC of her book, bookmarks and some candy; Bree gave us chocolate, the soundtrack to her book, stickers and bookmarks; Suzanne gave us cute pens that kind of looked like pompoms with a note attached and a bookmark. The others didn’t bring anything, which was fine. This might sound corny, but honestly, their presence was enough for us!

I think that’s everything. With my luck I forgot to say something important. Pictures will be up later. I won’t be home for 2 more weeks so I can’t upload my pictures. So I’ll make a post just for them.

For now you can check out pictures here and their accounts:
http://suzanne-young.blogspot.com/2009/08/i-heart-my-bloggers.html
http://reveriemedia.blogspot.com/2009/08/finally-aq-picture-update.html
http://raedeke.blogspot.com/2009/08/scbwi-update.html
http://baskinex.blogspot.com/2009/08/live-blogging-from-scbwi-la-part-2.html
http://jayasher.blogspot.com/2009/08/scbwi-09-day-1.html


The others haven’t written anything yet, but when they do I’ll either add the links here or add them to my picture post.

Thanks again everyone for going to the lunch! I had sooooo much fun!!! Love you all!

-Alicia

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Blog Tour: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Review by: Lauren

Summary:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


Review:

Can I just say that this book is amazing? Okay, good...because it is. I've never read anything by Maggie before Shiver but I'm very interested in checking out her past titles and I'm quite keen to see what she does next.

Grace was 11 years old when the wolves took her off the swing, intent to hurt her, until Sam showed up and saved the day. Sam the wolf, that is. However, ever since then, Grace became fascinated by the animals in the woods by her house. It isn't until six years later that her obsession turns into something a little more like the love it really is when Sam and Grace meet each other as two human beings. The two of them are finally able to touch and kiss, getting to know the person inside for once. They even reveal the secrets of their past...why is Sam the way he is, what did his parents do, where are Grace's parents, why does she connect so well to the wolves...?

There is really no other way to say it...this book flowed. The whole story ran smoothly and kept me wanting to read. Grace is not a damsel in distress. She's actually more of the protector in this novel since, as the weather gets colder, Sam is slowly starting to feel the pull to be a wolf again. Every winter, they change and every summer they are human again...until the day they just stay a wolf and Sam is worried this might be his last summer, but neither of them are ready to say goodbye and let go.

Living in a house with absentee parents, Grace hides Sam in her room and they spend their days (when Grace isn't in school) together, discovering a love that overpowers them. One of my favorite parts in this novel is when Grace and Sam visit a shop. The worker there watches them interact and notes how cute they are and asks how long they've been going out. Sam simply replies, "Six years" taking into account the time that he was a wolf and Grace had no idea the true mystery behind him. I felt it to be a very sweet and yet accurate number to attach to their relationship.

Through the years before Sam appeared as a human, Grace would tell her friends all about the wolves. Her friend, Olivia, loves to take photos and shares the same admiration of them as Grace does but she soon becomes annoyed that Grace can't grow up...until she gets pulled into the world of the wolves herself. Then everything changes.

At school, Grace isn't known to have that many friends...just a couple best friends...so it's weird when Isabel, a social climber, wants to talk to her, but not unexpected. Her brother Jack had supposedly been killed by the wolves but Isabel doesn't believe that and she knows Grace knows something which cements their relationship to solve mysteries and perhaps save lives.

This book is full of love, friendship, parents and their mistakes, paranormality, humor, sadness, and beauty. More than all of that though, this book is about the big question: "How long can forever last?"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Review: Undiscovered Gyrl + Contest


Part One: Undiscovered Gyrl by Allison Burnett

Review by: Lauren

First off, I have to say this...it has Part One before this review because I'm not finished with the book yet. However, today is my tour stop date and I wanted to post what I'm thinking so far. You will therefore need to read the second half...it should be up sometime next week. You will find all contest details below, but know this: one winner will come from the comments on this part of the review and one winner will come from the comments on the other part of the review. Two chances to win if you comment on both, got it?

Summary:

Beautiful, wild, funny, and lost, Katie Kampenfelt is taking a year off before college to find her passion. Ambitious in her own way, Katie intends to do more than just smoke weed with her boyfriend, Rory, and work at the bookstore. She plans to seduce Dan, a thirty-two-year-old film professor.

Katie chronicles her adventures in an anonymous blog, telling strangers her innermost desires, shames, and thrills. But when Dan stops taking her calls, when her alcoholic father suffers a terrible fall, and when she finds herself drawn into a dangerous new relationship, Katie’s fearless narrative begins to crack, and dark pieces of her past emerge.

Part One Review:

So far, I'm loving this. Katie has a very realistic teen voice and I see parts of her in myself and friends I know. I'm in college right now, but I'm not that much older than Katie in the book (she's supposed to be 17) so it makes this novel a lot more relatable. It's definitely a mature story when it comes to the sexual content, but it's nothing overly graphic or extreme in my opinion.

The whole book is told through a blog, which is great, because I know all types of blogs are on the rise and since I have one myself, it's once again something I can connect too. No comments Katie recieves show up in the book...you only have her talking to her various readers from their comments/emails by what she says in her blog posts. I like this because, of course, it would be really hard to show off all the comments for each post and it keeps us in Katie's head...which is highly fascinating. I am however very curious to see what parts of Katie's life is real and what she is making up. She says she changes details so nobody will know who she is in real life, but what else is she lying about? The summary seems to suggest that being online means being dishonest in some ways.

Overall, I give this book two thumbs up so far! It's an interesting, unique, fast read that I think a lot of people would find appealing.

Contest Details:

To enter: Leave a comment about why this book looks good

Open To: U.S. and Canada only!

Ends: August 31

EXTRA:

+ if you follow or start to follow
+if you post about this somewhere else

REMEMBER: Get another chance to win this book by going here:

Psych and Spread Head Winners!


PSYCH WINNERS:

Grand Prize: Shawna Lewis
1st Place: Bunny B

SPREAD HEADS:
Pam
Katrina

Congrats to all the winners, you have been emailed and now have 48 hours to get in touch. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and who may now be following. A lot more giveaways will be coming once I find a good time to post them all so stick around!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(Interview) Psych's James and Dule + EXTRA ENTRY


Conference Call/Interview with Psych's James Roday (Shawn) and Dule Hill (Gus)
By: Lauren (my questions will be in bold!)


I have to say that this was the best conference call I've been a part of so far and that's just because I'm such a huge fan of Psych. I've been watching it since the beginning and I love these guys. They continually churn out amazing performances and I love to hear that people are as fond of the show as I am.

Since this is such a long interview, I'll put my questions/answers in bold, but I'm not going to spend time setting it up quite as neatly as I normally do, but it should still be easy to read...with the names before what they say. If it's too hard, let me know, and I can try and fix it later or just email you the transcript the way I got it and that might help. Sorry for this, but it takes too long and I really need to get this posted.

REMEMBER: Psych's new season premeires tomorrow, August 7th at 10/9c on USA so please watch it. The giveaway ends tomorrow at noon EST time so COMMENT ON THIS POST for an EXTRA entry into that and just to let me know what you think about the interview. Thanks for everything! More giveaways to come, so follow the blog if you wish.



Moderator Thank you. Our first question is from the line of Jennifer Iaccino with Media Blvd Magazine. Please go ahead.

J. Iaccino Hello to both of you.

D. Hill Hello, how are you doing?

J. Roday How are you?

J. Iaccino I’m very well, thank you. This is a pleasure. I was thrilled to pieces when I heard that I might have the chance to speak to you both.

But to move on with my questions, I wanted to say to Mr. Roday and Mr. Hill I know that you’ve both played very different characters in other things. I know that Mr. Roday had actually played alongside to Maggie Lawson in Fear Itself and Mr. Dulé you had a wonderful part on West Wing for a while. So how do you feel now about playing comedy? Do you enjoy it better; do you like doing horror or drama more? How does it feel?

D. Hill I actually enjoy comedy; it’s a lot of fun. After doing seven years of drama on West Wing to be able to come and work with Roday and the rest of the cast has been a blast. It’s something different, especially working with Roday where he likes to improv a lot it challenges me to work on different muscles that I haven’t used before.

J. Iaccino That’s wonderful. How about you, Mr. Roday?

J. Roday Well, first of all I just want to thank you for reminding me that I did in fact appear in Fear Itself; I often forget that. Secondly, I would say I’ve actually done a lot more comedy than I’ve done drama. It’s weird the way that worked out, because when I came out of theater school I took myself way too seriously, so it’s kind of ironic that I ended up sort of going down the comedy path.

But I think what makes this role special compared to some of the other stuff that I’ve done is just the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to live with it so long and sort of watch it sort of grow and nurture it, not unlike you nurture a plant. And working with a great group and an unbelievable cast and sort of having the freedom to do what we do on the show sort of sets it apart from any role that I’ve played, comedy or drama. It’s just been a special ride. It’s been a special ride.

Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from Traci Grant with TheStarScoop.com. Please go ahead.

T. Grant Hello, guys.

D. Hill How are you doing, Traci?

T. Grant I’m good. How are you? Basically, this is for both of you; the show is known a lot for its kind of fast-paced banter between your characters Shawn and Gus. And so what I want to know is how much sort of say do you guys get in what goes on in the dialog, particularly between the humorous segments and something like the nicknames that Shawn makes up for Gus? What goes on with those types of moments?
J. Roday Unlike, I think, the majority of shows on television right now we actually have a frighteningly high amount of say in what we do with the dialog. A lot of times it comes in great and all we have to do is say it, but any time we sort of recognize an opportunity to throw something in or add something or if we have a better name for Gus than the one that came in we just pull the trigger.

We’re pretty good at monitoring ourselves so that we only do it if we’re making it better, and it’s very rare that we find out later that the people down in LA were disappointed because we changed something. They’re usually pretty pleased.

D. Hill Yes. And the names that we come up with most of the time it has to do with somebody that we know, somebody in the cast knows or somebody that one of the writers knows or a producer, something like that. I would say pretty much eight times to of ten there is some relation to the crazy name that Gus is being called.

T. Grant Great. Thank you so much.

J. Roday Thanks, Traci.
D. Hill Thank you.

Moderator Jessica Mahn with Fan Bolt.com. Please go ahead.

J. Mahn Hello. This question is for both of you. What detectives, in real life or in fiction, have been an influence for the characters?

J. Roday You know what, I go to this movie called Without a Clue that not a lot of people saw. It was Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley, and the idea behind the movie was that Watson was the brains of the operation and Holmes was just this very theatrical sort of charlatan that diverted people’s attention and got all the ladies. It’s a very, very funny movie that not a lot of people have seen.

But I love the fact that it was sort of rooted in the idea that these two guys absolutely, positively were dependent on one another to solve a crime, because Holmes was sort of the face of the franchise but Watson was the guy that sort of kept their feet on the ground and did a lot of the thinking. That’s not exactly what the dynamic is on Psych, but the sort of ying yang element of it of there’s no way that either of these guys could work on their own and there’s no way that they could accomplish what they were doing without the other one is definitely sort of a big element of what we do on Psych.

So that’s my answer. I feel decent about it. I’m passing it off to Dulé.

D. Hill I guess for myself it’s not any real I guess template that I came in to with a preconceived notion about like in terms of a previous detective team. I guess if I had to choose one I would say Cosby and Poitier in Uptown Saturday Night. I want to say that would be the equivalence that I could think of, but besides that there’s not really anything that I’ve thought about before to say yes, this is what the template is.

Moderator Thank you. Troy Rogers with thedeadbolt.com. Please go ahead.

T. Rogers Hello, James. Hello, Dule.

J. Roday What’s up, dude?

D. Hill How are you doing?

T. Rogers I just want to say the premise of the premiere episode made me smile, because I’m in Vancouver. I just wanted to know what was behind the decision to actually feature Van city in the episode?

D. Hill I think it’s that we work in Vancouver. We’ve been working—

J. Roday Yes, it was an opportunity to finally not worry about everything that was in the background of all of our shots. We actually could play the locations for the actual locations, and make believe stickers and Canadian flags all those things were good. And it was actually a lot of fun; I’m glad we’ve lasted long enough to do one to do that. It was fun.

D. Hill And we finally didn’t have to move our palm trees with this; we could leave the palm trees—

J. Roday That’s right, our three movable palm trees got an episode off.

D. Hill Right. They were tired, you know what I mean; the palm trees were tired. With every episode they were …

J. Roday We gave them a much-deserved break.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from Tiffany D’Emidio with Eclipse Magazine. Please go ahead.

T. D’Emidio Hello, guys.

D. Hill How are you doing?

J. Roday Tiff! Where have you been all of our lives?

T. D’Emidio You know, I’m very stealth and kind of behind the scenes.

J. Roday Yes, you are. Come on out.

T. D’Emidio Now I’m out. I have to say that I really enjoyed the first episode, and I particularly loved the Thomas Crown/Remington Steele reference and laughed pretty hard about that one, mostly because the other day I was on Hulu and I actually watched an episode of Remington Steele. So it just kind of made me laugh.

But I really enjoy the pop culture references that you make in the series, and I just wondered if you could be in any television show of the past which would it be? Or if you could spoof a show as an episode what would it be?

J. Roday Well, my answer is one in the same. I would have given anything to be on Twin Peaks, and if we last another season we will be doing a Twin Peaks episode. So there you go.

T. D’Emidio Really. That would be interesting to see. Dulé?

D. Hill I guess for myself if I could have been a Cosby kid.

T. D’Emidio Cosby kid.

D. Hill Yes, of course. If I could have been on Cosby that would have been great for me. And I guess if we could spoof any show I would say maybe Fame; I could be Leroy.

T. D’Emidio Fame. Oh, you really have to do that I think. I’m going to petition for it.

D. Hill Sounds good.

Moderator Thank you. Lauren Tucker with Small Screen Monthly. Please go ahead.

L. Tucker Yes hello. First of all, thank you for talking to us today.

J. Roday No prob.

L. Tucker I have a question for both of you. If you could investigate anybody who would it be?

D. Hill If I could investigate anybody who would it be?

J. Roday I think I might have to just really roll up my sleeves and investigate Monica Bellucci and just make sure that she’s living her life along the straight and narrow, she’s not cutting any corners in life, in her work; just really get in there and make sure that she’s on the up and up.

D. Hill And from my side I would investigate Halle Bear, who is also Halle Berry.

J. Roday That’s it; this is classy stuff you’re getting from us today.

Moderator Our next question is form the line of Christine Nyholm with examiner.com. Please go ahead.

C. Nyholm Hello, guys.

D. Hill How are you doing?

C. Nyholm Good. How are you?

J. Roday Pretty good.

D. Hill Good.

C. Nyholm Excellent. My question is it just seems like you have a blast; the show is so fun to watch. And I was wondering if the show is as much fun to shoot as it is to watch?

D. Hill Yes.

J. Roday Absolutely.

D. Hill We have so much fun up there. The cast is great, the crew is even greater, and we just have a lot of fun. No one takes themselves too seriously; we all come to work and we are pretty much getting paid to laugh all day. We sing songs; we have the best singing crew in Vancouver. One day if you get a chance you come up there and we’ll have them sing you Happy Birthday just for no reason in particular. We sing Happy Birthday about three or four times a day just because. There’s a really great bunch of people up there.

J. Roday And we don’t pay royalties for it. It’s free; we can sing Happy Birthday for free.

Moderator Our next question will be from the line of Drucilla Moorhouse with E Online. Please go ahead.

D. Moorhouse Hello, guys.

D. Hill How are you doing?

J. Roday Hey.

D. Moorhouse At Comic Con you kind of teased that Twin Peaks would be this season. Is that not true?

J. Roday That is not true, unfortunately. I think that something got lost in the translation there. This season has sort of been locked for a while; there are no unaccounted for episodes. That was us teasing with the hoax that if some of our executives were in the audience it was like a hint, hint listen to how bad everybody wants this. You have to keep us on the air. It’s a promise; it’s definitely a promise that if there’s a season five Twin Peaks will definitely happen.

D. Hill I guess a little teaser too Twin Peaks would be Ray Wise doing our show this year. A little prelude.

J. Roday That’s true. It’s a Twin Peaks prelude.

Moderator Jay Jacobs with PopEntertainment.com. Please go ahead.

J. Jacobs Hey, guys. I wanted to talk about some of the telltale references. I actually thought it was really funny the jokes that you made about The Mentalist in the premiere. When that show started were you guys like going, “Hmm, that sounds familiar,” and was it sort of fun to sort of point that out on screen?

J. Roday It was. No one is off limits when it comes to us, including ourselves. We’ve made fun of our own sort of resumes on this show. As long as they have a sense of humor over there I would think that they would be sort of flattered and get a kick out of it.

Obviously, it’s not malicious in any, but it’s what we do on our show and if you’re going to go make a bigger show that’s kind of like our show and get four times as many viewers and Emmy nominations then you should expect to hear about it when our show airs.

Moderator Travis Tidmore with CineManiac. Please go ahead.

T. Tidmore Hey, guys, thank you for talking with us today.

J. Roday Hey. No problem.

T. Tidmore I’m a big fan of the show and my son is a one-year old and loves your theme song. I have a video online of him dancing to the theme song.

J. Roday Nice.

T. Tidmore My question is do you guys have a favorite episode to film or that you think is the best episode you guys have done so far?

J. Roday I like different ones for so many different reasons, but I can say that for me personally, just as an actor, I think the most fun I’ve ever had on our show was an episode called Life’s Camera Homicidio when my character got thrust into the world of a Spanish telenovela and I got to improvise in both English and Spanish. That was a blast.

D. Hill Well I guess for that episode I guess Roday to be able to improvise in Spanish he was getting in touch with his roots so he was really excited about that.

But for myself it would still have to go back to American Duos. I just can’t help it, I just loved dressing up as Michael Jackson and being able to do a moonwalk, have John Landis direct me while I’m dressed up as Michael Jackson in Thriller. And there was a crowd there, too, so you can’t really beat that. You can’t really beat that. That’s one of my all time favorite experiences on Psych.

Moderator Our next question is from Suzanne Lanoue with TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.

S. Lanoue Hello. Thank you for taking our calls today.

J. Roday Thanks for being interested enough to ask us questions.

D. Hill Yes, you know.

S. Lanoue You’re welcome. I was going to ask you if you had any things that you could tell us about this upcoming season, whatever you feel free to share either overall or specifics about what we can expect this season.

J. Roday In terms of sort of themes for episodes you saw that we’re doing sort of an expedition Canada, catch a jewel/art thief episode, and we’re doing sort of a Shawn and Gus save an old western town and everything that comes along with that that you could imagine, including a grizzled, gray bearded James Brolin.

D. Hill Exorcism episode.

J. Roday Yes, we’re paying tribute to the Exorcist with our exorcism episode featuring the aforementioned Ray Wise, who is just fantastic in the episode I have to say. Just really came in and knocked it out of the park.

D. Hill American Werewolf in London homage.

J. Roday That’s right, a little love letter to American Werewolf in London and werewolf movies in general featuring David Naughton, obviously, and Josh Malina. And lots of other fun stuff.

I have to say I think we’re kind of storming out of our gates this year with some really good stuff. I think last year we stormed in our heads, but we were actually like trotting at a casual pace, and this year I actually think we’re storming out of the gates for real.

Moderator Roger Newcomb with We Love Soaps. Please go ahead.
R. Newcomb Hey, guys. To kind of follow-up on some previous questions, how many of the pop culture references come from you, including the Chad Michael Murray reference?

D. Hill I would say about 99.9% of them do not come from me. Maybe if there’s something in the ‘70s that might be something that I came with, but most of the ‘80s references I have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s not until after I film it that I turn around and say, “Okay, now what was that about?”

J. Roday Who were the twins that you knew that I had never heard of in Tuesday the 17th?

D. Hill The twins? Oh, the Mowli Twins.

J. Roday The Mowli twins. That was your 0.01% man.

D. Hill That and what’s the other one? I don’t even know if it made it to air, the Gill Scott Heron.

J. Roday Oh, that was. That made it two. That made it two.
D. Hill Gill Scott Heron. That’s my two for the year.

J. Roday Yes. Most of them come from the writers and then I throw in my fair share as well. Chad Michael Murray became the target of some early jabbing for us after I saw some interview where it was like a behind the scenes of House of Wax and he was wearing a wife beater. It was just a real serious interview, and I got such a kick out of it that we had to have some fun at his expense. Hopefully he’s a good-natured guy with a sense of humor.

Moderator And Alix Sternberg at thetvchick.com. Please go ahead.

A. Sternberg Hello, guys.

D. Hill How are you doing?

J. Roday Hey.

A. Sternberg Good. How are you? So my question is how does becoming co-producers affect your roles on the show?

D. Hill I don’t know what Roday thinks, but from my side I don’t think it really changes that much. I think from the beginning of the show the dynamic has pretty much been what it is. Maybe say from Roday’s side he may write a few more episodes, but he was already writing episodes anyway. From my side I would think it’s more of a title; it hasn’t really changed the actual working dynamic that much. Maybe a little bit changes, but nothing too major.

J. Roday Yes. I think, like Dulé said, the dynamic was sort of set from the first season. Because none of our producers are up in Vancouver with us it was just sort of a necessary thing that we take on a little more responsibility to help the show sort of run smoothly. They finally decided to throw us a title for it.

Moderator: Lauren Becker with Shooting Stars Magazine. Please go ahead with your question.

L. Becker: Hey, guys, thank you for talking to us. I’ve been a huge fan since the very beginning, so I’m really excited about the new season.

D. Hill: Thank you. Glad you enjoy it.


J. Roday: Nice.

L. Becker: Yes. My question is just this year they released two books for Psych and your characters and everything, and I was wondering if you were to ever read those yourselves and you could come up with your own kind of merchandise what would you like to see?

D. Hill: Well I would read it if I had one and if I knew there was one that was out.

J. Roday: I was going to say it’s good to know that there are books out. I didn’t know that.

D. Hill: Maybe I’ll try to read it one day on the set.

J. Roday: Merchandise.

D. Hill : I would have to say a video game. I love video games anyway, so a Psych video game somehow that I could play on Xbox or Wii would be great.

J. Roday: I have to say I think the idea of a talking bobblehead was pretty solid, and someone actually came up with already and did it. I love the idea of little Shawn and Gus bobbleheads.

D. Hill: Which, by the way, I have my President Obama bobblehead also. So when I get my Psych bobbleheads it will be Shaun, Gus, and President Barack Obama bobbleheads sitting on my counter.

J. Roday: I might give you Ichiro Suzuki bobblehead just so that you can add it and it would be a quartet.

D. Hill: Sounds good.

Moderator Our next question comes from Russell Trunk with exclusivemagazine.com. Please go ahead.

R. Trunk Gentlemen, wonderful talking with you today, my friends.

J. Roday Yes. Thanks, man.

R. Trunk And for the record, Without a Clue is one of my favorite movies of all time.

J. Roday Good man. Good man.

R. Trunk Now look I was wondering if you, James, had visited any actual psychics in order to watch and observe them in action? And if you, Dulé, being an encyclopedia of useless knowledge that oddly becomes useful every week, is it anything like the way your brain works in real life?

D. Hill Well from my side no; I try not to fill up my brain cells with useless information. So most of the time I’m pretty much just learning it as it comes in the scripts.

J. Roday And for me I visited a couple psychics back before we shot the pilot just because I was sort of interested to hear their back stories and sort of how the power manifests itself.

And of course you never know if they’re legit or not, but there were some interesting stories in terms of like physicalizing the gift. I was interested to hear like does it ever take over your body, does your body heat rise, stuff like that; anything that I could steal. Of course I did not tell them while visiting that I was going to be playing a fake psychic nor did they figure it out on their own, so maybe that tells you everything you need to know about the people that I met with.

And I have to say, for the record, my favorite line from Without A Clue is after Michael Caine pokes a dead body with a stick and announces to everyone, “It is my opinion that this man is dead.” So there you go.

Moderator BethAnne Henderson with NiceGirlsTV.com. Please go ahead.

B. Henderson Hello, guys, thanks for taking our calls today. After coming back from Comic Con and all the questions that have already been asked before me, I’m kind of out. I don’t know even what to ask you guys anymore, so I’ll just ask you this. What’s the one question that you both wish someone would ask you that no one has ever asked you?

D. Hill I guess I would say that question you just asked me. It would be just a reoccurring cycle just would keep going around, because then my response would be the question you just asked me if you would ask me the question again.
J. Roday Wow. That’s a tough one. That’s a good one. I love talking about my fellow cast mates, because I think they’re all geniuses and I think they’re all so talented. So anything that allows me the opportunity to go off ranting about them and watching them work and what a joy it is for me to sort of sit back if I’m writing or directing and sort of watch them do their thing is a great question that I feel like I don’t get asked enough. But that’s it; that’s the best that I can give you.

Moderator Thank you. Kristyn Clarke with popculturemadness.com. Please go ahead.

K. Clarke Hello, guys. Thanks for taking our call.

D. Hill Thank you.

J. Roday Of course.

K. Clarke Which one of you is the most like your character on the series or are you completely different?

J. Roday I think we’re both pretty different. I do. I think that’s one of the things that is really cool about our show is that we have as much fun as we do, A, and B, we get to play characters that are pretty different from our real life personas.

D. Hill But actually going back to someone’s previous question about useless information I would say that Roday is more like Gus in that area, especially with film trivia, ‘80s trivia. He and Steve Franks can lift off songs on an album. I guess—

J. Roday I have the trunk of useless knowledge.

D. Hill Yes.

Moderator Karen Jackson with Starpulse.com. Please go ahead.

K. Jackson Hello, guys. How are you?

D. Hill Pretty good. How are you?

J. Roday Good.
K. Jackson Pretty good. Thanks for talking with us. Love the show. I was wondering you guys have such great chemistry on the show does that come naturally?

D. Hill I think so; I think it comes naturally. From the time we first got together there was a good vibe there, and we’ve had a cast that continued to grow with it. I think even off screen we get along very well. The cast as a whole we like hanging out with each, making each other laugh, going out having dinner, playing poker, playing mafia. It’s just us up there in Vancouver, so if we didn’t get along then I think it would show itself on screen. So I would say it comes pretty natural.

J. Roday I agree with all of that.

Moderator And our next question is from Icess Fernandez with the blog Writing to Insanity. Please go ahead.

I. Fernandez Hello, guys.

D. Hill Hello.

J. Roday What’s up?
I. Fernandez Hello. I just have to say right quick Life’s Camera Homicidio was on repeat at my house for the longest—love that episode. And just finished seeing the premiere a couple of nights ago, and I couldn’t help but wonder while I was watching is there anything, in your guys’ opinions, that would cause Gus to say no more? Is there anything that Shawn could do that would just drive Gus over the edge and Gus would just have to take a stand and say no, I’m just not going to do that?

D. Hill I don’t know if there is anything that Shawn could do. I do think there is something that Jeff Wachtel and Bonnie Hammer could do--if they say the show is over they maybe might see Gus say no more.

But no, I don’t think so. I think they’ve been together for so long they’re like brothers. I think a major part of Gus really enjoys going along on the journeys that Shawn takes him, but just doesn’t want to come out of his face and actually admit. He always wants to say this is wrong and we shouldn’t be doing this, but I think he would go pretty much wherever Shawn leads him, and I don’t think Shawn would lead him to far off the ledge. I think there’s like a nice little balance there.

J. Roday I think if there was going to be something that caused him to say that it would have happened already. Shawn has done some pretty whacked stuff to him, so I think he’s in. I think he’s in at this point.

D. Hill Right.

Moderator Courtney Shink with Raked Reviews. Please go ahead.

C. Shink Hello, guys. How is your Friday treating you?

D. Hill It’s treating me well.

J. Roday Not bad. I woke up, I have friendly voices on the other end of the line; I got nowhere to go but down.

D. Hill Speaking of which, a little bit of trivia. It’s a little bit of trivia. I’m actually, after this phone call, I’m going to the wedding of Matt Cedeño, who was on Homicidio.

J. Roday Wow.

D. Hill There’s a little bit of trivia. I’m going there this afternoon, speaking of Friday. He’s getting married today.

J. Roday I’ll be danged.

C. Shink Awesome. Well I have a quick question for you. I think there’s a danger in comedy when you go across a number of seasons that you could become predictable or stale. How do you guys keep this show so fresh?

J. Roday It’s a good question, and I think part of the answer is that all of us, from producers to writers to actors and everybody, is sort of hyper aware of what you just said. You couldn’t have a group that was sort of more acutely aware of not getting complacent, of recognizing how important it is to not become predictable and to not get stale, because it happens to so many other shows. And so when we go to break stories and we’re on set it sort of pushes us, quite frankly, to not settle for stuff that feels like it could be better and that’s sort of the way we’ve been treating the show from the beginning.

And while it may get more and more challenging the longer that we last the truth is we don’t ever want to be considered one of those shows that dropped off after season blank and then was just sort of on autopilot until the end. And I don’t think anyone will ever sort of break in that regard; we’ll always continue to challenge each other and make sure that everybody is working as hard as they possibly can.

D. Hill And I think it’s very easy to, I guess, just to do what you think works. I think, as Roday was saying, we keep challenging ourselves to keep raising the bar, to keep staying engaged, and even as the actors on the set to keep staying connected and staying alive each time we do it.

And then also I think certain things we try to make sure we don’t run certain things to the ground, like Gus is not going to run screaming out every episode. After you find yourself doing certain things for a while you kind of say okay, let’s go someplace else with it to keep the characters alive.

J. Roday Absolutely.

Moderator The next question is from Lena Lamoray with Lina Lamoray Magazine. Please go ahead.

L. Lemorai Hello, guys.

D. Hill Hello.

J. Roday Look at you naming your magazine after yourself.

L. Lemorai I know. Okay, American Duos has to be my favorite episode. What was it like working with Tim Curry and the rest of the guest stars?

D. Hill Oh, wow, it was great. First of all, just the fact that Roday and Tim Curry went into a little back and forth saying, “No.” You couldn’t really beat that. You’re working with a comic genius, a great actor, along with Gina Gershon too, it was great. And then having John Landis direct, as I said before, for myself it was one of the all time great moments for me on Psych.

J. Roday It was a blast of an episode and it was cast perfectly. It was just one of those things where all the pieces came together and you just sort of sat back and pinched yourself a little bit, because you’re like I can’t believe this is A, happening, and B, like episode one of season two. So the planets definitely aligned on that one.
Moderator Rafe Telsh with WidescreenWarrior.com. Please go ahead.

R. Telsh Hey, guys, it’s great to hear some Without A Clue love there.

J. Roday Thanks, man. Everybody should go rent that movie. I’m just putting that out there, because that’s such a little gem.

R. Telsh I came up with a little trickier question, because your show’s Twitter feed said they were tired of hearing the same questions over and over again. Both of you play characters who are more complicated than they first appear, like it would be easy to play Shawn as just this grifting slacker but there’s more to him than that. What do each of you think is your character’s most difficult trait to capture and what moment in the show has allowed that character element to shine?

J. Roday Well that’s very insightful and thoughtful indeed. For me I would say the most challenging thing about playing Shawn is the tight wire act between slacker and man child, and then also somebody that you really do want to invest in emotionally and like every week. And the line between wanting to rub his head and slap his face is very, very, very thin. And sort of walking that line and always knowing when to stop is sort of the most challenging on a day-to-day basis.

In terms of like a single event that sort of helped me with that I would say probably when we brought Shawn’s mother onto the show, first episode of season three. Kind of we peeled back a layer that I think by tapping into it has allowed that sort of tight wire act to get a little easier just because you sort of saw a side of him that was way vulnerable that he didn’t have complete control over. And once we sort of put that out there I think it made things a little bit easier in terms of the balancing act.

D. Hill And then just for myself is one I don’t I guess get too cerebral with my character, so I don’t really think about it like that too often. I guess when a question comes up it makes me think about it, but in my day-to-day action on the set I don’t really process it I just do it.

I would say I guess for me it would be that Gus to not make him too nerdy but not make him too cool, because he is a nerd. But at the same time you want him to be cool also, and I think too far in either direction would change the dynamic of the show. So it’s always trying to find that balance of cool nerdiness or nerdy coolness or something like that. That would be my answer to that.

Moderator Marc Eastman with areyouscreening.com. Please go ahead.

M. Eastman Hello, guys.

J. Roday Hey, Marc.

M. Eastman When I talked to James a little while ago you kind of gave me the may or may not be a werewolf episode. I was wondering if at this point there are any may or may not things you would tell us about what’s going to happen.

J. Roday Well there may or may not be a continuation of the story that capped off our season last year, An Evening With Mr. Yang.

D. Hill And there may or may not be something big coming.

J. Roday There may or may be our biggest guest star ever appearing on the show down the stretch. And we may or may not be getting another dose of what Gus’ hair looked like in the ‘90s. How’s that?

Moderator Josh Bozeman with thebluesite.com. Please go ahead.

J. Bozeman Hello, guys. Thanks for taking the call today.

J. Roday Sure, dude.

J. Bozeman My question is kind of weird, but forgive me. If Shawn and Gus went camping and they ran into a clan of hungry, angry cannibals what would the plan be to fight them off? And would Gus’ wicked dance moves or maybe his random knowledge come into play somehow?

D. Hill I would say first Shawn would probably try to do some kind of psychic intervention to lead them on a place for much better food. And then Gus would come in and talk about the nutritional principals of the food they were going to get instead of the make-up of eating Shawn and Gus together. Because eating the two of us together wouldn’t be good, but eating what we’re going to go and get would be that much better. And somewhere—

J. Roday I think there would be a diatribe about how dark meat is far worse for you than white mean, which Shawn of course would take and run with until he realizes that they’re doing a pretty good sales job on white meat and now everybody is just looking at him. At which point Gus would have to create a diversion, and you would end up with us running as fast as our legs would carry us and probably screaming bloody murder.

D. Hill Yes. At the top of our lungs at the highest pitch possible.

J. Roday Yes.

Moderator Our next question is from Stacy Roberts with Seriously? OMG! Please go ahead.

S. Roberts Hello, guys. I love the show and I love you guys together.

D. Hill Thank you. We love you.

J. Roday Thanks, Stacy.

S. Roberts Thank you. Quick question. You said what your favorite episode was, but you guys have done so many great things together on the show what has been your favorite like moment on the show?

J. Roday Well since we’ve already sort of thrown out the Duos thing a couple of times I’ll try to name one that doesn’t involve us dressing up and singing at the end of that episode. I don’t know.

D. Hill There are so many.

J. Roday There are so many good ones, but I think back at some of the early ones just because they were the moments that sort of helped set the tone and define the series. I think it was a lot harder to come by moments like that in the early episodes, as opposed to now when we’ve been doing it so long.

So I’ll say the scene in Forgive Me Not where we were pretending to be doctors from other countries and spoke in the ticktock language to the zoo doctor. I think for where we were in the series that was pretty inspired that—

D. Hill Yes. I would have to agree with that; that was one of the classic moments. It wasn’t planned to go as far as it did, and Bob Dansky just let us run with it and it turned into that where we just were-- I don’t even know how we were communicating, but we were doing some kind of language to each other that kept on going.

Moderator Rosa Cordero with accidentialsexiness.com. Please go ahead.

R. Cordero Hello, guys.

D. Hill How are you doing?

R. Cordero Good. I wanted to thank James specifically right now, because I recently posted pictures of him grocery shopping in Vancouver on my Website and you made my site go crazy. You’re a major sex symbol.

J. Roday Thank you. I guess I was out of vitamin water huh?

R. Cordero So my question is at Comic Con you guys mentioned something about a musical episode and also there was a mention of a possible porn spoof. And so I wanted to let you guys know if you did do the porn spoof I have a lot of volunteers.

D. Hill Oh, okay. Tell them they’re welcome to come join us.

R. Cordero I’m at the front of the line.

D. Hill Okay. Sounds good to me.

J. Roday That’s awesome. Thank you.

R. Cordero So the musical episode—are you guys really going to do a musical?

J. Roday I would say yes. If we can last a little bit longer you’ll definitely get a musical episode before all is said and done.

Moderator Jay Jacobs with PopEntertainment.com. Please go ahead.

J. Jacobs I was wondering in the new episode you work with Cary Elwes. What was that like and were there any Dread Pirate Roberts jokes going on?

J. Roday We went pretty light on him. We went pretty light on him with The Princess Bride jokes. He came in and he was very focused and he wanted to do a really good job. He had given his character a lot of thought, and that was sort of enough for us, I think, just seeing an actor of that caliber come in and be definitely sort of concerned and tuned in as he was. I mean don’t get me wrong; we had a great time with him and he was a blast to work with, but we didn’t rib him too much.

Moderator Eleanor Greeley with Spoiler TV. Please go ahead with your question.

E. Greeley So in season three we got to see a lot more of the serious side of the characters. Are we going to get more of that in season four?

D. Hill Definitely.

J. Roday Yes, a little bit. You don’t ever want to go too far in that direction, because I think people have plenty of shows that they watch to watch people be serious. I think at the end of the day it’s always going to be important for us to mostly deliver what has made us successful, but there will definitely be episodes this year where you see us flip our serious switches. Gus has a serious jackal switch where it’s still a jackal but it’s a serious jackal.

D. Hill Yes. That will have to make its way out some time this year.

Moderator Rachel Levy with SideReel. Please go ahead with your question.

R. Levy Hello, guys. A multi-parter. What has it been like to be on USA Network, and I was wondering if you think kind of there’s any big differences being on cable? And also, kind of related to that, do you guys ever feel like you’re kind of in friendly competition with newer series, other multiple of detective, spy, comedy series?

D. Hill From my side I think it’s great on USA. They really take the time to nurture their shows, they give you the chance to grow, and they give you the freedom to try different things. I would say everyone over there at USA, Jeff Wachtel, Bonnie Hammer, they all are very brilliant at what they do and they know what works. They know what works for their network and their track record proves it.
In terms of like feeling in competition I myself don’t. I always feel that your journey is your journey and what’s good for one is good for all. If the network is doing well then it’s great for all of us, so if they have a show that comes and premiers well great; that makes us that much more stronger. As long as we can hold down our spot then I think we can keep going along for a good ...

J. Roday Yes. I think what we do is fairly unique on Psych, and we just have to keep doing that because that’s what got us where we are. So you can’t really worry about any other show, whether it’s on USA or not. You have to stay true to yourselves and hope that people keep watching, and in the meantime just be, like Dulé said, just be happy for the family because it seems like everything they churn out right now turns to gold.

Moderator Rae Hanson with RTVW Online. Please go ahead.

R. Hanson Hey, guys. I don’t have any zombie or porn questions, but now that you’ve had your first experience at Comic Con how was it for you guys? I know it was great for us fans to see you, but how did you enjoy Comic Con?

D. Hill I actually loved it. I wished that I wasn’t so tired, because we had worked the night before in Vancouver and we flew down to LA I guess Wednesday and then I got up and flew to Comic Con Thursday morning. So I was pretty exhausted, so I wish I had more energy to be able to walk around. So I’m hoping to be able to go back next year and make sure I get some rest.

But I enjoyed it. It was great being there with all the fans and seeing people’s reactions. I enjoyed seeing the different outfits that I did see. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to do it for many more years.

J. Roday Yes, I was absolutely blown away. I mean working up in Vancouver, to an extent, sort of puts us in a bubble. To be able to come face-to-face with our fans and see their reaction I felt like the fourth Jonas Brother and I feel like Dulé was the fifth black Jonas Brother.

Even though it was only for an hour it was just an overwhelming, heartwarming response. I don’t want to go as far as to say it’s like a validating thing, but you really sort of felt for a moment there like wow what we’re doing is connecting with people, and that’s the best feeling you can have as an artist for sure.
Moderator Chelsea Daigle with Music, Movies, Mayhem. Please go ahead.

C. Daigle Hello.

D. Hill Hello.

J. Roday The mayhem. I want to talk about the mayhem.

C. Daigle All right. Well this question is for both of you. If you had the opportunity to choose some music for a Psych soundtrack what are a few tracks that would make the cut?

D. Hill For a Psych soundtrack?

J. Roday Shout would be on there.

D. Hill Shout would be on there. I guess I would say Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth. Oh, Man in the Mirror.

J. Roday Man in the Mirror. I would give Priscilla Ahn a shout out.

D. Hill What’s that one where it goes ahhh, it’s a Hall and Oates one, “I’ll do anything that you want me to.”

J. Roday I Can’t Go For That.

D. Hill Yes.

J. Roday And Priscilla Ahn’s A Good Day that’s the song that played when Lassiter broke up with his ex-wife. That probably should be on there. Maybe at the end.

Moderator Traci Grant with TheStarScoop.com. Please go ahead with your follow-up question.

T. Grant Yes, hello again. So what I want to know is if people haven’t started watching Psych yet why should they tune in now?

D. Hill Well there’s so much serious stuff going on in the world I think it’s a great show to come and sit back, put your feet up, and laugh for a little bit; just clear your minds. I think anyone who comes and watches this show definitely laughs out loud at least once, so if you’re looking to just step away from all the stress for a second then I would say check out Psych.

You know we’re like kids in a candy store, and it kind of brings people back to a time in their youth when people just dared to do anything, and that’s what we do on Psych.

J. Roday And there are so few rules that we have to follow in terms of making this show. I don’t think there are a lot of other shows out there where one week you’re wearing chaps and spurs and riding a horse and the next week you’re running from a potato sack headed killer chasing you into the woods with a machete, and yet you’re still laughing both times. I think it’s a pretty unique little hybrid; it has something for everyone.

Moderator We have a follow-up from Drucilla Moorhouse with E Online. Please go ahead.

D. Moorhouse Can you guys hear me?

D. Hill Yes.

J. Roday I sure can.

D. Moorhouse I accidentally pressed the hands free and I don’t know how to get it off. I’m going to go back to the American Werewolf episode. You wrote that, James. Right?

J. Roday Yes. I co-wrote that with my best friend Todd Harthan.

P. Moorhouse Can you talk more about it? It was my favorite movie of all time. And is John Landis directing?

J. Roday Wow. I’m right there with you; it’s definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. The original plan was to have Landis direct it for obvious reasons. He is off directing a feature in England right now. So we got the incomparable Andrew Bernstein to step in in his place, who did a fantastic job, who Dulé has known since his West Wing days.

It’s not unlike Tuesday the 17th; it’s an episode that needs to sort of stand on its own feet, but will definitely have moments where we’re winking and nodding and proclaiming our love for the original. But it has its own little story and its own little twists and turns.
Just having David Naughton on set was enough for me, because I got to pick his brain for the better part of a week and ended up getting a signed picture of him mid-transformation with the elongated torso reaching up at me. That’s getting framed and going on a wall.

Moderator Karen Jackson with Starpulse.com. Please go ahead with your follow-up.

K. Jackson Hello, guys, again. I was wondering how has the success of this show changed your life?

D. Hill Well for myself it hasn’t really changed that much, because I had come from the West Wing before. So West Wing had more of a bigger change in terms of my daily life than going from West Wing to Psych. The only thing I would say there’s more fans, because the audience is different.

But in terms of regular life I wouldn’t say it’s that much. I guess doing the show has changed my life because I’m in Vancouver six months out of the year. So you’re kind of battling that being settled in one place, because by the time that I come home and I get settled in LA and used to being home and having my home life I now have to go back to Vancouver and live six months up there. But there are worse things I can be going through, so I’m not complaining at all.

J. Roday My socks and underwear don’t have holes in them anymore. That was a big deal for me.

Moderator Next up is a follow-up from Jennifer Iaccino. Please go ahead.

J. Iaccino Hello again. I just wanted to know with your vast knowledge about show biz basically and obviously you’ve done some work on writing before, would you guys think about anything in the future that you would like to possibly write or direct? Maybe a new version of Twin Peaks, knock on wood, because I really loved that show too.

D. Hill Well in terms of writing, I think in the future you will see me writing something called Nothing; it will be a blank piece of paper with nothing written on it, because I have no ambition to write so that’s not going to be happening. I’ll leave all that up to James Roday.

J. Roday Yes. I feel like this have been an invaluable sort of experience for me, because I’ve managed to kind of cut my teeth doing all of the things that I do aspire to do. Hopefully by the time this show has a long and successful run I’ll have sort of banked enough stuff to sort of go out there and get myself another gig writing or directing.

I can tell you that when we do the Twin Peaks episode it will probably either be myself or Steve Franks directing, and the two of us will certainly write it because I don’t think anyone else knows half as much about that show as we do. So I don’t think we would feel comfortable handing it off, unless David Lynch wanted to come in and direct, in which case we’d make an exception.

C. Fehskens Michael, we have time for one last question.

Moderator Okay. We have a follow up from Courtney Shink with Raked Reviews. Please go ahead.

C. Shink Hello. I was wondering you’ve had a ton of fantastic guest stars. Who would you like to see on the show and who do you think they would play?

J. Roday My answer is going to stay the same until we get him on. The answer is David Bowie, and anybody he wants is whom he will play.
D. Hill And for myself I would like to get someone like Chris Tucker on the show. It would be great if he could play some kind of, I mean he could play anybody he wanted to also, but he could play some kind of relative of mine or something. It would be a lot of fun.

J. Roday I think David Bowie could also play David Bowie if he wanted to, and Shawn and Gus could just have an episode where they hung out with David Bowie.

D. Hill I think David Bowie could play Mr. Guster in season five.

J. Roday He could.

D. Hill There you go—because we change my dad all the time. Like dude, your daddy is David Bowie. … is not showing.

J. Roday That would be fantastic.