Minions! You know how I’m holding a conference about bullying and what we can do about it? One with AMAZING YA authors and lots of awesome? It’s called Less Than Three, remember?
Well…I have excellent news for you.
Tickets to Less Than Three are now available! But you’d better hurry…because they won’t last.
CONTEST CLOSED! The winner is JOSH!!! Congrats, Minion! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address. Fangs for entering, Minions!
There are few books that I truly enjoy, or that surprise and delight me, Minions. Beautiful Creatures is one of them. It was written by two excellent friends of mine, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and is the first of a series (naturally – Auntie loves series). At first glance, Minions, it might be easy to think you have it all figured out, but this book…it really grabbed me. For one, it’s told from the perspective of Ethan, who could totally hang out with Vlad any day. Ethan is tormented by this dream of a girl…only he soon sees that girl at his school, and then his life gets all whacky and screwed up and awesome. It’s about magic and love and mystery and claiming yourself. I really, really love it.
And it’s a movie now! Seriously, how cool is that?? Minions ask me every day when CoVT or Slayer Chronicles or SOULBOUND will be a movie and I can tell you…it almost never happens. But BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has made it and I couldn’t be happier for my friends. It comes out on Valentine’s Day (TOMORROW!), so go see it. Because I am DYING to see it and want to chat with you Minions all about it!
And…I’ve got the hook-up for you Minions. See, I’ve got an autographed goodie from Thomas Mann—the actor who plays Link, Ethan’s best friend. Link is fantastic and sooooooo gives Henry a run for his money. And you can win his autograph right now! All you have to do is comment below and promise Auntie that you’ll go see this movie. Preferably Thursday. And that you’ll read the book. Because it’s incredible.
Contest ends tomorrow morning! So you’d better MOVE, Minions.
Now get with the comments, yo.
For quite a while, Minions, several of you have been asking me for a sneak-peek at the graphic novel of EIGHTH GRADE BITES. And for various reasons (most of which having to do with Auntie’s insanely busy schedule), I haven’t given you that.
That is, until today.
Tomorrow, EIGHTH GRADE BITES debuts in graphic novel form! I’m so unbelievably excited, Minions. It’s been a very long time coming, and the end result is simply gorgeous. So to celebrate its impending release, here are a few sneak-peek goodies!
To order a copy for yourself, you can wander into your local independent bookstore, order a signed copy through Main Street Books, look for it anywhere books are sold, or online you can get it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.
And to really put the blood-soaked cherry on top of this awesome sundae, I think it’s time for a Spontaneous Mini-Contest! To enter, just leave a comment here (one entry per person). I’ll choose a random winner before I blog again. Winner gets Auntie Heather’s Surprise of Awesomeness! GO!
Greetings, Minions! Auntie Heather’s finally back after a nice, much-needed break (which featured palm trees and relaxation, I’m happy to report), and I wanted to wish you all a FANGtastic new year. 2012 has, to put it bluntly, SUCKED for many reasons, but I’m putting out as much positive energy as I can to ensure that 2013 will be FANGtastic! It’s our lucky number, Minions! Let’s make ’13 AWESOME.
Sickness update: Many of you know that I was suffering from a terrible sinus infection for about two weeks, but I’m happy to report that I seem to be well now! Luckily it cleared up about three days into my vacation. Phew! Nothing spoils palm trees more than snot explosions.
Kitteh update: I just wanted to thank you all for the outpouring of sympathy over the Brewer Clan’s loss of lil Loki. You guys are amazing, and every hug, every kind word, every card has been greatly appreciated. It’s still tough (and today is the day we pick up his ashes, so it’ll be really tough), but we’re healing a lil more every day. Amenti and Fang have been seriously cuddly and sweet. Fang especially misses his lil brother, so we’ve been giving extra treats, extra playtime, and extra love, just to help them get through their grief. Loki is an an amazing soul, and wherever he ends up, I hope it’s a place with purple-feathered birds. He loved purple feathers the most.
I’m so glad that so many of you seemed to enjoy my Christmas present to you. I wanted to leave you all with something sweet at the end of 2012, in appreciation for all that you guys have given me – are giving me! I love my Minions. You guys ROCK OUT LOUD.
If you’re curious what I’ve been up to in the writing department…I’ve mostly been focusing on the third Slayer Chronicles installment, and I’m seriously geeked out over it. In this book, we’ll follow Joss back to Santa Carla. Standing in his way of solving the riddle that awaits him there (not to mention the puzzle of what his nightmares really mean) is his cousin Henry, who will be at his side for much of the book. It’s been fun to write! The book is due January 14th, though, so I may not get a chance to blog again before then.
I’m getting a lot of messages asking about my new year resolutions, but I have to tell ya, Minions…I never make them. Any change I want to make in my life doesn’t require the date of January 1st stamped at the top of the calendar. Besides, most people don’t keep their resolutions, so I have a difficult time respecting the idea of making a promise to yourself, knowing that you will break it. Promises – especially to yourself – are meant to be kept. So…no resolutions for Auntie Heather.
HUGE NEWS! The graphic novel of EIGHTH GRADE BITES hits stores on January 10th!!! So if you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, please do! Here’s some linkage to help you out:
Barnes & Noble
It’s going to blow your lil minds sky-high. Trust me on this. It’s GOOD.
Anyhoo…I’m off to write and be awesome. You should do the same (that second one comes so easily to the Minion Horde…).
Greetings and bloody holiday kisses, Minions!
Your Auntie Heather has been – much like Santa’s elves – hard at work on something very special, just for you this holiday season. I’ve written a little short story, a moment, a holiday twinkle from the world of Vladimir Tod, just for you!
Now, if you haven’t read TWELFTH GRADE KILLS just yet, know that this will have a spoiler-feel to it for you. So either go read TWELFTH first, or keep an open mind. But for those Minions who have read TWELFTH GRADE KILLS…here ya go!
THE PERFECT HOLIDAY
There was nothing like The Crypt around the holidays. Nowhere else that Vlad could really think of decorated the tree in skull ornaments and black feather boas. Nowhere else served sugar cookies that looked like vampire Santas or big servings of nutmeg-sprinkled eggnog in mugs that looked like skulls. The Crypt was an unusual place, for unusual people, and so Vlad could think of nowhere better for such an unusual holiday gathering.
As he made his way down the ramp, passed haphazardly hung twinkling lights and a wreath that was home to severed Barbie doll parts, Vlad took a slow, deep breath, and hoped that the evening would go well. The last thing anyone really wanted around the holidays was for a fight to break out. Of course to most people, that might just mean someone yelling or whatever. But in this case, it meant that secrets could be exposed…or stakes could be thrown. Neither were things he was in the mood for. By the time Vlad rounded the corner, though, he was relatively sure the evening was going to be problem free.
Sitting on one of the velvet couches was Henry, his arm around October’s waist as she perched on the arm of the couch. She was laughing, like Henry had just said something really funny. Across from them, nuzzled on the other couch, were Joss and Meredith. For a moment, Vlad took the scene in, marveling that everyone was here. Then he turned his head, and what he saw sucked the breath from his lungs, making his head spin from dizziness.
Snow was standing by the Christmas tree in the corner. She was dressed in a knee-length black sequined dress, her hair pinned up in various curls that spilled down over her shoulders. In true Snow fashion, she wore fishnet stockings and combat boots. Her skin was beautiful and pale, almost glowing. And Vlad couldn’t help but walk over to where she stood without saying a word to alert her to his presence, without breaking whatever precious spell held her in this moment. He stood beside her for a moment, watching her watching the lights on the tree, and after drinking her in, he said, “Hey.”
She smiled before she ever turned to face him, and though her greeting was as simple as his, they both knew it meant so much more than they were saying. “Hey, Vlad.”
His cheeks were starting to ache already from smiling so much, but he couldn’t help it. It was Snow. “I got you a present.”
Snow beamed. “Me too.”
“Dude! When did you get here?” Henry called across the room. When Vlad glanced over, he could see that their entire group was looking at him expectantly, so he grabbed Snow by the hand and tugged her with him toward the couches. They piled onto the well-worn cushions beside Henry and October and after a bit of chatter, it was time to exchange gifts. Henry handed Vlad something wrapped in red paper with purple penguins printed all over it. By the orange and green striped bow, Vlad was pretty sure that Henry had either gone colorblind, or didn’t give a figgy pudding about wrapping gifts. As Vlad turned it over in his hands, he said, “Thanks, man. But I thought we agreed that only couples would be exchanging gifts this year…?”
October leaned in and gave Henry’s arm a light slug. “Something you want to tell me, Henry? I thought we were a couple, not you and Vlad.”
“Ow! Hey!” He rubbed his arm and shook his head at October, chuckling. “Trust me. You’re way prettier than Vlad. It’s just that he needs this. Desperately.”
As their kissing commenced, Vlad ripped away the paper, revealing a book titled A Cheater’s Guide to Race to Armageddon. Henry stopped kissing October long enough to laugh along with Vlad. It was a fitting gift. Vlad still hadn’t beaten Henry. Maybe cheating would help.
October and Henry exchanged gifts next, each fittingly giving the other several tubes of Chapstick. Meredith gave Joss a nice pair of fingerless gloves, and when she opened the scarf from Joss, she smiled and wrapped it around her neck, oblivious to Joss’s quiet uttering, “It’ll keep you safe…and warm.”
Vlad ignored the dig. It was the holidays, after all. Besides, it wasn’t like a scarf was enough to stop fangs. So what had Joss meant by it? He wasn’t sure, and frankly, he didn’t want to ask. He and Joss, clearly, still had issues. But nothing that couldn’t be looked past for the moment.
My Chemical Romance’s version of “All I Want for Christmas is You” blared out of the speakers overhead, and as people began filling the club, that sense of intimacy washed away–intimacy that was immediately restored the moment that Snow took Vlad’s hand and led him back over to the Christmas tree. Once they were there, he reached inside his pocket and withdrew a small box for her to open. Snow smiled brightly and pulled open the black velvet lid. Inside was a necklace, its pendant a dainty, sparkling snowflake. At the snowflake’s center was a single, small black diamond.
“Oh, Vlad, it’s so beautiful!” Snow hugged him tightly and in an instant, he took in all that was her–her softness, her scent. Her heart beat strongly in his ears, but he didn’t hear it out of a need for her blood, only out of a strong desire for it to keep beating. As she pulled away, she gestured to the tree. “Yours is on there. Can you find it? I made it for you.”
Vlad searched the branches, but he didn’t have to look for long. Hanging on a branch by itself was an ornament, handmade by Snow, that was unmistakably Vlad. It was a red smiley face, and inside its mouth were a pair of fangs.
He grinned at her as he kissed her on the cheek. “Thank you, Snow. It’s perfect.”
“Like you.” She slipped her arms around his neck then and as they embraced, all Vlad could think was that he wasn’t perfect–not by a long shot. None of his friends were perfect. His girlfriend wasn’t perfect. His life wasn’t perfect.
Happy holidays, Minion Horde. May your holidays be filled with awesome and your new year be even more FANGtastic than this one. Remember: your Auntie Heather loves you very much!
I haven’t blogged in two months. What an awful supreme ruler I am, Minion Horde! You must be bummed. You must be annoyed. You must wonder why. The answer, I’m afraid, isn’t so simple. But as I’ve been telling you all for years now, Auntie Heather believes in honesty. So I’ll just tell you the truth, and then I’ll be a better Auntie about keeping you better informed about my goings-on.
The last time I blogged, it was around Halloween. I had just experienced a crazy month of promotion and touring and frankly, Auntie Heather just wanted to crawl inside her cave and pretend the world didn’t exist for a while. I’ve had a very stressful year, and I was looking forward to diving into some writing and letting the real world fall away for a while. I was looking forward to living in the pretend. And I did, for a bit. That is, until the real world grabbed me by the back of the neck and dragged me back into the harsh light of day last week.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that Auntie Heather is a self-professed crazy cat lady. I love kittehs. They are fuzzy lil people – better than most of the humans that I know. I consider my kittehs to be my furry children, and it’s an ongoing joke in my family that I love the kittehs more than I love my human kids (and Jacob and Alexandria get that…I suspect because they love the kittehs more than their parents). I realize that those who aren’t animal people (or cat people in particular) might not understand this, and I’m okay with that. But I love my kittehs…and so last week was a very difficult time for me (it still is, and I suspect it will be for a long time).
Loki is a fan of cuddling, purrs on demand, and has the most cotton-like fur that I’ve ever had the pleasure of stroking. Loki’s favorite thing in the world to do is chew on all things crunchy, so we’ve kept him well stocked with turkey-flavored treats and crinkle balls. He often will sit and cock his head to the side, as if to say, “Whatcha doin’?” His favorite place to lay in my office is on the paper shredder by the window, where he can watch the birds on the feeder outside. He is my youngest kitteh, my baby…and there’s something wrong with the tense I’ve used in this paragraph.
Because we lost Loki’s young life this past Friday. I should be referring to Loki in the past tense. But it’s hard. Because he was just here. He was just cuddling with me on the couch. He was just…here.
Until he wasn’t.
This past Monday, we’d gone through our regular morning routine (which, when you are a kitteh in the Brewer Clan household, consists of wake mommy up, get treats, play with feather thing, then let mommy go to work) and I retired to my office to get some work done on the third Slayer Chronicles book. The writing was going really well, and I was wearing my Beats, jamming out to Green Day’s “Stray Heart”. My son, Jacob, tapped my shoulder (because when the Beats are on, I can’t hear anything that’s going on outside of the music) and said that my husband, Paul, was calling me. I found Paul in the kitchen with Loki, who was really favoring his right front paw. He tried to walk, but started meowing louder and louder, as if he was in a lot of pain. His paw was just dangling there, so we called our vet right away and asked to be seen. Within twenty minutes, Loki was given pain meds and X-rays were taken. No breaks were detected at all, and we examined the X-rays with our vet. Our vet (who’s amazing, by the way) suspected nerve issues at first, and told us that Loki seemed to not be able to feel his paw at all, but was having pain in the rest of his legs. So he prescribed a pain med and Prednisone. He said that in a day or two, we should see improvement (if it was a nerve issue). If not, we should get Loki in for an MRI. We nervously took Loki home and, apart from being a little out of it from the pain meds and learning quickly to get around on three legs, he seemed to be feeling back to himself.
That is, until Wednesday. I’d just given Loki his pain meds while he was lying in our dining room, and I stopped in my office for a second before crossing through the foyer (all right next to each other). By the time I reached the foyer (maybe ten minutes after I’d given him the pain meds), Loki was laying in the foyer, his back legs twitching. I joked with him, asking if he had restless leg syndrome, like mommy or something. But shortly after I moved into the next room (our living room) he started yowling. I asked my husband to bring him into the living room, so we could keep an eye on him (his brother, Fang, had been biting the back of his next since Monday – he thought he was helping Loki, but Loki just didn’t want to be touched).
Paul brought Loki in and within minutes, his back legs were jerking weirdly. He started yowling horribly, his eyes wide, as if he were in intense pain, despite the meds he was on. Then he tried to stand and couldn’t. His back legs wouldn’t work at all, and he seemed terrified. All of this took just under twenty minutes. We called the vet, who arranged for us to take Loki to the best animal hospital in our area (he spoke to a trusted colleague of his there, who said Loki was probably dealing with a blood clot), and we rushed him in. The staff was on alert for our arrival and rushed Loki to a room right away. They immediately started stepping him up on IV pain meds and administered Heparin (a blood thinner, to help break up the clot). The vet there explained to us what saddle thrombus is (feel free to Google it), and told us the cardiologist would be in to examine Loki the moment she finished in surgery. Later that night, the vet called to tell us that the cardiologist examined Loki and found no heart issues at all and that this was very likely saddle thrombus. He said they’d continue the Heparin and pain meds until the next morning, when they could perform an ultrasound to determine where the clot is located and how big it was.
After a loooong night and a looooonger morning, we heard back that they performed an ultrasound and located a clot of “sludge-like consistency” in the aorta, at the Y-section near the back legs. The vet said that Loki was alert and seemed to have his pain managed, and gave us a 50/50 chance of survival. We called our vet (who is wonderful and really loves our kitteh babies), and he called the hospital vet to discuss Loki’s case. Our regular vet told us that with Loki’s young age, how strong he was, and how quickly we got him medical attention, he felt we have a bit better a chance than 50/50. But they both said that only time would tell.
And it did tell. But not what we were hoping it would.
Loki started having breathing issues, and was placed back in the incubator with oxygen. But he wasn’t there for long. Loki died. And to be honest, I’m broken because of it.
People brush off the death of a pet like it’s nothing. But it’s something. It’s huge. And it’s so, so painful to endure. I’m a sensitive person anyway, but losing someone that I love is deeply troubling. But each and every word of encouragement and sympathy that I’ve received has been amazing and are greatly appreciated.
Loki was a sweet boy, just a year and a half old. And I miss him.
So do my other kittehs, Amenti and Fang. So do my husband, my kids. It’s been a traumatic, unexpected loss. But we’re dealing with it.
It’s also been the apex of my awful 2012. I’m hoping 2013 will be better.
So anyway…that’s the truth.
Ahh, Halloween…when children’s thoughts turn to falling leaves, chilly nights, candy from strangers, and the occasional vampire-induced blood bath. Is it any wonder that Halloween is also my favorite holiday??
But I should back up a bit. Before I talk about Halloween (Samhain to any Pagan friends who might be reading), I have to talk about my two-week tour and how much fun I had! It really was a bit of craziness, what with broken down planes, snow storms, and hurricanes, BUT you Minions really came out and supported me and that was all that mattered. So thank you, thank you, thank you for coming to see me – and if you couldn’t, for whatever reason, thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting my latest book, SECOND CHANCE. Seriously, guys, we’re in this together, and I’m honored to be called the Supreme Ruler of the Minion Horde…because you guys are awesome.
I’m finally home now (I spent yesterday in jammies and with the kittehs), but that doesn’t mean that our fun is over. Oh no! Your Auntie Heather has TWO Halloween parties planned! TONIGHT I’m holding a Halloween bash at St Louis County Library Headquarters at 7pm – there will be food, music, games, AND prizes for best character costumes! And the fun’s not over after that! Because TOMORROW I’m holding ANOTHER Halloween bash – this one at St. Charles City-County Library, Spencer Road Branch at 6pm! A great, safe alternative to trick-or-treating (especially if your town has one of those silly age restrictions). I’ll be on a panel with Antony John and Fiona Paul, and we’re going to have mask making, a costume contest and a zombie blood activity! So if you can get to the STL area today or tomorrow, GET THERE. Auntie’s waiting for you!
As for me, I’m getting my costume ready, gearing up for a mad sugar rush, and carving my pumpkin. Because it’s the spookiest week of the year, when all of we lovers of Dark, Scary Things come out to play!
Minions, I realize that I haven’t been blogging a lot lately, but I’m trying to make up for that in coming days. Also, today I have a great excuse to blog – Auntie Heather has a pressie for you! On October 16th (which is the day SECOND CHANCE comes out – don’t forget!), new Minion gear will be for sale on highschoolbites.com! SQUEE! I’m pretty geeked about it, and consider sharing news of it with you good enough to be called a pressie, so make sure you guys check that out. And just a reminder that you can also win an XBox, so don’t forget those postcards!
So what has Auntie Heather been up to lately? Well, she’s having tooth drama, which is an issue when you clench your teeth. Apparently, though I’m all mellow and calm during the day, my stress is coming out via clenching my jaw as I sleep, so now my teeth are not happy. I’m thinking of having them all removed and then just wearing dentures that make me look like Pennywise the clown from IT. What do you think?
Apart from that, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my husband (whom many of you refer to as Uncle Paul), and my kids, Jacob and Alex. Alex is in the school play, which makes her parents SQUEE and Jacob’s in college now, which has been AMAZING. I’ve also been spending lots of YAY KITTEHS time with Amenti, Loki and Fang. Oh, plus I’ve been packing for my upcoming tour. And writing.
What have I been writing? The third installment of The Slayer Chronicles, of course! I’m really excited about this book. Henry appears in it in an extensive way, which is way too much fun, and after all that happens to Joss in SECOND CHANCE, I think he needed what will come in THIRD STRIKE. But enough of my cryptic notes on books that you can’t read just yet (mwhahahahahaha!).
IT’S ALMOST HALLOWEEN. And you Minions know what that means! It’s Auntie’s favorite time of year, when all the Spooky Things crawl out of the ground, crypt, other dimensions, etc. to hang with us and devour candy. I have a couple of amazing Halloween parties going on this year that you can hang with me at (WEAR COSTUMES!), and as it’s my fave time of year, I think it’s only fitting that I spend it with my fave people, The Minion Horde. And yes…I will dress up. It’s HALLOWEEN, after all! (But then, Auntie needs no excuse to dress in costume – to Auntie Heather, that’s just any old Tuesday)
For now, I’m off to work on some writing stuff and answer a few emails. And pet teh kittehs. Can’t forget that.
So my hair was compared to Sonic the Hedgehog this week.
I, of course, ABSOLUTELY LOVE and TOTALLY AGREE WITH this description. Sonic and I have amazing hair…er…pokiness head stuff going on. I think so, anyway.
But that’s not all I’ve been up to. Apart from vanquishing the WordPress demons that were preventing me from blogging, Auntie Heather has been off and traveling again! A trip up to Chicago for Anderson’s YA Lit Con and to visit two amazing middle schools, as well as a trip to Oklahoma city, where I presented at a cool librarian conference and visited an excellent middle school and a brilliant high school. Great trips, but I am so happy to be home.
I love visiting my Minions – I don’t think that’s a secret at all. But there is nothing like coming home. I am always myself – in fact, I think it’s very important to stay true to yourself, to be the you that you are when no one’s looking…all the time. Sure, situations sometime call for a more polite you, or a quieter you, or whatever. A fave quote of mine that’s been attributed to Oscar Wilde is “Be yourself – everyone else is already taken.” And I believe that, Minions. You need to be yourself, and give up trying to impress people. After all…you can’t. They won’t be impressed by a false version of yourself (not that one should ever really care whether or not they’re impressing someone – I, in all honesty, only truly care about reaching people, not impressing them). Most people will only be impressed by you staying true to yourself and just being genuine. Now, as I said, I am always myself…but I am most myself when I am home. With my family. With my kittehs. With my stuff. There’s something about being home that makes me more…well…me…than anywhere else. So any time that I can be home, I’m thrilled to be here.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a blast while I’m away.
In fact, I’m really excited to come hang out with my Minions starting on October 16th, for two weeks! Here are the dates/times/places. Any questions, please contact the stores. And don’t forget my XBox contest – where you can triple your chances to win, just by bringing me a postcard to sign at one of my tour stops.
For now, Auntie Heather is going to be herself, hide in her introvert cave wearing her magical writing cape, play with her kittehs…oh…and pack.
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH UNDERWEAR A PERSON HAS TO PACK FOR A TOUR LIKE THIS???