Homage to Michael Jackson

Friday night my husband came home from work, flipped through his old vinyl collection, and found Michael Jackson’s Thriller album so we could pay homage to The King of Pop. We reminisced about various MJ-related memories, and he once again teased me about my poor musical tastes in high school (I should never have confessed my love of “Caribbean Queen” to him early in our relationship!). 

And then came the song: “Beat It.”
Whoosh! The time machine of my memory swept me back to 1983, into my high school gym, at drill team tryouts, right as the kick routine started. 
Okay, here’s a little backstory. Despite the fact that my dance training ended with fourth grade ballet, I decided that being a Reno High Huskiette would be really fun. Oh, and my mom was the drill team coach. 
Coaches are really busy during drill team tryouts. And easily distracted. I made the mistake of sounding too vague while asking her a question in front of a group of senior Huskiettes (hey, I was super nervous). Somehow my mom got the idea that I was having some kind of menstrual emergency and handed me two quarters! Exasperated, I gave up, slipped the quarters into the tiny pocket in my nylon shorts and sat on the bleachers waiting for my turn.
Three of us wanna-be Huskiettes stood on the gleaming wood floor to do the kick routine portion of tryouts. The now overly-familiar thump of “Beat It” commenced. I held my arms out, unsuccessfully trying not to flap like a chicken, and kicked like a show-girl, okay, maybe not so much. Clink. Clink. Kick. Clink. Clink. Kick. The quarters chimed in with each lift of my leg.
A few hours later when the Huskiettes passed out roses to the girls who made the team, I still harbored a tiny bit of hope (kind of like the hope that Thane Fisher would finally notice me).

I didn’t receive a rose. And my mom thought the whole quarter debacle was hilarious. At least she took me out for a non-celebratory dinner.

The story has a happy, with-hard-work-you-can-do-anything kind of ending. I did make the team the following year. That journey started with enrolling my curvy self in dance classes with prepubertal girls, but I’ll save those tales for another time.
Anyway, I cannot hear “Beat It” without suffering through that kick routine all over again! 

Guest Nose: Cindy Pon


Today I’m happy to welcome Cindy Pon debut author of Silver Phoenix

this is from cindy pon’s personal files. i think i was around 14 or 15 when i got a 2.5 inch gash on my forearm after scratching it against a wooden fence. i happened to read a teen mag with “beauty tips” and it suggested to apply pure vitamin e oil on scabs, to help it heal with little markings. so off i went to the drug store to buy the stuff, and proceeded to slather it on. imagine my horror, when a few days later, i developed itchy blisters all along my arm. my mom took me too a chinese doctor who asked about my SEXUAL activities. what? did i have arm herpes? (i had yet to kiss a boy at this age, mind you!) but it turned out to be just a skin allergy. i was beyond mortified, to say the least.

 About Silver Phoenix – Beyond the Kingdom of Xia

On the day of her first betrothal meeting–and rejection–ai ling discovers a power welling deep within her. She can reach into other people’s spirits, hear their thoughts, see their dreams…and that’s just the beginning.

ai ling has been marked by the immortals; her destiny lies in the emperor’s palace, where a terrible evil has lived, stealing souls, for centuries. She must conquer this enemy and rescue her captive father, while mythical demons track her every step. And then she meets chen yong, a young man with a quest of his own, whose fate is intertwined with hers. Here is a heart-stopping, breathtaking tale for fans of action, fantasy, and romance–of anything with the making of legend. To buy your own copy click here.

About Cindy Pon

Cindy Pon was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and her family immigrated to California in 1980, settling in the suburbs of Los Angeles. She began writing stories before she was officially declared English proficient. She received her bachelor’s from the University of California, San Diego, and also earned a master’s from New York University. The author is a student of Chinese brush painting, and her love for the art is reflected in her storytelling. Cindy Pon lives with her husband and two small children in San Diego, California. Find out more about Cindy at http://cindypon.com

Vomit Karma

Lately I’ve read a few debut novels with very memorable vomiting scenes. So why would I focus on something so, well, gross? I have bad vomit karma. If one of my daughters’ friends has a woozy stomach, I’m pretty much guaranteed that she will hurl on my carpet. Oh, and she will have recently eaten something red or orange. My dog also regularly upchucks under my desk (I try not to take that too personally or symbolically).

So why the bad karma?

Come back with me to junior high (why did everything traumatic happen during those brief years?!?). My mom’s friend had just purchased a brand-spanking new Camaro with plush baby blue seats. She drove over and offered to take us out for ice cream. Yum!

I flopped into the curvy bucket seat, already knowing what flavor I’d order: pink bubble-gum. I quickly snarfed down an oversized single cone (we did not eat in the car). On the brief drive home, my stomach started flipping and flopping. I vomited. Pink ice cream, decorated with bits of dinner, splattered the baby blue interior like a really bad abstract painting. Good-bye new car smell!

The humiliation! The word “sorry” just doesn’t cover pink bubble-gum ice cream chunder on baby blue car interior. I think about this incident every time I’m cleaning up someone else’s vomit. And I always feel worse about that car than I do about my carpet.

If you’d like to read some humiliating (and hopefully fictional) vomit scenes check out: Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne (three cones), Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley (two cones), and Freaked by JT Dutton (five cones). I recommend all the other scenes in these books too!

The Padded Bra Story

So, yeah. In 7th grade my “bosom” was more Great Plains  

than Sierra Nevadas. 

I’d been visited by the pimple fairy, the curvy hips fairy, the that-time-of-the-month fairy, the BO fairy, the hairy armpits fairy, but not the boob fairy. And I had PE every day. With boys. Boys with opinions. Boys with loud, obnoxious opinions. About girls. And their boobs or not-so boobs.

So one day I was up in my grandmother’s attic, poking around all her old clothes. She’d gone to fashion design school and had tons of cool shoes, handbags, and amazing clothes. 
I opened a drawer full of lacy underthings–silky slips, weird pantyhose with hooks and straps and stuff, and bras I could only dream of wearing (the boob fairy loved my grandma). But at the bottom of the drawer was a thick padded bra. It was kind of old, maybe a tad musty, but, hey, instant cleavage!
I whipped off my shirt and put it on. Wow! I looked amazing. I couldn’t wait to show up for school on Monday with my new, improved figure. Yeah, I know, I didn’t quite think the whole thing through. Flat on Friday, mounds on Monday…
So, I’m in PE–with all those boys, but I’m feeling pretty good in my snuggish white shirt and baggy blue shorts. And we’re on the gym floor in rows doing push-ups. I hated pushups. I hate pushups even more now, but anyway…
The laughter. Big huge guffaw-ha-ha-ha-ha’s. From those boys. It took me a few more pushups to clue into the whole, the laughter is coming from behind you, thing.
After all, I had boobs now. Yeah, boobs. Flapping against my sides. My ancient, hook-in-the-front, padded bra had come undone!
“Look! She’s wearing a padded bra!” one of the louder, more obnoxious, but, yeah, cuter guys yelled.
I’ll just let you imagine the humiliation of trying to re-hook an ancient padded bra while everyone else is moving on to sit-ups. And the boys (and plenty of girls) are still laughing. And the teacher is all, “Sydney, is there a problem?”
Yeah there’s a problem!
So the boob fairy did eventually visit. But why couldn’t she have come before I found that blippety-blippin’ padded bra?

Guest Nose Stacey Jay!


Today I’d like to welcome Guest Nose, Stacey Jay, author of You Are So Undead To Me.

Stacey, do you have any embarrassing nose moments you’d like to share?
I can’t say I’ve got one super embarrassing “nose” moment. My nose and I have never been on good terms. I’ve always resented it for having a weird little bump near the top and it has issues with the perfume I’ve worn since I was twenty so…yeah. It’s kind of painful to talk about actually.
So I’ll move straight on to my most embarrassing “head” moment. In eighth grade I dressed up as an alien from the movie “Coneheads” with a latex wig cap that I stuffed with cotton so that it stood up in a big cone on top of my head. Everyone said I looked like I was wearing a condom for a hat. It was incredibly embarrassing and the worst part was that I couldn’t even take it off because I was having a REALLY bad hair day underneath that wig cap. Tragic. My rep never recovered until we graduated junior high and went on to high school.
Your main character Megan deals with a lot of zombies. Does she have any beauty/fashion tips she’d like to share?
MEGAN’S TOP FIVE ZOMBIE SETTLING FASHION “DO’S”
* Wear comfortable shoes. Running in heels is for actress crime-fighter types who worry about their legs looking thinner on camera. Zombies don’t care about size. All legs are suitable for “nomming.”
* Carry a light, fruity body spray to combat the funky smell of grave dirt. (Avoid musky scents like patchouli that tend to exaggerate The Stank.)
* Ditch the sparkly earrings. You don’t want to be the one to test the “zombies are not drawn to shiny objects” theory.
* Take a moment to pull back your hair. Even in cases where protruding ears might draw the attention of flesh-hungry corpses looking for a small, cartilage-y snack, it’s still best to have your hair out of your face.
* All black, all the time. It’s slimming, blends in with the night, and can easily go from sealing graves to making boys your slaves with just a little lipgloss. (And those sparkly earrings if you can find them. Boys definitely seem to be drawn to shiny objects.)
You can find Megan’s Fashion “Do’s” in the March issue of Romantic Times Magazine.
More about You Are So Undead To Me:
Megan Berry’s social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she’s a part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people. All Megan wants is to be normal–and go to homecoming. But someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it’s looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party–the bloody kind. Buy the book here.
More about Stacey Jay:
Stacey Jay is a workaholic with three pen names, four kids, and a decidedly macabre sense of humor. She loves zombies, creepies, crawlies, blood, guts, gore, and of course, romance. You Are So Undead To Me, Stacey’s debut paranormal YA romance is published by Razorbill books. Find Stacey’s website here.
Thanks, Stacey!