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Elizabeth Scott

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Yesterday I had my first ever school visit, and I'd like to thank Ms. Story and her class for having me--and for being so much fun! I was really nervous before I got to the school (and okay, when I got there), but once I met everyone and we started talking, I felt totally at ease and it's because everyone was so nice (and asked such great questions!)

I also have a lot of links to share...

I didn't know TRL was still on either

Want to sell a lot of magazines? Put The Hills star Lauren Conrad on the cover

Have a book and *really* want it to be ranked #1 on Amazon or BN.com? It'll cost you

When writers don't write

Diana Peterfreund on perseverance

Monday, March 26, 2007

I can't believe it, but Bloom will be released in less than a month! I've put up chapter one for download--just click here--and I'd love to know what you think of it.

And, of course, I'm still running weekly contests, and will until the last week of April, when the Mega May contest will start. (Here's a hint for it: if you've pre-ordered Bloom, save your receipt/invoice when the book comes!)

So, if you'd like a chance to win a book this week, just leave a comment here, or send me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Comments/emails must be in by midnight EST on Friday, March 30th, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: How to be Popular by Meg Cabot, The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti, When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, and The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson.

In other news, I managed to get the house clean before anyone showed up *and* the dust bunnies stayed hidden under the sofa. Perhaps next I'll attempt to dust on a regular basis. Or not.

And finally--you know I have links to share!

Justine Larbalestier asks if it's better to have great editing or great publicity

Jennifer Lynn Barnes asks about writer's block

I know I'm always posting links from Justine Larbalestier, but I can't help it that she's always interesting! Here she's posted a bit from her very first draft of Magic or Madness.

I can't remember if I've posted this before or not, but if I have, you know what? It's worth repeating. One of my all-time fave posts about books--Tess Gerritsen says "You know what? It's okay to read what you want to."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We have company coming today and I somehow have to get the house clean enough so that no one will flee in terror in...ack! About two hours. This ought to be fun.

Before I head off to shove giant dust bunnies under the sofa (they'll fit there, right?):

An old (2005) blog post from Elizabeth Bear on How To Become A Mid-List Writer--This is one of my faves on writing for a lot of reasons, but mainly for her advice about writing after you land an agent/have a book that's being sent around, and how writers feel before their first book comes out. Maybe it's not applicable for everyone, but the feeling of panic? Applicable for me!

Denise Little writes about publisher's Profit and Loss Statements. I've previously linked to a former Tor editor's essay on the same subject (and which I highly recommend reading--it's eye-opening to see how easy it is for publishers to lose money on books) but Little's article is worth reading too, and keep an eye out for her formula for a rough estimate to determine how much money a book has made (or lost) for a publisher.

Monday, March 19, 2007

If you live near Washington DC, I urge you to check out Shakespeare in Washington*, which runs through June and has already featured some amazing productions. I recently saw The Supreme Court Hears the Trial of Hamlet, which showed me why so many authors are (or were) lawyers--talk about being able to capture an audience! The lawyers (and they were real lawyers)--were *amazing.* The production was done as a mock trial--really more of a mock grand jury, actually, with the prosecution asking that Hamlet be tried for the murder of Polonius and the defense claiming that Hamlet was mentally ill when he committed the crime, and I was riveted. I also saw a performance of Macbeth that was done in Tlingit and English--and Tlingit? It's beautiful.

I've also decided I need a vacation. Not that I'm going to take one, but I sure wish I could. Which leads me to this week's contest--and I'm sure you can guess what it's about. Yes, that's right...vacation! Where do you--or would you--like to go on vacation? (I like going to Key West, because it's the only place I've ever been--besides where I grew up--where you can see chickens in the street!)

You can tell me all about your favorite vacation spot by commenting here, or by sending me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Replies must be in by midnight EST on Friday, March 23rd, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky, and A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb.

And congrats to last week's winners: Laura, Denise, Myra, and Tiffany!

Finally, some links:

Maureen Johnson talks about monkeys, tea, and reveals yet another reason why she's so super fab: she likes Gus from Psych! (Gus is *the* reason to watch the show--how can you not love someone who tivos spelling bees, refers to his nose as "The Super Sniffer," and says stuff like, "You heard about Pluto? That's messed up, right?")

Cheryl Klein, an editor at Scholastic, talks about reading slush--and what's often wrong with it. Be sure to check out her website too--there's lots of interesting information (including The Annotated Query Letter from Hell)

*If nothing else, think about seeing tiny ninjas performing Hamlet! (Yes, really.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I just finished making bread dough, and I've realized I may have forgotten to put the salt in. Do I hope for the best and wait? Try to put salt in now? Toss the dough out and start all over again? Ack! I think I'll just wait and see.

The really sad part about all of this is I've been making bread for about four years now. You'd think I'd have at least mastered the basics, like remembering to remember if I put in the salt. But nope!

Perhaps I can blame this on daylight savings time? Or has the fact that it's been almost a week since the clocks switched stretching it?

I really have been forgetful this week, though--which reminds me, congrats to Erin and Brenna! Both of them wrote in within moments of my last "guess what I forgot!" entry (I'm sensing a theme this week...hmm....) and so they're both getting a couple of books.

Before I forget anything else, let me toss out a few interesting links:

Justine Larbalestier wants to know about day jobs for writers

Facebook vs. Grey's Anatomy

Maureen Johnson writes about Amazon reviews

Therese Fowler asks what makes a book work--and what makes it fail. (Also, be sure to check out her post about her second novel, and why she feels it didn't sell. It's an interesting, honest, and enlightening read. )

Monday, March 12, 2007

Two posts in one day? What's going on?

Well, I'll tell you. In all the excitement (read: brain drain) that's resulted from daylight savings time, it slipped my mind. (Plus I got swept away picturing a world without pennies. Or packing peanuts! Or people who decide your name isn't actually your real name as soon as they meet you!)

Anyway, I forgot all about this week's contest, which actually ties in to what I talked about earlier. Sort of.

What would you do with a billion dollars? (I was going to say a million, but a billion is more fun to think about.)

You can tell me by commenting here, or by sending me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Replies must be in by midnight EST on Friday, March 16th, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: Angels on Sunset Boulevard by Melissa de la Cruz, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, The Minister's Daughter by Julie Hearn, and Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

And congrats to last week's winners: Kristen, Amanda, Mary Katherine, and Jessi!

Also, since I forgot to mention this earlier, the first person to email me with their list of five things you'd change if you ruled the world at elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com will get a couple of books: Magic and Madness by Justine Larbalestier, and Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.
Five Things That Would Change If I Ruled The World:

1. No more daylight savings time.

2. No calling someone you just met by a nickname you've decided they should have. (Look, I get that I have a long name. And I have nothing against nicknames--no one in my family has called anyone by their first name since apprx. thirty seconds after they were born. But when I meet someone for the first time and they decide, for whatever reason, that my name isn't Elizabeth but Liz, Beth, or some other variation (I've heard Bessie, Lizzie, and Eliza as well), I'm always tempted to return the favor and call the person "Jackass.")

3. No more pennies. What can you buy for a penny? Nothing. What can you do with a penny? Nothing.* Why do we still have them? I don't know.

4. No more endless blocks of ads before movies. You can call it "The Twenty" or whatever, but I know what it is, and it's ADS.

5. No more styrofoam packing peanuts. No more picking up annoying little piece of foam that spray everywhere as you wrestle open a box! No more digging through ten inches of them to uncover a gift certificate that could have been mailed in something like, oh, I don't know....an envelope, maybe?

* Well, technically, you can keep them in a jar or something until you get so sick of them you lug them to the bank and get something like four bucks for stuffing them into those little paper change wrappers. But that's more an exercise in frustration than something to do.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dance Dance Revolution taunts! Why didn't anyone tell me that? I was attempting to "dance" yesterday, and it kept telling me, "Who cares about grades?" (or something similar) which I thought was sort of strange until I realized those letters you get at the end of a song? That's the game GRADING YOU! And let me tell you, right now, I am the class dunce.

But that's okay. You know why? I have in my possession the world's easiest and super delicious recipe for homemade macaroni and cheese.*

You'll need the following:
A 2 quart covered casserole (to bake the mac and cheese)
8 oz. of elbow macaroni (or half of the usual one pound boxes they sell of the stuff)
2 eggs
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 stick butter
3-4 cups shredded/grated cheddar cheese (depending on how heart attack-ish you want it to be)
hot sauce (yes, really!)

Cook the pasta, making sure to cook it for the minimum amount of time, which is usually something like 7-8 minutes. (Otherwise, it'll be beyond mush by the end)

While the pasta is cooking, set the oven to 375 degrees. (If you're using a glass casserole dish, set the oven to 350)

Melt the butter in the microwave and dump into the casserole dish (or just use a microwave safe dish--much easier!). Add the evaporated milk and half and half to the melted butter and stir. Put in hot sauce to taste (meaning, if you're addicted to the stuff, like my husband, put in a lot of some frighteningly named sauce. If you don't care for hot sauce, just put in a few teaspoons, like 2-3, to cut the richness of all that cheese. And butter. And half and half)

Next, add in the eggs. Make sure you poke the yolks to break them apart, and then give everything another good stir. Add in two cups of the cheese. Stir again.

Wait for the pasta to finish cooking, and then drain it. Shake off as much excess water as you can, and then slosh it into the casserole. Stir until the cheese gets all melty and everything looks pretty well mixed. Top with either one or two more cups of cheese.

Bake for thirty minutes, and then check on it. If the top is nice and brown, it's done! And if it's not, which is always the case in my oven, leave it in for another five to ten minutes.

The end result is thick enough to actually cut into pieces, which makes reheating in the microwave or oven easy. And trust me, you'll have leftovers with this.**

And to make sure this entry is officially covering all the bases (dance! food! links!)...

Justine Larbalestier on how writers get paid (short version: it usually takes a while.)

An interview with Jennifer Laughran, a buyer for Books Inc. (and also in charge of Not Your Mother's Book Club) that offers some really interesting insights into how (and why) books are purchased from publishers for stores.

(*Credit where credit's due: It's my husband's recipe, and he adapted it from a recipe in the Washington Post.)

(**Even my husband, who has never met a dish with cheese in it that he doesn't like in prodigious amounts, can only eat one portion of this stuff. It's that rich.)

Monday, March 05, 2007

I saw Breach this weekend, and liked it a lot. But then, I've always liked movies about the FBI/CIA/NSA/etc. (with bonus points given if the movie deals with DC area traffic accurately) and Breach is all Robert Hanssen, who was all over the papers a couple of years ago because he sold government secrets to Russia--and he sold a lot of them.

Anyway, Chris Cooper played Hanssen, and he was fantastic. Also, he's the one celebrity sighting I've had where I actually noticed the celebrity. I haven't had many celebrity sightings-- unless you count politicians. and I don't.--and they go as follows:

a. the time the Indigo Girls came into the story where I worked selling pantyhose. (Yes, there really used to be a chain of stores that sold pantyhose. And yes, it went out of business) Actually, the Indigo Girls came in to buy sports bras (weirdly, in addition to pantyhose, the store sold sports bras and hideous t-shirts and leotards. It's a wonder the company lasted more than a year) and not only did I not recognize them, I rang them up with a lot of sighing (we were about to close, and I wanted to go home) and wondered why my co-worker was staring in awe. After they left, she said, "OMGthatwastheIndigoGirls!" And then I felt bad for all the dramatic "look how I'm suffering and I just want to go HOME!" sighing. And for not recognizing them.

b. Of course, this pattern continued. A couple of years later, I met a girl we'll call B. B is smart and sweet and I think she's one of the most amazing people ever. But the thing about B is, any time you go anywhere with her, celebrities magically appear. Including the one time Erika Christensen was *right in front of me* for about two hours and I didn't notice. At all. (B actually had to elbow me and go "Hey! Look!" before I saw.)

c. Now we reach the moment of triumph. Last year, I was in Penn Station in New York, waiting for a train, and this guy who looks remarkably like Chris Cooper walks by. And then I realize...it is Chris Cooper! Walking right by me! In Penn Station! And then I started wondering why he was in Penn Station, and where he was going. And then I started thinking about how I wish Amtrak would use Grand Central Station because it's so much nicer looking and doesn't smell as strongly of feet. And then he was gone. But I noticed him!

And now that you've all learned I am not the person you want with you if you're out spotting celebrities, on to this week's contest.

Maybe it's just that I haven't had any breakfast yet, but this week, I want to talk about food. So...what's your favorite food? (Mine is Fritos. I could probably eat a truckload of them. Maybe two truckloads.)

You can tell me by commenting here, or by sending me an email (elizabeth at elizabethwrites dot com) Replies must be in by midnight EST on Friday, March 9th, and then I'll draw four names at random and send each of those four people a book! Though you can only reply once, you can reply no matter where you live (I will ship books overseas), or if you've won something from me in the past.

Books I'll be giving away are: The Secrets of Boys by Hailey Abbott, How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot, Follow the Blue by Brigid Lowry, and Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.

And congrats to last week's winners: Amber, Marie Rose, Michelle, and Brianne!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Yesterday was an Important Day. (You can tell from the capital letters, right?)

And why was it so important?

Why, I'm so glad you asked! See, yesterday, the X-Box version of Dance Dance Revolution *finally* went on sale.

Did I buy a copy?

I did!

And have I become a dancing fool?

Yes. Yes, I have. (And with any luck, in, oh, about twenty or so years, I should be able to move beyond the first song! That day will be noted as "Day of Miracles.")